We Were Meant to Be
Chapter 3
ã JCPCo2002

Written By: J.Crew
March 16, 2002

Edited By: Justin Case

This is my first time writing and all the usual stuff applies. You shouldn't be here unless you're legal and know what you're doing. Of course I won't know, and certainly won't tell whether you are, or whether you should be here. This story is about two people who find each other and fall hopelessly in love. Oh, did I mention the two people are both male? Well they are, as a matter of fact one is only a teenager, and the other is older. But you'll have to read the story to find out all about them.

If you'd like to write me and share your thoughts or comments, my e-mail address is JimACrew@aol.com I'd like to thank Justin Case for all his help with this story. If you'd like to view his site go to http://Justinscorner.homestead.com

As I ran, Kip's face ran through my mind as I replayed our all-too-brief conversation over in my head. I couldn't get the sight of him out of my mind. His smooth, dark complexion seemed so smooth and flawless in my mind's eye. The rise and fall of his full lips as he spoke, the sweet, confident tenor of his voice echoed in my memories ears. His face, so filled with youthful innocence, yet his conversation was that of an older, more worldly person than he appeared.

I remembered how his dark eyes shone, sometimes with enthusiasm, sometimes glittering with unshed tears as he skirted around the edge of something he wanted to talk about, but couldn't bring himself to with the stranger that I was to him then. Thinking back, my heart ached a little and my mind wondered over what could have happened to someone so young, to have matured him in this way.

My memory also ran over other features that I'd noticed before, but hadn't given attention to while we'd talked. The clean, slender curve of his neck down into his opened shirt collar entranced me. His hands, slender and delicate, the easy, graceful way he used them in conversation to emphasize this point or that.

Then, almost unbidden, I began to imagine how the rest of his body might look. Mentally I could see him, naked and uncaring about his nakedness, his every move casual and naturally smooth as only youth seems to be able to do. Then my thoughts turned back to his face, seeing those dark eyes soften as they fixed their gaze on me. He seemed to be peering deep into my heart and mind, laying bare my every thought, amused that I was mentally undressing him as I was. Slowly, his head tilted towards my imagined face, his lips parted slightly, his breath warm and sweet on my cheek as he...

Suddenly I was brought back to reality as, I ran head first into a low-hanging branch across the jogging path. Stunned, his face blinked out of my view as I watched the real world tilt upwards and felt myself land flat on my back, the wind driven from my lungs. It was pure reflex that prevented me from cracking my head on the pavement as I tucked my chin into my chest as I fell. Once I landed, I lay there stunned for a moment or two.

Fortunately it was late enough in the morning that most of the other regular joggers were off with their families, leaving the paths thankfully vacant of any potential witnesses to my embarrassing accident. Sitting up, I put my hand to my aching head, the point of impact stinging as my sweat dripped into a gash on my forehead. A fairly bad one, I guessed as I drew my hand away and looked at my blood stained fingers.

"Shit," I said. Shakily, I got to my feet, my tired muscles quivering as the shock adrenaline worked through my system. I bent over for a moment, my hands resting on my knees as I tried to compose myself, letting my breathing and heart rate slow down a bit.

Eventually, I figured that I had calmed down enough to start walking back home. Stripping off my shirt, I wiped away the trickle of blood that had flowed down into my eye. Once I cleared my vision, I pressed the sweaty shirt against the cut, causing it to sting as the salty sweat mingled with my own blood.

Ten minutes later I was walking up the stairs to the lobby of my condominium building. The security officer, George, looked at me with concern, and I gave him a heavily edited version of my mishap in the park.

"You want me to call a taxi to take you to a doctor, Mr. Turner? You really should see someone. Knocks to the head are not something you want to take too lightly," he asked. George was a good sort of guy. He always took an interest in the buildings tenants, but also managed to respect their privacy. I told him that I appreciated his concern, and I would let him know later if I needed any help, once I'd cleaned the wound and gotten a better assessment of the damage.

"Ok, well, just give a holler if you need anything," he replied, and I headed towards the elevator.

When I reached my unit, I went immediately to the bathroom and turned on the tap. A few splashes of cold water cleaned the wound enough for me to get a good look at it. It wasn't that bad, just a nasty scrape really. Head wounds have a tendency to look much worse than they are because of all the blood they produce. Some antiseptic and a bandage would be all the attention this would need.

