2-12) On The Road Again

Time passed, Liam finished the rest of his sentence and resumed daily life. He did not turn into a horror teen again as we had feared in the back of our minds, but instead was incredibly sweet, albeit unusually quiet and calm. No sign of any bad behavior.
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The good news was, he kept his grades steady, would come home, do his homework. The bad news were after that he would sit around and mope.
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Whenever we would slap some chores on him to get him to go outside, like walk the dogs, take out the trash, he would do it without us ever having to ask twice, but immediately after he was done, he’d go back to his room and mope again.
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His best friend Corbin and the other boys had even quit calling and stopping by to try and pry him away to go out. It was THAT hopeless.

Blaine and I had many talks with him, many times rehashed what had happened, told him not to give up on love and that we would always be there for him, you know, encouraging things.
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Our hope was that he would bounce back eventually and go out with the boys, do teenage things, to at least take his mind off the heartbreak. And he was heartbroken something fierce. Blaine and I felt helpless.

Instead he became incredibly clingy with us, his parents. He would ask hundreds of questions about Blaine and me when we were younger, have us tell the same old stories again and again. Even Blaine’s usual jokes or teasing did not deter him one bit.
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At first we thought it was kind of cute when one night he suddenly stood at our bed after some nightmare asking to crawl in.
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Soon it became a tad bit much. Ok, it became WAY TOO much!
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So Blaine and I held war council. Yes, in the kitchen, by the coffeemaker, as usual.
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“This has to stop. I am so over having a nearly full grown man laying in bed with us. I would like to go back to sleeping in the coffin again, but am afraid he’d squeeze in with me. Or you. Or worse: us, while we are in the middle of  .. well you get the picture.”
“Oh Blaine. The boy had his heart shattered. And currently he thinks we hung the moon. ‘Best parents ever’ is what he keeps calling us. I mean, how many parents of teen boys can say that? Or girls, remember Vivian at his age. Not exactly cuddly.” I countered.09-26-18_7-33-19 PM
“Babygirl, I do not want to gauge how well we do as parents by having a 16 year old lap child.  I get it, really I do, I have been there in a way but his heartache won’t get any better if he turns into Norman Bates.”
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I knew Blaine was right. We were not helping him if we let him turn into a hermit. Initially I saw nothing wrong with it, but it had been nearly 3 months now and he was still this way.
So we took him to my childhood home to help paint and get it ready for sale. Soon it was all done. I involved Blaine in every step now, but when we finally did sell and all was final, it was hard on both of us.
This had been where it all once began for us. Where WE once began. Had the six year old me not on some whim just somehow saved a skinny, grungy seven year old boy from getting beaten up on the schoolyard and then even taken him home with me that one fateful day, who knows how our lives would have turned out to be. Blaine swears to this day that he would have been no more, probably would have died long before he became so terminally ill. I don’t know, but I know I would not ever want to miss him.

Then one day, Blaine was away on tour with the band again, Liam came into our home office, where I had been paying bills.

“Mom, can I ask you something?” he started, fondling the books on the bookshelf.
“Sure, honey, what is it?” I leaned back in the chair to look at him.
“How did you know for sure dad was the one?”
“I guess in a way I always knew. Just circumstances changed.” I answered patiently, the same question I had answered a million times before.
“I don’t know what to do mom.” he looked at me, tortured.
“About what?”
“Leonie.”
“There is really not much you can do, baby. Unfortunately.”
“Can you ask Mr. Auditore if he can help?”
“Help how? There is really nothing he could do.” I shrugged.
“He knows all those rich people. Can he not ask around about all-girl boarding schools?”
“You know what, Liam? That is actually not a bad idea. Although, as your mother I should probably talk you out of it, but I really don’t want to. Come on, let’s go over there and see him.” I stood up.
“Can’t you just call?”
“I could, but firstly I want to see Melissa and secondly it is so much harder for him to say no in person.” I winked at Liam.

Melissa was not there, just Ezio and their youngest, who was asleep. We had learned about some dubious powers that baby possessed, so as cute as that kid was, I preferred to stay away until they all got that sorted out more. Better safe than sorry.

“So, is this just a social call or do you want something?” Ezio smiled at us.
“Just social, right Liam?” I elbowed my son.
“Uh huh.” he confirmed.
“Why do I not believe you?” Ezio’s smile grew wider.
“Can you call your rich friends and find out which boarding school they locked Leonie up in?!” Liam almost spat the words out.
I started laughing at that outburst and at Ezio’s facial expression, which at my laughter turned to a chuckle.
“I knew it. Not a social visit, but a request. I am not sure how I am supposed to fulfill it. She could be anywhere. Although – come to think of it there are only a few boarding schools relatively near, and only two of those would be all-female ones that I am aware of, the one Nicole Vanderbilt went to and a much more affordable one, St. Mary’s. I’d assume she would be in the latter. I think it is about 2-3 car hours away from here, maybe a little more. I do not know anybody there though, sorry.” Ezio told us.
“Great. Could have googled that.” Liam said.
“Liam!” I reprimanded his ungratefulness.
“Sorry. It’s just … how does that help me? I still don’t know if she goes there and how to reach her.” Liam looked very down now. Apparently that fact was not lost on Ezio, as he patted him on the shoulder and said gently.
“Well, son, that is where you use your brain and charisma. We both know that you have been around the ladies plenty. So drive there tomorrow, since it’s Saturday, and wait till one of the girls comes out. Charm her into helping you. ”
“Ezio Auditore! What kind of stuff are you teaching my son?” I feigned outrage, trying to suppress a grin.
“Things he should already know.” he winked at me.
“Mom, if I start driving now, I can be there before sunrise tomorrow! Please! All I need is some cash for gas and a hotel room, please mom!” Liam was very animated now.
“Your father would kill me!” I told him, while already trying to think of options.
“Mom, you cannot tell me no now. I have to find her! PLEASE!” Liam begged, while Ezio stood by, his arms crossed, grinning gleefully.
“I did not say no. I only say you cannot go alone. I will go with you. Ezio, dear, you wouldn’t mind checking on the dogs?” I was waving the key in front of him, knowing he could not decline now and thinking ‘how does payback for your glee taste, dear?
“How do I always get sucked into things like that? Fine, go. I’ll have someone check on the mutts. Oh, but in return you text me when you get there.” Ezio said.

The car ride was long and monotonous. I was driving his car. Liam was nervous, probably reciting what to say to Leonie if the chance came up. I was reciting in my head what to say to Blaine once he found out. Not sure how he would find out, as I was not too eager to break this to him, but he would find out. And right then, my phone buzzed in the center console. Blaine. Liam just grabbed it, accepted the call and put on speaker.
Blaine told us about the tour, some funny moments and how their drummer with really long hair almost lost it in a blaze of glory due to pyrotechnics.
“Are you driving?” he asked of a sudden.
“Ummm.” I replied, trying to pay attention to the road while dreaming up a non-confrontational non-lie.
“We’re going to see Leonie, dad! Mr. Auditore figured out which school she is probably in and we are driving there now.” That’s how he would find out. Leave it to Liam. Argh.
“You what?!”  the phone speaker vibrated at Blaine’s increased volume.
“Yeah, isn’t mom just awesome!” Liam exclaimed.
“I was just thinking that, son. Can’t wait to tell her when I am back. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING, BABYGIRL?! You deserve a spanking!” Blaine barked now.
“He was going to drive alone!” was my lame excuse.
“That’s your defense?! Is the Mafioso at least with you?” Blaine was still highly unamused.
“Of course not. He is watching the dogs.” Yeah, brilliant response, I know.
“The one time I was hoping he would … ok fine, you call me the minute you get there and check in with me frequently. Call, text, carrier pigeon, I don’t care! You hear?” Blaine sounded genuinely worried.

Once we finally made it into town I had the Navigation guide us up to the boarding school, which looked dramatic in the dark as I steered the car up and down the roads around it, then back into town where I checked us into a motel, luckily they had one room with two single beds left. Sure I could have booked two rooms, but this way I could keep an eye on that son of mine. I took the bed closest to the door. Just in case.

The drive had made me tired and I fell asleep soon.

I rose fairly early in the morning, as I needed to use the bathroom. When I got up I noticed immediately that Liam was gone. I cursed colorfully, especially when I noticed the car keys were nowhere to be found either. The day was gloomy, so Liam could be out without a problem.

*

“LIAM – it really is you!?” Leonie ran into his arms, where they remained in an embrace for an eternity.
He had waited outside her school when a pretty brunette, obviously a student, judging by the uniform, came back from some nearby bakery. He asked her about Leonie and she said she was her friend and that she would send her out to meet him. Evidently, she kept word, as it only took about 5 minutes till Leonie stuck her head around the hedges where Liam was hiding.
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“I missed you so!” he told her.
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“Not as much as I missed you! How did you ever find me?” she asked.
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“Long story Can you get away?”
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“Let’s just go. I’ll deal with it all later. So what if they punish me, I just don’t care anymore.”
He grabbed her hand and ran towards his car, glad he talked his mother into taking his, not her Golf.
Another kiss for good luck and he started the car.
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He was completely unfamiliar with the area, just drove until they came to a quiet looking dirt road, he steered the car down it until it seemed secluded enough.
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They got out and talked, about everything that had happened in the nearly three months since they had last seen each other.
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When it finally got dark, he took her back, but she was just not ready to go back inside. There was just so much still they wanted to tell each other. Leonie had changed, she was no longer so eager to abide by all the rules.
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“Sit with me, just a little while longer.” she said.
“You sure? I don’t want to get you in trouble and I also don’t want to go back to jail again.”
“Don’t worry. They are strict here, but also nuns, so the worst they do is to yell at you. You will live.” she smiled.
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They sat in silence for minutes, until Leonie broke it by saying
“It is so perfect that you are here, today of all days.”
“Did I miss something?” Liam was confused.
“Today is Love Day, Liam.” she looked amused.
“Oh shit! I didn’t even realize that. I don’t have a gift for you.” he felt bad.
“But I have one for you. It’s inside though.”
“I’ll wait.”
“No, you have to come. Can you get over that hedge there?” she pointed.
“Of course!”
“OK, that’s the garden, when you are over, then go up to that fountain and hide. I’ll unlock the door when it’s safe. We have to be super quiet and fast, can you handle that?”
“Sure.” Liam said, but felt nervous.
Last time he snuck into a forbidden house he ended up in jail. This here was a Catholic girls boarding school.  Yikes. Leonie kissed him then ran to the front entrance. He looked around himself, then set over the high hedge with ease, and did as instructed. Leonie came to the door, gestured him inside, where she took him by the hand and they ran up the stairwell and into a room, where Leonie locked the door behind them. Liam looked around and saw they were in an old fashioned bedroom.
“Is this your room?” he asked.
“Oh no. They have us several girls to a room. My roommates are really cool, so they are keeping watch for us. This is a guest room for visiting nuns. There aren’t any this weekend so we are good.” she explained.
“OK.” Liam was not convinced.
“Ready for your present?” she gave him a strange smile.
“Always, what is it?”
In lieu of a verbal answer, Leonie kissed him, but differently than before.
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Then she started taking off her clothing, before tugging on his shirt, while whispering into his ear.
“I am ready.”
Liam understood.
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Afterwards they laid in each other’s arms for a long time till it was time for Liam to sneak back out.

The next day was Sunday, and the girls had the afternoon to do with as they pleased.
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Leonie met Liam at a scenic lookout spot in walking distance from the school.
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It was a wonderful day again. Liam kept teasing her about the school uniform that every student had to wear there. Her only payback for his teasing were more hugs and kisses.
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We drove home late that afternoon, and Liam was so chatty, my ears were ringing after only 20 minutes. He was like a different boy, giggling, laughing, telling me the same cute stories over and over again.
He had school the next day or I would have never gotten him to leave at all, but that entire week was different. His good mood stayed, he now Skyped with Leonie daily – for hours, he had her new cell phone number and she his.
Each weekend he would drive up there to see her.
But – he would spend time with his friends again after school.  And Blaine and I finally had alone time again, too.
Blaine even told me that maybe – just maybe – my idea of driving our teen son to the boarding school had not been all that bad after all.

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