Haven Book Two

Chapter 03

The Auditorium was about a quarter full which surprised Tom.  He had figured only ten or fifteen people would attend something like this.  As he looked around he saw Linda Thompson, Dr. Lisa Billings, and Sheriff Eric Henry sitting right up front and there was an empty seat with them.  He joined them, but before he could ask why they were here, the meeting was brought to order.  The minutes of the last meeting were read, and approved.  There was no old business to discuss, and then the chairman asked if there was any new business. 


Fred spoke into his microphone.  "Mr. Chairman, an important issue came to my attention this afternoon; and I believe it requires our immediate consideration.  Yesterday, there was an incident at the Middle School, and I believe a grave injustice has been done."


"Oh, the fight.  Principal Sooker has filed his report.  It is obvious he followed board policy correctly." the Chairman said.


Tom shot to his feet.  "May I address the board on this issue?" he said plenty loud enough for everyone to hear.


The Chairman was obviously going to pretend he hadn't heard, but Fred said first, "Of course we will listen."


Tom took a step or two forward, "Think about this situation:  I walk up to this lady," he turned and faced Linda, and the audience, "I start calling her names, nasty, hurtful, hate-filled, names.  Then I slap her, once, twice, three times.  Now this man walks in and sees this."  Tom indicates Eric, "He tells me to stop.  I then take a swing at him.  He side steps, and punches me in the nose."  Tom grabbed his nose, like he had been hit and the audience applauded.


Tom turned and faced the board.  "Obviously, the correct thing to do is suspend all three of us for fighting."  The audience was restless.  "Wait, This guy protests that the woman didn't do anything.  Well, obviously we need to suspend him for more time for disrespect.  The woman blurts out that he was only defending her, so of course let's suspend her for more time too."


There was a lot of mumbling.  The Chairman was pounding his gavel, Eric was laughing and Fred was grinning.


When order was restored, the Chairman said, "Nice story, what in the world does that have to do with the facts in this case?"


"Well, that is pretty much the situation yesterday." Tom began.


The Chairman interrupted, "No, it is not.  The principal clearly states that there were five boys involved in a fight, three were suspended for five days and two for eight."


Tom was getting angrier, "Mr. Chairman, Imagine I was three eighth graders, the lady here is a blind sixth grader, and this gentleman is a ten-year-old sixth grader.  Now, you have exactly the situation described by your principal."


"And, I assume you would like me to take your word for that?" he replied.


Tom said in a fake shocked voice, "What?  Facts?  You mean those facts aren't in that report of yours?"


"And just where did you get those 'facts'?" he returned.


"I was an eye witness to everything after the punch in the nose.  I know the sixth graders, and can produce another eyewitness, right now." Tom announced.


"Oh I get it, You must be the little liars' father." he said,


"You got it, I am, and my boys do not lie." Tom replied.


"I guess your other witness is the boy's mother."  He got some laughter.  "No sir, the principals judgment will stand.  We all know children lie, and I have heard your boys are just lying little faggots anyway. Meeting adjourned." He hit the gavel, and quickly left the meeting.  The board except for Fred, made a hasty retreat also.  The audience closed in on Tom and his group, and there were many questions.  Tom noticed Valerie Creslane, with the Valley Herald, in the crowd, she had a small recorder.  Tom was trying to get through the crowd, as he passed her he mouthed to her, 'Haven'.  She nodded that she understood.


We had a nice little caravan back to Haven, When they got there, Tom left Linda, Lisa, Eric and Fred to explain to Jim what was going on.  Tom went upstairs to check on the boys.  They were just finishing their homework and the older boys were still in their Scout uniforms.  Tom had forgotten.  "Guys, I'm so sorry; I totally forgot Scouts was tonight."


"It's okay, Dad, Uncle Leo took us.  He was a Scout too.  We took Adam and he would like to join." Neal said.


"Wow, I'm glad Leo was here." Tom remarked.


Monty asked, "Dad?  What's going on?"


"Well, I just had a discussion with the school board about the incident yesterday.  They want to back the principal.  I'm meeting now with Uncle Fred, Uncle Eric, Aunt Linda, Dr. Billings and the reporter that took apart Sheriff Fastaff."  They all looked shocked.  "Adam and Neal, I think it would be useful for you to come join us for a little while."


