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the world is different

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The world is different and Papi is finally in the ground.

Well, not the ground exactly since he's cremated but he's dead and there's a small gathering in San Pedro of old friends who drink in his name.

"Yeah, 'cause they really need a reason to drink, don't they?" Zach says in the car. Cody watches as Shaun puts his hand on Zach's knee even though he's driving.

"At least we'll see Tori." Cody suggests helpfully. He hasn't seen her since his high school graduation and he was looking forward to it. Zach turns in his seat and gives him a small smile.

"Yeah, man." Cody was always bud, kid, dude, man, Codes, no matter how much time would pass. To his parents he would never stop being a kid. "You remember Papi?" Zach asks. "It's okay if you don't. It's been a long time." They stop at a red light as Cody thinks.

"Some vague memories but nothing real to be honest." Cody admits and shrugs not feeling bad about it at all. They left San Pedro when he was five after all. "Grandma and Grandpa Larry kind of take over." Shaun makes a noise that Cody has learned as disagreement and it always puts a smile on Zach's face.

"Come on, man. Larry's a good guy." Zach traces Shaun's cheek with his fingers. It's an intimate gesture. Cody remembers when those things didn't come as easily to Zach. How frustrated Shaun could get and a few fights the two had. But the world is different now. And so are his fathers.

"To Cody." Shaun replies. "But fair, Cody deserves good grandparents." His eyes meet Shaun's in the rearview mirror and Cody smirks.

"Well, fair. I am the most likeable out of our bunch." Both of his fathers groan and he smiles to himself because neither one disagrees. "D'you think Jeanne is going to show up?" His mother has shown up a few times in their lives. Zach always told him not to get his hopes up and that both him and Shaun love him enough for all the Jeannes in the world. Yet Zach is always the one who is crushed when Jeanne ultimately hurts them, takes advantage and splits.

Zach feels the most out of them three even though he pretends otherwise.

Cody waits for an answer patiently. He doesn't miss the way Shaun's shoulders tense and Zach's eyes fall.

"I'm not sure, Codes. Last I heard she was heading to Nevada." Zach admits it but Cody already knows that. She sent him a friend request on Facebook, she posts a lot about her life.

He used to wonder if she regrets leaving him.

He used to wonder if she misses him.

He is sad sometimes. Who wouldn't be when your own mother ditches you? She never really liked him in the first place pawning him off on someone else. Zach mostly.

That's why he's grateful she's left him though. Because Cody has two wonderful fathers, one who is an artist, one who is an author. He graduated with a decent grade average and he got into Berkley. Cody's life would have been far less happy if he'd have stayed with Jeanne or god, even Papi. He knows that. He is aware.

"Do you want to see her?" Shaun asks but not in a judgemental way or in a way that he suggests that is a bad idea. Shaun never does that. Shaun always wants to know Cody's perspective instead of forcing his own. He's level headed that way. Which is probably why him and Zach are still going strong.

"I think...I don't know." Cody says feeling conflicted.

"That's okay, buddy." Shaun reassures him and it makes Cody smile. He knows it's okay. Shaun taught him and Zach that they will be always okay even though she's left them both. Zach puts his fist out and Cody snickers as he bumps it with his own. It's corny but it's their thing.

"We're still heading to Gabe's later, yeah?" He checks. Zach and Shaun exchange a smile as they turn into an old neighbourhood.

"Yeah. You might want to prepare yourself a speech or something." Shaun laughs.

"Wait, what?"

"He may be throwing you a Berkley bash." Zach admits with a laugh of his own as Shaun takes his hand and interlaces their fingers. Cody groans in the backseat.

"Man, can't we tell him to cancel it on the account of you know, dead grandfather or something?" He just gets another round of laughter from his fathers. "Great. Thanks guys."

The world is different.

But he's still Cody and his parents are still the best two men he's ever known.