Waiting

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"Sir, these samples will be finished with testing in about three weeks. DNA testing is a trying process, and we've had a lot of work lately, with so many fathers wanting to know who's the father of their children. So you just have to be patient."

"All right. But what if it take longer."

"If you don't hear back from us in 5 weeks, call us. Here's our business card with the number on it."

"Thank you, this will be a big help for me."

"You're welcome, sir."

And so Tom went home to wait for the results. The day after he took the samples in, Cullen came in the front door after having been at the park--his favorite summer hangout--and said "Hi Dad."

"Cullen?"

Cullen looked at Tom with a dull look and said, "Yes, Dad?"

"If you're home and I get a phone call when I'm not home, have them call me on my cell phone number please?"

"Okay. Why?"

"I found some er... interesting substances on the bed the other day and took them to the lab across town to be tested."

Cullen's eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped a little. Then he recovered himself and said, "Oh. Okay." Then he went into his room.

Cullen's behavior did not go unnoticed by Tom. It served to reinforce his theory about Cullen being the culprit with one of his girlfriends, and using their bed--and Camille's underwear--for their little sexual frisks. But Tom swallowed his suspicions, and didn't worry about the effects of his request for Cullen.

He'd told the lab when he would be home, and insisted they only call him during those times. He sighed, for he knew he was being unfair on Cullen. One had to have an open mind in these things. It might not be him at all. After all, Tom's initial feeling was his wife was having an affair. Both couldn't be true, could they?

***

A week later, Tom had a rare day off from work, and he used it to look around the house while his wife was asleep. He wanted to see if he could find clues to the truth of the matter. It had been the only thing on his mind since he discovered the semen in the sheets.

He started by looking through his wife's desk in the den, where she did both work and hobbies, when she could find the time for hobbies. He looked all over in there, and didn't find anything suspicious. Well, except for the coffee stain on one paper. Camille couldn't stand coffee. But he and Cullen liked it. It was only suspicious until he realized that, for he knew that Cullen often put things like that in bad places. He sighed and continued on.

***

Later, when his wife was about to wake up, Cullen came in the front door and started heading toward the hallway. When Cullen looked up and saw Tom, he suddenly jumped as if he'd seen a real-life lion.

"What are you doing here?" asked Cullen.

"I told you before, I have the day off. God only knows why. My boss has never been kind to me before."

"Oh. I must not have been listening. You know, I'm a teenager, and we don't often listen."

Tom had on a face that spoke volumes and then said, "Yes, I know. I was a teenager once."

Cullen looked at Tom, wide-eyed again. "That's a funny picture. I didn't know teens could go bald." Then he walked into the hall. Tom was just about to make a smart comment back, but he saw Cullen going the wrong way down the hall. He was going towards Camille's room. He scratched his head and wondered about that. Then Camille came out of her room and went into the kitchen to get her breakfast.

"Hi, Honey." he said.

She smiled at him and replied, "Hi honey-buns."

Tom's eyes just about popped out of his head when he heard that. He hadn't heard her use that name in ages, and it wasn't even his! It was what they called Cullen when he was young.

"This is just getting too weird." he muttered to himself.

***

An hour later, he saw Camille going back to her room. Normally he wouldn't think anything of it, but he wasn't hearing the usual loud music from Cullen's room. He thought maybe Cullen was up to no good.

"Well, if he is, Camille will stop him." he said to himself.

And then, the music came on in Cullen's room, and it was much louder than he remembered it. It was loud enough that Tom thought it could cover the sound of someone screaming. So he didn't bother to yell. He just covered his ears and went into Cullen's room to turn it off. Only... Cullen wasn't in his room.

After Tom got the music turned down, Cullen appeared in the living room.

"What'd you turn the music down for?" asked Cullen.

"It was too loud. I couldn't even hear myself think. Why'd you have it so loud anyway?"

"I-- Because I wanted to hear it in the bathroom."

"You had it loud enough that you could hear it in the neighbor's bathroom."

"If it's too loud, then you're too old," Cullen said matter-of-factly. "Mom likes the music."

That surprised him. But he said, "And your mother is ten years younger than I am, so it makes sense that she would like it. I'll admit, I'm an old coot."

"You're only 40."

"When you get my age, Cullen, you'll understand."

Cullen shrugged. "Okay. Whatever," and went back to the hall. Tom didn't see which way he went that time, though. But since the music went up again a little, he assumed Cullen went to his own room.

Tom shook his head. He still didn't understand why Cullen went the wrong way. Especially with both Camille and he up. He finally figured that Cullen was being daring, trying to find his mother's underwear.

Finally, Tom got bored with the TV and put his headphones on to listen to his own music, an easy- listening group. As he drifted to sleep on the couch, he thought about how weird life had gone on him since finding the semen in the sheets. He hoped that it wouldn't get any weirder.


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