The Cup Bearer
Gypsy was the last to arrive at the coach, and several curious pairs of eyes watched from the bus as he got out of the estate. He came round to the driver's side and put his head through the lowered window. "Don't look now but eyes are a' poppin' in there. I'll call you in a couple of days, okay?"
"You'll get the sack if you don't," Shana smiled and kissed him.
The coach revved into life and Gypsy hurried on board to be greeted by catcalls and ribald shouts. As he confidently strutted his way down the aisle, he spotted Lorna sitting by herself and staring out of the window. Leaning over he placed a light kiss on her right cheek.
"Thanks, Lorna. Because of you I had a great time tonight."
She looked up, startled, and Gypsy noticed she'd been crying. He winked at her and went to sit down a few seats back. Passing Sandy and Trish, he acknowledged their enquiring looks with a wink. He didn't join the girls on the back seat; he wanted to be by himself to relive the evening he had just spent with Shana and remember the smell of her. None of the teenagers, except perhaps Sandy and Trish, would ever believe that nothing had happened. Who cared what folks thought anymore? Things were turning out okay; right across the board it seemed. Tomorrow, he would join the worship group at Trentham Evangelical Church. Sandy wanted him to sing his worship songs so why not? Maybe he'd even get to enjoy it. After that, the only things he had to worry about were Jose, and what MacCaffrey would say on Monday.
Monday 16th September. 1995
Seated behind his desk, MacCaffrey looked up from the letter he was reading, as Gypsy walked into his study ten minutes before the morning bell. Surprised, the Beak jumped up out of his chair and came round the end of his desk to shake hands with him. "Welcome back, Gypsy." He noted the new sweater, the neatly knotted school tie and white shirt, and thought, if all the boys dressed as smart as this one, he'd be a happy man. Then he sobered as he took in the damage the bikers had done. The scars were just thin lines now, and Gypsy was due for more plastic surgery during the Christmas holiday, but it was his hair that was the most noticeable. Although it was back to its original length at the back, the top still refused to lay flat so he'd had left it wild. At least it was shining clean. "Goodness! I think you've grown a couple of inches, and those sleepers are a new addition, aren't they? You ought to know by now the school's views about jewellery. I just hope you have a sound reason for wearing them?"
"That's what I came to see you about." Gypsy drew a letter from his trouser pocket, "that and my exams."
MacCaffrey took the letter from him. "In that case you'd better sit down." Indicating a chair, he went back to his own and sat down to read the letter written by Edward Grafton and countersigned by Gypsy's father. Satisfied, he rifled through a pile of buff coloured folders to his right. Selecting one he opened it in front of him and skimmed briefly through it. "I really am pleased you're not determined to leave at Christmas like a few silly boys I could name."
"It all depends on my chances of passing the exams next year," Gypsy replied. "I don't want to be wasting my time here when I could be busy elsewhere, but you did say I could take my mocks this month. Thanks for arranging the extra tuition while I was recovering. I think I can cope now."
MacCaffrey concentrated on the folder again and turned a couple of pages over. "You did have a lot of time off school last term and, if Mr Grafton hadn't asked me to find a tutor to supervise the home education program, set by myself and my staff; I'd agree you were wasting your time. But according to these reports from your tutor and your teachers, if you take your mocks now, in private, you have a seventy percent chance of passing some of your exams at least." He tapped the top sheet. "Your marks since you came here are encouraging on the whole. Top of the class in French! That's good."
"My dance mistress in Nashville was French, and my guardian spoke it as often as he did English. He travelled to Canada and France a lot."
"Good, good!" The Beak beamed happily, and went back to reading the report. "Good in Geography and Maths, English excellent, not surprised at that, or your progress in Music. Leave the problem of your mocks to me. Miss Wayne and I can supervise them between us. Now, what I'd like to know is what made you change your mind about not leaving at Christmas? I thought you wanted to concentrate on your stage career?"
"I've had time to think, and I've listened to the advice of someone who knows more than I do. I need more time to sort myself out. I suppose you've heard about the fight with Brian."
"Yes." MacCaffrey gave him a wry smile. "And the reason for it; rather irresponsible don't you think? I was right about Brian though, wasn't I?"
"I guess so. He proved there was no way I could have perfected my act with 'High Street'." He touched his right earlobe. "These are part of that perfection. I know it's against the rules but that letter from Mr. Grafton explains everything. I believe the letter also requests the granting of a work permit."
"What about Different Hats?"
"Why don't you attend the start of term disco tonight, and find out for yourself?"
MacCaffrey nodded. "So, I wasn't far off the mark with my idea." He glanced at his watch and his smile vanished as he shot to his feet. "Goodness, is that the time! Even a head-teacher is ruled by the bell, you know." Coming round the end of the desk as Gypsy rose to his feet, he shook hands with him once more. "I'll always be here if you need any advice. I can always be reached on my home number out of school hours; it's in the book. I make it a point of never turning any pupil away and I find it so rewarding when they come to me and say they want to have a try. And by the way, before I forget, the family definitely want you to entertain at Northwood at Christmas. We've had a new Wurlitzer organ installed in the ballroom, and Brian has reluctantly agreed to play for you. So, what do you say, eh?"
Gypsy looked the Beak straight in the eye and read the genuine yearning for him to say yes. The man really wanted him to, but the Beak took his hesitation as a negative answer and said firmly, "Look, Diaz, I have hopes for you and I want to help you as much as I can. It's a pity you have other plans, as I think you would have made a fine head boy. You wouldn't be the first boy I've taken under my wing and helped along, I can tell you!" and putting an arm round Gypsy's shoulders in a fatherly manner he steered him to the door, adding gently, "Think about it, lad, and call me any time."
Saturday 21st September. 1995
Gypsy stood in the middle of one of the unused attic bedrooms and studied the old fashioned décor. Barry had proved a great help in decorating the rest of the house in such a short space of time, and these two rooms were the last to be done. Perquita and Barry were also looking at the walls, and Gypsy noticed how close they stood, their fingers entwined where they thought he couldn't see.
"What colour would you like these painted in?" he asked his sister.
Perquita shook her head, "It's your house, it's up to you."
"No, you choose."
"It all depends on what you want to use them for," Barry said helpfully.
"Kids," Gypsy turned away so they wouldn't see the laughter in his eyes.
Perquita frowned. "They don't need any more rooms; they make enough mess in the one's they've got now."
"I meant Barry's kids; it's about time they came up for a few days."
Barry grinned. "That would be great. I'd like that very much."
"Okay, how about the half term holidays?"
"In October? Great!"
Forgetting that Gypsy was watching her, Perquita squeezed Barry's hand. "In that case, we haven't much time to get these rooms done. I've wanted to meet your kids ever since you told us about them."
Gypsy smiled inwardly as the conversation turned to colours and wallpaper patterns; it looked like meeting the kids wasn't all Perquita wanted to do. So far, his plans for Perquita were working out quite well; it was all a case of what to do next in his role of cupid.
Sandy grinned at his mate. "Hit me the same way, it 'as. I've been writin' some really good music since I met Trish, and I 'ave you to thank for that." Lifting the lid on his piano, Sandy sat down and began to play his latest composition, and wondered what Gypsy would say if he knew there were words to it as well. He played it through twice then gave Gypsy a sideways glance. "Well, what do you think?"
Gypsy's sighed deeply. "It's really beautiful. It would make a nice song if there were words to it."
"Say no more." Sandy rummaged amongst a pile of paper on top of the piano and finally handed a sheet to Gypsy who read the words, his face clouding with emotion.
"These are lovely lyrics; I didn't know you could write such stuff. I remember the poem you wrote, and the two hymns. They were okay but this is really good."
Embarrassed, Sandy cleared his throat. "I'm afraid I can't take the credit as it wasn't me who wrote it. Pete did."
Gypsy gazed, open mouthed, at the lyrics. "Pete Gaskin wrote this? I don't believe it."
