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I was getting to understand Sean a little better as the weeks went on and I knew that he was by nature a worrier; much like me. I knew where this came from in my case, as my mother was like that, but In Sean's case I wasn't sure where he got it from. However, it didn't matter as I understood how he felt and how to make him feel more at ease.
We were having breakfast and I could see he was anxious as to what Golf school would be like and what he would be expected to do.
"So my tee time time isn't until after 9, so I'm going to stay for the first 15 minutes .... if you want me to," I said as I smiled.
He nodded his head yes and I could tell that he was happy I would be there to give him some moral support and a familiar face in an unfamiliar situation. That's exactly what my father did many times as I was growing up and I remembered how much more secure I felt when he was there. I also went over what I thought they would be doing in the morning and details about lunch and more importantly where I would be and when I would be back to pick him up.
"I don't want you to be behind Melissa though. I want you to be in front of her on the range," I said as I smiled.
He was so wrapped up thinking about the new experience and what he was eating, that it took him about 30 seconds to finally acknowledge my last statement.
"What did you say about Melissa?" he asked.
I repeated what I said and again smiled.
"Why?" he asked with a puzzled look on his face.
"Because I want you to be concentrating on the golf instruction, not on Melissa's derrière," I said as I laughed.
I moved out of the way to get away from his attempt to punch my arm. It did loosen him up though as he seemed to relax.
When we got to the range, many of the students were already there. The school wasn't just for kids Sean's age, but also for adults. Kevin Rita was the pro giving the instruction. I knew Kevin was a PGA teaching pro with a great reputation, as I had taken lessons from him on many occasions and found him to be a great teacher. He had the students gather around him to begin with and went over the grip. Then he got them into their spaces on the range and had them swing. I could see that Sean had athletic ability, as he was able to adjust to what Kevin showed him very quickly. His concept of the baseball swing would make it easy for him to transition to a golf swing.
He didn't notice me leave, as he had settled in to the instruction. It didn't hurt that Melissa was there ...... behind him. I was playing with Anne and another couple and I made my way over to the first tee, forgoing the warm-up that I liked to do before every round. Sean's needs were more important and I was glad that he had settled in.
"I didn't see you on the range, Al," Anne said as I put my clubs on the back of the cart.
"Sean was a little anxious and I wanted to get him settled in," I said as I smiled.
She understood and returned my smile. We had a fun round and finished an hour before the end of the Golf School. We had some drinks and food and were ready to pick up the kids about 10 minutes early.
When we arrived they were on the range (Melissa in front of Sean) taking full swings. Kevin had the students who were new to the sport hitting their irons off of tees, as it was easier for newcomers to the game to hit the ball this way. I noticed Melissa was using tees, but Sean wasn't. He was hitting the ball off the ground and pretty well for his first day of instruction. He was hitting the ball fairly far for his size .... and sometimes straight.
"Well Tiger, you were doing pretty well for your first day," I said as I smiled at him as we left the range. "How did Melissa end up in front of you?"
He just mumbled something about Kevin placing them that way or that that was the only spot left when they came back from lunch. I couldn't really tell what he said and he wouldn't look me in the eye.
"So does that mean I'm going to have to re-teach what Kevin went over after lunch, or were you paying attention?" I said as I laughed.
He just kept walking and scowled at me.
Anne and Melissa were walking in front of us and I could see that Anne was praising Melissa as well.
"Would you like to ask Melissa if she would like to come over for a swim before we go to pick up Jake?" I asked.
He gave me a big smile and went over to ask her. I followed him and asked Anne to join us as well.
"I've got a bottle of J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon if you're interested," I said as I smiled at Anne.
They were going to freshen up and come down in about a 1/2 hour. When we got back to the house, Sean became a little quiet. I knew that there was something bothering him and I asked him what it was.
"Maybe I could just watch you guys swim," He said.
"Are you embarrassed to go swimming?" I asked.
Since it wasn't his swimming ability, I figured it had something to do with his body; more particularly the scars on his back.
"Why don't you wear a t-shirt when you swim and we'll just tell Anne and Melissa that because of your fair skin you sunburn very quickly?"
He was relieved at my suggestion. I also thought that this was an opportune time to talk to him about Dermabrasion that Scott had talked about before we left.
"Would you be interested in talking to a skin specialist when we get back that does this procedure that may remove your scars?" I asked.
He said that he was very interested and wanted me to make the appointment. I was happy that at least we were going to explore if something could be done to relieve his obvious anxiety over the look of his back.
That really perked him up and he smiled as he disappeared into this room to change.
When I had changed and entered the kitchen I saw Sean at the counter in his swimsuit and t-shirt, carefully arranging chocolate chip cookies and banana bread on a plate.
"Can I cut up some fruit and put it on this plate I found in the cupboard?" He asked.
I smiled and told him to go ahead, as I got out the fruit dip and opened the wine to breathe. I was amused watching him concentrate so carefully as he prepared the plate.
"What," he said as he turned around and looked at me staring at him with a big smile.
"Don't forget to remind Mrs. Morgan and Melissa that you made the cookies and banana bread, as they'll really be impressed. Chicks like that stuff," I said as I laughed.
He stuck out his tongue but couldn't keep from smiling.
When Melissa and Anne arrived, Sean disappeared into the kitchen and brought out the platter with the goodies. I had the wine and drinks already out.
"These cookies are delicious, Sean. I must have your recipe," Anne said as she took a big bite.
Sean was beaming as both Anne and Melissa complemented him at length on his culinary skills.
While Melissa and Sean swam in the pool, Anne and I had a chance to talk. I told her why Sean was wearing a t-shirt and some of the trauma he had been through. I also told her how taken he was with Melissa.
"So is Melissa. Last night after we went home, I asked her how the tour of the clubhouse went and she blushed. I suspect that they weren't just sightseeing," Anne said as she smiled.
I smiled and said, "I know they weren't for part of the time."
I told her what I saw on the terrace and she gave a big smile.
"He must be a special young boy to have captured Melissa's interest," she said.
She told me that Melissa's mother, Anne's daughter, had told her Melissa hadn't shown any interest in the boys at her school, so she was a little surprised that Melissa was so taken with Sean.
They stayed for about an hour and Melissa and Sean spent the whole time swimming and talking to each other. They seemed very at ease and both Anne and I were pleased. After they left it was time to go get Jake at the airport.
We arrived at the Naples airport at 5 p.m. as Jake's flight was due to arrive then. Pietro didn't send him to school in the afternoon as it was the last day before March Break and not a lot was happening in the classroom. I had arranged with the Flight Attendant to make sure he looked after Jake, getting him through customs and staying with him until we picked him up.
We were waiting for Jake and the attendant to come through the gate from customs when we saw an older couple in their 70's come through before them. They came over to us smiling and stopped to speak to us. They were also on the flight with Jake.
"You must be Mr. Burger and Sean. Jake's told us all about you," the man said as he shook our hands.
The wife also greeted us and said "I'm sure you'll have a great time at Disney World. He told us all about your week," she said as she smiled. "He's so looking forward to this."
Well, I was glad Jake hadn't suddenly developed a case of shyness. Just then we saw Jake and the flight attendant come through the gate. Jake was a few steps ahead of the attendant, bouncing along with a big smile on his face. The attendant had his luggage and Jake had his gym bag, which was his carry-on, slung over his shoulder.
"Hi, Mr. Burger! Hi, Sean!" he called out when he was about 25 feet from us.
I could see the flight attendant smile and roll his eyes as I caught his gaze. I guess Jake had put him through his paces.
By now Jake was running towards us and thumped into me as he gave me a hug. Before I could react, he was high-fiving Sean, and ended up hugging him as well.
I asked the attendant if everything had gone well and he smiled and said "Everything went very well. Jake entertained us the whole trip." He looked at Jake and said as he laughed, "You shouldn't be so shy, young man. Try to come out of your shell."
Jake looked at him with a puzzled look, and we just laughed. He finally got it a few moments later as we were leaving the terminal.
The trip to the house was, as usual, an interesting one. With Jake, every trip was interesting. He went over every detail from the time he woke up that morning to everything about the flight. Then he told us about Robert the Flight attendant and Mr. and Mrs. Jones the older couple. When he was finished that, he started in on how cool he thought the car was.
