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Life on the Farm

by Joe Writer Man

Chapter 13

Kevin was so happy with his frog. Surprisingly, he took good care of it... no, wait a minute - I had no clue how to take care of a frog... I'd seen them at the lake back home, but I'd never been charged to care for them... I had just watched them, and, more often than not, I'd just heard them do their 'frog' thing. You know, the croaks and stuff.

Kevin was quite upset when 'mom' and 'dad' took me into the house so we could sit down at the big solid oak table that centered in the dining room. The thing was huge. 'Dad' was quick to point out that the table had belonged to his great grandmother, and had been passed down through the ages... you know, to his grandparents, then to his parents, and after their deaths, to his family. The table was where they held all important discussions. The table, itself, was kewl. It had handmade engravings on the sides that were beautiful. 'Dad' had been quick to point out that the furniture was made during the olden days when people took pride in and gave love to their work.

Though the house was old, it was well kept. The bare wood floors were shiny as glass... that stuck with me the most. The, I don't know what to call them, area just beneath the high ceilings were engraved. 'Dad' saw me looking at them, he said, "Those are hand engraved. My great grandfather built this house with his own hands. Oh, he had help. The town came together and helped him and his new bride to have a house of their very own. Later, great grandpa would help countless other people in similar ways. There was a period of time when he had the only combine, so, he went around and pulled in their crops. They gave and took. There never was any price tag on their love of community. That's how we are here, James."

I shrugged my shoulders, slightly nodded, then turned my attention to 'mom', "That's right. We help out here. I hear that you don't take handouts... well, let me tell you something, you're going to have to learn differently..."

The first words I spoke the entire time, the adults were doing all the talking, "I'll earn my keep. Just show me what I have to do." Oh, by the way, Adam, Tony and Seth had waited outside while we 'talked'.

"Don't worry about that, James. You'll be assigned chores. You'll get chores the other boys have already done and know how to do. It's hard to do something if you don't know how to do it. I'm going to add something that mom hasn't said, yet, sorry, honey, if you'd rather tell him..."

'Mom' looked to her husband. She looked at him much differently than my 'old' mom and dad looked at each other. There was peace in their eyes.

When the moment between them passed, then she turned to me and said, "About handouts... what you receive is not handouts... what you do is to share your moments when you can, and then pass it on. When someone else needs some help, or someone to talk to, then just be there for them. Do you see where I'm going with this?"

I nodded, suddenly realizing her point. I'd never been in a situation like that, not that I knew of, anyway. My muscles relaxed just a little bit... I was really nervous, my hip hurt, not because it was broken or anything, the doctors said it was healing just fine... no, my muscles were tight, and I needed to pee really, really bad.

I said my next few words. I felt safe asking them, "Uhm, ma'am, where's your bathroom? Can I use it?"

"Dan, would you show him where it is, please?"

Dan looked to me, outstretched his mammoth arm. I got up, but, instead of taking his offer, I stepped back so that he could lead the way. We walked through a large living room. It was warm and cozy appearing, not like the cheaply built houses of the day. When we got to a stairway leading upstairs, he said, "The bathroom is at the end of the hall on the right. Be sure to wash your hands afterward."

Patiently, slowly, but not wasting any time I ascended the stairs, saw the bathroom at the precise location he had instructed. I quickly took care of business, washed my hands then headed back down the stairs and into the kitchen area where everybody was seated at the table.

"Thank you." I said meekly, not wanting to draw any attention to myself. I probably wouldn't be staying there anyway, so I didn't want to get too friendly, but, then again, I didn't want to fuck things up... I was confused.

Then 'mom' turned serious, gone was her smile, she said, "James, there is something special about you to make that little boy turn to you. He's never turned to anyone in this family for the year he's been here... I've never seen him that happy before, ever. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

"Uhm, I didn't do anything special... he just came to me... I don't know."

Dan quickly said, "No, James, you didn't DO anything. We've done a lot of things to bring him around, stuff that you wouldn't understand... so, no, his reaction is something you did... as my wife said, there's something special about you... and you didn't even have to say a word. You are just being you."

"I guess..."

"You have a friend for life, James. Whether or not you stay, and it is totally up to you, that little boy will adore the ground you walk on... if you don't want to come back then please say so, now. That little boy has been through so much..."

I nodded, and for the first time, smiled just a little bit, as I thought about how he'd jumped into my arms... and kissed my cheek... and then showed me his pride and joy – a frog. I said, "He loves his frog."

They both snickered. I looked up into their eyes, first hers then his, from that spot on my jeans that I'd been paying close attention to.

She said, "Dan, why don't you go show him around. Be sure to take his friends with you guys. I'm going to get lunch started. We'll be eating at 1pm, don't be late. I'll make a plenty, James. Your friends are invited. Please tell them so. Dan, make sure they know they're invited. Now, run along and let a woman do her work."

"Yes, ma'am. Come on, James, we'd better get out of here. We'll see you later, honey." Dan said then kissed his wife with his arms around her. They looked so different from each other. She wasn't much taller than I was, maybe 4 or 5 inches taller, but, he towered over her, yet, he was so gentle... quite unlike my 'old' mom and dad.

I shuddered at thinking how 'they' had sloppily kissed, pawed each other, and oftentimes took it to their bedroom and fucked their brains out, not giving one shit that I was around. On those times, I usually went outside so I didn't have to hear 'it'.

They released each other. Dan said, "Are you ready for the grand tour?"

A warmth spread over me. I didn't know what that meant, really. Oh, I'd felt it with Adam almost all the time... but, still, it was foreign. As he walked toward the door, once again, he extended his arm. When it made contact, I flinched away. I couldn't get too close... I didn't even know them... yet, I liked them... like I said I was all confused and shit.

When we got outside, Kevin, the little boy, once he saw me, took off on a dead run. I knew the drill, so I was better prepared to catch him. Seth looked up... he'd been sitting on the porch step, apparently keeping Kevin at bay so that his parents and I could talk without interruptions.

Seth, being the more open one of the two of us, said to Dan, "Sir, can I wash my hands. I forgot that frogs like to pee a lot."

"Sure, no problem. Inside the house, up the stairs, to the right, help yourself." To Adam and Tony he said, "I'm sorry... Vera will fix you drinks. She makes great sun-tea. I know she made 3 jugs for today. And you are all invited to have lunch with us, please. Young man, you are welcome to come with us as I give the grand tour of the place."

Seth looked to me for permission. I saw longing in his eyes. Behind his smile I also saw sadness. I thought that surely he felt left out of the process... I walked to him. Kevin jumped down, ran to Dan, raised out his arms. Dan quickly picked him up and slung him over his shoulder, which caused Kevin to squeal and laugh like crazy. That left Seth and me alone for a moment. I just felt it come on me... in front of God, Dan, Adam, Tony, and the rest of the world, if anybody was even looking, I took Seth in my arms, hugged him tight, looked deep into his eyes, and remained quiet. I didn't need to say anything, and he didn't say anything, yet we communicated our affections in a way we understood. I said, "I want to kiss you more than anything, but, I don't want to embarrass you."

