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Discovering Reg

Chapter 5

By Wayne Telfer

She then took my arm gently and we exited the house and down the stairs to the waiting patrol car. I never looked back, only nodded to Parker as I passed him. I knew that if I looked back I'd see my family and all the staff, and I'd probably fall apart. For despite my brave words to the contrary, I was frightened. The minute she placed the cuffs on me it all became frighteningly real.

I began to have all sorts of doubts. What if something unexpected happened and I couldn't come home again? I saw the patrol car and could clearly see the wire that separated the front and back seats. It was a small cell, I thought. I knew that the doors would not open from the inside, just like a cell, and I thought about that as Officer Davies helped me get seated and gently closed the door. Still, I jumped slightly when I heard the click of final closure.

I didn't look toward the house, but somehow I sensed that there was family looking out at my departure. I dare not look.

Damn! What had happed to all of my morning confidence? Where was that strength I'd shown in reassuring Reg that I was prepared?

And then it hit me. It was this separation from Reg. That's what was hurting so much. For four days and a bit more, Reg had been my constant companion. My second self, if you would.

The car pulled slowly away from that house, that home, my refuge. It separated me from my family and I could feel that separation like a string being drawn taught. Too taught to withstand the strain. It would surely break.

The car made the first turn down the long drive and the view of 'home' vanished. I knew it had, despite the fact that I had not looked back. Officer Davies drove for just a moment or two before bringing the car to a complete stop. She exited without a word and I ignored it, looking straight forward, and I was actually shaking in fear.

When the driver's side back door opened, I started and automatically looked over. Officer Davies was entering and sitting near me. Then the other door opened and there was Francis, kneeling next to me. They both reached out and laid a hand on one of my knees.

"Wayne, it's going to be all right," said Francis. "I won't be more than a car length behind you. All you have to do is look back once in a while, I'll be there."

"Why am I so afraid?" I asked. I wasn't in danger of crying, that much I could tell. But I couldn't seem to stop the shaking.

"Because this should frighten any reasonably intelligent boy your age," answered Officer Davies. "Especially since you haven't done anything wrong." And there was anger in her voice with that last statement. It surprised me so much that I looked at her. "Wayne, this whole situation is CRAP! You've done nothing wrong here."

"Wayne," said Francis, getting my attention so that I looked at him again. "You're afraid of the unknown. That's perfectly natural. But you're not alone in this. Pamela and I are here and I just know that your father is already making his preparations to follow us. He's just giving us time to get away so that you won't see him and get more scared."

I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself as I looked into his earnest, honest, worried eyes. But it wasn't the situation that had him worried, I could tell somehow, it was me he was worried for.

A couple more breaths and my hands began to calm and I looked from one to the other of them.

"I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry about, Wayne," said Officer Davies. "Now, here's what we're going to do. We're going to start out again. But this time you and I are going to chat like old friends. During the ride into town I will be Pamela and we will talk. We'll talk about anything you want. Just talk. You'll look back from time to time and wave at Francis and he'll wave back."

I did feel better. The fear was still present, but it was manageable. And I felt chagrined.

I chuckled. "What a way to start after my little speech."

Pamela patted my knees. "Actually, I'm relieved. I was more worried because you weren't showing any fear. Now, let's start over."

"Ok," I smiled weakly. "And thanks, you two." They simply patted me on my knees, closed the doors and we were on our way again. And it was better after that. Pamela and I chatted about nothing in particular. Simply the sound of our own voices relaxed me. I did look back from time to time and Francis waved at me each time, smiling, and I'd smile back.

When we reached the jail, I was feeling much better. I made the walk from the car to the jail door without my knees shaking and I was able to put on an outward appearance of total calm. Pamela was right beside me, of course, and Francis never let me doubt that he was right behind me, reaching out occasionally to pat my shoulder or back.

It was a sobering and pivotal revelation. Every time I tried to make it on my own, I'd collapse and lose my way. The minute I accepted the support of those around me I became strong and confident. I laughed inside at that moment. I'd always considered myself quite self assured and able to withstand the pressures around me. And I suppose I was, out of necessity. But now that my life was surrounded by those that were supportive and loving, I was allowing myself to relinquish some of the pressure I'd placed on myself and let others help me carry the load.

Now, none of these actions had involved conscious decisions. My subconscious had simply recognized the benefits and relinquished the burden I'd always born on my own. But now I needed to recognize that fact and allow myself the luxury of sharing my burdens. There was nothing reprehensible about accepting strength and comfort from others. I had only to accept what they were offering me of their own free will.

So it was that as I entered the jail, I did so with a slight smile on my face and considerable joy in my heart.

"You're going to pay for this you little queer!"

Oh this was just too rich, too perfect. I hadn't even gotten one step inside and already Preston was spouting the words and venom that would be his downfall. His undoing. The nails in his coffin. And although I normally didn't enjoy watching others ruin themselves, I have to admit that I was garnering considerable pleasure in witnessing the fall of this ass.

I did feel sorry for his accomplices, however. It was plain from the frightened stares that they were considerably more unsure of their convictions. To them, this was very serious trouble. And though I hadn't thought it possible four days ago, I believed that I actually saw apology in their eyes.

Still, I smiled.

"So good to see you again, Preston. I hope your ride this morning was pleasant."

"Fuck you, faggot!"

I then turned to Pamela. "Officer Davies, might it be possible to proceed with the requirements? I believe my ride home will be arriving soon and I'd like to be ready."

She smiled, and there was a hint of evil pleasure in it. "Of course, Mister Edwards, let's just proceed in here, why don't we?"

"Hey!" yelled Preston. "We were here first! Why does the faggot get to go first?"

The officer behind the desk answered that one. "You'd better shut up, boy. The reason he's going first is obviously because he's learned a bit about being polite and cooperative. You might remember that since you're going to be here a while."

"Hah! My dad will have me out of here real soon."

"Oh, I don't think so. When I talked to your ole man he said he was busy and that he'd get here tomorrow or the next day."

Well, that shut Preston up immediately. And was that a hint of worry I saw?

True to her word, Pamela completed all the standard booking procedures in twenty minutes. Not even time enough to take in all my surroundings. When we exited the booking area, minus the cuffs, there stood dad and a second man, who I presumed was the bail bondsman. A sudden inspiration hit me as I entered and quickly shook my head slightly at dad, hoping he'd pause long enough for me to play out the scene I intended.

It came to me in a flash that it might be a good thing for Preston to see who was helping me, but there was no reason he should have any clue of the true relationship we shared. So I stepped up quickly in front of father.

"Mister Finger, you needn't have come yourself. It was enough that you're willing to help me right now."

