Stevie awoke slowly the next morning, realizing that he hadn't slept in his bed. Memories of the previous night returned to him as he stood and stretched. He made his way from the couch to the kitchen where he poured himself a cup of coffee and took time to look out the window to see what the day had brought. It was a bright sunny day, evident not only from the glare outside the window, but also from the shafts of light that cut through the room, highlighted by the slight bit of smoke that had escaped the door of the wood stove in the other room. He turned and leaned against the counter and closed his eyes for a moment, taking time to absorb the smells and sounds around him. He guessed from the stillness in the house that Carey and the dog were outside, and decided to wander out and find them.
Carey sat on the grassy slope, eyes closed, his back to a tall pine, Bj, Stevie's dog, curled up against his leg, and listened intently to the music that came from a small tape player to his side. "Rolling Home" was the name of the song, slow, sweet, melodious. He remembered making the tape from a friends CD only a few months ago. He had been suprised to hear this type of song on a Rednex CD, as they tended to be far more upbeat. But he liked it alot, it comforted him many a night, even if it was a sad song. It had all changed for him though, he couldn't go home again, and wasn't all that sure where he would end up calling home. The song ended and moved on into Wild And Free, slowly a smile crept across his face as he listened to the song. Carey's thoughts turned to better things, the life ahead of him, and the things he wanted it filled with.
He hadn't noticed Stevie come around the side of the house and quietly sit a few yards away, Bj had though and watched Stevie through bright sparkling eyes, the small stub of his tail moving back and forth quickly spoke of his happiness in seeing his master. Stevie mouthed "Stay" and held out a hand, signaling the dog to remain where he was. He studied Carey's expressions as the music played, he couldn't make out any of the music from the headphones that sat on the boy's head. He did remember how music had always had this effect on him though, and smiled at the thought. He laid back in the grass, enjoying the sunshine on his face, the clean crispness in the fall air, the unusual warmth for the time of year. He thought about how good it felt to have Carey here, how the loneliness he always felt went away. Thought about how strange it was that his walls weren't up, how he wasn't keeping Carey at a distance, about the only person that had been in his life otherwise that he hadn't had his walls up with.
Carey heard the volume of the song that was playing drop as it came to an end and opened his eyes again. He looked out over the hills and thought about the things that were going to happen today. He wasn't in love with the idea of calling his parents. Nor did he care for the idea of them possibly finding him, he knew the hell he'd have to endure if he returned home, and silently promised himself that he never would. Carey felt Bj stir and moved his hand through the dogs semi soft fur, looking down at him, he saw that the dog was paying attention to something else off to his side. Carey looked over his other shoulder to find Stevie laying in the grass a short distance away, eyes closed and a smile on his face. Carey inched himself to his feet, trying hard not to make enough noise to disturb Stevie, then carefully worked closer to Stevie until he was close enough to make his move. He pounced on Stevie, his fingers going to Stevie's ribs, tickling him. Stevie thrashed and exploded in laughed as Carey tickled him mercilessly, he had always been unusually ticklish, but Tim had been the only one that always exploited that. The truth be known, if someone tickled Stevie, there was nothing he could do to defend himself.
Carey tired quickly and stopped tickling Stevie, then relaxed back down on the grass, and laid his head on Stevie's chest. "when are we going to Bozeman" he asked.
"I thought we'd leave around ten AM. Is there anything we need here that you can think of Carey?"
"Well, I'd like a few small things if that's ok with you, I don't have much for money..."
"Like what?" Stevie asked.
"Well, I'd settle for a new pickup, a cute boyfriend, and a new computer, seeing as I don't have mine anymore." giggled Carey.
Stevie laughed, "Is that all, shit, I thought it would be alot worse."
laughed at the thought and walked back to the house to get themselves ready
to head to Bozeman.
Carey thumbed through the tapes that were in the truck as he and Stevie pulled out onto I90 west, headed to Bozeman. Boston "There all right" thought Carey, Journey, Yes, BOC, and tons of other bands that he'd never even heard of were in the case. His eyes settled on an old Rush tape, Caress Of Steel, and he asked Stevie if it was all right if he put it on. Their journey to Bozeman went quickly, the cab of the pickup filled with the mystical visions painted in the words to the songs on the tape. Stevie thought back to the first time a friend had turned him onto Rush, it happened to be this album in particular. He was off getting stoned with his friend Andy, and he had played it for him. He remembered describing to Andy just what he saw while listening to the music, and was suprised to find an album cover that held a picture that was just like he had imagined. He wondered what carey was picturing as the drove and listened.
Bozeman came quickly, it was only 75 miles from Stevie's place, and they headed to the center of town to get something to eat at one of the many local restaurants. They enjoyed a leisurely lunch and chatted quietly at a small table away from other customers. Carey told him of his worries of being found and returned to his parents, Stevie reassured him that it wasn't gonna happen like that. He told Carey of the plans he had made and the inquiries he had been making about Kurt, and that he would do all that was necessary to make sure that Carey had a good safe place to go. Carey thought about staying on with Stevie, but didn't bring it up.
After they had finished lunch, they wandered down the street, and found themselves at Cactus Records, Stevie gave Carey twenty bucks and told him to find something he liked, and that he should wait there for him as he would be back shortly. Carey gave him and odd look, worried that for some reason that Stevie had decided to dump him there. He picked up on it and reassured the boy that he would be back shortly and insisted that he enjoy himself in the store. Once outside, he headed down the street to the Gateway computer outlet to find a notebook for Carey.
