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The Talon House

What's the difference between me and you?

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What's The Difference Between Me And You?

Chapter 10 - by Nick

"What the f**k are you doing?" Jim shouted as he stormed up to Nick. "Answer me, boy."

Nick stood in silence and Taylor hid behind him. Nick knew that they had been caught, and that he had plenty of explaining to do.

"What did I ask you to do?" Jim said in a quieter but still irritated voice.

"Get in the car and wait," Nick answered.

"Now tell me what you and Taylor were just doing," Jim demanded.

"Well, sir," Nick started. "I just thought that maybe..."

"I didn't ask you what you thought, son," Jim interrupted. "I want you to tell me what you were up too."

Nick looked at the ground and thought for a moment. In his mind, he could now see that it was a bad idea. He knew before they started that Jim was on his way out to the car, but they couldn't resist it. Finally, Nick looked up at his dad and answered.

"We were jacking up the car so we could take the tire off," he answered.

"That's what I thought," Jim said quietly. "Haven't we already talked about this?"

"Yes sir," Nick said ashamedly. He hated that he got in trouble in front of Taylor, and the thought that Taylor might be in trouble because he did something he knew better than to try made him feel worse.

"You two need to go wait inside while I put the car down," Jim said. "I don't want you getting cold out here. We'll leave when I'm done."

Without a word, Nick and Taylor walked to the front porch and opened the door, stepping inside and waited quietly for Jim to come and get them.

"Are we in trouble," Taylor asked, looking worried.

"No," Nick answered. "Don't worry about him. He just hates it when I do that."

Ever since Nick was four, he had an obsession with working on his dad's car. One of the things he loved to do was jack up Jim's car and take the front tire off. It wasn't something that Jim appreciated at all. In fact, he would lose his temper every time he caught Nick doing it. For whatever reason, however, Nick never got in bad trouble when his dad caught him. The worst-case scenario was that Jim would yell, like he did today, but that was even rare. Nick knew that his dad only yelled at him today because they were about to leave for the movies.

Eventually, Jim walked back into the house to wash his hands, and then he told Tom and Linda what Nick did. Tom seemed to have a proud look on his face, while Linda grinned and shook her head at Nick.

"Let's go, nerd," Jim said as he gave Nick a playful shove toward the door.

Nick and Taylor smiled as they walked out to the car, which was now back down on all four wheels. Nick sat in the back seat with Taylor, and Jim drove them to the theater.

Sitting in the dark, Nick could still make out the features of Taylor's face. Every time Taylor laughed, Nick looked at his face. His dimples were so cute, and even in the dark, Nick could make them out. Whenever their hands would touch on the armrest, Nick had the urge to take Taylor's hand and hold it. He even felt like he wanted to kiss it. Finally, Nick stopped looking at Taylor and paid attention to the movie.

"Get in my belly!" Nick bellowed in the car, making Taylor laugh. He was able to perfectly mimic the accent of Fat Bastard, and on the way to the Atlas Cafe, which was actually in the same parking lot as the theatre, he repeated almost every Fat Bastard line that he could remember from the movie. He could tell that Taylor was loving every minute of it, so he kept going. He finally settled down as they were about to go inside.

During lunch, Nick sat next to Taylor and smiled at him over and over again. He was having so much fun that he didn't want the weekend to end.

"Dad, can Taylor spend the night again," Nick asked. Nick looked over at Taylor, trying to decide if he wanted too or not. Unfortunately, Taylor was more interested in his hamburger than the conversation about him spending another night.

"Did you even ask him if he wanted to," Jim asked.

"Taylor?" Nick started. "Do you want to spend the night again tonight?"

"Is it ok, Mr. James," Taylor asked politely.

"Sure it is, buddy," Jim said. "But you need to ask your dad first, ok?"

"I will," he said. "I know he'll say yes."

Nick sat back in his seat and smiled. He got to spend one more night with Taylor, just as long as Taylor's dad would let it happen.

"If Mr. Charles says yes, can you take us to Motoworld tomorrow, dad," Nick asked hopefully.

"If it's not raining, son," Jim said.

"You've got the coolest dad in the world," Taylor said, making Nick smile. Jim laughed and smiled at both of them. He seemed to have a look of pride on his face that came from Taylor's comment.

