Love Is In The Air

Chapter Five

The file was for a younger boy, the file telling us he was six years old and he had been removed from his single mother when she and her boyfriend, still high from the night before, had beaten him unconscious one morning after he had spilt milk on the kitchen table while trying to fix himself a bowl of cereal. The lad hadn't eaten since his preschool lunch the day before, and after trying to wake his mother decided to try and make himself something to eat. The police statement included in his file said that there was a small puddle of milk on the table top, maybe a tablespoon or two at the most.

The boy, Darryl, had suffered a concussion, two broken ribs, a fractured forearm, and a broken nose in the brutal attack. The boy had spent a few weeks in the hospital and it had taken several days before a woman nurse could even approach him, let alone Karen. Gradually they had found their way into his trust, but he still preferred the company of men. His nose and ribs had healed, and his ribs would be un-taped by the end of the week. There was the possibility that one of his eardrums was ruptured and he might be deaf in that ear, but there had been so much swelling on that side of his head that the doctors thought he might just be alright there in another week, they hadn't been able to do as thorough an exam as they would have liked, yet.

Karen explained that Darryl, because of his beating by his mother, primarily, had a reluctance to be around women, he had even been placed in a special preschool class taught by a man. She asked if we would at least meet him this coming Friday night. She told us she expected us to talk it over, as she knew it would mean changes, especially as we would have to provide a bedroom for him. She made to get up from the table when Carter spoke up and said; "I vote we take him in, who's with me?" Riley and I looked at each other, proud of our hour's long son, and we both nodded. Carter told Karen that it was a go that we'd make sure that by Friday afternoon the office would be a proper bedroom for Darryl.

It didn't take a genius to figure out that the sturdy, enclosed patio was going to be my office by Friday afternoon. Actually, by fitting the upper screened sections of the room with pre-hung windows, and moving several of the potted plants to along the other outer wall, there would be plenty of room for my desk and file cabinet and the copier and fax machine. There were lots of electrical outlets, the ceiling fan, and light, and there would still be room for the patio table and chairs we used to eat at for our meals. Later that afternoon I called the contractor who had done the previous renovations and asked him to do the windows for us, but we had to have them done and finished this week, and he agreed, gladly accepting the 20% bonus I offered to have the work started the next day.

In three days, Thursday afternoon actually, the enclosed patio was now my home office, with all the office materials moved for me by the workmen. I knew at the guesthouse there was a storage room with dressers and nightstands and bed frames, so those items Riley and I picked out were carted down the street and put in place in the reclaimed bedroom and we went and got a single bed mattress set at Sears. By nightfall, the room was clean and presentable, and Carter proclaimed it decent.

After Riley and Carter had changed after school Friday we all went to the shelter where Darryl was housed, and we had to wait until a smiling doctor had finished an exam. Karen came out to tell us that Darryl was looking forward to meeting us and that the Doctor had removed his chest wraps and examined his left ear again and told them that everything looked to be intact.  Darryl had assured them that he could hear out of it almost as good as he could hear out of the other ear. It was now time to meet our potential new foster son, and Carter was almost beside himself with excitement.

Darryl was sitting on the edge of his bed when we all trooped into his dorm room and he smiled a big smile when he saw us all with Karen, almost as if he hadn't really thought we would show up. Karen made the introductions and suggested Darryl show us to the lounge where we could all sit and talk for a little while. I was amused when in one of the seating areas Carter led Darryl to a love seat and they sat together facing Riley and me who were left with armchairs to sit upon. Carter had a bunch of questions, as Riley did also and so did I, but we let the boys talk and every so often Darryl would glance up at us and smile, letting us know I think, that he was enjoying himself. We did pay attention though because Carter had been in Darryl's situation before and I realized he was asking Darryl some funny to us, but important questions, like: Did he still wet the bed? How much cereal did he eat in the morning, and what was his favorite one? Did he wear boxers or briefs? Did he like meatloaf or would he rather a hamburger? Although these seemed like silly questions I knew it was Carter's way of bonding and it helped him to connect, to find common ground with someone, it would also help Riley and me when we went grocery shopping and when we put meals together.

Karen came by shortly with some papers for Riley and me to sign and when they were completed she told us to go and have a great weekend with the boys but to let her know if we had any problems. We went back to the boys who were now discussing the virtues of a certain video game. We asked Darryl if he had packed a bag and he told us yes, he had, and he and Carter ran off to get it from his dorm room.

We arrived home about twenty minutes later and Darryl was pleased with his room and then we took him on a tour of the whole property and his eyes lit up at seeing the pool. He was asked if he could swim and the little guy started to strip off right there to show us he could, and Carter laughed and told him we were right next to the library so he better get his swimsuit on first and then they would meet back here at the pool. Riley suggested we join them, so everyone went to get into their swimsuits and we all met back at the pool and sure enough, Darryl could swim, almost better underwater than on top, but he did very well for such a young boy, even with the plastic wrappings on .

Dinner was fun. We all strolled to our favorite eatery, Old Town Mexican Restaurant. The staff was happy to see us, as Carter was one of their biggest fans and he explained the menu to Darryl and helped him pick a main course and an appetizer and they agreed to each share what each had ordered. After a fun meal of new foods for Darryl, we strolled to the ice cream parlor where the boys each had a differently flavored cone but agreed to let the other try a taste of each others again. After we arrived home the boys made sure Darryl had everything he needed in his room for the night and then they settled in to watch some TV before bedtime.

After we had tucked Darryl in and then checked on Carter after they had gone to bed, Riley and I settled in to watch the evening news and we discussed how pleased we were that the two boys were getting along so well, and that Darryl seemed to be blending in with the rest of us so well. We knew that if the rest of the weekend went this well we'd be filing for permanent custody with a view to adopt him to make him a permanent member of our little family.

We had several things planned for the weekend but even the trip to the municipal aquarium wasn't as much fun for Darryl as he had in the pool with us all in the afternoons once we were all home together after an outing. Saturday night we had our own little cookout and we found just how much Darryl really liked his hamburgers and boy, could that boy eat! He ate two of the big burgers we had prepared and that was even with the Potato Salad and Coleslaw sides he put away.

By the third weekend, we had all bonded and we were sure we wanted Darryl included in our family and after talking to Karen that week we were prepared to sign the permanent custody papers when we picked Darryl up for the final time that Friday night and took him home for good.

Riley had done some research at the school department and he found out that there was not only a male preschool teacher at the elementary school, but there was an opening in his class, so Darryl was signed up for his classroom and by the end of his first week attending Darryl was one contented and happy boy. Riley dropped both boys off at their schools on his way to teach at the middle school, and I picked up Darryl when his class let out about 2 PM in the afternoon, which gave us both a chance to interact with our newest charge. I actually bought an alarm clock to set up in my office space to go off 45 minutes before Darryl had to be picked up, it was the only way to get me away from the computer where I was working on the third book.

By now we were all looking forward to Thanksgiving and we were expecting company for our holiday meal. Mark, my agent, was coming with his friend he had met here while staying in Key West for our wedding. Apparently they had been visiting back and forth all summer and into the fall and had decided to finally take the plunge and Paul was going to transfer, to the main office of the branch bank he worked for now in Pittsburgh, to New York City and they would set up housekeeping with the intentions of getting married in the New Year, after the holidays were over.

Riley admitted he had never cooked a turkey dinner before and neither had I, although I had seen it done many times as a child in my parent's home, but I didn't want to be experimenting on a day we wouldn't be able to get seated in a restaurant, so we ordered a complete cooked meal from the Deli at the Market down the street and all we would have to do is heat it all up on the day.

When Mark and Paul arrived from the guesthouse up the street we had everything ready to be served at the bigger table out on the enclosed patio in about a half hour and they spent that half hour getting acquainted with our boys. Carter had met Mark out in California at the beginning of our book tour last summer, but this was the first time Darryl was meeting anyone from my book world. He had a lot of questions for Mark and it was then that the dime dropped, and he realized I wasn't just playing computer games for fun all day while he was at school. Carter thought that was funny and showed Darryl my picture on the back of my books that were on the desktop.

