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Puppy for Sale - 11. Nailed at Cutters Farm

I lay on my bed, twitching my foot in utter excitement. I was home alone since Steven was out with his friends, who I had declined to join... only because I was expecting a very special phone call and wanted to be somewhere quiet to take it. Susan was out food shopping and Max was out doing surgery on some tree, I imagined.

ONE HOUR LATER...

"And then what happened?" I asked, almost diving off my bed in pure delight. "Uh-huh, Uh-huh? Fuck, this is awesome," I squealed.

"Jensen, are you okay up there? I just got back," came Susan's voice. I quickly jumped off my bed and ran down the stairs with my cell phone clamped to my ear. Then, just wearing a pair of socks, I skidded into the kitchen where Susan was and unceremoniously crashed into the table, falling flat on my ass.

"Susan, Susan, you will never guess what?" I asked, getting back to my feet.

"What... what, Jensen, oh my God, are you, okay? Slow down, little man."

"Hang on, Susan..." I said as the voice interrupted me on the phone. "Yeah, yeah, so can I tell her?",

I started to jump up and down on the spot; I was so worked up with excitement.

"Jensen, who is it? What are you so pleased about?" She said, my happiness infectious to her.

"Cindy has found some PARENTS!" I almost screamed.

"Oh, WOW, Jensen, that is wonderful news."

I covered the ear piece with my hand. "Yeah, I'll come tell you about it soon. But, first, I just gotta listen to some more from her," I whispered.

I ran back upstairs and flung myself onto the bed, bouncing a few times before, puffing up my pillows and putting the phone back to my ear. Cindy was still talking away, the excitement in her voice evident.

"You need to get me a picture; I wanna see what they look like...You what? Really? Oh, okay, well call me soon, yeah? Uh-huh... Yeah, I will, just go eat before it runs out... yes Cindy, I promise... uh huh... uh huh... okay bye!"

I hung up my cell phone let my hand holding it drop loosely over the side of the bed. A warm fuzzy feeling pulsed through my body, and I lay there staring at the ceiling, the biggest smile I ever produced upon my face.

 

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

 

Max had just gotten out of the shower when he came knocking on our door. "Boys, go wash up. Dinner is almost ready."

I got up from my bed and walked through to the bathroom, followed by Steven, who had his eyes glued to his cell phone. I turned on the tap and waited patiently for hot water to make its way through. Steven plonked himself down on the toilet seat, obviously waiting until I was done.

"You've been tapping away on that since you got home; what’s so interesting?" I asked, squeezing out some hand soap from the bottle.

"Don't be nosey, and besides, it's not something that would interest you."

"How do you know?"

"Because it's female and has gash... now hurry up so I can get to the sink."

"Gash?"

"Go, Jensen... just go."

I shrugged and stepped away from the sink, grabbing a small hand towel hanging on the radiator. Steven slipped his phone into his pocket and started to wash his hands methodically. I left the bathroom confused, trundling down the stairs before taking my place at the kitchen table.

"Hey Jensen, you must be hungry," Susan said, wearing an apron as she placed a joint of beef on the table.

"Yeah, this looks really good; we hardly ever got beef at the home."

"Well, honey, you're in for a treat then; this is an excellent cut. Do you know where Steven is?"

"Yeah, he's just washing his hands; I think he's talking to a girl who is unwell."

"Unwell?" Susan repeated as Max came into the kitchen and sat down next to me.

"Who's unwell?" he asked, adjusting the position of his knife and fork.

I leant into Max's ear. "Some girl Steven is talking to on his phone. Don't tell him I told you... but it sounds like she has gash," I whispered innocently.

"Oh my!" Susan squealed, coughing. Max turned away from me and looked at Susan. I could have sworn he was laughing silently. Susan began to grin before turning back towards the oven. Then I heard her snort.

"Okay, what is it?" I asked. "Is there something funny I said?"

All of a sudden, Max and Susan both burst out laughing. Big belly laughs filled the room, which seemed to get more intense as we all eyed Steven walking into the kitchen to join us. I was still wondering what was so funny. Steven, well, he just didn't look impressed.

"Something funny?" Steven asked, taking a seat at the table. Max and Susan almost collapsed laughing.

As Susan composed herself, she dished up the rest of the food onto our plates before bringing them over. Taking a seat herself, she asked Max to cut the meat for us all, which he immediately did, licking his lips. The action was contagious as I eyed the prime piece of meat with the licking of my lips.

"Great news about Cindy, I am genuinely over the moon for her, and for you as well, Puppy," Max remarked, starting to slice into the beef.

"I know, I am just so excited for her, she really needed this, and I know exactly how she will be feeling right now. I only wish I could have been there to give her the support the way she had given it to me when I found out about you."

"Well, at least you were able to speak with her on the phone. So does she know when this is all going to happen?"

"No, she is going to either call me when she finds out, or I will call her Monday, whichever comes first."

"Well, when things are settled down with her, you just say the word, and I'll take you to go see her, or Susan will if I'm working."

"Really?"

"Yep, no matter how far away she ends up. She has been an extraordinary friend to you for four of those years while I was looking for you. You owe her, and I owe her, so it's the least I can do for you both."

"Wow, thanks Max... and Susan, of course." They both smiled, and Max finished supplying our plates with food.

"Well, eat up all... and honey? Beautiful job as always with the tucker."

 

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

 

Down at the bottom of the garden I stood inside the chicken run, watching Annie and Clarabelle as they sat quietly in their nesting boxes. There had only been one egg laid today, which I had put in my jacket pocket, ready to wash once I got back inside. Annie, who was the larger of the two chickens gently clucked, and I imagined her to be in some dream, probably pecking away in a vast meadow somewhere.

Feeling it was time to get back, I shut the enclosure and pulled down the plastic sheet before stepping out of the run. There was a full moon out, and a gentle ice cold breeze whispered through the surrounding trees. I looked back at the house seeing Max and Susan chatting through the kitchen window. I still had to pinch myself at times, wondering how I ended up in such a loving environment. Simple things that kids my age probably take for granted just seemed so beautiful. The green rich garden to play in, the friendly chickens to tend to, the parents who loved me so much, the new brother who was discovering me, and I him.

Life was bliss, and then there was the incredible news about Cindy. I could finally put to rest all that guilt I had carried with me about leaving her. I longed for a day where we could hang out together and both chat feverishly about how our lives had changed.

I could still look back on some parts of Greenstone with fondness, such as the calm lake, the little sanctuary which was my room, and some staff. Mr Watson, I think, genuinely cared for all of us, so I missed him the most out of all the people.

Growing up there was all I ever knew, and while living there, I never thought it was so bad. It’s only when you come away from a place like that you realise how much you have missed the normal childhood you should have been having.

I knew I had ages until I would be considered an adult, but I often wondered how different events like Christmas and birthdays would have been had I grew up with two parents rather than what I had at Greenstone.

I walked back up to the house as I let those thoughts evaporate out of my mind. As Max said, I had to think about the future now and not live in the past.

"One egg, fresh from the chicken's bum," I announced, placing it on the draining board.

"Just one Puppy? You better get the whip out on those girls." Max said.

"Meh, maybe one of them didn't feel like it today. I’m sure there will be two tomorrow," I replied, picking the egg back up and running it under the tap.

"Honey, when you get up tomorrow, can you strip your bed? I’m going to wash all the bedding tomorrow... oh and if you can relay that message to Steven as well, wherever he is."

"Sure, Susan, no worries, I'll have both sets stripped and ready to go, even if Steven is in one of them," I replied, grinning.

"Pfft, good luck Son, Steven won't rise before twelve on a Saturday. If you can wrestle him out before nine, then I'll buy you an extra-large McDonalds next time we are out."

"Hmm, consider him up by ten to nine!"

"Ha, I love incentives... don't you love incentives, Honey?" Max asked Susan, who gave him an over the glasses look.

"Well, I'm going upstairs to see what Steven is doing. I'll see you guys later. Thank you for the lovely dinner as always, Susan."

"Oh Button, you're always welcome, we must cook together soon, maybe we can make cakes... yeah let's make cakes Sunday... Oh, I’ve got this brilliant recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake, we can do, would you like that?"

I felt worn out for a moment. "Yeah, Susan, sounds great; I look forward to doing that."

I gave them both a hug and padded off upstairs into my room. Inside, Steven was on his computer and looked to be on Skype.

"Chatting to your friend Billy again?" I asked, toeing my sneakers off.

"Yeah, he was just asking about you. So I lied and said, you were cool," Steven said before smirking.

"Well, if I fail at being cool, then I am blaming you."

"Meh, anyway, we are done talking now," he said, switching the screen off and throwing himself onto his bed.",

"How is he?"

"Billy? Yeah, he's okay; the pox has almost gone now. So, erm… me, Dave and Jessie were planning to do a little fishing on Sunday, down at Cutters Farm, and erm, well... well I was wondering if you would like to come along, you know, as long as you don't act all weird and stuff in front of my friends."

"Really? Oh wow, Steven, thanks, that would be great," I replied, my face probably lighting up. "Hmm, but..."

"Oh, what?!"

"Nothing, it's just... do you really want me to come, or do you just feel sorry for me."

Steven walked over to my bed and sat down on the edge. He looked at me, wearing a serious face.

"Jensen, do you want me to be completely honest?"

"I think so."

"Well, I'm afraid to admit this because..." Steven looked like he was about to cry. "Ahh, shut up, you fool. I invited you because I want you to come, ya fucking bonehead," he said, bursting out laughing.

I breathed a sigh of relief. "Don't wind me up like that. I thought you were about to tell me it was because you felt sorry for me."

"Well, it was that as well, but I didn't wanna hurt your feelings...JOKE!"

"Oh, shit, wait... I just remembered, I said I would make a cake with your mum on Sunday."

"Jensen, the cool meter is starting to drop again. Think about this, please."

"Well, hmm, I guess I could ask her if we could do it another day."

"That's the spirit. Just don't give her a date because she will hold you to it. I know Mum, okay?"

"Aww, now I feel bad... do you think she will be upset?"

"I guess if you feel that bad, you could stay at home with her, and I'll tell my friends that making cakes was more important than meeting up with them, and remember... Dave will be there," Steven said, slapping his cheek.

"So... what about him?"

"Oh, don't give me that! As soon as you saw his picture, you went into a fucking trance. I get it. You wanna blow him.