Seth grinned, genuinely, picked me up off my feet (remember he's a good 5 inches taller than I was), hugged me tight, so hard, in fact, that my back bones popped, like that chiropractor had done to me.

Much to everyone's surprise and shock, Kevin wormed his way out of Dan's arms, then ran to us, and began hitting Seth with all his might, screaming and babbling in his baby voice, essentially, he was telling Seth to let me down, in no uncertain way.

Seth let me down. We both knelt down in front of Kevin. I said, "He's not hurting me, little one. He loves me. I love him. We're kind of like brothers. We'd never hurt each other, never in a million years." He was paying attention to each and every word I was saying to calm him down, to make him realize that Seth and I were okay. Not being one to give or receive affection, publicly, I leaned into Seth and gave him a quick kiss on his lips... not only to assure Kevin of anything, but, I also wanted Seth to know that he was still the most important person in my life. Kevin then reached his arms out to Seth, leaned in and kissed his cheek, and crawled into my lap. I, of course, put my arms around him, and squeezed until he squealed, playfully, of course. He then kissed my lips, just briefly, and then, he surprised everybody observing... he reached over and kissed Seth's lips, full on.

After that, they were fine. He just needed to know that nobody was going to hurt anybody. I related.

Kevin then made a big deal of helping us to our feet. We let him. He needed to feel needed. And he showed me how it was done, Kevin style.

We looked to the adults. Adam was smiling. Tony was grinning, and well, Dan had this totally shocked look on his face, but then, the shock gave way to, what was it? Contentment. Yeah. Definitely. Contentment.

Jabbering a mile a minute, Kevin and Dan led the way through the farm buildings closest to the house. We walked past the chicken coop, then the goat pen. Dan said that another son, Luke, had taken to the goats, so that was his chore – to keep them fed and watered. He said we'd get to meet Luke later on, if we chose to stay until after they got out of school, that is.

I asked a few questions along the way. He answered them to my satisfaction, truthfully, and factually. When we got to the pig sty, he said that the number one rule around the farm was to be safe. He said that the pig pen was absolutely off limits to all the children. I asked him why they were dangerous. He said that they weren't dangerous, by nature, but they were dangerous without even intending to be. Their sheer weight was enough to crush a human to death, in a heartbeat.

Next, we went inside the barn. He explained that there were no animals in the barn because none were ready to birth, and none were sick. He showed us the stalls, and was quick to point out that the straw had to be changed each and every day, whether or not any animal was in there. He went on to explain that when an animal gets sick, then everything has to be ready to treat them.

He explained some other things about animal life, and that we were to always treat them with respect and dignity. When we walked outside the rear barn door, we were greeted by several horses standing off in the distance. He told me that if I were to join their family then I'd be given my own horse to take care of, ride, and be with. I'd never been on a horse, or even near one, in all my life. They looked intimidating, even from a distance. I then saw a horse off by itself, at the far end of the pasture.

Dan said, "That horse, he's dangerous. You are to stay away from him. At no time are you to be up close to him, and if you are in the pasture and he starts walking toward you, then you run like hell so you can get away. That horse has thrown me a time or two. And, Thomas, my oldest son, well, he got up on him, and then the horse threw him, too. Thomas broke his arm when he went down. Do I make myself perfectly clear?"

"Absolutely clear, sir. But, why is he like that?" I asked sincerely, looking out in the pasture toward the horse with no name, the one to be feared.

"Some animals are just angry inside. That horse was sired by mine. His mother and father are gentle beings."

Just then that horse reared up on its hind legs, then tore out, and circled the pasture, not once, but twice, and then it stopped about a hundred yards from us. He was eying me, no, he was staring at me, and I was staring at it. He then took off and ran to his corner where he began chewing grass, paying us no mind.

We then walked into the chicken coop. Gawd, that smelled like totally horrible... it stuck in your nostrils when you left. Dan, with an amused smile on his face, said, "You'll be helping Eric with his chores." Enthusiastically, I nodded with appreciation, not knowing what that would mean.

Just then we heard what sounded like a school bell ringing off in the distance. Dan said, "That's the dinner bell. We best be headed to the house. Vera doesn't like to be kept waiting. You boys go upstairs and wash up for dinner. We'll be right there."

When we were probably half way to the house, I turned around. Dan, Adam and Tony were talking. Occasionally, they'd look at us. Sometimes, once or twice, they pointed to us... somehow, I knew they were talking about me on some level.

Vera greeted us at the door into the kitchen. She made us take our shoes off, for fear of dragging 'nature nuggets' into the house. She shooed us off upstairs to wash up.

In the bathroom, I headed to the sink while Seth headed for the toilet, and very noisily dumped a load. The look in his eyes was pure relief. Finished washing my face and hands, I exited the bathroom and went downstairs while Seth took care of his business. Soon, he was downstairs. We sat down at the huge table, Vera said grace, and then urged us to dig in.

Ham steak, green beans (she made them good! Normally, green beans ain't on my top list of foods!), sweet potatoes, and corn with lots of butter. The butter tasted different than I'd ever consumed before so I asked her what it was … she replied it was "Real" butter, not some store bought stuff.

Then, to top things off, she pulled out an apple cobbler, dished it up and watched us all about pop because we were so full. As soon as dinner was finished, Dan excused himself to the living room, to his recliner... and within minutes, we heard loud snoring coming from that room. Kevin took off. Five minutes later, I got up from the table (after being excused... you have to be excused first), went to the door to the living room... Dan was sound asleep with one Kevin on his lap, asleep.

Much to my surprise, Vera came up, put her arm around my waist, smiled, patted my back then returned to the kitchen... I thought she was going to have a fit... she was saying such things, which all boiled down to "GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN!"

Sheepishly, Tony and Adam exited the house with me and Seth on their tails. When we were outside, she came to the door, stuck her head out, looked directly into my eyes, and said, "The kitchen is my domain... you men stay out of my way!"

Adam put his arm around my shoulders, "James, stay out of her kitchen. She's okay, what do you think?"

"I like it here. I can't put my finger on it... but... yeah... I like it here. Come on Seth let's go check things out..."

"You boys stay out of trouble. Don't get into anything, okay. We're going into town for a couple of hours."

After hugs were freely given and received, they walked toward the truck. On the spur of the moment, I ran to Adam, pulled him aside, away from Tony (I don't know why I did that... I just needed to talk to him for just a moment, alone), and said, "Adam, I really like it here. I hope I don't fuck it up."

Thoughtfully, Adam said, "Don't worry so much. You're going to be just fine, trust me."

