Family Affairs Ch. 20byD.C. Roi©
Ricky was silent at breakfast the next morning, obviously upset by what was happening to his family. Neither Matt nor Mary said much, either. Neither of them was sure what to say, and both of them were afraid they'd say the wrong thing and make Ricky even more upset.
After they finished eating, the boys got ready to leave for school. Matt told Mary he'd stop after school and pick up his things. He could have taken his stuff then, but he wanted a chance to see Mary again, and Ricky had basketball practice after school, so he hoped they might even get a chance to make love again.
Ricky started for the door, with Matt right behind him. Just as they got outside, Matt felt his pockets. "Darn it, I forgot my truck keys," he told his friend. "You go on, I'll see you at school."
Mary standing inside the door, heard what Matt said and when he walked back into the house, she was smiling. "Did you really forget your keys?" she asked.
"No," Matt said. He took her in his arms, cupped her bottom in his hands, pulled her against him, and kissed her. "But I wouldn't have had a chance for this kiss if I'd kept going with Rick."
"What am I going to do without you here?" Mary asked breathlessly after the kiss ended.
"I was wondering how I was going to get through days without seeing you," Matt said. "We've got a real problem."
"We'll work something out," Mary said.
"I sure hope so," Matt replied.
They shared another soft kiss, then he headed for his truck and on to school. Dianna was at her locker when he walked into the building. He intended to say something to her, but she turned away from him. He wasn't sure what he'd done to make her angry, and it bothered him.
At lunch, Matt was sitting at a table with Rick in the cafeteria, when Mr. Tompkins, the principal, entered, looked around, then headed for their table.
"Matt," Mr. Tompkins looked very serious, "there's someone in my office who needs to talk with you."
Matt was confused and a little frightened. What was this all about? Mr. Tompkins stood patiently, looking distressed. He was scared. Had he and Mary been found out? Was the person waiting to talk with him Mr. Forrester? Matt stood up and picked up his tray.
"Leave your tray," Mr. Tompkins said. "I'm sure Rick will be glad to take care of it for you."
"Sure," Rick said, "no problem."
Matt followed Mr. Tompkins down the corridor, into the office, and on into the principal's inner sanctum. Reverend Garber, pastor of the church Matt and his folks attended, was there, as was a police officer.
"What's going on?" Matt asked. The fact Reverend Garber was there frightened him.
"Matt," Reverend Garber said solemnly, "there is something we need to tell you."
Matt looked around. All of them looked so sad. What was going on?
"Sit down, please, Matt," Mr. Tompkins said.
Matt did, very scared. He had no idea what he'd done that would be cause for this.
"Your Uncle Ezra from Seattle called the police this morning..." Reverend Garber said, "...because he knew you'd be in school. The police called me and..."
"Uncle Ezra?" Matt looked around. "Is...is there something wrong with my grandmother?"
"No, son," Reverend Garber continued, "as far as I know, your grandmother is fine. It seems that...well...this morning, your parents took a flight from Seattle, headed here, and..."
"THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A PLANE CRASH!" Matt suddenly knew what all this was about.
"...there was a plane crash. There were no survivors." Reverend Garber put his arm around Matt, who had started to sob. "I'm so sorry, Matt."
Things became a blur for Matt after he heard the shocking news. The crash occurred just after takeoff, the police officer explained as the stunned young man only half-listened. There was a sudden power loss and the airliner plunged to the ground. Nobody on board had a chance.
"Matt, as I said, your uncle and aunt are flying in as soon as they can get a flight," Reverend Garber said. "Until then, my wife and I would be happy to have you stay with us. Is that all right?"
"I...I guess so," Matt replied. He was so deeply shocked by what had happened that he didn't even think about asking if he could stay at Forresters until his aunt and uncle arrived.
"Why don't we go, then," Reverend Garber said, laying his hand gently on Matt's shoulder. "My wife knows what's happened and is waiting for us."
"A...all right," Matt said. He slowly rose to his feet and accompanied the pastor out of school.
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