Nifty Disclaimer - This story is a work of fiction and contains scenes including sexual relations between people of the same gender. If this isn't your cup of tea, or is illegal where you live, please do not read. Any relation between fictional characters and real people is purely coincidental.


Do Over

Chapter 11

By DK Stories


Despite the fact that practice on Thursday had been relatively light, the gray t-shirt I wore under my shoulder pads was soaked with sweat as dad drove us home. The entire trip was made in total silence, and I could tell he was extremely angry. At least he was trying to control the anger instead of lashing out at me. By the time we pulled into the apartment complex the cab of the truck was filled with the smell of my sweat, and I noticed that I was still sweating, but for a very different reason than physical exertion.

"Get in the house." Dad said as he shut off the engine. The only sound we made as we walked to the townhouse was that made by my cleats as I walked on the sidewalk. Before we entered, I took them off so I wouldn't mess up the tile or carpet and he fumed silently, pushing me inside the open doorway before I'd totally gotten my balance after taking the second shoe off. That caused me to bounce against the laundry doors that were just inside the main entrance.

As I straightened, I noticed that Mary Lou was already there and could see what had happened through the gap between the kitchen cabinets and the counter that separated that room from the dining room. She was frowning now, and Dad all but slammed the door behind him.

"Get in the dining room, now." Dad growled and I complied quickly, all but scurrying in front of him. When I entered the dining room, I was surprised to see that Dr. Darnell was also there, sitting on the opposite side of Mary Lou. Mom was seated at the end of the table and frowning as the preacher and social worker exchanged long glances. I took one of the extra chairs that was against the far wall and purposely took the seat next to Mary Lou while Dad sat down at the head of the table.

"Hi, I'm Mary Lou Hacker from Social Services." Mary Lou said, introducing herself to Dad. I figured she must have gotten there while Dad was picking me up. Dad just stared at her hand, refusing to take it.

"I don't think we need you here for this." He said to her gruffly.

"I'm sorry, but I think it would be for the best." She said firmly, pulling her hand back without appearing to be offended.

"I don't want you here." Dad reiterated and she got a firm look on her face.

"I'm sorry you feel that way, Mr. Jones." She said, still polite in spite of her anger. I was reminded of just how calm she could be before she unleashed her temper. "Despite your feelings, the state has taken an interest in the case of Davey and under the law, we have a right to study the environment he is living in and to make sure it is a healthy environment for the young man."

"The state should keep its nose out of private matters." Dr. Darnell said firmly, earning himself a cool, appraising look from Mary Lou.

"It's nice to hear you express that opinion, Reverend." She said archly, alluding to religious involvement in state issues and he set his jaw firmly but did not respond.

"Dave, let's just get started." Mom said softly and Dad glared at her before turning his angry gaze on me.

"You weren't supposed to be playing football anymore." Dad said to me. "Your mom let you do it until I got back, and now I'm back. Today was your last day. You're grounded until you change your mind about your… preferences. Next semester, we will be paying to send you to Central Catholic. Until then, you will have no contact with that Brian boy or any of his friends. That includes Brandon and Trevor. Once you change your mind about your preferences, we will discuss lifting your grounding. You will go to church every Sunday and every Wednesday, and you will attend prayer sessions with Dr. Darnell every night."

"Is that really how you want to play this out?" I asked him calmly when he finished talking and he stared at me.

"This is for the good of your soul, young man." Dr. Darnell said firmly and I ignored him, instead locking gazes with my father.

"That is how it will be." Dad finally said with strong conviction.

"You can forbid me from talking to Brian and my other friends." I said with calmness that I didn't really feel. Inside, I wanted to rage and scream and punch his lights out, but I knew that wouldn't be productive. "You can force me to attend another school of your choosing. You can ground me, prevent me from any contact with anyone outside of those you approve of, but you will not force me to attend a church I do not believe in, and you will not force me to attend these 'prayer meetings' you spoke of. Are you prepared to do this for the next two years?"

"I'm prepared to do it for the rest of your life." Dad said menacingly. "Your eternal life is in danger here, and you are my son. You will believe what I tell you to believe, you will do what I tell you to do."

