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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 - 30. Chapter 30 - More Fate: Leander's Secret

LUKE


 

Walking down the hospital corridors towards Leander's room, my mind felt clear and happy. For once, I felt happy and clear. Gone was the panic feeling that usually got to me in the mornings. There was no feeling of dread, no anxiety and no sense of doom.

It was bliss!

As I reached the desk, I crouched down to do my shoe-lace up, and my phone fell out of my pocket onto the hard tiled floor. I picked it up and looked at it, remembering that I'd had no messages from Leander since I'd last left him with Duke. That was two days ago, and despite me messaging him, I'd heard nothing. I naturally assumed that if he could have answered, he would have, so I genuinely thought nothing of it. But, noting Leander's personality, I had a sneaky feeling perhaps he wanted some time to think on his own. I had also been focusing on the fact I could be too needy at times and made sure I didn't push for answers or dominate his attention.

"If you're here for Leander, you're a bit late."

"What?" I said, quickly getting up, concerned. "What's happened?"

"Moved him to Gainsborough East," Said the Duty nurse I saw last time I was here. 

"Oh, right... Jesus, I thought something had happened to him. Can I ask why he's gone there?"

"They have a unit for his injuries."

"Oh, right. And they are?"

"If he's not told you, I'm not at liberty to say."

I wiped my forehead of sweat and nodded. "That's fine, I understand. Did he say anything before leaving?"

"Like what?" Asked the nurse, resuming her seat behind the desk.

"Dunno, really. Look, I gather he didn't. Thanks a lot; I'll be on my way."

"Have a good day," she said cheerily.

I felt a grey cloud come over me and certainly didn't feel cheerful myself. No messages, nothing said before he left? Why would he get moved and not even tell me? Surely he knew I would be visiting again. What about Duke? Did he know his brother had been moved? Jesus, so many questions were floating around in my head.

~

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

~

Outside in the hot sun, I got back into the car and started the engine, rolling down the two front windows to let some air in. I soooo needed a new car, but my wages at Saunders were not going to pay for that, so I sighed, as I always did when thinking about that. I moved off and out of the car park.

The journey to Gainsborough East was short, around five miles. It was a smaller hospital but dealt with more specialist injuries. They had a spinal block there, one for burns, and I think the other was for skin cancers. Not that I researched all this, it's just what you get to know living nearby.

I sat waiting at a red light impatiently, tapping my foot as the thought of Leander just going AWOL was kind of annoying after all we had been through. That voice in my head shouted again - 'It's not all about you, Luke.'

"I know," I said aloud, pulling away from the light.

Traffic was still busy as it was rush hour. I'd left my house early as Elaine had turned up to clean. I didn't want an 'interaction' if there was any way I could avoid it. So I left. She had been there last night too! It felt like she was there constantly... coming and going like she owned the place!

Dad had gone to work just before me, and I said we would do our 'father-son' drink tonight as I had bowed out two days previous. Dad was cool about Leander, but I don't think he got, or knew, all the intricate details of our relationship. I knew he would understand if I took the time to tell him, but what was the point? Why did I want to bog him down with all my worries when he was enjoying life with his new... woman.

~

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~

I swung a left into the Gainsborough hospital car park and searched for a space. There were a few available, but I always tried to get as close as possible to whatever building I was visiting. My Dad taught me that. Lazy really.

The underneath of my bumper scraped against the curb at the end of the space. I jumped out quickly, slamming the door after switching off the engine. I'd never been here before, so I pretty much had to locate the entrance as my first hurdle. This happened to be around the side of the building, which confused me because you'd think it would be front on from the road entrance. Grrr.

Inside I walked up to the main desk. 

"Good morning, welcome to Gainsborough East. How may I help?"

"Hi, yeah, erm, I'm looking to see Leander Sheperd."

Okay, one moment, please. Is he an inpatient?" She asked. 

I shrugged. "Dunno; what does that mean?"

The girl chuckled. "It means, is he staying with us for more than a day?"

"Oh, right. Yes, he was moved here from General."

"Ahh, yes, I have him. Oh," she said, scratching her head.

