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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Luke Hanson's Mind & Punishment: A Teen in Despair - 16. Chapter 16 - A Memory Made

Monday 6:47pm - Luke


 

I'd got home around five feeling hot and sweaty but in a good mood as I'd be seeing Leander tonight. So I guess you could call this our first arranged meet-up? I didn't think I'd be saying that after it nearly went so wrong—all my fault, of course.

I chucked my dirty washing into the basket in my room and sat on my bed for a while to absorb the day. I quickly drifted into a trance as my eyes flicked from open to shut. The truth was I was exhausted. The last few days had been full-on. Not just the late nights but also emotionally too. I was now worried I'd get into an irrational frame of mind tonight and self-sabotage a good evening.

I never do well mentally when I'm tired.

"Grrr, shut up, brain," I loudly said, getting off my bed and grabbing a new blade for my razor. "Come on now, wake up, and get it together!"

"Luke?" Dad called from the bottom of the stairs.

"Yeah?" I replied, messing my hair up in my mirror. It really needed washing.

"Could you come down here, please?"

"Can it wait Dad, I'm just about to shower."

I decided not to wait for an answer. I thought it better to go see what he wanted before being able to enjoy a cool wash in peace. So on the way to the stairs, I grabbed a towel from the boiler cupboard and threw it over the railing, ready for when I came back up.

Plodding down the stairs, I went into the kitchen where I assumed my Dad was and found him and Elaine standing there waiting for me, along with who I assumed was her Son. All in a line. 

For fuck sake, I thought. Not having even bothered to stick a pair of shorts on. 

I looked at Dad seething inside. "Err, what the fuck, Dad? You could have told me."

Dad waved his hand at me and smiled. "Luke, I'd like you to meet Josh," he said as I stood there like a fool in my boxers. 

I felt the both of them staring at me while I had my eyes fixed on my father, trying to indicate with my face how fucking embarrassed he'd made me feel. Great job not telling me we had company... company I had no interest whatsoever in seeing or talking to.

"Hi Josh," I said, putting my hand up statically and sticking an overly false smile on my face.

"Don't you think you should have put some clothes on, young Luke?" Elaine piped up.

The Rage!

"Well if my Dad had TOLD me other people were in the house then I might of. However, now you've asked me, I'm glad I didn't."

"I'm sorry, Son, I thought you'd be okay and... well, dressed.

"Well, I'm not dressed because I live here, and I can walk around dressed as I please."

"Luke, please, can we just be civil?"

I was about to answer but had the overwhelming realisation that this Josh had not said a word yet, even after I had said hi! 

And I'm the rude one?

So I looked at him quickly as if to put him under pressure to say something. His eyes shot away from looking at me as I did, and I felt a very subtle grin form on my face knowing I had embarrassed him somehow.

I turned my attention back to my Dad. "Well, thank you for the introduction, it was so nice to meet your new family. I'm going to take Elaine's advice now and go and put some clothes on. I wouldn't want to offend her in my own house, would I?"

I turned and walked out of the kitchen, rolling my eyes. "Nice to meet you," came a sheepish call from Josh.

Yeah, whatever, Pleb!

 

_________________________________

 

Finally, getting to the shower after meeting Dad's 'new family' was a welcome relief from my cluttered brain. I felt hungry in my stomach, but my mind was not sure. It was horrible when I was like that, as I knew a bite to eat would probably do me good. Usually, after my shower, Dad and I would eat. But with the nerves about Leander tonight, I couldn't face food at the moment. 

Having dried myself, including my dripping hair, I headed back to my bedroom wrapped in a towel and picked up my phone.

 

____________________________

 

"I'm telling you Taz, he had his fucking eyes all over me. It was like being under the microscope from both of them."

I could hear Taz creasing up down the phone as I told him what had happened earlier.

"So what's he like... I mean in person?" Taz asked, his composure returning.

"I thought he was mute, honest. I mean, I didn't want to talk to either of them, but the guy said nothing, like literally nothing. I even said hi to HIM!"

"Wow, sounds well awkward."

"Embarrassing, Taz, I had nothing on!"

"Jeez, Old man Len certainly letting her get her feet cosy eh?"

"They must have come around the back. I swear. I never heard that front door sound. Yeah, anyway it was a freak show, but they're gone now. He's definitely gay. Had his eyes all over me. She's living in la-la land if she thinks her Son is gonna get married and have children like I expect she does."

"Wow, you sure?"

"Definitely," I said, falling back on my bed, letting my head drop against the pillow.

"So you said you were seeing Leander tonight?"

"Shit yeah, sorry I got so wrapped up in the Witch and her sidekick. Erm, yeah, meeting at eight. He's driving. Dunno where we're going."

"We hanging tomorrow?"

I nodded, even though Taz couldn't see me. "Of course. Wanna grab pizza?"

"Again? How about Five Guys?"

"Jeez, I ain't made of money, Taz. Oh, go on then," I said, giggling.

"Cool, well, I gotta go, I stink of grease and Mum and Dad have an announcement they wanna make over dinner so I said I would be a good Son and listen."

