Jared the Paramedic

Chapter 20: Escalation

Updated Character ListUpdated Character List ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 29<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Liam<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 22<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Jared<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Tyler<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Josh)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Troy<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers,<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Darren<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 26<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Fire Fighter<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Josh<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Hose Puller<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 18<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'10\", 150 lbs, slightly built, brown curly hair, hazel eyes<\/li>\r\n<li>Student<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Mark<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 18<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", 150 lbs, slightly built, dirty blonde straight hair, grey eyes<\/li>\r\n<li>Student<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Sgt. Frank Myers (father)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Adam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 19<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'8\", 145 lbs, black hair, chocolate brown eyes, olive skin<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Tom (grandfather)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline; color: #999999;\">Minor \/ Recurring Characters<\/span><\/h4>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Sgt. Frank Myers<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Police Sergeant<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Mark (son) and a daughter. Mark recently came out as gay.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Description: 5'6\", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Jared Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">John<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: CFO and Acting CEO, Bear Investment Group (2nd in command after Jared)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Amanda<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Description: A pleasant woman, shorter, plump, eyes full of life, and&#160;grandmotherly. She is also a sensitive.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Hospital Social Worker<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Marci<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jesse McCoy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Lawyer, McCoy &amp; Associates<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tom<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 75<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Owner and Operator of Tom's Marina<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Adam (grandson)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">")

Conner was not only a very resilient young man but a very forgiving one. His life had been drastically altered in such a short time period. In many ways, it was more of a relief to him. He truly missed his brother, but that was overshadowed by the misery of his father. He had been upset with his mother as well, but when she had been murdered he realized she had been a victim as well. It was still hard to let go the anger he had for his mother, mainly because she had supported his father in his tyrannical control of the family.

It had been a long day for everyone. The funeral had gone well, and Conner had kept his chin up throughout the entire day. The little guy was never far from Mark or Liam at any time.

It was that night after the funeral while he was in the apartment watching TV with everyone when the day's events had overwhelmed Conner. He had been sitting with Mark on one of the couches when he suddenly burst into tears. Mark took him into his arms and gently spoke to his friend. When Conner finally settled down, they had looked deeply into each other's eyes for what seemed like hours. During this time, Mark had realized how natural it felt to be with Conner; and Conner had some really strange feelings in his chest when he was with Mark.  It was if they were looking into each other's spirit to see what the other was thinking. When they finished staring at each other, Jared had called to them to join them on the other couch for some snacks. The four men, snuggled together under a blanket, spoke of what had happened, and how emotions worked. It was then Conner had said, "I've come to realize I'm ok. I will miss them, but like the Minister had said, they will always be with me."

The four had talked, asked questions and figured out the answers together for a couple hours.  When the young men's eyes began to droop, Jared suggested it was time everyone went to bed. It had not gone unnoticed that the entire time Mark and Conner had sat on the couch, they had never stopped holding hands. Both Jared and Liam had noticed it, but neither said anything. The two young men hugged Jared and Liam and went off to the spare bedroom. When Liam looked a little later to check on the two of them, both were sound asleep. Mark was spooned behind Conner, and they were holding hands still. 

Liam and Jared had quietly headed into their bedroom, stripped off and crawled into their bed. Jared was laying on his back, and Liam snuggled up to him. They were locked in a beautiful and sensual kiss when both had the impression of being watched.

They looked towards the bedroom door, and immediately spotted Mark and Conner standing there. Conner looked scared but managed to explain he'd had a nightmare.  Mark simply said, "Wherever Conner goes, I go too."  Liam and Jared smiled at each other and motioned for the young men to climb into the center of the bed between them.  It didn't take long before Liam had his arms around Conner, and the young man snuggled into his big brother. Jared had Mark in the same position. The two young men were safe, secure and asleep within minutes. Liam and Jared weren't far behind them.

In the morning, the young men went back to Frank's place. They were like lost lambs at times, wandering between Frank's place and Jared's apartment. The difference for the boys was that unlike their earlier lives, they were welcome at either location at any time.

A few days later, Jared and Liam were just sitting down for dinner when Mark and Conner dropped in for a visit. The two visitors got their own dishes, sat at the table and helped themselves to the food on the table. 

Liam looked at the two young men, "Is there anything else you need?"

Through a mouthful of food, Mark replied, "Milk would be nice."

Conner pointed at the jug, "It's on the table already, can't you see it?" He reached over with his empty glass, "Fill mine too please."

Liam and Jared looked at each other, smiled, and broke into laughter. Everyone finished eating, and Liam had even shared some of his chocolate cheesecake.

"Not we aren't happy to see you two, to what do we really owe the visit tonight?" asked Jared.

Mark and Conner looked at each other nervously.

"Out with it," said Liam. 

Conner looked down at the table, and then back at Mark. He was pleading with Mark through eye contact to speak up. Mark finally took a breath.

"We came here tonight to ask your permission to do something," stated Mark.  Jared and Liam leaned forward with extreme interest. "You asked us to be very careful when we were together, and to not do anything rash."  Mark turned to look at Conner, then back at Jared. "You told us the first night that you saw we were developing a friendship but cautioned us."

Jared smiled and said, "What I said to you was young guys at your age are pretty horny. I asked you until we resolved your dad's surgery Mark, and we resolved your family member's funeral Conner, that you guys do not go out and chase the first cutie you see, or each other."

Conner now spoke up, "You were concerned for us as friends and brothers.  It's something I've come to respect deeply from both of you. You knew we were developing a friendship but didn't want us to ruin it by just having sex."

"Well, Conner and I have developed more than just a friendship, but were not sure what yet." Mark hesitated for a moment before continuing. When he did, his voice was shaky. "We're asking your permission to try dating each other."

