Title: Samantha - part 25
Fandom: Zeke & Casey
Author's note: AU - The boys have great future plans ...
Disclaimer: of course, not mine
previous parts here
- twenty-six -
Zeke desperately yearned for a cigarette but he knew this was impossible now. It was about nine o'clock in the morning. Samantha was still sleeping but Mr. Connor had taken a day off after Casey had begged him for that last night. Zeke knew it was about time to go down into the kitchen and to get over with it.
The moment they entered the usually very homely room he could feel the changed atmosphere. Zeke smirked when he noticed Mr. Connor stern look. It was obvious that he had figured it out what was going on. And he didn't appreciate it. Mrs. Connor busied herself with making breakfast like every morning. She looked up when they entered the kitchen.
“Morning. What about toast and eggs?”
“No, thanks, just coffee.”
Eagerly Zeke grabbed for a mug; caffeine was not as good as nicotine but it was all he could get for the moment.
Casey slipped onto the chair beside him, a hot cacao in his hands.
“Zeke and me are the same mind,” he blurted out.
“This adoption is stupid. We are gonna take Samantha with us to Columbus. She belongs to us.”
Zeke couldn't help a smile. That was so Casey, to bring it right to the point … before he could change his mind again. He didn't blame him for his mistrust. He did change his mind a bit too often lately, didn't he? Not this time though. He owned Samantha … and Casey … and himself too. The roller-coaster of emotions had become almost unbearable for all of them.
At least Mrs. Connor smiled at him.
“Well, this is a relief,” she admitted.
“I'm not blind. It was obvious that you was struggling hard with the thought of the adoption. And Samantha is so happy when she can be together with you. I think, this is a good decision, Zeke.”
“Without Casey … and without you … I'd never even thought about it to take her to me,” Zeke answered.
He turned to Mr. Connor who still kept quiet with an unreadable face.
“I really appreciate what you've done for Samantha … and for me. Sorry that I did only waste your time.”
“Oh, that's okay. Things like this happen, people used to change their mind often enough.”
Mr. Connor looked thoughtful.
“I just hope you know what you are doing. There will be a lot you will have to deal with, all of you!”
Of course he was right. Zeke knew this well enough. College. Samantha's issues. Two young men living together with a little girl. People were stupid, they would have to fight against rumors and prejudices. The other side: living together with Casey and Samantha, the two who meant all for him. They were strong enough, they would make it.
“Yeah, I know, it will not always be easy. At least we will not need to worry about money. The only thing my father was good for, his monthly check. So my bank account is well stocked. And I'm thinking about it to start working in a garage of a friend.”
“When we take Samantha with us I want be there for her. I can't do that when I'm still going to College, with the Graduation ahead. So I will do it right and quit. It's not that bad, I like to work at Jamie's garage, I've done it before.”
“As a summer job,” Casey protested.
“This is not the same. If you don't graduate next year you will give up your chance for a job at the NASA Research Center. You've worked so hard for it.
I will also be there to look after Sam. When I cut down my courses a bit this will give you enough time for your task. I don't mind.”
But Zeke shook his head. He had already thought about this. It was tempting, he was not as calm as he tried to look like. It was not easy to give up this future dream. He liked to work at his GTO, he loved cars and it would be fun working together with Jamie again … but of course it would not be the same. He did remember last summer when he had worked as an intern at the NASA Research Center for some weeks. It had been a great time and he had known this was worth it to work so hard for it.
He reached for Casey's hand and squeezed it. Usually he tried to avoid contact with him with the Connor's around but now it was needed.
“No, Case! It makes no sense when we both go through College only halfhearted and finally no one will get what he wants. You will finish Art School as one of the best. You will be able to take every job you wants. And when you will get your first own exhibition Sam and me will be sitting in the front row and we will burst with pride.
That's it, Case, and I'm not gonna discuss this with you.”
Casey smiled weakly.
“So not fair!”
But at least he didn't protest any longer.
“Great words, Zeke. But are you sure that you will never regret it? I know what it means to give all for a job you wants. Nothing could be so satisfying for me than working for Jensen, Jarred and Co. Next year this time I will hopefully be a partner. Hard to imagine to live without that.”
Zeke turned to Mr. Connor and he could say that he was still worried. Worried about Sam, worried about Casey. That one day he might realize what he had left behind for them, that he would let them feel it, that he would hurt them. He had been that shallow for a long time. Before Casey he had actually cared about no one. It was easier to use use people but not to let them into his heart. Casey broke through this shell … and it had changed him. It had made him strong enough for the decisions he had to make during the last weeks. Without him … he would probably had dumped the letter into the bin without even reading it. And even he had done that, he hadn't been able to understand that he was responsible for his little daughter. He did now. How much Samantha loved him, needed him. How much he loved her. Last night, when he thought about it to let her go without the option to see her ever again … how could he endure this?
“You never needed to make the decision,” he finally said.
“You could get all, your job and your family. But would you risk to lose Casey and Mrs. C. just because of the possibility of a partnership?”
There was only a short hesitating before Mr. Connor answered.
“No, of course not. They mean everything for me.”
Zeke noticed the almost invisible smile on Mrs. Connors face. She knew him well enough; probably it was good that he had never had to make this decision. Maybe this was the meaning of Family: to forgive that the other one was not perfect; to love even it was not always deserved … Like Samantha and Casey did love him. Family. It felt good to be a part of it.
“It's not even sure that I would get the job, even if I can graduate with best notes. There are other candidates. I've got to know some of them last summer. They all have a brilliant mind and NASA offers just two jobs. It's not worth to risk anything else just for a chance which maybe will never come.”