Brownsville Tales

by Kiwi

Boy Chapter 10

Ronnie showed Boy where the showers were and told him to throw all of his clothes out on the floor. He went to his room, got some warm clothes for him to wear and took them to the bathroom.

Boy was already in the shower and Ronnie could almost see him through the fogged-up glass door. He could see his long, slender shape and coffee-coloured all-over tan, but couldn't see much in the way of details, worse luck.

He would've loved to get in there with him, but thought he'd better not. He wasn't sure what their relationship was about now and didn't want to freak him out. The last thing he needed was for Boy to run away again. It'd been so long since he'd seen him last he'd feared that he would never see him again.

"Okay in there, Boy?"

"Yeah, thanks. This is great! All right if I use the shampoo?"

"'Course! Use anything you want. Oh, I'd better get you a towel too. I'll do that now and chuck your clothes into the washing machine, okay?"

"Yes, okay. Thanks, Ronnie."

"No worries, My Friend. Come back to the living-room when you've finished.

"Be there soon."

He took Boy's clothes to the laundry, left a couple of towels in the bathroom and went back to sit and wait by the fire. Boy came in a few minutes later, combing his fingers through his damp and tangled hair. He was wearing Ronnie's clothes - rugby socks, faded blue jeans and a red hoodie with a white t-shirt.

He looked good. Ronnie thought that those clothes never looked that good on him (but they did!).

"Okay, Boy?" Gran looked in.

"Yeah, good thanks. Feels much better now."

"That's good then. Sit down there and I'll bring it to you - just hot roast-beef sandwiches. I suppose you'll want some too, Ronnie?"

"Thanks, Gran. I think I could force myself."

"I'm sure you will."

She came back, left a couple of plates of the thick sandwiches and went back to the kitchen. Next time she returned she brought steaming mugs of drinking chocolate and tea for herself.

"If you want more sandwiches, you'll have to get them yourself. I've finished in the kitchen for today."

"Thanks, Gran. These are great."

"They are!" Boy agreed. "And there's plenty here. Do you still make your own bread?"

"I do," Gran nodded. "But I've got one of those bread-making machines now, much easier than doing it by hand."

"Still good bread," Boy smiled. "Much better than that bleeding Maori Bread."

"You don't like that?"

"I don't, I never have, it's awful stuff."

"Some maori you are!"

"Shaddup, Honkie!" He was still grinning.

Finished eating, they sat back with their drinks and relaxed, at opposite ends of the same couch.

"So, Boy," Gran said. "Where have you been all of this time?"

"In Aus. The family all moved over there when Koru decided that he wasn't dying after all."

"I'm glad he did! Have they all moved back to New Zealand now?"

"No, not all of them. Most of them are still around Brisbane. I came back here on my own."

"All that way?"

"It's just a couple of flights - to Auckland, and then down to Nelson. I got a bus from there and here I am."

"Wow." Ronnie was impressed. "You made of money?"

"Yeah, sort-of. I was but not now. It cost a fortune!"

"I imagine it did," Gran nodded. "A lot of money for a boy. What brought you back to Brownsville?"

"The bus did!" Ronnie exclaimed.

"Don't be funny, Mr. Smartie-Pants. We know that. Boy, why did you come back here?"

"This was my home and it's where I belong. I haven't been happy since we left, so I came back."

"All that way. You came back without your family. Do they know where you are?"

"No, they don't, and that's the way I like it."

"Okay, it's your business, but I really think that you should tell them that you're alive and well and where you are. If it was one of our boys, I'd be worried sick. No? Okay. Now, if you're on your own, where are you going to be staying?"

"I don't know now. I was hoping that Ronnie would let me stay in his reading-room until I found something, but that won't be happening."

"Obviously not. Ronnie, you're happy to see your friend again aren't you?"

"Oh yes!" Ronnie sighed.

"Yes, I thought so. Just wanted to make sure. Boy, you're welcome to stay here with us, we've got plenty of room for you. There's still a bedroom up in the old cottage on Swanson Street, use that if you like. I know that you don't like being underground."

"That was a long time ago, when we were kids. I'd rather be down here in the shelter if it's all the same. It's safe and secure down here."

"Of course you can stay down here! I just don't want to put you where you wouldn't be comfortable."

"I'm comfortable down here. Thanks, Mrs. Martin."

"That's good then," she smiled. "Ronnie can get you set-up in a bed, there's plenty to choose from. Boy, think about ringing your parents. I'd be much happier if you did and I'm sure that they would be too. Think about it, okay?"

"Yeah, I will. Thanks. Where are Reggie and Mr.Martin?"

"Oh, they're up in Dad's workshop, working."

"Working at this time of the day?"

"Well, kind-of working. Reggie's working part-time for Dad and, after-hours, they're building a hot-rod together."

"They are," said Gran. "It's an excellent bonding-exercise for a faher and son."

"You're not involved in that, Ronnie?"

"I'm not. It's not my world and I'm not interested."

"But he's your father too."

"Sure he is, but Reggie's the grease-monkey, not me."

"Okay."

They went out and Ronnie installed Boy in the bedroom across from his. He would've preferred to just bring him into his own room, but thought that he'd better not do that, not yet anyway. He still didn't know what sort of relationship they were going to have.

He knew what he wanted, but could they just go right back to where they were when they were 13?

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