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Chapter 36 – Chat with Andy and Moving Day


“Any time, Andy.  You want to talk here or somewhere else?”


“Can we go sit by the fireplace?”


“Sure, come on.”  I turned to Tom and told him where we were going and he nodded in understanding.  Andy and I headed to the living room and once I’d taken my seat, he crawled up and sat next to me.  “Okay, young man, what’s up?”


“I think I want to start sleeping in the empty bedroom, if that’s okay.”


“That’s fine, Andy.  Are you having problems with T.J. and Mike?”


“Not really.  I mean, we get along great, and I really like ‘em, but they do things that kind of bother me and I feel weird about it.”


“Like what?” I asked.


“Well, they play with each other’s, well, you know,” he muttered as he pointed to his crotch and blushed.  “A lot.  And they do other things I don’t like, too.”


“Got it.  Have they ever touched you there and you didn’t want them to?”


“A couple times, out in the pool Saturday, but I told ‘em I didn’t want ‘em doing it and they ain’t done it since, but they keep askin’ if they can and I keep tellin’ ‘em no.”


“Okay.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ll talk to them and make sure they won’t ask you again.  One of the rules in this house it they have to ask for permission before they touch each other that way.  And if the other person says no, they have to respect that.  I’m glad they’re at least doing that.”


“But why do they do it?  Touch each other like that, I mean?”


“Well, that’s slightly more involved discussion, you sure you’re ready for it?”


“Yeah.  If I’m gonna’ live here, I wanna’ know what’s goin’ on.”


“Okay, I’ll try to make this simple.  You know, for most people, boys like girls and men like women, right?”


“Well, sure.”


“There are others like me, Tom and the boys who like other men and other boys.  There are also girls who like girls and women who like women.”


“Well, I don’t like girls.  They’re yucky.  And all my friends are boys and I like ‘em, but that don’t mean I want ‘em touchin’ me there.  Or any of the other things they do.”


“That’s fine Andy.  If you don’t want to play with them that way, I’ll make sure they leave you out of it.  But, you also have to understand, that they like each other a whole lot and they’ll continue to play that way.  Joey and Alex, too.  There might even be times when all four of them will play together. 


“That’s cool, if they wanna’ do that to each other, fine with me, just leave me out of it.”


“If you don’t want to join in, that’s fine.  Come find me or Tom and we’ll find something else to do like read a book or play a game.  Sound good to you?”


“That’d be great.”


“No problems, then.  I’ll make sure they all know.  If you ever change your mind and decide you do want to be included, just let me know, okay.”


“Okay, dad.  Thanks.  Can I ask another question?”




“Why does my, um, it, get hard?” he asked as he blushed again.


I stifled my snicker and answered, “I’m guessing nobody’s ever talked to you about that, have they?”


“No.  Will you tell me?”


“Sure.  It happens to all guys, Andy, from little boys to old men.”




“Yes, really.  First, the name for that part of your body is ‘penis’ and it’s okay for you to say the word without embarrassment.  You can also call it a dick, and whole bunch of other things.”


“That’s what most of the boys at school call it, their dick.  But why does it, um, my penis, get hard?”


“When it gets hard, it’s call an erection.  That can happen for any number of reasons, a cool breeze when you’re outside, you need to go to the bathroom, you touch it, somebody else touches it.  The list goes on and on.”


“So, that’s why theirs are always hard, ‘cause they keep touchin’ and playin’ with it.  But why do they play with it so much?”


“Because it feels good, Andy.”


“Really?  How?”


Now it was my turn to blush.  “I can’t really explain how.  It’s something you just have to feel for yourself.”


“Oh, okay.  I got one more question.  Can I go ahead and ask it now?”


“I’m in answer mode, so go ahead.”


“Why do T.J. and I look different from you guys.  You know, that extra skin down there?”


“That’s called the foreskin.  All guys are born like you two, it’s just that for a lot of us, our parents had that extra skin cut off shortly after we born.”


“Ouch!  Doesn’t that hurt?”


“I’m sure it does, but I don’t remember it happening.”


“I’ve seen T.J.’s kinda pulled back so he looks like the rest of you when he gets hard, but mine won’t do that.”


“Have you tried?”


“Yeah, a little bit, but it hurts when I do.”


“Well, I’m no expert on foreskin function since I obviously don’t have mine, so I don’t know if I can help you with that problem.  We may have to take you to see a doctor and have you checked out to see if there’s a reason for it.”


“No way!  I don’t want some stranger touchin’ me there.  Why can’t you do it?”


“Because I don’t know what I’m looking for and even if I did see a problem of some kind, I wouldn’t know what to do about it.”


“Won’t you at least try?”


“I suppose I can, if you really want me to.”


“I do.  What do you want me to do?”


“Why don’t you lay down on the couch?”




Andy jumped out of the chair, ran to the couch and laid down.  I knelt beside the couch and reached over, resting a hand on is hip.  Just before I touched his soft one-inch penis, I looked at his face and asked, “You’re sure you want me to do this?”  He nodded silently, so I proceeded to gently grab his penis between my thumb and forefinger.  As soon as I touched his sweet specimen of boyhood, it started to stiffen and grow in length.  When his erection reached a length of about 1½ inches, it appeared to have stopped growing and I gently tried to retract his foreskin the same way I had done with T.J.  I met almost immediate resistance with the opening at the end just barely exposing the tip of his enshrouded helmet.  I also noticed his body flinch and heard a tiny gasp escape from between his lips.


