By Paul Jamison



Chapter – 27


Will’s viewpoint


I was woken on the Saturday by my alarm at the same time as for school and groaned a bit before reaching out to turn it off. After a few moments of stretching I slipped out from under the duvet and padded into the bathroom in my boxers to take care of needs and shower. Some fifteen minutes later I went down to the kitchen for some breakfast.

I was somewhat surprised to see Rick, Paul, Liam, Craig and Mrs Sutherland all sat round our table drinking tea or coffee.

“Um… Hi everyone,” I stumbled out.

“Morning, Will,” they replied.

“Ready to go shopping?” Paul asked.

“Um… I guess so…” I managed to mumble. “Um… is there time for tea and toast first?” I hesitantly asked.

“Just about, if you’re quick!” Liam said, grinning away as he dropped two slices of bread into the toaster and pushed over an empty mug for me to fill from the large teapot on the table.

I poured myself some tea and began to drink it looking round the table wondering how everyone was so ready to go as early as this on a Saturday!

Just then the toaster pinged and Liam put the toast on a plate and slid it across to me. I couldn’t quite get my head round all this activity. I quickly buttered my toast and munched away. A few moments later Paul got up and announced

“I’ll get the car out now, Will. Please lock up and join us all as soon as you’ve finished. We’ve heaps to get done today, okay?”

“Yeah, okay, no probs,” I sorta mumbled back through mouthfuls of toast and carried on munching.

A few minutes later I too had grabbed my coat and going out through the kitchen locked the backdoor and garage to join the others in Paul’s car. We quickly headed off into town. On the way it was explained that Craig was also coming on the canal holiday with us and also needed some wet weather clothing. So we were doing one trip for it for us all.

I grinned happily as I’d remembered that we were meeting Jus in town too. So perhaps I could persuade his Mum to let him stay over tonight. I was hoping so anyway as I’d been a bit down that last week with one thing and another and could do with some private time with Jus. Seeing him in school was okay, but it wasn’t the same as time alone and there’d been so little of that cos of all the homework we’d had night after night, not to mention two lots of extra maths. James had been brilliant, but it’d still been very hard indeed.

I’d zoned out into my own thoughts during the short journey, but came out of them as we parked up in the shoppers’ car park and headed into the precinct and the outdoor centre store. It was just five minutes to nine and the store was about to open. We came through the doors onto the shopping level and I saw Justin and Mrs Naylor walking towards the shop in front of us. I gave a whistle and Justin turned round. Seeing me he nudged his mother and said something and they both turned and stopped to wait for us all to catch up.

As soon as we caught up I stood alongside Justin as Paul introduced Mrs Naylor to Mrs Sutherland. We then carried on to the store. Once inside we made our way to the clothing dept and started trying on various cagoules and fleeces. I eventually found a royal blue with black flashes cagoule that fitted nicely and could have a fleece zipped into it to make it a double protection garment. I thought that it looked great so chose the combination. Jus had spotted the same range and chose a similar one but in a navy with grey flashes colour combination. Liam had a grey and orange one and Craig went for red and black. Paul bought himself a new one of the same sort too. I think it was dark green and navy blue. He also added a couple of pairs of waterproof over- trousers to his pile. It’d taken nearly half an hour to choose the five sets of kit and we made our way to the checkout.

Outside the store we were all loaded with bags. Liam said he had to go to work and disappeared off to Boots the Chemists after saying bye to us all. Justin asked his mother if he could come over to mine and stay. Mrs Naylor turned to Paul and asked.

“Do you really want another one this weekend considering you’ve got him for the week very soon?”

“Not a problem,” Paul replied.

“Yeah!” I said.

“Just a moment,” Mrs Naylor said and turned to Jus. “Okay, you can go back today and stay over, but you’re to come home after breakfast all right? You’ve homework still to do and Sunday’s the last chance you’ll have to finish it,” she said firmly.

“Okay, Mum,” Justin replied with a big grin towards me. I knew exactly what that meant and was already feeling good about the day.

Paul called everyone to order for a moment and said

“I’ve got a few things to pick up and then I’ll be heading back to home. Can I suggest that we all meet back at the car in one hour? Is that okay?”

