By Paul Jamison


Chapter – 3

 Liam’s viewpoint continued…

When we got upstairs I turned to Will and said

“See you tomorrow. Don’t forget to set your alarm for school time.”

Will grinned widely and replied

“Nah, I already did it this afternoon. Don’t wanna get caught out on the first morning. I think Mrs Naylor’s doing the run tomorrow as Paul’s going in to the studios early for something.”

“Yeah, she is. See ya then,” I said as I opened my door and went into my room, closing the door behind me.

I flopped down on the bed for a moment to gather my thoughts.  After a few minutes during which I heard Will go into our bathroom and take a shower, I got up and booted up my computer and composed an e-mail to Craig to bring him right up to date with all that had been talked about at dinner. I hit the send button and closed the computer down. Picking up my mobile I sent a text to Craig telling him to check his e-mail.

By then as Will had finished in the bathroom, I undressed down to my boxers and went in to have a quick wash and clean my teeth. Once I’d finished, I came back to my room, pulled back the duvet and slipped into bed. Sleep didn’t come quickly. Although I was pretty tired, my mind couldn’t stop churning over all that’d been said… especially about possibly trying to find my dad. I must’ve dropped off to sleep eventually, cos the next thing knew was my bedside alarm going off.

I staggered from my bed and into the bathroom, dealt with morning business, took a quick shower and returned to my room to dress in my school uniform. I shouldered my backpack and hurried down to the kitchen for breakfast.

In the kitchen Rick was the only one there; he turned and smiled, before saying

“Hi Liam, ready for school?”

“As I ever will be,” I joked back grinning. I was actually looking forward to seeing Craig as I very much wanted to take him fully into my confidence and talk about all that Adrian and James had mentioned the previous evening at dinner.

Will appeared then and we both set about making tea and toast as quickly as we could as it’d be just a few minutes before Mrs Naylor arrived to pick us up for the school run.

As soon as we’d finished eating and we were loading the crocks in the dishwasher we heard a car horn toot from the road. Will and I turned and after saying a quick goodbye to Rick, left from the back door and hurried to the waiting car.

I opened the car door just as Craig and Jamie appeared from down the road and ran towards us so as not to be late and we all got on board and set off.

Mrs Naylor turned briefly and asked

“Are you all recovered from the holiday? We’ve been hearing a lot about it all from Justin last night.”

“Oh, yes, pretty much now,” Will quickly replied.

“Yes, it was a brilliant week, but I really needed a good night’s sleep and now I’m fine again,” I added.

“Justin slept from ten last night till I dragged him up this morning,” Mrs Naylor said with a laugh.

At that Justin turned round and made menacing noises at us to indicate we’d better not comment on that further….

Will laughed and said “He did that when he stayed Saturday night too.”

Justin gave Will a look that if looks could kill… which Will promptly ignored and gave Jus a wide grin back. I nudged Craig and quietly whispered

“Did you get my text and e-mail, okay?”

Craig nodded in reply and we all soon arrived outside the school gates.

We said thanks and goodbye to Mrs Naylor and headed into the school across the car park to the pupils’ entrance.

As soon as the others had hurried away I turned to Craig and said

“What d’you think then?”

“Um… I’ll talk later at break, okay?  We’ve not enough time now before the bell goes,” he said as he too hurried off towards the lockers and his first class.

I’d managed to nod before he disappeared and then headed off to my own first class of the day. I found my attention wandering through the first two periods and really couldn’t wait for the bell to ring signalling the end of second period. I hurried to my locker to dump some books and headed to the cafeteria to get a snack from the vending machines. As I entered the cafeteria, I saw Craig waiting by one of the machines watching the door for me to appear. He’d got an anxious look on his face. It changed to a smile as soon as he clocked me and I hurried over towards him, grinning back at him as I walked.

“Hi, so, what do you think?” I asked.

“About looking for your dad or the telephone messages?” Craig replied as he took some printouts from off the internet out of his blazer pocket.

