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Book III, Chapter 9
Call From Home
It's Friday after school and Ian is already home while Blake is at school for a meeting with a new mentoring program that he has been asked to participate in. This program will place special education students with their general education peers in hopes of fostering friendships as well as the educational benefits. While he is in his meeting, his dads are in the living room relaxing, when the phone rings.
"Hello Ian here, how can I help you?"
"This is Mr. Kimball, is Blake home?"
Even if Blake was home, Ian is not sure that Blake would want to talk to his birth dad.
"No he isn't."
"Well when he gets home, can you have him call me?"
`I can't make a promise that Blake will call?'
"I will let him know that you called.
Blake's birth dad is on the phone is on the phone feeling sick to his stomach. He just wants to say goodbye to his son.
"I don't know why I am telling you this, but I have pancreatic cancer, and the doctors don't think that I'll be around in six months. I...I...just wanted to say goodbye. I'll let you go."
Ian is blown away by the news. He is worried how Blake will react to the news. He knows how Blake feels about his birth parents, but will this dad's cancer change things.
Ian looks over at Trace who's reading next to him. Trace looks at Ian and he reads his face.
"Is there anything wrong?"
"Yeah that was Blake's birth dad, and he wants his son to call him."
Trace interrupts his husband "What?"
He is not happy to hear about the call.
"He has pancreatic cancer and he doesn't have a long time to live."
Trace thinks it's a lie so that they can convince Blake to come home.
"I know what you're thinking, but I think Blake should call and talk to his birth dad. I will support him one hundred percent."
After thinking about it, Trace finds no reason not to side with his husband.
"I'll talk to him."
Trace volunteers to with their son, but he's fearful. He knows there is a wedge in the relationship between Blake's birth parents and their son. A part of Trace is scared that Blake will leave and not come back. If he really wants to leave Trace and Ian both will be sad, but in the end if Blake wants to go home, then they will drive him up there just to spend time with him.
"So what if Blake wants to go home?"
Trace knows that he and Ian see eye to eye on this subject, but it doesn't hurt to be sure that Ian does.
"I...I...don't know I know, I think we should let him go home. It will be hard but it's the right thing to do."
"How can we do that just send him off to Idaho?"
"We can do it, because it's the right thing to do."
This conversation right here is the perfect example of why Trace and Ian are perfect for each other. They help each other make sense of the world together. The guys are not looking forward to what may come.
At 4:00 pm on the dot, the phone rings for the second time during the day. It was Blake saying he was ready to come home. Trace agrees to pick him up from school. The whole way over Trace is busy thinking about Blake. At the school, he watches as Blake approaches the car. A quiet prayer is in his heart as his son enters the car. He smiles at Blake even though he doesn't feel like being happy.
"How was school?"
Blake cannot take his eyes off his dad's face because he can sense something in his dad's voice.
"Are you and Dad fighting again?"
"No, we aren't fighting."
"So if you aren't fighting, what's going on and be honest?"
"Okay, you want honest here it goes. Your birth dad called and he wants you to call him."
Blake cannot believe this; his dad is actually worried about this call from home.
"Does my he really think that I'm calling home?"
For some reason, those words burn in Trace's heart, and they are burning in his head too.
"Blake, I know you don't like your parents, but you need to call your dad."
`Why is he asking me to call my dad?'
"Look Blake, your dad is dying. He has cancer. You need to call."
Blake's heart sinks when he hears the news. He does not know what to think. Tears form but they're wiped away as they move down his face. His dad wants to ease his son's pain.
"Dad, are you and Ian going to force me to call home?"
Trace and Ian have no reason to force him into calling his father. He does not say a thing and just smiles at his son. The ride becomes quiet but painful.
After arriving at their home, Trace and Ian sit in the living room, and Blake is upstairs in his room. No time for listening to his dads, they would just tell him that he should call out of respect. He doesn't want to call home out of fear of their homophobic comments. As much as he doesn't want to speak with his dad, he does want to say goodbye. The fight inside of him is wearing on him. He collapses on his bed and the tears begin to flow as the battle continues. Blake ends up falling asleep while his dads are watching television. Trace and Ian have no clue how upset he is nor that he has fallen asleep upstairs.
Around 9:00 pm, the phone rings and the caller id shows that the call is coming from the Kimball residence. Ian picks up the phone.
"Hello, how are you?"
"Is my son home?"
