Dreams Don't Grow on Trees
Copyright © 2011 Owen Hudson
Haden had a hunch that Kyle did have an interest in him after Amy called his attention to the fact. However, he couldn't see himself bringing it up with Kyle in spite of Amy's encouraging him to do so.
The Harrington household was even more tense than before. Brenda was spending more and more time at her church. Often Amy cooked dinner after coming home from school. Darrell and Brenda argued almost daily, and more often than not Darrell slept in Perry's bed.
"I think Dad suspects Mom's having an affair," Amy said one evening as she was once again preparing dinner in Brenda's absence.
"What makes you think that?" Haden asked as he lifted the lid to the steaming pot of beef stew, savoring the aroma.
"Dad seems to have accepted the fact and doesn't argue as much with her, and he's sleeping in your room," Amy pointed out.
"I see that you cooked dinner again," Darrell said when he arrived home from work.
"Well somebody had to cook."
"I'll have a talk with your mother about this," Darrell said. "You can't continue to do her work after being in school all day."
Brenda arrived without saying a word as Amy and Haden were clearing the table and cleaning the kitchen. Darrell followed her into their bedroom, soon there was loud arguing coming from their room. Shortly Brenda came out of the room carrying a blanket and pillow and went to bed on the couch.
It was a tenuous truce between Brenda and Darrell. She was home each evening and prepared the meals, but there was rarely a conversation at the dinner table. Further, Brenda continued sleeping on the couch.
"Have you heard from Perry?" Kyle asked Haden as they gathered their books after their algebra class one Friday.
"Yeah, he's going to Iraq in two weeks."
"Damn, I hate to hear that. Do you have his address? I'd like to write him."
"Sure, I'll bring it Monday."
"Why don't I drive you and Amy home and get it," Kyle suggested. "I'd like to write him this weekend."
"Sure, but you may as well know that Mom is really acting strange lately," Haden admitted.
"I understand," Kyle said. "It's probably because she's still with that radical preacher."
"What do you mean?" Haden asked.
"I saw them together again in Covington last week," Kyle said. "She was hanging onto him like he might run away if she let him go."
"This is really embarrassing," Haden confessed.
"You have nothing to be embarrassed about," Kyle said. "Her actions are hers, not yours."
Brenda was in the kitchen working when Amy and Haden arrived home with Kyle. Neither bothered to greet their mother since she never responded anyway. Brenda seemed disturbed to see Kyle, but said nothing.
"Come on back to my room and I'll get Perry's address for you," Haden said.
"Do you have his E-mail address also?" Kyle asked.
"Yeah, give me a minute and I'll get that for you too," Haden said as he took a tee-shirt from a drawer. "I'm going to change into a more comfortable shirt first."
"Damn, you're putting on muscles," Kyle said when Haden stripped to the waist. "Have you been working out?"
"I've been using Perry's weights," Haden said as he sat beside Kyle to put on the shirt.
"I still think you should've gone out for football," Kyle said.
"They're not that much bigger," Haden said, flexing his arms.
"They sure are and they're hard as a rock," Kyle said while palpating Haden's muscles.
Out of the blue Kyle pulled Haden in for a kiss. Although caught off guard, Haden responded to Kyle's kiss.
"Hayden, you have chores to do, now get out there and get them done," Brenda said as she opened the door and saw Kyle kissing Haden. She screamed, "You fucking fags. I hope you rot in hell."
Haden felt a sudden pain just before passing out after Brenda snatched Perry's baseball trophy from his bookcase and struck him with it.
"What in the hell's going on?" Amy yelled when she came to investigate, hearing the commotion.
Kyle was in shock as he eased Haden down to his bed. "Amy, go call 911," he managed to say.
Brenda calmly walked out the door and across the street to her church. The ambulance arrived in a matter of minutes. To Amy it seemed like hours. She did manage to call Darrell and ask him to meet them at the hospital.
