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Dori never did come back. She and Brad were married two days after the passion-filled night she and Peter had spent together. Two months later they announced that she was pregnant. Everyone naturally assumed that the baby was Brad’s, only she and Peter had any idea that might not be true.
Life gradually returned to normal for Peter though he soon saw a pattern developing in the women he was attracted to. Each one of them reminded him of Dori in some way. It didn’t know if it was their eyes, the way they wore their hair, or their body, they all reminded him of her and if they became lovers he sometimes imagined he was making love to her once again. “Lust”, “Desire”, “Need”, “Obsession”, he knew all the words and finally delved into his work to avoid thinking about her.
He was soon promoted to ‘Regional Manager’ which allowed him to travel frequently and get away from his home where it had all begun. But one time when he returned from a trip 4 years after they had last seen each other, he was surprised to find her sitting on his front porch.
She looked almost the same. Her hazel eyes sparkled in the sunlight. Her hair, though longer, was still brunette but was now highlighted with streaks of blonde that hung just in front of her ears. She was dressed in a tight-fitting, red camisole with a loose-fitting gray jacket over it, a pair of black, ¾ length pants, and black high-heels.
“Hi,” he said in as nonchalant tone as he could muster.
“Hi, yourself,” she replied, just the barest hint of a smile on her lips.
“What’re you doin’ here?”
She glanced around, obviously uneasy about being seen like this. “Can we go inside and talk?”
“You mean like last time we ‘talked’?” he said sarcastically. “I don’t think so.”
“Listen Pete. I understand you might be mad at me and I don’t blame you. What I did was … thoughtless, I think would probably be a good word for it.”
“That’s a good start at least.”
“Can we go inside?” she asked once again.
“That probably isn’t a good idea and not for any reasons you might think. After you left, I got promoted so now I spend a lot of time away from home. When I left this last time it was pretty cool out so I never turned on the A/C. I figure it’s probably about a million degrees inside right now,” he laughed.
When she didn’t laugh, he continued. “We have a choice, we can sit in the backyard if you’d like,” but when she hesitated he continued, “or we can head down to the beach. It’s pretty empty this time of day.”
“That sounds like a good idea. Less chance of me being recognized,” she said in a low voice.
Intrigued by her comment and behavior, he headed for his car, hearing the ‘click, click, click,’ of her high-heels as she followed.
The further away from his house they got, the more relaxed she seemed to be so by the time they got to the beach, she was laying back in the seat enjoying the breeze and the warm, Summer sun.
After pulling into a parking space, he twisted in his seat so he was looking at her. Images of their night together were flashing through his mind before he asked, “So, what’s so important?”
She sat up, hesitantly, before she spoke almost in a whisper. “Our son.”
“Our son?” he repeated in disbelief.
“You mean …?”
Shocked, he sat quietly as her statement swirled through his brain.
“That night …?”
She nodded her head to answer.
“Are you sure? I mean, it was only that once.”
“About as sure as I can get right now.”
Once again, he sat quietly before continuing. “So, what about … our son?”
Tears filled her eyes and trailed down her cheeks. “He has … he has … has leukemia.”
The single word felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on him. “I don’t understand. What do you need from me?” his voice now filled with tenderness and concern.
“He’s had chemo and the doctors say he’s ready for a marrow transplant. The problem is that Brad and I aren’t a good match. That’s not too uncommon with a son and his mother but a son and his father …” she shrugged. “Anyway, Brad starting making comments and we had some really huge fights. Finally, I said ‘Enough is enough’ and left … but that’s my problem. What I need from you is a DNA and marrow test to see if you’re a candidate for the transplant. The whole thing can be done anonymously so Brad will never know a thing if we later work our problems out.”
“Of course I’ll do it,” he said without a seconds hesitation.
“Good,” she said, the smile returning to her face, as she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll let you know when and where as soon as I get it set up.”
“So where ARE you living right now? I need to know in case I need to make any travel arrangements. I heard that you and Brad moved to Atlanta for a while and then I think it was Dallas but after that I lost track of you.”
“From Dallas, we moved to L.A. That’s where Lucas was diagnosed.”
“Lucas,” he whispered his son’s name for the first beşiktaş masöz escort time.
“Yeah, we named him after my dad.”
