Where Do I Fit In?
by Andrew Foote
Throughout this story real organisations and real people are mentioned by name. Their place in the tale is in the author's imagination. No thoughts, words or deeds attributed to those people or organisations are real, nor have they ever happened. This is a story! It's fiction. The people and organisations, even when they interact with the characters, are presented in an entirely imagined and fictitious manner, and no discourtesy is intended to them by the author nor by the web site.
"You lucky bastard. It must have felt heavenly to have Benny holding you like that?"
"God Lucas? I do believe you're jealous! Get a grip here? It was you who suggested it was me who took him up there? I mean you could've volunteered?"
"Yes well……..I didn't think it right but I guess I am a bit fucked up now. I stood down there and saw you two and, I dunno, I could feel my tears welling up."
"Let me say something here. I was so nervous he'd bottle out, so scared he'd wriggle and throw me off balance, truthfully Lucas, I wasn't even aware of being in such close contact with him. I was just happy it all went okay and no one got hurt."
"Thanks for that. I don't even know why I should be upset about it. He's a beautiful kid and no mistake but……..even so, he's just another friend really."
"No he isn't! You fancy him and I can understand that. You're right, he is a terrific-looking boy but he's 100% straight! When we did that first jump, he wanted to hold my hand. Fair enough, he was shitting himself but to settle his nerves I told him I might get to like it. OMG! You should've seen the look he gave me! Talk about a put-down! He's just a spunky young kid who's prepared to push at the limits, nothing more, nothing less."
"I'm sorry Andy. Sometimes I wish I was that good looking is all."
"Oh please? Who was it that said to me 'we can't see ourselves as others see us?' You did you wazzuck! Now try and apply the same doctrine to yourself! I love you, I want us to grow old and crusty together and if we keep looking over our shoulders and lust after those who are following on behind us then, oh I don't know? We'll end up being like the same animals as your fucking pastor!"
"Please don't say that?"
"No sorry. That was being a bit harsh but do you understand what I'm trying to say? We have to get used to the fact that we're neither of us ever going to be a
Benny ever again. We're maturing bit by bit, he will too in a few years, his boyish charms, lost forever but we'll still have a friend for life and to me that's what counts."
"I know you're right. Maybe I should apologise to him."
"Why? You didn't, haven't, like said anything to him have you?"
"No of course I haven't!"
"Then don't go shaking the nest! It's you he idolises, not me? Just keep on doing the same as usual, be nice 'ol Lucas and everything will be fine."
"Where would I be without you Andy?"
"I've no idea! Out trying to shag an eleven year-old maybe?"
"Fuck off! Will you forgive me?"
"Nothing to forgive you idiot. Nothing whatsoever!"
The following morning dawned bright but very cold and when the others arrived Lucas was the first out of the door to greet them but as I was lacing up my trainers, I heard a shout.
"Oh YES MATE! LET IT ROCK!!"
I hurried outside and at first I didn't realise just what all the commotion was about but then I noticed Benny, resplendent in his SCGB tracksuit and trainers.
"It came through yesterday! I'm finally sponsored! I can wear your present with pride!!"
Out of support, Lorain and Paul were also wearing theirs so Lucas dived back into the house and ushered me upstairs.
"Come on. It might make us a few minutes late but let's get changed into ours so we look like a real team!"
We jogged down to Christchurch together and at one point I held back so I could take a look at them. Yes we did look rather impressive with each of us sporting white and red tracksuits and matching trainers.
On the front of our tops was embroidered the single red rose logo of England together with the initials SCGB in letters of about twenty millimetres high so quite tasteful then across the back, our family names and the discipline we did so like Sorensen then under that in slightly smaller letters, Gymnastics or Ifield, Basketball, Carmichael, Formation Diving and so on. We turned a few heads which was something that didn't normally happen and I guessed this was because rather than just appearing to be five kids out for an early morning run, we really did look as if we were involved in something serious. We got much the same reaction when we arrived, our coaching team were very complimentary and it was Peter who voiced a suggestion.
"I'll have a little word with the powers that be and see if they'll supply you with the official lightweight waterproofs so if the weather turns rough, you'll still be able to turn up looking the business."
"What do they look like?"
"Identical to the tops you're wearing right now. The idea being that if you were competing in a field event which of course none of you are, you'd wear it over your tracksuits to keep them dry but it would still be obvious that you represent your country or in your cases, have a solid connection to it through your sporting disciplines. You look very smart. How did it make you feel jogging down here like that?"
Paul said pretty much what we all thought.
"Right answer Paul! It proves to all who see you that you're more than just young and budding athletes in training but that the highest sporting authority in the country is taking you all very seriously and not that you need any encouragement but this is just another reason to spur yourselves on to bigger and better things, maybe one day you too will be up there flying the flag for Team GB. Come on, let's get started!"
