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    Mikiesboy
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Changes, Again - 12. Out of Nothing At All

These last two chapters are double. Here are 12 and 13 ... these are for @Tonyr who patiently read one chapter at a time. So, thanks for your patience, Tonyr, I hope you enjoy these doubled up chapters.

Chapter 12 Out of Nothing at All

 

 

Once the alarm beeped, after the second snooze cycle, I forced myself to sit up. I had three horses to feed I suddenly remembered. Also, it was two more days until Max came home.

Don’s arm snaked over my legs. “Just where do you think you’re going, boy?”

“Boy? Well, Daddy, I’m off to do my chores. I better make sure Clyde has been good during the night.”

My husband grabbed me with both arms and pulled me down. He smothered me with kisses which left me breathless and laughing. Donny stopped and just held me close. I ran my left hand over his arm. It was heavy with muscle and felt sexy to me. I turned my head so I could kiss him. His mouth met mine with enthusiasm.

He broke away and snuggled me against his shoulder. “You think Clyde will be okay with Taro?”

I’d wondered, but Clyde was a different personality than was Badger. “Yeah, I think so. He’ll just take a little longer.”

“Let’s get up, baby. We can see to the horses together. It will be good for Taro to get used to the wheelchair.”

“Yeah, that’s true.” I kissed Don’s cheek. “What have you got on for today?”

“I’m just catching up on work I missed yesterday. I have a few calls to make. I’m trying to get an interview with Horst Winters.”

I sat up, found my jeans, and started dressing. “He’s a biathlete, isn’t he?”

“Yeah, he is ….”

“Is he in town?” I tugged on a sweatshirt.

“Soon, I’ve heard, that’s why I want to make contact. I’m hoping I can arrange to meet with him.” Don was pulling on his socks. “His story is interesting. He was a sighted Alpine skier, but lost his sight and switched to biathlon.”

I was ready to go. “Meaning he took on more of a challenge after he was blind. That’s something. How does he shoot?”

Don, who was now in his chair, rolled toward me, and we left the bedroom for the elevator. “The rifle is laser sighted and linked to a computer. The athlete hears tones as he aims. When he hears the right one he pulls the trigger.”

I pushed the down button. “Wow, that’s amazing.”

“Yeah, it is.”

 

Everything in the barn was quiet. Don decided to look after Taro, who seemed not to care about the wheelchair at all. I gave Clyde a special grooming, paying attention to those spots I knew felt extra good when massaged. I’d brought him an apple as well. I don’t know if spoiling him did any good, but it made me feel better.

Once Badger was groomed, we moved them outdoors, leaving Taro again in the smaller pasture, while they settled in together. It was interesting to see Clyde moved closer to the fence that separated them. Badger, of course, was right there next to both of his friends.

We watched them for a few minutes. I made a mental note that I had to find boarding for the three of them for while we were away at Christmas.

“Louis? Lous?”

“Huh?” I grinned at Don. “I was miles away.”

“I noticed. Come on, let’s get breakfast so we can get started.” He turned toward the house. “What are you doing today?”

“Going to get up into the barn attic, to clean up and organize, before I can move stuff in there. Robert can’t help me until Friday morning because he’s got court dates. I have some e-mail to answer about the Christmas rental today, and Thursday I’m going back to finish opening my business account. I need to arrange for a phone for the attic too.”

“Let’s not forget to text Max. Maybe we can drive over to visit.”

“Yeah, sure we can.”

We continued chatting as we started our day.

 

We went about our business on Thursday; going for a run in the morning and an evening visit with Max. We were both anticipating the next day.

 

On Friday we woke up excited. Everything we could think of was ready for Max’s arrival. We’d decided to let Max choose his homecoming dinner.

I had to pause while pouring our morning coffee because my hands were shaking.

Don was buttering toast. “What time can we go get him?”

“They said about three.”

We sat at the table to eat. Several minutes passed and then Don said, “What about school?”

“It’s all taken care of.”

“I don’t even know where there is a school around here.”

“It’s not far. It’s over on Sideroad Fifteen, just north of 3rd Line.”

“Did you arrange for a bus for him?”

“Yes, Donny. The first week though I’ll drop him and pick him up. The bus will start the next week.”

Don sipped his coffee. “That’s a smart idea while he settles in.”

“Yeah. I hope he’ll be happy here.”

“I hope the same thing, baby.”

After glancing at the kitchen clock, Don said, “Okay, I’m gonna go work. I have a 9am call with Harry, and hopefully he was able to pin down Horst Winters for me.”

“Good luck.”

 

Robert came by to help me move my desk to the barn. “This is a good idea, Louis.”

We got the desk on its end and into the elevator along with the chair.

“Yeah, I’ll only be out there normally, while Max is at school.”

“Well, he’s a big boy and you all have mobile phones. I’m sure he can be on his own for a little while.”

The door opened and we moved the furniture. “Yeah, I know.” I grinned. “New parent syndrome, I think.”

Robert laughed. We wheeled the desk out of the mud room door and carried it across to the barn. Don was on the phone, and we did our best to be quiet going up the stairs.

“I don’t think I’ve been up here, Louis. It’s a nice size and the window is great!”

“Thanks. Yeah, when we remodeled the barn, we thought maybe this could be a bedroom or something, so decided to have the window put in while the other work was being done.”

“Good idea.” Robert looked around. “It will be nice you both working out here.”

“I think so.”

We went downstairs and back to the house to pick up the few boxes I had.

“It’s nice of you to give Max this room for a studio. I’ve seen a few of his drawings. He’s got a good eye and ability,” Robert said.

“He wants to study art and design.” I put down the final box on top of others in the elevator. “We want to encourage him.”

“Well, I think it’s great. I knew you and Don were the right people for Max.”

 

Robert and I continued talking as we moved my things. It was a relief to get the last into the barn. “How are the wedding plans coming?”

“I have left all that in Rena and Miriam’s hands. I get asked the odd question but mostly … I have no idea.” Robert laughed. “There is a date and place however. That much I know as I had to book time off work.”

I pulled out my phone. “What is the date? I seem to need to plan a lot these days.”

“It’s Saturday November 3rd. Then we are gone for a week to Hawaii for our honeymoon.”

I entered the details into my diary app. “Great!”

“Also, no gifts, please. Between us, we can fill two houses. We need to sort out the storage and get rid of things.”

“Fair enough, no gifts of a solid nature.”

Robert’s reply was interrupted by Don calling us from below.

 

“Hey, you two, it’s safe to come down,” Don called from the foot of the stairs.

“Okay, Donny.”