When they got home, Taylor called his dad and got permission to spend the night again, but he had to come home and get more clothes. It was raining outside, so Jim drove him home to get his things.

Nick went upstairs with Taylor to his room, and while they were in there, Nick watched Taylor pick his own shirt and pants.

"Your dad let's you pick out what to wear," Nick asked.

"Yeah," Taylor answered casually. "He doesn't care what I wear."

"I wish my dad let me pick out my stuff," Nick said. "He never lets me choose."

Taylor shrugged his shoulders and put his stuff in his backpack.

"How cute," Nick said as he spotted Taylor's collection of Scooby Doo stuffed animals. "I love Scooby Doo."

"He's my favorite," Taylor said shyly.

"Do you sleep with this one," Nick asked, picking a Scooby Doo doll up off Taylor's bed.

Taylor nodded and smiled, then he walked over to Nick, who handed him the doll. Taylor held it up to his face and warmly hugged it.

"Bring him if you want to," Nick said. "I sleep with my pooh bear."

"I saw him on your bed," Taylor said.

Nick looked around Taylor's room and saw Scooby Doo everything, even Scooby Doo wallpaper. Taylor looked at the floor while Nick looked around his room.

"Bring a movie," Nick said, noticing that Taylor had quite a few Scooby Doo movies. "We can watch it in my room if you want."

Taylor stuffed a movie in his backpack, but he couldn't get his Scooby Doo doll to fit, and he was about to leave it on his bed, but Nick picked it up and carried it for him.

"Look daddy, how cute huh?" Nick said as they made it back downstairs. He handed Jim the doll, making Taylor blush.

"You got everything you need sport," Charles asked as he walked toward his son.

"Can I have some more money," Taylor asked. "We might go to Motoworld tomorrow, and I want to have some money to buy snacks."

"You don't need any money, pal," Jim said. "You can have anything you want while we're there. You're our guest."

"Did you spend the money I gave you yesterday," Charles asked.

"No, I just wanted you to give me some more," Taylor said, making Jim laugh.

"I've got you covered, pal," Jim said. "Save your money."

They visited a little while longer, and finally they left. When they got home, Nick and Taylor went straight upstairs and put the movie Taylor picked out in the VCR. As the movie was starting, Jim opened the door and told them he would be in the garage sorting through some of his stuff. When he closed the door, Nick lay on his stomach on the floor, and Taylor lay down next to him and smiled at him as the movie was starting. "Do you want your Scooby," Nick asked.

"Yeah, I kind of do," Taylor said, still smiling. Nick got up and walked on his knees to his bed, where he grabbed Taylor's Scooby and his Pooh bear and crawled back to his spot on the floor.

As they watched the movie, Nick was watching Taylor cuddle with his doll, and he thought it was cute, so he did the same thing with his. After a few minutes, he looked at Taylor, who was watching him and grinning. Nick smiled and hugged his bear tighter. "I bet Scooby and Pooh bear are friends," Nick said.

"I know they are," Taylor said holding his doll out toward Nick, who pushed his doll into the Scooby doll that Taylor was holding.

"Aww, they're hugging," Nick said. "They love each other."

Taylor smiled and walked on his knees to get closer to Nick, who was sitting on his ankles and smiling at him. He pressed Scooby's face into Pooh bears face and made a kissing sound with his mouth.

"They do love each other," Taylor said, agreeing with Nick. They looked at each other for a moment and grinned. Finally, they both lay back down on their stomachs and went back to the movie. The floor was starting to get uncomfortable, so Nick got up and laid on his bed. Taylor got up and followed him, so Nick moved over, giving Taylor room to get in. While they lay there watching the movie, Nick made sure that he snuggled as close as he could to Taylor so he could watch him cuddle his doll.

"Taylor," Nick said.

"What?" Taylor replied as he held his doll close.

"I like this," Nick said.

"You like what," Taylor asked.

Nick sighed and said, "I like watching you hold Scooby. It makes me want to hug you."

Taylor turned and looked at Nick, smiling. Finally, he said, "You can hug me if you want to."

"I can?" Nick asked.