Liam and Jared smiled at the two young men. "I know Liam and I appreciate your coming to us like this. We have had, and continue to be concerned for both of you, now as younger brothers. Of course, you can try dating."

Liam jumped in, "But take it slowly you two. You've been getting to know each other, continue to do that. Don't worry about sex; it will happen when its right." 

"I agree with Liam. Sex is the ultimate act of love which is shared between two people, and it can wait," added Jared.

Mark reached over and took Conner's hand into his and gripped it firmly. "Conner, let's go on a date this weekend. How about dinner and a movie?"

Conner looked innocent as he asked, "What's playing?"

Jared smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand. "Liam, this is your kid. You talk to him."

Mark leaned back in his chair, "What's playing? What's playing?! You'll only go out on a date with me depending on what's playing?  So if it's a good movie?"

"Hey!" started Conner. "I want to know where we'll be eating too. I'm not easy or a cheap date."

Mark sat with a blank look on his face. Conner began to smile, and then said, "Got you."

Jared started laughing as Mark shook his head in disbelief. Mark leaned over and poked Conner's ribs with a finger. Conner slapped Mark's hands away. Mark began bitch slapping at Conner who immediately reciprocated. The two young men weren't hurting each other, they were just slapping at each other or the air between.

Jared looked at them, leaned over and quickly gave Conner a smack on the back of the head, while Liam did the same to Mark. The two young men quickly grabbed their heads for protection.

"Living room, now!" barked Jared.  Mark and Conner scampered to their feet and quickly went around the corner to the living room. Both had angelic looks on their faces when Jared and Liam entered the living room.

Liam opened his arms towards Conner as Jared did the same for Mark. The two young men moved quickly and were embraced tightly by their brothers.

"You two, never be afraid to come and talk with us about anything. Are you absolutely clear about that or do you need to go over my knee?" asked Jared.

Both answered, "Yes, Jared." 

"Ok that's done," finished Jared.

"Positive?" asked Liam.

Jared replied, "Absolutely."

Liam reached down, grabbed the waistband of Conner's underwear and pulled it up hard. "Son-of-a" screamed Conner as he grabbed his crotch to protect his testicles from the pressure.

"What's playing? Conner, if he's paying... who cares. Man, I got a lot to teach to you," said Liam through laughter. 

That Friday night, the two young men went out on their first date. They had agreed on the food court at the mall, then they would catch a movie after. One of the fast food concessions at the mall was Mark's favorite; it was freshly made-while-you-wait Japanese food. Mark had ordered Teriyaki Chicken for himself and Teriyaki Shrimp for Conner who was waiting in the middle of the seating area.

"This is great food," said Conner as he shoveled another fork full into his mouth.

"This place is really good, Con. I've eaten here since the mall opened."

"I can see why. You may not know it, but this is only the second time I've ever had shrimp. I love them." 

Mark looked over at Conner, "I forget sometimes you were brought up... differently than me."

Conner stopped eating for a moment and stared at his meal.  His face was blank, his eyes empty and emotionless.

"Conner, you ok?" asked Mark quietly.

After a moment, the young man looked up from his plate of food, and at his new boyfriend. "I guess... I mean, yes I am. I'm sorry Mark. Every once in a while, something triggers a memory of my brother. When you mentioned about me being brought up differently than you, it reminded me of him."

"I see you do that occasionally. Do you want to go home Con?"

Conner's eyes light up with life again as he said, "No, Thank you for asking, but I'm ok. I'm on my first date with someone who means so much to me. I'm living the dream right now, Mark."

Mark smiled, "Good to hear. I'm living it too."

Conner paused before continuing. "Mark, I really am happy to have you as a friend, and now my boyfriend. So much has changed for me over the past while, and you're my rock."

Mark reached across the little table and took Conner's hand into his. "Con, my life changed a lot over the past little while as well. I met you, and my life improved."

"Does the date include dessert?" asked Conner as he finished his shrimp meal.

"Of course it does. There's a bakery around the corner that has lots of freshly baked desserts."


"A few types of it. You really like that, don't you?"

"Never had it before that night at Jared and Liam's."

Mark got up and headed over to the bakery. A couple of minutes later, he came back with a plate of goodies. "This is what they called a Canadian tester plate. There is some chocolate cheesecake, a Nanaimo bar, a beaver tail, butter tarts, and a piece of Saskatoon berry pie."

Conner smiled, "That's enough for me, what are you going to have?"

"This is mine, go find your own."

Conner gave Mark an animated pouty, sad face, but his eyes were full of mischievousness.

"Ok, I'll share." 

"I've never seen some of these before." 

"That's why I picked these. I thought you might like to try some different desserts." 

Mark put the plate in the center of the little table and handed Conner a fork. The two of them picked at the various items, and Mark explained what they were made of if Conner had never seen them before. The two young men ate food, chatted, and laughed. In spite of being in the middle of a busy mall, no one existed in their little world except each other.

Suddenly, their attention was diverted away from the food. Off to their right, they couldn't make out the words but obviously, there was a disagreement of some sort taking place.  

They both looked towards the voices. Conner recognized the people immediately and gasped. "Mark, they're from my old church."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. That's Mrs. Baxter and I can't remember the other one... she's relatively new." He paused for a moment, then added, "Mark, you remember them. They were at Grandfather Tom's Marina. You know, with the girl scouts canoeing, when we came to get the barrels of fuel on the jet boat."

Mark looked at the two women long and hard, "You're right, Conner. It is them."

Mrs. Baxter gathered up her shopping bag and purse in a hurry. Before leaving, she stared at Conner and Mark with disgust.

"They don't seem to be happy to see me again."

"Well Conner, thank God they are gone."

