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"Well, if I've learned anything today, it's not to mess with Obie." Paul said with a grin at the younger boy before turning his full attention back toward the road.
"You don't get it." Obie said with an exasperated shake of his head, then turned to Donny and said, "What he should have learned is not to mess with my brothers."
Donny smiled and nodded his agreement to Obie's statement.
The rest of the ride back to the camp was quiet except for the occasional suggestion from Donny to help Paul become more comfortable with driving.
Once they entered the camp compound, Donny asked, "Where should we go first?"
"I just changed cabins, so I don't know. The cabin one guys have class with Mr. T in the morning, but since it's after lunch, they're in their next class by now. I guess we should check in with Mr. T in his classroom and he can tell us where we need to go." Obie said thoughtfully.
"I probably need to see if Jerico needs me to do anything. We might be moving here today." Paul added seriously.
"So it's your first day here, too?" Donny asked curiously.
"Yeah. They offered Jerico a job here last night and they said that I could move here with him." Paul said happily.
"That sounds great. Just let me know if you need any help with your moving. I mean, I don't know what they're going to have me doing the rest of the day, but if I'm free, I'll be happy to help you." Donny said honestly.
"Yeah. Okay. As soon as I find out what's going on, I'll let Jerico know that we have someone who'll help us." Paul said happily.
Obie walked ahead of the group and opened the door to Mr. T's classroom and held it so the older boys could precede him into the room.
* * * * *
"How did everything go?" Mr. T asked as he walked away from the front of the classroom to greet the boys.
"I found my brother." Obie said happily.
"Really? That's wonderful, Obie! I'm so glad that worked out for you." Mr. T said with an honest smile.
"I was wondering if someone could drive me over to Amos' house this afternoon at about four? I asked him to come over here so he could meet Mike, but he thought that it'd be good if I met his parents and they could see that I wasn't some nutjob or pervert or something like that who was going to hurt Amos." Obie said frankly.
Mr. T chuckled at the statement, then said, "Just remind me a little bit before you need to go and I'll find someone to drive you. Did you guys have a chance to get anything to eat?"
"No. Almost, but we never made it to the front of the serving line." Paul said, then looked at Donny uncertainly, not knowing how much detail he should share about their adventure.
"Then why don't you three go over to the cafeteria and let Mrs. Birch know that you were out running an errand while lunch was being served. I'm sure that she'll take very good care of you." Mr. T said warmly.
"I'll show you where it is!" Obie said happily and led the way out of the classroom.
* * * * *
"Mrs. Birch. We were outside the camp doing stuff when you served lunch. Is there anything for us to eat?" Obie asked hopefully as Donny and Paul stood back and waited for her reaction.
"Well, that explains it. I was wondering why we had so many leftovers today." Mrs. Birch said with a teasing smile directed at Obie, then said to the boys, "Why don't you two have a seat in the dining room. Obie can help me fix some plates for you."
Paul nodded, then quietly said to Donny, "This way."
* * * * *
As soon as they were seated, Paul quietly asked, "How are you doing?"
Donny looked at Paul with question.
"You know, being in a new place, around new people, away from everything that's familiar... Are you okay?" Paul asked quietly.
Donny smiled, then said, "I've never had a home. I was always moving. Different cities, different countries, and there was never anyone in my life who was with me for very long, you know, like parents and stuff. I was handed off and passed around to whoever could make the best use of me. I was even lost in a poker game, once."
Paul looked at Donny in wonder, not able to imagine living that way.
"So, to answer your question, yeah. I'm doing fine. Being in a new place with new people isn't anything unusual for me. The only thing that I feel like I might have a problem with is that I don't know what I'm going to do. I mean, before, I always knew what was expected of me. Here, I don't have a clue." Donny said frankly.
"I don't know either. But I guess we can figure it out together." Paul said timidly.
"Here. Our food is heating up right now, so I brought us some water to drink." Obie said as he walked to the table with a pitcher and three glasses. "Can you guys pour the water while I get our food?"
"Sure. Thanks Obie." Paul said with a smile.
Obie responded with a quick smile, then dashed away.
"He's a good kid." Paul said, then started pouring their water.
"Yeah." Donny said distantly, and seemed to be disturbed.
"What's wrong?" Paul asked curiously.
Donny gave a slight shrug, then said, "I've known a lot of kids like Obie and, well, because of what I used to have to do, I had sex with them. And not all of them wanted to."
Paul looked at Donny with wide eyes of surprise.
When Donny noticed, he quickly said, "I didn't rape them... well, not really. But it's more like I talked them into it."
"Why?" Paul asked cautiously.
"Because I knew what would happen to them if they didn't go along with it. We were there to make money for the men who kept us. If we refused to do what they told us, they might not feed us, or they might beat us, or... it doesn't matter. What I'm trying to say is that when I look at Obie, I see those kids. I remember how they were when they were new and how the light would eventually go out of their eyes." Donny finished quietly.
"How did you get away from them?" Paul asked curiously.
Donny smiled, then said, "A couple days ago, just, all of a sudden, the cops stormed the place where I was staying. From what I heard later at the police station, some kids, the clan, I guess, saw some Internet porn and they were somehow able to track down where it was filmed and they tipped off the cops. I wasn't actually doing anything, you know, like porn stuff, when the cops showed up. But they knew who I was and... I guess it's my mind playing tricks on me, but it seemed like they were there just for me.... to rescue me."
"Maybe they were." Paul said frankly.
"So, anyway, after they got me out of there, they took me down to the station and asked me a bazillion questions, but it wasn't like it is on TV. They were nice about it and didn't try to bully me or scare me or anything like that." Donny said distantly, then reluctantly added, "After that I spent a couple nights at the CPS place. It was like my worst nightmare was coming true and there wasn't anything I could do about it."
Paul nodded that he understood.
"Anyway, first thing this morning, a couple of the detectives took me down to see the judge. I got a little bit freaked out when he wanted for me to go with him into his chambers, but it's not like it sounds. It's just an office. We sat down and talked for a little bit, you know, just talked like friends. He was really nice. Then, when we were done talking, he said that since I didn't have any relatives to stay with, that he was going to send me here." Donny finished with a downcast look.
"I'm guessing from your expression that you didn't want to go." Paul said slowly.
Donny shook his head and said, "Well, I'd never heard of this place before, so the first thing that I thought was that it was either a group home or a prison. I mean, there's no place nice for a homeless teenager to go. I just figured that after that shithole CPS dungeon, the place he was sending me had to be like hell on earth."
"Makes sense." Paul said with a nod.
"Really?" Donny asked with surprise.
