“The up and downs a carousel
Changing people’s heads around…
People make the world go ‘round”
Partial lyrics from “People Make the World Go Round” by The Stylistics
Two weeks later, Odessa and Skyler were at the mall after school doing some window-shopping and discussing Jack and The Boy, who’d both been doing teamwork on fixing the Ducati bike Jack had bought for his father, for a two weeks now. “So is Tim over at Jack’s place right now?” Skyler enquired, to which Odessa certified. “He’s been spending a lot of time over there, huh? How much work have they gotten done?”
“Well, Tim was telling me how he was waiting for some disc brakes to come in from some old buddies of his at the biker shop he used to work at, since the bike Jack bought came equipped with… What did he say again?” Odessa tried to remember. “…Oh yeah, ‘drum brakes’. I think he said disc brakes are much better or something like that… I don’t know what he was talking about with all that motorcycle mumbo-jumbo… Anyway, his contacts took a bit longer to get back to him and kind of slowed things down a bit. But, Tim says they’re back on track apart from that. I think Derek and Alec are a bit mad with him, since he hasn’t been hanging out much with them lately… Boys can be so jealous sometimes.”
“How in the world does he do it though? He must not sleep at nights or something,” Skyler guessed. “He says Jack isn’t paying him, and he only works part-time on the weekends. Fiona, I know I’m being nosy, but how is your boy able to afford staying at the hotel?”
“I don’t know… To be honest, it’s something I’ve been wondering, myself. I’m just assuming he was able to earn all the money he needed when he was in San Fran, and when he was working in Port Charles. He’s pretty haunted by some personal things in his past, so I don’t want to ask him questions, unless it’s really necessary… What I’m wondering is why he won’t go to the hospital. He damn near broke his ribs, but he insists on healing on his own without treatment, except for wrapping his ribcage and taking some aspirin. Plus, he keeps getting these headaches, but he’s been managing to convince himself over and over that it’s only his eyes. He keeps depending on those glasses of his…” she sighed. “He worries me sometimes… Anyway, did I tell you that this past Sunday, I was doing some quick-sitting at Starr’s place for Rosie, and she drew a picture of me, her and Tim together?
“Really? How cute…” Skyler gushed. Suddenly she panicked, immediately stopped and then let out a big sigh of relief.
“What was that?”
“Um… nothing.” Odessa gave her cousin unconvinced look. “Okay, I thought I saw Alec,” Skyler mumbled, “But it wasn’t him thank goodness.”
“Good lord! I can’t believe you two are still fighting over Thanksgiving. It’s almost a week away!”
“Whatever, Fee! Alec said that he was going to spend Thanksgiving with our family! Why’d he have to break his promise?”
“That’s not fair, Sky. It has been sometime since he and Tamzin have gone to Napa. It’s not their fault their parents had a change of plans and are staying there for Turkey Day… They do have a right to see their own parents, you know? And besides didn’t he invite you along?”
“Yeah, and Tamz also invited Gisella, too… Fiona, I can’t have that, even if she does put on her best behaviour in front of their parents!!”
“Well she probably won’t even go… not if Ace is coming to Llanview for Thanksgiving.”
“According to Tyler, that’s still up in the air… but he’s betting Ace will go home to Pine Valley.”
“Seriously Cuz’, you’re being ridiculous! Forget ‘Jezebel,’ whether she’s going or not. Go see ‘Grape Country’ and get out of boring-ass Llanview! It’ll be different, for a change. Besides… I couldn’t stand to see you miserable over the holidays, especially since I know you’re miserable now.”
The girls stopped at the food court. Skyler had been quiet for sometime before she spoke up. “Fee, I have to confess something… Before we fought Alec had been talking with me about leaving for university next year. The thing that’s bothering me the most is that of all the schools he applied to, all except for one, are on the West Coast. He really wants to go to UCLA for film school, or UC-Santa Clara: they’re his top two choices. But Cali’s so far! NYU is the only school on the East Coast he applied to, and I can’t help but feel that he didn’t even consider staying closer to me a factor. I know it’s wrong for me to be selfish like that, and I know I’m being stubborn but I can’t help it… I’m a red-head,” she joked before getting serious again. “We may fight a lot, but I love him so much. Maybe we should just call it quits, for good this time…”
Odessa felt sympathy for her cousin. “Aww Sky, I’m sorry. I know that must be rough feeling, especially since you two have been together forever, sort of... But don’t talk about breaking up for good. Is the university problem that the real reason why you haven’t spoken to him all this time?” Skyler bobbed her head yes. They ordered a pretzel and a smoothie before finding a table to sit at.
