( 2017 - somewhere in Texas )

The air was dry and dust caught in Caleb's throat as he hit the kickstand on his motorcycle and leaned back on the bike. The Texas heat was radiating off his helmet and he almost regretted wearing it, but a promise was a promise. Despite that he wouldn't mind driving down the highway with reckless abandon, he knew that Ava would have and sometimes he felt like his words to her were the last things that he was clinging onto. The wooden gate was intimidating. It stared him down with red lettering and warnings to trespassers. There was no way to ride any further.  

Caleb frowned, pulling the wrinkled map from his pocket.

Outlined in red pen, a large circle decorated the words Adalie Falls Ranch. 

Adalie was his mother's name.

His stomach twisted into a second knot.

This was the right place. 

The young man parked the bike and with a last look at the trespassing sign, hopped the fence. In the distance, he could see a one story house with smoke parading from the chimney in a lazy cloud. There were cows walking freely around the yard, chomping on the grass. An effective lawn mower, he supposed.

As he approached the house, the door opened, and to his surprise it wasn't an older man that exited the door, but a young one with blonde hair and similar features to himself.

He stopped, dead in his tracks.  

It had never occurred to him that in twenty years, his father could have remarried and had more children.

Just as Caleb was about to turn away, the stranger looked up and noticed his presence.

Oh mon dieu. There was no avoiding this now.

Caleb shoved his hands into his pockets and slowly walked forwards. Despite that the English greeting was fairly familiar to him after spending two months in the states, his natural language beat him to it. "Bonjour --"

"I mean, hello. My name is Caleb. Does a Spencer Segal live here?" 

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Caden looked at the gentleman who was here. Even though they were considered brothers by the father they shared he wondered if they would come to a point where they could act like brothers. He focused on him for a moment as he spoke. Listening to him and how he spent time with his daughter gave him a twinge. That Jo would call her Uncle in the future made him smile with joy. They didn't have much family and friends were far and few between who wanted to spend time with a teen dad.

"I am sorry to hear that." He replied at the mention of not having it work out well. "You know if you ever need to talk about it then be my guest. Thats what family is for, no?" He asked before sitting closer to them as he spoke about the ranch and the different animals. "It sounds like a lot of fun." He said in agreement as he focused on them both taking in the moments for his memories.

Caden journaled and liked to record details so he would look back on them. It all had begun when he found out he was going to be a father. What had become a pet project turned out to him documenting everything by camera and records in his journal. When he thoughts trailed back to him asking about his father and him he gave a small shrug and smiled.

"The usual, a beer, some fishing, football. Typical dude things. We don't live to close I live more in the city as I finish up school for work and then the plans are to buy the ranch maybe one day for Jo to grow up here one day." 

The ranch reminded Caleb of home and he found it funny that both of his parents enjoyed living far away from people and surrounded by nature. Perhaps, he'd held a grudge against his father for too long now. He'd never met Spencer before today and Adalie had always told him what a good man that he was through her stories. He'd never gotten a final answer on why his mother had taken him across the ocean and left his father, but as he sat with his newfound family, it seemed to be less out of strife and more out of loneliness. Surely, running a ranch had taken up much of his free time as a young adult. Maybe it was simply true that they'd fallen out of love. Such things required dedication and practice. His growing up without Spencer had been just as much an incidental as hail in a rainstorm. The young man leaned back in his chair, listening as Caden spoke. He was curious about the brother that he'd never met and what had brought them together. Right now, it was pizza and the beaming smile of a toddler. 

Although Caleb couldn't admit it, his heart ached as he played with little Jonah. It had only been a year since he'd lost his first chance at fatherhood. If their child had survived, he would now be a single parent, much like his brother. There was so much that he would have liked to say, but could find no words for. Instead, he focused on waiting for the food to arrive and the sweet giggles of his niece as she climbed aboard the fence, peering over at a farm cat who had fallen asleep in the afternoon sun. "My home isn't much different than this," He nodded, as Caden mentioned wanting to buy the ranch someday. "A lot of fresh air and sun does good for kids." He smiled. "I should know. I spent most my days as a kid playing with ducks and wooden swords."

The quiet between them was not burdensome, but natural. A car rolled up in the distance, carrying the delicious smells of pizza their way. "What do you say we find my...our father and invite him to eat?" 

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