By Paul Jamison
Chapter – 17
Will’s viewpoint – continued
......“Bloody hell! What’re you doing here?”…I managed to squeak out colouring up ferociously as I did so.
“Happy birthday Will…” Liam’s Cheshire cat expression grinned back at me,
“…and put your eyes back in your head, this is all for my boyfriend when I get to find him,”
I just gawped, getting redder by the second. I turned tail and fled back into my bedroom and sat on my bed, then the funny side of it all hit me and I started giggling to myself. A few minutes later, Liam called out that he was done.
“Okay, thanks,” I giggled back and went through to shower and stuff.
I finished in the bathroom and dressed in school uniform as I guessed I was going to school as normal. I sorted my books into my backpack and was going to head off downstairs for some breakfast, but curiosity got the better of me and I sneaked across the landing and peered round the slightly open door of the other bedroom I supposed Liam had been in last night. The room was empty, but there were bags on the floor, the bed had been slept in and there were some clothes in a pile on the floor by the bed.
I didn’t know quite what to make of this new situation. Liam certainly hadn’t been staying here when I went to bed last night as Rick’d taken him home, I thought. I turned round and picked up my backpack and went on downstairs for some breakfast. Perhaps there would be some explanations to come, I hoped as I went downstairs.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“He’s coming down now. Quiet everyone!” I said to Rick, Frank and Liam.
We were busy chatting together in the kitchen awaiting the birthday boy’s arrival for breakfast.
The kitchen door opened and Will appeared. He suddenly stopped when he saw everyone assembled, including his dad and broke into a huge smile when he heard the ragged strains of Happy Birthday emanating from us all. There was laughter all round. Then Frank said
“Happy birthday Son,” and he moved forward to give Will a hug and a birthday card. “Sorry, no more prezzies, I’m afraid, you’ve had them all already,” Frank said laughing.
Will smiled and said
“Thanks, Dad. The computer’s just amazing and the clothes too,”
I stepped forward and handed Will a small box and a birthday card. He looked a little surprised to be getting a gift from us, but smiled and sat down at the table where he carefully opened it to reveal a little iPod shuffle player.
“Oh wow! Amazing, thanks very much,” he said delightedly.
Will was fiddling with the iPod when Liam came forward and slipped an envelope into his hands.
“Happy birthday, Will,” he said.
Will put the player down and opened the bronze coloured envelope to reveal a computer designed card that Liam had obviously done himself. Will laughed at the front, a design of a rainbow heart and flags with Happy Birthday at the base. Then opening it he giggled and went red as he saw a pipe style picture that was decidedly naughty and he’d signed the inside with a Happy Birthday also.
“Did you do this yourself?” Will asked Liam.
“Um… Yes actually. I like playing around with stuff like that,” Liam replied.
“Thanks, it’s funny,” Will said, putting the card with the others he’d just received.
“I hate to rush anyone,” I cut in, “but we’ve to be at school for five to nine and your father and I have an appointment with the Head at half past. So let’s get breakfast and get sorted can we?” I said.
Rick had been making toast and put a serving plateful on the table. We all tucked in and soon had breakfast finished. Rick picked up his keys and turning to us all said
“Got to rush. I’ve an awful lot on today. Liam, I’ll give you a lift as I need to have a chat with you on the way, okay?”
Liam nodded, picked up his backpack and said bye to the rest of us, and followed Rick out to the garage. A minute or two later they drove off up the road.
“What’s with Liam?” Will immediately asked us. “I almost bumped into him in the bathroom this morning. I was taken by surprise!”
“Liam’s having some trouble at home just now and will be staying here until we’ve decided how best to help him,” I replied. “I can’t say for how long yet but the rest of the week for sure, I imagine.”
“Serious trouble?” Frank asked.
“Not sure yet. Seems to be a complete clash between his mother’s religious beliefs and their compatibility with Liam having come out as gay,” I said.
“Oh, that’s tricky,” Frank said.