"Mark, until now I've never really understood what was meant by the expression 'If looks could kill'. That was one hell of a nasty look from that old bag."

"She almost seemed surprised to see you, or us."

Conner sat still, but his arms suddenly quivered. Mark looked at him with concern. "It wasn't fear. I just had a shiver go up my spine."

"I don't like it, Con. My dad says when you have shiver like that it, it meant someone just walked over your grave."

"Mark, can we head out for the theatre now?"

"Yeah, I'd like to get going too."

The two young men took their trays to the trash bin and emptied them. Conner was still looking around when Mark tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. The two headed towards the theatre. As soon as they were out of food court, both began to settle down. There was still some time to kill before the next show so they stopped at a clothing store. They were looking at t-shirts when Conner grabbed Mark's elbow and indicated non-verbally by jerking his head towards the doorway. As soon as Mark glanced, he knew the problem. The two ladies were at the entrance to the store. The one lady really looked disinterested, but Mrs. Baxter was actively looking in the store for someone.  As soon as she made eye contact with Mark, she turned and left in a hurry. The two young men heard her yell at the other lady to catch up to her.

Mark immediately moved to the front of the store to look through the glass display windows into the mall but he couldn't see either of them anymore. Conner had followed him and was standing behind his boyfriend. Mark reached backward and grasped Conner's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.

After the movie, the two young men headed towards Frank's car that Mark had borrowed for the date. The previous encounters of the evening were forgotten while they were enjoying the movie. It was now just after 9:00 pm and the mall parking lot only had a few vehicles left in it.  As they reached the car, both were startled by a van starting up a few rows over. Both looked at it for a long moment. It was an older van, like a Windstar or something similar. It appeared to have seen better days with a few dents and fading blue color. The two young men got into their car and headed out.  They had decided to stop off at Jared's to see if they had any extra food in the fridge. Plus, they wanted to fill their older brothers in on the date.

As they parked and got out of the car, Mark's attention was attracted by a vehicle parking up the street. He looked and was sure it was the same van. Mark didn't say anything to Conner as they headed into the apartment.

Between mouthfuls of food, Conner and Mark filled their older brothers in on the dinner and movie. The four were laughing at the stories, and the jokes the two young men were making.

"By the way Conner, next time we go to a movie theatre, no farting," said Mark.

Jared and Liam almost spit their juice out through their noses. When Liam finally caught his breath, he asked, "Conner, you didn't let one of your bombs go did you?"

Conner gave him the 'what me' look.

"Liam, I told you that he has been learning too much from you," said Jared.

Liam gave Jared the 'what me look', and then looked at Conner who was giving him the same look back.

Jared spoke, "Mark, 3... 2... 1" and both Liam and Conner got the back of their heads slapped.

All four of the men were laughing again, but it was interrupted when Jared looked out the patio door towards the street and asked, "You guys using Frank's car?"

Conner took another mouthful of sandwich and answered with his mouth full. "Yeah, and we parked across the street."

Jared got up and moved to the glass doors. "Do you know the guys looking at your car?"

Conner almost knocked the chair over as he got up to move next to Jared. "Shit, them again?'

Jared looked at him, "Again?"

Conner quickly filled them in on what had happened at the mall food court, clothing store and in the parking lot. Mark added that he wasn't sure but they may have parked up the road just after they had arrived here. Jared pulled the curtains closed and put a jacket on. Liam started to join him but Jared asked him to stay with his little brothers.

Jared went downstairs and out to where the car was parked. The guys saw him coming, ran back to the van, and took off. As the van drove by Jared, he could see there were at least two men in it. The driver didn't look at him, but the passenger pulled his hat down and collars up as they went by.  Jared pulled his cell phone out to call Frank. He explained what was happening, and although it might be nothing, Mark and Conner would crash in the spare bedroom tonight.  Frank had no objections. Jared then sent text messages out to Josh and Tyler to drop by for coffee if they weren't busy. He also sent the license plate of the van he had obtained as it drove away.

Tyler and Josh dropped in about 20 minutes later and were brought up to speed about the strange occurrence. The license plate had been stolen on the other side of the city and not associated to the description of the vehicle Jared saw it on. That had really caught the attention of Tyler and Josh.

Liam went with Mark and Conner to make the spare bed up for them while Jared spoke with Josh and Tyler.  They would all keep their little brothers in sight as much as possible. Jared suspected it had something to do with Conner's father and the church. Tyler mentioned that was a distinct possibility as they had been hearing the churches name being mentioned at work a good bit. It seemed that whatever they were doing out there had caught some unwanted attention.

A few days later, Liam was out grocery shopping while Jared was finishing off a few things at work. He was looking through the heads of lettuce when he became of aware of someone standing behind. Slowly, he put the lettuce down and turned to look. He immediately recognized one of the ladies from the marina.

"Can I speak with you a minute?" she asked.

Liam looked at here, "Of course. But, I've never caught your name."

"Rose, I'm Rose Taylor." She extended her hand out. Liam shook it, and in that moment of contact, he understood.

"I'm Liam. We've met before at the Marina."

"Yes, absolutely correct." She paused and looked directly at Liam as a tear rolled down her cheek. Finally, she said, "I'm pregnant," as she reached out to hug Liam. She hung onto Liam tightly as she cried tears of joy. Finally, she got control of herself. "I'm sorry. But you both told me I would get pregnant. I was not able to conceive, I was diagnosed with Anovulation. That means there is no egg released from the ovary, and in my case, it wasn't treatable. I was never going to have a child."

Liam smiled, "Until you met us."

"The old man at the store…"

"Grandfather Tom" Liam interjected.

"Sorry, Tom. No disrespect meant." Liam smiled and nodded. She continued, "He said you were all Medicine Men, and when your boyfriend…"


"I'm so sorry," said Rose. "I don't mean to offend."

