Part IV: Astonishing Acceptance
Fred stayed in his room for quite a while before, while contemplating his fate, Ms. Eyre came and told him that it was his turn to speak with the Davisons. The blond boy gave a nervous sigh as he got up from his bunk bed. His roommate, Jason, shouted a good luck after him as he followed Ms. Eyre out of the room. Fred stared down at the ground as he and the woman headed down the hall.
Ms. Eyre, being around children so often and having known Fred for so long, could tell that something was wrong with the six year old. "You feeling alright, dear?"
Well, his heart was beating loudly in chest, there was a lump in his throat that he couldn't seem to swallow, and he felt like he was going to throw up. Plus, now that he thought about it, his hands were kind of sweaty too. "…yeah," he lied, wiping his hands on his shorts.
Once they were at the door, she didn't open it for him; instead, she kneeled down so she was eye to eye with Fred. "Now, Fred, don't be nervous, okay? You just need to go in there and be yourself. And everything will work out, alright?"
He frowned and glanced back at the closed door for a moment before he turned back to the woman. "But…that's what I always do, Ms. Eyre. And…and no one's picked me yet." He scuffed his shoe on the tile floor, nervously. "They prob'ly won't want me either…"
"Fred, why wouldn't anyone want you?" He looked away, rubbing an eye. She gave a sympathetic smile at how the child was acting. "You are such a sweet, responsible kid. And, I don't mean to toot my own horn but, I can tell when a family and one of you kids clicks. And I sensed that with you and the Davisons earlier." She took his face in both of her hands to have him look at her. "Trust me, if you be yourself, everything will work out just fine. Okay?"
Fred bit his lip before he nodded; giving her what he hoped looked like a confident smile. It must have worked because she smiled in return. "Good luck."
"Thanks." Ms. Eyre stood and began to head toward her own room. The blond boy looked back at the door in front of him and let out a sigh before he placed a hand on the knob and pushed the door open.
The other child was the first to look in his direction and notice him, he stood from his chair while Fred made his way to the open chair opposite all of them. He grinned and Fred noticed a big gap in his teeth, he lost one of his top teeth, making his smile look funny. "Hey, look, it's him! Where's that lady?" he wondered, turning back to his parents. "We can tell her we're ready now; we found my brother."
His father grabbed onto the back of his shirt and pulled him back so he was sitting again. "Charlie, we actually need to talk with him first."
The other boy's jaw dropped while looked back and forth between the two adults, groaning. "But we just talked to five other kids…! I know it's him," he pointed at Fred. "Why do we hafta ask more questions?"
"Because then it's fair to all the others," his mom explained, giving him an unyielding look. Charlie sunk into his chair at the expression, folding his arms and pouting at this "injustice." Mrs. Davison, however, smiled at this, knowing that meant she had convinced him before she looked back at Fred. "So, you're Fredrick Philips?"
The orphan nodded and began wringing the end of his shorts nervously, making his hands even sweatier than before. "Yeah. I just like Fred though," he answered quietly.
"Okay, well, Fred why don't you tell us something about yourself?" She rested her elbows on the table and smiled kindly at him. "What do you like to do?"
She had barely finished her second question when her husband asked over her, "Do you like sports?"
The woman gave him a stare that clearly showed she was not amused. "Jon…"
"What?" He couldn't see what was wrong. "It's a reasonable question and has to do with what he likes, right?" The brunette woman only rolled her eyes; her husband didn't seem to notice though, looking back at the interviewee. "So, do you like sports, Fred?" The boy shrugged and nodded. "What's your favorite to play?"
"Well…I really like when we play soccer and baseball at school."
Charlie's eyes lit up and he sat up a bit in his chair. "Those're my fav'rites too!" He beamed and looked at his parents. "I told you it'd be him!"
"Charlie, we're not done yet…"
"…well, how much longer?" the six year old wondered. Little did he know it would be another twenty to thirty minute discussion…but it definitely wasn't as boring as he thought it would be.
Fred and Charlie watched from a distance as the brunet boy's parents talked with Ms. Eyre. The orphan and family had really hit it off, and eventually Mr. and Mrs. Davison came to agree with their son that he really would be the best choice. Fred found them easy to get along with and the way the three acted with another very funny. So now the two boys were watching while the adults filled out a few papers.
While the Davisons began to fill the paperwork out, Ms. Eyre looked at the two boys. "Fred, why don't you start packing up your things?"
"Can I go too?" Charlie asked. When Ms. Eyre nodded, he gave a bright grin and followed after his blond lookalike. "Hey, bro, wait up!"
Fred froze and stared at the other boy in awe once he had caught up. "What did you call me?"
Charlie made a funny face at this question. "Um, bro," he repeated. "After all, tha's what we are now!"
"Well, but we're not really brothers," Fred pointed out, sadly as he continued toward his room…or what used to be his room. He would like to think of Charlie as his brother but they weren't really. "We aren't related… Your parents just adopted me; I don't have a real family anymore…"
"So? We're still brothers." Charlie smiled and swung his arms happily as they walked. "Mom 'n Dad said that when we adopt someone, that makes 'em part of the fam'ly. Just 'cause we picked you, doesn't mean you're not my brother. It makes you more special."
"It does?" Fred wondered. He never thought of being adopted as anything special.
"Sure! It means that outta all the other kids we met; you were the one that stood out. We knew that if anyone could be my brother, it'd be you! And I know you're gonna be a great big brother, Fred!"
"Well, thanks, Charlie," he mumbled, a bit embarrassed.
"No prob'em!" They got into Fred's room and Charlie looked about curiously. "So, where're your toys?"
"I don't have any."
"Whaaaat?! None?" When Fred shook his head, Charlie shook his as well, folding his arms. "That's sad… But don't worry; I have lots for us to share at home!"
The other six year old smiled as he started getting all his things together. He had a feeling that he'd like being Fredrick Davison.