By Paul Jamison


Chapter – 3

We took our places at the table Mario showed us to. He busily fussed over giving out menu's until he noticed our younger companion.

“And who might his young man be?” he asked.

“This's our neighbour’s son Will.” I replied. “He's staying with us for the next few weeks because of some urgent family matters. His father's had to go up North to Scotland to deal with them.”

“Oh my Goodness!” responded Mario. “is it serious?”

“Pretty serious,” Rick replied. “We can't say much now as we haven't all the details,”

Thankfully, Mario did not press the matter further; we simply didn't want Will getting upset again at this early stage. We turned our attention to the Menu's and began considering our choices. After a few moments contemplating I spoke up.

“Are we all having a starter and main course or, main course and a dessert or do we need all three?”

“May I have main course and a dessert?” Will asked.

“Definitely, anything you like.” I replied.

“I'm not bothering with a starter.” Rick said

“Me neither.” I replied. “I'm partial to the desserts here, especially the Italian ice creams.”

Will grinned and said. “Well I’d like the Chicken Breast in um that.” He said pointing out the item to me on the menu. “Followed by one of those multi-flavour ice creams.”

“Oh baked chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, that's a thin sliced Italian smoked ham. It’s served in a cream and white wine sauce with button mushrooms and green beans. Does that sound okay to you?” I asked.

“Um.. pretty good.” Will replied with a super smile.

“I'll have the same too.” I said across to Rick. “What do you fancy?” I asked him.

“Well I'm going for lasagne al forno. Simple baked lasagne.” Rick said. “I won't have wine as I'm driving,” He added.

“Just a sparkling mineral water?” I queried.

“Yeah, that's fine, you have whatever you want though,” he said.

“What would you like to drink Will?” I asked .

“Oh, a coke, please,” he replied.

That sorted and the order placed, we sat back to await the food. I turned to Will and said.

“What are you plans for the last week of school holidays?”

“I'm not too sure he replied. I guess you both are at work? I'd some plans but....”

“No, not every day, I'm in Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week. I was supposed to have a week off to do some stuff, but a colleague got some infection and is off sick so I'm covering on those days, another colleague is filling in the others, Ricks’, in to work all next week though.” I replied.

Will sat back in his chair momentarily then turning to us both said.

“I've enrolled in a life saving course at the leisure centre. Dad was keen since he's a Royal Navy Diver; its four days Monday to Thursday from eleven till four. Is it okay to go to that?” He asked.

“Of course,” Yes, Both Rick and I said simultaneously.

“Yes carry on as much as you normally would.” I continued. “We want you to feel our place is home until your Dad gets everything under control, and he's back again. So yes, all the things you are involved in at school, or scouts carries on as before. Just make sure you tell us what's when and all that, especially if you’ll need us to transport you around okay?”

“I think we’ll need a calendar or message board with important things you've to be at, or, where you need transport from one or other of us, probably best up on the kitchen door, or the fridge door?” Rick suggested. “You've a mobile phone haven't you?” he asked.

“Yeah, I've a mobile, I can get to stuff okay, It's the getting home that's sometimes a drag. I get lifts from friends’ parents but not every time and the buses can be a real pain sometimes,” he said.

“Excellent give us your number now, we'll put that into ours, you'll need the house phone our mobiles and work numbers also, in case of any emergency. I also think we'll have to go into school on your first day back, to make sure they know we are the responsible adults for you for the time being.” Rick finished.

“Yes, that's a fair point.” I said. “I bet that slipped Franks mind earlier.”

“Well he'd an awful lot to do you know. I mean it was all in so much of a rush as well.” He said. With that he took out his wallet and handed Will one of his business cards. I noticed and followed suit.

“Right, you've all our contact numbers now, slip them into your wallet till you can get them into your phone as you haven't got it with you right now.”

Will took the cards and tucked them into his wallet. He went a little wide eyed at the job titles we both held, but made no comment. At that moment Mario, with another young waiter in tow approached our table with bread sticks and our drinks, a glass of house white wine for me with a sparkling mineral water, a sparking mineral water for Rick and a large coke with ice and lemon slice for Will.

“Your food's on its way.” Mario enthused, “enjoy your meal,”

It was and we got down to the serious business of eating and drinking with hardly a word spoken for several minutes. Eventually I turned to Will.

“How's your food?” I asked.

“Oh, Its great.” he said. “I love Italian style food; this ham stuff round the chicken is great!”

“Yes, I've always liked it that way since I went to Italy twice to stay with an old school friend. A guy called John, who's a company executive for an American insurer in Italy. He was based in Turin.....”

“Isn't that where they filmed 'The Italian Job'?” Rick interrupted me.

“...Yes it was, I saw all the locations too. I love that film it’s got my favourite small cars in it. Mini-Cooper S 1275GT's. I had one of those you know, for over two years while at college, the originals, not the new ones from BMW. It was red with a black roof, straight through exhaust, leather bucket seats in the front! Go faster white stripes over the bonnet and the roof as well. I sold it to a guy who'd money to restore it. I'd worn it out by the end of college. I did love it though.” I said. “Anyway, where was I...? Oh yes, Turin, right, then he moved to the Milan office, I had a great three whole weeks wandering round Milan during my second year summer holidays while he was working. He'd a super flat opposite a little bakers, and I'd run down first thing every morning for fresh croissants and bread. I'd go round the piazzas and window shop at the fantastic shops in Milan. One day I climbed right to the roof top of the white marble cathedral in the centre of Duomo square. It was an amazing view. The splendidly dressed Carabinieri police were on ceremonial guard duty by one of the shopping malls too and were quite a sight for us tourists. They're always very attractive young members of the corps. I was quite taken with a few of them!” I said with a grin on my face. “Just window shopping!” I said as I saw the look on Rick's face. It was a bit of a picture.

“When was this?” He asked.

“First two summers of college.” I replied. “We both met at the beginning of our final year,” I said, turning to Will. “If you remember, It was in the coffee room after we both joined the Uni GaySoc.” I said turning to Rick. “Not that we actually got involved I'm afraid. There's far too much work and revision in that year, to have time for that, there's always some protest meeting or another and I wasn't one for being that obvious about my sexuality. Perhaps I should've done more? I never seemed to have any spare time though.”

“Me neither, we just aren't the 'Queer as Folk' types, I don't know if you watched that or not? That lifestyles not us though.

“Yes,” Will said. “I saw both series when they got repeated. I was too young to watch it when it first came out though.” He said. “Dad wouldn't let me see that sort of TV until this summer.”

“Did you like it?” I asked him.

“Well, yes and no, there's parts I thought were good, and there were bits I hated. I didn't like the 'different guy every night' stuff at all. That's not how I want to be really, not how I hope things will work out. I think I'm hoping for a boyfriend. Just one guy really, um... pretty much like you and Rick.” He said, casting a sheepish look at the pair of us in turn.

“We want you to feel comfortable enough in our home to be able to ask anything you want, okay. If you've questions, ask away. We'll do our best. If we don't know the answer we've friends who do. Depending on what you want to know.” I added with a smile.

“We'll need to go through some stuff when we get home, a few basics about the house, nothing you won't already have heard from your dad I'm sure, we need to sort out arrangements for next week and sometime during the week for your going back to school on...um Which day is it?” Rick asked Will.

“It's Tuesday 8.45 Am.” he replied.

“How do you normally get to school?”

“If it's okay weather I bike it.” He replied. “If it's pissing...oops...Sorry! Raining I get the bus.”

"Look! Let's get one thing sorted now. We're all guys in that house and guys talk like guys. That means if you mean 'pissing' down say 'pissing' down. And likewise with other 'guy talk' okay. I don't expect you to use it if there's family about, or Paul and I would never use 'guy talk' to customers, clients, senior business partners and never when ladies are present. That goes without saying?” Rick said.

“Okay, sure I've got that. Thanks, I'm sure I'm going to like living with you two.” He grinned at us.

We'd finished our meal; Mario had cleared our plates and given us the dessert menu. I chose the fresh fruit salad, as did Rick. Will chose the Tiramasu, which when it arrived complete with fresh whipped cream topping looked superb.
We finished our meal and Rick settled up on card payment. We got up from our places, thanked Mario for a great meal and left the restaurant. In the car park, Will quietly slipped into the small rear seat of the Mazda before I could protest otherwise, and we headed off for home.

Once home, whilst Rick was putting the car away I turned to Will and said. “How about you get your bike from your garage and put it in ours so you have it nearby for transport when you need to go places? I'll just go in and get your Dad's keys now.”

“Yes, sure thanks!” he replied. He turned towards his garage and waited for me to get back with the keys Frank had given me. I was only a few moments and handed them to Will who found the right one on the bunch and opened up their garage. He went in and came back out pushing a stylish silver mountain bike. It was quite a machine. I ran my eye over it. Will noticed my checking it out and came out with.

“It's a Dawes XC1.2 alloy frame, 21 speed Shimano gears, suspension forks and cool brakes.” he rattled off at me.

“So I see, I replied grinning. “Have you got a good lock for it too?” I said.

“Yup!” Will replied, “Solid steel wire one with combo lock, came with the bike.” he replied.

“That's great, get it put away in our garage, lock it to one of those rings in the wall, we had them put there to lock bikes to. Garages aren't that hard to break into and loosing a bike to a thief is a real pain.”

We did that, locked up both garages and returned into the house together.

We all settled in the lounge, Rick and I on the big sofa facing Will who was ensconced in a comfortable recliner armchair opposite us.

“Thanks for that great meal out” Will said.

“Oh that's fine. You're welcome, we all needed to eat and we've been so busy today with everything to arrange and sort out, so it was the easiest option?”

“It was still great. My Dad would've just sent out for a takeaway!” Will said, grinning at us.

“Now for some boring stuff, okay?” I said. “Your room's your responsibility to keep tidy, make your bed, dirty clothes in the laundry bags we got today, not on the floor in the bathroom or under your bed!” I smiled at him. “We have a laundry service for the bed linen only and they collect every Friday and leave a fresh set each time, we also have a cleaner who comes on Fridays also, she dusts and vacuums all the rooms, but she does not 'tidy up after you' Got it!” I said.

“Yeah, I've got that.” Will said.

“How do you manage for money or allowance and stuff?” Rick asked Will.

“Dad's got money in the house in a kitchen drawer and I'd ask when I needed some for lunches and stuff, he often forgot though’ and I'd end up borrowing off mates and that's not too cool, so there's no real arrangement.” Will replied.

“You've a student bus pass haven't you? Rick asked.

“Yeah, I have.” Will replied.

“Right so you need money for lunches and incidentals like snacks, movies, magazines, and all that sort of stuff.” Rick said, “Do you use school cafeteria or are you allowed out of school?” He asked Will.

“Year nine on can go out. I go with a few mates to a local café, the food's a bit dearer, but there's heaps more choice, it's better than school and there's more of it.” he said with a grin.

“How do you keep your phone topped up?” Rick asked.

“I've a contract phone linked to Dad's Will replied. “It's got unlimited text and a lot of calls so I don't get a bill on it at all.” Will replied.

“Good plan,” Rick said. “We both have that sort as well and pretty much manage to stay in the limits.... well mostly.” He grinned back at Will.

“I think we need to have something regular for your expenses though, more like a proper allowance.” Rick said.

“I agree there. Does fifteen quid a week seem okay for starters?” I asked Will.

Rick nodded his agreement at me and then turning to Will said.

“I think we'll set that up into your account straight away. You can get dosh as you need it from the ATM's around town. How's that sound?” I asked.

“That'll be great. Thanks a lot it'll be so much easier that way and I won't be borrowing any more either.”

“That's what we thought,” I replied.

We turned on the TV to watch the evening news. During the programme, we both noticed Will slip off into a doze. Rick got up and went over to his armchair, gently rocking Will's arm till he came out of the doze and sleepily opened his eyes.

“You were dropping off to sleep, why don't you go to your room and turn in? It's been a long day? Rick said quietly.

“Err...yes okay, I'm pretty knackered now.” Will sleepily replied.”

We said our good-nights to Will and he made his way upstairs to his room. We heard the doors closing on his floor, turning our attention back to the screen until the news and weather finished before Rick turned off the TV. We were both lost in our own thoughts momentarily.

“Wow! What a day it's been, I can't believe we're looking after Will from next door. The circumstances are so awful and it's happened so fast I can't take it in yet.” Rick said.

“Me neither! I mean he seems a really great lad and I don't see him being a problem in any way. We'd have heard from Frank if he's a problem I'm sure. Perhaps it'll do us both a lot of good? We're getting a bit cosy here and it'll shake us up a bit to have a live-wire teen about the place, not forgetting his friends too. I wonder if this Justin lad is 'just' a friend or not?”

“Couldn't say, haven't met him yet, we'll know tomorrow I expect. He's coming over to keep Will company during the dinner party. I've seen him about with Will. He's a good looker too, but I already told you that. I see them both cycling to school remember?”

“What would you say to possibly being foster parents to gay youngsters? I mean if it all goes well with Will and we manage fine. Perhaps it might be something we'd consider doing? I bet there're not many gay foster parents about? What d'you think?”

“Where's all this coming from all of a sudden?

“Just I think we'd be good at it, and I reckon it's something I'm quite interested in doing, there've been thoughts in the back of my mind ever since we committed in our Civil Partnership.” I said.

“How come you've never mentioned any of this before?” Rick asked.

“I wasn't sure myself really, maybe not even now and not sure how you felt either, this stuff with Will happening has brought it all to the front of my mind that's all.”

“I see, I think.” Rick replied. “We'll need to see how things go with Will. I'm not saying yes or no just now. I want to see how we get on together with everything before committing myself, ourselves to a houseful of gay teenagers!” He said.

“Yes of course, I'm only saying what I feel right now. We'd need to see if we're any good at this parenting before going any further, time for bed?”

“Yes, let's go up. I want to have some time with you before I sleep!” Rick said.

With that we put out the lights and headed for our room. After a pleasant shower we lay on the bed together just enjoying each other for half an hour before slipping between the covers and sleeping spooned together.

End of Chapter – 3


Another chapter completed.
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