Title: Kids, Oh
and Jim meet up as youngsters.
Warning: I took the liberty of tweaking
Jim and Blair's age difference to about four years.
mine but the words. Drink hot chocolate and be happy.
Get out and
get some fresh air, among these words, Jim Ellison was shoved unceremoniously
outside. With a sniff toward the house he had just been evacuated from, he turned
on his heel and strode toward the sidewalk. At twelve- almost thirteen-, he felt
this was a great indignity done to his person. It was wintertime in Cascade and
snow was falling lazily down. The sidewalk already had a nice covering on it,
and Jim paused several times to stomp his feet and shake off the layer that was
rapidly growing on his boots.
neighbor! a perky voice interrupted his thoughts. Jim turned and looked
over the kid who had spoken. Brown curls were cropped closely to a head containing
the brightest blue eyes he had ever seen. The kid was small, no more than five,
he questioned. The kid hopped off the snowy wall he had been sitting on.
no, not really. Im not your neighbor or anything, I just thought it would
be a pleasant first impression. Im Blair J. Sandburg. Im eight.
Blair smiled widely up at him, stopping and waiting for a response. Jim nodded
Ellison, he continued on his way, and was slightly surprised when the kid
trotted after him.
cool. Ive seen you around every now and then, but we just moved here so
not that much. But I havent had a chance to meet anyone yet, cos Moms
been busy unpacking and spending time with Bill (thats her boyfriend) and
stuff, and Ive been stuck inside. We have a kitten that I found, though,
thats keeping me company, so it wasnt bad at all. I saw the funniest
bumper sticker the other day, it said: If youre not happy with the
news, go make some of your own. I thought that was a riot, dont you?
Jim listened in varying stages of amazement as the twerp rambled on happily. He
tried to figure out where Blair paused to take a breath, but couldnt really
tell, and finally gave up.
he said, drawing a surprised look from Blair and making his mouth stop moving.
Where are you going? Blair shrugged.
ever you are, was the reply along with a brilliant smile. Jim moved his
shoulders several times.
not really going anywhere, just walking, Blair thought about this for a
moment, before brightening and grabbing Jims hand.
go to the playground! he chirped, tugging on the captive arm. It was on
Jims lips to say: The playgrounds for babies but instead
would we do? Its winter. Blair bounced along.
see when we get there, he said good-naturedly. Jimmy gently pulled him to
if you want to go to the park, its the other way.
Jim felt as though he scored a major victory as they stood and surveyed the white
world that lay before them. Theres nothing to do.
there is, undaunted, Blair shot off and charged headlong into a swing.
he whooped, lifting his feet off the ground and swinging, arms pinned under his
chest on the seat of the swing. Jim followed at a more rational pace, shaking
his head. He halted next to the swing set, watching, disinterested, with his hands
in his pockets. Snow was jarred loose from the swing set, and drifted down around
them. Blair suddenly stopped and grinned at something past Jim.
he greeted, straightening. Jim turned and beheld a black boy, a candy cane wedged
firmly in his mouth.
he replied, looking at them suspiciously.
Blair J. Sandburg, and this is my friend Jimmy Ellison. Im eight.
Blair took the liberty of making the introductions.
Jim said. The boy nodded.
Banks, he replied. What are you two doing out here in winter?
Jim jerked his head toward Blair.
wanted to come, he felt a little foolish, but kept his face impassive.
Simon pulled the candy cane out of his mouth thoughtfully and eyed them. Jimmy
was wearing his boots and a winter coat, hands shoved stubbornly in his pockets.
Blair, on the other hand, was wrapped from head to toe. Earmuffs the shape of
dogs covered his ears, a scarf wrapped protectively around his neck, a bulky winter
coat swallowed him up, snow pants peered beneath the end of the coat, which hung
mid-thigh, and untied boots completed the package. He looked like he was about
to be launched into space.
to play with us? Blair asked guilelessly. Another rush of embarrassment
seized Jim. Simon cocked an eyebrow.
a smile quirked the end of him mouth. Thanks, but no thanks.
right, Blair said seriously, lifting on arm and pushing his mitten forward
and the arm of his coat back. Weve got work to do. Come on Jim. Nice
to meet you Simon, maybe well see you later. With a wave and a firm
grip on Jims arm, he was off.
are we going now? Jim inquired, mentally asking himself why he was
allowing himself to be dragged around by this kid.
