Battle-Hardened, War Weary Ch. 07byMimiRose©
Author's Notes: Hey, everybody!
I hope every one is having a better week than I am enduring right now. I have been suffering from a case of the "Lazy Days". I haven't been productive (in regards to this story and the other ones) and I don't like it one bit. Plus, it doesn't help that I managed to hurt myself and I've been taking prescribed painkillers that has been making me feel sluggish.
If you haven't read any of the previous chapters, then you wouldn't know that I have been updating and revising the past chapters. The updates are not drastic, so don't worry about it.
In regards to a new chapter, I will be posting one soon. I promise.
Two months and two days later, June 20th, 2001...
"Good morning, may I speak to Mister Daniel Logan please?"
Daniel placed the handle of the pitchfork into his other hand, so he could hold the cell phone in his right hand.
"This is Daniel," he announced into the talk piece of the NEXTEL phone.
"I am speaking to Mister Daniel Tristan M. Logan, am I correct?" the person asked.
Daniel rolled his eyes in annoyance. He began to pace around the pile of dead leaves that he recently gathered. "Yes, you are correct. You are speaking to the Daniel Tristan Micah Logan. How can I help you?"
He listened to the woman chuckle from the other line. He knew that she heard the smart-alecky attitude from him.
"I apologize for being a nuisance, Mr. Logan. I need to make sure that I am speaking to the right person. The information that I have is confidential and important. Once again, I wish a 'good morning' to you. My name is Roberta Thoms. I am a social worker for the Better Tomorrow Family Placement Center. It is an adoption agency. I am calling in regards to your son, Sean Alexander. We—
Daniel was jolted from his sleep by the abrupt sound of a cry. He was awoken from his dream, or rather, from his brain's involuntary task of recollecting. The noise was loud and sharp. It sliced through the tranquil setting of his bedroom. It caused his heart to beat harsh and rapid. Adrenaline raced through his veins as the sense of fright settled down.
He opened his eyes and found himself being greeted by the ceiling. He saw the ceiling tiles, which meant that the night was about to turn into the day. He calculated that the time had to be around 5 AM. He figured that he had to be asleep for a few hours since the last feeding.
'Oh goodness,' his fatigue mind groaned. 'I need some fucking sleep.'
"Oh, I need some extra time to sleep," he groaned.
With his large right hand rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Daniel rolled onto his left side. His large body was a few millimeters away from the edge of the king-sized mattress. His round, dark brown eyes stared at the source that caused his disrupted sleep.
"Sean, dude, why are you not asleep?" he groaned as he stared at the wooden crib that was four feet away from his bed.
Due to the minimal lighting and the Winnie the Pooh-themed crib bumper, he didn't see his son in the crib. But, he damn sure heard him, thanks to his consistent cries.
"Sean, if you love your daddy, you would go back to sleep and stay asleep for at least six more hours," stated Daniel.
Little Sean continued to fuss and cry for someone to help him.
"All right, all right, all right..." grumbled Daniel as he slipped out of his comfy bed.
Daniel grabbed the discarded pair of sweatpants that was on the floor and he slipped them on, along his pair of flip flops. Once dressed, he traveled over to the crib and peered inside. He gazed at his son, who kicked his thick legs while he continued to cry. Sean's eyes were opened and he was glaring at his father as if he was saying 'Why are you standing there and just looking at me? Help me, daddy!'
Despite being two months old, Daniel knew that his boy was going to be a powerhouse, when he grows up to be a man. His stature was bigger than the average newborn. Plus he was thick and he was heavy. In his small fat hands, he has a strong grip that even impressed Daniel. Even though Daniel believe that he was going to be supportive of any career choice that Sean will pick, he really wanted his son to be involved in some type of sports, in particular football.
Daniel picked his baby up and carried him in his strong arms. He whispered comforting words into his son's ears while gently rocked the infant. After a while, he listened to Sean's cries go from being loud and harsh to low and soft. Then, he began to whimper and coo. Daniel figured out that his son was just fussy and needed to be comforted.
"Oh, so you want to hang out with your old man, huh?" he said softly into the crown of his son's head. He listened to Sean's coos.
Daniel felt stuffy now. The bedroom felt like a sauna to him. His grandmother insisted on turning on the house's heating every night, ever since the night's temperature dropped down to the 50's.
