Patrick led Walker to meet Jim and Zac at their truck. They were puzzled by the older boy walking with their son. When the boys got to the truck, Patrick introduced them as he got in, "Dad, Papa, this is my new friend Walker Jenkins. He's the starting quarterback for our junior high football team."
"New friend, eh?" Jim asked. "Nice to meet you Walker. How'd you become friends?"
"Not much to tell," Walker started. "There's this autistic kid who was being picked on. His classmates know that I don't like bullies, so one of them came to get me. When I got there, Patrick was already telling the bullies to leave Gabriel alone and I felt like we should be friends."
"That's the Patrick we know and love," Zac said.
Patrick was blushing a bit, but told them, "Walker wants to learn how to ride horses if his parents let him. I told him that you were the best trainer I know, Dad."
Jim shook Walker's hand, "If your parents let you, come out to the ranch. We charge twenty-five dollars an hour, but I promise, you will know the basics in that time."
"Is that plus the horse rental?" Walker inquired.
Jim replied, "No, we believe that you can't learn without the horse, so we include that in the price."
Walker explained, "I won't mention which ranch, but my parents were going to let me get lessons elsewhere until the owner quoted the price."
Zac looked at Walker, "What was their price?"
"They wanted thirty dollars an hour," Walker said, "and my parents were willing to pay that until the owner said that it would be an additional twenty an hour to rent a horse."
"What?" Zac almost squealed, "That's crazy since you can't learn without the horse."
Jim smiled and reiterated, "So for half what they wanted, you can learn at Another Chance. You know where that is?"
Walker nodded, "I was at the rodeo to see Patrick win for that boy with leukemia. Any idea how he's doing?"
Patrick smiled before saying, "I talk to him every day. Right now, he's being homeschooled because he was so sick, but he's wanting to come back to public school. He's in remission and the doctors believe he should be able to come to school after Christmas."
"That's good to hear," Walker grinned. "Well, I gotta run, but I will try to see you tomorrow."
Saturday morning, Patrick was happier than ever to help Jim with the horses. Thinking that he was losing the pleasure made him appreciate it more, and Jim seemed happier than usual as well. "I can't tell you how much you helping me means to me," Jim said.
Patrick responded, "I'm just glad that I'm not grounded so that I can. I'm thinking that might have been the worst part of the punishment, well after you agreed I can go to martial arts class."
Jim laughed, "Most people consider this work, but you enjoy it."
Patrick gave Jim a grin, "Trust me, I know it's work, but it's also good exercise, I get to take care of these beautiful animals, and I'm spending time with my dad. The only way it could be more pleasurable is if Papa were out here helping us."
"And I am," Zac responded, causing Patrick to jump. "Jackson's minding the office so I can help you. Walker called and asked if he could come train at nine. His parents not only agreed to let him come but once he told them the price, they said they would pay for it."
Patrick grinned and said, "Cool."
They had just finished taking care of the horses and Walker's parents parked their car. They got out with Walker so they could pay for the lessons and meet the instructor. Walker led them to the corral. When Jim saw them approaching, he was a little surprised, "Officer Jenkins, it's nice seeing you under less stressful circumstances. I'm guessing Walker is your son. You raised him right."
Jenkins looked at Jim, "Likewise, but I'm off duty today, so please, call me Dennis. As for Walker, Melissa and I did our best, but we have no complaints. Are you the instructor who'll be teaching him how to ride?"
"I am, unless you prefer someone else. Joe's here as well," Jim answered. Joe heard his name and came over.
"Jim told me that Walker Jenkins was coming today, I was wondering if he was related to you, I guess you answered that," Joe said smiling.
Dennis Jenkins grinned, "Yeah, he's my son. Listen, either one of you works for me."
Walker looked at his dad and then Joe, "No offense, Joe, but Patrick is my friend, so I would like for Jim to train me."
Joe nodded, "I can understand that. It's nothing against me, so I'm not offended. Jim is a good instructor, better than me, I think."
Jim added, "Since I'm moving into management, Joe has been doing most of our training. I still do some training, but we consider him as our main instructor. And Joe is better than he thinks he is. I wouldn't want to challenge him as to who's better."
"Well, if you ever can't teach me, like maybe I come out and you're with someone else, I can work with Joe, but when I can, I would like you," Walker stated.
"That sounds acceptable to me," Joe agreed and then went to find Buster.
"We'll be back in an hour," Dennis Jenkins announced. "Do I pay you or go to the office and pay?"
Jim answered, "Either one works. If you prefer to pay at the office, you can, or I can accept your money and take care of it for you."
"And it's only twenty-five dollars?" Dennis clarified. "Nothing extra?"
Jim explained, "That even includes the tax. Jackson wanted to make it as simple for everyone as he could."
"I have a few buddies on the force talking about their kids wanting to learn. I'll send them your way," Dennis averred as he handed Jim forty dollars.
"I don't have change on me, but I can get it by the time you return," Jim offered.
Dennis smiled, "The extra is for you."
Jim shook Officer Jenkins' hand, "Thank you, I had a feeling it was since I saw you had a few fives, but I didn't want to assume. And it was nice meeting you, Mrs. Jenkins, even if we didn't give you a chance to talk."
"You heard Dennis, it's Melissa. I believe Walker is in good hands, we'll see you in a bit."
Jim and Patrick worked with Walker, teaching him the basics from grooming the horse to the different paces of the horse. Patrick showed Walker how to light touch the horse's neck with the reins and even how he could steer the horse with his legs. Patrick added, "Some horses, you can give voice commands to and they respond. Dad's horse you can tell where you want to go and he'll go directly there."
"I was talking to the Kennedys last night. I told them what Patrick did for Gabriel and they said they bought their house from you," Walker claimed, "I suggested that they bring Gabriel out here, but they are reluctant since he has Asperger's."
Jim agreed, "Weird, they've been here before, I wonder if something happened. It might be a good idea to bring him out. Asperger's is a form of autism and I hear that autistic children do well with animals. You should try again and suggest that."
Walker smiled, "I didn't know that, but I will."
Jim asked, "The hour is almost up. Would you have a problem with Patrick finishing up with you so I can get four horses ready for my ten o'clock appointment? If so, Patrick can get the horses, I'll just need to saddle them, but I can do that while watching you ride."
"I think I have the basics down, just like you said I would. Patrick can give me some pointers while you prep the horses, or I can help you prep as part of my training."
Patrick shook his head, "Nope, not until after you've groomed your horse. It's your way of thanking him for letting you ride." Jim smiled as he went to get the horses for Matt.
Walker looked at Patrick, "Since your dad left, I guess you're the boss. Do we do like we did at the start, only taking the saddle off instead of putting it on?"
"You got it, Dude," Patrick said grinning.
Dennis and Melissa parked their car just as Walker was coming out of the barn. They walked over to Jim, and Dennis asked, "So, how did my son do?"
Jim answered, "He did as I expected. I told him that he would know the basics, and he does. All he needs now is time to hone his skills. If he continues taking lessons for a couple more weeks, he'll hone them faster, but he can ride and hone them as well. The difference in cost is five dollars."
"Ask a simple question and I get an honest answer without a lot of double talk. Walker, would you like to continue with lessons?"
"If it means I will improve, yes please," Walker replied.
Turning to Jim, Dennis asked, "What time works best for you? I understand that you're normally tending to the horses at this time."
Jim responded, "I usually am, but we can work around it. On Saturdays, I have appointments from ten to eleven and from two to three. Then I'm off at four unless someone calls to book something. Sundays, the truck comes at eleven and everyone helps unload it. Then we close at noon on Sundays."
Dennis surmised, "So noon on Saturdays sounds like a good time. It gives you an hour after one appointment and an hour after before your next appointment."
Jim concurred, "That sounds good to me, and then after Walker has completed a couple more sessions, if he wants to just ride, he can either go by himself or he's always allowed to ask any employee to ride with him. We do close to general riding the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but the horses do still need exercised, so I'm sure we can make arrangements for Walker to ride if he wants."
"What about Patrick, would he be able to ride with me?" Walker asked.
Jim grinned, "Patrick's not an employee, but I wouldn't have a problem if the two of you went riding. Patrick has his own horse, so it wouldn't cost any different."