"Yeah, he's home, but he's been up in his room ever since he came home from school. We couldn't get him to call home."
Blake was not ready to call his dad, and Ian doubts that he will talk to him now.
"Can I talk to my son please?"
Ian whispers into Trace's ear to see if he will come down to the phone. Trace gets up and heads for his son's room. He stands at the doorway to Blake's bedroom and knocks.
"Do you need something Dad?"
Blake does not look happy. Trace doesn't want to make him mad, but he does need to tell him about the phone call. The young man knows what is up and he doesn't want to talk to his dad. It's clear that Blake is not going to go downstairs.
"You need to talk with your dad."
Blake has no interest in following Trace's words.
"I'm sorry but I'm not talking to him. Tell him that I'm sorry but I'm not ready to talk to him."
"Okay Son, I'll have Dad tell him."
Trace heads downstairs to see Ian and relay the message. Trace sits next to Ian and he whispers the message to his husband.
"Sorry Mr. Kimball, but Blake refuses to come down and talk with you."
"Well, I'll have to try later. Bye."
When the phone gets quiet, the guys stare at each in disbelief.
"I can't believe he refused to come down and talk with his dad."
Trace is not happy but he realizes Blake has his reasons in choosing not to talk with his dad. Ian and Trace hope a time will come when Blake will want to talk to his birth father.
Up in his room, Blake pulls out his journal and his trusty pen. He sits on the floor of his room to write. At first, the words won't come out but then they pour out on the page.
`Dad called today expecting me to talk to him. He...he...cannot be dying. My dad cannot be. Why can't I just talk to him? I need to let it go'
A teardrop on the page smears some of the ink. When the tears start, Blake drops the pen and his journal. Climbing up onto the bed, he falls asleep.
The next day at 9:00 am, the phone rings and Trace answers. He answers the phone despite knowing who is on the phone.
"Is this one of Blake's adopted dads?"
`Who else would it be? Do I sound like Blake?'
Trace is not ready for any of this nonsense.
"Yeah, this is Trace, how can I help you?"
"I just want to talk, that's all."
Trace wonders what this guy wants to talk about so early on a Saturday morning. Blake deserves for his birth dad to hang up, but Blake's dad also deserves to be heard.
"Do you think Blake would come home?"
Trace laughs to himself because he is sure that Blake will not be going to Idaho.
"No, I don't think that he'll go home. Look, I'll talk to my husband and together maybe we can come up with something."
Mr. Kimball will have to work with Trace and Ian if he wants to talk to son or see him.
"Okay, I'll leave it in your hands. Thank you."
The big question is how Ian will react to Mr. Kimball's request. He's also concerned about Blake's reaction to the idea of going home. His concerns are very warranted. Blake is against going home, with the exception of seeing his brother. It may be easier to tell Ian first.
Trace finds his hubby in the office grading papers.
"I know you're busy, but do you have a moment?"
"Can you give me a minute?"
"Yeah." Trace is hoping for a quick minute to talk with Ian. He sits at this computer and plays a game while waiting. Finally Ian says he is done with grading for the moment and is ready to listen.
"Does this chat have anything to do with the phone call you answered?"
"Blake's birth dad called and this time he wants Blake to come home."
Ian is quiet as he lets those words sink into his mind. Even Trace is having a hard time with it as well.
"Do you think Blake would go home?"
Ian laughs for the same reason that Trace laughed earlier.
"Why in the hell would he go home? Trace I get it, he wants to see his son before he dies but look at their track record."
Trace gets what his husband is saying.
"I wouldn't let him go by himself but maybe we could go for the weekend or something?"
Ian is feeling a little better about Blake going as long as they go with them.
"I'm not sure about taking time off for it, but I'm sure that it could be done. I do not want his last memories of his father being from the coffin. I am down for doing the trip. So are you talking to Blake?"
Trace was hoping that maybe the conversation could be done together.
"I need to finish my grading and then if you're still talking I can join you."
"Get grading those papers, I should be okay."
Trace does not want to do this alone, but Ian does need to finish his work.
"Good luck." Ian gave Trace a kiss on the lips to seal the luck.
Trace does not hear any signs of life coming from the kitchen, the dining room, or the living room. When he gets to Blake's room, he finds him at his desk. Trace knocks on the doorframe before entering the room.
"What's up Dad?"
Trace sits on the floor while Blake continues to work on his drawing.
"Your father called again."
"Stop, you can't call him that, he gave that up when he sent me away."