Robert and I walked down to join him.

“Did you get your interview arranged?” I asked.

“Yeah, he’ll meet me at the office at 1:00pm, today.”

I glanced at my phone. It was 11:30am. “Go and shower Don. There’s not a lot of time.”

“Yeah, I’m on my way. Sorry Lous, it was now or never.” Don rolled out of the door and toward the house.

“Go. It’s fine.” I turned to Robert. “Sorry, I’d planned to make lunch at least.”

“You two get on with it. I’m sure we’ll eat together soon. Rena can’t wait to get her hands on Max.”

I laughed.

“But, Louis, we’ll leave you alone with him for a few days. I usually find it’s best to let the new family settle down together first, once it’s finally happening.”

“Okay. Thanks Robert. I appreciate the help this morning.”

“Happy to. Now you better get this place locked up and get Don to his appointment. I’ll see you later on.”

Robert gave me a quick hug and walked toward the granny-house. I locked up the barn. A quick peek at the horses told me they seemed happy enough. Then I ran home to join Don in the shower.

 

We dressed, got into the van and drove into the city to the magazine’s offices.

While Don did his interview, I sat in the waiting room. I texted Max, and told him we were in town and what we were doing. He said he was ready to go.

Your choice for dinner. So, start thinking.” I texted back.

Mine? Wow, okay. I’ll tell you when you get here.”

Okay. See you real soon Max! xo

Cya

I was still smiling as I put my phone in my pocket.

“I heard you were here.”

I looked up to see Harry standing in the doorway. I stood to give him a hug.

“I am. Just waiting for Don.”

“Let’s sit.” Harry settled beside me on one of the black leatherette chairs. “Big day today, Don tells me.”

“Yeah, all of us are excited.”

“A kid. Never considered one myself. But, you two will be great parents.”

I rubbed my hands together. “Frankly, I never have really wanted kids, but meeting Max changed all that. I really want to help him.”

“I look forward to meeting him.” Harry smiled.

“We’ll likely have a big party once he’s settled in. Let him meet some family and friends. Then there’s Rena and Robert’s wedding in early November.”

“Your birthday as well.” Harry squeezed my shoulder. “Don’t forget that.”

“Yeah, my birthday. I’m sure we’ll do something. Dinner, or whatever.”

This was becoming uncomfortable and the reason Harry and I didn’t spend much time alone together. There had always been an attraction, and though he was married now, it hadn’t really faded away.

I think he felt it as well, because he got to his feet abruptly. “I should get back to work, Louis.”

I stood to shake his hand. “We’ll see you both soon. Maybe you and Gareth can join us for a birthday dinner or something.”

He pulled me into a hug and whispered. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, Harry. I understand. I feel it too.”

He held my shoulders, keeping me at arm’s length. “I know. Best we get on with things, right?”

“Yeah.”

“See you soon, Louis.” With that he walked away.

I sat down to wait for Don, and though I was excited that Max was coming, there was the heaviness of regret in my heart.

 

“Louis … Lous.”

Someone was shaking me. I opened my eyes.

“Louis, wake up.”

“Oh, shit, Donny … what …?”

He was smiling broadly. “You fell asleep.”

“Sorry … wow … okay, I’m awake.”

“It’s okay. Not exactly exciting sitting here waiting for me.”

I rubbed my face and pulled myself together. Things were stiff here and there. “How did it go?”

“Great. Super guy. Got lots for the article. It should make a good story. He gave me his contact information in case I need more.”

“That’s great.” I pushed my fingers through my hair. “What’s the time?”

“It’s about 2:30.” Don was smiling. “Did you text Max?”

“Yeah, I did. He is ready to go. I gave him fair warning about dinner as well. I think he’s as excited as we are.”

Don reached for my hand. “I am excited. I never thought I’d have a chance to be a parent. I know I’m not really, but I’ll take it.”

I gazed at my beautiful husband for a moment. After all this time you think you know someone. But you don’t. I don’t think you ever really do, not fully. There are places within each of us that are never shared.

That said, I had known Don liked kids, and they him. Kids always made me nervous and uncomfortable. Millie and James changed that. They kind of force it out of you—love and protectiveness. Children see people’s worth, even when the object of their affection cannot.

Miriam’s and Doug’s kids made me see that children are truly just small spongy humans. They suck up knowledge, and love to share it. I’ve seen them both experiencing ‘firsts’ and it’s an amazing thing. A beautiful thing. I am glad they are in my life.

“Louis!”

I gazed up into Don’s amber eyes. “Sorry, baby. Just thinking.”

“Good things I hope.”

“Yeah.” I leaned forward to kiss him. “Very good things.”

“Louis. Let’s get out of here okay?” He tugged me to my feet. “Let’s get out of here and go get our boy.”

I sat down again. “Don.”

He frowned at me. “What’s wrong, Louis?”

“Nothing. I just want to say … well … this thing with kids, I just wish you’d have told me sooner how you felt … that you wanted some … or ….”

He smiled a little and sighed. “Lous, don’t do this. I wanted you. I wanted each and every day we’ve had together. I was not pining for children all that time.” He took my hands in his. “Sure, the odd time, when I’d see a family, I may have for that few minutes. But I have no regrets, Louis.”

I squeezed back and nodded. “Okay ….”

“I don’t. Max is coming into our lives at the right time. You and I are solid. We have a lot to offer.”

I kissed him then. “You’re right.” I got back on my feet. “Let’s go. I love you, Donny.”

He smiled broadly. “Me too, baby, me too.”

After a stop at the saddlery to pick up the saddle we’d ordered for Taro and Max, we arrived at the hospital. We were greeted by Robert and Janet Grimes. Together, Don and I signed documents and filled in a few forms. Max was officially signed out of the hospital, and in our care. We made follow up appointments, and we then left the Administration offices. Max sat with his bags on his knees in the waiting room. Robert had gone to fetch him.

Max waved at us. He was smiling. “Hi. I’m ready.”

“Great, so are we,” Don replied. “So, Max, what have you decided about dinner?”

“Honestly?”

“I think Don and I would prefer honest, yes.” I stood behind Don with my hands on his shoulders.

“I’d just like to be home and barbeque some burgers.”

Don twisted around to look at me. “Can we do that, Lous? Do we need to hit the grocery store?”

“Yeah, we do. We can stop and I can run in to get the stuff we’d need.”

“Dessert too, babe.”

I laughed. “Yes, dessert too. Just think about what you’d like.”

Max pursed his lips, while Don continued, “I know. Two-bite brownies we’ll freeze. Then some good ice cream, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Am I right, Max?”

