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This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entire a coincidence. As the author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me. This work is copyright © 2015 by Steven Wells.
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Sam and Chris
Our morning went off without a hitch. Either we were finally getting things right or the twins were adapting to us.
Chris and I were relaxing at the kitchen island when his phone rang around 11 am. "Hello, this is Chris," he said as he put the phone on speaker.
"Chris, this is Edward. Is Sam with you?" Edward asked.
"Yes," Chris replied. "He's right next to me. The phone is on speaker. What can we do for you?"
"Emily was released from the hospital today," Edward said quietly. "I told her I would check on you to see how things are going."
"Where are you now, Edward?" Chris asked.
"I'm at home," Edward replied. "Emily is sleeping. I have a question for you."
"Ask away," Chris suggested.
"Do you mind if I stay in touch with you?" Edward asked. He was almost crying.
"We'd like you to," I said.
Chapter 58: New Life, New Dogs, New House
One month and a few days after Joshua and Mathew were born, Chris and I, along with a bevy of family and friends, gathered at the packed UCC church in my hometown for the baptism of Joshua Thomas Williamson and Mathew Charles Williamson. We also decided to add Donald Pierce Williamson to the mix.
"What if Mathew and Joshua start screaming during the middle of the service?" I whisper to my father as we settled into a pew.
"Let them scream," my father suggested. "It's their day. They are the center of attention."
"Won't people be annoyed?" I asked.
"No," my father replied. "The entire congregation knows why you and your children are with us today. It is a time for celebration, not only for you and your three boys, but also the entire congregation. We are welcoming these guys into the community of the church. Just relax and enjoy the celebration."
Jeffery took his place in front of the church and began the service.
"Leave it to the Williamson family to pack the church," Jeffery began. "I haven't see this many people here since... well..., since forever. I want to welcome everyone to the service this morning, but I especially want to welcome Sam and Chris Williamson along with their three sons, Donald Pierce Williamson, Joshua Thomas Williamson, and Mathew Charles Williamson."
The service continued until it was time for the Baptism part to begin. Jeffery again stood in front of the church.
Jeffery began, "Following the tradition of Jesus who welcomed children into his community, we celebrate the presence of children within this community of faith and offer to children the sacrament of baptism."
"As we invite Donald Pierce Williamson, Joshua Thomas Williamson, and Mathew Charles Williamson and their parents, Sam and Chris Williamson, to come forward today and celebrate the sacrament of baptism, we acknowledge the diverse religious traditions of our church community. Finding a path between the tradition of infant baptism and the personal profession of faith, we are afforded a unique opportunity."
Chris and I carried Joshua and Mathew to the front of the church with Donny leading the way. The boys' GodparentsóLuke, Sean, Sawyer, and Glenójoined us.
"Fully respecting the diversity of the community gathered, we affirm the love of God made known in these children and the sacredness of the covenant shared between these children, their parents, the Godparents, and this congregation to support these children as they live and grow in faith."
The boys quietly allowed Jeffery to finish the Baptism ritual.
"Shall we pray: God of wonder
we thank you for your love revealed here this day
as this community, these parents, and this these children
come together making covenant promises.
We pray that this community will have the grace to uphold the promises made here this day, providing a safe shelter of your love in which this child these children may grow and play.
We pray that these parents may continue to feel the sweet wonder of your presence so transparent here today.
We pray these children will bask in your love as they make their own journey through this life.
"So, let us now welcome Donald Pierce, Joshua Thomas, and Mathew Charles Williamson to our United Church of Christ community."
As we walked down the aisle with the choir singing the last song of the service, "Lean on Me," Joshua and Mathew decided to join in song. They didn't need a microphone to be heard.
On our way back to my parents' house after the church service, Donny decided to keep us up-to-date on the cows and other animals. He also had a few questions.
"Daddy," Donny began. "Why is Mabel a black and white cow and those are brown and white?"
