Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 21
In the morning, while Nick was sleeping in, I started to go down to the kitchen but realized that roaming around in my underwear might not be appropriate with a house full of people. I went back to our room and slipped into workout shorts and a sweatshirt.
I didn’t know what to expect in the kitchen but I found Andrew leaning against the counter wearing basically the same thing I was and talking to Mrs. Crowley.
I said hello to Mrs. Crowley and let Andrew usher me into what Mrs. Crowley referred to as the breakfast room. It was a small, elegant dining room finished in light woods next to the kitchen. There was a large east-facing window and on a sideboard were two different coffee urns, a bunch of cups, saucers, bowls and plates plus an assortment of cut-up fruit in covered bowls.
Andrew poured us both a cup of coffee and we sat next to each other at the table. He said, "This is the breakfast dining room…as opposed to the Dining Room."
Neither one of us said anything for a minute or two and then, while staring down at my cup, I said quietly, “So you guys are in love?”
Andrew didn’t look up but smiled and said, “Something like that. It’s not any less weird to us either, you know.” He shook his head. “I know, not all twins are like this, it’s just, I dunno, the way it is I guess.”
He touched the side of my hand with his finger and said, “We never wanted to hurt or embarrass anyone.”
I bumped his leg with mine and said, “Fuck that, it’s your lives. Nobody will give a shit, as long as your happy.”
He grinned again and sighed softly. “It feels so fucking good.”
I said, “The sex?”
Then he nodded towards the food on the sideboard and said, “She’ll cook you anything. She’ll do a bunch of eggs and pancakes and shit in a little while for the rest of the crew.”
I said, “You think she could make me a poached egg?”
Andrew laughed at me and said, “The woman could make you a poached alligator if you wanted it. She’s got two refrigerators in there that you could live in.” My brain flashed back to what I found them in under that bridge and I wondered if he ever recalled that. I hoped not.
He smiled. “Kinda hiding out in his bedroom.” While physically the twins are almost identical their personalities are a bit different. Andrew has pretty much always been the guy who instigated things and the one who was kinda in charge. Not that they didn’t still fight over that but that was the way it was.
Andrew’s phone was next to his coffee cup. I nodded at it and said, “Call him and get his ass down here. Nobody’s gonna give a fuck.”
But before that could happen we heard Andrew speaking to Mrs. Crowley and he ended up coming through the door carrying his coffee and a glass of orange juice for Oliver who was by his side.
Oliver came over, leaned against me and said, “You were gone. I looked in your room but you were gone, so we came down here.”
I rubbed his back and said, “I thought you might wanna sleep.”
He nodded and said, “We decided to find you.”
I wrapped my arm around Oliver and said to Aiden, who was looking a little droopy,
"How you holding up?"
He smiled, glanced at Andrew for a second and said, “I’m good. Gettin used to it.”
We rearranged the chairs a bit so that Oliver was between the twins. I was about to go in and see about food when Mrs. Crowley came through the door carrying a steam tray of scrambled eggs and sat them on a warming tray.
“The bacon and sausages are coming up, pancakes too. The people Mrs. Morgan had here never got up earlier than nine. It’s nice to have young people around.”
I looked over at Oliver and said, “You like pancakes, don’t you?”
He smiled and nodded repeatedly. “I really do.”
Mrs. Crowley said, “The batter is already made, it’ll be like two minutes. Anything else?”
I said, “Two poached eggs and toast would be great for me.” The twins both said they’d like the pancakes too but they also ended up eating the scrambled eggs and sausages. The sausages weren’t like normal breakfast sausages but larger and, it turned out, amazing. Mrs. Crowley told me they were made here on the farm.
I said, “Mrs. Crowley, what else is made here. Besides the cheese, I mean.”
She stared at the ceiling for a moment and then said slowly, “Well, there’s the hams, the sausages, bacon of course, well, really any kind of pork and of course the eggs and chickens are ours too. Naturally, I make all the breads and bakery things. And again, anything dairy related, milk, butter, sour cream and crème fraiche, all of those cultured creams.” She shook her head for a moment and then said, “There’s more…it’ll come to me. If you don’t need to know right this minute I’ll write it all down and give you a copy.”
David and Mark appeared next and David said, “Nick, Larry and Alex will be down in a minute.”