With that, they took off. So did we. We took off for the barn. It was huge. I saw a ladder going up into a loft. Without hesitation, I headed for it, and slowly made it to the second level. There was hay all around. I had no idea why it was up there and not in the fields, but then again, I figured that maybe that's where they kept it for the animals who had to be inside while they got well.

Seth sat down on a bale, leaned up against the wall, and beckoned me to join him, which I did, in a heartbeat.

Wearing his perpetual radiant toothy smile, we leaned in together until our lips touched. It wasn't just any kiss. Tongues passed through those golden gates. Automatically, on auto pilot, naturally, and with abandon did our tongues go searching for tonsil tissues, and beyond. Without hesitation our hands began the age old ritual of exploring the male anatomy we carried around between our legs. Seth's rock hard cock severely tented out his jeans just below the zipper. Of course, I honed in on that not so little place. Then I unzipped his pants, and fumbled with the snap, which he quickly released. I stood him up then lowered his jeans to the floor, and then sat him down and gobbled down his maleness in one fell swoop, slightly gagging as his tool hit the back of my throat with vigor. I felt him begin to tense up, but I had other plans for him, so I released his fully engorged steel rod, reached into my pocket and retrieved the tube of cream, then lowered my pants to the floor and bent over that bale of hay, then Seth took over doing the most natural thing known to mankind.

Let's just say that my itch got scratched in a most satisfying manner. Sure, it hurt, a lot more than usual, but, the pleasure far outweighed any discomfort.

The sound of Kevin's jabbering sent us scampering for our clothes. No sooner had I put on my underwear when the sound of the barn door opening put us into overdrive to accomplish getting fully and completely dressed, and heading down the ladder.

"There you are... we were looking for you. Stacy and the boys should be home from school any minute. Why don't you come up to the house so you can properly meet everybody? Seth, you're welcome to meet my family... I hope you'll be able to come visit us. We've got plenty of room."

"Thank you, sir, I'd like that." Seth said, properly, mannerly. To me he said with a toothy grin, "Come on, let's go meet your family."

We wrapped our arms around each other, then followed Dan to the house. Now, I can't say we were perfect little angels, because we were playing serious grab ass. I'd grab a cheek (south of the border, of course), squeeze hard, and then he'd return the 'favor', though he was more careful than I was... he knew I was loaded with his nectars.

When we arrived at the house, I excused myself, went upstairs to the bathroom, took care of matters, pushed ample quantities of the cream inside my very, very sore butthole, wiped up the excess, then headed back downstairs after flushing the toilet, and washing my hands.

A school bus was seen at the far end of the road leading to their house. Three dudes and a dudette happily walked up the road, and when they saw us standing, waiting for them, they picked up the pace and soon were standing in front of Seth and me.

Dan and Vera joined us. Vera said to them while patting my shoulder, "This is James. He's the boy we've talked to you about. Next to him is his friend, Seth."

"Hey, it's nice to meet you." The tallest of the boys said, welcomingly.

"Yeah, it's nice to meet you, too."

Vera, caught herself, "I'm sorry. James, this is Thomas. He's our oldest. Next to him is Stacy, our oldest and only daughter. Eric, hi honey." Eric walked to his mother and embraced her warmly. With him next to her side, Vera introduced Luke. Luke smiled but didn't say anything. Ahhh, okay, Luke was the boy that had lost his voice, or was afraid to speak, or couldn't speak... my heart hung heavy at remembering what Adam had told me about him. His eyes, though dark, were inviting and warm. He looked at his mother, smiled, then took off for the house.

Stacy said, "It's nice to meet you, James. You're just another bozo on the bus around here. Excuse me."

"Stacy Lynn, that's no way to treat our visitors. You come right back here and apologize for your rudeness. There's no call for it, young lady."

Stacy, clearly annoyed, walked then stood in front of me. She said, "I'm sorry." To her mother she said, "Mom, I've got the cramps, can I go to my room, now?"

"Please apologize to Seth, then you can go, I'll be up in a minute." Vera said parentally (there's that word again – 'parentally'. Sheesh, do all adults talk like that?" I thought to myself).

"I'm sorry, you guys. I'm carrying the curse. Be glad you're guys and don't have to have the cramps every month." Stacy said apologetically.

I felt for her, even though I had no idea what she was talking about. I said, "Go take care of yourself, okay? We can talk another time, okay?"

"Yeah, another time. Please excuse me." She said then looked to her mother who nodded.

Thomas said, "Nice to meet you, James, and you, too, Seth. Mom, may I be excused?"

"Yes, your dad wants to talk with you." Vera said then turned it over to Dan who, by then, was standing next to her.

Dan said to Eric, "Eric, I want you to work with James. He's going to be here for a while longer today... just show him how you do your chores. He's going to be helping you, son."

"Okay, Dad. I need to use the bathroom." To me he said, "I'll be back in about 15 minutes, gotta go bad. See ya in a little while. It's nice to meet you, too, Seth. See ya in a few."

With that, he tore out, and dropped two of his school books into the dusty driveway. Immediately, I walked over and picked them up while he was on his way to the house, not looking back. I brushed them off, rubbed them on my shirt, and then handed them to Vera. She smiled warmly, thanked me for being such a gentleman, and then she surprised me. She put her arms around Seth's shoulder, and said, "You're a good friend to James. I thank you for walking his path with him. You're welcome anytime, young man. I need to go check on my daughter. Please excuse me."

She and Dan hugged then she took off for the house, leaving Thomas, Seth and I with Dan. Dan said, "Stacy's not always that rude. She gets like that during her monthly cycle. She has it bad during those times. Just give her some space. Come on, boys, you can wait for Eric on the porch, he'll be down in a little while."

About 20 minutes later, give or take a few, Eric came bounding out of the house. He'd changed into grubby clothes, and seeing that Seth and I were wearing good clothes, said, "You guys can't do what I'm doing... your good clothes, and stuff, but you can watch, if you want to … no, take that back, Dad wants you to watch me, so, come on."

When we arrived at the chicken house, Eric cautiously opened the door, looked inside, and then explained, "Sometimes a chicken or two will get out of their roost. Those fuckers have one hell of a fucking bite to them... just ask me how I know!"

Without waiting for an answer, he continued, "Come on in... the coast is clear. This is the most fucked up job there is, but, hell, somebody's gotta do it. Don't stick your nose anywhere close cuz they'll get ya. Get the fuck out of there Matilda... I gots to get your eggs... you bitch; you broke one, what a fucking mess." To me he said, "She's always breaking eggs... sometimes I think she hates being a girl... and she takes it out on me. Ya gotta get all the goo out or else they'll get sick and die, and well, that pisses dad off. No, not really, dad don't get pissed, but he really gets annoyed... yeah, he gets annoyed. Here, you hold the basket, okay?"

