Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Entangled Tales - 4 - Peter & Jay

Claire, the clown, led the way inside, her enormous shoes flip-flopping into the living room. Her brother stood at his usual place behind his electronic keyboard at the end of the living room. He was surrounded by CD and record players, tapedecks and assorted, mysterious audio equipment.

He wore huge headphones, his eyes were closed and his small, slender body swayed to and fro as he sang silently and his fingers played muted music that only he could hear.

Dee walked across, leant over the keyboard and lifted the headphones clear of his head. "Peter my friend. Have I got a surprise for you?"

He jumped back, blue eyes opened and a quick frown crossed his freckled face. "Fuck it, Dee. Now I've gotta start all over again."

Aww, Grumpybum. Why's everyone swearing at me today? Never mind whatever it is you're doing, I've got something to show you. You'll really like it, but you've got to come with me right now. I've got Dad's car outside."

"Come with you? In a car? I've seen your driving."

"I'm not that bad. I've never had an accident yet, well nothing serious anyway."

"That's only because everyone gets out of the way when they see you coming. You're a menace on wheels, Dee Jamieson. How many tickets has your father given you anyway?"

"None at all. Are you coming or not? Time's wasting here."

"Time's wasting, yeah. I'm really busy you know."

"Peter, you're always busy here. Come on, get out of your comfort zone for once. Come and see. Claire can drive if that'll make you happy."

"Claire? Dressed like that? No thanks. I'll take my chances with you, I think. Besides," (he grinned cheekily), "we don't want big sister along on our first date, do we?"

"It's not a date, you cheeky little sod."

"A date would be a surprise, wouldn't it? What have you got to show me anyway?"

"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise, would it? But you'll like it. Come on and . . . Oh, Damn!"

Claire's mother came into the room and beamed when she saw Dee there. "Dee! My lovely girl. Just the person I'm looking for."

"Hello Mrs.Lewis. Goodbye Mrs.Lewis. Can't stop - huge hurry." She rushed for the door. "Come on, Peter. Now."

"But, Dee dear, I've got a little job for you."

"Later, Mrs.Lewis." She hurried out to the car.

Peter followed, chuckling. "You won't get out of it you know, she'll get you at school tomorrow. Besides, you'll make a lovely cow's backside."

"Yeah, yeah. Some people are just too bossy. Seat belt on, Peter."

"Certainly I'm putting the seat belt on. Have you got a crash helmet too?"

"Ha, ha."

Dee hurried back uptown with Peter pantomiming a terrified passenger beside her. His short, fair hair stood on end, but it usually did anyway.

"Hey!" he said as they pulled into the Kynnersley's driveway and stopped in front of the garage. "This is not your house. You live next-door don't you? So where's the surprise? Have you got a boyfriend for me then?"

"No I have not. Well, probably not. Come on inside and you'll find out. It's to do with music of course."

"Oh, music. Of course it is what else? I wouldn't mind a bit of the other though."

"Don't be disgusting. Get your own pimp, Kid. C'mon. in here."

"Not a date, not a pimp, we're running out of guesses here," he muttered as he followed Dee through to the rear of the garage.

"Jay! Are you decent?" Dee sang out as she pushed her way into his room. "Wow! Did a "tidy-up" bomb go off in here? Jacob Kynnersley, this is Claire's brother, Peter Lewis. You guys know each other?"

"I've seen him around. Hello Jacob."

"Hi Peter. Call me Jay. Only my mum and bossy-boots here call me Jacob, usually when I'm in trouble."

"Okay, whatever. Are these your drums? What have you done with them?"

"Well, show him what you've done with them, Jay. Peter, you sit up here on the bed with me or you'll get knocked flying."

"Oooh - kinky. I knew it was a date."

"Shut up, Peter. Play, Jay."

Okay. My audience doubles in size then."

Jay turned on the CD, picked up his golden drumsticks, nodded his head and - exploded!

He played a repeat of his earlier energetic performance. On finishing, he stood panting slightly, looking at his audience with a question in his eyes.

Peter's reaction was the same as Dee's had been. "Awesome! Great. That was totally - we have an undiscovered talent here, people. Where did you learn to play? Nobody plays drums like that."

"Jay does, all day, every day. He's been practicing for years. He's good isn't he?"

"He's good. The drumming's okay, Jay, as good as anyone's. But the performance, the dancing - totally awesome dude."

"Thanks," said Jay, beaming. "So what now?"

"Yes Dee," said Peter. "What now, Miss Bossy-boots?"

"What now? It's obvious what now, isn't it? You like music. He likes music. Jay wants someone to make music with - there's a keyboard, brand-new condition apparently. So play! Make beautiful music together. Get to know each other. Share! I'll be back, I've just got to go and get something for Dad's supper and to fix him a cut-lunch too. He's on bloody night shift again."

"Dee, it's getting late. I can't stay long. Mum's really tough on bedtime on school nights, funnily enough."

"Okay. Okay. I won't be long and then I'll be back to take you home. So stop wasting time already. Men! And don't call me Bossy-boots."

Dee hurried off leaving the two boys standing there grinning at each other. "If the boots fit, wear them eh? Is she always this bossy?"

"Only when she's awake."

"No wonder she hangs out with my bossy sister. They must coach each other. So you've got a keyboard? How come you don't play it?"

"I just like the drums. The grandparents bought the keyboard for my last birthday but I just can't get into it, not when my drums are here."

"So, how many birthdays have you had? How old are you, Jay?"

"Fifteen. I'm fifteen, nearly sixteen."

"Fifteen? Is that all? Big, aren't you? I'll bet you could get served in a pub, no trouble."

"Maybe. If the lights were turned down low and they were really busy. I keep getting bigger, but the face is still as smooth as a baby's bum."

"Nice picture."

"Okay. So how old are you anyway?"

"Fourteen, and, yes - don't tell me I don't look it. I get that all the time, "small for his age isn't he?" Well I can't help it, it runs in the family. Dad says he was always called "Babyface" until he scraped up enough whiskers to grow a beard. Now he's called 'Face." He'd probably still pass for a kid if he shaved it off."

"It must have some advantages though?"

"What? Getting treated like a kid all the time, just because I look like one?"

"There's the movies? The ticket prices I mean.."

"Sure. I can get in half-price anywhere, but try getting in to an R16 movie with a mug like this. How come Dee's got to go and feed her dad then?"

"There's just her and her father there. Her mum got tired of being Mrs.Plod, the policeman's wife, and she took off with a boyfriend a while ago. Didn't you know that?"

"Yeah. Of course I knew that. Everyone knows everything in a small town. But, I mean, surely he could feed himself?"

"I suppose he could, but Dee likes being the chief cook and bottlewasher. Probably means that she gets to boss him around too."

"Of course she does. So, what music have you got here?"

They spent the next hour or so sharing music, trying a few tunes and just getting to know each other a little. Jay found himself slyly checking out the other boy and wondering just how immature the fourteen-year-old's trim little body was anyway. But, he didn't like boys, not like that. Did he?

Peter, on the other hand, was also checking him out and trying to picture how well he and this big and long, (but cute!), boy would fit together. Probably not that well. The kid was half as big again as he was. Well, maybe a quarter, a lot anyway. Maybe he'd make a bodyguard? He was big enough, but that open, eagerly friendly face was about as scary as a Labrador puppy's. Oh well.

Dee returned fussing. "Hey Guys. Sorry I took so long. Bloody Digby and Reid both showed up. I swear, they just know when it's suppertime. Sometimes I think that I'm running a police canteen. How's it going here then? You ready for home, Peter?"

"Yeah, I'm ready. It's been real, Jay, but I've got to get home before the mother goes ballistic on me."

"Thanks Peter, for coming around. It has been great. So, umm, can you come back again? Tomorrow maybe? Or..."

"I don't know. I really am busy, got a lot on right now, working on my "opus." Plus I've got to get the music together for Mum's concert party, and - well, I don't know if I've got the time. I'm not a performer, I just like recording and doing arrangements. That's my thing really."

"Okay. Well, umm, thanks anyway."

At the sight of Jay's fading smile and apparent disappointment, Peter relented a little and continued. "Well, maybe. I'll think about it. I'll let you know, okay?"

('Damn. What did I say that for?')

(Sigh.) "Whatever. Thanks, and thank you, Dee. It was a good idea at the time. G'night all."

