Everything seems to be improving for Jeremy. But is it real or just a silly fairytale?
This is a sequel to the story One Confusing Phone Call.
On the way home from Diablo Valley College Mike’s brothers, the triplets, were even more talkative than usual. So was Jeremy, compared to his silence during the drive to DVC. This was noticed by Mike, and his father and mother as well.
“I want to go to school at DVC,” one of the triplets said. Another added, “Me too. I want to transfer there, starting when we go back to school in the fall.” The third added, “That’s a great idea. It’ll be better than going to Northgate High. Lots more interesting classes, lots more kids, and lots more smart kids.”
“You can’t go to a community college before you’ve even started high school,” Mrs. Butler said.
“Yes we can,” the triplets said simultaneously. Then Paul said, “Tom asked a woman in the admissions office.”
“I did,” Tom added. “I told her that all three of us are straight-A students and have been nominated for the Pearson Award. She said when we get the Pearson Award, and when we pass the DVC English and math proficiency exams, and we have your approval, and submit our transcripts from Foothill and Walnut Acres, then we’d be able to take college classes equivalent to our required high school classes and get both college and high school credit at the same time. Sort of like AP classes but in reverse.”
“What’s the Pearson Award?” Mrs. Butler asked.
“I know about the Pearson Award,” Jeremy said. “It’s granted to kids who have a straight A average in middle school, sixth through eighth grades. You get a trophy, and you have to make a speech during eighth grade graduation. What’s important is you’re eligible to take advanced classes starting in the ninth grade. Very few middle school kids qualify. It’s a real honor.”
“Well, so far these munchkins have straight-A averages since first grade,” she said. The triplets groaned. “We’re not munchkins,” Joe groused. Everyone in the car laughed — except the triplets.
“Anyway,” Joe continued, “we’d get a high school equivalency certificate and associate degrees at the end of two years.”
“Then we could go to U.C. Berkeley and get our bachelor’s degrees,” Paul added.
“That’s an awful lot of ‘ands’,” their mom said.
“Here’s another ‘and’ that you forgot about,” their dad added. “I’d expect that the Mount Diablo school district would have to give their approval as well.”
“Nope. They’d be notified that we’d been accepted at DVC in the Superior Student in Education program and in the high school equivalency program, both at the same time,” Joe replied.
“How do you think you’d fit in at a school where all the other students are in their late teens and early twenties?” Mike asked. “How would you make friends?”
“It’s easy for us to make friends,” Joe said.
Paul giggled. “They’d think we’re cute. Especially the hot girls,” he said. “And the hot boys!” Tom said. The triplets burst out laughing.
They calmed down and Joe asked, “What do you think, Jeremy?”
“Before I tell you what I think, I have a question that maybe you haven’t thought about. When you go to high school you have to take physical education in the ninth and tenth grades. Wouldn’t you have to take PE at DVC? And would they let fourteen-year-olds in the shower and locker room?”
“I asked about that and got the answer,” Tom said. “We can take two units of PE but it’s not required for an AA-T or AS-T degree, and it’s not required for high school equivalency. So we wouldn’t have to take PE.”
“What are AA-T and AS-T degrees?” their mom asked.
“Those are the degrees at DVC that let us transfer to the University of California and the California State University schools,” Tom said. “AA is like business and humanities, AS is like science and technology. The T means we have all required classes to transfer. Cool, isn’t it!”
“I hate to be the one to say this,” Jeremy said. He paused a few seconds before stating his conclusion. “I agree with the triplets. I say go for it. If they get the Pearson Award and are eligible for the Superior Student in Education program, this is an opportunity that they should take. I heard about both of these programs when I was in the eighth grade at Walnut Creek Intermediate. A couple of my teachers and my counselor told me I should apply for the Pearson Award. I decided not to do it for personal reasons. But if the triplets are willing and they can get the Pearson, then you should consider that they apply for the Superior Student in Education program. If after a semester or the first year at DVC it isn’t working out for them, they can transfer back to Northgate High.”
“See! We should do it!” one of the triplets shouted. The other two chimed in with a loud, “Yes!”
“I think, boyfriend,” Mike whispered, “you have created a huge problem.”
Jeremy shrugged his shoulders. “I tells ‘em as I sees ‘em,” he whispered in reply.
Mike’s parents dropped the subject. It would take a lot of consideration, Jeremy knew.
Now the triplets were off on a discussion about what they saw in the library. Mr. Butler asked Mike and Jeremy about the classes each had decided to take during summer session, and that started a discussion about why each of them had picked their class.
Mrs. Butler invited Jeremy to have dinner with them, but he begged off. “I want to review the AP U.S. History chapters we’re going to be talking about tomorrow in our study group. But thanks for the invitation.”
“Yeah, I need to do the same,” Mike said. “There’s so much material that we’ve covered so far this semester. I’m not sure how I could handle it in a one-semester college course.”
“That’s something most high school kids don’t realize; compared to college, they have it easy,” Mr. Butler said. “That’s my only concern about the triplets going to DVC at such a young age.”
“Aw, dad, we can handle it. We’ve already talked to our counselor about it and she thinks we’re ready.”
“Then how about this,” Mr. Butler continued. “You pick a class at DVC that you can take during summer session that’s at the same time and days as Jeremy’s class. You can research the course catalog and the class schedule online, and then talk to me and your mom about what you want to take. Just one thing, all three of you have to take the same class, you have to meet the prerequisites, and you have to take whatever proficiency exams are required. Most important, you’ll need to have unanimous agreement about the class. Okay?”
“Yes!” they shouted, obviously enthused by this surprise offer.
“Your dad is very clever,” Jeremy whispered to Mike.
“Hey,” Mike asked, “isn’t there a minimum age for taking classes at DVC?”
“Yes,” Mr. Butler replied, “but not during the summer session. In any case, they’re thirteen so they can take classes at DVC.” Apparently he had also talked to someone in the admissions office.
Jeremy wrote down the days and times of his math class and handed it to one of the triplets. “Good luck, guys,” he said.
“Maybe I oughta see if there’s a session of the Creative Writing class at the same time,” Mike said. “I could switch from the online class.”
“Why didn’t you do that already?” Mrs. Butler asked.
“It wasn’t listed in the schedule because I clicked on a box that said open classes only. If there’s a class that’s full but there isn’t anyone on the waitlist, then I might be able to get in. Besides, I was told that summer session classes have a lot of dropouts.”
“Also, people sign up for a class and don’t ever complete the payment,” Jeremy said. “I heard two math teachers talking about it.”
“Okay, when I get home I’ll see what the schedule looks like.”
Jeremy wrote down the days and times of his math class again and handed it to Mike. “Let me know if you find a class.”
“I will. Thanks.”
Jeremy didn’t actually have any more reading to do to prepare for the APUSH study group meeting at Lyle’s house on Sunday. He wanted the time to remember what questions he’d asked his mom that she’d never answered. He started writing the first few things that came to his mind and that opened a floodgate of memories. When he couldn’t remember anything new, he went to the computer and entered his notes in a spreadsheet. He created category, description, date, and city columns. That way he could sort things by any column or columns. He saved the spreadsheet and looked at the clock. It was still early, so he checked his email and social media but there wasn’t anything of significance.
He picked up the science fiction book he’d started to read, The Girl, the Gold Watch, & Everything, and opened it to where he’d put a bookmark. He’d been reading for almost a half-hour when he heard his cellphone. He answered the call which was marked as “International” so he assumed it must be either his mom or Armando.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hi, Jeremy, it’s me, your mom. I set up the transfer. The teller told me it should be in your account by Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest.”
“Wow, that’s fast. I’d have thought that it would take a lot longer since it’s coming from a Mexican bank.”
“It’s not a Mexican bank. It’s Chase Bank, a U.S. bank. It’s their branch here in Guadalajara. The teller said once you see the transfer to the account it will probably not be available to use until the next business day. He said it’ll be the same for the monthly deposits.”
“Thank you, and thank Armando for me.”
“I will. Is there anything new? I remember that you said you were going somewhere today.”
“I went to DVC with Mike and his family. It was an open house for high school students to learn about DVC and the kinds of courses they offer. I signed up for a math class — Elementary Statistics with Probability. I’d need that for my Computer Science major, so taking it now means I won’t have to take it later.”
Jeremy thought for a few seconds, and made a decision. “Mike is my boyfriend.”
“Yes. I’m gay, Mom. Is that a problem for you?”
“No. Why should it be? I assumed that you were gay years ago. You never had a girlfriend, you never went to school dances. So it was easy to figure out. I don’t care if you’re gay or not gay. What’s important is that you have a good life, not who you love or sleep with.”
Jeremy was stunned. His mom had never said anything to him about figuring out that he was gay. This was also a huge relief. Although, he thought, maybe just a partial relief. “What about Armando?” he asked. “Will he be okay having a gay stepson?”
“I don’t see why not. His favorite nephew is gay and they get along great. In fact, Armando took José to a soccer match today.”
“How old is José?”
“Sixteen. Same age as you.”
“Wow. That’s good. So I guess you’ll tell Armando about me, right?”
“Yes. But how about you take a picture of you and… Mike? And send it to me and I’ll show Armando. He already asked me to show him a picture of you.”
“How should I send it? By email?”
“Yes, that’s best. You said that you went with his family? Do they know you’re both gay and boyfriends?”
“Yes, and they’re fine with it. He has three thirteen-year-old brothers. They’re triplets and are real cute. Uh… Mike and his family are African American. Is that a problem?”
“No. Why should it be?”
“Some people aren’t happy with black people.”
“That’s not me or Armando. Some of Armando’s executives here in Guadalajara are black — that is, they are of African descent. We have friends that we visit with here and they are of African descent. I tried to raise you to be accepting, and I assume that worked pretty good since you found a boyfriend who’s of African descent.”
Jeremy almost said something not too nice about how his mom actually raised him, at least since he was in middle school. But he held back, not wanting to get in an argument.
“How did you and Mike meet?” she asked.
“It was in early December. I’d walked to school and when it was time to go home it was really cold, in the mid-twenties. I wasn’t wearing a warm coat, so I wandered into where they were doing the One Warm Coat collection in downtown Walnut Creek. I met Mike there and he introduced me to his grandfather who headed up the One Warm Coat program here and he let me pick a coat, which they normally wouldn’t do. Mike and I liked each other right away and we became best friends. Now we’re boyfriends.”
“Are you in love with Mike?”
“Yes. I’m in love with Mike and he’s in love with me.”
“Are you having sex?”
“Mom! You shouldn’t be asking me that kind of question! …But the answer is yes.”
“I hope you’re following safe sex measures, like using condoms.”
“We’re not doing anything where we’d need condoms. It’s just oral…” Jeremy could feel his cheeks and ears heat up because he was blushing. “…god, I can’t believe I’m talking to you about this! It’s a good thing it’s on the phone. I’d never be able to do it face-to-face.”
“Well, I’m glad you are willing to discuss it. Can I assume you two are monogamous?”
“Yes. We are absolutely monogamous.”
“Good! I’m happy for you, Jeremy.”
“Thanks.” Jeremy didn’t know what else to say.
“So, when you send me the pictures by email, also send them to Armando. You have his email address, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do. I don’t have yours, though.”
“Here’s my email address.”
Jeremy wrote it down. “What did you mean pictures, plural? I thought you just wanted a picture of Mike and me.”
“I thought you said you’d send me a picture of Mike’s family. I’d like to have that.”
Jeremy hadn’t said that he’d send her a picture of Mike’s family, but why not. “Okay, I’ll send you one of his family. Except for his older sister, because she’s going to UCLA so she’s living on campus in Los Angeles. I haven’t met her yet.
“You send me pictures of you and Armando. And one of Armando’s nephew José, too. And tell José that if he wants to write or phone or message me I’d like that.”
His mom laughed. “Okay, I’ll do that. We’ll take a picture of José tomorrow. I have to let you go now. We’re leaving to go to dinner with some friends. I’ll talk to you soon, Jeremy.”
“Okay. Bye, Mom.”
Jeremy was pleased that this conversation with his mom ended up a lot better than the one they had in the morning. Except for the embarrassing stuff about him having sex with Mike. That made him realize that he hadn’t called Mike’s granddad to tell him about his mom’s phone call and what he had found out. He dialed Roger Butler’s home number.
“Hi, Mr. Butler. It’s Jeremy in case you didn’t recognize my voice.”
“I did recognize your voice. How are you, Jeremy?”
“I’m good. Really good. I’ve got so much to tell you. My mom called me this morning.”
“That’s an interesting and I hope very positive development. What did you find out about how she is and where she is?”
Jeremy summarized what he and his mom had talked about, starting with the fact that Leo had been arrested in Hermosillo for selling drugs. Mr. Butler said he’d contact Dave Morrison in the district attorney’s office and pass that information to him. Then Jeremy said his mother had told him she’d married, her husband’s name was Armando Moria, they were living in Guadalajara, that her husband was rich, and that they were going to send him $5,000.00 immediately, followed by the same amount on the first of every month until he graduated from college. He said his mom told him that they were using the Guadalajara branch of Chase Bank to make the transfers, so it would be in his account sometime during the next week.
“That’s amazing, Jeremy. You realize that is a very large amount of money, $60,000.00 per year. I’m not a tax expert, but that might be taxed as a gift. You need to sit down with a tax accountant and a financial planner to determine the best way for this income to be handled.”
“That’s exactly what Mike told me this afternoon. You two obviously think alike.”
“Have you told anyone else?”
“No, just Mike.”
“Good. Keep it that way until you and I can meet and pick both a CPA and a financial planner for you. Now, if it’s alright with you, I’d like to do a little sleuthing and find out what I can about Armando Moria.”
“Absolutely. He gave me the address of his corporate website and I’m going to check it out. Do you want it, too?”
“That’s a good idea, thanks.”
Jeremy found where he’d left his note and spelled out the website address.
“Do you think I should still consider that emancipation thing?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“So I don’t need to get a job, either?”
“Again, I don’t think so. You needed a job because it was required to prove that you could support yourself so you could be emancipated.”
“Okay, that’s good. I think having to work would have seriously complicated my life.”
“Jeremy, I hope you realize that the $5,000.00 per month is a casual promise. There is no contract and thus no guarantee that it will be the same amount each month or that it will continue. It could stop at any time.”
“Yeah, I kind of figured that. Sort of like when my mom said she’d give me an allowance of ten dollars a week. I think that only lasted about two months and then it kind of dribbled to a few dollars every once in a while.” Jeremy thought for a few seconds. “You know, I don’t have any of the money yet, so none of this is a panic.”
“I’m glad you recognize that. We have plenty of time to get things organized. Because it’s a regular series of $5,000.00 transfers, your bank has to notify the IRS when the total exceeds $10,000.00. That relates to the tax on foreign proceeds. That can become complicated, and that’s why you need a tax advisor.”
“This really does get complicated, doesn’t it?”
“That’s true. Jeremy, I have something to tell you. We’re not going to need to meet with Dave Morrison at the district attorney’s office. They have enough evidence that they don’t have to get you involved in the trial.”
“Okay. I guess. Is this a good thing?”
“I think so. The district attorney always prefers to not have a minor involved in a trial if it can be avoided. By the way, Dave told me that Leo’s arraignment might be held over until Tuesday or even later in the week.”
“Is there any chance of Leo getting out before his arraignment?”
“No. He’s being held on a no-bail warrant that was issued by a judge. Dave Morrison will represent the people at the arraignment, and he will press that Leo be held without bail because he’s a danger to a minor — that’s you, Jeremy — and to the general public, and that he’s a flight risk as well.”
“Did Leo’s lawyer, Eric Cordon, ever call you?”
“No, and I don’t expect him to call me. He should know that I wouldn’t talk to him about the case.”
“Did the ATF guys call you back?”
“No, and because it’s the weekend I wouldn’t expect them to call before Monday, and probably not that soon.”
“Will I have to be interviewed by the Walnut Creek Police?”
“No. Any interview would be handled by Dave Morrison. The district attorney’s office has jurisdiction over this case now, not the Walnut Creek Police.”
“One of the crime scene people, her name is Cindi, has my extra house key. Officer Silva gave me a property receipt for the key and said I should hang onto it because I might need it to get my key back. How do I get it back?”
“Phone the property officer at the Walnut Creek Police Department. If they don’t respond let me know and I’ll take care of it.”
“Okay, I’ll do that. Now, what about the house and me living here when my mom isn’t here. Is that going to be a problem?”
“No. The house is owned by your mother. She doesn’t have to reside in the house. As long as she owns the house, and as long as you’re a minor, and as long as you’re living there, and as long as the property taxes are being paid, and even though you’re not emancipated, at sixteen you can reside there without a parent in residence as long as you have a custodial parent, which you have: your mother. So there shouldn’t be any problems.”
“Since you mentioned parent, it reminded me of something. I never asked my mom what she thought about me getting into her checking account and using the money. She didn’t make any comment about it when I told her I was using that money, her money, in the checking account to live on. Is there an issue with that?”
“Since you discussed it in terms of you living off that money, and she didn’t object, that’s tacit approval on her part for you to use that money. I don’t think there will be an issue. But it’s best to be prepared in the case there is a problem later.”
“There’s one other thing, and it’s very personal and it involves Mike. He…” Mr. Butler interrupted.
“Jeremy, if you’re about to tell me that you and Mike are boyfriends, I already know because Mike told me several months ago. I think you two are perfect for each other and good for each other. Mike told me that he’s much happier since he met you. You should know that he loves you, Jeremy.”
“And I love him, too, Mr. Butler. He makes me so happy!”
“Do your mother and her new husband know that you’re gay and have a boyfriend?”
“My mom and I talked about it this afternoon. I didn’t know it, but she assumed that I was gay. She says she’d already figured it out. She’s okay with it, and she’s sure Armando will be okay with it, too. She said his favorite nephew is gay and is sixteen like me, and Armando knows that he’s gay. Mom told me that Armando took him to a soccer match this afternoon.
“One other thing. I told my mom that Mike and his family are African American, and she says she brought me up to pay attention to who people are and not what their race or skin color or anything like that are. You can tell that’s the way I am. She also said that there are top executives in some of Armando’s companies who are black. I’m not sure what to call a Mexican person who’s black. My mom used the term African descent. Is that okay?”
Roger Butler chuckled. “African descent is fine. Black is fine. I know for some people it’s politically correct to use the term African American, but using African descent or black works too. In fact, black probably works better because it’s short. We are proud that we are black. So don’t sweat it, Jeremy.”
“Thanks. I don’t sweat it. I think Mike is beautiful. He has the most wonderful skin tone.” Jeremy paused. “God, I love that boy so much!”
“I know you do, Jeremy. It’s wonderful for me to watch the two of you and see that you two are in love.
Is there anything else?”
“There is one thing. The triplets want to go to DVC in the fall instead of going into the ninth grade at Northgate High.”
“Well, the triplets going to DVC is something new and interesting. Why would they want to do that? How could they do that?”
“They’ve been nominated for the Pearson Award, and if they get it they can apply for the Superior Student in Education program and start their freshman year in college this fall instead of going to the ninth grade in high school, and they’ll get both college and high school credit. I think it’s a great idea. I think you should look into it from a legal standpoint, though. And a warning, they are very hyped about it, so they’re going to want to tell you all about it the next time you see them.”
“They’re only thirteen years old, Jeremy.”
“They’ll be fourteen when school starts in the fall. Their dad suggested that they take a summer class at DVC to see how they fit in.”
“They’ll be able to do that at their age?”
“Yes. There was an article about a thirteen-year-old boy in New York who started his freshman year at NYU instead of the eighth grade.”
“Well, let me do some research about those two programs and find out what they are all about.”
“Jeremy, this has been a very interesting and very detailed conversation. You had a lot of information and a lot of questions. Do you know we’ve been on the phone for almost a half hour?”
Jeremy laughed. “I thought it was longer.”
Roger laughed. “Okay, goodbye for now, Jeremy.”
“Thanks for listening to me and being so helpful, Mr. Butler. Bye.”
Jeremy checked the clock. Time to eat some dinner, watch the nine o’clock news, then go to bed. This had been a very busy day and he was totally exhausted.
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing One Acceptable Outcome
If you enjoyed this story,
you can read the other stories in the series on Codey’s World:
|One Warm Coat|
|One Best Friend|
|One Perfect Boyfriend|
|One Complicated New Year|
|One Sexy New Neighbor|
|One Cute New Neighbor|
|One Questionable Outcome|
|One Satisfactory Outcome|
|One Confusing Phone Call|
|One Acceptable Outcome|
|One Life Changed|
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