Lost and Found
by Jack Kendle
Next morning, I woke before Hannah. She was still fast asleep after I came out of the shower and even though I didn't make any particular effort to be quiet as I dressed, she showed no sign of coming out of her deep sleep for a while yet. She certainly had had a skinful last night; compared with her usual abstemious self, so I wasn't surprised she was still fast asleep. I half hoped she would have forgotten our conversation of the night before, but somehow I knew it couldn't be the case. If I knew anything about her, I knew she had certainly filed it away to be dredged up later.
Sighing, I went downstairs to make some coffee and read the Sunday papers. I glanced at her phone as I passed by: 5 missed calls. I didn't bother to check this time; somehow I guessed it would be this Ben. How could he be so dim to ring her phone during the night, when he must have known I would be at home as well? I think, maybe it was Hannah's mistake in not turning it off. I thought about how I would play this one, as I waited for the coffee to brew. Should I confront her and ask her who this Ben was, or should I just let it go, but keep my eye on her a bit more? I decided on the latter. I didn't want to make an ass of myself if it was something totally innocent, though I could hardly see how late-night calls to my wife could be totally innocent. It then occurred to me that this Ben might work with the firm and was perhaps abroad on business, in another time zone; yet another reason to keep my own counsel. I would watch and wait and see if Hannah gave anything away, or volunteered any information.
I took my coffee to the terrace and sat in the early morning autumn sunshine and began to plough my way through the paper, but I only registered about half of what I read. I was thinking about Leo and how what happened last evening would develop. I was still nervous that I would be found out. Leo was only sixteen, after all, and certainly not sufficiently mature to keep a secret, or at the least guard his tongue. I was, in effect, under the sword of Damocles; one slight error on Leo's part and it would plunge down on to me. I shivered slightly in the cool morning air. I had been very, very stupid last night. I should have said 'no' to Leo and controlled myself, but in a moment of weakness, I let happen what happened. I had only myself to blame. But last night was the culmination of at least one of my fantasies. I had been in Heaven. I couldn't see what Leo saw in me, a middle-aged man, whilst he was a teen angel. As well as being somewhat scared, I was happy too. Leo had been incredible and he had more or less said he wanted to do more with me. It sounded like my dreams had come true, but I knew that I would probably have to disappoint him… and me.
My thoughts turned to JJ and his brother Daniel. Leo had been so crushed by the absolute lack of interest Daniel had shown in him after the rehearsal. But, he shouldn't have been. It was Daniel's first rehearsal and he was probably shy himself. I sort of had the feeling that underneath the couldn't-care-less exterior, there was a deeper, more involved person inside. I thought about JJ telling me that Daniel spent a lot of his time listening to classical music, so perhaps there was more to him than he wanted to give out. He certainly played the violin with maturity beyond his years. I decided I would try and get through to him. And I did want him and Leo to get on; after all, they were the only two boys in the group and it would be odd, to say the least, if they didn't befriend each other in the face of 'the enemy'!
Which brought me to JJ, Tommy's coach and Daniel's brother. I thought I knew I was only attracted to teen boys, but something about JJ I found really hot. Anyway, I thought, he can't be more than about twenty-three or four, so he's not that old.
I pictured him again, in his blue running gear, those tight shorts hugging his tight rounded ass and accentuating his generous package. I wondered about whether he was gay or just a very nice young man. It would be too much to hope for, I sighed. I knew I would have to keep my hands off Leo and it would have been nice if JJ were gay, but that would just be too good to be true.
In my mind, I began to realise I would have to settle for my usual fantasies. Leo would be upset, but he would have to understand my problem. If only, if only it could happen. Why was everything so fucking difficult? I swore under my breath. At that moment, Hannah came out on to the terrace, sleep still in her eyes. She was in her dressing gown and had grabbed a coffee on her way out.
"What's eating you?" she asked, none to gently. I secretly hoped she had the mother of all hangovers. Serve her right!
"Nothing special," I lied. I waved the paper at her. "Usual crap from the politicians."
She gave a short sniff and took the financial section to read. So far, so good. No recriminations about last night. Yet. I went back inside to get a refill. I noticed Hannah's 'phone was not there any more. So she had seen all the calls she had received. I wondered again about this Ben. Just then, the house-phone rang. I answered it.
"Jack Kendle?" A husky voice, I couldn't make out whether it was male or female. It was certainly one I didn't recognise and the number was unknown to me.
"Speaking," I replied.
"You don't know me," the voice went on. "This is Anna Johnston, Daniel Johnston's mother."
