Frank meets his son, Elijah, and has a conversation with Britt for the first time since high school. She tells him what happened that night, that they had both been drugged by other students. He tells her he’ll help out with Eli’s expenses and offers her the job she needed at Sheltering Oaks.
Britt blushed, ducking her head. “Actually, I like women. I did back in school too, but didn’t want to admit it. I think that’s another reason the guys did that to us. They thought it would be funny.”
“I’d like to rip their balls off and stuff them up their noses,” Frank replied calmly. “Do you know who it was?”
“Yeah. But promise you won’t get violent.”
Frank shook his head. “No. That’s behind me. But there are other ways to get even that don’t require violence. I have a few friends in high places who owe me some favors. If you ever want to get even, you let me know and I’ll go Federal on ’em.”
Britt laughed. “You’re a unique man, Frank Atherton.”
“Thanks. You’re a pretty unique woman, Britt.”
Marka and Eli came in, breathless and laughing. “Can we stay for dinner, Mom? Marka asked us. She said they had more food than they could eat in a month and they need my help.”
“Sure! Can I help in the kitchen?” she asked Marka.
“I’d love it. Frank’s a good helper, but right now, he’s more of a menace.”
“Oh, thanks, babe. Love you too.”
Eli plopped down on the couch opposite Frank. He stared at his father. “So, you’re my dad, huh?”
“Yeah, I am.”
“Why didn’t you ever see me before?”
“Your mom chose not to tell me you were born.”
Eli nodded, taking that in. “Did you love my mom?”
Frank wasn’t sure how to answer that, but chose to be honest. “No. We knew each other in school and we were friends for awhile.”
“That’s okay,” Eli said. “Can we be friends now?”
“I’d like that a lot. I think you’ve got a lot you can teach me.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
Frank pulled out the PSP. “Like how to up my score on Grand Theft Auto.”
“Dude, I rock that game!”
Frank tossed the PSP to him. “Good, cause I’m terrible at it.”
He sat by his son and the boy explained different facets of the game. About half an hour later, Marka stuck her head out of the kitchen.
“Dinner’s almost ready. Go wash up.”
Both brown heads popped up, nearly touching. Two pairs of deep brown eyes lit up and they flashed identical smiles. Marka’s eyes watered as she gazed at Frank. He looked so joyful with his son. She wasn’t jealous, she was delighted that he’d found the boy after so many years. She looked forward to the time when they would have their own children and they would grow up, knowing their older brother.
“Yes, ma’am,” Frank said. He tousled Eli’s hair.
The boy ducked his head away, laughing. “Yes, ma’am? What are you, in the Army?”
“Did you ever shoot anyone?”
“One day, I’ll tell you all about it. Meanwhile, I’m hungry and the women will be angry if we don’t hurry up.”
“They won’t mind.”
“Son, first rule of dealing with women, do what they tell you when they tell you.”
“Because they will make you miserable if you don’t.”
Frank laughed, winking at Marka. “One day, I’ll tell you about that too.”