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The Redemption, Book 2

by Joe Writer Man

Chapter 13

"I'm worried about Luke, Joey. He's never been like this. I mean he's always been quiet… well, you know… but he's always held his stuff in… I never knew what he was thinking… I'm not sure I'm explaining this very well." Skeeter said softly.

I took Skeeter's hand in mine, squeezed lightly but didn't say anything.

"Come on. I've got an idea." Skeeter said to my silence. Actually, I was thinking of the shocked look on Luke's face when he caught me and Skeeter naked and making love, the way he and I melded together for a few minutes, and how we intimately experienced each others' pain… and then joy. Luke had actually smiled… and he smiled from his heart.

We didn't take out in the direction from where we'd come instead Skeeter headed us through the tree line separating the Richardson and Smith farms. Soon we arrived at the creek where we'd gone to before, a few days ago. We climbed the rocky face of the hill, sat down on the overhang and got comfortable. We joined hands. He pensively looked into my eyes but I couldn't read the exact expression. We joined our lips and kissed deeply. Skeeter said, "Joey, what happened in the loft after I left? Did you guys… well… Luke's different. I sense something different in you too."

"No Skeeter, we didn't have sex. I love you. I won't do anything to hurt you. You're teaching me how to love from here <I pointed to my heart>, not here <pointing to my crotch>. We just talked."

"Did you want to?"

"Yeah, I did. Luke did too. We knew it wouldn't be right so we didn't do it."

After a couple of minutes to ponder what I was going to say… my mind was jumbled up, Skeeter said, "Go ahead Joey, it's okay, just say what's on your mind. You're not in trouble or anything. I just want to know how Luke changed, or what made him change I mean." Skeeter then kissed my lips, added a little bit of tongue to the equation then sat back, looking at me, and waited expectantly.

"Skeeter, please keep this to yourself. Promise me that you won't say anything to anybody, especially to anyone in your family." I said then waited the two nanoseconds it took for Skeeter to nod and say, "Okay. This is between you and me. Likely, because he's my brother, I'll talk to Luke."

"Understood. Skeeter, Luke's gay. I have no doubt. He loves you and he loves me. I love him too. He's a really sweet guy. He's got a good heart, warm and loving." I said assuredly, softly.

"Yeah, I've sensed all those things about him too, go ahead."

"He's confused. And he's confused because he saw you and me making love, and he's remembering the stark raving terror from when his dad fucked him, more than once, more than twice, and more than three times."

Skeeter nodded readily, "I understand. I was afraid of the same thing but you showed me differently."

"For him, It began on his 6th birthday. His old man fucked him for about a year before he cracked. I truly believe he went insane. Here's the bad part: Luke cracked so bad that he sat their house on fire to kill his old man. The trouble was that his mom, baby brother and baby sister died in the same fire."

"Oh my God, no. Oh Joey..." Skeeter said as his eyes filled with tears and his face distorted in terror... "Oh my God, my poor brother... Oh my God, his baby sister and brother..." My mate for life said as he began sobbing hysterically. I pulled him in and held him as he experienced pain and suffering, Luke's pain and suffering. I stayed strong to comfort this crying and sobbing and shaking boy that I loved with all my heart and soul. "Is he going to be okay, Joey? How do you ever get over something as bad as that?"

"He's on his way, baby. Skeeter Bug, I think the gun was his only outlet. I think he was going to do it in the barn but then he heard us up in the loft. Curiously, he went up the stairs to see what Somebody was doing up there. When he saw us he was going to kill me because I was hurting you, or so he thought, or so he perceived."

"Okay, I can understand that." Skeeter choked, still not totally in control of his emotions. Neither was I for that matter.

"Skeeter, Luke wanted your dad to fuck his ass. His head's all screwed up. He's disturbed because your dad won't fuck him, and he's confused because he doesn't think your dad loves him because he won't."

Skeeter laid his head in my chest and absentmindedly tweaked my shirt in his fingers, just to have something to do as he processed the information he'd received. "I never felt that way, Joey. When my old man did it to me I saw only rage, hate and I wanted him fucking dead... so I killed him deader than dead."

"So did Luke. Only Luke's actions killed his mom and siblings. I could give not one good goddamned fuck if his old man died. That would be easy to deal with... but you know better by first hand... how do you feel about taking your dad out?"

"At first it was really hard but the head bangers helped me to see that maybe, just maybe I did him a service. Joey, if he were to walk up to me now then I'd likely go get the gun and kill him again. I'm sorry. Maybe I don't have it all worked out yet."

"Skeeter, you'd have to beat me to it. Trust me." I said as seriously as a heart attack.

Continuing I said, "Anyway, the system got a hold of Luke... they passed him from foster home to foster home to foster home, to nut nuts, pills, they even did shock treatments. I'm not sure what else they did because it got all fuzzy and shit."

"Joey, the doctors told me that I might have flashbacks. They were afraid that I'd not be able to have gay sex, you know when we make love in the butt... but... well, I didn't have any flashbacks... his face never even appeared. I wasn't too afraid that I would but I was too, in a way."