The pause lasted only a fraction of a second, but in that time I saw a twinkle and ever so slight smile.

"Nonsense, Mr. Edwards. After what you've done for my family it is the very least I could do. Carter is out with the limo and Francios has provided some refreshment, thinking you might wish a snack as I took you home." He then casually glanced over at the four boys and managed to comment without so much as a smirk, "That's a nasty looking break, young man."

I nearly lost it. Preston's right arm was in a cast from his wrist to his shoulder and still had that new look.

I held it together though and managed to comment in the same casual manner. "Mister Finger, allow me to introduce Preston Reese. I believe I mentioned that I broke one of the boys' arms during my rescue of Reginald."

I could see out of the corner of my eye that Francis was having a very hard time containing himself. He'd even had to resort to turning to face the wall, but I could just make out enough to see that he had tears rolling down his face.

Dad frowned. "Ah." Then he pointedly turned away. "So, do you think you'll be much longer, Mister Edwards?"

I turned to Pamela. "I'm not sure, sir. Officer Davies, is there anything further we have to do?"

"Not a thing, Mister Edwards. You are free to leave at any time."

I held out my hand. "Thank you very much for accomplishing this in such a timely fashion, Officer. I hope that we'll be able meet sometime outside of your official capacity." We shook hands.

"That would be a pleasure, Mister Edwards.

I 'casually' glanced at my watch. "My, where has the time gone?" I then glanced quickly, but pointedly at the four, than back at Pamela. "I should probably be going so that you can get the children processed. I imagine it'll take a bit for their 'mentors' to show them the 'ins and outs' of life in here."

Francis simply turned and made a hurried exit. Pamela, however, simply smirked, as one of the boys whimpered, having picked up on my veiled references. "Perhaps you're right. The other residents are always eager to show the new guys the ropes."

With that, dad and I left. When we got outside, we couldn't find Francis anywhere. Carter waspresent next to the limo, but the door was closed. As we got closer, we understood why. We could hear Francis inside laughing his ass off. Dad and I smiled at each other and simply stood outside while Francis tried to pull himself together.

"Was it very bad, son?" I took the time we were waiting to describe the events up to his arrival at the jail. Just about the time I finished, Francis climbed out of the limo and glared at dad and me.

"Don't ever do that to me again without some warning." But he chuckled. "When did you two plan that?"

"We hadn't planned anything, Francis," said dad. "I simply followed my son's lead."

"Well that was priceless, and I am going to have the time of my life describing it to father. He's going to be so pissed that he missed it. Of course, he'd have been able to participate, not fall apart like I did. You two are the living end." He shook our hands. "I've got to get back to the office. I'll see you both on Thursday."

We climbed in. Dad took his place first and I climbed in right beside him. I scooted over right next to him and took his nearest arm and pulled it over my shoulder.

"You all right, Wayne?"

"I'm fine, dad. I'd just like to be held if you don't mind."

His answer was simple and immediate. He squeezed me once. We described what'd happened to Carter and he chuckled most of the way home.

When we arrived, we found Reg standing at the top of the steps, alone. He didn't rush down to meet me, but simply stood and waited for me to reach him. Then he gave me a long hug.

"`Bout time you got home."

I smiled. "I'm glad to see you too."

When we entered the house, mother was just coming out of the parlor and came to greet me. I hugged and kissed her.

"Hi, mom. What's for lunch?"

She giggled. "I haven't the vaguest idea. But from the noise I've heard coming from the kitchen, it'll probably be something marvelous. Francios mumbled something about having something special for when you got home."

"That's nice." She went on about her business and I turned to Reg. "So, what's up for the rest of the morning?"

"Lars is upstairs. When I called him he said he had the morning free and decided to come over and look you over."

The next hour was spent being weighed and measured. Lars, who was just as hunky as Reg had described him, tested me on the treadmill and some light weights. When he'd finished he began writing up a preliminary routine for me to follow.

"Did you properly thank Lars for his advice, Reg?" Reg punched me in the shoulder.

"Advice?" Lars was lost.

"Reg told me that you suggested that he wait until mister right came along."

The light dawned and he smiled. "I do seem to recall such a discussion. I imagine I'd be correct in supposing that you are that 'mister'?"

"I am indeed. So, Lars, how's the damage? Am I sadly hopeless?"

"Not at all. Whatever exercising you've been doing has really got you in good form. No unnecessary fat and just a bit of tone. But Regi says that you'd like to build a body more like his."

"That I would. If we're going to be partners, I want to be able to match him in the hunky body department."

Lars laughed big at that salvo. "Well, here's your initial schedule. Regi can help you with all of it. I'll come on Monday and monitor your full workout and adjust it based on what I see."

The rest of that day and all of the following Reg and I spent working out, reading, playing pinball and just relaxing together. We loved several times over that period, just enjoying being able to be lovers without worrying about the reaction of the household. During that time, I had to endure all sorts of curiosity and suspense as Merisa had a veritable army going in and out of my bedroom, always being careful to ensure I saw nothing of any significance.

At one point during Wednesday I remarked that we really needed a place where we'd have the room to practice our karate. Reg promptly took me to an empty room in the basement that was perfect. High enough ceiling that I could practice my weapons without fear and more than enough square footage to allow us to practice our forms simultaneously without interfering with each other.

"I'll ask sensei where he gets his dojo supplies tomorrow night when we go and enroll you."

Thursday morning dawned clear, bright, and warm. I climbed out of the bed carefully so as not to disturb Reg and went and stood at the window and simply looked out at the morning peace. That was the only way to describe how I felt and how it made me feel about the rest of the world. It was five-fifteen and all was right with my world. Yes, there was Preston and all of that crap, but it was a distant memory at that moment and time.

I was so caught up in my reverie that I hadn't heard Reg get out of bed. The first I knew of his awakening is when he stepped up behind me and ran his hands gently down my back and then wrapped them around me and set his head between my shoulder blades.

"Everything all right, lover?" he whispered.

I held and caressed his hands on my chest. "As God is my witness, Reg, things couldn't be all righter." I slowly turned around, wrapped my arms around him and then gently laid my cheek on the top of his head and breathed in his magnificent aroma. "Mother nature has granted us a glorious morning with a promise of a better day. I've found a love I could only ever dream about, and today that love is going to become my brother. The only thing that could possibly improve the start of this day is if my one and only were to give me a kiss."

His sapphire treasures reflected my peace and our love as he lifted his head and gave me a long, lingering, hint of things to come kiss. We then retired to the bathroom and lounged long and silently in the tub, simply feeling one another's warmth and heartbeats. We even added bubbles.

