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    Dodger
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The Cockney Canuck - 141. Chapter 141 My Brother's Secret

According to the police, Alex was arrested after a random traffic stop in Toronto and charged with driving without a full license and insurance, but that was all. Luke was picked up from a nearby address, and both boys were safe and unharmed.

That was all we could find out until Don arrived home from work with an update from his friend, the chief of police.

“They were staying with a friend in Midtown Toronto,” he said as he hung up his coat. “No wonder they couldn’t find him.”

I was standing by the stairs. “I didn’t know he had any friends in Toronto.”

“A girl, apparently, but that’s all I know.” He smiled briefly as he walked past me to the kitchen where Sue was preparing dinner.

She sounded concerned. “Where are they?”

“They’re being held in a youth care facility until they can figure out what to do with them.” He kissed his wife on the cheek and waved at Stephanie. “Hello stranger, we haven’t seen you here in a while.”

“I’ve been busy,” she said, but her eyes followed me as I walked across the room to ask Sue if I could have a drink.

“I thought you might have found yourself a new boyfriend,” said Don. It was a flippant remark which Stephanie dismissed with an awkward smile.

“You sound like my dad,” she said, but Nicola wasn’t happy with the way her friend avoided the question.

“Well, have you or not, Steph?”

Stephanie looked surprised by Nicola’s tone, and I was too, although I knew what my sister was implying.

“Don’t you think I would tell you if I was seeing someone?” said Stephanie.

“I’m not sure anymore,” said Nicola. As she spoke, she turned to look at me. My sister had been carefully scrutinising us since her friend arrived, convinced we were having a secret love affair. It was funny at first, but it was starting to annoy me.

Stephanie wasn’t helping by bombarding me with cryptic looks I couldn’t decipher. She was giving my paranoid sister plenty to work with and making it impossible for us to talk alone. Whenever we were in the same room, Nicola was on us like a rash.

Having fulfilled his family duties for the day, my adopted father bailed out to the living room, leaving Sue to finish preparing the meal.

I grabbed a drink from the fridge and headed for my room, but Don stopped me by the stairs.

“Is Daniel down there?”

“No, he’s out with his girlfriend,” I said and then waited for the inevitable smug smile, this time accompanied by a tame look of surprise.

“What again? Two nights in a row, they must be serious. What’s she like, this girl of his?”

“Haven’t you met her?”

“No, Robbie. That’s why I’m asking you what she’s like.”

‘Asshole!’

“She’s a nice girl. I don’t know what else you expect me to say. I don’t know her well enough to comment.”

He shook his head and sat in the armchair. “Why do you have to turn everything into an argument? I was only asking a simple question. I don’t even know her name.”

He looked at me for an answer, but he was asking the wrong person.

“Ratana,” said Nicola, and I smiled.

‘It was on the tip of my tongue’.

“Thank you, Nicola,” said Don. “I’m glad someone’s got some manners around here.”

He should have asked Nicola in the first place. She had only seen her in passing at school but knew more about her than I did.

“She’s from Thailand,” she said. “They’ve been here five years; her dad works downtown as a pharmacist.”

I thought that was impressive even by Nicola’s high standards. Don, though, sounded troubled.

“Thailand? You mean she’s Asian?”

I was on my way downstairs when his words made me stop and turn around.

“Is that a problem?” asked Nicola.

“Of course, it is. They have different customs and beliefs. He’s making life difficult for himself. What’s up with that boy?”

Nicola pulled a face and shook her head. “They’re only dating, Dad.”

“Why can’t he meet a nice local girl?”

“She is local,” said Nicola.

“You just told me she’s from Thailand.”

“But she lives in Cobourg. She goes to our school, that’s how she met Daniel.”

“You know what I mean. I thought Daniel had more sense.”

He glanced at me, probably wondering why I was still there listening to their conversation. Up until then, I had never considered Don a racist, but when I thought about it, it seemed glaringly obvious.

‘Why wouldn’t he be?’

He hated everyone else that was different; he was unlikely to draw the line when it came to skin colour. I started to wonder if this was the reason why Daniel was so secretive when it came to his girlfriend and why he hadn’t brought her home.

My sister was furious. “You haven’t even met her!”

Don must have realised he was playing with fire, but as always he refused to back down.

“I’m sure she’s a nice girl, but there are plenty of nice Canadian girls he could have dated, what made him choose someone like that?”

“Maybe he likes her,” I said, and he glared at me. I knew my contribution wouldn’t be appreciated, and his expression said as much, but I could sense his discomfort, and it was too good an opportunity to squander.

“Stop being pedantic, Robbie. You know what I mean.”

I knew exactly what he meant, and so did Nicola, but she wasn’t stupid enough to say it out loud.

“There are plenty of white girls, you mean?”

