“Hey Noah! Hold up!”
He looked toward the guy calling him and was relieved to see that it was a buddy from one of his engine tech courses. Since his and Sharlee’s Harley campaign had been doing so well, they had both become very popular. After Noah had been almost mobbed with requests for autographs, the dean had been forced to make some new rules about the treatment of celebrity students on campus. Noah had been shocked and disgusted by the students’ behavior because he was still the same person he’d always been. Now they had again started treating him pretty much as they had before the campaign since now they were afraid that they might be expelled.
Noah hesitated. He’d been feeling stifled and tense for the past week. Between all of his classes and Sharlee’s ever-changing moods, he really did need to kick loose and have some fun! He knew Sharlee wouldn’t approve of him drinking, but he was almost twenty-two and didn’t need anyone’s permission! He was supposed to go for a session with Sarge, but he could reschedule it.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
“I’m going to be getting home late tonight. I went with Wayne and Vinny to the Full Throttle. Don’t bother telling me not to drink! I plan to have a good time and get wasted if I want to! You don’t own me, and I don’t need your permission!”
At first Sharlee was shocked by his tone, and then she was furious. “Noah, I don’t care if you have a good time with your friends. I know you don’t need my permission! As for not owning you, just remember that works both ways! You don’t own me either!”
She angrily disconnected the call.
After she hung up with Noah, Remi called Sharlee. She heard the strain and tremor in Sharlee’s voice. “What’s wrong?”
Sharlee told her about her conversation with Noah. “Well Sharlee, sometimes guys just need to let off some steam. You and Noah have been through a lot of changes recently and Noah has been trying very hard. My suggestion is that you just overlook what he said. You know he’s going to apologize eventually. He’s gaga over you, and I’m sure it was just that the pressure is getting to him. He does need some time for himself, and I’m sure you probably do too.”
Remi was older than Sharlee and had been married for a lot longer.
“Why don’t you send him a text asking him not to drive home. He can take a taxi or call someone to come for him. That way you won’t have to talk with him while you’re still upset, and you won’t say something that you might regret.”
“No, but I think he’s leaning towards yes. We both want a change. We’ve always lived in big cities, but it’d be nice to raise the children in a suburban town like Santa Fe.”
Terry had told Noah that it would be better for him to hire a manager for his dealership rather than try to run it himself. Terry felt that Noah was still too young and most franchise owners hired a manager anyway. Noah would have more flexibility for his spokesperson duties, and he could still work on customer’s vehicles whenever he wanted. Noah had immediately thought of Darion.
Darion had the education and skills necessary to be a successful manager. He’d recently been passed over for a promotion at his current job for the second time after training the person who was promoted. Although he had no definite proof, he believed that it was because of his race. His skills and experience equaled and even surpassed those of the men who were promoted. So Darion was fed up and looking for another company.
Noah had made the suggestion to Darion, and Darion was considering it. He’d told Terry about Darion, and Terry had agreed that Darion was a good prospect. Of course Darion would have to go through managerial training with Harley, but it would be a great opportunity for him if he decided to accept the position. Darion had told Noah that he’d give him a decision soon. He wasn’t the type of person to just jump at such a drastic change for his family without giving it a lot of serious thought.
It read: “I need a break from you too! Please call a taxi or call home for a ride when you are ready to leave. Have a good time!”
Noah felt his conscience prick him after he read the text message. He shouldn’t have spoken to her that way! He decided to apologize after he got home. Instead of waiting, he ended up texting her back so that she wouldn’t worry about him. He finished his drink and ordered another one.
“Is something wrong?”
“I just asked Sharlee if she wanted me to save a plate of dinner for Noah, and she said he’s at the Full Throttle with some friends. He won’t be home till late.”
Before Alissa could say anything, Dale left the house.
Sharlee’s anger with Noah had evaporated. “Not really. I sent him a text earlier asking him not to drive home, and he texted me back agreeing.” He’d also apologized for going off on her and said he’d make it up to her. Sharlee was looking forward to that.
“Every time I think that I’ve misjudged you, you do something that proves to me that I haven’t.”
Noah didn’t respond.
When Noah still didn’t move, Dale came around the table and started helping him up. Noah pulled away.
“He didn’t come home with you?”
“The darn fool is drunk. He took a swing at me, and I told him not to bother coming home!”
“Is he okay, Dad?”
“If you call plastered okay, then he’s fine.”
“Oh good. Thanks for bringing him up.”
“Yeah. Call me if you need me.”
Sharlee smiled and said, “I love you too, but I’m still mad at you!”
Noah groaned. He sat on the edge of the bed feeling like he’d been run over by a mack truck! He didn’t feel like going to class, but he couldn’t afford to get behind. This time he really meant it when he said he wasn’t going to get drunk again! This wasn’t fun anymore!
After playing pool, he couldn’t even remember anything that had happened before he woke up that morning. What if something had happened to Sharlee? What if she’d gone into early labor? He would not have been of any help. Maybe a couple of drinks occasionally, but no more getting wasted.
