Chris was furious.
So much so, Buck didn't want to hang out with him for fear of getting his head bit off. Buck knew why Chris was pissed. Ella did it to him again.
"It's getting worse Buck," Chris ranted. "She almost got me fired today. Why does she keep doing this?"
"Don't know," Buck shrugged.
Chris dropped down in one of the folding chairs and put his face in his hands and moaned.
Buck joined Chris at the table and placed a cup of coffee in front of him. "I wish I knew what to say Chris."
Chris slumped back in his chair. "I know you do, and I appreciate you listening to my ranting."
"You haven't been that much fun to hang out with lately."
Chris chuckled. "I know, Pard. Hopefully, that will change. Did I tell you what she demanded me to do?"
"No," Buck answered.
Chris sighed. "She demanded I tell Josiah to get a male tutor for Vin."
"Oh, she didn't?" Buck was shocked.
Chris nodded his head. "Yep, she did. I told her I couldn't do that."
"What she do?"
"Went into one of her little tantrums and accused me of cheating on her."
Buck shook his head. "You don't need that crap, Chris."
Chris took a sip from his coffee. "I don't know Buck. If this is what love is, I don't want nothing to do with it."
Buck leaned forward and stretched his arms out in front him on the table. "I don't think it is." Buck then looked over at Chris. "Because look at the Judge and his wife. And when Josiah gets that faraway look in his eyes whenever he thinks about his wife and the life they had. So, no, I don't think what you and Ella have is love."
"You could be right," Chris nodded in agreement.
"I know I'm right," Buck grinned then took a drink of coffee.
"I told Mr. Baker I'd come in on Saturday and work a couple of hours to make up for what happened today."
"Ella really went off on you for doing your job?"
"Yep," Chris answered. "Said I was making a play for Mallory. The girl is Mr. Baker's daughter, for crying out loud. Why would I do that with Mr. Baker right there."
"You wouldn't," Buck said.
Chris sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. "It's late. I'm going to bed."
Buck nodded. "Okay. What about the sweetheart dance coming up?"
"To tell you the truth, I don't think I'm going to it. I'm afraid Ella would accuse me of making eyes at every girl there. Who are you taking?"
"Who else, Cheyenne," Buck answered.
Chris grinned. "Good night. I'll see you in the morning."
"Good night Chris," Buck said as he rose from his chair to head to bed himself.
+ + + + + + +
Chris entered Josiah's office at school. "Hey, I'm going to be working Saturday morning, but I should be done by noon, one at the latest."
Josiah leaned back in his chair. "Okay, but I thought you were looking forward to spending some time with the younger boys."
Chris sighed and sat down in one of the chairs. "I still can, but not as much. I told Mr. Baker I'd work for a couple of hours on Saturday to make up some hours."
"Really? Why do you need to make up hours?"
"Ella," Chris answered.
"What about her?" Josiah asked. Chris was seventeen and could handle anything life threw at him, but the father in Josiah wanted to protect him.
"She's been showing up at my work lately or calling me. I almost got fired the other day when she showed up at work and saw me talking to Mr. Baker's daughter Mallory on my break. She's even demanded I tell you to get Vin a male tutor."
"Did she now?" Josiah smirked.
Chris nodded his head and grinned. "Yeah, she did."
"What's going on in her head?"
"I've stopped trying to figure that out a while ago."
"What about the dance that's coming up? You going to ask her?"
Chris shook his head. "No. With all the girls that is going to be there, no, I am not going. She's likely to through one of her tantrums whenever one of them say hi or even look at me."
Josiah leaned forward. "This is your senior year, you should be enjoying it not worrying about what your girlfriend is going to do from one moment to the next."
"I know, but I'm afraid what she might do if I break up with her."
"How long has this been going on?"
Chris sighed. "Since Christmas."
"Almost two months now? Why am I only hearing about it now?"
"You have your hands full with Ezra, Vin and JD. I didn't want to add to it by burdening you with my problems."
Josiah stood and went around his desk and sat in the empty chair beside Chris. "Chris look at me," Chris reluctantly looked up at Josiah. "I want you to come to me with anything. Your problems are just as important to me as Ezra's, Vin's and JD's.
"I'll try to remember that" Chris said as he stood to leave.
