Protecting David-The Brothers 8
The next day I was walking through crunchy fallen leaves on my way to my first class when I got a text message from Connie at my dad’s office.
It just said, “Hi Chris. Call me at the office when you get a chance.”
Connie works for my dad. She pretty much runs his office and I’ve known her for as long as I’ve known my dad. She’s old, even older than my dad, but she’s really pretty too.
I was just walking into Grainger Hall so it had to wait until later, but after my first class I sat on a bench and called her back. After five minutes of how-are-you’s she said, “How open do you want me to be about Mrs. Bard?”
I was waiting for her to say that my dad didn’t want to do it and I had pretty much been holding my breath so the first thing I did was exhale.
I said, “He didn’t get mad did he?”
She laughed. “You’re dad? Chris, you know, well, first of all, he never gets mad, well, not at you anyway.”
“Well, I thought that maybe cause he didn’t know these people…well, he might think that I was being stupid or something.”
“Honey, he wasn’t mad, he was excited. He was genuinely happy that you wanted him to do this. And he was really happy that you wanted to help someone. You know, Chris, you don’t give him that many chances to do stuff for you. But anyway, I told him I didn’t think you’d want these people to know that we were helping them. Is that right?”
“God, yes! Yes, absolutely. Michael’d be pissed if he knew that I was trying to help. Can you do it that way?”
“Sure, we do it all the time. Mrs. Bard will think it was a government program. Basically her house payment will be cut in half, maybe more. She’s got a seven percent mortgage now and that will drop to three percent. In the end her mortgage payment will be dropped to whatever she can comfortably afford. Then we’ll mess around with whatever interest rate we need to make it work. She won’t suspect a thing.”
“But what about your friend Michael? Your dad said that he’s working two jobs just to go to school. What I was thinking is that we offer him a job as an intern at the Madison branch of the bank. He’s a business major, so it’s not like that’s strange or anything, and he’ll probably make enough that he won’t need to work a second job. We can always say that he was recommended by a professor, but that we’d rather not say which one. That happens all the time. The only thing is that we can’t have both of these things happening at the same time. That might make someone suspicious. The mortgage payment is the most pressing so I thought we’d do that and then wait a month. How’s that sound?”
I couldn’t believe that this was happening this easily. I also couldn’t believe that nobody was mad about it, but that’s just me being totally weird. “Connie, how do you know how to do all this?”
She laughed again. “Well, actually, we do it quite a lot. We do it a lot for the people who work for your dad, if they run into a problem, and for other people too. And your dad is also active in your grandfathers charitable trust, so we get involved in a lot of things like this, but mostly on a grander scale. But with a lady like Michael’s mom it probably will end up costing us very little, if anything. We’re just rearranging things a bit, but she’ll pay off her own mortgage. There are a lot of folks who just need to adjust things a bit until they can get back on their feet. But to answer your question, I know how to do all this stuff cause I’m really really smart.” Then she laughed.
Abruptly the phone went quiet for a moment and when Connie came back she said, “Hang on, Chris. Your dad wants to talk to you.”
Then before I had a chance to worry about it my dad was on the phone.
“Chris, I just wanted to talk about Thanksgiving. You get off starting Tuesday, right?”
“Well, your grandfathers are going to pick you up. They’re coming in for the holiday and they’ll just swing a little north and get you too. You’ll need to be at the airport about nine o’clock Tuesday morning. Then on Sunday Mike’ll fly you back. You remember how to get to the airport?”
I laughed. “Yeah. I found it the other day by accident. Where do I park?”
“Just go back to that same hangar where we went when we brought you there. You remember it?”
“Yeah it’s the big blue building.”
“Right. Just park in the lot and go in the front door and tell em who you are. They’ll make sure you get to the plane.”
“Okay. I got it.”
“You think that your friend would like to come for the holiday?” He laughed. “I know you won’t want to be separated for too long.”
I started to stammer and then managed to get out, “No! No, he’s goin home for the holiday!” Then I laughed when I realized what I sounded like. I started again and said quietly, “No, Dad. He’s got other plans.”
My dad laughed and said softly, “You know, Chris, you’re allowed to have a life.”
