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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
As we walked the short distance to the school, Matt warned Kevin about his first encounter with our family, "Donny is a ball of energy. And, he's a brilliant judge of character and relationships. The dogs will let you know how you stand with them as well."
"Should I be worried?" Kevin asked nervously.
"Not unless you have something to hide," Matt replied as he took Kevin's hand before we went inside Donny's school.
We had just set foot inside Donny's room when he spotted Matt and came charging at us, "Uncle Matt! Uncle Matt!"
With one leap, Donny landed in Matt's arms. "Uncle Matt! Who's him?"
"Donny, I'd like you to meet my friend Kevin," Matt began. "Kevin, this is Donny."
"Hello, Donny," Kevin said.
"So, if you are Uncle Matt's boyfriend does that mean you're my uncle, too?" Donny asked Kevin.
"Do you want me to be your uncle?" Kevin asked Donny.
"Of course, silly," Donny replied. "You can't be Uncle Matt's boyfriend without being my uncle."
Donny somehow managed to move from Matt's arms to Kevin's.
Chapter 60: Housewarming
Chris and I had everything under control for the housewarming parties. Well, as under control as one can with three kids and five dogs. My parents were the first to arrive on Saturday afternoon.
"Mom, Dad," I greeted my parents at the front door. "You are our first guests! Come in and get used to the chaos."
As they stepped into the house, my mother stopped in her tracks, "Sam! This is beautiful!"
"Thanks," I said. "Actually, we should thank Grandma and Grandpa Williamson for collecting all of this stuff."
"Everything looks terrific in this house," my father added. "It's like the house and the furnishings were made for one another."
Donny and the five dogs ran down the stairs and cut short our conversation.
"Grandma! Grandpa!" Donny exclaimed as he jumped into my father's arms. "You have to see my room later! I have horses and cows and bunnies on my walls."
"We'll go look in a minute, Donny," I said. "Why don't we join the others in the kitchen?"
When we arrived in the kitchen, Chris was still cleaning up from our lunch.
"Chris," my mother began. "You look so calm and relaxed. So, the house must agree with you."
"It does most of the time," Chris replied. "Mornings are a bit hectic. Sam keeps reminding me we would be getting up at six am if we had cows to milk. So, we are not planning on any cows."
"How are these two doing?" my mother asked as she peered into Mathew and Joshua's carriers. Both of them started to smile and kick as they recognized their grandmother.
In a flash, my mother had a kicking and smiling Mathew in her arms and my father had Joshua who was doing the same as his brother.
"Chris has decided they will do well in politics," I explained. "They love being the center of attention. Donny, tell your grandparents about the stories you are reading to Mathew and Joshua."
"I'm reading the three books about Winthrop and Wallaby, the rabbit and kangaroo," Donny explained. "They keep looking at the doggies when I say Winthrop and Wallaby. Winthrop and Wallaby sleep in Mathew and Joshua's room now."
"I think they need to be changed," my father suggested.
"Rule of the house," I explained. "Whoever is holding them when they need diaper attention gets the pleasure of changing them."
"I think we can still manage to do change a diaper," my mother replied. "We'll go get them cleaned up. Then we can look at your room, Donny."
Donny and the five dogs scampered upstairs as my parents followed with Mathew and Joshua.
"I think we need to find someone to pay more attention to those two," Chris said with a smile. "We don't want to deprive them of interaction with people."
"They will never lack for companionship," I added. "At least until they finish high school."
The doorbell rang as my parents, Mathew, Joshua, Donny, and the five dogs returned to the first floor.
"Welcome!" Chris said after he opened the door to greet his mother and grandparents. "You arrived just in time. Mathew and Joshua no longer smell a little funny."
We all exchanged hugs. Then, we offered to lead the tour for my parents, Chris's mother, and grandparents.
"This place is absolutely breathtaking," Chris's mother enthused.
"The first floor was almost completely gutted," I began our tour. "The only thing left was the first floor guest room. The whole area was pretty cut up and dark before we bought the house. It is amazing what new, bigger windows and fewer walls will do for a space."
"This furniture and artwork is all from your grandparents, Sam?" Chris's grandmother asked.
"Everything except the piano and a couple of end tables in the living room," I explained. "The dining room is totally from my grandparents' collection. The television room required some purchases. We tried to keep things in line with the stuff from my grandparents' collection. The kitchen is Chris's dream come true."