"Different kinds of cows have different colors," I explained.
"Why?" Donny asked.
"Ah... Just like you: your Daddy Chris, your brothers, and me... We are different colors," I continued. "It would be boring if we were all the same color, don't you think?"
"I guess," Donny decided.
Once we arrived back at my parent's house, we unloaded the boys and changed into something more comfortable for the celebration at my parents' home. My parents had pulled out all of the stops. Caterers arrived while we were in church. Two bartenders were taking drink orders while the wait staff circulated with appetizers on the first floor and the outside deck. Lunch would be served on the third floor of the house.
"So, Sammie," Sawyer began while we were having cocktails on the back patio. "What was it like growing up in a mansion?"
"It's just a farm house, Sawyer," I replied.
"Yea," Luke interrupted. "A three story, brick, Gregorian style house with huge columns rivaling the ones at the White House. Set on, what, 100 acres of land including a small lake."
"Don't forget the ball room on the third floor," Sean added. "I could move in to the third floor. It would make a great loft space."
"I didn't really think of it as anything special," I replied. "I was sort of irritated we couldn't live in town in a new house on a suburban style street."
"So, now you have your new house in town on a suburban style street at school," Sawyer added.
"I need to go rescue Chris and his mother from twin duty," I replied. "We are still getting used to having two little ones to take care of."
"In other words, you want to get out of the twenty questions about the house you grew up in," Glen said with a smile.
"You think?" I said to the group with a smile.
I headed toward Chris and his mother. They were engrossed in conversation with my grandmother. By the time I arrived beside Chris, Joshua and Mathew told us they were hungry.
"They aren't afraid to tell us how they feel," Chris began as he took Mathew from his mother and I took Joshua from my grandmother.
"I wondered how long they were going to be still and just smile at us," my grandmother said.
"We'll be back after we get them a bottle," I said as Chris and I went to the kitchen.
"These two are a hit with everyone," Chris said as we gave Joshua and Mathew their bottle. "They will probably do well in politics."
"It's a little early to determine their career goals," I added. "But, I will say they enjoy the attention people give them."
"While Joshua and Mathew are occupied," Chris began. "Why don't we go circulate?"
"Okay," I replied. "These two will be napping after they are fed."
"When will they stop sleeping more than they are awake?" Chris asked.
"Give them another month or two and they should be more settled for longer periods of time," I explained. "At least, I have read those statistics."
"Congratulations, guys," Mel said to us. "How are you holding up?"
"Good," I replied. "We have had some sleepless nights, but we are getting more into a routine. And, they aren't shy. They tell us when they want something."
"You guys are gutsy," Mel added. "I'm not certain I could take on twin boys, go to school, and be involved in the community."
"We don't think about it," I said. "As my father is fond of saying, `Just do it.' Of course, he doesn't always take his own advice."
"It's a trait most of the people in Sam's family exhibit," Chris added. "They don't know the meaning of `no' or `impossible.'"
"Daddy," Donny said as Philip carried him to where we were standing. "Uncle Philip wants to know when we are getting the doggies their brothers since I have mine."
"We will work on getting the dogs brothers in a few weeks," I replied. "We need to wait until the brothers for the dogs are ready, just like you had to wait for your brothers."
"Okay," Donny replied. "Uncle Philip said I could go say goodbye to Mabel before we leave tomorrow. Is it okay?"
"Of course," I replied. "I'm certain you will make Mabel a very happy cow if you say goodbye to her."
"I'm sort of jealous," Chris began. "When I first met Mabel, I thought she had a crush on me. Now, she seems to have a crush on you, Donny. She's a fickle cow."
"She likes us both, Daddy," Donny reassured Chris. "She told me."
"Tell her I like her too, Donny," Chris replied.
"Okay," Donny replied as he wiggled to the floor and took his place to play with Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Simon.
"I wish I had his energy," Mel interjected as she watched Donny and the dogs play.
