A New Path, Chapter 8, Feeding my Soul

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Posted on 3:55 PM | By Biki Honko | In

On the drive home from Derrick's I couldn't stop crying.  What had I done?  Oh, God!  Will he ever forgive me?  All I want to do it to call him, or to turn this car around and go back and beg for him to forgive me.  But, he had made it very clear not to call him tonight.  What had I done?  What had I done?  What had I done?  These words kept swirling around and around and around in my head.  Pulling into the garage was a relief, the drive home had been a nightmare.  It had been so difficult to pay attention to the traffic, when the only thing my mind wanted to do was to dwell on us, or if there was even an us left....

A New Path Chapter 7, Blood in the Water

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Posted on 5:34 PM | By Biki Honko | In

Entering the bookstore, I glanced at my watch, only 30 minutes to find myself a cookbook, time to call for help.  Walking up to the help desk, I explain what I need, and the lady behind the counter whisks me off through the aisles of books, before coming to a rather abrupt halt.  She quickly picks up and discards several books before finding a few that seem to please her.

"So, can you cook at all?"  Her look reminds me of my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. McDougal, a shrewd no nonsense kind of woman.

"Well, I make good scrambled eggs, grilled cheese and that is really all.  Why?"

"So then no, you don't cook. What are you interested in making?  Desserts? Dinners? I need more information so that you leave with the right book."

"Yeah, ok.  I want to learn how to cook dinner."  She glanced at my hand and noticed my wedding ring.  I was expecting uncomfortable questions to follow, but she let it go.

"Either one of these two should be what you are looking for.  The recipes are broken down step by step, and there are pictures showing how each major step should look."


A New Path, Chapter 6 Tiny Grains of Connection

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Posted on 2:11 AM | By Biki Honko | In

Driving away from the bar where Ben had left my car, headed for a quick run thru the grocery store, the cupboards were bare, and I hate eating the crap from the convenience stores.  Tomorrow I need to give Ben my house key and have him get a new key cut.  Thinking about the complete change my life has taken in such a short amount of time, makes my head whirl and spin.

Everyone has heard of love at first sight, it is almost elevated into a urban legend, because who do you know that has actually happened to?  I mean, think about it, how would that even work?  It is seeing, not knowing, two very different things.  We all love certain famous people, but do we truly love them?  No, with them it is all about the visual, not the knowing.  But, this was not, way cute guy, want him....  The first time I actually looked, no not just looked but gazed into Ben's eyes, I knew. How I knew is, beyond me.  That is all I could think about today, how impossible it is to fall in love in a single instant.  Going over and over the few hours we had spent together, and how we connected on such a deep level.  While we had a few points that don't mesh absolutely, it is almost scary how well we do mesh.  And the points where we don't meet completely are minor things.  I have met a lot of people in my life, and have never felt such an instant connection with someone ever.  Where I have learned so much about someone else in such a short amount of time.

I didn't tell him the whole story about Tim before tonight.  To be perfectly honest, I was afraid that he would think less of me, allowing myself to be hit, being forced into being fucked.  Because whenever we had sex, it was just that, he fucked me, it wasn't ever an act of love.  I was just a tool for him to use.  Why did I let him do that to me?  Fear.  I was afraid of being alone.  Fear that everything my step father said about me was true.  Fear that no one else could ever find me desirable.  Tonight was the first time I really allowed myself to believe I was worthy of someone's love.

Pushing a grocery cart, I hustled up and down the aisles snagging up what was needed.  Maybe the next time I grocery shop, Ben can come with me.  Wow!  Just that thought made me feel all giddy inside!  How on earth could grocery shopping make me feel bubbly?  With him, I don't even have to touch him to feel a soul deep connection.  Somehow he fills a place I didn't even know existed until I met him.

Loading the groceries into the trunk of my car, all I could think about was Ben's cute crooked smile, his sparking green eyes, and the feel of his hand in mine.  So firm, so sure, and yet so gentle, so loving.  How could a simple hand impart so much information?  I swear his love for me flows from his hand into me.  The flow is not a trickle, but a flood, overwhelming all doubt, all worry, all my insecurities.

Turning into the parking lot of my apartment, parking in my spot.  I will give Ben my second spot where I park my truck, and move my truck into the visitor area.  I'll do that as soon as I get the groceries into the house.  Tonight is our first night as a couple.  The cuddling before sleep, the waking up warm in each others arms, sharing the breakfast table passing the jam asking for more eggs..... all the little things that begins with two separate people and binds them into a couple.  In the face of it, these things are so small, so inconsequential, as to be unimportant, mere throwaway actions.  Tiny grains of connection, adhering us to each other, into a web of us.

Ben and Abby are already connected, and Ben and I were working on it.  Will a day come, that Abby and I will be knit together?  Will three separate couples be able to weave into a collective us?  How would that feel?  To love two people, with the same feelings that are usually only reserved for one.  I am worried about jealously digging it's poisoned claws into our hearts, and after the evil poison has worked upon our hearts we will spin away from each other for ever.  I would rather do with out Ben, much as I love him, than to hurt him.

As I was walking back from moving my truck to the visitor parking, Ben pulled into the parking lot, right into my empty spot.  As he stepped out he looked surprised to find me walking toward him.

"Oh!  I thought you had gone somewhere in your truck.  Where is your truck?"

"I parked in visitor parking.  That way you can park closer."  As we were talking Ben was pulling out a small suitcase and a hanging bag.  Taking the suitcase from his hand, I decided to be brave and slid my hand into his.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, a slight stiffening, him pulling free of my hand?  Ben lightly squeezed my hand, smiling that damed cute crooked smile of his at me.

"Are you sure?  I don't mind parking out there."

"Very sure.  Besides the other lot isn't paved, it doesn't matter about my work clothes, but you go to work dressed nicely."

"Thanks!"  As we stepped into the door he saw the grocery bags on the counter. "Let me hang up my bag, and I'll come help you put everything away.  Now, don't give me that face.  First of all, if I'm gonna live here, where things live will be a handy thing to know.  And, I live here now, right?"  At my agreeing nod, he continued, "That means that I'm not a guest, so don't treat me like one.  Got it?"

"Yeah.  Oh, it would be easier for you to just wash your clothes at your.... um.... home.  I have to run several loads of just soap and water to get the washer clean again."

"I thought this was going to my home now too?"

"Ok.  You are right, it is, sorry.  I'm having a little trouble working out how every thing is going to work.  Let's get your stuff put away."

"Do you have enough room for my clothes?"

Laughing, I nodded my head, as we walked to the bedroom.  Throwing open the closet doors, showing him how empty it was.  "See?  No worries about where to put your stuff."

"Derrick?  Why don't you have more clothing?  Or is it all in the dresser?"

Opening up the drawers on the dresser one by one, showing him it was as empty as the closet.  "I just don't have a lot of stuff."

Ben had a funny look on his face as he started hanging up his shirts and pants.  Dropping his shoes on the floor of the closet.  Unzipping his suitcase, he began to place boxers, socks, tee shirts, jeans, and a few sweat shirts into various drawers.  He already had more stuff here, than I did.  Seeing that the top of the closet was bare, he put his suit case and hanging bag there.

Helping me put the groceries away Ben was very quiet.  He didn't seem mad, and I couldn't think of anything I could have done to make him be so quiet.  Was this normal for Ben?  I hope not.  Finished with our task, I took the reusable bags, folded them up placing them all into one bag.  I dropped them next to the door until tomorrow when they will go back into the car.  When I was finished with the last little bit of busy work, somehow Ben knew that what I was doing was just time wasting, and taking my hand, he led me into the living room.

Pulling me down next to him, he turned slightly on the cushion, so he could have a better view of me.  Lightly cupping my face, he leaned in and kissed me.  A soft kiss, then pulling away from me saying, "Talk to me Derrick.  Why don't you own anything?  There is nothing in your home that says Derrick.  No pictures, no books, no little items we all seem to have sitting around.  Barely any clothes.  Is it money?"

"No, my job pays very well.  I just hate shopping for clothes, I never seem to know what to buy.  So, I just don't buy anything unless I need something."  Looking around my living room, somehow seeing for the first time how barren it truly is.  "I guess the truth would be, that I don't feel like I live here.  It feels like a hotel, not my home."

"We're going to work on this.  You deserve to live in a home, not some hotel.  Are you telling me the truth, you aren't hurting for money?"

Getting up off the couch, going over to my computer desk, opening a drawer looking for my latest bank balance.  Ah, there it is.  Handing it to him, and watched his eyebrows travel up.

"Ok, money isn't your problem.  Tomorrow we are going shopping.  Not for clothes, I'll leave that for Abby.  We are going to make this your home.  Be prepared to make some choices.  I'll talk to Abby tomorrow about where we should start our shopping, and ask her if she would take you clothes shopping.  Now, that was a silly, of course she will take you shopping."

Smiling at me, joy dancing in his eyes, sliding his hand around to the back of my neck, pulling me in for a kiss.  Softly kissing me over and over, our passion built, until we were both breathing heavily, pulling his lips away from mine, he nudged my cheek with his nose.

"Wanna move this to the bedroom?"

"Are you sure?"

"Very.  It is all I could think about this evening after we left the diner."  Ben stood up, grabbed my hands, and pulled me to my feet.  Kissing me quickly, he turned towards the bedroom, tugging on my hand, wanting me to follow him.

Starting to pull my shirt out of my pants, Ben slapped my hands away.  Shaking his head no, he started unbuttoning my shirt, kissing my chest as it was exposed.  Reaching the end of the buttons, he slid the shirt off my shoulders, stopping to kiss the top of each shoulder, licking around the base of my neck, sending shivers racing across my skin.  Wanting his shirt off, wanting to touch his skin, needing to be skin to skin with him, I began to unbutton his shirt, slowly working each button thru the shirt plackets.  Teasing him with little nips, blowing over skin I had licked, causing him to quiver.  Ben hauled me in to hold me tightly against his warm and much furrier chest.  Slightly rocking back and forth, the tickle and scrape of his chest hair against my nipples was driving me crazy!  Kissing, kissing, kissing!  Slipping my hands down to rest on his ass, I pulled him in hard against me, and began grinding into him.  Groaning into my mouth, grinding into me, rubbing his chest over and over against me.

Taking a small step away while still keeping our mouths plastered against each other, I reached between us, and undid his belt, and started fumbling with his zipper and button.  Shuddering, Ben pulled from my lips, and attacked my pants, wanting them off now.  Quickly our pants were hanging open, our breathing ragged, eyes glazed with lust and hunger for each other.  Pulling each other pants down, only clad in boxers, our desire obvious. Pushing Ben backwards onto the bed, I reached down and pulled his boxers down and off, and just as quickly shedding mine.  Standing there by the bed for a moment, gazing down at Ben and how hot he looked.  Lips swollen from our kisses, eyes heavy with lust, nipples puckered up, his dick hard and just beginning to leak, his almost hairless balls.  Those are going into my mouth now!  Kneeling on the bed between his legs, I stretch out and on all fours tease him by brushing my dick against his as I kissed him.  A few kisses later, I pulled back and settled down between his legs, and took a big breath in.  God!  He smelled divine!  I could still catch a whiff of his soap, but the rest was pure Ben.  Tonguing his balls, lapping at them, and not able to stand it any longer, taking one of them into my mouth.  Gently rolling it around in my mouth, groaning with pleasure, his smell, his taste.  Letting that ball slip slowly from my mouth, I began to suck and lick the other one.  Ben's hands were on my head the whole time, moaning and shifting underneath me.  Giving his balls one last lingering lick, I moved up to tongue around the head of his delicious dick.  Ben moaned and spread his legs further apart.

