I Must Be Dreaming

by Jason Finigan

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. This story may contain scenes which involve sexual situations between young males. If this type of material is offensive to you, or it is not legal for you to be reading this type of material, please do not read any further. This story is copyright © 2007 by Jason Finigan, all rights reserved. Please do not copy this story for distribution or post on any online server without the author's permission. Please send all your comments to: .

From the last chapter:

Getting down on my hands and knees, I entered the cave. Inching forward slowly, not knowing, but suspecting what I would find within, I soon found myself in a large den, warm and humid, sheltered from the cool spring air outside. At the far end of the den were two white wolf cubs, sitting up, and staring at me intently. One of them growled at me, and came towards me. Part of me wanted to pull back, but I held firmly in place, and reached out with my hand. It sniffed at the hand I offered it, the one that I had placed on the cub's dad's head, and watched as it licked my hand before laying down on it's back, looking up at me with what I could have sworn was a huge smile on it's face. I couldn't help but laugh, tears of joy running down my face as it did what all dogs do when they want a belly scratch. Before long, the other wolf wanted the same attention as the first, and pretty soon I was sitting there, scratching the bellies of two very contented wolf pups.

These two beautiful wolves were the last of the dead wolves' family, and I silently vowed that I would do everything I could to look after them, and teach them what they needed to learn to be able to survive in the world. But for now, I had two hungry, but playful wolves that I needed to take home with me. I knew from that moment on that they would be in my life for a very long time. And they have been with me ever since."

Chapter 4

Laying there on the couch, sipping my hot chocolate, which had cooled off a little, I could only stare in amazement at Ben. The story he had just finished telling me sounded more like one of those old forest ranger shows I used to watch when I was a kid. To hear that this gorgeous guy in front of me actually had to fight off several men and their dogs to rescue these wolf cubs quite frankly had me speechless.

"Wow!" Was all I could say.

"I know. Sounds unbelievable doesn't it? But it's true," Ben said.

"I don't doubt it. Seeing the wolves with you, and seeing you here. There's no way I could." Suddenly the throbbing in my leg began to get worse, and I winced from the pain.

"Your leg?" Ben asked me.

"Yeah, just hurt there for a minute," I replied, staring at my leg, the pain beginning to subside once again.

"I really need to find a way to get you to the hospital," he said.

"I know, but how? The snow doesn't look like it's about to let up." I looked out the window and saw that the snow was still falling, even heavier now than before if that was possible. I don't think in all my life I had ever seen snow fall as much as it was now. How anything could survive out there in this weather was beyond me.

"The plows should be making their way through town by now. They don't often get up this way, but with the snow piling up as much as it is, they sometimes do, just in case emergency vehicles need to get in."

"Well, this would certainly qualify as an emergency," I said, gritting my teeth again, as the pain had returned.

"I'm going to try and call the town, and see if they've got the plows running yet. Just hold on there Sam. We'll get you to the hospital."

"Oh God, my parents are probably worried sick about me!" I said, suddenly realizing that my parents hadn't heard from me since I left in the morning.

"You never called them when you got up here?" he asked me.

"No. I just got into town, bought some things, and decided to go out for a walk. I never even thought to call them to let them know I made it up here okay."

"Yeah, then I guess they probably would be worried."

"If I know my mom, she's probably trying to convince my dad to drive up here."

"He'd better not, he wouldn't even make it into town if the plows haven't started running yet."

"Not to mention that he wouldn't find me at the cottage if he got here. I need to call him, Ben."

"Alright. Let me check with the town first, and then I'll give you the phone to call your parents. What will you tell them?"

"I'll have to tell them the truth," I said.

"Wouldn't that make your mom more insistent about coming up here?" he asked me.

"Probably, but I'd make sure I tell my dad that the roads are in no condition to be driving in, and he wouldn't even be able to get here if he wanted to."

"Well, let's hope he listens to you then. Okay, give me a few minutes. I'm going to call the town now," Ben said, then left to go to the kitchen where he obviously had the phone.

All I could hear was his muted voice as he talked to someone on the other end of the phone line. I was thankful at least that the phones were still working, and that the storm hadn't taken them out. Actually, I found it quite remarkable, considering the strength of the wind out there.

A few minutes later, Ben came back out into the living room. The pain in my leg was still pretty bad, but for now it wasn't getting any worse. At least with the pills in my system, the pain wasn't as bad as it could have been, for which I was immensely grateful.