"He's our 8 am alarm clock," I said. "If the dogs don't wake us up before then, Donny does."
"What's your plan for your boys when you return to school?" Mel asked.
"Donny is going to pre-school," Chris explained. "Mrs. Graham, who stayed with Donny last semester, will stay with the twins on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Neither one of us scheduled classes on Tuesday or Thursday."
After our visit with Mable on Monday morning, we packed up the SUV, strapped three boys into their car seats, and loaded the dogs in the back. We were on the road again to Chicago with a stop to see the house in Champaign.
Tom greeted us on the front porch of the house. "Good afternoon! How did your weekend with your parents go, Sam?"
"Perfect," I replied. "We had a wonderful time on Sunday. The baptism made us all feel very, very connected."
"I got to talk to Mabel," Donny added.
"Mabel?" Tom asked.
"A cow," I replied. "At first, she had a crush on Chris. Now, it is Donny and Chris."
Oh, I see," Tom said with a smile. "Why doesn't Mabel have a crush on you, Sam?"
"I've known Mabel for most of my life," I replied. "She's more like a sister. And, no, Tom, we are not as crazy as we seem sometimes."
"Are you ready to see the house?" Tom asked.
"Yup," Chris replied. "We are eager to see your progress."
When we walked through the front door, Chris and I stood in silence for a few moments.
"This is amazing, Tom," I finally said. "It looks so nice and inviting."
"And huge," Chris added.
We were amazed at the transformation from a dark, formal, over decorated space to a sleek, bright, and inviting living space.
"The kitchen is magnificent," Chris added as we looked into the kitchen from the island.
"If you go missing in action, Chris," I began. "I will know where to find you."
"Daddy?" Donny asked. "May I please sit?"
"What do you mean?" Chris asked.
"Up there," Donny replied pointing to the counter top of the island.
I put the carrier with Mathew on the island and lifted Donny to the counter of the island. He immediately sat cross-legged and began to survey the space.
"I can see everything from here," Donny explained. "I can even see outside and watch the doggies play in the back yard."
"So, you like it so far, Donny?" Tom asked.
"Yup," Donny replied. "There is enough room here for me and my brothers. Don't you think so, Mathew?"
Mathew smiled and gurgled something.
"See," Donny, explained. "He likes it too."
"Do you want to watch your bothers while we check out the pantry?" Chris asked.
"Yup," Donny said as he scooted between Mathew and Joshua's carriers.
After we finished scoping out the pantry and wine storage area, we put Donny on the floor again and scooped up the carriers with Mathew and Joshua in them. We followed Tom upstairs to look at the redone bedrooms. The first stop was the master.
"Wow," I exclaimed. "This room looks huge."
"It's the windows," Tom explained. "The bigger windows make a huge difference in the feel of the space. Want to look at the master bathroom?"
We followed Tom into the master bathroom.
"Holy... cow," Chris exclaimed. "This is not only huge, it is gorgeous!"
"I can tell by the look on your face, Chris. We will be replicating this bathroom no matter where we land next," I added.
"Daddy! Daddy! Come see my room!" Donny announced as he came running back into the master suite.
We quickly followed Donny to his room.
"See?" Donny said. "I have horses, cows, and bunnies on my walls."
"Do you think he likes it, Chris?" I whispered.
"It seems that way," Chris whispered back as we headed through the bathroom connecting Donny and the twins' room.
"What are Mathew and Joshua going to have on their walls?" Donny asked.
"We will give them some time to tell us before we get too carried away," Chris explained.
"Okay," Donny agreed. "But, we still need to get them two doggies."
"What about just one dog, Donny?" I asked.
"Nope," he replied. "They will need two."
"Chris," I whispered again. "Who are the adults in this family?"
"We are," Chris answered.
"Then, shouldn't we be making the decision about the number of brothers for the dogs?" I asked.
