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    Ajbt2001
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Love Of Family - 6. Lessons Learned

Brandon and his parents learn more about the Stillmans. And everyone has a lesson to learn.

Brandon, Linda, & Tom

Brandon, Linda, and Tom were in route to the city’s medical center. Tom reached out to his longtime poker buddy Bruce, who worked dispatch for the sheriff’s department. His time in the DA’s office, and work on other various public service positions, taught Tom there was always some information the reporters weren’t privy to. Bruce, the family Patriarch’s friend was more than happy to divulge everything that transpired at the ranch that morning. After hanging up, Tom brought Linda and Brandon up to speed.

I don’t know how the two of you feel, but I’m damn proud to have the four of them as brothers.” Brandon accepted the tissue Linda offered, and her assistance in watching the road, while he quickly dried the tears welling in his eyes.

I feel very proud to claim them as family also. I can’t imagine the fear of seeing your husband tied up, and unconscious.” Linda got a tissue to wipe her tears. “Tom, were our boys already at the ranch?” Both men smiled, hearing Greg and Levie being called “our boys.”

From what Bruce said, Greg pulled into the ranch, saw Jaycen run out of the house, and followed.”

Brandon’s thoughts flipped between the road, and his brothers. “Do you two think it’s weird that I haven’t met the Stillman’s yet, and am feeling like a part of my heart is aching, because I don’t know if everyone’s truly ok?”

That’s an interesting question son. Normally, I’d say it’s a bit fast to be feeling that connected to people you haven’t met. Don’t get me wrong, we should always be loving towards one another, but to have a deeply felt connection, like you described, often takes years to build. However, from what I’ve heard about those three, and their history, I can’t help but feel the same way.”

I agree with your Mom. I’ve heard the Stillman name mentioned, and can’t recall anything negative said about them. Ever since we heard about what happened this morning, I’ve been researching their public profile.”

What did you find Dad?”

The ranch is often used for boy scout jamboree’s, camp-outs, and other events. The riding instructors are said to be very patient, loving, and caring. Not only is Levie the 5th best archer in the state, but he’s 1st in his age group. He’s also considered one of the best riding instructors on the ranch. In addition, Levie holds 4th place statewide in firearms marksmanship, and 2nd place in his age group.

Troy and Jaycen aren’t slouches either. They hold 6th and 7th statewide in firearms, as well as 2nd and 3rd in their age group respectively. The three of them are in the county’s top five for gun safety instructors. Levie’s the youngest, and most outspoken in advocacy for instructing youth on the importance of weapon safety and respect.

Every year, they do a huge festival in the fall. At night, they have a haunted hayride, there’s costume contests, games for kids, and they showcase everything the ranch provides. The whole county gets involved. All the proceeds from the festival, are donated to local organizations for the less fortunate.

Around Christmas, they sell live Christmas trees, do sleigh rides, and section off part of the property to create a north pole wonderland. The ranch also actively participate in the county’s Christmas and Thanksgiving parades with horses, riders, and volunteers.”

Just when I thought they couldn’t impress me more, they have.” Linda said. “They do a lot to help others, and promote a family atmosphere”

Mama, call Greg, please. I’m really getting worried he hasn’t contacted us.”

Still no answer. I hope he’s ok, it’s not like him to not respond.”

Calm down Mama Bear.” I’m sure there’s a good reason our son hasn’t called." Despite his words, Tom prayed with everything in him that his son, and new family were alright. The rest of the ride was spent in a thoughtful silence. Brandon pulled into the emergency room parking lot. The family, after checking for their lost boys, waited inside.

Levie & Greg

Levie and Greg were almost to the center, when finally, the weight of the morning’s events came crashing down. Before he could let himself feel or express anything, Levie pulled over to the breakdown lane, and turned the car off. Greg looked with concern at Levie. In a flash, his arms were wrapped snugly around his silently sobbing, but strong mate. The raven haired young man began softly whispering words of love and comfort, just as he had the night before.

Why? Why is there so much greed and violence?” Levie quietly asked, with tears streaming down his cheeks. The red head leaned over, wrapped his arms around Greg’s neck, and buried his face in the warm chest of his soulmate.

I don’t know baby boy, I’m just grateful there are loving and kind people like our family to balance out the bad folks in the world.” Greg’s tears splashed on Levie’s hair.