"I don't know what you mean, Steven. I was comparing his hair with what mine was going to look like., I don't even remember his face."

"Bullshit, you know as well as I do that you wake up with a boner each morning thinking about him."

"Fuck, off, Steven; you’re talking shit!"

"It's okay, you know... hell, I'm straight, and even I think he's hot."

"I'm not listening to this, I will come on your little fishing trip, but for the record, it has nothing to do with the fact Dave is going to be there."

"Whatever you say, homeboy," Steven said, breaking into an evil laugh.

"It has more to do with not upsetting your mum. We have both already been in trouble for what you did to my hair a few days ago, and-"

"What do you mean what I did to your hair? It looks good!"

"I know, I didn't mean it like that, but mum was hardly impressed, and even though dad thought it was hilarious, I think I shouldn't give your mum a reason to think I'm some rebellious person when I'm not."

"Jensen, getting an extreme haircut is a bit different from rearranging a cake making date fest with my mum. I'm sure if you tell her I've invited you out to meet my friends, she will go delirious with joy. You know how much she goes on about you meeting new people."

"Okay, fine, I will talk to her, so can we drop this now please, it's giving me a headache."

"Not gonna flip out on me, are you?"

"Wanna find out?" I shot back with a smile.

 

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

 

I wasn't sure what time it was, but the sound of heavy breathing woke me up. I slowly opened one eye and could see it was pitch black outside, but then it had been when I had gone to bed. Steven's lamp was on, as usual, throwing shadows across the room.

As I became more alert, my hearing seemed to home in on where the breathing was coming from. I looked over to see Steven shifting round in his bed. Arms and legs were flapping all over the place, and it looked like he was sweating. I heaved myself up so I was resting on my elbows and watched for a moment.

I had seen Cindy like this once or twice before when she had fallen asleep on my bed. Usually, I would wake her, but with Steven being a lot bigger, I was worried about what would happen if he lashed out. He was obviously having some kind of nightmare, but still, I was wrestling with myself whether just to wake him or not.

By now, his duvet and sheet had been kicked well clear of his bed due to his contorting body. Unlike Cindy, though, his face did not have a look of distress on it, which surprised me, seeing as this looked like quite a bad nightmare.

I slowly got out of bed and inched towards Steven. Pausing for a moment, I let my eyes run over his body, taking in every inch of him. Steven was beautifully built and looked so fucking attractive. I loved how his stomach muscles tightened when he moved into a particular position causing six perfectly shaped ridges to form. But what shocked and excited me the most was his obvious erection that was straining to escape his boxer shorts. Having never seen a male have a nightmare, I wondered if that was normal. I also wondered why there seemed to be a wet patch right near where his head, as Steven called it, was.

He was now getting more animated, and I just stood there in a trance watching him. I was so fascinated with his groin area. He didn't look as big as me, but it was still enough to fill his navy blue boxers that were becoming wetter and wetter near the waistband.

Having frustrated myself, with obvious results (looking down), I decided I needed to wake him up as I was getting worried about the noises he was making. So, creeping over to him, I was just about to put my hand on his arm to shake him when he let out a low pitch moan before grunting a few times.

My eyes were drawn back to his dick which was now twitching violently while spewing out what looked like...cum? Such was the force. Some of it was seeping through the material.

"Erm... uh Steven?" I whispered, now really worried. "Steven!"

"Wha... wha... what? What's up... what's happened?" he asked, bolting to a sitting position.

"I think you were dreaming, but the strangest thing happe-"

"Ahhhh, shit, not again!" he said, looking down between his legs. "Ah, fucking Jesus, there's loads of it." He said, sounding like he was ignoring me and talking to himself.

"Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that, erm..."

"Shit! Could you pass me a towel please, Jensen, oh and some new boxers from my drawer? I daren't get up."

"Sur... sure, I said, rushing to get a towel and some clean underwear for him. He began taking off his soiled boxers, not seeming to care that I was practically gawping at his semi-hard dick, which was, as I was just finding out, a pretty good size. A large gloop of cum was hanging from the end of his cock where the towel had not yet reached, and the image memorised me.

Steven seemed to emit a sweet sweaty smell as he sat cleaning himself up. For me, and whether this was in my mind, I don't know, it seemed to stir feelings within me that Steven categorised as being horny. This feeling was being made more intense because Steven was still making no attempt to cover himself up, and I even wondered if he knew I was still in the room.

"Erm, Steven, this might not be a good time to ask, but ever the learner I am... what the fuck happened to you?"

"Wet dream, I get them all the time... must have been that fucking girl winding me up." He replied, like it was as familiar to him as brushing his teeth. His tone suggested it was a chore each time it happened. But to me...

It was fucking sexy!

"So a wet dream is?"

"Do I really have to give you the science lesson now, Jensen? It's almost three am. Look, basically, I shot my load in my sleep probably during a dream you saw me having; it’s quite common at our age."

"Hmm, well, I've never had that happen to me."

"You probably have, but by the time you have woken up, it's all been squished into the sheets and dried... have you never woken up with crusty underwear before?"

"Not that I recall."

"Hmm, well, you were on a shit load of drugs. Perhaps it turned all your... systems off. But anyway, that's what's happened to me," he said, pulling on a new pair of boxer shorts. He wrapped up his old pair in the saturated towel and pushed it under his bed.

"Now, I'm going back to sleep. If you plan to bash one out over this, please keep the noise down," he said, causing my face to fill with red hot blood.

Only because the thought had crossed my mind.


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

...Later that morning


"OUCH," I cried as Steven led me through some kind of a forest.

"Haha, the nettles got you, don't worry the sting goes after a while."

I was being taken down a dirt path surrounded by thick grass and weeds. The track looked barely used, and the whole place gave me the creeps as the towering trees above cut out most of the light. Different birds spoke to each other as high pitched chirping rang out around us, the only other sound being our feet pounding over gravel and mud.

"I thought we were going to Cutters Farm?" I asked, looking around at the absence of any farm scenery.

"We are. This is just a shortcut; otherwise, we would have had to take the roadway, which puts about fifteen minutes on the walk."

"This place is spooky... so where are your friends?"

"They're gonna meet us there, and don't worry. The monsters only come out at night."

Our pace was quick, and minutes later, the forest seemed to open up into grassland, and the Autumn sun became visible again. In front of us was a small stream that was easily jumpable. It ran left to right, and as I followed it down with my eyes, I could see it flowed into a small lake about half a mile away.

"That's Cutters Farm," Steven said, pointing towards the lake. I could see a large house that sat quite close to the water.

"Weird place for a farm; I mean, it's just a house. Where are all the animals and the fields?"

"I guess it used to be a farm, there's just that big old house now, and the fields are overgrown. Dad says it's been in this state for years. He did some work near here about a year ago. So that’s how my friends and I found it."

"So, does anyone live in the house?"

"No stupid, it's a wreck... we take cover in there when it rains. The roof leaks, but it's good enough to keep dry in."

"Cool," I replied as Steven started to walk off. I quickly caught him up, matching his pace.

As we neared the farmhouse and lake, I could see three people standing at the end of a wooden Jetty. They looked about our age, So that’s when I guessed they must have been Steven's friends. This was confirmed when one of them turned around, and I immediately remembered the face of Jessie.,

"Hey guys," Steven called.

The other two boys turned around and eyed us both. On the left was Dave. I remember him from the picture Steven had shown me on his computer, and then there was Billy from Skype, recently recovered from his chickenpox, I noted.

"Hi Steven, hi Jensen... guys, this is Jensen, Steven's BROTHER!"

"Haha, very funny... so I gather Jessie has filled you guys in on this subject then?" Steven asked the other two, watching them nodding.

"Yeah, and I can't believe you fucking lied Stevie, that was bang out of order," Billy chimed in, giving Steven a light shove on the shoulder.

"Meh, get over it, fat boy!"

"Fuck you, Steven," Billy fired back. I just stood there like the other guys, watching this half jokey, half angry exchange. Billy was, shall we say, big-boned. He had almost black curly hair and rosy red chubby cheeks. He was also the only one brave enough to be wearing just a t-shirt, unlike the rest of us, who were wrapped up in light jackets or jumpers. His baggy jeans rested over what looked like rather old, dirty white sneakers.

It became evident that Billy was the loud one of the group, and he swore a lot. But I could see underneath all that he was probably a very loveable person. I saw the other three guys seemed to regard him with affection. Before long, the two and throw between Billy and Steven had subsided, and they were both back joking with each other as if nothing had happened. Being new to this male bonding stuff, the whole thing just confused me.

Seeing that I was looking somewhat lost in all this group banter, Dave stepped forward to greet me, holding out his hand. "Hello Jensen, I'm David, but most people call me Dave." He declared, his voice rather unexpectedly posh sounding. "I apologise for my friends being so rude in front of you, but I guess you must be used to it with Steven now, yes?"

I eeked out a nervous chuckle and met his hand with my own. "Yeah, Steven is... unique."

"Hey, stop talking about me as If I'm not here," Steven interrupted, standing just a few feet away from us. Meanwhile, Billy and Jessie were now walking back down to the end of the Jetty, where I could see two fishing rods cast over the side.

I could feel Dave start to gently pull his hand out of mine as I suddenly realised I was still holding on to it. He gave me a polite smile as if to excuse my idiocy in front of him. I had been staring into his eyes, zoned out. I just hoped he didn't notice too much.

He probably fucking did!

"C'mon guys, let's go join the others," Steven said. Dave and I nodded and followed him down the jetty.

Billy was busy attaching something dead and slimy to the end of a hook while Jessie, who was now sitting down, pulled a large bottle of cola from his backpack.

"Anyone want some of this?" he asked, holding up the bottle. "Just don't backwash if you do." Dave, Billy and I declined, while Steven took the bottle from his hands and undid the cap before taking a few healthy swigs from the bottle.

He did the lid back up and wiped his mouth on his sleeve, giving the cola back to Jessie. "Oh, guys, I better get this out in the open now, but my newfound brother here is gay... as in he likes a bit of cock... you're all cool with that, right?"

"STEVEN!" I yelled, wanting a hole to open up before me.

"What? It's not like anyone cares... right guys?"

The other three boys just looked at Steven in silence before switching their attention to me. I glared at Steven, who just shrugged.