Breakfast was quiet. Everyone seemed to be wanting to reflect, as I was, on the events that had brought us to this day. Perhaps they were even contemplating where the resulting union might lead. There were lots of smiles and not a few sighs as we looked from one to the other.

After breakfast, everyone retired to their separate spaces and began preparing themselves for court. There was about forty-five minutes for everyone to complete their preparations. Reg and I showered quickly, because the bath had been meant for lounging and nothing more. It was quarter after nine when we finally stood fully decked out in our finest suits and ties, every hair in place, looking every bit of the high society denizens that I'd wanted.

"Well, this ought to make an impression," I said. "Let's go down."

It surprised me when we arrived to see not only mother and father, but every staff member, dressed to kill. Fortunately I was very high on the excitement of this new life, so I did not get the least bit overemotional. I simply looked from one to the other of them, each one right in the eyes. "This means the world to me. Thank you...all of you."

We stepped out to find not one, but two limos waiting outside. Carter drove one and Parker the other. We made quite the entrance into the court house parking area, and I was particularly pleased to see the Edwards car already parked and empty.

It was a veritable parade that strode into the courtroom. I was put in the lead, with Francis and Herb behind me, followed by the rest. I stopped when I saw John and Michael in the gallery behind the Edwards table. It was obvious that John had been crying. So I stopped and moved to embrace him.

'Daddy' reached back and grabbed my arm. "You stay the fuck away from them! You're never to see them again, you little bastard!"

I saw several things at that moment. John immediately broke into tears. He was fourteen, but he was even more emotional than I was, if that were possible. But I also saw twelve year old Michael's eyes fill with tears. That from the boy that wouldn't cry in public if he'd cut off his arm. Then I noticed 'mommy's' face. It was as hard and hateful as 'daddy's'. That surprised me. But then it dawned on me that she'd always supported her husband. She'd just done it in more subtle ways. The sudden analogy of 'good cop, bad cop' came to mind. And last I noticed that 'daddy's' lawyer was distressed as he tried to get 'daddy' to let me go.

I took a very simple and direct approach to the problem. I reached up and grabbed his shoulder in such a way that my thumb was in his arm pit. And then I squeezed...hard. That brought him immediately to his knees, with a whimper. A loud whimper.

"Mister Edwards, regardless of the outcome of today's proceedings, John and Michael are still my brothers. You can try to keep me from them, but I promise that I know their habits, their friends...hell, I know them far better than you do, and I can see them any time I so choose. So you might as well resign yourself to the fact that we will see one another. And if you evertouch me again, I'll have you arrested for assault of a minor."

I glanced back at Herb with a significant look and he simply nodded. The family took their places while I had a moment with my brothers. They both hugged me tight, giving me ample evidence that they'd missed me. I tried to reassure them, but wasn't having much success. They were convinced that they'd never see me again.

I reached my place between Herb and Francis just as the judge entered the chamber. The court accomplished all the preliminaries and moved right into the arguments; which weren't arguments at all. Just as Herb had promised, the Edwards were agreeing without any dissention.

"And is this truly the wish of your client, Mr. Gardner?" the judge asked at last.

"If it please, your Honor, my client has expressed the wish to answer for himself in these matters."

"I'll be speaking with him in chambers shortly, Herb, you know that."

"I do, your Honor, and so does my client. But he has specifically requested that the private meeting be waived and requests that you ask your questions here, in open court."

That got a raised eyebrow from the judge, who now looked at me. "Is this truly your desire, young man?" He then glanced down at his desk. "Wayne, isn't it?"

I stood. "It is, your Honor. I've had enough of secrets and hiding in shadows. I know that there are aspects of my life that others find disturbing. But there is nothing illegal about those things and I'm not ashamed of any of it. If it does not violate some point of law, your Honor, I'd rather our discussion be public so that there can be not doubt about my wishes."

He considered all this, never once looking away. "It is most unusual, Wayne. But I can see that you've given the matter some thought, and you've obviously discussed this with your lawyer, so...I'll allow it."

He then proceeded to ask his questions. I gave him all the details about life in the Edwards household before my homosexuality became public knowledge, and after. I answered calmly and fully. It wasn't until I had to repeat the words my father had spoken over the phone on that fateful day that I choked up.

"Faggot." That one word was clearly heard throughout the courtroom.

The judge's response was instantaneous. "Silence! Mister Edwards, if I hear one more rude comment from you, I will have you arrested and removed from this courtroom on contempt of court charges! Do I make myself clear?!"

'Daddy' glared at the judge but finally answered. "Yes...sir."

We finished our question and answer session by my describing the home I'd been provided by mom and dad Finger. Then I glanced down at Herb, at my brothers, and back at Herb. He simply nodded.

"If I may be permitted, your Honor, I'd like to bring your attention to a situation that, if you grant my petition, will be of grave concern to myself and my two younger brothers."

I really couldn't believe what happened next. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie. 'Daddy' jumped up, shoved his attorney to the floor and attacked me! "You keep away from my boys, you fucking little faggot!!"

I couldn't believe how calm I was, during orafter the incident. I simply reached over Herb and grabbed Mister Edwards by the throat and squeezed slightly. This brought his forward progress to a halt. I heard someone yell, "Bailiffs!" in a distant part of my mind, but didn't register the significance. It was awkward standing in this position, with Herb seated between us.

"Herb, move!" I hissed. He did, and I stepped past him and my 'daddy' and I stood between the two desks, his eyes bulging slightly and his two hands locked on my one, trying to force it free of his throat. When that didn't work, he made a feeble swing at me. I responded by reaching with my other hand and grabbed his crotch and squeezed. He squeaked. And it was a very satisfying sound. It also had the effect of causing him to miss with his blow.

A small part of my mind marveled that we weren't being separated, then I could see that the bailiffs were poised to intercede, but were holding back.

"Now, 'daddy', you have a decision to make," I said. My voice sounded like steel to my own ears. "You can return to your seat and we can complete these proceedings or..."

"Leave him alone, you little bastard!" That was my 'mommy'. But I could see that she was being restrained by a bailiff.

I don't know where he got the strength at that point, but 'daddy' ripped himself from my grasp at that point and began swinging. I responded just as I had on Friday when I'd rescued Reg. My mind cleared and I responded automatically to the threat. There was no anger, no vindictive retaliation, just simple defense. But it all happened so quickly that it was over in moments. 'Daddy' lay moaning on the courtroom floor while his wife continued to yell obscenities at me.

"I hope this is a lesson for you 'daddy'. You can not intimidate me any longer. You can not beat me physically, or emotionally." I couldn't believe how calm I was. I wasn't shouting, I wasn't shaking, I was simply talking. "Your pathetic prejudice is going to be your undoing. I amthankful to you, however. You've taken away any doubt I might have once harbored about the decision I was making here today. You are a slimy worm...a waste of flesh...and I'm going to do all I can to see that my brothers no longer have to live inside your poisonous home." I spoke over my shoulder without looking around. "Herb, has mister Edwards violated the terms of the letter of intent he and my mother signed?"

"Yes he has." And I could hear the smile on Herb's face.

"Do you still have those warrants you told me about?"

"I do."

"Perhaps you could prevail on the judge to sign those warrants and have this worthless piece of garbage taken into custody."

There were several minutes of activity as the bailiffs handcuffed both of the Edwards adults and removed them from the courtroom. Then the judge continued as if everything that had just happened was a perfectly normal occurrence.

"Well, that was interesting," he smiled as I continued to stand between the two desks, still not quite believing what had just happened. "It certainly simplifies my decisions. I grant the petition of Mister Wayne Edwards. You are no longer the responsibility of the Edwards and are hereby legally adopted by Arthur and Penelope Finger." He then paused and considered. "Now, I have to decide what we'll do about your brothers."

I spun around and looked at mom and dad. They simply smiled and nodded.

"If I may make a suggestion, Your Honor?"

"I'll listen."

"I've consulted with my new parents, your Honor, and they have agreed to take in my brothers and be their guardians until such time as all the parties involved can reach a more permanent solution."

"So ordered," he replied instantly, as if that had been precisely the response he'd wanted to hear, and slammed his gavel down. "Herb, you will have the necessary documents on my desk for my signature before the end of the day."

"Of course, Your Honor."

And that was it. All settled. Done, complete, fine`. I was a Finger in all but name. My first response was to be numb for a moment. Then I turned and found mom and dad standing at the gate. We hugged for some time, until dad got my attention and nodded toward my two shocked brothers. I stepped over to their side of the courtroom and it was Michael that recovered first. Not surprising, since he was most definitely the more assertive of my two brothers.

"Crap, Wayne! What the hell?"

I smiled. "Michael, is that any kind of language to be using in front of the people who are going to be looking after you for the foreseeable future?"

He had the grace to blush a brilliant red as he looked sharply over at mom and dad.

Dad simply chuckled. "Wayne, I think we can overlook it this time, don't you? I have to admit to being just a bit bewildered by this turn of events, too. So I have to agree with your brother. Crap, Wayne!"

John and Michael both laughed at this.

I explained what they didn't understand and introduced them to mom and dad. Then the family began to leave, but I held back with John, Michael, and Reg. I was about to go into a long speech about Reg and I when John, of all people, simply blurted out the first thing that came to his mind.

"Is this your boyfriend?"

"Would it bother you if he were?"

He paused to consider the question. "No."

There were introductions and handshakes, and then we headed for the exit, my arms over my brothers' shoulders and Michael with his arm over Reg's. It was a good beginning, I thought.

Father had made reservations, so we had an early lunch at the finest restaurant in town to celebrate all that had happened. Father had insisted that I sit at the head of the table for the meal while he sat at the foot. When the meal ended, the waiters served everyone a glass of something non-alcoholic in Champaign glasses, and I rose. When I'd consulted the head waiter about the subject during the course of the meal, he assured me that the restaurant had just the thing on hand.

"To say that this day has been surprising would be an understatement." Everyone chuckled at this. "This past week has been a whirlwind of changes in my life that has all culminated in today. I have a new family." I then looked down the table at Herb. "Herb, I'd appreciate it if you'd assemble the necessary documents so that I can affect a change to my name." Then I looked down the table at dad. "You have all been remarkable. First you accept me into your home as Reg's first real friend. Then you accept our partnership. And now you accept responsibility for my brothers. I can't imagine what I've done in my short life to warrant such generosity. But I will do my utmost to be worthy and to always make you proud of me. To that end, I want to change my name to reflect this new beginning, and to honor the gift of your love and acceptance. I had originally planned to keep the name Edwards out of respect to my heritage. But after today's events, I no longer feel any need to respect those roots. So I'm going to ask Herb to submit the documents so that I will be known from this day as Wayne Lawrence Arthur Finger." I raised my glass briefly, "To my family," and took a sip.

Well, suffice it to say, it all got a bit sentimental and emotional. What it boiled down to is that John and Michael were convinced to call them mom and dad. The relationship of the staff would take time to become a reality for them, but it would happen. I knew Reg and I would still have to sit and talk to the two of them about our relationship, but it didn't appear to be a crucial concern immediately.

The ride home was fun. I was lucky that John and Michael had always been inclined to believe you were a friend first, and revise their opinion later if you proved unworthy. So it didn't take long for them to warm right up to Reg. Of course, he was being his outrageous worst as he teased them and made jokes about me. So it was, that by the time we reached home, everyone was much more relaxed and comfortable with this sudden situation.

We entered to find Merisa standing in the middle of the foyer, a huge smile on her face.

"I presume by the lateness of your return that everything has come out to everyone's satisfaction?"

"Ah, my lady Merisa," I began, being my most outrageous. "They certainly have. You have the privilege to be addressing his lordship, Wayne Lawrence Arthur Finger, who returns to his family's castle after vanquishing dragons, knaves and scallywags." She laughed at my salvo.

"Oh gods," said father behind me, "He's been taking lessons from Herb."

Merisa quickly regained control and stepped up and kissed me on the cheek. "Congratulations, Wayne, and welcome home. Now, I have a gift in honor of this day, if you'd care to come with me and see who I believe Wayne Lawrence Arthur Finger to be?"

"Merisa?" I breathed softly, not believing what she was implying. Surely she couldn't have completed my room in three short days. She nodded, and I smiled in return, feeling like a child that was about to see all his presents under the Christmas tree. "Reg and I are more than ready."

"Thought you might say something like that." She grabbed Reg by the arm and began leading us to the staircase. "Come along, everyone." We were soon all standing before the double doors to my room. She stepped forward, linking Reg and I arm in arm and then opened the pair of doors into...


Or, at least my concept of one. The room was primarily pale blues, greens and yellows. A hint here and there of darker shades, as of shadows. There were hints throughout the furnishings of darker colors of every sort. And though there were no ridiculous pictures or statues, I knew that this was my own personal coral reef, my very own tropical lagoon. And I was living beneath the waters of it.

Like Reg's room, I had four distinct areas. The sleeping quarter was delineated simply by a huge white rug on which rose this magnificent canopy bed, covered and surrounded with shear white fabrics that made me feel as if it were floating lazily between the sea floor and water's surface. There was the reading and relaxing areas, just like in Reg's room. But the final area was not a TV spot as in Reg's, because I'd specifically said I didn't want a TV in my room.

