Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Entangled Tales - 21 - Justin & Jonathan

Jonathan drove the car back to the Adelphi and parked it around the back. They walked straight through the hotel and out on to the footpath out the front. He looked up and down the long street, decided that there were more shops to the left, and touched Justin's shoulder to direct him that way.

They made slow progress along the crowded main street, acknowledging all the greetings and congratulations. Every couple of minutes they had to stop and introduce Jonathan to yet another friend/student/teacher or well wisher.

Jonathan was still being secretive and refusing to say where they were going, until they reached a hair-dressing salon. He took hold of Justin's arm and steered him into there. The owner dropped what she was doing and came over to greet them.

"Hello Justin! Great to see you on your feet again and looking so good. And this has to be your twin. Hello Jonathan Reynolds, welcome to Westpoint, and welcome to my salon. What can we do for you, boys? I'm Alma Richards, by the way."

"Thanks Ms.Richards. I am Jonathan, but the name's Shaw not Reynolds, I was adopted. I haven't told Justin yet, but we need a haircut - the same haircut."

"What are you talking about, Jonathan? I don't want a haircut."

"Yes you do. Look in the mirror there - you've got a bloody great mop on your head. C'mon Justin - look at us. The faces are the same, but our hair is different. Now we're going to be twins at last, let's be identical and have some fun with it."

Justin took off his cap and the dark glasses and looked at their images in the big mirror. A big grin spread across his face. "Yeah, Good idea, let's do it."

Jonathan grinned back. "Good boy, I knew you would. Ms. Richards could you fix our hair so it's the same? Give me Justin's style with the central parting and the bangs in the front, but don't take off any more than you have to. Then cut his hair back so it's the same length as mine, and put some blond highlights on both of us.

Alma was beaming as she looked from one head to the other, "Of course we can do that. This will be a real pleasure boys, every hairdresser's dream, and I get to do it! And you can put that way too."

Jonathan was checking his money, "I just want to make sure that we've got enough money before you start."

"Sit up in the chairs, boys. There will be no charge - it's on the house."

Justin protested, "Mrs. Richards, you can't do that. This is your business here."

"Mr. Reynolds, I certainly can do that. The business is mine. Furthermore, in case you don't know, Tom Craddock is my brother and young Dulcie is my great-niece. And, quite apart from that, I've got nieces and a nephew at the High School too. I couldn't take money from Westpoint's boy-hero, or from his good looking brother either. Don't argue with me or I'll tell your grandmother on you."

"Thank you Mrs. Richards, but I am really not a hero."

"Shuush Boy, don't talk nonsense. Of course you're a hero - Dulcie said so."

Jonathan grinned at the mirror and asked, "Is everybody related to everybody in this town?"

The other hairdresser in the salon, Mrs. Lyons, grinned back at him, "Don't laugh too soon Jonathan Reynolds/Shaw. My husband is your grandmother's cousin. So that makes us relatives, sort of, almost."

"Okay, I give up," he laughed. "You must have to be really careful before you have a baby with someone around here."

"Maybe you do, boy, but you just remember that you're one of us too - your roots go back a long way in Westpoint."

An hour later, identical twins stood inspecting themselves, and each other, in the big mirror. Jonathan said, "That's great Mrs. Richards, just great. Even I can't tell the difference now."

Justin agreed, "It is great - but this might be a bit of a give-away, don't you think?" He lifted his leg to show the cast on his foot. "Perhaps we should bust your foot too?”

"Not bloody likely, Brother. We'll just wait until you can get that thing off."

"Wear it with pride, Justin," said Mrs. Richards. "It's a badge of honour, that cast on your leg."

He picked up his dark cap and looked at it, "I don't think I will need that anymore." It went into the rubbish bin. "But I think I'll keep the glasses for a few days or no-one's going to know me and I'm used to them."

"In that case, we'll go and get some glasses for me as well. Thanks Mrs. Richards, great job."

"Yes, thank you and goodbye Mrs. Richards. Goodbye Mrs.Lyons - cousin."

"Goodbye boys. Come back any time. We won't charge you a thing until you're as bald as your granddad."

They made their way back up the street to the hotel. Jonathan bought some similar dark, wrap-around sunglasses and they made a couple of other small purchases as well. They snuck in through the front door of the Adelphi, and went up to Justin's room.

At lunchtime they came down at sat quietly, side by side, at the kitchen table facing Kathleen and Connors' backs. Connors turned around, "Well, boys, what do you ....ah..Boss. You'd better take a look at this."

"I'd better look at what?"

Kathleen turned around and frowned at the two beaming smiles looking at her - identical dark glasses, identical checked shirts, identical haircuts. "You can take those glasses off."

