Lincoln, The Family I Never Expected

Lincoln-23, Easter

Any and all feedback is welcomed! Please don't be hesitant to contact me through my email,  which is located below and at the end of the chapter. I have enjoyed all feedback, and can't wait to hear from more readers! My email is: Lindon.weztser90@gmail.com
 
***DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT ABUSING CHILDREN. IT IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS. IT HAS AN EVERLASTING EFFECT ON PEOPLE***
 
Don't forget to read the author notes at the end of this installment!!

***Just to help readers remember who is who***
 
Main Characters
Garret Hamel (Age 30)-- foster parent of the 4 boys. 
Lincoln Barnard (Age 11)-- The oldest out of Garret's foster children
Ryker Barnard (Age 8)-- The second oldest out of Garret's foster children
Jacob Barnard (Age 7)-- The second youngest out of Garret's foster children
Clayton Barnard (Age 5)-- The youngest out of Garret's foster children
 
Supporting Characters
Rita Álvarez (Age early 60s)-- Housekeeper, but an essential part of the family
 
Gordon Hamel (Age 64)-- Father to Garret, Kelly, Calvin, & Lucas
Linda Hamel (Age 64)-- Mother to Garret, Kelly, Calvin, & Lucas
 
Kelly Schafer  (Age 42)-- Garret's older sister and oldest sibling, 3 kids
Tom Schafer (Age 43)-- Kelly's Husband, not around much because of work
Ashley Schafer (Age 17)-- Kelly and Tom's oldest child
Kimberly Schafer (Age 15)-- Kelly and Tom's middle child 
Christian Schafer (Age 13)-- Kelly and Tom's youngest child
 
Calvin Hamel (Age 39)-- Garret's oldest brother & 2nd oldest sibling, 4 kids
Charlotte Hamel (Age 41)-- Calvin's Wife
Giovanna Hamel (Age 16)-- Calvin and Charolette's oldest child
Derrick Hamel (Age 14)-- Calvin and Charolette's second oldest child
Savanna Hamel (Age 11)-- Calvin and Charolette's second youngest child
George Hamel (Age 8)-- Calvin and Charolette's youngest child 
 
Lucas Hamel (Age 34)-- Garret's older brother and 3rd oldest sibling, 3 kids
Katherine Hamel (Age 34)-- Lucas's Wife
(LJ) Lucas Jr. Hamel (Age 10)-- Lucas and Katherine's oldest child 
Ashton Hamel (Age 8)--  Lucas and Katherine's middle child 
Jackson Hamel (Age 6)--  Lucas and Katherine's youngest child 

LINCOLN, THE FAMILY I NEVER EXPECTED

Installment 23 (Easter)
 

Part - 1

Saturday, March 26, 2018
 
"Hello?" 
 
"Hey Jordan, just calling to check in. How are you?" 
 
"Oh... I'm good, currently on my way to meet old friends from high school. Aren't you suppose to be in a business meeting?" 
 
"I should," I chuckled, "but I didn't go to the last one. It wasn't necessary." 
 
"Wasn't necessary? What do you mean?"
 
"Keith took care of the last meeting for me since we hit our goal earlier in the trip." 
 
"So I take, that it was a successful trip?" Jordan asked. 
 
"Very! Received around 2.5 million in total donations so far! But I'm more excited about the guaranteed donation of 1 million every year for the next 5 years from Victor Tremblay." 
 
"That's so exciting!"
 
"I know! And we have two companies donating $250,000 a year, as long as we open our next building in the Chicago area!" 
 
"Congratulations Garret, that's so... so unbelievably awesome!" Jordan commented.
 
"People love the idea!" 
 
"Because it's a good one... I can't wait for the Columbus location to open." 
 
"I know, me too." 
 
"You have the opportunity to change a child's life through your organization." 
 
"As do you! A good supportive mentor can guide and give the motivation a child needs to succeed. Being a mentor is just as important as the organization." 
 
"I'm so looking forward to it! I'm not sure if we talked about this, but will you take on a mentor role?"
 
"Of course, at least in the Columbus location." 
 
"Awesome, and when's the goal to be open?"
 
"Hopefully around 5-6 months." 
 
"Wow.... it will be open before you know it, the time will fly by," Jordan said. "So who's picking you up from the airport?" 
 
"Umm, funny story." I chuckled, "I flew into Columbus, and I'm going to drive to Pittsburgh." 
 
"What happened? Did you already land?"
 
"The flight to Pittsburgh was full, and the next flight into Pittsburgh wasn't till tomorrow morning. And yes, I landed about 20 minutes ago. Just got my bags and waiting for the uber to pick me up." 
 
"How long is the drive?" 
 
"To Pittsburgh?" 
 
"Yeah."
 
"A little over 4 hours."
 
"Then what time will you get into your parent's house?" 
 
"Umm, around 8 maybe 9 depending on traffic." 
 
"That's not too late. Do the boys know you are coming tonight?" Jordan inquired. 
 
"I talked to them last night when my plans weren't set in stone, so I don't think they have a clue. I kind of want to surprise them." 
 
"That'll be adorable!" 
 
"Yeah I hope so, they're going to a hockey game, so I should be able to beat them back to my parent's place." 
 
"That's good! Did everything go okay?"
 
"What do you mean?" 
 
"Well when we talked last night, you were nervous about the boys staying away from home." 
 
"Oh yeah, I'm not sure. I haven't heard from anyone. I've been busy, you're the first person I've called!"
 
"Oh really?" 
 
"Yeah," I chuckled. "Wanted to hear your voice."  
 
"Well, you can hear my voice all the way to Pittsburgh if you want to. That's a long drive by yourself, so call me!" 
 
"I will, but it would be better if you were driving with me," I stated. 
 
Jordan laughed before saying, "if I'd known you were driving, I would have stayed in Columbus and not flown to Philadelphia." 
 
"Yeah, I know. My plans were all thrown out of whack anyway. Oh, I got to go. My uber just showed up." 
 
"Okay, call me on your way to Pittsburgh. I mean it!" 
 
"Alright, bye," I said to Jordan and hung up. I quickly loaded my bags into the Uber and then hopped in the back seat. On the way to my house, I called my mother and updated her on the plans to surprise the boys. She was all in on the idea, especially since everyone was going to the game but her. She was staying home with Derrick, so basically, she is excited to talk with me alone. I quickly asked her about the boys, and she said they had a rough night. I tried to get more from my mom, but I didn't think she wanted me worrying while driving. However, she did reassure me that the boys were well behaved and had excellent manners. 
 
Anyway, my uber dropped me off, and I went into my empty house. It was definitely a strange feeling, which made me think of that Monday morning I lost the boys. It was so quiet, and to be honest, I didn't like it. So I quickly went upstairs to unload clothes I didn't need. Since the trip to Pittsburgh was short, I packed a smaller bag and went downstairs. I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and hopped in the S63. I almost went with the Ferrari but didn't want to put the miles on the beauty. Plus, the Mercedes was made for long drives. It had all these fantastic features that honestly were overboard, but I loved them and realized I was happy I bought this car. Around 4:30ish, I backed out of the garage and was on my way. 
 
Now on road trips, I usually listen to some music. The genre of music varies, so I had Spotify on shuffle going through my saved songs. About an hour into the drive, the music was interrupted by a phone call from Rita.
 
"Hello?"
 
"Hi," replied a high pitch voice which was followed by an encore of voices saying, "hi Garret!" 
 
"Hey boys," I chuckled.
 
"We miss you," Clayton spoke.
 
"When you gonna be here?" Ryker asked.
 
I wanted to keep my arrival a surprise still, so I answered, "sorry boys, I won't be in until tomorrow."
 
"Really?" I heard Lincoln say. 
 
"Yeah buddy, I'm sorry." 
 
"It's... it's okay," Lincoln quietly spoke.
 
"Yeah... I love you, boys!" 
 
"Love you too," they all replied with a degree of sadness in their voices.
 
Quickly realizing I had to change the subject, I asked, "so you guys excited for the hockey game?" 
 
"Yes!" Clayton responded.
 
"Yeah, but I'm not gonna be a Penguins fan," Jacob commented. 
 
"That's alright," I chuckled. "Although you do get to watch one of the best players in the world, so take some notes. I want a full report on his game." 
 
"Okay!" Jacob replied 
 
"So how'd you guys sleep last night?" I inquired. 
 
"Good!" Clayton giggled, "I slept in the basement!" 
 
"You did?" I enthusiastically responded. "By yourself?" 
 
"No, with Grandpa, George, Jacob, and Savanna!" 
 
"Grandpa slept downstairs?" 
 
"Yeah," giggled Jacob. "I... I sorta made him." 
 
"How so?" 
 
"I kept asking and asking," Jacob said. 
 
"Where did you all sleep, like on the couch?" 
 
"Umm... Grandpa and I slept on the floor." 
 
"I slept on the couch with George!" Clayton added. 
 
"Oh boy, my Dad's back has to be killing him," I thought but then spoke, "That sounds like a fun time! What about the rest of you?" 
 
"I was sleeping with Lincoln, but I had another dream and went to Rita's room," Ryker said. 
 
"Same dream?" 
 
"Yeah..." 
 
"We are gonna talk when I see you next... okay?" 
 
"Why?" 
 
"Because I want to know more about your dream you've been having." 
 
"Okay," he replied. I'm not sure if he was going to tell me not, but I figured if I showed enough support, he'd eventually open up. "What about you Lincoln?" 
 
"I slept umm okay, I guess. I'll... I'll tell you when you get here,"  Lincoln stated.
 
"Everything okay bud?" 
 
"Umm yeah... just wish you were here." 
 
"I'll be there before you know it!" 
 
"Yeah..." 
 
"Oh, Garret! Guess what?" Jacob said but before I could even reply he continued, "we are sleeping at Uncle Lucas's house tonight!" 
 
"I don't know if I am," Lincoln mentioned.
 
"Why not?" I asked. 
 
"Yeah," Ryker added, "the girls are sleepin' at grandma's and the boys are sleeping at Uncle Lucas's." 
 
"I don't know," Lincoln spoke. "Just... I don't know if I am." 
 
"Come on Lincoln, don't be a baby," Ryker said. 
 
"Shut up Ryker." 
 
"Hey, none of that," I said. "If Lincoln doesn't want to go to the sleepover, he doesn't have to. No need for name calling and no need to tell people to shut up. Okay?" 
 
"Yeah... sorry," I heard both boys whisper.
 
"You guys excited for the sleepover? It'll be your first one at someone else's house, right?" I asked.
 
"Yeah." 
 
"LJ told us we are all sleeping in the basement!" Ryker stated. "And we are staying up late, like really late." 
 
"Oh yeah?" I chuckled.
 
"That's what LJ says!" 
 
"And we are playin' video games and drinking soda all night!" Clayton yelled. 
 
"All night? NO WAY, I'm jealous now," I replied.
 
"You should be! It's gonna be epic!" Ryker added
 
"Oh boy," I laughed. 
 
"When do you get here? Like what time?" Jacob asked.
 
"Probably around 8 or 9, why?" 
 
"Because I wanna be here when you come." 
 
"Aww, maybe I'll pick you boys up in the morning on my way through," I chuckled because I was already on my way. The funny part was I didn't lie about the time of my arrival. Well technically, he didn't ask AM or PM or what day, so I wasn't a liar...
 
"This sucks, just wish you were here with us. It's different without you," Lincoln said. 
 
"How so?" 
 
"I don't know, like... like it doesn't feel right." 
 
"I know what you mean kiddo. Unfortunately, we sometimes need to be apart from one another. It's no fun being without you boys for me too. I don't like it, I can promise you that, but it's something we will deal with." 
 
"Will you be away more?" Ryker inquired.
 
"Like in the future... with business trips? Umm yes, it won't always be a holiday weekend, but yes I will need to go on more business trips. 
 
"Can you please come tonight?" I heard Clayton speak as he sounded like he was about to cry. "I miss you." 
 
"Don't cry kiddo," I returned, "I miss you too. I'll be there before you know It." 
 
"Okay," I heard Clayton sniffle. Now yes, I've only been gone for 2 nights, which isn't that long. I know it may seem like the boys are being dramatic, but this was the first time away from each other. It's a lot to process for them, and I started to feel guilty about my little surprise. Trying to change the subject, I added, 
 
"You guys are gonna have so much fun at the Penguins game." 
 
