This is the first part of John/Christian's life, a look into his history, the past that shapes and sometimes haunts him. It is what what has made him into the man he is today.
A boy suffers great loss and starts to come to terms with it in order to move on and live his life.
Before reading please note there is a tissue warning in place so have them ready.
It was a bleak day for John, there were just a few wispy clouds in the sky and the sun was bright. As the temperature increased outside his heart grew colder and his spirits sank. He knew that time was running short but today he didn't want to get out of bed, let alone get dressed, his unruly bed-head hair stuck out and the dark rings round his puffy eyes reflected the way he felt inside, he looked a mess and he felt it too. Just then there was knock on the bedroom door.
“Come on Johnny-boy you need to get ready and there isn't much time you need your breakfast today of all days.” John Watson meant well but his cheerful attitude didn't help much for John, not today of all days.
John and Ethel Watson had been foster parents for many years and had taken in many children giving them a temporary home till they moved to permanent homes. It was John Watson who had decided that 'Johnny-boy' would be apt as he was John and it would avoid confusion in the house.
He uncovered his scrawny body and slowly dragged himself out of bed, casting a glance over to the chair in the corner he looked at the clothes he would be wearing today and headed to the bathroom across the hallway. It was hard work getting bathed and dressed that morning but he did, he had to.
John checked his now combed hair in the mirror and left the top button of his crisp white shirt undone. His clothes hung loosely on him and he'd had to pull his belt tight to hold up his trousers. He had lost a lot of weight in just over two weeks, but that will happen when you hardly eat. Picking up his jacket he made his way down stairs to the kitchen where the Watsons and breakfast were waiting.
As he took his seat at the table Ethel placed his breakfast in front of him, his stomach was already churning as he looked at the plate, a large full english breakfast and three slices of buttered toast. Orange juice and a pot of tea was already on the table.
“Eat up Johnny, I've given you extra today you need it and you will need the strength to see you through.” Ethel was trying to be encouraging, she liked John and only wanted what was best for him.
Pouring himself a cup of tea and eating a slice of toast John tried make Ethel happy, he even ate some of the sausage bacon and eggs. But when he tried the black pudding that was it, his stomach couldn't take any more. Dashing to the bathroom he nearly knocked John Watson off his feet as he passed him in the hallway and only just made it before losing his breakfast in the porcelain bowl.
John walked back into the kitchen and looked at the worried couple. With tears in his eyes, a horrible taste in his mouth and a sore throat he croaked, “I can't do it, I can't, I don't want to do it.”
Putting a hand on each shoulder and looking the small scrawny boy up and down John Watson pulled him into a hug. “I know its hard and I can't begin to imagine how you feel but this something that you need to do for yourself. If you don't you will regret it when your older and then it will be too late. We will be there with you and for you and before you know it the day will be over.”
John felt a dampness on his hair and pushing himself away from the older man he stared into his eyes. He could see through the tears and felt the strength that they conveyed. He felt himself grow, he was still a scrawny eleven year old boy but he felt it inside, this sixty something year old man was willing his strength into him. John stepped back, nodded and removing the freshly laundered handkerchief from his pocket wiped his eyes, straightened himself up and smoothed the wrinkles from his clothes.
Ethel watched the exchange in silence. Then her husband picked up a tie, placing it around the boys neck he gently tied a perfect windsor knot and straightened it. After helping the boy put his blazer on it was his turn to take a step back. In his grey slacks, white shirt, tie and black blazer he looked like any eleven year old boy about to go to school, if he started to eat properly he would soon put his weight back on and fill out his clothes again.
Seeing that man and boy were both dressed and ready Ethel left the kitchen to change so that she could accompany them. Less than ten minutes later she joined them in the hallway looking very smart and elegant.
Moments later a car horn pipped once outside. John Watson opened the door and led the way outside into the sunshine where a gleaming black limousine was waiting. A young man in his twenties wearing a chauffeurs uniform stood holding the back door open. As they entered the vehicle both Mr and Mrs Watson smiled at the driver and said “Thank you Christian.” For some strange reason John momentarily forgot about todays events and thought, 'Wow that's a really nice name and he's sexy too,' then he felt guilty about his feelings as his grief and uneasiness returned.
The journey was short and eerily quiet. Soon they were driving through a tall archway with heavy iron gates, the gravel of the driveway crunched under the tyres as they drove slowly to the entrance of the old imposing building in front of them. John knew that this would be the last time he would be close to his parents. When they stopped Christian opened the door for them to once again step out into the blinding sunlight. As they entered the building the Watson's staff stood and bowed their heads. This was a very sombre occasion as the small group continued down the aisle to where John's parents were. A single rose had been placed on each of the oak coffins that bore brass handles and a brass plaque inscribed with their names, respective dates of birth and date of death.