The glasses came off and two pairs of identical, big, blue, healthy eyes looked at her. Kathleen stood trying to look stern and fighting to hold back the smile that wanted to spread across her own face.

"I suppose you think that's funny?" She gave up and grinned, "It bloody is funny actually."

She picked up the phone and rang the bar, "Robert, you'd better come out here and see what your grandsons have done."

Bob came hurrying into the kitchen, "What is it, Kathy? What have they ....Oh. Bloody Hell, boys. What have you done? This could get confusing - how're we ever going to know who's who?" He bent down and looked under the table, "Well at least the cast's still there, so your feet are different. But that's not going to last forever."

Kathleen nodded. "True. But look past the surface, they're completely different on the inside I think.”

Jonathan laughed and said, "But there's no guarantees that we won't switch over sometimes, just for the hell of it."

Connors said, "You can try, Sunshine, but you won't get away with it for long. Your faces are the same, but your personalities are completely different, so unless you can switch those too, we'll know."

"We'll see, Betty. I mean, we will see, Mrs. Connors."

After lunch, Justin thought they could spend the afternoon cleaning, but no-one was having any of that. Bob said that an after school job was to be done after school - after they had started back at school. Kathleen said that he was supposed to be resting and recovering, so he could either go out and get some sunshine, or he could go back to bed.

Jonathan said, "Stuff that for a joke!"

They went back up to their room and Jonathan checked for mail on the computer while Justin rang Claire. Jonathan sat watching him as he argued with her.

"I don't care, Claire. I have to do this. I do love you, but I don't care if you agree or not. Fine then! Goodbye, Claire."

He hung up the phone and sat glaring at it. "You don't know, Claire. You just don't know."

"Oohph Who's your number one friend now?"

"Claire is. But she's pissing me off."

"Wash your mouth out Justin - I'll do the bloody swearing. So what do you have to do then?"

"I have to go out to see some people at Carver's Beach, that's a suburb about 4k's out of town. I am going now, you can drive me or I can walk, please yourself."

"Course I'll drive you, seeing as you asked so nicely. It's not me that you're pissed at you know."

"Right. Thanks. Sorry - I'm just pissed. I have to do what I think is right, no matter what anyone says."

"Fine. Come on then. You can do whatever, just don't go getting shot again."

They went downstairs, out to the car, and Jonathan drove out of town to Carver's Beach. There they cruised up and down the roads until they found the entrance to Baillie Place - a small cul-de-sac of modern homes.

"Here we are then. Which house do you want? I don't see any street numbers on any of them. Who are you going to see anyway?"

"The Stephens. I have to talk to Brad Stephens' family."

"Brad Stephens - that's the dead bully. Do you think that's wise? He was no friend of yours. That's what Claire told you wasn't it? Why won't you listen to her?"

"Shut up Jonathan. Don't you start on me. I have to do this."

"You have to do this. You make up the rules, and then you have to follow them? What are you going to say to them anyway?"

"I have absolutely no idea."

Jonathan sat and watched him as he got out of the car. "I don't get you, Bro. I don't get you at all."

Justin walked up and rang the doorbell at the nearest house. A small, elderly, white-haired lady opened the door and smiled at him, "Yes?"

"Ah - Hello Ma'am. Sorry to disturb you. I'm looking for the Stephens house, Brad Stephens home. Which one is that please?"

"The Stephens house? Straight across the road there - the big green place."

"Across the road, right. Thank you." He started walking away when the woman called out to him.

"Justin."

" Ma'am?"

"Good luck, Justin. You'll need it." and she closed the door.

He shrugged and continued over to the split-level, green, summerhill stone house across the road. He went up the steps to the front door - the door opened before he reached it. A rather flat, sad looking woman stood there looking at him. "Yes?"

"Ah...Mrs. Stephens?"

"Yes."

"Mrs. Stephens, I am Justin Reynolds. I just wanted to say that I am really sorry about what happened to Brad. I didn't know him well, but it was a terrible thing, a tragedy for a young boy to die like that."

"Yes," she said, and shut the door in his face.

He stood there a minute looking at the closed door, then walked back to the car. Before he got there, however, the door opened again and a big, burly, bull-headed man - an older version of Brad - came roaring out.

"Reynolds! This isn't over Reynolds. Everyone thinks that you're the big hero, but it was all your fault in the first place. If you hadn't been the big man attacking those kids the week before, the whole mess wouldn't have blown up and that fucking loony Carver wouldn't have come in there with the gun and shot my boy. It's your fault, Reynolds. You started the whole fucking mess and we'll see you in court - you'll get what's coming to you. You needn't think that coming around here saying you're sorry is going to fix anything. You're going to go down - you and that fucking loony, both."

"Mr. Stephens, I didn't....."

