Home > The Storm (The Storm #3.5)(14)

The Storm (The Storm #3.5)(14)
Author: Samantha Towle

“You will stay here and get to know your grandfather and your father’s closest friend.”

His eyes narrow on me, and I can see something resembling blame.

Then, his stare flickers to his mother. “But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? I don’t have a father. He’s dead, remember?” He bites out each word, and then the living room door slams shut behind him as he leaves, shaking the room.

I hear another door slam quickly after, and I guess that’s his bedroom door.

“I’m so sorry.” Tiffany comes over to Bob. “He’s not normally like this. He’s such a sweet boy. He’s just…he’s been struggling since I was…since my prognosis. Then, he found out about his father…who he is—was…that he’s…gone.”

“There’s no need to apologize.” Bob puts his hand on her arm. “What do you want us to do? Should we leave?”

Fuck no, I don’t want to leave. I want to go into that room and demand that kid to talk to me.

Tiffany’s eyes move to the door. She lets out a sigh. “Maybe that’s best for now. Let me talk to him. Then, you can come back later and have dinner with us.”

Can’t say I liked the fact that we had to leave Tiffany and Storm’s apartment. The stubbornness in me wanted to demand that we stay and talk to him.

Leaving felt like leaving Jonny. I know that’s stupid.

But losing Jonny…and then finding out a piece of him is still here…

Storm is the closest thing I’ve got to Jonny. I’m not letting that go for anything.

Jonny would have wanted me to be there for Storm, to do what he himself couldn’t, to help Storm.

But the father in me knew that demanding to stay, forcing Storm to talk to me, wouldn’t have worked.

So, I swallowed my pride and left with Bob, promising that we’d return at seven thirty to have dinner with Storm and Tiffany.

The drive back to Bob’s house is quiet.

I know Bob must be feeling as disappointed as I am about not getting any time with Storm.

But it’s not just that.

It was seeing the kid himself for the first time—how much he is like Jonny and not just in looks but also personality, the spit and fire in him. That is Jonny.

I know Storm isn’t Jonny. But in that moment…it was like Jonny was back here, standing in that living room with us.

I hear Bob exhale, pulling my eyes to him. He’s staring out the car window.

“Standing in that living room with Storm…I felt like I’d been thrown back twenty years, and Jonny was right there in front of me.” Bob’s voice is uneven.

Thinking about how hard this is for me, I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for Bob. If I’d lost JJ, Billy, or Belle…I can’t even consider it. It would destroy me. I’d never recover.

“He’s Jonny,” I softly say the words.

Bob’s eyes come to mine. He looks tired, weary. It makes me worry.

“Yeah,” he exhales. “But that’s just it, Jake. He’s not Jonny. No matter how much he looks like Jonny, sounds like him…how much we might miss Jonny and want him back, Storm isn’t him. He’s his own person…a kid who’s about to lose his mother. And he’s just found out that his father is also dead. We need to push our own feelings aside in this. We need to think about him and what’s best for him.”

“And what do you think is best for him? Because I think being with his family is what will be best for him.”

Regret fills his eyes, and he looks away from me, his hands gripping his knees. “You know, I always felt like I’d missed the mark with Jonny.”

I reach over and put my hand on Bob’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze, before letting go. “You were a great dad, Bob. Trust me, I know bad ones, and you most definitely weren’t a bad dad.”

“Yeah, I did everything right. I went to all his school plays, watched his gigs, supported him. But there was always something missing, something inside of him that I could never reach, something angry and unfulfilled. I should have done more to stop the drugs…with all of you.”

His eyes come back to me.

“There was nothing you could have done. We all had to find our own way. Jonny’s death was not your fault,” I tell him.

His eyes glaze with tears, and it hurts me to see him in pain.

“It was my fault because I’m his dad. And it was my job to protect him…protect him from the world and himself. I failed at that. I don’t want to fail again with Storm. He needs me now. He’ll need me more when Tiffany dies. He’s going to need me. I’m his family.”

“We are his family.”

Gratitude fills his eyes. “I’m man enough to admit that taking care of him, without Lyn here, terrifies me, Jake. I don’t want to fail that boy. I can’t fail him.”

I shift in my seat, turning to him. “You won’t fail him because you’re not doing this alone. I wanted to wait and see exactly what it is that Tiffany wants from us for Storm before speaking to you about this. I don’t know if she has a plan in her mind for his care when she’s gone. But as far as I’m concerned, whatever she does have in mind, if it doesn’t involve us, then we’ll change that.

“I spoke to Tru before I left to come here, and she agrees with me. I’m hoping that you will, too. We want you and Storm to come to LA and live with us. You could either move into the house with us, or Stuart’s old place on our property is empty. But we want you close by. We want Storm with us. And it’d ease the burden of you raising him alone.”

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