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    Mikiesboy
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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.

Changes, Again - 7. Life Goes On

 

The four of us flew home together on Saturday. Leaving my mother had been hard, but she said she wanted some time on her own; to reflect, and sort my father’s things. We’d talked a bit that morning before we took the taxi back to St. John’s to catch our flight.

 

“Ma, you need to do what feels the best for you, of course.” I stood as I gazed out of the window. “You are pretty isolated here. And you’re not keen on driving.”

“Yes, I do ‘ave Laura and Maureen in St. John’s, and other friends too.” Ma leaned on the table; with a cup of tea between her hands. “There is much more ta do there, to be involved wit. I’d get rid of the Range Rover; a nice little car would be more my style I think.”

Rena and Robert had joined us then. They slid into the remaining seats at the table.

Robert said, “We haven’t talked to Louis or Don about this yet, but after we get married, well, we’ll likely move out of the granny house.”

Well, this was news to me! “Really?” I turned toward them. They both looked up at me. I sat down at the head of the table. “I guess I can understand why.”

“We’re only saying so now, because, well, we thought Doreen may want to come and visit, or stay.”

“I’d be happy ta come visit but I could never leave ‘ere again. It’s my home and everything I know, except you son, is ‘ere.” Ma sipped her tea.

I felt so torn at that moment. I didn’t want to leave her, but my life was not here. It’s a beautiful place and it gets under your skin, but I never had the attachment to the Rock, like my parents had.

“Louis, don’t you even think about it, b’y. Your life is wit Don, on the mainland. But I hope we can visit more often.” Ma reached out for my hand.

I had smiled at her then. “I’ll make sure we do.”

 

The taxi arrived on time. It was an SUV, and we got Don into the front passenger seat and the rest of us into the back with no effort.

I hugged my mom. “Are you sure you’ll be all right? I can stay longer, Ma.”

“Aye, yes, I’ll be all right, b’y. I’ve been alone ‘ere before now.” She held me tight. “I love ya, Louis. I’m at peace. I need to get on wit things b’y.”

I nodded and stepped back. “I’ll call you soon.”

“Aye, see that ya do.”

I climbed into the back seat behind Don, and pulled the door closed. She waved as the vehicle pulled away, turned and went back into the house.

My feelings about leaving her were mixed.

 

Now, on our final approach to Toronto, I thought about what this week would hold. I’d need to get back to work. They’d given me until Wednesday off, which was more than generous. I had Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to get caught up at home, get the horses back, and see Max. In addition, I’d have time to think about what Donny had said about a home office and working more in my own time. That idea held much appeal.

We ordered a limousine to take us home. On the way, Don called the stable he’d found to board the horses. They were willing to let us pick them up that afternoon. Robert agreed to come with me.

 

After getting Don inside, Robert and I left to get the horses. The hitch for the trailer was on our van. Rena said she’d get Don into her small SUV and they’d go shopping.

Don who listened to all of this said, “I am here you know, and I can stand up. I’m not a bloody rag doll ….”

His mother patted his head. “Of course you’re not dear.”

Several hours later the horses were installed in their field, groceries were in the fridge, Robert and Rena were back home, and Don and I were in the kitchen wondering what we should eat.

“Pizza.”

I leaned on the counter and smiled at my husband. “Did you buy one?”

He pulled himself up out of his chair enough to kiss me, the sat down with a thump. “Nope, but I know how to use the phone. I am gonna order us an extra large with everything. We will open a bottle of wine, stuff ourselves and chill.”

That sounded like a fine idea to me. “Have I told you that I love you and think you’re brilliant?”

“No, I don’t think you ever have before.” He grinned at me, while pulling his phone from the pocket which hung on the arm of his chair. “Let me buy you dinner tonight, me duck.”

I chuckled at that.

He called the number in his phone. “Hi, yes, delivery please ….”

While he ordered, I rooted in the fridge to see if there was any wine. There was a full bottle of chardonnay, so I pulled it out.

“Lous, I have solved the dinner problem. It is on the way. How are the beverages coming?”

I put the bottle on the counter. “Done and done, baby.”