Mark really thought that was funny, but he reached into the bag he had carried in when they arrived and showed him the back of the new book, soon to be released to the public for the holiday season, which had a photo on the back of Riley and myself walking in the library garden with the two boys between us. It really was a nice photo and it really didn't show too much of the kid's faces, but I went out there and showed the boys the dedication page. I had dedicated the book to my family; my spouse Riley and our children, Darryl and Carter. I hadn't said anything to anyone but Mark about this, leaving it as what I had hoped would be a pleasant surprise. Riley came out with some fixings for the table about that time and he read the dedication over my shoulder and then I showed him the picture on the back cover and he gave me the biggest smooch that was barely respectable in front of company and the boys.

After a really nice dinner, Mark told me that the movie studio had already made an offer for the film rights to the next book that I hadn't even finished yet! The first book's movie was due out in January, but they had confidence that it would do really well and they had almost finished the second movie which would be released in the summer.

We were invited to the first movie's premiere by the studio, but the movie had earned a PG rating and we didn't want to fly out to the West coast without the boys, so we declined their offer and told the studio we would try to make the East coast premier which was being held in Miami. For just a day trip we could possibly have Rob and Leo come over from the library and stay with the boys for one night, and we'd be home the next morning at some point. So that's what we did, Riley had a dozen or so sick days and about the same number of vacation days built up so taking one day off wasn't going to bother anyone and just after our New Year's celebrations we took off for Miami the next day, with the premier that night. Christmas had been fun with a 6 and 12-year-old in the house, and I think Carter had as much fun as Darryl had.

We did get interviewed while on the red carpet and we both said hello to our boys during the brief time we were on camera. The reviews of the movie were really good so far and we went in to view it with no great expectations, but when I heard actors saying my lines up on the screen it really got to me and I guess it got to Riley too because at a couple of points in the movie we were handing back and forth a sodden handkerchief to sop up our tears, and we weren't the only ones getting emotional. The book had a very happy outcome for all the characters and the studio did a wonderful job of ending the movie the same way.

By February we had heard from Karen and our Key West lawyer that our petition for the adoption of Darryl was going to be held on Valentine's Day and that there was no opposition to the proceedings. Everything went as expected and Darryl had opted for his celebratory dinner to be held at his favorite restaurant, the Old Town Mexican Restaurant where he and Carter were always treated like little princes. Darryl was proud to be Darryl Spencer Hampshire and to have the same last names as the rest of our family and he even made sure his teacher knew of his new name when he went to school the next day.

We were all nested on the couch in the living room watching TV when the weekly phone call from Ted and Ryan came in. Riley was closest to the house phone so he answered and after pleasantries were exchanged he asked how everything was going and with them at school and a few "Uhn ha's"later he told whichever of the lads that was on the line that he expected grades like that all the time, but in a joking manner, and then he listened for a while, his eyes sparkling, and told whoever it was that four would definitely be better as we had just had an addition to our family, that we had finally gotten to adopt Darryl and no, we didn't think we would be making our move up there until after the school year, but that the plans to make it a permanent one were still on. He asked the caller to hold on a sec and he'd check with Mike.

Riley covered the mouthpiece of the phone and turned to tell me it was Ted on the phone, just checking in, but there was a riding stable going out of business and he had been talking to Terry, the owner of the stable he had learned to ride at, and she had told him that the horses and ponies offered for sale at the stable going out of business were really good stock and Ted wondered if we would like to get four horses and four ponies, the tack necessary for riding them included at a bargain price. I talked to my nephew and asked if the price for horses and ponies would be over the limit on the household credit card they had to use for expenses and he told me that it would hardly make a dent in the card, and the seller would also supply a months feed in the bargain. I then asked if he and Ryan were prepared to care for the animals and he assured us they were and were actually looking forward to it. I told him that we hired them to manage the place, and that if the deal was that good, and it wouldn't cut into his credit on the expenses credit card, and he thought it was a good purchase that would benefit us or them, then I thought he ought to go ahead and solidify the deal with the selling stable and I couldn't wait to see him and Ryan teach our boys to ride. We ended our call shortly after that exchange and the boys were looking at us funny, but expectantly. Carter had caught on first and asked if we had just bought them ponies to ride. Riley and I looked at both boys, nodding our heads and we soon had two very excited boys in our laps. We explained that they would get to see them in person when we went up North after school was out for the year and we were all going to live up there, for at least most of the year, from then on.