“Anyway, we stayed in L.A. for quite a while but then Brad had a chance for a job overseas. That’s when the shit really hit the fan. I told him I was sick and tired of moving every couple of years and wanted to give Lucas some roots. He said, ‘roots’ were wherever he said they were and wherever his job took us.”
He could tell she still had more to say so he stayed silent.
“That was when I said ‘enough.’ That was 7 months ago. Right now, he’s in Tokyo and we’re living,” she blushed, “back with my dad and mom.”
“No wonder you were afraid someone might see us. They live, what? Ten or twelve blocks away?”
The two of them laughed, light-heartedly, that she’d know the exact distance.
“Okay then. You set it up and I’ll make sure I’m available.”
“Thanks, Pete,” she said, a sense of relief flooding over her. “Now, I think you better take me … mmmmmmm … take me to the Mall. I can catch a bus or get a taxi back to my parent’s house from there.”
The remainder of the ride was spent talking about what he’d been doing, where he’d gone, and what his plans for the future were. Never, once did they talk about the night they spent together.
True to her word, he received a call the next day providing an address and instructions about what he’d need to bring with him so he could have the test.
A week went by, and then two, before the test results came back. Though not a perfect match he was by far the best choice.
Again, appointments were set and instructions were given for him to donate his marrow.
The day started out warm and sunny, a good omen as far as he was concerned, but events quickly turned dark when he arrived at the hospital and saw Brad sitting in the waiting room. One look was all it took.
“YOU? You fucking son-of-a-bitch,” he yelled at Peter. “You fucked up your own marriage and now … now …,” he stomped away unable to finish.
Unfortunately, Dori and Lucas had overheard the outburst and come out to see what was going on.
Brad stormed towards Dori, anger filling his voice. “THIS? This is the guy? I … how could you … fucking bitch,” he snarled. “Some of my friends said I was making a mistake marrying you. They said you were nothing but a slut,” he looked over his shoulder before returning his gaze to her. “They were right.”
Then he spun on his heels and pushed past Peter as he stormed out.
Dori mouthed the words, “I’m sorry,” as a tear formed in the corner of her eye.
Lucas looked at Peter and at his father’s back as he exited the hospital. Once the doors had closed, he turned his gaze towards Peter. Then, he walked up to him and in his most ‘adult’ voice, he said, “Hi. I’m Lucas.”
Peter held out his hand, “And I’m Peter.”
Lucas shook it as he asked, “Are you here to help me today?”
He stood staring into Peter’s eyes before looking over his shoulder at his mom.
She nodded her head as if answering some unspoken question.
Then he returned his gaze to Peter. “So you’re my dad?”
Surprised, shocked, and delighted he replied, “I guess so.”
“Glad ta meet ya.”
The procedure itself was over in no time. Peter and Lucas were put in beds next to each other in the recovery room and, for the first time, had a chance to talk with. When they were released, Peter offered to drive them home but Dori declined.
“I think it might be best to see how things turn out with Brad. He’s been Lucas’s father for four years and this whole thing has shaken him up pretty bad.”
“I understand. I’d probably feel the same way if it was me,” Peter replied as he headed for his car. Then, just as he got there, he turned and called back. “BUT, if things don’t turn out or if Lucas needs anything let me know.”
“Okay,” she waved as they slid into a taxi and then they were gone.
Peter went home and spent the evening thinking about the time he’d spent with Lucas, and the little time with Dori, hoping there’d be more. The next day, and the next, and the next slid by. Then a week and a second week. Soon it was a month and still not a word. The months turned into a year and then a second. Life settled back into its old routine for Pete as he traveled around the country. Occasionally, he’d think he saw Lucas or Dori but it never turned out to be either of them.
Then one afternoon, when he came home he noticed a young boy bouncing a ball against his front step. “Hey,” he called as he got out of his car. “Whatcha think you’re doing?”
The boy spun towards him and for a second he felt like he was looking at himself at a much younger age. “Waitin’ for you,” the little boy said as he smiled.
“Yep, don’t wear the name out,” he joked.
“What? How? Where’s your mom and dad?”
Anger flared across his face as he beşiktaş otele gelen escort answered. “HE’S NOT MY DAD. HE’S A SON-OF-A-BITCH.”
“Hey, hey, hey, young man. That’s no way to talk about him.”
“Yes, it is,” he growled.
“Wow, wanna tell me what happened?” Pete asked as he stooped down.
Tears instantly began to flow down Lucas’s cheeks. “I … I … I need your help.”
“I need you to help me find my mom.”
“What?” he replied, startled by Lucas’s comment.
“My mom. You know, the woman you met at the hospital.”
“I know who your mom is Lucas but what do you mean you need help finding her?”
“Remember when I met you at the hospital?”
“Well, we went to Grandpa and Grandma K’s house after we left. HE was there.”
“You mean, your da … Brad.”
“Yeah. Anyway he and my mom talking but they sent me to bed. They said I needed my rest after the stuff at the hospital. Later on, HE came into my room and said it was time to leave and that we going on an adventure together, just the two of us. When I asked about my mom, he said she’d join us later … but she never did.”
“So you’ve been with … Brad, this whole time?”
“So how’d you get here,” Pete said, pointing to his front yard.
“That was easy. HE had a business meeting in Vegas and left me at the hotel with a babysitter but she wasn’t very good,” he snickered. “I just slipped out when she was on the phone talkin to some guy.”
“Wow. Impressive,” then as an afterthought he asked. “You said Vegas, as in Las Vegas?”
“So how did you get here?”
“You didn’t let me finish,” he continued, a pout on his face. “Whenever we went out, he always left money on the table for the people that took care of us. I just started taking a little of it each time. Pretty soon I had enough to get a bus ticket.”
“And no one stopped you at the Bus Station?”
“Nah. I had an old man, about 40, buy my ticket for me. Then I gave him some money for helping me.”
“40 is old? Boy, am I in trouble,” he thought, snickering to himself. “Shrewd.”
Lucas’s faced beamed at the compliment.
“But Vegas is four days away by bus if I remember right. What did you do for food?”
“Duhhhhhh,” he said, pointing at a blue backpack laying on the porch. “I filled that full of
stuff from the machines in Vegas. Then, I’d get something every time the bus stopped. One time, a lady asked if I was alone and I told her I was going to see my dad. She stayed with me until I got off.”
“Wow,” Peter sighed as he sat in the middle of the sidewalk. “So what about your mom?”
“I went to Grandpa and Grandma K’s house right away but someone else lives there now. I was afraid to try and talk to them. ‘You-know-who’ could have gotten to them first so I looked you up on the Net and got a ride here.”
“Unreal,” Peter said, shaking his head.
“So where should we start?”
Peter looked at his watch, 6:27. “It’s too later to get anything done tonight so what do ya say to some hamburgers from the grill and then we’ll start first thing in the morning?”
“A’ RIGHT,” Lucas yelled, obviously excited.
When diner was done, Peter found a T-shirt for Lucas to use as a sleep shirt and tucked him into his own bed. Then he pulled out the phone book and his computer. Within minutes he had the name of the person now living in Grandpa and Grandma K’s house. After which, he laid down in the bed next to Lucas. A protectiveness surged through him as he thought about the little boy next to him and what he’d gone through. “Tomorrow we’ll find you mom,” he whispered.
The next morning, they had a breakfast of pancakes, maple syrup, sausage, and milk before heading to the address Peter had written down. When they knocked on the door it was answered by a young woman with a baby in her arms.
“Excuse me. My name is Pete and this is Lucas. We’re looking for the family that used to live here.”
The woman looked at the two of them closely before replying, “Hold on.” When she returned she had an 8½ x 11 piece of paper in her hand. Lucas’s face was on it with the word MISSING printed above it.
“Oh boy. We’re in trouble,” Peter thought to himself as he watched the woman look at the picture and then at Lucas.
“Some guy came by a few days ago with this. He said if I saw the boy I was supposed to call the number on the poster right away. He also said there was a reward for anyone who found the boy. The problem is … I didn’t really like the way he asked. There was something ‘shady’ about him. If you know what I mean?”
“We understand completely.”
“So, I guess that means you’re the Lucas on this poster.”
“Hmmmmmm. In that case, I got something for you. I found it after I moved in. I don’t know why I kept it but I figured if you ever showed up you might want it,” she said in beşiktaş rus escort a motherly tone as handed him an envelope.
Lucas looked at Pete as he handed him the letter, “I can’t read too good yet.”
“It’s okay, buddy,” Pete said as he took the envelope. “Why don’t we go sit in the car and we’ll see what it has to say?”
Then Pete turned back towards the woman, saying, “Thank you,” quickly pulling out his wallet and slipping her a $50 bill.
“No problem. Just keep that little boy safe. Like I said, I don’t like that other guy,” she said as she closed the door. Pete wasn’t too surprised when he heard the ‘click’ of the door lock as he walked away.
Once they got to car Peter had an ‘eerie’ feeling that this probably wasn’t the best place to stay. “Hey, kiddo. I just remembered I forgot my wallet back at the house,” he said as he quietly dropped his wallet on the floor behind his seat. “Whatcha say we go back and get it? We can grab an early lunch and then read your letter.”
“Okay,” Lucas replied, his eyes fixed on the envelope in his hands.
The drive home was quick but neither was hungry so they sat on the couch and opened the envelope together.
I have no idea when, or even if, you’ll ever get this letter but I wanted you to know I’ll always love you.
No matter what Brad told you, I didn’t give you up. He and I talked the night you had your transplant and he wanted us to go away. I said ‘No’ because you still needed to see the doctor’s to make sure the transplant worked. I never saw you again.
I have no idea where you’ve been or what you’ve been doing but you are in my heart and always will be.
P.S. If you’re reading this I can be contacted at the cell phone number below. In the mean time, find Pete. I know he’ll take care of you. Just seeing you two together told me he’d be the ‘dad’ that Brad never could be.
P.P.S. And if you do find him. Tell him I’m sorry. Getting into the taxi that day was the second biggest mistake I’ve made in my life.
The two of them read and reread the letter before Lucas looked up.
“Okay, ‘dad’. What do we do now?”
Surprised that Lucas had just called him ‘dad’, Peter sat there speechless for a few moments before looking more closely at the letter. There, in the bottom right corner, was a phone number. “I guess we call,” he said, a heaviness settling in his stomach as he dialed the number.
The phone rang once and then twice, before someone answered. “Hello?” the woman’s voice said.
“Hello. Is Dori there?”
“May I ask who’s calling?”
“Tell her it’s Pete.,” he said, hearing the sound of shuffling and then the woman calling Dori’s name.
A few seconds later she was on the phone. “Hello?”
“Dori? It’s Pete.”
“Hi, Pete,” she replied, hesitantly. “How did you get this number?”
“My letter,” she said, excitedly.
“He’s here with me.”
“Ohmigod. Mom … MOM,” she yelled. “LUCAS IS SAFE. HE’S WITH PETE. Let me talk to him, please.”
Pete handed Lucas the phone and watched tears stream down his cheeks as he listened to his mom. He turned his head to wipe the tears from his eyes as well.
Then Lucas handed him the phone the other woman was on the line again. “Pete. This is Dori’s mom, Linda. You said Lucas is with you. Is he okay? Is he safe? Where are you?” the questions rattled from her.
“Yes, he’s with me. Yes, he’s safe. And we’re at my place.”
“Get out! Get out of there, quick,” Linda said in a horror-filled voice.
“No time for questions. Just grab whatever you can and meet us … meet us,” he heard her talking to someone in the background, “meet us at the place that you and Anna used to sneak away to for your ‘getaway weekends’.”
He instantly knew that she was referring to an area along the shores of Lake Superior where he and his ex-wife had spent hours walking the beach together. “We can be there in about 6 hours.”
“It will take us a bit longer but wait for us. Please, wait for us,” she finished, the phone suddenly going dead.
“Well, it looks like we’re taking a road trip,” he said to Lucas.
“I’m already packed,” he said pointing at the backpack that lay by the front door.
“I think we’ll need a little more than that,” Peter laughed as he headed for the basement.
Fifteen minutes later the car was packed. Tent, sleeping bags, clothes, food, and various pieces of camping gear filling it. Just before they were about to leave, Peter went back into the house and brought out a bean-bag seat and stuffed it the back seat.
“Sorry. I don’t have one of those fancy car seats for you but I think this will do until we can find someplace to get one along with some extra clothes for you.”
Lucas climbed into the seat, putting on his own seat belt. “Cool.”
The two of them drove for the next three hours, Pete constantly looking in his rear view mirror, half expecting to see someone following them. Lucas slept, the excitement of the last few days finally catching up to him.
When they stopped, it was at a Truck Stop / Diner located in a small town on the Upper Michigan border. There they filled up with gas and had something to eat. They also got some clothes, though a little too big, for Lucas and a car seat.
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