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    Mancunian
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The Boot - Three Years On - 16. Chapter 16

Worries and concerns abound in this chapter and The Major has a bit of a down turn, but not all is doom and gloom as there is a good surprise in store too. Jim and Beccy's plans may have been delayed slightly but they are not cancelled.

As the next few weeks passed by Jeff found himself busy. Following the announcement of Bill's death he was concerned that it may reflect badly on The Boot and other shelters for the homeless. More importantly he was concerned that the public may think that homeless people were sexual predators and treat them badly, thankfully his concerns were unfounded and everything remained the same as another story in the news was of more interest to everyone.

Following his arrest Graham Peterson had been held at Longsight police station. At his initial appearance in court the police had applied for and been granted permission to hold him in police cells to help with enquiries and for his own safety following recent events at the prison. This resulted in two further arrests and the closure of the children's home. It also brought about an internal enquiry into the home and due to the ever changing face of current news the case faded into obscurity, for now.

Jeff's other concern was Kenny, the naïve young man who had been deserted and rendered homeless by uncaring relatives. This was another youngster that Christian took under his wing. Strings had been pulled and past favours collected resulted in Kenny moving into the hostel accommodation offered by the Edward Langford house Trust. There he found all the help and support he would need to move forward with his life.

Thanks to Christian employing solicitors to act for Kenny it was discovered that Kenny's parents had left him well provided for by means of a trust fund. What remained after his aunt and uncle had drained off nearly half was now administered by Christian's solicitors and should give him a good start for his future.

...

JJ was responding to treatment and doing well, he looked forward to his visits from Danny, Kate and Steve. Then he would 'come to life' and showed very few signs of the trauma he had suffered. During his latest weekly review he had learned that social services were looking for a suitable foster placement. Although they tried Kate and Steve were turned down due to his relationship with Danny, yes they were boyfriends again and it was hard to tell who was happiest.

On the way home after the last visit Danny was in deep thought, then he had an idea, “Mom, Dad.” Danny had decided that this was his forever home and wanted this more than anything. “If I ask you to do something for me will you please think hard about it before deciding?”

Kate and Steve just smiled at each other, Steve left this one in Kate's hands. “Well that depends on what you're asking for, but I promise that we won't make any snap decisions. How does that sound?”

Danny was now smiling, “I don't really understand why JJ can't come to live with us and I think it sucks. But can you ask if we can take JJ out for the day, then maybe he could get a break from that place.”

Steve looked at Kate and nodded his head, yes.

Honey we don't need to think about, we think it's a great idea and I don't know why we haven't thought about it. So the answer is yes we will ask, no actually we will insist on it and hopefully they will let us.”

That left Danny smiling and thinking about ideas for JJ's first day out.

...

The Major was struggling with what Jeff had told him about his 'wealth' whatever it may be, he had no recollection of anything and it was this that The Major was struggling with the most.

The Major's mood swings were getting worse which worried Kevin and Ian, they approached Christian for advice as they were at a loss as to what to do. Christian had to admit that this was something beyond his capabilities and said that he would speak with Jeff as this would be closer to his area of expertise.

Jeff decided to make an unannounced visit, arriving at the apartment block he entered a code into the control panel and pressed the call button. Soon he was talking to Kevin who let him in. Taking the lift to the third floor he approached the apartment, Kevin was waiting for him at the open door where the sound of The Major's raised voice could be heard.

What are you two up to? Why is Jeff here to see me? Do you think I'm going cuckoo or something?” The Major was definitely agitated.

Entering the lounge Jeff spoke directly to The Major, “Alex why are you so upset? I'm here because we are all worried about you, the lads have done nothing wrong and I think you know that deep down.”

I... I... Oh how can you help me when even I don't know what's wrong with me.” For the first time that any of them could remember The Major had tears in his eyes and finally broke down.

Ian, Kevin could you get Alex and me a cup of tea and give us some space to talk please? I think that we may need some privacy.”

Nothing needed to be said, the lads nodded and left the room, after making a pot of tea and taking it in they retreated to their room.

Jeff and The Major talked for many hours, Jeff learned a lot that night as they talked about The Majors military service, his medical discharge and meeting Andy. The Major talked about fighting his 'demons' and the alcohol abuse. He remembered his life right up to Andy's funeral, after that his memory grew sketchy until he admitted that there was a period that he had no memory of. What he thought were memories of that time were not real, it was his subconscious minds way of coping with all of that trauma, blocking out the real world and creating false memories making him believe that he had lost everything, including the last few friends that he had.

Jeff recognised this as probable signs of PTSD. By the end of the night Jeff had managed to convince The Major to approach the army for help to deal with this and promised that he would try to help him reconnect with his old friends, reassuring him that he would have the support of 'his boys' and his friends from The Boot.

The following day with Kevin on his autumn half-term break from university Ian arranged with Manny to take a few days off to take Kevin and The Major away for a few days. At Jeff's suggestion he booked a couple of rooms at a family run Inn in The Peak District.

On arriving at The Grenadiers Arms The Major was shocked and surprised at where they were. He entered sheepishly and come face to face with the landlord as he looked up from the bar.

The first words spoken by the landlord were loud and clear, “Martin get your arse here now, I need you to show our guests to their rooms.” The next words that he uttered were just as clear but much quieter and more gentle as he addressed The Major as he knew him. “You prove yet again why the lads in your squad christened you the Ox, it wasn't because of your name it's because you are are as stubborn as one.” He walked toward The Major and pushing aside the sheepishly offered hand enveloped the man in a tight warm hug that only a true friend would give.

I don't deserve this.” were the words that left The Majors lips.

Yes you do, you are my friend and always will be, don't you dare forget it. I understand what you have been going through.” Releasing his grip Marty spoke to Ian and Kevin. “I had a call this morning from someone called Jeff who I'm guessing you know. He told me that you would be in touch, you will be in the best rooms that we have Ox will be in his usual room he knows where that is and you boys will be in Andy's old room opposite. I hope you will be comfortable, you are welcome here anytime and thank you for bringing my friend back to me and taking care of him, I am in your debt.”

Sir we didn't know of your connection so we can not take credit for that and as for taking care of The Major, erm Ox, he looked out for us and as he is like a father to us so it is only natural that we would look out for him.” Kevin was confident and respectful in his reply.

That tells me everything, I believe that fate meant you to meet.” Marty then hugged both of the lads in turn.

When Martin entered the bar he almost flew across the room, tears of joy were shed and more hugs exchanged. Following the joyful re-union Martin picked up The Major's case and all were taken to their rooms amidst excited chatter and banter with plans being made.

...

Jim and Beccy were disappointed to have missed The Major but decided to delay making any announcements or arrangements until his return. Their resolve to seek The Major's approval unchanged.

 

So we have learned two things, one being that a lot goes on behind the scenes and we have learned more about The Major was affected by his time in armed conflict. I think maybe now at least a partial recovery is in sight. How will The Major react to Beccy and Jim's news? Well we will find out in due course.

I hope that the story of The Boot is still being enjoyed so please leave your reactions and leave me a comment to tell me what you think. I appreciate all comments they are valued, read and acknowledged.

Copyright © 2019 Mancunian; All Rights Reserved.
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Yes I am still enjoying every chapter of this gripping story.  In my previous workings with homeless veterans, PTSD was a common problem with most of the men and its severity was different with each individual!  Obtaining adequate mental health counseling was another barrier for these individuals because lack of money and/or insurance further limited the resources.  It was extremely frustrating!!  So needless to say, this story brings back many memories for me - some sad but also some happy ones as well!  Thanks again Mancunian for a well written realistic story!!

David

Edited by KayDeeMac
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Thank you again @KayDeeMac for the kind comments, the comments and reactions reactions received are all the encouragement any author needs to continue writing. I hope I can continue to live up to everyones expectations.

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