The contents of this story is purely fictional. The content matter of this story concerns love and may include sex between consenting males teenagers. If this is not what you like reading or it is illegal for you to read this material because of age or laws go somewhere else. This story is copyrighted by it's owner and may not be copied or published elsewhere without the owners permission.

Author's note:

Happy New Year! I sincerely hope you have a year filled with happiness. Here's chapter 2.

My thanks to those who sent me an email and feedback.

Okay my Matt told me he likes reading the author's notes. He's read most of my stories...I love him - he is so supportive...I think he is an angel in disguise...I'm pretty sure of it.

I wrote him this in an email:

Ayor anosh'ni (Navajo)
Nu' umi unangwa'ta (Hopi)
Techihhila (Sioux)
Tsi ge yu i (cherokee)
Amin mela lle (elvish)

Any way I say it it all means the same, 'I love you'

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one
equals nothing.

Mahal kita (I love you)

I shall post chapters depending on response. That is to say higher volume responses equals more chapters posted(I might even be tempted to post more chapters on Raising Noah, Queststar and Landsphere...ya never know...)

Sam Lakes

SamLakes dot writer at Gmail dot com

The Greatest Gift

by Sam Lakes

Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved

Chapter 2

<Daniel Olsen>

I retired when I was fifty-five. I was financially secure and really didn’t have to work a nine-to-five job. My wife and I didn’t have any children of our own, but we had been foster parents to seventeen kids. Some needed to stay only a few months until their parents were able to take them back, but four of them stayed with us until they finished college.

It never ceases to disgust me that a parent could kick their own child onto the streets because of the child’s sexual orientation. That had happened to our four children. Biologically they might not have been ours, but by anyone’s standards, we were a family. Both Lana and Jorge are now successful lawyers. Matthew is a successful architect. Billy, like me, is a successful investor.
My wife, Madeline, and I gave them what they needed – love, friendship, and most of all, a safe and stable environment in which to grow up. After they left home, Maddie and I traveled the world until two years ago when she was diagnosed with cancer. She died six months later.

I mourned, and moped around for another six months until my son, Billy, said he’d and his siblings had had enough of me acting like some helpless old fool. “You have got to do something, Dad, besides mope around here. I have just the thing for you,” he.

A few months later I walked into the Quick-Shop, Billy was hunched over one of the tables in the deli. He wasn’t eating lunch; he was going over the books. Billy is one of the seventeen children Maddie and I fostered over the years. Now, he is an investor, and proving to be even better at it than I had been.
“Hey, Dad,” he said when he caught sight of me. “Looks like good news.”

“We made money this month?” I asked.

“No, but you broke even, again.”

That was good enough for me. The Quick-Shop, with a deli in the back, and a small apartment building a block or so away were more a hobby than a way to make a living. Billy talked me into it; so, I make him keep the books.

To help operate the store, I hired two women who live in my apartment building. Carol Montague, a single parent with twin boys, opens the store at 6:00 AM, and gets off at 1:00 PM. Dorothy Edison, a middle-aged widow, works from noon until the 8:00 PM closing. They both work Monday through Saturday, and alternate on Sunday mornings. They keep the shelves stocked and run the cash register. I take care of the deli.

I pay them well.

The profit of the shop is just above break even but as far as I am concerned the purpose of this business is mainly to keep me busy.

I thought Carol’s two boys were the cutest little boys in the world until Ethan Lewis walked in to the store. Mind you, when he first came in he was filthy. I mean dirty with a capital D.’ My first thought was “All right, here comes Trouble.” Both Dorothy and I watched him like hawks; we thought for sure he was going to try to steal something.

The boy wandered around the store, picking up things, looking at them for a second, and then putting them back. He knew I was watching him because he’d occasionally look at me and smile.

I don’t like shoplifters of any age, but I probably wouldn’t have called the cops on this one because he looked only about ten or eleven. I would, however scare him enough that he’d never shoplift again.

It wasn’t until he came over to the deli that I changed my opinion and attitude about him. He was so much more polite than most kids his age. When he ordered a cheese sandwich – our cheapest one– I realized what he had been doing. He had been pricing things, not planning on shoplifting. I guessed that he was on a tight budget. He had wanted the roast beef sandwich but couldn’t afford it so I made his cheese sandwich, and then added four slices of roast beef—at no charge.

It was no big deal. The biggest surprise was when he came back to the store and told me, just above a whisper, that I had given him a roast beef sandwich and he didn’t want me to get in trouble. Most people would never have said anything Ethan did, and I appreciated his honesty.

It was when he straightened out the magazine rack as a favor that I realized he was a real gem.

For the next few days, he would come into the store for his ‘cheese’ sandwich. When he missed a day I found myself worrying about him. I said something to Dorothy about it. She smiled and said, “I see he’s wormed his way into your heart too.”

“No. Well, maybe a bit,” I replied.

The first time Ethan came into the store on a Saturday, it was about 10:30—maybe a little later.

“Good morning ma’am, you must be Carol. Dorothy Edison told me you work her in the mornings. How are you today?”

 “I am doing fine, Ethan. Thank you very much, how can I help you?”

“How did you know my name?” he asked Carol.

“Well, Dorothy told me she met the cutest eleven year old boy who was such a polite gentleman. I knew that you must be Ethan because you are very cute and very polite. Maybe you could teach my two boys some lessons in politeness.”

Ethan blushed slightly, smiled and shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe,” he blushed, “I came here today to talk to Mr. Olsen.”

Then he walked over to the deli. “Hello, Ethan, I missed you yesterday. I was all ready to make you an Ethan Special,” I said cheerfully.

He looked down at the floor and then back up at me, “Sorry, Mr. Olsen,” he said softly. His whole demeanor had changed. He was no longer a happy little boy, he had transformed into a sad little boy. He looked back at the floor.

“Ethan, what’s the matter?” I asked.

He stared at the floor for a few seconds as if he were gathering up courage. Slowly he looked up at me and asked, “Mr. Olsen, sir, could I work here? Dorothy can’t do the cold room because of her arthritis and I noticed that by 4:00 the coolers need restocking. I’m sure I could do a good job and then Carol wouldn’t have to get here so early and she could spend more time with her sons. You wouldn’t have to pay me just a plain cheese sandwich not even an Ethan Special – just plain cheese and a half pint of milk.”

“I’m sorry Ethan,” I said, “but there are child labor laws that say you have to be at least fifteen before I could hire you.”

There was such a look of disappointment on his face that I added, “but, if it’s a question of money, then don’t worry. It will be my treat to make you an Ethan Special and maybe some soup or milk, too.”

I could see that he forced a slight smile, but at the same time he shook his head. “Thank you, sir, but I have to give back. I can’t accept your offer.”

He turned and started to walk away.

“Ethan, wait!” I said. He turned and looked at me, “Okay, just between you and me. You’re just a friend helping out Carol and Dorothy and I’m just a friend helping out by giving you a sandwich or two and maybe some milk and cakes or cookies -- or anything else you want.”

He ran over and hugged me. “Thank you. I love you Mr. Olsen. I really, really do!”

“Carol, could you show Ethan what needs to be done in the cold room and coolers while I make him a Giant Ethan Special sandwich.”

The months rolled by and every weekday Ethan would walk cheerfully into the shop at 3:00, go straight to the cold room and restock the coolers. Then he’d restock the shelves if he had the time and leave at 3:50. Half the time I’d find myself in the cold room working and chatting with him. Saturdays and Sundays were even better because he’d be there right when I open up and stay until 10am.

Ethan loved telling me about what he learned about in school. His teacher was Ms. Pearson who according to Ethan was the world’s best teacher. He rarely talked about his brother in fact he only talked about his brother if I asked him something like how’s your brother doing at his job. It was like he never liked talking about his brother. There were times when he’d get sort of melancholy about his parents and talk about some vacation or trip they went on.

It was sad that his parents were killed and the only family he had was his brother. I sort of got the feeling that he and his brother weren’t that close. I mentioned it to him and he told that was true they weren’t close.

A few days before Christmas I asked him how he and his brother were going to celebrate Christmas.

“We’re not,” was all he said and he went to the storeroom.

I thought at first it was because of some religious belief, but then I remembered he told me of a Christmas when he and his parents went to Disney World.

So I asked, “Ethan, why aren’t you celebrating Christmas?”

“We’re Jewish,” he said.

“Happy Hanukkah,” I said, “What gifts have you received?”

“Love, friendship, kindness from those around me. Those are the most valuable gifts of all because they are given freely and yet cost nothing,” he replied, “I was talking with Ms. Pearson, my teacher, about presents. We were talking mainly about birthday present because this was the first year I didn’t get a birthday present. Anyway to cut a short story even shorter I told her I really didn’t need any presents because I got presents everyday because everyday I got love, friendship and kindness from those around me.”

I was so astounded by his statement I couldn’t say anything.

“Oh! Look at the time. Have to go,” he said as he dashed out.

I knew it must be 3:50. Why? Because it was a weekday and he always left at 3:50 to go do his homework. Later I asked him when was his birthday. He smiled and said this year it fell on November 31st and that only happens once or twice a lifetime. It depends on the setting sun in a distant galaxy. It made no sense to me but he seemed happy.


Comments welcomed - So what do you think? Love to get feedback from you.

sam lakes