Written by Mark The Goodpen
By now I'm sure you know the drill, so I won't bore you with another disclaimer to ignore.
Thank you to everyone who has e-mailed their feedback on this story. You're e-mails let me know I should keep the Sierra Inn in business.
Feedback is always welcome at email@example.com
My Other Story on Nifty:
Wanting Perfection (Gay Male Adult/Youth)
The sun coming in through the window hits my face, waking me up. Slowly the ceiling comes into focus as I rub the sleep from my eyes. I look to my right and there is Brian, still sleeping peacefully on his side, with his back to me and the intruding sun light. I gently roll onto my side, and wrap my arm gently around him as I get into a spooning position. I feel Brian push his back into my stomach, as I give him a gentle kiss on the top of the head.
"You awake angel?" I whisper softly.
"No," he says.
"Okay," I say with a smile, as I give him another kiss on the top of the head.
We are supposed to be heading to Doris's house today, for brunch. I am not looking forward to it either, after last week between Doris's demands and Brian's reaction to going back there I'm not even sure it's a good idea. But she is Brian's grandmother and she has every right in the world to see him. Maybe she was not always there for Brian, even when he needed her the most but she's willing to be here now and who am I to stand in her way. Besides I fully understand how important it is for me to be on Doris's good side.
I sigh a little to myself as I look down at Brian, who is at the very least pretending to still be asleep in my arms. I think about how fitting the name angel is for him, because that is exactly what he looks like when he is asleep, or maybe in this particular case pretending to be asleep. His now shaggy brown hair covers his ear, on the side of his head, while he his long bangs are brushed off to the side and seemingly resting on the pillow exposing his forehead and light eyebrows that have been covered the past few days by the length of his hair. His face looks totally peaceful his mouth open a little at the corner, giving an indication that he actually is asleep.
I really did not think it was possible for me to love another human being as much as I love Brian. But it seems the more we are together, the more I learn about and from him the more I love him. I thought I was happy before, with the way my life was going. My motel, my one bedroom apartment, my fast food dinners but now that life seems so empty. The life I had thought was so fulfilling only three weeks ago, now I look at as the dark days. The days before I knew what love was, before I knew what being truly happy means, the days before Brian came into my life.
I lay silently for the longest time, letting my mind go blank as I hold Brian in my arms. Finally he begins to stir and his eye lids start fluttering a little. Slowly his eyes open and his mouth stretches into a yawn.
"Are you awake now sleepy head?" I ask with a smile.
"Yeah," he says, as he finishes yawning. Without freeing himself from my embrace he rolls over onto his other side so we are face to face. "Good morning Dad!" he says with a smile.
"Good morning angel," I say, with a smile of my own as I look into his blue eyes. "How are you today?"
"Good," he says. "Are we going to Grandma's today?"
"That's the plan," I say. "Why?" I ask, hoping for an out.
"I was just wondering," he says.
After laying in bed awhile longer Brian wiggles free from my arms and goes into the bathroom. I slowly make my way into the kitchen, putting my boxers on as I go but yet again cheating death. When I get to the breakfast bar I turn on my cell phone, and leave it on the counter before heading to refrigerator to get the orange juice out. Before I can even open the refrigerator door my cell phone beeps, telling me I have a message.
"Hi Kevin," I hear Doris's voice on my voicemail. "I'm sorry but something has come up, and I need to go visit a friend. So I will not be able to host brunch today. I hope you understand."
To say I am initially disappointed would be a lie. Initially I'm deliriously happy. But then strangely I become angry. It seems as though Brian is much further down on Doris's list of priorities than he should be. I would think that he would be number one on her list. I can understand she has her own life, I don't begrudge her that. But cancelling brunch with her only living relative to be with a friend? I just can't understand that. To make matters worse, now I am going to have to be the one that tells Brian his Grandma thinks she has something more important to do today than spend time with him. I do not have that much time to think as a now dressed Brian quickly comes into the living room, and takes a seat on one of the bar stools at the breakfast bar.
"Angel, I got a call from your Grandma," I say, as I stand on the opposite side of the breakfast bar from him.