The service and burial went smoothly, not that John could remember much of it as he broke down unconsolably as soon as they took their place in the pew. He felt very alone, he had no living relatives and the only people he knew where the Watson's and his Social Worker.
That afternoon John lay sleeping peacefully after being given a sedative by his doctor unaware of discussions taking place downstairs. John's Social Worker agreed that he needed to be found a permanent home where he may be able to be adopted if and when he was ready. Counselling was a very high priority on his list of needs. Until then he would remain in his current placement with the Watson's.
John Watson's own company, Watson's Funeral Services, had provided their services and John Watson had refused the fees paying to them placed into a trust fund for when John reached maturity. This was nothing unusual for the Watson's, they had done this before for other children in their care. They had the belief that when a child has to face the trauma of losing parents they need this closure to help them grieve and move on, they never forget and continue to grieve but with time and good help life becomes easier.
During the next three months John received counselling and started to perk up, he remained quiet but his eating had improved and he started to fill his clothes properly. His return to school wasn't easy but he was trying and the school was pleased with his progress. There had also been a few tentative meetings with prospective long-term foster parents but these had not gone well, finding the right long-term placement can be a fickle process. It hadn't gone unnoticed that John came to life most when the Watson's were tackling a DIY project around the house or doing some gardening, this was when Christian often came help them and John seemed to follow him round like a lost puppy and hang on his every word. Christian had been fostered by the Watson's when his parents died and he always referred to them as Aunt and Uncle. He often talked to John they were like kindred spirits.
It was a Saturday morning in late September when Christian entered the house through the back door, John was just finishing his breakfast. “Hi Christian,” John's face was beaming, “what bring's you here today?”
“Morning John,” Christian was one of the few who addressed him by his given name, “I promised Aunt Ethel that I'd come and get the attic suite ready for her brother and his wife, they are coming to stay for a bit while they look for a new house in Manchester, didn't they tell you that last week?”
“Oh yeah, I forgot. What are they like? I hope I like them as they going to be staying here.”
“You will get on just fine I've met them before and found them to be just as nice as Aunt Ethel and Uncle John. As aunt Ethel puts it Phillip is her baby brother.” Christian was smiling as he said this.
Over the weekend there was a lot of frenzied activity in the house as the attic suite was cleaned and prepared for the arrival of Ethel Watson's younger brother and his wife. The windows were thrown open to air the suite, all of the furniture was dusted and polished, the carpets were hoovered, fresh linen was put on the bed and fresh towels were placed in the ensuite.
“Do you think they will like me? Do you think they will be comfortable? Do they have any children?” John was full of questions as he stood next to Christian, his arm was around Christian's waist and his head leaning into his lower chest as they surveyed their completed task.
“Stop worrying you little worry wort, they will love you as they did me, yes will be comfortable and no they don't have any children. Does that answer your questions?” Nobody had seen John this lively since his arrival and they welcomed it.
“If they are so nice why don't they have any children? Sorry I shouldn't ask personal questions.”
“It's okay, from what I remember Aunt Ethel telling me they tried but nature just wasn't on their side so it's never happened for them. It's a shame really because they would make great parents.” Christian put his arm around John's shoulders and gave him a gentle squeeze, “Come on let's go tell Aunt Ethel that we've finished.”
As they entered the lounge they were disturbed by the chimes of the front door bell. Ethel wondered who it could be as they weren't expecting anyone until the following day, she made her way through the hall and opened the front door. Surprised she let out a shriek of delight, “You're early we weren't expecting you till tomorrow come in.” Looking over Phillip's shoulder she could see his wife paying the taxi driver who was unloading their cases onto the pavement. “Christian could you help bring the bags in, they are here a day early.”
Without question and a smile on his face Christian made his way past Ethel as she hugged her brother and brought the cases through to the hall. John waited nervously in the lounge, he hadn't met any of Ethels family before and he hoped that they would like him and that he wouldn't be in the way.
When they entered the lounge John was stunned by the tall good looking well dressed man in hid forties and his equally beautiful petite wife, when he was introduced he was speechless. This was the first time he met Phillip and Emily Edwards.
I know that the beginning of the story is something of a tear-jerker but I think that you will understand it is crucial to the story as a whole. It has picked up in mood toward the end so I hope that you have enjoyed it and will continue to read.
Please let me know your thoughts as your opinions are valued, I promise to acknowledge every comment that is left.