Chapter 854 - V3 Ch89
The day eventually came to an end. Jeremy took us home and then had to head back up to the bay, where he lived. Dad was dozing off on the couching, attempting to watch the weather channel. Probably to keep an eye on Mom's way home with Grampa. Zeke had to wake him up and send him upstairs to his own room with the excuse that he now sleeps on the couch in the living room.
"If the twins aren't home by midnight, wake me up." Dad instructed.
Zeke nodded. "Don't worry. I'll be up until they come home."
Dad smiled, grateful. "Thanks, Zeke. We'll take you back to school as soon as your Grampa gets settled."
"No rush." Zeke waved us off. "Noah and Jake, you two should get to bed too. Take your showers and make sure the room is organized how you like it."
It was a new experience, showering in the other bathroom. I could tell that someone had recently super cleaned it and my money was on Kyle. Simply because I couldn't imagine Zeke or Dad doing it.
As for how our clothes were organized, Noah and I weren't bothered. Since day one, Noah had been opened to sharing his clothes with me and it stood that if I needed an item, he would let me get it myself. I did make sure we had our school bags around just to make sure it wasn't lost in the transition. Break was more than half way over.
I don't know about Noah, but I fell asleep almost after touching my pillow. It was a comfort to be in my own bed after so long. I heard the twins at some point, disturbing my sleep as they moved around the room. I merely hugged my comforter tighter and turned away from the noise.
For the next couple of days, we really started to do our own things. Kyle hung out with Marie every chance he got; occasionally bring Dave out too since he couldn't join us at the cages. Zeke drove us to the cages every day on the premise that we wouldn't try too hard and possibly get reinjured. I didn't mind. I liked swinging the bat and Noah also liked the video games in the arcade. We definitely took advantage of Mr. Williams reward on discounted food.
We would see Justin, the catcher, getting his work in but he never did approach us. Me. I don't know if that was because Mr. Williams spoke with him or if Zeke and Noah's presence deterred him.
Mom and Grampa made it back with the car and we all pitched in to help so they wouldn't have to. They had a long drive. The first thing Grampa did was place Gramma's urn next to his bed to keep her by his side. Grampa was quiet the first day back, but was quick to join the rhythm of things here. On the day that Dad took Dave to the hospital to get his finger checked on, Grampa came with me, Noah, and Zeke to The Cages.
We didn't keep him there for very long since we were worried he'd get tired. Noah kept the conversation going, telling him all about our team and how we hoped to be repeat champions. We had a tournament early next month to prepare for and he would actually get to see.
"A tournament might be too much too soon." Grampa said on the way back home. "I'm an old man. Sitting outside in the cold for a couple of games a day will wear me out."
Noah wasn't convinced. "We'll have a break in between. Go somewhere warm and get some food. We always do."
"If we lose, there's a chance that there's only one game." I spoke up.
"Jake!" Noah groaned and rolled his eyes. "We've talked about this. You can't speak so negatively about baseball or you're just jinxing yourself."
Grampa laughed. "Jake's a realist. Losing is always a possibility." He glanced back at me from the front passenger seat and winked. "But I know you boys won't lose. At least make it to day two and then maybe I'll watch those games."
"That's more like it!" Noah nodded happily. "You can also stop by a practice and see us play there."
I thought about Grampa watching me run laps and slowly shook my head.
"Games are enough for me." Grampa shot Noah down.
"Why not? What else are you going to do?" Noah huffed.
The car filled up with silence. Zeke gave a small shake of his head. Noah took on a look of guilt after I poked him in the leg.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to want to do yet." Grampa let out a heavy sigh. "Take some time to think about. Maybe join a community group for seniors? I don't think I can help your parents with their work. Too complicated for me. I'm not much of a cook like your mom either."
"Joining other seniors isn't a bad idea." Noah tried to become enthusiastic about it. "You can bingo and shuffleboard. Maybe checkers or chess."
Zeke pulled the car into the driveway and we got our stuff out. Zeke and Noah took the lead while Grampa and I followed behind.
"What would you do if you had free time?" Grampa asked me.
I was taken aback before smiling. I twisted so he could see my bat in my bag. "This. Go to the cages and hit some baseballs."
"You don't do that just to get better?" He asked.
I shook my head. "I find it relaxing." I looked up at him. Skinny and frail. And old. Very old. He probably couldn't swing a bat. "I also like doing math problems."
Grampa laughed. However, I didn't understand what was funny. Maybe I wasn't that good at suggesting what old people do.
We walked into the house as a group, attracting the twins from the living room.
Dave proudly held up his right hand. No brace on it anymore. "I'm free!"
"Yea, free to do physical therapy." Kyle snorted and laughed.
"Just a couple of times to make sure it healed right." Dave quickly followed up. "The doctor said I can start throwing a ball in a couple of days so when school starts I guess."
"But shouldn't pitch until after seeing the physical therapist." Kyle pointed out.
"How about swinging a bat?" Noah asked.
Dave looked at Kyle. Kyle shrugged.
"If no one said no, then it should be fine." Zeke said. "Double check with Mom." He went to put his bag in the garage.
"Hey, you're back." Mom came out of her office, smiling at the small gathering we were having. She waited for Zeke to come back inside from the garage before speaking again. "I know these last two weeks have been rough for everyone, but I was thinking we could finally do Christmas tomorrow morning?"
My eyes went to the Christmas tree surrounded by presents. It was intentionally ignored for so long now, that looking at it felt kind of wrong.
"Why not tonight?" Noah asked.
"I figured we could give Jake the whole Christmas experience." Mom grinned. "Tonight will be like Christmas Eve. I've got some gingerbread house kits still in the kitchen cupboard. I'll go and get some shopping done now so we can be ready?"
"Sounds great!" Noah grinned. "Can I go to the store with you? I can help push the cart!"
Kyle gave him a pat on the shoulder. "Thank you for your sacrifice."
I subconsciously took a step back.
"I'll go too." Dad came down from upstairs. He looked at Grampa. "Any special requests for Christmas dinner tomorrow?"
"Cranberry sauce." Grampa nodded and headed for the stairs. "I'm going to go sort my laundry. Maybe take a nap."
Dave pulled me back. "We'll go show Jake some Christmas movies. Get in the mood, ya know."
Mom looked at Zeke.
"We'll clean up the kitchen and dining room." Zeke stated, stopping Dave in his tracks. "It'll be easy with the four of us."
"Ow! My hand!" Dave grabbed his right hand dramatically.
"Liar." Kyle slapped him upside the head.
Dave immediately came back with a slap of his own.
"Zeke's in charge." Dad said and headed for the garage, completely ignoring the twins. Mom and Noah followed him out.
Zeke stepped between the twins and yanked on the back collar of their shirts. "Quit it. This is Jake's first Christmas."
"What? This is practically tradition." Dave laughed. He looked at me and smiled. "Good thing you stuck with us. Shopping for Christmas is absolute torture."
"Noah only likes to go so he can pick his favorite candy." Kyle added. "It's really not worth it. We can just buy our own favorites with our own money. No need to go with Mom." He shivered. "She'll fill up three carts with ease."
"Yea, to feed everyone." Zeke rolled his eyes. "You two get the kitchen done. Make sure the oven is cleaned up and there is room in the fridge.. Jake and I get the dining room."