Summer Vacation Ch. 31byD.C. Roi©
Tommy arrived at Tina's early Sunday, excited at the prospect of spending the day with her and Bobby. Even if she didn't see him as a potential suitor, she seemed to have a good time when they were together. The Inn had been busy the previous night, and even though he drove her home, they were both so tired they didn't talk much.
He parked in front of the apartment building, walked up the steps to the, then rang the doorbell. Tina buzzed him in. On his way over, he bought a Hamster Warrior figure to give to Bobby. He went up the steps to her apartment on a run. She'd left the door ajar, so he walked in.
"Tommy!" Bobby screamed his name, raced across the room, and jumped on Tommy, almost bowling him over.
"Bobby!" Tina scolded.
"It's OK," Tommy said. He hefted the tyke in his arms. "He's glad to see me, aren't you, Bobby?"
"Yeah! We gonna go on the bumper cars?" the little boy asked. "Huh? Are we? The merry-go-round, too. Say we are, aren't we?"
"Anything you want, Bobby," Tommy said. "No scary rides, though. I get too scared."
Bobby smiled at him and made a face. "You don't get scared," he said. "You're big."
"Even big boys get scared sometimes," Tommy said. He put Bobby down. "Look what I found." He took the Hamster figure out of his pocket and handed it to the little guy.
"Oh, Wow!" the tyke exclaimed. "Mom! Look what Tommy got me!" Bobby raced to show his mother. "He got me Harmon! Harmon's my favorite!"
"You didn't have to do that," Tina said.
"I know, I wanted to," Tommy told her. "You ready?"
Tina nodded. "Just about," she said. "I've got to get jackets in case it gets cool later." She walked into the bedroom.
Tina had on a green top that wrapped around her, exposing a considerable amount of lovely chest, and a long, flowing white skirt that wrapped around the lower half of her body. When she turned to go in the bedroom, a lovely tan leg showed. Tommy was impressed. She reappeared carrying a white sweater and miniature baseball team jacket.
"You look nice today," Tommy said, "I like your outfit."
Tina reddened. "Thanks," she said. "You don't think I'm over-dressed, do you?"
"No way," he said. "Besides, I'm taking you guys out to dinner after."
"Sounds nice," she said, smiling. "Bobby, you ready?"
Bobby raced out the door. Tina laughed and looked at Tommy and said, "I guess I got my answer, didn't I?"
"Guess so," Tommy said. "We better catch him before he leaves without us."
At the amusement park, Bobby was no less calm. He wanted to go on every ride, even though his mother - and the park operators in some cases - felt he shouldn't.
"I'm sorry, honey," Tina explained to her disappointed son. "You aren't tall enough to go on the Whipsaw Loop. It says so on that sign."
At the entrance to that ride there was a cutout of a man holding his arm out. "If you aren't this tall," the sign said, "you can't go on this ride." Bobby was about a foot too short.
"How about some lunch, sport?" Tommy suggested. "I think I saw a hamburger place."
"Yeah, OK, I guess so," the five-year old pouted. "Were you ever too short to do things?"
"When I was five I was," Tommy replied, taking Bobby's hand. "Thing is, you're going to get taller."
"Yeah, I know," the boy said. "That's what Mom tells me, too. Only thing is, I wanna ride the Whipsaw Loop now."
"You know, when I was your age, the scariest ride here was the roller coaster," Tommy said.
"Yeah, but could you ride it?" Bobby asked.
"Well, not really," Tommy replied. He didn't tell Bobby he could have ridden the roller coaster when he was five but didn't because he was scared shitless of it.
"So it was just like with me and the Whipsaw Loop, right?" Bobby asked.
"Sort of," Tommy agreed.
As they walked toward the hamburger stand, Tina's hand slid into his and squeezed it, sending a thrill through him.
"You're really good with him," he heard her whisper.
Tommy liked it that she didn't let go of his hand after she squeezed it.
They went to the refreshment stand and had lunch. Bobby said he wanted a hamburger, and French fries, and a large soda, and ice cream.
"Why don't we start with the hamburger and fries?" his mother said. "And a small soda. If you finish that, then we'll get the ice cream."
"Aw Mom!" Bobby said. His pout returned.
"I'm having that," Tommy said.
"Oh," Bobby said. His face brightened. "I guess it's OK."
"Besides," Tommy went on, "I thought maybe we'd go to Marlow's for dinner. How's that sound, Bobby?"
"Marlow's?" Bobby said. A grin appeared on his face. "That's the place where they have Hamster meals!"
"That's the place," Tommy said.
"Oh, wow!" the little boy exclaimed, his eyes bright.
After they ate, they went on a few more rides, but Bobby was starting to get grouchy. "I think he needs a nap," Tina said, drawing a glare from her son.
"I'm not tired," he complained.
"Well, I am," Tommy said. "There's a picnic area over there. Why don't we go over and sit down for a while so I can rest my old bones?"
"You aren't old," Bobby protested. "Mommy says you aren't as old as she is."
"Yeah, well, I'm older than you are, sport," Tommy told him. "And I'm tired. I'm gonna go and sit down so I have enough energy to go to Marlow's for that Hamster meal later. You coming?"
"Only because you're the one who's tired," Bobby said.
There were park benches located around the picnic area, under the shading branches of huge elm trees. They sat down on one of the benches. Bobby stretched out, his head in Tommy's lap, and was soon fast asleep.
"I don't know how you do it," Tina commented. "You seem to know just what to say to him."
"Maybe it's because I'm a kid, too," Tommy replied.
Tina smiled and shook her head. "You may be young, but you aren't a kid...no way," she said. "You're the most level-headed guy I've ever known."
"Could I have a letter of reference from you?" Tommy asked. "Just in case any women I meet want references."
Tina frowned. "I'm serious," she said. "I wish there were someone like you my age."
"What about Greg?" he asked.
She shrugged and said, "I don't know. He's all right. I mean, he's good-looking, and he treats me well and all. He's never been anything but a perfect gentleman, but..." She shrugged again. "This thing with Bobby not liking him bothers me."
"I wouldn't worry about Bobby," he said. "Kids adjust."
"It isn't just Bobby," she said. "I don't know what it is. I like being with Greg. I mean, he's completely different from Ron and all, but...I guess I shouldn't complain. I can't really be fussy."
"Tina, you shouldn't think like that," Tommy said. "You're pretty, you're smart, and Bobby's a great kid. Anyone who marries you is one lucky guy."
She put her hand on his and squeezed it. "It's nice of you to say that, Tommy," she replied. "But I have to face reality. There's too much competition out there, women who are pretty and don't have a son. What are the statistics? There are three or more women for every two men, something like that?"
"Yeah, but the other two women aren't as nice as you are," Tommy told her.
"Hey," she said suddenly, "are you still seeing that blonde?"
"Donna?" Tommy asked.
"Yeah, I guess that's her name," Tina said. "The one in the sports car from the other night."
"I see her now and again," Tommy replied.
"Is it serious?" she asked.
"Not really," he replied. "I mean, I like her and all, but we aren't going steady or anything."
Bobby stirred, stretched, and rolled over.
"He really was pooped, wasn't he?" Tommy commented.
Tina nodded. "He sure was," she said. "He hates taking afternoon naps now that he's a big boy, as he puts it, but he needs them. Usually, I have to battle him to take one." She smiled. "I wish I had your magic touch."
"It's because I'm not with him all the time," Tommy said.
"That and you're his hero," Tina said.
"Yes, well...ah..." Tommy mumbled, not sure what to say. Being someone's hero was a new and pretty heady concept.
He and Tina continued talking, covering a wide range of topics. He found out a lot about her. Her parents were alcoholic, and one of the reasons she married Ron was to get out of her home, only to find out she'd run into a worse situation. After she and Ron separated, she started going to meetings of a support group for children of alcoholics.
One real irony in her life, she told Tommy, was that her parents had gotten sober, and the family was working on reestablishing good relations when a drunk driver killed them. It was then the support group became really important.
"It helped me a lot," she told him. "I probably would have gotten involved with someone just like Ron if it weren't for the group. They saved my life."
"We talked about stuff like that in school this year," Tom said. "We have a SADD chapter at school. One of my friends has alcoholic parents. The school arranged for him to get counseling. It helped him a lot."
"I wish somebody had done that for me when I was that age," Tina said. "It would have saved me a lot of aggravation. Of course, I probably wouldn't have Bobby, so it isn't all bad."
"Even the worst situations produce good things, don't they?" Tom noted.
"I guess so," Tina said. "I can't imagine life without him."
After a little while, Bobby stretched and opened his eyes, looked up at Tom and smiled. "You have enough rest?" he asked.
"Yeah, partner, I guess I have," Tom admitted. "How about you?"
"I wanna go on more rides," the little guy said.
"What are we waiting for?" Tom said.
After riding every ride in the park except the Whipsaw Loop, they left. Tommy drove toward the restaurant. Bobby was safely belted in the back seat of the truck.
"Your truck is neat!" Bobby said. "You gonna take me four-wheeling sometime?"
"You bet, sport," Tom said. "Real soon."
"Tomorrow?" the five-year old asked.
"Not tomorrow," Tom told him. "I have work tomorrow. Maybe next weekend, if your mother says it's all right."
"Can I go four-wheeling with Tommy next weekend, Mom?" Bobby asked.
"I don't know," Tina said. "Greg might want to do something with us."
"Aw, I don't like him," the little boy pouted. "He's not a neat guy like Tommy. And he don't like me."
Tina gave Tom an exasperated look. "I wish it wasn't taking so long for him to make that adjustment we were talking about," she said.
"Give him time. Besides," Tommy went on, "if I take him four-wheeling, it will give you and Greg time alone."
She smiled at him. "You have an answer for everything, don't you?" she said.
"Yeah, I guess so," he replied. "I wish I had an answer to the problem of how to get you to notice I'm not just a kid," he thought bitterly.
They ate dinner, then Tom drove them home. Bobby fell asleep in the truck, so Tom carried him up to Tina's apartment. He took the sleeping little boy into his bedroom, got him undressed and in bed, then went back out to the living room.
"You do that like you've done it all your life," Tina said, smiling.
"Maybe I'm just a natural-born father," he said.
"I think you'll be a fantastic father," she said. "Whoever marries you is going to be one lucky girl." She walked over to him and kissed him softly on the cheek, leaving a tingling spot there and turmoil throughout his body. "Thank you for a wonderful day."
"Ah, hey, you're welcome," Tommy sputtered. "I...I had a terrific time, too. See you at work tomorrow?"
"You bet," she said as they walked to the door. "And thanks again."
Tommy left, feeling good and bad. He'd spent one of the more enjoyable days of his life with Tina and Bobby, yet it was clear she had no interest in him other than as a friend and, maybe, a little brother. Bobby loved him, and he loved the little guy. He was sure could be a good father to the little boy, but it didn't look like he'd get the chance. He got in his truck and headed toward his aunt's house.