“Does that hurt?” I asked, looking up to his face, worried that I’d hurt him.


“Just a little, but it feels good, too.”


“What feels good about it?”


“Just the way you’re holding it and sliding your fingers up and down like you are,” he grinned as he lifted his head to see what I was doing.  “It doesn’t feel like that when I do it.” 


Since I’d looked to his face when he flinched, I quickly looked back to my hand and the prize it was holding, realizing I was doing exactly what he said.  I was ever so slowly and gently sliding my finger and thumb up and down his turgid little member and my other fingers were lightly stroking the small marbles nestled below in their wrinkly little sack. 


I forced myself to remove my hand from his hardness and began to apologize, “Oh, Andy, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.”


“S’okay, dad, I kinda’ liked it.  Like I said, it doesn’t feel that good when I do it myself.  Is that what it would feel like if I let T.J. and Mike play with it?”


“I’m sure it would.  But, I think we need to have a doctor check you out and see if anything can be done so your foreskin will roll back all the way.  As far I know, it should, but, again, I really don’t know the answer.”


“I don’t much like havin’ a stranger look at and touch me there, but if you think we should…”


“I do.  I’ll call and make an appointment with a pediatrician to get you checked out, okay?”


“Okay,” he replied dejectedly as he sat up.  “Thanks for talkin’ to me.  And I’m glad you’re not mad at me for wanting to sleep in the other room.”


“Anytime, Andy.  And I can’t be mad at you for anything.  Now, let’s go back and rejoin the others.”  When he slid off the couch, I noticed he was still erect and I was hoping his excitement would be a little less obvious before we got back to the theater.  He reached for my hand and I wrapped my fingers around his as we strolled back through the house.  When I opened the door to the theater, Andy slipped his hand from mine and ran to sit with the other boys while I took my seat next to Tom.


“You were gone quite a while,” he whispered.  “I was about ready to send out a search party.  What was that all about?”


“He wants to start sleeping in the spare bedroom,” I whispered back.


“Oh, problems?”


“Nothing major, I guess.  He feels uncomfortable with the sex play between T.J. and Mike.  He says they keep asking him if they can touch him and he keeps saying no, but I think he just wants to get away from it so they quit bugging him about it.”


“Gotcha’.  Anything else to worry about?”


“He also wanted to know why he got hard,” I chuckled.  “Why the hell don’t parents take the time to explain basic body functions to kids?  That was a bit more of an involved chat than changing bedrooms.  When I got done with that, he wanted to know why his foreskin won’t pull back like T.J.’s does.  When I told him we should probably have a doctor check him out, he asked me to do it instead.”


“And did you?”


“Didn’t really want to, but I also didn’t feel I had much choice.  And he does, indeed, have a problem.  The opening isn’t stretched out enough to allow him to pull it all the way back the way T.J. can.  I’ll call and make an appointment with a pediatrician to get him checked out, make sure there’s nothing seriously wrong.”


“Damn it, you have all the fun,” he hissed.


“Look, it’s not like I enjoyed it.”


“Then why were you half hard when you two came back?”


“Okay, maybe just a little,” I grinned.  “But I stopped myself before it got too far.”


“Asserting your will power, huh?  Good luck with that.”


“Yeah, I know.”


At 7:30, I let the boys know it was time for snacks and bed.  I shut down the TV and we headed to the kitchen where Tom and I set them up with fruit roll-ups and milk. 


While they were munching, I announced, “Mike, T.J., Andy has asked to start sleeping in the spare bedroom.”


Mike yelled, “What!”  He turned to Andy and squealed, “Why, don’t you like us no more?”


“I like you just fine.  I just feel funny when you two play with each other the way you do.”


“I’m sorry, Andy, we won’t never do it again.”


“Don’t stop ‘cause of me.  If you two want to do that, that’s fine, I just don’t want to.”


“So, we’re still friends?” Mike begged.


“Sure, we are,” Andy answered, then leaned over and wrapped an arm around Mike’s shoulder.


“Good.  I hope you’ll come back to sleep with us sometime.”


“I might, but I need to think about it, okay?”


“Yeah, okay,” Mike mumbled unhappily.


“If you’re done with your snacks, hit the bathroom and then bed, please.  We’ll be there in a minute to tuck you in and say goodnight.”


The fantastic five stalked out of the kitchen, T.J. and Mike wrapping their arms around Andy’s shoulders.  Tom and I cleaned up the snack mess and headed down the hall to get them tucked in and say good night.  Since Andy had peeled off at the spare bedroom, we stopped there first.  He’d already climbed in bed and Tom and I pulled the covers up and gave him a good night kiss on the forehead.


“I’m glad you’re not mad at me for wanting to sleep in here,” he said as we turned to leave.


“Like I said, Andy, I can’t be mad at you for anything.  If you’re not okay sleeping with Mike and T.J., then it’s fine with us.  This is your home, too, for now, and we want you to be as comfortable as possible here.”


“Thanks, dad, pops.  That means a lot.”


“Sleep well, buddy.  We’ll see you in the morning.”


We turned off the light and closed the door as Tom and I headed to Mike and T.J.’s room next and I could hear one or both of them whimpering as we stepped through the door.


“What’s wrong, guys,” Tom asked as we got closer to the bed.