going to shovel a driveway, it shouldnt take too long, Blair replied,
hesitating once they passed the parks boundaries. Which way did we
come from? Jim turned him in the right direction and followed, one of his
steps matching two of Blairs. He wondered how the kid would fare without
him there. Get lost in a heartbeat, no doubt, he mused to himself.
we go, Blair turned abruptly and waded up a long driveway to where a snow
blower was waiting patiently. The house was make of brick, complete with a chimney
that had smoke drifting from it.
this your house? Jim asked, following Blair.
its Mrs. Jarrods, he approached the snow blower and attempted
to mount it.
kid, youd better let me handle that. You get the porch and where I cant
go. Taking over and pushing Blair away, he climbed on board and felt a flush
of excitement come over him. This could actually be fun!
After a moment of hunting, he found the key and started the snow blower up. Blair
was intent on shoveling the porch away. Jimmy got the hang of how the machine
worked quickly and was soon happily chugging along, intensely removing the offending
snow from the driveway.
only mishap occurred when he was clearing the part of drive that led to the garage.
He got stuck in a ditch. Blair was giggling uncontrollably as he dismounted.
any help? he called from the porch, grinning.
got it, Jim snapped. He pushed the snow blower out, suffering under the
wide smiles Blair kept throwing at him. Soon he was done and parked it back in
its original spot.
on, lets say hi to Mrs. Jarrod, Blair rang the doorbell before Jim
could protest. He stood stiffly as Blair hopped from one foot to the next, rubbing
his hands together. He was about to suggest the possibility that no one was home
when the door opened to reveal an elderly woman. She beamed at them.
Come on in, Ive hot chocolate and cookies. How appropriate,
Jim thought warily, hanging back a second before entering reluctantly. Hansel
and Gretel stories flashed through his mind.
thought you said you hadnt met anyone yet, he whispered to Blair as
he followed him in.
one of my own age. The door closed behind them and warmth embraced Jimmy.
Blair stomped his feet on the rug and pulled off his mittens and earmuffs. Jim
hesitated a moment before pulling off his boots and unzipping his coat. Blair
shed his coat and scarf and bent over to tug off his boots. Jim was taken aback.
Hes so tiny! he thought, shocked. The outside gear had really
bulked him up.
in and have a seat, boys, Mrs. Jarrod said. Blair was trying to balance
himself on one soak-covered foot as he wrestled with his remaining boot. He started
to tip over, but Jim grabbed him by the back of the suspenders of his snow pants
with one hand and held him upright. Blair tossed the boot aside, causing Jimmy
to wince as it landed with a thud, and tore in after the stooped figure. Again,
Jim followed at a more dignified pace. Blair climbed up on a chair and dug cheerfully
into the goods. Jim sat down rigidly and took one cookie, holding it cautiously.
Mrs. Jarrod handed him a mug of hot chocolate and sat down, smiling at them.
you gentlemen, for doing such a wonderful job. Now, Blair, whos this fine
young man you have brought with you? She turned a kind gaze upon Jim.
is Jim, hes my best friend, Blair happily kicked his feet, which dangled
above the linoleum, a half-eaten cookie in one hand and the mug gripped in his
other. Jim scowled. Mrs. Jarrod beamed, the look on her face obviously saying:
Oh, how cute. Jim finished his cookie and hot chocolate obediently
and silently, listening as Blair chatted with Mrs. Jarrod.
man, its after four, Ive got to get home! Blair shoved the rest
of his cookie in his mouth and wiggled down from his chair. Jim carefully wiped
his fingers off and folded his napkin. Blair threw his arms around Mrs. Jarrod
and gave her a big hug.
you later, thanks for the cookies and hot chocolate, he called, going and
squirming into his battle gear. Jim got up, thanked her politely and got on his
boots and coat. Blair took only a moment longer to bid Mrs. Jarrod goodbye again
and hopped outside. He walked Jim to his house.
you later man, thanks for spending the day with me. Blair moved toward Jim,
but having witnessed the scene in Mrs. Jarrods kitchen, Jim knew what to
expect and held up his hands.
it right there, Cowboy. Youre not giving me a hug. Blair stopped,
slightly disappointed, but settled on waving.
he raced around the corner and was gone. Jim stared after him for a moment before
walking up to his door. His father was waiting.
I said to get fresh air, I didnt mean move out, he said frostily.
Jim stood inside and shed his clothes. He smiled. Maybe hed see Blair tomorrow.