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Chapter 87 – Max Goes off the Deep End

 

Dad, Josh and I had been home for about forty to forty-five minutes and the old man had already crashed for the night.  After getting a little bit of help from us, that is.  As soon as we got in the house, he’d tossed some leftover roast and potatoes into the microwave and nuked it up while he went to his bedroom to lose his clothes.  As for Josh and me, we’d discarded our minimal trappings in the car on the way home and had already dropped them in the hamper in the laundry room before settling ourselves on the couch in the family room and turning on a Cardinals baseball game.  Once Dad had his steaming plate of grub, he joined us and dug in like he hadn’t eaten for several days.  I could tell pretty quickly it was going to be another one of those nights.

 

“So, how was the party, guys?  I hope you had fun,” he mumbled around a mouthful of roast.

 

“I had a blast, Dad,” Josh answered happily.

 

“It was okay, I guess,” I agreed hesitantly.  “Not a whole lotta fun for me since I had a bunch o’ little kids hangin’ on me all the time.”

 

“But you let them do it, right?” Dad asked with concern.

 

“Of course, I did.  I wasn’t gonna be an asshole about it.”

 

“Good for you, Eric.  I’m sure you didn’t enjoy all the extra attention, but I’m glad you dealt with it properly,” he replied before stuffing a large chunk of potato into his mouth, rendering further speech temporarily impossible.

 

“How ‘bout you, old man?” Josh prodded.  “How was your day?”

 

“Tiring,” Dad answered after swallowing.  “We had 11 runs to deal with the last sixteen hours.”

 

“Any accidents?”

 

“Only one,” he mumbled before holding up a finger so he could finish his latest bite.  With his mouth empty, he continued, “Only minor injuries, though, so that was no biggie.  The worst call was a guy who’d gone to the gym during his lunch hour.  Massive infarc while crankin’ it hard on the treadmill.  We lost him once on the way to Memorial, but Randy was able to get him goin’ again just before we hit the ER.  Don’t know if he made it or not.”

 

“Well, that sucks,” I muttered.  “Was he an old, fat guy or somethin’?”

 

“No, looked to be about my age, and in pretty good shape, too.  We didn’t have time to hang around after as we got another call just as we pulled in.  I’ll have to check on him tomorrow just to satisfy my own curiosity.”

 

“I hope he’s okay,” Josh commented, “ ‘specially if he’s got kids.”  Dad and I nodded our agreement to the positive thought for a man none of us knew.

 

Having run out of things to talk about for the moment, we turned our attentions to the tube to watch what appeared was going to be yet another losing game for our favorite team.  These guys just couldn’t get their act together so far this year.  Good thing it was still early in the season and they had plenty of time to turn things around.  At this point, we could only watch and hope for that miracle to occur.  Dad finally finished stuffing his face a few minutes later, moved the TV tray to the side of his chair and kicked his feet up.  A couple of minutes more and he laid his chair back before closing his eyes.

 

When he started snoring, I had Josh help me wake him up enough so we could get him into bed.  We had him take a quick detour through the bathroom and while I held him upright, Josh aimed his dick towards the bowl as he took a leak.   When the waterworks ended, we guided him to his bed and dumped his tired ass in it.  As soon as his butt hit the mattress, he flopped onto his back, legs still dangling over the edge.  I grabbed the right leg while Josh snagged the left, and working together, we managed to get a hundred and sixty-five pounds of dead weight turned the right direction with his head on the pillows.  After pulling the sheet and cover over him so he wouldn’t get too cold overnight, we both leaned in to kiss his forehead and tell him we loved him, receiving nothing more than unintelligible grunts in reply. 

 

Other kids might have been upset by this, but Josh and I had gotten used to it over the past couple of years.  Thanks to all the double shifts Dad took on to make some extra money, nights like tonight had become a pretty regular occurrence around here.  It was a lot easier for us to manhandle him into bed now than it was when it first started since both of us had grown a bit and gotten stronger in that time.  Of course, the stop in the bathroom had become a whole lot easier once we’d adopted our new dress code.  No more dropping his pants and then struggling to fish the one-eyed wonder worm out of his shorts and then stuff it back in, all while holding him up so he didn’t fall face-first into the toilet filled with fresh piss.

 

Once we got back to the family room, Josh jumped onto the couch again while I picked up Dad’s plate, silver and glass.  When I reached the kitchen, I rinsed them and then dropped it all into the dishwasher before rejoining my little brother and the shitty game wasting bandwidth on the cable.

 

“I don’t know ‘bout you dude, but I can’t wait ‘til we get moved,” I commented flatly.

 

“Yeah, I can’t wait either, ‘specially if every night turns out like last night did,” Josh agreed with a smirk.

 

“That’s not what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, ya fool.  I’m talkin’ ‘bout Dad not havin’ to kill himself with all these freakin’ double-shifts just to keep us in this shitty house.  He can’t keep doin’ this crap week after week, month after month, or Max’ll end up havin’ to adopt us, too.”

 

“I wouldn’t have a problem with that,” the little shit retorted with the same stupid smirk still plastered across his cute little mug.

 

“Well, I do, dammit.  If Max and Tom are adopting us, that means Dad’s dead, ya ignorant little dipshit.  Or are you so focused on screwin’ your damn boyfriend that that thought isn’t penetratin’ that thick fuckin’ skull o’ yours?”

 

“Oh shit!” Josh exclaimed in horror as the annoying smirk finally disappeared.  “I’m sorry, bro.  I wasn’t thinkin’ ‘bout that,” he added quietly as his eyes began to flood with tears and the seed I’d planted finally took root and sprouted.  I pulled the munchkin into my arms and rubbed his back and shoulders to help calm him back down.  When he finally quit shaking, he looked up and offered me a meek, “I’m really sorry, Eric, my brain was somewhere else.”

 

“I know exactly where you were, you horny little fucker, in bed with Joey, Alex, and Brent, right?”

 

A cheesy grin spread back across the munchkin’s face and he retorted, “Well, yeah.  Like you haven’t been thinkin’ ‘bout Ron all day.  Go on, tell me you haven’t.  Oh, and make me believe it,” the brat added with a laugh.

 

“Guilty as charged,” I agreed.  “God, what a fuckin’ night we had.”

 

“C’mon, man, spill it,” Josh prodded me.

 

“Make ya deal, bro, I’ll tell you ‘bout my night if you tell me ‘bout yours.”

 

“You’re on, dude!!  You go first.”  First, we shook hands to seal our deal, then I turned off the TV so we wouldn’t be distracted by the stupid game neither of us was really watching.  Once we’d both resettled on the couch facing each other with our legs crossed in front of us, I began sharing my tale.

 

“You better not back out or I’ll pound you into the ground,” I warned Josh.  After a quick negative shake of the ol’ noggin, I continued.  “Okay, man, here goes.  Everybody had crawled into bed, right?  I knew what you and the other three were gonna be doin’ and I was hopin’ to get some of that action with my bed partners, too, but Ron fuckin’ ruined that when he pissed Mike off.  Mikey mighta been boned up when he came in from his shower, but he sure as hell wasn’t in a mood to do anything.

 

“The others knew somethin’ was up and they all just curled up together and started drifting off, one by one.  Finally got down to just me bein’ the only one still wide awake, but it was just too early, ya know?”  A quick nod from Josh and I carried on.  “So, I slipped outta bed and was plannin’ to find a munchie then watch some TV or somethin’.  As I came down the hallway, I saw light comin’ from under Ron’s door and before I could stop what I was doin’, I’d actually knocked on the damn thing.  I heard a buncha rustlin’ goin’ on like he was movin’ ‘round and after I asked if I could come in, he muttered a ‘yeah’ at me.

 

“So, I went in, sat on the edge of his bed since he doesn’t have any chairs in his room and we just talked for a little bit.  The way he was sittin’ though was kinda weird.  He was leanin’ against the headboard and had the sheet pulled up to his waist, but his knees were raised up and he was holdin’ onto ‘em.”

 

“What’d you guys talk about?” Josh wanted to know.

 

“Mostly about how Ron chickened out when he had a chance to play with Mike in the shower.  That’s what pissed the kid off.  He was hopin’ to get some sexy playtime with Ron and it didn’t happen.  But the more the two of us chatted, the more I caught myself starin’ at his hairless chest and gut.  And the more I stared, the more I started thinkin’ ‘bout shavin’ myself.” Josh shot me a wicked smile at the thought of me gawkin’ at Ron’s shaved body.  “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about doin’ it ever since the first night we went over there and I saw Max.  I mean, he’s a nice enough lookin’ dude but I think he’s even hotter without the hair hidin’ his body.

 

“So, before I really knew what I was sayin’, I was askin’ Ron if he’d be willin’ to teach me how to shave.  He first made some crack about my wimpy mustache, but when I spread my legs wide and ran my fingers through the hair above my dick, his eyes lit up like a freakin’ Christmas tree.  He threw the sheet off, grabbed my hand and practically dragged me into his bathroom.  That’s when I found out he was stiff as a board just like I was and we both had a pretty good idea what was gonna end up happenin’.”

 

“And did it?” Josh asked eagerly, eyes wide open and begging for more.