“Excellent. Let me uncork that. You take the stuff out to the living room. Dinner should be here soon.”

We settled in the living room, and Donny poured us a glass of wine. He’d moved to the sofa and put his arm around me. “It’s good to be home.”

“It is.” I sipped the cool liquid, savouring the flavour.

“Do you think your mom will be okay?”

“Yes, babe. I think so. She does things her own way. She seemed to be holding it together okay.”

“She did.” Don put his glass on the coffee table. “Well, keep in touch more than usual. Just to be sure.”

“I will.”

“The service and all was nice. You did a good job with your eulogy.”

I smiled at him. “Thanks.”

Donny turned and kissed me. “Did you have any inkling about Laura?”

“No, but things kinda make sense as I look back at them.”

“Maureen seems very nice. They make a nice couple. Maybe now they’ll just be open and move in together.” He took my hand. “Maybe they’ll get married. That’s one wedding I’d like to go to.”

Donny grinned. I slipped my arms around him and held him close.

The doorbell rang.

I went to retrieve our dinner. Oh, it smelled divine!

We watched TV, ate too much delicious pizza and drank all the wine over the evening. It was 11pm when Don announced it was bedtime.

“I don’t know about you, but I am full and happy. I say, let’s go to bed.”

I’d cleared up and been out to check the horses earlier. “Okay.”

 

I settled next to Don and ran my hand over his chest. I loved the feel of his muscles and his heat. He kissed me and pulled me close. “Mmm, someone is feeling his wine.”

“I am not!”

“I can feel that you know, down there against my thigh.” He laughed. “I want to say I’m not blind, but that’s not quite right.”

“It is considering all the wine you drank.” I joined him in his laughter. “Anyway, it’s good you still turn me on, isn’t it?”

I tucked my head against his neck as he lay on his back. He held me close. “Let me get the light, Lous.” He reached for the switch on the lamp and turned it off.

The darkness was complete, and I was glad I was here with Don.

“Lous, let’s get some sleep. I just want to hold you.”

“Night, Donny.”

“G’night, Lous.” He sounded tired. “And yes, baby, it is good we still turn each other on.”

Don kissed me. I felt him relax and his breathing changed; and that’s all I remember.

 

Sunday morning was bright. We were up early. The weather was crisp, and perfect for a ride. We had a quick bite to eat, swallowed some coffee, and saddled the horses. It was good to get out with them for a couple of hours.

We walked the horses back along a quiet unpaved road. Don knotted his reins and let Badger plod along. He leaned back; his hands on the horse’s rump.

“God, it is glorious out here isn’t it, Lous?”

“Yes, it is. It feels good to be home and out here with you.”

He turned to me and smiled. “I’m a lucky man.”

I couldn’t help but smile at that. Clyde stopped for a moment to snatch some fine grass from the roadside. “Hey, you. Come on.” I gave him a little kick to remind him I was there, and he moved smartly to catch up to Badger.

Don was sitting up once again as we drew alongside. He laughed. “Welcome back.”

“Small grass stop.” I grinned at my husband. I decided to give voice to something I’d been thinking about. “Don ….”

“Mmmm? What, baby?”

“I really like the idea of the home office … working from home.” I gazed over at him. “Would we really be okay if I left? I mean what about the health benefits? That worries me. We have pretty good ones, don’t we?”

Don was silent for a minute. When he spoke, it was slowly, like he was choosing each word with great care. “Lous, I’ve always done what I wanted. You worked, and I ran. I travelled for work, I wrote, and you worked. I got up in the morning and had coffee, put my feet up and watched the news, then I’d go write. You fought traffic, put in long hours, drove home.” He paused and pulled Badger to a halt.

“Whoa, Clyde.” I watched Don in silence, just waiting.

“Louis, why shouldn’t you do this every morning? Before you work?”

“You mean ride?”

“Yes, ride, go for a run. Bake muffins, whatever.” He asked Badger to move on.

I urged Clyde to join his stable-mate.

“Why shouldn’t you enjoy your life and work? To answer your question, yes, we’d be all right. Money isn’t everything, Louis, but we, as in humans, have given it an exalted position. But it isn’t a God; it’s a tool, and we should look at it that way. What can it do for us to make our lives better?”

