After going home to find her brother watching the kids Kira started to lay out dinner while trying to decide just how to tell her children about their father's condition. Meanwhile, Bo was out in the barn taking care of the daily chores that Jebb wasn't there to take care of. With him were the twins as they went about their own chores that they were expected to take care of daily as well. While Bo was chopping some firewood the boys joined him and asked him if he had heard anything about their father yet. Taking a break from the chopping, Bo glanced toward the house where his sister was at.
"Well, there is a couple of things. For one, your dad will be coming home tomorrow." Bo watched as both boys seemed relieved since he knew that they'd picked up on the fact that something was different from any of the other times that their father had been injured either during a race or any other time. Primarily because of the fact that they hadn't been allowed to go to the hospital today.
"So he wasn't hurt that bad?" Jay asked.
"Well, he has some busted ribs so he won't be able to get back to all of his chores too quickly but he also got a pretty good bump on the head," Bo stated while trying to figure out how he'd tell the boys what all that bump would entail. "In fact, I wanted to talk to you about that. The next couple of days may be a bit awkward. You see, that bump on the head was a might strong and is making it where your dad is having a hard time remembering some stuff. He's going to need you two to help him. You think that you can do that?"
"How much of a hard time remembering stuff?" Mikey exchanged a glance with his twin as he asked.
Bo let out a sigh since there was no good way to tell the boys what they wanted. "A lot. But it will only be for a little while. What we'll need to do when he gets home is try to jog his memory but we also need to be patient with him. Can you two help out when your father gets home?"
Both boys nodded cautiously before getting back to their chores. Once they were all done the boys bade their uncle goodbye and went inside for supper. Their little sister was carrying over the last plate to the table as she finished setting the table as was one of her chores. One that allowed her to help their mother and she was proud of. After the three children and their mother sat down for dinner Kira broached the plans for the next day.
"Tomorrow morning your dad will get to leave the hospital and come home."
"So Daddy is all better?" Crystal asked as she picked at her food on her plate. The twins exchanged looks as they waited for their mother to explain what had happened to their father. Their uncle had told them of his injuries and that he has some problems with his memory but it wasn't clear just how much.
"Not quite." Kira put her fork down as she tried to explain things for her five year old. "You know how sometimes when you have a really bad dream? Sometimes it is hard to remember where you are and what happened? Sometimes you don't even remember me for a few minutes right after you wake up?"
Crystal thought briefly before nodding.
"Your dad is sort of stuck in that moment before you fully wake up and you know everything will be alright. We'll just have to be real patient for a while. Help him remember stuff from time to time. Alright?" Kira asked her daughter while eyeing her sons to see if they understood as well. Once all three nodded she moved the conversation to a lighter subject. "In the meantime, what do you want for your birthday, Crystal?"
Jebb rode in silence as he stared out at the countryside and took in the slight changes that he knew that most in the town had long since gotten used to. He saw where the Johnson's barn had been replaced some time ago. The old windmill out at the Younger's place must have finally collapsed and was removed. Instead of replacing it there was a small house on that same plot of land. It even looked like the old mill was back in full production and he saw dozens of cars parked outside that showed just how many employees the mill once more employed. As the truck got closer to the Duke family farm he was surprised when Jesse steered toward the old Hanson farm instead.
"Why are we going here?"
"When you and Kira got married, she let you decide where the two of you would make your home. You surprised her and bought the old Hanson farm and got it up and running again; made a real success of it, too."
A lot of questions floated through Jebb's head but he knew that was something that he'd have to get used to for a while. Instead of asking questions like how he could have afforded to buy a whole farm, especially one right next to his uncle's farm, he let it go for now.
When the truck pulled up into the farmyard Jebb saw several cars but one caught his attention the most. It was an orange car that was painted up like a race car. That had to be the car that his cousins had told him about when they visited with him the day before. Apparently, according to them, his own car looked very similar, only a different color. Off to the side Jebb saw a few picnic tables set up for a party; his Welcome Home Party. Funny, but he didn't feel like he was going home.
"Are you ready for this?" Jesse asked after he parked just beyond the other cars in the yard.
Jebb reluctantly nodded. He opened the door of the truck and stepped out into the farmyard to be greeted by the mixture of both familiar family members and complete strangers whom he'd apparently cared for very deeply just days prior.
When he got out of the truck he reached forward to hug his parents who were there waiting with his cousins as the women that he now knew to be Bo and Luke's wives. Next to Luke's wife was their little girl while Daisy's son was with her; none of whom Jebb could remember the names of. And of course there were his wife and three kids. The youngest of which sent herself hurling his way before he'd even registered that she was running in his direction. When she latched onto his leg his hand rested on top of her head instinctively as he glanced at his family around him.
Fortunately, his mother stepped forward and knelt beside the little girl before the awkwardness of the situation could really be felt by anyone other than him.
"Crystal, remember what your mother said about your father still being hurt. He won't be able to pick you up until his ribs get to feeling better."
Jebb wasn't sure if his mother had used the girl's name for his benefit or not but he was grateful since it meant that he wouldn't have to see her face fall when she realized that he didn't know it. Of course there were still his sons that he needed to remember the names of, as well.
The family made their way to the picnic tables for dinner to enjoy the breeze in the late July evening. While each family member spoke Jebb noticed that they constantly used one another's names; an act to benefit him, he was sure. Another thing that he noticed was that, with the exception of his daughter who seemed oblivious to his condition, his wife and sons each seemed to be a little less talkative than the rest of the family. He wished he could remember if they were naturally introverts or the fact that they each knew that he had no memory of them was the reason. He had a sneaky suspicion that it was the latter.
At least when dinner was over he could do one thing that felt normal; or at least he thought that he'd be able to do it. He headed out to the barn to help with the evening chores. As the two eight year olds started to milk the goats and feed the other animals Bo was quick to remind him that with his cracked ribs that it'd be best to not get back to work just yet. He wasn't ready to go back inside with the rest of the family but staying out in the barn had a way of making him feel fairly useless. His own kids were more help in taking care of the chores than he was at the moment.
After going inside he watched as his mother helped to clean the kitchen up. The whole time he could hear his wife and mother bicker with one another. Though as he listened the bickering didn't really come off as being mean-spirited. It was as if there was some inside joke that he was missing. Missing along with everything else, lately.
Jebb was so engrossed in watching his mother and wife getting the kitchen put back together that he was taken by surprise when his father walked up behind him. When he asked Jebb how he was doing he considered trying to shrug off the unfamiliarity of everything but at the last second he changed his mind. Why lie? He was out of his depth and everyone knew it.
"It all seems so strange. Like I went to bed about to be a sophmore in high school and then the next minute I wake up and half my life is just gone and replaced by someone else's. I don't have a clue about what I'm supposed to be doing now."
"It will get easier. I promise."
Jebb exchanged a wary glance with his father before nodding. He sure hoped that it'd get easier. What's more, he hoped that his memory returned soon so that he could wake up from this odd dream of being a man with an instant family.
Since he couldn't help out with the chores Jebb headed upstairs to get a look at his home while hoping that it would help to jog his memory. When he got to the end of the hallway he could hear his daughter playing with Luke's and Daisy's kids. He really felt sorry for Daisy's son since both of the girls had convinced him to play their game of choice for the day, Tea Party. Briefly he thought about trying to rescue him from his female cousins but he knew that it'd be a bit difficult at the moment since he couldn't even remember the poor boy's name. Instead he watched from the hall as the three drank their imaginary tea as they chatted with various dolls who had been invited to sit at the table with them.
Jebb shook his head, glad that he'd never been roped into doing anything as humiliating as dressing up and playing tea party with any of the few female Dukes in the family. He'd been fortunate that both his sister and Daisy had outgrown that phase before he'd been old enough to join in the play.
After leaving the tea party behind Jebb roamed into what had to be his sons' room. There were toy cars and such off to the side of the room to make a clear spot in the middle of their room. That must count as cleaning their room since that had always been his criteria for whether or not the room was clean; could you get around without stepping on anything? Yes? Then the room is clean enough. Jebb could tell that his boys had different personalities based sheerly on their room. One side was just a touch cleaner than the other. Not to mention that one bed had everything from toys to clothes stuffed underneath while the other only had a few dust bunnies beneath it. Jebb figured he'd have to try to guess later on which one was the messier of the two.
The next room appeared to be made up as a guest room so Jebb went on to the last room on that side of the hall. After stepping inside he glanced around the room that he shared with his wife. What was her name again? The room was neat as a pin which had to mean that his wife preferred for things to be in order since, while he'd not consider himself a pig, he'd never really bothered to go overboard either. Like with his bed, why make it up if the only thing he'll do is climb back in later on anyway. No one else should know if his bed was made up since you don't just go into random people's bedrooms anyway. If he wanted leave his sheets untucked since they were more comfortable that way then he should be able to leave them that way without his mother, or anyone else, complaining.
Glancing around the room, Jebb felt uncomfortable. Like he was intruding on someone else's space. Walking back out, he decided to wander the rest of the house instead. He ended up in the attic and started to look through various boxes that had been stored there. He found trophies from various races as well as things that had likely belonged to his children before they'd outgrown them. He also found more photo albums so he sat down to look through them to get glimpses of the life that he couldn't remember having. He found pictures of him and the boys out in a pond as he was tossing one of them further out into the water. Another with them sitting on the bank with his cousins fishing. He even found one of Bo holding one of the kids when they were just babies and it looked like he'd just been thrown up on. That was one thing he could remember about his sisters. It seemed that babies always had something coming out of them in one form or another.
Putting the book of pictures down, Jebb wondered just how long it would take for him to have any recollection of the events that were caught on film in there.