20. • THE STORM •


Final Chapter

After dinner had concluded, Russell and Kai settled in the living room. While Timothy's Cartoons played, Kai watched as well. Trying his best not to seem awkward, for the Boy held on to both him and Russell. His eyes focused on the Television, with no qualms as to how Russell and Kai felt.

Agitated and cumbersome, was quite the understatement. Though it was a site to behold, with Timothy settled between both of them. Unbothered by the feelings surmounting inside his Father, and the hopes and dreams of a desperate Kai. Who was trying his best not to fall any further for the relentless Russell Adams.

'Seems the Storm isn't going anywhere. Would you like a drink? You look kinda out of it.' Russell offered as he gazed at Kai, taking notice of the Teacher's unwavering tenseness.

'Oh I don't like drinking that much, but a glass of Jack won't hurt.' Kai forced a smile, in Russell's direction.

'Can I have some Juice too?' Timothy asked, shifting his gaze to his Father who rose an eyebrow. Seemingly amused by Timothy's request.

'Sure, you can have Apple Juice.' Russell answered and Timothy grinned widely up at his Father. 'I'll be right back,' Russell's voice lowered as he shot Kai a quick gaze.

He soon rose from the Couch, making his way towards the Kitchen. Timothy then huddled closer to Kai, who smiled down at the boy. His heart warmed, at how comfy Timothy seemed. But his smile soon faded, as he realized that moments like these were soon out of his grasp. For his trip to Chicago was near, and he was sure to miss the Boy and his Father. Who had unknowingly, made a place in Kai's heart too.

'I'm surprised you requested Jack.' Russell spoke as he walked back into the T.V Room, his eyes darting from Timothy to Kai.

He stood tall above them, two glasses of Jack and another filled with Apple Juice for Timothy. Who took his glass, quickly downing the drink in one go. Russell say quietly, handing Kai his glass. 'Thank you, and. I appreciate the taste of it. Why were you surprised?' Kai queried with an amused gaze, to which Russell chuckled lowly.

'Jack Daniel's is a very strong liquor. Made for someone who's considered more rough and well, I don't know. You seem kind of innocent,' he remarked with a lopsided smile, that captured Kai's full attention.

'Who said I was innocent?' Kai asked with a slight smirk, before taking an impressive gulp of the dark beverage.

Russell couldn't help but smile at this. As Kai James seemed to be full of surprises. A bit of a badass too, for standing up to Chibald the way he did. Russell still questioned the fact that Kai knew how to remove a bullet. Yet he didn't need a reason to, for it had saved his life despite his suspicions.

'I always thought you were some stuck-up, overbearing and pretentious butthead. But I have to say, you are slightly badass.' Russell commented and Kai scoffed dismissively.

'Is that your idea of a compliment?' Kai asked with a chuckle and Russell peered at him, with narrowed slits.

'If I remember correctly. You were the one that was brave enough to set me straight, even when I pushed you away so much,' he finished and Kai smiled, turning his gaze towards the Television.

'I've had practice,' kai remarked somberly.

'Dad?' Timothy called, peering up at his Father with tired eyes.

'Yes bud?'

'I know you always read to me, but. Can Mr. James read to me tonight?' Timothy asked with a wide smile. Russell and Kai made eye contact, but Kai kept quiet. Unsure of how Russell would take to that request.

Russell himself was slightly disappointed, but more than likely baffled that his son wanted Kai to read to him. They were friends afterall, and Kai did save Russell's life. Though Russell didn't feel obligated, but he was honorable as he was a good Father to Timothy. All his efforts of life, only coming down to the protection of his Son.

Russell however, had grown fond of the Teacher in their few weeks together, but he didn't expect Kai to stick around. He had to admit he was a bit stubborn and hard to deal with, but it was also evident that he was just caught up in his own loneliness. The same loneliness he saw in Kai's eyes, but the man would rather smile than say it even to himself.

