The Perishers- Come Out of the Shade
James Bassler’s home was a quaint two-story house nestled deep within a quiet subdivision. But in spite of the cozy charm of the house’s exterior, the interior was a bastion of technology. In the living room, a large, high definition television comprised almost half of one wall by itself, complete with a theater style sound system and a vast library of Blu-rays and CDs. Walking around in awe, Noah spotted James’ collection of video game systems, from a Playstation 4 and Nintendo Eon to the now archaic Xbox 360.
James watched the young teenager look around with all the wonder of a child in an amusement park and was pleased. It made him happy to know that someone could derive joy from his things. He had not purchased them out of any particular need or want; he had simply wanted to fill the own void in his life left by-
“Hmm?” James was glad for the interruption.
Noah looked shyly down at his feet. “Is it okay… if… later… I could….” His downcast eyes shifted towards the guitar-shaped controller for the Guitar Hero video game.
James grinned. “Of course you can Noah. You can play whatever you want.”
“Thank you.” The depth of the young man’s voice signified a greater gratitude than simply being allowed to play a video game.
“You’re welcome,” James said. He turned away from Noah, as much to hide his own emotions as to let the boy continue looking around.
Setting down his briefcase and walking upstairs, James shrugged off his suit jacket and tie, and unfastened the first few buttons of his shirt. He stepped into his bedroom and tossed the jacket and tie onto his bed before going to a closet to grab bedding for the spare bedroom.
He walked out of the room and into the second bedroom of the house, trying not to think about the last person who used it.
After making the bed, he began to walk back down the stairs, pausing at the foot when he saw what Noah was looking at. With a small, tired sigh, he entered the living room and walked over to the teen.
A collection of framed photographs sat on a small end table in the corner of the room. Noah was currently holding the largest of these in his hands, looking at the faces that had happily posed so very long ago.
Noah glanced up at James and immediately returned the photograph to the table.
“I’m sorry,” he said quickly.
“We really need to work on your excessive need to apologize, Noah.” James picked up the picture and held it out so the both of them could see it. “If you’re going to be staying here, I don’t expect you not to look at anything.”
In the photo, there was a man with short black hair and square-framed glasses, holding a little girl with pigtails. The man posed with a friendly smirk while the little girl smiled cheerfully.
“Who are they?” Noah inquired.
James stared at the picture for a moment before saying, “My family.”
Noah glanced questioningly at James, who took a deep breath before continuing.
“His name is Marcus,” James explained, pointing at the man’s smirking face. “He was my partner.”
“Oh.” Noah turned back to the picture as James’s finger trailed down to the little girl.
“Her name is Alyssa. She’s Marcus’ daughter… but I always thought of her as mine, too.”
“Where…?” Noah began, not wanting to be too nosy.
“Marcus died a few years ago in a car accident.” James stared sadly at the photo. “I had no legal rights to Alyssa… even though I helped to raise her and she even called me-“
James couldn’t bring himself to say the word. He cleared his throat and continued. “Anyway… after Marcus died her mother came and got her… and I haven’t seen her since.”
James placed the photo back on the table. “I get pictures and cards, though,” he said, as if that made up for it.
Staring at the faces of his lost family, James could feel Noah’s gaze upon him. For the moment, it was too much for him to bear and he quickly changed the subject.
“So what would you like for dinner?” James walked into the kitchen and began to rummage through the pantry, nosing through various boxed items. “I can’t promise you that I’m much of a cook, but I haven’t killed myself yet, so that’s saying something.”
Standing in front of the open pantry door, James paused as he felt a hand gently ease into his.
Noah’s hand was small, soft, and warm. James shut his eyes against the sting of tears, finding it ironic that his own personal tragedy was all it took to get him to open up. He tightened his hold on Noah’s hand and gently caressed the boy’s wrist with his thumb.
After a few minutes, James sniffed and cleared his throat. He stared down into Noah’s blue eyes with a grin.
“Can you cook?” he asked.
For the first time since James met him, Noah Warden smiled. It was a thing to behold.
WOW! It's been FOREVER since I last update. School has been hectic and so have the holidays. I can't believe that I won Best Story CJ, on top of Best Added Graphics AND Best CJ Support this year! Thanks to all of you for voting! Without you guys, I wouldn't be here. Anyways, I figured I'd try and bring in the new year with even more CJ goodies for all of you!
This time around I figured I start a new idea on the extra shots. This week is the weather them.... including a few shots from the new region I'm working on! Don't forget to click on each picture in the update to get a full resolution of each one.
PS: Expect some nice eye popping disasters next update