The boys were surprised but we knew Carter had shown Darryl the pictures of the place and he had told his new brother all about the property and the neat cousins they had there, so now we had two boys who couldn't wait for school to be out for the summer, so we could get up North to see the ponies. Riley thought he felt the same, and I knew we'd be able to provide the boys with a much more active life up there and to be truthful; I couldn't wait to be able to ride on horseback again.

Although Mark tried to get me to make a few more appearances in the spring, I refused any that took me away overnight. The staff at the library made their offices and auditorium available to film crews for taped interviews a couple of times, with Mark and I making generous donations to the library fund each time, and three times the interviews were shown on major networks several times, from morning news shows to the evening news. The coming release of the second movie brought a renewed interest in the first and some theaters were setting up to show both movies during the weeks they had them on view.

Our local theaters were doing the same and we took great pains to avoid the theater areas during the showing times. We had received discs of the movies from the studio and we viewed them as a couple before letting the boys see them, but of course during the two sexiest scenes (which didn't really add to the storyline) we fast forwarded those scenes for the boys and we stayed right with them to answer any questions they had. And ask questions they did. Carter thought it was a great movie and Riley and I thought he asked the kind of questions an inquiring young teen would, one who might just have been questioning his sexuality. Darryl, on the other hand, wanted to know how the movie had been made from the book and could he get in the next movie.

Our spring went really well for all of us and at our "moving away" party we had dozens of folks walking around our house and garden, and we four moved through the crowd, reassuring everyone we would be back for visits to our home there, and them, many times in the coming years, which proved to be true.

As we pulled out of our lane, waving goodbye to Rob and Leo, who had agreed to move in and take care of our property for us, I looked back one last time (for now), and saw the sign that had in itself encouraged me to rent it in the first place, and it had certainly lived up to its name during our residence there.

Our flight with the chartered air service went without a flaw, and Darryl had a ball flying for the first time, his brother Carter guiding him through the intricacies as seen from a child's perspective. It wasn't like we were moving the whole household, mostly clothing and some collectibles and keepsakes, and a lot of our personal paperwork and my files and computers from the office area. We wanted enough of our belongings at the Key West property to make moving between them an easy transition for all of us.

We spent a lot of time with the boys on that flight, letting them ask all the questions they had about our move and Darryl's questions about what it was like there and who he would go to school with and how soon could he ride his pony and, well, you get the idea, it was all going to be new for him, and we just tried to reassure him and Carter that we loved them and we could deal with any problems that arose, because we were a family, and we all loved one another.

Our landing at Barnes Airport in Westfield Mass. was a new experience for all of us, as our previous landings had been at the bigger Bradley Airport in Connecticut. This airport in Westfield was not only closer to Granby, but it catered to mostly smaller aircraft. Our noontime arrival that Saturday was met by Ted and Ryan who warned us that there was a bigger welcoming committee at our home, but a very anxious one at that. They had driven over in two vehicles, a rented SUV for us to travel in and a pickup from the property to tote our boxes and luggage in. After we had everyone, and everything stowed in the proper vehicle we motored to our property in Granby and Darryl got to see the property for the first time in real life, saying that except for all those people on the front lawn it looked just like the pictures he had been shown.

Those people were my brothers and sisters and their children and the first to reach our SUV was Bill and Max, anxious to see Carter, and meet Darryl in person. You'd have thought the boys had been apart for years and not just nine months and Carter was proud to introduce Darryl to his new cousins, all of them, as Riley and I greeted the adults and were welcomed back home. As soon as the greetings were made Ted and Ryan began unloading the truck and soon everyone was helping us get settled into the house and I tried to get Darryl to pick a bedroom, but it turned out that he and his younger cousins, and the older ones too, were down at the barn taking care of a more important priority, getting to meet the ponies and the horses. We left his suitcases and boxes in the hall and  we adults all went out to the back patio where Ben and Wayne were presiding over the grills. Beth had done a great job of keeping my authorship of two best sellers a secret from our siblings, but now was the time to come "clean" with them all.

