Cover image courtesy of a good friend and host of this story: “ACFan”

LINCOLN, THE FAMILY I NEVER EXPECTED

Copyright ©2017-2019 Lindon Weztser & CSU Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Full disclaimer may be viewed at http://cornercafe.us


Installment 16 (Money)

Part – 1

“Hi,” the man said as he extended his hand. “Thomas Giradi.”

“Pleasure,” I returned.

“Likewise, over here is my wife, Debra.”

“Hi, Debra. Garret Hamel,” I said and shook her hand.

“Pleasure,” Debra replied. “Now who’s this little guy?”

Jacob immediately ducked behind my legs, as he was timid because he didn’t want the attention on him.

“It’s okay bud,” I said reassuring him.

“Hi,” Jacob softly spoke as he peered out from behind my legs.

“Oh my goodness. Thomas look. He has her eyes,” Debra spoke almost breaking down into tears. “You even have her nose!”

“How about that,” Thomas spoke. “So Garret, will your wife be joining us?”

“Excuse me?”

“Your wife? Will she be joining us?”

“Umm… I am not married,” I returned.

“Oh my apologies, is your girlfriend joining us?”

“I don’t have a girlfriend either,” I returned.

Thomas gazed upon me, “interesting.”

“Come again?”

“Oh, well I’m just surprised Jacob is under the care of a single male.”

“Uh, I see,” I responded.

“Oh Thomas, knock it off. We just got here,” Debra replied.

Thomas didn’t react to his wife’s comment, but you could tell he was thinking of something. After a few seconds of awkward silence, Kelly fortunately spoke,

“Well, should we head inside?”

“Let’s go,” I said.

Debra was a heavier set woman, and she had the classic grandmother look. She seemed innocent, with her short grey curly hair and glasses. She was soft-spoken, but she didn’t fool me. Something about her gave off the impression of toughness.

Thomas, as I mentioned, looked like a retired blue collar worker. He is a big guy, with greyish black hair, and unlike his wife, Thomas has a deep voice, and he presents himself as a man with power. His handshake was firm, and it seemed he didn’t beat around the bush.

We entered the McDonald’s and went to pick out our table before ordering the food. We let Jacob pick as he chose a table in the back near the enclosed play area. Before we went up to order, we sat down to get to know each other more. Kelly, Jacob, and I sat on one side overlooking the play area, while Thomas and Debra sat on the other side of the table and faced the windows.

“So,” Kelly started. “You guys are about an hour south of Columbus?”

“Uhh yes,” Debra spoke. “We own a little piece of land in the countryside. Have a few horses and animals.”

“What about you Garret?” Asked Thomas.

“I am an hour north of Columbus. Live in a nice neighborhood in which the boys have already made a few friends, but it’s a charming house,” I said as I didn’t want to give away my exact location through my description.

“How many other children are under your watch?” Asked Thomas.

“Well, Jacob’s half-brothers. Lincoln, Ryker, and Clayton. They all came into my life together, and I hopefully plan to keep it that way,” I said.

“Uh huh,” studied Thomas, “and what do you do for a living?”

“Well, I am in the middle of starting a nonprofit organization to help children without homes or parents who have abandoned them.”

“Well that is quite honorable,” said Debra. “Where will it be?”

“Columbus or the surrounding area. At least our first site,” I replied.

“So you have no money is what you’re basically saying?” Questioned Thomas.

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I looked at Kelly for an answer, and she spoke,

“That is not important. However, he has money to support the children put under his care if that’s what you’re looking for.”

“Well, money isn’t the most important thing,” I began. “Giving Jacob and his brothers a loving home in which they feel comfortable and relaxed is my goal.”

“Yes, but money does help.”

“What do you do for a living?” I asked flipping the question.

“Well, we are both retired and spend most of our days at our house. But I have been all over.” Started Thomas, “worked in the steel industry, construction, but towards the end of my career I was doing contract work for neighbors.”

“He was more of the manual labor,” joked Debra. “I worked for a local business answering phones and greeting folks that entered the office. Did that for about 30 years of my life.”

“Those are nice work careers,” commented Kelly.

“Thank you,” said Debra.

“Is Jacob enrolled in school?” Inquired Thomas as he didn’t acknowledge my sister’s comment.

“Yeah, they just started school a few weeks ago. Jacob is in first grade, and he’s doing extremely well.”

“What’s your favorite subject?” Asked Debra.

“Reading or math,” Jacob replied.

“And Garret, what is your education background?” Asked Debra

“Graduated from Virginia Tech in 2008.”

“Virginia Tech? Isn’t that where that shooting occurred?”

“Yes, I was there for it. April 16, 2007, changed my life forever… that was my junior year.”

“What a tragedy that was,” spoke Debra.

“Certainly was.”

“Well enough about us, I want to know more about my grandson, and I’m sure he has a few questions for us,” stated Thomas. This caught Jacob off guard as he clenched Riley even tighter.