 

“I’m gettin’ there, dude, hang on.  So, we get in the shower and Ron gets me all wet, then puts some shaving gel on my face and has me raise my arms so he can add some more to my pits.  He grabs the razor and starts workin’ on my pits and when he’s done there, he takes care of the ‘stache and the few scrawny fuckers on my chin.  He finished with that, moved me out of the spray from the shower, then got some regular body wash and lathered me up from head to toes.  Oh, that was fuckin’ heaven, let me tell ya, feelin’ his hands runnin’ all over me.  Once I was all soaped up, he started shaving the rest of my body, working from my shoulders down my back all the way to my ankles.  Then, he had me turn around so he could do the same to my front side.

 

“When he was about ninety-five percent done, he had me turn around again and lean over with my hands on the bench seat.  I knew what was comin’, dude, but I wasn’t ready for it.  Not by a long shot.  He grabbed the can of shaving gel again and drizzled some over my ass.  Then, after he spread it all over my cheeks, he used one hand to spread ‘em wide and used his other to make sure my crack was well-covered.  I almost came unglued when I felt his fingertips brush over my asshole.  After grabbing the razor again, he proceeded to shave my ass from the top o’ my crack all the way down to my balls.  By the time he was done back there, I was fuckin’ quiverin’ so bad, I could hardly stand up.

 

“He musta figured that out for himself ‘cause after he got done rinsin’ my ass out and off, he had me lay down on the bench so he could take care of the one spot he’d not touched yet.  First, he soaped me up real good and spent a couple minutes just washin’ my cock and balls.  If I hadn’t been thinkin’ about school, I’da popped off right then.  He was so gentle and his hands are so freakin’ soft, I don’t know how the hell I didn’t.  Then, he rinsed me off again and spent a minute lookin’ really close at everything to see where all the hairs were.

 

“So, out comes the gel one more time and he just lets it go.  Once I’m covered, he starts spreadin’ it around.  Let me tell ya somethin’, bro, you may think the body wash is slick and feels good on your junk, but you ain’t felt nothin’ ‘til you have somebody else strokin’ your pole and massagin’ your balls with shave cream.  Oh my God, by the time he was ready to start usin’ the razor again, my cock was achin’ like it used to ‘fore Max taught me ‘bout jerkin’ off.

 

“When he went back to work with the razor, he started at the back of my sack and worked his way forward and up.  He had a hard time keepin’ my dick outta the way when he went to shave above it because it was so slick with gel, he couldn’t keep a good grip.  Which was probably a good thing, ‘cause as close as I was to shootin’ off, if he’d a squeezed just a bit more, I’da lost it for sure.  When he finally finished with the damn razor, he had me stand up and he hosed me down again to make sure there wasn’t any soap or shaving gel anywhere on me.”

 

“Oh fuck, that sounds so fuckin’ hot,” Josh groaned as he boldly stroked his hardness.

 

“It ain’t over quite yet, buddy,” I grinned and plowed on.  “I thought we were done and was about to step out of the shower when Ron grabbed my shoulder.  He spins me back around and says, ‘hang on there, stud, I need to see if you pass the test’, and I’m like, ‘what test, dude?’.  Ya wanna know what his answer was?” I asked needlessly as Josh was immediately noddin’ his head almost as fast and hard as he was poundin’ his pud.  If his noggin hadn’t been so firmly attached to his shoulders, it just might have fallen off.  “He just stuck his tongue out as far as he could and waggled it around.”  Josh’s eyes somehow grew even wider than they already were and his jaw dropped in surprise.  Despite that, he didn’t slow his stroking a bit.

 

“Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.  How the fuck you think I felt?  Well, he spun me around again, pushed me forward so I was leanin’ over with my hands on the bench and he just fuckin’ attacked my hole with his tongue.  And I don’t mean just lickin’ around it like we do, he was stuffin’ it up inside me and sucking on it, too.  He was drivin’ me crazy with the tricks he can do.  After ‘bout five minutes o’ that shit, he turns me ‘round one more time, pushes me back on the bench and pulls my legs so my ass is hangin off the edge.”  Josh is really crankin’ on his cock now and it looks like he’s about to rip the damn thing off his body.

 

“He spreads my legs wide, crawls between them and in one shot, has my cock and my balls stuffed in his mouth.  At the same time he’s goin’ to town on my crotch, he slides a finger inside my asshole, wiggles it around a bit and then adds another one.  As he started slidin’ ‘em in and out, he keeps bobbin’ up and down on my cock, pulling my balls every single time.  I didn’t last hardly thirty seconds after he started that shit.  I warned him I was ‘bout to blow, but he just nodded his fuckin’ head and kept goin’.

 

“Well, what the hell could I do at that point?  I just let go as he swallowed me whole one more time and I blasted it right down his throat.  He didn’t move his head or pull his fingers outta me until my dick quick jerkin’ in his mouth.  I was so wiped, my dick started wiltin’ and Ron very slowly lifted his head from my crotch while swirling his tongue all around me to make sure I was cleaned up.  After he freed his fingers from my ass, he crawled up in my face, covered my lips with his and slipped his tongue in my mouth.  And some of my cum was still there.  Never tasted my own before but I really like it,” I added with a smirk.

 

At this point, Josh couldn’t take it any longer and he laid flat out on the couch, stretching his legs on either side of me.  I could see he was getting desperate to get off and decided to help him reach his goal.  Leaning over his skinny body, I pulled his hand away from his sore pecker and sucked his throbbing four and half inches into my mouth.  With one of my hands, I prodded his right leg and when he lifted it up, I did to my brother what Ron had done to me last night and slipped a finger inside him, searching for that magic button we’d discovered not all that long ago.  When I finally located the tender nugget, I gently massaged it with my fingertip while maintaining my lip-lock on his swelling cock. 

 

It didn’t take him long to reach his pinnacle and I relished the feelings of his tight hole clamping down on my finger as his cock jerked and twitched like a spastic mime in my hungry mouth.  I was a little bit surprised when I tasted something slightly different this time and suddenly realized my little brother had actually left a small deposit on my tongue for the very first time.  That only served to make me increase the suction on him and I kept it going until he suddenly collapsed back onto the couch, eyes glazed over and temporarily wasted.

 

I tenderly removed my finger from his tight hole and allowed his still stiff cock to leave my mouth, where it plopped flatly on his hairless pubic mound.   I watched him closely for a couple of minutes and when I could see a little spark of life return to his eyes, I said, “I’m horny as fuck, too, dude, you feel up to fuckin’ my ass?”

 

The evil grin that overtook his face was answer enough for me.  Sliding off the couch, I assumed the position on my hands and knees on the floor and Josh wasted no time in joining me.  Without preamble, he crawled in behind me and rapidly filled my ass with all of him.  As he started humping into me, he reached around my waist, found my leaking pecker and wrapped me up in his willing hand.  Stroking my cock to the same rhythm he was pounding my ass, and with me being on the edge from telling Josh about Ron and me, I was ready to blow in no time at all.

 

Less than a minute after my little brother assaulted my ass, I was pumping shot after shot onto the wood floor below us.  At the same time, I could feel Josh’s dick twitching in my ass as he came for a second time.  Both of us were moaning in pleasure as our orgasms raced through our bodies.  As my own dick was slowly softening despite Josh’s continued light stroking, I felt his slip out of my ass and lightly graze the back of my sack.  Both of us were completely spent and I finally rolled over onto my back away from the small puddle I’d created and once I quit moving, Josh crawled over and lay down on top of me.

 

He gave me a little kiss on the lips, then whispered, “I love you, Eric,” before resting his head on my shoulder.

 

“I love you, too Josh,” I replied softly.

 

After about a minute of us snuggling together on the hard floor, Josh lifted his head and with a little giggle, asked, “So, did you pass the test?”

 

“Ya know somethin’, dude, I ain’t got a fuckin’ clue.  I was so out of my mind when he was done drivin’ me crazy, I forgot to ask,” I laughed.  “I’ll have to ask him next time we go over.”

 

“You better,” Josh demanded.  “Look, man, I know we got a deal, and I swear I’ll hold up my end of it, but I’m pooped.  Can I tell you about my night tomorrow?”

 

“Yeah, that’s cool.  I’m pretty wiped out, too.”  I pushed him up and added, “Let’s run through a shower real quick and get in bed, buddy.”

 

“Can I sleep with you tonight?” he asked sweetly.

 

“Why not?” I agreed.  “Go get the shower going while I clean this up and I’ll be right behind you.”  On that note, Josh slowly got up and headed down the hallway towards our bathroom.  I zipped into the kitchen to grab some paper towels and then returned to the family room to clean up the mess we’d made together.  That done, I joined the munchkin in the shower where we helped each other get cleaned up.  Once we dried off, I made one last round of the house to make sure all the doors were locked and the lights turned off before joining my little brother in my bed.  I’d barely gotten curled up behind him before we were both fast asleep.

 

 

Well, like everybody on this planet, I’ve always heard the old saying ‘you learn something new every day’.  And damned if they weren’t right.  I just never thought my lesson of the day would ever involve a six-year-old kid named Mike.  But he sure opened my eyes to a few things tonight.  The first one being kids his age actually can know who they are and what they like.  Sexually, that is.  While I knew I was gay about the age of ten or eleven after what me and Pat had learned together, I was genuinely surprised to discover that kids Mike’s age could really know it as well.  But after our shower, I had no more doubts in my mind about that.  Obviously, everybody discovers their true self at their own pace, but knowing it at Mike’s tender age is mind blowing.