That final zone was my creative area. This is where I'd be able to create the music I so loved. In it was a baby grand piano, in white. On the wall hung two twelve string guitars. My own acoustic, and a new electric version. A drafting table sat in the corner; that was where I would write my music onto sheets that were stacked on shelves beneath.

"You play the piano?" asked Reg, sounding almost offended that I hadn't mentioned it.

"Not yet, but I plan to learn." He already knew I played guitar because I'd told him and even demonstrated the fact once, after my possessions had arrived.

Mostly I was stunned. I know I'd talked about romance and delicate fabrics, but with an equal share of masculine appeal. But this was so perfect. Just the right balance of feminine to masculine. Male and female in equal measure. Lights and darks. Fabrics and heavy woods.

Merisa began leading us to the corner that led to the bath. "My god Merisa, dare we enter there? Reg and I can barely contain ourselves now." And it was true. We were both vibrating with the feelings that were welling up. I know my feeling began building the minute I laid eyes on the bed.

Melisa simply giggled. "You know, perhaps we should send the others away." And all I could think was, 'Uh oh.'

If the main room had been a coral reef, just below the surface of the water, the bathroom was a deep sea grotto. Darker shades of blues, greens, and even blacks filled this room. Sea anemone sconces seemed to sway on the walls. All I could do was turn and pull Merisa into a huge hug and eventual kiss. A heartfelt, full on kiss.

" I feel like I've lived here all my life, not entered for the first time."

When we reentered the main room, I saw everyone still crowded outside at the doors. "Oh, for pity sake, this isn't a museum. Come in, look around." They began entering slowly. I suddenly felt a bit impish. "Look to your heart's content, but know that security will be checking pockets and handbags as you exit." Everyone laughed and relaxed.

I glanced around the room again, trying to take it all in. Then my eyes fell on the guitars, and I realized that now was the perfect time to debut something I'd been working on all week. "Reg, keep everyone entertained for a few minutes. I've got something I want to play for you."

Well that certainly got his attention. He went off while I pulled down the electric and was thrilled to find that it was in perfect tune. I turned on the amplifier and began experimenting with the effects until I had just the sound I wanted. As I finished the last of my preparations, I signaled Reg to gather everyone together. Then I pointed to the piano bench, "Reg".

"Most of you don't know it, but I'm a musician 'and' a writer. I write songs for and about the ones that mean the most to me. I will eventually write something about each of you in the next few months, I promise. But I hope you will all forgive me if my first song in this marvelous house and this magnificent room is for Reg."

With that introduction, I began. The melody was haunting, the words suggestive, and it was perfectly suited to our surroundings because I'd used sea symbols and metaphors. There was not one single word of blatant love or passion in it. But you'd have had to be an imbecile not to recognize the theme. I looked at my love the entire time. By the end of the first verse Reg was in tears. By the end of the first chorus most of the females were. By the end of the second chorus most of the men were demonstrating the effect the song was having. By the time of the final arpeggio, there wasn't a dry eye in the place, including my own.

The only person that moved as that final chord faded, was me, as I put down the guitar and took Reg's face in my two hands, gently brushing the tears from his cheek.

"I've named that piece, Heart of My Soul. That was my heart laid open for all to see. So that there can be no doubt as to the sincerity or the intensity of what I feel for you."

No one applauded. There was only the sound of soft weeping and sighs as Reg stood and wrapped me in his arms and placed his still weeping face on my chest, under my chin. I simply closed my eyes and rested my cheek on his hair, my favorite position for us to share. It was several moments of quiet bliss, and then we felt ourselves gently embraced. And that embrace felt so like father that I didn't have to open my eyes to know he was there.

"That is the most incredible piece of music I've ever heard." It was a simple statement, but the emotions I could feel behind the softly spoken words were intense. "I never truly understood the feelings you have for one another. Could never understand how two men could be attracted to each other in this way. When your relationship first became known to me, I said I would not interfere and that we'd support you in any way we could. But after hearing this, if it were a prudent thing to do, I would announce to the world your union."

Reg and I both looked up into his eyes at that choice of words.

"Don't look at me that way, sons. There can be only one meaning for that song. This moment is the closest you will ever be able to come to a wedding. I have no doubt what so ever that we have been privileged to witness your bonding. No sermon, no church ceremony could be more poignant than this." He kissed each of us slowly, with his whole heart. "You have my full blessing. Cherish and build on what you feel. Love each other, my sons."

The mutual joy Reg and I felt at those words was too much, and we wept, unashamed, onto his chest. I hadn't intended this. But when he spoke the words I knew it was true. I had put every ounce of our feelings for one another into that piece. It 'had' been a work announcing our commitment to one another.

Everyone congratulated us and began leaving. Mother was the last.

"I want to show your brothers their rooms, Wayne." She glanced over at where they sat on the floor, looking stunned. "But I think you and Reg need to talk to them first." With that she went and stood by the door.

Reg and I went and sat on the floor in front of them. They were so stunned that they started when I spoke.

"Are you mad at me?"

They shook their heads after a moment's consideration, but I could see fear in their eyes and I understood what was on their minds.

"But you're afraid that I'm not going to be the same big brother I was."

They hesitated, then nodded.

"John, Michael," I said softly, "Nothing could be further from the truth. I love you both as much as I ever have. But now that we're away from 'them' I'll be able to express it better. And as for me being less of a big brother, you're not looking at this properly. You aren't losing a big brother, you're gaining a second."

It was obvious that they hadn't even considered that possibility. There were hugs all around as Reg affirmed what I'd just said. When we separated, the boys were smiling again.

"Now," I said, "Mother wants to show you where you'll be sleeping. Why don't you go and have a look and then come back here and we'll investigate this place more fully."

The boys were back soon enough and couldn't believe that they'd each been given their own rooms. We spent an hour or so just looking into all the nooks and crannies, and showing them the features of this floor of the house. Then mother took them into town to shop for clothes and some personal items for their rooms. They were so busy with shopping and then putting it all away and arranging their new possessions that Reg and I didn't see them until supper.

Seating was arranged so that my brothers sat on either side of mom. She patiently guided them through the intricacies of the family supper. There was as much laughing and giggling from the three of them as there was serious eating. It was truly fun to watch as they began the integration process into the family.

Dessert this night was a treat and a surprise. The first we knew of it was when Francios entered the dinning room with a cake in his hands, which he placed before my brothers. Clearly written on it were the words, "Welcome to the Family, John & Michael". Well, John broke into tears and Michael, though not in tears, certainly was overwhelmed. Francios had even included two candles that the boys had to blow out.

