Gregory Patrick


Jaiden � Chapter 158

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Greg Patrick


“Charley, why are you tossing and turning so much?” “Because, Dale, every inch of my body is itching like I crawled naked through a field of chiggers.”


“This itching is murder. My Johnson-Evinrude rudder looks like a redhot sausage. The grocery bag that my redhot totes looks like a bulldog bag full of marbles.” “By bulldog bag, are you talking about the bulldog with a circle around his right eye?” “Yep, that store bulldog and my marble bag is as red as the circle around his eye � and it”s swollen!”


“Is there anything I can do to help you?” “Yes. Go get the yard rake and start raking my body.” “Don”t be facetious, Charley!” “I”m not, Dale; I”m serious. I”m itching to death. Go check the children and make sure they are OK, please.”


Dale checked on Alaina Noelle since they found her chickenpox the day before. She was still sleeping soundly. When he checked on his boys, two had red bumps all over their bodies, but they were sleeping well.


As Dale walked back to his room, he met Jaiden in the hall. He started laughing when he saw Jaiden scratching his butt with one hand and his stomach with the other. “Chickenpox, Jaiden?” “Yes, Charley, they are in the worst places possible and itch like hell!”


I just checked on the children. Alaina Noelle is sleeping peacefully, and two of the boys have red pockmarks everywhere, but they are still sleeping soundly.” “They should be, Dale. I”ve been giving them Benadryl every six hours all night. I got up to check on the kids, and a couple of them were whining in their sleep, so I gave them some medication.” “How are your boys, Jaiden?” “The same as yours, buddy. Three have red bumps from head to toe, and the other two are sleeping with smiles on their faces � JUST LIKE PEYTON!”


“So I take it he”s like me � no chickenpox. Not yet, but I”m doing all I can to make sure he”s gonna get them. He made the mistake of laughing at me. If he doesn”t get chickenpox, I”m gonna be pissed.”


“Jaiden, don”t be that way; you should be happy if he doesn”t get them.” “I will be happy for him if he doesn”t get the virus, but I”m still gonna be pissed if he doesn”t after he laughed at me about the itching.” “I wonder if Charley feels that way; I laughed at him too.” “Ask him, Dale.”


“Hey, Babe, come snuggle with me.” “Do you need me to comfort you, Charley?” “Yes, I do, sweetheart. Please hold me and scratch where ever your hands touch.”


“Ah, that feels so good! Wiggle around against me some more.” “Charley!” “Yes, Babe.” “Are you trying to give me chickenpox quicker?”


“Did you laugh at me before you checked on the babies?” “Yes, but it was at the situation, not you.” “Well, yes is your answer.” “I can”t believe you”re doing to me what Jaiden is doing to Peyton.” “I can; Peyton must have laughed at Jaiden.” “How did you know?” “That”s the only thing that would get under Jaiden”s skin and then fester � Peyton laughing at him. It”s also the one thing that will get under my skin and make me want to get even. Revenge belongs to Hashem, but He didn”t say anything about getting even.”


“Charley, I”m surprised at you. I”m sure you are, Dale, but understand this: when you get chickenpox, and the only thing scratching does is intensify the itching, then and only then will I have sympathy for you.”


“Jaiden.” “Yes, Peyton.” “What”s that funky smell on your right hand?” “What does it smell like, love?” “Butt; it smells like butt.” That”s because that is what the smell is from. I have been trying to scratch a motherload of itching out of my butt; does it smell good?” “No, it stinks, and you know it!” “Yea, I do, but the more I thought about you laughing at my itching, the more my butt itched, and the more I had to dig into it and scratch myself.”


“Jaiden, if I promise not to laugh at your itching anymore, will you get your hand away from my nose?” “I”ll think about it, sweetheart.” “Damn, babe, please?” “As I said, sweetheart, I”ll think about it.”


As Charley did Dale, Jaiden laid next to Peyton with a smile running from ear to ear. He”d gotten a little bit of revenge against Peyton, and he loved every minute of getting it, as did Charley.


When Ginny and Granny walked in the door, Ginny took one look at Jaiden and said, “Son, you look like a strawberry pancake; red spots all over yourself.” “I know, Ginny, and the spots itch the worst in the places I can”t scratch when somebody is around!”


“Well, here, son; this should help dry up the spots and stop a lot of the itching.” “What is it, Ginny?” “It”s a mother”s favorite remedy when they have children with chickenpox and measles: Calamine lotion � and it works.”


“If you and Granny will excuse me, I”m gonna put it on the lesions and take some Benadryl.” “It”ll take about thirty minutes to start working, but you may be able to get a little sleep when it does.” “Do I look that bad, Ginny?” “Jaiden, I”d laugh if I didn”t know it would upset you.” “You might as well laugh, Ginny; Peyton and Dale have laughed at Charley and me all night.”


Jaiden applied the calamine lotion and took some Benadryl. Then, he walked through the den to one of the downstairs bedrooms to try and get some rest since Peyton was still asleep.


Before Jaiden got downstairs, Nathan Robert walked into the den and said, “Daddy, my butt itches bad; will you kiss it and make it feel better?” “Daddy can”t kiss your butt to make it feel better, but he can give you some medicine to help it stop itching.” “Pweeze, Daddy.”


“Jaiden applied some of the calamine lotion on Nathan Robert, gave him some Benadryl, and then laid down with him. They both fell asleep as the antihistamine took effect and slept almost until lunch. When they awoke, it wasn”t long before the itching returned. Jaiden became exasperated when three of his boys came downstairs complaining about the chickenpox making them itch.


Peyton was right behind them, so Jaiden gave him the lotion and Benadryl and asked him to put some cream on the boys and give them a dose of the medication. Peyton did as he was asked to do. The children were asleep fifteen minutes later, apparently free from most of the chickenpox misery.


Ginny took one look at Peyton and said, “Peyton, pull your tee shirt collar down a little bit.” When Peyton did what Ginny asked of him, she said, “Yep, you”ve got chickenpox. You”re breaking out all over with red spots. You better put some Calamine lotion on the bumps and take some medication before they start itching and making you miserable.”


The glance Peyton shot at Jaiden could have killed a cat � or maybe Jaiden, who was in the den looking at Peyton as he was laughing his ass off.


“Jaiden, so help me, you better stop laughing if you want some catch-up time when we get over this crap. And speaking of crap, if you stick your fingers in my nose again after scratching inside your butt, I will pay you back in a most interesting way; capeesh?”


“I”m sorry, Peyton; I won”t do that again.” “Good!”


Dale walked downstairs holding two of his sons, who, like their dad, had chickenpox � and they weren”t the two boys Jaiden had watched over during the night. All of Dale”s and Charley”s children now have chickenpox � just as their dads do.”


“Jaiden, I am so sorry that I laughed at you and Charley last night; if anything, I realize now how bad y”all were feeling.”


“Yeah, it isn”t fun, mezitli escort is it?” “Not in the least, Jaiden, not in the least.”


“Dale, take this Calamine lotion and put it on the boys. Then, if there is any left, put it on Charley and yourself. Then, bring me the Benadryl, and I”ll give the boys a dose. You and Charley need to take two tablets every six hours to control the itching. If that doesn”t work for us, I”ll call mom and get her to call in some Ativan for us. I know for a fact that Atavan will help more than Benadryl when it comes to itching.”


Granny and Ginny were standing in the kitchen listening to the conversations in the den and doing all they could not to roll on the floor, laughing their butts off.


“Geraldine, I know it shouldn”t be, but listening to those young men commiserate together is funny. It doesn”t matter how old a man is; they are all little boys when they get sick.” “Martha, you aren”t kidding; Taylor is just like you described when he is sick.” “So is Ezra, Geraldine; he can”t do anything when he is sick � or thinks he is.” “Girl, you tell it like it is.”


