Zeke ambled down the stairs that night. He was a bit hungry and he was curious if the computer could whip him up something. He noticed a light in the kitchen. He frowned. Slowly he walked into the area and spotted the older version of himself staring at a plate of cookies. He froze and slowly began to back out. He didn't know if midnight snacking was allowed. The man who currently held his hand to his forehead smiled softly.
"I know you are there, come in."
He bit his lip as he slowly entered the room.
"Hey," the younger waved. "Was hungry and…didn't know if I could sneak down and eat."
His future self pushed the cookies toward him.
"Computer, I'd like some milk," Mr. Falcone stated.
"Yes, Mr. Falcone," the computer answered.
A glass of milk appeared and he pushed that before Zeke. Zeke quickly began to dip the cookies in the milk.
"I miss it, you know," the elder smiled tiredly.
Zeke looked up from his milk and cookies. "What?"
"I miss it all, it seemed we grew up too fast," he sighed. "And then I forgot what it was like."
"If you mean Tony," Zeke whispered softly. "I talked to him he is completely fine…you apologized."
He smiled. "An apology can only make up for so much."
"I was horrid to him for years after Noah was born."
Zeke smiled softly. "Well, you've got a lot of making up to do then."
He grinned. "Guess…I just hope he'll give me a chance."
"I'm pretty sure the apology was all he needed, evidence that he isn't alone. You know proof that you do care."
"You are real smart," he replied. "Standing up to me like that before, telling me I suck."
He turned a little red. "I know and it wasn't my business."
"No, it was," he remarked. "He is your son too."
Zeke chuckled. "It is weird."
Mr. Falcone glanced at him curiously.
"Sitting here, talking to myself," he commented. "I mean knowing that I have a son …two sons in the future."
"You aren't supposed to know," he responded. "You are supposed to focus on your dream…on school…and friends…this…everything here will come slowly after. And who knows maybe the future will change."
Zeke bit his lip. "I hope not. I like this future."
Mr. Falcone chuckled. "Me too."
There were footsteps nearby. He spotted a boy peeking around the corner.
"Come on in," he laughed. "Join the party."
Tony crept in rubbing at his eyes. "I heard a noise, so…"
His father smiled softly waving him over. He ushered for him to have a sit. Zeke pushed the cookies toward him. Tony looked up at his father curiously.
"Yes you may eat," he laughed sadly.
He grinned before breaking into the cookies and soon after he asked for a glass of milk.
"So, why are you up so late?" he questioned his father.
"Thinking," he frowned.
Tony frowned as well. "Oh."
"How fast time flies."
Tony looked over his father. He had never seen him so distant like this. Did he cause it with his argument before?He was happy things were changing, but if that meant his father would be hurt.
"Seeing myself so young," he chuckled sadly. "Reminds me everything I've done the way I've acted…isn't the way I've always been."
Zeke frowned. "Am I depressing you?"
"No, not depressed, just reminiscent and contemplating."
He nodded understanding.
"A family never occurred to me." Zeke stated truthfully. "I mean I was too busy skateboarding with my best friend Luth. It hadn't occurred to me that this would be here."
Mr. Falcone grinned. "Well it is."
Tony looked at his father. "Do we depress you? Noah and I, because you don't have the life you had before?"
Mr. Falcone shook his head vigorously in disagreement. "No, don't you ever think that. I love you both…you do not depress me neither does your mother…and I wouldn't be anything if you two weren't my sons. I'm happy that you are both here."
"Skateboarding is my only connection to my childhood and I almost forgot about it," he stated softly. "I had forgotten. Luth and I got caught up in parenting and raising…skateboarding turned into a job…too much of a job…at one point actually many points, I hated it."
Zeke couldn't believe it. In the future he would hate skateboarding.
"I need to get back that passion I had before, I was just skating because of the money," he sighed. "And I reminded myself I had to support this family and it became harder to enjoy."
Tony's eyes welled up with tears. "Is that why thereare some days Mom says that you don't want to talk with anyone. And you lock yourself up in your skate park? You are depressed, you've been depressed."
Mr. Falcone sighed. "Maybe I have been I do not know, but my friend Luth…he is right with me. There are times I have to remind him why we are here…why we are here because our families and the love of the sport. He gets emotional sometimes…and…"
Mr. Falcone chocked silently on his emotions. He couldn't cry he was a father, he was older. This wasn't allowed. He smiled eliminating the tears.
"You shouldn't be hearing this," he stated. "You aren't old enough. Besides, your father is fine, I'm fine…and I'm dealing with it."