Don didn’t take kindly to being labelled a racist, and I knew why. He couldn’t get away with it in quite the same way as he could when attacking my sexual orientation. Society wasn’t as forgiving when it came to race. He couldn’t hide behind his church and quote scriptures from the Bible to justify his views. It was against the law and a hot potato, which could affect his job and even his social standing.

I watched Don as his face turned red. It was a recurring event these days, but each time it happened, it seemed to lose some of its potency. A look that had terrified me in the past now came with a hint of comedy. He looked hot and bloated, and I wondered if he was going to implode as Jo had predicted.

“Get out of here!” he snarled, and I turned on my heels, happy to follow his instructions only to be stopped by Sue. She marched into the living room, wiping her hands on a tea towel to challenge her husband. She was doing that a lot lately.

“Robbie didn’t say much wrong, dear.” Her voice was calm but firm, and an outstretched hand on my shoulder provided gentle reassurance.

“He just called me a racist.”

“No, he didn’t.”

“Well, he implied it.”

“He was making a point. He didn’t sound like he was being rude or disrespectful. You could have just answered his question.”

Don’s blood pressure was probably off the scale as he glanced around him to what must have looked like a sea of enemies. He stood up in a huff, and I instinctively took a step back colliding with Stephanie. She was the latest onlooker to witness a tirade of verbal abuse, this time aimed at Sue for intervening on my behalf.

“You're making a mistake by sticking up for him. He’s using you to get at me. You know that, don’t you? You're playing right into his hands, but you're all too stupid to see it!” He turned to me and lowered his voice. “You're not fooling me, Robbie. I know what you're trying to do, and it won’t work. You’ll be sorry if you keep it up.”

“I’m not trying to do anything.”

“Leave him alone.” Sue’s stern voice belied her tiny body, which she placed in front of me like a shield. I was able to see over her head and look Don directly in the eye as he delivered his verdict.

“He needs someone to stand up to him. The boy lacks discipline.”

“HE LACKS A FATHER!”

Don stared at his wife in silence, then mumbled something under his breath and retreated to his study like a wounded bear.

“Are you okay, dear.” Sue’s voice was surprisingly calm and composed after her outburst. She rubbed my shoulders, and I nodded. “Try not to let him get to you. It’s not going to be forever.”

“I’m not letting him get to me,” I insisted, but my makeshift bravado didn’t fool her.

It wasn’t easy. Even when I thought I had the upper hand, Don always managed to hurt me in some way. He was fighting an emotional war of attrition, and despite having almost the entire family behind me, sometimes it still felt like I couldn’t win.

Don revealed another side of his character that day, which should have been apparent. While I couldn’t imagine him as a white supremacist or one of those lunatics who walked around in bedsheets, most of the people I knew would have considered his views unacceptable, even in conservative Cobourg.

I was concerned about my brother. He obviously liked Ratana, and I didn’t want him to be subjected to the same kind of disparaging abuse I suffered at the hands of his twisted father. He already had to lie about his whereabouts because he was no longer permitted to see his best friend.

I wondered what excuse Don would use to stop him from seeing Ratana.

‘Maybe she’ll get arrested for selling drugs’.

I didn’t know her that well, but from what I had seen, Ratana was polite, intelligent, well-dressed, and good-looking. They were qualities every parent hoped to find in their children’s partners, but none of that mattered to Don. His opinion of her was based entirely on her country of origin. He hadn’t even met her, and I doubt if he had ever been to Thailand.

It was another sad indictment of a man who seemed determined to distance himself from the family he claimed to be protecting, and I still couldn’t figure out why.

*     *     *

My brother was more adept than me at avoiding trouble, and that night he made it home before his curfew by the skin of his teeth. I was already in bed when I heard Sue talking to him upstairs, and I waited until he crept in and closed the door, before sitting up and making him jump.

“How is he?”

“Shit! You scared me. How is who?”

I covered my eyes when he switched on the light. “Nathan, of course. Didn’t you go to his house?”

He put his finger to his lips to tell me to be quiet, but I knew Sue wouldn’t come downstairs if she thought we were in bed.

“Nathan’s fine,” he said. “He’s pleased to be out of the hospital, but he’s already bored.”

“Was you there all this time?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Did you tell him about last night?”

Daniel’s smile returned, and there was a twinkle in his eye. “Of course. He would never forgive me if I didn’t. Then he told his sister, and she baked me a cake.”

I thought that was funny. Karen would have embarrassed him for sure. “So when are you seeing her again?”

“Tonight,” he said. “We’re going to see a movie.”

“And afterwards?”

He giggled. “We’ll have to wait and see. It’s not gonna be easy to find any alone time. Her family will be home tonight, and we can’t exactly do anything here.”

I knew how difficult it was, and I had a feeling Don wasn’t going to make things easy for them. “That was always a problem when I was with Nathan; it was one of the reasons why we split up.”

