“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:
It was their first glimpse of the inner Phineas, the part of himself that he kept guarded. Everyone had something they liked to do. Beau had his music, Cris had his music and computers, Val had his antiques and tinkering with gadgets, Eran loved to read, Mandy liked to cook, Farin liked old movies, it appeared Phineas liked art. They would give him the means to take his joy and build upon it.
The meal had several adults pondering gift ideas, Phineas was relishing his meal, he’d never had fish before and this was something he really enjoyed. He even had a glass of that red pop he’d said he’d liked and the waitress kept refilling it. He was in heaven, he’d never eaten in a restaurant, his new experiences kept filling his day, and he never ever wanted it to end.
After dinner everyone once more piled into the shuttle and headed home. It was hard keeping Tovi and Erin out of the bags in the back, but it was only a short commute back home. Phineas was about to head upstairs to hide his gifts when Mandy halted him. “I want to change your room. I just put you in the first room last night because it was closest. Come, follow me.” Mandy said leading the way up the stairs to the second floor and down the hallway.
“This first room is just a guest room. The next is the room Mary is using. Across the hall is Erin’s and this one is Bo’s. She and Erin share a bathroom. The shared Bathroom off Mary’s room will be Valeria’s when she’s old enough.” She lead Phineas right down to the end of the hall and opened it into a much larger room than the one he has used the night before. It had a private bath, but it was small, always intended for use as a temporary guest room. The new room was twice the size as the first and it too had a private bathroom, much larger than the first.
This room took up the entire end of the second floor. The part of the room facing the front of the house had a nice table and two chairs in front of a large window facing east. There was another bank of six windows all along the wall from floor to ceiling allowing wonderful natural light during the day and an incredible view of Mother Nature at her finest at night and facing south. The large double bed was against the inner wall facing the southern exposure. It had two nightstands on both sides of the bed and a large dresser next to the door to the rear of the room where it met the cave face. That back door lead into the room’s private bathroom, complete with a tub, dual vanity sinks and separate shower and a full walk in closet. All in beautiful grayish blue slate and marble. It was a suite on the second floor.
“I can’t stay in here, it’s too nice!”
“You need your own private sanctuary Love. You’re older, you’re not going to want to spend all your time with your father and I or the girls. This door locks.” Mandy chuckled as Phineas walked around gawking.
“Mary should have this. She was here first.”
“Mary’s room is quite large and she is not my child, you are. She chose her room when she moved in, she in fact suggested this for you before you got to the restaurant.” Mandy said as toPhineas set his bags down on the bed and just tried to let it all sink in. “This floor alone has seven bedrooms and five bathrooms. There’s plenty of room for Mary to have two rooms if she wanted.” Mandy laughed, they had gone crazy building the “Homestead”; it had more than enough room for everyone.
“Mom… I… Thank you.” Phineas smiled, this day was just one non-stop ride in a state of euphoria for him.
“You’re welcome dear.” Mandy said patting his cheek as she headed back out. “Make yourself at home, because you are home baby.”
With that Mandy shut the door behind her and Phineas just wandered the room, the views from every window were breathtaking. He had the field and Forest foothills to the East and to the South was more of the same with a huge view of the sky and in the distance the lights of Rael were a dotted along the horizon and the stars were bright in the dark sky and the dual three-quarter almost full moons made the snow glow and shimmer on the field.
“Paradise.” Phineas sighed turning off the lights to get a better view out his windows. He put his gifts in the dresser then lay down propped up on pillows, just looking out his windows into the night, totally content and flying high.
He fell asleep still fully clothed and semi-propped up. Mandy popped in long enough to check on him, carefully administer his medication and check his levels, which were perfect, before pulling a cover over him before leaving him to sleep. He’d had a long day and it had finally caught up with him, he never stirred once and he was smiling contentedly as Mandy shut the door behind her.
Once more Phineas awoke with the dawn and he lay in bed awash in the first rays of sunlight. His whole room, full of windows held a sunrise vista that was utterly amazing. If anyone even mentioned hanging up curtains to block the view from his window he’s think they were insane. Not even the most beautiful painting he’d ever seen hanging inside the Platinum Casino could compare to the bountiful unspoiled nature outside his bedroom windows.
