Subject: When You Least Expect Chapter 29 Copyright 2020-2021: No part of this story may be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the author. The author fty permission to post the story on their website. DISCLAIMER: This story is a work of fiction and fantasy. No part of it is based on true events, and any similarity to any person, living or dead, is coincidental. It contains descriptions of homosexual activities between consenting adults. If you are not over 18 years of age, or if you find this type of story offensive, or viewing this material is illegal where you are, then please DO NOT READ IT! If you choose to read it, then – I hope you enjoy it! Nifty needs donations to continue doing what we all enjoy. If you can, please consider donating. When You Least Expect By Josh Blake Chapter 29 Braden and I decided to keep the impending move a secret for the time being. Well, of course we told Mom, as well as Mark and Bonnie. Mom was excited that we would have such a large house, especially after she learned that we would have a housekeeper! Mark and Bonnie were happy, but sad at the same time that we wouldn’t be living so close anymore. We didn’t want to say anything to Lucas until we knew for sure that the adoption was final. That hearing was on February 19. After that, we planned to keep everything quiet until Lucas’s birthday party on March 5. We planned to surprise him with the news that he was officially our son! For the next few weeks, we kept in touch with our social worker, Charlotte. She had also put us in touch with a custody attorney who she was sure could speed things along. Finally, after what seemed like ages, the court date arrived. In many cases, the minor party would be asked to testify in court to their wishes. In this case however, given the circumstances, that would not be necessary. The case was to be heard at 9:00 a.m. With Devin covering for me at the school, I headed to the county courthouse. Braden was with me. Mark, Bonnie, and David were coming along for support and to speak to their experiences, if the judge asked for any further information. “I call this court to order,” the judge announced. His name was Judge Holder, according to the nameplate in front of him. Being a custody case, the case wasn’t heard in one of the grand courtrooms you imagine from TV, but a smaller, less grand room. “The case in front of me is in regard to Case 21-4785 in the matter of custody of one minor, fifteen-year-old Lucas Blake Albright. I have reviewed the case and only have a few questions. Ms. Campbell, you have been the social worker assigned to this case, correct?” “Yes, your honor,” Charlotte stated. “When were you first assigned to the case?” The judge asked. “I was first notified about the situation with young Mr. Albright on December 26 by the superintendent of the school district, Dr. David Turner. I visited Dr. Turner’s home, where I met both Mr. Pattersons, Braden and Josh. My supervisor officially assigned me to the case that afternoon.” “I see. Fill me in on what transpired that day,” the judge said. Charlotte filled him in on all the details, including Mark and Bonnie’s status as foster parents, her call to Lucas’s father, and ultimately the attack on Trey and myself. “I see here you were able to contact the birth mother?” “Yes, your honor. That is correct. She is now living out of state and has no desire to bring Lucas to live with her. You’ll find in the file her signed waiver of parental rights,” Charlotte explained. The judge thumbed through the folder, found the document, and nodded as he read it. “Very well. Mr. Patterson, I do have some questions for you. Both of you, actually,” the judge said, motioning to Braden and me. “The two of you are a couple, legally married in October of last year. Mr. Joshua Patterson, you are the principal of Bruno Valley High School. Mr. Braden Patterson, you are a student majoring in math education. Is all of that correct?” “Yes, your honor,” I stated. “My superintendent, Dr. Turner, is here and can be a character witness for me, if necessary.” “That won’t be necessary,” the judge said. “We don’t see many cases of same-sex parent adoption in this state. I’m not saying they don’t happen, but they are rare. However, the two of you appear to be quite stable and willing to adopt a 15-year-old boy. Most boys that age stay in the foster care system until the age out and then they go their own way. I commend the two of you for your willingness to take on this situation. I have known Ms. Campbell for many years, and I have always found her to be honest with me. I trust her judgement. Therefore, I hereby grant the petition naming you, Joshua Patterson, and you, Braden Patterson, as the official legal guardians of Lucas Albright. This court is adjourned.” I hugged Braden, then hugged Charlotte. Bonnie and Mark walked up with David, and we all stood there hugging for several minutes. “Well, babe, congrats on becoming a dad again!” Braden said to me. “Congratulations to you, too, daddy!” I said to Braden. We all laughed. “Let’s go celebrate,” David said. “I’m craving some dead cow!” We all went to a local steakhouse that David had told us about. He was not wrong when he described how good it was. “Remember, don’t say anything to Lucas or Austin right now. I want Lucas to be surprised on his birthday,” I said. “Don’t you think he’s going to be upset about moving away from Austin?” Mark said. “The two of them are so close. I have no doubt that they are in love. “I agree with that,” Bonnie said. “I just stopped going upstairs completely. I’m afraid of what I might walk in on! They are like a married couple.” “I do worry about that,” I said. “But they are young, and they’ll adjust. It’ll be different for a while, but they’ll be okay. The next two weeks were busy planning Lucas’s 16th birthday party. I wanted everything to be special for him. David had agreed to host the party, and we were having the food catered. mezitli escort It would be a rather small crowd, but we planned to have fun just the same. The guest list included Braden and me, Mom, Mark and Bonnie, Austin, Ryan, and Craig. Of course, David and Robert would be there as well. Sam and Sabrina were also supposed to be coming. Lucas didn’t have a lot of close friends, but the friends he had were great ones. The day of the party, I told Lucas that David needed our help with something and we were going to go help him out that afternoon. We had breakfast and gave him a card with a gift card for his birthday. He was appreciative, and he really thought that was all we were doing. Given his situation, he was happy with what he got. Mark and Bonnie had gone ahead an hour or so before, taking Austin, Mom, and Jackson with them. Braden, Lucas, and I were the last ones to arrive. “Why are all these cars here?” Lucas asked as we pulled up. “Good question,” I said. “David must have some friends over, but he didn’t say anything about it.” “Are you sure we were supposed to come today?” Braden asked, playing the part. “I’m pretty sure he said today. Let’s go in and see what’s going on,” I said. “SURPRISE!” Everyone shouted as we opened the door and stepped inside. Lucas looked around at me and then Braden, trying to figure out who the party was for. “It’s for you, silly!” I said, patting him on the back and then drawing him into a hug. Lucas hugged me and then Braden. “No one has ever done anything like this for me before!” Lucas said, tearing up. I have to admit, I was misty-eyed myself. We all gathered around David’s big table and enjoyed the taco bar that we had catered. After that, Mom brought out the homemade chocolate cake she had made. Lucas had told her that chocolate cake was his favorite, so he really enjoyed it. “I think I’m going to be sick if I eat anything else,” Lucas said. “Then let’s stop eating and open gifts,” Braden said. “You all didn’t have to get me any gifts! Just being here with you all is a gift!” Lucas was handed several cards and packages to open. I purposely kept two packages behind for him to open last. Mark and Bonnie got him several new shirts as well as a gift card to Game Stop. Craig and Ryan gave him gift cards, as did David and Robert. David and Robert’s gift card was a $500 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Lucas was obviously grateful but a little confused. Sam and Sabrina each gave him an Amazon gift card. “It’ll make sense in a few minutes,” David said, smiling. He winked at me, and I winked back. “There are a couple more things for you to open,” I said, handing him a long, thin package. He tore the paper off of it carefully to unveil a brown, legal envelope. “What in the world is this?” Lucas asked. “Open it and see!” Braden said. Lucas opened the envelope and pulled out the legal documents inside. He looked puzzled but started reading. A few seconds later, he dropped the papers on the table and looked at Braden and me. “Really? Is this real?” Lucas asked. “Yes, it’s real, son.” I said. “You are legally our son. And we are so proud to be your dads.” Lucas jumped up and ran over to our side of the table, hugging me and then hugging Braden. He was crying. I was crying. Mom and Bonnie were crying. Hell, I think everyone at the table was crying! “I can’t believe it. I have a family!” Lucas exclaimed. “There’s more,” Braden said, handing Lucas a small box wrapped in blue paper. Lucas took the box and tore off the paper, opening the lid to pull out a set of Toyota keys. “They’re the keys to my Camry,” Braden said. “Well, your Camry, now. Every sixteen-year-old boy has to get a new car!” “Oh my God. Are you serious? What are you going to drive? I can’t take your car!” Lucas said. “Don’t worry about me. Josh’s truck is about to be paid off, so I’m getting a new car. We pick it up next week!” “That’s awesome!” Lucas said. “What did you get?” “I’m getting another Camry. Just a new one with a few more bells and whistles on it. It’s solid black with black wheels and black leather. It looks like Darth Vader,” Braden laughed. “There’s one more surprise,” I said. “This one isn’t wrapped up in a box, so I just have to tell you. You are finally going to get to move in with us.” I saw Lucas look at Austin in panic. Austin looked stricken as well. “But how?” Lucas asked. “Your house is full as it is.” “We are moving to a much larger house, so we’ll have plenty of room,” Braden said. “But where is it?” Lucas asked. “It’s right here. It’s this house. David worked out a deal with Braden and me. We sign the papers next week. “Oh, wow.” Lucas said with a melancholy tone. “You don’t seem happy,” I said. “Oh, no, it’s not that. I mean, this is all a dream come true. But I’m going to miss Austin so much.” “That’s why we gave you the car,” Braden said. “Now, you won’t’ be allowed to drive all the way to see Austin by yourself until you are at least 17 and we are comfortable with your driving skills. But he can come here, and we’ll go visit home a lot.” “I don’t think it would be that big of a deal if he drove to see Austin,” Bonnie said. “Seriously, mom? You barely let me drive around the block when I was 16.” “Well, your mom and I have a surprise of our own,” Mark said. I glanced at Braden who shrugged his shoulders. “If you say you are pregnant, we have a problem,” Austin said “No, it’s not that, dear,” Bonnie said. “So, you know that I’ve been tired of my job for a while. And your dad is ready for a change as well. I turned in my retirement papers last week, and your father is transferring to a job in his company here in the city. We put in an offer on a house down the street, and we close in two weeks, so we’re moving too!” “What? Are you kidding me?” Austin asked. “What about my senior year of high school?” “We thought about that, dear,” Bonnie said. “We aren’t selling our house right away. pozcu escort So, you can stay there and finish this school year. I’ll stay there with you. But next year, we’re hoping you’ll transfer here and go to school with Lucas and Josh.” Austin thought about it for a minute, then smiled. “Yeah, I guess that sounds okay. I get to be near my boyfriend and go to school with him, and my brother-in-law will be my principal. I guess there’s worse things that could happen!” “Well, I for one am shocked,” I said. “Here I asked you to keep a secret, and you were keeping an even bigger one from us!” “We had to make sure everything worked out just right,” Mark said. “We didn’t want to say anything until we knew we got the house, and everything was good.” “When can we see the house?” Austin asked. “We can’t go inside it right now because the current owners haven’t moved out yet, but we can show you pictures,” Bonnie said. She texted everyone a link to the listing and we spent the next several minutes looking at the house. It was a very nice house in an older, well-kept area of town. It turned out to be less than half a mile from our new home. While it was an older house, it was in immaculate condition. It was somewhat smaller than their current home, but with Austin being the last child at home, there was no reason for such a large house anymore. The new house was one level with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It had a detached garage, which was important to Mark. It had a nice, level yard with a nice screened in deck. “Are you going to be happy living in a smaller house, Mom?” Braden asked. “Happy? I’m going to be thrilled!” Bonnie exclaimed. “There’s so much less for me to clean!” “At least you don’t have to clean this big house,” Mom said. “Mom, I already told you not to worry. I’ll hire a housekeeper,” I said. “It’s such a shame that our housekeeper retired,” David said. “She did such a good job with everything and she knew the house like the back of her hand.” “Does she know anyone who might be interested in the job? It will have to be someone with references and someone we can trust,” I said. “I’ll call her tomorrow and ask. I’ll ask around down at the office, too. I’m sure there will be someone good,” David said. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. “Who could that be?” David said. “I thought everyone was already here.” “I have an idea of who it might be,” I said. “Let me see who it is.” Unbeknownst to everyone else, I had a conversation with Trey’s mom a few days ago. She said that Trey was getting much better, but he was really missing his best friend. I went out on a limb and invited him to Lucas’s party. I didn’t know if it was the right move to make or not, but I really wanted the boys to be okay with each other again. I was a little concerned about Austin’s reaction to the whole thing, but if I knew him the way I thought I did, it wouldn’t be a problem. I opened the door. Sure enough, there stood Trey holding an envelope. “Hey, Mr. P. Thanks for inviting me. Are you sure Lucas will want to see me?” “There’s only one way to find out. Come on in and see,” I said. I walked Trey into the dining room where everyone was still sitting around the table. “Trey? What in the world are you doing here?” Lucas asked. “I know you probably don’t want to talk to me, and I don’t blame you. But I just wanted to say, `Happy Birthday’ and give you this,” Trey said, handing Lucas the card. “I’ll go now. I know you probably don’t want me here.” “No, don’t go,” Lucas said. “Stay and have some cake. I’m sure Sabrina and Sam want to talk to you, too.” “Yeah, we haven’t seen you in weeks, dude,” Sabrina said. “It’s not the same at lunch without you.” “I know, and I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry to all of you,” Trey said. “Maybe Trey and his friends would like some privacy,” David said. “Why don’t we all go into the den and let them talk.” “No sir, it’s fine. You can all hear what I have to say. So, y’all know how bad off I got after the accident. A lot of that was fear. A lot of it was guilt. The only reason Mr. P came in was because I was there. If I hadn’t been there, he wouldn’t have been there. He almost died because of me.” “Trey…” I started. “Please let me finish, Mr. P.” “Sorry, Trey, go ahead.” “Anyway, I just was struggling with the whole thing. And I got to a really low place. I also realized that I’m not the kind of guy who needs to be in a relationship right now. That’s why I broke it off with you, Lucas. I know I’m gay. I just made all that crap up so you’d leave me alone and stop worrying about me.” “Trey, you could have just told me what you were going through,” Lucas said. “I would have been there for you.” “I know you would have. But where I was at the time, I didn’t think I could handle letting anyone love me. I see now I was wrong.” I saw Austin take Lucas’s hand. He was staking his claim by showing Trey that Lucas was now taken. “You’re Austin, right?” Trey asked. “Yeah man, I am.” Austin said. He was respectful but guarded. “I’m glad you and Lucas found each other. Lucas deserves someone who will be good to him. You don’t have to worry about me trying to steal him back. I had my chance and I lost it.” “Trey, the time we had together was…” Lucas said. “Good. No, not good. It was great. But it’s over, now. You have Austin, and you look happy. You look happier than I’ve ever seen you before.” “I am happy, Trey. And I’m in love with Austin. Not just kid stuff, but seriously in love.” I glanced at Braden and smiled. I reached over and took his hand. The whole thing was making us both a little sentimental. “I’m happy for you, man. I really am. I mean that. I do want a favor, though. Do you think you can still be my friend? Both of you. I’d love to get to know you, Austin. I finally figured out what I need are friends. Not a boyfriend, but friends.” Lucas glanced at Austin. Austin just nodded. “Of course, we’ll be your escort bayan friends,” Lucas said. “Yeah man, we’re here for you,” Austin added. “And you know you have us,” Sabrina said. Sam nodded to affirm his feelings. “You’re always my friend, dude.” “I don’t really know you that well,” Craig spoke up, “But if you need friends, I’m in. Everyone needs friends.” “I don’t know you either, but I’m Ryan, Craig’s boyfriend, and I’m willing to be your friend, too.” “Wait, hold the phone,” Trey said. “You’re gay? Craig Bentley is gay?” “Yeah man, queer as fu…sorry…yeah, I’m gay.” Craig said, stopping himself from cursing. We all laughed. “Trey, if you don’t mind me asking, what helped you get to this point?” I asked. “Mom found me a really good doctor. He ran all kinds of tests and found out that I had some chemical imbalances. He also helped me understand what I’m going through. I have PTSD, kind of like soldiers get when they come back from war. Through all of our sessions and conversations with my parents, he figured out that there is likely some mental illness that I inherited. My dad had some cousins who had some issues, and it probably got passed down to me. But he also helped me understand that having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s no different than someone having a heart issue, or diabetes. The biggest problem is that with my illness, you can’t see it. So, people assume there’s nothing wrong with me. I also know how to cope with things better, now. If it weren’t for the incident, I might not have ever known I had the issue. It brought it out in me. But now I know, and I can handle it. I’m on some medications that I’ll probably take for the rest of my life, but the doctor said as long as I take the meds and keep seeing a therapist, I’ll have a normal life. “I’m proud of you, Trey,” I said. “So, I have to ask, are you coming back to school?” “I wanted to talk to you about that,” he said. “I’m pretty far behind. I was supposed to home school, but I didn’t do much. Can I still come back?” “You absolutely can. You just let me know when you’re ready.” “Can I come back on Monday?” “You sure can! Just come to my office on Monday morning and I’ll have Mrs. Ford set your schedule back up. We’ll talk to your teachers about setting up some remediation for you to get you back on track.” “Thanks, Mr. P! It’s going to be great to see all my friends again!” We got Trey some cake, and all of the boys decided they wanted second helpings. They said they didn’t want him to have to eat alone, but I knew they just wanted more cake! Trey was excited to hear that Lucas was moving back to town, and he was happy that he had officially been adopted. All of the kids ended up going downstairs to play pool and get away from the adults. They had a great time and played until almost midnight. “Hey guys,” I said as I walked downstairs. “It’s getting pretty late. I don’t care if y’all keep playing, but I’d feel better if everyone just stayed the night. We have plenty of room. If you need to call your parents and let them know, I’m happy to talk to them if they have questions. Everyone called their parents, and they all agreed to let them stay. Trey’s mom did want to talk to me, and she was very grateful to hear that Trey had made new friends and that Lucas had accepted him back into his life. The next time I walked downstairs, I found Sam and Sabrina sitting together on one of the sofas, holding hands. “Ummm, is there anything the two of you want to tell me?” I asked. “We thought you knew,” Sabrina said. “Sam and I are dating. We’ve been going out for about a month.” “No, I didn’t know that. I’ve been pretty busy getting over being shot,” I said. The kids looked at me like they didn’t know what to say. I started laughing. “It’s okay, you can laugh. I can joke about it now!” “So now that you know we’re dating, can we have a room to ourselves like the boys get?” Sam asked. “Absolutely not,” I said. I won’t’ have any children conceived on my watch! As a matter of fact, this is a birthday party, not a hook up session, so everyone is going to have a good old fashioned slumber party and camp out here in the floor tonight.” “But Dad!” Lucas whined. “Don’t `but dad’ me, young man! Dear Lord, I sound like my father!” I said. All the kids laughed. “We’ll bring pillows and blankets down here for you all.” I headed back upstairs to tell Braden about my discovery and that we’d be chaperoning all night. While I probably shouldn’t have allowed Austin and Lucas to sleep together like they did, at least I didn’t have to worry about either one of them getting pregnant. Sabrina’s mother would surely finish the job that Lucas’s dad started and kill me if anything happened to her daughter! Ryan was a good sport about the whole situation. Since he was at his grandfather’s house and he had a room, he could have very well just gone to his room. But, since he never had many friends growing up and had never had a sleepover, he decided it would be fun to sleep on the floor with the rest of the kids. The kids all finally went to sleep sometime after 2:00 a.m. I stayed awake for a while listening for them, but I dozed off at some point. Braden came down to do his shift at keeping an eye on things and tapped me on the shoulder to wake me up. “Hey, go to bed. I got this,” he said. I didn’t argue with him and went to our room to go to sleep for a bit. I felt bad leaving him sitting up, but he assured me he’d be fine. “Goodnight, babe,” I said, kissing him on the cheek as I got up to go to the room. “Goodnight, baby,” he said back. “I love you.” The next chapter in this series will be published soon! Author’s Note: This chapter discusses mental illness and the stigma that may be attached to it. If you or someone you know is depressed or suicidal, I whole-heartedly urge you to seek help. There are people out there to help you with whatever you are going through. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255. If you are in another country, please seek out the resources available to you. Your feedback is always appreciated! Send it ail. Let me know if you want to be added to my mailing list to be informed when new chapters are published.

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