It didn't matter where the boy went, as long as it was away from him; his father had come home after a night out, drunk and in a blind rage. Rather than risk the beating he would take if his dad saw him, Timmy escaped unseen, ran to his bike behind the garage and took off not caring where he would end up. Up one street, down another, turn after turn, he rode at least 45 minutes, probably covered five miles at a slow steady pace, although he was presently only about six blocks from home.

As he passed the houses he would look if people were present and watch them as he went by, and wondered if those people felt the pain he felt, wondered if any of those homes was as awful as his...he often thought those thoughts while watching people. He was very good at watching people, not so good at being the center of attention. He preferred a measure of anonymity

Soon the sun was about at zenith, and morning had become early afternoon, and the heat was still pretty high and he knew he had been riding too long under the sun. As he rode down the street he could see an old sports car in a driveway with water running down the pavement under it, and a plastic bucket on the ground beside the car. He looked around and up into the open garage and did not see anyone, so he stopped and got off the bike and picked the hose up to drink.

Suddenly, he heard a voice, "Would you like some ice to go with that?" Startled, Timmy dropped the hose "I'm sorry! I just wanted a drink is all!", he exclaimed, fought the urge to bolt and turned to see the owner of the hose. The young man looked about 16 years old, not terribly tall, slightly built but absolutely gorgeous with black hair and blue eyes. Timmy found the look on the face friendly and open and he relaxed a bit as the older boy said "Easy, big guy, you can drink all the water you want, but not out of that nasty hose", he said chuckling. "I will get you some ice water, hang on".

"But I don't want to be any trouble", Timmy began to protest.

"Its no trouble, I was just going to take a break for ice water myself" the teenager said. "Its hot as hell out here, come out of the sun into the shade - be right back". The teen disappeared into the dark garage and reappeared a moment later with two tumblers full of ice water.

"By the way, I'm Isaac" he said as he handed a plastic tumbler to Timmy and held out a hand. "Timmy" Timmy said, looking down, not noticing the hand Isaac was extending for a handshake. Isaac found that a bit odd, but then again there are people who don't like to be touched, so Isaac filed that in his head and let it drop.

" So, what kind of car is this?" Timmy asked, referring to the old blue classic diamond in the rough they were standing next to. "It's a 1968 Porsche 912" Isaac said. "Wow, that's a car rich people drive, isn't it?" Timmy inquired.

"Well, if it was 40 years newer and a lot faster it wouldn't be in my driveway" Isaac said. "Is it your dad's?" Timmy wanted to know. "No, its mine. Both of them are. I buy these old sports cars and fix them up and sell them to help pay for college" Isaac said. "College? How old are you?" Isaac laughed and said, "I'm 19". "I go to City College, just started this spring. Hey, you want to sit in her and steer while I push it back into the garage? It doesn't have a battery in it".

"I don't know if I should" Timmy nervously said. "Its cool, all you have to do is keep it going straight", Isaac said. Timmy continued to be very conflicted about the idea, and when Isaac said "I promise not to bite you or anything". Timmy smiled and said "its not that, Isaac...its just that if I screw up..." "Timmy, its okay, I can get it inside by myself. I just thought you might like "driving" the old dog". Timmy began to realize that Isaac was trying to include him in what he was doing, and there was no denying that Timmy was very interested in cars and what made them work. He had never had the experience of having a father who could impart anything other than anger and abuse on him, and he desperately wanted the approval of a male in his life, even if it was a teenager only seven years his senior.

"Okay, what do I have to do?" Timmy asked. "Well, first get in and lets get the seat adjusted for you", Isaac said as he surveyed Timmy's small scrawny frame and build. Timmy had weathered some periods of malnutrition at times as his fathers fortunes waned and ebbed, but always trending to the worse. He was just about 90 pounds and under 5 feet tall, making him look more like a ten year old, rather than 12. He had dirty blond hair and freckles and brown eyes. He needed a haircut badly. He usually always needed one. His clothes were obviously too small and should have been thrown out long ago. Isaac took this all in and made more mental notes. With Timmy in the car, the seat adjusted to allow him to grasp the wheel, Isaac reached into the car to release the handbrake and Timmy flinched and jerked back in the seat. "I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to startle you; are you okay?" Isaac asked, with a concerned look on his face. "Yeah, I'm good, sorry" Timmy answered.

Jesus, this kid thought I was going to hit him or something! What's up with that? Isaac thought to himself.

"Okay, here we go" Isaac said as he pushed against the edge of the open drivers door and the windshield pillar, with his right hand. Timmy could see the muscles in Isaac's chest and arm flex under the wife beater he was wearing and Timmy found himself wondering if Isaac had abs...He was jarred from his reverie by Isaac asking him to pull up the handbrake after the car stopped in its spot in the garage.


"Huh? Oh yeah, sure" Timmy replied as he yanked the handle up. " Wow dude, you did great" Isaac said to Timmy. "Thanks" Timmy's eyes were down in his lap as he answered Isaac.

"You make a good helper, Timmy. Want some more ice?"


"Yeah, you can have more ice, really" Isaac teased. "And yeah, I meant that about the good helper".

Timmy smiled and asked "Isaac? Um, would you teach me some stuff about cars?"

"Sure, that's no problem, Timmy. Do you live close by? ".

"Yes, not far. A few blocks from here. Wow, That would be so cool! You're really nice Isaac".

"I think your pretty neat too, Timmy".

"Your about the only one that thinks that" Again, Timmy's' eyes were averted from Isaac's gaze.

" Then that just proves I'm right and they are all wrong" Isaac said, trying to play act pretentiousness.

Timmy giggled at that, but Isaac could see that the boy had a serious issue with self esteem. He would also be very hard to really get to know closely and had a terribly hard shell built around him. He reached down into the car to pat Timmy on the shoulder, and felt a tensing of the boys muscles. "Timmy, I will teach you what I can, and when I have free time. If I'm not able to spend time out here with you, its because I have to study and do other stuff too, okay?"

"Yeah, sure Isaac, I understand".

"Isaac, your folks don't care about you working on cars in their garage?"

"Actually, Timmy its really my garage. My folks don't live here with me."

"Oh, jeez, they aren't dead or something are they? I'm really sorry"

Isaac began to laugh, "Nothing like that, no. They live in a different city where my dad was transferred by his company. My family has four houses like this one, three that we rent and this one I stay in so I can go to school here. I take care of the yard work at the rentals, and this one of course".

Four houses, Isaac's folks must be rich, Timmy thought, trying to picture owning four houses instead of renting one with public housing assistance. There was something about Isaac that told Timmy that Isaac meant him no harm, and that he was nothing like his father. Isaacs parents trusted him with this house and allowed him to manage his own affairs, so he must have his life together, unlike Timmy's father.

"Oh. So you live by yourself here?"

"Me and my two roommates, Myself and I" Isaac joked. Timmy had learned a similar joke about his dad's three drinking buddies, Jim Beam, Old Granddad, and Jose Cuervo. It wasn't really funny the first time. Yeah.

"I wished I lived by myself" Timmy said. "Things not so good at home?" Isaac inquired.

"Really don't want to go into it" Timmy said.

Isaac looked at the top of Timmy's bowed head, and said "Its none of my business, Timmy." He gently ran a hand over Timmy's hair, and Timmy did not flinch or resist this time. When he looked up at Isaac his eyes had a sadness Isaac could feel but never really understand. Isaac had never known abuse in any of its forms, and felt all of his basic protective instincts welling up in him for this small boy. He also needed to change the subject and defuse some of the tension of the moment.

"Timmy, have you had anything to eat?" Isaac asked. "Ummm, no, I guess not" Timmy replied, not really sure when he last ate. It must have been at school the day before. "Can you stay to eat? Do you need to call anyone to check in or something?" Isaac asked.

"No, I can stay" Timmy said, thinking if Isaac only knew what condition his parent was in at the moment, he would not have bothered to ask.

"Cool, I have some leftover lasagna we can heat up, does that sound okay?" "Sure" Timmy said.

Timmy and Isaac went inside and Timmy found the temperature in the house quite remarkable and a welcome change from the sweltering outside and could only imagine what his home would be like if they had air conditioning. As it was, Timmy would swelter and sweat naked all night under a cheap box fan and take a shower in the morning before heading for school. It was the best time of day, coolest and way before his father got around to getting up, hung over and usually in a black mood. Timmy had never known his mother, she decided to leave his father when he was months old. He was an only child. His dad had been somewhat of a responsible parent until Timmy was seven or eight, and began drinking more and more and shielding his son from his sexual carousing less and less, bringing partners home at all hours of the day and night.

One night Timmy had gotten up to pee and found a naked woman he didn't know sitting on the toilet. His toilet, in his house. She just said "I'll just be a minute, honey", not bothered in the least that they were both nude. He waited outside the door until she padded back into his fathers room, and overheard her ask "Is that your son?" "Fuckin freak of nature, goddamn morphadite" his father snorted as the door slammed. Timmy had no idea what that meant but he knew it wasn't a good thing.

His fathers drunken rages were nothing new to Timmy, and through the years he had been kicked, slapped, beaten, fended off thrown items and had been himself thrown on occasion. He had suffered two broken bones that his father had explained away, so the authorities had never gotten involved. His bruises and scars were usually well hidden and Timmy was convinced that he would die if the family secret was ever revealed and his father sought retribution. He was trapped and in deep trouble and filled with confusion. Isaac had only known him for an hour or two and was sharing his meal with him, and showing him kindness like the teachers he adored at school. School was an oasis for Timmy, a sanctuary of order and consistency that he didn`t have at home. He desperately wanted Isaac to like him so he could come back. It would be another place for Timmy that seemed safe.

Timmy went through two plates of the lasagna, and Isaac filled Timmy's glass with milk twice. He was amazed that the two of them were able to consume the entire lasagna entrée, which usually provided three meals for Isaac.

Finally, Timmy had enough and got up and brought his plate to the sink. Isaac said "Sure your done?" Timmy smiled and said "Thanks for dinner Isaac, it was real good" "I'm glad you liked my old family recipe" Isaac teased. Timmy said, "Well, it's the best I had to eat in a long time."

"What do you normally eat?" asked Isaac. "Usually what they have at school, and then only if its not totally yucky" Timmy replied.

"Do you eat at home?" Isaac wanted to know. "If there's anything there, yeah. Sometimes dad doesn't go to the store for a long time. I guess he goes when he gets his check".

"what does your mom do, Timmy?"

"I haven't seen her in eleven years, Isaac. She could be dead for all I know." Isaac digested all this and didn't like where it was leading at all. Timmy didn't seem to have any emotional investment in his mother at all.

"I'm sorry, Timmy. I shouldn't be asking all these things".

"Umm, its okay...but I should be going home I think"

With that, Timmy walked out to the garage with Isaac and got on his bike. "Thanks Isaac. Can I come back tomorrow?"

"Sure, tomorrow's Sunday. I have classes during the day three days a week, but you are in school then too, so you can come over any time after school".

"Great, see you then, Isaac"

"See you then. Gimme a bump" Isaac said holding out his fist. Timmy returned the bump with his fist and smiled, and rode off toward home.


Sunday dawned early and hot again, a repeat of Saturday. Isaac decided to install the battery from the daily driver into the old Porsche and see if it would start. If it did, he would tune it and change the oil before buying a battery for it.

Timmy showed up a little after eight o'clock. He had been afraid that Isaac might still be in bed on a Sunday morning, so he was pleased to find the door up on the garage and hear a radio playing. "Isaac?"

"Isaac, its me, where are you?"

"In the kitchen, come on in, Timmy. Hey, have you had breakfast?"

"N-no", Timmy said. "Well, good, lets have breakfast then. Sausage, bacon and eggs?"

"That sounds good", said Timmy.

"Great, then how do you like your eggs?"

"Umm, cooked but the middle runny, whatever that's called".

"That's over easy" said Isaac. "Why don't you get the milk and OJ out and grab us some plates?"

"OK" Timmy said, opening cabinet doors until he found the plates. He grasped two plates off the top of the stack and the combination of overextending his short reach and trying to grip two plates with his small hands led to an inevitable outcome. He lost control of one of the plates and it slipped out of his hand and crashed to pieces on the kitchen tile floor.

Isaac had his back turned to Timmy at the moment, and spun around at the sound of the crash and was surprised to see Timmy crouched on the floor in almost a fetal position with his hands over his head like he expected the roof of the house to cave in on him. He was almost hysterically screaming "Sorry! Sorry! I didn't mean it! Don't hit me, Don't hit me!".

Isaac was absolutely stunned. He stepped through the shards of ceramic on the floor and bent down to Timmy, "Whoa, take it easy, big guy. No ones gonna hit you, man. No ones gonna hit ya...okay?" He put his hands on Timmy's shoulders and pulled him up. "Come on big guy, lets step out of this stuff". He began to lead Timmy out of the kitchen so he could sweep the floor. "Step out of your shoes, Timmy". Isaac got out of his shoes as well, so no shards would be tracked into the carpet in the other rooms of the house. Timmy began to cry hard now, and buried his face in Isaac's chest.

"I'm fuckin'stupid and I can't do anything right" Timmy wailed. He sobbed for a long time and Isaac held him and let him have his moment. Timmy did not move to avoid Isaacs' hug, and he kept rubbing Timmy's back as he sobbed heaved on Isaacs' chest. When Timmy began to calm down, Isaac said, "I don't think or feel that way about you at all, Timmy. It was just a plate, and you just had an accident. It doesn't mean your stupid, and there is no way I would hit you over a plate, or any other reason".

"Well my dad would have knocked the shit out of me for that".

"That's not right, Timmy. That's just not right."

"Isaac, why are you so nice to me? I'm dumb and ugly and my dad calls me freak and morphadite and stuff I don't even understand."

"Because your important and you deserve to be respected as a human being, Timmy".

"I'm not important. I just get in my dad's way. He hates me".

"Why don't we let me decide how important you are in my life, Timmy? I think your damned important and that's one of those things you don't get a vote on, like say when someone else is attracted to you".

"You're attracted to me, what do you mean?" Timmy asked, with a confused look.

"No, I am using that as an example of things in other people that you can't control. Your dad can think and say all sorts of mean stuff to you, but you have to choose to believe that or not. I'm just saying that he doesn't have the only opinions in the world, and I happen to think you are wonderful, and I really like you being around and hanging with me. Timmy, I know it will take a long time before you trust me well, and I want to earn your trust and how ever long that takes is okay with me."

"Isaac, do you really no kidding mean all that?" Timmy looked right into Isaacs eyes, and without hesitation Isaac said "Yes, no kiddin`, no shittin`, hope to be dyin' if I'm lyin'..." Timmy giggled and smiled, and Isaac said, "Now that's what I'm talking about. Come on, lets dry this up" he said, wiping wet hair and tears out of Timmy's eyes.

He led Timmy to the couch and said, "Sit here a second and let me check your legs. I think I see where you got cut". Timmy looked down and sure enough, there were two small drops of blood welling up on his shin where the fragments of the plate struck him. "Hang on, I will get the peroxide for that".

Isaac brought back peroxide, cotton balls and Neosporin ointment and sat on the floor in front of Timmy and began to tend the tiny wounds. Timmy was enjoying the attention and Isaacs gentle touch. Strange thoughts and feelings were stirring in Timmy, and he wondered if that was just the newness of the circumstances of meeting Isaac, or if there was something more at play. In the last year, these feelings had been getting stronger in general, along with some increasing signs of maturity in Timmy's genitals. Now it seemed that Timmy had an object of affection in Isaac, although he would prefer to be dead before he let Isaac know that.

"Isaac, can I ask you something?"


"Do you like have a girlfriend or something?"

"Or something?" Isaac began to laugh. Timmy realized that what he had asked did sound a bit ridiculous, so he began to laugh as well.

"Not at the moment, Timmy. For now I am busy at school so I don't see anyone. What about you? Do you like anyone in particular?"

"Nah, none of the girls pay any attention to me, and that's fine. I'm not really interested in them anyway".

"Well, that will probably change shortly" Isaac said. Timmy thought that over, and was pretty convinced that wasn't too likely, but he didn't want to pursue the topic with Isaac at that moment. Isaac swept and Timmy held the dustpan, and the floor was safe for bare feet again. They had breakfast and Isaac showed Timmy how to flip his eggs without creating a total disaster- Timmy had only learned to make scrambled eggs so far because you can't really screw them up. Well, maybe burn them.


Isaac grabbed their shoes and they went into the garage and began to work on the car. Isaac found the old points and plugs in good order, and showed Timmy how to gap the points and plugs and time the ignition with a test light. The old Solex carburetors were another matter, and needed to be cleaned. Timmy and Isaac removed both units and carefully disassembled them, with Isaac explaining every step to Timmy and showing him not only how to take the items apart, but also what each part did, and why it was important.

Isaac took Timmy to an auto parts chain store he jokingly referred to as Pep Girls and introduced him to a counterman that Isaac would see a lot on parts runs. They bought the kits for the Solexes, four quarts of oil and a battery, spray can solvent to clean the carbs, and new fuel filters. At least the ignition and fuel systems would be squared away when it came time to start the engine. These old engines did not have oil filters, and Isaac would simply clean the strainer screen in the bottom of the engine and re-install it.

Back at the house, Isaac spread on old Army blanket on the garage floor and he and Timmy lay on it under the rear of the car and Isaac showed Timmy how to remove the covers on the cylinder heads and perform the valve adjustments. He adjusted a valve and let Timmy feel the gap gauge, telling him that there was a certain amount of drag on the leaf of the gauge when the gap was just right. This was how it felt and you knew what it was from experience. He let Timmy adjust the next valve, and was impressed at how fast Timmy picked up what he was shown. So impressed that he had Timmy finish the rest of the valves and pronounced each one Timmy did acceptable. No do-overs. Timmy was ecstatic inside, knowing he had pleased and impressed Isaac.

"Look at me, Timmy" Isaac said lifting the boys chin and stroking his cheek with his fingertips. "You are smart and you can do things right. You just need some teaching. You just showed me that. No more about stupid and all that other stuff, okay? I don`t want to hear that. Losers talk like that and your not a loser."

Timmy nodded his head in agreement. Isaac asked "Who's my little buddy? Huh?" Timmy answered "I'm your little buddy!" Isaac laughed and said "Riiiiiiiight!", making it sound like a goat was talking, Timmy broke up into laughter.

"Tell you what, lets get cleaned up and get something to eat" Isaac said.

"Okay, I am hungry" Timmy admitted.

"You got some grease and dirt in your hair too. Come in and take a shower while I put on some fish. You do like fish don`t you?"

"Oh yeah. Fish is great. Sounds good."

"I got this little thing I do with angel hair pasta and marinara" Isaac said, watching Timmy's eyebrows go up at the unfamiliar word.

"Marinara, you know, red Italian sauce...not marijuana, you silly boy!" Timmy broke out laughing.

"Okay! Towel is on the shower door, soap shampoo and all is in the shower, take your time" Timmy disappeared in the bathroom, locked the door and several seconds later Isaac heard the shower come on, followed by the squeak of the rings on the curtain bar, and another skreeek! as the curtain closed. When Isaac was sure that Timmy was busy, he snuck into the bathroom using a butter knife to open the lock and found Timmy's shirt and shorts on the toilet. There was no underwear. He either didn't wear any , or didn't have any. Isaac noted the sizes, and thought he would be safe adding a bit to what the tags said, and silently backed out of the bathroom and closed and locked the door again.

Isaac put on some pasta to boil and baked four fillets of tilapia in the oven, and heated up some spaghetti sauce. When the pasta was done, he plated a bed of pasta, then two fillets on top, and covered that with the sauce. He had the same dish in a restaurant one time and decided he liked it enough to replicate it at home. Isaac loved to cook and was very accomplished. Even as early as eight years old, he could follow complex recipes and thought that he might want to be a chef.

Timmy emerged from the bathroom looking a bit brighter and shinier, and was impressed at the entrée on the table, and the salad next to it. Isaac had gone all out and toasted some Italian bread to go with dinner.

" Coke, Sprite, Milk juice or water?" Isaac asked

"Sprite, please" Timmy replied

"Ranch, French, Caesar, or Italian?"

"Oh, Ranch, definitely" said Timmy.

"Boxers or briefs?" Isaac inquired

"Briefs" Timmy said, not missing a beat or even questioning the relevance of the inquiry. Well that answers those questions, Isaac thought to himself, returning to the table with drinks and salad dressings.

Timmy and Isaac were too busy eating to say much to each other, and when they finished they cleared the table and retired to the living room to watch a bit of TV before Timmy decided he should be heading home.

Isaac walked out with Timmy and watched him ride off on his bike before closing and locking the garage and going inside for the night.

Timmy rode home in the gathering dusk and reflected on the days events and the fantastic time he had with Isaac. He decided that he was a pretty lucky kid, but past experience would make him wary, he had the street skepticism common to kids who didn't have privileged childhoods. He wanted to accept Isaac at face value, and the more time he spent with Isaac, the more his defenses inched down just a little. He hoped that he wasn't making a mistake and things wouldn't crash and burn like so many other times they had when he had decided to trust someone.


Isaac tossed and turned that night, deeply concerned by the things Timmy had revealed. By the time morning arrived, Isaac knew he must do something that would change the odds for Timmy. He showered and dressed, grabbed his keys and headed to his first class. After his class let out, his first stop on the way back to the house was the neighborhood big box hardware store.

Isaac found the person he needed in the tool section, working the key grinder. "Yes, may I help you?" a lady wearing a red apron asked Isaac. "Yes ma'am, I would like a copy of this key made, please" he said, working his house key off the ring and putting it in her hand. In a few minutes the new key was made and the lady said "It might need some break in at first, but it shouldn't give you any trouble. If it does, bring it back. Its guaranteed, money back". "Okay, thanks!" Isaac said, handing her two dollars and collecting his change. "Sure thing, hon." the lady said, giving him a wink. Isaac could feel the blush on his face and knew the lady was enjoying that enormously. Although he was not attracted to women of any age, he knew that they found him very attractive, which had created interesting situations on several occasions

His next stop was Wal-Mart. A few minutes of aisle trolling paid off and he was soon standing in line to check out with a cheap "burner" cell phone, the type that doesn't have a contract and uses prepaid minutes. He also found three packages of boy's briefs in hopefully the right size, and five pullover shirts, and a small book bag backpack.

Once done there, it was off to the supermarket for sundries and provisions for the week, including more frozen lasagna.

When Isaac got home, Timmy showed up a few minutes later. "Hey, you have great timing. Help me with these bags? Oh, I got some things for you too."

"Really?" Timmy asked, getting off his bike and grabbing several bags from the car.

"Lets get all this into the kitchen and I'll show you".


After several minutes of sorting and stacking, the refrigerator and pantry were stocked, and Isaac motioned Timmy to sit down with him at the table.

"Timmy, look...I don't want to pry into things that aren't my business, but I got a pretty good idea how things are at home, and I want to go over some stuff with you. The first thing is this key. I had a key made to the house so you can get in anytime you have to, even if I'm not can let yourself in here if things aren't safe for you at home. I want you to come here and eat if you don't have food. I`m going to show you a place outside where we can hide it, that way you won`t lose it or forget to keep it with you."

Isaac let that sink into Timmy's mind for a minute, then continued. " I also got this for you" pulling out the cell phone.

"This has only so many minutes of airtime on it, so you only use this if you need me ASAP or the cops or whatever, Timmy. My numbers are in this phone already and I have this number in mine so we're good to go. You call me anytime and I will come get you, okay?"

Timmy gulped and swallowed and said "I don't know what to say Isaac. You know I can't pay you back for this stuff."

"Timmy, I don't want anything from you, and you don't have to pay this back. I need to know that you are safe and not in bad trouble somewhere, on your own or worse...that's it, the only reason. Besides that, we`re not done, so be quiet," Isaac said, grinning.

He put the back pack on the table and told Timmy to unzip it. Inside, Timmy found the briefs and the shirts. His eyes were wide and he looked over at Isaac and said "You knew I needed did you know what size to get?"

"Took a guess. Do you want to try them on in the bathroom? Just try on one pair of briefs, if they're wrong I can take the other two packages back."

"Gee, thanks, Isaac" Timmy said closing the bathroom door. A minute later he came out without the briefs in hand, so evidently they fit.

Timmy came back to the kitchen table and removed his shirt so he could try on the pullovers and Isaac could see the signs of past insults to Timmy's slight body, scars from cuts and small burns from what appeared to be cigarettes. "I know it looks bad but nothings fresh" Timmy said, as if that somehow made it alright. Isaac sat in silence, thinking that there was so much he didn't know about Timmy's life, and wondering what other horrors this child had been subjected to. The other thing so striking to Isaac is just how small Timmy seemed to be, he really is just a little boy after all. There seemed to be no muscle tone whatsoever and no visible body hair anywhere Isaac could see. There is no way anyone could convince Isaac that Timmy was actually almost a teenager, but he decided to take Timmy's word for his age.

Timmy verified that the pullovers fit, and stuffed them into the backpack with the briefs and the cell phone.

Isaac led Timmy out the back door, and they stood on a deck made of pavers set in sand. "Pick one" Isaac said. Timmy decided on one of the pavers, and Isaac bent down and said "We have a winner!" like a game show host as he loosened the paver and turned it over. He placed the key in a Ziploc baggie, and laid it in the cavity created by the paver. He then replaced the paver and messed with the sand a bit to make it all blend in.

"Can you remember which one?" Isaac asked

Timmy nodded in the affirmative and they went back into the house.

"Isaac?" Timmy said, looking up at Isaac, his face screwing up and tears filling his eyes. He pulled Isaac into a hug and began crying hard, letting out a lot of things inside that Isaac could only guess as to the nature of. "You really do care about me, don't you? Your not just saying stuff, its real, isn't it?"

"Now what kind of question is that, little buddy?" Isaac asked, squeezing Timmy a bit harder. "Its just that I never had anyone do nice things for me the way you have" Timmy said.

"Timmy, you're like the kid brother I never had" Isaac said. "Just keep being my little bud and the guy you are, OK big guy? That's all I want". Timmy hugged Isaac tighter, and they enjoyed the moment together.

"Come on. Wanna learn about oil changes?" Isaac asked

"Sure" Timmy said with a smile as they headed into the garage.