By Paul Jamison

Chapter 26

Wakefield, West Yorkshire, Marcus’s viewpoint…

I made some tea while Mum ran her bath and unpacked her case. Then she took hers with her into the bathroom and took a bath while I laid the table for our supper. About half an hour later she came out and after going to her room to dress came into the kitchen and we prepared our meal. I was simply dying to know all that had happened, but didn’t want to push until Mum was ready to talk. I’d learnt that before and so with great difficulty said nothing.

After we’d eaten the lasagne that Mum had baked she went to her briefcase and took out a folder of stuff. We both sat on the sofa while she opened the folder and said

“The job’d be very good indeed I think for me. I know it’d mean a complete uproot and starting again, finding somewhere to live, moving and then starting a new job for me and school for you, but if it’s offered, I’d really like to be able to say yes at once,” Mum said looking anxiously at me.

“If you think it’s that good and we can find a school nearby that’s got the sort of courses that I really want, then okay, I’ll give it a go,” I replied and sighed.

Mum looked at me and hurriedly added “If there’re any real problems with finding a good school, then it’d have to be off. I can’t stomach your going through another bunch of bullies like those you had to suffer before you got that scholarship to the Grammar School.”

I nodded and then smiled.  “What did they say about stuff like that? Or do we have to do our own finding out?” I asked.

“I’m going to call your school tomorrow or Monday and see what they’ve to say and what, if any, advice they can give. I already know the name of what seems to be the right sort of school, as it was mentioned in the questions I asked after the main interview.”

“What’s it called?” I asked, as I got up and turned on our computer intending to do a search and see what it had to offer.

“It’s called ‘The Royal Grammar School for Boys’ and is on a site just outside of the town where I’d be working and we’d be living. They said briefly that it was well thought of and has very good facilities all the way to sixth form. It’s got a swimming pool and a big auditorium too and holds frequent drama productions. I was rather surprised that they knew so much, but they explained that it’s because the son of the lady who died goes there and arrangements had to be made. That’s all I know at the moment,” she finished.

I’d got up and had been searching for the school’s website while my mum had been talking and soon had their website up and was sussing out their facilities and courses for GCSE and A levels.

“Looks pretty good on here,” I said.

My mum came over to the computer and together we looked through the courses and facilities while she made some notes about scholarships and bursaries.

“Would my scholarship be transferable?” I asked.

“That’s something I rather doubt, but we’ll have to make all those sorts of enquiries very soon. I won’t even know till tomorrow afternoon if I’m to be offered the job, so no jumping the gun and saying things out of turn at school, Marcus! I mean that. We mustn’t say a thing until we know for sure that we’re going.”

“Yes, Mum, I won’t, but Dougie knows of course… I’ve asked him not to say anything till I tell him it’s okay.  To be honest I’d rather only tell just a few friends and only them on the last day of term next week,” I replied.

“Good, let’s keep it that way then, all right?”

“Yes, Mum,” I said grinning.

My mum spent a little longer looking at the schools website and sent a message to her work email with some details to follow up on and then after checking her own emails turned to me and said

“When do you break up?”

“Tuesday afternoon, mum,” I replied.

“Do you need the computer for anything else, Marcus?”

“No, I’ve done searching for now,” I answered.

So she shut it down and then we talked some more about the job and the firm she hoped to work for.

“Where’ll we live?” I asked.

“They mentioned that they had a property management section of the firm and that there may be a three bed, or really it was a small two and a half bedroom house quite close to town and easy for work and schools. I said I’d be interested in seeing it if offered the job and it was within our price range. They seemed to think it’d fit those needs and so I left it there for now. If it’s not suitable, then we’ll need to find a flat quickly. I’ll have to move some money from our savings as we’d need to put down new deposits and there may well be things we’ll need to buy for any new place. There’ll be more rooms than we have here, so I’d think that we’d need more furniture… we’ll just have to see. It’s no good making any plans yet, though.”

“Yeah, I s’pose not,” I admitted, and settled down to watch some TV.

* * *

Paul’s viewpoint…

Surprisingly I was first down the next morning. I made myself some tea and toast and was quietly sat at the kitchen table when Liam appeared in the kitchen doorway.