I considered his words, but he wasn’t yet done.

“It can buy us benefits, something that will make you feel better, right?”

“Yes ….”

“And that will give you more freedom. More time to bake me muffins.”

His Cheshire Cat grin made me laugh. “You’re a selfish prick!”

Don laughed out loud then. “Maybe, but I’m not selfish with my prick!” He clucked at Badger and urged him into a canter. “If you beat me back, I’ll be happy to show you how unselfish I am!”

Clyde, seeing Badger gallop away, was ready to give chase.

 

Once the horses were looked after, Donny insisted he show me how unselfish he was, which meant a couple of hours of fun. Once we’d showered, Don called Robert and we decided to head over to the hospital to see Max. I’d texted him to see if he felt up for a visit later in the afternoon. He’d written back: Yes please!

Don went out to his office to catch up on correspondence, and write for a couple of hours. I got on with some housework.

Later, as we drove to see Max, I thought about work. I loved it, and I felt loyalty to the partners who had done so much for me, yet I was liking the idea of working from home. I’d have that little bit of extra freedom; more time to work and play. And should we end up taking Max in, time to take care of him as well.

“Penny for your thoughts, Louis.”

Don broke my reverie. I smiled at him. “I’m just thinking about my new home office, and how I’d like it decorated. Plus, all the nice new tech I can get—”

“Whoa. Whoa there! New tech? Decorating?”

“Yeah, I read about this Aeron chair. And blue, the office needs to be blue, brightish to help with productivity. Maybe some soft yellow curtains for calm—”

“Are you serious?”

Ha! He was looking worried, like I’d just spent all our savings! “Well, I’d like to paint it, and a desk is necessary. I can use your printer, but I will need a new computer.”

I slowed to stop at a red light. Don said, “Okay, well do what you need to. I think it’s great you will be home more. I think I’d like to see about driving.”

It was my turn to be surprised. Before the accident, Don had loved to drive. I knew he missed it, but this was a surprise.

“Really? Are you ready to?”

“Yeah, I am. I’d like to get out of this van, frankly.”

“Well, babe, then I think we should.” I turned into the hospital’s driveway. “Let’s look into it.”

We parked and made our way inside to meet up with Max. We went to his room and found him there at the table near the picture window, reading.

Don rolled in and said, “Hey, Maxy! How are you?”

Max put his book down and grinned at us. “Hey. Hi! I’m good, Don. Hello Louis.”

“Hi. What are you reading Max?”

He pushed the book across the table. I picked it up; it was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. “Hmmm. Is it good?”

“Not too bad.” Max screwed up his face. “Ummm ….”

“Umm, what?” Don asked.

“Well … my mom would have said I was being rude ….”

Don glanced at me and shrugged. I sat down across from Max. “I doubt you’re rude. I bet she’d have said cheeky. Just ask what you’d like to ask.”

“Okay, but please don’t be mad. If you say no, it’s fine, honestly.”

“Max, just spit it out.” Don was laughing.

“Okay, well … I was wondering if we could maybe go out for pizza again?”

“When? I mean, sure we can, but when did you mean?” Don was leaning forward in his chair.

“Mmmm tonight?”

“Lous, did we have plans?”

“No, not really.” I turned to Max. “Pizza is fine, but do you like Greek food?”

“Greek? Yes, I do. Could we go for that? I have money….”

“Sure, let’s have Greek. It’s been a while since we had that, Lous.” Don nodded. “I’ll go and make sure we can kidnap, I mean, sign Max out. Be right back.”

Don rolled out of the room.

“I know I shouldn’t ask, Louis.” The boy looked sheepish.

“Hey, we’re getting to know each other. I’m glad you feel like you can ask. If we couldn’t we’d say so. But we’re free, and we love Greek … so why not?” I reached out to pat his forearm.

Max smiled at me. It was a small one, but it was there. “Louis … I … I am really sorry about your dad.”

“Thank you. I’ll miss him, but he’d been ill for many years.” I sat back. “Maybe you’d like to see his books.”

“Your dad was a writer?” The boy sat up a little straighter.

“Yes, he was, but more; he was a great photographer. He wrote a bunch of books about Canada, but most especially about Newfoundland.”

“I love reading. I would really like to read them.”

“I’ll be happy to bring you a couple.”

Max gazed at me, I knew he was considering his words.

“Louis? Are you and Don … well … do you and Don still want me to live with you? I know I wasn’t the best when I was at your home.”

“We’d like you to come and visit as soon as you’re allowed. We think that’s the best way for you, and us, Max.”

Don chose this moment to roll back into the room. “The heart of the matter is we want you to be comfortable and happy.”

“Thanks, Don.” Max turned to each of us. “Okay, then please can I wait and read your dad’s books when I get to your place?”

I smiled at him. “I’ll leave them on the desk in your room.”

Don clapped his hands together. “Right! I have found a way of smuggling Max out of here, so we better move before the nurses get wind of our plans. They have been known—and I know from personal experience—to ask us to bring them food! So, let’s go!”

 

Billy-the-Greek’s was moderately busy, but they had no difficulty seating us. Billy himself came to say hello.

“Boys! My favourite customers are here. Where have you been?” He clapped me on the shoulder. “Since you’ve been away, I had to cancel two vacations!”

Don laughed. “I’ll bet.”

“Eh! You’re a cruel man, Don; you always were. Seriously, it is good to see you. Is this your son?”

Max spoke up. “Not yet. But maybe if I pass the test.”

Billy grinned, his grey, wild-jungle eyebrows flew up; as he replied. “Test, eh? Well, these two should be passing your test!”

After another moment or two, Billy summoned a passing waiter. “Joe, here, two cheese saganaki. On the house!”

“Yes, sir. Right away.”

“Thanks Billy. You don’t need to do that,” I said.

“My pleasure. Just a little welcome back treat. You three enjoy your meal. And please, don’t stay away so long. My wallet can’t take it!”

“I’m sure we’ll be around more. Thanks, Billy.”

He bowed and walked away, chatting with his customers as he did.

“He’s very nice.”

Don smiled at Max. “Yeah, he is. We’ve not been here for a while, but the food is good. And hey, who can turn down free hot cheese?”

I laughed at my bad husband.

Joe arrived and made a great production of pouring warm ouzo over the cheese and setting it alight with a loud “Opa!” Don, of course, had to join the waiter!

Joe served us, took our mains and drinks order, and left us to eat. While we did I watched Max. He smiled in all the right places, but he seemed far away.

“Are you okay, Max?”

He looked up from his food. “Yes … well—”

Don picked his head up and glanced at us both, leaving his gaze on Max. “Max, please don’t think you can’t tell us how you feel. Are you okay, physically?”

“Yes, I’m okay. I just really miss my folks.”

Don put his fork down carefully, slowly, and then spoke. The tone was gentle. “You know … I don’t think you will ever feel different about that, Max. I think the edges of that grief will soften over time. The pain will lessen … but those memories, your relationship with them ….” His amber eyes were warm. I could see the caring in them.

“That will always be, Max. They will always be with you, just like the air. Something will always remind you, a place, or a book, a movie … something will.”

Max’s attention was glued to Donny. He pulled at the linen napkin in his hand, like he was plucking his pain from it. His voice was a whisper. “I’m afraid of forgetting them.”

Don reached for the boy’s hand and held it. “You won’t. Never.”

After several silent moments, Max said, “Mr. Walker said the courts are setting up a trust for me, cuz of our house and Mom and Dad’s will. I guess it’s good they left one. I don’t know anything about all this stuff.”

I spoke up. “No, and that’s why the courts step in … to make sure your rights are protected. If your parents left a will, well, that’s a good thing.” I rubbed Max’s back. “It shows they thought about the future, especially yours. They must have been great parents.”

The poor kid nodded. “Yes, they were. I’d like to go into the house and get some things. Then I think it should be sold.”

Don turned to me. “Can you talk to Robert about all of this, Louis? I mean, just so that we understand how we can help Max, if he should need it?”

