“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:
Eran went off to pout; Phineas was once again stunned at the very rude commentary that went over little heads. He however knew precisely what these men were talking about. “Are they always like this?”
“Pretty much son. Pretty much.” Farin chuckled as Val went back to finish making snowmen, Cris went in to change out of his soaking clothes and Eran continued to chain smoke and glower at them all.
After lunch everyone was once again bundled up and piled into the shuttle and heading into Rael for a Winterfest shopping excursion. They landed in front of “Corcoran Salvage” and before they set off Farin took Phineas inside. “We can thank Val for this, he used to own this place.”
“Whoa it’s ORGANIZED in here. How long did that take you?” Val asked looking around and hardly recognizing the place.
“My father left it like a bomb went off in here, I was too daunted by the task to straighten it out. Nice job.” Val chuckled as Farin led Phineas into the office.
“See that empty desk there son? That’s yours now. While we’re out remind me to pick up some books for you.”
“Um, Dad. I can’t read.”
“I know lad. I want to get you books that will help you learn. Trust me, this shop is dead during the afternoon. Most business happens bright and early. You and I will have lots of time to study in-between customers.”
“You can teach me?” Phineas looked hopeful.
“I taught Cris.” Farin grinned pulling out a box from a locked cabinet and pulling out a blank credit disk. He walked over to his computer and punched in the code on the back and while Phineas was checking out the store Farin came back and handed him the disk.
“That’s your allowance. Just because you’re my son, does not mean I’ll put you to work for free. I’ll pay you one hundred credits a week. I just gave you your first week and a Winterfest bonus. There are three hundred credits on there. I don’t care how you spend it, it’s yours.”
Phineas handed it back. “I can’t take that, you’ve already given me so much.”
Farin just smiled and refused to take it back. “Like you haven’t given me anything? You can’t put a price on a son. Come on, we’ve got shopping to do.” Farin said and Phineas just held the credit disk and noticed something on the digital display just above the numeric counter. He recognized the first two words as “Phineas Kale” but the third word had him confused.
“Dad? What’s this say?”
Farin turned and smiled at him. “Your name son. Phineas Kale Corcoran.”
Phineas clutched the disk and fought crying again. “I’ll earn this, I swear.”
“You’re a good boy, I have no doubt you will. Don’t lose that, that’s a permi-disk I can refill it from any credit-center.” Farin patted his hand and urged him to put his disk in his pocket.
The others were waiting outside for them and Erin took Phineas’ hand while Bo and Valeria sat in a tandem stroller. Tovi was in-between both her parents as the group set off down the street.
“Where to first?” Eran asked as he shoved his hands into his pockets to ward off the cold.
“BEAU!” The group groaned en masse.
“Hey, I’ve not had a real honest-to-goodness mocha in five years sue me.”
“What’s a mocha?” Phineas asked and Erin grinned by his side.
“It’s grown-up hot chocolate.” She supplied the answer making a face of distaste.
“Oh” Phineas said still not having a clue but would follow along and go with the flow.
As they walked the few blocks toward the town center, Phineas took in the surroundings. Even in the machinery district the streets were amazingly clean. Not a speck of trash or litter to be found, the buildings were all painted bright vibrant colors and all the windows washed. He let Erin swing his hand as they walked, lost in the color and the cheerful setting.
They came to a four-way intersection of cobbled streets and there on the corner was a large building that had massive display windows and every confection under the sun was displayed in all its sugary glory. Phineas just stared and stared and stared some more. “I have never in my life seen anything like this. You eat that? It’s too… pretty.”
Mandy smiled as she sidled up beside him. “And sweet. Beau and Cris are quite the sugar fiends. I’m afraid however love I have to be a party pooper and say no today. In a few days you can have that, you don’t have enough meds down you yet.”
“I don’t mind, really. I’m so full anyway I’d puke. I just thought this was nice to look at. Bakeries on Mirastor don’t have stuff like this. Yeah they have sweets, but only vowing bread looks like that.”
“Here they call those Binding-cakes and those are layers and layers of sinful treats. Val and Cris’ cake was massive, we must have ate on it for days and days.”