“Oh, yeah, you’re right, Don!”

I gave each of them a glance. “You two are a match made in heaven. Okay, I’ll grab all that. Let’s get out of here.”

As we walked to the exit, I noticed a gathering ahead. There were doctors, nurses and aides. Garrett Humphrey, Max’s surgeon, came forward to greet him, and us.

“Max!” Dr. Humphrey turned to smile at us and then at all the staff. “So, a little speech is due from me. Sorry, Max, but each patient has to suffer this.”

Max grinned. “It’s okay, Doc.”

“Good.” The doctor put a hand on Max’s shoulder. He smiled at his patient. “Well, while we are supposed to remain dispassionate about our patients, often we are not. I think this occurs more with our younger ones. While I’ve been a surgeon here, I’m met many brave, strong people who are fighting for their lives, dignity and their place in this world. They move me and they lift me up with the fight and drive they have to overcome some very challenging injuries.

“Max is one of them. He’s fought bravely to get where he is, overcame grief and sadness. I know his parents would be very proud of their boy. Max chose early on to live and to fight.

“So today we say so long to Max as he heads off to live his life with Don and Louis, two guys who understand only too well the challenges that can pop up every day. Best of luck, Max!”

There was applause and the doctor shook Max’s hand.

Several nurses and Carl, Max’s porter, moved up. One of nurses, named Nancy, spoke. “We aren’t supposed to get close, but honestly I couldn’t do my job if I wasn’t myself. Max, you were a pleasure to have on the floor. Myself and all of us wish you all the best in the future.” She handed Max a little box and a card. “It’s signed by all of us. We also had a little collection. We knew you liked to draw, so we got you a gift card from Franklyn’s Art Supplies. We hope you’ll enjoy it.”

Nancy gave Max a little hug, as did the rest. Carl shook his hand.

Max smiled at all of them. “I guess I just need to say thanks. You’ve all been so good to me. It was hard but you all did so much to make it better. So, I need to get on with my life. I know Don and Louis will be great foster parents. I’m very lucky.”

There was another smattering of applause. Max wasn’t yet done. He held up his hands for quiet. “So, finally, because I’ll need checkups, I leave you with the immortal words of the Terminator: I’ll be baaack! Bye, everyone. Thanks again!”

I moved behind Max’s chair and pushed him slowly through the sea of smiling faces, to the exit.

We piled into the van. I stowed Max’s suitcase and bag for him and got him settled into place. I did the same for Don. Nearer home we stopped at the grocery store. I ran in and bought the stuff we’d need for dinner and of course, dessert.

Once we arrived home, I went inside to put the ice cream and brownies in the freezer, and the meat into the fridge. I returned to help everyone out of the van.

Max started toward the house, and Don called, “Hold on a sec, Max.”

“Okay.” He turned his chair around.

Don had the saddle on his lap. “Max, this is a gift for you, from both of us. We hope you enjoy it.”

Max rolled himself closer.

“Go ahead, unwrap it I’ll hold it while you pull off the paper.”

“Wow. Thanks, it’s great.” He ran his hand over the leather.

I knelt beside him and I pointed up the hill. “See on the right, the next field over ….”

“Yes ….”

“That is Taro.”

Max sat up straighter, staring at the black horse. “You guys got another horse because of me?”

Don moved up next to Max. “Yeah, now we can all ride together if we want to.”

Max seemed very moved. “You … wow. This is amazing.”

“We’ll take them for a ride in the morning. Sound okay?”

“Yes, Louis, sounds great.”

“If you want, you can come out later when I bring them in.”

“Yes, please. I’d like to.”

Don turned around and started toward the house. “I’ll light the barbeque while you two get things ready in the kitchen.”

“Okay, Don.” I grabbed the saddle and took it into the barn’s small tack room.

I caught up with Max as he neared the house. I opened the door and he rolled in.

“I can help make dinner, Louis.”

“Well, I was thinking about that,” I said. “Why don’t you go up and unpack?”

“Can I later, Louis? I’d really like to help.”

I smiled at him. “Yeah, sure. On the lower counter I leave basic stuff, so Don doesn’t need to dig for them in cupboards. Best to check there first, or in the dishwasher, if you’re gonna cook.”

“Okay, that makes sense.”

“So, the burgers, I think you should mix them.” I put garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper on the lower counter. “Here’s what we like to put in ours.”

Max looked over the ingredients. “Um, okay. Do you have any oat bran or bread crumbs?”

“Um … Let me check up here ….” I dug around in the cupboard above me. “Yes, oat bran. Do you put this in?”

“Yeah, my m … my mum always did. Is it okay?”

“Yes, sure it is. Did she say why?”

“Mmm, because it helps to hold the burgers together. Let’s see, I need an egg, please. And the oat bran helps keep them juicy.”

I withdrew an egg and the meat from the fridge and put them both down for him. “That is interesting. I can’t wait to try these!”

He smiled at me. “You’re just saying that, right?”

“Nope, I’m not. I want to see what they are like.” I watched him wash his hands and then dump the beef into the bowl. “I like to learn new things and tricks.”

He grinned and added some oat bran, the egg, some of the sauce and then finely chopped the garlic, before mixing it altogether. While he did, I sliced onions and tomatoes and plated them. I put them and the other usual burger condiments on the table. Joining them were store-made coleslaw and a bowl of Don’s favourite kettle potato chips.

We shaped the patties and took them out to cook. There was a chill in the air. Autumn was here.

Dinner was served with chocolate milk, much to everyone’s delight. There was happy chatter as we enjoyed our meal.

“So, Max, you’re enrolled in the local high school,” Don was saying. “Louis will take you and pick you up the first week. After that there will be a bus.”

“Okay, sounds good. I hope I’m not too far behind.” Max reached for a second burger. “I’m sorry. Is it okay if I have another?”

I smiled at him. “Sure, go ahead.” I handed him the plate of onions and tomatoes. “Did you do any school work in the hospital?”

“Yes, they gave me some things to work on.”

“That’s good. We’ll go in on Monday, and I think they will have all your records and can tell if you need anything extra before joining your classes.”

Max bit into his burger.

Don had been quiet, finished his drink and put the glass down. “Max, Louis and I want you to know this is your home. We just want to help you the best we can.”

“I know, Don. It’ll be okay, you know? I really believe that.”

 

After dinner was finished, Don cleaned up., while Max and I went to fetch in the horses. I took care of Badger and Clyde, while Taro and Max spent some quality time together. Once I was finished with my pair, I went to help Max. He’d groomed the places he could, I finished off the spots he hadn’t managed to reach. Then I showed him how to pick up and clean Taro’s hooves.

“I’m somewhat paranoid about their feet.” I slid my hand down Taro’s front left leg. “Come on Taro.” The horse shifted his weight and lifted his hoof. I talked to Max about what to do, look for, and the reasons why.

Max did the hooves on the right side. “Wow, I had no idea you had to do all of this to care for horses.”

“Yeah, but if you keep on top of it, it’s quick.”

Once the lesson was over, we settled the horses in their boxes. We closed up the barn and returned to the house.

Max went upstairs to do some unpacking. I popped up to see how he was doing. He actually had very little in the way of clothes. I sent Robert a text about going into the Resnick’s home to collect some things. In the meantime, I’d have to take him shopping after riding in the morning.

“Max, you need stuff to wear for school. We’ll go shopping tomorrow. I guess you’ll need school supplies too.”

Max seemed a little crestfallen. “Sorry, Louis. I don’t mean to be—”

“Hey, no! None of that. You need clothes and stuff, so we’ll go tomorrow and shop.”

I mentioned about getting into his house. “You may have things in there you’d like here.”

“Yes, there’s some shoes and boots and stuff. I’d like some pictures and things.” Tears ran down his cheeks. “I … I’m sorry.”

I knelt beside him. “Don’t be sorry. Please don’t be.”

“It’s like someone just chopped off a hunk of my life, Louis.”

I nodded and hugged him. “I can’t even imagine it.” I felt his arms slide around me.

Finally, he put his head on my shoulder and sighed. “It’s gonna be hard.”

“Yes.”

He lifted his head. We looked at each other for a few moments. He whispered, “Thanks.”

I sat back and squeezed his shoulders. “Yeah.”

 

Don’s voice carried up the stairs. “Come on, you two. These brownies aren’t going to be around forever, you know!”

Max laughed and said, “Is that a threat?”

I clambered to my feet. “No. When it comes to Don and dessert, that is a promise.”

Leaving the bedroom, I pressed the button for the elevator.

Max called down the stairs, “Don’t you eat all those, Don!”

