Haven Book Two

Chapter 04

After dinner the kids were all up in the suite. Moe, Brian and David were playing Parcheesi and Neal and Jimmy were battling it out on a PS2 game, Monty and Pat were talking and Todd and Adam had gone elsewhere.

Actually they had found Tom and Leo. Todd explained they had a problem and needed to talk to Dad. Leo nodded and excused himself gracefully. Tom was a bit upset that he was losing some time with his new boyfriend, but the boys seemed upset too.

"Okay, boys, what's on your minds," Tom asked.

"I'm gay," Adam stated, deciding to get it over with.

Tom sat there waiting for more, like what the problem was. Todd had surely told him, as Neal had the night before that it didn't matter. Adam was just standing there like he was waiting to be shot. Tom looked at Todd hoping for more information.

"Well, Dad, uh, see we like each other." Todd managed to get out. "I mean like you and Doc."

"So, what's the problem?" Tom asked.

Tom got the 'adults are stupid' look from both of them.

"What are you going to do?" Adam asked Tom.

"I think I'll do exactly what I had planned to do, I will love you and be your Dad, if you let me." Tom told Adam. He then turned to Todd, "You need to talk to Monty."

"Yeah, I know. Adam was just real confused and I thought he should talk to you. I'm going to split so he can talk." Todd did a great disappearing act.

Adam looked like he had been deserted, which he had, of course. Tom patted the sofa seat next to him and Adam slowly sat. "Adam, there is nothing you can tell me that will make me not want you anymore. I know this is all new to you and we can be a pretty imposing bunch. Just remember each boy here and Patty too, has been through this. Now I'm a pretty good listener, so where do you want to start?"

"I just don't know what is expected from me. I knew how to behave around my Mom and her boyfriends, you know keep out of sight and be quiet, but around here nobody is quiet and they don't even think I'm a freak."

"Well they better not. Adam you have Albinism, that doesn't make you a freak. You have to do some things differently, but basically you are a boy. You want to do the things a boy wants to do. I want to be your Dad and help you do those things, well maybe not all those things..."

"But I can't."

"Why not?"

"Huh? 'Cause I can't see. 'Cause I can't go out. I'm just a freak, a loser."

"STOP IT!" Tom was steaming mad. How could people have let this child get to where he feels that way about himself.

Adam jumped when Tom screamed at him, then he cringed and waited for the blows to start. Great sobs escaping and tears fell from his eyes.

"Oh, sweetheart, no." Tom reached out and took Adam in his arms.

Instead of hits, Adam got hugs. He cried for a long time, he cried for all the times he needed a hug and never got one. When he was just about cried out he managed to say, "Mr. Richards, I don't understand."

"Awe, Adam, is it so hard to understand that we love you?"

"Yes, it is. How can you love me when we just met. My own mother didn't love me. She loved drugs and sex more than David and me."

"Adam, listen to me, please. You are a very lovable boy. You have a big heart. You love your brother, and do all you can to protect him. He sure loves you, so you can't be unlovable. I will agree that you have some problems, but I don't think there is much you can't do if you really wanted to. It's like your new glasses, without them you couldn't see out the windows of the van, with them you could look around just like any of us. You might need to do things differently or you may need a special gadget, but if you really want to do something you can."

Adam wrapped his arms around Tom and hugged him, "Nobody ever said anything like that to me before."

After several minutes, Adam pulled himself up. "I'm confused about Todd."

Tom smiled, "Yeah, it's confusing at first."

"Sure is. We were talking and I told him I was gay and he said I was hot and... Well then we kind'a kissed."

"Electricity and shock and butterflies."

"Oh, man, it was amazing. I had dreamed about loving someone and being loved back and then there it was, like out of nowhere."

Tom hugged Adam again. "So whats confusing about that?"

"But we just met really. Well he'd been checking me out for a couple years but I mean what does it mean?" Adam asked.

"I thought you liked Todd." Tom told Adam.

"Huh? I think Todd is the best." Adam responded.

