Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 19
We spent an hour in the barn - it was enormous. Fifteen stalls ran down each side of the main corridor, with ells breaking off in the center. To the left was an indoor arena that was at least a hundred and fifty feet long and half as wide. The other ell was devoted to places where the horses were washed, groomed, and generally cared for; including a tread mill that filled with water.
Andrew chose a black Freisen gelding that looked like you could go to war on him. He told Byron that Aiden was probably gonna want the big chestnut horse that had nickered at us. He took a picture of him, and sent it to Aiden.
Andrew looked at Oliver and grinned. “What are ya thinkin? Wanna ride?”
Oliver grabbed his hand and said, “Maybe I can try it with you sometime, but maybe not now.”
After looking at the horses, we drove a quarter of a mile to the cow barn that didn’t look anything like the normal Midwest red barn that I always picture when I think about barns. In fact, it looked kinda minimalist. When we got inside and met Armin, it was obvious that this was not a barn where the farmer sat on a stool and milked the cows by hand. Rather, it was a modern, technologically up to date dairy operation. It was so clean. The Morgan family had obviously sunk prodigious amounts of money into this farm.
Andrew and Oliver went off on a tour of the operation while I sat down and really talked to Armin.
I said, “I’m told you do a good job running this cheese business.”
He was sitting bolt upright. “And the cows too! We can’t forget them. They make it possible.” His way of speaking was precise and as bolt upright as his posture. My feeling was that this place was run like a Swiss watch. My next feeling was that the Morgan family had never taken the business seriously.
“My only instructions to you would be to make the best cheese on earth; and to find other products to make that will compliment it. For instance, I have a company in Italy that makes a wonderful olive oil. I’m hoping that eventually they can be marketed together; along with the addition of the other products. The most important thing to me is that all of it be the best.”
While I was talking, Armin was nodding. “It can be done … all of it can be done. Honey for instance, or clotted cream. My wife makes amazing clotted cream. And fruit preserves! The list is endless.”
When I heard the boys returning, we got up and shook hands. “You’ve met Gavin. Give it some thought; and when you’re ready, let him know. We can talk in greater detail then.”
Oliver ran into the room, followed by Andrew and Byron. “I sat on a horse!” His eyes were bright and dancing. “He didn’t get mad or nothin. But he snickered at me.” He looked at Andrew to check the word, who shook his head. “No, he nickered at me! We used to have a horse in Florida, but nobody let me sit on it.” As he was speaking, I saw something in his eyes shutting down. The last few days had pushed it back a bit, but it was all still right there … hiding … waiting to pop out.
On the way home, Oliver was wound up ... the horses had made quite an impression.
“Did you see the Shetland ponies? The little horses? They were so nice. I petted one.”
While Andrew and Oliver were reliving their afternoon in the backseat, I was scanning the emails on my phone in the front seat.
I read an email from my dad. “Aiden and his girlfriend broke up. Well actually, she broke up with him; and he’s not taking it well. He wants to get out of here, at least for a while. So I suggested he transfer to UWM there in Milwaukee, at least for a semester. That would also be good for getting him some experience with the actual work of the trust. He’s going to have to set up the office we have planned there eventually anyway. He’d have to do it while still going to school, but he knows that. Connie is working on finding him someone to help him. Can you and Nick tolerate him for a while?”
I quickly sent Nick a text message, asking him if he had any misgivings, and his almost instant reply was that it’d be great. He really does like my brothers. I answered the email and told my dad that it’d be fine. Then I thought, and not for the first time, that my brothers create a sexual atmosphere wherever they are; and I had noticed that Nick was even randier when they were around.
I looked back at Oliver and Andrew, who were telling each other kid jokes. Like “Why was the broom late? Because it over swept.” I could understand Oliver knowing so many of those, because for him it was current, but Andrew matched him joke for joke.
I smiled at Oliver, and glanced at Andrew. He looked at me for a moment, then smiled a little sadly, and said softly, “Dad told you?”
He said, “I was hoping it wasn’t true; you know, for his sake; and like maybe they’d patch things up.”
Oliver noticed the change in us and said, “Huh?”
Andrew laughed, bent over and kissed the top of his head. “You’re gonna like your Uncle Aiden.”