"I want you in, now."

"Ben, are you sure?"

"I wanna feel you buried deep inside me."

Opening the nightstand and rummaging around for my bottle of lube and then the realization hit me, I don't have any condoms!

Sagging down on the bed beside Ben saying, "I don't have any condoms."

"It's ok, it's ok.  I can wait.  Come here."  Holding his arm out to me, guiding me to lay beside him.  Kissing my face, running his hand up and down my back. The disappointment of not having any condoms, had deflated my desire from the peak I was racing along earlier.  Tugging on my arm until he had me laying on top of him, his legs splayed, my knees taking most of my weight off of him.

"Hand me the lube."  Squirting a small amount on his hand, sticking his hand between us, he slicked up our dicks, and humped up into me.  Grabbing my ass, he pulled us up tight against each other, and started humping into me.  And just like that, I was back racing along the edge.  Quicker and quicker we humped and ground against each other, our rhythm steady and even, pulling us ever closer to our goal.  I found the edge of my desire and fell over the edge, my rhythm broken, stuttering uneven strokes.  As I came he broke his stride of measured strokes.  Holding me tightly against him as he thrust hard last time, spilling his cum into the warm pocket between us, mingling with my offering.  Laying in each others arms kissing soft and gentle, lifting away from each others mouths to catch ragged breaths.  Resting my head against his, my leaping heart pounding a tattoo of sex.  Piece by piece, awakening to the world around me.

Dragging a deep breath into me, "How about a shower?"  Kissing his nose, temple, corner of his mouth that quirked up unevenly from the rest of his smile.

"Sounds wonderful!"

Caressing each other, in the shower, not being able to stop touching each other.  Clean and more than ready for bed, we toweled off, brushed our teeth, and headed for bed.  Setting my clock, making the blankets comfortable, ready for sleep, just one last thing.  Pulling Ben across the bed, and into my arms.  Settling my face at the base of his neck, we both were asleep within minutes.

Waking up in the dark of the night, feeling Ben cuddled up against my back warm and soft with sleep.  With a smile on my face, I drifted back off to sleep again.

Zzzt......Zzzt.......Zzzt.....Zzzt....Zz

Slapping my hand on the button to get that infernal clock to shut up, rolling back into my warm place in the bed, prying open my eyes, I turned my head to see Ben smiling at me.  Oh!  What a wonderful way to wake up!  Cuddling into his warmth,  he wrapped me into his arms, smiling.  Luxuriating in the feeling of waking up happy and having someone happy to see me.

"Come on lazy bones, time to get up."  Pulling the covers back and slapping my ass, he laughed and kissed me.  Grumbling about having to leave the idea of more sleep, leave laying with Ben, I stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom.  Standing under the hot spray trying to wake up. Two many more of these days, and I would be falling asleep at break time.  Drying off, brushing my teeth, at long last starting to feel awake.  Getting dressed, how much different this morning was than yesterday!  I thought he had left yesterday while I was in the shower.  And this morning I knew that the sweetest guy ever made was in the kitchen making me breakfast.

Seeing Ben standing at the stove in yet another pair of my to large boxers, made my heart float and bobble around in my chest.  Noticing me standing there, he turned and grinned at me.  Me!

"You should have just enough time to get your lunch ready, while I'm finishing up breakfast. What do you want for dinner tonight?  Do you cook?"

"I am can cook enough to survive, and that's about it."

"Humm, me too.  Doesn't sound very promising does it?  Eggs are almost done, get your toast ready."

"Just a minute almost done with my lunch."  Snapping shut the lid of the mini cooler I use for a lunch pail, turning to say something to Ben, and all thought fled.  He had paused to tug up the boxers, doing it so offhand, so unaware of how he took my thoughts and flung them up to the stars.  Just seeing him do some stupid mundane task, tugged my heart upwards like a balloon on a string.

Stepping in behind him, I cuddled him into my chest.  Nuzzling his neck, causing him to grin and chuckle, "If only I could have what I really want for breakfast, you!"

"Then you would have to get up earlier and I don't really think that is an option.  You have a hard enough time getting out of bed as it is. Let's eat." Turning him quickly around in my arms as soon as he set the skillet down, I kissed him trying to show him the depth of my feelings.  Letting go of his lips, I gave him a long hug, resting my face against his, our scratchy beards rubbing each other.  Slowly releasing him from my arms we both stood there grinning at each other like a pair of fools.

"You went to all this trouble to make breakfast, I should let us get to it, huh?"

"Yeah, but kissing is nice too!"

Sitting down, chatting about little things, giving him the house key, eating, sipping our coffee, it seems as though we have been together forever, not just a few days.  We are so comfortable with each other, never any awkward pauses in the conversation, no tension or uncertainty, how can that be?  Oh!  You evil, evil clock!  Running the time so fast when I am happy, and so damned slow when I am sad and lonely. Kissing good-bye, rushing out the door at the nearly last minute like yesterday, only one more day, until he goes back to Abby.  Oh well, sharing Ben is better than having no Ben at all!

Watching Derrick jog out to his truck made me think of how alike and yet different this morning is from yesterday.  Today I am hopeful that we, all three of us, can build a future, that will make everyone happy.  Cleaning the kitchen up, getting ready for work, a thought hit me.  I could learn to cook!  How hard could it be?  I am going to need a beginners cook book.  On the way to work today I'm going to stop by the bookstore.

Locking his, no our door behind me, I notice the beginnings of missing Abby.  I called her last night and wished her sweet dreams.  But, my desire to see her is starting to gnaw on me.  Lunch!  I will call her and see if she is free for lunch!

"Hi honey!"

"Ben!  Hi!  I miss you!"

"Yeah, I miss you too. Are you free for lunch?"

"No worries there, things are still slow until we hear back about if our proposal was accepted or not."

"What time?"

"The unit secretary is scheduled to be off today, so we have to cover the phones for her today.  My slot is 11:30 to 12:15.  Does that work for you?"

"Yeah, that should work for me just fine.  How about the cafe on the corner?"

"Wait!  Isn't today Thursday? Today is cream of broccoli cheese soup!  You have a date!"

"Great!  I'll meet you there then.  I love you Abby.  Miss you too."

"Oh, Ben.  I love you too.  And miss you madly.  I told you that this living apart thing will be hard for you to do."

"I know, but we need some time with just each other before we can all live together.  I'm sorry, but it just has to be that way Abby.  It is just too soon yet."

Yes, yes, I do understand. I'll see you at lunch then dear.  Love you."

"Abby I am the luckiest man on the earth.  That you would even think of doing this just to make me happy.  Thank you so very much!  I love you sweetheart."

"I know dear, I know.  Bye!"

"See you at lunch.  Bye!"

Hanging up the phone, I felt better now that I had spoken to Abby.  This just might be doable.

A New Path, Chapter 5, Weird food parade

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Posted on 5:32 PM | By Biki Honko | In

When I opened the door, one look into those green eyes, and my heart was home.  A smile that came from his very heart, glittered from him.  He is in love with me too!  Reaching his hand out to me, my hand slid into his, and I was where I belonged!  Oh!

Shutting the door behind us, circling his arms around me, and mine around him, we kissed.  Lips against lips, heart against heart, together.  Standing in the hall, embracing, kissing, basking in each others warmth of love.

A New Path, Chapter 4, Sandwiches at the Park

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Posted on 6:45 PM | By Biki Honko | In

Abby's mind was furiously working with everything Ben had told her.  Sitting in my office, mindlessly feeding pieces of paper into the fax.  What were the chances of him finding someone the first night?  I mean honestly?  One freaking night?  One!  And he was so smitten!  Was it only lust that made him feel that he was in love?  Could feelings of lust, be coloring his perception of this.... Derrick?  No, no, Ben knew the difference between lust and love, if he said he was in love, then he was.

Could he, will he, fall out of love with me?  Oh God!  What have I done?  Is our marriage over?  I love my Ben!  The idea of loosing him, takes my breathe away, stops my heart, leaves me feeling like a hamster in an exercise wheel.  Running, running, running, and staying in the exact same place.  I thought he would have some sex with a few guys, get it out of his system and life would go back to normal.  What have I done?

A New Path Chapter 3, Coffee and Toast

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Posted on 4:35 PM | By Biki Honko | In

Zzzt.... zzzt...... zzzt..... zzzt......zzzt......zzzt.......zzzt...

Rolling over, slamming my hand down on the snooze button.  Ugh!  I hate mornings!  A warm body cuddled up behind me, momentarily confusing me as to who was in bed with me.  Ben!  Turning over, pulling away from him slightly so as to look at him. His face relaxed in sleep, snuggled into the blankets, his entire body communicating one of comfort and peace.  His hair mussy, stubble covering his face, looking so damned cute.

Laying next to Ben, drinking in the awareness of last night, how it meant something to us both more than just a mindless coupling. We connected on many different levels, not just the physical plane.  How could he have been alone for so very long, and then in a few short hours, found someone that seemed to fit him perfectly?

A New Path, Chapter 2, Hamburgers and Beer

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Posted on 3:32 AM | By Biki Honko | In

Derrick stood in front of his locker, and began to get rid of his work day.  Hard hat, welding hood, beanie, leathers, neck bandana, gloves, boots.  Shoving his feet into ancient tennis shoes, he slammed the door to his locker closed and headed out to his battered and ancient work truck. Dropping his used bandana and beanie on the passenger floorboard, snapping his seat belt on, yet another lonely night staring him in the face.  Driving home from work, trying to psych himself into going out and at least trying to meet someone.  It had been almost six months.  Six long months, time for him to put Tim behind him.  Derrick really had thought that moving to a new city would have helped him get over Tim and his infidelity.  Infidelity?  Wouldn't that mean, at some point that Tim would have been faithful?

Stepping into his apartment, being careful to stay on the mat just inside the door.  Never getting a rent deposit back was expensive, and he was trying to keep from staining the carpet with his dust and grease from work.  Dropping his clothes into a conveniently placed laundry basket, a overly full laundry basket, a can't be denied laundry basket.  Walking into the bathroom, and firing up the shower, checking the temp, and when hot, stepping in.  Picking up the scrub brush he began the chore of cleaning his hands.  Even wearing gloves his hands were encrusted with grime by the end of the day.  Washing his hair, twice hoping not only to get it clean, but to get it clean smelling.  Welding paid well, but the dirt and smell were a drawback.  Finally clean again, Derrick stepped out and started to dry himself off.

