Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 17
The next morning I awoke to the sound of Nick in the shower and a moment later I felt Oliver move and then his head was right next to mine. He whispered in my ear.
“I gotta go to the bathroom.”
I turned my head slightly towards him and mumbled, “Kay.” I tried to go back to sleep.
He waited a minute and then when I didn’t do anything he whispered, “Come with me, okay?”
I really didn’t expect to hear that. “Oh…sure.” I stumbled out of bed and he led me to the bathroom in his bedroom across the hall.
The toilet in his bathroom is in a separate little room and I walked into with him. But he looked at me and said, “No, you gotta wait out there.”
I grinned and said, “You know I saw you naked in the bathtub yesterday.”
He smiled and said, “That’s different. I didn’t poop.”
“And I’m very happy about that. But you’re right, pooping is different.”
I left him to his privacy and went out and leaned against the bathroom counter. A moment later Oliver called out.
“How come you sleep in your underwear?”
I laughed and said, “They’re comfortable.”
“How come I gotta wear pajamas?”
“Cause you’re just a kid. When you get bigger you can wear whatever you want.”
“How come you wanted me to come with you?”
“I dunno. Maybe I was nervous.”
I smiled. “Nervous huh?” The toilet flushed and he came out.
He shrugged. “Sometimes I worry about stupid stuff.”
I nodded. “Me too. Follow me and we can have breakfast and maybe talk about it.”
I held out my hand. “C’mon, I know the way.”
In the kitchen I sat him down and said, “So, whadya feel like? We got waffles, eggs, cereal.”
He said, “Scrambled eggs?”
“You got it. What would you like with em?”
“Do we got toast?”
“Whole wheat or white?”
“I dunno. What’s whole wheat?”
I pulled the two kinds of bread out and said, the brown stuff is what I eat, it’s whole wheat. What kind are you used to?”
“I’ll eat what you do.”
“Good choice. Want some sausage? I’ve got the pre-cooked stuff cause it’s faster.”
After I fixed everything and we started to eat I said, “You know, everybody worries about stupid stuff and sometimes it’s hard to stop doin that. But when that happens just come and tell me. Maybe together we can make it better.”
As soon as we started eating I heard Nick coming down the stairs. I yelled out, “You want something to eat?”
Nick came in, bent down and kissed my neck. “I had cereal and I am sooo late.”
He went to Oliver kissed him on the cheek and said softly, “You doing okay?”
Oliver nodded and said, “I think so. I’m doin pretty good.”
Nick rubbed Oliver’s hair and said, “Well, I’ll see you tonight.”
He kissed me again and said, “I’ll see you tonight, too.” I know he’s getting horny. Well, he’s always horny to one degree or another, but it’s been a few days. With Oliver sleeping with us it makes finding a time and spot for sex difficult. It may end up being shower sex.
After Nick had left I said, “We gotta go to the airport this morning and talk to the new crew. You’ll get to see the plane from the outside and see where they keep it. It’ll be cool.”
Oliver smiled and said, “Then we go to your office?”
“That’s the plan. Did Gavin put some warmer clothes in your room?”
He nodded. “Pants and shirts. And a jacket. And some shoes. Does Gavin work in your office?”
I nodded. “He helps me out. Do you like him?”
He smiled and said, “He’s nice.”
“You think you can get dressed while I shower and shave?”
He looked worried. “Yeah but sometimes I got trouble.”
“That’s okay. Do your best and we’ll adjust when I’m done.”
I dropped Oliver at his room and went to mine and showered and then shaved in the shower. I’d gotten into doing that and it seemed to make shaving easier. When I was done I dried off with one of those amazing towels and then wrapped it around my waist and got out of the shower. Oliver was standing there holding a pair of pants. I dunno how to get this off.”
The tags were still on the pants.
“That’s okay. Try em on with the tags still on them and then if they don’t fit we’ll exchange them.”
The pants did fit and Oliver ran off to get socks and a shirt. I went into my closet pulled on underwear and picked out a suit to wear. I thought about the lawyer interview at one o’clock and pulled out a navy blue number. Just as I was zipping up the pants Oliver came running back with a shirt and socks. The kid had pretty good taste, everything seemed to work.
As I buttoned my dress shirt Oliver looked at me and said, “You’re all dressed up.”
I nodded. “For the office. It’s kinda expected. I need to look like I know what I’m doing,.”
I tied my tie and then slipped on the jacket. I held out my arms. “I look okay?”
He smiled. “You look really nice.”