“You guys were doing stuff all the time though, right?”

“Not all the time.”

“That’s not what I heard from Nathan.” Daniel had a giant smirk on his face as he undressed for bed, and I wasn’t about to let him off the hook.

“What did he tell you then. Come on, spit it out.”

My brother pulled on a clean t-shirt to supplement his boxer shorts and sat on the end of my bed where we could talk quietly.

“He told me you're a pretty crappy poker player.”

I covered my mouth in surprise. “He told you about that, huh?”

“He wanted to know about last night, so we agreed to swap stories about our first time. Like for like, that kind of thing.”

I had almost forgotten that Nathan was a virgin. It was less than a year ago when he destroyed me at strip poker but felt like much longer. I wasn’t embarrassed by Daniel knowing. I knew it wouldn’t go any further.

“He tricked me,” I said.

Daniel laughed. “His dad taught them how to play poker; he’s really good.”

“So is Nathan. I thought it was gonna be easy, and it was for him. I guess it didn’t matter in the end. He made a bit of a mess.”

Daniel put his fingers in his ears. “That’s too much information, dude.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay; I imagine Nathan can get kind of excitable when he, you know when he …?”

“Blows his load, you mean. Oh yeah, he can be real operatic at times.”

Daniel almost fell off the bed, laughing. “That’s so funny.”

“Not when he gets you in the eye, it isn’t.”

“Ah, that’s disgusting. Please don’t go into any more detail. I’m not gonna be able to get that image out of my head now.” He was lying across my bed, holding his stomach and chuckling, before composing himself with a moment of clarity. “I think you guys should get back together.”

Those words changed the mood. There was a brief silence before he apologised, but I wanted to know why he said it.

“I hated it when I first found out about you guys, but now I think you were good for him. He was a different person when he was with you. That’s the truth. And you were more relaxed too. You keep each other in line. Does that make sense?”

Daniel was preaching to the converted. It made perfect sense, and I agreed with everything he said, but I wasn’t sure Nathan felt the same way. Lately, he hadn’t been very receptive to my little innuendoes.

“I think I may have blown my chances at the party. That’s what Ginny thinks.”

“Don’t listen to Ginny. She doesn’t want him to have a boyfriend. She wants him to be single so that he can hang out with her all the time. She’s fucked up, but Nathan isn’t,” he giggled. “Although he wants to be if you know what I mean.”

“So what do you suggest I do?”

“Go and tell him how you feel. He’s not gonna turn you down. He needs someone to show him some love at the moment, and let’s face it; there’s no one else. His family are protective at the moment, and he won't allow anyone to see him, because he’s so conscious of how he looks.”

“So, you think he’ll have me back because there’s no one else? I’m not sure if I like the sound of that.”

“You know it’s not like that. I’m certain he still wants you, he just won’t admit it. He’s stubborn, and he still believes you walked out on him. So you're gonna have to make the first move.”

I wasn’t so confident, but I had nothing to lose.

“I don’t mind. At least I’ll know even if he turns me down.”

“He won't; I guarantee it. Plus, his family like you, so they’ll let you in. At the moment I’m you're only rival.”

I was intrigued. My brother was looking at the ceiling with a huge grin. “Is he still trying to convert you?”

“Oh, all the time. He disguises it as a joke, but if I ever showed any interest, I probably wouldn’t make it out alive.”

“Oh, you would, but you would never be the same again, believe me. And you might not wanna go back to whatshername.”

“Ratana,” he said and laughed as he rolled onto his side. “I definitely prefer girls.” He sat up and crossed his legs. “If I tell you something, I want you to promise me you will never repeat it to anyone, okay?” He had a cheeky smile but found it difficult to look me in the eye.

I held up my hand like I was swearing an oath. “You have my word.” He was biting his nails, something he only did when he was nervous, so I had a feeling this was going to be good.

“I came close once,” he said. “I was sleeping over at his house. It was before you got here. He was trying to get me to fool around with him at the time, and that night I made up my mind I was gonna do it.” My brother was turning red. “Don’t look at me like that. I felt bad for always saying no.”

I laughed. “So you were gonna do it because you felt sorry for him?”

“Yeah,” he said, but he couldn’t keep a straight face. “Well, I guess I was a little curious too. But nothing happened, I swear! I was too scared to say anything. I kept dropping hints, and I even put my arm around him and stuff, but I guess he didn’t pick up on it, or he wasn’t in the mood that night.”

“And you never tried again?”

“No, the next day though, I was glad nothing happened. I’m not into guys, and I’m not even sure if I would have enjoyed it. He would have wanted to do it again, and it would have ruined our friendship. I know it. Then you came along and ruined our friendship anyway.”

“Not fair.”

“I kinda figured it wasn’t meant to be, but I never told him, so he’ll never know how close he came.”

