"I'm sorry, Baby."
Brushing a few strands of her auburn hair out of the way, Lee kissed Lynn's forehead and smiled. "It's okay. I'm just going to the store, and he's been pretty good about that lately. It's a pain to get him dressed for such a short trip, but I'll live."
Her voice right on the edge of a sob, Lynn softly said, "I hate it. I can't do anything to help. I just feel worthless."
Trying to suppress a sigh, Lee held her hand for a moment, squeezing it. "You're just having a rough time adjusting to the new medicine. I've got to get going, the store will be closing soon, and we have virtually nothing left in the house to eat."
Lynn nodded and said, "I love you."
"I love you too." Lee then turned to his son and picked him up. "Okay, Boogabear, time to get dressed and go to the store. We're just going to the grocery store, and then coming right back, okay?"
Garion partially repeated the last word, "Kay," chuckled, and then babbled something, while gesturing incomprehensibly.
"If that was a sign, Kiddo, it's one I don't know. Cripes, you are entirely too heavy for seven. You know that?"
Lynn sat up in bed, patting her son on the bottom. "Bye bye, Garion. You be good for Daddy. I love you."
"Laab Ooo," Garion repeated. He then made the sign for 'please' emphatically, saying the word as well.
"Okay, okay, chill out. We're going," Lee laughed.
A short while later, Lee pushed Garion out of the store in a grocery cart. Lee could tell his son was getting tired, likely from not taking a nap that day. Being tired and being lazy went hand in hand with Garion, so Lee just decided not to argue and put him in the seat of the cart halfway through shopping. Lee was having enough trouble dealing with all the Valentine's advertisements, and only being able to buy a single box of chocolate covered cherries for the woman he loved.
Garion pulled his legs up, saying, "Please," and rapidly making the sign as Lee pushed the cart through the foyer, toward the door.
"Stay in the cart, Garion."
The gesturing continued, and Garion said, "Please," several times in rapid succession.
Sighing, Lee asked, "Okay, what do you want, Kiddo?"
Pulling on Lee's arm, and then pushing when he had to in order to direct his father, Garion indicated the little toy machines in the foyer.
"You want something out of there? When did you start noticing those?" Lee shook his head and chuckled. More bad influence from your cousins, I bet. Now I'll never get out of the store without getting some cheap toy. Oh well, guess I better start carrying quarters. Frikkin' fifty cents — bloody absurd.
Again came the stream of Garion saying, "Please."
"Okay, okay, I'll get you something. Hang on," Lee said, digging in his pocket for some change.
Dropping the quarters in the slot, Lee twisted the handle, and then lifted the metal door to retrieve the plastic bubble. Holding it up, he looked through the milky plastic at what was inside. "Looks like you got a ring, Garion. That's going to have to work, because I'm not playing the lottery with two more quarters that we don't need to be spending."
Lee handed the bubble to his son, who started happily rattling it without showing any interest at all in opening it.
Laughing, Lee said, "You're a goober-head, Garion. Okay, let's go home and make some dinner."
Putting Garion in the bath when they got home served the dual purpose of keeping him out of the way while Lee put on stew and potatoes, and keeping the sleepy-eyed little boy awake a little longer.
Lynn wearily came out and ate, groggy from her nightly medicine. She nodded off while sitting up, shortly after eating. Garion actually sat down and ate for once without getting up and running like a whirlwind through the house. It had been a while since Lee had made stew, once Garion's favorite thing in the world, and apparently he was on that kick again.
Garion was in one of his moods where he wanted to play alone, so he went into the bedroom, carrying a pile of his papers from school. A few seconds later, Lee heard the papers flying through the air amongst a flurry of laughter. Shaking his head, Lee sat down at the computer to browse around the message boards.
Periodically checking on Garion, Lee knew he wasn't going to stay awake much longer. After about an hour of laughing and spinning through a rain of his school papers, Garion had lain down, pulling the blankets up around him like a cocoon. Watching 'Muppet Treasure Island' on the small bedroom TV, he was looking droopy-eyed.