No more was said on the subject, so Frank, Will and I finished our breakfast and set out for the journey to the school. We dropped Will off at the front entrance and continued to the visitors’ car park. I parked up and we both made our way to the reception. Frank turned to me and quietly said
“Let me handle this headmaster, will you, Paul? I’ve dealings with him before and aim to make it plain that what happened is far from acceptable.”
“Yes, of course,” I agreed. “What’re your feelings about this?” I asked.
“Well, I’d quite a chat on the phone with Rick yesterday evening so I can see that it would probably be best if Darren’s apology was accepted and his father restored both bikes and clothing as new. He called me too, you know, after I’d spoken to Rick, so I was prepared. He’s very keen to smooth things over so I don’t go back on my acceptance of his building quote,” Frank said.
“Ah, yes, he was very keen to do just that when he came round with Darren yesterday evening,” I replied.
“Well, he would be. It’s a big job and a lot of money for him, so I can well understand his need to get it sorted out amicably. I don’t have a problem with that, actually. He’s a good builder and gave a fair price. I saw what he did at your place, so I’m satisfied that he’ll do as good a job for me. Actually more so, now there’s been this unpleasantness, I think, don’t you?”
“Yes, I rather think you’re right there. He’ll want a totally satisfied customer, won’t he?” I smiled.
“Oh, Very much so,” Frank grinned. “I’ll get a first rate job from him, I’m sure!”
Just then Mary Naylor joined us. We exchanged greetings and then I asked
“Mary, how’s Justin today? And what are your thoughts on this now?”
“Well, Justin’s fine. He woke this morning with a bit of a sore head. The doc says two days rest, then back to school, but no PE, swimming or sports till after the stitches come out. Mr Clarke’s been on to us and offered to replace all the damaged clothes and bike instantly, that’s if we’ll not push things with the police. Darren and his father are with the Head before us this morning and I fully expect him to be suspended. I spoke to my husband Philip last night and he agreed that we should take the stuff and forget it. I can’t see any benefit to us in hauling this lad through the juvenile court if the school are reasonably tough on him and his father appears to have been from what you’ve told me last night?
“So the general view is then… we take the compensation and as long as Mr Clarke sticks to his side of it, is also firm with his boy, Darren admits to and the school recognises the offence and deals with it, we’ll leave it at that?” Frank asked.
“I’m happy with that,” Mary replied.
I nodded my agreement also and we all followed Frank to the reception desk.
“Good morning,” Frank said to the receptionist, “Commander Barnes, Mrs Naylor and Paul Frost here to see the Head at nine thirty as arranged,” Frank said concisely.
The receptionist had us all sign in and issued with Visitor badges then directed us to seats in the waiting area. She then got on the phone to tell the Head we’d arrived.
We sat for a minute or two, then the Head’s secretary appeared with Mr Clarke and Darren and they both headed towards the main door until Mr
Clarke spotted us all waiting and came over.
“Darren’s been suspended until next week and he’s on a final warning that any re-occurrence of his behaviour and he’s up to the governors and probably out for good,” Mr Clarke said. Darren hung back staring hard at the floor, a picture of disconsolate youth.
“I trust that’s as satisfactory as we can hope for and we can put this behind us now?” he asked.
“Yes, if that’s the case, there’s no further harassing, the damaged bikes are sorted out, together with the clothing then we’ve no further problem,” Frank replied.
“Oh, there’ll be no more nonsense like that Commander, I assure you,” Mr Clarke replied. “Darren’s learnt his lesson as far as that’s concerned, haven’t you?” he said turning to Darren as he finished.
“Yes, Dad,” Darren quietly replied.
With that Mr Clarke and Darren turned and left the school, heading towards the car park. We turned our attention to the Head’s secretary who’d remained quietly waiting until the exchange between the Clarke’s and us was over then asked us to accompany her to the offices.
Just under fifteen minutes later we returned our badges to the reception desk and left the school building. The meeting with the Head had been a simple acceptance of Darren’s behaviour that he’d admitted. Darren had been given formal suspension until the next Monday with a dire warning of what would happen if there was any re-occurrence and then we were on our way out with all we had hoped for achieved. The Head had also said that a formal warning about bullying of any kind would be brought to the full school’s attention during assembly that day.
