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The Good Doctor
--- Chapter 2 ---
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The Good Doctor 2

I pushed open the door from the garage to the house and was greeted by Jason holding up his arms wanting to be picked up. I swung him up and then held him close to me while I blew raspberries against his neck. He screamed and twisted to get away.

“Daaaaadddyy!!!!!!!!”

My mom was standing ten feet away at the door to the kitchen watching us. Three days a week she picked Jason up at daycare and brought him home and then stayed with him until I got home. I suppose that I could have hired someone to stay with him but it just didn’t seem right. For one thing my mom is of Italian extraction and family is a very big deal to her. The other two days I leave work early and I pick him up at daycare and then work from home for a few hours. I could work from home every day but I really feel that daycare helps him. He has friends there and it helps him to develop social skills. If my mom had her way she would have built a fifty-foot wall around her family and never let anyone in or out. Well, that’s maybe not entirely true.

“Eric, don’t hurt him! Careful he doesn’t fall!” My dad’s English and Irish and he thought Eric sounded strong. Like Erik the Red I guess. I don’t think that he ever figured on pink.

“Mom, he’s not gonna fall! You’re not gonna fall are you, kiddo?” My eyes are dark brown and Janet’s were blue but Jason’s are a kinda dark green that can sometimes appear brown and sometimes very, very bright green depending on what’s happening inside of his beautiful little head.

I carry Jason into the family room and sit him down in front of the television where he had obviously been just before I came home.

Just as I was letting him go he looked up at me and I kissed his forehead. “Love you kiddo.” He hangs onto my neck and kinda buries his face in it for a second and then giggles like we’re sharing some big secret and then lets me go. He flashes his eyes and makes a goofy face.

Back in the kitchen my mom is finishing a few dishes. “So,” she smiles a little too smugly, “who you got coming for dinner?”

“Just a neighbor.” Interrogation time. I still have my raincoat on but I hit play on the little kitchen stereo and almost instantly the kitchen is filled with Ella Fitzgerald singing to a wicked samba beat. I flip the music up loud.

I grab my mother and start to samba her around the kitchen.

“Eric!!! Oh my goodness!! Now stop!! Stop!” Even while she’s fighting it she automatically responds to the beat.

“I thought that you liked to dance.” I’m still holding her in my arms.

“You just don’t want to talk to me is all.”

“Just dance, Mom.” I move her to the music again until we’ve danced into the family room where Jason is standing watching us like we’re nuts. “Mom, teach Jason how to dance.” He’s hopping around like a puppy dog. She distracted by Jason and I slip away and take off my raincoat and hang it up in the closet off of the foyer.

No sooner than I get my tie off and she’s got me again. “I heard that young doctor from down the street is coming over.”

“Mom, don’t you have to fix dinner for Dad?” I look at my watch. “He’s gonna be worried.”

“All he’s gotta do is warm it up.” She’s relentless.

“So, Mom, you had coffee with Eleanor?” She opens her mouth like she wants to say something and then shuts it again but only for a moment.

“She’s a wonderful person! You know her husband was a General.”

“I know, Mom and I like her too. So was Jason a good boy?” I know that it’s futile to try and change the subject but against all logic I keep trying.

She points her index finger at me. “This doctor would be a good catch.”

“He’s not a fish, Mom.” I give in and sag against the kitchen counter. She’s won she always wins.

Her hands are on her hips, ready to take on the world. “So, what are you gonna fix him for dinner?”

“Pot roast, potato’s, a vegetable, a salad, maybe some wine.” No fucking maybe about the wine.

She thinks about it, turning over the culinary possibilities. “That’s not bad. I’ll do it, you go get cleaned up.”

“Mom, I was gonna do it. I was gonna cook it in the pressure cooker.” She dismisses this pathetic notion with a wave of her hand.

“Go! Get cleaned up!”

I take a very hot shower and lean against the cool white tile wall thinking about Pete. Thinking about those blue eyes and the quiet confident sound of his voice. I decided that one of the differences between Pete and me is that he’s an adult and I’m still a little boy.

I dry myself off and put on some clean boxers and then stick my head out of the bedroom door.

I call to my son. ‘Jase! Jason! Comere son.”

Jason comes running, well skipping actually down the hallway. Maybe, well hopefully, there won’t be any way to spend time with him later on and I like talking to him. It’s important to me that I know what’s going on in his life.

