The Hitting Zone

Chapter 26 Mr. Duncan’s Checkup

Chapter 26 Mr. Duncan’s Checkup

Noah didn't come right back, which should have made me worried, but all I felt was relief. His comment on my lack of childhood felt like it shattered something inside and I needed time to gather myself. Mr. Duncan said before that I would have to see a therapist and I can understand why. I'm still broken. Maybe not on the outside anymore, but definitely on the inside.

After twenty or so minutes, I felt better. Maybe crying is a stress reliever? I got up, stretched, and went to the bathroom to wash my face. Then I went to go look for Noah. Maybe his brothers were back and that's why he didn't come back.

I heard voices coming from the dining room so I peeked in. Mrs. Atkins and Mr. Duncan were on one side of the table talking to one another, while Noah was on the other end just frowning at them.

Mr. Duncan noticed me first. "Oh, hi Jake. How's it going? Getting adjusted?"

I nodded once. Noah and his mom were very welcoming.

"That's good." He nodded in satisfaction. "I wanted to be here for you when you meet the rest of the Atkins in case you get overwhelmed."

I tilted my head in confusion. Why would I get overwhelmed?

"He's not that wimpy." Noah rolled his eyes.

"Noah James." Mrs. Atkins frowned. "Mr. Duncan is just doing his job, looking out for Jake."

"I'll be looking out for him." Noah gave me a smile. "I wouldn't let anything happen to my little brother."

I felt warm inside from his sincerity. Noah made me feel safer than anyone I've met, including police and doctors. I went over and sat next to him to show Mr. Duncan that I believe in Noah.

Mr. Duncan gave a light laugh. "I'm glad you guys have bonded so quickly. Nonetheless I have to make sure your brothers and dad have the right attitudes to a new addition. Even if you guys pass tonight, I will still have to make visits every now and then. Scheduled visits and surprise visits. I'll also receive progress reports from your school, therapist, Mary and Wayne. And I'll also be giving you updates on the search for your dad."

I turned away to show my displeasure.

Noah took note. "You don't want them to find your dad?"

I sneered. He didn't want me to begin with; why would he want me now. He already has the son he wants.

Noah looked upset and asked Mr. Duncan, "What if his dad isn't a good dad?"

Mr. Duncan was caught off guard. "Uh, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. We're still looking through records just trying to find a name so it won't be any time soon."

Noah didn't look happy with that answer, but I didn't mind. They could take all the time they need. Finding him would be pointless.

"Jake doesn't need him anyways." Noah huffed. "A dad like that already ran off on him so what's the point wasting time looking for a deadbeat. Jake can just stay with us."

"Noah." Mrs. Atkins warned. "You don't speak ill about strangers. There could be circumstances that couldn't be helped. You should always look for the best in the people and not assume the worst. What does making assumptions do?"

"Make an ass out of you and me." Noah sighed, but I laughed. I've never heard of a saying like that. "Mom has a lot of those. She's what you call an optimist. Always seeing the bright side of things. Just wait until dinner."

"Oh. Dinner. I should get the Salisbury steaks out of the oven and finish the sides." Mrs. Atkins got up in a hurry. "Why don't you set the table, Noah? Let Mr. Duncan chat with Jake."

"Ridiculous. Jake only talks to me."

Mr. Duncan looked at us in surprise. "You've heard Jake talk?"

"A little here and there." Noah slapped my shoulder. "It's a work in progress."

Mr. Duncan looked at us, happy.

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