Peter was right. We didn't need any extra encouragement but just wearing the same strip had bonded us even closer than before and it showed during our joint sessions, we really felt as if we were a team despite our different disciplines.
The kit we wore when we trained was different though. Paul and Lorain wore shorts and fairly lose-fitting singlet's, we tended to follow their lead but without the shorts as we just stuck with our Speedo's whereas Benny would wear a tight fitting gymnasts Lycra top and mid-thigh length bottoms but all in the same SCGB colours so we kind of co-ordinated with each other.
As we sometimes did during the holidays and being in no rush to go anywhere, we sat at a table in the reception area coffee in hand. After about ten minutes Liam joined us with instructions to check our emails as our e-tickets for Guam had come through.
He looked at Benny then ruffled his hair.
"I'm sorry son? You joined the party too late to make this trip but don't worry, stick with it and your time will come."
"Thanks Liam but I never expected to join the guys. Will my work-outs continue though?"
"Alec has everything in hand so yes, things carry on as normal so far as that's concerned. Everything is in place so don't go worrying yourself."
"You said something before about maybe me going again off the tables. What did you mean?"
"Oh that. Did you see the display Andy and Lucas put on at the schools gala?"
"No but I heard about it."
"Well if we were to do something similar another time, I just wondered if you'd be up for doing it again but this time in front of spectators. I'd coach you and make sure you were ready and either Lucas or Andy, whoever was with you knew precisely what they were doing. How do you feel about that?"
"I dreamt about it last night, it was so exciting so yes, I'd be up for it!"
"Thanks. Look this doesn't mean I'm about to take you away from gymnastics here, you're good at what you do and the boys are good at what they do but to mix a bit of stunt work by way of an exhibition would be no bad thing for any of you. Just think on it and once the boys get home we'll talk again. Fair enough?"
We made our way back home and parted with our signature five-way hug then watched as the others took off back to their own places but just before we turned to go inside Lucas stopped me.
"Hey! Look at that!"
He pointed up the road just as Benny hoisted Paul up onto his shoulders and once he was seated, Benny resumed his jog with Paul yelling at him to set him back down again.
"Fuck Andy? He's one tough little dude and no mistake! What must Paul weigh, twelve stone? Jesus H! Benny can only be around seven at most! Remind me not to go mixing it with that kid, he'd kill me!"
"Or try taking him to bed. The result might be the same!"
"Oh funny-fucking-ha-ha! You're not about to let me forget that are you? You're going to milk that for all its worth!"
"Nope but there's something I really would like to milk if you'll let me?"
Breakfast never happened, the morning lost to us as we slipped between the sheets and wrapped ourselves in each other's arms.
We made love all morning and if you think that making love is an old fashioned term, think again because we had discovered that there was a world of difference between just having sex and surrendering yourself fully to the person you love. It was magical. The sensations that we felt, totally awesome and without comparison to anything we'd ever before experienced.
We eventually left our bed just before lunch, took a shower and got dressed. Lucas looked radiant and kept smiling at me over the lunch table.
"Thank you Andy."
"Thanks for what?"
"For being you, for loving me, for putting up with my stupidity perhaps? I've been acting like a total turd. First I'm jealous over Lorain then jealous over Benny, I mean what's got into me? I'm not the jealous type normally?"
"If it helps, I was starting to wonder about your intentions towards him. I knew it wouldn't do you any good if you'd decided to make a play for him but just the fact that you might've tried scared me. You don't own the rights to jealousy you know? Do you remember that night I called you cos I was frightened because I thought a girl might turn your head then the next morning when I got all fucked up thinking another boy might take you away from me? Even back then I loved you even if I was unable to admit it. It's that simple. We love each other and sometimes it doesn't do any harm to be reminded that maybe something might come along and spoil it. Maybe it makes us try harder to ensure our relationship stays fresh and solid rather than getting complacent and taking each other for granted."
"Where did that lot come from?!"
"I read too much!"
"Maybe so but I know you're right……..again!
"Come on. Let's get cleared up and then I'm going to check my emails to see if our flight tickets are there."
"Hey Lucas? Come and have a look at this! The SCGB obviously use one of those price comparison sites cos all the possible flights from Heathrow are listed together with the costs of them. The box that's been ticked shows us as flying Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow to Narita which I'm guessing is Japan then JAL, Narita to Hagatna but you wouldn't believe how much a return ticket is. Have a guess!"
"Oh gosh. I've no idea! Umm……..£1500 perhaps?"
"You wish! Try £2200!"
"That's for the two of us right?"
"EACH! £2200 EACH! So all four of us works out at £8800 then you have to add on Peter and Liam, hotel rooms, transport and everything? I don't think they'll get too much change out of £14.000!"