“Well, both really, but I’m not as worried about the phone calls as I was since Adrian told me about the laws that cover stuff like that. He’ll write to my mum explaining her not very good position and suggesting she should stop, or we take action, sort of thing,” I replied.

“I did a bit of searching last night about how to find lost family and came across this,” Craig interrupted. “It’s a government leaflet from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  So I printed it off. They don’t do much to help, unless it’s a recent disappearance, like on holiday or something, but, they do give some addresses of organisations that undertake searches for lost relatives and I reckon you fit into more than one of their parameters for taking it on.”

“Oh right, that’s great. Um… I’ll look through this at lunch break then and tonight perhaps we can see what else we can find out?  Thanks, Craig,” I said.

“I hoped there might be something useful in that list,” Craig commented, as I flicked through the printout and came to the Who Else Might Help heading.

“There’s one or two here that may be worth trying,” I observed as I studied the list for a few moments before folding it up and tucking it away into my blazer. I turned to Craig and said

“Thanks for looking this up for me; um… let’s go through this together later, okay?”

“Yeah, this evening, if we can, okay?”

I nodded in agreement and then the bell went for the end of morning break. So we both headed back towards the form-rooms and our next periods.

* * *

Meanwhile, at the Council Offices…

Gerry Robinson was sorting the day’s post on his desk when he spotted an underlined header on a solicitor’s firms headed notepaper,

For the Attention of:- G. Robinson, ref- Liam Russell

He immediately put other post to one side and read through the letter quickly. He rose from his desk and opened his filing cabinet, withdrew Liam’s file, sat back down and read through his notes to refresh his memory. He then set about composing a response to Adrian’s letter that had informed him of the current circumstances of the harassment Liam was still suffering from his mother. Once completed Mr Robinson checked the file and composed and sent a brief text message to Liam suggesting they met for a chat after school one afternoon that week to review his situation. Gerry then returned his attention to his other casework.

* * *

I sat down at our usual lunch table and scanned the cafeteria for Craig or the terrible two. After a few seconds I spotted Will and Jus in the food line and grinned at them. They gave a brief wave back and carried on with their own chatting as they chose their food before heading over to the table to sit with me.

“Hi,” Will said brightly as he sat down. “Where’s Craig and Jamie?”

“Hi, um… don’t know. They should’ve been here by now,” I responded.

“I haven’t seen the twins yet either,” Justin added.

“Oh, they’re about. I saw ’em in the corridor between first and second period. They waved and grinned and hurried by,” I answered.

“Don’t they usually bring packed lunches and eat them in the common room?” Will asked all and sundry.

“Yeah, usually, but they’ve just come in now,” Justin said, looking towards the door from where the twins were rapidly approaching our table.

I smiled at the twins and said “Hi there, how’s things?”

“Oh great, our mum can’t thank you guys enough for asking us on that canal trip you know,” Steve replied.

“Bet she loved the ‘peace and quite’ in the house?” I laughed back.

“Err… yes, something like that.”  Both infectiously grinned back at us all.

“She wants to ask you guys for a meal sometime as a thank you,” Steve added and sat down with Eric at the table. “So what’s the news then?” he continued looking round at us all as he spoke.

“Not much more than when we last saw you,” I began, then added “but we seem to have lost Craig and Jamie today.”

“I’ve seen ’em with Mr Stonebridge,” Eric cut in. “Seems like there’s been a row or something with Jamie and a third year boy. They were both on their way to the admin block with Mr Stonebridge ten minutes ago.”

“Bloody hell, what’s he been up to?” I asked anxiously.

“Dunno yet,” Eric replied. “Guess we’ll find out when Craig or Jamie turn up,” he added.

I looked anxiously towards the door wondering what might have been going on between Jamie and whoever the other boy was, when suddenly the door burst open and a very angry looking Craig entered, looked about and then rushed over to our table as fast as he could manage.