"I think it would have been better to let Jensen choose his timing for announcing his sexuality," Dave eloquently stated. I was now bright red and seething at Steven.

"Hey, whatever floats your boat, Jensen, but just so you know, it doesn’t float mine," Billy commented before turning his attention back to whatever he was doing with that hook.

"So... so, erm... man, you like dick?" Jessie asked, struggling for words.

"Steven doesn't know what he's talking about. I don't know what I am. I just feel..."

"You have a problem with Jensen being gay, Jessie," Steven asked, puffing his chest out at his friend.

"Well, yes and no... I mean, did you have to announce it like that? I probably would have preferred not to know if I'm honest."

"Listen, Dipshit, I don't want him worrying about all that stuff, so I got it out in the open now."

"Steven, I really wish you hadn't said anything," I said, this time quietly.

"Dave, you haven't said much. Do you have a problem with this?" Steven asked, ignoring my plea.

"Steven, it appears you are the one who seems to be making the biggest fuss. But, as I said, I don't think it was your duty to inform us all. In the case of what I think? Well, I don't think it is anyone's business but Jensen's as to what or who he likes."

Steven laughed and shook his head at Dave. "You know, Dude, a simple no would have done."

Fucking hell, this guy was fantastic. I could have listened to Dave speak all day. His voice was velvety, and Steven was right; he was perfection in the flesh. His beautiful big blue eyes dominated a remarkably symmetrical, well-chiselled face. His skin was blemish-free, and didn't have that usual teenage spot problem the rest of us had. I didn't suffer from spots that often, but as I looked around, I could see the odd one on each of the guys, with Billy having the most. But Dave... Jesus, Dave was just set apart from them. It almost was like he didn't belong in the group because of his way of thinking... his way of acting just didn't seem to fit in. The way he dressed... the way he spoke, it was all rather strange, and I wanted to find out how this unlikely bunch ended up together and as close as they seemed to be.

 

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

 

I had been at Cutters Farm with the guys for a little over two hours now. The nervousness I had felt on my way here with Steven had now evaporated, and his friends seemed very accepting of me into their clan. I had quickly discovered that Steven was the ring leader in a way, and all of them very much listened to what he said. Jessie appeared to be over Steven's announcement of my preference for guys, even sharing his lunch with me and sharing a few jokes, most of which I didn't get. Billy was turning out to be the one everybody teased but loved, and Dave... well, Dave was the mystery. He obviously carried a lot of respect from the others; that much was clear. I felt that his role in the group was one of stability and reason. He seemed to bring order to chaos, and his opinion was always valid whatever topic the others were talking about.

"Hey Jensen, wanna see the old farmhouse?" Steven asked, getting up. "C'mon, leave these guys here to fish; there are not a lot of bites happening at the moment anyway."

I shrugged and followed Steven as he walked back towards the lake edge. "Is this jetty safe?" I asked as some of the planks were seriously rotten, a couple even missing altogether.

"Just be careful. It’s seen better days."

As we stepped onto solid ground, Steven ran up the small bank and stopped at the top with me close behind. He waited until I was by his side, and then we both walked towards the old house that stood eerily abandoned.

"Are you having a good time?"

"Apart from you saying what you did to your friends, yeah."

"Oh, chill out, it's done now, they know, and you don't have to worry about telling them later down the line."

"You fucking embarrassed me, Steven, which really upset me."

"So, do you like him?" Steven asked, totally ignoring my last comment.

"Who?"

"Dave fuckhead, who do you think?"

"Yeah, he's okay. I think he is a nice person."

Steven stopped and took hold of my shoulder, gawping at me. "What do you mean? Yeah, he's ok? Fucking hell Jensen, if I were gay, I would have slammed him up against a wall and fucked his ass stupid by now."

"What planet are you on? Do you even know he's gay?"

Steven shrugged. "Meh, I dunno... we have all asked him before about it. But, I mean, let's be honest, a guy who talks like he does has got to be taking one up the booty, right?" Steven said before sniggering.

"You look at me as if I am the expert. I don't know what you are talking about half the time... but anyway, what was his response when you asked him?"

"Well, he's always denied it, but most of them do, right?"

"Them? They are still people, Steven! And another thing... Dave? This person is your friend, and you talk about him like he is some piece of meat. I don't know what it's like to announce you prefer people of the same sex. I know I would not like to tell mum and dad... even thinking about it feels like it would be a very traumatic experience. I mean, it's not like it is very common for this to happen, is it? People expect a boy to like a girl. I'm just confused."

"And, you're babbling."

"Probably, but like I keep telling you, this is all-"

"New to you... yeah, I get it, I just sometimes forget how little you know, and it catches me out."

"Yeah, I don't know very much, so when you start talking about sex and being gay while using all these terms like taking it up the booty, which I am going to assume you mean putting a penis into a person's bottom, it really leaves me baffled."

"Well, at least you know what taking it up the booty means. It’s a good start if you like guys."

"Why would I want to insert my dick into another person's bottom anyway?"

"Duh! Perhaps because for you guys, it's the only hole available?"

"Ooooh, I see," I said, nodding, the penny dropping. "But isn't that painful?"

Steven shrugged. "Dunno, there's a girl at my school who says she loves it, so I can only imagine it can't hurt that much."

"Hmm."

"I'm not fucking you if that's what you are thinking. You find that part out for yourself," Steven stated, giving me a playful grin. I was about to criticise him for the comment, but he was only kidding around.

As we entered the old house, Steven pointed out areas that were to be avoided, such as holes in the floor and loose fixtures. Even in the state the place was in. You could still tell someone used to live here. For example, an old cracked mirror still hung on the wall in the hallway, and there were various pieces of furniture scattered around in most of the rooms downstairs.

Steven gestured for me to follow him upstairs. In one of the rooms, I could clearly see the guys still fishing at the end of the jetty. They looked relaxed, but I did wonder if they were talking about me, as I was the new boy... and worse, the gay boy.

"This is where we sit when it's raining; it's the only room which doesn't leak," Steven said, leading me to the next room.

"So where do you... AARRRRHHHHH! FUCK, ARRRHHH!!" I screamed.

"What the fu... What's wrong?"

"AHHHRH, IT HURTS, FUCKING HELL IT HURTS." I bellowed.

"Jensen, what have you... Oh my fucking God!"

I collapsed to the floor in agony as sticking out the top of my sneaker was the end of a large nail."

"FUCK!"

Steven looked as white as a ghost, and I probably didn't look that great either. I sat rocking back and forward, trying to control the pain, but it was throbbing through me. Steven stood there frozen to the spot staring at my foot as the three other guys came running up the stairs.

"What the fuck is going on?" Billy yelled, bursting into the room we were in, with Dave and Jessie hot on his heels."

"He's... he's got a fucking nail in his foot, and it’s gone clean through," Steven yelled, in a state of panic.

Tears were now running down my face as the pain seemed to be increasing. Dave pushed past the other three and knelt next to me.

"I don't feel so hot," Steven announced.

"Jessie, take off your Jacket. I think he's going to faint," Dave yelled to him. Was he talking about me? But, just as I was thinking about that question, Jessie grabbed hold of Steven as he went limp in his arms.

"Ahh FUCK, now what, NOW WHAT!?" Billy yelled, freaking out.

"Will, you guys, calm down. He’s fainted, that's all. Jessie lay Steven down. It’s Jensen we need to sort out first."

Jessie struggled with Steven's dead weight but got him down on the floor softly. He then took his jacket off and placed it under Steven's head before moving over towards me.

"Fuck, am I gonna die?" I asked, panic starting to take hold after the initial shock.

"Jensen, listen to me, we need to get the nail out of your foot, ok?"

"Dave, you can't do that, surely?" Billy said, kneeling.

"My mum is a nurse. I’ve seen things like this in her books. First, you have to take out the foreign object and wrap it."

"In what, what the fuck do we have to wrap it in?"

"Billy, I'm thinking, just be quiet for a moment... go check on Steven," Dave commanded, frustration in his tone.

I was starting to breathe hard now with the situation doing nothing for my state of mind. I had a six-inch nail protruding out of my foot, and my brother was unconscious on the floor.

"Jensen, you need to slow your breathing; otherwise, you will hyperventilate," Dave said calmly. I heard Doctor Listern talk about this hyper something and remembered what I had to do.

Dave got up and pulled Jessie to the side of the room, and begun whispering in his ear. Now and again, they would both look over at me, with Jessie looking the most concerned. Dave was explaining something to him, but I couldn't hear anything.

"What... what are you guys saying?" I asked. They stopped talking and walked back over to me.

"Jensen, we need to take this nail out now, and it's going to hurt a little."

"No... no please, just don't touch it, please!" I pleaded.

"Jensen, the nail is attached to a small piece of wood. If I pull on that fast, I should be able to get it out. Then we'll need to look at your foot.

"Shouldn't we call Max and Susan?" Billy said. "Who has their cell phone?"

"No... no, don't call them, I don't want you to call them, please... They will be panicked. As long as we can get home, I'll tell them then," I said, heaving through the agony of my foot.

I saw Dave strangely look at Jessie right before Jessie grabbed hold of me and held me down.

"No... NOOOOOO, PLEASE," I screamed.

Dave held my ankle flat to the floor and started to get himself into a leveraged position.

"Just hold still, Jensen, almost there." He said as he yanked on the piece of wood. I was thrusting about all over the place, and Jessie was applying more and more weight to my body. I then felt another yank.

"FUUUUUCCCKKKKK!"

"Nearly there Jensen, you are doing really well; it’s almost out."

Dave gave one more sharp pull, and that was the last I remembered.

"Jensen?"

"Leave him. He’ll come round in his own time," I heard Dave say to Steven. I slowly opened my eyes and saw the four of them sitting on the floorboards surrounding me.

"Wha... what happened?"

"You passed out, Jensen. You’re ok, though."

"For how long?"

"About ten minutes, maybe a little more," Dave replied.

I looked down the length of my body until coming to my foot.

"I gave up my best t-shirt to save you," Jessie joked as I eyed a black rag that had been wrapped around my wound.

"Steven, are you ok?" I asked, reaching out and touching his arm.

"Yeah, sorry about that Jensen, I don't do injuries very well."

My head felt mashed as I tried to sit up. Somehow the pain seemed to have dulled down a little, and I was able to think above it. I took hold of my sneaker and looked at the hole that had now ruined a brand new pair of shoes.

