I hope that you are still reading and enjoying the story, there are more developments to Johns life, is he going to to like them?
Is John going home? or is it just somewhere to live? There is a difference and what is being hidden from John? Read on to find out.
With his arm loosely around Phillip's waist, leaning into him slightly and feeling a strong protective arm on his shoulder John walked out of the chapel. As soon as John Watson saw the boy and his brother-in-law he smiled knowing inwardly that everything was okay, he also noted the look on Phillips face and had one of those 'light bulb' moments. Christian had also been worried about John but when he saw him with Phillip the worry faded away.
“Let's go home.” John Watson went to reach out to John.
Phillip felt an arm tighten around his waist, “Good idea John. Tell you what why don't you and this young man ride with Christian and me, if that's okay with you then Fred can take the other car back to the yard.”
“Good thinking Phil, you go ahead Fred we'll go with them.”
Later that day, after the authorities had been informed and the required visits made a worried young man realised the fears he had that morning were all for nothing, he felt embarrassed but no longer worried. After a good meal tiredness overcame John so when Christian left he made his way to bed.
As the four remaining adults were enjoying an after dinner drink John was deep in thought and glancing between his glass of brandy, Emily and Phillip as Ethel spoke up. “John you look as though you want to say something, is something bothering you?”
“No nothing is bothering me, I was just thinking about something that's all. It's just.... forget I said anything I'm just a cranky old man overthinking again.”
“Well if the cranky old man can stop overthinking things can he give a younger couple some advice please?” Phillip was smiling happily.
“Yes of course. Phillip, Emily what can I help you with?”
“I told you that I quit my job in London but I didn't tell you why, so let me fill you in on that then I'll let Emily explain the rest.” John nodded for Phillip to continue. “I quit because I'm fed up of working for an ungrateful employer who has his head stuck in the eighteen hundreds and operates more like Dickens's Scrooge than Scrooge himself. By being careful with money I've managed to save a small nest-egg and by some shrewd investments I've managed to amass a tidy amount that I can access any time I wish. What I'd like to do now is find somewhere as a nice family home, somewhere that I can use as a base to set up my own accounting and financial services company, preferably somewhere central. What do you think, can you help us find somewhere or advise as to where to look?”
“John before you answer there is something else that you should know and again we would be grateful for any help or advice that you and Ethel could give us. Last year Phillip and I underwent a thorough preparatory course and deep background checks to become foster parents in London and did become registered. We put a hold on fostering because we decided to move, do you think that would help us to become registered here in Manchester or even Salford? I spoke to Ethel about it this morning and she suggested that we ask you for advice.”
It started with a small grin that grew into smile, then John's shoulders shook and jerked as he chuckled to himself and finally ended in full a blown bellowing fit of laughter.
Emily and Phillip looked on bemused as Ethel Stood in front of the laughing man. “John Watson I don't know what you find so funny but if you don't stop laughing at my brother and his wife so help me I will slap you silly, not that will take much doing the state your in.” Ethel did not understand why John would find it so funny and felt offended for them.
John gave out one last chuckle before calming himself, “Sweetheart I'm certainly not laughing at Emily and Phillip and I don't think it's funny. You didn't see Phillip with John today at the cemetery, what Idothink is funny is that when I saw them together my first thought was that I think both he and Emily would make great parents and that is what I was considering saying just a little earlier. I think their idea is the best thing I've heard in a long time.”
Smiling Ethel kissed John on the cheek, “I'm sorry John, will you forgive me for getting it wrong.”
John kissed Ethel back, “There is nothing to forgive, you are a good wife to me and a good sister to Emily and Phillip.”
John promised to help in anyway that he could, including speaking to a contact in the fostering service. The two couples spent the rest of the evening chatting about Emily and Phillip's plans.
Throughout the following weeks John attended school and appeared to be settling well into his studies and his grades were improving. John and Ethel continued their business giving a caring professional service to those who needed it whilst also providing a stable caring home to John. Phillip was busy meeting with previous clients that were loyal to him and wanted to retain his services, there were also meetings with prospective new clients, most of which resulted in contracts being signed. Emily was looking at properties that she hoped could become a new home, unfortunately nothing seemed to fit the bill. She had also been making other enquiries which resulted in a preliminary meeting which she attended with Phillip. This lead to a further meeting where they received the news they were hoping for.
Evenings and weekends John enjoyed being in the company of the adults and was treated to days out at Blackpool, Knowsley Safari Park and Alton Towers. Some evenings, when he didn't have homework, he was taken to the cinema. But to John his best experience was his first trip to the theatre, a performance of Phantom Of The Opera he was totally enthralled and theatre became a passion of his from that night on.
The October half-term school holiday was just days away when Emily received a call which she took in the study, Phillip was at her side as Emily replaced the telephone receiver. “Well what did they say, is it good news?”
Emily was speechless, with an emotional knot in her throat and tears of joy in her eyes all she could was nod.
“Let's not say anything yet, we have a property to look at tomorrow I'd like us to look it over first. If it's what we are looking for then it's all systems go, if not then it could scupper our plans so let's stay tight lipped till then.” Phillip was calm on the outside but inside his stomach was churning with excitement.
Friday before half-term Emily and Phillip viewed the property in Thomas Street Manchester city centre, an area that had many different businesses, some with accommodation above them others used the space as offices or storage areas. The area was slowly being developed and the older properties were being brought up to date. For them it ticked all the boxes, the ground floor was shop premises with rear storage that could be converted into offices. Above on the first and second floors there was a spacious two bedroomed apartment with an attic room that was huge. With a few minor alterations and redecorating it could be ready to occupy in less than two months. The next thing to do was to break the news to John, Ethel and John.
Monday morning John came down to the kitchen for breakfast, he could hear the muffled voices of the adults talking but couldn't hear what they were saying it was as if they were whispering, as he entered the kitchen the talking stopped. The only thought that entered his mind was, 'have social services found a new home for him? He knew that they were looking for a long term placement, so this must be it he was going to be taken from the place he knew as home and the people he considered family, the only family he now knew. He sat down to breakfast with a hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Ethel placed breakfast in front of John and Emily fussed like a mother hen, placing a hand on his forehead she asked, “John are feeling alright, your not coming down with something are you?”
“I'm fine, don't fuss over me please, just don't concern yourself with me.” John was trying to be brave but the words stuck in his throat making it uncomfortable to eat breakfast.
John Watson stood as he needed to leave for work, as he rose he spoke to John. “Well Johnny-boy whatever it is that's making you look like you do I hope you can shake it off, Phillip and Emily need your help today.”
“What help would they need from a useless boy like me.” John's answer was sharp, all the adults looked at him not just because of his tone but more because of his words.
John Watson placed a hand on John's shoulder and squeezed gently. “I don't know what's got into you today but I do hope you can shake it off, remember you're not a 'useless boy' you are one of the strongest young men that I've come across and you are important to everyone around this table, don't forget it.”
As the older man left for work Phillip spoke up, “John I do hope you perk up Emily and I have a few things to do today and we really could do with your help, it's help that only a young man like you can help with.”
“Yeah sure.” John still sounded down but he was trying to 'perk up' as Phillip put it.
John tried to be more cheerful as he accompanied Phillip and Emily, it wasn't their fault he felt like he did. Everyone had been really good to him, even Christian who without knowing it had broke his heart when he introduced his new girlfriend. Yes following 'the talk' with Phillip John had realised he was different and liked boys.
The weather was dull and overcast as they approached a building on Thomas Street, Phillip took out a set of keys unlocking the front door to a shop, it was very wide and stretched back about twenty feet a door in the middle of the back wall lead to a corridor that had two small bathrooms of one side and a small kitchen on the other at the end was two doors each leading to a separate large area that could be converted to serve any purpose that may be needed, there was a rear door leading from each area into an enclosed yard that had vehicle access.
“Well John what do you think?” Asked Phillip.
“It's okay I suppose, but I don't know why you needed me to tell you what I think.”
“Ah well what we need your help with is upstairs.”
“Up what stairs, I didn't see any stairs.”
“No you wouldn't not in here, come on follow us and we'll show you.”
John followed as Phillip and Emily left the shop and locked it, using another set of keys Phillip unlocked the door next to the shop door and lead the way. They went up a wide stairway that lead to a large reception area that had four doors leading off it.
The first door opened in to a cloakroom with coat hooks on one wall and leading to a toilet room with hand basin. The second door opened into a large open room with windows that let in lots of light and glass doors that opened onto a roof terrace at the rear of the building. The third opened in to a smaller, but still good sized room again with windows that let in a lot of light. The last door opened into a good sized kitchen that could easily fit a table and chairs for informal dining.
Another stairway lead to the next floor where there were two doors leading off the hall. Each door opened to a large bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, the rear bedroom also had glass doors that opened onto a small balcony overlooking the rear over the roof terrace.
There was a final stairway that led to three doors in the attic. One led to a large room with a window set in the roof letting in a reasonable amount of light. A second lead in to a slightly smaller room that also had a window set in to the roof. The middle door led into a reasonable sized bathroom. The attic space was well planned and could almost be an independent apartment, it just lacked independent access.
John found it interesting looking around the building but still couldn't figure out why he was there.
“Well John what do you think?” Phillip was smiling.
“It's huge and it's nice, but I still don't know why I'm here. Is this where you are going to live?”
“Yes it is,” Emily replied. “Do you like it?”
“I think it's great, I hope that you will both be happy here.” John was hiding his true feelings, yes he liked the building it had character and felt like it would make a good home. But he liked Phillip and Emily, the truth be known he had grown fond of them and felt 'a connection' that he hadn't felt since losing his parents. Now he would lose them as well.
Phillip came and stood next to him placing an arm over his shoulder. “Emily and I are thinking of fostering a boy about your age so do you think you could tell me which room a boy like you would like?”
Now John felt even worse but he smiled, “If it was me I'd claim the attic as mine, it has a bedroom, a bathroom and a room to use as a study.”
At that point they heard the shrill sound of a bell. “Phillip that sounds like our visitor, could you go and let them in please.” As Phillip went to open the front door John could feel tears forming in his eyes and turned to look out of the window.
In his upset John didn't hear anyone enter the room behind him, but he heard a familiar voice. “Good afternoon Emily, Phillip, has John picked out his room yet?”
John's mind was going nineteen to the dozen, 'what? Has John picked out his room?'He spun around to see his social worker with Phillip and Emily.
He couldn't believe his eyes or his ears and asked his social worker, “Are they going to foster me?” His social worker just nodded.
John flew across the room diving into the arms of Phillip and Emily, all he could choke out was , “I love you, I love you,” over and over again.
As if on cue the cloud broke and the sun shone through the window glistening off the tears that ran down John's cheeks, they were happy tears.
It may seem cruel to have kept John 'in the dark', but it may have been more cruel to raise his hopes only to have them dashed if things didn't work out. I'm happy that everything fell into place for Emily and Phillip, they have big hearts so I'm hoping that it all works out for them and more importantly for John.
There is still more to come of John/Christians story, why John/Christian? All will be revealed soon.
I hope you approve of this outcome so please let me know what you think, I really do appreciate all of the reactions and any comments left.