“Granny, this is Peggy; are my boys suffering sufficiently right now?” “Peggy, every man in this world is the same when they are sick � age doesn”t matter one iota.” Dr. Mom laughed when Granny said that.” Well, tell those young men � and I say that lightly at the moment � that I called in a thirty-day supply of Atavan for each of them. They can get it at their pharmacy. So it will be waiting on them when one of them can go get it.”


“Peggy, I”m not letting any of those boys go out of this house to a pharmacy; I”ll get Taylor or Ezra to pick it up for them and a gallon of Calamine Lotion. You should see our boys; they are so spotted they look like leopards � and they itch as if they rolled in poison oak.”


“Granny, that is too funny. I hope you are rubbing it in. I”m sure they have driven you nearly crazy at times.” “Not really, Peggy. You and the Riley”s raised those boys the right way. I”ve never met four young men who are more polite and mannerly.” “I”m glad to hear that; if Jaiden acts up, tell him I will give him a lecture after you call me. He”ll get adorable very quickly.” “Yeah, Martha told me about how he hates lectures. So every once in a while, when Jaiden is out of sorts, Dale reminds him Martha will call you if she has to, and he will have to listen to your lecture. Then he quickly straightens up.” “That”s true. Did Ginny tell you that he starts sulking before I get the first word out and that he”s outta here as soon as possible?” “She did, and then she had a good laugh.” “She should have; it”s funny to watch that happen. I”ll be there early Friday evening, and I”ll stay for at least a week � more if I need to. Otherwise, call me if you need to.” “I will. It was good to talk with you, and I look forward to seeing you this weekend.” “Likewise, Geraldine.”


Jaiden was sitting in the den, groaning like a pre-pubescent boy. Granny walked into the den and said, “Jaiden, I talked with your mom for a few minutes. She called in some Ativan for you and the other young men. Taylor will pick it up for y”all, so you don”t have to get out.” “I hope you told her I was being good; I really don”t feel like listening to a lecture right now.” “Jaiden, I told her you were being a bit fussy, but not too bad. She said she”d take care of it when she got here on Friday evening.”


“Oh no, I feel a lecture coming on.” “Don”t worry, son, I didn”t tell her that; I wanted to see the look on your face if you thought I did; I told her everything was going well.”


“Granny, have I told you lately how much I love you?” “No, Jaiden, you haven”t, but you have shown me every day. And by the way, I love you too.”


“Geraldine, you ought to be ashamed for getting that boy so worked up.” “Martha, by the way you are laughing, I don”t believe that for a minute.” “Good, because I enjoyed every second I saw him squirm.” Both ladies laughed.


Peyton had been upstairs rocking the boys until they fell asleep. When he walked downstairs to the den, he looked at Jaiden and said, “Babe, where”s the Benadryl?” “I gave it to Dale to give a couple of tablets to Charley.” “I”ll be right back.”


Peyton walked to Dale”s and Charley”s room, knocked on their door, and told Dale he needed some Benadryl. “Peyton, do you need the Calamine Lotion too?” “Yes, I have little red dots breaking out a-l-l o-v-e-r m-y b-o-d-y!”


“Here”s the Benadryl and Calamine Lotion, Peyton. Jaiden is going to laugh at you suffering like he did last night; please don”t let it get to you.” “I won”t, Dale, but I will have fun making Jaiden think he will pay dearly for laughing.” “That”s evil, Peyton.”


“Yeah, it is, but think how much fun we”ll have watching Jaiden squirm.” “Peyton, I love your sense of humor.” Peyton smiled and headed to the kitchen to get something to drink to take the Benadryl with.


“Peyton.” “Yes, mam, Granny.” “If you or Jaiden get a headache with the virus, remember to take some Tylenol. You two may need it tonight if the virus bothers you the way it did my boys.” “OK. Thanks, Granny. I hope you and Ginny have a restful night.” “I hope you young men do as well. Call Ginny or me if you need us. Oh, don”t forget – you can”t give the children aspirin with the chickenpox.” “Yes, mam; thank you.” “You”re welcome, son.”


“Babe, are you feeling OK.” “Are you kidding? I am itching to death, and scratching only makes it worse.” “True, Peyton, but we have to resist. The Reverend should be picking up the Ativan for us; Mom says that will help tremendously with the itching.” “I hope he gets here with it sooner than later. So help me, if a patient ever has something like this and asks me what to do about the itching, I”m going to say, “Scratch like hell, son, scratch like hell; `cause ain”t nothing gonna stop the itching!” “Now, Peyton, you know you can”t do that.” “I wonder if Solarcaine would help with the itching?” “There”s only one way to find out, love � try it!”


Peyton went to the supply closet, got the Solarcaine, took it to Jaiden, and said, “Spray my back, sweetheart, and let”s see if it stops the itching.”


“Oh, yes, yes, oh yes!” “Peyton, the children are still up; are you having an orgasm?” “No, Charley, I”ll be upstairs in a second to show you what”s going on.”


“Stand up, Jaiden.” When Jaiden stood up, Peyton sprayed him from head to toe with the Solarcaine. Jaiden immediately stopped itching. As a reward for making that happen, he grabbed Peyton and gave him the most sensual kiss Peyton had received in a long time. “Jaiden, that was a perfect kiss; it”s got me horny!” “Well, Babe, if Jaiden Jr. wasn”t so swollen and broken out, I would let you play with him. But, right now, I don”t want to do anything that will make it start itching again before the `caine is supposed to wear off.” “Jaiden, I understand; believe me.”


Peyton took the can of Solarcaine and went to Charley”s and Dale”s bedroom. To throw them off guard, so to speak, he stood at the door of their room and stared at them. Then, finally, he said, “I haven”t seen you two naked in a long time, and I think I”d like to see you stripped down. So, take your clothes off and let me refresh my mind of how good you look butt naked.” Peyton walked to their bed when Dale and Charley were naked, climbed over, and straddled Dale.


“I can”t help it, Dale; I have to touch that cute bubble butt that I haven”t gotten to sample in a long time. He placed his left hand on Dale”s butt, spread his left cheek to the side, and sprayed the ice-cold Solarcaine in Dale”s crack. “Damn, Peyton, that”s freezing!; why didn”t you warn me that was coming?” “I thought I would have more fun doing it this way. Admit it, it may be freezing, but you enjoyed it.” “I have to admit, Peyton, I…wait a minute, the itching stopped! Bro, I could kiss you!” “Better ask Jaiden before you do that.” Peyton then sprayed Dale from head to toe, front and back. “Now, don”t get frisky with Charley, rub the lidocaine in the spray off your body, and start itching too quickly.” “I won”t; it feels like I have gone to heaven with the itching gone.” “That”s the same way I felt when Jaiden sprayed me, Dale. The Reverend is on his way from the drug store with some Ativan Mom called in for us. You won”t care if you itch when you take one of those little red, triangular pills; you”ll be V-E-R-Y happy feeling.”


Peyton started to walk out of the room when Charley yelled at him, “Hey, where are you going? Get back over here, straddle me, and spray me too. I got this stuff just as bad as Dale and you and Jaiden.”


Peyton laughed and said, “Charley, I wouldn”t leave the room without spraying you too; I simply wanted you to think I was. This stuff feels too pozcu escort good not to let you have some relief. Roll over!”


Charley rolled over as Peyton got on the bed, straddled him, and spread his butt cheek as he had done for Dale. Then he sprayed the freezing spray into Charley”s crack and made him shriek.


“Dang, Dale was right; that stuff is freezing, but it feels so good!” Peyton sprayed the rest of Charley and then asked, “is the spray helping the itching?” “What itching, Peyton, I haven”t felt this good in two days.”