"You must think he's dumb."

"What? No way, he's really smart."

"But he likes you."

"But, but..."

"What about Neal, he must really stupid for fighting for you and getting suspended for you. That was real dumb."

Adam broke down again. Tom let him cry for awhile, then lifted his chin so he had to make eye contact. "Look, young man, the only person I will concede is stupid is Dean. He of course has the excuse of being Fat Ass's nephew. But face it we all like you and some of us love you. So if you are so unworthy then you must think all of us are pretty stupid.

"Guess what? We aren't stupid, and you ARE worthy. We don't think any less of you because you are blind or an albino. You have no more control over that than being a boy or being gay. There may be times when things happen that are more than you can handle. Things that will be tough to handle. Those are the times that we, all of us, will be there to support you and help you through. Adam you are not alone anymore. I want you to think about this and we'll talk again." Tom hugged Adam and kissed him on the forehead. "Now go find the others and relax."

Adam left the game room and Leo re-entered. "You could give Dr. Lisa a run for the money. That young man has like no self esteem and you are making him re-evaluate himself. That was awesome work." Leo sat close to Tom and hugged him and gave him a nice kiss.

Meanwhile back in the boy's suite, everyone was getting ready for bed. Monty was sitting on the bed waiting for Todd. Todd came in and sat in the chair. Monty started, "We need to talk."

"Ah, yes we do. Monty, I have had something happen today."

"Yeah, Todd, I did too."

"You did?"

"Yeah, Patty."

"You and Patty? But, Patty's a girl."

"No shit, Sherlock. How 'bout you?"


"Wow, Todd that's great. He's hot! I'm so happy for you." The boys hugged and Todd left to go to his own room tonight for the first time in a long time.

In Adam's room across the hall from Monty's David saw Todd leave. "Hey, Adam, Todd just left Monty's room, alone. You think they had a fight?"

Adam paled, which is quite a feat, "Oh, God it's my fault."

David looked at his brother, "Your fault? Adam not everything bad that happens is your fault. Sometimes bad shit just happens, bro."

"I know that, David. But something happened this afternoon between Todd and me."

"You and Todd? Really? Wow, that's kewl." David said.

"I better go talk to Monty, he should be mad at me not Todd." Adam was out the door before David could stop him.

Monty turned when he heard the knock on the door. Jack perked up and wagged his tail. "Come in."

Adam opened the door and entered, "Monty, please don't be angry with Todd."

"Angry? Adam I'm not angry. I'm happy."

"Happy? I thought you two were, like, a couple."

"Naah, we fooled around and that was just that. We weren't a couple just friends. We're still friends. But Todd wants to be a couple with you."

"Me? He said that?"

"Well, pretty much. And if I was gay he'd have competition. Adam you are one hot dude!"

"Me?" Adam squeaked. "With this awful no-color skin, white hair and dark glasses?"

"That creamy smooth skin, your hair is, like, so perfect."

"My hair is ugly, colorless. Shit I'm just a pale ghost!"

"Dude, Your hair is like, perfect. I'd traded you in a second if I could, and your smile is breathtaking, you should use it more."

"Adams face lit up on a 1,000 watt smile. You mean it? You're not just saying that?"

"Adam, you need to stop putting yourself down. Your secret is out, and all of us know what a great guy you are. Todd really likes you. He wouldn't just say that about somebody. He and I are buddies and I can tell. When he said your name there was something special in his eyes that I've never seen before. You take good care of him. I'll be here if you need to talk. Right now I think you should go talk to him, yourself."

Adam felt kind of stunned. He walked down the hall. Everybody at Haven seemed to really like him, it wasn't pity like some of the teachers, they seemed to like him just because he was himself. He was unaware that David watched his progress down the hall, all the way to Todd's room. David smiled, turned off the light and climbed into bed.

Todd opened the door and was surprised to see Adam standing there in his pajamas. "Hey, Dude, come on in." Todd was in his tightie whities and the sight of Adam, ready for bed, tented the front pretty obviously.