He pulled the thick down comforter from his bed around his shoulders and sank into his pillows, watching the sky turn from purple to orange to magenta and then into brilliant blue. His door opened with little voices trying to be quiet.
“I’m awake, you can come in.” Phineas chuckled as two four year olds, just out of bed themselves and still dressed in flannel nightgowns came in and climbed into bed with him giggling. They crawled under the warm covers with him and he had one tiny girl on either side.
“No one is up yet.” Erin whispered as she snuggled up.
“I know, it’s early and you two shouldn’t be up yet either.” Phineas chuckled as Tovi finally settled herself beside him.
“We got cold.” Tovi said curled up against him for warmth like she’d always done when they’d lived on the streets in that old abandoned store. Phineas hooked his arms around the girls for warmth.
“Tovi said you’re warm and you are.” Erin sighed, her voice sleepy.
“Well let’s just be quiet then and you can sleep here I’ll keep you both warm.” Phineas said softly kissing both girls on their foreheads.
“I told Erin you’d take care of her like you did me. Cause you’re her big brother now and I told her how even though you’re not my brother you took care of me good. I wish you were my brother too.” Tovi said and Phineas’ heart melted and he squeezed her shoulders.
“Tovi, sweetheart. You’ll always be like my little sister in my heart. I love you kiddo. I’m so happy for you.” Phineas said then turned to Erin. “I love you too. I have the best sisters in the world.”
“You love Bo too?” Erin asked and Phineas nodded
“And Valeria too.” Phineas chuckled; nothing was as pure as a small child’s view of the world. “Now girls, go back to sleep, it’s too early to be up yet.” Phineas held a finger to his lips for quiet time and all three wriggled into the pillows and blankets and went back to sleep.
Mandy and Val stood in Phineas doorway and smiled. Phineas had Erin’s elbow in his eye and Tovi’s arm was resting on his head. He was buried under two little bed hogs. “Poor sod.” Val chuckled going to retrieve his daughter and Mandy hers.
“He’s patient and indulgent I’ll give him that credit.” Mandy whispered picking up the dead weight of a sleeping four year old daughter.
Phineas awoke, as he was relieved of the weight pressing on him. “They were cold.” He yawned and Mandy chuckled.
“You’re a push over. They had pushed the blanket off behind the bed. Next time tell them to get their blanket off the floor and they won’t be cold.”
“I don’t mind.” Phineas smiled throwing his legs out of bed.
“No, you probably don’t. Dear boy.” Mandy followed Val into Erin’s room to put the girls back in their own bed until they decided to get up and terrorize them all with boundless young energy.
Phineas staggered into his bathroom and took a lovely hot shower; he’d never get sick of hot running water -- ever. It felt glorious and refreshing to be under that spray as he woke up and decided that being clean, totally clean for the first time in his life was almost as wonderful as his new family.
The adults were all around the large dining table in the main room as Phineas joined them. The smell of bacon frying made his mouth water; the whole room was permeated with the scent of Mandy’s cooking and coffee brewing. He was thirsty and while he adored the smell of coffee, he never cared for the taste so he walked up behind Mandy, draped his arms around her shoulders from behind, kissed her cheek, grinned and patted huge blue eyes at her. “Good morning!”
“Well, goodness. Good morning bright eyes, and I know that look. What do you want?”
“Anything other than coffee to drink please.”
Mandy laughed. “I never did show you where things are in here did I? Glasses are in that cupboard. That cooling unit holds drinks. Help yourself love, this is your home, you never have to ask for anything in here. If you want it, just take it, that’s what it’s in here for. There’s milk, orange juice, apple juice, I bought you some strawberry soda yesterday since you said you liked it. You can have anything you wish, you are officially off your diet. I want you to have whatever you fancy.”
“Mom, you’re the greatest. Thanks!” Phineas cheered kissing her cheek again and going to grab a glass from the cabinet. He opted for Milk and sat with a large glass of it and cherishing every drop. Milk was rare on Mirastor, even for the wealthy and this wasn’t the powdered kind either, this was the real thing and it was fabulous as he drained his glass in several long gulps.