"Chris," Josiah said and reached to stop Chris from leaving. "If you want my opinion on your situation with Ella, break it off and soon."
Chris smiled down at Josiah. "Thanks. I think that is what I am going to do. I can't live like this."
Josiah nodded his head then Chris left.
+ + + + + + +
Nathan leaned his head against his locker, muttering to himself when Chris came up on him.
"Hey Nate," Chris said in a way of greeting.
Nathan jumped at the sound of Chris' voice.
Chris laid a hand on Nathan's shoulder. "It's only me."
Nathan nodded his head. "Yeah I know."
Chris thought Nathan sounded winded like he had just run a marathon or had a panic attack.
"Hey, are you okay?"
Nathan stamped down the panic that he felt when he heard Chris's voice. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just need to get to class."
Nathan cringed. "Damn."
Chris looked down the hall toward the teen that yelled Nate's name. It was Louis Meyer. Chris did not like the guy. He was a senior like him, but Louis was eighteen. Chris looked back at Nathan who had his eyes squeezed shut.
"Nathan? Has Meyer been bothering you?"
"Let it go Chris," Nathan said then glared up at Chris. "Just let it go."
"Larabee," Meyer said when he came to stand next to Nathan.
"Meyer," Chris greeted in kind.
"You hang out with Jackson here?" Meyer said as he put an arm around Nathan's shoulders.
"Every day," Chris answered.
"Oh yeah," Meyer nodded his head. "That's right, you live at the same house. Isn't Mr. Sanchez your foster father?"
"What of it?"
"Nothing," Meyer shook his head. Meyer looked down at Nathan. "Catch you later Oreo," Meyer whispered into Nathan's ear.
Meyer made to leave but Chris stepped in front of him. "What did you call him?"
Meyer had a couple of inches on Chris and was about fifty pounds heavier, but Meyer knew not to challenge him. "It's my nick name for him. Don't mean anything by it."
"Come up with a better one," Chris said to the teen.
Meyer nodded his head to Chris before Chris stepped aside to let him pass.
Chris watched Meyer and his friends walk away then looked back at Nathan just to see him glaring at him.
"I told you to let it go."
"Nate, you don't have to put up with his shit."
Nathan sighed. "I only have a few months to go and he'll graduate. I can hold out a little longer."
"Has he been harassing you all year?"
"Only when school was in," Nathan answered.
"Does Josiah know about this?"
"No and you're not to tell him. Know what, don't tell anyone not even Buck."
"Don't tell me what?" Buck asked as he joined Chris and Nathan.
"Nothing," Nathan glared up at Chris and then left to go to class.
Buck watched as Chris clenched and unclenched his fists.
"Nothing," Chris growled through clenched teeth and left.
'Okay,' Buck thought to himself before he wondered off to class.
+ + + + + + +
Nathan knocked on the basement door.
"Come in," Buck yelled.
Nathan entered the basement apartment and looked around for Chris.
"What's up Nate?" Buck asked as he set the table for his and Chris' supper.
"He's in the laundry room," Buck answered. "What's wrong?"
Nathan did not answer Buck, instead he stormed into the laundry room.
"I told you to drop it! Why didn't you?" Nathan yelled.
Chris glared at Nathan. "I did,"
"Then why did your girlfriend come up to me later and tell me there was worse things Meyer could call me than Oreo?"
"I don't know Nate," Chris fumed. "I haven't seen her all damn day."
Nathan furrowed his brow. "You haven't?"
"No Nate, I haven't."
"Then the only way she would know about what happened is if..."
"She heard it from Meyer and his friends," Chris finished in a low growl.
Buck overheard everything and sighed, 'Shit's about to hit the fan,' Buck thought to himself and shook his head.
Ezra looked up from watching TV when Nathan came through the back door from his chat with Chris. Vin and JD were with him. Josiah was in his office.
"Nathan? Is everything okay?" Ezra asked.
"Yes Ezra, it is," Nathan answered and went upstairs.
"Wait here," Ezra told Vin and JD as he rose from the sofa.
Both Vin and JD nodded their heads knowing Ezra would get to the bottom of the problem.
Ezra lightly knocked on Nathan's bedroom door. "May I enter?"
Nathan sighed. "I'm fine Ezra."