"Yes," Chris said with a smile. "But, you and I both know we are saps for kids and dogs. Let's face it, we are going to be getting two puppies. Otherwise, we will have three very unhappy boys on our hands. And, three unhappy dogs. Then what do we do?"
"I somehow think you may be right, Chris," I said as we wondered into the guest room on the second floor.
"You know, Sam," Chris said as we were looking around. "We will need two more guest rooms to accommodate our parents and grandparents during holidays or other events."
"I have your problem already solved, guys," Tom explained. "Come downstairs with me."
We followed Tom dutifully to the basement.
"We have two very large spaces down here in the basement," Tom began. "And, because of the slope of the property, each of these very large spaces have walk out French doors to a patio. We also have plumbing here for a bathroom hookup. Each space could have a separate bathroom. So, we could easily add two bathrooms for about $5,000 each if we do moderately priced bathrooms."
"How have we done on the rest of the renovation budget?" I asked.
"We are under budget by about $15,000.00," Tom explained.
"So, I think we have a seven bedroom, 6 bathroom house," Chris decided.
"Did you ever think we would be living in a house with three kids and three dogs before we are out of college?" I asked.
"When I met you, I knew we would be doing great things together," Chris replied. "However, to answer your question, no. But, I am happy this is what we have. I'd never want to give it up."
"So, Tom," I added. "Do you have any other surprises for us?"
"Nope," Tom replied. "We've gone over most of the surprises I have planned. We will be ready for you to move in in two weeks."
"We will see you then," Chris said as we loaded into the SUV. It was my turn to drive.
We were about an hour outside Champaign when Chris's phone rang.
"Chris Williamson," he said when he answered the phone.
"Pat! It's good to hear from you," Chris said. "Let me turn this on speakerphone so Sam can hear."
"Hello, Sam," Pat the dog breeder said.
"Hello, Pat," I added as I kept my eyes on the road. "How are you and the dogs?"
"Terrific," Pat replied. "You had mentioned you would be interested in one or two puppies sometime in the next few months. Your three dogs' mother and father had another liter. She had five puppies. Three boys. Two girls. They were born on July 4th."
"Really?" Chris replied. "Our newly adopted twins were also born on July 4th."
"How wonderful," Pat replied. "They will be ready to be adopted in about two weeks. So, I was wondering if you'd like to have the pick of the liter."
"We are on our way to Chicago," Chris began to explain. "The boys, Mathew and Joshua, were baptized on Sunday in Sam's hometown. We will be home in Chicago in about an hour."
"If you have time to come out this week," Pat began. "You can pick out the one or ones you want."
"Will you be around tomorrow afternoon?" I asked.
"Absolutely," Pat replied. "What time do you want to come out?"
"Let's say 2 pm," Chris decided.
"I'll see you then," Pat agreed. "Come prepared with names."
"Donny has already picked the names," I said. "Winthrop and Wallaby."
"The bunny and the kangaroo!" Pat exclaimed. "Perfect."
"Are we getting the doggies brothers?" Donny exclaimed.
"You are correct," I replied.
"Goodie," Donny added.
"Nothing like an excited little boy," Pat said.
"I'm not little anymore," Donny replied. "I'm four."
"Oh!" Pat responded. "I'm sorry. I didn't know you were so grown up."
"We will see you tomorrow, Pat," Chris added. "We have one very excited four-year-old and three dogs who are looking forward to meeting the next new additions to our family. The twins will be excited, but they just don't know it yet."
"I'm looking forward to see you again," Pat said as we ended the conversation.
"So," Chris said to me. "Tomorrow should be exciting."
We pulled up in front of Pat's house precisely at 2 pm. By the time we had Donny and the twins out of their car seats and the dogs on leashes, another 10 minutes had passed. Chris rang the doorbell.
"Welcome!" Pat exclaimed as she opened the door. She kneeled in front of Donny, "You must be Donny!"