Mrs Naylor and Mrs Sutherland were talking about going for a coffee and a chat. Craig looked bored by the thought of going with his mum. So I said I needed some things and could I go to the department store with Justin. Craig picked up on that and sorta attached himself to us. I had a thought and whispered something to Jus. He looked back at me and at Craig then nodded in agreement.

“Okay, I’ll be back in an hour,” Paul announced and headed off to do his shopping. Jus, Craig and I grabbed our stuff and started to head for the food court to grab a coke and find somewhere to sit to put my plan into operation. Mrs Naylor called after Justin that she would take Mrs Sutherland home and would we tell Paul when we met up. Jus said he would and we three turned and headed off.

We got to the food court and got ourselves cheeseburgers and drinks and found a table. We munched for a bit then Justin said to Craig

“How do you like it at our school?”

“It’s better than where I was,” Craig replied.

“Where were you before?” I asked.

“A huge comprehensive not far from the base,” Craig explained.

“It was okay, but so busy and not too good on anything art or drama oriented.”

“Did you enjoy our dinner party the other day?” I asked.

“Oh! Yeah, that was brilliant. I really wasn’t expecting food as good as that you know,” Craig grinned.

“We’d instructions by phone from Paul. That helped a lot,” I said.

“I’d never have known. It was great, really.” Craig paused and then asked, “are you two a couple?”

Jus looked over and nodded and replied, “Yeah, we’re boyfriends, Justin’s been my boyfriend for several weeks now. Since the last week of the summer holidays actually,” I explained as Jus slipped his hand into mine under the table and I squeezed his back.

“Do you like Liam?” Justin asked right out to Craig.

Craig paused, then eventually replied, “Yeah, I do a lot,”

“So, you’re gay as well then?” said Justin pushing home his point.

Craig coloured quickly like I did when anything uncomfortable was mentioned and quietly said

“Yes, I think I am, though it’s taken me a while to accept the obvious really,” Craig smiled weakly as us. we both smiled back, encouragingly I thought.

“Obvious?” Jus asked him. “I don’t think so, not really.”

“Oh, I think I am and may be more so in time as I get confidence now I know where I’m at,” Craig grinned.

“Oh, are you thinking of becoming a drag queen then?” Justin said, laughing all over his face.

I howled with laughter and dug Justin in the ribs. “That’s not fair, shut up,” I managed to get out.

“No, nothing like that at all,” Craig laughed back.

“School’s actually pretty safe and tolerant,” I said when I’d calmed down. “There’s absolutely no tolerance of bullying or abuse of any type at all, and Mr Stonebridge is the master to go see if you get any hassle. He sorted Dazzer out, but I told you all about that when you came to dinner,” I said.

“That’s good to know. My previous school had quite a military attitude as so many were base families and being gay still isn’t fully okay in the forces, you know,” Craig said.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. My dad’s told me quite a lot about that recently,” I said.

We finished our food and wandered round the shops for another half hour before making our way back to the car park to find Paul already waiting for us.

“Mrs Sutherland’s gone with my Mum,” Jus said.

“I know. They came by here a couple of minutes ago,” Paul replied as we piled our bags into the back and got in the car. 

We headed back for home shopping done. Paul dropped Jus off at his house so he could go get stuff to stay over with and we dropped Craig back at his house too. Then we headed for home and had a coffee while I waited for Justin to appear.

* * *    * * * 

Paul’s viewpoint


We came in from the garage with several bags and dumped them down on the utility room floor. I also had a large pack of meat that I intended to use to make up some dishes to take with us for ease of preparation while we were on the boat. I took my new wet weather kit to our room and checked it for size again before removing the labels and putting them on hangers. Then returning to the kitchen I saw Will sat in the window waiting for Justin to arrive.

“What are your plans today?” I asked.

“Um… not sure. We’ll prolly do some work and go on the computer for a while and just hang really,” Will said smiling. “Oh, we came out to Craig too this morning,” he added.

“Oh, well done. Liam was getting a bit frustrated tiptoeing around the issue all the time. Still, it’s just your families who know and your chosen friends and it’s probably best to keep it like that for the time being?” I suggested.