Before the boys were allowed to cut into their cake, however, Kyndra entered with another cake. This one was all white, two tiered and had the words "Congratulations & Long Lives Together" on it. This one was placed before Reg and I. We did not cry, but our vision certainly blurred.

When we retired for the night, there was no question where Reg wanted to spend it, so we headed straight for my room. We knew we didn't have to worry about clothes for the following day because we noticed during out inspection of the room, that my closet contained as many of Reg's clothes as my own. We'd known, without even having to check, that Reg's closet looked just like mine.

The first thing we did was christen the tub. We luxuriated for some time in a tub full of bubbles just enjoying communing one with another. We caressed, we kissed, we basked in the reality of our commitment to one another.

When we'd had enough of that, and before we turned into prunes, we dried and slowly approached that magnificent bed. We simply stood on either side of it and admired it for a time, and I realized that the shear curtains down each post were being held back with ties. I undid the first and was thrilled when it flowed away and blocked half the side of the bed. I released the other and it was like a sanctuary. Reg, of course, followed suit on his side of the bed. When we crawled inside, I swear, it was if the feelings I was having were intensified, as if the mere presence of the curtains was reflecting back the love we shared.

For the longest time we simply cuddled, kissed, and caressed each other. There was no desire to rush this night. I felt, and I knew Reg felt it too, that this was our equivalent of a wedding night. Where the night would lead, I didn't know, but I knew it'd be glorious.

We began by exchanging slow, stupendous oral sex that seemed to go on and on until we were both drenched in the sweat of our passion. It was only after I'd gotten him off that I found out just how significant our wedding night would be.

"Wayne, I want you."

The way he said it left little doubt in my mind what he meant.

"Are you absolutely sure, Reg? We haven't really done anything to prepare."

"Yes, Wayne, I'm absolutely positive. This is our wedding night and I want to consummate it completely."

How could I refuse? I knew I'd need lubrication, though, and I hadn't seen my little box from home. But I was desperate to satisfy my love's wishes and looked into the side tables and lo, there it was. I was a little embarrassed to think Merisa had seen its contents, and even more embarrassed when I saw the note on the lid; 'I took the liberty of refilling your supply, love, Merisa'. When I opened the box, it was completely full of tubes of KY.

"Roll on your stomach, baby. I'm going to take some time and prepare you, and that's going to make your legs tired."

"As long as we're face to face for the big event," he giggled.

I began slowly, with just spit and a finger, rubbing on and around that most sacred of spots. I was going to build this up as slowly as I could. He shuddered at my first touch and pushed back immediately.

"Slowly, lover, slowly. If you let me guide this, the pain will be minimal."

His answer was to simply relax. But oh, he was hot for this. Each time I grazed his pink pucker he quivered and moaned. It got even worse when I leaned in and began massaging him with my tongue. Oh, he tasted sweat. And so hot. It took no time at all for my tongue to penetrate him and the groan was long. Man, he wanted this so bad!

I decided to move to the next stage after just a couple of minutes. A bit of KY and my first finger. First I lubed the entrance quite thoroughly and then slowly pushed. But he was having nothing to do with slow. He pushed back so fast and unexpectedly that my finger was buried completely in a heartbeat. I worried at first, but he immediately began moving back and forth.

"Oh god, oh god, that is so goo...yipe!"

I'd purposely run right over his prostate just then. I loved the reaction that always got from my partners. But this was so much better, knowing that this was his first experience with it. His entire body stiffened each time I did it. His pucker clamped down hard.

"Oh stop! Stop! I don't want to cum yet. Please, stop."

I did. But then I gave him a second finger, very, very slowly. He allowed me to control this penetration. He whimpered a bit at first, and I stopped. I didn't proceed until he began to push against my hand. We stopped several times before I was buried as far as I could go.

"Oh, that feels full," he whispered.

"Sweetie, is it too much? I really need to add a third before you'll be ready for me."

"No, no. It's okay. I just wasn't expecting it to feel this full. The pain went right away."

"Okay. Let's just work these for a bit." And we did. I started slowly and allowed him to increase the speed as he became more accustomed to it. We loosened for a couple of minutes this way. He did relax quicker than I thought he would. I was encouraged.

"Time to roll over, lover." I pulled my fingers out as he rolled onto his back. "I need to see your face for this." I didn't even have to give him direction, he pulled his legs toward his chest and spread himself as wide as he could. I inserted two fingers again to be certain we hadn't lost any ground and I was pleasantly surprised to feel no resistance, and even a bit more room. So I added the third finger slowly, expecting a grimace. What I got was a slow exhale of satisfaction. No tensing, no resistance, they went all the way in without a single complaint. Well. I stroked in and out a few times and saw only satisfaction and desire.

I quickly squirted lube on my hard cock and spread it around and removed my fingers from him. That got a groan of disappointment from him. But then he felt me move and he opened his eyes and watched as I positioned myself. He reached between his legs and pushed my hand away from my cock and performed the necessary positioning of it himself.

"Reg, caref..."

"Shhh. My choice. Just relax and let me, please."

Well, this fell under the heading of my promise, so I did as I was told, but I worried. Somehow I knew what he intended. He released my cock and grabbed my hips. Then he looked me right in the eyes and didn't look away. Without a moment's hesitation, he pulled me hard toward him and I was forced to penetrate him all the way in one fast motion.

He cried out briefly and his eyes filled with tears, but he smiled. My eyes filled with tears, too, because I knew that it had to have hurt terribly and I hated that thought.

"Shhhh," he said after a moment. "I couldn't wait any longer. I've wanted that for days. Now, just give me a moment."

In a surprisingly short time I felt his sphincter relax around the base of my cock and he began to push and pull my hips in short strokes. I simply followed his lead as he lengthened each stroke. It wasn't long before I was giving him full strokes.

"Now, lover," he said, releasing hips. "Love me completely."

It only took me two or three minutes before I was loving him hard and fast. And through it all, I tried my best to avoid exciting his prostrate. I didn't want him cumming on himself, I had something else in mind. It was another five minutes before I couldn't hold out any longer.

"Here it comes, Reg."

It was glorious, stupendous, and it was an over the top orgasm for me. The hard part was maintaining enough awareness to slap his hand away from his own cock as he attempted to get off at the same time. The minute my orgasm began to lessen I pulled from his ass and quickly swiped the lube from my cock and slathered his with it and then I jumped onto him and slid his cock into my ass. He was so excited by now that it took no time at all before he was pumping me full of his fluids.

When I felt his body relax at the completion of his orgasm, I pulled up and off, then simply lay on top of him, our softening cocks pressed between us, spreading the last remaining pulses of orgasmic fluids onto our stomachs.