"Ah, yes, good morning," I replied.
"I'm sorry to call so early on a Sunday, I hope I'm not disturbing you."
"Not at all," I said.
"I was wondering whether you might be free to come by sometime today. I would like to chat to you about Daniel and get to meet you. I'm so grateful to you for taking him into your orchestra."
"No problem," I said, "he came highly recommended from Susan Tomason and I trust her opinions completely. I'm sure he'll be an asset to the orchestra once he settles in."
"That's part of what I would like to discuss with you. Might you be free for coffee this afternoon?"
"Yes, I should be free," I answered.
"The address is 25 Leith Hill. Shall we say four o'clock then?"
"Sounds good," I affirmed.
"Look forward to meeting you," she said, and we said our goodbyes and hung up.
I didn't know how Hannah would take this latest encroachment on my free time, on a Sunday at that, but quite honestly, I didn't care all that much. It was part of my work and she would have to lump it. I had the prospect of perhaps seeing JJ again and also getting to know Daniel better. I wondered how he would behave on his own territory, as it were.
"Who was that?" asked Hannah when I returned to the garden.
"A student's mother," I replied. "She wants to meet with me this afternoon. Just moved into the neighbourhood, wants to size me up I suppose."
Hannah sniffed at that, but said nothing. I noticed her mobile was on the table; the list of missed calls and messages had been erased.
"Actually, it is a bit inconvenient," she said at length. "I had planned to go into the office this afternoon and wanted you to collect the kids. But I suppose I can wait till you get back. You won't be that long I suppose?" It was not a question; it was a directive.
"Sure," I said. "Shouldn't take long." I wondered what this office trip was all about. I immediately wondered if 'office' meant Ben.
"You'll probably have to fix the dinner for you and the kids; I might be some time."
"It must be serious if you have to go in on a Sunday," I said, probing a little.
For a moment, it seemed as though Hannah looked a little guilty, but it could have been my overactive imagination.
"Yes, it is" she said, colouring a little. "We have a big project on, the office has been trying to reach me. I might even have to go away for a few days, settle some ruffled feathers, tie up some loose ends," she added.
So that was what all the calls were about.
"Whatever," I replied, "I'm sure me and the kids will be fine. How long do you think you'll be away?"
"I don't know yet, I might know more when I get home this evening."
So, either it was a devious ruse, or else it really was legitimate. Somehow, though, I felt as though Hannah was holding something back. But I couldn't be sure. She rose and said she was going for a shower, and then she would go and collect the kids. I was a bit surprised at this, it usually fell to me to do chores like that, but I wasn't going to volunteer. She had decided that that's what would happen and once her mind was made up… I replied that I would go to the deli for something nice for lunch whilst she was in the shower. At least, whilst she was away, I would have time and some privacy to chat with Jacob. I really needed his advice.
The kids collected from their various sleepovers, lunch over and various chores done, I went into the den to do some work. It was too risky, with the house full, for me to go into the computer and read my private mail or chat with Jacob. Hannah knew about Jacob, but thought he was just a musical acquaintance, which was how I introduced him. I couldn't have private chats with him if Hannah was about; so, if she was, Jacob and I had a code so that we chatted about general things, all above-board and innocent.
So, I went into the den to do some composing.
I had a lot of ideas, a lot of images, mostly Leo and me and JJ and even Daniel. The music progressed well; it was almost as if it took me over completely, I was just the instrument for writing it down.
It sometimes happens like that, when I am composing. I get up after an hour or so and wonder where all that music came from; it's as though I have been in a trance all the time and the music has almost been dictated to me. I know that's rubbish, of course, but that is how it feels sometimes. This was one of those occasions. I was totally lost in my own sound world and the notes came easily. The piece certainly seemed to reflect my emotions and desires, and the shining object of Leo seemed to be its inspiration. I looked forward to when the kids would start rehearsing it with me.
Almost before I knew it, it was time for me to leave for Anna Johnston's place for our meeting.
"Don't be long," Hannah warned me, "I will have to get to the office as soon as you get back."
"I'll be as quick as I can. It will take as long as it takes," I replied, annoyed that I was expected to jump to Hannah's time schedule. Her office could bloody well wait!
I got another dark look as I turned and left the house, but I didn't care. I was not going to be bullied. If my meeting was a long one, then tough! Hannah would have to understand that I wasn't going to sit and roll over at her command like a pet dog.
[For those who use webmail: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, etc). Each browser is subtly different or we'd give fuller instructions here. If it pastes with %40 in the middle, replace that with an @ sign.]