“Sure. Is that okay with you, Max?”

“Yes, sometimes when I’m on my own, and they are telling me things … well it would be nice if someone was there with me.”

“Okay … well, I will be, if that’s okay.”

Max smiled then; his tortured napkin had been released and was back in his lap. “Thanks very much, Louis.”

I smiled at him as our main courses arrived.

 

This time when we left Max at the hospital, I felt guilty for doing it. He put on a brave face and hugged us both hard. Don must have felt things had changed too.

“Let’s see if we can pick you up for this weekend. Would you like that, Max?”

“Yes, please, Don.”

“Okay, we’ll do our best to make it happen. We’ll talk soon … and you call or text.”

“’K. Thanks for tonight. I had a good time.”

Don grinned. “We did too. See you soon, okay?”

“Yeah. Bye.”

I pushed him through the sliding doors. He twisted a bit to wave at Don, who smiled and returned the gesture.

As we continued back to his floor, he talked. “Louis, I’d really like to get out of here. I like being with you and Don. Please, can I come for the weekend?”

Swallowing down my emotions, I put my hand on his shoulder. “Tomorrow is Monday. I’m home, I will be in touch with Robert … Mr. Walker … and we’ll get this moving. The only thing would be if the doctors say no for some reason.”

The poor kid squeaked then, and I knew he was crying. I pushed him over to a small group of chairs and sat down, pulling him closer to me.

“Max, I cannot even begin to understand how you feel.”

He reached for me, like a young child does its mother. I hugged him and let him cry. I rubbed his back and waited while he quieted.

“I’m … sorry, Louis. You don’t want some big baby.”

I held his shoulders and moved him away just enough so I could see into his eyes. “No, we want you. I want you to come and stay with us and be as happy as you can be. It takes time for pain to lessen. And my timetable isn’t yours. We want you to know we understand that at the very least.”

“Thanks. For everything, ya know?”

I nodded and hugged him again.

“It’s so lonely here.”

“I’ll make calls tomorrow. I will get things moving.” I stood up, knowing that one call would be to work. I needed to schedule some facetime with the partners.

We stopped at the nurse’s station to let them know that Max was back. One named Jo came around the counter. She smiled at us.

“Ah, the wanderer returns. And where have you been, young man?”

“Billy-the-Greek’s.”

I said goodbye to them both, promising that I’d call the next day. Max gave me a hug.

“Thanks for everything, Louis. I really liked dinner.”

“Good! We’ll go back again. It’s a favourite place, next to Gino’s.”

I was smiling as Max and Jo teased each other.

“What? And you brought me nothing?” She smiled as she came around to the back of the wheelchair. “I thought I was your favourite.”

“Jo, you are my favourite … until Susan comes on shift.”

“Oh, that’s how it is, eh?”

“Yeah, ‘fraid so. But, there’s enough of me to go around.”

 

I walked away with a smile. I took a deep breath as I prepared to get this huge ball of bureaucracy rolling the next morning.

 

~~~

@AC Benus thank you for editing this, and for your unflagging support.
@mollyhousemouse and @BHopper2 thank you both for reading for me.

 

 

 

To all of you who read this story, thank you. I hope you enjoy it. I love to hear your thoughts and appreciate your likes! Thanks again.

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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It was difficult for Louis to leave his mother right now. Things are still a little raw for both of them with his father gone. But both need time to heal and they each have their own lives. Louis’ mother needs to be on her own to adjust to being without her husband. While she was never really going to be prepared for it when it happened, she knew it was coming for a long time and she would have been slowly adjusting to the idea. Taking her away from her home immediately would just delay her grieving and recovery.

 

And we know that many Lesbians are fantastic caregivers. Laura & Maureen will take good care of Louis’ mother without overwhelming her. Her other friends will be important support too.  ;–)

Edited by droughtquake
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It’s good to see that Max, Louis, and Don all want Max to live with Louis & Don. That Max wants to put off reading Louis’ father’s books indicates to me that he’s planning a future that includes moving in with Louis & Don. They’ve forged a bond already and it can only get stronger over time.

 

And it’s not just about food!  ;–)

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