As Odessa and The Boy continued to chat with each other under the oak tree, R.J. Gannon and his granddaughter, Jamie Vega, walked by.
“Hey ‘Dessa! And how’s one of my future bridesmaids doing this afternoon?” greeted Jamie.
“I’m good thanks, Jamie! And you?” Odessa got up and greeted back.
“Oh, I’m wonderful, thank you very much!” said Jamie, obviously in a good mood.
R.J. merely looked at Odessa and said a forced “Hello” to her. Because of all the bad history between R.J. and Odessa’s parents from the past, R.J. wasn’t particularly fond of any McBain he came across. He then focused his attention on The Boy, and was rather intrigued.
“Wow, you sure are in a great mood! What’s happening?” Odessa asked Jamie.
“Well Grandpa and I are on our way to a lunch meeting with Jack and ‘Nana’ Lindsey over at The Palace. We’re going to discuss some of the wedding plans. I can’t believe in a few months I’ll be ‘Mrs. Jack Manning’! I’ve been looking forward to our day for ages now!!” squelaed Jamie. Jack Manning and Jamie were one of the most adorable couples Odessa had ever seen. Jack, who was quite the strapping lad in his mid-late twenties, worked as Editor-in-Chief over at his family’s successfully-owned newspaper, The Sun. Jamie, herself, was a gorgeous young lawyer, who happened to be mentored by Odessa’s mother. Lindsey Gannon, formerly Rappaport, was R.J.’s wife and Jamie’s step-grandmother, and played a huge role in raising Jamie, when she was a child.
Odessa was sharing the bride-to-be’s sentiment. “Hehe, I’ll bet! I’m looking forward to the day myself, on Leap Year, no less! And I’m ready to tear up some of that cake!”
“Hmph, I still don’t know what my ‘L’il Bit’ sees in that corny fool anyway,” said an unimpressed R.J., still looking at The Boy. The Boy was unnerved by this and stood up.
“Abuelo, hush! And stop talking about my fiancée like that!” Jamie scolded.
Odessa noticed R.J. looking at The Boy, who’d been quiet the whole time. “Oh let me introduce you to Tim. He moved here to town a while ago, and is a fellow senior at Llanview High. Tim, this is R.J. Gannon and his granddaughter Jamie Vega. Jamie is getting married in February to Jack, but I guess that means nothing to you because you probably don’t know who he is,” she chuckled.
Tim cleared his throat, and shook R.J.’s and Jamie’s hands. “Uh, its nice to meet you both and congratulations,” he said.
“You, too and thank you!” Jamie said.
R.J. was still eyeing The Boy. “Tim, eh? And what’s your last name?”
The Boy answered uncomfortably. “It’s Ganddonn… Sir.”
“Hmm…interesting,” R.J. said rather slowly.
Jamie gave her grandfather an odd look, but returned her attention back to Odessa. “So Odessa, have you heard from your Aunt Layla, recently? I just hope, with her being a big star in Hollywood and all, that she’ll be able to make some time to come to my little ol’ wedding.”
“In fact, I was just to bring her up. The last time I spoke with her was about month ago, but apparently she phoned one late-night about nearly 1 1/2 weeks ago. I was already sleeping and Mom didn’t want to wake me up… I’m still mad at her over that one,” Odessa chuckled. “Aunt Layla is a hard person to keep up with, ya know? But according to my mom, Aunt Layla’s latest film project would be wrapping up just before your wedding so she should be able to come. I can’t see her missing your wedding, regardless, Jamie. I know she’s known since you were little.”
“Yea, Layla was the best…” Jamie reminisced. “I wonder if she’ll be coming with Riley though,” she said referring to Layla’s longtime boyfriend, Riley Coulson.
“Hmm, that I don’t know. I know his band just released another album, so they may be doing some touring between now and then. It’d be cool if she could get him and his band to play at your reception, huh?”
“Ohh, ‘Dessa, don’t go and start putting ideas in my head like that!”
“Hehe, I’m sorry. So is Antonio going to be at the lunch meeting?”
R.J. was starting to become impatient. “No, thankfully, he’s in at a business meeting he wasn’t able to get out of…Go figure. Well we’d better get going to see that Jack-ass fiancée of yours, now. Let’s go ahead and get this over with.”
“Abuelo, You know that Papi has a deadline to close his business deal today! And will you stop making fun of Jack, just once at least!? I swear!!” Jamie scolded again. She looked over to the two youngsters. “Don’t worry about ‘Grampy the Grump’ here. He doesn’t think anyone is good enough for his ‘‘L’il Bit.’”
“Especially him,” R.J. crankily muttered.
Jamie gave him a stern look but playfully punched him. “Alright, let’s go, Gramps. See you guys later and, again, it was nice meeting you Tim!” R.J. only looked at The Boy, smirked, and followed his granddaughter behind.
“Well, that was weird. Why was R.J. looking at you like that?” Odessa inquired whilst sitting back down.
He quickly looked at Odessa. “Couldn’t tell ya,” he shrugged, sitting down, also.
Suddenly, Odessa had a burst of giggles. “What’s so funny?” The Boy asked her.
Odessa looked at him, and was hesitant. “Don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but it was kind of funny when R.J. asked you your last name. I have to say, actually, when it comes to the topic on names… you don’t look like a ‘Tim’ to me.”
The Boy’s expression was blank after her comment, but then he slowly smiled. “Oh yea? And what do I look like then?” he quizzed her.
She pondered, “I dunno really. Again, no offence but the name ‘Tim’ just doesn’t fit you…”
The Boy gave a soft chuckle. “I suppose not… I guess you could say it’s kind of a take on the name of the brother of the man who helped raised me… if any of that made sense. His name was Mortimer, but I never knew him… He was killed way before I was born.”
Odessa’s eyes widened. “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Um… ‘Mortimer’ isn’t your actual name is it? Because that’s a mean thing to do to a child.”
He let out a warm laugh. “No…no it’s not. It’s not short for ‘Timothy’ either, in case you ask… It’s just plain ol’ Tim… Speaking of names, I remember you saying people call you ‘Fiona’ sometimes. Why is that?”
“Oh, that’s just my middle name.”
“Ahh, that explains it then… where ‘Fifi’ came from.”
Odessa groaned. “You remember that? Ugh, it’s so embarrassing.”
“No…I think it’s appealing. But then you do have a beautiful name, anyway… ‘Odessa Fiona,’ very fitting,” he said earnestly.
Odessa could feel her cheeks get hot. “Um…thank you,” she replied quietly. Quickly turning the subject back on him, she asked him what his middle name was, if he had one. He frowned, clearly hesitant about the idea of revealing it. “Oh really now, it can’t be worse than a name like ‘Mortimer’,” she goaded.
The Boy smiled. He looked over to the pond again but was still pondering. “Hesser… my middle name is Hesser. In honour of the guy who was a father-figure to me, sort of,” he slowly revealed.
“Oooh, Hesser… I like that! It sounds intriguing, but it’s got a dangerous tone to it,” she awed.
“Dangerous…” he said, more to himself. He looked at her oddly. “Does danger excite you, or something?”
“Well… not necessarily, but where there’s danger there’s action, and when there’s action, there’s a photo op!” she beamed.
The Boy, still gaping at her, shook his head and smiled. “Amazing… I don’t even know how to comment on that.”
“Just say ‘yes’ then.”
“’Yes’ to what?”
“That I can call you ‘Hesser’…”
His eyes widened. “Absolutely not!! In fact, I’d rather you not tell anyone, and I mean not a single soul, what my middle name is.”
“Oh c’mon! It’s not even close to horrible. ‘Hesser’ is a cool name.”
“Odessa, unless you want me to go around and tell everybody to call you ‘Fifi’ you’d better not call me that, ever.”
She panicked. “Wow, you’re going there!? Okay, okay, I give!... Geez you play hardball, huh!? What’s in a name anyway, right?”
The Boy smiled again. “More than you realise, that’s for sure… Besides, I could ask you the same thing. ” Odessa gave him a wry look. “But at least I told you what it was. You’re the first and only person I’ve ever told it to,” he admitted
She was flattered over this bit of information and looked at the pond. “Really?”
