Free Fiction Friday: Second Shot – The Senior Year – 44
Free Fiction Friday: April 10, 2015:
Second Shot – The Senior Year: Chapter 44:
I started the year putting the links to the last five chapters before each post I noticed they were being used so I’m going to continue it for the time being. If nothing else it will make it easier for folks to find the last few chapters.
It had been a while since Jason had been to his grandparent’s country club. The way staff looked down on him and his friends had always irritated him, but never more than tonight. Both Blake and Peter were overly conscious of the issue.
“Stop worrying.” He heard his brother say. When he turned, he saw Dean talking to Blake. “Just ignore them. Pops won’t treat you like that.”
That was the truth. Their grandfather had been thrilled that the ‘Miller boy’s friend’ could make it. Jason hoped Blake was prepared for the onslaught of questions from Pops. Peter squeezed his hand and Jason looked over.
Peter nodded toward the archway and Jason saw his grandfather coming toward them.
“Mr. Henry? Did you need something?” the annoying host said in his most fawning voice.
When Jason and his friends showed up, the man had been dismissive. Even more so after he noticed Jason and Peter holding hands. He’d made no effort to take them to their table, telling them he’d need to check with their ‘party’ before he could let them back.
Jason nearly asked to see the manager. He’d been coming here since he could remember and Gary had taken over as manager when Jason was ten. Gary’s son also played soccer, so they’d talked often about how Jason and Dean were doing.
“I came to see why you’ve left ours grandsons and guests waiting here instead of bringing them to our table.” Raymond Henry was generally very jovial and informal, but when he got mad, he changed. He’d always told Dean and Jason, money didn’t give you the right to be rude and that was something he’d always shown by example.
“Don’t worry, Pops,” Dean said. “He said he was going to find someone to ask you if you were expecting guests. He’d have gotten to us eventually.”
“I see.” Raymond motioned for everyone to come with him. “Obviously telling you I was expecting five guests and you seating my wife and I at a table for seven wasn’t sufficient notice. Next time I’ll be more specific.”
Jason held back a snort, but Peter didn’t.
Dinner proved less exciting than getting seated. Blake seemed especially tense. He ate with caution and seemed confused a couple times by which utensil to use when. Dean was his usual immature self, drawing two glares from Flora Henry before Raymond told him to behave.
Peter seemed a bit off to Jason. He’d answer when asked, laugh at the right time, but after almost two years together, Jason knew his boyfriend well enough to know something was bothering him. What that something was, he had a very good idea.
Between trying to make Blake less uncomfortable and watching Peter, dinner turned into a stressful occassion for Jason. Something his grandmother seemed to hone in on. After dinner they retired to the lounge and she cornered him while Ray showed the other some of the more interesting things in the room.
“Why the serious look, Jason.” She grabbed his hand with both of hers and rubbed until he smiled. She’d done this for as long as he could remember.
Rather than answer, he gave her a hug. “I’ve missed you, gran.”
“Okay, now I know something’s wrong.” Despite her comment she hugged him back. “No twenty-one year old says that about his…his slightly older than twenty-one year old grandmother.”
He squeezed a little tighter before he let go. “Everything’s fine. I’m just starting to realize I’m almost a real grown up.”
“A grown-up? At your age? Ridiculous.” She dismissed the thought with a wave and led him to a couch near a cold fireplace. She pointed to the far end of the large room where Ray was regaling the others with some story or other. “Your grandfather still isn’t a grown-up so why should you be?”
“You know what I mean. College is almost over, then no matter what I do next, everything changes.”
She patted his leg gently. “Not everything, dear. But, yes, some things will change and that’s a good thing. Life is always moving forward. Each new stage is as wonderful as the old one, even if you can’t imagine it being that way.”
“I guess.” He shrugged, not convinced she was right.
“Like I said, I know it’s hard to see it now, but whatever comes next will have its own challenges and rewards. There is an entire world out there, Jason. You’re one of the lucky ones who can see and experience as much of it as you like.”
For most of his life, she was just gran. The sweet woman in the big house who always made him feel special. She still made him feel special, and she was still sweet, but she talked to him like an adult and that only reinforced his point.
“I know all that and I also know I can’t hold back time, but….”
“But you want everything to stay the same and be twenty-one forever.”
“Maybe not that, but D is going to go his way, Dean will stay here, this is my last year of soccer… you get the point.” He hadn’t meant to sound so pathetic.
“I do, dear, but you aren’t seeing things beyond the small universe you live in. Soon you will make choices about what you do with your life, where you’ll life, what career you’ll pursue.” She smiled and for a moment she seemed far away. “I remember feeling this same anxiety when I was your age.”
“That was just a few years ago, right?” He winked as she rolled her eyes.
“Just a few.” Flora looked toward her husband again and her smile returned. “Ray and I were getting ready to graduate and I could see the same restlessness in him as I see in you. We knew what we wanted and we knew what it meant, but he didn’t want to give up his college days.”
“Yes, but he proposed to you before you graduated.”
“Yes he did.” She stared at Ray a moment longer, then reached for Jason’s hand again. “And we embarked on a grand adventure together call a family. Jason, I know that watching things change is hard, it will be harder when you see your children grow-up and move on—and I still expect grandchild from you, dear. You will be an amazing parent, just like your father, so don’t let being gay stop you.”
“That’s a bit more than I’m thinking about right now, gran.”
“I know, but I want to make sure you don’t rule it out.” She squeezed his hand until he looked up. “Each new stage is scary before it happens, but it is also exciting and wonderful. You can’t stop time from moving, so you have to embrace the change and find those things that make it as good, or better than what was before.”
“That’s easy to say, but hard to do.” Jason knew she was right, but somehow, nothing was ever that simple in his life.
“Nothing good is ever easy, dear.” She leaned in and kissed his cheek. “But I’m sure you can do it.”
He watched Peter and his friends listening to Ray. Blake seemed to relax now that he didn’t have to worry about eating and Peter seemed happier and less tense. He turned and his eyes met Jason’s. After a moment he winked and gave Jason a smile that made his heart beat a tiny bit faster.
Leaving some things behind would be hard, but fortunately, he wouldn’t have to let go of everything.
“You’re welcome.” She let go of his hand motioned for him to go join his friends. “Go have fun. I want to go speak to Dolores Hines.”
He stood, helped her up and kissed her cheek. “Thanks again, gran.”