After a quick shower, I treated my injury and, towel wrapped around my waist, went into the kitchen for something to drink. As I passed through the living room, I noticed the message light blinking on my answering machine. I walked by it, snatched a bottle of water from the fridge, and returned to the machine, pressing the play button as I took a large drink.

I almost choked on the mouthful of water as I heard Kip's voice coming out of the tiny speaker.

"Mr. Turner...Jarrod...I don't know if you remember me, but this it Kip, we met on the plane to Philadelphia a couple of days ago. Anyway, I...I mean my aunt...we...well, me, I mean I...um, I was wondering if you could do us a big favor and call me or my aunt at this number," he stammered, managing to compose himself enough to rattle of a number with a Philadelphia area code and a room number. I surmised that the number would connect me to the hospital. "I know we only just met, but there's something that, if you don't mind that is, that you might be able to help us with. Anyway, I hope you call. My aunt and I would like to ask you something. Hope to hear from you soon."

I heard the recording of the other phone disconnect. I stood there for a moment trying to figure out just what that was all about. Certainly I was glad to hear from him; just the sound of his voice had lifted my spirits at first. But what did his aunt want with me? I felt a slight twinge of guilt as I thought that maybe she'd picked up on some of the thoughts I'd been having about her nephew, ridiculous as it was, I was still a bit concerned.

Then I thought about Kip's cousins. Had something happened to them? If so, why would they be calling me? Surely if things had taken a turn for the worse, they would have been much too busy with family and friends to think of calling some virtual stranger Kip had met on the plane.

Damn, I thought, `only one way to find out. Snatching up the cordless unit, I dialed the number Kip had given me. The hospital operator forwarded me to their room when I gave it to her, and after a couple of rings, a fairly deep, feminine voice answered. "Yes?"

At that moment it occurred to me, that Kip had never told me his aunt's last name. After a slight pause, I plunged forward.

"Yes, this is Jarrod Turner, Kip's friend. I just got his message on my machine. Is everything all right ma'am?" I asked.

"Mr. Turner," she replied, apparently a bit surprised that I was actually calling. "Oh, my, well, yes; everything is about as well as can be expected, I suppose. I'm sorry to be calling you out of the blue like this, I mean, us being complete strangers and everything."

She was obviously rather uncomfortable with this situation, and who could blame her. I sensed that she needed to hear something comforting from me, so I dove right in.

"Please, call me Jarrod. I'm afraid that Kip never told me your last name, so is it all right if I call you Cathy. And please, don't feel that you're a complete stranger. Kip and I had quite a conversation on the flight this week. I have to admit that I'd been a bit concerned about the four of you. I can imagine how difficult it must be, having to deal with a sick child, let alone two. Are the twins all right?"

Apparently this was the right approach, as her reply was much more relaxed and at ease. She said that yes, the twins were doing all right, but that their initial reaction to the new treatment had been harder on them than had been expected, so they were going to have to stay there in Philadelphia longer than expected.

"Which brings me to the reason I had Kip call you. God! I feel just terrible putting you in this position, but I honestly can't think of any other way around it. You see, Kip really needs to get back to Springfield this coming week. Unfortunately, I won't be able to come back with him. I know this must be a terrible imposition, but I was wondering if perhaps you could...well...sort of keep an eye out on Kip.

Since his meeting you the other day he's done nothing but talk about you; I've never seen him take to someone as quickly as he has done with you. He told me how you live so close to us, and has only had kind things to say about you. And I mean, he can take care of himself on a regular day-to-day basis, but I would be a lot more comfortable knowing that he had some sort of adult supervision. He'd be staying at our house, but if he at least someone to call on him occasionally and make sure everything is alright and to be there for him to call if he needed help with anything; well, it would be a real relief for me."

As she explained the situation to me, I could here the nervousness creeping back into her voice. And who could blame her. What parent could feel comfortable entrusting the welfare of a child to someone they'd only ever met in passing. I figured that if I were going to do this, I needed to offer something to help ease her mind.