Blake is mad at this birth father. He does not want to deal with this mess. A part of him cares about his birth dad but it is hard to separate that part and the part of him that does not want to be concerned with him.
"What I'm going to say is going to be hard to hear, so just listen. Your birth-dad wants you to come home."
"No! I am not going. I'm not."
This conversation is not going well, but it is not over yet so there is hope.
"Son, I had an idea and I passed it by your birth-dad and he ok with it too. How would you feel about going with us to see him?"
Blake thought about it for a second.
"I told you that I don't want to go home, but if I were I would want you and Dad there."
Blake may be telling Trace that he is willing to go if they do, but he really does not want to go. He knows they would come under scrutiny the minute they entered the house. The only sound option in his mind is to simply not go.
"Okay, I'm going to leave you to whatever you're working on there."
Trace leaves the room and goes back to the office to play some games.
In Idaho, Mr. and Mrs. Kimball are in the living room of their house. Blake's mom is not happy with the fact that her husband opened the door to allow sinners into their home.
"You really think that this plan will work. I do not think you should have agreed to them all coming to the home. It should have been Blake and only Blake."
Mr. Kimball looks at his wife and shakes his head.
"Blake has not been very receptive to either of us, so if we allow his "dads" to come, we get to see our son and maybe see if he has stopped sinning."
Blake's mom smiles until she realizes one detail.
"Where are they sleeping? I will not have them corrupting this family."
After thinking on the subject for a minute, he comes up with a solution.
"How about them sleeping in the R.V.?"
She thinks about it for a second and smiles.
"Very well, I suppose that will be okay."
"I don't know if he has stopped his sinful ways, but we shall see."
Mr. Kimball is hoping that he is right. Mrs. Kimball, however, is not sure about that, she knows he is still with that kid Ben. She promptly gets up and leaves the room. (If they could just see his growth in personality, spirit, and in his self-confidence then maybe, they would not be so hard on Blake or his dads.) Mr. Kimball dozes off thinking about his son.
Meanwhile back in Indiana, Ben has made his way over to Blake's house. They are sitting in the living room working on a project of Blake's.
"Okay spill it Boyfriend, what's up?"
Though focused on the project the stress from yesterday and today is beginning to show on Blake's face.
"My birth father called yesterday wanting to talk with me, and I found out that he's dying from cancer, and then he calls today wanting me to come to Idaho."
`No wonder you look stressed.'
Ben gives Blake peck on the cheek to show his love and support.
"I'm sorry Blake. So what are you going to do?"
"I'll go and see him, but my dads are going to have to go."
As they talk, Blake is piecing together pictures for a collage.
"I don't blame you for wanting your dads with you especially after what your mom said when she was here."
He loves Ben and will miss him if he goes west.
"Ben, I'm tired of them belittling my dads and me. I don't want to defend them or me while I'm visiting. I want my family to just be respectful."
Ben smiles because that is what any kid wants from their parents. Blake kisses Ben on the lips just long enough to thank him for listening. They continue to talk and work on the project. "Thanks Babe." Blake says as he stares into his boyfriend's eyes.
"I get it Blake. You don't want your family to be attacked and it would be hard to face that hate coming from your birth parents."
`I don't know if you totally get it or not but I'm so glad you're here.'
It's amazing how being around Ben can uplift Blake. Ben can only support Blake. They are lucky to have each other.
Ben has gone home and the dads are out running errands leaving Blake by himself. The phone rings and Blake answers it without looking at the caller id.
"Hello Richards-Andrews residence, Blake speaking."
"Blake, it's your dad."
He wants to hang up right now and not talk with his birth dad.
"What do you want?"
"YOU don't talk to me that way, I'm your ..."
"Don't say it, you kicked me out and left me so you can't call yourself my dad."
Blake is trying to be firm without being overly rude. His birth father is stunned at his son's words and his tone.
He was going to put Blake in his place, but it would bring more contention into his home and into his son's heart.
"I want to talk to you about coming out to visit so we can talk."
"We can talk on the phone or face time. There is no reason for me to come out there. Besides, you've already spoken to my dads."
Blake's birth dad interrupts his son.
"They are guardians, nothing more."
Now his birth father has pushed him, Blake is ticked and he can't hold back.
"You have no idea what I've been through, NONE. Things that wouldn't have happened if you and Mom just let me be your son. I will say this only one more time. You decided to throw me out and my dads saved me."