 

The second big thing I learned tonight is that the horny little bugger really does know what to do with a man-sized cock.  He may not have that much experience or practice with one, but there’s no denying what he did to me the shower.  I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how he managed to stuff half my prong into his small mouth without choking himself to death, but he pulled it off without a hitch.  All while I had my middle finger buried in his tight hole, massaging his tiny prostate.  I really hadn’t planned on invading Mike in that way, but he asked for it.  Well, it was more like he demanded I do it, but however you looked at it, the end result was the same.  And after disappointing the munchkin last night, I sure wasn’t going to do that again.

 

While he was suckling on my man teat, he had one hand tightly wrapped around the part he couldn’t swallow and was fervently stroking it.  With his other hand, he alternated between playing with and massaging my balls, then moving even further south and following suit on my asshole.  While I occasionally enjoyed playing with my ass when I was by myself, I was never that hyped on letting anyone else doing it to me.  I guess that was the third major thing I learned tonight, I really do like someone toying with my hole.  As long as what they’re doing doesn’t stretch me to the point of causing pain, that is.  And even with three fingers buried as deep inside me as he could get, I felt nothing but pure pleasure.

 

Of course, while the youngster was working me over, I had his complete package in my mouth, giving his sweet little two-inch cocklet and marble-sized balls the best oral loving I’d ever given anyone.  Well, except for maybe Eric last night since he got the full treatment from me.  Little Mikey and I’d been working on each other for a bit when the rugrat suddenly went rigid.  I could feel his little dick twitching in my mouth and his ass was rapidly clamping and relaxing my finger, so I knew he was having an orgasm.  That was the fourth important thing I learned tonight, six-year-old kids can actually orgasm just like us adults, they just can’t flood your mouth with semen when they do it.

 

As soon as his dick, and to be honest, the rest of his body, stopped quivering, he lifted his head from my crotch, turned to face me and asked, “Can I stick my dick in your ass?”

 

Again, this was something I’d not thought was a possibility, but thanks to his obvious lack of size and me being super horny, my reply was to let him slip from my mouth while I eased my finger from his hole.  I then got onto the shower floor, placing a couple of washcloths on the floor under my knees before doing so.  I laid my chest on the bench then stretched my arms backwards and spread my ass cheeks as wide as I could.  Mike wasted no time with preliminaries as he quickly stepped between my feet, lined his dick up with my hole and stuffed it in me as deep as he could.

 

Which wasn’t very deep, mind you, and though I had been highly doubtful he’d be very successful in accomplishing the feat, I still gave him the opportunity to try.  And he made the most if it, to be sure.  The whole time he was riding my ass like the Lone Ranger rode Silver, Mike was grunting and groaning with delight.  And despite his lack of size, I could actually feel that hot little rod pistoning in and out of me.  As he continued fucking me, he reached a hand between my legs and grabbed my balls, picking up the gentle massage he’d abandoned when we changed positions.

 

I really could not believe this was happening to me right now.  When Max and Tom hired me, I could have never imagined I’d be letting one of their sons fuck me with wild abandon, especially one this young, yet here we are.  And I was absolutely loving every second of it.  As the munchkin continued pounding my ass, he was also lightly tugging and stretching my distended sack.  I’d never played with my own balls the way Mike was and none of my other partners over the years had done so, either.  But I was slowly learning a fifth thing for the night, that I really enjoyed the heightened feelings of pleasure I was receiving from his gentle ministrations.

 

As Max and Tom had warned me, Mike was completely in control of what was happening between us.  Not that I had a problem with that, especially since the munchkin was teaching me things I never knew about myself.  And despite thinking I wouldn’t be able to really feel much with a two-inch pecker in my ass, I was.  Way more than I thought I would.  Of course, the way he was tugging on my ball-sack may have had something to do with that.  Way sooner than I expected, I felt my balls start pulling up and I knew I was really close to dumping a load onto the shower floor.

 

“Oh, fuck, little dude, I’m about to lose it,” I muttered through the waves of delight coursing in me.

 

For his part, Mike could only respond with a steady stream of, “Uh, uh, uh, uh, …”

 

With one last push, Mike stuffed his pecker as deep in my ass as he could get it while pulling my bag one more time and holding it.  I almost thought he was trying to rip them off, but the tension being applied just served to enhance the orgasm I thought might kill me.  But what better way to fucking die than to die fucking.  When Mike finally released me and rolled off to the side, he made a mistake and landed on the injured side of his cute little ass.

 

“OW!  Sonofabitch, that fuckin’ hurt!” he screamed as he jumped up and gingerly took a seat on the bench next to my head.

 

In my still somewhat delirious state, I looked up at him and muttered, “You okay, buddy?”

 

“Yeah, I will be,” he grunted in pain.

 

“You ready to get cleaned up now?” I asked.  “Seems like we should put some of this water to good use, don’t ya think?”

 

“Yeah, I stink and am really sweaty thanks to all the steam,” Mike giggled.

 

“Well, give my legs a minute so I can stand up without fallin’ over and we’ll take care of that.”

 

I’ll give the kid props for being patient with me.  Once I felt I’d be steady enough, I grabbed the sprayer on the hose to take care of the job we actually came in here for.  Before I could get back to the bench, Mike was standing on it, hands against the wall and his pert bubble butt was in my face.  I gave his scab a quick once-over to make sure it was still there and he wasn’t bleeding.  Satisfied he could crawl into bed and not ruin a pair of sheets, I got started on actually washing his skinny body.

 

Following the same way I’d done last night, I worked my way from his shoulders to his feet, spending an extra moment or two cleaning between the globes of his behind, much to Mike’s approval.  With the backside sufficiently cleansed, I had him turn around so we could deal with the front.  As can only happen in our youth, his stiff little morsel was still standing at obscene attention.

 

“Jesus, dude, does it ever go away?” I asked with a chuckle.

 

“Eventually, yeah,” Mike giggled.  “It might need a little more help, though,” he added with a smirk.

 

I shook my head in disbelief that this rugrat could still be boned up but continued my job of washing him.  Much like last night, when I reached his waist, he was shaking in anticipation like a leaf.  When I wrapped his cocklet in my slick, soapy hand, Mike almost collapsed onto the bench.  I quickly held him in place to avoid further damage to his behind and continued the movements every guy knows all too well.  It didn’t take long for Mike to reach the point of no return as he bucked his hips forcefully to maximize what he was feeling.  When I finally released his tender member from my grasp, I noticed he’d finally lost his erection.

 

“Looks like that did it,” I commented.

 

“Good,” Mike retorted.  “I hate trying to go to sleep when I got a boner.”

 

“I know exactly how you feel, buddy” I agreed with a cheesy grin. 

 

When I finished washing his toes, I grabbed the spray head and rinsed the rugrat from head to toe.  With Mike ready to move on, I quickly took care of myself, then shut off the water and grabbed towels.  While drying my shower partner, I paid even closer attention to his bruised behind to make sure he was in good shape.  He whimpered once during the process but assured he’d be fine in the morning. 

 

After drying myself and draping both towels back over the towel bars, I turned to Mike and said, “Okay, little buddy, time for bed.”

 

He held out his arms, put on that sad puppy dog that he uses to great effect, and begged, “Can I get a ride?”

 

Well, how the hell can you say no to that face?  The easy answer is you don’t, and just like his dads, I caved like a mine with unstable supports, stepped back into the shower and lifted the kiddo into my arms, making sure to leave his sore butt hanging over my arm.  When we reached his room, I was initially surprised to find only Andy waiting in bed for him and he was already sound asleep.  Then I realized the most likely reason for that was T.J. was probably getting his ‘special birthday present’ from his dads I’d been hearing whispers about throughout the day.  While I didn’t know exactly what the present was, I had my suspicions.  I’d have to make sure they knew when my birthday was and see if I received the same.

 

To avoid waking Andy, I set Mike on the floor next to the bed and knelt down to give him a hug good night.  As we shared our hug, Mike whispered, “Thanks for taking good care of me tonight, Ron.  I really had fun.”

 

“I could tell, Mike.  Sorry ‘bout last night.  We cool?” I asked tentatively.

 

“As cucumbers, dude,” Mike replied with a little giggle.  On that, he carefully crawled onto the bed, curled up behind Andy and waited for me to pull the covers over them.  That done, I whispered good night, then turned off the light and headed to my own room after closing their door.

 

Once I crawled into bed, I replayed the shower the two of us had shared and all the lessons I’d learned during that short time.  I finally accepted the fact that I really was okay with playing around with the boys the way they wanted.  The most important word in that thought was ‘they’.  The last conscious thought that flitted through my mind before sleep took me and I entered the realm of the dreamworld was the previously unknown desire to share a shower with all the boys.  All at the same time.  And if I could find a shower big enough to hold ten of us at the same time, I’d be more than happy to have Eric, Josh and Brent join the party as well.  Jesus, what have I become?

 

 

Thursday morning arrived much earlier than I expected.  Of course, part of the reason for that was the late night we’d had entertaining T.J. and Logan.  T.J., of course, was thrilled to receive his birthday present from Tom and me, and I have to admit we both enjoyed making him super happy on his special day.  As to Logan finally joining us last night, all I can say is this; for a kid who claims to be straight, he joined in the festivities with no reservations, too.  He’d learned some new lessons from Alex and Joey in the past month, as well, and he learned them well.  After the four of us had been through our shower to get cleaned up, T.J. was still floating on cloud nine and we asked Logan to help guide the youngster to his bed.

