Her Love

Out of blue, Nathan Rivers is called by his ex-fiancee to care of their son he has never seen or contacted, awhile she is in the hospital for surgery that may not...be successful.

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3. THREE

 

“The meetings have to be reschedule for next week, Greg,” said Nathan into his smart phone, “ It is an important family matter that is to keep me from coming in this week,”

 

“I...umm...I”

 

“I What, Greg!?”

 

“I understand, Sir,”

 

“Good. Now I am however going to try to come in on Friday. My own work will be faqs to the office. There is a faqs machine on the seventh floor. Make sure it is working or some one is going to be laid off,” he said. He then ended the call before he could hear any reply back from Greg. Mr. Cider, the chauffeur, began chuckling. “Very threatening today, Nathan,” he laughed.

 

“Have to be,” he replied, “It's the only way I can run a business.”

 

Tomorrow Rosanna was to have her operation. Nathan planned to be there for her. He had several of his belongings to be shipped to her house that stood remotely in the middle of nowhere.

 

“Have you seen the child?” asked Mr. Cider as they parked outside a tiny cottage that was surround only by two trees.

 

“Just a glimpse. He ran pass me in the hospital,” he replied, He got out of the car to view what was to be his home for five days. Without taking his eyes off it, he reached for his lighter in his back pocket of his khakis. It was an expensive lighter. It was one that would be hard to find in normal brand store.

 

“Do you have a pack on you?” he asked Mr. Cider. The old man handed him a cigarette and then went on to say, “I thought you had given it up.”

 

Nathan lit the cig. He gave it a blow and inhaled it's smoke before saying, “I thought so too, but this week already started damn and if the rest of it will be too I my as well allow myself to have at least one pleasure,”

 

“I am sorry, Sir. I am not being professional am I,”

 

Nathan responded with a laugh. Surrounding them was nothing but pasture lands that go far as the eye can see. The closest house was three miles away. He was in the middle of no where smoking a cig with his chauffeur. They were of different social classes but there in that bubble they were pals.

 

“You have always been an exception,” he chuckled, “If you were younger than me then maybe I would be annoyed,”

 

“That's good to here,” chuckled the old man, “Need a drink?”

 

No words were needed to answer the old mans question. Hidden in the old man's glove compartment was a glass bottle of whiskey and two shot glasses. They toast and cheered for the first, had a buzz for the second, and sang for the third. It was an hour before the afternoon and the grown men were dancing on top of the fancy car in the middle of nowhere. The wind howled against them but they still sang silly tunes of heartbreak and adventure. Near the end of every song Nathan would begin to curse towards the sky and the sky would respond to him with his echoes. No one could hear them. No one could see them. They were free to go crazy and mad. However, the drinking had an immediate end when Nathan caught a glimpse of his watch. “Shit,” he said.

 

“What is wrong, Sir?”

 

“It is two forty-five! I have to sober up!” he said, “I promise to pick up the brat from his school!” With haste he put on his socks and shoes. Fortunately he didn't had to search for the keys to the cottage and Rosanna's car for they were in his front pocket. “The movers!” he said once he and Mr. Cider were in house, “Shit. They haven't come,”

 

“I can wait here, sir, if it comforts you,”

 

“Yes...that's good,” he sighed as he head to the kitchen's sink, “Good. Well I'm going to take her car once I am ready and your...goin...” Before he could say anymore he tripped on the floor with the glass of water spilled on him. Mr. Cider chuckled before he helped his boss up from the floor and then went to say, “Its going to be a while sir before you pick up the boy.”

 

Peyton waited on the side walks outside of his school building. The person who was to be his guardian was late. The parking lot was empty and the only people around were the school's teachers that were monitoring those entering and leaving the school. Saint Bennett was a private catholic school and their budgets did no include the hiring of security guards. Thus, it was the teacher's jobs to not only be teachers, but to be play-school monitors, security guards, parking lot monitors, and any other job that the school needs yet can't afford to employ.

 

“Peyton would you like to wait inside?” asked the 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Layton. She was one of the last teachers outside in the parking lot. The other two were chatting away near the school playgrounds.