"I was worried about it too... that's why I didn't push or even suggest that I put mine in you that first night we could do it... you know, the night that Kevin jumped into our bed..."

"Geezus, how can I ever forget that?!!! Christ. He didn't actually see us fucking... the room was too damned dark."

"No, I'm certain he didn't see anything... not like that, and he's too young to understand. I think he's okay." I said casually.

"So, what now?"

Just then we heard a rustling of feet walking through dropped winter leaves, sticks, and the muffled sounds of human voices. They were getting closer and closer.

Skeeter grinned then got up, dusted away accumulated leaves, gravel, dead grass, and plain old dirt from his jeans covered ass. I got up and repeated the endeavor. I drew Skeeter in then kissed him passionately. We broke apart then climbed down the rock and headed toward the path.

Dan and Luke were walking down the path toward us. When Luke saw us he broke out in a huge grin. Dan shrugged his shoulders but he no longer had the worry lines on his face. He almost looked contented, but not quite. Luke took off running toward us. When he arrived, we hugged him tightly then let go.

He turned around, fumbled with his jeans, and then dropped them to his knees, underwear and all. His cheeks were a bright crimson red color. He looked back to make sure we had seen his offering. Satisfied that we had seen it, he pulled his pants back up and fastened the snap. With a trophy like grin spreading across his face, he said joyfully, "I finally got a thrashing from dad."

Dan rolled up his eyes into his head. I giggled. Skeeter looked at me like he was about half pissed off because I ended up breaking out belly laughing. Skeeter defiantly said to his dad, "He's been hurt bad enough, dad, you had no right to do that to him." Skeeter then protectively stood between Luke and his dad.

I took in a deep breath. I was waiting for Dan to get highly upset that Skeeter was talking back to him that way, defiantly. Instead, Dan looked at Skeeter, "Stephen, you don't know everything… if you need to know, and I'm not sure that you need to know but I'll tell you anyway. Luke apologized for something he didn't do or cause to happen. That and he showed his ass to me in a way that is absolutely forbidden in our family. There is to be none of that with adults around, am I perfectly clear?"

"Yes sir." We all replied, almost simultaneously.

Dan then looked at me, "Joey, Luke tells me that you and him were in a position to copulate… I'm glad you guys didn't. I don't think he's ready for it. I'm glad you saw it. And I'm glad you didn't put your and Stephen's relationship in a bind. I just wanted to say that."

I protectively put my arm around Skeeter's shoulders and easily replied, "Yes sir, we did want to have sex but we both knew it wouldn't be the right thing to do. I love Skeeter. I'm also growing to love Luke, but in a different way. It's kind of hard to explain…"

"Love comes in many different ways, shapes and sizes. Luke, you and Joey showed me that you're good people. Come on let's go up to the house now. Joey, we're not going to get you to the airport in time for your flight home. Can you stay one more day?"

Skeeter looked at me expectantly. He had a gleam in his eyes.

"Yes sir, I'm sure it'll be okay but I'll ask for sure."

"Okay, but let me or my wife ask… it would be better that way. I'm really sorry… I'm sure you had other things to do. Tomorrow, your dad will be starting the project you'll be working on… and you won't be there. I know it's important for you in more ways than one."

"That's okay, Dan, but thanks. I'll talk to dad later."

We then took off for the house, made record time then stood in the ante room where Luke, Skeeter and I stripped to our underwear then made our way to the shower with no stops along the way. Almost immediately, right after shutting the bathroom door, Luke tore his underwear down, sat on the throne and then nearly blew the plumbing out of the house.

Skeeter giggled and then held his nose ceremoniously, played like he was dying from asphyxiation while I entered the shower and got the water just right. Skeeter joined me. He then began washing my body – jewels first since Luke's wasn't present. I boned up pretty hard but not fully so. Good thing actually. Luke obviously flushed the toilet because a torrent of hot water came flying from the spigot, which calmed things down, immediately.

When he pushed back the shower curtain to join us, Skeeter smacked him hard on the butt then chided him for flushing the toilet while the shower was running. Luke's facial expression turned to anger. Instead of saying anything, I playfully smacked Skeeter's ass, harder than I intended to. Almost immediately, we got into a playful ass grabbing smack out.

That was soon stopped when Dan stuck his head in and said for us to quiet down. They couldn't hear the TV because we were making so much noise.

We were done goofing off, filled with giggles and good nature.

We went about the task of actually washing our bodies. We each washed our own until it came time to do our backs.

Automatically, Skeeter began rubbing circles in my back with the washrag he's soaped up. I soaped up Luke's washrag then began washing his.

Naturally, Skeeter went on down south of the border. Not only was he fingering me but he was also rubbing his very erect dick in my crevice. Naturally, I boned up causing me to have a little problem with Luke's ass brushing against my cock, and then without even thinking Skeeter mashed up against me causing my dick to slip through Luke's crevice and I forced myself to stop at his manhole cover, only his winkie pinkie pucker wasn't covered up – with anything.