His dad is not happy listening to his son's rant.
"I think this phone call is over Blake. I can't deal with your nonsense."
`I just want to scream.'
Blake isn't sure that he wants to go to Idaho at all now. Things haven't changed, they still hate him or, at best, dislike him.
"You decide if you want to see me or not. Oh, David says hi. Bye Blake."
The phone clicks and the call is finished. Blake's glad that it's over with because his parents are driving him nuts.
Blake is upset even more and all he can think about is how his birth parents are being deceitful. They want him to call and then they get mad when he won't call. Then they decide that he needs to come see them. Now they put out the invite with his younger brother as bait. Up to now, Blake might have gone along with a phone call once he calmed down. They changed the stakes when they used David's name.
Blake and the guys have talked about the phone call from his birth dad and it's resolved, but the phone rings again. A wave of dread comes over Blake's heart, when he sees the caller id. It's either his Mom or his Dad, and he's done with the drama. Luckily for him, Ian answered the phone. Blake's birth mom is on the phone.
"Hello, Ian speaking."
"This is Mrs. Kimball. I want to know what lies you've told my son."
Ian is a loss for words, but the words that are forming aren't nice ones. He can see her being the ever present source of gossip, even if it's false.
"Sorry, but we don't teach our son to lie."
"Well you've done something to turn Blake against us"
`Ha-ha.' Ian can't believe his ears she is ridiculous. He manages to calm down.
"I don't think that had anything to with us. You and your husband did that on your own."
Mrs. Kimball is so blind that and literally has no clue. How can two people be so blind?
"How exactly did we turn our son against us?"
"Let's see, you verbally assaulted him, you made him gather up his belongings and put him on a bus, you left him out here in Indiana by himself without checking on him, and you have no problem reminding Blake about how you believe that he's broken."
Yes, they had done all of this, but in her mind it was all justified.
"We did it out of love for our son?"
"Which son Mrs. Kimball?"
She was quiet and didn't have a response to what Ian said. He thought the call was over and then she went off again.
"All you gay people think you're so smart."
"No ma'am, I am telling you like it is, just being honest."
"My husband is dying and you're keeping Blake from us."
"Blake knows that we'll be happy to take him to Idaho, so we are not keeping him from you."
All her attempts to be mean or speak lies have been met with facts. Ian isn't one to hurl insults at people. Suddenly, the call ends and Ian feels like a champ. Thank heavens she ended the call before things got uglier.
After the phone call Blake went to his room, but has now decided to come downstairs to talk. He finds Trace in the kitchen.
"Dad, I don't want to go if you and Dad aren't with me."
"You already said that son, and Dad and I both agree that we'll go with you. It's not an issue." From another person's point of view, Blake appears to be lost in thought. He's waiting for the bad news. Sometimes, the streets still feel like yesterday. On the streets, a good day could go from good to bad in a blink.
"Maybe it's my imagination but it feels like every time they call something changes, but I will not budge."
Trace doesn't say a thing. He simply gives his son a hug. It was enough for Blake to feel relief, to let him know that his dad was listening.
Blake, Ian, and Trace are sitting in the living room. Each member of the family is busily reading. Without warning, Blake stops reading and breaks the peace.
"When are we leaving?"
His dads look at him in shock.
"What?" Blake asks as he looks at his dads.
"We're just wondering, why you're asking. I think we were assuming that you didn't really want to go out west."
"I want all of this to stop. My birth parents are calling every day, and I want it to just things to just be quiet."
Trace nudges Ian and he smiles.
"That's our son, he's all about needing his peace and his family."
"We'll get on the tickets as soon as we can."
Ian is fully committed to finding bus, train, or plane tickets. Trace gets up and starts dinner.
In the middle of the night, Blake has a very powerful dream. He is in his bedroom when suddenly the door opens in comes his birth dad. His dad sits on the edge of the bed. He looks into his son's eyes, and puts his one of his hands into Blake's hand.
"I'm sorry Blake. You don't need to come see me after all. I love you son."
His dad stood up and in that instance a doorway appears in his room, and Blake figures out that the doorway is here for his dad, his gateway to heaven. "No Dad!" Blake yells as his birth father reaches for the door knob. His father pauses and turns to his son.
"I'm sorry son."
Opening the door, Mr. Kimball's form walks through the doorway. Blake wakes up with tears streaming down his face. He grabs his cell phone and calls his birth parents home despite it being 2 o'clock in the morning. Almost instantly, his birth mom answers.
