The stories on this page are between gay couples and include loving discipline. This is a group effort by some of the members of Dizzy’s Discipline Den. We started the series December 2014. All TLR characters are original creations. Any similarity to other stories/characters or people living or deceased is coincidental. No money is made from this blog. All Stories on this Blog are Copyright - 2012-2018
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Monday, October 31, 2016
Lucas’s First Halloween as an Okoro.
After their lessons,
it was common for Mr. K to talk to Omari about Lucas's progress. Smiling after
the happily retreating figure, the teacher waited for the taller man to come
out of his office as usual and invite him in for a closed-door update. He
wasn't disappointed. As soon as he heard his son's happy cheer at being
released from lessons for the day, Omari put aside what he was working on and
promptly invited the man in.
"So, how were
things today, Mr. K?" Lucas’s Papa asked.
"Please, if it's
alright with you, you can call me Charlie, or Klem,” Mr. K offered.
Omari said, sounding surprised. "Then Klem it is." he smiled.
"And you must call me Omar."
Omar." Klem smiled.
"Have a seat,
please," Omari said, gesturing to the seat next to his desk.
"So, how is our
boy doing today?"
"Well, I've run
some tests on him during the past week, and the results are...
Omari asked, not sure he liked the sound of that word.
"He's all over
the board on his scores. Some things, like math and science, he scores high in,
almost a third-grade level. Things like English, reading, writing and
comprehension, he scores about the same as a kindergartner. I know you'd
told me that he skipped school a lot before he came to you, but we have a lot
of work to do to bring him up to speed. I'd like you to try to foster a
love of reading with him. Read to him every night, ask him to read along
that," Omari said with a sigh. "We can't seem to get him
Mr. K stopped a
moment, putting a finger to his lips in thought before smiling. "I
think I have an idea. Do you have any pictures of him that you'd be
willing to part with for a few days?"
Omari was confused but
nodded and reached into his book shelf, bringing out a scrap book, the first
three pages of which were filled with pictures of Lucas from the day he'd
joined the Okoro family to the present.
The teacher smiled
again and thanked the man. "I'll bring them back next week. I hope
my plan will help. In the meantime, please continue to read to him every
night. Thanks again.... Omar."
Klem," Omari laughed as he shook the other man's hand goodbye.
That night Omari told
Zhara about the teacher's strange request. She raised her eyebrows in an 'I
don't know.' expression and decided to wait for the following Monday.
That weekend Omari and
Zhara brought Lucas out shopping.
at the array of things in the stores. He hadn't really ever been allowed to
pick out a Halloween costume. When he was with his Mother he had been too
little and his first foster family didn’t allow him to go out and last year he
was just sent out in some old clothes. His brown eyes lit on a Cowboy costume,
but he didn't think his new family would want to buy anything like that so he
just tagged along with them.
Zhara smiled and
picked up several different costumes. "Look, Lucas! How would you
like to be Darth Vader? A Storm Trooper? Look! Here's a great Super Man
costume... who would you like to be this Halloween?"
Lucas' eyes drifted
toward the cowboy costume, but he shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno, it's
up to ya."
Zhara didn't miss the
direction in which her little boy's gaze kept moving. With a little
smile, she looked through the costumes until she came upon one that would fit
him. Pulling it out she said, "How about this, Lucas? Would you like
to be a cowboy for this Halloween? All we need to do is get you a few
more things and you'll look like the real thing."
Lucas's eyes lit up
and he said timidly, "That'll be good." Afraid to say more in case
they changed their minds.
Glad to see the light
in the boy's eyes, Zhara put the costume in the cart and they began to look for
accessories. She wasn't a big proponent of guns, toy or otherwise and she
struggled with the idea of whether to buy one for him or not. ‘Maybe he'd
settle for a lasso?’ she wondered.
Lucas watched as the
costume was put into the cart. He smiled when he saw the toy six shooters.
"They look like the ones they use in the western shows on TV Mama,"
he told her.
Knowing how Zhara felt
about guns, Omari knelt down to look at his little boy and to be sure that he
had the child's full attention. "Guns can be dangerous, even toy
ones. There are rules you must agree to follow, Lucas, or there is no way
we will buy a toy pistol for you. Are you listening?"
Lucas seeing and
hearing his new Papa's sternness nodded.
"Never, not even
in fun, do you ever point a gun, at people or animals. If you feel the
need to shoot, do it into the air, and outside. Do I make myself
clear? Treat even a toy gun as though it
were a real one. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're actually
ready to use it. Keep it pointed in a safe direction, and when you fire,
make sure you know what you're firing at, and what's behind it. Do you
The boy nodded again
at all Omari said. "Yeah, when the good guys shoot the bad ones they
Omari didn't remind
the child that bad guys killed good guys too, or that toy guns had on occasion
been mistaken for real ones and ended in injury. "Follow the rules, and we'll be fine. If
I see you pointing that gun where you’re not supposed to, you'll be in trouble.
And most importantly, if you ever see a real gun, do NOT touch it. Leave
it where it is and tell an adult. Understand?"
Lucas looked at Omari
and asked biting his lip, "What kinda trouble will I be in?" he
asked with trepidation, "Will you send me back to the juvenile place?
