Subject: Who will catch my fall?
Chapter 10: (M/b, b/b, abusive situations, no sex)
WARNING: This story contains descriptions of abusive acts, both physical and sexual in nature, involving MINOR boys. I wish to explain that this story is not true! Further, it is not intended to promote illegal acts against minors, but to educate people as to what a minor child has to do in order to survive in a severely abusive environment they are trapped. One of the most famous examples of this was Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped at age 7 and severely abused for 7 years that included physical, sexual, and mental abuse. I have had the privilege of working with a number of boys like him, and I consider all of them to be extremely brave. Many people still believe that children who stay with an abuser/captor do so because they want to. This is utterly untrue, and is proven through numerous interviews, behavioral, and psychological studies conducted with these victims. A young child does not have the same ability to cope with stressful situations as an adult would because they have not had the privilege of time and experience that an adult has. Therefore, they rely more on their basic instincts, and learn quickly what they need to do in order to survive. Thus, when they are removed from that abusive situation they also have an extremely hard time adjusting to their new environment because they are not familiar with trust, caring, and compassion. These are the emotions the child has to learn once they are put into a new non-abusive environment. People assume that these emotions are natural. Many do not realize that all of our human emotions are learned.
The following story is a work of fiction; however, it does incorporate actual events that I learned from various victims I counseled over the years. I also do not encourage others to perform any kind of abusive or sexual act with minors. If the subject of Man/boy sex, child abuse, and/or rape of minors offends you, or this material is illegal to possess material of this nature in your place of residence, or if you are under the legal age to possess such material, do not read further!
By downloading this story: "You implicitly declare and affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor and are entitled to have access to material intended for mature, responsible members of society capable of making decisions about the content of documents they wish to read." The story is copyrighted under my pseudonym, Snwdemon. A copy has been placed in these archives for your enjoyment. The story cannot be used to derive monetary gain. However, if you want to place a copy of this story in your free access archives please email me for my permission. The story cannot be placed in archives that require payment for access, or be printed and distributed in any form that requires payment either directly or indirectly. Any similarity to individuals, living, or dead, is completely accidental. Reference is also made in context to some locations, businesses, characters, and people to define the story line. No other implication about the true sexuality or actions of the people, businesses, or places mentioned is intended.
Recap from Chapter 9:
"I need to ask all of you a favor, and your advice. As you know, Devon was given a lot of money after the incident on Thanksgiving. Well, I am going to be busy with this case, but I need some help. Sara needs access to that money in order for her to get what the boys will need, and to get what we will need for the new house. That way everything will be ready for them when they are able to come home. However, I need to pick trustees that will manage Devon's trust, and it cannot be Sara or me. Therefore, I am asking that you four serve as the trustees to Devon's trust fund." John said to them.
"Well you already know our answer John. Jeanne and I will be happy to do it," Jerry told his longtime friend.
"We would also be honored to do this too, John," both Connie and Juan said.
"Thanks, this is one less detail that we need to worry about," John said to them as he held Sara's hand.
Everyone talked for another half hour, and then John excused himself and said that he and Sara should get back to the hospital. Jean had wrapped up two plates that contained her peach cobbler and strawberry shortcake for Ari and Devon. They all said their goodbyes, and Juan and Connie left at the same time as John and Sara did. John and Sara talked during the ride back to the hospital, and she thanked John for a wonderful evening. John kissed her after they got out of the car, then they took the dessert that Jeanne had sent to Devon and Ari. They found both of them sleeping together again, but they woke up as soon as John and Sara entered the room.
"Hi there, you guys feeling better?" John asked as Sara and he sat on opposite sides of the bed.
"A little, but Ari's hot again." Devon said with a yawn. Sara and John felt his forehead and could feel that his fever had come back. Sara called the duty nurse and asked if it would be ok to give Ari and Devon their medicine early. The nurse said it would be fine and left. She returned in a few minutes with their medicines, and they took it. Then John told them that Jeanne had sent them some dessert, and both of them were excited, and devoured it quickly.
"That was good, wasn't it Dev?" Ari asked him as he wiped his mouth.
"Yeah, it was great. We will thank Aunt Jeanne when we see her after we go home." Devon said in response with a smile.
"No, you can thank her tomorrow, because she is making you dinner and bringing it to you. I hope you guys like fried chicken." He told them and both Devon and Ari nodded enthusiastically.
"Now, look you two, I think the doctors will allow you to go home in the next couple of days. When that happens, then I will come and help Sara and we will take you home. I will stay until things are situated, but then I have to go back to work. So don't drive Sara batty while I'm gone ok." John told them, and they both nodded.
"Its ok dad, Ari can help me if Sara is busy, and I will help him." Devon told him and Ari nodded his agreement while hugging Devon.
"I won't do it until you two have settled in at home, but then we are going to have some long talks together. I have been putting them off until you both were better, but I cannot do that much longer. I know it will be hard for you, but you will have to tell me what you remember and answer my questions. Sara and I will both be there with you when we do this along with Juan, and my Captain. However, I do not want you to worry about it until then, just worry about getting better so we can all go home. Does that plan sound acceptable to you guys?" John said to them, and both of their faces saddened a bit.
"Ok Dad, we promise...don't we Dev?" Ari said solemnly.
"Yeah, I promise to Dad," Devon said with a touch of reluctance in his voice.
"It will be ok, and I promise that neither of you will be in trouble. So do not worry about it because it is still a long way off. Now let's get your teeth brushed and then its lights out." John told them as he hugged and kissed each of them along with Sara to reassure them. They had them both use the bathroom, and then brush their teeth. John put some more ointment on Ari after he peed while Devon had Sara help him out of his pj's. John and Sara had noticed that Devon preferred as little clothing as possible when he slept. John knew why, because Devon had told him how Bill Jefferies had never allowed him to wear anything, or even to use a blanket when he slept. John knew that this was because Jefferies did this so he could sexually molest Devon. He was not sure if Jefferies had molested Ari though, but he knew about what Jefferies had done to Devon.
