New Dragon's World
Chapter 9: Warm Memories
As the car took off in the direction of Ben's house, Drake shifted around in his seat, making sure the seatbelt was latched. They pulled out of the parking lot and drove way from the college, Kyle beginning to sober up. Which unfrotunately, only made his headache worse.
"Ow, my head!" Kyle said to no one in particular.
"That's what you get for binge drinking." Jackie teased, laughing a little.
"I didn't chug 'em all at once." Kyle whispered to his sister.
"Yeah, like that matters." Jackie said sarcastically.
"Ow! C'mon not so loud!" Kyle exclaimed.
"I wasn't even talking loud. See? You're a freakin' mess."
Jackie turned to Drake. "Drake, don't turn out like your big cousin, Kyle when you're older, K?" Jackie smiled.
"Right!" Drake said, laughing a little. Kyle was starting to get pretty steamed.
Kyle moaned in pain as he held his head. "Hey, Uncle Titus. Could we talk to my parents tomorrow?" Kyle asked.
"Aww, what's da matter, widdle bwother? Are you afwaid mom and dad will find out you've been dwinking?"
"Th-that's not it!" Kyle said, his face beaming in shame.
"But you looked so happy partying with your frat brothers. I thought they'd love to see their youngest child show off his newfound drinking skills. Doesn't that sound exciting?" Jackie continued to tease, relentlessly.
"I-I just don't want to wake them! YOu know how early mom and dad go to sleep, Jackie. "
"Yeah. OK." Jackie said, not believeing any of what he was telling her.
Titus turned his car, heading for home before going off to Ben's house.
"Dad?" Drake asked.
"I'm gonna drop everyone off at home." Titus said.
"Oh, thank you, Uncle Titus! I love you so much!" Kyle exclaimed pathetically.
"Aw, no! My evil scheme's been foiled! Drat!" Jackie said sarcastically.
Drake continued to laugh at Jackie and Kyle. The first time in a while he actually was able to laugh. With that, his fear of the upcoming battle pratically washed away. At that moment he was just a normal, happy little kid.
Ten minutes later, Titus and everyone else made it back to Titus' house. Kyle, leaning on the car for a bit of support looked at the house. The house had a white coat of paint with a fence that extended from the front of the house to the back. It reminded Kyle a bit of the condo he grew up in. He remembered how he and Jackie used to play in the backyard together, as children. If you could really call it a backyard. It was more along the lines of a walkway covered in the sibling's toys. Outside of the walkway was an outside table with four chairs seated around it. The perfect amount for Kyle and his family.
"Do you need help, Kyle?" Titus asked.
"I'm okay. I think I can walk now." Kyle said, still with his left hand covering the top of his head. He rubbed his head, hoping the pain would go away.
"Knock, knock!" Titus called out.
The door opened, the person at the front door being Titus' mother.
"Hey, mom." Titus greeted.
"Welcome back, Doulstraz." She said warmly.
In her human form, Titus' mother looked like an old woman at around sixty. She had greying hair with some blonde spots in it. Literally a perfect disguise. Titus' father looked the same way, except as an old man who was also greying.
"Mom, are Sarah and dad home?" Titus asked.
"Just hold on a second, Doulstraz. I'll go get them." She smiled at him.
"Doulstraz?" Kyle asked.
"My dragon name." Titus explained.
"Oh, yeah. You've been a human for so long, I kinda forgot you were really a dragon." Kyle laughed.
Jackie just sighed, neither her nor Drake or Titus saying a word.
Titus, Drake, Jackie, and Kyle heard footsteps making their way down the stairs. Sarah noticed everyone standing in the doorway and walked up to Jackie and Kyle, smiling with her arms out. Jackie walked towards Sarah and hugged her. Sarah then hugged Kyle, noticing he smelled like booze.
"Cmon, guys. Go ahead and sit down." Sarah said.
"Kyle, could you sit on the floor?"
"What?!" Kyle asked, still with a pounding headache.
"I just don't want our couch to smell like liquor." Sarah explained.
"Nice to know my family loves me so much." Kyle said, pouting.
Everyone laughed, ironically, even Kyle himself couldn't help but laugh.
"So Kyle, how's college going for you?" Sarah asked.
Kyle, still rubbing his head with his left hand, said, "Can't complain. It's going well, I guess."
"Tell her your new talent." Jackie smiled.
"Shut up, Jackie!" Kyle exclaimed.
"Don't worry, Jackie. I know. I could smell it on him..."
Kyle groaned in annoyance. Drake walked up to his cousin.
"It's okay, Kyle. We're just kidding!" Drake grinned.
"Yeah, don't be so serious. Turn that frown upside down, little brother!" Jackie laughed.
Titus laughed a little. "Okay, guys. That's enough. If we keep attacking Kyle, he'll be too weak for the battle!" Titus laughed.
"Seriously, just SHUT UP!" Kyle shouted.
At that moment, the laugher stopped. Not even a faint chuckle was made.
"Sometimes you guys can really be jerks, y'know that?!" Kyle exclaimed.
"Kyle...we're sorry." Titus said in a quiet voice.
"It's not like I'm proud to be a drinker! I really try not to drink that much! But eventually, even if I have just one beer, I can't stop!" Kyle buried his head in his arms.
Everyone gathered around Kyle. Titus put his hand on Kyle's head, rubbing his hair like he used to when Kyle was a little boy.
"I'm sorry, Kyle. I didn't know you felt so strongly about it. I should've been nicer to you about that."
"Same here." Jackie said.
Kyle brought his head from his arms. He looked at his uncle and sister. They were smiling warmly at him. Then he looked at Sarah and Drake. They also smiled at him. Titus' parents also smiled at him. He knew even though they teased him, they still cared deeply about him. They were his family. The people who'd help him through anything. Including his alcohol addiction.
"Thank you, guys." Kyle said, getting up and hugging them.
After the little family hug, Titus got up and walked towards the front door.
"Where are you going, Titus?" Sarah asked.
"I'm heading out for a bit."
"Are you going to see Uncle Ben and Aunt Jessie now?" Drake asked.
"No. I just want to go out and drive for a while. Drake, will you come with me?" Titus asked.
"Me?" Drake asked, pointing to himself.
"Sure. Okay." Drake ran to his father and the father/son duo headed back to Titus' car.
Sarah and everyone else walked out to the front door just as Titus and Drake were buckling up, Drake sitting in the front seat with his dad.
"Well be back in a little bit, Sarah!" Titus shouted to his wife.
Titus pulled his car out of the driveway and headed in the opposite direction of Kyle's college.
"Where are we going, dad?" Drake asked.
"Drake, has mom ever showed you where she works?" Titus asked his son.
"Nope. I've never seen where she works."
"Okay, then." Was all Titus said.
"Why?" Asked Drake.
Titus drove past the very same street Ben used to live on. The street where Titus lived for seven years of his life. Before he headed off for college. He looked at all the condos for a brief moment, a wave of nostalgia washing over him. He remembered the first day he came to live in California. It was an unusual day. For once, it was actually raining. Something that only happens once or twice a year in California. When he was thirteen, he thought that it was raining because of all that happened to him. Like the skys themselves were crying for Titus.
As the car passed up the condos, He stopped at a stop sign. On the lefthand pole was a street sign. Titus began to read it to himself.
"1070, Elm Avenue..."
"Dad? Did you say something?"
"No. It's okay."
As the stoplight flashed green, Titus started his car again and continued to drive north of Ben's old house.
Titus turned into the intersection and got on the freeway. After about a few more minutes of driving, He noticed a Target right off the freeway. He took the nearest exit and looked for a way into the parking lot. After finding one, Titus and Drake drove into the lot.
"Dad, mom works at a Target?" Drake asked.
"No. That Target's just close to where she works."
Titus drove through the vacant lot, looking for the plaza. AFter finding it, he parked his car ang got out, Drake following behind him.
"Have you ever been here, Drake?" Titus asked.
"No. Never." Drake responded.
The plaza was unusually quiet. Not a single person was in sight. But that was fine for Titus. It just meant he could have more of a father/son moment with Drake.
Titus looked around the plaza. The stores were still the same as they were when he was a teenager. He remembered that this plaza and mall was the very place where his first journey began. He remembered when he fainted in the shopping center. He also remembered meeting Angela and Sarah here. Titus smiled to himself, happy that, after two decades, he still had those warm memories of his past.
"Drake, did you know I met your mom and Angela here?" Titus asked.
"You did? You met mom here?" Drake asked.
"I never told you, Drake. but your mom was an orphan. She was being chased by some guys. I tried my best to protect her and after that, I guess she just started to fall in love with me." Titus explained.
"I never knew mom was an orphan..."
"Angela took her in. She stayed with the two of us as I began to turn back into a dragon. Heh. Your mom loved dragons as a kid. I think that's one reason why she fell in love with me." Titus said.
Titus walked over to a small store. He looked at it with recognition in his eyes. He grabbed his keys and browsed through them, pulling out one key. He stuck it into the keyhole and turned, unlocking the door.
"This is where mom works, Drake." Titus said, flipping on a light switch.
Drake looked around. It was a plushie store. Drake looked in awe at all the plushies. They were so cute! Many of the plushies were of dragons, with some being of different animals ranging from turtles, to foxes and even kitsune. Being back in the store he spent most of his transformation in made Titus feel both sad and happy. He was happy to be back in the store that had such a huge effect on his childhood. Yet he was sad. Sad with the knowledge of Anegla's death.
"This store belonged to Angela." Titus explained.
"Drake." Titus said.
"Yeah?" Drake asked.
"I think if Angela were still alive, she'd be really happy to meet you. No. I know she'd be happy to meet you. If she were alive, I bet you'd love her just as much as I did when I was your age. Maybe even more than me." Titus said, smiling as a tear ran down his face.
"Dad, I'm sorry."
"Why, Drake?" Titus asked.
"About Angela. I'm sorry that she died." Drake said sadly.
Titus put his arms around his son and hugged him tightly.
"Thank you, Drake. You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that." Titus said, tears starting to stream down his face.
Titus led his son over to the door in the far back of the store. He opened the door. It was dark inside and Drake couldn't see a thing.
"Go on in, Drake." Titus said.
Drake walked in and felt his foot hit something hard. It was a rock! Drake looked around. They were in a cave now! A cave in the store! The very cave Titus lived in as he became a dragon again.
"Dad, what is this?" Drake asked.
"This was my cave for a short time. " Titus explained.
Titus started to cry. Drake looked back and noticed his father, probably the saddest he's ever been.
"I'm sorry, Drake. It must be embarassing to see your old man cry." Titus said with a strained voice.
"It's not. I don't think it's embarassing." Drake said, tears starting to make their way down his face as well.
Drake walked over to his dad and buried his head in his dad's stomach, crying. Both father and son couldn't cease their tears.
"Dad?" Drake asked.
Drake sniffled. "Can we sleep here tonight?"
"You...you really want to?" Titus asked, shocked.
"Yeah. And for you, too." Drake smiled sympathetically.
Titus' tears contined. This time, however, it was because Titus was happy. He kneeled down and rubbed his son's head.
"How'd I get such a great and nice son?" Titus smiled.
Drake wrapped his arms around his father's neck. "Because I have a great father."
Titus showed Drake the place they'd be sleeping in. Drake decided that since it was just him and his dad, he'd revert to his half-dragon form. Titus decided he'd talk to Ben and Jessie in the morning. For now, he figured he'd re-enjoy the most precious moments of his early teen years. Soon after, both father and son were sound asleep. The two slept peacefully, without a care. There was happiness for both of them. In their hearts.
To Be Continued.