"Yes," Donny politely replied. First, he introduced the dogs and then his brothers, "This is Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Simon. Daddy Sam is holding Mathew. Daddy Chris is holding Joshua."
Pat peered into each carrier holding Mathew and Joshua. "They look like little angels."
"Until they wake up at 3 am and demand to be fed," Chris said with a smile.
"Let's go into the back room where the mother and puppies are resting," Pat suggested as she led us through the house to the family room in the back. "This is Katie, the mother of all of the dogs. And, the little ones are her newest babies. Please have a seat and you can get to know the group."
Chris and I sat on the sofa. I held Mathew. Chris held Joshua. Donny sat on the floor. Katie wasted no time. She was immediately in sniff mode. First, she sniffed Donny. Then Mathew. Finally, Joshua. Later, her attention turned to Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Simon who returned the sniffs. Katie sat on the floor in front of us. She looked at Donny, then Mathew, then Joshua, then Lincoln, then Roosevelt, and finally Simon. She stood and headed back to where her babies were. Katie nuzzled one pup and pushed him toward us. She stopped herding the puppy when he was in front of Mathew and me. She went back to her puppies and pushed another one towards us. She stopped when the puppy was in front of Chris and Joshua.
"Look Mathew," I said to the little guy I was holding. "The puppy wants to say hello to you."
Mathew took one look at the puppy and his face turned into a massive smile. The puppy's tail went wild.
Chris introduced Joshua to the puppy in front of him. Same reaction.
Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Simon jointly sniffed at each puppy. Finally, the two puppies decided to give Donny lots of licks.
"This one is Winthrop. That one is Wallaby," Donny announced between licks. "When can we take them home?"
"They need about two more weeks with their mother," Pat answered.
"Just in time for the move to the house," I added.
"Will they be eating puppy food by then?" Chris asked.
"Yes," Pat replied. "They are eating puppy food now. They just need a little time to adjust."
"We can pick them up on our way out of town," I suggested. "We don't want them to be confused by two houses early in their lives."
"Why can't we take them home now?" Donny asked.
"They wouldn't be ready to get along without their mother," I replied.
"We could bring them back if they get scared," Donny continued.
"It wouldn't be fair to the puppies," Chris explained.
"Can we come back and visit them again?" Donny asked.
"Pat?" I pushed the question to Pat.
"Of course you can come to visit them," Pat replied.
"He might not want to leave," Chris whispered to Pat.
"Do you want to stay here with the puppies?" Pat asked Donny.
"Yes," Donny replied. "But, I need to take care of my brothers."
Two weeks had passed since we picked out Winthrop and Wallaby. Our luggage, what little we needed, was packed and loaded into the SUV for our ride back to school. Donny sat on the kitchen island while Chris and I were making breakfast. Mathew and Joshua appeared asleep when we looked at the baby monitor.
"Are we ready for two more furry friends?" I asked Chris as I retrieved the toast from the toaster.
"Are you having second thoughts?" Chris asked.
"No," I replied. "I just hope our neighbors are pet friendly."
"They won't make too much noise," Chris added. "At least, I hope not."
"The last time we added a dog to the family, we wound up with a three-year-old boy," I said. "I wonder where they will want to sleep."
"If Donny has a say in the matter," Chris began. "I suspect it will be in the twin's room."
"Lincoln and Roosevelt want to sleep with Mathew and Joshua," Donny explained.
"How do you know this, Donny?" Chris asked.
"Simon told me," Donny continued. "At least until Winthrop and Wallaby are a little older."
"Makes perfect sense to me," Chris agreed.
"Why don't you ask Roosevelt, Chris," I said. "You and he have formed a bond. Surely you can ask."
"I will speak to him on the way back to school today," Chris said with a smile as he put the eggs on each of our plates.
After we finished breakfast, we buckled Donny and the twins into their car seats for our trip to pick up Winthrop and Wallaby. Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Simon huddled together in the back of the SUV.