It did not take long for the medicine to work, and both of them were drowsy again by the time John and Sara got them back into bed. It did not take long before both of them were asleep again. John and Sara kissed them both good night after they were asleep. Then the duty nurse brought in a rollaway bed, and helped set it up for them. John took the rollaway bed, while Sara slept in Ari's bed. Again, she thanked John for a wonderful evening, and John kissed her one more time before they both went to bed themselves.
End of Chapter 9
I want to thank Miguel Sanchez, Nashua, and RJ for proofing this chapter.
Tuesday, December 19, 1995 (noontime)
"Come on Dev, mom and dad will be here soon." Ari said to Devon as he dried off with the towel. He had just finished taking a shower, and was now getting dressed into the new clothes that John and Sara had bought him. He looked at the new socks, underwear, t-shirts, Polo shirt, Levi's jeans, and Nike's Air Jordan shoes. He felt ashamed to have such expensive clothes since all he has had since his parents were killed were hand-me-downs. Still, this just reinforced his belief that John and Sara really did love him and Devon since they were willing to spend so much money on them. He quickly put on his underwear, undershirt, and socks before looking over at his brother to see how he was doing. He saw Devon still sitting in the chair beside his bed in just his underwear, and he was clearly in pain. Seeing this now caused him to worry, so he went over and sat on the bed beside Devon.
"You ok Dev?" He asked him in a worried tone of voice.
"Yeah, I'm just hurting is all," Devon said to him after kissing him on the lips. Using his good left arm, he reached over and pressed the call button for the duty nurse. "You better get some pants on before she gets here."
"Ok, then I will help you with your pants if you want." Ari told him as he scurried back over to his bed where he put on his ankle brace, and started putting on his new Levi's. While Ari was very shy about being seen undressed by others, Devon was the complete opposite if he trusted you. However, he did let Ari help him put on his bathrobe before the duty nurse arrived.
"Hello you guys, so are you excited about today?" The duty nurse asked as she came into their room.
"Yeah!" They both said in unison before giggling. However, Devon stopped with a sharp hiss as he bumped his right arm against the bed.
"Oh, I see. You arm is hurting this morning. Would you like me to get your pain medication a little early?" She asked him and he nodded as his eyes watered. She quickly left the room, and Ari had finished dressing by the time she returned.
"Here you go honey," she told Devon as she handed him a small cup with three pills in it. Devon took the pills with some water and grimaced, and then he thanked her. She then asked him if he wanted her to help him get dressed, but he said that Ari would help him, and she left. Ari then helped him get dressed in his Seattle Seahawks warm-up suit and was about to help put his shoes on when John arrived with Sara. As soon as John came in the room, Ari limped over to him, and jumped up into his arms before hugging and kissing him.
"Well good morning to you too," John said as he playfully dug his fingers into Ari's sides making him squeal with laughter.
"Don't tickle...you'll make me pee." Ari said between giggles.
"Now we can't have that, can we? I can see that you are almost ready to go, so are you excited to see your new home?" John asked him as he hugged him before putting him down. Ari nodded in response before limping to Sara, and hugging and kissing her.
"Hi Mommy," Ari said to her. Sara lifted him up into her arms and hugged him tightly.
"Hello darling, I really like that name instead of hearing you two calling me Sara all the time. You know you do not have to do that if you don't want to though." She said to him before giving him a kiss on his nose as Ari blushed.
"We want to, don't we Ari?" Devon said and Ari agreed with him making her smile even more. John went over, knelt down in front of him, and hugged him carefully.
"How you feeling, son," John asked Devon.
"My arm and leg is still hurting bad right now, but the nurse gave me my medicine just before you came in." Devon said as he gingerly cradled his right arm. His cast had been removed yesterday, but they still had him wearing a clavicle brace, shoulder immobilizer, and a sling. They had given him a new brace for his left leg that still went from his hip to his ankle, but this one had a hinged knee that allowed him to bend his leg when he sat down. He also had to wear a special vest over his undershirt that protected his injured ribs on his right side.
"I know it does, but the doctor said that they will get better as you use them more. You had a very bad injury to your arm and shoulder, and it has been in a cast for a long time. So all of your muscles have tightened up and its going to hurt until you get them all stretched out again." John told him just as the doctor had when he removed the cast. His leg was still in a brace and it would still be over a month before he would be allowed to start putting weight on his leg as his pelvis/hip healed. However, his leg did not hurt half as much as it used to now that it had been re-broken, properly set, and was healing correctly this time. While it still ached, especially when it rained, it was nothing like the pain he had before. Sara came over and helped John lift him up onto the bed where he could hug her.
"Hi Mom," he said with a sheepish smile.
"Hello honey, come on, let's get your shoes on so we can get out of here." Sara said to him, and he readily agreed with her. John and Sara helped put on his Reebok running shoes, and then collected the last of their belongings and packed them in a bag. Once they were done, John left to get the duty nurse to inform them that they were ready to leave. When he returned, the duty nurse followed him with two wheelchairs for Devon and Ari along with the doctor. John came in and motioned Ari to come over by his brother so he could talk to them.
"Now look you guys, there are a lot of people outside waiting for you. They are here to take pictures of you leaving, but we will not answer any questions this time if you do not want to. Now are you two ready to go home?" John asked after he explained to them about the crowd outside the hospital entrance. Devon was already familiar with what would happen, but he was still nervous.
"Yeah, we will be ok Dad." Devon said confidently even though he did not feel very confident. Than John gently lifted him up and moved him over to the wheelchair, and then put Ari in the other. He then asked Sara to push Ari's while he pushed Devon's. Then they all proceeded to the main entrance at Bayside where they met Jerry and Juan.
