Chapter 34 – Gregory
I get a little nervous as I am still waiting on mom or dad to give me the go ahead to go with Tay to Italy. The annoying thing is that whenever I bring it up mom cuts it off abruptly and ignores the now gigantic elephant in the room.
Sitting on my bed brooding and thinking of the best way to breach the subject with mom that doesn’t include shouting, I am surprised when mom pops his head in. “Shouldn’t you be packing?”
Tilting my head and frowning at his question “Why? I packed everything for Rainbow already.” I can’t help but sulk a little, like a young child.
Mom rolled his eyes, clearly not impressed by my behaviour. “That’s not what I meant Greg. I meant shouldn’t you start packing for Italy, or do you not want to go?”
Letting out a sound of joy, I hug mom tightly while muttering ‘thank you, thank you thank, you!’ Mom does look uncomfortable when I release him and rush around my room gathering my things.
“It’s only fair that if Nance is going on vacation with her boyfriend, so should you.” Although he mutters it under his breath, I hear it. Must thank Nance as soon as possible. I promise myself as I sprint from the room as a familiar honk sounds from outside.
“Love you mom!” I shout as I rush to the front door, “Come on Lo! Let’s go!” I throw open the door, startling Tay as he has his hand lifted to knock on the polished wooden door.
He looks bewildered as I throw myself around his neck “Does anyone know what is going on?” His arms automatically wrap themselves around my waist to steady us.
“Zach just told him he could go with you to Italy I imagine.” Dad’s voice holds some amusement as I turn to pout at him. “You might want to get moving before Zach changes his mind. He is well known for that.” Dad chuckles just as mom walks down the stairs.
“I most certainly do not.” Mom huffs as he glares at dad. He turns on Tay, pointing a dangerous finger in our direction. “We need to talk later young man.”
Tay swallows audibly but meekly nods his head. With that out of the way, we all make our way to school. The first exam drags on and on, making more than impatient as I pace around in the cafeteria as I wait for Tay to finish his second exam of the day.
When we both finally manage to step outside of the building, Tay immediately is on the phone with Gordo with the news that I will be joining them when they leave next week.
“I hope you will enjoy my little gift.” Rafa comes to a stop beside me as he shakes his head at the gestures Tay is making. “I convinced him to give you my usual seat.” Rafa explains, “So the two of you can go together and I can go with Nance.”
“You gave up your seat for me?” I don’t know how to feel about this revelation.
“Don’t worry Greg!” Rafa slaps my shoulder with a smile. “It’s not a big deal; I can go to Italy whenever I want. Now we both have a relationship, I feel that we are old enough to not spend every summer vacation together.”
With a cheeky wink he turns and saunters off to his own car where Nance is waiting impatiently for him.
“What was all that about?” I shrug as Tay comes back to my side. “Meredith says she will ask your parents if you can stay the night the day before we leave so we don’t need to rush in the morning since we have one of the earlier flights.” He squeezes me tight to his chest “I still can’t believe your mom let you go.” He murmurs happily as he drags me to his car.
His earlier bravo is melting like snow in the sun as he turns the car up the drive and the impending talk with mom is looming closely on the horizon. “Oh, come on lazy ass. Now is not the time to chicken out.” Tay rolls his eyes but climbs out of the car, although very reluctantly.
“If you think you are having a tough time right now, you know nothing.” I say as we walk behind mom and dad to mom’s study. “Imagine go to meet the family of your boyfriend in a foreign country and you don’t even speak the language.” I grumble as I am still annoyed that Tay wouldn’t teach me any Italian, saying I don’t need it. According to him, everybody in his family speaks English.
“Now,” Mom starts as I close the door behind me and he sits behind his desk with dad standing beside him. “I just want to go over a few rules while the two of you stay in Italy.” I look at Tay out of the corner of my eye and see he is paying mom full attention. He does look a little nervous though, his hands are pressing firmly down on his knees as he sits there rigid on one of the chairs in front of mom. “I would like to have you attention too Greg, this applies as much to as it does to Tay.”
Something in mom’s tone has me snapping my attention so I am facing him once more. Mom looks grave, like he just wants to get this all over and done with. “Now that I have both of your attention, I would like to go over the few rules for the both of you while you are abroad.” Here he gives the both of us hard glare. “I don’t want the two of you sharing bed while you are there.”
I groan loudly. “Mom!” He holds up his hand when I want to protest.
“I know it is unavoidable for you to share a room but let’s not push it. You don’t know how the rest of his family is going to react to it should they ever discover you two like that.” Mom’s glare loses some of its heat and I can see clearly that this is his main issue with us going. It’s him not being able to do something about it should things turn ugly.
“My family would most likely force us to separate bedrooms.” Tay sighs, “They know Greg and I are boyfriends and they have this thing of involved people not being in the same room without supervision.” Tay rubs his temples. “They are old fashioned like that.”
That seems to ease mom’s worries a little as his shoulders relax. “Well,” mom hags, “I still want you to text me at least twice a day on different times!” He gives me a stern glare which has me nodding me head in agreement quickly. “Off you go! Go get packing and check if your passport is not expired or some shit.” I won’t let him tell me twice as I tug Tay out of the room after me.
“Did your mom just curse?” Tay still looks a little stunned as he flops down on my bed, shaking his head in amazement.
Grunting under the effort of extracting my old suitcase from the bottom of my wardrobe, I partly manage to shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know and when he gets like that, you don’t want to know. I am sure that dad will be able to deal with it.” Huffing, I place the suitcase on the bed and open it. “Okay so,” I say with my hands on my hips, looking at Tay. “What would you recommend I pack for Italy?”
Thanks to Tay’s help I packed my suitcase within 15 minutes. The rest of the time we spend planning all the sights we wanted to see and what the best routes were to see them.
A knock pulled us out of a heated argument about whether we should go to the Spanish steps or not. I was in favour because they are close to the coliseum so we might as well visit them since we are in the area. Tay was against it, saying there will be all kinds of people loitering around that place.
“Guys, time to move it.” I wasn’t too surprised to see dad poke his head in. “Zach called Gordo so you might be in a little trouble.” He gives Tay a meaningful look before he disappears from our sight, but I hear a knock on Nance’s door knowing he will kick Rafa out of the house too.
It is slightly comical as both Nance and I pout as we watch our boyfriends get in the car and drive off. “Come on you guys, it’s not the end of the world. You will see them again tomorrow you know.” Dad smirks as we both roll our eyes at the same time too.
Walking past the living room, I see mom crouching in front of a defiant looking Lo standing there with his arms folded across his puffed out chest and a protruding lower lip. “If they get to go, I wanna go too!” He even stomps his foot for extra effect.
Still, it has no effect on mom as he sighs and shakes his head. “No you can’t Lo. “ He says as he gets up, putting his hands on his hips. “When you are older and Gordo and Meredith agree you might go.”
“NO FAIR!!!” He screams on his little lungs and dashes past me up the stairs and slammed his door.
Lo surprises us all the next couple of days with his silence. It is nothing new, but it is a new record. He never managed to keep quiet for longer than a few hours or at the very least a few days. It has been a week now and he is still not saying a word to mom.
The next few days are very hectic as we get our results in and the day of our departure grows closer. Before I know it, I am loading my packed suitcase in the car to stay over at Tay’s house.
“Be good now, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” Mom’s smile is wide as I blush, even Nance giggles a little. Right then and there I decide to not get mom a souvenir. “Love you Greg!” He shouts loudly as he waves once I get settled in the car and dad is easing down the drive.
“You better get Zach a nice souvenir.” Dad states calmly, startling me with his words. “You know he is just worried about you right? You are our little boy and you all are growing up so fast.” I look down at my lap, remembering how I was before I got adopted by mom and dad. “To us, you will always be that shy little boy we picked up in the orphanage. No matter how old you are.” He squeezes my knee lightly as we stop in front of Tay’s house. “Promise me you will be careful.”
He gives me a piercing stare, which reminds me of the fact that he was in a gang for most part of his life. “I promise dad.” He gives me a brilliant smile that takes years of his age as he gently nudges me out of the car.
By the time I get out of the car, Tay is already lugging my suitcase into the house under Gordo’s watchful eye. He smiles a little at me and dad as dad honks his horn as soon as I am on the porch and we both wave at dad’s taillights.
Inside the house, Meredith greets me warmly and I nearly trip over the amount of suitcases lined up in the hallway. Syl is still up and running but I see Meredith persuading him to drink some more warm milk so he will fall asleep soon. She said he wanted to stay up until I got here. After dutifully drinking the milk, he gives me a tired wave and lets out a loud yawn. Smiling softly, Meredith hoists him up on her hip and carries him upstairs.
I understand Syl’s hyperactive behaviour as I mount the steps to Tay’s bedroom, suddenly very keyed up as I step over the threshold. Knowing I won’t sleep a wink to night.