Lincoln, The Family I Never Expected

Lincoln-5, Illness

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Installment 5 (Illness)

Part - 1

After my phone call with my sister, I was utterly depressed. Maybe it was better that they were going to a family relative. Perhaps I dodged a bullet since I wouldn’t have to raise the boys. I was trying to reassure myself, although, who am I kidding, I wanted them with me. I couldn’t picture my life without them, but I better start. Maybe it was a sign to start focusing more on the organization I was trying to start. I haven’t given much thought to it, but perhaps this was the kick in the ass I needed. I walked back into my kitchen where I saw Rita prepping for a late lunch as the clock struck 1:00 p.m.

“I’m sorry Garret,” Rita opened the conversation as she could tell by my face.

“Thanks, Rita.” I paused, “You know it is just not fair. I could have given these boys a life to live for. Now they are being shipped up to North Dakota to live with a woman they’ve never met.”

“Life is not fair, you and I both know that Garret.”

“Yeah, but I felt like I let this slip out of my hands,” I responded.

“Well once you get approved by CPS, maybe you can make a difference for other children in need!”

“Yeah possibly,” I said in a dejected tone. “I am going out back to soak in the hot tub, let me know if anyone rings for me.”

I went upstairs to change and grab my robe, I usually skinny dip, but that is when Rita isn’t around, so I put on a pair of swim trunks and went outside. The air was a frigid 26 degrees, they are actually calling for snow tonight. I never minded the snow, as I love to watch it fall around me and on the frozen lake that sits behind my house. Although it wouldn’t be long until I had the boat pulled out of storage and placed down by the dock. My only wish that I’d be enjoying this moment with Lincoln, Ryker, Jacob, and Clayton instead of myself.

I sat in the hot tub for what seemed like hours, just soaking in the heat and letting the jets hit all my sore spots on my body. It was close to 2:30 p.m., and I finally started to relax.

However, that didn’t last long as Rita came over and interrupted me, “Phones for you, it is Kelly. Want me to tell her you’ll call back or what?”

“No, just stall her. I’ll be inside in a minute .” I replied.

“Alrighty then,” spoke Rita. As she walked back into the house talking on the phone, I stepped out of the hot tub and began to dry myself off. I put my robe on and then covered the hot tub. I walked inside, and Rita handed me the phone.

“Hey Sis, what’s up?” I asked.

“Hey, so I have good news and bad news, and some more bad news, and more bad news. Which would you like first?” she said.

“Well since there is more bad news, just tell me that first. All at once please,” I returned.

“Are you sure?” She asked.

“Yeah just lay it on me, the day can’t get any more depressing.”

“Okay,” she said nervously. “First, the grandmother is going to get the kids. We need one more piece of information, and that should be coming in later today. Second, Lincoln is in the hospital, nothing major, just dehydration and they are trying to get him to eat. Third, when we get the last piece of information, the boys are going to be sent up to North Dakota as soon as possible. That means they are probably leaving from the hospital. I wanted to tell you, so you had a proper chance to say goodbye to them.”

“What do you mean nothing major, anytime someone is in the hospital it’s not usually for a minor issue,” I said.

“Well he is just dehydrated, he hasn’t had much will to do anything since being pulled out of your house. He doesn’t eat much and doesn’t drink fluids at all,” Kelly stated.

“And that doesn’t concern you?” I replied.

“It concerns us, but we can’t force him to drink or eat. The best way for him to get fluids is at the hospital through an IV.”

“Yeah, well it’s not a minor issue.”

Kelly said, “Yes, you are right. I misspoke, my apologies.”

“Wait, so you said the grandmother wants them immediately. They aren’t going to have a funeral or at least a viewing for their parents?” I asked.

“At the grandmother’s request, she wants them up there as soon as possible.”

Whoa, so this is it,” I said.

“Yeah, I’m afraid so Garret. I think you should try to make your way down to the hospital to say goodbye though. I am already here with the rest of the boys, and Laura is on her way.”

“Yeah, I’ll be down. Don’t let them leave without me getting there. Oh, and what is the good news?” Curiously wanting to know.