“Umm,” Jacob stuttered softly, “umm I… I don’t know.”

“You don’t care to know about your mother?” Asked Debra in somewhat disbelief.

“Umm… I don’t know,” Jacob said.

“Well you did kill her, at least you could do is ask what she was like. Do you have no interest in her?” shot Debra.

“I killed her?”

“No, you didn’t,” I said stepping in.

“Yes, he did. If he weren’t born, Helen would be alive,” Debra spoke.

“I killed her….” Jacob began to cry.

“You know what, you are a,” I began but was cut off by Kelly saying.

“Garret.”

I looked at my sister, and she gave me this look to be careful with my words.

“Umm,” I said as I had to reword what I was originally going to say, “umm… why would you say that?”

“Because it’s the truth, and stop crying son. Only wimps and babies cry… be a man, and accept it,” Thomas spoke.

“I’m… I’m sorry,” Jacob spoke. This was going absolutely terrible, I was petrified every time these fools opened their mouth. I’ve spent so much time trying to make Jacob open about his feelings.

“Look I will not sit here and listen to you belittle and hurt him,” I said. “If that was your only goal then we will leave. It is not acceptable, and not needed.”

“Okay,” Debra said, “no need to leave, we were just stating facts. Anyhow, Jacob would you have interest in living out in the country?”

“I… I don’t know,” replied Jacob.

“Son, do you know anything? I haven’t heard you say more than 3 words. You special or something?”

“THAT IS ENOUGH,” I said. “What the hell is wrong with you? Accusing a seven-year-old of being stupid? You know how hard this is for him?”

“Garret,” Kelly said.

“Watch your tone with us,” Thomas said.

Ohhh did I want to rip into him but it wouldn’t be wise. The best thing to do was bite my tongue. I took a deep breath and exhaled.

“I think it would be wise to order our food. Come on Jacob,” I stated and grabbed his hand. Together he and I walked up to the front and looked over the menu. We were joined by the three others.

Jacob got a kids meal because he wanted the toy inside. I decided to go with the grilled chicken sandwich. We got our food and went back to the table and waited for the others.

“Garret?” Asked Jacob.

“Yeah, buddy?”

“I don’t wanna live with them. They scare me.”

My heart about broke because I honestly had no clue what was going to happen, but I tried to reassure him, “I don’t want you to live with them either, but you’re doing great buddy. I’m so proud of you.”

My statement put a smile on Jacob’s face but was quickly lost when Thomas and Debra came back to the table.

“I love McDonald’s, we barely eat it since it’s not around us. But anytime we come to the city, we always stop,” mentioned Debra.

“I am not a fan myself. Usually, I prefer home cooked meals.”

“So you can cook?” Asked Thomas as he took a bite of his burger.

“Here and there,” I replied as I didn’t want to tell them about Rita. I didn’t want to give off any indication of my wealth, once people find out about someone’s wealth, they start treating them differently. “But I will say, a McDonald chicken sandwich is good.”

“I like Rita’s cooking more,” Jacob spoke which completely threw away my plan.

“Who’s Rita?”

“She cooks and cleans for us, she is awesome,” said Jacob.

“Interesting,” said Thomas as he seemed to study me.

“Well only sometimes,” I said trying to downplay Jacob’s statement. “So how did Jacob’s father and your daughter meet?”

“Well we didn’t know much about there relationship, we barely knew she was pregnant until 6 months in. But from our understandings, they met through work.”

“They met through work?” I asked.

“Yup,” commented Debra.

“Alright,” I said, although something wasn’t adding up.

“So Jacob,” began Debra, “I just can’t believe how much you look like her, we brought a few pictures of your mother. You wanna see what she looks like?”

“Umm… yeah I guess so,” Jacob stated, and Debra began digging through her purse.

“She was about 10 years old in this photo, and in this one… she was 21, and just graduated from community college,” Debra said handing both photos to him. I caught a glimpse of the photo, and the mother was a good-looking woman. She had the same dark brown hair as Jacob, and I must say, Jacob had similar facial features. “This photo is when she was 27, and this last photo was when she was pregnant with you. She was 32, and this was a week before you were born.” Debra paused for a second and began speaking again, “this is the last photo we ever took of her,” and she began crying.

“It’s okay honey,” Thomas said trying to comfort his wife.

“I… I just can’t believe we are finally meeting our grandson after so many years,” stated Debra. “We honestly never thought this day would come.”

“Well, I’m glad you guys are finally able to meet him,” I spoke.

“Jacob,” spoke Thomas, “you see son, that’s your mother. She gave her life for yours.”

“Oh my,” I responded. “Enough! It’s not his fault. Drop it!”

“It wasn’t meant to be mean,” replied Thomas.

“How was it meant to be then?”

“Encouraging.”

“Encouraging?” I laughed, “yeah okay, nice try.”

