Love in the Army
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Tom returned to work at the Royal British Legion as the charity prepares to commentate the annual remembrance day in the UK. Tom would be returning to his home village, in South Wales, to lead the Royal British Legion contingent. Ben, however, was going to be joining his colleagues at Coldbrooke Hall at the cenotaph in Cheddam.
Matthew and his men are going to be leading a group of soldiers at the main event, taking place at the cenotaph in Whitehall London. Matthew has been preparing his unit for the upcoming merger with 5th company, which will see the unit nearly triple in size. Jason has settled in well to his new role as unit’s second Corporal, alongside one of his new best mates Robbo.
Gary was also starting to settle back into the daily Army routine and his new role as the units’ only Lance Corporal. When the merger finally goes through, in a few weeks, Gary will have a second Lance Corporal to assist him. That person will be from the old 5th company unit.
Matthew stood with his men, as the gun went off, and big Ben struck eleven and the whole of the UK fell silent. Tom was standing in front of the cenotaph with his mum alongside. Ben was with his mates standing in front of the cenotaph outside the entrance to cheedam barracks. The gun went off again and the band of the Royal marines sounded the last post.
Tom was remembering old friends he had lost but mostly Matthew. Tom walked over and placed his wreath in the centre of the cenotaph and saluted as he backed away.
Tom stood and watched as others placed their wreaths, and soon the small ceremony was over and Tom and his mum were heading back to her flat. Tom was walking talking to his mum, when a young man said, “can you spare some change please?”
Tom looked at the lad who was about 22 and thought he looks military, and went over and handed him £10 and his card and said “young man, can I ask you were you in the military?”
Gavin replied, “yes sir. I left last year after a bomb nearly killed me in Afghanistan, and I can’t go back.”
Tom looked at his mum, who was standing there and said, “mum, you get back I will catch you up, ok?”
“Ok son,” Lucy said.
Tom sat down next to Gavin and said, “I am Tom Rees, and you are?”
“I am Gavin Robins,” Gavin replied .
“So Gavin, let’s start from the beginning. When this incident happened, were you given support?” Tom asked.
“Well, not really Tom. I had a guy from the Family Support Unithelping when I was injured, but when I got discharged, I didn’t see him again” Gavin replied.
“No sadly, that’s how it works. The Army support is only there while you are a serving soldier, but they should have given you some advice and some information for other organisations to help you,” Tom said.
“Well, they did give me some leaflets for some charity, but I didn’t like the way they tried to help, to be honest, I felt like I was too much bother, so I told them to stick it,” Gavin said.
“Well, ok I take it you have heard of the Royal British Legion?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, but they only deal with old men and I am not old,” Gavin replied.
Tom laughed and said, “that sounds just like me when I was your age. But let me dispell that myth. The RBL deals with all ex service personnel whether, they are 18 or 90.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that,” Gavin replied.
“Well ok. I head up the RBL’s support unit and we help in any way we can. If that means financial aid or just someone to talk things through. Most of the guys we have in the unit are ex military themselves, so they know what people go through,” Tom replied.
“So, are you ex military?” Gavin asked.
“Yes, I was a Colonel heading up the Army’s FSU, and I was a serving soldier before that,” Tom said.
Gavin was taken aback and said, “shit, sorry sir. I would have saluted if I knew.”
Tom laughed and said, “I would have told you what I told all my men. Don’t salute me unless I am with top brass.”
“Wow, my old commanding officer would have gone mad if we didn’t salute him. He was a stickler for Army protocol,” Gavin said.
“Yes there are still a few of those in the Army,” Tom said.
“Yeah, Major Harries was a knob, to be honest. I hated him,” Gavin replied.
Tom smiled and said, “what? `Former Major’ Tim Harries?”
“Umm well yeah, but what do you mean “former” Major Harries?” Gavin asked.
“Well, you were already out of the Army, but do you remember a Corporal called Jason Green?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, Harries busted him and he was demoted. Why?” Gavin asked.
“Well, Harries set Jason up and now he has been busted himself. He is to be kicked out when he is released from prison,” Tom said.
“Oh wow,” Gavin said.
“I have just returned to work at the RBL, after heading out the court of enquiry into Jason’s case,” Tom said.
“Yeah, Jason is a good guy and Harries disliked him and belittled him totally,” Gavin said.
“Well, Jason has had his rank reinstated and Harries, along with Sergeant Nixon and Lance Corporal Millbrook, have all been imprisoned and dishonourably discharged from the Army,” Tom said.
“Millbrook was a prick,” Gavin said.
“Oh You’re not a fan then,” Tom said laughing.
“Hell no. He always thought he was something special, that one. And to be honest ,he was a complete and utter nightmare and a hopeless soldier. I have no idea how the hell he got up to Lance Corporal, and when he replaced Jason, he was a total nightmare. But thankfully that didn’t last long,” Gavin said.
“So, I take it Gavin, that you are not living at home and are sleeping rough then?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, I don’t get on with my prick of a step dad, and I have never met my dad,” Gavin said.
“Well, the first thing I need to do is to find you some accommodation,” Tom said.
“But not the local homeless hostel. The last time I stayed there, I had my stuff stolen and some bloke tried to rape me,” Gavin said.
“Oh ok,” Tom said.
Tom rang around and found Gavin a room at a different hostel. He took Gavin to his mum’s place and let him have a shower and gave him some of his spare clothes to wear. Lucy cooked a meal for them. Gavin was really happy and finally felt he was finally getting somewhere, after feeling lost and unloved since he had left the Army.
Tom later took Gavin to his accommodation at the hostel. Tom spoke to the people who ran the hostel, and explained to them what had happened at the other place. They assured Tom that Gavin would be safe.
The next morning
Tom had been busy on the phone all morning, sorting things out on Gavin’s behalf. He had secured Gavin a low interest loan from the RBL, to help him rent a place of his own. He also sorted out counselling for his post traumatic stress disorder. Tom also had Gavin’s Army record sent to him. He read through and realised that Gavin was a good soldier who kept his head down and got on with the job in hand. He spotted entries from Major Harries in the file. One thing Tom noticed was that Gavin hasn’t actually formally been discharged from the Army, but is listed as long term sick.
Tom arrived at the hostel at around 11am He went to see Gavin, who was sat in his room watching TV.
“Morning Gavin. How are you today? Tom asked.
“Bored but that’s nothing new,” Gavin replied.
“Ok, well one of us has been busy this morning. First of all, I thought you said you had been discharged?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, it was about three months ago. Why?” Gavin asked.
“Who actually told you that you were being discharged?” Tom asked.
“Major Harries told me I was no good to anyone in this state, and that I was medically discharged,” Gavin said.
“Well, according to the Army records, you are still on long term sick leave. I am wondering if Major Harries, being investigated, maybe held up the process of your discharge. That is why, as far as the Army are concerned, you are still an Army private,” Tom said.
“Tom, I can’t go back. I just can’t”, Gavin said breaking down in tears.