He then glanced at her. “Yea…” he said softly. He returned his attention back to the pond thinking about something, and then he got up. “Well, I think I’m gonna take off, now. I’ve got a history test to study for, and of course, homework to do.”
She rose, as well. “Ah homework, thanks for reminding me. I still don’t know why you’re doing the ‘school thing’,” she joked, and the pair walked over to the parking lot. There they saw Vicki Davidson.
“Hello, Mrs. Davidson. How are you?” Odessa greeted the older woman.
“Oh hello there, Odessa. I’m just fine thank-- ” she stopped immediately when she noticed The Boy, her expression gravely changing. Just like with R.J. minutes ago, The Boy found himself in, yet, another gawking session.
Odessa frowned. “Is something wrong, Mrs. Davidson?
Vicki quickly broke her gaze from The Boy. “What? Oh no, dear. Don’t mind me. I just thought I recognised this young man for a brief moment,” she chuckled.
“Well this is my friend, Tim. He’s sort of new in town, and he goes to school with me. Tim, this is Mrs. Davidson, Alec and Tamzin’s grandmother,” Odessa introduced.
“I’ve heard lots about you. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, ma’am,” The Boy shook hands with Vicki, ignoring the fact that she was staring at him, again.
“And you, as well…Tim. I hope they were all nice things my grandchildren said about me,” Vicki jokingly replied, but still staring. Odessa cleared her throat, snapping Vicki’s gaze, once again. Vicki chuckled: “Oh don’t mind me, you two. I am on my way for a check-up with Dr. Ward, and here I am being terribly rude. Perhaps, she should prescribe to me medication for discourteous behaviour. But, I do apologise for the staring, Tim. It’s just that you remind me so much of…” she drifted. “You know what? I’m being silly again, and that’s my cue to be on my way. You two have a good day,” and walked her way after the youngsters said goodbye.
When she left Odessa was really intrigued. How in the world does this dude make people act crazy the way he does?
“Alright Tim, what’s going on? Why are all the adults acting weird around you all of a sudden?” she exaggerated.
The Boy shrugged. “To tell you the truth Odessa, I’m used to it. Ever since I came into town a few months back, I’ve been getting the occasional stare. Even Alec’s granddad did that that to me, when they both came to the shop asking about parts for a car they were working on. It’s no biggie though.”
Odessa looked at him and started to say something, but she decided to leave well enough alone. As they were walking they had reached Odessa’s car first. “Well it’s been cool chillin’ with ya. Thanks again for saving me from getting clocked by that ball, earlier.”
“It was nothing, really… we should hang out some more together,” The Boy said.
Odessa was shocked but cheesing inside at the suggestion, and tried to calm herself down. “I’d like that… You know, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but the hospital pond area happens to be my ‘secret hiding place’ when I need to get away from things.” she chuckled.
“Oh yea? There’s nothing wrong with that. I think everyone should have one of those, anyway,” The Boy grinned. “So what lunch do you have, then? I have A lunch.”
Odessa did all that she could to keep herself from doing cartwheels. “Oh yea? Cool, so do I… But I never see you in the lunchroom.”
“Yea, I usually go off somewhere else. I’m not a big fan of crowded places, so the lunchroom wouldn’t do it for me.”
“Oh c’mon! at least give it a try?” Odessa urged. “I tell you what…you sit with me and some of my friends-- which includes Alec, by the way-- in the lunchroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we can have lunch together off-campus?” Odessa suggested, her hands in her pockets with her fingers crossed. Please say yes. Tim, PUH-LEEEEAASE SAY YES!!
The Boy thought about it for a bit, keeping her in painful suspense. Then his eyes brightened. “Okay…deal” he agreed.
YEEEEESSSSSSS!!!! “Great!” She cleared her throat to play off her squeaky response, regardless of her now floating on cloud #9. “Well… I’ll see you tomorrow at school, then?”
“Sure thing…” He turned and started walking to his motorcycle. But he stopped, and with his eyes looking bright he called out to Odessa, who was entering her car. “And Odessa?” she looked at him. “Don’t worry… your ‘hidden location’ secret is safe with me…”