Zeke sighed. "I don't understand you seem so happy."
He chuckled. "I wear my mask well but all that happened today…it really just hit me…that I've become this business man…and…not a skater."
He frowned. "This sucks."
"Mr. Falcone, Luth and I wanted to be skateboarders and go pro…but…hearing you being crushed by your own dream…it…majorly sucks. But maybe Luth and I can help…we still have passion. Maybe we can give it back."
He arose. "No, I'm fine. You two head to bed. I'm coming up soon after."
Tony crept up to his father and gave him a hug. "We love you dad, don't be depressed…and if it has been me too. I'm sorry."
"No, son, I was feeling blue and like I said all this confusion made me worse, but it never was all you…and you could even say it was never you to begin with," he stated softly. "I was the problem. So you go to bed and forget everything I've said here. Okay?"
He bit his lip. "Okay, love you."
"I love you too and goodnight."
Tony headed out of the kitchen leaving Zeke standing there watching.
"You too," Mr. Falcone smiled.
As Zeke left he heard innocent almost childlike sniffling. He narrowed his eyes. This sucks.
"So are those chocolates or something?" Luther questioned pointing at the cereal bowl with his spoon.
Mr. Waffles chuckled. "No, it is raisins. You sound like you've never seen Raisin Bran before."
He narrowed his eyes. "No. But they kept trying to give it to me."
"It is pretty good, as you get older can't eat all the sweets in the world," he smiled.
He pouted. "Then I never want to grow up."
He grinned. "We can't all be like Peter Pan."
Luther shrugged. "Sure."
From the entranceway he heard distant footsteps. Slowly they grew louder and in walked Jewels with slightly messy hair. Quickly she ordered her own cereal "Lucky Charms" and sat down.
"Good morning," she stated softly.
Mr. Waffles smiled. "Good morning."
"Good morning," Luther called out.
She ate slowly without a reply. Mr. Waffles sighed.
"Tony is fine."
She placed her spoon down. "Dad, I know you think he is fine, but I haven't heard from him since and I'm not happy about that. I mean…you saw him…you saw yelling…and you didn't do anything about it. He treats Tony horrible and you are his best friend, you should be able to call Mr. Falcone out on it."
He frowned. "Tony is Mr. Falcone's son…it is none of my business."
Luther frowned slowly eating his cereal, cinnamon toast crunch. It felt awkward sitting in the sensitivemoment. Instead he decided to analyze "the taste you could see". He gazed over the brown and sparkly sprinkles of his favorite cereal.
"So you are saying," she began. "If Mr. Falcone was going to trade Tony in, that you wouldn't say anything. You'd just let him?"
He didn't respond.
"Why dad?" she demanded. "Don't you have a back bone? Can't you stand up to Mr. Falcone…I mean I know you followed him around all your high school years like some sidekick, but I'm so sure you are a man now and don't have to take his crap anymore."
"Julia Jewels Waffles," he glared. "Do you realize who you are talking to?"
She whimpered. Quickly she lowered her head. "I'm sorry…I don't know what I said…I just…I haven't heard from him. Please you have to let me go over there. I'm scared for him."
"I don't think that is a good idea, besides he will come eventually," he stated. "And just because I don't like Tony that much, doesn't mean I want him traded away. It would make you miserable. And I want nothing more than for you to be happy."
She sighed. "Do you think we could change the subject…I don't want to make you mad anymore."
He smiled softly. "I'm not mad, just hurt a little. Zeke and I are best friends. In all the stories I've told you no one is following anyone along, especially not like a side kick. We were equal…and we remain equal and he doesn't treat me like "crap" as you say. For the record, I don't call him out, because it is his own issue to deal with. If I stick my nose in his business I've just only done nothing but make it worse. Sometimes we have to remember privacy matters. Do you think it would be right if Mr. Falcone started telling me that I should be a little bit more firm with you? I am sure you wouldn't like hearing your boyfriend's dad telling me to punish you more. Would you?"
She shook her head quickly. "I wouldn't like it."
"As long as he doesn't get too close to abuse, which I'm sure he won't" he commented. "I know he loves Tony dearly and would never resort to such things. So therefore I leave it alone."
"I'm sorry, he was so angry."
"Don't I get angry?"
"No. Not all the time."
Mr. Waffles smiled softly. "Guess I should get angry more often then?"
Jewels grinned. "Like you ever could dad."
He sighed. "Why don't you freshen up a bit…don't need to wear your pajamas all day."
She arose. "Yes sir."
Luther watched her head off toward her room. He looked toward his older self smiling.
"You really think Tony will be okay?" he questioned.