"No offense taken, Rose."

"Thank you, Liam. But when Jared touched me, I felt something like heat in my abdomen area. When he told me I would have a child I didn't know what to believe. I did feel different... hopeful even. But stuff like that just doesn't happen in real life, so I didn't know what to make of it."

"That's changed?"

"Yes, absolutely."

"Rose, that is really great to hear. I'm happy for you and I know Jared will be as well."

"I've also decided it is time to leave that church. I've had enough of their paranoia."

"Now, that I am very happy to hear, Rose."

"I saw Conner the other day, and that Mrs. Baxter just went nuts."

"What do you mean," asked Liam.

"I don't know what it's all about but she despises the young man. He has always been so polite to me at church, but his father was terrible to him."

"Well, we've adopted him into our family. So he is being well looked after now."

"That's good to hear. I'm being honest when I say he was always polite to me. I don't know what Baxter's problem with him is. But, as soon as we left the food court she was on her cell phone talking to someone."

"Do you know who?"

"No, I'm sorry. But I heard her call him that little bastard a few times and it sounded like she was telling someone where to find him."

"Has she been looking for him?"

"No, not really. Though I overheard at the church a couple times the minister asking her if she had seen him around."

Liam stared at her for a moment, "Interesting."

"Liam, I don't understand everything, and probably never will. But I saw you and wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the baby."

"You're welcome, Rose But that wasn't us. We are just messengers of the Creator. Thank you for telling me what you know about Mrs. Baxter."

"I don't get it, Liam. But I was never as high up in the church as she is."

"By the way Rose, when is your next prenatal check?"

"In 3 weeks."

"Bet the doctor before the examination that it's twins."

Rose looked at Liam and fresh tears started out her eyes. "Twins?"

"Yes, Rose. You have two of the greatest gifts that can be given to a human."

Rose tightly hugged Liam again.

As Liam finished picking up a few groceries he couldn't stop thinking about the conversation with Rose. Although it didn't explain everything, it definitely provided them with some answers. They needed to find out what the churches fascination with Conner was.  Liam texted Jared to make sure he was going to be at the apartment when he got there.

When he returned home, he told Jared everything he had learned. Jared had some news to share of his own. He had called and made some inquiries, and while he didn't know the specifics, there seemed to be an investigation into the church that was drawing to a close. Hopefully soon this would all be over.

It was a few weeks later, the events had all settled down, and whatever interest the people had in Conner seemed to end. The weekend arrived and life was beginning to settle down again into a routine. Mark and Conner were back at Frank's, eating him out of house and home. There was a knock at the door.

Conner opened the front door to find Adam standing there. "Adam, about time you got here."

"Hey Conner, traffic was rough."

Their older brothers had noticed that Mark, Adam, and Conner were developing a very close friendship. It was the way they kept checking on each other, or locking their eyes but not having to speak words. To anyone who didn't know them, they would've thought they were all related the way they acted towards each other. It was obvious they were closer than friends, but not brothers. No one outside of Jared's family understood all three of the young men were brought together by their personal tragedies, their need for acceptance and their need for love. Although experiencing it, the young men hadn't fully realized it either.

After entering the house, the two young men hugged. "Adam, need you to meet someone." The two young men moved into the living room where Frank was sitting. "Frank, I would like you to meet Adam,  another brother."

"This is the young man you guys have been visiting with while I'm at work?"

"Yes dad," said Mark.

Frank stood slowly, "Another brother? Of Jared's family?"

Adam smiled, "Yes sir. My grandfather Tom and Jared's grandfather Mathew go way back together. Although I've known him for many years, Jared has just brought me into the family."

Frank looked at the young man. "Adam, if you are a member of the family, and a friend of Jared, you are welcome here as a member of this family as well."

"Dad," started Mark "We're going to head out to go swimming."

"You guys are still up for swimming?" asked Adam.

"Of course!" answered Conner. "I've never been to a wave pool before."

Mark put his arm around his boyfriend, "It's pretty cool there Conner."

"You guys have bathing suits? We can't go naked there like at the cabin," said Adam.

Mark's face went blank for a moment, "I have a pair of trunk style, but…"

Adam opened a bag and pulled out three Speedo endurance square leg swimsuits. "Liam got these for us. Red for me, light blue for Mark, and black for Conner."

"They aren't very big," Frank observed.

"Liam described them as bun huggers," replied Adam.

Frank rolled his eyes, "Ok, TMI. Time for me to get out of here," as he headed back to his den to watch TV.

The three young men ran to Mark's bedroom and immediately tried on their suits.

Mark looked at his boyfriend, "Not sure if I like that swimsuit more for your package or your butt, Conner."

Adam turned around and wiggled his cheeks, "How's it look?"

"Real good Adam," remarked Conner as he slapped it.

Adam yelped, turned and grabbed Conner causing both to fall onto the bed wrestling. Mark joined in and started tickling both of the other young men.

Frank heard them laughing, crashing, and at times even shrieking loudly as they were obviously wrestling in Mark's room. He smiled to himself thinking it was wonderful to hear the sounds of real laughter in the house again as he drifted off to sleep.

Mark gently touched his father's arm as he slept in the recliner. "Dad?"

Frank woke up. "Sorry bud, the pain medications make me pretty sleepy."

"Sleep as much as you want, Dad. Just wanted to let you know we are heading out to the wave pool now. We'll be back later tonight, and Adam will be staying over."

"Mark, he's always welcome here. He's family now, just like Conner is."

From the front hallway, two young men yelled, "Thanks, Frank."

Frank got his wallet out and gave some money to Mark. "This should be enough to help feed you guys tonight."

"Thanks, Dad," replied Mark.