"Top o' the morning to ye laddies; took ye long enough, me poor craw be as dry as a thistle now." Jerry told them with a big grin.
"Hi Uncle Jerry and Uncle Juan, it was Devon's fault because his arm and leg are hurting." Ari told them as he hopped up out of the chair with a light giggle and hugged them. However, when he saw the crowd of people gathered outside, he started to get frightened. "Dad, you didn't say that there were that many people!" He said as he scooted behind Sara.
"It will be fine son, Uncle Jerry will make sure that nobody comes near you, I promise." John told him to reassure him and Ari hesitated for a moment before agreeing to trust him.
"Ok, I guess; and we don't have to talk to them if we don't want to right?" Ari asked him for assurance.
"That's right, if you don't want to say anything, then just ignore them and let me handle everything." John told him as Ari continued to eye the crowd with suspicion. Ari answered without thinking due to his distraction with the size of the crowd, and immediately covered his mouth with his hand afterwards with a frightened expression on his face.
"Ok Poppi," he said. After slapping his hand over his mouth, his face looked as if he said a forbidden curse word as he looked nervously at John, then to Devon with a look as if he expected to be struck and any moment. John knelt in front of him to try to reassure him.
"It's alright son, I know what you meant. Bill Jefferies was a bad man, but calling me Poppi is not the same thing though. I am nothing like him, and I will never hurt you in any way as he did. I think that if you were to call me Poppi, if you want to, that will make it better for you because it will change the way you think of that word. I hope that it will change to something good instead of it being something bad to you. Just remember that it is ok to call me Dad, John, Papa, or even Pop; it is fine with me as long as you are comfortable saying it." John told him as he pulled him close for a hug. Ari quickly melted into his embrace and his tears began to slip down his face.
"I didn't mean it like that Dad. It is just that I used to call my real daddy Poppi too. Now you are my daddy, but I forgot that Devon told me not to say that word. I did not mean it that you were now like Pop, but that you were now like my daddy, my Poppi is all. I'm sorry...please don't be mad at me." Ari said in a soft choked voice as he remembered his parents.
"Its ok son, and I am honored that you have chosen to call me that. I know that "Pop" has many bad memories for the both of you, but I do not think Devon would mind it at all if you called me Poppi. Why don't you go ask him, ok?" John told him soothingly as he gently wiped away his tears. Ari nodded and looked over at his brother.
"Is it ok Dev?" Ari asked him with a look of hope on his face as he looked for Devon's approval.
"Yeah, Poppi is ok Ari. It's just that calling Dad `Pop' brings back too many bad memories for me is all, but its ok to call him Poppi. I do not want to think about Pop at all, because he was so bad, and hurt us so much. That is why I can't stand the word Pop now because it just makes me remember all of the bad things he did to me and you, and all of the rest of the kids he hurt and killed." Devon told him before Ari rushed over and hugged him gently.
"Thanks Dev, you're the best big brother anyone could have." Ari said to him before kissing him on his lips and smiling as Devon smiled back. Once they looked at the others, Juan spoke to Ari.
"I am just curious Ari, but Poppi is normally used by Hispanic children. May I ask if either of your parents were Hispanic?" Juan asked him as he knelt down in front of him. Ari blushed cutely, and looked at Devon and John before answering.
"I don't know. What's Hispanic mean?" Ari asked with a confused look on his young face.
"Hispanic means that person came from one of the countries in Latin America like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, or Brazil is all. The language the people speak in those countries is Spanish." Juan explained to him, and Ari's face brightened as Juan explained.
"I think my mom was Uncle Juan. She always told me that one day she would take me to Puerto Rico where she was born." Ari said shyly.
"Well, now your new Poppi can take you there," Juan said with a gentle smile.
"I would like that very much Uncle Juan," Ari said with a big beautiful smile before hugging Juan.
"Now, is everyone ready to go face the horde?" Jerry asked them and they all agreed. With him leading the way and Juan coming last, John and Sara stayed by each boy as they followed Jerry to the waiting minivan. John politely declined to answer any questions as he hurried the boys past the flock of reporters who were busy shouting questions at them. Both Devon and Ari were half blinded by all of the flashbulbs going off by the time they reached the minivan. John carefully transferred Devon into the minivan before having Ari get in beside him. Once they were situated and had their seatbelts fastened, John and Sara got in front with John driving. Ari looked out the window and saw a female reporter smile at him and wave, so he waved back with a shy smile on his face while a news camera operator filmed it. Jerry got into his patrol car in front of John while Juan got into a black SUV behind the minivan. After turning on his portable radio, and letting Jerry know they were ready, the small motorcade left the hospital parking lot. They followed Jerry as he navigated them to the freeway before the radio came alive with Juan's voice.
"We seem to have a tag-a-long just as you said, John." Juan said thru the radio. John had hooked up his hands free microphone so he just spoke aloud.
"I thought we would since my office is making some people very nervous now. Where is our tag-a-long?" John said aloud as Devon and Ari looked around with surprise.
"He's in the left hand lane, four cars back. The blue Suburban, has the chaser found him yet?" Juan asked, but John did not respond as he watched the vehicle Juan was speaking about through the side and rear view mirrors. As soon as Juan mentioned "chaser" the blue Suburban cut quickly across all five lanes causing the other cars to brake and honk their horns, and then the Suburban exited the freeway. John then used his cell phone to contact Captain Smith.
"Captain, he just took exit 43A, and I was right that he is monitoring the police frequency too. He is driving a late model dark blue Chevy Suburban SUV with Washington tags Victor Charlie X-ray 812." John said into the phone.
"I got it John, unit 78; he should be coming towards you. Let him pass and follow at a safe distance, but do not initiate a traffic stop understood." The captain said into another cell phone. He and John had worked out this plan after an anonymous tip that a professional hit had been put out on Ari. Lee had thought of the cell phones, and he had placed unmarked cars at each exit along the route on the freeway. Juan was to wait until they were on the freeway before notifying the others that they were being followed so that the unmarked units could follow it.