I bent down and adjusted his shirt. “You too. We get a belt and shoes and we’re all set. You’re gonna have fun today.”
He got a worried look on his face.
“What’s the matter? You look scared.”
He said softly, “What if somebody yells at me?”
“Yell at you…? Then I remembered how I used to feel.
I held out my arms and he walked into them wrapping his arms around my neck. He felt so warm and so vulnerable. I kissed the side of his head and just held him for a while. Finally I said, “Nobody’s gonna yell at you. I’m gonna make sure of it.”
I pulled my head back and smiled at him. “Anybody yells at you we’ll have Jeff beat em up.”
My flight crew ended up being Ken Holmgren, Ted Olson and Karen Canova. Ken, the pilot, was a six foot four blond headed guy who had flown for British Air for almost ten years but was tired of being out of the country so much. He was married with three kids and wanted to be able to spend something like a normal amount of time with them.
Ted, the co-pilot had been with United and Karen who was forty-three and had always worked on private jets. Connie had told me in an email that Karen was one of the most capable people at her job that she had ever met but was a little sensitive about her age. Well, that sure wouldn’t be a problem with us.
We went over all the aspects of plane ownership and Karen gave Oliver a complete tour. These guys, the whole crew, were more than experienced and the best thing I could do was get out of their way.
Ken told me they were committed to flying to New Orleans to pick a guy up and take him to Las Vegas. It was a left over commitment from my Dad’s businesses and I was glad to hear it and hoped for more. The trick was going to be keeping the plane busy.
Ken said, “I’ve talked to Connie and Jack a lot about this and everyone agreed that if there’s ever a conflict with your schedule and this other stuff your dad will see that it gets covered from Denver. I just wanted to make sure you knew and if that was okay.”
I nodded. “Absolutely. Things will probably become more complicated as time goes on but we can handle that as the need arises.”
When we arrived at our building the driver let us off at the main entrance where another security guy who took us upstairs met us. As the elevator was going up Oliver was standing next to me and I felt his hand touch mine. I wrapped my hand around it and smiled down at him. He gave me a big grin like he didn’t have a care in the world. But I knew the truth.
Dorothy at reception looked up at us when we walked in and smiled. “Welcome back.” Then her face lit up at Oliver and she gushed, “Who is this handsome guy?” Of course she knew, they all knew exactly who Oliver was. Jack had told me in an email that everyone had been alerted that if anyone contacted them about Oliver they were to say nothing and report it to him. We had brought in additional security guys so that if reporters or photographers showed up they could be kept away.
Upstairs Gavin met us and took us to my new office.
As we were walking Gavin said, “We talked to Connie and she said that you always liked your dads layout with the separate living room next to his office. This isn’t as big as your dads because, according to Connie, he’s got an entire floor, but it still is pretty nice.”
And it was nice. The office was huge with a dramatic view to the south and east, then to the north was the sitting room with a full bathroom but the door that accessed it was all but invisible. It was all done in a deeply figured light ash color that made the large spaces seem even bigger.
Gavin took us into what I mentally started thinking of as the “living room”. It was laid out just like a large living room at a house with a sofa, side chairs and a huge TV up on the wall. On the other side of the room was a conference table and chairs.
There was a remote control on a table in front of the sofa. I picked it up and turned on the TV. I handed the remote to Oliver and said, “Put on whatever you want.”
Gavin said, “I’ve ordered lunch for you. I hope I got the right thing. Connie told me you really like pastrami on rye with mustard. And Karen said that Oliver really liked his hamburger yesterday. Of course it can all be changed.”
I shook my head. “No that sounds great, it’ll be fine.” I looked at Oliver and said, “You liked the hamburger, right?”
He nodded hard. “I love hamburgers!”
I smiled at Gavin. “I guess that settles it.”
At that moment Jack’s head popped in and said, “You’re back.”
I said, “Oliver this is Jack McFarland, he runs the offices for me.”
“Jack, this is Oliver.” Jack stepped over to the sofa and shook Oliver’s hand.
“Oliver, it’s really nice to meet you. If there’s ever anything you need help with please just ask.”
Oliver stood up and said, “Okay, thanks. I think I’m okay though.”
Jack smiled. “Well, I’ll see you guys after you eat.”
After Jack left I asked Gavin, “What about the couple at the farm?”
“Jeff headed out there right after he dropped you guys off.”
My secretary brought our food in and set it up on the round table near the window. The table could easily seat ten so Oliver and I probably looked pretty lonely sitting next to each other. I glanced around the room, took a bite of my sandwich and asked, “So, whadya think?”