"Can we go there now?" Brian asks.
"Angel, I'm sorry but something came up," I say. "She can't have us over for brunch today."
"Why not?" Brian asks, disappointment evident in his voice.
"She didn't say," I answer honestly. "All she said was that something came up."
"Oh," Brian says, disappointment turning into hurt.
"But I'll tell you what," I say, quickly. "Since our plans got scrapped, we'll do anything you want to do."
"Anything?" he asks.
"Yeah," I say, nodding my head. "Anything you want."
"Can we go to the skate park?" he asks. "I mean the real one."
"Sure," I say. "If that's what you want to do, then we'll do that."
Brian does not say anything else, he just nods, the look of hurt never fully disappearing from his face. I get the cereal and milk out for both of us as we now have to fend for ourselves for breakfast. We eat in silence, before I go into the bathroom to get ready. When I get back out to the living room, Brian is sitting on the couch staring blankly at the television.
"Ready to go angel?" I ask him as I come into the living room.
"I changed my mind," he says. "I don't want to go to the skate park."
"Why not?" I ask.
"I don't feel like riding," he says.
"Okay then," I say, as I take a seat next to him on the couch. "What do you want to do instead?"
"I don't know," Brian shrugs, while still looking at the television.
"Brian, I know you're disappointed about not being able to see your Grandma today," I say. "But that doesn't have to ruin our day. You know where I haven't been in a long time?" I ask as an idea suddenly pops into my mind.
"No," Brian says, shaking his head as he finally looks in my direction.
"Well I can't remember the last time I went to see a movie," I say. "How about you?"
"Me neither," he says, his face lighting up a little.
"So how about we see a movie," I say, even though I have no clue what is playing.
"Okay," Brian says, nodding his head quickly.
We head to the movie theater, and I let Brian pick the movie. We end up seeing some horror film I never had heard of before but it turns out to be pretty good. As we get back into the car after the movie, I once again notice Brian's shaggy looking hair.
"Hey kiddo, what about a hair cut?" I ask. "We never did get around to getting you one this week."
Brian just shrugs at first then nods his head in agreement. I know it is not exactly a fun thing to do, but I figure it will give him something else to think about to help keep his mind off the disappointment of this morning. I drive to a barber shop, a different one from the one Brian had not wanted to go to. Brian gets his hair cut short, so that now you can clearly see even the top of his ears. The barber keeps his bangs, but now they only go about a third of the way down his forehead instead of running down into his eyes.
"You know it's not too late to go to the skate park," I tell Brian when we get back into the car after his hair cut.
"I still don't feel like it," Brian says, shaking his head.
"Okay," I say, nodding my head.
On the way home, we stop at the supermarket to do our shopping for the week. Brian doesn't say much but items still mysteriously appear in our cart when I'm not looking, espescially when we make our way down the snack aisle. When we get home Brian spends the rest of the afternoon in front of the television. I make tacos for dinner and we spend the evening on the couch watching television in silence. Through out the day Brian seems to be in a slight depression, and as hard as I try I just can't seem to pull him out of it. Finally bedtime comes, and we climb into bed together, Brian immediately laying his head on my chest and throwing one arm over my stomach as I wrap both my arms around him.
"Dad," he says, still looking down at my feet.
"Yeah," I say, as I gently rub his shoulder.
"Does my Grandma love me?" he asks.
"Of course she does," I say. "Brian something came up today, that doesn't mean she doesn't love you. Sometimes things just happen."
Brian does not say anything in response. I try to think of something more to say, to try to comfort him, but I can't. The truth is I had been asking myself the same question he asked all day. I chose to believe that Doris just is not the grandmother type. That yes, she does love Brian, she just does not know how to play the role of a grandmother. I feel like I do not know Doris well enough to judge her. I know she was not there for Brian, when he needed her but I understand she was going through a tough time herself. But now that she has the opportunity to be back in his life it seems like she is not making the most of it.
"You think we can go over there next Sunday?" Brian asks suddenly, waking me from my thoughts.