"All other units, I want you to coordinate with 78, and use a slalom tail. Maintain radio silence unless it is an emergency because they are monitoring the police channels." He said into the microphone that was connected to all of the individual cell phones. He had just ordered them to use a rotating tailing procedure where no one vehicle would follow the vehicle in question for more than two miles or ten blocks before turning off and relinquishing the lead to another unmarked vehicle. This made it almost impossible for someone to discover that they were being followed unless they had professional training to spot it. The Captain hoped that the suspects would lead them to where they were staying, or to whomever they worked for right now.
"John, they've got the tail, now I want you to use the secondary route planned understood. Call me once you arrive." He said to him through the phone.
"Yes sir, understood." John responded before disconnecting the call. He then dialed Jerry's number from the speed dial list. "Jerry, they picked up the tail, now we need to switch to the secondary route and continue radio silence. I will let Juan know...that's right, I will follow your lead." John said into the phone before hanging up and calling Juan and relaying him the same information. At first Ari and Devon were just curious to what was happening, but as time went on, they became more and more frightened. Ari was the first to break and started crying with Devon soon after, but Sara unhook her seatbelt and moved in between them before embracing them both. She calmly explained that some bad men were looking for John, but that he was doing his job to catch them. She also soothed their fears and dried their eyes, but most of all; she kept them both calm while John drove.
Jerry then proceeded to take them through the heart of downtown Seattle in an indirect route to his home. This route took much longer, but due to the traffic, it was much harder for someone to tail them. They finally reached Jerry's house just before 3pm, almost an hour and a half longer than it would have normally taken to drive, and Devon was clearly in pain when they arrived. John gently carried him inside while Sara and Ari followed them. Once inside, John sat Devon in Jerry's recliner before asking Sara to get his pain medicine. Jeanne brought them all some fresh lemonade, and told the others to sit down and rest. She happened to see Ari pinching his penis, and she quietly whispered into his ear where the bathroom was while he blushed. He thanked her and hurriedly limped off to the bathroom as Jeanne asked Devon if he needed to go too. He nodded, and John picked him up and carried him back into Jerry's bedroom to the bathroom there. After both boys had relieved themselves, and were back in the living room, John finally explained what was going on to Devon and Ari.
"I explained to both of you that I had to go back to work, well what we are working on involves both of you. The bad men that we are investigating thought that they could follow us to our new home, and do something to scare the two of you, but we found out and came up with this plan. We let them follow us until we got onto the freeway, and let them listen when we said that we knew about them following us. They heard it, and turned off the freeway, but we had unmarked police cars waiting at the exits, and they are now following them. Therefore, for tonight, we will stay here with Uncle Jerry and Aunt Jeanne, and tomorrow we will go home. We figured that they would try to follow us when we left the hospital, and that is why we waited until we were sure they were following us before we pulled the surprise. So I don't want either of you to worry because we are safe here, and Uncle Jerry, Uncle Juan, and I will be here to protect us ok." He told them and both Ari and Devon were visibly relieved as they sat listening as they hugged each other.
"See, I told you that he was the smartest dad in the world Ari," Devon said to his brother who nodded in agreement.
"Good, now if you two want to, you can lay down for now and rest, or watch TV." John said to them as he hugged them both.
"I bet they are hungry, so how about some sandwiches and chips?" Jeanne asked and both Devon and Ari responded with a resounding "Yeah!" The others all laughed as Sara followed her into the kitchen.
"How did you know they would be hungry, and for that matter, that they needed to use the bathroom too?" Sara asked her once inside the kitchen.
"I've raise four kids already including Jerry Jr., and one thing I know is that all young boys are constantly hungry, and after a long car ride that they have to pee. I think Jerry Jr. had a switch on his butt because as soon as we got moving in the car, he had to pee so you better get used to it." She said with a laugh as she started pulling things out of the refrigerator and handing them to her.
"There is a lot more for me to learn now that I'm a mom, I just don't know where to begin." Sara said in a worried tone.
"You already know the most important thing about being a good mother, and that is to just give them all of your love. The rest will fall into place by itself so do not worry about it ok. Now let's feed them so they can rest." She said before she and Sara laid out lunchmeats, cheeses, and rolls for sandwiches along with a plate of sliced veggies before having John and Jerry bring the boys to the table. John went and got a wet washcloth and a small towel, and had the boys wipe their hands and faces, and then dry them before saying grace and eating. After they had eaten, both Ari and Devon were beginning to doze at the table when John gently picked up Devon while Sara did the same with Ari, and followed Jerry back to his son's room and put them in the bed. Once they had returned to the living room, Jeanne had them all sit down and relax.
Early afternoon (around 3 pm):
"So are they all tucked in now?" She asked Sara.
"Yes, and I think they were both out before we could cover them up. I know that they were released today, but neither of them is fully recovered yet. It is my belief that a hospital is no place to get well. It can help get you started, but to recover you need to be comfortable and you just can't do that in a hospital." Sara told her before sipping her lemonade, and Jeanne agreed with her.
"So what is the plan now John?" Jerry asked him.
"It will be fairly straight forward from here. The Captain will detain and question them while Juan and I continue the investigation from my office. We are now working with the FBI in an international sting taskforce. However, one thing is clear, Ari is our only witness as of now from this pedophile ring; and they know it. That is why they put out the hit on him. So, while my office and Juan continue the legwork, my primary assignment is to protect my son." John explained.
