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I asked him what was wrong, and he softly replied, “Do I get to stay here, or do I got to go to one of those places again?”
I quickly got off my stool and went over and put my arms around Sean and locked him in a very secure hug. “Unfortunately young man you’re stuck here with this old fart for at least 90 days. You’re not going to go back to ‘one of those places’ again if I can help it.”
He looked up at me with those deep blue eyes (his right one was now open again) and softly said, “Thanks sir.”
“Why don’t you call me pop young fellow, sir is a little too formal for me?” I said as I smiled at him.
I put my arm around Sean’s shoulder as we walked to the front door to say goodbye to Dominic and Katharine. As I was hugging Katharine goodbye, she whispered in my ear, “I told you Uncle Alan…..the perfect placement.”
Both Dominic and Katharine smiled at me as they went out the front door, and said they would be in touch with me when they knew more information.
When they had left, I asked Sean how he was feeling and whether he was up to going shopping for some more clothes.
He looked down at the floor again, and mumbled something about he didn’t need any more clothes and I didn’t need to spend any more money on him.
“Let’s go into the living room young man and sit down. We need to have a talk,” I said as I gently moved him to the couch.
I took a deep breath while I collected my thoughts, and finally I said, “Sean, I don’t ever have to worry about money. You should’ve realized that by the Lexus RX SUV we drove over here in last night, and by looking around at the upscale townhouse I live in. This complex is on a street they affectionately call millionaire’s row. I was fortunate to win a very large sum of money in a lottery a few years ago with a ticket I bought in Myrtle Beach on one of my golfing trips. So going shopping to outfit you in clothes certainly isn’t going to break the bank.”
I put my arm around his shoulder and drew him into my side and said, “Now please relax and let me take care of you. I just signed papers that bind me to a commitment as your foster parent for the next few months, and I know you don’t know me very well, but I take my commitments very seriously. Especially when it involves a handsome young man like you, who I know has the potential within him to become a terrific adult if given the chance.”
“Why are you doing this for me mist…..ah pop? I don’t deserve this,” he almost whispered.
Again, I sighed and answered, “I guess you are the son I always wanted. As much as I love my girls, and enjoyed raising them, deep down I always wished I had a son to raise. Lorraine and I talked about a third child, trying for a son, but at our time in life we decided that 2 kids were enough. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I realized that was something that was missing in my life.”
“Is that your wife and kids in the picture over there pop?" he asked as he pointed to the picture frame on the end table next to the couch. I nodded my head yes and he said, ”All three of them are really pretty.”
I thanked him and made a joke about the girls gettting their good looks from their mother not me.
“Where is your wife now pop?” he asked with some concern in his voice.
I told him about her death two years ago from Breast Cancer, but didn't go into anymore details. It was still hard for me to talk about it even now.
“I’m sorry pop,” he said with sorrow in his voice.
Then he leaned his head against my shoulder and said, “I’m scared….I hope I don’t disappoint you.”
“I only have two major rules that I want you to follow, the same two rules that my girls had when they were growing up, and still adhere to even now. That is to always do your best in whatever you do, and always be the best person you can,” I told him. “I’m sure you are going to do just fine young man.”
I ruffled his hair then hugged him. We sat like that not saying a word for about a minute and finally he asked to lie down for a while before we went shopping.
I asked him if it was Ok if Rick and his 19 year old son Rickie could go with us. Everyone called him Rickie, because he didn’t like being called Jr. I thought having Rickie along would make it easier to pick out stuff more suitable to a young teenager, not a couple of sexagenarians. Rickie was in his first year at the local university taking Business and Commerce. He seemed to perk up at that, and gave me a big smile as he went upstairs to lie down.
A couple of hours later he woke up and we got ready to leave. We entered the garage through the laundry room door and he noticed the other vehicle beside the Lexus that was covered by a tarpaulin. He asked what that was, and I told him that was my summer car. I didn’t bother telling him anymore that that. He would get a drive in my BMW M6 Cabriolet soon enough when the good weather came.
We met Rick and Rickie at the large department store that I knew had a good boys section, at least that’s what Rick said. After we picked out some more briefs, socks and pyjamas for him, Rickie suggested that the Hilfiger store was cooler, so we headed out down the mall. Rickie was definitely into the preppy look, and I wasn’t opposed to that as I was also a frequent shopper there. I just didn’t know they had a boys section, as I never any had any occasion to be interested in that. I could tell that Rickie was relishing the fact that he had a ‘little brother’ to help as he was the youngest of Rick’s 3 kids.
Rickie took over when we got there and picked out a whole bunch of clothing from jeans, cotton twill pants, shirts, to hoodies, t-shirts and 2 pairs of what Rickie said were ‘sexy’ boxers, a comment which caused Sean to blush. Rickie and the young male sales clerk helping us made sure he tried everything on and that it fit him well and looked cool. Rick and I just nodded our heads in approval at each item and willingly stood back as his fashion consultants did their work.
Thank goodness I had a very large credit limit on my Visa, I chuckled to myself, as this was going to a hefty bill. I rationalized it by the dividend rebate I would get at the end of the year on my card.
I noticed as we were making our way to the cash that Sean became quiet and his body language told me something was wrong. As we were waiting for our purchases to be rung in I pulled him aside, put my arm around him and quietly asked what was wrong. He just shrugged, but as I prodded further he finally said, “This is a lot of money. You shouldn’t have to buy me all this.”
I leaned down and quietly said, “Please stop it Sean. I thought we went over this at home. You need clothes, and besides, you wouldn’t want to disappoint Rickie, he’s having a great time picking this stuff out for you.”