"Did that earlier."
"Yes and it was wonderful but honestly, why do they want to spent so much money on us?"
"I've no idea but somewhere down the line there must be payback wouldn't you have thought? I think they're expecting rather more from us than they're letting on."
"Well don't go asking anyone what that might be cuz I'd rather not know."
We spent the remainder of the afternoon looking on the net and researching Guam. How the first settlers known as Chamorros inhabited the island around four thousand years ago then much later on was invaded by the Spanish who used it as a staging post but then during the American Spanish War, the Americans took it over for much the same purpose. In 1941, just before the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the Japanese invaded and how during their occupation, the indigenous population suffered slavery, beheadings and rape but again in 1945 the Americans reoccupied it and are still there to this day although it isn't one of the States of America, more an ungoverned territory.
Strangely, the Island's main source of income is tourism and mainly it's the Japanese who visit.
"How does that work then Andy? The Nips occupy the Island, rape, kill and imprison the locals yet not seven decades later they're kinda welcomed back! Weird!"
"Money I suppose. I mean who else is near enough to go to the place, beautiful though it is?"
"But they've got enough places to holiday in their own country without going to all the expense of flying right the way over the South Pacific so why bother?"
"I guess. Hey have you seen this? It says here that flip-flops or beach shoes should be worn at all times when on any of the beaches. Reason? There are poisonous fish that hide in the sand waiting for the tide. Step on one in bare feet and you're a hospital case. It goes on to say that whilst swimming is permitted, it is recommended that wet suits or similar are worn. Ditto the reason plus there are jelly fish, sharp corrals and water snakes. I don't think I'll bother. I'll stick with the hotel's swimming pool!"
"Yes coward! I'm going there to have fun and there's not much of that going down if you're on a hospital ward is there?"
"Just kidding. I'm 100% with you on that. Anyhow, we better put something together for tea and then make a move. The others will be here in about half an hour."
Before we knew it, New Year was upon us. Everyone it seemed was away visiting relatives or friends, even Lucas and family were away for a few days so my mood was pretty down-beat. We had Skype and phones but when you've become used to sharing your life with someone you love, somehow even that's like cold comfort.
Mum and Dad were very understanding as were Jo and Simon but nothing could lift my spirits. I missed Lucas, I missed Benny, I missed Lor and Paul and I missed the training, I missed…….making love. I was in such a mess that the night before New Year's Eve, I took myself off to bed early and cried myself to sleep.
I woke with a start at 7am. My phone was ringing.
"Lucas? You're early?"
"Yeah well……..I just needed to tell you just how much I wanna come home to you!"
With that he burst into tears but rather than me joining him, it actually made me feel better.
"Hey! Calm down okay? You sound just like I was last night!"
He managed a giggle.
"Yeah well, last night I was okay. My two cousins kept me amused and I can't hardly go blubbing into my pillow when I have to share a room with them! Y'see they're only like very young. Sam is seven and Davy is eight and I don't think they'd understand why their big cousin's all fucked up somehow. I kept it in for their sakes but this morning I got up and now I'm out for a run so I thought I'd call you."
"Thanks! I'm pleased you didn't call last night cos I was really in a state. So how are you feeling now?"
"Better for talking to you, much better! We come back tomorrow afternoon so then everything will be fine again."
"Yeah won't it just! Hey! Only five days to Guam! That should cheer you up!"
"Except for the long flight. I told you before that I hate them?"
"Well I have a few ideas about little games we could play underneath the blanket once the cabin lights have been dimmed! You might like them, who knows?"
"Randy bastard Andy! I love 'em already! Look I better go or I'll miss breakfast. Can I call you tonight?"
"Anytime you like! Enjoy brekki! Bye!"
Feeling better or what!!?? I dressed, ran down the stairs and went for a run of my own. I stuck to the roads rather than going up across the common, I think the episode on our way back from the 'Ferryboat' had unnerved me a bit but it did the business in as much as I felt refreshed once I got home.
There was still nobody up and about so I took a shower, changed and penned an email to Lucas.
'Pleased to know I'm not the only one. I was in floods last night and nothing would stop it but thanks for calling this morning cos now I feel really positive about stuff.
Your cousin's sound like they're fun to be around. Mine are all older than me and even when I get to see them, they ignore me but that's okay I guess. I don't have anything in common with them anyway except for the family connection of course!
Like you earlier, I'd better get going as I hear movement downstairs and I'm STARVING!!
I love you. Don't you ever forget it! XXXXX'
I shut down my computer and made my way downstairs. My Mum was up but not Dad. She looked at me with a degree of concern.
"Are you alright Andy? You seemed very distant last night like something was bothering you."
"I'm okay Mum. I miss Lucas and I think that despite everything I've said, I'm nervous about being so far away from home when we go to Guam."
"Lucas I can understand well enough but why Guam?"
"I've never been so far away from you and Dad before, that's why?"
"Look at it this way. How long are your flights?"
"Fifteen hours it takes to get there barring any delays. Why?"
"If we drove to Arbroath to visit Auntie Moira, how long might that take do you think?"
"Dunno. Ten hours maybe? I know it's a long way but I was only little the last time we did it, since then we've flown."
"Try sixteen hours. That's why we fly now. Your father refuses to make the drive and I can't blame him!"
"Your point is?"
"If anything untoward were to happen and either we needed to come to you or you needed to get home, it would take less time than the drive to Scotland. The world is becoming a very small place so don't be worried son. Go out there and enjoy the experience. God knows, I wish I could come with you!"
She drew me into a cuddle, something she hadn't done in a few years then she put he hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eye.
"Both Dad and I are very proud of you, not only for your achievements in your sport but also, the fact that you've found a kindred spirit in Lucas, someone you obviously love and he you. Don't ever be ashamed to admit that love Andy. We'll back you if it ever becomes necessary because we have learned to love him too. Promise me that and everything else will fall into place. Remember that old expression 'love conquers all'? Well it's true. If you can keep that right at the forefront of your mind then anything, everything is possible!
Talking of your relationship? Do you know number 212 near the Carmichaels house?"
"Probably seen it but I can't say I'd particularly noticed it. Why?"
"Well, we're looking at buying it. The house itself is slightly bigger than here but the people who own it had a granny flat built on the side as an extension. It has a large double bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a separate lounge area which we thought might be ideal for you two. Not that we want you to be strangers but it'll give you a degree of privacy you don't get here or at Julie and Gregg's plus you can entertain your friends without any interference from us. How do you feel about it?"
"Oh wow. What a great idea but it'll cost you and Dad a whole bundle of money won't it?"
"We've not got a mortgage on this house anymore so that'll take care of the majority of the cost leaving us to arrange a small mortgage to cover the difference so it really isn't that a big deal all things considered. We're getting the keys from the Estate Agent this afternoon if you want to come with us and have look around. Up for it?"
"Oh yes! Definitely! What about Jo? Will she be coming with us?"
"Yes. She's a bit excited at the prospect of getting a bigger room again! She won't miss out on this!"
The house was much bigger than ours even not taking into account the granny flat. Four double bedrooms, one with an en-suit bathroom. An upstairs bathroom and separate toilet then downstairs, a large kitchen, dining room and a separate lounge plus a downstairs toilet. The entrance hall was huge as it ran the full width of the house with only the lounge looking out over both the front and back gardens, all the other rooms looking out over the back.
Dad's only concern was it was all in serious need of redecorating and the gardens had been neglected but all of it nothing a bit of hard work wouldn't put right.
The granny flat was fantastic! It could be accessed from the main body of the house by a lockable door but also it had an outside door which lead into the kitchen. Off the kitchen which while it wasn't that big, it was okay for the two of us, was the lounge / dining area which also looked out over both the front and rear gardens then off that was a staircase that lead up to a small landing with a decent size double bedroom, shower room and toilet. I was impressed by the shower as it was a walk-in jobbie similar to the downstairs shower at Lucas' house! Hmmm! Fun to be had in there I think! The flat wasn't badly decorated although the colour scheme was pretty awful but Dad told me that Lucas and I could choose something we liked and so long as we did the work, he'd pay for the materials.
Then a tour of the garden! OMG it was big! We paced it out and Dad thought it ran to about half an acre and with no houses at the back of us meant it was nice and secluded.
"Christ! This needs culling and starting all over again! I hope you and Lucas like gardening son because I won't have the time to do it all! It'll also be something of a sun trap as its south facing."
"You know we'll help Dad. Good exercise and all that!"
"Okay then. Let's go back home and discuss it."
Back home we listed all the pros and cons before Mum and Dad decided to make an offer.
"Right. Mum and I will run the keys back to the agents and make them an offer. Given the state of the garden and all the decoration that'll have to be done, I think somewhere in the region of £450.000 against the asking price of £465.000 is reasonable enough."
Jo put on her 'anxious' expression.
"Do you reckon it'll be accepted then?"
"They'd be crazy not to Jo. You see we've been somewhat crafty. My M.D. is looking to buy something that can be used by those families that we have come over from head office on two and three year contracts. We've had our eye on 212 for ages and as it hasn't sold, so its value decreases accordingly so I mentioned this in the office and my boss has agreed that if we did decide to sell, the company would buy this place at the going market price which, according to the valuations we've had is around the £400.000 mark. This would mean no chain of people all trying to sell and buy, just the company and us, no complications, just a straight forward deal."
"Sneaky boy father! I like your style!"
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