“You know the last thing he told me before I stopped speaking to him was ‘I know you’re pissed at me, but remember that I still love you…’” She rested her head in her hand. “You know Alec and I have been together, on and off, for two years now. God knows we crushed on each other since we were little… You know he’s dropped the ‘L-bomb’ on me a few times, and each time he said it, I got serious chills in me…” She sighed, “I don’t know… maybe I’ll talk to him later tonight. I do miss him.”
“Definitely get on that, Sky. You don’t want to waste precious time like that. I can tell by looking at him that he’s really missing you, too.” Odessa became pensive. “That must have been the best feeling in the world, when he first told you he loved huh?”
Skyler had a dreamy look in her eyes. “Ode, I was bawling so hard I could have filled a swimming pool that day. Remember last year when I was in the hospital when I caught that deadly flu? Alec visited me every day I was there, even though we were on one of our ‘breaks’. The day I got discharged I was in my room getting a few of my things, when he came in and we were alone. He told me seeing me almost die was too much for him, and he’d regret it for life if he’d never gotten the chance to say how much he loved me. It wasn’t in the most romantic setting, but still…” She looked at her cousin. “Do you think you’re in love with Tim?”
Odessa pondered over the question. “I think about him all the time, and I love being around him. When I first saw him I thought someone had clocked me with a ton of bricks. You know that cliché ‘love at first sight?’ However I feel for him, I don’t want to confuse it with being in love.”
“Trust me, you’ll know whether or not it’s the real thing eventually.” The girls sat in silence for a few moments. “So what’s the deal with Yuriko? Is she going to Pine Valley to visit Teddy, Texas to visit Duke, or is will she still be on punishment?” Skyler asked.
“I’m not sure really… maybe she’ll catch a break if her parents become lenient on her, since divorce is usually tough for a kid. But given the choices, if I were Kiko I’d see Teddy. I mean, I know she misses Duke, but I’m sure he’ll be here for Christmas… and besides, I’ve seen her pictures of Teddy and he’s pretty freakin’ hot!”
Skyler laughed. “Watch it now, Fee! I don’t think your ‘Biker Boy’ would appreciate any of that!”
“Please, my baby has nothing to worry about,” Odessa proudly guaranteed.
“What are his plans for Turkey Day?”
“Well I asked him to come over to our family’s party, but he says he’s not big on family holidays. After, the lunch we had with my parents at The Palace, I’m not surprised if he’s reluctant, courtesy of Dad,” Odessa scowled. “And I guess Starr invited him over to hers also, being that everyone else in her family seems to sweat Tim. I guess she’s still trying to make it up to him for saving Rosie’s life.”
“Tim’s in demand, eh?” Skyler teased.
“I guess so… word had gotten out about his heroics and some reporters were even waiting for him after school one day, wanting to get an interview with him about saving the granddaughter of The Sun’s owner, but he refused comment and practically freaked out at the idea, and I mean really freaked out.”
“Maybe he’s just a humble guy.”
Odessa pondered over the comment with uncertainty. “I suppose so… Anyhoo, Are you ready to bounce?”
Skyler sighed. “Yep, I have some things to think over anyway…”
When Thanksgiving Day had finally arrived, that morning Odessa took the risk in calling The Boy -- who luckily had his phone plugged in -- in order to persuade him, one last time, in coming over to her Uncle Michael and Aunt Marcie’s home for the dinner. She’d even jumped the gun by giving him directions to their house. The Boy, however, was still resisting. “Tim, c’mon! When was the last time you had a good home-cooked meal?” she said. The Boy was quiet on the other end. “Omigoodness, I shouldn’t have said that! I’m sorry.”
He chuckled. “I’m not offended, Babes. I was actually trying to think of the answer… Look, I know you’d like for me to be there, and I would, honestly… But I can tell your dad doesn’t like me, and the last thing I want to do is ruin the occasion for you and your family.”
“But Tim, I’ve told you my dad won’t be an ass this time. He even promised me that he’d apologise to you in front of everyone if you came, and that’s huge coming from him.”
“I don’t know… we’ll see. Look there’s something I need to take care of, but if I don’t end up coming thanks for the invite. And Happy Thanksgiving…”
Dinner was hosted at Michael and Marcie’s home. Gathered at their place were Odessa, her parents and Tyler Ace. Ace had chosen to come to town at the last minute, staying at Michael and Marcie’s with Tyler, although his parents weren’t happy about it. “Thanksgiving at my place is always a joke, but I’ll go home for Christmas…” he commented. Ace also made stops to visit Kelly, and then Kevin, since they’d known him as a baby, and were the one’s responsible for his nickname. His brief visit was somewhat of a relief for Kiko, since she was upset that she couldn’t go to Pine Valley to visit Teddy, or visit Duke, as he was in London finishing up on some business for Buchanan Enterprises. Skyler, on the other hand, wound up going to Napa with Alec, Tamzin, and unfortunately, Gisella. Skyler had never actually said she would go, but the hour before the Buchanan family private jet was ready to take-off, Alec had come to her and pleaded with her to come with. Skyler, no less, was completely flattered and she gave in.