"Tell it to the judge you fucking little hooligan."

Jonathan got out of the car and Mr. Stephens looked over at him. "Bloody Hell! Another one! It's about time Bob Reynolds had his old place fumigated - the Adelphi's filling up with rats. Fuck off the pair of you, we don't want your sort around here."

He went inside and slammed the door.

Justin came back and they got into the car. Jonathan started up and pulled away. "That was a bloody waste of time wasn't it? Why didn't you listen to Claire?"

"I had to try, Jonathan. You don't know, you weren't there. Just shut up and drive will you."

Jonathan drove quietly for a while, then as they were crossing the bridge over the wide river, he just had to ask, "Did you start it? The fight and everything?"

"No."

"So you've got nothing to worry about then."

"I did nothing wrong. The man's just grieving for his son, that's all. He doesn't know what he's saying. Turn right here please, then the next left. I have to go to the police station now."

"The cop shop? Are you going to turn yourself in, you fucking little hooligan you?"

"Something like that, yes."

When he stopped outside the police station, Jonathan grinned. "What about your crutches? Don't you want to go and get them first?"

"No," he laughed. "Hopefully I won't need them this time."

The constable on duty at the front desk looked up and smiled as the twins walked in.

"Justin Reynolds, and - Justin Reynolds? What can we do for you boys? If I'd known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake."

"Good afternoon, Sir. I want to see Sergeant Digby, is he here?"

"Digby? No, Digby's taken his wife away for the weekend - anniversary or something. He won't be back until Tuesday. Is there something I can help you with?"

"I just wanted to know about the fight I was in at school. He said that some of the parents were pressing charges against me."

"Oh. Don't worry about that, Justin. That's all over and done with. Digby should have told you that himself. Anyway, there were about 200 witnesses who said that the others started it - Brad Stephens and his cronies knocked you down and you got up and hit them back, and stopped them from laying into the Carver kid as well. The charges have all been dropped. Anyway, there'd be a riot in this town if we tried to charge you with anything. There's been enough blood in the streets of Westpoint."

"I didn't start anything, but Mrs. Lowrie said that I hit them too hard."

"Mrs. Lowrie thinks that does she? I was a student at that school myself, not so long ago, I know what it can be like there. In my personal opinion, you didn't hit the little shits hard enough. Anyway, it's finished Justin. Forget about it, okay?”

"Okay. Thank you Constable ...er, Todd?"

"That's me, Paul Todd. Thanks for coming in, nice to meet you, Justin. Actually, you might know my cousin - Barney? Or Toddy his friends call him. He must be in your class at school."

"I know Toddy, yes. He's a friend of Jay's. Sort of a friend of a friend."

"That's him, yes. Jay Kynnersley's friend. Goodbye then Justin, and you must be Jonathan? Goodbye Jonathan."

"Thank you. Goodbye Constable Todd - nice to meet you too."

"Yeah, bye Copper - likewise."

Jonathan drove back to the Adelphi and parked out the back. "You are having a busy old day aren't you? What's next?"

"I think that's enough for one day. Let's just go and sit in the Square and confuse everybody."

"Yeah. That's a plan. C'mon then, Bro - let's do it."

When they returned to the hotel at dinnertime, things had changed. The grins had gone and the twins were obviously angry at each other. Jonathan came in first and flopped down at the end of the table.

"Hey Gran. How's it going?"

"I'm going fine...ah - Jonathan. How are you though?”

"I'm fine too, nothing wrong with me. Little Bro's being a pain though."

"I told you not to call me that." Justin sat at the opposite end of the table and glared at him. "I am not your 'bro'. I don't think I want to be your brother even."

"You can't do nothing about that. I am your brother whether you like it or not."

"Well I don't think I like it at all. Why don't you bugger off back where you came from? Go back where you belong."

"This is where I belong. I belong here just as much as you do."

"Yeah? Maybe I should go then and leave you to it."

"And where exactly are you going to go? C'mon Bro, you love me really."

"Love you? I don't even like you. Who are you? I don't know you."

"You know perfectly well who I am. I'm your brother - like they say, you can't pick your relations - Jerk-off!"

"Like they say. I wouldn't pick a foul-mouthed cretin like you. You are not my brother, you're not. You are nothing but a stranger to me. You are nothing!"

"And you're nothing to me either."

"Fine!"

"Fucking right, Fine!"

"Boys! Boys! Come on - this is not good." Their grandfather sat down between them. "Where are the happy brothers who were sitting here at lunchtime?”

"Superboy there's been pissing on the parade."

"There it goes again. Foul - mouthed cretin."

"Jerk."

"Creep."

"Fuck you!"

"In your dreams."

"Fuckin' nightmares maybe."

Kathleen slapped the table – hard. "Enough! If you can't speak civilly, then don't speak at all."

"Suits me."

"Fine."

The meal passed in silence, the boys doing no more than occasionally pulling faces at each other. When finished, they both left at the same time, but separately, one out the back door, one out the front.

Bob looked at his wife and pulled a face imitating the boy's behaviour, then he sighed and said, "That was a pretty short honeymoon period. Brothers fight, I know, but I hope they never come to blows. I wouldn't want to be in between those two if the fists start flying."

"They'll work it out, I'm sure. I hope. They've got a lot to learn about each other - they were raised in different worlds but they came from the same beginning. They are linked together by something unbreakable."

"I hope you're right, Kathy. They appear to be doing their best to break it."

"They'll be okay. I wish you could have seen them this morning - both sound asleep and wrapped around each other like babies in the womb."

"Not much chance of that happening tonight."

"Probably not. But they'll work things out. It may take some time to sort out their relationship."

"I just hope the rest of us can survive the fall out."

Later that night, after closing the bar and locking up for the night, Bob came upstairs to go to bed. He found Kathleen, in her dressing gown, standing in the hallway looking into Justin's room. He came up behind her, touching her shoulder, and looked past her into the bedroom. Kathleen leaned back against him and whispered, "I told you so - they are unbreakable."

In the room, from the light from the doorway, he could see the two sleeping boys - two heads on the one pillow, foreheads touching, their arms and legs wrapped around each other.

Bob quietly closed the door and smiled at his wife. "Not brothers eh? More like two halves of the one whole, if you ask me."

Sunday morning, early, in Britannia Square, Carl Douglas was alone, running slowly around the sealed track. There was a light rain falling but the track was well drained and the rough surface was unaffected. He could see one solitary figure sitting up in the grandstand, there was no-one else around at all.

As he was approaching the grandstand the skies opened and the rain started pouring down. He veered into the stand, ran up a couple of rows of the tiered seats, and then walked along and sat down next to the boy sitting there.

"Gidday Justin. Nice day isn't it?"

"Hello Carl. I've seen better days."

They sat together looking out at the rain pouring down. The spouting at the front of the overhanging roof was blocked - or else it simply couldn't cope with the heavy rain - and it was overflowing along a good part of its length. The water created the illusion that they sitting behind a waterfall.

"That would actually look great if the sun was shining on it."

"It would. But if the sun was shining, it wouldn't be happening."

"Sometimes the sun's out while it's raining - sun showers."

"Sometimes, but not with rain like this. That ain't no shower."

"No, it certainly ain't. How come you're running alone? Where's Lucas this morning?"

"Lucas will still be in bed. He and Shelley went down to Brownsville last night to a concert. They wouldn't have been back until really late. I don't need him to go for a run, I can do it by myself."

"It must be better when you have company though."

"Yeah, sure it is. We keep each other going and the time passes easier."

"Yes. And you're good friends aren't you?"

"Yeah - Lucas is okay. I've got other friends, but Lucas is the best."

"He is the best. Lucas is a good person. You both are actually."

"There you go again. Don't start on that. Speaking of company, where's yours? Where's your brother this morning?"

"Still in bed as far as I know. He was when I got up anyway - he was still sleeping so I just slipped out and left him there."

"You left him there. Are you sleeping together?"

"Yes, of course we are."

"Of course you are? Is Jonathan gay as well?"

"No, Jonathan's not gay. He was out with a girl last night. And, Eww! I might be gay, but I'm not incestuous."

"Well, why are you sleeping together then?"

"Because we want to. It's nice to cuddle up together and go to sleep."

"But, not in a gay way, eh?"

"No, of course not. Didn't you ever sleep with your brothers?"

"Well, yeah - sometimes. When we were camping and stuff. But that was a long time ago - when we were little."

"I never had my brother around when we were little."

"No. That's right, you didn't. You haven't had much of a life have you?"

"I have had an absolutely shitty life. But since I came here to Westpoint, and met my grandparents and met the first friends I've ever had - you and Claire and the others - my life keeps getting better every day. Thank you, Carl."

"Me? What're you thanking me for? I've done nothing."

"Of course you have. You've given me your friendship. You let me share in your life, and your friends - especially Claire. Claire is your girl, but she's my very best friend ever. Thank you Carl."

"Aww - Cheese! There you go again, getting all personal. I couldn't keep Claire away from you if I tried anyway. The rain's stopping, I think I'll run home before it starts again. We'll probably see you later, okay? 'Bye, Superboy."

He got up and started down out of the grandstand. Justin called out, "Carl?"

"Yeah, what?"

"I love you, Carl."

"Aah, shut up, gay boy! But, yeah, I love you too. Bye Justin."

"Goodbye Carl."

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