“Hello, you’re an early one,” I said smiling.

“Err… yeah, hi Paul. I’ve got to work today, plus I need to do some personal shopping and I’m taking my school uniform to be dry-cleaned as well,” He explained.

“In that case would you take Will and Chris’s too?” I asked.

“Yeah, sure but I need to be gone in ten minutes,” Liam replied, as he put two slices of bread in the toaster and switched the kettle on to make himself a brew.

I got up from the table where I’d been eating my own breakfast and went upstairs to rouse the boys to get their uniforms out for sending to the cleaners. A few minutes later having managed to raise Chris and Will from sleep I returned to the kitchen with two school blazers and four pairs of school trousers. I bagged them separately into carriers to keep them from getting muddled together and handed the bags to Liam when I’d done so.

“Get me a receipt for the lot will you?” I said to Liam as I gave him two twenty pound notes to cover the cost.

“Oh, okay. I’ve always paid for my own before,” he replied.

“Not any more you don’t. That’s all part of your living expenses and we get funds from your dad for those now. So no more doing that yourself.”

Liam smiled and nodded as he finished eating his breakfast. He then quickly put his crocks into the dishwasher and with a quick “Bye, see you around five thirty,” he was off out through the back door and away down the street, before I’d had time to respond.

Just then there was a clattering of feet on the stairs and two more teen faces appeared around the doorway.

“Good morning,” I said smiling at Will and Chris as they came to a halt at the table. “So, what brings you down this early today?” I asked.

“Christmas shopping,” Chris replied.

“Oh, just was hungry, seeing we got woken up early for our school stuff to go for cleaning,” Will grinned back at me.

“Did you give Liam the list of stuff you wanted pricing up?” I asked.

“Yeah, did it last night before going to bed. Hope he can get staff discount off it all,” Will replied.

“From what he’s been saying this is the last chance for that. Liam’s giving that job up at Christmas to concentrate on school and have more time for Craig next year,” I remarked.

“Wonder if I could get that job then?” Will mused, half to himself and half to us.

“That’s something you’ll have to clear with your dad first,” I replied. “Don’t forget, you’ve got GCSEs next year and I’m not sure you’ll have the time. It’ll be up to your dad to decide though,” I replied.

Will looked glum at that reply and busied himself with doing tea and toast for him and Chris.

“I’ve never had an out of school job,” Chris remarked and added “My mum thought they’d take up far too much of the time that I’d need for school and drama, but I’d have liked the money of course.”

“I rather think I agree with your mother’s assessment. I had couple of school holiday jobs, but never anything during term time and, to be honest, I think it’s best that way,” I replied.

“That’s what I reckon my dad’ll say too,” Will groaned.

“You won’t know unless you ask. He might agree, but I think you’re probably right to think that,” I said as I tidied away the breakfast things and made a fresh mug of tea for myself.

“So, what’re you two doing today?”

“I’m going over to Justin’s for lunch. I’ll be back at supper. May he stay over?” Will asked.

“Yes, of course, as long as he clears it with his mother,” I answered and turning to Chris asked

“And what’re your plans?”

“Not thought… um… I’ve some schoolwork reading, but that’s not worth doing till after Christmas. I can’t do anything to my room yet, as it’s not ready and there’s nothing more for me to get from the old house and so I’ve not much to do really…” he tailed off, then added “I might call Jamie and see what he’s up to or text Stephen and Michael to ask what they’re doing.”

“True, we can’t do your room till the paint’s dry and the carpet’s down. That won’t be until about the middle of next week. So with a bit of luck, we’ll have you in there just before Christmas. We’ll all get cracking on it just as soon as the carpet is down. All the furniture’s ready and the bed arrives Tuesday. I’m hoping the carpet’ll go down Tuesday morning and then that’s it, all hands to move you properly into your own room.”

“That’ll be so cool,” Chris said eyes shining.

Will and I smiled at Chris I recalled a similar result only a few months previously when we’d Will move in. Breakfast over, the boys left to get on with their own things while I mentally checked over a few of the arrangements we had for Christmas day itself. I didn’t think I’d forgotten anything, but I’d decided to run it all through with Rick and Frank later on when there were no young ears to eavesdrop however innocent it might appear they were being.