I’m moving slowly around the bedroom, brushing my hair, picking out clothes and talking to Jason.

“You have a good day, Buddy?”

I get a fifteen-minute monologue on how a five year old spends his day. I’m enthralled. He always enthralls me. My marriage was far from perfect and though I loved Janet, at least I think I loved her, we fought a lot and I suspect that at some point she even began to realize that I was gay but somehow we created this perfect little person. Guilt! Guilt! Guilt!

As far a Jase is concerned I can do no wrong. Geez, how fucking heavy is that? To Jase I’m like…………..fucking perfect.

“Dad, you need to shave.” I’m holding him in one arm while I’m kinda brushing my hair with the other hand. I always need to shave.

Still holding Jason I go and get the electric shaver and do a one-handed shave. Then I smile and hand it to him. “Do the other side, will ya?” He’s giggling and I’m laughing while he takes the razor in both hands and does a five year olds version of it. He laughs and I laugh. He looks so much better than he did a few days ago. Little kids bounce back so quickly. He feels warm and dry and smells like he’s just had a bath, which he probably did. My mom believes in nothing if not in being clean. The vibration and buzzing sound are strange to him and finally I have to set him down on the bed while I quickly finish the job.

Ella is still buzzing in my head. “The Jazz Samba, The Jazz Samba, how it gets to you, The Jazz Samba, The Jazz Samba ooouuuuuuuu.” I dance to the music in my head and Jase goes hysterical with laughter finally collapsing on the bed. I’ll do anything to entertain the kid.

-------------------

I gotta get her outta here. “Mom! Dad’s probably eating cold meatloaf out of the refrigerator with his fingers.” She looks for a moment like this could somehow be a possibility, which it couldn’t if you knew my Dad.

It’s twenty after six and the last thing that I want Pete to see is my mother cooking our dinner. “Mother.” She can’t ignore that. “Go take care of your husband. Please, Mom!” I have her jacket in my hand.

“Okay, okay, I’ll go. Now remember to take this out about a quarter to seven and Jason has eaten but if he wants a little bite it looks like it’s gonna be really good.”

“No, Mom! We got our rules! The kid gets to eat once a week and that’s it!” She looks at me for a moment like I might be telling the truth. Deep down she knows that I’m not capable of raising a child, that I’m just a child myself.

She waves off the remark with her hand. Erased! Gone forever! Her idiot son couldn’t possibly have said that.

She’s almost out the door. “Call your father about the business.” I start to speak but she holds up her hand. “I know the business is fine but he just likes to talk about it.” I gotta spend more time with my Dad. He misses me; even with all the crap he misses me.

She puts a hand on my chin and looks up at me, into my eyes and speaks softly. “You’re so handsome. Like your grandfather was when he was young.” She’s gotta say stuff like that, she’s my Mom.

I set the table for two, if Jase wants some he can nibble off of my plate, this is suppose to be an adult meal. I run into his room and grab Jason’s pajamas and change him while he’s watching television. His eyes never leave the set.

I go into the bathroom to take a piss and of course that’s when the doorbell rings. I glance at my watch, it’s 7:05. Figures that I’d be standing with my dick in my hand when he gets here. Jason screams that he’ll get the door. He loves doing that. How hard would it be for some nutcase to grab him when he answers the door? Good! Another fucking thing to worry about!

When I walk into the family room he’s got Pete sitting with him on the floor in front of the TV. He’s holding Pete’s left hand with his right and pointing at a guy on the tv with his left hand.

“See this guy, Dr. O’Connor. See him? He’s Superman! Well he’s really not Superman yet cause he’s just young but someday he’ll be Superman.” He looks at Pete like he’s just tried explaining quantum physics to a five year old. Pete shoots me a quick smile and a barely noticeable wink. “And that’s his girl friend except that they fight a lot and right now she’s not his girl friend.”

I kneel down behind Jason with my knees on either side of him. I pull him back against me and kiss the top of his head. I’m proud of him; he’s smart and nice. I look at Pete and he’s looking back at me and I see the warmth in his eyes, the patient goodness. Somehow it’s all there like it was written in bold print. Please God, don’t let me fuck this up.

I slide my hand down the side of Jason’s face. I marvel at the softness of his skin and then gently tilt his head up. “You wanna try you Grandmothers pot roast?”