All we heard as the elevator door closed was maniacal laughter from the kitchen.

~~~

Chapter 13 It’s Getting Better All the Time

 

Saturday morning was sunny when we awoke, so we quickly looked after the horses. We had our own breakfast and then the three of us went for a ride.

Taro went well for Max. It was like the horse and boy had grown up together. It was wonderful to see.

“Louis, Taro doesn’t seem to know lots of words like Badger does,” Max said.

“No. I’m sure he knows, whoa, and come on. You can teach him though, Max.”

“You think I can?”

I smiled across at him. “Yes. When you want him to move forward, say walk. Then give him a treat or lots of pats. Make what he’s doing a positive experience. Don’t try too much at once. But always talk to him using the words you’ll teach. Make sense?”

“Okay, so I should say whoa, Taro?”

“No, just whoa as you are stopping him. Whoa, is only to stop. Not change from gallop to trot. It means stop. Don’t add his name.”

We were three abreast with Max in the centre. We walked the horses along the quiet road.

“I’ll try, Louis.” Max grinned and pulled back on the reins. “Whoa.” He brought Taro to a halt. He patted Taro’s neck and spoke softly to him. “Walk.” Max clicked his tongue at Taro, who moved forward. “Oh, cool. We can work on this.”

I smiled over at Don, who watched in silence. He smiled back. We cantered the horses on the dirt road. I enjoyed the rushing air and the sound of their hooves on the hardened ground.

On the way back, we gave the horses their head, and we walked home enjoying our chat and the buzzing of insects.

We weren’t too far from the house when Don said, “So, you two are going shopping for clothes and stuff today, right?”

“Yes, we are.” I turned to face him. “You need anything?”

“No thanks, baby. I thought I’d work on my book while you’re gone. That is unless you had anything else in mind for me?”

I grinned because I could tell from the glint in his eyes that was a loaded question.

Max, who had been quiet, said. “Are you guys still on your honeymoon? You’ve been like married forever. Geez.”

Don threw back his head and laughed. Then he looked at the boy. “Maxy, I hope when you meet the right person that you feel the same way. Like every day is as good as the first.”

“I hope so too, Don. But right now, I just want to ride, draw, go to school and have some fun.”

Don grinned. “In that order?”

“Mmmm, maybe not. Ride, draw, have fun and then school.”

We all laughed.

It had been good getting out. All of us riding together; it made for a nice start to the day.

After quick showers, Max and I drove to the closest mall. There we had lunch in the food court and then went on a buying spree. Max pooh-poohed my choice of clothes store as way too old fashioned! I was happy he knew what he wanted. We got him shirts, jeans, underthings, socks, sweats and a hoodie. We then went to buy school supplies.

The remainder of our weekend was quiet and spent at home. Don and I went for a run, Max stayed home and watched Netflix or chilled online with his friends. Sunday we all took the horses out for a nice long ride north, through various country roads. We chatted and laughed a lot. Max seemed to be looking forward to school. He seemed excited to get started.

 

Monday morning was bright and I was up early to see to after the horses. Once that was done I was back inside to shower and set up for breakfast. I was having to get my head around the fact I now had to be an adult! I had to be on time, organized and ready to get Max into school.

Don was up and preparing for his day, and I knocked on Max’s door at 7:00am.

“Come in.”

I opened the door, surprised he was up, let alone washed and dressed.

“Morning, Max. You okay? Need help with anything?”

He smiled broadly. “No, I’m okay, Louis, thank you.”

“Great, well, breakfast is ready when you are.”

“Thanks. I’ll be down in a minute.”

“Okay.”

I closed the door, thinking, “He’s gotten ready on his own.” For some reason I felt a bit let down. “That’s ridiculous, he’s not a baby, and will want to do things on his own.” Of course he would, like any normal kid.

In the kitchen I sat at the table next to my husband, who was eating a bowl of cereal.

“I put in a couple of pieces of toast, Lous.”

“Thanks.” I poured myself coffee. “Max was up and ready with no help from me.

Don gazed at me and smiled. “That’s brilliant. Good for him.”

“Yeah, it is.” I added cream and stirred.

The toast popped, and I got up to butter it. “How much of this do you want, babe?”

“Mmm, two please.”

I put a couple more pieces of toast in as I heard the elevator, and placed the buttered toast out.

Max rolled up to the table. “Good morning!”

Don smiled. “Morning, Maxy. Ready for the day?”

“Yes, I am. I miss school. I’m looking forward to going.”

I added the hot toast to the plate on the table. “You can invite some of your old friends out here if you want to, you know.”

Max appeared thoughtful. “Thanks. But you know, since the accident, it seems to have changed people.”

“It can do that.” Don sipped his coffee. “People don’t know how to deal with you and lots of them just drift away. I was lucky Louis isn’t that kind of person.”

Don smiled at me.

“I think I’m just going to try and make friends here at this new school.” Max spread strawberry jam on his toast. “I’m going to see what they offer and maybe do some after school stuff. If that’s okay.”

“Yeah, sure that’s okay. Let me know and we can arrange rides, okay?” I was glad Max felt so positive about things.

“I will Louis. Thanks.”

I spent the morning at school with Max. We met with various teachers and the principal as well as a group of kids they’d put together to meet Max. Through programs at the hospital Max had kept up with the basics so he hadn’t lost much ground in math, English and science.

Finally, Max left to visit his classes, led by a couple of the ambassador kids. He’d have lunch with them and then take his regular classes in the afternoon. He seemed happy and excited.

Mr. Barrymore, the Principal, walked me to the front doors. “Max will be fine. He’s got a great attitude and wants to succeed. I spoke to his old school and they said he was the same there. His grades are good. I think he’ll be successful here, Mr. Taylor.”

“Thanks. I hope he’ll be happy. I appreciate all of your help.”

“No problem. It’s a lot of change for all of you. We’re happy to do whatever we can. Let me know if you have any concerns please. I tell parents don’t wait to contact me if something doesn’t seem right.”

We shook hands. “I will. Thanks again.”

I drove home feeling confident this would be good place for Max.

Turns out I was right. Max loved school. He dove in, made friends, joined an after-school art program. Friends would come over and I’d drop him at their homes, or the mall, or wherever.

In the meantime, I had my meeting with the Partners and took on a month’s work for them. I enjoyed working from home. Life was busy, but good.

At the end of the week that Max started school, had been my birthday. Don planned a little dinner out for all of us. It was a nice time. We laughed a lot, and ate too much. Having Max there was great.

Later in bed Don was the perfect, attentive lover. Afterwards he held me in his arms.

“I love you, Louis. I think maybe more than I did when we married.”

“Mmm, I love you too.” I leaned into him. “I’m happy, Donny.”

“Good. That’s all I want to hear.” He kissed my neck. “Night baby.”

“Night.”

 

So, life went on that way, we were all busy but we made time to be together as well. The rest of October slipped by us. We helped Max with his Halloween costume for a school dance. He went as the Borg Cube.

 

In the blink of an eye, we found ourselves in November dressing to attend Rena and Robert’s wedding. It was in the afternoon so there was not a big rush and fuss on Saturday morning. We’d even planned well enough that we all went for our usual morning horseback ride.

“Hey!” Max appeared in our bedroom door. He was dressed in a smart light-blue suit, but his tie hung around his neck like lonely spaghetti. “I cannot tie this thing. Would one of you help me?”

Don replied. “Yes, come on in. I’ll help ya, Maxy. Lous is still putting on his makeup.”

“I heard that!”

Max laughed.

I walked out of our bathroom in my boxers and proceeded to get dressed in a light gray suit. It wasn’t a formal wedding, but we were all going to dress nicely.

“There you go Max. One tied tie.” Don gently straightened the knot. “Man needs to know how to put on a real tie, in my opinion.”

Max gazed at him for moment. “Do you think men … I mean on social media there is a lot of bad stuff said about men. It kinda makes me feel bad.”

Don glanced at me, and then back at Max. “There is a lot of bad stuff said about men. Personally, it’s one of the reasons I rarely look at social media sites or feeds too much. It’s a pit of evil, where the badness only spurs on more negativity.”

Max was listening. “I think you’re right. It gets pretty nasty on there sometimes.”

I was hearing this and getting concerned.

“I’m not going to tell you not to visit or join places online Max. But I think you need to be careful and I think you need to talk to us if you’re concerned about anything on there,” Don said.

“I will Don. Mostly, I chat to a good group, and if things get out of hand I usually just say goodnight. I just keep hearing about dumb men are, how rude and uncaring, and it bugs me cuz it’s not true, is it?”

“No, it’s not true. Not even close.” Don paused for a moment. “Women were held back and put down for a long time. But they changed things, and right now, for some it feels like payback time. The thing is modern guys don’t want women back in the kitchen, they like women who are themselves, they want a partner, not a punching bag-slash-slave. Thankfully it isn’t a majority of women who feel this way.”

“No, I guess not.” Max sighed.

“Is it rough at school?” I asked.

“No, Louis. The girls I’ve met are all cool. One, Leigh, wow, she draws wonderfully. We started to hang out at lunch time and she is in Art at Four.”

“That’s great,” Don said. “What is Art at Four?”

Max frowned at Don. “Didn’t I tell you? It’s the after-school program I go to twice a week. It’s really cool and there are lots of great artists in there. We are thinking about doing something for a charity. Like selling pictures we paint or draw.”

“That is a great idea.” Don smiled. “Let me know if I can help. I know a few people in the newspaper trade.”

“Oh, great okay. Thanks Don.”

 

We piled into the van and drove to the hall where the wedding and reception would be held. As we did we noticed it was snowing lightly.

Don glanced over at me. “It’s such a nuisance, this stuff.”

I signaled and moved into the left turn lane. “Yeah. I’m only hoping it’s not too bad when we fly to the Rock.”

“Yeah. But they look after St. John’s, don’t they? I mean they plow it and stuff.”

“Yes, they do. And well thankfully.” I turned left into the Georgian Gate Hall’s parking lot. “We are close to Ma’s and to Laura’s places so not a lot of travelling. If you want we can rent a four-by-four and drive out to check out the ocean. I’m sure Max would like to see it while we’re there.”

“Sounds like a plan, Lous.”

I parked the van and jumped out to lower the ramp.

 

The venue was pretty but casual. There were huge baskets of mixed flowers, all blue, white and yellow. The chairs were covered in a blue brocade fabric. The lighting was soft and warm. It felt friendly and people talked and laughed together.

Rena was a very untraditional bride. She had asked Donny to give her away. So, Max and I joined Doug, and sat on her ‘side’. Robert, the Best Man, and Miriam and Doug’s son, James, walked up to their places. Robert had said hello to everyone as they did.

The Minister asked for quiet and the hall filled with a lovely version of What a Wonderful World on guitar, as Miriam and Millie came down the aisle first. They stood at the end waiting, as Rena, dressed in a soft pink silk dress, followed walking beside Don, her hand on Donny’s shoulder. When they reached the end, Rena bent down and kissed her son. Robert then came over to take her hand and lead her up to the altar.

Don rolled over to join me and Max. Little Millie was wiggly and full of giggles. Miriam’s hushing did little to help. The little girl turned to wave at us. “Hi, Unc Louis!”

I waved back and held my finger to my lips. Smiling, she nodded, doing the same. Everyone laughed.

Rena and Robert’s vows were simple and sweet. It wasn’t long before the couple were pronounced man and wife, and we moved over to the reception area for a drink before dinner. After pictures, the bride and groom walked around talking to their guests. It was a pleasant, casual wedding and people were enjoying themselves.

Max and I were sitting at the head table. It faced out over tables for the wedding guests.

“You okay Max?”

“Yes, Louis, I am. I just feel a little weird.”

“I understand. You feel they aren’t your family, right? Like Don and I aren’t your family.”

He nodded. “I’m sorry ….”

“There’s no need to be sorry. But listen to me. You may not be blood related, but you are part of this family. Just like I am. The only ones who hold ourselves apart from that, is us.”

I let that sink in for a moment before continuing. “You’ve been through a lot, lost a lot, Max. But please listen to this if nothing else. Your parents would want you to grab onto this family now. They would not want you to be alone and you don’t have to be. However, you need to choose. Not forget, never that, but choose to be part of this now.”

I reached out and squeezed his forearm, and smiled at him. “I’ll be right back. I feel the need for a root beer.”

He peered up at me with tears in his eyes. “Make it two, Louis?”

“You got it, kid.”

I returned to the table with two cans of Dad’s Root Beer. I placed one in front of Max and retook my seat.

“Thanks, Louis. For the root beer and what you said before.” Max pried the metal ring tab up and opened his drink. “I thought about what you said.”

“Max….”

He sipped and shook his head. “No, Louis, please. I know you’re right. My folks would not want me alone. They loved each other and me, and I know that … so choosing to belong to this family isn’t forgetting my parents; it’s celebrating them and what they wanted for us.”

I nodded and squeezed his hand.

He squeezed back. “Thanks, Louis.”

I was about to open my mouth when Don, who had been chatting to Doug, leaned over and said, “You think they’ll feed us soon?”

 

The rest of the evening was fun. We danced and laughed a lot. Donny even got out of his chair to dance one slow dance with me.

“I’m not holding on too much, am I, babe?” He did have his arms around me but he wasn’t leaning a lot.

“No. This is nice, Donny.”

“Mmm, yeah it is.” He kissed my cheek. “I love you.”

“I love you back.”

At the end of the song, he sat back in his chair. I walked with him to our table. Max had gone off to chat with several of the other kids there who were about his age.

“I’m glad Max is joining in.” Don sipped his coffee. “I was worried he may not.”

“Yeah, he’s a strong person and he’s smart.”

“He is. I’m so glad we could help him. Thanks Louis, again you have made all the changes, taken the brunt of this.”

“Donny, stop, okay. We do what needs doing.” I smiled at him and leaned in to kiss his sweet lips. “So, next on my list is you.”

He sat back, startled. “Me? What about me?”

“You said you want to drive. So, I did some research and I’m thinking maybe a Nissan Sentra.”

“Nice car. I rather have a Corvette or Jaguar, but hey.” He shrugged his shoulders while I laughed.

“I think maybe you’d have a hard time getting your wheelchair into the back seat on your own with those two.”

He grinned and sighed. “You’re right, but I’d look damn hot in them.”

I kissed him again, this time with a bit of passion. “You look like that to me all the time.”

He held my eyes, and whispered, “How soon till we get home?”

 

We left a couple of hours after dinner. The happy couple hugged us and waved us off. They were leaving for the airport straight afterwards to catch a flight to Hawaii.

“Mom, Robert … today was great, thanks. I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon!” Don shook Robert’s hand and kissed his mom.

She smiled at him. “Thanks for everything. We’ll see you soon.”

We all said goodbye, and Max joined in. “Thanks for asking me to come. It was a great afternoon.”

After my own goodbyes, we climbed into the van and drove home. The snow had stopped.