“Charley, you”ll feel even better once you get a dose of Ativan in your system.” “Geez, I hope so; the itching was driving me nuts.” “Charley, nothing can drive you to something you already are!” “Funny, Peyton, real funny!” “Yeah, I know; the truth hurts, doesn”t it.”


“Peyton, go screw yourself.” “Ain”t a chance that can happen, Charley. Number one, I can”t get my hard-on behind me enough to do that. Number two, I”m not going to take a chance on making myself start itching too soon.”


“Well, then tell Jaiden I said for him to screw you.” “I already asked him too, Charley, and he said, “not no, but hell no!”


“Dale, how about it for me?” “Babe, same answer as Jaiden.” “I think I am going to cry, Peyton.” Peyton walked off laughing somewhat hard.


Jaiden asked Peyton what he was laughing so hard at when he got downstairs. When Peyton told him, Jaiden started laughing so loud Dale and Charley heard him in their bedroom.


Jaiden heard Nathan Robert whining a bit with his itching, so he grabbed his son, stripped his clothes off, and sprayed him with the Solarcaine. He held his son for a while before asking if the spray helped the itching go away. His son said, “Uh-huh, Daddy, and then fell asleep in Jaiden”s lap.


The other children showed signs of itching again, so Jaiden and Peyton stripped them and sprayed them with the caine spray. Then, like Nathan Robert, the children went to their rooms, got into their beds, and fell asleep. Jaiden laughed when he saw that Nathan Robert had taken his clothes off and was sleeping naked as a jaybird.


“Peyton, you should see Nathan Robert; he stripped his clothes off and is sleeping naked in his bed.” “Jaiden, you have to admit, it is more comfortable. That boy isn”t dumb.” “I have to admit that is so true, babe, and snuggling up close to you makes it feel even better.”


Dale and Charley had been in terrible agony with the itching, so Jaiden quietly walked upstairs and peered in on them. He was happy to see that they were sleeping peacefully.


The Reverend got to the house and walked inside through the garage door. “Fellas, here”s the Ativan Jaiden”s mom called in for y”all.” “Bless you, Reverend; what do I owe you?” “It wasn”t but five dollars for the four of you, and I think I can spring for that. I just want you young men to get a good night”s sleep. Call me if you need me during the night. We can help with the babies if we need to, so don”t worry about calling on us.”


“Reverend, you”re about the best father we could have; thank you for always being here for us.” “Jaiden, I love the four of you just like you are my own sons, and I always will. Y”all are amazing young men!” With that said, The Reverend turned and walked to his home.


“Taylor, did you get the medicine to the boys?” “I did, honey, and I had a good laugh on the way home. They look just like peppermint boys: white with specks of red peppermint.” “Yeah, it is funny to see them with chickenpox, but I wish they weren”t itching so badly with the virus.”


“Me too, baby. I love those boys just like they are ours. If I didn”t know better, I”d swear you raised them along with our boys.”


“Taylor, they are just good, loving young men who do everything they can to help others. For example, Jaiden gives his patients his cell number, and they call him at home if they are concerned or worried about something; he is as nice to them as he can be, and so is Peyton. How many doctors do you know who do that?” “None.” “Exactly.”


When Ginny and Granny got to the house the next morning, they checked on the babies. Since they were sleeping well, they delayed preparing breakfast until everyone was awake.


“Well, if it isn”t the peppermint boys!” “Peppermint boys, Ginny?” “Yep, step into the half-bath and look at yourself in the mirror.”


All four guys stepped into the bathroom, looked at themselves, and about died laughing. “Ginny, you called it right, four white boys with red peppermint specks. We look like a peppermint milkshake at Chik-Filet.” “Dale, that”s a good analogy; I wish I had thought of that.” “You might not have thought of it, Ginny, but you made sure I did, and I have to admit, it is funny to see.”


