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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Charlie and Michael Baxter lost their father at a young age. They have been brought up by a hard-working mother who loved and treasured her boys. Unfortunately, she passed away before they finished college and through no fault of their own, they found themselves homeless. This is their story.

What Happened To The Baxter Boys - 6. Chapter 6

There is some reference to violence and a fight scene in this chapter, nothing too graphic but I thought readers should know.

Sitting on the back seat of the Focus, the brothers were engrossed in conversation. Charlie was excitedly telling Michael about the job he was due to start. Michael was happy for his brother, but in the back of his mind, he was also contemplating his chances of getting a job with his limited practical skills.

As Stacy drove along Wilmslow Road, Jason asked, “Where does Gramps live?”

“He lives in Withington not far from Spencer's garage. Charlie will pass close to his house going to and from work. We are going to Harry's house first to check what needs doing, then home for lunch while we work out a plan of action.”

“Sounds good to me. My stomach has been rumbling since Gramps had his lunch.” As if to emphasise the fact, Jason's stomach growled like a lion on the prowl.

Stacy couldn't help but giggle at the sound, “Looks like we better hurry and get you fed before your stomach eats us instead.”

Stacy soon announced, "We're almost there." He made a right turn, followed a left, then another right turn onto Brentbridge Road, and they were parked in front of Harry's house a few minutes later. Stacy grinned as he looked at the pleasant street lined with identical semi-detached houses which reminded him of the song "Little Boxes" by Pete Seeger.

As they walked up the drive, they felt unsettled as though they were being watched. They could almost feel eyes boring into them. Glancing at the neighbouring houses they saw the net curtains twitch in several houses. It was creepy to think that the entire neighbourhood was watching them.

Just when the group thought things couldn't get any more intense a neighbour suddenly stormed out of nowhere, an angry glare on her face. “Oi. What are you up to? Get off my neighbour's property or I'll call the police.” She shouted angrily.

Charlie and Michael backed away from the house while Jason laughed nervously. Stacy looked at the neighbour, a middle-aged lady holding the collar of a German Shepherd. He raised his hand by way of a greeting causing the dog to bark which led to Jason taking a step back.

“Hi. I'm Stacy, Stacy Robins. This young man.” Stacy pointed to Jason. “Is my son Jason. The other two are my nephews, Charlie and Michael. Harry asked us to check on his house for him and make it secure. The police went to the hospital to let him know that someone had tried to break in.”

“Well, it's secure enough for now, so you can bugger off.” The neighbour had calmed a little, but not much.

“I know you mean well, and I appreciate you looking out for Harry. But Harry has asked us to do something for him. We will leave when we have done that. We will continue to check on his house until he comes home. I can see that the lock has been wrecked. I doubt that the key will work in it now. I'm going to check the back door. Do you know if that was damaged as well?” Stacy was confident and stood his ground smiling while he calmly spoke. He thought the neighbour lady quite courageous facing four males with only the large dog as protection.

“Since you know Harry is in the hospital and he asked you to check, I expect you lot are okay then. The back door has been kicked off its hinges, my Pete has done what he can to put it back in place, and Jack over the road had a board that they nailed over it, but it really needs replacing.” The neighbour was being more friendly now. “I'm Janice, by the way.”

“Thanks, Janice. Have you got a hammer we can borrow for a few minutes? I want to check the back door then go inside to check everything out and see if we can open the front door. We need to replace that lock.”

“I'll go and get one.” Janice went to get a hammer and let go of the dog. “Don't worry about this one. She's all bark and no bite, too friendly for her own good. Aintcha, Missy?” Missy sniffed around Stacy's feet, then made a beeline for Jason.

She walked around Jason sniffing his feet and legs, then stuck her nose into his crotch making Jason dance. Deciding she had made a friend, Missy hoisted herself up on her back legs, placed her paws on Jason's chest and attempted to lick his face with her tail wagging furiously. Jason's fussing and laughing only encouraged her to do more.

Charlie couldn't help but chuckle at the hilarious sight of Jason trying to keep up with his furry dance partner. “Be careful, Danny might get jealous of the competition," he teased with a grin.

Janice returned with the hammer and went to the back door as Stacy, Jason and Michael followed her. Missy followed close on Jason's heels, her tail jauntily wagging.

Charlie remained behind to inspect the car in the drive under a waterproof cover. It had caught his attention when they first arrived. The shape of the covered car piqued his interest and he wanted to see the car underneath the cover.

