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After The Game

© 2011 Felix_P

Chapter Eighty-three

Sean and Jake had just come into the Laundry room from taking Barney for a walk and they were very animated. Dana and I walked down the hall to see what was going on.

"I don't know why we took you to dog training, Barney. You've forgotten everything you learned, even though that wasn't very much," Sean said, as he scolded him.

"It's a good thing we had dog cookies with us," Jake added.

They told us that Barney had taken off suddenly after a black Labrador retriever. The other owner had his dog off the leash and when he approached Barney the owner told the boys he was friendly.

"I told him Barney wasn't," Sean said.

Barney yanked the leash out of Jake's hand as he lunged at the other dog and before they knew it Barney went on the attack. The other dog turned and ran away with Barney close behind. The boys were frantic, as they couldn't possibly catch up with the two of them. Finally, in desperation, Sean pulled out a dog cookie and enticed Barney back.

"At least he responds to food, because he doesn't listen to us," Jake said, as he admonished him.

Barney was panting furiously after his unexpected sojourn, but true to form, his only concern was his after-walk treat and he was sitting patiently looking at us, as if nothing had happened.

"Someone doesn't realize that he's only a little dog," I said, as I looked at Barney.

"And that's why his breed is called a Terrier, which stands for terror," Dana added.

As much as Dana and I were concerned at Barney's behaviour, when we were out of earshot of the boys we had a good chuckle.

"That must have been quite a sight to see that little ten pound white marshmallow chasing that 60-70 pound Black Lab down the street," Dana said.

We were back to attending the contemporary church service now that the Junior Choir wasn't performing in the traditional service. As was our usual habit, the boys sat in the pew in front of us and the adults were behind them. John and Susan, along with my Niece and her husband, Bob were with us this Sunday. Most of the time, the boys were well behaved, with the exception of Garth and Derek, who would from time-to-time come down with a dose of the sillies. John and Susan decided to head off any unwanted events and had the two boys sitting between Dana and me and them.

It was a particularly wise strategy, since both Derek and Garth were a little hyper about their final hockey game that was coming up the next week. Their team wasn't very strong, but they did manage to make it to the consolation championship, despite the fact they had some weak players, notably the goalie. Jake had spent a lot of time with him and even though Jake couldn't see much improvement, we all could.

We had just finished praying and we heard Garth adding an addendum to his.

"And please, God, help our hockey team or teach Jamie how to play goalie before our next game. Amen."

Both Dana and I had to stifle our chuckles.

"God works in mysterious ways, Garth, but I don't think he's going to be able to do a better job than Jake has with Jamie," I said, after the service when we were in the foyer.

"You never know," he said, with a smile.

After Church, everyone was coming back to the house for lunch. Garth had a couple of new jokes for us since he had been in Toronto doing another TV commercial and hadn't seen us for a couple of days. Derek had also been in the commercial and they had a chance to go over Garth's new book of jokes that he had taken out of the library.

"What did one tomato say to the other?" he asked, as he and Derek both broke out in the giggles.

"Is it something about ketchup?" Jake asked.

"How did you know?" he said, with a deflated look, as the rest of us were now chuckling.

It didn't throw him off for long, though. He and Derek got up from the table, which brought a rebuke from both sets of parents. Garth carefully explained that they had to 'act out' this joke.

They both laid side-by-side on the floor and Garth said, "These two caterpillars were crawling along," and the two of them wiggled back-and-forth.

"And then a butterfly flew overhead," Derek said, as the two of them looked up.

Garth delivered the punch line as he looked at Derek and said, "You'll never get me up in one of those things!" and the two of them rolled over, laughing away.

We hadn't heard how the commercial shoot went, so after the two boys settled down and came back to the table, we asked how things went. Garth was very willing to give us the details and as he had with his joke, he acted out his part of the commercial. He and a girl that was about his age were a sister and brother getting their lunch boxes from their mother as they were getting ready to leave for school. The lunch boxes were the product that was being sold and was a special compartmentalized model with some extra features. He only had a couple of lines and he delivered them in true dramatic Garth fashion for us.

