Two days after the beach incident found me thinking about my newly met neighbors. As I mentioned before, at the time I had no idea they were actually the A-Team. I found that the few hours I had watched and talked to them left me with a persistent curiousity.
Just in the short span of time that Templeton and HM had been here, I got the distinct impression that they were like family. Even the way they talked about John, though they called him Hannibal, and the big one, BA. It, of course, was not possible that they were blood relations, but I have discovered in my time that family comes in many forms. And some of the strongest families are those of their own choosing and not of God's.
But now I'm straying from the story...As I was saying, persistent curiousity. And this curiousity led me to ring the same doorbell where I had left my young friends just two days before...
"Mrs. Eta! So good to see you."
John could have charmed a snake with that smile. As it was, I don't think I've blushed so much since I was a school girl. "I hope I'm not the only one you're wasting that charm on, John."
"Ah, charm is never wasted on a beautiful lady..."
"And if I were twenty years younger you'd be in trouble," I smiled as he gestured me inside.
"And to what do we owe this pleasure?"
"Oh, I thought I would come by to see how Templeton is doing. Feeling any better is he?"
John led me into the living room where I spotted HM sulking on the couch, "HM? What's wrong?"
HM looked up but it was John who answered, "I banned him from Face's room. He was henning around him so much that he couldn't get any rest."
"Oh, I see," looking around I didn't see BA anywhere. "And what of BA? Did you ban him from the house?"
I saw the slight flush on John's face as he answered, "No, no. He's out in the garage working on the van."
"Oh. Well then, do you mind if I pay Templeton a visit? I brought some chicken soup. I thought he might like that."
"Of course! In fact, that's a wonderful idea!" I watched as a few of the worry lines left John's face, "He hasn't been eating much you see..."
John threw HM a look as he went to get off the couch. I almost laughed when I saw HM slink back and pull his knees to his chest. It wasn't funny, but it was.
I let John guide me up the stairs and watched as he poked his head through the doorway, "Face? You have a visitor."
Oh, the poor thing! He looked absolutely miserable. Lying there amonst the heaps of pillows and blankets he looked so small and much younger than his years. He smiled as I stepped into the room and I'm afraid my motherly instincts got the better of me.
"Hello Templeton. How are you feeling?"
"Mrs. Eta, better just for your being here."
"I can see that John isn't the only charmer in this house," I placed the chicken soup on the bedside table and reached over a hand to brush his forehead. "Well, that's not so bad. How about some soup now, Templeton?"
"Ah 'Face'. Everyone calls me 'Face'."
"Now what kind of name is that anyway?" I smiled at him, "No, I like 'Templeton', so 'Templeton' it is."
He smiled at me and let an old woman have her way. I got the feeling that this one hadn't had enough mothering in his life and I was determined to make up for the lack. I can't rightly say when I made that decision though, but it struck me later that that was exactly what I was doing. Not just for Templeton, but for all of them.
We sat and chatted until I saw his eyes begin to close. Tucking the blanket around him snuggly he was asleep before I even slipped out of the room.
Stepping back into the living room, I found HM in the same spot as when I left. I could see the pent up energy in him and motioned for him to come with me.
Making our way back to my house, I laughed as HM chatted nonstop. He's very much the little boy that I pegged him for when I first saw him playing on the beach.
"..and chocolate chip ones. Those are Faceyman's favorite!"
And so we passed the rest of the day. Baking cookies for a sick friend and destroying the orderly confines of my kitchen...