Life Can Be Lonely by Colin Kelly

Chapter 19

What is it like when those closest to you are not there any longer?



Saturday, March 30, 2019; Noon


 “Say, Uncle Graeme, there’s something I need to discuss with you. Privately. Do you have time now?”

“I do. Can I call you back?”

“Yes. Please use my cellphone number.”

“I will. I assume there isn’t anything else now, so let’s end this call and I’ll call you in a few minutes,” Uncle Graeme said.

“Okay, goodbye to all three of you, and thanks for calling me. I really appreciate it.” After they said their good-byes Kevin ended the call. He went to the kitchen to get a bottle of grapefruit flavor Zero Water, then upstairs to his bedroom where it would be more convenient to take notes.

He heard his phone’s ringtone and answered the call. It was his Uncle Graeme.

“Hi, Uncle Graeme.”

“Hi, Kevin. Tell you what, how about just using Graeme when we’re talking like this. It will make it easier.”

“Okay, will do… Graeme. But if I slip up, please remind me, okay?”

“Okay, will do. Kevin.” Kevin laughed the way his uncle had mimicked what Kevin had just said.

“You wanted to talk to me. So, the ball’s in your court.” Graeme said.

“I got a call from someone saying he was from the FBI. He said they wanted to give me an update on the status of the investigation into who killed my family. At first, I thought it might be a phishing call, but when the guy who said he was from the FBI told me to call the Walnut Creek police, he didn’t give me a phone number, just the name of the officer I was supposed to talk to, Lieutenant Mack Richardson. That meant I’d have to look up and call the phone number for the police department. That proved it was an actual call from the FBI.

“I looked up the Walnut Creek Police Department phone number on the internet and called. I asked for and talked to Lieutenant Richardson.

“He confirmed that they want to update me on what’s going on with the investigation into my folks’ killings. They want to have a meeting, and they scheduled it for Saturday, the thirteenth of April at eleven AM. That’s two weeks from today. They scheduled it for a Saturday so I won’t miss any school.

“The other thing I thought was that maybe all they’re going to tell me is they don’t know anything yet. Then I thought, if that’s all they were going to do, then why would they bother to schedule a meeting? They’d just tell me over the phone. So, I think they’ve got something to tell me.

“That’s going to be a difficult meeting for me to sit through all by myself. So I said I wanted it to be at my house, not in a meeting room at the police station. I also wanted others to be there. That’s why I asked if you could to come to the meeting. I’ve asked others to be there, too.

“I asked Dr. Ranse, my therapist. That way at our next session, which will be on the Wednesday following the meeting, I can talk with her about what I learned, and she’ll know everything that I know. She said she would be there.

“I asked my family law attorney, Mr. MacIntosh. That’s because I’m emancipated, and the FBI and the police might not know what my rights are as an emancipated minor. Having him there means he can explain it. He said he’d be there.

“I asked Alex Burney, my boyfriend, to be there, too. That’s because if the meeting is as intense and emotional as I think it could be, I don’t want to be alone following the meeting. He said that he’ll stay with me overnight and on Sunday, too.

“Alex said I should have a criminal law attorney there, too. I asked why. He said that if they know who the killers are or have arrested them, having someone who knows criminal law can explain things like when the charges will be filed, what the charges could be, when they’ll be arraigned and in what court, whether they’ll be eligible for bail or not, if I need protection, if I have to appear in court, and so on. Even if they don’t know who the killers are, a lot of these things might be discussed. These are things a family law attorney probably wouldn’t know as well as a criminal law attorney would.

“So, I said I agreed with him, and we should also have a criminal law attorney. That’s when Alex told me his father is that kind of attorney. I’d known he was an attorney, but I didn’t know what kind. Alex phoned him, and he said his dad would be at the meeting.

“I know this meeting will be a long way from where you live, and it will take time for you to get here, attend the meeting, and return to Vancouver, but as my relative who lives the closest to me, I’d like you to be at the meeting. I can pay for your travel expenses from the trust, and you can use the guest bedroom. You probably need to think this over before giving me an answer, so when you decide you can call me…”

Graeme interrupted. “That’s not necessary, I’ll be there for the meeting, Kevin. You don’t need to pay for my travel from your trust. However, I will take you up on the offer of using your guest bedroom. I’ll check my schedule, and flights from Vancouver to… what’s the best airport?”