"Your mum is gonna freak, Steven," I said, holding up the shoe to him.

"About you, Jensen, Probably, but I don't think she'll give a shit about the shoes. Do you think you can walk?"

"Not sure, let me see... can you help me?"

"Oh, yeah, sure," Steven replied, getting to his feet. He helped me up, and I slowly tried to put pressure on my foot.

"Well?"

"Ouch, oh crap, nope... no chance, it hurts."

"Great, well, we will have to call for help. I can't carry you all the way home. I'll call dad, and tell him what's happened."

"Far be it from me to comment, but I think we should have done that earlier," Dave exclaimed.

"It's my fault, Steven. I told them not to contact mum or dad. I didn't want to worry them."

"Jensen, it is what it is. Let’s just get this sorted out and go home."

"I'll go pack up the stuff," Jessie stated, jumping to his feet.

"Well, what an end to a good day, fucking hell!" Billy said, rubbing the back of his head. "We didn't even catch anything decent."

"Sorry, guys," I muttered, feeling sorry for myself. "I should have stayed at home. This would never have happened."

"Quit your wining bonehead, I wanted you here, and these guys like you, so shut it!"

"I'm glad you came, Jensen, and Steven is right. We all like you," Dave added, giving me a wink.

Steven pulled out his cell phone and pressed a few keys before putting the device to his ear.

"Hello? Dad? Yeah, um... Jensen's had a little accident and we kind of need you to come and get us. What? Well, he um... he kinda got nailed at Cutters Farm."

"STEVEN!" Dave hissed. I didn't know why.


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


A doctor turned on a light inside a cupboard before clipping up a funny picture of my foot on the front of it.

"Wow, I can see my bones," I said to Max as I lay on the hospital bed.

"That's called an X-ray, Puppy, which is why the doctor and I had to leave the room for a moment."

We both turned our attention back to the photograph on the wall. "Jensen, you have grazed the bone here, which would explain the intense pain you felt. I cannot see any splintering, so it looks like the nail merely brushed it, thankfully."

"It's a really nice Picture, Daddy, don't you think?" I asked, my head lolling around. Max just gave me a strange look.

"I will get the nurse to administer a tetanus shot shortly. There may be a very tiny scar on the sole of the foot, but other than that, it looks like he will make a full recovery. The entrance wound luckily went through mostly soft tissue. It will be sore for a while, but he'll be up and about on it in a few days."

"Thank you, Doctor."

"Nail me nail you... ahaaa, there is nothing we can do, nail me nail you," I started singing before smiling like an idiot.

Max looked at me, wearing a concerned expression. I didn't know why. He kept doing it every time I spoke... silly man.

"Erm, Doctor, is Jensen okay?"

"Morphine, Mr Chase, it can have that effect on people. However, it’s quite normal and will wear off. So just go with it until it does," The doctor said before chuckling.

"Yeah, Maxy, you just gotta roll with it. We’re gonna be just fine," I declared, tapping him on the wrist.

A nurse came into the room with a wheelchair and stopped short of the bed. "Jensen, we are going to get you a tetanus injection done and then replace that dressing with a proper one, okay?"

"Meh, I hate needles, nurse, but for one day only, I think I can cope. Do you hate needles, Nurse? I hate needles, always have. I'm happy to have one today, though... well, not happy, but I guess the needle is gonna make this not get infected. Max, do you like needl... hmm, I kinda feel sick."

Max rolled his eyes at the nurse, thinking I didn't see, but I did. He helped me off the bed and into the wheelchair, and the nurse wheeled me out of the room.

 

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

 

Back at home, I sat laid up on the sofa with my leg resting on a footstall Susan had kindly provided for me. She was her usual self of course; thinking that I needed twenty-four hour supervision and care. She appeared to think that offering me copious amounts of fruit was somehow going to cure me instantly. Not to mention the four cups of tea I had been pretty much forced fed.

Once again, she burst into the lounge. "Jensen, honey, I need to pop out to the store. Now Steven is upstairs if you need anything... oh, maybe I shouldn't go," she said, pacing the lounge.

"Susan, really, I'm fine, go to the store."

"I can't believe how irresponsible my Son can be... fancy taking you into that godforsaken house in the first place. I’m so annoyed with him right now." She barked, pulling at her hair.

"Well, I was the one who trod on the nail. So I don't think we can blame him for that."

"Yes, well, I still don't think you both should have been in that place. It looks like it’s about to fall down at any moment... I really should go to the store. Oh, I know... stay there a moment."

"I'm not about to run off anywhere," I muttered, sighing. Susan ran out of the lounge and returned with my phone in her hand.

"Here, keep this with you. If you need anything, call me!"

"Susan, you're going to the store at the end of the road, yes?"

"Uh-huh," she replied, adjusting her hair in the mirror that hung on the lounge wall.

"And how long do you think you'll be?"

"Well, if I hurry, maybe ten minutes. But, hmm, that's too long, isn't it? I mean, what if something happens and you can't move... oh my god, what if there is a fire or something."

"Susan, I hope you don't mind me asking you this, but is everything okay?"

She sighed and dropped her shoulders, slowly sitting down on the seat next to me. "Sorry, you must think I am one crazy woman... I just feel responsible for you, Jensen. You've only been here a short while, and I feel like I've failed already."

"Why would you think that?"

"Well, look at you! You have been in Greenstone all this time with no reported injuries and a couple of weeks with Max and me, and you have this happen. What kind of parents are we?"

"Susan, it was an accident. You weren't there. You had no control over whether this happened or not."

Susan smiled at me. "You know, you are such a mature young man. I still find it hard to believe sometimes that you and Steven are the same age. Thank you, Jensen... I know I am an old fusspot, I just care, that's all, and this injury of yours just brought it home to me how delicate you kids are."

"I'll be fine. Why don't you go to the store and take your time."

Susan stroked my hair and got up from the sofa. She looked back at me before disappearing out of sight. I heard the front door shut and let my head tip back on the seat. There was a brief moment of peace until someone else appeared in the doorway.

"Can you fucking believe I got the blame for this?" Steven barked, leaning against the door frame, folding his arms.

I laughed. "Were you hiding upstairs?"

"Fucking right, she's been on at me since we got back if you hadn't noticed. I don't get it. First, you get yourself nailed, and then I get nailed by her."

"Enough with the nailing! Look, I told her it was my fault."

"Damn right, but she won't listen; right now, you are the new Christmas present... he who must be protected like the crown jewels. Me? Well, I'm just scum!"

"Aww, would you like a hug and a kiss to make it all better," I said, starting to grin?

"Fuck off; you know it's not fair."

"So what do you want me to do... apart from already saying it was my fault?"

Steven huffed. "So how is it anyway, not that you deserve my compassion." He asked, eyeing my bandaged foot.

"A little sore, but hey, that stuff they gave me for the pain... that was awesome."

"Morphine, right? Yeah, I had that when I broke my arm two years ago; it’s pretty good shit."

"Hmm, I'll say. So what did your friends think of me?"

"How should I know? I’ve not had a chance to have the inquest yet since I got whisked away in dad's van with you."

"I bet they hate me for ruining their day."

"Oh shut up cum stain, they don't hate you; it was just a freak accident; it’s not like you did it on purpose, right?"

"What do you think?"

A grin came over Steven's face. "What do I think? Well, I think maybe a certain boy is missing another boy already."

I rolled my eyes. "Just in case it never occurred to you, I've been in agony for the most part before being injected with space crystals, so if you are talking about DAVE, then I've not thought about him."

"I thought it was kinda sweet, you know, the way he took care of you and got that nail out."

"How would you know? You were a lifeless wreck on the floor while the worst of it was happening. What if it had just been you and me? Would I've had to sit there bleeding to death while waiting for you to come round from your little snooze?"

"Cocky talk from the quiet boy, I like it... here would you like me to squeeze that foot for you?"

"Steven, you stay away FROMAAAAAHHHHHHRRRHHH, YOU FUCK!"

"Whoops, sorry, my hand slipped."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Max had come home early to see how I was thinking that Susan would probably be making it worse by smothering me.

He'd be right.

"So how are you champ? Can you stand on it now that it's bandaged?"

"No, it still hurts too much. Steven has been moving me from place to place."

"It'll get better, son... hey, do you remember calling me Daddy in the hospital?" Max asked, a grin forming on his face.

"Erm, oh did I?"

Of course, I remember, I thought, wanting to cringe at my bizarre behaviour.

"Very touching, Puppy... very touching indeed," he teased.

"The name Dad is starting not to feel so alien to me now, I guess."

"It’s fine, Puppy, don't force it. I am happy with Max if that's what you feel comfortable with."

I smiled at him. "Susan thinks she has failed as a parent Max. I feel horrible."

"I'll talk to her later when you guys are in bed. She can get like that about stuff; she’ll be fine. She has a lot of love in her Puppy, as you have probably noticed, but she does forget how intense she can come across with people at times."

"It's not a bad thing. It’s just..."

"I know, Son, sometimes you just want to be left alone after being impaled, right?" Max burst out laughing, and I just nodded.

"Yeah, something like that."

"So, where is your mover abouter?"

"He's upstairs sulking. Susan told him off for what happened to me."

"Ah shit, really. Poor guy, I do feel sorry for him sometimes. She is a little hard on him occasionally."

"I did tell her it was just an accident. I know he puts on a brave face Max, but I think getting blamed for what I did has really upset him."

"I'll go chat to him in a bit... Jesus, I feel like the family counsellor," Max declared, grinning. "So, any more news on Cindy?"

"I’ve heard from her, but she did say to call her in a few days so that I might try tomorrow."

"I can take you to see her Tuesday if you like, I'm due to finish the current job I'm on, and then the next one we have doesn't start until Friday."

"Do you have to call Greenstone? I’m not sure about the rules?"

Max shrugged. "I've been vetted, and you used to live there. So I doubt it would be a problem. I've Mr Watson's office number anyway. I’ll call him tomorrow after I've dropped Steven at school."

"Oh yeah, he goes back to school tomorrow. I forgot about that."

"I'm sure he is trying to forget about it too. Steven is not a lover of school. Speaking of school, Susan and I were discussing when to enrol you, but now with this injury, we had better leave it for a moment, at least until you are back on your feet."