"Henry may not leave, Chris," Chris's grandfather suggested. "He always thought our kitchen in the house on Astor Street needed a pantry and a few other upgrades."
"Maybe you can help me stock the wine racks, grandpa," Chris suggested.
"I would be honored to make some recommendations," his grandfather replied with a smile. "But, it looks like you have a fairly good start. Henry didn't think I would notice several bottles of my favorite champagne missing. I suspect they will appear here when Henry does."
"We can pay you for the missing bottles, grandpa," Chris suggested.
"Nonsense!" Chris's grandfather answered. "I do, however, trust you have my favorite scotch on hand."
"Yup," Chris said with a smile. "The main bar on this level has an abundant supply as does the minibar in the living room area of your rooms downstairs. So, if you will follow me, I will show you to your accommodations for the weekend."
As we went down the open staircase to the lower level, Chris's mother exclaimed, "This is amazing!"
"The yard on the side of the house slopes down rapidly to make it possible for the three rooms here to have a walk out patio through the French doors," Chris explained. "We thought you three would be very comfortable here. The rooms are away from the actual chaos of the rest of the house."
"As long as there is scotch in the suite somewhere, we will be extremely happy here," Chris's grandmother announced.
"And, if you get bored with us, you can also watch a movie in the theater," I explained as I led the group into the home theater.
"I suspect we would need assistance with the electronics in this room," Chris's grandfather suggested. "I can smell state-of-the-art facilities."
"Can I show them my room now?" Donny excitedly asked.
"Sure," I replied. "Let's go upstairs SLOWLY."
We continued the tour. Donny explained every cow, horse, and bunny painted on his walls. He also made certain everyone had a complete tour of the bathroom he shared with his brothers as well as Mathew and Joshua's room.
"Now," Chris began. "I think it is time to head downstairs to get this celebration going."
On Sunday morning, Chris, Donny, Mathew, Joshua, and I arrived in the kitchen promptly at 8 am. Something smelled fabulous.
"What are you doing, Henry?" Chris asked.
"I made breakfast for you and your parents and grandparents," Henry replied. "I will serve in the dining room when everyone has arrived."
"We didn't expect you to make breakfast for us, Henry," Chris added.
"It's just something I do," Henry explained. "I have the food for the housewarming in the pantry ready to either serve or heat. The catering staff will arrive around 11 am to prepare for the guests' arrival."
"What would we do without you, Henry?" I asked.
"I don't have any plans for an early exit from this earth, Sam," Henry began. "So, if you plan to do some entertaining, please plan on me helping. Otherwise, I will be very difficult to deal with."
"We will keep your advice in mind, Henry," I said with a smile as I grabbed two bottles for Mathew and Joshua and Chris retrieved Donny's cereal before he fed the dogs.
After we had a scrumptious breakfast, we awaited the arrival of our guests who began to arrive promptly at 1 pm.
Glen, Sawyer, Tom, and Harrison were the first to arrive.
"We couldn't wait," Sawyer explained. "We knew Henry was creating his magic!"
"Come in guys," I greeted our first guests. "Leave it to you four to be first in line for Henry's food! Go circulate. You know everyone so far."
Surprisingly, Glen, Sawyer, Tom, and Harrison didn't head directly for Henry's food. Instead, they opted to mingle with the family.
Our next guests were our neighbors, Daniel and Tony. Tony was carrying Jay until they stepped into the foyer. Donny and Jay raced off to somewhere.
"This is amazing," Tony said as he looked into the living area. "We were watching and waiting all summer as your contractor worked his magic. This isn't the same house."
"We gutted most of the first floor," Chris explained. "We would stop in from time to time to watch the progress. And, trust me, there were times when we thought we might never get the place put back together again."
"Come in and meet everyone," I suggested as I led Daniel and Tony to where the family were gathered.
When most of our guests had arrived and the house filled with laughter and conversation, Chris and I stood near the front entryway and surveyed the scene before us.
"We have almost 50 people here," I said to Chris. "But the house doesn't seem crowded. It's like magic in motion."
"I can't wait until we have a holiday party here," Chris replied as the doorbell signaled another guest arriving.
"Professor Tonnessen!" I exclaimed as I opened the door. A black-haired, Asian God accompanied him.
"Hello, Sam," Professor Tonnessen replied. "This is my husband, Taegu."