The man's features
softened. "No, child. I'll never send you back. I'm telling you this
for your own safety, do you understand? A gun is a dangerous thing in the
wrong hands, inexperienced hands. Children's hands especially. If I ever
catch you touching a real gun, you'll be in more kinds of trouble than you know
what to do with," Omari warned.
"'Kay Papa, it sounds like it will be somethin' really awful, worse than
goin' to the juvenile place."
Omari sighed and
looked at Zhara for the final decision. She bit the side of her lower
lip, unconsciously mirroring Lucas and gave a slight nod. Omari then picked up
the fanciest six-shooter there and showed Lucas how to hold it and where to point
it. "Remember to keep your finger off the trigger til you're ready
to use it. And what did I say about how to treat even a toy gun?" he
"To never point
it at anybody or any animal."
"Umm...to treat a
toy one like it was a real one," Lucas told his new Papa.
"That's my boy,"
Omari praised. Zhara looked relieved.
They bought everything
that he would need to look like the best dressed cowboy in the neighborhood and
headed home. The next day, after his lessons, he ran into his room and changed
into his costume to show Mr. K.
there, buckaroo!" Mr. K praised. "Hey, do you mind if I take a
picture to show my kids?"
Omari looked at Lucas.
"It's your decision, Hon."
" 'Kay," the
little boy blushed, pleased.
Mr. K took a few
pictures of the little boy in different poses and smiled. "They'll
love these. I'm always telling them about you."
Mr. K said with a grin. "Alright then, it's time for me to go. My kids
will be wanting to dress up soon too."
Lucas said, "Mr.
K... wait a minute!"
The teacher looked
back at the child, slightly surprised, and smiled. "Yes Lucas?"
Lucas ran into the
kitchen and came back out with a package of candy bars. "Mama said to make
sure you get these for ya and ya kids for Halloween. I almos forgot!"
you!" Mr. K said with a smile. "I know they'll appreciate
these. Thank you, and thank your mama for me too, please? Omar, thank
Lucas smiled as the
man left. "You said Uncle Coral and Uncle Ryan were comin' and Mutt and
that other man who was with him...Mr. Jeff?" he asked. "When will
they be here?"
Omari smiled down at
his child, seeing that the little boy was so happy and excited.
"They'll be here," he looked at his watch, "in about a
half hour, as will your cousins and Aunts and Uncles."
Ryan shifted in his seat.
"How much longer Coral?" he asked. He was getting restless on the
"Not much longer,
Angel." Coral reassured him. "Just a few more blocks, alright?"
Mutt leaned into Jeff
and whispered exasperatedly, "I swear if he asks that one more
all Jeff said as he pulled Mutt's head down onto his shoulder.
Ryan sighed and
nodded. "'Kay Cor." He petted Castiel whom he had insisted on
bringing with them despite all threats Coral had made. He wanted the kitten who
was growing now to be with him.
"I can't wait to
see Cas in his parrot costume," Jeff said. "Coral was telling me
about it as he made it."
"Yeah, Cas didn't
like it too much when we first tried it on him.
You had to see him chasing the tail feathers around. It was too funny,"
Coral said grinning.
Ryan wrinkled is nose.
"It was, but he's used to it now."
"Hey, you wanted
to bring Cas, and every good pirate should have a parrot companion." Coral
joked. He knew that Ryan hadn't been too happy with the idea at first,
but he'd come around.
"Well, yeah and
he does look kinda cute," Ryan admitted.
Castiel let out a loud,
"Well, you do Cas."
Everyone laughed, and
Coral sighed in relief as they pulled into his parent's driveway. By the
looks of it, all of his sisters and their kids were there. He wondered if their
husbands had come this time, and if they had dressed up as well. He
couldn't imagine Topie, at least, letting her husband Dono get away without a
costume. Halloween was her favorite holiday, and she had decorated their house
weeks in advance for the event.
As Coral pulled into
the driveway Ryan carefully put Castiel in his carrier amidst plaintive meows.
Lucas, hearing a car
pull into the driveway looked out. "Uncle Coral and Uncle Ryan are here...and
Mutt and his guy Jeff,” he told his parents.
They were greeted with
cheers and hugs when they walked into the house.
Coral was pleased to
see that everyone was in costume. He laughed when he saw that Topie was
Princess Leah and her husband, a tall man to begin with, was dressed as
"Not one word,"
Coral, who still had
two inches and a few pounds on the guy, put up his hands as though to say 'No
arguments from me,’ and grinned.
Lucas bit his lip as
he looked at Coral. He had thought Papa and Uncle Dono were tall, but Uncle
Coral, who he'd only ever spoken to on Skype, was even taller. "You look
more like a tree than a pirate," the little boy said in awe and rather
Coral just laughed and
patted the boy on the shoulder. "They were all out of tree costumes,"
he joked. "But that's a great idea for next year."
Ryan carried Castiel
in with him and smiled at the Okoro clan, a little nervous with all the new
people around him.
Zhara walked up to Ryan
and gave him a big hug and kiss. "So good to see you boys!" she
said, turning toward her son and giving him the same treatment. Mutt made
an exaggeratedly sad face until she laughed and gave him a bear hug as well.
"Ohhhh, my ribs!" Mutt joked.
The kids, seeing the
carrier, converged on Ryan, trying to see what was inside.