Adam noticed and giggled until he realized he was responding in kind.

Todd took Adam's hand and led him to the bed. The two boys learned a lot about each other in the following hours before falling asleep in each other's embrace.

Neal found them still sleeping the following morning. They were both completely naked and Todd seemed to have wrapped himself protectively around Adam. Neal's first thought was to give a Drill Sergeant wake up but he remembered that Adam was new and probably wouldn't see the humor in it. So Neal pulled up the sheet covering the two new lovers and them gently shook Todd's shoulder. "Time to get up, guys. Adam, Dad wants you to go with him this morning to the computer store."

Adam had been startled awake at the first instant and was doing his 100 shades of red blushing act because he was caught naked with Todd. Neal grinned, "Adam, it's okay. We see each other naked all the time. In the summer we go skinny dipping in the pool. Besides I didn't see anything except Todd's big butt." Todd's pillow connected with Neal and he made a hasty retreat.

"Where are my glasses? I got to get back to David. Where are my pajama bottoms?"

Adam suddenly couldn't move. Todd wrapped around him, "Chill, boyfriend. David is fine. I'm sure Neal got him up before coming here. Now I need some honest answers. Are you uncomfortable being here?"

"No and yes and I don't know."

"Don't even think about tears. I ain't puttin' up with it. Actually, think I know what you're trying to say. You're comfortable being with me, but are a little uncomfortable with everyone knowing."

"Yeah, Todd, that's it exactly. What if somebody says something at school?"

"Silly, 'Goos', they won't say anything. Had you heard anything about Monty and me until you came here? What about Jimmy? Dad and Doc? See, that's private stuff and nobody would say anything. We'll defend each other always."

Adam hugged Todd, "You are the greatest."

"Heh, heh, wait till I show you some real stuff."

"Like last night?"

"Oh, babe, that was just foreplay. I have a lot to teach you and there is a whole lot I want to do that Monty didn't want to try, but I bet you will. Come on let's get moving." Todd released his boyfriend and helped him get his pajamas on and with a nice morning kiss and he sent him on his way.

After breakfast Tom had Neal and Adam go with him. They were surprised that the first stop was Fred Clements' office. There they did something called a deposition. They each told their stories of what happened into a tape recorder in different rooms. Tom also recorded his recollections and then they were off to the Computer store.

Tom began ordering a lap top. Adam said, "Ah, no not that one Mr. Richards, This one has a larger screen and higher resolution. Also you want more RAM and a duel processor."

"Adam, you know about computers?" Tom asked.

"Sure, Mom never cared what I did as long as I was quiet. I've been messing with computers since I got my first one when I was five. It was an old 486 and had Windows 3. I built my first computer form parts of throw aways when I was seven."

"Well since this one is for you get everything you want."

"Okay, Dad, I'll help him." Neal knew his dad meant that and Adam wouldn't do it with out a kick in the butt.

The sales guy was pretty much drooling by the time Adam and Neal finished. He said, "Wow, this is the most advanced system we have ever put together. This thing will just about be self aware. We have all the components in stock. We should have it ready in a couple of hours. Can I suggest we put the external components in a tower and set it up for a wireless network, ethernet or internet access if you are mobile?

"Wi Fi for the laptop."

The salesman asked, "How about Zoomtext or Jaws"

"No thanks I just use bigger dpi but text aloud for school papers and e-books would be good." Adam added. "The AT&T natural voices sound almost human. Oh, I will also need dual boot configuration for XP and Linux Embutu, a Cannon Colorpass Z3000 laser printer, 'cause the consumables are much cheaper." Adam had Tom and Neal totally awed.

They left and walked around the mall then got a hot soft pretzel and drink and sat.

"Hey, Dad, this kind of reminds me of our trip out here. That pretzel factory was really kind of kewl. Are we going to stop at any places when we go to Virginia?"

