Jordan in Okarito
Chapter 19 - Jordan Goes Home
Jordan was SO not happy. This was not how he wanted his life to be – stuck here in the wilderness at the end of the world, alone and friendless. Almost friendless – he had a few friends, a kid like him was never going to be totally alone.
But, apart from Kim and Bonnie there was no-one that he was close to, and they were slipping away as well. Kim was always way too busy with his music and his mate. Him and Jethro really did have it bad – when they were together, everyone else was all-but invisible. And, that Miss Clayton was a slavedriver if ever there was one!
Bonnie was okay, but she was a girl and she was no Cat. There was no-one like the Cat, she was the greatest girl ever – really pretty and delicate looking, but metal all the way and brutal with it. He was not the only one who thought that too. Though he didn't like to talk about it, Gene had a huge crush on the Cat and he had had for a long time.
It was all a one-way thing though. The Cat wasn't interested in Gene like that, he was just her mate, apparently. Silly Girl! Putting two and two together, Jordan suspected that the Cat was more interested in Ashton. Dammit! How Ashton felt, he did not know and he was not about to ask him because he was afraid of the answer he might get.
Ashton and the Cat were spending a lot of time together. They'd even been away for a weekend together, tramping in the hills and sleeping under the stars. Ashton! In the great outdoors! Who ever thought that could happen? Good for them, but where did that leave Jordan? Alone, dammit!
Lucas and his family had moved away, to Christchurch where there was plenty of work for builders – they had a city to rebuild. But the other three were still there in Brownsville – the Tight Three now. Funny, he'd known them all of his life and they were good mates, but now that he was stuck here and not with them, he was getting more and more obsessed, especially with Ashton. He wished he could be with him like Kim was with Jethro!
Ashton was his best mate, or, he used to be. Lately he was not so sure. He'd known him all of their lives. Ashton was not as good-looking as Gene, not as sharp as the Cat and not as strong as Lucas. But there was something about him, something special, and not just his music either, fantastic though that was.
Ever since he'd had to move here, to bloody Okarito, Ashton had been strange, distant, like he was trying to cut all the ties. Why? Jordan might be stuck here for now, but it wouldn't be forever and as soon as he could he'd be going home.
It was true what they said, you don't know what you've got until it's gone and absence really does make the heart grow fonder. He loved Ashton, really loved him. He hadn't realised that before, but now he did – now that it was probably too late. Damm and Buggrit! He really had to get back to Brownsville, even if it was just for a few days. When that was going to happen, he didn't know.
The school term finally ground to an end and the holidays were on them when his mother dropped a bombshell. He was hoping to go to Brownsville, but that was not going to happen, not these holidays, maybe next time.
Sharron was going up to stay with the grandparents in Paraparaumu and there was simply no extra money for him to go anywhere. Besides, she needed him at home. She was working long hours, she was tired and she couldn't do it without him. That was so not fair!
Why couldn't that Bloody Steve get off his butt and do something around the place? It was his house after all and he was doing nothing since he'd lost his job. He was sacked because of his drinking, and now that was all he was doing – drinking beer, blobbing-out in front of the TV and feeling sorry for himself.
'Well, Boo-Bloody-Hoo. Cry me a river!' That idiot was all on his own there, no-one else felt at all sorry for him, no-one at all and especially not Jordan. It was all his own bloody fault. No-one poured the booze down his throat, he did that himself.
And, what sort of monster gets half pissed and drives a dirty great truck on the open road? It was not just stupid, it was criminal and it was a miracle that he hadn't killed some poor innocent out there. What a cheek, sitting around, still drinking and feeling sory for himself. They should lock him up and throw away the keys!
So, here was Jordan, stuck in the house with no decent company. Sharron was away, swanning around at the grandparents', his mum was at work and that Bloody Steve was in his lazyboy chair (appropriate really). He was not in a good mood and the horrible wet and cold day wasn't helping either.
He was on his knees on the kitchen floor with his head in the cupboard and cleaning the bottom shelves. It was a disgusting mess because someone, probably drunk, had knocked over a bottle of tomatoe sauce and the gunk had run down through the cupboards. A call came from the next room.
"Oi! You, Jordan!"
He pulled his head out, sat up straight and sighed. 'What now?'
"Are you listening to me? Where the hell are you?"
"I'm here. What d'you want now?"
"We need some wood for the fire. The basket's empty – time you filled it up."
He usually kept his mouth shut and didn't grumble, not out loud anyway, but not today. He was sick of this, being treated like an unpaid servant. "Fill it yourself. I'm busy here and you're doing nothing. You want wood, you get it."
