Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Entangled Tales - 24 - Justin and Jonathan

Back at the hotel he said goodbye, went in the front door, and hobbled up to his room. He shut the door and flopped on the big bed. There was a knock at the door and he sat up, "Come in."

The door opened and his grandfather came in. "Justin, I am sorry. I'm truly sorry that I exploded at you this morning. I was wrong and I was wrong to try to forbid you to do anything. That is not my place, you're not a little boy anymore. I can advise you and try to counsel you, but I can't tell you what you can and cannot do. I really am sorry, Justin. Please forgive me and don't - don't ever think of leaving us."

Justin leapt up and threw his arms around his grandfather. "I love you, Granddad. I love you and I'm sorry too. I don't want to fight with you."

"Justin, Oh my Boy. I love you so very much. You are the best thing that has ever happened to us - Kathy and I both. We do love you, Justin, say you won't leave us."

"I won't go until you throw me out, Sir."

"That's never going to happen, Boy. Never!"

He went downstairs a much happier man. A few minutes later Jonathan came in and collected Justin to go and talk with Dorothy Seaton. She outlined her plan for an article in the Woman's World magazine - a three or four page article with photographs, and a cover photo of the pair of them together. The article would come out in just two weeks - they had to keep it topical. It would also feature on the magazine's website. The Woman's World would pay them $7,000 - $3500 each - for their stories.

Justin said, "Ms. Seaton, why would a magazine want to do a feature on us?"

"Because people want to know about you. Amazing things have happened to you both with your finding each other, and the hostage crisis and everything else. You'll make a great feature article."

"But there have already so many newspaper articles written, and there's been the radio and the television. Surely, everyone must be sick of the sight of us."

"No way, Justin. No way - people can't get enough of you, you're still newsworthy."

"Jonathan, do you really want to do this? Okay then. I will do it, on three conditions, otherwise I won't and you can just feature Jonathan and pay him."

"Sorry, no. we can't do that, you are a pair - we couldn't feature one and not the other, that wouldn't work. What are your conditions then?"

"Number one, Jeremy Carver, the boy with the gun in the hostage crisis, you are not to say anything negative about him - or his family either."

"But he was the gunman. You were the hero of the story, he was the villain. I can't write about a villain without being negative."

"Jeremy was a victim too. He was the victim of prolonged and vicious bullying. He has suffered as much, if not more than anyone else involved. I will not have you, or anyone else, writing bad things about him."

"Okay, you've convinced me. We'll agree to number one. What else?

"Number two - Westpoint. This town is our home now, and I love it. You are not to say anything negative about Westpoint or its people."

"Not a problem, I think Westpoint and its people are great. I'd never put them down."

"That's good, but others before you have. Number three, and this will probably be the killer, $7,000 is not enough. I want at least $12,000. I don't want to do this, I hate all the publicity, it's just embarrassing. So the only reason I would do it is for the money. I - we - are 15 year old schoolboys. We have no money, we have just the one story and no more, so I want $12,000, sorry."

"But surely, $7,000 is a lot of money - much more than no story and no money at all."

"It is a lot of money, but it is not enough. Magazines pay more than that for the paparazzi’s photos. For our story, our images, our pride and privacy, the price is $12,000. Take it or leave it."

" I might get the editors to agree to, say $9,500 - split the difference as it were."

"No thank you. Sorry. $12,000 or nothing, I'm not much concerned about which way actually."

"Well, I can't. Look I'll go and phone the editor. Give me about half an hour, we'll see what she says."

"There is only one thing she can say. Yes - or No. There are no other options."

"Very well then, Justin, Jonathan. I'll go and ring her now and see you here in half an hour."

She went back up to her room. Jonathan said, "You're a bit hard-line aren't you? We might get nothing now."

"We might get $12,000."

"We had $7,000 offered, now we might get nothing. $7,000, Man."

"$12,000, Man. If Woman's World say no, there are other magazines and tabloids and stuff. Obviously we have something marketable here, so we'll sell it for $12,000."

Or nothing."

"Or nothing. Trust me Jonathan it won't be nothing. I have negotiated before. If I was interested in haggling, I would have asked for $20,000. But I didn't, because I'm not. $12,000 is a fair price."

"Okay, I'm going along with you - but I hope you're right."

When Dorothy came back she was smiling widely. "Right boys. You've got it. $12,000 for your story - provided that Woman's World gets first option on any follow-ups, or further stories."

"They can have first option, I have no problem with that - at our price."

"At your price? Right, fine Justin. They can cross that bridge when they come to it."

They spent the rest of the day and into the evening doing the interviews, the photographs, and putting the article together. At 9.00pm., Dorothy handed them a cheque and left to e-mail her article to the magazine. As soon as she'd gone, Jonathan danced around with the cheque. "Twelve thousand! Twelve - fucking - thousand dollars! We're rich! We're fucking rich, Justin. We're so bloody rich!!!" He danced around the room.

"Whoah Boy! Settle down. We’re not rich, not yet, but it's a start. There'll be plenty more."

"More? How? More dollars? More stories? Are you going to leap tall buildings or something?"

"Or something. There will be more money - lots more. How much do you think a cure for cancer is worth? Any cancer? If proper scientists get their hands on a way to fix one cancer, who knows what will happen? That's got to be worth big money. Where did that notebook get to? The one with my notes and your additions. What happened to that?"

"I don't know. Oh God! I don't know what I did with it! That book's worth its weight in gold - more! What the hell did I do with it? Oh, Justin! What've I done? I'm sorry, Justin. I'm sorry."

"Hey, hey, hey, settle. It's no big deal. Don't get all wound up about it. You are worth more to me than any gold. Calm down, we'll find it. And if we don't, it doesn't matter, we'll just start again. We can do it again; it would just be easier with the notes already done. Did you leave it at the hospital?"

"The hospital. No, I didn't have it there. I didn't - I was all loaded up with the bottles and stuff. The chemists! I must have left it at Don Hayward’s. We used it there, I must've left it. Ooh! I hope he hasn't dumped it. C'mon, let's go and get Don Hayward. We'll get him now and go search his bloody shop."

"No we won't. You’re not dragging the poor man out again, it's too late. Wait until tomorrow, if it's there, it's not going anywhere."

"I can't wait until tomorrow, I won't sleep all night. I'm ringing him up anyway, it's not that late. I've got to."

They went up to their bedroom, (With the cheque!) Justin laid his weary body down on the bed. "I think I'll just stay in bed tomorrow, I am supposed to be resting."

Jonathan, concerned, came over and brushed the hair back from his face. "Are you all right brother? Do you want me to get Gran?"

"No. Don't be silly, I'm just tired. It's been busy - a good night's sleep is what is needed."

"You get into bed then. I'll be right there as soon as I've rung Don."

He got off the phone and came back grinning. "It's all set. Don found the book and locked it away in his safe - bless him. I'll go and collect it first thing in the morning. That's a bloody relief. I thought I'd let you down."

"You would never let me down, Jonathan. Come to bed."

In the morning when they went down for breakfast, Kathleen greeted them and asked, "What are your plans for today, Justin?"

"Not a lot, Grandmother. I think I'll just go back up and relax in my room - read a bit and listen to music."

"Good boy, I'm pleased to hear that. You've been rushing around too much. Go back to bed and rest and recover. Jonathan and I will go down and enroll him in the High School, then we'll go buy his uniform and books."

"Aww, Gran! It's only a couple of weeks until the holidays, couldn't I just wait until then?"

"No. I don't think so. Anyway, if you start there now, you'll have time to meet some new friends before the holidays."

"I don't need to. I've got Justin and he can share his friends with me."

"I don't think so either. Go and get your own friends, I need mine."

"You...I.....okay, I will then. Don't start arguing already, I haven't had breakfast yet."

Connors put a plate down in front of him, "Well get that down you then."

"Thanks Connors. Gran, I'll go to school, but I can get my own books and stuff. We've got our own money now, pots of it."