"I hope so," I say, not wanting to promise anything I shouldn't be promising. "How about we give your Grandma a call sometime during the week? That way we can make sure she will be absolutely free on Sunday for us to come over."
"Okay," Brian says, softly. "I love you, Dad."
"I love you too angel," I say, before giving him a gently kiss on the top of his head.
I start to think that maybe I'll give Doris a call myself to tell her exactly what I think of cancelling on Brian the way she did. But I realize again, that I need Doris on my side if this adoption is going to happen. So in the end I have no choice but to bit me tongue, no matter how hard doing so might be. I feel Brian's breathing change, and I can tell he is asleep. I start kicking myself for not being able to give him more of the reassurance he was seeking. But after awhile I too fall to sleep.
With a hectic weekend behind us, Brian and I rush out the door in the morning, breakfast in hand. The good thing is Brian seems back to his old self as I drive him to school, even cracking jokes about my music choice. To say I am relieved is an understatement. I was worried he would repeat his question from last night, but he seems to have long forgotten that, at least on the surface.
As I drive from Brian's school to the Sierra Inn, I almost feel that work will be more peaceful than this past weekend was. Between my trying to cover my lie to Jennifer on Saturday, then Doris's cancelation and my worrying about Brian yesterday the weekend was anything but relaxing. When I finally reach my desk, I smile a little at finally being in the sanctuary that is my office. But then reality hits me, owning a motel is anything but peaceful. I have a loan payment to make, a toilet being replaced and an angry middle aged woman on the phone whose credit card was overcharged for a night's stay last month. After finally hanging up with the enraged woman I look at the clock longing for three thirty, but it is only a little after nine. I've been at work for less than an hour. Is that even possible?
"Kevin," Laura says, as she stands in the doorway to my office, waking me from my clock watching. "Mr. Lofton from CPS is here to see you. Do you want to come out front or should I send him back?"
"Send him back here," I say, with a slight gulp. With how this morning has been going, the last thing I wanted was a visit from CPS. I figure the result will not be a good one.
Laura disappears and a minute passes before Mr. Lofton comes through the door of my office, brief case in hand.
"Hello Kevin," he says, in a serious tone. I stand behind my desk, reaching over to shake his hand before he takes a seat on the couch.
"Nice to see you again, Mr. Lofton," I say, lying through my teeth. "What can I do for you today?"
"Well, actually I'm doing something for you," Mr. Lofton says. "You see I've found out something about Julie. I'm hoping it will help you out."
"Really? What is it?" I ask, as Mr. Lofton gets my full attention now.
"You see I called a former social worker, who had worked with Julie much longer than I did. And she told me something quite interesting." Mr. Lofton says.
"What's that?" I ask, now intrigued.
"Well it seems that Julie had tried to adopt a boy herself a number of years ago," Mr. Lofton says. "Apparently soon after she first started working at CPS back in '94, there was a case of a young boy, about Brian's age, who had been on the streets for sometime. Well he one day he was picked up by a couple of cops for shoplifting, and his file was immediately placed on Julie's desk."
"So?" I ask. "Wasn't that her job to take care of kids like that?"
"I'm not finished," Mr. Lofton says. "There were two options for Julie, either place the boy in a group home or send him to a foster family she felt was abusive. At the time there was a policy in place that CPS workers could not take in kids in their care. At first she was apparently going to place the boy in a group home, but then she met him. From what I've been told she really had a soft spot in her heart for this kid. I mean I guess he really was a good kid, just had very bad circumstances. So two days after meeting the kid, she transfers the kid's file to another social worker, gets an emergency license and takes the kid in herself. She wanted to adopt him."
"I'm sorry, Mr. Lofton," I say, slightly confused. "What does any of this have to do with me and Brian, I mean we're talking about something that happened almost sixteen years ago."
"Well you see," Mr. Lofton says. "Julie tried to adopt this boy, only she was turned down because she wasn't married. I'm not sure exactly how or why, but the boy was placed with another couple soon after the adoption plea failed. After that Julie, was extra tough on any single person even wanting to become a foster parent. Apparently if she couldn't take a child in because she was single, she wasn't going to let any other single person take in a child either."
