Love in the Army Chapter Six
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Tom Rees was enjoying some time away in Spain with Ben and the lads. They were staying at a villa owned by Lee’s parents. Tom and Ben were walking along the front, and came across the new bar and restaurant that their old friends, Bradley and Daffyd, had bought. Tom smiled and said, “fancy visiting some old friends?”
Ben laughed and said, “you knew this was where Brad and Daffyd were. Didn’t you?”
“Of course I did, but I haven’t told them we were planning a visit,” Tom said.
Ben laughed and said, “come on. Let’s see their face.”
Brad was busy running the bar, and Daffyd had taken control of the small restaurant next door.
It was a normal day, with the summer season in full swing. The bar was a little quiet, but Brad knew it will get busy later. The restaurant next door was really busy, and Daffyd was getting stressed, but not as stressed as he used to.
Tom and Ben walked into the bar, and spotted Brad behind the bar, with his back to them. Tom walked up to the bar and said, “A pint of your best bitter barman.”
Brad turned round and said, “oh fucking hell. Who let the ravel in?” laughing.
Brad came round the bar and hugged Tom and Ben and said, “how are you?”
“We are fine mate,” Ben replied.
“Where’s Daffyd then?” Tom asked.
“He is next door in the restaurant,” Brad replied.
Brad picked up the phone and buzzed the restaurant.
Daffyd picked up and said, “what you want? I am busy.”
“I love you too,” Brad said.
“Seriously, its mental Brad. What did you want?” Daffyd asked.
“Can you pop in a second? I need you,” Brad said.
“For god sake. Cant you do anything alone, Daffyd?”
“It will take two minutes,” Brad said smiling.
“OK,” Daffyd said.
Daffyd walked through the adjoining door, and stopped in his tracks, when he saw a smiling Tom and Ben standing there.
“You swine’s. You didn’t say you were coming to visit,” Daffyd said.
“Well, we had the chance to visit Lee’s parent’s villa, for a break, so we took it,” Tom said.
“So, how long you are staying for?” Daffyd said.
“Two weeks,” Ben replied.
“Is Jon with you?” Daffyd asked.
“He is back at the villa, with lover boy” Tom said.
“Oh, they are still together then?” Brad asked.
“Yeah, loves young dream” Ben said, laughing.
Daffyd said, “sorry guys, I’d better get back in there. It is the lunch time rush. I’ll catch you later.”
“OK mate,” Tom said.
Daffyd kissed Brad and said, “sorry.”
Daffyd went back into the restaurant, leaving Ben, Tom, and Brad, in the quiet bar.
“So, does this place get busy?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, it does most of its business in the evenings and late night, where as the restaurant does most of it’s during the day and early evening,” Brad said.
“So, you two are working long hours then?” Tom asked.
“No, we will shut at 3pm and reopen at 6pm. So we have 3 hours a day together, and we both tend to work in the bar in the evenings, when the restaurant is quiet. But we also have a great team of lads working for us,” Brad said.
“Oh, so some eye candy, hey?” Tom said laughing.
“One or two, yeah most are students from the UK on gap years or summer jobs,” Brad said.
“Oh, we had Rhydian and his wife here a couple of weeks ago. He has taken a job with the metropolitan police,” Brad said.
“Oh really, last time I heard, he was thinking of emigrating to Canada,” Tom said.
“No, that is still on the cards, but in the mean time, he has taken a police job,” brad said.
“So, how are things at the barracks?” Brad said.
Tom said, “things are normal really. The Family Support Unit tends to run itself, and with Alex and Nick as my number twos, I don’t really have a lot to do these days. Can be quite boring some days, and others it can be really hectic.”
“Yeah, nothing changes then,” Brad said.
“No, definitely not,” Tom said.
“So, what’s the new Colonel like?” brad said.
“Colonel Ryan Michaels? Yeah, he is ok. But I don’t have much contact with him these days, as I am based at Coninton, and that is Paul Dexter’s base. I know him well, but Alex and Nick seem to get on alright with him,” Tom said.
“Daffyd's replacement seems to be making his mark on the unit. We saw Simon Tyler recently, and he was singing his praises to Daffyd,” Brad said.
“Yeah, he is a great guy, but no one will replace Daffyd. As far as I am concerned, Daffyd and you before him, were the best commanding officers that unit had,” Tom said.
“Aren’t you forgetting someone? You were a great commanding officer, when you stood in for Daffyd, and don’t you forget it,” Brad said.
“Would you believe? It will be ten years next month, since Matthew died,” Tom said.
“Is it really? I still remember receiving that news, and thinking, how the hell do I tell you,” brad said.
“Yeah, I still remember it well,” Tom said.
“So, are you doing anything to mark it?” Brad said.
“Well yeah, Ben and I, along with Rhys and Shaun and Jon and probably. Greg will go home to South Wales, and we will mark it with a visit to the cemetery. And the local church is putting on a service of remembrance as well,” Tom said.
“That’s nice,” Brad said.
“Yeah well, Matt was a well known person in our village, and to this day, people still say how much he is missed,” Tom said.
A couple of nights later
Tom, Ben, Jon, and Greg have been enjoying the hospitality of Brad and Daffyd, at the restaurant for the last few days. And Tom had invited them to join them at the villa.
Brad had managed to get Daffyd away from the restaurant for one night, and they headed off towards the villa.
“Wow look at this place,” Daffyd said.
“Yeah, they must be loaded,” Brad said, as they pulled up outside the large villa overlooking the sea.
Tom greeted his guest and shouted, “you managed to drag him out of the kitchen then?” to Brad.
“Yeah, screaming and kicking,” Brad said laughing.
“You cheeky swine,” Daffyd said.
“This is some villa mate,” Daffyd said.
“Yeah, Lee’s parents have owned it for a few years now. It’s one of six overseas homes they got,” Tom said.
“Wow, they must be loaded,” Brad said.
“Yeah, his father is a banker, and his mum is a retired international opera singer,” Tom said
Ben appeared and said, “hey guys want a drink?”
Brad smiled and said, “I am driving, so a orange juice for me please, Ben.”
“Why don’t you stay the night then? You won’t have to drive home tonight,” Ben said.
“Sounds good, but I have to go and lock up the bar later,” Brad said.
“Oh OK,” Ben said.
“Yeah, so orange juice, go and lock up, and come back and drink, or you could ask Darren to lock up,” Daffyd said.
“I forgot Darren was on tonight,” Brad said.
“So, who is Darren?” Tom asked.
“Darren is Daffyd 's brother. Hywel’s the oldest. He is working for us, for the summer, but he has met a cute Spanish girl called Amelia, and fallen in love. So he wants to stay,” Brad said.
“So, ring Darren and ask him to lock up for you,” Tom said.