"Look, here is what the investigation has discovered so far. Jefferies was a `cleaner' meaning that he was one of the people in this ring whose job was to fix problems and make them go away. This included everything from kidnapping new kids to disposing of them when they were no longer useful or were a threat. However, he was also a pedophile who had a thing for preteen boys, and instead of killing them immediately, he would keep them for a while until he satisfied his twisted desires. He was ordered to kill Ari and dispose of him, but for some reason he deceived them into thinking that he had, and had planned to keep Ari for himself. What he did not take into consideration was Devon. Probably because he has been controlling Devon for so long that he figured that Devon would do whatever he told him. However, Devon bonded with Ari for some reason, and Ari reciprocated his feelings. Ari was probably the first person that truly cared and loved him, and that gave Devon the will to disobey Jefferies." John told them while he took a couple of thick files out of his briefcase and opened them on the coffee table. After flipping through a few pages, John continued.
"Well, in October, someone in the ring found out that Ari was still alive, and Jefferies was told to get rid of Ari or they would get rid of him. When he told Devon that he was going to kill Ari, Devon rebelled. First, he disobeyed him by telling the school administrators about what was going on at home, hoping they would intervene. However, instead of contacting the authorities as they are supposed to do, the Principal called Jeffries instead, and told him everything that Devon was saying. Devon overheard this, and he knew what Bill would do, so he bolted for home. It became a race between him and Jefferies, and Devon managed to get home first and free Ari, but Jefferies caught him before he could flee also. You know the sequence of events after that point." John said in a slightly choked voice as his eyes watered. In one of the open files that John had put on the coffee table, there were photos of Devon and Ari. The photos were taken by the police photographer to document all of their injuries, bruising, and scars from prior injuries caused from the abuse they suffered. Jeanne reached over and picked up the top one that showed a teary-eyed Devon, naked, and lying on his side. Covering his back, buttocks, and the upper part of his thighs were dozens of lash type scars crisscrossing his back from his neck to almost his knees. She gasped involuntarily when she examined the photo and realized that this photo was less than a month old.
"Oh my lord; the poor dear, no wonder he is in so much pain. It looks as if he had been flogged with a bullwhip Jerry. What kind of monster could do that to any child? How was Devon able to survive all of this...this torture Jerry?" She asked him as she looked at the picture in horror before handing it to him.
"I don't know Jeanne; I don't know." Jerry said to her while he shook his head as he looked at the picture before passing it to Juan. Juan studied the photo for a few moments before speaking to John and asking if he could see the rest of the photos. "May I?"
"Go ahead, but I must warn you that there are some very graphic and shocking pictures in there. The top ones are the ones we took to document his injuries, scarring, and abuse. The others were discovered in a lockbox in Jefferies bedroom. Some of the pictures are horrible, and Jefferies is just lucky that he was dead by the time I found them." John said as he handed him the file containing the photos of Devon. Juan clinically browsed through all of them before handing the file back to John and speaking.
"You have a very brave son, John. For Devon to survive all of the abuse Jefferies inflicted on him in the first place, and then finding the courage to oppose him in order to save Ari even though it almost cost him his life. I also think that the others here should see those photos so they will understand exactly what Devon, and most likely Ari as well, had to endure in order to survive." Juan said to John, Jerry, Jeanne, and Sara.
"We already know Juan, and its one of the reasons we love them so much. I don't need to see the photos because I already know what was done to him from seeing all of his scarring." Sara said in response as she reached over and took John's hand in hers.
"Neither do I; I know that he was physically, mentally, and sexually abused so I do not need to see the rest of those photos. At the very least it will protect what little privacy and dignity he has left." Jeanne said to them as she refused to take the file.
"The same goes for me, I have seen enough already to know what that bastard did to him and Ari too." Jerry told them as he handed the closed file back to John.
"Thank you all. I wish I did not have to look at them either, or allow others to see them, but I do not have that option. The most I can do is to try to keep the press from getting their hands on them by limiting access to them. I also want to thank you Jeanne, and Jerry, for protecting my sons because they have been violated enough already." John told them gratefully.
"We all understand John, and I know that the last thing they need is to have those degrading pictures displayed in the news. By the way, how are you going to handle the press once the story breaks about the grand jury?" Juan asked him.
"We were going to have the reporter that was fired conduct exclusive interviews with them for the press. This way we control what is allowed to be printed, and he will be the only one who will have the truth straight from the boys instead of all of the wild speculation the press and tabloids will be printing. Like I said, I am just worried how it will affect the boys if the press somehow gets a hold of those pictures is all." John told them.
"Well, I would not worry so much about Devon because he is the strong one. He may be quiet, but he is also very brave and strong. I think he will be able to handle it if these pictures somehow made it out." Juan told him, and John nodded in agreement while his eyes watered.
"I know, and it is the same way Katie was...and it's why he reminds me so much of her. Although, she never was the quiet one like he is, but she was strong willed and had a pure heart just as he has." John said as a single tear made its way down his cheek.
"Well, now she has given you a task to do since she cannot do it herself John, so don't let her down." Jeanne told him with compassion.
"I know," he said before pausing. Then he squeezed Sara's hand before bringing it up to his lips, kissing it tenderly, and looking at Sara before continuing. "We won't let her down Jeanne." Sara smiled warmly at him before blushing, but her expression echoed his feelings. John quickly wiped his eyes before she spoke to him.
"I know that I have no right to ask John, but you wouldn't happen to have a picture of Katie. I just want to put a face with her name is all?" Sara asked him cautiously.
"Oh, sure Sara; I should have done this sooner, but I wasn't thinking; I'm sorry." He said as he got up and walked over to the mantle above the fireplace. There were over twenty framed pictures on the mantle; many of them were pictures of Jerry's kids and of them. However, there was one portrait of a beautiful young woman with an equally beautiful girl about 9-years old sitting in her lap. John brought the portrait over and handed it to her.
"This is the last picture taken of my wife Lorelei, and my daughter Katie about a month before the accident. They never saw these pictures because they arrived two weeks after they were killed." John said as he sat down next to her again. Sara looked at the picture quietly after hearing the pain of his loss in his voice. The little girl had the same light brown hair and looked almost identical to Devon, only with longer hair. Now Sara understood why Devon had been able to touch John so deeply because of his uncanny resemblance to John's daughter Katie.
