“Thanks for following me.”
“You’re welcome,” Cade mumbled as Graham settled himself in the seat beside him.
“I need to go by the farmstead we just purchased if you don’t mind.”
“Just point me in the right direction.”
The silence in the car was deafening. Graham could tell something was eating at him.
“This is a nice car. Lots of gadgets and gizmos.”
“Yes, sir.” He kept his eyes on the road ahead of him. He was not in the mood for idle chit-chat.
“Have you figured them all out yet?”
Cade cracked a half grin. “No, sir. Not all of them.”
They rode on in silence, while Graham played with the different buttons testing them. “This car is smarter than I am.” Graham chuckled. “I think I’ll stick to the old stuff.
Graham could see Cade rolling his eyes at him through the darkened shades.
“Why Graham Enterprises?”
“Why did you name your business Graham Enterprises?”
“When I started I did not think my small business was going to be this big. Honestly, I was trying to make a buck, but God continued to bless me. The day I went to apply for a business license they wanted to know the name of my business. I had not given it much thought, so I just wrote down the first thing that came to me—Graham’s Enterprises. I never thought there would be an enterprise. Take the next exit. Then take the first dirt road on your right.”
He could not believe what he was seeing. This could not be the farm Graham proudly purchased. The fields were overgrown with weeds and small trees sprouts. It would take a lot of work to get it back in working order.
“So, what you think?”
Cade allowed the car to coast up the drive to the old farmhouse. “It’s something alright. Definitely in need of remodeling.”
“You have to see it as what it could be not as it is. That’s the heart of restoration.” Graham exited the car and waited for Cade to join him. “I plan to turn it into a rescue mission for abused mothers and their children. Look at that field over there. Can’t you see the children running around playing kickball? Imagine here in the house a large family table where meals are shared. The barn will be restored to house animals of course. Some of the fields will be used to grow food. Some I plan to turn into playgrounds. Depending on the need we may use some of the land to build cabins for the residence.”
“Wow.” Cade could see it now. The house freshly painted white, horses in the corral. Children laughing and playing. He wondered how a man like Graham could have left him and his mother behind. He seemed to love and care for so many. Why could he not love and care for them?
“Give me your keys.” Graham held out his hand to Cade as they prepared to leave.
“Give me your keys.”
He pulled his keys from his pocket and dropped them in Graham’s outstretched palm.
Cade kept a skeptical eye on Graham as he snapped his seatbelt into place. He had the gnawing feeling that the older man was up to something.
“Are you ready?” Graham grinned mischievously before shifting the gear into drive and stomping on the gas.
“Whoa,” Cade hollered and grabbed hold of the handrail attached to the side of the car. His fingernails on his left-hand dug deep into the leather console as Graham slammed the brakes and spun the car around. “Are you trying to kill us?”
Down the narrow path that ran past the farmhouse to the pond, Graham pushed the car to see how fast she could go, laughing all the way at Cade who was now white-faced with horror. Without hesitating, Graham rammed the vehicle into an open field.
“What are you doing?”
Cade screamed at him to stop the craziness, but Graham did not listen. He was relentless in his excursion. Round and round, they went creating donuts in the dry dirt. Between the car’s tinted windows and the dust storm, Graham spun up, Cade could not see anything. He knew any minute now they would slam against a tree or plunge into the pond. Either way, they were going to die.
The car stopped suddenly, allowing Cade the opportunity to open the door just in time to keep the contents of his stomach from spilling all over him.
“That was fun.”
“Have you lost your mind?” The shouted question came more as a statement of Cade’s fury. “Get out of my car.”
Graham exited the car as commanded, leaning his arms on the car’s roof for support as he laughed in response to the younger man’s words, which in return only added to Cade’s aggravation.
“What would you do if I drove your car like that?”
“My car? What makes you think you will ever drive one of my cars?”
Cade bore holes in Graham with his glaring eyes. “Seriously? You are not going to let me drive your car after the way you just drove mine?”
“Seriously.” Graham lifted his chin in the air at the boy and gave him a half-cocked grin. “I don’t hand over my keys that easily.”
“I should leave your behind out here in the middle of nowhere.” Cade was trembling with anger. “Who do you think you are?”
“I’m the man who just drove the fire out of your car.” Graham chuckled, popping Cade playfully in the back of the head as he made his way to the passenger side of the car. “Learn the lesson, Cade.”
“What lesson is that?”
“Your car is like your life, Son; it was bought at a high price. You should be more careful who you let behind the wheel. Look what I did. I drove you hard and fast. I spun you around in circles, and I got you dirty. I could have wrecked you and what could you have done about it? Not a thing. You allowed me to do it all because you freely gave me the keys.”
Graham carefully stepped over Cade’s previous spewing and settled into the passenger seat again. “If you will be so kind as to drive me home now.”
“I should drive you to the mental hospital,” Cade mumbled the words.
“I heard that.” Graham smirked back at him.
Cade flopped down in the driver seat and glared at the infuriating Graham, which only made Graham laugh harder at the naïve boy.
Graham finally stopped with the cackling and snide remarks at Cade’s gullibility to hold a real conversation.
“Where are you staying, Cade?”
Not knowing if he should answer or if it was another set up for more torture from the older man, he kept quiet and focused on his driving.
“All jokes aside. I would like to know.”
“I have a room at the beach resort.”
“Wow. That’s got to cost you a chunk of money.”
“Why do you care how much money I spend?” Cade was beginning to think working with Graham was not the best idea. The man was always getting into his business.
“I thought you might like a better deal that’s all.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“Well, it depends on how long you plan to be around.”
“I’m not sure.” Cade spat at the older man. “It all depends on you,” he wanted to add.
“I take it you would not be interested in renting an apartment from me?” Graham could see by the twitching of his lip that he was considering the possibility. “I have one above my backyard garage for rent. It has two bedrooms, only one bath, but it comes fully furnished. How does five hundred a month strike you?”
“When can I move in?”
“So, you are not mad at me anymore?” Graham nudged him with his elbow making him smile.
“I didn’t say that.”
Cade shoved Graham’s arm off the center console and planted his own arm there firmly.
Graham chuckled again at the cocky young man. “Swing by the motel and grab your stuff.”
*This excerpt is from Chapter 14 of Leann's Victory by Renee Kinlaw. Work is copywritten and may not be reused or republished without consent of Author Renee Kinlaw.