“Yeah, I think that’s best,” Will said. “Don’t you?” he asked.

“I do to be honest, yes, for now at least.” I replied.

Will grinned back and then said “Thanks for getting us those cags this morning. I hadn’t realised that we’d need them, but we’ll be out of the boat and stuff a lot, won’t we?” 

“Yes, we will. Not to worry you’ve not gone before. So you won’t’ve really known what you might’ve needed. Luckily I’ve done a bit with my parents and also some college friends too. So I’ve a bit of experience at this boat lark,” I said. “I’m looking forward to a great time away actually,” I added. “Is Jus looking forward to it as well?”

“Oh yeah. Compared to a week at his aunt’s it was ‘no contest’ really,” Will grinned. “Um… could I invite a couple more friends to hang out this afternoon?”

“Yes, no problem at all. Who’ve you got in mind? We’ve not really seen any of your other friends from school at all and if you want them to stay for supper and they’re allowed to then that’s fine too,” I answered. “But let me know numbers by three o’clock, please, so I’ve got enough to feed you all, okay?”

“I’d be the twins, Steve and Eric,” Will replied. “I’ll text them now, okay,”

“Yes, just let me know if they’re staying for supper, all right?” I said.

Will nodded as he busily sent a text to his friends. He had just finished when I noticed Justin come up the drive heading to the back door.

“Justin’s arrived,” I said, as there was a loud knock at the kitchen door. Will shot out of his seat and over to the door to let Justin in.

Will opened the kitchen door to reveal not only Justin but Rick who’d just returned from a shopping trip.

“Aren’t you going to let us in then?” Justin asked as Will just stood there seemingly nonplussed by more people at the door than he expected.

“Oh, Yeah, sorry, um… Hi, come in.”

He brought himself out of it and held the door wider to let Rick and Justin into the kitchen. Will immediately took Justin up to his room while Rick sat down at the kitchen table watching me with my food preparations.

“What’s doing?” Rick asked.

“Just getting ahead for the holiday,” I replied. “I’m doing a cottage pie and a steak and mushroom pie to take with us so we’ve some food ready to eat with minimum preparation and a steak and mushroom pie for tonight to try it out on the lads,” I grinned in explanation.

“Can I help?” Rick asked me.

“Yeah, just peel those potatoes for me. Get them on to boil while I slice up these mushrooms and brown the mince off, thanks,” I replied.

We worked away for a half hour and had the cottage pie into the top oven and the steak and mushrooms gently casseroling away till they were cooked to tender in the main the oven when the front door bell rang.

“Oh, that’s probably friends for Will,” I said, as Rick went out of the kitchen to answer the door. True enough he returned a few moments later with a pair of identical twins in tow, one wearing grey the other blue.

“Found these two strays on the doorstep,” Rick grinned.

“Hi, guys,” I said from where I was working at the cooker top. “I’m Paul and that’s Rick you’ve just met at the door. I guess you’re the famous twins Will’s told us about?” I said grinning at the pair of slightly confused teens standing nervously in our kitchen.

“Um… yes,” the boys said in almost unison. “Didn’t know we were famous though,” one of them ventured shyly.

“Not to worry. Plenty of time to become famous,” Rick quipped and both lads laughed.

Having broken the ice I asked “Are you lads able to stay for supper?”

“Yeah, thanks, we can,” they replied together. “We’ve to be home by ten though,” one of them added.

Further conversation was cut short by the sudden arrival of Will and Justin into the kitchen, whereupon after the briefest of introductions the twins were whisked off without further ado to be shown round the house and shortly all four boys disappeared up to Will’s room.

I went back to my cooking, Rick made us both a pot of tea and he watched and helped where he could. Then doing a quick calculation I asked him to put the extra section into the kitchen table so we could all fit comfortably round it for supper that I’d planned for around seven that evening.

At about half-past four Liam arrived home from work and came into the kitchen.

“Hey, how’s your day been?” I asked him.

“Work was fine, but my mother came into the store and tried to corner me to talk,” he replied a little agitatedly.