"I saw this car in a magazine ad. They said it really flies down the highway," he said excitedly.
"I can't really get up in the air here Jake, as I can't go fast enough on the interstate for lift-off. Besides, I would get a ticket from the state troopers," I said as I smiled at him.
It wasn't until we got into the house that Sean finally told him that I was kidding.
Both Sean and I had missed Jake and we were looking forward to spending the next 9 days with him. He was such an upbeat kid, and his personality was infectious. I made a mental note to try not to tease him too much though.
We got Jake settled and in his own bedroom. He was a little disappointed that Sean and he weren't sharing a room, but he perked up when I said that one night they could sleep together.
I went out to the kitchen and made a snack for us while Sean showed him the camera and clothing we got for him. When they came into the kitchen, Jake immediately came over to me and gave me a big hug and said thanks in a shaky voice, as he was overwhelmed.
"I'm glad you liked the stuff, Jake," I said as I hugged him back.
"I don't know how to thank you, Mr. Burger," he said almost in a whisper.
"Just be your happy self, young man," I said as I smiled at him. "And how about you call me Pop; Mr. Burger is kind of formal."
After we had our snack, it was time to get ready for dinner. We were going to sit with Anne and Melissa again and our reservation was for 7:30. I was really looking forward to Anne's reaction when she met Jake.
I was almost dressed, when the smell of Sean's Axe cologne came wafting down the hall. I suspected that both Sean and Jake had liberally splashed some on their bodies.
Sean came into my room so I could tie his necktie. He still wasn't too sure how to do it, so I showed him again. I was glad I wasn't allergic to his cologne though, as I would have been sneezing my head off.
"Maybe you should go a little easier with that stuff next time," I said as I smiled at him.
I asked if Jake wanted me to do his necktie and Sean said he knew how to tie it. When Jake joined us in the kitchen it was obvious he really didn't know what he was doing.
"You know with that type of shirt, you have to tie a double Windsor knot, not a single," I said as I smiled at him and undid the tie. "Let me show you."
I didn't want him to feel bad, so I was sure he didn't know that what I said was only an excuse to re-tie his necktie the proper way. I was also right about the cologne, as he had lathered it on as well. He looked great in his suit and I was proud of the two grown-up looking boys that would be accompanying me to dinner.
We arrived at the club and waited in the lobby outside the Dining Room as our table wasn't ready yet. Jake was in awe of the surroundings, but unlike Sean he wasn't the least bit withdrawn. He was smiling and asking all sorts of questions about the club and what he saw in the lobby.
When we were shown to our table, I noticed two other couples sitting together that I was friendly with and I went over to greet them with the boys. Both couples had children with them.
The Airdons had a son named Jackson, who was about 15 and a daughter name Mara who was friends of Melissa's from Toronto and was also 13. The other couple, the Blacks, had their granddaughter Helen with them, who was Jackson's age.
I noticed that Mara took a particular interest in Jake, but he really hadn't noticed. Sean did and I noticed him pushing Jake forward in front of him as I was talking to them. Jake for some reason was a little reluctant as I guess we had found his Achilles heel.
"Well how lucky you are, Al to have two handsome young men with you," Anne said as she shook Jake's hand as we arrived at our table and sat down.
Jake gave her and Melissa a big smile. I knew he had recovered when Anne asked him a couple of questions about himself and he regaled her for the next few minutes answering them and telling her about his trip down on the airplane. While that was going on, Melissa and Sean were talking very coyly with each other.
After dinner, Mara came over to the table and the 4 kids took off to 'explore' the clubhouse. I suspected that there would be more than sightseeing in Sean and Melissa's case.
After about 20 minutes, Jake and Mara came back into the Dining Room and it looked like they were getting along fairly well. It also looked like Jake was doing most of the talking as they made their way to the table. Sean and Melissa however, weren't in sight.
"Are the other two coming soon," I said as I smiled at Jake and Mara.
"Ah ..... they were just behind us. I think they stopped to look at the clothing in the Pro Shop window," Mara said as she blushed.
Just then, I saw the two of them come through the doorway from the terrace, holding hands. As they entered the room they dropped the handholding and made their way to the table. Anne caught my eye and both of us smiled at each other.
Anne said to me, "You know we'll have to see more of each other in Canada as the kids are quite taken with each other."
Now it was my turn to blush.
Anne gave Jake a big hug and kiss and then Sean and I said goodbye to Melissa and Anne in the lobby outside the Dining Room. I gave Anne a hug and kiss on the cheek and Sean and Melissa said an awkward goodbye to each other, not wanting to give away their new found affection for each other. I felt sorry for Jake, as he felt left out and just stepped back and started to look at one of the plaques on the wall, trying not to look conspicuous.
I put my arm around Jake's shoulders as we were walking out to the car to go back to the house.
"I'm sorry you felt left out in the foyer Jake. That's what happens to guys when beautiful women are around, eh Sean," I said as I laughed.
Even though it was dark, I knew Sean was blushing as he started to walk a little faster in front of us. Jake just said he didn't mind. I asked him if he liked Mara and he said they had a good talk about Music and movies they liked. He didn't give me any other clue as to if there was an attraction or not. I guess in Jake's case, his hormones hadn't awakened his interest in the opposite sex yet. His hormones were alive though, as I knew Sean and he had been experimenting together, as many boys their age did.
When we got back to the house I suggested we have a snack before we called it a night. Both Sean and Jake thought that was a great idea. I made them some hot chocolate and Sean brought out some of the fruit and banana bread that was left from today. There was method to my madness though, as I wanted to talk to them about tomorrow night's activity.
Saturday night at the club was dance night, where a 10 piece orchestra came in and played dance band music. Anne and I had talked about staying for the dance after dinner tomorrow and we thought it would be a great idea for the kids as well. I knew Sean would like that with Melissa, but I wasn't sure about Jake.
"Do you guys know how to dance?" I asked as they were devouring their snack.
Sean answered but I couldn't understand him as his mouth was full.
"Why don't you swallow before you talk, Sean," I said as I smiled at him.
"We can dance, Pop. We had dances at school sometimes," Sean said with an empty mouth, as he reached for another slice of banana bread. "Why?"
I explained what I had in mind, and I asked if they were Ok with staying for the dance the next night. I told them that Anne, Melissa and the Airdons with their kids would be there as well. I told them that the Airdons were hoping that we would be there, as Mara was looking forward to dancing with Jake.
"We just go to the floor and dance with everyone else," Jake said after he had taken a big gulp of his hot chocolate.
I explained what type of dancing this was and both Sean and Jake became a little subdued.
"We've never danced like that," Sean said with a lot of concern in his voice.
I explained that I would teach them tomorrow how to do a two-step and that they would have fun actually touching a girl as they danced. Sean was happy at that prospect, but Jake seemed a little reluctant, but nonetheless agreed. I had this feeling that Jake agreed because he didn't want to disappoint Sean.
They were just about finished their snack and I could see that there was something on their minds that they wanted to ask me.
"Ok, boys what is it?" I said as I smiled.
Sean hummed and hawed and finally asked me if they could sleep together. I said that Golf School was pretty early and that it was already getting a little late. Jake piped in and used his considerable skills of persuasion.
"I get scared sometimes when I sleep in a new bed .... and I might get up in the night and forget where I am ..... and it would be better if Sean and I were together as I'd feel ...... more comfortable and stuff," Jake said as he had a big grin on his face.
I finally agreed. Jake was quite good at this and I could just imagine how he was going to be using these skills in later life. He fit the stereotype of the Salesman who could sell ice to Eskimos.
"Just remember, 7 a.m. comes pretty early and I don't want to have to drag you two out of bed tomorrow," I said trying to look very stern.
The two of them smiled and took off for the bathroom to get ready.
I said goodnight to the two of them as I just tousled their hair and tucked them in. Again, I noticed Teddy in Sean's chair and I smiled as I left the room.
I sat down in the great room and watched the 11 o'clock news and reflected on what a hoot it was going to be tomorrow trying to teach two adolescent boys some basic ballroom dancing. I also thought about how great it would be to dance again with a woman and feel that closeness that I was now beginning to miss.