The usual disclaimers apply to this story.
Tears for Toby
Our new house in Priory road was much larger than the old one which had consisted of only two bedrooms. Now we had a four bed roomed house but I didn't get to have my own bedroom to myself straight away. As my brother Paul was still very young my mum thought it best he share with me till he was old enough to sleep in his own room. The fourth bed room was the smallest and was being converted into a nursery and by the colours in the room I guessed that my parents knew that my mum was expecting a baby girl.
There weren't any other kids on our street who were the same age as me but there were quite a few the same age as Paul's which he met when I was doing my chaperoning duties and took him to the local park. When I could I liked going out on my own riding my bike, and as we were right on the outskirts of the city it was only a six or seven minute ride before I was cycling down country lanes. It would have been great to have someone my own age to come with me or having Toby out here would have been brilliant and I'm sure he'd have loved it.
I think it must have taken me all of the school holidays and the best part of a month to come to terms that I would never see Toby again. At home many times during the summer holidays when I was alone in my room, I would have to try really hard to hold back the tears whenever my mind focused on Toby. When I went out on my own cycling down a country lane and my thoughts turned to Toby because there was no one about I would let the tears trickle down my cheeks unchecked. Till it was necessary for me to stop and dry them and wait till I had my crying under control before I continued on my way. It was nearly always after my fits of depression when I'd come home after my ride that I would go to the phone and stand by it trying to pluck up the courage to phone Toby, but being shy and mild mannered the thought of rejection always stayed my hand.
Mum and dad realized that I was feeling down now that Toby wasn't coming around to visit so they went out of their way to try and make me feel better. Dad would get home from work as early as possible and he'd be out in the back garden teaching me his tricks with the football and how to juggle the ball. I really appreciated the time they spent with me it helped a lot.
holidays neared their end I became a bit anxious and concerned as to how I was
going to fit in to the new school. But my fears were unfounded. After my mother
had dropped me off and I walked through the gates of
It was during the first break that I got to meet Noah Grainger I was standing alone taking a sip of my drink when a couple of older boys made their way over towards me.
"You need anything?" one of the boys asked.
Puzzled and not knowing what they meant I just shook my head.
The other boy was just about to say something when they both just took off. I looked over to where their eyes had glanced before they left and saw a boy only slightly shorter than myself but more heavily built walk up to me.
"Hi I'm Noah Grainger," he said, and before I could respond he continued, "Did those two losers try to sell you something,"
"I don't think so," I said, "they just asked me if I needed anything and were quite nice about it."
He laughed at my explanation, and then with a more serious look on his face added, "They weren't trying to be nice, they're always on the lookout for someone they can con out of their money. Don't ever offer to buy anything off them, they'll take your money and in return you'll get some really cheap imitation quality goods that they get from their uncle's discount store."
"Thanks for the warning," I said, "and I'm Joseph Burton," introducing myself.
"Okay Joe, see you around," and he took off towards the other side of the recreation ground as I stood and watched him go.
I didn't talk to Noah again till a couple of weeks later when I accidentally bumped into him as I was playing during the lunch break. Although I was taller by a couple of inches he was much sturdier built and I being built like a beanpole bounced off him ending up on my arse. He grabbed my arm and pulled me up effortlessly grinning at the same time.
"Are you hurt?" he enquired.
"No just a bit embarrassed," I said grinning along with him.
"Okay come on I'm just off to get a drink do you want to get one as well?"
"I don't have anymore money," I said, "and any case they've only got still orange juice left in the canteen which I don't really like."
"Who said anything about the canteen," and grabbing my arm Noah steered me towards the gates and out into the street, "we can get a couple of milk shakes from Burgher King,"
"Noah, I just told you I don't have any money for drinks."
"I'm not deaf," he said, "I heard you the first time, come on," and he grabbed my arm and literally dragged me to get the milk shakes.
From then on I spent a lot of time with Noah and became very fond of him, but I never cared for him in the same manner as I cared for Toby. Noah was a friend, my best friend, and I was very fond of him but that was it. I never aspired to do anything sexual with Noah and it was the same with him as I'm sure he was as straight as you could get them.
I settled into school life and although I didn't have a lot of friends Noah was always around to keep me from being a total loner.