"What, what is it?"

"Mr Sheperd has put on his profile that he does not want any visitors."

"Huh? How is that? Does he make that choice?"

"Erm, uh...hmm date of birth... erm... well yes, he's over eighteen, so he would have made that choice. No one else can."

"I scratched the back of my neck and pulled a face, confused. "Okay, thanks," was all I said. I headed for a block of seats and walked over, sitting down. I pulled out my phone and tried Leander again. It just rung and rung. This was stupid! I began to message.

[08:51] Me: What's going on? Just been the General, they said they moved you and now you're not seeing visitors?????
[08:51] Me: Even me, it seems, then?

I sat there regretting my spoilt Brat moment, staring at the screen. Every second that went by, I was getting more and more worked up until I eventually dived out of my chair and back to the desk.

"Hi, can I help?" The girl asked, greeting me again.

"Can you get a message to him or something?"

"Who?" she asked, shocked at my blunt tone.

"Who... Leander... Leander Sheperd."

"Oh, I see; I'm sorry. Yes, I can call the ward for you, but they may not answer. This is because they are usually doing rounds at this time."

"Okay, no worries. Just erm... look, don't worry about it."

I skulked back to the chair I'd been sitting on and slumped down again.

[08:54] Me: Bear, please answer me. If you don't want to see me, that's fine, but at least be a grown-up about it and tell me. Please don't go all silent on me; this is stupid!

Another five minutes passed, and I was now getting upset and frustrated. A small part of me was telling me to just leave, pretend that the last month or so has been a test of character. But the rest told me to stick this thing out and not give up. He was worth the trouble. Eventually, my phone did ding, but it was Deliveroo telling me I had 25% off next Tuesday. I could have launched it.

[09:01] Me: I'm in this hospital. I am getting up and walking out if you don't answer me in the next 3 minutes. You decide!

Okay, good one, Luke. Nuclear Button pressed, I thought, slamming my phone onto the chair beside me, rocking back and forward. 

There was a ding.

[09:03] Leander: I've lifted the visitor bar, see the desk and come up!!

I looked at the message and huffed. "Don't bloody put an exclamation mark on me, Mr," I said audibly, getting up and walking over to the desk.

Again!

"Hi, me again; he says he's lifted the bar off his thing."

She looked at me and smiled. "Who sorry?"

I rolled my eyes and almost combusted. "Leander, Sheperd!"

"Name please?"

"Luke Hanson," I replied drearily.

"Relationship to the patient?"

"Short suffering Boyfriend and fan," I said, looking at the floor, watching my tapping foot.

"Ward 1C. If you take those double doors to your left, head down to the end and then take a right, he's in there. I'll buzz you through."

"Thank you, don't forget where you live now, will you?"

~

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~

Laying in a specially set up bed with all sorts plugged into it, Leander looked glum as I approached.

"Please don't start... I mean before you do," he said, quietly. 

I couldn't help myself, though, the rage of jumping hospitals and being stood up out there for so long having gotten to me. "I mean, what the fuck Bear!"

"I said please don't start."

I started to walk away again but turned straight back. "I just want to know why? Why you did that?"

"Because I am useless to you, and everyone else."

I pulled up a chair and sat close to him. "What? Leander, what are you talking about. Are you depressed?"

"Would you be? I got told, you know?"

I shook my head. "Sorry, got told what?"

"That I'll never walk again? Can you imagine?"

I put my hand to my mouth and let out a sob. "Oh shit, Bear."

"See! Even you think it's so devastating you can't even keep from crying. This is my life."

I quickly composed myself, wiping my eyes. 

"I'm sorry, it's just how you said it. Like it was so final, you know?"

"It is final, Luke."

I let out a nervous chest full of air in a staggered manner. "Will erm... I mean, will you get help?"

"Disabled equipment? Is that what you mean?"

I creased my forehead. "Well, sure. I mean, you'll be able to get around, yeah?"

Leander turned his head and faced away from me. I got up, went around the other side of the bed with my chair, and plonked it down.

"What?" he grunted.