"I will do what you tell me to do within the requirements of the law." I said to him. "That means if you ground me, I'll obey you. If you transfer me to another school, I'll obey you, but what I believe is what I believe and no amount of force you apply will change that. You have one year, two months, and four days that you can do this, and after that I will apply to the court for emancipation and termination of your parental rights. If that doesn't succeed, you'll get to do this to me for another two years, and the day I turn eighteen, I will walk out that door and you will never, ever hear from me again. In my eyes, you will be dead."

"You don't mean that." Mom said softly and I looked at her.

"If you let him do this, you will be the same in my eyes." I told her in a cold voice.

"Respect your parents, young man." Dr. Darnell chided me harshly and I looked at him.

"I told you the other night that you have no place in my life, Dr. Darnell." I reminded him in that same calm voice. "My parents may want you here as their spiritual advisor, but you have no authority or respect in my eyes. Address your comments or advice to them, I have no wish to hear anything you might say."

"How dare you speak to a minister that way!" Dad roared, slapping the table hard.

"I think I've heard enough." Mary Lou said as she rose from the chair. Dad glared at her and pulled a piece of paper out of his back pocket.

"Good, then you can leave." He told her as he put the paper on the table but did not open it or explain what it was.

"Davey, I'm taking you out of the home on a temporary basis." She said to me, but Dad cut her off.

"You will do no such thing." Dad said, holding the paper he had taken out earlier up to her. She looked at it but did not take it, instead reaching a hand inside her purse. "Davey is going to be committed to a hospital for psychiatric observation. This is an order I obtained this afternoon from a doctor. I'll be calling an ambulance to take him away. You can observe if you want, but you will not be taking him out of here."

"Who issued that medical directive?" She asked calmly.

"Dr. Breshears, who is a fine, upstanding member of the medical community." Dr. Darnell said haughtily. The man he mentioned was also a member of the church.

"I see, and did Dr. Breshears examine Davey directly?" She asked calmly.

"No, he didn't need to." Dad said. "Davey himself admitted his preferences and that was all Dr. Breshears needed."

"I see." Mary Lou said again. "I guess I should inform you that I am also a board certified psychiatrist and I have examined Davey directly, as well as spoken to several of his teachers and his principal. The only evidence I have seen of anything wrong in this young man's life is his parents' overreaction to recent events. I assure you, he will be examined by a state psychiatrist prior to his temporary placement. Davey, I suggest you go upstairs and pack yourself a suitcase and whatever possessions you might wish to keep with you for the next few weeks."

"Stay where you are, son." Dad said angrily. He stopped though when Mary Lou pulled a radio out of her purse.

"Officer Branley, will you please come inside?" She spoke into the radio and there was an acknowledgement a moment later. Dad was shocked, Dr. Darnell frowned, and Mom started crying softly. I reached out a hand to hers, and she grasped it very tightly.

"You can't do this." Dad reiterated as the front door opened and a middle-aged officer walked inside cautiously.

"Dr. Hacker?" He asked when he entered the dining room.

"Yes, thank you for coming, officer." She said firmly. "Please escort Davey here up to his room. He needs to change into some regular clothes and pack his bags."

"He's not going anywhere except to the clinic we've already arranged for him." Dad said loudly, flashing the paper towards the officer. "This is a signed order by a doctor to have him committed!"

"Ma'am, is this a valid order?" The officer asked Mary Lou.

"No, it isn't." She responded quickly. "It's signed by a doctor who has never examined Davey and who is not a qualified psychiatrist."

"Very well." The officer said with a nod and he looked at me. "Davey, why don't we go upstairs?"

"Davey, don't go." Mom said softly, grasping my hand even tighter.

"I love you Mom." I said softly, pulling my hand out of hers and kissing her forehead lightly. "I'll get in touch with you later."

"You'll do no such thing!" Dad roared angrily and the officer moved to stand between Dad and I. "If you walk out that door with anyone but who I tell you, you will never come back! You don't have anything to take, either! I bought everything you have and I own it."

"Actually, Nanny or I bought most of it, but if that's the way you want to play this game, Mr. Jones, that's the way we'll play it." I said to him, my anger finally gaining control of me. I picked up my cleats off of the floor and turned to the officer. "I'm ready to go right now, officer. Mary Lou, if you'll let me call some friends, they will bring me some clothes I can wear to wherever we go."

"You sure?" She asked me softly, with a worried frown.