Ryan blushed, but
kissed Zhara on the cheek. As the kids gathered he said, "Stand back a
little you don't wanna scare him. I have a cat here and his name is Castiel.
He's big, but he's still a kitten and doesn't know everythin' yet. He's gonna
be my parrot," he explained as he took the kitten, who immediately wound
himself around Ryan's neck and shoulder, out of his carrier.
Lucas's eyes went wide
at the sight of the pet.
off a little," Omari said quietly but with authority. "Now,
gran'pa!" the children chimed as they took a few steps back.
Lucas continued to
look at the new comers.
Jeff noticed the
little boy staring and smiled. "I like your cowboy costume! Lookin'
sharp," he said as he sat down on the couch. Even then he was taller
than the boy but he knew he wasn't as imposing sitting down as standing up. He
was glad that Duke had chosen to stay home. Who knew how the kid would react to
a man nearly seven feet tall on Halloween night.
"Would you like
to see Castiel in his parrot costume?" Coral called.
Lucas nodded and then
said, "Yes, Uncle Coral," before smiling at Jeff and tearing off to
see the kitten in his costume.
Ryan proceeded to
dress Castiel in his costume amid a few "Rah!" noises and attempts to
bite or scratch the young man, which he avoided and scolded him for. When he
was finished, he smiled and held him for all the children to see.
All the kids and
adults ohhh'd and aahhhh'd over how cute the kitten looked, and laughed as Ryan
put him back up on his shoulder.
As was their
tradition, Omari and Zhara fed their crew with pizza from a favorite local
restaurant, and when they were done, handed out large candy bars to all the
children, as well as goodie bags full of stickers, and other small toys. That
was the children's cue to begin their trick or treating.
That was until Topie
gasped and grabbed at her stomach.
"Tope! Are you
alright?" Dono asked, concerned. "Did your water break?"
least... not yet. I was hoping they were just Braxton Hicks contractions
but they're getting closer and closer together. I'm sorry I didn't tell you
don't worry about that. Let’s get you lying down. Omari, start timing the
contractions as soon as the next one hits," Zhara ordered, leading her
youngest to the couch.
"Dono, go on with
the children..." Topie said, breathing deeply.
"I can't leave
you!" he answered, disbelief in his tone that she would even suggest it.
"We're going with
the others," Jeff said. "There are enough of us to watch all
the youngsters, we'll make sure they're safe, we promise."
"Should we keep
the little ones home?" Dono asked his wife.
ahhhhhh!" she cried.
Omari set his timer
and kept his eyes on his daughter.
"We'll take good care
of them," Coral said. "Besides, if this is what we think it is, you
won't want them underfoot. Just lie still, now, baby sister."
on?" Jonathan asked.
"Nothing to worry
about honey, just go on out with your aunts and uncles and have a good time.
We'll see you when you get home." Zhara said with a smile.
Jonathan and five-year-old Austin, who were also dressed as cowboys by
agreement, immediately paired up and joined Lucas with smiles on their faces.
"You ready to go?" Jon asked.
"Yeah...let's go!" He ran out the door with the other two after him.
Ry looked at Coral,
"We better catch up!" He grinned at Mutt and said, "Last one out
is a rotten egg!"
Coral laughed and
waited for Ryan to get through the door way before calling "First one
takes the last one's place! No take backs!"
He, Mutt and Jeff
followed the others out the door and helped herd the excited children onto the
sidewalk and off the street.
Ryan just laughed and
shook his head at Coral and kept the children in sight as the others joined
Caitlyn, twelve-year-old Kyle and twelve-year-old Bastien ran ahead and out of
sight for a few moments, ignoring their parent's and uncle's orders to come
back at once.
The group picked up
their pace and ran after the three children who jumped out from behind a bush
and yelled, "Boo!" They'd put on frankly frightening masks and
scared the youngest ones into hysterics.
It took several
minutes to calm down 5-year-old Austin and 3-year-old Angela who had been badly
scared by the masks and the sudden appearance of the monsters.
Nine-year-old Noah and
his cousin Tamara, who had been born one week apart, merely scowled at the
others. They'd known that the oldest three had been planning something, but not
what. When they'd asked they'd been told to mind their own business.
Ryan had to cling onto
Castiel who had let out a yowl and had tried to jump off Ryan's shoulder.
Lucas screamed loudly
and turned to run as fast as he could...right into Coral.
Coral knelt and
wrapped Lucas into a comforting embrace, much like Omari's, holding him and
comforting him, assuring him that it was alright and just a mean prank.
Lucas clung to Coral, then once the older kids took off the masks, wanted
Coral’s sisters gave
the older children a displeased look. “We shouldn’t even allow you to continue
trick or treating if you’re going to scare the other kids like that,” Opal said
"Well, it is
trick or treat," Caitlyn said, looking uncomfortable. "We
didn't think the little ones would get that upset."
mom?" Kyle said, "There are lotsa kids out here wearin' stuff a lot
scarier than us, and no one is screamin' about them."
Bastien didn't say a
word but blushed and had the grace to look guilty.
this at home," their mothers said in unison.
"Can we still go
trick or treating?" Bastien asked quietly.
"Do you think you
deserve to?" Opal asked.
