Today was the day... Brandon and I would find out the results of our tests today. Only problem was, they are coming by mail while we are in school. I wish I could skip school and go right to when the mail was being delivered, but I don't have a fast-forward button. Anyway, we have a test in AP Calculus I at the end of third period. Then during PE, we are being shown a film on the male reproductive system. Brandon told me that once a month, they show a film. Last month was male hygiene.
Then, in Creative Writing, I am wondering if we will get our stories back today, or have to wait on those still to be turned in. Brandon said that if he were grading my paper, he would give me an A for my awesomeness. He might be biased, though.
So, the day seemed to drag along, but I am ninety-nine percent sure that I aced that Calculus test. True or False. The two functions f and g defined by f(x) = 3x + 3 for x real and g(t) = 3t + 3 for t real and positive are equal? That is false. Two functions are equal if their rules are equal and their domains are the same.
Then there was watching the film; it actually showed some naked guys. They weren't as hot as Brandon, but some of them were cute. I told Brandon that the film was making me hard and he admitted that it was doing the same to him. I bet that if we had to shower today, the showers would mainly run cold water. I even caught some straight guys having to adjust themselves.
Twenty hours, and finally in Creative Writing class. Okay, so it's only been six hours, but when you are waiting for something, that six hours seems a heck of a lot longer. We took our seats and Mr. Ziegler started passing out the stories that were turned in. "I didn't grade these for punctuation, grammar or typos," Mr. Ziegler informed us. "I was looking for a thought behind each story and how it flowed; things that make a first draft good. I did have one person using curse words but 'bleeped' them out. I believe the curse words were necessary for the story and admire his ingenuity. One other person used the shifted number keys to show cursing. Unfortunately, they missed one word. In fairness, I knew that was a slip, so I gave her a B. Aside from that, all of you did very well in staying within my parameters. I was very pleased. Mr. Boyer and Mr. Morris, I would like to see both of you after class."
Shit, I thought, what did I do wrong? All my paper said was A, See me after class, Mr. Z.
"Before we get into the lesson today, I have an assignment for you," Mr. Ziegler announced. "This is due the first day we return after Christmas Break, so you have about a month and a half. I want you to write a story set in the future. Think about what it would be like to visit Mars in, say about a hundred years from now. This story must have at least five thousand words, and to make Eric happy, there is no maximum. Have someone outside this class edit for you. I will be taking off for typos, grammar, spelling and punctuation. How many points I take off will be determined by the length of the paper. Say Jordan has a five thousand-word story and makes ten mistakes while Eric has a twenty thousand-word story and only makes ten mistakes, Jordan would lose two points while Eric would only lose half a point. The reason being, the longer your story, the more apt you are at making mistakes."
"Yes," Eric could be heard by the whole class, and we began chuckling. I knew who I was going to have edit for me, Brandon. He's in Journalism Class, so he should be perfect to edit.
Mr. Ziegler dismissed class several minutes early to give Eric and me time to see him. Mr. Ziegler spoke to Eric first, "Eric, reading your paper, I know most of it isn't really fiction." Eric started to say something, but Mr. Z held up his hand. "That isn't why I wanted to see you. I see nothing wrong with writing about your life as fiction. Zack did basically the same thing. All good fiction has some real-life attributes in it. The reason I wanted to see you is… your grandmother called, and she will be here right as school lets out. It seems that the man who married your mother beat her up pretty badly and she might not make it. He's in jail, awaiting trial. Someone also told the police about him stealing from you. It is your choice if you want to see your mom, possibly for the last time, but your grandmother, myself and your guidance counsellor think it would be a good idea."
Eric started crying, "Part of me doesn't want to, I mean I am still angry over her marrying him and neglecting me, but still, she is my mom."
The guidance counselor put her arm around Eric. As she walked him to her office, she told him, "I will send a note to your next class explaining that you will be in my office."
Now, I was really worried about why he wanted to see me. "Zack, after I read your paper, I called the police in Horizon City. Are you sure that your mother never smoked?"
"I am sure," Zack felt tears welling up, "she couldn't afford to, even if she wanted to."
"Do you know what brand of cigarettes your dad smoked?"
"I don't really think of him as my dad; he was more of a sperm donor, but he smoked Mustangs. He thought they made him more of a cowboy."
"It's been two years, are you sure?"
"Yes, Mr. Z, I could never forget them. They had a horse on the front."
Then a police officer entered the room. "I've heard enough," he declared. "Zack, I would like your permission to exhume your mother and have an autopsy done. It wasn't done before because we didn't have a reason to suspect foul play. Now, your permission doesn't really do anything since you are a minor, but I am asking out of respect."
"She's been dead for over two years, what can an autopsy do today?" Zack was surprised.
The officer smiled, "You'd be surprised what can still be proven. I promise, we will give your mom the utmost respect, and try to determine whether this was truly an accident, or what."
"I don't believe it was an accident. I found out that it was my sperm donor who turned Mom in to the CPS, and he bought the company where she was working and closed it down. He took everything away from her and then he killed her. If exhuming her body can prove that, then PLEASE DO."
"Yes, it may do that, but we don't want to jump to that conclusion just yet. We will follow the evidence, and revisit anything we may have overlooked. I believe you are right, but I can't let that guide me. We can talk later, and I will let your foster father know when we exhume your mom. We would like for you and him to be there, or just him, if it is too painful for you." I simply nodded my head.
I was told to head to my next class; Mr. Z gave me a pass in case I was late, but I made it to my seat just in time.
At the beginning of eighth period (study hall), there was a geeky looking man standing at the front of the room. "Hello Class, I don't want to take up much of your time, but I have an important announcement. My name is Daniel Carmichael, and I am the school's driving instructor. As you may know, in the State of Texas, you can start your Driver's Education at the age of fourteen, but only the classroom part. You may get your learner's permit at the age of fifteen. For those of you that haven't done either, we will be starting the Driver's Education course on Tuesdays at 3:30PM, starting the twenty-sixth of this month, and on Saturdays at noon. The classes will be two hours each and you MUST get thirty-two hours in. I will go over the driving time when you begin your class. The cost is thirty-five dollars for students compared to a Driver's Education course not associated with a public-school charging fifty dollars or more. Parent-taught Driver's Education is a hundred dollars. Those interested should take a permission slip home, have your parents sign it and return it no later than next Wednesday."
I looked at Brandon, "We could already have our driver's licenses? Why don't you have yours?"
"I was just never in a rush to get it. I either jog or ride my bike everywhere I go, but if you want to get your license, I will get mine."
"You want to make a bet on it?" I had a wicked grin.
Brandon didn't catch on, so he asked, "What kind of bet?"
"We get results today, so whichever one of us has the lowest score has to do one sexual favor for the other."
"Any sexual favor?" Brandon seemed nervous.
I shook my head, "No, any except anal; we agreed that will wait."
"Okay, then I accept the bet." We each grabbed a permission slip.
Once our last class was out, we ran home; we didn't jog, we ran. I found out, when I pushed myself, I was actually faster than Brandon, but I also tired faster and was thankful for the red light. When he got to the light, we were both breathing hard. I asked Brandon, "Were you holding back? I mean, when we jog, you are usually ahead of me."
"No... man..." Brandon was panting, "I'm... more... of a... jogger." He took a gulp of air and slowly released it, "You are more of a sprinter. It's like you are a quarter horse, and I am a thoroughbred."
"A quarter horse is good for a quarter mile, hence their name. They are the sprinters among horses. A thoroughbred is used on longer tracks. That was a good analogy," and I can see his point. Also, I kinda liked him calling me a quarter horse. Does that mean he is calling me a stallion?
After the light turned green, we took off running again, but I let Brandon set the pace. I really like being beside him, that is, unless I feel like admiring his form.
We got to our driveways and Brandon went in his house while I went in mine. I called out, "DAD!!! Did the mail come?" There was no answer.
My cell phone rang playing the I Cross My Heart ringtone. I knew it was Brandon. "Zack, you need to get over here. Your dad is here with your results, and they refuse to open either until we are all here. The door is unlocked, so just come in."
"Okay, see you in a few. I love you." I didn't even give Brandon time to respond. I hung up and sprinted to his front door. As I walked in, I announced, "Just me."
"I love you, Jerk," Brandon declared.
I gave him a funny look, "Jerk?"
"Yeah, because you hung up before I could say I love you back." Then Brandon kissed me.
"If that makes me a jerk, then yeah, I guess I am," I grinned. "But I am only your jerk." Then, I began thinking of what I wanted to jerk of his. I think he was too because we both smiled.
"Okay, I am going to open Brandon's results first," Brian averred. He carefully opened the envelope and read, "Brandon James has tested negative for all STD's, but should see the family doctor because the cold virus had been detected."
"So, other than a cold, I'm clean?" Brandon wanted to clarify.
Brian hugged Brandon, "Yes son, you are clean."
Dad opened mine and started reading, "Zack Morris has tested positive for his pregnancy. We estimate that he is two weeks along."
"Dad, seriously, what does it say?" I inquired.
Dad handed me the results, "Seriously, that is what it says."
Brandon acted mad, "We've only kissed, so who is the father?"
Dad got on his phone and called the number on the results, "Yeah, I just received the results for my son, and they say he is pregnant."
"And what is your son's... did you say he is pregnant"
"Yes, Ma'am, that is what the results say. His name is Zack Morris."
"Lordy, Lordy, someone done screwed up the test results, that is what it says in our system, too. There is no way of knowing what his results were, but if you bring him in right away, we can run the tests again at no cost. I am terribly sorry for this."
"Are you going to compensate me for the gas to run him there?"
"Well, I can't give you anything for your gas, but I can put a credit in to make Zack's next tests free. Will that work for you?"
"Yes, Ma'am, that will more than cover it, Thank you."
"Thank you for understanding, and I am sorry for the mix up."
Dad and I went to the clinic. The receptionist asked, "Is one of you Zack?"
"I am and this is my dad," I replied.
"If you go into Examination Room Eight, the doctor will see you in a few minutes. There is a fresh gown waiting. It is up to you whether your father goes in or waits until you have the gown on."
"I don't have any issues if he sees me naked or not. He's my dad."
Dad followed me into the room and sat in the chair. I removed my shirt, shoes and socks, then Dad suggested, "If you want, you can put on the gown before you take off your pants and boxer brief."
"You've seen me in briefs, I don't mind."
Dad reminded me, "But I've never seen you naked."
"Because you won't get naked," I half-jokingly replied. "Seriously, you seeing me naked is no big deal. You are my dad and there's nothing sexual about it."
I opened my fly and took my boxer briefs off at the same time as my pants, then put the gown on. I think Dad liked what he briefly could see. Dad tied the gown for me.
There was a knock on the door, and I yelled out, "Nobody's home." Well, to be honest, no one is home, we are here.
The doctor walked in and smiled when he saw me. "Enjoyed the prostate exam so much that you came back for another?"
"You figured it out," I teased.
"Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but we won't need to repeat that portion of the test. In fact, I'm not sure why the nurse had you put on a gown. All we need is another urine sample and more blood."
"Is it because I am O positive that you take so much?" I teased.
The doctor didn't miss a beat, "Are you O positive, we never tested your type. I'll be sure to tell Chris to draw enough that we can sell it on the black market. It is very rare."
The doctor left and I looked at Dad, "Wait until you see Chris. He is mega cute and about your age."
When Chris came in, Dad stood up, walked over to him and introduced himself, "Hi, Chris, I'm Jase Alexander, Zack's foster father and soon to be his adopted dad. You look kind of young to be a nurse."
"I'm twenty, and right now, I am an LPN, that only takes twelve months, but I am working to become an RN." Then Chris turned to me, "The doctor said to drain you until you pass out."
"Please tell me that you are kidding," I must have looked scared.
Dad and Chris started laughing. Chris smiled, "Seriously, you may feel weaker than you did on Tuesday since this is so soon after. I recommend you eat two doughnuts and drink two juices.
As Chris drained me of blood again, he and Dad were talking. "So, Chris, you have any family?"
"Not at the moment, but I hope to marry someday and adopt a boy."
"Adopt?" Dad was surprised. "You would rather adopt than have one of your own?"
"First, there are many fine young boys like Zack waiting for a parent. Second, and I don't mind sharing this since you are adopting Zac and I know he is gay, I am gay. I don't think I or whoever I marry can have a baby."
"So, are you dating anyone?" I couldn't believe Dad asked him that, but then, if Dad is interested in him, how else is he supposed to find out?
"Not at the moment," Chris replied. I was starting to feel woozy and Chris could tell. "Zack, before I draw any more blood, I want you to eat a doughnut.
As Chris left the room, I asked Dad, "So, are you going to ask him out?"
"I'm thinking about it. What do you think of the idea?"
"Well, I really don't know Chris that well, but I like him and think you deserve a guy like him."
"The fact that he looks almost like he could be your older brother doesn't hurt."
"No wonder I think he's cute," I chuckled. "Seriously Dad, you should ask him out."
Chris came back in the room with a lemon-filled doughnut and a bottle of juice. "I believe you ate a lemon-filled on Tuesday, so I figured it was safe."
"You are correct. I don't mind other 'filled' doughnuts, but I prefer lemon."
"Take your time eating the doughnut. Let your body rest and work on replenishing some blood."
"How much more blood do you need?" I inquired.
"Two more vials."
Dad asked, "So, what time do you get off, Chris?"
"In about two minutes, but I am here until I am done taking care of this young man."
"So, do you have any plans tonight?
"Maybe," Chris chuckled. "I'm kinda hoping this young man's foster father asks me out. I like your personality, I think you are intelligent, and you are an attractive man. If you don't ask me out, I may ask you."
Dad laughed, "How long have you been waiting? I mean, when did it become obvious that I was interested?"
"I had the feeling about when I said I was gay, but then when you asked if I was dating anyone, I really suspected."
"So, no reason to beat around the bush. Chris, would you like to go out with me?"
"I would love to, Jase. I do have one recommendation, though. Have this young man's boyfriend stay with him. With taking so much blood so close to each other, he may feel weak. I would feel better if I knew someone is with him today."
"Do you care for all your patients like this?"
Chris laughed, "I try to, but some patients make it hard. Those like Zack make it easy to care about them."
"I'm sure it will be easy to get Brandon to agree to stay with Zack. What time should I pick you up, or would you rather meet some place for the first date?"
Chris wrote on a piece of paper and handed it to my dad. "Here is my address, and I can be ready whenever, just give me a half hour to shower and change."
"What about an hour, so I can prepare a meal for Zack and Brandon?"
"That sounds like a good idea. Zack will need a high protein meal to help him recover."
"I know of a high protein meal," I joked.
"There's not enough protein in what you are thinking," Dad chuckled, "and YOU don't have your test results back."
"Speaking of which, when can I expect them?"
"If the lab starts running the tests tomorrow, I would say Tuesday," Chris replied, "but definitely Wednesday at the latest."
"Since this is a retest, can't they speed them up?"
Chris shook his head, "It doesn't work that way. We send it to the lab and since it is so late, they won't go until tomorrow, first thing. The lab will conduct each test twice to be sure they get the same results. Some of the tests take a day or two to get results, then they email us the results. A tech puts the results in each person's file, and an automated system creates the mailer and sends them out. In your case, the email claimed you were pregnant, so whoever screwed up had to be at the lab. Normally, the lab wouldn't even look at your blood samples until Monday, but I am putting a priority on them so hopefully, they will get on it right away and you will have the results Tuesday or Wednesday."
Chris finished taking my blood. I'm glad he stopped and made me eat a doughnut; I feel better than when he stopped. As he took the last two vials of blood, Dad asked him, "Chris, what is your last name? I couldn't help but notice you could easily pass as Zack's older brother."
"I was thinking the same thing, actually," Chris smiled. "My last name is Massey, but the thing is, I was adopted as a baby. Apparently, my birth father didn't want any sons, just daughters, so I was put up for adoption on my birthday."
"Chris Massey?" I asked, "you probably took a lot of teasing growing up, but I like it."
"Thank you," Chris smiled even more. "And it didn't help that I was born on Christmas day."
"My dad seemed to ignore me but loved my twin sisters. Wouldn't it be funny if you are my older brother?"
"Chances of that are slim, but it would be funny."
Chris added, "Besides, I was born in Horizon City."
"That's where I was born," I declared.
"When I am done drawing your blood, I should draw some of my own, and throw a DNA test in."
"Can you do that?"
Before Chris answered, the doctor came in. "Chris, how close are you to being done with Zack?"
"I'm on the last vial, but let me ask you something, Doc. Do you think Zack and I could pass as brothers?"
The doctor looked at the two of us, he took his time before agreeing, "Yes, most definitely. We should draw some of your blood and have a DNA test done to see. Once you are done, I can draw yours."
Chris smiled at Dad.
I was silent on the way home, so Dad asked me what I was thinking. "Chris said that his dad didn't want any sons, so he put him up for adoption. If he is my older brother, and Mom refused to give me up, maybe I was the cause of them breaking up, and ultimately the cause of Mom being killed. I know that man didn't want me."
"Don't think like that, Zack," Dad offered. "Whether he wanted you or not is irrelevant. You believe he killed your mom, that is on him, not you. Besides, you were in the Home when your mom died, so if he killed her, you were not in any way the cause of it."
"Thanks, Dad." That made me feel a little better, but I couldn't help think that if I wasn't born, Mom might still be alive. "I'm curious, how exactly will the DNA prove if Chris and I are brothers?"
"Well, you're definitely not identical twins since he is four and a half years older than you, so it won't be a hundred percent match. Siblings, parents and their children are usually around fifty percent match, give or take. If you and Chris are not related, it'll probably be below ten percent match, if any."
"I think it would be cool if we discover Chris is my older brother, and it would explain why that man ignored me but played with my sisters. It would be funny if you are dating my older brother, get married and he becomes my Brother Daddy or Daddy Brother, whichever it is."
"Who says that Chris and I will get married?" Dad laughed.
I joked, "Dad, he's like an older version of me, and you love me, so how could you not love him. You know you are already planning the wedding in your head."
Dad pulled over and looked serious. I thought that maybe I had gone too far. Dad turned to me, "Let me tell you something; it is possible to love one brother and not the other. Even siblings have their differences. The only thing I know about Chris is, he has a kind heart… and he's cute… and I seriously want to get to know him better, hoping we are compatible."
"So…" I took a chance that Dad wasn't really upset, "what color flowers are you planning?"
Dad started back toward home, shaking his head. He glanced at me, "I'm not sure, I will need to discuss it with Chris, but my favorite color is purple."
"I bet Chris's favorite color is blue."
"Because yours is?"
"I'll make you a bet, if Chris is my brother, you have to buy me a car for my seventeenth birthday. Speaking of which, can I get an advance on my allowance, and will you sign a permission slip so I can start Driver's Education at school?"
"Is this advance to pay for the Driver's Education?"
"Yeah, Dad. It's thirty-five dollars, and I'll only have twenty-five."
"No on the advance and yes to signing the permission slip."
"Dad, signing the permission slip is useless if I can't pay the fee."
"Paying the fee isn't your responsibility; it's mine. I will sign the permission slip and I will pay the fee. Now, about the bet, what do I get if Chris isn't your brother?"
"Not buying me a car?"
"I already have THAT without the bet.
"What do you want?" I really couldn't think of anything else to give Dad if I lost the bet. All the money I have, or will have, doesn't compare to what Dad has.
"To be honest. Just your happiness."
"But you have that without the bet, too. I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have ever been, and the only thing that can make me happier is if you and Chris get married. Whether he is my brother or not, I know he is the one for you."
"But you really hope that he is, don't you?"
"Yeah, Dad, I do. I mean, if he isn't, there are at least two people like that man out there."
"You can't get yourself to call him your dad, can you?"
"HE'S NOT MY DAD, YOU ARE!!!" I was a little louder than I expected, but that is how my heart truly feels. I started to cry.
I think I hurt Dad's right ear, or he was just acting like it, but he definitely knows how I feel. "Yeah, I am. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I want to adopt you, and I believe you feel the same way, one hundred percent."
"Then, I will petition the court on Monday to make it happen. Then we can celebrate two birthdays a year, your actual birthday and the day of your adoption."
"Or, instead of the day of my adoption, what about the day you brought me home?"
Dad tested me, "Do you know what day that was?"
"Friday, November the ninth."
"A week and a day after my birthday."
"And when is MY birthday?" I wasn't sure if Dad knew or not.
Dad smiled, "Your birthday is the twenty-fourth of April. On that date in 2002, a sweet angel came to earth." I was getting ready to comment about what Dad said, but then he added, "And you were born, too."
"Brat," I chuckled.
Dad pulled into the garage and we went inside. "Hmmm, that sounds good for tonight, brats and fried potatoes. You have any homework?"
"Just reading the material my classes went over before I joined them and a writing assignment due in January. Brandon's coming over tomorrow to help me with everything."
"Since he is in seven of your classes, that is probably a good idea. Just make sure you spend some time learning, but also have some fun. Maybe an hour of learning followed by an hour break and keep alternating."
"We were thinking he would come over at eleven, and we would work on school work until one, have lunch and play something until two and work another two hours."
"That sounds reasonable, and if you do that on a weekly basis, I have no doubt you will know what you need to for the final exams."