"I was the only kid that got to speak and that girl wasn't happy," he said, when he had finished his performance.

We picked up on the term 'that girl' and it was clear that they had not got along very well.

"According to Hayley's mother, she was the next best thing to Miley Cyrus," Susan said.

"She gave the director a very hard time and couldn't live with the fact that Garth got to speak and her little darling didn't," John added.

Derek and Mandy were also in the commercial, but they didn't have speaking parts either. They sat at the school lunch table with Garth and Hayley and they were to look at the lunch boxes with envy.

"She was really snaughty," Derek said, with a coy smile, "but we fixed her."

Derek quickly realized he was revealing a secret that he shouldn't have.

"Oops!" Garth said, as he put his hand over his mouth to stifle a snicker.

During one of the takes when they were sitting at the lunch table, Derek accidently bumped Garth's lunch box, which knocked over a strategically placed open bottle of juice onto Hayley's lap.

"Did you two cook that up on purpose? We thought that was an accident," Susan said.

Both sets of parents were trying to keep a serious face, as they were loathe to condone the boys' actions, but they clearly were delighted at what had happened. They gave a half-hearted attempt at scolding them.

Garth wasn't quite finished entertaining us. Since Dana and I were the ones that had started Garth on a regular program of reading, he always showed us any new books that he was reading. He had a new book, which was 'The Lightning Thief', that was part of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series of novels.

He was turning out to be a good reader and had been a good influence on Derek, which pleased my niece and her husband. They had tried to get Derek reading more, but it wasn't until Garth would tell him about the plots of the books he was reading that he started to take more of an interest.

"This guy, who's twelve years old, goes after this thief who stole Zeus' lightning bolt. Zeus is this old Greek bigshot," he said, with his typical Garth flair.

"Have you finished the book?" I asked.

"Not yet, but I will soon."

"Well maybe you shouldn't say too much more, because I'm sure Derek will want to read it, won't you?" my niece said, as she looked at her son.

As usual, Glen hadn't said too much as Garth had taken centre stage. Susan and John were very sensitive to that issue and always tried to get Glen involved in the conversations.

"Tell everyone about the showing you're going to have at school," Susan said.

"It's no big deal," he said, which was his usual modest response.

His art class was displaying some of their art in the Library and Glen had two pieces that were prominently displayed, as they had won a competition that had been judged by some local artists that came to the school.

"Is one of them an oil painting?" Dana asked, with a big smile.

Glen chuckled and said, "It's going to be a while before I win any awards for my oils."

We were so glad that Glen's disposition had changed to the point where he could laugh at himself. He had come a long way since we had taken him in and even though he had his days, he was so much more positive in his outlook. It was pretty hard not to be with a brother like Garth.

The next week, we played the final championship game for Sean and Jake's team. It was uneventful as they easily beat the second place team to take the trophy. A lot of our boys had come along very well over the season with their skill development and the addition of Carson and Stéphane had certainly helped.

The line of Carson, Sean and Stéphane had controlled the game as soon as the puck was dropped. Jake wasn't very busy, because the other team didn't get many chances, but he was very steady when called upon to make a key save. Charles and Pieter provided great defence and some rough and tumble play, which kept the opposition on their toes. Charles stilled agitated whenever he could, but he had grown and Pieter didn't need to bail him out as much. Glen's skill had improved a great deal now that he was concentrating on playing hockey and controlling his temper. He was on a line with Darren, our jokester and they got along very well, which was an unlikely pairing.

He had even played a joke on him without Darren suspecting what was going on. When Darren wasn't looking as they were getting dressed before the game, Glen dumped some paint powder into Darren's skates. Darren never wore socks, so after the game when he took his skates off his feet were bright blue. It took a few days before the paint washed off.

At the restaurant after the game, Doreen had a chance to talk to me about Carson.

"I want to thank you, Al, for all you've done for Carson this year on and off the rink."

She then told me that the Rep team coach had called and was encouraging Carson to try out next year.

"I don't think there's any question that if he does, he'll make the team. He was the best player on the ice today and that's why he won the MVP award," I said.

