Sitting at his desk, Josiah Sanchez is typing his report on the five teens that had recently come into his care.It has been two weeks since the addition of Ezra Percival Standish, age 14, Vincent James Tanner, AGE 13, John David Dunne, age 12.
Chris, Buck and Nathan are getting along quite well. As for Ezra, Vin and JD, they keep to each other. I have caught Vin watching Chris with the horses a few times, but when he sees me watching him, he turns away and leaves. At meal time, Nathan joins Chris and Buck in the basement, while Ezra, Vin and JD sit at the far end of the table from me, eating in silence.
JD still blames Chris for Vin's accident. Ezra and Vin have been trying to tell him it was an accident, JD refuses to believe. Either that or its something else that I haven't figured out yet.
I have been having each of the boys sit with me and talk about what their problems are; Chris, it seems, has a problem with over baring male authority figures. He doesn't like to talk about his father much, but his mother, in an entirely different story. He loved his mother a lot and has a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas; Buck, is easy going most of the time, but he does get out ragged when it comes to injustice and violence. I have tried to get him to open up about his mother but each time he shuts up. I can see it hurts for him to think about her. I asked about his father and apparently he has no idea who he is and he no desire to know; Ezra uses big words to hide what he really thinks and/or his feelings. It's like they're bricks in his wall of protection. What I have found out is the three of them was saving money so they could go live with an relative of Ezra's. A great aunt I think; Vin has been in one foster home after another since the death of his mother. That has got to be hard on him. He lost her at the age of five. I have also noticed, Vin seems to be hungry a lot, but he isn't gaining weight. I'll have Dr. Morningstar take a look at him; JD is more willing to talk than Ezra and Vin. It's through him I have found out about the great aunt. I also found out Ezra has a mother, Maude Standish. She has the tendency to leave Ezra with relatives. JD has also told me if he was sent back to his mom's sister, he would just run away again, but he won't say why. He says he feels like Harry Potter when he's with them. That means the charters of Ron and Hermione have been replaced with Ezra and Vin. Interesting.
That's all for now. I'll have to keep trying to get the last three to open up. Now for Nathan, he's doing better than I would have thought. He has formed a bond with Chris and Buck. They're almost inseparable. I'm glad they get along so well.
As Josiah finishes his report, he hears the raising of voices outside his office. He hit save and went to investigate.
"What's with the yelling out here?" Josiah says coming out of his office.
"This pit bull won't let me go and get that lazy sob out of bed to do his chores," Chris answered glaring down at Vin.
"Vin?" Josiah says to Vin.
"I done told this cowboy, Ez don't feel good, but he don't believe me. He thinks Ez is faking." Vin glares back.
Josiah grins. "Vin's not intimidated by Chris's glare. Good," Josiah thought to himself. "I'll go and check on him."
Josiah started up the stairs, but stopped midway up when he looked up at the top and saw JD standing with arms crossed in front of him in a defensive stance. "You ain't going to bother him either."
Josiah looks back at Chris and Vin, "Chris, you, Buck and Nathan go ahead and do your chores and let me handle these three."
Chris did a little growl. Vin slaps his chest with his hands, then puts them in the air as if to say , bring it.
"Chris. Chores. Now," Josiah enforces.
Chris backs away, still glaring at Vin. Buck and Nathan follow him out with Hobo close on their heals. Vin doesn't move until they all disappear through the back door. He then turns toward Josiah. "Like JD said, you ain't going to bother Ezra."
"I just want to see how bad he is. I won't hurt him. I need to know Vin, he may need a doctor."
"He don't like doctors," JD informs Josiah.
"None of us do," Vin adds.
"Okay, what's wrong with him?" Josiah decided to back off a bit, he still plans to check on Ezra, but it would be better not to butt heads with these two.
"He has a really bad headache," JD says.
"He has to have it dark and no noise," Vin said coming up the stairs.
"Has his stomach been upset?"
"Yeah, he's been throwing up," JD said as he steps aside to let Vin pass.
"Do you know if he had ever had these headaches before?"
"He get's them all the time," Vin answered.
"Really?" This alarmed Josiah. "From a scale of one to ten, one being the least and ten being the worst, how bad have they gotten?"
"Not including this one?" Vin asks. Josiah nods. "Maybe a seven or eight."
"They keep getting worster and worster," JD adds.
"Shit. Look, I have got to see him."
Vin and JD look to one another, then back at Josiah.
"Okay, you can go in. But don't hurt him," Vin warns.
Josiah enters Ezra's room. He goes to turn the light on, but is stopped by Vin. Nodding, Josiah heads for the bed. Vin and JD had taped dark towels to the windows so there wasn't any sunlight coming in to the room. The towels also helped with the noise outside. The waist basket was setting next to the bed. It was hard to see, but Josiah found his way to the bed to find Ezra lying on his back with a cold wet cloth covering his eyes. Josiah sits down next to Ezra.
"Ezra? How are you feeling?" Ezra didn't answer. "Ezra? Please answer me. I'm here to help you."
"It hurts to think or do anything," Ezra whispered.
Josiah watched as Ezra clenched the blanket over his stomach. Vin went and raised Ezra up while JD grabbed the waist basket. Ezra dry heaved into the basket. Josiah couldn't do anything but sit and watch. When Ezra was done, Vin eased him back down and JD sat the basket back on the floor beside the bed.
"I know you do not like doctors, but..."
"Yes," Ezra cut Josiah off.
"Okay then. I'll call Doctor Morningstar. Do you need any help getting dressed?"
"We can help him," JD said as Vin went to the closet to get some cloths for Ezra.
Josiah left Ezra to Vin and JD. Down stairs, Josiah picks up the phone and before he could dial the doctors number, the phone rang. Josiah answers it.
"Hey it's Doctor Morningstar's office. He would like to see you in his office and he wants you to bring Vin and JD with you."
"I was just about to call him, he needs to see Ezra."
"What's wrong with Ezra?"
"I think he's having a migraine. Why does Scott need to see Vin and JD?"
"He'll explain when you get here. I'll have him look at Ezra."
"Thanks Amy," Josiah hangs up and goes to find Chris.
Chris was exercising his horse in the coral.
"Chris?" Josiah calls out.
"I just got off the phone with Doctor Morningstar's secretary. He wants to see Vin and JD." Chris nodded. "And I'm taking Ezra to see him."
"Why Ezra? I won't do a thing to him. It's no skin off my nose if those two want to do his chores."
"Chris, he is sick. Apparently, he has been vomiting and he can't lift his head without feeling sick. I was up there, he isn't faking it."
Chris looked toward Ezra's bedroom window and noticed what looked like a dark curtain drawn closed. "Migraine?"
"Yes. I need you to look after things here."
"No problem. Tell that pit bull, all he had to do was tell me Ezra had a migraine. I would have understood."
Josiah looked at Chris suspiciously but only nodded.
What Josiah didn't see, was the pain in Chris's eyes. Chris knew about migraines. He also knew they could lead to something more. Much more. Buck came and laid a hand on Chris's shoulder. Buck knew some things about Chris's past. Thing's Chris only told him. Buck gave Chris his word that he wouldn't tell a soul. Buck means to keep that promise.
Vin and JD are helping Ezra down the stairs, carrying the trash can.
"Can we go with him?" JD asks.
"Yes you may. In fact, Doctor Morningstar wants to see the two of you."
"Why?" Vin asks.
"Don't know Vin, just that he needs to see me and asked me to bring the two of you with me."
"Fine, just so we can be there for Ezra," JD said.
"I told Chris we were going to the doctor and left him in charge. He said to tell that pit bull all he had to do was say Ezra had a bad headache, he would have understood."
"Whatever," was Vin's reply.
Josiah shakes his head.
Josiah and the three boys arrive at the doctor's office. There was only two people in the waiting room when they entered the building.
"Hi Josiah. Have a seat, Doctor Morningstar will be with you shortly." Josiah nodded. "Mrs. Leary, Doctor Morningstar will see Jenny now."
Mrs. Leary and Jenny went back to the exam rooms.
"Why do we got to see a baby doctor?" JD asks. "We ain't babies."
"Josiah? If you like, I can take you to room four," a pretty blond said. She had a clip board in her hand and her name tag read Katrina.
"Thanks Tina," Josiah says as he stands.
"Josiah, her name is Katrina not Tina," JD whispered.
"Yes it is, John," Josiah smiled.
"I like to be called JD."
"Tina is short for Katrina JD, just like Vin is short for Vincent and Chris is short for Christopher," Ezra explained.
Josiah noticed Ezra's lack of big words. "He must not be feeling well at all if he's not using them. I hope Scott can help him," Josiah thought to himself.
Tina did Ezra's height and weight on their way to room four. Once in the exam room, she took his blood pressure, pulse and temperature. "He has a slight fever, but that could be his headache. Scott will only be a few minutes more."
"Why did she call him Scott and not Doctor Morningstar?" JD asked when Tina left the room.
"That's because she's married to him," Josiah answered.
"Oh," JD says.
"Do they have any kids?" Vin asks.
"Not yet?" JD said in confusion.
"She's pregnant JD," Ezra stated. Ezra was laying on the exam table with his eyes closed, a arm over his stomach.
"Ezra? Do you need something to get sick into?" Josiah asks.
"No, I don't think so. How much longer is he going to be?"
Josiah opened his mouth to speak, when the door opened and Dr. Morningstar walked in. The man was tall, had wire framed glasses and his hair was dark with some gray. His smile was kind. "No longer."
"Hi Scott. Thanks for seeing Ezra right away," Josiah says.
"No problem Josiah. I'll just take care of Ezra and then we can talk about Vin and JD.
Dr. Morningstar asked Ezra some questions.
Meanwhile back at the farm:
"In other words, Ezra had a headache? He could have taken some aspirin for it," Nathan said as he shoveled out a stall.
"A migraine, Nathan, is not just a headache," Chris corrected.
"Okay, a really bad headache, but still a headache."
Buck watched his best friend as they worked on their chores. He knew something about Chris's past that Nathan didn't. "You going to tell him?"
"Tell me what?" Nathan wanted to know.
Chris sighed. Looking around, Chris nodded, "After we finish."
A couple of hours later, Chris, Buck and Nathan are in the basement. They each had showered, and Chris had fixed lunch.
"You going to tell me now?" Nathan asked taking a bite of his sandwich.
Chris took a deep breath before he started. "My mother suffered from migraines for years. She was told they were hormonal. So she didn't give them much notice when they came, but after a while, they got worse and came more often. Her best friend told her to get them checked, that they may be something worse than just a headache. Finally she listened but it was too late. The doctors gave my mother two months to live, mom lived almost three and a half months. My father couldn't handle it, so he hired a nurse, then went off to war. He said his country needed him." Chris didn't hide his anger at the statement. "His wife needed him more. He came home long enough for the funeral, and left again, leaving me with my Aunt Susan and Uncle Robert."
"I'm sorry Chris. I didn't know."
"That's why he told Josiah that he would have understood about Ezra's migraine. And why we did all the chores."
"I don't think Ezra will die from his headache."
"I know, but still, migraines can stop a person from doing the simplest things Nate. If they're bad enough, they can make you real sick. My mother would throw up a lot and started wearing sunglasses all the time. It was real bad in the end."
"My mom killed herself," Nathan sighed. "Dad died of cancer few months ago."
"My mom died in my arms after she was shot by her ex-boyfriend. I don't know who my father is, and I don't want to know."
"Do you think Ezra would like a pair of sunglasses? I have a pair I don't use," Nathan said.
"It would help," Chris said than took a bite of sandwich.
"I have an idea," Buck said then went for the phone.
Back at Dr. Morningstar's
"From what I can tell Josiah, Ezra's migraines are due to allergies. We'll do some tests to find out what he's allergic to, but I can tell you this much, it's in your house."
"How can you tell that?" JD asked.
"Because, since he's been here, his headache is all but gone and we haven't given him anything for it."
Vin, JD and Josiah looked at Ezra for confirmation, Ezra nodded, smiling. He hadn't realized his headache was gone.
"We're going to stop by the pharmacy and pick up some allergy medication," Josiah stated. "Now what about JD and Vin?"
"I just got Vin's and JD's medical files. I am still waiting for Ezra's. According to the doctors in Boston, JD has a chemical imbalance. He'll need to be on a special diet for that. They had him on meds for it, but I would like to try something different." Josiah nods his head. Dr. Morningstar sighs, "Vin? I need you to take Ezra's place on the examining table."
"Why?" Vin asked as Ezra got down off the table with Dr. Morningstar's help. Vin was worried.
"I need to examine your back."
Vin looked at Ezra. Ezra nodded it was okay. Vin sat on the table. Dr. Morningstar raised his shirt and felt up and down his spine then turned to Josiah, "I want to take some x-rays."
"Okay, but why?"
Dr. Morningstar replaced the shirt. "I don't know for sure, but I think he has scoliosis. An x-ray will tell me for sure. When we x-rayed him after the accident, something showed up, but I wanted to wait for his records to be sure. They didn't tell me a thing, just left more questions."
"Is that bad?" JD asked.
"No, but it can be if left unchecked. If Vin does have it, there will be a few things he'll need to do and not do." Dr. Morningstar went to the desk in the corner and held up a model of the human spine. " This is what a normal spine looks like, a person with scoliosis of the spine looks like this." Doctor Morningstar demonstrated by bending the model. "An x-ray will tell me for sure and where the bend is and how bad it is."
"And if he has it, what do we need to do?" Josiah asked.
"Let's x-ray first, then go from there." Dr. Morningstar smiled.
"Was it the fall that made my back do that?" Vin asked staring at the model.
"No Vin. There are a lot of reasons, but I think you might have been born with it. That's the most common. It doesn't show up until the person affected has began puberty. It looks like we may have caught yours early. I just want to be sure.
"That's why the x-ray and the exam I just did. There is another thing I want you to do for me, it wont hurt." Vin nodded. "I want you to stand here and bend over and let your arms just dangle."
Vin shrugged and did what Dr. Morningstar asked. Dr. Morningstar ran his hands along Vin's sides and over his shoulder blades, then down his spine.
"Thank you Vin. You can straighten back up." Vin did so. "From what I can tell, the curve is a small one, if he has one."
"How sure are you he has scoliosis, Scott?" Josiah asked.
Dr. Morningstar sighed, then looked to Josiah. "About ninety-five percent. I have a brochure that tells you the many causes, treatments, and what you can expect form the disorder. I can tell you this, Vin can live a happy and productive life."
"Do you know anyone who has?" Vin asked.
Dr. Morningstar looked at the youth and smiled. "Me."
"That would explain why you knew what to look for," Ezra stated.
Josiah took Vin down to x-ray, while he waited, he read the brochure Scott handed him. Ezra and JD were sitting on either side of him, looking at the brochure Josiah was reading.
"Hey, we can look this up on the computer at home," JD said pointing to an e-mail address.
"And we will. I for one would like to know more about this," Josiah said as he closed the brochure.
A nurse came out wheeling Vin in a wheelchair. "Dr. Morningstar wants you to wait and take him the x-rays. It won't be long."
"Thank you," Josiah said,
It was't to long, and they were heading to Dr. Morningstar's. Vin was quiet on the elevator. Josiah could tell he was concerned about the x-rays.
"It'll be okay Vin," Josiah said.
The x-rays showed a small curve. Together, they decided on a brace, since the curve wasn't major, surgery wasn't needed. Vin didn't need to were the brace all day, just a few hours, and some physical therapy. For JD, Dr. Morningstar set up a diet plan, he took some blood from Ezra to test for allergies, then answered Vin's questions about scoliosis. When they left, Vin was feeling a little better about his back aches. At least he knew what to do for them. JD's happy not to have to take pills to calm him down. Dr. Morningstar suggested enrolling JD in some kind of sport to help with his ADHD. Ezra was just pleased to be rid of his headache and to find out his problem was allergies and could take something for it.
Chris, Buck and Nathan were sitting in chairs or on the porch rail when Josiah pulled into the drive. The three teens stood when Josiah parked the bus.
"They don't look mad," JD commented.
Ezra took a deep breath before getting out of the van.
Vin grabbed a couple of bags as did JD, that left one bag and Ezra took that one. All three took their time walking to the back door. Josiah closed the van side door and followed the three boys. Nathan, Chris and Buck walked in behind Josiah.
The bags of groceries were sat on the table.
"I thought you already bought groceries, Josiah," Buck said looking in the bags.
"He did, but Dr. Morningstar put me on a special diet, so we had to stop at the store and get more food," JD informed him.
"What did he want to see Vin about?" Chris asked as he helped to take care of the food.
Josiah sighed. "Vin has scoliosis of the spine. What that means is, he has a curvature of the spine and has to were a brace for a few hours a day and will have to have physical therapy every week."
"What about Ezra?" Chris asked.
"Dr. Morningstar said I have an allergy to something. He took tests and will let us know in a couple of days what the results are."
"The next time you have a migraine, Ezra, just tell me. I will understand. My mother had them.
"Had?" Vin asked.
"She died of a brain aneurism. Her migraines were indicators that she ignored. I don't want you to ignore them. Understand?"
"My mom died too. So did Vin's, but Ezra's mom is still alive."
Ezra listened to everyone talk about their mother's deaths. Even Josiah had a story. He was feeling left out, like he didn't belong.
"Ezra? What's wrong?" JD asked.
Ezra looked around at each person, "You all have something in common with each other, I on the other hand, have a mother. Your mothers wanted you around, took pleasure in raising you, mine would rather leave the raising of me to someone else. I have no doubt she loves me, just that she doesn't know how to show it."
"In a way Ezra, just like the rest of us, you do not have a mother either," Josiah comforted.
"I would love to have my mom back," Buck said. "You're lucky you still have yours."
"We all would love to have our moms Ezra," Nathan said.
The rest of the group agreed with Nathan and Buck.
"You may be a pain in the ass, Ezra, but you're our pain in the ass. We're a family, a some what dysfunctional one, but a family," Chris said.
Ezra smiled, "Then, I guess we're normal."
"How do you figure?" Vin asked.
"Well, there is a large percentage of families that are dysfunctional in this country, there fore, the normal family is dysfunctional," Ezra answered.
"So, with that logic, it would be best to wish for a non-normal life?" Nathan said.
"What that means is, we have a normal life," Vin stated.
Josiah listens to the boys talk about their childhoods, parents, and what ever they thought about talking about. He closed his eyes and sent a silent thank you and a prayer to God for bringing him this family and some much needed help to raise them.
Chapter Three: Founder's Day