Spring break came to an end all too quickly for Adam and Brody. Now there was only time for short daily horseback rides with their friends. Upon returning from a ride, Haden had sandwiches ready, then announced that it was time to prepare the garden for the spring planting. Adam was anxious to show Brody how to use the tiller; and in no time, Brody was proficient at running the tiller.
"Tomorrow we'll go purchase cool weather plants," Haden explained.
"What are cool weather plants?" Brody asked.
"It's things that grow well in the cool season," Haden said.
"Okay then, which plants are cool weather plants?" Brody asked.
"Onions, cabbage, and cauliflower are examples," Haden said. "We'll plant other things when the weather is warmer."
"Haden, are you and Kyle going to make a garden?" Adam asked.
"No, we'll just help with this one," Haden said.
"Then why isn't Kyle over here helping?" Adam asked.
"He has a dental appointment," Haden explained. "Besides, it didn't take long for the three of us."
"Why don't we go over and help Justin get their garden ready," Brody suggested.
"Brody, that's a good idea," Haden said. "We'll take our tiller - it won't take long using both tillers."
"I'll call Justin and tell him to get their tiller ready," Adam said.
It didn't take long to till the garden using both tillers. "Dad's going to be surprised that the tilling's completed," Justin said. "He mentioned that we needed to till the garden this weekend."
"Should we go over and till Steve's garden?" Adam asked.
"Steve and Kyle did theirs yesterday evening," Haden explained.
"There's going to be plenty of vegetables," Brody pointed out.
"We donate the surplus to the food pantry," Adam said. "Haden, we probably should go start dinner."
"I'm ahead of you," Haden said. "I have a pot roast in the crockpot, but we do need to prepare everything else. One of you can make the salad, and the other can steam the vegetables."
"And what are you going to be doing?" Adam asked.
"I'll be baking the rolls," Haden said.
"Ha, they're frozen," Brody said with a wide grin.
"Get used to it," Haden countered. "You'll be doing it all when I move out."
"You know, we're going to miss you," Brody said.
"We sure are," Adam added.
"Guys, I'll just be the other side of the barn," Haden said as he gave his brothers a hug.
"We know, but it won't be the same," Adam said.
"We managed when Amy moved out," Haden offered.
"I love Amy, but you're the one that rescued me," Adam said.
"It's the same with me," Brody added.
"I'll miss you guys too; but as time passes, we all have to choose a path," Haden said. "You wouldn't expect me to not move out once Kyle and I are married, would you?"
"Why not?" Adam asked.
"I'm an adult, and adults do that," Haden explained.
"I thought you were doing the dinner rolls," Adam said as Haden began making a pineapple upside down cake.
"They won't take but a few minutes," Haden said. "I want to get this cake baked, so it can cool."
"What kind of cake are you making?" Brody asked.
"It's a pineapple upside down cake," Haden said.
"That doesn't sound very good," Brody said.
"It's really good," Adam said.
"You've never had an upside down cake?" Haden asked.
"I don't think so," Brody admitted.
"The salad's ready," Adam said as Brody watched Haden make the upside down cake.
"Should I go ahead and fix the vegetables?" Brody asked.
"No, it's a little early," Haden said. "Adam, would you answer the phone?"
"Our attorney said I could meet you, but Mom and Dad said not here at the house," Adam said after answering the phone. "He suggested the conference room at his office. But before I agree, I have some conditions. You'll not treat me the way you did the last time we met. You need to understand that I'm happy where I am, and there's no chance in hell that I'll ever live with you again. Also, Steve, our attorney, and Mom and Dad will be there. Either you agree to these conditions, or there'll be no meeting. Okay, Steve will contact you about the day and time."
"Was that your mom?" Brody asked when Adam hung up the phone.
"She's not my mom ... she's just the woman who gave birth to me," Adam said.
"So, you're going to see her?" Haden asked.
"I decided I will, but I really don't know why," Adam said.
"I can understand," Haden said. "We both had horrible birth moms. Yours was a druggy, and mine was just crazy."
"Well, we have a great mom now," Brody said. "And dad too."
"You're right," Haden said.
"I'll get it," Brody said when the phone rang again. "Oh, hi Mom. Okay, I'll let Haden know. Love you, bye."
"Is something wrong?" Haden asked.
"No, Mom said she and Dad had some business to take care of, and would be a little late."
"I'm sorry we're a little late," Rita said when she and Darrell arrived home. "Adam, we had a meeting with Steve about your meeting with Lisa. Remember, you can change your mind anytime you like."
"I may as well get it over with," Adam said.
"Dinner's ready," Haden said.
"I'm hungry," Darrell said. "We can discuss this as we have dinner."
"Adam, Steve suggested we limit the time to one hour," Rita said.
"That's plenty of time," Adam agreed. "When is this meeting?"
"Saturday morning at 10:00," Rita said. "Haden, this dinner is delicious."
"Thank you, but it was a joint effort," Haden said.
"She wanted to meet you alone, but we and Steve don't think that's a good idea," Darrell said.
"She's lucky I agreed to see her at all," Adam said.
"I'm ready for cake now," Brody said after clearing the table.
"While you're up, you can serve it," Haden said.
"Haden, this is really good," Brody said after sampling the cake.
"Goodness, you've grown," Lisa said as she gave Adam a hug. Adam stood with his hands to his side without responding. Adam purposely sat between Rita and Darrell.
There were a few moments of uncomfortable silence while Steve explained the rules of the meeting. It was obvious that Lisa wasn't happy with the rules.
"I would like to meet with my son alone," Lisa said.
"First of all, I'm no longer your son," Adam responded before anyone could. "You agreed to the rules; and if that isn't good enough, we'll just go."
"No, no, I'll take what I can get," Lisa said. "I have a job now, and will be getting my own place soon. I'd like for you to come for a visit."
"That's not going to happen," Adam quickly responded.
"Why not? I'm your mother," Lisa said.
"No ... you gave birth to me," Adam said with a bit of anger coming out. "But you gave up the right to be my mother when you abandoned me."
"That was the drugs that made me do that," Lisa argued.
"I didn't make you take drugs," Adam said. "You chose drugs over me; and now I choose the family that I love ... and they love me."
"You ungrateful little bastard," Lisa said.
"This visit is over," Darrell said. "You'll not talk to our son that way."
"I'm sorry, I let my emotions get in the way," Lisa said. "Please let me visit my son."
"You had your chance," Adam said. "I knew it would be like the last time I saw you. Don't bother asking to see me again, because the answer will be no. Mom, Dad, let's go."
"Please, I promise to do better," Lisa pleaded.
"Goodbye Lisa," Adam said, no longer referring to her as his birth mother.
"Are you okay?" Rita asked as they left Steve's office.
"I'm fine," Adam said. "In a way, this was a closure."
There were several attempts by Lisa to contact Adam following the brief meeting. The calls only ended when Steve filed a restraining order on Adam's behalf.
The end of the school year and the wedding were near. Haden and Kyle had already moved into their new home. Thus Adam and Brody often prepared the evening meals.
Adam was excited about his driver's education during the summer, but this meant Brody was home alone part of the day. Haden and Kyle would be taking post-graduate courses during the summer. Rita and Darrell decided that Brody was mature enough to be home alone, but with specific rules.
The wedding, though small and simple, was beautiful. Kyle and Haden had selected Coastal Maine as their honeymoon destination. They wanted a quiet peaceful setting, rather than a more commercial location. It was a seaside, gay-friendly bed and breakfast with great home cooked meals.
The problem of getting Adam to the high school for his driver's education class was solved when Lois offered to pick him up, since Jon was also enrolled. Justin's parents decided on the parent taught course for him. Lois and Rita would be buying new cars and giving their old ones to their sons. Joe and Lacey each gave Justin $500 toward a used car, and Betty and Grant paid the remainder.
After passing the written portion of his driving test, Adam was allowed to drive with a licensed driver. Rita bought a new car, so Adam could practice driving her old car that was now his. Haden thought he drove like a little old lady on her way to church; but kept it to himself, since Adam was a cautious driver.
The three boys weren't 16 when they completed and passed their driver's training classes, but used the time to gain driving experience. Adam would be allowed to drive himself and Brody to school, but no other place without permission.
Brody was excited about entering his freshman year of high school. He hoped he would make the varsity basketball team and play with his brother and friends. He doubted he would get much playing time on the defending state championship team. However, Adam pointed out that the coach would send in the second teamers, if they had a comfortable lead.
Adam and Justin discussed carpooling to save money, but discovered they needed six months before non-family members could be passengers. Jon was allowed to drive Alan and Lana to school since they were his siblings.
Haden often helped his brothers prepare meals when Kyle was busy with his football coaching duties. Adam and Brody were becoming accomplished cooks, but were still learning from their older brother.
Amy would be completing her Masters' degree at the end of the fall semester. She planned to enter the Ph.D. nursing program immediately afterward. Dr. Buffington was named Dean of Nursing, and informed Amy that a nursing instructor was leaving at the end of the spring semester and she could have the position. Amy loved her nursing job, but wanted something that allowed her to be home more with the children.
"Brody Harrington, I saw you play with the eighth-grade team last year," Coach said during the first day of basketball practice. "Once you learn our plays, you could possibly be a starter."
"Thank you, coach," Brody said.
"We spent a lot of time on the court this summer," Adam said. "In fact, Brody, Justin, Jon and I all did."
"Coach said I could be a starter," Brody said during dinner that evening.
"No he didn't," Adam said.
"What did he say then?" Brody asked.
"He said, 'once you learn our plays, you could possibly be a starter,'" Adam said.
"Well that's the same thing," Brody argued.
"No it isn't," Adam countered. "Let's say your teacher says if you work hard you can earn an A ... you still have to work hard."
"Well, I'll just work hard, then," Brody said.
"I did, and I earned a starting position midway in the season," Adam said. "You can do the same."
"It's that way with most things in life," Darrell pointed out.