This story may occasionally include explicit depictions of sexual acts between consenting adult males.  If you are underage or it is illegal to view this for any reason, consider yourself warned.  If you find this material offensive, please leave.

This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence. As the author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me.  This work is copyrighted © 2015 by Steven Wells.

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Jeffery Comes Home


On Sunday morning, I was ready to give my talk to the congregation.

After a terrific rendition of "Lean on Me" by the choir, I pushed the button on the podium and the power point projector delivered an image of Mabel.

"Some of you may be asking why I am showing you a photo of a cow. Well, this is Mabel. And, my talk is, after all, `The Best Advice Mabel Gave Me.' She is an older cow who is a mainstay of Organic Farms Inc. south of town. She is a wise cow, and she recently gave me some sage advice about living life to the fullest. And, I want to share her advice with all of you. She and I may have been listening to the same billionaire who is running for president. Mabel's thoughts led me to 2 Timothy 1:7: `For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.'"

"But, before I go forward with the advice of a wise cow, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce two people who mean a lot to me, to Dr. Lopez, to Dr. Martin, and a bevy of other people. Some of you may remember my story of a lost sheep I found in San Francisco and went on to become a nurse after a life lived in the streets and on drugs. Anthony, Peter, could you please stand so everyone know who I am talking about."

"I am proud to introduce Anthony and Dr. Peter Chow-Sanchez. Anthony was my lost sheep in San Francisco. He met Peter in AA. Together they will be starting the substance abuse unit at the Richland Memorial Hospital. Please give them a hearty welcome after the service."

"You will also be hearing from my son Trevor about a project he will be working on during the summer," I explained. "His project does have a direct relationship to my talk. So, please give him any support you can. Do not be surprised if he someday becomes the person who eliminates hunger in the world."

"In the meantime, I will get back to my story about Mabel and living life to the fullest..."

"...So, the next time you look around your neighborhood, your city, your state, your country, don't look with fear. Look as Mable taught me to look. See the power of love and compassion for others and the good you can do for the world."

Chapter 15:

The day after I delivered my talk `The Best Advice Mabel Gave Me' my phone began to ring at 9 am sharp. It was Hal Wainwright, the local webmaster of the church website.

"Jeffery!" Hal almost screamed into the phone.

"Hello, Hal," I replied as quietly as I could. I am NOT a morning person. "What can I do for you so early in the morning?"

"Right after the service yesterday, I uploaded the video of your talk," Hal said excitedly. "And, we have an incredibly huge number of people watching the video. Nothing has ever had this much traffic. We've had over 6,000 people stream your talk from our website. This is amazing."

"Let me get this straight," I begin. "We have had 6,000 people watch my talk over the Internet. So, nearly half of the city's population have watched my talk."

"Not just of the city, Jeffery," Hal continued. "We have had people all over the country watching your talk. Wait! Make it all over the world."

"I guess Mabel's message resonated with people," I replied. "Somehow I never imagined THIS talk would make me an Internet success."

"I just thought you'd like to know about the response," Hal remarked.

"How did 6,000 people find out about the video of my talk on an obscure UCC church website?" I asked.

"Probably someone Tweeted it," Hal explained. "Then, several people re-Tweeted it. Maybe it was your comment about `some billionaire running for President.'"

"I wonder whom that might be?" I asked.

"I'll keep you posted on the response," Hal said as we ended the call.

I hung up the phone and decided to see if my mother was in her office. She was glued to her computer.

"Hello, mother," I said. "Good morning."

"Jeffery!" my mother began. "Have you checked your e-mail this morning?"

"No," I replied. "Why?"

"I have hundreds of e-mails complimenting your talk yesterday," my mother continued. "I have never had this many e-mails."

"Are you telling me talking about a cow gets more attention than talking about God?" I asked.

"It's the metaphor," my mother said with a smile. "Now, go read your e-mail. At this rate, I will be here until midnight."

As I fired up my laptop, I began to think about the stuff I stirred up talking about the "billionaire running for President."

The e-mails I received about the talk were 75 percent favorable and 25 percent unfavorable. The unfavorable ones lambasted me for wanting to allow Muslims into this country. After a few hours of reading, I decided I needed to talk with someone in person.

"Philip," I said as my husband picked up the phone. "How are things in your part of the world this morning?"

