Knocking quietly on August's door, I let myself into what I liked to call his "playroom". It was filled with all of this favorite things: keyboard, guitars, video games, and computer. This boy could never do without any of them. He was so much like my father. He made me proud.
But he could also be wreckless like him, too, which worried me. Seth didn't worry about him like I did. My husband reasoned, "What could happen to him in San Myshuno? He just wants to talk. Let him."
I shook my head as I watched August tap the keys. I knew my son. He wasn't telling the the whole truth. But Seth convinced me because a part of me wanted to be very supportive of August's life choices. If that was truly what this was about.
I cleared my throat. "Hey, bud."
He quickly clicked out of what he was searching and pulled up a video. "Hey, Mom. What's up?"
"I...um...well, I talked it over with Dad and we've decided you can go this weekend."
"Really?" he almost shouted.
Popping out of his chair, he said, "I promise I'll get my homework done while I'm on the plane. It won't hurt my grades."
The relief that washed over his face made me feel better. This was so important to him. I could see that. I felt bad for not trusting him.
Smiling, I said, "I know you will. Give Fashionista a hug for me. I really miss him."
He chuckled. "Aw, you know Uncle Jay will just pinch my ass if I do that." He pulled me into a hug and whispered, "Thanks, Mom. You're the best."
Before I could even say hello to Uncle E and Uncle Jay, I was up to my chin in toddlers. It was like the little monsters knew when someone didn't like them. They'd instantly go on the attack.
"Hold me!" Everly whined. "Pwease, Auggie?"
"No! Me! ME!" Archer shouted.
But then the twisted little demons would slobber all over me, and I'd do whatever they wanted. So annoying.
And their dog, Patches, was no better. He'd lick AND paw me. He was worse that Uncle Jay.
"We're so happy you're here, August. What a treat," Uncle Jay said after I'd been greeted to death by his minions.
I chuckled. "Glad to be here. It's been a long time. I've...missed it."
"You can take the boy out of San Myshuno but you'll never take San Myshuno out of the boy. I get it. You belong here, August. You always have."
"You'll be here for school in no time, won't you, August?" Uncle E asked. "Going to S. M. University in the fall, right?"
"Folumbia is the best university here," Uncle Jay groused. "I have no clue why you want to go to a state university when an ivy league school is down the street."
"Don't be such a snob, babe. San Myshuno U. has the best criminal justice department in the country. He wants to work for the feds."
Uncle Jay tutted. "You should get your music degree. Such a waste of talent. It's in your blood."
Uncle Jay never changed. He'd always tried to talk me into following in my grandfather's footsteps, but that kind of life just didn't interest me. I thought I'd throw him a bone to make him happy. "I am minoring in music. I do love it."
"Well, if you ever change your mind, I know tons of show people who have even more connections than Sevin Bacon. They all love to use my designs. Just leave everything to me!"
"Darlin'," Uncle E interjected, "do you need some help to get the twins ready for bed?"
Saved by Uncle E. I tried to tie down a grin.
"No, no, sweetie, you go on and chat with August. I can give them a bath just fine."
As we settled down on the couch, Uncle E said, "Sorry about that. Jay gets really worked up about the arts."
"No, it's fine. I honestly hear that all the time. It doesn't bother me. That's what happens when you have a superstar grandfather. Everyone expects you to be just like them."
"So..." Uncle E cleared his throat. "Your dad said you wanted to talk to me. You know, you can ask me anything. I don't mind."
My stomach did a nervous flip flop. It was one thing talking about this to my dad, but to Uncle E? I lifted the side of my mouth, trying to hide my jitters. "Yeah...um...this is all so new to me...like I realized I was attracted to guys just a few months ago. Like...did you always know you were bi?"
"Honestly, August, it happened exactly the same way for me, I think. I was in high school and got real close with a fella in one of my classes. He was prettier than a spotted horse in a daisy pasture, if you know what I mean. I tried to keep my composure and laugh it off as just a rare thing, but then Jay came along and I couldn't deny it any more."
I lowered my voice as if my parents were listening, "Is it hard...you know...not having...um...sex with a woman now?"
"Well, August, for me, sex is sex. It feels good, right?" He laughed and shook his head. "But when you love someone, that's what turns sex into something deeper. I can honestly say I am more satisfied with Jay than any other person I've been with. It'll work the same for you when the right one comes along."
Wow. Uncle E knew exactly what to say to make me feel so much better about things. I'd never really talked with him much before, but he was so wise. No wonder he's my dad's best friend.
The rest of the night was fun as Uncle Jay told me what I'd be missing at Folumbia and Uncle E and I teamed up against him, teasing him until he gave up.
Early the next morning, I dressed in my blazer and clipped along toward the huge Federal building. The sun peeked over the buildings as the pigeons cooed. I felt at home in the city. I'd missed it so much.
Gazing up at the Justice symbol, my heart squeezed in my chest.
I wondered if I'd ever make it as an agent, working here one day.
As I entered the huge double doors, I was met with a surly face. The man grunted, "Can I help you?"
Suddenly, my brain froze as my tongue felt like it'd grown a few sizes. I stammered, "U-Um...I-I...I'm um..."
"Spit it out, kid, I don't got all day."
I swallowed, trying to get a hold of my nerves. "Um...I have...um...an appointment with Special Agent Dickens?" Damn. I said it like a question. This wasn't going down like I'd imagined. In my dreams, I was this super confident guy like James Bond himself. I'd saunter in like I'd owned the place and they'd beg me to come join their forces after I'd graduated.
God. What was wrong with me?
He looked at me under his hooded eyebrows. "Special Agent Dickens. The director of this whole facility. That's a good one. What are you really here for, kid, I don't like playing games?"
My heart sank. Geeze. Did I just imagine that phone call? Oh, God. Maybe someone in the office was playing a huge prank on me.
Next chapter will be posted Friday, 12/15
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