Bastien shook his head
but shot a pleading look at the two angry women.
sorry, it was just a trick. We won't do it again. Promise," Caitlyn said.
"It's against my
better judgement," Opal replied, looking at her sister for back up.
the children pleaded.
Ame approached her
older sister and whispered in her ear, "The situation at home might still
be iffy, what with Topie perhaps going into labor. I know they shouldn't be
allowed to continue, but if we bring them home..." she let her thought
Despite her own
feelings, Opal reluctantly agreed.
"Fine, you can
finish out the night, but you're going to bed as soon as we get home. And no
treats until tomorrow."
the children cried gratefully.
"Don't thank us
just yet. Get going. And give me those masks," Opal said, sternly.
The kids handed over
the masks and scooted out of their mother's reach. "Let's go
guys!" Caitlyn shouted. Despite her ire over the prank, ten-year-old Sasha
chose to go with the older kids while nine-year-old Tamara accompanied the
pirates, who she thought would look too scary for anyone else to mess with.
Lucas, once he was let
down went to Jon and Noah and whispered, "Let's try to get back before
they do and I'll arrest 'em for playin' that mean prank!"
The two boys looked
uncertain and Jonathan began to scuff the concrete sidewalk with the toe of his
cowboy boot. They'd all agreed to dress as cowboys. Lucas was their sheriff and
the other boys his deputies.
Lucas looked at the
boy and then turned to Noah, "You comin'? I wanna get my candy."
that someone else would pull the same prank on them that their cousins and
brother had done, the four began to walk away.
Coral ordered the boys before he leaned in toward his sister Ame and whispered,
"We'll take Angela and Austin with us. They'll probably get tired way
before the older kids. We'll meet you back at mom and dad's, ok?"
sister whispered back. She was still perturbed with her oldest child and her
niece and nephew and was grateful to have someone look after the babies of the
Coral? Uncle Ryan? Can you help us go faster? There's 'nough menfolks with the
others, and we don't wanna trick an' treat with them no more. Please?"
Ryan smiled and
glanced at Coral. "Sure." Mutt and Jeff picked up the youngest of the
crew, settling them on their hips, and off they went into the twilight.
As they went door to
door the people exclaimed over the little ones and then their expressions
turned to surprise as they realized the parrot on Ry's shoulder was actually a
cat. "Oh my...how clever!" The woman at the place they were at now
exclaimed. Ryan grinned and reached up to pet the kitten. "He makes a good
parrot except he can't talk."
The woman laughed.
They continued and
after a while Angela and Austin began to complain that they were getting tired.
The other boys, seeing their chance to get back before the older children
agreed to return with the pirates. Tamara wasn't too thrilled that her night
had been cut short and sighed. She had, after all, decided to go with the young
kids, but she'd been hoping that they would have lasted longer.
Lucas had enjoyed
spending the time with Mutt as they had gone from house to house and talked. He
got to know Jeff a bit better and liked him too. He also got a chance to know
his new Uncles Coral and Ryan better. He had talked to them over the computer
and Skype, but they were much cooler in real life.
When they got back to
the house Angela and Austin ran to their grandparents to show them the goodies
With the adults'
attention on the babies, Lucas took advantage of the opportunity and sneaked
Ryan had taken off
Castiel's parrot costume much to the kitten's relief and Cas groomed himself
while he sat in Ryan's lap.
After the littlest
ones got their costumes off and had their cuddles by their grandparents they
went over to Ryan and he let them pet Cas who purred loudly the whole time.
Angela, who had been
looking around for her parents finally tugged on Omari's pant leg and asked,
Omari smiled and
scooped up the little girl. "Well, you know mamma was going to have
a new baby, right?"
The little girl nodded
her head solemnly.
"Well, the baby
decided that today was the day, so mamma and daddy went to get the baby from
replied, not really understanding.
Austin, confused asked
a question that Omari finally understood as the word 'Stork.' He smiled and
picked up the child to give him an extra hug.
darlings," Zhara said with a smile, "They're going to pick out the
prettiest baby there and bring it home."
me?" Angela asked shyly.
like you, but in a different way, Ok?"
little girl said, reaching out to her grandparents for a hug, which they
returned with gusto.
As Lucas sneaked out,
Noah and Jonathan followed stealthily and the three boys hid behind the bushes
just outside the house. "Shhh," Lucas warned, "I'm not sure when
they'll show up, but we wanna make sure we get 'em good."
The other little boys
grinned at each other in the dark and waited for the older kids to come up the
walk. They had forgotten though about the adults who had been with them.
Hearing the voices coming closer Lucas tapped Jonathan and Noah. He whispered,
"When they reach that big bush, we'll jump out and I'll tell them they're
under arrest and shoot my gun in the air to warn them."
The three boys, who
were walking ahead of their mothers and Sasha, who had stuck close to her own
mother for protection began their approach to the house.
Lucas and the others,
who were about to give up out of boredom, smiled at each other when the four
oldest arrived first. Taking their chance while they had it, the three little
boys jumped out, startling the others into inaction.
Lucas shot off his cap
pistol into the air. "Put yar hands up! Yar under arrest and we're takin'
all that candy for ev'dence!" He snatched the candy filled bags from the
older children while they were frozen and ran into the house with them, the
other two little boys at his heels.