"Yeah, I'm sure." I said and she nodded, taking my arm. Mom was crying openly now, and Dr. Darnell was looking at her with sympathy, and at me with some anger. Dad fumed, opening and closing his fists over and over again. The officer didn't take his eyes off of him until Mary Lou and I were near the door. Then, he followed us out to Mary Lou's car. I let out the breath I was holding as we reached it, and had to struggle to hold back the tears that were threatening to fall down my face.

"You going to be alright?" She asked me softly, putting a hand on my back.

"God, I expected it, but it still hurts." I said softly, not sure how to explain just how much it hurt. After all I'd done to keep my family together, here it was falling apart, and all because I couldn't keep my mouth shut or let Sean get bullied, or do whatever it was I was told to by my father. I wondered if this was better or worse than my life the first time around.

Yes, it was.

I could take this, but Jenny's abuse had wrecked her life, and so many others as well.

"You have to give him some time, and don't let this harden your heart against him." Mary Lou said softly, her words reminiscent of what she'd told me in my original life as I dealt with Dad's reaction to my sexuality. It hadn't been this bad, but then I'd been an adult, and living away from them for almost four years. "Despite what just happened, he does love you. That's part of why he's so upset, he thinks what he wants is what is best for you. He's not doing these things because he hates you."

"I know, and thanks for reinforcing that." I said softly, mastering the tears. The officer was waiting behind us.

"Thank you, Officer Branley." She told him. "I'll forward the report to your department."

"Have a good day, ma'am." The officer said and walked towards his squad car. Mary Lou opened the door of her Volvo for me and I got inside, placing my cleats down on the floor. It smelled new, and looked a lot nicer than I remembered it being, but then that had been nearly eight years in the future. Or was it more?

"Would you like to stop somewhere first and get some more clothes?" She asked me as she pulled out and into the street.

"Yeah, can we stop at Brian's house?" I asked her. "He's got some of my clothes over there and I can borrow some of his."

"Sure." She said with a gentle smile. I had to give her directions, but soon we pulled up in front to his house. When they saw it was me getting out, Mom B and Brian both rushed out to give me a hug. Mary Lou commented that maybe I should take a shower while we were here, and borrowed Mom B's phone to make some calls. Brian followed me into the bathroom and sat on the toilet while I told him everything that had happened.

"So what happens now?" He asked me as I got out to dry off. He took the towel from me and dried me off, letting me lean against him. I felt so loved, and supported as he did that. Tension just seemed to flow out of me with his touch.

"I'm not sure." I said softly. "I guess we have to go down to Social Services, they have to place me somewhere, and then we'll see."

"What about school?" Brian asked.

"I don't know." I admitted. "I hope they'll keep me in the same district."

"What about us?" He asked me as I took the wet towel, wrapped it around my waist and headed for his bedroom.

"I don't know." I said as he shut the door behind us. I turned around and smiled at him slyly. "Do you still love me?"

"Of course I do." He said, stepping up and hugging me before planting a kiss on my lips.

"Then we'll survive." I said before returning the kiss. We stood like that for several minutes before I moved away, heading to the closet. "So, what clothes can I steal?"

"Take whatever you want." He replied with a smile. "You always do."

"Of course I do." I agreed and began to pull out a bunch of my favorites of his clothes. He brought over several pairs of boxers and socks and t-shirts as well. I put on a pair, and a t-shirt and then picked out my favorite black shirt of his with some jeans. There was a knock on the door as I finished buttoning up the shirt and he opened it to admit Brandon and Trevor.

"Dude, your Dad is one pissed man!" Brandon said with a smile.

"How'd you know I was here?" I asked.

"We didn't." Trevor stated.

"Yeah, Dad drove over to your place so I could drop your stuff off and your old man was screaming at your preacher and mother. Hell, all your neighbors were watching from their windows." Brandon said in a fast manner.

"Yup, he took one look at Brandon and yelled 'the faggot isn't here anymore' and then screamed for us to get the fuck out of there." Trevor added. What they said hurt, but it was also funny and I couldn't decide whether to cry or laugh.

"So, Dad and Mr. Rush talked for a bit and decided to come here and see if Mom B knew where you might be." Brandon finished. "We saw the strange car and hoped maybe you'd gotten lucky and they were going to let you live here."

"Both your dads are here?" I asked with some concern.

"Yeah, and don't worry about them." Trevor said. "Papa said 'nichevo' about the whole thing and Mr. W is one of them ex-hippie liberals. He thinks it's cool you two are bucking the whole system."

