Chapter Fifteen: Step one, you're not B!
For all the happiness he had been feeling Andy’s fear and dread came flying back to meet him. This was not going to be easy to discuss, not at all. Yes Jay was right, the plan would indeed be something that his parents would love. But getting there, getting there would be really hard.
Reaching under the table next to him Jay’s hand found Andy’s and he gave it a squeeze. Andy breathed and, almost dramatically, placed his wine-glass back down on the table.
“Oh no,” Micah whined instinctively. “Oh no no, no no, no no no!”
“I don’t know what you’re no-ing at Papa, but sadly there’s a 99.9% chance the answer is yes.” Andy sighed, feeling very much defeated for what felt like the millionth time that day.
“Son?” Ben asked peering at Andy from over his glasses looking as though he were about to cry.
“Ok guys, this is really hard to say. So I’m going to say it all at once ok?” he asked.
“No,” Micah replied.
But by now that word had lost all its meaning and just sounded like nothing more than that, a word, so Andy continued.
“First things first, today at the trial B actually changed the terms asking that if he were to win that I be let go from the liberty diner…”
“NO!” Micah screamed, trying to get up. But Ben stopped him.
“Papa, please!” Andy tried, he hated hurting him and felt that 2 or 3 more ‘no’s’ from him might actually see Andy fold. This could not happen.
“Micah, let him finish and then no all over it ok honey?” Ben asked.
Micah drew out a very long sigh but eventually nodded allowing Andy to continue in silence.
“Despite the fact that he was actually willing to settle for 20 hours community service, I declined. The Judge ruled in B’s favor, hence the no ‘woo-hoo we won’ speech when I walked in. He got more than he bargained for though, 30 hours service and he can’t come back to the diner until it’s done. But still no order for me.”
Andy took a breath and decided to take a sip of his drink. Jay took the floor hoping to move things along.
“It was a good trial and don’t blame Mel. Really she did a good job. It was that stupid judge, you should have seen him. Oh, and Andy left out B’s attorney, you won’t believe who had the audacity to be his lawyer!”
“Who?” Micah questioned.
“Ted! Friggen slow stuttering, ‘I’m a mouse’ Ted.” Jay replied in exasperation.
“Wha?...’ts a bit out of character for him,” Micah laughed.
Ahhh laughter, the key for Andy to continue, which Jay picked up and took a sip from his own glass.
“So….” Andy started bringing the attention back to him. “Don’t hate me but…”
However, Micah just couldn’t help himself.
“I don’t hate you, but I’m not thrilled either. But I get it.”
Andy looked a Micah then darted a look at Jay who in-turn looked at him and then at Ben. All three of them were equally as confused with Micah’s response.
“I know you’re leaving son. I’m you’re Papa, I know these things. Just please don’t wait too long to come back ok?”
“Wha? How did you? I-I…..” But Andy couldn’t finish the sentence.
“Andy, son,” Micah said. “It’s time. You came here for me remember?”
“And me!” Ben replied.
“And now it’s time for you to actually have some time at home. Just, take your beau with you. I’m sure he hated being separated from you as much as you did him.”
Jay smiled and mouthed a thank-you across the table to Andy’s Papa.
“I will Papa, I’m not leaving without him.”
Andy sprang out of his chair and hugged his father. This was going much easier than he had thought and for now that was all that mattered.
“Ah, Andy?...The Plan?” Jay asked laughing at the easily noticeable affection Andy and his Papa had for each other.
“Oh…yeah…” Andy, now all perked up sat back in his seat and began to explain.
“So I was thinking, yes dad I know dangerous…” Ben chuckled while Andy continued. “And Jay and I have actually come up with what I think will be a fantastic plan!”
“What is it?” Micah asked, his son’s beaming face becoming quite infectious at that moment.
“Well, I was thinking, how about Friday night dinners?” Andy asked.
“Well…they’re usually more fun than Thursday dinners. I mean for one thing the weekend is coming up and so….” Ben had begun but was stared down by Jay and so quieted.
“I meant the four of us!” Andy beamed. “Jay and I could fly back every Friday evening and have dinner here and then fly home that way we’d at least see each other once a week no matter what!”
Micah beamed, he loved the idea. The chance to see his son on a continual basis was almost too good to be true. Ben however was not so happy with the plan.
“No. Out of the question,” he replied simply.
Andy was surprised, hurt too, but mostly surprised. Before he could say anything however Jay did for him.
“How can you say no?” he asked mad. “Your son is offering to see you once a week, it’s a BIG deal Ben!”
“You’re misunderstanding Jay,” Ben smiled. “I meant no as in no you can’t fly here eat and fly home. You will come, have dinner with us, stay the night and fly home the next day!”