"Okay, Sam. I called the town. The plows have started to clear the snow, and they've got the salt trucks out as well. They haven't started to plow the side streets yet, so it'll take some time to get here."

"Well, I'm not going anywhere," I said, trying to throw some humor into the conversation, despite the seriousness of my condition.

"Not yet anyways, but we'll get you to the hospital. Don't you worry about that. Here's the phone so you can call your parents," he said, handing me the cordless handset.

"Thanks," I said.

"Want me to give you some privacy?" he asked me.

"No, that's okay. I'd like you to stay with me, if that's alright," I replied.

"More than alright, Chris," he said, and sat down beside me as I punched in the numbers to my parent's phone.

The phone rang a couple times before someone picked it up.

"Hello?" the voice on the other end said. It was my sister, Jenny.

"Hi, Jenny, it's Chris," I said.

"Oh, Chris! MOM, IT'S CHRIS!" Jenny yelled over the phone, making me wince, and hold the phone away from my ear.

"Not so loud, Sis," I said.

"Sorry," she told me. "we were so worried about you with the storm and all."

"I know. I should have called earlier. Listen, is Dad there? I need to talk to him."

"Yeah, just a second," Jenny said, and put down the phone. I could hear some talking in the background before the phone was picked up again, and I could hear my dad's voice on the other end.

"Chris? Are you okay?"

"Hi, Dad. Yeah, I made it up here okay. I went to town, and got some things."

"Where are you now? I don't recognize the number. It's not the phone in our cottage," my dad asked me.

"No, I know. I'm with someone right now. Listen, Dad. I know I should have called when I got up here, but I wanted to take a walk, and didn't think."

"Son, that doesn't matter. You did call, and that's what does. But are you okay?"

"Well, I had an accident in the brush. The wind knocked over a tree and It fell on my leg. Someone found me, and brought me to his place where I am right now."

"You went out for a walk in that weather?" my dad asked incredulously.

"Yeah, I didn't think the snow would get this bad," I admitted, accepting his admonishment.

"You're leg's broken, how bad?" he asked.

"Well, Ben, the guy who found me, says it's a compound fracture. It hurts something fierce, and we're trying to find a way to get to the hospital."

"Your mom is trying to get me to come up there to see you. In fact, she's demanding it."

"Dad, I don't think you should. The roads are pretty bad up here, and I don't think you'd even be able to get into town."

"Son, we can't stay here while you are injured and needing to go to the hospital."

"I know, but I just don't see how you and Mom and Jenny can get up here with all this snow. I'll be okay. Ben's here with me, and he's going to get me to the hospital," I told him.

"Alirght, Son. But we're still coming up there. I'm going to go next door and ask our neighbor if we can use their Hummer. I never thought I'd ever drive one of those things, especially with how much the gas prices are these days, but it's the only thing I can think of that can actually handle the snow."

"Okay, Dad. Well, I'm hoping I'll be able to get to the hospital soon. It all depends on the plows and whether or not the emergency vehicles can make it."

"If they can't, we should be up there in a few hours. Can you hold on until then?" my dad asked.

"I guess I won't have much choice, Dad. Ben's given me some Tylenol three's and they're helping."

"Just hold on, Son. And we'll be up soon enough. If you get to the hospital before we get up there, I'll have my cell phone on me. Call me."

"I will, Dad. Though I doubt the phone will be working in this mess," I said.

"Don't worry. It'll work. There are cell towers in that area, and even in this weather, I will still get a signal. Now let me talk to Ben," he said.

"Okay. I love you, Dad. Give my love to Mom, and Jenny. And I'll see you soon," I said.

"I love you too, Son. And I will."

I then handed the phone to Ben, who began to talk to my dad. Letting him know what street his cottage was on, and how to get there. He told my dad that the plows were beginning to clear away the snow, and that the salt trucks were already covering the roads to help reduce the accumulation on them. He wrote down something on a piece of paper on a desk in the room, which I presumed was my dad's cell phone number, and then hung up the phone.

"Well, it looks like your family really cares about you," Ben said.

"Yeah. They do. Mom especially. I swear she dotes over my like I was a child," I said, laughing lightly, since the pain was too great for me to laugh any harder.