I reached for it, took hold and held it while Eric filled the basket with eggs. Once he was finished gathering them up he said, "This one is a freebie... you guys probably want to get out of here... these fucking birds like to play shit fights... and well... your clean clothes..."

Not waiting for an answer, Eric scrunched up his nose, retrieved the scoop and began scooping chicken shit from the roosts. I about gagged a maggot. Seth didn't look any better. We quickly made our way outside and closed the door, per Eric's instructions. I heard him cussing and raising hell, calling those fucking birds anything and everything other than dinner on the table.

Just then Dan came walking down the lane. For some reason, he looked none too happy. I pinched my ass cheeks tightly together. My breathing quickened. My throat tightened a little bit more than normal. Seth was feeling the same thing. His arm went around my waist. His hand gripped the muscle on my side.

When he approached us he said, "Good, I'd forgotten that you boys had your good clothes on. Around here, as we do our chores, there isn't any place for good clothes. I'll make sure you have coveralls and boots..."

About that time, we heard one very frustrated Eric exclaim, "You fucking, goddamn, filthy piece of shit bird... I'm gonna wring your neck and enjoy watching you fucking die!"

Dan chuckled, "Eric's been had again. Eric, are you okay in there?"

Using a much more subdued voice, Eric said, "Yeah, Dad. These birds... they're pains in the you know what!"

Dan walked away, chuckling.

Just then Seth started sneezing his head off. One after another. His face was getting puffy, and he didn't look very good... I took his hand and led him away toward the house. After sitting on the porch swing, I heard Seth's breathing... he was wheezing a little bit. Concerned, I told him to stay right there, and then I took off inside the house. Vera was sitting at the kitchen table, with Kevin on her lap; they were working on a coloring book. I said, "Ma'am, something's wrong with Seth... he's sneezing, wheezing, and he doesn't look so good..."

She got up, led Kevin to me. Of course, Kevin latched on like a magnet. Vera walked onto the porch, sat down next to Seth, felt his forehead, loosened his shirt, then leaned in and listened to his breathing, which had become worse, still. I sat on the other side. With worry in my heart, I asked, "Is he going to be okay?"

"I think he's got asthma... probably allergic... were you boys in the chicken house?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Ahhh ... okay, he's probably allergic to chicken feathers. I'll be right back."

Momentarily, she returned with a towel. It was very wet, too. It was slightly dripping water from the corners. She then wrapped it around Seth's head, paying special attention to make sure his eyes and nose and mouth were covered by it. She said, "This will help him. He's going to be okay."

Seth, meanwhile, reached for my hand. I took it and held it firmly. Vera noticed, too. She smiled warmly, "I'm glad he has a good friend in you, James. Good friends are hard to come by."

I said, "He's my best friend. I love him."

"Yes, child, your love is apparent. Seth, we're going to lead you into the house. I want you to take a bath. A bath will get the feather dust off of you. I'll look around for some clean clothes for you to wear home. Meanwhile, I'll wash these, and have them ready for the next time you come to visit."

True to her word, the bath (I used lots of soap, especially around his face and kinky hair, which I loved dearly) worked wonders. Other than very, very puffy eyes, he was breathing normally, and was no longer wheezing or sneezing.

While he was rinsing his hair under the faucet, I was washing his back, and couldn't help myself but to play with his butt. One finger 'accidentally' inserted itself, seemingly on its own volition. He resisted none whatsoever, in fact, he groaned a time or two when I went really deep inside, so, I backed up behind him, pointed my... directly... felt exquisitely a-okay... he hit his head on the bathtub as I... got... carried... away... lost in... the moment... no pain.

The Eric boy was at the door when we emerged. In one hand he held onto clothes for Seth while his other hand was holding his penis. Quickly, not even paying attention that Seth was wearing only a small towel to cover his man gland he pushed us aside, took off into the bathroom, whipped out his dong and let loose with a healthy stream pummeling the toilet bowl.

We were in a bit of a quandary... which bedroom would he change into his clean clothes? Eric said, "Change in here... I don't care... besides... I heard what you guys were doing... and it certainly was not washing your legs that caused the bump bump bump on the wall.. Sheesh. Get a room, or something."

Eric had never once let go of his tool, even after he'd finished taking care of business... instead, he fully turned toward us and began stroking it, with purpose.

Then he added, "I'm not too sure that dad would like some fruit cakes in our family.... without so much as a hesitation, he shucked off his pants and underwear, and his shirt, leaving him totally and completely bare ass naked. For an 11 year old he was quite sturdy in that 'department'.

I'd never thought about doing 'it' with anyone other than Seth...

Seth, being the older one, quickly said, "Put it away, save it for a real man."

With that said, Seth grabbed my arm and led us into the first available room down the hallway where he closed the door and began to dress. He said, "That's fucking blackmail, James. He's got nothing on us. You can let go of your dick just anytime."

I hadn't even realized I was holding it. The erection lying behind my jeans and underwear was clearly evident. Quickly, I rearranged matters down south of border so that it was pointed down, and largely out of sight.

Downstairs, the adults were talking around the large oak table, drinking coffee, and laughing. When we appeared, Vera appraised Seth's clothing and mentioned that they appeared to fit him just fine. Seth profusely apologized for the trouble he'd caused, and then thanked her for the clothes, and that he'd get them back to her just as soon as he could.

Tony looked at Seth, strangely... I can't think of any other words to describe the look on his face... Vera, sensing Tony's discomfort, quickly pointed out that Seth had asthma, likely caused by chicken feathers. Other than his still somewhat puffy eyes, Seth looked okay, and he was having no further breathing difficulties.

Eric came bounding down the stairs, then slid out the door after smacking my butt with his open hand. The contact somewhat stung.

Dan snickered, looking directly into my eyes he said, "Eric likes you. He's an ornery cuss. If your..." Dan looked to Adam then continued, "His weak spot is his ribs... why don't you boys go out and 'play'."

"Dan, you goof... these boys have their good clothes on... would you stop instigating things? God help me!" Vera said sternly, authoritatively.

I couldn't help laughing at their antics. Vera winked so that both Seth and I would see it, but in such a way that Dan didn't.

Adam rolled up his eyes, fended shock and surprise, but it was Tony who set the ball into motion when he said, "That sounds like an open invitation, boys."

No more than 30 seconds later, the ground in the front of the house found 3 boys wrestling, each searching for supremacy. Needless to say, Eric found himself flat on his back with two dudes fully and completely exercising against his weakness. Thanks, Dad. I only say that because Eric was a tough little kid. He didn't easily go down. In the end, we were all laughing and carrying on.

Once we got our breaths back in order, from out of the blue, Eric said, "So... are you guys queers?"

