So far nothing unusual had happened, two days letter he got called to the office. He waited outside the office to be called in. Miss O’Sullivan walked up and knocked on the door and was asked to come in. He tried to see who was in there besides the dean of students and Miss O’Sullivan. Did this have anything to do with the poem, or something else?
Colleen and Jon had talked, about the problem. Should they let the Dean of Students handle this or should they handle this. They had hatched a little story that just might work. Jon arrived at Polly Prep, a few minutes after he had put the boys on the bus, giving them time to get to class and not see him.
Colleen didn’t have a first period class, so she met Jon at the Dean of Students office. Jon sat with his back to the door, so Jake wouldn’t know he was there. They had made a deal, with the dean of students, that they would handle this, without hurting Jake’s academic standings. If it wasn’t for all the money Jon had raised for the school, Jake would be in deep shit.
“Whatever you do, don’t laugh.” Colleen told Jon right before she called, to have Jake brought in.
“I know, put on my proud dad face.” Jon told Colleen, which was going to be hard. This was the first time, which he knew, that any of his kids had been caught cheating.
Jake was brought into the room, it wasn’t till he sat down, and that he noticed that there was just Miss O’Sullivan and his dad in the room. ‘Oh shit, what’s going on?’ Jake thought as he sat down in the only other chair.
“Hey Jakey,” Jon smiled at his son.
“Hey Dad.” Jake answered quietly. What’s daddy doing here? He didn’t say anything as me and Romeo got on the bus. Jake was nervous. He didn’t know where to look, so he looked at the floor.
“Jake, I asked your dad to come in to hear this news.” Colleen said as she looked from Jake to Jon.
“News?” Jake sat down in the other chair beside his dad. Looking between Miss O’Sullivan and his dad.
“You remember the poetry assignment? I submitted a few to a local contest, and you’re was chosen as one of the top in the State.” Colleen had the certificate she had made, it looked legit, thanks to Microsoft Word.
Jake took the certificate from Colleen and looked it over. Great the one time in my life I cheat, I win a contest for something I stole from my dad. Well isn’t that fucking wonderful?
“Jake I am so proud of you.” Jon turned and looked at his son. I should get an award for this performance.
“I was just about to read your poem to your dad, but now that you’re here you can read it.” Colleen smiled at Jake and then Jon. Which one would break first? She handed Jake the paper.
Jake looked at the paper from his teachers hand. Looking at it like it was the first time he had seen it. I should admit it now I stole it from dad’s office and take my punishment like a man, or I could just throw up now and get out of this. Jake cleared his throat and started to look a little green.
“Maybe I can read it for you.” Jon told Jake, never once taking the paper out of his hand. Reciting the words, which he had said to Colleen on the beach.
“One heart one other, they met last summer, one move she started, Now they love that way. The Pain of pleasure, lying together, you’re at their mercy no one said there’d be nights like this, risk your life for a stolen kiss,” Jon sang softly like he did to Colleen that night on the beach.
Jake’s heart went to his feet, he was in deep shit and was it going to be suspension or expelled. He knew he had broken the honor code, depending on what Miss O’Sullivan did. He knew what his dad was going to do to him was going to be one hundred times worse than what the school did.
“I can explain,” Jake started to say, but the look on his father’s face stopped him cold.
“You stole a song out of my office and submitted it as your own, your last name might be Bongiovi, but Jon is not your first name.” Jon was trying to stay calm, but the Sicilian in him was boiling under the surface.
“I tried to write a poem, but I su, uh I was terrible. I panicked and thought I could borrow one of the songs, no one would notice.” Jake explained.
“You owe Coll, Miss O’Sullivan, an apology for not doing the assignment. She went to the Dean of Students to keep this from going on your record.” Jon took a deep breath to keep his cool.
“I’m sorry for what I did.” Jake said as he turned to speak to his teacher.
“You will receive a zero on this assignment and you will not be allowed to make it up. This is a warning, Mr. Bongiovi, the next time this will be handled by the Dean of Students and it will go on your record.” Colleen looked between Jake and Jon. “You can go on to your next class, I will see you later in class.”
Jake got out of the room before he was expelled.
Colleen waited until the door shut and Jake was away from the door. Colleen put the paper back in her file.
“That was harder than I thought it would be.” Colleen told Jon. “From his record, he’s a straight A student, top of his class, then this.” Colleen sighed and looked at Jon. “That’s why I didn’t want this to mess up his record.”
“You were too easy on him.” Jon looked at Colleen. “My teachers in school would’ve suspended me or kicked me out for plagiarism.”
“Jake’s a good student and he panicked. I had a professor that bent the rules for me once, I panicked on a test. My parents had died and my brother and sister were doing the best to keep us together. I got a zero on the test and didn’t get a makeup, but I didn’t get booted out of college.” She put the papers back in his file and dropped them in her briefcase. “When I asked him why he didn’t throw me over to the student court? He told me that, one day I was going to see a great kid, do something stupid, and I am going to remember, that a teacher gave me a second chance.”
“And you saw that in Jake?” Jon asked her as he stood up.
“I saw a kid, who is a straight A student, that panicked when he came across something his dad was great at, and that he couldn’t be the same writer.” Colleen came around the desk and they walked out of the office. “When I heard those same words read out allowed in class, I knew what he did.
“Yeah, when you read his paper to me, at first I thought he might have gotten the words off liner sheets in an old cassette or lyric site online.” Jon chuckled a little. “I never thought he would go into the office and go through my files.”
“I guess you’ll lock the door from now on?” Colleen laughed a little.
“Yeah, I got one more son to get out of this school one day.” Jon finally laughed. He didn’t think Romeo would ever do anything like this, the kid was so honest, and he would get an F before cheating.
Colleen walked with Jon through the halls and out to the parking lot.
“I was gonna call you later to see if you have plans for Saturday night? I know its short notice.” Jon leaned on his car, looking at Colleen.
“I’m working the football game, I have the home concession stand, but other than that, my night is free.” Colleen said as she stood at Jon’s car. Reminded her of High School, standing at her boyfriend’s car. But was Jon her boyfriend or just a man who was her friend?
“I’ll be at the game, Jake is playing, and we always go out after the game.” He said then he stopped. Was he ready for her to go out with the kids? Granted it would just be Romeo and Jake. He should ask them before he surprises them with her.
“That’s great, I hope you three have fun.” Colleen told Jon, letting him off the hook. She knew by the look on his face he was back peddling just like the night they had ice cream. “I better get back in, looks really bad when the teacher is late to class.” She smiled at him.
“I bet, listen I’ll call you tonight.” Jon laughed a little at the teacher being late to class. He watched her turn to head back to the building. He would talk to the boys in the next couple of days, if they would let Colleen join them for dinner.
Jake kept his head down in class, and Miss O’Sullivan didn’t call him for any answers. He was not looking forward to going home. His dad was really pissed, he knew going home today was going to hear his punishment.
The rest of the day went smooth, it seemed to Jake that the ride home was shorter. Daddy was waiting at the bus stop, there was no sneaking into the townhome today.
“Hey Guys, how was school?” Jon smiled at the boys. He noticed Jake trying to sneak into the house.
“Great, I passed my math test and my science test.” Romeo told his dad proudly.
“That’s great Roe, I know you really studied and showed that you really tried hard. I’m really proud of you.” Jon tasseled Romeo’s hair. They made it off the street and into the foyer of the building. He noticed Jake hung back some as they got to the elevator. “Get your homework done as fast as you can, I thought we’d have Pizza tonight.”
“Extra pepperoni?” Romeo asked as they rode up to their floor. “And Garlic knots?”
“You got it buddy, we’ll celebrate your two tests tonight.” Jon said proudly looking at his youngest son.
Jon watched Romeo head to his room, Jake sort of hung back finally. Waiting till Romeo’s door shut behind him, Jon pointed to his office and went to the door waiting on Jake to enter.
He let Jake sit there while he called in his order for deliver and then, once off the phone he counted to ten, then counted again.
“I don’t know what to say.” Jon said softly, trying to remain calm.
“I panicked, I just couldn’t write a poem. I tried for hours and nothing was coming to me. I looked on line and I listened to songs. You can ask Roe, he read some of them.” Jake explained.
“Why didn’t you come to me and asked for help?” Jon asked Jake. “Instead of asking for help, you used my friendship with Colleen, to get me out of the house.” That brought up Jake’s head fast enough to give him whiplash. “Did you think I wouldn’t put two and two together to come up with you using one of my songs?”
“Dad I panicked.” Jake told him again. “Have you ever felt like nothing was right? The words, just weren’t there. I never thought Miss O’Sullivan would catch it.”
Jon wasn’t going to tell him how she knew, that was between Colleen and him. Jake was just preaching to the choir about what had happened over the past three years, about nothing coming. First the defection of Richie, who was like a brother to him, his brother from another. Topping that with Dorothea’s suicide, it was a wonder, he hadn’t crawl into a hole and pull it in on top of himself. But that didn’t excuse Jake stealing his song and turning in as his own poem.
“You are grounded till Saturday, you will come right home, and do your homework. I will be checking it, so no more borrowing from anyone else.” He told his second son. “If I ever hear you cheating again, you’ll lean to hate the color of your bedroom.” He watched his punishment wash over his son. “On yeah I forgot. Give me you cellphone, tablet and laptop.”
“But I use my laptop for research, I’ll need it for my homework.” Jake was shocked he was going to be tech punished.
“When you need it you can use it. Then it comes back to me and to make sure you don’t cheat, you’ll be doing your homework in the office with me.” Jon said
Jake cringed at the cheating reference, which hurt less that his father losing faith in him. Why did he ever think he could get away with stealing his father’s song? Standing up he pulled his cell out of his back pocket.
“Ok, go get you tablet and your laptop, then you can get your homework done.” Jon watched him walk out of his office. Slumping down in the seat he took a deep breath. How did his wife deal with this?
Dinner that night was a mix of one son bouncing on all fours and one that was like on death row. Jon toyed with asking the boys about Colleen joining them Saturday night, Romeo would be an easy yes, but he couldn’t see Jakey saying yes.
Jon and Jake went back to the office, Jake needed to finish his homework. He looked at the time and toyed with his phone, he promised to call. Jake finally finished his homework. The laptop was closed and left on the corner of the desk.
“Good night dad.” Jake said as headed out the door.
“Goodnight Jakey” He listened till he heard Jake got up the stairs and his door close, he turned to Romeo. “Can I ask you something?”
“Is it about Jakey using your song for his poem?” Romeo kind of looked anywhere but at his dad. “Am I in trouble too?”
“I wish you two had come to me, instead of lifting my song.” Jon started.
“I wasn’t in there with him, I told him not to get caught.” Romeo told Jon. “Yeah that wasn’t a smart move, I guess.”
“Well not only did he get caught, Miss O’Sullivan save him from being expelled.” Jon leaned back and watched the news was over his youngest.
“Wow, I hope I have Miss O’Sullivan next year.” Romeo smiled.
“But, you won’t cheat, or borrow any of my songs for an assignment.” He laughed then got really serious.
“No way daddy.” Romeo looked at his dad and saw that his father wasn’t smiling.
“Can I ask you something Roe?” Jon asked and waited for Romeo to acknowledge the question. “Would it bother you if I started dating?”
Romeo thought about what his father was asking. He noticed his father was slowly being his old self again. He laughed more, and he wasn’t using pills to sleep anymore. The big thing was, he was writing again. In religion class, they were talking about rebirth. That’s what his dad was doing.
The door opened to the kitchen and Jake stood there. “You want to date Miss O’Sullivan?” Jake asked with a shocked look on his face.