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    Dodger
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The Cockney Canuck - 119. Chapter 119 Enjoy Me While I'm Here

It was ironic after all the fights we had that the only time I managed to scare Nicola was when I threatened to hurt myself. I frightened her that day without meaning to. I even made her cry. It was a reaction I hadn’t bargained for.

My sister’s emotional tirade on a mercifully empty beach shook me up and helped me see things from a different perspective, but ultimately did little to stop the pain. Perhaps she was right. Maybe I was being selfish, but I found it impossible to think about anything other than my own sorry state.

I was in a bad place; the result of a steady decline that began with my accident five months earlier and looked like ending very soon. At times it felt like I was swimming against the tide; the more I tried to save myself the worse my situation became. That day felt like the end of the road and telling Nicola was probably a massive shout for help. It could have been my survival instinct kicking in when I most needed it, or maybe I never intended to carry out my threat in the first place. Attention seeking. I knew this was how a lot of people would see it and I could understand why, but in truth, I wasn’t even sure myself.

I was frightened. Not at the thought of dying, but by the realisation of how easy it would be and ultimately how fragile my life was. I always thought I was indestructible. Now it felt like I needed help just to make it through the rest of the day.

Without directly asking for her help; Nicola had assumed the mantle of my protector. My irrational behaviour was making her nervous, and she wanted to get me home, but I was sick of that house and desperate to avoid Alex. Besides, there were things I wanted to do that I had put off for far too long.

“Come on, you said we don’t spend enough time together, well this is an opportunity to make up for it. You get me all to yourself for the rest of the afternoon.”

“Wow, aren’t I the lucky one.” She made a joke of it but I could see in her eyes she was scared and unsure how to handle me.

“Don’t knock it,” I said. “Enjoy me while I’m here.”

She stared long and hard at me as I waved down the bus, but she didn’t say a word until we arrived at the bank where I withdrew five hundred dollars. It was the maximum I could take from my account in one day and the most amount of cash I had ever seen.

“Why do you need so much money?”

“I wanna buy things.”

“Like what?”

“A gun, some rope, maybe some painkillers.”

“Not funny.”

“Okay, I’ll buy you something instead then.”

“I don’t want anything.”

“Please. I want to. There must be something you need. Clothes, jewellery, how about a new syrup.”

“A what?”

“Never mind, it was just a joke.”

“I don’t like the way you are at the moment,” she said. “It’s not like you to be so generous.”

“Thanks.”

“I prefer the old Robbie.”

“You can fuck off then!”

“That’s better, I like you when you're like that. It’s what I’m used to. I don’t want you to change—or to go away!”

Her words weren’t wasted on me, but I wasn’t sure I had the energy or fight left in me to stay.

“I’m in pain, Nicola. It’s always there from the minute I wake up, to when I go asleep again. It’s not fair.”

“Then you have to go back to the hospital.”

“It’s not that kind of pain. It’s…. I can’t explain it. Like a dull ache in my stomach that makes me feel sick and scared and really, really, dark. I’m lonely, even when people are there, I’m still alone. I can’t seem to make myself feel happy, and I don’t wanna live like this.”

“I’m calling mom.” She reached for her phone, but I stopped her from using it.

“She has her own problems. It’ll be okay.”

“I think this is more important, Robbie. I don’t like the way you're talking. You're frightening me.”

“You asked me what was wrong. That’s just some of the things that are going on in my broken mind. Come on, I wanna buy Amy something.”

I thought that a gift may help me back into her good books after I shouted at her, but my mood made it difficult to focus on shopping. I felt tired so we stopped at Swiss Chalet, and Nicola allowed me to buy her lunch.

“That money’s supposed to last you until you're eighteen,” she said, and I laughed. Frugal didn’t suit her and eighteen was still two years away. The odds on me ever getting my hands on that trust fund had lengthened considerably lately; only a complete fool would have put money on it. “Then you’ll be rich, and you can spend whatever you want. You got that to look forward to; something for you to focus on. You're fortunate. Who knows, I might even let you buy me a car.”