* * *

Chris’s viewpoint…

I waited until everyone’d either gone off or back to their room before I went back to the kitchen to see if Paul or Rick was about. I found Paul sat at the kitchen table looking through some recipe notes.

“Paul,” I began, rather uncertainly,

He looked up from what he was reading and immediately asked

“Chris, is everything okay?”

“Yeah, well sort of… I’m just a bit worried about Christmas and getting presents for people, that’s all,” I explained, and added “I’ve not got any money to buy stuff and I don’t want to feel mean if I’ve not got things for the guys, especially if they’ve got me stuff, you see. My mum always combined my birthday and Christmas presents lately cos… um… my birthday’s so close to Christmas and it made sense, especially for really big items…” I tailed off.

Paul smiled at me and said

“We’ve sorted your allowance. The others get 45 a month into their bank accounts and we’ve now arranged that you’ll have the same. You should find that you’ve had a payment in already as we’ve managed to get that set up this week. I also think you need a bit extra to cover Christmas and holidays spending because you’ve had to rely on your mother for money previously. I’ll have a word with Adrian shortly and see what he thinks can be arranged for you. I reckon that the normal monthly amount should be okay from then on.”

“Oh, right. Thanks for that. I was worried. But, how much do you think I should spend on presents?” I asked.

“I think if you keep it to around the cost of a CD or DVD or an iTunes voucher… something simple like that and definitely not over say a tenner. How’s that sound,” Paul asked.

“That’s the sort of thing I had in mind for when I got some money,” I said, feeling very relieved about it all. It must have shown in my face as Paul immediately got up and took out his wallet, took out two twenties and a ten and handed them to me saying

“Here’s fifty to tide you over till things’re sorted out. We know you had a savings account in your own name, but your mother was trustee of it till you were eighteen so until everything’s sorted out… and these things can take months, despite the fact that according to Adrian all your mother’s affairs are in up to date order and all very straightforward. I’m afraid you’ll just have to ask us for extra amounts until then,” he explained.

“That’s okay. There’s nothing big I really need. Though I’d like to get a few new clothes soon as… well I’m just growing out of stuff,” I explained.

“Yes, Will’s dad had to take him to a shopping outlet as he’d outgrown tons of stuff during the summer. I’ll mention that to Adrian too and we’ll see if we can do a trip to the shopping village sometime after Christmas before you all go back to school.”

“Thanks, that’ll be great,” I said, as I tucked the money away in my wallet and headed back to my room to get ready to go into town.

As soon as I was there, I texted Jamie, Stephen and Michael to see what they were all up to. Within a few moments I had a reply from Jamie saying he was in the precinct with Stephen and that I should get into town and join them at the food court there. I sent a quick reply to say I’d do just that. Then I got my coat and after emptying my school backpack took that and went back downstairs to tell Paul I was going into town.

“Give me two minutes and I’ll give you a lift. I just need to finish my shopping list. Get the garage open and then I’ll be with you. Oh, and ask Will if he needs a ride too would you?” Paul replied, when I told him I was going.

“Yeah, thanks, okay,” I said as I rushed back upstairs to tell Will that there was a lift to town in two minutes if he wanted a ride. Will came to his door and opened it and said

“Hi, no, it’s okay I’m going over to Jus’s and if we go to town it’ll be from there, thanks.”

I nodded and scooted back downstairs and out of the kitchen and into the garage to open up the doors. A few minutes later Paul appeared and drove the car out. I closed the garage doors and then hopped in beside him, belted up and we set off for town.

As soon as Paul had dropped me off and gone off to park and do his own shopping I headed into the precinct and towards the food court. I scanned the tables hurriedly looking for Jamie and the others. I couldn’t see them anywhere and so came to a halt by one of the supporting roof pillars and scanned the tables again, more slowly this time, to see if I’d missed them.

“Hey,” I heard from behind and spun round to see who had spoken.

“Hi, Jamie, Stephen. How goes it?” I replied, as soon as I saw them.

“Fine, you okay?” Stephen asked with a grin.