"One thing I know about parents, in their eyes, their children are always little boys and girls."

"Except yours," I said.

"Yeah. Except mine. As soon as I came out to them, I stopped being their son. At least I still have my sister. She and I talk all the time."

"Well that's good then, and who knows. Maybe one day your parents will come around. It's like you said. Their children are always little in their eyes, and always needing protection. Maybe given time, they'll learn to accept you for who you are, and love you as they had always loved you," I told him.

"It's doubtful, but I can hope," he said sadly. I could tell that he still loved his parents, and that their rejection of him hurt him greatly. I know it would hurt me if my parents rejected me like that. It was partly the reason I still hadn't told them that I was gay.

"You think I should tell my parents that I'm gay?" I asked him.

"Chris, I can't tell you that. The fact that you're asking me that question, though, tells me that you've been thinking about it."

"Yeah I have. I know my parents have gay friends, and they invite over on a regular basis for holidays and such, but it's one thing to know people who are gay, and one thing entirely different to learn that one of your children is."

"I imagine it is, but what does your heart tell you, Chris? How do you think they will react?" he asked me.

"It's telling me that they'd be okay with it," I told him.


"But I don't want to disappoint them," I finished.

"Maybe they'd be more disappointed if you didn't be the person who you were, and was happy," he pointed out. "They don't sound like people who are closed-minded. They after all do have friends that are gay."

"Yeah, you have a point," I admitted, seeing what he was telling me. He made a lot of sense, and made me see things a little differently. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I told them. Maybe they were actually waiting for me to tell them myself and already knew.

"Well, there's plenty of time to worry about that later. Right now we need to get you to the hospital. Wait here for a minute. I'm going to go out and see if the roads are clear yet," he said.

"Be careful, Ben," I told him.

"Don't worry, Chris. I will," he replied, and leaned over me, giving me a brief kiss on my forehead. Before he could get back up, I reached over and pulled him back down to me, this time kissing him, but on his lips rather than his forehead.

This kiss lasted longer than the first, and when we separated, we looked into each other's eyes.

"I liked that," I said.

"Me too, Chris. I'll be right back," he said, giving me another brief kiss on my lips. And then he was gone. I saw him putting on his jacket and boots, and look back to me, smiling before opening the door to head outside.

I was left alone with my thoughts. My head was swimming with them, but also I was reveling in the emotions I experienced when we kissed. Had anyone looked at me, they'd have seen one of the biggest grins on my face that I'd ever had. I must have looked as if I was miles away, and for all intents and purposes, I might as well have been. Over and over again that one kiss was replayed in my mind. I felt so warm inside, and every part of my body was tingling. Even my broken leg wasn't hurting that much anymore. There was no question in my mind at all, I was definitely falling in love with Ben.

I knew then, that I had to tell my parents, for if Ben and I did become more than just friends, I'd want my parents to share my happiness. Jenny, I knew would be happy for me. She and I had always been close. We rarely ever fought, and while most guys I knew who had younger sisters found them to be a pain in the ass, I never once thought that of my sister. She was more than that. She was my friend.

The front door opened suddenly, and looking over, I saw Ben entering the cottage, covered from head to toe in snow. His face looked all red, and I could see that he had tears in his eyes. Once inside, he closed the door, straining slightly against the wind that was trying to hold it open. I watched as he brushed off some of the snow from his pants, then took off his jacket and boots, hanging his jacket up on a hook by the door, and placing his boots over a rubber mat to dry.

"Damn, that wind is blowing something fierce," he commented.

"I can see that," I said. "How are the roads? Did they manage to get the plow through yet?"

"Yeah, they did. It just went by as I was going out there. But we'd better hurry if we're going to get to the hospital. It won't take long for the snow to cover the roads again."

"Well, I'm ready," I said, anxious to get my leg looked after.

"I'm going to help you get dressed, and I'll carry you out to my truck," He said.

"I can get my own jacket on," I said.

"Sure you can, but you'll need me to help you cover that leg. We can't let it get wet and possibly get infected."

"No, you're right about that," I said, seeing the truth of what he was saying.

"You'd better call your parents cell phone to let them know where you'll be," he said, grabbing the phone and handing it to me.