Mr. Waffles looked over at Luther. "Mr. Falcone isn't any different than Zeke, your friend now. So I think you know that answer already."
And he watched him arise from his chair and head into the den. He pulled out his cell phone quickly and dialed Zeke's number.
Both boys sat before their replicas smiling.
"So you want to give us back the passion we've lost for skateboarding?" Mr. Waffles asked both boys.
Mr. Falcone chuckled. "I told you they were wild."
"No, listen," Luther arose. "Imagine it…the smell of grip tape…the sweet sound of wheels upon a grind rail. Everything you love about skateboarding.
Zeke nodded standing up.
"Skateboarding is about hard work and determination, major guttage, but it is also about major fun, and major heart. Forget the money…forget supporting your families. Just think about what you love, skateboarding."
Tears welled up in Mr. Waffles eyes. "That was beautiful. I've never…thought I'd see that spark again. But seeing it in you two boys. I want that back. I mean look at us Z…what have we become…money hungry, business man. That is what is wrong. We are missing something….the passion."
Mr. Falcone sighed. "Hey you are getting a little too emotional."
"Hey, can't help it," he chuckled. "I'm the sensitive one remember?"
Mr. Falcone agreed. "But I see what you mean. I miss that."
"So what do you say, we head down to the skate park and really tear things up," Zeke remarked. "Not for the money, but for the love of the sport!"
Both men jumped up instantly. From above Tony and Jewels surveyed the scene.
"They don't realize know much they've done for our families, Tony," she smiled softly.
Tony agreed taking a hold of her hand. "Sorry I haven't called you. It was pretty tense at home."
She smiled. "I'm just happy you are here."
And she pulled him in by his shirt for a kiss. Below their parents discussed the skating session they were about to have.
Mr. Falcone took a sit in the built in bleachers. Mr. Waffles joined in soon after. They each grabbed a water bottle.
"That was bombing," Mr. Waffles cheered. "Almost forgot how great it felt just to skate."
Mr. Falcone nodded. "I agree, Luth skating just because we love to skate."
Zeke grinned taking a spot on the level below them. Luther sat quickly.
"The future rocks!" he exclaimed.
"We want to thank you," Mr. Falcone stated. "You did more than rejuvenate our love for skateboarding…you fixed my relationship with my son, Zeke."
Zeke smiled. "No problem, I mean…"
A bit of red dusted across Zeke's cheeks. Luther took note of the strange occurrence and then pushed it aside.
Mr. Waffles sighed. "All this time I thought I needed a lot more growing up, but I was just fine."
Mr. Falcone snorted. "Just fine? Who said you ever did grow up?"
Mr. Waffles pouted. "Hey, I have a teenage daughter to prove it."
Luther frowned. "Who knows if we will ever have a chance at growing up?"
Zeke looked over his friend. Mr. Falcone sighed.
"We will get you both back to your time."
"It isn't to say that the future isn't bombing," he commented quickly. "Just…too much going on."
Both men smiled brightly. "We understand…took us a couple years to get use to the gadgets."
"Like that teleport station," Mr. Waffles remarked. "I still think it is rude. I mean first of all…it pops you in at the most unannounced times."
Mr. Falcone snickered. "He is referring to the time we popped into a neighbor's house and he was in nothing but his boxers watching the Intergalactic Speedway Racers. First of all Luther here dialed in the wrong house number. The man almost called the cops."
Zeke smirked looking over at Luther. "Sounds like something my friend here Waffles would do."
Both Waffles replied with an outraged "Hey!"
"I'm going to miss this place though," Zeke responded truthfully. "It is great seeing our dreams coming true before our eyes."
Luther grinned. "Yeah, you are right, Z. It is beautiful."
"Well," Mr. Falcone arose. "Enough mush we have a little bit more time before we have to head down to our work. We have an autograph signing near the mall."
Mr. Waffles agreed. "It is going to be crazy."
Both boys followed. "How about an age old game of follow the leader?"
Mr. Falcone laughed. "Of course, but I must warn you. I never lose."
Zeke grinned. "I will surprise you old man because I never lose as well."
Mr. Waffles and Luther looked at each other. "Some things never change."
An: Hey Internet readers! Well I know it has been so long but life happens. Anyway just nice feel good chapter to offset the last one…which wasn't too much feel good. This isn't the end though! Next chapter there is nice little surprise…not going to tell you what! Wait and Read to find out! :). Anyway any comments? Likes? Concerns? Leave them in a review if you please. I want to say how much I appreciate all my readers! Thanks for having interest in this story! Have a lovely day!