He sat down heavily and seeming to be rather breathless, took a moment before looking up at our anxious faces.

“Jamie might be suspended for thumping a bully who hit him first. Seems the guy called him some homo names and then when Jamie didn’t respond shoved him up against his locker. Jamie then used his karate moves and may have broken the guys finger!”

“Wha a a t?” we all said in unison.

Jamie’s being sent home pending further investigations.  The thugs on the way to hospital with Mr Stonebridge and I’ve been calling mum to see what to do. It’s all a bit of a mess,” Craig explained.

“Hey, it’ll get sorted out.  Don’t worry,” I said. “Were there any other guys about as witnesses to all this?”

“Yeah, seems there were, about half his year group heard it all. The Head’s seeing them one at a time to get their stories. I don’t think it’ll look too good for the bully.  He obviously expected to win against Jamie who’s a good few inches smaller by all accounts,” Craig explained.

“There’s a year’s difference in age anyway,” I said. “Any idea who the older boy was?”

“Nah, I don’t know many names of boys outside my own year group yet, except for you lot,” Craig said.

“Guess not,” I replied.  “It’ll be on the grapevine before the day’s out though. So we’ll know soon,” I added.

“It’ll be all round before class starts,” Justin ventured.

The bell for afternoon school sounded. So we all made our way out of the cafeteria towards our lockers. The incident was indeed the talk of the corridors and before we got to our lockers discovered that it was a boy named Terry Naismith who’d attempted to thump Jamie up against his locker after some name calling about his older brother being a poofter. An attack, according to the gossip, that’d been spectacularly repulsed by some quick martial arts moves by Jamie that had Terry screaming blue murder from the floor in seconds.

“I didn’t know Jamie did karate,” Will commented to me as we made our way down the corridor.

“No, I’d no idea either,” I replied.

“He’s been doing it since he was seven,” Craig interrupted. “It’s just since Dad died and everything with moving he’s not had time to find a new club and get going again yet. He got a brown belt I think at grading camp he went to this summer.”

“Oh, right, we’d better watch out and not get on wrong side of him in that case,” I joked, trying to lighten the mood.

Everyone laughed and then we went our separate ways for afternoon classes. I got through the classes and at last when the final bell went, I made my way to my locker to sort out books and stuff. I hurried out of school to the main gates to get our lift home. I was really very surprised to see Craig and Jamie together talking to the twins and Will and Jus in a small group by the gates.

“Hey, what’s happened? I thought Jamie got sent home after the frašas at lunchtime?”

“He would’ve, but he’s too young to be sent home with no one at home. So, they sent him back to class while they talked to all the others who saw what happened and now they know he was only defending himself and said and did nothing to start it or aggravate the situation.  He’s off the hook,” Craig replied, then went on. “Seems that there’s nothing wrong with Terry’s finger either, except it hurt a lot when Jamie pushed it back hard off his neck. So he’s just a big wuss with his complaining and howling. It’s turned out that the X-ray showed no breaks or damage at all. “Terry’s been given a whole week’s suspension for homophobic remarks and attempting to thump Jamie. Jamie’s had a warning not to ever start anything by using karate stuff in school. Not that anyone will try after today’s little demonstration of what he can do if pushed too far.”

“How do you know all this now?” I asked.

“We’ve both just come from the HM’s study and he’s told me and he’s also told Jamie to be very careful indeed how he uses his ‘skills’ as he put it…”

“I told him that karate wasn’t offensive at all and was only ever to be used defensively to get one out of or to pre-empt an attack on me,” Jamie cut in. “And I offered to show him exactly what I did to get out of the hold Terry had round my neck and the Head said that a demonstration wouldn’t be necessary as he preferred all his fingers to remain intact.  So I showed him what I did on Craig as he’s even bigger than Terry, but I didn’t hurt his fingers. Anyway he’s used to me practising on him some of my moves and stuff,” Jamie rattled off nervously explaining and then went on. “The Head asked me if that was exactly what I did to Terry to get his hands off and away from me and I said it was.”