All of them followed their Dad down to the library.  Leo had joined the others already and they met Alice in the hall.  Once everyone was settled and introduced, Valerie Creslane, asked the boys to tell her, in their own words, exactly what had happened.


Adam described in terrifying detail what happened; his panicked calls to his brother, his fear, Neal's rescue; the principal and his attitude, not even asking Neal or him what happened. He explained that even though the Sheriff made it clear that Adam had done nothing, and that Neal was a hero, It didn't make any difference. 


Eric told how he had handled the one boy, and the list of charges he was facing in juvenile court. 


Fred apologized for the board, but said he was resigning in the morning, so he could represent Tom in a legal action against the Chairman and Principal Sooker.


Then Tom shocked the kids. "To be honest, I don't feel that my kids are safe in those schools. Such rumors are spread that are so off base it is incredible.  They were obviously being spread by somebody with connections at both the Intermediate and Middle schools.  I am worried that further action may occur that would put the boys and even Patty and Genny in the line of fire."


Dr. Billings spoke up, "I agree that there is a risk there.  I personally would not send my children into such a situation.  Fred, how long to get legal action?"


"Even with the Judge on our side, it's going to be months." Fred told them.


Tom got up and began pacing, "Jim, wasn't Haven Enterprises making some donations to the Board of Education, to use for something?"


"Why, yes, as a matter of fact, we were purchasing new PE equipment for the high school, including new uniforms and new bleachers for the field." he replied.


"Gee, I think that might be a conflict of interest, as long as we have a legal issue pending." Tom then turned to Linda and Dr. Billings.  "How do I get my kids into home schooling?  Can we start our own private school?  Could we hire Teachers currently teaching in the county?"


Fred spoke first, "Tom, what are you trying to do?  We just have a bad Board of Ed. and a bad principal."


"No Fred, the whole system is rotten.  The rumor thing proves it, the years that Adam has been bullied proves it.  I want the best damn education I can get for my kids.  I can buy it, and I will.  No bully, whether he's an eighth grade punk or the Chairman of the Board of Education is going to call my kids hateful names and get away with it."


There was stunned silence.  Tom was in 'Protect The Kids Mode' and they knew he was unstoppable like this.


Linda spoke next, "I have all the paperwork for home schooling on my computer, I've got all the kids info too, so I'll get it turned in to the state Board of Ed. tomorrow morning.  I'll need to order books and all the equipment too."  Tom took out his wallet and handed her a credit card.  "We'll need to get some folks qualified as home-school teachers."


Jim jumped in, "We have several stay-at-home moms here in Haven Estates that used to teach.  They should be easy to certify, if their interested."


"I pay well, let's say 10% better than the county with full benefits, and free school for any teacher's kids." Tom was really warming up to this.


"Mr. Richards, is this going to be available to all kids, or just yours."  Valerie Creslane asked.


"Right now, it's an emergency program and we're talking home school, but eventually we will have a private school, and that, we will make available to all.  We'll find a way to make it work." Tom replied.


"Ms. Creslane, did you by chance record the Board meeting tonight?" Fred asked her.


"Ah, yes I did." she replied.


Fred grinned, "Could you possibly make me a copy of that part of your tape?  Just the Public Meeting?"


She actually giggled, "Sure, it was public.  Does slander become libel if his words are printed in the paper?  Just kidding, if they were different words..."  She trailed off.


Neal jumped up, "What words?  Did somebody call you names, Dad?"


Everyone froze and looked at Neal, then Adam, the adults had forgotten the kids were there...


"Jeez, you mean somebody called Adam names at the meeting.  Get 'em Uncle Fred." Neal said.


Fred stood up and walked over to Neal and pulled him into a hug, and then he pulled Adam to him too.  "Boys, a rumor was started at both the Middle and intermediate schools today, that the three eighth grade boys caught you doing sex things, and tried to stop you, and that's what started the fight.  Then Chairman of the Board of Education called you both lying faggots."


Adam looked like he wanted to cry, and Neal looked like he wanted to pound somebody into the ground.  Neal took one look at Adam, grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the door, "We gotta talk; we'll be right back."


