a story by: Solace Lenity

This is a story about, well,  love and chance.  It is for the most part, a work of pure fiction, though some of the situations discussed are drawn from life experiences (particularly the romantic ones).  Though not in the beginning, this story will eventually contain sexual acts between consenting adults.  Gay characters have gay sex, so if this bothers you, or if it is illegal to read such materials due to your age or where you live, then please do not read further.  All copyrights are held by the author, so please do not duplicate, print, alter, or resubmit (or anything else I may have missed ) this story without first obtaining written permission from the author. 

Further notes:  This story will address several social issues in a perspective in which you may or may not agree.  It is also a story centered around life and love between friends, family, and partners, along with romance, and it is not intended to be a jerk-off story.  There are spiritual and paranormal themes which affect the lives of the characters.  Finally, the story is told in the various points of view of the characters involved.  (To make this process easier, each character's story is distinguished by a specific color and font style dedicated to that character.)

A SPECIAL THANKS to Paul for all his help.  Also, a special THANKSGIVING for Rowan and Connor.  Connor, honey, I am so happy Rowan is alive and safe.  Just a few more weeks and he will be home, at least.  Just hang in there until then, Angel.

This is my first attempt at writing fiction of any kind.  If you have any comments, ideas, suggestions, etc., I would love to hear them. I have greatly enjoyed the comments I have received thus far and wish to thank you all for taking the time to send them.    Please contact me via


After a fantastic week celebrating our union and bonding closer with our sons, our little family returned home.  I believe we were all excited to see our larger family, and I am certain they were equally elated at seeing the six of us.  Yeah, apparently everyone had even missed Domino and Chips, too. 

"You EVER think about taking my babies away from me again!"  Hela shot at Love and me, a sharp scowl crossing her face as she clung tightly to Sorrow and Chance.  "Oh, babies!  Have I ever missed my darlings!"  She cried, showering both the boys with kisses.  Then, she gave us both that look again.  I just knew Love and I were in for it when she grinned.  "Well, I hope you both had a glorious time celebrating."  With that, she stretched her arms wide.  Love and I moved in quickly, as Hela encased us in a death-grip of a hug.  "Lord knows how much I have missed my two men!  I don't say this often, so don't get too used to it, but I really love you both."

Love smiled at me, then kissed Hela on her left cheek as I kissed her right.  "We love you, too."   He grinned, looking at our family.  "
Though on our honeymoon, Love and I found we both missed you all.  So, next time we go anywhere, you guys are coming with us.  It was just not the same without each and every one of you."

After hugging the boys, Ethan and Shaft made there way to us.  "God help me, big guy!  I missed you so much."  Ethan sighed, wrapping his arms around Love. 

Kanawha laughed and hoisted Ethan up off of the ground.  "I am so glad to see you again, little brother!"

"I really missed you, Kal."  Shaft said as Ethan began speaking with Love.  He embraced me tightly and sighed.  "We've been together forever, it seems... and I... " He trailed off, his tears taking his voice.

I ran my hands through his hair as his head lay on my shoulder, then squeezed him tightly to me.  "I know exactly what you mean, believe me."  I replied softly. 

A strong grip from behind grabbed my shoulder, and I turned to see Pop.  He pulled Love and I each to his side.  "I'm just glad my four boys are all back in one piece."  He smiled.  "I won't even try to explain how much I've longed to see my sons."

Slowly, one member of the family joined in, then another.  Before long, it turned into an entire family hug, with love, the boys, and me at its center. 

After the hug, we spent a great deal of time talking with everyone.  Roe and Jew snuck away and finished unloading my car, taking our suitcases to our bedrooms.  When they returned, everyone grinned and shook their heads approvingly.  Smiling, Row and Jew each took one of Love's and my hands, leading us up the stairs. 

Everyone gathered around our bedroom doorway, then Love and I were instructed to open it.  The surprise was amazing, as our family had redecorated our bedroom and study as a wedding gift.  The one thing I noticed immediately was a large photo of Love and I with our two best men hanging on one of the walls.  In a frame to the bottom of it was a certificate Allen had made for our commitment ceremony.  Framed to the right was the papers granting us foster care of Chance.  To the left was an empty frame. 

Pop smiled, hugging Sorrow tightly to him.  "Monday morning, the two of you and I will meet with Judge Billings.  After signing all the papers, you will have legal guardianship of Eric."  Pop grinned at Sorrow and gently stroked his face.  "I know this is where you belong, Eric, and it is where you want to be.  Besides, its not like you won't be seeing me just about every day, anyway."

Sorrow embraced him snugly.  "Your not mad or hurt by this, are you Pop?"  He asked as tears filled his eyes.

Pop softly brushed away Sorrow's tears.  "Oh, Eric, no." He smiled and comforted Sorrow.  "You have a wonderful home here, and you are thriving.  For the first time since David left us, you are honestly happy.  You and I have the best relationship we've had in so very long.  Why would I be upset?"  Pop then kissed Sorrow on his cheek.  "You're welcome with me anytime you'd like, and that goes for Chance, too.  But, I know you love them, Eric, because I love them, too.  They're your fathers, just as it was meant to be."

"And you're our Pop."  Sorrow smiled, kissing him on the cheek.  "Thanks for understanding."

Love and I both were overwhelmed with the news.  Though we had been expecting this, I suppose in a way it seemed as if it were simply too good to be true.  In another way, however, we already considered Sorrow ours.  I guess we had tried to push away the idea that he could have been taken from our happy home... and our lives.  He and Chance were part of our very souls, and the thoughts of either one being away from us was simply unbearable.

With tear-soaked cheeks, Love and I reached out for Pop.  He smiled broadly, making his way to the two of us.  "Oh, Sonny.  Son."  He said softly as he embraced us both.  "Everything is going to be fine, boys." 

For the longest time, he just held Love and I as we shed a mixture of tears.  We were finally going to legally have our sons, and we were stricken with relief, joy, thankfulness, and a sense of surreal euphoria.  There was also a touch of sadness and guilt, for Sorrow would be with us and not Pop. 

Sensing this, he lovingly reassured us.  "Boys, this is how things are meant to be.  Don't feel guilty."  He raised our heads with his hands on our chins.  "I have four sons, now, and seeing all of them happy is what matters to me.  It's what makes me happy.  Well, that and getting to spend time with them."

"I love you, Pop."  I said through a veil of tears.

"I know you do, Sonny.  That is what's so wonderful.  I have four sons who love me."  Pop grinned. 
Then, he looked at the four of us with a serious gaze.  "And, I love you all, too."  

After a few more tender moments, Hela announced that it was time to eat.  We all descended the stairs and made our way into the kitchen, each helping set the table.  Love, the boys, and I ate as if we were starving.  I suppose a week without Hela and Mic's cooking had made us aware of just how spectacular their meals were.  At any rate, we had our heart's fill, and then some.

Cole prayed over the meal, thanking God for our safe arrival back home.  During her prayer, I realized just how important that one word was.  HOME was so much more than a dwelling in which we lived.  It was more of a feeling, a contentment and safety we held in our hearts.  I was humbled in that instant, for I realized that with the constant support and aid of our larger family, Love and I had given our sons more than a place to live.  We had given them a place they could truly call HOME.

"I know, Love."  Kanawha smiled, leaning in and whispering in my ear.  Softly, he stroked my hand.  "I found my home, too.  It's right HERE in your arms."  He cooed, as I embraced him.

"Forever and a Day, my love."
I sighed, looking into his loving, blue eyes.  "Forever and a Day."

After cleaning up from dinner, we all readied ourselves to go out and support Blade.  Shaft and Ethan had made arrangements to pick up a few of the fellows from the group on our way, and, with the van and three cars, we arrived at the stadium.  Valerie, Ed, Alex, and Kevin met us there, closing up early for the game.  What a game it was.  The Ravens won that evening, and Blade played the entire time.  He was really a phenomenal player, and I was so proud of him.  We all were, honestly.

After the game, the crew joined us back at the house, camping out in the movie room.  I don't believe any of the boys had much sleep, but I know they had a wonderful time.  Dwayne and Carter helped Sorrow and Chance play hosts, which was such a joy to witness.  Shaft and Ethan's boys had a HOME, too, and it seemed as if they had always been a part of our lives.

That night, Love and I shared our dreams as always.  We were in our special little meadow, passionately making love as the blades of grass around us swayed in the wind.  The delicate scent of wildflowers surrounded us, as we reached our climax.  Spent, we nestled into one another's arms, looking up at the sky above us.  Love pointed out various things he saw in the clouds, while I simply enjoyed being near him. 

There came a screech, and Love and I quickly jumped to our feet.  Chance, in the form of a golden eagle, swooped down, landing behind some shrubbery.  Love and I made our way carefully through the bushes.  There, Chance landed beside a white bunny... excuse me, I mean hare. 

In the foliage lay a small bird, slowly but surely dying.  Sorrow and Chance solemnly edged towards it, where a bright, blinding light then emanated from the three.  Suddenly, they were all engulfed in flames.

Love was already to his feet as I awoke.  Throwing back the blankets, I joined him, as we sprinted down the hallway to the movie room.  My heart was pounding in my chest as we opened the door.

To our relief, Sorrow was softly snoring, held firmly by Chance as he rested his head on Chance's chest.  Alex and Kevin were huddled together, as were TJ and Jake.  Blade was sprawled out, with Dakota sleeping on his arm.  Carter was snuggled next to Dwayne, but Dakota's hand was firmly encased in his own.

Love smiled, noting this.  "Now, isn't that just sweet."  He snickered.  "Ethan would have a fit, no doubt."

"He's just protective, Love."  I giggled.  "I'm half tempted to wake him up, just to see the reaction."  I grinned.

Love raised his eyebrows in shock.  Then, an evil grin spread cross his face. 

"Oh, no you don't!"  I laughed, grabbing his arm.  "Let them sleep in peace."  Love responded by giving me his best pouty face.  "It's not working, you know."

"But, Love, it would be so much fun!"  He was so animated as he tried to bring me over to his side.

Then, a thought struck me, and I shook with laughter.  After explaining it to love, he grinned widely, then raced down the hall.  He returned a moment later, and I had to laugh at the mischievous gleam in his eyes.

"Just make it quick."  I smirked.  "Then, I have other ideas for entertaining you."

He looked up from his task.  "Oh, really?"  I grinned and shook my head.  A joyful smile spread across his face.  "Now, that's what I am talking about!"

Throwing me across his shoulder, we were quickly back to our room, all due to the HORMONE EXPRESS!  I grinned at Love as I gathered the items.  Then, I entered the bathroom to get ready.  Turning, I smiled.  "No peaking!"

"Just get on with it, already!"  Love shot.

I shut the door, then set to work.  I chuckled to myself as I got ready, thinking how others would see us as insane.  But, as I pondered what was awaiting me on the other side of the door, I quickly decided I could care less what anyone else had to say.  Love and I so enjoyed this on our first night as newlyweds, so I was game for a reenactment. 

"Are you ready?"
  I calmly asked from the door, my heart racing with anticipation.

"Anytime you are, Love."  He replied in his soft, husky voice.

Slowly I opened the door, and there before me was the picture of male sensuality.  Love stood clad in his tight jeans, work boots, leather gloves, and, of course, the hard-hat.  His tool belt clung about his hips in just the right way, accentuating his naked upper body nicely.  I was immediately aroused, to the point that it hurt, just begging to be released.

"Oh, Love!"  Kanawha purred passionately.  "I'm about ready to rip these jeans open from looking at you."  He rubbed himself suggestively, and I could clearly see his excitement. 

'You'd have to be blind not to take note of that, even in it's unaroused state. '  I mused to myself.