“The most convenient is to fly to the San Francisco airport. The BART station for the San Francisco airport is in the International terminal and goes directly to Walnut Creek without having to transfer, so it’s the best choice. Last year at Christmas when we went to Vancouver, we flew from and back to San Francisco.”

“Okay, I’ll fly from here to San Francisco. If I arrive in Walnut Creek sometime on Thursday or Friday, I assume that should be fine?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. I’ll say goodbye for now, and I’ll check flights from Vancouver — that’s YVR — to San Francisco — that’s SFO. I’ll use the airport codes when I text you my flights. From there I’ll take BART to the Walnut Creek station and get a cab or an Uber to your house. I’ll text you with my flight information as soon as it’s confirmed. I’ll also text you when I get on the BART train at the airport and when I arrive in Walnut Creek. That way you’ll know where I am and about when I’ll arrive at your house.”

“Thanks. Graeme, I really appreciate you flying down to be at the meeting. And you’ll meet Connie; she’s my housekeeper and cook. She’s a great cook! She won’t be here during the meeting but she’ll be here on Thursday before the meeting and then again on Tuesday.”

“It sounds like there will be quite a few people at the meeting.”

“There’ll be ten in all. Lieutenant Richardson and a stenographer from the Walnut Creek police, two people from the FBI, me, Alex, Dr. Ranse, Mr. MacIntosh, Mr. Burney, and you.”

“And you’ve already arranged for all of these other people to be at the meeting?”

“Yes. I had to let the police and the FBI know who I’ve invited to support me at the meeting. I’ll call and give them your name and business address.”

“Do you think the FBI and the police know who the killers are?”

“I don’t know. No one’s told me anything. Except they want to meet with me to tell me what they’ve found out. Maybe part of it is because I’m not an adult.”

“That makes sense. They might not know how to talk to you. Well, it sounds like you have a good group backing you. I’ll check on flights and text you with my flight information.”

“I’m sorry that I’m not able to take one of the cars and pick you up at BART when you get here. I’m going to take a driver training class this summer. That way, I can get my provisional license and drive. Until I get my regular license, I won’t be able to drive with any passengers unless at least one is registered to drive. Once you’re here, you can use one of the cars to get around.”

“Thank you, Kevin. I don’t know that I’ll need it, but I appreciate the offer. I’m going to check on flights to San Francisco, and I’ll get back to you.”

After the call was finished, Kevin wondered why he’d been so reticent about asking Uncle — strike the ‘Uncle’ — asking Graeme to be at the meeting. ‘The call went okay,’ he thought, and then he grinned. There would be situations where he’d use ‘Uncle’ and others when he’d only use ‘Graeme’ — this was getting complicated. Then he thought, ‘Now I need to remember to call Lieutenant Richardson and let him know that my uncle Graeme is going to be at the meeting along with the others. I’ll do that during lunch on Monday.

He entered a reminder to make that call, and included his uncle’s business address and phone number. That’s when he realized that Monday was April Fool’s day. ‘Weird,’ he thought.

He decided to read chapters two and three in The Dream Weaver. He went upstairs to his bedroom to get the book. On the way, he saw that his brothers’ bedroom door was open. He took a deep breath and walked in.

The first thing he noticed was that one bed was made, but the other wasn’t and it looked like that’s where they’d been sleeping. He didn’t know which bed was Rob’s and which was Ron’s. He wondered if they were still sleeping together regularly; it looked like it. They started doing that when they were about six years old, and maybe they continued sleeping that way.

There were two desks in the room, one for each twin. They were both neat, with an Introduction to First-Year Algebra textbook open on one desk, and the same textbook closed on the other. Each desk had stacks of various papers, including graded exams, handouts from different classes, and a spiral notebook with hand-written notes for each class. Their closet door was open, and the clothes were hung neatly. Kevin looked around. There weren’t any clothes on the floor; instead, inside the closet there was a plastic bin with their dirty clothes. He knew they’d shared their clothes. The only things they’d had that differed were their personal swimsuits. Rob’s had a broad black stripe down each hip, Ron’s had two navy blue stripes. The swimsuits and their official Edison Middle School gym outfits — black shorts and blue T’s — were on top of the other clothes in the bin.

Looking around, he realized that the twins shared his own neat genes.

There was a cabinet where they kept their video game consoles and games. He opened it; everything was arranged so it could be easily located. There was a TV on top of the cabinet, and across from it, there was a couch with a low table in front. There were two game controllers on the table.

It was sad being in their room. But he didn’t react the same as when he’d been in Kathy’s room. Maybe the shock and the intensity he’d felt when he’d been in her room had taken off the edge. Still, he could feel tears running down his cheeks. Just seeing that school work, open and waiting for them, the promise for the future of the two boys it represented — how could someone murder two thirteen-year-old boys?

Kevin thought about going into his parent’s room. He decided no, it was too soon. Besides, he didn’t want to do two on the same day.

He heard his phone ping; there must be a notification. He hurried to his room and picked up his phone. It was a text message from Uncle Graeme. Scratch that; there was a text message from Uncle Graeme. No, strike that. It's Graeme. He’d have to get used to that informality.

Hi Kevin. My flight is on AC5110 Thurs 4/11 lv YVR at 12:06PM arr SFO at 2:32PM AC is Air Canada. I don’t know what time I’ll get onto BART at SFO, so I’ll text you when I get on the train.

My return is on AC569 Tue 4/16 lv SFO at 1:05PM arr YVR at 3:20PM. I have an open return so no problem if I need or want to stay in WC longer.


Kevin sent a reply:

Thanks, Graeme. I'll make sure I get home from school by 3:30. See you then.


Kevin leaned back and took a deep breath. Now everything was organized. All he had to do was phone Lieutenant Richardson. He already had a reminder do it during lunch on Monday.

He remembered Thursday was when Jeff came home with him. He’d have to cancel that on April eleventh. He started a text to Jeff telling him that because…. Kevin stopped and tried to remember if he’d told Jeff — and Laura, too — about his meeting with the police and the FBI. ‘What the fuck is wrong with my memory?’ he thought out loud.

He closed his eyes and tried to think if he’d told Jeff. He finally recalled that on Thursday when he came home with Kevin, Jeff had asked about the investigation, and Kevin had told him about the meeting. He took a deep breath and completed the text to Jeff and sent it. Graeme would leave on Tuesday around one PM, so Kevin would go to school that day and Laura could come home with him that day as usual. He didn’t need to text her.


Saturday, March 30, 2019; Late Evening


His homework was finished, except to read chapters two and three of The Dream Weaver again. He’d been sidetracked by going into his brothers’ bedroom the last time. He went into his bedroom and got the book and a spiral notebook to take notes about what he was reading, and took them downstairs to the kitchen.

It was time to fix something for dinner. Kevin checked to see what was in the refrigerator that he could heat in a few minutes. There was some roast chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. That sounded good, even though he had chicken for dinner the previous night. It was a good thing he liked leftovers and didn’t mind eating the same thing twice in a row. He put the container in the microwave and set it for three minutes. He sat down at the kitchen table and waited for the timer. When it was finished, he checked that it was hot enough; it was, so he dished it out on a plate and started to eat. It was delicious, just like all of Connie’s meals. When he finished eating he rinsed his dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

He opened The Dream Weaver. He thought for a few minutes about how to approach the assignment. He skipped chapter three for now. That way, it would be more manageable. Kevin turned to the first page of chapter two and opened his spiral notebook to a blank page. He wrote today’s date and ‘Chapter 2’ at the top, and he was ready to read and take notes.

He spent the next two hours reading and rereading chapter two. Then he read it a third time, this time taking notes. That took forty-five minutes. When he was finished, he had five pages of notes for chapter two. ‘More than enough for tonight,’ he thought.

He remembered that Connie said she’d make cranberry bread pudding. He checked the refrigerator and found it. He grinned as he put a substantial amount into a dish and took it to the family room. He turned on the TV.

It was eleven PM, so he watched the news. When it was over, he turned off the TV and went upstairs and got ready for bed. Kevin had three things on his schedule for Sunday: his morning run; lunch with Laura at her house where he’d take his last Algebra 2/Pre-Calc practice exam; and dinner with the Burney’s.

He yawned, got into bed, and fell asleep immediately.


Sunday, March 31, 2019; Morning


Kevin woke when the clock radio was playing Stephen Gatley’s If Only You Were Here. That made him think, ‘But I am here!’ and he laughed. He let the track play through to the end. Then the announcer talked about a big accident on both sides of the 24 freeway just west of the 680 interchange. He was glad he didn’t have to drive on the freeways. Yet.

He got up and went for his morning run. When he got back, he showered and went downstairs for a quick breakfast. He found half of a Noah’s asiago cheese bagel which he toasted. He added a little peanut butter and had it with some cold coffee he found in the refrigerator.

By then it was nine o’clock. He’d leave for Laura’s at eleven; he set a reminder on his phone. Until then, he needed something to do. No studying; he’d have plenty of that when he got to Laura’s. Maybe copy some of his CDs to his Amazon Music account.

He started with REM’s album ‘Document’ — it included It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” a track that Kevin especially wanted. He put it in the CD/DVD player-recorder in his desktop PC and started the copy. Since he owned the CD, he could legally copy it to his PC and play it using Amazon Music. Next, he copied the two-CD set ‘Absolute Garbage’ which included his favorite track, Queer. Both sides of the cover had a warning that read: ‘Parental Advisory Explicit Content’ and that made him stop and think for a few seconds. ‘My favorite track was Queer. I was like eleven, then. Maybe I had something in the back of my mind that was trying to tell me that I was gay. Could be.

By then, it was time to get his bike out of the garage and leave for Laura’s house.

When he arrived, Laura was sitting on a swing on her front porch reading the Sunday paper. The same as she did the other times he’d come on Sunday mornings. She opened the garage door, and Kevin wheeled his bike inside.

“How’s a turkey sandwich sound for lunch?”

“Sounds great. Do you want to eat before or after we get into my last practice exam?”

“How about before. Did you have a big breakfast?”

“No, just half of a bagel.”

“I’ll make the sandwiches, then. Would you like potato chips with yours?”

“Yes, please.”

“What would you like to drink?”

“Ice water will be fine.”

They sat down to eat at the table in the kitchen.

“Any news about the meeting you’re going to have?”

“The only things that changed are the date and who’s coming. First, they changed the date to Saturday, April thirteenth. Second, my uncle Graeme from Vancouver is coming to the meeting. That way I’ll have a relative with me.”

“Vancouver, Canada?” Laura asked.

“Yes. He’ll arrive on the eleventh and leave on the sixteenth, so he’ll be here almost a week.”

“Have you seen him recently?”

“Other than at the funeral, the last time was when we all went to Vancouver last year at Christmas.”

“How well do you know him and his family?”

“He’s the architect who designed our house. I know Graeme and his family very well because we would see them twice a year and sometimes more often. They’d come here and we’d go there.”

“Do you have any cousins?”

“Uncle Graeme’s son is my cousin Don. He’s a high school sophomore in Vancouver.”

“How do you get along with Don?”

“Great. We’re very close. Why? That seems like a strange question.”

“Well… I don’t get along with some of my cousins, the ones that are my age. They think they’re better than any of their other cousins, including me. I get along fine with my older and younger cousins. Especially the younger ones.”

“Maybe they’re jealous?” Kevin suggested.

Laura laughed. “I can agree with that!”

“How about we get into my Algebra 2/Pre-calc practice exam, then on Tuesday I’ll take the make up exam and be done catching up in Ms. Arnold’s class.”

“Okay, let’s do it,” Laura agreed.

As usual, she’d created a make up exam from the copy of the exam she’d gotten back from Ms. Arnold. She’d included the problems but had deleted her answers. It was like Kevin was taking the same test as Laura. She also had her complete exam page including her answers so she could grade Kevin’s score.

He solved all of the problems correctly. Kevin smiled. “All done, finally,” he said.

“I guess we won’t have to meet on Sunday mornings anymore,” she said, the regret in her voice apparent.

“How about this. Why don’t we continue to meet, and we can use the time to practice Pre-Calc problems?” Trigonometry and other pre-calc problems are a lot tougher than just the Algebra 2 problems we’ve been studying up to now. And, you have that math book that has the problems that old lady Arnold plagiarized. Working those problems will help us as we’re studying Pre-Calc and when she uses any of those problems on exams.”

“You’re right. I forgot about that. Okay, let’s keep doing our Sunday lunch get-together.”

Kevin grinned. “Okay!”

“What else are you doing today?”

“I’m going to the Burney’s for dinner tonight.”

“Do you do that often? I think I remember you said something about going to their house for dinner last week.”

“Yes, this will be the third time, and the second time they’ve invited me for dinner on a Sunday.”

“That’s nice of them. I assume you get along with them.”

“I like them, and they seem to like me.”

“What else are you going to do?”

 “Before I go to their house, I’m going to read chapter three in The Dream Weaver.”

“Did you read chapter two?”

“Yes. It’s a lot tougher than chapter one. The only thing is, I’m not sure if I should start on chapter three or wait until after we’ve started discussing chapter two.”

“Hmm. Now I’m confused. I thought Mr. Sommers said we’d discuss two and three at the same time.”

“I printed the assignment that he posted on School Loop.” Kevin pulled it out of his backpack. Okay, it says, ‘The assignment is to read chapters two and three and be ready to discuss them in class on Tuesday.’”

He looked up at Laura. “You’re right. Have you started reading chapter two?”

“Yes. Now ask if I’m comprehending what I’m reading or not.”

“Okay, do you have good comprehension?” He stuck his tongue out at her.

“No. It’s tough reading.” She shook her head. “Actually, it isn’t all that tough to read. It’s the concepts that are hard to grasp. It’s too easy to skip over stuff that could be important.”

Kevin nodded. “I agree. I wonder why he’s experimenting on us with something at a lot higher level, and that isn’t really an English topic. Wait a minute! I called Mr. Langer, my counselor, asking if we can meet so I can find out how I’m doing in each of my classes. I can ask him about Mr. Sommers’ assignment and what he knows about it.”

“Do you think he’ll tell you anything about it?”

“I suppose, if he knows. Maybe this is just Mr. Sommer’s project, and he never talked about it with any of the counselors.”

“If The Dream Weaver is part of his curriculum, wouldn’t Mr. Sommers have to get permission to offer it? I don’t know who a teacher would have to talk to in order to get permission to offer an assignment like this. Or, maybe he wouldn’t have to get permission from anyone,” Laura said.

“Could be. I emailed Mr. Langer and asked for a meeting to review how I’m doing and what my teachers think about my performance. I hope I’ll get a reply on Monday. Since I’m going to be talking about my teachers, including Mr. Sommers, I’ll ask about The Dream Weaver. In fact, I’ll bring the book with me when I see Mr. Langer.”

“That’s a great idea. In fact, it’s perfect. You’ll have to let me know as soon as you find out something from Mr. Langer.”

“Who’s your counselor, Laura?”

“Mr. Clifford. Why do you… oh! Yes! I’ll send him an email today asking for an appointment with him on Wednesday. For a review of how I’m doing and reports from my teachers, of course. And I’ll casually ask about our project in English 2.” She grinned.

“That sounds like a plan, Laura!” Kevin said, then they grinned.

“You did good today, Kevin. You finished the last practice exam, and that’s a big achievement.”

“Thanks. I’ll see you on Tuesday after school, right?” he asked.

“Absolutely.”

“What would you like for dinner?”

“How about some grilled fish. Is that okay?”

“I’ll ask Connie Tuesday morning about grilling fish, and I’ll let you know. You realize I’ve never grilled fish so this will be an experiment.”

“But not as complicated as a chemistry experiment,” Laura stated then laughed. So did Kevin.

“Right now,” Kevin said, “I’m going to head home and read chapter three of The Dream Weaver and take notes, so I don’t have to memorize it. Then I’ll be ready for the discussion on Tuesday, or in case we don’t get that far, on Thursday.”

“That sounds like a plan,” Laura responded. “I think that I’ll do the same.”

They walked outside. “I’ll open the garage door, and you can get your bike. I’ll see you at school Monday morning. Remember, we have our usual exam in Algebra 2/Pre-Calc.”

“Thanks for the reminder. I’ll definitely remember the exam. Ms. Arnold won’t let me forget because when I walk in, she’ll remind me that I also have to take the make up exam. Her reminders tend to be on the loud side.”

“Tell me about it!” Laura responded.

Kevin got on his bike and waved. “See you in the morning!”

He got home at two o’clock, so he decided to read chapter three first, then he’d shower just before leaving for the Burney’s. He set an alarm on his phone so he’d get ready in time.

At first, he struggled trying to make sense of the meaning of what he was reading. Chapter three, ‘Science’ was a continuation of chapter two. He decided he’d do a quick skim of chapter two and then read chapter three and see if doing it that way made more sense. He realized that it did. The subtitles were also meaningful. Chapter two was subtitled ‘Self, Mind, Soul’ which segued into chapter three — ‘Science’ — and he found they were different but related. Soul or religion versus science. Kevin was definitely on the science side of that debate.

Reading chapter two immediately followed by chapter three was a big help. He sent a text to Laura, telling her doing that had helped him, and she might want to try it.

He reread both chapters, for the fourth time, this time taking notes he could review before the discussion session in English 2 Tuesday.

He heard the alarm on his phone. Time to get ready to go to the Burney’s for dinner.

When he got there, he was greeted by Mr. Burney. “Come on in, Kevin. Let’s go into the living room and sit down. Becky and I would like to talk to you and Alex. Privately.”

