Camp Refuge

Chapter 29 - Camp Refuge

July 10, 2018 (Tuesday, 7:45 PM - Central Time)

They just landed in Chicago, and the plane taxied to their gate. The seatbelt sign went off, and Orson stood up. He ensured Elias was okay, and he helped the boy with his new, rolling luggage bag. Elias had never flown, so it was an experience for the young man in many ways.

Though Orson felt that the boy may have a skewed perception of flying. Their tickets were first class. Orson had never flown that way before, and it was a step up in the quality of the experience.

Orson's leg ached. He'd used it a lot. Sitting on the plane during the flight helped, but the limb still complained loudly about the effort. Orson pushed it aside and tried to focus on making this experience as good for Elias as he could.

He also tried to ignore his emotional state. Joseph came to the campground to see them off. And Orson discussed the offer from the Art Institute with him, and then what it would mean if Elias took it.

He still remembered Joseph's eyes the moment the realization hit. "Oh." He blinked, and Orson could tell Joseph struggled to keep the disappointment off his face. The blonde man swallowed, and he nodded. "Well, it sounds like a great opportunity for Elias." Joseph bit his lip, and then he shook his head. "Hey, I'm really sorry, but I've gotta go." He patted Orson's shoulder and stepped toward the door.

"Joseph, I'm sorry." Orson felt as if a knife twisted in his chest. "I … I have to go with him if this is what he chooses."

The tall officer looked down, and he nodded. "Yeah. I know." He leaned his head back and gave a short, mirthless laugh. Then he turned his eyes back to Orson. "Someday, I hope your duty and your happiness meet, and that they share a path."

With a final, longing look, the tall officer stepped out of Orson's cabin. Orson stood at his doorway and watched the man drive off. It was all he could do to pretend that everything was all right when Elias asked later if he was okay.

'It has to be okay.' Orson tried to shake the deep sense of loss that still sat in his gut. 'You made a commitment. You'll honor it, no matter the cost.'

Luckily, he was distracted by the bustle of deplaning and briskly walking into O'hare Airport. The place was huge, and it was busy. "Elias, stay close." The boy gawked at the crowds, the planes, and the noisy place in general.

They both made their way to the baggage claim. Once they passed through security, Orson turned on his phone to check for messages. Before they could load a voice said his name.

"Mister Warner?" Orson looked up from his phone, and a blonde man stood next to the baggage claim for their flight.

"Uh, hello. Yes. I'm Orson Warner." He offered a smile to the young blonde and stuck out his hand. "Are you Mr. Blackwell?"

The man smiled. "I am." Corbin reached and shook his hand. "Though, please, call me Corbin."

Orson quickly took him in. 'Blonde, lean, blue eyes, pale, good looking.' Orson's research on Corbin turned up next to nothing. He found a few 'Corbin Blackwells,' but none seemed to match the profile of an art collector. Still, here he was. And it was too good of an offer not to explore it. The first class tickets also made for a convincing argument for the validity of the proposal.

"It's great to meet you, Orson." Corbin looked at Elias, and his smile broadened. "Hello. Elias, right?"

The boy nodded and smiled a little. He shook Corbin's hand when the blonde offered it. "Hi. You must really like The Raven."

Corbin grinned. "I certainly do." He motioned toward the exit. "Though, if it's all the same, I'd like to discuss it more out in the car." He looked at Orson. "Let's get your luggage and then we'll get to business. That sound all right?"

Orson nodded. He did notice that though Corbin seemed relaxed, the man was very watchful and aware. That put Orson on edge a bit, but he chose to keep it to himself. For his part, Elias seemed a little overwhelmed, but observant. Elias struck right by Orson while in the strange, new environment of the large, crowded room.

Eventually, their luggage appeared, and Orson hauled their additional baggage off of the carousel.

Corbin led them outside. As they exited, Orson's trained eye caught a dark-haired man as he shouldered a bag and exited with them. Though the man was in a group of others, something about him set off a little alarm in Orson's mind.

His arm went around Elias' shoulders. "Stay close," he said again in a low voice. Casually he looked over his shoulder once more, and the man was gone.

Orson frowned as they walked to the curb. A large dark blue SUV waited. "Here we are, gents." They loaded up their luggage, and then they got in. Corbin took the passenger seat, and Orson sat in the back with Elias.

"Paul, take us to the house," Corbin spoke to the tall, broad-shouldered, bearded man in the driver seat. The man nodded, and he pulled smoothly away from the curb.

Once they were on their way, Corbin turned and looked at the two of them. "We've already received The Raven at the house. I had my people unpack and check it for damage. Everything looks good to us, but I had them leave it all for you to take a look, and check our work, Elias."

The boy nodded. "Okay. I was worried about it getting shipped. So we packed it as good as we could."

Corbin smiled and nodded. "It showed. You did a good job." He glanced at Orson. "My apologies to you. I didn't know about your leg. I would have arranged some help in the airport for you had I known."

Orson unconsciously smiled at the concern. "Ah, thank you, but it's fine." He realized his tiredness must show. "I'll be fine once I've had a chance to rest."

The plan was for Orson and Elias to stay as guests with Corbin at his house in the city. From what Orson understood, the building had a large central room, and Corbin wanted The Raven assembled there.

"The chance for rest is coming." Corbin turned back around in his seat.

Orson let himself relax a little as they rode. Soon the industrial and commercial parts of the city gave way to a residential area. The SUV stopped at a gate in what looked to be a beautiful, well-maintained neighborhood.

Their driver, Paul, pressed a button on the intercom beside the gate. Some words were exchanged in a foreign language through the speaker. It was one of the romance languages, but Orson wasn't quite sure which.

Then the gate opened, and they pulled through. It shut behind them, and they motored quietly through a group of very nice houses to either side of the road. There was plenty of space between the buildings, and it was apparent that it was a costly area to live.

"Wow." Orson looked out the window. "Your neighborhood is pretty nice."

Corbin looked over his shoulder. "Oh, we've got a rental in a different part of the city. This is just the place we're taking The Raven." He seemed as if he were confessing a minor sin, and he smiled guiltily. "I have already given The Raven to an old friend, and we are on the way to his home now. The sculpture is there, and it awaits assembly."

"Oh." Orson mulled over this bit of information. The fact that The Raven had already changed hands in less than 48 hours was a little odd to him. 'Maybe this is just how the art world works.'

They pulled up in front of a large, expansive home. Orson's eyes narrowed when they stepped out of the vehicle. Two men stood to either side of the door to the house. Both were large fellows, wore impeccable suits, and instantly Orson felt his tension ratchet up.

Orson checked the outside of the building as they walked toward it. 'Windows, doors.' He quickly noted locations of exits and entries. Subconsciously he pulled Elias close.

They got to the door, and the two men nodded very cordially at Corbin. The blonde man smiled and gave each of them a small nod in return. One of the men then opened the door for them.

Corbin entered and waited for both Elias and Orson to go in. Orson also noticed that their driver, Paul accompanied them. Paul fell into step behind, sandwiching he and Elias between the tall man and Corbin.

Once they were all inside the door closed. The space was well lit with incandescent bulbs. The decorations were incredibly tasteful, though sleek and almost austere. Clean lines, simple yet elegant furniture, and a thick red, long rug - the only bright color in the hall, ran the length of the entryway which led deeper into the home.

Corbin smiled warmly at the two of them. "Follow me, gentlemen." He walked inside.

At this point, Orson didn't feel he had much choice but to follow along. He looked down at Elias, and the boy had a little smile on his face as his eyes took in the house, and the objects in the hallway. 'Well, at least he's not nervous. I hope there's no reason to be.'

They rounded the corner, and they were in a large room with a high, arched ceiling. Halls led off from this central space into various other parts of what Orson was beginning to consider a mansion. The last bits of the sun struck a large skylight above, and golden light washed down into the room. The floor was beautiful, polished wood.

There on the floor were the boxes that Mason and Elias packed back in California. They were all opened, and the parts of the sculpture rested within. Elias grinned, and he began to look through them.

Corbin walked over to a short, sturdy wooden platform. It was directly under the skylight. When the daytime sun hit the roof, the whole area below would be flooded with light. "Elias, do you think you can assemble The Raven here?"

Elias looked at the platform critically. He walked over, and he stood on it. It didn't flex or bend at all. He nodded at Corbin. "Yes. This is fine." He looked around the room. "It's going to look great here!" Elias then looked at Orson, and his smile slipped. "Can Orson rest first? I need help doing it, but he's tired."

Corbin grimaced at his lack of manners. "Forgive me. Paul, can you get Orson a chair please?" The tall man left the room without a word. The blonde looked at Elias. "Can I help you instead?" His smile returned. "My friend isn't home, and I'd love to have this done for him before he arrives."