“Thought so,” Mary said as we walked to the cars. “Three days and a governor’s chuck out warning if it happens again,” she said.
“Yes, you were quite right,” I commented.
“Well, I’ve been a governor at the primary school, so I know how these things work!” she smiled.
Frank and I smiled back. We’d just got to our cars when I remembered Will’s entreaty to find out when he could see Justin.
“Oh, Mary, when can the birthday boy call round?” I asked.
“I’d be very surprised if he’d not already heard that by text from the doctor’s surgery waiting room,” she replied smiling. “The answer is after school today, okay? He can come round for his tea, bring Justin’s homework and they can spend an hour together. How does that sound? He’ll have to come on the bus, but they’re used to that,” she said. “I’ll run him round when they’re done chatting,” she finished with a smile.
We then got into our cars and with a wave drove off.
“Pretty much what I hoped for,” Frank commented as I drove.
“Yes indeed,” I agreed. “I hope it all pans out and that really is the end of the unpleasantness?”
“Oh, I’m sure it’s sorted now,” Frank said. “Mr Clarke made that quite plain, I think, don’t you? I don’t know what he’s said or done to Darren, but that lad is now doing exactly as he’s told,” Frank observed.
“Certainly seems so,” I agreed.
We arrived back home and Frank thanked me for the lift and went to his own house. I went in through the kitchen entrance and switched on the kettle to make a brew. I’d just sat down when the phone rang. I picked up and heard Liam’s voice
“Hi Paul, I’m between periods, but with all that was going on last night and this morning clean forgot to ask if we could go to my house at lunch break to get my computer, hi-fi and the rest of my stuff while my mum is at work. She won’t have missed me to be honest because she’s on early at the hospital this morning, so wouldn’t have disturbed me,” he said.
“Yes, I guess we need to do that. You’re sure that things have come to that though?” I asked.
“No doubt. We can talk through it all tonight and I’ll tell you the whole thing, but I know I can’t stay there anymore,” Liam replied.
“Okay then, what time at the school gates?”
“One o’clock, I’ve just about an hour, okay?” Liam told me.
“Is that enough time?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ve got it all ready, though it doesn’t look like it. Everything’s disconnected and ready to take,” he replied.
“Well, we should just about manage it then,” I told him. “Be ready at the gates, okay? We can’t waste any time at all,” I said.
“I’ll be there, and thanks so much,” he said as he rang off.
I put the phone down and then picked it straight up and called Rick.
“Hi, it’s me. Liam’s called asking for help to get the rest of his stuff from his mother’s,” I told him.
“Yes, he mentioned that to me when I took him in this morning,” Rick replied. “He also told me a lot about the row they had leading to all this.”
“Oh, what happened?” I asked.
“It’s all to do with Liam telling his mother earlier in the summer that he was gay and that he wasn’t going to attend her particular church anymore. There’s been growing antagonism since over it, which ended last night with a row over his being told he was going to attend some teen counselling retreat to turn him straight. He said a shouting match began and Liam just locked himself in his room till his mother ran out of things to say and went to bed. He started to sort his stuff out and then rang us and the rest is history!”
“I see. Has
“Yeah, rang me ten minutes ago. He says if we’ll have him there should be no problems with any authorities over it. He’s pretty much been chucked out, and at his age that can mean he can make his own arrangements. It’s up to us. Do we have him or not?” Rick asked me.
“I think so, but I really need to know how you feel too. I mean a week and a half ago there was just the two of us and now we might end up as surrogate parents to two teens by tonight!” I said.
“Yes, I know what you mean. It’s a little scary, so let’s see what the financial implications are and have a proper talk with him tonight. In the meantime, I think he needs our help, and that I’m happy to give him even if it’s only temporary till something else, or other family members step in?” Rick said.
