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This story deals with many areas of teenage mental health which go deep into the reality of depression; thoughts and attempts at suicide and death. These topics are a reality of growing up for some gay teens. I draw from my experiences to explain this difficult time of life but accept these topics are not for everyone so I just want to add this note to let folks know before you start this book. Many thanks, James

For Everything You Are - 1. Bombshell

2013, 7.30 am

 

"Jake, breakfast! Please don't make me have to call you again". Jake stirred in his bed, knowing that his mother was not about to ask again politely.

"Okay, okay. I'm awake," he called back down to his mother.

He lay there just staring at the ceiling. It was Friday, and Friday was always a feel-good day for obvious reasons. He was thinking about calling his friend Cody to ask about going to the local youth club in the evening. They went almost every Friday to shoot pool, chat with other people, and play cards.

"Well, time to get up!"

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Jake appeared in the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

"You need to get an alarm clock, Jake; you are 16, and really, it's not my job to get you out of bed every morning." His mother stood there with her arms folded, looking at him like he was a naughty schoolboy.

"Get me one for Christmas, then," Jake responded as he sat at the table, pulling a funny face.

"Jen, give the boy a break! I was never great at getting up in the morning at that age. Something to do with the hormones, or so I read on the internet," his father said, looking up from his paper. Jake just glanced at his father, feeling a bit embarrassed. "Right, well, I suppose I better be off. Please make sure you are not late for school, young man, and don't hassle your mother. Remember, after today, you have the weekend to lay in, so chop-chop, eat your breakfast and go get ready." Jake's father kissed his wife goodbye, gulped down the rest of his tea, and put his coat on.

"Bye, Alan darling, have a good day." She kissed him back. "Oh, and on your way home, can you pick up a takeaway for you and Jake? I'm at a work meeting tonight, and I won't be back before eight," Jenny said and looked at her watch.

"Yeah, no problem, but don't forget he's out tonight, and the boss wants to see me before I leave for the weekend, so I'll just grab something from work. So, Jake….here's ten pounds, fetch yourself something on the way to the club thing." Jake took the note, stuffed it in his pyjama bottoms, and wandered back upstairs to get ready. After he heard the front door close, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower.

Back downstairs, Jenny was almost finished clearing the kitchen and was about to get ready for work herself when the phone rang.

"Hello? Oh, Cody, it's you. How are you, sweetheart? Yes, one moment, I'll go get him for you."

Jenny put the phone on the worktop and ran upstairs to get Jake. "Jake, Cody is on the phone", she called through the closed bathroom door.

"Tell him I'll call him back in a minute; I'm almost done in here."

She went downstairs and told Cody that Jake would call him back when he was out of the shower, hung up the phone, and went upstairs to get ready for her job.

Meanwhile, now out of the shower, Jake got dressed into his school uniform and went downstairs to call Cody back. Passing the kitchen worktop, he couldn't help but notice a phone number scribbled down on a piece of paper. He picked up the note, trying to see if he recognised it, but it was an American number. Since he knew no one in America, he just put it back down.

He picked up the phone to call Cody, messing his hair into its familiar style in front of the mirror while he dialled. The phone rang three times, and Cody answered. "Hey you, what's up? I was planning to call you. But, unfortunately, it looks like you beat me to it," said Jake.

"Hi, Jake, um, yeah, I just wanted to know if you were walking to school today. But, unfortunately, my mum can't take me in, as she has to take my Grandma to the doctors."

"Yeah, I'll meet you at the top of your road in ten". He hung up and went to say goodbye to his mother.

"Mum, I'm off now. I'm leaving a little earlier to get Cody, as he's walking in today."

He approached his mother while she was sitting at the dresser, putting her makeup on kissing her on the cheek before leaving the room to grab his school bag.

"Don't spend that ten pounds on junk, Jake; buy something healthy with it," she called.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Jake took a brisk walk up his street, turned left at the end, and then left again into Cody's road. It was a cold December morning, and the street lights were still on. It still looked dark and grey. Jake stood against a lamp post and folded his arms, trying to stay somewhat warm.

