It's time for TC and the kids to get to know each other.
David woke the next morning to the buzzing of his phone signalling an incoming text. It was Owen. From the kitchen. Lazy kid. He wanted to know if David had any bacon. He had to chuckle. Both of his kids knew that they would be going out for breakfast. It was a tradition they started the first summer he had them. David had tried to make breakfast for them that year, but it had turned into a disaster of epic proportions. They had ended up going out and had made it an annual thing every year on their first morning in Florida.
David swung himself out of bed and pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt. After a quick stop in the bathroom he walked into the kitchen where Owen and Lyssa were bickering good-naturedly over the pancake vs French toast debate. Owen was a dedicated pancake fan, while Lyssa preferred French toast.
“You could’ve just come and woken me up you know.” David said, adding a fake grumpy tone to his voice.
“We know. It’s more fun this way.” stated Owen, his lopsided grin making him look younger than his almost sixteen years.
“I take it you guys are ready to go?” David asked.
“We’ve been ready forever Daddy.” Lyssa said as she hugged him and then pushed him toward the door.
David laughed and grabbed his keys and phone, pausing to slide his feet into a pair of flip flops by the front door. They ended up at Peaches, a local chain that was pretty popular. It was after nine o’clock and the place was busy. They had to wait a few minutes while a table was cleared for them.
After settling in and getting coffee for everyone as both Owen and Lyssa had joined the Church of the Morning Caffeine, they looked over their menus and ordered. Owen stuck with pancakes and bacon and Lyssa went with French toast. David ordered a veggie omelet and home fries. The waitress collected their menus and headed back to the kitchen to get their orders in .
While they waited for their food they discussed what they wanted to do for the summer. The kids having jobs was going to limit what they could do and when. Busch Gardens was at the top of their list, neither of the kids had lost interest in roller coasters and thrill rides. They weren’t interested in going back to Disney World. It seemed as though they had gone there every summer since the kids had first started coming to Florida. Everyone agreed that it had gotten too crowded and secretly David was glad. Not only was it too crowded, it was way overpriced in his opinion. Personally he despised the mouse, instead of a fun family-friendly place it had become a money sucking black hole. He’d much rather go to Universal Studios or even Sea World. Hell, he’d probably enjoy Legoland better.
In past years they had occasionally gone on a cruise, but it was too late to try to book one for this summer. Triple occupancy cabins were hard to come by unless you booked months in advance, never mind a suite which David would have preferred.
They tossed around several ideas for day trips and when David mentioned river tubing along the Ichetucknee River, his kids put it toward the top of their list. Ichetucknee Springs State Park was in the northern part of the state about a three hour drive away. The spring fed river was a near constant 72 degrees all year long. The state park offered tube rentals and visitors could float down the six mile stretch of cool water. When the air temperature and humidity were high, it was a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon.
Lyssa asked if they could go down to the Everglades and go for a ride on an airboat. Owen actually agreed that it was a good idea. It wasn’t often that they so readily agreed on things. Like so many siblings, especially fraternal twins, their interests were often at opposite ends of the spectrum. It looked like his kids were growing up and becoming young adults. Prior years had seen them argue over what to do and a few times tears were shed, mostly by Lyssa as a means to get her own way. David had quashed those episodes pretty quick and had taken away their choices and he had decided what they were going to do. They found out pretty quickly that Dad wouldn’t put up with that kind of behaviour.
As they were finishing up Lyssa asked if they could maybe charter a boat for a couple of days for their birthday weekend. David normally took off the whole week between the kid’s birthday and the Fourth of July, but because they were all working he had decided to take off most of the Fridays while they were here. That would give them all three day weekends so they could do a variety of things. It also meant he wouldn't fall behind at work and then have to spend the rest of the summer playing catch up.
“I’ve got a better idea. Just let me make a phone call.” David told her. He settled the check and then walked outside, tapping on his phone to connect a call.
After three rings he heard “Hi David! How was your trip?”
“Hey TC. It was good and it was quick. It’s nice to have the kids here. So anyway, I need to ask you a couple of things. First, are you and your boat available the weekend of the 28th?” David inquired.
“Yeah, I should be. I don't have anything going on for the rest of the month, Why?” TC asked.
“Lyssa would like to know if we could take them out for the weekend for their birthday. I’ll pay for gas and provisions.” David offered.
“Tell Lyssa I think that can be arranged, You don’t need to pay for gas and groceries though, I’ll take care of that. I was planning on having an outing or two with you guys anyway.” TC informed him.
