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"Before we take off, I was instructed to request a codeword, to ensure that we have picked up the right people." The man in the dark navy blue suit said from the front of the cabin.
Everyone was looking around nervously, obviously not knowing what the man was talking about.
"Silverchair." Bug called out self consciously.
"Thank you. If everyone will please fasten your seatbelts, we will be taking off as soon as the pilot has finished his final checklist. My name is Lucas. If you have any questions or concerns during this flight, please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate you."
"Where are we going?" Oma Shoupe asked in a serious voice.
"Some of the plans haven't been finalized. But, so far as I know at this point, we're going to Kansas City, Missouri. When we land, you'll be taken to a hotel where you can relax and get a good night of sleep. In the morning, either I or one of my colleagues will give you the details about your final destination."
"Why can't you tell us now?" Doris Teeter asked cautiously.
"Because I don't know." Lucas said honestly. "This all happened rather suddenly. When all the plans have been made and confirmed, I'll pass that information on to all of you."
Judging by the overall mood going around the cabin, everyone seemed to accept Lucas' explanation.
"Now, if you'll check to see that your seat belts are securely fastened, I'll let the pilot know that we're ready. And once we're in the air, your flight attendant, Jeremy, will be serving drinks and snacks for you to enjoy." Lucas said pleasantly.
* * * * *
Bug watched as Lucas walked forward to the cockpit, then turned to Reginald at his side and asked, "What do you think about all of this?"
"Part of me says that this is all a gross overreaction. But a larger part is very relieved to be right here, right now." Reginald said frankly.
Bug slowly nodded as his mind wandered over all that had happened.
"What about you?" Reginald asked curiously.
"I think that what's been happening up to now is kind of like that thing with the frog in the boiling water." Bug said absently.
"What's that?" Reginald asked with interest.
"You know, when you drop a frog into boiling water, he'll jump out. But if you put a frog into room temperature water and raise the heat, slowly, over time, he'll sit there until he boils." Bug said seriously.
"That's a rather morbid thought." Reginald said warily.
Bug smiled, then said, "We're the frogs and what the government's been doing is the water heating up. I mean, would you ever think about living in some shit hole third world dictatorship where you knew the government was listening to your calls and tracking your movements? Where you knew that they could break into your goddamned house whenever the fuck they wanted and search for whatever they could find to charge you with? Where they could take your fucking kids away from you just because their religion says that you're unfit to be a parent?"
"But it isn't like that..." Reginald feebly protested.
"No? Then why the fuck can't you talk to Ro on the phone? Huh?" Bug asked seriously.
"Well, that's different."
"Bullshit!" Bug exclaimed as he looked Reginald in the eyes, then asked, "How the fuck do you think that they would know if Ro were visiting you?"
"Perhaps, but... but they've never broken into our house." Reginald hurried to say..
"Be thankful for that much. Actually, that's what happened to me. The motherfucking CPS gestapo showed up out of fucking nowhere, banging on the goddamned door and demanding to be let in to inspect our fucking house, looking for anything, a plate left in the sink, a crumb left on the kitchen counter, to prove that the place wasn't fit for a child of my tender years." Bug finished with a withering look, then added, "And get this, I'm not even a fucking foster kid. It's none of their goddamned business what the fuck goes on in our house."
"Have you ever been evaluated for Tourettes Syndrome?" Reginald asked cautiously.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Bug asked at the abrupt change in subject.
"Nothing. Never mind... I'm just trying to figure out how things got to be like this." Reginald said with a shake of his head.
"With one fucking compromise at a time. I hope you weren't attached to those Civil Liberties. Because, if someone decides to call you a terrorist, you suddenly become a non-person, a non-citizen. You have NO rights. No lawyer, no trial, no charges. Welcome to the New America." Bug said darkly, then added, "And, on behalf of my generation, I'd just like to say, 'Thanks a fucking lot'."
"But I'm not a terrorist." Reginald stammered.
"No? You're gay. That's the same fucking thing as being a terrorist these days, depending on who you ask. And since no one ever has to prove anything... you're a terrorist the second that they say you are. You don't have to do anything or say anything to 'deserve' it. Your supposed rights don't mean ANYTHING to them." Bug said frankly.
"Hey, Bug! What'cha doin?" Ro asked as his head popped up over the back of the seat in front of Reginald.
Bug thought for a moment, then smiled as he said, "I'm making your Pop depressed."
Ro looked to Reginald and stage whispered, "Don't listen to him, Pop. He's a big old grumpy butt."
"Sit down and get your seat belt on." Bug growled playfully.
Ro stuck his tongue out at Bug, then quickly ducked down behind the seat.
Reginald and Bug were smiling at the boy's antics, but their smiles slowly faded as the conversation from before filled their minds.
After a moment, Reginald and Bug exchanged a look. Even though nothing was said, it was clear that they were feeling the same thing.
* * * * *
"Attention, everyone. The pilot has just signaled that we're ready for takeoff. There's one last thing that I was instructed to do that I forgot to mention earlier." Lucas said from his place at the front of the cabin.
"I have been told to ask all of you who have cellphones to please remove the batteries before we take off." Lucas said as he looked around the cabin.
A few incredulous looks passed around the cabin, and it was finally Bug who asked, "Why?"
"I'm following my orders, so I'll tell you what I was told to say if anyone asked that question." Lucas said in prelude, then looked Bug in the eyes as he said, "The GPS doesn't just tell you where you are."
After a moment, Bug hesitantly said, "I don't have a phone. I was just curious."
Lucas smiled at him, then took his seat as an attractive younger man in a uniform started walking slowly through the cabin to make sure everyone was securely belted in.
Bug turned and saw that Reginald was taking the battery out of his phone.
"I have a feeling that wherever we're going, it's going to be better." Bug offered quietly.
"I'm only just realizing what it is that we're leaving behind. I think you may be right... at least, I hope you are."
* * * * *
The takeoff was uneventful. Bug was a little bit unsettled by the sensation, but considering that he had never flown before, his reaction wasn't bad.
After the plane had finished climbing and leveled out, Lucas walked to the front of the cabin and said, "You can release your seat belts and move around the cabin if you would like. Jeremy is preparing your snacks, as we speak, and will be out with them in just a moment."
Bug got up from his seat and walked forward.
"Oma Shoupe? How are you doing?" Bug asked gently.
"I'm fine, dear. I've been having the most delightful conversation with Doris, here."
