He stood there watching the shuttle starting into the sky, leaving the atmosphere and this world far, far behind. He took a deep drag of his cigarette and let the smoke slowly flower out in his mouth, his lungs, before he exhaled it. He watched how the shuttle left into the misery of zero gravity. He felt how his heart was getting sadden. This dream he has had had gotten in in accessible distance. But this one single time which had caused their advanture. The shuttle was becoming smaller and smaller and only left a blue sky and the red Texan dessert. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
"This hurts what?"
"If I'd said no, would you have believed me?" He looked into his father's eyes. The months after he had woken up had been hard and painful. There hadn't been a day on which he hadn't wished he had died in this accident, but he could have counted on his Mum, his father and even on Marc. They had given him the strength he had needed then to go through this hell. When he thought back it had felt good that things had found another way as the one they had taken before. They still hadn't gotten a normal parents-child relationship. For that it had happened too much or better there had been too much which hadn't happened, but they were good friends and that was more he ever had expected they could be. And even his relationship with Marc had gotten better. It felt good not to be alone, having someone he could count on.
"No, I hadn't." They stood there, watching how the shuttle became a small point before it vanished.
"Do you have one for me?" His father asked.
"I thought you prefer the big ones?" His Mum nearly had killed him, when she had foud out that he had started smoking, but the last year had been so full of work and stress and besides he never was going to enter a shuttle again, so why not?
"Just wanna try something new." He handed his father a cigarette and his lighter.
"Besides what are you doing here?" His father asked.
"Just a little chat with Scrivens. Fucking hell, how couldn't you've told be before that he's alive? I had prepared for a rumble with lady merciless." He had been stunned when he had entered the room and found Ed Scrivens sitting behind his desk, the desk where he expected Hodge to be sitting at.
"Uh…didn't I mention it? But why did you talk to Ed Scrivens?"
"Just a job offer." He still like to tease his father with not telling him everything right from the beginning.
"A what?" His father looked shocked at him. He couldn't hide a cheeky smile. He hadn't told anyone about it, because he hadn't been sure if this was what he wanted and if he had what it took to get this offer.
"A job offer for the area of engineering and design."
"Why didn't you tell us earlier?"
"This wasn't the only job offer I've received. I first wanted to think about each."
"There were more? Hell Neil, what have you done?" His father looked surprised at him. Yes he had gotten a distance between him and his family, but it wasn't the same which had built the grudge before. It was more like having his own life now, managing everything on his own, making his own decisions and not being forced to explain and justify everything to his family. It was the distance which prevailed between people on the same level. There was no subordination. His parents had started to respect his life, his decision and him a fully independent person, without fights, hurt and tears. He took his bag and handed his father a paper. His father read it.
"Well, this is the reason why we hadn't gotten any live sign from you for over one year?" His father asked critical.
"Uh…yeah." There had been even other things which had occupied his time, but he didn't want to tell his father about this, because this was his privacy.
"Do we have to call you Dr. Taggart now or is Neil still okay for you?" His father asked jokingly.
"Does your Mum know about it?"
"Neil! You kept this message from us? Why?" His father now didn't sound too happy about that. But he has had his reasons for keeping it to himself. They wanted to celebrate this moment in peace with each other. They couldn't have done so, if his parents would have known about it. He only looked at his father, trying to explain him his situation without words.
"Neil?" His father still was critical towards this message. Attempt failed now he had to tell him the truth.
"Okay! I have a new girlfriend and we wanted to have some time for us, after I nearly vanished in the labs for one year." Here it was and now he was sure there was some smug answer coming towards him.
"What did I tell you about your testosterone?" His father fortunately didn't sound mad.
"Uhm…yeah I know, and I should start with this controlling thing if I don't wanna give her reasons to geld me legally." His father began to laugh. He didn't found this that funny, because sometimes he thought that his girl really was capable of doing so. She had her ideals, but that was what he liked her for.
"This sounds like a strong, intelligent woman, like your mother is. I only can recommend don't annoy her way too much, you won't survive this."
"But you're still looking quite alive." His father gave him a paddywhack on the back of his head.
"Hit and sunk." He commented.
His father handed him the paper back. The shuttle now was completely vanished from earth. They went back. He put the paper back into his bag.
"Your Mum is going to kill you for this." His father pointed at a magazine about motorbikes.
"Yeah, that's why I waited with this until I moved into my own apartment." He didn't care about the accident. It hadn't been his fault and a life with out bike? Impossible for him. He had to fight so hard for his right in this case and he wasn't going toe let a drunken bitch forbid him this.
"What about a beer?" His father put his arm chummily around his shoulder.
"Uh…I'm still no twenty-one and we're living in the US this could be a little problematic."
"Let me handle this. Things like that needed to be celebrated in a proper way."
"Besides did you know that in Europe they're allowed to drink beer at the age of sixteen?"
"Yes, I once lived in one of those countries, remember. But how do you know?"
"Uhm…my girlfriend comes from Europe she's only doing her masters degree here."
"You don't wanna know that." His father didn't need to know everything right now.
With these words they got into the old blue mustang and drove off, following the sun back into the city.