PART FIVE (FRIDAY):
The next morning, Ethan woke up to his grandparents brewing a coffee and chicory blend.
He slowly opened his eyes and removed his blankets, then stepped off the convertible sofa.
His grandpa was cutting up French bread and spreading some butter on it.
His grandmother was frying eggs and slices of chopped ham.
Ethan walked to the table where he was soon handed a plate.
“This breakfast should hold you up!” Ethan’s grandmother said.
“Eat up, Ethan,” His grandpa added in.
The three ate and then his grandpa said, “Since our retirement pension benefits were deposited two days ago, and all the bills are paid, I’m taking us to eat out for lunch!”
“Where at?” Ethan asked.
“The cafe` at The Downtown Grocer.” His grandpa replied.
“Tessa’s mother eats there a lot!”
“Try to stay on her good side, Ethan whatever you do!”
“Hey, how well I know, but good advice!”
Ethan’s grandmother gave them both a dirty look.
Ethan finished eating then drank down his coffee, chicory, and milk blend then his grandparents placed the dishes and cookware in the dishwasher and started it.
Afterward, his grandparents went into the living room and watched the news.
Ethan went into the bathroom and activated the mail client app on his iPod Touch.
He began writing a message to Tessa, “Hey. My grandpa is taking me and my grandma to eat at The Downtown Grocer cafe` later today.”
“Awesome. My mom and I just arrived at the hospital clinic and we are about to check in,” Tessa replied.
“Okay. I hope and pray for you to have good results.”
“You and me both! Now I have to sign in at the desk.”
“Okay, I have to start getting ready anyway, but just know that I love you and I want you by my side forever!”
“I love you too and you know I will be!”
Ethan got dressed and then sat in the living room with his grandparents as they switched between the cable news channels, adding their colorful commentary.
A few hours later they were all getting hungry, so they decided it was time to leave.
All three used the bathroom one after the other and then got into the car and drove downtown to go eat.
Ethan’s grandpa parked in the handicapped spot of the parking garage then they walked into The Downtown Grocer.
All three ordered a plate lunch.
Ethan ordered white beans with fried catfish and drank a Cherry Coke.
His grandmother ordered a shrimp po’boy and unsweetened iced tea.
And his grandpa ordered a platter consisting of field peas over rice, tomatoes okra and corn, and grilled redfish as the main entree and he drank an Orange Fanta with that.
As they were about to eat, fate aligned even more to Ethan and Tessa’s side when Tessa and her mother also walked into The Downtown Grocer Cafe`.
Ethan told his grandparents with excitement, “Tessa and her mom are here; I’ll introduce them to y’all”
He then walked up to Tessa and her Mom and hugged both of them.
“I was hoping I would see you here, that’s why I picked it. My mom and I always eat out somewhere after a doctor’s appointment.”
“What did the doctor say?”
“Everything is normal, I just gained a couple of pounds, but my doctor wants me on birth control more than ever now.”
“Well you could get as big as this building and I would still love you and yes I would still want you by my side forever!”
Tessa grabbed Ethan and stole a kiss from him, then replied, “I know I’ve found someone wonderful and I love you too and you can count on it that I will be by your side forever!”
Ethan’s grandparents were watching the whole time.
He walked Tessa over to them and introduced them to her while her mother ordered.
“She sure is pretty, Ethan, you have good taste!” His grandpa said.
Tessa blushed and said, “Thank you!”
“How did you and Ethan meet?” His grandmother asked her.
“Well, I just started at this school. I was given a voucher because my grades were so good. I was even skipped ahead one year. I sat near Ethan in English class, he passed me a note and the rest is history.”
“Now, if you’re that smart continue with it. I know you love Ethan but your schooling is also important.”
“Yes ma’am, I sure will!”
Tessa’s mother then left the counter with no food and said, “I’m sorry Tessa, but we won’t be eating out today. My card was declined.”
Ethan’s grandpa introduced himself and his wife to Tessa’s mom then said, “I’ll pay for your meal. It’s the least I could do. I mean your daughter makes my grandson very happy and brings out the best in him.” He paused then said, “I also completely disagree with the way the school is handling their situation and I’ve decided not to give them any more contributions!”
“Oh, thank you, Mister. I must admit that your grandson is very good to my daughter and he also makes her very happy.”
Ethan’s grandpa told the cashier, “Fill the order, it’s on me.”
He then paid the order.
Tessa and her mom were then handed four pieces of fried chicken, with a large potato salad and a large coleslaw. They were also given each a cup of Dr. Pepper.
All of them put two tables together and dined in fellowship.
All seemed happy, except for Ethan’s grandmother who had a look of discontent on her face and didn’t say much.
After the meal was over, Tessa’s mom picked up her leftovers to bring home and said, “Well, I’ve got to bring you home then I have to get back to work, but it was nice meeting all of you. Ethan, maybe you can come by this weekend and meet the rest of the family.”
“Thank you. I’d like that a lot!” Ethan replied.