"This how it's going to be? Well, if so, I might as well go," I said, getting up. I just played a weak hand to a stubborn person. If he called my bluff, I was fucked. I started to walk out of the room.

"Wait!" came a call. Phew!

I turned back, and our eyes met. I could see something in him I'd never noticed before. I could have sworn he was in love with me. I don't know how I knew that. And I really didn't mean that as a vain comment... there was just something about that look of yearning, needing, wanting. It was the same look I imagined I'd given him countless times since we met. Perhaps it was all in my mind. Maybe I didn't know how an 'in love look' was supposed to... look. But anyway, I felt something comparable to a rushing stream.

"Say it!" I exclaimed, having been enveloped in the thoughts moments ago.

"I..."

I stepped closer. "Say it.!

"I... I need you."

I walked over to him and kissed his head. "Mule!" I said, stroking his face. "So what was all that about?"

"What?"

"What? You know what. Locking me out of this hospital and making me put up with a lobotomised snail on the front desk!"

"Who?"

"It don't matter. So talk to me."

"I'm scared, Luke."

"Uh, yeah, I know. And you know what? I'm scared too. But better to be scared together than alone, right?"

"I... I'm used to being in control, looking after myself, having the answers."

"Think past it," I said, sitting on his spongy bed. "So let's sort the facts. That's what Taz says when I get in a state. So, we have one broken back, and we need to get help with that, right?"

"Obvious," Leander said, wondering how I could resolve that. 

"I can't resolve that," I said. "But I can help."

"How?"

"Well, first you need to have a think about where you want to live. I'm happy to bring my laptop in, and you can start to search for properties. That's a priority, I think. When you start to have treatment you can look at getting something sorted ready for when you come..."

"Luke, I need to tell you something!" Leander blurted out, cutting me off from my plan for him.

"What? What is it?" I asked, looking downwards at him and into his eyes.

"A couple of days ago, Duke followed you home and found out something for me."

I stood up from Leander's bed and took a pace backwards, my forehead creased. "What? I mean, why would Duke follow me home? What for?"

Leander met me with a stare, pursed lips and a slight tremble. Whatever this was, it was severe, significant or deadly. I didn't know what. All I wanted was for him to bloody speak and speak now!

"Will you pull up a chair, please?" He asked softly. I complied. "I've been lying to you... but... but only to protect a secret."

I started to shake my head. "Bear? Once I hear this am I going to walk out that door and not see you again?"

Leander was about to speak but then paused, obviously gathering his thoughts. "I don't know. But please believe when I tell you that it was never meant to be and was not planned."

"What, just tell me, please!"

"You remember when you bumped into me at the bakery in the village, almost spilling your coffee?"

"How could I forget?"

"Well, that day, I'd gone in to buy drinks and a cake, as I was meeting someone. Someone who is very dangerous, but also someone I must keep very sweet, hence the cake and stuff."

"Bear, is this about to be some kind of a joke because you totally pitched it at the wrong time."

Leander huffed and put his hand on my leg. "No, just shut up a minute. It's not a joke!"

"Okay, we'll get to the point."

"I was seeing a woman who is also seeing your Dad."

"Elaine?"

"When our fairground started back in town this summer, she contacted me, as she does every year. She comes from Southampton and travels up each season for two things. First, to pick up drugs from Scott, my Dad, and to see me. We see each other a few times to catch up, you know, while the fair is here... and no, I don't like it, but she holds a secret that is... was, so great that, if it were revealed, I would have been kicked out of the fair and made homeless... and disowned." Leander produced a false snigger. "It's funny, but it hardly matters now, does it?"

"So this woman? You say she is dating my Dad? You're sure it's the same person?"

"At first, I thought nothing of it. She'd said she was dating a widowed local man, Then said she had met his Son, who she was always battling with. THEN she mentioned your name, until lastly, it all fell into place when she said where you worked."

"You sure talked about me a lot."