Dressed in work boots and cover-alls, I stood looking at my soul mate, lover, and husband.  My top half was stripped clean of the uniform, as my entire upper body glistened in motor oil and grease.  "Don't worry, Love.  Looking like you do, they won't be on much longer."  I replied in my most sultry voice.

He grasped me firmly in his arms.  Kissing his way around my neck, he worked his way up to nibble on my ear.  "That's what I was counting on, Keokuk."  He whispered.  

Kissing me, his hands began to softly trickle down my body, overloading every nerve ending in my tingling skin.  "Oh, Yana!"  I moaned.  Something in me snapped at that point, and any inhibition I had previously held was out the window.  I became a bit aggressive, you could say. 

In the afterglow of passion, I lay closely cuddled to my Yana.  "Love," he breathed heavily, "that was so fantastic!" 

I could feel every tingle in his skin as I caressed his chest and arms due to our recently enhanced connection.  "I can't explain it, Love, but I just had to have you." I replied happily, rather proud of my new-found agility and ingenuity.  "I guess I was a bit needy."  I snickered.  Truth be told, I had been like a sex-starved tiger or something.  But, it was hardly like Love had ever held out on me.  It was just that the more I had of him, the more I desired.  My thirst for him could never be quenched.

"Hey, there are NO complaints here."  He grinned at me.  Then, his eyes lit up as he recalled our early morning romp.  "Love, I have never seen anyone bend that way before, but man did it ever feel good!" He said excitedly. 

I laughed.  "Yeah, I rather liked that, too.  Especially what you did with your hands."

Love thought a moment, then smiled.  "Oh, you mean over on the night stand?"  I shook my head in appreciation.  "Yeah, now that was awesome too, but I was talking about what you did on the dresser."

"Oh, I forgot about that!"  I giggled.

He looked at me incredulously.  "How could you ever forget THAT?"  He was so intense, I just had to snicker.  "Laugh all you want to smart ass, but that was the most incredible...mph... mph... mmm..."

I silenced him with a kiss.  "Well, I guess we will just have to do that again."

"Are you sure you can?"  He asked, his curiosity bubbling to the surface.

I smiled and kissed his nose.  "With you as my inspiration, I have not one single doubt."

"Well, then,"  He smiled, swatting me across the butt, "what are you waiting for?  Get your ass up there!"

I smirked in response.  "As I recall, it was not exactly my ass that..."

"You know what I mean."  He laughed, interrupting me.  "We only have about two and a half hours before the boys need to get up, so let's make the most of our time."

With that, Love and I began round two.  After a decent rest, we showered and straightened up our room.  "You realize,"  I said, looking at Love, "this oil is going to be hard to get out of these sheets."

"Yeah, well we can save them for next time, I guess."  He snickered.  "At least it washed off the walls easily."

Our room was an utter mess once we had finished round two.  There were motor oil imprints of just about every body part we have on the walls, furniture, and, of course, our poor sheets.  I had to agree with Love, though.  At least everything else had washed clean.  "Good thing we have hardwood floors, too... and that you had rolled up the rug before we got started."  I added.  "They would have killed us had we ruined all the hard work they put into redecorating."

"As long as they didn't hear us, then I suppose they will never know."  Love chuckled.  I snickered too, for we had been a tad vocal.  Then, he turned and kissed me.  "I so love you, husband of mine."

"Love, we will never get the boys up in time if you get me all charged up again."  I admitted, as I felt the pangs of passion again returning.

Softly, he sighed.  "Yeah, you're right.  I guess we can pick this back up this evening?"  He said, looking into my eyes pleadingly.

"Hey, I'm ready any time you are, Love."  I assured him.  Then, I laughed.  "Honestly, I don't know which of us is more..."

He chuckled, kissing me again.  "That's for sure.  I guess we are about evenly charged with hormones."

"Makes us a perfect match, I suppose."  I giggled, taking his hand and leading him down the hall.  "Now, let's go wake our sons.  Then, we can have breakfast, and you can..."

A wicked smile crossed his face.  "I SO forgot about that!"  He laughed.

We entered the movie room and carefully woke Chance and Sorrow.  Groggily, they smiled at us. 

"Mornin' Dad n' Daddy!"  Chance chimed.  His stomach rumbled, and he and Sorrow laughed.  "I's a bit hungry, I reckon."  He grinned.

"When are you not hungry, Angel?"  Sorrow snickered.  "Good morning Dad and Daddy."  He smiled as he stretched out.

"I don't guess I eat too much, do I?"  Chance asked, his face showing his deep thought.

"I'm just picking, Angel."  Sorrow reassured him.  "If anything, you could stand to gain a few pounds."  He grinned, tickling Chance, who balled up into a giggling mass.

"You boys up to helping us fix breakfast?"  Love asked.

"Sure."  Chance smiled.  "Reckon we oughta ask Carter n' Dwayne if they's wantin' to help out, too?"

"I think that's a fine idea."  Love smiled, hoisting up our two sons into a hug.

I hugged the three men of my life, then turned and quietly walked to our sleeping nephews.  Stroking their faces gently, I softly shook them both awake.  "Morning, boys.  We were wondering if you wanted to help fix your guests breakfast."  I smiled

"Morning Kal."  Dwayne smiled.  "Yeah, that sounds like fun."

"Count me in, too."  Carter grinned.  He looked over at Dakota, squeezing the sleeping boys hand gently.  "He is so cute, isn't he?"

"Not as cute as the two of you together."  I laughed, ruffling up his hair.  "We will talk about that downstairs, though.  You boys go do your morning business.  Then, meet us in the kitchen."

Love and I went downstairs.  Love took Domino and Chips outside, as I started gathering everything we needed.  In no time, the boys were at the sink scrubbing up, ready to help.  Love entered the kitchen with two hungry canines.  I had their food ready and waiting. 

"Here you go, boys."  I laughed, as they both attacked me with slobbery tongues.  Patting both their heads, I smiled at Love.  "Yes, they were a wonderful idea."  He just smirked, basking in the knowledge that he was right. 

The boys joined us downstairs.  I washed my hands, then started pealing potatoes.  Carter and Sorrow were helping me, while Chance and Dwayne were busy making biscuits.  Love was fixing the omelets.

"So, what's going on with Dakota?"  I asked.

Carter blushed, as a dreamy gaze enveloped his face.  "I'm not really sure.  He is so adorable, though, and I get all tingly when I am near him."

Chance and Sorrow giggled.  "I knows all 'bout that feelin'!" Chance commented, mixing up the dough.  He looked at Dwayne, who was beaming with the knowledge that his little brother was in love.  "I reckon you can use 'at ol' pin, cause I just make a mess at it."

Dwayne chuckled, smiling at Chance.  "Sure thing, buddy.  It took me forever to learn how to keep the dough from getting stuck."

Carter looked at his brother, then smiled at me.  "He's all I can think about, lately.  I see him every day at school, talk to him at least three times a day on the phone, but it just isn't enough."

"I'm no expert,"  Sorrow grinned, "but that sounds like love to me.  I know that is how I feel about Chance, and I see him 24-7.  I just cannot imagine a single second without him."

"Exactly!"  Carter smiled, looking at Sorrow.  "It is awful when he is not with me, but it hurts even more when he is.  It's like I can't get close enough to him or something."

"Wow!  That sounds pretty serious."  I encouraged, opening the door for more conversation.

"I'm just not sure what to do."  Carter replied.  "I mean, where do we go from here?  What are we supposed to do next?"  He was so lost, my heart melted for him.

"You let love be your guide."  My darling husband answered wisely, patting Carter on the shoulder.  "Follow your heart, buddy.  Not your hormones, but your heart."

"That's just it."  Carter chuckled.  "They're both so loud, I'm not sure which one it is I'm hearing most of the time."

"That's pretty normal, Carter."  I smiled.  "But, deep down, you will know which is which."  I glanced at Love and gave him a wink.  "When the time is right, they will both say the same thing, anyway, and work together.  At least, that is how it was for me."

 Chance came over and placed his hand on Carter's shoulder.  With a most serious look, he explained, "You ain't gotta be havin' all that sex n' stuff to love 'im, ya' know.  It's like Hela and Roe told us.  You's both gotta be ready 'fore ya' even need to be thinkin' 'bout all that."  Then, he took Sorrow's hand.  "That's what me n' Sorrow's doin'.  We's waitin' till we's ready for somethin' like that.  'At's an awful big step, n' we ain't in no kinda hurry or nothin' like that.  We's just enjoyin' bein' with one 'nother without bein' with one 'nother."  He grinned.  "I guess lots of 'em fellas like havin' sex n' all, n' I reckon we's gonna like that too, someday.  But, we both 'cided we wanted it to be special n' mean somethin' big happenin' 'tween us, not just gettin' it on together n' all."

Love and I smiled as we listened to the boys discuss everything.  Dwayne agreed with Chance and Sorrow, saying it should be a sign of commitment when Carter and Dakota eventually have sex.  He, of course, was radiating with glee, knowing that his brother had finally found someone special.  They were four amazing boys, that was for sure.  I understood Ethan's concerns wholeheartedly, but in hearing this interaction, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that our four boys could be trusted to make the right decision in matters regarding sex.

Breakfast was soon ready, and the boys ran upstairs to wake everyone.  Love went up the stairs with them, and returned a few minutes later with a folder.  He smiled broadly, as he wrapped his arms around me.

In no time, everyone was sitting down to eat.  The conversation was as usual, everyone sharing bits and pieces of themselves.  Then, Love handed Shaft the folder.

"Love and I made you both copies of some of the pictures we had taken during our trip.  We thought you might want to add these to a scrap book or something for the boys."  He smiled.

Ethan explained to Shaft about the various houses and buildings in the pictures from Georgia, just as Shaft did for those taken in Ohio.  Then, they saw the pictures Love had taken this morning of the boys sleeping.  Ethan and Shaft both commented on how cute they all were. 

Suddenly, Ethan spit out his coffee from choking, turning red and becoming a bundle of nerves.  Then, he looked at Love with a cold, malicious stare.  "You are SO not funny, ass hole!"

Love beamed with pride for his prank, as Shaft and I both burst into laughter.  Ethan was far from impressed by this, flipping us both the bird.  Actually, it was an entire flock of birds in rapid succession.  This only further fueled our laughter.

"Oh, now Honey."  Shaft soothed.  "You have to admit they make a cute couple."

Ethan scanned the picture again, and a smile broke through his scowl.  "Yeah, they are that.  Awe, Honey, they look precious."  He started.  Then, the concern look returned.  "What are we going to do, though?"

I leaned in close and rubbed his hand gently.  "Trust in them."  I smiled.  Then, quietly, I explained the conversation we had witnessed this morning amongst the boys.  "So, you see, I believe they all will make the right decision.  We just need to be there when they need us and provide the guidance to keep them on the right path.  Most of all, we need to trust in them to come to us when they need our help."

Ethan thought deeply a moment.  "I don't know, Kal.  It is just such a big decision for a teenage boy to make." He finally replied, nervously chewing on his lip.

"And, it is a decision we cannot really make for them, Honey."  Shaft said, wrapping his arm around Ethan.  "In the end, it is going to be their individual choices, not ours.  We can only give them what they need to make an informed decision and pray they make the right one.  At least on this matter, I believe Roe and Hela did an excellent job in presenting the information."

"I'm sure you are all right, as I have even come to this same decision myself, like a hundred times already.  But, it is still just so hard to..." Ethan trailed off.

Have faith in them?"  Love replied softly.  "Or, to leave things in God's hands?"

Ethan gave a slight smirk.  "Yeah, big guy.  I guess we are big control freaks, sometimes."