“Yeah, I will do,” Brad said.
Brad phoned Darren and he agreed to lock up.
Daffyd and Brad were enjoying the company of their old friends. They were happy to see both Ben and Tom, and Tom’s adopted son Jon, and his partner Greg.
“How’s your dad doing these days, Greg?” Daffyd asked.
“Yeah, he is doing great. He's loving his new job driving hgv’s all over the country,” Greg replied.
“What about your mum?” Brad asked.
“Yeah, she has fitted well into her new practice,” Greg replied.
“That’s good. She was always a good GP,” Brad said.
“Yeah, she loves her job,” Greg said.
“Well, the next times you speak to them, say hi from us, won't you?” Daffyd said.
“Will do,” Greg replied.
The food was eaten and drinks drunk, as the sun started to set over the horizon.
Daffyd and Brad headed up to the second guest room, and hit the sack, as Tom and Ben headed to the master bedroom. Greg and Jon were on the patio, watching the final rays of the sun. Jon looked over at Greg and said, “I could get used to this living here, watching the sun go down.”
Greg laughed and said, “dream on lover boy.”
Jon laughed and walked over and dropped to his knees, slowly pulled Greg’s shorts down, he started to run his mouth over Greg’s cock. Greg groaned, as he felt Jon suck his cock. Jon smiled and went up and kissed Greg. He then went back down and carried on running, his tongue and sucking on Greg’s cock.
Greg gave out a load groan and said, “fuck” as his cock throbbed, sending a huge load of his cum all over Jon’s face and hair.
Jon laughed and said, “fuck, what a load.”
Greg laughed and said, “yeah well, why does that surprise you?”
Jon laughed, and went up and put his now rock hard cock into Greg’s face. Greg smiled, and started to suck on Jon’s cock. Jon was soon groaning loudly, as Greg expertly sucked his cock. Jon started to pull his cock out of Greg’s mouth, and then push it back in. Jon groaned, as his cock throbbed, sending a load of his cum all over Greg’s face and hair. Jon laughed and said, “got you."
Greg laughed and grabbed Jon and kissed him and said, “love you.”
Jon laughed and said, “I love you too.”
Tom Ben and the boys arrived back in the UK a few days later. Tom returned to work at the Family Support Unit.
Tom was visiting Alex at his office at Cheedam Barracks. Tom had forgotten his mobile phone, and had left it in his office at Coninton Barracks. Tom sat with Alex when Tony buzzed.
“Yes Tony,” Alex replied.
“Todd on phone for Tom,” Tony said.
“OK, thanks Tony,” Alex replied.
“Hi Todd, what’s wrong?” Tom asked.
“Tom, you need to ring your mum. Your dad is not very well,” Todd said.
“Oh ok, thanks Todd,” Tom said.
Tom rung off and tapped in his mums’ mobile number into the phone.
“Hi Mum,” Tom said.
“Oh Tom, thank god. You need to get here son. He is in a bad way,” Lucy replied.
Alex saw Tom start to cry.
“What happened? He was fine when we spoke yesterday,” Tom said.
“He had a heart attack earlier, son. He is in the heath, but they don’t think he is going to survive, son. Please come ASAP,” Lucy said.
“Mum, I am on my way. Don’t worry,” Tom said.
Tom put the phone down and broke down. Alex walked over and hugged Tom. He said, “what’s happened?”
“It’s my dad. He is in a bad way. I need to get there. Can you ring Ben for me please?” Tom said, with tears in his eyes.
“Where would he be, mate?” Alex said.
“He will be in work,” Tom said.
“OK, well I will get someone from the unit to go and fetch him. Where is your dad?” Alex said.
“He is in the university hospital of Wales, in Cardiff,” Tom said.
“OK, we will get him there now. You go,” Alex said.
Tom ran out of the office and into his Lexus. He drove home, towards South Wales. Tom felt sad, as he headed down the M4. He soon headed across the seven bridge, to see the famous sign, Welcome to Wales /Croeso I Cymru. Tom paid the toll, and headed onward along the M4 motorway.
He soon saw the sign for the junction he needed, and headed along the A48M, towards Cardiff city centre. He arrived at the Heath Hospital, aka University Hospital of Wales.
Tom finally found a parking space, and headed to the coronary care unit.
Tom walked in to see his upset looking mother. Lucy saw Tom, and ran into his arms and said, “thank god.”
An hour or so later, Ben arrived, with Jon and Greg in tow, with Sgt Christopher Harris from the FSU with them.
Tom was sat holding his dads hand, when Ben walked into the room and looked up. Ben saw the tears in his husband's eyes, and ran over and hugged him and said, “how is he?”
“Not good babes. They have said the next 24 hours is critical,” Tom said.
“Rhys and Shaun are on their way as well,” Ben said.
“Where are the boys?” Tom asked.
“They're outside babes,” Ben said.
A couple of hours later
Rhys and Shaun arrived a little later. Rhys went into the room and sat next to Tom and said, “you ok, mate?”
“Yeah, I am ok mate. Thanks for coming,” Tom said.
“Don’t be daft. Your mum and dad have been fantastic, since my mum died,” Rhys said.
The machine that Dan was wired up to started to alarm out. Rhys said, “oh hell.”
The door flew open and doctors started to come in.
Tom was shouting, “dad, don’t go please!”
Rhys and Ben were trying to get Tom out of the way, as the doctors fought to save Dan. Tom finally left the room, and fell into his mums arms.
The doctors fought to get Dan’s heart back going, but a doctor came out and said, “Mrs. Rees, I am sorry but his heart was too damaged. We just couldn’t save him.”
Tom fell to the floor and sobbed. Ben went over and pulled Tom up into his arms. He kissed him on his forehead and said, “you know, I will always love you.”
Tom kissed Ben and said, “thanks.”
Lucy sat down and sobbed. Tom walked over and sat next to her and pulled her into a hug, and Lucy said, “what am I going to do without him? He was my soul mate.”
“Mum, I will always be here for you,” Tom said.
Rhys sat down next to Lucy and put his arm round her as well and said, “that goes for me too. You have always been there for me.”
Sgt Harris phoned Alex.
“Hi Chris, what’s happening mate?” Alex said.
“I’m sorry to tell you, Alex. Mr Rees died earlier,” Chris replied.
“Oh no. Please pass my condolences to Tom and his family for me,” Alex said.
“I will do, Alex. But I thought I’d better inform you,” Chris said.
“Thanks Chris. I will have to inform General Harris,” Alex said.
“Yeah, and Nick,” Chris said.
“Yeah, I have already told him,” Alex said.
“OK, well I’d better get back to the family,” Chris said.
“Yeah, stay with them,” Alex said.
Alex phoned Todd at Coninton.