Darrell arrived at the hospital just seconds after the ambulance arrived with Haden. Amy and Kyle had followed the ambulance to the hospital.
"What happened?" Darrell asked as Amy rushed to him.
"Mom hit Haden with Perry's trophy," Amy managed to say between sobs.
"She's gone completely crazy," Darrell said without asking for further details.
"Sir, would you mind giving the clerk some information while Doctor Hicks does an initial examination," the nurse said. "I'm sure your son will be going to radiology right away."
After giving the clerk the necessary information, Darrell walked directly to the examination room where Haden was being examined.
"Are you his father?" The doctor asked, pausing from the exam and look at Darrell.
"Yes, is he going to be alright?" Darrell asked.
"He's lethargic, but at least he's gaining consciousness," Doctor Hicks replied. "I want to get a CT scan. I suspect he has a concussion and I'm sure we'll keep him overnight."
"Mr. Harrington, there's a deputy sheriff here to see you," the ER clerk said as she placed an ID bracelet on Haden's wrist.
Reluctantly, Darrell left Haden's bedside to go talk with the deputy. "Mr. Harrington, I'm Deputy Coy Davis," the deputy said, extending his had to Darrell. "Could you tell me what happened?"
"My wife hit our son with a baseball trophy," Darrell said.
"Did anyone witness the hitting?"
"I did," Kyle spoke up.
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"I went home with Haden to get his brother's address," Kyle began. "I don't think his mother was very happy to see me since I'd seen her with that preacher in Covington, sorry, Mr. Harrington."
"That's okay, Kyle, I've suspected something was going on," Darrell said.
"Anyway," Kyle continued. "Haden was changing his shirt and I mentioned that he was putting on muscles and that he should go out for football. He didn't think so, and I was pointing out that he was getting more muscular. I guess Mrs. Harrington thought we were making out and started calling us fags. That's when she picked up Perry's baseball trophy and hit Haden with it. When Amy came in the room to see what was going on, Mrs. Harrington just walked out of the room as if nothing happened."
"Do you have any idea where she may have gone?"
"Probably to that church," Darrell said. "The preacher lives in the parsonage next door."
"What church is that?"
"That crazy church next to Wilmot School," Darrell said.
"I'll go see if I can find her," the deputy said. "Child abuse with a critical injury is a serious crime. This could result in some lengthy jail time."
"Dad, if you'll drive me home I'll do the chores and you can come back here. Nothing got done before Mom hit Haden. I can call Tony and ask him to drive me back here after I'm finished."
"I'll drive you," Kyle said. "I can help with the chores too."
"Thank you, Kyle," Amy said, as Kyle pulled out of the hospital parking lot.
"I don't mind helping you," Kyle said.
"I'm not talking about the chores. I'm talking about your quick thinking and not telling the deputy everything that happened."
"What are you talking about?"
"Kyle, I know there was more than what you told the deputy."
"Amy, you don't know what you're talking about."
"Hey, I heard Mom calling you fags, not that it matters to me. I know you have a crush on Haden and that he has a crush on you. I love both of my brothers. It doesn't matter to me if one of them happens to be gay."
"You know what it would be like in this town if word gets out that Haden or I may be gay. Your mother is just an example of the way people think around here."
"The three of us will have to stick together on the story you told the deputy."
"That story is true. I just didn't tell the whole story."
"Oh, my God! That's Mom with that preacher coming from our house," Amy said as they came near the Harrington driveway. "Pull into the school and let's see where they go."
"Wow! The preacher drives a Lexus," Kyle said in amazement, as the Lexus pulled into the church driveway and parked in front of the parsonage.
Deputy Coy Davis, who apparently was parked out of sight, pulled in behind the Lexus. "Let's get closer so we can hear what Mom has to say," Amy said, she had the door open before Kyle could respond.
Deputy Davis was reading Brenda her rights as Amy and Kyle approached. "That's the fag that was kissing Haden," Brenda screamed when she saw Amy and Kyle. "That's why I hit Haden."
"Should I add a hate crime to the charges of abuse of a minor?" Deputy Davis asked as he gave Kyle and Amy a knowing smile.
"She was just doing God's work," Reverend McFadden said.
"Does God's work also include screwing the preacher?" Amy countered.
"Young lady, you'll die and go to hell for condoning homosexuality," Reverend McFadden said.
"Then I guess I'll see you and Mom there because of your adultery," Amy shot back.
"Reverend, I suggest you not mention any of this in your sermons," Deputy Davis said. "You could be sued for slander."
"You're no lawyer," Reverend McFadden said. "I preach God's word and the truth."
"No, I'm not a lawyer," Deputy Davis admitted. "But I suggest you talk to your lawyer before you start slandering people. You two young people should be on your way. I'm taking Mrs. Harrington to jail now."
"Why do you think the preacher and your mom were coming out of your driveway?" Kyle asked as they drove away.
"I don't know," Amy admitted. "I'll check the house, but it could've been to get her things."
After checking the house, Amy determined that the only items missing were Brenda's clothes and personal items. She and Kyle worked quickly to complete the chores as they were anxious to get back to the hospital.
"They're getting ready to transfer him to a room," Darrell said when Amy and Kyle returned with burgers and drinks. "Thanks for picking up the burgers. I was beginning to get hungry."
"Then they're keeping Haden over night?" Amy asked.
"Yes, he's asking what happened," Darrell said. "In fact, he's asked me what happened at least a dozen times. I'm staying here with him tonight. Call one of your friends and spend the night with them. I don't want you at home by yourself."
"I'll spend the night there," Kyle offered. "I'll sleep in Haden's room."
"Thank you, Kyle," Darrell said.
"I was going to spend the night here too," Amy said.
"No, you take Kyle up on his offer," Darrell said. "The nurse said they could put a cot in Haden's room for me. Call me if your mom comes home."
"She isn't likely to come home," Amy said. "Deputy Davis arrested her."
"Good," Darrell said. "You may as well know that I've decided to file for a divorce."
"It's long overdue," Amy said
"Mr. Harrington, I assume your daughter told you that I arrested your wife," Deputy Davis said upon entering the waiting room.
"Yes, she did," Darrell said.
"Do you have any idea why she would have almost $2,000 in her possession?"
"She what?" Darrell asked in surprise. "We don't have that kind of money. I've already transferred all but $100 of what little money we had in our joint account into another account, so I know it didn't come from our account."
"We did some checking on that preacher," Deputy Davis began. "There are less than 100 members of his church, yet he drives a new Lexus. He left Louisville, Kentucky, after bilking a church there out of almost $90,000. It seems that he started an internet and cable TV ministry here and your wife was apparently part of it. They were raking in a lot of money. I'll turn all of the information over to the district attorney's office, it's highly possible what they were doing is illegal."
"I'm not surprised at any of that," Darrell said. "How long will she be in jail?"
"The preacher was already there trying to bail her out, but bail won't be set until Monday morning," Deputy Davis explained.
"Mr. Harrington, your son is now in room 211," the clerk said. "You can go up anytime now."
"Thank you," Darrell said. "Amy, you and Kyle come on up and see him, then you should go on home."
"This is his room," Amy said, pushing open the door to see a nurse, not much older than her, taking Haden's vital signs.
"Hi, I'm Kendra," Nurse Kendra said. "I'll be his nurse until Mike comes on duty. I understand that one of you will be here with him."
"I will," Darrell stated.
"They're bringing a cot for you, but you may not get much sleep," Kendra said. "We'll be waking him every three hours."
"Dad, what happened?" Haden asked again.
"Son, you were hit on the head," Darrell said.
"Oh," Haden said, apparently satisfied with the explanation.
"Haden, Kyle's going to drive me home now," Amy said and then kissed Haden on the forehead.
"Where's Kyle?" Haden asked.
"I'm here," Kyle said, stepping forward, taking Haden's hand and giving it a squeeze.
Haden gave Kyle a smile and then drifted off to sleep.
"It looks like he's out for a while," Amy said. "I guess we'll go now and see you in the morning."
"Alright, Honey," Darrell said. "When you come in the morning, bring my shaving kit and a change of clothes. I guess you should bring clean clothes for Haden too."
"Do you want us to stop and pick up your breakfast in the morning?" Kyle asked.
"I can order a courtesy breakfast tray for you," Kendra offered.
"Thank you," Darrell said. "I'd appreciate that."
After pushing the elevator down button as they were leaving, Kyle said, "I need to stop by my house and get a change of clothes."
"Okay, I'm in no particular hurry," Amy said. "Do your parents know that you're babysitting me?"
"Yeah, I called when you went to get coffee for your dad."
"Did you tell them what happed?"
"Yes, and Mom was really pissed at your mom."
"Exactly what did you tell her?"
"Yes, my parents know that I'm gay and they're okay with it."
"I'm so sorry to hear about your brother," Linda Holden, Kyle's mother, said after giving Amy a big hug when Kyle stopped home for clean clothes.
"Amy, tell your dad that that if he needs an attorney I'd be happy to represent him," Steve Holden said. "I'll represent him pro bono."
"If I remember correctly, that means for free," Amy said. "I doubt Dad would let you represent him for free."
"Oh, I have my reasons for the offer," Steve said. "That phony preacher cheated my Aunt Millie out of a couple grand. I want to nail the bastard. After what your mom did to Haden I'd like to get her too, especially since she was the one that actually talked Aunt Millie out of the money. Of course I'd want to talk to your dad first."
"I'm sure Dad would say go for it," Amy said. "Dad said that he was filing for divorce."
"I'd be happy to help him with that too," Steve offered.
"I'm sure Dad would like for you to represent him," Amy said. "But I don't think Dad would let you do it for free."
"I wouldn't be doing it for free," Steve smiled. "I'll get the money from your mom. I'll call your dad in the next day or so. The district attorney has been investigating Reverend McFadden and your mom after I contacted him about Aunt Millie. The two have a joint account that has over $47,000 in it. The DA got Judge Burgess to order that account frozen as soon as the bank opens first thing Monday. We think there may be other accounts in other banks."
"I'll tell dad all of this," Amy said.
"I guess I'm ready," Kyle said upon entering the room carrying a small travel bag.
"You kids call if you need anything," Linda said.
"We'll be fine, Mom," Kyle said, kissing his mom on the cheek.
"Amy, let me know if there's anything I can do to help," Linda said, giving Amy another hug, which Brenda had rarely given her.
"Are you alright?" Kyle asked when he and Amy arrived at the farm.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Amy said. "I'm just tired. I'll put Haden's comforter in to soak the blood out and then I think I'll go to bed. Feel free to stay up and watch TV if you want. You know where the clean towels are."
"I think I'll go to bed too. Good night, Amy," Kyle said, after Amy had stripped Haden's bed.
"Good night, Kyle. You can sleep in Perry's bed. I can't thank you enough."
"This was all my fault anyway."
"No, it was my crazy mother's fault."
"The coffee's ready," Amy said when Kyle came into the kitchen, apparently just out of the shower. "There's juice in the refrigerator. How do you like your eggs?"
"I was going to buy your breakfast on the way to the hospital."
"I already have the bacon and sausage cooked."
"Then I'll have my eggs however you're having yours."
"Scrambled it is."
"Do you think it's too early to go to the hospital?" Kyle asked as he rinsed his plate and placed it in the dishwasher.
"No, I don't think so. Let me get Haden and Dad's things and I'll be ready."
"He isn't in his bed," Kyle said when he pushed open the door to Haden's room.
"He's in the shower," Darrell said, putting his newspaper down. "He ate everything on his breakfast tray. He had a slight headache this morning when he woke up, but he said it was mostly gone now."
"When will he get to go home?" Amy asked.