"I had a horrible thought, Chris," I said as I sat in the passenger seat and Chris entered Lakeshore Drive.
"What?" Chris asked.
"What if we don't fit into this car?" I asked.
"We will fit," Chris replied. "We can't not fit. The SUV is about the biggest vehicle around. The only thing bigger is a motor home."
When we arrived at Pat's home, we put leashes on the dogs and unbuckled Donny, Mathew, and Joshua. Pat, along with Winthrop and Wallaby, greeted us.
"So, are you excited, Donny?" Pat asked
"Yup," Donny replied. "So are Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Simon. Simon told me they want to play in our back yard."
"I'll bet the five of them will have a great time in your back yard," Pat suggested as Lincoln, Roosevelt, Simon, Winthrop, and Wallaby began to sniff each other.
"Pat," I began. "If you get a call from Chris or Donny suggesting we need another dog, please tell them you need to speak to me first."
"I have promised Sam he will be the one making decisions on dogs from now on," Chris explained. "He has this fear we won't fit into our car with either more kids or more dogs."
"I will keep that in mind," Pat replied with a smile. "Here are all of their papers and vet records. I am certain Winthrop and Wallaby will be welcome additions to your family."
"Despite some of my protestations, we are excited," I explained. "We have two month old twins and two month old puppies. I do, however, expect to be busy this semester."
"Never a dull moment," Chris suggested as we loaded dogs into the back of the SUV. Once we had the twins and Donny strapped into their car seats, we were on our way.
"I can't wait to see our stuff in the house," I said as I merged onto the freeway. "My parents were most appreciative that we took the rest of my grandparents' furniture out of their attic. I still don't know what my grandparents did with three dining room tables."
"And, now, we have all three of them," Chris replied. "One in Chicago. One in the dining room at school. The other in the family room. It worked out nicely that your grandparents were obsessively into collecting contemporary furniture and art."
"We should have a house warming party sometime after we get into the swing of school," I suggested.
"It would be fun," Chris replied. I could see the wheels turning in his head.
"You just want an excuse to use the kitchen," I added. As I looked into the rear view mirror, I saw Winthrop and Wallaby hop into the back seat. One settled between Joshua and Donny. The other between Donny and Mathew. "I think Winthrop and Wallaby are marking their territory."
"So, it seems like Lincoln and Roosevelt will still be staying with us at night," Chris added as he looked into the back seat.
"At least we won't need to break them in," I replied. "We will have our work cut out for us. Unpacking boxes is not my idea of a fun time."
"At least the furniture will be in put in the appropriate places," Chris added. "The beds will be made. We will need to go shopping. And, then we need to find the boxes that have the pots, pans, plates, glasses, and flatware. All in all, it should be a fun few days ahead of us."
"Do you think Winthrop and Wallaby will adapt quickly?" I asked.
"Let's hope," Chris said with a smile. "At least their older brothers will be able to help them through the more traumatic issues."
Finally, we pulled into the driveway of the house. As the garage door opened, we were greeted with boxes.
"We may need to call in a few favors to get through all of this before we have grandchildren," Chris added.
"Let's go in and see how things are inside," I suggested.
"Good idea," Chris agreed as we began to get the little ones out of car seats. We entered the house from the garage.
"Holy s... cow!" I exclaimed as we entered the house. "This is amazing!"
"Hello, guys," Trevor, our decorator, announced. "I took the liberty of placing furniture. The crew will be here tomorrow. We can rearrange things if you want. We didn't put up any of the artwork because we wanted to know what you wanted where."
"You did a terrific job, Trevor," Chris exclaimed.
"Thank you," Trevor began. "When the movers started to unload the furniture, I was absolutely blown away. The furniture from your parents' attic is exquisite!"
"We were lucky my grandparents collected contemporary furniture and artwork," I explained. "My parents were happy to finally get rid of all of it."