“I won’t ever say anything, I promise.” I thought it was cool of Daniel to tell me, and I liked the fact that he trusted me. “I must admit, I often wondered if you guys ever experimented. I mean, I know all boys think about it, and most are tempted, even if they’re not gay. I wouldn’t have blamed you. In fact, I couldn’t work out how you managed to resist him.”

“And I couldn’t work out why you were attracted to him. I still don’t get it. I can understand why you would like Conner, but Nathan’s kinda scrawny and girly.”

“Maybe Don was right then. He thought I only liked Nathan because he looks a bit like a girl. I don’t know for sure what it is about him that attracts me, but I know I have to have it.”

“Well, if you wanna go over there tomorrow, I can arrange it.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Why not. I told Nathan I would drop some more books off to him, but I also promised to see Ratana, so it would help me out too. I can call his sister and tell her you’ll be there instead. Then you’ll be able to talk alone with him and sort things out.”

It suddenly made sense why Daniel was so anxious for us to get back together. It would have been cynical of me to suggest his reasons were entirely selfish, but if it worked, it would solve a big problem for him. Daniel couldn’t keep them both happy, and there was no way he was going to jeopardise his new sex life.

He put me on the spot. I had been procrastinating over this for weeks, clinging onto a relationship that never stood a chance, when I should have taken the plunge and followed my heart. I was unprepared and needed time to break up with Conner. I was sure I owed him that much at least.

“Call Conner tomorrow at lunch and tell him things aren’t gonna work out. It’s not like you’ve been together for very long.”

I met Conner at Fran’s Halloween party and next week was Valentine’s day. I had known him for three and a half months. It wouldn’t break his heart, but I preferred to tell him to his face, and I promised I would help to fix his barn, so I decided to wait and break the news to him at the weekend.

“It never felt like a proper relationship anyway. All we ever do is meet up at his house for sex, and even then it’s generally all about him. It’s very one-sided.”

“That’s a good enough reason to leave someone,” said Daniel. “I mean; I don’t see the fun in sucking someone’s dick or letting a guy poke me in the ass. But if I did, I’d definitely want it to work both ways.”

My brother convinced me I was doing the right thing, and I was surprised by his candid approach to a topic I wasn’t expecting him to be comfortable discussing. In the past, Nathan was always a sore subject, and despite his claims to the contrary, I never expected him to totally forgive me. Last year, I stole his best friend. This year, he was giving him to me with bells on.

*     *     *

It was raining on Friday afternoon, and it looked set for the rest of the day. I sat next to my brother on the way home from school, clutching Nathan’s homework and staring out the window. Cobourg was cold, grey, and empty. It was a far cry from the enchanting Christmas town I fell in love with a few weeks earlier, and nothing like the crowded, summer beach resort it would soon become.

Daniel poked me in the ribs. “Are you nervous?”

“Yes.”

“Really? It’s not like he’s a stranger. I mean, you must know Nathan better than anyone, including me.”

“That’s why I’m nervous.”

“Just be yourself, act like you usually do,” he said before changing his mind. “On second thoughts, maybe that’s a bad idea.”

“Very funny.”

“I’m sure by the end of the evening; he won't be able to keep his hands off you.”

“He’s got two broken arms; I don’t think that will be a problem.”

Daniel laughed. “Oh, yeah. Well, maybe you guys can find other ways to have fun.”

“I’m not going there to have sex, Daniel. I got too much respect for Nathan to even think about that and besides, there’s no way he’s gonna let me just walk in there and start banging him like nothing happened.” I stopped talking when I noticed we had an audience. A girl across the aisle from Daniel turned away when I gave her the finger. “Nosey cow!”

“What do you expect? You should talk a little quieter. You're supposed to be keeping this a secret.”

That was my other concern. “How long do you think we’ll be able to keep this quiet? I’m serious, Daniel. If Nathan agrees to get back with me, how long will it be before psycho Don finds out and tries to kill me.”

“I have thought about that,” said Daniel.

“So have I.”

“You're just gonna have to make sure he doesn’t find out.”

“How long for, forever? That’s gonna take some doing considering he has spies all over town. He’s gonna find out for sure, and he won't be very happy with me when he does.”

“In that case, probably the worst thing you can do is break up with Conner. When dad finds out, he’ll get suspicious.”

“What do you suggest? I stay with Conner and see Nathan at the same time? I don’t think I could handle that.”

‘I don’t think my body could handle that’.

“I don’t know what to suggest. Maybe it’s not worth worrying about. You don’t know yet if Nathan’s gonna even want you back. There’s a chance he’ll turn you down.”

As my brother made his way to the front of the bus to get off, I was left dumbfounded.

‘I thought he said it was guaranteed’.

