I was woken up the next morning like I was woken up almost every morning, by Ben pulling at my arm or jumping on my bed. As he continued to jump on my bed telling me to get up, I finally sat up,
“Hey buddy,” I said, picking him up off my bed and onto the ground.
“Get up,” he complained, pulling at my arm.
“I’m working on it,” I said as I pulled the covers off of me with the one arm that wasn’t being grabbed by Ben’s little hands.
“You sleep too long,” Ben told me as I moved from my bed and stood up on the floor.
“Sorry,” I laughed and ruffled his hair.
“Mommy made pancakes for breakfast, so lets go,” he ran out of my room and down the stairs, and I sped up my walking a bit to keep up with him.
As I walked down the stairs, I mentally smiled to myself when I realized it was Saturday, the one day a week I didn’t have to wake up early to go to practice. I loved playing hockey, but playing it for hours everyday is a lot of work, so I usually look forward to Saturday for a break for a day. Ben and I walked into the kitchen, and the aroma of pancake batter and freshly cooked pancakes filled the room.
“Good morning Harry,” my aunt said once I walked in and sat down at the counter.
“Good morning,” I said, and grabbed a plate of pancakes she had already ready for me next to her, and put it in front of me.
“Sorry about Ben waking you up. He was complaining and refused to do anything until you were awake, so I eventually just let him wake you up,” she told me as she handed me some syrup, while Ben was climbing up onto the barstool next to mine.
“Breakfast is more fun with Harry,” Ben told his mom as she handed him a plate of pancakes.
“Am I not fun to have breakfast with?” my aunt joked as she slid the remaining pancakes on the grill to a plate.
“I guess, but Harry’s just better,”
“Should I just go ahead and leave then?” his mom said, continuing to joke with him.
“You can if you want, the food’s already made,” he said as he took a bite of his pancakes.
My aunt and I bursted out into laughter at his comment.
“You just got rejected by your own son,” I told her.
“Well that hurt,” she said as she placed a hand on her heart pretending she was wounded.
Ben just seemed to care less about all this as he continued to eat his breakfast.
“Well I guess I’ll leave and let you two have your guy time,” she said as she took off her apron and folded it to put away.
“Don’t forget you have to leave in about one and a half hours to get Ben to the children’s center,” she added as she began to walk out of the kitchen.
“Do I have to go?” Ben called out to her.
“Yes,” she told him,
“It’ll be fun, just keep an open mind about it,”
“I always do, and I never enjoy it,” he said back to her.
“You’ll have Harry with you this time, maybe he can help you meet some new friends,” she said, and then walked out of the kitchen.
“You don’t have to take me,” Ben told me once his mom left, still lowering his voice a bit just to be sure she wouldn’t here him.
I bent down so my face was right in front of his,
“Yeah I do,”
“No, we can just say we’re going there but then you can take me somewhere else, like the playground,” he offered.
“I don’t think so buddy, we better do what your mom asked, okay?” I told him.
“I don’t like going there though, it’s no fun and nobody will talk to me,” he complained.
“Well have you tried talking to any of them?” I asked him.
“Well…no, but if they really wanted to be my friend then they would talk to me,” he said.
“Most of the kids there aren’t very outgoing though I’ve heard, you should be the brave one and go talk to them. Maybe some of them don’t know you want to maybe me their friend,” I told him, but he just shrugged in response.
“I still don’t want to go,”
“Well today is going to be different, want to know how?” I said.
“How?” he asked.
“I’m going to be there with you today, and I’ll help you make some friends, how does that sound?”
“Okay, I guess,” he said and shrugged.
“Can you give me a bit more excitement?” instead of saying anything else, he just gave me the fakest big smile he could manage.
“We’ll work on that,” I told him, and then sat back up to finish my breakfast.
Once Ben and I both finished our breakfast, we both went to our rooms to get dressed. I changed from my sweats to a pair of jeans and a dark grey shirt. After I was dressed I brushed my teeth and fixed my hair a bit before putting on a pair of converse. I slipped my phone and wallet into my pockets, and then headed down to the living room to wait for Ben. A few minutes later Ben came into the living room with my aunt, and he was wearing a pair of jeans and a black sweater.
“Harry its kind of chilly out there, do you want to grab a jacket or something?” my aunt said as Ben plopped himself down on the couch.
“Okay,” I shrugged, and then headed back upstairs.
I found a brown jacket in one of my suitcases, and put it on. A navy blue beanie had fallen out of my suitcase while I was taking out my jacket, so I went ahead and put that on too. I headed back down the stairs once I was done, and went into the living room.
“Okay, I’m ready,” I said, and Ben got up from the couch and walked over to me.
“You two have fun,” my aunt said as we headed to the front door.
“Don’t count on it,” Ben said, not turning around as he grabbed onto my hand.
I could hear his mom just laughing at him as I opened the door. Ben and I walked out on to the porch, and I locked the door as Ben headed over to my car. My dad had given me money to buy myself a car when I moved out here since I had never gotten my own back in England. My aunt had moved Ben’s car seat into my car last night so Ben could ride in my car.
“Hey Harry,” Ben called me as I walked over to the car.
“Yeah?” I said.
“Can we put the car seat into the front seat next to you?” he asked me.
“Um, I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” I told him.
“Mommy lets me do it sometimes, I trust you’re a safe driver,” he told me.
I sighed, “I guess it’s fine, the center isn’t too far,”
“Thanks,” he smiled, and opened the back door.
I grabbed the seat out of the back of the car, and moved it to the front passenger seat.
Once Ben was in his seat and buckled, I got in the drivers seat, and began to back out of the driveway.
A few minutes later, I pulled up in front of the center after following the directions my aunt gave me to get there. I was thankful that we got here safely, I was a bit nervous about letting Ben ride in the front, but I knew he wasn’t really looking forward to coming here, so the least I could do was let him enjoy the ride to the center.
“You going to get out?” I asked once I began to step out of the car.
“I don’t want to go in,” he said,
“Nobody likes me there,”
“This time will be different,” I tried to assure him, but he just shook his head.
“Look, you are a smart, and fun little boy, and anyone who doesn’t see that isn’t worth worrying about, because they don’t realize what a great friend they’re missing out on,” I told him.
“Okay,” he said hesitantly.
I smiled, and then unbuckled his seat belt, and he got out of the car. The two of us walked up to the entrance of the building, and headed inside. Ben told me that we had to sign in at the front desk, so we walked up there and I wrote out names down on the clipboard, and then the lady behind the desk handed us name tags and a marker.
I wrote our names on the tags, and handed Ben the one with his name on it and we both stuck them onto our shirts. Ben showed me the hall we had to walk down, and he grabbed onto my hand as we walked down the hall. Ben stopped in front of one of the doors, and I opened it once I realized that it was the entrance to the place we needed to go to.
Once we were inside, I looked around at all the kids sitting at tables drawing and reading, and then a few running around with each other. Most of them seemed pretty nice, and I was surprised with how outgoing most of them seemed. Ben continued to hold onto my hand as I looked around to find any potential friends for Ben.
My gaze around the room stopped when I noticed two familiar faces. When I noticed Gabrielle now looking over at me, I quickly looked away, not wanting her to realize that I saw her and her friend. I subtly gazed back over to them, and I noticed Gabrielle pointing over in my direction, and then her friend looked over at me too, and I saw her say something, but I wasn’t sure what.
“Hey,” Ben said to me, and I looked away from the figure skaters and brought my attention to Ben. “What are you looking at?” he asked me.
“What? Oh nothing,” I quickly said.
“Let’s go find some friends for you,” I told him, and walked away from the doors, and more into the room.