~~~

Now I began planning Christmas. I booked our flights and the AirBnB. I also made arrangements to board the horses. We would leave the afternoon that Max finished school. I ordered gifts, made lists of things we would need to take.

In addition, I continued my work on research for the Partner’s contract. It was going very well.

This day I had been working in my office until the school bus dropped off Max. I then moved into the kitchen to continue to work and to start dinner. I’d promised both my boys macaroni and cheese with Italian sausage and broccoli.

Max had gone up to his room to do his homework. It was about an hour later he came down and moved beside me at the table.

“Louis?”

“Yeah, Max?” I pulled my attention from my work. “What’s up?”

“Remember I said that each of us from Art at Four was going to make something to sell to raise money?”

“Yeah, I remember. That’s such a good idea.”

“So, can you look at these and see which one I should submit?” Max laid out four small canvases. “Which do you think? I can’t decide.”

They were all wonderful. One was a picture of all three horses grazing together on the hill. The second was the north star sitting low in the sky so it appeared as if it was touching the top of a lone pine tree. His next painting was of three men riding on horseback up a quiet country road. The last was gray jagged rocks over violent crashing waves, on the rocks and in the air were brightly coloured puffins.

Each was wonderful. I looked at Max. “These are all terrific. Frankly, I’d put them all in, but I have a soft spot for the puffins.”

“I hope you don’t mind, Louis. I used one of your dad’s photos for the idea.”

“No, I don’t mind at all. He would have loved to see this ….” I stopped for a moment. I’d had an idea. “Max, if I gave you a picture … a photograph, could you recreate it? Like you did here?”

“Sure, Louis. Like these in water colour, or oil?”

“Oil, I think. It would be for my mom, it would be a copy of her favourite picture of my father’s.”

“Yeah, sure, Louis. That’s no problem.”

“I’ll pay you for it.”

Max was horrified. “Louis, no, I mean … just no.”

“Hey, it’s a business transaction. I’m asking for your services … so payment is fair.”

“Um … well ….”

“That settles that. I’ll get you the photo. Is there enough time? It’s November. I’d like to give to her for Christmas.”

“Yes, if I paint it soon. It will dry and then I’ll use a nice amber copal varnish on it, it will be ready.”

“Okay. Thanks. I’ll get the photo for you.”

 

Since he was well enough, it was during November that Max’s parents’ will was probated by the executor. He was left everything, the sole heir to whatever they had. However, Max still required a lawyer.