"Your wife and daughter are beautiful John; and your daughter and Devon look like twins. Thank you for showing me their picture; I know how painful it is for you." Sara told him sincerely.
"It is ok now Sara. Just thinking of them used to be unbearable, and that is why only Jerry and Jeanne have their pictures, but since Devon came into my life, the pain has been going away. It is almost gone now because of him and Ari. I know Devon looks like Katie, and that is why I could not bear it when he woke up after surgery in so much pain. I never got the chance to be there for Katie until a few minutes before she died. When I saw Devon in so much pain, it was as if God was giving me a second chance. He was allowing me to help Devon now since he took Katie away before I could help her." John said misty eyed as he spoke about Katie. "Although, I know that while they look alike, Devon is so much different than Katie in so many ways. He is so compassionate, caring, and determined which is not like Katie. She was loving and carefree, and she made every day seem brighter with her smile and laughter. Devon is so serious and demure, but when he does smile, the light he brings with him is incandescent. It took only a few days for him to yank me out of my fantasy world, and for him to let me know that for all of their resemblances, that he is still just Devon. Now I wouldn't change him even if I could because I can love him for himself, and not feel guilty and think that I only love him because he is replacing Katie because that is not true. I had Katie for only a short time, and I do not know how long God will allow me to be with Devon, but I will cherish every day that I have with him that I hope will be a lifetime. Now Ari is much more like Katie when it comes down to personality. He is a free spirit just like she was." He said to them as he fondly spoke about his daughter and about his sons.
"Still, thank you for sharing their memory with me," Sara said to him. "As for Devon's scarring, once he has recovered, I will start using a special fading cream that will cause them to be less noticeable over time, and there are new procedures that do not require surgery that plastic surgeons use to diminish and hide scarring. They will never go away, but they will not be so eye catching either as they now are. It is this, and his modesty about girls seeing him undressed, are the only things that are embarrassing to him." She explained to Jeanne, Juan, and Jerry.
"That's right Sara, Devon and Ari are both painfully shy about their scarring, so try and put their embarrassment to rest if you ever happen to see either of them undressed and their scarring." John told Juan, Jerry, and Jeanne. Jerry had already seen Devon almost completely nude when they had worked feverishly to save him that day in the police interrogation room. However, neither Jerry, Juan, nor Jeanne had seen the boys completely nude, or had seen Ari's scarring from his abuse.
"That is easy to handle," Jeanne told them. "They are shy about being undressed with girls is normal for all boys their age. As for their scars, they will only be embarrassed if we react to the sight of them. If we act as if they were not there, then neither Devon nor Ari will have a need to be embarrassed. Eventually, they will stop being so self conscious about them."
Early afternoon (around 4:30 pm):
"Now then, here is where we stand. The federal prosecutor has convened a grand jury seeking indictments against Deacon Parrish, the local police force, and those associated with his home for boys, the pedophile ring known as `The Blue Orchid Club,' and all individuals linked to this organization. Injunctions and subpoenas have been issued for the people named in the suit freezing their assets and making them surrender their passports. Protective orders have also been issued which place all of the children associated with the investigation into protective custody of the state, but most importantly, an order of protection has been issued for Devon and Ari specifically. Now I wanted to wait until after we had the boys settled in a home before questioning them, but that is no longer an option. Therefore, on Monday, Juan will start the interviews with the boys while we, Sara and me, will be there with them as their parents." John told them all.
"Do you think they are well enough for this John?" Sara asked him with a concerned look.
"Personally, no I don't. However, it is no longer up to us. I fought like hell just to get this agreement because the federal prosecutor was going to subpoena the boys, and make them testify before the grand jury. Juan went before the judge and told him how emotionally damaging that could be on the boys especially since neither of them are fully recovered yet. He offered the compromise of letting him interview them with the federal prosecutor, judge, and grand jury watching via a live satellite feed. Juan will be able to hear and talk to the judge and prosecutor too. I have already hired attorneys to represent Ari and Devon, as well as one to represent us. This is not a trial ok, and the boys, or you and I, are not in any trouble either. However, the purpose of a grand jury is to aid the federal investigation. Since the boys are minors, then we have to be present along with their attorneys and advocates assigned by the court. Devon will have to tell what he can remember when he was with Jefferies, but Ari will have to tell everything he knows about Deacon Parrish, the local police, and everything they did to him and the other boys. Therefore, for the next week we all have to prepare the boys to testify." John explained to her and the others while Juan nodded in agreement.
"There will also be their doctors, and child psychologists present to insure that the proceeding is the least harmful to Devon and Ari." Juan told them after John finished. "I know that all of you are concerned about this, and so am I. However, this prosecutor is a real hard ass with a huge ego. He thinks he can walk on water and do as he pleases, but I managed to thwart his efforts."
"Is there any way to squash the subpoenas?" Sara asked him.
"No, that is not possible because other children's lives could be at stake here so time is of the essence. I don't like it either, but the boys are going to have to testify, especially Ari." Juan said while his face clearly showed that he felt the same as the others about this. They were all silent until a soft, nervous, high-pitched voice shattered their thoughts.
"Its ok...I want to tell them what happened." Ari said as he peeked around the corner from the hallway and startling Sara. She glanced at the clock and saw that almost two hours had passed as they sat there talking. John's face quickly softened, and he held his arms open to him. Ari cautiously looked around at all of them before limping across the short distance into John's waiting embrace.
"Hi Mejo," John said as he hugged him and pulled him into his lap. Ari let out a small-strangled sob as John did this, and he felt Ari's small body tremble as his tears came suddenly. "What's the matter son?"
"My Poppi always called me that," Ari said after a few minutes, "it just made me remember how happy I was before I went to that bad place."