“I don’t mind; I’d like it if you had some of that money.”

“Only if you're here to give it to me. It won’t mean anything if you're not. I wouldn’t even want it!”

Everything she said made perfect sense and I was trying my hardest to share her optimism, but on the journey home my mood sank to new depths. Seeing Don’s car on the driveway didn’t help, and we could hear them arguing from outside. I went straight to my room, stripped to my underwear and climbed into bed.

Sleep was the only way I knew of stopping the pain, and the thought of never waking up again was still frighteningly appealing.

I suppose the writing had been on the wall for a long time. There were too many problems left unresolved; issues that should have been dealt with by now, instead of being left to fester in the hope that they would somehow go away. My new parents were the worst offenders. Since coming out, there had been little or no discussion with me regarding my sexuality and no serious attempt at reconciliation.

Don had made his views clear from the beginning and despite Sue’s initial assurances to me that he was sorry for the way he overreacted, there had been little evidence to suggest this was the case.

He had never backed down from his assertion that I wasn’t actually gay. I was easily led, foolish, gullible, and even depraved, but not gay. According to Don, I was attracted to Nathan because he looked like a girl, wore make-up, and painted his nails. I wondered what excuses he would have come up with for Conner. Even Sue could see his arguments made no sense, and now she was embroiled in her own dispute with the man I refused to accept as my adopted father.

*     *     *

It was dark when Sue woke me. It seemed like a long time, but I had only slept for a couple of hours. I sat up in bed drenched in sweat. Most of the nightmares that had tormented my sleep were real, and when the pain returned, it was clear my fragile rest had solved nothing.

Sue wanted to know if I was hungry, but there was more to it than that. She looked troubled and hesitant like she was holding something back or waiting for me to say something. I asked her what was wrong, but it wasn’t difficult to work out.

“Maybe I should be asking you that, dear. Nicola told me what you said to her earlier.” I groaned and stared at the ceiling, but it was expected. My sister warned me she was going to tell her. “Don’t be annoyed with her. She had to. I needed to know.”

“Am I grounded?”

“No, of course not. Why would you be grounded? You’ve done nothing wrong. But if you really feel that way, then you need help. Professional help. Because it won’t go away on its own. You need to talk to somebody right away.”

“I don’t wanna talk to anyone.”

She let out a deep breath and studied my face. Then sat down on the bed. “Honey, you did the right thing by telling someone how you feel. That was the best thing you could have done. You're obviously not well, but there are people out there who want to help.”

“Like Mr Symmonds, you mean. No thanks. I don’t wanna see any more counsellors.”

“No, not Mr Symmonds. I’ve talked to the principal, and he wants to see you.”

“I didn’t mean most of the stuff I said to Nicola. I was angry and feeling shitty.”

“Nicola seems to think you were serious. It upset her.”

“I know. She was crying.”

Sue was starting to tear up as well. She looked more uncomfortable than I had ever seen her before and it was only a matter of time before she took a chance and put her arm around me. I didn’t object. I was feeling guilty for causing her so much distress. Maybe she needed a little comforting too. I wondered if Don was still at home on the prowl or if he had gone back to work.

“It’s not your fault, dear. You scared her, that’s all. And me too. I know you wouldn’t say something like that for no reason. We’ve obviously messed up for you to even consider that. We let you down when we promised to look after you, and that’s not good enough. It will change. You’ll see. Things will be different.”

There had been times in recent months when I would have given anything to hear those words, and maybe I should have felt at least some vindication at her remorse, but I didn’t. She had shown me glimmers of her better side before only to be cajoled by her husband back to his way of thinking. I found it difficult to believe her and sat stony-faced throughout, before attempting to put her mind at rest.

“It’s okay; I’m not going to do anything.”

She looked as if she wanted to believe me, but was too scared to be complacent.

“You're not well, and we can’t take that risk, honey. I’m just pleased you managed to say something.”