I'd never really even thought about his question before... I hastily replied, "I don't know what a queer really is... all I know is that Seth has been my friend when nobody else was. If loving him makes me a queer, then, well, I guess I am... even though I have no idea what a queer represents."

Seth added, when I rearranged my body so that it was backed up to him, "We're really good friends. James has probably helped me more than I could ever think about helping him... I lived all alone... well, I live with my dad, but, we don't have anybody my age around."

"But... James is much younger than you are... how old are you?" Eric asked curiously.

"I'm 15. I don't see what this has to do with anything... friends are friends."

"You have a big dick." To me he said, "Doesn't that thing hurt?"

I turned around and looked into Seth's eyes. Once I saw that he wasn't angry, I turned to Eric and said, "It's none of your business, really. About what you said when we were upstairs in the bathroom... I'm not worried... I'll probably not last here very long. I've been in the foster care system for a long time... they know how I am... how I run away... and how fucking lost this world is making me. If you want to tell them then go right ahead... it might save me the trouble of being kicked out."

Eric wasn't expecting that... neither was I, for that matter. Eric's expression changed from challenging to showing that my words could not have hurt any worse, had I kicked him in the teeth. I hadn't intended to hurt him. That was the last thing I wanted to do. Yet, something, deep down inside, told me that I needed to make a stand... I don't know what it was... maybe I was just tired of getting knocked around and made fun of. Maybe something that Tony, Adam and Seth had said all along caused me to utter those words...

Eric got up off the ground, brushed the grass clippings, leaves and dust off then took off for the barn, but, before he got too far, I said, "Eric, I'm sorry." He kept walking. I looked to Seth, kissed his cheek, got up and ran after Eric.

All Eric said, when I caught up with him, was, "Get the fuck away from me. Do whatever the fuck you want to." Then he turned to me when I put my hand on his shoulder. He reared back, and before I could do anything, he punched me hard in the gut causing the breath in my lungs to go away. I fell to the ground, trying to get my breath back... he kept walking toward the barn.

Seth came running, went to the ground, pulled me into his arms, and held on while I gagged and coughed, and fought off panic. He has a way with me... soon I was able to relax 'enough' to catch my wind, but that was short lived because I turned into Seth and began crying and saying how much of a worthless fuck I really was.

Thomas, the oldest, came running up to us, as did Stacy the oldest girl. The girl, Stacy, with anger and rage in her eyes, demanded to know what had happened, that she was going to get to the bottom of it.

I didn't say anything, but Seth did say that I'd been sucker punched, and why. I don't know why his words pissed me off… though I didn't know all that much about dealing with people, especially kids my own age… I did know that you don't rat people out.

My gut was sore, so was my hip... I'd fallen hard, yet, determination ruled... I got up with Stacy's help then took off after Eric, with them right on my heels. I didn't see Eric anywhere, including in the barn, through which door he'd run through. Then movement caught my eye, and it came from above.

Eric was standing on the edge of the barn loft, the same one where Seth and I had gone to by ourselves. Tears were rolling from his eyes... I saw the shiny droplets running down his cheeks... that's how I knew he was crying, trying not to. I knew the feeling.


"I'm getting dad." Stacy said gravely concernedly, then she turned and ran... at the same time, Thomas took off toward the loft at breakneck speed just as Eric poised to jump. Thomas got to him just in the nick of time because Eric jumped. They both went down with a sickening thud, with Eric on top. I walked, no, I ran to them. Thomas had his arms around the younger boy, and was trying to talk some sense into him, because the boy was threatening to get up and jump again.

Minutes, maybe only seconds later, I wasn't keeping track of time, Dan, Vera, Tony and Adam, Stacy, and Luke arrived. Kevin was in Vera's arms, and he kept pushing away to get to his brothers who were still lying on the dirt floor.

Dan grabbed Eric from Thomas' arms and then took him outside. I turned to go with them, but Vera said for me to stay put, that this was something her husband and Eric needed to work on – alone, just the two of them, for the time being.

Adam put his arms around my midsection then urged me to follow him. Tony took Seth into his arms. Seth was very upset, and so was I.

Adam led the way to the truck and got into the backseat and urged me to sit with him. He then shut the door, pulled me into his arms, and then I lost it, uncontrollably. Although suicide had passed through my mind a few times, I'd never acted on it... no, I didn't contemplate taking myself out when the car hit me... I just didn't care whether I lived or died, at that time.

A few minutes later, again, I wasn't keeping track of time, we heard a light knock on the passenger side window of the truck. I released myself from Adam's arms, reached across, and unlatched the door handle. The door opened. Vera jumped up in the seat, looked into my eyes, "Eric has some problems, James. His dad is the only one who can get through to him."

Seemingly automatic, she reached toward my face and wiped away remnants of tears from my face. She looked to Adam, "May I speak with James, please?"

"Sure. Are you going to be okay, James?" Adam said softly.

"Yeah. Is Seth okay?"

Vera spoke up, "He's pretty upset right now. We're all pretty upset right now. I'd like to talk to you... Adam can stay if you want him to. I just thought you and I could talk for a little while. We haven't had a lot of chances to do so."

Adam said, "I'll be around, James. I'm going to go check on Tony and Seth."

I nodded, turned around, gave him a hug, then he was off.

"You love Adam a lot don't you?" Vera said softly.

"Yeah, I really do. He can't be my Dad, though. I wish he could be... but he can't. I like Dan, though. I have good vibrations about him... I know things about people..."

"Yes, Dan is a great guy. He loves his kids. James, he's got a great big heart, too. There's more than enough room in his heart for you. James, you need to know something about us..."

I looked up and into her eyes. She continued, "That goes for the both of us, child. I know things about people, too. I'm seeing and feeling a very sensitive, caring, and good boy when I look at you. You're kind of lost right now, and I understand what you are going through, I've got two other children who got displaced in their early childhoods. Kevin... oh my gosh, that child... he tries to act so grown up in his little 3 year old body. He's just a baby. You reached him. I don't know how that happened... my human person cannot put it together. He's a whole different kid... in just a few hours."

"Uhm, I thought he was always like that..."

"Oh no, child. He usually cries, fusses, and he's a very strong willed boy. It's been, uhm, well, it's been difficult. But this isn't about him... not right now. Child, I've heard quite a bit about where you came from. I understand that your mother and father... treated you less than you deserve. I can't imagine them hating you. Sometimes... I hope I say this right... sometimes we're given more than we can handle. I want you to know that none of the way they treated you was your fault... that's adult stuff. Now, I can't make any promises that you won't get in some trouble along the way... you're a youngster learning his way in the world... I can promise you that you will not be beaten, and you will not be lied to. Likely, your mouth will get you into trouble... I don't know of any child that hasn't gotten into trouble with it – yet. You'll make bad decisions – this is the way we learn."

"Ma'am... I'm afraid. I kinda got used to doing things on my own..."

