Throughout the following week, the boys continued to study for finals, which they’d be taking right after Memorial Day, and Elliot was resting up after finishing the requirements for his bachelor degree. Dad was using the time to get everything ready for our Memorial Day cookout, which would include Julie and her children. We’d filled Elliot in about them as well, and he was shocked to hear that we’d be taking a girl in to live with us. His biggest concern was that it might create a problem for the family and would ruin everything we’d accomplished up until now.
“I mean the boys will be running around naked and having sex with each other, and if she doesn’t like what she sees she could mess this up for all of us,” Elliot reasoned.
“First of all, she’s only going to be here for a couple of months before she leaves for college, and she’ll be working at the health center during the day, so she won’t be spending much time at the house. She also knows that Brandon and I, Dion and Trey, Dad and Pop, and some of the boys are gay, and she doesn’t have a problem with it. And the only boys having sex with one another at the moment are Benny and Joshie.”
“I just hope you’re right,” Elliot added, not totally convinced.
After work on Friday, Brandon and I picked up the twins before we came home, although Holly chose not to join us because she wanted to spend the time with her mother. However, Holly, Julie, and Mrs. Rivera, Julie’s home health aide, would be joining us for the cookout on Monday, so Elliot would get a chance to meet them as well.
The twins were barely able to contain their excitement when we arrived, and after saying a hasty goodbye to their mother, they raced out to get in the car. Brandon and I took a little longer to pay our respects to Julie, as well as reminding her about the cookout.
“We’ll see you on Monday, and come hungry,” I told them before picking up the boys’ suitcase.
“We’ll be there,” Julie assured us as Brandon and I were heading out the door.
I placed the suitcase in the trunk before I got in the car, and as I was backing out of the driveway Brandon told the twins what would be happening when we reached the house. “You’ll get a chance to meet our oldest son today. He just returned home from college.”
“K, we can do that before we start playin’ with Wyatt and the other boys,” Hunter responded.
I thought it was nice that he agreed to meet Elliot first, but then my thoughts were interrupted when Hayden spoke. “Are you gonna be movin’ our stuff to your house next week when you pick us up?”
“Not on Friday night, because we’ll have other things to do then,” I replied. “Noah’s graduation is on Saturday, and we’re having a party for him, so we’ll be getting ready for that, but we’ll rent a truck for Sunday and we’ll get your things then. And by the way, starting next weekend it will be your house too, not just ours.” I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw a big smile appear on his face.
“So does that mean you’re gonna be our dads?” Hunter followed.
“Yes, we are. Your mother was worried about what was going to happen to you now that she can’t take care of you any longer, so she asked if we would take care of you for her. We were happy to agree to have you join our family, just like we did with the other boys.”
“Does that mean we gotta change our names too?” Hayden asked next.
“Only if that’s what you want to do. Even if you agree to let us adopt you, whether or not you change your names will be entirely your choice.”
“But if you’re gonna be our dads, shouldn’t we have the same last name as you?” Hunter persisted.
“The other boys decided to do that, but there’s no rule that says you have to. You might want to talk it over with your mom first and see what she has to say before you decide.”
“K, but should we start calling you Dad now?”
“We’d be happy to have you do that, but you might want to talk to your mom about this too. You should see what she thinks about the idea first, because we don’t want her to think that we’re trying to act too quickly or being disrespectful to your dad’s memory.”
“But we don’t really remember him,” Hayden clarified. “We prolly wouldn’t even know what he looked like if it wasn’t for all the pictures of him that mom has around the house.”
“I understand, because she told us you boys were quite young when he died,” Brandon concurred. “Does she have photos of Holly’s dad as well?”
“Yeah, there’s a bunch of pictures of him too,” Hunter confirmed.
“Well, you and Holly are welcome to bring any of those with you so you won’t forget what your dads looked like,” Brandon offered. “You can keep the photos in your bedrooms so you’ll never forget your dads.”
“K, we’ll tell Holly and ask our mom if we can do that.”
When we got to the house, Wyatt, Tristan, and Revin came out to the car to greet Hunter and Hayden, but the twins immediately let them know they couldn’t go with them just yet. “We gotta meet our other brother first,” Hayden explained.
“And then we can do stuff with you after that,” Hunter added.
I thought it was adorable that Hayden had just referred to Elliot as their other brother, and I grabbed their suitcase out of the trunk while they were heading toward the house. We followed them inside, but I didn’t see Elliot anywhere.
“Where’s Elliot?” I asked Dad hoping he knew.
“I think he’s up in his room. He’s spent the afternoon unpacking the things he brought back with him and trying to get settled in.”
“Do you want me to go up and get him?” Tristan asked.
“No, I’ll just use my phone to call him,” Brandon answered. “There’s no need for anyone to race up two flights of stairs just to let him know we’re here.”
Brandon used the speed dial function to get a hold of Elliot and asked if he wanted to come down to meet the twins. He did, and we heard him racing down the stairs before he joined us in the foyer.
“Sorry I wasn’t down here when you got home,” he apologized. “I was just trying to get my room organized.”
“Don’t worry, it wasn’t a problem, so let me introduce you,” I began. “This is Hunter and this is Hayden. Boys, this is Elliot.”
“Damn, how do you tell them apart?” Elliot gasped as his head snapped back and forth as he alternated his gaze between the two boys.
“He swore,” Hunter giggled.
“You’ll have to figure that out for yourself,” I told Elliot, although I planned on filling him in about Hayden’s scar later.
Brandon and I then told the other boys to give Elliot and the twins a chance to chat and get to know each other a little better before we headed upstairs to change. We could tell our request hadn’t made the other boys very happy, because they were doing a little dance of impatience as they waited, almost appearing as if they needed to use the toilet. We knew they were just eager to start playing games with Hunter and Hayden, and Elliot quickly picked up on that fact as well.
“I think the other boys want to spend time with you too, so you can go with them and we’ll talk more later.”
“K,” the twins agreed before racing off with Wyatt, Tristan, and Revin.
“They’re cute, but it’s like being in a fun house and seeing the same reflection in different mirrors,” Elliot stated when we saw him next.
“Yes, they’re absolutely identical, so let me share a little secret with you. I didn’t want to mention it in front of them or the other boys, because I wanted to keep it our little secret, but Hayden has a small scar running through his right eyebrow.”
“Oh, so that’s how you knew who was who.”
“Yes, their mother shared that bit of information with us when I asked how she told them apart.”
“It’s good to know, so I won’t be calling them by the wrong name or just referring to both of them as ‘H’.”
“That probably would have worked too. After all, James Bond had ‘M’, Star Trek had to deal with ‘Q’, and we would have had ‘H’ and ‘H’.”
“I’m glad I won’t have to call them that now,” Elliot agreed, and then he started up the stairs to finish up what he’d been working on.
“We’ll be eating in about twenty minutes,” Dad called to him before he disappeared.
“Ok, then I’ll finish up quickly.”
When we came together again for dinner, Elliot sat on the opposite side of the table from the twins. As we ate, I noticed he kept staring at them from time to time, presumably to see if he could detect the scar so he’d be able to tell them apart. A couple of minutes later a slight grin formed on his face, which told me he was now able to discern the difference between Hayden and Hunter.
As soon as they finished eating, the younger boys raced out to the rec room, and shortly after they left I remembered something, so I went out to speak with them. “I forgot to mention this earlier, but the USA channel is showing all of the Harry Potter movies this weekend. The first one will be starting in a few minutes, so do you want to watch it?”
“Yeah,” they all squealed, and then they dropped whatever they’d been doing and raced past me as they headed to the family room. I followed them to make sure they found the correct channel, and I was surprised when I saw Elliot heading into the family room so he could watch the movie with them.
“What? I like the Harry Potter movies too, and it will give me a chance to get to know the twins better,” he stated when he saw me staring at him.
“I didn’t say anything. I was just a little surprised to see you going in there as well.”
“It’s not a big deal. I actually enjoy watching the movies again, especially when I can see all of them over the next couple of days.”
“I’ve already programmed the DVR to record each one so you guys can watch them anytime you want. I did it because you’ll probably miss a couple of them while we’re having the cookout on Monday.”
“Oh, ok. That’s good to know.”
Brandon and I left the boys alone to enjoy the movie, and we didn’t see them again until it was time for them to get ready for bed. Before we sent them upstairs, though, Brandon asked the twins a question. “Are you going to sleep in your room tonight, or do you want to do like you did last time you stayed over?”