"Hello." She sounds like she is talking in her sleep.
"Mom, it's Blake. Is Dad okay?"
She doesn't understand why he wouldn't be okay. Despite the cancer, he seems to be in good health.
"Blake, your dad is fine. He's sleeping right beside me."
"What is this about young man?"
"His spirit came to say goodbye and then he walked through a door and it was filled with light."
"You're father is fine no go back to sleep."
Before Blake can finish his sentence, she hangs up. Despite hearing his father is fine, Blake tosses and turns all night long.
The night has left Blake feeling very tired, so he's a bit sluggish. Ian notices his son's lack of vigor and he wonders what's up. At lunchtime, Blake walks up to his dad.
"I'm going to take a nap."
This opportunity can't be missed.
"Blake, what's up with you needing a nap?"
"I had a dream where my birth dad's spirit came to me, and told me that he is sorry and that he loves me."
Blake didn't say anything about the doorway appearing or that he had called home. He turns towards the living room and heads upstairs. Ian guesses that his son had a rough night.
Blake is at Ben's house and they are sitting in the living room.
"Remember I told you that my dad is dying of cancer?"
"Yeah, I remember, so have you decided what you are going to do?"
Blake looks down at the carpet in the room and then looks at Ben. This gesture makes Ben feel a bit nervous. Ben's mom looks at the boys from the dining room. She is in there working on bills. She can see Ben's face and he looks really worried about whatever is going on with them. She isn't one to simply dismiss her son's mood, so as she works on the bills, she occasionally glances upward.
"So are you going home?"
Ben's voice has some sadness to it. The one time, Blake needs to be in tune and he isn't at all.
"I wasn't going to, but I changed my mind."
Now, Ben is on the edge of tears. This time, Blake sees the emotion in his boyfriend's face.
"Babe, I will be back. I have too much at stake to just walk away from here."
"Are your dads going with you?"
"Yeah, they wouldn't let me go by myself."
Ben's glad that they wouldn't allow their son to go on this trip alone. He's afraid that Blake's birth parents might use guilt to keep him in Idaho.
"Want to shoot some hoops?" Ben asks, hoping to just get outside and get some air. It will help keep him and Blake awake.
When Ben and Blake were discussing Blake's dads going with him to Idaho, Ben's mom started calling Blake's house. The Hatcher's phone number appears on the caller id. Trace answers the phone a little worried about the reasons for the phone call.
"Hi Trace here, how can I help you?"
"This is Mrs. Hatcher, is there anything wrong with Blake?"
At first, he doesn't want to say anything, but then he decides to open up about what is going on with Blake.
"He's stressing over having to head out to Idaho."
"Why is he going to Idaho?"
"His dad is dying of cancer, and he wants to talk to Blake before he passes away. We're all going to go on this trip together."
She is relieved to hear that Blake is going with them to Idaho.
"I called because I thought that I saw tears in my son's eyes."
Trace is hoping that the tears ended quickly. Blake would have picked up on the tears and helped ease the pain.
"Blake was right there to comfort him, which is great."
Mrs. Hatcher is pleased with the way that the tears ended.
"Have things quieted down over there?"
By now, the guys, having let off some steam, come inside to ask if Blake can get a ride home. Mrs. Hatcher hangs up with Trace to take Blake home. Blake gets out of the car and goes into the house.
Ian leaves the office with the look of satisfaction on his face. He was able to get the tickets for Boise, Idaho.
"What did you just do?"
Trace is thinking dirty thoughts as he looks at his husband's face, then gets back on line.
"I just got out tickets for Idaho."
"When do we leave?"
Ian glances at the print out to see what time they are departing from O'Hare International Airport.
"Are we flying or what?"
"We are flying. We are flying out at 7:19 am and arrive in Boise, Idaho at 10:11 in the morning."
"Well I guess that we'd better start packing."
As Trace heads for their bedroom, he passes his son's bedroom and sees Blake on his computer.
"Blake, you need to pack for Idaho. Dad has our tickets. We need to be ready to leave by 4:00 in the morning."
Reluctantly, Blake gets busy packing. By 9:00 pm everyone is packed. Ian puts the luggage right next to the front door. The ticket information and all the other arrangements are put in a large manila envelope and laid down on top of the luggage.