I don’t suppose Oliver really had a clue about what had just been said, but he certainly understood that Andrew and I seemed happier about it in the end. Then I remembered how much I hated it as a kid when people didn’t tell me what was going on. It was like being patted on the head and told to go play.
“Your Uncle Aiden decided he’d like to go to school in Milwaukee, so he’ll be coming and staying with us for a while. You’ll like him. He’s just like this guy.” I pointed at Andrew.
Andrew concentrated on Oliver. “Don’t get all thinkin about this. He really wants to meet you. Just be your own sweet self.”
Andrew looked at me. “So what’s the plan? He going to college here?”
I nodded. “UWM. My guess is the dads have already handled that. And dad wants him to start up an office for the trust here. That’s not new; they’d already planned that; although not with him running it. They figure on it being good for him. You know, being in on it from the beginning.”
Oliver looked at Andrew. “Does Aiden like horses?”
“Dude, he loves ‘em; just like me. We had horses growing up. Even Chris loves ‘em. We each had our own horse.”
My stomach started growling, and I said, “I’m getting hungry. What do you guys want for dinner?”
Andrew instantly said, “Steak!”
I laughed. “You must be learning by now that steaks are not always the best thing for you.”
He grinned. “I know … I just don’t care. Maybe when I’m thirty, I’ll be a vega; but right now, I need my strength.”
I said to Oliver, “How about you? What are you in the mood for?”
“Spaghetti. With meatballs!”
I said, “Nick likes Italian food too. There’s a new place only a couple miles from the house. I’m sure they can make a steak in addition to the pasta.”
The ride home took twenty minutes, and Nick was pulling into the garage just ahead of us. He got out of his car carrying his briefcase and said, “How was it?”
I said, “Everybody gets a horse. Want one … there’s lots?”
Nick grinned, walked over to Oliver and pulled him against his side in a kind of straight guy hug. Then Andrew walked over and hugged Nick.
Nick looked down at Oliver and said, “What kinda horse did you get?”
“I didn’t pick one yet, cause I gotta think about it first, but Uncle Andrew got a big one.”
Andrew said, “A big black Freisen. A beautiful horse.”
Nick said, “How many have we got?”
I said “Ahhh” and looked at Andrew.
“There were eighteen, Chris; and like a million cows.”
Oliver said, “The cows were nice. They didn’t do much, but they looked happy.”
I slipped off my jacket and asked, “You guys want beers or something? I’ll order the food.” I looked down at Oliver, smiled and said, “You’re too young for beer, but I can fix you up with a soda or something.”
Nick said, “I gotta pee,” then Andrew said, “I gotta pee, too.”
I yelled after them, “Steak for Andrew, and some sort of Italian for Nick?” They both nodded, and I figured that was the best I was gonna get from them.
I said to Oliver. “I’m gonna have the same thing you’re having.” In the end, Nick had beef braised in Barolo, which kinda turned out to be an Italian version of beef stew; and Andrew had a nice looking, but very small steak.
Later, while Andrew was telling Oliver stories, Nick fucked my brains out in the shower before we all went to bed. I could hear the boys talking for awhile, then silence.
Five minutes later, Oliver came into our room and knelt next to my side of the bed.
He whispered practically right in my ear, “I gotta go to school, right?”
I said softly, “We gotta go next week and talk to the school guy, the principal or dean … or whatever they’re called now.”
“I dunno, maybe.”
“You went to school in Florida?”
“I was supposed to, but then … things got bad. My dad was gonna take me and pick me up.”
“We’ll do that here too. You’ll see - it’ll be good.”
He didn’t say anything for a while, then said, “I don’t like to think about it, but sometimes I can’t help it.” I knew he wasn’t talking about school.
I nodded, but in the dark he probably couldn’t see it. “I know. You’ll see … it’ll get better … lots better. My mom and dad died in a car crash when I was about your age, and the only person I had was your mom. That wasn’t good.” He made a sound in his throat.
“Anyway, I got through it. And you’re gonna get through it too. Once you get in school and make a few friends, things will return to normal … and it’ll get better fast.”
He sighed and touched my forehead with his. “I know.”
“You gonna sleep in here or your bed?”
“My bed. Uncle Andrew said if I got scared, I could come to his room.”
I touched the side of Oliver’s head with my fingers and said, “Okay.” And with that, Puppy appeared, danced on his toes for a moment, then turned around; and Oliver followed him out.
I had gotten an email from Jack saying that the funeral home was expecting the bodies of my sister and Oliver’s dad tomorrow. I was unsure of what to do. It seemed that it’d be better to get the funeral over with as quickly as possible; but I had no idea how Oliver would react to the whole thing. It seemed like the best thing to do was to keep it low key - that would be the least disruptive thing to do.
I laid there for a couple more minutes thinking about Oliver and the stuff he would continue to have to deal with, then rolled over and tried to sleep. Something I had seen a few days ago had been nagging at my subconscious … but somehow had managed to stay just out of my grasp. Like when you put something down, like your keys, then ten seconds later can’t find them. They have to be there … but where? I ran through all the possibilities, Nick, Oliver, my brothers, the dads, security, the farm, the business? Nothing seemed to lift its head when I moved my mental hand over it; so I decided to put it out of my mind and let it volunteer when it was ready. And with the warmth of Nick’s chest pressed to my back, I slept.
In the morning, Andrew was in the kitchen making something that smelled good. He was wearing a tee shirt, and the same blue boxers that he and Aiden always wore. He shoved a cup of coffee in front of me.
“Morning, Chris. Eggs?”
“Sure.” I took a sip of the coffee. “Where do you guys get that same underwear all the time, and why?”
He turned from the stove and smiled. Then he quickly twisted his hips back and forth, and his cock obscenely flipped back and forth. “Comfort. Dick room. We got the idea from Alex, cause he wears ‘em. As far as I know, the only place to get ‘em is at Neiman Marcus. The brand is Hanro, and the price is kinda extreme; but you’ve got a fucking plane, so you can certainly afford seventy-five bucks for underwear. But from your point of view … to keep Nick hot after your tail … I’d stay with what you’re wearing. Your butt looks amazing; and I say that in a very brotherly way.”
That made me feel good. It was pretty much the closest that one of my brothers had ever gotten to complimenting my looks … even if it was just my ass.
I asked him, “Have you heard from Aiden?”
“He was in Des Moines at five this morning. He got a motel last night, but woke up after a couple of hours and headed out again. So he should be here around noon. You gonna be here?”
“No, I’ll be at work. Why?”
“He needs you to talk to him, Chris. I been doin it, but it’s not the same.”
“He’s that bad?”
Andrew smiled. “Neither of us has ever had to go through this before. He thought she was totally into him; so he’s kinda fucked up. Not like suicidal or anything, but he needs you.”
I thought about it, then said, “Okay. I’ll work it out. I got meetings, but that can be done on the computer. We’ll work it out.”
Something occurred to me; so I got up, checked that Oliver wasn’t downstairs yet, and waved Andrew over to sit next to me.
I spoke softly. “Oliver’s mom’s and dad’s bodies will be here … I dunno, maybe today. If I schedule the funeral for the end of the week, can you be here?”
He looked down at his coffee, and then said softly, “Everyone will be here for him, Chris … everyone.”
And so it was done. On Thursday a jet from Maryland landed carrying my granddads David and Mark; along with David’s long term chief of staff Joan, who was looking quite old. The jet from Denver carried my dads, along with Connie and her husband, Mr. And Mrs. Carlementi, the trust guy, and Bob and Becky, Larry’s sister and brother-in-law. Jack came from my office, along with George and his wife, and of course, Gavin.
My brothers had gone to the funeral home early and organized everything.
Oliver looked stunned, but how could he not. He was meeting a slew of relatives and their friends that he had never laid eyes on before.
Andrew and Aiden came up to us and said, “We’re gonna take Oliver in by ourselves, so that he doesn’t have to see everyone watching. Then we can get on with it.”
Mark and David were standing just behind us talking to Jack and Joan; and apparently, Mark had heard the twins, because he turned and looked at us, walked over and gestured with his head at the rows of chairs, and told them, “Go sit.” They looked at him for an instant, turned as one, and went over and sat down.
The next thing, Nick went over to where Oliver was standing with the twins, pick him up and speak softly into his ear. Then still holding him, turn to the twins and say “Come on you two”; and started to the other room where the caskets were.
Oliver had laid his head on Nick's shoulder, but when he opened his eyes and looked at me … I excused myself and followed them.