A bit more of the tale of urban delinquency, based on the kids we see every day.
Sorry it's slowed up a lot, I'm sure the government have cut back on hours in a day and days in a week for me. They take nearly everything else I have, so why not?
Like it? Tell me. Want more? Tell me. Don't like it? Tell me why.
I took a deep breath and told them most of the story, without the worst (or best!) of the juicy bits. Including an apology for taking the whisky. They kept interrupting with questions, though, and I kept forgetting what I'd told them and what I wanted kept secret. I'm sure I said more than I meant to. At the end, I just looked Dad in the eye and said, "Sorry, Dad. I've messed up big time, haven't I."
"It's those bloody kids you hang about with, they've dragged you down to their level, Anthony." he said. "I forbid you to see them again."
I expected that. I was sure there'd be more, but a trouble shared is a blame halved, I say.
"One's in the bed next to me, do you want them to move me?" I asked, expecting he'd insist on it.
"Ryan's a different matter, I understand." he said. "Your Mother's told me a bit about him. No, you can stay there by him, I don't mind that."
Dad raised one eyebrow as he ended saying that, which puzzled me. Actually, him saying it puzzled me - what had Mum said?
Dad stood up before I could find out. "Where's the toilet, Son?" he asked. I told him, and he went off, leaving Mum and me to talk.
"Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!" I said. Mum just smiled. I suspected she'd told him some of it before they came to see me, so he expected what he'd be told. Knowing Mum, she'd told him what not to say as well.
"There'll have to be a few changes when you come home." she said. "We were even thinking of changing your school, and putting you in St Peter and Paul's."
That stunned me. "I don't think I can change that much!" I said, trying to joke it off, but she stopped smiling. That change would be too much for me to bear. Me, at St. P&P's! No way. Try to be good? perhaps. Be a goody-goody? Never.
"Neither do I." she said, a little sadly, I thought. "I don't suppose we could afford it, either, but we have thought about it. That school you're in now doesn't seem to be doing you much good."
"Only because I don't try hard enough." I admitted. "I promise I'll try harder when I go back." I don't think she believed me. I wouldn't have, it sounded too much like it was, me trying to get off the hook.
We chatted about other stuff for a few minutes, then Dad came back. "I've talked to the sister, and she thinks you can come home tomorrow." he said. "provided you stay in bed and take a bath twice a day."
"I think I can manage that!" I said, but he wasn't up for the joke.
"You'll also do what I and your mother tell you from now on, Anthony, and that includes no swanning off out, and no visitors in your room for the two weeks you'll be off school." His tone indicated he was serious about this, I was being grounded good and proper.
"By then I'll be home again, and I expect to see an improvement in your behaviour." He added. "You've run wild, and it's not going to happen again."
He paused for that to sink in. "You're lucky to be alive, Anthony. God knows what those two men could have done to you."
Dad stood to leave. I suppose he was pretty disgusted with me, and looking at it from his angle I could understand why. "I never thought you'd turn out this way." he said finally to me as he lifted mum's arm as a signal it was time to go. I wanted to say something, to tell them I wasn't all bad, but I couldn't find any excuse strong enough. `This way'? Is that all he could call it? At least he wasn't raving about having a poofta son. Be grateful for small mercies.
I stayed silent as Dad wheeled me back to the bed.
"I'd like to stay here for a while." I said when he pushed me between Rye's bed and mine. I had nobody else to talk to, anyway. Mum kissed me goodbye while Dad stood at the foot of my bed, looking harassed. I dreaded what was to come one day if Mum wasn't around to hear him.
"How'yer doin', Rye?" I asked. "Sorry if I've been an arsehole to you recently."
"That's all right, Ant." he said. Something lit up his in his face as we started to talk, and he smiled for a second. "You just don't understand, that's all."
"Understand? Understand what?" I asked.
"You wouldn't know, even if I told you. Let it lie, Ant."
I did what he said, and let it pass. "So how are you feeling now?" I enquired, studying the framework holding up the two lengths of cords attached to his legs, which ran over pulleys and had weights on the other ends. "Does that hurt?"
"Everything fuckin' hurts, Ant. That truck went over my legs and my arms, snapped them like matchsticks it did. I wish it'd gone right over me, then I wouldn't have to suffer like this." he said, clenching his teeth on the last few words. The smile had been pretend.
"Don't say that, Rye!" I exclaimed, not wanting to drag the talk towards why he did it in the first place.
"Why not, Anthony!" he spat at me, his eyes blazing with -- what? Not hate, I hoped. It isn't my fault that he had a crush on me after what we did together. I frowned that I'd thought of the word `crush'.
"It isn't as if you care -- really care, that is!" he said.
"I do care, Rye, really I do. It's just that I -"
"What would you have felt if I had been killed? Would you have missed me? would you have cared then?"
My mind flashed to a scenario of hearing Rye was dead, killed by a truck he'd run in front of. My first thought was `Stupid little shit!', then my heart ached with an emptiness, a hole I couldn't explain. Would I have missed him? That much? Really?
Rye took my thinking silence as an answer. "I thought as much. I'm just a bit of dogshit you've stepped your grubby trainer on." he said, and looked away.
"Of course I'd have missed you, Rye!" I exclaimed. "I wouldn't want this happening to any of my friends!"
Rye stared at the ceiling. "And I certainly wouldn't want any of them killed!" I added.
"Am I `one of your friends', then?" he asked snootily, still studying the dusty ceiling above him.
"Of course you are, Rye! Why do you need to ask?" I said.
"Just -- just `one of your friends'?" he said.
"Of course you're my friend!" I said, not wanting to get too deep with this but I automatically reached over and held the fingers sticking out of the plaster cast covering his arm and hand.
"Nothing more?" he asked, turning his head back to face me. I couldn't avoid it now.
"What do you want, Rye? What do you expect from me?" I asked, almost shouted. It was me feeling like the dogshit now, I'd asked for it and I was going to get it.
"You promised me that things would get better for me, Ant. Told me that I shouldn't keep getting beaten up to remember -- you know. Then -- behind the gym block, remember? -- you said `You're my bitch now, Rye. Your ass is mine, anytime I want it.' And when you'd gone, I realised that was just what I wanted. To be yours, because you wanted me." he was staring me out, forcing me to accept or deny what he thought I'd meant.
"But Rye!" I jumped, denying him I suppose, "I told you I didn't mean -" I swallowed, the reality of learning how much of a reason I was for him wanting to kill himself hitting me hard.
I lowered my voice to a whisper to explain, I didn't want the other patients to hear me, and several had turned their heads to us as some of what we'd said had been fairly loud. "What I did then was wrong, totally out of order. I raped you, nothing less. I've been shit scared ever since that you'd report it and I'd get locked up for it."
Rye was listening, and waiting for more. "When I said that, I was still forcing you, raping your mind. I was on some sort of power trip, I didn't mean -- oh fuck, Rye, I didn't mean that -- this." I said.
He looked down at my hand, squeezing his fingers. I didn't let go.
"I never meant for you to -" I couldn't say the rest, I still wanted to deny that he had fallen for me. "I told you when I first came to see you, I didn't mean anything by it! I'm sorry!"
"I know now." Rye said. "I knew then, I suppose, when I saw you get into Ronson's car. You don't want me, you want anybody, whether you fuck them or they fuck you. That's it, isn't it Ant? you're anybody's."
I couldn't answer, he knew me better than I knew myself.
"Ryan, I -"
"What's Ronson like, Ant?" Rye shouted. "Is he a good fuck, too? Is he gentle or rough when he does you, eh? He was rough with me, but that's because I made him be. And Mr. Terry, what's it like being fucked by your teacher, Ant? Does he give you grades on your performance under him? `Come on, you thickhead! You haven't been paying attention, have you?'!" Rye imitated Mr. Terry's classroom manner saying that. "And what about that Colin kid? If he did that to you, ripped your arse, I'm surprised he's not here in two beds if you did him worse than you did me, Ant! You'd have ripped him open from his arse to his neck if you'd have fucked him like he did you!"
Rye stopped for breath. He was angry, furious with me, and rightly so. His look, knife-like, cut me to the core.
"Rye, I -" I started again. He clenched my fingers with his, held them against the rough plaster, lifted my arm and pulled the blanket up with his other hand.
"Ant, you bastard, I fuckin' hate you!" he said. "You fucked me, an' you fucked my mind. I fuckin' hate you an' I want you dead, but this is what you do to me!" and he pulled my hand under the blanket to where his hospital gown was ridden up, and onto his cock. My fingers felt the hot skin, erect, hard and throbbing. "Every time I think about you." he said. My fingers closed round the hot skin. I didn't want to, really didn't, it was unthinkable, but I pulled the skin down slowly. "You bastard!" Rye whispered. "You fuckin', fuckin' bastard!" he sobbed, a stream of tears running down his cheeks. "I hope you get fuckin' AIDS an' die!" he heaved. My hand automatically slid the skin back up, and my first finger wiped over the wet tip. He shuddered. "You want to fuck every kid you see, an' get fucked by them too." he sighed. "You wanna fuck your way round the world, an' not care who you fuck up on the way!" I felt my hand sliding down again, pulling the skin tight on his cock, then it was flying up again, and down, up, down, faster every time. Rye pushed his head back onto his pillow, and groaned. "Fuck you, Calligan!" he sighed loudly. "I don't love you any more, I don't, I don't, I -- Uuuurrgghhh!" and a blast of cum shot from under the blanket he was still holding and landed in a line from his lips down, on his chin and the green hospital gown. Two more followed in quick succession, reaching his chest and soaking, like the first, into the green starched cloth.
I froze, then suddenly everything went crazy. Curtains were being drawn round our two beds, two nurses and the ward Sister were in the cocoon with us and Andy was pulling my wheelchair away from Rye's bed.
"Get back into bed." he said sternly, "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
It was a question that didn't want an answer. I stood up to get on the bed, and felt the warm liquid run down my leg. I looked down, saw the damp patch on my gown, and only then realised I'd been hard, rock hard, and shot my wad at the same time as Rye.
"Er -- I seem to have had an accident!" I said, in a daze.
"Get in!" snapped Andy. "I'll deal with you later!"
"I'm not having that sort of behaviour in my ward!" the Sister snapped. "Separate them, opposite ends of the ward! On second thoughts, put Pearson in the private room!" she boomed.
"Let me deal with it please, Sister!" Andy said with a commanding voice, turning his face to her from where he was doing something at Rye's bed. She looked aghast, as if he was trying to counter her orders.
"Trust me, I understand." he said. "They're friends, they're almost like lovers. They need each other, except he (nodding towards me) doesn't realise it yet."
"He's just a troublemaker." she said, looking at me like I was the piece of dogshit I was feeling like earlier. "I want him out of here as soon as possible. Put them both in the private room then, but put the sides up on his bed (nodding to me again) and lock them, so he can't get out."
"Trust me." he said again, spinning round to face her directly. "You trust Danny and me, don't you? Even though you don't like what we are?" He waited a moment. "Trust me to deal with it, I understand them."
The sister gave a `Hmmph', and turned to go, pushing through the curtains with a mumbled comment that included "not natural!"
"OK, you can go. I'll deal with them both." Andy said to the nurse, a plump twenty-something year old with a face like a bulldog's. I don't suppose she's ever been laid, the thought flashed through my mind.
"Good!" she said. "I don't want to!" and she followed the sister out through the curtains with her nose in the air.
"Slut!" Andy said under his breath.
"What!" I said, I mean I knew I was, I just didn't like being called it.
"Her." he said. "Open her legs for any man with a dick!"
Shows how wrong you can be, doesn't it?
"Goes for you, too, though, by what Ryan was saying." he said, facing away from me, probably cleaning Rye up.
"What! Did you hear all that?" I asked.
Andy spun on his heel. "The whole fuckin' ward heard it, and saw you tossing him off!" he exclaimed, angry but quiet enough that only I, and possibly Rye, heard. "What the hell were you thinking of?"
"We were just talking!" The excuse sounded lamer as I said it. And I knew it was a lie.
"It was my fault!" Rye gasped. He must have twisted his leg or something, he sounded in pain. "I didn't want to love him any more, and I wanted him to touch me and prove to myself that I hate him."
"So you let him toss you off?" Andy asked.
"It wasn't like that -- well, no, it wasn't supposed to be. I wanted to lose the hard-on when he touched me, to show him he means nothing to me." Rye said. The pain in my heart started again, the hole reappeared.
"Nothing?" I said.
"Fuck off, Calligan, you bastard. Nothing. Absolutely nothing." Rye sneered.
"You don't mean that, do you?" Andy said calmly. He pulled out a fresh gown from Rye's bedside cabinet, and unfolded it. Rye sat up, as much as he could.
"Yes I fuckin' do. I can't help it if I came when he did that, I didn't expect him to wank me, an' I haven't cum since -- since -" he suddenly remembered and looked at Andy, then at me, then back to Andy.
"Did he really ask you to do that to me this morning? Honestly?" he asked Andy.
"Yes, he did." Andy said.
"Why?" Rye asked, looking at me.
"Dunno. Thought you'd enjoy it." I said, shrugging my shoulders. Even I didn't know why I suggested it, then. I think I do now, though. But now's now, not then.
"Fuckin' bastard!" Rye hissed, falling back on his pillow.
"You don't mean that!" Andy said, helping Rye to sit up again.
"Yes I -- no -- oh, I don't fuckin' know!" Rye said as Andy untied the soiled gown and lifted it off him.
Andy moved to one side as he rolled up the old gown and picked up the clean one. I looked at Rye, his face still grazed in places, his arms and chest too, the plaster casts from his elbows to his fingers, his legs strung up and in plaster casts as well, naked other than the casts and the blanket covering his waist, and my heart burst. Exploded in my chest, it did, and I saw the missing piece in my jigsaw puzzle.
"Oh my God, Rye! What have I done!" I sobbed. My chest ached with more pain than he'll ever know. "Why couldn't I see? Why didn't I know?" I cried out.
"'Cos you're a cunt, Ant." Rye hissed as Andy wrapped the new gown round him. "A useless, no good, fuckin', whoring cunt."
The curtains flashed open again and the sister swept in with a little shiny tray in her hand. She grabbed my arm, wiped a bit of skin with a little wet tissue, and jabbed a needle in me.
"Ow!" I shouted. "What's that for?"
"To keep you quiet." she said. "You've disturbed my ward enough today."
Everything went round and round and the lights went out.
When I woke up, I was alone in a small room, very bright, pale blue walls and ceiling. I slowly remembered that I was in hospital, and what had happened up till the jab in my arm. If there was another bed, it was behind the curtain that was drawn to my right.
"Rye?" I called out.
"Fuck off, cunt!" his voice replied. "Don't wanna hear you!"
I lay back and stayed silent. `I don't love you any more, I don't, I don't' he'd said. That meant he had loved me. Love? Was that what I felt when my heart raced? I'd never known it before, only with him -- and it wasn't what I'd felt for Pie, or Mum and Dad, for that matter. They were different. I tried to remember the feeling, and whether it was nice or not -- a bit of both, I supposed. Did I love him? I certainly thought something about him, and not that he was a stupid little shit any more. I hated that I'd ever thought that. I wanted him -- no, not like that, but -- around, I just wanted to have him around, near me, by me, with me.
He was right, I was a cunt -- to myself as well as to him. I let that thought linger, until Andy opened the door about ten minutes later.
"Awake are you? I hope you're going to be quiet and better behaved now." he said.
Hang on, I thought, it wasn't me shouting out before, it was -- oh, let it go.
"Yes." I said, meekly. "Sorry if we made too much noise before."
Andy came in and closed he door. "That's sorted." he said. "Cost me a warning from Sister, but it's OK now, as long as you both stay quiet and in your beds."
"Huh!" Rye sneered behind the curtain. "Can't go far, can I? and there's nothing he can say I wanna hear."
"Not even `sorry'?" I offered. "Honestly, sorry."
"You don't know what honesty is, you cunt!" he spat.
"Now, now." Andy said. "You two ought to make up your differences, and be friends again."
"Never!" Rye sneered.
"Rye, please! I never realized how things were, I've been stupid, selfish -"
"And a slut whore!" he interrupted.
"Don't -- start -- again!" Andy ordered.
"Hmmph!" Rye muttered. Andy just sighed, and went out again. I closed my eyes, and slept on and off for the rest of the day and through the night.
"How's the bum!" Danny said, bright and annoyingly breezy as he woke me the next morning.
I told him it ached a bit, but the pain was almost gone. My dick was better too, I remembered it hadn't hurt when -- yesterday -- well, when it got hard under the gown. He told me they'd give me some of those pills to put up there before I had a crap for the next few days, to soften everything up, and that the doctor had said I could go whenever my Dad got there, I didn't have to wait for his rounds.
"Are you two friends again?" he asked. "You caused quite a commotion yesterday, from what I hear!"
"Not really." I said. "He doesn't want to listen to what I have to say, or to my apologies." I said.
"I'm not surprised." Danny said. "He'll come round."
I expected an abuse shouted at that, but Rye was silent.
"Is he asleep?" I asked.
"Sedated." Danny said. "He couldn't sleep, he was too upset."
"Angry with me?"
"What do you think?"
"Very." Andy came close to my bedside. "With himself, for still wanting you." he whispered. "But I haven't told you that, OK?"
"OK." I said, and sat thinking for a moment. "Can I see him?"
Danny drew the curtain open. Rye was lying on the bed, still in the casts and with his legs in the air. He looked -- what's the word I want -- I don't know, but I wanted him -- no, I've already said not like that, just, well, wanted somehow to be close. My heart fluttered again. I wanted to hug him and make everything better. Everything.
"Right!" I heard as the door burst open, and the Sister strode in, followed by Dad, who was carrying a bag of my clothes..
"I want him up, dressed and out as quickly as possible. Danny, you stay and help, and see he doesn't go near Ryan again please!" she said, turned and strode out.
"You two been fighting?" Dad asked. "The sister's very angry with you, she told me you were on the point of being thrown out last night." he said.
"We had a row, yes." I admitted. Danny unlocked the sides and helped me out of the bed and held my boxers for me to step into before he took the gown off.
Dad asked nothing else, and I dressed in silence. When I was ready, about to go, I walked round to Rye's bed, where he was still fast asleep. I had so much to say, but couldn't think of a single word.
"Thanks, Danny." I did say as we walked out. "For everything."