 

“I'm fine,” he replied. His eyes were beautiful, but were solemn. Mrs. Layton sighed and walked away to another area of the parking lot. Thus, soon after he began walking up and down the sidewalk. His backpack that was over his shoulder was heavy, so when ten minutes pass he decided to sit it down. However, the time he sat his backpack beside his feet, he notice his mother's dark blue station wagon being parked in the lot. He stood up when a tall man with shades covering his eyes came out of the car. The man left his mother's car and walked towards Mrs. Layton.

 

“My guardian,” he thought. He rolled his eyes at the man, who was now arguing with his teacher awhile he picked up his school bag that was still sitting on the side walk.

 

“I'm here to pick up a Peyton Bosco,” said Nathan to who he assumed was a teacher to the school, “I am his guardian,”

 

“Guardian, huh,” ranted the middle aged lady, “You're lousy one! The child has been waiting here on the curve for two hour and half! You didn't called the school! Your lucky, sir! You lucky that I had time to stay to and wast two hours!”

 

“Calm down woman!” he said taking off his shade, “I am not from around here! Isn't this a Christian school!? Don't you teach mercy?!”

 

“Excuse me!?” Don't you dare woman me!” she barked back as she poked his chest, “I don't know who you are but you..”

 

“He's my guardian,” interrupted a boy that looked he could be the nine years old. Dark brown hair, fair skin, dark blue eyes that were complimented by his long dark eyelashes, and a tiny nose covered by little speck of freckles; this child that Nathan found himself staring at was his offspring. His only offspring.

 

“Yes, Peyton,” said the middle age teacher to the child, “I am well aware he is your guardian.” She began to crouch so she could speak at eye level contact with the child.

 

“I was just discussing with your guardian how he must be punctual with his time,” she jeered at Nathan hoping that he would hear. However, Nathan's attention was on the boy and his thoughts kept him from hearing her venom tone and words.

 

Without much thought, he accidentally shoved the teacher to the curve. “I am your guardian, Mr. Rivers,” he said to the child. He then took out his right hand intending for the child to shake it. The child though, ignored the gesture.

 

“I am Peyton,” he said, “Peyton Bosco.” After making his swift self-introduction, the child headed towards the station wagon leaving his care taker with the angry teacher. The teacher began to yap more at Nathan for his rude behavior as he was about to walk off to the car.

 

“Excuse me!” she shouted, “I am not done talking to you!”

 

“Ms., I'm sorry for wasting your time, but now I have to go. I mean we can't waste anymore time,” he said. He turned his back towards her and headed to the car. He was done speaking, but she wasn't. His last words only added more wood to the fire. She alas was still consistently yapping at him even when he entered his vehicle.

 

It was soon after that Nathan started buckled himself in that the boy asked him, “How do you know my mother?”

 

Instead of answering, he waved a gesture of stop with his right hand. “Hey,” he said, “Did you hear something?” The boy looked outside the car window. Mrs. Layton was walking towards the car and was yelling. “It is,” he replied, “Mrs. Layton. She is yelling at you,”

 

“Oh..hmmm. Was that the lady I was talking to earlier?”

 

“Yes,”

 

“Poor woman,” he sighed as put his shades on and put his feet on the gas, “She is wasting more time venting.” Vroom! They were out of the parking lot less than split of second.

When they came towards a red light in traffic, the boy asked Nathan again, “How do you know my mother?”

 

“College,” answered Nathan. He turned the radio on and lowered the driver's seat window. He then reached for his cig in his pocket, but he stuck it in his mouth due to running out of time before the light turned green.

 

“Hey, in my back pocket is my lighter. Can you fetch it for me,” he mumbled to Peyton as he drove. Too busy, he was focusing on the road to be aware of the glare that the child was giving.

 

Peyton did as Mr. Rivers bid him to do. He got the lighter out of the man's back pocket, but instead of handing it over, he rolled down his own window and threw it out.

 

Nathan was able to see through his driving mirror his nice expensive lighter be smashed by the car behind him. “What the F...!” he shouted as honked the car. He immediately pulled the car over to a shopping plaza and parked it. “Hey! Did you think that was funny!? Do you know how much it cost!?,” he roared at the boy.

 

Peyton responded with a flinch and open the passenger door. He got out and began to walk away, but the man grabbed his arm from behind.

 

“Where do you think you're going?” said Nathan to the boy, “I have responsibility over you,”

 

“But who are you?!” shouted Peyton, “I know nothing of you!” The tight grip that the man had around his arm loosen. The man stared at him stupidly. He had his attention, but he couldn't look him straight in the face. “I can't trust you,” he murmured.

 

Nathan after hearing those words fully released his grip on the boy. The child before him had every reason not to trust him, but even fear him. He was a stranger. Someone the child has never ever met before and to expect the him to be so willingly obedient and fine to live with him was too much.

 

He then walked away leaving the child there alone in the parking lot. At a couple feet away from the boy, the puzzle child shouted, “Wait! Where are you going!?” Nathan didn't reply, but kept on walking. The boy fearful of being alone ran after him to the point where they were at the entrance to a store.

 

Peyton looked up at the store sign. “7- eleven,” he said, “Why?”

 

“You threw away my lighter so now I must buy a new one,” said the man as he entered the store. “However,” he went on to say, “The lighters here will never be the same quality as the one you toss. My lighter was expensive,”

 

“Expensive?”

 

“It means it cost more,”

 

“Oh. How more expensive was it?”

 

“Do you really want to know?” the man said to him after viewing a shelf of the store's items. Suddenly the man started squinting his eyes and began to walk closer to Peyton.

 

“What?” said Peyton as the man narrowed on his face.

 

“Your face...there is a couple of bluish spots on your face,”

 

“It's nothing,” he murmured. The man shrugged his shoulders. He grabbed a pack of cigs to go along with his cheap lighter. “My bad,” he said to Peyton, “I was just curious as to why you have bruises on your face,” he said.

Peyton said nothing even though he had the urge to do so.

 

After buying his lighter and pack of cigs, Nathan took the boy to a pub close by that allow smoking. In the dim lit pub, the host placed them in a booth that was right next to the window. The boy began to stare outside. As he observed the day become evening, Nathan lit up his cig. Silent the two were but noise was happening all around them. Most of the noise was happening around the bar which was in a separate room. In fact, in that other room had a television, so whatever the folks were watching must have been good for Nathan was envious. He would rather be in that room then be dealing with boy before him, but this was of course his responsibility and much more his own child.

 

After looking at the menu several times the boy then asked, “Why are we here?”

 

“To earn your trust. Here at this table I'll tell you about me,” said Nathan. Before he could say more their waitress arrived to get their orders. “Hi, my name is Ruby,” she chirped, “I'll be your waitress tonight and if your ready for your orders, please do tell,”

 

“Hi, Ms. Rudy,” smiled the boy to the waitress. The waitress gushed back and said to him, “Oh ain't you a sweetie. Are you ready to make you order, sweetie pie?”

 

“I am,” said Nathan before the boy could reply back to the waitress, “I'll like a dark roast coffee with two bags of sweetner. To go along I would like an omelet,”

 

“Oh okay,” she said as she wrote his order down in a notepad, “Well you sure are a breakfast eater,”

 

“Well I can't help, but be a breakfast type of guy,” he winked as he handed her his menu that he didn't even took a glimpse at.

 

For some reason it really bothered Peyton how Mr. Rivers was being all nicey nice to their pretty waitress. In retaliation, Peyton try to sound mature as can be when he went to order. He cleared his throat and then requested, “I'll like a grill cheese with water,”

 

“Why of course,”

 

“Thank you,” he smiled, “You're very pretty,”

 

“Oh, why you're too kind. Well won't you be such a keeper,” she replied before leaving their table. Peyton kept smiling after. He felt like he won a victory over the man who sat across him, but the man sitting across wasn't paying attention. The man was staring long out into the window.