He looked around and said, “It’s nice. The walls are a nice color.” “Well, actually the walls were a sandy gray color with darker highlights of the same color. It was very elegant. It also needed some kind of art. I made a mental note to call Eli. She’d be thrilled. It was a blank canvass. Which reminded me, Guy Wiggins. I had seen his paintings in a magazine on the plane. I’d ask Eli about him. Which also reminded me that we hadn’t heard from David’s friend about buying art. Then I shook my head, that had only been like a week ago. So much had happened. How was Oliver really dealing with this? Then I remembered what I had been through when I was a kid. It seemed like it had happened to someone else, like a hazy dream. All that I could do was what my dads had done for me, protect him.
At one o’clock Jack brought our new in-house counsel, Steve Donlevy into my office. He was about six feet tall with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He looked, for lack of a better word alert. He was thirty-five but had a certain quality about him, a way about him that reminded me of a really smart college guy. Alert, prepared, enthusiastic and hopeful, someone who hoped for the best but was prepared for things to not work out that way. He was wearing a dark gray Glenn Plaid suit with a white shirt and a dark burgundy tie. He smelled lightly of soap and faintly of cut hair and the wool fabric of his suit. He wasn’t fully shaved but had a light scruff that looked good on him.
He held out his hand and said, “Mr. Bending, it’s very good to meet you.”
I shook his hand and said, “Please, make it, Chris. It’ll be easier all around.”
I indicated the group of chairs in front of my desk and said, “Let’s sit and relax.” Since Jack had already hired him there wasn’t any questioning of qualifications needed. I had already been filled in on all the details.
He leaned slightly forward and said, “Jack has been filling me in on what you’re looking for and it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve worked a lot in real estate, contracts, trusts and taxes.”
I said, “You understand that I don’t expect you to actually do all of that just do basically what Harold Thune does for my dad.”
“I know Harold.”
“Well, you guys can work together. My dad trusts him completely. Apart from the usual things that we do here there’s a law firm in Palm Beach I’d like you to get in touch with. You know about my nephew?”
He nodded and said, “Sorry about your sister.”
I said, “Thanks. The thing is that Oliver’s dad left a hundred and twenty acres of farmland west of the city, a condo and a Jeep dealership. I’ve asked the law firm there to come up with some ideas for handling that stuff, but I know the default idea will be to sell everything so they only have to worry about cash. For all I know that’s the right thing to do but I’d liked someone to take a hard look at that dealership and think about whether it’s worth keeping and what would be the problems. I mean we could hire management or for that matter keep whoever is running it now. In my mind the problem comes in because of out of state ownership and the lack of oversight that suggests. Anyway, I’d like you to check with them on that and also use your own judgment about what you think we should do. Maybe the best thing would be to buy additional dealerships and establish a significant management company to deal with them. But I really don’t have a clue.”
The other thing is that I want a separate trust set up for Oliver and it would be good if you talked to my local lawyers about that.”
I laughed. “I realize that I run the risk of making you think that all your time will be devoted to my personal issues but I really don’t want that to be the case. It’s just that this stuff has come up, really out of the blue.”
After Jack and Steve left I went into the “living room” looking for Oliver. The television was on but he was lying on the sofa with the throw pillow over his face. He tends to do that when he’s upset.
I didn’t say anything but sat next to him and put my hand on his arm. Finally he looked up and said, “I don’t want my dad to be dead. Why does that gotta be like that?”
I shook my head slowly. “I dunno. It sucks for sure and there’s not much that I can say that’ll make it go away. You’ve just gotta know that you’re safe and that you’re with your family. I know you never knew us, you never saw me or Nick before all this happened but we’re still your family and we’re not going anywhere.”
I sighed and didn’t say anything for a moment. I could feel Oliver breathing, his chest rising and falling, but he didn’t say anything either.
Finally I said, “Let’s get outta here and go out to the farm. I bought it but I’ve never even been there. There’s should be lots of stuff to look at, animals and stuff.” I ruffled his hair and said, “You know about animals, horses, cows and other critters.”
He suddenly twisted around and looked up at me. “Horses? You got horses?”
I nodded. “That’s what they tell me. And like a butt load of cows. So many cows you can’t even see the grass.” He smiled and I continued, “Well I guess you couldn’t see the grass anyway because it covered with snow. So whadya say?”
Oliver said, “Can I ride a horse?”