The alarm started blaring in my left ear, I lifted my head and glanced at the clock. I reached over and shut it off. I rolled over and reached an arm over Jack’s waist and kissed his neck. He groaned before rolling over to face me.
“I wish I didn’t have class,” he whispered cupping my face in his hands.
“I wish I didn’t have appointments,” I replied in return.
He smiled and leaned in and kissed me. He rolled back over and threw the covers off himself and got up. He walked over to the bathroom and washed his face before returning to the closet to get dressed. I followed suit. We got dressed in similar attire, suits, mine was a light grey with a blue tie and white button-up underneath. His was navy blue with a red time and dark blue button-up underneath.
“You’re driving Oliver today, right?” Jack asked.
“Yeah, my appointments don’t start till nine,” I reply.
“Okay, my first class is at eight so I can’t be late,” he replies quickly.
“I’ll go wake him, you go make breakfast,” I continue.
“Right,” he replies.
We both exit the bedroom, Jack heads down the stairs to the kitchen and I make a b-line for Oliver’s room which was moved up to the spare on the second floor after the incident with Henry and where it remained even three years later as a precaution.
“Hey, Oli, sport, wake up. Time to rise and shine,” I say shaking his ankle.
He yawns but gets up and goes over to his closet to get changed.
I go down to my office, which is Oliver’s old bedroom, to grab my notes and briefcase before going to the kitchen.
Oliver comes racing down the stairs dressed, cutting me off, and runs into the kitchen.
“Good morning, dad,” he greets Jack with.
Jack smiles at him and ruffles his hair. He sets a bowl of cereal in front of Oliver and hands me a thermos of coffee.
“Michael’s driving you to school today, okay?” Jack tells Oliver.
“Okay,” he replies.
“I’ll probably pick you up,” he continues.
“Okay,” Oliver replies.
“Oh, it’s 7:30 already,” Jack mutters.
He grabs his thermos and I follow him to the front door where he slips on his shoes and coat. He grabs the keys off the hook. He turns to me and kisses me goodbye.
“I’ll see you tonight,” he whispers.
“Goodbye, Oliver,” he shouts opening the door.
“Bye, Dad,” Oliver calls back.
He shuts the door behind him and I watch from the window as he gets in his car and backs out of the driveway onto the highway.
I check the time again.
“Oli, we got to go soon,” I shout.
I slip on my coat and shoes. I hear him drop his bowl in the sink and come running into the foyer with his bag in hand. He sits down and puts his runners on and I take his coat down off the rack. He stands up and slips his coat on.
“You got your lunch?” I ask.
“Yep,” he replies.
“Okay, let’s go,” I reply and open the door.
I lock the door behind us and unlock my car. Oliver runs over and jumps in and buckles up. I put my briefcase in the front passenger seat and my thermos in the cupholder. I start the car up and back out onto the highway. We drive into the city to the elementary school. I drop Oliver off at the front doors and watch him go in before driving off.
I go to my office in a tall downtown building. I interned at this office during my first year and continued to work after when one of the old psychologists retired. I signed in and went to my office, passing the receptionist on the way.
“Good morning, Dr. Clover,” she bid.
“Morning, Clare,” I greeted.
I got into my office, my 9:00 am appointment was with a 24-year-old man by the name of David Jones suffering from BPD, (Bipolar Personality Disorder). He was going through one of his manic highs currently, and I was attempting to convince him to keep taking his meds otherwise he’d go into a low eventually.
David was adamant but listened to reason eventually and left my office, the rest of the day was quite mundane in terms of patients. My last appointment was at 6:30 pm. I arrived home by 7:00 pm.
Jack greeted me with a smile and a kiss, but he looked worried. Oliver was sitting on the stairs playing his DS which he had gotten for Christmas.
“We need to talk,” he murmured quietly.
I put my briefcase in my office and joined him in the kitchen. He sat on a stool on the island. I stood hands in my pants’ pockets.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Some kids were teasing Oliver about us,” he explained.
“Is he okay?” I ask.
“He’s fine, and the teachers are going to talk to the kids but I’m worried,” he confesses.
“They’re kids, if anything it’s their parents we have to worry about, but hopefully, they have enough common sense to teach their children respect,” I reassure him.
“I told him he could have a sleepover with Ty on the weekend, to cheer him up,” Jack replies.
Ty was the boy my brother, Patrick and his husband Jasper had adopted two years ago. Ty and Oliver were only a year apart so they got along great.
I stepped forward and hugged him.
“It’ll be okay,” I whisper.
“I know, I just wish people weren’t so cruel, and that they understood,” he replies quietly.
“I know,” I reply.
A knock sounded on the front door interrupting us. I released Jack and he took a deep breath trying to compose himself before going to answer the door. I followed him to see who it was.
“I’m looking for a Mr. Maines?” the man in a guard outfit inquired when we answered the door.
“That’s me,” Jack replies.
“You know a Henry Dalton, yes?” he inquired.
“He’s my ex-husband,” Jack answers quietly waiting for the guard to pass judgment.
“We’ve received a tip from his cellmate that there may be a threat to your life,” the guard went right on without comment.
“A threat?” Jack inquires.
“We found notes being passed around about someone willing to take out for Henry,” the guard explained. “We have a suspect, so we're going to put your house and work and your son’s school under surveillance until we have him back in custody, okay Mr. Maines?”
“Okay,” he replies.
I think he’s in shock.
“We have a patrol car parked on the edge of your property but if anyone manages to get past it and breaks in don’t hesitate to scream,” he replies, I think he’s joking a bit.
Can’t he see how freaked out Jack is? This is no time for jokes.
“Right,” Jack replies.
“Goodnight gentlemen,” the guard bids.
Jack shuts and locks the door quickly.
“Jack, breath,” I state quietly attempting to keep him from panicking.
“Dad, what’s wrong?” Oliver asks looking up from his DS.
“It’s nothing, Oli. Why don’t you go get ready for bed?” I tell him.
Oliver glances at Jack before climbing the stairs up to his room.
Jack sits down on the floor of the foyer, I kneel in front of him.
“They’ll find whoever it is, okay?” I reason.
“Can you make sure everything is locked?” he asks his voice devoid of emotion.
I stand up and quickly check all the doors and windows on the first floor before returning to Jack.
“Come on, let’s get you up to bed. I’ll warn the staff at the school tomorrow when I drop him off, okay?” I reassure him.
“Yeah, why couldn’t he leave well enough alone?” Jack asks. “He’s not getting out for at least another two decades. Oliver will end up in foster care if anything happens to us. Is that somehow better than him being with me?”
“I don’t know, but it’s not going to happen, okay? Don’t think about it,” I reason helping him upstairs.
Jack checks the windows on the second floor for his own reassurance before coming into our bedroom. He changes his clothes and so do I. I lay down in the bed and he crawls in beside me, he cuddles up to me.
“Did you call Patrick and ask if Oli could have a sleepover with Ty?” I ask trying to distract him.
“No,” he replies.
“I’ll do it tomorrow on my lunch break,” I reply.
“Okay,” he answers.
“You know, I love you and it’ll be okay, right?” I ask.
“Yeah, I know. I love you, too,” he murmurs.
He rests his head on my chest and falls asleep.