Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 5b

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Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 5b Empty Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 5b

Post by Ranger52899 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:09 pm

5b


 

 

Their hotel was a large and expensive one in the shape of a wooden Swiss ski lodge, and the car lot was far busier than Flynn liked the look of, considering Dale’s situation. On the other side of the car, Jasper held the door for Dale, helping him into his coat as he climbed out. Flynn could see him taking in the numbers of cars as he looked around with equal reserve. If it hadn’t been snowing and freezing cold out here, Flynn would have left them both to wait in the car lot while he checked it out. They crossed the lot to the blasting warmth of the front door. The lobby inside was heavily Christmassed. Flashing lights and jingling music confronted them from an over decorated tree. Dale instinctively closed his eyes, he couldn’t quite disguise the flinch away. Getting less impressed by the second with this place, Flynn took his shoulders and steered him fast past it and through the second doorway into reception, reminded of precisely why he hated bloody cities.

Christmas decorations and skiing appeared to be a heavy theme of the entire place. The lobby was noisily chock full of people seated on the couches around the tables, drinking coffee beneath multiple tv screens and large wall hung photographs of people ski boarding. The entire ground floor appeared to be some kind of cafe. Walking between the several artificial trees, Dale paused to get his bearings, intentionally straightening his shoulders in the way he had whenever he set his jaw and his mind to do something difficult. Flynn suspected it was harder for him to walk when he could see but not process at speed than it had been when he could make out nothing at all. Flynn slowed with him, standing to block him from being trodden on by passers-by with coffee trays and numerous small children who were running around. Jasper headed straight for the reception desk.

An animatronic group of king penguins were flapping slowly on a display beside it. Two had toppled over and were flapping on their sides. One at the back appeared to be trying to run away. Flynn didn’t blame it. Small children crashed in and out of a soft play area on the other side, engaged in play that involved a lot of shouting, random violence and small coloured balls. Flynn caught one that flew near Dale, laying it down on the reception desk while stifling mild homicidal desires and the urge to get Dale the hell out of here. Except that finding another and quieter hotel with a room in a city the day before Christmas Eve was going to be unlikely, and Dale had already travelled as far as he needed to today. Jasper moved calmly, drawing Dale in between them to shield him from any further missiles. Flynn herded them both to the furthest and quietest part of the reception area. There was no one behind the desk of course.

“Think it’s worth looking for an alternative to this madhouse?” Flynn muttered to Jasper. He snagged another flying ball before it got near Dale, giving a hard stare to the parent of the ball lobber to suggest that they might like to consider doing some parenting. Jasper leaned on the desk, lifting his voice to reach the open office door.

“Good afternoon, could we have some help please.”

He was using the pleasant but level tone that tended to get Riley and Dale’s attention fast. It worked on hotel staff too. The person who came out of the office was wearing a ski suit with a pair of neon orange boxer shorts over the top, had long blond hair and looked about seventeen. He grinned at them, turning around a computer screen for Jasper.

“Hey dude. You’re the ANZ party, right? Sign in there.”

“Are you this busy upstairs too?” Flynn said shortly.

“Nah this is just a Christmas party going on, the local ski club.” The teenager assured him. “It’s cool, you get a free grappa. Come on down and join us once you’ve dropped your stuff in your room.”

Not under any circumstances. Jasper signed them in rapidly and accepted a card which appeared to be all they were going to get in the way of a key.

“Upstairs, to your left, the front room.” The teenager told him, raising his voice as several people began to sing along with one of the big tvs. “Have a really cool stay.”

What exactly a ‘cool stay’ involved, he didn’t specify.

Flynn moved Dale fast out of the reception area and up the wide stairs. Once they reached the first landing the noise thankfully faded away behind them. Jasper dropped the card in the door lock and opened it, and Flynn guided Dale inside, into relative silence. He was pale and he was walking stiffly. That was by far the noisiest and busiest place they’d encountered since he left the hospital, and the last thing he’d needed to be exposed to. Flynn peeled him out of his coat, dropped into the deep, two seater couch by the window, and pulled Dale down into his lap.

“Breathe.”

The reminder made him draw a deeper breath, releasing some of the tension. Flynn hugged him, talking very quietly against his ear.

“I’m sorry about that. Are you all right?”

