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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 - 17. Chapter 17 - The First Date

Monday - 5:01pm - Leander 


3 hours ago


I'd just let a load of people off the ride I was operating when I saw my Mother in the distance walking towards. Her pace quick.

"Bear?" She called. 

I was now walking away from the Barracuda... which is the name of the attraction. It basically spun upside down. There were two 'boats' which ran in opposite directions. In the grand scheme, it was one of the better attractions as it got the riders' blood pumping and provided entertainment watching people sit there petrified, waiting for it to start. But, whoops, my Mum wanted me, didn't she?

"Hey Mum," Listen, I can't stop. I need to eat.

I was on a break. Yes, we did get them.

"You with us for dinner later?" She asked, looking surprised.

"Uh, Not tonight, no."

"Okay, Listen, do you think you could stop by for a few minutes? Your Dad and I would like to talk?"

I looked at her and felt my legs turn to jelly. This was not a typical request, and I had horrible feelings about the topic. Had I been seen with Luke?

"Erm, yeah sure Mum. I just got to stop by the trailer to wash my hands. I'll come over."

The fair was in full swing this evening, and there were queues for almost all the rides. I loved it when it was busy, and the music was loud. It gave the place a brilliant atmosphere and meant pound signs to everyone who shared in the fair's profits.

I gave the nod to Nicola, one of my cousins. She had come over from the junior rollercoaster she'd been looking after to relieve me. She winked back to say take your time. Perhaps she knew about this meeting too. 

I rushed back to my trailer, knowing I had twenty minutes for my break. I usually washed up and wiped my face before grabbing a quick snack to get me through to the shift end. But now I had to use some of that break to see my parents. I'm not sure why but even at eighteen, my father still scared me.

As I arrived at my trailer and walked in, Duke was just coming out of the shower, a towel wrapped around him.

"I hear the folks want a word? You in trouble?"

I shrugged, feeling nervous. "I don't know. Mum didn't say. Can you leave the gas on? I need water for later; I'm going out."

"Yeah, I left it on anyway. I assumed you'd need it when you finish. You off at eight tonight?"

"Yeah, remember? I had that bearing replacement to do early this morning."

"Yeah, I was glad of the peace. It's the first peaceful wank I've been able to have in a while."

I rolled my eyes. "Thanks for that image. Anyway, I better go. I only have fifteen minutes left."

I went into the bathroom and quickly washed my hands, arms and face before running my hands through my hair, trying to think about the answers I would give in this chat I was going to have. It was pointless, of course, as I didn't know what they wanted.

I went straight from the bathroom and out the door, walking the few metres to my parent's sizeable static home they stayed in together. All our accommodation was located in a fenced-off area, along with trucks full of supplies which we hauled off daily each morning. I noticed the grass was turning brown due to the heat and wondered when it would let up.

Putting one foot on the step to my parent's door, I knocked sheepishly before walking in. Mum and Dad were both sitting down, and Dad immediately turned off the radio.

"Take a seat, Bear," my Dad requested. Mum just smiled at me.

"So, where have you been going at all hours of the day?" he asked. Having just been so direct with that question, my throat closed up as I tried to swallow. I must have looked in distress.

"Well, erm, there's been a few problems with the truck. Oh, and I went to get a few things from the shop I wanted for myself. So, erm, well, just a few different reasons I guess."

"Toby says he saw you leave at close to one in the morning a few days ago. Was that to fix your truck?"

"Erm, well, no. I just needed a drive. You know how stressful the fair can be sometimes. So it's just nice to get out and drive now and again."

"Do you think I'm stupid, Son? Do you fucking dare treat me like an idiot? Your father?"

I peered over at Mum, who looked worried but said nothing. Dad was the boss in our family and demanded huge respect, which we all gave him. Nobody ever got on the wrong side of him. It was pretty horrible if you did.

"Uh, well Dad, I..."

Dad got up and pushed me back in the seat with his hand on my neck. "I know what you've been doing, you know that. And I have to sit here and listen to one of my sons lie to me?"

"Dad, you're going to bruise my neck, please, I haven't done whatever you think I have."

My father released me, knowing that my neck was a place on show when he got mad. I could have always fought back. I always asked myself why after the event, but at the time... the times... the many times. I never did."

"Patrick, please. Can you just talk. There is no need for this," My Mum interjected, sounding slightly upset.

"I'm going to give you one chance to tell me the truth. Why are you going out at all hours of the day?"


Dad's face screwed up into a red volcano of anger, and I recoiled into the seat like a small defenceless child. Even though I could take him out with a few punches, as I say, I never did. The family hierarchy was something bred into you from year dot! No one ever challenged him. I just sat there. My heart was thumping.

"I've met someone."

"What?" Dad said, backing off and looking immediately calmer.

"I thought you knew? You said you knew why I was going out?"

"So you're not seeing Dan Jacobs?"


"You heard me! You're not seeing that old Bastard Jacobs and disowning your family for that Son of a bitch?"

"Erm... No, I haven't seen him."