Love rubbed his hand gently.  "Look, I am an ass, and I'm sorry.  I thought it would be funny to see you spas about the whole holding hands thing, but I never meant to really upset you, Eth."

"Well, I guess I just have to learn to let things go, Kanawha.  I know I obsess over a lot.  Maybe I need to grow from that."  Then, he laughed.  "And, honestly, it was a good prank.  I guess I'm just a bit touchy when it comes to our boys."

I couldn't help but laugh.  "Ethan, surely you have not forgotten how horrible I was over Chance at first.  Poor Love couldn't say a thing without a swat because of his language."  I smiled, squeezing Love's hand.  "But, my wise husband told me that Chance was not a China doll, and he was right.  I was taking a safe environment to the extremes.  Our boys may need our guidance, but they also need room to live and make their own mistakes."

"Yeah, but how do we know when to step in and when to let them make a mistake?"  Ethan said in dismay.

"A wise man told our boys the answer, Ethan.  We let love be our guide."  I smiled.  Love blushed, then snuggled me close. 

That seemed to brighten Ethan's mood, and Shaft winked his thanks to me.  I just looked to Love, realizing even more so just how right Valerie was.  He was definitely pointing the way for us, and I was thankful.

After cleaning up from breakfast, we all readied to help out Valerie and Ed.  The morning went beautifully, and as always, it was a rewarding experience.  The boys spent a great deal of time talking to the teens, inviting them over to hang out as they usually did.

"One of these days, I just hope they actually come."  Blade said, watching them walk down the sidewalk.  "They are such nice guys, I just know they would make great friends."  He looked kind of sad for a moment.  "I just wish there was something more we could do to make their lives better."

Shaft squeezed his shoulder, smiling.  "Well, I have a couple of ideas.  Let's get things cleaned up here, and we will talk about this back at the house later."

Blade's curiosity was evident, but he just nodded his head.  It seemed like no time before everything was ship-shape and sparkling clean.  We all said our good-byes, then headed for home.

Everyone gathered into the movie room, where Shaft began talking to the boys about various projects at the mission.  "If you guys seriously want to do something to help out others, Jew and Jena could use some volunteers with tutoring and as big brothers.  You might also want to check with Cole.  She runs the homeless shelter program, and often there are drives for many things.  See, she oversees all those fundraisers, too.  Roe and I gut buildings and houses to fix up for many things, most of which are for low-income housing and the Fresh Start program.  There's also the literacy program and so many others.  You guys should come down and look around.  Then, if you want to help, we would be glad to have you."  He smiled.

"Actually, Jake and I are pretty good with hammers."  TJ grinned.  "We've worked the last couple of summers helping my dad with roofing and remodeling jobs."

Blade looked at Cole for a few moments, forming his thoughts.  "Cole, why are there no teen homeless shelters?"

"Well, Blade, we have shelters for families, so most homeless children would be placed there with their parent or parents.  Other teens, though, are runaways.  They are placed either back into their family homes, in foster care, or in state-ran homes.  Unfortunately, because of the placing policies, most of the teens that run away avoid coming to the mission for shelter.  A lot of them avoid the soup kitchens, too."  Cole said sadly.

He pondered this a moment.  "What if the mission had a home for them to be placed?  What if we could volunteer in that home to just hang out and be friends with them?  You know, we could just be there to listen to them, maybe help them with whatever is bothering them."  He paused a moment, then looked around.  "I don't know exactly how to explain it, or how it would work, but I believe the guys we see every Saturday might be willing to stay in a place like that... a place where they knew some of the people, at least."

The look of inspiration dawned on Cole's face.  "I have pondered this idea for a while, Blade, but I never could figure out how it would work to where we could get the teens to want to come.  Most of them keep such a low profile, so unless they are picked up by the police or something, they remain on the streets."  Then, she smiled and made her way to hug him.  "I believe your idea of teen volunteering is the answer.  We will have to work all the details out, then propose this to the board.  Of course, the state would also have to agree to this, but I think it is a very realistic goal."

We talked about Blade's suggestions at great lengths.  Cole called Janet, who was so excited by the idea, she came by to further develop the plans.  Roe and Shaft discussed needed materials and such.  The mission had acquired a perfect property for such a home, and Love helped to draft out plan sketches to give a better idea of the needed renovations.  Mic, Jew, and Jena began making a list of other programs the mission offered that could be linked to aid these teens.  Ethan, Hela, and I engaged the boys, brainstorming on ways teen volunteers could be of help.  Grams and Nana made us all lunch, though they offered many ideas and suggestions to everyone.  Before long, we had the ground work laid out to prepare a proposal for the board. 

The evening was fast approaching, as Janet said her good-byes.  Hela and Mic began preparations for dinner, as the rest of us entertained the boys with board games.  Nana and Grams told a few of their stories, which seemed to further inspire the boys in the ideas of human service. 

After dinner, Ethan and Shaft took the boys home, save Blade and Dakota, who were staying for another night.  We played some more games and sang a few songs.  I noticed how animate Blade was over helping the homeless teens.

Sorrow came to me, edging his way onto my lap.  Hugging me tightly, he whispered, "This is going to be Blade's purpose in life, Dad.  He will eventually dedicate every day to helping runaway and homeless teens."  Sorrow then turned his head and looked at his friend, who was playing Chance at checkers.  "It's amazing, isn't it?  The difference in Blade, I mean.  He has come so far."

I smiled, stroking Sorrow's hair.  "Actually, Son, I was thinking the same thing about you."
He turned to me, grinning.  "I love you, and I could never be more proud.  You are an exceptional young man, and I am glad you are my son."

"So am I, Dad."  He sighed, hugging me tightly.  "It's amazing what showing a person a little bit of love can do for him.  Thanks for loving me."

I held Sorrow for a good while as we quietly watched everyone else.  Love was playing Dwayne at chess, while Carter and Dakota flirted over a game of cards they partnered against Hela and Jena.  Chance and Blade traded insults and giggles throughout their numerous games.  All the while, I was pondering what a wondrous and blessed life I had.

Roe and Jew brought everyone snacks that evening.  Then, we settled in and watched a movie.  Finally, it was time for bed.  The boys all camped out in the movie room again, so after saying our good-nights and prayers, we adults turned in.

Love and I had the same dream, but the boys were again just fine.  Blade and Dakota spent the day with us, attending morning and evening church services with the family.  After evening service we took them both home.  Carter walked Dakota to his door, and Ethan handled their kiss good-night like a champion.  Love called his boss to let him know he would be coming into work later than normal, which, upon explaining the reasoning, his boss was thrilled for us.  The next morning, we took the boys to school, then met with Pop and Judge Billings to sign the papers.  Sorrow was now legally in our custody.


I's actually glad we's back in school.  It kinda shocked me, but I reckon I's startin' to like classes n' stuff.  Me n' Sorrow n' Carter n' Dwayne met with Blade n' the guys like we always did.  We talked more 'bout the home for 'em fellas we fixed breakfast for ever' Saturday.  We's all 'cited 'bout that, but I just knowd ol' Blade was the most 'cited person I'd ever seen 'fore.  I knowd he'd found his path, 'n I's awful happy for 'im.  Yep, he was gonna be a hero to lots of 'em fellas, that was for sure.

'Em classes went pretty good I guess.  'At mouthy boy from math n' gym kept on givin' me n' Sorrow some looks, but I don't reckon he was gonna say nothin' to us.  He was right scared after Sorrow lost his temper on 'im in the hallway that one time, so I figure he was just bein' smart.  I just knowd Sorrow would've whipped up on 'im if he tried somethin' else.  I reckon I woulda, too, but he never did say nothin'.

'At ol' English class went good too, cause we was talkin' bout how people changed when they learned somethin' new.   Miss Cooper said to us, "When you learn something, there is a change that goes on inside.  Your perceptions of the world becomes different, so learning honestly changes the world in which we live.  Every time you meet someone and talk with them, a part of who they are goes with you.  Likewise, a part of who you are becomes a part of them.  What part of yourself do you want to share with others?"

That was an awful big question that got lots of us to thinkin'.  She said we would be talkin' 'bout that all week, but we had to write us a paper on it to give to her on Friday.  I was a little worried 'bout that, cause this was my first paper n' all that, but she noticed it n' come over to make me feel better 'bout it.

"Chance, honey, don't be so worried.  Yes, I will be assigning some points to grammar, but for the most part, I will be looking at content.  I am more concerned that you express to me your understanding.  I am completely willing to help you with the grammar, as do I believe Eric and that nice Miss Lafferty will be.  However, don't be so overwhelmed by it that you loose that wonderfully unique voice of yours.  Remember, this is a creative writing class, so I have leniency with grammar."

I was awful glad 'bout that, so I kinda relaxed a little then.  Sorrow rubbed my hand n' told me he'd help me any he could.  I sure was lucky to have my big ol' angel.  I wanted to kiss him right then, but I knowd we'd get in trouble.  Nobody was 'posed to be kissin' in school, though me n' Sorrow did sneak in a few quick 'n's from time to time.

We had a meetin' for the drama club that day.  They sure did name that club right, cause there was a bunch of drama goin' on with 'em kids.  Only, none of the drama was 'bout the play the advisor fella was wantin' to do.  Some of 'em was jealous of the rest of 'em, so they made a real big deal 'bout ever'thin'.  Some of 'em kids acted just like 'em fellas on tv.  I wasn't none too sure if this club was gonna be for me or not, but that ol' play sounded like a real good one, so me n' Sorrow 'cided we'd try n' stick it out.

We got us a copy of that ol' play n' had to read it 'fore Friday.  Then, we was 'posed to sign up on this form what parts we was wantin' to try n' get.  I just hoped me n' Sorrow got us a part in it, so we could be up on that stage together.  I reckon I was likin' the idea of it all, just not dealin' with all 'em bratty kids.  Sad part was, most of 'em was older 'n me n' Sorrow was.

We went to help at the mission after school was over.  The fellas from group come with us to see more 'bout the mission n' all.  They all seemed to like 'em little kids Sorrow n' me worked with, but they really wanted to help with buildin' the new home for 'em fellas from Valerie n' Ed's place.  Me n' Sorrow really did too, cause we wanted to get to use all 'em hammers n' saws n' all that cool stuff Shaft n' Roe got to use all the time.  But, we knowd how Dad was 'bout us usin' tools like that, so we didn't say nothin'.

When we got home, we found out that Shaft n' Ethan was now Carter n' Dwayne's foster dads, all official like.  Dad n' Daddy had legal custody of Sorrow, too, so we had us a real big celebration.  Course Pops came over to be with us,  n' Allen did, too.  So did Ed n' Valerie n' Alex n' Kevin.  They was all our family, just they didn't live with us.  Carter asked if he could invite little ol' Dakota over, so me n' Pops n' Sorrow went to pick 'im up.  We 'cided we might as well get ol' Blade why we's at it.  I really liked ol' Blade cause he turned out to be a real good guy.  I liked Dakota too, but not near as much as Carter did.  They was real cute together, though.  Least, that's what me n' Sorrow thought.

When ever'body finished up eatin', we went up to the movie room 'n hung out for a while.  'Fore we knowd it, we was takin' turns singin' n' stuff.  I was real 'prised when Valerie sang us a song, cause I hadn't heard her really sing nothin' 'fore then.  Even in church, I don't guess I had heard her.  She had a real nice voice though, n' that song was real pretty too.  It was 'bout followin' your heart n' never givin' up on stuff till you got to where you was wantin' to be.  I knowd I liked it anyway.