"Come in," I suggested as Chris took his place by my side. "This is my husband Chris. Chris, this is Professor Tonnessen and his husband Taegu."
"I'm happy to meet you," Chris replied. "And, welcome to our home."
"This is beautiful," Taegu exclaimed. "To be honest, when Gabe suggested we go to one of his student's housewarming, I had visions of pizza and beer and raucous undergraduates. But, happily I am wrong."
"We can be raucous at times," Chris said. "But, three kids have a lot to do with raucous behavior being brought to a minimum."
"Three kids?" Professor Tonnessen asked.
"Yup," I replied. "Three kids and five dogs. Don't ask a lot of questions and just go with the flow."
"Got it," Professor Tonnessen replied.
"We should introduce you to everyone," Chris suggested as we headed toward my parents who were holding Mathew and Joshua.
"These are my parents, Elaine and Charles Williamson," I said. "This is one of my computer science professors Professor Tonnessen and his husband Taegu."
"It's nice to meet you," my mother said. "Sam was telling us about your class. It sounds interesting even for a nontechnical person."
"Thank you," Professor Tonnessen replied. "And, these two are?"
"Our grandchildren," my mother continued. "Mathew and Joshua. We are spoiling them while we can—much to Sam and Chris's chagrin."
"These are your boys?" Professor Tonnessen asked.
"Yes," I replied. "Their brother is the one with the brown hair playing with the dogs and one of his friends."
"I hope you don't mind me being forward," Taegu asked as he turned to my father. "Are you related to the Williamsons who were ardent collectors of contemporary art and furniture?"
"They were my parents," my father replied. "Most of their collection, as you put it, has managed to find its way into Chris and Sam's house here and their condo in Chicago."
"Taegu is an interior designer," Professor Tonnessen explained. "Is something wrong, Taegu?"
"No," Taegu replied. "I knew the house looked terrific, but I didn't realize it was from the Williamsons' collection. And, you are living with three boys in, what some might consider one of the premier collections of contemporary art and furniture in the country. You have more guts than I would."
"It used to be in our attic," my father replied. "We were happy Sam and Chris wanted it."
"You might enjoy talking with Chris's grandmother," I explained. "She is head of the art history department at Northwestern, Elaine Washington."
"Dr. Washington was my advisor when I was at Northwestern for my Master's Degree in Art History," Taegu explained.
As we continued on our way to meet other people, Professor Tonnessen notice the Pinajian painting on our dining room wall. "So, this is the private collection containing your now famous abstract piece by Arthur Pinajian."
"Uh... yes," I replied. "My grandparents somehow managed to latch onto two of his paintings. They were purchased directly from the artist according to the journals my grandparents kept."
Taegu caught up with Chris's grandmother. It was like a reunion for the two. Finally, Daniel joined Professor Tonnessen and me.
"Tony is going bonkers," Daniel replied as he joined the group.
"Why?" I asked.
"Chris's grandfather mentioned Billingsley, Gifford, and Washington," Daniel explained. "Tony would give his eye teeth to work at a law firm like the one Mr. Washington manages."
"Wouldn't a long distance relationship be a strain on the two of you?" I asked with a smile.
"Tony promised he wouldn't go job hunting for a couple of more years," Daniel replied. "Besides, we've come to really enjoy the area as well as the neighborhood."
"I should introduce you," I said to Daniel and Professor Tonnessen. "Daniel, this is Professor Gabe Tonnessen—he teaches one of my computer science courses. Professor Tonnessen, this is Daniel Cohasset. He teaches in the mechanical engineering department. His and Tony's son goes to the same school as our son. They just live a few houses down, too."
Chris walked over to where I was standing with Gabe and Daniel. "Have you met Randy Allen? He's the executive director of HomeFront," Chris explained. "Randy, this is Daniel, the father of one of Donny's friends at school. And, this is Gabe. He's one of Sam's computer science professors."
The group continued to exchange pleasantries until Chris spoke up, "Sam. Could you join Randy and me for a moment?"
"Of course," I replied. "Please excuse us for a moment. We should be back shortly."
Randy, Chris, and I slipped into the office off the television room so we could talk privately. Chris explained the situation about his newly found half-brother and our thoughts on helping him through Northwestern.
"This is all very doable," Randy said after he considered our proposal. "However, I personally feel you need to come clean with Tyler. He not only needs the financial assistance, but it appears to me he will need some emotional support as well. I would also recommend some genetic testing to make certain he is, indeed, your half-brother, Chris."
