Title: Samantha - part 23
Fandom: Zeke & Casey
Author's note: AU - The boys have great future plans ...
Disclaimer: of course, not mine
previous parts: here
- twenty-three -
Three weeks later. Casey was sitting on the porch together with Stokely.
"She was not very impressed."
Casey smiled and glanced at the pregnant belly of the young woman which was already well visible.
"It's just a baby, Stokes. If he would have a motor or at least four wheels ..."
Both looked over to the driveway where Zeke and his little daughter where kneeling beside an electric model car, deep in a serious discussion. Stokes grinned wide.
"That's so cute. Zeke is such a wonderful daddy."
Casey's face darkened.
"Yeah. And she is as crazy about cars as he is. Sometimes I feel like a fifth wheel."
"No, of course not. It's great to see them together like this. It's just ..."
"Just what? You still angry at him?"
"Did he complain," he asked.
Stokely shook her head.
"But he knows, you are still disappointed about the adoption."
"He gives a shit about my opinion," Casey snapped.
"I'm sure we could find a way. But even my mom takes his side. She tells me that he still needs time and I can't force him to anything. Pfft. Fine. It's his decision. I hope it will make him happy.”
"It's not easy for him, Case," Stokes murmured.
"He's told me about her nightmares ... it must be horrible to see her in that state."
Casey sighed. Of course, it was, and not only for Zeke, when she startled out of her sleep at night, desperately crying for her mom. She was doing a bit better lately after Mrs. Connor had taken her to a therapist. He had given her a light homeopathic calmative but there was not much more he could do for her at the moment. Not with the prospect of an adoption.
Time was flying by. Summer was almost over and soon enough the day would come where Samantha would leave them. Yesterday Mr. Connor had had a meeting with this young couple at the office of Mr. Caveness. The Joneses. They were really nice, he had told them. Two years ago they had already adopted a ten-year-old boy, they owned a great house, a dog ... Casey hadn't listened any longer.
Until his dad had said: “They want to get to know you, Zeke. You think this is okay?”
“Yeah, fine by me.”
But Casey had noticed the tears in his eyes. He had blinked them away and left the room with a flimsy excuse. Casey was sure he hadn't gotten even a wink of sleep in the night. But it didn't change his mind. And all Casey could do was to let it happen even if it felt so wrong. Never before he had felt so helpless and the more helpless he was the more angry he got about Zeke. He wanted to yell at him, grab him, shake him. But Zeke knew how to avoid this, preferred to be together with Samantha lately. It really was a big mess.
"Does she know that she will have to leave soon," Stokely pulled him out of his thoughts.
“Must be scaring for her.”
“We do our best to make it easy for her.”
"She knows that she can stay here just over summer. That Zeke and me will have to go back to College soon. My mom often talks to her about moving into another town, about school and how much fun she will have there with new friends."
His smile was sad.
"She's smart, you know, and excited about school and stuff. But I don't think she can understand all the consequences of an adoption. She's five, Stokes! How can you explain to her that her father is going to give her away? I don't get it how he can be so stubborn."
"Casey, can you get Samantha for dinner, please?"
He went upstairs to his old room and knocked at the door. Still a strange feeling, but he had learned to accept that this room was like a sanctuary for Samantha now and then. Sometimes she retreated into her shell without any obvious reason and the best they could do was to give her the time she needed, the therapist had explained them.
Casey knocked again, listened, knocked for a third time. No sound was to hear. Finally he opened the door a crack and peered into the room, expected to find her asleep on the bed. But no, she was not there. She neither was sitting at the desk, painting or just looking out of window, like she used to do so often. Nor in the rocking chair. Maybe she was in the bathroom? But the door was unlocked and the room was empty too.
Casey frowned and rushed back into the kitchen.
"She's nowhere upstairs. Maybe she's in the living room?"
Mrs. Connor shook her head.
"No, she isn't. Your dad and Zeke are watching this show about astronomy on TV. That's kinda strange. Where can she be?"
Casey tried to shook off his uneasy feeling.
"I will go and look for her in the backyard," he murmured.
"Probably she will be there."
But half an hour later he had to admit that he had been wrong. She was not in the yard, nor in the garage or the attic. And not only Casey started to worry.
"Was it my fault," asked Zeke.
"We finished the car and she asked if she can give it a name. I said: 'Sure, this is a reason to celebrate.' And she wanted to go and get Casey and Stokes ... When she didn't come back, why didn't I follow her?”
He was pale and trembled visibly. Mrs. Connor put a hand on his arm.
"No, Zeke, no, don't blame yourself," she tried to reassure him, but she looked nervous too.
"You did nothing wrong. I just wonder what is actually happened. She just passed me without a word ... I was busy with the dinner, otherwise I would probably have paid more attention.
Where can she be? She knows no one around here.”
“Maybe she went to Mrs. Miller,” Casey pondered.
Mrs. Miller was a nice, elderly lady from the neighborhood. Casey had always liked to help her; mowing the gras at summer or shoveling snow at winter. She had spoiled him with home-made sweets and cookies. His mom was a great cook, but nothing was better than Mrs. Miller's choco-muffins. With a lot of cream and fresh fruits.
As soon as she had found out that Casey was back for summer it didn't last long and she had invited him over. Zeke had been reluctant to go with him but Casey had insisted that Mrs. Miller was open minded enough to not judge them. And she didn't, Zeke was her as welcome as Casey, she was eager to hear about their college life and finally she told them that it was a shame that the law didn't allow same-sex marriages. Casey had chuckled and told her that, if this would change one day, she would be the first one they would invite to their wedding. Zeke had even blushed a bit.
It was not a big surprise that Mrs. Miller took Samantha in her heart in an instant and the little girl liked her too. So, even if she had never left the yard on her own before, it was possible that she had decided to visit her, wasn't it? At least Casey hoped so.
“Go and ask her,” agreed Mr. Connor.
“Zeke, we two should search the surrounding. We need to find her before it's too dark outside. Otherwise I will have to call the po ...”
The phone interrupted him. Mrs. Connor reached for it, listened and looked stunned.
“Oh my god. But how could she ...”
Alarmed Casey reached for Zeke's hand. He barely dared to ask.
“Mom? What's going on?”