As our night carried on I couldn’t help but watch Adam closer than usual. Today the world fell on his shoulders, but you would never know by the way he’s acting. His parents trying to fight for custody, Dizzy’s sensitive state, it’s become his weight to carry, and somehow, he’s forcing his way forward with a smile on his face.
“So what are we doing for dinner?” Adam asked as he noticed me and Dizzy beginning to fall into our own heads. “Pizza?”
“We always have pizza.” I whined, not even bothering to look up from the book in my hands.
“Sushi?” Adam asked, finally getting me to look up, but all I could manage was a disgusted face. “You don’t like it?”
“There’s no way he’s ever had it.” Dizzy interjected, watching my expression closely.
“It doesn’t matter if I’ve had it or not.” I complained, looking back down at the pages in my hand. “I’m not eating raw fish.”
“At least try it,” Adam pressured. “there’s a great place right around here I can go pick up from.”
“Would that great place be the bay?” I asked in a sarcastic voice. “I mean if we’re going to eat raw fish, we might as well catch it ourselves!”
“There’s that Texas ignorance I love so much.” Dizzy teased, nudging my foot with his. “At least try it, it’s totally safe.”
“I’ll get dumplings too,” Adam decided in a confident voice. “but you’re trying sushi.”
“I’m not.” I insisted in a quiet mumble.
“What about you Dizzy?” Adam asked, shifting his attention to the teen next to me. “What kind of rolls do you like?”
“Oh I,” Dizzy paused, not knowing what to say. “you don’t have to worry about me. I can go out and get food for myself.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Adam dismissed before Dizzy could say anything else. “We’ll have enough food to go around. Now what kind of rolls do you like?”
“Really I,” Dizzy began, but hesitated as their eyes connected. “spicy tuna or dragon.” He finally answered. “But I, I’ll pay you back.”
“No you won’t.” Adam rejected as he stood up and walked towards the front door. “Don’t worry Artie, I’ll get you some rolls you like.”
“I don’t even know what that means.” I groaned as the front door opened then quickly shut behind him.
“Like sushi rolls.” Dizzy clarified as I rolled my eyes. “Oh come on, sushi is good.”
“Easy for you to say.” I complained in a sigh.
“Oh please, if we were in Texas I’d be trying all sorts of food.” He argued, slowly moving closer to me.
“That’s because we cook our food there.” I protested, trying my hardest to ignore his advances. “What are you going to do? Complain about brisket or chicken fried steak?”
“No, but my doctor will.” Dizzy swayed his head. “It’s amazing Texans even make it past twenty!”
“We have healthy foods too.” I replied, finally looking up at him. “We just cook them.”
“You’re really hung up on this raw thing.” Dizzy giggled, but I simply looked right back down at my book. “Come on Artie,” He begin to whine. “what’s wrong?”
“Nothings wrong.” I lied. “It’s just been a long day.”
“At least talk about it.” He insisted, leaning his body against mine. “It’s not good to keep it all inside.”
I let out a sigh, knowing he had a point. “I just don’t get why my grandparents feel the need to try and get me back.” I finally answered. “Did they not make me miserable enough in their two days with me?”
“Was it that bad?” Dizzy asked as his smile quickly faded.
“It was a nightmare.” I answered, looking back down at my book. “But you don’t need to hear about that right now. You have your own problems.”
“So what?” He shrugged without any hesitation. “Your problems are my problems, and my problems are your problems.”
I put my book down as I heard those words and looked back over to him. “If that’s true then I’m getting a bad deal.” I finally eased up.
“Oh yeah.” Dizzy played along. “You have no idea how much trouble I create for myself in a given week.”
“What are we going to do?” I finally asked as our eyes connected.
“Exactly what Adam told us to.” Dizzy confidently answered. “Look at the positive side of life. He’s got us both covered.”
“Yeah” I agreed before falling quiet for a moment or two. “We have to make it up to him somehow.”
“Already racking my brain for ways.” Dizzy happily agreed. “What if we order a male dancer to come,”
“No.” I rejected before he could finish the sentence. “No.” I repeated as he went to open his mouth once more.
“Fine,” He conceded, making sure to fake disappointment. “then what’s your bright idea?”
“Well,” I began to think it over. “we could cook dinner for him and a date.”
Dizzy slowly nodded his head. “I’m listening.” He encouraged.