In the morning everyone gets into Ian's car and they head out to the airport. They park the car and then take the shuttle to the terminal. At 5:30 in the morning, they start the check in process, and pass by security, and now they wait for the flight to begin loading. At 6:30 in the morning the call is made to board. They arrive as scheduled in Boise at 10:11. They grab their luggage and then they head out for the rental car. They get into the car and head for Blake's home. Between GPS and Blake's navigation, they make it to Blake's parent's house. Blake gets out his phone and calls to let them know that they are at the house. He is still a little freaked out about being here.
His parents and his brother came out of the house and then Ian and Trace get out of the car. Blake's first thought is to run to David and give him a hug before his parents can stop him. He goes up to his mom hugs her loosely, hugs his dad a little tighter, and then hugs his brother tightly.
"Mom, Dad, David, I would like to introduce you to Trace and Ian."
Seeing some confusion on his brother's face, he decides to clarify things.
"They're my adopted dads."
David smiles and approaches Blake's dads. He's a little nervous but still manages to give them a solid handshake. "Hi." He says to both men as he steps towards Blake. As Blake looks at his birth parents, his mom hasn't changed but his dad has and it's not good. His dad looks pale, skinny, and tired.
"David, help them with their luggage." Mrs. Kimball says as she and Mr. Kimball move towards the house. David doesn't mind helping out but he wishes that they were all staying in the house. David looks at Blake and he appears to be really nervous.
"Our parents aren't very nice. They have you sleeping in the house but your dads are sleeping in the R.V.."
Blake is mad at his parents for playing this card, and his anger is clearly visible to David.
"Are...are you mad at me?"
Trace puts his hands on David's shoulders.
"No, he isn't mad at you. He isn't happy with your parents."
His brother says as he looks at his older brother.
"I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at Mom and Dad but I will never be mad at you."
Blake embraces his little brother in a hug as their parents watch from the house.
"We'll be here Blake. You go talk to your parents."
His expression says it all, he doesn't want to face them alone. Despite his apprehension, Blake moves towards the house. He keeps repeating Ian words. David reaches out and takes his hand. David opens the front door and the guys step inside and take off their shoes.
As Blake sits in the living room, he's aware of his parents' stares.
"I see you broke away from your dads." Blake's mom says as she smiles.
"I came in to talk to Dad."
"Wouldn't you rather see your room?"
Blake's dad isn't ready to have the talk with his son. Maybe, it's fear or he just needs time to think.
"No, I want to have the talk."
His dad agrees and sends his wife and younger son away.
"As I told you over the phone, I have pancreatic cancer. We're fighting it, and I've had a blessing, but they still aren't giving me any more than six months."
Blake can see the obvious fear in his dad's eyes. He knows his father is struggling with his emotions and his words. Blake isn't sure what to say, so he hugs his father.
"Son, I...I love you."
`Really, you have strange way of showing it.'
His dad is being sincere, but he can't get past the hurt.
"Dad, I love you but I still hurt from you guys sending me away."
`He needs to get over us sending him away. We did it to protect David.'
"I was hoping you would consider coming home so that you could be the man of the house when I'm gone. Our reason for sending you away still seems to be an issue, so I can't depend on you."
"I have a life in Indiana, and apparently I'm not truly welcome home."
His dad seems lost.
"No, you are welcome home."
Blake is keeping his voice at a respectful tone and volume. It won't do anyone, any good to get into an argument.
"My dads don't seem welcome in the house."
"What would you have us do have one of them in the guest room and one of them on the couch? In the R.V., they can be themselves."
`Maybe my parents aren't so bad.'
"Blake, we're just trying to protect David."
They think, he might be turned gay because of his brother's influence or the the influence of his dads.
"Okay." Blake is afraid to say anything else because it would be out of anger, and he doesn't want to get into an argument.
"I love you guys. I really go, but I can't be me in your house either."
Blake's mom enters the room.
"Lunch is ready. Blake, Ian and Trace are welcome to eat with us."
Blake gets up before they can change minds. He's practically running to get out of the house. He opens the vehicle and steps inside.
"Mom says you're welcome to come inside and eat."
At first they don't move but then they get up and enter the house.
Blake leads the adults into the house.
"Make sure you're hands are washed."
Blake's mom sounds more like a mom than what they usually hear from.
"Dads, I think they're trying to be considerate."
"The fact that we're eating here is a step in the right direction."
Trace says as he steps up to the sink.
"Don't worry Blake, we'll be nice." Ian says as he waits for his turn.
