ARROW - 169. Chapter 169
Walking into Pete’s he was surprised to see me. Arnaud looked around and when he saw the painting over the cash register, “Did you paint that?”
“Yes. Colin and I ate here when we were students. I remember when I gave him that painting, Colin’s mother made a big fuss over it. She told Pete he needed to take precautions because it was worth a lot of money. He had the box built and it is wired.”
“Do you make it a habit of giving your paintings away?”
“No, but in those days we ate here for free. That was my way of paying him.”
We sat at Colin and my old table. “Do we get a menu?”
“No, Pete will bring our food.”
Knowing Pete, our starter was a cup of soup followed by a fresh salad. Pete sat down with us, with his cup of coffee. He asked about the boys and particularly Tommy. I didn’t have a chance to respond. Roger answered his questions.
“Pete, I’ll try and bring the boys in soon.”
Dinner was more like lunch. Pete’s place was designed for lunch and not dinner. Catering to students he kept his prices reasonable and served food that the students preferred.
“When are your cooks due back?”
“They just left. We can have lunch and dinner at the Home.”
“We can have an Italian dinner at Tony and Maria’s place.”
“I’d like to spend more time at the Home. I want to talk with Pat, that is her name right?”
“Yes, and Tommy might be able to help if you are thinking about doing a pilot.”
That evening when Tommy came home, “Uncle Arnaud wants to talk to you about the Home. I think he may want to do a pilot in Paris.”
“I’ll help him, but he needs to ask.”
Colin and Ritchie came home. They both looked tired.
That evening lying in bed, “How bad was it?”
“Dad didn’t do anything. Anita said he never showed up at the office. I asked her where did he go, she said he told her he was going to his club and for her to call him if he was needed.”
“Did you mention that to him?”
“I was going to when Richie said we could handle it with the help of our lawyers. I can’t wait until Richie finishes school/“
That evening GG came and told me that John wasn’t up to the job. His old illness has returned. I was shocked when she told me.
In the morning I told Colin to take his dad in for a check-up. He looked at me when I said that. I could see the fear in his eyes. I knew if they catch it in time, he could delay the inevitable.
“Tell Richie, I’ll see him at the office.”
Colin left as Richie entered the kitchen for breakfast. “Where’s Pop going?”
“I think to see his mother and try to get her to help him to get John to a doctor.”
“Grandmother came last night and told me I’ll be needed at the office. She said Pop is going to need me.”
“I think Pop is going to need all of us.”
Ritchie took a crepe stuffed with scrambled eggs and a cup of coffee. “I’ll see you later, Dad.”
The kitchen door seemed to be a revolving door, Richie left as Roger walked in. I was making crepes.
“I’ll have one of those with coffee.”
Roger was in good mood this morning. He no sooner sat down when the boys started to enter the kitchen. One of the boys poured the coffee, and one helped me make the crepes. By the time Arnaud came down, the table was full but I did save two crepes for him. Louise got up from her chair, offering it to Arnaud. Then she came and sat on my lap while finishing her breakfast. Then she conned Ivan to take her to the farm.
Before Ivan left, Charles showed up with his oldest son. I offered him breakfast but he only had a coffee. His son wanted to know what the boys were eating, so I made him a crepe.
Tommy and Pepe took off for the Home, Ivan, Louise, Charles, and his son took off for the farm. Ronny had a meeting to attend and he was gone. Now there was Roger, Arnaud, and Carl who headed to our studio leaving Toby, Louis, Anthony, and John to keep me company while I had my coffee.
“What do you boys want to do today?”
“Can we go fishing?”
“You remember how sick Uncle Arnaud got in Greece? I think we should wait until he goes home before we go fishing.”
They agreed. The next question is, “When is he leaving?”
“Let’s go to the home and get Pepe. I’ll take you shopping?” I had to get Pepe a suit for his meeting with the judge.
That was okay with the boys provided we stop at a bookstore. That reminded me I need Charles to build bookshelves on the sides of the fireplace in the living room. I still haven’t uncrated the crate from Greece.
I went to ‘our studio’ to tell Roger, Arnaud, and Carl that I was going to take the boys shopping. Walking up the steps to the third floor, I heard them talking about signing the painting Carl was working on.
“Have you tried the method your dad used?”
“No, but my name would be CARR.”
“How about CARROW?”
“That would be like Carrot. I could paint a carrot.”
“I think it should be special. Something with a mystery behind it and doesn’t have to be created with your initials. I was in grade school when I made my arrow from my initials. Give it more thought, you know who to ask for help. Remember, it doesn’t have to be based on initials, Grandmother’s signature was a bluebird. She used the bluebird in the tree outside of her window as the model. Look around, something will come to you.”
I didn’t think it would be important at this stage of the development of his painting skills. He can make his own paint and frames, which is quite an accomplishment. While I was there, I checked the painting he was working on. His model was Louise but she was at the farm.
“I’m going to the Home, want to go?”
“Dad, if you’re going shopping, I could use new shoes.”
“How about you Roger and you Arnaud, do you want to go shopping with us or to the Home? They will be serving lunch at 12:30.” I watched Arnaud’s face when I said lunch. “You can spend the next two hours talking to the children.”
They decided to go with us to the Home. Rounding up the boys, and leaving a note for Colin and the older boys, we left for the Home.
Arriving at the Home, the question I expected from Arnaud yesterday was asked now.
“Armand, is this fence to keep the children in or people out?”
