Adrian and Alan
Court was adjourned for the day. The galley, the judge, the jurors, his client, his client's adversary and opposing counsel had all left for the day. Alan Shore had opted to stay behind in the quiet for awhile so that he could take his time gathering his things and ease down from the adrenaline rush he always felt after a rousing court session. He had gotten so worked up during one sidebar that the judge had actually advised him to calm down. Well, now that ambulance chaser knows who he's dealing with, indeed!
He reached down to grab his briefcase and placed it on the table to open it. He took his phone out and turned it back on. A few seconds later, he checked it for messages and emails. His phone indicated he had missed a call from the 518 area code. Isn't that Albany, New York?
He dialed the number for Voice Mail, entered his password and pressed 1. He smiled when a voice that he still thought of as sounding eerily like his own started speaking.
"Hi, Alan, it's your son. I'm coming to Boston for a two - day conference this Thursday and Friday. Sorry for the short notice; I wasn't sure I was going to attend. Anyway, if you are free, I would love to get together for drinks, at least. If you're really free, I could hang out until Saturday. Oh, and don't worry; I'm not trying to hit you up for a place to stay. The job is paying for the hotel. Let me know what you want to do. You have my cell number. Take care."
Adrian's coming to Boston! Good, that makes things a lot easier. Ever since he and Adrienne had met their son three years ago at his request, he had stayed in touch via phone, texts and emails but, this would be his first time seeing him since that lunch in Deerfield. He finished putting away his papers and stood to leave.
When he exited the courthouse, he paused long enough to dial Adrian's cell phone number. He started walking back toward Crane Poole and Schmidt. He was pleasantly surprised when he heard his son answer, "Hi, Alan!"
"Hi! I got your message and yes, please stay through Saturday! What time does your conference end on Thursday?"
"The last meeting ends at five o'clock. It's being held at the Onyx, which is also where I'm staying."
"Excellent! Tell you what: Why don't you come to my office when you're finished? I want to introduce you to Denny and the three of us can go to dinner. There's something I wanted to talk to you about, anyway."
He heard his son laugh on the other end and marveled again at the similarity of their voices. It's almost surreal, he thought.
Adrian asked, "So, aren't you going to give me a hint, at least?"
Alan grinned into the phone. "No," he said. "I'll see you Thursday." He ended the call just as he got to the entrance to 500 Boylston Street.
Thursday evening at 5:30 found Alan sitting at his desk reviewing his notes from that day's court session when he heard a knock on his door casement. He said "Come in!" and was surprised to look up and see Shirley and Carl in the doorway smiling at him.
"Alan," Carl began, "you have some 'splainin' to do. Shirley and I were just getting ready to leave when the elevator doors opened and this familiar looking young man stepped out." He moved aside to allow Adrian to enter.
Alan stood up and came around his desk to embrace his visitor warmly. "Adrian! How are you? You're looking well!"
Adrian accepted the hug and reciprocated enthusiastically by thumping the older man on the back. They separated and looked at the couple who had escorted him to Alan's office. Father and son looked remarkably alike; same height, the younger man about fifteen pounds thinner with green eyes instead of blue, brownish – blonde curly hair and a light golden cast to his skin.
"Shirley, Carl, this is Dr. Adrian Anderson. My son."
Carl shook Adrian's hand, said, "Nice to meet you, Adrian" and then looked at Alan. "Your son?" he asked sarcastically, "I never would have guessed."
Alan ignored him. "Shirley, I never told you about my son here or his mother. I'll save that story for when Carl is out of town and we're having drinks." He also ignored the dirty look that remark earned him from Shirley's fiancé. "Speaking of drinks, Denny is waiting for us to join him on the balcony so; I'll see you good people later. Say goodbye, Adrian."
Adrian inclined his head slightly and said, "Goodbye, Carl and Shirley. It was very nice to meet you." With that, he followed Alan out the door.
They watched them until they reached the end of the hall and turned the corner which caused Carl to turn to Shirley and whisper, "When Alan tells you that story, I want you to tell me everything!"
When they got to Denny's office, Alan poured a glass of scotch which Adrian accepted and then poured two fingers for himself. Adrian did decline the cigar Alan offered however so, after Alan took one for himself, he motioned for Adrian to follow him as he stepped through the glass doors.
"Denny, Adrian is here!"
Denny put his glass down and stood up. He turned around with a big smile on his face that faded when he saw a man come out onto the balcony. "I thought you said Adrienne was coming." He looked and sounded confused.
"I'm sorry, Denny; I must not have made myself clear. What I should have said is: Triple A was coming. Adrienne is in Colorado." Alan stepped closer to Denny and said, "This is my son, Adrian Anderson. Adrian, this is my best friend, Denny Crane."
"Mr. Crane, it is so nice to finally put a face to the name. Alan talks about you all the time," Adrian said politely. He held out his hand.
Denny shook hands and responded, "Nice to meet you, too. Alan showed me a picture of you years ago. You do look better with contacts."
Adrian blushed slightly and said "Thanks." He moved to the wall and remarked, "You have a great view from here, sir."
"Call me Denny. Please," Denny answered as he retook his seat and sipped his drink. He glanced over at Alan who was sitting quietly puffing on his cigar, seemingly not paying any particular attention to his surroundings. "Alan, do you mind if I take a rain check on dinner tonight? I'm feeling tired, I think I want to just go home, watch a movie and go to bed."
Alan turned toward the older man and replied, "No, of course not but, are you feeling alright? Perhaps, I should go with you. Adrian and I can postpone…"
Denny interrupted him, "No, you can't postpone your dinner plans; your son has never been here before. Don't worry about me. Dave is already downstairs; I'll have him drive me home and when you're ready, he can come pick you up from the restaurant."
Alan stood and helped Denny to his feet. He finished his drink and took one last toke on his cigar before extinguishing it. "I have a feeling that Adrian and I will be out late and I don't want to disturb you so, I'm going to stay in my hotel tonight. I'll see you tomorrow."
Denny nodded and said, "Fine, that's fine. Adrian, it was really nice meeting you. If you two walk me to the car, I'll have Dave drop you where you're going."
"So anyway, then the Alien Queen tells me that she wants me to father her babies, so when I leave Boston, I heading directly to the mother ship so we can leave for Saturn."
Alan sat looking at his coffee until he realized that Adrian had stopped speaking. "Oh, sorry. Yes, of course." He tried to appear interested. "Go on."
Adrian sipped his wine and remarked, "I think not. Alan, what's going on? You barely touched your dinner and you just agreed with me that I should sire alien babies. You've seemed preoccupied ever since we were with Denny. Is it Denny?"
Alan sighed, "Yes, it's Denny. He had forgotten that I told him it was you, not your bio – mom, who was coming to the office."
"But, you said that you were the one who hadn't been clear. You made it sound like you were the reason he got confused."
Alan leaned forward and looked into the face that was so much like his own. He took a deep breath and said, "Denny is in the beginning stage of Alzheimer's Disease. So far, most days, he's fine. Some days, he's forgetful and a little confused. Other days, he is disoriented and delusional. Not too long ago, he was arrested because he climbed naked into the bed of his female next door neighbor. When Shirley and I confronted him about it, he finally admitted that he had no memory of leaving his house."
"My God," Adrian breathed, "that is awful. So, you took the blame earlier so he wouldn't realize he had been mistaken?"
Alan nodded. "Except he did realize it. I'm sure of it. That's why he bowed out of dinner: He was embarrassed." He shrugged his shoulders. "Denny and I were going to tell you this together but…" He waved his hand as if to get rid of a fly. "Denny and I are…engaged to be married."
Adrian choked on his wine. He sputtered, "You're what?"
"Engaged. Denny proposed two weeks ago. He's wants a spouse to confide in without that person possibly being subpoenaed and forced to testify against him or arrested for aiding and abetting. Admittedly, I wasn't too keen on the idea at first but, Denny convinced me. The main reasons I'm marrying him are one, he's my best friend and I do love him; two, he wants to leave me his estate and I can do a lot of good with that money and three, inheriting as his spouse will enable me to continue to live well and keep his staff employed. They're good people. I wanted you to know what's going on. It's possible our marriage will be reported by the media. I didn't want you to be blindsided down the road."
Adrian looked down at the table while he drummed his fingers against it. He was trying to think of something appropriate to say and failing. Finally, he asked, "Does Adrienne know about this?"
Alan laughed, "Yes, of course she does. She and I spoke at length about this about a week ago. We reached another understanding about our relationship, too."
Adrian's ears perked up. "Oh? And, what might that be?"
Alan smiled and replied, "A story for another time. What I want to know is: What do you think about Denny and me?"
Adrian signaled the waiter to bring the check. His brow furrowed and he stated, "It's none of my business. I love my best friend, too but, I don't think I would ever marry him. But, having said that, let me say that I cannot imagine what it's like to have someone I love suffer from a disease that will rob them of everything. I'm so sorry, Alan. I'm not judging; you do what you have to do. I've got your back."
Just then, the waiter returned with the check. Alan snatched it off the table before Adrian could reach it. "Dinner is on me. No arguments, Doctor. I had enough of that in court today."
Adrian laughed and finished his wine. "OK," he agreed, "but only if I pick up the tab tomorrow. Deal?"
Alan stuck out his hand for Adrian to shake and said solemnly, "Deal. Adrian, it means the world to me that you don't object to my marrying Denny. Let's have a nightcap in your hotel's bar. My hotel is only a block away from the Onyx."
The two men sat at a table in the Onyx's bar and sipped their brandies. They had enjoyed their time together and were, reluctantly, gearing up to say goodnight. Alan kept glancing at his son. He is such a fine young man, he thought. He has compassion. I'm so proud of him! Aloud, he said, "The Andersons did an excellent job raising you to be a tolerant person. I was afraid you might be…well, put off by my decision."
Adrian looked at Alan and answered, "Let me tell you what the Andersons taught me. They always told me that you and Adrienne, even though you were young, were mature beyond your years and that maturity and your love for me allowed you to make the hardest decision a parent can make; to give me up so that I could have a better life. If you could make that kind of decision at seventeen, any decision you make at forty – six has to be at least as well thought out as that one. And, who am I to argue with that?"
Adrian walked Alan out of the hotel. "So," he said, "I'll come by your office tomorrow and I will treat you and Denny to dinner. Goodnight, Bio – Dad."
Alan pulled the young man into a hug. He spoke past the lump in his throat, "Goodnight, my son. See you tomorrow." Stepping away, he headed home to his hotel.