Bug smiled at the woman, then said to his grandmother, "I've got your medication, whenever you're ready for it. I'm just three seats back if you need me for anything."
"I'm fine, Bug. I'll take my medicine when we get to the hotel." Oma Shoupe said as she reached out and took one of his hands.
Bug smiled warmly as Oma Shoupe held his hand against her cheek for a moment.
"I love you, Oma." Bug whispered.
"I love you, too, Bug." She said, then released his hand.
* * * * *
When Bug walked back down the aisle, he found just what he expected.
Lawrence was leaning over, listening and talking with Roris like they were long lost friends.
Although he didn't want to interrupt his brother, he felt that it was necessary.
Gently, Bug put his hand on Lawrence's shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze.
Lawrence looked up with surprise, apparently only just realizing that he and Roris weren't the only two people who existed in the universe.
"I just wanted to check and see if you guys need anything." Bug said gently.
"I'm gonna need some rubbers." Lawrence said frankly.
Bug's eyes went wide and he noticed that Roris seemed to be blushing over every inch of exposed skin.
"Roris said that he's never had sex with anybody before, ever. And I remembered what you said, always, always, always use a rubber. So can you get me some?" Lawrence asked hopefully.
Bug thought for a moment, then said, "I tell you what. Why don't you go and talk to Oma Shoupe for a few minutes? She hasn't seen you except at dinner since you got home from work. I need to talk to Roris for a minute."
Lawrence thought about it for a moment, then said, "But then you'll get me the rubbers?"
"I don't think I can get any until we get off the plane, but then, I'll see what I can do." Bug said with a smile.
"I love you." Lawrence said as he enveloped his younger brother in a hug.
"I love you, too, Lor. Now go talk to Oma Shoupe." Bug chuckled.
Lawrence kissed Bug on the side of the head, then cheerfully walked away.
Bug looked down at Roris and had to force himself to get involved in what was clearly none of his business.
Once Bug was seated in the chair that Lawrence had vacated, Bug leaned over, assuming that it was the best way for Roris to communicate.
"I'm sorry for doing this Roris. Lawrence doesn't always understand what people tell him and sometimes makes some pretty big leaps in reasoning." Bug said gently.
"He's not a baby." Roris said firmly.
Bug could tell by the strain in Roris' voice that it was taking a lot of effort and concentration for Roris to speak clearly.
"I'm not saying that he is. But he's also not capable of making all his own decisions. His brain damage prevents him from grasping complicated concepts." Bug said seriously.
"So you're not going to let us..." Roris trailed off shyly.
"No. That's not what I'm saying. I just wanted to be sure that this is what you want. If it isn't, then I'll tell Lawrence that he misunderstood what you were saying." Bug hurried to say.
"So, it's okay?" Roris asked cautiously.
"Sure. Lawrence has been sexually active for years. I just try to make sure that he doesn't accidentally force himself on someone because he misunderstood their flirting or casual conversation as being something more. As long as you guys both want this, you've got my full support." Bug said frankly.
"I've never done this before. I'm kinda scared." Roris admitted shyly.
"Don't worry. Lawrence is a good lover... or, so I've been told. If he does something you like, tell him. If he does something you don't like, tell him. I think as long as you do that, it should be fine." Bug said honestly.
"Thanks. Maybe you aren't an asshole, after all." Roris said with a chuckle.
"Oh, yes, I am. But if you make Lawrence happy, I'll turn it off when you're around." Bug said with a smile.
"Deal." Roris said happily.
Bug pulled back from Roris a little and looked around to find Lawrence waiting anxiously.
"I'll try to get you some rubbers as soon as we land." Bug said as he stood.
"You're the best brother in the world!" Lawrence said as he pulled Bug into a crushing hug.
Bug chuckled and quietly said, "No. That would be you."
* * * * *
When Bug turned to go back to his seat, he saw Reginald and Walter sitting side by side. Ro was sitting on Walter's lap, hugging him like crazy and Bax was sitting on Reginald's lap, gently holding on to him like he was something precious.
Walter looked up at Bug and said, "We should have done this as soon as anyone suggested that they might try to take Ro from us."
"You're here now. Don't worry about what already happened, it's today that counts." Bug said frankly.
Walter nodded, then reconfirmed his hug on Ro and whispered, "I'm never going to let you go."
Bug smiled at the statement, then casually walked back to his seat.
* * * * *
"Would you like a snack?" the flight attendant, Jeremy, asked pleasantly.
Bug was going to refuse, but the little finger sandwiches actually looked really tasty.
"Yeah. Thanks." Bug said as he took a napkin from the tray, then selected one of the sandwiches.
"Could I get you something to drink?" Jeremy asked gently.
Something in the tone of his voice caused Bug to look up into Jeremy's bright hazel eyes.
"Do you have any root beer?" Bug asked as he realized that Jeremy was interested in him.
"Yeah. The good kind, in the glass bottles." Jeremy said with a bright smile.
"Would you be allowed to sit down and drink some with me?" Bug asked as he felt his nervousness rising.
Jeremy looked at his watch, then said, "We'll be landing before very long, but I think we'll have time to split a bottle, if you'd like."
"Yeah." Bug said quickly.
"I'll check with Lucas to be sure that it's okay, but I don't think he'll mind as long as everyone's kept happy." Jeremy said as he looked deeply into Bug's eyes.
"Yeah. Okay." Bug whispered, then nearly collapsed when Jeremy turned and rushed to the front of the cabin.
* * * * *
"So, why don't you tell me a little bit about you. I mean, you know my name is Jeremy, but all I know about you is that you're the cutest guy on the plane." Jeremy said frankly.
Bug blushed like a schoolgirl at the compliment, but finally said, "Thank you for saying that, but my brother, over there, is way cuter than I am."
"Not my type." Jeremy said with a shrug.
"What is your type?" Bug asked, then took a sip of his root beer.
"Someone who is real, someone who makes up his own mind... and someone cute. Gotta be cute." Jeremy finished with a smile, then quietly asked, "What about you? What kind of guy are you looking for?"
Bug thought for a moment, then said, "I don't know. I've never really looked for anyone. I've been taking care of my grandmother and my brother and there's never really been time for me to even think about dating or anything."
"So you're the kind of guy who would put his own life on hold to take care of his family. I really admire that." Jeremy said gently.
"I don't know. If I already had this great life and decided to drop everything to take care of them, I suppose that would be something to admire. But the way things worked out, I was the only one they had to depend on. I didn't do anything special, I just did what needed to be done." Bug said thoughtfully.