For the next couple of years Noah kept me company until for some unknown reason he suddenly fell madly in love with Jeanette Foster who had been in our class for the past two years, and in all that time he'd totally ignored her, and now he spent all his free time in her company. I wasn't too concerned with Noah's absence as luckily for me I had been chosen for the school's under 15 football eleven, which I can put down to dad spending all that time with me in the back garden.
I was spending a lot of time after school at practice with the rest of the team, and as we played either on a Friday or a Saturday I didn't have much time to reflect on what Noah was doing. Noah did try on one occasion to fix me up with Jeanette's friend but I let him know I wasn't interested in dating any girl and although he didn't say anything at the time he did give me a funny look.
Three weeks before the end of term we had three schools league football matches left to play. If we won all three matches it would ensure our team being crowned the league champions. The irony for me was that the next match was against Oak Grove. It would mean going back to the school that I hadn't seen in two years and wondered if I would see any of my old class mates especially Toby.
But then I realized that Toby was not into sport to any great extent so it would be highly unlikely that he would attend a football match. Given the choice he would much prefer to watch a movie or just hang out with his friends.
On the day of the match after the school lunch break the team gathered in the gym and waited for the Head Coach Mr Findlay to arrive. At precisely 1.00pm he walked into the gym and asked us if we all had our gear? And got a resounding "Yes sir," from us.
walked us to the school gates where a coach was waiting to take the team to
It was a 42 seater and as there was only20 in the party I was able to get a seat to myself at the back of the coach. As we neared the school so I started to recognise areas that I hadn't seen in two years. Half an hour later we were driving through Oak Grove school gates and around the back of the school parking by the side of the playing field. While we drove around the school I kept a sharp lookout for anybody I knew or even Toby but all the pupils must have been back in classes after the lunch break as I didn't see anyone. There were a few spectators scattered around the field mainly parents of the Oak Grove team but not that many. The only person I thought I knew was one of the boys sitting on the Oak Grove team reserves bench, it looked like Keith Buckle. But I couldn't be sure as he was much taller and broader from when I last saw him.
We were shown to the changing rooms by one of the players from the opposing team and ten minutes later we took to the field.
At 2'00pm the referee blew his whistle and the match was under way. It was really more of a mismatch, as we were considered one of the better teams in the league we ran them silly. It was only down to their keeper that the score didn't go into double figures but we did find the net 5 times. We were then shown where the showers were and after bathing we were soon all changed and dressed and heading back to the coach.
I took the same seat at the back of the coach and as we came around to the front of the school had my eyes riveted to the main entrance of the school. Quite a few pupils were exiting through the doors but none that I knew and certainly not Toby. I was still looking at the entrance when I heard some banging on the side of the coach but didn't pay much attention to it thinking it was some kids messing around. The coach stopped which allowed me more time to look at the at the school entrance. I heard the coach doors open and didn't pay it much mind as I was still praying that I'd see Toby, until for some unknown reason I suddenly turned to see why the coach doors had opened when a platinum blond haired boy standing at the front of the coach looked at me and yelled "JOEY."
I was standing in the recreation area talking to Alice Reynolds when I saw Keith Buckle walking towards us.
"I thought you were supposed to be on the under 15 team that's playing today." I said when he came in earshot.
"No I'm not playing today I'm on the bench, and I'm glad I am, we're taking a right thrashing we're 3-0 down already and if it wasn't for Blanchard in goal it would be double figures."
So is the game over?"
"No it's half time, I'm not needed and as I have a dental appointment at 3.15pm I leaving now."
Keith strode off then turned and said, "By the way Toby your ex mate is playing a real blinder. He hasn't changed much, might be a bit taller but still built like a beanpole. He's running rings around our defence, and just puts the ball at the feet of the strikers for them to score."
"My ex mate," I said, "who the hell are you yapping about?"
"Joe, Joe Burton," and he was walking off for his appointment.
I ran after him and grabbed his shoulder, "Keith say that again," I yelled, "as I spun him around."
"Say what again."
"The name idiot, what was the name you just mentioned."
"Oh yeah Joseph Burton your mate from junior school."
"Oh shit! thanks Keith, one more thing what's the name of the school that we're playing against"
I dashed into the school waving to Alice Reynolds as I passed her, and headed for my locker and had it opened and my mobile phone in my hand and dialling home in the space of minutes.
"No nothing is wrong all I want you to do is listen to what I have to say then you can act accordingly." I took a deep breath then said,
"Mum I've found out where Joey is."
