If you want to get caught up before Book 2 becomes available, the cheapest method is to snag yourself a copy the Fathers and Sons "Special Edition" for Nook or Kindle at the link below.
Okey dokey, enough with the babble.
Enjoy Chapter 2!
2. Family Visits
“Boys?” Edna Williamson called out from the bottom of the stairs. “Your father and the chaperone should be here soon! Why don’t you come downstairs?”
Both Tommy Jarvis and his younger brother Nicky clearly heard her words, yet neither made a movement toward the bedroom door. It had been months since either boy had been in the same room with their father. The abuse allegations, and subsequent investigation proving them to be true, resulted in their removal from his care and placement with a foster family. For almost half a year they lived with a couple of retirees named Ed and Edna Williamson. In spite of their comically similar first names, the Williamsons proved to be decent, caring people — not perfect people by any means, but good people — the kind of people Tommy and Nicky barely believed existed anymore. Neither boy had forgotten about their father, yet at the same time they were only now beginning to settle in to their new life with the Williamsons. Things were easier for them here, quieter and certainly a lot less painful. The truth of the matter was that neither boy found the idea of introducing their father back into their lives even remotely appetizing. A week and a half before, a social worker for the state sat the pair down, telling them that Chris had been attending his meetings, that he was sober, and remorseful, that he was making great strides, and was anxious to see them again. Of the two, Nicky was slightly more open to the idea of reuniting with their father, but then Nicky’s past experiences with the old man were quite different from Tommy’s.
The memories – the awful, stinging memories –just recently began melting away for the fourteen year old Tommy Jarvis. What would happen now though? What would happen, when after all these months, Tommy came face to face with his father? Would the very old, very thick anger boil up from wherever he’d managed to shove it down deep inside his belly? Would the pain attached to those memories like a nasty parasite feeding off a half-starved host prove too much to bear? There were some questions in life for which one simply didn’t want answers. For Tommy Jarvis, these were those very questions.
“Boys? Come on now, don’t dawdle . . .get your behinds down here.” Edna yelled out a bit more forcefully from downstairs.
Propped up on his elbows, Nicky reluctantly slid his feet over the side of his bed, sighing deeply. Across the room Tommy remained on his back, staring blankly up at the ceiling. His eyes were closed, his chest rising and sinking patiently with each breath. Tommy didn’t want to forgive his father, and he couldn’t understand why everyone seemed to expect him to. Even if the old man had changed – even if he never again laid a hand on him, or screamed at his little brother – so what? The damage had been done.
Some things, once done, can never be undone. It was as simple as that.
Things were by no means perfect with the Williamsons, but they were certainly better than anything the Jarvis brothers had experienced in a very long time. Tommy understood completely that he and Nicky’s time with the Ed and Edna was limited - a temporary solution at best. Temporary or not, it was something he wasn’t ready to let go of. Nicky was speaking again and doing better in school. Last week Tommy spotted his little brother talking to another boy outside the building after school ended. Nicky had a friend - a real, living and breathing friend. Things were getting better. For the first time in years, happiness – even on the tiniest of levels – seemed attainable. It could all go away with the snap of the fingers — or the stinging crack of a backhand across the face if they were forced to move back in with their father. Only recently, Tommy had experienced, for the very first time, the wonderful sensation of going to bed without a welt on his leg, a scratch on his arm, or a fractured bone inside his chest. Lately his sleep had been deep and comfortable and warm, his dreams non-existent. How utterly amazing it had been to simply sleep, free of nightmares and without worry. It was luxury he had forgotten existed. What did a life with his father have to offer? Why did he deserve a second chance? He didn’t.
“Are you coming down?” Nicky asked Tommy while standing next to his bed staring at his older brother from across the room.
Tommy breathed deeply, turning his head slightly in Nicky’s direction. “No . . .and neither should you.”
“We have to.”
“We don’t have to do anything Nicky . . .especially not for him.” Twisting his body sideways while pulling his knees to his chest and curling into a half-fetal position, Tommy turned away from the confused face of his little brother and toward the opposite wall.
At the bottom of the stairs, Edna Williamson was a moment away from calling to the boys again when she noticed Nicky slowly making his way toward her. Tommy, though, was nowhere to be found.
“Where’s your brother?” She asked the youngest Jarvis boy as he passed her on his way into the kitchen.
“He doesn’t want to come down,” Nicky responded softly, never turning in her direction.
From the opposite end of the room, Ed Williamson sighed with a deep, noticeable frustration while tugging his aching body up from a very comfortable position on the couch.
“I’ll go have a talk with him,” he grumbled, slowly beginning the long journey up the stairs.
“Don’t you go flying off the handle, Ed . . .this isn’t easy on the boy.”
“I know Edna, I know. Give me a little credit will you. I’m just going to have a little chat with him, that’s all.”
“If he’s not ready to come down, the social worker said we shouldn’t push too hard . . .especially not for the first meeting.”
Ed was near the top of the stairs now, his chest straining, his aged knees aching from the journey.
Stopping momentarily to catch his breath he looked down at his wife of so many years while rolling his eyes, “I remember what she said . . .I remember. If there’s anyone in this house that knows what he’s going through, it’s me. Relax. I’m not going to push the boy, trust me.”
The wrinkled, slightly more crooked than it was twenty years ago smile on her husband’s face instantly reassured Edna Williamson. She loved Ed. She loved him as much as the day they were married, though for entirely different reasons. Love is funny like that, having the uncanny ability to morph into something completely foreign while still holding onto the things that made it so unique, wonderful, and safe in the first place. The sixty-three year old Edward Williamson was a good deal different from the twenty-four year old version. In his heart though, despite the changes brought on by age and experience, he was still the same man she fell in love with and still a comfortably perfect fit for her.
Reaching the door to the boy’s bedroom, Ed stopped for a moment to collect his thoughts. Rubbing his hand across his balding head covered sparsely with stringy gray hair, he sighed deeply. His mind wandered back many, many years to his own father, to the unresolved issues he allowed to remain unresolved until the day his father died. As frustrated as young Tommy Jarvis had occasionally made him over the last six months, he cared about the boy. In fact, he cared about the boy so deeply that it surprised him. When Edna suggested they become a foster family, the one thing Ed never counted on was forming any real, serious feelings for the children sent to live with them. After his own son’s untimely death so many years ago, he simply didn’t think he was capable of such a thing anymore. Having loved a child so deeply only to have that love taken away – he always believed it left him hollow and incapable of reaching that peak again.
The appearance of the Jarvis boys had proved him wrong.
After mustering up a bit of courage, he pushed the bedroom door open gently, “Hey pal, why don’t you . . .” Ed’s voice quickly trailed off.
The room was empty. Tommy was gone. The window on the opposite wall was wide open, loose drapes flapping softly in the fall breeze.
Shaking his head, Ed calmly called out to his wife from the top of the stairs, “I think Tommy is going to sit this one out, dear.”