That night I could tell Adam was in his own head, just like I had been all day. Every now and again he’d get up and pace around the kitchen, or just sit and scroll through his phone. A few times I tried to make eye contact with him, but I could tell he was avoiding it.
“Has he ever done this before?” Dizzy finally whispered to me as we heard Adam beginning to clean any plates or cups left in the kitchen sink.
“Clean?” I asked, trying to avoid the conversation. “I don’t think so.” As Dizzy shot me an unamused look, I couldn’t help but sigh. So not even he’s joking around tonight? I know it’s a big deal, but they had to figure he was going to ask to visit sooner or later. Sure, it’s kind of early for it, but it’s not the biggest shock he could’ve dropped on us!
“Usually he gets mad when either of us even sneezes during a movie.”Dizzy finally began again. “He’s really freaking out about this.”
“Yeah.” I agreed, finally growing serious. “Adam.” I called out as I picked up the controller and paused the movie. “Why don’t you come relax?”
“I’ll be there in a minute, just let the movie play.” He instructed, not even bothering to look over at us.
“If you need, you can take a smoke break.” Dizzy offered as we stared at Adam’s back. “Neither of us will judge you.”
“I don’t need to smoke.” Adam responded without hesitation.
“Are you sure?” I challenged in a concerned voice. “It’s not the healthiest way to cope, but it’s better than this.”
“I’m not trying to cope with anything, and I don’t need to smoke.” He insisted as his voice began to fill with frustration. “I just need to finish some stuff while I have the energy, so finish the movie or go to bed.” He instructed, finally turning back and staring at Dizzy and me.
“Okay.” Dizzy accepted in a reluctant voice. As the movie began to play again and Adam finally returned to his seat, I noticed him become glued to his phone. Every few minutes he would frantically tap away before placing it down, only to pick it back up within seconds. Normally I’d be more worried, but I think he’s texting Mason or Lindsay. I mean venting to people is at least helpful, right? So, this is some progress, I think.
When the movie came to an end Adam quickly said goodnight before rushing up the stairs and to his room. Dizzy waited for a moment or two to make sure the coast is clear before finally looking back to me.
“Okay,” He began in a confused voice. “what the fuck was that?”
“That’s an ugly word.” I warned, avoiding the larger question.
Dizzy rolled his eyes but grabbed my arm as I went to stand up. “This is serious Artie.” He pressured as our eyes connected.
“I know.” I exhaled as I glanced back towards the stairs. “He’s really freaking out.”
“You think?” Dizzy sarcastically asked, relieved I was finally accepting everything that was going on.
“I’ll go talk to him.” I forced out as I rose to my feet. For a second I could tell Dizzy thought about following me, but stayed behind, understanding this was something Adam and I had to work out. Yet still, as I started climbing the stairs, I couldn’t help but look back at Dizzy for support. He forced a smile and gave me a nod as my mind raced with things to say.
When I finally reached Adam’s room, I had to force myself to knock on his door. “Adam?” I called out, but got no response. “Adam?” I repeated but he stayed quiet. “Adam, I really think we should talk.” I insisted as I finally heard movement in his room.
“What?” He groaned as he opened his door and began to stare me down.
“I think we should talk.” I repeated. As our eyes locked, I noticed his gaze had only grown more concerned than it had during the movie.
“I told you, we’ll talk tomorrow.” He argued, reaching for his door.
“I know,” I replied as I put my foot in the doorway. “but I think this is something you need to work out tonight.”
“I know you’re worried,” Adam said as he held onto the door tightly. “but believe it or not, I’ve handled much bigger issues.”
“I know you can handle it,” I offered, trying my hardest to show I was on his side. “but that doesn’t mean it won’t keep you awake, and it doesn’t mean it’s not going to bother you all tomorrow.”
“I’m a big boy, I can handle it.” He argued, now trying to shut the door.
“Well I,” I began searching for the right words. “I can’t.” I confessed as his gaze began to soften. “I can’t think about this or worry about you all night.”
He went to argue more, but stopped himself and leaned his head back. “Shit.” He exhaled as he realized there was no way out. “Come in.” He surrendered as he took a few steps back and sat on his bed.