“Well there’s this waiter we met that gave Adam his number,” I began in an excited voice. “and I’m like ninety percent sure that Adams been sneaking around and hanging out with him.”
“Certain enough to invite him over to surprise Adam?” Dizzy asked with a cautious look. “If you’re wrong we could really mess this up for him.”
“I’ll check with Lindsay first.” I decided, knowing he had a good point. “But I’m pretty certain.”
“Alright,” Dizzy shrugged. “then that’s the plan.”
“Yeah.” I agreed as a smile began to grow on my face.
“I’m noticing you’re very good at planning romantic things for other people, but not with me.” Dizzy teased with a smirk.
“Oh please, who else did I plan something romantic for?” I asked in a giggle.
“People.” He answered in a quiet voice.
“Then let me make that up to you.” I teased, leaning in and letting our lips connect.
Yet before we could get too comfortable I heard a knocking sound come from the door. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Dizzy protested in a sigh. “Who could that be?”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “Maybe your Mom got worried again?”
“Well go get rid of her.” He instructed, jumping off the couch and heading back towards the hallway. “We only have so much time before Adam gets back.”
“Because that’s the big concern here.” I rolled my eyes before standing up and heading towards the front door.
“Ky?” I asked in surprise as I pulled the front door open.
“Where is he?” Ky exhaled with a concerned look.
“Who?” I tried to play stupid. “My Uncle?”
“Dizzy.” Ky answered with an intense look. “I just got off the phone with his Mom, and she said you insisted he’s not here.”
“Because he’s not.” I shrugged, but kept my ground as he tried to take a step inside.
“Then where is he?” Ky asked, not believing anything I had said.
“Who knows. Dizzy comes and goes as he pleases.” I reminded him in a confident voice.
“But he’ll be back?” Ky dug, keeping the intense look in his eyes.
“Maybe.” I swayed my head. “Or maybe he’ll spend the night at your place, or Charlotte’s.”
“This isn’t a game.” Ky warned as he forced eye contact. “If you know where he is you should just say it.”
“I already told you, I don’t.” I insisted, starting to match the intensity in his voice.
“Then can you at least tell me what the hell is going on?” He questioned, refusing to go away easy.
I lightly shook my head and let out a deep sigh. “It’s not my place.”
“Don’t give me that crap.” He quickly rejected. “What’s going on with him?”
“I get you’re worried,” I began in a calm voice. “but I promise you he’s fine. When he’s ready to tell you what’s going on, he will.”
Ky rolled his eyes and let his stare grow even more intense. “I’m not playing these games with you Artie.”
“I’m not playing any games.” I shrugged, starting to get annoyed myself. “I’ve told you everything I could. If you’re mad about that you can take it up with Dizzy when you see him.”
“You’re trying to help, and that’s great.” Ky began in a pissed off voice. “But you’ve only known Dizzy for a month. You should really let me handle this.”
“I’m not the one deciding who gets to handle what.” I explained as the impact of his words began to hit me. “But for the record, I think I’ve got it covered pretty well. I’ll make sure to let you know if I need any help though.”
“So what? You know him better than me now?” Ky began to grill me as his temper got the best of him.
“Parts of him.” I swayed my head, too annoyed to take him seriously.
“So that’s how it is?” Ky asked as I nodded my head. “Well you’re not the only person in the world to suck his dick, you’re not even the only one in our friend group! So how about you actually help him, and tell me where he is!”
I went to say something, but found myself speechless by how fast his attitude changed. “I’d say you’ve helped enough.” Dizzy called out from the living room.
“Dizzy,” Ky began, but hesitated.
“I don’t want to hear it.” Dizzy shut down as I stepped aside to allow him in the doorway. “I mean this is how you talk to Artie? This is how you talk to my boyfriend?”
“Look I just,” Ky paused once more. “I was worried and just, what happened to you?” I noticed Ky’s focus lock onto Dizzy’s black eye.
“That’s all you have to say for yourself? My Mom was worried, and she didn’t attack Artie for it.” Dizzy warned, trying his hardest to keep a calm tone. “So forget what happened to me, what happened to you?”
“I’m sorry I just, I don’t know, alright? You go missing for a day or two, and then your Mom comes to school all worried. I panicked. I just want to know you’re okay.” Ky managed out as it all began to overload his mind.
“Well I’m doing just fine.” Dizzy forced out, unimpressed with Ky’s answer. “So if you don’t mind, Artie and I have enough to handle right now. We don’t need you to give us more shit.”