Tessa’s mother then looked at Ethan’s grandpa and said, “Thank you for everything you have truly been a big help!”
“Well, I try, but we need to get home too before this weather gets even colder.”
Ethan and Tessa shared a sweet but respectful kiss, then they all went their ways.
As they were riding back home, Ethan asked his grandparents, “Well, what did you think of Tessa?”
“I think she is pretty and sweet and smart. You’ve got yourself a good one, there!” His grandpa said.
Ethan said, “What do you think, grandma?”
“Well, I saw Tessa and her mother eating meat on a Friday, if they’re even Catholic, which I doubt, they’re certainly not good Catholics.”
“Honey, for Christ sakes don’t start that garbage!” Ethan’s grandpa interjected.
“Well, Ethan asked me what I thought and I’m being honest with him.”
“Well if the entire Catholic Church is as corrupt as my school, I don’t want anything to do with it anyway!” Ethan said.
Ethan’s grandmother turned to him with a look of extreme anger on her face, as she said, “If you give up on your faith, you will pay for it for eternity, Ethan!”
“He’s right though, honey. Our church is very corrupt.”
“I don’t care how corrupt y’all claim it is, it caused me to live my life right!”
“Yes, under constant fear of damnation though!” Ethan interjected.
“Shut your mouth, young man!” Ethan’s grandma shouted with anger.
Ethan quickly stifled.
Ethan’s grandpa said, “Honey. Ethan is right, you know. Us lay people are commanded to toe the line but those priests do God awful things to children.”
“Well, my catholic religion has caused me to do good. I certainly wasn’t fornicating at age seventeen like Ethan is doing.”
“Only because you hadn’t met me yet. After all, I was at war fighting for my country. And just so you know the Constitution of the country I fought for allows each person the right to choose their religion.”
“I bet Tessa’s family has no religion whatsoever, though.” She paused then continued, “And what if you got her pregnant, Ethan? You might have ruined your life now.”
“Not so. She takes birth control pills.”
Ethan’s grandma became even angrier then said, “Now I know for a fact that they have no religion. Every Pope has condemned anyone who uses birth control since it was invented.”
Ethan’s grandpa became very concerned, then asked, “Did you use protection? Because if she’s on birth control, who knows what other guys she has laid down with before you. She might have given you something that not even Ajax can clean off.”
“No, but we were both virgins.”
“This is going to be a blunt question, but did she bleed when you penetrated her?”
“Yes. Quite a bit.”
“Then you need to marry her and honor her for the rest of your life!”
Ethan’s grandma then added, “And you better try and make her become a catholic.”
“Whatever her choice, I’ll stand by her. I’m not so sure if even I want to be a catholic anymore, after the way my school has treated me.”
“I cannot believe what I am hearing out of my own flesh and blood.”
“It’s his Constitutional right.”
“Then I am also guaranteed freedom of speech which means I can tell his parents what he is doing behind their backs.”
“Would you really be that cruel?”
“It’s for his own good.”
“No, it’s not. You’re just prejudiced against anyone who is not a catholic. I see how happy they are together and you know his parents will keep them apart and then they will both be damaged goods to any future partners of theirs. Let them be together and marry as soon as they are legally able.”
“But they need to finish their education.”
“They still can. Many of my Army buddies went to college while supporting their families after the war. Furthermore, Ethan and Tessa have access to birth control pills that will prevent any unwanted pregnancies as well.”
“Now you too, honey? If my parents were alive to hear you talking in favor of birth control like you are, they would have deeply regretted letting you marry me.”
“I don’t think so, I lifted you out of poverty.”
“Of course, you would say that, but just know that money is the root of all evil. Furthermore, it is very hard for a rich person to go to Heaven.”
“Well, let me remind you then, that the roman catholic church is the richest organization in the world. But here’s the hypocrisy of it all Rome wants to keep the average catholic family in total poverty by commanding them to bear more children than they can support and then giving all their extra money to the church. They just want to promote human suffering if you ask me.”
“Suffering in this life will bring rewards in the next.”
“Then why did you even marry me? Because through my hard work, I spared you from a lot of suffering, at least financially. So, I guess God will take away your rewards somehow because I gave you a decent life?”
“You did give me a wonderful life and I am forever grateful to you for that. But I lived right all my life, so I will have a lot of rewards!”
“Then if you are grateful to me, I would like some peace and quiet. That means don’t tell Ethan’s parents about this either!”
“All right, honey, have it your way. I will comply with your request but I am not happy about it.”
With that, they pulled into the complex parking lot, parked the car, and walked into the building.
Soon they were in their unit and Ethan walked into the bathroom with his iPod Touch.
Ethan checked his email app and saw he had one message from Tessa. It read, “Hey. I’m so glad we were able to see each other today and my Mom is very thankful that your Grandpa bought us lunch. Do you, by any chance, know the names of those two boys that battered me? My Mom wants to call the police and press charges on them. Write me back as soon as you get this message. I love you!”