"Oh, gosh, I had forgotten about that. Yes I want us to spend time sight-seeing. Jamestown and Williamsburg are close to where we will be so a trip there is in order. And Virginia Beach, I think we need to go see the Atlantic Ocean."

"Great, Can we stop and get some of those books that have all neat stuff in 'em? Then we can plan the trip and where to stop. We need places with indoor pools so Adam can swim with us."

"I can't swim."

"We'll teach ya. You gotta swim in Scouts. I didn't know how either and Dad taught me some, then Matt helped a lot, Matt from Scouts, he spent the summer helping with stuff, he is real kewl. How long we going to be gone, Dad?"

"Neal, take a breath." Tom laughed. "Adam's appointment is on the Monday after Thanksgiving. I was going to check with Alice and Doc and Mrs. Johnson and decide when we should leave. We'll do that tonight. I also need to double check with Fred to be sure there is nothing we need to be here for."

"Mr. Richards, everybody doesn't have to go. It will cost a lot to take everybody." Adam said.

"No problem Adam. I've got plenty of money and this will be a vacation for all of us." Tom told him.

Adam got real quiet while Neal and Tom talked about the upcoming trip.

Tom noticed Adam and sent Neal off for some more drinks. "Adam, what is it, son?"

With the kind words Adam turned and buried his face in Tom's Jacket. "I don't deserve it," he sobbed.

"Oh, Adam, you are so special. You deserve to be happy and you deserve a chance to grow to your full potential. I didn't realize just how much talent you have. You impressed me and the guy in the computer store. That was impressive. I want you to persue that talent. If there is any computer hardware or software you need let Mr. Jim or me know and we will see that you get it. As for the other things, every kid deserves a loving safe home, a haven if you will. My Uncle Philip built this so I could do just that. I think that is why he called it Haven. You deserve everything I can give you, you have paid for it with the Hell you have lived through. Remember our conversation last night? Don't you think Todd deserves to be happy? How about David? Neal? Brian? Moe? Patty? Monty? You are no less deserving than any of them. Besides it makes me feel good being able to do something to make you smile."

"I never dreamed it could be like this."

"Oh, and there are perks, too. Look over there." Neal was sitting on a bench waiting for them to finish talking. He was holding three cold drinks and was unable to put them down and his poor hands were cold.

Adam looked and started giggling, "We could talk some more, like about the weather in Tasmania."

Tom laughed, "Adam you're okay, I say you are going to fit in with my crazy bunch just fine." Tom waved a relieved Neal over and took the drinks from him.

When it was time they returned to the computer store and Adam added some graphics software and a load of cords, cable and connectors and things Tom couldn't imagine the use for and the salesman grinned when he saw the total on the receipt. He remember Tom from before and happily scanned the debit card. This was going to be a very good week.

On the way home, Tom made two side trips, One was to the schools where he got the transfer papers for all the kids so he could get them officially withdrawn from the schools, and then he stopped at Linda's office.

"Tom, Neal, Adam! How are you three doing today." She greeted them.

Tom replied, "Very well. Adam here is a real computer whiz."

(Neal whispered to Adam, "You whiz on computers?" Adam punched Neal playfully and both boys went into a giggle fit.)

"Hmmm, poor choice of words. Anyway, I was wondering how things were coming on the home school paperwork."

"I have enrolled all the kids except Genny, on line this morning. Here is the confirmation paperwork to prove they are not truant. The materials are ordered and should be shipped in the next couple of days. Everything should be ready after Thanksgiving." Linda handed the boys some papers to read. Neal was giggling as he read and Adam, holding the papers about five inches from his face was very intent on his reading.

When he was done he sighed, "I guess this means David and I are legally orphans, huh?"

"No, because of this," she handed him another paper.

Adam read this one twice, "Why did you give me this?"

Linda smiled, "It's up to you. This is a big decission and Mr. Richards insists that it be your's. If you give that to him he will sign it and as soon as possible it will take effect. But you got to be sure. This is permanant, there is no backing out. We realize this is very sudden but Mr. Richards hates being called that. He wants to be called Dad."

