Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Entangled Tales - 78 - Peter & Jay

In the morning, Jay was woken up by the sounds of someone yelling and splashing around outside. He felt a burst of - not fear exactly, but alarm. He scurried around and out of the tent, the sleeping bag peeling off him as he stood up.

He relaxed and grinned - nothing to worry about.

Peter was standing knee-deep halfway out in the small river. His face was beaming, he was grinning from ear to ear as he proudly held up a fish - a fine specimen of a large brown trout.

"Hey Jay. I got the bugger!"

He splashed across to the bank, clinging to the still-flapping fish.

"I did it, Big Guy - I caught it. First fish I've ever hooked on a line. It nearly got away, but it didn't. I got him! He's a beauty, isn't he, Jay?" He laid the fish at Jay's feet.

Jay knelt and killed it with a blow with the axe. "It is a beauty, Elf. Well done!"

"Yeah!" Peter beamed proudly. "I was going to catch and cook your breakfast before you woke up."

"I'm awake now. I don't think there'll be any more fish either, not after all that splashing around."

"We can cook it though, can't we?"

"We can cook it. It's a great fish, Peter. It's plenty big enough for the two of us. You can gut it; I'll get the foil to wrap it in. We'll cook it in the fire. Has the fire been going all night?"

"No, of course not. It was dead, I got it going again. I've been up for ages, I was starting to think that you were never going to wake up."

"Yeah, well. I think I need more sleep than you do."

"You think? I worked that out months ago. Anyway, you'd better get some clothes on. I'm not complaining about the view, but others might. This is a public walkway through here."

Jay dressed and tidied up the tent while Peter gutted and cleaned the fish. They wrapped it in foil and buried it in the ashes at the side of the fire. They got towels and the bug spray and went back for a soak in the hot pool while waiting for their breakfast to cook.

They both shed their clothes and adjusted the temperature again, while slapping sandflies, and, blissfully, sank into the warm water. They lay back, Peter in his usual position between Jay's legs, and relaxed.

In a few minutes, Jay sat upright, pushing Peter forward as he did.

"Hey! Watch it!"

"Shush, Peter. Listen. What's that noise?"

A babbling, murmuring sound was getting louder as it came towards them. Then they appeared, walking up the track out of the trees - boy scouts, dozens of them!

Peter and Jay sat in the hot water, naked and embarrassed as they were surrounded by a crowd of grinning faces. They were scouts, mostly boys about 10 to 12 years old, but there were a few girls amongst them too. There were about 30 of them, from several different troops by the look of their uniforms.

One of the four troop-leaders was a woman - it was a teacher from their school, Mrs. McElwee. One of these little monsters must be hers. Another teacher, Mr. Squires, was there too. They both looked odd in their over-grown scouts' uniforms, but not half as odd As Peter and Jay felt in their exposed skin. They kept their arms and legs crossed, covering up the naughty bits, as the scouts grinned at them.

"Hey Kynnersley, Hey Lewis. Forget your swimming togs, did you?"

"Show us your bum!"

"Bugger off! Cheeky little sods."

"Hello Peter, Jay," Mrs. McElwee smiled at them. "Fancy seeing you here! Move along, Scouts, nothing to see here."

"There would be if they stood up!"

"Quiet, Calvin," Mr. Squires grinned. "It's perfectly normal to soak in hot pools naked. The sulphur rots bathing togs. Move along now, Boys. We've got a long way to go."

They sat and watched them go, yearning now to get out of the water. "I'm bloody cooking in here now. I thought they were never going. Cheeky little sods!"

"Yeah, well, they're boys, Jay, most of them. You were a scout once yourself, we both were."

"Yeah, I was for a while, until I figured that I'd rather sleep on a Saturday morning. I don't remember seeing you in the scouts, Peter."

"I was there. I was standing down the back, probably. I remember you there. I think that I had a crush on you even then."

"You did? I wish you'd told me."

"You probably would have laughed at me. You were cute though - still are actually."

"Shut up, Elf. Be quiet or I'll kiss you."

"Promises! Next time we're in here, I'm keeping the towel where I can reach it."

They got out, scooped up their clothes and ran, naked, back to dry by the fire.

Peter scraped the ashes and embers away and carefully extracted the foil-wrapped fish from the fire. He laid it on a flat rock and delicately opened the foil. Jay joined him with knives, forks, bread and butter and a lemon. They squatted side-by-side in front of the rock to eat their hot fish breakfast.

The skin peeled off easily - so easily that it almost fell off, and the soft white flesh lifted off the bones in bite-sized chunks.

They'd both eaten hundreds of fish meals in their short lives - fish was cheap and plentiful in Westpoint, a small town with a relatively large and industrious fishing fleet. Peter's dad was a fisherman and he was always bringing sea-food home from his boat. However, it wasn't so often that they got fresh-water fish for breakfast, and this was brilliant! Freshly caught and cooked in foil in a wood fire and eaten in the fresh air and the great outdoors. Just brilliant! The best breakfast ever.

They finished eating and Jay poured two OJ's, topping them off with boiling water from the pot on the fire. He handed one to Peter as he sat down again. "All right, Elf?"

"No, it's not. It's not all right - it's fucking perfect. Everything's perfect - the food, the place, the company - everything! Thanks."

"Thanks? Thank you, you caught the fish."

"Yeah, I did, didn't I?" he grinned proudly. "But it's more than that. The best thing that I've ever caught was you, Jay. I'll never need any more than this."

"Ah! You're too much. Thanks, Peter. I love you too."