At least she gets to be with her dude tonight! Odessa had put on a front, pretending to be having a good time, not that she ungrateful for being with her family… She just wanted to share her delight with The Boy, as well. Whilst she was helping set the table with Tyler, her mother announced that someone was pulling up to the driveway. The doorbell rang and Odessa had her fingers crossed. To her slight disappointment it wasn’t The Boy, but it was her cousin Shannon, whom she hadn’t seen in a couple of years, making a surprise visit. “Shannon!” Odessa happily called out and rushed to give her a hug; her family followed suit. Shannon wasn’t The Boy, but she was just as appreciated, as a she was a riot to be around. Since Shannon moved from Llanview many years ago, she lived in New York City for a spell, before settling back down in near her Aunt Eve in their hometown of Atlantic City, where Shannon was working as a paramedic. She was also a single mom, with seven year-old son twins, who were the results of a one-night stand she had had, while on a visit to Port Charles with an NYC-based friend. Her sons, Connor-Luis and Declan-Ramon, were with their father in Port Charles, for the holiday. Shannon’s older cousins hadn’t been happy about her being pregnant out of wedlock, but they loved their nephews, no less.
A short while later, dinner was ready to be served and everyone gathered at the dinner table. Just before Tyler would lead Thanksgiving prayer, the doorbell rang.
“I wonder who that could be?” Michael questioned.
Odessa’s hear skipped a beat. Please, please, please…
Michael answered the door. “Hello, my I help you?”
Odessa could hear a familiar voice. “Uh, hi Dr. McBain, I assume. Um… Odessa invited me over and I recognised her dad’s T-Bird in your driveway, so I’m guessing this is the right place.”
Odessa quickly left the dining room and rushed to the front door. “Tim! You made it! Uncle Mike, this is my boyfriend Tim. I told you about him earlier…”
Michael gave him a once-over with a raised eyebrow. “Ah, right. Come on in…” he said skeptically.
Clearing his throat The Boy spoke. “I, uh, brought over a pumpkin pie,” he said, pulling the dish from a plastic bag.
Odessa beamed. “Oh that’s so sweet! I would’ve thought most stores were closed at this hour.”
“Well I don’t about that, but I made this one,” The Boy replied.
Odessa only looked at him, very much surprised. “From scratch? I didn’t know you could cook, or even bake! How did you make this? I know you just bought a microwave, but you don’t have an oven, much less a kitchen…”
“Yeah, I know. After I got off the phone with you, I started thinking… I wanted to call Jack to see if I could come over and use his kitchen, but I remembered that he was going to be at Jamie’s father’s place all day. I went out a bit later to put some fuel in my bike when I saw Mr. Manning at the station. He asked me about my plans for today, and I told him what my intentions were. He insisted I come to his place so I could use his kitchen. I guess he didn’t leave me much choice…”
“How nice of him, and how nice of you!” Odessa praised.
“I agree, thank you very much, Tim… Please make yourself comfortable,” Michael directed.
Dinner went by smoothly. Ace and Shannon were full of jokes, whereas Michael would tell embarrassing stories of his and John’s childhood, while John would pretend to be angry at Michael’s distorted stories. The Boy was mostly quiet, but he seemed to enjoy himself, which was good, as John had kept his promise to Odessa. However, her mother had been staring at him strangely this time around, making The Boy squirm some. Odessa had asked her mother privately why she was now acting strange towards The Boy. Evangeline responded by saying she didn’t realise she was being rude, and that it was a sub-conscious thing. “Don’t pay me any mind,” Evangeline had said. When they were having dessert they’d all complimented him for his mouth-watering pie. “Son, why can’t you be useful and learn how to make a dish as good as this,” Michael joked.
“Hey, I’ll have you know that I’ve always been interested in the art of ‘culinary engineering’,” Tyler responded with mock-offence. “But Mom kept driving me out of the kitchen.”
“That’s because you were too busy eating everything I was making! Hpmh! ‘Culinary engineering’…” Marcie teased.
Out of the blue, Shannon came out with recognition, “You know, I’ve been trying to figure where I’ve seen you before, Tim.” The Boy went stone-face. “You used to live in Port Charles, right?”
“Yes, Shannon, I did,” he said cautiously. “Have I met you before?”
“Not face-to-face. A good friend of mine who lives in New York City used to live in Port Charles, and I’ve visited the town with her a several times. She’d also take my sons with her when she was going to Port Charles for a visit on weekends, since their father lives there… Didn’t you work at a biker shop?” The Boy confirmed her query.
“Maybe you know my little boys’ father then, his name is Diego Alcazar. I’d seen him there a few times.”
