This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.
COMING OF AGE
Co-plotted by Mary Morris
t was impressive to witness just
how fast the two vehicles converged simultaneously at the Blake residence. The
sleek BMW shot into the driveway as though gliding on ice, while the Sheriff’s
jeep roared up to the curb in a blaze of light and wailing sirens. Allison
watched Nathan Stark and Jack Carter fly out of their cars and race up to where
“Ally, I got here as fast as I could,” Stark declared. “What’s up?”
“God, I’m so glad you’re here,” Allison said. “I…I don’t know what to do.”
Carter for his part was giving the house exterior a quick check-up, searching for smoke or any sort of damage. “Do I need to call Henry?” he asked. “He can have the fire truck or ambulance here in a few minutes.”
“No, no,” she said, shaking her head. “Nothing like that. It…it’s Kevin.”
“What’s wrong with Kevin?” Stark demanded. Carter for his part was glancing back at the jeep, ready to retrieve the first aid kit at the first hint of trouble.
“I…” Allison struggled for words, finally raising her hands in exasperation. “I was finishing the laundry,” she said. “I was taking his clean clothes to his room. His door was closed. Kevin never closes his door!”
“Allison,” Carter interrupted. “Is Kevin hurt?”
“No, I don’t think so,” she stammered. “Anyway, I opened the door, and he was…he was…oh God.” Carter and Stark waited for her to finish, but Allison blushed furiously and shook her head in despair. The two men looked at each other and realization suddenly dawned.
“He was choking his chicken?” Carter asked.
“Waxing his board?” Stark countered.
“Chopping some wood?”
“Flogging his mule?”
“Pulling his pud?”
“Bopping the bologna?”
“Buffing the banana?”
“Mangling the midget?”
“Draining the dragon?”
“Greasing the gherkin?”
Carter blinked. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one before.” Stark looked pleased at yet again on-upping his rival.
“I can’t believe you two!” Allison yelled. “How can you…how can you?”
“Is that all this is about?” Stark said, rolling his eyes. “For God’s sake, Ally, I thought this was an emergency!” Carter, having learned the hard way over the years that discretion was the better part of survival, declined to comment on the notion that this situation wasn’t exactly suited to a 911 call.
“Nathan!” Allison cried. “Don’t you understand? He…he shouldn’t be doing that!”
“Why not?” Stark shrugged. “I sure did it when I was his age. A lot.” Carter looked away, because he knew that if Allison saw his grin Henry would be picking up two bodies later that afternoon. “Ally, I assure you that it’s perfectly normal for a boy his age to be whacking off.”
“He isn’t normal!” Allison was almost in tears, though whether it was from frustration or worry no one could be sure. “You went to the therapist with me! You know what she said about him getting too much sensory stimulation!”
“Ally,” Stark said placatingly. “We’ve both noticed how there’s been some improvement in his condition since his exposure to the Artifact. If anything, this just proves that we were right.”
“He YELLED at me!” Allison cried. “He told me to get out and close the door! Kevin’s never done that! He’s always been my sweet little boy!”
“Well, can you blame him?” Stark declared. “You interrupted him! Can you think of anything worse than having your mother walk in, Carter?”
“Actually, I can,” Carter replied. “Try having your house offer to assist.”
Stark nodded slowly. “I see your point.”
“Will you two…this ISN’T FUNNY! DO SOMETHING!” She picked up a rather weathered magazine from the porch. “When I went back in to put his clothes away, I found THIS under his mattress!” She thrust the offending periodical in front of the two men; Carter took it from her rather gingerly.
“Maybe he was reading the articles?” Stark suggested with a smirk.
Carter shook his head. “Not unless you believe that a picture’s worth a thousand words.” He checked the front of the magazine and winced slightly. “Stark,” he said quietly.
Nathan edged over, effectively blocking Allison’s line of vision. “What?” Carter pointed to the address label; Stark’s eyebrows shot up. “Henry, you dog,” he whispered.
“Should we tell her?” Carter muttered.
“Why not? Misery loves company. Though I’d love to know how Kevin got hold of it. You know what, Carter?” he said in a louder voice. “Why don’t I go talk to Kevin, and you stay here with Allison?”
Carter’s eyes widened. “You son of a bitch,” he whispered. Stark grinned and trotted inside, leaving the beloved Sheriff of Eureka with one very pissed off and upset mother.
He sat down on the porch and sighed. “For what it’s worth,” he said to Allison. “I know what it’s like.”
“Oh?” she said archly. “Do you mean to tell me that you walked in on Zoe?”
Carter nodded weakly. “Kind of.”
“She was in the living room. Pilar was…there too.”
Allison blinked several times. “Oh.”
“Yeah. After that I always made sure to check with SARAH before going in.”
That got her to laugh a little bit, and with a deep sigh she sat down beside him on the porch steps. “I…know he’s growing up,” she said slowly. “And I know that even with his problems, things are going to change. I just…I wasn’t expecting this, you know? Maybe I’m still thinking of him as that little boy.”
“That never changes,” Carter said with a sad smile.
“Yeah,” Allison said, nodding. “I try not to smother him, Carter. Nathan suggested that I get him out in the world a little more, so I asked Henry if Kevin could help him out at the garage a day or two every week.”
“Ah,” Carter nodded sagely. That explained a few things.
“Nothing big, you know, but Kevin likes Henry and there’s nothing Henry likes more than a student. Maybe I’m rushing him too hard.”
“Hard to say,” Carter replied. “Does he like going over there?”
“Oh yeah,” Allison said with a smile. “He can’t wait to get there, and I have to practically drag him back to the car when it’s time to go home.”
“So it’s good for him. You’d better be careful, though.”
“Why’s that?” Allison asked.
“Henry told me the other day that there seem to be a lot of girls congregating at the station whenever Kevin’s working…Allison? Allison?” He glanced over and examined the blank, unseeing stare that had overwhelmed her features and nodded. “Yeah, same thing happened to me the first time Zoe told me a guy asked her out.”
Carter walked into Café Diem the next morning for his minimum daily caffeine requirement. He was more than a little surprised to see Nathan Stark dining by himself. “Where’s Allison?” he asked.
“Oh, she’s at home having breakfast,” Stark said very casually.
“And you aren’t?”
Stark paused in his meal and looked up at Carter. “No. I was…told to go home last night.”
“You’re kidding.” Despite himself, Carter sat down in the chair opposite. “What happened? Last I saw, you were inside talking to Kevin about…the thing.”
“So I was.” Stark nodded. “We had a long talk about the situation. I have to admit, Carter, his condition’s better than we thought it would be at this point. Don’t know how Ally is going to handle that, though.”
“I made a suggestion, and he thought it was a good idea. Unfortunately, when Allison came back into the house and found me installing a lock on his bedroom door…let’s just say she didn’t take it too well.”
“Yeah.” Stark sipped at his coffee. “Fortunately Ally’s aim is off when she’s really mad. I’ll give her a day or two to cool off. And if that doesn’t work…” He shrugged. “I’ll point out the address label on those magazines and that’ll take the heat off me.”
Carter stared at him. “Yeah, off you, and onto Henry.”
“Better him than me.”
Carter shook his head. “You are a bastard.”
Stark simply smiled and raised his coffee cup in salute.