The Lernier Family
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved

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Chapter 50: Adventures with Training Wheels

I stood on the front porch watching the twins ride their new bicycles in circles around our driveway, when Nancy came up to stand beside me.  She slipped her arm around my waist to stabilize herself.  I put my arm around her shoulders and grinned down at her. 

“Thank you for making the boys so happy,” I said.  Nancy and Cory had given the twins the new bikes a few days earlier – a red one for Josh and a blue for JJ.  Cory and Rick had assembled the bikes with a lot of help from two extremely excited little boys.

She smiled and said, “It’s the least we could do.  You and Rick have been so generous with us, sharing your home while I continue my treatment at Johns Hopkins.”

I said, “I wish their treatment plan was doing more to keep you going.”  Everything the doctors had tried, thus far, had done nothing to improve her condition.  In fact, some of the medications she had tried had made her condition worse.

Nancy sighed.  “I do, too; but, they aren’t.  So, we’ll have to look into other types of treatment.”

I watched as JJ executed a neat little run through the traffic cones Rick had set up as an obstacle course for them to improve their skills.  Josh tried to follow his brother through the cones, but didn’t quite make it, knocking over the last two cones.  The twins are alike in so many ways; but, so different in so many others.  Physical coordination is one of those differences.  Where JJ is very coordinated and good at playing all kinds of sports (soccer, t-ball, etc.), Josh struggles to even kick a ball.  Rick and I have spent many hours working with him one-on-one to help improve his large motor skills.  The doctors claim his seizures are the cause of his muscle control issues, yet they don’t have any answers to explain why he has those seizures!

JJ turned his bike around and shouted, “Great job, Josh!  Let’s try it again!”  I love how JJ always encourages his twin brother.

I turned to Nancy and asked, “What about the new diet they’ve recommended for you?”

Nancy said, “I think it’s having a positive impact.  I don’t feel as tired all the time.”

“Good, I’m glad to hear something is working,” I said.  I paused to watch Josh run through the cones again.  This time he made it without knocking any of them over.  I shouted, “Great job, Josh!”   He looked over at me and grinned, as he peddled past us to join JJ.  I debated within myself about broaching the subject that had been on my mind the last few days, then decided to go for it.  “What have you and Cory decided to do about continuing your treatment at Johns Hopkins?”

Nancy said, “I want to go home, Glenn.  I think the new diet is helping me more than any of their drugs; so, I don’t see any merit to continuing with their treatment plan.  I want to live my life as normally as I can.”  Seeing my expression, she quickly added, “Don’t get me wrong, Glenn, I’ve loved the time I’ve had with the twins; but, it’s time for us to go home.  Cory needs to be back at the office and the girls need my full, undivided attention.”

I nodded my head in agreement.  “I understand where you’re coming from.  It’s hard to maintain your normal routine when nothing is normal.”

Nancy sighed with relief.  “I’d hoped you would see it my way.  I told Cory you would understand.  He was worried you’d be upset with us.”

“We only want what is best for you, Nancy.  Cory should know that by now.  When do you plan to leave for California?” I asked, sensing Nancy had more to tell me.

“In two weeks,” she responded.  “I’ve already booked our flights.  I would’ve told you sooner, but I was waiting for the right moment to tell you.”

I leaned over to kiss her cheek.  “You don’t have to worry about hurting my feelings, Nancy.  I will always do what I can to make you happy.  We owe you so much for what you’ve done for us, or have you forgotten it’s because of you we have two beautiful twin boys?”

She smiled, as she turned her attention back to the two boys in question.  “They are such wonderful little guys.  You and Rick are great fathers and I’m proud of you both for what you’re doing for your adopted children, as well.  I wish I could be your surrogate, again; but by the time I could do it, you had already adopted more children.”

“You’ve done more than enough for us, Nancy!  Don’t worry about us.  We’re quite happy with our family as it is now.  As for the older children, we made it clear from the beginning they are just as much our children as the twins are.  We work hard to make sure they know they are loved and wanted in our family,” I said.

“It shows in the way they look up to you and Rick,” Nancy said.  “Their love for their dads shines in their eyes.  It’s obvious Kyle worships the ground you guys walk on.”

“Do you honestly think so?” I asked.  “I know he has a very special bond with Rick.”

Nancy looked up at me and said, “Glenn, you’re part of that special bond.  I’ve watched how he interacts with both of you.  He does his best to meet your expectations – in sports for Rick and in music for you – and he’s excelling in both areas.”

I smiled down at her and said, “You’re right about that.  Kyle likes to spend time in the kitchen with me.  He’s become quite a good cook.  He’s even made up some of his own recipes.”  I paused to watch the twins a moment, then continued, “Sometimes I wonder if we’re doing everything we can to meet his needs.”

Nancy said, “You don’t need to fret about that, Glenn.  You and Rick have provided all of your children a loving environment where they are thriving and growing.  I’m confident you’ll continue to do the best you can to meet the individual needs of each of your children.  For example, you’ve been working one-on-one with each of the twins – JJ with his speech and Josh with his large motor skills.  In fact, JJ’s speech has improved so much you wouldn’t know he had a speech impediment.”

I said, “His speech therapist told us his diction is where it should be for his age.”

Nancy nodded her head in agreement and said, “And Josh is making huge improvements, too.  You’ve also made sure David is getting the help he needs at school.”

I said, “Yes, he’s come a long ways since his parents died.”

“David’s autism hasn’t held him back because you’ve been able to get him the help he needs with his classes,” Nancy said.

I nodded my head.  “Rick and I can’t take all the credit for David’s progress.  His teachers have played a big part in that, as well as his boyfriend, Mark.  Mark looks out for him and is helping him to overcome his social awkwardness.  David never liked being touched; but since he and Mark became boyfriends, David likes to cuddle.  He will even look you in the eye when you shake his hand now.  He used to look down at the floor when he shook hands with someone and he’d cringe as if the contact with his skin was burning him.”

Nancy said, “I remember he was like that when I was here last.  He shied away from being hugged or touched.  He would let me hug him, but he’d move away as quickly as possible.”

“I’ve asked Ashley to keep us posted about what goes on at school, since David sometimes doesn’t share with us what’s happening.  He’s very sensitive about his autism and tries hard to avoid talking about it.  It helps that Mark, David, Michaela and Ashley eat lunch together every day.  The four of them are close friends,” I said.

“I noticed how close they are,” Nancy said.  “I’m happy David and Ashley have such good friends.  I’m also glad Clay has had a change of heart, where gays are concerned.  He seems like he’s a good person and wants the best for his children.”

I nodded my head in agreement.  “Clay has changed a lot since we first met.”

Nancy glanced up at me and said, “Have you noticed how Clay has been hanging out by the guard shack when Collin is working?”

“Yes, I did notice that; but Clay is as straight as they get,” I said.

Nancy laughed.  “I wouldn’t count on that, given what I’ve seen.”

I said, “I think he’s just lonely and wants the company.  He’s admitted to us he needs to make more friends and enjoys being in our home.  I don’t think there’s anything more than friendship between them.”

Before Nancy could respond, Rick and Cory joined us.  Nancy released me to put her arm around Cory, while Rick took her place at my side.  Noting how well the boys were doing on their new bicycles, Rick said, “It looks like our hard work has paid off.”

Cory nodded his head and said, “It appears that way.”  He looked down at his wife and asked, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine, but I’m ready to take a nap,” she responded, smiling up at him.

“Let me help you back inside,” Cory said. 

As they disappeared indoors, Rick said, “They’re leaving for home aren’t they?”

“Yes, you were right.  They plan to fly out in a couple of weeks,” I said.

“I had a feeling Nancy was getting a little restless.  I think we should take them out on the boat before they go,” he said.

“The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow,” I said.  “We can stay out overnight and return home late Sunday evening.  Do you want to invite the General and Mrs. Campbell to join us?”

“I think we should.  It will do him good to be out of the house for a couple of days.  It will give Mrs. Campbell a break, as well.  Let’s plan to leave first thing in the morning, then,” Rick said.  “I know the kids will love being on the water.”

Rick led me inside to the family room.  Rick sat down on the couch with his legs spread wide, indicating I should sit between them.  I leaned back against his chest and turned my head to meet his lips.  

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you more,” Rick said slipping his hand down to give my package a squeeze.

I laughed.  “You keep that up and we’ll need to slip off to our room to take care of it.”

Rick said, “That’s the idea.”  He slipped his hands under my shirt, running his hands up and down my chest and abs.  I arched my back, letting him know he was doing all the right things to get me horny!  He whispered into my ear, “I think we should invite Clay and Collin to join us on the boat, tomorrow.”

I laughed, as Rick nibbled on my ear.  “Are you trying to be a matchmaker?”

Rick said, “No, but I want to see if Collin can make any headway with Clay.  Collin has asked me about Clay several times now.  It seems like he’s got a major crush on Clay.”

“Nancy was commenting on them just before you and Cory came outside,” I said.  “Clay is still very much in love with his wife.  I don’t think he’ll switch sides and go for a guy.”

Rick’s lips lightly touched the back of my neck.  “I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Babe.”

I turned my head to meet Rick’s lips and murmured, “Let’s take this upstairs to our bedroom.”

“I was wondering how long it would take you to suggest that,” Rick said, giving me a lecherous grin.

I stood up and turned to pull him up.  He leaned down and kissed me.  We made our way quickly up the stairs, encountering Cory on his way back from settling Nancy down for a nap.

Rick asked, “Cory, will you keep an eye on the twins for a bit.”

Cory noted the tents in our shorts and gave us a knowing grin.  “Sure.”

Rick pulled me into our room and shut the door, locking it behind us.  Our clothes disappeared in a flash, as Rick continued his campaign to seduce me!


 Cory heard Glenn and Rick’s door close as he made his way to the family room, where he found Ashley reading stories to Jessica and Randy.  Satisfied the girls were being watched over, he walked down the hall to the front door and stepped outside.  He walked over to the guard shack to join Collin.

Collin grinned at him and said, “I take it Glenn and Rick are enjoying some alone time.”

Cory laughed.  “Yes, you could say that.”

Collin said, “They were getting pretty frisky earlier, so I figured it wouldn’t be long before they found an excuse to slip off to take care of their needs.”

Cory asked, “Are they always like that?”

“Yes, they’re normal gay guys,” Collin said.  “I’m very glad they hired me to work for them.  I don’t have to worry about getting fired because I’m gay.”

Cory said, “Glenn and Rick are great guys.”

“That they are.  I just wish I could find someone like them for myself,” Collin said, wistfully.

Cory laughed.  “Someone like Clay?”

Collin blushed.  “Have I been that obvious?”

“Yes, you have.  We’re all very much aware of your interest in Mr. Henderson,” Cory said.  “Clay seems to like you well enough.”

“But he won’t do anything with me, because he’s still married,” Collin said, his frustration showing in his voice.

Cory said, “Isn’t that a good thing?  You wouldn’t be able to trust him, otherwise.  If he is willing to cheat on his wife, what would stop him from cheating on you?”

“I see your point,” Collin admitted.  “But, I still would like to date him.  He’s such a stud!”

“He is a very handsome man,” Cory said, turning to watch the boys put away their bikes and go inside the house.  “I guess I’d better follow the little munchkins inside.  I told Glenn and Rick I’d keep an eye on them.”

Collin said, “Thanks for talking with me.  It gets kind of boring out here.”

Cory smiled and said, “I’m sure it does.  Chat with you later.” 

He left Collin and returned to the house.  He followed the sound of children’s voices and found them in the family room.  The boys had pulled out their trains and engaged Jessica and Randy in their train building adventures.  They also had convinced Ashley to be their chief architect to oversee the placement of the wooden tracks around the room.

Cory sat down on the couch to watch the children.  Noticing him, Jessica ran over and climbed up on his lap.  She looked up into his face and said, “Daddy, we’re building trains.”

He smiled and said, “I can see that.  Are you having fun?”

She nodded her head vigorously.  “I like building trains.  I especially like Thomas the Tank Engine.  JJ and Josh said I could keep Thomas.”  She slipped off of his lap and ran to pick the little wooden toy engine.  She ran back to her father and showed it to him.  “See, this is the one.  JJ says this is a special train engine because it always makes him happy.  He said he wants me to be happy, too.”

“That’s a very nice train engine.  I’m glad JJ wants to share with you,” Cory said.

She frowned, then asked, “May we get some train tracks?  We don’t have any at our house.”

Cory nodded his head.  “I think that can be arranged.”

She flashed him a bright little smile.  “Thank you, Daddy!”

He continued to watch the children, their happy chatter giving him a sense of peace.  As he let his mind wander, his thoughts turned to his wife.  She had brought him so much happiness from the moment they met.

*** ***
Nancy was running late for work and was rushing to get to her office, when she ran into a tall blond man with deep blue eyes and a deep tan.  He grabbed her to keep her from falling.

“Are you alright?” he asked, smiling down at her.

Her grey-blue eyes met his and said, “I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to run you down.  I should’ve been watching where I was going.”

 He release her and grinned.   “I’m not sorry you ran into me.  It’s not every day I get to meet a gorgeous woman such as yourself.”  She blushed as he gave the once over. 

Recovering quickly, she returned the favor by doing the same to him.  He had wavy blond hair, deep blue eyes, an aristocratic nose, a square chin and a brilliant smile.  He appeared to be a few inches over six feet tall and well-muscled from what she could see.

He stuck out his hand and said, “Let me introduce myself.  I’m Cory Gale.”

She took his hand and said, “It’s nice to meet you.  I’m Nancy Nielsen.”

He was still holding her hand as he said, “Well, you can make up for running me down by meeting me for lunch.”

She met his gaze and smiled.  “It’s the least I can do,” she agreed.  “Shall we meet at 11:30 here by the elevators?”

 “See you at 11:30,” he said, releasing her hand and stepping around her and onto the elevator that had just arrived, disgorging its passengers.  He waved to her, as the doors closed.

She stood there for a moment, wondering what she had just gotten herself into, because she had a rule – NO DATING people she worked with.  She didn’t work directly with him, but she was pretty sure he worked on one of the other teams in the building.

Cory kept looking at the clock, wondering why it seemed to have slowed down.  Brad saw Cory looking at the clock and asked, “Why do you keep looking at the clock?”

Cory tore his gaze from the clock on the wall and responded, “I’m eating lunch with Nancy Nielsen.”

Brad whistled.  “You mean that knock out chick who works on the third floor?”

Cory nodded his, grinning.  “The very one.”

“How did you manage that?” Brad asked.  “She’s turned down every guy who has asked her out.”

Cory gave Brad a puzzled look.  “What’s up with that?”

“She tells them she has a rule against dating guys she works with,” Brad said.

“How do you know that?” Cory asked.

“Because Roy and Danny both tried to get her to go with them and she turned them down,” Brad answered.

Cory grinned.  “Well, I think she was holding out for the right guy.”

Brad raised his eyebrows.  “And you think it’s you?”

“Yes, I do.  She practically ran me down getting off of the elevator this morning.  I told her the least she could do was to have lunch with me to make up for it,” Cory said.

Brad laughed.  “Don’t get your hopes up, Cory.  I bet she won’t date you, either.”

Cory said, “Okay, I’ll bet you a steak dinner that I can get her to go out with me.”

Brad reached across the table to take Cory’s hand.  “I’ll take that bet.  I can already taste the steak already.  I’ll check with you this afternoon to see if I won our little bet.”

Cory smiled.  “This is one bet I’m going to win.”

Brad stood up and walked over to the door.  “We shall see, surfer boy.”  He opened the door, before turning back to say, “Get ready to pay up, Cory.”

Being from California, Cory was used to being called Surfer Boy by his friends.  Cory followed Brad out of the room and made his way to the elevator.  He rode it down to the basement, where the cafeteria was located.  He entered the dining area and spotted Nancy sitting at a table with her lunch tray.  He walked over and stood next to her table.  He smiled down at her and said, “I’ll be right back.”

Nancy smiled back at him and said, “I’ll be right here.”

Cory quickly moved through the line, picking up a sandwich and chips.   He grabbed a can of soda.  He paid for his lunch and joined Nancy.  He sat down across from her.

“May I ask why you were in such a hurry this morning?” he asked.  Nancy blushed at the memory of running into him.  Cory saw the color rising in her cheeks.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to embarrass you.  I only wanted to know why you were so distracted this morning.”

She looked at him.  “I was running late for the presentation I was supposed to give this morning on my research project.”  She named the project.

He whistled.  “Wow!  I had no idea you were working on that project.  I’ve been asked to join the team starting next week.”

Nancy smiled.  “I’m glad we’ll be working together.  I’ve heard you’re really good at what you do.”

He smiled and asked, “Who do I have to thank for that?”

She said, “Mr. Talbot.  He gave my boss your name along with several others who would make good additions to our research team.”

They chatted about the project.  As they finished eating their lunch, Cory asked, “Will you go out with me?”

Nancy frowned and responded.  “I’m sorry, Cory.  I don’t date people I work with.  You’re really nice and I like talking to you; but I don’t want to spoil our working relationship by dating you.”  Cory groaned.  Nancy said, “Don’t take it so hard, Cory.  You’re not the only one I’ve refused to date.”

“I know,” Cory said.  “It’s just that now I owe Brad a steak dinner.”

Nancy laughed.  “You bet a steak dinner you could get me to go out with you?”

“Yes, I did,” Cory said, grinning.  “It was worth a try, Nancy.  You’re the best looking woman I’ve ever met.”

Nancy grinned.  “Flattery will get you nowhere with me, Cory Gale.  However, thank you for the compliment.”  She stood up and said, “Maybe we can have lunch again sometime.” 

She left him sitting there, thinking there had to be a way to get her to date him.  He glanced up to see Brad grinning from ear to ear from across the cafeteria.  Brad made his way over to Cory’s table and sat down.

“Well?”

“Well, what?” Cory asked in turn, pretending he didn’t know what Brad wanted to know.

“You know what.  ‘Fess up, dude.  I know you struck out just like the rest of us did,” Brad said, laughing.  “I can see it written all over your face.”

“Damn it, Brad, why do women have to play so hard to get?” Cory complained

Brad laughed even harder.  “I can’t answer that; but, I’m going to enjoy the steak dinner you owe me!”


His attention was brought back to the present when Jessica pulled on his arm.  “Daddy, come play with us.”

He focused on his little one and smiled, “Sure, sweetheart.”  He got up and joined the children playing trains.  As he pushed his toy train around the tracks according to Jessica’s instructions, he thought about how Nancy always cheered him up, even when she wasn’t feeling well.  She gave 100% to everything she did, especially when it came to family.  She had given her brother and his husband the greatest gift of all – twin boys – his girls’ half-brothers. 

As he watched them play, he could see his wife in each of them.  Yes, JJ favored Rick and Josh favored Glenn in looks.  In fact, the twins could easily be called mini versions of their dads; however, every so often a certain look or mannerism would remind him of Nancy.   He loved how the two boys watched over and protected their half-sisters.  He smiled as he overheard JJ giving Josh orders to make sure Randy had all the trains she wanted, while he did the same for Jessica.  He was glad they had spent the last two months with Glenn and Rick.  It had allowed Nancy to spend time with the guys.  She loved them very much and they loved her. 


Later that same day, the twins ran into the kitchen and stopped in front of me.  JJ asked, “May we ride our bikes?”  I looked over at Rick who smiled and nodded his head.  I turned back to the boys and said, “Yes, you may; however, someone has to be with you to make sure you’re safe.”

Josh asked, “May we ask Collin to watch us ride our bikes?  He’s already outside.  He says we keep him from being bored.”

I laughed and said, “Okay, we can ask Collin if he’s willing to watch you ride your bikes.”

The excited little boys left the kitchen and rushed down the hallway to the front door.  I followed them at much slower pace, amazed at the two little balls of energy running down the hall ahead of me.  By the time I made it outside they were already at the guard shack talking to Collin.  

Collin looked up as I approached and said, “The boys are telling me they want me to watch them ride their bikes.”

I met Collins gaze and asked, “Is that okay?  I know we don’t pay you to babysit our boys.”

He smiled and replied, “I don’t mind watching them and it will help me pass the time.”

I looked at the two boys and said, “You must listen to Collin and do as he says.”

JJ grinned and said, “We always listen to Collin.  He’s our best friend.”

Josh nodded his head in agreement.  “Yes, Collin is our favorite friend.”

I looked at Collin for confirmation.  He smiled and nodded his head. “We’ve been best friends for some time now.”

I laughed and said, “I’m glad they have a good friend.”

Kyle pulled up to the gate in the Land Rover and waited for Collin to open the gate.  Kyle had received his regular license a couple of weeks earlier.  Rick went with him to the licensing ceremony at the county courthouse.  The judge had reminded the new teen drivers that driving was a privilege and not a right and it could be revoked at any time.  The judge handed the new licenses to the parent of guardian of each teen, with the admonition that the parent control the use of their driving privileges.  Kyle had promised his dad he would obey all of the traffic laws, in addition to maintaining his grades.  I smiled, as he pulled the car into the garage.  I held the twins’ hands until he turned off the engine. 

The older boys had just returned home from the car wash the football team boosters had sponsored to raise funds for the team’s expenses.  Kyle had recruited Purev, David, Mark, and Gabriel to join him at the car wash.  He managed to persuade us to lend him our car to drive the boys to the high school.  Due to the restrictions placed on teen drivers, he could take Purev and David with him since they were family members.  Mark and Gabriel had met the boys at the school.   It was easy to see Kyle loved the independence he had achieved by finally getting his driver’s license!

The twins grabbed their bikes out of the garage and started riding in circles around the driveway, as I followed the teenagers inside.  The boys walked into the kitchen.  Kyle returned the keys to the Land Rover to his Dad.  He leaned over to kiss Rick’s cheek and said, “Thanks, Dad.”

Rick put his arm around his son’s waist, pulling him close and said, “You’re welcome, Kyle.  How did the carwash go?”

“We earned a lot of money,” Kyle enthused.  He flexed his muscles and grinned.  “I got a nice work out washing the cars down.”

Purev confirmed, “Yes, he did and all of the girls were checking him out.”

David laughed and added, “While we checked out the rest of the football team.”

Purev said, “But Gabriel got mad because I was flirting with Justin.”

I raised an eyebrow and asked, “Who is Justin?”

Kyle answered before Purev could respond, “He’s one of my teammates.  He’s a senior this year.”

Purev said, “Yes, and he’s a real stud.”

Kyle asked, “Do you want me to introduce you to him?”

Purev grinned and said, “Yes, please; but don’t tell Gabriel.”

“He’ll find out anyway, so don’t try to hide the fact you’re looking at other guys,” David said.

“I know, but I want to go out with other guys,” Purev said.

I said, “Just be careful, Purev.  You don’t want to ruin your friendship with Gabriel.  Be honest with him and talk to him about your desire to date other people.”

Purev nodded his head.  “I will, Daddy.” 

We heard the door open and JJ crying.  JJ appeared in the kitchen doorway.  He ran to me and grabbed my hand.  “Josh is hurt.  He needs your help.”

Rick and I were on our feet and moved quickly outside, followed by Kyle, Purev and David.  I asked, “Where is Josh?”

“By the guard shack,” JJ replied, pulling me toward it. 

Collin was kneeling down next to Josh.  As we approached, he said, “Josh has broken his arm.”

Josh was sitting on the pavement holding his arm.  He looked up at us with tears in his eyes.  “Daddy, it hurts.”

I knelt down next to him and said, “It will be alright, son.  Let me see your arm.”

He let go of his arm and it flopped onto his lap.  It was obvious to see Josh had broken both bones in his arm just below his elbow.  Rick sucked in his breath.

“Yep!  You sure did break your arm.  I guess we need to take you to the emergency room to have the doctor take care of that arm,” Rick said.  “Can you tell us what happened?”

Josh said, “I was riding my bike and my training wheel caught on the edge of the pavement and I tipped over.”

Collin confirmed his narration of events.  “That’s what happened.  He put his arm out to break his fall, as the bike fell on top of him.”

“Well, let’s get you in the car,” I said.  I leaned down and took him in my arms.  “You hold onto your arm and I’ll carry you to the car.”

I followed Rick to the car.  He opened the door and I strapped Josh into his car seat.  I climbed into the passenger seat, while Rick walked around to the driver’s side.  I rolled down the window to speak to Purev and David. 

“Please take JJ back inside.  We’ll call you from the emergency room when we get there,” I said.

David said, “I’ll tell Uncle Cory and Aunt Nancy about what happened.”

Kyle leaned down and scooped JJ into his arms.  “Josh will be alright, JJ.  Our Dads are taking care of him.”

JJ clung to his older brother, putting his arms around Kyle’s neck.  With tears running down his face, he said, “I don’t want Josh to be hurt anymore.”

Kyle patted his back, comfortingly.  “The doctors will help him, JJ.  You’ll see.”  Satisfied his brother would be okay, JJ buried his face in Kyle’s chest.  The boys entered the house and closed the door behind them.

We pulled out of the driveway and headed to the emergency room at the Mount Vernon Hospital.  Rick parked the Land Rover and I got out to retrieve Josh.  As I unbuckled him, I asked, “How’s the arm, little buddy?”

“It hurts, Daddy,” he said, tears shimmering in his blue eyes.

I said, “We’ll get you something for the pain in a little bit, sweetheart.  You just keep a hold of your arm and I’ll carry you inside.”

Rick followed us inside the emergency room.  Rick walked up to the triage nurse’s desk.  The nurse looked up at him and asked, “What’s the problem?”

Rick said, “My son broke his arm.”

He said, “Okay, I need you to complete these forms for me.  It may be a while before we can see him.  Several ambulances just arrived carrying crash victims from the car accident on Route 1.”  He handed a clipboard to Rick.

Rick frowned and asked, “How long do you think it will be before someone can see him?”

The nurse met Rick’s gaze.  “We’re working as fast as we can, sir; but it may be a couple of hours before the doctors can see him.”

Hearing what the triage nurse told Rick, I put Josh on his feet and he walked over to his Dad.  He let go of his arm, which immediately flopped down, his arm bones pushing up the skin at the site of the break.

The nurse’s eyes widened when he saw Josh’s arm, and his expression changed from one of boredom to one of compassion and concern.  He said, “I see what you mean.  There’s no doubt he broke his arm.”  He stood up and said, “I’m sure we can squeeze him in.  Please follow me.” 

As we followed in his wake, I grinned at Rick and whispered, “It’s amazing how quickly he changed his tune when he saw Josh’s arm.”

Rick nodded his head and whispered back, “Thank God!”

The nurse led us through the big doors to the emergency room and down a hallway to an examination room.  He said, “I’ll be right back with the doctor.”

I lifted Josh up on the examination table and sat down next to him.  A moment later, the nurse returned with the doctor.  He was a tall, thin man with thinning gray hair, dark brown eyes, and a graying beard. 

He extended his hand to Rick and said, “I’m Dr. Taggert.”

Rick said, “I’m Rick Lernier and this is my husband, Glenn.  Josh is our son.” 

Dr. Taggert said, “Nice to meet you both.”  I was pleasantly surprised to find he didn’t treat us any differently than he would any other set of parents bringing their injured child to him for treatment.  There was no change in his expression as he turned to Josh.  “Son, will you tell me what happened?”

Josh nodded his head.  “I was riding my bike when the training wheel caught on the edge of the driveway.  I fell over and hit my arm on the driveway.  It’s broken and hurts a lot.”

Dr. Taggert said, “Thank you for telling me what happened.  I think we can take care of your arm and we’ll give you some medicine to help with the pain.”

He turned to us and said, “It’s obviously broken, but we need to get x-rays done to make sure there isn’t another break.  We’ll put his arm in a splint for now to stabilize it until the swelling has gone down.  Then we’ll put on a hard cast to keep it in place as it heals.  That means you’ll have to return here in a day or two to get the cast.”

The nurse looked at Josh and asked, “Do you want your dads to go with you to get your arm x-rayed?”

Josh nodded his head.  “Yes.”

The nurse said, “Okay, please follow me.”  He led us to the radiology department, where Josh’s arm was x-rayed.  Afterward, we returned to the examination room.  The nurse said, “I’m glad to see two men raising a family.  My partner and I want to adopt children, but we’re waiting until Damon finishes law school.” 

Rick said, “We hope things work out for you and your partner.”

“Thanks,” he said and left us to wait for the doctor.

I held Josh on my lap, more to comfort me than to comfort him.  Josh continued to hold his arm as he relaxed and leaned back against me.  He looked up at me and said, “Daddy, how much longer do we have to wait?”

“I don’t know sweetheart,” I replied.

Rick looked at me and asked, “Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m fine,” I replied.  “Just a little shook up.”

Josh looked up at me and said, “It’s okay, Daddy.”

I smiled at my little one.  He has always been sensitive to others feelings.  I kissed the top of his head.  “Thank you for trying to comfort me.”

Dr. Taggert entered the room and walked over to the lighted panel on the wall and put up the pictures of Josh’s arm.  He pointed to the break.  “It’s a clean break, so we can set the arm without doing surgery to remove bone fragments or use pins to hold the bones together.”

Rick said, with relief, “That’s good.”

“Yes, it’s very good,” Dr. Taggert agreed, giving Josh a reassuring smile.  The nurse joined us.  Dr. Taggert said, “Nurse Jimmy will give you something for the pain, Josh.  Then, we’ll wait a few minutes for the medicine to work, before we put the bones back together.  Is that okay?”

Josh said, “Okay.”

Nurse Jimmy gave Josh some orange liquid.  “This is children’s ibuprofen.  It’s good for six hours.”  Nurse Jimmy left the room.

I met the doctor’s gaze and said, “I’m glad it’s not a bad break.”

Rick said, “Yes, but it’s still a broken bone.”

Josh frowned and asked, “Will I be able to play soccer?”

Dr. Taggert shook his head.  “I wouldn’t recommend playing any sports until your arm is healed, and that includes no bike riding.”

Josh stuck out his lip and said, “I wish I didn’t have a broken arm.  I want to ride my bike and play soccer.”

I looked at Josh.  “I’m sorry you won’t be able to do those things for a while.  But you can still go to JJ’s games and cheer for him.”

Josh expression brightened.  “May I take pictures of JJ?”

Rick said, “Yes, you can be the official team photographer.”

Josh smiled and said, “I can’t wait to tell JJ!”

Dr. Taggert asked, “How is your arm feeling?”

“It still hurts,” Josh said.

“I’ll be back in about 20 minutes,” Dr. Taggert said.

He left the room and Rick sat down on the examination table next to me.  He put his arm around me and leaned over to kiss me.  He said, “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I replied.

Spying some children’s books on the counter next to the examination table, Rick looked at Josh and asked, “Do you want me to read you a story?”

Josh nodded his head.  “Yes, Dad.”

Rick retrieved a couple of them and began reading them to Josh.  Rick had finished the 3rd one, when the doctor returned with Nurse Jimmy.  “I think we’re ready to set your arm, Josh.”  He looked at me and asked, “Will you be able to hold him still?”

I said, “Sure.”

Rick stood up to let the nurse take his place while the doctor stood in front of us.  They made quick work of setting the bone back in place and putting his arm in a splint.  When they were finished, Dr. Taggert said, “Josh, you’re a very brave little boy.  Thank you for holding still while we worked on your arm.  How does it feel now?”

Josh said, “Better.  It still hurts, but not like before.”

Dr. Taggert said, “I’m sorry it still hurts, but the pain will get better, eventually.  Until then, your dads can give you some pain medicine to help keep the pain manageable.”  He looked at me and said, “He can have ibuprofen every 6 hours and, if the pain still is too much for him, he can have a dose of acetaminophen two hours after he takes the ibuprofen.”  He handed me a couple of sheets of paper containing treatment instructions.  “We’ll see you back here in a couple days to allow the swelling to go down.”  He turned back to Josh and said, “You will need to keep your arm in that sling until we get the cast on it.  Do you think you can do that for me?”  Josh nodded his head.  “Good.  Then I think your all set.” 

Rick said, “Thanks, Dr. Taggert.”

Dr. Taggert smiled, and said, “No problem.  You can go as soon as you have turned in your paperwork at the front desk.” 

He left us and Nurse Jimmy said, “See you in a couple of days.” 

We followed him out to the front desk and turned in the paperwork, giving the hospital permission to bill our health insurance for their services.  I carried Josh out to the car and belted him into his car seat.  I climbed in beside Rick, who started the engine and drove us home.  It has been a long three hours!

We arrived at the gate and Collin opened it to allow us to drive through.  Rick stopped and rolled down his window as Collin approached the Land Rover.  “How is he?” Collin asked.

“He’s fine,” Rick responded.  “Thank you for your help, Collin.”

Collin smiled and said, “No problem, boss.  I’m glad the little guy is okay.”

Rick rolled up his window and pulled the Land Rover into the garage.  I got out and opened the back door to retrieve Josh.  I found he had fallen asleep.  The poor guy had been through a lot over the last few hours!  I gently unbuckled him and lifted him out of his car seat.  He stirred but didn’t awaken.

Rick came around the car to help me.  Seeing the sleeping boy in my arms he walked in front of me to open the door leading from the garage to the house.  We were met by a very anxious twin brother.

JJ looked up at us, with a worried expression on his face, and asked, “Is Josh okay?”

Ruffling his hair, Rick answered, “Yes, he’s okay.  He fell asleep in the car and we’re taking him upstairs to rest.”

JJ looked relieved.  “Will his arm be okay?”

“Yes, but he’ll have to wear it in a cast for a few weeks,” I said.

JJ frowned.  “Does it mean he can’t ride bikes with me?”

“That’s right, JJ,” Rick said.

“Then who will ride bikes with me?” JJ asked, worry showing in his voice.

Rick replied, “I think we can find a couple of your brothers who can ride bikes with you.”

“But they go too fast for me,” JJ said.  “They always complain about how slow I go.”

Rick said, “Well, maybe your Daddy and I can go with you instead and I promise we’ll go slow enough so you can keep up.  Would that be okay?”

JJ took Rick’s hand and said, “Thanks, Dad.”  JJ walked up the stairs with Rick to the twins’ bedroom.  Rick pulled back the blankets for me as I laid Josh down in his bed.  I slipped the shoes and socks off his feet and tucked his blanket around him.  He opened his eyes briefly, but closed them again.  I kissed him on the forehead and said, “Get some sleep, Josh.”

Rick leaned down to scoop JJ into his arms.  “Let’s go, little buddy.”

JJ giggled.  “I’m not little.  I’m a big boy.”

Rick laughed and asked, “Says who?”

“Says me!” JJ exclaimed.  “I’m taller than Josh, so he’s your little buddy.  I’m your big boy.”

Rick said, “I thought Kyle, Purev and David were my big boys.”

JJ thought for a minute, then said, “They’re your bigger boys, but I’m still your big boy.”

“Okay, I guess you can be my big boy, for now,” Rick said.  “But I’m going to ask your brothers whether or not you’re really a big boy.”

We walked down the stairs and turned toward the family room where we could hear the teenagers playing video games.  We entered the room and Kyle looked up and asked, “How’s Josh?”

“He’s doing okay.  They put a splint on his arm for now and will put on a hard cast in a few days,” Rick said.

Purev asked, “Where is the little guy?”

“He’s upstairs sleeping,” JJ answered.

Rick and I sat down on the couch next to Cory and Nancy.  Nancy said, “I’m glad he’s doing alright.  Cory told me about it when I woke up from my nap.”

Rick said, “We’re happy he didn’t have to have surgery.  The break was a bad one, but the doctor thinks it will heal nicely.”  He looked over at the three older boys and asked, “Who is going to mow my lawn before it gets too dark?”

All three boys moaned.  Kyle said, “I think David should mow it since I did it last week.”

David quickly countered, “It should be Purev or Kyle.”

Purev shook his head.  “I mowed the lawn the week before Kyle did, so it should be your turn.”

Hearing them trying to get out of mowing the lawn, Cory asked, “Would you be interested in mowing the lawn if we built a remote control lawnmower?”

David’s eyes lit up with a keen interest.  “What do you mean remote control?”

“Well, I have this idea for building a remote control lawnmower.  I don’t like mowing the lawn any more than you guys do; but, I think driving a robotic lawnmower would be really cool!  I can just see myself sitting on my deck using the joystick to move the lawnmower around the yard.”

Purev said, “That sounds really cool.  When can we build it?”

Looking at Cory, Rick said, “I think we can start tonight.  I have some spare parts in the garage and an old lawnmower we could tear apart and rebuild.”

Cory asked, “Do you have some electronic gizmos around?”

Rick said, “I think we could cannibalize some of the remote control airplanes and helicopters we have around the house plus I’ve got some extra supplies left over from the robotics team I coached last year.”

Cory asked, “Kyle, can you help me draw up the plans for it?  I saw your tech tools homework and I was pretty impressed with your drawings.”

Kyle smiled at his uncle’s praise.  “Sure, I’d be glad to help.”

Rick stood up and said, “Okay, guys.  If we’re going to build a remote control lawnmower, we need to get started.  David and Purev come with me and we’ll round up the materials we need, while Kyle works with Cory on the plans.”

David and Purev dropped their game controllers to follow Rick out of the room.  Kyle turned off the game console and left the room, only to return a few minutes later with a clipboard, paper and pencil.  He sat down next to Cory and began sketching out the plans for the robotic lawnmower.

A few hours later, I walked out into the garage to find the two men and our teenagers assembling their newest toy!  I snapped a couple of pictures of the unfinished product.

Remote Control Lawnmower minus its electronics

Rick turned to me and said, “We don’t have all of the electronics to finish building the guidance systems, but we can pick those up tomorrow.”

Cory picked up a couple of circuit boards and pointed to each part as he explained what functions each control.  After a couple of minutes, I said, “Okay, I think I get the picture.”

Kyle laughed.  “What Daddy really means is he’s overwhelmed with all of the technical details.”

I ruffled his hair.  “Exactly!  I think I can safely leave everything in your hands.”

Kyle grinned.  “Dad and Uncle Cory are teaching us how to think through the logistics and solve problems as we go.”

I put my arm around Rick’s waist and leaned in to kiss him.  “That’s because he a genius.”

Rick grinned and said, “See, Kyle, even your Daddy knows I’m genius.”

Kyle snorted and said, “Only when it comes to electronics, but nothing else.”

Rick turned grab our oldest boy, but Kyle scampered just out of his reach.  He laughed and said, “Old age must be settling in, Dad.  You’re getting too slow to catch me, anymore.”

Rick stepped away from me and turned to sprint after Kyle, who turned and managed to elude Rick, disappearing through the side door of the garage.  Rick followed him, shouting, “Just you wait until I catch you, boy!’

Kyle looked back over his shoulder, laughing as he ran.  The rest of us followed them outside to watch.  David grinned and said, “I bet Dad catches him.”

Purev said, “Maybe.  Dad is in good shape, but Kyle’s been working on his speed and endurance.”

Cory said, “Let’s wait and see.”

A few moments later, Rick tackled Kyle bringing him down on the grass.  The two lay on the grass, laughing.  “Now, who is too slow to catch whom?” Rick asked, as he began tickling Kyle.

Kyle, giggling and trying to get free of Rick’s grasp, said, “I surrender!  No more tickling!”

Rick said, “You have to cry, ‘Uncle!’ or I won’t stop.”

Kyle said, “Uncle!  I said, Uncle!”

Rick stopped tickling him and asked, “So, who’s too slow?”

Kyle met his gaze and grinned.  “Okay, I take back what I said.  You’re not too slow; but I almost got away from you.”

Rick stood up and gave Kyle his hand to pull him to his feet.  “Almost doesn’t count, boy!”

Kyle put his arm over Rick’s shoulder and said, “Dad, I’m going to beat you someday.”

Rick put his arm around Kyle’s waist and pulled him close, giving him a sideways hug.  “Yes, you will; but not today.”

The two returned to the garage where we were standing.  Rick released Kyle and walked over to me.  I put my arms around his neck and kissed him.  “You’re still the fastest.”

Rick said, “I’ll have to keep running every day or Kyle will beat me.”

Giving my guy a quick kiss, I said, “It’s okay if he does, Babe.”

The guys returned to their project, while I went back inside to check on Josh.  I quietly opened the door and peered inside.  I could see he was still asleep.  I closed the door and turned to find Nancy standing beside me.

Nancy said, “I’m glad Josh is resting.  He’s had a very eventful day.”

I nodded my head in agreement.  “It’s been a very stressful day for all of us.”

“Come join me for a cup of herbal tea,” Nancy suggested.  “It will help you relax.”

I smiled down at my little sister.  “Sure, I could use some hot tea.”

I walked down the stairs with her and into the kitchen.  I found the girls were already at the kitchen table with cups of hot chocolate in their hands.

Ashley sat in between Jessica and Randy.  She looked up and asked, “How are the guys coming with their project?”

“They’ve assembled most of the parts but are working on the electronics to operate it,” I said.  “Dad thinks they can have it up and running in a day or two.”

Jessica smiled at me and said, “Uncle Glenn, Momma said you needed herbal tea instead of hot chocolate.”

I smiled at her and said, “Your mother is right.  I need something to relieve my stress.”

I sat down and Nancy placed a cup of chamomile tea in front of me.  I took a deep breath, inhaling the wonderful aroma of the tea.  I sighed and said, “It smells great!”

I sipped it as we chatted about the day’s events and enjoyed each other’s company.  After a while, I looked at the clock and said, “It’s about time to cook dinner.  What are you in the mood for?”

Nancy smiled, “I think we should cook up some pasta and grilled chicken with steamed vegetables.”

“That sounds good to me,” I said.  I stood up from the table and walked over to the pantry to retrieve a box of pasta and a bottle of Alfredo sauce.

Nancy, seeing the bottle of pasta sauce, said, “I’ll make my homemade Alfredo sauce, Glenn.  Put that bottled stuff back on the shelf for another day.”

I raised my eyebrows and asked, “Are you sure, Nancy?  I don’t want you to overdo it.”

Nancy said, “I’m sure.  If I start to get tired, I’ll let you take over making the sauce.”

“Okay, you’re the boss,” I said, laughing.

Nancy grinned and said, “I’m glad you finally admitted it.”

Randy said, “Daddy always tells us Momma is the boss.”

Nancy looked at her daughter and said, “Your Daddy is right, and never forget it!”

Randy giggled.  “That’s what Daddy says, too.”

Ashley added, “Dad says that about Daddy.”

Nancy looked at me and smiled.  “Rick knows we Nielsens like to be in charge.”

I nodded my head in agreement.  “That’s true most of the time.”

Nancy laughed and said, “There is one exception…”

I cut her off before she could go any further, “Don’t say it, sis!”

Nancy leaned close to me and whispered, “You know you like Rick taking charge in the bedroom, just like Cory does.”  I blushed furiously, but I nodded my head.

She turned away from me and walked over to the stove.  She pulled out a sauce pan from the cupboard, while I retrieved the garlic, butter, half and half, and flour for her Alfredo sauce. 

Seeing the ingredients laid out on the countertop, she said, “I’ll need some chicken bouillon as well.” 

I cocked an eyebrow and asked, “Why?”

“Because it makes it taste better,” Nancy said.  “One more thing, I’ll need some bacon.”

I pulled out a jar of chicken bouillon powder, placing it on the counter next to the other ingredients.  Next, I pulled the bacon out of the fridge.  “How many slices do you need?”

“I usually use three slices, but for this large of a crowd, let’s double it to six,” Nancy said.

I put six slices of bacon in a skillet and turned on the stove.  I also pulled out a stock pot and filled it with water and put it on to boil for the pasta.  As soon as the bacon was done, she began making her Alfredo sauce, adding the crumbled bacon to the sauce.  While she made her sauce and watched the pasta, I stepped outside to grill the boneless chicken breasts.  I fired up the grill and threw on the chicken.  I sprinkled on my favorite seasoning and closed the lid. 

Smelling the chicken on the grill, Rick joined me on the deck.  He came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me.  “Hmmm…the chicken smells good.”

I turned my head to kiss him.  “You taste good,” he said.

I grinned at him.  “So do you, Babe.  Are you guys done for the evening?”

“I think so.  We need to get a couple of more parts to continue working on it, so I guess you could say we’re done for now,” Rick said, nibbling on my earlobe.

I flipped the chicken over and closed the lid to the grill.  I put down the spatula and turned around in his arms.  I put my arms around his neck and kissed him thoroughly.  When I could feel him growing through the cloth of his jeans, I broke off the kiss and gave him a wicked grin.  I reached down to caress his steel pole.  “You’ll have to hold that thought until after dinner.”

He moaned and put his forehead on mine.  “Glenn Lernier, you’re such a tease!”

I laughed and said, “Yes, I am and I’m proud of it.”

I heard the sliding glass door open and I turned my head to see Josh walking toward us.  I could see the pain on his sweet little face and it nearly broke my heart.  I released my hold on my husband and knelt down to look into Josh’s eyes.  “How are you feeling, Josh?”

His blue eyes met mine and he said, “My arm hurts, Daddy.  Mommy said to come see you.”  There were tears in his eyes. 

I took his small hand in mine and said, “Come with me and we’ll get you something to help with the pain.”  I looked at Rick and asked, “Will you take care of the chicken?”

Rick nodded his head.  “Sure.”

I went inside with Josh.  I walked into the kitchen and opened the medicine cupboard, pulling out the children’s ibuprofen.  I measured out the appropriate dose and gave it to Josh.

Josh made a face, as he swallowed the medicine.  “Yuck!”

I asked, “Do you want some milk to wash the taste out of your mouth?”

Josh nodded his head.  “Yes, please.”

I poured him some milk and handed him the cup.  I walked over to the stove and breathed in deeply.  “That smells so good.”

Nancy smiled and said, “It tastes good, too.”  She pulled a teaspoon out of the silverware drawer and dipped it into her Alfredo sauce.  She hand it to me and said, “Try it.”

I put the spoon in my mouth, savoring the flavors of the sauce as it dripped onto my tongue.  “That’s wonderful,” I said.

Nancy said, “Of course.”  She pointed to the pasta.  “I just drained the pasta.  Will you toss some olive oil on it to keep it from sticking together?”

“Sure,” I said, reaching into the cupboard to the left of the stove for the olive oil.

She poured the pasta sauce into a bowl and placed it on the table.  I placed the pasta next to it.  Nancy crossed over to the fridge and pulled out a green salad.  She placed it on the table and said, “Ashley put this together for me, while I waited for the pasta to finish cooking.”

I looked over at Ashley.  “Thank you for helping with dinner.”

Ashley smiled and said, “You’re welcome, Daddy.  I’m hungry.”

“Me, too,” Josh said.

“We’ll eat as soon as the chicken is done,” I said.

A few minutes later, Rick joined us with a plate of grilled chicken.  “Here’s the meat.”

He put the plate on the table and stepped back into the hallway.  He called out, “Come and eat!”

We heard a rush of footsteps and the boys appeared in the doorway to the kitchen.  Rick looked at them and said, “Wash up first.”

The boys quickly made their way to the sink and washed their hands.  When they returned we all took our seats at the kitchen table.   I looked around at our extended family and smiled.  It felt good to have our children with us, as well as my sister’s family.  I turned my eyes to my husband, waiting for him to decide who would say grace.  Rick has always insisted we acknowledge God’s hand in our lives; specifically with saying grace and evening prayers.

He met my gaze and smiled.  He took my hand and reached for Nancy’s hand on his other side.  “Cory, would you say grace for us?”

Everyone reached for the hand of their neighbor on either side and we bowed our heads as Cory complied with Rick’s request.  When he finished, we all said, “Amen.”

Kyle was the first to sink his fork into the pasta and lifted it to his mouth.  He chewed slowly, savoring the robust flavor bursting against his taste buds.  He said, “Hmmm…this is the best Alfredo sauce I’ve ever tasted.”

Rick seconded his opinion, “I agree.  Nancy, you’ve outdone yourself in the cooking department.”

Nancy glowed with the guys’ praise.  “I’m glad you guys like it.”

I high-fived Nancy.  “Way to go girl!”

Nancy laughed.  “I’ve always been a better cook than you, Glenn.”

I grinned at her.  “That’s true, but I still can hold my own around here.”

Nancy said, “You’ve managed to do a great job teaching the boys how to cook.”

Kyle grinned and said, “Daddy is a good cook.”

Nancy said, “I know he is.  I just have to remind him I can still do some things better than he can.  I can’t have my big brother getting too cocky.”

Ignoring her last statement, I said, “Purev and David are my best pancake makers, while Kyle is good at making pasta and rice.  Ashley likes to eat what we cook.”

Nancy asked, “Ashley, why don’t you like to cook?”

Ashley said, “I just don’t like cooking, that’s all.  I don’t like to do the dishes or clean up the kitchen.  I figure my brothers all know how to cook, so why should I learn how.”

Nancy asked, “Don’t you want to be able to cook for yourself when you’re older?”

Ashley replied, “No, I’ll just visit my brothers or buy something from a restaurant.”

“That’s could get very expensive,” Nancy said, frowning.

“I know, but I plan to get a good job so I can afford to hire a cook or a housekeeper who will cook for me,” Ashley said, with a very serious look on her face.  “Besides, I learned how to boil an egg and make cookies and pies in class this year.”

I glanced at Rick and he shrugged.  “Both me and Rick have tried to get Ashley to take an interest in learning how to cook, without success.  In fact, we were shocked when Ashley signed up for that class.”

Ashley looked at me and said, “I took that class because it was an easy credit.  I learned how to sew on a button, crochet and do cross-stitch as well as doing some cooking.”

Nancy looked at her and asked, “What are you taking next year?”

She answered, “I’m taking Spanish and orchestra as my electives.  Everything else is mandatory, classes like English, math, and science.”

David said, “I signed up for Spanish and orchestra, as well.”

Kyle added, “So did I.  I’m taking a full load of International Baccalaureate (IB) classes next year.”

Cory asked, “What’s an IB class.”

“They’re like Advanced Placement (AP) classes.  They concentrate more on writing and critical analysis than the AP courses do,” Kyle replied.

“Will you get more college credit than taking AP classes?” he asked.

Rick said, “No.  In fact, Kyle may get less, because not many colleges and universities accept the IB credits.”

“So, why are you taking IB courses, then?” Cory asked Kyle.

Kyle said, “I want to study overseas like my birth dad did.  He spent several years in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as an exchange student.  The IB courses will make it easier for me to get accepted into school in Brazil.”

Kyle loves us very much; but he still misses his birth father.  His father worked for a multi-national corporation and spoke five different languages.  I said, “We’ve encouraged Kyle to follow his dreams and support his decision to attend Edison High School,” I glanced over at Kyle and smiled.  “However, I’m not so sure we’re ready for Kyle to go to college so far away from us.”

Kyle grinned and said, “My dads are so overprotective, Aunt Nancy.  Sometimes, they’re worse than my grandma was when we lived with her.”

Nancy patted Rick’s arm and said, “I know all about their overprotective natures.  If you think they’re overprotective of you now, you should’ve seen how they hovered over me when I was pregnant with the twins.”

Kyle laughed and said, “I can just imagine.”

I protested, “We weren’t being overprotective, Nancy, we were just concerned for your welfare.”

Before Nancy could respond, Cory said, “Come on, Glenn!  Even I heard how overprotective you were.  Nancy used to tell me how you worried about every little thing.”

I blushed and looked at Nancy.  “You didn’t tell him everything, did you?”

Nancy laughed and said, “Not at the time, but since then…”

I put my hand over my eyes and groaned.  Cory laughed.  “Don’t worry, Glenn.  We still love you.”

Rick put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Just admit it, Glenn, you’re very protective of those you love.”

I glared up at him and said, “So are you.”

Rick leaned over to kiss me on the lips.  “Yes, I am; but I’m not the one who is too embarrassed to admit it.”

“Oh, alright, I’m very protective of the ones I love,” I said, with a sigh of resignation.

Kyle said, “It’s nice to know you finally acknowledge it.”

I looked at Kyle and smiled.  “You have to admit I’m learning to relax a bit.”

Kyle shook his head.  “Only a tiny bit.”

Nancy looked from me to Kyle and back; then asked, “Don’t you have to live in the school boundaries to attend classes at that school?”

Glad for the change of subject, I said, “Normally, you do.  We live in the Hayfield Secondary School boundaries, but Kyle received permission to attend Edison High School because he wants to receive an IB diploma, which Hayfield doesn’t offer.”

“But isn’t Edison a lot farther away than Hayfield?” Nancy asked.

“Yes, we live 12 miles (19 km.) from Hayfield Secondary School and 15 miles (24 km.) from Edison High School.  Since Edison isn’t Kyle’s home school, we have to provide our own transportation for him,” I said.

David said, “Ashley and I hate riding the bus to school, so Jeff drops us off on his way to Edison with Kyle and Purev.”

Ashley said, “The bus ride is so long from Hayfield.  We are the first ones they pick up in the morning and the last ones to get home at night.  It’s terrible.  We still ride the bus sometimes, when Jeff can’t pick us up or we have to stay after school.  I’m so glad we don’t ride it all of the time.”

Rick looked around the table and said, “We’re planning to take everyone out on the sailboat tomorrow.  We will be spending the night on the boat and returning the following day.  Does that sound okay to everyone?”

Purev asked, “Will we have time to get the parts we need for the lawnmower?”

“Yes, we’ll have time to get what we need for our project,” Rick responded.  “The Campbells will be joining us, as well.”

JJ’s face lit up with excitement.  “I can’t wait to see the General.”

Josh was just as excited.  “Do you think the General will let me drive his wheelchair with my broken arm?”

JJ said, “Yes, he’ll let you because you broke your left arm, not your right.”

Josh said, “It’s a good thing I’m right-handed.”

JJ grinned and said, “Yes, it is; but it’s still better to be left-handed like me!  Lefties rule the world!”  He jumped up and ran over to Kyle and gave him a high-five.

Kyle smiled and said, “JJ has the right idea.  Left-handed people are just so much smarter than right-handed people.”

“You write left-handed but throw right-handed, Kyle,” Rick pointed out.

Kyle grinned and said, “I like playing both sides.”

“Whoa there, Kyle!” I exclaimed, laughing.

Kyle’s grin broadened.  “It doesn’t mean I’m bi-sexual or anything, Daddy.  I’m definitely attracted to girls NOT boys!”

Purev said, “I can confirm that!  He’s got too many girls running after him.”

Nancy asked, “Is there someone special?”

Kyle shook his head.  “I wish; but there’s not.”

Jessica finished her pasta and asked, “Mommy, may I have more pasta?”

Randy said, “Me, too!”

Nancy said, “Yes, you both may have more, but you have to promise to eat it all and not waste it.”

Jessica said, “We promise.”  Randy nodded her head in agreement.

Nancy served them more pasta and the conversation moved to other topics.  After everyone finished eating their meal, the boys cleaned the kitchen, while we moved to the family room.  The little ones brought us their favorite books and we settled in for an evening of reading stories and enjoying each other’s company.

After reading stories to the little ones, Rick said, “It’s time for bed boys.”

JJ stood up and took his brother’s hand.  “Josh, I’ll help you put on your pajamas.”  He led his twin out of the room and I soon heard their footsteps on the stairs.

I turned to Rick with tears in my eyes.  “They are so wonderful to each other.”

Rick said, “That’s because they are each other’s best friend, Babe.”  He stood and took my hand, pulling me to my feet.  “Let’s go tuck them into bed.”

As we left the family room, Cory said, “Girls, it’s your bedtime as well.”

Jessica and Randy ran past us and up the stairs.  I looked over my shoulder to see Cory steadying Nancy to keep her from falling.  I smiled at her and she smiled back.  “I’m coming,” she said.

We entered the twins’ room to see JJ had kept his word and was helping Josh put on his pajamas.  He looked up, as we came into the room, “Daddy, I can’t get his shirt over his broken arm.”

I knelt down and said, “That’s okay, sweetheart.  He can sleep without it tonight.  He needs to keep his arm in its sling.”

Josh said, “My arm hurts, Daddy.”

I pulled my cell phone from my pocket to check the time.  “I guess we can give you some more pain medication.  It’s been long enough.  I’ll be right back with your medicine.”

Josh pulled a face.  “May I have some chocolate milk to wash the taste out of my mouth?”

“Sure, baby,” I said.  I left the room to get his medicine.

Rick said, “Okay, let’s say prayers.”

I returned to find them kneeling beside their beds.  I handed Josh his medicine, which he swallowed quickly.  Then, he took a swig of chocolate milk before deciding to down the whole cup as fast as he could.  I laughed.  “Be careful, Josh.”

Josh handed me the empty cup and said, “I’m ready to say my prayers.”

I knelt down bedside Rick and listened as the twins said their prayers. 

JJ started first, “Heavenly Father, thank you for watching over us today.  Please bless Josh.  Help his arm to not hurt anymore.  Thank you for giving us Dad, Daddy, Kyle, David, Purev, Ashley, Uncle Cory, Mommy, Jessica and Randy.  Please watch over me as I sleep.  Amen”

Josh went next, “Heavenly Father, thank you for Collin and JJ.  They helped me when I got hurt.  My arm really hurts so please bless my arm so it won’t hurt anymore.  I thank you for my family, but I’m really glad I have a twin brother who helps me.  Bless Dad and Daddy.  Help them to not be sad that I broke my arm.  Help Daddy not to worry about me.  Amen.”

By the time they were done, tears were streaming down my face.  I gently took Josh into my arms and hugged him.  “Good night, Josh.”

He said, “Good night, Daddy.  I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I said, tucking him into bed.

Rick hugged JJ and said, “Thank you for helping your brother.”

JJ smiled up at his dad.  “You’re welcome, Dad.  He’s my brother and we take care of each other.”

Rick kissed his forehead and said, “That’s right.  We’re all family and we take care of family.  Good night, JJ.”

“Good night, Dad and Daddy,” he said.

I switched places with Rick to give JJ a kiss on the forehead, while Rick kissed Josh on the top of his head.  I turned out the light as I left their room.  Rick put his arm around my waist to pull me close to him.  He led me to our bedroom, closing the door behind us.

He pulled me into his arms and kissed me long and hard.  When he released my lips, I looked up into his eyes.  “Thanks, Babe.  I needed that.”

“I know,” Rick said.  “I can tell you’re frazzled.  Let me help you get undressed.”

Rick quickly stripped off my clothes and led me to our en suite.  He turned on the shower, adjusting the temperature.  He guided me under the warm cascade of water, then stripped off his own clothes and joined me.  I felt his steel pole slip into its usual place between my cheeks as he wrapped his arms around me.  I leaned back against him and relaxed.  He pushed against my back door, burying his cock deep inside me.  I moaned with pleasure as he continued his assault on my senses.  Rick’s hands roamed my body, trailing fire across my skin.  He used his intimate knowledge of all my pleasure zones to take me to new heights of passion! 

A while later, he pulled me out of the shower and dried me off.  I helped him dry off and soon found myself lifted off of my feet.  Rick carried me to our bed.  He pulled back the covers and laid me down.  He joined me, wrapping his arms around me, pulling me against his chest and spooning against me.  I soon drifted off, safe in my lover’s arms.


Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

Johns Hopkins MS Center - http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/multiple_sclerosis/

Music for this chapter:

Rachel Platten – Fight Song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

Sam Smith – Life Support - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7DRhWsN-Vc