“Hi Todd,” Alex said.
“Hi Alex. Have you heard anything?” Todd asked.
“Yeah, Chris has just phoned, not good news, sadly. Tom’s dad died earlier,” Alex said.
“Oh OK, that is sad. I will let Paul know,” Todd said.
“Yeah thanks, but I need you to find General Harris’s number for me, so that I can inform him,” Alex said.
“OK, I have it here,” Todd said.
Todd gave Alex the number and said, “please keep us informed when the funeral is, so we can go.”
“Yeah, will do mate,” Alex replied.
“Thanks, Alex,” Todd replied.
Todd left the office and headed over to Paul's office in another building at Coninton.
Paul’s admin assistant, Jessica, was in the office when Todd arrived. “Hi Jess. Is Paul in? I need to speak to him.”
“Yeah, he is in. Let me buzz him,” jess replied.
“Yes Jess,” Paul answered.
“Todd from the FSU to see you, sir” Jess said.
“OK, send him in please,” Paul said.
Todd knocked on the door and Paul said, “come in.”
Todd walked in and said, “sorry to disturb you, sir. But I have been asked by Lt Colonel Alex Mills to let you know that Colonel Tom Rees is going to be off barracks for a while. His father passed away this morning.”
“Oh no, I have met Dan a few times over the years. Such a nice man, what happened?” Paul said.
“He had a heart attack this morning,” Todd said.
“That’s sad. I expect Tom is in pieces. He loved his dad so much,” Paul said.
“Yeah, they are a close family sir,” Todd said.
“Thank you for coming to let me know,” Paul said.
“No problem, sir. I didn’t think it was something I should do over the phone,” Todd said.
Todd left Paul’s office.
Alex, meanwhile, had spoken to General Harris. He informed him. He was shocked, and told Alex that he and Nick would assume command of the unit until Tom returns.
Todd returned to his office and looked up a couple of numbers. He rang the first one.
“Good afternoon, BD’s bar and grill,” Darren replied.
“Good afternoon. Can I speak to either Brad or Daffyd, please?” Todd asked.
“Who’s calling please?” Darren replied.
“Tell them it’s Todd, from the Army Family Support Unit. I need to speak to them about Tom Rees,” Todd replied.
“Oh ok,” came the reply.
Darren had met Tom recently, and knew he was a good friend of Brad and Daffyd.
Darren walked into the bar to see Brad serving a customer. He walked over and said, “Brad, there is a Todd, from the Army, on the phone for you.”
“Oh OK,” Brad said.
Brad walked over to the phone and said, “hi, Todd. Is everything OK, mate?”
“I am afraid not, Brad. I have some sad news. Tom Rees’s father died this morning,” Todd said.
“Oh no. That is so sad. Dan was such a nice man,” Brad said.
Daffyd joined him and said, “what’s wrong?”
Brad said, “Tom’s dad has died.”
“Oh hell,” Daffyd said.
“Todd, thanks for letting us know, mate. And keep us informed please,” Brad said.
“Will do, Brad,” Todd said.
Brad put the phone down and said,, “oh hell, I can imagine the state Tom is in.”
“Yeah, Dan was such a nice man,” Daffyd said.
Greg sat with Jon, at the Rees’s house, and was hugging him. Since his Gran had died, Dan and Lucy had treated Jon as their grandson. “Babes, I am going to ring my dad, OK?” Greg said.
“OK,” Jon said.
Greg went into the garden and phoned his parents.
Alice answered, “hello.”
“Hi mum,” Greg replied.
“Hello darling. You OK?” Alice said.
“Yeah, I am ok but Tom is in a bad way. His dad died this morning,” Greg said.
“Oh hell no. I have met Dan a few times. He was such a nice man. Please pass our condolences to Tom and Lucy,” Alice said.
A few days later
The small valleys community ground to a halt, as the funeral of the long standing member of the community, Daniel Rees, took place at St John’s Church. Daniels colleagues from the factory, where he has worked at for 26 years, joined family and friends. Among the mourners were retired Major Daffyd Lewis and retired Colonel Brad Evans. Tim Bonner and his wife Alice, Ben’s parents Sarah and Joe, and Ben’s brothers Harry and his husband Lee, and Tyler and his girlfriend, all attended. Shaun’s mother, Alison, also attended.
General Harris, Colonel Paul Dexter, Lt Colonel Alex Mills, and Lt Colonel Nick Green headed the army contingent, with a huge number of members of the Family Support Unit attending, including Todd and Major Philip Trent. Major Westmoor also had a contingent from 4th company there.
Tom was taken aback at the amount of his friends who attended, and was surprised to see the big Army contingent.
Lucy sat in a black car with Sarah Andrews, while Tom, dressed in his full dress uniform, Ben, Rhys, Shaun, and Jon and Greg, and Matthew, all walked behind the hearse, as it made its way through the street towards the church.
The church was packed, as the hearse arrived. Dan was a keen supporter of the local rugby club. The rugby team lifted the coffin out of hearse, and into the church.
Tom sat next to his mum, as the service began.
Rhys stood up, and went up and read a poem. Afterward he said, “I had the pleasure of getting to know Dan when my late mum moved next door to them, when I was a baby. Since the death of my family, I have felt that Dan, and his wife Lucy, have been there for me through all the ups and downs I have had in my life. So, Dan, please rest in peace, and say hello to my mum for me.”
The rugby team carried the coffin out of the church, into the churchyard they walked up and passed Matthew's and Julie’s graves.
Tom stood there, as Dan’s coffin was lowered. He walked over and threw in some earth and said, “bye dad. I will always love you.”
Ben walked over and said, “bye Dan.”
Rhys walked over and threw some earth in and said, “bye Dan. Thanks for being there for me.”
Rhys walked over to Tom, hugged him and said, “come on.”
Rhys walked Tom down, and the two men stopped at Matthew’s grave, and Tom said, “you know, I still can’t believe its 10 years.”
“I know. It feels like only yesterday, when Alex and Paul came knocking on mum's door,” Rhys said.
Out of the mourners came Daniel Jones. He walked over to Tom and Rhys and said, “I am sorry, Tom.”
Tom smiled and said, “thank you, Daniel.”
Rhys smiled and said, “you don’t recognise me then?”
Daniel looked at Rhys and said, “no, sorry, I don’t.”
“I am Matthew’s brother, Rhys,” Rhys said.
“Oh shit. Last time I saw you, I think you were about 12,” Daniel said smiling.
“Yeah, just before you moved away,” Rhys said.
“I didn’t move away as such. I went to prison for a stupid crime I committed, which has plagued my life ever since,” Daniel said.
“Are you still working in that office in Cardiff then?” Tom said.
“Yeah, at the same place,” Daniel said.