As we adults gathered on the patio I stood to welcome them all to our home, Riley standing beside me, gently applying pressure to our clenched hands, giving me the strength to "come out" to them. I cleared my throat and said, "Many of you have asked if we moved back up here for our jobs, or because we missed the snow, but in all honesty, it was because Riley's parents gifted us with the property for our wedding last year. That provided us with the opportunity to come here to see it last summer, and we fell in love with it, and Riley fell in love with the area. I vowed on our wedding day to make him happy, so I wrote two best sellers and sold them to a movie studio for enough money to support us here and still get the lawn mowed by someone else, and to have the snow plowed by someone else so we'd both be happy here. As you must have figured out by now Carter is now adopted as is our newest son, Darryl who are both proud Spencer Hampshires. If you want to read some good books may I suggest you read something by Mark Monroe? Welcome to our home and thank you all for welcoming us home and we hope to be able to do this type of family gathering again and again as the years go by." There was a round of applause and then the tables were being set for an early dinner and the bowls of salads and sides were being brought out when Ted and Ryan told us we should go down to the barn before someone decided to ride the horses or ponies on their own.

We strolled down there as Ben and Wayne were putting burgers on the grills and as we approached the barn we could hear Carter and Darryl telling their cousins about the differences between Key West and Granby, explaining that Key West was an island, with water all the way around it, and just a bridge attaching it to another island and that island was attached to another island by another bridge, and so on up the keys, for over 200 miles before the last island attached to the mainland. When we walked in the barn the cousins were all sitting on the hay bales, our boys standing before their audience, and the horses and ponies behind our boys, all looking out of their stalls, listening as closely as the cousins were. Darryl ran to Riley and me when he turned to see who had come in and he hugged us telling us he loved it here already and he felt so lucky to have us for Dads.

He got a few kisses for that and we informed the group that the dinner was almost ready, so it might be a good idea for them to filter on through the downstairs bathrooms to get washed up. They moved as a group up to the house and Riley and I with Ted and Ryan looked over the horses on one side of the barn and then the ponies on the other and Ted added some feed to their troughs as Ryan topped off their water. Both Riley and I rode but granted, not since early college days for both of us, but I couldn't wait to see Riley in a pair of jeans straddling a big mount, I'd follow him anywhere, anyhow. And right now, I followed behind as he and the lads had a talk about the new equines as we walked back to the relatives on the patio.

Thankfully the relatives realized we had some settling in to do and they really didn't linger too long after our meal and by 6 PM we were saying goodnight to Ted and Ryan, the last to go. Of course, Max and Bill had been hinting around that they wanted to stay the night, and I think Carter would have been alright with that, but we still had to get unpacked for the night at least and Darryl still had to pick a bedroom. Beth had been adamant that we get to spend our first night as a family and I told the boys there was all summer ahead of us for sleepovers.

To no one's great surprise Darryl chose a bedroom right next to Carter's and we soon had him settled in there, his suitcases unpacked, and his drawers stocked with his clothing and his own toothbrush on the counter in his bathroom. We all helped Carter get settled in his room and then Riley and I worked on our own bedroom. At about 8:30, we all met in the family room for a snack before bed, as we were all pretty wiped out by then. Darryl had a lot of questions and comments and the rest of us tried to answer all his questions, as we hoped he would acclimate better to his new surroundings with knowing more about the property.

Riley and I came up with some ground rules like, no leaving the house without letting someone know where they were going, no running in the house, never leaving the property without one of us or Ted and Ryan, no going to the barn to see the horses or ponies without our knowledge, and no inviting anyone to sleep over or stay for dinner without us knowing beforehand. The last of these big ones was; no going in the swimming pool without an adult present. We were adamant about this, as this was a much bigger pool than the one at our Key West home. It was so much bigger we had asked Ted to look into getting a retractable enclosure for it, so we could even use it in the winter, but to also make it lockable so the boys or their friends wouldn't be tempted to use it without adult supervision.

The next day we began the lessons for the boys and their ponies. Ted and Ryan came to our place for breakfast and after that, we took Darryl and Carter down to the barn and began, two adults for each pony selected by the boys. The ponies were very used to the routine, what they had to get used to was the boys. The boys loved every minute of their class in the usage of the different pieces of the tack (bridles, reins, saddle rugs, saddles, and how the cinch under the saddle was used to strap the saddle onto the pony). We knew that this was a lot for young Darryl to take in, but it was necessary he become aware of these to make his riding experiences safer, as it would benefit his older brother Carter as well. Carter was almost ready to be able to get his pony ready to ride pretty much by himself, but not quite, but we all thought that by the end of the summer he definitely would be strong enough to do it by himself. It was possible that if he had a growth spurt he might even be ready for one of the horses by then as well.