"Humble, too. You're just getting one check after another on my list of most desirable qualities." Jeremy said with a grin.
Bug chuckled, then asked, "What about you? You're a nice guy and you're hot looking. I bet you don't have to look very hard to find guys who are interested."
Jeremy shrugged, then said, "I won't deny it. When I was in college, I went through a phase when I was just looking for a good time with the cutest guy in the room. But after a while that got to be a very empty life. Now, I date occasionally, but so far I haven't met anyone who I could talk to and... I don't know... enjoy doing things with him outside the bedroom."
"So, you're looking for someone to be a friend AND a lover... that's a pretty tall order." Bug said with a smile.
"When I started looking, I didn't think it was too much to ask. Now... it seems like I'm trying to catch a unicorn." Jeremy finished with a chuckle.
"You'll find him." Bug said in a resigned tone.
"What makes you think I haven't, already?" Jeremy asked curiously at the strange change in the mood between them.
"Two words." Bug said regretfully.
Jeremy thought for a moment, then tentatively asked, "You're straight?"
Bug shook his head and whispered, "I'm seventeen."
Jeremy's eyes went wide at the admission.
"So, no matter how cute you think I am, or how hot I think you are, no matter how well we can talk together outside the bedroom. The fact is, for the moment, I'm jail bait." Bug said regretfully.
Jeremy's look was distant and his mind seemed to be racing.
Bug smiled at the reaction, knowing that Jeremy was trying to think of some way they could make it work.
"Lying and hiding wouldn't be good for me, and I really don't think you'd enjoy it either." Bug said frankly.
"No. I guess not." Jeremy said regretfully.
"I'll make you a deal. If we're both still looking at this time next year, let's give it a try." Bug said with a gentle smile.
Jeremy considered for a moment, then said, "It's always nice to have a plan B."
Bug chuckled, then said, "Yeah. I like that."
Jeremy looked at his watch, then regretfully said, "I need to start picking up empties and getting everyone settled for landing."
"Before you do that, how would you feel about giving your 'Plan B' a kiss?" Bug asked hopefully.
Jeremy smiled, then leaned in and gave Bug the first real kiss he had ever experienced.
Bug felt the tingle of excitement wash through his body.
When the kiss finally ended, Jeremy whispered, "I'm kind of hoping that the year passes quickly."
Bug nodded and said, "July Seventh."
"What?" Jeremy asked cautiously.
"My birthday is on July Seventh... I already know what you can get me." Bug finished with a grin.
"Do you want a big red bow on it?" Jeremy chuckled.
"However you want to give it to me will be fine." Bug said and waggled his eyebrows.
Jeremy laughed, then said, "I really have to get back to work."
"Okay. But just so you know, I think I'm going to need help with my seat belt." Bug said playfully.
"You are wicked. That's what you are." Jeremy said before hurrying up the aisle to the front of the plane.
"Bug's got a boyfriend!" Bax said in a sing-song voice as his head poked up over the back of the seat in front of him.
"Almost. But not quite." Bug said regretfully.
Bax looked at him strangely for a moment, then his head suddenly ducked down.
A moment later, Bax walked up to Bug's side, then promptly climbed into his lap.
"What are you doing?" Bug asked cautiously.
"I'm sorry he's not your boyfriend. You should have a boyfriend." Bax said as he gave Bug a firm hug.
"Maybe, someday." Bug said regretfully.
"I could be your boyfriend!" Bax said suddenly.
Bug smiled, then said, "I bet you'd be a great boyfriend, but I think it may be a few years before you're ready to take that step. If you still feel that way about me when you're eighteen, maybe we can give it a try."
Bax seemed to consider for a moment, then happily said, "Yeah, okay."
Bug returned the boy's hug as he sighed, "One's too young and the other's too old. Being seventeen sucks."
* * * * *
"Excuse me, but is your Internet ID Y2Kbug?" Lucas asked Bug quietly.
"Bax, I need to talk to this guy for a minute. Why don't you go find Ro?" Bug asked cautiously.
"But he's no fun right now. All he wants to do is hug his dad and his pop." Bax groused.
"Then why don't you go visit with Oma Shoupe? I know that if you gave her a chance, she'd treat you just like she was your own grandmother." Bug said seriously.
Bax thought about it for a moment, then gave Bug a kiss on the cheek before getting down off his lap.
Lucas watched Bax leave with a tender smile, then turned his attention back to Bug.
"I'm guessing that you have some important questions for me, so why don't you sit down so we can talk?" Bug asked seriously as he shifted to the seat by the window.
"Thank you." Lucas said as he took Bug's vacated seat, then added, "This shouldn't take long."
Bug nodded and waited to find out what Lucas wanted to know.
"When I was sent to get you and the Teeters, I was told to see to your comfort, and provide anything that you might need. I just finished talking to Marcus and Doris, and they've assured me that they have everything they need, for now. So, next, I'd like to see if there's anything I can do for you and your group to make it a little bit easier to endure all the chaos of uprooting yourselves and traveling across the country." Lucas said seriously.
Bug thought for a moment, then quietly said, "I met the two boys, Bax and Ro, when I was leaving the grocery store this afternoon. They were homeless and begging for food."
Lucas gasped in surprise.
"I'm telling you this because, when I met them, they weren't carrying anything with them. They only had the clothes that they're wearing right now. So, this may not be what you were asking, but if you really want to help us, maybe you could find a way to get us a ride to the Goodwill or the nearest WalMart to our hotel, so I can get them some more clothes before we leave for wherever we're going to be going." Bug said hopefully.
"If you don't mind me asking, how did the boys come to be with you?" Lucas asked gently, and it was clear that the question was personal and not professional.
"They were begging for food outside the supermarket, so I invited them to my house for dinner. One thing led to another, and here we are." Bug finished with a dismissive shrug.
Lucas smiled at Bug, then quietly said, "Even though what you did may seem like a little thing to you, if everyone would do that much, just that little bit, it would completely change the world."
"Yeah, and if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump it's ass when it hopped. That's the big problem with 'if'." Bug said frankly.
Lucas chuckled, then said, "I really like the way that you think. What's your name?"
"Everyone calls me Bug."
Lucas considered for a moment, then said, "I don't know why, but it suits you. It's a pleasure to meet you, Bug."
"Thank you." Bug said, taken aback by the man's sincere admiration.
"And please don't worry about getting clothes for the boys. It would be my honor to see that it's taken care of." Lucas said with a smile.
