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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Barnstable Chronicles: The Prodigy - 8. You've Got A Friend in Me

Ch-ch-changes! They are coming at a fast and furious pace to David as he prepares for the weekend visit with his mother, Charlie's mother, and Noah.

All you Noah fans are going to love this chapter.

Oh... did I promise a torpedo??

It was Monday morning when David received an email from Sarah Miller, Ben’s assistant. She wanted to know more about what he wanted for a home in the city.

David wanted a place that would be good for a family. He wanted to be close to the best private school for kids on the Autism spectrum. He needed space for Beverly for the times she would visit. Most importantly, there needed to be a space where Charlie could work.

Three hours later, his phone started buzzing. “Hello?”

“Hi, David. I found what is considered to be the best high school for special needs students. It’s called the Aaron school, and it’s located in the Upper East Side.”

“I’ve heard of that place. Of course, it’s not my decision to make, but I wanted it to be available as a possibility.”

“You’re not going to believe this. I found what looks to be the perfect place. It’s a seven-story, eight bedrooms, eight-and-a-half baths, two living areas, a huge kitchen, and a dining room—it has scads of room for whatever you would want to do. Oh—and it has an elevator, so no one has to climb five or six flights of stairs just to go to bed. Wait—there’s more! It has a rooftop garden deck and a small backyard. And—it’s walking distance from the Aaron School.”

“Wow! That sounds perfect. Now give me the bad news.”

“There isn’t any. I checked with Ben, and he says it’s definitely something doable. You would have no problem with the price.”

“And that is?”

“19.85 million.”

“Fuuuuuuck! Oh. Sorry about that. That’s pretty high.”

“Ben talked to the financial guys. They say you can handle a sizable down payment, and with the Westhampton house already paid for, financing would be a breeze.”

“I’ll take a look at the property, but if you could find something a little close to the four to six million price range, my stomach would sure feel a lot better!”

“Not a problem, David. This property was one of the first I found, and I wanted to share it with you right away. I’ll send you a link to the details and gallery so you can at least get a little excited about it, too!”

“Thank you so much for doing this, Sarah. I appreciate it!”

“You’re welcome. Ben gave me this project to help get your hot little ass into the city—his words—not mine. But I do have to agree with him!

David chuckled and replied, “I love you guys. Ben takes such good care of me. And don’t you dare tell him I said that!”

“My lips are sealed, David. I’ll get back to you when I find some more options, okay?”

“Sounds good, Sarah. Thanks for calling!”

David ended the call and then went to his laptop. He went to Amazon and found several Toy Story items. He ordered posters from all the movies and was pleased to find frames for all of them. He also ordered a full set of linens, a comforter, and a few of the more popular toys from the film—and Legos. What doesn’t kid like playing with Legos?

That afternoon he received a text from Ben saying Annie Leibovitz was a go. Unfortunately, he could only schedule her for the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. David thought he might have to give up on the idea but then figured it might be exciting for Noah to watch her work some magic. Then he decided that he would pay her extra if he could arrange some photos of Noah—if Noah would be interested. What a wonderful gift that would be for Charlie!

He called Ben and told him that they needed to get the outfits from Project Runway for the shoot. They liked to hold on to the winning designs while the show was shooting and display them in the workroom. Ben said he would make sure they would get it—even if they had to return it when the shoot was finished. He would also make sure Tania and her team were there to handle any style issues—and his hair.

The next call David made was to Beverly. She picked up after only one ring.

“David! What a nice surprise!”

“Hi, Beverly. It’s always great hearing your voice.”

“What can I do for you? Is there a problem?”

“Not a problem, really. But I wanted to let you know that there will be some extra activity at my place the day before Mother’s Day. I just wanted to make sure that there would be no problems with Noah.”

“What’s happening?”

“I’m getting ready to release a new album, and my manager was able to get Annie Leibovitz to shoot the album cover and photos. The shoot’s going to be at the house, and there’s going to be a crew with her.”

“I know Annie Leibovitz’s work quite well, and I know she has photographed several special needs kids. Beautiful photos, too. I don’t think it will be a problem, but then we never know how Noah will react to people until he meets them.”

“Do you think he’ll have a problem with me?”

“Not at all! I’ve been Googling you and sharing photos and stories about you. He’s actually quite excited to meet—as he calls you, by the way—Daddy’s boyfriend.”

“Awww. That’s adorable. I can only hope that’s the case, but I feel pretty good about the prospects!”

“Oh? Did something happen?”

“Charlie was able to get a note to me after we finished filming the Project Runway challenge. He seems to be as hopeful about us as I am.”

“Oh, David—that’s wonderful news!”

