Jared the Paramedic II ~ The Family Gathers

Chapter 12: Grandfather

Main Character ListMain Character List ("<\/p>\r\n<h3 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Main Characters<\/h3>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 29<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Liam<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 22<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Jared<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Tyler<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer (Partner: Josh)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Troy<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers,<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Darren<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Fire Fighter<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Josh<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Hose Puller<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jesse<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 32 (looks 22)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\" 160 lbs, blonde hair, clear blue eyes, light olive skin (darkens considerably when tanned). Has an eidetic memory.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Lawyer, McCoy &amp; Associates (owner, President, CEO), McAdam Construction (owner, President, CEO)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Husband: Marc (deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Zane<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\" 140 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Jesse<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\", 150 lbs, slightly built, brown curly hair, hazel eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:&#160;Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Mark<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", 150 lbs, slightly built, dirty blonde straight hair, grey eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Sgt. Frank Myers (father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Adam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 19<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", 145 lbs, black hair, chocolate brown eyes, olive skin<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Tom (grandfather), Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Patrick<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", dark shaggy hair, large soft brown eyes, contagious smile, and a light mustache<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">")

Recurring Character ListRecurring Character List ("<\/p>\r\n<h3 style=\"text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline; color: #999999;\">Recurring Characters<\/span><\/h3>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Sgt. Frank Myers<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Sergeant<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mark (son) and a daughter, Conner (surrogate son), Adam (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'6\", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jared Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jack<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: COO of McCoy &amp; Associates<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Molly (wife), Jesse (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Molly<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jack (husband), Jesse (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Julie<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Office Manager for the local McCoy &amp; Associates office<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Used to babysit Jesse and Marc when they were young<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">John<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: CFO and Acting CEO, Bear Investment Group (2nd in command after Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Amanda<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: A pleasant woman, shorter, plump, eyes full of life, and&#160;grandmotherly. &#160;Also a sensitive.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Hospital Social Worker<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Marcie<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tom<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 75<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Owner and Operator of Tom's Marina<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Adam (grandson)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Trevor<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 23<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\" 130 lbs, long blonde hair, very fine facial features with delicate hands<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Works at the LGBTQ Centre<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<hr \/>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">")

A couple of weeks had now passed and Jesse and Zane were basically fully recovered, or at least back to their normal routine.  After Molly and Jack had headed home, Julie took over looking after them by telling them that for the first week or so they were going to be at her house in her spare bedroom. There was absolutely nothing the two men could say which was able to change Julie's mind and they got in real trouble when she called Molly.  Kat came into the hospital room just before discharge and found Julie sitting comfortably in the chair quietly reading a book while Jesse and Zane were standing in separate corners.  The only comment Julie had made to Kat was, "Never argue with a grandmother and expect to win."  Kat had smiled and left the room quickly, quietly holding her laughter in.

Finally, they got back to their own apartment and began to resume more of a normal life - other than the Centre staff bringing them food and trying to help.  Jared and the tribe were also more frequent visitors first at Julie's house, then their apartment, and then finally at the Centre once they were cleared to return to work.  The staff didn't even mind the police cars parked out front when Tyler, Josh, or even Frank dropped in for a coffee.  The clients at the Centre were beginning to see the police from a different view, especially after finding out two of the officers were gay.  A month after the assault, everything had pretty well returned to normal for everyone.

John had made arrangements to meet the gang with a 14-passenger van at the ambulance base on Saturday morning.  He had made sure Jared and Liam invited the entire tribe for the special trip. He didn't really tell them a lot about what was going on, but after a few questions John finally just said, "Look, I want all of you guys at the base, on Saturday at 9:00 am.  You can either be there or not, but I will be." He then hung up the phone.

On Saturday, John was there with the van as well as a large cardboard box of Tim's Coffee in a Load-n-Go.  As they arrived and got into the van, they were each handed a fresh cup of coffee.  Liam and Troy both got smacked in the back of the head after making comments about there not being any doughnuts for the cops.  Jared, Liam, Jesse, Zane, Troy, Tyler, Darren, and Josh were all finally seated in the van with John in the driver's seat, then they headed out.

The west side of the city had a large park or green belt area.   Not only had this area been developed with an intricate system of walking trails as well as many fields for team sports, but it served as a divider between the civic and rural governments.  The green belt is made of natural growth white spruce, white poplar, birch, cedar and various maple trees as well as willow, hazelnut, and rose bushes. There are several types of grasses spread throughout the area. The greenbelt was very wide and took approximately 15 minutes to drive through at highway speeds, or 10 minutes at Tyler speed if he had been driving.  The Rural Municipality commenced on the other side of the green belt and was out of the city's control.  To the west and southwest, the area had been subdivided into acreages and the contractor would be building homes from a selection of blueprints available.