A New Path, chapter 1

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Posted on 6:46 PM | By Biki Honko | In

Sitting in traffic waiting for the light to change, Abby's thoughts arrowed with worry about Ben, as they did with increasing regularity recently. Something was bothering him, and no matter how many times she asked him, he would always give her a sad smile and insist that he was fine.  That he wasn't fine was clear to anyone with eyes.  His smile never reached his eyes anymore, the joy had faded from his life, he was just going through the motions.  Except during sex, where he seemed almost frantic in his desire to pleasure her, rather than to take pleasure for himself.  Traffic moving again, Ben faded back onto the back burner of her thoughts, rush hour traffic demanded more of her attention.

Pulling into their driveway, Abby was surprised to see that Ben was already home.  His project must at long last be completed.  Maybe tonight would be the night she could pry his secret from him, and then work on his unhappiness.  Opening the front door, she heard the sounds of the tv coming from the family room, as usual ESPN was on.  Going to their bedroom to change out of her work clothes, pulling on comfortable jeans and a sweater, she noticed that Ben had left his clothes in a heap on the floor.  That was the last straw, he never left his clothes laying around.  In fact he was forever hanging up her clothes.  Determined to get to the bottom of his depression, she stepped into the family room.

Break Free Chapter 22

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Posted on 2:35 AM | By Biki Honko | In

"Where are you going dad?"  Sam was getting his coat and hat on.  Soah was coming down the stairs, with a book in her hand.

"While the weather is holding, I am going to put up the christmas lights."

"Can I help?  Please?  That sounds like fun!"

"Sure Baby Girl, get your stuff on, and join me in the garage."

In a flash Soah was ready and out the door.  The hours flew by with the work of untangling the lights, putting them up, and above all, laughter.  Sam had never enjoyed hanging christmas lights before, it was just so much work.  However, Soah was thrilled with every aspect of the job, and was such a happy companion, the job had never gone faster, smoother, or so enjoyable.

"Dad?  Do we have reindeer or a santa for the yard?  They are so..... happy I guess is the word I am digging around for."

"Ya know, we don't, but I have always wanted some.  Let's head out and see what we can find.  Sound good to you?"

"Yup!"

"I'll tell Cecile what we are up to, and be right out.  Could you finish putting the boxes away for me?"

"Will do dad!"

Wandering around the aisles with the different lawn ornaments, commenting on this one and that one, discussing size, colors of the lights, they finally settled on a set of three reindeer, and a large santa.  Complaining on the way home, about having to wait a few weeks until after Thanksgiving, they teased each other about who was the most impatient to set them up.

"Could we at least try out the lights tonight when it gets dark?"

"I always do!"

"Yay!"




"Mom?  I need help with a problem."

"What's wrong?"

"Everyone has invited me to dinner for Thanksgiving!  Morgan's family, George and the boys, Cami will be there also.  I want to have dinner here.  I need a clone to be able to eat at everyone's house."

"Humm, what time is Morgan's family having dinner?"

"Oh, early, around noon.  Why?"

"Really?  Why so early?"

"His grandmother doesn't like to drive in the dark."

"How about I call George and see if they would like to join us for Thanksgiving?  We could do a late supper, after the football games are over.  That way you can go to Morgan's house for dinner, and by the time we eat dinner, you will be hungry again.  They could all come over and watch football with Sam, and Cami and Talia and I could visit and cook.  Sound good to you?"

"But, I wanted to help you make dinner."

"I do a lot of the cooking on Wednesday, you could help then."

"Really?  What do you make the day before?"

"The salads, the pies, the rolls.  I also chop all of the veggies for the stuffing, and make the snacks for our lunch on Thanksgiving."

"Ok!  Spending the whole day in the kitchen with you sounds wonderful!  Could you call George?  Or should I?"

"I think he will be more inclined to accept if I call.  Do you need to call Mrs. Davidson?"

"Yeah, Morgan said I didn't need to, but I feel it would be the polite thing to do.  I am still not sure about his family, they treat me kinda weird."

"Like how?  You have mentioned it before, but never really explained yourself."

"Umm, I'm not sure how to describe it.  Fake? I guess that would fit.  And I did hear his dad giving him a hard time about my age.  They also seem to blame me for Morgan changing his major.  He never wanted to be an accountant in the first place, and was just going along with it until he figured out what he wanted to do."

"I think he will make a wonderful teacher.  He is lively and fun, he will capture his students attention, from the very first moment they walk in to his classroom.  I just can not see Morgan sitting at a desk all day, pushing numbers around."

"Yeah, I think so too.  Mom?  I think they feel that I am not good enough for Morgan.  Kinda like I am white trash or something.  They hate Kevin and Dave with a passion!  When they found out the boys are gay, they are not allowed in their house."

"That is just stupid!  You?  White trash!  How dare they think that way about you!  They really won't let Kevin in their house?  He has been in and out of their house since elementary grade school!  I am liking Morgan's family less and less!  How on earth did two such horrible people have such a wonderful son?"

"I don't know either mom.  He wants to move out.  But, if he does, they will stop paying for his college.  Morgan feels trapped.  His dad almost wouldn't pay for his tuition when Morgan changed his major."

"He is trying to use money to keep Morgan on a short leash.  What year is he?"

"Year?  Oh, this is his second year.  His birthday is in December, so he was 19 when he started college."

"That poor boy, has at least 3 more years of being under his parents yoke.  I hope he can last it out."





"Are you sure I look ok?"

"Honey, you look beautiful!  If they find something to complain about, it shouldn't be what you are wearing."

"Soah!  Morgan is here!"

Soah took another look in the mirror.  Black turtle neck sweater, black and white plaid skirt, white tights, black shoes, silver jewelry.  Very little makeup, only a few touches.  Hair, short and wispy around her face. Nothing showy, too short, or too revealing.  Cecile was right, they will complain about something, but her clothes shouldn't be an issue. Giving Cecile a hug, Soah headed down to Morgan, and a sure to be an uncomfortable afternoon.

"We'll stay only as long as necessary.  The important thing is not to show them how much they have hurt you.  I know, I know, easier said than done.  But remember, I live with them, and struggle to just let it all roll off.  No way do I manage to do that, but I try."

Pulling into the driveway, Morgan let out a large breath, "Great!  Grandma is here!  Just being here normally makes dad behave.  Let's hope she can work her magic today!"  Holding Soah's hand on the walk to the door, he leaned in and gave her a be brave kiss, before opening the door.

Unlike her house today, full of wonderful aromas and the sounds of football, and a atmosphere of happiness, in Morgan's house only the correct aromas were all there, and there the similarity ended.  A strained crouching ready to attack feeling filled the house.

"Morgan!  It is about time!  What took you so long?"  Mrs. Davidson's shrill voice cut into the tension.

"Mom!  I have only been gone 20 minutes!"  Morgan winked at Soah, with a rueful look, "Is there anything we can do to help you?"

"Like you would be any help in the kitchen!  What ", flicking a withering glance at Soah, "help could she be?"

"Come on, I want to introduce you to Grammy."  Leaning close to whisper to Soah, "You will like her, she is nice!  I promise."

As they came to the doorway of the living room, the haranguing voice of Mr. Davidson could be heard clearly in the hallway.  Morgan put out a hand, silently signaling to Soah to wait, he wanted to listen to what his father was complaining about now.  Errr! Again with the change of majors!  Why won't he just let that go?  Sighing with despair about the never ending, flat tire, worn out topic, Morgan straighten his shoulders and prepared himself to enter into the boiling vat of disapproval. Soah tugged on his hand, turning his head to look at her, running his eyes smack into a large smile full of love.  One look, a small moment in time, lessing the sting of his families disapproval, her smile evaporated some of the unhappiness in his eyes.

"Morgan honey!  Come over here and sit next to me!  And bring your cute little girl friend!"  Grammy patted the sofa next to herself. Smiling widely at them both.

"Soah Jenkins, this is my grandmother Mrs. Davidson.  Grammy?  This is my Soah."  Grammy pushed Soah's proffered hand away and pulled her into a hug.

"So, I finally get to meet the girl who stole my grandson's heart?  Sit down here, and tell me about yourself."

"I can give you all the information you need mom.  She is nothing but jumped up white trash.  Just dating our boy, thinking he has access to our money.  A little gold digger is all she is."

"Charles!  You will mind your mouth when you speak to me!  How dare you speak to company in that manner.  You invited her into your home, this is not how I taught you to treat company. Where is your manners?  Soah, is your family having dinner today?"

"Yes ma'am they are, later today after the football game."

"Do you think they would mind having one more to dinner?  I am not usually so forward as to invite myself to dinner, but I think eating here will give me indigestion."

"They would not mind having one more, I am sure!  With the amount of food we made yesterday, and they are working on today, there will be plenty."

"Don't forget Kevin will be there, also known as the bottomless pit."  Morgan was loosening up with the acceptance of his Grammy.

"Kevin will be there?  Oh!  I do like that boy!"

"What is there to like about a damned dirty queer?  You can't leave!  The rest of the family will be here soon.  What will I tell them, when you aren't here?"  Grammy didn't even respond to her son's vile remark, she just stalked over to him, pulled her hand back and slapped him.

"I warned you about speaking to me with respect.  And tell your brothers the truth.  That you are a rude, ill mannered hateful man.  Morgan, do you mind if I ride with you?  You will have to bring me back here to pick up my car."

"Of course not!"

"Before I invite myself into your home, would you mind going in and asking them first?"

"Nope!  This is my house, we have plenty of room, a mountain of food, and everyone here loves Morgan.  They will be pleased to meet his Grandmother.  Come on in."  Soah pushed open the door, calling out, "Mom!  Dad!  We have company!"

Sam came into the hall, still with the remote in his hand. Surprise plain and clear on his face.  "Baby girl, aren't you back kinda early?"

"Hello!"  Grammy stuck out her hand for Sam to shake, "I'm Irene Davidson, Morgan's grandmother.  I hope you don't mind me barging into your family celebration, but my son made staying there completely impossible."

"Sam Jenkins"  Cecile and Talia hearing new voices had came into the hall, "My wife Cecile, our daughter Talia.  We would be pleased to have you join us for supper.  Are you hungry?  Dinner won't be for hours yet, let me take your coat, and you can help yourself to the snacks."

"Thank you so much for your hospitality.  Would you mind if I spoke to my grandson in private for a few minutes?"

"No, that is fine.  We are all either in the family room, or the kitchen.  The living room is all yours.  Take as long as you need."

Wondering what on earth Grammy wanted to talk to him about, he led her into the living room, and waited for her to sit down, before sitting beside her on the sofa.

"Morgan?  The behavior I saw from your father today, is that he normally treats you?  Is he always this mean to you?  I want you to tell me the truth, not what you think you want me to hear, understand?"