"It wasn't like that, Luke. I'm telling you everything at once. You need to remember; that she revealed this information over a few weeks... a little more on each meet-up. Anyway, even though I was pretty sure she was talking about you, I told Duke to follow you home to see if you lived in the street she'd mentioned. The road was apparently where her new 'male friend' lived. She'd revealed this recently when I was asking about him. Duke saw your car pull onto the driveway and called me to let me know. I was in knots as to what I would say to you. So that was partly the reason I cut you off. Oh, and my useless body, pffft!"

"You thought about not telling me at all, didn't you?" I asked, knowing the answer. "You thought about not telling me about Elaine?"

"It crossed my mind, but you would have found out sooner or later. Elaine always reveals her end game with her men eventually."

"So Elaine is a drug dealer?" I asked, shocked.

"She uh... she's also my Mum, Luke. That's the secret."

~

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~

 

The Text messaging format I usually use has mysteriously stopped working. So I hope having the phone messaging bits like that was okay? Apologies.

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 minute ago, CincyKris said:

Well, hell!!!!  This complicates matters!  I have to think about this while I go now my grass!  

I think you were reading a rough copy as it accidently published at 9:40. The finished copy was done at 10:05. I hope it didn't ruin things as there was a few mistakes I had to zap between copies. :) 

 

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Did Elaine organise the beating of Leander, because of the way Luke spoke to and treated her.

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Elaine, the drug mule comes as no surprise. Elaine the mother of Leander, all I can say is fuck me, I did not see that one coming.

I speculated previously Scott Sheperd and Elaine may have set up Donald as the fall guy for the cocaine smuggling. I now think it very possible. I also speculated before if Scott’s heart attack occurred without assistance. I am even more suspicious now that it did not, although I don't think his death was any great loss.

I have to wonder if it was Scott that Elaine had an affair with for 19 years as revealed by Taz. I speculated before, somewhat facetiously, that Elaine and the Romani Medea may have been lovers, my speculation is now genuine.

Luke has to warn Len about Elaine. I think she and the Romani Medea are both truly evil. When reading of these two harridans I am reminded of the witches in Macbeth "double double toil and trouble". I have no doubt either would have any qualms eliminating or harming those who get in the way of anything they want. I am still not sure what use Len is to Elaine, maybe she is just after a little bit of company, but given what we now know about her, it is hard to imagine her motive is as simple as that.

@James Matthews you continue to startle with the impossible and the implausible, making them so believable. I am glad you are not posting this story every day as it gives the reader time to digest, ponder and ruminate. I have said it before, speculation is pointless, but it is so much fun, particularly if one is even remotely close to your reality. I have I believe read most of your stories published on this site and enjoyed all to varying degrees. I consider this to be your finest work yet.

Edited by Summerabbacat
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On 7/23/2022 at 10:49 AM, Summerabbacat said:

Elaine, the drug mule comes as no surprise. Elaine the mother of Leander, all I can say is fuck me, I did not see that one coming.

I speculated previously Scott Sheperd and Elaine may have set up Donald as the fall guy for the cocaine smuggling. I now think it very possible. I also speculated before if Scott’s heart attack occurred without assistance. I am even more suspicious now that it did not, although I don't think his death was any great loss.

I have to wonder if it was Scott that Elaine had an affair with for 19 years as revealed by Taz. I speculated before, somewhat facetiously, that Elaine and the Romani Medea may have been lovers, my speculation is now genuine.

Luke has to warn Len about Elaine. I think she and the Romani Medea are both truly evil. When reading of these two harridans I am reminded of the witches in Macbeth "double double toil and trouble". I have no doubt either would have any qualms eliminating or harming those who get in the way of anything they want. I am still not sure what use Len is to Elaine, maybe she is just after a little bit of company, but given what we now know about her, it is hard to imagine her motive is as simple as that.

@James Matthews you continue to startle with the impossible and the implausible, making them so believable. I am glad you are not posting this story every day as it gives the reader time to digest, ponder and ruminate. I have said it before, speculation is pointless, but it is so much fun, particularly if one is even remotely close to your reality. I have I believe read most of your stories published on this site and enjoyed all to varying degrees. I consider this to be your finest work yet.

Really glad ur enjoying the rollercoaster. Thanks for the kind comments, as usual Summer :)

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