“What would you guys like to have for breakfast?” “Do we have any grits, Ginny?” “We do.” “How about some buttery grits, scrambled eggs, and toast and jelly.” “Same thing for the children?” “Sure, they”ll love it since it will be easy for them to eat. OK, son, that”s what we”ll have.”


“Dale.” “Yes, Jaiden.” “Would you mind making a pot of coffee for everybody? I”d make it, but it wouldn”t be half as good as what you brew.” “I think I can do that. Granny, would you and Ginny like some coffee?” “That would be delicious, Dale; thank you for asking.” “You”re welcome. I”ll make two pots so we will have enough because I know Jaiden can drink half a pot, and I”ll drink the other half.” “You boys be careful drinking that much coffee; you don”t want your heart to start racing.”


“Yes, mam, we”ll be careful; we”ll quit when you tell us to.” “Two cups, and that”s it, Dale; your bodies are already stressed enough with the virus.” “Yes, mam.” When the babies got to the dining room table, they ate like they hadn”t had a meal in a month, and their dads ate the same way.


Dale”s phone rang, and it was his mother checking on him. “Are you boys doing OK with the chickenpox?” “Mom, I”m not going to lie. The itching is horrible, but Jaiden got the idea to spray everybody down with Solarcaine. It stops the itching in its tracks. The children are just starting to wake up after having a peaceful night of sleep, so we”ll see how the day goes. Jaiden”s mom called in some Ativan for us, and we slept like a dream after taking that.” “Good, I just wanted to make sure y”all are OK. I haven”t had the chickenpox, but I will fly up if I need to.”


“Mom, don”t even think about coming here if you haven”t had the virus. If you get chickenpox, you”ll be miserable, and then we”ll all worry. Besides, Jaiden”s mom has had chickenpox, so she is taking a week off and will be here early tomorrow night.”


“Good, son, having a doctor staying with you is a good thing; it”s cheaper than seeing one in Memphis; I”m glad she loves you boys enough to do that for you. I know she”s who Jaiden gets his beautiful disposition from.” “It”s partly his mom, but from what people say at the hospital, he is a lot like his dad was. I wish we could have met him too.” “I understand, son. If you need your dad and me, call us.” “OK, Mom, I will.”


Jaiden”s phone rang, and it was his mom calling to tell him she would be in Memphis around 5 PM. Jaiden told her he would pick her up about 5:15 after she retrieved her luggage. But he won”t get out of the car to avoid giving the virus to someone who hasn”t had chickenpox, especially an expectant mother.


The dads were comfortable enough Thursday night to watch a movie together on the television. They decided to watch THE NOTE since Leon and Peter had talked about how good the movie was.


Dale prepared a pot of coffee and stuck some peach knishes into the oven. They would start the movie once the knishes were ready.


When the timer on the stove went off, Dale removed the knishes from the oven, put the coffee pot on a tray along with the condiments, and took everything to the den. When the movie ended, the guys looked like deer stunned in headlights. Peyton said, “Everybody needs to see that movie simply to remind them that Hashem still sends miracles.


Jaiden didn”t say a word as he sat on the couch and stared at the television screen. If anything had ever made him miss his dad, it was a movie where a parent died the same way his dad did.


“Jaiden, are you OK?” “Yeah, Charley, I am. That was a powerful, memory-invoking movie, and I”m missing my dad more than ever.” “Jaiden, I”m so sorry. I didn”t think about the movie even remotely making you feel that way.” “It”s OK, Charley. It was an excellent movie, and it”s helping me figure out how to express my feelings about my dad”s death. It also taught me to be thankful for the good memories because I now realize how Hashem will escort bayan bring everything full-circle.”