I love you Greg. I’m really glad I had your support today.” Levie leaned his head up, and planted a soft kiss on his mate.

I’ll always be here for you, as long as you let me, my sweet prince. Feeling the need to lighten the mood, Greg decided to deploy his proven method of cheering a guy up. Very lightly, he wiggled and kneaded his fingers between Levie’s ribs. Instantly, the car filled with the red head’s boyish giggles and squeals.

You’re sneaky.” Levie squeaked, when his lover’s fingers traveled along his sides, and the back of his neck. Unsuccessfully, he tried to squirm away from Greg’s ticklish method. “Thank you for cheering me up, my handsome knight.”

Greg blushed, and looked down at his lap. “You really think I’m handsome?”

Babe, when I first saw you in the doorway last night, I thought you were the most beautiful guy I’ve seen. Even more handsome than the Bropops, and they’re pretty sexy and handsome.” The boys softly chuckled, from the way Levie’s statement came out. “Umm, not in an incestuous way. I just mean as far as men go, my Dad’s look hot.”

I know what you mean baby boy. I stopped breathing for a second, when I saw Troy, and Jayce tickling you. You’re the most gorgeous boy ever. The fact you’re super ticklish, and those cute Scooby-Doo socks, made you even more adorable.”

Wait! You saw that?” Levie reached over, and started kneading his fingers between Greg’s ribs and just above his hip. The reaction was immediate, Greg squealed and giggled while trying to avoid the tickle attack.

Yeah, I waited till the Bropops finished before knocking on the door.” Greg admitted between his fits of ticklish laughter. “It was totally adorable, when you gave in and admitted you had the best brothers in the whole galaxy.” Levie ceased tickling, his giggling blended with Greg’s “Do you think you’re able to continue driving, or do you want me to take over?”.

Would I be a crybaby, and weak if I said I’d like you to drive?”

Levie Stillman.” The firm tone in Greg’s voice startled his mate, and him jump, with his arms wrapped tighter around the raven haired young man. “If I ever hear you ask if anything makes you a crybaby or weak, I’m gonna get Brandon, and we’ll tickle the hell outta you, until you come to your senses.” Greg softened his tone, his fingers lightly tracing Levie’s trembling lips. “You are anything but weak, or a crybaby. I don’t know anyone who could’ve been as calm, and in control during everything that happened this morning.”

I almost lost control, when I saw Milo beating Troy and Jayce.”

But, the important thing is, you didn’t. The Bropops and I watched you the entire time, you managed to keep your emotions in check.”

You’d only get Brandon to help you? Babe, you should totally enlist the Bropops too. They’d love bonding with the two of you by helping out. Hey, you, me, and Brandon can gang up on them sometime too.” Levie chuckled and lightly kissed Greg’s chest.

Are they ticklish?”

Just as much as I am, and in some spots, even more.”

Hmm, that could be fun, Bran loves tickling as much as we do.”

Is he ticklish?”

Totally.”

Just remember what you told me this morning. All’s fair in love and tickling.” Levie grinned evily, rubbed his hands together, doing his best maniacal laugh.

I’d expect nothing less. By the way, you do know when you did that just now, you totally looked like an adorable teddy bear.”

I’ll show you an adorable teddy bear.”

Bring it stud.”

I love you, my shining knight.”

Right back at ya, my sweet prince.”

Levie, Greg, & The Wilmonts

Greg and Levie pulled into the Er’s lot. As soon as the couple exited the vehicle, Greg was grabbed from behind, in an inescapable Brandon style bear hug.

Bro, I was soooo worried and scared you’d been hurt. I don’t know what I’d do without my brother around.” Brandon did nothing to hide his tears or public display of affection.

Well, if you don’t ease up on the hug, you might just find out Bran. I kinda need to breathe.”

Brandon released Greg, and turned to the shorter red head. “You have to be Lev. It’s ok if I call you that, isn’t it?” Before Brandon knew it, he was encased in his own Levie hug.

That means you’re now family.” Greg was in heaven. Linda’s and Tom’s arms were wrapped around him.

Lev’s great big bro. I can call you Bran, right?”

Of course, baby bro.” Brandon smiled, and planted a kiss on his new brother’s cheek. “Greg was right, you do give amazing hugs.”

Levie grinned, and turned to face his mate’s parents. “You’re Papa Tom, and Mama Linda, right? Is it okay to call you two that?”

We’d be honored, my new son. We’re both looking forward to getting to know you and your brothers.” The two elders smiled, and brought Levie between them in a loving embrace.

Thank you for keeping my boy, and your brothers safe.” Linda placed a gentle kiss on Levie’s cheek.

Levie slightly blushed. “Oh, before I forget, I need the revolver back babe.”

Greg’s family turned, and faced the couple. Greg knew he was about to get in hot water, most likely with Levie. He reached in his jacket pocket, and removed the revolver. Butt in hand, and the barrel facing Levie, Greg tried to return the gun. A shocked expression adorned his face, from the stern look he received, as his lover backed up, with open palms facing forward.

Levie, you gave him a gun? He’s never even held one before.” Linda asked with more than a little concern.

Levie responded, without taking his eyes off the gun, or Greg. “I needed someone with a firearm to back me up, in case things went south with Milo. Mama Linda, why did you say Greg’s never shot, or held a gun? I specifically asked him if he’d shot one before, and he told me only skeet shooting.”

Umm, I lied baby boy.” Greg sheepishly answered. He slightly trembled from the look of disappointment, hurt, and fury in Levie’s eyes. Greg’s blood ran cold, this wasn’t the same threatening look that came across as adorable. Even the other three Wilmont’s visibly shivered, when they saw the look Greg did. “Why aren’t you taking the gun back?”

Son, I think it’s….” Linda was suddenly cut off by Levie’s raised index finger. The silent gesture caused the male Wilmont’s to gasp. They’d never seen anyone be that disrespectful to Linda, and live to tell about it.

Instinctively, Levie switched from Greg’s mate, to what people called his instructor mode. “Before we go any further, we’re gonna discuss two things Gregory Wilmont.” Levie looked to the other three, and unwavering, locked eyes with Linda. “Mama Linda, please forgive my rudeness, but I need to give my mate a quick lesson in weapon safety, and respect. Not only respect for the firearm, but respect for me also. Please, don’t take offense to my next statement, but I’d prefer no interruptions. If you, or Papa Tom see something you don’t like, or understand, we can discuss it after I’m done.”

Both elder family members were astonished, and impressed with Levie’s firm, but professional demeanor. Linda gave a slight nod towards her other son. “May Brandon be a part of this as well, and are we allowed watch? Tom did some research on you, and your brothers, and you’re rated one of the top instructors in the county. Based on what we’ve seen, we’d love to see more of you in action.”

Requests granted. Mama, thank you for being so understanding. I hope I live up to your expectations.” Then looked at Tom “Papa, what you read were just statistics. An instructor is only as good as his next student. There’s always room to improve. I’d love it, if you’d make your own assessment, and voice any constructive criticism you deem necessary”

Son, with that statement alone, you’ve lived up to, and earned your reputation. You’ve already surpassed our expectations. I’ve met instructors in many different fields, some of them four times your age. Levie, they don’t have a fraction of the professionalism, or humility you’ve shown today. There’s no doubt in my mind, you’ve made your entire family proud.” Tom’s statement was backed up by the rest of the family nodding and smiling.

Thanks Papa. Okay, Brandon, come over here beside Greg please.” Once Brandon complied, Levie continued. “Greg, before you do or say anything else, I need you to please return that gun exactly where it was. And, I need to get this off my chest.”

Greg nodded.

I told you last night, don’t ever lie to me. You did just that. Normally, I’d be done with you, especially when it concerns something this important. Firearms are nothing to take lightly, or play with, neither am I. I know your actions came from a place of pure love, and devotion, however, I gave you a loaded weapon. Your lie has compromised everything I ever taught. I don’t brag, but I do pride myself on practicing what I preach. What I preach is, if you haven’t handled a gun, don’t. Not until you’ve been properly trained. By accepting that weapon, you’ve disrespected the gun, and me.

Greg hung his head, and silently nodded. Brandon began nervously shifting side to side, and Linda and Tom looked on with great interest.

So, here’s the deal, you never lie to me again. I’m gonna teach you, and Brandon how to safely, and respectfully handle firearms, beginning with this first lesson. The Bropops will help also, when they’re able to. With me so far?”

Both student’s replied positively in unison.

Do not shoot any gun when you’re not having a lesson, unless you’re in the presence of someone who is trained. After you’re done, you don’t have to do anything with a gun, unless you want to. However, you will at least know how to use, clean, and load them. Sorry, I have to amend the statement before last. The only time you have to carry a gun, is when you’re out on a trail at the ranch. You never know when you’ll need a rifle within reach. Are there any questions or objections?”

Umm, Mr. Stillman, I’ve got two questions.” Brandon said rather meekly, with his hand raised.

Levie chuckled. “Bran, you don’t have to raise your hand, this isn’t school, and quit with the Mr. Stillman crap. What are your questions.”

How the hell do you do that? I wasn’t even there, and I feel like I’ve created a huge infraction. Also what the hell are Bropops?”

I have no idea, maybe you feel guilt for something else.” Levie giggled. “As for the other one, I’ll explain after this lesson.” Levie lovingly hugged and kissed both his new brother, and his mate on the cheek before switching back to instructor mode.

Wow! Levie definitely commands respect, full attention, and is thorough.” Tom shook his head in disbelief.

I agree babe. He’s also very captivating, and engaging. I noticed he’s able to differentiate between Levie, family member, and Levie, the instructor.”

Linda’s and Tom’s statements caused the red head to turn, and face them. “As much as I appreciate, and am grateful for your comments. You’re not complying with my earlier request for no interruptions. I’m gonna respectfully ask again, please no more interrupting. I truly thank you, and apologize if I sound rude.”

Brandon and Greg chuckled at seeing their parents being reprimanded. Linda and Tom both apologized, and promised to be more respectful, and thoughtful. To show there was no hard feelings, the parents received Levie’s signature hugs.

Alright, let’s continue. Greg, I need you to close your eyes, take some deep calming breaths, and completely clear your mind. Don’t pay attention to anything, except my voice.”

Nodding, Greg began doing what Levie asked, and then he nodded, when he accomplished the task.

Okay, I want you to go back to this morning, when we were in the jeep.”

Greg saw the two of them in the jeep, and again nodded.

Now, I want you to picture the way I handed you the gun, and then picture the way you tried handing me that same gun.”

Greg nodded. As soon as he saw the two events, and compared them, realization hit him like a freight train. Linda and Tom shared a look of recognition over Levie’s teaching method.

Greg, what was the difference between the two scenario’s?”

This morning, you handed me the gun with the handle facing me. I did just the opposite, and had the barrel facing you.”

Awesome Greg, that’s exactly what I needed to hear. Now, I want you to think about the first thing I said, after telling you about the safety, and how to release it. When you’re ready, I’d like you to repeat what I said, word for word. Keep in mind, I know exactly what I said and when.”

You said, make sure you don’t aim it, unless you intend to use it. I also just realized, you didn’t hesitate, but took a moment of thought, internally debating whether your decision was sound or not.”

Everyone looked at Greg with pride, then looked at Levie for his reaction.

Babe, I’m totally blown away, and proud of you. I didn’t even ask for your assessment of my actions before handing you the gun. I’m impressed with your powers of observation.” Levie smiled, and kissed his lover.

Greg responded with his own kiss, and warm hug. “Thank you Lev, and I’m sorry for not being respectful of you and the firearm. Do you forgive me?”

Forgiven, but at least on your part, not forgotten. Never forget what you’ve learned just now.” Levie turned, and pointed to Brandon. “I don’t want you ever forgetting today’s lesson either, bro. I’m not above kicking both your asses from here back to the ranch.”

Really? I don’t think you could, at least, not if we tickle you, before you get to us.” Greg nodded at Brandon. Together, they tackled Levie, and tickled him from both sides. The sound of Levie’s tickle tortured squeals and boisterous laughter filled the afternoon air, and made Linda and Tom laugh while shaking their heads at their three boy’s antics.

After a couple minutes of continuous tickling, Brandon and Greg got up off Levie, helped him up, and hugged the stuffing out of him.

So, everyone, what did you think about the lesson?”

You were amazing. What impressed us the most was your ability to guide Greg’s way to his mistake. You didn’t just tell him what he did wrong. Linda smiled, and hugged each of her boys.

"I agree, and I’ve gotta say, you were very polite and respectful as you pointed out our wrongdoing.” Tom also hugged the three young men. “I do have one question.”

I think I know what you’re going to ask Papa. I say that, because in going over my actions and statements to Greg this morning, I realized my own mistake.”

Linda and Tom smiled, and nodded for Levie to continue.

If I’m correct, you’re questioning why I told Greg how to release the safety, before telling him not to aim the gun, unless he meant to shoot.”

That’s right son. I’m not jumping on you. However, based on the reports of how meticulous, and thorough you are in teaching, it seemed out of character for you to place the safety release before intent to use.”

Levie maintained eye contact with his new family members, as he addressed Tom’s inquiry. “First, thank you for questioning my statements, it gives me the chance to put actions behind what I said earlier about room for improvement. My answer is simple, I made a mistake. I was not completely thinking clearly. My mind and emotions were running high with concern, not just for my Dad’s, but also, for myself, and Greg. I’m not excusing my carelessness, but I can learn from it, and do my best to improve in the future.” Levie looked to Greg. “Now, it’s my turn. Do you forgive me for my mistake this morning?”

All four of the Wilmont clan were speechless.

Levie, your maturity, and grasp of a situation is incredible. It’s obvious, your parents, Troy and Jaycen did an amazing job raising you.” Tom said, once he was able to speak.

There’s nothing to forgive my prince.”

We want to learn more baby brother. I wasn’t bored or lost at all. You got right to the point, without drowning us in statistics of gun related deaths.” Then, he and Greg hugged Levie from both sides. Greg removed the .38 from his pocket, and this time, returned it correctly.

Levie smiled, nodded, and put the gun in his ankle holster. Unstrapping it from his leg, Levie opened the trunk, placed the gun inside, and locked the car. “Will y’all come in, and see the Bropops with me?” Levie asked, holding out his hand to Greg.

Of course son. After you tell us what or who Bropops are.” Everyone was smiling, after Levie told them about coming up with the nick name.

Well, I think this makes up for the last chapter being so short. I hope you guys like this one.

As always, I love seeing feedback and comments.

Thanks for reading, you guys rock.

Copyright © 2021 Ajbt2001; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

20 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter 

Thanks, I'm really glad you liked it. This, like the previous chapters, were really fun, and a bit emotional to write.

Everytime I thought I was done, I had one character or another continously tapping me on my shoulder, telling me they wanted to express this, or do that. Fictional characters, what can ya do with them? You create them, then, they think they can just take over, having their own thoughts, and feelings. LOL

Edited by Ajbt2001
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Sorry for all the update notifications. I keep seeing things that needed tweaking, then I realized I never addressed Levie's mistake. LOL So, I had to add that in, so now, everyone truly had a lesson. 

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Great lesson on gun safety, for people who have not been exposed to guns this is very important.

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6 hours ago, VBlew said:

Great lesson on gun safety, for people who have not been exposed to guns this is very important.

Thanks, I've only shot guns a few times, when I was in my teens, about 28 years ago. LOL Wow, seeing that in print, I feel old. LOL The things Levie touched on are a combination of common sense, and what I was taught that have stuck with me over the years. In case you're wondering why Levie didn't lock the gun in the glove box, Troy's 9 glock's in there. Hey, the brothers are three gay men living on and owning a ranch, they learned to protect themselves. LOL

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Levie does have a lot of skills to protect himself and family.  Greg did deserve the lecture, but Levie did it so well and out of love and concern for Greg.  It is great to see the family dynamics in this chapter.  Everyone supporting the others and are growing together.

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1 hour ago, raven1 said:

Levie does have a lot of skills to protect himself and family.  Greg did deserve the lecture, but Levie did it so well and out of love and concern for Greg.  It is great to see the family dynamics in this chapter.  Everyone supporting the others and are growing together.

And, it gave Levie the chance to explain his beliefs. He believes actions, speak louder than words. He also takes responsibility for his mistakes. 

Edited by Ajbt2001
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Yeah, although, the whole thing probably didn't take more than thirty minutes, they wouldn't have learned anything anyway. And, Jaycen wasn't dying. LOL

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