"Night, Jay."

"Later, Dude."

Days later, in the morning, at school. In the long congested corridor where the student's lockers lined the walls, the usual milling, yelling, chaos was happening as hundreds of students fought to sort out their books and gear needed for the day.

Jay was weaving through the crowd on his way out when he saw Peter Lewis being bounced against the wall of lockers by a large, bull-headed, sneering youth.

Once, twice, three times he shoved him, then he swung his clenched fist upwards and knocked the load of books out of Peter's arms. Books flew in all directions and his pencil case burst open on the floor.

"Hold these." Jay handed his own books to Toddy and pushed his way through to Peter's side.

"Okay, Brad, very clever. Now let's see you pick up the kid's books and stuff for him."

"What? Fuck off Kynnersley. Little faggot can pick his own stuff up, he dropped it."

Jay grabbed a handful of the bully's shirtfront and, with one hand, effortlessly lifted him clear off the floor. "I said," he hissed through clenched teeth. "You will pick them up." He bounced him against the locker doors, one, two, three times. "Or do I bounce your thick head on the floor?"

"I can get it," said Peter, starting down.

"No you won't, Brad will, won't you, Brad?" Jay lifted him higher until his arm extended out straight and Brad's red face was high above the crowd of now quiet students.

"Okay, okay. Let me down, Dammitall!"

Peter stood watching Brad scramble around collecting his belongings. He looked up at Jay's impassive face and queried. "So the puppy turns out to be a Rotweiller? Where'd you get to be so frigging strong?"

"Drumming, dancing. Every day, hours of it."

One of Brad's mates stepped forward, but fell back at a glare from Jay. They all stood and watched Brad collect everything up. He handed the stack back to Peter, muttering, "It was just a bit of fun."

"Don't fuck with my friends, Stephens, or I'll show you a bit of fun."

As Jay walked away, he heard one of the others mutter. "You'll get yours, Kynnersley, just wait."

"Any time, Brooks," he replied without looking back. He returned to Toddy, collected his own books, and the normal chaos returned to the locker room as they walked away.

'Oh yes,' Peter thought as he moved off himself. 'Definite bodyguard material there.'

At lunchtime, Peter sat alone in his usual place, on the steps in the courtyard, leaning against a verandah post, listening to music on his old Walkman's headphones.

Jay came along and sat down next to him, touching his arm to get his attention. "Hey, Peter."

"Hey yourself, Big Guy. Aren't you worried about being seen with me? People will talk you know."

"Nah. Fuck the lot of them."

"Really?" (scanning around the crowd), "Do you think we've got time?"

"No joke like an old joke. Seriously, I don't give a toss about what little minds think."

"So you're not worried about being seen having lunch with the gay boy?"

"No. Why should I?"

"Aren't you just full of surprises today? You're a lot tougher than you look, in more ways than one. Look, thanks for sticking up for me this morning, but you don't have to do that you know. I can handle myself."

"Didn't look like it to me."

"Well I can. A few jerks pushing me around doesn't bother me that much. I'm used to that - I should be by now. They'd never go too far, my mother is a teacher after all."

"Your mum wasn't around this morning, but I was. You might be used to it, but I'm just sick of the bullies around here. Anyone would think that they were running the place."

"They are, aren't they? Largely."

"Yeah, largely. Well I'm larger, no-one pushes me around and I'm not standing back watching them push my friends either."

"Friends?"

"Yes, friends. I hope so anyway. I like you, Peter, you're okay, and I'd like us to be friends even if you don't want to play with me."

"Play with you?"

"Play music, Gutterbrain."

"Yeah. I've been thinking about that, Jay, and - okay, let's go for it. I'm getting tired of playing with myself too. By myself! By myself!"

"Cool. So, can you come around today, after school? I'd come to your house, but, moving the drums - well, you know."

"Yeah. I can come around. For a while anyway. I'll meet you out the front after school. I'll be the one standing all by myself."

"No you won't. Not by yourself, I mean, not any more. I'll see you then, 'kay?"

"Cool."

Days, then weeks, passed. They were together almost every day. Usually at Jay's house, but sometimes at Peter's, playing music, sharing, learning from and about each other. Becoming close friends.

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