Pops took Blade n' Dakota home, but not 'fore he gave his boys -- that's what he was callin' me n' Sorrow n' Dad n' Daddy all the time -- big ol' breathtakin' hugs.  Carter got 'im in a few more kisses with Dakota, too.  He was all a pantin' and breathless like when they was done, n' I couldn't help but laugh.  I looked at Shaft n' Ethan, tellin' 'em both how much Carter was like 'em, n' they both laughed till they was cryin'.  I tell ya', all us gay fellas in our house was real big on kissin'!

After that, we read some in the study.  Course, I don't think Carter could much follow the story or nothin', cause he just kept on sighin' and had that glassy look in 'em eyes of his.  Yep, he was in love alright.  After that, Dad n' Daddy tucked me n' Sorrow in.  We talked for a bit after prayers 'bout all kinds of stuff.  Then, Sorrow asked if me n' him could go out datin' the next night, kinda just out of the blue n' all.  Course, I done knowd he was gonna be askin', so it wasn't no kinda 'prise to me.

Daddy was all ready to say yes, I just knowd he was.  But, Dad looked like he was kinda worried a little.  "Well, I think it would be just fine, so long as you have another couple out with you."  Dad said, smilin' at us both.  "I would just feel better knowing you two were not alone... just in case something should happen."

Me n' Sorrow grinned at each other, cause we done knowd that would be what he'd say to us.  "Actually, Dad," Sorrow told 'em, "we were hoping you two would go with us."

That seemed to just knock 'em both to the floor.  "Really?"  Daddy asked us, n' we both shook our heads.  "And, you're not going to get all weirded out by being out on a date, accompanied by your dads?"

Me n' Sorrow rolled laughin' then.  "Daddy, why'd we think somethin' bad 'bout that?" I told 'im.  "We's both proud of our dads n' love spendin' time with you's guys.  'Sides, we's learnin' lots 'bout love n' all from ya'."  Then, I started laughin'.  "I's already been on a date with you n' Dad once 'fore, so I know what you both'll be a doin'."

"The same thing I imagine you and Sorrow will do." Dad smiled, all smart like. 

I turned all red, then started gigglin'.  "Yep, I guess we get that stuff from you's guys."

Daddy hugged up on Dad, kissin' the back of his neck all soft like.  "There's nothing wrong with affection."  He said, winkin' at me.  "What do you boys have in mind?"

I wasn't really sure what we was gonna do, but Sorrow jumped right out the bed n' grabbed Dad's hand.  "I have thought this one out, Dad.  It will be our surprise to Chance and Daddy."  He then took Dad into the bathroom n' shut the door. 

Me n' Daddy couldn't hear nothin', and I knowd he was ever' bit as curious as me.  "Wonder what they's up to in there?"  I said.

Daddy plopped down on the bed, snugglin' me up in a big ol' hug.  "Whatever it is, Son, you can be sure it will be something fantastic."

Me n' Daddy laughed n' talked forever it felt like, till finally Dad n' Sorrow come back in the room.  They was both smirkin', but I knowd they wasn't tellin' nothin' to us.

"If we guess, you guys gonna tell us if we's right?"  I asked 'em.  Not neither of 'em answered me, so I started guessin', just tryin' to be silly I reckon.  "So, we's gonna go to one of 'em places where they's shakin' it 'round ever'where, all hot like?"

"Chance, you are not going to any kind of strip club!  Just forget that idea."  Dad laughed.

"Well, is somebody gonna hop out of a cake at least?"  I asked all serious like.  Then, I started laughin'.

'Fore I knowd it, they all three was ticklin' me like crazy.  I was a squirmin' ever' which way, but I wasn't gettin' away from 'em.  They was just too fast for me, n' I was all out'a breath, kinda like Carter was after that kiss.

Finally, we all settled down n' said night.  I asked Sorrow bunches of questions 'bout it, but he just smiled.  I loved it when he smiled like that.  I guess that was why I kept on askin' 'im so much, cause that smile kept gettin' bigger each time I did. 

Finally, Sorrow turned to me n' kissed me all big like.  I was all jelly when he finished, n' he just smiled down at me.  "I was hoping that would shut you up."

"What makes you think I's not talkin' so much to make ya kiss me like that?"  I grinned at 'im.  "I might just start a runnin' off at the mouth again for one more of 'em kinda kisses!"

He kissed me a real long time then.  We was both breathin' awful hard then, and I guess we was both a bit to 'cited.  "I guess we should get some sleep before we do something we aren't ready to do."  He said all shaky like.

"Yeah, I think you's right 'bout that, Sorrow."  I told 'im.  We was both real tingly, n' I held Sorrow all tight like to my chest, kinda wantin' to tingle more, but kinda hopin' it'd quit 'fore we got way too 'cited.  Really, we 'both knowd it wasn't time for nothin' like that yet, but it didn't make it none to easy to stop.

Finally, we was breathin' like normal again.  "Night, Angel."  Sorrow said, kissin' my chest.

I kissed 'im back on the top of his head.  "Night, Sorrow."

We went on to sleep, n' next thing I knowd, Hela was wakin' us up, singin' that nice ol' song like always.  "Breakfast is ready, my babies."  She said, leanin' down n' kissin' us both on the cheek.  "Better get at it."

Me n' Sorrow met Daddy n' Dad in the hall as we was headin' down to get us somethin' to eat on for breakfast.  I winked at Daddy, then started just drillin' Sorrow n' Dad with a whole bunch of questions 'bout our secret date.  Well, I don't reckon you'd call it a secret date, cause we all knowd we was goin' on it, but me 'n Daddy had no idea where we's gonna end up bein'.  Anyways, Daddy giggled all quiet like n' started askin' lots of questions too.  Dad n' my big ol' Angel was just beamin' 'em white teeth at us.  I guess me n' Daddy both liked lettin' 'em know how 'cited we was 'bout havin' 'em plan somethin' all special just for us n' all.   I knowd it made us feel good knowin' they's happy we was so interested in it like we was.

Me n' Daddy pestered 'em all through breakfast.  I seen ol' Shaft gigglin' just a bit 'bout it, n' Carter was too.  Grams pat Dad's shoulder, tellin' im the world wasn't ready for two of 'em, or somethin' like that.  Dad sure found that funny.  So did Jena n' Ethan. 

Daddy said somethin' 'bout a nut n' a tree, but I don't really know too much of what he said, cause I was too busy gawkin' at Sorrow.  I don't know what it was, but ever' time I looked at 'im, he was lookin' better n' better.  Sorrow sure was somethin' to look at, that's for sure.

I guess that's when I got kinda quiet like, just lookin' at Sorrow.  I even did it while we was ridin' to school.  Finally, he just looked over at me.

"Angel, why are you starring at me?  Not that I mind, but I was just wondering."  He said kinda shy like.

"You's just so pretty, or handsome, or whatever you's wantin' to call it."  I told 'im.  "Honest, I just can't quit lookin' at ya.  I know I's starrin' n' all, but I just can't stop from doin' it."

He took my hand all easy like n' kissed it.  Then, he started rubbin' it n' looked up at me while his hair was kinda hidin' his eyes just a little bit.  "Chance, I just hope you never do stop.  It makes me feel..."  he got kinda embarrassed, so he leaned in real close n' whispered in my ear, "kinda sexy when you look at me that way."

I got me a big ol' grin cross my face, then.  "You's definitely that, Sorrow!  I can tell you that for sure."

"Not nearly as much as you are, Angel."  He smiled at me.

Then, we started tellin' each other all the stuff we was findin' all sexy 'bout the other 'n.  We kinda kept doin' that in class n' all too, but all quiet like so nobody could hear us or nothin'.  That's 'bout all I 'member bout that day at school, 'cept gym class.

'At mouthy kid was givin' us looks still, but I reckon I was givin' 'em back really.  Anyhow, 'at Coach fella said we was gonna be wrestlin'.  I was 'cited 'bout that, cause I was leanin' lots 'bout that from Daddy.  We's just playin' 'round n' all, but I still was learnin'.  I's happier n' a cat in the sunshine when I got paired up with Mouthy.

Coach blowd this whistle of his, n' we started at it.  I told 'im, "I seen you's been givin' me n' Sorrow lots of looks, but don't you worry none.  I's gonna wipe all of 'em off your face when I whip up on ya."

"Oh, yeah.  Like I'm so scared." Mouthy said all smart like. 

I guess it made me awful mad, cause 'fore I knowd it, I done flipped 'im over n' was sittin' on his chest with my forearm all squished on his throat.  TJ counted out n' then said I won.  Honest, I had done forgot we was wrestlin', so it took me a few seconds 'fore I let ol' mouthy up.

Coach called me over n' I just knowd I's in trouble.  TJ n' Blade n' Sorrow come over to see what was goin' on. 

Coach just laughed.  "I guess you showed him a thing or two."  Then, he pat me on the shoulder n' winked at me.  "I know what he did to you, Chance.  I have also noticed the looks he's been giving you and Sorrow.  That is why I decided to pair you two up."  I was real 'prised 'bout that.  He just said, "Nothing like a little friendly contact to work out your aggressions."  Then, he got all serious like.  "Chance, we could use a guy like you on our team.  Think it over and let me know before tryouts."

While we was walkin' back to the mat, Blade looked over at Mouthy n' said, "I told you Chance could easily kick your ass.  You didn't want to believe me, but, now, I guess there is no room for doubts."  Then, he leaned in real close.  "I wouldn't mess with him again if I were you."

We wrestled 'round lots then.  I got to wrestle a couple other fellas, but they wasn't all that good at it or nothin'.  Then, I got to wrestle Blade.  We had a real good time doin' that, cause Blade was tryin' real hard.  If n's he got me good, I'd tell 'im somethin' encouragin' like.  If n's I got him, he did just the same.  Course, I beat 'im, but I don't reckon that mattered.  We just laughed n' carried on anyway. 

Then, Coach paired me to wrestle Sorrow.  I looked at Sorrow for a long time, even after Coach blowd that whistle, but I couldn't move.  Sorrow didn't neither.  We was tellin' each other up in our heads how much we couldn't do this.  Then, I looked at ol' Coach.  "I guess you's can give me an F or whatever you's gotta do, but I ain't wrestlin' against my Sorrow."  He looked at me kinda questionin'.  "Sorrow's my boyfriend, so why would I wanna hurt 'im or have 'im hurt on me?  Sorry, but I ain't gonna do it, n' I figure Sorrow ain't gonna neither."

Coach shook his head at me.  "Chance, buddy, you don't have to hurt him.  It is just a friendly competition, that's all."

"I ain't wantin' to compete against Sorrow neither, Coach.  If anythin', I's wantin' to see 'im win at ever'thin' he tries.  I's awful sorry 'bout this, but I ain't doin' it.  I ain't raisin' one hand 'gainst Sorrow."  I told 'im.

Coach looked at me for a minute or two.  Then, he tried to change my mind.  "Chance, it isn't like that.  Sorrow knows you are not trying to hurt him.  It is just for fun, buddy."

"I don't see no fun in it, Coach." I said, tryin' my best to 'xplain it all.  "My heart tells me it's wrong.  I's 'posed to work with Sorrow n' protect 'im when I can, not fight 'gainst 'im.  I reckon I'd take on any one of 'ese other fellas, but I just can't do that to Sorrow.  I love 'im too much for that."

Some of 'em boys was gigglin' 'bout all that, but I didn't care none what they was thinkin' 'bout me.  All I cared 'bout was Sorrow.  I's real glad when Sorrow spoke up.

He looked at me n' smiled like the sunshine.  "I feel exactly the same way, Angel.  I won't wrestle Chance either, Coach." 

Coach scratched his head, all confused like.  "I just don't see the big deal."

Sorrow took my hand n' led me off the mat.  "It's a big deal to us, sir.  It goes against everything we've found in each other."