"I understand Ari, and if it hurts because I say that, then I won't say it anymore." John told him as he brushed away Ari's tears.
"No, it is ok to say it. You are my Poppi now, and I'm happy again, so it's ok." Ari said quickly after hearing that.
"And I'm happy again too because of you and your brother." John told him with a warm smile after kissing him on the nose. "Is Devon awake?"
"No, he's still sleeping. He tries to hide it but he was hurting really bad, and he was really tired too. Sometimes he still hurts really bad after he takes his medicine, but he will not tell anyone. I guess because he is still sick." Ari told him with a serious expression before scooting over into Sara's lap.
"Ola Madre," he said as he hugged and kissed her before giggling.
"Ola Mejo, I know some Spanish too, and we both know about your brother. Your brother was very sick for a long time because of what Bill did to him. We were all worried that he would go to sleep and not wake up again, but he never stopped fighting. I think he kept fighting because he knew that you needed him, just as he needs you now." Sara told him after he scooted over until he was sitting between John and her. When she said this, Ari became real quiet and sad.
"I know Mommy. Dev took my punishment from Pop, and it almost killed him...just as my parents were killed. It should be me that is sick right now instead of Dev, but I am not strong like he is though. That's why he did it...because I'm too little and weak." He said in a small, quiet voice as he looked down at his hands with tears in his eyes.
"Now that is not true Ari. Look at me," John said to him with just enough authority in his voice to make Ari do as he said. "I know Devon is very brave, and very strong. However, you are also very brave and very strong. You spent almost a month in that dark and cold warehouse waiting for Devon. I know that many grown ups would not be able to live in that place for a week before dying from the cold, but you did survive. You survived not for a week, but for several weeks. That tells all of us that you are just as strong and just as brave as Devon is. So do not ever think that you are not because it is wrong. You may not be brave or strong exactly as Devon is, but that is ok because you are brave and strong in your own way. Now, when you and Devon are together both of you are even stronger and braver together because you complement each other. That means that where you are not strong, he is; and where he is not strong, then you are." John told him with conviction.
"But I didn't know what else to do. I was so scared that Pop would come and get me at first. Then when I heard about what happened to Dev, I still hid because I was scared the police would hurt me and send me back to the home like before. I was so scared, and I didn't know what to do, so I stayed and hid." Ari said through his tears as he confessed his weakness and fears to them. John just hugged him and kissed him on the top of his head before gently wiping his tears away.
"I know you were scared, and being scared doesn't mean that you are weak either. People that everybody says are very brave will also tell you that they were very scared too. It is because everyone is afraid sometimes, but what makes them brave and strong is that even though they are scared, they still do not let it stop them from doing what is right and what needs to be done. That is why people say they were brave and strong. It is not because of what they do, but how they do it even though they are scared. Like Uncle Jerry and me, we know that we could be shot and killed at any time, but we still do our job as cops; the same goes for Uncle Juan, your mom, and Aunt Jeanne too because they are brave and strong in other ways just as you and Devon are brave and strong. So, just because you were scared doesn't mean you were not brave or strong, because you were." John told him and the others agreed. This stopped his tears and reassured him.
"So I really was brave and strong then? But what do I have to tell those people then?" Ari asked him.
"Yes, you really were very brave and strong for staying. You just tell them the truth is all, and try and answer their questions honey," Sara told him while John nodded in agreement.
"Ok, I promise to even if I am scared Mommy." He said and Sara just melted when he said this. She hugged him tightly and kissed him on the cheek noisily while he blushed pink.
"Why don't you go check on your brother and see if he is awake yet." John told him, and Ari scooted off the couch and dashed off to the back. He returned a few minutes later with a worried expression.
"Um Poppi, he says his arm and leg hurts really bad again, and that he's got to pee too." Ari said in a timid voice. John and Sara got up immediately and went into the back to where Devon was resting. John came into the room and sat on the bed next to Devon while Sara stood and leaned down and kissed him.
"Hi, how are you feeling gorgeous?" She said to him making him blush bright pink while he smiled.
"Hi Mom and Dad, my arm and leg hurts, and...um...I really gotta go bad." Devon said in his soft voice while his face clearly showed his urgent need. With that said, John scooped him up gently and carried him to the main bathroom just down the hall. When he was finished, John asked him if he wanted to go back to bed or to stay up. Devon said he wanted to stay up, so John carried him into the living room and deposited him on the couch. Sara and Ari joined them and Ari quickly wormed his way between Devon and Sara. It was already clear that Ari had bonded with both Sara and John, and he had no shame about cuddling with her. Devon had also bonded with them, but he preferred cuddling with John instead of Sara. When they had asked Juan about this earlier, he explained that it was clear that Ari had been closest to his mother before she died, and now that he had a mother again it was only logical along with Ari's desire was why he bonded so deeply with her. However, he told them that since Devon never has had a mother before, then all of the comfort and affection that was normally given by the mother to her child, that Devon sought that same affection from a male. This was why he had bonded with John, and why he loved the affection John gave him. Juan also said that Devon's desire, or need for this affection, was one of the reasons that allowed him to overcome his fear and rebel against Jefferies because Ari gave him the affection and love that he so desperately craved.
John and Sara understood because Devon still flinched or cringed when some adult tried to shake hands with him, made a sudden movement, or if they tried to touch him. John also knew that it would take a long time before either Ari or Devon would be able to trust other adult men again, and to overcome their fears caused by the abuse they had suffered. He was afraid to admit it, but he knew that both Devon and Ari had been emotionally scarred for life because of the terrible things done to them by adult men. He just hoped that with his and Sara's love, that they would be able to heal the boys enough at least to lead happy, if not normal lives in the future. As he thought about her, John finally had to admit that he did indeed love Sara. She was everything he could wish for, but he just could not help feeling that he was betraying his wife Lori, and being unfaithful to her. This was the reason why he still kept Sara from getting closer to him. However, he had already decided on whether or not to make a fool of himself today. Therefore, he decided to seek some help because of this, and the one person he trusted enough to be honest and open with him was Jeanne. As they all returned to the living room, John asked Sara to sit with him on the love seat. Of course, this disappointed Ari, and John told him that they needed to talk about something important.