"But, we don't want the financial assistance to be contingent on Tyler proving he is Chris's half-brother," I explained. "The kid needs help no matter to whom he is related."
"I agree," Chris added. "Matt believes Tyler will fail at Northwestern if he needs to work two jobs to support himself."
We heard a knock on the door. "Come in," Chris replied. Chris's mother stepped through the door along with Chris's grandfather.
"I hope you don't mind me butting in, but I was talking to you brother, Matt," Gloria said as she looked directly at Chris. "The young man Matt has befriended, Tyler, sounds like he needs financial help in order for him to make it through Northwestern."
"Yes," Chris replied. He didn't explain any further.
"You can stop me at any time, Chris," Gloria began. "I have this feeling the young man Matt is trying to help might have a connection to my dead, good-for-nothing, ex-husband. Am I correct?"
"It is possible," Chris replied.
"Let me just add another bit of information for you to consider," Gloria continued. She was looking directly at Chris and she was smiling. "I have all of your father's financial records in the safe in my condo. Two years after you were born your father began paying a woman—whom we now know as Matt's mother—a tidy sum every month. Similarly, about two years after Matt was born, your father began paying another woman another tidy sum every month. The difference is your father fortuitously planned for Matt's future. He did not have the balls to do it for his other son, Tyler Chow Johnson. The boy's mother kept her maiden name of Chow. She was Asian. So, Chris, here is what I would like to have happen. You father left me a $1 million trust fund beyond our community property. I, personally, would like to wash my hands of the gift because I cannot in good conscience use the money for myself. So, I would like to have the money transferred to Tyler. Your bastard father didn't have the good sense to provide for his third son. So, it is up to us to do it. Dad, can this be done?"
"Of course," Mr. Washington replied. "Simple transaction. We can even make it look like it came directly from his father."
"Let's do it, then. And, as far as I am aware, your father did not send any more monthly payments to any more women. This must be the end of his descendants." Gloria added as she left the room.
"Chris," Mr. Washington said quietly. "I think you will agree: Do not cross your mother. There will be hell to pay!"
Mr. Washington also left the room.
"I think grandpa is correct, Sam," Chris quietly said. "Don't cross my mother!"
"This solves the issue we were talking about earlier," Randy said. "Don't you agree?"
"I think it pretty well covers it," Chris replied.
Randy left the room. Chris and I stayed seated without speaking for a few moments.
"I think you mother has, one, a lot of balls, and, two, compassion," I said quietly as I took Chris's hand. "We have a party to host."
Chris and I met Tyler, Matt, and Kevin at Mr. Washington's office one Friday afternoon about two weeks after our housewarming party. Chris's mother was taking care of Donny, Mathew, and Joshua.
"Tyler," Mr. Washington began, "I have asked the others to join us for the last part of our meeting. I explained the trust fund your father left you to help you through college. I am certain you are wondering what any of this has to do with my grandson, Christopher Williamson, and your college mentor, Mathew Henry."
"The thought did cross my mind," Tyler replied.
"The three of you, Christopher, Mathew, and you have one thing in common," Mr. Washington explained. "You share a father."
"What?" Tyler gasped.
"We are half-brothers, Tyler," Chris explained. "Matt and I have developed a very close bond since our father passed away. We want to be available to you as a brother."
"I knew Chris and I had something in common the first day we met," Matt explained. "Chris and Sam have become my family when I needed them the most. And I can tell you right now, Chris and Sam are two of the nicest, most welcoming people you will ever meet."
"Wow!" Tyler said. "I have two brothers."
"And two brothers-in-law," I added. "Well, I assume Kevin will become a brother-in-law soon. You also have three nephews... And, don't forget the five dogs. I hope you like dogs and kids."
"So, our father didn't have any objection to you being gay?" Tyler asked.
"Unfortunately, he had a big objection to me being gay," Chris explained. "I was kicked out of my father and mother's home after I finished my sophomore year in high school because I was gay. Fortunately, my grandparents picked up the slack and I was able to live with them until I went to school at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign."
"So, he wouldn't have liked me then, I guess," Tyler said sadly.
"We make up for it in other ways," Chris said with a smile.
"It had just been my mother and me for as long as I can remember," Tyler said. He was still in disbelief about the whole situation. "Then, cancer took her away from me this summer. I thought I was totally alone. I still can't believe I have a family, not to mention enough money to finish college."