Then, Coach just laughed and throwd up his hands.  "Alright!  Alright, you win."  He put two other fellas up to wrestlin'.

Sorrow snuggled me up in his arms.  "I love you so much, Angel."  He said all soft like.  "It was very romantic, the way you stood up for us.  It was like something Daddy would do."  Then, up in my head, he told me he's proud of me, proud to call me his boyfriend.

I was real proud feelin' when Sorrow told me that.  I wanted to be just like Dad n' Daddy in any way I could.  More n' that, I wanted to make my Sorrow proud to be with me.  Mostly, though, I guess I just wanted to love Sorrow n' be the one he loved back.

After school was over, we went on to the mission like we always did.  I sure was glad to see 'em kids n' all.  I told Jew n' Jena 'bout gettin' to wrestle, 'specially 'bout Mouthy.  They both laughed 'bout it, but they said they's proud of us when I told 'em how me n' Sorrow wouldn't wrestle one 'nother.  Jena even told me how much I's like Daddy, which made me all smilin'.  Jew told Sorrow he's lots like Dad, n' I knowd Sorrow was real proud of that.  Honest, I reckon we's both lots like each of our dads, but I think I's more like Daddy, n' Sorrow's more like Dad.

Daddy was gettin' out of his car when we got home from the mission.  I jumped right up on 'im, tellin' 'im 'bout the wrestlin'.  When I told 'im I's wantin' to be on that ol' team real bad, he was smilin' so much it made my face hurt.

"Oh, Chance, this will be great!"  I knowd Daddy was real 'cited.  "Say, I can teach you a few things that will help you in your matches and make the team, that is, if you want my help."  He said all happy.

I got me a big ol' grin on my face.  "Well, if you don't think you's gonna hurt yourself, I's wantin' as much of your help as you's can give me.  Course, you's all old n' stuff, so I don't want ya to get hurt or nothin' like that."  Dad n' Sorrow thought that was real funny, but Daddy looked 'prised by it.

Then, he was spinnin' me all 'round n' stuff.  "I'll show you old!"  Daddy laughed.  I had a great ol' time gettin' flung 'round ever' which way by Daddy.  He was so silly sometimes, n' he knowd I's just jokin' 'bout 'im bein' all old.

Daddy then showed me a few things, n' we practiced 'em a bunch.  Ethan come out n' wrestled some with me too.  I guess Daddy had taught 'im stuff cause he knowd what Daddy was sayin' when he was givin' 'structions n' stuff.  We had us lots of fun, though, just wrestlin' 'round in the back yard.  Course, Chips n' Domino beat us all, knockin' us to the ground lots of times.  I wondered if they could be on the team too.

Dad n' Shaft throwd some ball with Sorrow n' Dwayne.  Carter was busy talkin' with Jew n' Hela n' Mic 'bout Dakota.  I guess that was all he ever though 'bout anymore, but I's real glad for 'im.   After we played 'round for a while, Dad n' Sorrow said it was time to get ready.

Sorrow n' me got us a shower.  I tried not to look at his stuff down there, but I did a few times.  More 'n a few times, really.   It was just kinda there, n' I reckon I liked what I was seein'.  Course, you couldn't miss seein' Sorrow's stuff noways, cause he was lots bigger n' I was down there.  Then, I seen Sorrow was doin' the same 'xact thing to me, n' that made me smile.  He got all red n' started gigglin'.

As we was dryin', I was watchin' Sorrow some more.  Then, I made myself look up at his face.  Course, he'd seen me lookin' at 'im again, but he didn't say nothin'.  "I reckon I's gonna let you pick out clothes for me since I ain't got no idea where we's goin'."  I finally said.

Sorrow started laughin' n' kissed me all easy like.  "Angel, I always pick out your clothes.  Why would tonight be any different?"

"You knows what goes with what n' all that.  'Sides, I just wanna look good for ya's all." I 'xplained.

Sorrow hugged me up real tight n' kissed me again.  "You always look beautiful to me, Chance.  It's not your clothes I'm interested in.  It's you and that big heart of yours."  He rubbed my face, then held it in 'em big hands of his, lookin' me in the eyes.  "You're everything I could ever want, Angel, and I love you.  I'm proud you are my boyfriend, but it is not because of the fact that you are the most adorable guy I have ever seen.  It is because of who you are inside, my Angel.  You follow your heart, and that allows you to see inside of people."  A big ol' tear came runnin' down his cheek.  "You saw inside of me, Chance, at a time when I needed someone so desperately.  In my darkest hour, you gave me hope."  I swallowed real hard, startin' to cry myself.  Sorrow looked at me with 'em big blue eyes.  "How could you ever be anything but beautiful?"

I was all cryin' then.  "Sorrow, I don't know how to say stuff like you do, all pretty n' movin'.  But, I love you with ever'thin' inside me.  I swear to ya I do."

He kissed my tears.  "I know you do, Angel.  Believe me, I know."  He said all soft like.

"When I first seen you, I thought you was real handsome n' all, but I knowd you needed a friend.  I knowd I was needin' one too, n' I just knowd you was the friend I was needin'.  I knowd inside you's a real good guy n' you's real special.  You loved me, Sorrow, n' didn't care none 'bout who I was 'fore.  That's why I love you."  It got hard for me to talk, then.  "You... you make me feel like I's a real person, not ol' trash off the street.  You make me believe I's special, n' that's good 'nough for me."  I looked at 'em bright blue eyes.  "I knows your heart, Sorrow, n' its real pretty.  So, I love you cause of it."

Sorrow looked at me n' smiled all big, showin' 'em pretty teeth of his.  "Angel, that is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever heard."  We kissed some more, then.  "You are my heart, Chance, and you are right.  You are REAL pretty."  Sorrow said that last part like I says stuff, n' it got me all tickled.  I's just glad he could understand me.

We got all dressed up, real fancy like.  Sorrow helped me fix my tie cause I couldn't do 'at ol' thing for nothin'.  Then, we went into the study to wait on Dad n' Daddy.  I got to laughin' when I seen 'em, cause me n' Dad matched n' Dad n' Sorrow did too.  They had on blue ties, n' me n' Dad had on green.  Other 'n that, we all had on black suits n' shoes, with white shirts.  I reckon most people though wear 'em kinda suits.

Dad drove us, n' me n' Daddy started askin' questions again.  'Fore long, we was pullin' up to this big ol' place.  Lots of folk was there all dressed up like we was.  When we got inside, it looked like a real old movie place, but I knowd it wasn't no kinda movie.  We sat up kinda high in this one place, just the four of us.  Daddy I guess knowd what it was, but I had me no clue.  They's all 'cited cause they knowd what was goin' on, but I was 'cited cause I couldn't wait to figure out what this was.

Soon, this big ol' curtain split apart, n' all kinda music started playin' from this great big band down by the stage.  Out come all these people in what looked like colored pantyhose n' workout suits for girls.  Even the guys was wearin' 'em.  They was dancin', but it wasn't no kinda dancin' I'd seen 'fore.  They didn't talk none at all, but  you could kinda tell what they was thinkin' and feelin' by the way they was dancin'.  It was real pretty, n' 'em guys could bend all kinda different ways 'n spin 'round on nothin but the tips of their toes!  I thought that was real neat.  They could jump up n' spin 'round way high in the air too.  'Em fellas picked up 'em girls n' throwd 'em up in the air like they was pillows or somethin'.   I just wondered if our dads or Pop could do stuff like that.

Sorrow 'xplained some of it to me, n' I's 'prised I was right in what I was thinkin' 'bout lots of it.  This one girl was in love with this fella, but they was havin' trouble gettin' together n' stuff.  This other guy liked that girl too, n' he was real jealous cause she didn't like him like that.  They would sneak off n' be together, but somebody always was 'round n' they'd almost get caught lots of times.  It was real 'citin' when 'em two fellas was fightin'.  They never really hit each other or nothin' like that, though I was kinda hopin' they would.  They just danced 'round like they was fightin'.  Finally, 'at girl got to be with her guy, n' that jealous guy went off somewheres I guess.  I ain't really sure what happened to 'im, but I liked that ol' dancin' stuff!  I's gonna have to try that with Sorrow sometime.

At the end, all of 'em came back out, n' people gave 'em flowers n' stuff.  I wondered if that was all they was gettin' for dancin' like that, but I figured they had to be gettin' more n' ol' flowers to dance like they was!  Some of 'em people sittin' up all high started throwin' flowers.  We didn't have none, but we had that program thing.  I was gonna' throw it, but Dad laughed n' told me I better not.

After that, we went to this real fancy eatin' place all lit up with candles n' stuff.  We all got us lobster, which I knowd was some kinda fish food, but I hadn't never tried it or nothin' like that.  We ate us some soup n' salad first.  They kept on bringin out stuff, one thing at a time.  I guess that is why we had all kinds of forks n' stuff. 

When 'at lobster finally came to us, though, it was this big ol' red thing with great big claws.  It looked kinda mean, really.  I went to put my fork in it, but it was all hard like a rock.  Daddy got these things n' started squeezin' on it.  It made this big ol' crackin' sound n' then that hard stuff started slippin' off. 

Sorrow helped fix mine up, takin' all that stuff off of it n' gettin the stuff we's posed to eat out of it.  I was awful glad I had my Sorrow.  'At lobster tasted real good, though, even if it was lots of work gettin' to the stuff you's 'posed to eat.  Lots of 'em people eatin' had wine, but we all had tea.  I wanted to try that ol' wine, but we wasn't old 'nough to yet.  

Then, they brought us this stuff n' set it on fire at our table.  I was gonna throw my glass of water on it, but Sorrow told me it was 'posed to be on fire like that.  I thought that was real dangerous, though.  They put the fire out, n' I have to say that stuff was real good.  I even ate some of Sorrow's cause he was too full to finish it.

Then, we went dancin' out on the floor there in the eatin' place.  It wasn't nothin' like 'em dancers we watched 'fore, but it was the kinda dancin' Sorrow n' me knowd.  I thought that was real romantic.  Some of 'em people, though, was gawkin' and whisperin' bout guys dancin' together, but we just ignored them.  They didn't matter none to me noways, cause I had Sorrow n' our dads.  They was what really counted.

We went home n' got ready for bed.  Sorrow n' me danced a little bit after Dad n' Daddy tucked us in, but we had school the next day, so we knowd we better get some sleep.  After a few good kisses, we settled down.

I guess I woke up kinda early, feelin' somethin' weird like.  Then, I knowd what it was n' I was real embarrassed.  Sorrow was woke up too, n' he was over on the other side of the bed, lookin' at the ceilin'.  He knowd what it was too.

"Look, I's real sorry, Sorrow.  Honest, I ain't done nothin' like this since as long as I remember."  I said, all ashamed like.

He looked real funny at me.  "What are you talking about, Angel?"

I got real red, but I told 'im.  "I wet the bed, Sorrow.  I's all wet n' sticky like.  I's real sorry if I got you wet, too."

Sorrow started laughin'.  "Chance, Angel, you didn't pee the bed, so don't worry.  Actually, I think we both wet the bed, but it isn't pee."  I was all confused, so Sorrow asked me, "Angel, do you remember having any dreams?"

I was real embarrassed then.  I had been havin' dreams quite a lot 'bout Sorrow n' me, but they was different 'n the dreams I's havin' fore the last two weeks.  "Yeah, Sorrow.  Promise you won't get mad?"  I asked 'im.

"Never, Chance."  He smiled.

So, I told 'im the truth.  "Well, I's been havin' these dreams 'bout us, but... well, we's kinda... well, they's kinda sexy like dreams."