“Moving on,” Kelly stated, “Thomas, Debra, you guys had a lovely daughter.”

“Thank you,” spoke Debra.

As we ate, the conversation went to a little more of a light-hearted tone. It was asking Jacob simple questions like what he wanted to do when he was older, or favorite color, or favorite book.

I will say Jacob did seem to relax, which was good. He wasn’t clenching onto Riley as hard, but the stuffed animal was still on his lap. After eating, we cleaned our table and went to get some ice cream. Jacob received a kids cup, and I got a Vanilla milkshake.

After a few more minutes of talking and eating our ice cream, Jacob finished his and asked.

“Garret? Umm, can I go to the play area for a little?”

“Of course. Do you want me to watch Riley?”

Thomas loudly sighed after I said that, to which Debra reacted by hitting his arm.

“Yes please,” Jacob responded and gave me the stuffed animal.

“Alright buddy, go play and have fun,” I said, as Jacob ran off to the play area.

“So what’s the deal with this stuffed animal?” Thomas asked.

“Umm, I’m not totally sure, I just know he feels better with the stuffed animal. He’s pretty attached to Riley, it gives him comfort,” I responded, which caused a chuckled from Thomas.

“Thomas enough,” Debra said.

“Enough of what?” I inquired.

“Well, I’m sorry…”

“Thomas,” Debra injected

“I will not bite my tongue any longer. This is ridiculous, are you trying to turn this boy into a queer?” Asked Thomas

I was shocked, so was Kelly, my jaw literally dropped.

“I’m… I’m sorry, but what?”

“Well for one, he has this stuffed animal to help him through things… like what is that? You should be encouraging him to step away from that. Real men don’t carry stuffed animals around.”

“He’s 7,” I said before getting cut off by Thomas.

“And two, you have him dressed like a faggot.”

“He is dressed a little…. homoish,” added Debra.

“I’m sorry… I… I don’t even know what to say,” I replied.

“I agree, that was completely unnecessary,” spoke Kelly.

“I’m sorry but it’s true, he is carrying around a stuffed animal and dressed like a fag,” Thomas said.

“Sorry my husband is a straightforward guy, he speaks what he sees,” Debra said trying to backtrack for Thomas.

“Debra… This boy needs us to take him in and save him,” Thomas gestured.

“Okay, hold on. I am still in shock. You consider khaki pants and a button down to be gay? You consider a stuffed animal that gives him support and comfort, to be gay?”

“Yes,” Thomas replied.

“Wow,” I said. “Kelly, this cannot be serious. We cannot send him to live with them, or he’ll end up like a homophobic asshole, like the one sitting in front of me.”

“Garret,” Kelly quickly said.

“WHAT? You want me to bite my tongue while he doesn’t?, Because I will not sit here and listen to this asshole make statements like this.”

“Well it’s obvious, in my eyes,” Thomas spoke.

“What’s obvious?” I inquired.

“Why you are trying to make Jacob into a homo… it’s because you’re gay your self,” Thomas said.

“Wow… this guy is an idiot.”

“Come again,” Thomas stated.

“YOU… ARE… A… Idiot. An idiot that has no idea the circumstances or anything going on.”

“Look,” Kelly said. “Everyone take a 5-minute break!”

“I think that would be wise,” Debra commented.

Thomas and Debra walked outside I think to smoke cigarettes while I went in to check on Jacob. He was having fun riding down the slide and climbing up the multiple stories. Usually, I wasn’t a fan of these places since they are filled with germs, but it was keeping Jacob entertained, which was good. After a few minutes, Kelly and I took a seat at the table, and Thomas and Debra joined us again.

“So I wanna start this off plain and simple…. what are your intentions?” I asked.

“Well, what are yours?” Countered Thomas.

“Honestly, I want Jacob to stay with me. I think it is healthy for him to stay with his brothers as well as stay in the current environment he is in, which in fact, is helping him emotionally get through the past years of his life. I have him going to A therapist to talk about his feelings and….”

“Just stop… see that’s what’s wrong. You have him talking about his feelings. What boy does that?” Thomas inquired

“Are you kidding me?”

“No I’m serious, he is gonna be a pussy that gets bullied around in school.”

“Or he becomes a boy that isn’t afraid to talk about his feeling, and knows he can talk with someone without the fear of being labeled.”

“Which is more likely? I think mine would be,” chuckled Thomas

“Of course it would be, you don’t see the logical side of this conversation.”

“You calling me stupid?”

“Not calling you smart, if that’s what you’re looking for,” I returned.

“You know I’ve had it with your disrespect boy,” stated Thomas.

“And I’ve had it with your bigotry and ignorance.”

“Enough,” Kelly said. “This is getting us nowhere. Garret clearly stated his intentions, so what are yours?”

“Well,” Debra began “we don’t have an answer, we want to take time to think about it. Can we notify you tomorrow or Thursday?”