"Oh, a surprise!" Elias grinned. "Yeah, you can help. Let's get started."

Paul returned, and he put a cushioned, wooden chair down. Orson gratefully sat. He looked up at the man. "Thank you."

Paul smiled at him. "You're welcome." The man then stepped away, back to the entryway of the room.

Elias and Corbin started assembling The Raven on the stand.

Orson watched for a little, and piece by piece the sculpture grew. It was a fascinating thing to see. But, he noticed a movement from the corner of his eye, and he turned his head slightly. The movement was Paul as he looked at his watch. Then Orson saw him do it again only a couple of minutes later. The tall man seemed more nervous as time passed. Orson also began to see how Corbin gently prompted Elias to work faster.

Orson licked his lips. 'Something's wrong.' He thought about the path they took to get inside and then recalled the huge men at the door. 'If we have to leave in a hurry we'll have to go a different way.' He started to make an excuse to stand up when Elias made a little sound of victory.

"It's done!" Elias stood back and grinned at it.

Corbin stood beside him and looked as well. "Wow." His rush seemed to be forgotten. He stared at it for a moment then he shook his head. "I'm almost sad to give it up." He took a breath. He snapped a few pictures of the sculpture, and then he put away his phone. "Okay, we should go before I change my mind."

He took an envelope out of the pocket of the light jacket he wore, and he put it directly before The Raven on the platform. He looked at Orson. "Have you rested enough? We just need to get back to the car, and we'll get you to a bed."

Orson could feel the need to leave the building in Corbin's voice. He nodded. "Yes." He stood up, and his eyes met Corbin's. "Afterwards, I'd like to speak to you, alone."

A very slight smile pulled at Corbin's lips. But he nodded. "Very good." He motioned at the hallway. "Let's be off."

They all exited the house, and the men at the door followed them down the walkway. They peeled off and got into a black sedan parked near their vehicle. Their group got into the SUV. Paul followed the car out, and soon they were back on the streets of Chicago, and out of that particular gated community.

Orson watched the two men in the front seats carefully. And he saw the tension leave both of their shoulders. He was reasonably sure he even heard Paul breathe a sigh of relief.

A few minutes later they pulled up in front of a far simpler home. They all got out, and they entered the house.

The men in the sedan got out of their vehicle, but they didn't come inside. Orson was fairly sure they were now at the door.

Corbin took off his jacket and hung it up beside the door. His eyes met Orson's for a moment, and that strange smile reappeared. He looked at Elias. "Hey, Elias. Did you want to let Paul take you up to your room?"

Orson began to object. He didn't want Elias out of his sight. The blonde seemed to sense his unease and amended his earlier statement. "Actually, how about you guys go to the dining room?" Corbin pointed at the next room. Orson could easily see into the space from where they stood. "Miguel will have food for us soon, so I hope you're hungry."

Orson watched as Elias and Paul walked into the dining room. Just as he started to turn toward Corbin, he did a double take at the light brown-skinned man who entered the dining area. The fellow bore a plate of spring rolls, and Elias grinned as he saw the food. It was the same man at the airport, the one he felt was following them. Orson stared at the man for a moment then he looked at Corbin, his expression openly suspicious.

The blonde man smiled at him. "Let's sit. I owe you a rather large deposit."

Orson didn't answer. He only sat down so that he could see Elias and watch Corbin.

Corbin took out his phone. He tapped away on it, and then he looked up at Orson. "Can you please check your account?"

Orson did so. He knew what he should expect, but it was still shocking to see the size of the pending transfer to his account. He slowly nodded. "$150,000, in process of transfer." He turned off the phone and slipped it back into his pocket. "Okay, what the hell is going on?" His voice was low, but there was an undercurrent of aggression in it. Anything that concerned Elias set him on edge, and a lot of tension seemed to swirl around the boy.

Corbin sighed, and he sat back on the couch. "All I can tell you is that what we did this evening has insured Elias will go on to produce more art. And that those around him will continue to have good, safe lives."

Orson frowned. "I'm just supposed to … to believe you." He looked again into the dining room. Paul ate spring rolls with Elias, and he almost choked as Elias made the tall man laugh at something he said. Orson's tension dialed back only a fraction when he saw Elias' smile.

"I'm sorry, but yes." Corbin took out his phone again. He pressed a few keys, his brow furrowed in concentration. Then he nodded and held it up so Orson could see.

"$50,000 more. I know by now how much you can use this - for Elias' future, or your own." He nodded. "And, you can probably guess, it requires you to be satisfied with my role as an art collector. And nothing more."

Orson felt an immediate flash of anger. "You can't buy me."

Corbin sighed heavily, and his hand with the phone came down. "I'm not trying to buy you." His eyes hardened. "I am trying to protect you, and Elias. Telling you more about my situation will have the exact opposite effect. I can tell you, that I have done nothing that will bring harm to Elias, nor will I."

Orson's mind whirled. Something in the way Corbin said the words struck him. 'He believes what he's saying. He believes it, utterly and entirely.' Regardless, he couldn't let it go. "Protect us from what?"

Corbin shook his head. "I can't tell you."

Orson's voice took on an edge. "I'm going to tell YOU something. Elias lives at a campground with three police vets and one active duty cop who visits pretty damn often. I think we've got his protection in hand."

For the first time, Corbin looked surprised. "FOUR police?" Orson observed him as a genuine smile slowly grew on his face. "I'm happy to hear it. But, I still can't tell you."

Orson gave up on getting information from Corbin. He looked back at Elias as Miguel stepped up to the table with another dish of food. "I swear if anything happens to him," he turned his eyes back to the blonde man, "I will come looking for you. We all will."

Corbin stared back at him. "I would expect nothing less." After a few seconds, he looked at his phone and hit a button. Orson felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket a few seconds later as another pending transfer hit. Corbin's blue eyes came back up. "I'm happy to have met you, Orson." He extended a hand.

Orson looked down at it. Then after some thought, he reached over and gripped Corbin's hand firmly. The men shook, both of their faces serious. Orson released him.

Corbin smiled, the expression a little experimental. "Are you hungry?"

"Yes," Orson admitted. The man sighed. "And that food smells delicious."

"Miguel is a great cook." He stood. "Let's join them."

Orson stood and walked with Corbin to the dining room. He found a seat beside Elias, and the young man joyfully smiled at him. 'He's happy. And he likes Paul.' Orson looked around the table. Corbin sat next to Paul, and the men began to pass around the small plates of food Miguel continued to bring to them.

"Hey, you guys should come to visit the campground!" Elias said between bites of spring rolls, chicken satay, and some sort of savory shredded vegetable salad. Elias was excited to share information about his favorite place in the world.

Corbin smiled at him. "Maybe."

"You and Paul would like it." The way Elias said it made Orson look up at the pair of men. They sat close, and suddenly Orson realized that they were together.

Paul laughed, his tone good-natured and deep in register. "Probably. From what you've told me, it sounds awesome."

"It is. There are a lot of people coming now. It's pretty cool. You'd like Greg and Clay, Mason and Jeremy, and Joseph, Orson's boyfriend."

Orson made a face at that. For one reason, it wasn't exactly something they had discussed. And for another, it felt like things between them were up in the air.

Corbin smiled at Elias, and then he looked at Orson. For a split-second, Orson felt something pass between them. And at that moment he knew something - something deep and intuitive.

'We're on the same side.'

Orson looked down at his plate. His intuition about a person had never been wrong. It was something that had always been with him, and he valued that particular talent greatly. His head came up. "It is a pretty cool place." He glanced back and forth between Corbin and Paul. "And yeah, I think you guys would like it."

Corbin's face changed ever so subtly, but Orson knew people. And he saw the shift. He knew the blonde man picked up on Orson's permission and his trust. "Maybe we will check it out." Corbin smiled.

They all dug in. And for the first time in a while, Orson was able to relax.

A little.

___________________________________

July 10, 2018 (Tuesday, 8:55 PM - Central Time)

Vincent Costa followed his capo into the mansion. His skin crawled a little in the place, as it was known to be a property owned by Luca Giovanni. Giovanni himself contacted him, and "requested" Vincent's presence at the well-appointed home.

"I humbly ask you meet my agent at our Chicago home for some urgent business."

Vincent frowned as he thought back on the call. Luca Giovanni didn't need to "humbly" ask anything. While Luca wasn't his superior, he commanded a network of men and women which exceeded many governments.

Stated simply, it was unwise to ignore such a request. And, Vincent could admit that he was curious as to the nature of this business.

Girard walked down the hallway, alert and on guard. It always paid in their line of work to be watchful. He got to the doorway into the large central room, and Girard stopped in his tracks and stared.