"Thanks." Blake says with a smile on his face. With their hands washed the three guys head for the dining room.
"You may sit anywhere you like." Mr. Kimball said as he looks at the guys. The table has six chairs next to it with Mr. Kimball, Mrs. Kimball, and David sitting on the inside. Ian and Trace positioned themselves on either side of Blake. With everyone seated around the table, Mr. Kimball bows his head as do the other members of his family including Blake in order to bless the food. Trace and Ian take Blake's example and also bow their heads. When the blessing of the food is done, Mr. Kimball begins to carve the roasted chicken while David and Mrs. Kimball begin passing the food around the table. As the food is being passed around, Mr. Kimball looks at his son and then at his dads.
"Which one of you is the cop?"
"Me." Trace answers as he raises his left arm.
"I suppose that makes you the teacher?"
He says as he points to Ian.
"Yes I am."
There is a slight pause before the next question.
"What do you teach?"
This time the question comes from David. David dreams of becoming a teacher.
"I teach a mix of life science classes."
"Cool, I love biology. My school offers botany and even a course in ethnobotany kind of cool. It's name is Ethnobotany of the Native Americans in Idaho."
`That's my brother, he is geek when it comes to stuff like that.'
"Do you have any career plans besides being a police officer or a teacher?" Mr. Kimball asks Trace and Ian.
"No, we're both happy in our careers."
Trace doesn't understand the need for that question. Even Ian didn't get the reasoning behind the question. Everyone went back to their meals. When just about everyone is done with the meal, Mrs. Kimball goes to grab dessert. Mr. Kimball excuses himself so he can avoid the temptation of sweets. Prior to his diagnosis, he started eating healthier, exercising, and walking. After the entire meal is over with, the kids head upstairs, while the adults head into the living room.
Mr. Kimball unlocks a cupboard in the room and pulls out a large flat rock.
"Don't let Blake know you have this until you get home."
"Okay." Ian glances down at the rock, which holds the fossil of a fish.
"Is this real or is it copy?"
"It's real. It belonged to my grandfather. Blake has always loved it, so I'm giving it to him."
Trace and Ian look at each other and smile.
`Blake is going to flip.'
Trace knows his son will appreciate and enjoy the gift. Following her husband, Blake's mom gets up and removes another stone from the cupboard. It's a softball-sized geode with amethyst crystals.
"My father found this one time that my family went out east."
"Is David getting any rocks?"
Ian asks hoping that these gifts aren't going to create a rift between the brothers. Mrs. Kimball smiles at Ian.
"Yes, David will be getting some but the fossil and geode are for Blake because he'd always had his eyes on them since he was three. It's not a bribe aimed at Blake, it's also a good time for us to down size."
The guys get it, they want Blake to have something that is special. Knowing Blake, he'll cry over the gifts, and it's a good thing.
"I'm not feeling up to it, otherwise I'd take you to some family land where we've find arrowheads, so next time you come if I am not here, David and my wife can get you there."
Mr. Kimball is showing his true self; compassionate and caring. Mr. Kimball has seen the connection between his son and the two men sitting on the couch. Mrs. Kimball feels guilty for the way she has treated Trace and Ian.
Her emotions are getting to her. It feels as if someone is pushing her to apologize.
"May I speak with you alone?" Mrs. Kimball says as she taps Trace on the shoulder. Trace is reluctant to go with her, however he is also feeling an invisible nudge. "Okay." He gets up and follows her to the basement and into the family room.
"Please sit down."
She still looks uncomfortable in his presence, but this apology needs to get out into the air. Trace sits down and is ready for anything, that might come out of her mouth.
"Seeing you and your husband eating at our table and knowing what you must have felt when I called, I feel the need to apologize. In the past, I've been nothing but rude to you and your husband. You may not know this, but I'm not a mean person. I'm sure you think this is all an act, but it's not, I am truly sorry."
"No, I believe you and I accept your apology. Thank you Mrs. Kimball for the kindness you have shown to Blake, my husband, and me."
He reaches out his hand to shake hands with Blake's mom. She gladly accepts his hand in forgiveness and in friendship. He feels it's weird to be out here even weirder to be shaking hands with Mrs. Kimball.
"Thanks for accepting my apology."
Trace feels that things becoming better between them.
Later that night after everyone is in bed in the house, Ian and Trace begin a discussion that may change Ian's views on Blake's mom. Their son is asleep in his brother's room.
"So what did Mrs. Kimball want with you?"
Ian asks curious about what she wanted.
"She asked for forgiveness from me."
"Was she sincere?"
"That is the strange part, she was very sincere."
Ian still can't believe that she is being real with Trace. Still, he knows that she deserves a chance at redemption. Trace however cannot see Ian's thoughts.
"Ian, I believe, as I said before, that she is sincere."
"Then that is all I need my love."
With that said, the guys head to bed. As Ian sleeps, he releases his anger and his hurt.
The next day, Blake comes downstairs to find his birth parents already awake in the living room.
"Blake, we need to talk."
His birth dad says looking at Blake's eyes. Blake sits across his from them wondering what they have to say to him. There is strange warmth in their eyes. Blake's apprehension has disappeared.
"Blake, your mom and I did you a great disservice by sending you to Indiana. We are sorry for sending you away. We understand your desire to remain with Trace and Ian, and so we uphold your right to remain under their guardianship. We love you son."
Blake looks at his parents. His eyes well up in tears and he ends up in their arms.
They break the hug, and Blake moves back to his chair.
Blake's parents get up to prepare breakfast while Blake goes out to the R.V. The doors are all locked and the windows are shut. He knocks on the door waking his dads. It takes a few minutes before the passenger side door is unlocked. Blake enters the R.V. and heads to where his dads were sleeping.
"Blake, are you okay?" Trace asks as his son hugs his chest and begins to cry. The sobs wake Ian from his sleep.
"They...they, they love me. Mom and Dad love me. They apologized and I accepted."
Trace's and Ian's hearts drop, they believe there is a chance that he may decide to stay here in Idaho.
"Are you staying here?"
Blake is surprised to hear Ian say that, because he should know there is no way that he could walk away from home.
"No, I am coming home to Indiana."
He says as he looks up into his fathers' eyes. They freshen up a bit and then get ready for the day.
Today, Mr. and Mrs. Kimball plan on taking everyone for a day around the city. They're hoping by doing this that Blake can share his home city with his dads. Blake, Ian, and Trace enter the house. Breakfast is quick frozen waffles, peanut butter toast, or cereal. Everyone else is ready to head out to the car.
"Where would you like to take your dads, Blake?"
Blake doesn't look at Trace or Ian instead he looks at his brother.
"Where do you want to go David?"
"The zoo, I want to see the zoo."
"Well, the youth have spoken."
For several hours, the group explored the zoo including taking the cruise. By the end, both sets of parents are realizing they have been wrong. This new attitude doesn't excuse past behavior but it does give room for growth.
Once back at home, Trace, Ian and Blake packed their belongings and set their alarms because tomorrow they head home. Blake never imagined his parents being kind to Trace and Ian. His fathers came away with a new outlook on Blake's parents. Blake's birth parents got to see Trace and Ian as guys doing the right thing for their son. More importantly, they all spent time together, time spent seeing each other in a new light.
The time had come for Blake and his dads to go home. Blake's parents and his brother head out to see them off at the airport. Blake rides with his birth family so he can spend a some more time with them. At the airport, Blake's parents make it a point to hug Trace and Ian.
"Thanks for having us out here."
"You're welcome. We hope that we can come again."
Blake steps up and hugs David, his mom, and his dad. He's trying to hold it together. Blake's tears come out regardless of him trying to keep them in his eyes. When he gets to his dad, Blake loses it. Something inside of him is telling that this trip will be the last time that he sees him.
After speaking those words, Trace and Ian tell their son that it's time to head for the out.
"Bye everyone, I love you."
His whole family shouts as they wave to him.
"Bye Trace, Bye Ian!"
They yell as the guys turn around and wave.
They load the plane and wait for takeoff. When they land in Chicago the guys are exhausted. They get out of the airport and make their way to the car. After an hour, they arrive at their house and head for the rooms for some rest. Blake takes a second or two so he can text Ben.
"I'm home and everything is cool. Mom and Dad were awesome. P.S. I am lying down."
He hits send and closes his eyes. Ben's reply is short and sweet.
"Missed you, I love you."
Ben can relax and he lies down for a while. Once Blake is out, Ian sneaks in the fossil and the geode into his bedroom.
For you Facebook users, come join us in the Blake's Saga group and share your thoughts on what you would like to see happen in future chapters. Discuss the latest chapters, and mention any other stories of Chuck's that you have read and would like to see him return to. We're only a small group now and would like have to more members.
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