I’ve lived in this house for a while now, but I’ve still never really been in Adam’s room. It was a bit bigger than mine, but he didn’t have much furniture. Just a bed, a dresser and a T.V. stand with a large flat screen on it. On the dresser I noticed a few pictures of him, Lindsay and the Rites over the years and even one of the old pictures of him and my Mom that Sadie had sent us.
“You can sit, you know?” Adam offered as he moved over to give me more room.
I nodded my head and took my seat as I tried my hardest to think of ways to start the conversation. “You want Ezra to visit.” Adam finally broke the ice.
“I, I don’t know about that yet.” I began as I thought it over. “That’s a really big step to take and I hardly know him, it’s just,”
“I could see it in your face when he brought it up.” Adam interrupted in a sigh. “Maybe you don’t know it yet, but deep down, you want him to visit.”
I stayed quiet for a few moments as his words began to sink in. “Would that really be the end of the world?” I finally asked. “I know you don’t like him and I know I can’t trust him yet, but what better way to find out what he wants?”
“What better way for him to manipulate you?” Adam muttered, more to himself than to me. “Sorry.” He quickly offered as he saw the look on my face change. “But maybe he knows you’re already catching onto his bullshit, and maybe he knows he can wow you a lot easier in person.”
“Those are big maybes.” I pointed out as we began to stare one another down once more. “Besides, what he said was right, getting to know one another over the phone isn’t working.” I shook my head. “It just feels really, awkward.”
“And you don’t think it’s going to feel awkward in person?” Adam asked, making sure to challenge every point I tried to make.
“Can’t be any worse than over the phone.” I mumbled as I finally looked away from Adam.
“Look, clearly we’re just going to be at one another’s throats tonight.” Adam warned as he rose to his feet. “So maybe we should just cut our loses, and table the conversation until tomorrow. “
“Sure.” I rolled my eyes as I stood up and began to walk towards the door.
“You don’t think so?” Adam asked in an annoyed voice, as my reaction began to rub him the wrong way.
“It’s not like we’re suddenly going to agree tomorrow.” I groaned as I turned back to face him. “So if we’re going to argue about it, we might as well argue right now.”
“I’m not looking to argue with you.” Adam insisted, but his voice only grew more frustrated. “I just don’t want Ezra visiting right now.”
“So then when do you want him visiting?” I asked as I felt my arms fold across one another.
“I don’t know,” Adam shook his head. “six months, maybe a year.”
“A year?” I repeated, shocked by his answer. “You think I should talk to him over the phone for a year before we actually have a face to face conversation.”
“I do.” Adam nodded his head. “Because I think before that even happens, you’ll see through him and drop it all together.”
“You don’t think he’s changed?” I asked as Adam shook his head. “You don’t think he’s at least trying to have a relationship with me?”
“Honestly, I don’t know what he’s trying to do.” Adam shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s really that unbelievable that he could want a relationship with his son?” I asked in disbelief. “He’s doing everything you wanted. He’s agreeing with your rules, and he even signed those papers!”
“So you’re on his side?” Adam asked with a roll of his eyes.
“Why do there have to be sides?” I challenged as my own anger began to rise. “I know he hurt you and my Mom, but it’s been sixteen years! And he, he’s still my Dad!”
“I’m sorry, I don’t trust him.” Adam maintained as my words fell on deaf ears. “I know that’s not the answer you want to hear, but it’s the one I have.”
“I’m not looking for an answer I want to hear.” I argued as my frustration rose. “I’m just looking for him to have a chance here.”
“I’m giving him a chance.” Adam shrugged his shoulders. “You just don’t like how I’m doing it.”
I let out an annoyed groan as my mind continued to race. “You said you’d trust me here,” I finally began. “and that you’d support the decisions I wanted to make about Ezra.”
“That’s before I knew he wanted to visit.” Adam warned as he saw where I was taking the conversation.
“Okay, but you also told Sadie that if he was serious about being my father, he would be there, in person.” I said, finally finding a solid point. “And now he want’s to be here and you’re going to tell him to go away?”
“No one’s telling him to go away.” Adam said as his voice began to grow louder. “I just don’t think it’s the right time.”
“I thought you trusted me.” I complained as I started to match the level he was talking at. “You told Sadie, I’m not a kid anymore, and that in the end, I’d make the right choices.”
“Would you stop throwing what I said in my face!” Adam snapped as he finally reached his limit. “I trust you, and you’re not a child, but you’re still only sixteen!” He shouted in a booming voice. “I know you want a father, but I keep trying to warn you, Ezra is not a good guy!” He continued to yell. “God damn it Artie, why can’t you just trust me on this?”
As soon as he saw the look on my face, I could tell Adam regretted his words. “I do trust you,” I forced out in a voice much weaker than just a few moments ago. “I just, I don’t know.” I stuttered as my emotions began to overwhelm me. “I know I have a lot here, and I should just cut my loses.” I shook my head as I spoke without thinking. “But for the first time ever, my Dad wants to be a part of my life.”
Adam stayed quiet as concern replaced the anger on his face. “You and Dizzy think it’s so simple,” I continued to ramble. “but your Dads were there at the beginning. You got a chance with them.” I shook my head. “I never got my chance with him, and I’m supposed to just pass on that because it’s scary?”
“I love you, and I trust you,” I forced out as our eyes connected. “but I can’t do that.” I rejected as I walked out of his room and turned the corner into my own. I noticed Adam follow me, but as Dizzy appeared in the hallway, Adam took a step back and let him handle the situation.
As I laid out on my bed, I felt Dizzy do the same as he tried to grab onto me. “What happened?” He whispered to me, but I stayed quiet. “Come on Artie.” Dizzy tried to encourage, but got nothing back. He looked back over and shot Adam a puzzled look, but as he went to get up, I grabbed his arm and let my head lean against his shoulder.
I heard Adam take a few steps forward, but stopped as he reached the edge of my bed. “I love and trust you too.” He offered as I felt his hand rest on my side. “And I’m so sorry I lost my temper,” He apologized, but I could tell he was unsure of what to say. “I just, I need to think this all over.” He explained before looking over to Dizzy who nodded his head.
Adam lingered around for another few moments before letting out a deep sigh. “Good night boys.” He offered before turning around and heading back to his room.
“Goodnight.” Dizzy replied, but I stayed quiet.
Dizzy tried his hardest to get me to talk a few more times that night, but I stayed quiet and just held onto him. I’ve said all I can for one night, right now, I just need to be quiet and think for a while. Dizzy tried his hardest to stay up until I fell asleep, but as the clock hit 1 A.M. he passed out while I was still wide awake.
Adam’s and my argument kept replaying in my head, only making me feel worse and worse for pushing him so hard. What I said was true, but Adam just wanted to go to bed. He knew this would happen and tried to avoid it. After all he’s done for me, why couldn’t I just accept that?
I’m not sure what time it was, but eventually I passed out. When Dizzy’s and my phone alarms started to ring out, I noticed Adam slowly open my bedroom door.
“Go back to sleep.” Adam instructed us as I slowly began to sit up.
“We’re gonna be late.” I forced out in a grumble, but Dizzy stayed down.
“I know, it’s alright.” Adam accepted, trying to talk as quietly as possible. “Get an extra hour or two of sleep, I already spoke to Colleen, I’ll write you guys late notes.”
“Best. Morning. Ever.” Dizzy remarked from next to me, but I couldn’t tell if he was asleep or awake.
Adam nodded to me once more, trying his hardest to show me it was okay before quietly shutting the bedroom door and giving us more space.
This time, I was way too tired to have trouble sleeping. I passed out instantly, and by the time I woke up it was already nine-thirty.
“Good morning.” Dizzy smirked as our eyes connected. “Feeling better this morning?”
“I don’t know.” I exhaled as I slowly began to wake up.
“Well, I know something that can change that.” He smiled as I felt his hands lightly grab my sides.
“You think I’m in the mood for that right now?” I mumbled as I fought through a yawn.
“I figured you’ve still got some frustration you need to work out.” His smirk continued to grow. “Think about it, how often does Adam let us sleep in your bed together?”
“You say that every time this happens.” I rolled my eyes, but would be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the distraction. “You’re a pig.” I couldn’t help but smile.
“No, a pig would’ve sucked your dick until you woke up.” Dizzy couldn’t help but giggle to himself as the words escaped his lips. Hope began to grow in his eyes as he saw me laugh along with him.
“What a stand-up guy you are for having self-control.” I teased as he began to win me over.
“I try my hardest.” He played along before moving close enough to force his forehead against mine. “Not that it gets rewarded.” He teased once more causing me to laugh.
“Don’t blame me, it’s getting kind of late.” I excused, seeing what he’d say.
“It’s nine-thirty, that’s still early!” He argued as his smirk grew. “Besides, I only need a minute or two.”
“Trust me, I know.” I teased with a joke of my own.
“Like you’re much better.” He challenged as he faked offense.
“Go ahead, I’ll prove it right now.” I finally agree as Dizzy quickly leaned in for another kiss. Without any more words his head disappeared under the covers and found exactly what he was looking for.
I don’t think I would’ve ever expected the morning taking this turn, hell, I thought I was going to be a mess today! But Dizzy started hitting the right buttons early enough in the morning, and I did need to work some stuff out. Besides, I’m sixteen and sharing a bed with my boyfriend! I don’t need to justify this!
When we wrapped up and finally managed to pull it together Dizzy looked back to me with his normal smirk. “I think that times in at two minutes for you and five minutes for me.”
“That was the quickest five minutes of my life.” I rolled my eyes, knowing he was exaggerating the time.
“Time flies fast when you’re having fun.” He teased as I got out of bed and started to get some clothes together.
“I was right,” I nodded my head. “you’re a pig.” He nodded his head but stayed quiet as he watched me get dressed. “Pig.” I warned as his smile grew.
“I just needed another minute.” He lied as he got out of bed. “Besides, I’ve caught you staring.” He smiled as he slowly walked over to his backpack. “See.” He teased as he noticed my gaze.
“I guess,” I played along as I tried to play stupid. “but there’s really not much to see.”
Genuine surprise filled his face as he heard my joke. “That was mean Price!” He yelled as I made my way towards the bedroom door.
“The truth hurts,” I continued to tease with a smile. “now get changed so I can go shower.”
He nodded his head, but hesitated and walked over to me. “Really though,” He began in a serious voice. “it’s good to see you smiling.”
“Is this really the time?” I asked in a sigh.
“The second the shower goes on, Adam will know we’re up and rush us to school.” He explained as our eyes connected. “He only wants what’s best for you, you know that right?”
“I know.” I agreed as I forced a nod. “I’m not mad at him, I think we both just needed to air some stuff out.”
“And now it’s out.” Dizzy encourage with a forced smile.
“Yeah.” I agreed with another sigh. As he leaned in and stole a kiss, I couldn’t help but smile. “Go put pants on.” I teased as I pulled away from him and headed towards the door. Yet I couldn’t help but look back and smile. He may be crazy, but there’s always a method to his madness. I don’t know if I could’ve made it this far in such a short time without him by my side.
When I did finally shower and we made it downstairs, Adam was ready with a box of donuts on the table.
“Artie,” He called out as our eyes connected. “I screwed up last night and I’m sorry.”
“No you didn’t.” I tried to reject. “You told me to wait, but I kept pushing.” I said as I aired my guilty conscious. “It wasn’t fair to you, so I’m sorry.”
“That’s still no excuse.” Adam insisted. “You started making good points and I lost my temper, just like my Dad used to.” He shook his head. “I don’t want to be that type of man. I’m sorry.” He took a few steps forward and pulled me in for a short hug before letting me go.
“Whether Ezra visits or not,” He forced out in a strong voice. “is up to you.” He exhaled. “But I have ground rules I want to work out, and he’s not visiting you for more than three days.”
“Really?” I let out in shock as Adam nodded his head.
“Mhm.” Adam hummed. I could tell he wasn’t thrilled with it, but he really does trust me.
“If you’re really not okay with this, you can say it.” I tried to offer, giving him one last out.
“It’s up to you.” He insisted, but I could tell he was having to force the words out. “I’ll support you either way.”
I nodded my head, but as I looked over to Dizzy I noticed his focus was on the donuts. “I picked them up while you two slept in.” Adam exhaled as he noticed the same thing as me. “Now grab one and head off to school.”
“Best. Morning. Ever.” Dizzy exhaled, just like he had earlier this morning. Adam and I couldn’t help but laugh as he carefully looked through the box.
I promise you Adam that you’re making the right decision. If Ezra’s intentions are bad, Ill figure it out and drop him on the spot. I have too much here to let him get in the way. But if he wants to be a part of what I’m building, then I’ll be happy to have him.