Dale smiled as he watched the car pull up to the house. He then glanced at Robby, before looking back out the window. He knew he couldn’t just stay where he was without checking up on him, but also couldn’t leave Robby by himself.
“Robby, grab your stuff,” he states as Robby looks up. He had grown used to it with his parents’ busy schedule. The instruction was always simple – but he knew they were going somewhere. He packs everything up in his backpack, slinging it over his shoulder as he walks over to his dad.
“Where are we going?” He asks as Dale puts his running shoes.
“We’re going to see Chase.” A smile immediately forms on the young boy’s face.
“Can I play a game or two with him? Wait – I need to show him the new car I created.” Dale smile as he was glad that each of his kids had formed a solid friendship with Chase. But he also knew that right now was quite the right time.
“Actually, Chase and I need to have an adult conversation, and I can’t leave you home alone so you’re coming.” Robby then looks up at his dad, puzzled.
“I’m eight years old. Why can’t I be home alone?” Dale lets out a sigh as he leads his son out of the house.
“Because I don’t quite trust you yet.” Robby then looks back at his dad even more puzzled. “Ask your sisters. They weren’t allowed to be home alone till they were 12, and fortunately for you, the same remains.” Robby then climbed in the UTV, watching his dad climb in the other seat and they head across the property.
“Why do adults have adult conversations?” Dale could only roll his eyes. He should be used to lots of questions from the kids now.
“Because adults need to talk about things that little ears can’t hear.” Robby rolls his eyes, wishing he was older already.
“Does Alyssa know what you guys are talking about?” Dale shakes his head yes. “Could I ask her?” Dale then stops instantly, looking over at Robby.
“Under no circumstances are you to ask Alyssa about what I and Chase are talking about, nor are you to pressure Chase about it.” Robby then looks on puzzled as Dale looks back forward, taking a deep breath. Perhaps that was a little too blunt. “You know that someone kidnapped both Alyssa and Chase, right?” Robby shakes his head yes.
“That’s why you warned me once again about not trusting strangers and the signs.” Dale shakes his head, remembering the discussion. He had sat both Elsa and Robby down shortly after Alyssa went missing out of his own fear.
“When something big like that happens, it takes a lot out of someone emotionally. It brings thoughts of fear, pain, anger, confusion. When you hear me or your mom worrying about your sister, that is what we’re talking about. It’s going to take her time, and Chase too for them to come to grips with everything that happened emotionally and be ready to move forward like nothing happened. It’s a touchy subject for them both, so hence why I’d just prefer that you don’t say anything, okay?” Robby shakes his head yes, accepting. “That’s my little man.”
Dale then continues the short drive over, parking out front of the house. The pair then walk up to the door together, with Dale knocking. Dale felt himself fidgeting, nervous as to Chase’s reaction, waiting for him to open the door.
He couldn’t wonder anymore as he watched the door open before him, causing him to look back up.
“Were you watching?” Chase questions, figuring in his mind that someone would be there when he got home.
“Yeah – because I was worried about you,” Dale answers. “And I wanted to see how you made out.” Chase glances down at Robby, giving him a small smile, before looking back up at Dale.
“I made out pretty good, actually.” Dale easily accepts, seeing the glance towards Robby in wanting to keep conversation at a minimum with him present. “Everybody out right now?”
“Alyssa is still at JRM, Elsa went out with Jenna and Alexis, and Marie is…well, as you know, out of the country on errands. So that leaves just me and Robby. I told him I had to come over for ‘adult conversation’ but couldn’t leave him alone.” Chase shakes his head, accepting. He knew that Dale and Marie weren’t the strictest parents, but they kept concerns about their kids at a certain level.
“Well why don’t you both come in, and Robby, you can head into the front room and play a game or two. I got a new dirt racing game that Kyle Larson said is awesome, and so far – I have to agree.” The eyes light up on the little boy.
“Can I try it?” Chase shakes his head yes as Robby hurries in the house and to the living room.
“Thanks…” Dale comments as he follows Chase through the house to the kitchen. “I wasn’t sure what to do with him but knew I had to come see you….” Chase glances back at Dale.
“Hey, he’s a good kid,” Chase starts. “Not a single problem.” Chase then opens the fridge, grabbing them each a drink as Dale notices the pill bottle sitting on the counter.
“Niravam?” Chase shakes his head yes as he looks over.
“How’d you know?” Dale sits down on the stool by the counter.
“That’s what I got. It’s a good, mild anxiety drug. It should work.” Chase shakes his head, accepting, as he leans back against the counter. “So, you said back there things went well….”
“You know why I said that there.” Dale shakes his head, understanding. “I did what you said. I explained things as best as I could and he agreed with what we’re saying. He also gave me some suggestions and ways to work through it. He then said I could come back anytime and discuss with him if I felt like it and the time was right.” It was progress, and that’s all Dale wanted to hear. It was better than where they stood that morning.
“That’s good. Did you guys talk about the details at all?” Chase looks down at the ground, shaking his head no.
“I couldn’t bring myself to do it….” Dale heard the regret in Chase’s voice, knowing how much he did push himself at times.
“Hey, that’s alright. You made progress, right? He at least knows where you are, and you’ve got those to start. It’s a start. One step at a time. That’s all you need to do.” Chase knew that Dale was right in those words.
“Look, as much as I don’t mind talking with you, I really need to get some sleep. I’m dead on my feet tired today after not sleeping the past couple of nights and with everythin-”
“Hey, that’s perfectly understandable.” Dale then stands up, pushing the stool in. “I can come by later and we can talk then, or whatev-”
“Actually, would you mind sticking around even if I go upstairs and sleep? I just don’t want to be by myself totally.” Dale shook his head, accepting with ease. He knew the feeling, and remembered the times that he hated being apart from Marie and alone himself.
“Absolutely. I’ll give that new game a try with Robby.” Chase chuckles as he glances in the room at Robby.
“Yeah, good luck with it. He seems to be mastered it already.” Chase then heads for the stairs, though stops and looks back at Dale. “Thank you, and feel free to go home when Alyssa gets here. I’ll be fine with it.” Dale shakes his head, easily accepting.