The Tour Part 4

“Hey, Jason,” Timber greeted the newcomer. Another of Mel’s friends is always welcome. “I’m a new student; I just arrived on a wrestling scholarship. Mel has been kind enough to show me around.” He wrinkled his brow then smiled as he continued, “But now, she’s beating me in pool!”

"She probably is." Jason agreed. "A wrestling scholarship? Guessing then you've met JD." It was a casual comment.

"Timber met most of the group at lunch. Just you, Heath and Blossom weren't there." Melissa explained.

"Cool. Well, actually I stopped in to tell you." His attention was on Mel. "That I got out tickets and your t-shirt, everything is set for tonight."

"Thanks," Mel responded. "Everyone's meeting in the courtyard at 7."

"Great." He paused. "I was headed to the music room to get some practice in."

"Oh, we just came from there. It was empty." Melissa said.

Oh! So this is Mel’s date tonight. Timber thought. And a musician.

“Yeh!” Timber added. “Mel is quite talented. She did a great take on Carrie Underwood’s Wasted.”

"She is." Jason easily agreed. "I'd like to hear that sometime. I'd like to stay and talk longer but I have to go and get stuff done. Talk to you later." The goodbye was directed at both Timber and Mel. Jason left.

Mel turned back to Timber, "As you probably guessed Jason's my date tonight." She waited for Timber to take his turn.

“See ya!” Timber returned to Jason.

When Mel explained who Jason was, Timber nodded. “I figured so.” Timber paused before saying, “He seems nice,” then framing his own face with his hands, “but look at this cute face.” He grinned, bringing out the dimples.

Melissa giggled at Timber but she couldn't disagree, he was cute, after all. "Well, take your shot and I'll tell you a little about my life."

Timber chuckled. Mel could laugh. There were some girls who couldn’t. That just added to her allure.

Timber leaned down and aimed. The two ball was just at the edge of the side pocket. His shot just grazed it and it sunk into the pocket.

“I’m anxious to hear more,” he expressed as he lined up his next shot.

The four ball looked like a likely shot. However, to knock that in, Timber would most likely scratch. So, he went after the seven, which missed the pocket by a hair.

“Ooo…so close!”

Melissa manged to make the shot for the nine and twelve balls. "Well, we lived with my father, until we didn't but that's part of the story I don't want to discuss right now. We were taken in by the Morrisons, when I was 8 and my sister was 10, adopted a year later. They already had a biological, Adrian, who is a few months older than my sister." Melissa missed her next shot, an attempt to bank a 14 ball. "So, I ended up in Seattle with the Morrisons. They adopted my sister and I a year later. It was an adjustment, for an understatement, but they are my family now." Melissa paused. "That's the basics." There was obviously more, but it would wait.

Timber’s face took on a look of concern. Mel was taken from her home. This could only mean that it involved some type of abuse. His heart hurt for her. Right now, he didn’t know what to say. Maybe now wasn’t the appropriate time, as she didn’t want to discuss it.

“Mel,” he quietly said, “you share whenever and whatever you feel comfortable.”

He realized just how blessed he had been. No, he wasn’t rich monetarily. However, his family was close. They weren’t perfect, but they communicated and problem solved. His family was a loving one. They took care of each other and spread that love to those in the community. He figured he was as spoiled as a rich kid, but in a different manner.

Their lives suddenly became so different. He had been making note of all the commonalities, that this difference surprised him. Mel was such a nice girl. Who could abuse her?

He took a shot and missed. He was disturbed that her own father could do something that would harm Mel.

“Oops!” he tried to cover. “I missed.”

It didn't take much to figure out Timber was connecting the dots, she nodded, slightly grateful he wasn't prying.

"Well, so when I say my mom and dad, I mean the Morrisons." Though he probably figured that out she just wanted to be clear. "My Dad is the head of Seattle General Hospital. My mom is the head of the Psychiatric unit at a smaller private hospital." She paused. "My sister, Valerie, is doing early college she wants to be a Veterinarian and my brother, Adrian, wants to be a physical therapist." Just to give some idea of her family. She hit another ball in, then another. That left the 15 as the only striped ball on the table but she missed the shot. "Do you have any questions about me?" Trying to think about what she had missed.

Timber thought a while as he lined up a shot. The three ball went into the far corner pocket.

“Just one,” he spoke with care in his voice. “Why did the Morrisons send you here? Why not the same opportunity as your brother and sister?”

Another ball went into a corner pocket, but so did the cue ball. He hit it to far above center and it followed the one ball into the pocket. He shook his head, then grinned, stepping back from the table.

"Well, I'll answer that when there aren't so many people around. But they had a good reason and it turned out to be the best thing for me, despite what happened with Doug." Mel hit her last striped ball in, leaving her the eight ball. She walked around the table, figured out angles. "Eight ball in right corner pocket." It took hitting the cue ball, at an angle and bouncing it off one of the cushions. Carefully but just hard enough she hit the cue ball, it hit the cushion, then the 8 ball causing the ball to go right in where she said. "Maybe, I should have mentioned my family has a pool table." Mel grinned slightly, but it was just in fun.

Timber chuckled. “It looks like I need to practice.”

He placed his stick in the rack, then took hers and did the same. “You have great resilience. I admire that!”

He thought of his family once more. “I have a brother and sister too. An older sister who is at home helping on the farm and a twin brother, who might have been here instead of me had it not been for an accident. Overall, I’ve had an easy life compared to you. My mom insists I FaceTime her every night.” He chuckled.


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