"Well Cathy, from what I gathered in my talk with Kip, this really shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure that he would be no trouble at all, and as it turns out, I have a couple of weeks off from work, so it really wouldn't cut into any of my work time at all. Making a couple of phone calls a few times a day is really not a problem. Hell, it will give me something to do while I'm off from work. Just make sure that Kip gives you the number that I gave him and, just a moment, do you have paper and pencil? Good, let me give you my cell phone number while I'm at it. Then you can reach me anytime you like."

My response seemed to help her relax just a bit, and her discomfort eased as we continued talking, most with me asking questions about Kip and what his needs and schedules were like. Evidently I was asking all the right, parent-type questions about looking after a teen-aged boy, because by the time I had all the information I needed, Cathy and I were chatting quite amiably. Though I'd only seen her in passing at the airport and on the plane, I gathered from our conversation that she was quite and admirable woman. It made me appreciate even more just how difficult the request she'd made of me was.

Eventually though, the conversation had to end. "Well Cathy, I guess that's about everything I need to know at this point. I'll pick Kip up at the airport tomorrow and see to it that he gets home and that his homework is done. I'll have him call you as soon as he arrives. Now, you have my numbers, so please feel free to call me any time you like. In the meantime, you remember to take care of yourself and the twins. Us guys will be fine here."

"I will Jarrod. And once again, thank you so very much for this." For the first time in our long conversation, I sensed that Cathy might be close to tears as her voice quavered over the line slightly. "I know this is a terrible imposition, but I...well...it's been rather difficult these past few months. It is wonderful to find someone so willing to help like this."

"Not at all Cathy. I'm sure it will be no trouble at all, and I know that you have plenty of other things you need to be turning your energies to. So don't you worry about Kip at all. I'll make sure he's ok."

Over the phone, I could hear her inhale deeply, getting herself back under control. "Well, I'm sure you two will do fine. And if he gives you any trouble, you be sure and let me know right away. I know you're probably tired of hearing this, but thank you again Jarrod. This is a very...what?...oh, ok honey. Jarrod, Kip wants to speak with you for a minute." I could hear her in the background now as she passed the phone over, telling Kip to be quick since Jarrod was calling long distance. Faintly, I heard him respond in the affirmative, and next thing I knew he was talking in my ear.

"Jarrod! Wow man, thanks a lot for this. Aunt Cathy was going nuts worrying about having me home alone and all. Seriously though, I won't be any trouble. I've stayed by myself over weekends and stuff a few times, and I haven't burned the house down yet," he joked.

I had to smile at his humor as my heart was warmed by the sound of his sweet voice. Now was not the time for fantasy, though. "That's good to hear. Listen though, are you sure you're ok with this? I mean, really now; we really barely know each other. I hope you can appreciate how tough this must have been for your aunt to ask."

Kip gave a short laugh. "No, it's ok Jarrod. I know it'll be ok. I know I'm only sixteen, but I'm pretty good at figuring people out, and Aunt Cathy knows that. Otherwise she never would have called. I'm fine with it; really."

Well, with votes of confidence from both parties, I really didn't have much more to say at that point. I confirmed Kip's flight times with him and said my goodbyes, then chatted briefly with Cathy some more where she ended the call with the promise of a fabulous home-cooked meal when she and the twins returned.

After I'd hung up, I sat there on the couch running the whole situation over in my mind. I couldn't quite get my head around the idea that the very boy who'd been such a source of distraction for me these past few days had just been placed into my care for an indefinite period of time. I recalled what Kip had asked me about fate. Musing to myself, I had to admit that there certainly seemed to be something beyond our powers at work here.

As I stood up to fix myself some lunch, I became aware of a peculiar feeling in the pit of my stomach. It took me a moment to recognize that in thinking over this new situation, I'd developed a real case of nervous anticipation. Hell, I hadn't felt like this since I'd had my first crush in junior high school. I certainly never felt this way with Sherry, with her, everything seemed so mechanical and practiced. I thought about how in my marriage, I did what I thought was expected of me, not what I really wanted to do. For the first time in years, a happiness seemed to be waking inside of me.

I had to laugh at myself a bit for this. Shaking my head, I headed off to the kitchen to fix some lunch.


To be continued.