He tried to run faster, but his father passed him and stopped the pickup just ahead, then jumped out and ran back. He picked Jess up in his arms as though he were a baby. (11.10)
This is, finally, the physical affection Jess wanted at the beginning of the book and felt like he couldn't have. But, just as he gets to be the fastest runner when it doesn't matter anymore, here Jess is so grief-stricken over the loss of Leslie that his father's affection doesn't have the positive impact it might have had under more normal circumstances. Affection is still tied to the idea of youth rather than growing up or maturity, as Jess's father cradles him "as though he were a baby."