"Why don't we go outside and get some fresh air?" he said to his son. "But, first, let's get you dress in some clothes. I don't want you to catch a cold."
Daniel added some more clothes to his hulky frame and then slipped some clothes onto his baby boy, before they left the bedroom. Once inside of the hallway, Daniel heard the sounds of life occurring on the first level of his grandparents' house. There were the sounds of a radio program playing, the clattering of pots and pans, as well as, the sounds of bacon frying. The delicious scent wafted through the air and it caused Daniel's stomach to rumble. Father and son had traveled down to the first level of the large house to go to the kitchen.
Daniel entered the kitchen and saw his grandparents inhabit the room. Tin, his grandfather sat at the dinner table and was reading the newspaper. His grandmother, Delia, stood in front of the stove and she was monitoring the food. She looked away from a frying pan when she saw Daniel entered the kitchen.
"Good morning, my babies!" Delia says happily with a broad smile.
Daniel has been staying with his grandparents for the past sixty-three days and hearing his grandmother's "good mornings" everyday still made him feel great. With every greeting and a sight of her bright smile, his soul felt a jolt of happiness.
"Good morning, grandma!" greeted Daniel before he gave his relative a kiss on her left cheek. She reciprocated by giving him a peck on his left cheek. She pushed the hood of Sean's apparel out of the way, so she could give Sean a kiss on his forehead.
"Good morning, my sunshine!" she cooed at Sean, who cooed in response. Delia reached for the baby and Daniel handed him off to her. She proceeded to fawn over the baby.
"Good morning, grandpa," Daniel greeted his grandfather.
Tin placed the newspaper on the table and stared at his grandson. "Good morning, son. How are you feeling, this morning?"
"I am feeling all right. I'm just tired," Daniel stated as he sat down in an unoccupied chair that was in front of the dinner table. "I've been up most of the night—
"We know," both his grandparents announced.
"We heard you up and walking around last night..." his grandmother informed him. Then she cooed, "...with this scrumptious little critter!" Then she proceeded to make squeaky noises and shower Sean's face with kisses. Daniel laughed at his grandmother's antics as well as felt his heart swell up with adoration.
"How many hours of sleep did you manage to get last night?" asked Tin.
Daniel grunted, in response. He placed his left elbow on the table and rested his chin in the palm of his left hand. "I don't know, but I do know that I didn't receive my full eight hours that is recommended."
"Oooh," Tin grimaced as he held his cup of coffee in his left hand. "I remember those days."
"What are you talking about, old man?" Delia stated to her husband. She walked over to an available chair and sat down with Sean sitting on her lap. "If I recall, you were in bed, asleep and snoring while I was up and taking care of our kids!"
Tin placed an expression of outrage on his face. He placed his hand over his right pectoral. He let out a gasp of awe. "I am outraged! I did provide you with help! I had kept the bed warm for you!"
The kitchen erupted in laughter that had come from the three adults.
"Oh," groaned Delia with a grin on her lips.
She grabbed the wet dish rag that was on the table and threw it at her husband. Tin effortlessly caught the wet rag and then placed it on the table. Once the laughter had died down, Delia announced her idea to Daniel.
"Danny, me, your grandfather and Abigail are going to Porter, the next town over, today for a shopping trip and to meet up with some friends of ours. Why don't we take Sean with us, so you can get some sleep?"
"That sounds like a great idea," his grandfather added.
"I think you need to get some sleep. You look like you really need it. Ever since you've brought Sean back, you have been giving one-hundred and fifty percent in taking care of him and you haven't been taking care of yourself..."
"And you're going to need all of the sleep that you're going to get, once you go back to training camp," his grandfather pointed out.
"Speaking of which, what are you going to do in regards to Sean? Who is going to take care of him while you're away?" inquired Delia.
Daniel let out a chuckle. 'Wait until they hear this answer,' he thought. "Believe or not, your daughter has decided on helping me take care of Sean while I am away at training camp," he said with a smirk.
Delia's mouth opened slightly and her eyes widened in bewilderment. "Claudia has decided to help you with Sean?" She glanced at Tin, who just shrugged his shoulders. Then she stared at her grandson. "Our daughter is going to help you take care of Sean?"
"Yup, she offered her help and she's even thrown in the offer to help me hire a nanny too. I accepted my mother's offer," reported Daniel.
"My daughter Claudia has agreed to help you? Claudia, your mother, has agreed to help you with the baby that belongs to your ex-wife? The same ex-wife, who have cheated on you and inadvertently made my daughter an enemy? We are speaking about the same Claudia that has created a smear campaign against this boy's mother and has been embarrassing that girl in the newspapers; that same Claudia?" asked Delia.
Daniel chuckled. "Yes, the same woman."
"Why does she want to take care of the child that is the biggest reminder of your ex-wife's affair?"
"I guess she realizes that Sean is a victim and the only innocent party out of this mess. Plus, she knows that I need all of the help that I can get," informed Daniel.
"Well, all I am going to say is watch out for her. I love my daughter, but I know that she can be vindictive, when she is crossed. Or in this particular case, when any of her family members are crossed," warned Delia.
Daniel stared at his grandmother for a full eight seconds before he responded with an "Okay, grandma."
Daniel didn't tell his grandparents that he already contemplated on the reasons why his mother wanted to help him take care of Sean. He didn't speak about his initial reservations about allowing his mother to help him. He didn't tell his grandparents that after he told his mother that he accepted her offer he threatened her with a promise. He told his mother that if she were to do something to hurt him and to keep him from taking care of Sean, he was going to tell his father everything about her family.
"Okay baby," Delia murmured. "Just be careful please."
"I will, grandma."
"And please call us every day, even if you don't have anything to talk about."
Daniel chuckled. "I will, grandma."
"And if you have any of the holidays off, can you please visit us? And you can even bring the French nanny too. I know that Claudia is going to hire one of those French ones because she thinks it's fancy. You can bring her too."
Once again, Daniel chuckled. "I will visit you, grandma."
"And can you send us a lot of pictures of you and Sean? You can email them to us, because I know how to use the computer now."
"Yes, grandma, I will."
Delia looked down at Sean. "Danny baby, I have a question for you?"
"Yeah grandma?" Daniel murmured.
"Why does this poor baby have on a snow suit?" she inquired.
"We are about to go outside and take a walk around for one last time. What? Do you think the snow suit is inappropriate?"
"Baby, its sixty-nine degrees outside right now and all he needs is a sweater—
"He doesn't need..." Tin stated. The two adults stared at the old man. "... the sweater either. It is beautiful outside."
"Are you sure guys?" Daniel asked. "I don't want Sean to catch a cold."
"Honey, he is going to get sick if he continues to wear this hot ass snow suit," Delia pointed out.
A few minutes later, Daniel and Sean exited the house and entered the outside. He stepped on the back porch and walked to the top of the staircase. He notices the temperature. His grandparents were correct. The weather was beautiful: the temperature was perfect, not chilly and not hot. The sky was a shade of lavender, purple, burgundy and blue. Dawn was approaching the horizon. He stared out at the acres of land that was presented.
Daniel stared down at the top of his son's head. "Okay, I may have overreacted."
With his son still in his arms, Daniel stood on the porch of his grandparents' farmhouse. He gazed out at the twenty-eight acres of land that was presented before him. He surveyed the layout of the property. He knew that his grandparents bought the property in the 1970's, even though they didn't have any plans of starting up a farm. The house was erected in the epicenter of the property. On the land, there was a horse stable and a barn.
Daniel imagined an older version of himself watching Sean run amok on this very same land while he sat on this porch. Then he bent his head and gave Sean's crown a gentle kiss. He whispered an apology into his son's left ear. It was the twenty-sixth time that he has said 'I'm sorry' to his son since the day of his birth. The first apology fell from his lips, fifty-nine days ago. On the day that he has received his sanity back and gained another purpose in life. It occurred a few seconds after Ms. Thoms placed son in his arms.
As he stared out at the field, Daniel thought about his previous dream which turned out to be a memory. On April 25th, a week after his blow-out with Mary Anne, Daniel received the call from Ms. Thoms. When she informed him of Mary Anne's intention of placing Sean up for adoption, he was stunned. He didn't think that his ex-wife would've been able to abandon her child so easily. As he listened to the social worker speak, Daniel thought about Mary Anne. Then he thought about his marriage. Before the end of the phone call, Ms. Thoms informed Daniel that he needed to fill out some applications, in order to relinquish his parental rights to Sean.