“Can you recall exactly what she said and the circumstances?” I asked him anxiously.

“Yeah! Every word,” he replied emphatically.

Just then Liam’s mobile bleeped a message warning and he sat down at the table and checked his phone. His expression changed to anger and his face went quite red. He stood and silently passed his phone to Rick who read the message Liam had displayed, passed it to me to read and then without more ado, got up, picked up his keys and turning to me and Liam said

“Come on, we’re going and get you a new phone now, you’re not putting up with this day after day,” Rick said. “Oh, and save that message to the memory. Remember what Adrian told you, okay?”

Liam nodded and did as Rick asked and they both left through the kitchen door to the garage and a minute or two later Rick drove off with Liam to get a new mobile. I turned off Liam’s old phone dropped it into a drawer in the kitchen unit and carried on with my preparations.

* * *   * * *

 Will’s Viewpoint

As soon as my bedroom door was shut Jus grabbed me from behind and started to rub himself up against my bum while holding me round the waist. I giggled loudly and squeaked at him to stop, but then realised how much he was turning me on. I rotated myself round to face him and landed a proper plonker of a kiss right on his lips. When we both surfaced I managed to get out with

“Hang on till tonight, then we’ll really do it properly again? I’m really up for it too,” I told him. “The twins are on their way over now to hang for the rest of the afternoon. So let’s get the computer on and some games ready?” I said.

“The twins?” Jus asked,

“Yeah, they’ve been good mates through this stuff and they’ve been keen to see where I’m living. They used to come round when Dad was home next door, but I’ve not really seen them all summer what with one thing and another,” I told him.

“Yeah, they’re okay. Split them up though if we do pairs on games. They’re so deadly together they just know what the other’s going to do. They won’t give us a chance at beating them,” Justin replied. “Get set up then, we can play till they get here,” Jus suggested.

I got my games controllers out of the cupboard and we untangled the connectors and plugged them into my computer. After a few moments they were recognised and installed. Justin chose a game from the few I had and we started to play. Jus easily won the first game. I was so out of practice having done next to no gaming over the summer and my old computer just crashing with most games I tried to play on it. Not this new one, however. It was just so quick at responding.

I heard the front door bell go and nudged Justin. We got up and hurriedly went downstairs to find Rick’d let the twins in and they were in the kitchen talking to Paul and Rick. I quickly introduced them and Jus and I took them on a tour of the house ending back at my room.

“That’s Liam’s room,” I said pointing across the hallway. “And this is mine,” I said as I opened the door to let Steve and Eric enter. We all went in and Jus flopped down on my bed and I sat in my computer chair. Steve looked about then said

“It’s a brilliant room. Is that your new computer?” he asked.

“Thanks, yeah, Paul built it for me; it’s my birthday present from my Dad.” I explained. “Have a go.”

They didn’t need a second invite. Within moments we were all playing games and having a lot of fun and time just rushed by. Steve and Eric had brought Grand Theft Auto with them and my new machine handled it brilliantly with no crashes at all… Wow, what a difference from my old one! At about seven o’clock Liam came and shouted through the door to us to come and get some supper. So we packed up the games, and cleaned up before going downstairs to the kitchen.

Paul had done a big steak pie and there were mashed potatoes, peas and carrots as well as an extra jug of gravy. We had a brilliant meal and I noticed the twins looking at the picture on the alcove wall and giggling to each other about it. I gave Jus a nudge and whispered to him

“They’ve seen the bare bums picture on the boat,” I giggled. “Wonder what they think?”

“They’ll’ve seen the dining room one too. We showed them in there,” Justin whispered back.

“Mmmm, yes, p’raps they didn’t notice it then?” I said. I looked up and noticed Liam chatting to Rick and said

“Liam, you were late from work today?” I asked

“Well, yes and no. I got back at half four as normal, but there’s been hassle from my mum again and we had to go get me a new phone,” he explained.

“Oh,” I said. I must have looked perplexed as Rick jumped in and said

“We’ll have a chat about it later on, okay?”

“Sure,” I replied and carried on with my food.

 We finished supper and once we’d cleared away we all went through into the sitting room and watched some episodes of the My Family saga. The twins didn’t have the DVD. So were soon laughing away at the portrayal of the family’s exploits on Corfu during Gerald Durrell’s time there.

“It makes loads more sense when you see it like this,” the twins commented.

“Yeah,” I replied. “We’ve been aceing our tests so far on this subject,” I told them. We were chatting away when Steve’s phone bleeped. He took it out and  they checked it and then said

“Mum’s on her way to get us. So we need to get ready to go. Thanks for having us over and thank you for the meal,” they said, turning to Paul as they did.

A few minutes later there was a sound of a car horn being gently sounded and the twins hurried to go.

“See ya Monday,” they said in parting.

“Yeah, see you guys Monday” Jus and I said back.

We both saw the twins out to their mum’s car and locked up as we closed the front door on getting back inside. We went back into the sitting room and sat down on one of the sofas together and looked towards Liam.

“Um…” he began, “my mum came into the shop and tried to corner me to talk, but the manager sent me to do stuff in the backroom and when I got home I got nasty messages on my phone. So Rick said we’ll get a new one and we don’t let on I’ve changed,” Liam explained.

“I’d better have your new number,” I said.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be sending texts out with it to those who I want to have it in a few minutes,” Liam replied.

“Oh, okay,” I said.

Justin was making eyes at me. So after a few more minutes we both made excuses and headed for my room. We had a shower together which was superb as we gave each other slow body rubs and then went to my bed for massage time. We had fun for an hour and then got under the duvet, spooned up to each other and drifted off to sleep.

* * *    * * * 

Paul’s viewpoint

The following morning I was first down. So made breakfast for the five of us thinking that with so much going on that day, a good full English would, I thought, be an excellent start. I was soon joined by Rick and Liam and between them they had the table set and tea and toast made for all. About fifteen minutes later two dozy teens appeared at the kitchen door, no doubt drawn irresistibly by the smell of grilling bacon and sausage wafting up to their lair. They were still dishevelled and dressed only in sweats and joggers.

Liam giggled and commented “Didn’t get much sleep then?” with a big grin.

“Um… yeah, we did fine,” Justin managed to reply.

“Oh, I’m sure you did,” Liam smirked.

“Enough,” I said. You wait till you’ve an overnight guest and it’ll be open season from those two rascals if you don’t hold off on the comments now.”

Will and Justin’s faces broke into a pair of evil grins and after a little nudging they sat down facing Liam, with a mug of tea apiece.

“Don’t give them ideas, please,” Liam replied,”

“Ohhhhh… we don’t need any help. We can manage all on our own,” yhey evilly grinned back.

I brought the conversation to a swift conclusion by putting down platters of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans in front of the two rascals in question and all thoughts of evil vanished as they dealt with the matter in hand… devouring the food in a matter of minutes. I quickly served up the same for both Liam and Rick and after doing a final one for myself sat down to enjoy Sunday breakfast.

“Did your friends enjoy themselves yesterday?” I asked Will and Jus.

“Oh yeah. Did you see them giggling at dinner when they saw the picture though?” Will laughed.

“Oh, so that’s what all that exchanging glances and giggles was about,” I replied.

“They do a lot of looking at each other. They’ve got this knack of talking to each other without actually talking. Seems that loads of twins can do it,” Will replied.

“Yes, I’ve heard that too,” I admitted. “Right! I’m sorry to spoil the party, but we’ve got loads on and Justin has to be home to finish his prep. I promised his mum I’d send him back as soon as we’d had breakfast,” I replied.

“So, when you’ve done here, tidy away please and get ready to go,” I said.

Both boys happily finished their meals and disappeared again back to Will’s room. About fifteen to twenty minutes later they both re-appeared down in the kitchen, Will ready for the day and Justin to go back home. Will took Jus out through the kitchen door and said his goodbyes and a few moments later was back inside the kitchen looking to me for the next move.

“Liam, phone the Sutherlands and see if they are ready for IKEA. Rick’ll be taking you in the CitroŽn, okay? Will, you’ll be helping me for a bit and then when the others arrive back I hope you can help with getting the furniture assembled too as you know the stuff quite well now,” I said, as I poured myself a final cup of tea and sat down in the window.

Liam got on the phone, Rick went out to the garage and got the car out and Will went and helped remove the seats, putting on the roof luggage bars and stacking the seats back in the garage. Then they locked down the garage and came back inside. Liam had just finished talking to the Sutherlands and said

“They’re on their way here in two minutes,” he said. “Who’s going in which car?” he asked.

“I think that you go with Rick and the Sutherlands can follow in their car,” I suggested.

“Will and I won’t be going. We’ve other things to be getting along with,” I said with a smile to Will.

We were all interrupted by the door bell and Liam shot out along the hallway to let the Sutherlands in. They arrived into the kitchen as a group and we discussed the travel arrangements. As soon as they were ready they headed off to the cars and away to IKEA. The minute they’d driven away I took from my pocket the back door key that Vanessa had slipped to me in the mÍlťe of their arrival and said to Will

“Right, Will, would you get the wheelbarrow out from the garage and park it by the backdoor, please,” I asked him.

“Yeah… okay, what for?” he asked with a mystified expression.

“All, will be revealed in a few minutes, okay?” I replied just as mysteriously.

Will went out again to the garage and I went upstairs to the box room and got the Sutherlands’ computers out from behind the piled luggage. I carried down the two new monitors just as Will came back into the kitchen.

“Come and help me with the main units,” I asked him.

He looked wide eyed at the new monitors and said “Where’ve they been hiding? I didn’t know you’d built any new ones.”

“No, you didn’t. It was intended as a surprise and I think we’ve achieved just that!” I said, smugly satisfied that my subterfuge had worked nicely and none of the boys were aware at all of what’d been going on. “They’ve been in the box room for a few days,” I said.

Will helped me bring down the main units and we loaded everything into the wheelbarrow, together with a box of bits for setting everything up and we trundled off down the road to the Sutherlands’ house.

I was just about to put the key in the door at the Sutherlands when it was opened by the boys’ grandmother, Alice.

“Good morning Paul,” she smiled at us. “And this is Will?” she recalled.

“Err, yeah,” Will replied remembering Mrs Reynolds from his Gran’s funeral.

“Do come in. The boys have no idea at all and Rick said he’d be putting the computer units in separately as well, so they don’t know until we are ready to show them both,” she continued.

We took everything into the kitchen. I returned the backdoor key and Mrs Reynolds produced Vanessa’s laptop from under the kitchen table.

“Excellent,” I said. “We can get everything sorted out from here and then when the boys are upstairs assembling their wardrobes you and I, Will can get the computer stands assembled and then unpack the computers so we’re ready to carry them up quietly and have them on the landing ready for them. That’s the plan anyway,” I explained to a wide eyed Will.

“Oh wow, they’ll be totally knocked out,” Will enthused. “Jamie and Craig thought they’d be sharing the old one, you know,” he said.

“We know that,” Grandma Alice said with a big smile. “Can’t wait to see their faces either,” she said.

I got the router unpacked and went to work setting that up. I asked Will to go round with Mrs Reynolds and plug a line splitter into any other telephone line boxes in the house and then re-connect the phone if there was one plugged in. Mrs Reynolds said there were two other points, one in her bedroom and one in the sitting room. Both have phones as did the kitchen one also. Will set off to do that with Mrs Reynolds and returned a few minutes later to say

“All sorted, no problems, phones have dial tone just fine,” he said.

I had Vanessa’s laptop running and had just completed the router settings and was saving them to memory. I clicked for reboot and waited while the router set itself up. Then as soon as that had completed I clicked for the internet and the standard home page appeared.

“We’re online,” I said. “It’s all working just fine. I’ll just check for email and then we’re done here.”

Will had been unpacking the boys’ computers as I had been setting up the internet connection and he asked

“Are you connecting these the same way as ours?”

“Yes, I am hoping to. It works just fine at our house, it’s the simplest way and it’s the same router, so it should be as efficient,” I replied.

We hid both the boy’s new computers under the kitchen table once we’d unpacked them. Alice covered them with an old blanket.