"Nothing unusual," Philip replied. "Why?"

"It seems my talk yesterday has generated some dialog among the masses," I replied. "Are you free for lunch today?"

"Sure," Philip replied. "I need to visit the bank this afternoon. What if I meet you at 12:30 at the coffee shop?"

"Perfect," I replied. "But, can we please not talk about a billionaire running for President?"

"Gladly," Philip added. "I will see you shortly. Love you."

"Love you, too," I said as I hung up the phone.

I walked to my mother's office and poked my head inside. "Mom. I am going to meet Philip for lunch. Can I bring something for you back with me?"

"No, thank you," my mother began. "I have a lunch meeting with some people at the Chamber of Commerce. I suspect I will be eating rubber chicken."

"I am glad it is you and not me. Have fun," I said as I left.

I took the last parking space in front of the coffee shop and sauntered inside.

"Jeffery!" Mel exclaimed.

"Hello, Mel," I replied as I grabbed a table in the window. "I am meeting Philip here for lunch. I'm early. So, I will just sit until he arrives."

As I waited for Philip, I pulled out my laptop and continued reading my e-mail. Suddenly, I felt I wasn't alone. When I looked at the side of the table, I saw four little eyes intently watching me.

"Well, hello," I said quietly. "What's your names?"

"I'm Tim," one of the boys said.

"I'm Sam," the other said. "Who are you?"

"Jeffery," I replied. "You must be the two boys visiting from Chicago."

"Yup," Tim replied. "Our mommy isn't feeling well."

"I'm sorry to hear it," I replied. "Are you having fun?"

"Yup," Sam explained. "We've been helping auntie Mel today. You're the one who talks to the cow."

"Ah... Yes," I replied. "You could say I talk to a cow."

"Can we talk to a cow?" Tim asked.

Fortunately, Philip arrived at the same time Tim asked his question.

Philip dropped to his knees to face the twins on their level. "Would you like to talk to a cow?"

"Yes!" the pair announced in unison.

"You need to be very, very quiet when you talk to a cow because the cow doesn't talk loudly," Philip explained. "Jeffery can help you understand what Mabel, the cow, is saying to you."

Tim and Sam looked directly at me. I wasn't certain they were buying this cow talking business.

"Sam? Tim?" I began. "Did you believe Uncle Philip when he told you I can understand Mabel the cow when she talks to me?"

"Maybe," Tim replied cautiously.

"Show us," Sam demanded.

"Yea, Uncle Jeffery," Philip added with a smile. "Show us."

"Your auntie Mel will need to bring you out to the farm," I explained. "Then, I will show you how to talk to a cow. But, you have to use your imagination because cows aren't like people. Can you use your imagination?"

"Yes," both Tim and Sam said together.

"So, Jeffery," Mel said as she arrived at our table. "I see these two are entertaining you."

"We've been debating the art of talking to a cow," I said. "Right, guys?"

"Yup," Sam agreed. "Uncle Jeffery is going to show us how to talk to a cow. But, you need to bring us to the farm."

"Maybe I could let you boys go with Uncle Jeffery to the farm," Mel suggested.

Eight eyes were suddenly looking at me: Tim, Sam, Mel, and Philip. I had to take control of the situation. I can handle drug addicts, homeless people, gay people, unwed mothers, and even teenagers like Trevor..., but four-year-old twin boys... I'm not so certain.

"Ah... I COULD take Tim and Sam to the farm," I replied. "... Sometime soon... Maybe tomorrow... I don't have car seats... What do I do about car seats?"

"Take the ones out of my car and put them in yours," Mel suggested.

"Oh...," I whimpered. "Yes..., I could use your car seats. Tomorrow? Would you like me to take you boys to the farm tomorrow?"

"Yeaaaaa!" both boys screamed as they both somehow landed in my lap.

"Why don't we pick the boys up tomorrow morning around 10," Philip suggested. "We can bring them back in the afternoon."

"Perfect," Mel agreed. "Now, boys. Why don't we let your Uncle Philip and Uncle Jeffery have their lunch?

"Okay," Sam said as he and Tim wiggled to the floor.

"Don't leave without telling us," Tim added.

"We will talk to you again before we leave," Philip replied.

We gave Mel our food order before she and the boys disappeared.