"Well best it stays that way. And if you do happen to bump into him for any reason at one in the morning you tell that Cunt, he's not welcome here. He's not welcome on these grounds, or any other place we put up shop. You hear me, boy?"

"Yes, Dad, I hear you," I said, nodding quickly.

"So who's the girl? Where did you meet her?"

"What? Oh, right...erm yeah we met when she came to the fair with her friends. So we kind of got chatting."

"Well, why don't you bring her here to meet us. Is she a decent lass?"

"I nodded. "Yeah, she's erm, very lovely."

"Hair colour? You like the browns, don't cha. Yeah, you take after your old man there." My Dad did a belly laugh and then went serious.

"You be careful now Son, right. We don't want any unexpected lawsuits because you haven't pulled out in time."

"Oh Patrick, let's leave him be. Bear, I think it's lovely you have a new girl. You be sure to bring her around for breakfast one day. We can all eat outside and get to know her."

I rubbed my hands together nervously and tried on a smile. "Yeah," I said. "Sure Mum, I'll do that. But erm, she pretty busy just like me. So I'll have to see what she can do."

"Whadda girl do, to make money?" Dad asked. Staring at me.

"Oh," I chuckled, trying to think fast. "She's erm... She's a milk lady."


Mum and Dad both weirdly looked at me. "She's a what?" My Dad asked. "What the fuck is a milk lady? She milks cows or summit?"

"No, I mean she delivers milk. To houses I mean. Works early in the morning. That's why I... well the breakfast thing. I'm not sure she could ever make it. You know. People need their milk in the morning and..."

"It's an honourable job, Son. So anyway, you be on your way."

"Yeah sure, thanks for the chat. Sorry for any confusion Dad."

"Duke says you're out tonight?" Mum asked as I was near the door.

"Erm, yeah. After my shift."

She winked at me and smiled. "You have a good night, yeah?"

"Uh, yeah... erm thanks Mum. I'll see you both later."

My father just gruffed and nodded before falling into his usual seat in the caravan. Mum, whom I eyed as I was leaving, went to sit with him to obviously calm him down, as was her customary job when he was angry with one of the family.

I got back to the ride almost ten minutes late, but Nicola was fine. The adrenaline from talking to my Dad was trying to exit my body somehow, and I felt the number of times I was sighing had increased.

"You okay, Bear? You look like you've seen a ghost?"

"Yeah fine, Nicola. Just My Dad being my Dad. You can go now. I got the next revolution, thanks."

"The ride is yours. No faults. We have a full train."

"Thanks. You on the Whip now?"

Nicola frowned, looking quite unimpressed. "Yep, it's my turn to face the boredom."

I smiled as she walked away, knowing her pain of running that ride. It was very dull indeed.




Monday - 8:24pm - Luke

Present time


Leander pulled to a stop at a small restaurant by the Richmond river and tried to locate a parking space that would accommodate his rather large vehicle. 

"I should have brought my shit heap," I said as he looked around with his eyes.

"That one should do over there, on the end. It's quite wide." Leander said, pointing.

I enjoyed the satisfying pinging and crunching sound as Leander drove into the gravel-covered car park and found the space he wanted. He reversed in like a pro and switched off the engine.

"You okay?" I asked as he sighed.

He positioned himself, so he was slightly in my direction and looked into my eyes.

"My parents think you're my new girl," he replied heavily and quite throaty.

"Something happened?" I asked, concerned.

"No, no, not really. Look, I wasn't going to say anything. It's just been playing on my mind, and I haven't got anyone else I can tell. Ironic, seeing as it was mainly based on a different version of you and me."

I was confused but didn't say anything.

"Talk to me. What happened?"

"You want to go in first?"

"I've got a hungry stomach," I smiled.

Leander sat upright and nodded. "Then we should go in."

We both jumped out of his truck, and I heard the clicking sound of the locking mechanism securing the doors. We strolled towards the restaurant crunching stones under our feet before crossing the threshold to the building and walking in.

A sweet, dumpy lady in a white blouse came and greeted us, and Leander put his hand up to greet her.

"Yeah, hi. I got a table booked in the name of Scott Sheperd?"

The woman looked at her iPad and nodded her confirmation. "For two, yes?"

"That's right," 

"Okay, guys, if you follow me, I'll take you to your table."

Scott Sheperd? I thought. Later!

She turned around and started walking through the restaurant while we followed. She stopped at a small table with two seats in quite a secluded part of the establishment, overlooking the river.

"Thanks," Leander said, taking a seat. I did the same, and she pulled two menu's from the holder in the middle of the table and handed us one each.

"Our specials tonight are crab claw soup with rustic bread and butter. And for the main, we are doing slow-roasted sea bass with summer vegetables and a creamy hollandaise sauce on sauteed potatoes. Of course, you are welcome to choose anything you wish from the menu. Can I get you guys some drinks first?"

"Mineral water for me, thanks," Leander replied.

The lady looked at me. "Erm, do you have Coke?"

"Sure," she said. "I'll be right back with those. Please take your time."

Our waitress left our table, and we sat quietly, looking at the menu. Then, finally, Leander looked up at me and smiled.

"This okay? I mean, I wanted somewhere out of the way, but I didn't want to take you to a Burger King for our first date, so this seemed a good place."

I smiled at him back. "Honestly, it's fine."

As the sun went down, I looked out across the river, suddenly feeling like this was a surreal moment. I don't eat in places like this hardly at all. On top of that, I'm here in this incredible setting with the most beautiful person I can ever imagine inventing in my mind. It was just...surreal.

"So yeah, about earlier. I was in a situation with my parents, which freaked me out a bit. You see, my Dad, he's quite a straightforward person. You know, takes no crap. He originally thought I was out secretly seeing Dan Jacobs."

"Oh yeah, the guy that owns Clarence... uh?"

"Clarence Park. Yeah, him. So he got into his usual mind of thinking one of his family would defect to the enemy and started accusing me. In my mind at that moment, I have no easy excuses I could think of, so I sort of panicked."

"Then what happened?"

"Well, I honestly thought I'd been seen with you because he said I was lying about what I was doing at one a.m. and being honest, I was. I was trying so hard to get a reason in my head to tell him. But he saw straight through it as he does."

"He's violent, ain't he," I said, feeling angry.

"What makes you think that?"

"Bear, I can see it in your eyes as you're telling me this stuff. You're petrified of him, aren't you?"

Leander looked away from me and said nothing for a moment. But then spoke. "He's the leader of our family and technically also my boss at the fair. Everyone is scared of him; it's just how we've been brought up."

"You haven't answered my question, though."

Leander paused and looked up at the ceiling. "Let's not be discussing my father here. We're supposed to be having a nice night."

"I am having a nice night. But are you? I think you are sitting here once again thinking someone is going to walk in and see us."

"A little, yeah, but it's not ruining my night."

"Don't think I am pushing or anything, but I don't see what's wrong with you telling your family that you've made a 'male' friend. There are millions of guys who hang around together in this country. So what's the big deal?"

"It's complicated. Or it could be complicated if I was to say that to them."

"Oh my God! I know why. I know why you won't."
"Can we leave it, please?" He asked. I was about to refuse when the waitress returned with our drinks and placed them on the table.

"Are you ready to order?" she asked, getting her iPad ready to receive information.

"Uh, can we have a few more minutes, please?" Leander asked. She nodded and walked away from us again, leaving me to talk again.

"It's because I'm gay, isn't it? That's why you can't say it. Because if your family, for whatever reason, found out about me, they would ask why you're hanging around with a queer!"

"Please don't use that word, Luke. It's not like that. Well yeah, it is, but look, I don't want that worry on my mind all the time. It comes back to the reason I sent you that message about not seeing you again. I'm in the very situation I was afraid of getting in to. The situation where people are starting to ask questions. I was scared I would ever get into that moment because I didn't think I could handle it. But I like you too much to let go, so I AM handling it, but you have to be patient with me."

I had to force myself so hard not to go into one at him over this. But how could I do that. How could I put him in the middle of his family and my disgusting thoughts that perhaps he is ashamed of me? I know he's not, but he's ashamed of being questioned as to why he is friends with someone who is gay. I held back. Closed my mouth. I tried to clear my mind of these blunt questions and the lecture I'd already played out after his admission. In those few seconds of absolute rage, I got passed it and tried to smile.

"Let's forget about it. You're right. This is our first date. I'm loving the fact you brought me here. We should order, right?"

Leander pursed his lips at me as if to say thank you for dropping the subjects that desperately needed discussing. But he was right. We had come out tonight on our first date to enjoy ourselves, and I wanted to get to know the guy sitting opposite me better than I did now. So I backed off with that particular topic and promised myself internally I would lock it up until a better time came along. But I knew how easily my brain and mouth could royally fuck some things up.

"Have you decided what you want?" Leander 

"The bad news is it's not written on the menu. The good news is, it's right here anyway."

Leander laughed, leaning back in his chair. "Man, that was so cheesy!"

"Your point?" 

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

Maybe the father accepted that fib with the Milk Lady, as it was seeing his son having a relationship vs cavorting with his competition…

This is something 5hat will need to be resolved eventually, but Bear is just coming to terms with him liking Luke.

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Posted (edited)

This can't end well if it keeps going on like this...Bear's father is a loose cannon, and it is worrisome...

Canon GIF - Canon GIFs

Edited by drsawzall
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I think I called it right a couple of chapters earlier.  Leander was raised in a cult, with a violent leader and ignorant followers ready to do his bidding.  It's going to come down to a decision for Leander that he is not ready to make, yet.  Live his own life or continue to live his father's life.  Get married to another traveller and raise a bunch of uneducated, bigoted, minions.

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After all these chapters I'm finally getting into this story. I like Luke and his relationship with his father but think he's being an ass to Elaine...and to Josh. There is so much to follow-up on there that I hope we get the chance to pursue it in future chapters. Or...maybe I'm speaking prematurely since there are chapters I haven't gotten to yet. 

James Matthews, I haven't read any of your previous stories but will. I'm not going to comment any further on this story until I catch up with your later chapters. I enjoy your style and look forward to following this story and you.

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