Add insult to injury, Luke reached around, grabbed my prong then began rubbing it up and down causing me to groan with need and begin my own rhythmical undulations. Skeeter, meanwhile, skewered my butthole then began rhythmically pushing me forward into Luke. Luke's hole was not resisting, far from it. After only slight resistance and a heave ho from Skeeter, I impaled Luke. He took in a deep breath but the look on his face failed to reveal any pain. By that time, Skeeter was pummeling my not-so-virgin territory… each one causing me to do the same thing to Luke.

Skeeter's tempo then increased dramatically… I knew the feeling… he was just about there as was I. Not to leave Luke out of the picture, I reached around, took hold of his raging hard bone and began jacking him in earnest… three or four strokes later, we simultaneously shot our sperms – me in Luke, Skeeter in me, and Luke against the shower wall.

When we regained a modicum of composure from colossal orgasms… I was still massively hard, as was Skeeter, as was Luke.

As if we were well oiled machines, Skeeter withdrew his piston from my love tunnel then pulled me from Luke's.

Luke whined a little bit until Skeeter repositioned us. I ended up in front of Luke while Skeeter got behind Luke. Skeeter then skewered Luke. Quickly I soaped up, working my fingers in and out until I was ready… Luke caught the drift then pushed hard against my back door. His prong was much larger than Skeeter's, and his entry hurt. Finally, to accommodate the intruder I pushed down as hard as I could while concentrating on relaxing my butthole so that it was open. It worked.

We then developed a naturally slow but sure rhythm. I soon figured out that Luke was the spark plug, he was setting the pace… but then he'd ride along while Skeeter drove the ship, or I'd take over… all I know was when we reached our 'moment', once again, we were all driving in more ways than one.

The next thing I knew or realized was we were all three sitting on the bathtub floor with legs and arms intertwined like a massive spider web. Skeeter had somehow rearranged himself so that he was sitting in front of me, facing forward while Luke had his arms around both of us… like I already said: we were a tangle of arms and legs intertwined together.

At about the same time, the water began its slow descent into cold. When it went ice cold we came alive again. Quickly we scrambled, washed genitalia and butt holes then rinsed off and turned the water off.

"Holy fuck you guys, that was fuckin awesome." Luke exclaimed while drying his body.

Skeeter was shivering. I finished drying off then drew him into my arms, kissed him warmly and passionately. That warmed him up in short order.

After getting dry towels to wrap around our bodies, Skeeter led the way to his bedroom… Luke went on to his room and shut the door.

My clean clothes had been neatly stacked on Skeeter's dresser. I kept out a clean pair of jeans, underwear, a t-shirt and a flannel button up shirt and a pair of socks then put the rest neatly in my travel bag.

I also grabbed a catheter from a side pocket of my travel bag. I'd not worn one for most of the time I'd been there but figured that since the day could very well be a long one, and that there would be stressful times I went ahead and put it on with Skeeter carefully observing the procedure. Of course he would 'help', which made putting on the damn thing just that much 'harder' (pun intended). My boyfriend found that my struggle to get the dang thing over a very hard, erect penis was the funniest thing he'd seen in a very long time.

"I'll show you how much I appreciate your messing with me... take this..." I abandoned the effort, dropped it to the floor then grabbed hold of his locks and filled his laughing mouth and vocal cords with a present, an offer he couldn't and wouldn't resist (mostly couldn't, mind you). With all the efforts and attention he was soon greedily gulping, gurgling, and swallowing ALL that which I had to offer.

With that 'little' big problem solved the catheter easily sheathed my sword without any further adieu. As we were getting dressed Skeeter said, musingly, "That was pretty awesome. Thanks, Joey. I think Luke's going to be okay now. He now knows it doesn't hurt so long as it's being done voluntarily and from someone who really cares. I love you for that, Joey. Thanks."

I giggled, "I sure hope so… but there's one little issue here… ha ha, I didn't have much choice… you were pushing from behind, Luke was pushing back from the front, what's a guy to do?" I finished off by chuckling wholeheartedly, because it was true!

"Yeah, like you were complaining…" Skeeter said giggling.

*-* Mom's POV *-*

"Okay mom, Timmy's room is set up. I really hope he likes it." Derrick said hopefully.

"I'm sure he'll like it, stop worrying so much. All that boy talks about morning, noon and night is Dale Earnhardt, Dale's son, and the other drivers. If he doesn't like his room… then I'll be surprised." I replied knowingly.

"Mom, come check it out. I want it to be just right." Derrick added.

Derrick took my hand and led us into the guest room turned into Timmy's room. When I walked in, I immediately felt like I was standing in a race car drivers' debriefing room, shop area, or whatever it is they call their space. The bed was a replica of Dale's car; his desk looked like a workbench; his two dressers looked like multi-tiered tool chests. Derrick had laid the light brown carpet and painted the room himself… he'd even picked out the color scheme. All new baseboards were crafted by hand.

In addition to that, he had neatly put Timmy's clothes into our newest arrival's dresser drawers, and hung up his jeans and shirts we'd bought for him since he had nothing. As we found out, his mother had already ditched what little belongings he had had.