“What happened then?” Justin asked.

“Well, we were just told to go and to watch ourselves in future.  That’s all,” Craig replied.

Just then Mrs Clayton turned up to collect the twins and got out when she saw us and asked

“Are Paul or Rick collecting you soon?”

“Hello, Mrs Clayton. Yes, I hope so,” Will said.

“Oh, good, I was hoping to have a word with them to thank them for having Eric and Steve on your holiday for those couple of days.”

“Okay, um… Rick or Paul should be here any minute now,” Will replied.

“I’ll wait a few minutes then,” Mrs Clayton said as she turned her car engine off and settled back in her seat to wait.

“How did you actually get Terry off you then?” Will asked Jamie.

“Oh easy really,” he replied. “He had both hands round my neck pushing me against my locker.  So I had both hands and legs free… Big mistake,” Jamie laughed and continued with “So I forced his little fingers backwards so he had to let go of me or get them broken. You see he has to ‘follow the pain’. It doesn’t matter how big or strong they are, it always works. He let go as soon as it started to hurt. So I then I locked his right wrist and arm by turning his arm clockwise, pushed down on his elbow and forced him to the floor. He went down ever so easily. I kept him there and he started yelling blue murder and then Mr Stonebridge and Mr Wellings suddenly appeared and told me to let go at once. So I did just that and then Mr. Stonebridge took me off and I explained exactly what’d happened.  Mr Wellings carted Terry off and I s’pose asked him his version.”

“What happened next?” Jus butted in.

“Oh, I explained what’d happened and offered to show Mr. Stonebridge what I did but he said there’s no need. He made me sit in the office with a secretary while he went off to investigate, I guess,” Jamie explained.

“When did you see the Head?” I asked.

“Later this afternoon.  I got sent for during last period. The Head also had Craig there too…”

“I’d been sent for to get hold of our Mum. She must’ve been in theatre though ’cos she wasn’t taking calls.  So I had to stay with Jamie while they talked to some others and then called us in. I think they would’ve sent him home and sorted it tomorrow, but with Mum not available they couldn’t send him home alone I s’pose,” Craig added.

“So what did the Head say then?” Will asked impatiently.

“Well, he’d talked to all those that saw what happened and said that it was now very clear to him that Terry Naismith started it. As I didn’t respond or have a go back at his comments, I couldn’t be held responsible in any way. Seems everyone said I only went into action and got him off me when I was shoved up against the locker and he put his hands round my neck. I got him off me and he started howling when I got him on the floor. That’s when Mr Stonebridge and Mr Wellings turned up and hauled us both away. The Head said I’ve to be very careful indeed how I use the skills I’ve got and he asked what they were. I told him I’d been doing karate since I was six and I’d just got my brown belt and that it was really basic self defence that I’d used.”

“Terry’s been suspended for a week anyway,” Craig said. “But it won’t stop Mum being furious about it all. She’s not keen on fighting and stuff despite Dad having been a soldier. She says wars and fighting have already lost us one family member and that’s more than enough for anyone.”

We all nodded seriously and then a few moments later Rick pulled up in Paul’s car. We started to pile in and then Mrs Clayton got out of her car and came over. I said to Rick

“Mrs Clayton wants a word with you. Something about saying thanks for having the twins on the holiday,” I said.

“Oh, right, Rick replied. “I’ll have a quick chat with her. Hang on here, you lot.  I won’t be very long.” Rick got out and standing on the pavement had a brief chat with Mrs Clayton. Then after a minute or two he turned and headed back to us and Mrs Clayton got back into her car and drove off with the twins doing thumbs up at us from the rear window.

“Wassat about?” Will asked from the front seat, as Rick got back in and fastened his safety belt, before checking his mirror and pulling out into the traffic.

“Oh, just a thank you for having those two for a couple of days and would we all like to go over to them for Sunday lunch, that’s all,” Rick replied as we headed quickly for home.

“Are we all going then?” I asked from the back.

“Yes, I think so if we can all make it. I promised to call her later when I’d checked with Paul and you lot for your availability on Sunday,” he laughed.

“Oh, my diary’s clear for lunch on Sunday,” quipped Will.

“So’s mine,” added a grinning Justin.

“It seems that both Justin and Craig are included in the invitation. I did mention that meant ten round the table and apparently that’s no problem. Said she was very used to larger functions when the relatives came to stay. I said we’d let her know this evening, okay?”

“I’ll check with Mum, but I don’t think it’ll be a problem,” Craig said smiling at me.

We got to Justin’s a few minutes later and dropped him off outside his home. Will waved a goodbye as we headed off again and shortly arrived back home where we all got out of the car. I turned to Craig and asked

“Coming in for a bit?”

“No, I can’t really. I’ve got this letter from school for Mum about Jamie and that fight.  So I’d better be home while that’s sorted. I do want to talk though, about all that other stuff. What with all that’s gone on we’ve not had a minute all day,” he replied.

“I know.  It’s been a bit difficult. How about calling me when you’ve done your prep? Perhaps we can grab half an hour then?”

“Yeah, okay, might be able to. I’ll text you.”

Craig turned and went down the drive to where Jamie was waiting on the pavement and together they headed off to their house down the road. I followed the others into the kitchen and nodded when Will picked up the kettle and looked towards me to see if I too wanted a brew.

I sat down at the kitchen table while Will made tea. Rick came in from the garage having put the car away and looking round at us and with the unusual silence pervading in the room he asked

“So, anything been happening today? I mean that I should know about?”

“Nothing that affects us really. Jamie got some hassle from a bully, but he came off rather better as he does karate and sorted the bully out. He’s not been suspended or anything as all he did was defend himself from unprovoked verbals and shoving about.  The Head’s suspended the other boy involved.  He’s at least in the year above Jamie,” I explained.

“Oh, so nothing for us to worry over, although I’m sorry Jamie seems to have been caught up in something. Do you know what the verbals were about?”

“Yeah, seems that Jamie was getting it for Craig being gay and by association Jamie must be gay too. The usual crap,” I answered.

“Mmmm, not even original. Oh well, let’s hope that it won’t get serious.”

“Don’t think so. Jamie used karate on the idiot and I don’t think he’ll go anywhere near Jamie again, the big wuss. Seems he was howling blue murder when Jamie got him off him and down on the floor in some fast move. All very dramatic from what I’ve heard,” I told Rick.

“Karate? I didn’t know Jamie could do stuff like that,” Rick said, then continued. “Still, I bet the bully wasn’t half surprised to be the one on the floor howling though?”

“No, I didn’t know either. It seems he’s been keen since he was around six or so, according to Craig, but he’s not had a chance to get into it again since moving here yet.”

“Yeah, sounds brilliant though.  Wish I’d seen him take Terry Naismith down,” Will added as he brought me a mug of tea and sat down himself to drink his own.

“Violence is never really the answer though,” Rick said. “Couldn’t Jamie have walked away from the confrontation?”

“Seems he tried to.  He ignored the comments and carried on sorting his books at his locker, but then Naismith went for him and shoved him against the locker holding his hands round his neck.  So Jamie reacted and seconds later Naismith was on the floor howling blue murder. Then Mr Stonebridge and Mr Wellings rushed up and they all got hauled off. That’s all I know really.”

“Oh, I see, I guess there wasn’t much more Jamie could’ve done to avoid that then.”

“Nah, not really,” Will agreed.  We finished our tea and as we loaded the crockery into the dishwasher Rick asked

“So you’re both okay with going to the twins’ place for Sunday lunch then?”

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Will replied at once.  “They’ve a huge house you know. It’s out on the edge of town, almost farmland really. In fact I think they said it was originally a farm house. They’ve got an old stone barn converted as their den too. It’s got an enormous Scalelectrix« circuit as well.  Jus and I’ve had some great times out there,” Will explained.

“Sounds interesting,” Rick replied. “I think Paul’s free and I know I am, how about you and Craig?” he asked.

“Oh, I’m fine and Craig prolly will be too. I’ll know a bit later on when he’s had time to ask his mum when the dust’s settled after telling her about Jamie and school,” I said.

“Oh, yes, of course. Right, you guys, prep to be done? Supper’ll be at about seven thirty, okay?”

With that Will and I picked up our packs and headed upstairs to our rooms to get started on our schoolwork.

*  *  *

We’d just finished supper and Will and I’d loaded the dishwasher when my mobile phone rang. I quickly flipped it from my jeans pocket and saw it was Craig calling. I answered

“Hi, Okay?”

Yeah, fine here. Tell Paul it’s all okay for me to come Sunday to the twins.”

“Yeah, will do.  What about Jamie? Has your mum gone ballistic?”

Nah, he’s fine. She read the letter from school and then asked him to explain. He told her exactly what happened and she just said to watch his step and never go further than he absolutely has to if he ever has to get himself out of trouble again. Don’t think he’ll have to actually. Can’t see that lot coming back for more… can you?”

“No way. From what I heard, Naismith was yelling away when Jamie had him in that arm lock!  Anyway, I’ll see ya tomorrow then…?”

“Yeah, see ya, bye and… you know.”

“Love you too… bye.”

I closed my phone, then turned and said

“Craig’s okay for Sunday lunch at the twins’ place and oh, yeah, his mum’s fine with what happened at school today. Well not fine but… you know what I mean… she’s not angry or grounding Jamie or anything. He’s just got to be careful when he uses that karate stuff on someone, that’s all.”

“It was totally self-defence though, wasn’t it?” Will asked.

“It seems so from what Jamie told Craig, Mr Stonebridge and the Head. Plus it appears his version was all backed up by the other guys round the lockers.  So Naismith hadn’t a hope of swinging the blame at all.”

“Good, I don’t like him, never did. Jamie should’ve just kneed him in the goolies,” Will announced as he began to head for his room.

“No, that would’ve put him in the same position as Naismith if you think about it,” I replied.

“How?” Will paused in his step and queried back.

“What Jamie used were, according to Craig defensive moves only, not offensive. If he’d gone for Naismith’s goolies, as you put it, then he’d be in the wrong too, as that’d be offensive and puts him in the same position as Naismith,” I explained.

“Oh, I see. Yes, well he should have given him more grief though,” Will replied as he headed away to his room.

I smiled to myself and secretly agreed with Will as I set the dishwasher off and followed him upstairs. I entered my room and sat at my desk to read through the stuff Craig’d given me. I reached over and booted up my computer and checked out a couple of the websites mentioned. I sat back and wondered for a few minutes, then resolutely opened my e-mail program and composed three e-mails to organisations that were listed, giving a brief description of my circumstances and asked if they might be in a position to help me at all. I then bcc’d them to Craig and also to Adrian with a covering explanation to say that it was all James’s fault I’d started this and what did he think? I felt safe in sending them… after all it was only an enquiry at this stage… After clicking on ‘send’ I closed the machine down and read set books until it was time for bed.

I got ready to take a shower and just beat Will into the bathroom we shared. Several minutes later I was back in my room and in bed. Funnily enough I felt a lot less ‘in the air’ over things and after turning out my bedside light fell asleep very quickly.

End Chapter 3

Many thanks for the emails, it's always a pleasure to recieve them and to reply to them all. I have had a long summer break and I hope the new story the sequel to William is enjoyed as much as William seems to have been. Dont forget my Yahoo group has all the story chapters in the files section.

Paul Jamison - Autumn 2009

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