The kitchen smelled great; Maddy pointed to the table and told me to sit.
"I hope you like Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches."
"Only since I was really little." I said.
I looked across the table at Loren and he positively glowed.
"Parlez vous Francais Porter?"
"Oui Loren, je parle un petit peu Français."
"Chouette" said Loren.
"Not bad Porter, how long have you been studying French?" Asked Bob
"Only a semester and it was just getting interesting too." I said.
"Well you have a built in tutor here so make the most of him while you’re here."
Lunch was great, I hadn’t had tomato soup in ages and this was Maddy’s own recipe from her own tomatoes.
"Porter would you mind giving me a hand out in the shop and maybe we can talk a bit. Loren needs to do his piano exercises with mama’."
I went to grab my coat from the tree by the door but it wasn’t there.
"Your coat wasn’t up to the weather here. That one used to belong to Mark but he outgrew it. He and Charlotte stayed here for a while when their Daddy was in the end stages of cancer."
"Oh man, that sucks. They obviously love you so you must have helped them deal."
"We’ve known them all their lives. Their parents knew my first wife. They helped a lot when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They looked after my two youngest boys for a while so I could put myself back together."
"They also welcomed Maddy with open arms and they’ve been good friends ever since."
"That’s really nice, thanks for telling me and I’m sorry about your first wife. Nobody should have to go through that," I told him.
We walked through the kitchen to the Garage and there was an Outback sitting in the first space and a vehicle I couldn’t identify.
"What the heck is that? Is that Russian?" I asked Bob
"Nope, Swedish, it’s actually a Volvo. It’s called a Sugga."
"It’s the weirdest truck or car I’ve ever seen. It looks like somebody put an old car body on a pick-up frame."
"They were built for the Swedish Army and used as Radio Command cars. The official designation is TP21 but it’s still a Volvo. I put a Cummins 4BT diesel in this one and a new Trans and transfer case from a 04’ Dodge pickup with the 5.9 Cummins clutch and so on. Did I lose you yet?"
"No I’m with you, I’m way into trucks. I used to help our neighbor with his old Bronco."
"We’ll take this old beasty out and play a little at some point, I like to keep them moving. We usually go to town for breakfast on Sundays so we can take it then."
"It looks like it could climb over anything, I can’t wait."
We walked out to the shop and he pushed a number into the pad and unlocked the door. I was unprepared for what I saw. There was a bunch of neat old cars and trucks and some newer stuff as well. I saw the truck that brought me here parked facing the door. I noticed that most had electrical cords plugged into them and asked.
"Block heaters, they keep the coolant from freezing when it gets really cold. It also makes the diesels easier to start because they have tank heaters too. My regular truck has an auto eject that kicks the plug out when I crank the starter."
"Cool." I said.
"I checked with a guy and had him run your Uncles name through the sex offender’s database. He’s not in it. I’ll do a little checking Monday and see if we can get to the bottom of this."
"I wonder what’s up with that. Who was the woman that answered his phone?"
"I don’t know, at your age your voice is kind of hard to peg as male or female, on the phone it would be even harder. Maybe a jealous girlfriend?"
"No I told her I was his nephew and that he was going to pick me up."
"I’m sure we’ll get an answer."
I helped Bob hoist the engine and parts out of the bed of his truck and then we put his shell back on the bed and secured it.
Bob showed me around the shop and I saw all the equipment he had for working on his cars and machinery. He had an older diesel pick-up with a snowplow on the front and several bags of sand or cement in the back for weight.
We went through another door and there were more cars, really nice old cars and customs and a huge Motor home. There had been three quad runners in the attached garage next to the weird Volvo and there were a couple more in this part of the shop.
"Are you like um rich?" I asked.
"No I wouldn’t say that. I was always careful with money and I invested well. That stuff has been paying off and now that I’m mostly retired, I just need lots of toys."
"This place is cool." I said.
"How long have you been here?"
"About fifteen years, my old place had too many memories and it wouldn’t have been fair to ask Maddy to move in there. My oldest son decided he would take over if I helped him get it financed. It’s his free and clear now and he’s raising his own herd of kids. You’ll probably see them soon. They visit pretty often."
"Wow, I don’t know what to say to that."
"Let’s go check on the horses and make sure all is well."
We hiked across a gravel area and went into a building that had a corral attached. Inside there were six roomy stalls and a tack room across the way and another store room for supplies and oats and a bin full of alfalfa flake. Instead of enclosed stalls the horses lived in open stalls so the horses could see each other. Bob said they were social animals and they needed to hang out together.
"I see Loren has been busy, the stalls are quite clean. Would you like to help me feed them?"
"Sure, just tell me what to do."
He showed me how to serve the oats while he forked slabs of alfalfa into their troughs. All the horses wanted attention and there was a cute little Pinto that really seemed to like me and she ate from my hand and seemed to love a good ear scratch. It was all new to me and I was really enjoying myself.
We walked by a little building on the way back to the house and I asked about it.
"That’s Maddy’s studio, strictly invitation only I’m afraid. I’m only allowed in when she needs help lifting something. Mark it down to artistic temperament."
"Okay, got it. I’m not really the nosey type unless it concerns me. It’s okay to talk to her about though I hope."
"Sure, I think she’s apprehensive about people seeing unfinished work and passing judgment before it’s done. She’ll talk your arm off about any aspect of art."
When we entered the garage my phone rang and I tore at my pocket to dig it out. It was my Uncle or at least his phone making the call.
"Porter buddy is that you, I hope you haven’t left yet; my situation has kind of changed."
"Uncle Jack are you in a mental hospital?" I asked. No sense screwing around I thought.
"What? No! Macey must have answered my phone. What did she tell you?
"She said you were "back in care" whatever that means and she told me you were a sex offender."
"That miserable bitch, oh sorry kid; look she and I split and the apartment was in her name. I’m back living in a room over the bar. I’ve got no place to keep you and I probably won’t for quite a while. I’m sorry."
"Well I’m in Gardnerville and a nice family took me in. I almost went to L.A. to try and live because of what she said. I could have been killed or raped or sold from what I hear. So tell that bitch thanks a bunch."
Bob gestured that he’d like to talk to Jack. I handed him the phone and listened.
"Jack, this is Bob Reynolds, I picked Porter up in Stockton, he was trying to get a ride south but I talked him into coming here instead. Do you have any influence with your Sister where Porter is concerned?"
"Not much; but I did talk to her and she offered to sign him over to me. Are you willing to look after him?"
"Yes, we told him we would take him in as long as he needs; he’s not the first and probably not the last either. But let’s talk about Porter; he needs to get enrolled in school before he falls behind. I have an attorney that can visit you at work and provide you with papers to send FedEx to your sister with a prepaid return. So all she has to do is get them notarized and sign them. We’ll include a money order for the Notary. Are you amenable to that little subterfuge? It’s only to help Porter get his feet under him again. Once she cedes custody to you, you can give us permission to enroll him with a guardian document."
"That sounds pretty good; I think she’d go for that."
"Well then, I’ll call your number from my phone so you and I can speak directly about the logistics. Talk to you soon."
Bob handed me my phone and I talked with Jack a little longer. He said he felt bad about what all had happened and he didn’t care if I liked boys, I was still cool. He said he’d get down and see me soon. He also told me he caught his Fiancé doing it with another guy in their bed. He said he didn’t get violent he just told the guy to leave and she’d be available the next day. Then he told her to get out while he packed. He also said once he had all his stuff he put raw fish and chicken in all the curtain rods. Apparently she nicked his phone on the way out and deleted his contacts and messages and stuff but she didn’t know about the cloud. He said she had a fit when she discovered he had cleaned out the joint checking account. He said he was glad I was in a safe place and that Bob sounded like a good guy.
Bob and Maddy and I sat down while Loren was watching a video.
"This is mostly about how you might interact with Loren." Maddy said.
"He’s a very affectionate little boy and he’s coming into a stage where he’s curious about his body and other’s bodies. He may ask if you want to shower with him. He’ll be eleven in a few months so I’m asking that you keep any contact you might have together age appropriate for him. You don’t have to let him shower with you but there’s no need to be rude. He’s also given to leaving his bed at night to find a cuddle. Again you can tell him no. I just ask that whatever you do please be caring. He’s still having a few problems related to the accident. Do you understand?"
"I can do that, I’ve never actually slept in the same bed with anyone that I can remember. Well except last night. You know I’m gay right?"
"Yes I’m aware but it has no bearing on this discussion. Being gay doesn’t make you a predator." Maddy said.
"I could have kissed her right there."
"Um Bob, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, ask away."
"Why are you so warm? I mean you put out a lot of heat, that’s why I got up and took my hoody off last night. But you warmed me up right away when I got chilled."
"I put it down to a lot of Neanderthal DNA; I was apparently intended to live in cold climbs. My metabolism causes me to run hot twenty-four seven. I had my DNA tested and I have a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA than eighty-eight percent of the population."
"It’s wonderful isn’t it, he never gets cold. In the summer we sleep with just a sheet over us if that. We also sleep nude so knock first please. Loren has a tendency towards nudism also so don’t let it shock you."
"Well thanks for being honest about your concerns; I won’t do anything to upset Loren if I can avoid it."
"Maddy stood up and patted my shoulder and went out to join Loren."
"As you can tell Maddy is devoted to our little guy. She doesn’t think you would hurt him nor do anything that isn’t right. But let’s talk about that. Having been a boy once myself and having raised a bunch I know that sex play is something boys do. You probably know what is appropriate at Loren’s age and what isn’t. You seem to have pretty good judgment."
"Um Evan and I never got past kissing, I’ve never had sex of any kind with anybody but myself."
"Aw jeez, I’m sorry; I guess I presumed too much. But what I said still stands."
"Um, are you telling me to have sex with Loren?"
"No, sorry I’m just not prohibiting it. As long as it’s at a level he’s comfortable with."
"Is he Gay?"
"I don’t think so, I could be wrong but I think one has nothing to do with the other. It’s just how most boys learn about intimacy."
"This is really awkward for me are you having trouble with it too?" I asked.
"Oh you bet, but I’m compelled to be honest with you if I expect you to be honest with me and Maddy. If it helps I’ve had the same conversation with Loren about his sleepover friends. I’m just not in the guilt business, guilt breeds shame and that causes all sorts of trouble."
"I don’t know what to say, thanks for being so honest. It’s kind of a new experience for me." I said.
"Well, get used to it. I will also be honest when you screw up, but don’t worry about it, everybody screws up."
"I notice you don’t swear a lot, is that because of Loren or are you like religious."
"No as I told you before, I’m a secular humanist as is Maddy. But I’ll give you my take on religion if you want to hear it; although you may be confusing religion with being spiritual."
"Is there a difference?"
Absolutely, you can be spiritual without subscribing to a religion or any sort of worship. Some people just commune with nature and that serves their needs for a connection to the planet and the universe. Religion? Well I can give you my take on organized religion if you like."
"I’d like that.
"It is my hypothesis that religion was a dodge started by lazy cavemen who didn’t want to be involved in activities that could get them killed or even eaten or crushed. I figure they spent some time watching the moon and sun and stars and figured out that when the moon was in the sky with a particular star constellation the animals would start migrating. After that it evolved into a way for people who can’t do anything to get a free ride. And of course eventually it became a means by which a few could control many by interpreting what god was telling them."
"Whoa Bob, that’s really cool. Cynical as hell but it’s really cool. It explains a lot of things. Is that why people like Albert are so messed up?"
"Possibly, you see individuals can be pretty smart, but you get a bunch together and they start acting like idiots. That’s one of the side effects of organized religion. But that’s just my opinion; you should talk to others and make up your own mind."
Bob and I had a lot of talks like that as time went on, I always enjoyed that he treated me like an adult when we discussed philosophy.
After we had finished our chat it was time for bed, I think Maddy wanted Bob to herself and who could blame her.
I watched Loren bounce up the stairs as only a little guy would.
"Bob do you think it’s weird that Loren looks so much like I did?"
"Well I haven’t seen any pictures of you at that age but no not really." I’ve met a number of boys that resemble Loren and you as well. But you are a very good looking boy I can tell you that."
"Do you think I look fourteen?"
"Well, you’re smaller than the average fourteen year old boy but there are a lot of factors that affect your height and build, I wouldn’t worry. We’ll be getting you a physical soon and the Doc will let us know if anything is off."
"Okay, I guess that’s a good thing."
Bob went to Loren’s room and I went to mine. I was still kind of out of it with all the information I had absorbed. I sat on my bed and took off my shoes and got down to my shorts. I heard a knock on the bathroom door. When I opened it Loren was standing there without a stitch.
"Do you want to shower with me; it’s more fun that way."