"Ooooh, sound mysterious." 

"Yeah, tell me about it. They don't look happy, so I assume it's money."

"Let me know how it goes. I'll catch you later."

"Yeah see ya, Pal."

Taz hung up, and I threw my phone on my bedside table while heaving myself to a sitting position. I had an hour to kill, so I went downstairs to give my father a dressing down.

Dad was tucking into a sandwich in the garden when I got to him, reading his daily paper. I went and pulled up a chair and stared at him until he noticed me.

He looked up mid-bite and titled his head. "Everything okay?"

"I've just told Taz about the shit-show I had to endure when you called me down.

Dad shrugged. "She asked me to get you to come down. You know, to meet her Son."

"He's a weird character. Gives me the creeps. And anyway, what are you? Her lap dog?"

"There you go again. Why do you think that's such a controversial thing for her to do?"

"Because it's her decision. Don't you think you should be the one who suggests I should come down and meet her Son?"

"Oh stop being picky, it's all in your mind this."

"Really?" I asked; Dad's comment irritating me. "Anyway, it's done now. Little Josh boy got a good gorp at me. Here, you do know he is definitely gay, right?"

Dad put his paper down completely and folded it up. "Oh Luke, don't you even think about starting a rumour like that. I know what's going on in your head."

I grinned. "Dad, it is so true. he was checking me out. I know when I'm being checked out."

Dad chuckled. "Oh the modest one. Stop it! I really don't want to know."

"Well I lay money on it. And I bet she would go crazy if she found out."

Dad's face turned to an expression of seriousness. "What makes you think that? Even if it's true, I mean? She knows I have a gay Son. When I told her, she didn't even blink. You need to give her some credit when it's due."

"Yeah, well, if she were that great, he would have come out to her by now."

"Luke, you don't even know if he is. Anyway, let's change the subject. What are you doing tonight?"

"Going out," I replied, picking at my finger and looking down.

"With Taz?"

"Erm, no."

"Lee?"

"Uh, no. Listen Dad, I..."

"Oh here we go. How much?"

I looked up at him, confused. "Huh?"

"How much do you need? Is it your car?"

"What makes you think I need money?"

"When a sentence starts, 'uh Dad listen,' it normally means money. Am I wrong?"

"Dad, I don't need money. I... Actually yes, you're wrong!"

"Spit it out then."

"I'm kinda seeing Leander?"

"The boy from the fair?"

"Yeah," I said, breathing out. "We're sort of going on a date."

"Oh, wow, my advice worked then?"

"It did, and I think we might be okay. Shit, I mean, we're not officially together or anything, but what you said, you know, about putting in some effort and all that? Well, it seems to have worked."

"Then why the glum face?"

I fiddled with the string on my shorts, needing to offload this constant fear I'd been carrying since I'd fallen for Leander.

"I'm worried."

"About?" 

"What happens at the end of August."

"Can you be more specific? What happens then?" Dad asked, leaning forward again.

"Theee erm... the fair leaves town."

Dad's eyes widened. "Oooh, I see."

"I've been avoiding it. The subject I mean. I haven't mentioned how I feel to Leander or Taz and Lee. It's just there on my mind all the time."

"And you think once the fair leaves, that's it?"

"How can it be anything else?" I asked, burying my head in my hands.

"Don't you think you should speak to Leander about it if this has been on your mind?"

"Dad, I don't wanna ruin the vibe we got going. Things are just... well, so nice at the moment and the fair leaving is just such a heavy topic to bring up. Besides, I don't know if I'd like the answer I got."

Dad let out a sigh. "You know, Luke? If you want to be free in this new thing you got going, you'll have to confront uncomfortable issues that crop up. There's no point holding stuff in hoping they'll go away. It's a matter of fact that the fair comes every summer, and it leaves every summer. It's done that even since I was a young man. And, unless your relationship is going to be as seasonal as that fair is, then..."

"I know, I know," I said, annoyed with the situation.

"Talk to him."

"Thanks, Dad. Anyway I'm gonna go get ready. You want me to bring you a beer?"

"Nah, I'm going to finish this sandwich and then go watch TV with a cup of tea."

"Be down in a bit," I said, getting up. "Oh and Dad?"

"Yeah?"

"Josh is definitely gay. You should give Elaine the advice you just gave me," I said, bursting out laughing.

"Go, just go!" Dad whined, sweeping his hands at me.

 

_____________________________

 

[20:06] Leander: Just leavin' now, be at the end of your street in 10
[20:06] Me: Cool, just getting my sneakers on and will start walking.
[20:07] Leander: X

I brushed my t-shirt down with my hands and took one final look in the mirror. I'd cropped my hair tonight, making it look a little bit more steady on top with some product. It needed cutting, but I liked putting it in different positions depending on my mood, and shorter hair meant fewer options. Well, I mean, it wasn't long, long, but I had options with it, that's all I can say. So tonight was the sophisticated look, shiny moisturised face and oak cologne from some french company I'd got free samples from. I liked it. I just hope Leander did.

With everything I could do to make myself look presentable, I headed downstairs two steps at a time and bounced into the lounge.

"Dad, I'm off. See you later,"

"Yep, have fun. Hope it goes well."

"Yeah wish me luck, eh?"

I walked towards the front door and grabbed my keys out of the bowl. Closing the door behind me, I began the short walk to the end of my road, where I hoped to see Leander's black Ranger humming away. As luck would have it, I could see him waiting long before I got to the end of the street, and I felt my heart beat a little faster in anticipation.

As we got into view of each other, I got a wave from him, and I waved back like some love-sick idiot. As I approached his car, anyone looking out of their windows would probably have laughed at the stupid grin on my face.

I finally reached the door and pulled on the handle opening it up. Leander had some trance mix playing at a medium volume while he'd been waiting. My nose was suddenly full of the scent of his car mixed with whatever he was wearing. Together with the music, it was a moment in time I knew I was never going to forget. Some simple memories happen like that. So when anyone asks me about when me and Leander started getting serious, I knew my opening of that car door tonight would be where I started that story.

"Hey," I said, heaving myself onto the seat. "You look nice. meeting anyone special?" I teased. He smiled that smile and went a little red.

"Just you," he replied, teasing back. "You look different," he added, looking at me intently while the car sat humming.

"Hair?" I asked.

"Yeah, I like it." he nodded. "Music okay?"

I smiled. "Oh yeah!"

"Cool, let's go then." 

Leander placed his foot firmly, but not flatly, on the pedal, and the truck pulled away at a swift pace. I was sucked back into my seat and enjoyed the rush of the power and the atmosphere of just being with him as another trance track pumped from the speakers. He chose to turn it down a little now that we were on our way.

"Have you eaten?" He asked, tapping my leg.

"No, I don't have a clue where you are kidnapping me to," I replied.

"Ahh, well that's a secret. You like seafood?"

"I do now."

Leander looked at me in horror. "Ahh, shit, I should have asked first. Erm..."

"Bear, I'm playing with you. I do, honest I like it. Just kidding around."

"Man, don't do that. I thought my plans had gone up in smoke. And awwwww, you called me Bear!" Leander did a little giggle that melted my heart instantly.

Such a cute guy! I'm with someone so much above my league, I thought.

We drove through the centre of my small town towards the outskirts, and I settled back with the window down, enjoying the low evening sun. It painted everything in a dark orange hue which released rich shadows. The rushing air was cool on my arm as it rested on the door frame. Now and again, I would check out Leander's face. I watched as he chewed gum while displaying a relaxed concentration on the road. I imagined us driving down some Midwest American desert highway on some romantic road trip. It suddenly dawned on me that, Iwas now so in deep emotionally with this guy, because of how I felt about him, that I didn't know what I would do if it ever came to an end. For a moment, that prospect briefly terrified me. 

Copyright © 2022 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Trying a different style and a couple of new things in this book and my only benchmark on how that is going is you, my loyal readers. So I have a small favour. Please do click a like if you're enjoying the story and please do recommend the book. If you have a thought or comment I'd be made up to hear what you think. All feedback is relished and of course I do love hearing your ideas, opinions and banter. Many thanks, folks! Now, let go forth on to the next chapter :) 

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

1 hour ago, weinerdog said:

I hope I'm wrong but the announcement Taz parents have? I might be that they have to move.Luke would miss him terribly.If I'm right  maybe Taz could move into Luke's room as far as I can tell I don't think Luke and Taz have enough to rent their own place.That would be a good Elaine solution but I'm probably getting ahead of the story.

The obvious thought about the fair leaving at the end of summer is Bear getting a Job with the other fair in town .But the idea of Bear leaving his family is HUGH!!

Josh being gay could be the reason why he's kept to himself all this time.Since Elaine knows Luke is gay that could be the reason why she wanted Luke and Josh to be friends. As far as the meeting "the new family" incident goes as soon as Luke yelled from upstairs he was about to take a shower Len should have thought to add that there is someone he wanted Luke to meet.Ditto to what @drsawzallsaid about Elaine she should have figured that was unintentional.

So the idea of visiting someplace and inadvertently seeing a hot guy in his boxer? HOW COME THAT NEVER HAPPENS TO ME!!!!!😢

Oh your last comment made me laugh out loud, quite loud.

Great points you made there and I think you're right about Luke missing Leander. I think we are in the realms of 'so in love' to the point of taking abullet already for Leander (Bear) that I wonder how Luke would cope if he did leave with the fair. Luke does need to give Bear more time though. He's getting very pushy in a subtle way. I get it, but it's not gonna end well if he carries on.

Man I love writing all these people. Haven't had this much fun writing since TBfCBD. 

Thanks for yo thoughts, I love reading what you all think. But you know that, right?"

PS. We have a building site near to where I work. As it's summer, and summer equals less garments. I do end up taking a longer lunch. :D 

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When Elaine said:

Don't you think you should have put some clothes on, young Luke?" Elaine piped up.

I instantly thought of her as Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter!

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