While I was calling my parents again, Ben went to the kitchen to gather some plastic garbage bags and some packing tape. He also went to the hall closet, and grabbed some towels. Carefully as he could, he wrapped the towels around my leg, holding them together while he wrapped them up with the plastic bags. He used the tape to hold everything together, then went to get my jacket from the dryer. I had just finished on the phone with my parents, and they had told me that they were on their way up, and that they'd see me at the hospital.

When Ben came back, he helped me put my jacket on, making sure the hood was secure about my head, then put my boots on my feet, being especially careful not ot bend or move my injured leg. I only had to grit my teeth once when the boot slipped over my heel, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

By now, Ben had put on his boots and jacket again, and opened up the front door. The wind was blowing snow into the cottage, but he obviously didn't care. Bending over to pick me up, he smiled, and then carefully put his arms around my shoulders and under my knees. Lifting slowly, I felt myself coming off the couch. There was a moment of sharp pain, as my injured leg bent, but it lasted only a moment. I couldn't help but notice how careful Ben was with me. He kept looking at my face, looking for any signs of discomfort, and stopped when he saw that I was experiencing pain.

Slowly, and carefully, he made his way with me in his arms to the front door. Turning slightly, my face away from the wind, he managed to squeeze us through the opening without once hitting the frame. I was quite thankful of that, for I knew what kind of pain I'd feel if any part of my body hit the side of the door.

Once outside, he carried me to the truck, asking me to open the door for him, which I did. He made sure the door would not open any farther, then helped me inside the truck. It was necessary for me to use my arms to hold onto the backs of the front and rear seats, and use my other leg to pull myself all the way in. There was no avoiding touching my injured leg now, but Ben was as careful as he could be to make sure it didn't move too much. Once I was inside, and my legs were resting firmly on the seats, he closed the door, and walked back to the house, closing and locking the front door before heading back to the truck.

Ben climbed into the driver's seat of the truck, and started the engine.

"Are you okay back there, Chris?" he asked me.

"Yeah. My leg's hurting a lot, but I'm okay," I told him.

"I know. I'm sorry. I tried to be as gentle as I could. We'll get you to the hospital soon enough and they can give you something for the pain," he told me.

"Hopefully they give me a whole bag of morphine," I said, gritting my teeth because of the pain.

"They probably will, Chris," he said. "You ready?"

"Oh yeah," I said.

"Okay, hold on. This is going to be a little bumpy, but I'll go as slow as I can so as to not bounce your leg around."

"That sounds oh so good to me, Ben," I said gratefully.

True to his word, Ben slowly backed up his truck. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, with only a few small bumps being felt. The snow on the ground provided a natural cover to any pot holes there might have been in Ben's driveway. Slowly, Ben backed the truck up until it was past his mail box by the side of the road. I could see where the plow had passed, and the mound of snow that was blocking the entrance to the driveway.

"This is where it's going to get a little rough, Chris. Hold on," he said, just before pushing down on the accelerator to force his truck past the mound of snow. The truck broke through easily. Pain shot up my injured leg from the impact, and I held it down in place as best I could, screaming out loud. I knew that I was crying then because of the pain, but it couldn't be helped.

"Sorry, Chris," Ben said, seeing the pain I was in.

"It's not your fault," I said, gasping for breath. "Just go." He didn't waste a second, as he shifted the truck into four-wheel drive, and drove forward down the road. Thankfully the road itself was relatively flat, and since it was only the plow that had come by, the road was still relatively clear of snow, though I could see that it was beginning to accumulate again.

Ben drove as carefully as he could, trying to avoid any bumps as he drove down towards town. We still had a ways to go to get to the hospital, since the nearest one was in another town, but once he reached town, he had to slow down. Cars were lined up along the streets. Some of them trying to get in, and some trying to get out. It reminded me of rush hour traffic.

Visibility was pretty bad, so we couldn't see how bad the traffic was. At least it was still moving. I could only guess that somewhere up the road was an accident, and it was blocking a lane. Since the road into and out of town was only a two lane street, it meant that whoever was directing traffic had to stop traffic on one side of the road, while the other was allowed to pass.

By now, my leg was throbbing badly. The pills that Ben had given me were wearing off, and all the movement wasn't helping much either. I could see Ben's worried face in the rear-view mirror, and I tried to reassure him as best I could that I was okay, even though it felt like someone had hacked off my leg with a rusty saw.

