“Giubilante Con Calore”
T H E I N F I N I T Y S E R I E S
* II *
Author: D. Sanders
The Rest of this un-proofread monstrosity can be Found here:
“I am so buying him new clothes, I get dibs!” Beau said and Cris laughed.
“Naturally.” Everyone laughed as they talked and caught up with each other’s lives.
A warm hand against his wrist woke Phineas and he blinked open his eyes confused. He didn’t remember being in a bed and a total stranger was beside him smiling. “What? Who are you?”
“Mary Alice.” She said in a friendly voice as she held a small monitor to his arm checking his blood pressure and vital signs.
“What am I doing here?” He asked still disorientated and confused.
“Sick in bed and staying put. Don’t argue with Mandy you’ll lose.” Mary said putting the monitor away in her pocket and then turning back to the patient. “I have some dinner for you, press that little button on the wall by you please?”
Phineas found a small button on the wall and pressed it, a small table came out of the wall and he sat up out of the way. “Whoa that’s cool.”
“Only way to eat in bed without a mess.” Mary giggled setting the tray of soup and tea on the bed table.
“That smells incredible.”
“Mandy is the best cook in Rael.” Mary said handing Phineas a spoon.
“That’s what the other’s told me.” Phineas smiled at the girl by his bed, she was just about his age and just about the prettiest girl he’d ever seen.
“They’d be right. When she’s not teaching me about medicine, I’m learning her kitchen secrets.” Mary grinned pulling up a chair to keep Phineas Company while he ate.
“Are you her apprentice?” Phineas asked as he blew on his spoon to cool the soup before he tasted it.
“Sort of, not officially or anything. My parents moved to the Capitol and I wanted to stay here with my friends and finish school here. Mandy and Farin let me move in with them and since I wanted to be a doctor anyway, Mandy said she’d teach me and I can help her in the clinic.”
“I never went to school. There aren’t any on Mirastor.”
Phineas swallowed his bite and shook his head. “Only the rich kids go, and even then they get sent to one of the moon boarding schools. There’s nothing on planet but the mines and the casinos.”
“How horrible. How do you learn?”
“It’s different for everybody. Like me, Tovi’s mom taught me how to write my name. Can’t read it, I just learned to copy what she wrote down.”
“You can’t read?” Mary asked shocked. Phineas just shrugged.
“No. I never learned. I never had time.”
“How sad.” Mary looked concerned and Phineas just shrugged.
“Don’t matter none. I did all right and Thanks to Eran he gave me a job and I got out. I’m a lucky one. I’m gonna work hard, I ain’t losin’ this chance, they gave me a whole lot to be thankful for, I’m no dummy I sure won’t blow this.” Phineas smiled and finished his soup.
Beau who had come up to check on him, stood outside the door and listened to their conversation, Phineas broke his heart, he’d had no childhood at all, he was getting a glimpse of what Cris’ life had been like. Sure Cris had told him, but Beau hadn’t met him until after he had learned to read and write, and he had an advantage, his IQ was off the charts, he learned quickly. Actually seeing someone come off those streets made it painfully evident that Phineas was starting from scratch with nothing to his name but pride and will power.
“I don’t think you will. Welcome to the “Homestead”. I've gotta go help Mandy with supper, you should rest some more. What’s your name by the way, I forgot to ask.” Mary asked taking away his empty tray.
“Phineas Kale. Nice to meet you Mary Alice.”
“Likewise.” Mary smiled and before Beau could be busted for eavesdropping he headed back downstairs deep in thought.
“What’s eating you?” Eran asked his abnormally pensive husband who was sitting in their old room on the couch by the fire.
“His vitals were excellent, he’s taking to the drugs fine. Mandy said by tomorrow he should be out of bed.” Eran said going to sit by Beau on the couch.
“No, not that. I heard him and Mary talking, did you know he can’t even read?”
“That doesn’t surprise me. Cris couldn’t either, we’ll teach him.”
“I think what he needs most is stability, a childhood. He’s just going from working to survive to working for us. That’s no life.”
“Cris never complained.”
“Ask Cris what’s the one thing he wishes he had growing up.” Beau turned to Eran “I asked him, you know what he said?”
Eran shook his head no.
“Time to play. No work, no worries, no responsibilities, just time to be a kid.”
Eran pulled out a cigarette and closed his eyes.
“Even you had that luxury. I cannot imagine someone not having that. God I was always running amuck as a kid, my poor mother. Bless her.”
“So what do you propose then? Because I know you, you’re thinking of something, you always go quiet when you’ve a lot on your mind.”
“I want to talk to Mandy first. I doubt she’ll have any objections, to let him stay here. Tovi will have a wonderful childhood with us, but Phineas is older, he’ll feel like he HAS to work all the time just to earn his keep. He needs a chance to learn, to go have fun with others his age, just be a typical teenager. Not something he can do with us. Not to mention he is a teenager, he’ll be lonely with only the four of us for company. Tovi is young, right now Val and Cris are her world. Everything revolves around your parents at her age. Not the same for him. He’ll be miserable before long with just us. That’s not taking into consideration his hormones either which are exploding everywhere. He needs more.”