“The sooner, the better,” Kelly said.

“Okay, thank you,” Debra stated.

“Alright, as much as I wish I could say this was enjoyable…. it wasn’t. Now I will state this and state this once. If you guys want to be involved in Jacob’s life, I am more than willing to try and work out something. However, I think it would be stupid to pull him away from his brothers. His brothers are his backbone, and mean everything to him, especially his older brother Ryker. They have a good connection, and it would be a shame not only for Jacob but his brothers and me as well.”

“Well,” Thomas spoke, “we will consider what you said, and we also want what is best for him. Even though we do not know Jacob much, we owe it to our daughter, to take responsibility and make a wise decision. Like we said, we’ll think it over, and get back to you.”

“Yes,” Debra began, “we want what’s best, and we will think it over.”

“Alright,” I spoke. “Let me get Jacob, and we can be on our way out of here.”

I grabbed his stuff animal off the table and went into the play area. I called for Jacob to come down and within seconds he was on the floor putting his shoes on. After he was ready, we said our goodbyes and went to the car. Once I got Jacob loaded into the Benz, I was walking back to my door when Thomas called for me.

“Garret, a word please.”

“Give me a second,” I said and started the car for Jacob and locked the doors to the SUV. The car has a push-button start, which meant the keys didn’t need to be in the car after being started. I walked over to where Thomas was standing, and he begins,

“Nice car for a man with no money.”

“Yeah well, what can I say. Hauls the boys around just fine.”

“Uh huh… cut the shit.”

“Excuse me?”

“We know who you are. It wasn’t hard, at first we had no clue, but during our last break. I was able to do a google search and found you are a decently well-known man or at least use to be. I also found that you have acquired a high net worth, so I don’t honestly know why the hell you want to give up a lifestyle like you had, to raise 4 boys.”

“Because I want to, they mean so much to me.”

“I see, if they mean so much to you… how much are you willing to pay?”

“Huh?” I said.

“You heard me, how much are you willing to pay to keep Jacob in your family?”

“Are you kidding?”

“Does it look like I’m kidding? Look I’m just asking, how much to keep Jacob with you so you can do whatever the fuck you want to do with him. I mean he is a cute kid.”

“What did you just say?”

“Boy… get your ears checked. HOW MUCH YOU WILLING TO PAY?”

“Wow,” I said as I dug my wallet out from my pocket.

“Yeah, now we are talking.”

“Here,” I said and handed him a card.

“What’s this?”

“My lawyer’s number.”

“Huh? Why am I going to need this?”

“To give them a call, they are expecting you,” I said and cocked back my right fist, and landed a haymaker on his jawline which caused him to lose his balance and fall to the ground. He was in shock, didn’t expect a thing, but as Kelly and Debra came running, I stood over Thomas and said, “Don’t you ever fucking talk to me like that again. Any communication will be done through our lawyers and Kelly. You understand you piece of shit?” and I spit on him.

“Garret, what did you just do?” Kelly came over.

Now wait, if you think I would risk losing all the kids by merely punching this idiot… you don’t know me well enough. I may be hot-headed but wouldn’t jeopardize my boys. Although I wanted it to happen that way, it actually went down like this.

“Boy… get your ears checked. HOW MUCH YOU WILLING TO PAY?”

“”Wow,” I said as I dug my wallet out from my pocket.

“Yeah, now we are talking.”

“Here,” I said and handed him a card.

“What’s this?”

“My lawyer’s number, if you want to talk money go to him. But I promise you, you will not see one damn dime. So I suggest you clear your mind of that option.”

“Your loss, we could’ve ended this very easily.”

“Do you care about this boy?” I asked

“Yes?”

“Then think of the opportunities you would strip him from. A great education, a great life with his brothers, a great life to do anything he wants to. THINK about it, this conversation is done.” I said and headed to my car. I was fuming, I’m sure smoke was coming out of my ears. I wanted to run this guy over, but I maintained my composure as I got into the car and turned to Jacob to say,

“You did awesome buddy, I’m so proud of you.”

“Thanks… so do I umm… have to live with them?”

“I don’t know bud, but we can’t think like that!”

“Okay,” Jacob said as he hugged Riley even tighter.

“Did Riley get enough food?” I asked.

“Yeah! But she is always hungry,” giggled Jacob.

“Oh is that so?” I laughed.

“Yeah!”

“You’re too funny.”

“Garret?”

“Yes?”

“I love you,” Jacob said.

“Love you too,” I replied and put my seat belt on. It was pretty late as dinner went longer than expected. I knew one thing for sure, I don’t ever want to spend that much time in a McDonald’s again. Jacob fell asleep on the car ride home, and I pulled into the garage around 9:30. Since Jacob didn’t wake, I carried him to his bed and put him to sleep. I just entered my room when I heard Lincoln’s door open.

“Garret?”