“You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”

“No dear, I think you're a gay teenager who’s going through a hard time. And as Mr Andrews, pointed out, it puts you in the high-risk category. The kids who show up on their radar, who they believe are most likely to harm themselves.”

“Did he say that?”

“Yes, dear. It’s the reason why people are so worried.”

I didn’t know anyone was worried about me. I thought I was the only one, when in fact, I was following a well-read script. Running away, the things I had told Walter and Mr Andrews, my behaviour at school. They would have all triggered alarm bells in the system, although in the end, little had been done to save me, and I wondered how many had slipped through the net.

I wanted to get up, but Sue was over-protecting again. At times she threatened to suffocate me with overbearing kindness that was more akin to torture. Recent developments only made it worse as I found out when I visited the bathroom. The cabinet—once home to a selection of aspirin and Tylenol—had been stripped bare. Sue, it seemed, had removed anything that could be used as a weapon of self-harm and all that remained was a tube of toothpaste and some cotton wool.

‘I suppose I could choke on it if I ate enough’.

I was only looking for something to get rid of a headache, but when I returned to bed and asked Sue if she could get me a painkiller, it was as if I had asked for a semi-automatic.

“Why?”

“Because I have a headache. I’m pretty sure one Tylenol isn’t gonna kill me.”

I had visions of her padding out my room and forcing me to eat with plastic cutlery. It was over-the-top, she must have known it would be impossible to stop someone who was determined.

‘If I wanna do it no one could stop me’.

Except I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to.

Sue considered herself fortunate to have found out before it was too late and had made good use of the time I spent asleep.

“Your friend called me earlier. Walter, he’s a nice man.”

“You spoke to Walter? But you said he was too old to be my friend.”

“That was before I had a chance to talk to him. He knows a lot of people, and he’s eager to help. There’s someone he wants you to talk to. Joe somebody. I said you would give it a go.”

“But you didn’t ask me. I don’t like those people.”

“This person has nothing to do with the church. He usually works in Toronto. Walter has gone to a lot of trouble to get him here. He’s coming to the school on Monday to see you.”

Sue seemed to have her mind set on the idea, but I wondered if Don would be so keen to involve somebody who he had no control over.

“What about Don?”

“I don’t think we need to discuss this with him, do we?”

“I don’t know.” I must have looked apprehensive at her noticeable change of tactics. She usually told him everything.

“He has problems at work that he needs to deal with, so he won’t be home for a few days. This is my decision. I’m legally responsible for your welfare, and I trust Mr Andrews’ advice.”

I wanted to know why Don wasn’t coming home. He would usually sleep here even when working long hours, but once again Amy ruined my attempt to gather information. When she knocked on the door. Sue wiped her face, but my little sister wasn’t fooled. She could see her mom was upset and knew she wasn’t having the best of days.

I called her over to apologise for shouting earlier and received a welcome hug in exchange. It was funny how I valued her affection, yet still tried to avoid any contact with Sue.

“Why are you in bed?”

“I was tired.”

“He’s not well,” said Sue at the same time.

“Yeah, that too,” I said. “But I’m feeling a bit better now you're here.”

I could see Sue watching me as I put my arms around my little sister and dragged her screaming onto the bed to tickle her.

Nicola would no doubt fill me in about Don, and she was the next person to stroll into my room as if it were a public footpath. She claimed to be looking for Amy, but that was just an excuse to spread a little harmless gossip.

“Guess what? Daniel’s just come home.”

I probably looked as deadpan as Sue as we exchanged glances. It was hardly breaking news, but Nicola kept us dangling until I asked.

“And?”

“And he’s brought a girl back with him.”

Amy stopped struggling and looked at me with wide, mischievous eyes. I didn’t see that coming, but I probably should have. Sue though didn’t share our enthusiasm, and I hardly blamed her. She probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind to meet her son’s first girlfriend, and even I had to admit, Daniel’s timing was abysmal. My brother, of course, was blissfully unaware of the dramas unfolding at home and must have wondered why everyone had congregated in his bedroom.

‘I hope he doesn’t want to bring her in here’.

“Has Daniel got a girlfriend?” asked Amy.

“Go and see for yourself,” Said Nicola and then laughed as Amy bolted for the door. “Make sure they’re not kissing.”

I knew Amy would be over her like a rash and expected Nicola to be equally annoying and follow her upstairs, but instead, she made herself comfortable and sat on the bed.

“That’s a bit mean,” I said.

“No, it’s payback. Daniel was a real pain when he was younger. Whenever I brought a boy home, he wouldn’t leave me alone.”

“That’s because we told him not to,” said Sue.

Nicola threw her mom a look. “I knew you were behind it.”

“Someone had to save you from yourself, dear.”

“Well, that didn’t work,” I said, but Nicola spared me her usual scorn, perhaps conscious of my fragile state of mind. Instead, she smiled sarcastically at me while Sue patted my head and left us to go upstairs. I was in no rush to meet Daniel’s fiancée if that’s what she was, but I suspected he would want to bring her downstairs to show her around and I didn’t want her to see me in bed.

“Nicola, do you mind if I get changed?”

“No, of course not.” She was leafing through one of Daniel’s gaming magazines and looking bored, but made no attempt to get up and leave.

I laughed. “What I meant was, do you mind going outside while I get changed?”

She huffed like it was a big deal, and then swung her legs over the bed, so she was facing away from me. Then continued reading the magazine.

‘This is crazy. Am I never going to be left alone again’?

I guessed that was about as much privacy as I was gonna get, so I threw back the sheets and quickly dragged on a pair of sweat pants and a top.

“It’s okay, I’m decent now. Thanks for being so considerate.”

“Stop whining, it’s not like you’ve got much to hide.” She laughed at her joke, but I had heard it before, and it wasn’t funny then.

“You don’t have to sit with me, I’ll be okay on my own.” It was unlike Nicola to stay in on Saturday, and I wanted to know if she was going to meet Mr Lube again that night.

“No, I’m not gonna leave you.” She had taken my place on the bed and was lying on her back with her hands behind her head. “You know Alex hasn’t come home yet. I thought he was only taking Luke to the park.”

“He’s probably gone to visit one of his friends.”

“He wouldn’t usually take Luke with him though, would he?”

“I dunno, maybe.”

“Why are you covering for him?”

“I’m not.”

“Mom thinks Alex is bullying you, and dad thinks you're bullying him.”

“What?”

“I know, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it? You're too weedy to bully anyone. So what really happened last Sunday?”

“I already told you, nothing.”

I switched on the computer and sat at my desk. I knew now why she had decided to stay. There was always a reason. She turned on her side to watch me, before hitting me where it really hurt.

“I know it’s been almost a year.”

My reaction was instantaneous, I heated up, and my mouth went dry. She was the only one who ever mentioned my mom.

“Ten days away,” I mumbled. “Including today, but I try not to think about it.”

“But if you did, it would be okay. I mean, it’s only natural for you to think about her. You can talk about it if you want.”

My eyes never left the computer. “To myself, you mean?”

“She hasn’t been forgotten, Robbie. Just because we don’t talk about her all the time.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It does matter because I think it’s a big part of why you're feeling so bad. It’s not wrong for you to still feel upset and angry.”

“There’s no point in feeling upset anymore. It won't bring her back or make things any better in my life.”

“I don’t agree with you. I think it would help if you come to terms with it.”

“I have come to terms with it.”

“No, you haven’t. Not at all.” She got up and stood next to my desk forcing me to look at her. “I thought maybe we could do something next week to remember her. Something positive rather than sad. Something she would have liked.”

“Like what?”

“I dunno yet, I’ll talk to mom about it. What do you say?”

“Maybe.”

“That’s a yes, then.”

“I said maybe.”

“I think about her a lot, you know.”

“You never knew her.”

“Yes I did, I remember her from when we were little, and mom says you’re just like her.”

I scoffed, knowing full well it wasn’t true. “I’m nothing like her. I wish I were.”

It was an invitation for Nicola to strike. An opportunity she must have been waiting for, and she didn’t waste it.

“Then why don’t you start now by standing up for yourself?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. What happened with Alex?”

“I can’t say.”

“So are you just gonna let him get away with it? Your mom wouldn’t have done that!”

“I’M NOT HER!”

“What would she think?”

“IT DOESN’T MATTER. SHE’S NOT HERE. SHE’S DEAD!”

“Okay, forget it. Just let everyone walk all over you. I’m only trying to help you!”

“I don’t need your help!”

She backed off and sat down again.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It was my fault,” I said. I spoke quietly and repeated myself until she understood. “What happened was my fault. I just can’t stop thinking about it, that’s all.”

“Did he rape you?”

“No!”

“What then?”

“It’s embarrassing.”

“If he forced himself on you or made you do something you didn’t want to do, then you have to tell someone.”

“No, I can’t. You don’t understand. You don’t get it. How would you feel if it were you?”

She grabbed my hands and pulled me upright. Then put her arms around me and squeezed me so hard I struggled to breathe.

“I’m right then,” she said. “I knew I was. I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing for you to be sorry about or anyone else. You still don’t understand. It was my fault, I was stupid. I don’t deserve sympathy or anything from anyone. Please don’t say anything.”

It was a relief when she let go of me and stood back. I could breathe again, but she was crying. The second time that day I made her cry.

“How can it be your fault?”

“Because I allowed him to think things that weren’t true. I flirted with him.”

“Did he force you to do something for him?”

“Yes.”

“Did you tell him you didn’t want to do it.”

“Yes.”

“Then it’s not your fault, and you have to report it to the police. I’ll go with you.”

“NO! I can’t do that.”

“You have to, or it’ll happen again. You're not safe in this house with him here. I’m not sure if anyone is. Will you at least let me tell mom.”

“No, she’ll want me to report it.”

“She needs to know; you're not the only boy in this house.”

“He’s not interested in Daniel if that’s what you mean. It’s only me. It’s like some kind of weird obsession. He’s convinced I’m his boyfriend and we’re gonna be together forever. He really believes that.”

The relief I felt after finally breaking my silence was overwhelming. It seemed like Nicola was able to extract information from me almost at will. Stuff that I would never reveal to anyone just seemed to flow out of my mouth whenever she questioned me. I could never understand how she did it, but it was a talent which set her apart and made her a natural choice of confident.

She combed my hair with her fingers and then wiped her tears with her sleeve.

“Here, you can use these. I keep them for emergencies.” I handed her a box of tissues from my nightstand, and it made her chuckle. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she said, pushing the tissues back towards me. “Best you keep them for your emergencies.”

Nicola was far too worldly for my liking, but in this case, she was wrong, and I felt compelled to put her straight.

“If you must know. I haven’t had any emergencies like that since Alex, and I doubt if I’ll have any soon.”

She giggled at my response thinking it was a joke until I gave her a hard stare.

“Sorry, I don’t mean to laugh,” she said. “I didn’t think boys could go that long without, you know.”

“Well, it shows how much you know then. I don’t know why I’m even telling you this.”

“Because it’s obviously worrying you and you don’t have anyone else to talk to. If you told mom, she could get you some help. There are people at the hospital who know about these things.”

‘Like I’m ever gonna do that’.

“What should I say, I can’t jerk off anymore; can you arrange to get me some help?”

“Well, you can word it a little different, but she will understand, Robbie. It’s not a taboo subject anymore.”

“It is for most people.”

“She’s a mother and a nurse; I’m pretty sure she knows about that kinda stuff. I can ask her for you if you want.”

“No! Don’t you dare. That would be so embarrassing. If you tell anyone, I’ll never trust you again.”

“I’m not gonna tell anyone, you, dork. But you're talking to the wrong person. I don’t know that much about boy’s stuff. Maybe Conner would be a better option. He could probably help.” She winked at me, and I rolled my eyes.

“You don’t understand. I would have to explain it to him, and I don’t want him to know. And if I don’t, he’ll think there’s something wrong with me.”

“There is something wrong with you. You're sixteen. You shouldn’t have any trouble shooting your load at that age, every boy I’ve known has….”

“Nicola, please. Do you have to be so crude?”

“Sorry. I’m just saying how it is. I thought Conner might be, you know…. A little more hands-on.” She giggled, pleased by her little quip but I didn’t join in.

“I can’t even think about doing anything like that with him at the moment, or anyone else for that matter.”

We sat in silence for a while. I was annoyed but not at her. She did the right thing that day. Just being able to talk about it to someone had helped.

“It’s quite common,” she said. “I know a girl who wasn’t able to have sex for nearly two years after she was sexually assaulted.” She started to backtrack when she noticed my reaction. “Not that it will be that long for you, of course. I know other girls who got over it a lot quicker.”

“How many people do you know of who were sexually assaulted?”

“Four,” she said. “But I’ve heard about a lot more. It’s a serious problem. You're not the only one.”

I nodded and stared at the floor. “And how many of those were guys?”

“I…. I don’t think any.”

“I thought so. Now maybe you understand why I won’t tell anyone.”

“It doesn’t make it any worse you know, if you're a boy or a girl, it doesn’t matter. No one will think badly of you.”

I didn’t agree. No matter how it was handled, people would soon find out, and when they did the one who would suffer the most would be me. I knew that for sure. Alex had a lot of friends, even if they weren’t real friends and they weren’t the kind of people I wanted as enemies.

Those who did believe me would forever think of me as the boy who Alex forced to give him a blowjob. Who could be forced to do that against their will? Even I was having difficulty believing it.

Now it was my turn to cry. I guess it was about time. Perhaps the most challenging day of my young life had finally caught up with me, but I was still kicking thanks mainly to my sister. There had been times in the past when I couldn’t bear to be in her company. Now I was almost too scared to be away from her.

It’s impossible to underestimate the role she played during my darkest days, but I believe she was the only one capable of helping me, and she didn’t let me down. I suppose it was odd how I was able to discuss personal problems with my sister, but not with Daniel, a guy of a similar age who I shared a room with. I would never have been comfortable sharing that kind of information with him, but Nicola was just Nicola. I really could talk to her about absolutely anything, and that day, more than any other, she proved her worth.

If you enjoyed this chapter, then please take the time to leave a comment below and follow the story. Members are invited to discuss the story and characters with others, and there is a discussion on the forum via the link below.

 

http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/42134-the-cockney-canuck-by-dodger/

 

In the next chapter, Alex is missing, and Robbie returns to school for a hastily arranged meeting with a new and slightly unconventional counsellor.

Copyright © 2017 Dodger; All Rights Reserved.
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For discussion of themes and topics. The book can be found here: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/dodger/thecockneycanuck After 47 chapters and lots of drama I think it's time this story has a discussion topic where readers can interact with the author and each other. There are certainly plenty of situations, characters and emotions to bring up, and of course most of all Robbie the Cockney Canuck. Dodger has kindly given me permission to start this thread and has promised to be part of the di

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27 minutes ago, Dodger said:

Thankfully I have managed to avoid most of the troubles I have inflicted on poor, hapless Robbie, but not all of them. There were a couple of embarrassing incidents from my own past which found their way onto Robbie's already overcrowded plate, but nothing too bad, and I'm not going to reveal which ones.  

I'm glad they were only embarrassing and not the assault by Alex-type incidents!

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2 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

I'm glad they were only embarrassing and not the assault by Alex-type incidents!

No, nothing that bad, although Alex is loosely based on a real-life friend from the past.

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2 hours ago, NimirRaj said:

Sadly, Sue has always come off as caring somewhat though sadly she just has always seemed to care more about how Don felt as well as possibly how others might perceive her family rather than what Robbie was going through. I have some trouble trusting her judgement myself as she is so flakey and finicky though hopefully her recent disgust with Don as well as his methods will hopefully persist going forward.

Maybe Sue should be seeing a therapist about her multiple personalities…
;–)

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