Adam just stared back and forth between the two adults. Neal put his arm around Adam, "Don't worry, we out number him."

That broke the tension, they all laughed. "I don't understand but it's great for me and I'm sure David will be too." Adam handed the adoption papers to his new Dad.

Tom took the papers, signed and then the set for David. "Tell your brother there is no rush, this afternoon would be fine." Adam didn't get the joke but laughed along with the others anyway.

They managed to make it home in time for lunch. Then all the kids followed Adam to see this super computer Neal had told them about.

Tom went to his office to see what he needed to take care of. Jim followed him in. "Tom, sir, I have been posting an add for CEO and been doing telephone interviews and we have had close to sixty responses. Don't panic, I wouldn't let those creeps near this empire. They are a big bunch of money hungry, back stabbing, sons of bitches, so I told them to sod off."

"Jim don't hold back tell me what you really think." Tom said with complete deadpan expression.

When the stopped laughing, Jim handed him a paper. "There is one I think you need to talk to. He should be here shortly. He answered my tricky questions very well. He never asked about salary or bonuses. He only asked that he have regular hours so he could spend lots of time with his eleven year old son."

"Sounds like our kind of man. Send him in when he arrives." Tom worked at signing papers until he heard a ruckus in the outer office. He went to the door.

There was a tall nice looking man in his early forties, about Alice's age if Tom had to guess. There was a boy with him who looked vaguely familiar. "No, Dad, there is nothing to do!"

Tom retreated and buzzed the suite, Neal answered. "Neal, I need your help, now."

There was a click and then running feet. Neal burst into the outer office and bowled into the other boy. They both fell.

"Hey, what the..."

"Don't you say it Patrick Hillguard!" the man said.

Neal picked himself up and held out his hand to the other boy. "Hi, I'm Neal. Dad said he needed help and I didn't expect anybody standing here, Sorry, dude."

The boy took Neal's offered hand, "No prob, I'm Pat."

"You ain't hidin' boobs are ya?" Neal asked.

Pat gave him a strange look, "That ain't funny."

"Yeah, it is, come on I'll explain it to ya." Neal led Pat out, back to the suite to meet the others, and the Pat with boobs.

Jim said with a sigh of relief as Neal led Pat out, "Mr. Richards, this is Mr. Edward Hillguard, the man I was telling you about."

"Hi, I'm Tom, do you go by Ed or Edward?"

"Ed is fine, sir. I'm sorry about my son. He hasn't had a good week. We've driven across country to get here. I had to get him up at four so we'd make it."

"Oh my, child abuse." Tom joked. Ed paled, like he was going to pass out. "Sorry, just kidding."

"Oh, yeah, Ha ha. My ex threatened me with that before she took off with my daughter and disappeared." Ed explained.

"That sucks."

"Yeah, and to be honest I really want this job for two reasons, Haven Enterprises is the most ethical company I know of and it has the recourses to help me in my search and the last private eye I hired thought the ex was somewhere on the east coast so I'm closer here."

Tom said, "Come on in and lets talk."

Jim waited anxiously for the next hour and a half. Finally his intercom buzzed, "Jim, have housekeeping make that small suite on the other side of Alice's ready. Our New CEO and his son will be moving in (pause) now."

"Yes, sir." Jim cut the connection and went to work.

Tom and Ed walked out and went to find the boys. In the main room of the suite Patrick and Jimmy were on the couch. Jimmy was watching some movie and Patrick was stretched out and sound asleep with his head in Jimmy's lap. "Shhh, he is wiped out." Jimmy said to the adults as they walked in.

Ed was going to say something but Tom pulled him back out the door. "Ed that was Jimmy, he's one of mine two. I'd better explain, In the last six months I have become the father of five, nine to twelve year olds. Then there is Todd, Patty and Genny who are with Alice and also mine for all practical purposes. To top that off, Adam and David are in the process of being adopted."

"Ah, ten?"

"Yup, scary huh?"