"Get used to it, Tyler," Matt said as he walked over to hug Tyler. Chris joined them.
"Why don't we go back to our place and celebrate," I suggested.
We grabbed a cab back to our condo. When Tyler walked through the front door, Donny and five dogs almost pounced on Tyler.
"Tyler," Chris explained. "Please meet our son, Donny. Donny, this Tyler. Tyler is a brother to Matt and me. He's your uncle."
Donny turned his attention to Tyler, "Uncle Tyler, these are the doggies. Lincoln, Roosevelt, Simon, Winthrop, and Wallaby. Simon sleeps with me. Winthrop and Wallaby sleep with my brothers Mathew and Joshua. Lincoln and Roosevelt sleep with my daddies."
Tyler knelt beside the dogs as they took turns licking him. Finally, he was able to turn to Donny. "So, Donny. How old are you?"
"I'm four," Donny replied. "My daddies told me I was a big boy now. And, I go to school."
"Great, Donny," Tyler said as he stood and looked at Chris. Then, he looked at me. "All of my life, I was an only child. My mother worked a lot, so I was alone many days after school. Now, I don't feel alone anymore. I hope someday I can have a family like the one the two of you created here."
"Someday you will find the right guy and start a family," Chris explained. "In the meantime, you can always join the chaos, wherever we are, when you feel a little lonely."
Donny stood in front of Tyler. He looked first at Chris, then Matt, and finally Tyler again.
"Daddy," Donny began as he began to pull on Chris's hand. "Uncle Tyler doesn't look much like you and Uncle Matt. Why?"
Donny is very observant for a four-year-old boy. But, he's right. Tyler looks more Asian than African-American. However, you can see some of the same features in all three brothers' faces. And, Chris, Matt, and Tyler are almost exactly the same height. I couldn't help but wonder how Tyler looks naked.
"We have the same father," Chris replied. "But, we have different mothers."
"Oh! Okay," Donny replied as he dashed off to his room.
"So, there you have it," Chris said to Tyler. "Relationships through the eyes of a four-year-old."
The Sunday after Chris and I met Tyler in Chicago, we were sitting at home in Champaign. The kids were in bed. The dogs had disappeared. I had my laptop sitting in front of me. I was attempting to finish a paper I had due the following week. Chris struggled to finish a song he was working on for his music composition class.
"So, Chris," I began. "What would you say if we offered to host Thanksgiving and Christmas here?"
"I'm game," Chris agreed. "Would we be competing with your mother and my grandmother in over decorating for Christmas?"
"Nope," I replied. "We made this house into an uncluttered, contemporary, and comfortable home. I will not feel the need to over compensate with over the top Christmas decorations."
"Can we have a Christmas tree?" Chris asked.
"Sure," I replied. "It should be simple. Maybe we could start a tradition. We buy one special ornament each year. We will have a collection by the time the boys are older."
"We would only have ONE ornament for the tree?" Chris asked.
"No, silly," I said. "We should explore the boxes downstairs my grandparents labeled Christmas decorations. They had good taste in furniture and art. Who knows what we might find."
"We can make it a weekend project sometime soon," Chris suggested. "Now, a more pressing issue is Thanksgiving."
"Fourth Thursday of November," I replied.
"I know when it is," Chris responded. "We need a guest list. Will it be just family and close friends or do we open up the festivities to include every stray known to the community?"
"The more the merrier," I replied. "I always liked Thanksgiving to be a time of togetherness for everyone. My parents used to invite ever stray within a 50-mile radius."
"I think we would have a couple of houses full if we used their rationale here," Chris said with a smile.
"Do you think?" I agreed.
"You can make your list and I will make mine," Chris suggested. "Then we need to talk about what you want to eat."
"Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and gravy for the mashed potatoes—even though it is not healthy," I suggested.
"How about duck or pheasant?" Chris asked.
"Nope," I replied. "Keep it simple, Chris."
"What about squash?" Chris asked.
"I hate squash," I replied.
"I know," Chris said with a smile. "I just thought I should confirm the no squash rule. How many people can we get around the dining room table?"
"I have no clue," I replied. "We will need to experiment with the table. I know it extends. I just don't know how much it extends. But, we only have 12 chairs."
"We can fix the number of chairs when we know how big the table can be," Chris suggested.
"Will you need help with the cooking?" I asked.