"Will I go to the same school as Steven?"

"That's my hope, but there needs to be space for you. I’m not sure how it all works. That’s more Susan's area."

"Wow, well, it would be great if I could."

Max sniggered. "Yeah, it would be... it will save a fortune in fuel for the car."

"Yeah," I chuckled, "I guess it would."

"So, I gather you'll be wanting a shower at some point later after being out with the boys. But, first, we’ll have to get something to wrap that bandage in to keep it dry."

"Hmm, not sure how that will work. Trying to stand on one foot, I'll probably fall over."

"We'll figure something out... oh, looks like Susan is back," Max stated, looking out of the window.

I heard the front door go, and Susan marched into the lounge, probably wondering if I was dead, by the look on her face. That was until she saw Max.

"Oh, hi honey, your home early... Jensen, I'm sorry I took so long. I had to go get petrol for the car and then this lorry parked right in the middle of the road delivering furniture to a house."

"No worries, Susan, as I said, I would be fine."

Susan turned to Max. "Ten minutes I sat there Max, ten bloody minutes... whoops, excuse my French. But seriously, he didn't even attempt to park up close to the sidewalk... nope, he and his scruffy mate just pull up in front of me and get out of the lorry. God knows how far the traffic backed up. I thought I was going to run out of fuel."

Max put his arm around her and rubbed her shoulder. "Never mind, Honey, you’re back now. Jensen is okay, the car is full of fuel, the people got their furniture, and all is right in the world again."

"Trust you to make fun of this. I told Jensen I would be ten minutes... where is Steven? Did he come down and check on you?"

"Yeah, he did," I replied, trying to reassure her stressed posture.

"Would you like me to cook tonight, so you can put your feet up?"

"Oh, would you, I've had a manic day... I even cleaned the chickens out. Did you know they're almost out of food? I only went and got that bag a few days ago?"

"Oh, that might be me, Susan. I am never sure how much to give them. Is it too much?" I asked.

"They'll eat whatever you give them, Jensen, but yeah, cut it back a little, or at least tell them that for the extra food they are getting, that you expect extra eggs."

"Were there any today?"

"Yes, two today, back to normal frequency, but as the weather cools down more as we go into winter, you won't see them lay as much."

"Yeah, Jensen, trying to squeeze an egg out of your chicken vagina is no fun in the cold."

"MAX!!" Susan screamed. Max just winked at me and ran off out of the lounge. Susan shook her head and followed him.

I managed to crawl upstairs without being seen by Susan or Max and dragged myself into the bedroom. Steven was sitting on his bed watching TV.

"What was mum screaming at dad for?"

"He said a naughty word," I replied, struggling to get onto my own bed. Steven watched me.

"You know, if I were a gentleman, I would get up and help you out there... but as you must be aware... I'm not."

"Yeah... thanks... Steven," I puffed, hauling myself onto the bed, trying not to put my damaged foot down.

"So, what are you doing tonight?"

"In this state, not a lot, you?"

"I was going to ask you if you wanted to watch The Hills Have Eyes later on."

"That's a movie, right?"

"Yeah, it's some kind of horror. It starts at nine."

"I'm good with that, but I've never seen a horror movie. I gather it's got monsters in it?"

"Horror normally means scary, so yeah, it might have monsters in it."

"I'll give it a try... but I need to have a shower at some point tonight, and I was wondering if you would help me."

"Huh?"

"Well... shit, this is embarrassing. I think dad is going to offer to assist me in the shower and, well, you know, I don't know how I feel about him being in there."

"I hardly think he is gonna get an erection over you Jensen, if you hadn't guessed, you're his son, and last time I checked, he was into women."

"Why can't you be serious for once? I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about him... him seeing my... bits."

Steven creased his face up. "Well, I don't particularly have a great desire to see them either, Jensen."

"Yeah, I know, but... oh for fuck sake, look, I would just feel more comfortable if you were there rather than Max...and God forbid, mum, okay? Besides, you said you're scum, perhaps getting splashed with a little soapy water will rid you of that dirt, no?."

"Fuck you. . . okay, Fine, but you can scrub your own dick. I ain’t doing that part."

"I can clean myself, I just might need you to hold me steady, so I don't have to use one hand to lean on the wall."

"Okay, okay, just let me know when you wanna go play water sports, and I'll be there."

"Water spor-"

"forget it!" he broke in.

"By the way, I meant to ask you; it’s about Dave?"

"Oh, I knew you wouldn't be able not to bring him up. What’s the matter? Got it bad for him? I knew it wouldn't take long."

"Shut up. It’s not that, I just wanted to know how someone like him would hang around with... well, you kinda guys?"

"What are you trying to say?"

"Nothing, he just seems a little different from the rest of you. I know that sounds bad, but I-"

"So you're asking how a posh boy ended up hanging around us trailer trash?"

"That's not what I'm saying, and I don't think you are trailer trash, nor your friends, he just seems to be the odd one out."

"He was bullied at school quite badly. Like you say, he is kinda upper class in the sense of how he talks and acts. So he got teased a lot for that. There were three boys at school who made his life hell for two years."

"Wow, are they still at the school or were they booted out?"

"No, they're still there."

"But why any bullying that went on at Greenstone was dealt with really severely."

"Our teachers pulled us into an anti-bullying program and-"

"Wait... we?"

"Yeah, the three boys who made his life hell were me, Jessie and Billy."

"Hang on, I'm lost here... you were the guys who made his life hell, and now he hangs around with you?"

"Funny old world, isn't it," Steven said, still watching the TV.

"So, how did that come about?"

Steven turned his attention to me and sighed. "This anti-bullying program made us see the damage we had done to this kid. We didn't know him and didn't even get to know him, but we made it our goal to make his life a misery because he was different from us. I watched him cry his eyes out day after day and never cared, nor did the others. He suffered at the hand of us, and for what? What did he do to us? Those were the questions we were being asked in this meeting. One day they set up a session with just him and the rest of us, as in me, Jessie and Billy. Dave asked us why we were so cruel to him. All the guy wanted was to be liked. He explained he couldn't help the way he spoke or who his parents were. He said he came to school every day and had to vomit in the school bathroom because his stomach was so twisted up with fear and stress. I listened as he told us he cried himself to sleep most nights locked in his room. His only friend was his cat which slept with him on his bed. He was too scared to tell his parents, especially his dad, because he said he would have been called weak. We were not only bullying the guy, but his only support was an animal."

I tried to hide the tears that were now falling down my face, but I needn't have bothered as Steven's face had long since become wet with his own. Even though he was not the victim here, I knew what he had done must have hurt him to realise he had caused so much suffering to another human being, along with his friends.

"So what happened?" I said softly.

Steven sniffed and tried to compose himself. "Well, I saw him a few days later in the corridor on his own. He went to run from me, but I called him and told him to wait. I pulled him into one of the bathrooms and locked the door."

"Oh my God, you didn't hurt him, did you?"

"What? No... like I said, I locked the door and just held him tight and said, sorry, I don't know how many times. He broke down in tears, and we just stood there for about ten minutes. All the hate went from both of us. It was a strange experience, but what I had done to him with Billy and Jessie had really affected me. It's not until you have it explained to you what devastation you could do to another person with words that you understand how fragile we all are. Everyone has a limit Jensen; you know that better than most, I imagine. Dave had a limit too, and I wondered how close he came to..."

Steven put his hands over his face and broke down quietly.

"You thought he was going to kill himself?"

"Could you blame him?" Steven croaked.

"When life seems that bad, and I've felt like that, all you want is the pain to go away. Although Dave's pain was manifested from other people rather than his mind, I think I can feel a little of what he must have felt, and your word devastating doesn't come close."

"Exactly, so anyway, he's in our group because I made him a promise."

"A promise?"

"Yeah, a promise that while he and I were alive, I would protect him and be his friend."

"And Jessie... Billy?"

"The same, he's one of us now, and he goes to school knowing that he never has to worry about anyone bothering him ever again. He's put on a healthy weight, his grades are good, and he smiles a lot... I mean a lot."

"Steven?"

"Yeah," he replied, drying his eyes.

"I think that is the most amazing thing I've heard come out of your mouth since I met you."

"See, I'm not all bad, am I?"

"You have your moments, but hearing all that, Jesus, I guess you are a good person who I am proud to call my brother... yeah, no half measures either."

"Don't go all sloppy on me now; this is the first and only time you'll ever see me cry, ok?"

"It's ok to cry, I've seen Max cry, and he's about as manly as you can get if you are worried about your street cred?" We sat in silence for a few minutes. I knew it was up to me to lighten the mood. "So, you want that hug and a kiss now?"

"Fuck you!" Steven laughed before throwing a pillow at my head.

The tension was broken.


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


"Could you please hold still? I am going to fall over in a minute?" I declared.

"Well, don't move around so much. You are pulling me under the spray... look, I'm getting soaked here."

"I'm sorry, it's just some bits require that I bend down. I’m not doing it on purpose."

"Maybe not, but every time I look, either your dick is dangling in front of me, or I've your hairy butt in my face... it’s disturbing."

"Well, to quote something you said, you've got the same equipment, so what's the issue here."

"More wash, less talk," he bleated, quickly turning his face away as water spray bounced off my shoulder and into his face.

"You know, we should do this more often; that wet look on you is very appealing."

"I'm going to just ignore that and not encourage your fantasies, now, you have two minutes left, and then I am letting you slide bonehead."

"Okay, okay, almost done, just gotta wash my hair."

 

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

 

With Morning here, I was denied a lay-in.

"Oh, for fuck's sake, why is it I can never fucking find ANYTHING?" The dulcet tones of Steven. I sighed. I had just been enjoying a rare pleasant dream when my lucid world was shattered with his whining.

"Good morning. What time is it?" I groaned.

"This is NOT a good morning Fuckhead, and it's late o'clock... I hate my life!"

"I'm starting to realise you are not a morning person. Do you wanna tell me what the problem is?"

"I can't find my school shoes. I bet mum has moved them or eaten them or some shit like... MUM, WHERE ARE MY SHOES?!" He bellowed, throwing various objects in all different directions like someone searching for their winning lottery ticket.

"Where did you last leave them, honey?" she called up the stairs. "And hurry up, you're going to be late... breakfast is ready."

