Four months had quickly gone by, since Ben and I had spent our evening together. He had called me a couple days after that night to let me know he had to leave on a trip to take care of some personal business. I hadn’t heard from him at all since. I had begun to believe it didn’t work out between us after all. That was my only chance to make it work and I blew it.
“Caleb! We’re here!” Jessica called out. Sam her fiancé stood beside her and they both were smiling happily.
“Welcome! Come on in guys.” I greeted kindly.
My loft was small but I hadn’t invited many people. It was the day of Max’s birthday and there were about ten kids whom had shown up. A small crowd of couples showed all at onece but only one other couple stayed with me to help me chaperone the kids. I really didn’t know who they were but I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of Max and his friends, so I happily let them stay as they offered to help. The more the merrier I told myself.
“Got your hands full do you?” Sam remarked.
“I do. Of course that’s what I have you guys for.” I laughed.
Leaning over unnoticeably I asked Jessica, “Have you heard from Ben and what do you know about a business trip he’s been on the last couple of weeks?”
“Business trip? I don’t know anything about a business trip.” She sounded concerned. “He just told me you and he decided that he could get back and forth to his sessions on his own now.”
“What? He lied to me. Damn it. Not again. What the hell is going on with him now Jessica?” I said disturbed.
“I don’t know Caleb; I wish I could tell you.” Jessica said disappointed.
After singing Happy Birthday to Max, he had blown out his candles and we all had a piece of cake. I realize most parents weren’t going to be happy with me because of all the sugar but that’s the price you pay for leaving your children at a birthday party.
Max was extremely happy; all of his friends were here and couldn’t wait to open his presents. I finally announced that it was time to open gifts and Max screamed at the top his lungs. “Yeah!” We all chuckled at the sight. Max and I sat solely in the middle of the crowd of everyone as Jessica, Sam and the other couple was kind enough to help maintain a calm setting for the rest of the kids. Going through the gifts one by one Max opened each, some with awe and most with a smile. He was very excited, as most children would be at the sight of all the toys he received from all of his friends.
“Caleb, you missed one.” Jessica pointed out.
Sitting beside the couch just hidden beneath the end table was a small gift bag. “Oh, well let’s see what we have here.” I picked up the bag filled with colorful tissue paper and in it was a small brown box with a card. It was to Max and me.
“This is an odd gift for a kid.” I commented.
“I’m curious just open it already!” The woman from the other couple called out as she giggled.
“Okay, okay.” I agreed. I handed the box to Max and let him open it. Pulling the string that was tied around he struggled to take the lid off the box. I gently helped him shimmy it off and together we managed to get it open but only to drop what was inside.
“Oops. What was that?” I asked aloud. I searched floor just below Max and found a key. “What in the world?”
Everyone stared in curiosity. Again, I reached into to the bag and pulled out the card. Labeled, 'To: Max and Caleb'. I slid my finger just under the flap to reveal a warm greeting card with bold letter’s that read ‘Find the Key to your new home.’ As I read aloud to everyone, the room was less than silent but still held everyone at the peak of question. I flipped opened the card and inside I found a snapshot photo of a beautiful two story house with a white picket fence and a very large front yard. On the opposite side of the card it read: