Driving to work, Pete asked if he had to call me dad. I told him, no but I hoped in time he would be comfortable enough to call me dad. I knew Pete accepted to be adopted at the insistence of Joey. This is something Joey wanted and Pete went along with it. No way would I force Pete to do anything. He was smart, careful, and more sensitive than he let on. I was sure he wouldn’t jump into anything without testing the waters first. Losing his grandparents and then the farm hurt him. He wasn’t going to put himself in a position where he would be hurt again.
Arriving at the office, I parked the car in my spot, with the boys I headed to the elevator. I asked Pete to push the button for the 5th floor. When we arrived on the fifth floor, I steered them to my offices. There were four different companies on this floor. I had a corner office that consisted of my office, a small conference room, and a reception area where my secretary held reign. Entering my office, the secretary wasn't there. She only worked three days a week. She was an older woman who wanted a part-time job. This worked for me and worked for her.
“Boys, you can set up here or the conference room.”
“Can we see your office?”
“Sure” I opened the door to my office and watched the boys. They looked around, Pete went and sat in my chair. I smiled as he had that impish look in his eyes. I could see Pete occupying my office in the future if he decided that was what he wanted to do. Pete will make his own career choices no doubt about that. “You look good sitting there. Maybe you should think about investments as a career.”
“No, maybe farming”
I knew Pete, farming he knew, he was safe there, anything else was an unknown. Farming, he was the master, his own boss. “Where do you want to set up?”
“Can we use that table there?”
“Sure,” I thought that was interesting. There were two other possibilities and they choose my office.
Busy with my work, I’d look over and they were busy studying. I liked this. One of the men from the office next to mine stopped in. He wanted to know if I wanted to go to lunch.
"You’ve expanded, two new assistants. I was going to ask if you wanted to go to lunch.”
I checked my watch, it was lunchtime. “I didn’t realize it was so late. Ron, these are my sons, Joey and Pete. Boys, this is Mr. Becket, a friend of mine.”
Pete went and shook hands with Ron, Joey followed. “You guys hungry?”
What a question to ask, their heads nodded yes. The boys went and turned off their computers. I locked the door as we left.
“Jim, I didn’t know you were married?”
“I’m not, to make a long story short, these are my adopted sons.”
We went to a small family-owned restaurant around the corner of the office building. I usually had lunch and dinner here when I was alone. Now it’s just lunch and only when I’m in town. I was thinking about what will happen when I enter. They knew I wasn’t married, and now I’m with two boys.
“Paul, a table for four, please.”
“Ron, are these your boys?”
“No Paul, these are Jim’s sons.”
Paul looked at me. I knew he was confused. We were seated and looking at the menu when a woman came to take our order. But she was interested in who the boys were. “Hello Maria, how are you today?”
“Hello Ron, Jim. Who do we have here?”
It was Joey who answered, “I’m Joey and this is my brother Pete. That’s our dad,” pointing his finger at me.
Maria looked at me, and I could see the question forming in her mind. “I needed something in my life, these two men also needed something in their lives, we have decided to be a family.”
I didn’t need to or want to say anything else. She smiled as she left. “Dad, she didn’t take our order.”
“She knows what young men like. If you don’t like it, we’ll take it home and I’ll get you a sandwich.”
She brought out bowls of chicken noodle soup. The boys looked, took a taste, and smiled. No more words were spoken as they ate their soup. Actually, the soup was very good. I thought I could take this home some night for our dinner. Soup finished, she brought fried chicken with a baked potato and a small salad. The food is good that is why I always ate here.
I watched the boys, the chicken and baked potato they were familiar with. The salad had avocado in it. I watched Pete, I knew if he ate it so would Joey. Pete took a piece on his fork, he looked at it and then at me. “It’s avocado, very good for you.”
This would be a test of trust. Would he eat it or not. I looked at Joey, he ate his. Pete took a smaller piece, he tasted it, smiled, and ate it. Now I’ll have to add avocados to my list. I wonder what other foods the boys haven’t tasted. Even living on a farm, their diet would be restricted to foods normally grown on the farm. This left a whole list of foods the boys would never have tasted.
Lunch over, but I knew the next time I was here alone, there would be questions. “Jim, how do you spell avocado?”
I told him, without asking I knew what he was doing, he would be checking out avocado on the net. The rest of the afternoon seemed to go fast. There were a few reports that had to go out to investors. Those I would leave for my secretary. “Boys, ready to go home?”
I watched as they signed off and closed their computers. I dropped a note off on the secretary’s desk, locked the door, and headed for the elevator. I told Pete to punch L. He looked at me, “L is for the lobby. If you had punched 1, we would’ve stopped at the first floor.”On the way to the car, “Boys, put the laptops in the car. Then we’ll go and get a heavier coat. It won’t be long before we have snow.”
Thinking about that, they will need boots and gloves as well. We walked to a clothing store, Joey held my hand, Pete walked beside me. “What kind of coat did you have on the farm.”
“It was a regular coat. On cold days we had an extra shirt on.”
“Let’s see what they have.”
Entering the store, a clerk asked if she could help us. I told her I needed winter coats for my sons. She checked the sizes of their shirts, led us to a section of winter coats. I watched Pete as he checked them out. He picked a dark blue, almost a midnight blue, she helped him to try it on. He looked at Joey and then me.
“Is it large enough for a second year?”
“It fits fine now, let’s try this size.”
Pete took off the coat and tried the one she was holding. It looked okay. “What do you think Pete?”
“Good, we’ll take that one and now for this young man. Joey, do you see any you like ?”
“Can I have one like Pete’s?”
The clerk smiled and held a coat for Joey. While Joey was trying on his coat, I told Pete to look for gloves. “Will he get two winters out of that size?”
“Yes, I allowed for some growth.”
He nodded yes. She took the coats to the checkout counter. “I’ll need gloves and scarves as well,”
I told Joey to go and try on gloves with Pete. I went and got the scarves for the boys. “Have you decided on gloves?”
Pete held a pair of leather gloves, there were tears in his eyes. I knew those were like what his grandfather wore.
“Those look good Pete, get a pair for Joey as well.”
He looked at me, smiled, and picked out a pair for Joey to try. “When you are finished, bring them to the checkout counter.”
We had one more stop to make. The boys will need boots. I was trying to think of what kind of boots farmers wear. I should have known better. As soon as enter the shoe store, Pete headed to the boot section and came back with two pair.
“Are you sure they will fit?” “
They are the same size as our shoes.”
I went and bought some heavy socks. “Let’s try them with these socks on.”
One of the store clerks came over to help. He measured the boys' feet, looked at the sizes of the boots Pete had. “I suggest at least two sizes larger than this. With the heavy socks, two sizes should work for two years.”
“Let’s try them with the socks.”
He went and brought the same boots only two sizes larger. I had the boys take off their socks and shoes, put on the new, heavier socks. With the boots the clerk bought, the boys tried them on. Pete walked around, nodded yes. Joey wanted to wear them home. I agreed, then Pete wanted to as well. We headed back to the car and home.