The Jenkins left and Jim started wondering if Matt and Gina were going to show. Matt usually calls if he can't make it, but here it was a quarter after ten and he wasn't there yet. Jim was about to start removing the saddles when he spotted Matt's truck pulling onto the lot.
Matt got out and went around to help Gina out. Six months into her pregnancy, Jim thought she looked due any minute. Matt quickly apologized, "I'm sorry we're late but the doctor visit ran an hour longer than we expected and I left my phone at home."
Jim was concerned, "I hope everything is alright."
Gina laughed, "With me, yeah, but poor Patrick Henry had numerous tests done to verify the results. He was right before me and they called my doctor in to confirm the results."
Patrick looked sad, "He's still in remission, isn't he?"
Gina gave Patrick a hug, "I'm not sure, but the doctors seemed surprised and the family were not sad when they left. The doctor told them that they'll run more tests in a month and if everything still looks good, he can start going to regular school."
Patrick hugged Gina and started crying, "Thank you, I hadn't spoke to him yet today, but you had me worried."
"You mean spoken," Jim corrected.
"I said 'spoken,' but my mouth was dry and you couldn't hear my 'en' sound," Patrick clarified.
Jim acknowledged, "I can understand that. I was surprised when I didn't hear it."
"I heard him, just barely, like he was choking back a cry as he spoke," Gina stated, while caressing Patrick's back.
"Hey, your baby just kicked my head," Patrick laughed.
Jim laughed, "Maybe he was jealous of you hugging his mommy."
After the day at the ranch was done, everyone went home to get ready for Chris's party. Jake and Patrick wore their green and red western shirts. Zac wore a green western shirt and Jim decided to go with the theme and wore a red one. All four wore black Levi's. Patrick smiled and said, "I'm not sure if we look hot or cool."
"In this instance," Zac chuckled, "I think both apply." Patrick nodded in agreement.
They arrived at the party and found Chris dancing with Chelsie. The couple stopped dancing so Chris could welcome his guests. "I'm glad to see you. Jim, I was wondering if I could borrow your car to take my driver's test in a week. I just completed my Driver's Ed. Class, and I figure a car would be easier to use than Dad's or Joe's SUV."
Jim inquired, "My car is a stick shift, can you drive using a manual?" Chris looked down so Jim added, "I'd be happy to teach you, but you might find Mom's car easier to use since it's automatic."
"She's working when I take my test," Chris stated, "so unless she and Dad switch vehicles…"
Heather interrupted, "Your dad and I already discussed that. Chris, you can use my car for your test."
Chris looked sheepishly at her, hugged her and said, "Thanks Mom."
Jim put his arm around Chris, "If you want to learn how to drive stick though, I'd still be happy to teach you, then once in a while, you might be able to borrow my car to take Chelsie out on a date."
"I'd like that," Chris grinned. Most of the night, Chelsie stayed with Chris, but she also gave him space to speak to his guests without her. Occasionally, he would call her over and introduce her as his girlfriend, but that was mainly to those that didn't already know. They were sitting down and Chris looked at her, "You know, you don't have to stay away when I talk to my guests. I have nothing to hide from you."
"I know you don't, but I feel like I would be smothering you if I was with you the whole time," Chelsie answered.
Chris responded, "I like being with you. If I ever feel like you are smothering me, or too clingy, I will politely ask you to give me some space. In the meantime, would you like to dance?"
Nick looked at his son and said, "I'm sorry Chris, but your date promised me this dance."
"Yeah, I did, but you can have the next one," Chelsie offered.
"OK, I'll see if Mom wants to dance," Chris agreed.
There was lots of dancing and Chris received lots of presents. Heather and Nick surprised him with a 2009 Chevy Cobalt SS coupe. Nick told him, "The car has to stay in Mom's and my name until you turn eighteen, but she's yours. And she'll be easier for you to take your test in."
Chris started to cry, "Thanks Dad and Mom, I love you so much. And Mom, I won't need your car to take my driver's test now."
Heather chuckled, "No, I guess you won't."
Jake handed Chris the present from Jim, Zac, and the boys. As he handed it over, Jim grinned and said, "If you want to learn to drive stick, I'll still teach you, but I don't think you'll need to borrow my car."