"You don't have to do that! I've got some money and Ro's dads might chip in, too, if we asked." Bug hurried to say.
"There's no need. I was told to see to the comfort of our guests, this is part of what I'm being paid to do. Please, just let me take care of this for you, so you don't have to worry about it. Before you leave tomorrow, I'll see to it that the boys are outfitted with everything that they need."
"I don't know. I feel funny about it." Bug said hesitantly.
"That just tells me that you're a man of good character. But please don't think of this as charity, it's hospitality." Lucas said frankly.
Bug struggled with the decision for a moment, but finally nodded his agreement.
"Thank you for allowing me to do this, Bug. Although I love my job, I don't often get the chance to do something that really matters." Lucas said honestly.
"I think we're all going to get more and more chances, real soon." Bug said frankly.
Lucas thought about the words for a moment, then grimly nodded his agreement.
"Oh, yeah. There's one other thing I might need... um, if you, you know, want to..." Bug stammered.
Lucas looked at Bug with interest.
"Well, you see... I, um, I'm gonna need some condoms and, you know, lube and stuff. Is there any way you could, um, help me get somewhere to get some?" Bug asked nervously.
Lucas' eyes went wide, then he quickly looked up the aisle toward Jeremy.
Bug followed his gaze, then hurried to say, "No, not for me. For my brother."
Lucas slowly turned his gaze back to Bug and, after a moment, a smile crossed his face. "I don't think that will be any problem. If you'll excuse me, I need to make a few calls right now."
"So you're going to get them?" Bug asked cautiously.
"Yes. I'll see that your brother has what he needs before he retires for the evening." Lucas said as he got up from his seat.
"Thank you, Lucas. I didn't know what I was getting my family into when I talked them into doing this. You being nice and trying to help us and stuff is really making me feel like I might not have made a big mistake." Bug said frankly as he looked up at Lucas.
Lucas smiled, then said, "Now that you are our guests, every precaution is being taken to safeguard you and your family. I know that all of you have questions about what's going to happen next, but the situation seems to be changing minute by minute. So, rather than tell you about the plans that are being made, that may change a dozen times before we settle on one, I'm just asking that you trust us for just a little bit longer. Hopefully, in the morning, I'll be able to tell you exactly what's going to happen and answer any questions that you might have."
"Thank you. I'll do my best to try not to worry." Bug said quietly.
Lucas smiled, then quietly said, "I can see that worrying for your family is something that you're accustomed to doing. I promise that as soon as I know anything, I'll pass it on to you. I won't make you wait any longer than is absolutely necessary."
Bug nodded, then watched as Lucas slowly walked up the aisle, stopping to talk with Oma Shoupe and Doris Teeter for a moment, before going to the front of the cabin, then on into the cockpit.
* * * * *
"We're on approach to land in Kansas City. Do you need any help with your seat belt?" Jeremy asked with a playful grin.
"You know it." Bug said as he spread his legs slightly and leaned back in his seat.
"You are wicked.." Jeremy said with a grin as he slowly and carefully buckled the seat belt for Bug.
Bug held his breath, enjoying the sensation.
"That isn't too tight is it?" Jeremy asked as he put his hand under the seat belt and brushed against Bug's groin with the back of his fingers.
"Getting tighter all the time." Bug rasped.
"We really are about to land, so I've got to go." Jeremy said regretfully, then leaned in and gave Bug a quick, firm kiss.
When the kiss ended, Jeremy pulled back to look deeply into Bug's eyes.
"I've never wanted anyone as bad as I want you." Bug whispered.
Jeremy smiled at the words, then whispered, "I'm sorry that I have to leave you wanting for more, but please believe me. I want you, too."
Bug tried to hold his emotions in check as he watched Jeremy walk up the aisle to the next row of seats, where Walter and Reginald were sitting.
A moment later, Ro walked back to Bug and quietly asked, "Is it okay if I sit with you? Daddy wants to sit next to Pop for a while."
"Sure. If you want to. I just don't know if Bax might want to sit here, too." Bug said frankly.
Ro shook his head and said, "He's sitting with Oma Shoupe, and she's hugging him right now. I don't think he wants to move."
"That's good. It's been a long time since Oma Shoupe's had a little boy to hold. I'm sure that it's going to make her happy." Bug said warmly.
"She's got two of us, now, so I guess she's gonna be really happy." Ro said cheerfully.
"I think you're right." Bug said with a bittersweet smile.
"Are you okay, Bug?" Ro asked with concern.
"Yeah. I've just got lots of stuff to think about. But none of it is anything that you need to worry about." Bug said as he tried to put on a happy face for Ro.
"Are you worried about what's going to happen to us?" Ro asked seriously.
Bug shrugged, then admitted, "A little."
"Are you afraid that we made a mistake by leaving Orlando?" Ro asked curiously.
"No. I'm pretty sure that that was the right choice. I think things in Orlando are going to get really bad. But there's a chance that things still might be pretty tough, no matter where we go next." Bug said honestly.
Ro thought for a moment, then confidently said, "As long as I've got you and my dads and Bax, everything else doesn't matter. I've got everything that's important."
Bug smiled at the words, then slowly said, "Thank you, Ro. You're right. That's what I need to focus on. We're here. We're safe. And as long as we've got each other, we'll be fine."
* * * * *
It turned out that Bug liked the sensation of landing even less than the sensation of taking off.
He kept a calm facade for Ro's benefit, but felt himself quaking inside.
"Everyone, if I may have your attention for just a moment." Lucas said as he stood at the front of the cabin.
Those few who had undone their seat belts and stood, slowly sat back down and quieted.
"When you exit the plane, I'm going to introduce you to Gordon. As I've said, there is another group waiting for this plane. So I'm going to leave you in Gordon's care. He's taking care of your transportation and your hotel accommodations. If you have any questions or concerns, he will do whatever he can to help you." Lucas said seriously.
When no one seemed to have any questions or concerns, Lucas continued, "If everyone will be patient for just another minute or two, I'm going to help our guests with mobility issues, off the plane first. There's no need to rush, it will take a few minutes for your luggage to be unloaded from the plane and into your cars."
"Bug! Look!" Ro said as he pointed out the window.
When Bug looked, he saw two stretch limousines coming to a stop on the tarmac.
"Are we going to get to ride in those?" Ro asked with excitement.
"It looks that way." Bug said slowly.
"Wow. Your friend must have lots and lots of money!" Ro said as he kept his gaze on the cars.