“Yeah bud?” I asked as the naked boy came running.

“You were gone for so long,” he replied as he wrapped his arms around me.

“Longer than I expected to be, but I’m here now.”

“I missed you!”

“I missed you too,” I said as I bent down to pick him up. I wrapped him in a hug then set him on my bed as I began to undress and get into comfortable clothing.

“Where did you and Jacob go?”

That was a loaded question. With it being so late too, I didn’t want to give him the truth because I know it would spark so many questions, so I stated,

“I’ll tell you some other time, all you need to know is that everything is fine at the moment?”

“Why wouldn’t it be fine?”

Shit… “umm well no reason, but why are you up so late?”

“I was worried about you…”

“Aww thanks, bud, how was dinner tonight?”

“Delicious as always,” giggled Lincoln, “you know you’re gonna lose right?”

“Thanks for the confidence booster,” I joked.

“Just stating the obvious.”

“Oh is that so?”

“Yeah,” giggled Lincoln.

“I’ll remember that,” I said. “Just you wait, I’ll get you back for that comment.”

“Ohh I’m sooooo scared!”

“You better get your little butt to bed!”

“Fine,” Lincoln said as he hopped off my bed and gave me another hug, “happy your home safe.”

“Thanks, kiddo,” I replied.

“Love you.”

“Love you too,” I stated and released his hug. I walked Lincoln back to his room and kissed his forehead goodnight. I went to check on Ryker and Clayton as they were both out cold. I kissed them goodnight, then went downstairs to see Rita.

She was getting ready to leave as she had her jacket on and car keys in hand.

“How’d it go?”

“Not well,” I replied.

“I’m sorry,” Rita said as she walked over and rubbed my shoulders.

“It ended with this idiot of a man, asking how much I was willing to pay to keep Jacob in my custody.”

“Did you give a number?”

“No, I couldn’t nor did I think that it was appropriate.”

“I agree, what did Kelly say?”

“She doesn’t know yet. The guy only told me as we were leaving. But I’m gonna tell her tomorrow, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s his word against my word.”

“Well she should still know,” stated Rita.

“Yeah, I agree. How were the boys?”

“Hilarious as always. Clayton is just so funny, but Lincoln had a difficult time with you being gone for so long. He kept checking out the window and asking me if I’ve heard from you. You know he is so attached to you. They all are, but Lincoln is extra.”

“Well we all connect and work well together,” I said.

“No, you all love each other.”

“Well that too,” I replied.

“Alright Garret, I’m going to go.”

“Rita, you can stay here if you want to.”

“Oh someone has to go feed my kitty.”

“When did you get a cat?”

“Just a few days ago.”

“Aww why didn’t you tell me?”

“You’ve been so busy.”

“That I have,” I laughed.

“Goodnight Garret.”

“Goodnight Rita,” I replied and saw her out the door. It’s been a long and exhausting day, so I went upstairs, took a shower and went to bed.



Part – 2

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016. 6:55 am, I was awakened by the screams of Lincoln as he was having another attack. It was so loud that I shot out of bed and rushed into his room. He peed the bed again, but to make matter worse, he fell off his bed and smacked his head on the corner of the nightstand. The edge sliced open his head, and he was bleeding profusely. I rushed to his bathroom and grabbed a towel.

Lincoln wasn’t moving when I reached him. I picked up his head and placed the towel on the cut. At this point, I couldn’t tell if he needed stitches or how severe the wound was. His room was a mess, blood on his bed sheets, and blood on the carpet. From Jacob’s nosebleed to Lincoln’s head, I was going to need to replace this carpet soon.

Lincoln started coming to, and when he regained his senses, he scared himself as the towel was covering his eyes.

“Help!” He shouted.

“Lincoln, it’s okay. It’s just me,” I said as I removed the towel from his eyes.

“Wha, what happened?”

“You had a PTSD attack and smacked your head on the corner of the nightstand.”

“My head is killing me,” he cried.

“I know, I bet it is,” I replied.

“Is it still bleeding?”

“Yeah, I think so. Umm, here hold the towel. We got to get underwear on you, we may need to go to the hospital.”

“Okay,” Lincoln replied as he placed his hand where mine was.

“Alright, apply pressure,” I commanded and went to his dresser. I grabbed a pair of shorts and underwear. I slid both of them on his feet and up around his waist. After, I ran to the bathroom to grab another towel.

“Garret? It’s still really bleeding,” Lincoln replied as he lifted the towel away.

“Lincoln don’t you look at the blood,” I said, but it was too late. The site of that much blood on the towel threw him into another PTSD Attack. “Lincoln!” I yelled as I ran over to him, but didn’t catch him as he collapsed again. Luckily this time he fell onto the bed and not anywhere else. I made my way to there and applied pressure again to stop the bleeding. He was screaming and squirming all over the place, however, luckily this attack didn’t last too long.

“Garret?” I heard a voice.