After about an hour and a half we adult guys saddled up our horses and we took the boys out to the corral along the left side of the barn and with two of us, one on each side, we let them ride their ponies for real. The looks on their faces were worth all the instruction they had been put through and it appeared they had learned very well as even Darryl was able to control his pony and soon the boys were riding on their own around the big corral. We gave them about an hour to ride and then we suggested a break for lunch which we ate out at the barn, making a picnic out of it. I had brought apples back with me along with our food, so we taught the boys how to give their rides a treat without losing a finger or two.

We rode for another hour after we ate and then the boys got a lesson in undressing and currying their rides and after everyone had rested a bit we all went to the pool and our boys showed Ted and Ryan how well they could swim. We were right though; the larger pool appeared to be a challenge for our underwater swimmer, Darryl.  He said it was like swimming in the ocean, it just seemed to go on forever. It didn't really, but we told him if he swam side to side it was about the length of our other pool.

The boys went off into the house to explore as we lolled around the pool discussing things Ryan and Ted wanted to change or add on the property, including adding another snow blower and a snow plow that would affix to the property's pickup truck in the winter. We approved the purchases and then went in to start dinner. Ted and Ryan had a summer school course to study for, so they declined our offer to eat their evening meal with us and they said they would see us sometime in the afternoon when they would again go through the saddling up procedures with the boys.

The next morning the boys took us through the house, showing us some of the interesting things they had spotted or found on their exploration of the big house yesterday. There were built in solid shutters on the windows of most of the bedrooms, like those of an English manor house, there was a wooden spiral staircase to the third level as well as a regular staircase behind a hall door. The third floor had what used to be the servant's quarters as well as several storage rooms with trunks and boxes still in them. They had found the second floor opening for a silent butler, a kind of mini elevator to run from the kitchen or pantry to the second floor to make serving coffee or food to someone on the upper level easier. After our tour, the boys were called to the barn by Ted and Ryan as they had returned from their summer school class.

While the boys were getting a refresher at the barn, Riley and I were talking about what to do about Darryl during the summer. Carter was used to, and friends with, Max and Bill, but those boys were just about twice Darryl's age, and there wasn't another cousin near his age. We thought about this for a while before going down to the barn to join the boys in another ride, and see if they were ready for a trail ride, as Ted and Ryan had cleared several trails on the property that had gone unused for the last ten years, since there had last been horses on the property.

We went on a trail ride with our boys and Ted and Ryan after Riley and I had saddled our horses. We were out on a trail to the left of the orchard, partially shaded by the groves and the dappled sunlight from the woods on our other side. We had just returned to the barn when my cell phone rang. I took the call because it was a call from Karen's Mom's office. Karen's mom was the Regional Director of the Department of Children and Family Services in the state and she had been our contact when we traveled here last summer before Carter was adopted and was still under the auspices of the Florida Foster Care system. This was not Karen's mother calling, but her assistant Mary.

Mary had accompanied Helen on her two official visits last summer and I was curious as to why she was calling. I answered as I was walking out of the barn and we exchanged some pleasantries and she extended her congratulations on our two adoptions in the past year. She asked if she might stop by that afternoon, as she had something to discuss with both Riley and me, and possibly the boys as well. I assured her we were more than likely home for the rest of the afternoon, but my further inquiries as to the purpose of her visit were met with obfuscation and diversionary tactics, to the point that all I knew for sure was that she was going to stop by this afternoon.

We were hanging out at the pool when Mary arrived, probably having heard the laughter and splashing going on behind the house, so she walked out to the back terrace and we all greeted her, and she got introduced to Darryl. She sat with us all at a table and while we were talking she had slid a file over to Riley and me. As she conversed with the boys Riley and I opened the file and there was the sweetest looking little guy in a teddy bear decorated sweater and little boy shorts with a sneaker on the right foot and a prosthetic leg where his left leg should have been, another sneaker on the foot of the artificial leg. According to the file Allen had been born with a clubbed foot and the parents had abandoned him at the hospital and a few years later the department Helen and Mary worked for had enough funds to have the appendage removed and the boy had been fitted with an artificial leg from the knee down. He was now almost six and had never been with a family, but had had a foster couple take him in just a year and a half ago, but they had found themselves transferred to another state recently and had declined to take Allen with them.

He had been attending kindergarten at an elementary school near the shelter in Springfield and functioned very well there, but of course he was discombobulated by being put back in the shelter I looked over at Riley, who now was done reading the file and before I could get a read on what he was thinking, Carter came around the table and took the file to look through it. He read the reports and then looked at the picture of Allen and he put the file down on the table and just said, "I vote yes, this kid has been through enough already". I reached around him and hugged him to the side of my chair and we both looked at Riley and he was laughing at us! He said that we both looked so serious and this was a happy occurrence, we had a new boy to meet and see if he'd fit in with us! Carter and I slapped hands and then Carter hugged us both, a smile now on all our faces. Mary had been able to get Darryl to open up some and they were talking on the other side of the table and she looked over to us and saw our grins and breathed out a sigh, I think thankful that we would give Allen a try at least. Carter ran with the file around the table and showed it to Darryl.

Darryl looked at the photo and asked what happened to the boy's leg and I explained as best I could, and he then asked me if the boy could walk on that thing, it looked so much like a machine. I explained about the prosthetic leg and that according to the file, Allen could walk well with it, that he could even run and play with it on, otherwise he would need crutches or a wheelchair. Darryl looked long and hard at the photo and asked if he was going to be his new friend, and we told him we hoped so, but that we would invite him for the weekend and then we'd all see if Allen would be a good fit with our family. Darryl looked hard at the picture and said that he thought they'd be friends.

Mary looked pleased, not in a smug way; she just seemed pleased we were willing to give Allen a chance. We did talk about him for about forty-five minutes, and then she thanked us for our time and said she'd see us at the Boy's Dorm at the Shelter on Friday afternoon. The next day Riley had his last, and only, in-person interview at the local high school for a position in their mathematics department. He had applied months ago and there had been two phone interviews, one with the selection committee and one with the head of the school board and the school's principal. About a month ago he had been asked to a third interview, to take place after our move had been made. He really didn't have to work, after all, we were married, and I considered that whatever was mine was his, but he was right when he told me that I would write much better with little or no distractions during the day, and Riley wasn't the "house husband" type. He said that maybe if in the future if  he could run a business from home it would be different, but while he was young he wanted to teach.

He returned from the interview with a big grin on his handsome face and that sexy look in his eyes. He asked where the boys were, and I swallowed deeply and huskily told him they were at the barn with Ted and Ryan for a lesson and they'd be there for at least another hour or more and Riley told me that was just enough time. He took my hand and led me to our bedroom where he took complete control and soon had us both panting for release as he sucked the head of my dick as he slowly and surely fucked my ass to resounding climaxes for both of us. Through my panting breaths I asked if that meant he got the job and he favored me with that sexy grin and said, "Yes, my love, you can bet your ass I did!" We cleaned each other up and we redressed and joined the group at the barn, just in time to be asked to join them for a trail ride.

Although sitting in a saddle for about an hour isn't the most comfortable position to be in after just being fucked, I had a comfortably padded posterior, if I can believe Riley, but the company we were riding with was certainly distracting me from the minor discomfort I was feeling by the end of our ride. The boys were thrilled that Riley got the job he had wanted and wanted to know why he didn't want to teach their grades. He explained that he could help them with their homework or any questions they had, but he really wanted to be at the high school, so he could help those students that were finishing public school and either going to work after they graduated, or on to college, and he hoped to have them in his future classes.

We reminded them, after our ride, that the next afternoon was Friday afternoon and Carter asked if he could phone Bill and Max to come over for the weekend. I asked if there was a reason why this weekend was special, so special he wanted his favorite cousins over, and he told me that everyone knew this weekend was special, it was the weekend Allen was coming home and he wanted his cousins to meet him right away.

I love to hear from my readers and what they think of my stories Art West