Philip settled into the seat across the table from me. He was smiling broadly. "A little nervous, Uncle Jeffery?"

"A little," I admitted. "I love kids... Don't get me wrong... But, after a few minutes, the kids I have encountered go off with their parents... I've never really been responsible for two four-year-old boys."

"You can do this, Jeffery," Philip replied. "We will consider this practice when we have our own little ones."

"Maybe we could find another kid as old as Trevor," I added. "It seems like raising him was a piece of cake compared to smaller kids."

"We can discuss kids later," Philip suggested as he picked up the sandwich he had ordered. "What urgent matter did you want to talk about?"

"My talk yesterday," I said. "It seems a lot of people have been streaming the video of my talk. A lot of people. What the fuck did I say that was so interesting?"

"`It might have been the words from 2 Timothy 1:7: `For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control,'" Philip replied. "I believe your reference to a billionaire running for president also helped. There are probably two types of people watching your video. Those who fear—like the billionaire—and those who don't. And, Jeffery my love, I know you are one of those who don't fear. You always show your love and self-control and use your power for the betterment of those around you!"



Philip and I arrived at the coffee shop promptly at 10 am to take the twins, Tim and Sam, to the farm to visit Mabel. We were each given a car seat and a twin.

"Just remember, Jeffery," Mel began. "Don't panic. Kids are extremely resilient. They do not break easily."

"I will remember your words of advice," Mel. "I will try not to panic. I will try not to lose them. I will try not to drop them. We will see you around 2 this afternoon. We are planning to have lunch with the crew at the farm."

"Have a good time," Mel said as Philip and I attempted to fasten the car seats to my back seat.

"We haven't even figured out the car seats, Mel," I replied.

"You need to put this here," Tim explains as he securely snaps one of the belts to its respective mate. He reaches for the top belt. "Then, you need to fasten this belt here. Now, can you put me in it?"

Philip followed Tim's instructions and had Sam's seat secured. Once we had both boys secured, we were ready to roll.

The boys took turns asking a million questions about the farm.

"Why do you have a farm, Uncle Philip?" Tim asked.

"I don't really own the farm, Tim," Philip explained. "I just manage it."

"Why do you talk to cows, Uncle Jeffery?" Sam asked.

"I only talk to one cow," I replied. "Her name is Mabel. She is an older and very wise cow."

"Do you have other animals on the farm, Uncle Philip?" Tim asked.

"We have several other cows, several pigs, and a few goats," Philip answered.

"Do you have a doggie?" Sam asked.

"No," I replied. "We don't have a doggy. We've thought about getting one to live with us at our house."

"You should get one, then," Tim added.

"We wanted to get a doggie, but our mommy said we can't buy it the food it needs," Sam explained.

"Can we pet the pigs and goats?" Sam asked.

"I believe we can arrange for you to pet the pigs and goats," Philip replied. "You can even pet Mabel if you want."

As we arrive, I notice Mabel moving towards my car. "Moooow!" she bellowed to get our attention.

"Is that Mabel?" Tim asked as we were getting the boys out of their car seats.

"Yes," Philip replied as he freed Tim from his car seat. "Let's go meet her."

Philip held Tim and I held Sam as we made our way to where Mabel was standing behind the fence.

"Mabel, this is Tim and Sam," I began my introductions. "Tim and Sam, this is Mabel."

"Moooooow!" Mabel replied.

"I think Mabel likes you," I said to Sam and Tim.

"Mabel is smiling," Tim suggested.

"She is happy to meet you," I explained. "Mabel likes little boys, don't' you, Mabel?"

"Mooooooooow!" Mabel's sounds were getting louder.

Philip hands each boy a sugar cube. "Put these in the palm of your hand and give them to Mabel."

Sam reluctantly reached in. When Mabel took the sugar cube with one swipe of her tongue, Sam started giggling.

"Do all cows have big tongues?" Sam asked.

Now, it was Tim's turn. He also extended his hand. Mabel's cow tongue took the sugar cube. Both boys were laughing hysterically. Mabel concentrated on the boys. She looked at one. Then, she looked at the other. Her head moved back and forth as she tried to decide who these little humans were and what they meant to her.

"Moooooooooooooooow!" Mabel responded.

"Yup," I said to the boys. "Mabel definitely likes you. She doesn't get this excited often."