“I can see you have done well for yourself, Colonel,” Daniel said smiling.
“Yeah, I have been lucky really,” Tom said.
“You're still with Ben, as well, I see?” Daniel said.
“Yeah, my sexy husband and soul mate,” Tom said.
Rhys spotted a woman looking over at Matthew and said, “shit, what the hell is she doing here?”
Tom looked over and saw Rhys’s ex wife, Susan, standing watching Matthew, who was talking to Jon and Greg. Tom said, “no idea mate, go and ask her.”
Rhys walked over and said, “Well, look who the cats dragged in.”
Susan looked at Rhys and said, “I read about Dan’s death, in the echo, and thought I would pay my respects, but didn’t think you would bring Matthew.”
Rhys said, “well Matthew has gone to treat Dan as a grand father figure, so he wanted to come.”
“Who is that with him and Jon?” Susan said.
“That is Greg Bonner. He is Jon’s boyfriend,” Rhys said.
“Oh, you think Matthew should be around those two then?” Susan said.
“Excuse me, don’t forget Jon is Matthew's cousin. I have no problem with him being around Jon. And for your information, you gave up your parental rights when you walked out on us, all those years ago,” Rhys said.
“I am still his mother, whether you like it or not,” Susan said.
Rhys laughed and said, “some mother you are,” and walked away.
Rhys went over to Matthew and said, “your mother is here, son.”
Matthew looked round and spotted Susan and said, “oh yeah? What does she want, a medal?” and walked back to Jon and Greg.
Rhys looked over at Susan and shrugged his shoulders.
Shaun walked over to Rhys and said, “who is that woman I saw you talking to?”
Rhys laughed and said, “don’t get jealous. That was my ex wife, Matthew’s mum.”
“Oh, that is Susan then,,” Shaun said.
Susan noticed the closeness of Rhys and Shaun, and asked one of the other mourners, “who is that talking to Rhys?”
“Oh that is Shaun, Rhys’s husband,” the man said.
Susan was shocked, and stormed over to Rhys and said, “I want a word in private.”
Rhys said, “fine,” and walked away.
“Would you tell me when you planned to tell me my son was being brought up in a gay household?” Susan said.
“Like I said, it has nothing to do with you, who I sleep with. Shaun and I have been together for a few years, and Matthew has a loving home with us two. You saw his reaction earlier,” Rhys said.
“Well, I am contacting my solicitor to get custody of my son. I don’t think bringing him up in that environment is good for him,” Susan said walking away.
“Fine, you try and get him from me,” Rhys shouted.
Tom heard Rhys shouting at Susan and ran to him. “What’s all that about?”
“Sorry, Tom. She is planning to get custody of Matthew,” Rhys said.
“What? She hasn’t seen Matthew in what, 11 years? And she thinks she can just muscle in and take him away?” Tom said.
“Problem is, he is still a minor. And in most cases, mothers get custody. So, I will have a fight on my hands. And I could lose him, and I don’t think I could cope with that,” Rhys said.
“Well, I am here for you. We need to get you a good lawyer, and get this sorted, mate, sooner rather than later,” Tom said.
A few days later
Tom, Ben, Rhys, Shaun, and the boys, were all at Lucy’s house for the memorial service to Matthew, which was being held at St John’s Church.
They arrived at the church and were surprised to see the church was full. Rhys headed in, followed by Jon and Matthew. Tom and Ben, and his mum Lucy, followed behind with Shaun.
The Reverend Gregory stood up and said, “ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to remember and to celebrate the life of Private Matthew Taylor, who, ten years ago today, died in Afghanistan. Matthew was a well known young man, who in his younger days, would be seen walking around the village with his best friend, Tom Rees, causing chaos as they did.”
“Sadly, since his death, the Taylor family has been rocked with further tragedy, with the resulting death of both Matthew’s mother, Julie and his older sister Kathleen, but we do have with us today his younger brother, Rhys and his nephews, Matthew Jr. and Jon.”
“I now ask Matthew’s best friend, Colonel Tom Rees, to say a few words,” Reverend Gregory said.
Tom walked up and said, “ I can still remember the words that my commanding officer said to me on that dreadful day, when Matthew lost his life. Bradley Evans was a great officer, and I got to know him well. He knew that Matthew and Me had grown up together, so he was apprehensive to tell me, but when he said There is no easy way to tell you this, Tom. I’m sorry, but Private Matthew Taylor died earlier today after an IED exploded. I reacted by walking out of his tent and walking back to mine, and my world crashed around me. Matthew was more than a friend, and has I have said on many occasions, I felt like he was a brother to me, more than a friend. In the years since his death, I have moved up the ranks in the army, but I have never forgotten him and I will never will.
I now ask you to stand and sing our first hymn, “Morning Has Broken.” (Click to hear)
Tom walked down and joined the congregation in singing.
Reverend Gregory thanked Tom and then said, “now I ask Matthew’s Brother Rhys to say a few words.”
Rhys walked up and said, “my world came tumbling down, 10 years ago today, by a knock at the door in the late evening. My late mum answered the door and we saw two Army officers there, informing us that Matthew had died. It was then that I realised that I had to stand up and look after my family. I have been really lucky to have the support of close family friends, particularly Tom Rees and his family since my mum and sister died. I have, and will never forget Matthew with his cheeky smile.”
Reverend Gregory then said, “we now sing a song that Matthew loved, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” (Click to hear)
Tom and Rhys were in tears as they sang the song.
Reverend Gregory then said, “now a few words from Andrew Benson, former headmaster of the local school.”
Tom looked shocked and whispered to Rhys, “oh hell.”
Rhys smiled and said, “this should be good.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, Matthew was a quiet lad, but wasn’t really that academically minded. However, even though we had our running’s, he was a good lad at heart and I was shocked when I heard he had died. With his best friend, Tom, he was a terror. But like most young boys, he grew up to be a fine young man. I met him just before he went out to Afghanistan, and he was a bit lost of words when I told him to stay safe.”
Now, ladies and Gentlemen, the family are now going to place a floral tribute on Matthew’s grave, and while they leave, can I ask you to join us in singing “Abide With Me” (Click to hear).
Rhys walked out onto the aisle, carrying the reef, followed by the rest of the family group, as the remaining congregation sang.
Rhys walked up to the grave, and Tom, Matthew Jr., Ben, Jon, Shaun, and Lucy, followed behind.
Rhys said, “Matthew, you may be gone, but you will never be forgotten.”
Tom said, “Matthew, you will always be in my heart, mate.”
The family group left the graveyard, as the church started to empty.
A few weeks later
Susan’s solicitor told her she had a good case, and every chance of gaining custody of her and Rhys’s son, Matthew. The case was to be heard at the family court in Cardiff. Rhys' solicitor also told him that he had a good counter case against Susan.