The startled adults
hesitated for only a moment before following all the children into the house.
The older kids immediately ran to their grandparents and began to yell at the
Omari let out a sharp
whistle and everyone stopped in their tracks. "Now what happened.
One. At. A. Time," he ordered, pointing at Caitlyn.
Lucas ran to Coral,
the tallest man in the room. "Help me Uncle Coral, we need more deputies
to capture the bad guys!"
Coral's eyes widened
in surprise as the little body collided into him. He swept the boy up
instinctively and turned toward his father with a hundred questions in his
Lucas, never hearing
Omari's voice so loud clung tightly to Coral.
"Once again. Tell
me what is going on," Omari said, just this side of thunder.
"He shot us! He
stole our candy!" the little girl shouted.
Hearing Caitlyn saying
Lucas shot them, the little boy cried, "Did not! I shot the air! 'Sides,
ya scared the little ones when we started out so ya deserved it!" the
youngster shouted loudly in anger now.
His protest went
unheard as the other four continued the tirade.
"They were hiding
and jumped out at us. Lucas shot at us and we got scared!" Sasha cried.
"I saw the sparks, I thought it was a real gun at first. I thought we were
being attacked by bullies!"
"We ran in here
as fast as we could. I was so scared!" Kyle said, near tears.
Omari's lips thinned
into a grim expression. "Let me get this straight. He shot at
you, or into the air?"
Lucas scowling cried,
"I shot into the air! It's not my fault they're a bunch of babies!"
Realizing no one was listening he began to struggle to get down from Coral's
Coral yelled as he nearly dropped the little boy. "Hold on there, Luc! All
you had to do was tell me you wanted to get down," he said more calmly as
he set the child on his feet.
Omari looked at Lucas,
a grim expression on his face. "Tell me what happened, Lucas.
Did you point that gun at those kids?"
Lucas said with a
scowl, "No! I didn't. I pointed it into the air like ya tole me Papa! I
promised!" Tears began to course down Lucas's face. "They scared the
little ones and so we scared 'em back is all!"
The adults hadn't seen
the whole thing so couldn't testify one way or the other. All they'd heard was
the cap gun going off, and Lucas shouting that he was taking the candy. Then
the other children had hurried off into the house yelling.
"Honestly Dad, I
didn't see what actually happened," Opal said, concerned. "All
I heard was Lucas shouting and taking the candy bags."
Lucas turned away and
began to walk out of the room.
there, young man," Omari ordered. "Tell me what happened. And
don't fib to me. If there's one thing I can't tolerate, it's fibbing."
Coral put out a hand
and put it on Lucas's shoulder, forcing the child to stop in his tracks.
"Answer papa, Luc. What happened?"
Lucas scowled, "I
done told ya and I ain't tellin' it again. 'Sides, I'm the bad kid and no one
listens to me anyways."
Omari strode over to
the little boy, picked him up and carried him into the nearest bedroom, closing
the door. He sat on the bed and put the child on his lap.
"Have you ever tried talking in a crowded room full of people all
talking at the same time? It's difficult to pick out one voice among the many,
and that's what happened in there. All I heard was you calling yourself a bad
kid, and I won't put up with that. You're not bad, understand me? I don't
have any bad kids.”
said, clearing her throat, "I think that's our cue to head on out."
"But mama! We
want to stay, please?"
"You sank that
boat when you scared the little ones," Opal said. "Now let's get
Opal and Ame's
children tried to protest a little more but the women stuck to their guns.
"It's not fair to
us though," Sasha complained. "We should be able to stay at
gran'ma and gran'pa's house tonight.
Ryan watched as Ame
and Opal gathered up their children with hugs and good byes to everyone before
herding them out the door. Zhara, as was her practice, walked out to the
car with her daughters where they chatted a bit more before her daughters actually
left with their bored offspring.
happen to the ones who didn't do anything wrong? Sasha and... jeez, I don't
remember all their names, Cor. Sorry," Jeff said with a slight blush.
His family was relatively small compared to Coral's and he'd only just
met them all in one room this evening.
Coral replied with a smile. "They'll be fine. The kids who didn't get into
trouble will most likely get to watch TV and have a few of their treats before
Mutt said, still looking worriedly at the closed bedroom door. Mutt looked at Coral and asked quietly,
"What's he gonna do, Cor? Luc... well, he's not blameless but... well...
he's not gonna... you know...?"
whispered back. "Dad was never a big one for spanking little kids
like Lucas. Usually a talking to would suffice, and believe me you
haven't had a real talking to til my dad has given you one," he joked.
"Don't worry, Luc is going to be just fine."
Ryan looked at Coral hearing
his words and frowned slightly. "So that's where you got it from? The way
Coral grinned. "I
learned from the best," he said as he kissed Ryan on the nose.
Ryan smiled and
stroked Castiel, still in his lap. He glanced at Mutt. "You really like
the little guy, don't you?"
"Yeah, I really
do. He's like me and a bunch of the other guys all rolled into one
compact little ball. I'd hate for him to get in trouble, especially on a
holiday. Holidays are for fun, not getting your rump roasted."
"Yeah, I agree and I'm glad that's not goin' to happen to him."
Mutt sighed as he leaned against Jeff's shoulder.