"Uncle Jeffery," Tim began. "Does Mabel know if our mommy is going to die?"

I nearly dropped Sam. I looked at Mabel. Then, I said to the boys, "Mabel knows a lot of things, but she doesn't know who will live or who won't. Only God knows those things. Do you pray for your mommy?"

"Every night," Sam explained. "We ask God to make mommy better."

"Keep it up," I say to the boys. "It helps."

The boys gave Mabel one last pat on the head before we explored the rest of the animals on the farm. By the time lunch was finished, Sam and Tim had droopy eyes. We said good bye to Mabel, packed the boys into their car seats, and returned to town.

Philip and I carried the sleeping boys into the coffee shop. Mel was on the telephone, so we put the boys on a sofa near the back of the coffee shop. Philip and I retrieved a cup of coffee and waited for Mel to finish her conversation.

"I can tell the boys had a good time," Mel said as she looked over at the sleeping boys.

"They were a hit with Mabel," I replied. Mel didn't act like her perky self. "Is something wrong, Mel?"

"I was talking to the boys' mother," Mel explained softly. "She has checked herself into a Hospice unit. I need to make a quick trip to Chicago. Can the boys stay with you?"

"Of course," Philip replied.

"I was stunned when Tim asked if Mabel knew if their mother was going to die," I said softly. "I didn't know it was so eminent."

"I didn't either," Mel replied. "Apparently, the cancer has spread throughout her entire body. She just wants to go quickly."

"What about saying good bye to the boys?" I asked.

"She wants them to remember her before she was sick," Mel whispered. "What do you think?"

"It's a tough call for someone so young," I replied. "I know this sounds very matter-of-fact, but I think we should ask the boys."

"Ask us what, Uncle Jeffery?" Tim ask as he and his brother appeared beside us.

"Can you do it, Jeffery?" Mel asked as she started to cry.

"Sam, Tim?" I said as I kneeled down to the boys' level. "Why don't we sit over here on the sofa so we can explain something to you?"

"Okay," Tim replied.

Philip picked up Tim and I picked up Sam. We carried the boys to the sofa and had them sit between Philip and me.

"Is something wrong with our mommy?" Sam asked.

"Your mommy is sick," I began. "Your Aunty Mel just talked with her on the phone. She is not expected to be with us much longer. She is planning on going to Heaven so she can rest. The two of you will see your mommy there sometime much, much later in your life. We want to ask you if you want to visit with your mommy one last time or remember her as she was before she was sick. What do you think?"

Sam scrunched in closer to me. Tim did the same with Philip. They both put a thumb in their mouths and thought for a moment.

Sam was the first to make a decision. "I want to visit with her before she goes to Heaven," Sam said after he removed his thumb from his mouth.

"Me, too," Tim replied. "Where will we go after she is gone?"

"Can we stay with you and Uncle Philip, Uncle Jeffery?" Sam asked. "We would be good, and we could talk to Mabel."

"We can talk about where you will live later, boys," Mel said softly. "No matter where you are, all of us will love you very, very much."

"When do we go visit mommy?" Tim asked.

"Tomorrow morning?" Mel asked as she looked at Philip and me. "Can you come with us, Jeffery and Philip?"

"Of course, Mel," Philip replied. "Right, Jeffery?"

"If you want us, then we will go with you," I replied.

"Thank you," Mel said quietly. "Now, boys, we need to get you something to eat."

"Can we stay with you and Uncle Philip tonight, Uncle Jeffery?" Tim asked.

"Mel?" I said as I looked at Mel.

"Do you mind?" Mel asked.

"If they want to stay with us, of course," I replied. I looked at Sam and Tim, "You can meet our son, Trevor."

Once the boys had been fed, we decided to take Sam and Tim home to get settled. We stopped at Mel's house to retrieve things they would need during the night and for our trip to Chicago.

Trevor was a little surprised when we walked through the door with Tim and Sam.

"Who are these little guys?" Trevor asked.

"This one is Tim," I replied as Tim turned to look at Trevor.

"This one is Sam," Philip replied.

"Guys, this is our son, Trevor," I explained.

Sam decided he wanted Trevor to hold him as he reached out for Trevor.

"We went to see Mabel today," Sam explained. "Tomorrow Uncle Jeffery and Uncle Philip are taking us to see our mommy."