"Yeah. I don't know a lot about it, but if you weren't sent here, then it'd probably be like you said. You just lucked out." Paul said simply.
"Yeah. It looks like I did." Donny said as he looked around the cafeteria, then added, "When I got here, I was really planning on hating it. These guys, Cory and Sean tried to talk to me, but I wouldn't believe them. I was sure I was right."
"So, what changed your mind?" Paul asked curiously.
"Being able to leave the camp." Donny said frankly, then smiled as he continued, "We just... walked out. The guard at the gate waved at us and watched us go. Then, a few minutes later, you guys drove up."
"Oh! So that's what you were doing walking along the road in the middle of nowhere." Paul said with a smile.
"I've never felt anything like that before. For the first time in my life, I felt... free." Donny said with a smile.
"I hope you're hungry." Obie said as he walked into the dining room carrying a tray filled with plates.
Donny and Paul gave identical nods as they waited to see what Obie had brought for them.
* * * * *
"Thanks Obie, this looks good." Paul said as he accepted his plate.
"Yeah, thanks." Donny said gratefully.
"I didn't even think about being hungry. I was too excited about finding Amos." Obie said as he put his plate on the table, then sat the tray aside.
"Are you nervous about meeting Amos' parents?" Paul asked curiously.
Obie chewed his food, then swallowed before answering, "A little bit. I mean, they might not like me because I don't have a mom and dad and maybe because of that they'll think bad stuff about me and that I might get Amos into trouble."
"I don't think that will be a problem. Just be yourself when you're with them and they'll be able to see that you'd never hurt Amos." Donny said frankly.
"I guess. But I'm still afraid that they might be mean to me because they might think that I'm there to try to take Amos away from them." Obie said quietly.
"Are you?" Paul asked seriously.
Obie looked at Paul with surprise.
"Are you going to try to get Amos to move away from his parents so he can live here with you and your brother?" Paul asked reasonably.
"No! I just want for Amos to get to know me and Mike, so he'll know that he has family, you know, blood family, who wants him." Obie said quickly.
"Then, tell them that." Paul said simply.
Obie was silent as he thought for a moment, then he slowly said, "Yeah. If they know that I'm not trying to take him away from them, then maybe they won't be scared of letting Amos come over and visit me and Mike sometimes."
"It's worth a try." Paul said frankly.
"Gentlemen, would you mind if I interrupt your meal for a moment?" A man asked as he approached.
"No. That's fine." Donny said cautiously as he looked up at the man.
"I'm Dan Richardson, the kids call me Dr. Dan. Is one of you Donny?" He asked as he looked between Donny and Paul.
"I am." Donny said slowly.
Dan recognized the cautious response, and said, "Chief Tecumseh said that you're going to be moving into cabin seven today, just as soon as it's finished."
Donny hesitantly nodded.
"I have someone else who might be moving in there today. I wanted to talk to you for a few minutes to get to know you before I finalize the arrangements." Dan said carefully.
"Donny's nice. You don't have to worry about him." Obie said firmly.
Dan looked warmly at Obie's defense of Donny, then said, "I'm sure he is nice. But sometimes nice people have things that they strongly believe. When they're put in a situation where they're with people who believe differently, even very nice people can sometimes react badly."
"What is it that you're worried about? I don't believe in anything... or anyone, for that matter." Donny said frankly.
"I'm sorry to hear that." Dan said quietly, then added, "The resident, Ronny is his name, is in a place in his life where he's especially fragile. He's taking some really big steps right now and I'd like to do whatever I can to ease the way for him until he can become a little bit more self assured."
"Dr. Dan, I've been living as a whore for over five years. I don't know what this new guy has going on with him, but I can't think of any disgusting thing that anyone could possibly do that I haven't already done. So whatever this guy's problem is, I'm not going to judge him for it." Donny said frankly.
"Thank you, Donny." Dan said with a smile, then added, "But all I'm asking is that if you have a problem, if you can't handle it, don't go off on Ronny about it. Come find me and talk it out with me."
Donny was about to agree, then stopped to consider for a moment. Finally, he said, "Yeah. Okay."
"If you guys wouldn't mind waiting here for a couple minutes, I'll bring him in here to meet you." Dan said hopefully.
"We'll be right here." Paul said with a smile.
Dan looked relieved as he hurried away from the table.
* * * * *
All three boys turned their attention back to their food as they each thought about what might be the new boy's problem.
"It can't be that he's gay. About half the guys here are gay, so that wouldn't be a big deal to anyone." Obie said speculatively.
"Yeah. And I know that some of the guys are like you, Donny. They had pictures and videos and stuff done of them. So, if that's his problem, there's lots of guys here who would understand." Paul added quietly.
Donny thought about Simon and Uri and slowly nodded his agreement.
"So, whatever it is, it can't be that bad." Obie said with certainty.
"Maybe not to you, but to someone who's new, it could be a very big deal." Donny said thoughtfully.
"What about you, Donny? You're new. Is there anything like that that you're having problems with?" Obie asked curiously, then quickly added, "So we won't, you know, like, talk about it around other people and stuff."
"The whore thing bugs me a little bit. I know in my head that I didn't have any other choice and that there are other guys who went through the same thing or worse. But I still feel like, maybe, I'm not as good as some people, because of it." Donny quietly admitted.
"That sounds like something that you're just going to have to live with. But since no one else around here is worried about it, you should be able to eventually accept that it is what it is." Paul said as he looked Donny in the eyes.
Donny slowly nodded, then said, "Yeah. And since I haven't done much of that for the past year or so, it isn't so fresh that it should bug me too much."
"What have you been doing for the past year?" Paul asked curiously.
"Actually, I've been doing some legitimate modeling. I was getting too old for the kiddie porn thing and I was still too young for legitimate porn, so someone got the idea of spreading around some of my pictures to different modeling agencies and I ended up getting a few jobs." Donny said with a slight smile, then noticed that he had finished all of his food.
"Are you guys still hungry? I can get us some more to eat if you are." Obie asked as he stood to start gathering their empty plates.
"No. I'm fine, but that food was really good." Donny said gratefully.
"Yeah. I can't get over what good food they have here. My mom is a good cook, but this is better." Paul said with a smile.
"Wait. If you have a mom, what are you doing here?" Donny asked curiously as Obie carried their dishes away.
"You remember me saying that my cousin got a job here?" Paul asked seriously.
"Yeah." Donny said with a nod.
"I'm going to be living with him so I can help him out." Paul said happily.
"What will you be doing?" Donny asked curiously.
"I'm not sure, yet. Just helping him." Paul said simply.