 

Nathan sighed at the sight of the rain being poured down outside. “Well,” he huffed, “We are going to get a little wet when we leave,”

 

“Huh, it is. Barely can see cause it so dark,”

 

“Yeah,” he said, “Peyton...has your mother ever talk to you about your father?”

 

“Very...little. She said he is a very busy man,”

 

“Really,” he chuckled as he exhale the smoke from his mouth from his cig, “Hey did you know that they had a date here,”

 

“You're lying,”

 

“I am not lying. Their second date was here at this pub. She wanted to go somewhere casual, so he took her here...for breakfast,”

 

“So...you knew my father. What was he like?” asked the child in a severe tone. The boy had an anxious but serious expression. It took Nathan by surprise.

 

“He was always serious and overly cocky,” he smiled, “But some how... she always found his soft spot.”

 

“Your drinks are here,” said the waitress with a tray, “ I am so sorry for the wait.” she placed their orders before them and gave both a wink before heading off. Nathan tapped the ash off his cig into the ash tray before he dig into his meal. Thus, the time he got to his omelet after he ketchup it, the boy had already had one of the halves of his grill cheese eaten. “This is good,” said the boy, “But my mom makes better,”

 

“Well she is a food critic,”

 

“Yep,” smiled the boy, “Hey, what do you do?”

 

“I work,”

 

“What is your work?”

 

“Running a business,”

 

“What business?”

 

“Clothes,” said Nathan who was a bit agitated with all the questions. It was all sudden though that the boy before him started laughing. “What's funny?,” he mumbled.

 

“Your business! It's girly,”

 

“It's not,”

 

“It is,” giggled Peyton at the funny man before him. The man who act all cool and macho before turn out to be an owner of a sissy clothing business. That was a shocker, but still the man was still a curiosity an interesting person to observe. He watched the man stub out his cig in the ash tray and began drinking the mug full of black liquid.

 

“Is that tasty?” he asked the man. The man responded with a smile and said, “Want to try?”

 

“It doesn't look good,” he replied as he attempt to get a closer peek of liquid by kneeling in his seat. “It's an adult drink,” grinned Mr. Rivers, “It as has a taste that you have to grow up to like.”

 

Peyton huffed and began to pout. He hated to be looked at as a child. He wanted to be an adult and look mature. He wanted adults to respect him and not look down at him. With determination and a serious face he said to Mr. Rivers, “I change mind. Let me try,”

 

“Okay,” said Nathan. He was quite amused with the child before him and was ready to see the rascal's reaction. The boy gulped as he stared into the pitch black liquid in the mug and with his might he took his sip, but his immediate reaction to its bitter taste was a big spit that landed on Nathan. Nathan stayed calm when the boy covered his agape mouth. There was an intense silence for a few seconds with the boy. The two were having a stare showdown, but this showdown did not last long because Nathan began to chuckle.

 

“Hey!” shouted Peyton to the laughing man in front of him. The man started banging the table with his fist and arm. He chuckled, “Oh your face! It was so great! Haa haaa”

 

“Its not funny!” pouted Peyton, but the man kept on laughing. His face was flush, but his brows were pointing diagonally inward. He was very cross. “Hey!” he shouted, “I said it ain't funny old man!”

 

“Yea it is!” chuckled the man, but suddenly his chuckled died down. “Wait a second,” he huffed as he got his pack out. With style the man removed cig from his pack with his lips. With the cig in his mouth he lit it and soon after he grabbed it between his index and middle finger. He took the cig between those fingers with his palm facing downward. For a moment Peyton thought he was with a 1950's movie star.

 

“Hey,” he said to Peyton after inhaling and exhaling the smoke of his cig, “Hey what did you call me?”

 

“I...I,”

 

“What did you call me?”

 

“Old man,” he murmured. The man draw his face about seven inches away from Peyton's and stared at him. Peyton was nervous. This man before him was acting like the men in the old mob films that he and his mother would watch on Friday nights. To his surprise though the man did a sudden flick to his forehead and then went to say, “Even.”

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