Chapter 13

Uncle Dan told my father about my heroic good work in Greenville and how I had made a positive and real difference. I apologized to the old man for my previous behavior and I asked for a second chance. My father and step mother invited me back into their townhouse and I promised to reapply at Boston College and finish my degree while accepting my old job at my father's company.

The charges against me in Greenville were dropped although there was a possibility I might have to testify against both The Professor and Stanch at their trials. Dan said The Horse would probably get off from the Stanch bust. My most recent Boston charges were also dropped and I knew I had a chance to start over, fresh and clean.

I had no desire to drive a car, let alone speed in one, and I wanted to continue my Greenville High success in college. I had nightmares about the dead guy – his vacant glass eyes staring lifeless at me every time and that reoccurring image was my reminder of all that had gone wrong in my life. Yet, I was grateful to be given a new beginning.

I thought about Holly a lot but I knew I had to let her go. She was an eighteen year old high school kid in Greenville. I was a twenty-three year old college guy in Boston – although she thought I was some druggie. Maybe Mrs. Simmons would set her straight but it hardly mattered. She was no longer a part of my life and although that thought made me feel sad I knew it was for the best.

I thought about Mrs. Simmons too. Was I just a boy toy for her or did I give her something more important to remember me by?

My father and step mother could see the change in me. They didn't ask a lot of questions but they understood that something profound had happened to me. I was positive about my future but I couldn't shake the sadness I was feeling and they sensed that and they gave me the space to figure things out. It had only been a few weeks since Uncle Dan had swooped me out of Greenville but it felt like I had been gone forever.

My step-mother said we'd be having a small family Thanksgiving so I didn't have to worry about entertaining my father's friends and associates who often came by. My step mother (Theresa) was a good person. I resented her when she first came on the scene because it seemed so quick after my mother's death but now I realized that she was good for my father. I thought about Holly's mom and how miserable she was after losing her husband and I appreciated that Theresa had given my father a second start and a positive reason to move on after losing his wife. It had been unfair and selfish of me to be such an asshole and to behave so immaturely in the wake of my mom's death. Again, I thought about Holly and how she managed to pull herself together and make it on her own after her father died, even if her mother wasn't there for her.

I slept in on Thanksgiving Morning and I stayed in my room watching the Macy's parade of all things although I had no idea why. It wasn't until I heard voices downstairs that I realized I should make an appearance. I was confused because Theresa said it was going to be a family Thanksgiving so I was annoyed that she had gone back on her promise.

Dressed in jeans and a New England Patriots sweatshirt, I went downstairs to see which of my father's long-winded boring associates had come to visit. I stopped dead in my tracks when I came into the living room and found Uncle Dan, Mrs. Simmons and Holly sitting on the couch chatting with my father and Theresa. My father was wearing a three piece suit with his grandfather watch sticking out of his vest pocket. He had a grin on his face when he saw me.

Theresa was wearing a long green dress with her auburn hair pulled up in a bun on the top of her head. She was fifteen years younger than Dad and at first I thought she was a gold-digger because my father was overweight and balding but now I could see that she was happy being with him.

"What the…..?" I said with disbelief.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Matt," Theresa said, standing and giving me a hug. "We thought you'd want to see your Greenville friends again."

"But how….?" I stammered.

"Your Uncle Dan helped us," Mrs. Simmons said with a smile as she stood too and embraced me in a warm embrace. "It was quite a shock to come home and find the house empty."

"Sorry I had to leave like that," I said sincerely.

"I'm letting you go," Mrs. Simmons whispered into my ear. "Holly needs you." She kissed me on my cheek as she stepped away. "I will have you know that your Uncle Dan and I are dating,' she said louder, a huge smile on her face.

"That's great!" I said with relieved sincerity.

My wide eyes drifted to Holly who sat at the end of the couch wearing red slacks, a white blouse and a brown vest. Her hair was curled on her shoulders and she had an amused grin on her face.

"Hello, Matt," she said.

I blushed sheepishly. "So, you know my secret," I deduced.

"Your Uncle Dan told us the whole story," Holly volunteered. "I was a little upset with Peggy for deceiving me."

"Don't blame her," I said. "She was just protecting everybody."

Holly stood. "Could we talk for a minute?" She asked hopefully.

"Sure," I said, motioning for her to follow me.

We went up the stairs to my room.

"This is quite the place," Holly commented, taken by the expensive and historic townhouse in downtown Boston, just a few blocks from the state house.

"I'm sorry I couldn't say goodbye," I sighed once we were inside my bedroom.

"I'm sorry the last time we saw each other we had a fight," Holly shrugged.

"I've missed you," I confessed as I closed the door.

"Me too," she admitted sheepishly.

"I didn't want to leave," I assured her. "I was going to make the honor roll!"

She laughed. "I was hoping it was because you didn't want to leave me," she said, stepping closer.

"That too," I assured her, leaning in and giving her a kiss. "But things are different now."

"I applied at Emerson," she informed me as she draped her arms around my shoulders. "I was accepted too!"

"Really?" I asked with delight. "You're coming to Boston for college?"

She nodded yes.

"Wow," I said. "That's great."

"I moved in with Peggy too," Holly announced.

"Oh?" I said with surprise.

"Don't worry, it's working out well," Holly told me. "I think I've kind of replaced you in her life."

I assumed she didn't mean they were sleeping with one another!

"What about your mom?" I asked.

"She needs to figure it out for herself," Holly said.

"Wow," I remarked, impressed.

"I knew there was something about you right from the start," Holly smiled. "Something different."

"I'm an older man," I smirked.

"I was so glad when Dan told me you didn't do drugs."

"But I did other stupid stuff," I confessed.

"Everybody does," Holly reminded me, pushing my bangs off my forehead as she stared into my eyes. "Do you want to go under cover again?" She teased.

"Under cover?" I asked with confusion.

"I mean under the covers," she smirked.

"Now!?" I asked, stunned.

"Theresa said it's going to be a while before we eat," Holly smirked as she began to undress. "I'm very thankful," she said. "Aren't you?"

"But everybody's downstairs," I said.

"I don't think they'll be coming up here," Holly smiled.

It didn't take us long to strip naked and we stood at the foot of the bed hugging each other and exploring each other's body with our hands as we kissed in reunited bliss. I squeezed her butt with affection and she rubbed her hands along my chest as we kissed.

"Let's get under cover," she whispered. "For a few minutes anyway."

"Happy Thanksgiving," I said, kissing the tip of her nose as we both fell onto the bed.

"Will you be my informant?" Holly asked.

"Always," I said as I pulled the covers of the bed down and we both scampered underneath the sheets.

I could smell the aroma of the cooking turkey floating up the stairs as we quietly made love under the covers.