“That”s a good thing to realize, Jaiden, and I hope your learning that will bring you a peace you have sought for a long time.” “Me too, Dale. Do you realize you have worked your magic on me by us watching that movie together?” “I haven”t thought of it that way, Jaiden, but if I have done something to help you in any way, I am grateful I could do that for you.” “Well, you did; thank you. I love you more every day because of the person you are, and you have made my life and that of my family infinitely better by being in our lives.” “I”m glad you feel that way, bro; I wish I knew what I have done.” “Maybe Hashem doesn”t want you to know; He may have put you in our lives to do what you have done, at least that is what I think.” Dale didn”t say anything in response to what Jaiden noted; he couldn”t without becoming emotional.


Peyton reached over and took Jaiden”s hand into his. “Babe, it”s nice outside; why don”t we go sit on the deck and look at the stars?” Jaiden stood, still holding Peyton”s hand, leading him to the deck. Dale and Charley went to their room, extinguished the lights, sat side-by-side in their lounge chairs with the windows open, and watched the stars.


Jaiden and Peyton sat on the deck until they fell asleep. They awoke about 4 AM on Friday morning and went to bed. Jaiden”s mom would be at the airport around 5:15 PM, and he wanted to be rested when she got to their home. The children slept through the night with no problems and only showed signs of waking when they smelled breakfast being prepared.


Everybody was still itching horribly, but the Ativan for the adults and the Solarcaine for the children was controlling everyone”s misery. Since everyone was feeling better, Jaiden ordered two large pans of Lasagna from Tony”s. Since he told them everybody in the household had chickenpox and the manager knew the family well, he said he would deliver the food and some salad at 12 noon.


Ginny, Granny, call the Reverend and Grampy and tell them we have Lasagna for everybody for lunch. It”ll be here at 12 with some salad greens. If y”all wouldn”t mind, would you please make some tea, not too sweet.” “We”ll do that right now, so it will be less intense by the time we need it. Do you think it will be OK for the children to drink tea, it”s decaf?” “That will be fine, and they”ll enjoy the change in their drinks.”


At 12:00 up and down, the Lasagna arrived from Tony”s. Jaiden paid for the meal and handsomely tipped the delivery driver. “I know you don”t usually deliver, so please take the tip and take your girlfriend out for a nice dinner at an upscale restaurant.”


When the driver looked at the tip, he almost fainted. “Doc, are you sure?” “As sure as I have ever been, Dustin. You did us a huge favor by bringing the food to us, and you deserve to be rewarded for going outside the bounds of your usual duties. And by the way, that is a birthday gift, so it isn”t taxable as a tip.”


“Geez, Doctor Jaiden, thank you. One thing about taking my girlfriend to dinner, I can”t do that; I got married last week, so I”ll have to take my new wife.” “Did you and she get to take a honeymoon?” “No, sir. We don”t get time off to get married, and I only get a week for vacation this year since I”m a new employee.” “Hmm, that”s interesting; I”ll have to call Tony in North Carolina and talk to him about that.” “You know the real Tony?” “Look at the mural in the restaurant”s foyer when you get back.”


Jaiden wasn”t happy that the young man got married and didn”t get to take at least a week”s honeymoon, so he called Tony. After discussing Dustin”s situation, Tony said he would have his attorney amend all contracts so that employees will get a week of vacation the first year of employment, and a week”s paid leave if they get married, and when they become a new parent.”


Jaiden called Dustin at the restaurant, gave him his cell number, and asked Dustin to call him when he got off from work. He asked Dustin if he had chickenpox as a child, and Dustin said yes, so Jaiden told him to keep the cell number but to come by the house when he got off work.


Dustin got off work at 6 PM, and as asked, he stopped by Jaiden”s to talk with him.


“Dustin, I spoke with Tony; he will have his attorney amend all contracts with franchisees to make sure all new employees get at least a week”s paid vacation after their first year of employment; get at least a week off if and when they become a new parent; and a week off, mandatory, when they get married. Does that work for you?”


“Doctor Jaiden, are you kidding me?” “Nope, I”m not. So keep your mouth shut and watch for the changes to come down the pike.”