The area to the northwest was different and consisted of 25 very unique acres of land.  This land was a peninsula which had a river flowing around it on three sides.  There was only one road into the area and as it progressed into the peninsula, it became a circular or ring road. Inside the ring road were eight laneways which from the air looking down would resemble spokes in a wheel.  Except where the services had been installed, and the soon to be completed houses, the entire area was exactly as the Creator had grown it.

John was still being very vague about their destination, driving along the gravel road until they came across what appeared to be a tall concrete block fence disappearing into the treeline on both sides.  Right near the road was a huge handcrafted sign imposed over a beautiful rainbow, naming the area 'Lobstick Estates'.

John slowed in order for everyone to look at the sign closer.  On closer examination, Jared and Liam smiled as they recognized the silhouettes of a bear standing with its paw on the shoulder of a wolf.  There was an eagle sitting on the bear's shoulder.  In the background on a raised rock were additional wolves howling at the moon.

"Jared, what is this all about out?  I mean, that's us represented in the picture isn't it?" asked Liam.

"Liam, I think Grandfather has been at work out here.  He's the only one who could keep something like this from me."

Liam looked at the sign and turned his head sideways slightly in thought.  "It's not balanced in the way of life."  He thought for a moment before continuing. "It's as if more can be added to the sign in the future," he mused... "And it's as if it is already known, but not seen."

Jared looked at his boyfriend with approving eyes, "You really are beginning to use the ancient knowledge more and more, aren't you?"

Liam kissed him, and then said, "I'm thinking of something..."

"Not on the bus," John yelled back causing everyone to laugh.  Liam pouted.

"What's a lobstick, Jared?" asked Tyler hanging over the seat.

"The lobstick is the universal sign of a special space where something very, very important like a meeting takes place.  It's created for a variety of reasons but a lobstick is when all the branches of a white spruce tree are removed, just leaving a small tuft or something which may look like a Christmas Tree on the very top.  The trees around it are cleared so anyone could see it is a special tree."

"Guys, look at the other side of the entrance," blurted out Josh.  The van creaked as the group all moved to the driver's side.

On the other side of a gate was an actual lobstick, plus a rock formation that looked somewhat human, as well as another large rock formation with a single pillar of individual round, flat rocks four foot high on its's top.

"What's the man-shaped rock pile?" asked Jesse.

Zane spoke up, "I got this one, Jared.  It is an inuksuk, made by the tribes of the north called the People or Inuit.  They build these as markers similar to the lobstick, except they are made of rocks because there are no trees in their ancestral area of the north."

Liam spoke up now adding, "The last pillar of rocks is the same thing as the lobstick and the inuksuk and has been used in many locations around the world.  The Celtic tribes used it as well as the plains tribes as there are always lots of rocks around to use as a marker."

John drove through an open gate which was attached to the high brick fence.  The top of the fence also had the traditional 'fleur-de-lis' shape in a regular pattern along both sides as far as the eye could see.  This was not only a decorative shape, but it was a security measure which made it dangerous to climb over.  John pulled up to the only construction trailer the group could see inside the gated area.

They had just pulled up to the trailer and were piling out of the van when a couple more cars pulled up.  Jack and Molly got out of one car while Jared was shocked to hear an old vehicle he knew all too well.  Already knowing, he turned to see his grandfather's old, rusted, primer-spotted 1970 Jeep Wagoneer pull up and park.

Jared moved towards the vehicle.  "Grandfather, I bought you a new Jeep to drive so you were safe and yet you continue to drive old Bertha everywhere.  She has earned her retirement Grandfather, and me a piece of mind for your safety."

The driver's door opened with a loud screech of metal on aged metal.  The old man laughed as he got out of the vehicle.  "Jared, I use the new Jeep as my Sunday-go-to-church and special-occasion vehicle.  Bertha still runs like a top and she needed her exercise today."  They embraced warmly and after everyone greeted each other and moved into the contractor trailer.

"Grandfather, you say she runs like a top, but she sounds like a cavitating impeller with flatulence.  Could I at least install a new exhaust system if you are going to insist on driving her?"

"Have you been talking with Melanie?  She said the same thing."

"If Melanie notices the sound of your exhaust…"

The old man laughed at the thought.  "I'll fix it myself, Jared.  I promise."

"Thank you, Grandfather.  We do worry about you."

"I know, and I love you guys dearly for it, too.  Now, let's get inside."

Soon enough, everyone was seated around the table with Jack, Molly, John, and Grandfather sitting at the head.

Jack started the meeting.  "You men are all together here today because of a discussion the four of us had a year ago.  Shortly after Marc's funeral, John had brought Grandfather to our house for a visit with Molly and I.  Let me explain a bit of background; I have known both John and Mathew for many years as I had dealt with their legal matters all that time, but they had yet to meet Molly.  After a couple of cups of coffee and a sweet roll, he told us a story which sounded like a fairy tale to us."

"Jared, you had called me about the advantages of buying or renting a home just about to the minute that Grandfather had predicted during that meeting," said John.