"I have this feeling we will need to move the house to Chicago once we graduate," Chris explained.
"Or, we will be staying in Champaign our whole lives," I added.
"I put some of the art pieces where I thought they might look good," Trevor explained. "Two of the guys found the boxes with some of your kitchen stuff. They are in the pantry. We didn't know where you would want the stuff. Also, the housekeeper has your bedrooms ready with sheets and towels in the bathrooms. "
Lincoln, Roosevelt, Simon, Winthrop, and Wallaby sat on the kitchen floor and intensely listened to Trevor.
"Is it something I said?" Trevor asked as he noticed five dogs watching him talk.
I fished five dog treats out of my backpack and handed them to Trevor, "They want attention, Trevor. Give them these and they will be your most loyal friends forever."
Once Trevor gave each dog a treat and a pat on the head, they were satisfied the new guy was okay. The five dogs decided to explore the rest of the house.
We followed Trevor to the dining and living room area.
"I didn't know where you wanted the piano, so I put it near the bay window," Trevor explained. "The guys can move it wherever you want it."
"It's perfect there," I said. "Don't you think so, Chris?"
"Yup," Chris replied. "Of course, I am biased. What about the upstairs?"
"I think you will be pleased with the results in both your room as well as the guest room," Trevor announced as he led the way upstairs. "I haven't done much with the boys' rooms because I thought they would enjoy making decisions about their own space... Although, I do think it may take Mathew and Joshua a few more weeks before they want to decorate their room."
We walked into our bedroom. Chris and I were speechless for a few moments.
"This is amazing," I finally said.
"This bedroom and the upstairs guest room are both completely furnished with pieces from your grandparents, Sam," Trevor explained. "The Artichoke Lamp by Poul Henningsen is one of the outstanding pieces in this collection. This is also NOT a reproduction. It is signed and dated by the designer. It was made in 1958 in Copenhagen."
"So, my grandparents had good taste," I quipped.
"The Barcelona Sofa, two Barcelona Chairs, and the end tables by Mies Van Der Rohe tie the whole room together," Trevor continued. "I don't know how much insurance you have on the content of this house, but I might suggest you have an appraiser come in and look at this stuff. From my own research and limited knowledge of these pieces, you have a fortune sitting in the living room and dining room areas as well as the two upstairs bedrooms."
"When you are saying a fortune," I began, "how much of a fortune?"
"I am not an expert," Trevor continued. "I couldn't really even guess. I have found some of the pieces in your grandparents' collection could run into the tens of thousands of dollars."
"Maybe we should have put this stuff in a museum," I added.
"I think your grandparents would want you to enjoy it," Chris explained his position. "Besides, we would need to go furniture shopping. We don't have time."
Mathew and Joshua suddenly decided to tell us they were hungry.
"I think two little ones are hungry," Chris said as we both headed to the kitchen and unstrapped the boys from their carriers. Once they were eating, they quieted down.
"How did you know they were hungry and not just wanting attention?" Trevor asked.
"They are the loudest when they want food," I replied.
"I'm not certain I could pass Parenting 101," Trevor said. "Aren't you afraid you might break them?"
"Before Mathew and Joshua arrived," I began. "I said the same thing. However, I quickly grew to understand they do not break as easily as one might think.
"If there is nothing else I can explain, I will get out of your hair so you can get settled," Trevor suggested. "One of your new neighbors dropped off a casserole. It's in the fridge. He left his card with contact information. They live in the house next to you on the right."
"Very thoughtful," I said. "I hope they are as understanding when they find out we have five dogs."
"I think you will find the neighborhood to be pet friendly," Trevor said as he was gathering up his things to leave. "What time do you want the crew here to put the final touches on the decorating?"
"Give us until 10 am to get the boys cleaned up and fed," I suggested. "Chris and I may not be fed and cleaned up, but the boys will."
"We will see you tomorrow," Trevor acknowledged. "Enjoy the evening."
