I held Sadie tighter as I tried my hardest to make sure this was reality and not just another dream. I mean this is Sadie, sometimes I swear she’s scared of her own shadow! My Mom nearly had to drag her into the car if we took any trip bigger than the general store!
As Sadie looked down at me, I couldn’t help but see some surprise on her face. “It’s only been a few weeks, but somehow you already look older.”She observed.
“He’s grown a lot since that trip.” Adam supported as I finally let her go. As I turned to him, I saw a confident look on his face, as though he’d been waiting for this moment for a couple days now.
“You knew?” I finally asked as our eyes connected.
“Yup.” He answered as his smile grew wider. “Sadie called and said she wanted to visit as soon as she could.” Adam began to explain. “So, I told her she’s got a spot here whenever she can get a flight.”
She nodded her head to his words, but I still struggled to believe them. “So, you drove all the way to the airport, got on a plane alone and then took the busses here?”
“I took a cab from the airport,” She corrected with a smile. “but yes Arthur, I’m not so scared that I won’t get on a plane to visit you.”
I shook my head, still amazed by the moment, until finally I remembered the group standing in the doorway. “Oh!” I exclaimed as I looked back at them. “These are my friends, that’s Charlotte and Kai,” I introduced as they finally entered the house. “and you remember Dizzy.”
“How could I forget?” She asked as the teen flashed her a smile.
“This is Sadie,” I turned to them. “she was my moms’ best friend, and she’s helped raise me since I was a day old.”
“He was raised by two moms, and now he’s going to be raised my two dads.” Dizzy blurted out with a smirk, causing Kai to give him a hard bump with his elbow.
“How long have you been waiting to say that one?” Adam asked, shooting him a look of disappointment.
“Since our talk last night.” He answered flashing Adam his smile.
“Two dads?” Sadie repeated, looking over to Adam who started to turn red. “You getting married?”
“No.” He quickly shut down. “Nothing like that.” He insisted turning to Dizzy and staring him down.
“Dude, how have you not been kicked out of here yet?” Kai asked Dizzy with a sigh.
“Adam loves me too much.” Dizzy quickly answered. He went to sit next to Adam, but Adam gave him a good shove, forcing him further down the couch.
“Charlotte’s actually like my best friend.” I started to change the subject as I took a seat and motioned for them to do the same.
“Gee thanks.” Dizzy grumbled as Kai took a seat next to him.
“Best friend?” Sadie asked as Charlotte took a seat next to me. “How’d you beat out Dizzy for that title?”
“By letting him run his mouth.” She shrugged, drawing a laugh from Sadie. “Dizzy came on so strong Artie almost ran back to Texas.”
“So, you guys have been friends since he first got here?” Sadie quickly asked, eager to learn as much as she could.
“Yup, Kai was his student guide the first day.” Charlotte answered with a shrug. “The three of us have been friends basically our whole lives and Artie fit right in.”
“Friends on your first day?” Sadie asked as she looked back to me. “How about that.”
“It was kinda like pulling teeth at first.” Dizzy spoke up before I could reply. “He was scared of almost everything.”
“That’s not true!” I quickly exclaimed in a loud voice. “I went to the bridge with you, didn’t I?” I asked as Dizzy nodded his head. “and surfing with Kai, and church with Charlotte.”
“Why do I get the boring stuff?” She complained in a groan.
“You two go to church together?” Sadie quickly asked with a wide smile.
“Almost every Sunday.” Charlotte asked, clearly not as excited at the idea. “He comes along with my family.”
“That’s so sweet.” Sadie commented, reaching over and pulling me in for another hug. “It’s no wonder you two are so close.”
“If all it takes is church,” Dizzy began, but turned to Adam to see him shaking his head.
“You and me aren’t church people Dizzy.” Adam corrected him, drawing a grin from Dizzy.
“Don’t tell him that!” Sadie yelled, quickly looking over to Adam. “Everyone’s welcome in church.”
“He’d wear out that welcome in his first visit.” Adam laughed to himself as Dizzy nodded along.
“Dizzy just can’t sit still and be quiet like that for an hour.” Kai tried to explain. “He can’t even do it in school.”
“I haven’t had a detention in two weeks!” Dizzy quickly jumped in, eager to brag about his recent behavior. “In fact, who’s the one who got yelled at in class today?”
I saw shock enter Sadie’s eyes as they all turned to me. “I was just the one who got caught.” I excused but felt Adam’s stare fall on me too.
“Your nephew threw a pen at me during computer science.” Dizzy explained as he turned towards Adam.
“Eh,” Adam let out with a shrug. “he sucks at computer science anyway.”
“Adam!” I yelped but knew it was the truth.
“He should be paying attention anyway.” Sadie insisted, keeping her eyes on me.
“It’s hard to do that, when someone throws a pen at you first.” I argued as I looked over to Dizzy.
“Wasn’t sure if you needed one.” Dizzy played along, enjoying that I was the one in trouble for once.
“Artie’s usually an angel in school, all our teachers love him.” Charlotte interrupted as she looked back to Sadie. “Dizzy can just suck people into trouble sometimes.”
“Hmm, you are the best friend.” Sadie commented, causing Charlottes smile to grow wider. “But Arthur Uriah, I hear you’re messing around in class again and I will work with Adam to make sure you get the challenge you need to stay focused.”
“Yes ma’am.” I replied as Dizzy began to smirk again.
“Uriah.” Dizzy laughed to himself.
“Ryan.” I replied as the smile quickly disappeared from his face, getting Kai to laugh.
“Man,” Kai shook his head as he looked over to Dizzy. “you guys must really have hit another level if he can call you that.”
“I deserved it that time.” Dizzy grumbled as his eyes began to focus on me.
Kai laughed to himself once more as he slowly stood up. “I’d better get going though, got a concert to get ready for.”
“We know.” Dizzy complained, finally looking back over to him.
“I mentioned it to you before I bought my ticket.” Kai shrugged his shoulders as he gave Dizzy a strong pat on the side before walking over to say goodbye to Charlotte and me.
“I know.” Dizzy sighed as he glanced over to Adam. “He’s going to see Messiah.”
“And you slept on those tickets?” Adam laughed while shaking his head. “Their tours are only going to get more and more expensive from here on.”
“Don’t rub it in.” Dizzy groaned as he threw his head back. “You slept on them too.”
“I am too old to be going to the Fillmore and getting caught in mosh pits all night.” Adam corrected Dizzy. “Let me know when they’re playing Oracle and I’ll go.”
“Might be next year at this pace.” Kai shrugged once more as he looked over to Adam.
“Might be.” Adam agreed with a nod. “Be safe, find a place to get water right after the concert ends, and don’t push into anyone you wouldn’t feel comfortable fighting.”
“That’s terrible advice!” Sadie yelped as she watched their conversation unfold. “He shouldn’t be worried about having to fight anyone.”
“She reminds me of Artie when he first arrived.” Dizzy teased as he nodded his head to Kai to show they’re still cool.
“Bye guys.” Kai finally dismissed as he headed towards the door.
“I’d better be headed out too.” Charlotte sighed as she began to stand up.
“But its barely even been an hour since you got here.” I complained, sitting forward to block her path out.
“It’s a school night,” She shrugged her shoulders. “I’ll come hang out another night when I can actually stay late.” She insisted, patiently waiting for me to move.
“Fine.” I groaned as I leaned back.
“I bet she’s going to meet Jose.” Dizzy instigated as he looked over to me with trouble in his eyes.
“I bet she is.” I agreed, looking to annoy her more than anything else.
“I don’t spend every waking minute with my boyfriend, like some people I know.” Charlotte shot back, getting Adam to laugh.
“So, she’s definitely going to see Jose, right?” I turned and asked Dizzy as he began to nod.
“Good luck with the two of them Sadie.” Charlotte warned as she reached the door. “They can get very annoying very quickly.”
“They can.” Adam agreed with her words. “Especially if Dizzy is hungry.”
“Try having class with him before lunch.” Charlotte griped as she looked over to Sadie and forced a smile. “I hope you enjoy your visit; San Francisco is a beautiful city when you open your mind to it.”
This time it was my turn to nod along with her words. I would’ve missed out on so much this city has to offer if I kept my heart closed. But once I opened it, I realized just how alive this city is. Art, history, food, it just feels like there’s something new at every corner waiting to be explored.
“Bye.” Charlotte let out as she opened the door and stepped out before I could try again to stop her.
“Definitely going to see Jose.” I turned to Dizzy the second the door shut. “Did you see her blush when you mentioned him?”
“Whenever she gets defensive it means she’s lying.” Dizzy shrugged his shoulders and leaned back. “Girls got a terrible poker face.”
“Because you’re such a good liar.” Adam rolled his eyes and looked to the teen next to him.
“I am, because I don’t really lie.” He smiled, not backing down from Adam’s challenge. “I’m upfront with everything and if I get caught, I get caught.”
“He’s right.” I agreed as Adam let out a sigh.
As Sadie watched our conversation unfold, I could tell she was starting to work something over in her head. “Is it always like this around here?” She finally asked, looking past Dizzy and me and, towards Adam.
“Depends on the day.” Adam said as he tried to picture the average day in his head. “It’s always busy, but there’s not always this many people coming and going.”
“Yes there is.” Dizzy quickly rejected. “It’s either Kai and Charlotte or Mason and Lindsay.”
“Lindsay!” Adam quickly shouted as the name sparked something in his mind. “I told her to come over tonight a few days ago!”
“Is that a problem?” Sadie asked as she started to grow concerned.
“No.” Adam quickly lied with a forced smile. “Not at all.”
“Talk about a bad poker face.” Dizzy whispered to me as we started to slowly scoot our way over to one another. I watched Adam closely as I tried to figure out why he was so concerned, but felt Dizzy place his hand on mine.
“So,” Dizzy began, looking to change the subject. “how long is your trip?”
“Only a few days,” Sadie sighed as I felt my smile began to fade. “but I’m planning to come back next month,” She explained as our eyes connected. “this was just a dry run to figure out what it’ll be like.”
“So, you’re going to start visiting me often?” I couldn’t help but asked, surprised by here answer. Sure, I knew she’d eventually visit, but I was thinking more like once a year than anything else.
“Something like that.” She confidently nodded her head. “We’ll just see how things fall into place over the next couple months.”
I quickly looked over to Adam as I heard her answer, but he looked just as confused as me. Before we could say anything else, I heard the sound of keys in the door. I noticed Adam look sharply to the door, worried about who it may be.
As the door swung open and Lindsay took a step inside, I only saw his concern grow. “Hey Lindsay,” He forced a smile and tried his hardest to hide the look on his face. “how you been?”
“How have I been?” She repeated, sounding slightly annoyed by his question. “We spent all day at work together and then you cut out early, you know how I’ve been.”
“You told me to start taking breaks.” He teased her, but she quickly let it go as she noticed the new face on the couch.
“This is Sadie, she’s a really close family friend and grew up with Adam and my Mom.” I introduced as Adam watched their interaction unfold. “Sadie this is Adam’s best friend Lindsay, they’ve been best friends since he moved here.” Sadie gave her a warm hello, but I could see that Lindsay’s was a bit forced.
“You Price boys found friends fast out here.” Sadie smiled towards Adam. “Almost like it’s where you’re meant to be.”
Lindsay snickered at the comment and took a seat next to Adam. Dizzy shot me a worried look as tension slowly began to fill the room.
“I don’t know about you Lindsay,” Dizzy began in an attempt to diffuse the tension. “but I would love to hear stories about Adam when he was a kid.”
“I’ve heard enough of those stories.” She shot down, not even bothering to look over to Sadie.
Dizzy made another face to me before glancing over to Adam, who looked like he was bracing for whatever would come next.
“Then do you want to share one of the…” Dizzy began but trailed off as Lindsay quickly looked over to him. As I let out a sigh and looked to him, he shrugged his shoulders.
“Adam’s experience back home wasn’t always a good one.” Sadie finally spoke up, addressing the elephant in the room. “But they weren’t all bad, were they?” She asked, looking over to Adam.
“Most, but not all.” He answered as he kept an eye on Lindsay. “I’ve got plenty of good memories with you and Sarah.” He said, trying to get Lindsay to relax.
“Remember when you made that fake Ouija board and convinced Sarah you were talking to demons in the house?” Sadie asked as Adam began to laugh. “She spent a full weekend at my house because of it!”
“She was so gullible for a while.” Adam began to reminisce. “Remember the holy water I had to get for her to come back?” Adam asked as Sadie began to nod. “It was just creek water I ran to get before she could tell the church on me.” He laughed as Dizzy began to smirk at his story.
“She drank some of that water!” Sadie exclaimed, getting Adam to only laugh harder.
“Why would she drink holy water?” I asked as a smile formed on my own face.
“Yeah Adam, why would she drink holy water?” Sadie asked as she began to stare at him.
“I told her Jesus turns holy water into wine when you drink it!” Adam exclaimed, entering a laughing fit at something he had clearly forgotten.
“So,” Lindsay finally began again, looking over to Sadie. “he was always kind of a bastard, wasn’t he?”
“He always had some sort of plan going on.” Sadie shook her head as she tried to think of another story. “One day he snuck red food dye onto her tooth brush.”
“Why?” Dizzy asked as Adam finally regained his composure.
“She woke me up at six on a Saturday and convinced me it was a school day,” He started to shake his head. “got me to walk to school and everything.” His smile grew as he recalled the rest of the story. “So, the next morning, I put red food dye on her tooth brush and convinced her all her teeth were falling out because she lied.”
“Adam!” I exclaimed, shocked to find out there were countless stories I had never known about.
“For my birthday one year,” Lindsay began in a sigh. “Adam spent the whole day acting like he was baking this big elaborate cake.” His smile grew even wider as he recognized the story. “My Mom wanted to kill him because she could barely even get in the kitchen to cook dinner,” She continued as she looked over to him. “And when we finally go to have his cake, I cut into it, and it turns out to be two or three balloons that popped and sent icing everywhere.”
“So, the pranks never stopped?” Sadie asked through her own laughter.
“They’ve stopped for a while when I first moved here, but they came back once I settled in.” He answered with a proud smile.
“You’ve never pranked me.” I pointed out as I looked over to him. “Right?” I asked, unsure of whatever jokes Adam might have been pulling on me.
He thought for a moment before shaking his head no. “You’d just get rattled by them; it wouldn’t be fun.” He explained as he looked past me and towards Dizzy. “Besides, that one has no brakes, I’m not starting prank wars when he’s in the mix.”
“Mean but fair.” Dizzy accepted in a nod. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t start one.” As his usual smirk took his face Adam let out a deep sigh.
“Go ahead,” He changed course as he laid back. “your mom would be thrilled to see you home more.”
Dizzy’s smirk quickly fell from his face as Lindsay looked over to him. “She always asks how you’re doing too, just once don’t you want Adam to say you’re behaving.”
“No, why would I want to worry her?” Dizzy asked without missing a beat. I noticed Sadie watch him a little closer as she heard their exchange.
“You’re just as annoying as Adam.” Lindsay complained as her eyes shifted to me. “You have the patience of a saint for dating him.”
“Lindsay!” Adam shouted in a loud voice, quickly glancing towards Sadie then back. Dizzy lightly grabbed my arm and started to play off a worried look, but I was too confused to do anything other than watch.
“Oh my god,” Lindsay gasped as shock started to enter her face. “I didn’t mean actually date,” She began to backtrack as she looked over to Sadie. “they just spend so much time together that I tease them,”
“You fucking jerk!” Lindsay screamed as she looked back towards Adam.
“Pranked.” Adam shrugged, as he looked over to Dizzy and gave him a proud smile for following along. “Good job joining in.”
“Yeah great job joining in!” Lindsay sarcastically cheered. “Pranking your boss is a real ballsy move.”
“Ah crap.” Dizzy groaned as he began to sink into his seat.
“One of your bosses.” Adam winked towards him as he quickly nodded.
“The one who was going to teach you boys how to bake.” She said as Dizzy and she locked eyes.
“All I did was play along!” He excused, but it was clear Lindsay wasn’t buying a word of it. “You weren’t going to teach me to bake anyway.” He conceded as he realized she wasn’t going to let him off the hook. “You don’t have the patience.”
“You know for once Dizzy; I agree with you.”She flashed him a smile, as he tried to figure out how to take her comment. “So,” Lindsay began again as she looked over to Sadie. “when’d you find out they’re dating?”
“When the three of them came up for the custody battle.” Sadie answered as she took a moment to think about it. “I kind of figured it out before I think Artie was ready to tell me,” She recalled. “But all their little jokes and back and forth, and the way Artie looks at him.” She paused as a small smile formed on her face. “I’ve never seen Artie look at someone that way.”
“You’re lucky.” Lindsay suddenly began as she looked over to Adam. “You know how these two act together and you definitely know what your hometown is like.” I noticed Sadie sink a little in her seat as she heard that.
“I didn’t think she’d pick up on the subtle things.” Adam shrugged his shoulders. “She never did when I was his age.”
“Because back then you were never in a relationship the way they are now.” Sadie pointed out, drawing an irritated look from Adam. “You weren’t.” She insisted.
“And if I was, you would’ve accepted it?” He asked in a sarcastic voice.
“I never said that.” She answered in an honest breath. “But whatever you did with whoever you did it with, they, they didn’t actually care about you.”
Dizzy and I couldn’t help but step out of the conversation as we saw how real it was becoming. “And you’re sure of that?” Adam pressured. I could tell by the look on his face, that he was only growing more agitated by the conversation.
“You see any of them following you when you got thrown out?” Sadie asked but got a deafening silence back. “Sorry,” She sighed, realizing the brutal honestly of her words. “but you can’t look back and tell yourself those people cared about you back then.” She shook her head. “The only person in that town who loved you was Sarah.”
“Yeah?” Adam mockingly asked. “Because I didn’t see her following me either.” Dizzy lightly put his hand on mine as he heard those words. I know Adam didn’t mean that. I know he’s still angry about the way everything happened. I know he still has some moments from his past he has to face.
The room grew quiet for a few moments as we all thought it over. “She had her own path in front of her.” Sadie spoke as she looked back up to Adam.
“If you have something to say, just say it.” Adam warned her. I noticed Lindsay look over to him, but just like Dizzy and me, stayed out of their conversation.
“She was going to.” Sadie finally admitted and for a moment, I swear everything in the room froze. I went to say something, but felt myself stop, as though my body knew this conversation wasn’t for me.
“But she was pregnant.” Adam quietly nodded to himself. By the way he said it, I could tell it was something he’d been telling himself for the past sixteen years
“I stopped her.” Sadie corrected him. “Not because you were gay,” She quickly explained. “although that was part of it.” She admitted. “And sure, she was pregnant but you, you used to self-destruct more than anyone I’ve ever known.”
“Got it.” Adam replied, trying to maintain his anger. “But if I was Ezra, you would’ve packed her bag and let her go.” Dizzy turned to me with a concerned look, but I lightly squeezed his hand and kept watching the two of them.
“Maybe.” Sadie answered, trying to be as honest as possible. “I, I don’t know, but be honest with yourself.” Sadie locked eyes with him. “Were you strong enough to take care of her then?” Sadie asked but Adam fell quiet as he started to think things over. A few times I expected him to just stand up and walk out, but I guess that’s not like Adam anymore. I guess he’s changed just as much as I have.
“You weren’t.” Lindsay finally answered for him. “And you know how bad the streets of San Francisco can get.” She confronted him. “I mean, I found you in a soup kitchen.” She reminded him. As Sadie heard that, I noticed the look on her face change. “You barely had enough food to keep yourself going, what would’ve happened to your sister’s pregnancy?” She asked but Adam stayed quiet.
“I could’ve found a way.” Adam forced out, but I could tell he didn’t believe it.
“When she agreed to stay, she didn’t do it for herself, or for me, or for Artie.” Sadie began again as Adam looked back up to her. “She agreed to stay for you.” She confessed as their eyes met. “Because she knew you could make it on your own if she wasn’t there to hold you back.” Sadie insisted in a confident voice. “She knew if you were set free, you would thrive.”
I heard Adam sniffle a few times as he looked back down, but once more the room grew quiet for a few minutes. Sadie let out a deep breath as she picked her head up again “Almost every day since Sarah left, I’ve been wondering why I wasn’t the one who got custody.” She confessed. “But when my plane flew near the city, and we started to land, I finally understood.” Once more Adam picked up his head to look over to Sadie. “Our hometown, it’s a prison and they use our faith as the lock.”She shook her head. “She wanted Artie to be free from that. She wanted you to be free from that.” Once more Sadie let out a deep sigh. “Artie was always destined to live out here, it was just a matter of time.”
“Why didn’t she just move us out here?” I couldn’t help but finally ask as their conversation drew to an end.
“Money was always tight,” Sadie began to answered in a tired voice. “and I guess she was always waiting for a sign that the time was right.” Sadie shook her head. “I don’t want to wait for a sign,” She admitted as she looked over to Adam. “I, I have some apartments I’m looking at tomorrow while Artie’s at school and you’re at work.” She suddenly confessed, throwing us for an even bigger loop. “I was going to keep it a secret until I was sure, but after this conversation, I know I’ll never be more certain. It’s time for me to move on with my life.”
I felt a sudden wide smile fill my face as I let go of Dizzy hands, and nearly leaped across the couch as I jumped on her. I heard her lightly laugh before letting out a few sniffles of her own as I held her tightly. When I finally let her go, I noticed her eyes staying on Adam.
“I know I’ve already said it, but I really am sorry for everything that’s happened.” Sadie forced out, pushing herself to her absolute limits. “Every time you’d pull a prank on me and Sarah, I’d run home and tell my Mom and she’d always tell me I was lucky.” Sadie lightly laughed. “She’d say that it’s what brothers do, and that if you were playing jokes on both me and Sarah, that it meant you saw me as a sister.” Sadie lightly nodded her head. “So, from that point on, I always saw you as a brother, even after you left.”
This time it was Adam’s turn to stand up and walk over, I saw a smile filling Lindsay’s face as Sadie stood up and they began to hug. I know this is something Sadie feels she needs to do, but I wonder if she knows just how much Adam needed this too.
The two of us have finally made peace with our past, and now, we can both look forward without wondering what could’ve been. Welcome home Sadie, our family is finally coming together again.