We lay there for several minutes before either of us could speak.

"That was glorious," whispered Reg. "I'm glad you did it that way."

"It was suddenly so important for us both to be filled at the same time."

Reg giggled. "I wanted to cum when you did, so bad. But your way was better."

We kissed briefly and fell asleep, or perhaps we just passed out. Whichever, we woke a short time later. I know it was a short time later because neither of us had begun leaking. We jumped up and giggled all through the process of ridding ourselves of each other.

We returned to the bed, still giggling.

"It seems like such a waste for you to get it in there and then to have to force it out right away," said Reg, impishly.

"Ah, but think of all the fun we'll have filling you back up again." I rolled up onto my elbow and looked down at him. "You scared the hell out of me when you forced me in you like that, sweet."

"I've wanted that for days, but things kept interfering. I just wanted to be sure it happened. But man it hurt." He lifted and kissed me. "It was soooo worth it though. The pain went right away and then you took your time. I love you."

"For all our lives," I said.

We lay there for some time in silence, my head on his chest for a change.

"Wayne, how would you feel if we included John and Michael in a lot of what we do over the weekend?"

"I wouldn't mind, but why?"

"They're not as ready to accept all this as you were. And I'm sure they're still concerned about losing some of your attention. If we let mother handle it all, they'll just feel like they're being shuffled to the side." He laughed. "Let's give them a massive dose of 'big brothers' and let them decide when enough is enough."

I laughed back at him. "You are too devious, lover. But I agree. Once they get secure with the idea that we aren't going anywhere, they'll start demanding their own time and space. I wouldn't have asked it, but if you're willing..."

"You need to reassure them, and I need to get to know them. Let's take them shopping today and buy them something."

"Neither of them has a stereo, unless mom bought them one yesterday."

"And a TV?"

"No, let's not do that. I don't want to set them up to become hermits. A TV will encourage them to spend too much time in their rooms alone."

Reg laughed. "You are a good dad to them, aren't you?"

"I've tried. Their father never really interacted with them much."

He hugged my head to his chest. "Don't worry at it so, Wayne. John told me that mom had said they could decorate their rooms any way they liked. So I think mother and father are planning on a more permanent arrangement for them."

"I hope you're right. But I'm afraid to ask, they've already done so much for me."

"They've always hoped for the sound of kids playing here. They never liked me being so much alone. And they know what having them here will mean to you. Bet Herb has already been given direction."

I laughed at a sudden thought. "It's going to be a shame to have to give up the MG, though."

With that thought, we simply faded into a quiet, restful night, nestled in our white oasis beneath the surface of my lagoon.

We woke slowly the following morning.

"How do you sleep with your head on my chest, Reg? I've got a crick in my neck."

"It does take some getting use to. Here, let me help."

So we started our day by exchanging massages and a shower. Then we went down to the parlor and were waiting for mother and father when they arrived. We received permission for the shopping trip and authorization to spend more than our daily limit, then Reg and I went down to wake the boys. Reg woke John and I went in to shake Michael.

He woke with a start, eyes wide at seeing me sitting on the edge of his bed. "It's really, real. It all really happened." Then he jumped up and hugged me hard, and, of all things, began to cry. I thought I knew why.

"Happy?" His head nodded against my chest. "I've missed you too, Michael. But what's this? My brother the rock has feelings, too?"

He sniffled and regained some composure. "He always treated you and John so bad. It was easier not to care."

"I know," I said sagely, even though I was surprised by this. "Now, breakfast is soon. You need to get showered and dressed. Come and meet us in the parlor. That's the pretty room off the foyer."

He gave me a long kiss and then jumped out of bed, in nothing but his underwear. I hadn't seen him this undressed in some time.

"Hmm. Looks like little brother is starting to grow up," I commented.

He looked down at himself and then back at me, blushing slightly. "Think I'll get as big as you?"

"There's no way of telling, little man. We'll only know that for sure when it happens."

He hesitated a moment. "I have lots of questions, Wayne," was all he said.

I smiled. "And your friends don't know any better than you do. Besides, at your age, you're probably a bit ahead of most of your classmates."

He nodded.

"Well, you can ask Reg and me anything. We'll answer your questions the best we can."

He ran into my arms and hugged me quick and tight, then kissed my cheek. "You're the best." He then headed for the shower, but stopped briefly. "Do mom and dad like hugging and kissing?"

That was certainly a valid question. There hadn't been a lot of that in the Edwards house. "They most certainly do. They are also very easy to talk to. This is all going to take some getting use to, so don't be afraid to ask them questions. Okay?"

"'Kay," he said.

It turns out that Reg had a very similar conversation with John, so the boys were relaxed when they entered the parlor, giving mom and dad a morning hug and kiss. They were surprised when they were told that they were taking the day off from school. They were told then about how and why Reg and I were being schooled at home, but it was decided that they'd continue school in the normal fashion since they didn't seem to have any problems at school. The only difference being that Carter would transport them to and from school from now on. The boys were thrilled, though, that they'd be spending the day with Reg and I.

When we'd finished breakfast, the whole family headed for the front doors. It seemed a bit odd that mom and dad came along, but I didn't really think much of it. Until we stepped onto the portico, that is. The car Carter had waiting for us was nothing like I'd expected. And it wasn't until I really looked at it that I realized what I was seeing.

At the foot of the steps sat a midnight blue vehicle that rumbled at an idle. But it didn't register with me until I finally comprehended that the small character painted on the fender just in front of the driver's door was a roadrunner in full throttle run. Well, what can I say, I wept a bit.

This was my '68 roadrunner, newly remodeled. The front bench seat was now two bucket seats. The hood had an air scoop in the middle with the numbers 4-4-0 clearly embossed on the sides. It was, to put is simply, a work of art. And the power I felt, even from this distance. Where the MG had been a thoroughbred horse waiting in the gates, this was a full out, wild stallion, barely contained, ready to bolt at a moment's notice to escape the wolves.

I turned and hugged my parents together. "Just when I think you couldn't do anything more for me."

Dad chuckled. "Actually, this project was set in motion while you and Regi showered last Friday. It was only meant to be our way of saying thank you for rescuing our son."

"It's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you."

"You're welcome, son. I'm sure you had fun driving the MG, but that little number is a rich man's indulgence. Fun to drive, I'm sure. But this...this is the car of a teenage boy of wealth and power. This is the vehicle of a young lion, a young man who is coming into his own." He held me at arm's length. "One thing, Herb called and said the documents you wanted are ready for your signature, and since you were going out anyway, I told him you'd stop by. Regi knows where his office is. Now go, be the lion on the prowl."