Entering the house through the kitchen, the group saw a few items of dirty crockery in the sink. A plate containing the dried remains of a meal was on the table. The smell told them the bin needed emptying and the milk on the side had gone off. Although the kitchen needed cleaning, it was in reasonable condition. As they made their way through the house they found it was relatively clean, just a bit dusty as though the housework had not been done for a couple of days. With Harry in the hospital, that was understandable.

Stacy was relieved to find the front door opened easily even though the lock was damaged. Unlike the back door, the front door was solid and only needed the lock replaced. Closing the door, he slid two bolts to secure it, one at the top, the other at the bottom.

Returning to the kitchen, Stacy checked the refrigerator and cupboards for any perishable or spoiled food and added them to the bin to take out later when they came back to clean. He began making mental notes of what they needed to do. The priority was obvious, a new lock for the front door and a new, strong door for the back of the house. After that, he added cleaning the house and making things ready for Harry to come home. Checking the cupboards revealed cleaning supplies in a cupboard under the stairs, so they could start cleaning when they returned after lunch. The food cupboards and the freezer had ample stocks of food. Fresh supplies could wait until Harry was ready to come home.

Shaken out of his contemplation by the sound of a loudly roaring lion, Stacy chuckled and then said, “Okay, boys, let's secure the board over the back door. It's nearly two-thirty, and we haven't eaten yet. By the sound of Jason’s stomach, we need to eat before we get eaten, so let's get everything sorted. We can come back after lunch now we know what we need.”

As they were leaving, Stacy spotted the cans of dog food and biscuits near the back door. When he looked round the kitchen, he could not see a dog or dog bowls. “Janice, does Harry have a dog? I can see the food but no dog or anything else.”

“Missy is Harry's dog, not mine. I have taken her in while Harry is in hospital. It was because of her barking that I knew something was wrong. When I came in to check, I found Harry on the floor and called the ambulance.” Janice petted Missy, then got a treat from her pocket and fed it to Missy.

“Thank you, Janice. I know Harry will appreciate that. I'll try to get back later to make the house more secure. If not, it will be tomorrow morning. I'll get the lads to help clean up as well. We'll soon have it ship-shape and Bristol fashion for Harry and Missy.”

After securing the back door and giving Missy a fuss, they were in the car on the way home. Charlie was deep in thought, leaving Jason and Michael to talk about music and films.

“Charlie, what are you thinking about?” Stacy asked.

“I was just thinking about the car in the drive. It's a classic, a 1960s Mini Cooper S. It looks in remarkable condition for its age. It's been standing for a while though, so I doubt it's drivable or has an MOT. I'd love to restore it or help Gramps do it. What do you think?” Charlie was full of eagerness as he talked excitedly about the car.

Stacy could hear Charlie's enthusiasm. “I thought it might be a Mini from the shape under the cover, but a 1960's Cooper S! That is something very special. I understand why you would like to restore it, but you will have to speak to Harry about it. He may have plans for it already. The thought excites me too, but let's get the house sorted. We can talk to Harry about the car after, okay?” Stacy well understood Charlie's excitement. He honestly did like the idea of restoring the old car.

When they turned onto Old Broadway in West Didsbury, Michael was amazed and his jaw dropped in awe. “Wow, look at them houses. It makes you wonder how much they cost and what it's like to live in one. It looks beautiful round here.”

Charlie giggled as Jason leaned into Michael. “You see that house?" Michael nodded. "That's where we live, so you're about to find out.” Jason had a smug grin on his face.

Michael swallowed. “Whaaat?”

“Yep. I was gobsmacked too.” Charlie chuckled.

“You wouldn't have wanted to live here when we bought it. When we bought it at auction it was in very poor condition, almost ready for demolition. The garden resembled an urban jungle and I was concerned about the wildlife. Max worked long and hard to make it what it is now. My contribution was the garden.” Stacy was proud of what they had achieved with the house.

Entering the house, Stacy asked Jason to reheat the soup he made that morning and make sandwiches from the baguettes and ham. Charlie was asked to show Michael their room while Stacy called Max.

Not long after, they were sitting at the kitchen table eating lunch as Stacy shared the outcome of his phone call. “Max is going to meet us at Harry's. Charlie, Max wants you to help him measure the back door and get it ready for a replacement. You two,” Stacy pointed at Jason and Michael with his baguette, “can help me clean the house. It's not in a bad state, so it shouldn't take long,” he paused briefly before continuing, “I'm guessing you all want to visit Harry at the hospital tonight. Right?”

With their mouths full, all three of the lads nodded yes. Stacy mentally giggled at the lads. They reminded Stacy of the nodding dog toys you see on the rear parcel shelf of some cars.

