As soon as Akira left, Gavin picked up his phone. His first thought was to call a club gathering of the Counsel Council. After the night and morning he had, he understood why Bo called a club meeting the day his family fell apart.
The more he thought about it, the more he realized he agreed with Carmen’s approach. He was growing quite fond of the club members. He enjoyed their presence, and most of their company, and some of their opinions. But he wasn’t ready to take a group approach to his life’s problems just yet. He decided to call just Carmen.
Gavin took his usual approach to life and delayed saying more than he had to. He asked Carmen for an update about Hugo, and turned on a movie while he listened to Carmen’s tale. She was heartbroken, but she still managed to weave a lively and meandering tale that made Gavin chuckle even as his heart went out to her.
“I can’t believe that was his excuse. Unrequited love?! Bumbaclot… No, I’m still not spelling that word for you, and don’t worry about what it means… No, I’m not teaching you patois, woman… I’m glad you decided to tell the club what was going on… Luca said he was going to do what?!?!… Oh good, Laurel talked some sense into him… You should’ve called a club meeting, that would’ve been hilarious to see play out in person…So what are you going to do?… Yeah, if it were me, I wouldn’t know either…You’re right, I didn’t call you just to hear about Hugo… Yes, it’s about Akira, how did you–never mind… He asked me to move in with him… No, not like that! Well, yes like that, but not how you’re saying it… It’s a long story, let me start from the beginning. He got this promotion at work…”
Gavin told Carmen the whole story all the way up until him promising Akira he could be a more evolved person. Carmen listened to his story with sympathy, and she successfully resisted going into protective mode. While she didn’t like the idea of someone changing to find acceptance in love, she had to admit that Akira had a point.
She told Gavin that she noticed that while he tried to take risks, he tended to play it safe. He joined the political career, but he picked the least controversial cause. He dated, but only people he was at no risk of actually falling for. He made friends outside of the city and broke outside the San Myshuno bubble, but he kept them at arm’s length except for Carmen.
“Okay, okay,” said Gavin, “you’ve made your point. Maybe there’s more that I can do to embrace what I really want out of life. And if making those adjustments also eases Akira’s concerns about me, then that’s two birds with one stone. Why didn’t anyone tell me before today that I needed so much work?”
Carmen explained it wasn’t that he wasn’t fine the way he was. It’s just that if he was open to improving as a person, all the people that loved him just happened to have the same exact suggestions to offer, and all just happened to feel pretty strongly about those suggestions. She suggested he focus on his political career. Since that was one of Akira’s specific examples, she told Gavin to start there. She told him to pick a new cause, and suggested he do it that day.
Gavin decided to listen to her advice. He ended the call and reached out to his boss. Together, they chose Gavin’s new cause. It would be so much more work, but it also would have a much larger impact if he was successful.
“You ’bout to get set! I don’t know why you two thought it was a good idea to come see me at this table. I’m gonna whup your butts, like I do every time. Who’s ready to get a Boston run on them?”
As usual, Cristian was trash talking his family, turning a friendly card game into a chance to play the dozens.
“Boy, you know, I used to whup your momma like this too! Why you think she won’t play cards with me no more?”
“Oh hush Cris,” said Kenya, “the boy is trying to tell us about what happened with Akira, let him speak–Hey! Stop trying to look in my hand!”
Gavin felt like his talk with his grandparents was going about as expected. As much as he wanted them to pay attention, he knew this was not a divide-and-conquer situation. This was an all-hands-on-deck situation. And he had to admit, their crazy quarrels were an amusing distraction from his current problems.
After they finally piped down from their 15th argument of the day, Gavin finished his story. His grandparents listened to the PG-13 version of his night and morning. They agreed with Carmen that Gavin played it safe, and maybe they had something to do with that. They worried they helped him be as sheltered as he was, but they were also proud he had a family he could count on whenever he needed them.
Cristian: I wish I could take away his pain, but he’s a grown man and has to stand on his own two feet. That’s why he’s going to fix his own problem. And it’s why I’m about to set him!
Kenya: Both of my handsome men look so smug. Cristian isn’t the only one with good cards in his hand though… I wonder if Gavin will let us help him fix this, or if he’ll think we’re making it worse.
Gavin: That’s right old people, walk right into my trap and then I’ll win ALL the books! Then after I apologize for taking advantage of the elderly, we need to come up with a plan so I can get my man– damn that sounds weird to even think. I’ll put that on the to do list: say “my man” out loud and be okay with it.
The family played their game and discussed their plans. Ultimately, Gavin sought out their help with convincing Akira they were a family he wanted to be a part of. As she played the winning card, Kenya announced her perfect plan to show Akira how much he really wanted to be a part of the Ralston family and how much they wanted him. The men were happy to have a distraction from their loss as they hammered out the rest of the details.
To Be Continued…