David snickered as he said. “Thanks. I guess I’ll have to find another way to compensate you for your Captain services.” In the back of his mind he knew he couldn’t let TC pay for his kid’s birthday weekend. He’d have to talk with him and work something out.
TC laughed on the other end of the phone and agreed, “I’m sure we can come to some kind of agreement.”
David saw both his kids trying not to laugh. He had forgotten they could overhear him. He rolled his eyes and then continued, “Second thing. We’re going to hang out by the pool this afternoon. Do you want to come over? Meet the kids, swim for a bit, eat some steaks, drink a couple of beers or whatever?”
“I don’t want to impose on you on your first day back with your kids.” TC said.
“TC, I just invited you over, you're not imposing.” David pointed out.
“OK, I’ve got a few things to do today, so I can probably be there around four, four-thirty, if that’s OK with you.” TC told him.
“Sounds good, bring your trunks and whatever you need in case you want to stay over.” David replied.
“Are you sure about that?” TC questioned.
“Yes, TC, I’m sure.” David was also pretty sure that TC was smiling on the other end of the line.
TC agreed and they wrapped up the call. David ignored the smug looks on both of his kid’s faces as he led them to the car. There was a brief scuffle as both kids called shotgun. Lyssa won when she gave Owen a wet willy when he got too close. Maybe they weren’t growing up so fast after all.
Back at the house David decided to do some yard work. The lawn company had just mowed and trimmed, but he needed to weed his front flower beds and around the bushes. Owen came out to help and said Lyssa was going to prep some stuff for the cookout later. David had taken out some steaks out of the freezer. He liked to put the steaks into zip lock bags with marinade before he froze them, that way as they thawed out the marinade could work its magic, adding flavor to the beef.
David and Owen worked side by side pulling weeds and just chatting. Owen wasn’t much of a talker on the phone or Skype, but he was much more animated face to face. He was excited to have a job for the summer. He wanted to start saving up to buy a car and this summer’s earnings would give him a good head start.
The Florida sun beat down on them as they worked in the front for an hour before moving to the back. David had to reapply sunscreen and made Owen do the same. Owen helped him pull the weeds in the flower beds and along the sides of his house. They moved around to the back and cleaned up the area around the lanai and by the time they were done they were both soaked with sweat and had streaks of dirt on every limb.
David and Owen put the yard waste bags along the side of the house, ready to be taken to the curb on yard waste pick up day. He had ordered the biodegradable plastic bags to try out. He couldn’t use the large paper bags, it rained too often and they fell apart before he could get them out to the curb. Hopefully the new bags would work out, they weren’t exactly cheap.
He opened the slider on the lanai and asked Lyssa to grab his and Owen’s suits and then make herself scarce for ten minutes. Once she had tossed him the suits she disappeared into the house. Owen let David hose him off as he shucked off his sweaty, dirty clothes. When the worst of the dirt and sweat was gone he grabbed his suit and dove into the deep end and shimmied his trunks up his long legs and covered his bare ass. It was a lot easier than trying to wrangle them up over sweaty skin. David hosed himself off, stripped down and dove in, following Owen’s lead. They were both decent when Lyssa appeared a few minutes later.
While they were decent, Lyssa was not. David took one look at his daughter and pointed back to the house. “Go. Go get changed. You're not wearing that in the pool. As a matter of fact, you’re not wearing that at all this summer, if ever. Go put something decent on!” he admonished.
Lyssa had come out wearing one of the skimpiest suits David had ever seen. Totally inappropriate for a girl her age. As Lyssa turned to stomp back into the house David’s brain was forever seared with the image of his daughter’s butt storming off in a thong bikini bottom, not to mention the top had barely covered her, and she wasn’t even a big girl in that department.
He turned to Owen saying “What the hell was Renee thinking, letting her buy something like that?!!”
Owen laughed and replied “Dad, do you really think Mom knew about that getup? And FYI, she’s got two more stashed away too.” Owen enjoyed ratting out his sister.
David calmed down. Owen had a point. Renee would never buy something like that nor would she let Lyssa make such a purchase. The girl was testing his limits, he figured out that much. She should know better.
Lyssa came back out wearing a suit that was much more appropriate. The boy short style bottoms covered all of her backside and other than showing off her little bit of cleavage, the top covered everything it was supposed to as well. David nodded his approval.
“You will NOT be wearing that other suit ever again while you are here. I want all three suits mailed back to Maine. Do you understand me?” David said sternly.