 

But that was all in the past and I now found myself focusing on my immediate future.  I have anticipated this morning with equal parts hope for a brighter future and mortal dread for reliving a past I desperately longed to forget and put well behind me.  While I knew this day was thundering towards me with the speed of a runaway freight train, I was still less than thrilled that it had finally arrived.  When Paul had helped me recover the memories of my abuse by the Muellers just over a month ago, I knew then that I would, someday, have to go back to that demon hole and confront my past.  Now that that day had finally arrived, I wanted nothing more than to roll over, pull the covers over my head and dig in for the rest of my life.

 

Of course, with a wedding and adoptions less than a month away, I knew that really wasn’t a viable option, tempting though it was.  So, throwing caution to the winds, and the covers off the two of us, I stumbled from bed and into the bathroom to take care of my regular morning needs.  Tom followed along in due course and we were soon joining Ron in the kitchen for our first cup of Joe.  Ron was all smiles today, but that wasn’t that unusual, really.  He always seemed to be happy by default, it just seemed to be turned up an extra notch or two this day.

 

“Someone seems to be extra cheery today,” Tom cracked as he filled mugs for both of us.

 

“You bet,” Ron agreed before happily adding, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

 

“We can only assume your shower went well last night,” I commented.

 

“Better than I ever thought would be possible, guys,” Ron grinned.  “I’m really kinda kickin’ myself in the ass for bein’ such a pussy about it.”

 

“We take it you got over your concerns that were holding you back,” Tom offered.

 

“110%,” Ron replied with a giant grin.

 

“Good for you, buddy.  Just make sure you follow the rules we set down,” I added seriously.

 

“Actually, I wanted to ask about that just to make sure I didn’t cross a line.”  I shot Ron a look of concern, worried he’d already done something he shouldn’t have.  He put my fears to rest when he continued with, “Mike begged me to use a finger, uh, you know where, last night, but I hesitated until he swore you’d done the same thing to him the other night, Max.  I want to know if that’s allowed, especially since I did it without asking, ‘cause I think he woulda beat me senseless if I didn’t.”

 

“Yes, Ron, that’s okay.”  You could see the relief Ron felt on hearing he still had his job.  And his genitals.  “We know they’re all indulging in anal sex with each other, and our fingers aren’t that much bigger than their penises, so we’re cool with one finger.  No more than that until we manage to find time to search for the toys they want.  Once they have those and have had some practice with them, we’ll see about loosening up the rules a bit.”  Both Tom and Ron howled with laughter at my unintentional pun and once I realized what I’d said, I joined in the moment of hilarity.  Once we’d all calmed back down, I added, “Okay, maybe I should have said relaxing the rules.”  I smacked myself in the forehead for another lousy word choice and the two clowns broke up again.  “You two know what I mean,” I vented.

 

“Yeah, we do, babe,” Tom chuckled.  “You wake up the munchkins yet?” he asked Ron.

 

“Yeah, they should be here any minute,” Ron replied.  No sooner had the words left his mouth than the crew started to filter in, all of them looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed despite the somewhat later-than-normal bedtimes for a few of them.  “Good timing, guys.  Get the table ready and we’ll have breakfast.”

 

Without argument, the boys got busy and we were soon ready to eat.  Logan, Alex and Joey helped Ron get the food on the table and we all sat down to enjoy our first meal of the day.  It was probably the only one I was going to enjoy, that’s for sure.  We were about halfway through when the front door opened and Dylan joined us at the table, filling a plate and digging in after offering a quick greeting to all of us.

 

“What’re you doing here today, Dylan?” Tom asked.  “I thought you were gonna take the day off since Max and I are goin’ to the church.”

 

“I’ve got to take care of the interviews I scheduled for today.”

 

“Oh, crap, I forgot all about those,” Tom muttered as he smacked himself in the forehead.

 

“Don’t worry about it, boss.  They’re all scheduled for different times.  And if I’m running a little late to one, I’ll just call and let them know.”

 

“Thanks, partner, I appreciate it.”

 

“I’ll wait to leave for the first one until after the fence guys get here just in case they have any questions before they get started this morning,” Dylan added.

 

“We haven’t been out to see what they accomplished yesterday.  Do you know what they’re working on first?”

 

“They’ve started on the remote activated gate at the end of the drive, the fence along the ditch to the north and also down the south side of the drive.”

 

“They do know the power line and the cable for the drive sensor to the house are on the south side of the drive, right?  I’d hate for them to hit any of that.”

 

“Yep, I pointed out the control box for the sensor hiding behind that one tree and they ran a metal detector down the driveway all the way to the turn to the house.  They should be good to go on that.”

 

“Thanks, Dylan,” Tom replied.  “I knew you’d be on top of it.” 

 

With a nod, we returned to our meals and finished up pretty quickly.  The boys were Johnny-on-the-spot with their cleanup, as usual.  They’d finished their part and were just about to disappear into the theater when the drive sensor went off.  We expected this to be LeVar and his group coming in to take care of some interviews today and the boys did an abrupt about face to meet them at the door.  While Ron turned into the kitchen to finish the cleanup work and Dylan headed for his office, Tom and I joined the boys at the door just as LeVar was stepping inside.

 

“Mornin’, everyone!” LeVar called out with feeling.

 

“Howdy, Mr. Burton,” Logan replied as the herd surrounded our guests and began a five-minute hug-a-thon with everybody. 

 

Much to our surprise, Stuart had returned along with the others.  Once the boys had received their hugs and Tom and I had shared handshakes with everyone, the four men quickly disappeared down the hallway to our bedroom to get undressed, leaving Michelle with us.  While LeVar, Rex, Greg and Stuart got comfortable, the boys hightailed it to the theater and Tom and I led Michelle across the entry to settle ourselves in the living room.

 

Along the way, I commented, “Didn’t think we’d be seeing Stuart today.”

 

After a little giggle from Michelle, she replied, “Well, he and the boss had a nice little heart-to-heart when we got back to the hotel last night.  Turns out Stu had been naked in his room all afternoon and he apologized to LeVar as soon we got back to our rooms.  To prove the sincerity of his mea culpa, he lost his clothes while they chatted and LeVar joined him.  They spent the next hour and a half talking about how to handle things with this series to ensure everyone would be as accepting of the working conditions as possible.”

 

“That’s good to hear,” I responded.  “I know how much LeVar wants Stuart involved with it.”

 

“And what about you, Michelle?” Tom interjected.  “What’s your participation going to be?  I mean, will you be on the set as well?”

 

“Maybe a little bit here and there,” she admitted.  “I’m more Mr. Burton’s personal assistant than anything else in the company.  It’s my job to handle his schedule, sit in on any meetings and take notes, that kind of thing.  Still, I’m sure I’ll have to be on set from time to time.”

 

“You’re not going to have any problems being around nude people, will you?” I asked.

 

“I don’t think so, Max.  Sure, it’s new to me and I’m slowly getting used to the situation, but I think I’ll be okay.  Thanks for your concern.”

 

“Have you considered trying it yourself?” Tom asked.

 

A light blush briefly flooded her face and she hesitantly admitted, “When I was alone in my room last night, yeah.  It felt very different from what I’m used to, but I can see where a person could get accustomed to it pretty quickly.”

 

“Well, you’re welcome to give it a try here, if you’d like,” I offered.

 

“Yeah, right,” she laughed.  “Like all you gay guys want a naked woman wandering around.”

 

“Wouldn’t faze us a bit, would it, Max?” Tom chuckled.

 

“Nope,” I agreed.

 

“Well, I just don’t see it happening, guys.  I think I’d feel odd being the only naked female around.  I’ll think about it and we’ll see what happens Saturday with your moms and sister being here.”

 

“Fair enough,” I agreed as LeVar and the other guys rejoined us and settled in.  Turning to face LeVar, I asked, “So, what’s your plan for today?”

 

“Well, we didn’t get much of a chance to talk to you and Tom yesterday, so I’d like to continue that with Michelle while Rex, Greg and Stuart begin talking to Ron and the boys.”

 

“Sounds good to us,” Tom agreed.

 

“Excellent,” LeVar replied before turning to the three men and adding, “You guys know the plan, so get busy.  Ron’s still in the kitchen and the boys are in the theater, I believe.”  I gave him a quick nod to let him know his intuition was spot on and Rex, Greg and Stuart got up to get to their assigned interviews.  Once they were gone, LeVar returned his focus to us and asked, “What time do you leave for your appointment, Max?”

 

“About a quarter after ten,” I answered.

 

“And I’m guessing you’d prefer I didn’t tag along?”

 

“Probably not a good idea,” I agreed.  “I have no idea how I’ll react while I’m there and I’d just as soon not have anybody besides Tom, Jason and Derek be there with me.”

 

“No problems, Max, I can understand that.  Do you think you’ll be willing to talk about the experience once you get back home?”

 

“Not a clue,” I admitted with serious reservations.  “We’ll have to see what kind of shape I’m in.”

 

“Fair enough, I guess,” LeVar replied.

 

“Why are you so interested?” Tom asked.

 

“Well, I know several other people who’ve been through similar problems and it seems as though each has a different reaction to their ongoing issues.  I think knowing Max’s reaction to revisiting the site of his abuse will give us volumes of knowledge on how we need the character portrayed in the show and that will directly affect the person we cast to play the role.  Especially when we’re dealing with the time period of your life from after your abuse to now.”