Ezra quietly opened the door and leaned against the door jam. "I can clearly see that."
Nathan laughed. "Come in and shut the door."
Ezra shut the door behind him and went and sat down on the office chair Nathan had in his room and waited for Nathan to start talking about what was up with him. He did not have long to wait.
"You heard me yell at Chris?"
"Yes, as well as Vin and JD. What was it you told Chris to drop?"
Nathan sighed and leaned back against the headboard of his bed. "I've been having problems with Louis Meyer and his friends. Chris overheard him call me an Oreo and told him he had better come up with a different nick name."
Ezra nodded his head. "And?"
"And later, Ella came up to me and said being called a cookie isn't the worse thing I could be called."
Ezra sucked in a breath of air through his mouth. "Ah. I'd bet that didn't set to well with our eldest brother."
"No, it didn't," Nathan agreed.
"Does Josiah know about the harassments?"
"No and I don't want him to know."
"Well, then you had better hope he didn't hear you yell at Chris."
"Damn it to hell," Nathan said and banged his head against the wall behind the headboard.
Ezra stood to leave. "Josiah will not hear anything from me, but I do feel you should tell him. Even though Miss Gains is correct there were worse things he could have called you, the racial slur is still there and should not be tolerated not by you or anyone else for that matter. No telling where it may lead if it were to be ignored or swept under the rug."
Nathan nodded his head. "I know you're right, but I've dealt with this kind of stuff my whole life Ez. The best way I have found to deal with it is to let people like Louis Meyer think what they want. They're going to anyway."
Ezra nodded his head and turned to leave. When he opened the door, there stood Josiah.
Nathan sat up straight on his bed. "Josiah!"
Ezra looked over his shoulder. "I swear Nathan, I didn't know he was standing outside the door."
Nathan sighed as he stood to face Josiah. "It's okay Ez."
Josiah stepped to the side to let Ezra pass. "Go back to watching TV Ezra."
"Yes Sir," Ezra said then turned back to Nathan. "Sorry. If you need to..."
"Ezra," Josiah said impatiently.
"Sir," Ezra said as he left the room.
Josiah entered the room and shut the door and sighed as he turned to face Nathan. "How long have the harassments been going on?"
Nathan could not look Josiah in the face, so he looked down at his feet. "Since school started in the fall."
Josiah walked over to Nathan and put a knuckled finger under Nathan's chin and lifted his head so Josiah could talk to Nathan face to face. "Why am I just now hearing about this?"
Nathan shrugged his shoulders.
"Nathan, I won't have you being bullied. The school has a zero tolerance for bullying."
"Please Josiah, just let it go. If you make a fuss, it will only make it worse. Trust me, I know."
"I'm sorry Nathan, I can't do that. And even if I could, I wouldn't."
Nathan dropped down on the edge of his bed and felt like crying. "I know."
Josiah patted Nathan on the shoulder and left the room.
Nathan flopped back onto his bed. 'I wonder if the private school in Eagle Bend, has an opening for a new student,' Nathan thought to himself.
Josiah entered the living room. "Ezra, my office please."
Ezra stood from where he sat on the sofa and shrugged toward Vin when Vin looked over at him.
Josiah sighed then lead the way to his office.
"Have a seat," Josiah said once Ezra entered the office after him.
Josiah shut the door and then sat in his office chair and sighed.
"Did I do something wrong?"
"No," Josiah answered. "Maude has petitioned the court for visitation rights."
"I was under the standing that once her parental rights were taken from her, she was to have no contact with me. Has this changed?"
"Her husband, Clayton Van Buren, is in town with his Lawyer. He has requested to meet me here along with my Lawyer and your case worker, Nettie Wells."
"You have a Lawyer?" Ezra asked.
"Yes, I have. We went to school here at Four Corner."
"What's his name?"
"Quincy Harrison. We didn't run in the same circles growing up."
"He's a decent Lawyer from what I've heard. The question that comes to mind is, how is he going to hold up against my stepfather's Lawyer? I know the man. He only hire's the best and Mr. Harrison is a small-town Attorney."
Josiah smiled over at Ezra. "Don't underestimate Quincy."
"I just know what kind of money Mr. Van Buren has to throw around to get what he wants."
"And what is it he wants?"