The Partners offered to assist Max. They told us they’d do what was needed pro bono, but Max insisted on paying for their service.

“Mr. Montague, I get paid for paintings I do, so you deserve to be paid for your services too.”

Pierre smiled at me and at Max. “You are correct, of course. We will then charge $1.00 per hour.”

“What? No, that’s not enough!”

Frank Jackson, leaned back in his chair. “Max, you’re fifteen years old. You are the foster son of someone we are fond of. It’s $1.00 an hour or nothing.”

I was smiling inside, but straight-faced outside. This was all on Max.

He sighed and gazed at each of them in turn. “Okay, $1.00 per hour. That’s really nice of you. Thanks.”

Jackson and Montague got to their feet and shook hands with their new client.

“Glad we could come to an understanding, Max.”

 

It was a week after this I got a call from Pierre asking me to bring Max in.

“Sure, but he’s in school.”

“Okay. Then we need you both in here tomorrow morning.”

“Something’s wrong?”

“Yes, something is wrong and we need to see you both to determine how to proceed.” Pierre told me only the barest of details.

I told Pierre we’d be in the office at ten. After hanging up, my brain ran through the next steps.

I telephoned the school to find out if Max would be missing anything important. They’d called back later saying it was fine and his absence would be noted for the next day.

Now I needed to tell Max. First, I went out to the barn to talk to Don.

 

I tapped on his door and stuck my head around when he didn’t answer. He sat there, earbuds in, typing on his laptop. There was a pencil behind his ear. I pulled out my phone and called him.

His ringer was on loud!

“Hey, babe.”

“Can I come in? I’m over here.”

Don turned. He laughed and waved me in. “Of course.”

We both hung up.

“Why didn’t you just come in, Lous?”

“You looked like you were concentrating.”

“Well, yeah, but just come in, babe. So, what’s up?”

“Can we talk for a bit?”

Don raised his eyebrows. “Yeah, let’s sit over there.”

 

After I’d explained it all, Don sat back and rubbed his face. “There is always something, isn’t there?”

“Yeah, unfortunately.”

“I’m gonna clear my calendar for tomorrow and come with you. We’re doing this together, all of us.”

“I can handle it, Don.”

“I’ve no doubt, but we are going to present a united front.”

I could have handled what was coming, but frankly, I was glad I didn’t have to. “Thanks, Donny. You’re right, it’s the best way.”

Don leaned over, and we kissed. “We’ll tell Maxy when he gets home, see the Partners tomorrow and take it from there.”

“Yeah, okay. Dammit, Don. I didn’t expect this.”

“No.” Don rubbed his thighs. “Let’s order in tonight. It will be one less thing we need to do. Less hassle for us all, okay?”

“Right, good idea.” I got up. There were a couple of hours before Max got home from school. I went upstairs to my office to work. I had a document I wanted to give to my employers the next day.

 

After the school bus dropped Max off, we let him go to his room to change.

“Max, once you’ve changed, can you come down? We need to talk for a bit before dinner.”

“Um, yeah, sure, Louis. I won’t be long.”

“Great.”

I sent Don a text. I then went into the kitchen and poured us each a glass of Coke and put them on the kitchen table. I sat down with mine, to wait.

Once the three of us had sat down together and had a drink, Don said, “Max, today Louis got a call from Jackson and Montague. Seems there is an … issue with your parents will.”

“An issue? What type of issue?” Max turned his gaze to me.

“Pierre called me this morning.” I sighed. “It’s being contested.”

Max was silent for a moment. “Aunt Marilyn, right?”

“Yeah, I’m afraid so.”

Don had been quiet, but he spoke now. “So, Max, no school tomorrow. Louis has already planned for that. We all go to see the lawyers together. It will be sorted out.”

“Okay, Don.” Max smiled. “Thanks, Louis. D’ya mind if I go to my room?”

“No, of course not. Are you okay though, Max?”

Max was pensive. “Yeah. I’m just sad and I’d just like a bit of time on my own.”

I moved to give him a hug. He reached around me and hugged me tight. “I’ll be okay, Louis.”

“I know you will be. We’re here though; you’re not alone.”

“Yep, I know.” Max released me. “Let me know when dinner arrives, okay?”

 

The next morning, we all got up early and went out for a ride. I’m sure the horses felt something was amiss, as even Clyde was quiet. We walked them up the road, three abreast, Max and Taro in the middle. It was cool but the sun shone in the early morning.

Max finally broke the silence. “This is a bump in the road, right?”

“Right,” Don answered.

“She can’t take me away from you? I don’t want to go with her.”

Badger tossed his head as Max spoke. Don spoke to the horse quietly, and then to Max. “We will do everything we can, Max. I promise you that. But let’s first see if that’s what she wants. She is contesting the will. From what you’ve said about her, I think she wants money.”

“Okay.”