It was a bit strange hearing Ben point out how the plan would work, but Andy went with it.
“Thanks dad,” he said smiling.
“You’re welcome son,” Ben replied. “Now of course we’ll be funding the flights up and back, so… do I just transfer the money?”
“Transf-… No dad! I’m paying for my tickets and Jay will pay for his, thanks though.”
“But how will it be a proper ‘Friday night dinner’ if we don’t have a financial investment holding you to your word?”
Andy gave his dad a rye smile. He had forgotten all those times the 3 of them had watched a family show together where the main character and her daughter went to her parents house for Friday night dinner under the premise that the parents paid to put her daughter through IV League school.
But this was not going to be like that, the only similarity would be that he would be there Friday nights.
“You going to hire a maid too? To take our coats at the door and then offer us Martini’s when we walk in while we wait for the chef to make us a ridiculously rich and classy dinner? Which we eat and then talk down to each other?” Andy cracked back.
Jay looked on confused, but Micah smiled and Ben laughed.
“Yes son, and then when you have a child, it had better have aspirations to attend Harvard!” Ben said.
“Only to wind up at Yale,” Micah laughed.
Jay continued to look puzzled.
“I’ll fill you in later,” Andy said to him.
The foursome had a really nice dinner. Aunt Deb had cooked up a spread at the diner for Andy’s last night and they all went there for Andy’s goodbye party. Deb had closed the diner purposely to keep B out, despite the fact that he wasn’t allowed back in until his community service was finished anyway, she wasn’t about to take any chances.
“At least this time you’re not leaving without saying goodbye sugar,” Aunt Deb said to Andy as they went into the kitchen to get the lovely desert that she had prepared.
It was lemon meringue pie, Andy’s favourite.
“Yeah, sorry about last time Aunt Deb, actually I’m sorry for a lot of things,” he admitted.
“Honey, you listen to me and you listen good,” his aunt started dropping the knife she was using to cut the pie and turning to face her nephew.
“You have done absolutely nothing wrong here. You came down the moment your father was admitted into hospital and now you’re leaving because you need to have some time at home. And as far as he who I will not name…” she bent in closer in case anyone outside was listening. “If he were here right now I’d give him a piece of my mind. Now, you are welcome here at the diner any time you like, you hear me?!”
“Yes Aunt Deb,” Andy smiled. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” she replied. “Now I better get back to cutting this pie or else you’ll never leave. What time you flying out?”
“Ten,” Andy replied. “So I’ll probably leave in the next half hour.”
Signaling that it was no problem Andy left his Aunt to finish cutting up the pie as he went back into the patron’s area. By now Mel had shown up and despite the fact that it was still strange to not see her with Linds anymore, Andy was still touched. Moments later Emmett arrived dragging with him a seemingly nervous Ted who did not appear to want to be there at all.
Then Jay’s mum walked in. It took Andy a little while to work out who she was and he suffered a very embarrassing moment when he asked Jay who she was.
“Let me introduce you two,” Jay started guding Andy forward to where his mother stood. “Mum, this…is Andy!”
Mrs Taylor looked at Andy and smiled. It was a very warm smile and not at all fake like some first-time meetings with parents.
“Andy, I’m so happy to meet you at last,” she said.
Though he would normally acknowledge the same to her, he was thrown by her choice of wording.
“At last?” he asked.
“Why yes,” she replied. “Jay’s been going on about you for what, 2, 3 years now honey?”
Jay just smiled.
“He’s told me nothing but good things of course,” she hurried. “You sound like a fanatastic guy.”
“Wow, um sweetie, did you slip your mum a 20 to be nice to me or what?” he questioned his boyfriend.
“Oh, no. Nothing like that,” Mrs Taylor replied. “Honestly, step one, you’re not B, step 2, you’re a nice guy and step 3 you clearly love my son. That makes me really happy.” She smiled.
“Well…I’m touched that you feel that way,” Andy replied. “It is nice to finally meet you Mrs Taylor.”
Andy went to shake her hand, but she pulled him in for a hug, which he was only to happy to accept.
Moments later the mirangue was brought out, but for some reason his Aunt had decided to put candles on it and light it up.
“Bon-voyage to you, bon-voyage to you..” she started in a good-bye singing-song version of happy birthday and everyone bar Jay joined in as the two boyfriends held hands standing next to each other as Aunt Deb placed the cake in front of them both.
When they had stopped singing, Andy wiped away a tear that was beginning to escape and took a breath.
“Thank you all so much,” he replied. “I’d just like to say first of all, how touched I am to be here at this going away party…I get it Aunt Deb adios!”
Everyone laughed before Andy continued.
“No but really, I’d like to thank you Aunt Deb for putting on this wonderful spread that we’ve all been enjoying. Your food was always good and still is as good to this day thankyou.”
The rest of the party agreed and applauded.
“To my wonderful Papa, who is here with us tonight, what a blessing to have you out of hospital. I love you so much.”
Again everyone applauded, Mel reached over and patted Micah’s arm.
“To my dad, Ben. I love you, thank you for calling me. I was so happy that you did and so happy to be back here with you. To my beautiful boyfriend, which…wow…it’s so nice saying that…”
Andy’s voice trailed off as everyone politely laughed.
“Jay, you are my world and when you’re not near me, let alone in another state, my heart is not full. With you here, it over flows. I love you.”
As the pair kissed everyone else applauded and ooohed and aaahed.
“Finally just to everyone that’s here tonight. The fact that you are here means the world to me. Whatever happened 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 2 weeks ago or even yesterday,” Andy stated looking particularly at Ted, “the fact that you are here tronight to wish me well and off, means the world to me. I love you all, thank you, now let’s dig into the world’s best lemon mirangue!”
As everyone applauded, Jay waved to get their attention and the applause slowly died down.
“If you’d all raise your glasses, or get something to drink, I think a toast is in order!” he said.
Everyone had drinks so they raised their glasses into the air.
“To Andy, a man with a heart so large, it is always over-flowing. To Andy!”
“To Andy!” everyone chorused and Andy went a very bright shade of red as everyone clinked glasses.
Not too much later, bellies full, everyone started departing. Andy and Jay were leaving soon and everyone else had an early day tomorrow.
“Have a safe flight and call me when you get home so that I know you’re safe,” Mel had said hugging them in turn.
“Oooooh have a good flight sweetems,” Emmett had said.
“Andy, I-I’m sorry ab-bout t-the trial,” Ted stuttered.
“Teddy! It’s ok,” Andy replied. “Someone had to be his counsel, might as well have been you, and…” he leaned in “if I may say so, well done on winnng your first case!”
Ted beamed and pulled Andy in for a hug. For all the fears that he’s had of Andy leaving upset with him were now evaporating.
Once they and Mel and left, Jay and Andy stood with Micah, Ben, Mrs Taylor and Debbie.
“…And if they try to sell you any of their ‘new haven’ version crap, you just call me ok Sunshine?” she was saying to Jay. “I’ll set-em straight.”
It was funny to see Deb giving his boyfriend advice on the state he had been living in for the past week, but it was the perfect opportunity for him to talk to Jay’s mum. He walked over to find her looking at one of the paintings on the diner walls
“You know, I don’t normally get to see these things when I come here. The place is always so packed! But I’ve got to say this artist has an eye for detail.” She said.
Andy who had no idea about art, found a way to skirt around it.
“They certainly do,” he said. “Speaking of things we see and don’t see, I was just wondering. Did you want to come with us to the airport to say goodbye to Jay. I’d be more than happy for you to come.”
“I would love to Andy, but I actually need to be somewhere in an hour, but thanks anyway.”
“You’re welcome and please know, anytime you want to come over you’re always welcome. Mi casa es su casa.”
“Thank-you,” she replied. “I’m just glad he found someone that really cares for him. I mean, you met B right?”
“Don’t get me started on him,” Andy replied. “Took Jay for granted way too much.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Mrs Taylor said. “And that Edward kid? Seriously? Did he just wind up in Jay’s lap or what?”
Andy just smiled, having no idea how to respond to that.
“No, Andy, I got to be honest with you,” she looked over to see that Jay was still with Debbie before continuing. “My son has been talking about you for years and seriously, ever since then I was wondering why you two weren’t together.”
“Oh yeah?” Andy asked. “What things did he say?”
“Well, maybe if we have a Saturday breakfast one-time, I’ll tell you all about it,” she winked, clearly someone had told her about the Friday Night Deal.
“Well now we have to!” Andy beamed. “I’ll tell Jay on the flight back,” he chuckled.
After saying goodbye, Mrs Taylor left and then after many hugs, almost too many from Aunt Deb and Micah, Andy and Jay left the diner. Aunt Deb had insisted on calling and even paying for a cab to the airport and the two men felt like royalty saying goodbye to the threesome and stepping into the cab.
“Going to be weird without them,” Jay mused as the cab drove away.
“Yeah,” Andy agreed. “But not until after my 4th cup of coffee with Lauren.”
Jay smiled and pulled Andy to him allowing him to rest on Jay’s chest for the ride to the airport.