The rest were already seated and admiring the appointments when I sat slowly into the driver's position. Only then did I notice that the automatic transmission had been replaced with a manual. Carter closed the door as I pressed the accelerator and simply listened to the roar. I was sure it could be heard for miles.

I smiled to all my brothers. "Ready for some fun?"

"Yes!!" they yell, simultaneously. I was cautious with it until we got onto the Richardson Highway, then I opened her up. The exhilaration, the power. It was a dream come true.

We began our day by cruising the school where everyone was just arriving. We were even forced to stop at one point when we were flagged down by a group who wanted to admire. They were shocked when they finally recognized Reg and were really quite friendly. It was a novel experience being suddenly up at the top of the pecking order instead of at the bottom.

Well, needless to say, we were high from the experience by the time we parked outside of Herb's office. I'm sure we startled everyone, because I revved the engine once before shutting her down. We'd certainly gotten everyone's attention, because the front of the office was full of people admiring her as we marched in.

"That's a bit more car than I remember seeing from my investigation," said Herb.

I laughed. "It's the same car, Herb. It's just been remade in true Finger extravagance."

"Leave it to Arthur and Penelope," he laughed. "All right, boys, let's go to the conference room. Francis has everything laid out."

Signing the documents for my name change took no time at all. "So, Herb, how long before I can legally use my new name."

"Normally, a couple of weeks. But this is coming on the heals of the adoption, so it is really nothing more than a notification. As of the moment you placed your signatures on that document, you were officially Wayne Lawrence Arthur Finger." He then held out his hand. "Congratulations, Wayne."

All I could do was smile like an idiot as I shook his hand.

"Now, as for you two," he said as he turned to John and Michael. Francis slid a court document in front of them. I recognized it immediately. "This piece of paper makes your guardianship under Arthur and Penelope Finger official."

Both boys laid a hand on the paper...almost reverently.

"Now, you have a choice to make." Herb glanced over and winked at me. "Will this satisfy you or would the two of you like something more permanent?"

"Permanent?" they asked in unison, a glimmer of hope in their eyes as they looked from Herb to me and back again.

"Yes, permanent. The preliminary investigation of your birth parents has prompted a judge to sign a document denying them any further claim on you. You are, therefore, wards of the state, under the protection of the Fingers...for the time being. But the court can not wait for long before they require something more permanent for you. So, I've already had a talk with Arthur and Penelope and they have proposed the idea of adopting you, just as they have your older brother. If that is to your liking?"

They both surprised me at that moment when they turned and didn't look at me, but at Reg, and Michael asked very simply, "Regi?"

It was a breathless question with a world of hope included in it, and just a touch of fear. I was so very proud of them at that moment for thinking of how Reg might feel about more of us invading his life.

"Argh! Little brothers? Two of them?! You've got to be kidding me." There was just a moment of abject fear in their eyes, until they realized that Reg had been joking. He smiled as he could see the dawning of understanding. "Say yes, boys. Let's make it a big family."

They jumped up and hugged him together and then turned to Herb. "Yes!!" Then they looked back at Reg. "Can we be Fingers, too?" asked John.

Reg simply nodded and smiled. Herb simply nodded when they looked back at him. "I'll take care of it." He then turned to me. "Can you stay in town for an hour? If so, I can have everything accomplished and you can take the signed documents home and the boys can tell them."

"We're going shopping next. We'll probably be done in an hour or so."

"Great. Now, just one final thing." This time Francis walked around the table and handed me another court document.

"This is strictly for you, Wayne. We got a visit from the head prosecutor this morning. It seems that one of his staff pressed charges against you without properly investigating. It seems there was some familiarity with the Reese family involved. Anyway, Jackson Davies has rescinded the charges, and the warrant and bail have been cancelled. No further action will be taken against you." He then handed me a sealed envelope. "This is a personal apology from him to you."

Stunned. That's what I was. And then something he said registered with me. "Davies?"

"Wondered if you'd make the connection. Father and daughter."

Well, this added a new thrill to our day of playing hooky from school. John and Michael were thrilled with their new stereos and couldn't wait to get home and set them up. We even stopped and had an early lunch at the A & W drive-in. Then we stopped at Herb's office and retrieved the adoption and name change papers for the newest members of the Finger household.

My brothers put on quite a show for mom and dad when we got home. They entered the house looking for all the world as if someone had pronounced a death sentence on them. Mom and dad got immediately concerned. Then John handed dad the adoption papers and Michael handed mom the name changes and waited as their new parents registered what they'd been given. When they looked up in disbelief, John and Michael were smiling like loons and immediately hugged their new parents.

Dad looked at me a bit bewildered. "No court?"

"No, dad. Herb explained that you'd already been approved to adopt me, and since these two were already wards of the state, then it was a simple matter of piggy backing their adoption along with mine. A few signatures and poof, your family expands again."

"Mom, dad, do you think we could stop now?" asked Reg. "I think three brothers is enough, don't you?"

That released the shock and we all laughed heartily. The staff was informed of the new additions and pronounced themselves thrilled. There was yet another celebration that night and yet another feast. As Francios delivered the dessert he announced that if we were going to be celebrating something every night, he was going to have to hire more help for the kitchen. Dad assured him that things would quiet down from here on.

Herb had told us that the three accomplices were going to be tried separately from Preston. He also told us that we were not going to be required to appear since the three boys had already plead guilty to second degree assault. But when we expressed our wish to be present for the sentencing, he duly informed us that their sentencing had been scheduled for the following Wednesday.

He'd only told us that their tale was truly a sad one. I remembered, then, the looks of apology I'd seen at the jail. So I asked Herb if we could be allowed to see the results of the investigation. He promised he'd do what he could, though he was confused by my curiosity.

The remainder of the weekend was a whirlwind of fun for the Finger boys as we visited every arcade in town, ate at every teenage gathering place and generally, but kindly, let the city of Fairbanks know that we existed and that now that we were loose on the world, we were not going to be going away any time soon.

Monday morning dawned and John and Michael were thrilled when Carter pulled up before the house to take them to school. He was fully decked out and he'd taken special care to ensure the limousine was sparkling.

It was also a marvelous day for Reg and I, as we were to begin our schooling at home. Everett arrived at eight-thirty and set himself up on the room mother had set aside for his use. His curriculum, at first glance, appeared just as challenging as he'd promised. He planned to simply set us each goals to attain in each subject, gave us a list of recommended materials to use and then left us to it.

Herb delivered a manila envelope to Reg and I later that day and informed us that what we had there was extremely confidential and that the only reason we had it was that mister Davies had concluded that since we had been the victims, we had a right to know the conclusions of his office. We were not allowed to discuss the contents with anyone, not even our parents.

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