Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 20
The funeral home was beautiful if you like that sort of thing. Personally, I'm not a fan of funerals especially the smell of those flowers. Why is it that regular flowers don't seem to smell like that? When I die you can toss me by the side of the road, I don't care. Dead is dead. But this wasn't about me but about Oliver and he looked terrified and more than a little confused.
Nick had set him down while he went over to talk to the dads and Oliver was looking up and around. I took his hand and said, “C’mon over here.” We walked over and sat as far away from the caskets as possible. Actually, I sat and Oliver pushed himself between my legs and pressed his forehead against my chest. I put my hand on the back of his neck and ran my fingers over his silky hair.
“Have you ever done this before?”
He shook his head without ever moving it from my chest.
“You know your mom and dad are in those boxes?”
“Is this gonna freak you out, is it something you really want to do? Do you need to look at their bodies to say goodbye to them?”
He looked up at me and whispered, “I just wanna see my dad.”
"Gotcha. Here's what we're gonna do. I’m gonna pick you up and carry you over there and you can look at your dad for as long as you want to. When you wanna go just tell me and then, if that’s what you want, we’re gone. Got it?” I had battled with myself every day since we got Oliver about this day and whether it was necessary or even wise.
He nodded, I kissed his forehead picked him up and walked over to the casket. His dad was a nice-looking guy. Better than I remembered and this time there were no visible bullet holes. The last time I saw him there was. Everyone in the room was watching us and I saw Nick head over to us. When Oliver first looked down at his dad he just said, “Oh.” Then he buried his face in my neck. I looked at Nick and said, “We’re gonna go sit down. How long we gotta stay here?”
He put his hand lightly on the back of Oliver’s head and said softly, “Gimme a couple of minutes to answer that.” Then he walked over to where everyone else was standing and whispered to Alex. After Nick had spoken to my dad’s for a few seconds, Alex glanced quickly at us and gave Nick a nod. Then David came over to them and they talked for a minute.
David walked over to Oliver and me and said, “Do you have food at home for this whole crew? I was thinking of a restaurant but home would be better.”
I nodded. “Caterers for twenty, steak, chicken or Lobster Newburg.” Even as I said it it seemed odd. The Lobster Newburg was for Larry who had told me once that that was one of his favorite things to eat. That was probably ten years ago and I can’t believe I remembered it. I remember he was getting dressed to go to his office and I was in wonder at how handsome he looked in his suit and how great his aftershave smelled.
David asked me, “Is this too many people, I mean would it be too much?” I knew what he was asking. Could Oliver handle it?
I shook my head. “No, that’d be good. Ah, but could you send the twins over? I’d like them to ride with us.”
David smiled and said, “Good idea.”
I think the twins must have heard me because they had already gotten up and turned before David got there. They both have hearing like bats.
I said, "You guys are riding with us." Amazingly the twins were both in navy blue suits with dark blue ties. Frankly, I had expected jeans and maybe sweaters. They really looked fantastic and had a way of lighting things up.
I ran my finger over the fabric of Andrew's suit and said, "Very nice."
He said, “We bought em online, it was like the cost of a freakin car. Then I had to go to the store and they tailored both suits for my body. He nodded towards Aiden. “Because dofus is the same size.” Aiden inhaled deeply like he was going to say something but then looked down and let his breath out slowly. Andrew looked at his brother and got a strange look on his face, then grabbed Aiden’s upper arm and held it for a moment.
It’s weird with the twins because sometimes I think of them as being seven years old and sometimes it’s twenty-five. The hard thing for me, because of their size, is their real age of eighteen.
And with that they did what I figured they’d do, they scooped Oliver up and smothered him in attention they way only they could. They were exactly what he needed. The twins are perfect at this and when they turn on the Texas charm, they’re hard to resist.
After dinner, Connie, her husband and the Carlementi’s had to get back to Denver so they took my dad’s plane that evening. Since my dads were staying over, they really didn’t need it. And because they were staying through the New Year’s, David sent Joan back in his plane. That also allowed for the crews to be home for the holidays. Something that David always insisted on and had apparently taught my dad to do the same.
After the funeral, Andrew had to run back to school to take exams and in a couple of days when he finished with his tests, we’d all go out to the farm. They had never seen my offices and so we all showed up there causing Jack and Gavin to go into nervous overdrive. My dad’s and granddads almost never seem to show up anywhere together so it was causing a panic. George however just seemed delighted to see David and ended up taking them all on a tour of the offices and then later down to see the new building site which was getting busier by the day. Demolition had begun a few weeks ago and while any real construction was months away at least it was something to look at.
Aiden wasn't talking much to anyone besides me, Oliver, Andrew, and Nick. Not that he was rude to everyone else just that he was quiet, something very strange for him. I talked to him about it but it didn't seem to make any difference, so I got Nick to talk to him and that did seem to help. Nick has a way about him. He's intelligent, practical, and a genuinely nice guy. Basically, he told him that even if he felt like shit he needed to grow a pair and not ruin the holiday for everyone else.
After Andrew returned Aiden seemed better, still quiet, but better. The next night I got up to pee and then wanted to see that Oliver was okay and after confirming he was asleep, I ended up walking by Andrew’s room. The door was open slightly and I could hear him and Aiden talking quietly in a tone of voice I remembered hearing before. I had a feeling about what I thought might come next but didn’t disturb them and just headed back to our room I heard their door close and heard the lock click. I wondered if they had heard me.
The following morning Aiden was his usual self. I asked Andrew what he did but he just smiled and made himself a cup of coffee. Sex? I guess I couldn’t rule it out. God knows it wouldn’t have been the first time. And yes, Andrew is in a relationship, but weirdly, I don’t think doing your twin brother counts. At least it seems like it shouldn’t.
The next day we all headed out to the farm. It was breathtaking the way it had been decorated. Clearly, Mrs. Morgan had entertained here a lot and no expense had been spared. Just the lights leading from the road up to the house were breathtaking. The house was spotlit and the main door, the one no one used but that dominated the front of the house, had a large wreath on it that caught the light.
Inside there were wreaths all over the place and three Christmas trees. One in the formal living room, one in what I would call the great room and a huge one in the foyer. The one in the great room had piles of Christmas presents in front of it. Gavin had been buying for weeks. We had spent a couple of days going over lists. Once we had decided on the names Gavin had come up with specific gifts for some people and for people closer to me he had given my five to choose from and in the case of my family a dozen each. The exception was Oliver for whom there was no real limit but I had placed a limit of four very serious gifts, six less serious gifts and an unlimited amount of clothing. This kid was gonna make out like a bandit. All the family gifts, with the exception of what I bought Nick, were coming from both he and I because he really had no time to do anything.
Later in the afternoon after everyone had gotten settled, the twins and Oliver were lounging in the great room. The pile of presents had grown substantially because the dads and granddads presents had been delivered to the house and the twins had brought theirs in from their cars.
Mrs. Crowley had put out a lot of food in the form of cookies and cakes of every description. I had just settled on those almond cookies that are rolled in powdered sugar when my phone rang.
“You wanna buy another company?” It was Michael.
“Merry Christmas, Michael. How’s Pumpkin? And what kind of company?”
“Oh, yeah, Christmas. Merry Christmas, Chris. She’s good.”
“What kinda company? Big, well, bigger than the others, sales of maybe two hundred million. So, bigger. I didn’t know if you’d wanna go that big.”
I was already moving to where Alex and David were which was the library. I walked in on them, held up my finger and said, “Michael, I’m putting you on speakerphone. My dad and grandfather are here.”
I could hear him almost choking. “No, no. Them? I can’t talk to them!”
I said, “You already are.” and set the phone down on the desk.
David said, “Just relax, Michael. Chris’s dad and I have been very impressed with the things you’ve done. There’s no reason to be nervous.”
Alex said, “Hi Michael, I’m Alex. What’s the name of the company?”
“Oh...ah Burlington Metal Fasteners.”
I said, “What’s their story?”
“Well, the thing about them, you know, about the company, is they just make metal fasteners that are used to build houses. It’s kinda their specialty.
I said, “You mean nails?”
“Well those, but more. I didn’t realize this but carpenters today use some high-end screws and lots of other stuff. Anyway, that’s what they do. The other thing about them is that the CEO embezzled about fifteen million a few months ago. They just dug him outta a cabin in British Columbia. He had the cabin, a really nice cabin, and then a sixty-foot sailboat that he kept near Vancouver. Anyway, they figure he’s got maybe a half a million left but I figure the attorney will get that.”
Alex said, “Back to the nails for a second; are those things made overseas or here?
“I figured the same thing but they tell me the old guy, the founder, was kinda a machine nut and they’ve gotten every advanced machine for making this stuff since the eighties. They all thought he was crazy when he first started getting those but now it’s making sense. They do get some stuff from Asia but less than you’d think.”
I asked, “What was the head guy, just the CEO or founder or what?
“He was just a hired gun. All the stock in the company is held in trust for the guy who founded it. He’s like ninety and in a nursing home in Minneapolis. The thing is the CEO cooked up a couple of shell companies and they pretended to be suppliers. Everybody in the company expected something like this so they’re not at all surprised. They just don’t know what to do next.
The guy that called me is the son of the company treasurer. He worked in the company with his dad but in sales. You know, nepotism.”
I said, “There must be a board of directors.”
“Yeah, the treasurer, vp of sales and a couple of friends of the old man but not anyone with any real experience. The people who are really in a sweat is the bank where the old man had his trust fund. Most of the trust fund is the stock in the company.”
David said, “Michael, do you know which bank? Oh and do you know who their attorneys are?”
“Ah, it’s Sun Prairie State Bank. It’s a bigger bank than I would have figured. I don’t have the name of the exact guy though. And I don’t know who their lawyers are but I can tell you that all the execs hate him.” Alex already had his phone and was walking out of the room.
David said, “Michael, we’ll call you right back. Stay right there.”
After he disconnected David asked, “Where’s Nick? He may know this outfit.”
“He and Larry went down to the barns.”
I picked up my phone again pushed a button and a moment later said, “Where are you?”
“We’re on our way back. What’s up?”
“Have you ever heard of Burlington Fasteners?”
“Sure, nails, I think. Why?
“Might be a chance to buy them.”
“Well, I’ve never heard anything bad about them well, at least prior to the embezzlement.”
“I’ll see you in a bit.”
David and my dad came back in and Alex said, “Roger Billings is calling the bank. It’s best if he handles it for the moment.”
I said, “What about the attorney?”
Alex said, “Shouldn’t we be talking to the lawyer for the firm?”
David smiled and said, “Yes, but we don’t know who that is. Besides, out strength is with the bankers. Chris, you better call Michael back and tell him to just cool it.”
Later when I went back to where the boys were, the twins were taking turns playing video games with Oliver. Andrew was the current twin playing and while he was concentrating on the screen Aiden was staring at him with his lips slightly parted and my first thought was “Damn. That’s not a brotherly look.” When I walked into the room Aiden quickly looked down and then to the television. My second thought was that I hoped they were keeping their door locked when they were together. I didn’t want to have to explain twin-sex to Oliver. Although I was pretty sure it would never occur to him because he had to basis for thinking that.
Later, after I had seen the twins going upstairs and the granddads had Oliver, I slipped upstairs and knocked on Andrews door and walked in.
The television was on and the twins were sitting on the bed watching it. I slid into the room and closed the door.
I said softly, “What the fuck are you guys doing?”
Aiden started to say something and then stopped but Andrews just fell backwards on the bed and scrubbed his face with his hands.
He whispered, “Oh fuck!”
Aiden started to say something and Andrew snapped, “Don’t fucking lie to him! We don’t have to lie.”
He lifted his head off the bed and looked at me. “You gotta understand that we never been apart. And over the last year Aiden got his girlfriend and I got Tyler, but it wasn’t enough. Sometimes on the weekends we’d meet up. I’d fly to Denver or he’d come to Chicago. Whatever. That’s why now we’re both single.” He shook his head and said, “Yeah, Tyler took off. He was sick of it. I don’t blame him.”
I looked from one to the other. “So what? Is this just sex or are you guys in love or something?”
Aiden looked stricken but he said softly, “I guess it’s “love or something.” It’s just that being apart is too hard. I was going crazy and so was he.”
I looked at Andrew and he nodded his head and said, “That’s about it. And, either he comes to Chicago or I come here. We been thinking about getting an apartment.”
“An apartment? What about college? What about the whole doctor thing?”
H grinned at me. “Yeah, I’d like you talk to Grandpa David about that.”
I shook my head. “I’m not gonna try to explain your sex life to them. But actually, I don’t think they’d be shocked. They all pretty much know that you two used to do it. But the school thing, that would take major clout in the middle of the year. Which, I guess he’s got. But you tell him.”
I sighed and said, “You understand the problem with Oliver?”
Aiden said, “We’d never let that happen. He knows that sometimes we talk late at night and sometimes we fall asleep in the same room. He understands the twin thing. He had friends in Florida that were twins.”
Two hours later as Nick and I were slipping into bed and he was pulling off my shorts I told him about the twins.
I said, “You can’t tell anyone!”
“Well you told me they’ve always had some level of sex.” He was just starting to push into me.
The fantastic feeling of being stretched shut me up for about thirty seconds. “Oh shit.”
Then a few seconds later. “But this time they say they’re in love.”
Nick made a strangled sound and said, “Oh fuck I’m cumming!”
Then, after a few minutes, he did it again.