Breakfast was once more a grand affair, noisy girls finally awake were running around the living room playing with toys, the adults were laughing and making just as much noise with chatter around the table and dishes clinking. The scene was bright and loving chaos dressed in nightgowns, pajamas and bathrobes.
After breakfast Beau vanished into the infinity with Cris to set up a place to record some music. Romi had called during breakfast and was going to come by around mid-day so Cris and Beau were off to set up their recording equipment. Cris was quite an electronic guru and having lived with Beau over the past few years he’d picked up a lot of recording equipment so they could record their own music. They had one of the spare rooms turned into a small studio and they were off to make it ready to use.
Val was pulling the girls around on a sled outside, Farin was rocking a fussy Valeria while he watched some sort of sporting game on the living room vid display. Mandy and Mary were cleaning up the kitchen. Eran was reading something on a handheld small display, having a cigarette and still drinking his ever present coffee, Phineas counted, Eran was on cup number five so far and the day was quite young. Phineas went out to bring in more wood for the fire and stacked it in the metal wood basket next to the hearth before taking the bags of trash Mandy set by the door to place in the collection recycling unit outside and beside the house. Phineas was fascinated by it and the technology behind the machine. It was no wonder Pirotaine was so clean. The unit turned the trash into compost and mulch fibers, simulating thousands of years worth of natural decomposition in just a few minutes. After it ran through its cycle, it neatly molded the trash into compost cubes that would be picked up once a week and taken out to the local farms to be used on the fields for fertilizer, any excess was dumped into the sea where the native marine life thrived on it as an additional food supply. It was a win-win situation. The eco system of Pirotaine was as pure as it had been when it was colonized. The original settlers had taken great pains not to make the same resource mistakes that had been made on the home planet Earth. Their efforts were obvious and appreciated by the planet and it’s inhabitants.
“You didn’t have to take those out, but thank you.” Mandy said not even noticing he took out the trash for her.
“I still had my coat on.” Phineas grinned glad he was able to help and feel at least partially useful.
He was hanging up said coat on one of the coat pegs on the wall when a knock came to the door and he went to answer it. Jack was there outside gawking at the “Infinity” when Phineas answered the door. “Mary.” He grunted and Phineas, feeling particularly ornery left him standing in the cold to go get Mary from the kitchen. He sat on a stool by the counter and let her finish stacking the plates on the shelf before he interrupted her.
“I do believe your boyfriend is sniffing at the door Mary.” Phineas said and Mary rolled her eyes.
Mary went over to the door and let him in; Jack glowered at Phineas who just smirked where he sat. Eran, seeing the exchange from the table smirked himself into his cup. Jack deserved that after yesterday.
“Dude is that your ship?” Jack asked Eran who nodded, not bothering even looking at the youth directly.
“That’s so cool. Can I see it?”
“Look out the window, it’s right there.” Eran sighed; he was not in the mood for being a tour guide to a sixteen-year-old twit.
“I mean like inside.”
“Aw, why not?”
Eran laid his display down and finally deigned to look at the boy. “Because I said No. I’m not a bloody tour guide and my ship is not a tourist attraction. It’s not a toy; it’s an inter-galaxy, hyper-drive Class one military issue cruiser freighter. Its decks are off limits to Civilians.”
“Military issue? How did a trader get military issue?”
“Captain Eran Callum, Pirotaine Defense League Navy. Commander Callum, Rogue Augment Collector, alpha unit, sector alpha leader of the United Federation of Galaxies Collection Bureau and Captain Callum, First Class, interplanetary bounty Mercenary Corps, Squadron Zeta leader. I have license to shoot you on a hundred planets. Don’t tempt me.”
That effectively ended Jack’s whining and he just sat there staring at the young man sitting at the table. He didn’t dare call him a liar, just in case what he said was true. Phineas knew it was true, but actually hearing Eran’s long list of military titles had him sitting there in a state of hero worship.
Just then Beau and Cris waltzed in laughing and Beau flopped on Eran’s lap. “Did you miss me handsome?”