"I even came out to him last night." Brandon said and our eyes widened. Trevor gave him a friendly slap on the back and both Brian and I squeezed his arm.

"Davey, you about ready?" Mary Lou's voice came from the hallway.

"Almost." I told her as she entered the doorway. She was smiling broadly and had obviously already met Brandon and Trevor when they came in. "So what happens now?"

"Yeah, is he going to be able to play in the game tomorrow?" Brandon asked Mary Lou.

"Is that all you're worried about?" She asked him and he frowned.

"Uh, no, but it's pretty important to all of us." Brandon said and she smiled.

"Considering what I just talked about with your collective parents outside, I think we won't have any problems." She said and for a moment my hopes soared that I'd be allowed to stay with Brian. She must have seen the look. "No, Davey, you will not be staying here. I personally have no objections to that, but if we did that it'd be very easy for your parents to take the matter to court and win. No, Mr. Rush has kindly asked if he could obtain an emergency foster license. As he is married, has a son who is your good friend, but not your boyfriend, and lives in the same school district as you currently attend, I think the placement will be ideal. While he isn't fully supportive of the gay lifestyle, he isn't homophobic either so that makes the temporary placement even more ideal."

"How long will this last?" I asked her.

"It depends on several things." She said. "We can talk more about those things later, but I'd like to get to the office and get the paperwork in order so that everything goes the way we want it to go, okay?"

"Okay." I said.

"Just leave the bag and stuff." Trevor said with a broad smile. "We'll finish it up and take it the house, bro."

"Thanks." I said, moving to give him a hug. Then, I had to hug Brandon and finally, Brian, who also got another kiss before he walked us out to the car. Mr. Rush was standing between Mom B and Mr. Walker, all of whom were smiling.

"Spasebo, ghospodene Rusankov." I told him as we entered and he smiled. I'd been speaking some Russian with him every time I saw him, never quite explaining how I'd learned any at all when we first met.

"Nichevo, cin." He replied, basically saying 'It's nothing, son.'

The trip to the Social Services center was a short one from there. In 2002, the entire complex was torn down and turned into a shopping center, and seeing it in 1983 made it obvious why as it looked like it should already be torn down. Mary Lou spent an hour talking to various people while I spent the time talking to a male psychiatrist.

The conversation wasn't an easy one, but neither was it as stressful as some I've had with people in his profession. He seemed satisfied with my answers to his questions, especially those about my sexuality. Some of it was fabrications to not reveal the memories of my first lifetime, but even those were based on reality of the here and now.

After we were done, Mary Lou was waiting with a broad smile on her face.

"I've spoken with the judge and given him the specifics of the case." She told me as I sat down at a desk she used here in the office. "He's going to talk to Dr. Warner about his analysis of you and then I expect he'll issue an order placing you with Social Services. The director has signed off on the temporary foster care license for Mr. and Mrs. Rush as well, and I've talked to them. They'll come to pick you up when this is all settled."

"Wow, that was pretty fast." I said and she smiled.

"Most of it was already done, we just had to fill in the blanks based on what happened today." She admitted. "Now, how are you doing?"

"I think I'm still a little in shock and somewhat numb." I said slowly. "My biggest worry is Dad's temper and what he might do to Mom or to Jenny."

"Another agent will be going by there tomorrow to check on them." She reassured me. "I don't think I'd be too welcome in the home right now."

"I don't think anyone from your office will be." I warned her and she chuckled softly.

"Probably not." She agreed. "Oh, and I've had the judge vacate the medical order your father had signed. They're double-checking tomorrow, but we're pretty sure it wasn't filed with the court. We'll give you a copy of the vacating order from the judge, and we'll also give one to Mr. and Mrs. Rush. There's a possibility they might try to act on it, and if they do, you need to make sure you have your copy with you. If they try to get law enforcement to enforce that order, having the copy will stop them."

"I'll do that." I said with a firm nod. Of course it wouldn't stop a goon patrol, but then I doubted they'd kidnap me to lock me up in their psychiatric center.

"If you don't want to go to school tomorrow, it won't reflect too badly on you." Mary Lou advised me in a concerned voice, but I shook my head at that idea.

"It's a game day." I told her and she just sighed before smiling.

"You young people and sports." She said, shaking her head. "I've seen very few young gay men so dedicated to sports."