"But I don't get it," I say. "I mean, she signed off on my emergency license."
"That was at my urging," Mr. Lofton says. "If it wasn't for my involvement, Brian would have never been placed with you."
"Well I don't know how to thank you," I say quickly. "Brian, has brought so much to my life. I can't even begin to..."
"I know," Mr. Lofton says. "And you don't have to thank me. It's my job to place kids with suitable parents and you, in my belief, are more than a suitable parent."
"Thank you," I say, again. "But how will of this help me with Julie?"
"My suggestion is, next time she contacts you, which I'm sure she will," Mr. Lofton says. "Talk to her, tell her you know what happened with her. You might just strike the right nerve to get her off your back."
"You really think that will stop her?" I ask.
"I think it's worth a shot," Mr. Lofton says. "And to be honest with you, I'm flat out of any other ideas. Kevin, I don't know how true this story really is. But it's the most insight I've gotten into Julie yet, and for now we're just going to have to run with it."
"Well I appreciate your help," I say. "Quite frankly you've helped me more than my own lawyer has on this one."
"Well, I feel a kinship with you," Mr. Lofton says. "I have two boys of my own, and since my wife passed it's just been me and them. I know how hard it is being a single parent, first hand, but I also know it is no where near impossible. I see something in you that makes me believe you are more than capable of succeeding at it."
I can't help but smile at Mr. Lofton's observation, it was far more than I had ever expected. I was not expecting to get boosts of confidence from my CPS social worker, but something tells me Mr. Lofton is not a typical social worker. I guess my experience with Julie, and what I've heard about her has given me a sour impression of what social workers are like. But Mr. Lofton seems to want to make this adoption happen. Maybe it's because he is a single father himself. Or maybe he does really see something in me as a parent.
To be honest I don't know how much of what he told me about Julie is true, but it is a lot more insight than I have gotten before. Right now, I will take any bit of information I can get. Though I still can't understand why she would care enough, even after she had been fired, to try to sabotage my adopting Brian. I can't help but think that there is something more going on with her than Mr. Lofton apparently believes. Though I still have no clue how I can possibly find out what that something is.
"Kevin," Mr. Lofton says, pulling me out of my thoughts and back to reality. "There is another reason I came down here today, besides what I told you about Julie."
"What is it?" I ask.
"It's about Brian," Mr. Lofton says, kind of stating the obvious. "There's something I think you should know."
"If it's about how he ended up in foster care," I say. "I already know that he told me."
"No it's not that," Mr. Lofton says. "It's about after he was in foster care. I did some digging on his file, and it seems as though he was very close to being adopted before. By his first foster family, only at the last moment the woman found out she was pregnant and the couple said they couldn't afford to adopt Brian and have the baby."
"He never told me that," I say, surprised. "Was he upset?"
I can not help but wonder why Brian has not told me about this. He has not spoken of his time in foster care, or for that matter any part of his life before winding up at the Sierra Inn all that much. But I would have thought that he would have mentioned, at some point, having been close to having a family again.
"Well, I don't know," Mr. Lofton says answering my question. "Our reports don't have children's emotions in them but they should. But I would assume he was. The only reason I am telling you this is because I received papers from your lawyer to start the adoption process. Quite frankly with Brian's age you're probably his last hope of actually being adopted, but you need to be absolutely sure this is something you want. I do not want to get Brian's hopes up only to have them crushed again, like they were a couple of years ago."
"Mr. Lofton I want this more than anything I have ever wanted before in my life," I say, quickly. "I know it might sound weird because it hasn't been that long but I really can't imagine my life without Brian in it anymore."
"I'm really glad to hear you say that," Mr. Lofton says. "Then I need you to sign these papers," he says, taking a small stack of papers out from his brief case. "By you signing these you will allow me to start processing the petition for adoption your lawyer has put together."