We rode another twenty minutes before we had to return home.

~~~

The three of us were shown into a conference room at Jackson and Montague. Refreshments of our choice were provided. The Partners didn’t make us wait long.

“Good morning, gentlemen. Thanks for coming in today. Don! It’s good to see you again. Let’s begin.” Pierre Montague started the meeting. “Max, I’m sure Louis told you what is happening. Let me give you some additional details ….”

“Okay, Mr. Montague.”

“Your aunt has established standing. She believes her brother, your father, was under undue influence by your mother to leave her out of the will.”

Max gripped his chair’s arms. “Oh, come on! That’s crazy.”

Frank Jackson, who sat next to Max, reached out and put a hand on Max’s forearm. “Don’t let it upset you, Max. People who are left out of wills, most always blame others.”

Max took a deep breath. “What does she want? I do not want to live with her.”

Frank glanced at Pierre and then said softly, “She doesn’t want you, Max. I’m sorry, she made that very clear in her paperwork. She wants the money you were left. She must feel strongly she has a case, because here, if the court determines the contest is without merit, she must pay court costs and also your legal fees.”

“Before we have to worry about trials, this will go to mediation. You must be there for this, Max, with us, and if you choose, Louis and Don,” Frank explained.

Max listened to everything and also made notes. “Okay. If we decide on how to fix this at the mediation thing, does it end there?”

“Yes, it can. What happens in mediation is legally binding. There will be documents to file, but it can end there.” Pierre took a breath before going on. “Before you make any decisions or choices, we ask that you speak to us. Don’t give up what is yours to simply stop the process. I know it’s tempting to do so.”

“Okay, Mr. Montague. I promise I’ll do that.”

 

The first mediation date was set for the end of November.

Don and I sat in at Max’s request. He sat at the table with his lawyers. They were joined there by Max’s aunt, Marilyn Galbraith, her husband Joe and their lawyer. The mediator, Joan Timms, explained the process and her role.

Then it began; Marilyn wanted all the funds from the sale of the house. Pierre told them up front that wouldn’t happen and they were prepared to go to court. There were some raised voices, and calm was brought by Ms. Timms.

After several suggestions by the mediator a recess was taken about an hour and half into the process. Don and I couldn’t be included, we were moral support only. Max and his lawyers left the room to talk in private.

They reconvened and Pierre spoke first.

“The house’s current market value is just over $800,000.00.” He looked at the Galbraith’s lawyer. “Your client wants all proceeds from the sale. This young man has lost his parents, he’s had a life changing accident. We don’t know yet, if he’ll be able to work. Your client wants to take possibly all of his future from him, leaving him destitute. Max, however has an offer. Please understand if this offer is rejected we will go to court and ask that Mr. and Mrs. Galbraith not receive anything from the estate.”

Pierre handed a copy of the offer to the lawyer and Ms. Timms.

Ms. Timms read it and said. “This seems more than fair, given the circumstances. Mr. Chance, would you like to move to the side room to discuss this offer?”

“Thank you, Ms. Timms. We will do so.” Mr. Chance and his client moved into the small conference room.

Don turned to me, and I could only shrug. We were observers and not privy to the choices made. I trusted the Partners however.

About twenty-five minutes later, Aunt Marilyn and Mr. Chance returned. The lawyer remained on his feet and said, “The offer is acceptable.”

Ms. Timms nodded. “Thank you. Mrs. Galbraith understands and is aware this is legally binding and no further action on this case will be considered. Is that correct?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Very well.” Ms. Timms turned to Max. “Are you comfortable with this result, Mr. Resnick?”

“Yes, I am, thank you.” Max smiled and nodded.

She smiled at him. “Very well. Let’s conclude and we’ll complete the formalities.”

 

After documents were filled in and signed, we moved into a side office. Max looked at Frank and Pierre.

“Can I tell Don and Louis the result?”

Frank smiled. “Yes, entirely up to you.”

“Okay. And thanks for your help Mr. Jackson; Mr. Montague. It went better than I thought and I’m glad it’s over.”

“You’re welcome, Max. We’ll help you through the rest of it as well, but it will be more straightforward, nothing like this.” Pierre stood up. “Frank and I will take our leave. We’ll be in touch. We will work on the other things we’ve discussed Max. Louis, we’ll talk soon. Don, good to see you. Call if you have any questions or concerns.”

“We will, thank you,” Don replied.

“Thanks, again,” Max said. He shook hands with his lawyers.

Once they’d gone and the door closed, Max sighed. “I’m so glad this got done today.”

I gave him a hug. “Yeah, I’m sure you are. So, do we need to talk, or what do you feel?”

“I can understand why my dad wanted nothing to do with her. She’s awful.” Max rubbed his hands together. “So, my offer to her was, accept this and no more contact, or have a trial. Mr. Montague and Mr. Jackson were ninety-nine percent sure the judge would say her case had no merit. So she’d get nothing and would have to pay costs then.”

Don raised an eyebrow. “What did you give her?”

“Once the house is sold, a flat $100,000 Canadian dollars. No more; no matter what the selling price is.”

“That’s more than fair, Max,” Don said. I agreed.

 

That chapter closed for Max in a fairly positive way. Rena helped Max with removing what he wanted from his family home. I was super busy with getting my stuff done for the Partners. They put the house up for sale. It was a big place in a great location in the city. After a bidding war, it ended up selling for just over $900,000.00.

The lawyers would set up a trust fund for Max. There was also life insurance and other funds that would be added. If he was careful, he’d want for little during his life.

The second week of December, we sat at the kitchen table pouring over the trust fund information the Partners had sent.

Max gazed at me as he folded the paperwork up. “It’s a lot of money, Louis.”

“Yes, it is. If you’re smart, like I know you are, you can make it work for you and have a brilliant life.”

He looked up at me again. Tears rolled down his cheeks. “You know, I’d give it all back if I could have them … all of it, Louis.”

I put my arms around him and he held me tight. “I know. I know, Max.”

~~~

Thanks for reading them. no comments are necessary. But thanks if you leave some.

 

Thanks to my brilliant team, AC Benus, mollyhousemouse, BHopper2, and Backwoods Boy, jumped in to give me some back up. Thanks all of you.

Copyright © 2019 Mikiesboy; 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.

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A wonderful chapter.  I believe the universal frequently seeks to balance scales and that Aunt Monster - oops, Marilyn - will get what's coming to her.  

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26 minutes ago, avidreadr said:

A wonderful chapter.  I believe the universal frequently seeks to balance scales and that Aunt Monster - oops, Marilyn - will get what's coming to her.  

 

🤣

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There's always that one person that has to stir the pot! I'm so happy for the boys though they have a great little family!

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I would think that dealing with medical issues like the ones Max (and Don) had to deal with would be a very stressful job. As we found out a few chapters ago, things don’t always work out as well as they did for our boys. So the hospital staff needs to celebrate the victories and happy outcomes to remind themselves what they are attempting to achieve with all of their patients. It is understandable that they’d fall in love with someone like Max who had such a good attitude during his recovery despite the losses he suffered in addition to his physical injuries.

;–)

 

Max is a very outgoing young man. I’m much shyer and risk averse. Had I attended a wedding where I didn’t know any of the other guests, I would have been very unlikely to have approached anyone else, even if they were my age. And I can remember being in similar situations as I was growing up, but I always had my younger brother with me (who would have been the one approaching the other kids).

;–)

 

I think Max was incredibly generous to his Aunt Froggie. Why should she think that she deserved anything at all? Max should have offered her some sort of family heirloom or memento rather than cash. Having her turn down a sentimental gift would make it very clear she was only in it to get cash. But Max didn’t want to suffer through a trial and he’s much more kindhearted than I would have been. I guess there are times when paying off a blackmailer is worth it to avoid further trouble.

;–)

 

Max is adapting well to his new situation and new foster patents. I can see him being used to counsel young patients who are having a more difficult time coping. He would make a good peer counsellor for the hospital – maybe that can be Plan B! Some of us are less adaptable to change than Max is.

;–)

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9 hours ago, Kitt said:

no comments are necesary.

 

Sorry, but there you are wrong!

 

These chapters were both terrific! Even the bump.  Well done.

thanks Kitt ... i am always wrong!!  LOL   thanks for your support and comments. xoxo

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