Tom took Gavin into his arms and said, “Listen, that’s not what I am saying. We need to speak to Major Williams, your new unit commanding officer, and get him to start due process. It will mean you meeting with him and an Army medical officer, but the MO report I have already seen ,will be enough to get a medical discharge. So don’t worry.”
Gavin asked , “Seriously Tom, why do you care about me?”
“Well, because I don’t think that in this country ,our former and injured soldiers should be begging on the streets,” Tom said.
“Well thanks mate,” Gavin said.
“Now, I have handed your case over to the local support officer, and Andrew Mason will be here shortly to meet you. I will hand all the information I gave you, over to him. But I am not abandoning you. It’s just I live in the west midlands, and don’t come here as much as I should. But I promise you I will be there when you meet Major Williams,” Tom said.
“Ok that’s fine, Tom. I understand you can’t be here and with your family in the west midlands,” Gavin said.
Andrew arrived at the hostel a short time later and Tom introduced himself.
Andrew read the documentation that Tom gave him and said, “we shouldn’t be dealing with this case. This is Army family support units’ job.”
Tom said, “yeah, but they think that Gavin has been discharged.”
“But he hasn’t been, according to these documents,” Andrew said.
Tom said, “Look, let me phone a friend of mine in the Army FSU, and see what he says, ok?”
“Ok,” Andrew said.
“One thing though, go and talk to Gavin, but don’t tell him about this, ok?” Tom said.
“Ok mate,” Andrew said.
Tom grabbed his mobile and rung Alex’s office.
“Good morning. Family Support Unit. Colonel Mills office,” Todd answered.
“Hi Todd mate, is Alex available it’s Tom Rees,” Tom asked.
“Hi Tom, long time no speak. Yeah he is mate, let me buzz him,” Todd said.
“Ok,” Tom replied.
Alex was going through some paperwork when Todd buzzed.
“Yes Todd?” Alex replied.
“Tom Rees on line one, Alex” Todd said.
“Ok mate, thanks,” Alex replied.
Alex picked the phone up and said, “hi Tom, what can I do for you?”
“Hi Alex. I am helping a young private from 12th company. He was under the impression that he was discharged from the Army on medical grounds. He has a terrible case of PTSD, but it looks like his case was overlooked when all that stuff kicked off with Tim Harries. His discharge was never officially signed off. Well, the reason I am calling is that as he is currently a serving soldier. This case needs to be dealt with by your department because, as you know, RBL can’t take over the case unless it has been asked to by your department,” Tom said.
Alex said, “Yeah, so I need some more details, but I don’t see why, if the RBL is already on the case, that we need to barge into the case, to be honest.”
“Ok, I will send you all the details, but if you are ok with us carrying on, my colleague Andrew Mason is dealing with Gavin directly,” Tom said.
“Well Tom, you have my permission to carry on, as far as the Army is concerned, our department passed the case on to you,” Alex said.
“Ok mate, we need to catch up soon,” Tom said.
“Yeah, we sure do,” Alex said.
Tom rung off and went back into the room and smiled and said to Andrew “sorted.”
Gavin said, “what’s sorted?”
“We needed to get Army permission to carry on helping you,” Tom said.
“Oh, why?” Gavin asked.
“Well its protocol,” Tom said.
“Oh ok,” Gavin said.
A few days later
“Ok thanks, Jon” Tom said and picked the phone up.
“Tom Rees,” Tom said.
Andrew said, “Hi Tom, we have a meeting arranged for Gavin for tomorrow at 9 30 am, at Weston barracks.”
“Oh ok mate. I will be there,” Tom said.
“Well only if you are not too busy mate,” Andrew said.
Tom said, “I promised Gavin and I always keep my promises.”
“Ok mate, we’ll I see you tomorrow then,” Andrew said.
“Yeah mate. I will see you then,” Tom said.
Tom put the phone down and checked his diary and noticed he had a meeting with a counsellor at Coldbrooke booked for tomorrow to discuss a case he was working on.
Tom picked the phone up and dialled the number for ColdbrookeHall.
Dr. Alice Bonner was in her office when the phone rang.
“Good morning. Royal British Legion, Coldbrooke Hall. Alice speaking,” Alice said.
“Hi Alice. It’s Tom, can I speak to Ryan Higson, please?” Tom asked.
“He is with a client at the moment, Tom .Can I help?” Alice asked.
“Well, the reason I am phoning is that I need to reschedule a meeting I had booked with Ryan for tomorrow. I have to be in Weston barracks for a meeting with a case,” Tom said.
“Ok let me look at Ryan’s diary,” Alice said.
Alice asked, “Umm, what about tomorrow afternoon at 4pm, does that sound ok?”
“That will be fine,” Tom said.
“Ok Tom, I’ll write it in and let Ryan know, ok” Alice said.
“Thanks Alice,” Tom said.
Gavin spotted Tom and said, “oh wow, you came. I didn’t expect you to come.”
Tom smiled and said, “young man, when I promise someone something, I do it.”
Tom, Andrew, and Gavin went into the office and commanding officer Major Williams said, “good morning gentlemen.”
“Morning, Major Williams,” Tom replied.
“Morning sir,” Gavin said.
Tom said, “first of all, I am Tom Rees and this is my colleague Andrew Mason. We are members of the Royal British Legion military support unit.”
“Ok, so you must be private Gavin Robins.”
“Yes sir,” Gavin said.
“Ok young mam, reading through the report of the Army medical officer, who assessed you four months ago, I can see that there is no way, with the terrible condition you are currently suffering from, that you can’t rejoin us. So, like my disgraced predecessor had planned to do, I will start due process to have you medically discharged from the Army. However, I will insist on one thing and that is, that you get help, whether that is with counselling or some other form. Please promise me you will seek help,” Major Williams said.
Gavin smiled and said, “I am already getting some help from the Legion, sir.”
Tom then said, “yes, I have booked Gavin some sessions with a counselor. I am hoping he will take me up on some time at Coldbrooke Hall rehab centre, where the counsellors will be able to help him on a day to day basis, until he is ready to return home.”
Major Williams smiled and said, “I hope you are going to take Colonel Rees up on that offer.”
Gavin looked at Tom and said, “yeah that sounds a good idea but where is Coldbrooke Hall? I have never heard of it?”
Tom said, “it’s in the west Midlands and it is the RBL’s biggest rehab centre. It has a section that deals with victims of post traumatic stress disorder.”
“Oh ok,” Gavin replied.
“Well young man, I need you to sign some forms for me. One is your terminal leave form and the other is to make sure you get paid what is due to you, as we haven’t paid you a penny for three months. And you are due that money,” Major Williams said.
“Umm, I don’t understand. I’m not due any money.” Gavin said.
Tom smiled and said, “Gavin, for the last three months you have still been a private, therefore the Army should have paid you. But because you were homeless and your bank account had been closed, the Army couldn’t pay you and had no address to contact you at. They did write to your mum’s address but she sent a letter saying she didn’t know where you were.”
“The lying bitch. She walked past me two weeks ago in Pontypridd,” Gavin said.
Gavin signed the forms but then said, “I still don’t have a bank account though.”
“Well, we can sort that out for you,” Andrew said.