“What do you want Beau?”
“The shuttle key-lock and your credit disk oh dearest to my heart. We need a new voice microphone recorder. Ours is being wonky and I want to capture Romi’s voice perfectly.”
“Beau, you blow our money faster than we can earn it.” Eran slapped the disk in Beau’s hand.
“I do not.” Beau planted a kiss on Eran before standing. “Thank you. I’ll get you more cigarettes while I’m out, I noticed you’ve only got one pack left.”
“You are forgiven. Go! Be gone with you my lovely.” Eran grinned and Beau and Cris left to head into Rael and the music store before Romi got there.
Jack looked dumbfounded. “Word to the wise Mary Alice. Never bond yourself to a flighty musician, no matter how sinfully gorgeous they are, they make fabulous lovers and are easy on the heart-strings, but oh so hard on your credit accounts.” Eran winked at Mary who laughed and Jack still sat there trying to fathom just what the hell was going on.
Mandy tossed a rag at him. “You lying sack of shit. You love it. You spoil him rotten.”
“I do, I do. I’m such a sucker.” Eran chuckled getting up from the table to head back into his rooms for a while to read in peace.
“Mary? Who are these guys?” Jack asked as Eran disappeared into his room.
“I told you, Mandy and Farin’s family. They all used to work together on that ship.” Mary replied like everything was absolutely normal.
“Yeah, but what was that all about?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re going to have to be a little more specific Jack, I have no clue what you’re talking about.”
“That blond guy and all that stuff.”
“The blond guy is Beau, Eran’s husband. The Man with the long hair is Cris, he’s Val’s husband, and Val is the one outside with Erin and His and Cris’ daughter Tovi. It’s really pretty simple Jack.” Mary was rapidly losing patience explaining the obvious.
“What was all that about Romi? Romi Nguyen?”
“The same. She’s coming over later; Beau invited her over to record some festival music. Really Jack why do you care?”
“How come she gets to go on the ship?”
“Oh god Jack is that what this is about? Beau and Cris have their recording equipment on the ship, she can’t very well sing outside now can she?”
“What sort of military ship has a recording studio in it?”
“Oh for heaven’s sake Jack. You sound like a spoiled five-year-old. Obviously a ship that is also their home and Beau is a musician after all. Of course he’s gonna have his stuff on the ship he lives on. God if you’re going to be like this you can go home.”
“Well God Mary I mean how many times does a ship like that come to Rael? And those guys are like really young and stuff and it just does not make sense, it’s all weird and you’re acting like it’s nothing.”
“Because it is nothing. These are Mandy’s family and they’re all really wonderful nice people. You are the one acting weird.”
“Whatever Mary. Can we go out now? Before Romi gets here.”
“What’s wrong with Romi?” Mary was flabbergasted.
“She’s strange, you know, she walks around looking like a freak show half the time, she never talks to anyone and just sits around singing to herself.”
“Jack, I swear I never knew you were so mean. Romi is different, she’s fun, she certainly does not care what anyone thinks about her and maybe she doesn’t have a lot of friends because people like you treat her like a freak. She’s just unique. Most artsy people are. Have you ever listened to her sing? She’s wonderful!”
“She creeps me out.”
“You’re creeping me out you pecker.” Phineas said, being privy to the conversation and rapidly getting angry.
“You stay out of this, I’m not talking to you reject.”
Phineas walked over, grabbed Jack by the back of his jacket at the neck, dragged him bodily out of his chair to the door and flung him outside. “Until you learn how to respect people in my parent’s home you can stay out there. Don’t make me teach you manners. I may have come from the streets, but you earn respect no matter where you come from.”
Mandy and Farin also witness to the exchange just stood there watching, letting Phineas handle the situation. He was doing fine and making them rather proud of his moral fiber.
“Mary!” Jack hollered at her and she just walked up beside Phineas and crossed her arms over her breast.
“He’s right Jack. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but you’ve a lot of nerve trashing people you don’t even know. I’m not going anywhere with you, we’re over! I’m so ashamed I ever dated a boy as mean as you.” With that she walked away and Phineas smirked at Jack sitting in the snow stunned.