"Your mommy?" Trevor asked. "Where is your mommy?"

"Ticago," Tim answered.

"Ticago..." Trevor repeated. "Oh! Chicago!"

"Yup," Tim continued.

"We can explain later, Trevor," I suggested.

"Got it," Trevor replied.

"We're going to say good bye to our mommy before she goes to Heaven," Sam explained.

"Oh!" Trevor almost whispered.

"We are going to get these two settled for the evening," Philip explained. "Do you want to go with us tomorrow, Trevor?"

"Do you want me to go for morale support?" Trevor asked.

"We may need help with the little ones," Philip continued. "But, it is your choice."

"Then, I will go with you," Trevor replied. He turned to Sam and Tim, "Do you want me to read you a story before you go to bed?"

"Yes, please," Tim exclaimed.


We arrived in Chicago at 12 noon after our five-hour drive. We needed food, coffee, and rest. However, we weren't going to be resting anytime soon.

Mel went into the room where Tim and Sam's mother was relaxing. When she came out of the room, I could tell she was extremely emotional.

"Do you want to see your mother now, boys?" Mel asked.

"Yes," they both said in unison.

"Can Uncle Jeffery and Uncle Philip go with us?" Sam asked.

Mel looked at Philip and me. We both nodded yes.

I picked up Sam and Philip picked up Tim. The boys clung to us as we walked into the room. The boys' mother sat in a chair. She looked tired and sad. Her face did brighten when she saw the boys.

"Martha," Mel began. "These are friends of mine, Jeffery, Philip, and their son Trevor. This is Tim and Sam's mother, Martha."

"Thank you for helping with my boys," Martha almost whispered.

"We have enjoyed being with them," I replied. "You have two very wonderful boys."

"Thank you," Martha replied. "Do you want to sit with me, boys?"

"Yes," Sam and Tim said together.

Philip and I put the boys on the floor and they slowly approached their mother.

"Can you sit with me?" Martha asked.

The boys carefully climbed onto the chair. Tim on Martha's left. Sam on Martha's right.

"Are you having a good time with your Aunt Mel and Jeffery and Philip?" Martha asked.

The boys began to excitedly tell their mother about their time in Olney. They were especially energetic when they described the farm and the animals they met.

Martha look at both of us. "Mel tells me you run a farm, Philip, and you are a minister, Jeffery."

"Yes," Philip replied. "I manage an organic farm."

"I'm a youth minister at the local UCC church," I explained. "My mother is the pastor. I grew up in the church. And, after I spent four years in San Francisco working with disadvantaged youth, I decided to return to my home town."

"We met at a Christmas party one of the parishioners held," Philip continued to explain.

"Could I ask you to speak with me in private, Jeffery?" Martha asked.

"Certainly," I replied. I waited until Sam, Tim, Mel, Trevor, and Philip went outside.

"How may I help you, Martha?" I asked.

"I'm not worried about me anymore," Martha began. "I have accepted the outcome of this illness. I don't fear death. I DO fear how my death will affect my boys. Can you help me pray for their well-being?"

"Of course," I replied and put my hand on Martha's shoulder. "Dear God! Martha and I are asking your help with her sons in the days, months, and years to come. Give them the courage to accept their mother's passing. Give them the strength to understand their mother is going to a safe place—a place with no pain, a place with joy, a place with love and understanding.

We are asking you to comfort her boys when they are discouraged. Martha is ready to join you in Heaven, but she wants to make certain her boys will be cared for, loved, and nurtured. Please, God, give her the strength to move forward to join you in Heaven knowing her boys will be under your merciful guidance. Thank you God for being with us today and forevermore. Amen."

Tears streamed down Martha's cheeks. "Thank you, Jeffery," Martha said after she regained some composure. "Would you asked Mel to come in to see me?"

"Yes," I replied. "Please let me know if I can help in any way. I don' for one moment understand how you feel, but I am a good listener."

"Thank you," Martha replied.

I stood in front of the closed door and wiped the tears from my eyes. I opened the door.

"Mel," I began. "Martha wants to speak with you."

Mel entered Martha's room and closed the door behind her.

We waited quietly for several minutes before Mel came out of Martha's room.

"Boys," Mel explained. "Your mother wants to talk with you about something very important to her. All you need to do is listen to your mother and tell her how you feel."

"Okay, Auntie Mel," Sam replied as Mel led both boys into Martha's room.

Mel joined us in the waiting room outside Martha's room.

"I promised Martha I would ask the two of you a question," Mel explained. "You don't need to answer immediately. She asked if you would be willing to take the boys and make them part of your family."

"Oh my!" I exclaimed.

"May I speak with Jeffery for a moment?" Philip asked.

"Of course," Mel replied.

Philip and I left the waiting room and began our discussion in the hallway.

"Jeffery," Philip began. "I know this is a shock. It is a shock for both of us. But, we can't panic. Tell me how you feel."

"I don't know how I feel right now, Philip," I replied. "All I know there are two little boys in the next room who need someone to love and care for them. What's your thoughts?"

"All I thought about when Mel asked us was what Chris and Sam said after they decided to adopt Mathew and Joshua. `We are suckers for dogs and kids.' I suspect we will be saying the same thing after we develop a routine," Philip replied.

"I agree with you, Philip," I began to explain. "You and I think alike. And, your love of all things living is what I love the most about you. I also remember my lost sheep, Anthony Sanchez. I couldn't turn my back on him, and I will not turn my back on Tim and Sam. Are we on the same page?"

"Yup," Philip said as he pulled me in for a hug. "We are on the same page."

When we returned to the waiting room, Philip and I both smiled at Mel. We were interrupted when Tim and Sam came out of their mother's room.

"Auntie Mel," Tim explained. "Mommy want to talk to all of us."

Philip and I each picked up a twin as we went into Martha's room.

Mel looked at Martha, "Martha. I spoke with Jeffery and Philp. They are willing if you want them to take care of the boys."

"Thank you," Martha said quietly. "I asked the boys just now who they would like to live with. They both said Uncle Philip and Uncle Jeffery. Hospice has an attorney visiting me this afternoon to take care of last minute arrangements. He said he can give legal custody of the boys to someone I name. I am so happy it is the two of you. And, Jeffery, God has answered our prayers."

"Thank you," I replied. I was trying to hold back the tears.

"Why don't you something to eat?" Martha suggested. "I need to rest before the attorney visits me."

We said our good byes with hugs, kisses, and tears. When we were back in the waiting room, my phone began to ring.

"Jeffery here," I said.

"Jeffery! Sam Williamson here," Sam greeted me.

"It is good to hear from you, Sam," I added as I turned my phone onto the speaker. "How are you and your growing family?"

"Terrific," Sam replied. "We heard you were in the city visiting someone in Hospice."

"Yea," I replied. "I don't know for how long we will be around at this point. Things are happening rather quickly."

"The condo the Washington Family Foundation owns in Lake Point Towers is empty," Sam explained. "We have the keys. So, when will you be here?"

"We can get a hotel somewhere," I replied.

"Nope!" Sam continued. "Not going to happen. Just get your asses over here. We will have dinner with you and then show you to the condo downstairs. I hear you also have two four-year-old boys with you. Donny and they can bond."

"From the tone of your voice, I don't believe we have a choice," I added. "We will see you about 5 pm."

"Call if there is anything we can do for you," Sam said as we ended the call.

"So, we have a place to stay now," I said to the group. "Let's grab some lunch. I am hungry, and I am certain you are too."

As we were walking to the cafeteria, Tim decided he had some unanswered questions. "When is mommy going to Heaven?"

"We don't know, yet, Tim," Mel answered. "It's in God's hands now."

"What did you and mommy talk about, Uncle Jeffery?" Tim continued with his questions.

I hesitated for a moment, "We prayed together. We asked for God's help. Your mommy asked God to help with her sons in the days, months, and years to come. She asked God to give you the courage to accept your mother's passing and to give you the strength to understand you mother is going to a safe place—a place with no pain, a place with joy, a place with love and understanding. She asked God to comfort you when you are discouraged. She told God she is ready to join Him in Heaven, but she wanted to make certain you will be cared for, loved, and nurtured. She wanted God to give her the strength to move forward to join God in Heaven knowing you will be under God's merciful guidance. Does this make sense to you, Tim, Sam?"

"Did God answer my mommy?" Sam asked.

"Your mommy didn't say, but I saw suddenly the look of peace over take one of fear on her face," I explained. "She looked peaceful and content. So, I believe with all my heart He did answer your mommy's prayers."