“Yes. Just a bit nauseous. That was … worse than I expected.”

Across the room, Jasper found a kettle on a hot drinks stand and switched it on. Flynn reached down to pull Dale’s snow damp shoes off, helping him lay down so he was half on Flynn and half on the couch.

“We knew noise was a bad idea, you’ve been doing fine so long as we stay away from it. There isn’t anything to worry about. We won’t go out again today.”

“I’ll be fine in a minute.”

“Do we need to talk about bullshit?” Flynn said shortly. He saw Dale’s faint smile.

“No. Really not.”

“In this weather we’re going to be staying up here anyway.” Jasper said calmly. “I’ll walk down the street and find some take out later.”

About the whole of the wall of the room was window, which probably was fine when it looked out onto a snowy mountainside in a ski lodge. In down town Casper, looking out over the snowy city wasn’t quite so effective. A pair of antler horns hung on the wall above a couple of cream armchairs, and a very large king sized bed was covered with a fake fur blanket. Beyond the window the snow was getting heavier and it was already getting dark despite being mid afternoon. Jasper poured tea, bringing three mugs across to the low coffee table by the couch. He took a seat on the floor, his back against the couch beside them.

“There’s a mug here, Dale. It’s chamomile tea, that’s what they had.”

At least it was hot and comforting. In Flynn’s pocket, his phone buzzed. Flynn pulled it out and raised his eyebrows at the unfamiliar number on the screen.

“Hello?”

“Flynn, it’s Annie Aden.” A British woman’s voice said apologetically, and it was a voice Flynn knew from a number of phone calls through the past year. “We’re sorry to bother you, Paul gave me your number, he said you wouldn’t mind us calling- he told us about you and Dale stranded out on the road. There isn’t anything we can practically do, we know, but-”

“There really is.” Flynn said with real appreciation. “Your timing is perfect. We just arrived at a hotel with total chaos going on downstairs, it’s made him feel awful and he could really use some time with you. Dale, it’s your grandmother.”  

He saw the conflict in Dale’s face, somewhere between shock, alarm and pleasure.

Yes, kid. Talk to them for once with the safety catch right off. Flynn put the phone in his hand, leaning back to hold him as he damn well needed to be held, and saw Jasper’s casually draped arm on the couch that happened to rest over Dale’s knee.

It had become something of a Sunday evening habit every few weeks that either Dale rang them, or they rang him, and they talked for twenty minutes or so, in addition to the emails they exchanged. Listening into the conversations or occasionally glancing through the emails they sent, Flynn saw how much the Adens valued the ordinary odds and ends of knowing Dale. They put the same effort and care into him that Riley put into building trust with a nervous horse, never pushing too far, always respecting his pace. This stray grandson of theirs, the remaining link to their son, really mattered to them and Dale, in a reserved and cautious way they never saw with any family member of the ranch’s, liked them. Paul, who had met them with Dale last Christmas, liked them too, and he, Flynn and Jasper quietly did everything they could to nurture and support the link. Riley, although they’d never said a word to him about it, simply picked up the phone to them and chatted with the same friendliness he extended to everyone, and he probably talked to them the most apart from Dale.

Talking to them when he was vulnerable, not in full control of himself, was not easy for Dale but Flynn could hear Annie was concerned enough to be a little less careful with him than she usually was, and she was extracting information from him gently but quite effectively. Dale was describing the hospital in Wisconsin right now, and Annie was far more interested in Dale’s experience of it than in just the facts. They talked for about half an hour while Jasper and Flynn lounged with him on the couch, by which time Annie knew about the couple running the German B&B, about Angel and her transparent bubble and all about the lobby downstairs, and Richard, who knew how to get Dale talking on subjects he was interested in, had got a description of the main features of the trails and of Fort Laramie. And they both had him talking a little quietly but freely; Flynn could feel the ease in his body. As they said goodbye, Flynn put a hand down to ask Dale for the phone.

“Thanks, Annie. He really needed that.”

“I hope it’s an easy journey home tomorrow,” Annie said gently, “have a lovely Christmas, Flynn. Safe driving.”

“When are you going to invite them to stay?” Jasper said to Dale as Flynn put the phone away. Dale shook his head.

“They’re a little elderly for a flight that long.”