 

“Like I said, we’ll see, LeVar,” I commented without conviction.  “I may just be in a mood to kick y’all out when we get back home.”

 

“And if you do, that’s fine,” LeVar commented evenly.  “We’ll understand that you need some time to deal with whatever you need to.”

 

“Thanks for that,” I replied solemnly.

 

With that elephant of a subject banished from the room for the time being, the interview carried on in earnest.  As the time approached for Tom and me to make our exit, I felt like I’d just been grilled by the C.I.A. with the thoroughness of the questions LeVar and Michelle asked and the detailed answers they requested.  I had no idea how Tom felt about our interrogation, but he seemed to take it with aplomb.  I can only assume his years on the force had prepared him for days like this.  At ten after ten, Tom and I excused ourselves so we could get ready to leave.

 

As we stepped into our bedroom, Tom asked, “Are you sure you’re ready to this today?”

 

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

 

“Okay then, let’s make it so,” he replied with resignation.

 

We dressed in silence and once presentable to the public at large, headed for the theater to let the boys know we were leaving.  I gratefully accepted all their hugs and words of support, knowing they’d all come in handy very shortly.  With the boys returning to their chats with Greg and Stuart, our next stop was the dining room where Ron was still talking with Rex.  I accepted another hug from Ron and a handshake from Rex before continuing across the house to say our goodbyes to LeVar and Michelle.  I endured more hugs of well-being from those two before it was time to stop in and let Dylan know we were leaving.

 

As soon as we stepped into the office, Dylan was leaving his chair and we met halfway between the door and his desk.  The bone-crushing hug he gave me seemed to last forever, but I could feel the strength he was willing me through the protracted and caring embrace.  When we finally separated, it was time to move on.  Reaching the garage, Tom sank into the driver’s seat of the Shelby while I collapsed into the passenger seat.  When we pulled into the parking lot at the church thirty minutes later, we discovered Jason was waiting for us.  And while we saw Derek’s car, he was nowhere to be seen.  After extracting ourselves from the ‘Stang, we greeted Jason and had a short discussion before heading inside.

 

“Morning Max, Tom.  How’re you this morning?” Jason asked with concern.

 

“I’ve had better days,” I admitted flatly.  Tom’s reply was a simple waggle of his outstretched hand signifying he was just ‘so-so’.

 

“About what I expected,” Jason replied.  “You know you don’t have to do this if you don’t think you’re ready for it, right?”

 

“Yeah, I know,” I muttered before adding, “Can we just get it over with, please?”

 

Jason laid a hand on my shoulder and said, “Let’s go.” 

 

The two gently guided me through the front door of the church and down the hallway towards and then past the sanctuary.  As we turned the corner in the hallway that would lead us to the offices and classrooms, we spied Derek standing guard just outside the office we were aiming for, door standing open behind him.  Unlike the last time I’d made that same turn, I didn’t freeze up, though I did slow my pace considerably.  Fortunately, Tom and Jason were with me every step of the way. 

 

As we passed by the secretary and pastor’s offices, I caught a glimpse of the new inhabitants of those rooms and I couldn’t imagine the thoughts running through their minds at the sight of the somber and overly serious trio moving slowly past them.  I was sure I looked like I was headed for my own execution, but I didn’t slow my progress any more than I already had.

 

On reaching the office we were here to see, Derek held out a hand filled with something my mind wasn’t up to registering at the moment and said, “Mornin’ gents.  Before we continue, I have to ask you all to wear these gloves and booties from here on in.  I hope that’s acceptable.”  I nodded numbly and after he handed a set to me, I sank down to the floor in the middle of the hallway to pull the booties over my shoes and then the gloves on my hands.  While I was taking care of that, Jason pulled Tom and Derek about ten feet further down the hallway.

 

“Okay, guys, I hope you’re ready for this,” Jason whispered as he slipped booties over his shoes.

 

“I still think it’s way too early.  I really don’t think Max is up to this,” Tom muttered with frustration.

 

“And though they’re done with their work in the room, Agent Fix isn’t at all happy I’m allowing this,” Derek quietly added.

 

“Just remember, we’re here for Max and nobody else,” Jason reinforced quietly.  “He feels this is going to be an important step in his recovery, and though I tend to agree with you, Tom, that it’s still too early in the process to revisit the site of his abuse, I’m also not going to fight Max on it.”  After just a moment’s hesitation, Jason added, “And what I say from here on, goes.  Understood?”  With solemn nods from the other two, all three turned around to rejoin me, and Tom and Jason helped pull me back up to my feet.  “Okay, Max, we’re on your time now and this is your show.  We’ll be with you for every step until we leave.  Whatever pace you choose to follow is fine with us, so go as fast or slow as you want.”

 

I nodded my agreement but kept my voice to myself as I wasn’t sure I could speak properly at the moment.  I slowly moved toward the open office door, my companions following on my heels.  In three short steps, I was at the entry to the antechamber of hell on earth.  I immediately looked to my left and saw the filing cabinets just as I remembered them being in the corner behind the door.  To the right was the desk and chair that were always there, as empty now as they ever were twenty years ago.  Turning back to the left, my gaze settled in the nook just beyond the filing cabinets and I saw that Derek had already pushed the concealed button to release the hidden door.  It was swung fully open, as if inviting us to join a secret macabre party.

 

Stepping into the office and on across it to the second doorway, I hesitated for just a moment before turning left and beginning my hesitant descent of the narrow staircase beyond.  Not surprisingly, nothing had really changed since the last time I’d been forced down these stairs.  My skin still crawled with each step and by the time I’d reached the last tread, I felt as if the fleas of a thousand camels has taken up residence on me.  Tom was on the step just above me and his hand was resting on my shoulder, feeding me the strength I needed to continue this voyage of the damned.

 

After waiting for a minute or two on that last step, I took a deep breath and finally managed to take the final giant leap, moving into the room itself.  While I thought I’d been ready for it, I immediately felt like I was a terrified little kid all over again and stood rooted to the floor as if I’d stepped into a puddle of superglue.  The table and chairs were just as I remembered them, along with the sink in the far corner and the little wooden cabinet that sat on the floor next to the sink.  The lone light bulb in the ceiling cast an eerie glow about the space and did nothing to repel the feeling of gloom emanating from the dingy grey concrete walls, floor and ceiling.

 

The biggest change in me this time was my point of view remained solidly within my own eyes for once, not the disembodied overhead scene I remembered all too well.  I could sense the presence of Tom, Jason and Derek as they stood beside and behind me, but they were not my focus.  Willing my feet to function again, I slid my way over towards the table and leaned heavily on the back of one of the folding metal chairs, hanging my head low in shame and disgust for having allowed myself to be repeatedly screwed over by two people my family and I had trusted.  God, could we really have been that fucking stupid and blind to not see Frank and Iris for who they really were?  The obvious answer to that rhetorical question was a resounding ‘yes’.

 

Tom stepped closer and lightly rested a hand on my shoulder.  I jumped in surprise at the gentle contact, and almost bolted from the room as the fear of getting spun around and coming face to face with a perversely naked and sexually aroused Frank flashed through my mind.  It wasn’t until he quietly asked, ‘you okay?’, that I realized I was in no danger.  Not this time, anyway.  After receiving a tense but almost imperceptible nod from me, he released his delicate grip and stepped back to stand with Jason and Derek. 

 

Hovering over the chair, the rage I’d suppressed for twenty years began to simmer in my guts.  It kept building and building, pulling in hate with it, then adding anguish to the mix, along with pain, self-loathing and a whole host of other emotions I couldn’t begin to grasp or hope to catalog in my current state of mind.  They were all being unceremoniously dumped into the venomous broth that was stewing deep inside of me.  If it hadn’t been for the support of the chair I was holding onto, I would have collapsed into a molten heap on the floor from the weight that was pressing down on me combined with the fire in my guts that was roiling with such fervor, I was about to explode.

 

After a few minutes with no release of the tension I was dealing with in sight, I finally asked through tightly clenched teeth, “You said they’re done in here, right Derek?”

 

“Yeah,” he answered nervously.

 

“Good,” I grunted savagely.

 

Without conscious thought, I spun on my heels, chair still firmly held in my white-knuckled grasp.  About three-fourths of the way around the spin, I watched in a haze as the chair suddenly slipped from my tenuous grip, flew across the room and smashed into the wooden cabinet, shattering the flimsy piece of shit into twenty or more pieces.  God fuckin’ damn it, that felt good.  Without stopping to even think about what I was doing, I moved to the chair on the left side of the table.  In the background that had unexpectedly become nothing but a blur to me, I heard someone say with urgency, ‘outta here, now,’ just as I grabbed the next chair, lifted it from the floor and slammed it into the top of the table.  The chair bent almost in half from the force of the blow, but the table still stood stoutly in the middle of the room, undamaged.

 

‘Well, we can’t have that, can we?’ I thought to myself.  So, I raised the chair high over my head and swung for one of the legs with all my might.  On making contact, the brittle wood cracked, and two-thirds of the leg skittered across the floor and bounced off a wall before coming to rest in a corner.  Seeing that approach seemed to work rather well, I continued my assault on the piece of once sturdy furniture and wasn’t satisfied until the table rocked madly on four very uneven legs.  There wasn’t a cast yet developed by medical science that would ever mend those fragmented appendages.  With the folding metal chair in my hands twisted beyond any hope of repair, I discarded it over my shoulder without a second thought and moved on to the next one in line.