"Keep your money, Jonathan. We kitted Justin out for school, so I want to do the same for you."

"Kay, cool, as long as you're sure. Thanks Gran. But before we go though, I've got to run down to Don Hayward's shop. He's got our book of notes; we've got plans for that. Actually, Justin, there's something else I've been thinking about too. Oh, it'll keep. I'll work out the details, and then we'll talk."

Kathleen said, "Justin? I didn't get to speak to you last night. You went to the Carver's house, I suppose? Well, Son, we really would appreciate it if you didn't go back there again. You don't need those people in your life."

"They're not what you think. The Carvers are good people, Grandmother. They told me that I am welcome to come back anytime, and I will when I have to. When I want to. Please don't fight about this, I like the Carvers, some of them."

"Okay, Okay Justin. I don't want to fight with you. But I wish you would listen - we're just thinking of your best interests. Think of your reputation."

"I don't give a flying F...Bugger about my reputation, Grandmother. I'm not that fond of the one I've got now."

"All right. We'll leave it then. But you know how we feel."

"I'm sorry if you don't like it, but I WILL do what I am going to do."

After breakfast, as soon as the shops were opening, Jonathan hurried down the main street and collected their precious notebook. When he got back to the hotel, he met the Postman at the door, and took the mail down to Kathleen in the kitchen.

"Hey, Gran. I got the book. Here's the mail. There's a letter here for Justin. Who'd be writing to him? Maybe it's a fan letter."

"This is not a fan letter. This is something official – from the Department of Justice. You'd better take it up to him."

"No problem. See you soon." He ran up to Justin's room.

"Hey, Bro ..Brother...Justin. Here's the book, you'd better look after it, I might lose it again. You've got a letter too. What's this about?"

Justin opened and scanned the letter. "This is a summons. Jeremy's going to be charged with first degree murder, and three counts of attempted murder, and all sorts of crap. They want me there as a witness for the prosecution. I'm not going to help them to lock Jeremy up. I'm not. I think I'd better come with you when you go to the school. I'll go over and see Mrs. Carver."

"Gran's not going to like that."

"Too bad. If she won't take me, I'll just have to walk."

Kathleen didn't like it, but she took him anyway. Justin limped across the road to the Carvers and a proud grandmother took another grandson to the office to register him in Westpoint High School.

Mrs. Lowry was in the office again and, although they didn't have to, she couldn't resist having Jonathan do an entrance exam for them as well. The results, however, indicated that he would be just another, slightly above average, student.

"Oh," she said, a bit disappointed. "Not a genius then. So are you a fighter Jonathan?"

"No, not me Mrs. Lowry. I'll leave the heroics to my brother."

"Where do your talents lie then? What are you good at?"

"Nothing really. I ain't no Justin, Mrs. Lowry. I can catch a ball though, he can't do that."

"Maybe he can't, but there's lots of other things he can do. Well, I'm sure that you've got talents of your own. Everyone has. You're not gay as well are you?"

"No I'm not gay. I wish people would stop asking me that. I'm not Justin. And I could get you references from several girls who would laugh at that question."

"All right," she smiled. "You're not. I didn't want to offend you, it's just that we need to know what to look out for. I agree, you're not Justin - you are Jonathan. Welcome to Westpoint High School, Jonathan. Mrs. Reynolds, when can we expect Justin to return?"

"He says that he's coming back tomorrow, with Jonathan."

"That's great. Your brother can show you around then. Please try not to confuse your teachers too much."

When they were leaving, Peter Lewis came running up to them and held out a small paper envelope. "You're Jonathan, right? Yeah, you must be - no busted foot. This is for you."

"For me? Thanks..umm.....Peter, right? What is this?"

"Yeah, I'm Peter - Peter Lewis, Claire's brother. That's a CD - a song that Justin recorded for you. I just finished it and burnt the CD. Oh Damn. I probably shouldn't have done that. He'll want to give it to you himself."

"Too bad. I've got it now. Thanks Peter Lewis."

"Okay. Enjoy it then - it's really good."

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