'Sure kiddo.' Russell smiled down at his Son, rising from the couch. He downed his Jack, and rested the glass on the ornate Center Table before the Couch.

Russell watched as Kai finished his drink, with an interested gaze. He swiftly hoisted the tired boy up, beckoning Kai to follow with a slight nod of his head.

Kai followed behind, with shy and calculated steps. Feeling a bit cornered and intrusive. For he was now taking away Russell and Timothy's time together. He tried to read Russell's face, but the Man didn't seem to mind one bit.

The dinner with Kai had gone well, and Russell was admittedly gratified that he and Kai had sorted out their differences. Coming to an understanding, where Friendship was now apart of.

Russell hurriedly tucked Timothy in, then made his way back downstairs. Listening closely as Kai read Timothy a bedtime story. Kai didn't hesitate to please, and Russell found it adorable how he literally bustled around to attend to his Son.

He watched the storm through his kitchen window, as he sipped a warm cup of coffee. The temperature had dropped slightly, and the house had grown slightly chilly. The effects of the alcohol had left him slightly tipsy. Giving him the option of Black coffee, with barely any sugar.

'Timothy is now knocked out, despite being really giddy tonight.' Kai said as walked back into the Kitchen. His eyes settled on the handsome man that stood before him, drawing in a heavy breath as Russell smiled at him. 'You have your hands full.' Kai smiled, taking a seat opposite from Russell who joined Kai around the island.

'Thanks to you, Superhero.' Russell chirped and Kai chuckled, wondering if Russell was tipsy from the Jack.

'Pray tell what I've done to earn such a designation?' Kai asked musingly and Russell shrugged.

'You saved us in so many ways Kai. I can't even tell you how much I'm thankful that you care about Timothy so much. I honestly don't know what would've happened if you hadn't umm,' Russell paused, trying to find the right words to say.

'If I wasn't inquisitive?' Kai queried with a laugh and Russell shook his head, with a slight smile. 'Don't take this the wrong way Russell. But I care about you too,' kai spoke but immediately regretted his words, for Russell gazed at him deeply. Analyzing his features, in a way both men couldn't dare to understand.

'Wow, didn't expect that at all.' Russell added sheepishly and Kai's eyes widened in a fit of shock.

'What I mean is. I care that y-you are living so to s-speak.' Kai stuttered, causing a somewhat loud laugh to erupt from Russell's lips.

'I completely understand what you mean.' Russell chuckled, waving Kai off.

'I just don't want you getting the wrong idea. Because Chibald said that I have feelings for you, but that is not the case. Because that would be disrespectful to you and Timothy, because nothing could ever happen between us and I'm rambling which is not helping my case right now,' Kai decided to stop speaking, as to not dig a bigger hole for himself.

Russell on the other hand was highly amused, by Kai's adorable rambling. Not sure why he thought of it as such, yet he didn't feel any regrets towards the warm feeling in the pit of his stomach. As much as he didn't want to admit. Kai was now a part of their life, and he had earned that spot more times than he could count. He couldn't help but think about Chibald's words, though he could only decipher that the Man was trying to mess with their heads. And whatever Chibald wanted from that, he didn't receive. Despite all that, it didn't stop Russell from inviting Kai over. It should have halted any moving forward, but it didn't much to Russell's chagrin.

'You're good Kai,' Russell assured him softly and Kai smiled weakly, but more to himself than Russell.

'Do you think Timothy is lonely?'Russell asked after about a minute of awkward, tense-filled silence. He was beginning to think on the play dates Timothy didn't go on. And though Timothy didn't seem to mind, Russell was slightly bothered by it.

'I doubt he feels that way. I mean he has you and he has Friends at School, so no he's not lonely.' Kai explained flashing Russell off with a reassuring smile.

Russell couldn't help gazing at Kai, and finding his soft brown eyes attractive. Feelings like this had never occurred before, but he knew what he felt. Kai was not only respectful and forgiving, but also patient having to put up with him after his little mishap and his rotten attitude.

Kai, for the millionth time gazed at Russell's arm tattoo, which he found highly attractive. Though it was merely a simple band around the man's upper right arm. Kai found pleasure in admiring Russell and his many physical attributes. The man was the rugged version, of a polished model. Who didn't need Shirts and Ties to accentuate his good looks. His cheekbones were sculpted, like the most valuable marble. And his deep, sultry eyes were a thing to be looked upon with.

'He has you too,' Russell commented, causing Kai to glance at him with curious eyes. 'Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I just want what's best for him.' He finished and Kai nodded.

'I think you're doing a great job raising Timothy. He's very focused in class, and he's polite and well spoken. You really have nothing to worry about.' Kai assured the man, who smiled weakly at him.

'I must thank you, and apologize.' Russell spoke haughtily, gaining Kai's undivided attention.

'What for?' Kai asked with a raised eyebrow, but Russell gazed away for a moment.

'Thank you for caring about Timothy and I apologize if I ever made you feel uncomfortable in my presence.' His voice had lowered, as both of their gazes met.

'I'm only doing what I think is the right thing. Even if you were utterly rude to me,' Kai said wistfully, watching as  Russell's shoulders rose and fell with his deep, throaty laughter.

'I wasn't rude,' he said defensively, and Kai purses his lips unconvinced. 'Well maybe I'm sometimes too arrogant for my own good.' Russell added seriously, making Kai giggle and nod in agreement.

Russell's heartbeat raced in his chest, as he tried not to be affected by Kai's infectious personality. It was so odd how they both had become comfortable enough to sit and have a conversation. Kai was still a bit nervous, and felt awkward but Russell's company began growing on him. 'Well at least you admit it.' Kai drawled, gaining a scoff from Russell.

'Don't get used to it,' he joked and Kai's gaze settled on the man once more. He was no longer that Man  that Kai had met all those weeks ago. Yet Kai could still feel something amiss with the Mechanic.

Russell too had sensed that Kai was missing something in his life. A void that Kai used kindness and care to fill, even while doing his job and going about his daily life. It was shameful how he kept thinking of his Wife whenever Kai was around. But there was just something about the Teacher, that made him uneasy and intrigued at the same time.

'I kinda already did.' Kai added, smiling and almost confusing Russell for a second. Russell, had never been attracted to anybody but his late wife, and casual encounters weren't his thing. Yet he had this strange feeling, deep inside him.

But having Kai around, taking care of him was something that brought back memories. The early days of his marriage was happy, and it hadn't continued to be so after Lucy died. He was left to care for Timothy by himself, but he was certain that he was doing a good job. He just missed having her around him, and felt guilty for putting her through the things he did. It couldn't have been easy for her to handle him, being the way that he was. For he was a good Father, but he came up short on being a good Husband many times over.

'I'll be right back.' Russell added, after trying to gather his rambling thoughts. He was suddenly remembering a crazy thought that kept bothering him, but he needed to check to check the garage. He just had that feeling, and it made him quite irascible.

'Is everything ok?' Kai asked concerned, as Russell rose from stool he sat on.

'Everything's fine, I just need to check something.' Russell stated, hoping he didn't make the Teacher nervous or scared.

Things were going well between them, and he didn't want to push Kai away anymore than he already tried to in the past. He was willing and able to move on from that. Yet he couldn't bring himself to accept the inevitable feelings, that were sure to haunt him at present.

'I'm coming with you.' Kai stated seriously rising up from his seat. Russell sighed heavily, as he suppressed the need to tell Kai to stay.

Russell was adamant to go alone, but he knew better that Kai was a persistent man. That same persistence had saved Russell's life, and he was overly grateful. He didn't want the police involved, because he knew the law system in Boston would just drag him here and there. Taking his child from him, slapping charges that were unnecessary just to take Timothy away. But Kai's intrusiveness didn't bring anything about that harmed him or Timothy. Only a court case that was soon to be dismissed, and handed over to a Jury for final verdict.

He hadn't even thought about the Case, for he was just happy that he didn't have to root his Son up and run for the rest of their lives. Russell was grateful for Kai, coming into their lives. Despite his regular way of living, and doing things alone. Especially when it involves the wellbeing of his only child.

'Ok fine,' Russell gave in, nodding at Kai who followed behind him. They both walked to the garage, in tense silence. Kai didn't initiate a conversation at that point, and neither did Russell. There was a still chains that made them both hold back, but for varying reasons.


Russell was plowing through the hordes of boxes, and old House Furniture in the surprisingly large Garage. Kai always wondered why Russell preferred parking his car out in the driveway, but it was more convenient and he could only relate. He just stood and watched the man dig through boxes, wondering what he searched for. Feeling it was unnecessary to ask, Kai just stood there in silence.

Observing Russell covertly, as his muscled arms dug through a mountain of cardboard. Russell caught a glimpse of Kai looking away, and he paused for a minute. Taking in the man's features, and observing the odd way he would sway on his short legs whenever he got nervous.

Kai caught Russell staring, and he immediately grew hot as the blue eyed devil just gazed at him. Burning  a hole through him. 'Do I have something on my face?' Kai asked nervously clasping both hands unto his cheeks, but Russell only chuckled shaking his head then looked away.

'No, you don't. You're fine.' Russell went on, causing Kai's cheeks to redden.

Russell had a picture frame in his hand, and Kai caught a glimpse of the picture behind the glass protection. It was of Russell holding a baby Timothy with a Blonde woman by his side. The Woman bore a striking resemblance to Timothy, and realization set in.

'Is that-,' Kai began, but his words trailed off as Russell peered up at him.

'Timothy's Mother? Yes, her name is Lucy.' Russell was smiling down at the picture, and Kai's heart twisted in his chest. He suddenly regretted coming, for he could see the undying love he had for his late Wife in his eyes.

'She's very pretty.' Kai offered genuinely, watching as Russell gazed at the picture with adoration.

Kai knew it wasn't right for him to feel jealous, but he did and Russell must have realized a change in his mood. Russell quickly shoved the picture back down into the box, feeling the tension in the room thicken once more.

'She used to tell me how much Timothy was going to grow up and be like me. But I feel like I failed her in some way,' he spoke softly and Kai took a step forward, but paused. Deciding not to intrude on the Man's space, no more than he already had.

'What happened to her?' Kai asked and Russell hesitated, but he decided that telling someone wasn't going to hurt him like it did many a time before.

'She died in Childbirth,' he smiled weakly, as he gazed away from Kai, glossy eyed.

'I'm sorry,' Kai offered, peering at the box filled with picture frames and an array of fabrics of different colors and designs.

'The last words she said to me were; Take care of our Baby. I keep wondering if I I'm doing as I promised, and if I should sit here and wallow over her absence like I am now. Not letting other people in, and refusing to be vulnerable. Am I wrong for doing that?' He turned to Kai, who offered him a weak smile.

'You didn't fail her Russell. And even though it might not have been healthy, you had your reasons for shutting off your emotions and only giving love to your Son.' Kai spoke reassuringly, and Russell gazed at him deeply. 'I did the same thing with my schoolwork when my Dad left, and it got worse when he and my Mother finalized their divorce. I was torn apart, and buried myself in Schoolwork. Refusing to have Friends, and just being a recluse entirely. But then I realized that even though our Family wasn't whole anymore, I needed to live for myself. You've been living for Timothy alone, and that is noble but sometimes you need to take a step back and live for yourself as well. Or Timothy will suffer in the long run. He might not at this very moment, but he will.' Kai advised to the best of his ability, and Russell couldn't help but agree with him.