Taylor nodded at him, and so Nick put his arms around him and squeezed. He looked in Taylor's eyes and started to get that feeling again. They were both smiling at each other, and Nick wondered if Taylor felt the same way he did, so he decided to ask.

"How does it make you feel," Nick asked as he hugged his friend.

"Really good," Taylor answered with a warm smile, then he put his arms around Nick and hugged him back. Nick squeezed again, and he felt like he never wanted to let go "Are we friends like Pooh bear and Scooby," Nick asked.

Taylor was grinning as he answered, "Yes."

Nick held on to Taylor as he lay back down on his back, and Taylor snuggled up to Nick's chest as they held their dolls and watched the movie.

"I wish we would've did this last night," Taylor said. "It feels good."

"We can do it from now on, if you want to," Nick offered shyly.

Nick wondered if they would get to do it again when they went to bed that night. He was sure that they would be sleeping in his room. Tom put the tent away that morning before they had even decided what movie they were going to watch. Just as he started to get comfortable, though, he heard footsteps coming up the stairs and a knock at his bedroom door.

"Nick," Jim called out through the door.

"What dad?" Nick answered nervously.

"You boys are need to come eat dinner, ok?" Jim said through the door.

"Yes sir," Nick said. "We'll be right down."

While he ate, the only thing Nick could think about was what he just did with Taylor. He enjoyed every part of it, and the only thing he wished was that his dad hadn't interrupted the warm feeling he had as he and Taylor cuddled in front of the movie.

After dinner, Nick and Taylor stayed downstairs and watched TV for a while with Jim, Tom and Linda. Eventually, Taylor fell asleep on the couch, and Nick was starting to yawn.

"You look tired, buddy," Jim said. "Why don't you go to bed?"

"What about Taylor," Nick asked.

"We'll get him upstairs," Jim answered. He walked over to Nick and leaned down to kiss him on the cheek. Nick shook Taylor, who just rolled over and fell back to sleep. Jim scooped him up with one arm, Nick stood up on the couch and let Jim grab him around the waist with the other one, and he carried them both upstairs to bed. Nick waved to his grandparents as Jim made his way up the stairs, and soon they were in Nick's room. From behind Jims head, Nick watched Taylor sleep on his dads shoulder, and he looked so cute. Jim let Nick down first, then he laid Taylor down on Nick's bed.

"I'll help him get his jammies on dad," Nick said.

"Are you sure buddy," Jim asked.

"Yes sir," Nick said. "He has to sleep in his undies. He doesn't wear jammies to bed."

"Well let's get yours on," Jim said

"Did you wash mine," Nick asked

Jim sighed and said, "No, I forgot. Sorry honey."

"It's ok daddy," Nick said, smiling sweetly. "I'll just wear my undies and a shirt."

"Are you sure buddy?" Jim asked. Nick nodded and said, "I am."

"Ok, buddy, get in bed then," Jim said, leaning down to kiss Nick again. "I'll come in and tuck you guys in before I go to bed."

"I love you daddy," Nick said.

"I love you too babe," Jim said. Nick walked up to his dad and hugged him, then as Jim walked out to the hall, Nick closed the door. He listened for Jim to walk down the stairs, then he walked over to his bed and turned on the lamp that was next to it. He walked over and turned off the light switch, making the room a little darker, then he sat on the bed and woke Taylor up. Taylor opened his eyes, and Nick smiled at him.

"How did I get here," Taylor asked.

"My dad carried us," Nick said.

"Both of us fell asleep," Taylor asked.

"No, just you. But I wanted to see you sleeping on his shoulder," Nick said. "You looked so cute."

Taylor smiled and sat up.

"We have to get our pants and shirts off," Nick said. He stood up and pulled his jeans off completely, and then he pulled off his shirt. Taylor was watching him undress, then he got up and did the same thing. When he got his pants off, Nick paid close attention to his butt, which he thought looked even hotter in white underwear than it did in his jeans.

When they climbed into bed, Nick's heart fluttered when Taylor held his Scooby Doo doll up to his Pooh Bear and made a kissing sound with his lips again.

"Do you want to hold Pooh bear tonight and I'll hold Scooby," Nick asked.

"Ok," Taylor said shyly.

