Copyright © 2010 -
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
"I love you, Babe," I told him.
He lifted his head to look at me. "I love you too, Babe," he said, bringing his lips to mine, and giving me a very gentle, loving kiss. Then he lowered his head back down onto his shoulder.
For the next half hour, we drove in relative silence. Occasionally my mother would look back at us and smile. Before long she started to nod off as she usually did when we were making a long trip somewhere, and was soon sleeping soundly in the front seat. I could feel myself getting sleepy as well, and seeing that Terry was sleeping soundly, I allowed myself to surrender to slumber's gentle embrace, falling asleep with my beautiful boyfriend beside me.
The sound of a dull thump and the car suddenly stopping made me wake up with a jerk. Looking beside me I could see that Terry had also been startled awake. "Dad, what's wrong?" I asked my father who was unbuckling his seat belt.
"Stay in the car, Son, I need to check something out," he said, already opening his door to get out.
Terry's parents' car pulled up behind us when my father walked to the front of the car. David got out of his car and joined my father. Since we had been driving with our windows open, I was able to hear some of what they were saying.
"What do you think Dave?" my father asked.
"I don't know, is it still alive?"
"It looks to be, but it's the first time I've ever seen one like it," my father said. Then the two of them knelt down in front of the car to look at whatever it was that they were talking about. When they did that, I no longer was able to hear what they were saying. After a few minutes they both stood up.
"Dave, do you have a blanket or something we can use?"
"I think so, Craig. Just give me a minute." David walked past the side of our car and walked to the back of his. He opened the trunk, and soon after closed it again, holding a blanket in his arms as he made his way back to the front of our car.
"What's going on, Dude?" Terry asked me.
"I don't know, Babe," I replied. "But I'm betting that we hit something."
"Yeah, but what?" Whatever it was that we had hit, my father had wrapped up in the blanket, and was now heading back to the side of the car. I didn't get a real good look at whatever it was, at least not right away. I thought he was going to get back in the car with whatever it was, but instead, he had me open up my door. Then carefully, he placed the rather large bundle in my lap.
"Son, I need you to watch over this little guy for me until we get back home," he told me.
"Okay, Dad," I said, gently holding onto whatever it was inside the blanket. "But what is it?"
"Open the blanket carefully, Son, but don't spook it," he advised me. Doing as he suggested, I carefully lifted off the top of the blanket to look inside. What I saw shocked both Terry and me, as we had never seen anything like it before in our lives.
Laying in my lap, bundled up in the blanket, was the cutest little thing I had ever seen. It was an albino deer, and from the looks of it, was only a few days old. Slowly, so as not to startle it, I touched it with my hand, and felt the soft coat of hair that covered it's body. It had hardly moved, but it's eyes were open and I could clearly tell it was looking at me.
"Dad? Did we hit it?" I asked.
"I think so, Son, but not hard. I saw her in time to stop, but she's so young that I think the soft nudge that she ended up getting was enough to topple her over and send her into shock."
"What are we going to do with her though?" Terry asked.
"Well, I'm not quite sure yet, but we can't leave her here. She wouldn't survive. When we get home, I will contact the Ministry of Natural Resources to find out what we need to do."
"We could keep her," I suggested, though immediately knew what my father was going to say to that one.
"Not a chance, Son. First of all, it's illegal where we live to own any exotic animals and second of all, where would we keep her? We don't exactly have a back yard big enough for her. No, I think the best thing for her would be to be put someplace where she can grow up and be safe."
"Why is she all white like that?" Terry asked.
"Well, Son," David said. "What you're looking at there is very rare to find. She's an albino white-tailed deer. If a hunter got a hold of her, her fur would be worth a lot of money."
"You mean someone would kill her just to get her fur?" Terry asked incredulously.
"I'm afraid so," David admitted.
"Dad, we have to make sure she gets a home where no one will try to hurt him," I said to my father. Looking down at this beautiful young deer now beginning to fall asleep on my lap, I made a silent promise to myself to do whatever I could to help her find a good home. Looking over at Terry, I could see that he was smiling at me, and I smiled back.
"I love you, Babe. You have a beautiful heart," he said.
