By Paul Jamison
Chapter – 13
Chris went back up to the spare room to change into his own clothes and some fifteen minutes later re-appeared in the kitchen just as I’d come off the phone to his doctor’s. Once I had explained the circumstances to the receptionist and she had consulted the doctor the surgery had fitted Chris into an emergency five minute slot at five pm that day. I then called Rick and brought him up to date on the saga so far. Although I was willing to have Chris staying with us, if there were already plans and arrangements in force. I had no intention of barging in and upsetting those arrangements; unless it was obvious that they were not in Chris’s best interests and only time would tell on that score.
“We’ve a doctor’s appointment at five,” I explained.
He nodded and put a pile of books down on the kitchen table as he asked
“May I do some homework on here?”
“Yes, as long as you feel up to it. If you get headache or pains you must stop and tell me,” I said, then added. “Oh, we must also go to the police sometime today and while you can recall what happened It might be an idea to write down everything you can remember.”
“Okay, I’ll do that now. Is there a computer I can use for that?” he asked.
“Yes, use my laptop,” I replied as I turned
to where it was on the worktop corner and bringing it down onto the table
switched it on for Chris.
Once it was up and running I said
“I’m going upstairs to make a few more
calls and use the computer there, I’ll leave you to get on with things quietly
on your own. I’ll be back down soon, just call up or come up if you need
anything, okay?” and I left Chris at the table composing his recollections.
After dealing with a few emails myself, more to do with the following weeks
programming at the studios than private, I closed down the machine and turned
to return downstairs. As I did I heard the printer in the room spring into
action. So I stayed to collect stuff that Chris had obviously sent to print
out. One was his recollections of the crash and the rest were print outs from
schools in the
“How goes it?” I asked.
“Oh, I’ve written it out as best I can remember,” he replied.
“Excellent, we’ll take that in with us when we go. What are the school print outs for?” I asked.
“My grandfather lives somewhere up on Lomond so I thought I’d see if any of the schools nearby come close to what’s on offer at the Royal Grammar and they don’t get anywhere near close,” He explained.
“Is this a campaign to stay at the Grammar school,” I asked.
“Perhaps, I just don’t know right now. I
won a scholarship there and I really love it. I’ve made good friends with Jamie
Sutherland and I just don’t want any of that to change at all. I mean, I’ve
been looking online. My granddad lives in the wilds almost. There’s just a
primary school in his village… I mean village… I’m a town boy. I’m used to
being able to go shopping and to libraries and the leisure centre and all that
stuff. There’s nothing like that there unless you go to the bigger towns or
“Have you just come out to me?” I asked Chris.
There was silence and he turned his face away.
“Chris, talk to me,” I gently said, as I sat down opposite him at the table.
“Yes, I guess so,” he replied quietly, a tear running down his face. “And I’m crazy about Jamie too,” he sobbed. “It’s all right. I know he isn’t gay. We’ve talked about it before. He knows I am and he’s okay with it. I just think of him as a friend and would never be silly, but I can’t help my feelings though. He was so kind last night he told me all about how he felt when he heard that his Dad had been killed in action and it really helped to be near someone who really understood.”
“Yes, I know, we all thought Jamie was just the person to be with you last night, and we were right there. I know what you mean, though. It’s a real bummer when the one you fall for isn’t gay. I had a crush when I was at school on an obviously very straight boy and there’s not much you can do except dream. Don’t worry there’s the right boy out there somewhere for you and after all you’ve rather got time on your side now, haven’t you? I mean you’re only nearly fourteen? It might even be a super Scots lad for all you know,” I said as kindly as I could.
“Och! aye the noo!” Chris said, in a very badly exaggerated Scottish accent and we both burst out laughing together.
That certainly cleared the air somewhat and I glanced at the kitchen clock and realised it was well after the time a teen would want more food. I had a quick look in the fridge to see what I could rustle up and saw a portion of shepherd’s pie in a plastic food storage box. I took it out and suggested that Chris might like that zapped in the microwave for lunch. He nodded and smiled and then carried on with the schoolwork he had been doing when I came down with the print outs.
I heated the pie for Chris, and made myself a ham sandwich, and a pot of tea for the two of us and set it out at the other end of the kitchen table. He moved down wincing slightly as he put pressure on his injured arm to move his chair.
“Still painful?” I asked.
“Yeah, a bit. But only when I try to use it for more than just reading and stuff,” he explained.
“I guess that’s to be expected for a few days?” I replied.
“S’pose so,” he replied.
Just then the phone rang and I answered.
“Paul Frost… Hi,
“I’m sure you got all of that. Police station at two, okay?” I said. “They want to see you before you forget too much,” I added.
“Okay,” Chris replied.