Dad checked the messages on the home phone, there was only one. "Hey, this is Chris Massey and I am mainly calling to see how Zack is feeling. Just let me know when you pick me up in an hour. I love you... Did I say that out loud? " Dad started laughing.
I chuckled, "See Dad, all you need to do is set a date and make plans."
"I bet he would look cute in your Greek god shorts."
"Oh, the next story I write where it can be anything, I'll need to include Chris. What can his Greek god name be?"
"What about me?"
"You were Eros in my last story. Eros was the father of Zackus. You should read it." I pulled the paper out of my backpack and handed it to Dad. He saw the note at the bottom.
"What did Mr. Z want you to see him about?"
"Crap, I forgot that part, too. Thanks to what I wrote in my paper, they want to exhume Mom's body to do an autopsy. They didn't suspect foul play, so they didn't do one before. They would like you and me, or at least you representing me to be in attendance, if I think it'll hurt too much. They said they would contact you."
"Do you want to be there?"
I thought about it before I responded. "Part of me wants to be there, but part of me thinks it might be painful. If I have you, and maybe Brandon with me, I think I can handle it."
"I'll be there, but I don't think it's a good idea for Brandon to be there."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Even though your mom isn't related to Brandon, it can still be heart wrenching for him. He may think he'll want to be there for you, but it will possibly be just as hard on him. It will be hard on me, but I am your dad."
"Well, I don't want you to have to go through it alone. I'll be there for you and you can be there for me."
I hope you didn't want to hear about the weekend. Nothing special happened and it's not my place to tell you Dad's date went great. Or that Chris came home with him to check on me but spent the night. He even brought me a piece of lemon meringue pie. And I am definitely not gonna tell you about how much sex I am sure they had. When Chris left, Dad invited Chris here for Thanksgiving and Chris accepted. Brandon came over and we studied, ate lunch, pretty much what I told Dad we planned. Today, Brandon and I jogged to school. I was getting used to the pace we were jogging, and Brandon didn't have to wait as much. I hoped that didn't mean I was losing my ability to sprint.
Once we got to school, we went to the office, turned in our permission slips and the fees for Driver's Education. Miss Hampton said that we were all set.
In PE class, we played tennis, and I was lousy at it. Brandon did pretty well. I swear, that boy can play any sport he sets his mind to. He really is a Greek god, I think.
In Creative Writing class, we discussed the finer points of what makes a story good. "Who can tell me one of the ingredients to every good story?" Mr. Ziegler asked. I raised my hand, "Zack?"
"There needs to be a plot."
"Yes, every story needs a plot. What will the plot be for your Mars visit, Eric?"
"Everyone's plots may be different, but I am writing about a family vacationing and visiting the town, a museum, a mine and no visit to Mars would be complete without a visit to Olympus Mons."
" Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano in our solar system. And how will your family visit this magnificent natural beauty?"
"Well, I was thinking with a clear shuttle of sorts. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, they used a clear aluminum to create a tank for whales, I may do that or create a metal."
"Good," Mr. Z approved of Eric's idea. "Bryce, what else does a good story need?"
We continued this discussion, and everyone was getting excited about his or her story on Mars. Eric said that no visit to Mars would be complete without a visit to Olympus Mons. I wondered if that was the same as Mount Olympus in Greek myths. To be honest, I never knew there was a volcano on Mars, let alone it being the largest one in the solar system. Eric seems intelligent. After class, I asked how his visit with his mom went.
"Mom passed away shortly after I got there. She woke up, looked at me and said, 'I'm so sorry,' and then she died."
"I'm sorry, that had to hurt."
"It did a little, but it also brought me peace. I felt like Mom waited so she could apologize before letting go. And they are trying Malcolm, that IS his real name; they are trying him for murder in the first degree. I don't know if California has the death penalty, but if they do, it's too good for him."
"I agree. He should suffer, rotting in prison for life," I offered Eric a smile. "So, your story was set in Iowa..."
"Yeah, that's where I lived before Grandma's job moved to El Paso, two years ago. They gave her the option of moving, with them paying her expenses to move, or she could have resigned."
"What about Seth?"
I no sooner asked that, and a good-looking redheaded boy walked up, "What about me?"
"Seth, this is my classmate and friend, Zack Morris."
I was a little confused. Did he actually meet Seth here and use him in the story, or did Seth move here when Grandma Bethany moved here? Eric must have sensed my confusion. "Seth did live across from Grandma Bethany when we lived in Iowa. When Grandma's company moved to El Paso, Seth's dad decided he should move his computer business."
"Dad asked me where I thought we should move," Seth continued. "I told him that Bethany will still need her grass mowed, and when she bought her house, the house across the street was for sale. Dad bought it. There is an extra bedroom from what we had, but the house cost less than Dad received for our old house. So, instead of being across the road, I live across the street from Eric."
"So, were any of your character's names fictional?" I asked.
Eric nodded, "I got David Bowman from a story I am reading where he is the captain of a starship."
"Here, I thought it was a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey," Mr. Z surprised us. "David Bowman was the main character and he talked with a computer named Hal throughout the movie."
"That's kinda funny since in the story I was reading, Hal Tietokone is the name of Dave's First Officer. They just posted Chapter Twenty-Four of Voyagers this weekend, you really should read it."
"That IS funny," Mr. Z laughed. "Tietokone is Norwegian for computer."
"I'll talk with you later Eric, and you, Seth, but we need to get to our next class. Mr. Z, thanks for the info you gave us. I'll have to see if Dad has the movie."
"If he does, can we watch it with you?" Eric asked.
As I walked, I replied, "Sure, give me your number and I'll call you either way."
I was sitting in my seat just as the tardy bell rang. Brandon asked, "What took you so long?"
"I met Eric's boyfriend, Seth. Those two boys love each other as much as we do. And Mr. Z commented about a movie."
When we got home, Dad looked at me, "I have bad news..." I think he was waiting for me to say something, but I remained quiet, staring at him. Finally, he continued, "The court wants to see you at seven in the morning. They don't officially open until eight, but they said they would see you early enough that you'll only miss one class."
"Is this about exhuming Mom's body?"
Dad shook his head, "No, they want to hear your opinion about me adopting you."
I started to cry, "You mean it? Tomorrow, I will officially be your son and can lose that man's last name?"
"If that is what you want, yes."
"I love you, Dad." I wrapped my arms around Dad and just cried; I was so happy.
We were at the courthouse a few minutes before seven and a bailiff escorted us to the judge's chambers. Dad was asked to wait outside while I talked to the judge alone. He offered me some water or juice; I took the juice. The judge and I talked about random stuff and he included talking about sex. He asked me if Dad ever touched me. "What? Never. I admit that I wanted him to when we first met, but Dad said that it would never happen until I was eighteen, and if he adopted me, it would never happen period."
"I'm glad to hear that. I understand you being a teenager and wanting sex, but I admire your father's stand. And I am glad he said eighteen, with you in foster care under his protection, even though the age of consent in Texas IS seventeen, he could have gotten into serious trouble."
"He said that too, and he said that he loves me too much to do something like that."
We talked a little more about random stuff, then finally, the judge asked, "How do you feel about Jase Alexander adopting you? You heard him say that you would never have sex with him if he adopted you. What is your honest opinion?"
"As far as I am concerned, he IS my dad, so sex is already off the table. I just want it to be official."
"We contacted your grandparents about the adoption. They believe you deserve someone who can make you happy. They did say that you have an older brother, but there is no record of him. Shall I have your dad brought in to make this official?"
I think my smile said it all, I didn't even respond otherwise, and Dad was brought in. The judge looked at him, "Jase Alexander, I have spoken with Zack about several topics, learning about him and you from the various answers he has given. It is in my opinion that you are making an excellent father for this young man already, and I declare this adoption valid and justified."
"Thank you, Your Honor."
"Zack, would you like to change your last name to Alexander, or retain your current last name?"
"I want to change my name to Dad's." I stood up and hugged Dad.
"Very well, we will create your new birth certificate and other forms to make this official and get them in the mail today."
As Dad drove me to school, I told him that my grandparents approved of the adoption but also said I do have an older brother. "That may or may not be Chris. We will find out when we get the results back."
When I got to school, there was ten minutes left until first period was over. Dad went with me to the office to let them know that my name was now officially Alexander. He didn't have all the paperwork, since that would be in the mail, but he had the petition of adoption papers stamped "APPROVED" in big red letters.
Miss Hampton said that was enough to make it official and asked Dad if she could make copies. She made a second copy for me to show my teachers, even though their grade books in the computer should automatically change. As I went to each of my classes, I showed the copy to the teacher and the class. They were all happy for me.