He finally said, “Ok pop…. thanks.”
We paid for the purchases and then stopped off at Sportchek to get some workout clothes, and a warm winter coat, as well as a shoe store to get him some snow boots and some casual shoes. We stopped at the food court at Tim Horton’s to have something to drink and munch on before we left for the car. Sean noticed that the staff was very familiar with me and that I didn’t pay for the food. While we were sitting at a table, an older man came out of the back and came over to the table and sat down with the four of us.
“Hi John, this is Sean, he’s staying with me for a while. You know Rick and Rickie,” I said.
John sat with us for a while, and he talked to me about how the business had been and that we needed a meeting soon to go over the financials. He then left and went into the kitchen. Sean just looked at me with a bewildered look on his face.
“That’s one of my partners Sean, I own the business with 3 other people. I’m one of the silent partners,” I told him. He just looked at me with wide eyes, as I think he was finally getting the idea of my wealth.
We got home and there was a message on my answering machine from Katharine asking me to phone her. I decided to make dinner for us and call Katharine later. I made a chicken stirfry with lots of vegetables and again once he had finished two more pieces of the pie and his main course he had consumed the equivalent of two full adult meals. I was glad he had an appetite, as he certainly needed to put on some weight.
After we cleaned up after dinner it was time to watch Hockey Night in Canada and the Toronto Maple Leafs game. I was certainly glad he was a Leafs fan, as we are a dwindling breed. I took him downstairs to the walkout basement and the media room, which was another of my extravagances. I had it professionally done with a hydraulic screen that came down from the ceiling, an overhead projector, and a very sophisticated surround sound system. As well, I had home theatre seating installed for 10 people. His eyes opened wide when he saw the setup. I turned on the projector and tuned in to the game and watched the first 10 minutes with him then I told him I would be back down in a few minutes. I went back upstairs to the den to call Katharine.
“Hi Katharine, what’s up?" I said.
She told me that things were going well. “The police have Sean’s mother and Mr. Greeves in custody. Thanks to Dr. Scott’s verbal report to me and Dean and Dominic’s interview with Sean, he has been charged with physical and sexual assault, offences. As well, there were a series of drug charges laid against Greeves and the mother, as apparently they were running a mini grow-op in the basement and were stoned when they found them.”
She went on to tell me that the mother apparently stopped the assault on Sean, as he had told Dominic and Dean, but not for the reasons Sean thought. The mother was only concerned about the welfare stipend she received for Sean, and if he were dead that would be cut off. “We are going to start the process to terminate the mother’s parental rights, and I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”
I suggested that we should keep that detail about the mother to ourselves, as it would be devastating if Sean knew this. After we hung up, I decided I was going to make a call to Ken Robson, the police chief (another golfing partner at the club) and see if we can have the charges of sexual assault with a young boy made known to Mr. Greeve’s cell mates, as well as a call to my friend Peter Tallofsen, the Crown Attorney, to make sure he’s denied bail.
‘How could a mother be so callous as to put her monetary needs before her own flesh and blood? What kind of animals was Sean living with?' I thought. After I made my calls I went back down to the media room and by then the first period was just ending, and as usual the Leafs were losing.
“That was about my mom wasn’t it pop?" Sean asked with a hard edge to his voice.
“Yes it was Sean. Your mother and Maury are in custody, and will likely be there for a long time,” I answered.
He stared at me for a few seconds, and then turned to watch the screen without saying a word. I didn’t say any more and we sat in silence for about five minutes. Finally he turned to me with very misty eyes and said, “I hope they help my mother get better, but I don’t ever want to go back to her.”
That did it and I lost control of my emotions. I reached over and pulled him out of his seat onto my lap and wrapped my arms around him and smothered him in a hug, which he reciprocated. Both of us quietly sobbed for a couple of minutes when I finally got control and spoke.” I hope your mother gets help too Sean, but you have to be prepared for the fact that she may never get better. I don’t want you to have anymore hurt or heartache in your life, and I’m going to do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen again. You don’t deserve what you’ve been through in your short life.”
Finally the two of us calmed down and he went back to his seat. We watched the rest of the game and ate popcorn that I made in between the second and third periods. After the game was finished he went to bed. I tucked him in went back down to watch the second game of the double header.
‘Can I really provide what this young man really needs? How can a guy my age be a father to a young teenager? The more I thought about it though, Katharine was right. My father and I were in a similar situation, and I had only fond memories of our relationship. Even though many times people used to think that he was my grandfather, there was no mistaking in my mind that he was my dad.
'I can’t abandon him now. I can do this….he needs me to do it!’ I went upstairs to bed with a measure of inner peace I hadn’t had for a long time.
I hadn’t been asleep very long when I once again heard noises coming from Sean’s room. When I went in to his room he was just awakening from another nightmare, and was sitting up in bed. This time he was fully awake, and I sat down on the bed beside him and drew him into a hug.
“I know he’s going to get me pop…..I’m scared,” he whimpered.
I looked into his eyes and said, “No he’s not Sean; I’m going to make sure he doesn’t…and that’s a promise.”
“Can I sleep with you tonight pop?” he asked.
I looked into his deep blue eyes and knew his needs were more important than my concern with sleeping with a young male.
“How about if I crawl in with you here?" I said.
He nodded his head yes, and we lay under the covers back-to-back. That didn’t last long as shortly he rolled over, spooned in behind me and put his arm over mine and laid his hand on my chest.
I waited until I was sure he was asleep, and carefully extricated myself from his grasp and went back to my own bed. ‘My goodness, what is this young man doing to me? Whatever it is, I want it to continue; I haven’t felt this alive in years.’