"His nurse Mike thinks he'll be discharged when the doctor makes his morning rounds," Darrell said.
"You shampooed your hair," Amy said in surprise when Haden came out of the bathroom with wet hair. "I don't think you were supposed to get the area wet where you had staples."
"Hello to you too," Haden giggled. "Mike said it was okay as long as I didn't scrub the area where they stapled my wound."
"I thought they would've shaved the area before they stapled it," Kyle said.
"Mike said that they don't do that anymore," Haden said as he tried to keep the hospital issued pajamas from falling down.
"You kids behave yourselves," Darrell said with a smile. "I'm going to shower and shave before the doctor makes his rounds."
"Haden, do you remember what happened?" Amy asked when he was back in bed and Darrell was in the shower.
"Unfortunately, I do," Haden said.
"Kyle only told the deputy what happened up until the point where he kissed you," Amy said. "I think Deputy Coy knew there was more because he cautioned Mom and Reverend McFadden not to talk about it or you could sue them for slander and she could be charged for a hate crime."
"I feel better now," Darrell said, after coming out of the bathroom, cutting their conversation short. "Now, if that doctor would just get here so Haden can be discharged."
"Hello, I'm the hospitalists Dr. Snider," Dr. Snider said upon entering Haden's room about an hour later.
"What's a hospitalist?" Haden asked right away.
"Well, at least you're alert," Dr. Snider laughed. "I handle the patient's care when the patient's admitted to the hospital. Are you ready to go home?"
"Hell, yeah," Haden quickly answered.
"Let me examine you and then maybe we can get you out of here," Dr. Snider said. He then set about checking Haden's pupils for dilation, then his scalp wound. "When you get home, I want you to check this wound daily for signs of infection. You'll need to see your primary care physician in about a week to have the staples removed."
"Does this mean I get to go home?" Haden asked.
"Yes, it does," Dr. Snider laughed. "But there are a few things I need to remind you of first. You shouldn't be left alone - have a relative or friend stay with you until they think you are back to normal. Initially, you'll be on a light diet. You may advance your diet as you feel better. Avoid strenuous activities. No lifting or straining. Don't take sedatives, tranquilizers or other medicine that make you sleepy. If you have any questions about your medications call your doctor. Don't drive or operate machinery. Avoid medicine containing aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. If you have mild pain you may use acetaminophen, Tylenol is a brand name. Mike will give you a printed sheet with all of this before you leave."
"Should I keep him out of school Monday?" Darrell asked.
"I think it would be safe for him to go to school as long as he isn't having any symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, or dizziness," Dr. Snider said. "I'm sure his primary care physician will let him resume normal activities when he sees him in a week. I'll go write the discharge orders, then we can let this young man go home."
"How long will that take?" Haden asked.
"I promise I'll write as fast as I can," Dr. Snider chuckled. "Give us 30 minutes to an hour."
By the time Mike came in with Haden's discharge instructions he was dressed and pacing the floor in the small hospital room. To him it seemed like hours, but in reality it was under an hour.
"I don't need a wheelchair," Haden said when he saw an aid enter his room pushing a wheelchair.
"I'm sorry, buddy," Mike said. "You have to ride in a wheelchair, hospital rules."
"Are you coming to the house?" Haden asked Kyle as they waited while Darrell went to get the truck.
"I'll be out later," Kyle said. "Amy, Mom called earlier and said she was making a chicken cordon bleu casserole so you wouldn't have to cook dinner."
"How nice of her," Amy said. "Tell her that wasn't necessary, but thank her for me."
"Later today I'm going into town and get new locks," Darrell said as he unlocked the door. "First, let's go into the living room. I need to discuss some things with you two."
"Kids, as you may be aware, things will be different around here now," Darrell nervously began. "Your mother won't be around to do any of the cooking and cleaning any longer, not that she did all that much lately anyway. Haden, you and I will have to give Amy a hand with some of the housework. Amy, I don't want you ironing all the clothes as your mother had you doing in the past. Each of us can iron our own clothes, or do like most people and just take them out of the dryer before they wrinkle."
