Remember Jimmy? After his mother dies of an overdose, Jeff finds him walking down a highway during a blizzard and takes him in. Well, finally, we get a glance at Jimmy‘s new life, his new life with his new dad. A life without constant fear and hurt.
If you haven’t read my story Jimmy yet, or if it was a while ago,
I would suggest you check it out before reading this one.
I can’t even begin to tell how totally awesome I felt riding home from Aunt Sarah’s with Dad. I was feeling kinda tingly all over. It was like I was in a dream. I had a dad…oh my God…I had a dad! Not just any dad either, but a dad who I loved and who loved me back. A dad who wanted to be my dad. I wish I could explain it better, but I can’t. It was awesome. It was like I dreamed heaven would be. Of course, I never expected to get there. I never expected my life would ever be okay. But, from that first day at the motel I somehow knew. Yeah, there were a few unsure moments, but I knew Jeff Wilson was the one…the one who would always be there for me, and I knew I was finally going to be okay.
I’d totally enjoyed the past week, and the only week in my life, where I felt safe. I could walk around the house, go outside, go to bed, and I didn’t have to worry about someone wanting me or hurting me. I didn’t have to wear my shoes in the house in case I stepped on a needle I didn’t see lying on the floor. I could open the fridge and there was food in it. I was in a whole new world unlike any I had experienced before and I loved it. I also had the perfect aunt, Sarah, and two of the coolest cousins on the planet, Brice and Kevin.
And now I was on my way to my new home, a real home where I would be cared for, for no other reason than I was me. Not because I sold my ass so my mother could get high, but just because I was Jimmy West, and I was worth being loved and cared for. It was a long drive and I almost fell asleep more than once but I managed not to. This was one trip I wanted to be awake for from beginning to end. Dad and I talked about all kinds of stuff like shopping for new clothes, meeting some of the kids in the neighbourhood, registering at the school, and whatever else came to my mind or his. He and I hoped I wasn’t too far behind in school because neither one of us wanted me to have to repeat grade eight. I know I sure as hell didn’t. Dad said that, if we had to, we could hire a tutor to help me catch up.
When we finally pulled into the driveway it was a total ‘Oh My God’ moment. I was looking up a hill at the coolest log house I had ever seen. Actually the only log house I had ever seen, but it was still the coolest. Looking up at it like we were, it looked like something out of a movie. There were stairs leading up to a great big covered deck, and there were great big spruce trees all around it. I almost burst into tears when I realized that I was actually going to live here. My mouth actually dropped open when this beautiful big dog come charging around the house, across the front lawn and ran circles around the Jeep until we stopped. I opened my door and he ran right over me to Dad and started licking his face while he was making all sorts of weird noises. I, however, was getting beaten to death by his tail. He was just the right height to smack me in the face and I was sure I was going to have a couple of black eyes. I tried to grab it but he was wagging it too fast for me to get hold of it. Then suddenly, he realized I was there and spun around to give my face a serious washing. I’m not sure which was worse. Finally I grabbed him around the neck and gave him a big hug until he calmed down. Just so you know, dog drool so does not taste cool.
When I was finally able to get out of the Jeep, there was a really good looking young guy talking to Dad. As I got closer to them, Dad introduced us. He was Dad’s younger brother, Chad, and he’d been staying at Dad’s to look after George. George is the dog by the way. Dad said he’s a golden retriever.
When I went to shake Chad’s hand, he pulled me into a hug and said, “Welcome home Jimmy.”
I kinda teared up a bit and said, “Thanks.”
“I’m thinking you might want to rinse your face and your mouth out a few times after George’s greeting,” he said with a grin.
“Yeah, I think maybe,” I replied with a smile, “George is awesome but his drool isn’t.”
We got the stuff out of the Jeep real quick and as soon as we got in the house, Chad pointed me to the bathroom. When I came out, he had a nice ice cold ginger ale for me, and a box of little cinnamon doughnuts. I knew right there that Chad and I were going to get along great. When I went to bed that night, I really felt like I was no longer alone, pretty much because I wasn’t. You see, until I showed up, my bed had been George’s bed. Happily, he had decided sharing it with me was a good thing. I did make sure I was against the wall so he couldn’t push me onto the floor during the night though. As I lay there with George pressed up against me, I have to admit I had a couple of tears run down into my ears. This was better than any of my dreams, so, so, much better.
On my first day of school, I was scared half to death. Here was little gay me walking into a school I knew nothing about. Well I shouldn’t say that, I did know all my classes and where they were but I knew I would be shorter the average 12 year-old, and that’s not usually a good thing. Slow-minded dick-headed bullies like people smaller than them. Maybe ‘like’ is the wrong word, but you get what I mean. I decided to hell with them though, and when I got there, I motored around the halls and to my first class like I owned the place. Surprisingly, no one gave me a second look. I never got hassled by one single person all morning. This was definitely so not like my old school…like…definitely not. When lunch rolled around I had no idea where to sit cause I didn’t know anyone, so I just picked an empty table and sat down. I hadn’t been sitting for more than a minute before four other guys were sitting with me. I got kinda scared for a second cause I figured I was in shit for sitting at their table. Instead, they actually welcomed me and introduced themselves.
“We saw you at Jeff’s karate class yesterday,” the guy who introduced himself as Ryan said.
“Yeah,” I replied, “He’s my new dad.”
“Fuck off,” I think it was Jasper, said grinning.
Just then another totally hot guy came up and sat down.
“Hi, I’m TJ,” he announced as he reached out to shake my hand.
“Jimmy,” I replied and shook his hand.
“No, seriously,” I said replying to Jasper, “My mom just died, so I moved in with Jeff last week. He really is my new dad.”
“Sorry about your mom,” TJ said.
“Don’t be, I’m not,” I said.
“Okay?” Ryan kinda questioned.
“It’s a long story,” I replied, “Maybe one day when you guys have a free week, I’ll tell you the sordid details of my sordid little life.”
“Jeff’s really your dad?” TJ questioned changing the subject, “Damn you’re one lucky dude.”
“You know him too?” I asked.
“Yeah, everybody knows Jeff, ” he replied, “I go to his self-defence class every Wednesday after school.”
“I was there yesterday,” I said, “But you weren’t there.”
“No, I had a big homework assignment due today,” he responded, “We had two weeks to do it but I hadn’t started it yet. ‘Course I work best under pressure.”
“Uh huh,” I said grinning.
“Seriously…I do,” he said laughing.
“Yeah and Safeway sells chicken farts for ten cents a dozen,” one of the other guys, Craig I think, responded laughing, “But it’s a real bitch trying to make them into an omelette.”
“Screw you,” TJ said grinning.
“In your dreams,” Craig replied just as the bell rang to end our break.
Okay, I’m really gonna like these guys I thought. They’re cute, sexy, in my self-defence class, and they have a sick sense of humour. What more could a guy ask for?
As soon as the last class of the day was done, I was standing outside the front doors just kinda looking around, and the next thing I knew, TJ and Ryan were standing right beside me.
I got big grins, and a “You survived,” accompanied by a little push from TJ as we picked up exactly where we left off at lunch and talked like we’d known each other forever.
As we were walking away, I said, “I can’t believe you and the guys were so nice to me, and nobody fucked with me all day.”
“Guys don’t play that game here,” TJ replied.
“You shoulda gone to my old school,” I said, “I was worth a shit kickin’ at least once a day there.”
“You’re safe here man,” Ryan said, “We know who we are, and we don’t need prove anything to anybody.”
“Every guy’s gotta prove something,” I responded.
“Maybe we don’t here cause we mostly grew up together. I mean, we’ve seen each other getting our diapers changed, so I guess there isn’t much left to prove,” TJ responded.
“Yeah, and we know who’s got a wee willy,” Ryan said, as he smacked TJ’s shoulder.
That got him a, “Fuck you asshole,” from TJ.
I chose to leave that one alone so all I did was laugh.
When we got close to home, and I turned up the driveway. Ryan said, “See ya,” and continued on, but TJ just turned up the driveway with me.
It was kinda funny because George didn’t seem to know who to slobber on first. He picked me, but not for long. TJ got his turn real quick. As soon as we got in the house, we kinda cleaned up, headed for the fridge, and grabbed a nice cold Coke each. We made our way onto the deck and flopped down on a couple of the loungers and carried on chatting. After a bit, George sat up and his tail started hammering against my leg. A minute later, Dad pulled into the driveway and George was airborne off the deck. After a very excited greeting from George, Dad made it up to the deck.
“Hey kiddo. Hey TJ,” he said as he got to us.
“Hey Dad,” I replied.
“Hey Jeff,” TJ replied.
“So I see you found yourself a buddy,” he said to me with a grin, “How did the rest of your day go?”
“Yep,” I responded with a big smile before mentioning, “Everyone was just awesome. They talked to me and everything. And no one gave me any crap. It was great. Oh, and I’m a bit behind in math and science, and have a shitload of reading to do in English and Social, but I can do it.”
“I can help you catch up in math and science,” TJ immediately announced.
Dad looked at me, grinned, and said, “Hmmm, I think maybe we just found you a tutor.”
All I could do was grin back as TJ punched me in the arm and grinned at me. Even after he left to make sure he didn’t miss getting fed, I couldn’t stop smiling. How the hell did I get this lucky. I mean everything was so awesome. I already made friends, and I think I just got the cutest tutor on the planet to help me with my math and science. I was actually looking forward to school the next morning. Can you believe that? Okay, okay, maybe it was just the walk to school. Definitely it was TJ. I was up the instant my alarm went off and was ready to go like fifteen minutes early. I didn’t have to wait long though. TJ and Ryan were early too and by 8:30 we were on our way.
Even after the tear or two that first night, still there were some nights now I couldn’t help but lay in bed, with George cuddled up to me, and shed a tear. Everything was so perfect. It wasn’t just having an awesome dad and an awesome home either. It was everything, especially TJ. I mean I’d never had a best friend before and it felt so good. And guess what? He was totally into building model cars. I only had a couple so far, but when I went to his place one day, he had dozens. Like shelves of them everywhere.
TJ’s tutoring was awesome and I understood everything he was showing me real quick. In just a few weeks I was caught up, and that meant tutoring time was our free time. Wandering along the bush trails, and down to the duck pond was the best, especially having TJ and George, and often Ryan, to share it with. I’d always hated the city and living downtown. Here everything was real. It was clean. It was quiet. It was amazing. Watching and listening to the birds, watching the squirrels, the chipmunks, and even a couple of skunks was awesome. George didn’t chase the skunks like he did the squirrels. I guess he learned, when he was little, that chasing black and white critters isn’t the smartest thing to do. And, spring in the country is so awesome, well except for maybe some years in the mountain passes.
Finally the May long weekend I’d heard about for weeks, was upon us and that meant the first big weekend campout. Well here it did anyway. TJ, Ryan, Riley, Jasper, Craig, me, and half the guys in our class were loaded to the nuts packing tents, food, fishing gear, and whatever, the six miles out to Jackfish Lake. And no it wasn’t nice flat trails through the bush. It was hilly, swampy, if you fall off there it’ll hurt big time, trekking through the wilderness. But, damn it was fun. After an hour and a half setting up tents, collecting a night’s worth of firewood, half of us were just laying back taking in the awesome sounds of the loons as they danced across the water, the chickadees, the seagulls, or the squirrel in the tree next to Craig’s tent, who was bitching us out for invading his territory. Four of the guys were catching us our evening meal, uh huh. Well they were on the shore with fishing poles in their hands. And as if we hadn’t walked enough, Riley and Jasper were walking around the lake. It wasn’t exactly a big lake just so you know.
Guess what? Three hours after arriving, Ryan was getting the fire going while TJ and I were gutting fish and getting them ready for Jesse’s culinary skills. Yep, the guys caught eleven perch standing there on shore. If you’ve never gutted a fish before, don’t. If you’ve never had fresh fish cooked to perfection over and open fire before, do. It seems Jesse had done this before and he actually knew what he was doing and they were beyond awesome. Later as we were sitting around the fire, I discovered there’s nothing like having a poky stick and rearranging it every few minutes. Ryan wasn’t always thrilled as the little sparks seemed to fly in his direction half the time, but I was having a great time. I gotta say too, when it was time to crash for the night, I’ve never slept better in my life. Okay I wasn’t too thrilled when the garter snake came in to check me out before I went to sleep, but hey, they’re harmless.
Oh and I don’t like leeches. Not even a little bit. Nor was I impressed when I won the, who attracted the most leeches contest, with twelve. At least none of them were attached to a body part inside my underwear. You can laugh if you want, but briefs do a better job than boxers when it comes to protecting your junk from slimy little freshwater critters. Riley wasn’t too thrilled when he found two that seemed to like his junk. By the way, if they’re on your junk don’t hit them. Back at school on Tuesday we did have some great stories to tell, especially Riley. One of the girls wanted to know if he had any scars. He told her they’d have to wait till after school. Then they could go under the little bridge by the park and check.
What with reviewing and final exams and all, June went by pretty fast. Before I knew it school was out for the summer. And, thanks to TJ, I passed all my courses with top marks and even got an award. Of course summer meant a trip to Aunt Sarah’s. Dad invited TJ and his folks jokingly thanked him for giving them a month’s peace and quiet.
Even though I was in a vehicle and sitting between Dad and TJ, the drive there was eerily creepy, almost like I was re-walking my escape from hell. Certain things we passed just seemed to grab me or hit me. Not surprisingly, TJ sensed my occasional discomfort and put his arm around me to make sure I knew he was there. He said later that he noticed I got more tense the farther west we drove, and every once in a while he could actually feel me go rigid. That is until we passed Morrison. He grinned as he told me that after Morrison he could feel everything change. I seemed to relax and I almost melted into him. Brice and Kevin were actually sitting out front waiting for us when we arrived at Aunt Sarah’s. I introduced them to TJ, and we were immediately packing our stuff into the house. Aunt Sarah gave me a big hug as soon as I walked in the door. TJ got a big hug too almost before I finished introducing him. Then once again, we were being fed another awesome dinner. As soon as we finished eating, and helping cleanup of course, we were on our way to the lake.
It was kinda funny cause as we were cleaning up, I heard Aunt Sarah say to Dad, “Oh my God, is that the same kid you left here with this spring?”
I heard Dad laugh as he replied, “Yes…and no.”
I kinda wanted to hear more but the guys were more than ready to head to the beach and go for a swim. Wouldn’t want to hold them up now would I? We met up with a bunch of other guys and we were soon swimming, diving off the dock, playing underwater tag, and generally having a blast. And, yep, no leeches, not a one. It was almost dark before we decided we needed more food and headed home. A couple of Kevin’s friends had Sea-Doos. Now if you want to go on a wild ride, that’s the way to do it. I don’t know how fast we were going but holy crap. We spent the better part of the next few days learning how to waterski. Well I did. TJ already knew how, just not behind a Sea-Doo that can turn on a dime. He figures he was going at least a hundred kilometers an hour during one turn. He said he hadn’t been that scared, ever. Like scared shitless, which was good, or he might have stained his swim trunks. But oh man, a month on the lake, white sand, warm water, sun shining every day, Sea-Doos, boats, swimming, diving, fishing, three of the best guys in the world to hang out with, and Kevin and Brice’s friends…yeah now that’s heaven. One day as I was watching Kevin ski, I looked at TJ sitting beside me on the dock and almost teared up for like the five hundredth time. How did life get this good? And then the end of July arrived and that meant Dad’s holidays were done and we were going to have to head home. But let me tell you, I had the most awesome tan, and believe it or not, I was developing muscles. Yeah like real live muscles. Now if I was a foot taller, maybe I’d be sexy. Aunt Sarah was impressed though, even if I was still shorter than most twelve-year-olds.
The first words I heard from Ryan when we got back were, “Holy shit man, you been workin’ out or what?”
I just grinned, did a flex, and said, “Yep. Now I’m the man.”
“Yeah, right, in your dreams,” he responded with a grin.
August was almost as awesome as July. No white sand and no Sea-Doos, but hey we have forests, walking trails, a duck pond, a creek, Jackfish Lake, camping, campfires, self-defence lessons, and George, who’s drool didn’t taste any better now than it did on day one. We camped out nearly every weekend, and George was even allowed to come with us a couple of times. I still love those poky sticks and Ryan now made sure he was sitting beside me when we had a campfire. We made it to Jackfish Lake once, but there was no way I was going swimming. Craig won the leach contest this time. And then September happened, and you know what, grade nine wasn’t any more fun than grade eight was. Okay, our math teacher, Mr. Jameson was just out of university and, oh yeah, totally cute. I quite liked grade nine math. I did well in my other courses too though. Oh yeah, TJ helped a lot, and by now I wasn’t sure what I would do without him by my side.
When Thanksgiving came, our English teacher gave us the usual assignment, ‘What does Thanksgiving mean to you?’ Well, wow. What did Thanksgiving mean to me? Getting caught in a blizzard, having my only dream come true and finding the best Dad in the world, finding some pretty awesome friends, finding the best best friend I could ask for, being loved? Yeah all those things. I got an A+ and when she gave it to Dad to read, a few tears and the biggest hug ever. I called it, “Thanksgiving to Me, Means Being Loved.”
Then all the Christmas stuff started, and the best part? It wasn’t going to be just another cold winter day hiding in my room. This Christmas was going to blow my mind, and it started with going to the city and finding the perfect tree, hauling it home, getting it out of the box, putting it together, and then decorating the hell out of it. Yeah, yeah, I know we were living in the country and were surrounded by trees, but I couldn’t wrap my head around killing a beautiful little tree just to throw it away in a couple of weeks. Real or not though, I never thought hanging lights, weird little balls, and big shiny ribbons on a tree could be so much fun. One of the best parts was just sitting on the floor after we were done, looking at my first Christmas tree ever.
Of course Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the perfect uncle, perfect aunt, and perfect cousins. Uncle Chad, well Chad, was nearly always around, but Aunt Sarah, Kevin and Brice would be here for a week. I was just a little bit excited. Since Aunt Sarah isn’t into mountain driving in the winter, they flew in, so Dad, TJ, and I drove to the airport to pick them up. That meant a drive through the city, hitting the mall and some serious shopping. Kevin, Brice, TJ, and I went left, and Dad and Aunt Sarah went right. We were to meet back at the food court in a couple of hours. Kevin and Brice had some money from Aunt Sarah and had money they’d saved. TJ was kinda the same, money from his folks and money he’d saved. And me too. Dad had given me some Christmas money, plus I’d saved a fair chunk of my allowance, so we were ready to go. Since I’d never shopped for gifts in my life, this was going to be interesting. I glanced at my list, Dad, TJ, Ryan, Chad, Aunt Sarah, Kevin, Brice, and George. Oh wow. You have no idea how fast two hours go by when you don’t know what you’re doing. If I hadn’t had TJ, Kevin and Brice with me, I think everyone on my list woulda got a box of chocolates, except George. As it turned out, we each had enough money to get everyone what we decided on. We put our money together for Dad and Aunt Sarah’s gifts cause they deserved something special. Then finally, after a great burger and fries each, we were on our way home.
Oh yeah, I can’t leave out the funnest part either, wrapping everything. The four of us had stuff spread all over my bed after we got home. Even the stuff we bought each other, like we didn’t already know what it was anyway. Once Brice got the wrapping paper from Aunt Sarah, I found the tape, and Kevin laid out all the To/From labels, we were ready to go to work. Okay, two hours of shopping and three hours of wrapping later we were done…and I gotta say I loved every minute of it. TJ wasn’t a whole lotta help, but he was entertaining. Unfortunately, an hour after we got home his mom phoned and made it quite clear, if he wanted to eat, he better get his ass home, now. After dinner, and just before TJ came back over, Kevin, Brice, and I were laying on my bed watching that awesome Christmas movie, you know the one, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
As all the introduction crap was playing, Kevin gave me a little poke. “You like him, don’t you?” he basically stated.
I didn’t really have to wonder who he was talking about or what he was hinting at, so I just grinned.
He poked me again and said, “Well?”
“Yeah big time,” I replied, “But I don’t think he likes me that way.”
“You need to pay more attention then,” he said laughing.
I kinda lost track of the movie for a bit after that. Was he seeing something I wasn’t seeing? I mean I knew TJ liked me, maybe even loved me, but…? My thought process kinda ended then though, cause that’s when he came charging back into my room and flopped down on my bed, well half on top of me since there wasn’t much room. We did manage to squeeze over and wriggle around a bit so we all fit. Of course now I was very aware of our closeness. Thanks Kevin.
I wasn’t all that happy about TJ and his folks spending Christmas at his grandma’s ‘cause I wouldn’t see him again until the day after boxing day. Still, Christmas morning was beyond awesome. I say awesome a lot don’t I? Well I guess that’s cause I don’t always know how to put how I’m feeling into words. I mean there are no words for feelings sometimes.
The plan was breakfast and then gifts. Well that didn’t quite work out. Let’s just say breakfast became brunch. I could spend the next half hour listing what everyone got, but let’s just say everyone was happy with everything they got. My 1:18 scale 63 split-window coupe from Dad was the best though. I was a bit surprised when Ryan showed up with a gift for me. I kinda think he was a bit surprised I’d bought one for him too. He even stayed for brunch. Then later, when I had a minute, I sat back, looked around the room and couldn’t help but think, yep, I was living the dream. But time flies when you’re having fun and before I knew it, it was time for Aunt Sarah, Kevin, and Brice to head home. When we drove them to the airport, no one was particularly happy. I knew I was going to miss them, but TJ came with us so that helped.
Then came New Year’s Eve. Sadly Dad was on duty, so since I wouldn’t be celebrating with him, I decided the next best thing was celebrating with TJ. His mom decided I would need to be fed, so I better be there by 5:00. After a pretty awesome meal, we went to the athletic centre and met up with a bunch of the guys, like Ryan, Riley, Jasper, Craig, and their girlfriends. It appeared that TJ and I were the only ones without girlfriends. That was kinda embarrassing. When Riley laughed and suggested we’d have to kiss each other at midnight, it didn’t help. It sounded good, but it didn’t help. Then, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, “Happy New Year!!” and a quick kiss from TJ. I was OMG. Yeah, like OMG for sure. Kevin’s, “You need to pay more attention then,” came flooding back. So did the doubts though. It was New Year’s Eve after all and it was probably just a spur of the moment thing. I tried not to overthink it so I could have a great time. I did. I didn’t fall asleep right away after I got home and went to bed though…for, I think, an obvious reason. But he didn’t say anything and I didn’t say anything after that night, so life went on as usual.
Then this one Saturday in the early spring the weather was awesome, so TJ and I decided to camp out again by the duck pond. We got Jeff’s two-man tent, a bunch of hot dog stuff, some colas, and some marshmallows. After we put up the tent and made a big circle of rocks for our fire, we went for a walk. It was just about dark when we got back, so step one was lighting a fire. Step two was roasting wieners, step three was making hotdogs, and step four was roasting marshmallows. George actually didn’t mind his hotdogs being raw. In fact he wasn’t that sure he even needed a bun.
Somehow even though TJ and I spent most of our time together, tonight felt different. Maybe it was the chilly air and the warmth of fire. I don’t know, but I felt closer to him than any time, ever. I mean yeah we were sitting close together, but that wasn’t it. Even our conversation was kinda close if you get what I mean.
“I love just sitting by a campfire,” he said quietly.
“Yeah, this is so cool,” I replied.
“I dunno, but there’s something, I dunno, special, like intimate about it,” he said still kinda quietly.
I’d never thought about it, I guess because I hadn’t spent a lot of time around campfires before this summer, and most of the time I had my poky stick, but tonight it felt like he was right. Yeah it was feeling kinds intimate.
“Yeah you know, you’re right,” I said, “It does kinda make you feel all warm inside.”
“Yeah it does,” he said.
We got kinda philosophical for a while and it was really cool. We talked about stuff we never really talked about before, stuff we cared about, stuff we wanted, and how we felt about a lot of stuff. We even talked about sort of intimate feelings, like being needed, and being loved. It was cool. By about 11:30 though, it was getting kinda chilly, even with a fire, so we decided a warm sleeping bag sounded good. We put out the fire and crawled into the tent. Jeff had told us that on cold nights zipping our sleeping bags together would help us stay warm. Something about sharing body heat I think. We crawled into the tent. That included George since he made it quite clear he didn’t want to sleep outside. TJ slid into the sleeping bag first and I slid in beside him. I quickly zipped it up before George was able to slide in too. It took about a minute to figure out two-man tents are not made for two guys and a big dog. I think I said something about closeness before. Well this was closeness.
“I don’t think we’re gonna be moving around a lot tonight,” TJ said with a chuckle, “If one of us hasta get up and pee it’s gonna be interesting.”
“Ya think?” I remarked.
We talked quietly for a little while longer before TJ slowly turned to face me. Then after several seconds, he whispered, “Do you like me?”
It wasn’t just a regular, “Do you like me,” either. I didn’t know if I should say yes or what, but I didn’t have to. His lips were only a few inches away from mine, so I just kissed him. Oh yeah, and he kissed me back…did he ever kiss me back. I don’t think you’re supposed to smile when you’re kissing, but I did anyway. And that was that.
Once again, I had to ask myself, “Could things get any better than this?”
When we got back to the house the next morning, Dad was sitting out on the deck enjoying his third morning coffee, and just looked at us and grinned.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he replied, “You just look like you enjoyed your campout.”
TJ looked at me, then at Dad, grinned, and responded with a slightly excited, “We had the best campout ever.”
I had to laugh cause when Dad’s grin got bigger, I was sure he had us figured out right then. He definitely did after we put everything away, grabbed a Coke each, and cuddled up on the same lounger. Dad just took a sip of his coffee and smiled. I knew he’d be cool with it. George thought it was cool too, cause he now had his own lounger. What I didn’t know was if we’d be cool with TJ’s mom and dad too, but after laying around and visiting with Dad for a while, we headed over to his place. As we turned up their path, he took my hand and gave me a grin. I almost pulled back, but thought better of it. Obviously he knew it’d be cool and it was. When we walked into the kitchen, his mom just glanced at our hands and smiled.
His dad, on the other hand, just looked at us and said, “About damn time.”
Of course the surprises didn’t stop there. Monday morning when he and Ryan met me for our walk to school, he simply laced his fingers through mine as Ryan grinned. Then when we got to school, to say everyone was a tad excited for us would be a major understatement. We got hugs from the girls, slaps on the back and arm punches from the guys for half the day. It was so totally cool. Even Mrs. Collins, our English teacher, gave us a big smile and a pat on the back. I thought back to my old school for about two seconds, and wondered how things here could be so different.
Two weeks later it was spring break and we were once again going to Aunt Sarah’s, and yeah, TJ was going with us. As TJ and I were trashing a box of chocolate chip cookies, with a side of milk, Dad came into the kitchen. He looked at TJ and grinned. Then he laid a bunch of kinda official looking documents down in front of me. I looked up at him before glancing down at the documents. When I did glance down, there were instant tears, big time tears, and I jumped up and threw myself into his arms. When I finally regained some kinda control, I looked at them again.
This time, on the way to Aunt Sarah’s there was no weirdness on the drive. As we drove through Morrison, I did think back to that day a year ago and did kinda tear up a little, cause this time I wasn’t James West who felt lost and hopeless wishing he had a dad. This time I was James Wilson and I had the best dad in the world.
A special thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.
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