He bent back to his cleaning. He couldn't hear the reaction from the next room, but there was no mistaking the sound of protesting springs and mechanism as that Bloody Steve hauled himself up out of the chair.
'Wow', Jordan thought. 'He's going to do it. Miracles never cease!'
But that was not what was happening. There were stamping footsteps, and then he was booted on his upraised backside, slamming him forward into the cupboard and hitting his head, hard.
"Fuck! What did you do that for?" He rolled out on to the floor. "That hurt."
"It was meant to," Steve snarled. "Get up and fill that woodbasket now or you'll get what's coming to you."
"Steve! What the hell are you doing? You leave him alone. He's just a kid, you Bullying Bastard!" Jordan's mother was back from work and she was shocked and angry at the scene she'd walked in on.
"You can butt out of it!" Steve turned on her. "It's nothing to do with you and if he did what he's told, when he's told, there'd be no trouble, would there? We need firewood in and he's refusing to do it."
"Would it hurt you to do something for yourself for once?"
"I do plenty around here. The only reason you and your useless bloody sprog have got a roof over your heads is because of me!"
"Bullshit! We've got a roof because I work and pay to keep it there. Who pays the bills? Who puts food on the table? And the beer in the fridge? Me – that's who. I don't see you doing stuff-all to help out."
"Not my fault. I'm between jobs and you know it."
"Between jobs? Yeah, right. How're you ever going to get another one when you won't get out there and look for it? They're not going to come around knocking on the door, not with the record you've got. You leave Jordan alone. He's a good kid and he's my kid, not yours."
"A good kid? He's a lazy, mouthy, good for nothing little shit, and he's queer too. He's bloody useless and you're doing nothing to fix him."
"Fix him? Jordan doesn't need fixing. He's fine as he is. The only useless bloody lump around here is you, Mister!"
"Useless am I?" Steve was roaring now, totally out of control. "I'll show you who's useless, Bitch!"
He hit her. It wasn't the first time; Jordan had never seen it before although he had suspected it was going on. This was no light slap, this was a full-on punch to the face with all of his enraged strength.
There was a sickening 'smack' as his fist connected and again when she flew back and slammed into the wall behind her. She slid down the wall and sat, stunned, crying on the floor.
He stood over her, sneering, as he unbuckled his leather belt and pulled it out of the loops on his trousers.
"Not so cocky now, are we? I'll show you who's Boss around here with a lesson you won't forget."
"You leave my mother alone, you Rotten Bastard!" Jordan came up from the floor roaring. "Hit her again and I'll kill you. I swear I will, I'll fucking swing for you!"
"You? A half-arsed shrimp like you is going to tell me what to do? I don't think so."
Steve swung the belt. Jordan ducked back and he almost missed, but not quite. The doubled end hit his face with a vicious 'slap'.
That hurt, but it didn't scare him off, all it did was make him even madder. That Bloody Steve was twice the size of him and way stronger, but he was too wild to be scared of him.
He attacked and punched him in the gut, in the head, (which hurt his fist), and in the guts again, over and over, as hard as he could.
It was a total waste of time. Steve just sneered, "Like being attacked by a bloody kitten. Fuck off, Midget!" He swatted him away, knocking him backwards into the sink bench.
That knocked the breath out of him and he stood doubled over and gasping. But he couldn't stop now, this was far from over. He grabbed a carving knife from the draining board and brandished it.
"Bastard. I 'll kill you!"
"You reckon?" Steve swung the belt which wrapped around the knife and jerked it out of his hand.
"Kill me? I'll bloody kill you!"
He grabbed him, wrapped both hands around his throat and lifted him off the floor.
He was choking and couldn't breathe. Everything was turning black. He fought and struggled to get free, trying to pull the hands away and kicking frantically.
Steve swung him around and slammed him against the wall, blocked the legs with his body and grunted as he squeezed. "Die, you Little Fucker, die!"
Jordan was on the edge of blacking out when suddenly there was a loud noise, the hands let go and he crashed to the floor.
He lay there gasping and shaking his head, trying to clear the dizziness. He sat up and Steve was lying still, face-down on the floor and his mum was standing over him with a heavy cast-iron frypan in her hands.
"Mum? You downed him. Is he dead?"
"No, still breathing, worse luck."
She dropped the frypan , took Jordan's hand and pulled him to his feet. "Come on, Jordie. We're out of here. Quick, before he comes around."
Sounded good to him, he'd never heard a better idea. They staggered out of the house, out to the street and ran, laughing, away down the road. Free.
Around the corner and out of sight of the house, they slowed to a walk, then she stopped and sat down on someone's low front fence.