Andrew and Tom left Weston barracks with Gavin and headed into nearby Coninton. Andrew said, “now, we need to get you a bank account.”
Gavin said, “Well yeah, I used to bank with hsbc but they weren’t that good, to be honest”.
“Well, I bank with the co-op bank and they are ok,” Andrew said.
“Ok then, co-op it is,” Gavin said.
Tom laughed and said, “yeah, the co-op is a good bank, Ben. I now bank with them as well.”
The three men walked into the Coninton branch of the co-op and Gavin spoke to an advisor about opening a new account.
Tom and Andrew waited, as Gavin came out, and he asked Tom for Coldbrooke Hall’s address.
Tom went with Gavin and explained that Gavin would be temporarily housed at Coldbrooke Hall rehab centre.
The young advisor smiled and said, “that’s not a problem. We can put that down as his address for the time being, and when you have a permanent address you can change the address then.”
Gavin filled out the forms and Tom handed Gavin the cheque from the RBL to deposit into his new account.
Tom then told Gavin to get the account number so that they can give it to Major Williams.
The advisor wrote the information down and handed it to Gavin and said “anything else we can help you with?”
Gavin smiled and said, “no, that’s all thanks.”
The three men left the bank and headed back to the barracks.
Gavin went to see Major Williams and handed the account details over to him.
Major Williams advised Gavin that his back pay should be in the account by the end of the week.
Tom and Andrew waited outside when Gavin spoke to the Major, and after shaking Major Williams hand, Gavin left his office.
Andrew then said, “ok, well Gavin, good luck with your rehab at Coldbrooke Hall. I will be checking up on you from time to time, but as you will be based up here, I will not be your core care worker.”
Gavin smiled and shook Andrews hand and said, “Well thanks for everything you have done.”
“All part of the service young man,” Andrew replied.
Tom smiled and said, “now Gavin, your core care worker will be Jon Dunnet, one of my best men.”
Gavin smiled and said, “isn’t he one of those guys who walked that walked a couple of years ago?”
“Yes Gavin, Jon was one of the coast to coasters,” Tom smiled.
Andrew smiled and then said, “of course, Tom was one of those guys too.”
Gavin smiled and said “shit, I should have realized.”
Tom smiled and said, “seems a long time ago now, to be honest.”
Tom and Gavin left the barracks and drove the four miles to Coldbrooke Hall.
Gavin spotted the sign, “Welcome to Coldbrooke Hall Royal British Legion Rehabilitation Centre.”
He watched as the buildings came into view. Tom pulled into the parking space reserved for the MSU and got out. Gavin looked round and saw a couple of injured soldiers walking round and said, “you know I feel like an imposter, my injuries are nothing compared to those guys.”
Tom said, “listen to me, yes those guys have terrible injuries but post traumatic stress is just as bad as any other injury . And you need help and the guys here will give it to you, so there is no reason for you to think you shouldn’t be here now, come on.”
Tom was met by Alice and said, “Dr. Alice Bonner, I want you to meet private Gavin Robins.”
“Hi Gavin, welcome to Coldbrooke Hall,” Alice said.
“Thank you doctor,” Gavin replied.
“Right, let’s get you settled into your room. You are in the east wing, so come this way,” Alice said.
Tom knew Coldbrooke like the back of his hand and knew the east wing was where the soldiers that were suffering for PTSD were kept.
Gavin was taken aback at the room he was given. It had a settee and a TV for him to watch. It also had its own en suite bathroom.
Tom handed Gavin the bag of clothes he had had with him, but realised that the rest of his stuff was at the hostel in South Wales and said, “I take it the rest of your stuff is still at the hostel?”
“Yeah, but I don’t have much. The main stuff I had was stolen at that other place,” Gavin said.
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Tom said.
“Anyway, I will get Andrew to go and collect what is left for you, ok?” Tom said.
“Ok,” Gavin replied.
Tom said, “ok young man, I will let you settle in. If you need anything, ring that bell or you can just go to the front desk out there.”
“Ok Tom, thanks,” Gavin said.
“Don’t stay in your room all day either. There is the main lounge just down the corridor where you can socialise with other injured soldiers,” Tom said.
“Ok, I will have a walk down later,” Gavin said.
Tom left and headed towards Ryan’s office for his rearranged meeting.
Tom finished his meeting at 5pm and headed over to Bens office. Tom knocked on the door and walked in. Ben smiled and said, “hey, what are you doing here?”
Tom laughed and said, “visiting my hot husband, but he was out.”
Ben laughed and said, “very funny.”
Tom kissed Ben and said, “I had a meeting with Ryan Huggins, and I brought in that young man I met when I went home for the Remembrance Day service.”
“Oh that’s right. You had that meeting with his commanding officer this morning,” Ben said smiling.
“Yeah, he will finally get his medical discharge,” Tom said.
Just then Tom’s mobile rang.
Tom looked at the screen and it said, “Andrew Mason.”
“Hi mate, what can I do for you?” Tom said.
“Just had a phone call from the original hostel Gavin stayed at.” Andrew said.
“Oh, what they want?” Tom said.
“Well, they have recovered Gavin’s stolen property, from the other bloke and they wanted to know what to do with it,” Andrew said.
“Well, obviously Gavin will want it back,” Tom said.
“Yeah, but they won’t give it me. They said that Gavin would have to collect it himself,” Andrew said.
“Oh I love places like that,” Tom said.
“Yeah I know, a bloody pain in arse. I won’t be using that hostel for any more of our clients,” Andrew said.
“No, it needs to be taken off our recommended list.”
“Yeah” Andrew said.
“Ok mate. I am still at Coldbrooke, so I will go and talk to Gavin. Maybe he can have a trip out tomorrow with either me or Jon Dunnet driving him.”
“Ok mate,” Andrew replied.
Tom spoke to Gavin and it was decided that Jon Dunnet would take Gavin down to South Wales the next morning.
Jon Dunnet arrived at Coldbrooke Hall at 9 am the next morning and he headed to the east wing and to the desk and said, “hi guys, I am here for Gavin Robins?”
“Oh yeah, he is in room 2 over there. But he has had a bad night and has only just got to sleep to be honest,” the nurse said.
“Oh ok. I’ll give him an hour then, but he can sleep in the car on the way if needs be,” Jon said.
Gavin woke up and saw it was light. He picked up his phone and looked at it and saw it was 9:45. He said “shit, I am late” and jumped out of bed and ran into the shower. He soon changed into a pair of jeans and a t shirt. Gavin opened the door and walked out to the desk and said “hi, has anyone been here for me?”
The nurse said, “yes, Jon Dunnet was here at 9. He will be back for you at 10, just enough time for you to go down to the dining hall for some breakfast.”
Gavin’s stomach grumbled as the nurse said that and he smiled and said, “if he comes, send him down there then ok?”
“No problem, Gavin” the nurse replied.
Gavin was in the dining hall eating a bowl of Weettabix and slice of toast, when he spotted Jon Dunnet walk in. Jon looked round, but couldn’t tell which of the lads in here was Gavin until Gavin stood up and said “Jon, over here.”