"Don't worry, Dad, we'll manage," Amy proclaimed.
"Your school is more important than keeping the farm going," Darrell said. "Moneywise it may be tight for us, but we won't make a large garden as we have in the past."
"Dad, Amy and I did most of the work this past summer anyway," Haden pointed out.
"Haden's right," Amy agreed. "We can manage. Besides, won't Mom have to pay child support?"
"It's very likely that she'll be in jail," Darrell pointed out.
"Kyle's dad said she was in on the cable TV and internet scheme to get money," Amy said. "Apparently they raised a lot of money. Oh yeah, he also said that he'd represent you at no charge - he'd make Mom pay. He said he'd be calling you. The preacher and Mom cheated his aunt out of some money and he's out to get them."
"Brenda is still your mother," Darrell said. "If you want to maintain contact with her I'm okay with that."
"Maybe someday I'll be ready," Amy said. "Right now I have no desire to see her."
"I never want to see her again unless she's willing to apologize to Perry," Haden said. "In a way, she's caused more pain to Perry than she did me when she hit me."
"One other thing," Darrell began. "I wanted to get each of you a car when you started college. I planned to get one for Perry, but he decided to join the army. Amy, since you two will have more responsibility around here, I'm going to use that money and get you a car now. It isn't a lot of money and all we can afford is a used car. Haden, when Amy goes to college, I'll do my very best to get you a car. If you don't have to ride the bus to school you'll have more time to keep up with your extra chores around here."
"Tony's mom has a Toyota Camry for sale," Amy said.
"How much does Debbie want and what year is it?" Darrell asked.
"Dad, you know I don't know anything about cars," Amy said.
"Find out, and if it's in our budget we'll look at it," Darrell said.
"I'll call now," Amy said, unable to hide her excitement as she rushed to make the call.
"She hasn't had much experience driving," Darrell said.
"Dad, she learned to drive your old truck," Haden pointed out. "If she can drive that old tank, she can surely drive a Toyota Camry."
"I suppose you're right," Darrell said.
"Dad, Tony's mom said to come on over and look at the car."
"We'd better wait," Darrell said. "I don't want to leave Haden here alone."
"Dad, I'm well enough to go too," Haden said.
"Are you sure?" Darrell asked.
"Dad, I'm fine," Haden said.
"Did she say how much she wanted?" Darrell asked.
"She said she would give us a good deal," Amy said.
"Alright, I needed to go into town and get those locks anyway," Darrell said.
The Miller's house was huge, especially compared to the Harrington's house. The house was a few miles past the Harrington's. There was a long driveway and a well landscaped lawn with huge oak trees. Tony greeted the Harringtons at the door and gave Amy a hug, then asked, "Haden, are you alright? Amy told me what happened."
"I'm fine," Haden said, somewhat embarrassed.
"Mom's in the kitchen," Tony said, leading the way to a kitchen that any chef would admire.
"Hello," Debbie said as she was taking a pie out of the oven. "How are you doing, Haden? Tony told me what happened."
"I'm doing okay," Haden said, wondering how many times he would have to answer the question.
"Did you see the car out front?" Debbie asked.
"We did, and I'm afraid it will be more than we can afford," Darrell admitted.
"Paul and I want to give it to Amy," Debbie said.
"I can't let you do that," Darrell protested.
"Why not?" Debbie asked. "The car was given to me. An elderly friend from my church got to the point that she could no longer drive. After that I drove her to her appointments and took her shopping. When she went to an assisted living center I continued visiting her. I was surprised that she willed the car to me. We have no need for another car and we want Amy to have it."
"That's very generous of you, but I feel that I should pay you something," Darrell argued.
"Let's compromise," Debbie said. "Make a $1,000 donation to Senior Care Solutions and we'll both feel better."
"I think I could do that," Darrell said, as Amy beamed.