"He's not keen about it," she said. "He wants to stay with you and the boys next year in the house league."

Both Sean and Jake had decided not to try out for the rep team, as they were too busy with their other interests and decided to play house league again, as had Stéphane.

"The coach and I have had a few chats about Carson in the last month. He has the potential to be good enough to be drafted by a Junior A team after next season, when he turns sixteen," I said.

She was quite surprised at my statement and I told her that I would have a talk with him. I also knew that the situation would work out for Doreen with driving and taking him to games next year, as Pieter was trying out again and he was bound to make the team this time. Pieter and Carson had become good friends and his parents were more than willing to help Doreen out when she couldn't get Carson to the games or practices. As Carson was leaving he came over to me and shook my hand.

"Thanks, coach. Next year we'll win the Collingwood tournament and show those losers what a real hockey team is all about," he said, with a smile.

"I hope you're not going to be with us next year, Carson."

He was quite surprised at my comment, but before he could react any further I told him what I meant.

"You need to be playing at a higher level than house league, young man. If you try out for the rep team, you'll easily make it. You have the potential, if you work hard, to be a professional hockey player in the future, if that's what you want."

He didn't know what to say, as he was shocked at what I said. I knew that part of his motivation for staying with us was his attachment to me, but the rep coaches were good people and he would get the guidance and coaching that he needed.

"Carson, you owe it to yourself to go after your dreams."

He gave me a big smile and I put my arm around his shoulders and gave him a quick squeeze.

While we were sitting in the stands watching Garth's consolation championship hockey game, I noticed the same man that I had seen at the concert, sitting in the next section of seats. He wasn't with anyone, as before, but he seemed very interested in watching the bench. He was a little closer this time and I was able to see more of his face. I still had this gnawing feeling that he looked familiar but I couldn't place him. I was chalking it up to old age.

"I'm going to go over and talk to him," I said, to Dana as I got up.

"Don't do anything, rash, dear," she said, with concern.

As I approached he saw me and got up and took off to one of the exits. I got there as he was getting near the door to leave.

"Sir, can I talk to you", I called down the hall.

He stopped and after a few moments he turned around and by now I was much closer to him.

"I don't know if that's a good idea, Mr. Burger," he said, as he looked me in the eye.

I stopped and I felt a very uncomfortable chill work its way down my spine. I now knew why he looked so familiar.

"You're Sean's biological father, aren't you?"

He shook his head yes. Sean was a spitting image of him. We both stood there in an awkward silence for some moments. Finally I spoke.

"Why are you here?"

Just then the kids were coming off the ice as the game was over and they started to make their way into the hall to go to the dressing rooms.

"I should leave," he said, as he turned and went out the door.

I followed him to the parking lot and finally caught up to him.

"We need to talk, sir. Please don't leave."

He hesitated, but finally said, "I don't want to cause any trouble. I shouldn't have come here."

He got into the rental car and started it up. I knocked on the window and he rolled it down.

"There's a Tim Hortons nearby where we can sit down and talk. Please meet me there at 7:30."

I knew we would be going out for dinner with Garth's team afterwards and this would give me lots of time. He didn't say no and I gave him the directions before he drove away. I wasn't banking on him being there, but I was hopeful, as his body language was positive. I went back in and joined Dana, Susan and John in the foyer, where they were waiting.

"You look a little concerned, dear. Did you find out who that man was?" Dana asked, as we had a chance to talk out of earshot of the others.


She was surprised at my curt response.

"What's the matter?"

My head was spinning, as there were so many thoughts rattling around in my brain. I didn't know if I should tell her, but I realized that wasn't an option given my obvious distress.

"That man was Sean's biological father."

She was startled for a few moments and finally said, "Oh my. Where is he?"

I explained what had transpired and that I was hopefully going to meet him after dinner. By now the boys and Garth were making their way out of the dressing room to join us. Despite their disappointment at losing the game, they were an upbeat group. We gave Garth, Charisse and Mandy lots of praise along with Jake, Sean and Glen and then made our way to the Swiss Chalet, where we had reserved part of the restaurant for a celebratory dinner. The parents had taken up a collection and got Sean, Jake, Glen and Rickie plaques and movie coupons to say thanks for their hard work as coaches. I wasn't myself during dinner and both Sean and Jake could sense something was up.

"Is anything wrong, Dad?" Jake asked, as we were leaving.

"I'm just worn out at all the excitement from the game today," I said, with a smile.

After we got home I made an excuse to the boys that I had to meet someone that was an old friend that I hadn't seen for a while and left. When I arrived at Hortons, he wasn't there and I decided I would wait for 10 minutes and then leave if he hadn't shown up. I was talking to the manager about how business was going when I saw him come through the door. I motioned him over to the counter and he joined me in ordering a coffee.

"Put your money away, sir. It's on me," I said.

When we got to the table he noticed I didn't pay for either of us.

"They must know you well here to give you free food."

"I'm one of the owners," I said, with a smile.

He returned my smile and held out his hand as we were about to sit down and said, "I'm Seamus O'Connor. We never did get to exchange pleasantries."

I didn't waste any time getting to the point, as I was very curious as to his motives and angry that he had reappeared.

"Why all of a sudden after 15 years, have you come back? Are you trying to worm your way into Sean's life?" I asked rather forcefully.

"No, I'm not. I'll remind you, that you're the one that wanted this meeting. I was going to walk away.....," he paused, then continued, "I knew this wasn't a good idea."

He started to get up and said, "Thanks for the coffee."

I realized that my anger was getting in the way and I put my hand on his arm and said, "I'm sorry. Please stay."

Reluctantly, he sat back down.

"I just wanted to see my...," he paused, "to see Sean again."

He told me a little about himself and that he was a marine engineering technician in the Canadian Navy. The ship he was posted on had docked in Toronto harbour for some maintenance and he had some shore leave time.

"I gave up trying to get to see Sean the times I was back in the area before. Sean's mother wouldn't let me near him, especially the last time a couple of years ago. She was living with some real creep that threatened to beat me up. I think his name was Maury."

I smiled and said, "Mr. Greeves is out of commission for a long time."

He told me that one of his friends, that he kept in contact with that was still in the area, had told him of her incarceration and that they thought Sean had been adopted.

"I visited Sean's mother in jail shortly after we docked. She didn't look so good but she was helpful. I guess she was desperate for company," he said.

He told me that she had found out what our last name was and that we lived in the town, so it made it easy for him to find us, even though we had an unlisted telephone number. I was a little concerned that she had those details, but we hadn't made an attempt to conceal that information in the adoption process.

"The local town newspaper was very helpful, also. I saw Sean's name in the local sports section a few times for scoring goals," he said, with a proud smile.

This same contact was able to get the season's hockey schedule for the minor hockey association and that's how he was able to locate us.

"The night of the concert I had mustered up enough nerve to see if I could meet with Sean. I had followed you from the rink before, so I knew where you lived. I arrived just as you folks were leaving, so I followed you and watched the performance from the back of the hall."

I was feeling a little nervous at this point at how easy it was for him to locate us without us knowing what was going on. It almost felt like he was stalking us.

"I know what you must think of me for taking off on my family, but I wasn't very mature then and I realized I made a mistake when it was too late."

He filled me in on some of the past history and the events that took place when Sean was born. He told me that he was just about to break up with Sean's mother when she told him she was pregnant. Sean's mother had tricked him and told him she was on the pill, which she wasn't. He was there when Sean was born but he couldn't hack the thought of being a father and staying around with someone he didn't love anymore, so he took off.

"I was just a kid myself, then. It was very hard to leave after I had held Sean in my arms and he looked up at me with those baby blue eyes. I came back when Sean was two years old, but she wouldn't let me see him."

He also told me that his mother and father had tried to adopt Sean after they found out they were grandparents. They lived in Nova Scotia, which was where he was from and after high school he had left to get a job in Ontario, against his parent's wishes. He hadn't kept in touch very often and when he did, he gave his parents few details of his life, preferring to keep them in the dark.

"I was very headstrong in those days and we weren't on the best of terms after I left for the East."

"So Sean is definitely Irish, since your last name is O'Connor and his mother's was McDonagh."

He told me that his relatives were from around Dublin and that he was Catholic, but like his parents, he was not a practicing one. He then told me a little bit about his parents, Sean's grandparents.

"My father's a pharmacist, who owned his own store for a number of years. He sold it and now works in the dispensary at Walmart."

His father was also quite a fiddler, who had won some competitions in the area where they lived. His mother, Sean's grandmother, was a high school math teacher and an oboist in a local orchestra.

"He gets his musical talents from his grandparents, as I played a little guitar when I was younger, but I wasn't very good. I was a pretty good hockey player, though, especially when I got mad."

I chuckled and said, "So is Sean. When Bulldog comes to play, his game kicks into overdrive."

I explained what I meant and he just smiled. He also wanted to know more about Sean so I told him about his activities and strengths. His smile kept getting bigger as I gave him the information. I also told him about what a rough upbringing he had before I adopted him, including the incident with Maury Greeves. He was very upset at what had transpired.

"It took a lot of patience and many appointments with a psychologist to get him to where he is today. I would hate for him to have a setback," I said, as my tone became more direct.

"If you're worried that I'll try to take him away from, don't. I know my limitations. Besides, that wouldn't be fair to Sean and you. I could never compete with your wealth and offer Sean a comfortable lifestyle like he has now,"

"The wealth isn't what's important to Sean. He's more interested in being wanted and loved, which is all he ever wanted from you and his mother," I said, very pointedly.

We had been talking for about a half hour and I wasn't sure where this was leading to. I felt better that Seamus seemed to be a reasonable person and that his motives were honest. However, I was in a quandary about what to do next.

"I've taken up a lot of your time and I really do appreciate the information you've shared. I don't mind if you tell Sean any of the details that I've told you about and I'll leave that up to you to decide what to tell him... if you decide to tell him you met with me."

I didn't know what to say as I was torn between my instincts to protect Sean and his right to know.

"Please tell him that I...," he paused and then continued, "that I care for him and I always have."

He started to get up to leave and I said, "I'm not going to tell him any details, Seamus. You are."

I told him that I would tell Sean about the meeting and leave it up to him whether he wanted to meet face-to-face or have a conversation on the phone.

"I'm not going to deny him the opportunity to talk to you, because he needs to know that you did love him and that you tried to reconnect."

We made arrangements for me to call him the next evening and I would tell him what the next steps would be. When I got home the boys were downstairs watching one of the last Toronto Maple Leaf games on Hockey Night in Canada, as once again they had missed the playoffs. The boys were none the wiser as to where I had been.

Dana was anxious to know what had transpired and asked, "How did things go? Is he a reasonable person?"

I realized from the tone of her voice that she was as stressed and concerned as I was. I told her as much of the details as I could remember and that I had made a decision to let Sean know.

"Is that a good idea, Al? I wish we could have talked this over first. What if Sean has a setback?"

We talked things out and she was better after I explained my reasoning and what arrangement had been made. She also was firm that we should broach the subject as a family.

"After the game is over, all four of us need to sit down and talk this out."

As usual she was right and when the game was over we called them upstairs.

"Sean, I was out tonight meeting with a man who has been showing up at your activities the last couple of weeks."

Both Jake and Sean had puzzled looks and couldn't figure out where I was going with the conversation. Their only concern was the fact that they were missing the next game of the double header, which had Buffalo playing Edmonton and Jake was anxious to see his hero, Ryan Miller, play goal. I explained some of the details that the man looked familiar and that I decided to go talk to him to see if his motives were honourable.

"He tried to avoid me and when I got closer to him as he was leaving the arena, I realized why he looked familiar. The man was Seamus O'Connor," I said, as I paused expecting some sort of strong reaction from Sean.

Sean looked at me and said, "Yeah?", as he was impatiently waiting for me to continue.

He still didn't know what I was talking about and I realized that his mother had never told him what his father's last name was.

"Sean, that's your biological father."

Now I got a reaction. He was stunned and speechless.

"You've got to be kidding. What's he trying to do?" Jake said.

Sean had now recovered and said, "Are you sure?"

"You're a spitting image of him, son. I'm sure."

I could see that contemptuous look in Sean's eyes that he got when he disliked someone or a situation. I didn't want him to make a quick judgement before he had heard all the facts.

"Son, just hear me out before you make up your mind. Your father seems genuinely concerned for your welfare and he strikes me as a decent man. He realized he made a mistake by leaving and tried to reconnect when you were two years old, but your mother blocked his efforts."

I told him about the details and how his father had tried to see him over the years and that he wasn't trying to intrude into his life. I also told him it was up to him what he wanted to do, but I encouraged him to see him.

"I told Seamus I would phone him tomorrow and give him your answer."

"Why don't you think about it tonight and maybe you and Jake can talk about it before you go to bed. We'll respect your wishes, whatever you decide," Dana said, as she rubbed his arm.

We weren't sure what time Jake and Sean fell asleep, but they decided to sleep together in Sean's bed for the first time in years. It was very crowded, as Barney wormed his way onto the covers, as well, shortly before we turned in for the night.

"I guess we're not going to church this morning, dear. The boys are still asleep," I said, as I started to make my latte the next morning.

"I wonder what Sean has decided?" Dana asked.

They crawled out of bed around ten o'clock and made their way into the kitchen. We didn't push for an answer, but Sean sat down at the breakfast counter and we could tell that he had made a decision.

"I guess I want to see him," he said.

"I guess?" I asked.

"Everyone thinks I should."

"Don't do this for us; do it for yourself," Dana said.

He paused and looked at Jake, who was shaking his head yes.

"Jake's right. This will be my chance to tell him things I've wanted to say to him for years. If I don't talk to him I may not have another chance."

When I called Seamus I told him that Sean wanted to see him and that he should come to the house for Lunch. He arrived about 1 pm and had a bottle of wine as a house gift. When Sean looked at him he had a very neutral expression and he shook hands with him in response to Seamus' lead.

"Why don't you take Seamus downstairs and you can have a chat before lunch is ready, Sean," Dana said.

They were down there about an hour and finally they came back upstairs. We couldn't read Sean's mood, so we weren't sure how things went.

"I should be going, Al and Dana. These two boys need to be fed," Seamus said, as he extended his hand to me.

We were a little surprised, because we thought he was staying to eat with us. He hugged Dana and shook Jake's and my hand and then turned to Sean.

He held out his hand and said, "I'm glad to finally get to see you, Sean, now that you're almost grown up. Thank you for listening."

Sean didn't extend his hand but he said, "We thought you were staying for lunch," he paused and then said, "I want you to stay."

Seamus smiled and said to him, "Thank you. I'd love to."

We had a good meal and we exchanged information about our lives. Sean was happy and I was interested to see what had transpired in their chat, after Seamus had left. Both Dana and I were happy that there was some acceptance on Sean's part and that he didn't shut Seamus out. However, I was a little uneasy as to how this relationship would play out... and how this would affect my role with Sean.

While we were having tea afterwards, Seamus talked about his parents. Sean asked some questions and we could see that he was interested in finding out what kind of people they were.

"They would love to meet you, Sean. Maybe someday," he said.

"I'm sure we could arrange something," Dana said.

"I'm going to be in Halifax next month. I think I should talk to them face-to-face about our meeting rather than over the phone. I'm sure we can put something together."

It was late afternoon and he decided he should go. We got up and walked to the front hall and I noticed that Dana and Sean were lagging behind and were having a discussion.

"We're playing in the final concert of the school strings program tonight. Did you want to come and see us play?" Sean asked.

Seamus' face lit up with a big smile and he said, "How can I refuse an invitation like that?"

"You'll also get to meet the boys' love interests," I said, as Sean and Jake gave me the evil eye.

After he had left, the boys wanted to practice so Dana and I really didn't get to have a long conversation with Sean about his meeting.

"I told him how I felt and we came to an understanding. We're cool with things," was all he said, before he and Jake took off to the studio to practice.

Dana could sense that I was unsettled about the events and that I wasn't myself.

"Aren't you happy that Sean and Seamus were able to talk things out?" she asked.


She paused and then said, "You're not worried that Sean will want to go with Seamus, are you?"

When I didn't answer, she said, "That boy adores you. You have nothing to worry about."

Despite getting a big hug and kiss, I still had an uneasy feeling.

We met Seamus at the theatre and he sat with us. He had a chance to meet Melissa and Rachel beforehand and their parents. Melissa was a guest performer, as was Jake, since he had been too late to join the strings program. The boys looked very handsome in their black shirts and pants.

"Sean and Jake certainly have good taste," he said, as the four of them took off back stage to get ready.

The evening was called the 'Festival of Strings' and there were approximately 400 students from grades 4 through 12 taking part. The first number that Sean, Rachel and Charles were involved in was Samuel Barber's 'Adagio' which was very well performed by the older students. It was wonderful to hear so many string instruments playing such a wonderful piece of music, as there were about 100 students in the older group. All three kids were concentrating intently, but were enjoying what they were playing.

After the intermission Melissa and Jake joined Sean, Rachel and Charles on stage and formed a quintet to play the third movement of Benjamin Britten's 'Sarabande'. They did an excellent job and Rachel and Melissa were clearly the stars. The boys were good, but they hadn't had the experience that the other two had. Jake was still having trouble mastering the bow on the bass, but he was much better on the pizzicato parts.

"We have one more offering from this delightful quintet and it's 'Air on the G String' by Johan Sebastian Bach," the conductor said, as she introduced their last number.

They did a great job on one of Dana's favourite pieces and I noticed Seamus chuckling to himself as he looked at Dana dabbing her eyes with a Kleenex while they were playing. Rachel played the tune (the air) on her violin and Melissa and Jake did the pizzicato bass parts, while Charles and Sean played the inner parts. It was quite a credible performance given the fact that 3 of the 5 members were new at their instruments. Afterwards, we introduced Seamus to the rest of the adults and when the kids arrived from backstage everyone gathered around to give them lots of praise.

"You're quite the musician, Sean. Your grandfather's going to be really interested when I tell him you're playing the fiddle," Seamus said with a big smile, as he patted him on the back.

"It's not a fiddle. It's a violin," Rachel said, with a smile. Seamus laughed at being corrected.

"You young people were just wonderful," Dana said.

"Well two members of the quintet were good," Charles said as he looked at the girls.

By now Ronald had joined us and Charles and he held hands and had a quick hug.

Seamus noticed and asked, "Are they ... ,"

"Yes they're gay. Do you have a problem with that?" I asked.

"No. I'm just not used to that, being in the Navy, even though I know not everyone is straight. I think it's good that they're not trying to hide their sexuality. I had a friend that did and he committed suicide when he was in his early twenties."

Everyone was milling around and after about ten minutes, I could see Seamus saying his goodbyes to Sean and he gave him a hug. He then came over to us before he left.

"I'm off in the morning to the ship. I promised Sean I would keep in touch when I could. I also want to say thank you. I couldn't have picked out better parents for Sean if I'd tried."

The boys were tired when we got home and they had school in the morning. I knew it wasn't a good time to have a heart-to-heart with Sean. Dana and I said goodnight to Jake and then went to Sean's room. Barney had decided that Sean needed him and he was getting himself comfy on top of the covers.

"I'm tired, so can we talk tomorrow, Dad."

Sean sensed that I wasn't dealing well with the situation and he sat up in the bed.

"Seamus is like a big brother to me. I only have one Dad and that's you," he said, as he leaned over and gave me a hug.

That was one of the best hugs I had ever had and I was much relieved.

"I see Teddy's wormed his way back into your bed," Dana said, as she ruffled his hair.

"I'm bringing him up-to-date," he said, with a smile, before he rolled over to go to sleep.

The Lightning Thief

Benjamin Britten's 'Simple Symphony - Sentimental Sarabande 3rd movement'

Samuel Barber's 'Adagio'

Bach's 'Air on the G string'

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