“I think so, too. There are a lot of things we have to talk about. There’s also a lot of logistics that would have to be worked out as well. But I am feeling good about things—very good.”

“This makes me so happy! I want nothing more than to see my son happy again—I mean truly happy.”

“I want that more than anything as well, Beverly. Look, I need to call Mom and let her know what’s going on. By the way, she sent me a text last night telling me how excited she was to see you again.”

“Thank you for calling, David. I will let Noah know about the photoshoot and prepare him. It shouldn’t be a problem. We’re already approaching the trip as an adventure, and he seems to be excited about it.”

“That’s wonderful. Tell Noah I said hello and that I can’t wait to meet him in person.”

David heard a soft voice in the background on Beverly’s end. “Nana? Can I have some water?”

“Of course, Noah. I’m on the phone with David Chase right now. Can you wait, and I’ll get you a glass with some ice if you would like?”

“Okay.”

“David? Sorry. Would you like to say hello to him yourself if he feels like talking?”

“That would be amazing!”

“Noah, would you like to say hello to David?”

“Daddy’s boyfriend?”

“Yes. This is him.”

“Yes, please.” Then in a clearer voice, “Hello.”

“Hello, Noah. It’s so nice to hear your voice! Do you know who I am?”

“Yes. You’re the man who plays the piano on Ellen and my Daddy’s boyfriend.”

“That’s right. Are you excited to come and see me with your Nana?”

“Yes. We’re going to have an adventure.”

“Do you like the ocean?”

“Yes. We have a little ocean in our back yard. Nana said you have a big ocean.”

“I do! And we can play in the waves if you want to.”

“Okay.”

“David?”

“Beverly! Oh wow! That was amazing. I didn’t expect—”

“You have no idea! I’ve never heard him talk to a stranger like this. I can’t wait to tell Charlie!”

“Well, with all the Googling, I’m sure he feels like he knows me at least a little.”

“I think you might be right. Regardless, this is such a wonderful thing.”

“Funny how everything just seems to come together.”

“Nothing funny about it. I call it the Universe putting everything in the order it’s supposed to be in.”

“One more thing. What kind of food does Noah like?”

“Fortunately, the only thing we’ve found that he doesn’t like is asparagus. Mrs. Henderson still makes meals for Charlie and the family, so Noah is used to eating a variety of things.”

“Great to know. I just want to make sure I stock up on foods Noah will enjoy.”

“You’re too wonderful, David. We’ll talk to you soon. I need to get Noah something to drink now.”

“Ciao!”

David then called his mother and let her know about the plans for the photoshoot. She was more than fine and thought it would be fun watching someone else telling her son what to do for a change.

Of course, they talked about Charlie. David’s mother seemed to never forgive her son for letting go of the best thing he ever had in his life. Naturally, she was nearly as excited as he was about the prospects of a rekindled relationship.

Over the next two weeks, David planned for Mother’s Day weekend. He had a crew over to the house to put a fresh coat of paint on the deck and do a deep clean of the house’s exterior. Windows were cleaned from floor to ceiling, inside and out.

David framed the Toy Story posters and hung them over the head of the bed. He washed the new linens, and Elliot, his cleaning boy, insisted on changing the sheets. It bothered him that David enjoyed doing so many of the things he was paid to do but learned in a short time that there was no arguing with his employer.

The day before the Barnstable clan's arrival, David went to Westhampton Natural Foods and loaded up on enough food to keep the troops happy over the weekend. Fortunately, they had several family-sized pre-made dishes that he would be able to use and at least pretend he knew how to cook something besides breakfast.

Thursday evening, David hired a stretch limo and rode to Laguardia to meet his guests. He was happy the flight was on time, and he stood at the bottom of the escalator that led passengers to the luggage area. He began to get nervous as he saw passengers making their way down the stairs, but no sign of anyone familiar.

A few minutes later, after the bulk of the passengers had already made their way down, he saw them. His mother caught his eye first and waved from the top of the escalator. He saw Beverly smile and point him out to the beautiful blond teenager that was holding her hand.

When they got off the escalator, David hugged his mother, then Beverly, and reached his hand out to Noah. “Hello, Noah. How has your adventure been so far? Have you been having a good time?”

“Yes. There are a lot of people, but Nana helps me with that.”

Noah stood and looked at a smiling David up and down. He cocked his head and said, “You are pretty. My Daddy likes that.”

“Well, thank you, Noah. You look really nice too.”

“I know. Nana got me new clothes.”

Beverly explained that she needed to take Noah outside because of the crowds around the luggage carousel and asked if David and his mother could get their luggage. They were happy to help out. As soon as the luggage was gathered, David texted the driver and told him where they would be waiting.