"Thank you, Babe." Leaning forward he kissed me briefly on my lips, before my father closed the door.
"I know we were going to only follow you part of the way as my wife and I need to get things ready at our house for the move, but my wife was wondering if it would be possible to stay with you until the move is complete. We don't really have to be at the house, and I have to admit, I'm really interested in helping out with the deer," David said.
"Dave, you don't even have to ask. With our boys being boyfriends, that makes you family. There's lots of room for us at our house, and my wife and I would be happy to have you stay with us for a while," my father replied.
"Thank you, Craig," David said. "It really does mean a lot to me and my wife."
"Not a problem, Dave. Besides, maybe now I'll have someone to sit and watch the football game with on TV. Simon's hopeless when it comes to football," my father laughed.
"Dad!" I protested. "You know I like baseball better!"
"Yes I do, Son," my father said, bending down so I could see his face. "Sorry, I was just teasing."
"That's okay. Besides, I think Powder here just wants to get home," I said looking down at the deer which was now soundly asleep in my lap.
"You're right, Son, we'd better get going. And I like the name, Son. It suits her." Then to David he said, "Just follow us the rest of the way. We should be home in about five hours."
"Will do, Craig, and thanks again."
"Don't mention it," my father said, opening up his door and climbing inside. He waited for David to get into his car and then started the car towards home again.
"She really is cute isn't she?" Terry asked me.
"Yeah she is. You know I wouldn't mind keeping her, but my Dad's right. We don't have the room, and it's illegal."
"Hey, but maybe you can find a place that will take her and we'll be able to visit her anytime we want." Terry suggested.
"You're right," I said, liking that idea a lot. "I never thought of that. Damn, babe! How did you get so smart?"
"Oh I don't know," Terry smiled. "You'd have to ask my Dad that one."
"No thanks," I laughed. "On second thought I don't think I want to know."
"Me neither, Babe," Terry laughed. "Me neither."
It was then that I realized something and I just had to bring it to my father's attention. "Dad, do you think Powder needs to eat?"
"Damn!" my father exclaimed. "You're right, Son, she does. Alright, I'm going to make a detour and see if we can find her some goat's milk."
"Goat's milk, Dad?" I asked.
"Yes, it's the closest thing she'll get to her real mother's milk."
"Oh," I said. I hadn't thought of that. I just thought that milk was milk. Guess you learn something new every day.
"Honey," my mother said getting my father's attention.
"Watch your language in front of the kids," She said simply.
"Sorry, Dear," my father apologized. What was funny to me was that I don't think she even heard him apologize, as she had already fallen asleep again, and I started to chuckle lightly. When Terry asked me why I was laughing, and I told him, he started to laugh as well.
"I heard that!" my mother admonished, surprising the heck out of the two of us.
"Sorry, Mom," I said, my face suddenly getting a little flushed from embarrassment.
About a half hour later, my father pulled off the highway and drove to a gas station. Getting out of the car, he went inside, and a few minutes later came back out carrying a bag and a carton of milk. He got back into the car and handed me the bag and the milk.
"Here you go, Son, I know the milk should be warmed up a bit, so let it sit for a while, in the mean time you can get the baby bottle ready," my father said.
"Thanks, Dad," I said, already taking the supplies out of the bag.
Terry watched me as I expertly prepared the bottle for the milk, and unfolded the tea towel that my father had also bought. Wrapping it around the milk carton, I gave it to my father after getting his attention, and he put it on the dash board, where the sun would warm it up.
"Babe, I didn't know you knew how to do all that," Terry said.
"Well, Terry, what you don't know is that Simon was a regular babysitter for a woman down the street. He babysat her son, who was eight years old, and her boyfriend's daughter who was only an infant. He got used to taking care of a child real fast," my father said.
"Wow!" Terry exclaimed.
"It's nothing," I said.
"Hah!" my father exclaimed. "They wanted to hire you as a live-in nanny for crying out loud!"
"Well yeah, but you wouldn't let me," I said.
"You're darn right I didn't. You weren't old enough."
"Yeah, but I did like them, they were cool people."
"Yes they were," my father said.
"What happened then? Why aren't you still babysitting for them?" Terry asked.
"Well, the woman ended up breaking up with her boyfriend about a year ago and could no longer afford to pay Simon to babysit, even though he still dropped by every now and then to keep the boy company. Then just before New Years last year, the woman and her son went to bed one night and apparently there was a short in the electrical system and the house caught fire. Kyle, that was the boy's name, was the only one to survive the fire. Last I heard, he was living in a group home," my father said.
The memory of what happened, and not being able to be with Kyle any longer made me really sad. Terry saw this and put his arm around me. I sat there, leaning against his side, my head resting on his shoulder, and cried.
"I'm so sorry, Simon," Terry said. "God, no one should ever have to go through that."
"I know," I said, trying to stop crying. "I miss him though. He was a fun kid to play with. He was like a younger brother to me."
"It's okay, Babe," Terry said, rubbing my arm. "I'm sure he's okay, and that he's with people that care about him. Besides, I think the one on your lap needs your attention right now.
He was right, Powder began to move about on my lap, still enclosed in the blanket. Her little head started to peek out of the folds, and I opened it up a little for her so she could poke her head out. The only thing I could think of doing was seeing if she wanted to get something to eat. Drying my tears with the back of my hand, I collected myself and got the baby bottle ready.
"Dad, you want to hand me the carton now?" I asked.
"Here you go, Son," my father said taking the carton and reaching behind him to hand it to me.
"Thanks, Dad," I said, taking the carton from his hand. "Okay, Babe, I need you to carefully pour the milk into the bottle for me until I tell you to stop." Terry took the carton from me and opened up the lip at the top. While he was doing that, I had opened up the bottle and had put the sterile bag inside. Holding the bottle towards Terry, I watched as he began to pour the milk into it. When the milk was about three quarters of the way to the top, I told him to stop, which he did. I then screwed the top back onto the baby bottle, and shook it a few times towards my hand to check to make sure the milk was coming out of the nipple freely.
"Okay little one," I said softly to Powder who was staring at me. "Lets see if you're hungry." I carefully pointed the rubber nipple towards her mouth, pointing it down as if it was hanging from the chest of the fawn's mother. She seemed to get the idea and cautiously opened her mouth and took the nipple into her mouth. I think it was the taste of milk that made her begin to suckle on the nipple, and I was right, she was very hungry.
"Awww, you're a mommy," Terry teased, laughing at me. I would have elbowed him in the side if it wasn't for the fact that the fawn in my lap was busy trying to get as much milk from the bottle as she could.
"Just you wait, Babe," I said.
"Yes, Mommy!" Terry laughed.
"I'm really proud of you, Son," my father said.
"I just want to see her get a chance to grow up and be happy, Dad," I told him.
"I know, Son, that's why I'm proud of you. You really do have a big heart."
"I love you, Babe, and I'm proud of you too. I think you would make an excellent father," Terry said, getting his laughter under control.
"You want to adopt a child?" I asked him.
"Some day I would, yeah," Terry admitted.
"I would love to raise a child with you, Babe," I told him. "I think we'd have the most loved child ever."
"That's not possible, Son," my mother said.
"Why is that, Mom?" I asked her.
"Because the two of you are already the most loved sons of all," she answered.
"I love you too, Mom, and you too, Dad. Thanks," I said, feeling my face get all flushed again.
"Thank you, Mrs. Campbell," Terry said, blushing almost as bad as me.
"Hey, none of this 'Mrs. Campbell' stuff. Why don't you just call me 'Mom'," my mother said. "We are, after all, family now."
"Okay, Mom," Terry said, smiling.
The fawn on my lap had stopped eating, and her stomach felt really full. Like most babies, after a long feed she was ready to sleep, and it didn't take her long to do just that. I thought it was so cute the way she nuzzled my hand before falling asleep, her head resting against my arm.
For the next five hours we drove home. Unlike the drive up to the park on Friday, the time seemed to go by quickly. I had a wonderful boyfriend and I also had Powder to look after. She was fed twice more and I had to ask my father to stop the car a couple times so that I could let her out to go to the bathroom. There was no way I was going to sit in the car for that length of time with cold deer pee soaking into my pants.
"Alright everyone, we're home," my father said, finally pulling into the driveway. The house was just as we had left it, though the lawn was definitely longer which meant I was in for some fun later on. Releasing my seatbelt, I carefully opened the car door and stepped outside. The sun was slowly beginning to set, and the air was already getting cooler, which I was happy about.
"Dad, where should I put Powder for now?" I asked.
"Open the back yard and let her run around out there for a while. Later on, once we've got everything settled, I'll make a place for her in the basement," he replied.
"Okay, Dad. Come on, Terry, I'll show you the backyard. It's pretty big," I told him.
"Cool," he said, and followed me as I led him to the wood gate. I still had Powder in my arms, so I couldn't quite reach the latch on the other side of the gate.
"Babe, you want to open the latch on the other side of the gate for me?" I asked him.
"Sure thing, Love," he said, and reached over the top of the gate, found the latch, and released the gate which swung inwards.
We stepped into the back yard, and Terry closed the gate, making sure the latch was securely fastened. The backyard was fairly large, but it wasn't large enough to hold an adult deer as my father had said. Even though Powder was just a baby still, it wouldn't take long before she would grow up, and there just wasn't enough room for her to run around in.
Thankfully, my father had built a privacy fence for our back yard, and it was high enough that it would stop most people from trying to spy into the yard. Only if one of our neighbors looked out their second floor windows could they see into the back yard. Even so, I wasn't going to risk something happening to Powder. At least not until we found her a new permanent home where she could be happy.
Terry and I brought her to the edge of my back porch. We sat down on the bottom step and I placed the blanket with Powder inside on the ground. Then carefully opening up the blanket, I released her. Almost immediately, she tried to stand up. She was quite wobbly at first, but was able to stand on her own four feet without either Terry or I assisting her.
I thought for sure she would try to run around the back yard, to explore her surroundings, but she seemed quite content to stick with Terry and me. Knowing that we needed to have her be comfortable with her surroundings, we both stood up, and walked around the whole yard, Powder following us. Her legs were still a little shaky, so we kept our pace slow for now.
It was only a matter of time before she became comfortable enough to wander further away, but always staying within at least ten feet from us. She was really a beautiful animal. How someone could even think of shooting something so rare, and so precious was unconscionable. There just had to be someplace where she could be free to grow up and live the rest of her life, safe and happy.
"Simon, Terry, come help us with the rest of the stuff," my mother said, opening up the back door.
"We'll be right there Mom," I said. Powder was rapidly growing attached to us, or at least to me, and I have to admit, I was already attached to her. It was going to be tough to have to let her go, but I knew it was for her own good.
Terry and I climbed up the porch steps, and walked into the house. What we didn't expect was to turn around and see Powder right behind us, trying to climb the steps as well. After slipping a couple times, she looked up at me, and I thought I could see a sadness in her eyes. It was as if she thought we were abandoning her. I couldn't stand to see her like that.
"Mom, would it be okay if we let Powder in the house? She's trying to climb the steps on the porch and I'm afraid she's going to hurt herself," I said, trying to find something to convince my mother to let her in.
Both my mother and father came to the back door. "I was afraid of this, Son," my father said.
"She's imprinted on you, she sees you as her mother, and for the first few months of their lives they stick real close to their mother.
"What can we do then, Dad?" I asked him.
"The only thing you can do. You'll have to make a bed in the basement and sleep downstairs with her until we get her a new home. But I think you're right, she's going to keep trying to get up those steps and she'll end up hurting herself."
"Are you sure it'll be alright to let her in the house dear?" my mother asked my father.
"It should be. She's no bigger than a medium-sized dog right now, so aside from us making sure anything that is breakable be secure, she shouldn't be too much trouble."
"Okay, dear. Simon, you go bring her up here, and she can stay inside for now. What about her having to go to the bathroom?"
"Oh, don't worry about that, Mom," I said laughing. "She already went."
"Good, but if she makes a mess in the house, you're responsible for cleaning it up," my mother said.
"Don't worry, Mom, I will," I promised her. Opening the back door once more, I stepped out onto the porch and went down the stairs. Powder watched me until I had reached the bottom, at which time she came up to me and nuzzled my hand.
"Okay little one, you can come in with Terry and me," I told her, lifting her up by her rear legs and just under her collar bone. I turned around and slowly walked up the steps. Once I had reached the top, I set her back down, waiting until she managed to stand on her own, then led her into the house.
It was really cute to see this little white deer following me around while I helped my parents put away our camping gear. Surprisingly, Powder didn't knock anything over, even though she did bump into a few things. My mother had obviously quickly gathered up things that could have been broken had Powder bumped into them.
Before long we had finished unpacking and were all sitting in the living room. Powder had taken a spot on the floor in front of me, and promptly fell asleep.
"What's going to happen now?" I asked my father.
"Well, it's too late right now to call the government, so I'll have to try and call them tomorrow. But for now, what you need to do is get some things from your room and get them downstairs. It's a good thing there is the double bed in the spare room downstairs for you and Terry to use."
"And while you're doing that, I'll get the bed ready for you," my mother said.
"What about Powder?" I asked.
"We'll get out the old dog bed for her to sleep in," my mother said.
"You mean the one Sasha used?" I asked her.
"That's the one."
"I didn't think we still had it," I said.
"Oh no, we still do. I wanted to keep it in case we got another dog someday," my mother replied.
"Oh, okay. Well, where is it?" I asked.
"Just look in the closet on the very top shelf," she answered.
"Okay, ummm, Dad, will you look after Powder until we come back down?" I asked.
"Sure thing, Son," my Dad said. Right at that time, David, Kathy, and Emily came down stairs.
"Thanks again, Craig for letting us stay over," David said seeing my father sitting on the couch.
"It's no problem at all, Dave, we're happy to have you."
"Oh that is so cute!" Emily said excitedly, quickly moving towards Powder, who was startled awake from her excitement.
"Careful, Emily," Kathy said, stopping her daughter before she got too close to the fawn. "You'll scare it." I had to put my hand on Powder to calm her down a little, but I could tell that she was still a little nervous with all the people around. Picking her up from the floor, I settled her onto my lap, trying to calm her down as best I could. It seemed to work as she felt the warmth of my body and snuggled as close to me as she could.
"If you want to see her, Emily, you have to be very gentle with her and make no sudden moves. She's only a baby and gets scared really easily," I told her.
"Okay," Emily replied, approaching Powder slowly and reaching out with her hand.
"Just let her get used to you first before you touch her," I said. Emily held out her hand to Powder who raised her head to investigate this new person. I figured Powder accepted Emily as she nuzzled her hand. "Okay, you can pet her now, but be gentle." Emily lowered her hand to Powder's body and gently pet her.
"Oh my! Her fur is so soft!" she exclaimed.
"Yes it is," I replied.
"She is certainly beautiful," Kathy said.
"Isn't she though?" my mother agreed.
"Okay, Dad, do you want to take her? I need to get the stuff out of my room."
"Why don't you let Emily hold her for a while," my father suggested. "Powder seems to like her."
I looked at Powder and Emily, and indeed it did seem that Powder liked her, as she was licking Emily's arm as she pet her, and she was giggling a little.
"Mom, she's licking me and it tickles," Emily laughed.
Getting up from the couch with Powder still in my arms, I had Emily sit down where I was sitting, and I carefully put Powder onto her lap.
"Oh, she's a little heavy," Emily said, surprised by how much Powder weighed.
"Is she too heavy for you, Dear?" Kathy asked.
"No, Mom," Emily answered. "I just wasn't expecting her to be that heavy."
"Go ahead, Son, get what you need to get, your mother will have the basement ready by the time you have everything," my father said, noticing me hesitate.
"Okay, Dad," I said, reluctantly heading up the stairs, Terry following beside me.
"You're really getting attached to her aren't you?" he asked me.
"I don't know what it is, Terry. I mean, I know she needs a better home than we could ever give her, and she's only been in our lives for a short while, but I almost feel like a father."
"I know how you feel," he said.
"You do? You mean you feel it too?"
"Yeah I do. She's so dependent on us for everything. I've never had someone that dependent on me before."
"What you said before, you meant it?" I asked.
"About us adopting a child when we're old enough."
"Yes I am, Babe. I want us to have a family," he replied.
"So do I, Babe," I said. "So do I." And with that, I opened the door to my bedroom, and together we walked inside.