"That's because most of those who are in sports don't come out." I said with a smile of my own. "That probably won't change for a while."

"No, it probably won't." She agreed. "Now, I've spoken to Mr. Rush and he's asked about you and your friends' regular trip up to San Francisco. The custody order allows him to take you on trips, but not out of the state, so that won't be a problem."

"That's good." I said with a nod.

"Also, this is only temporary." She warned me. "We'll still try to return you to your home. I know you're probably angry right now, but we'll try to work with you and your parents on finding some middle ground. Your father indicated he may not want you back, and if he keeps up that attitude, we might have to seek permanent fosterage."

"If…if that happens, can I be adopted?" I asked, thinking of something I'd discussed with Mr. and Mrs. Breckenridge. She must have known where that was going from the knowing smile on her face.

"Yes, and the Breckenridge's might even be able to get custody permanently, especially if you tell the court you want that." She told me. "The issue of your relationship with their son isn't as important then, although you'd technically have your adoptive brother as your boyfriend."

"Incest is best." I joked and she laughed aloud.

"Oh my, I do hope you are going to college." She said, wiping a tear of laughter from her eyes.

"Yes, I am." I said with certainty. "Mom and Dad don't know this, but Brian's Uncle and his life partner included both Brian and I in their will. We inherited enough money to put us both through college and then some."

"Yes, Mrs. Breckenridge informed me of that this evening." Mary Lou said. "It was quite smart of them to leave it to you as a living trust and to specify the Breckenridges as the Trustees of that fund. Your father couldn't get his hands on the money even if he knew it existed, which unfortunately he will because I had to include it in my report."

"You did?" I asked her with a worried frown. It would only be one more thing Dad would try to use against me, and make him even madder.

"Yes, I did." She said with a slight frown. "It's part of the law that I have to, but don't get too worried. Technically your parents should have been informed it existed, and they were told you had inherited some money from what I was told."

"Yeah, we just told them it was a few thousand for college and would get paid out the same as Brian's." I said, remembering that detail.

"Then they can't make any real legal complaint." Mary Lou reassured me. We sat in silence for a few minutes before she leaned forward and whispered a question that got me to smile. "So, what part of your Brian do you think is the sexiest?"

"His eyebrows." I whispered back, conspiratorially. "Definitely it's his eyebrows. The way they're so dark, almost a uni-brow but not quite touching. The way they contrast with his blond hair so sharply, and the way he uses them to reflect his moods. They drive me insane sometimes. Whenever I sleep over at his place, I'll sit there in bed and just trace them lightly with my fingers. He knows it drives me crazy and he'll waggle them at me if he thinks I need cheering up."

"What part of you do you think he likes best?" She asked me with a broad smile and I had to laugh again.

"My butt." I said after laughing and she smiled again. "He's always getting me into these tight pants. During baseball season he wouldn't let me wear anything but the tightest pants he could find, same thing with football. He purposely makes sure I get really tight jeans too, and he's lost every single pair of sweats I own that aren't tight-fitting. His hands are always roaming down there, squeezing it and whenever I walk in front of him I know he's getting excited."

"But you two haven't had anal sex yet?" She asked me and I shook my head.

"No." I answered verbally as well. "We do mutual masturbation sometimes, but our favorite is frotting. We always wear something though, at least boxers. That way even if his parents walked in on us, they'd be able to see right away we were keeping our word to them."

"That's important to you, isn't it?" She asked me.

"Yeah, it is." I answered. "They've been cool about us. Yeah, they put limits on us, but they're limits we can live with, and when you think about them, they're limits that really help us, not hinder our relationship."

We kept on talking about my relationship with Brian, and with his parents and our friends for another hour before her phone rang. She listened for a while, speaking only twice to say 'yes sir' and 'no, your honor' so I was pretty sure she was talking to the judge. A few minutes after the last time she spoke, she frowned and handed the phone over to me.

"This is Davey Jones." I said into the phone, a queasy feeling in my gut.

"Davey, this is Judge Thompson." An older male voice said over the phone. "How are you doing this evening, young man?"

"I've been better, sir, but all things considered not too bad." I answered and heard a gruff laugh on the other side of the line.

"That's a damn good answer considering your situation." He said. "Ms. Hacker first called me about your case as soon as I got home. I'm the duty judge for the family court, do you understand what that means?"

