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Love of and on the Canal

Part 11



Only seven days left to Christmas day, I had just come off the phone to J, he had reached Dan's safely. Brian and his wife, Jenny Dan and Peter were bringing him home this evening and they were all staying for dinner. Dan and Peter were staying for a couple of days. It was a sort of late house warming party.

J and myself had noticed the house was for sale as we came back from our summer canal holiday. It was on the outskirts of Berkhampstead and the garden backed on to the canal where Zachire was moored. It had taken a lot of work to bring it up to how we wanted it. It has a large garden with a swimming pool and an allotment that was in need of clearing. The back door opened into a large kitchen with a breakfast bar through an arch into the lounge. On the right double door opened out onto a large patio, all though it was bit cold for that at the moment. There were two settees and a couple of arm chairs and the large screen TV and sound system and a big fire place and grate. There was also a dining table, I don't think we had used it yet as we tended to eat all out meals in the kitchen. We also had a downstairs loo. The door at the end lead into a small hall with a room on the left that we had made into an office. In here was the computer and ... well it was study come office come quite room. Next to the front door were the stairs.

We had 4 bedrooms all though we were only using one at the moment, it was the biggest with its own shower and toilet. The next two larger rooms had double beds and the smallest had a single bed they all had cupboard/draws etc. At the end of the landing was a large bathroom/shower and toilet.

The garage contained our bikes and in the drive was a Citroen C4 that did not get used that much.We both still liked to cycle every where.

The phone rang and I picked it up.

'Chas mum says it OK we can come' I laughed, Simon sounded so excited and as usual assumed I would answer the phone.
'Good and you are staying for a couple of days.
'Yes, Terry can't wait'
'How is he, is he settling down'

It had been hard on him, he was now living back in Berkhampstead. After the court case and his dad had been jailed his mum had moved back to Berkhampstead to be near her family. She had adopted Simon, what with moving into the house we had not seen much of them.

I can remember that Sunday back in the summer as if it was yesterday ......

I looked at the caller display and I did not recognize the number as I answered.
'Chas, Chas help me ....... please come and help me'
'Terry whats happened whats going on' I had recognized the voice but only just, it had been filled with pain, hurt and sounded very scared.
'Its dad he' I could hear him crying and then he took a big breath 'he says I can't be gay ... please come and get me'

I had told Terry to go to the police for help but he had said no one would beleave him, his dad was a head teacher. I had got him to get a train away from his home town and the made him promise that he would stay in busy areas. I could not understand what was going on, I thought John had accepted his son, he had even been talking about adopting Simon. Terry had frightened me when he said that he had not wanted anyone to see him, he said they would ask questions about the bruises. I was really scared for him now ..... what was going on. It had taken 5 hours to get everything sorted out and to get down to Devon, Simon was with me. Terry had gone to Teingmouth by train and had called us to say he was hiding in a Park near the station.

We found some where to park and Simon was out the car and running through the Park gates before I had even locked the car up. We both saw him at the same time, he was sat at a picnic table he looked as if he was asleep. We woke him up and he was in a bad way, one eye was completely shut, his nose had been bleeding. As we helped him to his feet he cried out in pain and that when I took my phone out and called for an ambulance.

Simon told me that Terry was really getting on well and his was nearly back to being his old self, he still had nightmares but they were getting fewer, he had lost the stutter, the doctors had said he would. They had also said that the mental scars would take longer to heal. They were going to come up Christmas day and and stay for a couple of days. I had talked to their mum, she was pleased, it had been quite a strain on her a few days off over Christmas would give her chance to visit her brother and sister.

I called Zac and Scruffy and headed out for a walk across the fields it was nice dry crisp cold morning. When we got back I put some food down for them and then made myself a spot of lunch just as the doorbell went. We didn't get many unannounced callers so I wondered who it could be. It was Jim, I was pleased to see him, it must have been a couple of months since we had talked and I had invited him out to visit. We had talked about next summer and J and mines holiday boat project. The boats were being fitted out at Tim and his dads boat yard at the moment.

As he came in he glanced back at his car and I could see a kid sat in the back looking out at us. Jim saw me looking and grinned at me and shrugged, a sort of apologize. I nodded at him and he beckoned to the kid who got out of the car and walked up the path, he made it half way before Zac and Scruffy greeted him.

They followed me through to the kitchen and I invited them to sit, the lad went across and sat cross legged on the floor in the corner his head down. Zac, good old Zac, he seemed to know what to do, he went across and laid with his head in the kids lap. I made mugs of tea and took one across with some biscuits to the kid and just left them next to him. Jim took his tea and and headed into the lounge.

'Look, I am really sorry' he said
'You know I won't say no .... so whats his story' I said smiling, Jim had know I would help with out me telling him. His name was Carl he was 12 and had just come out of hospital after having been beaten by his parents. He had been with a family for just two days, it seems Carl had just sat and not talked, not moved and they had not been able to cope with that. I looked back into the kitchen and saw Zac was working his magic all ready, Carl was stroking him and feeding him a biscuit, Scruffy appeared all ready to have got one. I saw Carl giggle as Zac licked him then he saw I was watching and he hung his head down again. I went out with Jim to get the kids stuff and agreed that he would visit Christmas Eve for dinner.

I left his stuff at the bottom of the stairs and went back into the kitchen, he was still sat on the floor, he looked up as I came in.

'Hi' I said as I went and sat on one of the stalls at the breakfast bar he had gone back to looking at the floor. 'The one you are stroking is called Zac the other one is Scruffy and if Jim didn't tell you my names Chas' Still no response. 'House rules' he looked up at me and seemed a little scared 'You will help with all the chores including cooking and cleaning, you'll help take the dogs out' he gave a little smile then 'we don't have locks on any doors, well except the outside ones .... so if a doors closed you knock and wait for an answer before going in ... especially the bathroom and bedrooms ..... you OK so far' he nodded 'if you have a problem or you want something, ask and we'll see what we can do and the most important ones' now he looked a bit more frightened 'be honest with us and just as importantly be honest with your self' he looked confused but gave a half smile.

I pated the seat next to me and slowly he got up and came across and sat down. It took a while but I did get him to tell me a few things, some foods he did not like and the fact that he had to take some medicine, I did not ask what for as that would be in his folder. I made him a couple of sandwiches and another cup of tea. Next I phoned J.

'Hi' I said
'Whats up didn't expect to hear from you'
'Well Jim called'
'Ahhhh so we have a guest' I laughed. J new Jim as well as I did.
'Well his names Carl and he's sat listening to half a conversation I glanced at him and he just looked at me.
'OK well how it going'
'Not well yet'
'OK' I could almost see J thinking.
'Your younger brother bringing his boy friend this weekend' I asked, I all ready new but was trying to get Carl to listen and I had succeeded he looked straight at me and went blushed a bit. I was right my gaydar had worked all thought I had half guessed because Jim had brought him to us.
'Ahh your trying to get him to chill out' J said knowing Carl could not here.
'I was thinking of giving Carl the room opposite ours and your brother can have the double at the end of the hall'
'Give Dan and Peter separate rooms' I now knew they were listing as they shouted for me not to listen. I chatted a bit more then hung up.

Carl had finished his sandwiches and was again making a fuss of Zac.

'Come on lets get you settled in' I said. I showed him round the house and helped him unpack the few clothes that he had. We finished just as the doorbell went. He followed me down the stairs, I wondered who it was this time.

It turned out to be Mike a local farmer with a trailer load of logs for the fire. I got him to tip them in the drive and then with Carl's help I barrowed them round the back and stacked them on the patio. He worked well and we were soon finished.

'I am going to get a shower ... if you want one you can use the shower at the end of the hall I'll use the one in my room' he nodded. I grabbed a couple of towels and handed them to him.

I was finished and in the kitchen when he wandered in and sat at the breakfast bar. 'We are having chicken casserole for dinner you ok with that' I asked and he nodded. I got him to help. prepare the vegetables.

'You cooked before
'I did it at school' he replied 'it was fun'

When everything was on the go I wandered into the lounge and stood looking out at the garden and Zachire at the bottom moored there in the afternoon sun .... how much fun we had had during the summer and soon we would be taking him up to Tim's yard so we would have some where to stay when we went up to help with the holiday boats. I wondered what it was going to be like, some of the canals could well be frozen and snow was forecast ..... well we would see we would be starting the trip just after Christmas or may be early in the new year.

I looked to my left and Carl had come and stood next to me.

'So how about a walk with the dogs' I asked and he nodded.

This time I went down the canal the dogs were out in front doing their usual thing. I glanced down at Carl and I could see he had a smile on his face, he saw me looking at him and reached and took hold of my hand and when I gave his a gentle squeeze he moved in a bit closer. Soon we were off the towpath and in Berkhampstead High Street, much to the annoyance of the dogs I had slipped their leads on. I had Zac and Carl much to his delight had Scruffy, not that either needed to be on the lead but I felt safer with all the traffic around. As we passed a clothes shop I saw Carl glance in at some trousers in the window. Well may be I could get him some for Christmas.

I bought Carl some washing kit, toothbrush and other odds and sods and we headed back home. I checked on the food while he he went up and put his wash stuff in his room.

It was just after 5 and we were n both sat in the Kitchen.

'Is J your wife or girlfriend' he suddenly asked.
'Neither he's my boyfriend' Well Carl just sat there his mouth open.

Zac and Scruffy were heading for the front door before I heard it open. Dan and Peter were the first in and wasted no time in finding me and giving be a big hug and they both kissed me on the cheek. Next it was Brian and Jenny, Brian shook my hand but Jenny gave me a cuddle and a kiss and last but not least was J and he gave me a cuddle and a lot better kiss. I then introduced every one to Carl and he did seem rather overwhelmed with all the goings on and was highly delighted when Dan asked him to help them take their stuff upstairs. J went with them to show them which room but was soon back down. I showed Brian and Jenny round the house and the loved it.

Dinner had been great and Brian and Jenny had left. Dan and Peter were laid out on the floor and Carl had come and sat snuggled up to me on the settee and J had gone up for a shower. Soon we all headed up to bed, I gave Carl chance to wash and get him self sorted out and then went across to his room. The door was half open so I tapped and walked in he was all ready in bed.

'You all right' I asked as I sat on the edge of his bed 'it's been a bit busy'
'Yeah' he replied in a quite voice then went on 'you don't mind me staying here do you' a tear ran down his cheek. I brushed it away.
'Of course not, I'm just sorry its been a bit busy for you'
'No its ok ..... really .... is it all right, er do you leave the light on on the landing, can I leave the door open a bit' It's funny but we all ways left the landing light on, J wasn't frightened of the dark, but, he all ways liked a light on.
'It stays on all night and we are across the hall if you have any problems' I told him and bent down and kissed his forehead.

First of all an apology .... Sorry about the sudden change but I needed it. One reason for the gap of a few months in the story is that as its winter here in the UK I was having a bit of difficulty writing about summer and I also needed to move the story on a bit .... I think! Let me know what you think.

Another chapter and still more to come...