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Post Ep | Romance | General | Drama

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A Wonderful Life ~ 29

"Is he a good guy?" Jack asked, as they waited for Sam.

"He's the best," Derek smiled. "My baby brother was named after him."

"Wow," Jack smiled. "Toby, do you think I can come visit you guys next weekend?"

"Sure. I'll talk to your mom about it," Toby smiled, trying to run from the bugs around him. "CJ!"

"What?" CJ looked over, annoyed. "They're not going to hurt you."

"They bite. I hate bugs," Toby moaned.

"Well, you should have let me drive. That's what you get for stealing the keys," CJ smiled.

"I don't like you anymore," Toby pouted.

"Yes you do. You love me," CJ smiled and kissed him on the cheek.

"Don't you two ever get sick of kissing each other?" Sam asked, getting out of the car.

"Nope," Toby said simply.

"So, why did you want me to meet you here?" Sam asked.

"Thanks for coming, Sam," CJ said as she walked over to him.

"No problem. So why am I here?" He asked, laughing as he watched Toby try to get the bugs away from him.

"We were wondering if you could take Derek's friend Jack home. Derek has a lot of studying to do for a few of his classes and we want to get home as soon as we finish lunch here." CJ explained.

He nodded, "Sure, that's no problem." He looked over at Derek, who ran up to him.

"Sam!" He hugged him.

"Hey buddy," Sam said, hugging him back. He looked up and saw Jack standing behind Derek.

"And you must be Jack," Sam said, walking over to him.

"Yes sir, I'm Jack," he said shyly.

"Please, you don't have to call me 'sir.' Sam's fine."

"He's going to take you home," Toby said, spraying bug spray all over himself.

"We should probably go too," CJ said, looking over at Derek.

"Do we have to," he whined.

"Yes we have to. Come on, I'll help you to the car."

"Okay," he said, giving in.

"I'll drive," Toby said, getting the car keys out of his pocket.

"I don't think so," CJ said as she quickly grabbed the keys from his hand.

"CJ, it's my car, I'll drive."

"Toby, we didn't take your car. You decided that since you hate the outdoors, your car would too, so I'm driving *my* car home."

"Okay...So I'll see you on Monday?" Sam said as he watched Toby and CJ fight for the keys.

"Yeah, Monday," CJ said, grabbing the keys.

"Okay." Sam helped Jack get into the car. Derek walked on his crutches over to Jack before Sam closed the door.

"So I'll see in you in school tomorrow," he said to Jack.

"Okay. I had a great time this weekend."

"Me too." Derek smiled.

"Okay let's go," CJ said. "Bye Jack, thank you for coming and you're welcome back anytime."

"Thanks," he said.

"Thanks again Sam," she said as she closed Jack's door.

"It's no problem." He smiled and walked to the other side of the car and got in. "Ready to go?"

"I guess," Jack said softly.

CJ'S/TOBY'S CAR.

"I want to drive," Toby glared over at CJ.

"Get over it Pokey," CJ smirked.

"Dad, can I ask you a question?" Derek butted in.

"Sure," Toby stopped glaring at CJ and turned towards the back.

"Well, do you think Jack is in a good home?"

"Well, his mother seems to love him very much."

"But she's never home. You should have listened to some of the stories Jack told me last night. He lives in a bad neighborhood."

"Derek," Toby have him a concerned look. "Let Sam try to talk with him. Maybe Jack's mom would allow Jack to see Sam a couple times a week."

"But what if she doesn't?"

"She might."

"I know what he's talking about dad. Before you helped me, I lived on the streets in that part of town. It takes all you have to survive on your own."

"Lets just see what happens with Jack and Sam today. If it doesn't work out, then I'll think of something."

"Thanks dad," Derek smiled and looked out the window.

SAM'S CAR

Sam glanced over at Jack. "You're awfully quiet," he said. "Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, everything's fine," Jack said in monotone voice.

"Jack?"

"Yeah?" He looked at Sam.

"What's wrong?"

"It's stupid."

"I'll bet it's not," Sam said. "Come on, you can tell me," he said gently.

Jack sighed. "Well, it's just that...I'm afraid to go home," he said quietly.

Sam pulled the car into an empty parking lot and parked the car and turned to Jack. "Why are you afraid to go home?"

"My mom's not going to be there. She works during the day and comes home for about an hour before she goes out on a date. Sometimes she doesn't come home until three in the morning." Jack said, starting to cry softly. He wiped away his tears so Sam wouldn't see.

Sam, being the observant person that he was, reached over to the back seat and grabbed a Kleenex box. He gave it to Jack and put an arm around him.

"You know, when I was your age, my dad wasn't around much and my mom...Well, she kept to herself all the time."

"Really?" He asked, using the tissue to wipe his face.

"Yeah, really."

"What did you do?"

"Most days, my sister would take care of me."

Jack looked up at Sam, "I don't have a sister...Or a brother."

"Well, what about Derek. He's a good friend," Sam mentioned.

"Yeah, but I only see him at school and on weekends."

"Well, work keeps me pretty busy, but I can see if I can't maybe get off a little early for a few days a week. Maybe we can just go out and have some fun."

"What about your kids?"

"I don't have any."

"I don't want to waste your time," Jack looked down. "Besides, in my neighborhood, there's not much you can do."

"Well, maybe we can go over to my place. I got some games I bought when Derek came around. So when I watched him, we would have something to do."

"You would really do that?" Jack asked, surprised.

"Sure, what if I take you home and we wait for your mom to come by. And I'll talk to her."

"Okay. That would be good," Jack nodded.

"All right, lets go," Sam smiled and pulled out of the parking lot and drove Jack home.

CJ/TOBY'S HOUSE

"What's that smell?" Toby asked. He looked down at a grinning Samuel. "You're such a stinker."

"That's so gross," Derek smirked as Toby started changing Samuel.

"That was Sam," CJ put the phone down. "They got over to Jack's okay."

"Is his mom there?" Toby asked.

"Not yet," CJ shook her head.

"Mom, can I have some water?" Derek asked.

"Yeah," CJ nodded and walked into the kitchen.

"Dad, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

"Why did you adopt me?"

Toby paused. "We adopted you because we loved you. We still do love you. Why do you ask?"

"Well..."

"Derek."

He sighed. "Okay, because it just seems like Jack's mom doesn't love him very much...He's never had a mom or dad who loves him as much as you and mom love me."

Toby finished changing Samuel and washed his hands and came back into the room and put Samuel in his crib. "Come here."

He did so.

"Derek, you don't know that Jack's mom doesn't love him. I'm sure she does."

"Then why is she never there?"

"She is. She's there for him at night and in the mornings before he goes to school. She just works a lot." He was about to say more when the phone rang.

"I'll get it," CJ said from downstairs.

Toby turned back to Derek. "Anyway..."

"Toby!" CJ said, coming up the stairs.

"What? What's wrong?"

"Can I talk to you...alone?"

"Okay..."

They walked into their room and closed the door.

"That was Sam," she said quietly.

"What happened?"

TBC...

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