The Bull Singer
I didn't want to wake him, preferring to watch him in the deep innocent slumber of a child. But as I planted a gentle kiss on his right cheek, he stirred and his eyes flickered open to blink up at me. "Mags? I'm sorry." His words were slurred with sleep. "Don't be angry, please. I had to come."
"Now why would I be angry?" I slipped my arms under him and lifted him into a loving hug. He lifted his arms and placed them round my neck, and sighed against my shoulder. I rubbed my face against his hair, loving the clean smell of shampoo under my nose.
"Did you know thinking rots your brains?" I laughed as I laid him back against the pillows, but he still held me with his arms round my neck. His eyes filled with tears as he forced my head down untill our lips met. His arms tightened about me as we exchanged a passionate kiss, tongues fighting for space. I reached under the duvet and found he was still clothed. I searched for the edge of his T-shirt and slipped my hand under it to caress him from armpit to the top of his briefs. But I went no further. I had to stop or things would have gone too far. I had to tell him first, and let him make a choice, but I had to have Dad's permission to do so, in fact I realised it was Dad's job to tell him. I withdrew my wandering hand and broke the kiss.
"Before we do somethin we might regret there is something you need to know."
He let me go and frowned up at me. "What?"
"It's for Dad to tell you. Come downstairs with me."
"Is it so important?"
"Yes, I guess it is." I moved off the bed and let him get up to put his pants back on. Once he had his shoes and socks on and had tidied his hair up, he slipped a hand into mine and we walked down to the first floor landing. I knocked on my bedroom door and waited.
After a few minutes it opened a crack and Dad peered out. He opened it wide and we stepped in. I noticed he only had his pants on. Pete was in the bed sleeping. I raised an eyebrow at Dad and he shrugged his bony shoulders. "The lad just needed a bit of comfort, that's all. Now, what do you want?"
"It's what Joey wants, not me."
Dad looked at Joey, realised what I meant and nodded. Waving us to the two bedroom chairs, which I drew together by the bed, he sat down on the foot of the bed, careful not to wake Pete. "Joey, what I'm going to say might cause you to feel hurt, but it might hopefully please you as well. It all depends on which way you look at things. The thing is, Joey, Elias Chambers is not really your Grandfather, not by blood anyway, although he was married to your Grandmother."
Joey's eyes widened as they flicked back and forth between Dad and I. "What? No way. He's the only grandfather I've ever known. So who is this other grandpa I'm supposed to have?" By the tone of his voice I knew he didn't believe Dad.
"I am," Dad said gently.
Joey stared wide-eyed at Dad before he jumped up out of his seat and strode away from us. "No. I don't believe you."
"It's true, Joey," I said. "Elias told me himself. Remember me being angry when I came to tell you I had to leave? At the time I felt the same way you do now. I didn't believe it either."
Still not turning to look at me, Joey snapped out, "Why didn't you tell me then?"
"Because Elias made me promise not to. But I felt I had to tell Dad I knew, just like I feel now that you should know too and so I could tell you why I really left Marble House. I'm your uncle." Joey shook his head and started for the door. I stood up and reached for my mobile. "Here, take this and call Elias yourself. Press address book, then press four for speed dial. Take it upstairs if you want to talk in private."
Joey snatched the phone and dived out of the room, and I heard his footsteps as he ran up the attic stairs. I turned back to my Dad who sat with tears falling unchecked down his cheeks. I went to him and put my arms round him, holding him close to my chest. After a bit, he calmed down enough for him to push me away. "Thanks, son. I'm okay now. What with trying to cope with Pete's tale and now Joey, I lost it for a bit."
"Is this for real? You and Pete?"
Dad glanced up at me while he fished for a hanky. "I don't think so; I'm just kidding myself. He said he's finished with his past life and wants to settle down and be loved." Dad chuckled. "I said I should look for a toy-boy, and I suppose I've found one; but now I feel I want to be like a dad to him instead of a lover. The thing is where am I going to put him and keep him safe?"
I sat down in one of the chairs. "I suppose you could use the cottage. It's just about ready to move into, and you said you'd like to live there. Pete can drive so you can use my BMW while I'm away with the band; I'll add him to my insurance. You and Pete can keep tabs on Joey from there. If push turns to shove you could have Joey live with you. As it is we'll need someone with a car to run Joey to school and back, and to Aunt Millie's."
Dad nodded and glanced toward Pete who was beginning to stir. "Okay, lad; I'll chew things over with Pete and see what he says. At least Faring's men won't find him there in a hurry; anyone going to Home Farm would have to go past the cottage, wouldn't they?"
At this, Pete's head popped up from under the duvet. "Did I hear someone mention Faring?"
"Crafty little sod!" Dad grabbed the duvet and started to pull it off him. "I might have known you weren't sleeping."
"Nah! I did drop off but only for a few minutes." Peter grabbed the duvet back and sat up grinning. "I thought you were supposed to be giving me a therapy cuddle, so come on back to bed."
"Not right now, son, much as I would love to." Dad reached for his shirt and sweater hanging on the foot of the bed. "We have family matters to sort out, and you just might be able to help us. Why don't you cover that lovely young body of yours with some clothes and come and join us."
Boy, I was so mad! Why was everyone keeping things from me, and telling me lies? I punched number four on Mags's phone, not knowing who to believe. After such a short time, I had got used to having Elias around, and him being my doting granddad and Benji my great uncle. I'd promised to phone them every day, and now this! While I waited for my call to be answered I couldn't stay still, and I prowled the attic room, kicking at things and generally taking my temper out on whatever was to hand. I had just kicked over a bedside chair when Benji answered me. "Marble House, can I help you?"
"Quit the shit, Ben, and put me through to Elias."
"Joey! Is there something wrong?"
"You bet there is, now let me speak to Elias."
"I'm sorry, your grandfather is in conference and can't be disturbed. Can I help?"
"Like hell he's my grandfather. Now you put me through or I start talking to Angela."
The phone remained silent for some ten or so seconds, before I heard Elias say, "Joey, who told you I wasn't your grandfather?"
"Mags and his dad; they told me some stupid story about Edward being my real grandfather. Now you either tell me the truth or I talk to Angela and I don't care what shit you are in."
I heard him sigh then whisper to someone in the room with him. Then he spoke into the phone with a sob in his voice. "Joey, I'm sorry you found out this way, I really am. Yes it's true. I'm still your grandfather by marriage, but yes, Edward is your biological grandfather. He had an affair with my wife, and Angela was the result of that union."
"You lied to me. All those things you said were just a load of lies, weren't they? Are you some kind of pervert looking to entice a kid with your big house and lackeys?"
"No, Joey. I have always loved you and always will, as a grandparent should, because of your grandmother. It was Angela who kept us apart. If she had been sensible about things, you would have met your grandmother, a very sweet lady. She died of a broken heart because we were not allowed to see our only grandchild and love you as we wanted, so we could only love you from affair."
"Why don't I believe you?"
"Perhaps if I tell you about my wife's affair with Edward, you might understand. You see, Joey, after I was shot I was unable to give your grandmother Marian the child she so desperately wanted. I knew they were very fond of each other; I would never have allowed anyone else to be with Marian. So when they started their affair I never told them I knew about it, even though it broke my heart. I allowed them to have an affair until she became pregnant. After that, I asked Edward to leave, and promised that I would help him financially whenever he needed anything. I also promised I would tell him about the birth and whether he had a son or a daughter. Little did either of us know we had bred a monster of a child until it was too late to help her good side to grow; if she ever had a good side. I kept Edward posted over the years about your growth and your progress, through Ben's diligence at finding your where-bouts each time you moved. Finally I had to turn to Edward for help when Angela informed me she was being hunted by several ex-business clients of hers; all of them capable of doing her and her businesses a lot of harm, and possibly killing her in the process. I did not know how badly she treated you and refused to believe the reports Ben gave me. Even though I hate her for what she has done to you, she is still my stepdaughter and I would help you both for Marian's sake. So, Joey, now you know the whole truth about your mother's birth, it is up to you whether you accept me and my help, or destroy me through your mother, it's up to you. Do you understand me, Joey?"
At first I couldn't speak and I sat down on the bed, looking at the phone and willing it to disappear, because I slowly realised that the man who had helped me experience my first step to self discovery, was now my uncle. I put the phone on speaker and said, "Yeah, I understand. Especially now I know who my uncle is; thank you very much." I switched off the phone and threw it at the nearest wall.
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