“Tracy, I found your ring.” Mrs. H walked into the room without knocking.
Seemed like she’d done a lot more of that since Tracy started hanging out with him in his room, but Gene couldn’t really say anything because he knew he was lucky to have a room at all. It’s not like they were really going to do anything in Mrs. H’s house.
Tracy crawled off the bed where she’d been curled up next to him and took the ring.
“It is! It’s my ring!” Tracy beamed. “How did you get it out of the sink?
“I took the pipe off.” Mrs. H said it like she did that kinf of thing all the time and didn’t mind. If it had been his old man there’s have been a lot of btching and moaning and it would of never got done unless Gene did it, and Gene didn’t mess with pipes since the time in Cincinnati when he was nine and his father came home right when Gene got everything under the kitchen sink taken apart and none of it put together again. “Gene,” Mrs. H said all serious, “There’s something I want to talk to you about.
“Yeah, sure, Mrs. H.” He slid off the bed cause she wasn’t likely to be happy about him just laying there while she stalked.
“Um…” She gave Tracy a look.
Tracy, the rat, just rocked on her feet and smiled back. She knew perfectly well Mrs. H. wanted her to leave the room, but she wasn’t going to do it
“Um… maybe… out in the hall.” Mrs. H. waved at him to come out of the room with her. Gene followed. “Gene, I think I should adopt you.”
“Wouldn’t that be good?” She ignored his question. “If I adopt you, then you should call me “Mom”. If there’s a problem and you end up in the hospital, they won’t keep me out, and I can handle all the paperwork for school so much more easily.
“And no one could say you weren’t a full-fledged member of this family. Wouldn’t that be good?”
What was he supposed to say? “Gosh, gee, Mrs. H. Thanks a lot for wanting to make me a part of your family, but I don’t see much point in it.” She was the one always saying how he was a member of this family and ought to act like it. Wasn’t that enough?
“Then it’s decided. I’ll call the lawyer today.” Mrs. H headed down stairs.
She didn’t even notice Ben and Lisa standing on the other end of the hall. Ben looked like someone had just kicked him in the nuts.
“Oh boy. Guess she didn’t ask her own son what he thought about it.” Tracy curved the fingers of one hand over his shoulder and shook her head like she felt bad for Ben, but didn’t really take him, or anything else seriously. It was a “poor baby” look and fit just right for both Ben and Gene.
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