Chris opened the small package, "Oh wow, car insurance for a year. Thanks, guys." Joe gave Chris heated seat covers and a two-hundred-dollar fuel gift card. Chris thanked him as well. Chris laughed, "I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that everyone in this family knew I was getting a car except me."
Nick confessed, "Yeah, they all wanted to help us pay for the car and get you a newer model, but I said with this being your first car, and remembering what happened to Jim's first car, this one was good enough."
"A newer car would have been nice, but yeah, this car is awesome and I appreciate everything," Chris concurred. Chelsie gave him a kiss and a pair of gloves. Chris received gifts from Jackson and Ryan, Vince and Marilyn, and Colt as well. Chris seemed truly happy and loved.
Wednesday morning, Jake knocked on Jim and Zac's door. He told them that he was worried about Patrick. Jim found the boy getting sick in his and Jake's bathroom. Jim asked, "Are you alright, Bud? Do you want to stay home from school?"
Patrick shook his head, "No, I can't miss school. I'm just nervous since Sean returns to school today."
"Are you sure," Jim inquired. "Let me feel your forehead." Patrick went over and Jim stated, "Yeah, you feel normal. I can understand you feeling nervous, but you talked with Davenport, so I don't think you have anything to worry about. I hope he doesn't try hitting you, but remember what I told you. And if you don't feel like you can block him, there's nothing wrong with removing yourself from an obviously dangerous situation."
"I'd rather him punch me and get it over with. I know he's bigger than me and it may hurt, but if I run, I'll worry about him until he corners me," Patrick cried.
"I can understand that, and you are right. I just don't want you getting hurt," Jim admitted.
"I just hope he doesn't hit me in the face," Patrick chuckled. Jim gave Patrick a hug.
Patrick was at his locker before going to homeroom. He heard a familiar voice behind him, "Yo Bolt, I warned you about if I got in trouble."
Patrick turned to see Sean approaching him. "Sean, I didn't say anything to Davenport to get you in trouble, but if it'll make you feel any better, do your worst," Patrick said, trying to hide his fear.
"What, so you can duck and maybe I hit the lockers this time?" Sean asked.
"You have my word; I will not duck and I'm not about to run from you. I'd rather you hit me and get this over with," Patrick stood lifting his head.
"Sean!" Patrick heard another familiar voice. "Patrick is my friend, and if you lay a finger on him, you will answer to me."
Patrick pleaded, "Walker, please. This once, just let him hit me. You can't protect me forever and if Sean must hit me, I'd rather get it done now."
"No, I can't let him do that. He's nothing but a bully and I will kick his ass if needed," Walker stated.
"Please," Patrick begged.
"Forget it, you're not worth getting expelled over, but you have guts," Sean stated and walked away. Patrick started to cry and Walker put his arm around him. A teacher saw Patrick crying and walked over. "What happened?"
Walker explained, "Sean Williams threatened to hit Patrick, and Patrick told him to do it and get it over with. Sean just walked away, stating that it wasn't worth getting expelled."
"Why did he want to hit you?" the teacher asked. Patrick told the teacher what had happened and explained how he and Sean received punishment for the incident. He told her about Sean's threat. After hearing Patrick's story, the teacher exclaimed, "I will talk to Mr. Davenport about this."
"He's not going to hit me in school, do you have to?" Patrick asked. "I don't want Sean to get in any more trouble."
The teacher insisted, "I will explain that Sean didn't hit you, but yes, I must inform the principal. Now, both of you, get to homeroom before you're late."
Patrick was sitting in homeroom and he heard the announcement, "Will Patrick Bolt and Sean Williams, please report to the principal's office."
As Patrick entered the principal's outer office, Sean was already there. Patrick immediately explained, "Honest Sean, I didn't report this. There was a teacher who saw us and I begged her to not say anything."
"I didn't touch you, and as long as you are honest with Davenfart, everything should be fine," Sean advised.
Much to Patrick's surprise, the principal called both boys in together. He looked between them. Sean sat quietly with his head down. "Either of you care to explain?"