"I don't know about that. I asked for help, but I don't know if it's him, or if he asked someone else to help us, as a favor to him." Bug said thoughtfully.
"It really bugs you, not knowing all of what's going on. Doesn't it?" Ro asked curiously.
"Yeah. I'm used to being in control of things, I guess. It's tough for me to let someone else do things and trust them to take care of it all." Bug responded slowly.
"Is that what it means to grow up?" Ro asked curiously.
"Yeah... No. I don't know. I guess that's what it means for me. But maybe it also means having people around that you trust so that you can let them take care of things, too." Bug said thoughtfully.
Ro thought about the answer for a moment, as Bug saw Lucas carrying Roris out of the plane, to one of the waiting limousines.
In a quiet voice, Ro finally said, "I think you can trust my dads. They're good dads."
"I haven't had much of a chance to talk to them, but from everything that I've seen, they're good people." Bug said gently to the boy at his side, then asked, "Would you mind carrying a few things for me when we get off the plane?"
"Yeah. No problem." Ro said happily.
Bug reached under the seat that Ro was sitting on and took out the brown cardboard box and the plastic shopping bag and handed them to Ro.
As they were getting out of their seats, Bax rushed up to them and asked, "Did you see those big cars? Do you think we can go look at them?"
"That's how we're getting to the hotel, Bax." Bug said frankly.
Bax stared at Bug with wide eyes, then said, "Nuh uh."
"Yuh huh." Bug said with a grin.
"Look. There goes Oma Shoupe." Ro said as he pointed out the window.
Bax scrambled forward to see, then, after a moment, he started to bounce with excitement.
"Are you guys coming?" Walter asked from ahead of them in the aisle.
"Bax looks like he is." Bug said with a smirk.
Ro looked at Bug curiously.
"Let's go and check out those cars." Bug said as he put a hand on Ro's shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze.
* * * * *
As Bug and the boys were getting off the plane, Lucas approached and said, "If you'll follow me, I'll introduce you to Gordon. He'll be taking care of you for the rest of the evening."
The chill in the air was noticeable and Bug found himself wishing that he had thought to bring a jacket with him. He looked at the boys with concern, noticing that they were just wearing jeans and t shirts, but neither of them seemed to be aware of the difference in temperature.
Bug guided the boys to walk with him, and noticed that Ro's dads were now with their group.
"Gordon, I'd like for you to meet Bug. These gentlemen are Walter and Reginald, and the boys are Bax and Ro, although I haven't got to know them well enough to tell you which is which." Lucas said to the very professional looking man in a charcoal gray suit.
"I'm Bax!" the boy said cheerfully.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Bax." Gordon said as he offered his hand.
Bax seemed to be surprised by the gesture, but finally stood forward and accepted the offered hand and shook it firmly.
When Gordon released his handshake, he took a moment to look carefully at Bax.
After a moment, Gordon offered his hand to Ro and said, "So, by process of elimination, that must mean that you are Ro."
"Yes, sir." Ro said timidly as he also shook the offered hand.
Gordon chuckled, then said, "You don't have to call me 'sir'. My name is Gordon and the only reason I'm here is to see that you and the rest of your group have everything you need, to be comfortable tonight."
Ro seemed to be conflicted, then looked at his fathers with question.
"It's alright to call him Gordon, since he offered." Walter said quietly.
Ro turned his attention back to the man before him and said, "It's nice to meet you, Gordon."
"Thank you. The pleasure is all mine." Gordon said delightedly, then looked Ro over as he had done Bax.
"If you'll excuse me, I have to see that everything is in order by the time the plane is fueled up so we're ready to go." Lucas said as a concerned look fell across his face.
"Go on. We're going to be fine." Gordon assured him, then turned his attention back to Bug's group.
As Lucas hurried away, Gordon turned to one of the dads and asked, "Walter?"
"Yes. Walter Mason."
"Then you would be Reginald." Gordon said as he turned his attention to the other man.
"Reginald..." the man said, then hesitated before continuing in a whisper, "...Ashwood."
Gordon and Bug's eyes both went wide at the revelation.
"No relation." Reginald hurried to say.
It took a moment, but Gordon finally was able to get his mind back on the tasks needing to be completed.
"Please remember that if you're needing anything, all you have to do is ask. I'm here to see to your comfort." Gordon said professionally, then added, "I need to speak to Bug for just a moment, but if the rest of you would like to get in the cars, we'll be leaving as soon as your luggage is loaded."
Walter and Reginald subtly guided the boys toward the car as Bug looked at Gordon with question.
"Lucas called me from the plane, and I picked something up for you on the way to the airport." Gordon said as he gestured for Bug to follow him to the front passenger side door of the first limousine.
Bug was a little bit hesitant, but did his best to hide his nervousness.
"Lucas couldn't give me any details about your needs, so I took the liberty of gathering the supplies that I thought you might need. I hope you won't think me too forward for doing so." Gordon said quietly.
Bug accepted a small plastic shopping bag from Gordon and looked inside and was surprised at what he found. Not only was there a supply of condoms and lubrication, but also two disposable enemas.
"Thanks! I wouldn't have thought... this is great. Thanks, really!" Bug chattered nervously.
Gordon smiled at Bug's nervousness, then said, "You're very welcome. I'm here to help you and your group be comfortable. Please let me know if there's anything else that I can do."
Bug nodded and quietly said, "I will. And this isn't for me, it's for my brother..."
"None of my business. Just let me know if there's anything more I can do for you." Gordon said as he walked to the rear passenger side door and opened it for Bug.
"Okay." Bug said shyly, then hurried into the car as Gordon took out his cell phone.
* * * * *
"Are you alright, Bug? You're sweating." Oma Shoupe asked with concern.
"I'm fine." Bug said a little bit too quickly, then thought to ask, "How are you?"
"Oh, I've half convinced myself that this is all a dream. Taking an unexpected flight, making new friends, and now being treated like some kind of royalty, being picked up in a limousine..." Oma Shoupe said with a distant smile.
Bug smiled at her answer, then gently said, "Just enjoy it, Oma. I'm betting from the way these guys are picking us up from the airport that the hotel we're going to is probably going to be awesome."
Gordon got into the front passenger's side door and turned to the group to say, "As soon as they've finished with the luggage, we'll be ready to go. When we arrive at the hotel, it would be helpful if you would point out which luggage belongs to which people before we go inside. That way we'll be able to see that your luggage is delivered to your rooms."