Cody lived about halfway down the road, but the two of them always met at the end to save the other one walking. Finally, after a few moments, Jake could see what looked like Cody walking towards him. He was glad because the cold was really starting to bite now. He just wanted to get walking to warm up a bit. As the figure approached, he saw it was Cody, wrapped head to toe in warm winter clothes. He was wearing a black woolly hat with the words "Bite Me" stitched into it. He laughed as Cody got nearer.

"What are you giggling at?" Cody asked, a confused expression on his face.

"Your hat - I was just thinking how I would like to do what your hat says," Jake teased his friend.

Cody went red and punched Jake on the shoulder. "It's a bit early for your smutty remarks, Jake. Come on, let's get walking; I'm freezing!"

As they walked through the bitterly cold streets to school, Jake felt that Cody was a little quieter than usual. The two of them had known each other since they were five years old and had been inseparable in all that time. So it was natural that they had come to learn each other's personalities and moods.

Staring straight ahead, Jake decided to see what was up with him. "Are you gonna tell me, or do I have to ask?"

"Tell you what?" asked Cody, looking at the ground.

"So I am gonna have to ask, then?" Jake said before chuckling.

Cody had a sheepish look on his face that Jake found quite cute. He had always had a thing for him, and since coming out to him a year ago, the two of them had developed a strange relationship. Jake would make flattering comments, and Cody would just laugh them off. Cody had never had a girlfriend, and it was Jake's way of testing the water to see how Cody swung. He had never had a feeling Cody was gay like him and had never had the courage just to ask his best friend. On the other hand, Cody had never offered a suggestion either way, so Jake's comments and Cody's laughs continued to brush the comments off.

"It's just something I heard my dad talking to your dad about on the phone. Of course, I may have it all wrong, so I'm not sure if I should be even be saying anything," Cody said, trying not to get Jake worried.

"Hey, you and me…we have no secrets, you hear?" Jake said as he stopped walking and turned to Cody. "You haven't told your family about me, have you, Cody? I mean, no one knows apart from you, and I'm not ready for anyone else to find out just yet."

Jake wore a worried look on his face.

"No, of course not; what do you take me for?" Cody growled, a little angry that Jake would think he would betray his trust. "Look, all I heard was my dad saying that he thinks your dad should take this new job he's being offered and that he would be a fool to pass it up," Cody submitted.

"So, my dad is being offered a better job, big deal. It just means better Christmas presents and nicer holidays," Jake said, laughing. He looked at Cody again and saw that the sheepish look had not gone.

"Jake, it's in Nevada!"

Right then, the colour completely drained from Jake's face, and he just stood there looking at a fixed point ahead, his eyes wide and mouth open. He didn't know what to say. Then, finally, Cody tugged on his arm and said something, but Jake could only hear a muffled sound, now deep inside his maddening thoughts.

"Jake….JAKE!!" Cody shouted. This sharp yell brought Jake out of his mind, and he just looked at Cody with a blank expression on his face.

"We need to get to school, Cody, come on," he said. Jake started to walk ahead, leaving Cody standing where he was until he began to catch up as they reached the final road that led to their school.

"Jake, I really think you should…."

"I don't want to talk about this, Cody! Whatever you heard is wrong. It's a stupid thing to get wrong, at that," Jake hissed.

"You're right. As I said, I probably heard it all wrong. That's why I didn't want to say anything," He knew that what he heard was correct but didn't want to push the subject any further.

Cody could see his best friend was hurt and upset that his parents might keep something this big from him. As they reached the school gates, Cody tried to lighten the atmosphere, as he hated leaving Jake in this mood. "Hey, let's get this day out of the way. We can go to the youth club tonight, and you can tell me all about the latest lad you fancy." Cody turned to see Jake had at least half a smile because of that comment. "Look, Jake, don't let your mind run away from you. When you get home tonight, you can see if anything is said. Cody backed up his words with a gentle pat on Jake's shoulder.

"The phone number!" Jake said as he stood there, back deep in thought.

"The phone number?" Cody repeated.

"I'll tell you later; we better go; the reception bell is gonna go any second."

They both went to their separate reception classes to be roll called. Jake just sat there in a daze, not even hearing when his registration teacher called his name. "Mr Stevens, are you with us today?" asked Mr Collins, his tutor.

"Sorry, Sir, yes, I'm here."

"Well, pay attention, lad. If you don't answer me, I could mark you as absent, and that would not be good, would it?" his teacher asked in a sarcastic tone.