As I closed the door behind Trevor, I heard the sound of five dogs' toenails clipping on the newly finished hardwood floors. They slid to a stop in front of me. All of them sat and stared at me with their tails waging across the floor.
"What?" I asked.
Chris popped his head into the entry hallway. "I think they are trying to apologize."
"For what?" I asked.
"I think they had a pillow fight in the television room," Chris said. He was smiling.
"How bad?" I asked.
"I've seen worse," Chris replied as I followed him into the television room.
There were two pillows on the floor with stuffing oozing from their covers.
"They were not my favorite pillows anyway," I added. "But, we need to set some ground rules. Who did it?"
Winthrop and Wallaby sheepishly took their place in front of the other dogs. Their tails were not wagging.
"Okay, guys," I began. "I want you to know that we are not angry at you. But, you need to try not to destroy the house before we have a chance to spend the first night here. NO MORE PILLOW FIGHTS! Okay?"
Winthrop and Wallaby's tails began to sweep the floor.
"I think you have made your point, Sam," Chris said with a huge smile spreading over his face. "Do you think they understood you?"
"Ask Roosevelt," I suggested. "You and he seem to have formed a bond."
"I'll talk to him later this evening," Chris said. "Right now, I think we have three boys and five dogs who need fed."
"Saved by three hungry boys!" I said to Winthrop and Wallaby. "Why don't you and your brothers go make yourself comfortable WITHOUT tearing the place apart any more than you already have?"
Lincoln, Roosevelt, Simon, Winthrop, and Wallaby slinked off to a furniture-less corner and began to play. The two younger brothers were chasing each other's tails. Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Simon watched from their vantage point half way between the corner and the kitchen island.
"I think they are settling into a routine," I suggested.
"Let's hope," Chris replied.
"What do you want to eat, Donny?" I asked.
"Ice cream," Donny suggested.
"Sandwich?" I asked.
"Ice cream," Donny said again.
"How about a turkey, cheese, and tomato sandwich?" I continued.
"Then, can I have some ice cream?" Donny asked.
"A small scoop," I agreed.
"Okay," Donny agreed. "When can Mathew and Joshua start eating ice cream?"
"A few months, probably," I suggested as I began making Donny his sandwich. "Why?"
"Just curious," Donny replied. "Do you think they will be able to eat ice cream when we have their birthday party?"
"I'm certain they could have some ice cream by then," I replied. "Are you beginning to plan their birthday party already?"
"We have to be prepared," Donny added. "Winthrop and Wallaby will be the same age."
"Just like you and Simon," I added.
"Yup," Donny agreed. "Maybe you need to find me another brother the same age as Lincoln and Roosevelt."
"Chris!" I almost screamed. "You need to talk to your son!"
"What's wrong?" Chris asked as he hurried beside me.
"Donny is talking about another brother the same age as Lincoln and Roosevelt," I explained. "Please explain why this cannot happen."
"Don't you want more kids, Sam?" Chris asked.
"Not right now, Chris," I said defiantly. "I want to graduate from college before I consider adding another member to this family."
"What if I told you I knew of two kids who are the exact same age as Lincoln and Roosevelt who are also looking for a new family?" Chris asked. He WAS smiling.
"You will be sleeping by yourself, Chris," I warned.
To be continued...
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I hope you liked the direction that `Sam and Chris' is taking. I've heard from many people and would like to hear from even more. I would enjoy hearing your comments about this story. You can write to me at MaWriterBoy@yahoo.com.
This is my 58th posting of my first story on Nifty.org.
I also have three other stories on Nifty:
John's Journey Forward in the `Beginnings' section
Jeffery Comes Home in the `Beginnings' section
Life With Tim in the authoritarian section (Please note, this story is not for everyone because there are several scenes depicting Master/slave and BDSM relationships. So, if you are not interested in this activity, please, please do not read this story.)
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