“Artie I didn’t mean to,”
“Just go.” Dizzy interrupted, done with the conversation. “It’s better that way.”
“I’ll see you both tomorrow?” He asked but got no response as Dizzy pulled me out of the doorway and began to shut the door.
“I’m sorry.” Dizzy quickly began as the door clicked shut. “I had no idea he would say something like that to you.”
“It’s fine.” I shook my head. “It’s nothing I didn’t already know.”
“You knew all of that?” Dizzy gulped as we sat back down on the couch.
“Well yeah, you’ve told me about the people you’ve dated in the past.” I began to explain. “And then Charlotte’s told me you and Ky have hooked up before.”
“When did she tell you that?!” He demanded in a loud voice.
“Like the second day I was here.” I shrugged, not sure why he was so surprised.
“That girl can’t keep a secret!” He complained in a grumble. “It wasn’t anything serious, we were only like fourteen, maybe even younger. Plus, it was only once, so that should go to show you what I thought of it.”
“I’m not worried about you cheating on me with Ky.” I shook my head.
“Are you worried about me cheating on you at all?” He asked in a quiet voice.
“No.” I quickly rejected. “Should I be?”
“Not at all.” He answered in a confident voice. “But you knowing that,” He began as he fell back into his own head. “it doesn’t make what he said to you okay.”
“He’s really worried about you.” I tried to rationalize. “He was just looking for answers anyway he could get them.”
“That doesn’t make it right.” Dizzy insisted.
“I know.” I agreed in a nod. “Just don’t be too mad at him.”
“Why? You’re not mad at him?” Dizzy asked in a surprised voice.
“No, I am.” I clarified as I began to lay against him. “But I know he can get a little,”
“Hot headed?” Dizzy finished for me as I nodded my head. “It’s only when he cares a lot about something. Like when he lost you to me.”
“You just had to bring that up, didn’t you?” I asked as a bashful smile began to form on my face.
“Of course.” Dizzy happily answered. “Because he can yell at you all he wants, deep down I know part of it’s still anger over losing you.”
“Well that anger is only making me more and more confident in my choice.” I decided in a sure voice.
“Oh yeah?” Dizzy asked as he leaned in and connected lips with me. I could feel my confidence growing as our kiss grew more and more intimate. I don’t care who Dizzy’s been with, he’s started a new leaf with me, and I’ll double down on that choice anytime.
“Boys!” Adam shouted as he pushed the door open. Dizzy quickly jumped off of me and to the other side of the couch as he heard my Uncle’s voice. “That’s the last time I leave you two alone.”
“Sorry.” Dizzy forced out through a proud grin.
“Yeah,” I managed as a blush coated my face. “sorry.”
Adam rolled his eyes and continued walking into the kitchen. “No you guys aren’t, you’re just sorry you got caught.”
“Yup.” Dizzy confirmed with a nod.
“Dizzy!” I yelped, quickly looking over at him.
“What are we going to do?” He shrugged as his smile grew. “Lie?”
“It’s fine.” Adam dismissed in a sigh. “I was a teenager once too. Just, no more make out sessions on the couch.”
“Understood.” Dizzy nodded, jumping up and walking over to offer Adam help.
“You’re a weird kid, you know that?” Adam teased as he watched Dizzy set the table.
“How’s that?” Dizzy wondered, making sure to flash me his smile.
“One minute you’re breaking all the rules, the next you’re helping out.”Adam replied as he began to place the small boxes of sushi and dumplings on the table.
“Maybe good and bad just isn’t that black and white.” Dizzy pointed out as he took a seat next to me.
“Oh please, like your bad is even that bad.” I rolled my eyes.
“How would you know? You’ve only known me for a month!” Dizzy let out through laughter. “You’d better check with Ky!”
“That’s not funny.” I dismissed with a shake of my head.
“Nope,” Dizzy continued to laugh. “but watching you eat sushi will be!”
“No, it won’t,” I rejected as a serious look overtook my face. “because I’m not eating any.”
“Yes, you are.” Adam interrupted. “You’re going to try at least one roll.”
“You can’t do that.” I insisted as he reached over and forcefully dropped one onto my plate.
“Oh yes I can.” He proudly replied. “As your guardian it’s my job to push you to try new things. That includes food.”
“Well I’m not eating it.” I declared as I crossed my arms.
“Then you’re not leaving the dinner table.” Adam decided in a confident voice.
“What?” I asked in disbelief. “That’s not fair!”
“Yup, poor you, having to eat sushi.” Dizzy teased, happily placing some in his own plate. “You should call the police and let them know.”
“Whose side are you on?” I asked, shooting him an annoyed look.
“Adam’s.” He quickly answered. “The faster you try sushi, the faster you’ll like sushi and the faster we can go on sushi dates.”
“What’s the matter with you?” I sighed, but he simply shrugged his shoulders and began to eat.
“Fine.” I muttered, forcing my fork into the small roll.
“Arthur Uriah.” Adam warned as he noticed me playing around with it in my plate.
“Uriah.” Dizzy repeated in a giggle.
“It’s biblical.” I warned him, happy to have another distraction.
“Yeah, yeah, and it means God is my light, now eat.” Adam spoke up, putting as much pressure on me as he could.
“Fine.” I groaned, before holding my breath and forcing it into my mouth. At first all the flavors began to overload my mouth as a combination of spicy and sweet took over, but as the roll fell apart and the texture began to change I couldn’t help but make a face. The raw fish began to taste like gelatin in my mouth and I couldn’t help but quickly force it down.
“Why would you do that to me!” I shouted in a disgusted voice.
“Oh don’t be overdramatic.” Adam shook his head as Dizzy began to laugh.
“Come on,” Dizzy tried to comfort. “it couldn’t have been that bad.”
“It was like really bad jell-o!” I insisted, struggling to get the taste off my tongue.
“I’ve never heard anyone say that.” Adam sighed, but I could tell he was fighting off a smile. “Just eat your dumplings.”
“I will.” I stubbornly decided, scooping food I actually liked into my plate. “And you can take Dizzy on sushi dates from now on.”
“Yeah!” Dizzy exclaimed through more laughter.
“Why would you say that?” Adam groaned as he leaned back in his chair.
“Because it’s good to try new things.” I mocked with a smile.
“Sure.” Adam rolled his eyes. “But now we actually have to talk about something important. You’re both going to school tomorrow.”
“I know.” I nodded my head as Dizzy shot Adam a concerned look.
“I don’t know about that.” Dizzy began. “I’m not going in and dealing with twenty questions about my face.”
“Most people won’t even notice.” Adam tried to lie, but received a fed-up look from Dizzy. “Alright, they will, but you don’t have to answer any questions.”
“Just turn it into a joke like you always do.” I tried to comfort. “Everyone likes you anyway, so no one will think twice about it. Besides, I’ll be with you almost the whole time.”
“I don’t like this.” Dizzy muttered as he began to push around his food.
“You don’t have to.” Adam replied, forcing eye contact with him. “But if you’re going to stay here you’re going to listen to my rules.”
“I understand.” Dizzy sighed. “I don’t like strict Adam that much.”
“Me neither.” I complained as we both stared at him.
“Good.” Adam happily nodded. “It’s about time you boys listened to me.”
“We listen to you.” I tried to argue, but he simply shook his head. “For the most part.”
“I listen to you more than anyone else.” Dizzy shrugged.
“He’s not kidding!” I encouraged as Adam let out a short laugh.
“Well you two help clean up and then I have something for you Artie.” Adam instructed as he slowly rose to his feet.
“Actually, why don’t you go watch T.V..” I decided, looking over to Dizzy.
“Yeah,” He quickly nodded. “You relax, we’ll clean up.”
“Why?” Adam cautiously asked. “Did you guys break something while I was gone?”
“No.” I replied, taking the plate from his hands.
“We just want to thank you.” Dizzy explained. “Is that so unbelievable?”
“Hmm.” Adam nodded his head. “Maybe I should be strict more often.”
“That’s not the lesson here!” Dizzy yelped as he reached the sink.
“It could be.” Adam teased as he wandered over to the living room. Every now and again he would glance over to make sure we were actually cleaning up, but for the most part he seemed to really appreciate our small gesture.
“Alright,” I exhaled as we finally wrapped up and headed back towards the living room. “what do you have for me?”
“More sushi!” Dizzy teased in a laugh.
“I wish.” Adam happily played along as he stood up and walked over to the T.V. stand. “This came in the mail today.” He announced as he opened one of the cabinets and pulled out a thick long envelope.
“From Sadie?” I asked as he tossed it over to me.
“Yup.” He nodded as Dizzy shot me a curious look.
“She was my Mom’s best friend.” I explained as I excitedly opened it up. I held it over the coffee table and slowly began to tilt it as picture after picture seemed to fly out. “Woh.” I exhaled as what appeared to be dozens and dozens of pictures now sat on the coffee table.I reached into the pile and quickly pulled out the short letter sticking out.
As promised here are all the pictures I was able to find. I stumbled upon one of her old picture books, so there’s a lot! Leave it to Sarah Price to still use one of those! There are a bunch of digital ones I was able to get from her phone as well. Just tell me your email and I’ll send them as soon as I can.
Behave and call me when you get the chance.
“Geez, Sarah must’ve really gotten into photography.” Adam exhaled, taking a look at all the pictures piled up on his table.
“On and off.” I swayed my head. “Sometimes she wouldn’t leave home without a camera, other times she insisted that cameras were bad because they take away from the moment.”
“Sounds like Sarah.” Adam laughed as he reached in and picked up one of the more recent pictures of me riding a horse. “Look at that Dizzy, what do you think?”
“Looks like a different Artie.” Dizzy laughed as he shook his head. “But I like this one.” He teased, pointing to one of a much younger me in a Halloween costume. “What were you? The Mad Hatter?”
“Me and my Mom really liked Alice in Wonderland when I was little.” I shrugged as a blush overtook my face. “I just liked reading! Blame her for the book choice!”
“Hey, I like it.” Dizzy giggled as his smile grew.
“Wait a minute,” I paused as I reached in and found a much older photo. “I’ve never seen this one! Oh my God!”
“What?” Adam asked as I quickly flashed it to Dizzy.
“Woh!” Dizzy laughed as he took a closer look. “See! I told you, Adam’s just a time traveling version of you!”
“What is it?” Adam insisted as I finally showed him the picture. Yet he seemed to freeze as he got a good look at an old picture of him and my mother. It looked to be a first day of school picture, but the family resemblance was as clear as day.
“No way.” He gasped as he took it from my hand. “She sent this?” He asked in disbelief.
“Yup.” I answered, watching him closely as the moment slowly hit him. As the surprise faded I noticed him trying his hardest to fight off his emotions.
“You alright?” I asked as our eyes connected.
“Yeah,” He nodded as he let a smile take over his face. “I, I had no idea Sarah had pictures like this.”
“Well here’s another.” Dizzy announced, pulling out another old picture. “Nice jean jacket!” Dizzy giggled as he handed me the photo.
“Looking good!” I couldn’t help but tease as older versions of Adam, Sadie, my Mom and another man were all lined up outside a barn. They couldn’t have been too old, but I got the feeling it was one of the last pictures before Adam got kicked out. “Who’s that?” I asked as I pointed to the man.
“No one.” Adam shook his head as he looked at the photo. I went to push but as I looked into his eyes, immediately let it go. I let my eyes fall back down to unknown man in the photo until finally Adam pulled it out of my view.
“Look at this one!” Adam quickly changed the subject as he found one of my baby pictures. “You were so cute!”
“Awww!” Dizzy encouraged. “You were a chubby little one!”
“What’s that mean?” I asked looking over to him.
“You were fat!” He laughed as he looked through more of the pictures. “But apparently you lost that weight fast!”
“Price men can never keep on weight, it’s a blessing and a curse.” Adam lectured but stopped as he found a picture from just a few months ago. “This was Christmas?” He asked.
“Yeah.” I slowly nodded my head. I felt Dizzy’s arm wrap around me as he looked at it.
“Now that one’s my Artie.” He announced, drawing a smile from me.
But just like Adam, I found myself having to fight off all the emotions stirring around my head. This is something I should’ve been able to do with her. She should’ve met my boyfriend, and showed him all my baby pictures. She should’ve been here to laugh about all the old pictures, and smile at the new ones.
Yet before I could fall too far into my own head I felt Adam reach over and pat me on the arm to show me and Dizzy another photo. If she can’t be here, well, I’m glad he is. I know I’ve said it a million times, but he’s filled that void so well. He’s been everything I need and then some! I forced another smile as I noticed him watching me closely once more. I know he’s worried, but I’ll be okay. Slowly but surely, I’m making peace with all of this.
And I know it’ll only worry him more, but I need to know who that man was. I understand if Adam wants to keep his past a secret, but he can’t keep mine one too. Right now, well I get a feeling that man had a bigger role in my past than Adam wants to admit.