There was no way to tell for how long we were stuck in traffic, but I knew it seemed like eternity. Ever so slowly we inched our way through the traffic, until I could see the unmistakable lights from a police cruiser flashing, as well as an ambulance. A police officer was indeed directing traffic, letting one lane go through at a time, and then switching to let cars from the other lane pass. The ambulance was parked on the right hand lane, just in front of another car that looked as though it had run right into several trees before coming to a stop. I looked over at the wreckage, and could see the EMS personnel treating an older gentleman in the front seat.

After what seemed hours, we were past the accident, and Ben was able to speed up. He had his four-way flashers on, and from the sounds of the engine, I could tell that he was driving faster than he probably should have been considering the conditions on the road.

"Just hang on, Chris. We're almost there," Ben said to me.

"I'm hanging," I assured him.

"To the left or right?" he asked, which completely took me by surprise.

"The left," I answered, laughing at his attempt to distract me from the pain I was feeling. I have to admit, it worked.

"A southpaw huh?" he said, more than asked.

"Aw, don't make me laugh," I said, unable to stop myself despite the pain it caused.

"Sorry. Just a few more minutes," he answered.

"I'm grateful for that," I said simply.

Several more minutes went by before Ben turned into the driveway to the hospital. Considering the size of the town, I was impressed by the hospital's size. It looked almost as big as Joseph Brant hospital in Burlington, and that one was designed to handle a population far greater than what was in the town we were in.

"We're here," he said.

"I see that."

He drove us right to the emergency entrance, and got out of the truck. Seconds later, he came back out with two men and a woman with a stretcher. Ben opened up the door, and with the men's help, pulled me out of the truck and onto the stretcher. Again I felt the pain shoot up my leg as it was moved, and I cried out. As quickly as they could they lifted me up, and carried me into the hospital, Ben walking beside the two men, who I figured were orderlies. One of them looked down at me and smiled.

"Don't you worry young man, we'll get you fixed up good as new," he told me.

"Thanks, um..."

"Doctor Wallace," he answered.

"Thanks," I said, before everything went black, and I passed out.

* * *

When I regained consciousness, I found myself in a lightly coloured room, lying in a bed. I was in a hospital gown, and looking down at myself, I could see that my leg was in a cast, and being suspended slightly by wires from a contraption attached to the bed. Looking over, I could see the prone figure of Ben, slumped over the chair beside my bed, obviously asleep.

The door to the room suddenly opened, and the doctor I recognized from before came into the room with a clipboard.

"Ah, I see you're awake. I don't know if you remember me, but I'm doctor Wallace. I was the one that admitted you when you came in with your friend here," he said.

"How long have I been out?" I asked him, or tried to, since my mouth felt dry and sore.

"Here, drink some of this," he said, helping me sit up, and handing me a cup of water. It made my throat feel slightly better, though I could still feel the soreness in my throat, like I do when I had a bad cough.

"As for how long you've been here, most of the day, actually. Your friend here hasn't left your side."

By now Ben had woken up, and was standing beside the bed as well.

"How are you feeling, Chris?" he asked me.

"Sore, and my leg itches," I said.

"Be glad that is all it does," Doctor Wallace said to me.

"That tree did a good job on your leg, Chris," Ben said.

"How bad was it?" I asked, looking at the both of them.

"Don't you worry, Chris. You'll have full use of your leg soon enough. We had to set the bone, and screw in a couple plates to hold them together while they healed. You're going to have at least eight weeks of healing to do, and then several months of physical therapy to endure, but soon you'll be almost as good as new," Doctor Wallace said.

"Almost?" I asked.

"The plates will have to stay in I'm afraid, and your leg won't be as strong as it used to be, but you'll be able to walk, and run, and do most of the things you used to do."

"How about playing baseball?" I asked him.

"I don't see any problem with that, however with your injury, you wouldn't be able to join a professional team."

"Oh that's okay, Doctor. I didn't plan on becoming a professional baseball player. I just wanted to know if I could play some games with friends of mine."

"So long as you keep fit, I don't see why not," Doctor Wallace told me.

"And you've been here the whole time?" I asked Ben.

"Yep. Wasn't going to leave my new friend alone to be poked and prodded by some nurse," he said, smiling down at me.

"My hero," I said, laughing.

"Well, he's not the only one that's been here to see you," Doctor Wallace said.

"My parents?" I asked.

"And your sister as well," he replied.

"Where are they?"

"Getting some lunch. They should be back any minute," Doctor Wallace said.

"And what about you, Ben?"

"Oh, I've already had lunch. I like your family. They're really nice people," he said.

"Yeah, they are."

"So, are you going to tell them?" Ben asked me.

"I guess I need to," I said.

"Oh?" Ben asked.

"Yes, since I think I've found myself a boyfriend," I said, pointedly looking right at Ben.

"I... I don't know what to say," Ben said, stammering slightly.

"Say you'll become my boyfriend?" I asked hopefully.

"You don't have to ask, Chris. Of course I will be," he said with tears in his eyes.

"Well, I think I'll leave you two love birds alone for a bit. But remember, Ben. Chris needs his rest, and I don't want him to get too worked up," Doctor Wallace said, smiling at the two of us.

"Thanks, Doc. For everything," Ben said, still looking down at me, and now holding my hand in his.

"You just take care of your new boyfriend for me," he said.

"Count on it," Ben replied before the doctor left the room.

"So you mean it?" I asked. "You'll be my boyfriend?"

"Yes, silly. I will be your boyfriend. I know I'm really liking you a lot, and I think I'm beginning to fall in love with you," Ben said.

"And not just because you feel sorry for this foolish boy who doesn't have the sense to stay inside when the weather gets bad?"

"Someone's gotta protect you from yourself," Ben said, laughing, and me with him.

"I love you too, Ben. When I first heard your voice, I thought I was dead, because I thought an angel was talking to me. And then I saw your face, and knew that I couldn't be dead because heaven couldn't be as good as what I was seeing," I said.

"Ah," Ben said, blushing furiously.

"You know you're cute when you blush?" I said, smiling up at him. I raised my hand to his face, and stroked the side of his cheek.

"And do you know I'll get you back for that one day?" he asked me in return.

"Uh huh," I said. I let my hand drop back to my side, just before the door to the room opened again, and my sister came running into the room.

"Yay! You're awake!" she said excitedly, rushing to my side and giving me a big hug.

"Hi, Sis," I said softly since I was having difficulties breathing due to the strength of her hug.

"Dad told me you got hurt and I had to come see you," she said, letting me go.

"It's good to see you too, Jenny."

"Well, you're awake," my dad said, walking into the room with my mom.

"Hi, Dad. Hi, Mom," I said, looking over at them.

"How are you feeling, Son?" my dad asked me.

"I'm a little tired, and my leg itches a bit," I said. "I'm sorry."

"You're okay, and that's what matters," my dad said. "But if you ever do something like that again, I'm going to sick your mom on you," he said, smiling.

"Oh, God!" I said, groaning from embarrassment.

"I knew we shouldn't have let you go alone, Chris," My mom said.

"Honey, we can't baby him all his life. He's an adult now and has to make choices for himself," my dad said.

"He's still my boy," my mom said defiantly.

"Mom, I'm okay. And I promise I'll never do something like that again," I said, reaching out to her. In no time at all, my mom had me in a hug that was even tighter than the one my sister gave me. I couldn't breath very well, but it didn't matter. I had my family with me, and my boyfriend. My boyfriend. I looked over at Ben, and saw him standing there beside me, smiling as he watched me and my family get back together.

"So you met Ben, then?" I asked my dad when my mom had released me.

"Yes we did, Son. And I must say you were very lucky that he found you when he did."

"So am I," I said.

"We had a chance to talk to Ben a bit while you were sleeping," my mom said.

"Oh?" I asked.

"He told us that he had two wolves, and that they were the ones who found you first."

"Yeah, he does. When I first saw them, I was scared out of my mind," I said.

"I don't doubt it, Son. Anyone would have been in your situation," my dad said.

"So what do they look like? Huh? Can I see them?" Jenny asked.

"Not now, honey. Chris is going to be in the hospital for a few days," my mom pointed out to her.

"Some Christmas this is turning out to be," I said.

"Nonsense. Doesn't matter whether we have Christmas at home, or at the cottage. So long as we're together as a family."

"You mean, you're all staying up here?" I asked.

"Why not? We brought everything up with us, and we can always buy food at the supermarket in town," my mom said.

"Leave it to your mom to insist that we have Christmas up here. With your leg broken as it is, we can't very well travel back to Burlington comfortably. So we'll be spending Christmas at the cottage," my dad said.

"I don't know what to say," I said.

"And of course Ben is welcome to join us if he'd like," my mom said, looking at Ben.

"Well, I don't know..." Ben started.

"I'd like that very much," I said. Looking over at Ben.

"You sure?" he asked.

"Definitely. But I guess I need to tell you a few things before that happens," I said, looking back at my family.

"Oh, you mean the part about you being gay, and that Ben's your new boyfriend?" my sister asked.

"How... how did you know?" I asked, suddenly afraid.

"Son, don't worry. We've known about you for a long time. Despite what some teens think, parent's are not blind."

"I didn't know," I said, tears filling my eyes. "I didn't want to disappoint you."

"The only thing that could disappoint us, is if you were unhappy. That's all we've ever wanted for you. You know we have friends who are gay. Being gay doesn't change how we feel about you. You're our son."

"I love you so much," I said, crying openly. My mom and dad stood there, holding onto me as I cried. Mostly I think I cried out of relief. For so long I had hid from them a part of me that they already knew about, and accepted without reservations. I didn't lose my family. They still loved me, whether I was gay or not. It wasn't long before I had no more tears to shed. All that I had been holding inside me was out in the open, and I truly began to feel more alive than I had in a long time.

"And how did you know?" Ben asked, looking over at my sister.

"Cause I heard you through the door," Jenny said proudly.

"You always were a little sneak," I said, looking over at her.

"I think it's so cool that you have a boyfriend," she said.

"And you don't care that your big brother is gay?" I asked.

"Nope!" she replied.

"I love you, Jenny," I said. My parents had let me go, and I reached my arms out to my sister, once again finding myself in another one of her hugs. This time,though, I could feel it was different. This time she wasn't trying to squeeze the life out of me, but instead was trying to show how much she loved me.

"So, Mom, Dad, Jenny. I'd like you to meet my boyfriend, Ben," I said, deciding that I needed to properly introduce him to my family.

"Welcome to the family, Ben," my dad said, walking around the side of the bed, and taking Ben into his arms, hugging him in a way I knew that Ben had never felt from a parent in a long long time.

My dad could tell there was something wrong, when he began to feel Ben shaking in his arms, and his shoulder was getting wet.

"What's wrong Ben?" he asked, holding onto him tighter.

"Dad, Ben's family kicked him out when he came out to them. The only family he has now is his younger sister," I told him. "He hasn't had a dad or mom to hold him in a long time."

"How awful!" my mom exclaimed. "If I get my hands on those so-called parents of yours, Ben, I'll give them a piece of my mind."

"Looks like you don't just get a new boyfriend today, my love," I said to Ben who still had his head on my dad's shoulder. "Looks like you get a new mom and dad as well."

"And me too!" Jenny said.

"And a new sister as well," I said, laughing.

"This is the best Christmas a guy could ever wish for," Ben said.

My dad let Ben go, and looked him right in his tear stained eyes. "Everyone deserves a family, and no one should ever spend Christmas alone. Well, Jenny, would you like to give your new brother a hug?" She didn't waste any time, and ran over to Ben, wrapping her long arms around him, and giving him a taste of the hug I received from her when she first burst into the room.

"She doesn't let people breath much does she?" Ben asked.

"Nope. But she definitely lets you know that she likes you," I said, smiling over at him.

"That I can tell," he said with difficulty.

"Okay, honey. Let Ben go so he can breath," my mom said, chuckling slightly.

"So what's going to happen now?" I asked.

"Well, for the next couple days, you have to stay here in the hospital," my dad said. "Your mom and I will need to go into town and pick up some things from the store. You didn't buy enough food for five people. And if I know your mom, she's going to want to do some decorating. And when you get out of the hospital, all of us will spend Christmas together, including Ben."

"Well, I'd love to join you all for Christmas. I was thinking I'd be spending it alone this year," Ben said.

"Just one question," I said. "Ben, what about your wolves?"

"They'll know where I am," he said.

"Will they try to get into the cottage?" I asked.

"It's possible," Ben said, looking over at the rest of his new family, and seeing the worried looks on their faces; except for my sister that is.

Editor's Notes:

Well that was a wonderful family moment. Chris' family already knew, and Jenny snooped. Now that is a real surprise a little sister that snoops. Who would have ever suspected it? I am sure there will be one heck of a Christmas celebration.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher