Summer Vacation Ch. 14byD.C. Roi©
"What happened with you and Uncle Dave yesterday?" Tommy asked his aunt the next morning after Kim had gone to work. He didn't want to ask his aunt about her marital problems until his cousin was gone because he didn't know if Kim knew her mother was considering divorcing her father.
Karen sat down at the table with him and sipped her coffee. "He told me he isn't going to ask for a transfer, he likes his job, and if I don't that's too bad," she said.
"What are you going to do?" Tommy asked.
"I've already done it," his aunt replied. "I have an appointment with an attorney at one." She had a determined look on her face. "If that's the way Dave wants it, I'll to let him have it." She smiled grimly. "Am I ever! If he thinks he's going to get out of this marriage unscathed, he's sadly mistaken."
"I-I'm sorry about," Tommy said.
"There's nothing to be sorry about, Tommy," his aunt said. "I know now I should have done this a long time ago. I haven't been happy for years. It's just that, sometimes, it's easier to let things go than to change them."
"Have you told Kim?" Tommy asked.
Aunt Karen sighed, shook her head, and said, "No, not yet. I'm not sure how she'll take it. I mean, she gets angry with her father and all, but..." She shrugged. "I'm a little afraid to find out what her reaction is going to be. I'm sure she'll be hurt, but..."
"You're right, she's going to find out sooner or later," Tommy said. "It would be a lot better if you told her before she finds out some other way."
"I guess so," Karen said. "I just hate to do it."
"Well..." Tommy said. He pushed himself away from the table. "I'm sure you don't have to do it right away. I have to get going, Aunt Karen. I have to go to North Hampden again."
"What's over there that's so interesting, anyhow?" his aunt asked.
"Ah...it's kind of a health club I go to," Tommy said. "I've been going there for about five or six years."
"I see," his aunt said and smiled at him. "A health club, huh? No wonder you're in such good shape."
Master Kwan was working with other students when Tommy arrived, so the young man helped him instruct for most of the day. Some of the students were very good, but even the best proved no match for Tommy's skills. Master Kwan watched, making occasional comments.
"You know, my son," the old gentleman said when Tommy was ready to leave, "you are a are very good instructor. You have surprising patience for one so young. Perhaps I should retire and make you sensei."
"Thank you, sensei," Tommy replied and bowed to his instructor. He was extremely honored that Master Kwan would even consider giving him such a high honor.
"If you taught my classes," Kwan continued, "it would allow these old bones to rest."
Tommy bowed again. "My master honors me beyond belief," he said. "I will give your suggestion consideration."
"To have you accept would give me great pleasure," Sensei said.
Tommy left the dojo in high spirits. It had been fun teaching the other students. And what Master Kwan suggested was a great honor. Never before, as far as Tommy knew, had he asked one of his students to instruct.
He arrived at the Inn, parked his car out back, and went inside. Tina was already there. They did all the things they usually did to get ready for their first customers.
While they worked, Tommy noticed Tina wasn't as perky as she'd been the day before. "You OK?" he asked her.
Tina paused and was silent for a minute. "Sure," she replied, then she went into the kitchen to get some silverware from the dishwasher.
Because Tina seemed depressed, Tommy surmised something wasn't right, but he didn't want to pry. He didn't want to get her upset before work. And it was none of his business. At least that's what he tried to tell himself.
Saturday night was the restaurant's busiest night. They were so busy, Mr. Dreisbach had to help with bussing and waiting on tables. "I'm going to have to put on extra help for Saturday if this keeps up," he commented as he and Tommy passed at one point during the evening.
Tommy couldn't disagree. It was the hardest he'd worked since he started at the Inn. Not that he minded hard work. It kept his mind off Tina and whatever was bugging her.
Even though it didn't seem like it was going to, the night finally ended. Tommy helped the dishwasher while Mr. Driesbach and Tina did setups for the next day. The young man hated being in the kitchen. He was afraid Tina would leave before he got a chance to talk with her. The fact that the dishwasher was slower than mud in winter didn't help, either. Tommy did a lot of the work himself, and at last all the dishes were clean.
"You certainly are a hard worker, Tommy," Mrs. Dreisbach said. Tommy had taken off his apron and was headed for the kitchen door. "Such a good job deserves a reward. I just happen to have some peach strudel left. Come, you can have it."
Tommy really didn't want the strudel, but he couldn't refuse Mrs. Dreisbach. He ate it a little too quickly, but it tasted wonderful just the same.
"You seem to be in a hurry," Mrs. Dreisbach noted, smiling knowingly. "You have a date?"
"Ah...well, sort of," Tommy said. He was positive Tina would be gone by the time he got out of the kitchen. "Thanks for the strudel, Mrs. D. It was outstanding." He pushed through the swinging doors into the dining room and got a pleasant surprise. Tina was still there, just taking off her apron.
"Good job tonight, kids," Mr. Driesbach said as Tommy and Tina walked out the front door. "The two of you worked very hard. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't something extra in your paychecks this week."
"You don't have to do that, Mr. D.," Tommy said.
"Ach, what is having money good for if you can't share it?" his employer replied, grinning. "Besides, you both earned it."
"Is...isn't Greg picking you up tonight?" Tommy asked as he and Tina walked out onto the inn's porch.
Tina shook her head and said, "No." She started down the steps to the sidewalk.
"Mind if I walk along?" Tommy asked.
Tina stopped, turned, smiled at him, and shook her head. "No, I don't mind, in fact, I'd like it," she said. "I'm sorry I was so short with you tonight. That wasn't fair. It isn't your fault."
Tommy joined her on the sidewalk and they started for her place. "What isn't my fault?" he asked. He was getting a little braver talking with Tina.
"The reason Greg didn't pick me up," she said softly, "is that he and I aren't seeing each other any more."
"Oh?" Tommy felt a rush of elation. He oughtn't feel good about something that made her unhappy, but couldn't help it.
"He said he isn't ready for a family yet," Tina said. Her comment was very sarcastic. "Why do men have to be such assholes?" She stopped, turned to Tommy, and smiled at him. "Present company excepted, of course."
"Wait a minute," Tommy said, "You mean he stopped going out with you because of Bobby?"
"How can he be like that?" the young man said. "It...it wouldn't make any difference to me. I think Bobby's a neat kid." He laughed. "At least he's cute when he's asleep. I still haven't seen him awake."
"I wish I could meet someone my age who thinks like you do," Tina commented as they resumed the trek toward her apartment. "Most of the guys I go out with seem to think that just because I was married and have a child, I'm an easy lay or something. None of them take the time to get to know me, and not a single one has tried to really get to know Bobby, except to impress me."
"Sometimes I'm ashamed I'm a guy," Tommy said. It was kind of a silly thing to say, but he couldn't think of anything else and it just kind of came out.
"Maybe you're the future," Tina said, "maybe there will be more men who think like you do. Only problem is, it's too late for me. There aren't any men like you my age."
Tommy was miffed by her comment. "I'm a man," he thought, "I-I could be everything you want." But there was no way he could bring himself to tell her that.
They reached her house. "Oh, shit!" Tina said, stopping short.
Tommy looked in the direction Tina was staring. Her ex-husband's car was parked across the street. The man was already getting out. He staggered across the street.
"Hey, Tina!" the man yelled, "I gotta talk with you!" He stumbled on the curb, then lurched to a stop in front of Tommy and Tina. "We really needa talk."
"Not tonight, Ron," Tina said, her voice placating, "I'm dead tired. I had a rough night at work. I just want to get to bed."
"Yeah, sure," her ex-husband grumbled. He looked at Tommy through bleary eyes. "I know what you want. You wanna get this fuckin' kid, here, up to your place and fuck him. Don't give me that I'm tired shit!"
"Ron, don't talk like that!" Tina said. They were standing under a streetlight and, as Tommy saw her face redden, anger rose in him.
"I know how it is," the drunken man continued, "I seen you with this kid before. Wha's tha matter, you can't get no guys your age to go out with ya? They don't like used goods, huh? So you gotta fuck kids."
"If you keep this up, I'll get a restraining order," Tina said. "I won't have you showing up here whenever you want to drunk and abusing my friends."
"I got fuckin' visitation rights," her ex-husband blustered. "I wanna see my kid. Now."
"Bobby's in bed," Tina said. "You know visitation is at your mother's house every other weekend. You can't come here any time you want."
"Aw, what the fuck?" the drunken man muttered, " Jus' becaush I'm gettin' the way of your gettin' a little nooky, you're gonna try gettin' tough, are you?" He looked around. "You see any cops? You see anyone who's gonna stop me?" He chuckled drunkenly. "Nah, a' course ya don't. Only one here's this kid, and he ain't gonna do nothin, are ya, kid?"
Tommy moved back to get in position to launch an attack. He'd had about all he was going to take from this drunken thug. Behind Tina's husband, he saw a police car turn onto the street and begin rolling toward where they stood. It was quite a way off, but getting nearer. Good.
"Hey, look!" Tommy said. "There's a police car." At the same time he said it, he pointed in the direction of the police car. Tina and her ex-husband automatically looked in the direction the young man was pointing.
Ron and Tina had responded exactly as Tommy hoped he would. While their attention was focused on the approaching police car, he swept his leg around in a wide circle, taking the drunk's legs out from under him. When the drunk hit the sidewalk, he leaned over and quickly landed a single powerful thrust punch to the man's solar plexus and heard his breath gush from him with a loud "Whoof!"
Tina never saw a thing. When she turned around, Ron lay on the ground, gasping for breath, clutching his chest and Tommy was standing next to him, looking down at the fallen man. "What happened to him?" she asked Tommy, glancing down at her ex-husband wide-eyed.
"He must have lost his balance and fallen," Tommy said nonchalantly. "I didn't see it. I was looking at the police car and when I looked back, he was lying there."
The police officers saw Ron lying on the sidewalk, braked to a stop, and rolled down the cruiser's window. "You folks having a problem?" the officer driving asked.
"This man's drunk," Tommy said. "He may be sick or something. He just fell down."
The officer and his partner got out of the cruiser and walked over. Ron was on his knees now, trying to get his breath. With a terrible retching sound, he vomited.
The officers both made disgusted faces. "Yeah, he sure is drunk," one of them said. "You know him, ma'am?"
Tina nodded. "He's my ex-husband," she said. "He...he isn't supposed to be here."
"He...that fuckin'...that kid, he...he hit me when I wasn't looking," Ron croaked, then he vomited again. Some of the vomit hit one of the officer's shoes.
"Hey, watch it!" the cop yelled and jumped back. "Dammit, we better get him out of here. He sure as heck can't drive, drunk as he is."
"Kid hit me," Ron gasped. "Fuckin' kid hit me!"
"Did you hit him, son?" the officer who had been driving asked Tommy.
Tommy shook his head and tried to look innocent. "Of course not. He fell over," he replied earnestly. "I tried to catch him, but I couldn't."
"You fucking little asshole!" Ron screamed. He lurched toward Tommy but found himself pressed against a parked car, in the strong grip of the officers, with his arms bent up into the middle of his back.
"That does it!" the bigger of the policemen said. "You're gonna spend the night in the tank!" The officers put handcuffs on Ron, dragged him to the police car, and shoved him in the back seat. Ron kept yelling threats and accusations at Tommy until the policemen closed the door. They looked at Tommy and Tina, smiled, got in their car, and left.
Tommy and Tina watched the police car drive away.
When the police car turned the corner and moved out of sight, Tina turned and gave Tommy a long, hard look. "Did you hit him?" she asked.
"What do you think?" Tommy asked.
Tina smiled then shook her head. "No, I guess you didn't," she said. "It's a good thing the police came along when they did, isn't it?"
"It sure is," Tommy agreed. Ron had no idea how much pain the arrival of the police saved him.
"Well, I guess I better get inside," Tina said. "Thanks for walking me home, Tommy."
"Any time," Tommy said. He watched Tina go up the steps to her apartment building. On the landing outside the door she stopped and turned. "I almost forgot. We have a date tomorrow, don't we?"
Tommy had hoped she hadn't forgotten. "Yeah, we do," he said.
"Why don't you come over about noon?" Tina said. "I'll make some lunch and after we can go down to the park."
"See you at noon," Tommy said.
Tina went inside and he started walking toward his aunt's house. He hoped Kim and Paula wouldn't show up again tonight. He really wasn't interested in another night with them, as pleasurable as that might be.