“Arnaud, there are people in this world who like children and not in a healthy way. The Home was attacked one time by these people. There was no way Colin or I would permit this. We hired a security specialist, and paid police to be here until this security system was implemented.”
“Have you experienced anyone trying to break in since this system has been installed?”
“Yes, one time and the individual is in jail.”
Carl got out, went through the gate, and then opened the gate for the van.
Walking into the Home, “Armand, if I am able to build a place like this, you have to promise to paint an Angel over my door.”
“Colin and I will help you build it.”
Arnaud turned to Roger, “You heard him.” Roger laughed as he nodded yes.
Entering the Home, “Lois, can you call Tommy and ask him to come to the office?”
“I think he’s in Pat’s office.”
Going next door, I knocked before entering.
“Where is Pepe? I’m taking your brothers' shopping and I want to take Pepe as well.”
“Dad, when are we going to adopt him?”
“As soon as Uncle Henry lines up a judge. I’ll get him a suit today.”
“Are you coming back here?”
“Yes, Uncle Arnaud and Uncle Roger want to eat lunch here today.”
“I’m going with you, okay?”
“Let’s go. Get Pepe.”
I started to leave when I heard, “Pepe, please report to the office.”
Looking at Tommy, “Who fixed the intercom?”
“One of uncle Charles’s men.”
“Here comes Pepe, let’s go.”
As we were leaving, Roger and Arnaud followed us. “I’m taking the boys shopping.”
So we had two more, and I was okay with that.
Arriving at the store, Tommy got a shopping cart and started shopping for Pepe. First stop, underwear, then pants, and shirts. T-shirts, sweaters, socks, tennis shoes,. Finally jackets and caps. Toby was pushing a cart followed by the other three. They didn’t need as much but they did pick up t-shirts, caps, and a jacket identical to Pepe’s
“Armand, how long will those clothes last? Looks like a year’s worth.”
“They will last until school starts.”
Checking out, the boys carried the packages to the van. Except for the caps, those hey wore. I hadn’t noticed before, but Tommy had a similar cap and there were 5 more caps in the bag. “Tommy, who are the caps for?”
“One is for Louise and the other 4 are for the boys at the home. You know we will need to bring them shopping soon.”
The next stop was the store where we bought the boys their suits. We sat in visitor chairs as Tommy with the help of the clerk fitted out Pepe in a suit with a white shirt and tie. He needs dress shoes and socks. Tommy knew and I was amazed at his choices. Pepe was going to be one sharp young man.
I promised the boys we would stop at a bookstore, so that was our next stop.
They headed to the section on kits. I checked several books but before I was going to buy any, I wanted the bookshelves finished. It didn’t take them long and I was surprised they picked out a kit for Pepe.
Arnaud reminded me it was getting close to lunchtime. So we headed to the Home. Carl checked through and then opened the gate for the van.
Walking into the Home, Tommy gave Lois a scarf he’d bought. I looked at him, “I didn’t see you pick that up.”
“You were busy with Pepe’s shoes.”
Before anything more could be said our farmers arrived. Louise headed for me. “Dad, Ivan got a baby sheep and said I could take care of it.”
I looked at Ivan with a quizzical look on my face, “The farmer next to mine gave it to her. I paid him for her.”
That told me the sheep was an ewe. I looked at Louise, “Okay but she must stay on the farm.”
I knew I would see it at home. Roger suggested I buy a stuffed sheep for home, I thought that made sense.
We were ready to sit down when Colin and Richie showed up. The kids were the first to see Colin, I heard hi pop, and then the little girls laughing. I knew Colin was picking up the kids and tickling them.
When Colin walked into the room, I noticed he was worried about something. I looked at Richie, he didn’t look at me. He was busy talking to Tommy and Pepe.
We sat down for lunch and as normal I was surrounded by kids. I looked for Colin, he usually sat opposite me but not today. Now I knew something was wrong.
After lunch, “Colin, something is wrong. Let’s take a walk and you can tell me.”
We left through the kitchen door and headed toward the cornfield. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s dad, he was in the office this morning and one of our key clients left in a huff. Richie spent the rest of the day pacifying him. Dad can’t work anymore.He flies into a rage, and without reason. After this morning he went to the golf course and we didn’t see him for the rest of the day.”
“When was the last time he had a physical?”
“I don’t know. I’ll ask mom, she’ll know. Do you think he has the same medical problem he had when we were all in France?”
“It’s possible. Why don’t you make an appointment for him? Get your mom to help.”
‘Armand, do you think that might be his problem?”
“I don’t know but you need to find out.”
That evening, lying in bed, GG came and told me John will be leaving us. She said he will be gone by Christmas. “The burden will fall on you.”
I woke up crying. I got out of bed and went to our studio. I needed to paint what was going through my mind.
With the sun rising, Carl brought me a cup of coffee. “Dad, what is that.”
For the first time, I stepped back to look at what I was painting. I felt a shiver run down my back. The painting was a dark eagle flying into the sun. The lower part of the painting was dark but as the eagle flew into the sun the canvas became lighter.
“I’m not sure. Grandmother came to me last night and she told me to be prepared for bad news. I got out of bed, came here, and painted that. I don’t know what it means. “
“I’ll put it away. Grandmother will tell me when I should show it and to whom.”
The rest of the day was kind of slow. I took a nap in the afternoon, Roger and Arnaud spent the day at the Home. I knew they would be taking photos, I told Tommy, no pictures of our security system.
The following day, Arnaud flew home and Roger was planning on going over on the weekend.
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