I thought about it and said yes. I thought that he would give me a little time before he asked but, oh well.
I told him to adjust the temperature to suit himself and I would get my toothbrush.
I walked back in and he was leaning in testing the water. I had removed my shorts and asked if it was ready.
Loren stared at my penis and said, "you have hairs like Papa’."
"Not many," I replied.
"Can I touch them?" he asked.
"Okay but just the hair okay?"
He reached out and petted the small patch of pubes above my penis.
"Okay, let’s get in the shower and clean up okay."
"Okay," he said cheerfully. Yours are soft, not like Papa’s, I don’t have any yet but Papa’ says I’ll get them soon enough."
"Well he’s right, I’m fourteen and I just started getting some."
The rest of the shower was just that, a shower. I scrubbed his back and he did mine and pretty soon we were done. It was kind of nice, like having a little brother.
When we were dry Loren grabbed my hand and led me into his room. I only had a towel around my waist, Loren had nothing at all. He pulled out a set of Fire truck pajamas and asked me to help with the top. I helped him and he managed the bottoms all by himself.
"I’m glad you came here Porter, I think you’ll like it here. Um, I can’t go to Mama’ and Papa’s room tonight so if I get lonely or scared can I come see you."
His blue eyes went right through me and I couldn’t say no.
"Sure Loren, I have plenty of room."
"Thanks, can I have a kiss?"
He slid under his covers and I kissed his cheek. It was a weird feeling but not unpleasant.
I turned off the overhead lights at his request leaving only his bedside lamp still burning.
I went back to the bathroom and used our towels to mop up the water. I was just putting the towels in the hamper when Maddy and Bob walked into Loren’s room.
"Oh sorry sweetie," Maddy said giggling just a bit.
I was already out of the bathroom and scrambling for underwear. I hadn’t closed the bathroom door so Bob knocked on the frame and asked if I was decent. I said yes and they walked in and sat on the edge of the bed.
I had dug out my note pad and rummaged through my thumb drives to find my pictures. I showed the photo of my ten year old self to Maddy.
"That’s uncanny, I thought you were exaggerating but you were a dead ringer for Loren."
"Well isn’t that something?" Bob said.
"Thanks for cleaning up the bathroom Porter; I usually have to do that although Loren tries to be careful. He was very happy that you accepted his invitation for a shower."
"It was kind of nice actually; I never bathed with a little guy before."
"Well I’m going to go on down the hall; I’ll see you in the morning Porter."
"Goodnight Maddy." I said.
"So um this is my first night back for several days, I don’t want you to be alarmed if you hear something that sounds like yelling or even screaming. Maddy can be kind of noisy at times. Do you understand what I mean?"
I grinned back and nodded. "Have a nice night Bob."
Bob leaned down and kissed my forehead. "Everyone should get a kiss goodnight," he said.
Half an hour later I could hear her and she sounded enthusiastic about whatever they were doing.
Around One, I got up to pee and lay back down. A few minutes later I heard Loren in the bathroom doing the same. The next thing I knew he was crawling in on the other side and cuddling up close. I turned and pulled him to me like Bob had done for me the night before and I kissed his ear.
The next thing I knew Maddy was shaking my shoulder gently.
"Bob told me I needed to see this; that is so sweet. He’s very cuddly isn’t he?
"Well he asked and well…how could I say no."
"You really are a sweet boy Porter. Are you ready for breakfast?"
"Oh, yes I think so."
"Well wake up your teddy bear and tell him to get dressed for Wally’s."
The ride to Wally’s was great, the Sugga is a neat truck/car; the seats are really comfortable and I figured out why they called it a Sow, it has a flat snout on the front that resembles a sow’s nose.
The restaurant was full of people that knew Bob and Maddy and Loren. He bounced off and talked to some kids his age and then returned.
I was sitting and looking at the menu when a lady came through the front door with a toddler in one arm and pulling a little girl by the hand.
"Hi Maddy, I have to get Rachel to the bathroom, do you mind watching Booger for me for a bit. Maddy had her hands full of stuff from her purse so the lady handed me the toddler and took off.
We looked at each other for a while and I thought "Oh crap, he’s gonna start screaming any second." But he didn’t, instead he became fascinated with my hair and then my eyebrows and after that my nose. The little guy looked around and saw Maddy and grinned and then buried his face in my chest.
"Samuel; are you playing hard to get?" Maddy asked.
Samuel squealed and grabbed my neck. I patted his back and after a while he stopped squirming. A few minutes later Maddy said, "I think he’s asleep." Loren confirmed it and I just sat there with a strange child in my arms trying not to cry. It was a very moving and emotional moment for me.
"Oh for heaven’s sake," Rose, the lady that dropped Samuel on me said, "Buddy boy you have the knack, do you baby sit?"
"I never have, I’ve never even held a little guy like this," I sniffed.
"Do you mind holding him just a bit longer so I can get his seat from the car?"
"Sure, that’s fine."
Maddy waited for her to leave and then reached across and patted my eyes dry with a napkin.
I talked with Maddy later about all the crying, it was starting to worry me.
"Well sweetie, I imagine a lot of it is your hormones pulling you about. It happens to girls too. It also appears that you’ve been without much real human contact and you are going through a very stressful experience. I’m no psychologist but I’ve spent a lot of time with children and teens and it’s not unusual to feel things deeply and react as you have."
"I never held a tiny little kid like that and I guess it got to me a little, I don’t know why."
A week later I was preparing for my first day in my new school. I would need to work hard to catch up to my class. I was back in junior high because they had seventh through ninth grades together. At my new school I was a senior instead of a freshman.
They gave me a guide my first day, his name was Ely and he was cute. He had a great smile and a nice voice. His Eyes were hazel and his hair was brown with a tinge of red. He and I were about the same size unlike Evan who was taller and older looking than me. Ely had all the same classes which I suppose is why they chose him. He didn’t act like I was a burden but seemed to really like me right away. At lunch he introduced me to some of the guys.
"So is this your new boyfriend?" one boy asked.
"Why, did you want to be considered Mike?"
The whole table laughed even Mike.
"You are kinda cute, how about it?" Ely asked.
I must have turned an interesting shade of red.
"Relax dude, we’re just busting your balls a little," Ely explained with a broad smile.
"That’s okay, I can take it," I said regaining my composure.
When Gym came around the teacher gave me a locker next to Ely. He signed my schedule and told me to get dressed. Ely walked me back to the changing area and we plopped down on a bench.
"Have you ever worked out in a cold climate before?" He asked.
"Not really, we were only a little above sea level in Milpitas and the weather was never really cold."
"Well there’s an effect that happens when guys run or work out in the cold. Your junk shrinks while you’re outside and when you change and shower a lot of guys get boners so don’t let anybody hassle you about it. You’ll need your jock, shorts and track pants. Wear a tee and a sweatshirt. You have to make sure you wash everything because you’ll hate life the first time you have to wear cold sweaty gym clothes in cold weather. I found out the hard way."
"Thanks for letting me know, you’re not just yanking me about the boner thing are you."
"No man, I wouldn’t do that. We’re all insecure enough without that kind of crap."
We ran our laps and did our calisthenics and then shot hoops for a while. The coach kept us moving so nobody got cold.
Ely was right, everybody made a beeline for the two trough urinals and only a couple boys didn’t have erections. I sure had one, as soon as the warm air hit it, my penis expanded and the sensation caused a full erection as I warmed up.
Ely looked over and nodded his approval," See what I mean." he said.
By the time I showered and dressed I was back to normal although I was already crushing on Ely pretty bad.
I stood out front waiting for Maddy with Ely. He was waiting for his Mom.
Maddy pulled up with Loren in the back of the Outback. Loren waved energetically at me. He put his window down and said, "Hi Ely, Hi Porter!"
Maddy lowered the passenger window and asked Ely if he wanted a ride.
"Let me call my Mom and see if she’s left yet."
She hadn’t so we gave him a ride. I sat in the middle and let Ely sit by the door since he would be getting out first. We all chattered back and forth and Loren hugged my arm.
I got to see where he lived which wasn’t far from Bob and Maddy’s. I jumped out with him and dug his book bag out of the back. We bumped and patted each other’s backs. I got back in the car and he waved and went up the walk to his door.
I settled back in the seat and put on my belt, I was already calculating a plan to see Ely away from school. I realized that Maddy was talking to me when Loren poked me in the ribs.
"Sorry, I was thinking."
"I was saying you should invite Ely over this weekend. His Mom has another open house to do so he’ll be on his own."
"I must have grinned pretty big because Maddy said, "Oh My!"