"And that will come in handy for you. Right now, though, I want you to concentrate on being a 12 year old boy. Being a 12 year old boy means that you will be finding things out about yourself... some of it will be very strange and foreign... sometimes you won't know which way to go... we'll guide you, but, your decisions will always belong to you. Dan is going to talk to you, too. He may not get to it today, but, he wants to talk to you. He will help you with your fear. Just listen to him... talk with him. He won't bite, promise."

"Uhm, can I go check on Eric? He scared me. I don't want anything bad to happen to him... are you going to give him... away?" I choked. I did NOT want to start crying, not in front of her... though I was having a hard time keeping that lump from cutting my air off... nobody, and I mean nobody, no woman had ever talked to me like she did... ever.

She was seeing right through me... that scared me even worse... I unlatched my door, opened it, and then got out of the truck, "I need to see Eric. Sorry."

"Me too."

She slid out of the truck, I reached for her hand to help steady. Once out of the vehicle, I closed the door, turned around, and there she was with her arms out open and reaching for me.

Although I didn't hug her back, I 'permitted' her to pull me into her bosom. She smelled nice... fresh and clean, and soft, even though she was rather thin and frail... lady like... that's it... lady like.

I took her arm in mine, so she wouldn't trip and fall on the stones we were walking on, and then we headed to the barn where everyone was still gathered. Kevin tore out and jumped into my arms the very second he saw me. I was ready for him. He kissed my cheek and I kissed his, then I walked us to where Dan, Adam, Tony and Thomas were standing, with Eric in their midst. Seth walked to me, put his arms around my shoulder and squeezed tightly.

Dan said to Eric, "Go ahead, apologize... it's the right thing to do."

Eric looked into my eyes, walked over, took my hand in his and shook it firmly, "I'm sorry for scaring you. I didn't realize... uhm, well, I'm sorry. Don't hate me, okay, please?"

"I don't hate you, Eric. You scared the hell out of..."

"James, we don't curse in front of women folk. Apologize to my wife and to Stacy, right now."

I looked to Vera, then to Stacy... Stacy had an amused look on her face... had she spoke anything, then I would just imagine she would have snickered... that I'd been called on the carpet, so to speak. I turned to Vera, looked directly into her eyes, "I'm sorry... my mouth..." She nodded. I then turned to Stacy – I nodded. She rolled up her eyes... Vera saw it, "You, young lady, have chores to do!"

Luke, the quiet one, did, indeed, snicker. That earned him a tense look from both Vera and Dan. Dan said to him, "You, young man, also have chores, now get with it. That goes for the rest of you... Eric, you, too."

"Yes, sir." As he passed me up, he kicked my foot with his shoe, snickered then headed to the chicken coop.

Dan spoke up, loudly, "Eric, you're cruising for another thrashing, now you get over here and apologize – again! That's no way to treat our guests!"

Eric quickly glanced up to his dad for only a split second before turning away. He walked to me and stuck out his hand, which I would later learn was a gesture of peace, "Sorry... my mouth gets me in trouble, too."

I took hold of his hand, then leaned into his ear and whispered so that only he could hear, "I'm gonna kick your ass."

He clamped my hand down like it was in a vice grip, smirked, and then very, very quietly whispered into my ear, "You and who's fucking army?"

Without any warning whatsoever, I yanked my hand from his massive grip, wrapped my arm around his neck, squeezed tightly, put my leg between his, and then together we went to the ground, and began wrestling for supremacy. Although my takedown was good, not having any experience, I found myself on the short end of the stick, more than once. To be perfectly honest here, he was kicking my ever loving ass, but, at the same time, I soon realized that no, we weren't angry, or anything bad like that... we were both grappling for success. Eric began laughing like crazy… I couldn't help but to start laughing myself… our laughing put ourselves in great peril… soon, we were quivering masses of protoplasm, rolling around on the ground, and not getting anywhere.

The final move was when he picked me up about a foot off the ground then slammed down his body causing my leg to twist and turn up underneath me. Shards of pain went throughout my entire body, but, it was quick. Sensing that I was hurt, he quickly released his hold on me, which gave me a moment's break… which permitted me to wiggle out, grab his neck, and reverse roles.

It was then, though, that I felt hands going around my chest and pulling me to a standing position. Eric grabbed my ankle and pulled hard, but then, I saw Dan gathering Eric up and pulling him away. Adam said, "Okay, that's enough. Relax."

Meanwhile, Dan was laughing, and at the same time admonishing Eric's aggression onto the visitor to the family.

Chuckling, Thomas said, "That's pretty good, there, James. The way I see it, it was a tie between the two of you, fare and square."

Dan snickered, looked to his wife, and deadpanned, "Vera, we're going to have our hands full with these two knuckleheads. Come on, boys, we've got chores to get done."

Adam spoke up, "Dan, we really need to get on the road. Could I speak with you and your wife, alone?"

At the same time, Vera walked to Eric and I and began fussing about our filthy clothes, sweat, gravel, sticks, and hay ground in and stuck every which way. Without waiting for any kind of answer, the best choice was to remain quiet as she brushed us both off at the same time.

I turned to Seth... he looked so all alone with his thoughts. I didn't know what to do. Thomas had mentioned that we should go to the creek for awhile... I hadn't yet seen it.

I looked to the path leading to the barn... Adam and Dan were walking toward it, obviously talking between themselves. Thomas said, "Mom, can we go to the creek for an hour, or so?"

"James, I want you to stay here. We need to get you cleaned up. Boys!"

I looked to Seth... he put his head down and headed to the truck. I said, "Seth, wait. I'm going with you. Sorry guys, maybe I can go check out the creek another time."

With that said, Seth took off running for the truck, opened the door, got in, and then slammed it shut.

What did I do? What did I say?

Eric put his hands on my shoulders then pushed me toward the truck. He said, "Go take care of business. We'll be here when you get back. Go ahead, it's okay, really it is."

I looked to each and everybody. Tony took my arm in his, then began walking us to the truck. I said, "Tony, can I have a few minutes alone with Seth? I don't know what I did... he's my best friend."

Tony replied, "Call if you need me, okay?"

I nodded affirmatively. He stopped and patted my back. I took off for the truck, limping all the way though it was not the first thing on my mind… getting to Seth was my priority, be damned anything else.

The truck wasn't locked so I got in and closed the door... it was hotter than hell in there. Seth was rolled up into a ball. He didn't even look up when I sat down beside him.

I put my hand on his side, squeezed firmly, "Seth, I'm sorry. Can we get out of here? Can we go somewhere so that we can talk alone? I don't know what's happening; seriously I don't."

Seth unfolded, sat up, put his arm around my neck and said, "I don't know what I'm feeling… I'm afraid…"

I swiveled his head so that I could look into his eyes, "I'm scared shitless, too." But, I wasn't so frightened that I didn't see what was passing through his eyes. I leaned in and touched his lips with mine.