Jack laughed as he said, "Jesse was the same.  Grandfather told me the date and time you would call me about halting a voyage and then wanting to buy a house as well.  I had forgotten all about it until he called the other day.  In fact, both Molly and I had forgotten about this project because we were so worried about you and your trip, Jesse."

Jesse rolled his eyes but had a smile on his face.

"Don't you roll your eyes at me, young man," stated Molly quickly with her finger extended and waggled at him the way only a mother could.

"Awww, Mom.  Sorry," said Jesse trying to look like he meant it.

"Don't make me come over there!" she stated quickly.

"Can I spank him for you, Mom?" asked Zane with a big smile.

"No!" replied Molly quickly.  "I didn't see you two for the rest of the afternoon last time you offered to spank him for me."

They both blushed and said, "Mooommmmm!"  Everyone at the table was chuckling.

Molly picked up the story.  "Grandfather told us of a vision he had which involved Jesse, and some special people and a circle of friends who would be drawn together as brothers in the future.  Together, you would find strength, commitment, safety, and love.  Not only would you find those things in your own lives, but you would spread them to others as you lived your lives where ever you went.  Grandfather told us the road would be very difficult that year, but it would end with you all being brothers.  He wouldn't tell us anything about what you would go through during that time, and I now understand why.  We weren't meant to know yet so that we couldn't intervene and disturb the flow of learning."

Grandfather gently reached over and put his hand on top of Molly's hand, and gave her a warm smile.  She looked at him and returned the smile as she placed her other hand on top of his.  "This man is very special to us.  Anyone who he comes into contact with is very fortunate," said Molly.

Jack picked up the story from that point.  "Your Grandfather pulled out an old topographical map and pointed to this spot.  He explained to us this was a very powerful spot, a very safe spot for all of our children to gather and live.  He explained the significance to the height of the land which could watch the sun rise, travel, and set.  The river around the land on three sides brought energy to the land and carried away evil.  He also explained how all the sacred ceremonial plants which were needed grew freely on the land as well as many other foods.  He then drew a pattern on the map to show how a development of houses could be built to enhance the power of the land."

Molly spoke again.  "He drew a circle with spokes and explained it would represent the medicine wheel.  Grandfather explained the number seven was important as every four cycles of seven is a lunar cycle and a new moon.  He further explained the medicine wheel is very powerful and many have been found in Ireland, Scotland, or England which were built 4,500 years ago by the Celts."

Grandfather now spoke.  "The 12 Tribes have all used the medicine wheel since time beginning.  This area is ringed and full of cedar trees, wild sage, and sweet grass as well as many, many other medicines and sacred plants so it is not only strong but protected from evil spirits. This is also to be considered traditional tribal land Jared, and many years ago before the tribal council started selling off some of the lands around the city to line their own pockets, Bear Investments and I bought this land on your behalf.  As you know Jared, there is a lot more land around this which we own.  Some of the land which is not needed by us in this immediate area we are going to subdivide for smaller acreages to sell them to anyone with enough money to buy them.  McAdam Construction is already looking after that and is getting ready to market the area for residential construction with lots of green belts.  Jared and Jesse, your two companies have been working together for some time on a few projects and are very financially successful together."

The two men looked at Grandfather, Jack, and Molly and then to John for confirmation.  They all nodded in acknowledgment.

John now picked up the story.  "It took some explanation on my part to Jack and Molly about what Grandfather was speaking about and to get them to believe it.  But, what we have done is set up a partnership with McCoy and Associates, McAdam Construction, and Bear Investments to rapidly transfer and purchase the land for the partnership, design the homes and buildings, and get them built.  We have been building houses for each of you as independent couples, with a large common area in the middle.  This allows for all of you to be together as a family in the middle, or have privacy or quiet time in your own home."

Grandfather continued, "There is one road in a circle, and the houses are built inside the wheel spokes.  Each house has an access passageway to the common area in the center of the development.  The center has a pool, sauna, exercise room, common kitchen and dining area, large family room, movie/TV room, and smudging room amongst other features and all suitable for larger groups of people and visitors.  It has a couple of apartments in it as well."

John spoke again.  "Jared and Liam, your home is on the north end of the wheel and larger than the rest.  It has special areas for you two as shaman to study, meditate and hold private spiritual sessions.  The house has been increased with extra bedrooms, bathrooms, and larger kitchen and dining areas to compensate for people you may take in to help heal.  The extra houses will be used by me, Jack and Molly, or Melanie when we come to work or visit.  If your family grows, there's space for them here as well."

"The Dragon Lady would be allowed into the compound?" blurted Darren.  The entire group started to laugh.

John spoke again.  "Jesse, your house is bigger as well and includes a large home office and meeting room so you can work at home if you wish.  The houses and land are owned by the partnership I spoke of earlier.  We will be paying for all the utilities, and charging a flat-rate rent each month for each of the houses.  It will be a reasonable rental charge based on your incomes.  You still need to bring or buy your own furniture, buy your groceries, shovel snow, cut your lawns, and things like that."