I exhaled and said, “I know, Dad. It’s just that... I’m not used to all this. I guess I never really expected to find anybody. It just seems to change everything. I mean, it’s just that the work is really hard and then there’s the whole big thing with Adam. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming.”
My dad said, “Well I hope that you’re concentrating on your studies. I know that Adam is important, but so is the work.”
“I am, Dad. My grades’ll be good. Everything’ll be okay.”
“Well, don’t forget, Tuesday at nine for the plane. Once you get home you can relax. There’s not going to be anything that you have to do, so you can just kick back.”
One of the many weird things about my family is that my dads like to think that they live this simple little life. I mean, it is true that they don’t go out to like clubs and shit or even restaurants much, but simple it isn’t. I mean, how many houses have a place to land helicopters or security people with rifles and god only knows what else?
And as you may have figured out, I haven’t really explained all this to Adam. It’s not that I’ve ever lied to him or even mislead him, but I haven’t really explained it to him either. I’ve let him think that my family is normal, well, kinda normal.
His dad is a big time lawyer so they’ve always pretty much had as much money as they might have needed. So when I’ve accidentally mentioned a few things about my dads, well, like them having a security guy, or rather, security woman, he didn’t figure that was all that odd. I told him about Mei and about how she watched out for my dad and how she was always really nice to me. I just never told him how much security there actually was. And another thing I didn’t mention was the plane, or rather, planes, or the houses, or, well, any of that stuff.
So, I don’t want him to drive me to the airport but I know he’s gonna want to. For right now, I gotta figure out how to do that, but I also gotta figure out how to ease him into the other shit. I just hope he doesn’t freak out. The thing is that people might suck up to someone with money but nobody really likes rich people. I’m not even sure that I like rich people and I guess that, even though I don’t feel like it, I am one.
Two days later Adam and I were sitting in one of the restaurants and had just finished wolfing down cheeseburgers and greasy fries for supper and we had leaned back in our chairs staring at each other when Michael put a tray of food down onto our table, peeled his coat off and draped it over the back of the chair, and sat down with a grunt.
He looked at Adam grinned and said, “So, “Das Thanksgiving” again this year?”
Adam laughed and said, “It’s not that bad. He just likes everything to be really formal.”
Michael nodded towards me and said, “So’d you explain your dad to Chris?”
Adam tried to look very put upon and said, “Thank you, Michael! I’ve actually been avoiding talking to Chris about some of the more Teutonic aspects of my dad’s personality.”
Adam turned to me. “My dad just likes things, like holidays, to be really formal. You know, white shirts and ties and not speaking too much unless you’re spoken to.”
That sounded horrible. I said, “You know, you could always come home with me. My dad even asked if you’d want to. And you’ve seen my brothers. God knows they’re not very formal.”
For just a split second Adam looked trapped but then that disappeared just as quickly and he said, “It’s not an option. Holiday’s are command performances.”
Michael said, “I suppose your brother’ll be there.”
Adam dropped his head and said, “Yes. I mean, you’d think he’d be getting married or something and moving away. Him being there makes it all worse because he eggs my dad on.” This was beginning to sound worse and worse.
What I was thinking must have been showing on my face because Adam said, “It’s not that bad. I’m making it sound like they fucking beat me or something. It’s just that sometimes they’re jerks but it’s not like that all the time. And my mom helps, well, usually.”
He reached out and touched the back of my hand. “It’s not like you’re thinking. It’s not like what you went through. It’s not like that at all. It’s just that my dad likes things to be just so. When he was a kid his dad sent him to a military academy.” He laughed. “He likes everything to run with military precision. Which is fucking odd, because he was never in the real military, just that fucking school.”
I looked at Michael. “You ever meet him?”
Michael laughed. “Oh yeah. Let’s see. Think politician, senator maybe, but without the charm. Great haircut, you know? You know how they all have really expensive haircuts? Like you could make a car payment with what he probably pays for a haircut.” I knew what Michael was thinking, I could see it in his eyes. Why did his dad, who was a great guy, have to die and a jerk like Adam’s dad went right on being an asshole.
Michael forced down a huge bite of a cheeseburger and for a moment I thought he was going to choke on it but he finally swallowed and said, “My mom called and said she’s got a surprise for me. She said it’s a good thing, which is hard to believe considering what our luck has been lately, but that’s what she claims. She won’t tell me what it is but she says it’s gonna be a great Thanksgiving. She’s invited like two dozen relatives for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Adam said, “Maybe she’s getting married.”