"Jeffery," Mel said with tears streaming down her cheeks. "If you don't do one of your famous talks about this sometime soon, I am going to haunt you forever. What you said was beautiful. Your words help me to be ready to accept the inevitable. Martha has great courage. The boys have great courage. You are our light to the future, Jeffery. Don't ever forget the power you have to make lives better for those around you. Not only some of your lost sheep, but also many others just like me. Thank you."

"Uncle Jeffery," Sam spoke up. "When mommy goes to live with God in Heaven, will you and Uncle Philip be our daddies?"

"Philip," I quietly said. "Help me out here."

"It might be a little too early to discuss what you will call us," Philip began. "However, your Uncle Jeffery and I will do everything we can to keep you safe and give you a loving home. We need to take one step at a time."

"Okay," Sam replied as we arrived in the cafeteria. "I'm hungry, Uncle Jeffery."

We ordered food and enjoyed the chaos of enjoying a meal with two energetic four-year-old boys.

Tim suddenly had a very worried look on his face. "Uncle Philip," he began. "We need to see mommy again. I think she needs us."

We quickly gathered up our things, tossed the remainder of our food into the trash, and hurried upstairs to Martha's room.

Martha's Hospice nurse, Daniel, looked relieved as we walked through the door.

"Thank you for coming back so quickly," Daniel said. "Martha and the attorney need to speak with you about some important details related to the boys."

When we walked into the room, I could tell Martha was tired and slipping away quickly. I've watched many people take their last breaths over the years in San Francisco. It didn't matter if they were addicted or homeless or terminally ill or just despondent. When they were at peace with their lives and they are ready to move on to the next life, they always looked happy and content and peaceful.

"Tim and Sam," Martha quietly said. "Would you like to sit on the bed with me?"

Sam and Tim dashed to the side of Martha's bed. Philip and I helped them sit beside their mother.

The man in the suit near Martha's bed stood to introduce himself. "You must be Jeffery and Philip. I'm Harold Perkins. I'm an attorney who does work for some of the Hospice patients. Could you join me outside in the waiting room for a moment? I have some items to discuss with you."

"Certainly," Philip replied as we followed Mr. Perkins outside to the waiting room.

Once we were settled, Mr. Perkins began our discussion. "Martha has only one living relative she has regular contact with—her cousin Mel. She wants to name the two of you as legal guardians for Tim and Sam. Her hope is you will make them a permanent part of your family. She has few assets other than some savings, stocks her mother and father left her, and the home her parents left her. The home is in Lakeview. Martha hoped she could be buried somewhere close to your home in Southern Illinois so her boys could visit her grave from time-to-time. Any questions or comments so far?"

"This situation with Sam, Tim, and Martha burst into our lives rather quickly," I began. "Philip and I have become extremely fond of Tim and Sam. We haven't talked about our living situation with the boys, but Philip and I are in this for the long haul."

"Good. We need to have your signatures as well as Martha's on the custody documents to make it legal immediately," Mr. Perkins explained. "Martha's assets will also be transferred to her boys in trust. You will be the executors until the boys are of legal age to manage their trust by themselves."

"Will there be a service in Chicago?" Philip asked.

"No," Mr. Perkins replied. "She hoped you and Mel could arrange for a service in Southern Illinois. Martha was fond of the area, and she had hoped to move there someday."

"In a way, she will get her wish," I added.

"Do you have any questions?" Mr. Perkins asked.

"At this point, no," Philip replied.

"Then, let's get the documents signed," Mr. Perkins suggested as we went back to Martha's room.

Once we had the legal documents signed and notarized, we left Martha to rest.

"I'm going to stay with Martha tonight," Mel explained. "I don't want her to be alone. You and the boys need to get some sleep."

"You are certain you want to do this?" I asked.

"Yes," Mel replied. "I owe it to Martha to be with her tonight."

"We will be back tomorrow morning as quickly as we can," Philip said. "But, please call us if you need us."

To be continued...

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I also have three other stories on Nifty:

Sam and Chris in the `College' section

John's Journey Forward in the `Beginnings' section

Life With Tom in the authoritarian section (Please note, this story is not for everyone because there are several scenes depicting Master/slave and BDSM relationships. So, if you are not interested in this activity, please, please do not read this story.)

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