Fred pulled his reading glasses from his suitcase that was brought back into his bedroom and wanted to read for a while. He did bring a book to read while on holiday vacation, but didn't get a chance to start it, so he brought it out of his suitcase besides his reading glasses. The book was a nonfiction one, so it was a few years old. He saw the copyright was a few years old but he didn't care how old books were. He did love to read because of the job he had at the bookstore many years back. He would read the books that first came out when they were first published and he and his coworkers would recommend the books to each other.
He remembered the first time he first got reading glasses when he and his brother Freddy first turned eighteen years old and they graduated from high school. He first got them when he moved to Washington. They were the only pair of glasses he's owned, so his eye vision was perfect for the rest of the time, so he didn't need glasses for the rest of the time, like driving and stuff. He heard the family downstairs ask where he was, but by that time, a couple of them were gone for ten minutes. He heard Kylie's footsteps come up the stairs.
He had been in the book for twenty pages so far when nobody had bothered him. He was reading about science in the nonfiction book. He heard a knock on his door. He carried the book in his hand went up to answer the door. His glasses were still on, so he didn't bother to take them off.
"There you are, Uncle Fred. We were wondering where you were," Kylie said.
"May I come in?" she asked.
He let her in the bedroom without saying anything.
"You made us worry sick about you when you disappeared like that," Kylie told him.
The door was closed.
"I did that because of Freddy's death, Kylie," Fred said.
"We thought it was suicide, but thank goodness you didn't kill yourself. We know you're not that kind of person to do that kind of thing," Kylie told her uncle.
"I don't want to talk about this anymore, Kylie. I just want to know who I am going to when there's a problem," he said.
"Don't be silly, Uncle Fred. You have us. We're family. You know that."
"Your father was the only person who could solve my problems. Mom and Dad sure didn't know how to solve my problems because it wasn't in their areas. They did try, but your father was the only person who knew the answers. If you guys try, you'll see what I mean," Fred told his niece.
"What kind of book is this you're reading?" Kylie asked him.
"A science book. It's somewhat still new. A few years old. I just started it. I checked it out of the library before I came out here," Fred told her.
"I seem to remember Dad telling me that you used to have a job at that bookstore in Washington where you lived," Kylie said, remembering what her father told her.
"For several years. Cashier," Fred told his niece.
"Dad never gave me the name of that bookstore you worked for," Kylie told Fred.
"Waldenbooks," Fred told her.
"Is that why you're reading a lot?" Kylie asked.
"Yes. I've read thousands of books during my years working at that bookstore."
Hank and Peter had left with Daphne and Claudia so they could be in time to pick up the kids from school. They told Heather to tell Kylie good - bye for them because the kids were going to be out of school in a few minutes or so.
"All right. I'll tell her," Heather said.
"Uncle Fred, I'm sure Dad would want us to take care of you when he died," Kylie told him.
Fred knew that, she was sure of.
"I already made funeral plans for your mother and Dad," Kylie told him.
"When are the funerals?" Fred asked, wanting to know so he could go.
"You mean double funerals, Uncle Fred. We're doing two at the same time. It makes sense to do both at the same time, you know. We're waiting to do it when the holidays are over," Kylie said.
"I want to go," he said sadly.
"I'm already thinking it's a bad idea to go to the funerals, so you should stay home, after what you did at the airport," Kylie said.
"Those things happen. We all do it," she said.
She went downstairs again after closing his bedroom door.
"Where did everybody go, Heather?" he heard Kylie ask his niece.
"They left because the kids get out of school soon," Heather said.
"That's right. I almost forgot. I was talking to Uncle Fred. It looked like he was reading because he had his reading glasses on," Kylie said.
"How long has he had reading glasses, Mom?" Heather asked.
"Since he and Dad were eighteen," Kylie said.
"That's several years ago. I wonder why he didn't go to public school like the rest of us did," Heather said.
Fred went back to his desk and went back to his book when Kylie left. He read for several hours that afternoon, but took the night off from the book. He was pretty much into the book when he was called for supper.
"What were you asking, Heather?" Kylie asked when she put the phone down again.
"I wanted to know why Uncle Fred didn't go to public school like the rest of us did," Heather said.
"That. He doesn't do well in public like most people do. It's his shyness that does that, Heather. He's got a disability with people skills," Kylie said.
"How did he get a high school diploma, then?" Heather asked.
"Home school, Heather. He did try public school when Grandma and Grandpa first adopted them, but it didn't work out, so the teachers suggested he do home school," Kylie said, remembering what Mrs. Jones had said about Fred's education.
"Is this why he never married?" Heather asked.
"Right. His people skills were the same by the time Dad married Hossena, so he didn't want marriage. His people skills were still horrible, so he never dated a girl or was around one in their lifetime together," Kylie said.
"Can he try doing it now?" Heather asked.
"No, it will never work, Heather. He's too shy and quiet for that."
Fred helped Heather with the dishes while Kylie was on the phone.
"What were you doing these last few hours alone, Uncle Fred?" Heather asked when he was washing the dishes and she dried them.
"Reading. I like to read," Fred said.
"I don't read much at all, expect for the newspaper. That's about the only time I have for reading. I'm busy with my job these days to read a book," Heather told him.
They heard Kylie ask a question.
Fred turned the TV on and watched three favorite programs for a while longer.
"Mom, another question about Uncle Fred," she said.
"What's that?" Kylie asked.
"After getting his high school diploma from home school, did he go to college?" Heather asked.
"He did, but only through home school," Kylie said.
"Oh. Were his people skills still the same?" she asked.
"Yes. That's why he was in home school since Grandma and Grandpa adopted them," Kylie said.