“Bye-bye Jack.” Phineas shut the door.
Eran, who had seen the exchange since Phineas threw him out the door, burst out laughing. “That was a perfect ten Phineas. Ah Christ I almost wet myself trying to hold that in. Let him cool off in the snow.”
“He did deserve that.” Mandy said going over to look out the window. “He’s still sitting there, silly boy.”
“God, I’m such a dope. What did I ever see in him?” Mary sighed and Phineas smiled at her.
“He was probably on good behavior. I knew a lot of guys like him, all really sweet to the girls until they get ‘em then their true colors show. Nice girl like you I’m sure there’s already a line of nice guys waitin’ on ya. Just be picky, you deserve better than that.” Phineas reassured and Mary smiled at him.
“You’re really sweet. Thanks Phineas.” Mary hugged him and he hugged her back.
“Not a problem, if he bothers ya let me know I’ll make sure he don’t hassle ya.”
“Looks like I got a big brother too when you arrived.” Mary laughed and Phineas winked.
“I’m good like that, I may not have much book learnin’ but I got practice in dealing with idiots.”
“That you do. God look at the time I told Maevis I’d meet her in town to shop! I gotta get everyone’s presents yet! I’m gonna be late.” Mary switched gears and Farin turned to Phineas.
“Can you fly a hopper?”
“Yeah, I hot wired a few here and there.” Phineas winked at Farin who chuckled.
“Well I’ll give you the key-card. No hot-wiring the family hopper. Will you drop Mary off in town, I don’t want her walking when the little turd is still out there.”
“Good idea. I’ll take her.”
Farin tossed Phineas the key to the small hopper outside. Within minutes both Phineas and Mary flew past a fuming Jack trudging back to town on foot through the snow. Both teens in the hopper laughing as they waved at him as they passed.
“He’s gonna be pissed.” Phineas laughed and Mary giggled.
“Yeah, but he’s a dork.”
“I’d have picked a different term of reference, but I’ll watch my language.”
“Thanks for driving me.”
“No problem, do you mind if I ask a favor? I wanna get some presents for the guys but I was with ‘em yesterday and I sorta need help counting my credits. I can’t do math yet either.”
“Sure I’ll help you. I’ll help you study too if you want. I know Farin’s going to teach you after the holiday, I can help you too if you want. I’m good at math and language studies.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it, I won’t hang out too long with you, I’ll let you mess about with your friends, I just wanna get them all something to say thanks. I promised Dad I’d help him go cut a tree later so I gotta get back too.”
“Oh the Winterfest tree! Promise you all won’t decorate till I get back I won’t be long either and Maevis can bring me home.”
“I’ll tell ‘em to wait on ya, here we are.” Phineas always great with remembering directions landed in front of the Salvage yard and locked up the hopper. He and Mary headed down the streets where they met Mary’s friends in front of the Bakery and she told them all how Phineas had dumped Jack out the door and how they had broken up.
“Whoa FINALLY!” Maevis cheered, she never had liked Jack either.
A handsome boy seemed to brighten. “You really broke up with him?”
“Please go to the Winterfest dance with me Mary. I never asked or anything because of Jack, but I’ve been dying to ask you out forever.”
“See, I told you they were probably lined up already.” Phineas chuckled and Mary laughed.
“I’d love to Leigh. Thank you.”
Leigh cheered and he shook Phineas’ hand. “Dude, thank you man. She deserved better than him.”
“Well treat her right so I don’t throw YOU out into the snow okay?”
“Deal man! DEAL!”
Maevis, already on the arm of another young man turned to Phineas. “Are you going to the dance too?”
“Me? Oh no. I can’t dance, besides I don’t know anyone. It’s okay though; I’d not know what to do at a dance anyway. I’m still learning what Winterfest even is, we don’t have holidays like this on Mirastor.”
“Whoa, Mirastor. That’s like hard core I heard.” The boy on Maevis' arm looked awestruck with Phineas. He just shrugged it off.
“I just wanna forget about that place. This is my home now.”
