Chad started to drive and they had only gone a short distance when Dad saw a big truck stop. "I'm sure that everyone is hungry by now, and the food at this stop is really quite good. We'll grab a quick bite here, so Chad can't complain too much about being away from his sons. We also need to get some gas. Let's get the gas first and then go into the restaurant."
Chad and Dad got out of the van and after Dad had inserted his credit card, Chad filled the tank. His eyes nearly bulged at the total cost of gasoline that it took to fill the tank. He looked at Dad, "Granddad, we are going to need to learn to economize. We can't be running back and forth between Des Moines and Iowa City every day."
Dad got a twinkle in his eye, "Dear Chad, you just let me worry about that. You worry about making my grandsons the best people they possibly can be. Now, pull the van over there to the empty space in front of the restaurant and we can get some lunch."
The four gentlemen were shown to a booth and as they were eating, a gentleman approached, "Chad and Timothy, I haven't seen you for quite some time."
Both guys were surprised and stopped what they were doing. Chad finally spoke, "Father Lawler, I haven't been to church since I went to the camp early this year. I was involved with a young woman and now have two beautiful sons. My wife died of a tumor after the delivery, and we have been thrown out by Jody's parents as well as my own. I was blessed on Christmas Eve when a star guided me to Grandmother Walker's house, and now, I have two Dads, one Grandmother, a Granddad and some wonderful friends."
Tim spoke up, "Father Lawler, I am gay, and my father found me in bed with a friend, and my parents went ballistic. They made plans for me to be sent to a center where they promised to drive the demons that caused me to be gay away. I escaped before they could pack me off, and here I am."
Before Father Lawler could say anything, Chad started, "Father, I am afraid for what will happen to our younger brothers and sisters. Tim said it was like they have been under house arrest since I was kicked out."
Father Lawler was looking a little peaked, "Chad and Tim, I will visit with Father Leahy. I don't know how much we can do, but please believe me, I will try my best. Guys, would you please give me a phone number where you could be reached if I need to visit with you?"
Dad started to laugh, "Father, yes I am, but I may have to resign, so I can move to Des Moines to help take care of my two great grandsons. I will be living with my son, Douglas and his partner Michael who are now Chad's guardians. Hopefully, we can make the same arrangements for Tim. Don't worry Father; my mother will be living with us to make sure that nothing strange happens."
Father Lawler began to chuckle, "Sounds to me like you have everything under control, Mr. Walker as far as these two young men are concerned. I'll go see what I can do about their five siblings. But I have a question who the guys' father is going to be?"
Kevin started to smirk, "Father, I think the operative words would be who are their fathers going to be. They will be living with Uncle Doug Walker and my uncle, Doctor Mike Long."
Father Lawler started to laugh, "Why wouldn't I have guessed. Kevin, I grew up in Ames, and your uncle and I were the very best of friends until we went to college. I will guarantee you that I will do the best I can for your family, Chad and Tim. I just hope you have a large enough house that can handle five more children in addition to Chad's two young sons."
Dad sparked, "Father Lawler, we will do whatever it takes if it would come to that. The children may be sleeping in a room with me and Mother, but we will make it work somehow, I promise you."
"Father, if you will excuse us, we need to mosey on down the road toward Des Moines." Dad stood and shook Father Lawler's hand as did the three younger guys.
Father Lawler looked at the guys, "Tell Mike that Pete Lawler said hello and that he will be calling to visit in the near future."
The Des Moines contingent climbed back in the van and no one said very much. It was evident that everyone was thinking about something. Out of the blue, Granddad announced, "When we get to the house, we need to get Tim and Chad the basic things they will need for school."
Chad spoke up, "Granddad, I already have everything that I need, thanks to Grandmother. Kevin, tell Granddad that I don't need anything else."
"Mr. Walker, Chad says to tell you that he already has everything he needs. I will say this Mr. Walker, your Mother was adamant about what he needed. I know because I was there and it was like pulling teeth." Kevin giggled.
Dad wasn't finished, "Mother said dinner would be at 6:45, so we would have time to go before dinner since is just now four o'clock. We need to have a family meeting to determine everything that needs to be done after dinner. I'm sure that Mother has been making big plans."
As the van was approaching the house, Chad spoke for the first time in a while, "Tim, get ready for some surprises. You are about to be blown away."
When Chad pulled into the driveway, he parked beside his Camry. When he got out of the van, he pointed to the Camry and looked at Tim, "That is our vehicle."
"What do you mean our vehicle? I don't even have my driver's license yet. Mother and Dad wouldn't let me get one after you got kicked out."
Dad shook his head, "That makes another thing we need to take care of immediately. Kevin, you and Kendra probably need to stay for the meeting tonight. We are going to need your input."
Chad was impatient, "Let's get inside, so I can see what the boys are doing?"
Kevin started to laugh, "Chad, the boys only know how to do three things: sleep, eat and go to the bathroom in their diapers. We have been gone approximately eight hours, so I doubt that they are walking or talking yet."
Chad was not about to be put down, "Well, you never know, maybe they are geniuses and are already playing the piano or practicing throwing a baseball."
Granddad started to laugh, "Okay, let's go see what the geniuses are doing."
Tim did not know what to think about all of this banter and he was feeling a little bit overwhelmed. That feeling was going to be exacerbated when he met Grandmother and Kendra and the twins.
Grandmother and Kendra were in the kitchen fixing dinner when the four gentlemen entered. Chad took the initiative, "Grandmother and Kendra, I would like to introduce my younger brother, Timothy. Tim, this is the beautiful Grandmother Walker and the gorgeous brunette standing by her is Kevin's twin sister Kendra. I guess you can tell who got all the looks in the family. Now where are Mark and Jon?"
Grandmother and Kendra were laughing, but Grandmother finally said, "Chad, relax, they have both just been fed and are taking a nap. Timbo, come give me a big hug and then your brother can take you to see his handsome sons. Bryce, we need to formulate some plans while the four teenagers get to know each other."
The four teenagers knew they had been told to disappear and they stopped to see the twins. Chad explained which of the twins was Mark and which was Jon.
Tim looked at the boys, "How can you tell which one is which, they both look the same."
Kendra was rather possessive, "Tim, Mark has a birthmark right here on his tummy. Jon has a mole on his foot. Besides that, they have very different temperaments. Mark is more aggressive and out going and Jon is rather laid back. Mark demands immediate gratification and Jon has the attitude of que sera sera."
Chad started to grin, "What Kendra was saying was that Mark had a birthmark in the same place that you and I have one. Jon has a mole where I have one on my foot and not the heart shaped one like you have, you know where. Now come on and I will show you our bedrooms and the bathroom.
You are going to be blown away."
The four teenagers went to Chad's bedroom and when Chad showed Tim the bathroom, all Tim could say was "Holy Manure."
Chad took him to the twins' room and opened the door, this is where Mark and Jon will sleep. I will sleep in here with them if you prefer.
Tim and Kevin stepped into the room and Kevin asked, "Where are you planning to sleep? I don't think that you will fit into one of the cribs."
Chad asked, "What cribs?" He turned to look at the room and after he saw the two cribs and the changing station, he went down in a heap and was just sitting there sobbing. Kendra sat down beside him and tried to console him.
Kevin and Tim had no idea what to do but fortunately they were saved any embarrassment because Dad called to them and told them to get their butts in gear.
Dad, Kevin and Tim went shopping while Kendra held Chad, "Chad, it's okay, Grandmother Walker has been on the phone ever since you guys left this morning. She is determined that her great grandson and great great sons are going to have nothing but the very best, so get used to it. She called a store and it was like they were here in an hour to deliver the cribs. The boys not only have cribs, they also have strollers that recline and can serve as day beds. She is bound and determined that the boys should not be carried around in bassinettes. She is afraid that someone might drop them."
Chad started to get tears again, but Kendra stopped any further feelings of guilt, "Chad, we need to go make Grandmother Walker rest. She has been going non stop from the time you all left this morning. Now go make her rest."
Chad looked at Kendra, "Yes, Boss, whatever you say."
The two teenagers went to the kitchen and Chad practically ordered, "Okay, Grandmother, the second shift is here. We will take care of everything until everyone is here for dinner. The doctor has ordered that you rest for an hour. We will wake you in time for dinner and don't give me any guff. Now do I need to carry to your bedroom and tie you down?"
Grandmother started to pout, but secretly she was glad to see Chad being assertive. So she left for her room and she fell asleep almost immediately.
Kevin and Dad were about to find out that Tim was even more resistant to having all of the new things than Chad had been, if that is possible. Fortunately Kevin knew what Chad had gotten, so he made sure that Tim got an equivalent amount. Dad was enjoying watching the interplay between the two boys. By the time they arrived back at the house, Mike was there.
He told me later that Kendra and Chad were putting the rest of the groceries away when they got home. Chad was complaining about everything that Grandmother had done when Dad walked in with the two package laden boys. Tim was complaining saying that he didn't need all of these clothes and things.
Mike started to laugh, "Honestly guys, if all you can do is complain, then maybe we will have to think about sending you back to Iowa City."
Chad looked at Tim, "Tim, go put your packages on the counter and come say hello to one of our Dads."
Tim did as he was directed, and Chad introduced Mike, "Tim, this is Doctor Michael Long. He is the gentleman who called you. He also is Kevin and Kendra's uncle in addition to being one of our Dads. Dad, this is my younger twin brother, Timothy James Harmon at least for the time being."
Tim went to shake Mike's hand but Mike wasn't having anything to do with that. Instead, he pulled Tim into a big warm hug, "Welcome home, son."
That was all Tim could handle. Tears started streaming down Tim's face. He looked at Mike and he had a difficult time, but he finally was able to murmur, "Thanks Dad."
Grandmother had been standing in the doorway watching, "Honestly, is crying all you two twins know how to do? You cry more than Jon and Mark do. Now come on cry boy bring me your packages and we will take the tags off of the things and start to launder the things that need to be washed. That way you can't threaten to take them back. Mike, please fix me a tall scotch and water and I'll be right back to help with dinner."
"Grandmother, Kendra and I have dinner under control. It will be ready when Dad Doug gets here and has a little time to relax. Here is a plate of crackers and cheese to keep everyone from starving to death in the meantime."
Everyone left the kitchen except Chad and Kendra. They had taken the sleeping boys into the kitchen so they could hear them if they started to fuss.
When I walked in, Chad hugged me, "Welcome home, Dad, hope you had a good day."
I started to chuckle, "This is a new experience being welcomed home by a son. I hope you had a good day too, son. Kendra, it looks like you have been busy today; I hope the twins haven't worn you and Mother out."
"Actually Uncle Doug, the most exciting thing that happened today was when Chad got home and saw the twins' new cribs and almost passed out."
Chad stopped anymore discussion about the cribs, "Dad, we'll eat at about 6:45. That way you will have time to get comfortable and unwind. The adults are in the living room relaxing. I think Kevin and Tim are still upstairs. Let me go get Tim so I can introduce him to you."
We walked into the living room just as Kevin entered with a young man who looked almost exactly like Chad. Chad started, "Dad, this is my younger brother. Tim. Tim, this is our other Dad. His name Douglas Walker and you already know his Dad and his Grandmother ."
Tim came to me and I was caught by surprised when Tim hugged me like Mike had hugged him. "I'm pleased to meet you, Sir and thank you for inviting me to come to live here at least temporarily. Make your son stop telling me he is older than me just because he was born twelve minutes before I was."
Chad interrupted, "Yeh, but I was born on July 4th and you were born on July 5th, so technically, I am an entire day older than you are."
Kevin and Kendra were laughing and Kevin said, "We know the feeling. I was born on the September 3rd and Kendra was born on the 4th."
Chad stopped anymore frivolity, "Dinner will be served in the dining room in twenty minutes. Everyone needs to go get cleaned up."
The teenagers departed for the kitchen and Dad started thinking out loud, "I think we should call Frank and Elaine and see if they are available to come and meet with us after dinner. The first priority needs to be to get the Harmons to sign guardianship of Tim over to Doug so that if a judge looked at the case, he will see that Chad and Tim were living together in the same home. Mike, you will just need to stay in the background for now, when we are dealing with these people. They might pick up on your name after the phone call yesterday."
Mike made the call and Frank and Elaine would be arriving at 8:00. Before we could discuss anything else, Kevin came and announced, "Your presence is requested in the dining room."
Grandmother looked at me, "Douglas, I put some Merlot wine in to chill. You really need to restock your wine cabinet. It is almost empty."
I thought to myself, 'Everyone has their own priorities.' I didn't say what I was thinking, but instead muttered, "Grandmother, Michael can take care of that tomorrow. He is our wine expert."
When the teenagers had brought in the food, it was like we were having a feast.
They put a big pork roast, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, stewed apples with cinnamon and raisins and another sauce that had raisins in it for those people who didn't like sauerkraut with their pork. When everyone was seated, Chad asked, "May I please say a prayer of thanks?"
Everyone nodded and Chad began, "Our heavenly father, we thank you for providing us the will to make this a better world. We thank you for the star that led my two young sons and me to Grandmother's house. You knew what you were doing. You have blessed me, and my two beautiful sons, Mark and Jon, and have brought my brother Timothy to be here with us. Now, bless this food and help us to be the best we can be and make these people proud of us. Amen."
No one around the table had a dry eye and the dinner conversation was very mellow, as everyone's mind was thinking their own thoughts.
Well this and the previous chapter were really informative. We finally met Tim, and he is just as nice as Chad is. I think that maybe Tim and Kevin could find a lot in common together. I also wonder what will happen to their other siblings. I certainly hope they all get out of that terrible situation they are in, and can come and live with the rest of their family. We have already come to love these kids, which for anyone that has read a story by Uncle Ed already, you certainly knew that would happen. It simply goes without saying that we would love these wonderful loving children. Hey, the parents and grandparents aren't anyone to complain about either. I know I am ready for chapter eleven as quickly as possible.
Darryl AKA The Radical Rambler