“Ryker?”

“Yes… what’s wrong with Lincoln?”

“Umm, he just hit his head. You uhh… you wanna do me a favor?”

“Umm okay?”

“Run into my room and get my cell phone. It’s on the nightstand.”

Ryker ran to my room and returned in a few seconds, he handed me my phone and said,

“That’s a lot of blood. Is he okay?”

“He will be fine kiddo, but I need you to keep your brothers away from this room okay?”

“Okay,” Ryker said. He was a trooper, and I appreciated his mental toughness.

I grabbed my phone and dialed Rita.

“Hello?”

“Rita, how far away are you?”

“Like ten minutes. Why?”

“I need to take Lincoln to the hospital to get stitches. You think you could get here a bit earlier?”

“Just take him, I’ll be there in no time,” Rita said.

“Thank you,” I said and hung up. I picked Lincoln up and began to carry him down the steps. I placed Lincoln in the truck and went back inside to grab a jacket for him since he was shirtless. On my way out, I told Ryker he was in charge, and Rita was close. The whole process took about 5 minutes for me to load him into the vehicle and get down the driveway. Luckily I saw Rita’s car as I left, she must have hit 100 mph just getting here.

The drive to the hospital was about 10 minutes. About halfway there, Lincoln woke back up and was very confused. I had to retell him what happened, and he wasn’t too happy. We reached the ER and were immediately seen. Luckily the bleeding had slowed, but when the doctor examined his head, he stated he would need staples. The cut was on the left side of his head, behind his ear, so luckily no scar would be visible. After getting the staples put in, we were both questioned separately about what happened.

“Well, he fell out of his bed because he had a PTSD attack. When he fell out, he smacked his head on the corner of the nightstand.”

“Uh huh,” the doctor wrote down, “why is the boy shirtless sir?”

“He sleeps that way,” I said. “I have a jacket in the car for him.”

“Alright, one final question, he has some scars on his back. What are they from?”

“So he recently came into my life. I’m his foster dad, and those scars are from his past home. I would advise you not to ask him because it is a sensitive subject, however, if you need documentation or someone else’s word besides mine, I can give you his caseworker’s number, and you can call her.”

“Very well, what’s his caseworker’s number? We believe you, but if stories don’t match up, we will be calling his caseworker,” stated the doctor.

“Alright,” I said and gave the doctor Kelly’s number. After about 5 minutes, the doctor came back out and said that both stories matched each other, and once they ran a concussion test, he was free to go.

Luckily the test came back negative, which meant no concussion. However, before we left, I asked the doctor,

“Any limitations? Like can he go to school?”

“I would take it easy for the day, but tomorrow he should be good to go. Oh and keep the wound dry for 24hrs.”

“Thanks, doc,” I said. “Come on Lincoln, let’s go home. I’m sure Rita is worried.”

“Okay,” Lincoln replied and I put the coat on his body to cover him.

The ER trip took a good two to three hours out of the day, so it was now 10. We reached the truck and hopped in.

“I’m… I’m sorry,” Lincoln said.

“It’s okay, I’m just happy you are okay,” I responded.

“I hate these stupid attacks, I just want them to end!”

“So do I,” I stated, after that the ride home was mostly quiet. When we pulled into the garage and walked in, Rita was just cleaning the kitchen.

“Oh sugar, are you okay?”

“Yes,” Lincoln replied as he went over and gave her a hug.

“Well you can go lay down if you want, your bed is all clean!”

“Thanks, Rita,” Lincoln said as he began to cry. “Love you.”

“Oh sugar, love you too! Don’t worry about the bed, it’s okay.”

“I’m… I’m gonna head upstairs for a little.”

“Alright, I’ll have some snack ready for when you come back down,” Rita stated and released her hug. Lincoln went upstairs, and I went to the kitchen table.

“Thank you… thank you… you have no idea how much of a help you are,” I began.

“You’re welcome, just know I’m always here for you and them.”

“Thanks,” I said, “oh by the way. How’d you get here so fast?”

“Let’s just say momma’s got a lead foot!”

I just laughed at her statement. I ate some breakfast and decided to call Ruth to cancel the appointment today. Lincoln had already been through enough and Ruth agreed that it was probably best, and she would see us on Monday. I also called the school to let them know Lincoln wasn’t able to make it in, and expect him in tomorrow. My last call was to Kelly, as I was looking for an update. However she didn’t have any, Thomas or Debra have not communicated with anyone in the agency. I also told her about Lincoln and that she may be getting a call from the hospital. My last comment to Kelly was explaining what Thomas said to me in private about the money offer, but she agreed that it wasn’t much help.

But besides the morning, the rest of the day went rather smooth. I went to pick Clayton up, and before long I was traveling back to pick up Ryker and Jacob. Everyone was doing their homework, and Lincoln was downstairs hanging out with everyone. When it was time to change the bandage, all the boys were so fascinated with Lincoln’s cut. I even had to take a picture on my phone so Lincoln could see.