“You took James and Niall that far last year and they’re older?” Jasper reminded him. Dale looked slightly shocked.

“Yes, but… I doubt they’d want to?”

“The first question is, do you want to.” Jasper put a hand out to ruffle his hair. “Start from there. I’m going to go find us something to eat.”  

Flynn hustled Dale through a bath while he was gone, and about forty minutes later Jasper returned with a bag of three double burgers, a cup of fries half of which occupied the bottom of the bag, and three shakes which Jasper-style contained a large amount of stirred in syrups in various flavours. They passed those around between themselves, sprawled out on the bed together, and shared the phone to home where the family room was full of people sharing a buffet around the fire. Bear’s deep voice answered the phone, and the first thing he demanded was: “Seen any more of the kids?”

So in different parts of the state, they lay there together and Dale told them about the children in the snowy pasture before dawn, and by the river at the fort. He had to re tell quite a lot of it for the benefit of the newly arrived members of the family who had missed out on the earlier parts of the story, and go into detail for James, whose interest in American history was both personal and professional, and who with Niall had been to Casper Fort and to Chimney rock and hiked all around the area thirty years ago. Between the two of them they had questions it took both Dale and Jasper to answer on the road and the changes.

When they said goodnight to the large crew on the ranch they lay in silence on the king sized bed in front of the picture window and watched it get dark over Casper city, with the snow whirling down outside of the glass. Dale fell asleep between them, dark head on his arm. The indefinable kind of reserve that came to his face when they were away on a work project – and Paul saw it too when he was away with Dale – had faded, now they were near to home. He looked himself again. Younger, livelier, happier. Flynn ran his fingers slowly through Dale’s hair, smoothing it back from his face, propped on one elbow alongside him. Jasper’s arm was slung over Dale’s hip on Dale’s other side, his head against one of the hefty pillows, his dark eyes warm.

“How sore is the back now? We’re good here if you want to get a bath and take a break. You’ve been wrangling all this and a bunch of What Kids for a week.”

“I’ve been grateful for the kids.” Flynn said wryly. “Following them and the trail has kept him busy since we reached Council Bluffs, they’ve kept his mind right off everything else.”

“I thought the route history might help. I didn’t expect the What activity to be much more than a few wheels rumbling, even for Dale. There are so many roads and tourists through there won’t be much left of anyone else’s energy, but I was reckoning without Sarah.”

“You’ve seen Sarah?”

Jasper gave him a quiet nod. “A couple of times. Mostly glimpses in the woods at home.”  

 
continued tomorrow in part 6
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Post by DeeDee on Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:57 pm

You two can be very funny when you put your mind to it.  This just gave me a very good laugh:  

An animatronic group of king penguins were flapping slowly on a display beside it. Two had toppled over and were flapping on their sides. One at the back appeared to be trying to run away. Flynn didn’t blame it.
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Post by zevale on Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:04 pm

It's a common thought that Christmas is the time of the children butwith this story it took a deeper meaning.
It's a joy to see Dale who had never the real opportunity to be a child, expérimenting in this journey so many facets of childhood : dependancy, discovery in the small things of everyday life, joy of sharing, support and love of grand-parents...
Thank you very much
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Post by knox0606 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:41 pm

I was so thrilled to see Annie and Richard make an appearance. I just love them!

Also, when Dale talked to Flynn about the children feeling a connection and a sense of security and safety with him (Flynn), I felt shivers. It seems that Flynn is more and more like Phillip...gathering "lost ones" to the ranch, creating safe and nurturing places.  I wonder if Flynn felt Phillip in that moment.

I wonder if Phillip will ever appear to Flynn and share thoughts with him......perhaps via Dale.  I think Flynn still has some feelings of being unworthy just as Dale and Tom do.  In FCR, Flynn asked Dale if he had any idea how safe he (Dale) made him (Flynn) feel.  I think as their relationship develops, Flynn feels even more safe in unexpected ways.

I love this so much. Thank you R & R!

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Post by DeeDee on Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:58 pm

Ranger and Rolf, 

Having Jasper there to share with will certainly help bring Flynn's shoulders down from around his ears (metaphorically speaking).  And I hope the Reike session (that's a guess but seems to be what happened) that Angel gave Flynn will help a bit more.  I'm rather hoping we will get to hear Flynn's answer to Jasper's question:  

“How sore is the back now? We’re good here if you want to get a bath and take a break. You’ve been wrangling all this and a bunch of What Kids for a week.”
 
He did seem to manage to dodge answering that.  But if I've learned one thing about your storytelling it's very much this (yes, stolen straight from this story - edited, of course - lol):  

"They either choose to tell you themselves, or it’s on a need to know basis..."  "It isn’t about me and what I’d like to know. No matter how frustrating that might be.”

In Where the Stock Pot Sings, I remember wondering who asked Paul the question "Why do you remember?"  It was never mentioned who asked (and in my original thinking could have been either Jasper or Flynn), but it was then followed by Paul thinking "It's an important question to him..."  When I read the question Jasper asks Dale (shared below), and then he walks out, it hit me that it MUST have been Jasper.  For Jasper it's not about him knowing the answer but about you knowing the answer.  I know that was rather random and out of place for this story, but the way he asks it just struck me and I remembered the other story, so I shared.  lol.

“The first question is, do you want to.” Jasper put a hand out to ruffle his hair. “Start from there. I’m going to go find us something to eat.”  

And now, because Dale tells Flynn that the children are there because of Flynn, I've now added him to the list of Pied Piper's.  

“A lot of why they’re here tonight is you. Sarah’s always liked you, but you remind Hannah of her father. He had your gift with animals, the same kind of friendships with them. Jesse sees you as like them. One of them. ‘Another farmer’s brat’. That’s the phrase he thinks. And Reid – they just like being out here with you. It’s like the foals at home when you walk through the pasture.”

And then this:  

Dale looked for Reid, moving unhurriedly and with care. There. A little way behind them, and mostly behind Flynn. Trailing them. Not good with children, Dale gave him a cautious smile. Reid’s face didn’t change and he ducked a little further back behind Flynn.

That was always a safe place to be.


I so very much enjoyed the introduction to the next hotel!  Although I felt very bad for how it affected Dale, Flynn's reactions were so classic Flynn and the whole section either had me laughing or just smiling.  I did especially love these two bits:  

Flynn caught one that flew near Dale, laying it down on the reception desk while stifling mild homicidal desires...

He snagged another flying ball before it got near Dale, giving a hard stare to the parent of the ball lobber to suggest that they might like to consider doing some parenting.

These small kids (and worthless adults) have no clue what Flynn is like when he's in protect the herd mode.  Couple that with an extreme dislike of crowds and Christmas 'crazy' and you have a recipe for danger.  LOL.  

I'm looking forward to the final part, but sadly I won't get to see it before I go to work or likely until late 25th or 26th (unless I can sneak away and read).  I'll be in torture knowing it's there and I can't find out what's happening.  

It's been a wonderful story so far and just - THANK YOU.  

Merry Christmas to you and everyone (in case I can't get on).  

Dee
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Post by Guest on Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:48 pm

Interesting to see that vulnerability in Flynn with his sore back, as he’s alwyas so strong for others that we don’t often see the toll it takes on him, I think that’s half of why Jasper has come out to meet them and support them. Reid being behind Flynn as a safe place to be and Flynn being poleaxed by the children being comfortable with him is really sweet and touching. And I love all the history in this. Sooo Good. I’m going to be sad when it ends, I think this is my favourite xmas story so far. Thank you

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Post by zevale on Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:24 pm

I agree it's interesting to see Flynn's vulnerability. Interesting and moving.
Have we ever see a bit of vulnerability in Jasper... a idea for the wish list ?
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Post by Hayjude on Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:06 pm

SO pleased there’s another bit to come. It’s been so engrossing. If history at school had been half as interesting my grades would have been higher!
Last day now before Christmas and my heart goes out to those affected by the tsunami in Indonesia and all others who still do it tough at this time. I know I am very fortunate with my quiet life in my quiet little town and all my family and friends.
Love to everyone for a wonderful Christmas.
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Post by Chris Dangerfield on Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:56 am

As always these tales are such a pleasure. Who could imagine such affection for both our dear life friends and also for "Whats?" 

Such an amazing bit of writing that creates such warmth and curiosity for friends living and ascended.

It makes me happy. Very happy.

