Joseph felt very lucky to have the brothers he had. After he’d lost Jaylah, he knew he was withdrawing from everybody and everything. His jokes no longer seemed funny, even to himself. Life had lost its luster. As he sat at his desk, feeling rather sorry for himself, his pocket began to chirp.
“Hello,” he said into the cell phone.
“Hey, Joseph, this is Josiah, remember me, your brother? Neither Jameson or I have heard from you in awhile. I was thinking we should go out to Chez Llama for dinner and discuss how you’re doing.”
“I’m not sure I want to talk about it, but the kids and I will meet you there.”
Joseph dressed up, since the Chez Llama was so posh, and instructed his children to do the same. “Because we’re going out for dinner, that’s why.”
As Joseph walked up the steps of the restaurant, he saw the reminder on his phone calendar. Today was Rory’s birthday. How could he forget like that? The boy was becoming a teen. This was a big deal, and he forgot? His younger brother was right to call him out. Quickly, he turned this impromptu dinner date into a small birthday party. Gramps showed up, as did Jameson, Rory’s friend from school, Ericka Borden, and a few others. Joseph secured a table, ordered food for the group and they commenced the celebration.
“I was worried, but now I see you’re just fine,” Josiah said, taking a seat.
“I’m so fine, I almost forgot today is Rory’s birthday. This is so last-minute, but mum’s the word, okay.”
Josiah drew his fingers over his lips, twisted the key of the invisible lock and threw is over his shoulder. “You didn’t hear it from me,” he whispered.
While they were awaiting the food, Joseph jumped up the steps and took the mike, launching into a short, but excellent routine. The crowd seemed pleased. Rory’s smile was huge. After Joseph came back to the table, the grand piano on the same platform broke out into some jazzie music. All by itself, or so some would think. The Cantrell’s knew it was Gramps.
Dinner was finished, the kids danced to the music. Joseph ordered a cake from the waiter, along with some birthday candles. Once he had them in place, he called Rory back to the table, so the boy could make a wish and blow out his candles. He did so, and presto! Right before everyone’s eyes, the child became a teen.
Joseph couldn’t be more proud. Maybe now that he was older, he could convince Rory to stop playing with the Cowplant, and with that perhaps Aubrey would stop it, too. He wanted that — thing out of his yard. He was just sorry Gramps was so attached to the beast.