Before Donny could think of what to say to that, he heard someone walking into the room.
"Ronny, here are the guys that I'd like for you to meet." Dr. Dan said pleasantly as they approached the table.
"Wait! Don't start without me!" Obie called as he scampered into the room.
Dan smiled and waited patiently for Obie to join them, then said, "Ronny, this is Obie and Donny. I don't think I've been introduced to this other young man."
"I'm Paul. I'm going to be living here soon." Paul said as he stood to offer his hand to Ronny.
"It's nice to meet you." Ronny said shyly.
All three boys froze at the sound of Ronny's voice.
"You're a girl!" Obie said with surprise.
Ronny looked like a perfectly normal teenage boy, perhaps a bit stout, but not in any way feminine. However, the sound of his voice was definitely not that of a teenage boy.
"Ronny has spent his entire life knowing that he's a boy, but living in a female body." Dr. Dan explained carefully.
Obie looked from Ronny to Dan with confusion as he tried to make sense of what Dan was saying.
"Today, Ronny is going to take his first step to see if the reality of being a boy lives up to his expectations." Dan said as he watched Paul and especially Donny's reactions carefully.
After an uncomfortable moment of silence, Donny finally said, "Okay, I think I get that. So what is it you want me to do?"
Ronny looked uncomfortable with the question as Dan answered, "First of all, I want to know if you can accept Ronny the way he is. If you can, then I'd like to know if you'd be willing to help him out a little bit until he adjusts to his new life."
"That's it?" Donny asked with surprise.
"That's it." Dan confirmed.
"Of course I'll help him. You didn't even need to ask." Donny said a little bit indignantly.
"Well, good." Dan said with a smile, then added, "I'll be around all day. So if you need me for anything, just call the office and they can get in touch with me."
"What about my stuff?" Ronny asked quickly.
"All your things are in the admin building. You'll be able to move them to your new cabin just as soon as the workmen are finished. They should be done with it sometime in the next hour or two." Dan said with a smile.
"My stuff is there too." Donny said casually to Ronny.
"If there's nothing else, I'll leave you guys to it." Dan said cheerfully.
"Wait! Do you know where we're supposed to go next?" Donny asked quickly.
"No one told you?" Dan asked with surprise.
Donny hesitantly shook his head.
"I know that Obie should be going to Science class, but no one mentioned anything to me about the rest of you. Since Derek, I mean, Mr. T is going to be in charge of your cabin, he's the one coordinating everything. Do you know where his classroom is?" Dan asked cautiously.
Ronny shook his head, but Donny answered, "Yes. I've been there twice today."
"Meet with him and he'll take good care of you." Dan said assuringly, then left the room.
* * * * *
"I have to go to my next class." Obie said regretfully as the group walked toward the door.
"Don't worry about it, Obie. We'll be fine. Just focus on what you're going to do when you get to see your brother again." Donny said with a smile.
"Yeah!" Obie said happily.
"We'll see you later." Donny said as they walked outside.
"Yeah! And remember that I'll be in cabin one if you guys need me for anything." Obie said quickly before taking off across the camp toward one of the classrooms.
"What about you, Paul? Do you have something else that you need to be doing right now?" Donny asked curiously.
"I don't know. I'll have to catch up with Jerico and see what's going on." Paul said honestly.
"That's the guy who was driving the truck, your cousin, right?" Donny asked slowly.
"Yeah. When you met us, we were coming to the camp to help with an emergency... that turned out not to be much of an emergency after all. But anyway, we're supposed to be moving in here sometime soon." Paul said frankly.
"That's where we're going." Donny said to Ronny as he pointed at the classroom ahead of them.
Ronny nodded and seemed to be deep in thought.
"If you two are moving into a new cabin, does that mean that you're going to be roommates?" Paul asked curiously.
"I don't know how they do things here. There could be a dozen of us all bunking down in one big room." Donny said frankly.
"In cabin one, they sleep two to a room." Paul said quickly.
"That's how they do it in the girls' cabins, too." Ronny said casually.
After a long moment of silence, Donny asked, "So you've been here for a while, living as a girl?"
"More like, living with the girls." Ronny said with a grimace, then added, "Let's just say, I didn't fit in."
"Okay, I get that." Donny said with a grin.
Paul was chuckling and nodding his agreement as they opened the classroom door.
* * * * *
"Oh good. I'm glad you're back." Mr. T said as he motioned for the boys to come to the front of the room.
"Ronny, I'm Derek Tecumseh, my students call me Mr. T. And, before you ask, the answer is 'yes', Chief Tecumseh is my father." Mr. T said pleasantly.
"It's nice to meet you." Ronny said cautiously.
"Boys, I'd like for all of you to meet Mrs. Morrow. By some great luck, we were able to entice her away from her job as a college professor to take on the challenge of being a teacher, here at the camp." Mr. T said as he indicated the woman standing to greet them.
"Luck and the fact that my Father-In-Law pointed out that this would be an ideal way for me to be able to take a step back from my career for a while and start a family without giving up my first love, which is teaching." She said warmly as she looked at the boys.
"Cynthia, I'd like to introduce you to Ronny, Donny and my nephew, Paul. All three of them will be starting classes next week." Mr. T said pleasantly.
"It's a pleasure to meet all of you." Mrs. Morrow said with a gentle smile.
"Yeah. Same here." Donny said for all of them, then added, "Maybe we'll be in one of your classes."
"Mrs. Morrow has been hired to work with only one student. Since he needs some special attention, we found the best possible person who could provide for his needs." Mr. T said seriously.
"You hired a teacher for just one student?" Paul asked with surprise.
"We do whatever it takes to see that our students have whatever they need to succeed. We would hire a teacher to work one-on-one with each of you if that turned out to be the kind of help that you needed." Mr. T said frankly.
"Well, even if we aren't going to have you for a teacher, it's still nice to meet you." Donny said to Mrs. Morrow sincerely.
"Yes. For me as well." Mrs. Morrow said warmly.
"Now, boys." Mr. T said, as he turned his full attention to them, "I was just told a few minutes ago that the workers are finished with your cabin. It's still going to be a while before you can move in. They're going to be putting in furniture and linens and all the other things you'll be needing. While they're doing that, I thought you could sit over here with Dylan and do a little testing?"
"Testing?" Donny asked with sudden anxiety.
"Yes. We just want to determine your grade level in the various subjects, so we'll know what to start with on Monday when you start classes." Mr. T said pleasantly.
"I haven't been to school for a, um, kind of a long time." Donny said reluctantly.
