The next morning, Ryan wasn't up when we were ready to sit down to eat with everyone else. I wasn't sure if he had trouble getting to sleep or if he was just enjoying a little extra shuteye, but I didn't want him to miss out on the special breakfast Trey and Brandon had prepared. Therefore, I asked Benny to go wake him up. Of course his shadow, Joshie, followed him upstairs when he went to do it.
A couple of minutes later they returned, but Ryan wasn't with them. "What's up? Where's Ryan?"
"He got mad when we walked into his room to wake him up. He was already awake, but was upset that we just walked in to get him. He told us to leave and knock next time, and then he said he'd come down after he got dressed."
"Yes, you probably should have knocked first and not just barged into his room," I confirmed.
"Why? I don't do that with nobody else," Benny confessed.
"I know, but we're more open and have seen each other naked before," I explained. "He's still a little shy and isn't ready for that to happen, so I think he was just concerned you might walk in when he didn't have anything on."
"What's the big deal?" Joshie followed. "He's a boy and ain't got nothin' we ain't got."
"That's true, but he's just not ready for everyone else to see it yet. Just give him some time and things might change."
"K, but I hope he stops being like that, cuz I want to swim with nuttin on when it gets warmer," Benny said before letting the subject drop.
When Ryan came downstairs a few minutes later, we had one more introduction to make before we ate. "Ryan, this is Grandpa Jake. You'll see a lot of him while you're here."
"Ummm, I hope you mean I'll just see him around the house and not that I'll see a lot of him because he's naked."
I think we were all stunned by his remark, but no one said anything in response. Instead, we told him what we were having for breakfast and asked if it was ok with him.
"Yeah, that sounds good. It's better than the crap they fed us at the detention center."
I think we were all walking on eggshells for the rest of the morning, since we were afraid of how Ryan might react to what was said or what we did. I think we were all wondering how much longer this would go on and if we could live like this for any length of time.
After his little outburst, we finished eating and I was glad to see that he seemed to be enjoying his meal. When we finished, the boys invited him to play video games in the family room.
"Ok, but I'm not very good at it," he confessed. "There was never one of those things where I lived, so I only got to play a little when I spent time at a friend's house."
"That's ok," Benny replied. "I think you'll like the games me and Joshie play, cuz they're easier."
"I'll give it a try, but don't get mad if I don't do very well." At least he was willing to do this with the boys, even if he didn't seem to be totally into it.
The boys were heading to the family room as Brandon and I took off for work. We talked about what had happened as I drove and agreed that this probably wasn't going to be an easy transition.
When we got home later, we took a minute to discuss what had happened at breakfast with Dion and Trey, to get their input and observations. Then we talked with Jake so we could fill him in about Ryan's background. He hadn't been at the house when Ryan first arrived because he was out with some of his co-workers celebrating one of their birthdays, and Dion and Trey hadn't explained it to him either. They were too busy keeping an eye on the boys and didn't want to be distracted by having the conversation until they saw how the boys were getting along.
Jake admitted that he'd been slightly hurt by Ryan's comment earlier, but now understood why Ryan had said those things and wouldn't hold it against him. We thanked him for his understanding and then went to change.
I checked in on the boys a couple of times to see how they were getting along and they seemed to be having fun. The other three were giving Ryan pointers about how to improve on the video games and he appeared to be listening and trying to do what they were telling him. After his earlier outburst, this was an encouraging sign.
We all got together again a short time later for lunch, but this meal wasn't nearly as fancy as breakfast. However, the boys all seemed to enjoy it.
"Ryan, how did you like playing the video games?" I asked as we were eating.
"They're fun and I think I'm getting better."
"Yeah, he is!" Benny confirmed. "He's doin' much better than when he started."
"So what are you boys going to do next?"
"Ummm, they let me play most of the time so I could learn what to do, so they didn't get to play much," Ryan offered. "When we go back we're gonna start playing against each other, so they get to play too."
"That sounds like fun and I'm glad you're having a good time."
"I am. I didn't think I was gonna like this place, but it's kinda neat and you guys eat really good too."
"You can thank Brandon and Trey for that, but Grandpa Josh will probably be doing most of the cooking when he gets back."
"He won't be doing all of the cooking, though, because we're planning on helping him more than before," Trey interjected.
"I think we all are," Dion agreed. "Since he's been gone we've come to realize just how much he does around here, so I think we should all pitch in and do more to help out."
"Yes, he works hard," Jake concurred, "but he loves that he can still help out and he's pleased that you boys are all doing so well."
"And we owe nearly all of our success to him," I added. "Most of us came here after some pretty bad experiences, but then he took us in and showed us how we could grow and blossom under his guidance."
I noticed that Ryan was taking in every word of what was being said and appeared to be thinking about it. I was hoping he might feel that we could do the same thing for him.
Little Ricky showed up around 2:00 with Ryan's possessions, after making the trip to the juvenile detention center to pick them up. A few of us went outside to help him, after we noticed he was taking several bags out of his car. We thanked him for doing this, and then asked if he would stay and visit for awhile. When he agreed, we headed to the dining room as the boys went back to finish playing their games.
Once we all had a cup of coffee, Little Ricky began asking questions. "So how are things going with Ryan?"
"It's hard to say," I confessed. "He apparently isn't comfortable being here, although he hasn't freaked out or anything like that. He's made some comments that have let us know his limits and others that have caused us to cringe. He's also done a few things that have let us know he's still leery about what we might do." I then explained what I meant by this statement.
"I was encouraged that he didn't immediately run outside and ask me to take him out of here, so it can't be too bad," Little Ricky followed. "Prior to this, every time I visited him at the detention center, his first question would be when I was going to find him someplace else to stay. Since he didn't do that this time, I'm cautiously optimistic."
"I'm glad you feel that way, and we'll do everything we can to help Ryan fit in, but I think it would be best to take a 'wait and see' approach," Jake suggested.
"Little Ricky, you can't imagine how generous Pop's comment is," Dion offered in explanation. "Pop didn't form a favorable first impression of Ryan when he met him at breakfast this morning, because Ryan made an offensive remark concerning him."
"It's alright, though, because now I understand what prompted him to say it," Jake countered.
We talked about this some more before Little Ricky apologized and said he had to leave. We thanked him again for his help and walked him out to his car. After he left, Brandon and I went to get Ryan so we could help him take his belongings up to his room and put them away. We also planned to mentally inventory what he had and inspect each item thoroughly before either placing it in the dresser or hanging it in the closet.
Ryan didn't have a problem with doing this and even seemed pleased to be unpacking his belongings. Once that was done, we filled him in about something else.
"Ryan, we're going to take you shopping tomorrow to pick up some other items that you'll need," I informed him. "We'll get you a few more clothes for school, but we'll also get you a swimsuit, since we go swimming with the boys on occasion. Can you swim?"
"Yeah, I can!"
"That's good, because we have our own pool."
"I know. Noah told me about it. He said you guys swim naked sometimes, but I don't want to do that."
"That's ok and we'll just have everyone wear their swimsuits from now on. I don't think anyone will mind, except for maybe Benny. He really likes going skinny dipping."
"Really?" Ryan stated, looking shocked.
"Yes, he does. He seems to enjoy the freedom of swimming naked, and like most kids he also enjoys being able to check everyone else out to make sure he's developing properly."
"Brandon and I will make a list of the things we think you'll need, and then we'll pick them up after lunch tomorrow."
"Do you pick the stuff out or can I tell you what I want?"
"We'll decide what things you'll need, such as x number of pants and shirts, possibly a pair of shoes, a swimsuit, or whatever else we feel might be appropriate. Then, we'll let you pick out the particular items we buy and most times we'll go along with whatever you choose. We'll let you select what you like, as long as there is nothing about it that we don't approve of."
"Well, some t-shirts have designs or slogans on them, so if we think they're offensive, derogatory, or vulgar then we won't let you get that particular item. There might also be a few things we feel are inappropriate, such as clothing that's designed for much older boys, but other than that we'll usually go with what you want."
"K. That's cool. I didn't think you'd get me anything at all."
"If it's something you need, then we'll get it for you."
"Before we do, though, are you ready for your physical? I brought the things I'll need home with me earlier and would like to do this before I return to work on Monday."
"Yeah, ok. Are we going to do it here?"
"Yes, we can do it in your room, but I'll just need to get the things I brought home first. While I'm gone I want you to strip down to your underwear." He seemed to blanch when I said that. "Do you have a problem with doing it?"
"Nah, I guess I knew it was going to happen, but I just don't like people seeing me without anything on."
"I can understand that, but this is purely for professional reasons. I want to make sure you're healthy and have no medical problems."
I then went to my bedroom and grabbed the bag with the things I'd brought home with me earlier. I carried it to his room and knocked on the door. "Come in."
When I walked in he was standing in just his briefs and I got to inspect him visually. He was quite slender, as I'd suspected, but I wondered if this was natural for him because he had a high metabolism or if he'd been malnourished. I wasn't sure because he'd eaten quite a bit at breakfast and then again at lunch, so I figured his physique must be due to one or the other. As I studied him, I noticed he was using his hands to cover the bulge in his briefs. This worried me slightly and I wondered how he was going to react when I told him he had to lower them.
After I finished listening to his heart and lungs, I inspected his ears, nose, and eyes next, before I checked his reflexes. I then sent him over to pee in the small jar I'd brought home, and when he returned I drew two vials of blood from his arm. I would use one of the vials to run HIV and STD tests, because there was no way of knowing if the trucker had any diseases and I doubted he'd used protection. I would place the jar with the urine and the vials of blood in a small bag before storing them in the fridge in the rec room until I returned to work. Now, it was the moment I had been worried about.
"Ryan, I'm going need you to pull your underwear down so I can check out that area as well. I'm sure you must have done this before when you had a physical and the doctor asked you to turn your head and cough."
"Yeah, I have, but is it necessary?"
"Yes, it is, or I wouldn't ask you to do it."
Although Ryan didn't look convinced, he slowly lowered his briefs and exposed his three inch flaccid, circumcised penis. There was a dusting of pubic hairs above it, indicating that he'd begun his trek through puberty, but now it was time to check his testicles.
"Why are you doing that?" he wanted to know.
"I'm just making sure they've both descended to their proper place in your scrotum. It could lead to other complications if they haven't, but you're fine."
After I'd said this, I asked him to turn his head and cough. When I finished examining that area, I had one more thing I needed to do.
"Ryan, when the guy beat you up, did he also penetrate you?"
Ryan immediately looked up at me with his mouth hanging open and tears forming in the corner of his big, brown eyes. His lower lip and jaw was quivering, so I waited for him to calm down a bit before I pushed for an answer. After a few moments, though, he regained his composure and spoke. "Yeah, he stuck his dick in my butt and it hurt like hell."
"Did you mention this to the doctor when they took you to the hospital?"
"Nah, and I wouldn't put on one of those stupid gowns either. I only let them check me out from the waist up, cuz that's where I got beaten."
"So he didn't know what else the trucker did to you and he didn't check to see if the trucker had injured you there as well?"
"Then I'll need to check that area now. I know you aren't going to be happy about this, but I'll need you to turn around and bend over the mattress?"
"Can't we just skip this?"
"No, I want to make sure the trucker didn't do serious damage to you back there, since you said it hurt like hell. In order to do this, I'm going to put on a disposable glove and add a little lubricant to it so I can examine your rectum. I promise I won't hurt you, but I need to be certain there's no external or internal damage."
Although he looked mortified, he didn't say another word and merely did as I'd asked. I carefully inspected and examined the area, both visually and digitally, but other than some puffiness, bruising, and slight tearing, there didn't appear to be any other significant damage. Once I finished, I decided to explain the situation to him, but I was very careful to word what I said in a way that wouldn't worry or scare him.
"Ok, you're fine and you can get dressed again because we're all done." Ryan yanked up his underwear while I continued. "I want you to know that you have a minor fissure on your anus, which is a small tear where he forced his penis into your rectum. It should heal without any problems, but it may itch slightly as it heals. You'll also need to keep that area really clean after you go to the bathroom to help the healing process. After you wipe with toilet paper, wet a washcloth and run it over the area again, to help ensure it's clean.
"I'll also give you some antibacterial cream to apply there as well, to limit the potential of infection, but it will also help to reduce the itching. You'll need to apply this each time after you use the toilet, and again after you shower. I will need to examine the area again later to make sure you are healing properly. Are you ok with this?"
I could tell he was in deep thought and I hoped I hadn't just upset him, seeing he'd been so cooperative, but I wanted to make certain he understood what had happened to his anus. I just wanted him to be ok, and was relieved when he finally responded.
"Yeah, what you just did wasn't that bad, so I guess I can do it again, but only if you think it's really necessary."
"K, and thanks for being so gentle and not trying any funny stuff. You made it so I didn't mind you doing it at all."
He studied everything I was doing as I packed up my gear. I'm not sure what he was thinking at the time, but I knew I was going to be a nervous wreck until his test results came back and I was sure he hadn't picked up anything. Once I finished and was getting ready to leave, I spoke to him again.
"I'm glad you let me check you over and I appreciate how cooperative you were. I think we'll be able to get along just fine, as long as you continue being so cooperative."
"Yeah, I guess I can do that. You've all been really nice so far, so I'm not as worried as I was when I first got here. I like Noah, Benny, and Joshie too and they've all been great to me."
"I'm glad this is working out, because I'll be honest with you and admit that I've been a little worried at times. I'm glad to see that you're relaxing a bit and aren't acting quite as nervous now. I hope things continue to improve from here on out."
"Yeah, I'm still kinda worried, but not like I was at first. You've all been super so far and I'm beginning to feel better about being here."
"Good, and like I said, we'll be taking you shopping tomorrow."
"Yeah, I can't wait."
The rest of the day went well too, and the boys spent most of it together. Some of the time they played video games, but I also saw them outside having a snowball fight. It was nice to see them interacting in such a normal fashion, laughing, and having a good time.
At dinner, Ryan did something else that surprised us. "Grandpa Jake, I'm sorry about what I said earlier. Noah told me that I'd hurt your feelings and it made me feel bad. I wasn't saying that about you, but I had a bad experience before I came here and I guess it made me kinda sensitive about certain things. I'm really sorry and I hope you're not mad at me."
Jake grinned. "All is forgiven and forgotten. I hope you like living with us and I look forward to doing whatever I can to help."
After hearing this exchange, I think we were all becoming a little less concerned about Ryan being here, although it didn't mean we were out of the woods just yet or that everything was perfect. I was still expecting some rough times ahead, but nothing like I first feared. I remained slightly apprehensive, but I was starting to believe this might work out after all.
Later, when it was time for the boys to get ready for bed, I took Benny and Joshie up for their shower. After advising them that they wouldn't be able to shower with Noah for the time being, I explained it was to avoid a negative reaction from Ryan. I felt that he might get the wrong impression about what they were doing, seeing Noah was so much older than they were, and felt it prudent to avoid any misunderstandings for now.
I'd talked it over with Brandon, Dion, and Trey earlier and we all agreed this would be best. We didn't think there'd be a problem with the two of them still showering together, since they were nearly the same age and one of us would be in with them. I was pleased when Benny and Joshie didn't get upset about this and said it was ok as long as they could still shower with each other.
After they finished up, Joshie and Benny left the bathroom and headed to their bedrooms to put on clean underwear. We didn't realize that Ryan was coming up the stairs at the time, although that fact soon became apparent.
"Hey, put some clothes on or wrap towels around your body!" he screamed at the two naked boys. "I don't want to see you like that!"
"Why not? We're all boys?" Benny shot back as he turned toward Ryan.
"Yeah, there's nothin' wrong with us doing this," Joshie added as he turned to face Ryan too.
"But it doesn't mean I want to see your junk," Ryan replied. He must have looked down, though, because it soon became obvious that he'd noticed Benny's penis. "Whoa, what's wrong with your dick?"
"Nuttin. It's just that I'm uncircumscribed," Benny replied.
"What he means is he's uncircumcised," I corrected.
"And so is Uncle Trey and some of our other uncles. I know cuz I seed them."
Ryan appeared shocked by Benny's revelation, but it didn't stop him from replying. "But it looks more like an elephant's trunk than a dick!"
I took over at this point and explained the differences. Not only did I tell him how circumcisions were performed, but I also went into detail about the reasons some parents had it done to their sons. When I finished, Ryan made another comment.
"Ok, but I like how my dick looks better."
"That's because it's what you grew up with and all you've ever seen," I offered. "If you'd been uncircumcised, you probably would have liked that better."
"I don't think so," he spat back defiantly.
I then sent Joshie and Benny to their rooms and planned on asking them to be a little more modest in the future, at least until Ryan was feeling more comfortable being here.
"You mean we won't be able to swim naked either?" Benny wondered.
"Summer is a long way off yet, so things may change by then. Just don't make a big deal about this and we'll wait and see how things go." It didn't appear that Benny was happy with my answer, because he slunk away looking totally miserable.
After Ryan went to shower and get ready for bed, I tried to explain to Benny and Joshie about why Ryan might be acting the way he was. Although they didn't totally understand, they agreed to do as I asked and not run around without anything on for the time being.
"I hope he changes soon, cuz this is gonna be a pain," Benny offered as a parting shot.
I then let the others know we were ready for them to come up to tuck the boys in. When we went downstairs afterward, I filled Brandon, Dion, and Trey in about what had happened.
"Hopefully he'll get over it and this will turn out to be only a minor setback," Brandon offered.
"Yes, he's still new and I think he'll adjust in time," Dion added.
"This may just be the lingering result of what happened to him before he came to live with us, so maybe he'll relax concerning this later," Trey chimed in. "I think all boys get curious and try to check out other boys eventually, so I'm sure he will too."
"I know Benny certainly hopes so," I replied, which caused the others to smile.
When we woke up the following morning, we were surprised when Ryan came downstairs a few minutes after we did, which was well ahead of the other boys. "It must be you're really hungry this morning, since you came downstairs so early."
"Yeah, maybe a little, but I just wanted to be with you guys. I like it that you all talk to me like a grown-up and don't treat me like I'm a little kid. I'm kinda excited about going shopping too. Before this, my mom or the people I lived with would just buy my clothes and give them to me. They never let me go with them to pick out what I wanted."
"You'll discover that we allow the boys to make many of their own choices, although sometimes we have to overrule their decisions. However, as long as they're reasonable we allow the boys to get what they want or decide what they want to do."
"That's great and I'm glad you do that."
When Brandon and I were getting ready to take Ryan shopping after lunch, the other boys announced that they wanted to go with us. Since we weren't sure how Ryan would feel about this, we asked him if he'd mind.
"Nah, they can help me pick out some stuff too, especially Noah. I like the things I've seen him wearing and hope he'll help me pick out neat stuff like that." This boy was truly full of surprises.
We drove to the mall to pick up the things we felt he would need for now. We had him try everything on in the dressing rooms first and then he'd come out so we could make sure they fit properly. We also offered our opinions about how they looked on him, especially the boys, and even though I'd been slightly worried about doing it, he took our comments well. The process seemed to go fairly smoothly and he appeared to be more comfortable being around us.
When we returned home, Brandon went up to Ryan's room with him and helped to put things away. When they finished, they came downstairs and joined us again. "Thanks for buying all those things for me and for letting me pick out most of it. That was neat."
"I'm glad you approve and like the things you got."
"Yeah, I like all of them a lot."
"Now you just have to select what you want to wear for your first day at school, and then I'll drive you there in the morning to be enrolled. What grade were you in at your old school?"
He hesitated for a second and looked at me oddly before he replied. "I'm sposed to be in eighth grade, but I got held back a year for missin' so much school."
"That's not a problem and it's actually better to be one of the older kids in your grade." He grinned when I said that. "I've told my staff that I'd be a little late getting in to work tomorrow so I can get you enrolled. Seventh grade it is then, and just so I don't look stupid while we're doing this, what's your full name and when is your birthday?"
"Oh, yeah. I guess I forgot to tell you that stuff. My name is Ryan Edward Hayes and my birthday is October 13th."
"Thank you, because I know they'll ask for that information. You see, this isn't the first time I've had to do this, so I know what to expect."
After dinner we all went to the family room together to watch TV before going to bed. Everyone had school or work the following day, so the boys were turning in early to make sure they got enough rest.
When the program ended, Brandon told Joshie and Benny he'd take them upstairs for their shower. Before they left, however, I pulled those two boys aside and offered a suggestion.
"Do me a favor and wear your underwear to the bathroom after you get undressed, and then wrap your towel around your waist when you go back to put on a clean pair. That should be enough to avoid any problems." They both nodded that they understood and I sent them off with Brandon.
A short time later, Noah and Ryan went up to get ready for bed too. They used a different bathroom than the younger pair and Noah liked to shower in the morning, rather than at night, so I didn't anticipate any problems.
When I went upstairs to help tuck the younger boys in bed, Benny had something to tell me. "We did like you said, but we didn't see Ryan nowhere."
"That may be, but I think it's better if you get in the habit of doing it this way, at least for now."
"K, but I hope we don't have to do it for very long, cuz it's a pain in the butt."
"I'm pretty sure this is only temporary," I replied, earning me a grin.
After I left them, I went up to say goodnight to Noah and Ryan. I stopped in Noah's room first, so I wouldn't make him stay up if Ryan had any questions or wanted to talk. Then I went over and knocked on Ryan's door.
"Come in." I opened the door and peeked inside. Ryan was already in bed.
"I just came by to say goodnight and see how you were doing?"
"I'm ok and was just thinking about tomorrow."
"Nervous about starting a new school?"
"Yeah, kinda. I won't know anyone there, because Noah, Benny, and Joshie all go to different schools."
"Yes, that is a problem, but it's only for half a year. I'm sure you'll make friends, and then Joshie and Benny will be going to the Middle School with you next year."
"But that's a long time from now."
"It is, but this is a nice community and people are pretty friendly, so you might make out better than you think."
"I hope so."
"Just give it a try and don't make up your mind too soon. Give everyone a chance and they might surprise you."
I then wished him sweet dreams and left, hoping that his first day at school would go well.