"We don't have anything for Ro. They took all his things when they took him away from us." Reginald said with concern to his partner.
"Not to worry. That's already being taken care of." Gordon said from the front seat.
Walter and Reginald looked at Gordon with surprise.
"Just wait and see what we've come up with, and if we've forgotten anything, let me know and I'll see to it." Gordon said simply.
Walter and Reginald shared an uncertain look at each other, but didn't question further.
"Bug, do you know where your brother is?" Oma Shoupe asked curiously.
"I saw him get into the other car with Roris and his family. I'm sure that he's fine." Bug said assuringly.
"Doris seemed happy that the boys are becoming friends. I'm just concerned, knowing of Lawrence's... leanings... I wouldn't want him to encourage that boy to do something that he's not comfortable with." Oma Shoupe said slowly.
"I already talked to Roris about it. Don't worry, Oma, he's an adult and he's decided what he wants." Bug said seriously.
Walter and Reginald looked from Oma Shoupe to Bug curiously, not quite following the conversation.
Bug reached into the tote bag where he had placed the shopping bag, then pulled out the box of condoms with one hand and the bottle of lube with the other.
Both Walter and Reginald's eyes went wide in comprehension. It was Walter who finally said, "You certainly do know how to pack for a flight."
"You've gotta be ready for those layovers." Bug said with a grin, then noticed Gordon chuckling in the front seat.
* * * * *
Bug was as taken aback as any of them by the mystical sensation of riding through town in the back of a stretch limousine.
Not a word was spoken by anyone, but after a few minutes of riding, Bug felt a small arm come around his side.
He glanced over to see Bax staring out the window in awe, and obviously not realizing that he was holding on to Bug.
Gently, Bug guided Bax onto his lap so the boy could get a better view out the window.
As Bax leaned in slightly, Bug put an arm around him.
Bug glanced over and saw that Ro was being held securely between both his fathers and all three of them had their full attention focused outside the window.
* * * * *
"So, does this thing turn into a pumpkin at midnight?" Bug asked playfully as he got out of the limousine.
Gordon laughed, then said, "No. I assure you that it will still be here in the morning, to take you to the airport."
"Do you know when that will be?" Bug asked seriously.
"Not with any certainty. The plane is leaving to get another group, as we speak. We'll be bringing them here to the hotel as soon as they get in. We'd like to give all of you adequate time to rest before starting the next leg of your journey. However, things being as they are, all plans are subject to change at a moment's notice." Gordon said frankly.
"My Oma expects President Assgrab to declare martial law at any moment." Bug said frankly.
"He could." Gordon said simply.
Bug nodded, then asked, "What do we need to do next?"
"As soon as Roris is in his wheelchair, I'd appreciate it if you could help me get the others to claim their luggage, so it all gets delivered to the right rooms." Gordon said slowly.
"Sure." Bug said with a smile, feeling better once he had something to do.
* * * * *
"Are you okay, Oma?" Bug asked as he guided her off the elevator.
"I'll be fine, Dear." Oma Shoupe said confidently, and seemed not to be having any problem with weakness at the moment.
"Before we go any further, I just wanted to let everyone know that we've reserved the private dining room for ten o'clock in the morning. That should give everyone time to get adequate rest. Lucas will be here with the most up-to-date information about what's going to happen next. And, of course, breakfast will be served at that time." Gordon said, then paused to see if anyone had any questions.
"We've reserved this entire floor of the hotel, so you can choose any rooms that you want. Just be sure to let me know which rooms are occupied so we won't disturb you when the next group arrives." Gordon said seriously as he turned left down the hallway.
"Would you like the room by the elevator, Oma? That way you won't have to walk too far when it's time to leave." Bug asked gently.
"Yes, Bug. If no one else wants it, that will be fine." Oma Shoupe said quietly.
Gordon stepped forward and found the appropriate cardkey, then opened the door and stood aside.
Bug slowly ushered his Oma into the room and to a chair in what seemed to be a small living room.
"There must be a mistake, this looks like a presidential suite. This is far too nice for someone like me." Oma Shoupe said in wonder as she stared at the opulent luxury of the large hotel room.
"No, ma'am. This room is, indeed, all for you. We'll leave you to freshen up after your trip. If you would care for a refreshment, please feel free to call room service. If there is anything else that we can do for you, just call the front desk and they will either take care of it or call me." Gordon said gently as he handed her the cardkey.
"Thank you. That's so very kind." Oma Shoupe said in astonishment.
"You're our guests, we just want to be sure that you'll be able to relax and be comfortable." Gordon said with a tender smile at her.
"I'm sure that won't be a problem." Oma Shoupe said frankly.
"I'm going to show the others to their rooms, there will probably be a knock on your door in about ten or fifteen minutes. That will be one of the hotel staff with your luggage." Gordon said seriously as he made to leave.
"I didn't have the chance to pack anything." Oma Shoupe said with sudden concern.
"Don't worry about it, Oma. I took care of that. I have plenty of things for all of us." Bug said as he moved in to give her a gentle hug around the shoulders.
"Such a good boy." Oma Shoupe said as her eyes misted over with unformed tears.
"Do you need help with anything before I leave?" Bug asked quietly.
"No. Go on. I'll be fine." Oma Shoupe said as she patted him on the arm.
Bug leaned down and kissed her on top of the head, then quietly said, "I'll be back with your clothes and your medications in just a few minutes."
Oma Shoupe nodded that she had heard, then watched as everyone funneled out of the room. She took a deep breath to collect herself, then slowly looked around the incredible room in disbelief.
* * * * *
"If no one minds, I'd like the room next to Oma Shoupe, in case she needs anything." Bug said as they walked down the hall.
"Let me be sure that this keycard works." Gordon said, then opened the door to Bug's room.
Bug stepped forward to peek inside, then accepted the keycard from Gordon.
"Here." Ro said as he handed the bag he had been carrying to Bug.
Bax saw what he was doing and quickly handed Bug the cardboard box.
Bug dropped everything just inside the door, then seemed to think better of it and took a shopping bag out of the tote bag he had been carrying.
Once he had the door shut, he looked at Gordon, signaling that he was ready.
"Can Roris and I have a room together?" Lawrence asked hopefully as they walked to the next room.
Gordon opened the door and waited to see if anyone were going to answer.
"Is that okay with you, honey?" Doris asked her son gently.
Roris said something that was too low for Bug to hear, but a moment later, Doris tenderly said, "You're a grown man, now. If that's what you really want."