"Yeah, this has become the norm of how they both treat me.  He just won't let it go about my changing majors.  I just don't get it.  What difference is it to him, if I would rather be a teacher than a  accountant?  I was hoping with you there, today would be better.  I hate living there anymore.  They don't like Soah, but are usually civil to her, it is there, but in an undercurrent.  I have never seen him be so obvious about it before."

"Why don't you move out?"

"They told me if I move out, they will stop paying for college.  And before, it would have been no problem.  I had no idea what I wanted to do anyway, and was just going to keep them quiet.  But now, it is a whole new game.  I want to be a teacher.  I think that I would make a good teacher."  Morgan fell quiet for a while, and his grandmother allowed the quiet to spool out, waiting for him to finish.  "Grammy?  I want to marry Soah.  She is much younger than me, but somehow we are a perfect fit.  I want to have children with her, grow old with her.  My view of the future before I met her, was fuzzy and full of just don't care.  For the first time ever, I care about my grades, and am doing well in school.  She pulls me into focus somehow."

"That is what I wanted to hear.  I will get a hotel room tonight, and tomorrow we will start looking for apartments for you.  I will fund both your schooling and your housing costs.  I would be remiss if I left you living with that sad excuse of a father I some how managed to produce.  What time will Kevin be here?  Will he be bringing his boyfriend?"

A stunned Morgan sat like a statue on the sofa.  "Honestly?  You are going to pay for my school?  And for me to move out?  Really?"

"Where do you think the money has been coming from?  I gave it to your father to use for your schooling.  Thankfully I kept my name on the account as the primary.  I was worried that he might try to bully you with money.  Monday his name will be removed from the account.  And Kevin?"

"Oh, yeah, Kevin and Dave are spending the early afternoon with Dave's family.  They will be coming over around 4 or so, with Kevin's dad and his fiancee."

"Good!  I want the chance to catch up with Kevin.  Do you like his Dave?"

"Grammy, Dave is the sweetest, kindest person I think I have ever met.  He has been a friend of mine for several years.  You would have to be blind not to see how much they love each other.  Kevin and Dave both love Soah, but with Dave?  To him, she is a sister.  I would hate to see what he would do to me, if I ever hurt her."

Grammy loved Dave, and enjoyed in catching up with Kevin.  At one point Grammy, Cecile, Cami and both girls ended up in the kitchen, having giggle fits over the guys facial expression upon being told they had been elected to do dishes after dinner.  Who had made the most shocked face was hotly debated, but it boiled out to a dead heat between George and Sam.  The delicious dinner was spiced with congenial conversation, laughter and from people who were true blue, dyed in the wool friends.  Soah over the course of the day had fallen under the spell of Morgan's Grammy.  After Soah had relaxed from being attacked at the Davidson's, her personality had come bubbling up to the surface, charming Grammy completely.  As the day lengthened into evening Grammy knew she would be driving in the dark on unfamiliar streets, and it began to worry her.

"Grammy?  How about if Kevin drives your car to the hotel?  Dave can follow us, and pick Kevin up at the hotel?  That way you don't have to drive in the dark?"

"Now that sounds like a plan!"

 After hugs and kisses, hugging again, people started to trickle out of the house until only the Jenkins were left.  Soah was still moony after a heated moment spent alone in the darkened living room with Morgan, and was sitting on the sofa next to Talia letting the conversation wash around her, only catching edges here and there.  Talia smiled at the look on Soah's face.  For not the first time, relief pounded thru her, that her actions that terrible night did not cause Soah to loose Morgan for good.

"Morgan, that little girl surely is special.  Don't you let her go.  After we get to my hotel tonight, I need for you to tell me how she ended up in that family."

"Are you sure you want to know about her past Grammy?  It is not pretty."

"Yes, I don't care about how ugly it is.  I want to know everything about the girl that my grandson loves!  Besides you forget that I have been on this earth quite a long time, and in my time have been acquainted with evil many times.  Some of which seems to  live in your home."


"Come on everyone!"  Soah was bouncing from foot to foot in impatience wanting everyone to be in the truck.  The Jenkins were going to the tree farm to pick out a Christmas tree.  "Daylights burning people!"  Without realizing it Sam's sayings had begun to invade Soah's daily speech.

Running up and down the rows of trees with Talia, looking at each tree briefly before running off to another tree.  Red cheeks, sparkling eyes, bubbling laughter, full of life, full of fun, full of love.  Sam and Cecile strolled along at a much slower place, actually looking at the trees, reveling in the happy sounds of laughter flowing from the girls.  Tree picked, tree loaded, truck loaded, with two giggling, silly girls.  A truck full to the headliner with joy.  Decorating the tree turned into an evening filled with tears, and needing a snuggle with Sam.  This was the first tree Soah had ever had.  Her first Christmas ever.  Cecile vowed to get Soah a first Christmas ornament.  After tears were dried, spirits pumped back up, if not full, no longer rattling empty.  And the long awaited night came for both Sam and Soah.  The lawn ornaments were at long last on the lawn and lit, along with the house lights.

"Dad?  I need to speak to you in private.  I'm kinda in a pinch and I need an answer, so could it be after work tonight?"

"Is everything alright Dave?"  Mr. Li was worried at the tone in his only son's voice.  Dave had been to happy today, for their to be trouble in his relationship with Kevin, he was stumped.  Today would prove to drag for the remainder of the day.

"I am sorry about causing you to worry all day.  I didn't realize that saying it that way would make you think something was wrong.  Honestly, my mind is just so jumbled up right now."  Dave was sitting in his dad's office, the shop closed for the day, just the two of them.  It had been a long while since they had taken the time just to visit, and catch up on all the little things that keep a relationship alive and fruiting.

"That's ok son, but if you don't tell me, your mom will not only be out of a son, she will be missing a husband also.  Now spill it!"

"I want to ask Kevin to marry me.  I am afraid to wait until summer like I had planned.  There are petitions circulating already  calling for a special election, and it has only been 6 weeks since the election!  If we get married before they reverse the law, we will still be married.  I don't want to miss our chance!  I only have a little saved up towards the rings.  Could you please advance me the money?  I promise that I will repay it."

"Is that all?  Oh son, of course I will lend you the money.  When do you want to get married?  Do you have a date in mind?"

"It sounds corny now when I think about it.  But, last night it seemed like a wonderful idea."

"Corny or not, tell me."

"New Year's Eve.  I thought it would be cool, to kiss as a married couple as the clock strikes 12.  We would ring out the old year single, and welcome the new year as a couple."

"That is a wonderful idea!  I love it!  We need to get your mom and Cami together after you ask him, so they can get this planned.  Do you already have the rings picked out?"

"Yeah, it was the weirdest thing.  Remember when we both went ring shopping with George?"

At Mike's nod yes, Dave continued.  "While he was looking for Cami's ring, he asked us to look for a ring for him.  Kevin and I wandered around the shop, and we both found the same ring without each other there.  I think that means it is a perfect choice."

"Do you want to swing by the jewelry store right now?  You could ask him when he comes home from class tonight."

"Hell yeah!  Let's go!"  Dave jumped to his feet, and grabbing his dad's hand pulled him out of the his chair with such force, he almost knocked Dave over.  Laughing and clasping his dad to him tightly, the joy expanded to the point, it was threatening to tear his ribs from his backbone.


Soah sat surrounded by a wall of brightly wrapped gifts, refusing to open any of them yet. She kept brushing her fingers over the paper, touching the bows, wanting to savor the love that each package represented.  Watching everyone else open their gifts, the joy exchanged with the gifts.  Cries of happiness, of surprise, and laughter, composed a beautiful Christmas melody.  At last only Soah's gifts remained unopened.  Finally, one by one, Soah's packages dwindled until she had opened them all.  Overwhelmed by the amount of gifts, she just sat on the floor, moose in her lap, fluffy slippers on her feet, and a bemused look on her face.  Knowing not to push, to allow her time to process new experiences, they began to pick up the discarded wrapping paper, and straighten up the living room.  Hearing a odd sound underneath their happy chatter, Sam turned to find Soah now clutching moose to her chest, tears streaming down her face.

"Baby girl?  Come here and snuggle with me.  Talk to me, tell me why you are so sad."  Soah got up from the floor and climbed into her dad's lap.

"Why?  Why didn't they love me enough to ever buy me a gift?  Dr. Layton keeps telling me it isn't anything I did, but it is something that is missing in the evil beings.  How can you not love your own child?"

"That is a question we will never ever be able to answer.  It will nag at you from time to time for the rest of your life, and no matter how you pull at the threads, and try to unravel the fabric of your life with them, you will never find the answer."  Dad held Soah and let her cry until she had ran out of tears.

Sniffling and hiccuping and finally calming down Soah asked her dad, "Did you and mom get the papers from the court yet about my adoption?"

"They came a few days ago, why?"

"Is is to late to change them?  I......"  lapsing into silence, working out what she wanted to say, " I hate my name!  I don't want to be Soah any more!  Please could you and mom give me a name that is clean of hurtful memories? Please?"

"If that is what you want, we can arrange that. Do you already have a name picked out?"

"No, you didn't understand me.  I want you and mom to name me.  When you adopt me, I will have parents for the first time ever.  You are already giving me a new last name, your last name.  I would like a new first name to go with my new last name."

"Why on earth would you think we wouldn't do this one little thing for you?  Do you want to know your new name in advance?"

"Nope!  You will do a good job in choosing me a new name!"

"Are you sure?  What if you don't like the name we choose?"

"No chance of that!


"Are you nervous?  You look kinda pale."  Morgan gave a worried glance at Kevin.

"No, yes, I don't know!  I just want this to last forever, and want it over already!"

"Hey doofus?  I would say you have a massive case of nerves.  You have nothing to worry about.  He asked you to marry him.  You know he won't pull a runner.  I bet he is as nervous as you are."  Not knowing what else to do, to make his friend happy, he pulled Kevin into a hug, holding him tightly, and then clapping him hard on the back.  After letting go, he noticed that Kevin was a little calmer.  "Better?"

"Yeah.  Can you believe Dave?  Getting the rings, asking me to marry him, and coming up with this awesome idea of the stroke of 12 deal.  Hey!  Again with the doofus?"

"He seems fairly smart, the only lapse in judgement so far that I have noticed is choosing you for a...... hey?  What are you two going to be?  Partners?  Husbands?  Husband and wife?  You already call him your wife!"

"We talked about it, we want to be husbands.  You and Soah are the only ones who ever hear me call Dave wife. It is a private joke ya know."



Soah was expecting a court room, just like on tv.  It was a middle sized conference room.  It did make it less scary!  She was sitting between her mom and dad, her guardian ad litem was between her and the judge.

"All rise.  The honorable William Smith will be presiding today."  The judge swept in, took his seat and the bailiff continued, "You may be seated.  In the matter of the adoption of one Soah Helms, will the interested party please rise?"

Soah, stood between her dad and mom.  In a few minutes the judge was going to make it binding, legal, her parents forever!   The lawyer handed endless pieces of paper to the judge, the guardian ad litem handing more pieces of paper to the judge.  And finally!  They were at the end!

"Soah, could you change places and sit next to me?" The judge waited for everyone to get settled. "I usually take this time to question the child, to make sure that they are happy.  But the look on your face says it all.  Are you ready to hear your new name said for the first time?"  At Soah's nod the judge continued, " Please stand.  You are now the legal child of Samuel and Cecile Jenkins, please let me be the first one to shake the hand of Renee Jenkins."


Ten years later....

Renee heard footsteps coming down the hospital hallway, she would know those footsteps anywhere, it was dad!  Sitting up straighter in the bed, smoothing the blankets down, waiting for dad.  Even all these years later, the sound in her head of dad and mom, ran a tingly thrill thru her.

"Renee!  Oh Baby girl!  You look good! Where is Morgan?"

"He went to get me something to eat.  I'm starved."

"Really?  Maybe I could help with that.  Tada!  Cake! From your favorite place, the Cake Box!  Mom will be here right after work.  They wouldn't let her off early."

A squealing door hinge, was heard complaining down the hall, and then a squeaking of shoes on linoleum.  And interlaced with all of other noises of a busy hospital in the early afternoon, a thin wail, that was approaching.

After the nurse settled the baby into Renee's arms, and left, Sam sat on the side of the bed, watching his Baby girl glow with happiness.

"Grandpa, would you like to hold your grandson?  Aaron Davidson, meet the best grandpa ever!

                                   The End

Break Free Chapter 21

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Posted on 7:16 PM | By Biki Honko | In

"Morgan, talk to us.  What on earth happened to Soah today?  She is lit up like a christmas tree!"  Sam was slightly concerned about Morgan's answer, when he blushed.

"Well, umm, I..we..um kissed.  Quite a lot actually.  And I told her, um, ah, that I love her."

"Morgan!  You heard what both of the doctors told you!  She needs to figure out who she is, before she gets involved in a relationship."

"I know, I know!  Don't you think that all day, Dr. Layton's voice has been running thru my damned head?  But, if you had been there you would have understood.  Well, if you had been there, it wouldn't have happened.  Do you know what Soah did?  I got mad at myself for loosing control and kissing her and......   She went upstairs and brought down Book, and had me read a little of it!  She had me read Book!  Worried the entire time that it could make me not like her any more, just to make me feel better.  After I read Book, she was expecting me to get up and leave and never come back.  How could I not tell her after she trusted me like that?  I couldn't keep it to myself any longer!  I think Dr. Layton is wrong!  She does know who she is!  She is just unsure about all of us!"

"She wanted you to read Book?  Really?  Did it make your feel better?"  Sam was leaning forward in his chair totally focused on Morgan.  Morgan looked over at Cecile who had an unreadable expression on her face.  In his short life, not getting any reading from a woman's face was never a good sign.

"Yeah, it did.  It explained a lot of different things, that I had been wondering about for a while.  And until she tells me different, I am not saying anything more."

Cecile broke into the conversation with, "Kissing and what?  Just what else did you two do?"

Turning beet red, Morgan looked to Sam for help.  Seeing the deer in the headlight look on his face, Sam took pity on him. "Did everyone's clothes remain on?"

"Yes."

"Hands on the inside of clothing?"

"No."

"Are you going to let it get that far again?"

"No, well I umm, will try, not to, ah let things...get...try to tell her....umm....  I still feel guilty, about this morning.  I mean she is 15!"

Cecile leaned forward and looking dead into Morgan's eyes, and with a very serious voice said, "Morgan, your teen years are gone, you are a man and it is time you start acting like it.  Until we give you the say so, kissing and hugging is the end of the physical contact between you two.  I am glad that you acknowledge the fact that she is only 15.  In some ways she is much older, and is going to push you to move faster than we are going to allow her.  Learn this new phrase, and learn it well.  No Soah!"  Morgan looked at Sam to see what he was thinking about everything Cecile had been saying, when Cecile's voice broke into his thoughts, "Don't you look at him for help.  In this matter, I am in charge, and only me.  I will be having a talk with Soah about this."

"What about Friday?  Is the answer no?"

"Sam what do you think?"

"I think she can go, depending if you double with someone else.  It is not that I don't trust you.  Right now I think it would be best if she is not alone with you.  If I can figure out what you were stumbling through earlier, she got to a certain point and didn't want to stop?"

Just when his blush was leaving, it was back in a flash again.  "That is not what I meant, umm well, yeah."

"Girls have the same desires as guys." Cecile gave Morgan a firm look continuing on, " For now on, I want you two to leave in the morning when we do.  There will no being here in the house alone.  That should reduce the chances of what happened this morning happening again.  I am going to trust you both in this matter during the day.  Luckily Soah is so afraid of making us mad, that after I talk to her about this, I don't think it will be an issue anymore.  But, until she becomes used to the new rules, no alone time.  Who do you know that would double with you two?"

"How about Dave and Kevin?  Would they be interested in tagging along?" Sam looked at Cecile to see if she approved of his choice, she nodded at Sam.

"I don't know, I could ask them."

"Call them now.  I want to get this settled.  Cecile will be talking to Soah tonight about what behavior we find acceptable."

"Hey Dave, ya got a minute?  No, every things fine. Are you two free Friday?  Umm, well I want to take Soah on a date, and we need to double.  Movie and chinese food.  Not sure, need to check to see what is playing, why?  Oh, that sounds good!  She will like that one!  Huh?  If you want me to.  No, I don't mind. Bye."

"They will go.  Dave suggested a movie that I know Soah will like, and you will approve of.  It is a Miyazaki film."

"Good!  Let's go tell Soah, I know she must be stewing over this."  Sam patted Morgan on his back, "We do trust you.  It is different when you love them, isn't it?  Talk to Kevin and Dave about it.  You want to hold on so tight, for fear they will somehow disappear."

When Morgan came into the kitchen, Soah was working with Talia making dinner, but the light had gone out of her.  She was moving by route, not giving much attention to what she was doing.  Hearing footsteps her head shot up, and seeing the large smile on Morgan's face, like flipping a switch, Soah sprang to life again.  Flooded with light, smiling with her happiness, she ran into Morgan's arms.

"I can go?"  At Morgan's nod yes, Soah began bouncing around.  "Yay!"  Flinging herself into first Sam's arms and then Cecile's.  She was to bouncy to stay in one place for long.

"You can go?  Hey!  That's not fair!  You won't let me date yet!"  Talia was upset, and flung the spoon she was using, into the sink with so much force, it bounced back out.

"Talia?  It is a double date.  We have offered you the option of double dating, and you have turned us down.  That is not our fault, but your own."

"You wouldn't let me go out with Tim, you said he was to old for me!  Morgan is tons older than Tim.  How old are you anyway Morgan?"

"Twenty"

"Twenty!!  Twenty!  He is five years older than Soah!  Five!  Tim is only two year older than me!  TWO!  And you said no!  Why can Soah date someone five years older, when I can't go out with someone that is only two years older?  This is so unfair!"

"Yes, it is unfair.  We admit we are using a double standard, but we have a reason.  And if you will calm down, we will explain our thinking."

"No!  Either I get to date who I want, or Soah can't date Morgan!"

"Stop! Stop! Stop!!!!!  I won't go!  I can't stand this!"  Shaking like a leaf, tears streaking down her face, Soah ran from the room, the sound of her footsteps pounding up the stairs, and then the slam of a door.

The anger quickly left Talia, like the air leaving a popped balloon.  A stricken look on her face, she realized what she had done.

Not waiting for permission, Morgan took off up the stairs.  Coming to the only room with a shut door, he took a chance and tried the knob, it was unlocked, taking a big breath, he walked into the room.  Soah was sitting on the floor by the bed, moose in her arms, crying so hard, she didn't even hear Morgan come in.  Sitting next to Soah he waited for her to acknowledge him.  Lifting her face from moose, she got up and moved away from him.

"I want you to leave.  Don't come for me tomorrow.  I'll have Sam drop me at the day program at the hospital instead.  Don't come back."  Soah opened the door and gestured to Morgan for him to leave.

"Soah!  This can be worked out, you know it can.  Just give it some time.  Sam and Cecile will smooth things over with Talia."

"No.  I can't mess this up.  I don't know what I did to mess things up with my first family, but it's not going to happen this time if I can help it.  If it means giving you up to make everyone happy, that is what I will do.  I need a family, I can't live like I did before.  Go."

"Please!  Let me go get Sam.  He will tell explain"

Soah cut Morgan off, "No!  Just go!  Please!  Don't come back!  I don't wanna choose, but if I have to, I have to choose a family."

Tears standing in his eyes, he wordlessly gestured to Soah, pleading with her, to let him stay.  She turned her head away from him, ignoring his pleading.  Defeated he left the room, walking down the stairs, and out the door.

Hearing the door shut, Sam ran to the door, ripping it open, expecting to see Soah leaving the house.  What he saw was a crying Morgan getting into his car.   Running back inside he flew up the stairs, to find Soah crumpled on the floor next to the bed, still holding moose, crying.

Hearing Sam come into the room, never lifting her head from moose she said, "I told Morgan to go and not come back.  Could you please drop me at the center tomorrow?  Could you please leave?  I am going to go to bed."  Soah got up and started getting her pjs from the dresser, taking her earrings out, clearly getting ready for bed.

"Soah, won't you talk to me?"

"Morgan is gone.  Morgan won't be back.  I don't need him, I need you and Cecile.  I fixed everything.  I don't want to talk tonight.  I'll talk to Dr. Layton tomorrow, I am sure about what I am doing.  Goodnight."

 Sam left Soah's room and before he got to the top of the stairs he heard the door lock.

Walking down the stairs, he was in a quandary.  How on earth could he make this right?  Walking into the kitchen he saw Talia cuddled into her mom, crying, Cecile wasn't far from tears herself.  Hearing Sam enter the kitchen both women looked up at him, hoping to see a more positive face.  Seeing his despair, Talia's tears started up again.

"I've messed everything up!  I'm sorry!"

"Sorry isn't going to fix this. Soah told Morgan to go and not come back."

Morgan drove around aimlessly for hours.  His cell phone would ring, texts would cause his phone to chirp at him, he ignored all of them.  Not caring who was calling, or what they wanted.  His heart was ripped, bleeding and shredded.  All of his plans for the future, ashes.  How could she turn her back on him?  Talia!  What a fucking bitch!  She didn't get want she wanted, and the hell with anyone else's feelings!  Coming to stop at a red light, for once in this long dark empty night, he noticed where he was.  The park.  Pulling into the parking lot, getting out, walking to the place where he had first met Soah.  Sitting on the grass under the tree in the dim light from a distant street light, scenes of the past few months flickering past his mind's eye, emotions welling up in his chest.  How could he have lost the only girl he had ever fallen in love with?  Will breathing ever not hurt again?  How to live without her?

"Oh thank God!  Dave he's here!"  Kevin sprinted up to Morgan and tackled him.  "You scared the shit out of us!  What the fuck were you thinking?  Why in the hell didn't you answer your cell phone?"  Kevin had a death grip on Morgan, as if he would disappear before his very eyes. "We thought you had done something stupid."

"Morgan!"  Dave came running up.  Pulling Kevin from his death grip hug on Morgan, he kissed his Kev.  Running his hand down his neck, smiling into his eyes.  Turning back to Morgan, Dave drew his hand back and slapped Morgan hard.  Grabbing Morgan by the shirt, he slapped Morgan over and over.  "How could you scare us like that?  You shit!  We thought you were dead!  DEAD! Fucking answer your damned phone!  Do you know how long we have been looking for you?  Hours! Driving around, looking in all of the places we thought me might find you, afraid we might find you."  Pulling Morgan to him, Dave broke down and began to cry, hugging Morgan tight. "We thought you were dead!  Oh Morgan,  don't you know how much we love you?"

Kevin wrapped his arms around Morgan.  The three sat on the grass clutched to each other, afraid to let go.  Afraid of what might have been.

Footsteps approached, a shadowy form coming closer, the boys were not paying any attention to anything past the reach of their arms.  When the person spoke he startled all three boys.

"I was hoping you would come here!"  Sam stepped over to Morgan, knelt in front of him, took his battered face carefully in his hands. "Did you get in a fight?  Do we need to call the police?  Are you hurt?"

"Mr. Jenkins, I did that. I was furious! Scaring us like that!  Kevin has known him since grade school, grade school! He should have come to us!"  Hugging Morgan hard saying, "Please forgive me."

"Dave?  Have you ever hit anyone before?"  Morgan lifted his head from Kevin's shoulder.

"No. I haven't ever lost control like that before."

"Hey, that just means you love me, huh?"  Morgan grinned crookedly at Dave thru his spilt lips.  "Thanks."

"Morgan I want you to come back to the house, and fight for Soah.  You need to show her just how much you love her."

Sitting between his two best friends, feeling stupid he didn't come to them to begin with.  Thinking over Sam's suggestion, realizing he agreed with him.  "What time tomorrow do you want me to come by?"

"Tomorrow?  I meant now!"

"Isn't it late?  She will be asleep by now."

"When I left 30 minutes ago, she was still crying.  She won't let us in, but we could hear her sniffling."

"If she won't let you in, what makes you think she will let me in?  She threw me away for you."

"I have the key.  Let's go."

"Hey, how did you know I was here?"

"I called in every favor owed to me.  Every police cruiser, every EMT vehicle being driven by a friend, was on the look out for you."

"Whoa!  Way to go Sam."  Kevin pulled his arms away from Morgan, and stood up.  Reaching his hand down to Morgan saying, "Let's go, bud.  You are going to get your life back!  I'm driving, Kevin will follow in your car.  We are not letting you out of our sight again."

"Do you think I have a chance?  Honestly?"

"If I didn't think so, I wouldn't be here."

Pulling up in front of Sam's house, Morgan asked, "Kevin?  Do I have a chance?  Will she take me back?  God!  How can I live without her?"

Kevin had never heard Morgan so uncertain about anything before in their many years of being friends.  The plaintive tone, the slump of his shoulders, spelled out defeat, a most unlike Morgan emotion.

"Ya wanna have her back, right?  Stand tall, be a man.  Don't believe her no, she wants ya back dude.  And you know that to be true.  Now get out of my car and go fight for your woman!  Make me proud!"

Smiling a stronger smile than earlier, Morgan got out of the car, a man on a mission.  Sam was waiting for him on the porch.  As Morgan neared Sam, he was handed a key.

"Until she believes you want her, and we want her to have you, keep at it."  Leaning close to Morgan quietly whispering into his ear, "You didn't hear this from me, but if it takes some physical encouragement, go for it."

"Huh? What are you talking about?  You want me to hit her?"  Clearly Morgan was shocked.

"Pfft!  No, I mean, lovin'.  Kiss her, hug her, show her you want her, need her, can't live without her, and refuse to leave without her admitting she can't live without you either."

"What about Talia?  Isn't she mad still?  Is she going to be a problem?"

"Don't you worry about Talia!  She realizes what she has done, and will do anything to make it right."

Walking into the house with Sam, nerves boiling over, mouth dry, hands wet, feet full of lead.  Sam clapped Morgan on the back, smiling encouragingly, steeling himself against failure, he started the climb to his future, either full of life, or back to dark.

Trying Soah's door knob, he found it was still locked, and he could hear that she was still crying.  Pushing the key home, turning the knob, and walking into a room lit only dimly by a streetlight, filtered thru the curtains.  Hearing the door unlock, Soah sat up in bed, surprised that someone would invade her privacy.

"Morgan!  What are you doing here?  I don't want to be with you any more!  Go!"  Soah started to scramble out of bed, aiming for the door.  Morgan shut the door with his foot, walked over to the bed, and pulled her out of it.

"You are going to listen to me.  Do you see what is in my hand?  Your key.  Who do you think gave it to me?  Huh?  Sam did.  He wants us to be together.  He knows how much we love each other.  And I could give a shit about Talia.  No wonder they don't let her date, talk about immature!  I don't care if we sit here all night long.  I'm not leaving until you admit you don't want to give me up. Until you learn that I will always be here for you.  Nothing you can do, will chase me away.  I will never leave you."

Looking up at Morgan, listening to his words, hearing his words, his words sinking into her for the first time.  Finally understanding that he loved her!  He isn't going to go!  I can't chase him away. The immense pain that had a hold on her heart, her soul, herself, was melting away under the fierce love radiating from Morgan.  Giving a tiny shudder, as the last of the ice around her heart melted away, the tears melted away, life began to become livable again.

"What happened to your face!  Who beat you up?  Did Sam make sure you are alright?"

"Yeah, I got beat up.  Wanna guess who?"

"No!  Just tell me!"

"Dave, beat me up for scaring the hell out of him and Kevin."

"What did you do to Dave and Kevin to scare them?  And Dave?  Dave hit you?  Seriously?"  Moving to sit on the bed, Morgan pulled Soah down next to him. Rubbing his hand up and down her back, feeling each rib as his fingers bumped over them, feeling her heat warming her pjs.  Leaning into his hand as it rubbed up and down, up and down.

"When I left here, Sam called them to see if I was there.  He wanted me to come back to work things out.  Everyone tried to call me, text me, I heard all of them, but ignored them all.  I was lost in grief.  I thought I had lost you for ever!  They all thought I had done something stupid, like try to kill my self.  And when Kevin and Dave did find me, Kevin knocked me down, and hugged me like there was no tomorrow.  Dave though just starting slapping the shit out of me.  He was right.  You know with out any doubt if someone as gentle as Dave starts slapping the shit out of you, whatever your mistake is, it is not just a fail, but an epic fail."

"I'm so very sorry!  I just couldn't deal with all of the shouting!  It was just to much!  Please forgive me?"

"Nothing for you to forgive.  Talia needs to grow up."  Morgan's hand had never stop moving, the more he rubbed the stronger his desire to kiss her became.  Throwing Sam's advice into the mouth of his conscience to shut it up he whispered, "Soah, would you give me a kiss?"

Her only answer was to tilt her head back to make her lips available to his.  Leaning down, brushing lips, gentle kisses began to grow more passionate, kiss by kiss.  Winding her arms around his neck she pulled him down to lay almost on top of her. Longer, harder kisses, breathing faster, hands begin to wander around.  Soah slid her hand up Morgan's shirt, wanting to feel more of him, in reality wanting his shirt off.

 Breaking the kiss whispering, "Morgan will you take your shirt off?  I'll take mine off too!"

Morgan knew he had reached the end of the line.  Oh how he wanted to go further, not stopping until he was buried deep inside Soah.  The idea of having her around him, how tight, wet, ripped a groan from him.  Like Dave's slap, a thought slammed into him, she thinks the only way she can keep me is to have sex with me!  It was all in Book!  She needs to be shown there is more to us, than sex.

"No one is taking anything off, Soah."  Morgan pulled out of Soah's arms, and pulled her up to sit beside him saying, "We are not having sex tonight, or tomorrow.  It is going to be long while yet, I want for us to explore each other, without confusing everything with sex.  I love you Soah, you are more to me, than the usual quick lay.  I didn't care about those girls, and using them for sex, pfft, not an issue.  They didn't care about me either.  I was just trophy boy to them.  Someone to show off, someone to make the other girls jealous.  I pretended that I didn't know that is how they all thought about me.  It never bothered me, I always had dates, someone to take to dances and sex, but other than that?  Nothing in here."  Tapping his chest, watching her closely for her reaction to what he was saying.

He could see her working out what he had told her, trying to get all of the pieces to fit into some form that made sense. Pieces clicking into place, picture whole, complete, clear, understanding opening for business.  Mentally fist pumping, yeah!  He had her!  She got it!  Kissing her smiling face, her laughing cheeks, her eyes glowing with happiness.  They were out of the woods, thank heavens!

"I am going home.  Tonight has suddenly caught up with me, and I am just trashed. I will be here tomorrow to pick you up for work.  Remember your promise!  I get breakfast!"

"Good night!  I'll have it ready for you! I love you, thank you for coming back for me!"

"Sweet girl?  I will always come back for you."

Break Free Chapter 20

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Posted on 7:13 PM | By Biki Honko | In

"Soah!  Breakfast smells awesome!  What did you make?  Oh french toast!  Yummy!  Bacon, and scrambled eggs, wow!  This must have taken you forever!  Can I eat now? Please?"  Talia batted her lashes at me, a large grin on her face.

"Sure, help yourself.  Will your mom and dad be down soon?"

"Here we are, the divine aroma pulled us down the stairs.  French toast?  I love french toast!  Why does yours smell so much better than mine? Oh the coffee is ready!  Soah our lifesaver!"  Cecile poured two mugs of coffee and handed one to Sam.

"I use vanilla extract and cinnamon in the batter.  I hope you like it."  I was so nervous about making them breakfast, hoping they would like my cooking.

"Umm, ohh, Soah!  This is the best french toast ever!  Mom, I am so sorry, but Soah's is so  much better!  The syrup is warm too.  Yummy!"  Talia speared two more pieces from the serving plate, having already devoured one piece and a large helping of scrambled eggs and several slices of bacon.  "No need for lunch today!  I will be full on this all day!  Yum!"

"Where did you learn to cook like this?  This is a fabulous breakfast!"  Sam had a substantial amount of everything on his plate.  His fork poised half way to his mouth, he shot a sharp look at Soah.  "Soah!  Where is your plate?"

"Umm....... I don't have one.  I'll eat later."

Sam pushed to his feet, getting a place setting, and stalked back to me.  "I am taking your hand."  Doing what he said, he pulled me away from the sink full of dishwater, and forced me to the table.  "We appreciate all of your hard work on this glorious breakfast.  But, in this house, we eat together, the dishes wait.  Sit.  Eat."

Cecile and Sam both started piling food on my plate.  Glancing at Sam to check if he was truly mad at me or not, he didn't seem mad.  Cecile patted my arm, and nodded at my plate.  Releasing a breath that I was unaware of holding, I started to eat.

"Soah, can you teach me how to make your french toast?  I love this stuff!  Yum!!!"  Talia was eating with a look of total happiness.

"Sure, it is nothing special.  Just the normal batter for the french toast.  Just add a few drops of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  I watched some cooking show in the hospital and she did it this way, and it sounded so good, I wanted to try it."

"What else can you cook?  Is everything you cook this good?"  Talia was starting to slow down, her stomach was getting full, but her mouth didn't want to stop tasting.

"Umm, lots of things I guess.  I make really good peanut butter cookies."

Cecile glanced up at the clock, "Whoops!  We need to get ready to go!  You have only 15 minutes before blast off Sam!  Soah?  Are we supposed to drop you off or is one of the boys going to pick you up?"  Before Soah could answer Cecile the doorbell rang.  "Well that answers that question!  Get the door Soah."

"Sure mom!"  And I ran for the door, not seeing the shocked look on everyone's face.  Pulling the door open, there stood Morgan, a large grin on his face.

"Cute look there Soah!"

"Huh?"  Looking down, I saw I was still wearing the apron, with my fuzzy slippers.  Giggling at what I was wearing, I asked Morgan, "Have you eaten yet?  Do we have time for you to eat?"

"Sure, I can always make time for food.  It smells wonderful!  What is that?"

"French toast.  It seems to be a big hit around here.  I have enough batter for a couple more slices.  Do you want some eggs and bacon also?"

Morgan followed me into the kitchen, "Wait!  You made that wonderful smell?  Really?  Hook me up!  Good morning everyone."

"Oh, hey Morgan.  You do not want to eat Soah's french toast!"  Talia smiled at Morgan.

"Why not?  It smells divine!"

"Yeah, but once you start eating you will never want to stop! I'm ready to go dad!  Meet you in the car!  Bye Soah!  See ya Mom!"

"Talia is right, best french toast I have ever eaten!"  Kissing Cecile on the cheek and ruffling Soah's hair, Sam followed Talia out the door.

"Soah, I get off at 5 every night.  Sam is usually off around 4:30.  I will swing by and pick Talia up from her babysitting job after work.  Morgan, what time do you and Kevin usually wrap things up for the day?"

"It depends on what we are working on.  Sometimes, we have to wait for things to dry and wrap up earlier, or the current project is complicated and we don't want to break in the middle, and we just keep working until it is finished.  Why?"

"Soah, is not supposed to be home alone."

"Oh, then we will just keep her busy until 5.  Sound good?  Now where is that french toast I am hearing so much about?"

"It's almost done.  Do you want some scrambled eggs also?  Let me warm up the bacon."

"I am leaving now Soah.  Take your cell phone with you today.  Call me if you need to."

"Mom?  Aren't you going to be late for work today?"

"Yes.  I have already cleared it with my boss for me to come in about 30 minutes late each day this week.  I wanted to make sure we had enough time in the mornings until you became accustomed to our schedules.  Give me a hug baby girl."  Oh, lovely, lovely hugs!

"Bye Mom!  See you tonight!  So, did you want eggs?"

"Sure, if it isn't to much trouble."

Nope!  No trouble at all!  So, what kind of work will I be doing today?  There is enough coffee left, do you want some?"

"Yeah, only had one cup this morning.  Painting. We want to get everything painted before we put the flooring down.  That way we don't have to worry about spilling paint on the new floors."

"Here is your coffee and the eggs, the french toast will be done in a minute.  So, if you are to the painting and flooring, are you almost done?"

"One would think so, huh?  No, well, yes....here is the thing.  All of the big work will be done, after all of the flooring is done.  What is left is all the little fiddly jobs.  Moldings, towel racks, curtain rods, shelves.  The kind of stuff that is not hard to do, but is time consuming, because you have to be so exact or it shows."

"Here is the rest of your breakfast.  Will I get paint on my clothes?  Everything I have is new, and I don't wanna mess it up."  I poured myself another glass of juice and sat down with Morgan.

"Soah!  Talia is right!  This is heavenly!"

Morgan was quiet while he was busy eating.  Scraping the last morsels of food from his plate, he leaned back into his chair, with a groan and a large smile.  I picked up his plate, and finished up the rest of the dishes.

"While I was eating, I was thinking about keeping you clean.  I have never managed to paint anything without getting at least some paint on me.  How about we go down to Value Town, and get you a pair of cheap tennis shoes, and a bandana for your hair.  And at the hardware store, we will get you a set of coveralls.  That will keep you clean and tidy.  Sound good?"

"Umm, I don't have any money."

"No worries. I'll spring for them.  And I don't want to hear from you about it, understand?  Hey! How about if you make me breakfast each day?  My mom leaves early each morning, and I have no idea how to cook.  I get well tired of cold cereal and toast.  Do we have a deal?"

"Ok.  Let me run up and get my shoes.  Is shorts and a tee ok for under the coveralls?"

"Yeah, less is better.  Hurry up Chef Soah!"

"I'll be quick!"  Running up the stairs, I sped into my room, grabbing up my shoes and a pair of socks.  Halfway down the stairs before I remembered my cell phone!  Errr!  Back up the stairs, into my room, where did I leave my cell phone?  Oh, on the desk.  Grabbed it up and shoved it into my pocket, down the stairs again.  Flying around the corner into the kitchen, I caromed off of Morgan, landing on my butt.

"Hey!  It isn't a race here.  Kevin won't fire us.  Besides I am picking him up, so he will wait for us, and he is always late!  You ok?"

Morgan pulled me to my feet and stopped my giggles by kissing me throughly.  I dropped my shoes and socks and threw my arms around him, and fell deeper into his kiss.  Morgan picked me up, never breaking our kiss, and carried me into the family room.  Sitting down on the edge of the sofa, Morgan slid me against him, and leaned back on the sofa.  Laying on him, his hand on my back, the other cupping my head as we kissed.  Sharing each others breath, lips and tongues soft and warm.  Slow long soft noisy kisses.  Morgan's hand on my back slid up and down, oh that feels so heavenly!  Gradually Morgan began kissing me more firmly, more urgently, his hands were both running up and down my back, oh more, please more!  His hands stop their wandering on my butt, pressing me against him, moving his hips up and down as he ground himself against me, he moaned low in his throat.

 Breaking off our kiss Morgan whispered into my ear, "We have to stop."  Groaning deeply he rested his face next to my ear.  His breath tickled as it washed over my cheek.

"I...I...don't want to stop!"

"Oh honey baby, we have to."

Pressing my pelvis down onto Morgan, rubbing against him, urging him to finish what he started!  Catching my hips in his hands, he stilled their movement. Whining trying to break free of his confining hands, needing the friction back again.

"Morgan, please!  I don't wanna stop now!  Come on, please?"

"No.  It is my fault, I shouldn't have let it get to this point.  I'm sorry Soah, but no."

Pushing up with my hands on his chest I looked into his eyes, they were glazed with desire, and I knew he wanted to finish as badly as I did.  Leaning down, zeroing in on his mouth, hoping if he starts to kiss me, he will loose control.  He let my lips land on his, but then pulled back so the kiss was light, not what I wanted at all!  Running his hands up my sides and around my back, holding me to him as he sat up. Turning me around, sitting me sideways on his lap, he hugged me, and rested his cheek on my head.

"Soah, you know we can't do this, don't you?"

"No! I don't know why!  I didn't ask you to stop!"

"You are 15!  Shit!  What was I thinking?  You aren't ready for this."  Morgan pushed me off his lap onto the sofa, and dropped his head into his hands.  "Damn it!  I gotta get my shit together!"

Sitting there, listening to Morgan berate himself, running himself down further and further.  I needed to make him stop feeling so guilty.  Of course!  Jumping off the sofa, I ran up the stairs, and into my room.  Opening one of the suitcases on the floor, I dug to the bottom, retrieved what I needed, and ran back down the stairs.

"Morgan  I want you to read something.  I wrote this a few days before you met me."  Handing Book to Morgan, I pointed at where he should start reading.

"You.... you are letting me Book?  Why?"

"It will explain some things.  I am not as innocent as I look.  I...mean that, umm......I've....never ahh, had sex, but ummm......... just read it."

Morgan began reading where I had decided that I needed a boy, any boy who would protect me at school, and my desire to find someone older to teach me how to have sex.  Worried that he would think less of me, didn't really matter any more.  I just didn't want him to feel any less about himself.  Nerves climbing up from my stomach, taking root in my chest, coming to rest around my throat.  My heart sped up, until it was banging around in my chest like a shoe in the dryer.

Lost in my own thoughts, sure he was leaving and never looking back, I startled when he dropped Book onto the coffee table.  Coming back to the here and now,  I chanced a quick look at Morgan.  His eyes were wet, he wasn't crying, only one blink away from crying.  Wrapping his arms around me, he held me so carefully, he still wanted me!

"School was bad for you also?"

"Yeah, girls hate me for some reason.  I get picked on all the time."  Loving the feeling of his arms around me, I just had to ask while there was still some bravery left, "You don't hate me now?  Do you still like me?"  Steeling myself against his words. When he did speak, it took my breath away.

"Don't you get it?  I love you!  I have dated tons of girls, and not a single one has ever held my interest for more than a few dates!  But, you!  There is something about you that draws me in.  You are all I can think about!  That is why I lost my self control with you today.  I want you so much."

"What you read in Book, doesn't upset you, at all?"

"Yeah, it does.  But not for the reason you think.  What upsets me, is that no one ever saw you.  No ever wanted you.  I am blown away by that!  You are kind, and sweet, smart and funny, and cute as hell.  Go put Book away, we need to be going.  I'll call Kevin, and let him know we are coming."

The rest of the day went by in a blur. The only thing my brain would hold onto was that Morgan loved me!  Even after reading Book!  He loves me! Me!

After dropping Kevin off, a warm quiet filled the car.  Morgan had my hand on his lap, and he would rest his hand over mine when he wasn't shifting.  I was tired from painting, and was content to just bask in the enjoyment of being with Morgan.

"Would you like to go on a date Friday?  Out to dinner, and a movie?  Chinese food sound good?"

"Really!  Oh yes!  I would love to!  You will have to help me order, cause I just ate what Dave fed me.  Will they have forks?  If not, Dave will have to come with us!  What movie will we see?"

"Not sure, we need to check to see what is on.  There will be forks, if you want to be sure, you could bring your own!  Do you need to ask Sam and Cecile first?"

"Oh.  I'm not sure.  We can ask when we get to the house.  That would be so funny!  Hey mom!  I need to take a fork on my date!"  Giggling at the funny picture of me putting a fork in my bag, and then the even funnier idea of me getting it out of my bag at the restaurant!  Morgan must have agreed with me, because soon he was laughing with me.

As soon as the car came to a halt, I was out like a shot, and up and into the house.  "Mom?  Dad?  Is anyone here?"  Sam came into the hallway, the newspaper in his hand, and a concerned look on his face.

"Baby girl, what's the matter?  Are you ok?"

"Dad!"  I threw myself into his arms, and gave him a huge hug!  "Guess what?  Morgan wants to take me on a date Friday!  Can I go?  Please?"

"Hey Morgan!  This morning when I left she was all calm and quiet.  What kind of paint are you using?"

" I know the answer to that!  Eggshell.  Wait, is it really made with eggshells?"

"No that is the finish, only kinda shiny.  Where were you all day?  We told you that, and you thought it was interesting."

"Really?  I don't remember that at all."  At that point Mom and Talia came home.  Running up to mom, and throwing my arms around her saying, "Mom!  Morgan asked me out on a date Friday!  I asked dad already and he started talking about paint.  Can I?"

"Let's go sit down, I am tired, it was a super busy day.  Why don't you help Talia get supper ready, and let your dad and Morgan and I talk about it, ok?"

"Umm, does that mean no?  Did I do something wrong?"

"No, you haven't done anything wrong at all.  This is what parents do.  We want what is best for you, and for us to decide, we need to talk to Morgan alone for a minute.  Everything is fine."  Mom gave me another hug, before she headed off to the living room.

"Come on, let's make supper.  I hope you are a wizard with supper like you are with dinner!"

"Sure.  What are we making?"  Taking one last glance at the living room doorway, before following Talia to the kitchen.

Break Free Chapter 19

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Posted on 7:13 PM | By Biki Honko | In

Days leap by, crawl by, flowing into a long stream. Good, great, wonderful days, full and happy.  Horrid, terrible, pebble in your shoe as your run for your life days, empty and sad.  Uneven, out of sync, can't quite find my balance moments.  Moments of skin full to bursting happiness.  Shifting sand dunes, always eager to run and play with the wind, leaving me grasping for footing, grasping to stand.  Never quite getting there, never quite understanding, always missing some detail, some fact, some connection.  Trust, complete and total, not now, not ever?  I trust, I hope, I pull back, away, back into safe.  But, my safe, isn't so warm, so comfortable, I don't quite fit there anymore.  I don't quite fit anywhere.

Stuck.  All of the old rules of life, of behavior, gone.  Without anything to fill in the gaps, the holes, the need. Out in the open, exposed naked and alone.  The old is gone, and the new?  I can't nail down the new.  The new is slippery, sliding, mutating faster than I can classify.  Trying, to make a pattern, a form to fit into, a place to hold me.

Full of fear of making a mistake, never knowing exactly what is expected of me. Expectations, are they set in stone?  Are the rules constant, unchanging, identical day after day?  The uncertainty, the waiting for the masks to fall off, the hands to strike out, the acid words to burn me.  Hope blooming, full of blossom and fragrance, reaching for the sun, opened up eager for more.  Curling, drying, shrinking withering confusion, blasting my hope into fragments over my landscape.

Hope, happiness, wonderful, alone, horrid, terrible, confusing days, all began with the closing of a door.  The front door.

As the door closed on my last welcome home guest, the fear started to crawl around in my belly, and began the trip to my throat, around my throat, closing my throat.  Alone, really alone with the Jenkins.

Sam smiled at me saying, "Soah, I want you to understand that this is your house.  I don't want you to, no more correctly, we don't want you to feel like an unwanted guest.  No one forced us to take you in.  We filed the foster papers because we want you here with us. So, we are going to give you the 50 cent tour of your new home.  Honestly, we don't spend a great deal of time here in the living room.  The family room is where we spend most of our time. When Talia has friends by this is the room Cecile and I retreat to.  Who knew that girls were so noisy?"

"Girls are noisy?  Have you heard how loud you and your buddies are when a game is on?"  Talia had a big smile on her face, and poked Sam in the tummy.

Cecile slipped her hand into mine and pulled me into the dining room.  "Normally we have dinners here each evening.  We do make exceptions for time schedules, certain tv shows, what have you.  The dishes in the sideboard are usually only used for holidays, so we trundle the dishes back and forth from the kitchen."  Tugging me along again, Cecile pulled her into the kitchen.  Opening various cabinets and cupboards showing me the where and what of the kitchen.

"What time is breakfast?" I was trying hard to remember everything that I had been shown, and was worried, oh so worried, that I  was going to forget something important.

"Around seven.  Is that fine with you Soah?"

"Sure.  What is normally for breakfast?"

"Eggs, pancakes, bacon, toast, oatmeal.  The usual breakfast foods. Cecile leaves around eight, I am usually out around 8:15 or so, and Talia has a babysitting job that I drop her off to each morning.  Did Kevin ask you to help him on the apartment?  Everything has taken so much longer than they had hoped.  There is still so much work to do.  Dave is working full time, and only has time after work, and he is allergic to dust which limits what he can help with.  Morgan is working each day with Kevin, but they could really use more help. They really want to move in soon."

"Yeah.  Kevin and Dave both asked me to help."

"Do you want to work with them?  You don't have to."

"Umm, if I don't help them, then I have to go to the day program at the hospital, right?"

"Yes, both of the doctors don't want you home alone yet.  Which would you rather do?"

"Help Kevin and Dave.  Is that ok?"

"Yes, it is."

Sam pulled me along into the family room, showing me the tv and the computer.  Babbling on like a noisy brook, about what I couldn't honestly tell you.  Overload, so much to remember, to hear, to absorb.  I know I will forget something important, I am full to bursting already.

"Lets go see your room, huh?"  Sam's question caught me by surprise, he pulled me from my daze of fear and an overload of information.

"......ok..."

Up the stairs, down the hall, and into a bedroom. Words began flying around the room, words that had no real meaning, words are worthless.  Something about making the room my own, wanting me to decorate it to my desire.  Desire?  What I desire, you can't paint a room with, can't cover a bed or windows with.  What is my desire?  At this point, I don't even really know, what it is I desire.   How about, rules that make sense, rules that are nailed down, rules that don't shift and flow?  For rules that I can believe in, I need to trust, and that is something I just can't do, I don't know how to do.  I desire a world that makes sense to me, a world that won't hurt me, a world that I can fit into, a world for me.  Love?  Oh, I desire love, someone to love me, not hurt me, but love me.  Affection? Yes!  Affection, that would be beyond words wonderful, I desire affection.  Yes please!  One order of affection to go.  Standing there, lost in a sea of words without meaning, lost in my thoughts, just honestly plain lost in the universe, Sam touches me, jerking my mind back to the here and now, and surprised by the touch, I flinch away.  Oh God!  I flinched!  Steeling myself for the blow, waiting, oh God, I hate the waiting, just get it over with and hit me!  The blow that never comes?  Scrabbling my way back into the present, fighting to understand the words and the body language, fitting together the puzzle pieces to make sense of what is happening around me.  No angry faces?  Flinching, without fail, leads to furious unbridled anger. Anger that is only cooled with the heat of violence hammered out on me.  I see only sad faces.  Cecile has tears in her eyes, why?  Cecile moves toward me, and I cringe away.  Trembling, shaking, crying, knowing my sin, and the penance that will need to be paid.  Why, oh why, can't I stand still, and just receive their anger, the punches, the whippings?  No, I always, and I do mean always, flinch, cringe, attempt to move away, it just magnifies their response to an ever stronger focus.  Unable to stand up any longer, I crumple to the floor, I am a puppet with broken strings.

"Soah?"  Sam knelt next to me, rubbing his hands over his face, "You need to understand that we will never hit you!  And, when I say never, that is just what I mean.  We will never ever hit you, ever!  For any reason, no matter what, we will never hit you."  Sam slowly sat down, "Soah, I know that it is easy for me to sit here and tell you that we will never hurt you, and impossible for you to believe me.  All of us are just going to have to take this moment by moment.  We are going to have to learn to listen, really listen to each other.  Listening not only to what we are saying, but what we mean.  And, we are going to have to learn how to say what we really mean when we talk to each other."

Sam sat quietly on the floor next to me.  Cecile and Talia were sitting on the bed.  Talia had her arm wrapped around her mom, tears still streaking Cecile's face.  Sam held his hand out to  me, waiting for me, allowing me room to decide if it was safe to take it.  I pushed myself up, sitting by Sam, but out of his strike zone, relieving every moment with Sam, and how safe he made me feel.  Making a decision, believing in it, throwing my caution into the fire, I launched myself into his arms.  And was greeted with a fierce hug.  He scooped me up, turned me around so that I was sitting in his lap, and cuddled me to him.  In a rush, all of the days tension drained away.  As the tension left my body, I began to cry, giant body shaking sobs, that surprised me with their intensity.  I clung to Sam, the tears wrenching my throat, choking me in their haste to leave me all at once. He held me so gently, I could feel his affection for me, his love for me?

 As my tears ran down, Sam murmured  into my ear, "Baby girl, are you feeling better about living here with us now?"

Pushing away from Sam slightly, wiping my face with my hands, "Yeah, I am sorry about that.  I should know better, and part of me does, but still, it is so hard to believe..... that life will be better."

"Sorry?  Why on earth are you sorry?  There is no reason at all for you to apologize.  If anyone should apologize it should be us.  I noticed that you had zoned out on us, and I wanted to get your attention, to bring you back into the room with us.  I knew better than to touch you to get your attention."

"It's late, and you have had a really long day.  Why don't we all go to bed.  Things will look better in the morning.  Soah, just get what you need out of your bags for tonight.  We can unpack your things tomorrow, ok?"  Cecile looked so sad, sitting on the bed.  I felt even worse now about cringing from her hug.  Sighing, as she stood up, Cecile leaned down and opened up a suitcase.  Standing up, she had bear and moose and my pillow in her arms.

Pulling away from Sam, I got up and walked over to Cecile, screwing up my courage, I reached out and yanked everything out of her arms, dumping the stuff on the bed.  And then, shaking inside, slid into her arms for a hug.  Cecile froze at first, and I thought I had made a terrible mistake.  Just as I was getting ready to pull away from her, she tightened her hold on me.  For the briefest of breaths, I was scared all over again, and then somehow, knowing I was safe with her, melted into her embrace.  Oh, oh!  How good this feels!  My first true, no holding anything back hug with her, I never want to let go!  Standing there, with her slightly rocking me back and forth, holding me so warmly, I began to feel in her arms the same feelings that rush through me when Sam hugs me.

Kissing the top of my head Cecile said, "Soah, we have all had a long day, especially you.  Come on let's get you ready for bed, huh?"  Nodding my agreement of how tired I was, but was not wanting to part from her embrace just yet.  Cecile squeeze me lightly one last time, and disentangled herself from my grip.  "I am not going anywhere, we will have lots of time to hug."  

Laying in bed, warm and oh so very happy.  What I have always prayed for, hoped for, despaired of ever happening, has happened.  I am safe!  Oh, I love to say the word, safe, safe, safe, safe...  The very word is music to my soul. I just have to believe in Sam and Cecile.  I have to get this right!  I can not ruin this by my behavior.  I need to be extra careful to follow all of the rules.