When it came to Nathan, nothing was ever straightforward. He thrived on being unpredictable, and even his closest friends found it difficult to second guess him. Despite all the talk from Ginny and Daniel, there was still no evidence to suggest Nathan would be willing to get back with me. It was all conjecture. I was apprehensive, but I couldn’t let Nathan down, so I told Sue I was going to Rory’s house and decided to play it by ear.

Whatever happened, I still wanted to be Nathan’s friend.

*     *     *

The house that always used to smile at me looked sad and lonely when I climbed out of the taxi and ran across the sodden lawn. The narrow porch offered at least some protection from the freezing rain, but not the cold and the temperature had dropped considerably. The conditions could not have been worse for my first visit to Nathan’s house since our breakup, and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I tapped on the door.

Daniel had called to tell them I was coming, but Liz didn’t recognise me at first. I must have looked suspicious wrapped up against the elements, and under the circumstances, I didn’t blame her for being cautious. She opened the door only as far as a thick security chain would allow and studied my rain-soaked face before a broad smile welcomed me back.

The chain was a new addition to enhance security, but teething problems kept me on the outside longer than I anticipated as Liz struggled to release the bolt. They used to leave their front door unlocked during the day; now, it was impenetrable. Somewhere in the middle would have been nice, but Nathan’s somewhat dysfunctional family rarely did things the easy way.

When the door finally opened. I was dragged inside and greeted like a long lost relative.

“It’s sweet of you to help out,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting you to show up in the rain. Are you able to stay for a while?”

I was absolutely banking on it, and It was a relief to hear I was still welcome. I almost choked on my reply as I struggled to get my words out through cold lips.

As I took off my coat, underneath, pressed against the front of my sweater and wrapped inside two plastic shopping bags was Nathan’s schoolwork. Safe and as dry as a bone. It was the only thing I was concerned about, and my only excuse for being there.

Liz’s eyes were red, and she looked like she had aged quite a bit since I last saw her. She must have had more than her share of sleepless nights worrying over her son, but she tried to sound upbeat as she explained how quickly he was healing.

“He’s been doing so well physically, but he’s been irritable since he got back from the hospital. I didn’t tell him you were coming over; I thought you could surprise him.”

That much was guaranteed, although I was still unsure what kind of reception I was going to get.

“I’ve been worried about him,” I said, wiping the rain from my face with my sleeve and trying to keep my voice to a whisper.

“I know dear. We all have. It’s been a difficult time. How are things at home?”

“Not great. Don been making trouble again, I’m sorry.”

“You don’t need to apologise for him, Robbie. We’ve always known he was a bad apple.”

I thought she was overly kind with her description of my adopted father, inside she must have hated him as much as I did.

As she fussed over me, I could see Nathan’s sister coming downstairs. “Mom, leave him alone, you're suffocating the poor boy.” Karen winked at me. “Hiya, sexy. It’s been a while. How’s it hanging?”

“Hi, Karen. Err, okay, I guess.”

“Good.” She kissed me on the cheek and laughed as she pulled off my beanie, and my damp hair stood on end. “We’ve missed you around here, haven’t we Mom? Come into the dining room where we can talk. Then you can surprise my brother. He’ll be excited to see you.”

I still wasn’t convinced as I followed her into the dining room in wet socks. She moved a pile of magazines from a chair and told me to sit down while she cleared some space on the table. Their house was always untidy, but there seemed to be even more clutter than usual. It made me uneasy looking at it, but Karen assumed it was her.

“Don’t be nervous, I’m not gonna bite you, but I need to explain about Nathan before you see him. I’m not sure what Nathan has told you or how much you know about what’s going on.”

“I don’t know much.”

“Nathan hasn’t had a particularly good day; his friend Ginny came to see him, but we wouldn’t let her in.” Karen was uncharacteristically serious as she stared into my eyes. It seemed an odd thing to do, but I guessed why. “We think she’s been supplying him with drugs. Did you know he was using them?”

“He told me when we visited him in the hospital.”

“But you didn’t know before then? It’s important to tell us the truth; we won't call the cops.”

“No, I’ve never seen him use drugs. Not even when we were together, and he never mentioned it to me before last week. That’s the truth.”

Karen reached across the table and held my hand. “I believe you, Robbie. I’m sorry I had to ask you those questions. We’re concerned about Nathan. He’s a mess, and we’re trying to piece together what happened.”

‘A mess?’

“I understand,” I said. “I was shocked too.”

“I think you would have noticed if he was using them when he was with you so at least that’s good news. He refuses to talk to us about it, and it didn’t go down too well when we wouldn’t let him see Ginny.”

“I can imagine.”

“I know you probably think we’re overreacting,” said Liz. “But it’s a serious problem. I don’t know for sure if we’re doing the right thing, but we had to do something. There are kids his age dying every day from taking these drugs. Can you imagine how we would feel if something happened and we didn’t do anything to prevent it.”

The thought of something terrible happening to Nathan made me nauseous and sweaty.