On the night before Sean's birth and while Mary Anne was enduring labor, Daniel filled out a couple of forms that were issued by the hospital. He didn't bother to read any of the applications. Instead, he just filled out the required information. One of the forms that he filled out was for Sean's birth certificate. As the result, the state of Missouri recognized Daniel has being Sean's father and legal guardian.
Daniel scheduled an appointment with the social worker for April 30th. He admitted to himself that he felt weird about "waiving his paternal rights" for a child that was not his son. He also felt like he was abandoning the child.
On the following day, Daniel left Clinton, Arkansas to return to St. Louis, Missouri. During his visit in St. Louis, he met up with a few of his former colleagues and hung out with his old teammates. They had taken him to several nightclubs on that night, as a "Bon Voyage" celebration. Aside from that night, he spent the remainder of his time in his hotel room.
He woke up on the day of his appointment feeling sick. He had a headache that festered in the middle of his forehead as if it was pinned there. His stomach rumbled. He felt queasy. His saliva was thick like molasses. He thought that he must've caught a case of the flu.
Even though he felt terrible, he knew that he needed to attend the meeting with Ms. Thoms. When he arrived to the adoption center's building, his stomach's condition worsened. As he sat in the waiting room, he grew cold sweats. When he was inside of Ms. Thoms' office, he had difficult time of breathing. When he spoke to the social worker, Daniel stammered and stuttered, an act that he hasn't done since he was a ten year-old boy.
The meeting consisted of Ms. Thoms informing Daniel of his choices in regards to his rights as the father. The kind woman informed him that Mary Anne had given up her rights a few days before she was discharged from the hospital. The notion that Sean had been lingering in the foster care system for a week entered his mind. He had become bothered and angered. Suddenly the urge to view Sean had become strong within inside of him.
"Is it possible for me to...?" Daniel said softly and humbly. He squirmed in the chair that was positioned in front of Ms. Thoms' desk. "Is it possible for me to...?" He paused in his speaking and licked at his bottom lip. "Is it possible for me to see him?"
In reply, Ms. Thoms created a grin on her lips that spoke volumes.
Ms. Thoms ended up making a phone call and spoken to a woman named Miss Ruby. The conversation lasted a few minutes. After the call ended, the social worker informed Daniel that they were going on a trip. During the journey, the woman explained to Daniel who Miss Ruby was. She explained that this woman had been a foster parent for over thirty years. She was a retired elementary school teacher. They ended up traveling to the house that belonged to the woman, who happened to be Sean's foster mother.
Miss Ruby stood on her porch as Ms. Thoms pulled her car into the woman's driveway. From where Daniel sat in the car, he saw that the woman was small and elderly. She was African-American. She was petite in height; he guessed that she was about five feet tall. She was a portly-sized woman who wore a floral-printed house coat and a pair of slippers on her feet. She wore a dark blue-colored scarf on her head in an elaborate way.
Ruby welcomed Ms. Thoms and Daniel inside of her home. She escorted them into the living room section and instructed them to have a seat on her French colonial-inspired couch. Both Daniel and Ms. Thoms smiled to hide their discomfort as they sat on the thick, plastic covering. The three individuals talked. Mostly the women chatted and Daniel remained quiet most of the time. He observed the environment and Ruby. Despite the woman being kind and owning a home that was cleaned, he didn't feel comfortable with Sean living inside of the home. He concluded that he thought Ruby was not the right person to take care of Sean. He thought that she was too old and not energetic enough to take care of a little boy.
After an hour of talking passed, Daniel was impatient and his condition was worse. His headache continued to pulse. The contents in his stomach grumbled. There was a strong pressure buried in the pit of his stomach that managed to move to the crack of his ass. He needed to go to a bathroom immediately. He asked the elderly woman if he could use of her bathroom. The old woman granted Daniel the permission and then she verbally gave the man directions. He thanked the woman and then excused himself.
According to Ruby's directions, the bathroom was located on the second level of the house. He quickly made his way up the staircase and into the hallway of the second floor. He found the bathroom and then relieved himself of the pressure that he felt inside of his guts. After he finished with the bathroom, he entered the hallway. He was about to go back downstairs, when a noise caught his attention.