Kai's eyes filled with tears, as he thought about the hurt he dealt with. The hurt that Russell was going through, was slightly similar. But they both lived different lives, and lived worlds apart.

'Are you ok?' Russell asked, his voice laced with concern.

'Yeah, I'm fine.' Kai dismissed with a forced smile, looking away from the man. 'Was it the picture you were looking for?' Kai asked, swallowing the lump in his throat and trying not to wince from the uncomfortable feeling inside him.

'This box.' Russell looked down, and Kai followed his eyes. There was a box marked Lucy, sure enough to have his late wife's things packed in it. 'It has memories in them, but right now. I think looking at them has a hold on me. I need to let go and live for myself as you said.' Russell spoke haughtily, and Kai sucked in a shallow breath.

'Oh, I-. Maybe I shouldn't have came with you then,' Kai said awkwardly, turning to walk away.

He was frozen in place when Russell grabbed onto his upper-right arm, keeping him steady and in place. Kai's body jolted, as Russell's firm hold sent tingles flashing across his thoughts and body. He spun around to find Russell gazing down at him. Russell was oddly entranced by the Teacher's eyes. For the first time he realized they weren't black, but the color of a faded leaf in the autumn. Flecks of gold scattering across his irises, capturing Russell's attention.

'Your eyes, I never realized that-.' Russell paused, his hands slowly rising to cup Kai's cheeks.

'I-,' Kai was frozen and didn't know how to move, as Russell's face inched closer to his.

He felt the Russell's breath waft against his face, with a faint hint of coffee and something else Kai couldn't name. Something euphoric pulled him in, and their lips inched closer till air was impossible to pass through. Heat filled them both, crashing the tension and anything else that rivaled their need. Lust coursed through them both, throwing Kai off balance and putting Russell in a mood. A mood that reminded him of something.

Of someone.

Sparks flew, as their lips met in a slow, demure kiss. That faded away all inhibitions between them. Sinking them deeper in a warmth, that surmounted inside. They then disappeared from the world, and was brought back to life in a different one. One where they were alone, and their kiss satiated that loneliness that both Russell and Kai knew all too well. Yet everything came crashing down, as the next word that left Russell's lips. Brought the moment to an abrupt halt, shattering Kai's world to brittle pieces.

'Lucy-,' Russell breathed, and Kai froze tearing his lips away from Russell's.

The feelings Kai had earlier came tumbling back, but now he knew why Russell was so interested in him. He looked down at the picture in the box, and then back up at a guilty Russell. 'Kai,' Russell called as he saw a single tear roll down Kai's flustered cheeks.

'I-, I'm just gonna go.' Kai spoke almost inaudibly, turning away from Russell.

'Kai don't go, please,' Russell pleaded, but Kai felt his anger rise as he backed away.

There was no way to change what had just transpired between them, and although Russell was just confused. He knew he messed up, and might've possibly hurt Kai's feelings more than he's ever had in the past. An unforgivable hurt, that was sure to lead them right back to square one.

'For a moment I t-thought that-,' Kai spoke but paused as Russell gazed away from him, as if ashamed of the kiss they shared. 'I thought we were having a moment. You said you wanted to live for yourself now, and I was stupid enough to think that it was with me. But it's obvious you aren't over Lucy, and I can't blame you for it.' Kai hugged his hands to his chest, feeling guilt and disgust filling him to the brim. Breaking him apart, as he tried to stay sane.

'We did, kai. I'm sorry,' Russell stepped towards Kai, but halted as he saw tears streaming down the Man's face.

'I'm sorry too Russell.' Kai spoke his final words, turning away from Russell. Who lead left frozen in place, unmoving.

Luckily the Storm had calmed to just heavy rainfall, so Kai could leave. And that he did, after checking in on Timothy one last time. He knew this was his last day in the Adam's house, and the Teacher was slightly relieved because things could have been way worse.


The End

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