“Oh, starting at 12 noon on Saturday, you have a reservation at the Hilton Downtown for a week.”


“There will be dinner cruise tickets for you and your bride when you check-in at the Hilton. All of your meals have been paid for for the week. The Hilton will have a list of restaurants where the meal reservations have been made.”


“Tony called your boss and made arrangements ensuring you will be paid for the week, so you won”t take a pay cut during your honeymoon.”


“Doctor Jaiden, I don”t know what to say!” “Say you will show up at the Hilton on Saturday. Say you and your bride will have a good time, enjoy the dinner cruises and the plays at the Memphis Opera House, and that you won”t let anything interfere with your honeymoon.”


“Doctor Jaiden, do you mind if I call and tell my wife?” “Go ahead, Dustin. I have to go to the airport and pick up my mother, so take your time. If your wife has had chickenpox, go get her and bring her to the house, and we”ll have a great dinner and enjoy each other”s company for the evening. You”ll get to meet my mother, and I promise you will love her; she”s a one-of-a-kind person.”


“But Doctor Jaiden…” “Dustin, stop calling me Dr. Jaiden. I am Jaiden, my spouse is Peyton, and our brothers are Charley and Dale.” “This is so unreal; I don”t understand how someone of your stature is being so nice to a nobody like me; I”m a poor restaurant worker who can”t compete with what you have.”


“Who said you have to compete with my family and me on anything? And who made us better than you because my spouse and I are doctors? You are as good a person as anybody in this house and never forget that. Just because you aren”t some kind of `professional” doesn”t mean we can”t be friends, and I can”t help you if you need it.”


When Peyton, Dale, Charley, and I got married, our parents gave us a three-week honeymoon in Hawaii while we took a summer break from medical school.”


“It broke my heart that you got married and couldn”t take a honeymoon, so I fixed that situation. I also made sure that won”t happen again � to anybody working for Tony”s.”


“This is so surreal to me; I don”t know what to say.” “Then don”t say anything; I made this happen for you because I wanted to and could. Don”t you think you deserve to have something good happen for you, however unexpected it may be?”


“I guess; it just hasn”t ever happened for me before. What is your wife”s name?” “Charlotte. When she was born, her family lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they loved the town so much they named her after it.” “Go get Charlotte and meet me back here at 6:30 and be prepared to have a delicious dinner. We”ll sit on the deck afterward, drink coffee, and talk about whatever crosses our minds.”


Jaiden headed to the airport to pick up his mother, and Dustin headed to his apartment to pick up his wife. Everybody met back at Jaiden”s house at 6:30 and sat down to a meal of roast beef, asparagus, green beans, and a delicious salad Dale had prepared with the help of Granny and Ginny.


The children were feeling much better, although they were still itching badly. So, the dads took them outside to play while the adults sat on the deck and had a great time talking with each other.


“Doctor Jaiden.” “Charlotte, as I told Dustin, I am just Jaiden, my spouse is Peyton, and our brothers are Charley and Dale.” Jaiden”s mom spoke up and told Dustin and Charlotte to call her Peggy or Mom, not Dr. Reynolds.


Jaiden looked at his watch and told Dustin and Charlotte they needed to go home, pack for a week”s honeymoon, and check into the Hilton by noon on Saturday.


“Jaiden, I have to work in the morning.” “No, you don”t; I took care of that. You are off work until Sunday week.” Dustin and Charlotte had teary eyes as they left the Riley-Reynolds-Leonard-Anderson home. “Dustin, you have my phone number. Call me if something isn”t perfect on your honeymoon, and I will make sure any problem goes away. And when y”all get home, we”ll get together again; hopefully, this home will be chickenpox free by then.”


“Jaiden, thank you so much for making this happen for Charlotte and me.” “It”s my pleasure, Dustin; you guys have a good time. We”ll get together when the honeymoon is over.”

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