We finished our food and tidied away. Chris went back to his reading and at half past one I looked in and said
“Time to go,”
He put down his books and we put on our
coats to go out. When we were ready we left the house, I locked up and we
headed off to meet
“Hey,” I said when they re-appeared, “I thought you’d all gone and got yourselves locked up or something,” I joked.
“Not quite. We gave as comprehensive a
statement as we could. Seems the driver of the car died too last night at the
hospital. They are awaiting the results of the toxicology tests. If those show
him to have been under the influence it will be a no contest claim with his
“I guess that’s something, but the way Chris feels I don’t think that’s all that much good news just now,” I said.
I looked at Chris and he nodded
“Adrian, Chris is gay. He has friends here whom he feels at home with and can be himself with. His life has been turned upside down by this. From what you said earlier his guardian is a retired naval officer who is… how old? And he’ll have to uproot and go to live in a tiny village somewhere in Scotland, where there’s nothing like the facilities at any of the nearby schools that he currently enjoys at the Royal Grammar and he’s duly well pissed off,” I said quietly.
“I wouldn’t get too worried. Don’t forget I
am your mother’s lawyer and executor. I’ll see that her wishes are carried out
as best we can. So please don’t get too concerned about the future just yet.
There’re quite a few things I know, but can’t discuss right now. I can say that
your grandfather is as worried about all this as you are and frankly has no
idea how he’ll deal with this turn of events.”
“Any idea when the Commander will be home on leave?”
“Will’s dad? No, not really, except it will be for all of Christmas and New Year. He said as much before he left us at the end of August,” I replied.
I smiled and nodded before replying. “I
think I can see exactly where you’re heading and I agree it might well be a
plan… Oh, is it okay to get Chris a new school blazer and the other bits that
were ruined?” I asked
“Yes, but only exactly what was damaged and
send me the receipts, please. Right, I must get back to the office. Chris you
have my card. Call me if you want to know or to ask anything, okay?”
“Chris, since we’re in town I think we’ll go and get your school blazer at the very least. I guess you’ve more pairs of trousers and some shirts at home. Was the tie salvaged or not?” I asked.
“No, I think it was chopped off together with blazer sleeve and shirt when they were getting to the big gash on my arm. I didn’t have it when they’d done with me anyway,” he replied.
“Okay, we’ll walk over there now, get you kitted out and then head back home for your doctor’s appointment, okay?” I said as we walked towards the precinct.
We quickly made the couple of purchases in the school outfitter’s and then walked back to the car and set off for home. We still had an hour to spare before the doctor’s appointment and so had a snack and checked the clothes for a good fit, although we had already quickly tried the blazer on in the shop. After that we went over to the doctor’s surgery that Chris was registered with. I’d suggested Chris took the pills he’d been prescribed at the hospital with him and follow any advice or change of pill the doctor suggested. So with those in his pocket he went through into the consulting room when his name was called. I waited in reception for him while he had his consultation. Chris was quickly back in the reception followed by the doctor who when Chris indicated that I was with him asked me to step into his consulting room.
“I take it from Christopher that you are temporarily looking after him with your boys?”
“Yes, that’s so, between myself and Mrs Sutherland, Chris’s best friend’s mother,” I explained.
“Yes, she’s the hospital sister Chris also mentioned?” he queried.
“Yes, that’s correct,” I replied.
“Good, I’ve taken those tablets from him. They’re too strong for a lad his age and size. I’ve given him a prescription for something with a lower dosage and I would appreciate his being off them as soon as possible. All these types of drug are a bit on the addictive side. So as soon as we can, let’s have him off them.”
“How’s that best done? I asked.
“Give him one tonight by all means, then tomorrow, see if he can get through the night without one. If he manages that, see if he can do it again the following night. If, however, he wakes and is not doing too well, let him take one as long as it’s not too near dawn or morning, okay?”
“Yes, doctor, that seems straightforward enough,” I replied, then asked “Should he stay off school any longer?”
“Yes. It’s Thursday today so let him go back on Monday as long as there’s no weeping or seepage from that wound. Check it daily. I’ve given him a prescription for dressings also, fresh every morning after he’s washed. Protect the wound from direct soaking in the shower and if it goes a nasty red, feels warm, seeps fluid or puss, bring him right back, okay.”
“Certainly,” I replied.
“I’ve mentioned just about everything, but it’s most unlikely there’ll be any problem to be honest. The hospital’s done a good job and really it just needs protection until the wound heals. Now, that starts from the inside, so it can be a slow process of up to two or three weeks before it’s completely healed, but he can certainly go back to school on Monday with it protected. Let the school know. No PE or sports till the stitches are out. That’s a definite. Chris may well need some grief counselling though and I’ll get the receptionist to send you a couple of names you might want to try. Please leave your details so we can know Chris’s address even if it’s only temporary,” he finished.