 

I continued to assault the table with every ounce of strength I possessed, waiting for it to finally succumb to the repeated blows.  As I moved around the haunting reminder of a young life horribly derailed, I tried different angles of attack and struck at different locations all over its surface.  I started to lose a little steam on my tenth attempt, but on the thirteenth go ‘round, I was finally rewarded with a very satisfying and resounding crack.  Seeing and hearing success was imminent, I redoubled my efforts and resumed my abuse of the table.  On the eighteenth shot (yes, I was counting them), the top finally split right down the middle and the table settled onto the floor, no more than a useless pile of over-sized splinters.

 

Spinning madly in my frenzy of destruction, I found the fourth and final chair had been unceremoniously shoved into the corner by the sink that still steadfastly hung on the wall in the corner of the room.  I wasn’t going to let either item escape my wrath and wailed away at the sink until the final chair was a useless lump of distorted metal and the ruined sink was dangling from the wall by a single stubborn bolt that, despite my best efforts, simply refused to let go of the fixture.  Water was spraying freely from the torn pipes still embedded in the concrete wall and it was flooding the floor before trickling down the drain that was set in the middle of the flat surface.

 

Physically exhausted by my destructive impulses and mentally wiped out by the raw emotions I had just exorcised from deep within my shattered soul, I stumbled to the lone dry corner of the room and crumpled into a sobbing heap on the floor.  While it seemed as though I was in that corner for hours, I’m sure it was only a few moments after the others had heard my piece by piece dismantling of everything come to an abrupt halt and I was surrounded by the extremely worried Tom, Jason and Derek.

 

“Jesus, Jason, what the fuck was that?” Tom asked with serious concern as he held me in his arms.

 

“Release and relief, Tom,” Jason answered calmly.

 

“Agent Fix is gonna be pissed as hell,” Derek muttered with disbelief as he surveyed the carnage surrounding us.

 

“Fuck him!” Tom retorted angrily.

 

“C’mon, guys,” Jason began, “Let’s get Max out of here.”

 

The three worked together in picking my lifeless mass from the floor and getting me back on my feet.  Jason led the way back up the stairs while Tom helped guide me up and Derek followed along behind to make sure I didn’t fall back down the steps.  Once back in the office, they settled me onto the chair at the desk where I laid my head on my arms and continued to weep.  Tom, Jason and Derek left me to my own devices as they stepped out into the hall to talk about the manic display of insanity they’d just witnessed.

 

As I leaned over the desktop and let myself be engulfed in my own little pity party, I slowly came to realize what I’d just done.  I’d completely trashed everything in that room that had for years held so many negative thoughts and emotions over me, so much so that I’d barely been able to function as a responsible adult.  Sure, I’d go out to do my shopping and such when I needed to, but I almost always put it off until I had no other options.  It was either replenish my food supplies or starve.  I’d always hated being around other people, barely making exceptions for my own family.  I also had no friends to speak of.  And I was finally able to admit to myself that I’d truly been the complete waste of human protoplasm that my own father accused me of being last fall when I told my parents I was gay.  Though we’d both reached that conclusion based on entirely different sets of facts, there was no denying the final analysis was the same.

 

As the flow of tears finally began easing up, I slowly picked my head up and looked around the office in which I sat.  Seeing the file cabinets lined up again the wall, partially hidden by the still open door, I no longer felt the crushing sadness at what they’d contained for so many years.  Well, not nearly as badly as I’d felt it when I’d first learned of their existence from Dylan a few short weeks ago.  And turning even further to my right, when my eyes reached the still open doorway to lucifer’s little love nest, no fear or anxiety flooded through me as it had done when I first stepped into this room less than thirty minutes ago.  To me, it was now just a hole in the wall that needed to be permanently sealed.

 

My mood suddenly took a turn for the better on having those revelations.  Using the shirt dampened by the spray of water created when the sink finally let go of the wall behind it, I wiped my face and nose clean, then did my best to dry my eyes with a slightly cleaner corner of the soggy garment.  When I realized the futility of what I was attempting to do, I leaned back in the chair, gazed blindly at the ceiling and let go a big laugh.  And I kept laughing for no apparent reason other than it felt really good to have a real reason to do so for once in my life. 

 

Sure, the boys had introduced lots of laughter into my otherwise mundane and boring life the last couple of months, but I always felt like I had to force it for some reason.  The laughter never came easily or naturally to me and though it took me a while to figure out why, I realized it had been like that since the very first time Frank and Iris had dragged me into their torture chamber.  Those two rotten, sadistic motherfuckers had not just abused me for years, they’d literally stolen my love of life from me, forced me to regard other people with a hidden fear no kid should ever have, and they ultimately took everything I ever enjoyed doing and turned it all into something foreign, something I dreaded.  I vaguely remember Jason telling Tom in the room under this office that what I’d just done down there was ‘release and relief’.  And he was right.  For the first time since this madness began over twenty years ago, I felt truly free from all the crap that had been holding me back.

 

When I finally opened my eyes and lowered my head from its upward angle, I discovered I was confronted by three very serious looking men and they were gawking at me in disbelief.  Tom was the first to move and he stepped around the desk to pull me out of the chair and reel me into a bone-jarring hug.  I could feel him shaking with what I guessed was fear at what I’d become.  I gratefully returned his loving and reassuring embrace, melting into him as much as humanly possible, all while Derek and Jason glared at the two of us in disbelief.  Though I knew I loved Tom very deeply from almost the first moment we met, fully understanding he was behind me one hundred percent and would always be there for me and our sons meant so much more to me now than it did when we crawled out of bed just a few short hours ago.

 

When we finally broke apart, the concern for me in his eyes was palpable and he asked the most obvious of questions at that particular moment, “You okay?”

 

With a slight grin, I answered simply, “Yeah, I think so.”

 

I was pulled back into another smothering hug, though this one was more tender and loving than the previous one had been.  It’s almost like he knew I didn’t need him to hold me together as much as I had before.  And I did need that for a while, though I hadn’t really understood just how much so.  When we separated again, Jason jumped at the opportunity to ask the next question, though it was really more a statement of fact couched in a question.

 

“You really are feeling better about things now, aren’t you?” he posited with serious concern.

 

“Yes, Jason, I really am,” I replied with a serene smile.  “I knew coming back here could go one of two ways.  I’d either break down completely and have to be hauled out of here in a straitjacket, or I’d walk out under my own power, head held high with pride at taking my life back from the bastards who robbed me of it.  Yeah, I kinda combined the two into one, but it’s the ‘head held high’ part that makes it all worth it.”

 

“I was pretty sure that was the case, Max,” Jason agreed.  “I thought I could see a little flicker of life in your eyes I’d not seen before.”

 

I turned to the fourth man in the room and commented, “Sorry for trashing the hellhole, Derek.  I don’t know what came over me.”

 

“Don’t worry ‘bout it, Max.  I’m just happy we aren’t waving goodbye as you get hauled away to a rubber room right now,” he replied with a chuckle.  “It’s a damn good thing the ‘Fibbies’ are done in there ‘cause if they weren’t, I’d be out looking for a new job right about now.”

 

“Again, sorry.  But think about it this way, with everything busted and broken to shit like it is, it’ll make it a whole lot easier for someone to clean out before they pour the concrete to fill it in,” I commented.  Then, to nobody in particular, I added, “Well, someone should probably tell the new preacher man they’ve got a little leak in the basement,” I added with a chuckle.  “I’d hate for their water bill to skyrocket on my account.  And tell ‘im to send the repair bill to me.  I’ll write it off as part of my therapy expenses when I do my taxes next year.”

 

As Derek left the room to take care of that little task, I looked to Jason and asked, “So, same time, same place next Thursday?”

 

“I’m good with the same time, but I think we’d better meet at my office next time, Max,” he answered with a sly grin.  “I don’t think the church will much appreciate you destroying the whole building bit by bit.”

 

“But I’d feel ever so much better if I did,” I laughed.  “These bastards are just lucky I’m not suing them for every fuckin’ penny they’ve extorted from their flock of mindless sheep the last twenty years.”

 

“You might not be doing it yourself, Max, but I’ve heard from Agent Fix that it’s a damn good possibility,” Derek commented on rejoining us.

 

“Watchu talkin’ ‘bout?” I asked as if I was channeling the boys.

 

“He told me about it this morning when I called to get an update of their progress on the various cases.  It sounds like quite a few of the parents they’ve been in touch with have gotten together and are hiring some bigwig legal eagle from Chicago to represent them in a class action suit against the church.  With over 3,000 confirmed victims of what was goin’ on here, some of whom have taken their own lives, there’s not gonna be much left when the dust settles.”

 

“Good for them,” I replied.

 

“You should add your name to the suit,” Derek continued.  “You’d get a hell of a payout when it’s all over.”

 

“I don’t want their fuckin’ blood money,” I spat in response.  “I’ll do just fine sitting on the sidelines and cheering on the other families in their drive to see justice is done for themselves and their kids.”

 

“That’s what I figured you’d say,” Derek smiled.

 

I looked to Tom and said, “Take me home, hon.  I need to get out of these wet fuckin’ clothes and into a shower to wash off this annoying stench.  I reek”

 

“Yeah, you do,” Tom retorted.  “Your chariot awaits, babe,” he added with a smirk.