However, before long it was time for the cook-off. Somehow Rita still managed to run to the store, so it was still happening. Rita bought 6 filets, and the plan was we each had to cook three along with side dishes. I was using the grill for the steak, and also decided to go with potatoes wrapped in foil with oil and seasoning.

Rita, of course, did not take it easy. She was doing pan seared with melted butter on top. Her sides included asparagus, mashed potatoes, and corn. About 30 minutes later, 4 boys were drooling over the food prepared. The 6 steaks were cut in half so everyone could try some. I think Clayton was about to faint as he was the first one to grab for food. I don’t even think he knew with steak was which, but the boy sure was happy.

“Alright Garret,” began Rita as she took a bite, “not bad, can’t complain about yours.”

“Why thank you,” I replied until I took a bite of her steak. “Yeah… Alright… I definitely lost.”

“Yeah you did,” Clayton said as he was chowing down, which set the table into laughter.

“We still love you,” Ryker said, “but leave the cooking to Rita.”

“I agree,” spoke Jacob.

“You guys are too funny, but I concede. Rita, you are the master chef!”

“Like that was even a question,” joked Clayton.

“You know what,” I laughed as I tickled Clayton on his ribs. “Just eat your food!”

“Love you!” He replied.

“Love you too, I love all you!”

“Thanks for cooking dinner,” Lincoln said “could we do a cook-off again?”

“I don’t know, we will see,” I replied. After everyone was finished eating, the boys helped Rita, and I clean. I went to my office while the boys went to their rooms. I was actually going to look for a contractor to come and redesign the boy’s room as well as replace the carpet in all the rooms. My initial thoughts were to go with heated hardwood floors but wanted to get an estimate first before committing. It was too late for someone to answer, but I left a message in hopes of a return call.

About 30 minutes later, I got a call from Keith!

“Hey man!”

“How are we today?” Asked Keith

“Oh, I’m good! Just very busy,” I said.

“Well, I hope you have a name picked out for the building because we have a contract signed!”

“You’re kidding?”

“Nope, they came down to our price of $2,449,000 under one condition.”

“Yeah?”

“We do not demolish the building and put something else there.”

“Whoa, this is amazing! I’m thrilled! What’s the next step?”

“Well an inspection is next, but after that, we can begin transforming the building. That means we will need to start drawing up a blueprint!”

“This is awesome!”

“I know I’m so excited!”

“One step closer,” I said.

“Yes we are, and that brings me to the next question. We should be meeting with investors at the end of March.”

“I can’t commit to anything just yet, but let me work out some details,” I replied.

“It’s important, we can not rely solely on our investments,” Keith stated.

“I know, I know. Just give me a week!”

“Alright buddy, oh and I want a name for the building by then.”

“I already have a name,” I chuckled.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yup. Lincoln Center 1, the HLRJC foundation of Columbus!”

“I love it! We could name the second one Lincoln Center 2, the HLRJC foundation of Chicago or where ever it would be!”

I chuckled at his enthusiasm, but stated, “let’s just get building 1 running.”

“Agreed,” laughed Keith. “But I have to get going, the inspection should be complete by the end of the week!”

“Alright sounds good, keep me updated,” I said

The rest of Wednesday went by smooth, Christian must have heard about Lincoln’s accident as he called my cell phone asking to speak to Lincoln. They were on the phone for about 10 minutes, which I thought was excellent! The bond between them to was growing!

Rita left around 8, and the boys and I watched the seventh Harry Potter film as we all snuggled on the couch. It was a perfect ending to a terrible morning, but as always, we fought together as a family,

The boys went to bed, and I soon followed shortly after.



Part – 3

Thursday morning was way better than yesterday. Everything was normal, and Rita was cooking breakfast for everyone. Unfortunately, Lincoln still needed to have a bandage over his wound and he was feeling self-conscious about it as he was the first one downstairs and took a seat at the table and said,

“What if I get made fun of?”

“For?” I replied

“The bandage on my head?”

“Oh, you mean you battle wound? I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”

“My battle wound?”

“Yeah! From the bear fight? You don’t remember?”

“What bear fight,” giggled Lincoln. “You’re a goofball.”

“I know,” I said, “but I wouldn’t worry too much, if someone asks you what happen, just say I got staples put in my head to heal a cut!”

“Thanks,” Lincoln said as he got up from his chair to sit in my lap. “I love you so much!”

“Love you too kiddo,” I said and kissed his cheek. Lincoln got off my lap and reclaimed his seat as we heard footsteps coming from upstairs.

“Wow, there’s a naked boy,” I said to Ryker as he came running to sit on my lap “someone is awake this morning!”

“I know!”

“And someone forgot to put underwear on,” I said poking him in the sides which caused him to giggle.

“I’m sorry, I just smelled the food and came running down here,” Ryker said.

“Well go put some underwear on,” I stated as I lifted him off my lap and patted him on his bum.

“But Rita doesn’t care,” he replied as he was walking upstairs.

“He is too funny,” Rita said as she brought over a plate of bacon. Soon Ryker was back downstairs, but I went up to wake the others. After breakfast was over, the boys went to get changed, and they were off to school!

The day went by quick until I got the phone call from my sister.

“Hello?”

“Hey Garret, so I’ve heard from them.”

“And?” I anxiously waited.

“Umm… they uhh… they want to move forward and do a trial run.”

“What do you mean a trial run?”

“Well next weekend, they want to have Jacob at there house for two nights and see how it goes.”

“You’re kidding, I mean seriously?”

“I am serious, and they have the right to do it.”

“I mean next weekend? He is gonna miss George’s birthday party.”

“I know.”

“Kelly, block it then. I mean this isn’t good for him. I can promise you, that it may set him back emotionally for years. GOD DAMNIT, this isn’t real.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t really hold any power here.”

“This is bullshit, and you know it!” I said.

“I agree, but they have more custody rights than you. This is what they wanted to do, so we have to follow along.”

“Utter bullshit,” I said and hung up the phone before she had a chance to reply.

Although shortly after I received another phone call from an unknown number.

“Hello?”

“Is this Garret Hamel?”

“Yes, speaking?”

“Thomas Giradi.”

“How’d you get this number?”

“I was provided it. Have you had the chance to talk to your sister?”

“Yes, I have,” I stated. “Why?”

“Well, I’m just saying the offer I made in the parking lot is still available. Just state how much and I will see if we are in the same ballpark.”

“Are you kidding, is this some joke?”

“I don’t joke around when I talk about money, it is a very serious offer.”

“You’re unbelievable. I don’t want to be asked this same question ever again.”

“It’s so simple, it really is.” Thomas began, “you have more than enough money, you pay, and you keep him.”

“Oh I’m keeping him alright, but the only money I’m paying is to my lawyers to make sure you don’t ever come in contact with Jacob.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Thomas said.

“JUST… YOU… WAIT,” I replied and hung up. I was expecting the phone to ring again, but I was mistaken. I was pissed and needed to exert some energy before I punched a hole through the wall. I went and put on my running shoes, as I went downstairs to run on the treadmill for an hour. Rita was kind enough to go get Clayton for me, as the two went to lunch then grocery shopped.

They came back as I hopped out of my shower, I still wasn’t in the best of moods, but Clayton’s cheerful personality brightened my day as he came over to give me a big hug.

“Oh I love you so much buddy,” I said as I picked him up.

“Love you too,” replied Clayton. “Can we watch some hockey videos please?”

“Of course we can!”

The rest of the day went quick, I went to pick up the other three, and they started doing homework when they got home. We had ice skating practice tonight which the boys were thrilled minus Lincoln. Lincoln wasn’t able to participate yet because of the head injury, but he still came to support his brothers as he sat on the bench with me. Clayton was looking very good for his second time, while Ryker and Jacob still needed to improve. However, everyone seemed like they were having fun, even Lincoln, as his eyes never strayed from Eric. I might have been wrong, but I think Lincoln had his first crush on someone, but I wasn’t going to call him out on it.

After a long practice, the boys thanked Eric, and we were on our way home. Once we reached home, everyone hopped in the showers as I gave Clayton and Jacob a shower. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell Jacob but thought it would be best to tell him over the weekend when he wasn’t focused on school or other activities.

After I put them all to bed my phone rang again, it was Kelly calling.

“Have you calmed down since we last spoke?”

“I don’t know, depends what you say here,” I joked.

“Funny, but look, I don’t have much control and it’s only a trial run, it will be okay.”

“Whatever you say, but just to let you know, my legal team will be ready,” I said.

“I don’t doubt that,” Kelly stated.

“I don’t doubt that,” I mocked her.

“Cut it out,” she replied.

“Sorry,” I giggled, “oh I have some good news, we are under contract to have our first building for the HLRJC foundation. Just waiting for inspection!”

“That is so awesome bro! I’m so excited about this! What’s the next step?”

“Well we just want to get through inspection first, but afterward, we will be designing the layout. So be ready,” I said.

“I will be!”

“Alright sis, love you.”

“Love you too, talk later.”

“Bye.”

After the call, I went upstairs to bed and called it a night.

To Be Continued….

 


Author Notes:

Thank you for reading and following the story! Always enjoy hearing from readers!
***DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT ABUSING CHILDREN. IT IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS. IT HAS AN EVERLASTING EFFECT ON PEOPLE***
Third and final, the destinations, streets, events, and locations are made up. I use Columbus as a nearby city, but I’m unaware if the addresses listed are real or not. All scores and games are made up in my head. However, most teams are real.
Lindon Weztser
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