Sorrow pulled me over to 'im in a hug, kissin my forehead.  "That's what I figured, Angel.  I have been having those kind of dreams, too.  So, that's why we wet the bed."  He giggled.  I was real lost then, n' Sorrow noticed.  "Do you remember the talk we had with Roe and Hela about sex."  I shook my head.  "Do you remember what he said about dreams?"

I got to thinkin' 'bout it, then it started makin' lots of sense.  "Oh, so you think that's what happened to us?"  I asked, hopin' he was right n' it wasn't pee.

"Angel, pee isn't sticky like the other stuff is.  And, yes, I am sure that is what happened to me.  Seeing that my side is all sticky, I am pretty positive you did it, too."  I was wonderin' if it was broke or somethin' down there, then Sorrow laughed.  "Angel, it isn't broken.  It is normal and natural for this to happen.  Remember?  That is what Roe was telling us."

"Well, I's sorry it had to happen all over you, Sorrow."  I 'pologized.  Then, I got to thinkin'.  "Sorrow, does this mean we just had us some sex?"

Sorrow grinned at me.  "Honestly, Angel, I don't think it counts unless we are awake.  Look, if you are not mad at me for getting you sticky, and I am not mad at you for the same, then we have nothing to worry about."  Then, he kissed me.  "We didn't have sex, Chance.  We both just had one of those dreams."

That made me feel lots better.  I knowd we wasn't ready for sex n' all.  I's also thinkin' I wasn't wantin' to tell our dads we was havin' us some sex, neither.  We took us a shower, changed the bed, n' went back to sleep.


When Chance and I woke up the morning after the dreams had visited us, I decided we needed to wash our sheets and underclothes before anyone else found out.  I could only imagine the ribbing we would get, especially from Roe.  So, I bundled everything up and carried it down to the laundry.  As I passed through the kitchen, Carter, Dwayne, Shaft, and Ethan were up making breakfast.  My cheeks went hot, thinking of what I was holding in my arms, but I tried my best to cover it.

"What are you doing?"  Ethan asked.

"Well, I just thought I would get a start on our laundry.  No need in putting it all off on Dad to do."  I said, hoping he would buy that answer.

"Hmm.  Boys, you could take a lesson from Sorrow.  Maybe Shaft and I should show you two how to run the washer and dryer."  Ethan said. 

I was relieved as I entered the laundry room.  I quickly put everything in and started to measure the detergent.  Then, Ethan and Shaft came in.

"I suppose you think I was born yesterday or something."  Ethan shot.  "I just have one question, and I am hoping I already know the answer."  He looked at me seriously.  "You two didn't..."

"NO!  Well, not exactly.  I mean..."  I was so embarrassed, but I needed to explain.  I knew they both cared about us and were only acting out of love and concern.  "It was the dreams."  I said, hanging my head low.

Ethan chuckled, which seemed to shock Shaft.  Actually, I was a bit surprised, because it was usually Shaft who responded to things with laughter.  Then, Ethan hugged me, patting my back.

"Oh, Sorrow.  That is nothing to be embarrassed about.  Hell, Dwayne and Carter have those at least three times a week."  Ethan giggled.  "I even had those when I was your age, quite frequently, in fact."  Then he thought a moment.  "Um, how to say this.  OK, here it goes.  Did you, you know, like get it on Chance?"

I was beat red, and he again laughed.  About that time, Chance came in, carrying our pillow cases, which I had forgotten.  Ethan smiled at him, then continued with what he was going to say.  "It is still nothing to be embarrassed over, Sorrow.  Hell, when I would stay the night with your Daddy while we were growing up, he did that to me Lord only knows how many times.  Usually, it was half way up my back.  He never seemed worried about it either."  He said, wryly, thinking about it.  "He never even apologized for it, to be honest.  Anyway, it's probable that Chance will someday do that to you, too, so you better not be upset with Sorrow, Humper."  He said, looking at Angel. 

Chance was kind of shocked, but I covered.  "Angel wasn't upset at what I did to him, so at least I have that."  I smiled, taking his hand.  "Not every guy would be so forgiving."  In my mind, I could here Chance's thank you for not saying anything about his dreams.  In the same way, I told him "anytime".

Shaft chuckled.  "Your Dad and I had a few of those moments together, too, guys, when we were growing up.  He was so mortified, but usually, I had had one myself, so that seemed to make things better for him."  Shaft smiled, thinking back.  "Man, I guess I was a regular faucet back then."

"And you still are."  Ethan giggled.

Chance looked puzzled at me, and I was thinking the same thing.  "Wait a minute?  You both said when you were growing up with Dad and Daddy, and you guys had them too?"  They both shook their head, nervously expecting my next question.  "That doesn't make any sense at all.  Unless... Say, just how old are you guys?"

They both giggled nervously.  Finally, Shaft replied.  "Well, I hope you guys will still want to hang out with us and that our relationship together doesn't change, but we are both a bit older than you boys seem to think."

Ethan then added.  "You know, Cole and Jena are more than just our sisters, guys.  They are our twins."

"Either they's lookin' way older than they really is, or..." Chance started.

"Or we look much younger than we are."  Ethan said, chewing his lip.  "Look, Shaft and I never meant to deceive you guys about anything.  It is just when Chance first came here, he thought we were his age, and then when you were here too, well, we all figured it would be better if you had someone you thought was near your own ages to talk with about your problems.  We just thought it would help you adjust better is all."  Then, he became teary eyed.  "I hope you both can forgive us.  Like I said, we never meant to mislead either of you."

I was a bit shocked at first, but it all started to make sense, really.  Angel and I moved to quickly hug them both.  "We love you guys, no matter how old you are.  So you are both close to Dad and Daddy's age.  Big deal."  I smiled, holding Ethan tightly.

"Actually,"  Shaft started, "it's more like your dads are close to our age.  See, Ethan and I are almost a year older than your dads."

Chance backed up with wide eyes.  "WOW.  You guys are REAL OLD."  The two of them looked a bit hurt, then, Chance giggled.  "I got you guys on that one!"

They both hugged us tightly.  "I'm just glad you still want us around."  Shaft smiled.

"Well, I feel better knowing you two now know the truth.  Shaft and I wanted to tell you several times, but I guess we both were worried you would be mad at us."  Then, he had a huge smile on his face.  "OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN!"  Ethan shouted, clutching his chest.  "Shaft, Honey, I did it!  I just had a talk with the boys about sex, and I wasn't even slightly embarrassed by it."  He was elated for a moment, hugging up Shaft snugly.  Then, he looked at me with worry.  "Sorrow, did I do an OK job with our talk?"

He was so nervous, thinking I would find fault with him.  My heart melted, knowing how vulnerable he had made himself to me, and in that moment, I was even more connected to him.  "You were fantastic, Ethan.  It was like talking with one of our best friends."  I winked at Angel, and then, I smiled even bigger.  "Of course, it was because we were talking with one of our best friends... Both of them, in fact." 

Ethan and Shaft lit up like Christmas trees.  "Thank you, buddy."  Shaft sighed, hugging me.

"No, buddy, thank you."  I replied, softly melting into his embrace.  "We both love you guys, more than you could possibly know."

About that time, Carter and Dwayne popped their heads into the laundry room.  "Well, if we could borrow our dads for a few minutes, we might get to eat this morning."  Carter laughed.  "Man, you guys are way too huggy."

"Like you're really bothered by it."  Dwayne stabbed.  "You know you love every single one of Pa and Da's hugs."  He snickered. 

Dwayne and Carter had decided to call Shaft Pa and Ethan Da, and, yes, they were all excited over this.  Yeah, it was much like when Chance and I both started calling Daddy and Dad, well, Daddy and Dad.  The cool thing with this, though, was it was easy to keep them all from being confused, for not one of them was called the same thing.  Yet, each name was an endearing term for father, which meant a great deal to each of us boys.  I guess it did to each of our dads, too.

Anyway, they went back in and started cooking.  After scrubbing up, Angel and I pitched in.  It was odd, I suppose, but the four of us boys cherished every moment we spent with any and all of our four dads.  They were fantastic men, after all, but they had each changed our lives and gave us a place to call home.  To us boys, that was simply the greatest gift any of us had ever received, and we were very thankful. 

That week in school, not too much happened.  We discussed in English what part of ourselves we wanted to give to others, seeing as it would forever be a part of them.  Chance told me he wanted his part to be hope, which he said was because I always told him how he had given hope to me when I needed it the most.  Whether or not he realized it, that was the part of him he gave everyone anyway.  It was his strength, his very nature.  Even his very name was hope, so it was not a big surprise for me.  Chance was ever inspiring, and he never gave up, always trying harder each time he faced an obstacle.

Miss Cooper continually encouraged him with his paper, as he worked on it every day.  He would bring it in for her to review, and she was always impressed by the effort he was putting into it.  I just knew he was going to do well.

As for me, well, I had no idea what part of myself I wanted to share.  As I felt hopeless, my Angel came to my rescue yet again.

"Sorrow, I don't see why you's havin' so much trouble with it.   You just gotta look at you'self n' see what it is you do for other fellas."  He smiled.  "I know you believe in me, n' I reckon that's what other fellas is seein' in ya too.  You's always helpin' me to believe in myself, too.  You's always sayin'  'I know you can do it, Chance.  I believe in' ya.  There ain't no doubts 'bout it.'  Well, you's ain't sayin' it 'xactly like that, but that's what you's always sayin'."

When we talked about it at lunch with the other guys, they all seemed to agree with Angel.  Dakota said Chance encouraged people to try, but I was the one who gave them the confidence to succeed.  Then, he laughed, saying we were destined to be a team from the beginning.  Our very natures built on each other.  As I thought about it, I could see his point.  Without Angel, I wasn't much, but together, we did rather well.  Chance took the lead most of the time, and I followed him, adding in what I could.  Together, we had helped many of our friends, so I could follow what he was saying easily.  Then, I remembered one of mine and Angel's conversations.  He was truly my heart, and I would follow him to the ends of the earth.  Somehow, I knew that would be exactly what we would someday do.

A perfect example of this arose in gym class.  The boy Chance called Mouthy was getting beaten almost every match in wrestling.  Angel looked at me sadly.  "I know he's been awful mean to us n' all, but I feel bad for 'im Sorrow.  'Em other fellas even laugh at 'im cause he's so easy to beat."  Then, he rubbed my hand.  "I reckon, though, if he had some help, he would be pretty good at it.  He's real fast like n' kinda strong.  He just don't know what he's doin'."

I grinned at him, knowing what he wanted to do.  "So, you want to help him?"  I asked.

"Yeah, I reckon I do, Sorrow."  Chance said with a serious look.  "It ain't right if I don't 'least try to do somethin'."

I quickly kissed him on the forehead.  "Well, then, Angel, let's help him."

We walked over to him, and Chance started talking.  "Hey, Mouthy.  Look, I know we ain't no kinda friends or nothin', but you's gettin' beat real bad by lots of 'ese boys I just knows you can take."

He looked at Chance, rolling his eyes.  "Oh, yeah.  I'm just sure I could take them.  Look, I suck at this.  No big deal."  Then, he cast his gaze up at Chance.  "I figured you would be gloating about it, anyway."

Chance had an edge of defiance building inside of him.  "Whether or not you's see it, I don't like to see nobody hurt or lose at somethin'.  'Specially when I knows they can win, if they just try n' learn from what they's doin' wrong."

"Really?"  he asked sarcastically.  Seeing the earnest look in Chance's face, though, he softened his tone.  "So, what do you think I am doing wrong?"

"Well,"  Chance thought, "I can tell what you's gonna do way 'fore you even try to do it.  All 'em other fellas can too.  It's like you's yellin' what you's plannin' or somethin'."  He looked confused, so Chance smiled at him.  "I's 'll show ya.  Just come at me."