"An heir. He is unable to produce a child; therefore, he needed a woman who had one."
"So, their marriage is business?"
"Yes," Ezra answered. "It allows mother the lifestyle she craves without having to perform her wifely duties."
Josiah nodded his head in understanding. "It all makes sense now. The private boys' school, the high-priced Attorney, even the way you carry yourself. You were being groomed to take over your stepfather's business."
"Yes, but I don't want to take it over. I want to be a Policeman. My father, Brice, is a hundred percent for it. And so is Lt. McKenzie. Even you, the Heckarts, the Sinclair's, Nettie Wells and the Judge and his family are all for me joining the police force. The more I think on it, the more I wish to do it."
"Nettie and I discussed it and we feel it should be up to you rather she can visit you. If you choose to see her, it will be supervised. Otherwise, no dice. I'll insist on it."
Ezra smiled. "In that case, I would love to have a visit with my mother. May I choose who will be supervising the visitation?"
"You have anyone in particular in mind?"
"Yes, Chris," Ezra answered.
Josiah sighed. "I'm sorry but whomever you choose, has to be eighteen or older."
"In that case, I don't care who it is as long as Chris can be there."
Josiah leaned back in his chair. "Why do you want Chris?"
Ezra shrugged his shoulders and hung his head. "He'll make sure Maude won't do anything,"
Josiah barely heard what Ezra said and he had to smile. "No he won't. Neither will I."
Ezra looked up at Josiah. "You're going to be there? I thought since you're my guardian, you wouldn't be allowed to supervise."
"No, I won't be doing the supervising, but I will be the one to take you to see her and I plan to stay until it's over and bring you home."
"Do you think Judge Travis would supervise the visit?"
Josiah laughed. "I'm sure he will since he's already said whenever it is to happen, he'll clear whatever is on his docket to be there. All I have to do is ask him."
Ezra smiled. "May I ask him?"
"Sure," Josiah answered.
"When will be a good time to do that?"
"Well," Josiah said as he reached for his phone. "No time like the present."
Ezra smiled up at Josiah.
"Hey Orin, I have someone that wants to ask you something."
Josiah handed his phone over to Ezra.
Ezra sighed before he spoke into the phone.
"Yes, this is Judge Travis."
"Hello, this is Ezra. I was wondering if you would consider supervising my visits with my mother Maude Van Buren?"
"It would be an honor to supervise your visits with her."
"Thank you. And would it be okay if Chris could attend them? I know he's only seventeen, but with the two of you there, I'm sure mother won't be able to pull one of her tricks."
"If it'll put your mind at ease, I'll insist on him being there."
"Yes, it would and thank you again."
"You're welcome. Now, please put Josiah back on the phone."
Ezra handed the phone to Josiah and left the room.
"I let Ezra know I'd be honored to supervise the visits. Nettie and I will meet and set them up as soon as we get the go ahead from the Lawyers."
"Thanks Orin," Josiah sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Ezra wanted to see her but I could tell he didn't feel safe meeting her alone."
"He asked for Chris to be there."
"I know. He wanted Chris to supervise the visits but being a minor, he is not eligible to do them. Then he asked if you would do them."
Orin laughed. "At least I was the first adult he thought of."
"Yeah, you were. He still fears Maude will take him back to that school."
"I did some investigating of that school. In view of what I have found out and Ezra's fears of it. I have contacted a few contacts of mine and the school may be shutting its doors for good and arrests made. At the very least, there will be changes, like the immediate dismissal of the principle and whoever else is involved in letting those boys' rule over the school."
"It's that bad?"
"You have no idea how bad it is. The accident rate is the highest I have seen in any school. Then there are the suicides. Something needs to be done to protect those boys."
"Lt. McKenzie has been trying to get that school closed down for a while. Ezra was giving him intel when he attended the school."
"Lt. McKenzie was one of my contacts. It was him who sent me a lot of the information I have. With what he sent me, I called in a favor and the school is being investigated as we speak."
"Good. That school needs to change or be closed down."
"I agree," Orin said in agreement. "I got to go Josiah. I'll be in touch."
"Thanks Orin, for everything."
"No problem. I'll catch you later," Orin said and hung up.
Josiah smiled as he sat the phone down on his desk. He then picked up his coffee cup and headed for the door and the kitchen. He had some good news to impart on his boys.
Josiah found his boys either sitting at the island or in the kitchen.
"I just got off the phone with Judge Travis. I have some good news to tell you boys."
"Good, we could use some of that," Buck said who was leaning against a counter with a can of store brand cola in his hands.
Chris was stirring something in a large pot. "Amen to that."
Nathan was pouring spaghetti sauce in a pan. "So, what's the news?"
"Orin called in a few favors," Josiah said as he made his way over to the coffee pot. "It seems, St. Matthew School for Boys may be forced to close their doors, permanently."
Josiah heard a gasp from the island as he filled his coffee cup.
"Are you for real?" Ezra asked.
Josiah turned toward his boys and smiled. "Yes I am. Orin did some investigating into the school and didn't like what he found. There were too many accidents and suicides for his liking. If I know Orin like I think I know him, he'll do some more investigating."
"It's really going to be closed?" Buck asked.
"They'll be 'asked' to make changes or close down the school."
"Like, what kind of changes?" Vin asked.
"Like the resignation of staff members, and the disbandment of the Alphas, for starters."
Chris nodded his head as he listened to Josiah. "What about punishment for the Alphas?"
"Depending on their ages, there may be some arrests. I definitely see Juvenile Hall is in their future."
"Mr. Clayton Van Buren isn't going to like that in the least. Nor will mother," Ezra grinned.
"Yeah, you're probably right, but I don't give a damn what they like or don't like," Josiah said then took a sip of coffee.
"You owe the swear jar Josiah," JD laughed.
"Do you want to ask Chris about what we talked to Orin about?" Josiah said to Ezra.
"Ask me about what?"
Ezra sighed. "Would you be willing to sit in on my visits with mother?"
"Wait, what?" A confused Nathan said.
"Yeah, Mr. Van Buren has petitioned the court, on his wife's behalf, that she be granted visitation."
Chris looked up at Josiah. "Are you serious?"
"Yes, I am. Ezra wanted you to supervise them, but you are still a minor, so he asked Orin. Orin is okay with you sitting in on them if you wanted."
"Oh, I want to. She is not going to hurt him again if I can help it."
"Mr. Van Buren wants to meet with me here with his Lawyer, but I'm thinking of having him meet me in Orin's office with my Lawyer."
"That sounds like a good idea," Nathan said.
Chris drained the spaghetti noodles and left them in the sink in the strainer while he took out the garlic toast that was left in the oven to keep warm and turned off the heat to the spaghetti sauce. "Well, we can finish this at the table, supper is done."
+ + + + + + +
Ella walked up to Chris as he was unloading his locker and getting ready to head to work and leaned against the locker next to his.
"I heard you wanted to see me," Ella purred.
"Yeah I did," Chris said and shut his locker door. "I've got to work tonight so I won't be able to go out tonight."
"It's Friday night, what am I to do? Just sit at home? I was looking forward to tonight."
Chris faced Ella. "Do whatever you want Ella. You will anyway."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Just forget it," Chris said and went around her and left Ella standing in the middle of the hallway, fuming.
+ + + + + + +
Chris sat in his Ranger and phoned his boss.
"Hey, I'm on my way. I just need to stop and grab something through drive through,"
"Thanks Chris. Mel's there now, but she will leave when you get there. I know this was supposed to be your night off, but I didn't know who else to call."
"I understand. Accidents happen and being the owner, you must be there to fill out the insurance claim. How did it happen?"
"That idiot, Ralph, wasn't watching where he was going with the forklift and backed into one of the scaffolding shelves which had the box fans on them. Brock tried to move out of the way, but he still got hit by one of the fans. If he had not covered his head with his arms, I shudder to think what could have happened. As it is, a busted arm is a lot better than a busted head."
"I hear ya Mr. Baker. Tell Brock I said for him not to worry. I'll handle anything that comes up."
"I will, and thanks for coming in on your day off. I'll make it up to you, I promise."
Chris was startled when the passenger door opened
and Ella got into the truck.
"What the hell are you doing Ella?" Chris asked angrily as he disconnected the call and put his cell phone in his pocket.
"I want to know why you had to cancel our date tonight."
"There's been an accident at the store and Mr. Baker needed someone to pick up the slack. Now get out of my truck so I can go to work."
"An accident? He could not call anyone else. What about that daughter of his?"
Chris sighed. "She's fifteen and besides, it was Brock, her brother that got hurt. I am the closest to the store. Now, will you please, get out of the truck so I can leave."
"Alright, I'll get out, but this discussion is not over."
Ella got out and slammed the door.
Chris sighed disgustedly and drove off leaving an infuriated Ella standing on the sidewalk.
+ + + + + + +
Chris looked down at his watch and saw it was time for school to be let out. The three hours he had been at work just flew by him.
Chris was in the break room when Mr. Baker returned from the hospital.
Chris handed Mr. Baker a cup of coffee. "You look like you could use this."
"Thanks," Mr. Baker took the offered reprieve and took a sip. "How long can you stay?"
"Till closing if need be."
"Good," Mr. Baker said after he took another sip. "It looks like that's the case. I've called a few other employees but the only one that can come in is Dominic."
Chris nodded his head. "It's okay. He at least listens to me."
Mr. Baker laughed. "Don't take it personally Chris. You are the youngest employee here. If it were not for Josiah vouching for you, you would not be here. I don't normally hire minors."
"That's what Brock said. I'm grateful that you did hire me."
"So am I," Mr. Baker smiled.
"How long have you known Josiah?" Chris asked.
"Since high school. He used to date my older sister."
"Nettie Wells said he use to date her sister too."
Mr. Baker looked at Chris, puzzled. "You don't know?"
"Nettie is my sister."
"Yep," Mr. Baker grinned.
“Huh,” Chris said.
+ + + + + + +
It was late when Chris finally drove into the driveway. He sat in the car for a few minutes after he shut off the engine before he went into the house and down to the basement. Chris was thankful for the light Buck left on and the pot of coffee waiting for him.
Buck was a wake when Chris came home. He got out of bed and stood against the door jam. "Rough night?”
“You might say that.” Chris said and took a sip of coffee. “Ella showed up at work.”
“And?” Buck said as he joined Chris at the table.
“And I told her if she wanted to keep dating, she had to stop bugging me at work. I also told her I didn't appreciate what she said to Nathan.”
“Oh, I bet that went over like a lead balloon.”
Chris chuckled, “You should have heard her when I told her I wasn't taking her to the dance.”
Buck laughed, “I wish I was there to see that.”
Buck and Chris discussed the happenings at work a little bit longer then went to bed.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah was surprised to see Chris in the morning making breakfast for the younger boys.
“I thought you had to work this morning?” Josiah asked.
“I did but Mr. Baker said I could take the weekend off since I worked till closing last night.”
“That was nice of him.”
Chris chuckled, “Not really. I'm still a minor and I can only work so many hours before Mr. Baker gets into trouble.”
“So, what do you got planned for the day?”
“Nothing really, just hanging out with Ezra, Vin and JD. Thought they might like to go to the movie theatre or something.”
“What about Ella? You did cancel on her last night to help Mr. Baker.”
“Yeah, well, I don't think we're going to be a couple much longer.”
“Why is that?”
Chris sighed, “I'm tired of her crap, Josiah. Yesterday after school, she showed up with Meyer and his bunch. She knows how I feel about the guy, and yet she still hangs out with him. She says I'm just being childish about the whole thing. I asked around the school and found out Nathan's not the only student he treats that way.”
“And what way is that?” Josiah knew what Chris was talking about but wanted Chris to say it.
“The students that are not like him, he treats them like he's better than them. And he's not. I wish I had seen it before. Ella is just like him.”
Josiah let Chris rant.
“So, I have no choice but to break up with her. I told her yesterday I was going to spend the day with my brothers. Take a guess what she had to say to that.”
“I couldn't possibly,” Josiah answered.
“She said I had no brothers because we didn't have the same parents. I told her it didn't matter. We have the same Foster father who took us all in when we needed a home.” Chris shook his head. "She said only because you had too. You got Nathan because of his dad's will. You got Buck and I because Judge Travis beg you to take us and the only reason you took Ezra, Vin and JD was because you felt guilty for what happened to Vin. I don't care whatever the reason, we are still brothers as far as I'm concerned.”