Thank you so much Rolf & Ranger. Your presents, holiday and just daily, are always the very best.

Holiday Blessings,
Christopher D
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Post by jkfan on Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:32 am

OHHH - Chris (it's good to see you again) Dangerfield.  We've missed you.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. 

xo

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Post by Trisha Louise on Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:37 am

@jkfan wrote:OHHH - Chris (it's good to see you again) Dangerfield.  We've missed you.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. 

xo

Cheryl

We finally posted his bail. Wink
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Post by jkfan on Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:39 am

@Trisha Louise wrote:
@jkfan wrote:OHHH - Chris (it's good to see you again) Dangerfield.  We've missed you.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. 

xo

Cheryl

We finally posted his bail. Wink
LOL - if only I'd known.  We could have taken up a collection!!
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Post by abouttime2stop on Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:47 am

Lots of little hints about Flynn. Not sleeping much, shoulders tight, back hurting, defcon 1 top level, stress over not knowing for sure about Dale's recovery, how tough it is to see a loved one struggling for anyone but especially him...I am so glad Jasper showed up to support them both. I am sure it was either him or Paul intending to be there without question. So much support and caring in the whole group. Remember how Flynn used to hit his tipping point and need to be alone to destress? It was usually around concerns about the safety of his loved ones...
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Post by knox0606 on Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:52 am

@Chris Dangerfield wrote:As always these tales are such a pleasure. Who could imagine such affection for both our dear life friends and also for "Whats?" 

Such an amazing bit of writing that creates such warmth and curiosity for friends living and ascended.

It makes me happy. Very happy.

Thank you so much Rolf & Ranger. Your presents, holiday and just daily, are always the very best.

Holiday Blessings,
Christopher D
What a blessing to "see" you Christopher! You have certainly been in my thoughts and prayers!

Sending you the very best for a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas and New Year!

Knox


Last edited by knox0606 on Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:54 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Darn auto correct)

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Post by Hayjude on Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:19 am

Yes, happy holiday and best wishes, Chris. I’d just like to mention best wishes for another who I haven’t heard from in a while and that’s Carina. I hope she is well and with her family at Christmas.
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Post by jkfan on Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:41 am

@Hayjude wrote:Yes, happy holiday and best wishes, Chris. I’d just like to mention best wishes for another who I haven’t heard from in a while and that’s Carina. I hope she is well and with her family at Christmas.
I was just thinking of Carins myself, Judy.  We haven't seen her in a long time.  I too hope she's safe and well.
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Post by jkfan on Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:41 am

@Hayjude wrote:Yes, happy holiday and best wishes, Chris. I’d just like to mention best wishes for another who I haven’t heard from in a while and that’s Carina. I hope she is well and with her family at Christmas.
I was just thinking of Carins myself, Judy.  We haven't seen her in a long time.  I too hope she's safe and well.
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Post by Kittykat on Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:37 am

I'm so glad Jasper is with them, sometimes even Flynn needs reminded he doesn't have to shoulder them on his own.  And can I just say that, the image of Flynn wrangling a bunch of kids is rather awesome? Kinda makes me wonder what a child of theirs would be like lol.  Could you imagine the FCR guys raising a child?
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Post by 5116sue on Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:55 am

Santa is at the North Pole stacking his sleigh, making preparations for his long journey. He is grateful to R and R as his load is a little lighter than it used to be. 
Many of us we are receiving a wonderful gift in instalments this year so Santa can rest easy. We are grateful for the stories and this community, even if we don't always have time to comment we can enjoy the thoughts of others. 
Thankyou

A peaceful and warm Christmas to all!
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Post by Hayjude on Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:25 am

Wherever you happen to be in the world, Merry Christmas to Rolf, Ranger and all forum family.

Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 5b C3a22710
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:48 pm

Beautiful pictures of the Christmas trees, saving the final part of this story for later tonight as my Christmas Eve treat.
Merry Christmas everyone, have a blessed and peaceful holiday.

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Post by Nonni on Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:51 am

Well, I am certainly making the Christmas stories (and season) last! I just read this section and might, just might, get to the last chapter before bed tonight.
Excellent to have Jasper looking out for Flynn and so good to hear from the grandparents! I wasn't expecting that.

Also, Chris, nice to hear from you!!!

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