Frank reached out and grabbed Mark's arm and said quietly, "Please, keep your eyes open and on Conner."

Mark smiled, "in that swimsuit? No problem."

"Mark, please."

"Dad, I promise. He's with me and Adam."

"Thanks, son. Now, get out of here while I watch…" Frank hesitated as he turned to see what was on TV. He sighed, "...while I finish watching SpongeBob Square Pants."

Mark laughed.

"Honestly you brat, it was on Just for Laughs when I fell asleep."

Mark was laughing as he left the den. "Hey, guys, Dad's watching SpongeBob Square Pants."

The three of them were chuckling, but quickly left as Frank yelled at them "Does someone need a lickin?"

Mark and Adam were standing off the side at the bottom of the sky screamer, waiting for Conner.

"Adam, what you been up to? You still visiting with your grandfather?"

"Yes. At long last, I've opened my heart with my mind and he's begun to teach me the old ways."

"That's pretty cool. Is it hard?"

"There are times it is very difficult to complete the task." Adam thought hard for a moment before continuing, "The learning of herbs will take time but it's memorization and then generalizing the information to make a diagnosis. To me, that's easy. The ceremonies we've talked about are complex, but my mind seems to know them already. What I mean is while Grandfather Tom is teaching me the ceremonies, I begin to fill in the gaps with memories."

"That's pretty cool. Wish I could do that on my exams."

Adam chuckled, "Me too. He's also shown me how to control a few of the gifts which have surfaced. That is so much harder than learning the herbs."

"Why's that?"

"With the gift's, I have to learn how to control or suppress them almost unconsciously.  Mark, do you remember how to learn a new skill? The theory in first-year psychology called Hierarchy of Competence?"

Mark thought for a moment, "I remember some of it."

"I thought it was just another theory until Grandfather Tom began to teach me. I have the same gift as the rest…" Explained Adam as he brought his hand up, palm towards Mark, fingers spread. "If I need, I can use force to push you far away just by using my hand."

"I've seen that done Adam."

"Yes, but when I first learned I had the gift I accidentally put some big holes in the drywall at Grandfather's house along with breaking a few things around the house."

Mark looked concerned, "Was he mad?"

"No, the time I did it and broke a glass pitcher full of juice I began to cry. I was afraid he would hate me. But, he just held me with love. The lessons to control it started immediately.

"I guess we should've both known that's how he would've reacted."

"Yeah. But, what I had to do was learn how to control the use of the gift. At first, I was incompetent because of not knowing anything about it. I continued to learn about the gift and could control it consciously.  Grandfather was happy about that because it wasn't so hard on the house or furniture." The two young men chuckled.

"But Mark, the final goal of the training is unconscious competence. I now know how to use it, when and even where. Those things will automatically come to mind when the time to need it happens. Because I've learned those skills, I don't have to suppress the gift actively anymore. Its controlled now. I still need to work on it, it's better at times than others... but it longer happens without me wanting it to."

"That's great Adam."

"Like I said, working with Grandfather Tom has been wonderful. I still have a lot to learn, but it's been wonderful to reconnect with him. I lost so much time when I was trying to run from my path in life."

"Your grandfather Tom is so cool."

"He's great, and he likes all the brothers. So, what do think is taking Conner so long?"

"Do you think he chickened out and he's walking back down?"

Adam looked to the top and concentrated. "I don't think so, Mark." In the background, getting louder was a young man's stretched-out scream of extreme enjoyment."

Conner shot off the end of the slide and skipped like a rock twice before sinking. A moment later he burst up through the water and yelled "Wahoooooooooo." He bounced over to his friends, pulling at his swimsuit.

"Mark, I think that one gave me a water enema," Conner said matter of fact. "I need to take a dump."

"Yeah, I could stand bleeding the weasel too" added Mark.

"I could deal with the one-eyed trouser snake crying," replied Adam with a smirk.

Mark smiled, "You mean to see a man about a horse?"

"That's for sure. Need to drain the lizard," replied Adam.

Mark rolled his eyes. "Wow. We better get going if you need drain the main vein."

"Definitely buddy, I have to go the ICUP stat," added Adam.

Conner cut them off, "I don't know what the hell you two are talking about but I need to take a shit fast otherwise there will be skid marks on the pool deck."

The three young men headed off to the washroom. Conner headed to a cubical, quickly closing the door. While Mark and Adam were standing at the urinals, they heard Conner say, "Yup. Having a big shit is almost as good as sex."

"Mark, you really having been teaching him verbal communication skills, haven't you?" stated Adam.

From over the cubicle wall, Conner yelled, "That's a Tyler expression."

The two men finished at the urinal, tucked in and washed their hands. "Con, we'll wait for you outside the door," Mark said to the cubicle door.

"I'll just be a few minutes more," Conner replied.

Adam gagged at the smell creeping under the stall. "Jesus Conner, what crawled up your ass and died?"

"Nothing yet," he innocently replied.

Mark opened the door, "We're out of here. Con, if you survive, we'll meet you outside the door." The two young men left without waiting for an answer.

As Adam stepped off to the side, there was a young man with his back towards him on his cell phone speaking. "Yeah, mom. That little fruit is at the water park." He waited a moment before continuing, "He's here with two other guys." A moment later he said "Whatever" before ending the call. The young man turned to enter the washroom and immediately saw Mark and Adam standing behind him, each with their arms crossed.

Adam spoke, "What is your problem with my brother Conner?"

The young man quickly became nervous, "Nothing. I have no clue what you're talking about dude."

Mark was going to step closer, but Adam moved his arm across Mark's chest as a signal to stop. That didn't stop Mark from speaking. "Why were you phoning someone about Conner?"

"No clue what you're talking about."

The washroom door opened and Conner walked out. He froze as soon as he recognized the young man Mark and Adam were speaking with.

"You know this guy, Con?" asked Mark.

"Very well. He's a member of the youth group I was in at the church. His mother is one of the elders and his uncle is the Pastor." Conner moved closer, "How are you doing, Tommy?"

Tommy sneered at Conner, "Faggot. I guess you've found more of them too."

Adam stepped to block Tommy from direct access to Conner. "Tommy, I want you to listen to me very clearly."

"Fuck off."

Adam reached out and grabbed Tommy's upper arm. "Tommy, you will never be a problem for Conner from this day forward. Conner is no threat to you, and forgiving to everyone."

"Why should I be afraid of you?"

Adam stared directly into Tommy's eyes, "Because he's my brother, and I would do anything to protect him."

"Fuck you. Get your hands off me."

Conner moved forward and next to Adam. "Tommy, since I've seen you last, I've changed."

"What, you're not a faggot anymore?"

"No. My father killed my mother and my brother, but you probably know that."


Conner leaned forward, "Now I have brothers who will protect me. But, more important, I've been under a lot of stress from the murders of my family." He leaned even closer to Tommy, "If I snap, you don't even want to know what I potentially could do to you."

"You threatening me?"

"No, not at all." Conner stepped away but turned to look at Tommy. "I'm promising you. Big difference."

Tommy shook his head, looked around and said, "I need to get to the bathroom." Adam stood to the side, and Tommy headed in.

Adam looked at Conner, and then Mark. "Let's go over to the wave pool before calling it a night."

Mark hesitated, but after looking into Adam's eyes, agreed. The confrontation quickly forgotten, the three brothers spent the next couple of hours playing in the waves and body surfing. Frank was asleep by the time they got home, but they were all played out as well. After using the bathroom, all three were in bed spooned together as usual, each heading off to a deep peaceful sleep.

Adam had dropped by the ambulance base to have a quick word with Liam and Jared about what he had learned last night at the wave pool. He had been intercepted at the door by Mel, who dragged him in front of Jared. She ordered Jared to take them all out for breakfast as Adam was withering to skin and bones.

While at breakfast, Adam brought them up to speed on what he had learned at the wave pool. Jared had also quizzed Adam on his lessons from Grandfather Tom.

"Adam, I understand you have a real affinity for the herbs and medicines," stated Jared.

"I really enjoy learning about the plants and minerals, and how they combine to make different things. The treatment can be developed for very specific illnesses. Sorry, I didn't say that very well.  We can make medicine which is general for everything similar, but we can add specific things distinct to each person who is ill. It's so much more specific than just getting a prescription from a doctor."

"Grandfather says the same thing all the time," Mel added. "But he is also very successful at treating the ill."

"There is so much to learn, Mel," said Adam with a sigh.

"Cousin, you only have to ask. I'm always ready to help you in your studies." Mel took a moment, then continued, "I'm trained in the traditional ways of medicine."

Adam smiled, "I would really love that Mel."

Mel reached out and gently took Adam's hand. Her beautiful brown eyes gently locked with Adam's. "Anytime cousin. I am so happy to see you back on the correct path that you were intended to walk. Grandfather Tom and I spent many hours talking and praying for your spirit."

Adam smiled, "I appreciate that Mel, and I'll do everything I can to make your faith in me justified."

"It already is, cousin Adam."

Mel let his hand go and sat back on her chair. No one even saw her hand move as she smacked the back of Jared's head.

He reached up and rubbed the spot which had been slapped. "What was that for Mel?"

"Undetected crimes," she replied as she stared at Liam.

Liam was squirming in his seat and finally said, "I'm innocent."

Mel laughed at his answer. "Right..." She turned and looked at Jared. "So, what are we going to do to protect Conner. There is obviously something going on at that church.  Have you got Tyler and Josh involved?"

"They are up to speed on everything," Jared replied. "We need one of us or one of the wolves with him at all times for protection."

"Agreed," Adam, Mel, and Liam replied.

The rest of the week passed with no problems. Although no one was dropping their guard, everyone was hoping whatever it was had ended. Adam had returned to the Marina to help out Grandfather Tom as well as continue his training.  Friday night, Jared and Liam were at work. Frank was also at the office on light duties. Mark and Conner had been moved over to Jared's apartment while Frank was on nights.

The two young men had decided they were going to walk a few blocks over to get ice cream cones.

"Mark, we're not supposed to leave the apartment without one of our brothers," Conner stated clearly.

"I know, but I think everything has blown over by now. We're just gonna get a couple of ice creams and come right back. Have to stretch the legs a bit."

"Can we walk quickly then?"

"No problem. We can do that."

It only took a few minutes and the two young men arrived at the Dairy Queen. Both got big ice cream cones, and Conner even got his double dipped in chocolate. 

"This is good stuff Mark. Let's get back to the apartment."

"Yeah, I love their ice cream. Come on Conner, the two of us together walking in the evening eating ice cream. Does life get any better than this?"

"I suppose you're right, Mark."

"Can I lick at your ice cream? I should've got the chocolate too."

Conner extended his cone for his boyfriend to lick. "I know something else you can lick like that."

Mark stopped and looked deeply into Conner's eyes. "If you get this way while eating ice cream, I'm going to buy a freezer and fill it with this stuff."

Conner laughed and pulled the cone away. He then opened his mouth and put as much of the ice cream cone into as he could.

Mark started laughing, "You're getting good at that Conner."

The two young men were focused on each other as they walked along on the sidewalk.  They were in the residential area which was near Jared's apartment. It was a typical subdivision full of modest homes, nice lawns and vehicles parked along the curb on each side of the street. Both were oblivious to any specific vehicle parked at the curb; they never noticed the one which had people inside it watching them. The side door of the older blue van opened and two men quickly jumped out. Both Mark and Conner were tackled onto the lawn by the assailants.

Mark had hit the ground hard but immediately started squirming and punching at anything he could hit. Conner had been winded but came to the realization these guys were trying to kidnap him.  Quickly, he began to remember some of the things his brothers had been teaching him about fighting. Conner's arms were free, so he immediately went for the attacker's eyes.

"Jesus Ed, the little fucker is trying to scratch my eyes out." He pinned Conner's arms and then tried to knee the young man in the balls to quickly get him out of the fight. Conner was squirming and he only made contact with the boy's thigh. That caused the young man to scream out in pain.

Conner started yelling as loud as he could "HELP" over and over again.

Ed yelled at his partner Jeff, "Shut the little bastard up before he gets the attention of the neighborhood."

Mark had heard Conner and started yelling "HELP" as well.

Ed punched the side of Mark's head which caused him to stop yelling. Mark immediately felt the pain as his head was hit. He saw darkness, and it was followed by explosions of light like fireworks all over the night sky. The pain brought a rage up from deep inside Mark, and the realization his boyfriend was in trouble. With his arms pinned, he did the only thing he could. The man's leg was nearby so he bit it as hard as his jaw muscles would allow.

Ed screamed, "Son of a bitch, Jeff, he fucking bit me."

Jeff didn't even have time to react as the back of a spade hit him across the back of his head. Mrs. Evans, the 82-year-old retired RCAF member had heard the call for help. When she had looked out of her garage, she saw the fight and grabbed a shovel. "You son of a bitch, leave that boy alone." She whacked him hard again with the shovel. "Last time I did this I killed the son of a bitch because I'd run out of bullets to do it the easy way."  Mrs. Evans cracked him again in the head with the shovel. This time, there was cracking sound as the handle broke away from shovel blade.  But that didn't slow her down. She turned and hit Ed up the side of his head with the handle.

"Ed, let's get outta here. This fucking old lady is nuts."

"Who you calling a fucking only lady you piece of shit," yelled Mrs. Evans and she cracked Ed with the handle again over his head.

They were so busy fighting neither of them saw the police car stop on the other side of the parked van. The two officers got out of the car quickly and ran towards the fight. Tyler and Josh hit the two kidnappers full speed with a flying tackle. It took very little time for them have both the men in handcuffs.  A second police car had pulled up, and the officers ran to assist Josh and Tyler.

Ed had blood coming from a wound near his ear, "I need a doctor. That cun…"

Mrs. Evans took a step towards him with the handle raised, "Watch that mouth, you piece of shit."

Ed rephrased, "I want a doctor now. She's assaulted me with a weapon. Arrest the bitch!"

Mrs. Evans walked near Ed, "You just got your ass kicked by an 82-year-old bitch. You're lucky I didn't have a gun with me…" She paused for a moment, and it had the effect she wanted it to have. "I fought in the Korean war, and did peacekeeping duties in four other conflict zones." She leaned over, "If you are thinking about finding me at some time, I have guns. But I prefer my large MKII Navy knife."

Ed looked over at her, "You are nuts."

She smiled, "I'm not the one who just got his ass kicked by an 82-year-old woman. Pussy!"

Ed was about to lose it, but he was moved toward a waiting police car. A third police car had arrived, and Jeff was placed into the backseat of that car.

It was then the ambulance pulled up and parked. Mark and Conner were sitting on the ground, holding each other tightly. Josh looked at Tyler, "The shit is about to hit the fan."

Jared was moving quickly, and when he spotted the two young men, he moved even faster to get to them. Liam had been driving and was almost running to catch up to his boyfriend after getting out of the unit.

Josh moved to intercept Jared. He grabbed his mentor by his upper arms to stop him. "Jared, slow down. They're ok."

Jared's face was flushed, and Josh saw something he had never seen before; Jared was mad. Liam had caught up, stopped for a second but continued on. "Josh, I'll check Conner and Mark."

Josh looked deeply into Jared's eyes, "Jared, you are our mentor, our brother, and our leader. You need to get back into control."

Jared's eyes were icy cold and black as they looked back into Josh's. He could see that Josh's eyes were only full of concern, and love. "Jared, we need you as the older brother we love. The two little brothers are ok, but you've lost control. If you talk to them mad, you may something you don't mean. It could destroy the family you have built."

Jared stopped squirming and closed his eyes for serious concentration. Josh was right, the wolf had protected the pack from the threat. Only this time it was him.

Liam kneeled down in front of Mark and Conner. The two young men hadn't even seen him arrive, but as soon as they did, they both grabbed Liam tightly.

Conner started crying, "Liam, I am so sorry for leaving the apartment. I am so sorry."

"Are you guys ok?" asked Liam.

Mark was crying now, "It was all my fault, Liam. I'm the one who talked him into leaving for ice cream."

"Are you guys ok?" asked Liam again.

The two young men nodded their heads, and said "Yes."

Mrs. Evans came up behind Mark and Conner. "I take it you guys are alright."  The two young men stood up and embraced the lady.

"Thank you, ma'am," said Conner.

Mrs. Evens looked at the three men, "I also assume you are more than just patient and medic to each other."

Liam stood up and extended his hand, "I'm Liam, and this is Conner and Mark. They are my little brothers."

Mrs. Evans grasped Liam's hand tightly, "Brothers? I could've sworn those two were boyfriends?"

Liam smiled, "That too. My boyfriend is the other paramedic talking to the police officer. Tyler here and the little guy over there are brothers as well. We've come together as a family."

"What a wonderful thing, you guys all finding each other," she said. "If my partner was still alive, she would've loved to meet you guys."

Mark added, "Ma'am, you were so good with that shovel."

"I was happy to help out," said Mrs. Evans.

Liam leaned towards Tyler but looking over at Jared. "I'm sensing he's calming down."

"This is the closest he's ever come to losing family members," said Tyler.

"When you put it that way, I understand," replied Liam without hesitation.

Josh let Jared go, "Now that you have settled down, go see your little brothers."

Jared's eyes were clear once again, he was in control. He hugged Josh, and while hugging his brother tightly said, "Thank you, Josh. Once again, the wolf protected the family. This time it prevented me from hurting them. Thank you."

"Jared, its what we do."

He released Josh, and moved toward Conner and Mark.  The two young men stood and watched Jared approach them. Conner had tears start rolling down his cheeks; this was the one person in his life he had never wanted to offend, or lose. He felt Mark take his hand into his in a firm, but reassuring grip.

Jared walked up to the two young men, and asked "Are you two ok?"

Conner sniffed and nodded before looking down at his feet.

Mark was trying to talk, but he couldn't get anything out.

Jared opened his arms to give a hug. The moment Mark and Conner saw this, they stepped into the waiting arms which held them tightly. Both started to apologise and accept responsibility for their bad decision and actions. Jared shushed them.

Mrs. Evans had stepped back to give them some space, Liam joined her.

She reached up and wiped a tear from her eyes. "You guys really are a family."

Liam nodded his head.

Finally, Jared relaxed his grip. Mark and Conner started to apologise again, but Jared cut them off. "Lets deal with this at home guys. My biggest concern is that you are both ok."

"You have a right to be mad at us, Jared," said Mark.

"Actually, I don't Mark. I have the right to be upset and disappointed but I do not have the right to be angry at you two. When a person is angry, things are said you don't mean. That often causes more problems than what started it. Guys, I have Josh to thank for reminding me of that. None of us are perfect, but we need to stick together and even more when we're in trouble."

"You're not gonna throw me out?" asked Conner.

"Never Conner, we're family," replied Jared.

The three embraced again.

Jared whispered into Marks and Conner's ear, "That doesn't mean you won't be getting a lickin',  you won't be able to sit down for a day or two."

Neither of the young men even reacted to the words spoken in their ears. Finally, Conner said, "Can you do Mark first, it was his idea."

Mark stood back, "My idea? You little shit, throwing me under the bus."

"Well it was," Conner said with a smirk.

"We couldn't have done it if you didn't have the money the buy them. I was broke."

Jared smiled, "Ok, ok. Look, Tyler and Josh will have to get statements off you guys about the kidnapping and then we'll meet you at the apartment."

Conner looked at Jared, and grabbed him in a tight hug again. "Jared, I'm so sorry. I have to say it. I'm so sorry. Please don't stop loving me."

Jared held him tightly. "Conner, we're family now. I can't stop loving you little brother."

Conner held Jared for a moment longer before saying, "Thank you, Jared."

Tyler put his hands on Mark and Conner's shoulders, "Time to go to the station and do paper work."

Jared watched the two little brothers leave with Josh and Tyler. Liam came up beside of him, "Things are working out, Jared."

Jared approached Mrs. Evans, and extended his hand to her. Ignoring the hand, she grabbed Jared in a tight hug. After releasing him, she held both of his hands in hers. "Jared, you must be the father figure for this fine group of men."

"I try to be, but we work as a team to be successful."

"You are a group of fine young men," she said as she released his hands.

"Mrs. Evans, thank you for helping Mark and Conner." Jared began to tell her a brief summary of what had happened to Conner and his family. He also talked about their suspicions of the church members trying to kidnap him.

There were additional police on scene and they were processing the van, taking pictures of the ground where the fight took place, and the broken shovel. One of the officers approached Jared and Mrs. Evans. He extended his hand to Jared, "Good to see you again, Jared. I'm also happy your skills weren't needed tonight."

Jared grasped the hand firmly and shook. "Shawn, good to see you too. How's the new baby?"

"Just like his mother, beautiful, calm and a heartbreaker."

"Good to hear."

"I hate to interrupt you, but I need to get a statement from this witness."

"Shawn, you have a job to do. Its not an interruption." He turned and said "Mrs. Evans, I would like you to meet Shawn. He just had his first child, and will show you pictures if you ask."

She laughed, "Shawn, I would love to see them."

He smiled, "Lets get the statement done first."

"Come on into the house, we can do it at the kitchen table."

Jared turned to Tyler and Liam, "I had spoke with a friend in the Drug section earlier this evening. He couldn't say much, but the church is definitely of interest and in their sights. He asked me if Conner had ever said anything about them having a survivalist mentality, or a compound anywhere."

That caught Tyler off guard. "He hasn't said anything to me."

"I didn't see anything like that in his memories," added Liam.

"Neither had I" stated Jared. "But, with the weapons I was sure wondering what they were for."

Tyler thought, and then added "Obviously not duck hunting, unless they are getting themselves armed."

"I was thinking along the same lines," Liam chirped in.

Jared and Liam signed off early from work, and were waiting for Conner and Mark when they were brought back to the apartment by Tyler and Josh.  Mark and Conner started crying again as soon as they saw Jared. When they were back in control, the six men discussed the mistakes made as well as the outcome of the evening. Tyler and Josh left to resume patrol, and the rest got ready for bed.

Jared and Liam had settled into their bed, when Mark and Conner came to them. No words were spoken, but they rolled the bedding down and tapped the middle of the bed. Mark got in, and snuggled up to Jared, Conner snuggled to Liam. Both young men were very tense. Once in the arms of their older brothers, they relaxed, and fell asleep. Once they were asleep, Jared and Liam followed them into slumber.

End of Chapter Twenty

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