The guy did, and Chance told him what he was planning.  "You's gonna try 'n grab my arms."  He tried again.  "You's gonna grab at my head."  Angel commented.  Once again he tried, but Angel called his moves. "You's gonna try n' force me down with your weight."

The guy was impressed.  "So, how do I fix it, then."

Chance thought a moment.  "Don't stare so long at what you's thinkin' 'bout goin' after.  Don't take so long to move in n' grab at 'em.  Just think it real fast like n' move straight in n' do it.  That's what you's doin', takin' way too long to do what you's plannin'."

Angel and he sparred around for a while.  The guy kept improving, and Chance even showed him a few moves to take down an opponent.  Then, Chance smiled at the guy.  "Well, Mouthy.  Now I reckon you's ready to take on a few of 'em anyway."

He looked worried.  "Do you really think so?"

Chance gave me the signal, and I knew it was my turn.  "Sure you can, guy.  I just know you can."

Angel added, "All ya gotta do now is try.  Don't give up while you's wrestlin' till you got 'em beat."

I grabbed him firmly by the shoulders, looking him square in the eyes.  "I believe in you, guy.  You can do this."

With that, the guy went back to the mat to face another opponent.  They struggled around, but he was much harder to read.  Chance kept yelling for him to keep trying, and I kept yelling that I knew he could do it.  After one heck of a match, the guy finally pinned the other fellow.  He was elated at his victory.

"I actually won!"  He smiled.

"We told ya you could, Mouthy Boy."  Chance grinned.

He laughed.  "I guess you did, huh."  He shook our hands.  "Thanks.  And, my name is not Mouthy.  It's Aaron."  Then, he looked kind of sad for a moment.  "Look, Chance.  I am truly sorry for what I did the other day in the locker room, and even more so for laughing at you in class like I did."  He was quiet for a moment.  "I have been wanting to apologize, and I have been trying to catch you alone, but you are always with Sorrow.  I just didn't want to cause a fight or anything, so I've just been waiting to find you without your bodyguard."  He explained.

"So, that was the reason for the looks?"  I asked, and he shook his head.  "Well, I'm sorry I..."

But, he cut me off.  "Look, I would have done the same thing had it been my girlfriend."  He smiled.  "I was a jerk, and you were just protecting the one you love... even if it is a guy."  He shook his head a moment.  "I don't think I really understood that until you two refused to wrestle each other.  Then, it made sense."  He smiled at us both.  "I wouldn't want to fight Cindy, either.  That's when I realized you two feel the same way about each other as we do.  I guess we really are not all that different."

"Just 'bout the same."  Chance laughed.  " 'Cept I's getta see Sorrow in the showers." 

Aaron chuckled.  "Well, I guess your relationship may have a few advantages, then."  Then, he became a bit more serious.  "But, I guess it has a few drawbacks too, huh?  Man, you guys must face a lot from jerks like me."

"I love Chance, Aaron, so being with him is worth it all to me."  I replied.  "I guess you love who you love.  But, I feel blessed that the one I love turned out to be my Angel.  Life would not be the same without him."

Aaron looked at Blade, then back to us.  "What's the story with him, then?  I know he was ready to kick my ass when I did that to Chance, before, so I thought maybe he was..."

Chance and I both laughed.  "Not Blade!"  Angel exclaimed.  "He's just our friend.  We's got a special understandin', n' we both care 'bout Sorrow.  Now, I reckon we's gotten kinda close too, but not nothin' like that!"

"Well, the way he was so protective, I just figured, well, you know."  Aaron giggled.

"Blade is into girls, Thank God."  I snickered.  "Otherwise, I would have to watch him more closely around Angel."

Chance swatted at me.  "I wouldn't do nothin' like that to you n' you know it, Sorrow."  Chance said seriously.

"It's not you I would be worried about, Angel.  It's what the other guys might try."  I replied.

Then, he laughed.  "Well, I can take ol' Blade anyways, so you ain't gotta worry 'bout that."

"You're one tough little shit, aren't you?"  Aaron smiled.

"Well, I reckon I's had to fight for myself a time or two."  Chance smiled shyly.

We talked the rest of the period.  Blade and TJ joined us, and Angel told them about our date.  All of them were smiling hearing Chance's version of the story.  His unique nature seemed to warm others who took the time to notice him.  He was truly one of a kind.

By Friday, Angel and I had our papers ready to turn in.  Jena had looked them over, offering suggestions.  She told us she was very impressed by our work once we were finished, which made Chance and I both proud.  Impressing Jena was not easy, though we knew she loved us.  She and Jew took us to a movie on Thursday night, along with Carter and Dwayne.  It was nice spending time with the two of them, as they were also special to us.

Miss Cooper glanced through our papers, commenting on how she could not wait to read them.  This made Angel glow with excitement, and I later thanked Miss Cooper for encouraging him.  She grinned at me, saying that Chance encouraged her every bit as much, so it was only fair.

That evening was the homecoming game, so we all went to cheer for the Ravens and for Blade.  We won by a landslide, and Blade again played the entire game.  He was really shining as an athlete, and I could never be more proud of anyone... well, except for my Angel.

Chance and I went to the homecoming dance together.  It was his first formal activity at school, so he was a complete bundle of raw energy and excitement.  It was like seeing the world through new eyes, being with him.  There was always something that I had overlooked or taken for granted that he brought to my attention.  >From the decorations to the punch, he found everything to be exciting.

We danced for a great while together.  Carter and Dakota were next to us, and TJ and Jake were to our other side.  The other guys were close by.  Blade and Dwayne had dates!  Two of the cheerleaders seemed to be smitten by them, so of course they had a good time. 

I felt a hand tap my shoulder and turned around to see Aaron.  "Hey, guys.  I just wanted to introduce you to Cindy."  He smiled.  "Cindy, these are the guys from gym I was telling you about, Sorrow and Chance."

She had a lovely smile, and she shook our hands vigorously.  "It's nice to meet you both.  Aaron told me how you helped him in class with wrestling.  He also told me about everything else before that."  She leaned in and stage whispered.  "He can be such an ass sometimes, but I love him, anyway."  Then, she took my hand.  "Come, dance with me."

I looked at Chance, who smiled and shook his head approvingly.  Cindy told me how Aaron kept talking about us, telling her that we were cool people, regardless of our being gay.  She said she wanted to thank us for being nice and helping him, despite how he had treated us.  I explained to her that Chance felt it was the right thing to do, and we both looked over and smiled. 

Aaron was dancing with Chance, and this was a slow song.  They just swayed on, as if it were completely normal, and Cindy and I both giggled. Listening a little, we realized they were talking about wrestling, which we both found funny.

"I guess he is not such a bad guy, not since I have gotten to know him."  I smiled.

"Oh, don't be fooled."  She giggled.  "He can still be an ass, but he really is a good guy deep down.  He just needs to let that fellow out more often."  Cindy laughed.

"Did you just call me an ASS?"  Aaron laughed.  "And, to think, I've been telling these guys all these nice things about you!" 

Chance laughed one of his full belly laughs.  "You two sound like our dads!"

I giggled.  "No, they don't kiss enough to be our dads." 

Cindy looked at me with a surprised look.  "Well, I guess you haven't been around us long enough.  Sometimes, I think our lips were joined together at birth."

We joked around for a long while, changing partners a few times.  Both Cindy and Aaron commented on what good dancers Chance and I were.  We explained all the lessons we had received from the family, and before long, we were teaching them a few steps.  I knew then that the two of them would become close friends for Angel and me.

In the middle of the dance, it was time for the crowning of the homecoming king and queen.  Amanda Crawford was crowned queen.  I didn't know her really, but she was one of the cheerleaders.  It was a surprise to us all, but TJ was crowned homecoming king.  He whispered something to Amanda, who just burst out laughing. 

Amanda then walked over to Jake and motioned for him to bend down.  As he did, she kissed him on the cheek and put her crown on his head.  He was really confused, but TJ cleared that one up quickly.

"Jake, darling, you will always be my QUEEN."  he laughed.  Everyone else found it funny, except Jake.  He just found it embarrassing.

"I have never been, nor will I ever be a QUEEN."  He said, grabbing TJ firmly by the waist.  "But, you have always been the king of my world."  With that said, he kissed TJ with a kiss that would have made Dad and Daddy proud!  Then, Jake recrowned Amanda.  "Thanks, sweetie, but I believe this belongs to you.  It goes so much better with your shoes than mine."  He snickered.

The two couples had their special dance.  Then, everyone joined back in.  Angel was back in my arms once more, and I held him tightly. 

"You two are just adorable together."  Cindy smiled.  "Jake and TJ make a nice couple, I suppose, but you two are just darling."

I pointed out Carter and Dakota, and Cindy grinned.  "Yes, they are adorable, too."

"We think so."  Chance gleamed.  "They's both good guys that was so lonely 'fore they found one 'nother.  Dwayne wanted his brother, Carter, to find 'im somebody special, n' I reckon that's just what he did."

"So it appears."  Aaron grinned.  "Lord, I remember that look."  He looked at Cindy, kissing her on the neck.  "Do you remember when we first met and started dating?"

"They are exactly like that, aren't they!"  She smirked.  "Heaven help them."

I started thinking about all of our friends and the couples in our lives.  Not all of them would last forever, but they were definitely destined to meet, regardless.  It was love that bound them all together, and that love, though somewhat different for each couple, was essentially the same.  It was also that love, held deep down in each of our hearts, that would lead us through life to fulfill our destinies.  Gay, straight, or whatever, we were all in the same boat, floating on the same sea of life.  Somehow, that thought made the world itself seem smaller and a lot less lonely.


It happened so quickly, but Cole received approval for her and Blade's project.  We were going to build a home for those guys that had become so dear to our hearts and held a constant presence in our thoughts and prayers.  Needless to say, we were all very excited about this.

All the boys from the group made plans to assist in the reconstruction of the property dedicated to the project.  Love reluctantly agreed to let Chance and Sorrow help, too, but suggested they do things that did not require power tools.  Had only I listened to his sage advice, it would have never happened.  But, as I stood in the emergency room, I knew he was going to have my ass but good.

My cell phone rang, and I knew without looking it was him.  "Love, I was just going to call you."  I started.

"Love, why am I being flashed with all these symbols of urgency and an accident?"  He asked, and I knew he already knew the answers to his questions.  I just squirmed, knowing how pissed he was going to be at me for not listening to him.

"Well, Love, it was just an accident.  It could have happened to anyone, but..." He waited for me to finish, but I just didn't know what to say really.

"Are our sons OK?"  He asked calmly.  Calm was tricky.  It either meant that he was not quite so pissed at me, or it meant that he was so pissed at me, I would only wish for rage or fury.  For some reason, I couldn't read him.  I'm not sure, but I think I just didn't want to know which it was, really.

"No, Love.  The boys are just fine.  Well, they are upset a bit, but neither of them were injured."  God only knows how much I dreaded telling him all about what happened.

"I'm on my way now with Mic and Hela.  Just stay put, and we should see you in a few minutes."  he replied.

"I'll be waiting, Love."  I said, knowing full well my ass was toast.

I paced the floor for what seemed like hours.  Chance and Sorrow nervously paced with me.  Shaft and Ethan were preparing a line of defense with Carter and Dwayne.  I guess they knew Love would be a bit angry with me for being so stupid.

Like a prisoner on death row, I awaited the final act to be carried out.  Finally, Love entered the waiting room.

"Oh, Love.  I'm sorry I didn't listen to you."  I started, but he silenced me, not with a cold hand  or anything like that.  He just kissed me firmly.