"It looks wonderful, Derrick. If he doesn't like it then I'll guess we'll start over and do something different." I replied with an ornery snicker.

Just then Nathan walked in, surveyed the scene then said, "Way kewl bro. Way kewl. He'll like it. Mom I'm going down to Linda's … be back before dinner, okay?"

"Timmy's going to be home in a couple of hours, I'd like for you to be here… in fact I want you to go with us to pick him up…maybe you can go down to see her tomorrow. I'm sure she'd understand." I replied parentally.

Nathan looked at me, nodded then took off to his room. He shut the door. I decided to have a talk with him later on. I was sure he was feeling rather alone with his natural born brother, Joey, gone. We'd tried to include him in family things but he was pretty obstinate, and hung out in his room most of the time. After talking with Joey, he'd be fine for a while then revert to his melancholy, and sullen ways.

Nathan had vehemently refused to go visit Timmy at the hospital. Dave said to give him time, that he'd come around. He mentioned that Nathan might be feeling a bit of jealousy with the attention we've been paying to Timmy.

As if he were reading my mind, Derrick said, "I'll go talk to him." After a peck on my cheek Derrick took off for Nathan's room, knocked on the door, and then announced he wanted to talk. There was no response from Nathan so he went on in and closed the door.

Meanwhile, I took off for the room Dave and I shared, took a shower, got ready for my day and then before leaving checked on the boys to make sure they were okay. Nathan was talking but they stopped when I popped my head in the door so I made my exit after telling them I loved them and would be at the hospital springing Timmy from its jaws of life.

Traffic was light. No new trauma cases were in the ER when I checked in so I took off for patient rooms where I made rounds. All my patients were stable so I went to the pediatric floor, checked Timmy's chart, and then after finding all was in order went to his room.

He was sitting in a chair playing Scrabble with an orderly named Jerry. Timmy looked up and immediately smiled and announced, "I'm beating Jerry" then he turned his attentions back to the game... but not for long… Jerry announced his lunch period was over and that he needed to get back to work.

After Jerry left, Timmy closed the game, carried it to the nurses' desk so quickly that I didn't have time to pull the strings of his gown together. I giggled at seeing his buns, and especially at his lack of concern and modesty.

Although Timmy had gained 6 pounds since his arrival, he still had a very long way to go. A 12 year old with his bony structure and height should weigh in the vicinity of 80 to 90 pounds… he weighed just 62 – every one of his ribs were countable, his hip bones jutted out, he had nearly no butt whatsoever—his globes just blended into his skinny scrawny toothpick appearing legs.

When he returned we greeted each other properly by hugging deeply. He was just a twig of a child.

"I haven't taken my shower yet. I'll be done in a minute. Are you going to be here when I get finished?" Timmy asked seriously.

"I'll be here waiting."

He smiled then went to his bed where he tossed his gown on the sheets then streaked into the bathroom where he stopped at the stool, peed, then turned the water on and got in the shower.

Meanwhile, I reached into the tote bag, retrieved a change of clothes for him then waited for him to finish up with his tasks.

He hadn't taken a towel with him so when the water turned off I grabbed one from a chair and took it to him. Suddenly, a maternal moment took over… I think Timmy felt it too because he turned around and allowed me to dry his thin frail body. When he was all dry, I handed him a pair of underwear which he put on. He giggled at seeing his shorts tented out from an erection. I'd never seen him erect before… so when I first saw it I was surprised at its size. I guess it just looked disproportionately big for his small thin emaciated body. What he did next both surprised and embarrassed me. He took it out of his underwear and began rubbing it purposefully. Immediately, I left the room and closed the door so that we would both have our privacy.

A few minutes later he came out of the bathroom, with a smile on his face. I was none too happy with him, "Timmy, sit down, we need to talk."

He sat down on his bed. I sat next to him.

"Timmy, nothing's wrong with masturbation. You won't die or go blind. At the same time, it's very personal and private. Don't do it in front of me again, please."

Timmy looked at me carefully then said, "Okay. I didn't know. In my house we did it all the time. Nobody said anything… until me and the neighbor, his name was Jerrod, he's really kewl, were caught screwing… they put me on the beach and told me to rot in hell… here I am."

"We'll have a family meeting when Joey returns from his friends' house. Sex is beautiful Timmy. Don't misunderstand me… but there is a time and place for everything. When you want to be sexual then please go to your room, close the door, and have fun. That's the way we do it at our house." I said. I didn't want him to think anything was wrong with sex, but he needed to know, respect, accept and comply with our boundaries.

While he got dressed I went to the nurses' station, requested a hair dryer and then returned to Timmy's room where I blow dried his thin hair. Several strands broke off. I thought to myself that this boy had been neglected for quite some time. A boy doesn't get so thin and vitamin deficient in just a few days – it just doesn't happen that way.

On the way home, we stopped at a really good fast food joint where I ordered a mountain of burgers for the boys then headed home.