"You get stuck dealing with crap like this instead of enjoying your evening at home with your family." I answered and got another laugh in return.

"Okay, you've just answered my questions, but I'll explain what's going on to you." He said. "I've got reports here from Ms. Hacker, Dr. Warner, and statements from your school Principal, your football team coach, and a few of your teachers. They all say you are a remarkably bright young man, very mature, self-confident, and quite capable of making even major decisions on your own. About thirty minutes ago I got a phone call from an attorney who I've known for quite a few years, and he told me he's been retained by your parents. He made some pretty wild accusations, not the least of which that you've been unduly influenced by the Breckenridge family, by Ms. Hacker, and other unknown people and that you need psychiatric help to sort your head out."

"Or I need spiritual brainwashing backed up by psychiatric conditioning so I'll be a good boy and bow to their demands." I snorted derisively and got worried when there was only silence on the line.

"I am speaking to a fourteen year old high school student, aren't I?" He asked after that silence.

"Yeah, your honor dude, I'm fourteen." I said with a short laugh. "I just like to use big words a lot. I use to read dictionaries just to learn words my dad didn't know."

"Okay, that's better." He said with a short laugh. "Anyway, just from the first words you said to me it's fairly obvious that the reports from Ms. Hacker and Dr. Warner are more accurate than the claims by my attorney friend. You probably have some idea how attorneys can be when pursuing their cases."

"I better, I plan to be one in the future." I said and got another laugh.

"Son, when you get ready to apply for law school, you better give me a call so I can write you a letter of recommendation." He said with a laugh.

"Now that's a deal." I said with enthusiasm.

"Good, now since you want to be an attorney, I'm going to tell you what I'm going to be doing, and give you some advice." He said.

"Okay," I responded. "If the advice is not to go into family law practice, I'm already pretty sure I don't want to do that."

"Well, the advice was going to be never, ever presume on a friendship with a judge when you don't have all the evidence in front of you." Judge Thompson said with another laugh that boomed over the phone. "But your advice is just as good. Now, I'm going to be issuing a temporary order removing you from your parents' custody and placing you in the temporary foster home recommended by Ms. Hacker. I'm ordering a Social Services review of your home environment, and counseling for you and for your family. In four weeks we'll hold a mediated meeting between you and your parents to see how things are progressing. If things aren't getting better, we'll extend the temporary order for sixty days and try again then."

"How long will that go on?" I asked him.

"No more than six months." He answered. "If after six months there's not some type of resolution, and you want to ask for severance of parental ties, I'll entertain that despite your age, if you can show me you are able to support yourself, or another acceptable family is willing to do so. I don't want you in the foster care system if we can help that. There are a lot of loopholes in family law that can be used to find some good resolution. Another nice thing about family law is a judge has a lot more latitude than in criminal cases. We're supposed to find the best interests of the minor child and represent them."

"Thank you, your honor." I said and he laughed again.

"No problem, son." He told me. "You play on the freshman team at Downey, don't you?"

"Yes sir, I do." I confirmed and the judge continued, "Good, kick Oakdale's ass tomorrow, and give the phone back to Ms. Hacker if you would."

"You got it." I told him and handed the phone back to Mary Lou, who was now smiling at the conversation with the judge. She made a few 'yes' or 'no' comments and then hung up a minute later. She immediately picked the phone back up and was obviously telling Trevor's parents that they could come pick me up.

"I think Judge Thompson likes you." She said to me and I laughed.

"Don't tell Brian that, or he'll get jealous."

"That's bad." She groaned, also laughing. Mr. and Mrs. Rush (or Rusankov as their original names were) must have driven like mad because they were there in fifteen minutes. Mary Lou had torn several pages off of the thermal fax machine that was state of the art in this time and made copies of them all before giving them an official-looking 'copy of original' stamp. By the time the Rushes arrived, I had carefully folded up my copies and put them in the wallet I'd started carrying once I turned fourteen. It contained my school identification, my small bank book (all my bank statements went to Brian's house, not my own home), some cash, and a few pictures of my family. It had been in the pants pocket of the clothes I had worn in school and left behind when Dad picked me up after practice, so Brandon had brought them all to Brian's.

Mr. and Mrs. Rush arrived in a bustle and I was quickly wrapped in hugs and kisses on the cheek from both of them. They spoke to Mary Lou for about ten minutes as she handed over several documents to them. When that was done, they bustled me out to their old, beat-up ford pick-up and I climbed into the middle before Mr. Rush took off at a fast pace.

"Have you eaten dinner?" Mrs. Rush asked me in English as we drove towards the farmhouse.

"No, ma'am." I answered her and she told Mr. Rush to stop at the nearby Perko's. They bustled me inside and took a booth in the nearly deserted restaurant. I ordered a hamburger and fries while they ordered ice cream to be brought at the same time as my food. We sat there for several minutes, in silence, as they both looked across the booth at me. I wasn't really sure what to say. In the past two years I'd been over to their place dozens of times, but never really stayed there long with Trevor. Finally, I realized I should thank them. "Thank you for taking me in."

"It is nichevo!" Mr. Rush said as they both exhaled a breath. "You are a good boy, as is your Brian. We do not understand why you like each other way you do, but it is nothing. This Hacker woman say you stay with us for one month, maybe more. We say you stay with us as long as you wish."

"You are good friend to Trevor, and we like you." Mrs. Rush said, also in English.

"Thank you both." I said with a slight blush as the food arrived. They didn't eat their ice cream right away, but watched me eat and waited until it was half-melted, the way most Russians liked their ice cream.

"We should talk about rules while you stay with us." Mr. Rush said after I'd finished most of my hamburger. I nodded as I stuffed a few fries in my mouth. "First, we know you speak some Russian, but we normally speak Russian all the time at home. Trevor never speaks it out of the house, I know, but he does at the house when we do not have guests. You are not really guest, you are family now, but we will speak English if you prefer."

"Po-russkie." I said firmly, which meant 'in Russian', or that I'd speak Russian.

"We will help you with words you not understand." Mrs. Rush said with a smile.

"Next, you may call us Tyatya and Dyadya if you wish." Mr. Rush continued and I nodded in acceptance. They meant literally 'aunt' and 'uncle'. "Third, Trevor has chores around the grounds, so you will help him with those. He also has allowance, so we will give you allowance as well. Do not argue, your Ms. Hacker says state will send check to help pay for your food, so we will give you that as your allowance. We do not need more money."

"We do not have you stay with us for money." Mrs. Rush said with a firm nod of her head, and I knew the idea of taking money for me staying with them was probably offensive to them in some way. I wouldn't argue on that.

"I'll be happy to do any chores." I said and they nodded.

"Last, you and your friend Brian." Mr. Rush said and I tried not to tense up. "You will respect our house, just as Trevor does. If you wish to fool around, as Trevor does with Brandon and his other friends, though he does not think we know about his playing, you will go out to barn. Otherwise, you will respect our house."

"Uh, yes sir." I stuttered in surprise. Sure, I knew about Trevor fooling around in the barn, but none of us had suspected his parents knew.

"You see, we Russians are not as stuffy as you Americans." Mrs. Rush said with a slight air of superiority. "We understand about boys wanting to play. Trevor understand the rules, so you will too."

"Yes ma'am." I said with barely a blush, finishing up the last of my plate. Mr. Rush paid for the meal and we finished the drive home. They lived in a small farmhouse that bordered a cherry orchard. They had three horses, a cow, some chickens, and a big barn, but only really played at farming, except for Mrs. Rush's vegetable garden. Mr. Rush still drove to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory twice a week to work on some nuclear physics project, but he puttered around on his farm the rest of the time.

The old house had several bedrooms that were all furnished, but usually unoccupied. The one they'd assigned to me was actually next to Trevor's. The bed was only a full-sized, but it was a decent room. Several bags from Brian's were already put into the closet, and my clothes had been hung up, my underwear put into the dresser drawers, and a picture of Brian and me that had been sitting on Mom B's coffee table was now on the dresser. It had been taken during our eighth grade year when he won the divisional wrestling championship and I'd come in second place in our weight class, second to him. We were wearing our singlets and smiling broadly.

I went to sleep with a smile on my face, staring at that picture.


As with all my stories, E provides immeasurable input, grammar checking, and all those other lovely editing thingies that make the story so much better!


Feedback, an Author's Lifeblood

A/N - Several Readers have asked if I have a website or other stories on the net. Some of my early stories, including MIsts of Fate were posted here to Nifty and to . Most of my later stories are now posted on in the Hosted Authors section (just look for DK Stories). Enjoy!