He nodded then began pulling strands of hay from my hair. He leaned in and kissed me tenderly, then reached across, unlatched the door handle, and then urged me to exit. He followed.

My arm went around his waist. His went around my shoulders. I shuddered as a muscle spasm took hold. His grip tightened, "You hurt yourself, didn't you?"

I shrugged my shoulders, tilted my head sideways, "Sort of... but it's not the end of the world... the doctors say I'm healing up okay..."

"Yeah..." Seth contemplated for a moment then added, "James, can we talk about this later... I'm happy for you. Let me think about it... we can talk about it tonight when we get home, when we're alone and don't have to go anywhere, okay?"

"Okay... deal. Seth, are we kewl?"

To answer my question, he replied while taking the hem of his shirt to wipe my forehead, "Yeah, we're kewl… let's go get something to drink, can we?"

In no uncertain terms, Vera told me to go take a bath because I was filthy dirty, which I was, but, I was going to wait until we got 'home'... so I went upstairs, took a bath... the bathwater was like mud when I got finished. I found some Comet in the vanity cabinet, cleaned the bathtub spic and span... no clean clothes... not really feeling uncomfortable around there, I wrapped the towel around my midsection, exited the bathroom, and found Vera coming out of a bedroom with a change of clothes, which she handed to me. She grinned at seeing my predicament – the towel was small, not big and fluffy like Adam's... I was holding the towel with both hands. She found that incredibly funny... "One more bare butt around here is no big deal... but, here, I'll put these in the bathroom so you can change... give me your dirty clothes... you're coming back, right?"

"Oh yes, ma'am... if you'll have me... I mean, well, you know... if everything works out... yes, ma'am." I said then looked to the floor with the thought I'd overstepped inviting myself to be with them.

"Oh child, you're welcome here anytime... goodness gracious. You've been hurt child... every kid needs a home to grow up in. You'll see. Okay, I'm going to set these clothes on the sink... dinner's almost ready."

"Thank you, ma'am. I'll try to be good, but, I'll probably mess it up."

"Now, don't you go running away, boy. That'll get you on our bad side... why, Dan'll have to tie you to a fence post..."

"Tie what to a fence post?" Dan said as he hit the top landing, looking at his wife.

"Oh, this boy thinks he's going to mess things up... why he's already talking about it..." Vera said seriously.

"He is, is he?"

In the flash of a second, I found myself up on his shoulder, being carried like a sack of potatoes to a room down the hallway. I was squealing... and I was mortified, too, as I felt cool air fanning my naked ass, and then the towel dropped to the floor, and out of my grasp. Shit.

He then tossed me onto the lower bunk of a bunk bed, with me squealing all the way. He turned and walked out the door. In a minute he was back and began throwing clothes toward me. Then he smiled, "Get dressed, boy. Don't keep Vera waiting." He then exited the room and closed the door behind him.

"I can get used to this." I thought before getting dressed and heading downstairs where everybody was gathered around the large oak dinner table in the center of the room.

Adam smiled and urged me to sit next to him in an empty chair. With him on one side and Seth on the other, Eric led Grace, and then food went around the table, and then we enjoyed a huge plate of pork chops, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, green beans, and iced tea. Desert was some kind of spongy bread with some kind of pudding or something dumped all over it ... I'd never had anything like that... and well, it didn't look all that appetizing, but, it tasted hella good, and I even had seconds.

After dinner, Thomas asked permission to take me down to the pond and show me around. I looked to Seth, smiled, and then everybody was ready to go. I was warned about cow pies, to side step them lest I get a great big scolding from Vera for tracking shit, literally, into her house. I sidestepped successfully. So did Seth. And so did everybody else.

When we arrived, things suddenly went extremely tense... Thomas pushed Eric up against a tree, got directly into his face, and then said, with every ounce of strength in his body, "You ever do that shit again, I'll knock your head off... do you hear me? You've got just as much right to suck air around here as I do. We love you, Eric. When the fuck are you going to realize that, huh? What the hell … do you want to see people staring down at you in a coffin, crying their eyes out because you quit on us?"

Stacy looked at me, "That's the second time he's pulled that shit. Are you going to do it, too?"

Seth spoke up, angrily, "He don't quit. And I better not hear that you do that shit again, Eric. I'll come down here and kick your fucking ass..."

I'd never seen Seth say those words, or saw him as angry as he was right then.

He continued, "Give it a fucking chance, will you? James is just as afraid as you are, aren't you James?" He turned around, looked deeply into my eyes. The penetration was palpable. A shiver ran up and down my spine.

"I'm scared shitless. I'm going to fuck this up, I know I will."

Stacy took a quick step toward me. She got into my face, "You'll only fuck it up if you try to fuck it up. If it's what's on your mind, then save us the trouble. Leave and don't come back."

Without even thinking, as a surge of white hot rage boiled from deep inside me, I took a swing. Although my arm was making a perfect arch toward her face, she countered, and dragged me to the dirt. We were both screaming and cussing like sailors. I got in some good punches, but then again, so did she.

Then, just like that, the anger subsided. I mean it was totally gone. I rolled onto my back, as did she. I looked up into the heavens, worked hard on getting my breath back to some semblance of normal. She, too, was huffing and puffing to get back hers.

She got up to her feet. Her arm extended toward me.

Instead, that anger shot another jolt from my innermost being. I got up on my own power, turned toward her, "You don't know the half of it. Go fuck yourself."

With that said, I stomped off, and then went to the ground in agony, with shards of pain going all through my body as my leg began shooting spasms.

Seth was at my side in a heartbeat.

Luke, the quiet one, tore off for the house, despite my protests... I'd fucked up. I didn't want any attention paid to me, not then, not ever, not now.

I whimpered into Seth's ear, "I am so fucked."

"No you aren't." I heard a girl's voice say. It was Stacy. She continued, "I fucked up. God, I don't like that word, but nothing else comes to mind. Look, I'm sorry. Thomas, let's carry him to the house. I'm sure dad's on his way."

Thomas, taking command, said, "Stacy, go to the house. Stay there. This isn't done, yet. Go on. Don't argue." She took off, after once again apologizing.

I replied, "Don't worry about it... I'm just a stranger. It's no big deal."

Stacy twisted around, and said, "The hell you say... it is a big fucking deal. Other than Thomas, nobody's whooped my ass yet. We were neck and neck all the way. I respect you, now." She took off without saying another word, or listening to a word I said about accepting her apology, and me giving her, mine.

Thomas said, "Dayummm... that girl's got a mouth on her. And she backs it up... for being a runt she's got a hell of a punch. You're in, dude. Let's get you up to the house, but first, let's see if you can walk. James, it's going to be okay. All that stuff you're talking about is just bullshit. I'm no perfect angel. Mom and dad haven't kicked me out of the house, yet. There's always that chance, of course."