"Where did I last leave them? Can you believe she is asking that?" Steven barked, staring at me. I just shrugged and let my head fall back down on the pillow. "Stupid fucking school shoes, never know where things are. Ooh, where did you leave them? She asks? Well, no fucking clue, mother, I've been off a week and slept SINCE THEN grrrr," he continued to mutter away to himself. I pulled my pillow across my face and tried to ignore the outbreak of his tantrum.

Without consciously realising it, the room had gone quiet. Either I must have dozed off, which was unlikely, or I had just become immune to the morning outbursts by Steven. Finally, peace descended on me, and I snuggled up tighter in my already warm duvet.

I was just drifting back into a light snooze when Steven entered our room again. This time he was quieter, and if I wasn't mistaken, he was actually trying to be considerate by creeping around.

"What have you lost this time," I asked, one eye open.

"Sorry about earlier... oh, and just my watch, but I know where that is."

"No worries," I replied, a gentle smile on my face.

Steven looked seriously sexy in his uniform. It dawned on me that this was the first time I was seeing him in it, and boy was it a treat to see. His beautifully pressed, ice white shirt clung to his toned body really well, with a navy blue tie that complemented his already good looks. Steven pulled a navy blue blazer from the hanger in his closet, sliding it onto his torso, which completed the set.

His hair was immaculate, swept sideways, soft and fluffy, with a small tuft that half covered his right eye. I could see why girls found him appealing. He was a good catch, as Steven would say himself. But I found it strange that he had made such an effort to go to a place he hated.

"Oh Jesus!" he said, rolling his eyes.

"What?"

"Can you try maybe being a little more subtle when you check me out?"

"Fuck you. I wasn't checking you out!"

"You were too. Look at you. It’s like drool could fall from your mouth at any moment."

"Oh, shut up, I was just looking at the logo on your uniform."

"Oh my God, you are so full of shit... I gotta go. I’ll leave you to soil your sheets."

"What is it you say? Bite me!"

Steven laughed and left the room, leaving me once again in peace.

 

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

 

It took me a few minutes to get down the stairs, but I eventually made it... virtually on one leg. Then, hopping into the kitchen, heading for the back door, a few expletives and yelps fell from my mouth as I inadvertently put my bad foot down a couple of times.

All I wanted was to get out of the house for a bit. Stupid foot!

Standing outside in the yard, or rather leaning against the house wall, I inhaled a deep breath of cool, damp morning air. A light dew hung just above the ground, making the grass sparkle in the early morning sun. I could hear Annie and Clarabelle clucking away at the bottom of the garden as their cousins sang amongst the trees.

I planned to call Cindy today to get some much-needed news on her adoption, and I would also find out tonight if Max had received permission for me to see her on Tuesday. I was just so excited for her, but I also noticed something else. It was me. I felt... normal. I felt happy, carefree and slightly buzzy.

Standing here just listening to nature allowed me to hone in on that feeling I had never noticed before. I almost considered telling Max not to bother with my blood test. It felt like Doctor Burrows had worked a miracle somehow. My head felt clear, I could think, and I didn't feel at all tense... at all.

"Everything OK, Button?" Susan asked, bringing a basket of washing out into the yard.

"Yeah, just enjoying the sunshine, although I wish it were warmer."

"My grandmother always used to say that the late autumn sun was the best you could get. She said everything felt bright, clean and fresh."

"I guess she was right. It does kinda feel like that. Hey, would you like help with that?" I asked, eyeing the load she was carrying.

"You're sweet, but no, it's fine. I sort of have OCD with the washing. I like it all to go in order, but Thank you, Puppy, that's very kind of you. Besides, I don't think you'd get over here before I'd finished" She chuckled.

"Whoa!"

"What, what's up?"

"Puppy... you called me Puppy."

Susan snorted. "Must be your father rubbing off on me. That’s all he calls you."

"It's fine, you know, I prefer it anyway. But, after being called it for so long by so many people, I kinda feel Jensen is someone else's name."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. When I was at school, people used to call me Sue. I found that quite alien too."

I sat on the back step and watched Susan finish hanging out the washing. She did seem to have a system going, and as I followed her progression, I saw that items were arranged as to where they went on the body. So first, jeans and trousers went together, then jumpers and shirts and lastly came all the underwear. Then, like towels and vests, the rest seemed to go in the naughty corner as they didn't have any relations.

"There, all done. So what shall we do today?"

I shrugged. "I dunno, don't you have the stuff to do? I don't wanna get in the way."

"Nonsense, would you like to go sit in the park for a bit? If you are anything like Steven, I'll bet you like to be outside whenever possible.

"Well, I'm not really up for walking," I smirked.

"Nice to see your sense of humour isn't waning, Puppy. It's fine. We’ll take the car, maybe grab some lunch from the kiosk nearby and have a chin-wag. What do you say?"

"Sounds great," I said, forming a smile.

"Excellent, I'll go throw something warm on, and you just let me know when you're ready."

"Just like that?"

"Well, what's to wait around for? The washing is done, Kitchen is tidy, and you are on sick leave," She said, cackling.

I shook my head. "I don't know where you get your energy from, Susan."

"Call it being a housewife and mother of two teenage boys, you get used to the grind, and once you get into a routine, you tend not to think about what needs doing. All Steven worries about is having enough food in the cupboards and having the latest gadgets, and your father just enjoys having hot water and a soft bed at night."

I smiled and started to limp away. All I needed to do was grab my warm coat and put on my plastic support boot, and I was good to go. Due to the way it was designed, I could just about walk when I had that on, but it was a clumsy and awkward thing that was not designed to wear around the house. Max had asked for crutches for me, but the Doctor advised against it for some reason.

 

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

 

I heard the jingling of Susan's keys, alerting me to the fact she was ready as soon as I was. I strapped up my boot, pulled on one sneaker and slipped on my jacket before leaning against the wall near the front door.

"Ready?" She asked, pulling out her long brown hair from under her coat collar.

"As I'll ever be."

She reversed the car out to give me extra room to get in, an act that was classically Susan, always thinking ahead and being thoughtful. I opened the door and pretty much threw myself in, lifting my bad foot into the footwell.

When Susan said shall we go to the park, I kind of expected there to be a small field that contained a slide and swings for small children with a few benches scattered around for doting parents. But as I was quickly finding out, this was something much more beautiful.

Walking away from the small gravel parking lot, we stepped onto the grassland. The area was littered with huge Horse Chestnut trees that were ripe with their prickly balls. Little man-made paths wound through, creating many different walkways that you could stroll along. Every few metres, there was a high back bench you could sit down on. What hit me first was the smell of fried onions, and I could see a small mobile building with smoke coming from a chimney.

"Hmm, can you smell that?" I asked as Susan, and I made our way to the nearest bench.

"That's the kiosk I was talking about. We can go there soon if you like... maybe have a cup of tea and something to eat?"

"You spoil me, Susan."

"I know," she squealed, clapping her hands together rapidly. "Isn't it fun?"

I giggled, loving her enthusiasm.

"All these trees... God, I remember coming here when I was a little girl with my parents. I remember a little boy called Sammy, who used to walk on the reins with his mother. We both must have been about five or so. Then, one day, much like this one, a big conker husk fell from one of those trees and hit me square on the head, Puppy. I remember screaming my heart out in tears, and then Sammy ran over to me and kissed me on the cheek."

"Oh, poor you, that must of hurt."

"I don't recall actually, all I remember was that I stopped crying when he kissed me. Silly really, but these trees always remind me of that little boy I used to see so often."

"Do you still see him?"

"Oh no, I haven’t seen him since I was six or seven. I think his parents must have moved away or something because one day I just didn't see him anymore. He will be in his forties now. Funny... time moves so slow when you are a child and so fast when you get older. It feels like I was friends with little Sammy forever, but in reality, it was a snippet compared to the time that has passed since."

"There is a Holly tree at Greenstone that I used to play with, and-"

"You played with a holly tree?" she cut in.

"Yeah, it was silly, really, but when the prickly leaves used to die, some of them got stuck within the tree itself. I used to see how many I could pick out without stabbing myself... but anyway, that's not the point of the story. You mentioned how time passes, and I thought about that tree because it was about two feet tall when I first arrived at the children's home. It's now about twice the size of me."

"Yet you never noticed it grow while you were there, right?"

"Exactly. How did you know."

"Just thinking the same as you were, I think. I'm guessing the whole time you were at greenstone, in your mind, that Holly tree never got bigger, and it’s only once you leave a place and then remember it back that you realise, actually, it grew with you. Yes, Puppy, I know exactly what you mean."

"Wow, that's... that's just profound."

"Wow, and you know a lot of intellectual words," she said, laughing. "So tell me about you and Steven. How are things going? That boy tells me nothing... I swear it’s like trying to get blood out of a stone when it comes to his emotions."

"Much better. I really didn't know how it was all going to turn out. As you know, he didn't give me the most inviting welcome, and if I'm honest?"

"And you can be."

"Well, if I'm honest, there were a couple of days when I thought it would be better if I had gone back to the home. I was that scared of him."

"His bark is worse than his bite, he's highly strung I'll give you that, but I've seen him with his friends... yes, they bicker, but if there is one thing Steven shines in, that's loyalty. Once he accepts you, he takes care of you, and I love him for that part of his personality."

"So, do you think I've been accepted?" I asked, looking at her."

"From what I've seen? Oh yeah!"

"That's good to hear. I know that he's had a rough life, although he doesn't talk about it."

"He has, and I can only hope that's made him stronger. My ex-husband... his father, was a nasty man towards the end of his life. But, like you, I'm sure there are some things a child should never witness. I think Steven went through an inner struggle, especially when his dad was so cruel to me. He wanted to stop it, but he was far too young, and I think that affected him for quite a few years."

"Is that why he is..."

"The way he is?" Susan finished for me. "It's funny, you know because Steven was such a quiet little boy. He only started to come out of his shell at around eleven or twelve. Before that, if you had said boo to him, he would have run and hidden behind the sofa. Max has a lot to do with his personality. He's given him the good male influence that my husband could never give because he was a weak man."

"Weak?"

"Mentally, and emotionally. He never showed too much interest in Steven, whereas your father is the complete opposite."

"Yeah, Max is funny."

"And engaging. Very laid back too, I think that's where Steven gets his cocky, I don't care, personality from."

"So what's it like being married to a tree Surgeon?" I said, giggling.