"Yeah," they quietly said. 
 
"Alright boys, cheer up! It's going to be fun! I have to go... I love you boys, be good!" I quickly said because I was afraid I would ruin my surprise. 
 
"Love you," Ryker spoke. 
 
"Bye, miss you. Love you," Lincoln added.
 
"Love you," Jacob and Clayton said. 
 
"Bye boys," I responded and hung up. I was going to call Jordan, but my mind shifted to the boys. Ryker had another dream while Lincoln didn't want to talk about his night. I'm assuming last night didn't go well for either one of them. Jacob and Clayton seemed to do okay, so I took that as a plus. However, I couldn't stop thinking about Ryker's nightmare because it was irritating that he didn't tell me. Ryker didn't even give me a hint or clue as to what his nightmares were about. Maybe he mentioned something to my parents or even Rita, but I doubt he would. Anyway, after letting my thoughts bounce around my head, I decided to call Jordan, 
 
We had an hour or so conversation between us as she was driving back to her parents house from meeting her friends, and I was still 2 and a half hours away from my destination. It was fun to chat with her, especially when I was driving. Jordan is easy to talk which made conversation with her delightful. Since we discussed more of my issues on the last phone call, I tried to ask about her more. She was happy to be in Philadelphia to see her family, but for a weekend, it was a lot to handle. It just wasn't enough time, and she felt pressured to get back to Columbus. Although, she did mention it was nice to see her siblings since the last time she was home, was Christmas. After my phone call with Jordan, Keith called to inform me about the previous meeting, which I skipped out on. He was able to secure $100,000 a year for three years. After three years, the offer would go up to $200,000 if a Chicago branch was opened or in the process of being opened. So I'd say it was a very successful trip!
 
With about an hour left in the drive, I turned my music back on, and within no time, I was pulling into my parents' driveway. Their house is nice, a craftsman style home at around 4,250 sq ft, with a wrap around porch. They have 5 bedrooms, a pool, and a big backyard. I'm pretty sure they've been in the house for 10 years, so they are comfortable in their home. It is a bit big for them. However, whenever the family comes to town, it's perfect! It was 8:45 on the dot and my mother came outside to greet me. 
 
"Hey, honey! So excited you're here!" 
 
"Hey! Feels good to finally be here," I replied and gave her a hug. 
 
"Jesus... you driving a spaceship now?"
 
"Feels like it," I laughed. "It's a great car, worth every penny so far. Wanna sit in it?" 
 
"Oh no, looks gorgeous though."
 
"Yeah, thanks!" 
 
"So How was the drive?" 
 
"Wasn't too bad, the car makes it easy. Was getting a massage as I drove. 
 
"Oh get out." 
 
"No, I'm serious! It makes driving enjoyable!" I laughed again. "And then after I talked to a few people, time flew by." 
 
"Like Jordan?" 
 
"What," I said somewhat shocked, "how... how do you know about Jordan?" 
 
"Oh dear heavens, the boys wouldn't stop talking about her. They said you guys are dating now." 
 
"Oh boy," I chuckled. "No, not yet. We are just talking." 
 
"I figured." 
 
"Did the boys have anything nice to say about her?" 
 
"Yeah, plenty! Actually, don't think they said anything bad about her." 
 
"Not even Lincoln?" I asked as I grabbed my suitcase from the trunk. 
 
"Umm... he's been pretty quiet." 
 
"Yeah?" 
 
"Just not himself... well not what I'm used to seeing. I guess more reserved is a better term." 
 
"A bit odd, don't ya think?"  
 
"Ehh, no not really. I think he isn't as comfortable around us without you." 
 
"Maybe.... how were the others?" 
 
"Umm they seemed a bit reserved, not as much as Lincoln, but still reserved. Well besides Clayton, he's been a hoot," My mother laughed.
 
"I am not surprised." 
 
"He was so happy to tell your father and me about fishing!" 
 
"I bet," I chuckled. "I think they all had a good time." 
 
"Yes, they did!" 
 
"So... how'd last night go?" I inquired as we started to walk towards the garage. 
 
"I'll tell you when we get inside, and you can relax." 
 
"Okay?" 
 
"Oh, Derrick is here!" 
 
"I know, why didn't they take him to the game?" 
 
"They tried, but the arena had no more handicapped seating open." 
 
"Oh, that sucks," I said as I entered the house. 
 
"Here... you go say hi, and I'll take your suitcase upstairs." 
 
"You don't have to do that mom," I commented. 
 
"Oh just go say Hi, I'm putting your stuff in the room with the boys' clothes." 
 
"Okay," I said as I entered the family room. My mother had the hockey game on the TV and Derrick was dressed in a Penguins jersey, intensely watching the game. I was going to sneak up on him but thought it wasn't a good idea, so I walked over into his line of sight before sitting down next to him and spoke, "Hey Derrick! How are you?" 
 
"Un... Unkie!" Derrick replied and gave me one of his famous smiles.
 
"Look at you in your jersey," I said as I placed my hand on his shoulder and gave him a squeeze. 
 
"Momma and-and Papa are... are... on the... the TV." 
 
"I know!" I replied as he meant they were at the game. "So who's winning?" 
 
"P... Peguns," he replied mispronouncing the name but pointed to his shirt. They actually were winning too. The score was 4-1 with 6 minutes left in the third period. Knowing my father, he probably just left the arena so he could beat the traffic out of town. 
 
"So," my mom stated as she walked into the family room, "can I get you anything?"
 
"Umm, no thank you." 
 
"Okay, how'd you do on the trip?" 
 
"Well I can tell you I missed my boys, that's for sure," I chuckled. "It was harder than I thought to leave them and then I was consistently worrying about them." 
 
"Well that's part of life sometimes, sweetie, it's difficult to be away from the ones you love." 
 
"Yeah I know," I chuckled.
 
"Did you raise any money?" 
 
"Oh yeah! I think we're receiving 2.6 million from some big-time corporations in Chicago." 
 
"That is amazing honey!" 
 
"I know, people think the idea is wonderful!" 
 
"It is! So excited for your sister and you! You two are going to do so well together!" 
 
"Well, I'm excited too. I might need to make a few more trips out to Chicago, but at least for the next few weeks, I have no plans." 
 
"You know we can come up and watch the boys for a few days if we need to. I'm sure it'd be easier on them," stated my mother. 
 
"I might take you up on that offer," I chuckled. "So how have they been?" 
 
"Umm... well, like I said, Lincoln has been a bit quiet. I think with you being gone and his first time away from home has been difficult for him. Let's just say he is much more comfortable in his home environment with you, I think it's his safe place, ya know." 
 
"Yeah, how did he sleep?" 
 
"It was a rough night," my mom said. "He had a PTSD attack and umm... wet the bed." 
 
"Okay? Umm, why didn't you tell me this earlier? Or like call me in the middle of the night?" 
 
"Because your father and I handled it. It's not our first rodeo, Garret. We may not deal with it as much as you do, but we aren't incapable. Plus, we didn't want to worry you, honey. We knew telling you would make you feel bad, and we didn't want you distracted." 
 
"Okay, but you still should have called me." 
 
"What would that have done?" My mother inquired. 
 
"I could have talked to Lincoln, maybe make him calm down." 
 
"Yeah, but we handled it!" 
 
After a few seconds of silence, I said, "I know, but I would like to be informed." 
 
"I understand, but honey this happened at 4:30 in the morning. We weren't calling you unless it was necessary; otherwise, it didn't make sense. And, we handled it! Lincoln was back asleep by 5:15." 
 
"Well... thank you. I umm, know it's not fun to go through." 
 
"No you're right," chuckled my mother. "But you know what, I would do it over and over again. I know they aren't my grandchildren, at least not yet. But they sure do feel like it. I love them just as much as you, and they are just as important to me as the other grandchildren. I want you to know that we will always support them, honey. If I need to wake up a few hours early to tend to my grandchild, I will so gladly do it." 
 
"Thanks, mom," I said and gave her a hug. 
 
"You're welcome, honey!" 
 
"So what happened? Like did you hear him screaming?" I asked.
 
"Oh dear heavens... yes I did, as did your brother, Rita, and Giovanna. It scared the hell out of me, but I quickly figured out it was him. I got to his room and just watching him wither in pain, about broke my heart. He goes through so much agony... you can see it on his sweet little face. It's heartbreaking, I don't know how you go through it all the time." 
 
"It's not easy," I answered.
 
"I can tell, I tried to comfort him, but let's just say he needed a new pair of underwear." 
 
"Oh, I'm sorry mom." 
 
"Don't be, he was half awake, so I helped him into a new pair. Then I changed the sheets to his bed, no big deal! Once everything was fixed, I laid down with him." 
 
"Yeah.... he hasn't wet the bed in a few weeks. But occasionally that happens." 
 
"You ever consider diapers?" 
 
"You kidding? He'd never go for that." 
 
"Just trying to be helpful," my mom stated. 
 
"Yeah," I said as I stood up from the couch to help Derrick take a drink. "I heard Ryker slept with Rita?" 
 
"Yes, well... not at first. Something about a bad dream and he was scared." 
 
"He's been having bad dreams lately. Almost every morning I wake up to see him sleeping next to me." 
 
"You know what it's about?" 
 
"Nope... he won't tell me," I answered. 
 
"It's probably a phase." 
 
"I don't know. But I want to find out." 
 
"I'm sure you will... just don't pry it out of him." 
 
"Of course not, never." I said, "so did the boys fall asleep easy?" 
 
"No," chuckled my mom. 
 
"I'm sorry." 
 
"Stop saying that! It's okay, they were in a funk. Excited to see family but also missing you. My word, did they miss you. Between the four of them, they were asking about you every hour." 
 
"Yeah," I laughed.
 
"Yup! But umm... they didn't go to sleep easily. Your Father slept on the basement floor until the Lincoln event." 
 
"I know, I heard." I laughed, "I wish there were a picture." 
 
"So do I! I went down to check on them because I was expecting your father to come upstairs to sleep. When I got downstairs, they were all asleep with the lights off, and the TV playing Finding Nemo." 
 
"That's too funny," I answered as we watched the final few seconds of the game. "So when will dad be home?" 
 
"Knowing him.... he left 10 minutes ago." 
 
"Oh I bet.... how many cars did they take?" 
 
"Rita took your SUV with your boys, Christian, and Dad. Then Calvin took his van. Then I believe Lucas and Tom each took their vehicle." 
 
"Oh, Christian was here?" 
 
"Yes, which was good for Lincoln." 
 
"What do you mean?" I inquired. 
 
"Well, he was more relaxed. Don't get me wrong, he was still jumpy and hesitant, but with Christian around, Lincoln was more like the Lincoln I'm used to seeing at your house." 
 
"Good, I know those two are close." 
 
"Very close. It's cute to see," my mother said. 
 
"Christian's sort of taken on a big brother figure." 
 
"I think they both help each other out." 
 
"Yup," I replied. "I think I am going to go freshen up, get a shower before the boys get here. Haven't had one since last night." 
 
"Is that what that smell is?" 
 
"Haha, you think I smell bad. Just picture 4 sweaty boys after skating or Lincoln and Ryker after working out with me. They'll make your nose hairs burn." 
 
"Oh I remember the smells, you weren't Mr. Clean." 
 
"I know," I laughed.
 
"Alright honey, towels are under the sink in the bathroom." 
 
"Thanks," I stated and began to make my way upstairs. As I walked, I quickly realized how exhausted I was. I don't know why, but traveling either by plane or car, always drains my energy. I guess it was the focus required and stress of traveling, which always seemed to make me tired. Anyway, I hurriedly took my shower, because I didn't want the boys walking in on me. Knowing them, they'd tackle me. And not even realize I was showering. 
 
After my 10 minute shower, I changed into more comfortable clothes and went back downstairs to talk to my mother. 
 
"You know how excited they're going to be?" My mother chuckled as I took a seat on the sofa. 
 
"I know," I laughed. "I'm sure they will notice my car before anything and come running in." 
 
"I'm almost certain." 
 
"It'll be a quick stop here though, they have the sleepover to go to." 
 
"I'm not so sure they'll want to go with you being back." 
 
"Yeah... I'll still get them to go, it'll be fun." 
 
"Well Lincoln asked your father and I if he could stay home with us, so he has been on the fence today." 
 
"He told me he wasn't sure if he was sleeping over or not. Maybe since I'm here, he will feel more comfortable staying over." 
 
"I'm sorry sweetie... but that doesn't make sense," remarked my mother. "He will want to sleep here even more. That boy needs you, like by his side. I mean it, he is completely different when you aren't around. He is very quiet and constantly has a concerned look on his face." 
 
"How do I fix it?" I asked, "I mean I love that he is so attached and feels close to me, but there will be times I won't be around." 
 
"I have no idea, I would do what you are already doing. You are supportive, and with time, he will get over it. Just enjoy it right now because when they hit puberty, cuddling goes out the window. That sweet loveable boy you thought you knew, changes like that! No more cuddles, hugs, or anything... puberty sucks." 
 
"That didn't happen with us as kids," I laughed. 
 
"You're kidding, right? You would barely walk around without a shirt on during puberty, and you never hugged us let alone cuddled." 
 
"I see it differently," I laughed. 
 
"Sure you do," my mother sarcastically said. We started to hear the garage door open, and she commented, "I think they are home." 
 
No less then 10 seconds later, I heard a scream call out, "Garret! Garret!" 
 
I was wondering who it would be, and the door opened to the kitchen. It was Lincoln who came running full speed while calling my name, "Garret!" 
 
"Hey, buddy!" I said as I opened my arms for a hug. 
 
I was expecting a hug but received a tackle as he hopped on my lap which caused me to fall into the backrest of the sofa. You could hear the happiness in his voice as he spoke, "you liar! You said you weren't coming tonight." 
 
"Surprise," I laughed as I placed one arm under his butt to support him and rubbed his back with my free hand. 
 
As I tried to stand up, Lincoln said, "I don't like surprises!" 
 
"Not even good ones?" I asked as I made it to my feet. 
 
"No," he giggled as he looked me in the eyes and kissed my cheek. "I missed you." 
 
"Missed you also, buddy," I replied as I lowered him to the ground as I heard the other three boys coming. 
 
"Garret!" Ryker replied as he came running into the family room. "What are you doing here?" 
 
"Surprise!" I answered and opened my arms for a hug as Ryker reached me. 
 
"Hi, Garret!" Clayton yelled as he came running over with Jacob. 
 
"Hey Clay! Hi Jacob!" 
 
"You lied to us," Jacob responded with his best puppy dog face. 
 
"I know, I know," I said as I wrapped my arms around him for a hug. Clayton and Lincoln quickly joined in for a family hug. "I'm sorry I lied, but I wanted to surprise you all. Did I get you, boys?" 
 
"Yes!" Lincoln quickly answered. 
 
"I didn't know you were coming," Ryker replied.
 
"Did you know grandma?" Clayton asked as we let go of each other. 
 
"Maybe," chuckled my mom.
 
"Grandma! That's not very nice," Ryker commented. 
 
"But wasn't it a good surprise?" My mother added. 
 
"Yeah," Lincoln spoke as he looked up at me and gave me another hug. 
 
"But no keepin' secrets anymore, okay Grandma!" Clayton demanded. 
 
"Hey... it wasn't my idea," my mother reacted! 
 
"Lincoln! Mister, you better never do that again," Rita yelled as she entered the house. 
 
Lincoln's happy face quickly turned to one of a guilty person, so I asked, "what did you do?" 
 
"Oh, I'll tell you... he saw your car, opened the door and jumped out of the SUV as we were still moving. I told him to wait, but he still jumped out!" Rita added, "You need to listen better."
 
"So that's how you beat everyone else?" 
 
"Yeah... sorry, I just saw your car and got excited," Lincoln answered. 
 
"And what's your point? You could have gotten hurt. That's not acceptable, you should have listened to Rita." 
 
"We were like... like only going 5 mph." 
 
"It doesn't matter," Rita commented. "I told you not to jump out when you opened the door." 
 
"I'm... I'm sorry Rita. I was just excited." 
 
"I know you were sugar, you just need to listen to me. I don't want you to get hurt." 
 
"I agree with Rita, next time don't jump out of the car."
 
"I'm sorry!" Lincoln said. 
 
"More importantly, you need to listen to Rita. She was in charge, you can't disregard her."
 
"I know! I'm sorry." 
 
"Alright, good... Now, who's ready for the sleepover?" I asked as I wanted to switch the topic. 
 
"I'm staying with you!" Lincoln stated. 
 
"Yeah, I don't wanna sleepover anymore," Jacob commented. 
 
"Me too," Clayton added. 
 
"Now boys, I know I'm here, but it will be pretty boring tonight. You'd have more fun at Uncle Lucas's. I'm exhausted from traveling, so I'll be going to bed earlier than I usually do. If I were you guys, I would want to go sleepover at Uncle Lucas's. You know how much fun that's gonna be?" 
 
"But I wanna stay with you," Lincoln restated. 
 
"I know you do, but you guys already told your cousins you were sleeping over." 
 
"But I never said I was, only Ryker, Jacob, and Clay did. Can't I just stay with you?"
 
"I still want to sleepover," Ryker said. "It's going to be epic!" 
 
"Well I'll tell you what, I'll take you all to Uncle Lucas's, but when it's time for me to go. You can decide if you want to stay or not. Okay... sound like a deal?" 
 
"Deal!" Jacob said. 
 
"Yeah," agreed Clayton. 
 
Lincoln didn't respond, he didn't look like he was too fond of the idea either. I was about to ask him what was wrong, but the conversation was interrupted by my father and Calvin's crew arriving back from the game. 
 
After quickly greeting everyone who entered, all the boys went upstairs to pack their bags. I was pretty sure Lincoln was staying back with me, but I made him pack a small bag just in case he changed his mind. With all the boys ready to go, we loaded into the GLS. See, we were making a switch, I was taking Lincoln, Ryker, Jacob, Clayton, and George over to Lucas's house. Unfortunately, Derrick couldn't be included because staying at Lucas's house is difficult for him. Then on my way home, I was bringing Ashley and Kimberly to stay over for a girls night.
 
Once on the road, the conversation in the car was quite comical. Clayton was talking about fishing to George, while Ryker and Jacob were talking about the sleepover. I looked over at Lincoln, as he was pretty quiet.
 
"Hey," I said and patted the top of his thigh. "You okay?" 
 
"Yeah! Just really happy you're back and safe." 
 
"So am I! Happy I was able to surprise you, boys." 
 
"You know that was mean, I'm gonna start calling you Meanie." 
 
"I know," I laughed. "So, you think you're staying the night?" 
 
"No," Lincoln replied. "I wanna stay with you." 
 
"Try and see if you're having fun when we get there, okay?" 
 
"I will," Lincoln said. 
 
"Garret?" Clayton spoke from the second row of seats. "Do fish pee?" 
 
His question sent the whole car into laughter due to the randomness, but I managed to say, " yes buddy... they pee." 
 
"But the fishies don't have a penis... how does he pee?" Clayton added, which only sent the boys into more laughter. 
 
"Oh boy... umm, ya know, I will have to get back to you on an answer," I said as I tried to control my laughing. "Umm, I'm just wondering buddy, why you asking?" 
 
"Cause we pee out of our penises and fish don't have one." 
 
"Imagine if they did," Ryker commented which made Jacob and Lincoln laugh more. 
 
"Oh gosh," I remarked. I mean, I guess he was using proper terminology... so that was good right? 
 
"That would be silly," Clayton replied to Ryker. 
 
"But how does a fish pee if it doesn't have a... a" George said as he was more shy about the word compared to my boys, but quickly finished his sentence. "A penis?" 
 
"How do girls pee, cause they don't got a penis either," Jacob commented. 
 
"That's a discussion for another time, Jacob," I said.
 
"but what about the fish, how do they pee?" George asked again.
 
"I don't know... they just pee." I laughed, "they go whenever... wherever." 
 
"Eww, they pee in the lake?" Jacob asked. 
 
"No... they walk up on land and go behind a tree," Lincoln replied just before I answered Jacob's question with a, "Yes!" 
 
"They walk on land?" Clayton gasped as it seemed like I agreed with Lincoln's statement.
 
"No!! No!! They go... they go," I tried to explain, but the boys were dying of laughter.
 
"I wanna pee like a fish!" George commented which only added to the hysteria. 
 
"Oh my gosh," I softly whispered. 
 
After the boys cracked a few more jokes, they were able to get a grip. I'm pretty sure their stomachs hurt from laughing, but thankfully we arrived at my brother's before any more fish anatomy conversation came up. I parked the car out on the road and helped the boys get their stuff. Lincoln left his bag in the car, which I let be because he seemed adamant about coming back with me. 
 
Together the 6 of us walked to the front door, and Ryker rung the doorbell. Within a few seconds, the door opened, and we were greeted by Katherine. 
 
"Garret! What are you doing here?" Laughed Katherine as she greeted us.
 
"I came back to surprise the boys a day early!" 
 
"He's mean aunt Kat," Clayton spoke as he entered. 
 
"I know he is," Katherine chuckled. 
 
"UNCLE G!" LJ hollered as he reached the door and gave me a hug. 
 
"Hey, buddy!" 
 
"You sleeping over too?" 
 
"No," I laughed. "Maybe next time." 
 
"Come on, let them in Jr." Katherine spoke, "it's chilly out there." 
 
"Where is Ashton," Ryker asked. 
 
"Downstairs with Christian and the others," LJ replied as we stepped inside. "Come on!" 
 
"Okay," the boys answered as they left their stuff at the front door and ran to the basement.
 
"Boys... your bags, don't just leave them here!"
 
"Oh it's fine'" Katherine stated. "Lincoln, you not going downstairs?" 
 
"Nope," he quickly replied. 
 
"Katherine, can you give me a minute." 
 
"Certainly," she said and turned to walk into the kitchen where she intercepted my brother from coming over.
 
"Hey," I said as I squatted to be face to face. "What's the matter?" 
 
"I just don't want to leave you," Lincoln answered.
 
"Are you afraid to stay here? You know no one will hurt you." 
 
"I know," he said as he was starting to cry. 
 
"Hey, it's okay." 
 
"I don't know what I want to do." 
 
"What do you mean?" 
 
"I want to stay with my cousins, but I want to be around you... I'm... I'm sorta scared to sleepover." 
 
"Scared?" 
 
"Yeah." 
 
"Of?" I asked.
 
"Umm..." 
 
"Are... are you afraid of having a PTSD attack or umm peeing the bed?" I whispered. 
 
Lincoln looked down at his feet, and quietly responded, "yes." 
 
"Aw buddy," I answered and gave him a hug. "It's okay." 
 
"No, it's not, I did it last night."
 
"I heard," I said and wiped the tear from his face.
 
"It's embarrassing." 
 
"No one will judge you for it." 
 
"And I want to stay with you. I don't wanna sleep here."
 
"Alright alright," I answered and kissed his forehead. "Don't think about it, go downstairs and join your brothers and cousins."
 
"I'm not gonna change my mind." 
 
"I know." 
 
"You're not gonna leave without me, right?" 
 
"I promise to tell you when I am leaving, okay?" 
 
"Okay," Lincoln answered.
 
"Now go have fun," I said and patted his bum. Lincoln took off to the basement as I entered the kitchen. I wasn't planning on staying long, but I wanted to give Lincoln at least 10 minutes to hopefully change his mind.
 
"Hey, brother!" Lucas stated and walked to give me a hug.
 
"Hey! Good to see you!" 
 
"Would you like a drink?" Lucas asked. 
 
"Umm, you got a Corona?" 
 
"You know it," he replied as he went to the fridge. "So, is umm everything okay? You know with Lincoln?" 
 
"I'm not sure if he is staying the night or not." 
 
"Oh, why not?" Kelly said as she entered from the family room.
 
"Hey sis," I replied and gave her a hug. "Well, let's just say he is a little homesick." 
 
"PTSD attacks?" Kelly asked. 
 
"Yup," I quickly responded. 
 
"What do you mean?" Katherine commented. 
 
"Well with his PTSD attacks, he is afraid of having one and umm... being embarrassed." 
 
"We would never label something so serious as embarrassing," Katherine responded. 
 
"Oh I know, but Lincoln doesn't fully grasp the idea that you all love and support him. And-and it's nothing that you guys have done or haven't done, it's more with him overcoming some obstacles." 
 
"I understand," Lucas stated. 
 
"Yeah, I'm hoping he stays once he realizes how much fun they are having." 
 
"Yeah," Katherine said. "Either way, if he stays or goes, works with us. Just let us know." 
 
"Will do." 
 
"So Garret," began Kelly, "how was the trip?" 
 
"Oh yes, please tell! I've been dying to know," commented Katherine as we took a seat at the table.
 
"Went well," I started. "We reached our goal and then some, so it was pretty successful. The building renovations are underway, and we want to have the building open by July or August." 
 
"That's awesome, I'm proud of you brother," Lucas said. 
 
"Thanks, anyway... enough about me, what's new with you guys?" 
 
"Well," Kelly began, "I just recently found out Tom, the kids, and I have a wedding to attend in July. So hopefully, our opening date doesn't conflict with the wedding." 
 
"Who's getting married?" Inquired Katherine. 
 
"You remember Tom's best friend, Chris? Well, his oldest daughter is getting married, and we've all been invited to go... It's in Cleveland, along the lakeshore." 
 
"Oh that'll be pretty," Katherine said.
 
"When is the wedding," I asked. 
 
"July 30th," Kelly answered. 
 
"And all the kids have to go?" Questioned Lucas. 
 
"Unfortunately yes... well not Ashley, she is going on a vacation with her friends." 
 
"I thought she was going on vacation in June," I said. 
 
"So did we, but her friend misspoke."
 
"Ahh, lucky her," I laughed. "She gets to skip out."
 
"I know," Kelly responded. 
 
"Anyway, what's new with you guys?" I asked Lucas and Katherine. 
 
"Uncle G!" I heard a voice yell from the basement, followed by heavy footsteps. 
 
"About time I got to see you! Been here nearly 5 minutes!" 
 
"Sorry!" Christian said and gave me a big hug, before sitting on my left knee.
 
"Oh man... you're getting heavy," I chuckled. 
 
"So what's going on downstairs, Christian?" Asked Lucas. 
 
"Just playing video games, waiting for all the old people to go to bed." 
 
"Ohhh.... shots fired," I yelled and tickled his ribs. "Where did that come from?" 
 
"Yeah?" Laughed Lucas. 
 
"It was a joke!" Christian giggled. 
 
"Better been... I'm not old like those 3!" 
 
"Oh you little," Kelly commented.
 
"Jerk!" Lucas finished Kelly's sentence and flicked my ear. 
 
"See what they do to me," I remarked. 
 
"Hey Uncle G," Ashley stated as she came into the kitchen.
 
"Hey, girly girl.... ready to get going to Grandma's?" 
 
"Yup." 
 
"Now, why we doing this again?" Lucas asked. 
 
"Doing what dear?" Katherine returned.
 
"The sleepover... I mean it doesn't make much sense to me. The kids are all going to see each other tomorrow. It's just more work driving the kids back and forth." 
 
"You old fart," laughed Kelly. 
 
"I'm serious, tomorrow morning, all the kids need to be taken back so they can get changed for Easter."
 
"It doesn't really make sense," I laughed as I took my last sip of the Corona.
 
"Thank you!" Lucas said.
 
"Ohh it's fun! Let them enjoy each other's company, they don't get to do it too often," Katherine commented. "Plus, why you complaining, your brother drove them here, and I'm driving them back over." 
 
"On that note... I'll see you all tomorrow. Thanks for the beer," I said as I stood up and walked to the top of the basement steps. I hollered down, "Lincoln, I'm leaving. Meet me at the front door, please." 
 
I heard footsteps, but it was Ryker who appeared and quickly ran up the steps to say, "bye, love you!" Then gave me a hug before joining the others. 
 
I made my way to the front door and told Ashley and Kimberly to go to the car while I talked to Lincoln. The had no problem with it, and I gave them my keys. They took their bags and went to the car. A few seconds later, Lincoln appeared from the basement and walked over to me. 
 
"Alright buddy, I'm leaving." 
 
"I... can... umm," Lincoln stuttered. "I think I am going to stay, is... is it okay?" 
 
"Absolutely!" I replied as I bent down. 
 
"Will you come pick me up if I don't like it?" 
 
"Umm... yeah sure." 
 
"Thanks, Garret!" Lincoln said as he gave me a hug. 
 
"Come on, let's go get your stuff from the car." 
 
"Okay," Lincoln replied and we started making our way to the GLS.
 
"So must be a lot of fun down there, huh?" 
 
"Yeah, we are about to play hide and go seek in the dark." 
 
"In the dark?" 
 
"Yeah, so it's super duper hard for the person trying to find someone." 
 
"Super duper?" I laughed, "I like the expression." 
 
"It's sorta silly." 
 
"Nothing wrong with something silly," I commented as we reached the trunk. 
 
"Thanks," Lincoln spoke as I handed him his bag. 
 
"Alright bud, give me a hug, and make sure your brothers behave." 
 
"Okay," Lincoln replied as we embraced, "love you." 
 
"Love you too, now go back inside and make sure you shut the front door," I commanded and kissed the top of his head. 
 
"You promise I can call you if I need to?" 
 
"Yes bud," I answered and watched as he made his way back to the door and into the house. With him back inside, I went to the driver's seat. Ashley was sitting in the passenger seat, and Kimberly was sitting behind her. "So girls, how have you been?" 
 
"So busy," Kimberley replied as I started the car, "and school has sucked lately." 
 
"Yeah, it really has," Ashley agreed. "The school started cracking down on the dress code violations... especially for girls." 
 
"What do you mean?" I questioned.
 
"We aren't allowed to wear certain clothes that reveal too much. Our shoulders have to be covered, and shorts have to be a certain length," Kimberly responded. 
 
"I don't even think we are allowed to wear skirts anymore," Ashely added. 
 
"Is there a dress code for boys?" 
 
"Yeah but it's like nothing," Kimberly stated. 
 
"Hmm, maybe you should try and do something about it." 
 
"That's funny," she laughed, "our school system is a joke." 
 
"How so?" 
 
"On every basis," Kimberly went on as we drove down the road. "I'm talking about our whole school district. They imply these strict dress codes and care more about what students wear than their well being. Just look at Christian, the principal has done nothing to help him."
 
"Don't even get me started on Christian, those douche bags that bully him are lucky they aren't in high school yet. "Ashley added, "oh... and what about our football program? Our school district is awful, they'd rather give money to the football team than any other sports program. It's stupid, the football team receives new uniforms every year while baseball and soccer are still wearing ones from 5 years ago."
 
"All because the superintendent's son is on the football team," Kimberly stated.
 
"They aren't even good... they won one game last year."
 
"Okay okay," I laughed, "let's uhh... change the topic. Didn't know our conversation would become so heated!" 
 
"It's just stupid and not fair, our school administrators suck," Kimberly added. 
 
"Okay okay, umm," I said trying to get onto the next topic. "How's Christian been doing? Like at home." 
 
"Umm," Ashley began. "So remember when we talked last, you said I should do more with him. Well, I mentioned it to Kim, and we've been trying to make more of an effort to cheer him up and get him out of the house." 
 
"Yeah we went to the movies on Thursday night," Kimberly added. "Ashley and I really want to do something with him once a week, since Ashley is going to college next year."
 
"Ya know, that's awesome girls," I said. "I'm very proud of you. It probably means so much to him." 
 
"Oh it did," Ashley commented. "Once we got home from the movie, he thanked me for taking him." 
 
"Yeah same... right before I went to sleep, he came into my room and gave me a hug." 
 
"That's awesome girls, I'm proud of you!" 
 
"I just feel so bad for him, he's uhh, really had it rough," Kimberly said. 
 
"I know he has. It's so unfortunate the way things went down," I stated. "Oh, how's his friend Adrian?" 
 
"Who's Adrian!" Laughed Ashely.
 
"That little cutie baseball player that was over our house," Kimberly said. "Ya know, the one who slept over."
 
"Oh him, yeah... he is cute," Ashley spoke. "Wait... they aren't dating are they?" 
 
"I don't know," Kimberly chuckled. "I didn't watch what they were doing." 
 
"It's not important if they are dating," I laughed. "Does the kid seem nice?" 
 
"I'm not sure, he's pretty quiet and shy when he is around us." Kimberly said, "seems like a nice kid though." 
 
"Uh huh," I remarked. "Just make sure your brother doesn't get hurt again." 
 
"Oh we won't," Ashley assured me. "At least not around us." 
 
"Yeah, plus that Austin kid was a prick, we know what to watch for now." 
 
"Alright," I laughed. I wanted to stray away from the serious conversation and began chatting about random stuff. It didn't really matter anyway, as we were a minute or two from pulling into my parents' driveway. We rolled in, and I noticed Calvin's car was missing which I thought was odd for how late it was, so I parked behind my S63. The girls and I jumped out and walked in through the garage. 
 
"Hey, grandpa!" Ashley said. 
 
"Hi girls, Giovanna and Savanna are downstairs with your grandmother. I think you all are sleeping there," my father replied as he gave everyone a hug.
 
"Hey, dad!" 
 
"No Lincoln?" My father asked as he and I broke our hug.
 
"I know, I'm surprised," I laughed. "Where's Calvin?" 
 
"Well since your brother and Charlotte don't get much of a break, your mom and I decided to surprise them with tickets to the comedy club." 
 
"Oh, that was sweet of you guys!" 
 
"They barely went," laughed my dad, "we had to force them to go." 
 
"How come?" 
 
"Well Derrick needs a bath, they didn't want to drive, it will end too late... I don't know. They gave us all kinds of excuses." 
 
"Yeah?"
 
"They eventually left, about uhh, 10 minutes ago."
 
"Geez, they won't get back till like 1." 
 
"I know," my father spoke. "But they don't ever have time to themselves, plus your mother and I can take care of Derrick." 
 
"What's he need? Just a bath?" 
 
"Bath and put to bed." 
 
"Well you sit down and relax, I got it covered," I said. "You've already done enough for Calvin and me, so let me." 
 
"You ever bathed him before, it's a process?" My father added. 
 
"Yeah, it's been a little while. Probably 3-4 years," I laughed. "But trust me, I've got more experience now than I ever thought I would." 
 
"I bet," chuckled my father.
 
"Just point me in the direction I need to go!" 
 
"I'll start the water," my dad spoke.
 
"Alright, I'll bring him up in 5 minutes.
 
"Sounds good, son," my father spoke. 
 
The bath went well, and I had Derrick in his PJs. With some help from my father, we had him in his bed and sleeping by 11:15. With Derrick down, the girls in the basement, my parents in their room, and Rita in her room, I went to lay down in bed. I was so happy that I haven't received a text or call from Lincoln. I actually believed he was going to do it, but I was wrong. Just as I had finally fallen asleep, my phone rang at 12:05. It was my brother's home phone number, so I figured it was Lincoln.
 
"Hello?" 
 
"Hey bro, I have someone who wants to talk to you," responded Lucas. 
 
"I think I know who it is." 
 
"Here ya go," Lucas spoke and handed the phone off. 
 
"Garret?" 
 
"Ya buddy?"'
 
"Can you come pick me up?" Lincoln asked. 
 
"Are you sure you want that?" 
 
"Yeah, I just wanna be back with you." 
 
"Okay, but you know how I promised to come pick you up?" 
 
"Yeah." 
 
"Well, I need you to promise me something, okay?" 
 
"What?" Lincoln inquired.
 
"The next sleepover you go to, if it is at a friend's or family's house, you have to try your best to stay." 
 
"What do you mean?" 
 
"I mean, that you'll have to stay over someone else's house the full time! No picking you up, unless it's an emergency."
 
"Okay." 
 
"You promise?" 
 
"Yes, can you please just come pick me up?" 
 
"Yeah bud, I'll be there in 15 minutes." 
 
"Thanks," Lincoln said. "Love you." 
 
"Love ya too," I replied. I guess I spoke too soon; however, I somewhat expected this was going to happen. I jumped out of bed and put on a pair of shorts and slipped into my slippers. I went downstairs, grabbed a bottle of water, then went to the GLS. I was there in no time, and Lucas was at the door waiting for me to pull in. I parked the car and walked toward their front door. 
 
"Sorry," Lincoln said as he gave me a hug. 
 
"It's okay buddy, go wait in the car," I said as I tousled his hair. 
 
"Okay," Lincoln responded and made his way to the SUV. 
 
"Sorry man," I spoke to my brother as I gave him a hug. 
 
"Ahh, it's okay! I wasn't asleep for too long before he came and woke me up.
 
"Well, I appreciate." 
 
"Like I said, no worries," chuckled Lucas. "Allowed me to talk to Lincoln for a few minutes. I got to know him some more." 
 
"Find out anything interesting?" 
 
"Umm, nothing you don't already know... I just don't think he is ready to be away from you." 
 
"He was last night," I added. 
 
"Yes, and it wasn't good. Or at least that's what mother told me." 
 
"You're not wrong," I sighed. 
 
"He's a good kid, with a big heart. Don't lose hope." 
 
"Never." 
 
"I know you won't," Lucas said. 
 
"So... How are the others?" 
 
"Sleeping, I think that also freaked Lincoln out. Ya know, being the last one awake and all." 
 
"Yeah," I responded. 
 
"Anyway, I'll catch ya tomorrow."
 
"Sounds good... thanks again, love ya," I said and made my way back to the vehicle. Lincoln was sitting in the front, so when I jumped in the driver's seat he spoke,
 
"I'm sorry." 
 
"Lincoln... it's okay kiddo." 
 
"I tried to stay." 
 
"I know you did, I'm proud of you for trying." 
 
"Thanks," Lincoln said, and he dropped his head. It was almost as if he was embarrassed about leaving.
 
"Everything okay?" I asked as we made our way back. 
 
"Yeah, just don't know why I couldn't stay." 
 
"Well, you could put some of the blame on me!" 
 
"How?" Questioned Lincoln. 
 
"I surprised you guys today, after not seeing you for 2 nights. I bet if I didn't come back today, it would have been easier to sleepover." 
 
"I don't know, maybe." 
 
"I'm willing to bet that's a reason why," I chuckled. "Don't think about it too much." 
 
"Okay," Lincoln answered as we drove on. The car ride was mostly quiet as we listened to music. We made it back to my parents around 12:50. I was shocked to see that my brother hadn't arrived yet, and it started to worry me. So I sent Lincoln upstairs to bed and sat on the couch. Probably five minutes later Lincoln returned in his boxers and carrying a blanket. 
 
"Just like you said," Lincoln giggled as he laid down with his head in my lap.
 
"What's that?" I asked as I began scratching his bare chest. 
 
"That'd we be sitting on grandma's couch in no time. Remember? You said that before the trip." 
 
"I guess I did," I laughed. 
 
"Thanks again." 
 
"You're welcome kiddo, try to get some sleep?" I said as I turned on the tv. 
 
"Love you!" 
 
"Love you too," I returned and went back to scratching his chest. It must have been 5 minutes before I heard Lincoln snoring. Around 1:20 I was still up, waiting for my brother to get back. I was starting to become very concerned,  I knew the comedy show was going to run late into the night, but this was ridiculous. I was going to give it another 5 minutes before getting my phone and calling him, but luckily I heard the garage door opening. 
 
About 30 seconds later, Calvin came stumbling in with Charlotte not too far behind.
 
I raised my hand to let them know I was over on the couch.
 
"Garret, what are you still doing up?" Charlotte asked as she walked over with Calvin. 
 
"Shhh, he is finally sleeping," I said.
 
"Oh sorry," Charlotte spoke, and looked at Lincoln and I. "You know... he's so cute." 
 
"Yeah, I do know," I laughed. 
 
"Isn't he suppose to be at Lucas's?" Calvin questioned as he took a seat across the room.
 
"Yes," I said as I ran my fingers through Lincoln's hair. "I went and picked him up not too long ago. He wasn't having a good night." 
 
"Aww poor child," Charlotte stated. "How were my kids?" 
 
"George was excellent as always! The girls are in the basement, and Derrick is upstairs sleeping. Dad and I got him bathed and in bed, no issues."
 
"I appreciate it, Garret," Charlotte replied. "Alright boys, I am off to bed. I'm exhausted." 
 
"Goodnight honey, I'll be up shortly," Calvin answered. 
 
"Night Charlotte," I said, "so Cal, how was the comedian." 
 
"Oh he was hilarious, we had a great night!" 
 
"That's awesome! You guys deserve it." 
 
"Yeah, well thank you for taking care of the kids." 
 
"No big deal! Know you guys would do the same!" 
 
"Yeah," Calvin answered as we watched tv. A few moments of silence passed before he said, "so, you really do love those kids?" 
 
"My boys? Yes... with all my heart." 
 
"I know, I can tell man. Although, I was a bit skeptical at first." 
 
"What do you mean?" 
 
"Well it's kinda weird don't you think? I mean, I'm pretty sure you never wanted kids. You just sold your business for a huge amount of money. I guess I'm just wondering why? Like why did you give up the freedom to do anything you wanted. You could be traveling and seeing the world." 
 
"Yes, I have given up some of my freedom, but this has been the greatest decision of my life. And-and it's hard to explain, but I had an instant connection with this boy. His brothers have been added bonuses." 
 
"But why?" 
 
"Why what?" I said.
 
"Why give it up? Were you lonely, did you have a sudden change of heart?" 
 
"I don't know, I just felt it was my responsibility to help these boys. I mean they go through so much, especially this one," I said and pointed to Lincoln. 
 
"Oh I know, I almost had a heart attack last night. I can't believe what he goes through." 
 
"He's a fighter, I know that." 
 
"Has it gotten easier or better?" 
 
"Easier? No," I stated. "Better? Ehh, depends on what you mean by better. Do I know how to handle his attacks better? Yes! Do I know how to stop them? No." 
 
"Damn.... umm, ever been days when you think you're in over your head?" 
 
"Umm," I said as I looked at Lincoln, "all the time."
 
"I bet," chuckled Calvin. "Any days you wish you didn't take them in?" 
 
"Absolutely not... it's been the best decision of my life." 
 
"You really mean that?" 
 
"Yeah," I laughed. "Who wouldn't want this?" 
 
"A lot of people my brother," laughed Calvin. "Anyway, I just wanted to say that I am...well... proud of you, I really am!" 
 
"Thanks, man." 
 
"With that, I'm heading upstairs to go to bed, thanks again for helping out with the kids."
 
"I'm heading there too," I said. 
 
"Need help with him?" 
 
"No, but thanks," I stated as I maneuvered my body from underneath Lincoln's head. 
 
"Alright good night," Calvin said. 
 
"Goodnight," I returned. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a quick glass of water to drink. Then I made my way over to Lincoln and picked him up. We made our way upstairs to our room, and I placed him on the left side. I tucked him in and then walked over to my side of the bed to lay down. I'd say, 10 minutes later, I was fast asleep.

Part - 2

Sunday, March 27th, 2016... Easter! 
 
I awoke around 7:30 to Lincoln sprawled on me. His left hand was on the headboard of the bed and his leg on my chest. I don't know how, but he managed to rotate his body, to where his head was almost hanging off the side of the bed, and the blanket only covered his right side. I was also greeted by the sight of his morning wood. His cock formed a tent in his boxers, that gave me a direct view of all his boyhood through the pant leg. To say the morning was starting off unusual would be an understatement. However, what more could I do but laugh at the situation? He couldn't control it, and to be quite frank, I didn't care. I merely maneuvered my way out from under him and covered all his body with a blanket. 
 
After covering Lincoln, I made my way downstairs to help in the festivities. During Easter, wherever it is hosted, the adults go around the house hiding plastic hollow eggs filled with either money or sweets. Usually, everyone under the age of 13 participates, while the older children help, the younger ones. It's a silly way to start Easter, but it's always fun to have the children looking around the house for half an hour or so. Which meant at 7:45, my father, Calvin, Rita, and I started hiding eggs behind curtains, under couches, in obvious spaces, and some not so apparent areas. Long story short, we had 90 eggs hidden throughout the house. Ten eggs each for the nine children under 13 years of age. Oh and don't worry about those 13 and above, they each receive $50 and a full basket of goodies. 
 
With all the eggs hidden, I sat down for some breakfast. I was joined by Ashely, Rita, Calvin, and Giovanna as we started to dig in. About 15 minutes later Lincoln joined, as he entered the kitchen wearing his boxers. 
 
"Hey," I chuckled as he entered. "Go upstairs, put some clothes on, we don't wanna see a half-naked boy!" 
 
"Huh?" Lincoln said as he rubbed his eyes and walked over to me.
 
"Oh knock it off Garret, you boys did the same thing growing up," my mother said as she brought over a plate of scrambled eggs. 
 
"Still," I chuckled as I kissed Lincoln's head, "go on, put some shorts on at least." 
 
"Okay," Lincoln mumbled and started to make his way back upstairs. 
 
"Boys are so lucky," laughed Ashley. 
 
"Oh, how so?" I inquired as I ate a spoonful of scrambled eggs from my plate. 
 
"They can walk around naked... well at least in underwear and no one cares. Christian does it all the time!" 
 
"Yeah George does too," added Giovanna. "Except he usually does it after a bath." 
 
"I'm going to side with the girls on this one," Rita chuckled. "I'm not saying I care because I don't, but boys definitely have more freedom." 
 
"Ya know, usually I would try to argue all your comments, but I don't think it's possible," I laughed. "After living with 4 boys, they definitely have a tendency to live... let's just say EL Nat-u-rel." 
 
"EL Nat-u-rel?" Laughed Rita. 
 
"You're a goof," Calvin added. "But, uhh... let's change the subject here. We are eating breakfast." 
 
"Probably a good idea," I stated as Lincoln was entering the kitchen again.
 
"Better?" He asked as he walked back over to me wearing shorts. 
 
"Much!" I said and kissed his head. "Happy Easter!" 
 
"Happy Easter!" Lincoln returned, "Happy Easter everyone!" 
 
"Happy Easter," people replied back to him as he took a seat next to me. 
 
"When do my brothers get back?" 
 
"Hopefully soon," I stated. "You guys all need to bathe and get dressed."
 
"Morning all," Charlotte said as she brought Savanna and Kimberly into the kitchen.
 
"When'd you get here Lincoln?" Asked Kimberly. 
 
"Last night, Garret picked me up, I umm... I couldn't really fall asleep." 
 
"You should have come downstairs with us!" 
 
"I thought you all were sleepin'." 
 
"What time did you get back?" Inquired Ashely.
 
"I don't know, like 12:30 or something." 
 
"We were watching a movie! Everyone was up beside Savanna!" Spoke Giovanna, "you should have come down!" 
 
"Yeah! Don't be so shy next time!" Laughed Ashley. 
 
"I'm not shy, I just didn't know." Lincoln returned. 
 
"Uh huh... I don't think our baby cousin wants to spend any time with us girls," Kimberly added as they teased Lincoln. I was watching to see how Lincoln was handling it. Now the girls were serious about the invitation downstairs for the movie. However, they're playfully teasing Lincoln, which I'm okay with because it's all in good fun. At least so far,  but I'm wondering if Lincoln was comfortable enough to joke back.
 
"I'm... I'm heartbroken," Ashley fake cried. 
 
"Hey! I'm not a baby!" Lincoln returned, "and I didn't get an invite until right now." 
 
"Sorry she meant whittle cousin," Giovanna spoke.
 
"I may be little, but-but I'm cuter," Lincoln fired back, which made the girls laugh.
 
"Cuter? Maybe, but we are hotter!" Ashely stated as she high-fived Kimberly and Giovanna. 
 
"I don't think so," Lincoln giggled. He went on to lick his finger and touch his left nipple as he made a sizzling sound "SSSS!" 
 
Not only did this action make the table laugh, but poor Rita took a sip of water just as he made the sound effect. It sent her running to the bathroom as water almost shot out of her nose.
 
"Alright," Ashley laughed but managed to say, "you're right... you're... you're hotter!" 
 
"Yeah... yeah, you win. We will invite you next time," Giovanna spoke through her laughter. 
 
"Can you make that sound effect again?" Asked Kimberly as she wiped her eyes. 
 
"The SSSS?" Lincoln inquired. 
 
"Where did you come up with that?" I asked. 
 
"I don't know," Lincoln giggled. "I saw it somewhere." 
 
"Well," I said as I regained my composure. "Is Rita okay?" 
 
"I'm fine," she hollered. 
 
