Note: I'm in the middle of writing a huge Jake trilogy that includes a vacation to Southern California. When I read this week's challenge, I remembered a Steve Walker artpiece that actually fed the Jake muse in the first place, and going back to the pic gave birth to this, which will be included in the trilogy. It is a stand-alone, however, so no worries.
Jake's penchant for saying good-bye to things was providing Blair with one of the most incredible moments of his life.
Today was their last day in California. They're first family vacation was coming to an end and, of course, Jake had to say good-bye to his room, his bed, his shower, his kitchen, his Rosie, his deck, his sand, and naturally… his ocean. They were packed and the mobile home, located only a few steps from the beach and the Pacific Ocean, was once again in pristine order. While Jim loaded up the Tahoe, Jake insisted that Blair take him the edge of the ocean so he could say his final good-bye. It didn't matter than Jake had the Pacific Ocean in Cascade - no, this ocean was entirely different and he just *had* to say good-bye. So, with the tennis shoes that had the light-up heels on his feet, and wearing a white tee-shirt and his blue denim overalls, Jake strode over to the sliding glass doors, cocked his head, and said, "daddy?"
What could Blair do?
"Right. We say good-bye to the ocean." He grinned, took his son's hand, and led him out onto the deck. "Okay, let's get your shoes and socks off, we don't want to leave the Tahoe full of sand, not to mention the airplane, okay?"
Jake nodded, promptly sat down, and held out one leg. Rolling his eyes, Blair hiked up his jeans a bit so that he could bend at the knees and do his thing. Once Jake was barefoot, there was no stopping him. He jumped up and ran onto the sand with a happy grin.
"my sand, daddy. warm."
"Yep," Blair agreed as he toed off his loafers. He was grateful he'd decided to go home sock-less. Jake turned and headed for the water's edge, his blonde curls caught by the Southern California breeze.
Blair followed at a more leisurely pace and thought briefly of Jim, who was undoubtedly arranging the luggage in the back of the Tahoe in the most advantageous manner. He grinned at the thought even as he lifted his face to the sun. Jake had stopped at the line that marked the last tide and now stood quietly watching the water as it rolled in, aquamarine in color and frothy as it climbed up the dark sand.
Blair noticed the stillness of his son and moved in behind him. He placed a hand on top of the curly head and waited. Jake slowly leaned back until he was resting against Blair's legs and, together, they watched the water.
"my ocean, daddy," Jake whispered. "i don't wanna say good-bye."
Fingers combing through the softness of his son's hair, Blair said, "Then isn't it a good thing that the ocean is forever and goes all the way to Cascade? This very water will end up on our beach at Tumbler's Cove. This - very - water."
"forever," Jake breathed out.
"If we take care of it," Blair added.
"be good to it, huh, daddy? i didn't even pee in it and once, at tumbler's cove, corky did, but he was littler then and prob'ly couldn't help it."
"No doubt," Blair said with a grin.
Slowly Jake raised his arms. Grin widening, Blair hoisted Jake up, letting Jake use his right hip as a brace. Jake's left arm wound around Blair's neck as they both looked out over the bright blue ocean.
Jim shut the back hatch and rubbed his hands together. Not bad, he thought. Not bad at all. Everything neatly packed and stacked and they were ready to go. He checked his watch and nodded in satisfaction. Still had fifteen minutes to spare. He just hoped Jake was done with his good-byes. Of course, Rosie, his California baby-sitter, had been the hardest to say good-bye to, but still, Jake was one possessive young boy when it came to things that he deemed "his". Like this mobile home in Laguna Beach, and the beach it rested on.
Jim walked back into the house and cocked his head. He was alone. He turned toward the slider that opened onto the deck, and could see his son and spouse at the water's edge. Smiling, he walked out. Jake's shoes and socks were sitting on the edge of the wooden deck and he stepped over to them. He picked them up, his gaze softening at the smallness of them. Shielding his eyes with his hand, he watched Blair and Jake.
Jake was up in Blair's arms, almost standing on Blair's hip, his left arm wrapped around his father's neck. Blair was wearing a blue denim shirt that was only slightly lighter in color than Jake's overalls and the sight of the two of them nearly choked Jim up. His heart started to race as he continued to watch them.
In spite of the distance that separated them, Jim had never felt more connected - or more protective.
Jake must have spotted something because he suddenly pointed and Jim could hear him say, "daddy, oh, daddy, lookee!"
Jim followed the direction of the small hand and now he could see it too - a whale. Water spouted from the blowhole and Jim could hear Jake's giggle. He watched with tears in his eyes as Jake rested his own blonde head against Blair's dark one, their curls mingling together.
God, he loved them so damn much.
"Time to go, Jake," Blair finally said.
Jim watched as Jake lifted his head, raised his right arm, and with wiggling fingers, said, "bye, my ocean. bye, my whale."
Blair turned around and, with Jake still in his arms, started to walk back toward the mobile home. He spotted Jim immediately and tagged a blonde curl in order to get Jake attention from the ocean. "Look, it's poppy."
Jake grinned and started waving madly, which almost toppled him from his perch in Blair's arms. Laughing, Blair righted him and set him down. The moment Jake's bare feet hit the sand, he was running.
Jim waited, and when Jake was almost at the deck, he bent at the knees and held out his arms. Jake launched himself into them and Jim scooped him up and straightened.
"i been saying good-bye, poppy! did you see my whale?"
"I sure did. And we now have just enough time to get your shoes and socks back on before we head to the airport, Hoss."
"oh, okay, we can do that."
Blair, eyes crinkled with humor, stopped a few feet from Jim and Jake. The sun caught the highlights in his hair, and his blue eyes seemed to sparkle even brighter than the incredible ocean behind him. His gaze met Jim's and they shared a silent, "I love you" before Jim handed him Jake's shoes.
"Here, do your thing, Chief," he said, his own eyes crinkling at the corners with his smile.
Blair stepped up onto the deck and put Jake's socks on - not an easy task as young Mr. Porter decided that now would be a good time to wiggle his toes maniacally. Eventually, Blair succeeded with both socks and shoes. As he tied the left shoe, he looked up and said, "Ready to go home, Jim?"
"I'm ready, Chief."
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