The boys went into the hall and closed the door.  Adam had tears running down his cheeks.  Neal lifted his chin so he had to meet his eyes.  "Look Adam, It doesn't matter."


"Right, not to you, but now David and I are going to be kicked out, and separated." Adam cried.


Neal said very forcefully, "That is the biggest load of shit I've heard all day."


Adams eyes got big behind his glasses.


"Yeah, S H I T!  Who knows about that sex stuff.  Some guys know or at least think they're gay at our age, but the stuff I've read says that you usually figure it out around sixteen give or take a year or two.  Besides nobody here gives a fuck. Are you hearing me?  (Everyone in the library nodded.)   Remember the stuff we told you last night?  Dad knows all that stuff and knew before he adopted us.  He loves us for us.  As a matter of fact I think he and Uncle Leo might start... like... dating." Neal told Adam who was no longer crying.  (A few startled glances around the library and the two blushing men confirmed Neal's words.)


"Wow, I would have never known." Adam said.


"Sure you would.  They aren't being secret about that here, and all of us think it's pretty cool."  Neal then returned to the topic, "Okay, some big shot called us faggots.  That really pisses me off.  It ain't a nice word.  I'd be pissed if I was gay.  But he said it to be mean, and he said it about somebody I care about.  I'm mad and I want him to pay for that.  Everybody heard him, and if everybody sees him pay for it, then they will be less likely to say that shit about people.  Besides, as far as you and I are concerned, we got three choices; pretend we haven't heard it and everybody whispers behind our backs, ignore it and have everybody think we're gay until we go away to college somewhere, or we fight and make the fuckin' bastard pay.  So what's it going to be brother?"


Adam took a deep breath and steadied himself.  "Three things Neal; how did you get so smart, where did you learn to talk like that, and let's nail that 'fuckin' bastard'!"


Neal grinned, "I'll tell you about the time I spent in Juvy sometime."  Then they went back into the silent room.


It was obvious that they had heard every word.  Neal blushed, but the color display Adam gave was truly spectacular, red - white - then red again.


Fred broke the silence, "Ms. Creslane, Let's nail the fuckin' bastard."


Everyone broke into laughter.  The kids left shortly after that and went back to their rooms.  The adults stayed a little longer, planning for tomorrow. 


After every one left, Tom and Leo went into the Game-room.  Leo fixed a Gin and Tonic and he fixed Tom a Rum and Coke.  {Darryl, NO COMMA after Tom! Leo is an MD not a DVM.}{Ok, if you're sure.}


They sat next to each other on the couch.  Leo said, "I forget Neal spent so much time in that, that, place.  It's a wonder he doesn't curse a blue streak all the time.  Well Brian and Jimmy too for that matter."


Tom smiled, "They're all good boys.  I'm lucky, I guess, to have gotten this bunch.  I'm just amazed that just six months ago I was a lonely man, just trying to get along, then all of a sudden, this.  My head is still spinning.  Every time I think things may actually be calming down, the shit hits the fan."


"Yeah, but to see you go into 'Protect The Kid' mode is quite incredible.  No one who sees that could ever doubt you love them with every fiber of your being.  Makes me a little jealous."  Leo squeezed Tom's hand.


"Well, I feel you're pretty special too.  I went off to battle for Adam and Neal, and you stepped in and took the kids to Scouts.  I can't tell you how much it means to me that you jumped in on that."  Tom felt very comfortable sitting there with Leo.  He was feeling safe and was enjoying the warm support Leo offered him.  "You know what Neal said about us?  Well, you need to know, Leo, my feelings are growing.  I'm quite surprised at how intense they are getting already.  I don't even mind the others knowing."


"Tom, I'm very glad to hear that."  Leo leaned over and gave Tom a gentle kiss on the cheek.


Tom shifted slightly and returned the kiss, lips to lips.  They pulled apart and just looked into each others eyes.  They shared some quality time just being together.


The next morning, Neal was waiting for Tom when he came out of the shower.  "Dad, we wanted to be sure we understood.  We are all to stay home?  What about Todd, Genny and Pat?"


Tom hadn't really thought all the details through.  "Well, all of you that are mine, are home.  Aunt Alice decides for the others, but I think at least Todd and Pat will stay.  We'll decide at breakfast.  Now leave, so I can get dressed."


"Jeez, Dad, I've seen it before.  It's not that big... a deal!" Neal delivered his line, and turned to run, but not fast enough.  Tom whipped off his towel rolled it and delivered a good snap, right on target. 



Fifteen minutes later everyone was at the table.  Alice actually brought it up.  "Tom, I talked with the kids.  Todd feels very uncomfortable going to school without the other boys, and I agree with him.  Patty would like to be with the boys too, they are like her brothers, and to be honest, I'm afraid she will punch out some loud mouth.  Genny is very upset about losing her friends, and since she is in the Elementary, I don't have a problem with her going, as long as this situation doesn't infect that level."


Monty jumped up and went to where Todd and Patty were sitting, next to Alice.  He hugged them both.  Tom was watching very closely.  Patty managed to get her arm back enough so she had her hand right on Monty's butt.  She rubbed it there several times before the hug broke up.  Monty pulled back and the look on his face was priceless.  That was going to be fun to watch.


The kids finished and went up to their suite.  Soon after that, Alice left with Genny, and Tom walked out to the bus stop.  When the bus came, he told the driver that there would no longer be a pick-up at this stop. 


Linda stopped by and brought a whole stack of forms to be filled out, and Jim was busy calling some of the stay at home moms.  Soon there was a 'Home School', School being formed.  The ladies were very excited about doing that, and wanted their kids included.  The last one to arrive had a copy of the paper.  "Look at this!" she held up the paper.




"I've never read anything like this.  Oh, Mr. Richards, is it true?" she asked.


"Did he call two of my boys lying faggots?  Yes, he did.  Are they? No." Tom answered with a smile.  "But we will have our day in court."


Tom spent the next half hour going over the events.  By the time he was finished, he had a loyal and devoted crew.  The phones were busy and by lunchtime, there was standing room only, in the library.


A smiling Mrs. Johnson came into the library. "Lunch is served, there is plenty for everyone."


The crowd moved to the Dining room where there was a spread, fit for visiting royalty.  The kids finished up and left for the barn.  When the food was gone two groups formed, elementary, and secondary.  They considered the pros and cons of different approaches; one person teaching a grade, or one person teaching a subject.  They eventually decided to see what the home schooling materials were like.  All the parents there wanted their kids out of the public schools.  They felt the Principal and School Board were out of control.


Out in the barn, Adam and David were getting the real tour and having a grand time.  Suddenly, Adam froze and then started backing up.  Neal spotted the problem first.  The two bullies were down in the end stall mucking out the horse droppings and soiled hay.  One of them looked up and saw Adam.  He put down his pitch fork and walked closer to Adam, who had backed up against a stall wall.


"Ah, Adam, I'm sorry, man." He said.


"Huh?  Really?" Adam responded.


"Yeah, we should'a stopped Charlie.  We knew he was wrong, but let him go on.  I'm sorry."  The boy said.


Monty stepped forward, "Sean, I hope you mean that.  You and Jason have followed Charlie around for years.  I hope you learned something and can keep out of trouble.  If you need to hang out, try us, Todd and I would let you hang with us, as long as you clean up your act."


Jason approached, them "You guys would let us hangout with you after all the crap we gave you."


Todd had joined them and said, "As long as you guys are cool, we would, but start acting like assholes again..."


The boys all pitched in and finished the last two stalls.  Pat went to find Mr. Frank.  When she returned with Mr. Frank, he was surprised to see all the boys together and not fighting, but seeming to get along just fine.  He checked over the work, "Jason and Sean, you did a good job.  I'll sign off for today.  You have to work tomorrow, but if you keep it up, Riding Lessons are Saturday at 9:00."


"Kewl, I'll be here!" said Jason.


"Wow, Could you write a note to my Mom.  She thinks I'm making it up," Sean said.


"Tell you what, I'll put together a packet of information for you to take home, and I'll write a note explaining how you are paying for it." Frank told them.


Frank went into his office to put things together.  All the kids went out in the paddock and Jason and Sean were getting filled in on the horses and some basic things they would need.  When Frank returned, he handed each boy a large envelope with the information in it.  While they were talking, Adam retreated back into the shade of the barn.  Moe noticed and went over and joined him.


"Hi, Adam," Moe said tentatively.


"Hi, Moe.  How come you aren't with Brian and the others?" Adam asked.


"Well, just thought maybe we should hang together, since we are both different," Moe said.


"I know I'm different, but how come you're different?" Adam asked.


"Well, I think about stuff different.  I guess it's 'cause I'm Muslim.  My whole life I was taught all these rules.  There are rules for what you can eat, how to cook it, how to eat it, how to sit, how to pray, how to sleep, I mean rules for everything.  I have trouble trying to figure all this out.  Everybody here just does whatever, and it seems to work, and I don't understand." Moe had worked himself to near tears.


Adam sat on the bench along the side of the barn and pulled Moe down next to him.  "I don't think it is just 'cause you're Muslim.  I think you had a really strict family.  One of my mom's boyfriends was like that.  He had rules for David and Me and he enjoyed smacking us whenever we forgot.  I sure was glad when he got tired of...well when he left."


"So you're okay with me being Muslim?" Moe asked.


"Huh?  Sure, why shouldn't I be?" Adam replied.


"Well, at school everybody hates Muslims.  Like we're all crazy terrorists.  I don't tell anybody.  A few friends I told stopped being friends, so I stopped telling." Moe explained.


"Well, I can't not tell people that I'm different.  I not only look like a freak, but I'm half blind.  I can't do regular stuff, shit, Moe, I can't even stand out there with everybody."  Adam sounded bitter.


"Yeah, you got it tough.  Here I am bitchin' about being Muslim, and you got real problems.  Is there anything I can do to help?" Moe asked.


"I wish.  No, that was rude, sorry.  You are helping just being my friend.  You know that until Monday, my only friend was my brother.  Nobody at school would hardly even talk to the white freak.  Now I suddenly have all you guys.  It's strange, but I feel like you all actually care." Adam's voice trailed off.


"That's cause we do care.  It took me awhile to realize that they really did.  Dad, took on my father and the Mullah at our Mosque for me.  He adopted me as soon as the papers were ready.  That's what I couldn't understand; why he would do something like that.  Then I realized he did that kind of thing for each and every one of us.  The very least we can do is care too." Moe explained.


"Well, I like feeling like I matter, so thanks.  I think I'll go back inside; the brightness is really bothering me. I can only handle being outside for so long, then my head really starts to hurt bad.  Tell David where I went, and that he can stay with you guys.  Thanks for being my friend, Moe." Adam said.


"No problem, Bro." Moe replied and joined the others.


Adam went back in the house, and up to the suite.  Moe told the others where Adam went and told David that he could stay. Todd excused himself and went after Adam. 


Up in the suite, "Hey Adam," Todd said.


"Oh, hi Todd."  Adam sat up straighter and faced Todd.


"Ah, Adam, You know some of us are gay.  I know you got called a faggot but well just so you know." Todd confessed.


"Really?  Neal said Mr. Richards and Dr. Turnman were, but some of you guys?  Wow, cool," Adam said.


"Cool?" Todd echoed.


Adam did his colorful blush, "Ah, well, yeah."


Todd replied, "I didn't know, man.  I think you are so hot."


"Me? Hot? You're nuts." Adam said.


"Yeah, you," Todd reached out and hugged Adam.  "For the past two years I've been checking you out, man. You are smart, good looking, have a kewl body, of course you're hot."


"Two years?  Oh shit, I had a friend for two years and didn't know it?"  Adam returned the hug, "I had no idea.  You never said anything."


Todd blushed, "Well, it's not the kind of thing you just walk up to a guy you don't know and say, 'Hey, you're hot, lets fool around.'  Besides, you put up some pretty high walls."


Adam giggled then asked, "Walls?"


"You know, keep to yourself, don't talk much, just answer in a few words.  Makes it pretty hard to get to know you." 


"Really?" Adam answered, then realized he just did it, "Sorry."


Both boys laughed.  Todd realized they were still hugging.  It felt so good, he had a tingling feeling all over.  This was different than he felt with Monty.  He then leaned in and touched his lips to Adam's.  It felt like electricity shot through his body.  Todd pulled back and the two boys stared into each other's eyes.


"Ah, Todd, ah, ah, I mean, ah, shit!" Adam stammered.


"Yeah, did you feel that, too?" Todd asked.


"I never felt anything like that.  It was like being shot by, ah, well, it felt like what I always dreamed love would be like."  Adam was in full blush again.


"Exactly," Todd replied.  "Wow, I guess, ah, well, now what do we do?"


"I don't know.  You and Monty, and I got David, and everything is all messed up.  I guess we just kind of take it slow and see how things develop."  Adam was very confused about all of this.  "I'm kind of lost here."


"Talk to Dad.  He's real good at this stuff." Todd suggested, then gave Adam a little kiss and left him to his thoughts.


Back at the paddock, the boys broke up, and went their own ways.  Monty stayed, just staring out at the woods in the distance.  Todd had quickly followed Adam off into the house.  He kind of hoped he was falling for Adam.  He knew Todd was looking for something from him that he just didn't have to give.  They were almost thirteen now, and the sex play was great, and they both shot stuff now, but Todd wanted more than just the fun... 


"Hey, Monty." Pat said from behind him.


"Hi, Patty."  he replied, without turning.


She leaned on the fence just like he was doing, close but not quite touching.  "What's wrong?"




"Don't you dare lie to me.  I won't stand for it.  I know something is wrong.  I care about you, dummy.  Now out with it." She stated.


"Patty, you wouldn't understand."


"Try me."


Monty turned to face his tormentor.  "Okay, it's Todd.  I, well, I, ah, don't know what, ah,... Shit."


"Okay, that was clear." Pat said, and they both laughed.  "Let me guess, Todd asked you to do something you don't feel comfortable doing?"


"Crap, no.  He would never ask me to do anything like that." Monty defended his friend.


"So then he is hoping for more, and you don't have it for him."  Patty said matter-of-factly.


Monty gave her a stunned look, "How did you figure that?"


"Duh, he's gay and you're straight." She stated calmly.


"What?" he nearly shouted.


"Oh, sure you two have a great time together, but it's just fun for you.  I've seen how much Todd has to do to get your attention.  Now all I have to do is move my hand like I'm going to touch a boob, and you tent your pants."  Patty demonstrated and glanced down.  "Like right now."


Monty couldn't deny the obvious.  "But, but, oh shit, Dad told me that when I first came here, and I didn't believe it."


"It's true, and I for one am glad.  I think you're cute, and would sure like to get to know you a lot better."


End Note:


Well this is an interesting turn of events.  Sorry Neal, Pat isn't going to be your girlfriend.  But don't worry I'm sure I can find you one.
Let me know what you think, str8mayb@paddedroom.us


My g g g g No WAY, I thought we had a deal.  HELP!  Send me support at neal@paddedroom.us



Editor's Note:


Hey Neal, sometimes you amaze me with your lack of insight into your author. You should know by now that he is just trying to get a rise out of you and you let him do it every time. Chill out a little and he might leave you alone. Oh shit he saw this and said no way Jose. Sorry Neal, I tried.


Anyway, str8mayb that was a great chapter. I really loved the scene with Neal and Adam outside the library. I think Pat has her eyes out for Monty. I think if she plays her cards right, he might just cooperate. Hurry up with the next chapter. We are all waiting.  I know, it isn't a cliff hanger.






Fort Chief Editor's Notes:


It seems that Neal may actually be a good person inside that mischievous exterior?  Hmmmm that would be very interesting. It seems that the grownups in Havendale can't read the writing on the wall; I wonder how the Board of Education Head and the Principal are related to Sheriff Fastaff; because if they aren't related there must be something in the water to make them that stupid. Or if they aren't related to him maybe they are related to Prosecutor Jennings from "Out of The Past" by Darkstar. Str8mayb definitely has AAKD and now it seems that has mutated to AAAD; but all of the characters continue to grow in depth and stature. It is a wonderful thing to see that no matter what gender, sexual orientation or physical issue all of the children have a wonderful caring and loving home. Keep the wonderful words coming and may those Bigoted Idiots in power get what is coming to them.