"Ha-ha, I used to tease your dad about that. Lost any patients today, I would ask. He takes his job very seriously. I used to think he just cut down trees, but he and the two other men that work for him are specialists in tree disease."

"Tree, disease?" I repeated, raising a brow.

"Yes, sometimes you can get sick trees with parasites and fungus problems. I never thought much of it until he came home one day and told me a story I will never forget."

"What was that?"

"Well, he had been called to a very old lady's house somewhere in the country. She had lost her husband about ten years previous and was now a widow. So when he died, she planted a tree in their garden to remember him by."

"Aww, that's nice."

"Yes, I thought so too, but then the tree got some illness that was slowly killing it. The old woman was beside herself because she thought that if the tree died, then her late husband would be forgotten. So your dad went to that lady's tree once a week for two months to treat it with some special chemicals. In the beginning, he used to come home and be so upset because he thought that he might not be able to save the tree and knew how upset the lady would be, but after a few weeks, it started to show signs of repairing itself, and in the end, it was fine."

"Wow, that's awesome, Max, the miracle worker, eh?"

"Ha-ha, yeah. What I thought was really sweet, though, is your dad told the old lady that her husband was helping the healing process from heaven and that he was just there to supervise. He made the old lady cry with happiness that her tree was saved, and it's the only time I've ever seen your dad get upset about a job he had done. I thought it was very touching."

"Yeah, it's a beautiful story."

"Uh-huh, so like I say, never tease your father about his job," she said, winking at me.

"So, where are your parents?"

"I don't know, Jensen. Sometimes families don't get along, and you end up not seeing each other anymore."

"Are you sad that you don't know where they are?"

"Susan paused for a moment, staring ahead, before looking back to me. "There was a time, but now I’ve got a wonderful family of my own, including you, of course, and I couldn't be happier."

"So... so what happened to them?"

Susan sighed, and I got the feeling she wished I hadn't asked... maybe I shouldn't have, it was a personal question after all and one that could have waited a while longer, but I was curious that she never mentioned them. But then again, I never knew who any of my family was apart from my mum.

"It's a long and complicated story, Puppy."

"I'm sorry, Susan, I should not have asked."

"Of course you should have; it’s only right you wanna know who you're... well sort of grandparents are."

"The thought had crossed my mind... about Max's too."

"Parents?" She asked.

"Yeah."

"Oh, I thought he told you. Well, they're in Australia, and they come over now and again, but they are quite old, so he doesn't see them as much nowadays. My parents? Well, they are what we call old-style Catholics."

"Nuns?"

Susan burst out laughing. "Not quite, but you're on the right track. It's more the religious side of it, really."

"Oh."

"Yeah, well, they had their beliefs that once you are married that you stayed married no matter what. But unfortunately, Jensen, I could not stay married because of the way Steven's dad was. What made things worse was they assumed that your father and I were... hmm, how can I put this? I guess they thought we were more than friends at the time."

"So they abandoned you?"

"Some people are misguided, Jensen. I don't hate them for who they are. I’m just very disappointed for what they believe."

"I think I understand," I said.

"But that will never happen to my boys. That is a fact. So whoever you are, whatever you do, I will always love you for what's in here," she said, tapping on my chest."

I thought about what she had said for a moment before looking right at her, swallowing hard.

"Hmm, even if I happen to like boys instead of girls?"

"Yes, even if you like... oh my God!"


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


It's a strange feeling when you say or hear something profound. The most insignificant background sounds suddenly appear with such clarity as you wait for a reaction from the person or people involved. Today was one of those times. It was a mix of them today... a soft breeze blowing through the leaves of the many Horse Chestnut trees, their branches creaking in protest. The high pitched screams of a few children playing in the distance... and of course that small aeroplane that buzzes overhead, which is usually a common one at times like this.

Susan was thinking. I could see it on her face as I intently watched her. It was like she was waiting for all the words she wanted to say to form in an immaculate order before speaking them. By her expression, this revelation of mine was going to go one way or the other. I knew by now that liking people of the same sex was not going with the grain of Mother Nature, but yet. It didn't feel wrong or sordid.

I just really hoped she felt the same.

"Erm, Susan, can I ask what you're thinking?"

The silence was starting to bother me now, and I didn't know what would happen.

"I was thinking how amazing it is how quickly you've told m, and how humble I am with the amount of trust you have placed in me. This is obviously a complicated subject for you young guys to talk about."

"Huh... how quickly?... what, you knew?"

Susan nodded. "Steven told me a while ago. He said maybe I should talk to you about it, but I told him that I wanted the topic to be discussed at a time when you felt comfortable and at a time of your choosing."

"But what if I had never told you?"

"I knew you would, as soon as you felt you could trust me and feel comfortable. But, puppy, this thing you are admitting is part of a bigger picture. I can never replace your mother, and I would never try, but above all else, I want you to trust me with your feelings and emotions. I knew that coming out to me would be the ultimate confirmation that you had reached that stage, and that's why I wanted to leave it for you to approach me on and not the other way round."

"Coming out?"

"Yeah, it's the process of letting people know you are gay, Puppy... that's what it's called."

"Oh, ok... so I just came out to you?"

Susan laughed and stroked my hair. "Yeah, Button, I think you just did."

I sat and thought for a moment. "So... so, waiting for me to tell you were kind of like testing yourself?"

"To see if I had earned enough trust from you? Yeah, I guess it was, in a way, that's why I was surprised that you told me so quickly. I knew that I would have to earn your trust, Puppy, and that's what was so nerve-wracking when I knew you were coming to live with us. Of course, your father helped by telling me what sort of personality you had. But, to be honest, having two Stevens would have been a lot harder," She admitted, letting out a small chuckle.

"So you don't care... I mean, you know, with me being..."

"Oh my God, Baby, no, of course not, you are who you are, and you are no less perfect now than you were before you told me."

I shook my head quickly and smiled. "I can't believe Steven told you."

She grinned as if remembering something. "It would surprise you if you knew what he'd said to me."

"Would it, what did he say?"

"He came downstairs, walked straight up to me and said, Mum, Jensen is gay, you and dad need to deal with that, and I'm telling you because otherwise, he'll just live with the burden. So I think you should talk to him, but don't give him a hard time over it!" She laughed again, probably more at my expression, before adding, "Yeah, I know, that was the look on my face, but that's what he said, really."

"Wow," was all I could say.

"He really cares about you. Do you know that? Probably more than he would ever admit."

"Well, I can't deny it. It certainly seems that way from what he said ... wait a minute, does my dad know?"

"Nope, it's like I said to you, when you feel comfortable, then you can tell him, but if you would rather I tell him, that's fine Honey."

"I'm not sure... how do you think he will take it?"

"Pfft, he'll probably shrug and say, OK. You know he will. That’s just who he is. When have you ever known your father to get upset about anything? He's just not that kind of person. He takes as he sees, and he's been like that since I first met him."

"I guess."

"C'mon, let's go grab some food. All this talking has made me hungry. Do you need help getting up?"

"Maybe just a little."

As we sat on the wooden bench outside the little kiosk, I tucked into my bacon sandwich. Susan had some kind of flatbread, toasted with mozzarella and roasted vegetables. It looked delicious. Two large gas heaters were throwing warm air towards us, and I felt in a really good place.

I wondered how someone could have been so cruel and violent to this woman. Her heart was so warm and caring, and she oozed love and compassion on a scale that I had never witnessed before. Well, maybe Cindy was on that level, but somehow it felt different.

"So tell me," she said while munching. "Is there anyone you like?"

"What do you mean," I replied as a dribble of ketchup ran down my chin.

"As in boys, are there any boys you like?"

I chuckled nervously. "I dunno why, but it just feels weird you asking me that."

"Aww, don't be shy. I’m interested."

"Well, there is one, but to be honest, all these feelings are pretty new to me, and most of the time, I just feel confused. I mean, I know I like him, but I don't know how I am supposed to feel about him. Does that make sense?"

"I think so, so is it, anyone, I know?"

I looked at her for a moment, picking up a strange vibe from her face. It was like she was fishing for something.

"If you were wondering if it's Steven... or rather if you are worried it is Steven, then it’s ok, it's not."

Well, it is as well, but I'm not going to admit that to you, eeek, I thought, but didn't dare say.

Susan snorted. "Oh God, now that would be complicated. No, Honey, I don't care who it is. I just don't want you to fall into any traps with your feelings. If you do like someone, it's important to understand that they might not have the same feelings for you and-"

"Steven told me about this... he said that I should not try and hit on a straight guy, was the term I think he used."

"Susan cackled loudly, banging her hand on the table. "Oooh dear... well yes, that was what I was getting at, but it looks like Steven just came straight to the point then."

"Yeah, he normally does, doesn't he."

"Uh-huh, so anyway, who's the guy, and do I know him?"

"Oh, right, well yeah, I think so... it’s Steven's friend Dave. I think he is very nice."

"Aww, Dave, yes, he is a very polite young man. It's funny. I thought that if it were anyone out of Steven's friends, then it would probably be him... and way to go, he's a very handsome boy."

I blushed, still trying to get used to Susan's relaxed approach to a subject I thought would be much more difficult for both of us!

"Yeah, he is, but as you have said, I don't know if he has the same feelings as me."

"Button, I once read a statistic that said one in every ten people in the world was attracted to the same sex. So Dave might be, he might not be, but just be aware, ok? I'm not going to lecture you... I know Steven will instead, but just be prepared that many other boys will not feel the same as you do."

"Oh, that part I learnt a while ago, Susan. The hard part is finding out who is and who isn't."

Susan howled, "Oh Puppy, ask any gay person, and they will probably sympathise with you on that conundrum. But hey, as time goes on, people are becoming more and more open about their sexuality. I mean, when I was your age, men didn't even talk about it, let alone admit it. It was frowned upon... and if you were from a religious background, well, that was ever so more difficult."

"Really? So what did they do... how did boys let each other know they liked each other?"

"Hmm, well, most of the time, in complete secrecy. I guess there were special meeting places, some more desirable than others that they went to. But it was nothing like the freedom you can enjoy today, oh no. In my day, gay people very much lived in the shadows, and it must have been terrible for them... which is why I am so happy you felt you could tell me your secret and not be scared."

"I was still scared, believe me," I stated, eating the last bite of my sandwich.

