Hey... this is Marty. Last year, my brother Malcolm told you all about what happened, so I won't go into too much detail, but if you want, you can go back to wherever you're reading this and read That Thanksgiving - TF where you can find out.
A few days before Thanksgiving this year, my 13-year-old boyfriend, Jimmy and I were walking downtown; you know, just hanging out. While we were there, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye... a boy, maybe ten or eleven years old, scrunched down behind a dumpster. Something just didn't feel right to me.
Jimmy and I walked over to him and I said, "Hey... you okay?"
The boy looked up with fear in his eyes. "P... p... please don't hurt me."
I was shocked, "Dude, we're not going to hurt you, we saw you here and I thought you might be in trouble. Can I help you in any way?"
The boy seemed hesitant at first, but after some time, he started talking, "My name is Tyler. I ran away from home because of my mom's boyfriend... he was sorta... doing stuff to me."
I was appalled. "Dude, I'm sorry that happened to you. How long have you been on the streets?"
"Around a week. At first it was sorta cool, but I started to get hungry when my money ran out. This guy, who seemed really nice, offered to give me some food, so I went with him. He took me to his house and told me to go take a shower while he made me something to eat. That shower felt really good."
He stopped for a moment and then took a deep breath before continuing. "When I was almost done with the shower, the man came into the bathroom naked, got in the shower with me and did what my mom's boyfriend had tried to do. He kept me there for 2 days and did it to me several times. Yesterday, he had to go out to do something and I split."
Hearing this, I made my mind up. "Tyler, my name is Marty, and this is my boyfriend, Jimmy."
My calling Jimmy my boyfriend was not lost on the boy, "You... you... you're not gonna do what that man did to me, are you?"
"Nope, not a chance. Like I told you, Jimmy is my boyfriend and we only do 'stuff' with each other, just like my older brother Malcolm and his boyfriend Eric."
This seemed to calm Tyler down. He agreed to come home with me, and I told him we'd get my parents to help him. On the way home, Tyler told us he was eleven - and three-quarters, and that he'd be turning twelve on New Year's Eve.
When we got to my house, I asked Jimmy to stay outside with Tyler while I talked to my parents. I explained to them what had happened and, as I expected, they agreed to my plan.
Jimmy brought Tyler in and I introduced him to my parents. They talked for a short time before Dad, with Tyler's permission, called the police.
An hour later, the Police had arrested the man as well as Tyler's mother and her boyfriend. In addition, since my parents were already approved as foster parents, CPS quickly placed him with our family, officially.
About that time, Malcolm and Eric came in and Malcolm was asking, "What's with all the police cars? I thought something terrible had happened!"
"Mal, I want you to meet Tyler, he's our new brother. I guess we need to set another place for Thanksgiving."
Tyler was going to need 'the essentials' to stay with us. Clothes, shoes, undies, and all that kind of thing. So, Dad took us to the mall. Tyler was floored when he saw how much stuff he was getting. At first he was saying that we didn't need to spend that much on him, but Dad simply said, "You're our son now. Your mother's parental rights were revoked and, with your permission, we'd like to adopt you."
That got the water works going. We must have looked odd to some of the people in the mall, Tyler wrapped around Dad bawling his eyes out. A few minutes later a boy approached. Quietly, he asked, "Tyler?"
Hearing that voice, Tyler turned his head and we saw the first spontaneous smile from him. "BEN!!!!"
Tyler released his choke hold on Dad's neck then bounced over to where Ben was and wrapped him in a hug as well. Over the next hour, the two talked. I used that time to sneak away, with Dad's credit card, and went to the Apple store. I got Tyler a new MacBook and an iPhone X Max. The clerk at the store simply called Dad to make sure that large a purchase was okay. Dad cleared the charge and said he would be there in a few minutes to sign his life away.
When Tyler followed Dad and Malcolm (Ben too) into the store he couldn't believe what we'd bought for him. It felt good to see him fawning over his new 'toys.'
Ben walked with us until he said it was time for his Mom to pick him up. We all went with him to where he was supposed to meet her and Dad asked what plans they had for Thanksgiving the next day.
In the end, Ben, his mother Ruth and his father Nathan were going to join our family for Thanksgiving dinner.
Mom had planned for our Thanksgiving feast to begin around 3:00 pm, so we all had a light brunch then just chilled watching Football on TV until Ben and his parents arrived.
Tyler had dressed in his best clothes, and yes, Mom made all of us wear a tie.
When we all sat down at the table, Tyler asked if he could say grace.
"Lord, I wanted to thank you for guiding me to this family. Thank you for this feast. I am thankful that I am healthy and that I didn't lose my best friend, Ben. Please watch over everyone here and keep them safe. Amen."