Nick picked up Scooby, then he handed Taylor Pooh bear. He hugged Scooby, then he gave him a kiss on the nose and smiled.

"I think Scooby's cute, just like you are," Nick said.

"I think Pooh is cute too," Taylor said. "So are you."

With that, Nick snuggled close to his friend and turned his attention back to the television as his eyes got heavy and eventually, he drifted off.

Nick felt a kiss on his forehead, so he opened his eyes and saw his dad standing over him, smiling. Taylor was snuggled up to his chest, hugging him while he slept.

"Goodnight daddy," Nick said.

"Goodnight, Babe," Jim answered softly.

Jim kissed him one more time, then he looked at Taylor and smiled at Nick, who looked up at him and smiled.

"He's cute, huh," Nick said, smiling.

Jim smiled and turned off the lamp, and then he closed the door. Nick fell back to sleep right after he left the room

* * *

Nick sat in the chair as people shuffled past him, walking in and out of the office to gather paperwork and check their boxes. Most of them seemed to be in a hurry. Nick knew he wasn't going anywhere soon. At least not until his dad or one of his grandparents got there to pick him up. Either way, he felt humiliated for being there.

Nick wondered who was going to pick him up. It was Jim's day off, and he was moving all of their furniture into the new house. Tom and Linda were home, but maybe they were busy helping Jim. After about 30 minutes had passed, Nick started to worry that no one had come to get him.

"Nickolas," he heard a soft voice say as he was lost in thought. He looked up and saw Mr. Gregory standing in front of him. "Can you please come in my office?"

"Yes sir," Nick said as he stood up and followed his principal. They went into the office, and Mr. Gregory motioned for Nick to sit down.

"Nickolas, I'm trying to figure out what happened," Mr. Gregory said with a genuine look of concern on his face. "I thought you were making friends with everyone."

"I am, sir," Nick said nervously. "Danny kicked my feet out from under me and called me a bad word."

"What bad word did he call you," the principal asked.

"Can I say it," Nick asked.

"If you have to," Mr. Gregory said.

Nick looked to his right, then to his left, then he leaned forward in his chair, then, almost in a whisper, he said "a******."

The look of concern on Mr. Gregory's face didn't change at all, and he continued with his questions.

"Can you tell me if you think that maybe you might have done something to upset Danny," he asked.

"No sir," Nick said. "He always makes fun of the way I talk. He says I sound like a beach bum."

"What do you say to him when he says that about you," he asked.

"I try to ignore him," Nick answered semi honestly. The truth was that Danny started picking on Nick that week, but Nick almost never just let it go. He usually had some kind of insult sitting on the tip of his tongue, and he was ready to fire it off at a moment's notice.

This morning as Nick was walking from the bus with Taylor to his class, Danny, who was in the 5th grade, started to mimic everything Nick was saying to Taylor, and Nick decided to strike back where it hurt.

"Why don't you shut your fat mouth, you tub of lard," Nick said, making light of Danny's obvious weight problem. "I could imitate you, but I would need a whole box of Twinkies to do it right." Then Nick pretended to eat really fast, and made sounds like he was breathing hard from stuffing his face. From the look on Danny's face, Nick knew that he had won. He turned around and started to walk off when his feet came out from under him and he heard Danny call him an a******. Nick scrambled to his feet and ran up on Danny, balling up his fists and throwing them over and over into his face, aiming for his nose, which he hit at least once. When a male teacher finally separated them, Danny was crying and his nose was bleeding everywhere. Nick's heart was racing as fast as it ever had, and he had a hard time calming down as the male teacher hauled both of them to the office.

"Danny said that you were making fun of him first," Mr. Gregory said. "Is that true?"

"No sir," Nick said. "He was making fun of me and all I was doing was talking to my friend."

Mr. Gregory's phone rang and he picked it up, then he excused himself for a few moments. He returned shortly thereafter with Jim, who had a worried look on his face. Nick looked up at his dad, but had to look away. He knew that no matter what the details were, he was busted. Jim had no patience for Nick getting into trouble at school, and he had made that perfectly clear in the past. Anytime Nick even brought home a note saying that he had his name written on the board, Jim would explode at first, then calmly ground Nick for a couple of days.