"Quiet mum I don't have time to answer your questions, now listen, do you have paper and pencil handy. Okay I'll wait."
I waited a minute which seemed like forever until I heard my mother say she was ready.
mum Joey is attending
"No don't phone me back I'll phone you I've got my last two classes to attend then I'll be free just hope I can get to Joey before they leave. Okay bye mum love you."
I was on pins all through my last two periods, when the bell rang I was out of the class like a bullet and getting to my locker in record time put my books away, and I had my phone out and was talking to my mother in no time. She had managed to persuade the school secretary to part with Joey's address and phone number and my mum contacted his mother. She was happy for us to pick up Joey and if he wanted to stay overnight she had no objections.
I ran to the main gate as fast as I could and saw what I knew must be the Evington Park team coach coming around from the back of the school I waited till it was just outside the gates then running alongside it pounded on the door with my fist at the same time yelling for the driver to open the door. Thankfully he stopped the coach and opened the door and I jumped into the coach. I looked around then I saw him sitting at the back staring at me as my voice erupted with a yell of "Joey."
I couldn't believe it Joey was standing at the front of the coach yelling my name. All eyes in the coach were focused on him and why wouldn't they be. At nearly fifteen years of age Toby hadn't lost any of his appeal. He was still on the short side about 5ft 4in but his looks were as striking as ever. With his platinum blonde hair now reaching the top of his shoulders and as slim as ever, in my eyes he was the best looking kid in the world. When I stood to move towards him all eyes turned on me as if asking the question, how could lanky Joe Burton know such an incredibly good looking boy?
Before I had moved a step Toby yelled, "Grab your gear Joey, dad will drop you home later. He then turned to Coach Findlay offering him a mobile phone said something that I couldn't hear, and Mr Findlay took the phone from Toby. I spent a couple of minutes grabbing my kit and walked down the coach towards Toby, and as I neared him I was just in time to hear the Coach saying, "Goodbye Mrs Burton," and handing the phone back to Toby.
Coach Findlay turned to me saying, "Your mother says it's alright for you to go with your friend, his parents will drop you home."
"Thank you sir," I said, "See you on Monday."
had already alighted from the coach and I was in the process of following him
off when Coach Findlay said, "
I turned to look at him and he smiled, "Good game, you played really well."
"Thanks sir," and turned to leave the coach when there was a roar of "See you Joey." From the team and I raised my hand and waved and stepped off the coach.
The moment I was on the pavement I dropped my kit, and there was a pair of arms wrapped around me and squeezing me tight.
"Oh God Joey, it's so good to see you again," Toby was saying as he hugged me, "you don't know how much I've missed you."
"I've missed you too Toby," and pulling away a little from his hug and looking into his eyes which were little watery and seemed on the point overflowing, "I've been aching to see you and was hoping that something like this would happen, but how did you know I was on the team I didn't see you at the match?"
Toby smile, "Keith Buckle saw you and told me. I had to run around like a lunatic to get here in time to stop the coach to get you off.
"How did you get my phone number to talk to my mother?"
Toby smiled, "Mum sorted it out she phoned your school secretary and explained about you and me and she gave us your address and phone number and she then got in touch with you mother and hear we are."
I was about to respond when I saw Toby's mother bearing down on us, I picked up my gear, smiled and walked to meet her and before I knew it and could say a word I was engulfed by her arms wrapping around me. She squeezed me to her bosom then kissing me on the cheek said,
"Joey, how good to see you again."
"It's good to see you too Mrs Greening and thanks for sorting things out."
"Don't thank me if I hadn't I'd have had someone moping around the house for the next two years," then addressing Toby said,
"Grab Joey's kit and let's get to the car I'm sure he must be a little tired after the match.
Toby grabbed my kit from my arms then with me in tow followed his mother to where she had the car parked.
Reaching it Toby dumped my kit in the boot then jumped in the back seat with me, "Buckle up you two," Toby's mum exclaimed and took off for their home.
Before we had even gone a hundred yards Toby was sliding his hand over towards me and grabbing mine then leaning over kissed me on the cheek. I'm not sure if his mother saw the kiss but if she did she didn't say a word. I looked over at Toby and smiled, and gave his hand a squeeze in approval of his actions.
I knew the way to Toby's house and was surprised when his mother swung off the road that led to his house and started heading into the shopping area. She pulled into Tesco's car park saying, "She had to get a few groceries," and with us tagging along we were soon galloping down aisles picking up items and tossing them into the trolley. Within fifteen minutes we'd picked everything up that we needed, paid for them, loaded them into the car and were headed back to the Greening home.
Ten minutes later we arrived at Toby's house and we all trooped into the kitchen carrying the groceries and my football kit except for the boots which were left in the car. While his mother tossed my football kit into the washing machine, Toby went straight to the fridge and with a smile on his face poured out two glasses of cranberry juice handing me one when he'd finished.
We looked at each other then raised our glasses said, "Cheers," and downed the drinks in one gulp.
Toby took the glasses dumped them in the sink then grabbing my hand pulled me out of the kitchen calling to his mother over his shoulder, "We're going up to my room mum we'll be down when dad gets home from work," and we were out of the kitchen and climbing the stairs to his room. Toby's mother said something in response but it was lost as Toby clambered up the stairs yelling, "Come on Joey."
His room was the same as I remembered; the only difference were the walls they were now painted a pale blue, the last time I saw them they were cream. I looked around the room and saw various posters of boy film stars and then on his bedside table was quite a large framed photo of Toby and myself in our last term at Oak Grove Junior school. I remembered the photo as I had one as well but mine was of the whole class.
"How did you get this done Toby?" I asked picking up the photo, "and can you get a copy done for me?"
He took the photo out of my hand saying, "I took the original photo to a photographic studio and got the man there to make a print of just you and me excluding the rest of the class, I'll get him to make a copy for you," and placed it back on the bedside table.
Turning me around so that the back of my legs were resting against the bed he pushed sending me sprawling onto my back onto the bed. He dropped down on top of me and just lay looking into my eyes. I had never in all my life felt so nervous and at the same time so excited as I did with Toby lying on top of me. His face inches from mine with his blonde hair falling over his face and brushing mine. For once I didn't hold back and lifted my arms and wrapped them around Toby, and as I did for some unknown reason the tears poured out of the corner of my eyes.
Toby smiled and lowered his face and kissed me on the lips then moved his head to rest it on my shoulder. I felt his lips against my ear as he whispered, "Oh God Joey you don't know how I've longed for this to happen."
I have never had feelings like this course through my body before. It was like every nerve-end was alive and sending waves of pleasure to every part of my body. Giving in to my feelings I squeezed Toby into me then rolled him over so that I was now lying on top of him. I know that I am considered a timid person actually more than just timid but with the feelings running riot inside of me and the memory of the earlier kiss, I placed my hands behind Toby's head, then running my hands through his hair grabbed fistfuls of those platinum locks as I just lowered my face and found Toby's lips with mine but not content with that I forced my tongue between his lips. Toby reciprocated opening his mouth and our tongues united and caressed each other, and as we revelled in the kiss it was then that I knew that Toby and I were one and meant for each other.
After the kiss we just lay on the bed our arms and legs entwined content in the contact of our bodies. It was all we needed at the moment to savour each others company after two years of being apart.
We heard Toby's mother call that his father was home from work we got up straightened our clothing and went downstairs.
We walked into the sitting room to be greeted by Toby's dad, he came over to me and gave me a big hug saying, "Joey so good to see you again and I've never seen Toby look happier," then looking over to Toby asked? "Is Joey going back tonight or is he staying over?"
"He's staying over dad," Toby said, "but he has to phone home to let his parents know."
Turning to me Mr Greening said, "You'd better talk to your parents Joey and let them know your plans then we can sit down to a meal.
I took my mobile phone out and phoned the house landline number and before it had given two rings it was answered.
I heard Paul on the other end and said, "Paul can you ask mum to come to the phone."
"I'm at Toby's house, now go get mum."
"We won 5-0 now will you get mum otherwise you'll get it from me when I get home."
I heard Paul yelling for my mother and seconds later heard her answer the phone. I explained to her that if it was okay I'd spend the night at Toby's and return tomorrow. Mum was agreeable but said not to return before noon as they were going out to do the grocery shopping and also had to buy Paul some new school clothes as he was beginning to grow out of his school uniform and also had to take my baby sister to get her shots. I told her I'd be back around 1.00pm and I'd see them all tomorrow and hung up.
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