Patrick spoke first, "Sir, Sean saw me in the hallway. I told him that if he wanted to take a swing at me, I wouldn't duck or run. I didn't want to keep looking over my shoulder worrying about him. Sean said that I wasn't worth getting expelled over and he wasn't going to hit me, then he walked away."
"Sean?" Davenport asked.
Sean responded, "He pretty much summed up the situation of this morning. He has my word that I will not hit him on school grounds."
"Good," Davenport said, "but I did notice that you said 'on school grounds.' Does that mean you plan to hit him away from school?"
"To be honest, I don't know," Sean answered. "He's a gutsy guy and a stand up dude. He could have lied to get me expelled, but he was honest. I understand that he's not the one who said anything to get me in trouble, so perhaps it's best if I just forget about him."
Patrick sighed and his nerves started calming down. Davenport gave a quick nod, "Yes, I think that would be best. Both of you may return to class. I'll write out your passes." He handed Sean his first. Sean went out the door as Davenport wrote Patrick's. "Did Sean threaten you in any way to say what you said?"
"He just told me to be honest, that's it," Patrick averred.
"I'm glad. One thing I can tell you about Sean, he has always, to my knowledge, been true to his word. I seriously believe that you no longer have anything to worry about with him."
At lunch, Scott asked Patrick why he was called to the principal's office and if he got in trouble. Patrick explained everything to him and how Sean said that he wasn't going to hit him. "Do you believe him?" Scott asked.
Patrick replied, "Principal Davenport said that as long as he's known Sean, Sean has always kept his word, so yes, yes I do."
Walker walked over and asked if he could sit with Patrick and Scott. When they let him, he asked Patrick about this morning. Patrick sighed and explained it all to him.
Walker remarked, "So Sean said that he wasn't going to hit you, so that's good to know. It doesn't mean that he won't bully you though. Look at that kid that hung himself in California. The bully kept his distance but still bullied him."
"Yeah, his name was Kennedy, wasn't it?" Scott asked.
Walker nodded, "It was, and speaking of Kennedy, Gabriel's parents are considering bringing him to the ranch this weekend. I told them what your dad said and they would like to see if it's true with Gabriel."
Patrick smiled, "That's cool. I'd love to see how Gold reacts to him."
Walker asked, "If my parents will let me, can we maybe go riding after my lesson this Saturday?"
Patrick beamed, "Sure, we can ride to the lake, so bring swimming trunks, that is, unless you want to skinny-dip. The lake is awesome." After saying it, he regretted mentioning skinny-dipping. Seeing a hurt look on Scott's face, he suggested to his "unofficial" boyfriend, "Maybe you can come out Saturday, too. Walker's lesson will be over at one."
Scott almost cried, "I can't, we're going out of town this weekend."
Patrick felt bad. "I'm sorry I suggested it, but you do know that you're the only one I'm interested in that way, I hope." Scott nodded his head, but didn't say anything. Patrick looked at Walker, and again suggested, "Bring your swim suit."
Patrick and Scott finished their lunch and took the trays over to the counter. As they walked to their lockers, Patrick whispered, "I'm so sorry for suggesting skinny-dipping. I hope you know that Walker and I are just friends. I didn't mean to hurt you."
"I know, but I think Walker wants more than just a friendship. You don't notice the way he looks at you?" Scott asked.
Patrick shook his head and said, "What do you mean?"
Scott whispered, "I bet you head that he's gay and wants to be your boyfriend."
Patrick had a disgusting look on his face, "You'd actually do that?"
Scott smiled, "Only if I'm wrong. But if I'm right, you have to do it."
Patrick thought for a minute, "I don't even know if Walker is gay or not, but we are just friends. You're on." The boys kissed to seal the bet.
Heading towards his class, Patrick saw Sean picking on another boy. He ran over to him and shouted, "Leave that boy alone! Walker was right, you're nothing but a bully."
"Yeah, well at least neither of my parents are faggots," Sean replied.
Patrick sneered, "I'd rather have gay dads any day then be a worthless bully."
Sean gave Patrick a funny look, "Did you just call me worthless?"