For a split second Michael just froze and then he said quickly, “No fucking way! No fucking way! She doesn’t go out with guys. She was too in love with my dad. I’d know if she was seeing a guy.” He stopped talking suddenly, like he realized he was overreacting, then he swallowed hard and glared at Adam. “Why the fuck did you have to say that?”
Adam was holding out his hands. “I didn’t mean that! It just fucking came out of my mouth! You know your own mother.” He stopped talking and exhaled. “But your mom is a nice person, and you know, eventually, she may want to do that. I’m not saying now, or even in a couple of years, but you gotta figure that eventually she might want to.”
Michael had calmed down and had started to eat again. He was shaking his head. Finally he said, “Okay, maybe some day…maybe when I’m like 30, no, 35, and living someplace else with my wife and five kids. Then she can marry some old guy who’ll take her someplace warm in the winter and be too fucking old to even think about sex.” He looked at Adam, shook his head and grinned. “You just had to fucking say that.”
Michael walked with us back to the dorm. We had to fight a freezing wind all the way and then in the lee of the building before he went on to his own dorm Michael pulled me into a tight hug and said, “Have a great holiday.” Then, with my boyfriend watching, he kissed me on the side of my face.
Adam slid into the shower behind me and pulled me back against his chest as the hot water made us both hot and slippery. We stayed like that for a couple of minute until I could feel his cock beginning to get hard. I wanted to get some questions answered before we got too involved with sex so I twisted in his arms until we were facing each other.
I said, “How long does it take you to drive home?”
His hands were running lightly up and down my back and then he kissed the side of my head. “It really depends on the weather but if there’s not a lot of snow then maybe an hour to an hour and a half.”
“So if you leave here at about eight you’ll be home at like nine-thirty.”
“That’s about right.”
“Will your mom and dad be there?”
“You mean like waiting for me? Not my dad. He’ll be working but my mom’ll be there.”
That made me feel better. I don’t know what I was really thinking but everything he’d told me about his family sounded so cold. Like they really didn’t give a fuck about him.
He looked into my eyes and smiled. Then he kissed me and said softly, “It’ll be okay, Chris. I been through this a million times.” He put his chin on my shoulder and said, “But this is the first time anybody ever gave a fuck about how I felt about it.”
Adam sighed and ran his hand down my back and his fingers found their way between my butt cheeks. He laughed. “You really do have the most remarkable ass.”
That night we slept for awhile and then made love, then we slept a bit more and then repeated it all. It wasn’t until three or so that I really slept deeply and morning came much too soon.
Morning was a cold gray freezing mess. Even snuggled into the warmth of Adam’s body I could feel how cold it was outside. I could hear bursts of snow or sleet hitting the window for a few seconds at a time, and the sounds of people moving through the halls outside of our door. I had this sense that I could feel the school emptying out. Like this huge institution was going to be hibernating, hunkered down to survive the cold while all the warm living parts were gone for the holiday.
I twisted in Adam’s arms until I was facing him. His eyes were still closed but he had grunted softly when I started to move so I was sure he was awake. His eyes were closed but after about a half a minute of me staring at him he started to smile.
He didn’t open his eyes but said softly, “You’re staring at me.”
I kissed his nose. “I’m gonna miss you.”
He opened his eyes and kissed my chin. “We’ll back on Sunday. Besides, you gotta miss your family.”
“I know. It’s just that it’s gonna seem strange.”
“You’re absolutely sure you don’t want me to drive you to the airport?”
“No, I’m good. It’ll work better this way.”
I was afraid that he’d start asking more questions so I said, “What time are you leaving for home?”
“As soon as we clean up. I gotta stop and get something for my mom. I usually bring her something.”
“What do you get her?”
He laughed. “It doesn’t have to be much. You know, like a magazine or something. Just something to show that I was thinking about her. She gets a kick out of it and it’s kinda like insurance. Sometimes she can shut my old man down before he really gets goin.”
I said, “I’ll call you tonight and you can tell me how bad it was.”
He said quickly, “Better let me call you. That’d be better. They go to bed really early. Lemme call you later on tonight. We can talk.”