"Donny, look around this classroom. All the students are different ages and at different scholastic levels. These tests will help us determine your grade level so we can pick up with your studies where you left off. No matter where you end up on the academic scale, there are sure to be some students who will be able to work with you at your own level and a teacher dedicated to teaching you just what you need to know." Mr. T said honestly.
Donny thought about the words and finally nodded.
"Paul, the same goes for you." Mr. T said simply.
"Um, I really need to talk to Jerico to see what he has planned before I start on anything else."
"I already talked to him about this. Besides, he's busy talking with father, finalizing the arrangements for you two to move here and they might be a while." Mr. T said honestly.
"What should I do?" Ronny asked cautiously.
"You have a choice. You can either start back to work where you left off on your studies yesterday, or... you could take the placement test again and possibly improve your standing. Who knows? Maybe, if you try, you'll be able to test out of a few of your least favorite things." Mr. T said with a smile.
Ronny looked at Mr. T with surprise, then quickly nodded his agreement.
"Have a seat and I'll get you some testing materials. Just answer the questions that you know the answers to. Don't guess. There's no pass or fail. This is to show us what you know, so we can teach you what you don't know." Mr. T said with a gesture toward a table where one boy was already seated.
Ronny, Donny and Paul walked to the table and took seats.
"Don't worry about running out of time. You'll be doing more testing tomorrow, so go at your own pace. As soon as your cabin is ready, I'll stop the testing so you can go and see it." Mr. T finished with a smile.
"Don't worry, guys. It's not too bad." The bandaged boy said as he looked up from his test papers.
"Are you ready for a break, Dylan? You've been at it for a while." Mr. T asked with concern.
"Yeah. I feel like I'm starting to go cross-eyed, and that's something since I've only got the one." Dylan said with a smirk.
"Then why don't you take a breather while these guys wait for their test materials to arrive." Mr. T said casually.
"Yeah. Thanks." Dylan said gratefully as he sat up, then looked at Donny and Paul and asked, "So, how is the search for Obie's brother going?"
"Fine. Obie found him." Paul said frankly.
"Really?" Dylan asked with surprise.
"Yeah. He was at the second school we tried." Donny said with a grin at Dylan's disbelief, then noticed that Ronny seemed to be feeling left out.
"I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce you. Dylan, this is Ronny. He's going to be moving into cabin seven with me as soon as it's ready. Ronny, this is Dylan, I met him this morning just after I got here." Donny said somewhat formally.
"Nice to meet you. I got here yesterday. That's why I'm doing the testing." Dylan said frankly.
Ronny nodded his understanding.
Before their conversation could continue, Mr. T turned to his companion and asked, "Cynthia, would you mind helping me gather the test materials for the boys so we can get back to our talk?"
* * * * *
"How are you doing?" Simon asked with concern.
Arlo broke out of his thoughts for a moment, then gave Simon a weak smile before saying, "I'm really fine. Randolph just needs to learn so much that it's kind of overwhelming."
"Do you need for me to get Jerico?" Simon asked with concern.
"No. It's nothing like that." Arlo assured him. "It's just that everything that I've grown up with and that seems so normal to me is all completely new to Randolph. I know that he's doing his best not to distract me, but until he can get a handle on how things work in the twenty-first century, he needs for me to explain things for a while."
After a long, contemplative moment, Simon quietly asked, "You're really at peace with this, aren't you?"
"Yeah. I really am." Arlo said as he looked deeply into Simon's eyes to convey his sincerity.
"Okay. I'll try to ease up on you about it. I was just worried that something was happening to you that was going to hurt you." Simon said as he held Arlo's gaze.
"It might have been bad if the spirit was someone besides Randolph. But he's really okay, I promise. All he wants to do is live and grow and make some kind of contribution to the world. We figure that he and I can manage to do that together." Arlo finished with a smile.
"I don't mean to sound cold, and it's nothing against Randolph personally, but he had his chance. He lived, he died, and now he should move on." Simon said frankly.
"He can't. He's tried." Arlo said simply, then added, "Maybe this is why he's been bound to the earthly plane. He's trapped here because he's not finished, he still has something left to do."
"Then I guess we'd better help him do it, so he can move on." Simon said in a resigned tone.
"Thanks for trying to accept this, Simon. What you think of me matters to me a lot." Arlo said sincerely.
Simon smiled at the words and nodded.
* * * * *
"Hey Paul, how are you doing?" Jerico asked as he walked into the classroom.
"I'm fine. I was just taking some tests so when I start school here, they'll know what to teach me." Paul said happily as he looked up from his test papers.
"Good. I just finished talking with Uncle Hawkeye, and he said that we can start moving in here as soon as Uncle Derek is done moving out of his cabin." Jerico said with a smile.
"So we're still moving into cabin one?" Paul asked to be sure.
"Yes. We talked about it and it seems like it's going to work out best for everyone like this. Uncle Derek has experience with helping new people, so it makes sense for him to move to cabin seven. The cabin one guys have been around for a while, so that'll give us a chance to learn our way around and get settled in, ourselves." Jerico said thoughtfully.
"After meeting the guys last night, I think I'm going to like it there." Paul said with a grand smile.
Jerico watched Paul's expression for a moment, then quietly said, "I have a feeling that it's going to be good for both of us."
"Gentlemen, I've just received word that the cabin is nearly done." Mr. T said as he approached the table.
"Do you want us to finish this?" Dylan asked as he indicated his test papers.
"No. Just set them aside and you can work on them tomorrow. Right now, why don't we all go over and look at cabin seven so Ronny and Donny can start moving in? And after we're done getting the guys settled in, Dylan can go to the admin building to meet with Dr. Dan." Mr. T said seriously, directing his last statement at Dylan.
"Why does he want to meet with me?" Dylan asked cautiously.
"Just to get an idea of your needs so he can present you with some choices." Mr. T said evasively.
Dylan looked at Mr. T expectantly, silently demanding a more satisfactory answer.
"Dylan, you've been through a lot in your life. There are undoubtedly things that you'll need to work through. So Dan would like to talk to you for a few minutes to get an idea of what your needs are, then he'll offer you a few choices about how you might go about getting those needs met." Mr. T said carefully.
"So, it's like, therapy." Dylan asked slowly.
"More like a very basic evaluation." Mr. T said frankly, then continued, "But it's nothing to be worried about. Like I said, he's going to present you with choices. You won't have to do anything. If you'll just go along with it for now and try to keep an open mind, he might come up with something that will be of help to you."
After a moment of thought, Dylan finally reluctantly nodded.
"Come on, the new cabin awaits!" Mr. T said happily, now directing his words to everyone at the table.