"If all you're going to be is a bully, then yeah." Patrick clarified, "You have to pick on other kids younger than you to make you feel better about yourself, that makes you pretty worthless in my book. You can be better than that, Sean. Instead of being a bully, stand up to them. Make yourself proud, make your parents proud."
"Ha, make my dad proud? That'll be the day," Sean scoffed. "You have no idea of what it's like at my house."
Patrick thought Sean needed a hug, but he was afraid of what Sean would do if he gave him one. He replied, "From that comment, I think I have some. I'm sorry, Sean."
"Fuck you," Sean said and left. It was then that Patrick could see the boy Sean had been picking on was Gabriel Kennedy.
"Thank you, Patrick," Gabriel managed to get out before heading to class.
Last period, Scott and Toby approached Patrick. Toby said, "Is the rumor true?"
Patrick inquired, "What rumor?"
Toby spoke, "After lunch, someone walked into the bathroom. They found Sean Williams crying. He said that you called him worthless."
Patrick was surprised, "Oh wow. I told him that if all he was going to be was a bully, then he was worthless." Patrick continued and told them what all was said.
Scott grabbed Patrick's hand, "Maybe he needs a good friend to make him feel better about himself. It seems obvious that he's not getting encouragement from home."
Once the class was over, Patrick and Scott were headed for the door. Principal Davenport called out, "Patrick, may I see you in my office please?"
"Yes sir," Patrick responded. Then he asked Scott to let his dads know.
When the principal escorted Patrick to his office, he saw Sean in there with his face in his hands. "Sean, I'm sorry for what I said. You're not…"
Sean cut him off, "You should never apologize when you are right. I am worthless. My dad tells me that every day."
"You are not worthless. If you need a friend to help you see that, I'll do my best. You have so much potential," Patrick explained.
Sean cried, "Seriously? I picked on you, you caught me picking on that boy, what's his name, and you're still willing to be my friend?"
"On one condition," Patrick averred. "You can't be a bully. You don't need to be one to make you feel good about yourself."
"I have one condition as well," Sean said. "I won't pick on another kid for a week. If you don't convince me that I'm not worthless, then you leave me alone."
"Can you make it until Christmas? You might need a lot of convincing; after all, you've gone this long being convinced you are worthless," Patrick gave Sean a smile.
"You are a gutsy kid. Fine, I will give you until the last day of class before Christmas break. I won't be a bully for that long, but if you can't convince me that I'm not worthless, you leave me alone," Sean agreed, much to Patrick's surprise.
Principal Davenport smiled at Patrick before speaking, "I'm glad to see things are looking up here at school. You can imagine my surprise when Sean told me that you were the one who caused him to cry. I sincerely hope that I don't need to call either of you into my office again."
As they were walking out the door, Patrick was surprised to see Jim, Scott and Walker waiting on him. "Dad, this is Sean. He's my new friend."
All three were surprised to hear Patrick say that, but Jim was the one that spoke, "Sean, as in the boy who threatened to kill you?"
Sean got nervous, "I'm sorry. I should have never said that. I can honestly tell you that your son is the gutsiest and most stand-upish guy I know."
Jim smiled, "I think that should be most upstanding, but I get what you mean. All I can say is, Zac and I are very proud of him."
Sean looked at Patrick, "Your dad may be a fag, er… I mean gay, but I think I would rather have a gay father than one who tells me I am worthless."
Jim shook his head, "You are not worthless. If your dad is telling you that you are, then he is abusing you emotionally."
"Sean," Walker began, "If you stop being a bully, you could put that energy into football and I'll show you that you're not worthless. Maybe your dad will even see that you aren't."
Sean swallowed a lump and said, "I already promised Patrick that I would stop at least until Christmas break. If he can prove that I'm not worthless, I would stop altogether. But, it doesn't have to be him that proves it."
"Then come with me to football practice," Walker suggested. "We start in twenty minutes."
"Seriously, isn't the season almost over?" Sean asked.
Walker replied, "We have two games left. We have to win both if we want to make the state playoffs. You can help us do that, I believe in you."
Sean agreed, "Yeah, sure, if you don't mind having me on the team."
That Saturday, Walker's training went very well. Afterwards, he and Patrick went for a ride to the lake. There was a dusting of snow on the ground so they both agreed that it was too cold for swimming. They sat on the shore and talked. Patrick asked, "So, did Sean join the football team?"
"Would you believe that he scored the winning touchdown last night?" Walker answered, grinning.
Patrick was amazed, "Seriously? Hopefully, THAT helps him realize that he's not worthless. I'm glad."
"Yeah, he claimed that he thought about joining the team before but his dad convinced him that he was no good and worthless," Walker explained. "He's really good and said to tell you, he doesn't need to wait and you were right. You helped bring a bully around. I could kiss you."
Patrick gulped, "Ummm, Walker, are you saying that you are gay?"
"I am," Walker admitted. "Seeing how you have two gay fathers, I hope that doesn't bother you."
"No, I am gay, too," Patrick confessed, "but just so you know, I'm in love with someone."
"I sensed that you were gay," Walker stated. "I'm guessing that the person you are in love with is Scott."
Patrick replied, "I can't say, it's not my place to out anyone."
Walker smiled, "You wouldn't be outing Scott. My gaydar tells me that he's gay. I had a feeling that you were attracted to him, but was hoping. I really, really like you, Patrick, but I won't ask you to cheat, but if the two of you break up before I find someone, I'm here. I would love to be your boyfriend."
"Dang," Patrick exclaimed.
Walker looked a little confused, "What?"
Patrick responded, "Scott told me that he thought you were gay and wanted to be my boyfriend. I told him that we were just friends and he bet me on it."
Walker smiled, "I think he won the bet. What do you owe him?"
Patrick gave a sheepish grin, "I'd rather not say. It's a little embarrassing and personal."
"OH!" Walker was a bit surprised, "I'm totally guessing, then that maybe it's something along the lines of sex, maybe giving him head? It is, your face just told me everything."
"What? How?" Patrick was surprised.
Walker answered, "You started turning red, dude. Have you ever given head before?"
"Ewww," Patrick commented. "No way, he pees out of it."
"True, but that's not the only thing that comes out." Walker went into detail about giving head and the joy that both guys get from it. He explained different techniques and how to keep from gagging.
Patrick commented, "I'm glad that you told me all of that. I just thought that you sucked on it. I didn't realize that there was more to it than just sucking."
Walker winked, "And do Scott a favor and swallow. I'd love to demonstrate, but I think you and Scott should stay true to each other."
Patrick concurred, "Yeah, I agree."
Thursday was Thanksgiving. When Jackson asked who wanted to start with what they are thankful for, Patrick volunteered. He said, "I am thankful for so much. As you know, my family was killed in a car accident, but I gained two of the best parents a guy could wish for. I love you Dad and Papa. I also gained an adorable little brother. Then I met Scott and I hope we eventually become boyfriends. We both think we are too young for them now, but once we start dating, he is the one I want. I also made a friend of Toby Maelstrom. He started out being a jerk and ended up a great friend. Then I can't forget Patrick Henry and the horse that he gave me. He's still in remission, by the way and the doctors are optimistic for the first time since he was diagnosed. In school, I also met Walker and Sean. Walker is proving to be a great friend and well, Sean… He started out as a bully, but I think he's coming around. He made the winning touchdown last week and if they win tomorrow, our junior high will go to the state's junior high playoffs for the first time in a long time. Walker told me that Sean finally feels he is worth something. Sean told me that his dad actually watched the game and for the first time, told him that he was proud of him. Other than losing my parents, this has proven to be a great year."
Everyone agreed and then told what they were thankful for. Jake's was simple, "I'm thankful for being adopted by Daddy and Papa. And I also have the bestest big brother ever."
"I could argue with you on that," Jim claimed. "Uncle Joe is almost two months older than me, and he may be tied with Patrick on the 'bestest' big brother. But I do have the two best sons, ever."
Heather cleared her throat, "It would be a hard contest to put your two sons against my three as to who has the best. I am happy to claim all five as either sons or grandsons. Make that six, if I get to count in-laws."
"And I think I can speak for all six of us," Zac declared. "We all love you, Mom. Between our two moms, Dad, Nick and Jon, we have the best parents and grandparents that we could wish for. We have been greatly blessed with family and the best of friends."