The Sailor's Stories

1030 Chapter thirty – The Sailor’s Awakening.

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The music was pounding and the scene aflame with wild eyed giggling adolescents. It had been a very long time since I had seen the back yard so full. Everywhere you looked was a happy young teen, dancing, eating, gossiping…., whispering secret nothings into another’s ear. The music roaring from the temporary stage over by the far stand of trees some form of indie/alternative flavour…, the band members dressed like they just came from a skate park. Food and drink of all kinds covered every table in view…, cakes, sweets, treats of every flavour…, and a few savouries too, just to please the parents. There was even a nacho stand on the left side of the yard, and a soft serve ice cream cart on the right. Yes every table was full of something nice…, every table but one…, that table, the one by the house, was festooned with presents. It was that table that was drawing my attention right now.

I had been watching the boys for the last half hour or so, as I manned the grill, every now and then catching a furtive glance that way…, they were eager, but not overtly so…, we would have to get to the opening stage of the proceedings soon, after all it was getting late, and several of the kids parents would be by to pick them up shortly. As I watched, I kept seeing Carl look at that table…, it wasn’t jealousy…, it was nerves. He was so scared that Dale wouldn’t like the present, he had gotten for him, even with all my assurances that he would, Carl was still uncertain. I had even gone so far as to say that he could wrap yesterdays lunch as a present, and Dale would love it…, Corey certainly would as his appetite had returned with a vengeance…, because it came from him. I knew all this, because we had had this conversation yesterday.

After breakfast, as I was outside cleaning the Jeep, the poor old girl had been sadly neglected over the last few months and my shame had prompted me into it. Carl had come out of the house and just stood leaning on the wall, watching me for what seemed like ages. Every now and again he would look over…, his mouth starting to open…, it looked like he wanted to say something, but just wasn’t sure how to do it. It was rather funny actually, but my care for him soon outweighed his seeming embarrassment, so I let him off the hook…

“For Christ’s sake squirt…, I know you want to ask me something…, so just spit it out!”

I wasn’t angry…, my expression and demeanor made that obvious. He opened his mouth to speak twice before he actually said anything.

“Ummm…, well…, I…, ah…, umm…, I kinda need a favour…”

“Ok?” I said, looking over at him. “…, what is it bud?”

“Umm…, well…”

He was still so very nervous and unsure of himself, leaning against that wall, but then a sliver of resolve hit him and he pushed off, stepping slowly towards me. He came to a stop just short of reach and looked up into my eyes, I just stood there smiling back down at him…, carefully waiting. While I watched him, he sort of scrunched his face up, like he was trying to build some courage…, for what I wasn’t sure. What he said next, he sort of blurted out at a million miles an hour…, like he was afraid his courage or resolve wouldn’t hold out.

“I wanted to give the guys a really cool present, I tried making something, but I’m just not good enough at building stuff, so I kinda need to buy something…., but…, I haven’t got any money…, and I…, I kinda need some.”

As I looked down at that boy…, the one that I had come to love almost as deeply as the twins, the one who had been there for me right from the beginning…, the last thing he said, near tore my heart out. I took a step forward and swept him up into my arms…, I didn’t know what else to do…

“Shit squirt…, of course you can have some…, I hadn’t even thought…, you never ask for anything…, and I…, shit sorry kiddo, I completely forgot.”

I put him down on his feet, and took half a step back, my hands coming to rest on his shoulders. I looked deeply into those beautiful, but far too intense, brown eyes…, the ones that had gotten a little bloodshot from the tears I hadn’t noticed, as I held him…, and smiled.

“I’ve gotta do the same thing anyway this afternoon, why don’t you give me a hand here then we’ll shoot out to the mall…, how’s that sound?”

He didn’t say anything, he just smiled as he wiped a stray tear with the back of his hand, picked up a sponge, and went to work. I was really beginning to like that smile, I had seen the same one from him so many times since he had come to live with us, but to tell the truth…, it never got old. When Carl smiled it was as if a light bulb went off on his face…, he just shined…, I really hoped he never lost that. Between the two of us we had it done in no time flat. And after a quick shower and change we were off to the mall. On the trip over I asked him, well grilled him more like…, I was still short of ideas myself…,  what he had in mind…, he looked over at me rather sheepishly, and said that he had no idea. You’re no bloody help! I thought to myself, but it was all I could do not to burst out laughing, he was looking just so pitiful right then.

Once we hit the mall though, the first thing I did, was to take him to the bank. The poor boy didn’t even have a bank account anymore, we soon discovered. After he had kicked him out, his father had closed it, withdrawing all the money his mother had left for him. I could feel my rage threaten to boil over again…, Is there really anything left for him to take from this boy? It wasn’t until I felt a little hand take hold of mine, squeezing tight…, that I actually looked at him. He was angry too…, and not a little sad, as he had started to tear up again…, but he was fighting it…, and doing pretty well. He was definitely stronger than he let on sometimes, and though still a boy, he showed more courage in that moment, than some of the hardest soldiers I had ever met.

I think that after all we had been through, he could sense my mood, and as a slow small tear ran down his cheek, my anger evaporated…, Carl was all that mattered right then. I didn’t even care who was looking, I just dropped to my knee and pulled him against me. I hugged him tight, until I felt his body stop shaking…, It wasn’t till then that I took a look around. Most of the tellers were women…, and most were teary eyed themselves at the scene. Some of the men however were wearing shocked expressions…, I couldn’t tell what was going through their minds, but to be honest…, I couldn’t care less.

With the pair of us now a little calmer, I stood back up, and addressed the manager. I told him that we needed to sort a few things out, and after a couple of I.D. checks, we opened a brand new account for him. I putt in a decent chunk of cash…, I mean, the guy had been living with me for two months…, I figured that the five hundred I started his account with, was about right for an allowance for all that time…, right? I also set up a payment plan that would give him a regular income…, I did say to him that he would have to work to for it…, chores, cleaning his room, yard work…, that sort of thing…, he was so happy, that I don’t think it had yet registered…, or perhaps he didn’t even care. The rest of that afternoon was spent running all over the mall…, we ducked into several stores, but nothing seemed to fit right. Like I said, I was yet to get the boys anything either, so we had made it a coordinated attack.

In the end…, Saturday had come all too quickly for me, and I wasn’t sure I had been ready. Though, once again Reggie had come to my rescue. After the trip to the doc’s on Monday I had given her a call while I stood alone in the back yard smoking a cigarette…, I don’t know why I had even considered that she wouldn’t have remembered…, she hadn’t forgotten a single birthday yet…, not even mine. She and I spent almost half an hour going over all the plans she had had in mind for the boys big day. When I asked her about what forms of entertainment she had planned she instantly suggested a clown and some kind of bouncy castle…, I was stunned and appalled all at the same time…, she even left me hanging for several moments, before letting me off the hook with that cheeky laughter of hers. “It’s all taken care of .” she’d said. Just like Reggie though, she was sparse with her information and it made me a little nervous…, she had always had a rather large imagination. In fact, if I didn’t know any better I would’ve sworn that she was an ex KGB sleeper plant, the way she so tightly held onto her secrets.

On the big day it had taken a Herculean effort to hide what was going on. Each time I had snuck over to Reggie’s house to bring over more supplies, I was ever conscious of the boys waking up or overhearing. Both Reggie and I had risen early and had spent the entire morning setting things up. When the band had rolled in just before nine I thought the game had been given away with the amount of noise they were making…., needn’t have worried though, the previous day at the mall, I had enlisted Carl’s help in keeping Dale busy…, and Corey was an exceedingly heavy sleeper these days, so no real worries there. He had had his second session during the week, and Karen had prescribed a mild sleeping tablet for him to take, saying that it would help him rebuild his sleep rhythm. I really wasn’t sure about that, but trusted her judgment. When the guests, including Sam, Teddy, and several of their friends from the baseball and swim teams had started to arrive we had all but finished. I swear, the D-Day landings had not taken as much preparation, planning, and execution time, as the twin’s fourteenth birthday.

Knowing that I couldn’t put it off any longer I had made a mad dash upstairs, having seen Corey standing in his window with his mouth agape. I managed to waylay him in the hall as he was running through it, though I had to use my body as a barricade, he was that excited. It amazed me just how much he had improved over that week, he was almost his old self again…, almost. My heart had skipped a few beats yesterday, and swelled with pride, when I had seen him out the front of the house on his deck…, jumping the curb practicing a few tricks, when Carl and I pulled into the drive. Other than that trip to the mall, I hadn’t left him alone all week out of worry, but I couldn’t avoid that trip any longer, especially with the added need of Carl.

I had had to go into the office as well, I had almost forgotten that, until I had gotten a call from Daniel that reminded me…, so with Carl in tow, I turned around and headed over to the base. It was good to see him there this time…, after that last time…, he was all eyes as we drove through. Strolling through my office, I noticed a backwards glance at my PA, I couldn’t help but smile, as I whispered “Eyes front buddy!” into Carl’s ear, when he started giggling, I pushed him gently through the door. His eyes were all over the room as I followed him in, he had never been in there, I realized, and I had so few pictures of my exploits at home. It was a whole new side to me that he had only previously glimpsed. I was going to leave him in my office, while I talked with the boss, but as it turns out, the skipper had had the gate guard notify him of my arrival, and he beat me there. Good thing really, as he hadn’t met Carl yet, and I felt an introduction was well overdue.

Just like with the twins, the boss took to Carl instantly, even after he’d let slip his relationship with my nephew. I didn’t think it was intentional, especially given the supreme embarrassment on his face. To be honest I was a little shocked and not a little concerned all at the same time, but to my surprise, the boss took it all in stride…, I mean, I never figured him for a bigot, even though I knew he was very old school. But he just didn’t seem to care all that much. I would have to investigate that some more, I realized. It turned out that I had been promoted, that’s why the boss wanted to see me. After five years, I was now a full Commander in the United States Navy. Carl seemed a little strange about it at first, I don’t know if he knew what to think really, but in the end, he just wrapped his arms around my middle, hugging me tight, and offering me his congratulations. When I told the twins that night they beamed with pride. Things were really coming together for all of us…, but, god only knows what the future would hold.

In his rush to get outside Corey had thrown on a pair of old shorts, and a ratty t-shirt…, I wasn’t having that at all so I made sure to quickly get him showered and changed into something more presentable…, after all, Sam was out there somewhere. And even though I had no idea what their relationship was, I knew that he wouldn’t thank me later if I let her see him like that. While he was in the shower I gathered up Dale and Carl…, by the time Corey was done, we were all ready to head outside…., but then the party couldn’t start without those two anyway. As soon as they walked out…, they were swamped on all sides by well wishers, and friends. It was gratifying to see that the boys had left that much of a mark on so many others…, though I have to admit, I was worried about how Corey would take it all. I wasn’t sure he would be able to cope with all the noise, and the attention, but so far, he was doing well. In fact, the smile hadn’t left his face all afternoon.

As the sun started to set on the afternoon, I switched on the floods and the sound system set up for the occasion, while the band packed their gear. All too soon the adults started to arrive, and I knew it was time for presents. We were now almost completely out of time, and only a few of the boys…, and maybe Sam, would be staying into the night, so reluctantly I called the place to order. It was rather funny actually…, well, not funny…, maybe exhilarating would be a better word, as I watched the boys attack that table. It was well planned, they had obviously spoken about it earlier. As the wrapping paper flew in all directions, there was thank you’s and hugs dished out.

The boys had a pretty good haul, several new games, some books, a bat and glove for each of them…, the baseball team had all chipped in on those I think…, as well as a few other things. Sam had given Corey some new titanium axles and a sticker book for his deck. My presents, were far more mundane…, for Corey I had gotten a new laptop, as his old desktop was on it’s last legs…, for Dale, that new bed. I know it was unoriginal, but in the end, I just couldn’t think of anything they needed. After cake, and the sad departure of the bulk of the revelers, two new presents came out. All that was left of the partygoers were myself, Reggie, the twins, Carl…,and of those that would be staying…, Teddy, Sam, and Chris and Sean from the team. The kids were in the hot tub, lapsing out after the long day…, as Reggie and I cleaned up the yard. It was then that I looked over and saw Carl pull the twins aside.

I could see the scene quite clearly…, and it was then that I realized why Carl had been so interested in the jewelry store. He had handed the boys a small box each…, I watched as first Corey opened his…, and then placing a bracelet on his wrist, he pulled Carl into a hug, before he came running over to me. I was still watching as Dale opened his. It was a necklace by the look of it…, as he put it on, Carl showed one of his own. I could see Dale start to cry as he pulled Carl into a passionate embrace…, kissing him deeply before all the world. I would find out a little later that it was a set, two silver hearts that interlocked, Dale had one, and Carl the other. As Corey came up to me, my ears were still ringing from the laughter and wolf whistles, coming from the hot tub. The boys had obviously chosen well on their invitees for the night…, not a one of them had said anything bad about what they had witnessed. I looked down at what Corey was desperately trying to show me. It was a silver bracelet and also, I noticed, part of an interlocking pair…, it had a single word on it…

Brother.

Written by bigct/Octavius

February 2, 2010 at 13:24

6 Responses

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  1. Wow! Just amazing, all I can say, just amazing.

    Jeremy

    February 2, 2010 at 20:31

  2. Sure, leave me teary-eyed with the last sentence! A wonderful end to a wonderful part 2! Can’t wait to see what part 3 has to offer!

    Rick

    February 3, 2010 at 04:27

  3. Sigh, such a very happy chapter. This was a wonderful way to wrap up this arc. Everyone is happy, healthy and contented. A hot chocolate and toast chapter to be sure!

    Biki

    February 4, 2010 at 11:24

  4. Perfect. The best one yet.

    Dawngreeter

    February 7, 2010 at 03:50

  5. So our man likes tea, and thinks things like “your no bloody help”….I think he may very well be british.

    The small line at the end of this chapter got me all swelled up, “brother”. Very nice touch.

    Take care
    Lauklin

    Lauklin

    June 3, 2010 at 17:33

  6. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Beach

    May 6, 2012 at 13:08


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