“Babe, are you okay?”
“Are you sure that’s all it is? Do you want me to stay with you?”
“Honey, I’m really okay. You go on to class.”
“Alright. Call me if you need me.” He hesitated. “Are you still upset about last night?”
“I know that I was wrong to talk to you like that. I’m sorry, and I promise that it won’t happen again. Also, no more getting wasted. I want you to always feel that you can trust me and count on me anytime that you need me. ”
“Thank you, Noah. I’m sorry for what I said too, or maybe more for how I said it.”
Noah laughed. He kissed her and then headed downstairs.
Dale had barely glanced at him.
“Do you want some breakfast.”
Noah’s stomach rebelled at the thought.
“No thanks, just some coffee.”
“Is Sharlee coming down?”
“Alright. I’ll check on her in a little while and bring her up some breakfast. How are you feeling?”
Noah felt embarrassed. It was sort of a new feeling for him. He’d never really cared what other people thought of him, but Sharlee’s and Mom’s opinion did matter to him. “I guess the way I deserve to feel.”
“So that explains the cold shoulder. Getting wasted was a big mistake. I won’t do it again. I got it out of my system last night. I can’t remember everything that happened. Is there anything that I should know?”
Alissa considered her response carefully. She felt that if Noah had learned from it, then they should all just move on. Clearly Sharlee had. She’d have a talk with Dale and tell him to forget about it. Noah was a very young man still and mistakes were expected. This was just another big mistake, and Noah had promised that it would not be repeated.
“Nothing to worry about. You just make sure that you keep that promise.”
She said with emphasis, “You’d better! You don’t want to get on my bad side!”
Noah grinned, realizing that he definitely didn’t want that to happen! He felt as though Alissa was more of a Mom to him than his own mother. She treated him as though he’d always been a part of the family. He knew that she really cared about him and saw him as her son.
“Bye Mom. I need to get to class early for a change.”
He left the house still feeling sluggish despite the coffee. Soon after, Alissa got her children off to school.
Joy didn’t want to go back up to bed, and so Alissa let her go into the computer room. She watched Joy for a few moments. She was smiling because she was thankful that her little girl was doing so well.
The doctors were very pleased with Joy’s progress, and it wouldn’t be long before she could return to school. Then after that she’d be able to begin her dancing classes again. Joy couldn’t wait! Alissa would always feel grateful to Alex for returning to help their daughter, but at the same time, she hoped she wouldn’t have to ever see him again. If Joy wanted to see him when she was older and learned about him, then that would be Joy’s choice.
Sharlee was sleeping, but she stirred when her mother came over to the bed.
“Nothing wrong with resting if that’s what your body needs. Do you feel like eating something now?”
Sharlee stretched and smiled. “Yes. I’ll come down.”
Dale watched Kristian as he interacted with patients. He thought about his promise to Noah that as long as Noah treated Sharlee right, then he would not interfere. Going out getting wasted with his buddies and leaving his pregnant wife at home wasn’t treating her in the way that she should be treated!
He’d had a talk with Kristian about Sharlee, but it hadn’t gone well. When Kristian asked him to be honest and admit that he would rather that Kristian was his son-in-law, Dale couldn’t deny it. Kristian had also been offended that Dale had thought it was necessary to tell him to back off. Sharlee had already spoken with Kristian, and he’d agreed to leave her alone. So Dale hadn’t said anymore about it.
Kristian had noticed the pensive expression on Dale’s face. He wondered what was wrong. Dale had seemed happy again now that they knew that Joy was going to be okay. He finished with his patient and then went into Dale’s office.
“Is everything okay, Dale?”
Dale looked at him in surprise. “Yes, why?”
“No, I guess I just had a bad night.”
Kristian’s rotation at the office had been perfect timing for Dale over the past few months with Joy’s illness and Sharlee’s high risk pregnancy. Dale had had to take a lot of time away. Kristian had been invaluable help to Dale with his practice. Dale had the utmost respect for Kristian’s abilities as a physician and future pediatric surgeon. He reminded Dale so much of Dale himself at that age.
“I’m gonna take you up on that offer. Don’t hesitate to call me if you need my help!”
When Dale arrived at home, Alissa and Joy were up in Sharlee’s room. He quickly changed his clothes and went upstairs to join them. He heard them laughing and talking as he approached. They had pulled out a portable television and were watching a show together.
He held Alissa and watched the show with them until the time that he had to pick up Aiden from school for soccer practice. It was just the kind of relaxing afternoon that he needed. However, Dale knew that he wouldn’t be able to just forget Noah’s behavior. He wouldn’t interfere for now, but as far as he was concerned, Noah had better toe the line!
I made a few more changes to the blog because I was trying to find a way to make the pages load faster without putting in less pictures. I found out that if I disable Gravatars, it might help. So I’ve disabled them. Hopefully, it’ll help a little bit! 🙂
More pictures have been added now. They aren’t exactly as planned, but I hope you still enjoyed reading it!