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    Ajbt2001
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Love Of Family - 8. Love And Forgiveness

The Family

“Gee, you’d think getting shot in the arm would get a guy noticed.” Jaycen said, chuckling.

“DAD!!!” Levie leapt from his chair, and ran into Jaycen’s open arms. “I’ve been so worried. I love you, so much.” The teen’s waterfall of tears soaked the hospital scrubs, Jaycen got from Stuart.

“Shh, it’s okay baby. I love you too kiddo, more than you know.” Jaycen lightly caressed his boy’s tear stained cheeks. “We’re very proud of you, and Greg.” Levie smiled, and moved to the side.

“Are you feeling ok Bropop?” Greg asked, both he and Brandon embraced their brother, and kissed his cheek.

“Okay, I know this kid bro.” Jaycen lightly ruffled Greg’s hair, and playfully tickled his side. Making the teen squirm, and boyishly giggle. “Who’s this handsome one?”

“I’m Brandon, your newest brother. Can I call you Bropop too?” Brandon was pulled into his own loving embrace. Just before his release, Jaycen executed a playful ticklish exploration of Brandon’s ribs. The sandy blonde had the same squirming, and giggle filled response as Greg.

“You and Greg, are my brothers, just like Lev. Both Troy and I would love the two of you calling us Bropops. It’s good to know I’ve got two more ticklish bros.” Jayce chuckled. “It’s very important, knowing if, and where, younger brothers are ticklish. That’s the second rule in the big brother handbook. The first is making sure there’s lots of hugs, and affection.”

Levie walked up behind Jaycen. Very gently, and lightly, he tickled just above his older brother’s hips. Jaycen’s giggles, and wriggling, elicited amused chuckles from the other family members.

“That’s soooo totally cheating, and gonna cost you baby boy.” Jaycen said, recovering from the tickle attack.

Levie giggled, then faced Greg, and Brandon. “Surprisingly, an older brother’s ticklishness, is also the second rule in the younger brother handbook. And, like it’s counterpart, the first rule, is just the same.”

Brandon smiled, and gave Levie a hi-five. “We need to have a younger bro’s revenge, once you and Troy are all better.”

“Good thing I don’t have to wait that long to get revenge on you and Greg.” Levie giggled, and hugged both Greg, and Brandon.

Jaycen grinned, shook his head, and kissed all three teens. “Troy, and I look forward to it, baby bros.”

Greg and Brandon started tearing up.

“What’s wrong?” Levie asked, feeling a little bit concerned.

“We’ve never been called baby bro.” The two answered, in unison. “It feels totally amazing, and comforting. Knowing, there’s two older brothers looking out for us, is indescribable.” Greg finished the thought for Brandon, and himself.

Stuart walked over, and embraced the three teens. “For the two of you who don’t know me, I’m Uncle Stu. Which one is Greg?”

“I’m Greg, Uncle Stu.” Once more, Greg found himself blushing, as Stuart praised his earlier actions. Greg stepped back, then made his way to Levie, as Brandon introduced himself.

Levie, wrapped Greg’s arms around him, and nervously watched the door. “Jaycepop, where’s Troypop?”

Jaycen’s eyes, and smile, lit up, when he heard pop added to his and Troy’s names. However, the light quickly dimmed. It was overshadowed, by the task of informing everyone. Jaycen sighed, and nervously, he looked at the entire family. In his heart, Jaycen felt Troy’s absence.

Tom sensed the younger man’s hesitation. “Jaycen, even under these circumstances, we’ve looked forward to meeting you.” Both Linda and Tom lovingly embraced the emotional red head.

“Levie’s an incredible young man. You and Troy must be very proud.” Linda smiled at Jaycen, and gently patted his shoulder.

“Thank you, he’s definitely our heart, and life. I’m guessing you’re Brandon, and Greg’s parents. Linda and Tom, right?” With a slight smile, Jaycen returned the embrace, and kissed their cheeks. “Thank you, for taking Greg in, when his parents abandoned him. You two are living angels.”

“Jaycen, we’d love it, if you and Troy would consider us your brother, and sister.” Tom said, as he gently clasping Jaycen’s hand.

“That would be amazing. I know Troy will feel the same.” Jaycen leaned in close to the couple. “Please, call me Jayce, or Jay, unless I piss you off. Also, thanks for the stall tactic. I wasn’t sure just how to broach Troy’s condition.”

Lyle walked up, and kissed his second son’s forehead. “I’m so thankful my boys are alive. I love you, Jayce. You know, you’re my son, the same as Troy.”

“I know Dad. We’re grateful to you and Mama Ev, for everything you two have done for this family.” Jaycen wiped his tears, sat in a chair, and looked straight at Levie. “Come here, son.”

The moment he heard son, Levie’s eyes widened. In a second, the teen was beside his brother, with a huge smile on his face. The two wrapped their arms around each other, just letting their tears and emotion flow.

“Lev, I know it hasn’t been verbally expressed how Troy and I see you. In our eyes, and hearts, you are our son. Always have been, and always will be. You wouldn’t remember, but Mom wasn’t able to breast feed you, and she couldn’t get up for nightly feedings. Dad couldn’t either, he was totally wiped out from working. So, to help them, Troy and I taught ourselves about feeding, and changing an infant. Levie Michael, our precious, beautiful baby boy, you’re the most loving person we know. Troy, and I love you, more than anything on this planet.” The raw emotion Jaycen exhibited, left Levie, and the rest of the family speechless.

“I don’t know how I got to be so lucky. I’m so blessed, to have this constant source of pure love all around me.” Levie paused to wipe his tears. “I miss Mom and Dad, but, you and Troy have always been there, filling the emptiness. Now, knowing even before our parent’s death, you and Troy were parental figures. Well, I couldn’t ask for better Dad’s, and role models. He then smiled and looked at everyone assembled. “I just met most of you, but I truly love all you guys. I’ve got awesome Grandparents, and thanks to my Pap-Pah, I have another brother, Mama, and Papa. Best of all, I have my Greg.”

“Jayce, you and Troy were ten when Lev was born. That kind of unselfish love, devotion, and determination is completely mind blowing.” Linda said, wiping her eyes with a tissue.

“Son, I think all of us, including Mama Ev, would love to hear about that. Especially, since Ev, and I had no idea you two were doing that. Also, there’s more to why your Mom couldn’t breast feed, and your Dad was so exhausted.” Lyle got down on one knee, and wrapped Jaycen in his arms. He then looked in Jaycen’s eyes, smiled, and snapped his fingers. “It all makes sense.”

“What makes sense Pap-Pah Lyle?” Greg asked. Looking down, he kissed Levie’s nose, and made his boy start giggling.

“Why Jayce, and Troy always seemed so tired. They weren’t getting their full night’s sleep. Ev’lynn, and I thought the boys had come down with Mono, or something like it.”

“Is that why she kept asking Uncle Stu to keep running tests?” Jaycen eyes teared up, from laughing so hard.

“Yep. For a while, she thought we needed a new PCP. Luckily, Mark and Stacey wouldn’t hear of it.”

“Thanks Dad, I’ll have to give Troypop an extra hug and kiss, when I see him.” Levie laid his head on Greg’s shoulder.

“Jayce, would you like us to take Brandon and Greg to the cafeteria, and get everyone something to eat? That way, you three can talk.” Just as Linda finished, a rolling symphony of growling stomachs were heard.

“I am kinda hungry. Thanks for the offer, Sis, but y’all don’t have to leave. The four of you are family. I mean, you’re at the hospital, supporting people you didn’t know, except for Greg. That alone, makes you family.”

“I’m buying for everyone. And, don’t think of protesting.” Lyle pulled five twenty dollar bills, then handed them to Linda.

“Mom, Dad, there’s no way in hell, you’re gonna get Greg away from Lev.” Brandon’s comment made everyone start laughing. Except Linda. She gave him her patented, “I’m watching you stare.” “What do you expect Mom, heck just didn’t feel right.” That brought forth more chuckling, and head nods. Even Linda’s. “I’ll go along, and help carry things back.” Brandon turned to his three brothers. “That’s if, you three don’t need me.”

Jaycen, Greg, and Levie got up, hugged Brandon, Linda, and Tom. “Thanks, we are pretty hungry.” The guys stomachs started growling again. Jaycen returned to his seat, with Lyle on one side, and his two boys on the other.

Milo

Milo drifted, in and out of a light sleep. The arrow’s removal, suffered no complications. His doctor, however, had some other concerns, he wanted tests run, and blood drawn.

A knock on the door, woke Milo, from one of his snoozes. Drowsily, he opened his eyes, and addressed his visitor. “What’s up Doc?” The weak man asked with a slight chuckle, followed by a string of nasty coughs.

“I guess the temptation was too great.” The doctor responded with his own chuckle. “I’m Dr. Sykes, I was the one working on you.”

“So, when am I gonna be sprung?” Milo slowly reached out, and shook hands with the physician.

“I’m not gonna mince words. You’re a very sick man, Mr. Walsh. You’re exhibiting symptoms of late stage pancreatic cancer, kidney failure, as well as lung, and other organ damage.”

Milo, gasped, and painfully, tried sitting face up. “What’s that mean?”

“It means, you’ve got very little time left. I’m gonna get a second opinion. However, at this point, all we can hope for is keeping you comfortable, and in a little pain as possible.”

For the first time in his life, Milo was speechless, and frightened. He’d never experienced such a feeling of mortality. Solemnly, he closed his eyes, and knew in his heart, the doctor spoke the truth. “How long?”

“This is just a guess, keep in mind, nothing is ever set in stone. Six months, maybe a year, at the most.”

“You’re sure about this?” Milo asked, though he knew it was pointless.

“Like I said, nothing’s set in stone, and I’ll get a second opinion. Although, I’m not usually wrong.”

Slowly, Milo laid back down, on his side. “Are any of the Stillman brothers still here? If so, I’d like to ask their forgiveness.”

“I know Troy is being kept overnight. I’ll check with Dr. Lambert, and see if any of them will come talk with you.”

“Dr. Sykes, you have my permission to disclose my condition, if you think it’ll help get them here.”

“Not promising anything, but I’ll do what I can. I’ll be back to check on you soon.”

Left alone, the silent, calm atmosphere gave Milo time to meditate on his life’s direction, or lack thereof. For once, he was faced with the reality that, in his adult life, any drawback, was a direct result of his own actions. By itself, that thought covered the ailing man’s body with icy chills, and no blanket was heavy enough to warm him.

The Family

“I know you’re stalling son.” Lyle’s heart was split between his two boys. Both men were very strong, physically, and emotionally. Despite the never ending responsibilities owning a ranch comes with, Troy and Jaycen never neglected Levie. Lyle knew his boy’s greatest strengths, and weaknesses were Levie, and each other. He couldn’t help thinking, how lucky Milo was, he hadn’t gotten to Levie first. If he had, there was no doubt in Lyle’s mind, that man would be lying on a table, in the morgue.

Lyle then looked to his Grandson’s. He saw a spark of love, protectiveness, and devotion in their eyes. Troy and Jaycen’s eyes have that same spark. Because they’d been together for so long, it was brighter than the younger couple’s spark. Lyle knew in his heart, nothing would ever break up these two couples.

“I’m sorry Pop, I’m just scared, and not looking forward to talking about everything. I’ll quit being a baby in a minute.”

“Jayce, other than Lev, I don’t know anyone who’s as brave as you and Troy.” Greg reached out, and placed his hand on Jaycen’s. You’re soooo totally not a baby. Say that again, and I’ll threaten you with the same thing I threatened Lev with on the way over here.”

“What was the threat?” Jaycen asked, while wrapping his hand around Greg’s.

Levie began explaining why, and what the threat was. He also threw in the part about getting his Bropops to join in.

“I love it, and I love you Greg.” Jaycen took a deep breath, and started explaining as much as he knew about Troy’s condition. As he expected, Levie needed the most comforting. Jaycen knew Troy was like a mixture of Mom and Dad for their kid.

“Guys, there’s been a development.” Stuart’s announcement caused everyone to look up at the confused looking doctor.

“Is it Dad/Troy?” Jaycen and Levie asked in unison.

“No, however, he’s been transferred to his room. I’m allowing visitors, but I’d recommend just the four of you, at the moment. Nothing against everyone else, but I think too many people would be a bit of a strain on him.”

“So, what’s the development?” Lyle asked, sitting forward in his chair.

Stuart began telling everyone about his conversation with Dr. Sykes. As soon as he finished, Jaycen and Lyle erupted with choruses of no’s and over my dead body’s. During the back and forth between the three men, Levie continuously tried to get more information, about why Milo was asking to see them. However, his efforts were in vain. So, he just sat in a corner, retreating into silence.

Greg felt the despair, and annoyance, coming from his mate. Finally, he walked over to the couch, took two pillows, and handed them to Levie. After a questioning look, Greg whispered in Levie’s ear. The red head grinned, and proceeded to cover his ears. Without a word, the raven haired teen climbed on a chair, brought two fingers to his lips, and let loose with his loudest, ear piercing wolf whistle ever.

“Holy fucking shit.” Jaycen immediately covered his ears, with Stuart, and Lyle following his example.

“What gives bro?” Everyone looked at the door, as Brandon, Linda, and Tom came running in.

“Son, I thought we came to an understanding. You never do that, unless there’s an emergency, and if possible, not indoors.” Panting heavily, Tom set down the bag he carried.

“I had to do something to get their attention.” Greg jumped down, while pointing at the three men standing. “Levie was trying to get their attention. Pap-Pah, and Bropop were totally oblivious, so was Uncle Stu. I don’t care who it is, no one’s gonna neglect my mate.” Greg wrapped his arms around Levie, kissing him.

Jaycen walked over to the two teens. “Greg, Lev, I’m so sorry. We didn’t even hear you. Can you two forgive us?”

The boys smiled, and hugged Jaycen. “Already done, Bropop.” Levie said.

“Now, what’s on your mind? Stuart asked as he and Lyle got their hugs.

“Why is Milo asking to see us?”

“He’s dying. Dr. Sykes is seeking a second opinion, but, is pretty sure he’s got six months to a year left. Milo wants to ask for forgiveness.”

“I’ll go, and before anyone objects, I’ve got a plan.” Levie said as everyone sat down to eat. Except Jaycen, he was gonna wait, and eat with Troy.

“What’s your plan son? Tom asked between bites.

“I’ll take my phone with me, call Greg’s phone and he can listen in outside the door. We can also have him record the conversation. Just in case Milo tries anything stupid.” Levie took a bite of his burger, then looked at Jaycen, and Lyle. “You taught me, everyone needs love, and forgiveness. If Milo’s asking for forgiveness, who are we to deny him?”

Jaycen shook his head. “I hate it, when kids use your own teachings against you.”

“Join the club.” Lyle, Tom, and Linda replied together, causing an outburst of laughter.

“You’re not going without me, I’ll be damned if my bros are doing something like this alone.” Brandon’s comment earned him hugs from his two brothers.

“I think I should go too.” Jaycen stated.

“No way, Bropop. You need to get back to my other Dad, so does Grandpa. Greg and I will join y’all, when we’re done.” Levie looked at Brandon, Linda, and Tom. “I’m sorry, but Uncle Stu thinks it’s best if only Greg, Pap-Pah, and I go see Troypop at this time. He says too many people would be too much right now.”

“No need to explain. I’ll tell you what, after the boys are done with Milo, we’ll take Brandon to the ranch, and help Ev with anything left to do.” Linda looked at Tom, who nodded in agreement.

“Thank you for understanding. We do love you all. I’ll phone Ev’lynn, and let her know what’s happening. Then, I’m going to see my other son.” Lyle gave everyone a parting hug.

“Are you sure you three can handle this? Greg, Brandon, look out for Lev. If you hear anything that sounds remotely suspicious, I want you in that room.” Jaycen wiped his tears, then hugged and kissed everyone.

“We’ll be fine, go, be with Dad, and Pap-Pah. Greg, and I will be along soon. Besides, it’s not like I’m not armed.”

“Levie Michael, please, tell me you didn’t bring your pistol in the hospital.” Jaycen’s expression caused Levie’s cringe. It also made Greg and Brandon shiver.

“Of course not, that’s in the trunk. I’ve got my hunting knife strapped to my leg.”

“The things you Stillman’s can do with just a look, is scary.” Brandon said, causing everyone to start laughing.

“What trunk, you drive a jeep?” Jaycen asked.

“Greg and I drove the Hyundai. We knew you and Troypop needed a way home.”

“Wait, you carry a pistol, and a hunting knife? Damn, you are teenage Rambo.” Greg and Brandon stared at Levie, with open mouths.

“What? I’m always prepared. You might not be able to get to a gun, or it could be knocked out of your hand. You gotta have some backup defense. Now, are we ready to go?” Levie got up, and gathered everyone’s trash.

“I’m very proud of you guys, and love you boys, very much.” Jaycen, grabbed his food, then after getting the room number, he relayed it to the boys, and left to join his Papa Lyle.

“Be careful. We’ll be right here, if you need us.” Linda and Tom kissed all three boys, then held hands, and watched the trio head for Milo’s room.

Hope everyone liked this chapter. I wanted to get a bit more into the relationship between Levie and his Bropops.

Thanks for reading, and I always look forward to comments, and reactions.

Love you guys.

Copyright © 2021 Ajbt2001; All Rights Reserved.
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11 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

Great chapter. We get to learn a bit more of the dynamics of the family 

Thanks, I really appreciate your comment, and glad you liked it. Since the start of the story, the one constant idea was Troy and Jaycen's actually caring for, and doing most of Levie's raising. I've steadily been trying to figure out how to display their roles, while at the same time, not presenting any of the four parents in a negative way. 

Actually, I'm surprised I've been able to keep the continuity going. This is definitely, the longest story I've done. And I keep getting ideas for new challenges for the boys to face. 

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I am getting confused.  Could you please provide a list of characters in this story and their relationships to each other. 

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Milo asking to speak to the family?  I am not sure that is wise, but Levie sure has a lot of guts to take that on.  I loved the story of Jaycen and Troy taking care of the infant Levie.  Great chapter. 

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