“Mike’s upset about Andy not wantin’ to sleep with us,” T.J. answered.


Tom and I sat on the bed and I said, “Mike, don’t be sad.  It’s not like he moved out of the house.”


“I know, dad, but I liked holding him at night.”


“That’s fine, Mike, but he just didn’t feel right being here when you and T.J. are engaging in your sex play.  You understand that, don’t you?”


“Not really.  We kept asking him if he’d join us, but all he ever said was no.”


“Well, not all boys and girls are as comfortable with who they are and their bodies as you guys are.  You two and the twins are way ahead of most kids your ages.  Besides, Andy might not be gay, and he probably isn’t, and that’s why he’s uncomfortable with joining you.  Let’s give him some time and see what happens.  He may change his mind and he may not.  Whatever he decides, you need to respect it.”


“I know, dad.”


“Listen, buddy,” Tom started, “he’s still living here and he’s still your friend, that’s something, isn’t it?”


“I guess,” he whimpered as I dried his face.


“Okay, then, let’s get you two tucked in,” I said.  The boys curled up together, T.J. holding Mike as usual, then Tom and I pulled the covers up and gave them kisses goodnight, turned out the lights and headed for Joey and Alex’s room.  We could hear light moans escaping through the open door and we shook our heads in unison.  We stepped in anyway and headed to the side of the bed where the two were entwined in a rather creative mutual blowjob.


“How the hell can they do that,” Tom asked as we sat on the edge of the bed to wait.


“Not a freakin’ clue, youthful flexibility?” I responded while shrugging my shoulders.


The two separated, wide, satisfied grins splitting their faces and Joey said, “Hi, dad, pops.”


“You ready to join us yet,” Alex asked.


“Not by a longshot, buddy.  Come say good night.”  They got up on their knees and waddled over to Tom and me, spit-slickened, hard-ons leading the way.  As we got our hugs and gave them kisses on the forehead, I felt Alex’s hand lightly brush my hardening cock while his hard, three-inch poker stabbed me in the ribs.  I leaned back and saw Alex staring deep into my eyes while his hand continued to stimulate me.  “Huh-uh, not tonight, buddy.”


“But soon, right, dad?” he whispered.


“Not if you keep pushing the issue.”  He frowned deeply, but as he started to turn back to the middle of the bed, I decided to give him something to think about and I slipped a hand between his legs, freezing his movement, then slowly slid it up this thigh, over his sweet balls and up his still moist pecker.  He tipped his head back and moaned at the minimal contact.  I continued up his belly and chest until I reached his chin, then wrapped the hand around the back of his neck.  I pulled his head back to mine and gave him a long, loving kiss on the lips.  “Patience, young man,” I whispered as our lips broke contact.


“Yeah, okay, dad,” he breathed back.


I turned to Tom and Joey and found them staring wide-eyed at what had just happened between Alex and me.  Not to be outdone by his brother, I watched as Joey leaned in and proceeded to give Tom one of the most sensuous kisses I’ve ever seen while trying to wrap a tiny hand around his cock and begin to stroke him.  I continued to watch as Tom gently cupped Joey’s balls and cock with his hand, causing Joey to jump in surprise.  When they broke the kiss, Tom stood, grabbed me by the arm and whispered in my ear, “Get me outta’ here, before it’s too late.”


“Good night boys, lights out in five.”


“Night, dad, pops.  Love you.”


“We love you, too.” 


We turned to head out of the bedroom, hard-ons leading the way, and I heard one of them whisper, “Bet they’re gonna go fuck each other silly, now,” which elicited a wild giggle from the other one.


Tom and I headed to our bedroom and as soon as I closed the door, Tom grabbed me and filled my mouth with his tongue while grinding his crotch into mine.  I slowly backed him towards the bed, but stopped short so we didn’t just fall into it and hurt his head.  He did still have 28 stitches holding his scalp together.  When we broke for air, Tom laid me down and crawled on top of me, smashing our cocks between us.  After several minutes of furious kissing and rubbing our cocks together, he knelt over me, grabbed my hardness and guided it to his rear opening.  He closed his eyes and slowly settled his body onto mine, impaling himself as he did and moaning with intense pleasure as I sank ever deeper into him.  He began a rocking motion as I wrapped one hand around his drooling cock and fondled his balls with the other.  In less than a minute, Tom started pumping shot after shot of cum on me and the rhythmic contractions of his asshole sent me over the edge and I began to further fill his hot ass. 


As a spent Tom lay down on top of me, I heard giggling from the direction of the door.  I turned my head just in time to hear the latch click as the door closed and I heard the pitter-patter of small feet beating a retreat down the hall.  Damn, in our rush to relieve our pent-up desires, I’d forgotten to lock the door.


“Um,” I started, “I do believe we had an audience tonight.”


“Oh, well, serves us right for letting them get us worked up and not locking the door.  I hope they enjoyed the show.”


“No doubt, they did.  Let’s hit the shower and get cleaned up.”


“I don’t know if I can move right now.”


“I’ll help, come on, big guy.”  Tom rolled off me and after I climbed out of bed, I took his hands in mine and helped him up.  We hopped in the shower and lovingly bathed each other.  I used a washcloth to carefully clean Tom’s scalp around the stiches.  Once we were dried off, I applied more antibiotic ointment to his scalp and we headed to the theater to watch some TV before going to bed. 


As we passed through the kitchen, Tom suddenly stopped, grabbed my arm and said, “Oh, crap, I haven’t called the ‘rents to let them know what happened Saturday.”


“I’d forgotten all about them, Tom.  You want to do it now?”


“Again, ‘want’ is the wrong word.  But I think they should know.”


“Of course, they should.  I would have called them myself, but after we got home Saturday night, I completely forgot about it.”


We turned around and headed to the study to make the call.


“They won’t be happy ‘bout this, especially mom” Tom said as the phone rang.


Tom’s dad answered the phone with, “Hello?”


“Hey, dad, it’s Tom, how ya’ doing?”


“We’re fine, son, what’s up?”


“Don’t freak out or anything, but I’m calling to let you know I got hurt on the job Saturday afternoon.  I’m gonna’ be fine, though.”


“Well, hell, son, that just sucks.  What happened?”  Tom explained Saturday’s events and apologized for not calling earlier.  “Oh hell, don’t worry about it, Tom.  I’m just glad you’re okay.  And since you don’t have to be a cop any longer, we can quit worrying about you so much.”


“I know, dad.  It’ a big relief to us, too.  I loved the job, but it was just getting too dangerous.  Too many idiots with guns out there.”


“How’s everything else?” Bill asked.


“Well, we’ve added another boy to the family.  It was his house where I got hurt and his mom’s going to jail, too, so he’s staying with us until the end of the school year, at least.  After that, I don’t know what’s gonna’ happen.”


“Well, I hope everything works out with him.  I’m sure you’ll take good care of him.”


“We will, don’t worry about that.  How’s mom doing?”


“She’s just fine, over at the neighbor’s house right now to take them some fresh apple pie.”


“That sounds like mom.  Always baking something and delivering it to a neighbor.”


“That she is.  Wait a sec, sounds like she’s comin’ back in the door right now.  Let me pass the news on to her and you know she’ll want to talk to you, too.”


“We’ll wait, dad,” Tom said as he cowered in fear and whispered to me, “Get ready, here comes the ‘I told you so’.”  Bill didn’t do a very good job covering up the phone and we heard Estelle gasp loudly when she heard about Tom being hurt.  The next thing we heard was his mom’s voice bellowing from the speakerphone.


“Thomas William Wright, god dammit, you waited two damn days to call me!  What were you thinking?”


“Mom, please stop yelling, my head still hurts a bit.  And I’m sorry for not calling sooner, but Max didn’t have your number, and my brain’s been a little fuzzy since it happened.  It just popped in that I still needed to call and let you know.”


“I’m sorry for yelling, Tom, but we should have known about this on Saturday.”


“I know, and I’m sorry you didn’t.  Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about it anymore.”


“Well, we’re coming up tomorrow.”


“Ma, you don’t have to do that.”


“Yes, we do.  My boy’s been hurt and he needs his mama.”


“Really, mom, I’m fine.  Max is right here and he’s taking good care of me.”


“He better be or he’ll have to answer to me.  But, I’ll find out for sure tomorrow when we get there.  Are we coming to your apartment or to Max’s home?”


“It’s our home now, mom, so if you’re really coming up, you’ll need to come here.”


“Of course, it is, sorry.  Give me the address so we can find you.  We should be there around noon.”


“You really don’t have to, but I know I won’t talk you out of it, either, will I?”


“That’s right, you won’t, so don’t even try.”


“Fine, you ready to write this down?”  After she had a pen and paper, Tom gave her the address and phone numbers to call if they got lost.  “We’ll see you when you get here then.  Love you, guys.”


“We love you, too, Tom.  See you tomorrow.”


Tom ended the call and wiped the sweat from his forehead.  “That went well, didn’t it?” he chuckled.  “At least she didn’t say ‘I told you so’.”


“Looks like I’m going to meet your parents sooner than we thought.”


“Sure looks that way.  Hope they’re good.”


“They’re just worried about you, Tom.  I don’t blame your mom for wanting to come up and make sure you’re okay.”


“Hey, I’ve got a wild idea for ya’.  Why don’t you invite your parents out tomorrow afternoon and we can have a regular old party?” Tom laughed.


“Sure, why not, give me the phone.”


“Whoa, I was just kidding, Max.”


“I’m not, give me the dang phone.”  Tom handed me the phone and I made the call.


“Hi, mom, how ya’ doing?”


“We’re hanging in, son, what’s up?”


“Listen, Tom just called his mom and dad to let them know about his getting hurt Saturday.  It turns out, they’re coming up tomorrow and should be here about noon so his mom can make sure he’s okay and see I’m taking good care of him.  I wanted to see if you and dad would want to come out for lunch and meet Tom and his parents.”


“Gee, Max, I don’t know.  I’m not sure we’re quite ready for that.”


“Mom, will you ever really be ready?”


“Oh, I don’t know.  In time, son, in time.”


“There’s no time like the present.  Come on, you and dad need to get out of the house and you haven’t been here forever, it seems.  I’d really like it if you could make just a little effort.  It’s not like I’m asking you to kill someone for me, just meet more of your new family.  You’ve met the boys, you should meet Tom and his parents, too.”


“Let me talk to your dad and see what he says.”


“That’s all I can ask for, mom.  I hope you’ll be here.  It would mean a lot to me.”


“Like I said, son, we’ll see.”


“Thanks, I hope we see you tomorrow then.”  I hung up and handed the phone back to Tom.


“And…” he asked.


“She says, ‘we’ll see’, which probably translates to ‘when hell freezes over’,” I answered him with a frown.


“I hope they do.  I want to thank them for having you,” Tom said with a smile.


“Maybe you’ll get the opportunity, maybe you won’t.  I don’t know about you, but I’m wiped and ready for bed.  Want to watch some mindless TV for a while?”


“Lead the way, lover.”  We crawled into bed and after starting the movie ‘True Lies’ from the DVR, I curled up in Tom’s arms and laid my head on his shoulder.  I zoned out in less than 5 minutes, only to be awakened by the alarm screaming in my ear at 6:00AM.  I extricated myself from Tom’s grasp and, after using the bathroom, headed to wake up the boys.  When I got to Mike and T.J.’s room, I was surprised to find Andy had crawled in bed with them sometime during the night. 


I woke the three of them and asked, “You change your mind, Andy?  Or did they kidnap you in the middle of the night?” I chuckled.


“Oh, no, they didn’t kidnap me.  I had a bad dream and got scared, so I snuck in about 1:00 and crawled in.  That’s all right, isn’t it?”


“That’s entirely up to you, young man.  You can sleep wherever you feel most comfortable.”


“Thanks, dad,” he said with a smile.


“C’mon, boys, let’s get a move on.  If you want stitches drawn on your heads, we gotta’ get moving.”


“Be there in a few, dad,” T.J. mumbled while wiping the sleep from his eyes.


Next to wake was the pretzels.  When I walked in their room, I was surprised for the second time this morning to find the twins completely covered and sleeping on their sides, back to back.  I shook their shoulders to get them moving in the right direction.  When they were finally awake enough to realize it was me and not an earthquake intruding on their slumber, I said, “Let’s boogie, you two.”  I should have known better that to say that to these two because as soon as the words left my mouth, they jumped out of bed and proceeded to dance their happy little asses to the bathroom, morning erections bouncing wildly to no specific rhythm.  “Very funny, you two.  Breakfast in five,” I called out as I left the room to wake Tom.


“C’mon, sleepyhead, the day’s a wastin’ and we have guests coming today, movers and parents, remember.  Busy day ahead.”


“Yeah, yeah, whatever.  I’m movin’,” he groused.


“Get dressed and I’ll get the coffee going.  But, you have to come to the kitchen to get it yourself, I’m your partner, not your servant, ya’ know.”


“I’ll be there.  Just do me one teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy favor, please.”


“Your wish is my command.”


“Quit being so damned chipper in the morning.  That shit’s just depressing to us normal folks.”


“Sorry, can’t help myself.  I’m way too happy with my life now to start the day any other way.”


I turned to face him with a smile on my face to prove my point and narrowly ducked the pillow he had tossed at my head.  “Uh-oh, you’ve been a bad boy, Thomas.  No coffee for you today.”


“Well, hell, just shoot me now.  If I can’t have my coffee, what’s the point of living?” he laughed as he stood and headed to the bathroom.  I grabbed him as we crossed paths, pulled him into a hug and gave him a good morning kiss.  I also gave his morning erection a light stroke as we separated and his response to that was, “Don’t be starting something you ain’t got time to finish, bubba.”


“You were already started, big boy,” I laughed.  “See you in the kitchen.  You can help draw 28 stitches on five heads this morning.”


“Wow, you really know how to show a guy a good time, don’t ya’?”


“You know it,” was my parting shot as I left the bedroom to feed the fantastic five.  The boys were all lined up on their stools and ready for food.  I got out the bowls, cereal and milk for them.  When I asked if anyone wanted toast this morning, they all passed.  I grabbed one of the makeup pencils, sharpened it and was halfway done drawing stitches on Andy’s head while he ate his Frosted Flakes when Tom finally appeared.  He headed straight for the coffee pot, poured himself a cup and took a sip before turning to face the rest of the family.


“Morning, boys.  All ready for another fun-filled day at school?”


“Yeah, right, pops,” Alex answered sarcastically.


“I’m not feeling too good, pops,” T.J. whined with a smirk on his face.  “Will you go in my place?”


“Sorry, young man.  Been there, done that, many years ago.  And I have no interest in going back.  Thanks for asking, though.”


“Dang it,” he grinned.  “I had to try.”


“Tom,” I interrupted, “Grab another pencil out of the drawer and get busy.  We got four more heads to decorate.”


“Yes, Boss.”


After a few bouts of giggling due the tickling of their heads, we finally completed the drawing of 28 stitches on each of the shaved heads while the boys finished eating their cereal.  They took care of rinsing and stacking their bowls in the sink and headed to their bedrooms to get backpacks and coats.  They came back in a few minutes later to give hugs to Tom before heading out to the garage to wait for me.


As they headed down the hall, Tom yelled, “Hey, you guys have a great day at school and learn something new.”


“Yeah, yeah, whatever, POPS!” Joey yelled back.


“Hmm, that sounds vaguely familiar,” I commented.


“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Tom answered. 


As I walked by him to grab my coat, I smacked him on the ass since his head was off limits.  His response to that was, “Oooh, come back here and do that again.  And again.”


“You wish.  Back in a few,” I called as I headed to the garage.  The bus was waiting at the end of the drive as I pulled up and put the car in park.  The boys hopped out and ran to join the other riders, somehow missing out on me giving me hugs this morning.  I was going to have to remedy that situation.  I gave a quick wave to Carl as he closed the door and headed on up the road.  When I got back to the house, I found Tom sitting by the fireplace, cup of coffee in one hand, a sheet of paper in the other and a stunned look on his face.  I hung my coat back in the closet, headed to the kitchen to refill my coffee and had sat next to him when I realized he hadn’t moved since I first saw him.


“What’s that?” I asked as I snapped my fingers in front of his face to break whatever trance he was in.


“Huh?” he asked as he tore his eyes from paper and focused on me.  “Oh, you’re back.  Sorry, didn’t hear you come in.”


“Obviously.  So, you gonna answer my question?”


“You’re not gonna’ believe this.  I’m not sure I believe it.  Here, you read it and tell me I’m not seeing things,” he said as he held the paper out and shook his hand.


Curiosity spiked, I took the page from him and quickly scanned it.  “You’re shittin’ me.  30 freakin’ minutes on Facebook and you actually found Dylan’s Malcom White.  I don’t believe this, Tom.  You solve every case this quickly, you’re gonna have some very happy clients.”


“It is real, isn’t it?  And he said he’d actually like to come for a visit and see Dylan.  Unreal.”


“Beginner’s luck, Sherlock.  Don’t let one success go to your head.”


“You know, you can be a real killjoy.  Go right ahead and rain on my damn parade, I don’t mind one bit.  I’m just gonna’ kick back and bask in the glow of my success.”


“I’m just kidding you, Tom.  Really, this is great news.  And he gave you his phone numbers so you can call him, too.  That should make setting things up easier to deal with.”


“That and the fact he’s moved from Chicago to Bloomington will help, also.  He could drive down or I could drive up there to pick him up.”


“We have to set this up, but let’s wait until after Joey and Alex’s birthday party.  I don’t want to try and juggle too many different things at once.”


“No problem, Max.  With the bus shelter, redoing the bedrooms for the boys and my office, moving furniture and getting ready for the workshop thingy at school, we’ve got plenty on our plate for next couple weeks.  I’ll call Malcom later this afternoon, after mom and dad head back home, and see if we can set something up towards the end of March.”


“That should work out fine, Tom.  This should be fun.”


The drive sensor went off, announcing the arrival of the movers.  “Speaking of moving furniture, that should be them.”  I headed across the living room to meet them when they reached the door.


After opening the door, the leader of the group said, “Good morning, are you Mr. Sanders?”


“That’s me, and I go by Max.  Come on in out of the cold.”  I stepped back and held the door open as five beefy, muscular men followed their leader into the house.


“Thanks, Max, nice to meet you.  My name’s Vinnie and this is my crew, Frankie, Paulie, Benny, Willy and Junior.”


“Junior?” I asked.


“Yeah, he’s Frankie’s son, but we can’t go ‘round all day yellin’ ‘Yo, Frankie’.  No tellin’ how screwed up things’d get if we did that,” he laughed in explanation.


“Well, I’m happy you guys could make it today.  We’ve got a lot to deal with this week and don’t have time to do the moving ourselves.”


“Eh, no problems, Maxie.  That’s what keeps up going day to day.”


“Huh-uh, Max.  You start callin’ me Maxie, then you’ll start thinkin’ I’m part of your crew and expect me to move all this junk myself.  No way, Vinnie, I hired you so I wouldn’t have to do it myself.”  They all laughed at that.


From across the room, Tom yelled, “Vinnie, what the hell are you doin’ here?”


“Tom!  Long time, no see, how’s it hangin’, man?”


“Same as always, short, shriveled and to the right,” he laughed as he crossed the living room to join us at the door.


“Yeah, right, don’t try to con a conman, bubba,” Vinnie answered as the two shook hands.  “Besides, I know better,” he winked.


“Wait a minute, you guys know each other?” I asked in surprise.


“Sure do, Max.  Vinnie here used to get into regular trouble after I joined the department.  Probably for a long time before I joined up, too.  We finally got him to see the error of his ways and helped him turn his life around,” Tom explained.  “Nice to see an old reprobate like you make good, Vinnie,” he continued.


“Careful with them words like that, man, I’m a respectable businessman these days.  Got you and Dylan to thank for that, Tom.  If it hadn’t been for you two, I’d probably be doin’ time by now.  Instead, got myself a good business and that’s helpin’ keep the rest of the family outta’ trouble.  I owe you guys, big time, man.”


“Just doin’ our jobs, Vinnie.  Glad to see you’re doing well.”


“Yeah, me too.  Mind if I ask what the hell happened to your head?  Looks like you had a seizure while tryin’ to shave that ugly mug of yours,” Vinnie joked.


“I wish that’s all it was.  But no, I took a bullet to the head Saturday afternoon.  I got lucky.”


“If that’s ‘lucky’, I hate to see the not lucky version.”


“You and me both, Vinnie, believe me.”


“Well, I’m glad you’re okay.  The world would be a sadder place without you in it, man.  You just recuperatin’ in these fine digs ‘til you can go back to work?”


“Nope, I live here, now, Vinnie.  Moved in last week.  Max and I are gettin’ married.”


“No shit!  Never figured you for gay, what with you bein’ a cop and everything.  Congrats you two.”


