Gavin stood and watched the street musician playing the saddest handmade guitar he’d ever seen.
He was 95% sure the musician with the World’s Crappiest Guitar was none other than Bo Blank’s wife. He’d met her one time at the building where the club hangout was. She was a striking woman, so he was pretty sure it was her. He remembered seeing her guitar she left behind when the club went over to Bo’s house the night she left.
Gavin: Sheesh, is that what happens when you decide to be single instead of in a relationship?
Bo’s wife Heaven continued to play, then solicited tips. Gavin had already turned his attention back to his grandparents, so he missed to opportunity to tip her.
“Okay, are you all ready? I really hope this will work,” said Gavin, looking around. “There’s not a huge crowd out today, it might not work.”
“Of course it will work,” said Kenya. “Changing your political cause from ‘Simoleons for Everyone’ to ‘World United’ was a start, but holding a protest in the middle of the Spice Market is the perfect way to announce it!”
“Your grandmother is right,” said Cristian. “Now all you got to do is get that boy down here. Once he sees your new cause, your supportive family, and your passion for it all, he’ll invite us back to his fancy apartment in the sky!”
“Maybe leave out the part about your grandfather’s motivation in all this,” said Kenya. She turned to Cristian while Gavin dialed Akira’s number in his phone. “Don’t make them think you’re only in this for the fancy apartment.”
“Oh hush, woman, he knows I was joking. Now come on before we get all protest sweaty, give me a kiss.”
“Oh, you’d like a kiss would you? You want to distract me from the super important task of helping our grandson?”
“Hey, I’m trying to get a good example for him,” said Cristian.
You’re wasting time, we could already be making out while he’s on the phone.”
“You have a good point,” said Kenya.
Kenya and Cristian broke apart like two teenagers caught on a couch in the basement.
“I told you it was a distraction,” whispered Kenya.
“Be cool, don’t get us in trouble, woman,” Cristian whispered back.
Together they turned, grabbed their protest signs and started up a protest before Gavin said anything.
Gavin watched them for a moment, so amazed by the people who had raised him for most of his life. He also noticed the e-mail blast he’d sent out about the protest had attracted a few interested citizens. Even his old protest buddy for Simoleons for Everyone watched a bit to see if she could be enticed to a more altruistic cause. He couldn’t wait for Akira to arrive and see this first big change.
Gavin grabbed a sign and joined in with the protest. He was pleased to see Quincy Epstein there. He wondered if his parents were going to join too. Most of the Counsel Council had begged off, citing family duties, but Laurel said she and Kurt might come out and support.
Akira arrived to the protest location and stood right in the middle of it, looking around. Gavin saw his grandfather turn it up right at that moment and wondered if he was doing it for the protest or for Akira.
Gavin: Wow, he must really want into that apartment, haha. Truly though, I’m blessed that he’s doing this for me. I can’t believe I ever thought my grandparents wouldn’t be so progressive.
Gavin wanted to talk to Akira, but he continued with his protest. He needed Akira to see that he was serious about his new cause. This wasn’t just some temporary change to win over a potential lover. This was something he really cared about, but had been too much of a punk before now to really dig into. World United could be a divisive issue, and Gavin hadn’t felt ready for the fights about immigration, education, homelessness, and healthcare that fell under this cause’s umbrella. But with his friends and family behind him, he felt like he could do anything.
Gavin was deep in the protest mood, but he couldn’t miss Akira’s gaze. The small smile that was a marquis of hope, desire, and recognition of the passion now evident in Gavin’s work.
“Gavin, this is amazing! I can’t believe you put all this together in two days,” said Akira.
“It’s an issue people are passionate about,” said Gavin. “It’s an issue I’m passionate about. I guess I just needed a kick in the pants to get there.”
“Heh, yeah, maybe, but still… I’m really impressed,” said Akira. “I gotta–I’m gonna take a step back for a minute. I’m gonna go on up to your apartment, okay?”
“You’ve got a key, help yourself. I’ll be up there when I’m done down here.”
“Okay,” said Akira softly, still smiling at Gavin.
Before he left to head to the Ralstons’ apartment, Akira watched Cristian and Kenya for a moment. His smile got really big as he watched Cristian shout about equality and unity.
As promised, Laurel and Kurt showed up to join the protest.
“This is such a success, Gavin,” said Cristian, “and the protest grows as new people watch us and decide to join in. I’m so proud of you.”
“Thanks,” said Gavin, “that means so much to me.”
“Of course, happy to be a part of it. I tell you what though,” said Cristian, “I saw Akira’s face. Now is the time to seal the deal. Your grandmother and I have got this. You go on up there and tell him I said welcome to the family.”
Gavin smile at his grandfather briefly before handing his protest sign to a stranger who wanted to join in. He broke into a run to catch Akira at the apartment while his heart was still talking louder than his head.
Gavin: I’m gonna go get my man.
Upstairs in the Ralston apartment, Akira sat on the couch with their friend Baby Branham.
“So…. why am I here? I love you guys,” said Baby, “but you told me shit got weird a couple of days ago. Should I really be here for this?”
“Yes, you should,” said Akira. “I need a witness to whatever is going to happen next.”
To Be Continued…