Eran exhaled slowly remembering Cris when he hit puberty and how crazy he was for release and only Enjoe to project his needs onto. “You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Let’s go talk to Mandy and the others.” Eran stood and he and Beau gathered the others for a private conversation in their room.
Farin was the first to speak out “I am so glad you brought this up. I was going to broach the subject myself actually. I wholeheartedly agree here, that lad needs to stay here. He reminds me so much of Cris it makes it difficult to even look at him without remembering all the mistakes we made trying to help Cris.”
“Just for the record guys, I was happy. I mean I understand your point looking at it from this side of the fence now, but I really was happy.” Cris interjected and Mandy came over to hug him.
“We know, but looking back there are a few things we could have done differently to help you.”
“All water under the bridge. I think I turned out okay.” Cris smiled and Val pulled him close.
“I think so too baby. But parents will always question things later, the what ifs never end.”
“Exactly, and now that we have more options, we can make better choices.” Farin said leaning his arms on the table in thought. “I for one would love for him to stay. If not just for the fact I am outnumbered by women five-to-one.” Farin laughed and Mandy swatted his arm.
“If you want a son, you’d better grab him because I am so DONE having babies.” Mandy added and Farin nodded.
“I would not let you put your body through that anymore, Valeria was certainly the last, you had a hard time with her.”
“He’s already proven to be a great big brother, look at Tovi.” Cris grinned and Mandy smiled.
“That’s just a bonus. I can’t deny the thought of keeping him here has me as giddy as I was when I was pregnant with Erin. I get him already potty trained and self-sufficient and no labor pains. That’s the way to have children!” Mandy laughed as she flopped onto Farin’s lap.
“SO it’s decided then. I am more than relieved.” Beau sighed, he’d really taken a shine to Phineas, and he wanted him to have the best chance possible to succeed in life, this was it.
“Shall we wait to tell him until morning?” Val asked looking at the clock on the wall, it was almost midnight and all the children had been long abed.
“Let him sleep, we’ll drop the news at breakfast and hope he doesn’t pass out again.” Farin chuckled as everyone called it a night and found their way to their beds.
Mandy was already under the covers as Farin joined her. “You’re all smiles.”
“Mandy my love, I wouldn’t trade our girls for the world, it’s nice to think we’ll have a son too. I can teach him a lot, he can help me in the store and while he’s helping me I can have him study and teach him to read. It’ll be like teaching Cris again, but I have more time now to devote to him.”
“You could use the help too I always hate you’re there alone all day. I worry about you.”
“You’ll just worry about two instead of one. I know you woman.”
“Can’t help it. Goodnight love.” Mandy rolled over to kiss her husband goodnight.
“Goodnight sexy mama.”
“Go to sleep Farin.” Mandy chuckled rolling over and pulling the cover up over her.
Farin chuckled and switched off the light and settled into bed, his wife’s cold feet pressed against his legs. Bloody woman had blocks of ice for feet, and every night she used him as a bed warmer.
Life couldn’t be grander.
Having slept a good portion of the evening and all night Phineas was up and awake quite early. He lay in bed, warm and content watching the sunrise through his frost covered window over the field and craggy pine covered foothills. The warm orange glow reflecting off the snow and the serenity of the scene was something he’d never dreamed he’d ever see. He’d never dreamed he’d ever see a tree, let alone the natural majesty of this world beyond his window.
The floor creaked and he turned his gaze to the door, wiping the remnants of tears from his cheeks. He hadn’t even realized he was crying. Mandy and Farin were at his door and Mandy poked her head in quietly. “You’re awake. Good morning, how do you feel this morning?” Mandy asked, her voice lowered, the house was painfully quiet this early.
“Wonderful. God it’s beautiful out there.”
“It is and cold, I came too see if you’re warm enough.” Mandy said still dressed in her robe she laid a cool hand to his forehead. “Perfect.” She smiled sitting on the end of his bed while Farin pulled up the chair.
“We’d like to talk to you.” Farin began and Phineas’ stomach sank, nothing good ever came from conversations that began like this, he knew it, they were going to send him back, he was useless.
“Now son, don’t look so scared.” Farin began reaching out to pat him on the shoulder smiling warmly, his large frame barely contained in a huge dark blue terry cloth robe.
“Sorry.” Phineas replied, trying to remain calm and failing miserably. Mandy moved closer and took his hand.
“Don’t be sorry. We were talking last night about you and Farin and I would like it very much if you stayed here with us.”
Phineas couldn’t believe his ears. “What?”
“You heard right love. You’re so young and we feel the best way we can help you learn and grow is if you stay here with us. We can’t have any more children, and we really did want a son. Would you please consider staying with us as our son? The choice is yours, you don’t have to if you’d rather leave with Eran and the others, but we all just felt this was what you needed most and Farin and I would love it if you chose to be ours.”