Thomas reached his arm down, grabbed my hand, squeezed firmly, lifted me to my feet and then released it, but for only a second because I felt my legs begin to buckle.

Being fully self-sufficient, I began walking in little circles. Seth took my arm while Thomas took my other one. I started walking around in little circles to make the spasms pass. It had always worked before, and seemed to be working again.

Once I figured out that I wasn't going to fall, we took off through the pasture toward the house.

Meanwhile, as we walked along, Seth pulled hay, grass, sticks, and whatever from my hair, shirt, pants, and whathaveyou.

Finally, I could walk no further. No, I wasn't necessarily having spasms that would keep me from walking, rather my hip was simply tired… my plan was to simply rest for a moment, but then Dan, Adam and Tony were seen driving across that side of the pasture on a huge tractor pulling a cart of some kind behind it.

Dan said, as they lifted me into the wagon, "Stacy is being taken care of. She told me what happened, and why. It sounds like you two got it straightened out, though. Adam told me about your leg. I saw you gimping after you and Eric were playing around. I shouldn't have let you go down to the creek... but you did... and I let you. Now, you and Seth sit up against the side and sit still."

"Sir, I was just as much in it as she was... I got really pissed off... and well... this is my entire fault... if I wasn't here then it would never have happened... so don't be too hard on her. I fucked up. I understand..."

"Boy, I see that you've got a mouth on you, too. Now, here's a rule that I do not bend on, not one little bit. You need to clean your mouth up. We don't use those kinds of words around women folk, ever. Do you understand me because this is the only warning you will receive."

His eyes were as hard as steel. He wasn't pissed off, though. He was just laying down the law of the land. When he raised his hand up... I freaked out. I jumped out of that wagon, and tore out, then fell into a million pieces, in a heap. The pain was more than I could handle. I rolled onto my side and puked up dinner all over the grass and my shirt. I was going for another round when Dan and Adam hit the ground and held me while I tossed up my guts.

"Thomas, you drive the tractor. Adam, Tony, help me get James onto the wagon... easy, now, watch his leg. Eric, run on ahead. Have mom run a tub of warm to hot water." Dan said, protectively. Once I was on the wagon, he pulled me into his arms, and held me firmly as we rode through the rough pasture to the house. Adam made sure my leg stayed steady. I draped my other leg over Seth's thighs, at his urging. His eyes never once left mine. He was thinking... the wheels behind his eyes were spinning ninety to nothing. I saw so much pain inside of them, too.

I never meant to hurt anybody, but, it seemed like I did it at every possible opportunity.

In short order, we arrived at the house. I insisted on walking on my own power once they got me down out of the wagon. Adam had me in his arms. With great reluctance, he and Tony supported most of my weight as I stood down on the ground, trying to keep from putting too much pressure on my leg. Literally, they carried me up the stairs, and on into the kitchen where they sat me down on a chair.

Vera pulled off my shirt and began wiping my face free of the mud and muck while Dan pulled off my mud caked and grass stained jeans. I looked down to the floor... and geezus... I about freaked at seeing all the mud falling onto her beautiful floor. She didn't mind. She didn't stop performing her ministrations.

Adam said, "James, I'm going to make some calls. You need to be seen in the ER tonight. No arguments."

I nodded... knowing I was fucked up. He leaned down and whispered in my ear, "We love you. It's going to be okay. Just trust me. Don't worry... worrying is for us old folks." He patted my shoulder then he and Tony walked outside.

"Stacy, is the water ready?" Vera asked curtly.

"Yes, ma'am'. I put in half a cup of Epsom Salts just like you asked." Stacy said respectfully.

Vera handed the washcloth to Luke, who held it in his hand. Without invitation, or warning, Dan picked me up, carried me up the stairs and into the bathroom and deposited me on the closed toilet lid. He said, "Mom's going to give you a bath. She's done this for all her sons, at one time or another. I'd just imagine Kevin will join you... he's taken quite a fancy to you, James. I'm grateful. I'm extremely grateful. Let's get you into the bathtub... here, I'll help you with those." He said, referring to the last piece of clothing covering my body, or at least a part of it. I half stood, and while he supported my weight, pulled them off and kicked them aside, leaving me open to the air.

The water felt fine... it was hot, but not too hot. Vera entered just as soon as Dan stepped out and closed the door behind him. I grabbed a washcloth and covered that which designates me male. Thankfully it was at rest.

"You know, James, I've given each of my boys a bath when they've needed it. I'll leave your private areas for you to take care of... I won't embarrass you. If you'd rather I didn't give you a bath, then just say so, and I'll leave." Vera said softly as she soaped up a washcloth.

I looked into her eyes... there was something I saw, something that I'd never seen in an adult woman. I wasn't necessarily afraid, hell, I didn't know what was coming, so I was a bit apprehensive, and said, "I've never been bathed before... not that I remember, anyway. Did they tell you that my mom hated my guts?"

"No, James, they didn't tell me that... do you want to talk about it?"

"No." I said then held my arm out.

Her hands were firm, yet they were soft and gentle as she ran the cloth over my fingers, then my wrists, then my forearm, and on up to my neck. I watched her every move, with rapt attention, wondering if, and when she'd change to being harsh, or when she'd say something that would prove that she really wasn't who she seemed to be.

But, it never happened. She gives a killer back washing – firm, very firm. She got all those itchy places where the hay ends had stuck me, and God, did that ever feel good. I was in heaven... if I'd been a cat then surely I would have been purring like one.

She talked about the farm, and how it had been in the family for generations, and how she'd known her husband since they had been toddlers.

When she'd finished washing as much as she could and would, she urged and helped me to stand so that I could wash the rest of my anatomy, as she put it in words. I turned away, she handed me a soapy washcloth. I dropped the other one into the water then took care of the area south of the border, both front and back. My dick was still at rest... and I wasn't even worried about it springing up. She helped me rinse off then handed me a towel to cover my midsection.

We weren't finished though. She had me get down on my hands and knees, then she proceeded to wash my hair, taking care to keep the soap out of my eyes. By the time she was finished, the water had all drained down the pipe. I asked her for the Comet so I could wash the dirty, filthy ring away. In the process, the towel fell away, thus exposing my butt. She didn't say a word at its exposure; instead, she helped me finish up.

With some difficulty, and with her assistance, I stood. We both stood still as the water cascaded from my head down my body. I looked into her eyes. All sense of worry and self consciousness about being naked in front of her, evaporated. She reached into the linen cabinet, fetched a towel, wrapped it around my waist, and said, "Yep, all boy." Then, to add insult to injury – she snickered.

She pulled out a new toothbrush, handed it to me, and said, "I'll leave you be. Call when you're ready. I'll get you some clothes to wear."

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[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead