Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption

Chapter 38: Reconnection

While everyone headed down to the campfire, Jared asked Jeff to accompany him to the Quonset to look at the water pump for the heating system.  Jeff was more than happy to help him.

"I really appreciate you looking at the pump.  Every once in a while, it seems to squeal a high pitched sound."

"That almost sounds like a bearing and bushing problem."

"Is that easy to fix?"

"If you have the part, it would not be too bad."

"There is a cabinet of parts over there," Jared said pointing.  "Take a look, I'm sure there are some."

Jeff opened the cabinet, looking through the equipment.  After moving a few boxes, he found a large shredded paper nest in the back of one shelf.  As Jeff looked at the nest, a large light-brown mouse ran out from under a cabinet, crossed the room disappearing under another cabinet.

"You had a mouse in there Jared.  He ran over there."

Jeff's first reaction was to be upset when he saw the mouse nest, and that turned to anger when he saw the furry rodent run across the room in front of him.  He was hoping the animal had not chewed anything stored in the cabinets.  Even worse, Jeff knew first hand how a mouse could create a stink by defecating and urinating all over and was hoping this one hadn't been in there long enough to have done so.  Mice may be small, but they reproduce quickly, can cause a lot of damage by chewing, but the most striking part is the strength of the urine smell.  The urine from a mouse cannot be easily removed from items, and more often than not, anything which has mouse smell needs to be tossed in the garbage.

Jeff carefully took a sniff of the cupboard and was surprised there was no odour.  "Well, at least this wasn't bad," he said to Jared.  "I wonder how much of the equipment has been damaged from the little guy."

Jeff had been cleaning the cupboard for a few minutes when he suddenly had a shiver run down his spine.  He felt a presence near him as if he was being watched.  He spun around, looking around the quonset.  Jared was bent over the water pump doing something.  "I'm getting paranoid," Jeff thought.  He then noticed the mouse sitting on the workbench, in plain sight, watching him.  It's black eyes focused on him, his little nose twitching.  The movement of the nose caused the little guy's whiskers to wiggle.

"Are you the one who did this?" Jeff asked out loud with some anger in his voice.

The mouse just sat there staring at him, his whiskers twitching every time he sniffed the air around him.

"How many more of you are there in this quonset, chewing on the equipment?"

The mouse continued to stare at the agitated man.

Jeff felt his anger growing quickly, especially as it just sat there and stared at him.  He began moving towards the small rodent with the intention to…well, he didn't know what.

The little mouse spoke, "Jeff, do you intend to kill me with that great anger building within you?"  Jeff immediately froze in position.  The mouse spoke again, "Yes, it was me speaking to you."

Jeff was startled when Jared spoke.  "Apakosîs?"

The little mouse moved to the edge of the workbench and sat down.  "Yes, Masqua."

Jared moved forward to the bench, pulled a bench out from under the bench and sat down facing the spirit guide.  He indicated to Jeff to sit down as well.

"Am I really sitting here talking with a mouse?" asked Jeff.

"Not everything in this world is what it seems, Jeff.  You can see and touch the workbench in front of us, but there are many other things around us.  Many are beyond the comprehension of someone like you were before Jett being shot."

Jeff's head snapped to look at Jared.

Before he could speak, Jared continued.  "In our world, we have spirit guides, totems, and messengers who are sent by the creator to teach us a lesson.  You see a mouse; I see the spirit guide Apakosîs."

"So every animal is a different spirit guide?"

"Every animal has different qualities that it brings to people to benefit from.  My primary guide is the bear, a healer.  Apakosîs has appeared as a messenger for you."

Jeff was unsure what to think.

Jared started the explanation, "A mouse spiritual totem scurries across our paths as a message that we are overlooking something that is right in front of us.  Mice see everything, as they are so close to the ground, and proceed to take action accordingly.  It reminds us that we must do the same, taking care not to neglect the trivial but necessary things in life.  In order to achieve big things in our lives, we must stay focused on the little things that act as stepping stones along the way.  The humble mouse also asks us to examine whether we are seizing opportunities or are focusing too much on a single project or activity.  Alternatively, it can also signal that we are taking on too many things, which makes us unable to put the necessary effort, and focus, into any of them.  As with everything else in life, we need to have an even balance between the two."

Jeff was listening to every word as he stared into the eyes of the small rodent.

Apakosîs spoke to Jeff, "Tadaka spoke earlier about you having the chance to fix your life."

"He means Conner; Tadaka means fast-runner," Jared added quietly.

The little mouse continued, "You are worthy of the chance we are giving to get back on the right path in your life, and with your family.  We will talk again during the sweat."  With that, the mouse faded until he disappeared.

Jeff sat and stared at where the mouse had been. He was in deep thought for a few moments when Jared asked him, "Would you like to join your sons at the campfire?"

Jeff quickly answered, "I would like that."  As they were leaving the quonset together, Jeff suddenly stopped to look at Jared.  "Just a second, Jared.  This is your cabin and you built it with your grandfather.  Are you telling me you don't know how to put a new seal in a water pump?"

Jared smirked, "If one was needed, I would know how to do it.  The water pump wasn't important, but meeting Apakosîs was important to start your journey."

"Definitely going to be an interesting weekend," was all Jeff could say. 

Jared had gone into the cabin to grab his guitar to play at the campfire.  Liam and Zane were getting some s'more making supplies together as well as refreshments including a pot of herbal tea.  The group roasted marshmallows to make s'mores, and sang some songs.  As usual, Tyler and Troy began to howl back at the wolves in the nearby forest.  It was the loud call of a wolf nearby which startled Jeff and his sons.  Before he could say anything, a large wolf jumped, landing on Jared.  The two of them fell back onto the ground.  Jeff didn't know what to do but stood to try and help.  It was then he realized no one was concerned.  Actually, they were laughing at it.

Jared had a hand on each side of the wolf's head, holding it firmly, staring into the animal's eyes with a big smile, "Where have you been all day, Shadow? I hadn't heard from you for hours."

The wolf made a series of barks, growls and yips at Jared.

Tyler started to laugh, "I think he was out getting some nookie."

Shadow turned his head towards Tyler and stuck his tongue out.  Once again, he yipped, growled, barked and coughed an answer.

Jackie leaned over to Conner, "What's nookie?"

"I have no clue.  It's probably something old people say in front of impressionable youth like us when they are talking about sex."

Tyler turned to Conner, "When's the last time I smacked your ass?"

"I'll be good," replied Conner quickly.

Tyler looked at Shadow, "That was just rude, Mr.  Wolfie.  You are not getting laid more than me."

Shadow smiled at him, put his snout on the ground and covered his eyes with his huge paws.

"Don't you dare imply I'm not telling the truth, you furry little hustler!" Tyler replied with a big smile.

Jeff had seen enough, "Are you guys really talking with the wolf?"

"More correctly, I am not finished talking with the wolf," said Tyler as he stood up.  Shadow stood quickly, placed his paws on Tyler's shoulder, and took the man's throat into his mouth gently, quickly followed by the same gesture on Tyler's Jaw.  A moment later, Tyler returned the gesture to Shadow's jaw.

Jackie and Jamie were sitting wide-eyed and mouths open.  Jamie blurted out "Un-fucking-believable."

"Shadow my brother, I would like to introduce you to our guests.  They are protected here," said Tyler.  He led the wolf over to Jeff, Jamie and Jackie. "This is Shadow, the protector of our tribe, brother to us all and Jared's friend for many years."

Liam yelled over, "The puppy is Jared's pet."

Without missing a beat, Shadow's tail went straight up into the air followed immediately with a fart in the direction of Liam.  That cracked everyone up.

"Jeff, this is Shadow."  The wolf was standing in front of the seated Jeff and was eye to eye with him.

"What do I do?"

"Pet him, he likes his ear rubs," replied Tyler.

Jeff carefully began to pet him, gradually becoming more relaxed.

Next Tyler introduced him to Jamie and Jackie who began to pet the big animal immediately.  Shadow saw Jett, moved beside him, promptly body checking him so he fell over in the lawn chair.  That got even more pets from Jamie and Jackie.

"Shadow met Jett before," explained a chuckling Tyler to Jeff.

"He really is just one of the gang, isn't he?" Jeff observed.

The wolf sniffed the twins, then went over and sniffed Jett.  The big wolf sat in front of Jeff.  Shadow turned his head towards Tyler and again made a series of yelps, yips and barks. "Yes, Shadow.  The boys are brothers and this is their father."

"Are you really talking to that wolf?" asked Jamie.

Jackie added, "And is that wolf really talking to you guys?"

It was Jared who answered, "Shadow talks with us all the time.  He is a very intelligent animal who is fiercely loyal to our family."

Liam had just finished cooking a marshmallow when Shadow moved quickly, grabbing it in his mouth and swallowing it.

"You big overstuffed puppy!" Liam shrieked.

This was the first time the visitors heard Shadow's Muttley laughter followed by him sticking his tongue out at Liam.

Jeff shook his head, "You guys even have the animals sticking their tongues out.  Good grief."

Shadow's ears perked up.  He yipped, barked and coughed at Tyler and Troy, then ran toward the dock.  He was joined by the two men at the end of the pier. The three of them blended their howls into a song which lasted for a couple of minutes.  After some silence, two wolves in the vicinity answered them.  Their answer was blended as well but was much shorter.

Tyler and Troy ran up behind Jared, "We'll be back later," as they disappeared with Shadow into the darkness.

Jackie asked, "Where would they go at night out here in the middle of nowhere?"

"Out to meet a couple of friends who dropped in.  It's complicated, but you'll understand by the end of the weekend," answered Jared with carefully chosen words.  "It's going to be a long day tomorrow so I'm suggesting we bank the fire and head to bed."

"Jared, what's the dress code for tomorrow?" asked Conner.

"If the boys are interested after we get the rocks and the lodge built, we'll help them make loincloths to wear."


Jamie and Jackie looked at Jeff, "Can we?"

"Why not.  Sure, guys."

"They are pretty cool, and comfortable too," added Conner.

Finally, Jared said, "Quit stalling.  Off to bed or the tickling, ass smacks, and head slaps will start."

Patrick barreled through the group running for the cabin yelling "oh shit" quickly followed by the rest of the young people.

Jeff just smiled as he followed everyone up to the cabin. 

Everyone was seated, filling their plates and eating the huge breakfast which had been prepared.  It had been explained they wouldn't be eating a big meal again until after the sweat, but they would have some vegetable snacks throughout the day.  Jamie mumbled something about vegetables.  The sound of the slap on the back of his head was like a gunshot.  Tyler and Troy had returned sometime through the night after spending time with their friends.  Tyler assured everyone their friends were going to drop into the sweat tonight.

After a huge breakfast, the day started early with the sacred fire being lit.  Adam and Patrick took the twins Jackie and Jamie in the jet boat across the lake to the river to find the proper rocks for heating.  Shadow jumped into the boat as they were untying the ropes, immediately knocking Patrick out of the co-pilot front seat for him to sit there.  Mark, Conner, Jett, and Troy went with Liam to collect willow and balsam poplar saplings to build the lodge.  Jared and Tyler went into the forest to meditate together, preparing for the sweat.  Jeff was enjoying himself sitting in the Muskoka chair on the end of the dock with a bottle of water.  He was sitting there in deep thought, reflecting on what brought him to this point in his life.

The boat was back.  Everyone pitched in to get the rocks off the boat and placed into the fire.  Adam carefully placed the rocks amongst the embers then piled more wood on top of them.

Jared and Liam had everyone over where the sweat lodge would be built.  "Take a seat on the grass guys, I would like to explain to our guests what it is we are going to be doing here.  The rest of you, help me out if you can with some of your memories."

"Jared, I've heard you talk about memories before.  What are they?" asked Jett.

It was Liam who answered the question.  "In the beginning, the knowledge we needed to survive and live in balance was given to members of the original tribes.  This was the information given to mankind by the Great Spirit, the Creator or if you prefer, God.  Everyone was given the same information because although he made different tribes, they were all his children and the same in his eyes.  This knowledge was passed from generation to generation through the young being born.  In my case, I was born with the knowledge from the lost tribe of Celtic origin buried deep within me.  I have all the memories given to mankind as well as what my ancestors learned in their lifetime.  It doesn't come all at once.  In fact, until a year ago, I didn't even know I had them.  They are stirred and come to the surface when needed."

Jamie asked, "Why the memories?"

"We are gathering to once again combine the knowledge to help mankind survive because they have forgotten what was given to them, and they are destroying the planet which sustains us," Liam explained.

"Who else besides you?" asked Jackie.

Patrick added in, "It's the same for me.  I didn't know until I came to Grandfather Mathew's cabin to complete a sweat.  Besides me, there is Grandfather Mathew, Grandfather Tom, Liam, Zane, Jared, Adam, and Nikita who have the memories.  Tyler, Troy, Mark, Jesse and Conner each have some memories but they are the eyes, ears, and protectors of the clan.  We're still working with Nikita and Trevor to find out where they fit in."

"There is another," Jared said quietly.  "He denies it, but I've talked with his ancestors and he is another one.  This one is the Spiritwalker, Medicine Man and peacemaker from the northern tribes. In fact, within two weeks, he will face a situation in which he must make a choice."

"A choice?" asked Jett.

Jared looked at his hands, then at the group, "He walks a fine line between life and death."

"Can't you help him?" Jett said with concern.  "Help him before he takes the wrong path?"

"It's not that easy, Jett.  As my grandfather would say, sometimes it is a test of our abilities and personal strength to allow things to happen.  We have to help at the specific point where the person wants help.  We can't make them want help."

"I don't understand?" replied Jett.

"Let me put it simply to you and your dad.  Jett, if Patrick had said don't do it, would that have stopped you your actions that day?"

Jett thought for a moment, then looked at the ground as he said, "Probably not."

And Jeff, would you have come for a weekend of healing like this if Jett hadn't almost died?"

"I think I can also say no to that, Jared."

"Jett, we can't change the minds of people who do not want help.  We can't force it on them," Jared summarized.

Jett had the face of someone in deep thought, "So we have the freedom of choice which may interfere with our destiny?"

"Yes.  People say God has a plan for their lives.  Similarly, we talk about paths in life.  Everyone has a path to walk, but everyone has the freedom of choice which may take them off the path they should be on.  Liam's parents were on a path, as was he; a wonderful path." Jared turned to Liam, their eyes locked.  "May I?"  Liam nodded his agreement as he took Jared's hand into his.  "One night, as loving and proud parents were travelling to visit with their son, a semi-driver had chosen to take drugs, stay awake, exceed safe hours in driving, and drive dangerously.  He made choices, but those choices killed Liam's parents when his path crossed theirs, resulting in an impact between his truck and their car."

Jeff was surprised, "I'm so sorry, Liam."

"It was despair for me for a long time," Liam replied with watery eyes.  "But, my path in life was directed to working for the ambulance, and with Jared. First, we got to know each other as partners, then friends, then as boyfriends, and finally as husbands.  I had blamed myself for their death, it was destroying me inside.  I was wrong, and I now understand it wasn't my fault.  They still love me unconditionally and I will be with them again in the next world.  I am here today because of my husband Jared, my friends all around me, and my two grandfathers.  They put me back onto the path I was meant to walk."

"What path is that?" asked Jamie.

"I don't know, other than the Bear and the Eagle must be together.  Sorry, I need to say for you four that Jared is the bear and I'm the eagle."

"Thanks, Liam" Jamie chipped in.

"What this is all about is being the best person I can be to everyone and myself."  Liam lifted Jared's hand and kissed the back of it.  Jared took him into his arms to hold him.

Adam stepped forward, "We should get back to this ceremony.  Jeff, the sweat ceremony is very, very important to us.  The Great Spirit created mother earth.  The animals along with the people came from the womb of mother earth.  When you are born, you are at peace.  Just like a whiteboard with nothing on it.  Everything is new to be learned, soon the board is filled with good and bad things as you learn and gain life experience.  The sweat lodge is the womb of Mother Earth, and it was given to us to use for healing and rebirth."

Jeff, Jett, Jamie and Jackie were all listening to every word.

Patrick continued, "When you enter the sweat lodge, you are entering the womb.  You are cleansed of your past.  That is why you four are here, to have the chance to be reborn and move forward the way you were meant to do.  The way you were travelling was not going in the direction the Creator intended, your family was about to be destroyed."

Jeff had a look of deep thought on his face.  Finally, he said, "I don't fully understand and I don't know if I ever will, but I believe you."

"Jeff, your daughters will grow, have successful careers and wonderful families," Jared explained.  "You and your wife have done a wonderful job with them.  These three young men still need you and the security of a loving family headed up by a father to achieve their journey.  I can't tell you where the pathway is meant to lead them but they all need what you have so they may walk their life path.  All of you need to be cleansed, relieved of the past and given the energy to move into the future."

"So we'll be reborn after."

Jared skewed his face in a funny look, "I try to stay away from the word 'reborn'.  In my opinion, the evangelical Christians have taken the word reborn to definitions which make it a very negative word.  Although reborn is correct, we use cleansed much more.  To be reborn is start over; to be cleansed is learning from your mistakes to move forward freely."

"Interesting," Jeff said pensively.

Jared continued.  "The Sweat Lodge is a place of spiritual refuge and mental and physical healing, a place to get answers and guidance by asking spirits, totem helpers, the Creator, and Mother Earth for the needed wisdom and power.  The ancestors visioned the Sweatlodge as a gift from The Creator to help in healing, purification, and connection to the spirit world.  The Sweatlodge or the "Womb of Mother Earth" is connected to all directional powers of the universe: above, below, east, south, west and north.  When positive and negative ions meet they become neutral therefore creating balance."

"A very brief overview.  Each direction has special qualities, the east is the colour red representing truth.  The south is the colour yellow meaning kindness.  The west is colour black which is sharing.  North is the colour white, the north promotes caring.  Even the sky above us is special in its colour blue.  The blue sky represents strength.  Below us is Mother Earth who is represented by the colour green. Respect is associated with green. Finally, the Creator himself is a blending of the colours which creates a colour you would see in the most beautiful and fragile flower called the orchid.  Magenta, lavender or purple colour as you would call it signifies humility.  Those are the qualities the Creator gave each person on this planet to possess, believe in and live by."

Jett was impressed.  "There really is a lot more to this than just a steam bath."

"Absolutely," Jared replied.  He stood up, "Let's get building this shelter."

Jared outlined the size on the ground using a stick.  The little brothers quickly dug a pit in the centre of the oval where the hot rocks would be placed.  The rest worked on the next stage by planting one end of the willow into the ground a few inches all the way around the oval Jared had marked out. Each of the willows along the side of the oval was lashed to its counterpart on the other side forming ribs for the shelter. Jared had Jeff and Jett doing the lashing of the willows, watching them as they worked together.  The willows on each end were bent over and lashed across the ribs forming a dome-shaped shelter.  Adam was working with the twins to lash willows horizontally to give the dome some strength to the structure.  He was explaining to them the importance of everything in the construction of the shelter.

"The shelter has been set up so the door is facing the west.  This brings with it the emotional health of everyone who enters the lodge.  In our tribe, the door faces the direction which provides the best energy for the type of sweat being done.  Tonight, that's west.  The walls line up to the north, south, east and west so they may benefit and absorb the powers from each direction for the occupants of the building to benefit."

As they began to lash the horizontal rows, Adam continued his explanation.  "There are seven rows of horizontal willow branches on every shelter.  It's very important as each of the rows not only add strength to the dome structure but represent the teachings of the seven directions.  The seven teachings are what should be how every person on the planet should live, the way it was meant to be.  The teachings are love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth."

Jamie and Jackie were really interested in what was being said. "Aren't these the same values taught by the Bible?" asked Jamie.

"Yes. Actually, just about all of the faiths around the world teach similar values in their doctrines" Adam answered. "We consider them to be all modern faiths compared to the faith and teaching given to us by the Creator.  But, that's a discussion for another day."

Jamie looked like he wanted to ask a question, but accepted Adam's redirection back to the original topic.  They chatted back and forth while everyone lashed the willow together.  At one point Jackie had smacked Jett in the ass while he was bent over to finish a lashing. When Jet turned around, Jackie was pointing at Jamie.  Jett smacked Jamie in the ass, and the scrap was on.  While the three brothers were rolling around on the ground, slapping and tickling each other, Jared had commented Jackie seemed to be a kindred spirit with Liam; a shit disturber.  That caused a second scrap to start as Liam tackled his husband, and soon enough everyone was dragged into it.  Even Jeff was attacked by the twins.  By the end of the 'physical interlude', Jett and Jamie had pinned Jeff to the ground while Jackie had given his dad a pink belly.  After a juice break, a pile of vegetables and sandwiches were consumed, and the crew got back to work.

Jared took Jamie, Jett, Jackie and Jeff along with Conner, Mark and Patrick to gather cedar boughs.  While they were standing under the cedar trees, Jared explained their use. "There are many stories of how the cedar tree came to be.  My memory tells the story of a man who had a heart of gold.  If anyone in his village needed help, he was the first to offer his services.  If an elder could no longer hunt, he would bring them food to eat.  For every marriage, he would give the extraordinary gift of a tipi.  He cut and peeled the poles from the trees as well as hunted to gather the hides to make a new home for the couple.  He had kind words for every person he met, providing encouragement, support and respect to anyone who needed it.  Although he lived alone, he had many children.  If a child's family was killed, or unable to raise a child, he took them in as his own and raised them with love.  Every day of his life, the man did something to help others.  All these selfless acts were noticed by the Creator.  As the man grew older and he knew his time was short, he prayed to the Creator for some way to continue helping the people.  The Creator wanted to ensure this man could continue giving until the end of time, so he turned the man into a cedar tree."

Jamie gave Jared a strange look as he said, "A man made into a cedar tree?"

"The cedar tree is very respected by the Indigenous Peoples.  It's fast-growing, straight and true.  It's green all year, showing life even at -40° and below and it can be gathered any time of the year.  Burn cedar at home in the fireplace because it calms restlessness, anger, and promotes peace in the mind.  Cedar drives out negative energy.  If you put cedar on a fire, it smokes.  People pray with the sacred smoke and it lifts anyone's prayers up to the Creator. Cedar, like the elder the tree was, knows what is needed to bring harmony.  The man who became the tree was the master at doing that when he was human, and he now does it for eternity.  Our cabin has cedar throughout the structure.  Together with the pine, it promotes a strong structure physically and a healthy spiritual area at the same time."

"Jared, I never realized everything was so interlinked in native history," Jeff said.

"Everything in this world is interconnected and dependent," Jared replied.  "For example, could you imagine a world without honey bees to pollinate the crops? Or birds which do not eat insects or seeds? Everything has a place in the circle of life, everything must be in balance."

"Why are we gathering the cedar?" asked Jamie.

"We will spread it on the floor of the sweat lodge.  It drives the negativity out of us, and it draws the unwanted shadows of anger into the ground where it is destroyed by mother earth.  It purifies us while providing a little cushioning from the ground as well," Jared replied with a smile.  "It is used a lot around Christmas time because of its smell and green colour.  But, it also purifies the home it is in or attached.  We will lay a trail of cedar from the fire to the lodge.  This represents the umbilical cord which feeds the womb during our cleansing and rebirth.  The cord gives life and healing to us just like it does to a baby growing. Except this cord is connected to the sacred fire."

All Jamie could say was, "Wow."

The group carefully cut boughs off the lower parts of the cedar trees under Jared's close supervision.  The trail would be laid to the sacred fire just before the ceremony so they carefully piled the boughs off to the side of the lodge.  Jared took them next to where sweet grass grew.  Although they didn't require any at this time, Jared explained the importance of the sacred herb as important to purify thoughts as well as eliminating bad or negative thoughts.  He described it as the hair of mother earth that she willingly gave for her children to be healed.

Jared led the group for a walk along a trail.  After a few moments, they stooped with Jared pointing out sacred white sage plants growing.  Again, they didn't need a lot of this plant, just a handful of carefully collected leaves.  Jared explained how it is burnt for meditation, cleansing of the spirit and even protection of dwellings from negative spirits or shadows seeking to enter.  The group turned and Jared led them back to the lodge.  He showed them the dry sage he had ready, and how he was adding the freshly gathered leaves to the cedar on the floor for extra protection during the sweat.  Everyone helped to place the tarps and animal hides over the lodge, anchoring them in place with a series of rocks.

When it was done, Jared had everyone gather near the fire. "Mother earth has given us so many gifts to have this sweat today." He knelt followed by everyone else.  He opened a birch bark wrapped package of tobacco,  pulling out a handful of very coarsely shredded leaves. "We give this you this gift of tobacco with our humble thanks."  Jared spread it over the fire.  The flames began to sparkle with gold flashes as they grew for a moment, before returning to the way they were."

Jamie leaned close to his dad and whispered, "Dad, do you get the impression there is a lot more to these guys than they let on?"

"Son, I'm just figuring that out as well."

The ceremony was still a few hours away, so Jared set up the volleyball net.  Before anyone began to play, Conner asked, "Loincloths?" Jared smiled and nodded.  The members of the family all ran to the house, returning a few moments later in their loincloths.  Conner and Adam brought extra leather for the guests to make their own.  Even Jeff made one for himself after being encouraged by his sons.  Most of the rest of the brothers were playing volleyball while Adam, Conner and Patrick helped their guests make their loincloths.

Jackie asked his dad, "How come you never wear shorts or go swimming with us?"

Jeff turned red for a moment, then answered, "I'm sorry now that I didn't do those things while you were growing up.  To be honest with all three of you, I was embarrassed about my leg, and I didn't want you to feel uncomfortable with it being seen in public."

"Dad, we all know you don't have a leg below your knee.  Me, I don't give a shit about it.  What I care about is my dad above the knee," Jamie replied.

Jeff's eyes began to water heavily as he asked, "You guys aren't embarrassed to be seen with me?  I'm a gimp."

Jett immediately was upset, "DON'T YOU EVER CALL YOURSELF THAT AGAIN.  You are not a gimp; you're my dad."

Jackie quickly added, "Embarrassed?  I was tired of asking you to come with us to do things.  I thought you didn't want us around you."

Jamie jumped right in, "I thought the same thing.  Dad, we just wanted to be with you.  I don't give a shit about your leg either."

Jeff had a steady stream of tears escaping from his eyes and running down his cheeks.  "I never wanted to be a source of embarrassment for you guys.  People are uncomfortable with the missing leg and the prosthetic, so I never wanted you to be subjected to that."

Jamie and Jackie moved to embrace their dad, each having tears rolling from their eyes as well.  Jett embraced his brothers as well as his dad.

It was Jett who finally said, "If they're uncomfortable, we can help them overcome it.  If they don't like that you're missing a leg, fuck them and the horse they rode in on."

Jeff sniffled as he said, "To be totally honest, I'm still not that comfortable with it.  I see myself not being a full man."

Jamie, in his eloquent style very clearly said, "That's the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard from you.  You're our father, that's all that's important to us."

Jared walked over, stood between Adam and Conner, wrapping his arms around their waists.  They returned the gesture to their older brother.  Jared spoke softly with the two young men, "Looks like a big breakthrough for the family.  Let's give them some distance to talk alone for a few moments."  The two younger brothers nodded.  The three moved off to watch the volleyball game.

Jared watched Jeff and his sons through the corner of his eye.  They sat and talked for about fifteen minutes before they all got up, hugged tightly, then headed up to the cabin. When they reappeared a few minutes, they all had their loincloths on.  The brothers met them, complimenting the clothing they were wearing.  It was actually Patrick and Conner who started the wrestling scrap this time when the two of them were standing behind Jeff and Jett.

In a loud voice, Conner said, "I think I like Jeff's ass in that loincloth better than Jett's."

Patrick was standing there scratching his chin as he replied, "For an old guy, it is pretty good.  Liam's ass sags more than Jeff's, too."

Jamie turned and said, "Quit looking at my dad's ass."

Conner nudged Patrick, "Maybe when they hit puberty, those two might end up with an ass between them."

Jeff was trying not to laugh, as Jett bent over to wiggle his ass, "Just to explain children, these cheeks are 100% solid muscle."

Jackie screamed, "My eyes!  My eyes!  I went blind looking at Jett's ass!"

Just then, Liam came around the corner with the hose, spraying water at Patrick and Conner or anyone who got in the way.

"You little brats! You wouldn't know prime grade-A ass if it sat on you!" Liam screamed as he sprayed them.  Jackie tackled Conner while Jamie tackled Patrick.  They began to roll in the sand of the volleyball court.  It stuck to them.  Soon enough, everyone but Jared and Jeff was wrestling in the wet sand.

Jeff was watching the wrestling as he asked, "Do you guys normally end up wrestling this much?"

"Actually, we usually do it more but we held back because we had guests this weekend."

Jared smiled, and turned to Jeff.  "You know, for a dad of five kids, you do still have a smoking hot body.  You should dress like this more often for your wife."

Jeff laughed, "Jared, I appreciate that compliment but you have got to be kidding.  If I dressed like this more at home I'd probably have another 4 or 5 kids."

After the two of them finished chuckling, Jared asked, "So how come you're not wrestling in the mud with the kids this time?"

"I don't want to get dirty."

"That's too bad," replied Jared as he straight-armed Jeff into the mud puddle face first.

It was Jamie who screamed first, "Hey! Jared just pushed our dad into a mud puddle.  He can't do that!" as he tackled Jared at the knees.  Jackie piled on followed by Jett.  After 20 minutes of mud wrestling, they all took off to the lake to swim off the mud. Even Jeff went into the lake, up to his chin.  Everyone took turns jumping or diving off the dock, trying to make the biggest splash.

Jeff had come out of the water, and was sitting on a log beached nearby.  Jared and Liam sat with him.  Liam leaned his head onto Jared's shoulder as they watched everyone else playing.  "I think my husband needs a nap," Jared observed.

"That's not a bad idea," replied Jeff.  "Can I do that?"

"Absolutely, but close the door to your bedroom if you do," suggested Liam.

"Why's that?" asked Jeff.

Jared laughed, "If Shadow finds out you're having a nap, he'll join you.  The problem is that he's a bed hog.  Shadow will push you out of the bed when he stretches out."

Jeff laughed ass he stood up, "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind."

Liam pouted, "One night he crawled in between us to sleep.  We both ended up on the couches and he had the bed.  He'd even pulled the blankets over himself."

Jeff laughed, "from what I've seen of you guys and that animal, I believe it."


End of Chapter Thirty-Eight


Comments Appreciated at Snowblind


Short stories I have written:

The Break In

The Wilderness Canoe Guide

The Extraction

The Veterans

Fourteen Days Which Changed My Christmas


     The Brothers     

     Recurring Characters       

JaredJared ("<\/span><\/p>\r\n<h4>Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 29<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Husband: Liam<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mathew Bear (grandfather), Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Bear, Eagle (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Nations name: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Most Sacred Eagle-Eyed Bear, Sacred Medicine Man of the People, Shaman of the Forests, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and LiamLiam ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 22<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Husband: Jared<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Nations name: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Most Sacred Soaring Eagle, Shaman of the Lost Tribe (Celtic)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

TylerTyler ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Troy<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and TroyTroy ("<\/span><\/p>\r\n<h4>Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Tyler<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

JoshJosh ("<\/p>\r\n<h4><span style=\"color: #00ffff;\">Josh<\/span><\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25 (Deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Darren (Deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Died: Jared II, Chapter 33<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and DarrenDarren ("<\/p>\r\n<h4><span style=\"color: #00ffff;\">Darren<\/span><\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26 (Deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Fire Fighter<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Josh (Deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Cameron (brother, deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Hose Puller<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 5<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Died: Jared II, Chapter 33<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

JesseJesse ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Jesse<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 32 (looks 22)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\" 160 lbs, blonde hair, clear blue eyes, light olive skin (darkens considerably when tanned). Has an eidetic memory.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Judge, McCoy &amp; Associates (owner, President, CEO), McAdam Construction (owner, President, CEO)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Husband: Marc (deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Zane<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Cougar, Elk (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance:&#160;Jared II, Chapter 1 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 16 (phone)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and ZaneZane ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\" 140 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Jesse<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Cougar, Eagle (secondary), Elk (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

MarkMark ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Mark<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", 150 lbs, slightly built, dirty blonde straight hair, grey eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student: University<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Conner<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Sgt. Frank Myers (father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Fox<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 15<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and ConnerConner ("<\/span><\/p>\r\n<h4>Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\", 150 lbs, slightly built, brown curly hair, hazel eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Mark<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:&#160;Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Coyote<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Nations name:&#160;Swift Fox, (full: Swift Fox Full of Bravery)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

AdamAdam ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Adam<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 19<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", 145 lbs, black hair, chocolate brown eyes, olive skin<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student: Police Academy<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Patrick<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Tom (grandfather), Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Moose (primary), Otter (secondary), Salamander (transitional)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Plains (future, still in training)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and PatrickPatrick ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Patrick<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", dark shaggy hair, large soft brown eyes, contagious smile, and a light mustache<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student: High School<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Adam<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Lynx, Porcupine (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Nations name: Tadika (fast runner)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Aryan Tribe (future, still in training)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

 NikitaNikita ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Nikita<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 19<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'9\" slim, blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, muscular<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Works at the Chinese Resturant<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Siberian Tribe (future, still in training)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 14<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and TrevorTrevor ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Trevor<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 23<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\" 130 lbs, long blonde hair, very fine facial features with delicate hands<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Works at the LGBTQ Centre<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 4<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

MathewMathew ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Mathew Bear (Grandfather)<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 98?<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jared and Melanie (grandchildren), Liam, Tyler, Troy, Darren (Deceased), Josh Deceased), Jesse, Zane, Conner, Mark, Adam, Patrick (adopted grandchildren)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People, &#160;Shaman of the People, &#160;Most Elder of the People, &#160;Most Respected Elder in the Tribal Council of the Entire Western Region, &#160;Primary Messenger of the Sacred White Buffalo<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Nations name: Running Elk<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 12 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 8 (astral) &lt;-&#160;Jared, Chapter 2 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

TomTom ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Grandfather Tom<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 75?<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Owner and Operator of Tom's Marina<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Adam (grandson)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People, Most Sacred Healer of the People, Speaker for the Council of Elders, Chairman of Tribal Council, Sacred Messenger of the Creator Himself<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Nations name: Spirit Walker<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

  MelanieMelanie ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'6\", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mathew Bear (grandfather), Jared Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolverine<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Dragon Lady<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 10 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 2 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and RyanRyan ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Ryan<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 38<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Medic in the Marines<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jebidiah (son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 29<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")  

JebJeb ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Jeb<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Ryan (father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 30 &lt;- Chapter 29 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

JettJett ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Jett<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\" 185 lbs solid, brown eyes, dark brown hair, bleached blonde on the ends<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant-caps: inherit;\">Student: High School<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 16<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

ShadowShadow ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Shadow<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 200 lbs, 42\" high at the shoulders, ice-blue eyes, gray and silver-white fur with some black tips<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared III, Chapter 10<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

  CliffCliff ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Cliff Springer<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Chief of Corporate Operations<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 24<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and CarterCarter ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Carter Gordon<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Office, Computer Specialist<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared III, Chapter 19<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")  

ColtColt ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Colt<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'2\", 200 lbs, black hair, light olive skin colour, clean shaven but definite beard pattern, beautiful soft brown eyes and a smile that would melt the coldest of hearts<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared III, Chapter 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

JohnJohn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>John<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: CFO and Acting CEO, Bear Investment Group (2nd in command after Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 10<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

RobRob ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 4<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

DawnDawn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Dawn<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Ambulance Base HR Manager<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Tiger Lady<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II Prologue<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

  JackJack ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Jack<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: COO of McCoy &amp; Associates<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Molly (wife), Jesse (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 5 &lt;- Jared II, Chapter 3 (phone)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and MollyMolly ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Molly<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jack (husband), Jesse (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 5<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")  

JulieJulie ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Julie<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Office Manager for the local McCoy &amp; Associates office<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Used to babysit Jesse and Marc when they were young<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 3<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

  KatKat ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Kat<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Nurse<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Shawn (husband)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 15<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and ShawnShawn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Shawn<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Doctor<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Kat (wife)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Dr. Smith<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")  

LyleLyle ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Lyle<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: mid-30's<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 9<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>")

FrankFrank ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Sgt. Frank Myers<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Sergeant<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mark (son) and a daughter, then Conner (surrogate son), Adam (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

AmandaAmanda ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Amanda<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: A pleasant woman, shorter, plump, eyes full of life, and&#160;grandmotherly. &#160;Also a sensitive.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Hospital Social Worker<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Marci (niece)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 13<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")

MarciMarci ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Marci<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Amanda (aunt)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 14<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") 

  JohnJohn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>John<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 39<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description:&#160;5'11\", 175 lbs, Norwegian descent, with blonde hair, blue eyes and the build of Viking<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Chief Superintendent<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Gus (Husband)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 15<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and GusGus ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Gus<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 39<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\" 180 lbs, Greek ancestry, built like a linebacker with broad shoulders<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Owner of a dozen Grestaurantsrants in six cities<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: John (Husband)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 23 &lt;- Jared II, Chapter 13 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")   

  AlexAlex ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Alex<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6' 160 lbs, Brown Hair, Brown Eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: College Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Kyle (Boyfriend)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 23<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and KyleKyle ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Kyle<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'1\" 165 lbs, Brown Hair, Blue Eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: College Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Alex (Boyfriend)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 23<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")  

  EricEric ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Eric<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\" 220 lbs solid build, brown hair, hazel eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 13<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">") and ChadChad ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Chad<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: &#160;6'1\" 180 lbs, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 13<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>")  

MartyMarty ("<\/p>\r\n<h4>Marty<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared III, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: center;\">")