He shakes his head no. “I wanna watch my show, Dad.”

I touch Pete’s arm and nod towards the kitchen. We get up quietly and walk into the kitchen. As soon as we’re where Jason can’t see us Pete grabs my arm and gently pulls me to him. We meet in a kiss. I didn’t expect it but I like it and I kiss back. He smells of soap and fresh clothing. Guess that this solves the gay question.

I smile at him. “And you haven’t even tried the pot roast yet.” Those eyes are soooo blue.

He touches my face with the back of his fingers. “You’re a good dad.” His hair color seems to change with the light. In the family room it seemed almost brown but under the brighter lights of the kitchen it seems very blonde.

I kiss him again. No sense in passing up this opportunity. “He makes it easy. For some reason the kid likes me.” Not some huge tongue battle just a simple kiss.

He looks a little concerned. “I didn’t mean to push you. I mean with the kiss. I kinda blindsided you. It’s just that seeing you with your son………….it made me feel good.”

I smile at him. “I could get him in here.”

He smiles. “I don’t think it’ll be necessary.” He puts his hand behind my neck and pulls me to a kiss again. “We seem to be getting on okay.”

“We gotta make gravy.”

He smiles. “If that’s a euphemism for sex, I really think we should get to know each other a little better.”

“No, I really do mean…………..” Idiot! He’s kidding!

He takes my hand and pulls me over to the stove. “Let’s see what we got here.” I love a take-charge kinda guy. “We’re gonna need a platter for the meat and then some flour and butter or corn starch.”

He takes the cover off of the cast iron cooker that my mother uses and then starts looking around for tools. I hand him a couple of spatulas to lift out the pot roast and I hold the platter while he does it. I give him some flour and a stick of butter and he puts some of the flour in a small bowl and mashes the butter into the flour and then takes part of that mess and stirs it into the juices still in the cooker. It’s like a fucking miracle, gravy before our very eyes.

While he’s doing that I open the wine. This I know how to do. “Pete you want wine?”

“Sure do!” He flashes a bright smile.

Within ten minutes we’re sitting down to a real dinner. It’s not that we don’t normally eat regular food but with my mother, well, she’s like a food machine. She could feed the whole freakin neighborhood and not even notice. Her refrigerator and freezers, yes freezers plural, are loaded. The woman cooks constantly. My dad is one of those people who can eat as much as they want and never gains weight and I think that it’s freaked mom out. Like we’re genetically programmed for something to happen when something else happens, well mom is genetically programmed to stop cooking when dad gets heavy and since he never does she just keeps cooking. Anyway Jase and I are the beneficiaries of all this food production. I wanted to cook dinner tonight for Pete just because I wanted to do something just for him but I could just as easily have pulled a gourmet Italian dinner outta my freezer cause it just keeps coming. And to make things worse, well at least for mom, neither Jase or I ever seem to gain weight. She keeps talking about how Jase looks like he never gets a good meal but he really looks just like I did at his age and for Christ sake the only place the kid might eat better is the Italian embassy in Washington.

Pete’s eyes widen as he eats. “This is fantastic!”

“Mom likes to cook.” Like fucking Monet liked to paint!

“What’d she do to this broccoli, it’s unbelievable.”

“I think that she steams it and then sauté's it in butter and garlic. Something like that.” We’re both chewing and grinning at each other. “It makes me nervous to watch her. I always get the feeling that I’m in the kitchen of a restaurant and that I took a wrong turn and should really be sitting out front.”

“Garlic?”

I nod at him. “S’okay we’re both eating it.” He was thinking about kissing wasn’t he? He looks like he got really strong jaw muscles. That’s probably a good thing considering mom.

A half an hour later we’re sitting in the living room drinking decaffeinated coffee and eating cake that mom must have smuggled in. I feed Jason a bite of cake and he buries his face in my stomach.

“Do I have to go to bed, Dad?”

Why do I think he wants me to say yes? “I think maybe you better. You’re yawning.”

“Ooookay.” He scampers up on the sofa and kisses Pete on the cheek. “Good night Dr. O’Connor.” He jumps down and then grabs my hand. “Will you tuck me in, Daddy?” I’m only Daddy when he’s going to bed or when he’s done something wrong.

He’s pulling me towards his bedroom. I look back at Pete. “Be right back, Pete.”

 

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