“I didn’t know it was that serious.”

“We can only do this while he’s stuck at home,” explained Karen. “As soon as he’s better we won't be able to stop him from going out and seeing people.”

The moment her daughter stopped talking, Liz took over. “We have six weeks to help him get back to how he was. But we have to be careful who we allow in. We’ve explained this to Daniel too. You're both good kids, but I can’t say the same for some of his other friends. We know Ginny’s involved, but she’s not the only one. We found stuff in his room, but he won't tell us who he got it from.”

“Was it cocaine?”

“Methamphetamine,” she said. “It’s very addictive and popular with teenagers.”

My first thoughts were of Alex. I was sure that was what he gave me.

‘It was something like that. I would know if I saw it’.

I was in shock. They were serious drugs to be taking.

“What do you want me to do?”

“It’s okay; we’re not expecting you to get involved. But you need to know what’s happening and why and how important it is not to do anything that may put him in danger. You can talk to him about it if you want, maybe he’ll tell you more than he’s telling us, but don’t push him or argue with him. He needs a friend at the moment, a real friend.”

“That’s where you come in,” said Karen. “Maybe you can cheer him up. You were always good at that.”

Karen must have realised there was a reason why Nathan was always smiling when we were together. The loss of boyfriend status would make it more difficult. I could no longer tickle his fancy with sex. I would have to rely on more conventional methods like charm and witty conversation. I could hold my own with both, but holding his dick would have been easier.

“I’ll try my best. I don’t have anything else to do today, and I don’t mind coming back, every day if he lets me. I want to help him get better. Can I see him now?”

“Of course,” said Karen. “I’ll walk you to the stairs, but after that, you're on your own.”

I laughed. “I think I can handle him.”

Karen opened the door to the basement. “Do you wanna know what Nathan needs more than anything?” She smiled and whispered in my ear, making me blush and cover my mouth. “Don’t pretend you’ve never done that before.”

I shook my head and giggled at her X-rated suggestion then yelped as she slapped my butt. There was no way I was going to surprise him.

If you enjoyed this chapter, please take the time to leave a comment below or in the discussion forum, and follow the story.

In the next chapter, Keeping Nathan entertained takes its toll and scuppers Robbie’s attempt to end his relationship with Conner, with disastrous results.

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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I hope Robbie can cheer Nathan up. I'm glad Sue is standing up for Robbie, I didn't think Don could go any lower.

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3 minutes ago, Israfil said:

Connor's not that bad. Just not right for Robbie. Honestly, he might have been a better fit earlier before the issue with Alex. Robbie might have been more likely to stand up for himself and make it more....equal. Teenagers don't take cues very well and can be very self centered -clearly Connor's no exception.

And Don must feel his world is turning upside down - I wonder if he'll find a way to blame Dan dating an Asian girl on Robbie lol. That local girl line was BS - we all know he wouldn't have said a word if Ratana's family had been white American ex-pats living in Thailand or anything along those lines. I was actually waiting for Robbie to warn Daniel about that.

I was waiting for that too! And he probably wil find some way to blame it either robbie or nathan!

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I hate cliffhangers!!! But I still love this story. Dons racist traits did not surprise me at all. Don is a poster child for the "white is right" crowd. I hope Robbie can cheer up Nathan and possibly get back together with him.  Nathan desperately needs a friend that truly cares about his well being. Ginny being a source for drugs was obvious and Nathan being susceptible to a drug induced happy is also easy to see. What Nathan needs now is simple support from a friend. Conner is a self serving schmuck. It has been long enough for him to show some respect for Robbie. It is now time to call it over and move on. I hope someone gives Daniel a heads up about his dads racist views before he gets broadsided by Don. As others have said... Next chapter soon????  Keep up the story telling. You do it very well!!!

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On 8/23/2020 at 3:48 PM, Wesley8890 said:

Just when you think he cant sink any lower...

Please robbie tell him how you fell! Dump the human dildo known as connor!!!

He probably doesn't have much of a choice now, although once again he's left it a bit late.

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On 8/23/2020 at 4:25 PM, Butcher56 said:

I hope Robbie is able to cheer Nathan up even if it involves x rated things. I’m sure that Nathan needs a friend right now especially if Ginny is the one supplying him with the methamphetamine which wouldn’t surprise me since she’s always so moody. 

Ginny is already on prescription medication for depression, if she's taking illegal drugs on top then she's seriously pushing her luck. Nathan definitely needs a friend, but whether or not he'll allow Robbie back into his life remains to be seen.

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On 8/23/2020 at 4:57 PM, Gary L said:

Another good read and, of course, cut off just before he gets to Nathan's bedroom.   Be careful, mrDodger, your soon to be isolated agian,  number one fan in Spain needs no horrible cliffhangers....... 😍😈😈😈😈😈😈😈

This wasn't meant to be a cliffhanger. More like dividing a large chapter into two segments but I'm sure Robbie will do his best to keep his friends in Spain entertained. Providing Nathan wants to play ball of course.

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On 8/23/2020 at 5:48 PM, chris191070 said:

I hope Robbie can cheer Nathan up. I'm glad Sue is standing up for Robbie, I didn't think Don could go any lower.

Sue seems to have finally made a stand and Robbie should be pleased she's putting herself between him and Don. She's got some fire in her, for sure.

 

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On 8/23/2020 at 8:40 PM, pvtguy said:

Robbie is maturing.  His attitude is very different from his first several months in Coburg.  Don is sinking deeper into the dark side for sure!  I sense a separation coming soon as Sue's response to him might well indicate!.  Now - let's see a quick posting of the next chapter!  Please!!!

Without doubt, Robbie is a lot more mature than he was and I think this is reflected in the readers comments or lack of comments lately about his immaturity and gullible nature. Sue's also a lot more decisive when it comes to dealing with her husband. Maybe she's finally given up trying to save her marriage and decided to concentrate on her family. It may prove a wise decision for her as Don seems to be lost in his prejudice and hatred of others.

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On 8/23/2020 at 9:49 PM, Israfil said:

Connor's not that bad. Just not right for Robbie. Honestly, he might have been a better fit earlier before the issue with Alex. Robbie might have been more likely to stand up for himself and make it more....equal. Teenagers don't take cues very well and can be very self centered -clearly Connor's no exception.

And Don must feel his world is turning upside down - I wonder if he'll find a way to blame Dan dating an Asian girl on Robbie lol. That local girl line was BS - we all know he wouldn't have said a word if Ratana's family had been white American ex-pats living in Thailand or anything along those lines. I was actually waiting for Robbie to warn Daniel about that.

Yeah, the nice local girl line is a definite giveaway, along with 'they have different customs and beliefs'. On that always amuses me is 'I can't be racist, I have a black friend.'  He needs to pay more attention to developments closer to home and less time trying to interfere in his child's high school romance. He may learn the hard way or go down with the ship.

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On 8/23/2020 at 10:29 PM, Arran said:

I was surprised that Robbie didn’t give his brother a heads up about Daniel’s father’s behavior regarding his girlfriend being Thai. He should have been warned.

I was also surprised that Daniel confided to Robbie that he nearly gave in to Nathan’s charm.

That Don is a racist didn’t surprise me at all. Just another of his less than exemplary character traits.

Good chapter, Dodger. Please follow up soon! Didn’t expect the cliffhanger.

Robbie believes his brother is already aware of Don's dislike of anyone slightly different, but it's not an easy conversation to have. It was Nicola who told Don, so maybe she should be the one to warn her brother.

I think Robbie is the only person that Daniel could tell his story to. He knows Robbie won't judge him and trusts him not to tell anyone, especially Nathan. It would be difficult for him to tell any of his straight friends.

We've come to expect this kind of thing from Don.

Sorry about the cliffhanger.   

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14 minutes ago, Dodger said:

 Next chapter is this weekend.

Does a happy dance :D 

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On 8/24/2020 at 8:02 PM, wildone said:

I must admit I have been tardy :o I went to read this chapter and then saw I missed one, as it came out while I was on holidays. Then I looked back and noticed I missed the previous one too!. Considering I consider myself a fanboy of Dodger and his writing I feel shame :(.

But the good news for me was I got 3 chapters in one sitting :D 

So first off, I will admit that I was a bit surprised with Don and his revelation about 'those' people. Although not right, I still think there is some who agree with Don's homophobia. What I don't think is many of his clients would be interested in dealing with him or his business if it ever got out about his opinions of 'non Canadian girls'. Although I would like Robbie and others to reveal this to others, I also understand the reluctance to tell Daniel. I mean the guy is probably walking around with a perpetual boner and that news would be worse than a cold shower and images of your naked grandma 0:) 

I will admit that I have never thrown Sue out with the bath water, as many have done. Although her actions at time were unspeakable, there was always something that told me she was better than that. And her standing up for Robbie and calling Don out for his racist attitude is just another item in the pro list. I think if we all went back, and did a pro and con list, Sue would actually have overwhelming pros over the cons. Also, we have to remember, when Sue did the horrific things we never had any idea of what she was thinking? What pressures was she facing, what threats she may have been dealing with? We never heard her thoughts or ideas or such as the story is only told from Robbie's POV. As a peace keeper sometimes people will do pretty much anything to keep things peaceful. Just now I think she has drawn her line in the sand, and Don is way over it lately. I don't believe he will have any support from anyone in the family with his banning Daniel and probably Robbie from seeing or being friends with Nathan. Actually I think Sue will encourage it after the motherly affections she showed in the hospital room towards Nathan.

So the Alex and Luke thing was kind of quick and unmentionable. I do have a feeling that Alex is going to come back and both Robbie and Nathan are not going to be too impressed with what he will do and reveal.

I am still going to remain saying that Robbie is not a good fit with Conner, or Nathan. Too much was wrong with Nathan and Robbie and other than the sex there wasn't too much more between them. Ironically that appears to be the same with Conner :unsure:.

I am curious about Ginny in this all too! For some reason even though Sue is pretty sure she is feeding Nathan the drugs, I will agree with Robbie on this that she is innocent. Ginny is an severe introvert, how long did it take here to actually talk and not just glare at Robbie. I just don't see her being a good dealer or user who'd have to interact with a dealer. I may be proven wrong, but I"m betting it is a case of her looks and attitude being used against her in a bad way.

Well Mr. Dodger, I know you usually publish a chapter every couple of weeks, but I must implore you to give us a 'bonus' chapter this coming weekend. Think of it as a back to skewl present :gikkle: I seriously can't wait to find out if Robbie is going to be the latest statistic for being a teenage dad. Beside, since Nicola has turned into the world's biggest .....brat ;) on the earth (I know you sister reads this :P), it needs to be revealed to her too. Robbie and her have been getting along so well lately I don't want to see them as adversaries again :( . I like the one two punch of them together against Don.

I will finish off with Robbie's impending visit with Nathan and his sister and mom's hints that he should help Nathan out with some things that most people can't help out with. On the other hand, I am proud of Robbie for thinking about how much of a lout he would be breaking up with Conner before promising to help with the barn rebuilding and Valentines on Tuesday. Hold out Robbie, don't add cheater to your list of unfortunate mistakes.

As always Dodger, thank you for sharing your craft with us all :worship: . 

 

 

I love reading your comments, Steve, particularly the really long ones. You always make some good points and this comment is filled with them.

Don uses his church to justify his homophobia and I know people in real life who do the same. There are still plenty of religions that don't recognise or accept gay people and they're not all cults. As you point out, being labelled a racist can have serious consequences, especially for someone who works in advertising. The church won't be able to help him with this one and I doubt if the chief of police will want to get involved either.

Sue has had a difficult time, caught between her husband and Robbie while trying to keep the family together. She's had a lot of pressure from Don and according to Robbie, she hasn't always done the right thing. I don't think there's anyone who Robbie couldn't find fault with or feel aggrieved by in some way. He's a difficult and demanding teenager who enjoys confrontation and is very adept at playing the victim. I think Sue has done reasonably well under the circumstances and has generally stood up for Robbie. She has certainly shown she loves him. Recently her actions suggest she may have given up on Don and is no longer trying to save her marriage.

Ginny is a dark horse. Not much is known about her but we do know she has had a terrible childhood and suffers from serious depression. She's attempted suicide in the past and this is the reason why she is seeing Jo. If she's selling narcotics, she would have to hide this from Jo, which probably wouldn't be easy when you consider how she operates. She knows absolutely everything about Robbie so it's safe to assume she's the same with Ginny. I'm not sure if Ginny is together enough to be able to keep it a secret.

No comment on the teenage dad thing but there are a lot of possibilities there.

Everything will fall into place before the story officially finishes in October (Canadian Thanksgiving).     

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3 hours ago, wildone said:

This will be a sad day. Whenever an epic story comes to an end, you always want one more chapter :hug: 

Now I say you deserve a nice, long, relaxing, leisurely rest after this, but I think there is a plumber back over the pond that needs some lovin :heart: 

:gikkle: 

PS, feel free to enjoy a break, you deserve it ;) 

Well said, wildone.  Perhaps Robbie could escape back to Europe! spain even!

 Many of you will know this, but some not, in 19th century great English novelists like, Dickens, Trollope etc. published their still famous works in fortnightly episodes and received hudreds of letters about the charachters, their disLikes and petitions for the hero to finally marry the tragic heroine etc..  Sound familiar? We just have a comment box and save the price of a stamp.   

Finally,  a break, yes, but retirement NO!

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20 hours ago, wildone said:

This will be a sad day. Whenever an epic story comes to an end, you always want one more chapter :hug: 

Now I say you deserve a nice, long, relaxing, leisurely rest after this, but I think there is a plumber back over the pond that needs some lovin :heart: 

:gikkle: 

PS, feel free to enjoy a break, you deserve it ;) 

I agree, this will be a sad day. I/We have read our way into the life of "The Cockney Canuck". It will be a big adjustment to know his life is moving on  without us 😢. @Dodger, you have given us a story that has made us laugh, cry, smile and many other things. When you finish this story, take a break and enjoy what you have done for all of us. We appreciate it very much :glomp:!! I will keep an eye open for your future works.  But please, teach Don a life lesson and leave him bleeding!!!

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