"Lawrence, I got these for you." Bug said as he handed the plastic shopping bag to his brother.
After a curious look at Bug, Lawrence accepted the bag, then looked inside.
"Thank you! And you got the good kind! Come on, Roris! You're gonna love this!" Lawrence said as he took hold of the back of Roris' wheelchair and hurried into the room.
"Don't forget your keycard!" Gordon called out as the door closed in his face.
A moment later, the door opened again and Lawrence snatched the keycard from Gordon's hand as he quickly said, "Thanks!", then closed the door again.
* * * * *
"Would anyone like to volunteer to be next?" Gordon asked with a smile at the remainder of the group.
"I think Doris would feel better if we were close to Roris, just in case he needs us." Marcus said with a tender smile at his wife.
"Yes. I think that's a very good idea." Gordon said to Marcus as he handed him a keycard.
* * * * *
"I suppose we're next." Walter said as they arrived at the next room.
"Would you boys like to bunk in with us tonight?" Reginald asked gently.
Before Bax could even consider, Ro said, "You've always said that you and Dad love me and want to spend time with me, but at night you need your private time together. Me and Bax can stay in the next room."
"Are you okay with that?" Walter asked Gordon hesitantly.
"Of course. Here you go. A keycard for you, and one for the boys." Gordon said as he handed them out.
Bax took the keycard and held it like it was the key to adulthood.
"Cool. We got our own room." Ro whispered.
"If you would like to get settled in, I should be back in just a minute with your luggage." Gordon said with a tender smile at the boys.
"If you guys need me for anything, you remember where my room is, right?" Bug asked seriously.
"It's the second one from the elevator. I remember." Ro said confidently.
"Have fun." Bug said with a chuckle, then walked with Gordon back toward the elevator.
* * * * *
"Do you need my help with anything?" Bug asked as they walked.
"No. The hotel staff will bring up the luggage and I'll tell them which rooms to deliver it to. I think that since you'll be getting the luggage for your family, that you'll have plenty to do." Gordon said casually.
Bug shrugged, then said, "I have one pack for each of us, plus one with emergency supplies. It really isn't that much to sort out."
"For as young as you are, you seem to be incredibly focused. I think that your family is very fortunate to have you." Gordon said as he stopped at Bug's room door.
"It's me that's lucky. My Oma and my brother are the best family that anyone could ever ask for. They're both already better people than I'll ever be. I just do whatever I can to protect them from the things that might diminish the joy that they bring into this world." Bug said introspectively.
Gordon looked at Bug with surprise at the statement.
Bug noticed, then realized what he had said. "Fuck! It must be way past my bedtime if I started saying sappy shit like that."
Gordon chuckled, then said, "I'll be back with your bags in just a minute."
Bug watched him go, then turned to walk into his room.
* * * * *
As Bug looked around his room, he noticed that the desk area had ample outlets and an Internet connection. He went to the doorway and picked up his totebag then, as an afterthought, he picked up the bag that contained the medications.
It took a few minutes for Bug to get everything connected to his liking, but eventually he was online and sailing through the Internet, getting updates on dozens of seemingly minor developments around the country.
Although the big picture' was still eluding him, he could see enough in the developments to know that an unprecedented storm was brewing. Unless something very big and very unexpected happened very, very soon, things had the potential to spiral completely out of control.
Along with all the bad news, there was also some good. And Bug had to fight the urge to go to the dark areas to possibly get more detailed information. Although he had some formidable hacking skills, even he couldn't make a hotel Internet connection secure.
A knock on the door jolted Bug out of his thoughts.
He hurried to answer it, expecting it to be Gordon. It turned out to be one of the hotel staff, delivering his luggage.
"Where would you like these?" The young man asked respectfully.
"How about over there, by that couch?" Bug asked as he took out his wallet.
The young man moved the luggage trolley into the room and offloaded the four backpacks and two shopping bags.
"Thanks." Bug said as he held out a ten dollar bill.
"Thank you, but we've been instructed not to accept any gratuities from your party. We've been told that we will be generously compensated if you, our guests, are treated well and kept happy." The young man said seriously.
"I don't know who it is that's paying for all of this, but they sure are pulling out all the stops." Bug said frankly.
"If you don't mind me saying. I think that if you want to show your appreciation for their generosity, the best way might be to accept and enjoy it."
"Yeah. Thanks..." Bug paused as he read the young man's name badge, then continued, "Thanks, Hank, I'll keep that in mind."
Hank smiled at the sincere words, then wheeled his luggage trolley out of the room.
* * * * *
It only took a few minutes for Bug to get Oma Shoupe's medications together. After that, he grabbed the pack that held her emergency supplies and double checked to see that he had his keycard before he walked out his door and down the hall.
Bug knocked, then tried the door handle.
"Oma Shoupe, it's Bug. I've got your clothes and stuff."
"Give me just a minute. I'm not as young and spry as I used to be." Oma Shoupe called from inside the room.
Bug smiled, not bothered in the least at having to wait.
* * * * *
When the door finally opened, Oma Shoupe said, "I should probably just give you this card. I don't see myself leaving the room before it's time for us to check out."
"Actually, I think I'll just ask Gordon if he can get me an extra card for your room. That way, you won't have to get up to answer the door. You can just tell me to come in." Bug said as he walked slowly into the room with her.
"Isn't this place lovely? Even when your Opa Shoupe and I went to Niagara Falls for our honeymoon, the hotel wasn't as nice as this."
"I'm glad you're enjoying it. Remember that if you get hungry or thirsty or need anything at all, you can call room service or the front desk.
"I wouldn't want to take advantage." Oma Shoupe said slowly.
"I know. I feel the same way. But I think from everything we've seen so far, whoever is doing all this for us isn't worried about how much any of this is costing. They're just trying to be good hosts and see that we're being taken care of. I'm not going to order lobster and steak or anything, but if I'm hungry, I'll go ahead and ask for a ham sandwich or something. We'd be bad guests if we refused to accept their hospitality." Bug said frankly.
"I suppose you're right." Oma Shoupe said uncertainly.
"If you'll sit down, I'll go get you some water so you can take your pills." Bug said gently as he helped her to the chair in the little living room area of the suite.
"You're such a good boy, Bug. I only wish your mother could have lived to see the wonderful young man that you've become." Oma Shoupe said as she settled into the chair.
"I know that she's watching." Bug said gently.
Oma Shoupe smiled and nodded as she watched Bug hurry to the en suite bathroom to get a glass of water.
* * * * *
After a stop at his room to get Lawrence's medication, Bug walked the other way down the hall and knocked on his brother's door.
He was curious about the amount of time it took for the door to be answered, but as the door opened, he heard Lawrence saying, "It's okay. It's just my brother."
"I brought your..." Bug started to say, then stopped when he realized that Lawrence was standing before him stark naked and fully erect.
"Roris and I were just about to get started." Lawrence said happily.
Bug glanced across the room to find Roris also stark naked, and lying spread eagle on his belly on the bed.
"I brought your clothes and your medicine." Bug said as he fought to look his brother in the eyes.
"Oh. Okay." Lawrence said happily.
As Bug was about to hand the pills to his brother, he noticed the slimy goo coating his fingers.
"How about I get your water and give them to you?" Bug asked cautiously.
Lawrence looked at Bug with confusion, then down at his slimy hand.
"Oh. Yeah. That would be good." Lawrence said with a smile.
Bug dropped the pack of clothes, then walked to the bathroom to get a glass of water.
* * * * *
"Open up." Bug said as he approached.
Lawrence opened his mouth without hesitation and allowed Bug to place the pills on his tongue.
Next, Bug held the glass of water to Lawrence's lips and slowly tipped it as he drank.
"I'll stop by to wake you up at nine in the morning. You guys have fun." Bug said as he sat the empty glass aside.
"Okay. I love you, Bug." Lawrence said as he gave his younger brother a kiss on the cheek.
Bug smiled, then said, "I love you, too, Lor. Don't stay up too late."
"Okay." Lawrence said happily as he walked back to the bed.
Bug chuckled as he walked to the door and quietly left the room.
* * * * *
A knock on the door startled Bug out of his Internet surfing. He hadn't found any new information that was significant, but all of it still pointed to something very big and very bad looming on the horizon.
When he opened the door, he found Gordon carrying a plastic shopping bag.
"You asked for an extra keycard to your grandmother's room?" Gordon asked as he held the keycard out to him.
"Thanks. How is everything? Any news?" Bug asked as he accepted the keycard.
"No. But with any luck, the Chicago group is probably on their way by now." Gordon said frankly.
"Are you about done for the night?" Bug asked curiously.
"Yes. I'm just going to drop these pajamas off to the boys, then I'm on my way home. I'm going to owe the babysitter about five hours of double-time pay by the time I get there." Gordon chuckled.
"How many kids do you have?" Bug asked curiously.
"Three. Age eight, ten and thirteen." Gordon said with a weary look.
"Wow. Three? I bet they keep you busy." Bug smiled.
"Yes. I'm constantly amazed at how they can be little angels one minute and absolute demons the next." Gordon said with a wistful smile.
"I can take those to the boys, if you want to get home to your kids." Bug offered gently.
Gordon was surprised by the offer, but finally said, "Thank you, Bug. I really appreciate that."
"After everything you've done for us, it's the least I can do." Bug said honestly.
Gordon handed Bug the shopping bag, then said, "If you wouldn't mind, would you let the boys know that I'll be stopping by between nine and nine-thirty with some new clothes for them."
"Yeah. I'll tell them."
* * * * *
Bug knocked on the door and the door opened before he had even pulled his hand away.
Bax poked his head out the door and looked up and down the hallway before turning his attention to Bug.
"Gordon wanted me to give you guys these pajamas for tonight." Bug said as he held out the bag to Bax.
"I thought you was the room service guy. We ordered a pizza." Bax said happily.
Bug smiled, then said, "Well, just be sure not to make a mess. And Gordon wanted me to tell you that he was going to stop by between nine and nine-thirty in the morning with some new clothes for you for tomorrow."
"He's gonna buy us clothes?" Bax asked happily.
"Yeah. I told him that you didn't bring any clothes with you, so he wanted to get you some." Bug said honestly.
"Gordon and Lucas are both really nice." Bax said seriously.
"Yeah." Bug said with a smile.
"Is that the pizza?" Ro called from inside the room.
"No. It's Bug." Bax responded.
"You guys just remember to call me or come to my room if you need anything." Bug said quietly to Bax.
"Yeah. We're fine. Ro is finding us a good movie that we can watch when the pizza gets here." Bax said happily, then seemed to be struck with inspiration and suddenly asked, "Do you want to have pizza with us?"
Before Bug could answer, Bax called into the room, "Is it okay if Bug watches movies and has pizza with us?"
"Yeah. Bug's cool." Ro called in return.
"Come on. It'll be fun." Bax begged.
Bug thought for a moment and finally said, "Yeah. Okay."
TO BE CONTINUED...
I think it is finally becoming clear that there is something very serious starting to develop. Bug has noticed things showing up on the net.
I think it is a very good thing that they left Orlando. Whatever happens now can't help but be better than what they would have had to deal with in Florida.
It was interesting to see Bug's reaction to the way Jeremy treated him. It makes me wonder if there could be something between them, later on.
I kinda felt sorry for Bug, since at seventeen, he is rather caught in the middle. If he were to go with someone who is older, he could get them in trouble, and if he were to find someone who was younger, within a year, he would be in trouble for continuing any relationship he might have been having with them.
It looks as if Lawrence and Roris seem to have hit it off really well. They each fill certain gaps in the life of the other. Roris has spent a very long time without having anyone he can feel truly comfortable with, and not be worried that the only reason that someone spends time with him is because they might be feeling sorry for him.
Lawrence has a case of terminal cuteness, that just drives everyone bananas, when they see him. He is constantly being hit on by guys and girls. And, of course, given his level of intellect, he finds it difficult to know whether the person is interested in him for himself, or just his sexy body.
Most people he has had relationships with, up to now, have not really been interested in a loving relationship with him, and are only using him for their, and, for that matter, his sexual pleasure. Sadly, he doesn't understand that even though he starts to fall in love with them, they are not going to love him.
I think that, this time, things are going to be different.
I am very happy that Ro's dads decided to take the chance and leave with the boys.
Bax and Ro now have two dads and a big family, they can depend on, in Bug, Lawrence, and Oma Schoup, two uncles and a grandma, who will care for them and love them to pieces.
It seems that some of the pieces are now coming together, and we are seeing what the whole puzzle might look like.
I do have to wonder what will happen once the Chicago people get there. And then, just where will they be going, once everyone arrives in Kansas City?
There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, and a lot of things that could go wrong. Let's hope there won't be too many obstacles that have to be overcome.
We will just have to wait for the next chapter to see what happens next.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher