Neither Josiah nor I could get back to sleep that night. After tossing and turning for ages ─ continually bumping into each other in the narrow bed ─ I said, “Why don’t we get up and go to the kitchen? I’ll make us some coffee.”
Without answering, he climbed out of bed and got dressed before we went downstairs. In the kitchen I began to brew the coffee and we sat at the table, each with his own thoughts.
When the coffee was ready, I got up, filled two mugs, and returned with them to the table. I put some cream on the table for Josiah; I drank mine black.
We sipped silently for a while before I asked, “So, where do we go from here?”
“I don’t know,” he replied.
“Am I going to be able to sleep at night without worrying that you’ll try the same thing again?”
A long silence ensued before he answered, “Yes. I know you were correct. I have no right to take my life and discard the sacrifices of the crew.”
“Good. If you have the chance, would you like to stay here?”
“What choice do I have?”
“Well, you might have inherited a house in Maine.”
“I don’t ever want to go back there. It’s too haunted with memories.”
At that point, Father and Mother came into the kitchen. Their faces showed their surprise that we were up.
Father asked, “Do you boys have plans for today?”
Josiah shook his head.
Looking at Josiah I said, “I usually work in Father’s store. I thought maybe it was time I returned there today. Josiah, would you like to come with me?”
“Sure,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders. His voice was a monotone, and he certainly didn’t sound enthusiastic, but I realized he had nothing else to do except stare out the window.
Father also agreed.
Mother prepared a breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast, and the usual coffee.
As we ate, Edwin walked sleepily into the kitchen, stopped, looked at Josiah and me, and asked, “Why are you up already?”
“Well, Eddie, we just woke up early, so we decided to dress and come down for an early mug of coffee.”
“Oh.” Then, as he looked at us all, he asked, “Did I miss something last night?”
Mother and Father looked at each other before Mother answered, “Nothing you need to be concerned about.” Then, she changed the subject, asking him, “How would you like your eggs this morning?”
After we finished eating, Josiah and I washed the dishes and then followed Father to the store.
Entering, Josiah looked around and asked, “What can I do to help?”
“I generally do four kinds of tasks,” I told him. “A couple of times a day, I sweep the floor. A lot of my time is spent restocking shelves, but before I can do that, I attach a little tag with a string on it showing the price of each item. I’ve learned to ring up sales and make change so sometimes I do that. What do you think you’d like to do?”
“How about if I start with the floor?” he offered. I showed him where the brooms and dustpan were and where to empty the pan when he finished.
The first thing Father did was to make coffee.
As Josiah worked, I looked over the shelves and then went into the back room to collect items which I labeled with the prices. Returning to the front room, I began restocking the shelves.
After Josiah finished sweeping, I took him back and showed him how the items there were organized. I taught him how to put the price tags on and what he could begin putting on shelves.
While we were in the back, the bell over the front door rang and Mr. Walker, one of our neighbors, entered. Behind him came three other men, neighbors as well. They all poured themselves coffee, tossed small coins in a little box, and sat near the stove. They came in nearly every day. Father joined them as they sipped their coffee and talked.
“I see you’ve got a new assistant,” one of the men remarked as Josiah came in from the back carrying cans and bags to restock some shelves.
“Josiah, put those things down on the counter and come over here for a minute, please,” Father said.
When Josiah was standing beside the group, Father said, “Gentlemen, this is Josiah Parker. He’s presently living with us.” Then he named each of the men and Josiah shook their hands.
From time to time, people came into the store, most of them with bags to hold their purchases.
As we worked through the morning, I showed Josiah how to ring up sales and how to make change.
“You know the cost of the items from the tags?” he asked.
“Yes, but by now, I don’t have to look at most of the tags. I just know what the items cost.”
In the late morning the men left, and around noon, Josiah and I made sandwiches for us and Father. We ate in comfortable silence before Father said, “Josiah, I’ve written to a friend of mine who’s a lawyer in Camden and asked him what we need to do for you.”
“Thank you,” Josiah replied.
“When I’ve heard back from him, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, you’re very welcome at our house, and perhaps when I know more, we can make your stay more permanent. Would you like that?”
“Yes, sir,” he replied, smiling shyly at me.
We worked off and on, taking occasional breaks, until it was time to close the store. Father locked the front door and we walked home.
When we arrived, Edwin joined us in the kitchen. The way he kept looking at Josiah told us that Mother had informed him about our adventure in the night. Frowning, he said, “Why do I always sleep through the excitement?”
Father, Mother, and I all laughed, and even Josiah smiled a little. His smiles that day were the first I had seen from him, and I hoped we could continue to help him overcome his sadness.
When we went to bed that night, Josiah said, “Your family is all so kind. Even Eddie is in his way. What did I do to deserve you all?”
I thought a moment before answering. “I don’t think it’s a question of deserving. You didn’t deserve what happened to you and your friends on the ship. It just happened. It was life. Now this is happening, and it doesn’t have anything to do with deserving. Again, it’s just life. Try to get past the bad things and enjoy the good things.”
He nodded, gave me his little smile again, and closed his eyes.
I have a confession to make. Often when I woke up in the morning, I had a boner. It got that way other times too, especially, I found, when I was in bed with Josiah. There had been enough talk in school so that I knew this happened to all boys like me who were 14 and that we often rubbed our boners until we shot cum. However, I didn’t know if this was happening to Josiah. I hadn’t masturbated since he had come, and I was getting desperate.
In the morning, I quietly got out of bed, went downstairs, and out to the privy. There I stood and pumped my cock until I shot. It was a delicious feeling and I’d missed it.
Going back up to my room, I saw that Josiah was awake. He moved quickly, pulling the sheets back over him and trying to hide what he’d been doing, but I saw.
“It’s okay, Josiah,” I said, smiling. “I do it too. I guess we all do. I’ll go downstairs and give you a chance to finish before you come down for breakfast.”
He emerged in the kitchen a little later and looked at me, his face scarlet with embarrassment. I could see we needed to talk, but that wasn’t the time.
After breakfast, we returned to the store and worked until noon. In the middle of the morning, the same men came in together, got their coffee, and sat with Father, talking and laughing together.
When they left, Father went out for a few minutes leaving us in charge.
In many towns, the general store also housed the post office, but in our town, the post office was in a hardware store which was older than Father’s store.
In a few minutes, he returned, holding a letter in his hand. He read it carefully, and then said, “Why don’t we get some lunch and sit down?”
Josiah and I fixed the lunch and then sat down expectantly.
Father said, “Well, Josiah, it’s just as you said. You have no known living relatives except your grandmother. My lawyer advised that it wouldn’t be in your best interest or hers for you to live with her. She has people staying with her around the clock, and they are being paid by a fund your father set up. You will likely inherit the house and anything that’s left in the bank.
“Your father had the wisdom to ensure his ship, so there should be insurance money coming in for that eventually. I don’t know that you’ll be rich, but you’ll at least be taken care of for the time being.”
Josiah nodded and thanked him.
Continuing, Father said, “I asked the lawyer about the possibility of us becoming your guardians. He said he thought there’d be no objection. He would try to get your grandmother to sign off on it and then we could go to the court and you could become a part of the family. But first, I need to know if that’s what you really want. Caleb told me you didn’t want to return to Camden, but is there anything else you want to do?”
“No sir. I think I’d be very happy to become a part of your family.”
Father smiled and told him he’d be a welcome addition.
That night, as Josiah and I lay in bed, I said, "Josiah, we need to talk about something.”
He looked at me quizzically and I went on, “Every night when I’m in bed with you, I get a boner and I suspect you do too.”
He nodded, just looking at me in the dim light. “Usually in the past, I’ve been beating off in bed before I go to sleep, but I haven’t done that since you came. I really want to get back to that. If you’re not comfortable with it, I suppose I could do it in the privy, but that can get rather cold sometimes, so I’d rather do it here.”
He thought a minute and asked, “Was that a statement or a question?”
I chuckled and said, “I guess I was asking if you’d be agreeable and if you might want to join me in my exercise.”
“Yes. It’s okay with me.”
That night we pleasured ourselves side by side in the bed. It was crowded when we lay on our backs, but we managed, although I nearly fell out. While he climaxed, he didn’t yet shoot cum, and he was very curious to see what I shot. I used an old rag to clean myself. Then he turned towards the wall and I snuggled up against him.
The days and weeks passed until one day Father announced that he had received a notarized document from the lawyer in Camden and that he and Mother could proceed with becoming Josiah’s guardians if Josiah still wanted to do it.
When Josiah said that he did, Father communicated with a lawyer in Chatham. A few days later, he hired a carriage, and we all went to Chatham. There was no courthouse in Chatham, but officials from the district court in Barnstable traveled to other towns from time to time.
We met in a bank and the judge turned out to be both friendly and helpful. By the time we began the ride home, Josiah was a member of our family, although he kept his last name of Parker.
Josiah wasn’t sure what to call my parents. In a way he wondered if it would be a betrayal of his own parents to call mine ‘Mother’ and ‘Father,’ but it really seemed the only convenient way to acknowledge the relationship, so in time he got accustomed to it.
Father looked at the bed we were sharing and offered to get a larger one, but we all decided there wasn’t room in the small room for a bigger bed, so Josiah and I continued to sleep very close together.
School began again in early September. Being nearly fifteen, I was in the eighth grade, which was the final grade in the school. Josiah was in the sixth. After we finished school, we'd be expected to find jobs somewhere and begin contributing to the family. We began fantasizing and talking about what we might do.
A snowstorm in early December dropped about a foot of snow on the town and the school was closed for a day. It didn’t prevent most of the students from going outside and having snowball fights, making snow angels, and building forts or igloos which were rather poor constructions but fun to make.
As we dressed in the morning and undressed at night, I could see that Josiah’s arms and chest were beginning to fill out. By then I knew that he was indeed beautiful, even if I wasn’t supposed to use that word for a boy. But one night I said it to him. “Josiah, you’re beautiful.” He stood, his lovely body outlined by moonlight. Looking at me, he blushed furiously. Oh my, I thought, he’s not only beautiful, he’s also very, very cute.
Josiah and I figured out that it was both more convenient and more pleasurable if we masturbated each other when we did it at night and in the morning. Josiah had begun shooting and he was elated. We also discovered the pleasures of simply touching and rubbing each other. We especially liked fondling each other’s nipples which in time led to kissing. Were we in love? We didn’t know, but we did know that we weren’t interested in any of the girls at school and we enjoyed spending time with each other, even when we weren’t making love.
I turned 15 that winter while Josiah turned 13, and one night, as we lay cuddling face to face in bed, Josiah asked, “Is it possible for two boys to be in love with each other?”
“I guess it must be because I think I love you,” I answered.
He pulled my head closer to him and kissed me firmly on the lips. I returned the kiss. I don’t know just why I did it, but I touched his lips with my tongue. He moaned and opened his mouth a little. I moved my tongue around inside, touching the sides and roof of his mouth, and wrestling gently with his tongue. When at last I withdrew, I felt his tongue on my lips and I opened to him.
Lying together with our arms around each other, we fell into a peaceful, sweet sleep.