"You all right, Mum?" Jordan asked worriedly.
"Never been better," she looked up and smiled. "Just give me a minute, I'm not as young as I used to be."
"Who is?" Jordan grinned back. "Thanks. I thought I was finished there."
"Finished? Not likely! Thank you, my Beautiful boy."
"Anytime. So, where are we going now?"
"Going? I don't know, but I know we're not going back there."
"Can we go home then - back to Brownsville, where we belong?"
"Brownsville sounds good to me. We'll do that, we'll go home to Brownsville. I should have listened to you weeks ago."
"Yeah, you should've. So, how're we going to get there? It's a bit far to walk."
"Far too far. Have you got your phone?"
He patted his pockets and shrugged. "I haven't. I must've left it back there."
"Mine is back there too. Oh well" She stood up."never mind. Come on, we'll go to the Diner and ring from there."
"Who will we ring?"
"My brothers of course. Dennis or Dave, doesn't matter which one. They'll come and get us."
"Cool. Let's go ring the uncles."
They walked up the main street because it felt safer with people around. Outside the Royal Hotel, Miss Clayton was standing, frowning, looking at them coming towards her.
"Hey, Miss Clayton. How's it going?"
"Better than with you, by the look of it. Good Afternoon, Jordan, Mrs. Houston. What have you been doing?"
"Doing?" he shrugged. "Fighting, I guess."
She looked from one to the other. "You've been fighting with your mother?" Her eyebrows raised.
"No. Not with Mum, never with her." They exchanged a wry grin. "We were fighting with her, ah, her boyfriend – that Bloody Steve."
"Ex-boyfriend," his mother nodded. "That is over. We're out of there and we're not going back."
"Probably wise," Miss Clayton nodded. "Steven Mulcavey was a nasty piece of work as a boy and has never improved."
"Got that right, Miss Clayton."
"Don't I always? Where are you two going now?"
"We're going to find a phone, to ring my brothers to come and get us."
"From Brownsville? That will take some time. I think that you had better come in here with me. You can telephone, clean yourselves up and we'll have a nice cup of tea and you can tell me all about it."
"Sure thing," Jordan nodded. "We can do that. Thanks, Miss Clayton. Come on, Mum. We need help."
"We do," she nodded. "Thank you, Miss Clayton."
"Come and sit down in the kitchen. It will be quiet in there right now."
They went through the hotel to the kitchen at the back. As she said, it was quiet in there; there was no-one there at all. Jordan and his mum sat at the table while Miss Clayton made a pot of tea. She bustled around, putting out cups, saucers and all of the fixings while the tea was brewing.
She put the teapot on a heat-pad on the wooden table and sat down at the end.
"Now, Mrs Houston, how do you have your tea?"
"Milk and one suger, thanks. Jordan will have the same."
"As will I. That's simple then." She poured and passed the cups. "Now then, tell me what happened – blow by blow until you finished-up here."
Mrs Houston told their story, with plenty of interjections and comments from the irrepressible Jordan. Miss Clayton sipped her tea and listened quietly, apart from admonitions about Jordan's coarse language.
She finished their story, Miss Clayton sat thinking quietly, and then pulled herself together. "Very well. First I will make a telephone call, and then you can ring your brothers."
She brought the mobile land-line to the table and dialed. "Good Afternoon, Okarito Police Department. Who is speaking please? Ah good. Hello Jeffrey. This is Isadora Clayton and I have got a job for you – a domestic violence case involving serious assault and threatening to kill. I want you to go to 49 Main Street and take Steven Mulcavey inyo custody before he does any more damage to himself or the property.
When that is done, you can come here, to the Royal Hotel and interview his victims, Mrs Houston and her son. I shall have Doctor Julian Rodden come here to examine and record their injuries. Is that clear?"
"Crystal clear," Jeffrey replied. "It'll be a pleasure, Miss Clayton. Time something was done about Mulcavey. I'm on my way and will be there soon."
"Very good. Thank you, Jeffrey." She smiled as they disconnected.
"Wowee!" Jordan was impressed. "I didn't know that you can even order the cops around too."
"Some of them, Jordan, and only sometimes. Jeffrey was a local boy and I taught him for many years. Besides, he thinks that he is going to marry my great-niece, so he won't want to get on my wrong side.
"Nobody does!" Jordan grinned. "Definitely not."
"And don't you forget it, Jordan Houston. Ring your brothers now, Mrs. Houston," she passed the phone over. "Do you need to look up the numbers?"
"I know their numbers, thanks."
"Good then. Get that over with and you can both stay here, in the Royal, overnight or as long as it takes for them to come and get you."
She made a call and spoke to Dennis. It took more time to calm him down than anything else. Finally, she thanked him and disconnected with a sigh. "You were wise getting him taken in. If my brothers got their hands on him there'd be murder done!"
"And we don't want that. I will ring Julian now. Help yourself to another cuppa."
"I will, thanks. Is there somewhere where we could clean up?"
"All in good time. It's best if Julian sees you as you are. You can clean up afterwards. Are your brothers coming for you?"
"They are. They'll borrow the truck again and should be here by lunchtime tomorrow."
"Fine. You can spend the night here then."
Miss Clayton rang the doctor and hung up when she'd finished. "He is on the way."
"Of course he is," Jordan grinned. Is he going to marry your niece too?"
"I hope not - he is my nephew after all."
"I keep forgetting that you are related to half of this town."
"Maybe not half, but quite a few."
"And they all listen to you?"
"If they know what's good for them, they do."
"I think I'd better make one more call," Mrs Houston said."I need to let them know that I won't be coming in to work tomorrow, or any other days."
"Yes. Do that now and get it over with. Relax, Jordan. No-one is going to interfere with you while you're here with me."
"They surely are not!" Jordan sat down again. "Thanks, Miss Clayton, you're brilliant."
"We do what we can."
Mrs Houston finished her call and handed the phone back. "Sorry, Miss Clayton. Dinah is on her way here now."
"As she should. It's not a problem, just relax."
The doctor came and examined and photographed them both. Jeffrey arrived before he'd finished and he interviewed them and took their statements.
He had taken Steve into custody and should be able to hold him for 24 hours, so it would be quite safe for them to go back to the house.
Neither of them was interested in that though, they'd stay where they were, thank you very much!
Miss Clayton installed them in a twin room and they cleaned up, at last. They got no rest for several hours as so many people were coming in as word got around.
They had both made far more friends than they had realised, but that didn't change their minds - they were going home.
Late next morning, Dennis and Dave arrived in the pantithecon again. They made short work of loading up all of their possessions, including Jordan's still-unpacked boxes of junk and treasures, and they hit the road - to Brownsville!
Jordan travelled with his mum in her car and the uncles followed in the truck.
When he had reception, he spent the time texting and telling people that he was coming home. He didn't text Ashton though, for some reason, he wanted to see his face when he told him.
They arrived in Brownsville, at last, and after much pleading and begging, Jordan was dropped off at the end of Ashton's street. (Yes!)
She drove away to Dave's house and Jordan walked up to Ashton's house. He was really nervous now, but it had to be done and the sooner the better.
He banged on the back door, it opened and he was greeted with a big smile and a hug, which hurt his still-sore ribs, but he wasn't complaining.
"Jordan! It's so lovely to see you, boy."
"Hey, Mrs Morris. Good to see you too - really good."
"How long are you back for?"
"For good. We've come back home!"
"That is good news. Ashton will be delighted."
"I hope so. Is he here?"
"Yes, of course he is. He never goes anywhere these days. He's out in his studio."
"He has taken over the shed at the back of the garage for a studio for his music."
"Coolness. I'll go and see him then."
"Yes, do that. He'll be very pleased to see you."
"I hope so. Laters, Mrs Morris."
"See you later, Jordan."
He as insanely nervous now, but it had to bed done. He went around to the back of the old gargage, there was guitar music coming from the shed there.
He took a deep breath and banged on the door, loudly because he knew that Ashton would have his headphones on, he always did.
The music stopped, the door opened and the very gorgeous Ashton stood looking at him. "Jordan?"
"Hey. I'm back! Did you miss me?"
"Were you gone somewhere?" He shrugged.
"Come on, Ashton. I know you missed me. Didn't you?"
"Yeah, I did - a little bit. How long are you back for?"
"Forever. We're back for good and we're going to live in Dave's house for now."
"Really? That's good, I guess. Are you going to be hanging around annoying me again?"
"Of course I am - umm, if you want me to, that is."
"And you won't go away again?"
"Not if I can help it. I love you, Ashton. I've always loved you, I just didn't know how much until I thought I'd lost you."
"I wasn't lost. I've always been here and I always will. It's good that you're back and I did miss you really, I missed you a lot."
"Cool. Does that mean that you love me too - even a little bit?"
"I don't love you a little bit," Ashton frowned.
"You don't?" Jordan's heart sank and his face fell.
"No, not a little bit. I love you a lot - more than I thought I'd ever love anyone - more than my music even. I love you, Jordie. Welcome home."
"That much? Really?"
He kissed him.
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