The Boy blinked several times before speaking. “Yeah, the name rings a bell.” Suddenly, he winced and rubbed his temples. Odessa asked if he was okay, in which he’d replied he was fine.
As the night was winding down, Tyler and Ace were in the former’s room playing video games, whilst the adults were laughing and catching up on things. The Boy had gone out on the back deck for a breath of nightly air, and with her coat Odessa went to join him on a cushioned bench. “Tim, what are you doing? It’s cold as a mutha out here… are you sure everything’s alright with you?”
He smiled, admiring the porch light’s rays on her delicate face. “Yeah, I was just remembering some things,” he said as he wrapped his arm around her, rubbing her shivering body.
“So how was it baking at Mr. Manning’s place?” Odessa asked, snuggling up to him.
“It was great. The Chavez’s were over there, I guess they switched up plans and decided to have dinner there. Anyway, Mr. Manning has a wicked penthouse and he took me to his private garage. His bike collection is pretty tight, nothing like Uncle Carlo’s but still pretty fucking cool. He also has this dagger and sword collection that was pretty slick, too.”
“I’m glad all went well there,” Odessa said before falling quiet. Then she braved up to him. “Tim, do you mind if I ask you something?” He looked at her with indication to continue. “Did you have a good time tonight?”
“Yeah, I did. I’m glad I came.”
“Me too, thanks for changing your mind… and the pie.”
He kissed her forehead. “Your welcome… Do you want to go ahead and ask me the other questions in your mind?”
She gazed at him. His ability to read her was startling, because he was right: she did have a million questions to ask. She asked him one that pretty much everyone had been wondering about. “Tim, how are you able to afford living on your own?”
The Boy lightly chuckled. “Ah, there it is… the million-dollar question. Well, I had some money that was set aside for me… that and what I was able to save up from when I was in Port Charles, and when I was working fulltime before I enrolled in school. So I get by on that, basically…” Things were silent between them. “Go ahead and ask your next question.” Odessa had refused, citing it was too personal, but The Boy insisted.
She hesitated. “Who’s gravesite were you looking at that day?”
He didn’t answer right away, but at last he spoke. “Someone my mother once knew… She used to live in Llanview a long time ago.”
“Oh…” was all she could say, despite the fact that she was actually surprised at his admission.
It became quiet again. “Anything else?” he asked in that deep, soft tone of his.
“Just one more… if you know your mother used to live in Llanview, do you know anything at all about your father?”
Again The Boy was hushed for the longest time, forming a scowl. “Yes, I know some things about him… Actually, all that I need to know is that his name is Thomas and he’s still alive…” When he spoke his voice became disturbingly deeper, almost frightening Odessa; she shivered. The Boy took notice and stared into her eyes. “That piece of info stays with you only, Babes…” Then his expression softened. “I’m gonna go now, so I’ll go say ‘goodbye’ to your family.”
“Um… alright then…”
After he saw her and everyone else off, Odessa watched as The Boy rode off into the night. Her Aunt Marcie had tried giving him some leftovers from the dinner, but he’d refused, thanking her, nevertheless.
By the time she and her parents came home, she was tired and decided to go to bed early. Her father had already gone upstairs and Odessa was about to do the same, until her mother called her from the living room. “What’s up. Mom?” Odessa noticed the troubling look on her mother’s face. “What is it?”
“You had a good time tonight, right Baby?” Evangeline asked. Odessa cautiously said yes. “Okay, I’m going to come right out and ask, but ’Dessi… have you noticed anything peculiar about Tim?”
Odessa was stunned and exasperated at the unexpected question. “Oh no, not you, too Mom?! Where’s this coming from?”
Her mother was tentative. “It’s just that when I saw him without his glasses tonight, I’ve been thinking that there’s something strangely familiar… I just can’t put my finger on it. Anyway, just be careful around him okay?”
“Unbelievable!! Did dad put you up to this? Has he got you warped now? If you even think about asking me to stop seeing him, you can just forget about that!”
“’Dessi, watch it--”
“Mom, just admit it! You and Dad don’t trust him. Even after you said you liked him… Dad even apologised to him tonight!!” Odessa was desperately trying to control her temper. She needed to get out of the room. “I can’t do this right now… I’m going to bed,” and she quickly left the room.
“Odessa!” she could hear her mother bellowing as she ran up to her room, slamming her door.
Odessa reflected on the night she had with everyone that night. Even though Skyler hadn’t been there -- she’d called earlier on and was, apparently, having a good time, in spite of Gisella’s presence -- it had been a fun evening, until the end. Damnit, Mom! Why are you and Dad being so freakin’ sketchy? Aside from that she thought specifically about The Boy, from the fact that he could bake a pie on his own to the little pieces of information he told her about his parents. The Boy was becoming more and more impressive, yet mysteriously fascinating to higher levels.
And there were still a million questions left to ask…