“Good. I don't know what we're having for dinner tonight. We'll see how everything goes and play it by ear, okay?” Again the lads nodded in agreement. “Right, as soon as we finish eating and have cleaned up here, we can go to Harry's and get some work done.”

 

Typically for November, the temperature was dropping and daylight was fading when they parked in front of Harry's house an hour later. Max had already arrived, and his van was empty. They found him at the rear of the house, measuring the gap the door and frame fit into.

“Great! You're all here. Jason, you and Michael stay here with your Pop and help him. Charlie, you're with me. I've got the measurements. We need to get to the yard and pick up the materials. Everything we need is there.” Max spoke warmly but still businesslike.

Charlie got in the van with Max and headed for Max's workshop and yard in Stretford. Stacy, Jason and Michael entered the house through the kitchen. Feeling the warmth of the central heating, they set about cleaning the house. When the downstairs was cleaned to Stacy's satisfaction, they headed upstairs.

It was just after 4:30 when Stacy heard a noise downstairs. Ah, they are back, Stacy thought. He called the lads and headed downstairs with them following.

Entering the lounge Stacy stopped abruptly, causing a domino effect as Michael walked into his back and Jason crashed into Michael. The noise made by Stacy and the boys disturbed two youths who were rifling through Harry's sideboard. They wore bandanas to cover the lower half of their faces. Stacy surveyed the situation unaware Michael was doing the same over his shoulder.

“What the fuck! This is our turf!” The larger youth growled as he reached into his jacket and brought out a knife. The smaller youth, who was about five foot nine and stocky, reached for a baseball bat that he had placed on the sideboard a few minutes earlier, then moved to stand at his friend's side.

“No! You and your friend need to put back anything you have taken, put your weapons down and leave. This is our friend's house. We are not leaving.” You could feel the ice-cold anger in Stacy's voice.

Jason let out a loud chilling scream when he saw the taller youth lunge at Stacy with the knife in his right hand. Stacy reached out with his right hand, grabbed the youth's wrist and applied pressure while deflecting his path. Using the youth's own weight against him, Stacy sent him head first into the wall, then cupped his left hand and brought it crashing down onto the side of the youth's head, over his ear. The youth dropped the knife and went down in pain, trying to shield himself.

While that was happening, the other youth had come forward raising the baseball bat. Michael was ready and stepped around Stacy to tackle the second youth. Using the heel of his right hand, Michael struck him under the chin sending him backwards. Michael followed this with a blow to his solar plexus as he grabbed the bat, then used his left foot to sweep the youth's feet from underneath him sending the boy to the floor. Michael positioned himself over the youth, holding the bat in one hand. His other hand was pulled back ready to strike another blow. The youth now lay on the floor, shielding himself and begging Michael not to hurt him.

The fight lasted a brief two minutes which felt longer and had terrified Jason. He turned toward the kitchen when he heard someone talking. Missy was standing in the kitchen doorway with her hackles up and growling. Behind her, he saw Janice speaking into a mobile phone. Relieved, tears streamed down Jason’s ashen face as he started shaking violently. Janice ended the call and quickly rushed past Stacy and Michael, who stood guard over the youths on the floor. Jason appeared to be going into shock, so she guided him to the sofa and sat holding him rubbing his back.

“I've called the police and an ambulance. They should be here any minute. I don't know who screamed, but they got my attention. I was on my way over here with Missy to see if I could help. I was at the back door and rushed into the kitchen when I heard the ruckus. I don't know what you two did or how, but it was worth watching. Better than watching Chuck Norris on TV.” Janice's laughter lightened the atmosphere slightly.

The sound of a van pulling up outside got everyone's attention. They heard the cheerful sounds of Charlie and Max outside the house. As Charlie entered the lounge, he was not prepared for what he saw.

“What's happened?” Charlie went to his brother. Taking the bat from Michael's hand, Charlie hugged his brother, who was trembling as the adrenaline left his system. “Michael, are you okay?”

Before anyone could say anything, Max came in followed by four police officers. Seeing that everything was relatively calm, one of the officers went out to bring in the paramedics.

Janice insisted that the paramedics attend to Jason as he still appeared to be in shock. She then told the officers what she knew and described in detail what she saw.

One of the officers, a sergeant, went to each youth and pulled down their bandanas. Noticing blood seeping through the jeans of the larger youth, he asked a paramedic to check the wound.

“He...He stabbed me.” The youth shouted, pointing at Stacy.

“Bullshit!” Janice shouted back. “You tried to stab him. He disarmed you. I saw what happened. You fell on your own knife after he disarmed you.”