* * * * *
As Arlo and Simon walked out of their first afternoon class to move to the second, they spotted a younger boy sitting against the wall outside the classroom door, hugging his knees and crying.
"What's wrong, Max?" Simon asked as he knelt by the distraught boy's side.
Arlo stared at the boy and was trying to understand what he was seeing.
"I don't want to be here." the boy, Max, mumbled.
"What's wrong? Just tell me what I can do to help." Simon said gently.
"Stop being such a little crybaby! I raised you better than this!" A vague cloud of energy screamed from Max's side.
"I miss my brother." Max said before breaking down into fresh tears.
"I'm dead! Whimpering and crying ain't gonna bring me back. Now suck it up and be a man!" the spirit said sourly.
"He can't hear you." Arlo said quietly.
Simon looked up at Arlo with question, then down at Max who was lost in his despair.
"Max is grieving. I'm sorry if that makes you angry, but it just means that he loves you." Arlo said as the cloud of energy started to take on a Human form.
"Yeah. I get that. And I know that he loves me. After our parents died, it was just me and him. We're all we had. But he has to let go. Just because I died, doesn't mean that he should stop living, too." The spirit said, now looking like a hazy, transparent young man.
"Who are you talking to?" Simon asked as he looked at Arlo curiously.
"Max's brother." Arlo said simply.
Max looked up at Arlo suddenly with tears running down his cheeks.
"Max can't hear what you're saying, but I think that he can feel your anger and frustration with him. That's just adding fuel to the fire of his depression." Arlo said carefully.
"Can you please help him to understand? He needs to let go of me. I'm gone and he's in a good place where he has everything he needs to make a wonderful life for himself. But he's not going to achieve anything if he stays focused on what he's lost." The spirit begged.
"Is my brother really here? Can I talk to him?" Max asked hopefully.
Arlo was about to respond, when a voice spoke to him internally.
After a long moment of contemplation, Arlo finally said, "Max, I've never done this before, so it may not work. But I'm going to try to make it possible for your brother to speak through me so you can hear him."
Max's face lit up with joy, then he looked to the seemingly empty space that Arlo had been talking to.
"If there's something you want to tell your brother, you can do it through me. There is a spirit here, his name is Randolph. He'll show you how." Arlo said calmly to the spirit only he could see.
Arlo closed his eyes and seemed to be concentrating.
Simon and Max watched and waited with anticipation, not knowing what to expect.
"Max. I love you, you little monster." A stronger and older voice said from Arlo's mouth.
"Wayne?" Max said in wonder.
"Yeah. Now listen up, Maxie. Cause I'm only going to tell you this once. I'm dead. I did everything that I was supposed to on this Earth, and now I've been called home. You're alive, you've still got stuff to do here. So stop whining and crying and start living. The sooner you start living your life and getting your stuff done, the sooner you'll get it all finished and you'll be able to join me." Wayne said firmly.
"But I miss you!" Max whined.
"I know, and I miss you, too." Wayne said in a softer voice, then added, "But I won't be able to move on until you let go. Little bro, you're keeping me out of heaven."
Max looked into Arlo's eyes with a mix of astonishment and horror.
"I'll always be watching over you, Maxie. But please, if you love me at all, please let me go." Wayne begged.
"I... I'll try. But I'm so alone." Max whispered.
"Yeah, but whose fault is that? Everyone in this place has been trying to help you, but you keep pushing them away. Listen to me Max, these are good people. They'll help you if you'll let them." Wayne said seriously.
"Okay." Max said reluctantly.
"This Randolph guy is telling me that I need to give Arlo his body back, so just remember what I said. You've got stuff to do. Get to it." Wayne said firmly.
"I will." Max muttered.
"Give me a hug, you little monster." Wayne said affectionately as he opened his arms.
Max launched himself into Wayne's arms and hugged him desperately.
"I'll be watching from the other side. Make me proud." Wayne whispered as he returned the hug.
"I will." Max promised.
"Laterz." Wayne said quickly, then Arlo's arms suddenly went slack.
"Wayne?" Max asked in panic as he backed away from Arlo and saw no expression on his face.
"Arlo, are you alright?" Simon asked as he moved closer to Arlo's side, to catch him in case he fell.
"The experience of allowing the ghost to speak through him has caused Arlo to become fatigued. Please, be assured that he is well. He simply needs to rest for a time."
"Randolph?" Simon asked hesitantly as he moved back a step.
"Yes. Arlo has receded and I will continue on in his place until he is rested." Randolph said properly.
"But if channeling that other spirit made him that tired, won't the same thing happen with you?" Simon asked curiously.
"No. Arlo and I share our essence, our energy. My presence does not diminish him. But allowing the foreign energy to flow through him was taxing on him." Randolph said seriously, then quietly added, "Arlo wishes to tell you something."
Simon looked at Randolph with surprise, then quickly nodded.
"I'm okay. Really. I just need to rest for a little bit. Will you help Randolph to cover for me in class so no one notices that I'm not really there?" Arlo asked in a small voice.
"Yeah. Go rest, buddy. Randolph and I will handle it." Simon said with a smile at his friend.
"Thank you." Arlo whispered, then his facial expression went blank.
Simon looked down at Max, who was watching everything with wonder. Finally he asked, "How are you doing, Max?"
The boy looked up at Simon, then at Arlo again before saying, "I don't know... but I'm late for class."
"What class are you supposed to be in right now?" Simon asked curiously.
"Mrs. Walking Eagle's math." Max said with a crinkled nose.
"I'll walk you to class and explain to her why you were late. You won't get into any trouble." Simon said assuringly.
Max blinked at him, then stammered with surprise, "Thanks."
Simon smiled, then gestured for Max and Arlo to walk with him.
"Who is Randolph?" Max asked Simon curiously.
"Why don't you ask him?" Simon said with a smile at the younger boy.
Max cautiously looked up at Arlo and quietly asked, "Are you a ghost, like my brother?"
Randolph seemed to be considering the question, then finally said, "Yes and no. Like your brother, I was once alive and am now dead. But unlike him, I didn't have anyone in the world of the living who I loved, or, in fact, who loved me."
"Then why are you still here?" Max asked curiously.
"Although I cannot be sure, I believe it is because there are still things here, on the earthly plane, that I am meant to do." Randolph said carefully.
"Things? Like what?" Max asked curiously.
"Perhaps, things like helping Arlo to help you and your brother." Randolph said seriously.
Before they could discuss it any further, they had arrived at Max's classroom.
"I'll be right back." Simon said to Randolph, then walked into the classroom with Max.
Randolph looked down at his 'flesh and blood' hands, then around at the beautiful surroundings of the camp. He was overwhelmed by a feeling of serenity that he hadn't known in all his life... or since.
* * * * *
"Wow. This is nice!" Donny said when the group walked into the main room of the cabin.
"It's bigger than the girl's cabins." Ronny said as he looked around curiously.
"They've updated the design with each new set of buildings, taking into account what the people thought of the previous design. I guess someone thought that they needed more space in the common room." Mr. T said as he walked around slowly.
"Look at this view!" Dylan said with a smile as he looked out the picture window.
"Most of the cabins are situated to afford the best..." Mr. T started to say, then said in astonishment, "That view is breathtaking."
Jerico and Paul walked up on the left as Ronny and Donny walked up on the right.
"Okay, I was wrong." Donny said frankly. "This isn't a group home or a prison, it's a resort!"
"As good as." Ronny said with a nod.
"Let's check out the bedrooms. Since we're the first one's living here, we get to pick which room we want." Donny said with a grin, then looked at Mr. T and asked, "Isn't that right?"
"That's how it works." Mr. T said with a smile, then gently continued, "Go on."
Paul walked to the fireplace and looked at the large, ornate mirror hanging over the mantle.
"It's really very beautiful." Jerico said as he slowly looked around.
"It's got lots of nice things, but in the end, it's just a house. What's going to make it special is when everyone gets moved in here and we make it a home." Mr. T said seriously.
"Do you think it's going to be hard on the guys for you to move out of Cabin One?" Jerico asked cautiously.
"No. They're a fairly self sufficient group of guys. I could go for a week at a time without anyone knocking on the connecting door to my apartment." Mr. T said frankly.
Jerico nodded, then quietly asked, "Do you think I'll do okay as their house parent. I'm not that much older than Uri and Devon."
Mr. T chuckled, then said, "You'll be fine. They already respect you. That's the hard part. All the rest is just getting used to living together in the same space."
"Can we see the apartment?" Paul asked hopefully as he walked up to Jerico and Mr. T.
"Yes. That's a good idea. That will give you an idea of the layout for when you move your things in." Mr. T said frankly.
"When will that be, anyway?" Paul asked curiously.
"What with classes and all the different appointments, I think the best time for me to move will be after classes tomorrow. I suppose that you could move in anytime after that." Mr. T said thoughtfully.
"Would you mind if we borrow a couple of the guys to help us pack? It would make things run a lot smoother." Jerico asked carefully.
"Well, some of the guys have things going on today, you know, appointments and things like that. But if you can find a few who are free and willing to help, then I see no problem with it." Mr. T said, then opened the door to the apartment.
"I'll start asking around to see if anyone wants to help." Paul said happily.
Jerico smiled at his cousin and nodded his agreement before walking through the door into the apartment with Dylan following a step behind.
* * * * *
"Which one do you like best?" Ronny asked as he looked into one bedroom door, then another.
"Well, they're all great. But I think I really like the one next to the apartment door the best. It's got the best view and I just feel like I could really relax there." Donny said frankly.
"Yeah. Me too." Ronny said with a nod.
"I guess that since you're wanting to live as a guy, that you might want to room with a 'guy' guy. I mean, since I'm gay, I'm probably not going to act like a straight guy. You might want to talk about girls or monster trucks or whatever it is that straight guys talk about."
"Well, I can see what you're saying. And if you don't want me as a roommate, just say so. But as far as your argument goes, I think that you might be the ideal roommate for me right now, because I'm going through a transition. Going from girl to 'guy' guy might be too big a jump for me all at once." Ronny said frankly.
"Hey, as far as I'm concerned, you're the perfect roommate for me, too. You're a guy, so I can be comfortable around you. Since you got no dick, there's no chance that I'll get the hots for you and make everything complicated between us. Honestly, I can't think of anyone better." Donny finished with a grin.
"Well, I guess that since I'm into girls, you wouldn't have to worry about me getting hot for you either. And even though you're gay, you're not all femmy, so I think it'll work out great for me, too." Ronny said happily.
"Then I guess we need to go over to the admin building and get our stuff so we can move in." Donny said with a smile.
"Sounds good!" Ronny said, then turned toward the door.
* * * * *
"How are you doing, Dylan?" Jerico asked him quietly while Mr. T was talking with Paul.
"Fine. Why?" Dylan asked hesitantly.
"You're being awfully quiet. There's just been a lot of things going on since you got here, and I could understand it if you were a little freaked out, especially by some of the more... 'paranormal' happenings." Jerico said slowly, obviously carefully choosing his words.
Dylan smiled, then said, "You don't have to worry about that. I lived on the streets for a lot of years. The people you meet there aren't... normal. The people who hear voices and see things that aren't there usually end up on the streets, fighting to survive. In a situation like that, you learn to accept that some people see a different reality, and you learn to buy into their point of view so you can understand them, at least a little."
"So you think we're all nuts?" Jerico asked hesitantly.
Dylan chuckled, then said, "No. I think the world is nuts. I know that I've seen enough to believe that there are ghosts and things out there that 'normal' people don't believe in. Some of the people on the streets try to fight it with Lukumi or Voodoo. But people like me just try to steer clear of anyone caught up in that."
"That sounds like a good idea." Jerico said quietly.
Dylan shrugged, then said, "It doesn't always work. Sometimes you get pulled in whether you want to be or not."
Jerico nodded his agreement.
"I think Arlo's like that. He didn't want to have anything to do with it, but it happened anyway." Dylan said frankly.
"What is his situation, as you see it?" Jerico asked curiously.
"It looks to me like there was this guy who died a long time ago. His spirit floated around, not really being able to do much of anything, until it found Arlo. When it went into him, it was like him being alive again. So now Arlo's got this spirit in him, who is just happy to be alive again, or nearly, anyway. And I think, from the way I understood it, Arlo feels like, because that guy is in there, there's no room for any more spirits, so he's safe from being taken over by something that would hurt him or his friends." Dylan said thoughtfully.
Jerico slowly nodded, then quietly said, "It does seem that way on the surface. I'm just concerned because there is a class of spirit, the inhumans, that tend to mimic the actions of a weaker, more docile spirit until they've gained a foothold, then their true nature will come through. They're malevolent and extremely powerful."
"Do you think that's what Arlo has?" Dylan asked with concern.
"I don't know. The only thing I can do at this point is watch and listen." Jerico said frankly.
"I'll keep an eye on him for you. If he does anything that worries me, I'll let you know." Dylan said slowly, then added, "But I think this ghost is for real."
"I really hope so for Arlo's sake, because inhumans can be incredibly powerful. I don't think I could expel one on my own." Jerico said quietly.
* * * * *
"Hey guys, how do you like the place?" Paul asked when he saw Ronny and Donny walking out of one of the bedrooms.
"It's better than my best dream." Donny said with a smile.
Ronny considered the response, then nodded his agreement.
"Do you guys have anything going on tonight?" Paul asked with a hopeful smile.
"No. We were just about to go get our stuff from the administration building, but once we're unpacked, I don't think we have anything going on at all." Donny said thoughtfully, then looked at Ronny for confirmation.
A shrug was Ronny's only answer.
"Well, if you guys want to, you could come over to my house and help me and Jerico pack our stuff so we can move here." Paul said in a rush, then hurried to add, "And you could have dinner with us and meet my family. It'll be fun!"
Donny looked at Ronny with question, obviously letting him decide for both of them.
"I haven't been outside the camp since I got here a couple weeks ago. I guess that maybe it'd be nice to go and do something." Ronny said uncertainly.
Donny smiled at the answer, then said, "Sure. If Mr. T doesn't have anything else for us to do."
Rather than respond to the statement, Paul dashed down the hallway and back through the door of the apartment.
"It's been so long since anyone wanted me, you know, like this... innocently. It's a good feeling." Donny said with a wistful smile.
"It's been a long time since anyone wanted me for anything at all." Ronny said frankly.
Donny looked at Ronny with concern, letting it be known with his expression that he'd be willing to listen.
"I'm sure you can imagine how it's been for me, you know, at home, at school, in the girl's cabin." Ronny said quietly, then looked Donny in the eyes as he continued, "For the first time in... maybe ever, I think that things are going to be better."
Donny thought about the words and couldn't think of any way to respond except to nod his agreement to the sentiment.
* * * * *
"Guys! Uncle Derek and Jerico said that it's okay! You can come over!" Paul said joyfully as he raced back through the apartment door.
"Good. Then maybe, since we'll be helping you to move, you could help us get our stuff from the administration building?" Donny asked with a grin.
"Sure! That's only fair!" Paul said happily.
Ronny chuckled at Paul's innocent joy and happily followed along as Paul led the way out of the cabin.
* * * * *
"Hey guys, how's it going with helping the Clan guys with their stuff?" Devon asked as he met up with Luke and Mouse outside their classroom.
"Everyone that we've talked to seems to be doing okay. They understand it and stuff, they just needed time to do their work." Mouse said frankly.
Luke silently nodded his agreement.
"Same here. I was afraid when we started this that we'd be getting in over our heads, but it looks like it's working out alright." Devon said frankly.
"Where's Uri?" Mouse asked as he looked around curiously. He wasn't used to seeing Devon without him.
"He wanted to check on Dylan. You know, since Dylan's new and everything, he just wanted to be sure that he's not feeling ignored." Devon said frankly.
"Yeah. It's tough being new." Mouse said thoughtfully, then lit up as he said, "Did you hear that Obie found his brother?"
"Yes. It's hard to believe that after all these years, they were able to find him in one morning." Devon said honestly.
Mouse shrugged, then said, "I guess they probably could have found him a lot sooner if they knew to look for him. They thought he was dead."
"As bad as that is, at least Obie's brother will know that someone cared for him and went to the trouble to look for him once they knew he was alive." Devon said darkly.
"What's wrong?" Mouse asked with concern.
"I don't know. I guess I've been thinking about my parents. It just bothers me that after everything that happened with my grandparents, they didn't come back or try to get in touch with me." Devon said quietly.
"Fuck them!" Mouse said firmly, then looked around quickly to see if anyone else had heard him. Once he was sure they hadn't, Mouse continued, "Everyone here at the camp loves you. EVERYONE! So if your parents are too busy to pay attention to their own kid, it's them that's got the problem. There's nothing wrong with you."
Luke smiled at Mouse, then looked up at Devon and nodded his agreement.
"Thanks, Mouse." Devon said with a smile at the younger boy, then put an arm around his shoulders as he said, "I guess I knew that, but every now and then it's nice to hear it."
"Come on, we're going to be late for art class." Mouse said as he quickly returned the hug.
"Right." Devon said with a smile, then put his other arm around Luke's shoulders and guided him to walk with them to the art building.
* * * * *
"Is that everything?" Paul asked as they walked out of the administration building each carrying a few pieces of luggage.
"Yeah. I never was able to get too many things because I was always moving." Donny said frankly as he held up his two small suitcases as evidence.
"I just hate shopping. As long as I have a few jeans and a few shirts, I'm good to go." Ronny said casually.
"Getting you two unpacked shouldn't take very long then..." Paul said in a leading tone.
"No. I don't think it will." Donny said with a conspiratorial smile at Ronny.
"As far as I know, Jerico shouldn't need to do anything else around here. So we could probably leave as soon as you're done." Paul said happily.
"Do you have a lot of stuff to pack?" Ronny asked curiously.
"No. I mean, I've got more than you two, but not a lot." Paul said frankly.
"What about Jerico?" Donny asked as he glanced at Paul.
"I don't know. I've only been in his room a few times. But I don't think he has very much either. Mostly books." Paul said thoughtfully.
"What are we going to do about boxes?" Ronny asked suddenly.
"Oh, I hadn't thought about that." Paul said slowly.
Donny walked ahead of them and opened the front door, then stood aside as Ronny and Paul walked through.
* * * * *
"It looks like you guys are getting settled in pretty well." Mr. T said as he looked into the bedroom.
"Yeah. Paul helped us carry our things over. Neither one of us had that much." Donny said frankly.
"Uncle Derek, I'm going to need to pack my stuff, but I don't have any boxes. Do you know where we could get some?" Paul asked hopefully.
Mr. T smiled at Paul, then said, "We have some empty carryall containers in the store room. As long as you promise to bring them back when you're finished, you can borrow them for the move."
"Do you guys want to help me get them?" Paul asked Donny and Ronny hopefully.
"Did you have anything else that you needed for us to do before we go to Paul's house?" Donny asked Mr. T cautiously.
Mr. T made a show of thinking about the question, then said, "No. Although all three of you still have testing to do, it's nothing that can't wait until tomorrow. And I think it would do you two a lot of good to spend some time outside the camp, just to reassure yourselves that you're not prisoners here."
"Yeah. I'm sorry I said that." Donny said quietly, then added, "I guess I was just scared because I didn't really know what was going to happen to me."
"I think anyone in your situation would have felt exactly the same way. There's nothing at all for you to be sorry about." Mr. T said warmly, then looked at the three boys before continuing, "Just remember that tomorrow is a school day. Don't stay up too late and be sure to be to class on time. Testing starts at 9:00am."
"Me too?" Paul asked to be sure.
"You have testing to do, don't you?" Mr. T asked with raised eyebrows.
"Yeah. I'll be there." Paul responded with a smile, happy that he was being included as 'one of the guys'.
"Go to the admin building and ask Mrs. Hawk about the carryalls. She'll sign them out to you, and then you'll have everything you'll need to get started." Mr. T said with a smile at the boys.
"Thanks for, you know, being nice and not too strict with us, Mr. T." Donny said as he looked into Mr. T's eyes.
"The three of you are almost adults. It's about time someone trusted you and allowed you to make some decisions for yourselves. Now, go. Have fun. Enjoy some freedom." Mr. T finished with a smile.
Donny returned the smile, then urged his companions to walk with him, out of the room.
* * * * *
"Are you guys ready to go?" Mr. T asked as he walked into the apartment.
"Yeah. I think I have a pretty good idea of how I'll make things work." Jerico said with a smile.
"Are you going to have enough room for you and Paul, both?" Mr. T asked with concern.
"Yes. It shouldn't be any problem. If everyone else in the cabin can share a bedroom, so can we." Jerico said casually.
"Well, if it turns out to be a problem, just let me know. We'll figure something out." Mr. T said as he looked into Jerico's eyes.
"Right. I will." Jerico said as he realized that Mr. T had some knowledge of his past.
"The guys are getting carryall containers at the administration building right now, so you'd probably better get ready to go." Mr. T said with a smile.
"Yeah. I wonder if there's going to be more packing or goofing around accomplished tonight." Jerico said with a grin.
"Don't begrudge them a little fun. It's good for the soul." Mr. T said warmly.
"I'll keep that in mind." Jerico said with a smile.
"Is there something that I should be doing right now?" Dylan asked uncertainly.
"No. You'll be having a talk with Dr. Dan soon, and depending on how that goes, you may be sitting in on one of the group sessions, later." Mr. T said as he gestured for the others to walk with him.
* * * * *
At the sound of his name, Dylan turned and smiled when he saw the large teenager barreling toward him.
"Hi Uri. How are you doing?" Dylan asked happily.
"I am well. I simply wanted to see how you are doing." Uri said as he fell into place, walking at Dylan's side.
"I'm fine. Mr. T is just taking me to meet with Dr. Dan for a few minutes." Dylan said honestly.
"Have you made any plans for this evening?" Uri asked curiously.
"No. I mean, Mr. T said that Dr. Dan may want for me to sit in on some group therapy thing or something like that. But that's just 'maybe'. I don't know of anything for sure." Dylan said slowly.
"Hold on, Uri. It looks like Dylan may have some company." Mr. T said as he pointed to a man walking toward the administration building.
"Lieutenant Masterson!" Dylan called and waved, to get his attention.
The man turned and smiled when he saw Dylan.
"Dylan! You're looking a lot better today." Lieutenant Masterson said with a smile as he hurried to join their group.
"Are you here to visit me?" Dylan asked hesitantly, not quite willing to believe.
"Yep. I sure am. Do you like fish and chips?" Lieutenant Masterson asked with a big grin.
"Sure. I never met a food I didn't like." Dylan said happily.
"I was thinking that, if you wanted, we could go out and get something to eat, then maybe see a movie or walk around the mall." Lieutenant Masterson said hesitantly, then noticed Uri at Dylan's side and said, "You could invite your friend to come with us if you'd like."
Dylan was surprised and was about ready to explain that he and Uri were just friends, but after a moment to consider, he realized that he didn't detect any innuendo in the offer, it was simply an innocent invitation.
"Would you like to go for fish and chips with us, Uri?" Dylan asked hopefully.
"Thank you, no." Uri said regretfully, and it seemed to Dylan that he was fighting back tears at saying the words.
"Why? Is something wrong?" Dylan asked with concern.
"It is just that... I can not. In accordance with my religious faith, I choose to keep kosher." Uri said in a voice so low that it could barely be heard.
Dylan thought for a moment, then turned to Lieutenant Masterson and asked, "Is there anyplace that you know of that serves kosher food where Uri could eat with us, too?"
"I don't know." Lieutenant Masterson said as he took out his phone, then said, "Give me a second."
"You don't have to change your plans for me." Uri hurried to explain.
"I know I don't have to." Dylan said slowly, then gave Uri a friendly smile.
"How about this?" Lieutenant Masterson said in prelude, drawing their attention back to him, "I'm really in the mood for some good fish and chips. There's a kosher deli a block and a half from the fish and chips place. So why don't we get carryout from both, and then have sort of a picnic in the park?"
"Hey, that sounds great." Dylan said happily.
Uri was stunned into speechlessness at the offer and was only able to manage to nod his head in agreement.
"Oh! I'm supposed to talk to Dr. Dan." Dylan said suddenly.
"Don't worry about that. I'll let Dan know that something important came up. You guys go and have fun." Mr. T said with a smile.
"Let's go in and get you guys signed out." Lieutenant Masterson said cheerfully.
Dylan smiled at him, and then up at his much larger companion.
"Thank you." Uri whispered as a single tear trailed down his cheek.
It took a moment for Dylan to comprehend just how much it meant to Uri to be wanted and included. On impulse, Dylan put an arm around Uri and gave him a quick, firm hug, then said, "Come on. I'm hungry."
Well, it seems that some wonderful things have happened. For one thing, now that Obie has found Amos, both boys will have a chance to get to know one another.
Donny and Ronny seem to be getting along really nicely.
Randolph had a chance to help someone who couldn't communicate with his brother, actually, neither brother could communicate with the other, and Arlo wasn't quite strong enough on his own to facilitate the exchange, but Randolph did a fine job.
I really don't think that Jerico has to worry about Randolph being an evil spirit, He and Arlo get along very well together.
I am so glad that Uri and Dylan were able to get to spend some time together. I think their friendship is going to grow, and you can never have too many friends.
It's funny how certain things give me goosebumps or make me cry.
Seeing how good Uri felt about what Dylan and Lt. Masterson did, so they could all eat together, was one of those moments. It was really special.
It was also special to see the reaction between Max and his brother, once Arlo and Randolph put their two cents in. Those two make quite a team.
And now we meet a new teacher. Cynthia Morrow. I wonder why that name sounds so familiar. She's a college professor. She wants to step back a little and start a family. All of those things sound very good, and I am sure the student is going to be very happy to have her teach him.
Thank you, MultiMapper for another wonderful visit with the CLE guys.
I have been reading MultiMapper's stories for a long time, and I have yet to be disappointed when I get a new chapter.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher