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A home, he never had

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Lost for words Zeke stared at the hand-made, woolen pullover in front of him; gray-beige and thick, with a turtleneck. The last he had expected was Mrs. Connor, remembering his birthday, and he wasn't sure, how to deal with it. The woman didn't seem to notice his uneasiness; she was beaming all over her face. „If you don't like it, I could make you a different one,“ she said. „But I think the color fits perfectly to your eyes.“

„Good God, mom,“ Casey murmured, looking embarrassed.

But Zeke finally seemed to awake out of his numbness, he shook his head, grabbed for the pullover and pulled it over his head. To his own surprise, it fit perfectly, and it felt warm and comfy. „It's perfect,“ he stated. „Thank you. I will wear it every day when it's getting cold.“

Mrs. Connor laughed. „You are a flatterer, Zeke, but I am glad that you like it. Casey suggested to buy you a book, but I wanted something more individual. But now, I guess, it's time for the cake. Give me a moment. I hope you like chocolate cheesecake with cranberry swirls.“

She rushed into the kitchen, and Casey pulled his face. „I am sorry, I should have warned you. But she insisted on celebrating your birthday properly.“

Zeke turned around to him, smiling. „It's okay,“ he murmured. „It's okay, really.“

„We only need to stay here for half an hour, or so, then I will find an excuse and rescue you.“

„No need to worry. I am fine.“ He looked at Casey with warmly sparkling eyes. „Just a bit overwhelmed. Because what your mom did for me today, no one else has done for me before. It feels like... home. A home I never had.“

Casey blinked surprised. "So you want to stay?"

"Sure. I could never disappoint your mom." Zeke grinned. "And I love cheesecake with cranberries."