“Thank you, doctor,” I said and I returned to where Chris was waiting in reception, gave the receptionist Chris’s current temporary address information and we left the surgery.
I stopped by a chemist’s on the way home and we filled the prescription that Chris had been given and then carried on back home feeling quite pleased with all we’d managed to get done.
We arrived back home just as Mrs Naylor had dropped off the gang and so everyone was busy asking Chris endless questions as to how he was and what he’d been doing all day. Mary and I called order and sent everyone who didn’t actually live there packing off home, with the exception of Jamie, whom Chris wanted to talk to and who also had news from school with work assignments for him.
I managed a brief word with Mary and apprised her of the situation so she could satisfy Justin’s demands for news later. Eventually we all got inside and Chris took Jamie off to his room for some private discussions. Liam, Will and I set about making tea and toast for all in the house and then I turned on my laptop to check for messages. In the rush the previous evening I’d forgotten all about the message that I’d sent to my theatre manager friend. He’d replied with the offer of a box at the next Wednesday afternoon’s matinée performance of the play and apparently he could do that and there were twelve seats for the taking.
I typed a quick letter to the Headmaster to bring the school further up to date with Chris’s situation and his expected date for return to school and his medical restrictions regarding sports and PE, then another to Mr Stonebridge, put them in envelopes and tucked them into my jacket.
A few minutes later Jamie and Chris were back in the kitchen tucking into tea and toast. I looked up from the window seat where I’d tucked myself while the boys had been making themselves the snacks and said
“Right, guys. Jamie, your mum says you’ve to go home as soon as possible once you’ve given Chris the stuff from school and the rest of you can get stuck into homework,” I grinned.
Liam and Will just giggled picked up their backpacks and headed off to their rooms to get started on their homework.
Chris looked up and then asked “Where should I do schoolwork while I’m here.”
“Ah, good point Chris. Here during the day and I’m not sure where you’ll be after the weekend when your grandfather arrives. So perhaps use our little office opposite the bathroom on your floor. There’s a desk and a computer in there… will that work for now?” I suggested.
“Yes, I’m sure I’ll be fine, Thanks,” he replied. He then followed the others upstairs to spend some time on his schoolwork.
* * *
The events of the last twenty-four hours had turned everything upside down and I’d had little or no time to think about how I should reply to my Dad’s email that had arrived just before all the stuff over Chris happened. At least my parents were still alive even though I was estranged from one and hadn’t seen the other for over six years.
I got up to my room and after changing out of my school uniform took a shower and had a bit of a think. Once out, dried and dressed I picked up a printout of the email and read it through again several times. Then putting it aside on my desk, opened my backpack and sorted out the homework I absolutely had to get done that evening in time for handing in the next day.
Once I had sorted that I got stuck in and carried on working until I head the call for supper. I heard Will come out of his room and crash his way down the stairs at his usual galloping rate whenever anything to do with food was in the offing. I finished the sentence I was writing and then followed at a more leisurely pace. As I got to the first floor I saw Chris come out of his room. He seemed unsure of what to do.
“Okay?” I asked him.
“Um… yes was that a call for supper or something?” He asked.
“Yeah, we always eat about now when both Paul and Rick are home and they’ve had time to shower and cook,” I explained and continued “We eat in the kitchen mostly and it’s us boys’ job to lay up and clear away afterwards, okay?” and added. “I guess it’s all a bit strange to you, being here?”
“Yes very, it’s a bit of crowd for a start, before there was just me and my Mum. I’d get my homework done and then we’d eat after Mum was home and cooked. That’s similar, but I’m not used to a gang of guys like this, He answered.
“I wasn’t either. I lived with just my mum before till about two months ago actually. My dad left when I was only ten. It’s more complicated than that, but just for now, my mum and I don’t get on at all and so I had to leave.” I told Chris as we went down and into the kitchen together.
“Mmmm,” Chris intoned, but seemed far from sure as to how, who, why and what had brought the household together.
Paul was at the cooker getting a hot dish from the oven, Will was laying up the cutlery and Rick was pouring two glasses of wine for him and Paul. He looked towards me and raised his eyebrows questioningly.
I smiled and nodded and turned towards the cupboard, took down another glass and passed it over to Rick to fill also. He passed it back to me once he’d done that and we all sat down to eat.
Once everything had been passed around and we’d filled our plates and begun to eat Will asked Chris what he’d been doing that day.
“Um… we’ve been to the police to do a statement about the crash and tell them all I could remember, and then to the doctor’s to see if my arm’s okay. We went to the precinct for a new school blazer, pullover and tie. Oh, and we went by my house for clothes and school uniform and stuff. That took all day really,” he explained.
“How’s your arm doing, Chris?” I asked.