"More eggs, be careful! They're hot," my mom said.
 
"Apparently not as hot as Lincoln," Ashley laughed which caused Lincoln to blush. 
 
"Aww, he's blushing," commented Kimberly!
 
Luckily for Lincoln, his teasing came to an abrupt stop, as the front door opened. 4 boys came sprinting into the kitchen. 
 
"Happy Easter!" Ryker said as he was the first one to enter the kitchen. 
 
"Happy Easter," everyone spoke as Ryker came over to sit on my lap. 
 
"Hey, buddy!" 
 
"Love you!" Ryker said and kissed my cheek. 
 
"Well, I love you too!" 
 
"Happy you're back." 
 
"So am I," I said as I picked Ryker up and switched him to my other knee, so I could half hug Jacob. "Morning Jacob!" 
 
"Mornin," Jacob said and hugged me. 
 
"Why'd you leave?" Ryker asked Lincoln. 
 
"I umm, couldn't fall asleep and wanted to be with, Garret," Lincoln answered. 
 
"Oh," Ryker said, and Jacob went to take an empty chair. 
 
"Come on girls, we gotta go," Katherine stated to Ashely and Kimberly as she walked into the kitchen. Katherine received a welcome from everyone, but she was running behind schedule. "Love to stay and chat, but we need to go get ready if we want to be here for Easter lunch!" 
 
"Alright," Ashely said, "I just have to get my bag." 
 
"Can you grab mine too?" Kimberly asked. 
 
"Yeah," she replied and went downstairs. With a new chair available, Clayton quickly took the open seat. 
 
"Hungry Clay?" I asked. 
 
"Yes!" 
 
"CLAY!" Katherine joked, "you can't possibly be hungry! You had two bowls of cereal!" 
 
"Sooo," Clayton giggled. "I'm always hungry!" 
 
"I can tell" Katherine laughed. 
 
"So did you guys all have fun?" Calvin inquired. 
 
"Yes!" George quickly answered. 
 
"It was Epic!" Ryker replied.
 
"Do we have school tomorrow?" Questioned Jacob switching the topic of conversation. 
 
"Tomorrow?" I said looking at Rita who was shaking her head no. "Nope!" 
 
"Are we going home today?" 
 
"Yes... later, like leaving around 5 or 6." 
 
"Can George sleepover?" 
 
"Can Christian too?" Added Lincoln.
 
"Umm, let's talk about this later, okay?" 
 
"Okay," they agreed. 
 
"Hey, am I not invited to the sleepover?" Joked Giovanna. 
 
"Can Savanna and Giovanna sleepover too?" Jacob said. 
 
"Maybe," I laughed. The rest of breakfast went by pretty quick, and soon we were heading upstairs to shower. Now we had a challenge of showering at my parents as they had 3 showers in the house. Located all upstairs with one in the master bedroom, one in the room I'm staying in, and the last one in Calvin's room. I planned to shower my boys in shifts, I was going to shower with Clayton, then Ryker and Jacob were to shower, and finally Lincoln. 
 
After Clayton and I showered, I got dressed and then began to lay out Clayton's clothes. He was going to wear a light orange polo with dark blue jeans, and while his brothers showered, I combed his hair to the side. With Clayton ready to go, I sent him downstairs to hang out with Rita. I turned my attention to the boys in the shower.
 
"You guys get all clean?" I asked as I grabbed two towels.
 
"I gotta do my hair," Ryker responded and reached for the shampoo.
 
"Hurry up guys," Lincoln stated as he entered the bathroom wearing nothing but his towel around his waist. 
 
"Yeah boys, you do have to hurry up," I agreed. 
 
"I'm done," Jacob said as he stepped out. 
 
"Alright," I responded as I walked over and wrapped him in a towel.
 
"How's your scar?" Lincoln asked.
 
"I don't know, look," Jacob answered as he parted the towel. 
 
" Is it ever gonna go away?" 
 
"I want it to," Jacob said. 
 
"It might, it might not. I wouldn't worry too much about it," I stated as I moved Jacob to the sink and grabbed the towel for Ryker. "Ryker, come on." 
 
"Okay okay!" Ryker answered 
 
"Can I touch it?" Lincoln asked. 
 
"Umm, I guess so," Jacob spoke,
 
Lincoln ran his pointer finger over the scar, "whoa, it feels weird." 
 
"Lincoln, hop in," I commanded. 
 
"Okay," he replied as he let go of his brother and stood up. He dropped his towel and proudly walked into the shower sporting an erection. 
 
"Lincoln's got a boner!" Ryker laughed and pointed.
 
"Ryker enough... take this towel and go into the room. Take Jacob with you." 
 
"Okay," he giggled. 
 
"Hurry up bud, people should be arriving soon." 
 
"I will!" 
 
"Alright, I'm gonna shut the door, okay?"
 
"You can leave it open." 
 
"But the door to the hallway will be open, and anyone that walks by our room... can see you." 
 
"So? Aren't we family?" 
 
"Yes, but I don't think you want everyone seeing your uhh, boy parts." 
 
"I don't care." 
 
"Alright, I'm still shutting the door." 
 
"No," Lincoln giggled.
 
"Yes!" I said and closed the door as I walked out. 
 
"Garret! It's so so so lonely in here!" I heard him laughing. 
 
I shook my head and tossed Ryker and Jacob their underwear. They each slipped them on, and I began laying their clothes out too. Ryker was going to wearing a dark grey and light blue striped button down with blue jeans. The light blue on his shirt matched his eyes perfectly. Jacob was wearing khaki pants with a green polo shirt. Not wanting to disturb Lincoln, I brought the comb out of the bathroom when I left. So once those two were dressed, we did their hair and went downstairs to join everybody. 
 
About 10 minutes later, Lincoln joined us wearing jeans and a button-down shirt. 
 
"You look good," I said, and I placed my hand on his thigh as he came over to sit on my lap. 
 
"Thanks!" 
 
"Smell good too," I chuckled and kissed his head. 
 
"Love you!" 
 
"Love ya!" 
 
"When does everyone get here?" Ryker asked. 
 
"They should be arriving soon, and then we can start the hunt!" Spoke my father 
 
"The hunt?" Jacob inquired. 
 
"Oh, Garret hasn't told you about the hunt?" My father said adding some dramatic flair. "The hunt, when you can find gold and sweet riches throughout the house. You just need to know where to look." 
 
"What does he mean?" Lincoln asked. 
 
"Oh, you'll soon find out!" 
 
"Tell us!" Clayton spoke. 
 
"Oh no, not yet," spoke my father! "We need to wait for the others!" 
 
"What's the hunt?" Ryker said as he turned his direction to me. 
 
"You heard grandpa! You need to wait!" 
 
"Grrr... fine, I don't like surprises though," Ryker commented. 
 
"It's not really a surprise," I said. "But you'll enjoy it!" 
 
"I hope so!" 
 
"You will!" I laughed. With the boys all wondering what my father meant, I don't think the rest of my family could have arrived any sooner. When they pulled into the driveway, all the kids went out to help bring stuff in. Once everyone said their hellos and got comfortable, my father summoned all the children into the family room. He went on to explain how "the hunt" works, which was searching for the Easter eggs throughout the house. My dad stated the rules that everyone under 13, had to come back with ten eggs. No more or no less. The kids could ask anyone for help minus those who hid the eggs, which meant my father, Rita, Calvin, and I was off limits. Before letting them go, he set the boundaries of where the eggs were located. We had most hidden on the main floor, but we had some good ones scattered throughout the basement. With everything explained, my mother handed everyone that was playing a mini basket to hold the eggs they found. With the rules stated, the game was ready to start, and my father let the chaos begin. 
 
The main point of the game was to let the kids run some energy off and let the adults start to prepare food as well as catch up with each other. Usually, the kids found a few eggs quickly, but the real struggle and search began once the easy spots were gone. 
 
"So how longs the hunt lasting this time?" I asked as I saw Clayton and Ryker flying around the house.
 
"Oh 30-40 minutes," laughed Lucas. 
 
"I'm saying longer than that," spoke my mother. "You guys made it more difficult this year." 
 
"It should be easier, we have more eggs hidden this time," Calvin said. 
 
"Yeah, I'll set the timer," I laughed. "So Kelly, everything going well with those children you placed or trying to place?" 
 
"The two girls are placed and doing well! I don't know if I told you this or not, but the boy has been placed too. Umm... I'm comfortable with where he is, although I'm not sure if it's the forever home for him." 
 
"What do you mean?" Inquired my father.
 
"Well as Garret knows, it's complicated to deal with children that come from an abused past. The family may not be ready or know how to fully handle it." 
 
"But he is in a good family, right?" Lucas asked. 
 
"Oh yes! Very loving, and very nice people. They wouldn't harm him, I can promise that! Although, I'm wondering if they have the will to break through the boy's wall." 
 
"The boy's wall?" 
 
"Yeah, the emotional wall to protect themselves, or so they think," I said. "I mean we all have them, some are just built higher than others. Like I still haven't completely broken through my 4 boys' walls."
 
"Oh I think you have, they adore you," my father spoke. 
 
"Oh yeah, I know they do. But it takes time to build trust... complete trust! It's something I work on every day with them." 
 
"That's true," added Kelly, "but some children are waiting for the right person to open up to, which in your case, I think happened to you. You may not have broken through their walls completely but, you have done a terrific job so far!" 
 
"Well thank you!" 
 
"But others," Kelly continued, "like the one I just placed, will take a very long time to get through to him. He is quiet, very sensitive to touch, and extremely skittish of new environments." 
 
"Oh that poor boy," Katherine commented. 
 
Kelly added, "the family will need to really show him a lot of support, or it won't work out. Actually... it might not work out even if the family shows complete support for him. Sometimes matches just don't work." 
 
"How old is the boy?" 
 
"Umm... I'm not really supposed to give out information like that, but he is 6." 
 
"Damn shame," I said. "It's so sick to see how mistreated some children are... I mean, it makes me sick to my stomach." 
 
"Evil, unfortunately, exists, son. We can only try to right the wrong and stop the evil from being committed," spoke my father. 
 
"Both of which you will be doing with your organization!" My mother said. 
 
"Hopefully!" I added. 
 
"Garret!" Ryker called out, "I got 4!" 
 
"Way to go buddy!" 
 
"Can you help me find the others... please?" 
 
"Nope, that's against the rules! Where is Christian?" 
 
"Christian is helping Clay, Rita can you help?" 
 
"Oh no!" 
 
"I can," Kelly said. 
 
"Are you good at finding stuff?" 
 
"I'm the best, just ask Christian!" 
 
"Okay, let's go, Aunt Kelly!" Ryker said as he took hold of her hand. 
 
"He is so adorable," commented Katherine. 
 
"He can be," I laughed. Our family went on to discussing random topics as we watch the children run around. It was fun to see, and a nice change of pace for the boys and me. I wasn't worried about what was going on in Columbus. Actually, it wasn't even a concern. My boys were having fun, which meant I could relax a little. Only if it is short lived, I'm enjoying it. 
 
With  "the hunt" complete, the older children received their goodies basket while the younger ones began opening their eggs. By the end of it, Lincoln walked away with $35 and a few pieces of candy while Ryker got $40 but not as much candy. Jacob and Clayton each made out with $30, but had the benefit of receiving some treats from Ashely and Kimberly. All in all, it was a good start to Easter, and now with the game over, children were running all over the house, until lunch was ready. 
 
At 12:15, we called everyone into the kitchen for a buffet style lunch. My parents didn't have the dining room that I had so we all couldn't eat at the same table. However, that didn't mean much to us, as we had a kids table and an adult table. I first tended to the boys as I lined up behind Lincoln, Ryker, and Jacob, with Clayton in my arms. I didn't want another incident similar to the orange juice scene, so I was helping Clayton. 
 
"Can they sleepover tonight?" Ryker asked as he turned around to look at me. 
 
"I'm okay with it, but Christian and George need to ask their parents. But not right now, it wouldn't be fair to LJ, Ashton, and Jackson."
 
"When can I ask?" 
 
"How about after lunch, okay?" 
 
"When are we leaving again?" Lincoln asked. 
 
"Umm probably around 5ish. Why? You got a hot date?"
 
"What? No!" Lincoln giggled. 
 
