Richie and Jimmy
Thursday before Good Friday was a half day at school. When I got home, mom had packed our suitcases and dad was loading the car. "I packed your suitcase Jimmy but check your room. If there is anything you want to take with you get it now. We'll be leaving in 30 minutes."
I quickly ran to my room, changed my clothes, picked up Brand's letter and ran to the car. Mom was in the back seat and as soon as I closed the door to the house, dad started the car. The drive to Grams was about 4 hours thanks to the interstate. I remember as a kid it would take us 7 to 8 hours before the interstate road system was operational.
It was early evening when we pulled into Gram and Gramps. Grams owned a company that was involved with the Defense Department. His home was surrounded by an 8 foot fence, the gate was automatic and dad had a clicker that opened and closed the gate. As soon as were inside the gate, Gram was on the porch waiting for us. As the gate closed, two large dogs came running up to the car. I no sooner open the door, when they were jumping all over me. Small dogs jumping on you is one thing but these were great danes, and them jumping on you was something else. Of course by the time I got them to settle down, my face was wet with their saliva. I hugged each dog as Gramps came out of the house and called the dogs. I laughed every time I hear him call them. Their names were Frick and Frack, Gramps likes to read comics and I guess that is where the name came from.
After we all got settled, Gramps and talked about college. He knew I was going to attend Ohio State and wanted to know the details of the scholarship. Over dinner I told them what the scholarship entailed, tuition and books were covered but not dorm fees or meals. Those I would need to pay for myself. I saved up some money but it wouldn't last 5 years.
The next morning after breakfast, Gramps asked me to take a walk with him. "You know before I got that government contract, I had a chauffeur and he lived in the apartment above the garage. If you wanted you could live there when you go to school. It would be about a 15 to 20 minute drive from here. Come with me and I'll show you the apartment."
I knew there was an apartment above the garage but I was never in it. The staircase to the apartment was at the side of the garage away from the house. Unless you were outside you would never see who came and went by that staircase.
The apartment had basically three rooms, a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. The kitchen had all of the appliances and a table with 4 chairs. The living room had a sofa, two chairs, coffee table and a small TV. The bedroom had a queen size bed, a large dresser, a closet, the bathroom was on the other side of the closet. For me it would be perfect, a great place to study and being close to my grandparents meant I would have plenty of free meals. "Gramps, this would be perfect for me. With the money I save by not having a dorm, I could furnish this place easily."
Leaving the apartment, Gramps stopped in front of the garage, "Jimmy I want to show you something but you can't tell you mom and dad, ok?"
There was a lot I wasn't telling my mom and dad now so what would one more thing be. "Ok Gramps, this'll be just between you and me." Saying that Gramps open the overhang doors of the garage. There were three cars in the garage, I recognized two of them but the third was a new BMW.
"When Brandon graduated from high school I gave him a new car as well. Your dad was upset about it so I don't want him to know about this car. It's your graduation gift."
I looked at Gramps, I couldn't believe what I heard. "Gramps, dad will never hear about this. I don't know how I'll ever thank you and Gram."
"You can thanks us by doing good in school. I have one more surprise for you. Since you'll be going to school here, why don't you plan on moving here right after you graduate. You can work for me at the plant, sort of get an idea what type of engineering we do."
"Gramps, I'd love doing that. I'm not sure how mom and dad would react."
"Don't worry about them, I'll handle that. I need you to sign some papers to get you classified so you can work at the plant. After lunch come to my office and I'll have all of the papers ready for you."
This was the best news I ever heard. I wasn't going to worry about mom and dad, I'll let gramps handle that. Lunch was great, Gram and Miss Marie prepared a gourmet lunch. Miss Marie was the cook and bottle washer, Gram always called Miss Marie her companion. Miss Marie worked for Gram ever since I could remember. When I was little she always had some treat for me when I visited.
Gramps did talked to mom and dad about the summer and surprising they both agreed it would be a good idea. Gramps called me into his study and I started to fill out papers and signing my name, then took a swath of my inside jaw for a DNA test. With all of the paper work done, Gramps made a phone call and about 1 hour later, two men approached the house. Gramps gave them the envelope with all of the papers I signed and they left.
"James, what happened with Brandon." I told him about Brandon showing up Christmas Eve with his partner. Dad throwing them out and calling Brandon names. While I was telling Gramps this I noticed tears in his eyes. Gramps liked Brandon, as we all did, hearing how he was treated, Gramps felt his hurt.
"Gramps, I have Brand's address and I have been sending him letters. His partner is a lawyer and looked like a nice guy. Brand wouldn't have anyone for a partner so I figure Charles must have been one in a million as far as Brand was concerned. I felt bad for them. I still haven't forgiven dad and mom was very hurt by his action."
"I can't agree with your dad's behavior, but he is Spanish. He feels that to be less than macho is a weakness. I'm sure he takes this as a reflection on his masculinity. That doesn't excuse what he did but it gives you an insight to the type of man he is."
I thought what would he say if I fell in love with a man. I never dated much in high school, my grades were all important. The only activity I participated in that wasn't associated with studying was football. Brand turned me on to that.
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