Nick told his story again, and Jim gave him a disapproving look. Mr. Gregory told Jim that Nick would be allowed to come back the next day, but that if he even got warned for anything, he would be suspended for the rest of the week. Nick looked up at his dad, who gave him a nod, then he turned to Mr. Gregory and thanked him for not suspending him. He also promised not to get into any more trouble.

The ride home was silent, and Nick had a bad feeling in his gut about what that meant. When they pulled up to the house, Nick quietly walked upstairs without having to be told to do so. Jim followed him to his room and closed the door behind him.

"I want you to tell me what you could have done differently, son," Jim said.

"I could have told on him," Nick said, but it sounded like more of a question.

"Yes you could have," Jim said. "But instead you made a bad situation worse, Nick. You know better than to fight at school."

Jim's voice was calm and steady, and as he spoke, Nick couldn't detect even a small hint of anger in it. Nick knew that this was bad news for him, but he tried not to let his worry show.

"Am I grounded dad," Nick asked.

"Yes you are, son," Jim said sighing.

"For how long," Nick asked.

"We'll see," Jim answered. "It all depends on how well you behave yourself from this moment on."

"I'm sorry I got in a fight dad," Nick said sadly. "I won't do it again."

"Son, you know better," Jim said, sounding disappointed. "When you were learning how to box, what did Mr. M teach you first?"

"That my hands were weapons," Nick answered. Nick knew that he knew how to fight better than anyone in his school. He started boxing lessons before he started kindergarten, and he was always taught to respect his hands the way he was to respect a gun.

"So why did you use them in anger," Jim asked.

"I forgot sir," Nick said, starting to cry and feeling ashamed.

"Should I call Mr. M and let him know that you broke one of his rules," Jim asked.

"No sir," Nick almost begged. "He'll be mad at me."

Nick had a bond with his boxing instructor, who used to fight professionally. They were more than student and teacher. They were buddies, and Nick didn't want him to be mad or disappointed in him.

"What are you going to do in the future, son," Jim asked.

"Only use my hands in self defense," Nick answered.

"You're in time out for the rest of the day," Jim said. "That means you don't turn on your TV, you don't read, you don't play. You just need to sit in time out."

"Yes sir," Nick said tearfully.

Jim led him to his bed, where he laid down on top of the covers and looked up at his dad. Jim leaned down and gave him a kiss on the forehead, then he said, "I love you buddy, but I'm not happy about this."

"I love you too daddy," Nick said. "I won't do it again."

Jim closed the door on his way out of the room, and Nick breathed a small sigh of relief. He was more worried about a spanking than anything. Jim's calm behavior was a sure sign that Nick was in for a whipping, but instead, he got off with time out. He smiled and pulled his fishing magazine out from behind his bed and started to read.

It was 3:30 when Nick heard the doorbell ring. He got up and looked out the window, and he saw Taylor riding his bike slowly from the yard. Nick felt horrible. Not only had he let his dad down and gotten in trouble at school, he let his best friend down too. He watched sadly as Taylor rode toward the end of the block and back onto the trail.

Nick sat back on his bed, overcome with sadness. He had a lump in his throat that felt like it was growing, and soon it turned to tears, which began streaming down his face. He couldn't stop crying now, and he laid his head on his pillow and let himself cry as he thought about not seeing Taylor. He wondered if being grounded meant that he wouldn't get to see Taylor again tomorrow, or the next day. The thought was starting to make him sick to his stomach; just like he felt the day he and his papu dropped his dad off at the airport in Sacramento. Finally, the feeling was overwhelming, and he ran to the bathroom as fast as he could to throw up, but he only made it as far as the bathroom door, which he swung open. Nick threw up on the floor of the bathroom, and the vomit was going everywhere. As his head spun and he saw little flashes of light in front of him immediately after throwing up, he felt his father grab his hand.

"Oh no," Nick said as his eyes came back into focus and he saw the mess he made. He started to cry when he realized what he did.

"Come on buddy," Jim said, leading him back to his room. "It's going to be ok."