“Yes, I agree with you there. That’s the best plan, I think. In the meanwhile I’ll help him rescue his stuff. We don’t want the mother refusing to give it to him or smashing it up or anything daft like that,” I said.
“Okay, yes, best we can do I think. I’ll see you later.” Rick finished and rang off.
I next called the studios and explained I’d be about half an hour later than normal, but that would make little difference as schedules had already been set up. That done, I went to the garage in search of a couple of cardboard boxes. I found three sturdy wine cases and put them in the back of the car as I thought they would come in handy for books and CDs etc. I then added a couple of empty bags in case Liam didn’t have sufficient to put his things in. Then I returned to the kitchen to have a coffee and think.
I went to the upstairs bedrooms and had a look around and realised that if Liam was to be with us for any length of time we’d need to get the same amount of stuff for him as we’d got for Will a week or more before. I decided to send Rick an email with some suggestions and a thought that we might make a list of what’s needed and I’d go to the Ikea branch the following day. That done, I looked at the time and realised I needed to be on my way to collect Liam from the school gates.
I was ready and waiting outside the Royal Grammar at ten to one. A few moments later Liam ran from the gate and got in the front with me.
“Hello, you’re early?” I commented.
“Yes, had a study period so got out a few minutes before the lunch bell,” he replied.
“Okay, that’s good,” I said as I pulled out and joined the traffic flow.
We made speedy progress to Liam’s home and within fifteen minutes were inside and loading the boxes I’d brought. I left Liam packing while I carried loads down to the car. After about four trips and his computer, hi-fi, CD collection and books were all done; he turned to me and said,
“Just my clothes now,” he smiled, as he took them from the hangers in his wardrobe and packed them into the bags I’d brought.
Another trip to the car and there was just the one bag remaining.
“Is any of the furniture your own?” I asked.
“No, my parents bought it all, so I guess we leave all of that?” he replied.
“Yes, we’ll get anything you need from now on okay,” I told him.
Liam took an envelope out of his blazer pocket and then dropping his house keys inside stuck it down. We went down with the last bag and he put the envelope on the hallway table. Then with a quick glance around we left through the front door which Liam pulled closed so that it locked behind him. Then with a smile he followed me out to the car with the last bag of his stuff. We put it in the back with the rest of his stuff and drove off back to school. He was silent, absorbed in his own thoughts, as I drove and I did not interrupt them. I pulled up outside the school with five minutes to spare and turning to him said,
“I’ll be home after eight this evening. So we’ll unload all of this then, okay? It will all be just fine in our secure car park,” I explained.
Liam nodded and with a quiet thank you to me slipped out of the car and back through the school gates to join the boys making their way back into the buildings. I watched him disappear and then pulled away to go to the studio and work.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I was utterly gobsmacked when I ran into Liam in the bathroom, but found it quite funny after, though. I was pleased that Dad was there this morning and I loved the presents I’d already had and the iPod shuffle too, Liam’s card was good and the inside was quite naughty showing funny pipe figures in a blow job position.
I really missed the ride to school with Justin and wondered when we’d be doing that again. Not for a while I thought after the accident. After I got dropped off I went into school to my locker and it was all round what Darren had done. Some were saying he’d get expelled. I doubted that. He’d never got in trouble before as far as I knew, so an expulsion wasn’t likely, I thought. I was still sorting out my books when my mobile went off. I was checking the message, which was from Justin, asking me to go round after school as he was off for two days, and could I bring his homework? He’d added the last bit ‘cos his mum told him to, I think, when the twins appeared.
“Hi,” they said almost in unison, “How’s Jus?” they asked.
“Oh, nicely stitched up,” I grinned back at them, “and we were right, there’s absolutely nothing in there to get damaged according to his X-rays,” I joked.
“We knew that,” they laughed. “Oh, a cop came round to chat with us yesterday evening too,” Eric said.
“Oh what did he ask?” I replied.
“Did we see anything and what did we see if we did?” Steve answered.
“What d’you say to them?” I asked him.
“Only that we saw Darren steaming off as soon as Justin fell off. That’s all,” he replied.
“Not much more we could say really,” Eric added. “We were in front but he passed us pedalling like fury, though,” he said.
“Yeah! Stupid sod,” I commented. “His dad brought him round to apologise and ‘make amends’ last night,” I told them.
“Really?” they asked. “What did he say?”
“Oh, just crap about how he was sorry and felt really bad about it all and it won’t ever happen again and would I please accept his apology? Didn’t really want to, but everyone seemed to expect me to, so I said okay,” I told them.
“Yeah ,’spose so,” the twins said.
The bell rang, so we all moved off quickly for first period. The day dragged without Justin and I wasn’t concentrating as much as usual. I was so pleased when it was lunch. I hoped to see Liam, but then remembered that the Sixth could go out. I had my lunch with the twins and we just chatted about general stuff till assembly.
The Headmaster announced that a boy had been suspended for assaulting another on a journey home and that he’d been given his final warning. Then we got the usual no toleration lecture and the rules spelt out to us again. We had the usual announcements and then we were dismissed to afternoon classes.
The afternoon dragged on and I couldn’t wait for the last bell. I collected all my books and got assigned work for Justin. The masters had it ready for me, so that helped. That done, I set off and joined the queue for the buses home. I couldn’t wait to see how Justin was and tell him all about Liam arriving and my birthday too.
I got off the bus about three-quarters of an hour later; that bus was so slow, stopping every other street corner. At last I was near Justin’s and hurried the last hundred metres or so to his house, ran up the drive and rang his bell.
Mrs Naylor opened the door after a few seconds.
“Hello, Will, come in. The wounded are in the living room ‘resting’ so nothing boisterous, please, till those stitches are out,” she told me. “Go through and tea will be ready in half an hour, okay?”
“Thanks, Mrs Naylor,” I replied, “How’s he doing?” I asked.
“Oh nothing another day of rest and a good sleep won’t cure. Go and see for yourself,” she said smiling at me.
I put down my backpack and went through into the living room. Jus was propped up on the sofa with a mug of tea watching TV.
“Hi,” I said.
He looked towards me and instantly a big grin appeared almost from ear to ear he said
“Happy birthday, Will. I’m so pleased to see you. It’s been soooo… boring here all day,” he said. “Sit down. I’ve got a present for you here too.”
I sat down next to Jus and he pulled me to him and we had a nice lingering kiss. I broke away with a giggle. Then I told him all the news about Liam turning up during the night and how I walked in on him in the bathroom stark naked that morning. Justin’s eyes bugged out at the stark naked bit.
“Is he… you know, really fit?” Jus asked me.
Yeah, you know he is. We’ve seen him in Speedos loads,” I answered.
“I know, but not starkers, though!” Jus added.
“Well, I was too and I was dead embarrassed,” I told him.
Justin laughed out loud…. “I bet… I bet you went beetroot too!” he giggled at me.
“What d’you think? Of course I did, so I scooted out fast…!” I replied.
We carried on laughing and joking for a while and then Mrs Naylor brought in the food on trays so Justin could stay comfortable.
“Don’t expect waitress service after today!” she laughingly told him.
“I won’t Mum,” he replied. Then turning to me he said. “I’ll be back to all the chores tomorrow, you’ll see,” he said with a smirk.
Mrs Naylor then told us that Darren and his father would be round at six to apologise to Justin.
“Oh, crikey,” Justin said, “do I have to see him?” he asked his mum.
“Yes, I’m afraid so, Justin. It’s part of the deal. Just let him say his piece and leave it at that, okay?” she replied.
“Okay, Mum,” Justin groaned.
We ate our food and then Mrs Naylor said it was time for me to go and Justin to get ready for Darren’s visit. I waited for her to go out the room so I could say goodbye to Justin properly, but she just didn’t.
“Oh, here’s your birthday present and card,” Justin said fishing up a carrier bag from beside the sofa. “I nearly forgot with talking about everything else,” he said.
“Mmm, thanks, I’ll have to wait till I get home now… but I’ll text you okay?” I said as I gathered up my stuff and the carrier bag and followed Mrs Naylor to their car.
“Can I call tomorrow after school?” I asked Mrs Naylor as we went out the door.
“Yes, I can’t think of any reason not to. Can you bring Justin’s homework also?” she asked.
“Yeah, sure, no problem,” I replied as we set off for home.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Liam and I were sat at the table eating our meal, when I heard a car draw up and a few moments later Will came into the kitchen carrying his backpack and a carrier bag.
“Hi, how’s the birthday boy?” I asked.
“Tired,” he replied. “I’ve just come from Justin’s; he’ll be okay, I think. Darren and his dad are due there. So I had to come away,” he told us.
Will sat down at the kitchen table and brought up the carrier bag he’d come in with. He opened it and took out a small gift wrapped box setting it down on the table he pushed the bag aside and started to open the present.
“Justin’s present,” he told us.
“You didn’t open it at Justin’s?” Liam asked.
“No, didn’t have time. Darren was coming round to apologise like he did here last night,” Will explained.
Suddenly Will looked at us and then his present and put it back in the carrier bag. Getting to his feet he said,
“I’m going up to my room in case it’s personal,” he grinned at us.
“Oh! Wonder what it could be,” I laughed. “Yes, sure, we all need to have a chat this evening okay, so come down when Paul’s home,” I said as he left the room.
“Okay,” Will called back as he climbed the stairs.
Liam and I continued our meal and after we’d cleared away Liam got out from his backpack a large thick brown envelope and tipped the contents onto the table for me to see.
“This is all the stuff I managed to grab last night,” he told me. “My mum kept all my papers in this envelope in her bureau, but it was never locked. So I just grabbed it before I slipped out the door,” he said.
“Right, well, let’s see what we have here then?”
There was Liam’s passport, social security card, two bank savings books and his birth certificate. One of the bank savings deposit books had just less than six hundred pounds in it and was in Liam’s own name, the other a Trusteeship account maturing on his eighteenth birthday. That had just over twelve thousand pounds credited to it.
“What are the two accounts?” I asked him
“This one’s mine” he said indicating the smaller sum. “It’s mostly the money I earned working in the chemist’s this summer holidays,” he replied. “The other,” he picked up the trust account, “is what my grandfather left me when I was seven and I can have it when I’m eighteen,” he replied.
“Who’re the trustees on that account?” I asked.
“The bank,” he replied. “Grandfather made it that way as he never liked my mother it seems. I don’t know why. I’ve never been told,” he explained.
“Well, you’ve all the important documents to be independent that’s the main thing,” I said. “We need to know what you would like and how you think Paul and me can help,” I asked.
“I want to be able to finish my A-levels without all this religious pressure about me not being gay on my back all the time. My Mum’s just not been able to leave it alone since I told her that I was gay earlier this summer,” Liam replied.
“So if we can give you a home, then you’ll do your best to fit in with our household and to get the exam results you need to get to university and we shall see what needs to be done from there?” I said.
“You could really do all that for me?” Liam asked.
“The short answer, and I’ve discussed it with Paul, is yes, we will if that’s what you would like. Consider here your home until you are ready and able to go it alone after university,” I said.
“Thank you, so much,” Liam replied with tears streaming down his face. “I just can’t believe it yet,” he sniffed.
I put my hand on his shoulder to re-assure him that it indeed was alright.
“Welcome to our home, Liam,” I said.
End of Chapter 17
Hope you all are enjoying the story so far. I am also published on IOMFATS I've now both Google and Yahoo groups, they have the same content
just choose the one that suits you best. Chapters, pictures and
information is all there especially for those non-British readers.
Hope you all are enjoying the story so far. I am also published on IOMFATS I've now both Google and Yahoo groups, they have the same content just choose the one that suits you best. Chapters, pictures and information is all there especially for those non-British readers.
I have very much enjoyed your emails and yes, I do get to answer them all. The next chapter will be up soon.
I have very much enjoyed your emails and yes, I do get to answer them all. The next chapter will be up soon.
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