When we arrived and walked into the kitchen from the garage, Nathan and Derrick were playing a game of Scrabble. They quickly picked up the pieces and put them in the box… boys!

Timmy already knew Derrick so he walked over to Nathan and offered his hand. Nathan looked at him disbelievingly then to me. He did not take Timmy's offered hand; instead he got up, looked at me disdainfully then headed to his room where he slammed shut the door.

Timmy looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. Derrick and Timmy hugged deeply then Timmy pulled away and said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make him mad."

"Honey, I don't think he's mad at you. I think he's mad at some other things. Come on; let's eat while it's still hot."

That was all it took. Put food in front of a boy, and well, if he's not sick then it gets devoured in record time. Derrick ate two burgers and an entire package of French fries. The milkshake was gone in record time. Timmy also chowed down, his jaws working like a back hoe… I was half afraid he'd bite his fingers, but luckily he didn't.

Derrick got up from the table, began picking up his mess then roared the belch from heck. Timmy found that the funniest thing he'd ever heard. He attempted to replicate it but failed utterly. He giggled.

At about the same time, Nathan came bounding into the kitchen, grabbed two burgers, a package of French fries and a milkshake.

I was carefully observing the interaction between Nathan and Timmy... Timmy had gotten so nervous that he dropped and broke the glass bottle of ketchup, shattering shards of glass and muck in all directions.

Derrick immediately went to the sink to retrieve towels.

I began to caution Timmy to not move until the glass was wiped up but Nathan, venomously said to Timmy, "What is it? Are you freaking stupid or something?"

Derrick growled, "Shut up Nathan. If you ever do that again then prepare to get your butt busted."

"Whatever." Nathan shot back.

Timmy dejectedly responded to the room in general. He was looking down to the floor and the mess all around his feet, "Don't worry about it, Derrick. He's right. I'm fuckin stupid."

Derrick snapped, pointing his finger toward Timmy, "And you shut that cussing up. Mom doesn't need to listen to that trash talk. What is it Nathan? You're being a moron."

I'd had enough of the loving attention, not, from the boys. Using my best parental voice I said, "Nathan, go to your room. You're grounded. Timmy, go to your room. Both of you, we'll talk about this later. This is not the way to start things out."

Defiantly, pissed off, Nathan tossed his lunch to the table however it missed, spilling the contents into the broken bottle of ketchup mess.

Derrick grabbed for Nathan, caught him by the hair and yanked to keep the boy from falling in the glass and mess.

Nathan took a swing at his older brother. His face was red and contorted with rage. I'd never seen him like that before. Fortunately, the swing missed its target. Derrick pushed, maybe tossed is a better word, the boy toward his bedroom.

I saw red.

Derrick and Timmy were wearing shoes. Nathan and I weren't.

Derrick hissed, "What's up with you Nathan? Do as mom says... go to your room!" To Timmy, in a calmer voice said, "Timmy, it's not always like this. I don't know what's in his head. Go, Nathan!"

In a fit of rage, Nathan sidestepped a shard of glass, ran to his room then slammed his door closed with a ferocity I'd never known him to display, much less have.

My own anger was abating to a more manageable level. I said to Timmy, "Turn around and sit in the chair next to you. Derrick, go get my tennis shoes in the garage. Be careful a shard of glass is right there <pointing> next to the door."

Timmy looked to the garage door. He began taking that first step. I said, "Timmy, sit down. We'll talk this out."

He reluctantly sat down, turned to me and said, "Don't worry, yeah, I'm stupid. I can't do anything right. I'm also Satan's child, spawn of the devil. I told you this wouldn't work."

Derrick entered the kitchen with my tennis shoes. I balanced by using the China cabinet and put them both on. Derrick, meanwhile, began sweeping (smearing) the floor. He too was frustrated, and his frustration was building. My son Derrick has a level head on his shoulders. I knew he wasn't going to go ballistic. He'd just regroup and figure out another solution. He was like his dad.

Since I had shoes on I walked around the table, away from the main mess, grabbed the roll of paper towels, got on my hands and knees and began wiping (smearing) up the ketchup, taking care to not get cut. A surgeon with cut hands does not operate and take care of patients. Cut hands are a breeding ground for infection and its transmission. I worked my way to Timmy.

With a beseeching look on his face, he took the roll of paper towels, got down and began cleaning the mess. He said, "I'll get it now. I'm used to cleaning up messes… please don't hit me if I go too slow or miss some. I'll get it clean, I promise. Please ma'am."

"Timmy, it's like this: Dave and I, we don't hit our children. We'll ground you, talk to you, we may assign you extra chores, and we may also raise our voices to you but we do not resort to physical punishment. About the other crap you said... you are NOT any such thing..."

Just then Nathan entered the kitchen. He'd changed clothes and shoes. He headed to the garage door. I said, "Halt. Do not go anywhere. You're grounded to your room, young man. We will talk later."

The boy walked on out the door to the garage. Little did we know that Dave had arrived home and was just exiting his vehicle. I said loud enough to be heard, "Dave, Nathan does not have permission to leave his room. He's grounded. He's working in defiance."

To Timmy I said, "Derrick was right. Our home is not like this. I've not seen Nathan act this way. We'll work it out."

He looked at me intently for a second then his eyes transformed from shame and fear to acceptance. He returned to work. He was doing very well.

I heard Nathan yell, "Let go of me! I'm going. I need to get out of there before I blow..."

Dave responded, clearly annoyed, "You're going nowhere young man … what's wrong with you anyway?"

Two seconds passed then Dave growled angrily, "Stop it right now. Don't you dare bite me, I'll shove your teeth down your throat young man, now get in the house NOW!"

Nathan stomped into house and continued to stomp his way toward the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Dave snarled, "Stop right there, young man!"

Meanwhile, Timmy got up off the floor. Quickly, he walked to and worked his way between the two China cabinets. He turned into the corner. He brought his hands up to protect his face... he was shaking.

Sullenly, defiantly, Nathan glared into my eyes then faced off with Dave but he remained silent.

Dave demanded of Nathan, "Tell me: what is going on here? What has gotten into you?"

Nathan didn't answer though his defiant stance was declining, just a little bit but not enough and not quickly enough.

Evenly I said, "This all started out over a broken ketchup bottle. He ran his mouth. He tossed his lunch to the table, it fell to the floor then he went off. Nathan, what's with you? I've never known you to be like this?"

In a cold calculated voice he replied, "Joey can go anywhere and do anything he wants. I'm sick and tired of being treated like a… a… A LITTLE KID!"

I clucked my tongue but Dave beat me to the point, "You're acting like a little spoiled brat kid. How else are we supposed to treat your behavior!!!? You're acting like a 2 year old."

"I'm not a damn 2 year old. You're the ones who are treating me like one." Nathan hissed - his defiance was back in full swing.

"That's it!" Dave said angrily. He reached for the buckle on his belt, removed the object, grabbed the nape of Nathan's neck, and began taking Nathan to his bedroom.

Timmy shrieked. Like a flash of lightening he went to Dave, turned to face me, and then in one fell swoop had his pants and underwear down around his ankles. He cried, "Beat me! Beat me! It's all my fault! I caused Nathan to get pissed off at me! He has every right! I'm a worthless piece of shit! Don't hit him! She said you don't hit! She said she don't hit!" Resolutely, he bent over putting his arms on his knees and waited expectantly for the beating of his life.

When Dave didn't immediately react, the boy began beating his bare butt skin with his open hand causing tears to begin falling freely from his eyes. The look on his face was sheer terror.

Dave was shocked out of his tree. I stood unmoving. I didn't know what to do or say – for a moment.

It was Nathan's reaction that caught my attention though. He flashed a look of total disbelief at what was happening.

In our total and utter shock, and because we made no move because we couldn't move, Timmy reached for, found and began furiously masturbating his rocket hard penis. His shirt fell down; although you could not actually see his penis state what he was doing was nevertheless perfectly clear.

The look on Nathan's face went from slack jaw to fear then to shock then back to fear then determination took over. Without looking to Dave or me, Nathan reached down, took hold of Timmy's underwear and pants and lifted them to their proper position. He had to literally pull Timmy's hand away from his penis. Very softly, he said, "Timmy, we don't do that in front of our parents."

Nathan pulled his little brother into his chest, back facing front, and held him firmly. He closed his eyes then reopened them to reveal tears threatening to escape down his cheeks.

I said, completely lost for words, I heard the words come from my mouth but at the time I would not have taken ownership of them, "Nathan, Timmy, we'll talk about this later. Nathan, go show Timmy where he's going to sleep. Derrick, would you go with them."

Derrick nodded and slowly made his way to the two boys. Nathan's lips were quivering. He was trying so hard to check his emotions. But then what he did next shocked me to the core.

He released Timmy.

He turned to face me.

He reached for his jeans.

He unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans, then in one fell swoop lowered them to the floor.

He bent over and rested his arms on his knees just as Timmy had done.

"Nathan, pull your pants up right this instant. We'll talk about this later after your mom and I find a suitable punishment for your childish behavior and poor choice of words. You're excused."

Nathan lowered his head then stayed still.

Dave was getting ready to say something else but once again Timmy's behavior shocked us all to the core. He stood Nathan up, grasped the hem of Nathan's underwear and brought them up and over Nathan's nakedness. The shocked look on Nathan's face was palpable. Then it deepened, and those tears that had threatened to fall – began falling. Seeing that Nathan wasn't working fast enough Timmy reached down and pulled up his brother's pants and fastened them securely.

Timmy, once he was satisfied that Nathan was put back together said evenly, "I need to change my clothes. Will you show me to my room so I can, please? Oh wait, I don't have any clean clothes… that's okay, I'm used to it. They'll dry."

I turned on my heels and went into the living room so the boys wouldn't see me cry. The tears were utterly blinding then after banging my knees on the coffee table, I worked my way to the sofa where I sat down then laid down and cried into the pillow. I thought I'd seen everything during my years as a doctor and mother. But I hadn't. Far from it.

A couple of minutes later, Dave sat down on the sofa, pulled me into his chest, kissed me repeatedly, and whispered in my ears that everything was okay now… then he simply was there allowing me to shed many, many unshed tears.

When the tears did pass, he handed me Kleenex that I used to wipe my eyes out and blow my nose into. When I regained my composure, we headed to the back of the house where the bedrooms were located. There we saw all three boys sound asleep in Timmy's full sized race car bed. Timmy had on a pair of Nathan's jeans. He was wearing one of Derrick's oversized t-shirts.

The tears sprang again. I looked to Dave. His composure was quickly going down the tubes. We both took a step into Timmy's room but my phone rang. Although I caught it on the second ring the boys awoke startled.

Not even looking at caller ID, I responded, Hello

"Hi June, this is Vera. Can we talk for a few moments?"

"Yes, sure, just a second." I replied.

I looked to Dave. He looked to me and nodded. I looked to the boys, each one of them. In their own way they said without using words that all was okay for the moment. That vision was indelibly etched forever in my mind.

Dave entered the room because Timmy wanted to show him all the neat things, the furnishings, the Dale Earnhardt treasures, and that it was painted exactly 'just right'.

With another batch of tears freely flowing, I turned and walked into my study where I sat down, put my head on my desk and said into the phone, "Okay, I'm here."

"June, are you okay?"

"Uhm... I will be. Our newest boy bonded with us today. It was difficult, Vera..."

We then shared our experiences with each other.

Toward the end of our conversation: Contritely Vera said, "I'm afraid that we're not going to get Joey to the airport in time for his flight home today. We've had several things come up. Dan's checked several availabilities on several airlines. The earliest departure would be 11:10pm tonight with a connection in Kansas City to Chicago that leaves at 2:45am. Would it be okay if we put him on a plane tomorrow morning? There's a flight leaving Wichita at 6:30am… that would get him home by 10:20am, is this okay?"

I would not subject them to those hours. I said, "No, that won't work. You live a little over 2 hours away from the airport ... I'll get online and book him a flight, say later in the day, maybe later morning or early afternoon. I'll call you back with a departure time."

"No, we'll book the flight. We couldn't get him to the airport in time … there's no need for you to bear the additional expense of a one-way flight on such short notice." Vera said resolutely.

I smiled for the first time in several minutes, the last time being when she told me of Kevin's attempts to get her attention, and said, "I'll call you back in a little while with the reservation times. Don't argue with me <giggle>."

Vera laughed, "Well okay then. I'll tell Joey to call you. I don't know how to thank him for bringing our Luke back to us… we knew Luke was going to be okay, in time, we just had no idea he'd be here so soon. Those doctors said it might take years, and then again it may not have happened in his lifetime, or ours."

"Joey's a remarkable young man. Maybe he's found his place in life. Maybe he's healed some himself." I said proudly.

"Yes, the whole experience, I believe, rocked Joey's core. He's a very responsible, caring and loving young guy. Seeing that in him makes my heart swell. You should be very, very proud of him."

"Oh yes, I am, definitely, as my boys would say. I'm proud of all my boys."

"I'm very proud of my boys and girl too. We girls are very much outnumbered around here but we manage to keep the guys, all of them, in line <laughing>."

"Oh, I understand. There's enough testosterone in his house to feed an Army barracks, trust me."

"Oh wait, here's Joey. He wants to talk to you."

Cell phones are very sensitive. I heard Joey very politely say to Vera, "Thanks."

"Hey mom, I hope it is okay for me to stay until tomorrow. They'd be up way too late. Besides, the first wake-up call around here is 3:15 in the morning."

"Yes, that's fine. We're getting that all arranged. I'll get online and make the reservations as soon as we get off the phone. I trust you're having a really good visit…"

"Oh yeah, definitely for sure, no doubt. Oh wait, when can Skeeter come to our house?"

"Well, spring break's coming up in a month… how about then?" I replied parentally.

"Kewl, that'll work. I can't wait to tell him, can I mom? Here I'll put you on speaker so they can hear you say YES!"

"Well, Joey, it doesn't quite work that way. Dan may need Skeeter to help him during planting season."

"Yeah, that's right. Dad says farming's a full time job… even in the winter time when the livestock need to be fed and taken care of." Skeeter offered.

Vera interjected, "I'll talk to Dan. That's the best I can do right now, boys."

Another boy, in the background whose voice I did not recognize said, "Mom I'll do Stephen's chores for him... we all will, right guys... you too Stacy?"

The decibel ratings were surely shattered with the chorus of "YES's" shouted through the phone.

Vera said, "We'll just have to see. Your dad has the final say so. I'm not saying one way or another… that will be in the middle of planting season. Maybe it would be better if Joey came back here… we could always use an extra hand. Maybe all your boys could come down?"

If I'd thought the decibel levels had been higher about Skeeter coming here, the sound barrier was just shattered with the wild chatter about Joey and his brothers returning to the farm coming through that tiny speaker on my cell phone.

After the chatter died down to a dull roar, Vera said, "We'd love to have them come to stay with us. They're always welcome. We have plenty of room. <Vera laughed heartily> Joey, he hasn't used the guest room, not once. It seems that he and Nathan are joined…"

"MOM!" Skeeter lamented. Joey groaned.

"June, It's true, ya ought to see them right now. Their faces give a whole new meaning to the color 'crimson'."

I giggled… the thought of Joey 'embarrassed' intrigued me. I'd have to think of a way to… no, never mind, he can't know that I planned something – perhaps he would read this chapter before it was ready to go <giggles>.

"We'll have to talk more about it later. We're getting ready to begin a major project. The boys will all be involved with it."

In the background, Joey said clearly, "Mom's right. I have to make some things right. I can't put them off, it wouldn't be right to not do the project. Mom, when I get home tomorrow, I need to talk to you about something. It's something I've not told you about … dad knows, but you need to know. I'm not trying to make it so that I get to come back here… I just need to straighten some things out between us."

"That's fine son. Yes, we need to talk. I found a couple of things while cleaning your room that we need to and will talk about. Don't worry. We'll work it out. No biggie."

There was total silence in the air. Not a breath of air was heard coming from the other end of the phone.

Quietly, subdued, Joey said seriously, "Mom, we'll work it out okay. I promise."

"I have no doubt you'll do the right thing."

Just then my pager went off. I looked at the LED display. It read: Dr. Mauer, call ER stat!

"Gotta go lamb-chops. Love you." I said.

"Love you too! Bye." Joey replied.

"Bye!" I said giggling.

"Love you the mostest!" Joey giggled. He was playing with me.

"I've gotta go now. Love you. See you tomorrow." I said motherly like.

Giggling, Joey replied, "Love you too MORE! Bye." Click.

After terminating the call with my son, I called the hospital. I was told that a major trauma was on its way into our Level 1 trauma center. There was a multiple victim conflagration down on the south side. Two of the victims were being rushed to our hospital by air ambulance. All I knew was that they were in grave critical condition, that CPR was being administered to both victims, and that their ETA was 20 minutes… long, too long into the Golden Hour. We lived 15 minutes from the hospital.

I rushed through the house, retrieved my driver's license, kissed Dave goodbye then took off and raced for the hospital much faster than I normally do… much faster than is safe.

I screeched to a halt in the ER doctor's parking lot, slammed the car in park then ran into the first major trauma bay. No sooner than I got in there the ambulance carrying two gravely wounded young men arrived. One of the victims was a DOA… the dead boy was just a kid surely no older than 10 or 11 years old. The brief moment of sadness was replaced by seeing the second victim. All his clothes had been removed by the ambulance personnel. He had a stab wound to the left side of his chest in a very, very dangerous place. It was bleeding profusely. His color hues though consistent with a black child, even for a chocolate skinned person, were very, very bad. Very, very few open heart wounded folks survive, and if they do then they are usually brain dead and have very bad short and long term outcomes.

We had no time to get to the OR. I ordered, "Trauma prep. Scalpel. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go!"

My own heart nearly came to a complete stand-still when I saw the young man's face just as we were draping him for emergent and potentially lifesaving surgery.

Quickly, I entered his chest. As the blade made its journey from the bottom of his neck down to his pubic bone, I prayed, "Dear God, please help this child."

The alarms buzzed their warnings. We had cardiac arrest. The patient was dying.

Quickly, I grasped his heart and began open heart massage. I was met with a spurt of blood strong enough to hit the overhead light fixture. It also sprayed my chief resident's eyes despite him wearing surgical goggles to prevent such a catastrophe. That left me alone.

I traced the origin of the massive bleeding to a hole on the front side of his heart, in the left ventricle which is the pumping side that provides blood and nutrients to the brain and the rest of body.

It was do or die time.

"5-0 Prolene. Pour in the blood. Pour in the fluids. Give him calcium gluconate, potassium. We'll get his heart started in a second – give me that damn suture!"

I made the repair in one minute 40 seconds. He had other injuries needed to be taken care of once we got him to the OR. "Paddles. Charge to 60." I ordered.






"Increase to 100 joules. Get a heart room open. Call anesthesia. Get bypass available. Clear!"

As the internal defibrillator whined its ascent to readiness, I said one more prayer before we hung the case up, "Now's the time if there ever was one…"




His heart rhythm converted, "We have a sinus rhythm. Let's move it. Call the OR; tell them we're on our way. I'm riding. I have the aorta in my hand. Move it." I said after placing one more stitch in the then beating ventricle.

On the way up, in the elevator to the Operating Room, his heartbeat ceased beating again. I announced, "We have cardiac arrest. We have total asystole. We have 5 minutes, preferably 4 from right now." I then began open cardiac massage in a last ditch effort to save the child.

Softly, I said into the momentary silence, "Don't die now <I suddenly remembered this child's name>, don't die Wayne, we're almost there. Hang with us for three more minutes. Do it one moment, one second at a time. Don't quit. Don't make me tell your mother that you quit, that you gave up."

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