Nick sat down on his bed and cried loudly while Jim went back in the hallway to get Nick a washrag. He returned with it and ran it over Nick's face, wiping away the throw up and tears. Jim got, went back into the bathroom, and started cleaning. Nick sat on his bed and cried until Linda came upstairs to see what was wrong. She found out what happened, then she led Nick to the bathroom in her and Tom's room and helped him wash out his mouth, then she took him back to his room and helped him change clothes.

After Jim finished cleaning up the mess, he came back into Nick's room and sat down on his bed.

"Baby what happened," he asked as he held his arms out for Nick to come to him.

Nick crawled to his dad's arms from where he was laying. Jim picked him up and cradled him while he sat on the bed. He put his hands on Nick's cheeks and his forehead.

"You don't feel hot, babe," Jim said.

"That's not why I got sick dad," Nick said, still crying.

"What is it then," Jim asked, rocking Nick back and forth. "Why are you still so upset honey?"

"I wanted Taylor to visit me," Nick confessed. "You made him go home."

"You got that upset over not seeing Taylor, son," Jim asked.

Nick nodded and sobbed, then he snuggled closer to his dad, who was still rocking him.

"I guess he's your best friend right now, huh?" Jim said.

"He is, daddy," Nick sobbed. "I just like being around him."

"You guys are pretty close," Jim asked.

Nick nodded again and Jim wiped a tear from his face.

"Is that why you got sick," Jim asked.

"Yes," Nick said, starting to cry again.

"Tell me what you think of Taylor, son," Jim said, running his fingers through Nick's hair. Nick snuggled even closer to his dad than he had before, then he thought about it and smiled.

"I think he's sweet, and he's cute, and he's funny," Nick said. "He makes me feel good."

"How," Jim asked softly, still rocking Nick in his arms.

"He just does," Nick said. "He told me that he loves me a lot, and I love him a lot too. I really like him."

Jim smiled at Nick, and they sat quietly on the bed for a long time. Finally, Nick spoke.

"Dad," Nick started.

"Yes son," Jim said.

"I want Taylor to spend the night when we move in to our new house. Am I still grounded when we move?" Nick asked, knowing that they would be moving in on Friday night.

"No," Jim said. "You aren't grounded anymore at all, son."

"I'm not," Nick asked.

"No, sweetheart, you aren't," Jim said. "If you want to go ride your bike to Taylor's, you can."

"Can we just stay here for a little bit first?" Nick said, not wanting his dad to put him down.

"Sure we can, buddy," Jim said. "I guess we haven't really had time to just sit together in a while, have we?"

"No," Nick answered. "I missed it."

"I missed it too baby," Jim said as held Nick, swinging him from side to side and smiling down at him.

"Am I going to have a son when I grow up," Nick asked as he looked up at his dad.

"Maybe," Jim said. "If you're lucky, he'll be as sweet as you are."

"I love you daddy," Nick said.

"I love you too baby," Jim said as he kissed his son on the cheek and held him closer.

Nick never made it out to ride his bike that evening. Instead, he stayed home and clung to his dad all night, and eventually, he fell asleep in Jims lap while they sat on the couch.

He felt Jim lifting him up and carrying him up the stairs, so he opened his eyes to talk.

"Is it my bed time," Nick asked as his dad carried him down the hall to his room.

"Yeah buddy, it is," Jim said.

"Will you take me to the bathroom please," Nick asked.

Jim carried him to the bathroom, and he helped Nick, who was still half-asleep, sit on the toilet.

"Do I have to take a bath tonight," Nick asked while Jim sat on the edge of the tub and waited for him to finish.

"Not tonight buddy," Jim answered. "You can take a shower with me in the morning, ok?"

"Ok, dad," Nick said.

"I want to sleep with you tonight," Nick said.

"You can son," Jim said.

Nick finished and Jim walked him to the sink, where he helped him wash his hands, then he picked him back up and carried him down the hall to his room. When they got to Nick's room, he put Nick's pajamas on him. Nick was still half-asleep, so all he could feel was his clothes being taken off, and his pajamas being put on him. Finally, Jim scooped him up and took him to his room, where they laid down on the bed. Nick could tell that Jim wanted to be close to him that night, so he snuggled up to his dad and enjoyed the feeling of his dad rubbing his back. It made him feel safe, and eventually, he fell back asleep.

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