Vincent frowned. "Girard. What is it?" He took the few steps required to look for himself.

The Raven hung there, illuminated by three carefully placed lights in the otherwise dark room. The only thing you could see in the space was the sculpture itself.

Vincent's breath caught in his throat. It was the same sculpture he had seen in the pictures Girard brought to him. He stepped forward into the room.

"Hello, Don Costa."

Girard pulled his firearm in a smooth motion but kept the weapon pointed at the floor. He also moved to put himself between the source of the voice and his Don.

Stefano Giovanni stepped into the light of the sculpture. The dark-haired capo of Luca smiled. "I apologize for any surprise."

Vincent had last seen Stefano at the decision which went Corbin Reina's way and made him Don of the Reina. Vincent ignored pleasantries. "What does Luca want, Stefano?"

The man seemed amused by Vincent's brusqueness, and that only angered Don Costa. Stefano picked up an envelope Vincent failed to notice at the base of the sculpture. "He wishes me to be a witness to your choice."

Vincent eyed Stefano, and then he took the envelope from the man. He opened it, and he began to read.

Don Costa,

I hope that you will accept this gift in the spirit with which is it is offered. And that is, simply, the hope that we shall one day sit together at a table and call one another allies. I wish neither return of this gift through favors, nor through fiscal means. All I desire is the recognition that the artist is under the patronage of Family Reina. And shall be for the foreseeable future.

I thank you for your attention and consideration.

Don Reina

Vincent Costa reread the letter. Then he raised his eyes to the sculpture. He knew the work was one of a kind. He knew it would never be reproduced. He would have the only one. Though he also realized Reina attempted to manipulate him with the lighting, and the pedestal, even without that the piece was still magnificent.

But the artist would be off limits. His acceptance of Corbin as the patron of Elias would mean his Family could take no action to recruit the boy. Though, his ploy through the school was a subtle one. And it was likely to avoid detection.

Vincent would take the risk. He licked his lips, folded the letter and put it into his coat pocket. "You can report back to Luca that I accept."

Stefano smiled, and he inclined his head. "Thank you, Don Costa." With that Stefano left the room.

Vincent Costa stared up at The Raven. And reverently, gently, he reached out and touched his art.

___________________________________

July 10, 2018 (Tuesday, 9:47 PM - Central Time)

"Hi, Joseph." Orson lay on his back and spoke on the phone. He was in a very lovely king-sized bed. He and Elias had gone to their guest rooms, but Elias soon came into Orson's. He wanted to be nearby, and the boy quietly slept beside him, his face turned away toward the wall.

"Hey," Joseph said. "It's good to hear your voice, Orson."

Orson smiled, though it was a little sad. "Same here, Joseph." He sighed. "We go visit the school tomorrow."

After a bit of silence Joseph replied, "honestly, I don't see how Elias can turn it down. He'll never get another offer like this."

"Yeah. Yeah, I know." Orson breathed and tried to stem his emotions before they roared out of control.

"Hey, I wanted to apologize. For just running out on you. I … ah, I wasn't ready to hear that you might move away on me."

"It's okay, Joseph. I mean, I'm not sure what Elias is gonna do," Orson glanced at the unmoving boy, then he continued, "and it's his call. I'm just going to let him decide." He made a sound of realization. "Though, I'll have to get the court's permission to let him become a resident and enroll in a school out of state."

"That won't be a problem if you're there."

Orson nodded, the motion unseen. "You're probably right."

There was silence on the phone for a bit, and Orson listened to Joseph quietly breathe. He finally sighed. "I guess I'll let you go, Joseph. I'll see you when we get back."

"Orson, I've been thinking about this. And, just after a couple of weeks of us hanging out, the thought of you not being around is … ah, it's really fucking me up." He audibly swallowed. "And I know, I'm not your priority, and I don't expect to be. But, I couldn't deal with it, if six or eight, or twelve months from now something else comes along for Elias. And you have to leave with him."

It felt hard to breathe as Orson's chest tightened. He cleared his throat, but his voice still came out in a gravelly mess. "Oh. Okay. Then, ah … I guess this is goodbye."

"Yeah. I guess so." Joseph's voice sounded rough. "Take care of yourself, okay?"

"Yeah. You too."

Orson hung up.

He lay there a moment. Then he rolled over on his side facing away from Elias.

He tried to be quiet, and he mostly was. But now and again, an audible sob escaped him as he cried. It took a while, but he finally slipped into a dismal sleep.

And after Orson stopped moving and making sounds, Elias opened his eyes.

___________________________________

July 11, 2018 (Wednesday, 7:00 AM - Central Time)

Elias woke to Orson's alarm on his phone. They were scheduled to meet up with the lady from the Institute at nine. Orson had already reserved a rental car, and it was entirely set up.

Orson moved, and he shut off his phone. He made a tired sound then rolled over and looked at Elias. "Hey." He blinked a few times at the boy. Orson sat up and forced a smile. "You ready to go see that school?"

Elias lay on his back, crossed his arms over his skinny chest, and he shook his head. "I don't want to go."

Orson's face dropped. "What? Why?"

"I don't want to go to school here. In Chicago. I want to stay at the campground and do my pottery, and be around my friends."

Orson stared at him. "But, you were excited." He shook his head. "You were looking at the pictures, and you liked the campus." The man put a hand on Elias' shoulder. "You don't even want to go look? We're already here. We should go look, Elias."

The boy looked at Orson. "I don't want to."

Orson seemed utterly mystified. "But …"

Elias sat up. "Can I borrow your phone? I need to call that lady. Can you pull up her number for me?"

Orson blinked. "Uh, okay." He shook his head, confused, and he brought up Diana's number. "Here it is."

Elias took the phone, and the boy disappeared into the bathroom that adjoined the bedroom. He closed the door, and he hit the "call" button.

It went to a recording, and Elias left a terse, very sure message. "Hi, this is Elias Pennington for Diana. I'm sorry, but I won't be attending your school. Thanks anyway."

He hung up. Then he scrolled through Orson's contacts. He found the number he wanted, and he hit dial.

After two rings it picked up. "Orson?" Joseph's confused voice came over the receiver.

"Hi, it's Elias. Why was Orson crying?" Elias sat on the closed lid of the toilet and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, and the phone pressed against his ear.

After a few seconds, "He was crying?" Joseph said in a quiet voice. "Did he want you to call me?"

"No. He doesn't know. Did you break up with Orson?" Elias asked, and his foot tapped impatiently on the tile floor.

"We kind of broke up with each other, I guess."

"Why?" Elias' voice was harsher than he wanted it to be, but he couldn't take it back now.

"It's complicated, Elias. Look, just …"

"Is it because of me?" Elias stood, and he could feel himself slowly heating up.

"Elias, it's not your fault."

"But it's because of me." Elias licked his lips. "Why?" His voice cracked when he realized he was the reason. "Tell me why."

Joseph's tone changed. "Ah, because. I just, I don't want to get close to him to have him leave, Elias."

The boy breathed hard, and he started to cry. "Orson is awesome, Joseph. If you leave him because of me, I'll run away. And that'll fix it."

"Elias, no." Joseph's voice took on an urgent note. "No no. That's not a good way to deal with this, okay?"

Elias held the phone against his face, and his mouth worked. "Do you like Orson?"

"Yeah. You know that I do."

"Then I don't understand why you can't be boyfriends."

Joseph made a frustrated sound. "Elias, I … it's scary! He might leave." His voice dropped. "He might have to go away, to do what's best for you. And I understand that. But I can't handle it. Okay?"

Elias' eyes narrowed. "No. Not okay. I told the school I wasn't going. I'm not gonna leave the campground until I'm eighteen. Then I can take care of myself, and Orson won't have to."

Elias heard Joseph laugh a little. "You … you turned down a free ride, for Orson?"

"I don't care about the school. I care about Orson."

Joseph took a deep breath. Then he took another. And still one more. "Elias, can you give the phone to Orson, please?"

"Yes."

Elias opened the door, and Orson stood there. The man had tears streaming down his face. He smiled at Elias. "Thin door. I could hear you."

Elias smiled, and he handed over the phone. "He wants to talk to you."

Orson nodded, and he hugged the boy. Elias grinned as he was in Orson's arms. "I love you, Orson."

Orson laughed. "I know! I really do." He pushed back and wiped his face. "I love you too, Elias."

The boy nodded. Then he stepped away, back into the bedroom and he gave Orson a little privacy.

And he took a happy, contented breath.


Author's Note:

Please let me know your thoughts on the chapter at the following email address link.   Wayne Gray

And thank you for reading! 

If you'd like to be on a list specifically for notification of updates to my stories onThe Story Lover's Home, email and let me know. I'll add you on. Click on the following link Update List.