Mark put his hands on Oliver’s shoulders and bent down and kissed the top of his head. Then he gently punched the twin’s shoulders and sat down next to Aiden.
Andrew laughed and said to him, “How come you never kiss our heads anymore?”
Mark made a big show of it, got up and kissed both the twins on their heads like he was being hugely put upon. “Any more requests?”
David sat down across from Andrew. Andrew looked at him for a moment and said, “Grandpa, I wanna transfer from Northwestern to here at UWM. You know, right downtown."
I thought Aiden was going to throw up. His mouth opened and closed and I’m pretty sure he stopped breathing. But in the end, he seemed to calm down looked over at our grandfather and said, “Yeah, we wanna get an apartment in town.”
Mark gave David a fast look but I couldn’t read his expression. David looked at them both and then smiled slightly and said, “No problem. Joan’ll call you and tell you who to see.”
Andrew gave David a slightly twisted grin and said in a thickened Texas drawl, “Thanks, Grandpa. How you always know who to call?” No one will ever convince me that the twins don’t totally understand the value of that accent and its ability to disarm people.
David said, “I don’t. Joan has all that figured out and I’d rather not know how she does it.” My grandfather was the most connected man I could imagine. He had spent his life nurturing business and political relationships around the world.
Ten minutes later when Nick and my dad’s showed up and heard the story, Alex said to Andrew, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do? Northwestern is a great school and Tyler is there. You can’t really expect to see him very often if you’re here and he’s there.”
Andrew shook his head and calmly said, “It don’t matter. That’s over with.”
Larry said, “Over?” He stopped for a split second, took a deep breath and said,
“Well, why not stay with Nick and Chris? They've got all kinds of room."
My pervy partner smiled and said, “We do have all kinds of room.” It’s strange because Nick is pretty straight laced about most things. Although, he isn’t really judgmental.
David, who, as usual, was the one who seemed to totally get it smiled and said, “Young guys, they may want to be on their own.”
Then they all looked at me. “Well, there’s no need to make any snap decisions. It’ll be nice to see more of you both.”
Wanting to move on to the next thing as quickly as possible I looked at Aiden and said, “So what’s the schedule for setting up the office for the charitable trust?”
He shrugged. “It’s up to you. Connie said you’ve got room for it by your offices.”
I nodded. “We own the building now so that’s not a problem. What do you think will be needed?”
“We could probably get by with one big room. There will be three of us but we can get by with that…”
Alex interrupted. “Don’t do it that way. Do it like you mean it. You’re probably going to have people from the outside coming in to see you. You’re going to be meeting with lawyers and accountants. You need to have three offices, one for you and the other two guys plus room for a secretary or two plus some sort of conference room. You’re also gonna have politicians showing up there. Let Connie figure it out. She can work with that woman who does the decorating. That way it’ll look like the real thing. Actually a miniature version of what’s in Denver would be perfect.”
I nodded and looked at Aiden. “Like he said. Like we mean it.”
Aiden said, “Okay, whatever you think. Besides that do you have any particular places that we should put some money? We kinda automatically give to the cops and the politicians but do you have someone else in mind for help?”
I shrugged. “Children’s Hospital of course. And veterans, although I’m not familiar with any particular organization that helps them.” I looked at Alex and said, “Women’s shelters and gay organizations I suppose. I’ll make some notes and then when you guys are up and running we can have a meeting. My assistant Gavin would be a good source of that info. I’ll see what he thinks.”
Later Nick and I walked up to the horse barn on our own. Walking past the coral Nick said, “I’m a city boy but this smells really good. You’d think the horse shit and cow shit would be a turnoff but somehow it isn’t. It smells right.”
In the barn we walked past each stall and rubbed the noses of the horses who seem to want that. I lured him up here to talk to him without everyone hearing us.
I said casually, “You know what I’ve been thinking for the last few days…”
He laughed and interrupted me. “I know exactly what you’re thinking.”
I laughed and said, “No you don’t. So, what am I thinking?”
“You’re thinking we should adopt Oliver. I agree.”
I was surprised because I hadn’t mentioned it. “How did you know that?”
He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and kissed the side of my head. “I know you. I know how you think. And I see how you look at Oliver.”
“I just don’t want him to be that kid that doesn’t have parents. That would be such crap! But I’m not sure if it’s too soon or if he’d even be for it.”