After ordering a computer for Carey and making arrangements to have it drop shipped to a friends house in a nearby town, he stopped briefly at a pay phone to make a few calls and see where his inquiries into Kurt had led. Two calls later he hung the phone up, satisfied with the information he had received. He now knew that Kurt was living in a town called Old Orchard in Maine. He did decide to take his time with it all, figuring that Carey needed some time to settle and become more comfortable about what he really wanted to do with his life. He also thought that it would give him some time to contact Kurt, get to know him a bit, and find out if he could take the boy. The last thing he wanted was to tell Carey that he had found his uncle, but that he either wasn't able to or didn't want to take him. That done, he headed back to the music store to pick up the boy.
Carey was still looking intently through the CD's in the store and didn't notice Stevie walk in. He decided it was time to get a little revenge for the tickle attack Carey had laid on him earlier back at the house, and he snuck around behind the boy. Chuckling to himself, he reached out and attacked the boy's sides. Carey half screamed, dropped to the floor and scrambled away while Stevie laughed deeply and smiled wickedly. The antics of the two earned them looks and laughs from the other people in the store.
"Have you found anything good?" asked Stevie as he helped the boy to his feet.
"Umm... Lots of stuff, but I don't know what I really want to get. Have you ever heard any Blues Traveler?" asked Carey.
"Nope, they good?"
"There Fuckin AWESOME" Carey replied.
Stevie smiled and suggested Carey look around some more while he did the same. Carey did end up choosing the Blues Traveler 4 CD, and Stevie decided on Blue Oyster Cult's Workshop of the Telescopes, A compilation of the best that the band did. They browsed a while longer, then decided to head off and look around town some more. They hit the bookstores, and a few other oddball places that caught their fancy, then went to the mall. Carey had a ball pointing out cute guys to Stevie, and Stevie had to admit that Carey had great taste. They even took time to order drinks and sit in the open food court so that they could look over the groups of people that moved through the mall. Soon afterwards they decided it was time to call Carey's parents, and made there way to a bank of pay phones at the southern end of the mall.
Carey stood at the phones and dialed the number on the phone card that they had bought earlier in the day at a small truck stop on the way to Bozeman.
"Hi dad, It's Carey."
"You little shit, where in the fuck are you?" Replied his father.
"Dad, I just called to let you know..."
"GODDAMN IT, WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU YOU LITTLE FUCKER" Carey's father cut him off.
Stevie took the phone when he heard the yelling and asked Carey what his fathers name was.
"Mike" he replied.
Stevie told Carey to go and take a walk, he didn't really want Carey to hear what he was gonna say to his father. He spent a few moments trying to talk sensibly to Carey's father then lost his composure.
"THAT'S ENOUGH! Now listen to me you asshole, I'm not your kid and I aint gonna put up with your mouth, so shut it right now and listen to what I'm gonna tell you." Stevie paused to see if he had Mike's attention, hearing nothing other than breathing through the receiver of the phone he continued.
"Your son called you to tell you that he's ok, He's not planning on coming back, and I don't want him to have any harder a time than he's already having."
Mike tried to interrupt and was met with another loud outburst from Stevie "I said SHUTUP and listen... Like I was saying Carey's safe and sound at the moment, and that's a hell of alot better than when he was at home. Now, I need to know if your gonna help him with what he's chosen, or if you plan to make it tough on him, are you willing to allow him to get free of you legally, or are we gonna have to do this the hard way?"
"What the hell do you mean the hard way?" replied Carey's dad.
"I'm not gonna explain that to you, you just think of some nightmares you've had pal and you might possibly begin to come close to what I'll see happen to you ya rotten fuck... so do you have an answer for me?"
Mike sighed deeply and resigned himself to agreeing to help, after all he didn't really like having that damn kid around to eat up his money anyways. Stevie thanked him and hung up the phone after telling him that he would be contacted by his lawyer and suggesting strongly that he offer no argument whatsoever. Stevie held a deep hatred for bullies and fancied Mike as just that. "So much for fathers." He thought to himself.
Stevie walked away from the phones and out the mall doors, following the path that he had seen Carey take. He found the boy sitting in the pickup, crying silently, anger in his eyes.
"Carey, it's ok. Your dad agreed to be nice and sign custody papers." Stevie told him as he pulled Carey into his arm's and held him.
"How... how did you get him to do that? Does that mean I'll be free from them?" Carey sniffled
"Lesson number one Carey, The loudest ones are generally bullies, and bullies are cowards. I just made it clear to him that he couldn't scare me. That's all there was to it, and yes, that's what it'll mean." Stevie didn't tell him what he had said to Mike otherwise, he didn't feel that Carey needed to know that he had resorted to threats. Right, wrong, or indifferent, he knew that Carey would still be bothered by that.
"Thank you" Carey said, his voice muffled by Stevie's chest.
Stevie let his head fall somewhat leaving his nose resting in the boy's hair. He drew a deep breath, scented by the smell of the shampoo that Carey had used that morning. They sat there in the cab of the pickup, oblivious to everything around them. Carey feeling safe and comforted... loved even, for the first time in a very long time. Stevie feeling better than he had in forever, yet at the same time feeling like he might never be able to survive alone again. Having Carey with him made him feel so alive again, life had meaning and purpose.
***Well, thats it for this time round. Hope that you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.
I wanted to take a minute and Send a great big "hello" and "how are ya" to LilNewt, I hope your still out there and doing well!
For those of you that havn't read it, Check out "Kenny" It's an AWESOME story. It can be found at Nifty
And last but certainly not least, Thanks to those that have written me, offering encouragement, I appreciate it alot!! *hugz***
Cheers and beers,