Hon. No matter what happens, Lucas is in good hands," Jeff vouched for the
couple, wrapping Mutt into a reassuring hug.
said brightly to the two youngest children who, without their parents or their
older cousins had begun to look as though they were going to cry. "I
hear that there's a Charlie Brown cartoon on tonight. How about we watch
that?" he asked.
Angela thought a
moment and then smiled, her worries forgotten for the moment. Austin,
seeing his sister perk up, did the same, and they sat down with the four men
and turned on the television.
Ryan looked at Coral, then
Jeff and Mutt. "Which one?"
"We're going to
watch It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It's a Halloween tradition since I
was a kid." Coral grinned.
"Tell me where
the popcorn is and I'll make a bowl full," Jeff offered.
"I'll help. Mutt,
Ry, keep an eye on the little ones while we're in the kitchen, ok?"
thing," Mutt agreed, turning to grin at the two small children.
"Let's find out what channel it's on and we can start while we wait for
the popcorn, alright?"
Angela and Austin smiled
up at the men. The little girl made herself comfortable in Mutt's lap.
Ryan's green eyes
widened. "Umm...okay." He had no idea what to do with two little
kids. He was relieved when Mutt seemed to take charge, but was surprised
when the little boy climbed into his lap causing Castiel to jump to his usual
perch on Ryan's shoulder.
Mutt leaned back with
the little girl on his chest and picked up the remote which had been on the
couch next to him. He began to flip through channels, looking for the TV Guide.
Austin looked up at
Ryan and asked, "C'n we have some goodies, Unca Ry? Do the kitty like
He looked down.
"Umm...yeah, I guess you can have some goodies, but the kitty can't eat
popcorn," he told the child.
"Kitty can' have
popcorn? S'got budder on it! Budder's milk kinda, daddy said. C'n kitty have
"No, Honey, kitty
can't have popcorn, or butter, or candy. Those things aren't good for him. But
we did bring cat treats, and maybe if you're good Uncle Ry will let you feed
him some. Uncle Ry?" Coral asked, coming out of the kitchen with
glasses of milk and soda on a tray.
The smell of freshly
popped corn wafted through the air making Mutt's mouth water.
Ryan held out his hand
for the kitten treats and smiled. "Yes, if he'll take them from your hand.
Sometimes he's kinda particular," he told the little boy.
Cas cautiously sniffed
at the treats in the little boy's hand and then nibbled a bit at them.
A happy grin split the
boy's face and he giggled when the rough tongue licked his fingers.
Ryan grinned. "I
think he likes you Austin."
The little boy beamed
a smile at his uncle and hugged him around the neck. "I like him too. You
got da bes' kitty, Unca Ry."
"Yes, I do, tell your Uncle Coral that."
"He don' t'ink
so?" the child asked, astounded. He turned toward Coral with a stern
expression. "Cassiel is da bes' kitty 'round, Unca Coral. I says so."
Coral put down the
tray and scooped up the little boy. "Ok, you win! Castiel is the
best kitty ever." He then began to tickle his nephew who screeched in
pleasure and tried to tickle his uncle back with minimal results.
Zhara, who had just
come back in, smiled at the scene before her and then glanced at the still
closed bedroom door.
Omari said quietly, “All
I need to know is what happened, and did you do as you were told and shoot the
gun into the air? The others insist you were pointing it at them. It's
difficult to know the truth when there are differing points of view."
He tried to keep his tone neutral and his features calm. Accusing the boy
would only make him shut down.
Lucas gave Omari a
sullen look. "Ya done asked me and I done tole ya. Ya ain’t gonna believe
me, ya gonna believe 'em anyway, they're ya blood kin." He shrugged.
"I shot it into the air like ya told me to. They scared the little ones
when we started out and so they deserved to be scared too to see what it's
like. I don' care if ya believe me or not."
"A man's word is
the most important thing to him, Lucas. If he breaks his word, his
promises, then no one will believe him. As far as blood goes, that makes
no difference in this family. Whether mama gave birth to you or not, you are
ours, entirely, and your word carries as much weight as anyone else's. You
told us the truth about the school and the stealing. You returned the stolen
items and owned up to what you did to the principal. Unless you give me reason
to doubt you, I will believe you. But if I find you were lying, then
there are consequences, same as there are for the other children if I find they
"Now, just for
your information, mama and her brothers and sisters were adopted, and they were
treated and loved just like any other member of the family. The same goes here.
Now tell me what happened."
Lucas said, "The
older kids scared the little ones bad when we started out. I tole Noah and
Jonathan we could get back at them, that we'd arrest 'em when they got back.
When we came home we hid in the bushes and when the older kids came up the
walk, we jumped out. I shot my cap gun three times in the air and took
their bags of candy. I told 'em it was for ev'dence," Lucas said. "I
shot the cap gun up in the air like ya told me to Papa." The little boy
repeated sighing, not sure he'd be believed or not, but feeling a bit more
Just as the child
answered, there came a knock at the door and Zhara entered.
alright in here?" she asked.
"As right as can
be under the circumstances," Omari answered.