"This allows us to use the project as an investment," continued Jack, "as a capital investment and allowing us accountants to do our thing with depreciation, income and other deductions."

Grandfather took up the story again.  "To keep our children safe, we have had this built as a gated community with security access and a very tasteful block wall across the front of the peninsula.  There are cameras and movement sensors scattered throughout the property which every house has access to view.  There is also an intercom system between the houses as well as a panic alarm.  We take your security very seriously.  Darren, Melanie designed the security system for the compound and I'm beginning to understand her comment."

"What was that?" asked Josh.

"Melanie figured if she built the security system tough enough that none of you could get out, it would automatically work the opposite way.  She said something about testing the equipment by chasing you guys with a Taser and cattle prod, especially Darren."

The older people laughed as the group of young men all started mumbling, "Oh shit, we're dead meat," as well as other comments.  Darren was saying, "Game over man, game over."

Jesse and Zane were puzzled by their friend's reactions.  Finally, Jesse asked who Melanie was.

"Did you ever watch the wizard of Oz?" asked Darren.

"Yes, we both have," replied Jesse.

"Well, Melanie had a sister in that movie who lived in the east, and they dropped a house on her.  Melanie has been mad ever since," explained Darren.  The young men were laughing as Liam leaned forward and slapped the back of Darren's head.

"Hey, that's my cousin-in-law you are talking about, hose puller," said Liam.

Jared started laughing, "She's either got you scared or whipped bad, Liam."

"Both!" replied Liam laughing.

"Ok guys, leave Melanie alone or I will tell her what you all said," stated Grandfather with a big smirk.

The group settled down and Jack sat with a serious look on his face.  "I accept and understand the basic levels of the beliefs but I have to be honest, I wasn't really seriously digesting the information.  What he and John spoke about made financial sense for an investment. So, I made a few phone calls and made it known the people I assigned to the development were to do exactly as they were told." Jack chuckled a bit. "Once the group sat with Grandfather to discuss the project and listened to his ideas, they all bought in and I have never seen any project with such a high level of teamwork before.  Molly and I basically turned the project over to the partnership and forgot about it."

"They are all good people," Grandfather added quickly.  "I also managed to help a couple of them back onto the correct paths in life before the path they had chosen destroyed them."

"Grandfather, your team is so devoted to you they are all wanting you to stay to build another project with them," said Jack. "Is there something else you would like to build?"

The old man smiled and sat back in his chair.  "Something I heard once many moons ago, Jack.  Have your people call my people, we'll do lunch," replied the old man as he made the gesture of talking on a phone.  The group started to laugh.

Jesse thought for a moment and said, "Maybe we should see how the office project is going.  Grandfather may be the man for that one."

Jared smiled, "Let's think about it, Jess."

Tyler looked around the room and then spoke.  "May I ask a question?"

Grandfather smiled at the young man.  "Of course you may, young one."

"Grandfather, this is a lot for me to take in."  He leaned over and took Troy's hand into his.  "I mean, we have discussed moving from our little apartment into a house, but are we allowed a choice?"

"Young one," Grandfather started, "we have built this place for all of you as a choice and I would never tell or force you to come here."  The old man hesitated for a moment.  "Only you may choose to follow the path in front of you.  You have the absolute freedom to do as your heart and destiny dictates."

"You said we have to pay rent, but I'm afraid we can't afford anything like the houses and area you're talking about," added Troy.

John jumped in now.  "The rent will be based on what you are paying now, and your income.  There is the possibility of you renting to own as well but give us some time to figure that out if it's a possibility or not.  You're not getting this for free but at a reasonable cost."

"How long before they're finished?" asked Darren.

"Within the month and on schedule I might add," replied Grandfather.

"Let's go for a walk to the recreation center which is almost finished," suggested John.  The group immediately left taking the path behind the trailer.

It took a couple of minutes, but the path ended in a clearing, with a large building in the middle.  The group entered the nearest door and proceeded through the building's main floor where they found exactly what had been described to them.  There was a pool, hot tub, sauna in one area as well as a workout area nearby.  Near the entrance and stairs was an area which would become a patio for people to sit and talk or have a drink.   The large changing room complete with showers finished the area.  The pool was shaped like a capital L.  One long end of the L could be used as a water polo area or lane swimming.  The shorter part had large planters along the sides and rocks.  The hot tub was off to the side against a wall of rocks and more planters.  It was obvious the entire area would be filled with bushes and trees.  Another part of the building was a gymnasium for basketball, volleyball squash, or other games the men chose to play.

The upper floor was a beautiful room with a large fireplace, meeting or dining room, kitchen as well as three self-contained apartments with one bedroom each.  The one wall was open and overlooked the pool as well as the glass wall to the outside at ground level.  The glass wall alongside the pool was sectional and could be opened to allow access to the outside deck.  The area was not finished yet and John explained the plants and other decorations which would be installed. Grandfather also explained there would be certain plants he would be planting which could be used in ceremonies, for medicine, the wonderful natural scent they gave off, plants which were just pretty, or just looked cool.  That brought chuckles from the young men. Another part of the wall was open to the gymnasium.

The young men were getting really enthused about the setup of this building, especially all the work out equipment John had ordered.  John was very quick to point out this building was really no different than what many condominium projects built for the use of their residents.  Jack added that many of the gated communities he knew of had the same type of building for their residents as well.  Grandfather pointed out the group would have to learn how to treat the pool, tend the plants and keep everything clean themselves, and no Filipino houseboys.  That brought laughs from everyone.

Grandfather then took them up to the top floor which was more of an observation turret sticking up and out of the roof.  For some people, it resembled the old fire watch towers the forest rangers used.  It was a circular room with a fireplace in the middle.  The walls were clear glass and provided a tremendous view of the entire area, including the rivers flowing past the peninsula.  The scenery was breathtaking.  Grandfather explained where the smudging would be done as well as the placement of many sacred artifacts he was bringing in for display or use.  This was a meditation, smudging, and special discussions room.  The acoustics also made it a perfect room for drumming.

From the room, Grandfather pointed out the houses he had built for the couples and then told them to check them out.  Within seconds, Grandfather, John, Jack, and Molly were standing alone as they heard feet pounding down the stairs.

Grandfather smiled as he said, "They normally sound like deer with gentle steps in the forest, but now more like a herd of buffalo on the move for a rutting session."  The adults all laughed with Molly choking from the comment.

"I may have to move here full time," said Molly when she regained control.  "It is so beautiful and peaceful here.  Plus, Jesse and Zane will be here."

Jack pulled her in for a hug, and quick kiss.  "Maybe we can retire here, Molly.  We could live in an apartment and keep this building clean for the kids."

"Molly," Grandfather started, "you would always be welcome here if that is your path in life but I sense if it ever happens, it will be a long time into the future.  But I know you will visit often."

"Molly, there is something that you and Jack should know, though, and I don't know if anyone has mentioned it before now," said John.  Grandfather chuckled under his breath before moving to look out the window.

Jack raised an eyebrow and asked, "Interesting, and what do you think we should know?"

John looked at his feet and then at the both of them.  "Jared and Liam and the rest of tribe don't wear a lot of clothing around their apartment, or up at the cabin when they're all by themselves.  If they're not naked, they only wear a traditional but skimpy loin cloth... and that's only when other people are around.  The last time I stayed at Jared's apartment, I made them wear gym shorts and Liam told me Jared makes him wear a French maid outfit."

Jack was now laughing and Molly was covering her ears while saying, "I don't want to hear this."

"Molly, they were joking about the maid's outfit, but they don't wear a lot of clothing at the cabin on a routine basis, and they are quite unashamed of the gifts the Creator gave them and being nude comes naturally for them.  They do dress for visitors or people who are unaccustomed to their habits," explained John.

Molly was standing there and daydreaming for a moment when Jack poked her in the side and laughed.  "You were imagining all those men naked, weren't you?"

Molly blushed and replied, "Maybe."  She started to fan her face with her hand.

Grandfather turned and said deadpan, "Molly, they're all hung like horses, too."

Jack, John, and Grandfather all started to laugh uncontrolled as Molly fanned herself faster.

"I'm almost afraid to ask this, but do Zane and Jesse know about this dress code?" asked Molly.

"They fit in quite well with the rest of the family, Molly," replied John.  "In all honesty, Jesse has become a member of the family very quickly, or the tribe as they call themselves.  You would never know he and Zane were new to the group.  Just watch the chemistry between them all."

Jack looked at Molly and then at John.  "We've both seen it, John.  What is amazing is the transformation our Jesse has undergone with this group of guys, tribe or family – I have no clue what to call them.  But, it has been a long time since we have seen Jesse this happy, relaxed and comfortable with other people."

"Does it matter Jesse is the oldest of the tribe?" asked Molly.

Grandfather was shaking his head no as he answered, "No Molly.  It's the spirit and the person which matters, not the age.  Just look down below at the boys in action."  The adults moved to look out the window.

Liam had picked a large mushroom and thrown it at Darren but missed and hit Zane.  The mushroom exploded all over in pieces of white material.  Darren stuck his tongue out at Liam but hadn't noticed Tyler kneel behind him so when Troy pushed him backward, he fell over Tyler.  Jared had found pine cones and was bouncing them off Jesse's back.  Soon enough, they were all in a pile, wrestling with each other.

Molly took Jack's hand in hers and said, "I would have never thought it possible to see our Jesse like this again.  He has a new boyfriend, new friends, and a new life."

Liam had snuck away and pants'd Jesse while he was in the middle of the group.  Liam then started to pants anyone else he could before they all got up and started chasing him towards the house while trying to pull up their pants.

The adults all laughed at the group's hijinks.  "They are all mischievous little shits and fit together well.  Don't forget there are three missing today and they are just as bad," said John.

The group of men had quickly checked out a couple of the houses and moved towards the one for Jared and Liam.  It was bigger and laid out differently, but none of the houses were flaunting any indication of money or waste.  They were all tasteful, comfortable and well planned out.  What was needed was there, what was wanted was not there –which was the way of the tribe.

The workmen the boys interacted with were friendly and showed them all the environmentally friendly materials which had been used for the houses.  They also spoke highly of Grandfather and were very pleased to meet his grandson Jared.

The two groups met together in the construction trailer for a coffee, as well as answering any questions which may have arisen.  Each of the houses and the recreation center was fed by natural gas, and a backup generator was attached to the gas line to operate the required equipment.

The guys sat in the trailer and asked about the rent cost again.  Most of them made good money, but they watched their dollars closely.  They had all begun working with John to save money and make investments.

"I must admit, I like the idea of being in the compound and being safe.  Also, being with my brothers while also having our own home to live in," said Troy.

"Grandfather has done an outstanding job in the design of this complex.  I mean, even the workout room and sports recreation area are incredible," added Darren.

"What impressed me," started Josh, "the houses aren't extravagant.  They are well laid out, roomy, lots of windows for light and when we fill them with furniture, they will be quite comfortable."

Jesse was looking troubled, but trying to project confidence and 'normality.'

Liam noted Jesse's uncomfortable look.  "What's wrong, Jess?"

Jesse looked around the table at everyone, and then he reached over to Zane to hold his hand.  "Well, as you asked - let me be honest.  You guys have been together for a while and are family.  I feel like we were thrust on to you and this would be a real intrusion for us to live out here."

Molly was going to say something, but Grandfather looked at her, motioning for her to sit still.

Jared sat and thought for a moment.  "Jess, have we done something to make you feel that way?"

Jesse looked at Zane... and then looked at Jared.  "Absolutely not.  You guys have all openly accepted us with understanding, compassion, and love."

Liam spoke next, "Zane, do you feel like an outsider with us?"

"No. I feel part of something I have not felt for a long time; a loving family," he replied.

"Jesse, we stood by you when you came to the shelter.  We were with you during Zane's and your recovery from the assault.  We accepted you as a friend, and we're inviting you into our tribe and family as a brother.  I think you could appreciate absolutely no one could stand up or force us as a group to anything we didn't want to do," said Liam.

Troy leaned forward, "Is it because you are a little older than us?  It doesn't mean anything to me, but does it to you?"

"I don't know, Troy, I hadn't consciously thought of that.  You've given me something to think about," replied Jesse.

"Is it because you two are the only university degrees in our group?  I mean, I have a diploma but I'm not as smart as you and Zane," suggested Darren.

Jesse held his hands up and said, "Whoa Darren.  I have never meant to sound like a school snob.  In fact, I am envious of how dedicated you guys are to your jobs and how much more you need to know to function than I do in my job.  I marvel at you guys and your broad knowledge bases.  You amaze me and you guys have taught me so much."

"Jesse," started Josh, "please, correct me if I'm wrong but you feel like you have brought nothing to the table.  You see everything we do together, and everything we contribute and you feel like you are taking more than you are giving back.  You don't feel like you are earning your keep in our group."

Molly and Jack both wanted to get involved, but John and Grandfather continued motioning to them to stay silent.

Jesse looked around the table at everyone.  "You guys really do speak your minds..."

Jared replied quickly, "We are totally honest with each other, but never malicious.  When we're problem-solving like this, everyone speaks their mind and asks questions which come to mind.  We are problem-solving as a group, tribe, and family and this the way we handle things."

"Guys, Josh just about hit the nail on the head.  I see the way you guys get along, and each has their place in the tribe," explained Jesse.  "Zane and I are new, and I feel like I'm benefiting or taking more than I'm giving.  I'm not a charity case but I came with so much baggage."

"We never once thought you were a charity case, Jesse.  We brought you into our family, and if we didn't want you... you wouldn't be here," said Jared coldly. "Give it time.  You have already started to make contributions to our family without even knowing it."

Jesse looked puzzled.

Zane squeezed his hand.  "You have come a long way since I picked you up on the highway that day.  We have come a long way together, you helping me and me helping you because we both have baggage.  It takes time.  These guys have welcomed us for who we are, and for what we will become in the future.  They have shown us nothing but love and asked nothing in return.  You have already started to contribute back too.  How many people through the Centre have you been helping with legal advice or just listening to them talk?"

"Three or four dozen," Jesse replied.

"You have also been giving praise and guidance not only to the clients but our staff.  They are all falling in love with you as a fair man and someone who offers suggestions to help them improve the job they are doing."

Liam jumped into the conversation with, "Even before you knew us, you were beginning to get finances in place for a new LGBT Drop-in Centre.  You just did it, secretly so you thought.  Now, we have been working as a group and look at the building which is going to open soon with the ambulance base, McCoy and Associates Office, and the new LGBT Shelter/Drop-in/Food Bank all in one building.  Jesse, get your pretty little head out of your ass."

Molly chuckled.

Jesse thought for a moment, "I guess, but isn't that the way to do things?"

"That's what we do as a family is to help others... and you're doing it.  Besides that, I always wanted an older brother," said Josh.

"Me too," added Tyler.

"Me three," said Troy.  "Even one as ancient as you Jesse and half way through his life already…"

"You little fucker," said Jesse chuckling.

Darren quickly added, "Troy, you told me Jesse was becoming a brother because he had a small penis and we felt sorry for him."

Molly snorted as Jesse got out of his chair and slid over to tackle Troy and Darren.  He landed on them, all falling to the floor and soon enough Troy was laughing insanely and begging for him to stop before he peed himself.

"Jack, Molly – do see now how these guys operate?  They want honesty, and they deal with the issues as a group and they always manage to work the problem out," said John.

The other end of the room was alive with people wrestling under the table, laughing and joking.

"They are a little rough on the furniture at times, though," added Grandfather with a smile.

Jack looked at Molly, "I am feeling really good with Jesse being involved with these guys and living here.  What about you?"

She nodded her head.  "I think he will continue to grow with his new friends."

Someone screamed that they were being wedgied.

"How do you deal with this?" asked Molly with a smile. "It has been years since I've been around kids, let alone kids this big."

"Easy.  When I want it to end and get serious, it happens," said Grandfather while smirking.

"What do you mean?" asked Jack.

"Watch and learn," the old man said.  He raised one hand and snapped his finger.  All movement stopped at the other end of the table.  "Get back into your chairs and behave.  Last one seated gets a bareassed lickin' from Melanie."  He snapped his finger again and the bedlam ended in seconds with everyone sitting quietly.

Grandfather looked at Molly and shrugged his shoulders. "It's easy.  Right children?"

They all answered, "Yes Grandfather."

Jack and Molly shook their heads in disbelief.

"Gentlemen," said Grandfather, "have we resolved the concerns of Jesse?"

Jesse put his hand up.  "Yes Grandfather, they've answered my concerns, I think, and I'll try to show more patience with myself in the future."

"What you and the rest need to do is the spirit quest or vigil.  It's time for all of you who have not done it before to do it.  It will happen in three weeks at my cabin but before that, next weekend will be a canoe trip, and the following weekend a sweat for the family, including the younger ones," said Grandfather.  "Don't forget, these buildings will be ready for you to move in late this month or early next month if you guys choose, or at any time after that."

Molly and Jack were amazed no one questioned his announcement, but they seemed to accept it with excitement.

"John, it's time.  Please take the children home and let them think about what we are offering them here and the spirit quest they will be doing.  Darren, you will get your lickin' another day, but I will ask Melanie to deal with you."

"Shit, not again Grandpa,"  Darren smirked and turned to run out the door.

John looked at Grandfather and silently mouthed, "Grandpa?"

Grandfather smiled and said, "Watch and learn." Grandfather looked towards Darren and he made a pulling up motion with both his hands as if he were giving a wedgie.  Darren screamed, doubled forward while grabbing his crotch and yelling, "I'm sorry, Grandfather!"

Liam stopped and faced Jared.  "You told me I couldn't do stuff like that!"

Jared smiled, "You can't, but Grandfather is Grandfather.  He's known the Creator since the day after mother earth was created."

Grandfather looked towards Jared and Liam and made a pulling up motion with both his hands.  They both grabbed their crotches and fell to the ground.  Grandfather did the same to the rest of the young men.

They were all yelling, "Sorry grandfather, we love you!" and even Darren was yelling he loved Melanie. Grandfather released the wedgies.

"Sometimes I have to remind them who is really the boss," Grandfather said to the adults. "Let me assure you Jack, Molly – they are allowed to live, learn, and conduct their lives.  With the gifts I have been given, they don't get away with much when I am allowed or I choose to intervene."

Jack looked at the old man, and then at his wife.  "Molly, Jesse has friends now, a new boyfriend, a family who cares about him and even a grandfather to look out for him.  How could it get any better?"

Zane came back into the trailer and headed straight to Jack.  "Sir, may I ask something of you?"

"Zane, I thought it was Jack to you?  What can I do for you?"

"Well, as a smart lawyer, can you draw up a document for me?"

"Sure I can Zane, but you have Jesse at your disposal."

"Sir, I don't want him to know."

Jack looked at him with interest.  "You call me sir one more time and I will put you over my knee."