"What's the matter John?" Sara asked as she sat down next to him.
"Nothing is Sara. I just need for us to get some advice from my family, and a good friend about certain things is all." He told her with a reassuring smile.
"All of you know about how I lost my wife Lori along with my daughter Katie too. Now someone else has come into my life who I find attractive, intelligent, and she shares the same beliefs as I do. Even though I know that I love her, I still find that I am unable to allow myself to get close without feeling that I am betraying Lori. Therefore, how do I get past this because I do love her, and I don't want to lose her?" John asked Juan, Jerry, and Jeanne. However, Jeanne kept silent, and it was Jerry who answered him.
"John, I love you like a son, but sometimes I feel like paddy whacking you with a nightstick. You have a good Lassie beside you, and you are worried about being faithful to your dead wife? She has passed over, and only the living remains here. Well, only those of us who are willing to live are here, so stop hiding behind her memory because you are afraid this lassie will say no." He told John, who was red with embarrassment. One unexpected reaction was Devon and Ari's reaction when Jerry called Sara "Lassie."
"Don't call my mommy a dog!" Ari said angrily with tears in his eyes as he tried to defend Sara while Devon was prepared to support him. She immediately got up and sat between them as she tried to explain.
"No honey, he did not say that. Uncle Jerry called me a girl, not a dog. In Ireland, a young woman is called a Lass or Lassie, while young men are called Lads or Laddie. Uncle Jerry would never call me something bad because he is our friend, now go apologize to him." Sara explained to Ari and Devon, and they both were blushing with embarrassment for their mistake when she finished. Cautiously, Ari inched over to Jerry and apologized as he looked down at his feet.
"We're sorry Uncle Jerry. Me and Dev are just a couple of dumb kids, and we didn't mean to be disrespectful." Ari told him timidly while his face burned with shame.
"`Tis alright me laddie, yer words be harmless, and yer be actions noble. `Tis a young man's job to protect the honor of their mother, and there be no shame in doing that. It also takes a big man to admit when he is wrong too, and it makes me and the rest o' us proud to see ye both behaving like the respectable young men ye be. Anyway, me be a tough old scallywag, and unless you smack me in me craw, then no harm be done." Jerry said in his Irish brogue. His accent and silly face made Ari giggle even though he believed he was in trouble. "There now, ye be as happy as any leprechaun that I've met." He said before Ari hugged him while giggling. After Jerry kissed him on the forehead, he then hurried back over to the couch and sat with Devon. Sara was still looking at Devon and Ari when she saw their facial expressions change to one of surprise before they hugged each other. As she turned around to see what they were looking at, she discovered John down on his knee with a small case in his hand.
"Jerry is right Sara, because I have been hiding behind my wife's memory. These rings used to belong to my grandmother, mother, and to my wife. She was going to give them to Katie when she was ready to marry. They have been my family for a very long time, and I know that my grandmother, mother, and Lori would want you to have them. I do not want you to think that I am asking this because Devon and Ari need you, but because I need you too. My heart broke when Lori and Katie were taken from me, and Devon and Ari have helped heal my heart, but not completely. That is because only a special woman who is intelligent, kind, generous, funny, and compassionate can repair my heart, and I have found that woman in you. So would you marry me, and heal me, please Sara?" John asked her with all of his compassion and sincerity. Sara was speechless for a few moments while both Devon and Ari looked at John with awe, and then at Sara with hope.
"I...I don't know John. This is all so sudden. I need some time to think, or maybe talk to my family about it." Sara said with a serious face, and John blinked while his hope began to fade a bit in his eyes. Sara then leaned back and put her arms around Devon and Ari, and hugged them.
"So what do you two think? You guys are now my family, so what should I do?" She asked them with a slight smile after kissing both of them.
"Um...say yes?" Devon said with a serious face, but with a twinkle in his eyes while Ari nodded his agreement with a toothy smile.
"There you have it John, I've been advised by my family to accept, and I do accept because I feel the same about you. You are the most special man I have ever met in my life, and I want us to grow old together; so yes, I will marry you." She said before embracing John and kissing him while Devon and Ari embraced each other, and cried from their happiness while the others congratulated the happy couple. However, Ari cried the most because just like John, his entire family was taken away from him in an instant while Devon had never had a family that he could remember before so he did not know the pain of losing his family. Ari had refused to cry at their funeral, and refused to believe that he would be all alone from then on. Since the day that had changed his entire world, and through all of his pain; all he had wished and prayed for was to have his family back. Now, his prayers had been answered, so he cried to release all of his long held sorrow and pain of losing them and finally allowed himself to grieve for his parents' death. John and Sara sensed how much Devon and Ari needed them, and they embraced them as Devon and Ari cried and clung to each other. Ari cried for his loss and his gain, while Devon cried for his happiness and the end of his constant torment as John and Sara held them both. Neither Devon nor Ari knew what the future held for them, but they knew that whatever happened that they could always depend on their new parents love and support.
End Chapter 10
Endnote: Hello again everyone; well summer is fast approaching, and the boys, my partner Dan, and I have finished preparing the new beach house. Once school lets out, we will be leaving here and staying in Nags Head until mid August. For this story, I could have taken it in almost any direction, but I decided to continue it in a direction that deals with family, spirituality, and faith. I plan to take Devon and Ari through a journey of hope, love, loss, test of faith, death, and happiness. I know that you may not understand what death has to do with happiness, but you will once I am finished. Therefore, as I said before, enjoy the ride. Thanks again to everyone for their continued patience, and for those who have responded to this story, and God bless my friends. Damion.
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