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The Boot - Three Years On - 23. Chapter 23

The night is only part of the way through, what more could possibly happen in the short space of time before breakfast in The Boot. It can't be much can it? Or can it?

If you're as curious as I am read on .....

Bobbi snuggled down in a quiet corner of The Boot, the old mattress was more comfortable that the cardboard 'shack' she built in the back alley. Three weeks before she had left her home after yet another argument and beating fearing for her life, as she drifted off to sleep the only thought in her mind was 'what now'.

Jeff had taken his paperwork into the dining room leaving Jeff and Christian alone to chat in the office. “Are you going to tell me, did you and Andy sort yourselves out at the hospital?” Steve's question was more than curiosity, he cared about Christian and felt a little protective toward him.

“I don't know what your talking about there's nothing to 'sort out' as you put it. Anyway as the police already had Bobbi's statement they needed to get his before he went to the ward.”

“It's alright for you to like him you know, in fact it's more than alright.”

“What! What do you mean?” Christian snapped.

“Hang on there, don't snap my head off. All I'm saying is, is that if you like him and I think you do, then it's okay to show it. Maybe it's time to let the barriers down, stop trying to be an island we're all here for you too.”

Christian tried to calm down, but that uneasy churning in his stomach carried on. “I don't know what you mean I don't like him, well not like that anyway, he's a good member of the team and I hope a friend that's all.”

“Who are you trying to kid Christian, me or you, you wouldn't be like this if he was just 'a good member of the team and a friend' would you. I've seen the way you look at him when you think he's not looking, truth be told we all have and we'd be happy for you if you were to make that move, we all would.”

“I don't know what you mean.”

“Yes you do and don't try to tell me otherwise.”

“No I don't.”

“YES. YOU. DO.” Steve was looking in to Christian's eyes and could see him starting to soften and tears forming.

“I... I... I don't know if I can.” The tears he'd been holding back couldn't be held back any more and they broke through. “I can't, I just can't.”

Steve moved over to Christian wrapping him in vice like hug. “Yes you can, if you want to. I'm not trying to put pressure on you, I'm just telling you what you need to hear. But if you feel like it's difficult then just take small steps, baby steps even, but do it before it's too late.”

They sat there like that for a few minutes before Christian broke the silence. “What's it feel like, you know to be in love?”

“That's one of the hardest questions in the world to answer, but you'll know, you will know it when you feel it”

“But what if he doesn't feel the same?”

“Well I'm no expert, but if the looks he gives you are anything to go by, you have nothing to worry about and if you don't believe me I can get Jeff to come in and confirm it, even The Major has noticed.” Christian sniffed. “You may be a grown man on the outside but something I see in you all the time, your still a little boy on the inside. I don't mean that in a bad way, you've been through a lot in your life and you deserve some good times and happiness too.”

“It's hard you know, everyone I've loved more than anything in the world is gone and I'm scared it will happen again.”

“As you know there are no guarantees in this world but you still have a lot of friends and everyone who meets you has nothing but respect for you. You are a good man Christian, you do a lot for others all the time. I could real off a long list of the people you have helped that love you for it in return, not least The Major, Ian and Kevin, Beccy and Jim and the list goes on, now it's your time to feel some off the happiness that you spread. Of all the people I know there no one more deserving than you”

“I'll try.” Embarrassed at how he felt Christian left the office to wash his face.

With the completed paperwork in his hand Jeff entered the office, “How is he?”

“What do you think? He's still denying his feelings but I think he'll be okay, we just need to keep an eye on him. My guess is right now he's cleaning himself up and putting his mask on again.” Steve's concern showed.

“Like you said we'll just have to keep an eye on him, discreetly of course.”


Five minutes later Christian re-entered the office and sat down, the only tell tale signs of his earlier upset was slightly puffy eyes. “It's nearly time to start breakfast but before we do I need to tell you something, I would have earlier but other events got in the way.”

“Okay.” Jeff had picked up on the seriousness in Christian's voice.

“I had a meeting with Jonathon this morning, well yesterday morning now.”

“From your tone I understand it's important, is this something we're going to like?” Jeff quizzed.

“I doubt it,” Christian paused, “the reality is no you won't. As you know our lease on The Boot runs out in a little less than a year from now, well... the lease isn't going to be renewed.” After dropping the bombshell Christian sat back in his chair.

“WHAT?” Jeff was shocked.

“Why?” Steve was having trouble processing the news. “What.. what's happened?”

'I'm sorry guys, just give me a minute and I'll explain.” Christian took a minute or two to get his thoughts straight after the night's events. “You must have seen all of the development going on around us and that has everything to do with it. The last time the surveyors were here it was to compile a report for The Church, they were looking at the feasibility of renovations and came to the conclusion that it would be too expensive. To be honest its not surprising it would take millions, we have all seen how the building is deteriorating and The Church needs to prioritise, this building is no longer used for worship so it's of no use to them and they need to spend any available money on those that are still used for worship.”

“I can understand that, so is there a way that we could purchase the freehold then they don't have any obligations?” Jeff knew what this meant and was looking for ways to secure The Boot's future.

“Unfortunately not, they have already sold it to the same developer that is building all of the new offices and apartments that are springing up around us. The information has come from someone in The Church's estates office, he's put his job on the line to let us know now. It seems the developer was going to leave it to the last minute to tell us giving us no time to do anything about it.”

“Jeez, what do we do now?” Jeff sounded defeated.

“Well that sounds the death knell for The Boot, what are we supposed to do now and how do we tell the guests?” Steve had his head in his hands. “We're all they had.”

“HAD! HAD! Steve don't be so defeatist they still have us, for now at least. We don't tell them anything, we can't, not yet anyway. We have some time so we need to use it positively and try to put things in place for them if we have to close. We can try to find somewhere else for us to operate.” Christian knew it was a stretch but he had to try to hold things together. He already felt bad about what happened to Andy, now he felt like he's let everyone down.

The building was starting to come alive as guests were waking, all three men silently in thought went to start breakfast at The Boot.

Phew!! am I glad that night is over? You can bet that I am.

It's been a night full of events and revelations. It all leaves me wondering where things will lead. I've got my fingers crossed 🤞that all will be good, I hope you're with me on that.

I hope you're enjoying the story and look forward to seeing your reactions. I'd really like to read what you think too, all comments left will be read and acknowledged as always.

Copyright © 2019 Mancunian; All Rights Reserved.
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