Lee answered a post on the Autism message board about Garion's recent progress, and then decided he'd pretty much exhausted the possibilities of the internet for the night. Changing the Disney movie on the front room TV to 'Blazing Saddles', Lee sat down on the couch next to Lynn to watch it for the umpteenth time.
Pausing the movie shortly after the rendition of The Camp Town Ladies, Lee peeked in on Garion. Seeing his son sound asleep, Lee snuck in and turned down the TV in the bedroom, shutting out the light. "Night night, Kiddo."
When he walked back in the front room, Lynn was slowly awakening. Before she could even say it, Lee picked up her glass and refilled it with fresh Coke.
"Thank you, Baby," she said with a smile.
"You're welcome, Babydoll," Lee responded.
Looking around, Lynn asked, "Where's Garion?"
Lee answered, "In bed, he fell asleep a few minutes ago."
Looking up at the clock, Lynn asked, "Isn't it a little early? It's only nine thirty. Don't you think he'll get up in the middle of the night?"
Shrugging, Lee sat down next to her on the couch again. "He got up pretty early this morning, and he hasn't had a nap. He'll probably sleep through. I should probably go to bed soon, though. Otherwise, I'll be tired and bitchy if he does get up early again."
Seeing the DVD screen saver on the TV, Lynn asked, "What were you watching?"
"Blazing Saddles. You want me to start it over?" Lee hit the play button on the remote to show her where the movie was.
Shaking her head and sighing, Lynn said, "No, I probably won't be able to stay awake anyway. I hate this. We're not even going to have a Valentine's Day again." Her lip quivering, she ran her hand through Lee's shoulder length brown hair.
Wrapping his arm around her, Lee said, "The hours will go back up at work with this new business, and you'll be better in a few days, once you adjust to the medicine."
"It sucks," Lynn sighed, leaning into Lee and watching the movie.
"I know, Babydoll," Lee said, hugging her tighter.
Lynn was asleep shortly thereafter, nestled up against Lee. When the movie ended, Lee helped her to bed, and then walked back into the front room.
Retrieving the chocolate covered cherries from where he'd hidden them, he smiled and thought, You'll have a little bit of a Valentine's Day. We can at least afford this. Putting the box on the table where Lynn was sure to see it the moment she walked into the front room, Lee went to bed himself.
Silent as a ghost, Garion got up from the bed, opened the door, and walked out into the front room. On went the TV, and in went 'Transformers the Movie'. Still a little tired, he sat down on the couch and wrapped his Spider-Man blanket around him, grinning as the theme song of the movie kicked in. Between the low volume and the bedroom door he'd shut on the way out, Mom and Dad had not yet awakened to notice he was up.
As Prime rolled out for a final confrontation with Megatron, Garion got up from the couch and picked up the little plastic bubble he'd gotten from the grocery store machine.
Sitting back down and rattling it while watching the movie, he eventually realized that the top looked like it would come off. With an ingenuity for destruction, he quickly figured out how to pop the top, and pulled out the ring within. Holding up the glittering gold band with an amber stone to the light, he smiled at the reflections. After a little while, he slid the ring onto his finger.
A few moments later, the Dinobots caught his attention, and he forgot the ring while two of his favorite things — dinosaurs and Transformers — were both on the screen at the same time.
Garion absently started to fidget with the ring while watching the movie, twisting the band back and forth on his finger. He smiled and chuckled when wisps of smoke appeared, steadily thickening, between him and the television.
"Oh, dear," Laresa said when she saw her new little Master. It took only a moment's concentration to understand that the boy was a special child, whose mind didn't work the same as most children's did.
Garion laughed and stood up, walking over to run his fingers over the silky cloth of Laresa's pantaloons. He realized then that here was a big person who could turn on his bubble machine for him. Grabbing Laresa's petite hand, he tugged her toward where the machine was stored beneath the sink.
"Pwease — ba-buls," he said, signing 'please' at the same time.
Laresa could see what he wanted in his mind clearly. Smiling, she eliminated the need for a machine, summoning up streams of bubbles that drifted around the room.
Garion swatted at a bubble, and then took off toward another. He laughed and squealed, as he delighted in catching and popping the never-ending bubbles.
.... There is more of this story ...