“Are you serious? Me? You want me? Why?” Phineas was in shock.
“Why? Several reasons. You need us, we want to, we love what potential we see in you, you took such good care of Tovi my girls couldn’t ask for a better big brother, need I continue with your list of good qualities?”
“But… I mean, I’m too old, you can’t adopt me or anything, I’m just a…”
“Just a lad who needs a family. We want to be your family if you’ll have us.” Farin interrupted taking Phineas’ hand. “I’d like to be your father if you’d let me.”
Phineas was shaking, his tears were falling again and Mandy reached out and he clung to her sobbing into her shoulder. She stroked his back and rocked him, a mother’s comfort was something he had never once experienced, it broke through the years of solitude and the years worth of being strong for others, years worth of wishing and longing, all of his harsh and bitter life he’d only ever wanted what every child wanted. Love. He had given up hope long ago and had become an adult years before he should have.
Now, in the space of a day he’d been given his hope back, he was given a second chance, he was being offered everything he’d ever wanted with none of them asking anything in return. He was lost and confused, wanting to accept but afraid to. Mandy just held him close and let him purge his confusion into her breast. “I know love, let it out. Let it all out.” She comforted, her voice soft and warm in his ear.
Farin moved to sit beside them on the bed, adding his own comfort with a hand to Phineas’ back. “Believe it or not. We all came from the streets like you. We know how hard this is to understand. I grew up on Tiburian, I lost my parents when I was ten, I had no other relatives and I ended up in their horrible foster system. I bounced from one family to another. No one wanted me, I ended up running away at thirteen and I was nothing more than a petty thug. Eran picked me up when I was your age while I was trying to steal his hopper. I was pretty good at hot-wiring engines.” Here Farin chuckled and Phineas sat up wiping his eyes to listen.
“Eran apprenticed me to an old man named Rugger Thom, he was Eran’s Chief Engineer back then and had been about fifty years. He taught me everything he knew; he became a father to me. He died when I was eighteen and I took over his place. We had so little time and I’d give anything to go back and tell Rugger thank you.” Farin told Phineas his tale helping him to understand that they really did know exactly what he was feeling.
“I grew up on Aergus. My Mother died when I was six. My father shot her right in front of me. I was so scared I ran and just kept running. I ate out of garbage cans and stole everything I could get my hands on to survive. I holed up in the basement of the University building; my home was behind musty books and discarded texts. I read every book in that basement; I used to use the heating ducts to sneak into the kitchens to eat. I’d bribe students for money until they caught me and threw me out of my home. I was twelve.” Mandy sighed lacing her fingers through Phineas’ rubbing her thumb against the back of his palm as she told him her story.
“The next five years I spent being a prostitute, any warm bed was a good bed. Some of them even let me use their computers. I taught myself everything I know. I had a drug problem, I found ways to keep it fed, oh the horrible things I used to do to my body to forget the emptiness of my life.” Mandy wiped a tear from her eye.
“I ran into Eran, I actually tried to pick him up. I was seventeen then and I have no idea what he saw in me, but he took me in, gave me a job, I got off the drugs, I studied, I married Farin and then the rest is history, here we are. So believe me Phineas when I tell you, all of us understand what you are going through. We CHOOSE happiness over grief. We Choose you, just like we were chosen before you. Do you understand?”
“I do.” Phineas nodded, the light coming on for him like a door opening to heaven.
“Eran really is the Patriarch of this family, even if he’ll never admit to it. He brought us all together one by one, for reasons only he knows, we stay together because nothing, absolutely nothing feels as good as belonging somewhere. Family is so important and so many people close their eyes to the happiness that can be found when you share a life with another. It’s not money, it’s not power, it’s not fame, it’s love pure and simple. Love is really the key to happiness.” Mandy smiled holding Phineas’ hand in hers tightly.
“We were given love, we want to give it to you. Love comes with no conditions, we just want you to be happy, as our son.” Farin said squeezing Phineas’ shoulder.
“I feel like a dream. I’m so afraid I’m gonna open my eyes and it’s gonna be gone.”
“Will you stay?” Mandy asked and Phineas turned to hug her he just nodded in tears again.
“That settles it!” Farin grinned gripping Phineas’ shoulder. “Now, then. It’s time for breakfast I need some coffee, it’s bloody early damn it. You feel up to helping me warm up the living room while your mother makes us all food?”
Phineas smiled wiping his eyes. “Yeah.” He said in a daze standing on shaky legs. He had parents, something he’d never known and could barely comprehend, but it felt so good he was high as a kite. Mandy took his hand, he was already her height in no time he would be taller.
“Before you do anything, we first go check your sugar levels.” Mandy said leading the way and not relinquishing his hand.
Farin smiled as he followed in their wake. The day had only just begun and it was going to be a wonderful day indeed.