"Well, I finally got
the story from the kids once they calmed down. They don't remember if
Lucas pointed the gun at them or not, they only heard the caps go off and him
shouting. It scared them and they ran. It seems that they
frightened the younger children earlier and they were only trying to get back
much what Lucas was telling me. While I'm not fond of retaliation, I can
understand why you did it, Lucas. It still doesn't make it right, but I
understand, and I'm proud of you for following my directions where that gun is
concerned. I'm still going to have to take it away for a few days. Do you
Lucas gave him a look
of relief at being believed and then scowled and shook his head. "No
Papa...I did what ya told me and didn't point it at anyone!"
"And for that I'm
proud of you, Lucas," Omari said.
Zhara added, "You
did misuse that gun by using it to scare the other kids in retaliation.
And taking their candy was wrong as well. The four who misbehaved
are being punished by their parents. Instead of spending the night they're
being taken home and put to bed immediately, no television or Halloween treats
for the rest of the night. It's their parents job to discipline them, not
yours. Just as it's our job to discipline you when it's needed."
Lucas looked a bit
confused. "I didn't spank 'em, only scared 'em and what's right is
right," the little boy told the people that he was quickly coming to think
of as his parents.
was a form of punishment. You felt you and the other children had been
wronged and so you responded with a wrong of your own," Omari said.
"It's not much different than what you did at school to that boy who
picked on you."
"And if the story
I heard is correct, and I'm sure it is," Zhara said, "Their parents
had already told them that they were going to be punished when they got back
home. They had it under control."
Lucas said, "We
didn't know that and why did they let 'em still go 'round and collect stuff...
I 'member one time when I went to Sunday school the teacher talkin' 'bout an
eye for an eye and stuff," he concluded. "So if someone does
somethin' bad to ya, ya do it back to 'em. It gotta be the same thing
though." He added, "The older kids scared the little ones sos it was
only right they got scared like they did 'em."
"What the older
kids did was wrong but it wasn't life threatening," Omari answered.
"They didn't do physical harm to any of you, they only scared you, and
their parents handled the situation in the way they thought best at the time.
And as far as the bible goes, there are many more verses about
Lucas scowled. "I
didn't go to Sunday school very long and I never heard of them other things
‘bout forgiveness," Lucas told the older man. "Ya can just have my
cap gun for the next three days and we'll be done with it," he told his
"Only if you can
convince me that you understand, Hon. I don't want you to feel like you're
being picked on. You're as much a member of the family as anyone who was born into
it by blood, and your feelings are just as important as anyone else's,"
Omari told the child softly.
Lucas replied to
Omari, "Ya said it weren't right to scare 'em back so yar takin' the cap
gun." At the man’s words, Lucas then shrugged. "Maybe ya better just
keep it...I ain't gonna need it again unless I dress up as a cowboy again and I
ain't gonna do that 'til next year, or maybe never." He said quietly, "Ya can give it all to
the next little boy who wants to be a cowboy."
The child began to take
off the hat, vest and chaps which were part of his costume.
Omari sighed and Zhara
sat down on the bed next to them. "Lucas," she said quietly,
"you can still play dress up with that costume until either you wear it
out or grow out of it. Your cousins will still want to play Sheriff and
Deputies with you, I'm sure. And just because we're taking the gun away for a
few days doesn't mean you'll never get it back or be able to play with it
again. I think you'd be punishing yourself by doing that, more than Papa and I
are. We're only planning to take the gun away for a few days, you're
talking about never having fun with it or your costume ever again, which
doesn't make sense at all. Are you going to be sensible, little boy?"
Lucas sighed. "Ya
sure it's okay to play with ‘em even after Halloween?"
"If you want to go into the attic with me, I still have old
Halloween costumes from when the kids were growing up, and even some from when
I was a kid. It's always fun to play at being something or someone else
for a little while."
costume was a lion," Zhara said. "I played with that thing until the
seams burst because I was too big for it." She laughed, "I had the
biggest tantrum when that costume fell apart."
Lucas sighed. "Yeah,
I guess so. Can I go now?"
Omari sighed again.
"Lucas, tell me what's going on in your head right now. I know you're not
happy, and I want to understand exactly what you're thinking."
Lucas looked at Omari.
"I dunno, guess I just don' know how to fit in 'round here, everyone
excited 'bout a stupid baby and then everyone talkin' 'bout me doin' somethin'
I ain't done..." He shrugged. "Guess I'll just hang 'round here 'til
ya get tired of me and move me along."
Zhara said, a bit of an edge to her voice, though she kept her expression calm,
"we said we believed you that you didn't point the gun at anyone. Everyone
here loves you, and the baby will too, once he or she is old enough to tell one
face from another. Now I have a question for you. Do you want to leave
Lucas bit his lip and
shook his head. "Naw, ya been the best place I ever been in."
talking about us getting tired of you, or getting rid of you because you did
something wrong. We wouldn't get rid of you anymore than we would have
sent away one of the other kids for doing something wrong. And if you don't
stop with that as of this moment I'll do what I used to do to the others and
give you a good sound smack on the backside. Understand me?" Zhara said firmly.
"Is that what you need us to do to convince you that you are a part of
Lucas studied Zhara
for a moment, then bit his lip. "If I deserve one?"
Omari and Zhara looked
at each other and made a wordless decision. Omari reached out and put the
boy over his knee and delivered one, sharp, stinging swat to the child's
backside before putting the youngster back upright on his lap and holding him
close. "You are part of our family. We are not going to get rid of you. We
are not going to give you up. We are not sending you anywhere except perhaps to
go take a bath before bed time. Now do you believe us?" he asked.