 

“Jason, Derek, thanks for making this happen today.  I know I wasn’t looking forward to coming back here, but you have no idea what trashing that room did for me and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you for the support you’ve given me today.”  I gave both men huge hugs of thanks and appreciation before we took our leave and headed for home.

 

 

After Max and Tom had left, Jason sank heavily into the chair Max had just vacated and he looked absolutely terrified.  I settled my butt on the desk before turning to Jason and asking, “So, Dr. Biggs, did that go how you expected?”

 

“Not a bit,” he replied wiping off the sweat that had formed on his forehead.  “I had no idea how Max would react going back into that room and for a few minutes there, I thought I was gonna have to call 9-1-1 to get out here to deal with him.”

 

“Seriously?”

 

“You’re damn right.  I thought he’d really snapped and wasn’t comin’ back.”

 

“Holy shit,” I breathed after realizing just how close we’d come to a complete disaster.  “How come we weren’t better prepared?”

 

“Well, Derek, the biggest reason is everybody’s different.  And while I can’t say much specifically about Max’s case for obvious reasons, I can tell you that in the discussions we’ve had so far, he’s always seemed to be in complete control of his emotions.  Almost to the point of being obsessive-compulsive.  And even though there were some warning signs of just how buttoned up he was, I never dreamed it’d come out like it did today.”

 

“So, you’re sayin’ we got lucky?” I asked.

 

“You have no idea how lucky,” Jason answered with a huge sigh of relief.  “Sure, I’ve dealt with difficult patients before and I would have maybe expected some of them to go off the rails, but I didn’t believe Max was capable of losing control like he did.”

 

“So, what happens with him now,” I asked.

 

“We keep talking,” Jason answered simply with a crooked grin and a wink.

 

“Gotcha,” I nodded, “You can’t tell me or you’d have to kill me, right?”

 

“Somethin’ like that,” Jason chuckled in reply.

 

“Well, you can take off if you want.  I’m gonna hang around for the plumber to show up so the new pastor or secretary don’t have to deal with them.”

 

As Jason left the chair, he commented, “Thanks for being here with us and letting us in, Derek.  I truly hope you’re not in hot water with the F.B.I. over what happened down there.”

 

“I’ll deal with it,” I replied.  “Hey, if you ever need assistance with anything, let me know.  I’ll be glad to help you out any time you need it, Dr. Biggs.”

 

“I’ll do that.  And if you ever know someone who needs some help from a quack like me, give me ring.”

 

We both laughed as we shook hands.  On that note, Jason left me alone and it was my turn to sink into the chair and contemplate just how badly we’d almost fucked up today.

 

 

Just after pulling onto the interstate, Tom prodded, “Are you really sure you’re okay, babe?”

 

I laid a reassuring hand on his and answered with, “Yeah, I really am.  I’m sorry you had to be there to see me lose my shit like that.  I hope I haven’t scared you off,” I added with a grin.

 

“Not a chance, Max,” my honey retorted smartly.  “Like you keep saying we’re in this shit together, for better or worse, and you’re absolutely right about that.  I gotta admit, though, you scared the crap outta all of us when you threw that first chair the way you did.  Those things are pretty heavy to be tossed around like a flippin’ Frisbee.”

 

“Yeah, not sure where the hell that came from, but I’m glad I missed all of you with it.”

 

“It was probably an adrenalin rush.  I could see somethin’ serious was cookin’ with ya, but we had no idea you’d go postal like you did.”

 

“Don’t feel bad, I didn’t either.  It was just like every emotion I’ve kept bottled up for the last twenty plus years suddenly decided to rear its ugly head at the same instant.  And once I got started, I couldn’t stop myself for anything.  I was about to give up on killing that fuckin’ table until I finally heard it crack.  Once that happened, it was game on until it was game over.  Then, when I finally gave up on tryin’ to beat the sink off the wall, I just collapsed.  I’ve never been that fuckin’ worn out in my life.”

 

“You’ll probably be sore as hell later, too.  God knows you’re aren’t usually that physical,” he added with a little chortle.

 

“Hey, don’t you start picking on me for bein’ a little chubby and lazy,” I joked.  “Especially after that little demonstration of how I deal with anger.”

 

“Trust me, babe, the last thing I ever want to do is piss you off,” my teddy bear laughed.

 

“Good thinkin’, bubba.  Remember, there’s still a cemetery on the property,” I retorted with my own laugh.  “I hope you don’t mind, hon, but I need to close my eyes.”

 

“You go right ahead, you’ve earned it, slugger.  I’ll let you know when we’re home.”

 

“Thanks.”  On that note, I reclined my seat as far back as it would go and allowed myself the pleasure of zoning out for the remainder of the trip.  I was jarred back to life when my chauffer hit the massive pothole in the driveway that was just past the bus shelter.  As I sat up and returned my seatback to its more upright position, I commented, “Really?  You couldn’t miss that damn thing just once?”

 

“Hey, not my fault,” he countered.  “That hole was here long before I was.”

 

“Hard to argue with that logic, I guess.  Remind me to call John and have him get estimates on blacktopping the drive all the way to the houses.  I’m tired of having to have rock hauled out and spread every couple of years.”

 

“That’s gonna take a big chunk of money,” Tom whistled.

 

“Yeah, so what?  With our parents, Dylan, Rick, Eric, Josh and who knows how many others gonna be around all the time, I’d much rather pay to deal with the drive once than to have to take care of their car repair bills every other day.”

 

“Can’t really argue that point with ya,” Tom agreed with a cheeky smirk.  “So, ya kickin’ LeVar out?”

 

“Nah, but do me a favor, please.”

 

“Name it.”

 

“While I’m washing away the stink, pull LeVar aside and let him know that I’m not up to talkin’ ‘bout what happened just yet.  Maybe before he goes back to L.A.”

 

“You got it, babe,” Tom replied as he pulled in the garage and shut off the engine.

 

After climbing from our chariot, we headed inside the house.  On reaching the living room, we discovered the whole group relaxing around a nice fire and talking up a storm.  I gave everyone a quick wave before continuing on to our bedroom and a much-needed cleansing of my body and soul, assuming Tom was having a brief talk with LeVar.  I didn’t stay under the pounding spray for as long as I really wanted to and when I came back out of the bathroom, Tom was waiting patiently for me.

 

“You feel any better?” he asked.

 

“Cleaner, for sure, and I don’t stink to high heaven any longer,” I admitted.  “At least I feel like I can be around other people without offending them,” I added with a light chuckle.  As I gave my furry teddy bear another hug, I said, “Thanks for not giving up on me, hon.  I need you.”

 

“Yeah, I know,” he laughed as we separated, earning him a sharp smack to the ass.  “C’mon, babe, let’s go find out what Ron’s fixed for lunch.”

 

When we stepped into the kitchen, it was obvious to us the boys were completely in charge of today’s menu.  There were hot dogs rolling around on the griddle, Ron was stirring a big pot of boiling macaroni and all the other ingredients needed were on the counter, waiting to be added at the proper time.  Baskets were filled with four different kinds of chips, and in a minor nod to the adults, a big bowl of tossed salad was ready to be moved to the table.

 

“Salad with dogs and macaroni?” Tom asked.  “Seems to be an odd combo.”

 

“Stuart’s a vegan and it’s the only thing I could think of that would work on short notice,” Ron replied.

 

“Let’s hope it’s satisfactory,” I retorted.

 

“So, how’d it go at the church?” Ron asked with curiosity.

 

“We’ll fill ya in later,” I answered.

 

After a quick nod of acknowledgement, Ron called out, “Boys, table!!” 

 

As usual, the house shook as the herd rumbled in to take care of their task.  When T.J. finished putting the plates on the table so Mike and Andy could take care of the silverware and napkins, he came over, wrapped me in a hug and commented, “I’m happy for you, Dad.”

 

“For what?” I asked.

 

“For lettin’ go of all that crap this mornin’,” he answered with smirk.

 

“Thanks, buddy,” I replied as I returned his hug and ruffled his hair.  “Just do me a favor and …”

 

“I know, my lips are zipped,” he interrupted while drawing his fingers across his mouth.  “Like a lot of the other tall tales ‘round here, ain’t my story to tell.  But you better make sure the twins know that.”

 

“We do already, T.J.,” Alex called over his shoulder as he was pouring drinks into glasses.

 

“Thanks, guys,” I offered lamely, truly realizing how difficult it is to keep any kind of secret in this house.

 

Soon enough, Ron had everything ready to go and he yelled, “Come ‘n’ get it!” 

 

As LeVar and his group joined us in the kitchen to fill bowls and plates with their dining choices, I finally noticed that Michelle had joined the rest of the crowd and lost her clothes while we were gone.  I was guessing that had happened only a short time before Tom and I returned due to her slightly nervous demeanor, but she was giving it a fair shot.  With fifteen people in the house, we let the boys, Ron, Stuart, Rex and Greg have the dining room while the rest of us ate in the living room.  Conversation was light and, thankfully, the little chatter that was taking place stayed well clear of my experience at the church.

 

When everyone was done eating and the kitchen was back in shape, everybody settled back into the living room to continue our interviews.  Tom and I learned that the boys had all talked to Rex, Greg and Stuart, each man recording their talks and taking voluminous notes on different aspects of the boys’ lives.  While Rex was concentrating on their lives before moving in, Stuart was gathering information on the time since they’d arrived on February twenty-second.  For his part, Greg was digging into their personalities, likes, dislikes and all the other little quirks that made each one the unique individual he is.

 

After about an hour of all of us being involved in the conversation, the boys got bored and asked if they could go play some games in the theater.  With our blessing and thanks for sticking with it as long as they had, they made short work of disappearing across the house.  The rest of us continued to talk for about two more hours before LeVar called a halt to the proceedings.  We had certainly not known how long he was planning to stay this afternoon, but I was thankful for his decision.  We had a long day ahead of us tomorrow and it was another one I wasn’t much looking forward to dealing with.  Although, if it turned out as well as today had, it might not be too horrible.

 

Once our inquisitors were appropriately clad for their trip back to town, we called the boys from their game so we could all say our goodbyes.  After the boys had shared their regular hugs with LeVar and his crew, the boys disappeared back into the theater to return to the game they’d put on pause when we called them out.

 

“So, what’s your plan for tomorrow,” Tom asked as he shared a handshake with LeVar and his group.

 

“Well, after talking to your parents on the phone this afternoon, we’re meeting at Jim and Rose’s to have our talks with them there.  We’re supposed to arrive about noon, join them for lunch and then we’ll have the rest of the afternoon for our discussions.”

 

“Sounds good to us, LeVar,” I commented.  “Better than our day is going to be, anyway.”

 

“I have faith that it’s all going to work out just fine for Logan.”

 

“I hope to hell you’re right,” I replied.  “Though we’ve been saying the same thing to him, I just have a hard time believing it myself.”

 

“Trust the system, guys,” LeVar reaffirmed with confidence. 

 

With those final words, LeVar and his people took their leave and we finally had the house back to ourselves.  I, for one, was looking forward to a quiet and relaxing evening before crashing early so I’d be in the right frame of mind when we took off in the morning.

 

After Tom, Dylan and I retook our seats in the living room, Tom commented, “Dylan, I gotta say sorry for forcing you to deal with the interviews you had scheduled for us today.  When we talked about our schedule the other day, I’d completely forgotten about Max’s appointment with Jason today and what the plans were for that.”

 

“Don’t worry about it, boss,” Dylan replied.  “Shit happens sometimes, don’t it?”

 

“More than I care to think about,” Tom agreed.

 

“Just don’t blow off the one in J-ville in the morning ‘cause the one I’m takin’ is scheduled for the same time and as good as I am, I sure as hell can’t be in two places at the same time.”

 

“No worries, partner,” Tom agreed.

 

“So, how’d it go at the church?” Dylan asked, looking to me to supply the answer.

 

“Let’s just say it was interesting and leave it at that for the moment,” I responded flatly.

 

“Ya don’t wanna talk about it, right?” he prodded.  After a negative shake of my head, he continued, “That’s all right, brother.  I feel ya.  Just know if you need anything from me, I’ll do whatever I can to help.”

 

“I know, Dylan, and I appreciate it.” 

 

We chatted about nothing of import for a bit before Dylan decided he’d had enough fun for one day and was ready to head for home.  After saying goodbye to one another and Dylan making the required trip through the theater to share hugs with the boys, he took off.  Ron suggested we all relax this evening and we were in no position, nor were we of the mind, to argue his suggestion.  After the sumptuous feast we had for lunch, he also volunteered to make a run over to the Subway sandwich shop at the truck stop in New Berlin to pick up supper for everyone when folks started to get hungry.  With agreement from all, we picked up our books to escape from real life for a while.

 

The boys suddenly emerged from the theater around six, all claiming they were about to die of starvation.  To avoid adding six more bodies to the cemetery, Ron quickly made a list of what type of sandwich everyone was hungry for and he headed out to pick up our food.  By the time he returned, the table was all laid out with the necessary accouterments of enjoying a civilized if somewhat simple meal, including an assortment of various chips and dips and some carrots and cabbage.  About halfway through our meal, the subject I’d been avoiding since coming back home suddenly floated to the surface.

 

“Hey, Dad, you never told us how it went at the church this morning,” Alex commented.

 

“What, you don’t already know?” I asked with surprise.

 

“Well, yeah, me, Joey and, T.J. know, but the others don’t,” he replied.

 

“Yeah, we ain’t said nothin’ ‘bout it all day since it ain’t ours to share,” Joey added.

 

“Fine,” I vented with a touch of frustration.  While I struggled to hold a tight rein to the onslaught of oppressive negativity that had run roughshod over me for almost two-thirds of my life, I managed to relay the story to the whole group with minimal problems.  Ron, Logan, Mike and Andy were all surprised by what I’d done, but once I finished telling my tale, they all gave me a thumbs up or some other type of positive acknowledgement.

 

“I think I know how you must have felt, Dad,” Logan offered.

 

I was seriously confused at his comment and what he could possibly be comparing from his life to my own experience and asked, “Yeah?  How so?”

 

“Well, ya remember that night daddy came over after he got outta jail and I beat the crap outta him?  Or tried to?”  After a quick nod of acknowledgement from me, he continued.  “I done put up with his beatin’ on me for ‘bout two years by then and I was pissed as hell at him for it.  I’d always wanted to hurt him back just to see if he could take it like he dished it out, and I saw my chance to get a little bit even with him, so I frikkin’ took it.  I tell ya, that first punch to his jaw felt so damn good after takin’ his crap for years, I couldn’t stop ‘til I was plum tuckered out.”

 

“So, you do know how I felt this morning, don’t you?” I agreed.  “Yeah, it was pretty much just like that.  Once the first chair smashed the hell out of that crappy little cabinet by the sink, it just felt so right to keep goin’.  So I did, and didn’t stop until I could barely move.  By the time I collapsed in the corner, I had nothin’ left to give.  And I never felt better in my whole stinkin’ life.  Well, except for that day I recorded Frank and Iris at the police station, now that was a great day.”

 

“So, you think you’re all better now,” Mike asked.

 

“I don’t know, guys.  I may not be one-hundred percent just yet, but I’m a lot closer to it now than I was this morning.”

 

“That good news, Dad,” Alex offered.

 

“What time we leavin’ for Dexter in the mornin’,” Joey asked in a quick change of subject matter.

 

“We need to leave here by nine,” I answered.  “It’s not a long flight, but I want to make sure we have plenty of time to get a rental car and have something to eat before we have to be in court.”

 

“We’ll be ready to boogie when you are,” Logan replied. 

 

“I still wish I could go with you guys,” Mike groaned in defeat.

 

“Don’t worry ‘bout it, bro,” Logan responded.  “You need to talk to Dr. Paul and see if he can help you with your nightmares.  I slept with you a few times, now, and when those things get fired up, you can sure get to kickin’.  And when that happens, I grab my junk and just hope you don’t land one there.”  All six boys snickered as they knew the rude and painful awakening that would follow after receiving such a low blow.

 

With the feeding frenzy over, the boys took care of the minor cleanup that was needed, and we all adjourned to the theater for another night of Star Trek.  Filling the snack requests between the second and third episodes of the night took a few minutes, but once everyone had theirs, the last show of the night was started.  Forty-five minutes later, the boys dropped their dessert dishes into the dishwasher and charged on across the house to shower and climb into bed.

 

Tom and I followed along ten minutes later and after dispensing hugs, kisses and ‘love yous’ to the sensational six-pack, we retreated to our own bedroom, wishing Ron a good night’s sleep as we passed him in the hallway while he was headed to his own room.

 

As Tom and I zipped through a shower, I commented, “I’m really worried about this court thing with Logan tomorrow.”

 

“You don’t trust Clarence?” Tom asked.

 

“If I didn’t trust him, I wouldn’t have suckered him into representing Logan.  It’s the rednecks we’ll be dealin’ with down there I don’t trust half as far as I could throw ‘em.”

 

“Well, that’s gonna be Clarence’s problem, isn’t it?” Tom commented.

 

“I suppose so, but if somethin’ goes wrong, we may never see Logan again.”

 

“You worry too much, babe,” Tom retorted.

 

“I can’t help it,” I countered.  “If Logan loses tomorrow, the other five might just stage a mutiny.  And who’s to say that scumbag Troy isn’t all buddy, buddy with the prosecutor and the judge down there?  We know nothin’ about what we’re walkin’ into.”

 

“Well, shit, now ya got me thinkin’ bad things are gonna happen to our boy,” Tom relented.  “You better stop that shit right now,” he added as he smacked the back of my head.

 

“I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises.  I’ll probably spend the whole time in court with my fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed.  Hell, I’ll probably even cross my eyes and see if that’ll help.”

 

“Just so long as you wait to do all that crap until you get into the courtroom.  I don’t want you tryin’ to fly contorted like that,” Tom commented with a little giggle.

 

Despite my apprehension at what tomorrow might hold for us, I couldn’t suppress my own giggle and when I was done with my little fit, I replied, “Thanks, I needed that, hon.”

 

“You ready to crawl into bed?” he asked as he turned off the water and I grabbed our towels.

 

“With you?  Always,” I admitted with a big smile of serenity.

 

With both of us dried off, we fell onto the bed, pulled the cover up and curled up together.  I think I heard my honey whisper, ‘I love you’, but after the day I’d had, I was too far gone to return the sentiment.

 

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