Jon walked over and said, “we meet at last, sorry I couldn’t get here yesterday. I was tied up all day in meetings.”
“Nice to meet you as well,” Gavin replied.
Jon sat down opposite Gavin and waited while he finished his breakfast.
They left Coldbrooke Hall shortly afterward and headed down to South Wales.
Gavin felt scared, as they pulled up outside the hostel, and smiled when he spotted Andrew standing there.
Andrew walked over to Gavin and handed him a bag of stuff from the second hostel and said, “right, let’s get your other stuff from this place.”
Jon, Andrew, and Gavin walked into the hostel and went over to the front desk.
Jon rang the bell and a woman appeared shortly afterward.
“Yes, can I help you?” the woman said.
“Yeah, we have a meeting with James Harper?” Jon replied.
“One moment,” the woman said, as she picked the phone up and tapped in a number. She spoke to James and put the phone down and said, “take a seat. He will be down shortly.”
Jon could tell that Gavin felt scared of being in this place. He could also tell that this hostel was run badly.
A short while later a big man with curly hair appeared carrying a box.
“This is the stuff we recovered from the man who was robbing people here,” James said as he put the box down.
Gavin went through it all and found all his personal belongings were there.
Jon Dunnet noticed that there were two pawnbrokers slips in among Gavin’s stuff, but didn’t say anything.
Gavin had to sign a form to take his stuff and the three men thanked James and headed back to their cars. Andrew shook Jon’s and Gavin’s hands and said, “Well, guess I will see you soon Gavin.”
Gavin got into the car and Jon sat down and then said, “so Gavin, what did you pawn?”
Gavin looked at Jon and said, “umm what?”
“Don’t kid a kidder mate. I know a pawnbrokers slip when I see one,” Jon said smiling.
“Well, one was my medals and the other was a watch I was given when I was 18,” Gavin replied.
Jon asked, “So do you want to go and collect them?”
“I don’t have the money,” Gavin said.
“Well ok, I will lend you the money until you get your back pay,” Jon said.
“You can’t do that,” Gavin said.
“Yes I can, so where is this pawnbrokers?” Jon asked.
“In Cardiff,” Gavin replied.
The two men walked into the pawnbrokers and Gavin handed over his slips. The woman behind the counter went off and retrieved the items and Jon handed over the money. Jon noticed that the medals were just a couple of days away from being sold, as Gavin had pawned them three months ago, but as the slips were in his stolen stuff, he couldn’t come and retrieve them.
Gavin was happy to have his stuff back and on the way back to Coldbrooke, he spoke to Jon nearly nonstop.
The men arrived back at Coldbrooke and Jon helped Gavin carry his stuff to his room. Gavin then said, “is there a laundry here? I need to wash these clothes. they stink.”
“Yeah there is, I’ll show you where it is,” Jon replied.
Coldbrooke Hall has a laundry room where the soldiers can clean their own clothes. It is alongside the main laundry, where the patients’ clothes that can’t do their own and the sheets, etc, are cleaned.
Jon left Gavin putting his clothes in the washing machine.
Jon went and saw another of his patients while Gavin did his washing.
Gavin did three loads of washing, and then headed back to his room. He placed the now clean clothes into the chest of drawers, and then sat down on the bed. The journey took it’s toll and soon Gavin was fast asleep.
Jon arrived back at Gavin’s room and saw he was fast asleep. He smiled and picked up a piece of paper and wrote on it.
I will be here to see you on Friday. In meantime, if you need anything, ask the nurses to call me. Ok?
See you soon,
Gavin woke up a couple of hours later and noticed that it was getting dark outside. He picked up his nearby watch and saw that it was 6pm. He spotted the note from Jon and read it. Gavin’s stomach started to grumble.
Gavin went into the toilet and stripped off and jumped into the shower. He then shaved and put on some clean clothes and left his room heading to the dining room. He went over and chose his meal, one of his favourites, fish and chips. He also chose a cup cake for dessert and a bottle of water. The meals at Coldbrooke are provided free, so he didn’t have to pay.
Gavin carried his tray over to an empty table and sat down.
Gavin ate his meal quietly, not realising that Ryan Huggins was watching him from the door. Ryan was starting to notice that Gavin was a bit of a loner and had hoped he might mix in the communal areas, but so far he just sat on his own.
Gavin took his now empty food tray and placed it in the dirty dishes section and left the dining room. He walked along the corridor and went into the small shop, which the charity had, and went over to the magazines. He walked over and also picked up a chocolate bar and headed over to the till. He paid for the car mag and chocolate and headed back to his room.
Gavin loved old cars. Before he joined the Army, he had jointly owned a Morris Minor with one of his mates. They sold it just before Gavin and his mate, Jack, both joined up. Jack sadly died in an attack and Gavin saw his mate die in front of him. Gavin wished that they had kept the car now, but soon after they sold it, the new owner crashed it and it was written off.
Gavin was going through the mag, when he came across a similar car for sale. He was tempted to phone, but decided against it, as he wouldn’t be able to do anything to it and where would he keep it.
Gavin felt he was getting sleepy. He looked at his watch and saw it was now 11pm. He stripped down to his boxers and went to the toilet and then switched off his light.He tried to get asleep.
Gavin kept seeing Jacks face as the bomb went off and Gavin was soon shouting “NO!”
Gavin was trying to get to Jack but couldn’t. The more he tried, the harder it got. He then shouted out, “No Jack! Don’t die please!”
Gavin woke up suddenly and realised that he was sweating and that he had just had another terrible nightmare.
Gavin got up and went into the bathroom, splashed some water over his face and said, “fuck, what is a matter with you?”
Gavin grabbed his t shirt and trackies, and put his trainers on, and he walked out of the door and went over to the desk, where the night nurses were sat.
Jenny, one of the nurses had heard Gavin calling out and had noted it on the log.
She noticed Gavin coming towards the desk and said, “you ok young man?”
“Yeah, I just needed to get out for a while. Can I go and sit in the lounge?” Gavin asked.
“Yeah, no problem. It is open 24hours,” jenny replied.
“Ok thanks,” Gavin said.
Gavin walked into the lounge and sat on one of the comfy chairs. He picked up a newspaper that was on the table and started to read it.
Gavin had been there a little while when he spotted a young man sat on the other side of the room. He hadn’t noticed him when he came in. Gavin stood up and went over to the young man and said, “do you mind if I join you?”
Lance Corporal Dean Alexandra had been at Coldbrooke for nearly five months, and like Gavin, was a loner. He was a fellow PTSD sufferer, and had also got up after having a nightmare.
Dean smiled at Gavin and said, “no, sit down.”
Gavin smiled and said, “I am Gavin Robins.”
“Hi Gavin, I am Dean Alexandra,” Dean replied.
“Nice to meet you Dean,” Gavin replied.
“You too,” Dean said.
“How come you are still up at this time then?” Dean asked.
“Had another horrible nightmare. It’s always the same every night,” Gavin replied.
“Yeah I have had those. Mine are starting to go now, but still get them from time to time; hence, why I am out here,” Dean replied.
Jenny went to check up on Gavin and looked in and saw he was sat talking to Dean. She smiled and left them to it.