“That should keep casual prying eyes out,” she remarked, smiling at us both.

Will and I took all the boxes and packing out to the garage and neatly stored it out of immediate sight at the back. We returned to the kitchen and enjoyed a cup of coffee. Then Will and I took our leave and I said

“Don’t forget to call us after they’ve got started upstairs,” I reminded Mrs Reynolds. “We’ll be back to finish the job then.”

“Yes, I certainly will,” she smiled.

We left the way we came and trundled back to our house with the wheelbarrow. We stored that back in our garage and went into the kitchen to have a sandwich lunch and wait for Alice’s phone call. Will disappeared to get a book to read while we were waiting and I dealt with a number of emails that had built up over the last day or so. About two hours later Alice called to say they were back and were now busy unloading and carrying the flatpacks and accessories up to the boys’ rooms. I called through to Will who was ensconced in an armchair in the sitting room engrossed in his book and we both got ready to return to the Sutherlands’ house.

Will and I returned to the Sutherlands, and after greeting all, helped with the remainder of the carrying up the stairs of the furniture packs. Rick showed me quietly where he’d hidden the two computer workstations. When all had been shifted and sorted out for which room it was for, Rick took his toolbox upstairs and the boys began to assemble the packs for Jamie’s room. Will and I carried the workstations in from the car and assembled them in the kitchen. Once done we took them up one at a time and hid them in Mrs Sutherland’s room for the time being. Vanessa came down after a while and reported that progress was going very quickly and as they had missed out on lunch the boys were asking to go to a burger restaurant for snacks. Will and I grinned and said that would be an excellent opportunity to get into the rooms without being sussed out.

“I agree. How long do you need?” Vanessa asked.

“About an hour to do both of them,” I said.

“Right, I’ll go tell them we’ll go as soon as the wardrobes are finished and up then,” she replied.

Will and I went upstairs to see if we could assist and helped clear away the mountain of empty packaging, bringing it all down to the garage for eventual disposal. The wardrobes and fittings were of the same design as Will’s and Liam’s, but each of the boys’ had gone for a different finish. We had just about finished with the clearing out of the empty packaging when Liam announced that it was all assembled and into position. Everyone came back down and Vanessa took Craig, Jamie and Liam out to the burger place.

Immediately they were gone, Will, Rick and I got the two computer workstations out and up to the rooms and the computers set up. I’d just finished setting up the second one in Craig’s room when their car pulled back into their driveway and the boys returned into the house. Will and I grabbed the last remaining pieces of packaging and came back down as if we had been completing the tidying up. I nodded and smiled to Vanessa as Will and I took out the last of the packaging. By the time we had returned to the house from the garage, Vanessa had suggested to the boys that they go and begin to sort out their wardrobes the way they wanted them.

Both lads headed off for their rooms and after a minute or so came clattering back down. Will was giggling away and Liam looked on uncertain as to what was happening. They were both very pleased with what they’d found and I was profusely thanked for doing the building. I accepted the thanks and Rick, Will and I left Liam to help Craig and Jamie set up their computers and sort their rooms out while we accepted Vanessa’s thanks for a, from their viewpoint, superb result from our efforts and made our way home. Will and Rick put the seats back into the car and put it away. I quietly began to prepare the Sunday dinner for when Liam returned and everyone was ready to eat again. This was something we had begun to really look forward to on Sunday evenings now.

Will and I were preparing the veggies at the sink and I turned to him and asked

“Are things beginning to go okay now at school?”

“Yeah,” he replied, “things are okay now and it’s only five days now till half term! I am so looking forward to going away.”

“Me too,” I agreed. “It’s been quite a roller coaster this last couple of months, hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, you could say that.” he looked at me with his delightful smile.

* * *    * * *

Thanks for reading and many thanks for your emails, all of which I have now replied to. Please, if you can support Nifty org especially in these difficult times when normal sources of revenues can dry up so easily.

Don’t forget that the illustrated version is on my Google group and chapters always appear on IOMFATS first.

The boys will all be heading off on holiday in the next chapter that I hope won’t be too long.

Paul Jamison

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