Jack was reluctant to go to this holiday production of Heath's. Naturally, Kelsey was the one who wanted to go because his Dad would not shut up about it. His Dad loved the arts.
Jack tried to ring his Dad into taking Kelsey, but that would not do. His Dad stayed home with the little ones. So this meant Jack had to dress up, which he didn't want to. Thank God he didn't have to have a tie or he would have really had a fit. He was going to have wear one. He just knew it. HE couldn't possibly live under these conditions.
But there he was. A packed house. Mainly, those from the school. And just when Jack thought he might fall asleep during this extravaganza of holiday fare. Someone caught his attention. Immediately. Ryan.
He stared at him for the longest time, hoping it wouldn't sink in. It had been a long time. He was just thirteen or was he younger? When he met Ryan. Jack didn't want it to be him. He didn't. But he looked at the program.
Yes, it was him. He was the new coach at the school. He coached it all. Football. Basketball, even volleyball. He couldn't help but scowl. Suddenly, he felt so hot. His heart raced. He just had to get out of there. His nerves felt shot.
He went outside into the cold and so wished he had a cigarette. He didn't want to think about Ryan. He was not going to think about the past.
But when he came back in, Kelsey was waiting on him.
"Where were you?" She winced.
"I just-I just needed some fresh air. I think I-I might be getting sick." He wanted to leave. No way was he going to face Heath or any of them after the show. "Lets just go home, OK."
He stared at Kelsey. For the first time, he so wanted her close to him. Perhaps to protect him.
"Sure." She nodded.
When they got in the truck he turned it on to warm it up. He put his arm around her and kissed her then.
"I thought you were sick?" She looked him over.
"I just can't stand musicals, that's all." He smiled then as if he were in control of the situation. Ryan didn't have him where he wanted.