Josiah sighed, “Orin did not beg me to take you and Buck in. Yes, I got Nathan because of Obediah's will, but it was agreed long before his death I would take Nathan when he passed on. And as for Ezra, Vin and JD, after reading their cases, I felt, like I did for you and Buck, they were in need of what I could provide and that was a stable home environment.”
“I know that. I just let her get under my skin is all. It's like she's trying to piss me off, you know. She wants to fight only to make up and I'm tired of it.”
“Sounds like ya made up yer mind.”
Josiah and Chris didn't hear Vin come down the stairs and were startled when he spoke. When they turned him, they saw the other three boys sitting on the steps.
“Yes, I have, Guys. I thought we would go to a movie later and maybe the Triple D. What do think?”
“Sure, sounds good,” Nathan smiled.
The other three agreed.
The back door opened, and Buck entered. "What about me? Do I get to go to the movies and the Triple D?”
“What do you think Guys? Should we let him or not?”
“I guess he can come,” JD said.
“Yeah, it wouldn't be fair if he didn't.” Nathan added.
“Do you want to come, Josiah?” Chris asked.
“Actually, Chris, I think I'll stay and enjoy the peace and quiet.”
+ + + + + + +
“What do we want to watch? And keep in mind, we all have to agree on the same movie.” Chris said as he looked up at the monitor displaying the movies and their sow times.
“How about ‘Knives Out',” Vin asked.
Ezra smiled, Vin remembered that, that was the one movie he was hoping to be able to see when he saw the ad for it.
“Sounds good to me,” JD smiled over at Ezra.
Both Vin and JD knew Chris would go with whatever the majority wanted, and they knew Ezra wanted to see the movie.
“Knives out does sound intriguing,” Ezra added.
Buck looked down at the three youngest. "Are the three of you sure you want to see that movie?”
“I thought it would be something I would like to see when I had seen the ads.” Ezra said.
“What about you Nathan?” Buck asked.
Nathan had his cell out looking up the movie. “From what I can find out about the movie, I think I'd like to see it to.”
Chris looked over at Buck. "I don't care what we see.”
Buck grinned over at Chris. "I guess we're seeing ‘Knives Out'.
Chris bought the tickets the lead the way to the concession stand. He bought six medium drinks and three large popcorns. They had a few minutes to kill so they all made their way over to the video games. Vin and Ezra went straight to the air hockey table. Buck made his way to the crane with JD right behind him. Chris stood watch while Nathan made his way around the various kinds of games, sipping on his drink. He stopped and watched Vin and Ezra play one another.
“I don't know why you two insist on playing this every time we come here. You always end up in a draw.” Nathan said.
“We ain't trying to beat each other, Nate.” Vin said, not taking his eyes from the game.
“We are merely trying to keep the other from scoring.”
“Well, you both do a damn good job of that,” Buck said as he and JD joined them.
Chris smiled and took a sip of his drink. As he watched his brothers, he heard a familiar female voice and turned around to see Ella and Meyer's exiting one of the theatre's. Neither one of them saw him or his brothers as the two left the building.
Buck came to stand next to Chris. "They deserve each other.”
Chris sighed, “You think so?”
Both teens turned around to watch the air hockey match.
Nathan watched Meyer's and Ella leave and sighed when neither of them spotted him.
About five minutes later, a young lady announced the movie for Knives Out will begin shortly.
All six left the game area and entered the theatre.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah was waiting for them when they got home.
“I still can't believe the two of you guessed who done it long before the movie was over.” JD said as he and the others came through the back door.
Josiah stood and met his boys when they entered the house. "What movie did you all see and how was it?”
“We saw Knives Out, and it was good.” Chris answered.
“Yeah, these two,” Nathan pointed to Vin and Ezra. "Had guessed who committed the murder.”
“Yeah, it wasn't even half over with and they figured it out,” Buck smiled at the two teens with pride.
Josiah laughed. "Sounds like you had a good time.”
“We did,” JD smiled.
The boys told Josiah all about it.
Josiah could tell there was something on Chris' mind. He caught Chris' attention and asked with his eyes what was wrong. Chris shook his head and mouthed later. Josiah nodded his understanding as he listened to JD go on about the movie.
“I thought for sure we were going to leave when Chris saw Ella come out of the movie with that other boy,” JD ended his story.