"If it is under 25, I can manage," Chris replied. "Over 25, I will need help."
"What do you want to do after Christmas?" I asked.
"Thanks to my grandparents we have a house in Florida," Chris replied. "We should consider flying this time."
"We have five dogs," I reminded Chris. "I don't think you can buy tickets for dogs. Besides, they probably would be on a no-fly list, knowing their proclivity for the dramatic."
"I was thinking more on the order of asking my grandfather for one of the company planes," Chris explained. "Or, maybe we could buy our own."
"Chris," I said with squinty eyes. "We will NOT, I repeat NOT, be buying a jet."
"Jesus, Sam," Chris said with a pouty look on his face. "First you tell me we can't adopt another set of twins. Now, you are telling me we can't buy a jet. Would you consider another dog?"
"Chris," I continued. "No twins. No jets. No more dogs."
"I guess we should go to bed then," Chris suggested.
"Probably," I replied with a smile.
"At least we agree on something," Chris said as we both shut off computers and lights before heading upstairs to our bedroom.
Lincoln and Roosevelt were sound asleep on the foot of our bed.
"So, Sammie," Sawyer said as we took our seats at the pasta place after our gym session on Tuesday. "What's new on the home front?"
"Nothing much," I replied. "We had a great time getting to know Chris's new half-brother on Friday. He's a really nice guy. Last night we started making plans for the holidays. Chris wants to buy a jet. Mathew and Joshua are growing like weeds. What's new with you?"
"Wait a minute," Tom pipped up. "Chris wants to buy a jet? And, you said?"
"No," I replied.
"As simple as that?" Harrison asked.
"Not entirely," I replied. "After I said no, Chris was pouty for a while.
"Then what happened?" Glen asked.
"We went to bed," I replied.
"And?" Tom asked.
"We went to sleep," I replied. "We are old married people now with three kids. We need lots of sleep."
"Something tells me there is more to your story," Sawyer added. "Why wouldn't you let Chris buy a jet?"
"We don't need one," I replied. "We can borrow his grandfather's firm's jet. We are going to Florida in January on the smaller jet."
"How long will you be in Florida?" Sawyer asked.
"We are leaving shortly after Christmas and staying for about three weeks," I explained. "We are having a couple of contractors look at the house to determine what to do with it."
"Are Chris's grandparents thinking of selling it?" Harrison asked.
"No," I replied. "They gave it to us. Chris's grandparents bought a house on a golf course in La Jolla, California. They are leaving about the same time we are. They are going to stay the winter."
"Back up, Sam," Sawyer suggested. "Chris's grandparents gave you two their Florida house?"
"Yes," I replied. "Why?"
"Let's review here," Sawyer began. "You have a beautiful, totally renovated house in Champaign. You have a phenomenal condo in Chicago. Now, you are telling us you have a six bedroom, oceanside home in Palm Beach."
"How much is the place in Florida worth these days?" Harrison asked.
"The land is worth a lot more than the house," I explained. "As you know the house in Florida is in desperate need of renovation. So, we are trying to decide if we renovate it, tear the old house down and rebuild, or sell the whole thing. The two acres the house stands on is probably worth $2 million."
"And, you are probably going to do what?" Glen asked.
"I suspect we will sell it," I replied. "We really don't have time to use it much. Chris's grandparents didn't use it as much the past few years as they did earlier."
"What if you rented it?" Sawyer asked.
"It would need significant renovation before anyone would be willing to pay for renting it," I replied. "Basically, the house is a money pit."
"You could pay for a lot of hotels for $2 million," Harrison added.
"Yup," I replied. "And, Chris would have absolutely no reason to buy a jet."
"Another costs savings!" Sawyer exclaimed.
"I will let Chris make the decision about the Florida house though," I explained. "He has more of an attachment than I do. His parents used to bring him down on Spring Breaks. So, there are good memories in the house for him."
"Speaking of jet buyers," Glen said nodding his head toward the door. "Your husband is here."
Chris sauntered over to our table, gave me a peck on the lips, and sat down.
"I hope I am not interrupting anything," Chris said.
"Nope," I replied. "We were just talking about your idea to buy a jet and the house in Florida."
"So, we can buy a jet?" Chris asked.
"Nope," I replied.
"Okay," Chris continued. "Then, we can get another dog, right?"
"No, Chris!" I replied. "
"Okay," Chris continued. "I'm not even going to ask about adopting another set of twins."