Oh, boy,’ Kevin thought. ‘What’s this about?

Alex and his mother were already there, sitting down. She was in a side chair, and he was on a couch.

Alex tapped the seat next to him. “Sit here, Kevin.”

When Kevin was seated, Alex leaned over and whispered, “Becky is my mom’s name, Tom is my dad’s name.”

Mr. Burney cleared his throat. “Boys, you’re not in trouble. We wanted to talk about something with the two of you. Becky and I both think it’s something good, and we’re sure you’ll agree.”

Mrs. Burney continued, “We know that the two of you are boyfriends. And we couldn’t be happier.” She smiled and stood up. So did Mr. Burney.

She put out her arms and walked toward Alex. Both boys stood up, too. She grabbed Alex and hugged him, then kissed him on his left cheek. Mr. Burney walked up to Kevin, grabbed him in a hug, then pushed him out at arm’s length, and put out his right arm. Kevin realized he wanted to shake hands, so that’s what they did.

Then Mrs. Burney stepped over to Kevin and hugged and kissed him, too. Mr. Burney was hugging Alex.

“I assume you two agree that this is something good.”

“It is,” Kevin said. “Do you agree, Alex?”

“Oh, yeah! Absolutely. Positively. Way beyond good, in fact.”

Kevin looked at Mrs. Burney. “Do Rick and Ruth know that Alex and I are boyfriends?”

“Rick does because he figured it out when you came to dinner the first time. Ruth knows because Rick can’t keep a secret like that, and he told her. Then he told Tom and me.”

Mr. Burney grinned. “So, why don’t you go into the family room and talk to them. I know they are sitting on the proverbial edges of their seats wanting to find out our reaction.”

Alex stared at his dad. “Do you mean you didn’t already tell them what your reaction was?”

“Nope. Don’t you think it’s more fun this way?”

Kevin laughed. “Absolutely.” He turned and looked at Alex. “Do you agree?”

Alex was grinning. “Absolutely.”

“I need to get into the kitchen and finish preparing dinner,” Mrs. Burney said. “I suggest you two go into the family room and talk to them.”

“Okay,” Alex said.

They didn’t discuss how to do it, but Kevin followed Alex’s lead and they both walked more slowly than usual. They were looking down like they didn’t have good news to report.

Alex led the way, walking into the family room first, followed by Kevin, who was several feet behind. When Rick and Ruth saw them enter, they stood up.

“So,” Ruth said, “How’d it go?”

Alex shrugged his shoulders. “I suppose it could have been better,” he said.

“Bullshit!” Rick shouted. “You’re lying. They were totally okay with the two of you being boyfriends.”

“Rick, are you sure?” Ruth asked.

“Yes. I could tell from Alex’s right cheek just below his eye. It was twitching, just a little, but that’s a tell that he’s lying.”

“Uh, Rick, you just gave away his tell,” she said.

Rick smirked. “Doesn’t bother me. Alex can’t stop it from happening.”

Ruth walked up to Alex and pulled him into a tight hug. “Congratulations, Alex.” She let him go, stepped up to Kevin, and pulled him into a similar hug. “Congratulations, Kevin.”

She let him go and backed up a couple feet. “I’m so glad that you two are boyfriends. You’re made for each other.”

That made Kevin burst out in laughter. When he stopped, he explained what was so funny.

“Ruth, that’s what a friend of mine, Laura Wilkes, said to me when I was telling her about Alex being my chemistry tutor.”

Now Alex was laughing. “Laura Wilkes was hitting on me at a barbeque we had. It was when I was between the eighth grade and high school. Ruth, you were dating Laura’s brother then. I don’t remember his name…”

Ruth interrupted, “It’s Jordan. Jordan Wilkes.”

Kevin turned and looked at Alex. “This is all so weird. All of these connections between you and me.” He stepped up to Alex, and they hugged each other, then they kissed.

Rick clapped. “It’s about time!”

Mrs. Burney came in and announced that dinner was ready, so they all went into the dining room and sat down. Dinner was thick-cut boneless pork chops with baked potatoes, asparagus, and a salad. Dessert was a home-baked apple pie. Everything was delicious, and Kevin told Alex’s mom how much he enjoyed the meal.

When dinner was over Kevin said his goodbyes and hugged and kissed Alex; then he walked home. He was happy. Very happy. This had been a rewarding day.

He got ready for bed, yawned, got into bed, and as usual, fell asleep immediately.

 




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