“Yeah, sure… glad to be out of school now though,” I added

“Me too,” they both replied.

“So, where first?” I asked.

“I need HMV music and then um… I dunno really…” Stephen began.

“Let’s start at HMV then,” Jamie suggested and turned to lead the way towards the store.

We all browsed the DVD and music sections for a while and I made a few purchases, even managing to do so unobserved. As the others were watching a DVD promotion, I surreptitiously slipped up to the pay point and got the things I wanted and sidled back to the others as if I’d never been away.

Once we’d finished in HMV we moved back to the food court for burgers and fries and then we just moseyed round for a bit window shopping and stuff till mid afternoon.

“Mum says she finishes at three. So if we want a lift we need to text her by two forty-five,” Jamie explained.

I looked at my watch. It showed a little after half past.

“I think you ought to, three’s fine for me.”

“Yeah, me too,” Stephen added.

“You can come and hang at ours if you like… Craig’s out shopping this afternoon and then he’s going over to yours with Liam,”

“Yeah, if you’re sure it’s okay with your mum,” I said.

“It’ll be fine. We’re not in school now for two weeks. So restrictions are off for the holidays,” Jamie replied.

“Okay,” Stephen said. “I’ll just call my mum and explain. What time should I say for a lift back,” he asked Jamie.

“Dunno… half nine or ten? Um… whatever you can get away with,” he suggested.

I got my mobile out and sent a text to Paul to explain where I was going. A few seconds later I got one back asking if I would be in for supper or out at Jamie’s.

“What about supper?” I asked Jamie.

“Mum’ll feed us, no problem,” he replied.

“Okay, I’ll tell Paul I’ll be out till about ten then at your place,” I said as I replied to the text from Paul.

* * *

In Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Caroline and Marcus left their flat together and headed for the bus stop. Marcus hitched up with a couple of his friends who were also waiting for the bus into town and chatted to them while Caroline looked on, wondering as she did just what was in store later in the day. She rather hoped to have some news about the position she had been interviewed for the previous day.

The bus arrived on time and Caroline watched and smiled at Marcus as he followed his friends onto the bus and climbed to the upper deck which is where most of the school aged children tended to congregate. The journey passed quickly and some ten minutes later the bus drew up outside the grammar school and most of the upper deck emptied of its passengers. Marcus half smiled at his mum as he left the bus and joined his friends as they headed into school. A moment later the bus continued into town and Caroline prepared to get off at the next stop herself for the short walk to the office.

As soon as she arrived and after unlocking the two offices she settled down to deal with the papers on her desk. A few minutes after half past nine Mr E. arrived and smiling at Caroline said

“Good morning, Caroline. So how was yesterday?”

“Good morning, Mr Edgington, I think it went rather well, but then I don’t know what they thought of the other applicant. I never saw her and so I’ve no real idea,” she replied, and then added “have you heard anything?”

“No, not yet anyway. But, I think you’ve more than an even chance of getting it. Then its all systems go to get you there in time,” Mr Edgington smiled.

“Yes, it’ll be an enormously hectic upheaval too,” Caroline admitted ruefully and added “but I think it’ll all be worth it as the firm is so varied in what it does and I like that sort of challenge.”

“I know. That’s one of the main reasons I recommended you as strongly as I did.”

“Yes, and I do so very much appreciate your efforts to find me a new appointment too,” Caroline said, putting some private post onto Mr Edgington’s desk and returning to her own.

The morning seemed to drag interminably as there was not a lot of work coming in because things were being deliberately wound down. Eventually lunchtime arrived and Caroline headed off to buy some sandwiches to eat at her desk. As she passed Mr Edgingtons door she looked in and asked

“Can I get you anything while I’m out?”

“Yes, please. Will you get me a ham salad sandwich on granary with mustard,” he asked, as he took a fiver from his wallet and handed it to her.

Caroline smiled, took the note and said “Certainly, that all?”

“Yes, that’ll be plenty for me,” he said, turning back to his papers.

Some twenty minutes later Caroline returned to the office and headed for her desk. She put down her bag with her chicken sandwich and then taking the other bag with Mr Edgington’s ham salad sandwich and noticing his door still open she entered his office to give him the food.

Mr Edgington sat back in his chair with a big smile on his face. He held out a slip of paper with a phone number written on it.

“Call this number now, will you. They’ve called and want to talk to you asap,” he said.

“Oh goodness, it would be when I went to get lunch,” Caroline said putting down the bag with Mr E’s sandwich and taking the slip of paper with the number from him. She quickly returned to her desk and after a second or two to gather her thoughts picked up her phone and dialled the number on the paper Mr E’d given her.

After a few moments the call was answered.

Adrian Machin, good afternoon” she heard.

“Caroline Ashton, Mr Machin, I’m sorry I was out when you called a short time ago,” she replied.

Not a problem, we all have to eat,” Adrian laughed and continued “We’ve made a decision this morning and would like to offer you the position with immediate effect, starting just as soon as is possible. We’ll confirm all this in writing today, with all the terms and conditions and salary as we discussed at your interview.”

“I’m of course totally delighted and thank you very much. I’ve had time on the journey home to think it through, I believe, and I accept your offer.” Caroline replied.

“What d’you need to do at your end?Adrian asked.

“The flat to terminate, that’s a months rent in lieu of notice and arrangements for somewhere to live your end and a school for Marcus. I’ll make calls this afternoon to get things rolling on that and hopefully we’ll be down there just after Christmas,” Caroline explained.

“We can offer you the house we mentioned with an initial rent free period to ease the burden of the move and there’s more detail on that in the stuff we’re sending you today special delivery,” Adrian explained, and added “We’re delighted to be able to welcome you to our team. I’m sure there’ll be more to discuss. So keep this number and keep me informed. If we can help smooth your move to here, then do call me and I’ll see what can be done to assist you.”

“Very many thanks. When might it be possible to see the house you mentioned?” Caroline asked.

“Anytime, call us the day before. We’ve a set of keys here in the office. It’s being cleaned and basically re-decorated right now, as we’d intended to let it out anyway,” Adrian explained.

“Will it be ready before the New Year?” Caroline asked.

I think it can be. They’ve been working on it already for a few days. It’s in very good order anyway and really only needed a couple of carpets replacing and a jolly good clean,” he explained.

“It certainly sounds to be ideal. I’m very interested, well… subject to seeing it first hand of course,” Caroline replied.

Yes, of course. I’ll get them to get a move on as I think you’ll find it ideal and the rent we mentioned is certainly fair, I believe, for a property of that size and style.”

“Thank you very much for going to so much trouble,” Caroline replied.

“Well, to be honest we’d’ve had to do it all anyway, to rent the property out in the normal way of things. Your circumstances, have just made it a bit more urgent, that’s all,” Adrian explained.

“Thank you anyway. I’ll confirm acceptance in writing of course, as soon as I get your written offer,” Caroline said.

“Yes, if you would, please, and then we’ll get matters underway this end. Please feel free to begin your arrangements, as Christmas and the New Year holidays are bound to slow things down a little. At least you won’t have to wait on us for rental agreements or approvals. We’ll prepare some documents at once so if you decide to rent that house, there’ll be no further delays,”

“Thank you, that’d be really appreciated. I’ll get things moving this end today. Thank you very much for your call and for the job offer. As I said, I’ll confirm as soon as I get your written offer,” Caroline said.

“That’s excellent. Goodbye for now and good luck with your plans. I look forward to seeing you shortly and then to a good working relationship, I’m sure,” Adrian said.

“Thank you, Mr Machin and goodbye for now” Caroline said and rang off.

She replaced the receiver and looked up from her desk to see Mr Edgington stood in the doorway

“Congrats in order?” he asked smiling.

“Oh yes, they’ve offered me the position and I’ve verbally accepted,” she replied.

“Knowing who we’re dealing with, as I do, then you can take it as sealed. I know it needs to be in writing on both sides, but in this case that’s a mere formality. I think we’d better call that agency and sort out a temp for me from Monday. You’ll need all the time you have left to organise yourselves for the move down south. Come through and we can sit down and sort out your severance from here. Officially it’ll be the end of this month so you’ll have continuity to your next employer. You’ve some holiday leave due and you’ll be reimbursed for that and of course a redundancy payment too as I’m in effect shutting down to retire and therefore making you redundant. Leave all that to me I think you’ll not be unhappy with the result,” Mr Edgington explained.

Caroline looked up at Mr Edgington and said

“Thank you, Mr Edgington, so much. I’ve really enjoyed my time here working for you and… I think I’m making the right move for us both. Marcus, I hope’ll be as happy there as he’s at last become here and that’s so important to me.”

“I know, it might be a bit strange, at least the accents. Marcus’s quite a Yorkshire lad and it’ll show up somewhat in front of those southerners, you know,” Mr Edgington replied.

“Well, yes, but he’s several voices he can put on, so I am not too worried on that score, at least not yet. There’re more pressing matters to sort out. A home for us both and a school for Marcus to name two pressing matters,” Caroline said.

“I agree. The sooner you’re able to get stuck into that the better. Call his school now and set the ball rolling. Have you the details of the nearest equivalent to where you’ll be living?” He asked.

“As it happens, yes. I’ve been given a recommendation for a nearby Grammar School that seems ideal, actually. I’m just wondering how best to approach the matter of scholarships. Marcus won one for where he is, you see. We only pay for his uniform and incidentals and all his tuition is covered.”

“Simply put your cards on the table. Ask his current headmaster to give a recommendation, if he can. I take it Marcus has a good record with them?”

“He does, actually. He’s always had excellent school reports from right when he started there. I don’t think there’ll be any problems on that account,” Caroline said.

“Well the sooner you get on the phone the better, I think, don’t you? There’s nothing at all pressing here for the rest of the day. Make your calls and then go home and see what else needs arranging,” Mr Edgington said as he turned and went back to his office.

Caroline smiled and nodded at Mr Edgington as he left her office and got her notes out to begin making the necessary calls. After about an hour and some success she tidied away her papers and with a quick word to Mr E she left the office to attend an appointment quickly made at Marcus’s school.

Once there she entered the building and gave her name to the receptionist. Within a few minutes she was ushered up to the Head’s office and was welcomed by him.

“Mrs Ashton, pleased to see you again. You said very urgent on the phone. Is everything all right with…” the Head consulted an open file on his desk “… ah, yes, Marcus?”

Caroline took the offered seat and replied. “Yes, all is well with Marcus, but I’m afraid he’ll have to leave the school this term…”

“Really?” the Head interrupted and continued “I hope it’s nothing that’s happened here. Can you tell me your reasons for wishing to withdraw your son?”

“Yes. I thought I’d explained to your secretary. The fact is I’ve a new job and have to relocate down south. Marcus simply won’t be able to continue here after the end of term. We’ve to move lock, stock and barrel, you see.”

“Right, that makes much more sense. I’m sorry I didn’t see that message, but then this has all been arranged very quickly. Have you any idea where you’ll transfer Marcus to?”

“Yes, we’ve had a school highly recommended and it does seem to be totally suitable on first glance at their website. I hope that something might be arranged.”

Which is that, might I ask?” the head replied.

“The Royal Grammar, Buckingham,” and Caroline gave the details.

“I know the Head there well… we were at college together… more years ago than I care to recall and we’ve both served on Headmasters’ committees since then too. I could get in touch and explain the circumstances and see what might be arranged. Our schools are loosely connected to the same foundation. I imagine you’d like if possible for Marcus to have some support similar to what he has here?” the Head asked.

“I don’t know if that’s at all possible but yes. My circumstances with the new appointment’ve improved somewhat, but still not a massive amount. Any form of bursary or scholarship would be much appreciated,” Caroline explained.

“He’ll of course be surrendering the remainder of his scholarship here and as that was actually won by examination there’s not much chance of that continuing, but there’ll be bursaries available at various discretions. Let me see what might be possible and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I’ve something to report on that, quite likely later today,” the Head said, as he made notes on a pad and added them to Marcus’s file. That done the Head looked up and then standing offered his hand and said

“We’ll be sorry to lose Marcus, but fully appreciate why. I’ll see if matters can be smoothed for his transition down south to the Royal Grammar.”

“Oh, thank you so very much. I didn’t appreciate that might be possible,” Caroline said.

“Usually not, but I do know the Head there and well we do each other good turns from time to time, especially where a pupil of some worth is concerned. As I said, I’ll be back to you as soon as I can. We’ve all your contact details, I see,” he said as he checked the file.

“Yes, they’re all correct,” Caroline confirmed.

Caroline took her leave and made her way out of the building. She checked her watch and saw that it was just ten minutes until afternoon school finished for the day. She decided to wait the few minutes for Marcus and took out her phone and sent him a brief text.

Ten minutes later Marcus and his friend Dougie appeared from the throng of several hundred boys all flooding through the gates for buses or heading towards the railway station.

“Hey, mum, what’re you doing here?” he asked quizzically?

“Hello, Marcus, Dougie,” Caroline replied and turning to Marcus added “I’ve got the job. We’re moving in about a week’s time, hopefully. Dougie, you may tell your mother of course, but please keep it to yourself for the moment, all right.”

“Oh, wow! Mum, so you got the job?”

“Yes, I did and I accepted, but as I just asked Dougie, don’t say anything to anyone yet please, okay?” Caroline emphasised to them both.

Both boys began an animated conversation between themselves as all three headed towards the bus stop and home. Once they had said bye to Dougie and made their way home to their flat Caroline put the kettle on and made tea. As soon as they had both sat down in the sitting room with a mug of tea apiece Caroline went through the sequence of events since she had left for work that morning and explained they had a busy weekend ahead. They were both booked on an early train to go down to see the new school and the house they might be renting. There was an awful lot to be done to get everything arranged by January and the first day back at work for Caroline and two days later for Marcus at hopefully his new school.

Just then the telephone rang and Marcus got up to answer it

“Hello, Marcus here,” he said into the receiver.

Marcus, would you put your mother on, please. I’ve some news regarding your possible new school. It’s Mr Stephens, your headmaster here.”

“Err… yes sir…” Marcus stammered out and turning to his mum said

“It’s Mr Stephens… the Head… he wants to talk to you about a new school.”

Caroline took the receiver from Marcus and after a brief “Good afternoon Mr Stephens,” she listened intently for a few moments. Then turning to Marcus she hurriedly made signs that she needed a pen and paper quickly. Marcus leapt to his feet, almost sending his tea flying and rushed to get a pad and pen. Caroline took it from him and made some shorthand notes furiously and then said “Thank you so very much for your trouble. It’s down to Marcus now. We’ll keep that appointment. We’ve already made plans to go down there tomorrow. Could you let them know that’ll be fine at that time.”

Caroline nodded at the response and rang off. Turning to Marcus she said. “It appears there’s a governors’ meeting tomorrow and as a result of your circumstances and all your current standards and grades having been forwarded to the Royal Grammar they’re prepared to accept you from next term, subject to a satisfactory interview tomorrow at the school. They can’t at this stage make promises or offers on scholarships or bursaries but we’ll have to hope that works out okay,”

“Oh wow, this is all moving so fast. Um… what time’re we leaving in the morning?” Marcus asked.

“07.18 from Westgate. We need a taxi for 6.45, okay?” Caroline answered.

Marcus looked up in amazement and repeated “Six forty-five!”

“Yes, we’ve a school to look around, you’ve an interview at midday and then we’ve a house to go see if it’ll be suitable. There’s so much to get done this weekend if we’ve any hope of getting organised in time.”

“Okay, Mum I get it,” Marcus smiled in reply and carried on drinking his tea.

End of Chapter 26


Author's notes...

Apologies for the months of delay in bringing out this chapter. There have been major domestic upheavals requiring my full attention on the home front. Consequently writing and the muse to write took a knock and was put to one side until matters got resolved. I hope you stay with the story. I shall be pressing on now until conclusion in a few more chapters and then later this year a new story will begin.... and now you guys who have written to enquire how things were going and to give their thoughts on the story so far. I do really appreciate your emails and believe I've replied to all of them. Many thanks... to be honest without your feedback I don't think I'd still be writing...

News of chapter postings and chapter files are always to be found at my yahoo group

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Paul Jamison May 2011