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Afraid Jason was going to cause them to miss their train, she grew more agitated. “Jason! I’m not telling you again. It’s time to go!”

The youngster came bounding down the hall dragging his duffle bag behind him. He was growing to look very much like his father, she realized. He had those same piercing blue eyes, and when he was not brooding, he even possessed a touch of his father’s charming personality.

“Mom, do I have to go with you? Can’t I just stay here in Pittsburgh with Grandma and Grandpa?”

She let out a loud sigh and gave him a curious look before answering him. More than once during the past week, Jason had expressed his unhappiness about spending a month of his summer vacation with his godfather at Fort Jackson.

“In the past, you’ve always loved seeing Ron and Katie and little Jeff. Don’t you want to see their new baby?”

Folding his arms across his chest, he looked toward the front door, which was standing open. “But I’m going to be away from my friends for the whole summer,” he explained. “And Frankie’s dad has season tickets to all the Pirates’ home games.”

He had already presented that argument once before. For a split-second she thought about giving in to him, but she knew it would be a mistake. As the child’s only parent, she should be firm and show her authority. She also had no intention of imposing Jason on her sixty-year-old parents for an entire month.

They did not complain when she came back home after her husband’s death. At the time, there was no other place to go except home to her family. She could sense, however, that it was demanding for them to live with three young children while she looked for a home of her own.

“Jason, I’m not going to let you disappoint Ron that way. He’s really looking forward to seeing you. You know how close he and your father were, and he wants to remain a part of your life.”

He huffed and marched out of the house, letting the screen door slam hard as he dragged his baggage out to the car. “This is going to be the worst summer of my life,” he said in a loud enough voice for his mother to hear.

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