"Maybe it'll snow. Maybe it'll snow six feet and there won't be any school."
"We can always dream." He picked up the ball and winged it in a way Simon desperately admired.
"If it snows six fee
t, can you stay home from work?"
"If it snows six feet, I'll make a point of staying home from work."
"And we can have hot chocolate and play ten million video games."
"That's a deal."
"Do you wear a condom when you have the sex with my mother?"
All the blood in Brad's head drained out of the soles of his feet. "Do what?" "Because if you don't, you could make a baby. Would you marry her if you made a baby?"
"Holy Mother of God."
There was a tickle at the back of Simon's throat, a kind of sick nervousness. But he couldn't stop the rush of words—they had to be said. "The guy who made me with her, he didn't marry her, and I think it hurt her feelings. I have to look out for her now, so if you're not going to marry her if you make a baby, you can't have the sex." Because his belly was jumping, Simon looked down and gave the ball a good kick. "I just wanted to say."
"Okay. Wow. Okay, I really think I need to sit down." Before even the jelly his knees had become melted away. "Why don't we all go inside and do that… the sit down thing."
"I'm the man of the house," Simon said in a small voice.
"You're a hell of a man, Simon." In a gesture he hoped bolstered them both, Brad laid a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Let's go inside and sit down and talk about this."
Brad prayed for wisdom, and whatever else would help while they peeled off their jackets. He figured the kitchen was best so they could occupy themselves with drink or food, or anything to make the discussion less horrendous for both of them.
Though he wanted a beer in the worst way, he poured them both a Coke. "About sex," he began.
"I know about sex. Mom said it doesn't hurt, but sometimes people yell and stuff because it's fun."
"Good," Brad managed after a moment, and worried that he could actually hear his brain cells dying. "Your mother and I… Ah. Adults, healthy, single adults often have relationships that—the hell with this. Look at me."
He waited until Simon lifted his head. All the doubts, the defiance, the determination were printed clearly on his face. Just, Brad thought, like his mother's.
"I'm in love with your mother. I make love with her because she's beautiful, and I want to be with her that way. I want to be with her in every way because I'm in love with her."
"Is she in love with you back?"
"I don't know. I'm hoping."
"Do you hang around with me so she'll be in love with you?"
"Well, you know, it's a pretty big sacrifice for me, seeing as how you're so ugly, and you smell so bad. Plus you're short, and that's really annoying. But whatever works."
Simon's lips twitched. "You're uglier."
"Only because I'm older." He laid his hand over the boy's. "And somehow, despite your many flaws, I'm in love with you, too."
Emotions rushed into Simon's throat and seemed to flood onto his face. "That's pretty weird."
"Tell me about it. I want both of you more than I've ever wanted anything."
"Like a family?"
"Exactly like that."