I didn’t expected to be going so soon, Nox caught me texting Max in the middle of a conversation. So as we walked I tried to finish that up.
“Max doesn’t want to go?” he asked. He wasn’t looking at me but staring a head.
“How’d you guess?”
“Does he want to spend the night?”
“He does, but he thinks that me alone is going to be too much.”
“You can tell him I’m going too but not to tell my Dad.”
“I did. Now he doesn’t want to lie to your parents.”
“I’ll go with you.”
“What?” I asked and stopped in the middle of the sidewalk staring at him dumbfounded.
“I’ll go with you to get him. So he’ll know he’s not lying.”
“You’ll go home even though your dad might try to stop you.”
“What’s he gonna do physically restrain me?”
“Yeah, he might. Max says he’s furious with you.”
“I don’t just lift weights for the look of it.” He said and kept walking. “I can handle my dad.”
That’s what I was afraid of. Nox handling his dad and someone getting hurt. But he had a stubborn set to his jaw that I knew well. I wore it all too often myself. I don’t think his father truly appreciates the man he was raising. Nox wasn’t a little boy. He was ready to do this without anyone, imagine if he had people in his corner willing to stand up for him too. That’s what his dad should be doing but instead he’s afraid because his son likes boys.
Nox didn’t hesitate opening his front gate, and not again when he pushed open the front door. Max was standing at the foot of the stairs with a duffle bag. “Let’s go.” He said quicky taking two steps before the floor boards creaked and Mr. Durante stuck his head out of his office. He glared at Nox and Nox just walked up to Max took his bag and then headed for the door.
It was all rather uneventful except Max called out, “I’ll be back Sunday night. Unless you think…”
Mr. Durante growled, “Be home before dinner on Sunday. The Kennedy’s don’t have room for the three of you full time.”
Nox stopped in the doorway and turned back to look at his father. Mr. Durante continued, “You think the Kennedy’s wouldn’t tell me you were staying with them. It’s a small community Nox. There is no place I don’t know where you will be.”
It sounded so much like a threat and Nox took it as such turning his back on his arrogant father and walked out the door. I had a feeling that it was going to be the last time he ever stepped foot through the front door. The set in his stride, the speed in which he walked away from the house. Max and I took it slower, Nox was two blocks ahead of us before he stopped and waited.
“He’s angry.” Max said. “You sure you want me around?”
“Absolutely.” I said. “He doesn’t want to feel like he’s taking advantage of our generosity. I want you to show him it’s alright.”
Max laughed, “He won’t ever feel like I do Alex.”
“You been talking to Drew too?”
“Mrs. Durante actually, she’s real nice. She told me how him and Lucy came to be with them. Lucy on the other hand doesn’t remember.”
I chuckled, “Haven’t you figured out that’s all an act?”
Max looked at me with a grin, “I like that she pretends, it makes me look smart.”
“You are smart.” Nox said as we walked past him. “You just need extra time.”
“Like years.” Max joked.
Nox shrugged, “Lucy and I will help.” He said and then was silent for a few blocks before he asked, “What kinda music does your dad play?”
Max chimed in, “Mostly country, but he’s old school acoustic and it’s epic. He has a great voice. He was in a band back in the day, could have made it big but they had Alex instead.”
I hated the reminder that my dad gave up his dream so he could raise me. Nox smiled, “Well maybe there will be a scout at the cafe tonight who is looking for the next big thing.”
Max laughed, “Wouldn’t that be cool. But who is going to be looking in this small town for the next big thing.”
Nox shrugged, “It’s happened before. Sports teams do it all the time.”
“Recording records executives don’t come to small towns.”
Nox grinned, “No but who needs an exec to see it. Just millions of other people. Have you ever recorded him and stuck him up on the web?”
“He’d die of embarrassment if I did that.”
“Really?” Nox laughed, “Like he’d ever know.”
Max smiled, “He’d know. He knows everything. I remember when we were little and he’d always know where to come find us even if it was someplace new we were hiding.”
“I’m gonna have to agree with Max. My dad always seems to know when I do something he doesn’t approve of.”
Nox tried to hide his smile. I could see him bitting his bottom lip trying not to say something, “What?”
He looked at me with those big brown eyes full of emotion. He shrugged, “You do things he doesn’t approve of often?”
I stuck my tongue out at him and I saw a reaction I didn’t expect. He shivered and I wished I knew what was running through his head. But we were at my house, and my mother was sitting outside on the porch waiting for us. “Before you get angry.”
“Unless Mr. Durante is hiding in the house, I think we are okay.” I said.
“I had to tell him. I’d be upset if someone knew where my son was and didn’t tell me.”
Nox gave my mother a pleasant smile, “It’s alright, Mrs. Kennedy. He would have found out anyway. I won’t be here long.”
Mom walked towards us and took Max’s bag from Nox and helped Max up the stairs, “You know where everything is Max. Make yourself at home.” Max did just that, but she turned her attention on to Nox, “And you have someplace better to be?” She said putting her arm around his waist and ushered him into the house. it seemed she was going to dote on both of them and ignore me completely. Very typical.