I sign the small stack of papers that I think are equivalent to a novel. I can't help but smile a little as I sign this paper, and initial that one. I feel now more than ever before, that I am well on my way to making Brian officially my son. After all of the papers are signed Mr. Lofton leaves, but my head is spinning with all that happened in the last hour. I go to lunch at the deli across the highway from the motel, just trying to process everything Mr. Lofton told me as I sit at a table in the corner of the small deli. I don't know if I should mention that I know about his near miss to Brian. Maybe that would be bringing bad memories up, unnecessarily. He has not mentioned any fears of me changing my mind about adopting him which you would think he would. I wonder if Brian even knows how close he was to being adopted by his first foster family. Either way, the more pieces of the puzzle that I get from Brian's life before I met him, the sadder the picture becomes. I can not believe how sweet of a kid he is today after having gone through so much just in the last three years alone.
I get back to the motel, after taking a little bit of a prolonged lunch to help me clear my head. When I walk through the door to the lobby I see Sam, from the pizza place, standing by the front desk, talking to Laura.
"There he is!" Sam says, brightly. "How are you doing today?" he asks, as I stop next to him and shake his out stretched hand.
"Hi, Sam," I say, as I shake his hand. "What brings you here?"
"Well, I wanted to talk to you," he says. "But this lady over here has gotten me thinking about other things."
"Kevin, I don't know who your friend is," Laura says, from the other side of the desk. "But he is quite a flirt."
"Laura this is Sam," I say, with a little chuckle. "Apparently he tried to help Brian when he was on the street. We ran into him on Friday at the Pizza Palace."
"Well, then it is a pleasure to meet you," Laura says to Sam, as a warm smile spreads across her face.
"Pleasure is mine, ma'am. All mine," Sam says, a different kind of smile spreading across his face.
"Sam, how about you come back to my office," I say. "We can talk with out any distractions there."
"If we must," he says, still looking at Laura.
"Yeah, we must," I say, shaking my head a little.
Sam, reluctantly follows me back to my office and sits on the couch while I take a seat behind my desk.
"So I'm guessing you wanted to talk about Brian," I say, as I pull my chair closer to the desk.
"Yeah," Sam says, with a sigh. "It's just that he's so young, and he seemed so scared when I came across him. I just can't stop thinking about how he is doing."
"Well he's doing very well actually," I say. "I actually mentioned you to him the other night and he'd like to see you."
"He remembers me?" Sam asks, surprise strong in his voice.
"Yeah," I say. "He said you were really nice to him. I wish he was here, but he's at school right now. Can you stick around for a couple of hours?"
"I wish I could but I have an appointment in an hour," Sam says. "But maybe I could drop by tomorrow after he gets out of school."
"That would be great," I say. "He gets out at three thirty."
"Thank you, Kevin," Sam says. "For letting me see him."
"You're very welcome," I say.
"You know I've tried to help a lot of runaways in the last several years," Sam says, shaking his head slightly. "But for some reason Brian just got to me more than the others. I guess because he was so much younger than almost any I've ever seen before. Do you know he ended up on the streets?"
"He ran away from foster care," I say, not wanting to tell too much of Brian's story without his permission. "It's really kind of a long story."
"I understand, privileged information," Sam says with a little smile. "Kevin, there was another reason why I came down here today, and maybe this is something you already know. But I felt like I needed to tell you, just in case."
"What's that?" I ask, afraid of another bombshell.
"Well it's about your motel," Sam says. "It seems to have gotten quite the reputation around this area."
"What kind of reputation?" I ask, unsure of what Sam is trying to tell me.
"I've heard that a lot of runaways say that john's can't bring them here, that there's this big Mexican at the front desk at night that chases john's off," Sam says. "I don't know if you know about your night clerk and what he does, but I think he should get some type of award."
I can't help but chuckle a little. Juan's gotten a reputation as a "big Mexican" in one of the toughest areas of town. I guess I really shouldn't be surprised, he is big and he is Mexican but once you get to know him you realize he is not a mean guy at all. I always knew we were trying to do the right thing, but I never knew if we were truly succeeding at it. Sam telling me that the Sierra Inn is considered unsafe by john's let's me know that we are doing something right.