“I hid it well, Vinnie, but no longer.  Not a cop any more, either.”


“When the hell did that happen?”


“Same day a bullet creased my cranium, Saturday.  I’d already turned in my resignation, but had another week to go.  Dylan said no way, I was done.”


“Good for you.  What’re you gonna’ do now?”


“I’m opening up a private investigation service.”


“Excellent, man.  Hey, you need any snoopin’ done in the old neighborhood, you let me know.  I’d just love see some of them crooks get what’s comin’ to ‘em.” Vinnie grinned.   He turned back to me finally and asked, “So, I understand from talkin’ to you on the phone, Max, we got a couple rooms to clear out here, right?”


“Yep, let me show you what you’ll be dealing with today.  Follow me.”  I led the way to the spare bedroom and opened the door.  “This is the first one.  We need all the furniture except the TV moved out so we can have the room redone for our twins.”


“No sweat, where’s the second one?”


“Right across the hall, here,” I answered as I opened the door to the storage room.


“Whoa, good thing I brought the big guns with me today.  This one will take a while.”


“Now you see why I called you.”


“You bet.  Next question, where’s it all getting moved to.”


“I have a storage building on the property, hidden back in the trees a bit.  When you get the first load ready to move, Tom and I will lead you to it.”


“Sounds like a plan to me, Max.  We haulin’ out the front door or you got another direction you want us to go?”


“It’ll probably be easier if you just go down the hallway and out through the garage.  If you move your truck, I’ll get my car out of the way, then you can back up to the door.”


“That’s perfect, Max.  Junior, go move the truck out of Max’s way, then get it turned around and back it up to the garage.  And please, don’t hit the damn house this time.”


“Hey, that was an accident!” Junior yelled.


“Accident or not, you still hit the damn thing, didn’t you?  It’s not like it jumped in front of ya’, is it?”


“Damn, one little freakin’ mistake and you never gonna’ let me forget it, are ya’?” 


“Nope, not ever.”


Everybody was laughing now.  Well, everybody but Junior, that is.  Junior and I headed to the garage and after he got the truck out of the way, I backed the Shelby out and parked it on the circle drive by the front door.  I watched as he backed the truck into position by the door to make sure he didn’t hit it.  As it turned out, he left plenty of room and I could breathe easy, again. 


I headed back inside to find Tom and quietly asked, “You really trust this guy, Tom?  He seems to be quite the character.”


“Oh, he’s a character, all right, and four years ago, when I first met him, I wouldn’t have trusted him as far as I could throw him.  But he’s come a long way the past couple years and I trust him now.  He’s a good guy who started out badly but that’s all ancient history, now.”


“Good to hear it, I guess if you’re comfortable with him, I am, too.  Thanks for easin’ my mind.  I gotta’ ask, though, how does he know that you’re not hangin’ ‘short, shriveled and to the right’, as you put it?”


“When Dylan and I were workin’ with him to help him get his life turned around, he went swimmin’ at the Y’ with me a few times.  You know character building and all that crap.  And what can I say, you gotta’ take a shower after swimmin’, don’t ya?”


“Gotcha’.  I just wondered if he was maybe that one guy you mentioned before.”


“Vinnie, hell no, he’s as straight as they get.  I don’t even remember that other loser’s name.”


“So, what are we gonna’ fix for lunch?” I asked after sitting by the fireplace with Tom.


“Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, Max, whatever’s easy to fix.”


“How about spaghetti and garlic bread?  I have plenty of sauce in the freezer and it doesn’t take long to boil the pasta.  It’s easy to change how much to fix, too, in case my mom and dad do actually show up, though I’m not placing any bets on that happening.”


“That sounds good.  Mom and dad like spaghetti, too.”


“Perfect, let me get the sauce out the freezer now so it can start to thaw a bit.”  I got up to take care of that and while I was in the kitchen, pulled the pasta from the cabinet and got out the pans I’d need.  That’s about all I could do at the moment, so I grabbed my book and retook my seat by Tom.  “Damn, it’s getting chilly in here with the doors open.  I’m gonna light a fire.”


“Wait, you mean to tell me that thing is real?”


“Of course, it is, did you think it was just a decoration?”


“I wasn’t sure since I’ve never seen a fire in it before.”


“I usually keep it warm enough inside so it’s comfortable enough to be nude, so I rarely use it.  Normally, I only light a fire when I’m having guests.”


“Well, now that I know it’s real, we’ll have to have fires more often.”


“I’d like that, Tom, especially since you’ll be here to share the warmth with me.”  I set some good-sized logs in place, added some kindling and, after opening the flue, lit it up.  Then, I flipped the switch to turn on the circulating fan to force more of the heat out into the room instead of letting it all escape up the chimney.  After about ten minutes, the flames were going strong enough to produce some good heat and take the edge off the chill from the open doors.  I settled back in my chair and cracked open my book.  45 minutes later, Vinnie rounded the corner from the hallway and let us know the truck was full.


“Great, let us grab our coats and we’ll lead the way.”  Tom and I got our coats out of the closet, hopped in the car and I headed on around the circle drive to lead the way deeper into the property to my storage building.  I usually walked the distance, but it was cold and still snowy out there since I usually don’t go out there much in winter.  When I pulled up in front of the building, Tom stared wide-eyed at how big it was.


“Holy crap, Max, you got a plane in there?”


“I could, but no.  No runway here for a plane, not with all these trees.  Besides, the plane’s parked where it should be, at the airport.” I grinned.


“You really have a plane?”


“Of course, I do, what’s the point of being rich and famous if you don’t take full advantage of it?”


“I shoulda’ known,” he responded, shaking his head in disbelief.  “So, how big is this thing?” he asked looking back at the storage building


“40’ by 60’ with a second level of storage for lighter stuff across the back half.  Heated, also.”  He gawked at me in disbelief.  “Yeah, I know, my parents thought the same thing when they saw it the first time.  Call me crazy.”


“Okay, you’re crazy.”


“The good news is it’s only about half full, so there’s plenty of room for the stuff from the two rooms in the house and your apartment.  Come on in and I’ll give you the tour.”


We walked to the building and, after I unlocked the door and disabled the alarm, headed inside and opened the big door for Vinnie and his crew to use.  While they backed the truck up to the door, I lead Tom around the inside pointing out general areas where things were stored.  We then headed back to meet Vinnie and his guys so I could tell them where to put the furniture and other stuff they’d just brought out from the house.  While I did that and they got busy unloading, Tom had wandered over to a corner of the building where a couple of large objects were covered with tarps.


“And just what are you hiding over here,” he asked as I walked over to join him.


I grabbed the corner of one of the tarps and lifted it a few feet, exposing a bulging, bright red fender.  “Nothing major, just a ’64 ‘Vette convertible with a 427, dual four barrel carbs and 435 horsepower.”   I pulled the cover completely off so Tom could see the whole car.  He let out a low whistle in appreciation and we were soon joined by Vinnie and his guys.  “I don’t drive it much because it’s rides like an old horse-drawn buckboard wagon compared to the Shelby.  It does have some serious giddy-up, however.”


“Oh, man, Max, we gotta’ get this baby out on the road this summer.  This thing is hot,” he exclaimed as he stuck his head through the window to look at the inside.  “Dare I ask what’s under the other cover?” he asked after standing upright again.


I walked over and pulled that cover off also, exposing the 2014 Ferrari California I’d bought a couple years back when I was younger and crazier.


“Holy shit, Max.  You got a thing for red, don’t you?”


“I did, I guess, but you’ll note the Shelby’s blue.  Guess I’ve finally grown out of that.”


“Any other cool toys hiding out here?” Tom asked, rubbing his hands together with a smirk on his face.


“Nope, these are the only two, and I only take ‘em out when the weather’s perfect.”


“Well, here’s to hoping for perfect weather, and sooner rather than later.” 


Vinnie and crew returned to their work after admiring the cars for a minute and Tom and I pulled the covers back over both.  I then led Tom around the rest of the building including the upper deck.  By the time we finished our wandering, Vinnie’s guys had finished emptying the truck.


“Yo, Maxie, we’re ready for the next load.  We’ll head on back to the house and get started on emptying the other room.”


“Go ahead guys, we’ll be along shortly.  Anything else you want to see, Tom?”


“Yeah, show me where you buried all those bodies you talked about,” he laughed.


“Oh, I will someday, but I’d rather do that after the snow is all gone.”


“Wait, I thought you were kidding about that.”


“Not a bit.  There are bodies buried out there,” I said while pointing towards the northeast corner of the property, “but they were here long before I bought it.  I found the remains of an old family cemetery when I was clearing my walking trails through the trees.  It was such a shame to see the bad shape it was in, but I spent a bunch of time cleaning it out and having the stones repaired.  I even put in a nice wrought iron fence around it.  I haven’t done any research on the names, but I’m guessing they are all members of the family who originally owned this land.  Some family named ‘Corgan’.  Odd name, that.”


“I’d like to see that.  I think the old cemeteries like that are cooler than hell.”


“The boys will probably love it, too.  But like I said, let’s wait for nicer weather for that tour.”  I looked to my watch and realized it was almost 11:30.  “Whoa, Tom, we gotta’ get back to the house.  I need to get the spaghetti sauce in a pan and warming so it’ll be ready when your mom and dad get here.”  I closed the doors on the storage building, but didn’t lock them so Vinnie could get in when he and his guys came back out with the next load, and we headed back to the house.


When we got back to the house, I headed to the kitchen to start getting things ready for our lunch and Tom found Vinnie to let him know we were expecting guests in a bit and they might want to take a lunch break themselves.  Tom then joined me in the kitchen to help with our preparations.


“Vinnie and the boys have headed over to some place called Shepp’s to grab some lunch.  Said they’d be back in ‘bout hour or so.”


“That’ll work.  At least we can close the doors for a while.”


The drive sensor dinged about ten before noon and after looking at the time, Tom commented, “Looks like they made good time this morning.  Mom must have been driving, today,” he added with a laugh, “She’s always had a problem that lead in her foot.” 


“Why don’t you go let them in and I’ll be there in just a minute, Tom?  And you can hang their coats in the closet.”


Just as I was about to join him at the door, Tom came back in the kitchen with an odd look on his face.


“Hey, where’s your parents?  You didn’t leave ‘em standing out on the porch in the cold, did ya’?”


“Oh, someone’s parents are here, all right, but they sure as hell ain’t mine.  My parents would be happy to see me and those two at the door don’t seem to be in a very good mood at the moment,” Tom answered as the biggest shit-eatin’ grin I’ve ever seen split his face.


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