“We want to sleep in the bunk beds this time,” Hunter answered, “and Hayden’s gonna sleep in the top bunk. Can I ask Wyatt to sleep with me in the bottom bunk?”
“Yes, I’m sure it will be ok, and it’s the reason we got those particular bunk beds for you. The bottom bunk is wider than the top one, in case you two wanted to sleep together or if you wanted to ask one of the other boys to stay with you.”
“Yeah, and I’m glad you did that,” he agreed as they all raced up the staircase.
A minute later, Elliot started up the stairs too, but a few seconds later he came back down to speak with us again. “I see it didn’t take long for the twins to start mimicking the other nudists.”
“I’ll admit the twins were a little surprised when they first saw the other boys running around naked, but since they were often naked in front of each other, it didn’t take long before they started doing it with the others too.”
“I hope they don’t do it when their sister is here.”
“We’ve told all of the boys that the nudity has to remain upstairs, and Holly won’t have any reason to go up there. We’ve fixed up Vinnie’s old bedroom for her to use, and she’ll be sharing the downstairs bathroom with your grandfathers.”
“But what about when Grandpa Josh opens up the pool, because the boys like to swim naked too?”
“That’s true, and they’ll be able to do it during the day while Holly is at the health center. We’ll just have to make sure each one has a swimsuit that fits him so he can use it on the weekends.”
“I hope they don’t get confused then.”
“We’ve asked Ryan and Noah to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“I’ll try to help out too.”
“Thank you, that will be a big help.”
Elliot went upstairs again, and then a few minutes later Brandon and I began making our rounds to tuck the boys in and say goodnight. We went to the twins’ room first.
“I like the bunk beds,” Hayden said as soon as we entered the room. “It’s fun sleepin’ so high up.”
“Just be careful, because we don’t want you to forget that you’re in the top bunk and tumble out of it when you get up in the morning.”
“But it’s got a bar across the side so I won’t do that.”
“Yes, it has a safety rail, so just be careful when you’re climbing in and out of bed.”
“I’ll be careful when I’m usin’ the ladder.”
“I will too,” Hunter chimed in, “cuz we’re gonna switch sleepin’ in the top bunk.”
“That’s fine, as long as you’re both careful,” Brandon agreed for both of us.
We then went to kiss them goodnight, but because the lower bunk stuck out so far, we had trouble reaching Hayden in the top bunk. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to stick your head over the rail if you want us to kiss you goodnight,” I advised him.
“Oh, ok,” he said as he did that and we both kissed him on the forehead before doing the same with Hunter and Wyatt.
We then went over to say goodnight to Benny and Joshie next, and then we headed up to the third floor. After saying goodnight to Ryan and Noah, we stopped in to say goodnight to Elliot as well.
“What do you think?” he asked as he pointed around the room.
“It looks great, and you’ve always kept your room nicer than the other boys.”
“Yeah, I’m one of those gay neat freaks,” he replied and then emitted a slight giggle.
“That’s perfectly fine with us, and we’re glad you’re home again,” Brandon assured him.
After we left his room, we went downstairs to chat with Dad before we turned in. “Is there anything we can do to help with the cookout on Monday?”
“No, everything is under control and I’m in good shape. I’ve already purchased everything we’ll need and I’ll start marinating the chicken tomorrow, and then I’ll make the salads on Sunday. You two can do the grilling on Monday if you want, or Jake and I can do that too.”
“I want to spend some time with Julie, but we’ll be happy to help with the grilling.”
“We’ll take turns with you then, because I want to spend some time with Julie too. She sounds like a remarkable lady.”
“She definitely is, and that works for us,” I agreed. “Just let us know if we can help with anything else.”
We then headed up to bed, because we still had to work in the morning, but then we would have the next two days off. Fortunately, things were going smoothly with the twins, so this should all work out fine.
The boys were still sleeping in the morning when we left for work, and when we returned home we had lunch with the boys. While we were eating, they filled us in about what they’d been up to while we were gone.
“Elliot took us on a hike this morning,” Hayden told us during the meal. “He showed us where the old tree fort was and where the haunted house used to be.”
I looked at Elliot and raised my eyebrows, which prompted him to respond. “I figured maybe we could rebuild the tree house for them to use,” he offered in explanation. “I also told them that Grandpa Josh liked to tell ghost stories and one of them was about the old house that used to be on our property.”
“As long as you didn’t give them any other ideas,” I told him before turning back to the other boys. “Elliot’s right and we can rebuild the tree house this summer, if you boys want to use it.”
“Yeah, it will be fun,” Hunter responded.
“Will it be big enough that we can all sleep in it sometimes?” Wyatt followed.
“We can make sure it is, but it can be a little spooky sleeping out in the woods at night,” I warned them.
“We’ll just have Elliot or one of the other boys stay with us when we do it,” Tristan replied.
“I guess we’ll have to make it bigger than I first thought. I didn’t realize you and Revin were planning on doing this as well.”
“Yeah, it’s going to be fun. Will you be able to make it big enough for all of us then?”
“I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out. Grandpa Josh made it big enough for your Uncle Ricky, me, and some of our other brothers to use it when we were younger, and the tree is even bigger now, so it should support more weight. I’ll ask Grandpa Josh to help and we’ll work something out.”
That seemed to suffice, because the boys began to chat with each other about different things they could do when the tree house had been rebuilt. Now that this had been dealt with, we finished eating, but shortly after we left the table, Elliot came out to speak with us.
“I hope I didn’t create a problem for you.”
“No, everything is fine. In fact, I think it’s a good idea to rebuild the old tree house. We had a lot of good times in it when we were younger, and I’m sure these boys will too.”
“Good, I’m glad you’re not mad.”
“No, I’m not, and in fact I’m pleased that you did this with the boys this morning. I’m glad you’re bonding with all of them.”
“It’s because I can still remember how Joshie helped me when I first came here, and I want to make the twins feel like part of the family too.”
“Thank you. That’s very helpful.”
“Would you mind if I drove them down to the elementary school so they can see where they’ll be going to school next year?”
“Actually, that sounds like an excellent idea and you can take the SUV, because I’m sure the other boys will want to tag along.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right, and thanks for letting me use the SUV.”
“Just be careful, and I’m not just talking about the machinery. What’s most important is what you’ll be carrying inside.”
“Yeah, I know,” he said with a slight grin. “Even though they won’t be able to go inside the school, I’m sure they’ll be fine walking around the building and peeking in some of the windows. They might even want to spend some time on the playground.”
“In that case, you might want to take the playground ball and bases with you, because they might want to play kickball while they’re there.”
“I hadn’t thought about that, so I’ll go get those things and toss them in the back of the SUV now.”
After he did that, Elliot went to ask the twins if they wanted to see their new school. Even though we weren’t anywhere near them at the time, we could still hear their excited squeals of agreement with his idea, and then they went whizzing by us as they raced outside to get in the SUV.
They were gone a little over two hours, and they were dirty and sweaty when they returned home. “I want you boys to go upstairs to shower and change before dinner,” Brandon told them after he saw what they looked like.
No one argued and they all raced upstairs, but Elliot stayed behind to chat with us. “Man, I don’t know how you guys do it, because they tired me out.”
“That’s why we let them tire each other out while we stand back and watch,” I replied. “And other times we just find some rookie to tire them out.”
“So I’m a rookie now?”
“Yes, when it comes to raising kids, but don’t feel bad. Brandon and I were rookies for a long time too, while Grandpa Josh was showing us the ropes.”
“I see, so I guess I’d better pay attention in case Ian and I decide to have a family.”
“Yes, you should do that, and speaking of Ian, didn’t he come home yet?”
“He won’t finish up until the third week of June. Stanford didn’t start until after Labor Day, so they get out later too.”
“I see, and we’re looking forward to seeing him again. I hope things have been going well for him.”
“Yeah, they have, and we’re looking forward to spending the summer together before we go back to college.”
“Is he going to attend med school at Stanford too?”
“No, he’s been accepted at Harvard’s Medical School, so he’ll be closer now.”
“So you’ll be a Yale lawyer, and he’ll be pre-Med at Stanford and a Harvard M.D.”
“That’s the way we hope it works out.”
“And so do we.”
Once we finished our conversation, Elliot went to clean up too, and then he joined the boys in the family room to watch the next Harry Potter movie after dinner. It was a good thing that I’d recorded them, since they’d spent most of the day doing other things, and it was nice to have all of the boys at home and getting along so well.