"Good," I said.
"We do need to stop by Donny's school on our way home," Chris added. "Ms. Gather wants to speak with us about some non-emergency matter."
"I wonder what Ms. Gather considers a non-emergency situation." I said.
"I can only hope it does not include anything like I used to do at Donny's age," Chris explained.
"Such as?" Sawyer asked.
"Hiding another kid's pencil box," Chris began. "Then, there was a time when I accidentally locked Robby Brigham in the coat closet."
"Accidentally?" Glen asked.
"Well, not exactly accidentally," Chris admitted. "He pissed me off. Of course, when the teacher found out, I was in big trouble."
"Now, you are making me nervous, Chris," I said. "Maybe we should see what Ms. Gather wants."
"Okay," Chris agreed. "Guys... Wish us luck... If you hear screams coming from Donny's school, you might want to stop in for the show."
"Donny couldn't have done anything too serious," Harrison injected. "He's only four."
"Going on 24," Tom replied.
Chris and I briskly walked to Donny's school. When we arrived, we were pleased to see Donny sitting in front of the class reading a story. The story abruptly ended when Donny saw us.
"Daddy! Daddy!" Donny shouted as he made a dash to us and jumped into Chris' arms.
"Good catch, Chris," I whispered.
"Ms. Gather let me read a story to the other kids," Donny explained.
"Did you like reading to the class?" I asked.
"Yup!" Donny exclaimed.
Ms. Gather walked toward us. "Thank you for coming," Ms. Gather said. "Donny, why don't you continue your story while I talk with your fathers?"
"Okay," Donny replied as he slithered to the floor and resumed his position in front of the class.
"My assistant, Ms. Wilson, will handle the class while we speak in private," Ms. Gather said as she led us out of the room and into the hallway. "I wanted to speak with you because I have never encountered another four-year-old who can read as well as Donny. Were you aware he was able to read a book which is totally new to him?"
"Yes," Chris replied. "Is his talent for reading unusual?"
"Yes," Ms. Gather replied. "Very unusual. He also told me he likes to take photographs and play his Daddy's piano."
"We gave him a camera of his own about seven months ago," I explained. "He has a fairly large collection for a kid his age. He has several photos of our five dogs. He likes taking pictures of animals. And, Chris is teaching him to play the piano."
"I think we might want to have Donny tested to see where he is intellectually," Ms. Gather continued. "Do you have any objections to the testing?"
"What would testing prove?" Chris asked.
"The testing will help Donny in terms of placement in future classes," Ms. Gather replied. "We don't want him to be bored with the class material."
"This is beginning to sound like advance placement kindergarten classes," I said with a smile.
"In a way it is," Ms. Gather explained. "
"I think Donny would be devastated if he were pulled out of this class now," I cautioned.
"I agree with you," Ms. Gather replied. "In the future, he may want more challenging subject matter than some of the rest of his class members. And, he seems to be extremely creative. I've heard him talk to some of his friends about having a discussion with one of your dogs."
Chris and I smiled at each other. I tried to explain Donny's discussions with Simon, "Let me explain something about Donny you may not know. Chris and I were walking our three Border Collies one morning. Simon, the oldest dog, led us into the bushes where we found Donny wrapped in a blanket. His mother went in search of food. His mother didn't come back. After Donny came to live with Chris and me, he and Simon bonded. They are almost inseparable. In a way, Chris and I believe the two do share some form of communication. I know it sounds weird. At first, we thought he was making up his conversations with Simon. However, we are believers at this point."
"I wouldn't say it is weird," Ms. Gather explained. "But, I still think Donny is a very creative four-year-old boy."
"Where does all of this lead us?" I asked.
"We need to consider activities which will engage Donny while some of the other students work with the regular material," Ms. Gather suggested. "I wanted you to know you have a very creative boy. He will need challenging material to keep him occupied. It will be easy in our class because it is small, and I have an assistant. When he goes into higher grades, he may need gifted classes."
"You are warning us we will face new challenges in the future," Chris added with a smile.
"Yes," Ms. Gather replied. "How do you feel about testing?"
"I would rather wait until it is a necessary tool for Donny's development," I suggested.
"I agree," Chris said.
"Okay," Ms. Gather replied. "Why don't we join the others in the class?"
"Sure," I agreed as Ms. Gather led us into the room.
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 60th 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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