“Hey, sorry, I’m just getting back to my grandparents’ condo now. Those boys’ names are Micah Messer and Fisher Aycock. When I get back to my parents’ house I can look them up in the student directory and give you their addresses as well. And just so you know, I love you too!”
“Thank you. I will tell my Mom and she will shortly be calling the police.”
“I sincerely hope justice is served, but I’m very much aware of just how corrupt everything is.”
“I know. They probably have connections and will get just a slap on the wrist, if that even.”
“I know this: I want to marry you!”
“I want to marry you as well. Hopefully, you can meet my family this weekend.”
“I hope so too, but I would have to convince my parents to let me come.”
“Couldn’t you take the bus?”
“I would have to sneak out and then the cops would be called on me.”
“Your family seems very uptight.”
“Oh, if only you knew.”
“Well, my grandma came unglued because she saw you and your mom eating meat today.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Oh, it’s some silly old catholic rule that says how it is a mortal sin to eat meat on Friday.”
“That’s why she was so quiet, then.”
“My grandpa likes you and your mom though.”
“I wasn’t raised catholic. My Dad was a Christian, but we stopped going to church after he passed away.”
“Well if you haven’t figured it out already, the catholic religion is very flawed.”
“I see how corrupt it is.”
“Speaking of that, we return to school Monday. We’re going to have to keep our relationship low key because they will be looking for reasons to write us up.”
“We can always meet up after school and on weekends, especially once you’re no longer grounded.”
“Yes. And hopefully, I can get my driver’s license, soon, but I have to convince my parents that I’m responsible enough.”
“I’m not old enough to get my license, yet, but even if I was, my Mom couldn’t afford to insure me.”
“Even though your grades are so good?”
“We don’t have the money, not even for a discounted rate. Speaking of good grades I have to catch up on my homework.”
“Yes. I have to do mine as well.”
“We will also need to do a lot of extra credit assignments to make up for the credit we lost while being suspended.”
“I know. I’m going to hate that, but it was worth it for you!”
“You’re so sweet. I love you so much!”
“I love you too and I want you by my side forever.”
“I will be!”
Both Ethan and Tessa began their homework assignments.
Ethan tried to work diligently, tuning out the cable news channels his grandma was watching.
His workload was very heavy, but little by little he eventually got it done.
Meanwhile, Tessa’s Mother called the police to report the battering that was done to her daughter.
In time an officer arrived at her house and she took down all the information. Tessa then gave a recorded statement.
Afterward, the officer said, “Those two boys will likely be booked, but I cannot promise that the charges will stick.”
Tessa then began her homework and studied diligently until dinner time.
She and her mother then each ate a Baquet frozen dinner together, which they heated in the gas oven, then they adjusted the antennas, then turned on the television set and converter box and watched some prime time dramas together.
Ethan’s Dad then came to pick him up from his grandparents’ condominium.
He drove Ethan back to the house in total silence.
Ethan continued the last of his homework, then ate a frozen pizza for dinner, late in the evening.
Finally, he went to his bedroom and locked the door.
He then connected through his next-door neighbor’s WiFi, logged into the email client, and then wrote a message to Tessa, “Hey. I’m back at my parents’ house. I don’t think that they know about our secret communications, but the door is locked, just in case.”
“That’s a very good thing because I miss you already. I’m getting ready for bed right now, but we could talk for a little while.”
“I’m getting ready for bed as well, but I wish you were in my arms.”
“You and me both.”
“I wonder if we will be able to be together at school, next Monday as long as we don’t show any physical affection.”
“Other couples get away with so much more, so maybe. If not, as you said, we can be together after school and on weekends.”
“Yes, money talks. So does athletic ability, unfortunately. The cop who came to my house said that those two boys will indeed be booked but she cannot promise that the charges will stick.”
“That is so unfair, but, even if they get away with it, we still have each other. Also what goes around comes around.”
“I hope we will always have each other. By the way, my mom still wants you to meet my family tomorrow if you’re parents are okay with you coming.”
“We will be together, as long as I can help it. And I would be honored to meet your family! It’s just I have to convince my parents to let me come!”
“My uncles might grill you, though.”
“Well, I will just have to make it crystal clear to them how much I am committed to you!”
“Oh, once they see that, they will take you in as one of their own!”
“I’m getting sleepy, but I’m going to mentally take you to bed with me!”
“And I’m going to imagine you next to me all night long!”
“Oh, how I long to be next to you, so close to you that I can hear your heart beating! I equally long to shower your whole body with kisses, until you fall asleep in my arms. And not only that, I desire to keep you in my arms throughout the night, both tonight and every night following, then wake up to your beautiful face right in front of mine. But until then, and I know I say it a lot but I love you and I want you by my side forever!”
“That was so beautiful, you really should pursue a career in writing! And just so you know, I love you too and I will be by your side forever!”
“I only pray that somehow we will see each other tomorrow.”
“Yes, I cannot wait.”
“Okay, until I will tell you good night and that I love you!”
“Good night and I love you too!”
Both Ethan and Tessa fell asleep soon after, longing to be in each others’ presence.