“Well doesn’t make much of a difference now, but you have been accepted to become a foster parent. You are the quickest one ever to be put through the process. Something to be proud of bro, we never run into people that make it as easy as you did.”

“Thanks,” I spoke in a dejected tone.

I hurried upstairs to get changed. I was going to pack the rest of the boy’s clothes but decided I could ship them up to North Dakota. On my way back to the garage, I told Rita to go home early, as it is supposed to snow. I didn’t want her to get in a wreck, that would be the last thing I need.

I took the Mercedes GLS 550, as it was the best vehicle I owned to handle the snow if it started to come down. It was Three O’clock, and I was on the road. I was about an hour away from the hospital but hoped to get there within 50 minutes. Around the 30 minute mark of my drive, it started to flurry. However, that didn’t slow me down, at least not yet. Luckily I arrived at the hospital on time.

I walked into the waiting room to be greeted by Kelly.

“You ready? Have you been thinking of what you’re going to say?” She asked.

“It is a goodbye, not a speech to end world hunger,” I replied.

“Just be prepared for waterworks, that’s all I am saying. The boys minus Lincoln, have been asking about you non stop since they left the house.”

“Yeah I know,” I said. As we walked down the hall, my stomach turned uneasy. I wasn’t going to puke, but there was this sense of nervousness. The hospital was so quiet, I was surprised I didn’t hear Clayton talking or laughing. Usually, the kid is so cheerful, but I guess on a day like this, there honestly wasn’t anything to be cheerful about.

As I turned the corner into their room, I saw Lincoln hooked up to an IV and food that hasn’t been touched. The other three sat quietly as they watched TV with new bags of luggage. I was surprised CPS gave them each a luggage bag to carry their clothes.

“Garret,” Clayton yelled as he was the first to see me. It followed up with him running over and jumping into my arms.

“Garret!” Echoed Ryker and Jacob as they followed their little brother’s footsteps and ran towards me for a hug.

“Hey guys! Good to see you again!” I said excitedly, “how is the new house you guys are staying at?”

“We hate it, I mean it’s okay, but it isn’t your house, and you’re not there,” Ryker explained.

“Yah, Lincoln hasn’t even been eating or drinking food at this new place,” Chimed Jacob.

“Well that’ll explain why he is in the hospital right now,” I said, as I let go of the boys and walked over to Lincoln’s bed.

“Hey bud, how you feeling,” I asked

“….” Lincoln had no response, he just turned his head. I wasn’t sure if he was mad or if he didn’t want me to see him crying. Either way, it broke my heart, but I decided to let it go for the moment. I walked over and sat down on the couch, and was surrounded by the three boys. One on my lap and two on either side, I missed it so much, I wanted to tell them that, but I didn’t want to damper the mood with feelings.

I spoke back to the boys, “I see you all have fancy new luggage bags to haul around all your stuff.”

“Yeah, beats those plastic bags you gave us,” chuckled Ryker.

“Hey, those plastic bags did the job. It was all I could think of at that moment in time,” I responded and poked him in the side causing him to laugh more.

“Did you hear we are going to stay with our Grandma?” Clayton spoke.

SHUT UP Clay,” Lincoln screamed. It was the first sentence I heard him speak since being here.

“Lincoln, that’s not the way we handle situations,” I corrected him.

“Why do you care, you aren’t responsible for us anymore,” he said with an attitude.

“You are right about the responsibility, but I do care about you boys, I want you to remember that, okay?” I said, “Now Clay, you excited to go live with your grandma?”

“Noooo, it is going to be boring. I don’t even know where North Dakota is,” he responded. As he finished his sentence, I noticed Laura come grab Kelly and pull her into the hall. I figured that our minutes were winding down, so I wanted to give the boys a little token of appreciation to remember there short time spent with me.

“Hey boys, I don’t know how much more time we have together before you leave,” I spoke, as I cleared my throat. “But I wanted each of you to have one.” I reached into my jacket and pulled out four envelopes. “You guys are not allowed to open these until you reach your grandmother’s house, you understand?”

“What is in them?” Jacob asked.

“Well, that’s for you guys to find out later,” I said as I handed out the envelopes to each boy. Lincoln didn’t want his, so I gave it to Ryker so he could hold onto it for his brother.

I gave the three boys a hug, and I began to speak, “You four have all been wonderful, I have come to realize, that I am going to miss you boys a lot. In this short time we spent together, it has been one of the most challenging yet most rewarding times of my life. You boys have impacted me more then you’ll ever know. Each of you are amazing kids, and you all express it differently. You will come across challenges in the near future with moving to a new state and meeting new people. Embrace the challenge, I know it will be difficult, but I believe in all four of you. You four together can make it through any situation, just don’t lose faith in one another. Be strong, be brave, and have courage. I know this isn’t the ideal situation. But it is what it is, and all of us will have to accept it. I just finally want to say thank you. Thank you for coming into my life, even though it is brief. I am so happy I got to meet you all.”

As I released my hug from the boys, I saw Kelly and Laura standing in the doorway. I knew it was time for me to leave, and let them get on there way. Just as I was gathering my belongings, Laura spoke, “Garret, can you step out into the hallway with us please?”

“Yeah sure, let me grab my jacket,” I responded. Kelly, Laura and I walked out into the hallway and left the boys to gather their thoughts.

“Pretty impressive pep talk you gave,” Laura said breaking the silence.

“What can I say, it was from the heart. They have made an immediate impact on my life,” I replied.

Both Laura and Kelly looked at each other, and I was starting to become confused to why they called me into the hallway.

“Well we ran into a problem,” Laura stated.


“The last piece of information we received shows that the grandmother is heading to a nursing home within the month. She is in the beginning stages of battling Alzheimer’s. She is not mentally stable to support the kids and will have no place for them to stay. This was a mistake on our end, something to occur like this is so rare. We were lost in all the information we were receiving. First, we had to make sure she was who she claimed to be. That required going into federal records and much more. We were almost certain the grandmother would be able to support the boys. However, we got a concerning last minute phone call from someone in North Dakota that showed otherwise.”

“Who is that someone?” I replied.

“They wished to remain anonymous,” responded Laura. “However, we took this information seriously and contacted CPS in North Dakota for help. We were waiting on the grandmothers living situation, and when we found out that she was moving to a nursing home soon, we couldn’t place the kids in her custody.”

“So what does that mean,” I asked nervously.

“It means the boys are to remain in foster care with us.” She replied.

Kelly began to speak, “would our newest foster parent like to have the boys assigned to him?”

“Wait, wait, wait… this isn’t some kind of sick joke, is it?” I asked.

“Oh how funny that would be, since you put us through hell, but no. It would be our pleasure to place these kids with you if you are willing to accept,” spoke Laura.

“Are you kidding, I’d love to take them,” I responded.

“Before you officially agree, we want to state what we think is needed for the boys,” spoke Laura. “They need to be in a school not this coming Monday but the following. It will be your choice of schools to enroll them in. We will request you take Lincoln and Jacob to a therapist, they will have many years of emotional recovery, and the sooner you start, the better. There is much more that Kelly will run by you, as well as supply a list of doctors and schools. Finally, Mr. Hamel, do you want to tell the boys or want us to?”

“Yeah yeah, I agree to all of that, now where do I sign,” I eagerly said.

“We don’t have the papers with us, but Kelly will bring them to you later today.”

“Wait,” I said. “Before we move forward, I would like to talk with Lincoln alone. He’s been worked up, and I want to know if he still would like to live with me or not.”

“What makes you think he wouldn’t want to live with you?” injected Kelly.

“Just his attitude to me, I want to clarify everything.” I said, “Would you mind taking the three other boys to the cafeteria or somewhere? Don’t tell them the news yet.”

“Okay,” Said Kelly and Laura as they seemed confused by my request. We walked into the room and the three boys left with the women, leaving Lincoln and me to chat.

Part - 2

“Hey bud, obviously you are not happy with me,” I started.

“It doesn’t matter anyway, so save your breath,” he returned harshly.

“It does matter,” I said, pausing for five seconds, “I want to talk about this, and you can’t leave this hospital until we do.”

Silence as he turned his head away from me.

“Lincoln, come on.” I said, “you want me to say I’m sorry for letting you guys leave? Because if so, I had no choice they were forcing my hand. I wanted you all to stay with me, but CPS would not allow it.”

“You didn’t even seem to care about us leaving. You didn’t put up a fight, all you did was let them come into your house and take us away.” Lincoln said.

It dawned on me that he nor his brothers saw the argument beforehand as they were all sleeping. I replied to Lincoln, “But I did fight for you, but you weren’t awake for it. I almost got into a fight with that creepy old guy. He put his hands on me, and I wasn’t having any of it.”

“You didn’t fight hard enough.”

“Lincoln, listen to me. They took away my guardianship, which meant you could not stay with me. CPS held all the power.”

Lincoln looked confused, but spoke, “I guess the old guy was sort of creepy looking.”

His statement caused me to chuckle, “Yeah you can say that again.” I said, “Can we talk about this, I don’t want you to have any hate going forward with our situation.”

“I don’t hate you, Garret, it’s just not fair. You gave us a short glimpse into an amazing life. You were so caring and so much fun. We have never experienced anything like that before. It is not even the nice house or the nice SUV, it was more about being around you. We didn’t have to worry when we were around you. Now we have to go be with our grandma, who I didn’t even know existed. That’s bullshit,” Lincoln said.

“Watch your language,” I said

“Sorry but it is, it’s just not fair.” He replied.

“Well, I’ll admit that it isn’t fair….. and that’s why you are going to come stay with me again. And this time, no one can take you away,” I said.


“You heard me, you and your brothers are…” before I could finish my sentence Lincoln ripped the IV out of his arm and ran towards me for a hug.

“I’m sorry for being a brat, I just didn’t think you really wanted us anymore,” Lincoln said as he began to cry.

“Why would you think that?”

“Because of the argument the night before we were taken,” he returned.

“Lincoln, listen to me, buddy. That had no effect on the situation. I didn’t care about what you were arguing, but I did care about you raising your voice and getting hostile. It wasn’t the proper way to handle a situation.”

“Sorry,” was all Lincoln replied.

“It’s okay buddy, I forgive you,” I said with a chuckle.

He looked up at me and asked, “So you’re not mad at me?”

“Absolutely not, I understand you are going through a lot. More so then any child your age should have to go through. Let’s just hope we can start the process to recovery from here,” I said. Lincoln buried his face into my stomach, and he wept tears of joy.

“Thank you, Garret I love you,” Lincoln commented.

“Love you too kiddo,” I responded somewhat caught off guard. I did love the kid though, I knew from the moment he came home and opened up to me about his past.

“Really? You love me?” Lincoln asked.

“I don’t say those words unless I mean it,” I replied.

“Thank you,” he cried. Our hug seemed to last forever, but it was a mere few seconds. I was overjoyed with the thought that I would be able to keep these boys.

“Hey, we still have to tell your brothers. Do you want to tell them or do you want me to?” I asked Lincoln.

“Umm, can we both?” He returned.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I replied as I tousled his hair. I sent my sister a text on her phone to bring the boys back to the room. About five minutes later, they arrived.

Ryker seemed curious as he asked his brother, “What got into you, you look so cheerful now?”

“Because Garret just told me that we get to stay with him,” Replied Lincoln.

The three boy’s mouths dropped wide open, as they looked to me for confirmation.

“Well, that is if you all still want to stay with me,” I spoke.

“I do,” yelled Clayton, as he ran over and jumped into my arms.

“Yeah so do I,” chimed Jacob.

“Same,” confirmed Ryker. “but what happened to our grandmother though?”

“Umm, the truth,” I paused, “your grandmother has an illness. She has something called Alzheimer’s disease. It’s an illness associated with old age, where it destroys memories and mental functions. She is in the beginning stages and unfortunately has to move into a nursing home soon. A nursing home would not allow you boys to live with her.”

“Oh… I didn’t want to live with her, but it would have been nice to meet her,” Ryker replied.

“That is understandable bud, maybe we can go visit her one of these upcoming weekends. I’ve never been to North Dakota,” I injected.


“Yeah, I am not making any promises, but if we have the time, then we can go and see her. Sound good?” I asked.

“Yeah guess so,” Ryker returned. “When do we get to come back to your house?”

I looked at Laura and Kelly to speak because I wasn’t sure if they needed to go anywhere else.

“Y’all can go with Mr. Hamel as soon as Lincoln is cleared to go home.” Spoke Laura.

“How long will that take?” chimed Clayton.

“What’s the rush Clay?” I asked.

“I don’t know, just excited to go back to the house.”

“Well, we will! We don’t need to rush. However, while we wait, let’s take the luggage to the SUV. I’ll take Lincoln’s, and then we can just get on the road after he is cleared.” I stated. Just as I finished my statement, the doctor walked in.

“Perfect timing!” I said, “let’s go boys, let the doctor examine Lincoln.”

We grabbed our luggage and proceeded out the door to the car. Good thing I brought the SUV, the snow was piling quickly. Two and a half inches accumulated, and it had only been snowing for two hours. We were expected to get two more inches throughout the night, but I had a feeling we were going to get a little more.

“Whoa, when did it start snowing,” asked Jacob.

“It was snowing on my way to the hospital,” I replied.

“I don’t like the snow,” Ryker spoke.

“Why is that?” I added.

“I was in a car accident with mommy last year, it was snowing, and the car lost control.”

“Oh sorry to hear that, only matters that you are here now. And this puppy here,” I said as we reached the Mercedes, “is a tank in the snow. It is a very safe and capable car for winter conditions.”

“Promise?” He replied.

“Ryker, I promise! It even has a snow feature built into it. We will be fine,” I said, as I patted his head.

We threw the luggage into the trunk and walked back to the hospital. Once we reached Lincoln’s room, we were notified that he was able to return home and all that was left was to sign out of the hospital. After I checked him out, I went to speak with Kelly to tell her to email me the papers, as I didn’t want her driving all the way to my house especially since it was snowing. She agreed, and we were free to go on our way.

We reached the SUV, and everyone loaded in. Ryker and Clayton sat in the middle row while Lincoln and Jacob sat in the third row of seats. I finally felt happy, for the first time since Monday morning. I had the boys back in my custody. I started the car, and we left the hospital around 6:45 p.m.

While we were driving, Lincoln was the first to start a conversation, “So what are we doing tonight?”

“That’s up to you boys,” I replied.

“I don’t care, as long as I am warm,” responded Ryker.

“What about food? I’m so hungry,” Clayton asked.

“Yeah so am I,” agreed Lincoln.

“I could eat too,” spoke Jacob.

“Hmm good question, I’ll order us a pizza to be delivered to the house.”

“Can we get Pepperoni and sausage?” asked Ryker.

“Ewww, no one likes sausage,” returned Jacob.

“Shut up Jacob, no one likes you,” shouted Ryker.

“Ha good one faggot,” responded Jacob.

“Hey that is enough boys, we don’t use that kind of language. You are no longer allowed to tell people to shut up because it is rude, and I don’t ever want to hear the word faggot out of your mouth again. It is offensive to people, and I will not tolerate it.” I shouted as I looked in my rear-view mirror to see how Lincoln responded to all of it.

“Sorry,” both boys replied.

“We can get two pizzas. One with cheese, and one half pepperoni half sausage. Sound fair to everyone?” I said.

“Oh boy two pizzas, yes.” I heard Clayton say. His comment made everyone laugh except himself, I don’t think Clayton realizes how funny he can be.

Part - 3

We still had about 20 minutes of a drive left. We reached home around eightish, as it took longer to travel with all the snow. We pulled into the garage, and I immediately heard the boys gasp.

“What? When did you get this car,” Lincoln said as he jumped out of the car and ran to the Ferrari. He was followed by the other three as they gawked at the vehicle. As Lincoln spoke again, “I have never seen one in person. Can we go for a ride in it?”

I just laughed but responded, “Probably won’t be able to take it out for a while. However, I received it the Monday you all left. I ordered it way before I met you boys about six months ago. I haven’t even sat in it myself yet. It probably won’t get much use now though.”

“Why,” questioned Ryker.

“It’d be pretty hard to fit four boys into a small Ferrari, but it’s okay. I’ll get to drive it every once in a while.” I commented.

“I can’t believe you own a Ferrari. You know how cool that is?” stated Lincoln.

“Well it’s a rare car, that’s for sure. Now come inside, you boys can finally explore the house while I’ll order pizza. We will get your luggage later.”

“I bet I find the coolest room,” said Jacob as he took off running. His other brothers screamed no way and chased after him. It would probably be a good fifteen minutes before I saw the boys. They had the outside to explore, the basement which consists of another bedroom and full bathroom, a game room, a vast open floor second family room, a small gym, and an empty room. I was going to convert the vacant room into a wine cellar, but I think a home movie theater might be a better idea.

I just finished ordering the pizza when all the boys came into my office. I knew they wanted something as they were attempting to display their best puppy dog faces.

“Oh boy, what is it,” I chuckled.

“Umm.. can we go in the hot tub… please?” asked Lincoln.

“Boys I don’t mind going in the hot tub, but there’s a problem. We didn’t buy swimsuits for you.”

“We can go naked!” Lincoln quickly responded.

“Yeah I don’t mind,” Ryker said agreeing with his brother.

“I don’t know boys,” I said.

“Come on, we have never been in a hot tub. Plus it is snowing, that will be so cool,” argued Lincoln.

“Do you all want to go in the hot tub?” I asked.

“Yeah,” echoed Jacob and Clayton.

“Alright then, boys go grab towels from your bathrooms. I’ll get the hot tub uncovered.” I said.

“Are you coming in the hot tub?” asked Clayton.

“Umm sure, I am going to put a suit on though. Someone has to answer the door for the pizza guy.” I said, “You can all go naked, or you can use underwear, you all make the decision”

As soon as I finished my sentence, the four of them took off to their rooms as I went to the laundry room to put on my wet suit from earlier and robe. I walked outside and cleared a path through the snow with my feet. I had slippers on, but it wasn’t my brightest idea. However, it worked, and a route was made. I went to the cover and brushed off the three inches of snow we have accumulated and opened the cover. First to come outside was Lincoln. Of course, he wasn’t wearing anything. The bruising on his body was barely noticeable as he jumped into the tub sporting a half erection.

“Excited?” I asked.

“No, just relaxed and comfortable. I don’t feel like I ever have to hide things from you,” he replied.

“Well, I’m glad you feel so comfortable around me. Just remember what we talked about,” I reinstated.

“I know, I won’t,” Lincoln responded. Next to arrive were Clayton and Jacob, they weren’t wearing anything either, as they jumped in the tub giggling their butts off. Ryker was last to appear, and of course, he wasn’t wearing anything either. It amazed me that I could still see his tan lines even in the middle of winter, as his perfectly cute bubble butt was so white compared to the rest of his body. I climbed in after Ryker and sat in one of the corners. My lap was quickly pounced on by Clayton.

“You won’t feel any of the jets if you sit on my lap,” I stated.

“Yeah I know,” Clayton said as he turned around to give me a hug.

“Thanks, bud, I’ve missed your hugs,” I said, as I kissed the top of his head. He turned back around and just sat in my lap, with his head barely above the water, resting on my chest.

“You don’t miss our hugs?” mocked Lincoln.

“Yeah, do we not give good hugs?” joked Jacob.

“Not as good as this guy,” I replied in a joking tone, as I poked Clayton in the ribs causing him to giggle.

“Hey I’m ticklish, stop that,” he laughed.

“Oh, we all know your ticklish Clay,” chimed his brothers as they closed in on him to tickle him more. All three boys jumped on Clayton, to try and attack their brother. Never have I heard a boy laugh as hard as Clayton during this time.

“Alright boys enough,” I said stopping the madness. “So who found the coolest room?” I asked as they returned to their spots.

“The game room was the best, it’s like an arcade! I love the table tennis, and bubble hockey was really cool.” Spoke Jacob.

“Yeah, the game room was by far the best! I liked the basketball game and the pinball machines,” stated Lincoln.

“I like the gym room, that’s so cool. Can I use it?” asked Ryker.

“Well bud, we can start you off with smaller weights. However, some of those machines are dangerous. I don’t want you down in that room unless I am there to help you,” I said.

“Yes! That works for me,” Ryker returned.

“What is the big empty room for?” asked Clayton.

“I was going to put a wine cellar down in that room, just never accomplished it. I have some new ideas, but I don’t want to spoil it for you boys,” I teased.

“Can it be a pool,” questioned Clayton.

I laughed, and stated, “we already have a pool, but it’s closed for the winter. You walked right by it to get to the hot tub. You just can’t see it with the snow.”

“Ohhhh, cool.”

We sat in silence for a minute or two, just enjoying each other’s company and the scenery. It was a gorgeous snowy night, and it was showing no signs of letting up.

Lincoln said, “look at the full moon, it’s so white.”

Confused, I looked up to the sky and said, “What full moon are you talking about.”

“This one,” he said. I turned to look at what he was referring to, only to be greeted by 3 boys standing up on their seats, mooning me their bare white butts.

I died of laughter, “Good one.” As I wiped a tear away from my eye, “Did you have that planned before coming outside?”

“Maybe,” was all I received as the boys were cackling at their joke. The next thing we heard was the sound of the faint doorbell.

“Pizza!” yelled Claton as he scrambled off my lap, trying to get out of the water.

“Alright boys, I’m going to get the pizza. You all get dried off and inside, I don’t want any of you getting sick.” I stated as I stepped out and put on my robe and slippers on. The pizza got here quicker than I was expecting, so I tipped the delivery boy five bucks and told him to drive safe. I brought the pizza back to the table to see four naked boys sitting down.

“At least go put underwear on. I have to cover the hot tub anyways. So as you all go change upstairs, I’ll run outside and close everything up,” I stated. I heard footsteps take off for the upstairs, I was surprised to see Lincoln follow me outside.

“Need help?” he asked.

“Umm, sure you can help me lift the cover on.”

“Okay!” He excitedly said.

“You know this doesn’t excuse you from going to put underwear on.”

“But can’t I just wrap my towel around my waist like it is now. This towel is so big, it is wrapped around me twice.”

I thought for a second, and decided this wasn’t a battle worth getting into and agreed with him, “Alright bud.”

“Thanks!” He stated and helped me lift the cover onto the hot tub. I went over to Lincoln and told him to hop on my back for a piggy back ride so he wouldn’t have to walk barefoot in the snow as the path was covered again. He jumped on my back, and I put my hands under his thighs for support.

“Love you, Garret,” he said and kissed my cheek.

“Love you too Lincoln!” I said as I gave him a gentle squeeze with my hands.

Surprisingly the Pizza survived, we had two pieces left that we put in the refrigerator. The clock read 9:00 p.m. and I told the boys to head up for a shower or bath.

“Can I, umm, can I shower by myself? You know without my brothers?” asked Ryker.

“Yeah, buddy! No problem. Just use the shower in your room, but leave the door unlocked. I’ll be in to check on you.”

“Okay!” He said as he proceeded upstairs.

“I can give Clayton a bath, or he can take a shower with me tonight,” Lincoln said.

“That is very nice of you,” I returned.

“I am used to it, my mom made me do it every night,” Lincoln stated.

“Well sounds like a plan, just make sure you wash as well.” I reminded him.

“I will. Let’s go, Clay. You want a shower or bath tonight?” I heard him ask his brother as they were walking away. I couldn’t understand Clayton’s response.

“Well Jacob, down to you. What do you want to do?” I questioned.

“Can you give me a bath,” he said embarrassed with his head down.

“Of course I can, we can use your bathroom this time instead of the big tub,” I said. His mood quickly changed from embarrassment to positive as we started up the steps.

I started to draw his bath, and he stripped out of his underwear. As the tub was filling, I asked, “Hey Jacob, you mind if I take a closer look at that scar. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“Umm sure, but why?” He pondered.

“I want to see how deep it is and if there is a chance of it healing over time,” I said. Jacob walked over to me, and I sat on the edge of the tub. He stood in front of me and spread his legs for me to get a better look.

“Mind if I touch it?” I asked.

“Yeah, you can,” he replied. I reached out with and rubbed my hand over his scar. It’s located in a weird spot, where I accidentally made contact with the back of my hand on his balls, which caused him to jump.

“Sorry, bud didn’t mean to do that.”

“It’s okay, just wasn’t ready for that. I trust you,” he returned. After looking at his scar for a minute or two, I noticed it was deep. Really deep, next time he is at the doctor’s I want them to examine the scar to see if it healed correctly.

“Alright bud, everything looks good,” I said as I didn’t want to concern him with a problem. “That was very brave of you to let me do that.”

“I know you wouldn’t ever hurt me, so it’s not that brave,” he replied as he stepped into the tub. I started to wash Jacob, first his hair. After, I started with his back and worked my way down to his butt and legs. I turned him around and worked my way up his legs. Before doing his private part, I asked him if he wanted to do it. He had no desire, so I carried on and washed his area and then finished off by wiping his face.

“All clean,” I stated. He stepped out of the tub, and just like the first night he wanted to be wrapped in a towel cocoon. “Alright kiddo, time for bed!”

“Can I sleep in one of your shirts again?” He asked.

“Of course! I think the one you slept in the last time is still in here.”

“Oh yeah forgot about that one. I hung it up.” He stated.

“Alright well, you put that shirt on and try to get some sleep,” I replied as I walked over to give him a goodnight kiss on the forehead. I loved all these kids, but I wasn’t going to tell him because I didn’t want to force him into those feelings, so I plan to wait until they say it first like Lincoln did. “Goodnight bud,” I spoke.

“Goodnight Garret,” he replied as I was walking out the door to Ryker’s room.

Ryker just finished his shower and had a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Everything good?” I asked.

“Yeah! Thanks,” he said.

“Alright, get to sleep, it has been a busy few days,” I stated as I kissed the top of his head and walked out to check on Clayton and Lincoln.

When I stepped into Lincoln’s bedroom, I was greeted by Clayton asking, “Can I sleep in here tonight with Lincoln?”

“Umm… that’s up to Lincoln,” I said looking in his direction.

“Yeah I don’t mind for the night, but can you lay with us?” Lincoln asked.

“Yeah can you?” chimed Clayton.

“Alright, everyone into the bed,” I commanded. All the beds in the house were queen size except for mine as I had a King. So fitting into Lincoln’s bed wouldn’t be an issue. I took the left portion of the bed and laid on my side. The boys laid down next to me with Lincoln in the middle and Clayton beside Lincoln. Lincoln conveyed his body to match mine and got as close as he could, as he scooted his rear end towards my stomach. Luckily this time there wasn’t an argument as he had his boxer briefs on. Clayton laid on his other side, so he was facing us.

“Everyone comfortable?” I asked.

“Yah, very,” Replied Lincoln.

“Alright everyone close your eyes and try to get some sleep,” I insisted. The boys fell asleep rather quickly, and I got out of Lincoln’s bed to head to my room. I got a quick shower and hopped into my bed. Just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard my door open and saw a head peek through.

“Hey Ryker, what’s the matter?” I concerned.

“I couldn’t fall asleep. I tried to, but I couldn’t get comfortable. Can I come sleep with you?”

“Sure kiddo, come hop in” I replied. Ryker ran to the bed and jumped under the covers. He made his way to my body and cuddled against me. I put my arm around the back of his head for support, as he put his hand and arm on my chest.

“Goodnight Ryker,” I said as I kissed the top of his head. I rubbed his back trying to get him to fall asleep. In a short time, I heard heavy breathing and knew he was out. I followed his lead and went to bed around 10:30-ish.

To Be Continued......

Author Notes:

Thank you for reading and following the story! Always enjoy hearing from readers!
Third and final, the destinations, streets, events, and locations are made up. I use Columbus as a nearby city, but I'm unaware if the addresses listed are real or not. All scores and games are made up in my head. However, most teams are real.