“Oh god it was good.” Val grinned as Cris went inside with Beau to grab coffee for them both and hot chocolate for Tovi. “It’s tradition here that you freeze one layer from your Binding-Cake and eat it on your first anniversary. That wasn’t so nice.” Val chuckled. “But we did it anyway, it’s good luck or supposed to be at least.” Val winked and Phineas smiled, still lost in looking in the window.
“Beau and I never got to eat ours, but no loss our cake sucked. His sister made it and well, Bonnie was not the best cook. It was pretty, but tasted like cardboard.” Eran chuckled at the memory. “I lied through my teeth that day. ‘Yeah Bonnie, the best cake I ever had, honest.’ Even Beau couldn’t eat it and he’s a glutton.”
Beau chose that moment to come back outside and passed a steaming cup of coffee to Eran. “Bonnie’s cake? Oh god that was horrible. It was this pink nightmare; I’ve no clue what flavor it was supposed to have been. It tasted like laundry lint.” Beau chuckled into his cup.
Phineas laughed. “Seeing as I’ve never tasted cardboard, laundry lint or cake I’ll take everyone’s word for it.”
“You’ve never had cake?” Erin asked her dark little hand in Phineas’ very fair one clutched tightly. He smiled down at her.
“No, but it’s okay don’t look so upset, I’m fine.” Phineas reassured squatting to her level and pointing out a cake in the window. “When Mom says it’s okay for me, you and I can share one to celebrate. How’s that? You show me which one we should have, whichever is your favorite, I’ll try that one first.”
Erin smiled “Mommy makes the best. She made me a strawberry one for my birthday, when’s your birthday?”
“I don’t know. Summer I think.”
“You don’t have a birthday?”
“I do, I just don’t know when it is exactly.”
“We can share my birthday too then. I was born in summer too.”
“Erin’s birthday is special, you don’t have to share it with me. But thank you sweetheart.” Phineas was enamored with his big-hearted little sister. He wasn’t about to take anything away from her special day.
Once more every heart broke for Phineas. He lacked so many simple things that they all took for granted and yet he bore the sadness stoically. It was hard to miss things that you’d never had. Mandy ran her fingers through his fine short hair where he still knelt next to Erin. He looked up into her sad face in query. “You are such a marvelous boy. I am so very lucky to call you my son. I’ll find out when your birthday and we’ll make you the biggest cake you’ve ever seen to celebrate. We’ll make up for all those lost birthdays.” She smiled and Phineas returned her smile.
“It’s not important. You’ve given me so much already I can’t be any happier than I am right now.”
Mandy let a choked sound and knelt down to gather him in her arms. “Just you wait baby. Just you wait and see.”
Phineas just hugged her back as Farin came out of the bakery with a tray of four cups. “Mandy let the boy breathe already. Erin, Daddy has hot chocolate for you, come here and sit with Tovi. Mandy what part of ‘let the boy go’ do you fail to comprehend?” Farin teased as Mandy wiped her eyes and Erin went to collect her mug of cocoa from her father.
Farin came over with the remaining three steaming cups, one for Mandy, himself, and he pressed one into Phineas’ hand. “What’s this?” He asked smelling something that was like coffee and chocolate and what he suspected to be mint.
“Peppermint Mocha. Mandy don’t moan this little cup won’t kill him.”
“No, that little bit shouldn’t hurt. Drink up.”
Phineas sniffed the fragrant brew and tentatively took a taste. It was strong and he wasn’t too sure if he liked it all that much. It was something very alien to his taste buds. “This is certainly different. What’s in it?”
“Espresso, steamed milk, chocolate and peppermint.” Beau purred halfway through his already.
“Espresso? Is that some sort of coffee? It smells like coffee.”
Beau nodded “Sort of. Very strong.”
“Don’t like it?” Beau asked and Phineas looked into his cup.
“I don’t know yet. I’m still debating.”
Farin chuckled. “It is one of those tastes that have to grow on you. If you don’t like it, you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings if you don’t drink it. What do you like to drink?”
Phineas shrugged. “I really liked the hot chocolate mom made yesterday, that was a first for me too. I had a bottle of some fizzy red pop once a few years ago I really liked, I don’t know what it was called, but it had like a picture of a strawberry on the label. Mostly I just drink water, you could get that free in public fountains so pretty much everything is new.”
Cris’ face from where he was listening to the conversation twisted and he silently slipped around the corner to the bakeries toilet. Eran nodded to Val who followed leaving Tovi in Eran’s hands.
“Cris?” Val could hear the telltale sniffle of someone trying to cry in private.
“Just give me a minute Val.”
“He’s breaking all our hearts.”
“I know. God I remember everything he feels. I know he’s gonna be fine, I just hate knowing that someone else grew up exactly like me. It’s not fair. No one deserves that bullshit. I want to strangle somebody for letting this happen to kids, KIDS!” Val heard Cris punch the wall in the stall.
“Don’t hit innocent stall walls.” Val pushed open the door and Cris came out to walk into his arms for comfort. “Changing a society doesn’t happen overnight.”
“Because not enough people realize the severity problem.”
“So open eyes. You know better than anyone having lived it yourself.”
“Document proof, record it, seeing is believing, I knew half a dozen or more people here who’d have dropped everything to adopt a child in need. Pirotaine isn’t the only planet with a stable economy and good people.”
Cris’ sighed. “It’s not like there aren’t a million documentaries out there already about the problem. It’s different on the vid screen, you’re detached, it’s not seeing is believing so much as it’s FEELING. It’s the empathy factor, being able to put yourself in another’s shoes. Sympathy isn’t enough, you have to be able to connect and not a lot of people can do that.”
“You have enough empathy for us all. You always were the kindest most beautiful soul I ever met. We can just change one life at a time and encourage others to do the same. Look how happy he is, look at Tovi. We made a difference in their lives; we’ll do it again. Others will too, life isn’t always fair to those who deserve it most, but things are changing, slowly, but they are changing. We’ll at least be able to see them change in our lifetime.”
“There is that.” Cris smiled at his husband and wiped his eyes.
“You okay now?”
“Yeah. I love you Val.”
“I love you too baby. Come on before your mocha becomes a Popsicle.”
Both men returned a few minutes later, to see Phineas full of smiles and Beau drinking his mocha. Phineas had decided after a few more valiant efforts to adjust to the taste that he didn’t like it after all. Beau was making sure it didn’t go to waste, the little glutton. The mood was light again as everyone sat in the cold with warm drinks and even warmer spirits.
Phineas was currently entertaining Tovi and Erin with some fascinating slight of hand with a small pebble. It was magic to them, he’d make it “vanish” only to reappear from their ears or his nose, even the adults began watching trying to see how he shifted the stone, even Cris who was a slight of hand expert himself couldn’t see the illusion.
“See I told you Phineas did magic!” Tovi said to Erin who clapped amazed.
“What else can you do?” Erin asked and Phineas tossed the stone back into the gutter and smiled.
“When we get home, I’ll show you some magic with cards. That’s all I can do though.” Phineas said, he’d just learned these little slight of hand tricks being bored and living in a casino district cards were a handy source of entertainment to cure boredom.
They were just finishing their drinks when a group of teenagers came around the corner. “Mary Alice!” Mandy called and Mary hurried over from her friends.
“Are you done with classes for the day?” Mandy asked and Mary smiled.
“Yes, afternoon classes got cancelled. Mrs. Tunis went into labor. We just got dismissed.”
“Wonderful. Do you want to shop with us or do you have plans with your friends?” Mandy asked as a tall boy walked over to stand next to Mary.
“We thought we’d do our own shopping and then go ice skating.” Mary said with a smile and Mandy nodded.
“Would you do me a favor then?” Mandy asked and Mary nodded. “Would you take Phineas with you? Introduce him to your friends. He’ll probably enjoy that much more than trailing after us today. Besides, it’s hard to buy for him when he’s with us.”
“Sure. How are his levels? Do I need to watch?” Mary asked and Mandy shook her head.
“He’s fine for now. He knows not to eat sugar for a few days. If he starts getting flushed from the meds, just contact me, we’ll be near and we’ll come get him.”
The boy beside Mary never said a word and just looked irritated. “Okay. I’ll go ask him if he wants to join us.” Mary cheerfully walked over to Phineas, the boy in tow. Phineas smiled up at her as she reached where he sat.
“You look much better.” Mary said as she sat beside Phineas at the small outdoor table.
“I feel great, thanks Mary.” Phineas replied in kind as the boy hovered over Mary’s shoulder.
“Phineas, this is my boyfriend Jack, Jack this is Phineas, I told you about him today.”
“Nice to meet you Jack.” Phineas stood and held out his hand to shake, Jack nodded and grunted, pointedly not taking Phineas’ hand.
“Look Mary, are we going or not?” He turned back to his girlfriend and Phineas lowered his hand. Apparently Rael had assholes too.
“Yes, goodness gracious you’re in a rush. Phineas, the bunch of us are going Winterfest shopping for our parents and stuff, then going skating. You wanna come with us? Mandy said it’s okay.”
Phineas really didn’t want to, Jack made him uncomfortable, he always did have a keen sixth sense about people; Jack did not want him around. He looked over at Mandy who smiled, nodded and encouraged him to go with a wave of her hand. Reluctantly, he agreed. “I guess so. I won’t be any trouble.”
“Of course you won’t silly.” Mary blissfully dense about her boyfriend’s body language rushed inside to grab drinks with her girlfriends already standing in line at the counter. Phineas turned to Jack, his whole demeanor changing, he looked hard and proud and it was evident he had been in charge of and around people much more terrifying than Jack. Phineas was not a pushover or one to be bullied easily. Jack noticed and actually took an unconscious step backward.
“Look, you can stop glaring at me okay.”
“I’ve been to Mirastor with my Dad. The thought of a street trash punk living with my girlfriend pisses me off. You’d better keep your hands off her.”
Cris sighed, he was within earshot of the conversation, this was a bad idea, it was too soon to cut Phineas loose. He walked over “Christ, chill dude. If anyone is being trashy here in attitude it certainly isn’t Phineas. I hate snobs who think money makes a person’s worth.”
“I’m just sayin’…” Jack began and Cris held up a hand.
“I heard enough. Come on Phineas, hang with us dude, you so do not have to deal with that little prick.” Cris grunted, turning his back and steering Phineas back into the fold of their protective group. Mary had just walked back outside and Cris laid a hand to her arm where she carried a tray full of cups. “Pick a better boyfriend sweetness. He’s a real ass.”
“What?” She asked looking at Phineas for explanation.
“Sorry Mary Alice, thank you for the offer, I appreciate it. Go have fun with your friends; Jack made it pretty clear I’m not wanted. It’s okay though, I can see his point, don’t worry, I’m fine.”
“What point? What happened?” She asked and Phineas just smiled at her.
“It’s nothing I ain’t seen or heard a million times before. See you later.” Phineas let Cris lead him away.
“You don’t need to put up with that shit. Nor sell yourself short like that.” Cris was angry.
“I know. Not worth fighting over either. I really don’t care what he thinks about me. I’m fine just as I am. I know he’s worried I’m gonna be bonin’ his girl at night. Let him stay worried, that’s much more entertaining than a fight.” Phineas grinned wickedly and Cris started laughing and just couldn’t stop.
“What?” Val asked and Cris just wiped his eyes.
“Phineas has a fabulous wicked streak, we should have adopted him, he’s my long lost little brother. He thinks exactly like I do.” Cris gasped finally catching his breath.
“It’s true though. A fight is a fight, mind games are so much more fun.” Phineas grinned as Mary and the others left, Mary appearing to be giving Jack a cold shoulder.
“Well we should get going. Phineas, you’re with us.” Val indicated Beau, Eran, Cris and Himself. “The girls are going with Mandy and Farin. We’re having a boy’s shopping trip, and we can’t have Tovi with us while we buy her presents.” Val grinned as Farin held both Erin and Tovi’s hands.
“And we can’t have you with us while we shop for our son either.” Mandy winked.
“Meet up at six for dinner at the Wayfarer Restaurant on the Wharf!” Beau said checking his watch. Everyone nodded and the group split off into two and went in separate directions to shop until they all dropped.
I am off to bed, this was a full weekend that I may or may not get aroung to mentioning in my journal.
I do have mini-moives I took of Aeris and boring crap only interesting to me I may share.
Either way, I'm pooped and I'll talk later.