"Yes, Sir, Sorry, Sir."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Alan had been at work for an hour and was busy going through his day's schedule. Alan was an intelligence officer for the Army, but MI6 employed him. He worked at the military base in a small town called Frenera. His job was to collect intelligence on enemy armies in different countries with which the UK was on uneasy terms. For example, his team would look at the strength of an army, what kind of weapons they had, etc. He worked with his civilian equivalent at MI6, often splitting his time between the base and MI6 headquarters in London. This week, Stephanie Chandler was at the base with him. The latest problem to occupy their minds and MI6 was the recent transfer of power in North Korea since Kim il-Sung had died.

"Hey, Alan, you want some coffee? I just had this stuff shipped in from Ethiopia; it's like rocket fuel," asked Stephanie, rattling the Jar.

"Make it a large one, Steph," replied Alan, pulling his head up from some documents.

Stephanie came back moments later with the coffee and sat in front of Alan at his desk. "So?" she asked, tapping him on his forehead.

Again, Alan looked up from his documents, took his glasses off, leaned back in his chair and let out a big sigh. "It's a big move, Steph, and I don't know if I can rip up my family and take them all that way. We live in a large town, and I don't know if they… or even I could adapt to living on some kind of farm in the middle of a desert."

Stephanie picked up the documents Alan was working on and put them to one side of the desk. "You have told your family, haven't you?" she asked, taking a sip of her coffee.

"Well, I told Jenny, and she thinks it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. For her, it's one big adventure; she hates her job, and I get the feeling she has always wanted to move to the country, so I think she's a bit biased. We have all our family here, and then there is Jake."

As he said his son's name, he looked up at the ceiling, trying to imagine how that conversation was going to go.

"Look, Alan, when I brought my two kids down here from Scotland, they called me everything under the sun. I was an evil mother for taking them away from their friends and family, but do you know what? Mark and Darren love it down here in the south. They made new friends, and it's only been six months. Sometimes, you have to do what's right for the long term, even if it causes pain in the short term. Jake will get over it, and if your family loves you, they will accept that this job is a once in a lifetime thing. Plus the fact your salary will treble, and you won't have to worry about finding the money to send Jake to university."

Alan was close to making his decision; He just needed someone like Steph to push him in that direction altogether.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Jenny was in the office doing some filing when her desk phone rang. "Hello? Oh, Alan, I'm glad you called. I wanted to let you know that you left that phone number on the side last night. I hope you didn't need it. I saw it on my way out. If you're home before me, I put it in the kitchen draw, the one with all the bills."

"Thanks, honey, listen, the reason I called, do you know what time Jake normally gets back from his club?" Jenny knew that Alan had now made his decision and was getting prepared for the conversation they had both been dreading.

"Well, it's normally around 7.30 pm, but it can vary. Sometimes, he goes back to Cody's to play on the game system." Alan looked at his watch. He was due home around 6.30 pm and knew Jenny would be home after eight. "You are going to tell him we are going, aren't you?" she asked.

"Yes, but I would rather have you there for support when I do. This new job move is going to go down like a sack of shit, I can tell you."

"Look, why you don't go to the pub on your way home and have a pint? If you leave at about ten to eight, I will meet you at home, and we can sit Jake down to discuss this."

Jenny's mind filled with different scenarios about how her son would take being told he would be moving thousands of miles away to live on a farm. She felt for him because she knew Cody wouldn't be coming and that their friendship meant so much to both of them.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Back at school, Jake's day was dragging. This Cody revelation had filled his whole brain to the brim with questions for his parents, questions he didn't know how he was going to ask, not knowing that his parents were in the same boat on that matter. But, one thing was for sure; it was going to be an interesting evening.

The last period was Art, and it was a subject Jake enjoyed for two reasons. First, he loved to draw, and second, it was a class he shared with Cody. Although they were in the same year at school, they didn't share many core subjects because academically, Jake was at a slightly higher level and in a different group. That's not to say Cody was dumb, far from it, but Jake had always taken school a little more seriously, which had shown over the years, putting him in a higher class on most core subjects.

Jake was already at his desk when Cody strolled into the class and sat next to him. "Late again, Cody," said Jake, banging fists with him as he sat down.

"The teacher is not even here yet, so it looks like I got away with it, doesn't it, smart ass?" Cody laughed.

"Listen, Cody, after what you told me this morning, I don't feel much in the mood for going to the youth club tonight, I wouldn't be much company there, and I don't want to let the other guys know there is a problem. I really can do without everyone asking what's up every five seconds." Cody just looked at Jake with his puppy dog eyes and pulled the sides of his lips down. "Aww, don't make that face at me; you know it makes me want to do things to you!"

Cody just did his usual cheeky laugh and turned his face back to normal. Jake loved the different expressions Cody could make with his face, each one telling a different emotion, which he could read so well. Sometimes he would just sit there staring at Cody, taking in his heavenly aura. He would occasionally comment that he was like a tightly packaged sports car, everything in its proper proportions. Cody would flick his wrist downwards and say in a false camp voice, "Oh, Jakey, you say the most romantic things".

Jake felt like he'd been in love with Cody for a good couple of years but never said anything, in case Cody took it the wrong way. He didn't want to risk losing his best friend above all else. At the same time, occasionally, when they were together, Jake's heart hurt that he couldn't tell his friend how he felt. What was making it worse was that he might have to go away and not see him for a very long time, if ever again. So Jake just continued to stare at Cody as he was drawing, his tongue poking out now and again, revealing his concentration.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

"You know if you wanted a bit of quiet, you could always come back to mine instead of us going to the youth club. My mum and dad will be out till late tonight, so we can just talk and play on the PlayStation if you'd rather." Cody suggested.

Jake looked up and smiled at him. Even though he was a bit of a lad, he could come out with the most thoughtful things.

"Sounds like a plan, my friend. Hey, my dad gave me ten pounds; we can always get some cheap, disgusting food with it."

Cody looked at Jake and frowned. "Jake, you're diabetic; you need to put good stuff in you. Even I know that, and I don't fancy having you passing out on me in the middle of me whipping your ass on the PlayStation." Just as Jake laughed at that comment, the final bell went for the day. He was relieved that school was over for the week.

They went to their lockers to collect their bags and coats and made their way back out in the schoolyard. Cody's mum was waiting in the car near the gates, reading her book. Cody tapped on the window of the driver's side. "Hey mum, can Jake jump in with us?" he asked, shivering once again.

"Sure he can. He's always welcome, Cody." She waved to Jake, standing behind Cody. They both got in the car, and his mum pulled away.

"So, how was your day, boys?" she asked, looking at them through the rearview mirror.

"Boring," they said together, then looked at each other and tapped fists, grinning.

"Remember, your dad, and I are out tonight at a function, Cody. I have left you some pasta in the fridge to eat." Cody just nodded as his mum pulled onto the main road that would take them back home.

"Mum, is it okay if Jake comes over tonight? We decided not to go to the youth club." His mother looked at Cody through the rearview mirror again, surprised that they decided not to go.

"Of course, he can, sweetie. I just bought some coke and crisps today as well, so dig in, by all means."

"Mum, you know Jake can't eat and drink that stuff!" Cody frowned at his mother.

Just as they were pulling into Cody's road, Jake's cell phone started ringing. He pulled it out of his trousers and looked at the screen before pressing the button to accept the call.

"Oh, hey, mum."

"Helo jake, how was school?

"Meh, you know, the usual." He replied.

"Jake, what time are you due home tonight?" asked his mother

"About 7.30; I'm going over to Cody's tonight as we decided not to go to the Youth club."

"Well, okay, but make sure you eat something, young man."

Jake just agreed with his mother and rolled his eyes. They ended the call as the car came to a stop on Cody's driveway. The three of them got out and headed to the front door. His mother put the key in and allowed Cody and Jake to go straight upstairs to his room.

"Your room is a mess, Master Cody," Jake remarked, wagging his finger from side to side.

"And you sound like my mother, Master Jake", Cody replied, pushing him back into his computer chair. Cody's room was typical of a 16-year-old teenager. Clothes were scattered everywhere, including dirty underwear and socks. Jake always loved the smell of Cody's room. It was kind of a sexy smell… the scent of stale boy sweat mixed with deodorant. He just sat there while his friend went around picking up all his dirty clothes and tossing them in the bathroom clothes bin.

"Is that better for you, Jake?" Cody asked sarcastically with a facial expression to match. Jake just giggled while swinging around in Cody's chair.

"Cody, I'm off to meet your father now," his mum hollered up the stairs.

"Okay, Mum, see you later," Cody shouted back down."

"Bye, Mrs Dukes," Jake shouted, as well.

The boys heard the front door close, and Cody went and sat on his bed. Now and again, they were glancing at each other, wondering who was going to break the silence. In the end, it was Cody who said the first word.

"Jake, I've known you a long time now, and I know what I said this morning has been playing on your mind. Man, I saw you in Art; even though we were talking, I could tell you were somewhere else half the time. Jake just stared into Cody's eyes as he spoke, wondering how to reply when he had finished speaking.

"I'm scared, Cody! I'm scared of losing everything I know and have. But, I'm scared of losing my best friend most of all."

"You don't even know what's happening yet, Jake. Like I said this morning, I may have got the whole thing wrong, and until you find out otherwise, why are you worrying?"

Cody left the room to go and get a can of coke, some orange juice for Jake, and some crisps, leaving Jake alone to think about what he'd just said. He wanted to stop worrying, but he knew that together, with what Cody had said that morning, backed up with the US phone number he found, it was not a mistake.

Cody came back into the room and placed their drinks on the computer table, bringing Jake out of his thoughts. "Thanks, mate," said Jake, as he picked up the glass and took a gulp.

"Cody, remember at school today when I said I found a telephone number?"

"Well, you didn't say you found one. You just said 'telephone number' and walked off," Cody replied, laughing.

"Well, anyway, I did find this number on the kitchen worktop just before I picked up the phone to talk to you this morning. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but then what you said this morning just made it all fall into place." Jake just sat there trembling, as the whole reality of what he just said confirmed once again that this was no mistake.

As Cody sat there, not knowing how to reply, a lone tear made its way down Jake's cheek, rolled off his chin, and dripped onto his trouser leg. Seeing that his friend was now on the verge of crying, Cody tapped the bed beside him. Jake slowly got up from the chair and went and sat next to his friend. He put his arm around Jake's head and pulled him in, so his head was resting on Cody's shoulder. After that, they just sat there in silence as Jake gently sobbed.

"I'm sorry, I feel like such a wuss."

"Meh, you've always been a sensitive little soul," replied Cody trying to lighten the atmosphere.

After a few minutes, Cody could feel that Jake was a little more composed. But the silence continued. Finally, he turned and collected Jake's head in both his hands to make eye contact with him. "You will always be my friend, Jake! Wherever you are and wherever I am."

Jake just stared into Cody's eyes as he spoke, and whether overcome with the emotion of the situation or his deep love for his friend, he did something that would change their friendship forever.

I just wanted to add this little piece of info at the end as when I first wrote this I had a few Americans asking me what tutors and registration was. As I am re-releasing this in 2021 I am going to assume not a lot has changed in the school system in the UK. So to explain...

In the UK when a child joins a secondary school (High School in American terms) the student is assigned a tutor class. This tutor class will be the class they first report to each morning for Registration. The gathering will last for 20 minutes and then first period (lesson) will start.

Registration (or tutor class) is where they are signed into the school day and the tutor will normally have a mini lesson planned or statement to make. Sometimes nothing happens and they are just called and allowed to chat with their fellow students until bell for first period*

The tutor class they are assigned when they are 11 will last all the way through until they leave secondary school at 16 (in 2013 it was 16, it's now 18). As this tutor class never changes even when they move up a year, close friendships are nearly always formed.

*A period is the UK term for a subject class. Periods are broken up into one hour classes. So a child might say to a friend. "Oh, first period is double science." This means a block of two hours of science.

©Copyright 2021 James Matthews; Mark Baker; All Rights Reserved.')
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This story is a 2020 re-release and re-edit. Some parts have been changed and the 2013 story has been kindly re-formatted to third person with substantial input from my good friend Mark Baker.

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Ok...you got me hooked in one chapter!  Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

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Thank you very much for the great (and kind) comments on the first chapter. I will be resuming chapter posting as soon as I am back from holiday and moved house. Will try and get a couple of chapters out in between.

James

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Normally it’s the bbf who moved away so this is a v nice change.  A v good start.  🤗

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A great restart on this reread.  I am enjoying going through your stories again after a few years. Pax. Ste 

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