Jason was finished cooking the stew that Taylor and him would have for dinner. Snow was nosing around his feet, looking at him with begging eyes.
"What? You want some too?" Jason smiled down at Snow who sat there panting impatiently.
Jason reached for some bowls in the cabinet and filled one up for Snow and placed it down near the kitchen table. Snow lapped up the stew greedily as Jason chuckled.
Jason walked over to where Taylor was still sound asleep and placed the bowls of hot stew down on the small table. He pulled the big chair near the bed and sat down looking at Taylor. He was about to wake him when suddenly he stopped and stared at the sleeping boy. Somehow this kid made him feel alive again. He gazed at him in awe.
"Why do I care so much for him?" He wondered.
He couldn't help but feel love for this kid who slept so peacefully in front of him. It almost pained him to think that soon he would bring him back to his family and he would be all alone again. Taylor made him realize how alone he really was. Never having any human contact wasn't good.
"I wish he was my son!" Jason thought with a smile on his face.
Helping this boy made him feel human again. Made him feel whole inside somehow. Maybe the kid was right, when he said not all people are mean and without understanding. But at the time all he could see and feel was everyone's disgust with him. Maybe he was looking for it. Maybe he used it as an excuse to get away from everything that hurt him, trying to run away from his memories of Mary and David. He never felt this happy in years and all he had to blame for this feeling was Taylor.
Jason jumped, startled by Taylor who was staring at him with a concerned look on his face.
"Oh... sorry... I was just thinking." Jason mumbled as he smiled down at him.
"I smell something really good." Taylor said happily as he yawned and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.
"Want some? Are you sure you are hungry? I don't know, maybe...." Jason teasted grinning from ear to ear.
"I sure do want some. Stop teasing me and feed me." Taylor exclaimed licking his lips and turned his head looking at the bowls on the table.
Jason laughed and grabbed the cushions and stuffed them behind the mattress so Taylor could sit up again. He placed the towel under Taylor's chin.
"Can... can I try eating it myself?" Taylor asked meekly.
"Hold out your hands first."
"What?" Taylor asked with a questioning look covering his face.
"Just do it."
Taylor raised both his hands out toward him. He noticed his hands were shaking uncontrollably. He put them down slowly and saw Jason smiling with a knowing look on his face.
"I...I guess I would be too weak yet to hold the bowl. Point taken." Taylor said sadly casting his eyes down.
"Don't worry Taylor. In a couple of days when you get more food in that skinny body of yours, you will be able too. I don't mind feeding you. As a matter of fact I enjoy it!"
"That's... that's not funny!" Taylor exclaimed trying not to smile but he couldn't help it.
"Well... I thought it was." Jason said starting to laugh.
"Well don't just sit there. Feed me then! I am starving! You know it is your responsibility to fatten me up Dr. Jason!" Taylor bellowed as his mouth watered at the aroma of the stew.
"Then shut up and open your mouth!" Jason demanded teasingly, making Taylor jump.
Taylor started to laugh hard, grabbing onto his sides. Jason couldn't help but laugh too. After so many days of sadness and pain Jason loved hearing laughter fill up the air around them.
"Oh.... it hurts. Stop making me laugh!" Taylor declared still giggling.
"It feels good though, doesn't it?" Jason sighed wiping the tears from his face after laughing so hard.
"Yeah....it does!" Taylor agreed still chuckling a little.
He held the bowl near Taylor's face and scooped up the first spoonful. Taylor ate it greedily.
"Mmmm.... that is delicious. You're a good cook Jason. What kind of meat is that?" Taylor asked after the fifth mouthful.
"Well... actually it is porcupine meat. The only thing I could find to eat at the moment. Don't worry it is very fresh!" Jason stated matter of factly grinning slightly.
Taylor's mouth dropped open and a sick look formed across his face staring up at Jason.
"You're.. you're kidding right?!" Taylor rasped grabbing Jason's hand as he brought up another biteful for Taylor to eat.
"No! Really it is!" Jason said as he cracked a smile looking at the boy's worried look covering his face.
"Jason? Tell me you're kidding." He demanded.
"Yes I am kidding. It's beef. That was a silly question to ask anyhow. What did you think I was going to feed you?" Jason asked laughing at him.
Taylor was relieved and ate another biteful of the stew, giving Jason a half offended look.
"I don't know. I guess it was a silly question. It just doesn't taste like beef to me. That's all."
"Probably the spices I put in it." Jason smiled running the spoon in the stew again for the next mouthful.
"Don't tell me what they are. I like it and want to enjoy it. Okay?"
"Okay Taylor!" Jason said chuckling to himself.
"I'm feeling full. Maybe you should eat yours before it gets cold sitting there." Taylor said pointing at the other bowl on the table.
"Are you sure? You didn't eat all of yours."
"I ate most of it. I guess my stomach shrunk a little." Taylor said smiling as Jason put the bowl down on the table and picked up his and began to eat.
"Why are you in such a weird mood Jason?"