"Would you have time to meet me Monday to transfer the title?" Debbie asked.
"Sure, I can leave work long enough to do that," Darrell said.
"Tony, would you get the keys for Amy?" Debbie asked. "Amy, you may as well take the car today. Paul just had it serviced. When he gets home from golfing I'll have him find the paperwork on it."
"It's probably in the glove box," Tony said.
"I hate to rush off, but I need to get by the lumber company before closing," Darrell said. "Debbie, I can't thank you enough for the car."
"Don't mention it," Debbie said. "Amy means a lot to this family. Before you go, I made two pies so you could have one. I hope you like peach."
"Haden, do you want to ride with me or your sister?" Darrell asked.
"I'll ride with Amy," Haden answered.
"So, you don't want to ride in the... what did you call it? Oh, I believe you called it 'the tank'," Darrell said. "I see how you are."
"Do you blame me?" Haden laughed.
"Amy, I don't want you going over the speed limit," Darrell cautioned. "A speeding ticket would skyrocket the cost of insurance. I want you to go directly home, I think it's best if you don't drive much until we get the title and insurance taken care of."
"Yes, Daddy," Amy said, placing her index finger at the corner of her mouth with a fake innocent smile.
"Get on home before I ground you just when you get a car," Darrell joked, laughing as he walked to his truck.
"I can't believe you actually got a car," Haden said, as Amy drove away.
"It's our car until you get your own."
"No, it's your car. If I get to drive it, it will still be your car. That's the way it is and the way it should be."
"Alright, it's my car. But we'll share it until you get yours."
"Haden, are you going to tell Dad what really happened when Mom hit you?" Amy asked when they arrived home.
"I can't do that. You saw how Mom reacted."
"Dad's nothing like Mom. What if this comes out in some other way? I think the deputy that arrested Mom suspected more than what Kyle told him."
"Amy, you don't know what it's like for me."
"No, I don't know what it's like. But I do know that Dad loves us."
"What if he kicks me out? I've read online about a lot of kids that were kicked out by their parents just because they were gay. Where would I go?"
"First, I know Dad would never do anything like that, but if he did, I'm out of here too. Somehow the two of us would make it."
"I don't know, Amy, I just don't know."
"I made a stop on the way home and got us something," Darrell said when he arrived home, taking cell phones out of a bag. "I think it's about time we get up to date with the rest of the world."
"Dad, can we afford cell phones?" Amy questioned.
"Amy, now that you're driving, I'll feel better if you have a phone," Darrell said. "Remember that you're not to be using it while driving. If I ever hear of you doing that, I'll take both the phone and car from you. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Dad," Amy agreed.
"Haden, I got one for you too," Darrell said. "It won't be long until you'll have your own car. The same rules will apply to you. Another thing, I don't want you to get in trouble at school. Be sure you turn it off when you get to school. Haden you should rest for a while."
"Dad, I need to talk to you about something first," Haden said. He wasn't sure how he found the courage to start the conversation with his dad.
"Let me get the locks changed, then we'll talk," Darrell said.
"No, Dad," Haden said. "We need to talk while I have the courage. You may hate me when I tell you and even kick me out. But I have to tell you anyway."
"Haden, I'd never hate you," Darrell said. "This is your home and I'd never think about kicking you out."
"You might after what I have to tell you," Haden said in a quivering voice.
"Haden, let me make this easy for you," Darrell said. "I'm pretty sure that you're about to tell me that you're gay. If you're gay, it only matters because your life could be difficult."
"How did you know?" Haden asked.
"I had a feeling that there was more than what Kyle told Deputy Davis," Darrell said. "Then when you kids suddenly stopped talking when I came out of the bathroom at the hospital I was convinced. Besides, I've kind of suspected it for a while."
"See, I told you it would be okay," Amy said.
Haden began to shed tears shamelessly. Soon Amy too was crying. "Come here," Darrell said as he spread his arms and hugged them both.