“Oh. That’s a big car!” Noah had a smile from ear-to-ear when he saw the limo pull up to the curb. David helped the driver load the luggage into the trunk, and then the passenger door was opened for them. Once everyone settled in their seats, David leaned over and opened the refreshment center.

“It takes about ninety minutes to get home. Would you like a glass of wine?” Both ladies loved the offer and were soon sipping on a nice, chilled Pinot Grigio. “Noah? I have apple juice, water, and I think I see some Coke in here. Would you like something to drink?”

“Apple Juice, please.”

“You got it! I think that sounds good. I’m going to have apple juice, too!”

Beverly and Nancy looked at each other and smiled as they watched David begin to bond with a smiling Noah. The small act of drinking what Noah chose let Noah know he was part of the group. The ladies tapped their glasses as Noah and David tapped their juice boxes.

About an hour into the trip, Noah dozed off, and David poured himself a glass of wine.

“David, you didn’t have to drink apple juice with Noah. You could have had a glass of wine with us.”

“I know, but at the moment, I felt like I wanted to share some apple juice with him. It seemed to have brought a smile to his face—so it was worth every sip.”

David was thrilled to see Beverly and Nancy getting reacquainted. It was just like old times. Everyone finished their wine just as the limo pulled up to David’s house.

David had turned on the exterior floodlights before he left, and the house looked magnificent against the night sky. Beverly leaned in and nudged Noah out of his sleep.

“Hi, Nana. I fell asleep.”

“Yes, you did. Did you have a nice nap?”

“Yes.”

“We’re at David’s house. It’s time to get out of the car and get our suitcases.”

“Okay.”

“David! This house is beautiful! It can’t be very old.”

“No, the man I bought it from was a financial guru from the city. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the original home, and this is the rebuild—essentially storm-proof. Well, that’s what they say. Anyway, his children were terrified to stay here after seeing what the storm did to the original house, so he put it on the market. I was fortunate. It was a great deal—and he included all the furnishings. All I had to bring was my piano and my personal stuff.”

David opened the door and let everyone in. “The bedrooms are all upstairs. Mom, you have your regular space. My bedroom is in the front of the house. I have Noah in the next room, and Beverly—you are between Mom and Noah.”

David led everyone upstairs so they could put their luggage in their own room. He then opened the door to Noah’s space. “Noah, I fixed this room up a little bit with some things I thought you might like. What do you think?”

“Nana!” Noah called out to Beverly, “It has Toy Story stuff! Look!”

Beverly came into the room and smiled when she saw her beaming grandson. “David, you didn’t have to go to all this trouble!”

“I wanted to make sure he had some things that helped him feel at home. And maybe—just maybe—he’ll be spending a lot more time here in the future.”

“I think you might be right.”

Beverly wrapped her arms around Noah from behind and asked him, “What do you think, Noah? Do you like what David did for you?”

“It’s beautiful, Nana. It almost makes me think I’m home.”

David smiled at Beverly, who quietly nodded back. “Thank you, David. You’re a wonderful man.”

“Okay! Who wants to watch a movie before bedtime?”

“I want to watch. What is it?” Noah was still excited about the bedroom.

“How about we all go downstairs, and I’ll let you pick one?”

“Okay.”

As the group made their way downstairs, Beverly leaned into David’s ear and whispered, “If you don’t have Toy Story, I packed the DVD in my bag. And then Nancy and I will enjoy some quiet time on the deck.”

David whispered back, “It’s all taken care of. Mom likes chamomile tea at night. Would you like me to make you one as well?”

“That sounds delightful. Why don’t you get Noah settled in with the movie, and the old ladies will take care of ourselves.”

David let Noah to the shelf lined with DVDs. Hidden among them was Noah’s favorite movie, and he zeroed in on it right away. “You have Toy Story! Did you know it’s my favorite movie?”

“Is it? Well, I’m glad I have it then. Shall we make some popcorn before we start the movie?”

“Yes, please.”

Before long, Beverly and Nancy were sitting on the deck—enjoying the soft ocean breeze and each other’s company. David and Noah were sitting on the sofa with a bowl of buttery popcorn between them.

Noah didn’t make it through the entire movie—he fell asleep a little more than an hour into the video. David didn’t want to disturb the boy who was leaning against David’s shoulder. He sent a text to Beverly and told her he would carry the boy upstairs and get him to bed.

She told him to go ahead and wake him so he could walk himself upstairs. David insisted that they let Noah sleep. He’d had a big day already and was probably out for the count. David gathered Noah in his arms and began walking him up the stairs to his bedroom. The ladies came in from the deck and followed him up.

Beverly and Nancy pulled back the bedding, and David laid Noah down into the bed. Beverly and David took off his clothes and stripped Noah down to his underwear. She went into his suitcase and pulled out a pair of sleeping shorts with a Buzz Lightyear print. Together, they slipped the shorts onto the sleeping boy and pulled the covers up.

Nancy went back into Noah’s suitcase and pulled out his old Buzz Lightyear doll. She tucked it into his right arm, and Noah made a small noise as he tucked the doll close to his body.

Beverly quietly unpacked Noah’s suitcase and placed his clothes into the dresser. She turned on the lamp sitting on top of the dresser, casting a soft light in the room. David turned out the overhead light, and everyone made their way back down to the deck.

Once the three adults settled on the deck, Nancy was the first to speak. “David, I can’t tell you how happy I am that you brought Beverly and me back together after all these years, but I need to know something—what are you doing? It seems you are going out of your way with your attention to Noah.”

“I guess it does look a little unusual. But if—no, when—Charlie and I get back together, I want this house to be a place Noah feels comfortable and welcome. Honestly, that’s all there is to it. Plus, he seems to have accepted me as an adult he can trust. It just seems like that’s something we can have in place when I get to see Charlie again.”

“I love you more than life itself, son. Just be careful. Don’t go overboard.”

“I won’t—I promise.”

“It’s tricky at times having a grandson like Noah. We never know for certain what he is going to like or who he will accept. But I thought since there was so much about you online—most of it good—I thought it was a good way to introduce you to Noah. It seems to have helped. He took to you right away. And I’ve never seen him open up to someone as easily as he has with you tonight.”

“Son, what have you got planned for tomorrow?”

“I thought we might take some time on the beach. If everyone’s up to it, I thought the Long Island Aquarium might be fun. Or if something a little more subdued would be better, we could enjoy some of the trails at the wildlife preserve.”

“We’ll let Noah decide. With tomorrow being Friday, the crowds may not be so bad that Noah wouldn’t enjoy the aquarium. Perhaps if we try that in the morning when they first open? Crowds frighten Noah. They always have. That’s just something we need to keep in mind. But he does love animals—and they love him back. It’s like he connects with them in some sort of magical way.”

“Sounds good. Now—Saturday is the photoshoot with Annie Leibovitz. That’s going to take up a big part of the day. I thought I would put together a quick and easy meal after everyone leaves and have a quiet night at home. Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I thought it might be fun if Noah and I cook breakfast for the two of you and bring it to you in bed. Beverly, do you think Noah would like to help make breakfast?”

“He loves to participate in family things. If you can keep him occupied with some simple but useful tasks, he’ll be in heaven.”

The trio continued talking for another thirty minutes and then made their way to bed. Beverly checked in on Noah and was pleased that he was sound asleep with Buzz Lightyear.

It was around 2:30 in the morning when David woke up hearing shouts from Noah’s room. “Oooooooooooh! Noooooooooo! Ooooooooooooooh!”

David was the first to make it into the room. He sat on the bed next to Noah, who was sitting upright, rocking back and forth, and holding his Buzz Lightyear doll to his chest.

Keeping his voice calm and reassuring, David opened his arms to show Noah he was there for him. “Noah? Noah? It’s okay, buddy. It’s David. Did you have a bad dream?”

“No.”

“Did something frighten you?”

“Yes. Me and Buzz.”

“Can you tell me what it was?”

“I woke up and didn’t remember where I was. It scared Buzz and me.”

“Ooooh. I see. That can be scary sometimes—especially in a new place.”

Noah slowed his rocking and looked at David. “I remember now. We’re at your house. It’s a nice house.”

“I’m glad you—and Buzz—like my house, Noah. That makes me very happy.”

David’s arms were still open—an invitation to Noah. “Your arms are funny. Do you want to hold me?”

“Would you like me to hold you?”

“Okay.”

David slowly took Noah into his arms and gently held him. He started to sing in a quiet and soothing voice:

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you've got a friend in me
Yeah, you've got a friend in me

David started singing it a second time, and Noah quietly sang with him. When they finished, Noah looked up at David and asked, “How did you know that was my favorite song?”

“I just had a funny feeling. But you know something?”

“What?”

“It’s true. When you are far away from your bed back in Barnstable, you don’t have to be frightened, because I’m your friend. Buzz’s, too.”

“Okay.”

“Do you think you can go back to sleep again?”

“I might get scared again.”

“I have a big giant bed. Would you like to sleep in there with me tonight?”

“Can Buzz come, too?”

“Of course he can.”

“Okay.”

David helped Noah out of bed, and as he turned, he saw Beverly and Nancy standing in the doorway, wiping tears from their eyes. Noah looked at Beverly and said, “Nana? Buzz and I are going to sleep in David’s big bed. We won’t be scared anymore.”

“You do that, sweetheart. Sleep well, okay?”

“Okay.”

Beverly grabbed two of the Toy Story pillows and followed David and Noah into the master suite. “I thought he might like these with his sleepover.”

“Great idea. Is that okay, Noah?”

“Okay.”

David and Beverly tucked Noah into one side of the California King-Sized bed, and the boy was sound asleep by the time David crawled in on the other side. There was no answer when David said goodnight. He smiled and silently thanked God that he had sleepwear on instead of his usual nude state.

At 8:00 the next morning, David’s alarm went off. He woke up and turned it off as quickly as possible, hoping not to frighten Noah. When he turned around to check on the boy, his eyes were blinking open.

“It’s okay, Noah. You wanted to sleep in my bed last night—with Buzz. Good morning.”

“Good morning.”

“Do you need to use the bathroom?”

“Okay.”

David pointed to the en suite and told Noah he would be waiting for him. Noah—with Buzz—went into the bathroom, relieved himself, washed his hands, and walked back into the master suite.

“Can you wait here with Buzz while I use the bathroom?”

“Okay.”

David went into the en suite and took his morning piss. He grabbed a tee-shirt from the shelf in his walk-in closet and asked Noah if he wanted to wear one of his tees.

“Okay.”

He gave Noah one of his black v-necks, and the two of them went downstairs to the kitchen. David pulled a breakfast casserole out of the refrigerator and set the oven for 350 degrees.

“Would you and Buzz like a cup of coffee?”

Noah giggled and said, “I don’t like coffee—and Buzz can’t drink.”

David smiled and said, “Oh! I see. How about a glass of orange juice?”

“Okay.”

David put a K-cup in the machine and started his coffee, then poured a glass of orange juice for Noah. He then grabbed his iPad and opened the New York Times link.

“Can I get my iPad?”

“You sure can. Do you know where it is?”

“It’s in my suitcase.”

“You go get it and bring it back down.”

Noah got up from the table with Buzz and returned with his pad—and no Buzz.

“Where’s Buzz?”

“He stays upstairs. I just sleep with him.”

“I see. Do you need the internet for your iPad?”

“Yes, I like to play Candy Crush.”

“Can I help you set it up?”

“Okay.”

David connected Noah’s iPad to the house internet and handed it back to Noah. He immediately logged onto Candy Crush and started playing.

About fifteen minutes later, the smell of eggs, cheese, and sausage began to fill the air. Nancy and Beverly made their way into the kitchen.

“Good morning, boys! Noah? Did you sleep well?”

“Yes.”

“Something smells wonderful, David!”

“It’s Mrs. Henderson’s breakfast casserole. I fell in love with it a long time ago, and she gave me the recipe. I’ve been making it since I got back from Russia. It’s one of the few things I can cook well.”

“Well, it’s a favorite with our family.”

“Ours, too!”

Breakfast was a huge success, and David was pleased to see Noah devouring his food.

After getting the dishes in the dishwasher, David suggested his Mom use his shower so Beverly could use the Jack and Jill Bathroom she was sharing with Nancy. Noah could use the shower in the bathroom off the hallway.

Beverly asked if it was wise to have three people shower at once, being concerned that all the hot water would be used up rather quickly. David explained that each room that used water had a tankless heater and that the hot water was always available—and endless. Beverly said she would help Noah get situated. David told her there were towels in the hall closet next to her room.

While the others were showering, David called the aquarium and asked what the crowds were like when they opened. The operator said that they had no school field trips scheduled, and they were expecting it to be a relatively low-key day. David explained that one of his guests was a high-functioning Autistic teenager. The only things that bothered him were crowds and loud, sudden noises.

He wondered if—and it entirely depended on Noah’s desires—they might be able to schedule a shark dive after lunch. The operator checked the schedule and found an open slot at 12:45. When she took his name for the reservation, she knew exactly who she was speaking with.

“Oh! Mr. Chase, we’re quite excited to have you visit us today. We do have a special VIP program where you can get special guided tours in a private tram, and you will be permitted to move to the front of long lines. It would assure you more privacy than normal. Would you like that?”

“Thank you for the offer. I think that might be good for us. But you know? Before I confirm that reservation, I should check with Noah and see if that’s something he would be interested in doing. It can be tricky at times deciding on something that will interest him. I’ll be back in touch within fifteen to twenty minutes.”

“That will be fine. I will hold on to this slot until I hear from you.”

“That’s very kind of you. Thank you!”

David ended the call and finished cleaning the kitchen. He made another cup of coffee and went back to reading the Times on his Ipad. About ten minutes later, Beverly came downstairs and made herself another cup of coffee.

David asked if she knew how Noah felt about sharks. She smiled as she recalled how she could hardly pull Noah away from the television for Shark Week on Discovery. When he told her about the Shark Dive opportunity, Beverly thought he would enjoy that quite a bit—but then you never know what his mood might be. She suggested showing him the videos without telling him that he could do that, and all they had to do was pay attention to his reaction.

As if on cue, Noah made his way downstairs and into the kitchen. David said he had something to show him and held his iPad out. He started the video showing the sharks, and Noah was immediately drawn in. “I like sharks. I want to see one someday.”

“Well, buddy. I think we might just do that today. Would you like that?”

“Yes, please! Nana! David’s going to show me some sharks!”

“Let’s look at this video, Noah.”

David clicked on the Shark Dive video and watched Noah’s face as he saw people in cages being lowered into the shark tank.

“Ooooooooh!”

“Would you like to go into the water like that, Noah?”

“I can do that?”

“Yes, you can, if you want to.”

“Yes, please.”

Noah’s voice may have sounded calm, but he was nearly bouncing out of his seat with excitement.

Nancy came into the kitchen and made a second cup of coffee for herself as David took his phone and headed up for his shower. “I’m going to clean up real quick, and then we can be on our way to the aquarium.”

David called the aquarium and made the final preparations for what he hoped would be a highlight of Noah’s weekend. In addition to the Shark Dive, he ordered the private tour and guide. David reminded them that Noah was quite particular about meeting new people and might not be possible. She told him that they had someone who had specialized training for kids with special needs. In fact, his younger brother was also on the Autism spectrum, and she felt confident that he would be able to perfect for Noah.

David agreed to let them meet when they arrived, and they would play it by ear.

Mike Prescott greeted the group when they arrived at the aquarium. He gently introduced himself to Noah. While he didn’t shut Mike out, he did grab on to David’s hand.

“Noah? Would you like Mike to show us around? He’ll make sure we see everything because he knows better than all of us where everything is.”

“Can I hold your hand, David?”

“Of course you can buddy!”

“Okay. Mike can come with us.”

The first stop was the reptile section. Noah was interested, but one could tell that he was ready to see some fish—especially the sharks.

The second stop proved to be a great surprise for everyone. They came to the penguin habitat and stood watching the small birds frolic and play. Since they were with an official guide, Noah and the adults were allowed to move in front of the general public barrier and walk right up to the glass. The adults decided to stay back and let Noah enjoy the special treatment.

“Noah, would you like to go up to the glass with Mike? You could get really close to the penguins.”

“Yes, please.”

Mike offered his hand to Noah, who surprised everyone by taking it. Mike walked Noah to the glass and told Noah that the penguins might come to him if he sat down. Noah did just that and was thrilled when a couple of penguins walked up. He gently placed his hand on the glass, and the two penguins seemed to get excited and were soon joined by about twenty others.

Noah’s eyes widened, and his smile grew from ear to ear as Mike said, “I think they like you, Noah. It’s like they all want to come and say hello to you.”

“Yes, the penguins are nice.”

Beverly whispered to David, “Will you look at that! It’s like the penguins all want to get to know him.”

David whispered back, “Amazing—”

Noah cocked his head as if he were listening to the birds. He then looked at Mike and said, “They wish they had more snow and ice to play in.”

Mike sat on the floor next to Noah and softly asked, “Are they talking to you, Noah?”

“Yes. Well—kind of. I can hear what the penguins think.”

“You’re a very special boy, Noah.”

“Yes, I know.”

Without warning, the mass of penguins all turned at once and quickly moved towards the back of the habitat.

“They’re hungry. It’s time for them to eat.”

Ten seconds later, the aquarium’s penguin keepers entered the habitat carrying buckets of fish. Noah stood up, and Mike joined him. “Can we see the fish and the sharks now?”

“We sure can, Noah. Did you like visiting the penguins?”

“They were really nice. The penguins liked me. I liked them, too.”

Noah ran to Beverly and wrapped his arms around her. “Nana, the penguins! Did you see the penguins come and talk to me?”

“Yes, I did, Noah. Wasn’t that special?”

“Yes. It was special. We’re going to see the fish now.”

Mike led the group into a massive room lined with fish tanks that stretched nearly from floor to ceiling. Mike kept his explanations of the sea life minimal and straightforward and did a great job keeping Noah’s interest.

About twenty minutes later, they reached the end of the room. Mike looked at Noah and said, “I hear you are really going to like the next section, Noah.”

“Is it sharks?”

“Yes, it is!”

“Nana! Let’s see the sharks!”

After fifteen minutes of viewing the sharks, Mike informed David that it was time for Noah and him to get ready for the Shark Dive.

“Noah? Do you still want to go in the water with the sharks?”

“Yes, please!”

Mike took the pair through a door at the end of the tank and into the wetsuit room. After suiting up, Mike sat across from Noah and showed him how the helmet worked. Knowing that many kids on the spectrum don’t like being enclosed, he explained to Noah that he was going to slip the helmet over his head and then take it right off again.

Noah agreed to that. David took the boy’s hand and asked him if the helmet was alright. “It’s a little scary. Are you going to wear one, too?”

“Yes, Noah. See?”

David put his helmet on, and Noah could see David’s entire face through the transparent front. “Will you hold my hand while I have it on?”

David smiled and nodded, then took Noah’s hand as Mike slipped the helmet on. David noticed a bit of panic in Noah’s eyes, but he held on to David’s hands. As soon as both helmets were in place, Noah was pleased that he could hear David and that they could easily talk back and forth.

Within minutes, everyone was suited up, and the three were lowered into the tank. With fascination, David and Mike watch the creatures move slowly to the cage, and Noah stood tall and attentive.

“The sharks are nice, too. They told me not to be afraid. They are happy I’m in the water with them.”

Noah thoroughly enjoyed the smaller, more colorful fish swimming into the cage a circling his head. Mike caught David’s eye as they watched Noah. Both men smiled and nodded to each other.

Fifteen minutes later, the cage started to rise, and as soon as their heads were above the waterline, helmets came off. Noah was beaming from ear to ear, and he wrapped his arms around David.

Before heading home for the day, David took everyone to a local diner for a snack. The ladies each had a fruit cup while Noah wanted to share French fries with David. Noah, who was completely engrossed in his fries, ignored his grandmother’s comments.

“You know, Mike was quite impressed with Noah.”

Nancy chuckled and added, “I was most impressed!”

David half-snorted and said, “I think he was a little jealous if you ask me.”

Beverly continued, “He seems to think we should look into some type of animal husbandry or marine biology program that would help Noah develop these skills. I mean—did you see how those penguins just flocked to him? Pun intended, by the way.”

David smiled at the memory while Noah kept eating fries. “Noah commented that the penguins—and later, the sharks—told him things. It was some type of telepathic communication. Mike said his brother was able to do the same thing—but nowhere near what he saw with Noah.”

Suddenly, Noah stopped eating fries and looked up at David. He pushed the plate towards his friend and said, “Your turn!”

“Ahhhh, thank you, buddy! You can have some more, too. Okay?”

“Yes, please.”

Nancy looked at her son with pride. “David, I don’t know who you’ve turned into, but there’s this underlying joy for life you’ve seemed to find again. It’s like I got my happy, confident boy back—at last!”

“I feel it, too. Mom, Charlie and I barely spoke—and we were in the same space for only a few minutes—but it was there. All those old feelings came rushing back. And I could see from the look on his face that he was feeling it, too.”

“And then there’s Noah. David, Charlie and I have dreamed that one day he would be able to let new people into his life as easily as he has with you.”

“Well, I think a lot of that had to do with him already knowing who I was. That, along with your Google searches, helped that process quite a bit.”

“But David—Beverly and I both agree that the connection he feels with you is nothing short of miraculous.”

“Yeah, I know what you’re saying. Miracles seem to be dropping in my lap lately.”

That evening, David grilled steaks out on the deck. Everyone enjoyed an excellent meal outside. Before dinner was finished, Noah started to drop off.

“Nana, I’m sleepy.”

“I’m sure you are! You had quite an exciting day, didn’t you?”

“Yes, please.”

“Would you like to get ready for bed?”

“Yes, please.”

Beverly began to push her chair out, and Noah stopped her.

“Nana—no. David.”

“You want David to help you get ready for bed?”

“Yes, please.”

“I can do that, buddy. But you might have to show me what I need to do to help you, okay?”

“Okay. We can go now.” Noah got up from his seat and held his hand out to David, leading him inside and up the stairs. “This way. Upstairs.”

David could only smile and chuckle as Noah would tell him what he needed to do—and then do it. After brushing his teeth, changing into his sleep shorts, and crawling into the bed with Buzz Lightyear, David smiled at the boy and said, “You know something, Noah? You just did all of that by yourself. You really don’t need help, do you?”

“No.”

“They why did you want me to come up with you?”

“Sing.”

“What?”

“The Toy Story song. Sing it to me, please.”

David smiled as a lump started to form in his throat.

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you've got a friend in me
Yeah, you've got a friend in me

 

 

lyrics from “You’ve Got A Friend in Me” are from the animated film TOY STORY

Okay, I really DID plan on that big ol' inevitable torpedo, but then in order to get to it, the chapter would have been nearly twice as long!

But damn -- I really did want to establish Noah's trust with David. I think I did a pretty good job of dealing with it. But then again, tomorrow is the photo shoot. There are going to be a lot of strangers in the house--including the sometimes abrasive and often loud Ben.

Oh--and shall I add that the torpedo is armed and loaded?

Love you all!

Geoff

Copyright © 2019 FlyOnTheWall; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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At least if Noah gets overwhelmed, he doesn’t have to be there during the photoshoot. His Nana can take Noah out to the beach or something. Especially if Ben scares Noah.
;–)

If Noah can find an occupation like caring for animals, he can better earn a living for himself and gain more self-esteem. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, special needs people do not need to be restricted to jobs like Walmart greeter. It’s possible to dream of bigger and more significant things.
;–)

It sounds like Noah will always need at least minimal assistance from his Nana, his father(s), and others. Since he doesn’t have siblings, at some point there will need to be someone from outside the family included. Finding someone trustworthy will be essential.

I know I struggle to deal with some daily issues. If I were wealthy, I know I’d have someone come in to do cleaning for me! If they did at least some cooking, that would be even better. But I’m on a very limited income and that only covers my basic needs and a few extras.
;–)

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29 minutes ago, Brokenbind said:

I'm not a fan of this whole torpedo thing though, buster...

I have some alternate suggestions for that torpedo! Hint: it doesn’t involve either characters, readers, or the author of this story…
;–)

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Best, greatest chapter ever. Wonderful. (Ok, i 'm out of adjetives now). 

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Really sweet chapter but, as for torpedoes, I’m kind of into disarmament these days. If @FlyOnTheWall were a cruel author,  he’d allow David and Noah to closely bond only to have the David and Charlie relationship suddenly implode after Parker shows up and seduces David, only to be discovered by Charlie. No...even worse...to be discovered by Noah.  I’m confident, however, that Señor Fly is not a sadistic sort,  and now that I have voiced that doomsday scenario, there’s no way it would appear in the story.  😉

He is, however, a wildly optimistic guy.  $8.5 M for that mega townhouse on the Upper East Side?!  Maybe in 2002.

 

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19 minutes ago, tesao said:

He is, however, a wildly optimistic guy.  $8.5 M for that mega townhouse on the Upper East Side?!  Maybe in 2002.

  

I actually do research these things and found the listing. Of course, it's already gone but there are several large townhomes located in the Upper East Side that are under the 10M threshold!

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40 minutes ago, tesao said:

$8.5 M for that mega townhouse on the Upper East Side?!

It’s next door to a very busy fire station? The other neighbor, an internet ‘celebrity,’ thinks it’s funny to use your new townhouse as Justin’s ‘mop bucket’ every morning? There’s a drug rehab facility across the street? There’s a homeless services agency backed up to the townhouse? There’s no garage and no street parking?
;–)

I agree the 8.5M doesn’t sound like much. In Silicon Valley, the average house sells for about $1M. There’s a story on tonight’s news about a custom hillside home overlooking Silicon Valley on the market for $20M. Prices are also extremely high in San Francisco. The prices are driven by all those ‘instant’ tech millionaires and those insane IPOs. (We’re heading towards a housing price correction when the Wall Street finally realizes that Über and many others will never make a profit. Just like what happened when the Dot Com bubble burst.)

Edited by droughtquake
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Amazing chapter!  You should have put a warning at the start that tissues would be necessary! The care and emotions were exceptionally portrayed in this chapter. I could feel the feelings and emotions in each of characters. You’ve always been extremely talented in delivering the story with all of the emotional depth of reality. You’ve raised the bar significantly with this latest chapter. Thank you for postponing the torpedo. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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I haven't said it for awhile, but you create some of the most interesting and enjoyable characters! I love the way this extended family (not necessarily the blood relation kind) tend to love and support each other. Thanks. 

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I am especially enjoying some of the comments on this story and have done a little research on Barnstable MA. Cape Cod is also the family home of the Kennedy family, truly an interesting place. It is interesting how some of their personal stories leak through the comments made on your chapters by the commenters. Life does have a way of affecting us all.

Keep up the great characterizations, you are a master at that.

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