"I'm just glad you and the boys are safe."  He grinned.  Then, his calm look returned, and I began squirming again.

"So, who wants to tell me what happened and why Roe is in the OR?"  He said, looking at us all.  The boys from the group cast their gazes to the floor, avoiding Love's eyes.  The rest of us dreaded his calling on us for answers. 

"Well, Dad," my brave Chance started.  "It was all just a big ol' accident, really.  I didn't mean for it to happen or nothin' like that."  His eyes were huge, expressing his honesty. 

"Actually, it was kind of his own fault, Kal."  Shaft started.

"Yeah!"  Carter supported.  "If he hadn't been running his mouth like you had warned him Pa."

Hela and Mic looked a bit amused, but they stifled the look when Love would turn towards them.  Everyone struggled with what to say.  Then, Sorrow spoke up.

"Dad, it wasn't really Angel's fault.  You know he wouldn't hurt anyone for anything."  He swore.

Love pat Sorrow's face.  "I know that, Son.  So, what exactly happened."

"Well, we were over at the home site.  Chance and I had been carrying in wood and things for everybody else.  Jake and TJ had helped us with a few things, even, because they were too heavy for the two of us to lift alone."  Sorrow started.  "Well, Chance and I really wanted to help, and we had finished carrying in everything, so we asked... begged, really... Daddy if we could help."

I decided to jump in  and save my sons.  "Look, Love.  All the other guys were helping, and I didn't want our sons to be left out.  I want them to be like all the other kids, not outcasts like I was growing up."  I explained.  "So, when they asked me, I really thought about it.  Honestly, I did.  But, my heart told me to let them work on the project with the other guys.  So, that's what I decided.  And, before you ask, yes, I realized helping meant they would have to use power tools."  I took a deep breath and looked him in the eye.  "Love, it wasn't like I was ignoring what you said, I was just following what I felt was the right thing to do.  You know I would never just forsake what you say, but something in me just screamed that the boys needed to be a part of this."

He pat my cheek and kissed my nose.  "Of course, Love."  Then, he ran his hands through my hair, hugging me to him.  "I'm not blaming you, if that is what you are thinking.  I just want to know what happened."  Then, he looked me in the eyes.  "I think you have blamed yourself for long enough, so let that go.  OK, Love?"

I picked him up, twirling him around. Then, I brought him gently back down, kissing him firmly.  "I really needed that, Love.  You don't know what I have been going through since all this happened."

He smiled at me.  "I can imagine, knowing you like I do, it was pure torment.  I love you, Kanawha.  Nothing will ever change that, so let all that nonsense go."  Then, he turned back to our sons.  "So, then what happened."

Chance looked at him, sighing.  "Well, I was helpin' Daddy n' Sorrow.  We was fixin' 'em things you make into walls n' stuff.  Well, Roe kept on pickin' on me n' Sorrow.  And, he was flirtin' like with Daddy, too."  Chance continued.  "Well, I kept on tellin' 'im to be quiet, cause we was tryin' to concentrate on what we was doin' n' all.  But, he kept on doin' it.  Finally, I looked up at 'im and yelled at 'im to shut up.  While I was doin' that yellin', I shook my hands at 'im too.  I forgot what I was holdin, though.  That's when I did it.  That's when I... I..."

"You NAILED him!"  Shaft blurted out.  Then, everyone began laughing.  That is, until Love gave us all the look.  "Sorry, Kal, I just couldn't resist."

"What happened, Chance?"  Love asked, stroking Chance's head gently.

"That ol' nail gun went off, n' it shot ol' Roe right in the butt a few good times."  He began crying.  "Honest, Dad.  I didn't mean to hurt 'im or nothin'."

"So, he got shot... in the butt... with the nail gun?"  Love asked, rather surprised.  We all shook our heads.  Then, Love laughed.  "I guess he really did get nailed!"

Hela and Mic burst out laughing, and the rest of us joined in, once we saw it was safe.  All, that is, but Chance and Sorrow.  Love smiled at them and took them in his arms.

"Chance, Son, it isn't your fault.  Accidents happen.  Granted, you could have done things differently, but you cannot go back and change things.  What you have to do is learn from your mistakes."  Then, he pat Chance's face again.  "Next time, you will have to be more careful with the nail gun, Honey." 

"You mean you's gonna let us go back n' help?"  Chance asked.

"That home is important to those boys and to you, Son.  Your Daddy made the right decision.  You should be helping to build it, so of course you can."  He kissed his cheek.  "Just try to be more careful next time."

"I promise, Dad.  I'll be extra careful!"  Chance smiled.  Then, he looked at Love seriously.  "Is Roe gonna be alright?"

"Well, aside from being the butt of a few jokes, I imagine he will be just fine, Chance."  Love held him tightly.  "Don't worry, Son.  He will be back at it in no time."

After a few shots and a few stitches, Roe was released to go home.  He would be off from work for a little while, but he would be fine.  Chance sat near him as he lay across the seat  in the back of the van, just holding and patting his hand. Chance told him at least a hundred times how sorry he was, and Roe kept assuring him it was alright. 

Finally, Roe looked at him and smiled.  "You know, I don't know which is the bigger pain in the ass, the nails or your constant apologizing."  He waited for a response, then assured Chance.  "Lord, loosen up, Honey.  That was a joke.  Look, it could happen to anybody, so don't worry anymore about it, OK?"

Chance smiled and hugged him tightly.  "I really do love ya, Roe.  Honest, I do."

"I know you do, Champ."  Roe grinned.  "I just hope I can handle all the ass jokes I know are coming."  He laughed.

Boy did they come, too.  Hela was on the ball with them, keeping us all laughing.  I guess the funniest thing that happened, though was during one of their rounds.

"I swear, half of the gay population will be all out of sorts with that ass of yours out of commission for a while."  Hela joked.

Roe looked at her indignantly.  "I'll have you know, that is not the case at all.  I am always the top."  He stated.

Everyone in the room was in shock by that one, wondering what to say.  I was thinking to myself 'Like hell!'. but I wasn't touching that one.

Grams looked at Roe and laughed.  "I don't know who you are trying to fool with that one, but maybe you need a new act, child.  There is no way any of us would ever believe that one!"  She stated matter-of-factly.

"We's just kids n' none of us believe that 'n, Roe."  Chance smiled.

"So, are you trying to tell me I have bottom stamped on my forehead?"  he asked.

"Honey, it's not only tattooed on your forehead, but it's the logo on all your luggage."  Nana added.  "If you were a wreck, you would be a rear-ender every time, Son.  Sorry, but it's just that obvious."

He smiled, laughing himself.  "Well, I tried!"

Twelve days later, Roe was back to work on the project.  During those days, we all spent all our available time working  on it.  We worked diligently, and a few new volunteers were recruited along the way.  Aaron and Cindy, two of our sons friends from school, came to help with the project.  Actually, Cindy was rather good at this, but she explained that she helped her father on many of his projects.

As Thanksgiving neared, it was amazing.  We had accomplished so much, and Cole felt certain the home would be opened in time to hold Christmas for the boys there.  We all commented on how quickly things were taking shape.

"When love is there to inspire you to move, it guides your every step in the right direction.  Things fall into place just as they are meant to do."  Cole smiled.  She hugged Blade tightly.  "You have been quite an inspiration, young man.  I just hope you are ready to start working with these boys soon."

His face lit up brightly.  "I can't wait, Cole! This will be fantastic."


It had been so long since I had heard from my Thomas.  I was clinging tightly to my faith, and my family was a constant source of support.  If anyone should bear this cross too, I just pray their friends and family help as mine did. 

It was as if they sensed my waning, and were there to pick me back up before I ever really fell.  The wedding, the home project, work, and the boys... they all kept my mind busy, so I was not constantly worrying about my husband.  Of course, I was concerned for him, but I had the word of two wonderful boys that God would see him through.  That was all that I needed to hold faith that my Thomas would be home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

As the days approached, I became more anxious.  Still, though, there was no word.  It was grueling, honestly, but, again, I was a determined woman.  Roe's accident bought me another distraction, as I spent much time looking after him. 

Once he was better, I worked to develop training materials for the home's staff.  The project was coming along so very nicely, but there was still lots to be done.  I knew that with my family working together, anything could be achieved.  We had been through too much together for me to feel otherwise.

It was Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.  I had just put the turkey in the oven and had walked up to the movie room, when I began thinking of the night before Thomas had left.  We had a nice celebration, and Cole and Shaft had sang this really nice song.  The words spoke our hearts as we were preparing to be separated for such a very long time.  I remembered the smell of Thomas' cologne as we danced, the taste of his lips as we kissed, and the feel of his hands as he caressed me softly.

Sighing, I entered the movie room.  My friends were of course concerned for me, and asked if there was anything special I wanted to do. 

I smiled, as tears filled my eyes.  "Actually, I was hoping Cole and Shaft would sing that song for me... you know, the one you sang the night before Thomas had to leave."

They both hugged me tightly and dug through their music.  Soon, I again heard the comforting words of hope, reliving each memory of that night as if it were only yesterday.

Somewhere Somehow
(Michael W. Smith / David Foster / Wayne Kirkpatrick / Amy Grant  ©1993)

Standing in our silence
I hear my heart beating
And if only I could choose
I'd stay here with you
But hold me 'til the train is leaving
Somewhere down the line
After you're gone from sight
Our love will be the same
And, whispering your name,
I'll cling to you with all my might

Let me dream  (But it's true)  of you
Love will be there  (And wake me up) when this is over
Somewhere far beyond today
I will find a way to find you
And somehow thru the lonely nights
I will leave a light in the dark
Let it lead you to my heart

There's a love inside us  (Deep down... inside)
That goes without saying (Don't say a word)
But I'll tell you just the same  that love will fan the flame
That flame will warm the heart that's waiting

You are mine (You are mine) and I'll wait for you my love
it may take some time (Even if it takes a lifetime) Tell me you'll wait

Somewhere far beyond today
I will find a way to find you
And somehow thru the lonely nights
I will leave a light in the dark

And somewhere (somewhere alone) alone
I will be praying (praying me home) you home
I know that ( I know that somehow our love) somehow our love
Our love will lead (you/me) to (my/your) arms

Somewhere far beyond today
I will find a way to find you
And somehow thru the lonely nights
I will leave a light in the dark
Let it lead you to my heart
Let it lead you to my heart
Let it lead you to my heart

As they were singing the last chorus, in walked my husband, escorted by Nana and Grams.  My heart jumped out of my chest, just as I jumped out of the chair.  I ran swiftly to my Thomas, leaping into his awaiting arms.

"Oh, Thomas!  Why didn't you call me and let me know you were coming home?"  I asked, not being angry, just overjoyed he was finally home.

"I was going to, but I thought it would make one hell of a surprise."  He grinned.  "So, I swore Roe to secrecy, and he arranged for Nana and Grams to pick me up from the airport."  That smile of his looked so good right then, I just wanted to rip off his clothes.  Then, he smiled at me.  "I see you have been listening to our song."

"It's all I could think about as of late, Thomas.  And it is true.  Every word of it is true."  I cried.  "It lead you home to me, my love."

He kissed me like I have been wanting for so very long.  "Every step of the way, Mic.  Every step of the way."

I introduced Thomas to the new members of the family and to the many friends that had gathered with us.  I was so very thankful in that moment.  There were so many things that year to be remembered while giving thanks.  There was a host of new friends.  We had four new adult couples in the family, and we had four children living with us.  If ever I understood the meaning of Thanksgiving, it was that one holiday, the one where my Thomas was returned to me. 

Well, this completes Chapter Eleven.  Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think.  Chapter Twelve will be coming  soon.