Tom and Ben arrived at the court building in Cardiff to see a nervous looking Rhys standing there.
Tom walked over and said, “you OK?”
“Yeah, I will once this is all over and we can go back to normal,” Rhys said.
Matthew had met the judge earlier in the day, and told the judge he didn’t know his mum, as she had abandoned him when he was young. And he had no intention of living with her, and that he didn’t want any contact with her.
Rhys, Shaun, Tom, and Ben went into the court house, and Tom, Ben, and Shaun went and sat in the waiting room, while Rhys went into the court room with Matthew.
Susan sat looking smug.
Rhys was shocked when Susan made a statement saying that she had tried to find Rhys, but he had moved away to avoid her contact with her only son.
Rhys’s solicitor countered that claim by saying Rhys still lives in the same house that he had when he was married to Susan; and, in fact, he has never moved since they were married.
The case dragged on, but then came the verdict.
“Mrs Harrison, we have heard your claim that you always wanted contact with your only son, Matthew, but we have also heard Mr Taylor say that he has never stopped you having contact. We have also heard your arguments that you feel that Matthew, being brought up in a gay household, isn’t good for a young man like Matthew. Well, Mrs Harrison, I am now going to read you a statement that your son gave me earlier today.”
“My mother deserted me when I was a young boy. I was lucky that my dad has never deserted me. In fact, in the last few years, my dad and his husband have been there through thick and thin. And despite what my mother thinks, I have grown up in a loving family. I also would point something out to Susan, I am not gay. In fact, I have a girlfriend, who both Dad and Shaun have welcomed into our family unit. Susan may have given birth to me, but she is not the parent who has had to put up with me, and all the problems I have had over the years. I don’t class her as my mum. She is just the person who gave birth to me. I will not live with her, as I don’t know, or for that matter, want to know her. I am happy living with my Dad and Shaun, and that is where I want to stay.”
Susan was not happy, as she could tell that this could sway the case towards Rhys.
Mrs Harrison, Mr Taylo,r please stand.
“I hate it when cases like this come before this court, but it is my duty to come to verdict with the facts I have before me. I have studied this case, and have come to the verdict that Matthew Taylor should live with his father and his partner. I came to this verdict as I feel it is in the best interest of Matthew, but I do feel that maybe you, Mrs Harrison, should be able to rebuild a relationship with your son, but only when Matthew feels he wants to.
Mr Taylor has never stopped Matthew contacting you. It is Matthew who has chosen not to contact you. This is sadly his choice, and the court cannot force Matthew to see you. So, therefore, I am dismissing your case, Mrs. Harrison.
Susan was fuming, and stormed out of the court, not before hitting her solicitor over his head with her handbag.
Rhys was being consoled by Shaun, and Shaun said, “we won, babes.”
A couple of days later
Matthew was walking home, down a quiet lane that led to the estate where he lives with his father. Suddenly, a van pulls up alongside him and the side door opens, and someone grabs Matthew. Matt tried to struggle, but the bigger man managed to get him into the van.
Rhys arrived home around 5pm and was surprised to find the house empty. He, at first, thought maybe Matthew was with his girlfriend. He tried Matthew’s mobile, but it went straight to voicemail. Rhys phoneg Matthew’s girlfriend, Carol, but she told him he had left school as normal to head home.
Rhys started to worry and phoned Shaun, who was equally worried.
Rhys waited a little while longer, just in case he had met up with some of his mates, but when 8pm came, he knew something was wrong.
Rhys called the police and reported Matthew missing.
Shaun arrived home shortly afterward, and was stuck at the police roadblock, where they were stopping vehicles and asking if anyone had seen Matthew.
Shaun got out of his car and walked over to a officer and said, “excuse me.”
“Yes sir,” the young pc said.
“Is there any chance I can get through please. I need to get home to my husband. It is my son, who is missing,” Shaun said.
Rhys had informed the police that his husband was on his way home, and the officers were told to let him through when he arrived.
Shaun showed the officer his work ID, and his driver’s license, and was let through and given a police escort.
Shaun pulled up outside his house, and saw the police doing house to house enquiries.
Pc Tom Higson knocked on the door of one of the neighbours.
“Yes, young man,” Mrs Hilton said.
“Good afternoon, madam. We are contacting enquires with reference to the disappearance of Matthew Taylor. We were wondering if you have seen anything suspicious today?” Pc Tom Higson asked.
“Well, not suspicious as such, but there has been a black transit van parked up around here a lot in the last few days.It seems to disappear after young Matthew went past,” Mrs Hilton said.
“I knew I should have told Rhys about that van, but I haven’t seen him in the last few days,” Mrs Hilton said.
“Don’t worry madam. We will find Matthew,” Pc Higson said.
“Well, let’s hope so. That family has had enough shit happen to them over the years,” Mrs Hilton said.
“Well, thank you madam,” Pc Higson replied.
Tom Higson gave the information about the black van to his boss, and went to knock another door.
Matthew was now in a back of a car, which was heading to the ferry port at Holyhead. The car went onto the ferry, and the ferry left the dock heading for its journey to Ireland.
Matthew was fuming that his own mother would abduct him, and knew Rhys and Shaun would be frantic by now.
Matthew was led by his mum, and her husband, up into a cabin on board, and left there while they went downstairs to get some food. They thought they had locked Matthew in, but the door opens from inside. Matthew heard voices outside and looked out of a peephole in the door, and saw a member of the crew. Matthew opened the door and said, “excuse me.”
“Yes, young man,” the officer replied.
“Can you help me? I have been abducted by my mother,” Matthew said.
The officer laughed at first, and then remembered the message that the ferry had received from the coast guard to be on the lookout for a young lad, matching Matthew’s description.
“Are you Matthew Taylor?” the officer asked.
“Yeah, that’s me,” Matthew replied.
“What we need you to do is to pretend nothing has happened, and stay here. We will keep an eye out, and we will apprehend your mother at the dockside. OK?” the officer said.
Matthew said, “OK,” and went back into the room.
The officer contacted the captain, who immediately contacted the Coast Guard, informing them that Matthew was on board.
Susan and her husband, Wayne, arrived back at the cabin with some food for Matthew, not knowing that their every move was being watched. Matthew ate the food and sat there and said, “why are you doing this?”
Susan didn’t reply.
Susan and Wayne walked Matthew back to their car. The officers were waiting, and watched as the red Ford Focus pulled off the ferry.
The guards were waiting and stopped the car, for what they thought was a routine check.
“Good evening, sir, madam. Can you step out of the car, please?” the officer said.
Wayne got out and was arrested.
Another officer arrested Susan, and Matthew was taken into a separate car.
Matthew felt relieved, that his ordeal was over.
News of Matthew was received, and Rhys was informed. Rhys had his extended family round him as Tom, Ben, and the boys arrived shortly after Shaun.
Rhys let out a sigh of relief, as pc Higson said, “your ex wife and her husband has been detained by the guards. Matthew will return on the next ferry to Holyhead, which gets in around 4am Tomorrow morning, so we will take you to the ferry port.”
“OK, thanks,” Rhys said.
Can Tom and Ben come too?” Rhys asked.
“If you want them to,” Pc Higson said.
Ben said, “Rhys, you and Shaun and Tom go. I will stay here with the boys.”
“Are you sure?” Rhys said.
“Yeah, I don’t mind, mate. That way the boys can get some sleep, and they will have me here,” Ben said.
“OK, then,” Rhys said.
Tom walked over and kissed Ben and said, “I will see you Tomorrow then.”
“OK love,” Ben said.
Soon Rhys, Shaun, and Tom were in a back of a police car, as it headed across north Wales, with its blues and twos blaring.
Tom looked out as the car crossed the Menai straits, across the Menai Bridge, remembering the last time he came here, was 10 years ago for Charlie’s funeral.
They arrived at the Holyhead ferry port, and were met by two north Wales police officers. Tom got out of the car, and immediately recognised Darren James. Charlie’s brother was one of the officers.
Tom walked over, and Darren looked up and said, “oh my god, Tom, wasn’t it? I remember you from Charlie’s funeral.”
“Guilty as charged,” Tom said laughing.
“Well, it’s nice to see you, after all these years,” Darren said.
“Yeah, you two just wish it wasn’t in these circumstances,” Tom said.
“Who is this young lad?” Darren asked.
“Well, he is my late best friend Matthew Taylor’s nephew, who was named after him,” Tom said.
Rhys walked over to Tom and Tom said, “Rhys, I want you to meet Darren James. His twin brother was Charlie James, who died with Matthew.”
Darren said, “oh, that Matthew. Pleased to meet you, Rhys.”
“Yeah, same to you Darren,” Rhys said.
Shaun was sitting with Rhys and Tom, when Darren said, “OK, the ferry is nearing the port. It should be docked in 10 minutes, guys.”
“OK thanks, Darren,” Tom said.
10 minutes later, the huge ferry started its final approach.
Matthew was amazed, as he sat in the bridge of the huge ferry, and watched as the duty pilot piloted the ferry to a halt.
The first officer walked over to Matt and said, “OK, young man?”
“Yeah, that was awesome,” Matt replied.
“Well, let’s get you back to your dad,” said the first officer.
Matthew walked off the ferry, and was met by a upset looking Rhys. Matthew ran into his dad's arms and said, “hi dad.”
Rhys laughed and said, “hi son. Good to see you. We were so worried.”
Matthew went and hugged Shaun and Tom and said, “what a welcoming committee.”
Tom laughed and said, “we're just glad you are safe.”
Matt said, “you ought to have seen the view I had coming home on the bridge of the ferry. It was awesome.”
“Well, don’t get used to it. You won’t be going on any trips on your own for a while,” Rhys said.
Matthew laughed and said, “I am not planning to.”
Rhys, Shaun, Tom, and Matthew were taken home and arrived back home around 5 hours later. Ben had taken a telephone call from Matthew’s school, asking why he wasn’t in school. He had explained what had happened, and told them that he would return to school tomorrow, as normal.
Susan and her husband were charged with child abduction, and were remanded in custody.
Matthew was exhausted, and as soon as he came in, he fell onto the settee and fell asleep. Rhys said, “poor lad, he is exhausted.”
“I can’t say I am fully awake either,” Tom said.
Ben and the lads were up and about when they arrived home, and Ben said, “right, guys bed.”
Rhys and Shaun laughed and said, “yes, boss.”
Rhys went into his bedroomm and collapsed onto the bed, and felt the relief of all the stress he had suffered today, fall away. Shaun joined him shortly later, and fell fast asleep.
Tom helped Matthew up to his bedroom, and he soon joined his two dads in falling asleep. Tom fell asleep on the settee, and Ben sat down next to him and watched as he slept.
Susan appeared in court a few months later, and was sentenced to three years in prison. Her husband, Wayne, was sentenced to 4 years for his part in the abduction.
Tom was sitting in his office at Coninton Barracks, when the phone rang. “Colonel Tom Rees,” Tom answered.
“Good afternoon, Sir,” Alex said.
“Hi Alex, what can I do for you?” Tom said.
“We have had a big hit, mate. 5 from 4th company, and 3 from 6th company, all dead, and 3 injured from 4th company, and 2 from 6th,” Alex said.
“Oh, fuck. That’s a bad one, mate,” Tom said.
“Yeah, but the commanding officers of both units are among the dead, Tom. Simon Tyler is among the injured,” Alex said..
“Yeah, a big hit for the barracks, mate,” Alex said.
“Yeah, do you want my help with anything?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, I could do with your support, to be honest. This is a hell of a mess, as you can imagine, Tom,” Alex said.
“OK, mate. I will be there in a couple of hours, OK?” Tom said.
“OK, Tom,” Alex said.
Tom arrived at Cheedam Barracks three hours later, and noticed that the flags hadn’t yet been lowered to half mast. He pulled up, and the gatekeeper opened the barrier. Tom lowered his window and said, “Private, organise that the flags are lowered to half mast, please.”
“Yes, Colonel,” the private replied.
Tom walked into the Family Support Unit office to see Alex and his two majors, trying to sort out who to send where.
“Afternoon, Tom,” Alex said.
“Right guys. I have ordered the flags to be lowered to half mast. What else to you need me to do?” Tom asked.
“Well, we have most of the bases covered now. But General Smith wants you to head the dreaded press conference iomorrow. We have no barracks commanders at the moment. Both Majors were acting as barracks commanders.” Alex said.
“Oh ok,” Tom said.
“So give me some details. I am not that up on who is in which unit anymore, so you will need to give me some information before tomorrow,” Tom said.
“Right, sir. Well, first of all, we have Major Alan Westmoor, who was the commanding officer of 4th company. He is a family man, with a wife and two young daughters. He was from Cardiff.
Then, we have Lance Corporal Timothy Jenson. Tim is a recently married father of one, who leave behind a close family unit, and was from Derby.
Private Gregory Dobson is a young Private, who gave 4th company his all. He leaves his mum and dad and two brothers. He was from Merthyr Tydfil.
Private Harry Higgins is another young Private who, since joining 4th company, has fitted in well. He will be missed by his mother and younger sister, and he was from Buxton in Derbyshire.
Private Philip Briggs is a young private, who joined 4th company two years ago. He was a well respected member of the unit. He has left behind a long term girlfriend and a young son, and was from Blackpool.
Injured unit members are:
Sergeant Simon Tyler is a respected member of the unit, and is currently undergoing treatment in hospital. His injuries are not life threatening.
Private Gary Harrison and Private Ian Fellows are both long standing members of the unit and are both undergoing treatment, and like Simon, their injures are not life threatening.
Major Ryan Grayson was the long standing commanding officer of 6th company. He leaves behind a wife and two young sons, and he was from London.
Sergeant Harry Hills has been the long standing Sergeant of the unit, and has the respect of all his men, and will be missed. He is survived by his long standing partner, James, and their son Kevin. He was from Cheedam.
Corporal Paul Kent was a recent transfer from 8th company, but in his short time in the unit, he has earned the respect of his men. He is survived by his long standing partner, Fran, and was from Hereford.
Lance Corporal Kevin Francis is a long standing member of the unit. And he was recently promoted to the rank. He is currently undergoing treatment, and we are currently worried about his health.
Private Tyler Moore is a newer recruit to the unit, but has fitted in well with the lads. He is also undergoing treatment in the UK but, his injures are not life threatening.”
That’s a lot of information for me to give out, but I will want some support tomorrow. Can you join me?” Tom said.
“Yeah, OK then,” Alex said.
The next day
The press arrived at Cheedam Barracks.
"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen."
“I am Colonel Tom Rees, from the Family Support Unit, and this is my colleague Lieutenant Colonel Alex Mills. We have been tasked today, to make this announcement."
"Yesterday morning, the base camp of the 2 Army units based here at Cheedam, came under attack. In the resulting fire fight, 5 members of 4th company and 3 members of 6th company lost their lives. As you can imagine, this has totally devastated the close knit community here at Cheedam."
"Among the fatalities that 4th company suffered, was the unit commanding officer Major Alan Westmoor, who i knew personally as was a great commanding officer, who will be missed by his unit. Alan, who is from Cardiff, is survived by his wife and two daughters. Lance Corporal Tim Jenson was a well liked member of the unit, and was a newly married father of one, and was from Derby."
"Private Gregory Dobson is a young private, who gave 4th company his all. He is survived by his mum and dad and two brothers, and was from Merthyr Tydfil."
"Private Harry Higgins is another young private, who, since joining 4th company, has fitted in well and he will be missed by his mother and younger sister, and he was from Buxton in Derbyshire."
"Private Philip Briggs was a young Private, who joined 4th company two years ago, and was a well respected member of the unit. He has left behind a long term girlfriend and a young son, and is from Blackpool.
"As you can imagine, the young families involved are absolutely devastated by their loss, and we ask you to give the families their privacy as they grieve.”
“ There was also 3 unit members of 4th company, that were injured in the attack. They were Sergeant Simon Tyler, Private Gary Harrison, and Private Ian Fellows, who are all undergoing treatment in Birmingham. Thankfully, their injuries are not life threatening,” Tom said.
Alex stood up and said, “now on to 6th company. Like 4th company, the unit has suffered a huge blow, as their commanding officer, Major Ryan Grayson was among the fatalities. Ryan, who is from London, is survived by his wife and two young sons."
"Sergeant Harry Hills has been the long standing sergeant of the unit, and has the respect of all his men, and will be missed. He is survived by his long standing partner, James, and their son, Kevin. Hhe was from here in Cheedam."
"Corporal Paul Kent was a recent transfer from 8th company, but in his short time in the unit, he has earned the respect of his men. He is survived by his long standing partner, Fran, and was from Hereford."
"Again, like the families of the men in 4th company, we would like you to give these families their right to privacy at this sad time.”
“Just like the other unit, there are 2 member of 6th company, who are currently undergoing treatment in the UK for injuries suffered. One of these, we are currently worried about his health. Lance Corporal Kevin Francis has recently been promoted, and is a well liked member of the unit. The other unit member, Private Tyler Moore, is undergoing treatment for non life threatening injuries.”
Tom stood up again and said, “as you can imagine, the moral at this base, at the moment, is at its lowest it has been for a while. This has been a huge hit for both units based here at Cheedam, and we hope you will also leave the families of the men still out in the front line, time to grieve for their colleagues. Thank you for coming.”
“No questions, thank you,” Tom said.
Tom and Alex left the room.
Tom was asked by General Smith to take over as barracks command, but he turned it down, as the commute from his home was too long.
Shortly afterward, a new barracks commander was appointed, Colonel Jonathan Harris.
Tom was glad to be back at his own base, after acting as barracks commander at Cheedam, for a couple of weeks.
Three weeks later, he was asked to take up the Barracks Command at Coninton, as Paul Dexter moved on to take up the command at the different barracks. Tom felt that he didn’t want to leave the Family Support Unit, so turned it down for the second time.
Colonel Jonathan Harris felt out of his depth, when he took command at Cheedam barracks. He had been tasked with trying to get the moral back up, after the dreadful losses the units based there had recently suffered. Even though he had been debriefed by Colonel Tom Rees, who had been temporary barracks commander, he felt that he was now on his own. However, Tom had realised that Jonathan would find that task difficult, and had asked Lieutenant Colonel Alex Mills to assist him until the new unit commanders were in place.
Alex saw Jonathan talking to the men of 4th company, who have just returned from Afghanistan. The men looked dejected and lost. without Alan and Simon. Jon was trying his hardest to get through to the men, but was failing. Jon dismissed the men and went back to his office.He sat there thinking how the hell I can get this unit moral back up on my own.
Alex walked over to Jonathan’s office, and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” Jonathan shouted.
“Morning sir,” Alex replied.
“Morning,” Jonathan said.
“I am Lieutenant Colonel Alex Mills, from the Family Support Unit. I thought I had better come and introduce myself, sir” Alex replied.
“Pleased to meet you, Alex,” Jonathan said.
“I saw you speaking to 4th company earlier. How did it go?” Alex said.
“Not very well, to be honest. I felt they weren’t listening to me,” Jonathan said.
“Yeah, they have had a huge blow. Whoever fills Alan’s post will have a huge task to get that unit back up to its usual high standard, sir,” Alex replied.
“I felt that they thought I was an imposter, trying to muscle in on their unit to be honest,” Jonathan said.
“Yeah, 4th company has always been a very close unit, sir” Alex replied.
“Yeah, I was told that by General Smith,” Jonathan said.
“i have an idea. Why don’t we ask Colonel Rees to talk to them. They know Tom, and he is a former 4th company unit member,” Alex said.
“Well it is worth a try,” Jonathan said.
Tom arrived at Cheedam later that day
4th company were gathered on the parade ground.
Corporal Alex James called for attention, as Colonel Tom Rees and Colonel Jonathan Harris arrived.
“Good afternoon, guys,” Tom said.
“Afternoon, Sir,” the unit replied.
“The blow this unit has suffered is one no one could have foreseen. I have been involved in 4th company, in one way or another, for nearly 15 years. And in that time, I have seen ups and downs. We have lost good people before, but never a commanding officer in combat. I can imagine how you are all feeling at the moment, but guys, as a unit you need to start to rebuild. I'll now let you know some good news. Sergeant Simon Tyler has been released from hospital, earlier today, and after some well earned leave with his family, will return to the unit in 2 weeks time.Maybe with Simon back, at least we can start to draw a line under this incident, and start to slowly move on. I can also inform you that your new unit commander will be here tomorrow. Some of you will know him, as he was a unit member a few years ago, until he moved onto a different unit. Major Andrew Brenton will take this command, and I know he will be another in a long line of good commanding officers this unit has had. Now please guys, in the meantime, help Colonel Jonathan Harris and Corporal James here, by picking yourself up and moving on.”
Jonathan felt the atmosphere pick up after Tom’s speech and he said, “thank you, Colonel Rees.”
“As Tom just said, we as a barracks and you as a unit need to move on, but i know that will be difficult. We will be holding a memorial service this evening for all the members of this unit and 6th company, who recently lost their lives. I would like all of you to attend that service,” Jonathan said.
“Unit dismissed,” Jonathan shouted.
The men started to disperse and Jonathan walked over to Tom, who was talking to Alex James and said, “thank you, Tom. You seemed to get through to them.”
“Don’t take it personally. They just needed someone they knew, telling them, mate” Tom said.
“Yeah, I can see that now,” Jonathan said.
Tom was at Cheedam when new unit commander arrived. Andrew hasn’t been to Cheedam in a few years, and felt like he was home again.
Colonel Jonathan Harris met Andrew and said, “Major Brenton, welcome to Cheedam Barracks and welcome back to 4th company.”
“Thank you, sir. It feels like i have come home,” Andrew replied.
“Yeah, i heard from Colonel Rees, that you used to be based here,” Colonel Harris said.
“Yeah, i had some good and some not so good times here, to be honest, “Andrew replied.
Colonel Tom Rees and Lieutenant Colonel Alex Mills walked over and Tom said, “hey, Andrew. Welcome back, mate.”
“Thank you sir. It’s great to be back,” Andrew said.
“Yeah, it is good to see you again, Andrew,” Alex said.
“And you. sir” Andrew said.
4th company was soon back up to full strength, when Sergeant Simon Tyler returned. Simon knew Andrew well. and was happy to work alongside him.
Andrew also surprised Tom and Alex, when he told them he was no longer married, and was now living a happy single life again. Andrew told Tom that his ex wife wanted him to leave the Army, but he didn’t want to, so she walked out, and they divorced a year ago.
Jonathan’s marriage had fallen apart shortly before his was appointed to Cheedam. That was one of the reasons he had decided to move here, for a new start. 6th company's new commanding officer, Major Henry Rowe, arrived at Cheedam a few days later. He had a huge task ahead of him of building his unit command from scratch.
Colonel Tom Rees was at home in Coninton village, when the phone goes.
“Hello,” Tom answered.
“Hello, is this Colonel Tom Rees?” Pc Gavin McKay said.
“Yeah, who is this?” Tom enquired.
“This is Pc Gavin McKay, from Grampian Police Family Support Unit. I have been asked to contact you by Alice Bonner,” Gavin replied.
“Umm, whats wrong?” Tom said.
“i am sorry, sir. But Alice;s husband Tim, has been killed in a road accident,” Gavin replied.
“Oh hell. i will come up as soon as i can, Gavin. It'll take me a few hours, but i will be there, and tell Alice i will bring Greg with me,” Tom said.
“OK, sir. I will see you later,” Gavin replied.
“Yeah, you will,” Tom said.
Tom felt the tears running down his face and picked up the phone, and rang Ben at work. Ben was with a patient, when the call over the PA system was made.
Ben said, “excuse me for a minute. i will be back.”
“Hello, Ben Andrews Ress,” Ben replied.
“Hi babes,” Tom said.
“Hi babes, why you ringing me in work? You sound upset. What's happened?” Ben said.
“Yeah, just had some bad news. Tim’s dead, babes,” Tom said.
“Oh what how?” Ben said.
“He was killed in a crash this morning, on the M6,”Tom said.
“Oh hell, have you told Greg yet?” Ben asked.
“Not yet, but i will meet him from college later,” Tom said.
“Yeah, that might be an idea. Make sure Jon’s with you,” Ben said.
“Yeah, good idea babes. Anyway, i will have to go up to Aberdeen and take Greg with me,” Tom said.
“OK, babes,“ Ben said.
“Anyway, I will let you get on, babes,” Tom said.
“OK, Tom. Speak to you later,” Ben said.
“OK,” Tom replied.
Tom went and packed a suitcase for him and Greg, and headed to the nearby college. Tom phoned Jon
“Hi dad,” Jon replied.
“Hi son. Is Greg with you?” Tom said.
“No, dad. He has rugby practice. Why?” Jon said.
“Umm, son. I need you to meet me outside the college,” Tom said.
“OK, dad,” Jon said.
Jon walked out of the college and ran over to his dads’ car.
“What’s going on, dad?” Jon asked.
“Son, I need you to be brave for Greg. His dad has been killed this morning, in a crash,” Tom said.
Jon looked at Tom and said, “oh fuck,” and started to cry.
Tom hugged his son and said, “I need you to meet Greg from his rugby practice, and get him here. OK?”
“OK, dad,” Jon said clearing, his tears away.
Jon walked over to the rugby changing rooms, and waited outside.
Greg walked out and saw Jon standing there.
“Hey, what you doing here? I thought you would have gone home,” Greg said.
“No, dad is waiting for us,” Jon said.
“Oh, ok,” Greg said.
Greg walked with Jon over to Tom’s car. Tom got out and walked over and said, “Greg, I need to talk to you, mate.”
“Umm, what’s going on?” Greg said.
“There is no easy way for me to tell you this. Your dad has died, mate. I am so sorry,” Tom said.
Greg looked at Tom and then at Jon, and then collapsed onto the floor screaming “NO!!”
Jon ran to Greg and pulled him up and hugged him tight. Tom walked behind Greg and hugged him and said, “now, Greg i have packed us a case. We need to get you to your mum.”
Greg said, “OK, but can Jon come as well?”
Tom said, “Umm, yeah. i don’t see why not. Let me text Ben, so he knows where Jon is.”
Tom sent Ben a text.
Tom, Greg, and Jon were soon on the M6 motorway, heading towards Scotland.
Coming in chapter 7
Greg reunites with his mum Alice and the news of Tim’s passing hits the barracks.