 

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

 

Once we'd got back home, I went upstairs to lie on my bed. My foot was absolutely killing me. I knew it must have been because I had put too much pressure on it at various stages during our outing, and I just hoped the two extra strong pills I had swallowed would make that go away.

I pulled out my phone and started playing around with it, hoping the distraction might take away the throbbing sensation I was experiencing. Having removed my plastic support boot, I was able to get some feeling back in my ankle, which had also been annoying me.

Closing my eyes briefly, I suddenly heard the front door click open, with the sound of two voices chatting away, getting louder. Through their constant laughing, I could tell one was obviously Steven, but the other, although familiar, had not really spoken enough for me to work out who it was.

Susan hollered up the stairs to welcome her son and his friend home, and I heard the name Dave somewhere in her words. It sounded like they were turning around and going back downstairs, obviously to talk to Susan, but either way, I was now scrambling to get off the bed and smarten myself up. I hobbled into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror... notably my face, hair and clothes.

I looked like a windswept wreck, dammit!

I tried to style my short blond hair in the mirror to give it some life before patting my clothes down... not that the act was going to make a blind bit of difference, apart from psychologically, of course. Then, splashing some hot water on my face, I tried to bring back some colour to my still rather cold and pale complexion. The breeze in the park had made me look as white as a ghost, and I tried desperately to alleviate that, even slapping my cheeks a few times.

I hobbled back out of the bathroom, feeling I had done all I could. Just as I got out of sight and back onto my bed, I heard the two guys coming up the stairs again.

Steven burst into our room like he always did, with that kinda forcefulness. Then, splashing, he emitted and threw himself onto his bed. Dave walked in moments later, still talking away to Steven, but stopped when he saw me.

"Hey, Sicknote, what have you been up to, masturbating?" Steven teased me, making a sign with his hand. I rolled my eyes to let him know I was above his comment.

"Actually, I went out with your mum for a chat and lunch... oh, and you and I need to have serious words later... and, hello Dave." I finished, putting on my best smile.

"Hello Jensen, how are you feeling?" Dave asked. I didn't get a chance to answer.

"Oooh, I'm really scared now... serious words, I'll make sure I don't fall asleep," Steven interjected. I ignored him, my concentration now fully on Dave's presence in the room.

Dave eased his school bag off his back and unzipped it before pulling something out. It was a brown miniature bear that read, get well soon on its belly. He held it out to me, and I let it sit in the palm of my hand.

"Just a little something to keep your spirits up," Dave said. "Steven suggested you would like it, so I got it for you at lunch."

"Wow, thank you, it's really... cute," I declared, now blushing.

"I thought it would be your sort of thing. I, of course, got you nothing because just having my company at night is a big enough gift," Steven said, flexing his biceps. Dave sat down on Steven's bed.

"So, how is your foot, Jensen? I see it is quite well wrapped there," Dave asked nervously.

"It's hurting at the moment as I've been walking on it too much, but I'm sure it will get better. Thank you, by the way, for what you did again." I said, blushing. "I guess you saved me. In some cultures, you would own my life."

"The nail had to come out, Jensen; I was worried about infection had it been left in there too long."

"Well, you know more than me, Dave; I wouldn't have known what to do," I stated, shifting myself to a sitting position.

Steven cut in, "It was certainly a large one as far as I could see." He winked at me. It was interesting to see who was blushing more now, David or me.

"Oh, stuff it, Steven. Everything has to be about sex with you, doesn't it?" I just glared at him.

It was Dave to the rescue. "It was nothing, but I'm glad you are ok. It was a nasty wound. Well, um... anyway guys, I had better be getting home to my mum. I’ll see you later, yes?"

"Yeah, dude, want me to see you out?" Steven asked as Dave got up from his bed.

"No, it's ok, I'll be fine. It was nice to see you again, Jensen, um... er, well bye then."

With that, he grabbed his bag and went to leave for the door. A gentle smile formed on his mouth, and he briefly glanced at me. My heart raced a little. Of course, the glance and smile probably meant nothing... it was probably just what a friend would do to another, but in my mind, I had already convinced myself of it being something more.

"Wow, you've got it bad for him, haven't you?" Steven said, noticing my dreamy, faraway look.

"What? Oh shut up, Steven... how was school?"

"Crap, how was your day out?"

"Oooh, yes, let’s discuss that, shall we?"

Steven shrugged. "If you like."

"Why did you tell you're mum about me," I hissed, trying to keep my voice from shouting at him.

"Oh wow... and she's your mum too, now you know, did she ask if you were gay?" Steven's eyes seem to light up.

"Well, no, I actually told her in a roundabout way."

"Well then, if you told her, quit your whining."

"It's not the point Steven, I trusted you."

"Whoa, now hang on just a minute there, Sailor Boy, you never said anything about me not telling mum, and besides, I did it because I wanted to help you."

I sighed. "Ok, so perhaps I didn't specifically ask you not to say anything to her, but don't you think the topic was something I should have done in my own time and of my choosing?"

"You did, didn't you? So like I said, quit your whining."

"You have me on a technicality, but the principle remains," I stated, folding my arms and huffing.

"Sorry, now you are bombarding me with big words. I can't compete with that," Steven said, a sly smile forming on his face. I started to grin too. His fucking ability to answer back is so annoying, but yet so comical.

"Look, Steven, I know why you did it, and I heard how you said it, so I'm not angry at all. I just wish you didn't keep announcing to everyone that I like guys. It’s embarrassing."

"Or you could look at this way... everyone you know... knows. So you can get on with your pretty little life and not worry about having to tell them later on."

"You have a point, I guess."

"Yeah, normally in the mornings," He said, rubbing his groin.

I grinned. "Ok, I think I get this one. You are referring to your morning erection, right? Was that the joke?"

"Well done, Shithead, you are starting to learn the basics of innuendos, which are the most important tools in the art of banter. But, speaking of learning things, how is the jerking off coming along?"

"Fine, if you must know, not that I get much privacy."

"Meh, just do it in the shower like I do, with the water running, no one can hear you," he chuckled.

"I'll remember that next time you help me shower." I shot back, wearing an evil grin.

"Funny boy! And I'm not doing that again. It was too traumatic for me."

"But you have to, I'll stink otherwise, and it won't be pleasant having to sleep with me in this room if I start smelling."

"I'd rather pay a pound for some air freshener than go through that again."

"Fine, be like that, but you'll buckle first; you wait and see."

"Fine, fine... I will help you, but if you stick your ass in my face again, next time, I'll insist mum helps you, AND I'll ask her to help you with cleaning your donkey cock."

I stuck my tongue out at him and lay back down again. Steven started to remove his tie and take off his shirt before pulling a t-shirt from his drawer. I watched intently as next. He began to take off his trousers, revealing his muscular legs. He briefly stood there in his tight boxers while searching for a pair of track bottoms. I felt a surge of blood rush to my penis before finding very quickly it was now pulsating in my jeans.

The feelings I had for Steven both frustrated me and excited me... it was heaven and hell.

Downstairs, Max had just got in from work, and I noticed he was a little quiet. Susan was busy preparing dinner while Steven set the table. I was just sitting in the kitchen while the two of them chatted about Steven's first day back at school. She asked him if he had any homework, to which he responded, he did but had no intention of doing it.

"But you'll get detention if you don't do it, Steven, and then I'll be getting calls from the school."

"It's Maths... I hate Maths."

"Why don't you ask Puppy to help you?"

"I don't mind helping you, Steven," I added.

"Mum, his name is Jensen, and he has never been to school. I think I would rather not do it at all than have the humiliation of it being all wrong."

"Hey! I am ok at Maths; I do know some things, you know." I said, mildly offended.

"Yeah, right... what's two hundred and fifty-four times two hundred and fifty-four? He asked randomly.

I wasted no time. "Sixty four thousand five hundred and sixteen... am I right?"

Steven shifted backwards, his eyes and mouth wide open. "Mum... mum, is he right? He can't be right surely."

"I don't know, honey; Maths is not my strong point," Susan responded, mixing some gravy in a jug.

"I think you just made that up, douchebag. I’m gonna get a calculator to prove it," Steven said, leaving the kitchen. I ran the sum through my head once more just to double check. I think I had it right.

Moments later, Steven walked slowly back into the kitchen, looking at me as if I was an alien.

"So, was I right?" I asked casually.

"That is sick," he replied, holding up the calculator to me.

I shrugged. "Lucky guess... I guess."

"Never mind that you're hired. Our room, seven sharp!"

I gave him a nod just before Max walked into the kitchen and sat at the table. He looked clean and smelt fresh, obviously coming straight from the shower.

"Good day, Honey?" Susan asked, putting the food onto plates.

"I've some news, but let's wait until we are all seated first," he replied, sounding rather down.

Steven and I looked at each other and then back at Max, who looked like he had the world on his shoulders.

I hope you enjoyed this chapter. If you did spot any errors I do apologise. Please feel free to drop me an email at jamesmatthewsstories@gmail.com and i'll zap them. Many thanks

James

Copyright © 2021 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Wow!  So many wonderful developments in this chapter.  Steven and Puppy are going to be OK.They are certainly bonding and I think, in his own way, Steven would stand up for Puppy the same was he would for Dave.  Loyalty.  That what Susan said.

I'm looking forward to more.

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Wonderful news for Cindy!!! Steven does have a heart after all. It was nice to see that he came around to possibly save Dave's life after making his life hell. It's good to see Puppy's progress and I love Susan's bond with him - he certainly needs her motherly love and affection. I hope Max's news doesn't have anything to do with Jensen.

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45 minutes ago, Modified Cub said:

Wonderful news for Cindy!!!

What if Max's cliffhanger revelation is that the visit with Cindy has been canceled or that some other trouble has befallen Cindy? Whatever he reveals, it can't be good, and I'm hoping that Cindy is not involved. :unsure:

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1 hour ago, Quixo said:

  Loyalty.  That what Susan said.

I'm looking forward to more.

Maybe  in a odd way after Puppy started choking Steven for talking smack about Cindy perhaps Steven admired that because of.....Loyalty

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I'm slightly worried about Max's news. It's obviously not good and I'm concerned it's to do with Puppy.

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Yes Max's news will probably not be good. 

An absolutely great and enduring story James - it has me thoroughly engrossed!  Thank you!!

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