“Doctor says it’s doing fine will take a few weeks though before it’s fully recovered and I’ll always have a scar there now even though it’s a neat stitch up,” he grinned, then asked. “Can I ask how you guys all live here?” I don’t quite understand it all.”
“Oh that’s easy really,” Will began. “I live next door, that’s my real house, okay,”
“Ye-ess,” Chris replied, none the wiser really.
“Well, it’s like this. My mum died when I
was younger of cancer. My dad is a Royal Navy officer and is away at sea a lot.
My Gran and Granddad used to come and stay when dad was away and look after me
and stuff. This last summer though, when dad was home they went away on a tour
Paul then said “Rick and I met while we were in college. We’re now in a civil partnership. That to us means we’re married and the civil partnership pretty much has that meaning in law anyway,” he explained, and continued “We were delighted and to be honest, we were honoured when Will’s Dad Frank asked us to help out when things were difficult back in the summer. It’s since developed into full time guardianship and if anything happened to his dad we’d take over full responsibility for Will till he got to eighteen.”
“Oh, I see. It’s just my mum and me were happy, but this house seems to be full of people just getting on and being okay,” he remarked.
“Yeah,” I said. “I noticed that before I ever came to live here too,” and then realised that as everyone was looking to see what I’d say I continued. “I came here at the end of the summer holidays after awful rows with my mother over my being gay and how according to her that wasn’t possible and I needed to be ‘cured’ by her church. I walked out basically. Paul, Rick and Adrian, the lawyer they know really well…”
“He was my mum’s boss actually,” Chris interrupted.
“…Oh, wow, well, he helped me see a social worker. Mr Robinson, the social worker, came down on my side and told my mum it was okay for me to leave home and make my own arrangements as I was well over sixteen and Paul and Rick gave me a home here,” I said.
“Wow, you actually walked out of home?” Chris’s eyes bugged.
“Yes, and at two o’clock in the morning too, remember,” Rick added smiling.
“Then we did a cloak and dagger sneak back the next day during lunch from school to get the rest of my stuff before it got damaged or thrown out too,” I added.
“Oh, yes, and escaping after school out of the playing fields gates while the twins told your mum you’d already gone,” Will giggled.
“I never had a dad,” Chris said. “Not one I ever knew anyway. My mum never married, you see, seems he was never more than the biological parent that never was,” he smiled.
“I’ve got a dad,” I explained. “But he left
when I was ten and went to
Chris looked suitably impressed with all that we’d said and the rest of the meal passed with just normal chat. After we’d all finished eating, Will and I got up and started to clear the table. Chris got up too and attempted to help. Paul told him to sit and not to try too much till his arm healed properly. He just carried on one-handedly passing stuff to us anyway.
After supper was over Paul and Rick made coffee and went through to the sitting room to watch TV. Will disappeared upstairs to his room again. I made myself an instant coffee and asked Chris if he wanted anything else.
“Um… could I have a coffee too?” he asked.
I nodded and made him one, then carried the two upstairs as his arm was no where near normal yet and it was obvious to me that it hurt when he tried to use it to pick things up. I put his drink down on the desk in the little office that Chris was using to do his schoolwork, then went on up to my own room.
“Thanks, Liam,” he quietly said, as he sat down at the desk and picked up a book he’d been working on from before supper.
“S’ okay,” I said, smiling, and left to go up to my own room.
Once there I finished the homework I needed to get ready for the next day and then turned my attention again to my dad’s email. I booted up my computer and while it was going through the process read through what he’d written again and also thinking back to the discussion we’d had just the previous evening that had somehow been sidelined by recent events, and then I opened my email opened his to me and clicked on ‘reply’ and began to type…
Thanks for replying to my email. I was so very much hoping that you would and was very pleased indeed when I got your reply yesterday. I’ve got loads of questions for you and I know you have for me too… not least about how I came to leave home, or actually walk out, which is how it happened. Mum and I had massive rows over some stuff and I just could not stay there anymore.
I’ve had a chat with the friends that I live with now and we reckon it would be good for us to talk and perhaps you could telephone here on Sunday morning at about 10.00 am your time as that would be Saturday evening here and we can have a good chat. There’s so much I want to tell you and to ask you as well, but I think it would mostly be best if we actually spoke again.
I am really looking forward to hearing from you. Hope that you are able to call at that time. If not then email me back to suggest another time. I have put my address details and telephone numbers at the bottom of the email for you.
I added the address and phone numbers and then clicked on ‘send’. Then I sent another email to Craig with a copy of what I’d sent to my dad and then shut down the computer and went back to some reading I needed to go over again for school the next day.
End of chapter 13
thanks for all your emails. I think I have managed to reply to you all
personally. The story is also published on IOMFATS as well as my yahoo group.
Many thanks for all your emails. I think I have managed to reply to you all personally. The story is also published on IOMFATS as well as my yahoo group.
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