"Now I see why you need a CEO. I think you need another for the kids."

"Nope, that's my job. I'm in the process of fighting the school board for them right now. I'll explain all that later but right now let's find some help and get you moved in. I want you to know that housing can be part of the deal. I have this huge place and we can modify a suite to meet your needs or we can build a house in Haven Estates. It looks like Pat is fitting right in. I don't think he would have fallen asleep if he wasn't comfortable."

"I'll say. He hasn't been able to sleep except next to me since his mom abandoned us and took away his sister. She'd be thirteen now, I still miss her after seven years."

Out in front of the manor was an old SUV with a trailer hitched behind. "My home on wheels. Pat and I have lived in this for the past five years. It has added some stability to his life. We had to move around quite a bit with a couple of my assignments and this way he was at least still sleeping in the same bed every night."

"That's smart. Let's grab what you need for a couple of nights. While we are out here alone I have a few more things to tell you. Most of these kids have been abused, physically, mentally and sexually. They have or are in therapy with a really great psychologist but just so you know there may be some issues to deal with every now and then. Some of the boys are probably gay and some aren't and we are pretty open about it. I myself am bisexual and am currently seeing Doc Turnman. The kids are aware and don't have a problem. I'm telling you this so if you have any problem we can settle it now, one way or the other."

Mr. Richards, I am straight, unfortunately. I've often thought if I were gay I wouldn't have all the problems I do. Of course I wouldn't have Pat either and he is my life. No, I don't have a problem and Pat won't either. As a matter of fact he may lean that way too, but I think it's a bit early to label anything. I have seen some stuff in the cache of the computer he has been looking at and a lot is naked boys and men. It may just be that he is getting close to puberty and wants to see what he has to look forward to."

"Oh, yeah, the fun years. Our big rule here is no lying and all the kids protect each other with a passion. Neal is the leader although not the oldest, When they entered Scouts they unanimously elected him Patrol Leader. It was funny cause he sure didn't think they would."

"Scouts? I thought you said some of the boys were gay."

"There is nothing that says a boy can't be gay. Leaders come under the morality clause. Our Troop doesn't think a monogamous gay couple is immoral so there isn't a problem, as long as we don't make a big deal about it. Other troops have a problem. As long as Doc and I are discreet and don't push it on the boys who cares? Leo and I have discussed it and we will always sleep apart whenever camping, just like all the other adults. We would love to have Patrick join too."

"Wow, I had such a great time as a Scout but was afraid that if he turned out to be gay there would be huge problems. Yeah, I'd really like him to join. They have so much to offer a boy to make him a better man."

"Come on, Ed. Let's get you moved in."

At dinner that night Tom stood and tapped his glass with his knife to get everyone's attention. "First I want to welcome Mr. Edward Hillguard who will be working for me as the new CEO of Haven Enterprises. I also want to welcome his son Patrick, who will be staying here also and will be in our home school and joining Scouts if he wants." Patrick's eyes got wide and all the boys were talking to him at once about the Scouts. When things calmed down, "Now for some really important news, Adam and David," silence fell, "You two now have to sign your names differently. Your last name is now Richards." Everybody went crazy again.

End Notes:

Well there you have it. Adam is a geek. Now there are two Pats running around, Todd and Adam are a number and then there's Monty and Pat...I'm ready for a nervous breakdown. What happened to a nice quiet Haven where you could relax. Hey, Neal, want to go on Strike again? There is so much going on it's making my poor head spin. Let me know your thoughts if you have any str8mayb@paddedroom.us

Man Adam is so kewl. He showed us some stuff on his computer that was like from the future or something. He says when he gets everything installed he will be able to network all our computers and play some awesome games on the Internet. This new kid, Pat, is like super shy. I didn't help matters asking him if he had boobs. Well it was funny, everybody thought so except Pat, oh, well, both Pats. She hit me in the arm really hard, I got a big bruise where she hit me. I hope they chill soon, . Send me some mail at neal@paddedroom.us