Lucas surprised to
find himself suddenly looking at the floor and then an explosion of sting on
his bottom let out a "Ow!" and then finding himself righted just as
quickly in his Papa's lap reached back with one hand to try to rub out the
sting before he wrapped the other around Omari's neck. He had a few tears in
his eyes, but said, "Yes Papa..." Then he flung his arms around Omari
and pressed his face into the man's chest. "I got a real Papa."
"And a real
mama," Zhara said as she wrapped her arms around her husband and her
little boy. "And don't you forget that." She kissed the child on the
top of his head and hugged them more tightly. "We love you,
The little boy looked
up and gave them a little grin. "Ya got a new baby tonight too...me!"
Halloween treat ever," Omari laughed, nearly squishing the boy in his
muscular arms and kissing his forehead. "Now, my son, you go and take your
bath. I'll be in to read to you when you're ready for bed."
Lucas scrambled off
Omari's lap, gave his bottom a good rub to get out the lingering sting and
said, "'Kay Papa." He headed for the bath.
Zhara and Omari
watched the boy leave and then hugged each other. "We make good babies,
don't we?" she laughed into his ear.
Omari responded with a
lingering kiss and a twinkle in his eye. “Yes, we certainly do,” he whispered
back in a suggestive tone.
his bath and crawled into bed to await his Papa.
Omari walked into the
room, smiling at his little boy, and carrying several books. "Since
it's Halloween, I thought a good story might be the perfect way to top it off.
Did you brush your teeth?"
Lucas bit his lip.
"Umm I forgot Papa," he told him and looked at the stack of books
Omari had brought in with him.
The man helped the
little boy out of bed, steered him back to the bathroom and then supervised him
brushing his teeth. When they went back to his room Omari settled Lucas in bed,
propping him up. He indicated the stack of children’s books he had brought in
with him. “Do any of these books look like anything you would like to read with
Lucas examined each of
the selections, several Dr. Seuss, Green eggs and Ham, The Cat in the
Hat, Berenstain Bears, and a book called Pigs in the House by Steven
Kroll. Lucas pulled out the book about the pigs and handed it to his
Papa. “This one Papa,” he said.
Omari cuddled the
little boy next to him, opened the book and said, “I’ll start and we’ll take
The little boy nodded.
Omari began to read…
“In their pigpen, nice and wide, three cute pigs lived side by side …"
He continued with
Lucas taking turns and him helping the child sound out words he didn’t know
until the youngster’s eyes began to droop.
The man closed the book
and smiling tucked the little boy in bed, kissed his forehead and turned out
the light, leaving just the night light to glow. He closed the door softly
behind him and returned to his wife who was in the kitchen sipping a cup of tea
and reading a book of her own.
"Our new Halloween
treat is sound asleep," he told her. "Any news yet on Tope and
the new arrival?"
"Don called. Her
contractions are a minute apart; her water broke and the baby was just
crowning. As soon as the doctor called him he hung up the phone and ran,"
she laughed. "You'd think he'd never been a new daddy before. He
promised to call as soon as the baby is born, which could be any minute
They went back out
into the living room where they found Mutt and Ryan holding the little ones who
were sound asleep. Coral turned off the television and he and Jeff helped put
the youngest of the brood into the bed their parents would have shared that
They were just about
to pair off and go to their own rooms when the phone rang. Zhara pounced
on it like a leopard. "Don?" she asked.
"Mama! It's a
boy!" Don fairly yelled. Zhara laughed when she heard the nurses in
the background asking him to keep his voice down, please, and his rapid
apologies before he returned to the call, his voice much quieter.
"Ten pounds and
two ounces! He scored a nine on the Apgar!" he announced proudly.
"Topie and the baby are doing fine. They're both so beautiful,"
he said, sounding as though he were about to cry.
The others cheered
quietly as Zhara relayed the news.
"Have you two
finally agreed on a name?" she asked with a twinkle in her eye.
"Tope wants to
keep the kids names all beginning with A for some reason," he laughed.
"We finally decided on Alexander, Xander for short."
Zhara said aloud for the others to hear. "That's a wonderful name,
Don. We'll be by in the morning to welcome him properly. Just let us know when
Tope is awake and ready for visitors, alright? Now, you go and get some rest
too. I'm willing to bet you're dead on your feet."
"Right now, mama,
I think I can fly."
"Well, fly back
to your wife and baby, sweetheart. Call us in the morning, promise?"
Don said, his happiness flowing through the phone and out into the kitchen
where the others hung on every word.
"Good night, son.
Give your wife and baby big kisses from us until we can do it ourselves,” Zhara
told the young man.
"That I can
do," he said. "Good night,
Zhara hung up the
phone, looked at the others and said, "Alright everyone, off to bed! We
have a big day tomorrow. Shoo!"
"Yes mama, good
night," the others chorused as they hugged Omari and Zhara before pairing
off to head to their rooms, all of them certain that they wouldn't be able to
sleep after receiving the good news but somehow falling asleep quickly despite
Zhara smiled at her husband and
kissed him as they readied for bed. Even though there was snow on the roof
there was still fire in the furnace.