Nick said, “Ask the school shrink or dean or whatever he is. He probably has experience with this. But I think Oliver would be good with it.”
“You’re right. I’ll send him an email and tell him the general idea. Then he will have had a chance to think about it. What makes you so sure Oliver would be okay with it?”
He shook his head. “I dunno. Maybe cause when he’s worried, like at the funeral home, he doesn’t go off into a corner and bury the thing inside of himself. He comes to us. You especially. I’m not a shrink but that seems like a good thing.”
“He doesn’t only come to me! He goes to you, too.”
Nick laughed. “Yeah but you’re his “mom” figure.”
I shook my head. “That seems to be my lot in life. With him and the twins.”
He kissed the side of my head again and whispered, “You’re a great mom, and sexy at that. Too bad your barn doesn't have a hayloft cause I’d fuck your brains out in it.”
Christmas morning Oliver woke me up at four-thirty by pushing my head to one side and whispering in my ear, “Are you awake yet?”
I looked at the clock on my nightstand and whispered, "Dude, it's four-thirty!"
I rolled toward him and wrapped my arm around his shoulders and whispered, “Take a short nap, then we’ll get up and go down by the tree.”
He said, “If we went now we could come back later and nap
I held up the edge of the blanket and said, “Bad argument, get in.”
He slid in next to me and I whispered. “It’s better this way. The twins wanna be down there with you when you open your presents. You wouldn’t want them to feel bad.”
Then, maybe because I was half asleep my brain lost total control of my mouth and I whispered, “Nick and I are gonna adopt you, so you’re not gonna be our nephew, you’re gonna be our kid. Your dad will always be your but you also need new dads. Any problem with that?”
My arm was around him and he pulled it tighter to his body and said, “No.” Then a few seconds later, “You’ll be my real dads, right?”
I nodded against the back of his head. “Real dads.” Then his body seems to settle down and he slept.
At about six o’clock there was no holding him back and Nick and I let him drag us downstairs where the twins were tearing through their presents. Andrew had pulled on the high pants of the snowmobile riding gear I had bought them both. During the night the snowmobiles I bought that went with the suits had been delivered to the front yard that was under nearly a foot of snow.
Aiden looked at Oliver and yelled, “Dude! Snowmobiles! You gotta go with us!”
The twins looked expectantly at Nick and I. Nick shook his head. “No, no, no, no! You guys been up since god only knows when and you’ve opened your presents. You gotta give Oliver a chance to open his. Plus, you need to try the snowmobiles out and make sure everything is okay before you risk his life. And mostly you need to calm down and not kill yourselves on those things. Your snowmobiles in Colorado you use on top of your dad’s mountain where things are mostly safe, here you got barbed wire fences that’ll cut your head off if you don’t see them.”
This got a head-tilted-back-eyeroll from Andrew followed by a huge sigh and shoulder drop. Then with a look of strained forbearance, he said, "Okay…you're right." He held out his hand to Oliver who grabbed it.
“C’mon, Dude. You probably got a shitload of good stuff.”
He looked back at me and said, “You got him snow gear right?”
I nodded, “Same brand as yours.”
Basically, we didn't see either the twins or Oliver until much later in the day. We did hear them though as the snowmobiles went tearing around the house. They had been warned off going anywhere near the animals so that meant sticking to the front of the house or driving along the road until they reached our empty fields to the west of the house.
In late afternoon the dads and granddads along with Nick and I were talking, half watching the TV and listening to the sound of the snowmobiles.
I heard a beep go off on my IPad and opened an email from George. It said, “Merry Christmas! I’m told we’ll be getting approval next week on the hospitals, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Madison and Green Bay. We need to have our own project and construction manager. Talk to you next week.”
I looked at my dad and said, “Holy crap!”
I brought up a picture of a five story medical center and handed it to him.
I said, "Four of them here in Wisconsin. They want us to build them, own them, and lease them back.”
David had walked over and looked over Alex’s shoulder. “Financing would be a snap but we should do the whole deal or at least most of it.” He shook his head. “Gotta be a billion bucks. What about parking?”
I said, “Next photo, four stories.”
David said, “George is right, you need people who do that stuff. For the project downtown, you farmed it out but if you want to keep doing this you need people.