Lyssa nodded and apologized. “I’m sorry Dad.” She knew he meant business. She did, however, shoot Owen a scathing glare. How else would her Dad have known she had two more skimpy bikinis? He merely smirked back at her. David had already turned his back and didn’t see the exchange.
The incident was put behind them and David spent the next few hours fooling around with his kids or laying in the shade. He was vigilant about reapplying sunscreen and harped at his kids every hour as well. Florida was known as the Sunshine State and plenty of tourists and natives alike could attest to that.
Around three-thirty David got out of the pool to dry off. He didn’t want to be dripping wet when TC arrived. His suit dried quickly in the ninety-two degree heat and at four o’clock he headed inside to get some snacks for everyone. As soon as he stepped inside the drastic change in temperature and humidity levels brough goosebumps out on his skin. He was grateful for the air conditioning though, it felt refreshing.
He had a bag of tortilla chips and a big jar of salsa that he had bought earlier in the week. He still needed to get some fresh fruit for Lyssa. He had held off, not wanting it to spoil while he was gone. He had some fresh vegetables, but would need to get more now that Lyssa was here. She liked to snack on a variety of raw veggies.
It was nearly four-fifteen when he heard TC’s knock at his front door. David wiped off his hands and went to greet his friend. TC looked good. He was wearing board shorts and he had a plain white, fitted tank top on as well. TC hugged him with one arm as soon as he stepped over the threshold. He had a couple of plastic grocery bags in the other hand, as well as his overnight bag.
David closed the front door and led him to the kitchen. TC smiled at him, happy to see David. David smiled back brightly, especially when he saw that TC had brought a big container of fresh fruit as he took it out of one of the grocery bags. The other bag held a couple of boxes of frozen juice bars. Perfect for a hot afternoon,
“Hey!” he said, giving David a full, two armed hug and a kiss. “I figured you didn’t have time to hit Publix so I got some fruit. I’m pretty sure I remembered you said your daughter was addicted or something like that.”
“You are a lifesaver! This is her favorite too!” David exclaimed as he took the plastic container with big chunks of pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, strawberries and blueberries from him. David planted another kiss on his friend.
“Come on and let me introduce you to my spawn.” David said with a grin.
The kids were still horsing around, trying to drown each other. Owen had the upper hand, his size alone dwarfing his sister. She, however, was slippery like a seal. She could easily ball herself up to evade her brother’s attempts at grabbing her.
David caught their attention and made the introductions. The kids were both friendly in their greetings and he could see it put TC at ease. The kids climbed out of the pool and grabbed their towels when David mentioned snacks. TC helped him bring the stuff out and they grabbed several bottles of water as well.
Lyssa’s eyes lit up when she saw the fruit. “Ooooooooo! Thanks Dad!” she exclaimed.
“Thank TC, he brought it.” David corrected.
“Thanks TC, this is my favorite, especially the pineapple. Yum!” Lyssa exclaimed.
“You’re welcome.” TC replied.
The four of them sat in the shade at the outdoor table and David let the kids take the lead with the conversation. TC was more than willing to answer their questions and he asked quite a few of his own, his interest in their answers genuine.
“So what does TC stand for?” Owen inquired.
TC smiled and replied “Triton Christos, last name Panatopolous.”
“That’s a helluva mouthful.” Owen retorted.
“Yeah, well let’s just say my parents are more than a little pretentious. They like to think their social standing is higher than it is. Don’t get me wrong, they do run around in high social circles, but they sometimes act like they’re royalty. My friends and colleagues all call me Chris.” TC replied, chuckling at Owen’s comment.
“So why does Dad call you TC?” Lyssa asked.
“Because I want to.” David told her.
TC laughed and clarified, “He and all our college friends called me TC. He just never grew up and figured out how to use my grown up name. You guys can just call me TC.”
Both of the kids laughed at that.
The fruit and chips and salsa quickly disappeared, along with the frozen juice bars and by the time it was all gone the heat from the late afternoon sun drove them back into the pool. All TC needed to do was pull off his tank top and he was ready to jump in.
Lyssa ogled him for a moment and then let out a long whistle, “Nice going Dad!” she yelled before diving into the deep end. TC actually blushed. David had to admit the man cut a fine picture. His body was something to be admired and David agreed with his daughter.
He gave TC a quick peck on his bearded cheek and then gave his ass a quick pinch before leaping into the pool after his daughter. This, of course, spurred TC to jump in and go after David. David didn’t stand a chance as his kids took TC’s side and between the three of them, they managed to dunk him several times.
They spent about an hour horsing around in the pool, which by now was getting the late afternoon sun so more sunscreen was required. Even though David had applied sunscreen several times throughout the day, his back and nose still managed to turn pink with a slight sunburn.
David called it quits about six-thirty, hopping out to dry off. He lit the gas grill, letting the burners warm up. Earlier in the day Lyssa had pre-cooked some sweet potatoes and wrapped them in foil. He grabbed them from the kitchen and put them on the top rack of the grill to finish the cooking process. The steaks had been thawing out and marinating all day. David had a decent stock of vegetables and earlier Lyssa had put together some vegetable kabobs. Opening the refrigerator, David grabbed the plate with the long skewers of onions, peppers, zucchini and, in lieu of cherry tomatoes which he didn’t have, sun-dried tomatoes, which Lyssa had substituted. TC soon joined him and together they got out plates, silverware, napkins and other stuff they would need.
David saw both the kids get out of the pool to dry off. Lyssa threw on a coverup over her swimsuit and laid out on one of the loungers to finish the drying process. Owen merely towelled off, shook his head like a dog and then grabbed his phone before flopping on the other lounger. They were both soon engrossed in their phones.
David went over to the cabinet where he kept his liquor and took out a bottle of Old Smokey Salted Caramel Whiskey. He filled two short tumblers with ice and poured a good measure of the amber liquid into both. He handed one to TC who took a tentative sip.
Looking up at David over the rim of the tumbler he smiled his approval.
“This is good. I never really appreciated the flavored whiskies before. I may have to indulge in some others if they’re as good as this one.” TC commented.
“Yeah, well Terry got me hooked. It seems like everytime I hit the liquor store I end up buying a bottle of something new. You’d think I was a lush or something.” David laughed.
David took the platter of steaks and kabobs out to the grill and it wasn’t long before the delicious smell of grilling meat and vegetables permeated the air around them. Once everything was ready they sat at the outdoor table to enjoy the fantastic rib-eye steaks and the trimmings. Conversation flowed smoothly and David was happy that his kids were so accepting of TC. Not that he had any doubts, but if for some reason his kids didn’t like TC, he would have had to make a hard choice, and he knew his kids would always come first.
After dinner was cleaned up, which Owen and Lyssa did the majority of, they decided to break out the poker set and get a friendly game of Texas Hold ‘Em going. Lyssa had no poker face whatsoever and she lasted only forty-five minutes. David had a string of shit poor hands and got knocked out by Owen not long after Lyssa.
It took several more hands between TC and Owen, both of whom held stone cold stares throughout, before Owen’s full house beat out TC’s flush in diamonds. TC gracefully conceded defeat as he pushed his chips across the table. Owen now had bragging rights, plus fifty bucks in his pocket.
They cleaned up their mess and headed to their respective rooms. TC had decided to stay and David was glad. Once they had finished getting ready for bed they both slid under the covers and TC pulled David close. They kept their activities limited to mutual blowjobs, both of them needing the release. Drifting off to sleep snuggled up to each other came naturally now.
Sunday morning David was up before everyone and he started breakfast rolling along. Coffee was made, bacon was frying and he scrambled an entire carton of eighteen eggs, adding some seasoning and cheese. The aroma of food wafting through the house roused TC, who had thrown on some loose cargo shorts and a skin tight white tank top which showed off his deeply bronzed olive skin nicely.
The kids weren’t too far behind and soon the kitchen was filled with chatter back and forth. Lyssa asked if David would take her shopping later, she needed some new riding breeches because she had sent down a couple of older pairs that were supposed to be donated as they didn’t fit her anymore by mistake. David had a sneaking suspicion that the ‘mistake’ was planned. He didn’t mind. The custody agreement that he and Renee had was a joint arrangement. He was not obligated to pay child support, but he did cover the cost of all of their extra-curricular activities. Lyssa had been riding horses since she was around five and during the spring and fall she usually had two to three competitions each month. Entry fees and the leasing fee for the horse she usually rode could add up quickly. David was glad it wasn’t a year round thing.
Owen was a little easier. He still continued with his Jiu Jitsu lessons twice a week, but the cost of those had gone down as he now taught a beginner’s class in exchange for a higher level lesson. He had played hockey for three seasons when he was in middle school and David nearly had a heart attack the first season. Who knew that funding your kid’s hockey season would almost necessitate taking out a second mortgage? He had felt bad for Renee though, she had to deal with a hockey equipment bag in her trunk for several months. Ewww. Now that Owen was in high school David paid a yearly athletic fee for him and then whatever costs were associated with booster dues. It was a helluva lot less than hockey, that was for sure. Now Owen stuck to soccer in the fall and lacrosse in the spring. Lacrosse was an easy switch from hockey and he was pretty good at it.
TC had managed to shift the conversation to the kids’ birthday weekend and was mentally storing away the tidbits of information they were giving him. David would have to make sure that he put the grocery order in as soon as he could, otherwise he knew TC would try to slide that one by him. He fully intended on covering part of the weekend costs, regardless of what TC wanted.
Once the mess from breakfast had been cleaned up TC decided to bail. Apparently shopping for an almost sixteen year old girl was low down on his list of priorities.
“Chicken.” David whispered as TC brushed his neck with his beard, sending a shiver down David’s spine. There was something about the light scratch of TC’s beard that gave David a jolt in all the right places whenever it touched him.
“My Momma didn’t raise no dummies.” David teased him with a fake hillbilly accent. He gave David one more quick kiss and headed for his car.
“Bye TC!” both Owen and Lyssa called out after him. He turned and waved back.
David stood in the doorway as his handsome friend started up his car and backed out of the driveway. Once he was out of sight David turned to Lyssa and told her, “We can leave whenever you’re ready, so scoot!”
Lyssa scampered down to her room to grab her phone, not really needing anything else. David asked Owen if he needed anything and the kid replied that no, he was good. He actually looked at his stuff before it was shipped. Lyssa stuck her tongue out at him.
There was an equestrian consignment shop in Bradenton and it took them a half hour to get there. During the car ride Lyssa chattered on about how excited she was to actually get to work on the farm this summer. In the past she had spent time out there hanging out with Rachael. She was friendly with Cara and looked up to her. The job was perfect for her as she liked working with the younger kids. David knew her enthusiasm for riding would rub off them easily.
The shop they went to was small and the lady who was working was very helpful. She had several pairs of riding breeches in Lyssa’s size and after trying them on Lyssa settled on three pairs of lightweight breeches and a pair of gently used work boots. As a bonus David also got her a nice pair of work gloves. On the ride back they discussed her schedule and David told her it was OK if she stayed over on Monday nights. He would drive her out to the farm early on the other three days and also pick her up on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Cara had stepped up and offered to bring her home on Thursdays as she was taking an online biology class over the first summer session, but she needed to attend a lab and the only time it was offered at night was Thursdays so she had to come to their side of town anyway.
David was glad that this would be the only summer he would have to play chauffeur with both of them having jobs. Next summer they would both have their licenses and he would probably pick up a secondhand car for them to use while they were here. He’d cross that bridge when he got to it.
They stopped at Target on their way home and picked up some noise cancelling headphones for Owen. He had complained to his sister that the ones he had sucked, so she asked David if he would get Owen a pair that he had his eye on. After stopping at Target David dragged Lyssa to Publix to stock up on groceries. An hour later and his bank account a few hundred dollars lighter they were pulling back into the driveway. Owen came out to help bring in the groceries, which was a good thing seeing how the kid would probably eat half the stuff by himself. Lyssa had made sure they were fully stocked on fruits and veggies and she had her brother’s back and had thrown in some chips and cookies for him.
The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing by the pool, David making sure he stayed in the shade. They grilled some chicken and Lyssa made a really good broccoli and cauliflower baked dish that she had found the recipe online for. The kids were starting their jobs the next day so David had them make sure they had everything they needed. Lyssa would keep some of her stuff like the work boots and breeches at Miles and Andi’s place. By the end of the summer half her stuff would be there and David was sure he’d be finding stuff of Rachael’s to bring back to her. She and Lyssa were about the same size and swapped clothes all summer.
The plan was for Owen to meet David at his work when he was done at the marina and hang out so that they could go straight to the gym after David was through working to see about getting him a temporary membership. David figured they could grab dinner while they were out.
David shot a quick text off to TC before going to bed and ended up texting back and forth for a half hour before finally settling down for the night. The summer now stretched out before them, but somehow David knew it would be over before any of them realized it.
This was the chapter I lost half of and had to rewrite last weekend which contributed to needing to put myself in timeout. It's hard when the original was written weeks ago. It's not quite what it was, but close enough. The dynamics are all there. I liked giving David another dimension. David the "dad" is another side of him that TC will get to know.