"Yes, Jack."

"What do you want me to do without Jesse's knowledge?"

Zane looked at his feet for a minute, and then at Grandfather.  The old man smiled with pride at Zane.

"Look, I don't know what is going to happen between Jesse and me, but I want you guys to know whatever happens is because we both want something to happen.  I'm not stupid Jack, I know Jesse has a lot of money.  I want to sign and swear an agreement that no matter what happens to us, whatever Jesse has is his and I have no interest in it and absolve myself of any claim."

Molly and Jack sat and stared at the young man.  Jack finally spoke, "Zane, you are the furthest a man can be from being stupid, and you have demonstrated that to me several times already.  Secondly, Molly and I have discussed if you knew about Jesse being very well off or not, and we both agreed it didn't appear to be an issue with you.  We see you and Jesse becoming friends, and who knows what else after that.  We feel safe with the relationship you and Jesse are developing and we do not see you as a money grabber."

Zane looked at Jack seriously, "Jack, you haven't answered my question.  Will you do it or do I go somewhere else?"

Molly smiled at Zane as she started to speak, "That's one of the things I like about you, direct and to the point.  Can Jack and I talk about it and sit down with you the next time we come to town?"

"Can I sign a note for you three with everyone witnessing it?"

"Zane, why push this so hard?" asked Jack.

Zane looked at the ground for a moment before replying, "Jesse and I have said to each other we want to try a relationship more than friendship, and that we both may have actually been in love at first sight.  I live paycheck to paycheck, and for me to move forward with him, I need everyone to know it is because of Jesse's heart and not his wallet."

Jack spoke again, "Zane, we've already seen that of you."

"Jack, if I can't sign something – I will not allow anything beyond a friendship to develop in spite of how much it will hurt both of us. I will end our relationship now because I will never be thought of someone who came into money as the result of dating and taking advantage of a rich guy."

Grandfather finally spoke, "Zane, will you allow me to speak with Jack and Molly of your request and I will get something from them as soon as we agree on the wording."

Jack and Molly didn't look happy but remained silent.

"Thank you, Grandfather, I can accept that."  He hugged the old man and ran outside to join the rest of the guys.

"Jack, I suggest you do it," said Grandfather.  "We both know he will do as he said and pull away from Jesse.   He is very capable of shutting down emotionally and drawing into himself, he's done it before.   The young man is making a gesture which he knows is giving up a lot of money – for love and honor.  It doesn't matter what happens down the road, but let them feel safe with each other for this time."

Jack thought, and he looked at John who just shrugged his shoulders.  He then looked at Molly who did the same as John had done.  "You two have been hanging around these guys too much.  If you roll your eyes at me I will slap the back of your head so hard."  The group laughed.  "Grandfather, a document like this in the courts won't hold up if it was pushed, but he doesn't know that... but I will draw it up."

"Thank you, and I think you already know that what you see with Zane is what you get.  He is a fine young man."

Outside, Darren, Tyler, and Liam were arguing about who got to ride shotgun on the trip home.  Grandfather yelled over to let Troy into the seat.  The three men started to object when Grandfather motioned like he was going to wedgie them again, and they all backed down.

The adults chuckled as they sat down at the table again.  "They are an interesting group of young men," observed Molly.  "One minute they are serious men in their professional roles, and the next wrestling like children."

"They are boys in men's bodies, but the reverse is also true.  Let's hope they never become so serious they forget how to play like Jesse had done before he came here," explained Grandfather.

"Grandfather, I think they will all be settled in the van by now so I will take them back into town," said John.  "Peace be with you, Mathew."

"As with you, John," replied Grandfather.  They two men hugged briefly before John left the trailer.

"Mathew, I cannot believe this group of young men and how they get along together," said Molly.

"Fill our coffee cups up again and I will tell you the full stories of Tyler, Josh, Darren, and Troy as well as Conner, Mark, and Adam. I think we can resolve the Zane thing as well.  You will find in many ways every one of them were missing something in their lives, and they found it as a group.  I am proud to call them all my grandsons, members of my family and members of Jared's tribe," said Grandfather.  "The big difference with this group of young men is none of them are involved in any substance abuse.  Something my daughter and her husband didn't avoid, nor did my late wife.  They all walk the next world now because they wouldn't listen."

All Jack and Molly could say was, "Wow."

"In fact, this group rarely has a drink other than some wine or a couple of beers now and then, but rarely.  In fact, since they have been together, I have never known any of them to even get drunk."

Again, all Jack and Molly could say was, "Wow, Mathew.  These young guys are better than our generation."

"They are good together," said Mathew.  "They have strength, Molly."

"Now then, let's start with the little shit that is most like me when I was that age… Tyler.  He stole my heart the first day we met..."

End of Chapter Twelve

Comments Appreciated at Snowblind

 

Short stories I have written:

The Break In

The Wilderness Canoe Guide