Dean told Gavin all about his terrible experience and Gavin then slowly told Dean all about the attack, and how he watched as his best mate died in front of him. Gavin was in tears but Dean put his arm round him and said, “listen mate, it will get better. You will never forget him, but the nightmares will stop. I promise. But let the guys here help. I tell them everything I know, from my experience, that bottling up your emotions is the worst thing you can do.”
Gavin said, “yeah, I have an appointment with Ryan Huggins tomorrow. Well actually, today now.”
“Good, you got the best counsellor here then. Ryan is a good listener, and knowing him, he has been observing you already” Dean said smiling.
“Why would he do that?” Gavin asked.
“He likes to see how you are around others, and if you have any underlying problems, things like that,” Dean said.
“Oh ok,” Gavin said.
Dean and Gavin talked all night. In fact, both men fell asleep in the chairs.
Gavin woke up and looked round and noticed he was in the lounge. He then noticed Dean asleep in the adjoining chair and smiled. Gavin got up and walked back to his room.
Ryan had spoken to Jenny when he arrived at Coldbrooke, and she told him about Gavin’s nightmares, and how he had spent the rest of the night in the lounge, talking to Dean.
Ryan was happy on two points. One was that Gavin has finally started to speak to someone else, even if it was in the early hours, and two that Dean was finally coming out of his shell. He had pushed everyone who had tried to speak to him away.
Dean was sat in the dining room when Gavin walked in. Dean smiled and Gavin grabbed his usual Weettabix and headed over and sat at Dean’s table.
Dean and Gavin were deep in conversation, and hadn’t noticed Ryan come in. He looked over to see the young men sat there laughing and joking. Ryan walked over to the table and said, “morning lads.”
Dean smiled and said, “hi Ryan.”
“I believe we have an appointment for 10:30, Gavin. It is now 10:45,” Ryan said.
“Shit, sorry. I lost track of time,” Gavin said blushing.
“Hey don’t worry. It is easy to do here,” Ryan said.
“Ok, let me finish my cereal and I will be there,” Gavin said.
“That’s ok. I know you had another bad night,” Ryan replied.
Gavin arrived at Ryan’s office a short time later.
Ryan smiled and said, “ok Gavin, take a seat.”
Gavin sat down in one of the chairs and Ryan said, “I want you to talk through the day of the attack, but go slowly.”
Gavin just nodded and said, “Well, it was February 15th and my unit was in Helmand. Major Harries had been a pain in the arse, as usual, and had decided that the lads would go out in twos and sent me and my best friend, Jack, out together on foot.”
Gavin started to cry and then said, “this is too hard.”
Ryan said, “ok, now take your time.”
“We were going through a deserted street when,” Gavin stopped.
Ryan could see the distress Gavin was in and said, “ok Gavin, we will leave that there for now. I don’t want to distress you.”
Gavin said, “no, I need to do this.”
Ryan said, “ok well, in your own time.”
“Jack was walking a little in front of me when a huge explosion hit. Jack was thrown into the air and I got hit by some debris. I was knocked out cold, and when I finally came through, I was stuck under some debris and couldn’t get to Jack. I watched as my oldest friend died in front of me. Finally, the unit sent someone out and we were found. Jack was dead and I was badly injured,” Gavin said with tears rolling down his eyes.
“Ok,” Ryan said.
“I still can’t get the look on Jacks face when that bomb went off. I knew he was a goner, but I wanted it to be me. You see Jack has a young family back home, and well I didn’t have much of a family life,” Gavin said.
“Now Gavin, think of it this way. Do you think Jack would want you to think like this?” Ryan said.
“Hell no, he would go nuts,” Gavin said.
“Now, I want to move on to when you came back to the UK, and the melt down on your home life,” Ryan said.
“Well, to be honest, that happened before I joined the Army. That was the reason I joined,” Gavin said.
“So what actually happened?” Ryan asked.
“Well, my mum met this guy called Jeff. He moved in and started to make, what he thought were ground rules, for me and my brother to stick to. I was 17 and there was no way I was going to be in by 10pm every night, so I rebelled and told him to go fuck himself. Thing is, he is a nightmare. My mum has worked all her life to give me and my two brothers a good home, but since he has moved in, it is his house and we have to stick by his rules. He has never worked a day in his life. He is one of those dole scroungers, who is too lazy to get off his arse and do anything. So one day I was in Pontypridd and walked past the Army careers office, and saw the information and went in and signed up,” Gavin said.
“So, what did this man say about that?” Ryan asked.
“He told me I would be a crap soldier as I cant take telling. I told him to go fuck himself and was determined to prove him wrong. I left the house, told Jack about joining up and he surprised me when he said wow, and said he was thinking of joining up. So we went back to the office and Jack joined up the same day,” Gavin said.
“Well Gavin, I have read your Army record and I can say there is nothing but good reports about you. If this hadn’t happened, I think you would have had a long career in the Army,” Ryan said.
“Thanks. I don’t want to leave, but I know I can’t go back either,” Gavin said.
“So when this happened, the FSU went and told mum what had happened. She told them, oh well, what does he expect me to do, and told them to leave,” Gavin said.
“Oh, that’s not nice,” Ryan said.
“She obviously sides with him, and when I had my first discharge from the Army, I went home and was told to never come back,” Gavin said.
“So that’s how I ended up on the streets begging,” Gavin said.
“Do your brothers know about this incident?”Ryan asked.
“No, they don’t. My older brother, Gareth, emigrated to Australia with his Aussie wife. My youngest brother, Richie, he is only 17 so he had to stay with them. I can’t get in touch with them, just in case it causes any problems,” Gavin said.
Unbeknown to Gavin, his older brother Gareth, was worried sick about his younger brother. He had been trying to find him on Twitter and Facebook for the last few months, and he had left a message on his Facebook wall. As Gavin has been homeless, he had had no internet access. When Richie asks his mum about Gavin, she quickly changes the subject and Richie just says she doesn’t know.
Gareth spoke to his wife Hannah and said, “I need to go home and find out what has happened to Gavin. Hannah agreed, but first said contact the Army. They might have an updated address for you, or at least be able to give him your contact details.
Gareth eventually managed to get through to someone at Weston barracks, and was put through to Major Williams
“Hello, can I help you?” Major Williams said.
“Yes, I wonder if you can help. I am trying to contact my brother, who is in your unit, Private Gavin Robins?” Gareth said.
“I am sorry sir, but Gavin is no longer in this unit. In fact, he has just been medically discharged,” Major Williams said.
“Oh ok,” Gareth said feeling dejected.
“But I know where you can contact him,” Major Williams said.
“Oh, ok where?” Gareth said excitingly.
“He is in the care of the Royal British Legion at their Coldbrooke Hall rehab unit. I have the number here if you want it?” Major Williams said.
“Oh yes, please” Gareth said.
Major Williams found the number and gave it to Gareth.
“Thank you for your time, Major” Gareth said.
“You are welcome, sir. Gavin could do with some family around him,” Major Williams said.
Gareth rang off and said to Hannah, “I reckon my mother knew about this. My brother has been injured and is in a rehab unit. She thinks it is ok to leave him there all alone. Not if I have anything to do with it, he won’t be.”
Gareth then rang the number.
Ben was in the main office when the phone rang. “Good afternoon. Royal British Legion Coldbrooke Hall, Ben speaking. Can I help you?”
“Good afternoon. I was wondering if it would be possible to speak to one of your patients, Gavin Robins please,” Gareth said.
Ben didn’t know Gavin, so didn’t know the name, but found him on the computer and said, “yes, umm Gavin is in a meeting with a counsellor at the moment. Can you ring back later?” Ben asked.
“Not really. I am ringing from Australia,” Gareth said.
“Ok, I will ring Ryan’s office and see if you can speak to him. Who is calling please?” Ben asked.
“I am his brother, Gareth,” Gareth said.
“Ok, one moment,” Ben said.
Ben rang Ryan’s office.
Gavin was sat there talking to Ryan at the end of their session, when the phone buzzed, Ryan told Gavin to stay there. When he picked the phone up and said, “Ryan Huggins.”
“Hi Ryan, sorry to disturb you mate. Do you have Gavin Robins with you?” Ben asked.
“Yeah, why?” Ryan asked.
“His brother Gareth is on line 3 for him,” Ben said.
“Oh wow, thanks mate,” Ryan said.
Ryan put the phone down and handed the phone to Gavin and said, “phone call for you.”
Gavin looked at Ryan, and went to say something but Ryan said, “just speak.”
“Hello?” Gavin said.
“Oh thank god!” Gareth said.
Gavin smiled and said, “hey mate, how you doing?”
“I have been going nuts trying to find out where you were, you shit. I thought you were dead,” Gareth said.
Ryan whispered to Gavin, “I’ll leave you to it,” with a smile on his face and left the room.
Gareth was gobsmacked when Gavin told him he had been sleeping rough, and that their mum knew all about it.
Gareth then said, “Well, am coming home to see you, and to give mum and that slob a piece of my mind. I can’t believe she let her son sleep on the streets while she and that slob sleep in what is actually my house.”.
“Umm, what you mean your house?” Gavin said.
“Well, it was grandpa’s, and when he died, he left it to me. So I think I’ll give mum some worry and tell her I planning on selling it, just to see her face,” Gareth said.
“You can’t do that. Richie would be homeless,” Gavin said.
“Nope, he has moved out already, living with his boyfriend or mate, as he calls him. But we both know different,” Gareth said.
“What, he is living with Andy?” Gavin said.
“Yeah, they have a flat together,” Gareth said.
“In that case, do it,” Gavin said.
“I will. Don’t worry. Why should that slob live in my house, rent free, when my brother was living on the streets” Gareth said.
“Yeah, quite true,” Gavin said.
“So what happened, and how come you have been medically discharged then?” Gareth asked.
“Long story, but I tell you the short version. Jack was killed in front of me, in an explosion, and now I have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder,” Gavin said.
“Sorry bro. I know how much Jack meant to you. So what about you did you get injured?” Gareth said.
“Yeah, I spent three weeks in hospital, and then got medically discharged. But it didn’t go through properly, so I have only actually been formally discharged this week,” Gavin said.
“So then, you went there?” Gareth asked.
“No, I went home but was told I wasn’t welcome, and that’s when I ended up sleeping rough. I then went to the local cenotaph on remembrance Sunday.I sat down nearby and started to beg, to try and get some money. Then Tom walked over, and the rest is history,” Gavin said.
“Who is Tom?” Gareth asked.
“Tom Rees is a retired Colonel who runs the RBL’s military support unit. He knew straight away I was ex-military and offered to help me. It is because of him I am here now getting the help I need. but believe me Gareth, this has been made a lot worse by having a mother who doesn’t give a shit,” Gavin said.
“Well, she will give a shit after I get my lawyer on the case about the house sale,” Gareth said.
“Anyway Bro, I am going to start the ball rolling, and I will get a flight home. By the way, where is this place?” Gareth asked.
“It is in the west midlands, but if you want, I will give you a numberso you can give Jon Dunnet a ring, at the RBL. I am sure he would meet you at Heathrow, and bring you here,” Gavin said.
Gavin then realised he had left his wallet in his room, with Jons card in it, and said, “hold on bro.”
Gavin opened the door to see Ryan sat behind the desk. Gavin walked over and said, “sorry Ryan, would you have Jon Dunnet’s phone number so that I can give it to Gareth?”
“Yeah sure do, and Ryan handed Gavin Jons card.
Gavin went back in and said, “sorry bro, I left my wallet in my room had to get the number off my counselor.”
“That’s ok bro,” Gareth said.
Gavin gave Gareth the number and said, “Well I will let you get on, and I am so looking forward to seeing you.”
“Me too bro, me too,” Gareth said.
“Love you,” Gavin said.
“I love you too bro,” Gareth replied with tears running down his face.
Gavin put the phone down and Ryan walked back in and said “Well that was surreal. We were just talking about him and bang, there he was.”
“Yeah, I can’t believe he didn’t even know I had been injured,” Gavin said.
Gavin went back to his room and sat down and started to watch a football match. He couldn’t stop smiling.
Dean was sat in the lounge, wondering where Gavin was, and he decided to go and look for him. He walked along the corridor to Gavin’s room, and knocked on the door.
Gavin jumped and said, “come in.”
Dean walked in and said, “this is where you are hiding.”
Gavin smiled, “sorry mate, sit down.”
Dean sat next to Gavin and Gavin told him all about the phone call and his session with Ryan. Dean was taken aback on how Gavin had changed since this morning. Gavin then surprised Dean by leaning in and kissing him. Dean was shocked, but grabbed Gavin for more. Dean whispered into Gavin’s ear, “god you are so sexy.” Gavin laughed and said, “and you are beautiful.”
Dean blushed and said, “shut up.”
The two lads spent the next few hours making out and talking.
Gavin went to say something but Jack said, “no, baby. Time for me to leave. Love you and promise me one thing, though. You never forget me, and buy that car. It is meant to be.”
Gavin watched as the image went away, and Gavin totally freaked out and ran into the bathroom.
Gavin got dressed and headed down to the lounge to see Dean and another soldier sat there talking. Gavin walked over and said, “hi guys.”
Dean smiled and said, “I didn’t expect to see you tonight.”
“Well, I had a strange dream, not the usual one tonight,” Gavin said.
“Oh shit, meet Todd. This scamp is my man Gavin,” Dean said smiling.
Gavin laughed and said, “pleased to meet you, mate.”
The three lads soon became firm friends and were soon branded the terrible threesome.
The next day
Gavin was sat in his room looking at that ad for that Morris Minor and decided, fuck no harm in trying and he picked up his new mobile and phoned the number. He was surprised when the guy said it was still available. Gavin offered to pay the full asking price.
Gavin then asked where the car was and was surprised to find it was in nearby Cheedam. Gavin asked if the guy would bring it to Coldbrooke for him and the guy agreed.
Gavin asked Ryan if he could take him to the bank.
Gavin withdrew the cash and went back to Coldbrooke and arrived shortly before he spotted the beautifully restored Morris Minor pulling in.
Ryan smiled and said, “nice motor.”
“Yeah sure is,” Gavin said.
Gavin looked round the car and said, “wow, you have done a good job.”
“Well, not me. It was my brother Justin. He died last year in a fire, and it has too many memories to keep, being honest,” Peter said.
Gavin looked at Peter and said, “are you sure you really want to sell it?”
“Yeah I am. And I can tell it will have a good home,” Peter said.
“It sure will. I used to own one before, so I am used to the ups and downs of owning one,” Gavin said.
“What you sold it?” Peter asked.
“Well I jointly owned it with my late best friend, but we sold it because we both joined up to the Army, but we both wish we had kept it. The new owner was an idiot and he totalled it in a crash a few months later,” said Gavin.
“Oh hell,” Peter said.
Gavin handed the money over and said, “do you want a lift back?”
Peter smiled and said, “no you are ok. My younger brother brought my car” pointing to a beautiful Ford Zodiac parked nearby.
“Wow, what a stunner,” Gavin said walking over to it.
Gavin spent the next half hour talking to Peter, and found out that there was a classic car club based locally, and that they were having a rally in a nearby manor house in a couple of weeks.
Gavin got the information from Peter and said, “I will take the Morris.”
“That would be nice, as they are raising money for charity,” Peter said.
“Oh ok. What charity?”Gavin asked.
“Well actually, this year it is for the Royal British Legion,” Peter said.
“That’s good, because if it wasn’t for these people, I wouldn’t be here,” Gavin said.
“Well mate, I need to get going and hopefully I will see you at Crompton manor,” Peter said.
“Sure will,” Gavin said.
Gavin shook Peter’s hand and said “safe journey, mate.”
“Thanks, bye,” Peter said as he got into the Zodiac.
Gavin got into the Morris and drove it around the grounds and then parked it in the car park. He locked it up and went in to sort out insurance to drive it.
Gavin later showed his pride and joy off to Dean.
Later that day
Gavin and Dean were sat in Gavin’s room watching television, when there was a knock at the door. Gavin shouted “come in,” and was shocked to see his younger brother Richie, standing there. Gavin jumped up and ran over and hugged his brother and said, “fuck, how did you get here?”
“We have things like trains you know,” Richie said.
Dean laughed and Gavin said, “same old smart arse.”
Gavin then said, “Richie, this is my man Dean.”
Dean said “hi mate.”
“Hi” Richie said.
Dean said, “look, I will leave you two alone to catch up. But I will be back later babe,” and kissed Gavin on the cheek.
“Ok babes, tell Todd I’ll catch up with the chess game tomorrow, ok?” Gavin said.
“Will do babes.”
“See you again, Richie. I hope,” Dean said.
Richie was shocked when Gavin told him about living on the streets, and that their mum had told him to go. He was even more pissed off, when Gavin told him that their mum had told the Army support people to piss off as well.
Gavin then said, “how’s Andy?”
Richie’s face went white and he said, “don’t mention that two timing toad to me.”
“Oh shit, I thought you were living with him?” Gavin said.
“We were, until I came home last week and caught him going at it with two lads on my settee,” Richie said with tears running down his face.
“The bastard,” Gavin said grabbing his younger brother for a hug.
“One was ugly, as well,” Richie said smiling.
“And the other one?” Gavin said.
“Fucking well hot.”
“Oh right,” Gavin said.
Richie then said, “big boy too.”
“What, you didn’t, you dirty fucker. You did, didn’t you?”Gavin asked smiling.
“Too fucking right, he had to come back. He had left his wallet and keys on my table, and well let’s just say he didn’t leave for two days,” Richie said.
“That’s my boy,” Gavin said laughing.
“So, I thought it was Andy’s place you were living at?” Gavin asked.
“No its mine. I have it through the university,” Richie said.
“Well, that’s ok then,” Gavin said.
“Oh, did you noticed my pride and joy in the car park?” Gavin asked.
“What that Morris Minor is yours?” Richie asked.
“Sure is. I bought it today,” Gavin said smiling.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought Gavin would love that” Richie said smiling.
“You know me too well,” Gavin said.
“Yeah my middle gay brother,” Richie said.
“Yeah, and don’t you forget it,” Gavin said laughing.
Richie left a short time later and Gavin walked him to the car park and showed him the Morris while they waited for his taxi. Richie was staying at a local hotel for a couple of days and told Gavin that he would visit again tomorrow.
Gavin joined Dean and Todd in the lounge. He noticed a group of Army guys sitting talking to one of the soldiers in-patients and carried on talking to Dean.
Corporal Jason Green Robbo and Gary were visiting Corporal Harvey Gregory at Coldbrooke, like they had a few time since they had returned home. Jason looked over and saw three lads playing chess, and realised he recognised one of them. He said, “guys, I will be back.”
Robbo looked at Gary, who shrugged his shoulders and watched as Jason walked over to the three lads over the other side of the lounge.
“Well, I never . . . Private Gavin Robins,” Jason said.
Gavin looked round and said, “shit, Corporal Green.”
Gavin stood and shook Jason’s hand and said, “what brings you here?”
“Well, Harvey over there was in my current unit, until he got blown up. So we are visiting him,” Jason said.
“That’s nice of you,” Gavin said.
“So, what about you? I heard from Carwyn that you had been discharged,” Jason said.
“Yeah, and I heard about the new court marshal as well, from Tom Rees. I am glad you are back where you should be mate,” Gavin said.
“Yeah, Tom is a good guy. So are you visiting or are you a patient here?” Jason asked.
“I am a patient mate. I am getting help with my post traumatic stress disorder,” Gavin said.
“I am glad you are getting help. I know these guys here have helped me recently, and I am sorry to hear about Jack he was a good guy,” Jason said.
“Yeah, he was and I miss him,” Gavin said.
The next morning
Jon Dunnet arrived at Heathrow airport and parked his car and went to the arrivals area of the terminal. He took out a piece of paper and wrote on it in black marker, “Gareth Robins”.
Jon spotted that the flight from Sydney via Singapore had landed. He waited for a while, as passengers started to come through immigration. He spotted a young family coming towards him, and the man smiled and walked over and said, “hi, I am Gareth.”
“Jon Dunnet, from British Legion. Pleased to finally meet you,” Jon said.
“You too. This is my wife Hannah, and this bundle of joy is my two year old Dylan,” Gareth said.
“I have booked you into a hotel near here for today, so that you can recover from your journey,” Jon said.
“Oh thanks, I am sure Dylan and Hannah need a rest. But I want to go and see Gavin,” Gareth said.
“No Gareth, you need to have a rest before that. We will go and see him in the morning. He has had Richie, and an old colleague visit him in the last couple of days,” Jon said.
“Oh, Richie has been up. That’s good then,” Gareth said.
“Oh, and he has bought a car. His pride and joy, as he calls it,” Jon said.
“Don’t tell me he bought another Morris Minor,” Gareth said laughing.
“Yeah, he sure has,” Jon said smiling.
Jon took the family to their hotel and said, “I have a meeting to go to, but I will check in with you later.”
“Ok thanks Jon,” Gareth said.
Gareth was actually knackered from the journey and was actually glad for the rest. Soon he, Hannah, and baby Dylan were fast asleep.
Jon checked in with them later, and told them that they would leave the hotel at 10am, the next morning, for their journey north.
Gavin, meanwhile, didn’t know when Gareth would be home. He knew he was trying to get a flight, but wasn’t sure when.
The next morning
Gavin had had a quiet night, and had slept all night without any nightmares. He went down to the dining hall and saw Dean looking tired as usual. He went over grabbed his Weettabix and toast, as usual and headed over to Dean’s table.
“You ok babe?” Gavin asked.
“What do you care? You have your family. I have no one,” Dean said.
“Please, babe. Don’t beat yourself up,” Gavin said.
Dean stood up and said, “I would rather that you left me alone for now on. Ok?” he then walked out.
Gavin sat there in shock and couldn’t eat his breakfast. He threw it out and went looking for Ryan.
Ryan saw Gavin coming down the corridor and said, “you ok, Gavin?”
“No. Can I speak to you for a minute please?” Gavin said.
“Yeah sure, come in here,” Ryan said.
“What’s wrong?” Ryan asked.
“Well its Dean. He has told me to get lost and leave him alone and I don’t know what to do,” Gavin said.
“Oh no, not again,” Ryan said.
“What do you mean?” Gavin said.
“Well, Dean is a complicated case. He lets people in a little, then he dumps them,” Ryan said.
“Oh ok. So do you think I should just leave him be?” Gavin asked.
“No, I do not I want you to keep talking to him, even if it is just hi, ok?” Ryan said.
“I can do that,” Gavin said.
“It might also have something to do with you sleeping all night. He had a real bad night last night, according to the nurses, he only had an hours sleep all night. He spent most of the night out in the lounge, as usual,” Ryan said.
“I hadn’t thought of that,” Gavin said.
“I hoped that we had turned a corner with Dean recently, but it looks like he is going back to his old ways,” Ryan said.
“Not if I can help it, he won’t,” Gavin said.
“I am dreading tonight. The lounge will be closed because they are replacing the lighting overnight,” Ryan said.
“He won’t be happy,” Gavin said.
“Anyway, that is something I need to sort out now. You need to go and relax somewhere, and don’t worry too much about Dean, ok?” Ryan said.
“Ok, I will try,” Gavin said.
Gavin was sat in the lounge playing chess with Todd and said, “you seen Dean today?”
“Yeah, he told me to go away earlier. I really don’t know what his problem is,” Todd said.
“Yeah he told me the same,” Gavin said.
“It is his loss mate,” Todd said.
“Yeah, but I like Dean, and I know he is hurting mate,” Gavin said.
“Yeah, but if he doesn’t want us as friends what, can we do?” Todd said.
“Yeah true,” Gavin said.
Gavin won the game and said, “same time, same place tomorrow?”
Todd laughed and said, “for a rematch.”
Gavin went to his room, but as he walked along the corridor he saw Dean’s room door closed. Gavin went over and opened the door and he looked in and saw Dean lying on the floor.
Gavin ran in and shouted “Dean Wake up”
Gavin pulled the emergency cord.
The doctors ran in and fought for ten minutes and soon had Dean back in the land of the living. Dean had gone into anaphylactic shock, and was close to dying. Dean had been stung by a wasp which had caused the shock.
Gavin went back in to see Dean on the bed looking white and walked over and said,“thank god. I thought you were a goner, mate.”
“Yeah, it happened so quick, I felt the wasp sting me. I got up to go and see the nurse to check it out, and the next thing I remember is the doctor trying to get me awake,” Dean said.
Gavin took Deans hand and said, “listen, about earlie,r just because my family are starting to look out for me doesn’t mean I will leave you. Ok? I love you Dean, and I want to be part of your life and I want you as part of mine.”
Dean smiled and said, “ok, I accept,” laughing.
Gavin kissed Dean and said, “you get some rest and I will come and see you later, and by the way, you will have to use the dining hall tonight. The lounge is closed for lighting repairs.”
“Yeah, I saw the signs earlier,” Dean said.
Gavin was sat in his room, and a little while later, there was a quiet knock on the door.
Gavin walked over to the door to see a little boy standing there.
Gavin smiled and said, “hello, and who are you?”
“I’m Dylan, and you my uncle Gavin,” Dylan said.
Gavin smiled and lifted the little boy up and said, “yeah, and whose daddy?”
Gareth came round the corner and said, “surprise!”
Gavin put Dylan down and grabbed his brother and said, “you swine, you didn’t tell me you had a son.”
“What, mum never told you?” Gareth asked.
“No, she never did, but neither did Richie when he came by earlier this week,” Gavin said smiling.
Gavin was enjoying getting to know little Dylan and Hannah, and seeing his brother again, but Dean was playing on his mind, and he said, “listen bro, I want you to meet a friend of mine.”
“Yeah sure,” Gareth said.
Gavin and Gareth went to Dean’s room and saw him sat watching TV.
Gavin knocked and walked in and said, “Dean, I want you to meet my older brother Gareth.”
“Gareth, this is my other half Dean,” Gavin said.
“Hi, pleased to meet you. I hope this one is looking after you,” Gareth said.
“Sure is. He saved my life earlier. I went into shock after a wasp sting,” Dean said smiling.
Gareth could tell that Dean felt awkward, but then he said, “why don’t you come and join us at Gavin’s room?”
“No, I don’t want to intrude,” Dean said.
“Nonsense. You are part of our family now,” Gareth said.
Dean walked back with Gareth and Gavin, and went in and was met by Dylan who said, “who are you?”
Gareth laughed and said, “sorry about the nosy parker.”
Dean laughed and said, “I am Dean, and who are you?”
“I am Dylan,” Dylan said.
“It’s nice to meet you Dylan,” Dean said.
Dean loved being there with Gareth, Hannah, Dylan, and Gavin, and really did feel like an honouree member of the Robins family.
Gavin showed his family his new pride and joy and Gareth said, “you and your old cars.”
Gavin said, “Well, they last a hell of a lot longer than the heaps of junk they make today.”
“Yeah, that’s true”Gareth said.
Dean and Gavin stood on the steps a little while later, waving as Gareth, Hannah, and Dylan headed to their hotel.
Dean said, “I feel like I am a part of the Robins’ family.”
Gavin kissed Dean and said, “Well you are.”
Later that night
Gavin was asleep, when he heard the door to his room open. He looked up and saw Dean coming in. Dean went and sat on the settee and curled up. Gavin got up and sat down next to Dean and pulled him into a hug and kissed his forehead and said, “it will get better, babe. I promise.”
Dean smiled and said, “it wasn’t a nightmare tonight. It was the bloody lighting engineers moving the ladders.”
“I love you, Dean Alexandra,” Gavin said.
“I love you, Gavin Robins,” Dean said smiling.
The two lads kissed each other and then drifted off asleep on each other’s arms.