“Right on man, you can hang out with us anytime, we’ll show you around. I’m Simon, that’s Leigh and we’re really sorry about Jack yesterday.”
“It’s no big deal. Thanks.” Phineas felt at ease, Mary’s friends were all as nice as she was; only Jack it appeared was the cancer in that group. Phineas had removed that element and for the first time had new friends his own age.
They all understood as they helped him shop and count his credits. No one teased him, no one made him feel stupid and Leigh jotted down numbers on the back of Phineas’ disk. Since Phineas knew how to count to ten, Leigh jotted down descending numbers from ten to one so when Phineas counter hit ten, he’d know he had just a few numbers left to go.
“That will help, those I know. Thanks.”
“No prob man. We’ll all help ya study and catch up, it ain’t hard.” Leigh grinned as Phineas picked up a few gifts for Eran and the others with the help of Simon and Leigh in a local men’s gift shop.
“Listen, I gotta get back and help my Dad. I’ll see you all around and thanks again.”
“Anytime Phineas! Don’t worry we’ll get Mary home!” Leigh said holding her hand as they waved Phineas off.
As he disappeared around the corner Maevis squealed. “He’s so nice and CUTE. He has the best eyes ever! Oh my god Mary we have to find him a girlfriend.”
“I think they’ll find him once he’s out and about more. He just got here Mae; give him time to settle in first. No playing matchmaker. That’s my job!” Mary grinned.
“Spoil sport. Did he really just pick up Jack?”
“Like he weighed nothing.”
“He’s from Mirastor, I saw a show once about the kids that live there on the streets, I certainly don’t ever wanna piss Phineas off, I’m sure he can kick my ass without even trying. Especially if he can take on Jack without even trying, no way I’m staying on his good side.” Simon laughed as they continued shopping for their parents.
“I wanna get him a gift. He draws really well. We were at the Wayfarer last night, and he drew Erin a picture to color. It took him like a minute and I could spend fifty years and not sketch something as nice. I wanna go get him a nice pad and something a little nicer than just a cheap pencil.” Mary said as they passed the stationary store, just as Cris and Beau came out loaded with bags.
“Hey Mary!” Cris grinned.
“Oh don’t tell me you already bought Phineas stuff!”
“We did, I see you had the same idea.” Beau laughed.
“What did you buy so I don’t duplicate?”
“One of everything they had practically. What were you planning on getting him?”
“A bigger pad and some colored pencils?”
“We got them, we’ll set them aside and let you give him those then.” Beau said and Mary smiled.
“Thanks! How much do I owe you?”
“Don’t worry about it sweetie, it’s minimal.” Beau winked.
“Thanks!” Mary hugged them both as they hurried off; they were running out of time.
“Are those the guys staying with you that you told us about?” Maevis asked swooning.
“Yeah, the blond is Beau and the other one Cris.”
“Wow. I’m so jealous, you’re in a house full of hot guys.”
“Yeah, but four of them are gay and married. But I can certainly look.”
“Hey!” Leigh pretended to pout.
“Yeah, ouch.” Simon countered and Maevis kissed his cheek.
“You’re hot too and I love you.” Maevis laughed and Simon looked appeased.
Phineas piloted the hopper out of town and as he flew home in bright spirits he noticed Romi walking up the road and slowed down to hover and opened the passenger side door. “Romi right?”
“Yeah. Hey you’re the boy from the music store yesterday.” Romi said recognizing the bright orange hair.
“Wanna ride? I’m heading back home no sense in walking since were going to the same house.”
Romi climbed in grateful not having to walk in the cold. “Thanks! You came along just in time. My toes are frozen.”
“I hear ya, I haven’t felt my toes since I got here.” Phineas chuckled as he closed the door and continued to fly home.
“We do get cold here. What’s your name by the way?”
“Oh sorry, Phineas.”
“Hiya Phineas, thanks for the ride.”
“No problem.” Phineas smiled as the house came into view and he landed the hopper in the bay beside the house and escorted Romi inside.
Cris and Beau’s shuttle landed just a few minutes later and in no time they had Romi whisked away on-board the “Infinity” to record.