"Sam, I don't know if I can tell you how much what you said means to me," I say. "I will definitely try to find a way to reward Juan for what he has been doing. I have been trying to run a clean ship, but it's not easy in this part of town. And I was afraid a lot of things were still slipping through the cracks."
"Well you'll never be able to run a totally clean operation in this part of town," Sam says. "But the fact that you're actually trying says a lot about the type of person you are, and the type of business you are running. That's how I know you will make an excellent father to young Brian."
"Thank you," I say, as I feel a lump form in my throat.
"You're very welcome," Sam says as he gets off the couch. "Well I better be going, that appointment won't wait for me. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and seeing Brian again."
"Well thank you very much for coming," I tell Sam as I shake his hand before he turns and leaves my office.
My day at work seems long, but after the first hour in my office I hardly was able to get any work done before the time comes to pick Brian up from school. I wait, leaning against the trunk of my car, as the school bell rings and kids start coming out of the building. Finally I see Brian walking towards me, a smile wide on his face, yesterday seemingly totally forgotten.
"Hi Dad," he says, happily as he reaches me, his arms wrapping around my waist.
"Hey buddy," I say, as I put my arms around him. "How was your day?"
"Boring," he says, as he wiggles free from the hug.
"I wish mine was," I say, with a little smile. "So you ready to go home?"
"Yeah," Brian says, nodding his head quickly.
"Guess what?" Brian says, as he buckles his seat belt.
"What?" I ask.
"Basketball tryouts start on Thursday," he says excitedly.
"Oh really?" I ask.
"Yeah," he says. "Mr. G said that if I come he's sure I'll make the team."
"Very cool," I say, a smile spreading across my face.
"Will you come to our games?" Brian asks, as I start pulling out of the parking lot.
"Absolutely," I answer quickly.
Brian smiles at my answer before leaning over to turn on the radio. I decide not to tell Brian, about what Mr. Lofton had told me concerning his first foster care placement. Maybe someday Brian will volunteer the information but I do not feel like I need to go digging up anything right now. Brian has been through a lot, and it is probably far better for me to let him tell me what he wants instead of my constantly poking at him to give me more information about his life before landing at the Sierra Inn.
When we get home, Brian goes straight to doing his homework at the breakfast bar while I take a nap on the couch. Today was a long, emotionally draining day. I still do not know what to make of what Mr. Lofton told me about Julie. But signing the papers to start the adoption process was definitely the highlight of my day. I think I may have found a new friend in Sam, he seems like the type of person I can see myself getting along well with, even if he is a bit of a flirt. My mind finally stops spinning, and I am able to drift off to sleep.
"Dad!" Brian's voice shakes me back to consciousness. "Dad I'm hungry!"
I open my eyes, and find Brian standing over me, his hand on my shoulder trying to shake me awake.
"What time is it?" I ask, as I try to wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
"Almost six," Brian says.
"Oh, sorry about that angel," I say, apologizing for what will be a late supper. "Today was a very long day for me."
"That's okay," Brian says. "Can I help you cook?"
"Sure," I say, a small smile coming to my face.
Tonight is spaghetti and meatballs and Brian is treated to my best impression of the Swedish Chef. I have never had fun cooking before, the few times I have done it, it has been nothing but a chore. But with Brian helping me it is actually fun. Now if I only could get him to help me with the cleanup. After we eat and I have put all the dishes in the dishwasher, I join Brian who is sitting at the breakfast bar playing on the laptop. He tries again to teach me how to play his World War II game, but again I fail miserably.
Thanks to my nap when it comes time to get ready for bed I am wide awake, but Brian needs to get to sleep for school tomorrow. We get into the shower together, and I quickly start soaping up the front of Brian's torso as he stands against the back wall of the shower.
"Dad," Brian says, as I run my soapy hands over his chest and down to his stomach.
"Yeah angel," I say, softly.
"Will we always do this stuff?" he asks, looking at me in the eyes.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"Sex stuff," Brian says. "Will we always do sex stuff?"
To Be Continued...
Feedback/Comments Welcomed: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like this story check out my other story on Nifty "Wanting Perfection."
Chapter 20 Coming Soon!!