"What do you mean?" Jason asked while he stuffed a huge spoonful of stew into his mouth and began to chew.
"Well you're in such a good mood. You seem very happy." Taylor stated smiling.
"You! You make me happy Taylor." Jason answered licking his lips.
"Me? Why? What did I do to make you happy?" Taylor asked curiously casting his eyes up and down shyly.
"Just being here... I guess. I enjoy your company." Jason admitted as he placed the empty bowl onto the table. Taylor stretched his arms over his head, but the movement made his hip hurt a little. He jumped a little from the action.
"You know.... I am feeling a lot better. How long is it going to be till you take me back to my family?" Taylor asked innocently still longing for his family. Jason frowned at the question.
"Still a couple of days yet. I want you to gain more strength in your body." He said with a sad expression on his face.
"I can see that... I guess. Jason? Promise me that you will meet my family. I know that you'll like them." Taylor said as he smiled up at him.
Jason fell silent. He didn't like the idea of meeting anyone.
"I don't know if I can Taylor. I'm happy to have met you, but I am still a little cautious about meeting anyone. It has been so long."
"Well it is about time that you did. You need to be with people. You'll see Jason. My family is great!" Taylor exclaimed happily.
"Taylor? DON'T push me into this! DON'T tell me what I need!" He yelled angrily making Taylor cringe at the sudden outburst.
"I... I'm sorry. I...I didn't mean it to sound that way!" Taylor apologized swallowing hard. He looked down at his hands, afraid to look into Jason's eyes. He didn't expect the angry response coming from him. He seemed to be in such a good mood just moments ago.
"Why do you have to ruin everything Taylor? I know you want to go home. But can't you see how much you have done for me?" Jason thought looking sadly at the boy.
"Well I'm going to do the dishes now." Jason grumbled and got up and grabbed the empty bowls.
Taylor watched him go into the kitchen area of the cabin. He could tell Jason was still angry. He desperately didn't want him mad at him. He suddenly realized why Jason flew off the handle.
"He probably hates to see me go." Taylor thought wanting to kick himself for bluntly asking when he would take him home to his family. Tears welled up in his eyes. He should have realized that he was getting very attached to him. Not being with someone for so long and everything they went through these past four days made it hard on Jason to suddenly let go of the only person who understood him and didn't judge him.
He watched Jason intently doing the dishes. He bit his bottom lip that was quivering a little trying to think of something to say.
Jason noticed that Taylor was watching him and didn't care.
"Let him stare! How could he be so unfeeling? Maybe I miss judged him!" Jason thought angrily as he rinsed one bowl and put it down loudly on the counter.
"Could I have a drink of water?"
Jason dried his hands and reached for a glass on the shelf and filled it up with water. He slowly walked back over to Taylor. He sat down on the chair and put the glass up to Taylor's lips. He noticed that he didn't look at him and drank slowly. He put the glass down on the table and started to get up.
"I...I'm sorry Jason. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Part of me doesn't want to leave you and never see you again. You did so much for me! I know you care about me and...and I should have cared more about your feelings when I asked when you would take me back to my family. I ...I just miss them so much!" Taylor rasped swallowing hard and tearfully looked sadly up at Jason searching his eyes.
"You don't understand Taylor. You have done so much for me too! You made me realize how much I need to care about someone again! You did that for me. But it is going to take awhile before I can go back into the public. I have to take it slowly."
Taylor's eyes welled with tears as Jason sadly gazed into his.
"I know. I should have realized that before I opened my big mouth." He apologized and sniffed trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to overflow.
"I'm sorry for blowing up like that. I know you want to go back to your family and you will soon. Don't be sad Taylor. Please? I.. I'm not mad anymore." Jason assured him as he reached out and placed his hand on Taylor's left cheek and caressed the side of his face with his thumb.
Jason smiled knowing that Taylor did realize how much he did for him. It made him feel good inside. Taylor blinked back the tears and smiled back.
"I don't want you mad at me. I care about you very much. I want you to know that and the next time I say something stupid just let me know. Okay Jason?"
Jason chuckled and nodded.
"Do you play chess Taylor?" Jason questioned thinking it would be something to do after he was done with the dishes.
"Umm...yeah. But you will probably beat me." Taylor smiled running his hand through the front of his hair.
"Well we'll see. You seem like a pretty bright kid to me. I will finish the dishes and then we can play."
Taylor smiled wiping his wet eyes with his sleeve. He breathed easier knowing Jason wasn't angry anymore. He shifted a little and he felt a pain shoot through his left hip. Taylor cringed and looked over at Jason by the sink hoping he didn't see him frown from the pain. He reached down under the covers and gently pressed his upper hip bone. He noticed it hurt bad and this scared him. He didn't want Jason to know and he noticed if he didn't move the wrong way it didn't hurt so much anyway. He willed himself to shrug it off.
"Almost done, Jason?" Taylor called out to him.
<< Previous Page of Story>>
<< Back to Story Page>>
<< Back To Index Of Chapters Page>>
Back To Main Page>>