"Alright then! Just have fun with everybody," I said as I set Clayton down and started putting food on his plate. 
 
"Can we go in the hot tub if they sleep over?" Jacob asked. 
 
"Maybe!" 
 
"What's about swimming in the lake?" 
 
"I don't think that one is possible," I laughed. 
 
"Um," Jacob tried to think of one more question. "What about, umm playing knee hockey?" 
 
"We will see," I chuckled and made our way to the drink station. 
 
"I can pour it!" Clayton happily said.
 
"Oh no," I said as I set his plate down and tousled his hair. "Not happening!" 
 
"Please!" 
 
"What happened last time?" 
 
"I dropped the orange juice," giggled Clayton! "I won't drop it this time, I promise!" 
 
"How about you hold the cup, and I pour the drink?" 
 
"Okay! Root beer please!"
 
"You're funny... how about lemonade instead?" 
 
"Fine," Clayton said as I handed him the plastic cup. As a team, we didn't spill a drop, so I let him carry the drink to his table. After helping Clayton it was time for me to get food, so I went back and waited in line. 
 
The rest of lunch and the day flew by. Before I knew it, it was time to start packing up the car. The boys successfully convinced Kelly and Tom to let Christian sleepover but had an unsuccessful attempt getting George to spend the night. Although we did run into a small problem, as we had two cars and the boys were fighting over who was riding with me. It wasn't that they didn't want to ride with Rita, but instead, they wanted to ride in the new car. Anyway, we decided on a game of Rock Paper Scissors to ride with me, which resulted in a win for Lincoln and Christian. Once that was all sorted, we said our goodbyes, then made our way home.
 
"This car is sick," Christian said as he was in the front seat. 
 
"Yeah," I chuckled, "it's pretty cool. Here, let's turn on your massage seats." 
 
"What?" 
 
"Yeah," I laughed and hit the button.
 
"What? Lincoln, you know this car does this?" 
 
"Yeah," Lincoln giggled! "Look back here." 
 
"What are those?" 
 
"I don't know! But they are cool, it like hides me from other cars," Lincoln spoke as the sunshades rolled up. 
 
"It's mainly to block the sun, bud, but I guess it gives you some privacy too," I spoke. "Although my favorite thing about the car... it's fast!" 
 
"Faster than the Ferrari?" 
 
"Oh no, not that fast, but she's got the power!" 
 
"Hit it!" Lincoln said. 
 
"No, we don't want to lose Rita," I laughed. "Once we get closer to home, I'll step on it." 
 
"Okay... what are we doing when we get home?" 
 
"I think someone mentioned the hot tub." 
 
"Oh... can we watch a movie too?" 
 
"Yeah, can we?" Christian added. 
 
"Maybe, depends on what time we get home. It'll be pretty late." 
 
"Please!" Lincoln pleaded
 
"I said maybe, Lincoln." 
 
"You said we can do anything I wanted once we got back home. That was the deal!" 
 
"You're right, but if we get home at 12, there will be no hot tub or movie, just bedtime. Now like I said, maybe, okay?" 
 
"Fine," he fired back. 
 
"Knock off the attitude Lincoln, or I take Christian home, and we won't have any sleepover!"
 
"Okay okay, I'm sorry. Just don't want to go straight to bed when we get home." 
 
"We will see! Now Christian, grab my phone and play some music!" 
 
"Alright," Christian laughed and went on to play music! With Christian playing music and Lincoln in the back, the drive wasn't too bad. About halfway through, Lincoln had fallen asleep which gave me some time to talk with Christian. 
 
"So what's new kiddo?" 
 
"Umm, nothing really." 
 
"Yeah?" 
 
"Yup!" 
 
"How was school the past week?" 
 
"Uhh... actually not too bad. The bullying hasn't stopped, but it's less."
 
"Any reason why?" 
 
"I don't know... the soccer team has stopped, but they still aren't really talking to me. And Ricky, Houston, and Donovan are still suspended." 
 
"Who are Ricky, Houston, and Donovan?"
 
"The idiots that I have most of my classes with, they're stupid anyway." 
 
"Why were they suspended?" 
 
"I think for bullying. But not just me, they pick on a lot of kids." 
 
"Are more people talking to you?" I asked. 
 
"Yeah, a little. It's mostly girls talking to me, and none of my friends have said anything to me." 
 
"They aren't true friends." 
 
"Yeah... I don't know," Christian spoke. "You know what's funny though... when others find out you like boys, it attracts more girls to me." 
 
"What do you mean?" I chuckled. 
 
"More girls have started talking to me than ever before!" 
 
"Oh... and what do they say?" 
 
"Most feel bad for me and apologize for the bullying and stuff. Some have told me I'm too cute to be gay, and others just ask me about my day and stuff." 
 
"Hmm interesting," I laughed. 
 
"What?" 
 
"Nothing... I just find you funny." 
 
"Why?" 
 
"Because you are!" 
 
"Adrian says the same thing." 
 
"Oh does he? What did you guys do after school last week?" I inquired
 
"We just hung out and played video games, we didn't even kiss!" 
 
"Well, that's good!" 
 
"I... I kind of wanted to though." 
 
"What stopped you?" I asked. 
 
"I don't know, didn't want to push anything... guess it didn't feel right."
 
"Well, like I've stated before, don't rush things. Take it at your own pace!" 
 
"I know I know!" Christian spoke, as he looked on my phone for the next song. "You like J Cole?
 
"J Cole? Umm honestly bud, I don't listen to him much." 
 
"Oh, well I like him!" 
 
"Put one of his songs on then!" 
 
"I'm looking," Christian responded. I'm not sure what song he played, but the beat was good. 
 
"Have you heard from Austin at all?" 
 
"Yes... He texts me like once a week." 
 
"What's he say?" 
 
"I don't know... it's different every time." 
 
"Give me some examples." 
 
"Give me a second," Christian said as he dug for his phone. "I'll read you some of the messages." 
 
"Alright." 
 
"So I never reply, this is just him... umm okay, so he sends me a lot of 'hey, what's up' messages. Sometimes they are worse, like this one. He texted me, 'I did you a favor, now we can...' umm... am I allowed to  swear?" 
 
"Yes." 
 
"Okay okay, so he said,  'I did you a favor, now we can fuck! I know you still want me.' And-and my favorite one he sent me is this, 'I'm sorry I told people, but it's better everyone knows. You don't have to be afraid to do stuff with me anymore. Let's just fuck and get it over with.' So yeah, he is still annoying me." 
 
"So he hasn't sincerely apologized?" 
 
"No, not really," Christian responded. 
 
"That kids a fucking idiot, block his number." 
 
"How do I do that?"
 
"I can do it once we get home." 
 
"I found it! That was easy!"
 
"You going to block him?" 
 
"It's already done, see!" 
 
"Good, you don't need people like that in your life." I added, "he only cares about your body and how you can pleasure him." 
 
"I know Uncle G!" 
 
"Good, and this Adrian kid seems nice so far," I spoked. 
 
"He is," Christian replied. "Like super nice!" 
 
"Well, I'm happy for you." 
 
"Thanks...umm, Uncle G? You ahh,  you think Lincoln would be mad about Adrian?" 
 
"I don't see why he would?"
 
"I don't know." 
 
"Yeah you do, come on... spit it out, you have a reason behind that question," I said.
 
"I don't know, I love Lincoln, and I don't want to hurt him." 
 
"You love him as a family member?" I added, "I don't ever see how you could possibly hurt him then. Being around him and having your support of Lincoln and his brothers are way more important to him. You're like Lincoln's big brother Christian. Actually, you are like all of the boys' big brother! I don't see him being anything but happy for you." 
 
"He's gone through so much, I just don't want him to be upset." 
 
"You know, you really are a special boy." 
 
"What do you mean?" Christian asked. 
 
"You are more concerned with the well being of your foster cousin than your own self. If that doesn't speak for your character as a good human being, I don't know what will... You've gone through so much in the past month yourself. Yet, you are looking out for Lincoln."
 
"Yeah, it's weird." 
 
"What is?" 
 
"I... I don't know, can we talk about something else?" 
 
"Of course," I chuckled. "I do have one question." 
 
"What?" 
 
"Are you going to tell Lincoln?" 
 
"I think so, maybe when he wakes up." 
 
"Whenever you want!" I said, "or if you even want to." 
 
"Yeah," Christian returned, and we listened to some music. The rest of the ride we talked about random nonsense, but it was a fun drive. With about 30 minutes until we reached home, Lincoln woke and Christian took the opportunity to talk to Lincoln. Their conversation was rather short but positive! Lincoln was very happy for Christian, although he did have some questions for him. However, they weren't in a negative manner but instead, from a curious 11-year-old that questions his sexuality. 
 
Anyway, the conversation wasn't anything significant, which was a relief for Christian. We arrived back at our home at 10:25pm. A little later than I would have liked, but that was because we stopped for fast food. Once we were settled in, Rita said her goodbyes and left us. 
 
"So," I said as I took a seat on the couch. "We can watch a movie, or you guys can go in the hot tub, which one will it be?" 
 
"I don't know," Clayton yawned as he jumped on my lap. 
 
"I think it's past your bedtime bud," I said poking him in the ribs. 
 
"No," Clayton responded. 
 
"I think so, it's been a long day for you. Did you sleep in the car?" 
 
"No!" 
 
"Then come on," I said as I stood up with Clayton in my arms. 
 
"But I don't wanna go to bed," Clayton fussed. 
 
"We are heading upstairs, you can tell me all about the hockey game you went to." 
 
"I don't want to," Clayton responded, and I knew his grumpy attitude was coming from his tiredness. 
 
"It's bedtime bud, say goodnight to everyone." 
 
"Night Clay," Lincoln stated.
 
"Nooo," Clayton replied as he started crying.
 
"Oh yeah, it's definitely bedtime," I thought but spoke to Clayton, "Come on, I'll lay down for a few minutes." 
 
"But I don't wanna!" He bawled as he rested his head on the top of my shoulder. 
 
"I know you don't, but everyone else is going to fall asleep too!" 
 
"I... I.... wanna." 
 
"Shhh," I said as we started our way up the steps. "Sleeping in a onesie?" 
 
"No." 
 
"No? How are you sleeping." 
 
"I'm not." 
 
"Uh huh," I said as we reached the top of the steps. "I think a onesie is a good choice!" 
 
"No!" 
 
"Why not?" 
 
"I'm not going to sleep!" 
 
"Alright kiddo, you've got two options here. You can go to sleep, or you can fuss all night long, but if you leave your room, you'll be grounded from electronics and even hockey lesson."
 
"Nooo," Clayton cried and stepped into his room. 
 
"Hey, I'm giving you the choice Clay. Now let's get these off," I said as I pulled the shirt off his body. "You want to wear underwear or not?" 
 
"No underwear," Clayton quickly responded.
 
"Alright, let's step out of these!" I stated and removed his pants and underwear. I then went to his dresser to pick out a onesie for him. "Blue or the red one?" 
 
"Blue." 
 
"Okay." 
 
"Do I have to go to bed?" 
 
"No you don't have to," I said as I went back to Clayton and started putting the onesie on him. "Although you know the consequences if you don't." 
 
"But." 
 
"No buts, now give me that arm." 
 
"Please." 
 
"Clayton... don't test me," I stated as he put his last arm in and I zipped him up. 
 
"Fine," he angrily stomped to his bed. 
 
"Want me to lay down for a little?" 
 
"No, I want you to leave," Clayton answered. 
 
"Alright, love you buddy, goodnight," I said and placed his clothes in the laundry basket as I walked out. Now usually, I wouldn't find Clayton's attitude acceptable, because it wasn't. However, I knew he was tired, and I let it slide. Before heading back downstairs, I made a quick stop in my room to change into my sleeping outfit. Once I was in the family room, the remaining boys had decided on a movie to watch. 
 
"Before we play this movie, I want you guys to go get ready for bed. You'll most likely fall asleep on the couch, so go get into pajamas. 
 
"Can we be naked?" Lincoln asked. 
 
"Sure, if you want to," I assured the boys. 
 
"Yes!" Ryker said and began stripping. He was already underneath a blanket,  so all I saw was clothes flying from underneath. 
 
"I think I'm gonna go to bed," Jacob stated.
 
"You don't want to watch a movie?" Christian inquired.
 
"No, I'm tired." 
 
"Alright buddy," I said as I got a hug, "want me to tuck you in?" 
 
"Umm... yeah, please?" 
 
"Of course! Boys you guys can start the movie without me," I said and went back upstairs with Jacob. Once we were in his room, he got ready for bed. Within 10 minutes of being up there, he had fallen asleep. I was have tempted to stay in bed with him, but I went downstairs to join the others. 
 
Once I reached the family room for the second time, I noticed the boys had taken all the couches. This wasn't a big deal, I just grabbed an extra pillow and blanket from the closet to lay on my side on the floor. To no surprise, I saw Ryker's little white tushie jump in front of my sight, before laying down next to me. Since I was on my side, he adjusted his body to mine as he backed his bum into my stomach and laid his head on the pillow. 
 
"Comfortable?" I chuckled as I pulled the blanket over him to cover his nudity. 
 
"Yup, but can you scratch?"
 
"I knew that was coming." 
 
"Love you!" Ryker stated as I began to rub his side and stomach. 
 
"Love you too," I replied and gave him a squeeze. 
 
"Shh," Lincoln called out as he was trying to watch the movie. I'm not sure what the film was, but I have no idea what was happening. Although I didn't really care, I was tired and actually dozed off. 
 
Around 2:30 I awoke somewhat disoriented and confused. It took me a second to realize I was still on the floor. I had Ryker smushed against me, I mean his dick, was literally poking my hip. Although, I was too confused to worry about Ryker's boyhood, as I tried to gain my senses. Nothing was wrong, but after waking from a deep sleep, I quickly looked around to see Christian and Lincoln asleep on the couches. Noticing that they were okay, I rolled Ryker to his side so I could stand up. Once I gained my balance, I picked Ryker up and took him to his room. I was leaving Lincoln and Christian to sleep on the couch as there was no point in moving them. 
 
With Ryker in his room, I checked on Jacob and Clayton only to see them fast asleep. I returned to my bed, where I had no issues falling into a deep slumber. 

Part - 3 

Monday wasn't going to be our typical Monday. The boys had no school, no appointments to attend to, and Rita had the day off. Besides taking Christian home, we had no plans. So, the day was going to consist of what the boys wanted to do. Although, the first task at hand was waking them up and getting them fed. It was eight o'clock, and I went downstairs to start cooking. I rummaged through the fridge to find bacon, eggs, and sausage links. It's was just enough the feed them, or at least I hoped so. 
 
With the aroma of morning breakfast filling the air, the boy's started waking. First up was Lincoln, who stretched his arms and let out a morning bellow. 
 
"Morning to you too," I laughed from the kitchen. 
 
"Huh?" Lincoln replied as he rubbed his eyes.
 
"I said good morning!" 
 
"Oh, morning. Why am I down here?" 
 
"You fell asleep on the couch." 
 
"Did we finish the movie?" Lincoln asked as he stood up. 
 
"I don't know, I fell asleep in the beginning." 
 
"Oh," 
 
"But if you're asking me if you finished the movie... probably means you didn't," I laughed.
 
"I think you're right!" Lincoln giggled.
 
"Yeah... why don't you put some underwear on." 
 
"I will," Lincoln returned as he scratched his stomach on the way to the bathroom. 
 
"Alright, we are having bacon, sausage, and eggs," I said as I heard a stream of water coming from the bathroom. I must admit, I didn't care to shut the door when I was his age either, but now that I'm older, I could do without the sound.
 
"Okay!"
 
"Should be ready soon." 
 
"Good, I'm hungry !'" Lincoln replied as he finished up. I thankfully heard the sink turn on, then Lincoln walked back into the kitchen. "I think I'm going through puberty." 
 
"Oh? You think?" I laughed. 
 
"Yeah! It's not funny! I'm getting more boners." 
 
"That doesn't mean you're going through puberty." 
 
"How do you know?" Lincoln asked as he fiddled with his cock.
 
"Well for one, I went through puberty. Two, having more erections does not mean you're starting puberty. Three, I don't believe you even hit the first step of puberty." 
 
"How can you tell?" 
 
"Usually, the first signs of puberty are pubic hair, which by the looks of it, you have none. 
 
"Nope," Lincoln said as he ran his hand over the skin of his pubic region.
 
"And the other sign is the enlargement of your testicles." 
 
"Testicles?" 
 
"Your balls," I laughed. 
 
"Oh... well I don't think I'm anywhere near puberty then... I've got small balls!"
 
"They are just normal, don't worry about it," I chuckled.
 
"You think?" 
 
"I know," I said as I put cups on the table.
 
"Love you, Garret!" Lincoln said and gave me a hug on my way to the stove.
 
"Love you too, now go put some undies on, and wake your brothers up, please!" 
 
"Can't we be naked?" 
 
"Not at the table." 
 
"Alright," Lincoln replied as he walked over to the couch and grabbed his underwear from last night. 
 
"Please put on a new pair too." 
 
"Finnne!" Lincoln answered as he began to make his way upstairs. With Lincoln waking his brothers, I went over to Christian. I slowly tapped his shoulder and started to wake him up. After a minute or two, he was up and moving. Luckily Christian threw his underwear on before standing up to use the restroom. Once he relieved his blather, Christian sat down at the table and waited for the food.
 
We were joined by everyone else, just as the eggs had finished. I brought the food over, and the boys went to town, they didn't leave one piece of bacon. 
 
With the boys fed, my next task was coming up with something to do. Apparently, they heard of this new indoor park, which had mini golf, go-karts, and a trampoline park. Not only did it sound like fun, but it would get some of the energy out of the boys.  With our game plan set, everyone got dressed, and we went to the indoor park. It was about a 45-minute drive, and we were actually close to Christians house. Depending on how long we spent here, determined if I would drop Christian off. However, the long drive was worth it, this place was massive. It had more than the boys told me, so no doubt would we be spending more time here. 
 
We started off with mini golf, and to explain what went wrong, would take years. To make a long story short, Clayton was atrocious at mini golf but insisted on taking ever shot until he made it. I think he had ten strokes just on one hole. Jacob and Ryker kept on hitting their ball into the water trap, while Christian and Lincoln encouraged it. Once mini golf was over, I released a sigh of relief. I almost wanted to go home, that's how excruciatingly painful the experience was.  However, it got better as the day went on. The boys played laser tag and climbed the rock wall multiple times. To finish the day off, they spent an hour or more doing flips and tricks in the trampoline section. Unfortunately, we couldn't do the go-karts because the boys weren't old or tall enough to drive besides Christian. 
 
After leaving, everyone was hungry, so we stopped at a BBQ place for a late lunch. At this point, the whole day flew by. We dropped Christian off after eating and went home. Once we got back, the boys had free time to do what they wanted, which included watching tv, playing knee hockey, and playing video games. 
 
Before long it was dinner time and then bedtime. We started our nightly routine and by 9:15, I had Clayton in bed. My next stop was Jacobs room, and he quickly went down for the night.  I made my way to Ryker's bedroom, where I was going to ask about his dream. 
 
"Hey!" I said as I entered, "you all clean?" 
 
"Yeah!" 
 
"Good!" I stated as I sat down on the edge of his bed. "Did you have a fun Easter with everyone?"
 
"Yes, Pittsburgh is epic! Well, grandma and grandpa's house is epic!" 
 
"Yeah," I laughed.
 
"But I think I like having people at our house more." 
 
"Why is that?" 
 
"Our house is bigger!" 
 
"Yeah, anything else?" I chuckled as I started to scratch his head. 
 
"We have more things to do too. And-and, I don't know, I like it here." 
 
"Nothing wrong with that, although sometimes it's nice to go stay with family. You get to see new things!" 
 
"I guess." 
 
"Yeah! So you happy to be back then?" 
 
"Yup!" 
 
"Good," I said. "So umm, I know you don't want to talk about this, and we don't have to, okay? But, I'd like to know what's going on with your dreams. I know you had one at grandma's house and you've been having them at home too. So I'm open to listening when you're ready to tell me!" 
 
"Uhh... do I have to?" 
 
"No, you don't! I told you we don't, and I meant it. Although I think it could help you?" 
 
"How?" Ryker inquired. 
 
"Well... usually if you talk and think things over with someone else, whatever is scaring you... becomes less scary." 
 
"It's just a stupid dream." 
 
"Well, I'd love to hear about it." 
 
"Do you really want to?" Ryker asked. 
 
"Only if you want to tell me." 
 
"Okay," Ryker said as he pondered what he was going to do. "So umm it's like... umm... I, I don't really want to talk about it, Garret. You might get mad at me." 
 
"No buddy, I won't, I promise." 
 
"Okay." 
 
"Hey," I said as I placed my finger under Ryker's chin and turned his face to look at me. He had tears in his eyes, just about to run down his face. "If you don't want to tell me, it's okay, but I would love to help." 
 
"O... okay," Ryker said. "So umm... umm I'm in a car with you, and umm Lincoln, Ryker, Rita, Christian, Aunt Kelly and Clayton is there too. And it's snowing outside, like really bad. I'm looking out the window and-and something hits our car causing it to flip over and stuff. I don't know whats happening, but when we stop flippin',  I'm standing outside the car looking at everyone. It's... it's like your all dead. No one is moving and..." Ryker started to cry. "I try to talk to you but-but you don't respond, you don't do anything. Not even move, its so scary." 
 
"Aww buddy," I said as I lifted his upper body into my lap.
 
"And- and people start taking you away and-and everyone else too. It's just me, by myself, with no one. I'm sitting on the ground crying in this like... umm red snow, and... and then I am in my old home." 
 
"Yeah?" 
 
"Look... looking at mommy on the ground. And seeing-seeing all the blood.  Mommy isn't moving either, but-but I try to... like look away, and  I can't move. So... I start to scream, but then I wake up." Ryker said as he finished telling me his dream.  
 
It took me a moment to process what he had said to me, but I tried to comfort him. "Hey, it's okay buddy," I said as he was crying. "How long have you been having this dream?" 
 
"A... a while." 
 
"Is it the same every time?" 
 
"Yes..." 
 
"I'm so sorry buddy, umm," I spoke as I wanted to ask him some more questions. However, with it being so late I didn't want to push the limits, but I felt I needed to ask this one question. "Did uhh... you see your mother that night I found you? Like did you go upstairs, when you weren't supposed to?" 
 
Ryker looked up at me, and cried, "yeah. I went upstairs to see what was happening." 
 
"Umm... was linc... never mind," I said as I didn't want to question him, at least not at this hour. "We can talk about this tomorrow, okay?" 
 
"You're mad aren't you?" 
 
"No, not at all," I said and kissed his head. "I wish you would have told me sooner, I feel bad that I haven't been here to help you." 
 
"I'm sorry," Ryker replied as he turned over and wrapped his arms around my waist. "I... I thought you'd be mad." 
 
"No buddy, never," I answered as I rubbed his back now. 
 
"Can... can I sleep in your room?" 
 
"Absolutely" I answered, but he didn't move right away. Instead, we laid like this for a few moments as Ryker let a few more tears out. Throughout this process, he never let go of our hug. He just squeezed tighter and tighter. 
 
"I'm sorry," he whispered. 
 
"Don't be sorry, bud. It's okay, but it's getting late. Let's try to get to bed, okay?" 
 
"Okay," Ryker said but didn't move. 
 
"Hey, we gotta go to my room," I said and kissed the top of his head. "Go use the bathroom one last time, while I say goodnight to Lincoln." 
 
"Okay," Ryker responded and slowly started to move. Once he was up, we walked to his bathroom, and I went to Lincoln's room. I said my goodnight to him and then met Ryker in my bed where he was already under the covers. I crawled into my spot, and Ryker cuddled against me. It didn't take long for him to fall asleep, but I, on the other hand, was a different story. It was a relaxing weekend away from stress, but it was thrown right back in my face tonight. I didn't see much sleep for me tonight, not while I processed everything.
 
 
To Be Continued.....

Author Notes:

Thank you for reading and following the story! Always enjoy hearing from readers!
   
***DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT ABUSING CHILDREN. IT IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS. IT HAS AN EVERLASTING EFFECT ON PEOPLE***
 
Third and final, the destinations, streets, events, and locations are made up. I use Columbus as a nearby city, but I'm unaware if the addresses listed are real or not. All scores and games are made up in my head. However, most teams are real.