The sergeant grinned. “You two are under arrest for burglary, having an offensive weapon and anything else I can throw at you when we get you back to the station.” He turned to his officers. “Cuff 'em, and as soon as the paramedics have checked them over, put them in separate vans. Don't forget to read them their rights. These two are going away for a long time if I have my way.”

With so many people in the house, it felt crowded and the atmosphere was getting stuffy. Stacy felt relieved when the two youths were taken away by the police officers and Janice took Missy to her house. After the paramedics cleaned up and left, only the sergeant and one officer remained with Max, Stacy and the lads.

“Max honey, time is getting on, and thanks to those two bastards, we don't have time to get everything done now. What are we going to do?” Stacy felt drained and frustrated.

Two officers from the Scenes of Crime Unit had attended, taken photographs and dusted for prints. They also took fingerprints from Max, Stacy, Janice and the lads for elimination. Then gave the all-clear for the house to be cleaned and suggested an alarm should be fitted as soon as practical.

“Don't worry.” Max took his phone from his pocket and waved it. “I'll make a couple of calls, and soon it will all be back under control.”


During the following hours, four of Max's workmen turned up. They replaced the barrel of the front door lock with a new one and replaced the backdoor and frame, fitting a new lock and extra security bolts. The timber and door they used had been primed, so they applied a first coat of quick dry paint. Two of the men were single and planned to stay until the paint was dry enough for the door to be locked. They agreed to leave a set of keys with Janice when they left.

It was almost 8:00 when the sergeant finished taking statements. He asked that Harry check if anything was missing as soon as possible. One of the youths had items in his pocket that he claimed belonged to him. The police doubted his claim and believed the items belonged to Harry. However, they were unable to give details of the items due to police protocol. When the sergeant left, he gave Max and Stacy the crime reference number, his name, badge number, and details for them to contact him.

“I'm guessing you planned to visit Harry?” Max asked.

“That was the plan, well, for the lads anyway. I was planning on going home with you.” Stacy's voice gave away how drained he felt. “I'll straighten up in here again tomorrow. The boys can help me. I am not looking forward to cleaning that stuff they use for fingerprints.”

“You can still go home, Pop.” Displaying the resilience of youth, Jason looked at Charlie and Michael. “We are still on for visiting Gramps, aren't we?”

“I'm still up for it. How about you, Michael? Are you feeling up to it?” Charlie was worried about his brother who still looked pale.

“I'll be fine. I'm not letting Gramps down.” Michael was adamant.

“Actually, Max, I think we should go with them. We need to tell Harry what happened. I hope nothing is missing, but the police seem to think there is.”


Harry was in good spirits when they arrived at the hospital and appreciated the snacks and treats they bought from the convenience store on the way. Harry was happy about the work carried out to secure his house and told Max that he would pay for the work carried out when he got home. He also appreciated that Janice was looking after Missy and was pleased she had a set of keys to the new locks. Harry continued to be upbeat about everything Stacy, Max and the lads told him until Stacy told him about the burglars returning. That dampened his spirit.

The one thing that brought anything like a smile to Harry's face after that was Jason telling him how the burglars had been caught.

“They went all Kung Foo on those dirty pillocks!” Jason exclaimed as he excitedly began describing to Harry what happened. Jason’s animated telling of the story made Harry chuckle and wish he had been there to see Stacy and Michael 'go all Kung Foo on them'.

Harry was relieved that his car had not been taken or damaged. He told Stacy where he kept the registration documents and keys. They were in the sideboard, concealed in a secret drawer with some gold coins and jewellery. Harry asked Stacy to check that nothing was missing from the drawer and informed him of the list of the drawer’s contents taped to the underside of the drawer.

Harry was in a better mood after that. He explained that the doctor told him he could be transferred to a general ward tomorrow if his vital signs remained stable. Stacy, Max and the boys were glad that they did not leave Harry feeling down or upset. They dreaded the necessity of telling him what had happened, but the stories and the snacks they bought for him left him in a cheerful frame of mind.

After visiting time, Max, Stacy and the lads headed home. Stacy drove the Focus taking the lads home. The mood in the car driving home after visiting Harry was sombre. Even Jason stopped joking. Max was in his van on the way to pick up food from their favourite Chinese takeaway in Withington.

The silence in the car was broken when Jason's phone rang. Only Jason's side of the conversation was heard.

“Hello.”

“Yeah, we're on our way home from the hospital.”

“About ten minutes.”

“Okay, I'll see you when I get home.”

“My phone's beeping. Someone else is calling me. I'll see you at home. Love you.”

Jason's phone sounded a half ring before he answered it again.

“Hello.”

“Hi. I wondered when you would call.”

“Yeah, but it's awkward right now. Can I call you back in about twenty minutes?”

“Okay, talk later, bye.”

Stacy checked the rear-view mirror and noticed Max had turned off to collect the takeaway, then glanced at Jason in the front passenger seat. “That sounded intriguing...and it's awkward to talk eh?”

“Erm, it was just Danny. He's waiting for me at home. I can talk to him then.” Jason smiled smugly thinking he'd dodged that bullet. Stacy rolled his eyes wondering what his mischievous son was up to now.

Stacy was not surprised to see Danny waiting on the drive or that Jason was the first out of the car. Jason unlocked the front door and dragged his boyfriend inside. He needed his 'Danny fix'. When Charlie and Michael entered the kitchen, they smiled at catching the two boys in the middle of a passionate kiss.

From the hallway, Stacy called out for Jason to get crockery and cutlery ready, so dinner could be quickly served when Max arrived with the takeaway. Jason cheekily passed the task to Danny, cryptically explaining that he had to call a friend. Danny tried to quiz him until Jason mouthed the friend's name and glanced toward Charlie. Danny clicked immediately and happily took over Jason's task.

Jason called his friend, and sensing he was nervous tried to calm him by making small talk. After a few minutes, he called Charlie over and told him someone wanted to speak to him. Charlie was curious. He couldn't think who it could be or why they wanted to talk with him.

Taking Jason's phone, he spoke into it. “H...hello.”

“H...hi Charlie, it's Brad. I wondered how you was getting on and if you was settling in okay.” Brad's nerves showed, but he was getting more confident.

Charlie smiled shyly, and his face changed colour to a deep shade of pink. “Hi Brad. I'm good thanks. Everything still feels like a dream in some ways, but I'll get used to it. Michael is out of hospital now, and I start a job on Monday.” Charlie took Jason's phone to the bedroom where he could feel less under the microscope and relax a bit. Both the young men gained more confidence as they continued to chat in private.

Michael watched his brother leave the kitchen and asked. “Who is he talking to?”

Jason was too anxious to speak, so Danny answered, “Sorry, Michael. We can't say much. You will have to ask Charlie. All I will say is, your brother has an admirer. What he does and says about that is up to him.”

“Okay.” Michael felt a bit left out but accepted that Jason and Danny were trying to respect his brother's privacy. He knew his brother would confide in him, given time. They always told each other everything.

Ten minutes later, Max arrived home loaded with cartons of Chinese food. Michael went to get Charlie while Stacy laid out the food buffet-style on the kitchen table. Charlie's face was still more pink than usual as he handed Jason his phone and mouthed thank you to him.

Then it was time to sit and eat. To Michael and Charlie, the food was a banquet. Conversation was light but to Michael's embarrassment, Jason took great delight in telling Danny what happened at Harry's house. Jason was proud of Michael, and Danny was in awe of him after hearing Jason’s excited description of the action.

The conversation after eating was subdued and short-lived as it was getting late. They talked about Harry and the work that needed to be done the following day before it moved on to other subjects, including Jason's college studies and Charlie's new job. Michael said he wanted to look for a job until Stacy suggested college, and then it progressed into discussing the pros and cons of college versus work.

When Max mentioned Stacy's bookings for the next couple of months, it prompted Stacy to announce that he was considering retiring from the drag circuit. Stacy explained that with newer drag artists breaking onto the scene, it was changing and no longer had the appeal it once had for him. They decided to delay discussing Stacy’s bookings until after the New Year due to the lateness of the hour and Stacy’s schedule being full enough through to the end of January.

When they all started to yawn, they agreed it was time for bed. Sleep came easy to the Baxter Boys that night. They had a lot to think about, but tiredness overcame them. Jason slept alone as Danny had left. Danny had arranged to spend time with his parents and younger brother the next day. After a busy day, Max and Stacy were tired. They kissed and slept in each other's arms, knowing they had another busy day tomorrow.

Well, now the excitement is over let's hope they all get a good night's sleep, they need it. What do you think of Missy? I think she's adorable.
I hope you are continuing to enjoy What Happened To The Baxter Boys. Please leave a reaction or preferably a comment to let me know what you think, I promise that all comments will be read, acknowledged and replied to, I love reading what you think.
Chapter 7 will be posted on Friday.
Thank you to @raven1 for all of your hard work editing and beta reading helping and supporting me in the writing of this story.
Copyright © 2023 Mancunian; All Rights Reserved.
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I hope that all readers will enjoy this story and will leave reactions and comments to let me know what they think of the story along with any other comments they wish to make.
This story would not have been possible without the invaluable help and support of @raven1 who has worked hard as the editor and beta reader and deserves a lot of the credit for the end result. 
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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