Sandy grabbed the papers from the top of the piano and thrust them at Gypsy. "Take a look at this lot, then. While folks 'ave been calling' 'im for everything', and blaming' 'im for all the trouble in school, he's been writin' love songs by the dozen. Dad always says there's a good side to everyone and this is Pete's. He was too shy to show you himself so I said I would." He watched Gypsy leaf through the papers with open mouthed interest.
He looked again at the one Sandy had presented to him first. "I'd like to try this one."
Sandy began playing the piece and Gypsy began to sing, trying to fit the words to the music. `
"How sad the world, without you, will be.
How cold the night without your love for me.
How deep the pain when you have to go.
How aches my heart for I cannot let you know,
How you've touched me like the warming rays of the sun.
You filled my days with your gentle smile.
You brought me joy, if only for a while.
But I am caged by memories that burn.
And your love, I never can return, and I'll never, no I'll never
Taste the sweetness of the dreams we've just begun."
Lyrics by Dee Jones
As Sandy brought the song to an end he heard Gypsy let out a deep sigh. "I'm amazed, I really am."
"Well, this is only the start, see?" Sandy tapped the papers in Gypsy's lap. "Pete and I are tryin' to put that lot to music, like this one 'ere." He lifted one up and placed it upon the piano and started playing a rousing Samba rhythm, singing cheerfully.
"If you look into the eyes of a gypsy,
You'll never love another, so they say.
He'll take you from your mother
And love you for a night,
Then leave you all alone and ride away.
He's a Spanish Casanova,
He's a devil and a thief,
And laughs when angry fathers hunt him down.
He steals their daughters' hearts away
And leaves them pain and grief,
So beware when the gypsy is in town.
Gypsy grinned and the beginning of a rare musical laugh bubbled in his throat as Sandy played a foot-tapping interlude before going on to the next verse.
"To all you men I give this solemn warning,
If you wish your daughter's wedding to be white.
Lock up your doors and windows
And guard your thresh-holds well,
And never let your daughters out of sight.
He's a Spanish Casanova
And a very cunning man,
And all the gypsy wants is to be free.
He'll never marry anyone
But kiss her when he can,
So beware …….. the gypseeee ……. is me…"
Lyrics by Dee Jones
He finished with a brilliant flourish then sat back and watched Gypsy trying to control his chuckles. "Well? What do you think, then?"
"Very good!" Gypsy replied his enthusiasm brightening his face. "Do you, now what you've done? You've given me my own signature tune."
"Really?" Sandy beamed. "Well there's a turn up for you! I never thought about it like that."
"Yeah, even if it sounds more like my dad than me. That's how I was born." Gypsy sobered quickly and added. "I wonder if there are any more little Diaz offspring roaming the world."
"Hey, you could have loads of brothers and sisters," Sandy teased him "How about that!"
"Yeah." Gypsy looked thoughtful. "How about that?"
During the half term holiday Barry's two children were brought up from South Wales by Barry's parents on their way to York. Lucia immediately claimed Stevie as her special playmate, and Rhiann was captivated by Gypsy, gazing at him with wide-eyed adoration and having eyes for no one else. The Gomez children thought it very amusing while Gypsy had to get used to having a mini 'groupie' follow him about the house.
In turn, Gypsy and Manuel thought it amusing to see Barry and his children walking out to the park with Perquita and Lucia. "It looks like wedding bells are going to be ringing soon," Gypsy commented.
"Do you think so?" Manuel asked.
"Don't tell me you didn't see the signs, the night Barry arrived. Come on, Dad, it was love at first sight! It's a good thing we had the house decorated and I didn't go through with my original plan."
"Is that what you meant when you told Barry you had some sleeping arrangements to sort out?"
"Yeah; I was thinking of moving back to the top floor and letting Barry have my room down here. Now it looks like Barry and Perquita will need the top floor for themselves and his kids.
"What about Ramon and Jose?"
"They can have Perquita's room."
"You've got it all worked out, haven't you?"
"That I have, Dad, that I have."
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