Josiah raised an eyebrow. "Really?”
“Yeah, but we didn't, JD.” Vin said.
Ezra nodded his head.
“I didn't think the three of you saw them,” Chris stated.
Ezra cocked his head to one side and looked up at Chris. "Really? How could we not. She was being her typical self-absorbed obnoxious self.”
“I'm just glad she didn't see us.” Vin stated.
Josiah now knew what was troubling Chris. "Want to talk about it?”
Chris thought about it for a couple of minutes and nodded his head. "Yeah, I think I would.”
“Buck, you're in charge,” Josiah said, then he and Chris went into his office.
Once inside the office, Chris sat down in one of two chairs in front of the desk. Josiah sat in the other and waited for Chris to start.
Chris sighed, “I'm confused.”
Chris leaned forward with his fore arms on his thighs. "About Ella and my feelings for her.”
“And they are?”
“Non-exist,” Chris said and looked over at Josiah.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean,” Chris started and stood and paced. "Why didn't I feel anything when I saw her with Meyers? I didn't feel mad, happy, or even jealousy. Nothing,” Chris turned toward Josiah like he had the answer.
Josiah nodded his head. "You don't love her. If you did, you would have wanted to do something and knowing your temper, you more than likely would have punched the guy out.”
Chris sat back down in the chair and leaned back in thought. "I think you're right. Chris looked over at Josiah and grinned. "I guess breaking up with her isn't going to be as hard as I thought it was going to be, thanks.”
Chris stood and left the room.
‘I wish all problems were that easy to solve,' Josiah thought to himself, then he stood and exited his office.
+ + + + + + +
Chris felt good just spending the weekend with his brothers playing board and video games. They even went outside and had a snowball fight and made snow people. When Ella phoned him Saturday night, and then three or four time on Sunday, Chris just let it go to voice mail and went back to what ever he was doing. So, when Monday morning came, Chris was ready to send Ella packing.
Chris stood at his locker hanging his coat up when Ella came up to him. "Why didn't you answer my call or at least call me back?”
Chris shut his locker and faced her. “I didn't feel like it.”
“Didn't feel like it?” Ella gaffed.
“That's what I said.”
Ella crossed her arms in front of her. "Who was she?”
“I spent the weekend with my brothers.”
“Oh, don't even,” Ella gaffed. "You don't have any brothers, not real ones anyway.”
“What's that suppose to mean, not real ones?”
Ella sighed, “Those five boys Mr. Sanchez takes care of.” Ella said with disdain.
“Josiah takes care of me too, Ella. I'm just like the others.”
“No, you're not. Look who your father is.”
“You think the Sergeant Major is my real father?”
“Well, yes. You carry his last name, so why wouldn't I?”
Chris turned and leaned back against his locker. "Oh man, you're something else, you know that? The Sergeant Major is not my biological father. The man I knew as Uncle Frank is. The Sergeant Major, as it turns out, was sterile.”
“No, he wasn't, you're saying that to make me mad.”
Chris chuckled, “No, I'm not.”
“Why didn't you tell me this before?”
Chris turned his head in Ella's direction. "I didn't think it mattered.”
“Well, well, it doesn't,” Ella stammered.
Chris stood and faced her. "Like hell it doesn't, not to the likes of you and Meyers. Hey, do me a favor.”
“Sure, whatever you want.”
“Lose my number.”
Ella looked up at Chris, confused. "What?”
“Don't ever call me again. I don't like prejudice people. I definitely will not date one.”
Ella stared at Chris in disbelief. "You're dumping me?”
“Yep,” Chris answered and walked around her and headed for class.
Ella turned toward Chris' retreating back. "I don't get dumped!” Ella yelled at Chris.
Buck came up behind Ella. "You just did, Bitch.” Buck laughed as he passed Ella and jogged up to Chris.
Ella looked around at the students around her. Some of them wore shit eating grins on their faces. Some were even laughing. Ella screamed and stomped her foot and left in a huff.
“Good going, Chris,” Buck patted Chris on the back. “How'd it feel to send that Bitch packing?”
Chris sighed a sigh of relief and smiled over at Buck. "Damn good.”
Both teens laughed and then parted to go to their home rooms.
The End, until the next chapter.
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