"You really do, don't you? Thanks, Big Guy, that's so cool. My life can't get any better. I love you - yesterday, today and always. I wish we could just stay here like this forever."

"Well, we can't. You wouldn't want to really, you'd get bored eventually and start missing our friends and family and everything. Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. But this is really cool. We'll do this again - often."

"We will. I'd love to have a house out in a place like this."

"Maybe you can someday. Crispian says that we're going to be rich."

"I'm already rich, Big Guy - I've got you."

"You have. I'm rich too, even richer than you are because I've got you."

"Sweet-talker."

"Thank you, I try. What do you want to do, Peter?"

"Do? I don't want to do anything. I just want to lie back here like this and do nothing all day. There is one thing that could make it better though."

He scooted around so that he could lie on an angle, with his head on Jay's chest.

"There, now it's perfect. Let's do nothing."

Jay raised one hand and lazily stroked Peter's spiky hair. "This is cool, but I didn't mean just today. What do you want to do with the rest of your life, I mean."

"This, Jay. Just this."

"Right! I'm being serious, Elf. Where do you see yourself in 10 or 20 years time?"

"Twenty years? That's a long time. I hope that I'm still right here. No? Okay, seriously, what I'd like is to live in Westpoint. I'd like to have a business, a shop in the main street, selling music - Cd's and stuff, whatever they've got in 20 years time. - I-pods or MP3's or whatever. I'd like to sell instruments and music equipment, stereos, and computers too, probably.

I don't want anything huge, just enough for a comfortable living and a laid-back sort of lifestyle. I'd like to be like Crispian and have a bunch of kids to hang out and make music with. I'd teach them everything I know."

"That won't take long."

"Shut it, Jay, we're being serious. What else? I'd like to have a flat to live in, up above the shop. That'd be cool. No lawns or gardens or anything. I hate lawns, hate mowing them. It's just a lot of work and next week you have to do it all over again.

A flat upstairs, a shop downstairs, and maybe a recording studio out the back. It'd be good to be involved with Crispian's record business, if it's still going. He'll be retired by then and I'll be the wise old guy."

"It's not Crispian's you know. It's our business - Whozzat's."

"I know, we all own it, but it's Crispian's first. Plus, I'd like to have a holiday home, somewhere like this or down the Coast Road somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. But, not far away from town and with a road up to the back-door. Bugger tramping every weekend.

I'd like to have good friends about, like Superboy and his Billy, and I'd like to have enough for regular holidays overseas. That's about it really. What do you want with your life?"

"I dunno, I haven't worked it out. But, there's one thing you haven't mentioned. You don't want to be just like Crispian do you? He goes back to an empty home every night - just him and no-one to share it with."

"What?? No! Of course I don't want that. How could you even ask me that? I don't ever want to live on my own. Don't want to and I don't intend to either!"

"Who do you intend to live with then?"

"Again, what??" He sat up and glared down at Jay. "What a question! You're cruising for a bruising Jacob Francis Kynnersley! I'll be living with you, of course. I may never have a shop or anything else, but I WILL be living with you - that much I know."

"I don't get a choice in this."

"No, you don't. You're stuck with me, I told you that."

"That's cool. I wouldn't want it any other way. You and me Kid, together forever."

"Bloody right, Big Guy. Forever!"

The end of their wilderness weekend came around all too quickly. Sunday afternoon, they were back in the carpark at the side of the road, by the Blackwater River bridge. They hadn't walked half as far as they had planned, but it was far enough and it was a great weekend.

They perched together on a big rock at the side, idly tossing stones into the water below them.

"What do they call it the Blackwater River for? It's not black - it's brown."

"Probably just because it's dark-coloured water. Or, maybe a Mr. Black discovered it."

"Discovered it? That wouldn't be hard to do. All you have to do is to look down from the bridge and there it is."

"Shut up, Peter. You Dork! The bridge wasn't here then."

"You think? Actually, it would've been hard country to get through before the roads were built. They used to row boats up the big river, didn't they?"

"Something like that. I think it was canoes though."

"Sounds like a lot of hard work to me. I'm glad we're living now and not back then."

"Yeah. Roads are good. I'm getting a car as soon as Crispian lets some of the money go."

"That'll be great. Do you think that you'll have room for a passenger - a small passenger?"

"Sure I will, if he's nice to me."

"I'm always nice to you, Big Guy."

"You are! Thank you, my Elf. I love you, Peter Lewis."

"You do? I love you too. Thanks for the weekend, Jay. It's been great, but every weekend with you is great."

"Thank you, Elf. Peter, what would you do if you could choose between Superboy and me?"

"What?? Are you kidding me?"

"No, seriously. Say that Justin and Billy were to split up - it could happen, it has before. But say they really did split for good and say he was to come around and tell you that he was in love with you. What would you do?"

"Well, I guess that I'd hug him and kiss him and tell him that I love him, and then I'd tell him to get lost because I'm in love with Jay Kynnersley. You are my mate, JFK. You are the only one that I want to be with. You are what they claim that Billy's burgers are - simply the best. No-one, not even Superboy compares to you.

What about you? Why are you thinking about Justin anyway? Got a secret crush on him, have you?"

"No, of course not. You are the best, Peter and you're the one - the one I love. It's just that - well it could happen, Elf. Superboy's happy with his Carver Kid now, but they could finish. They're both as stubborn as mules and he does love you, you know."

"I know he does. Buggered if I know why, but he does. There's nothing for you to worry about, you're the one for me and Justin loves me like a brother. He said that he doesn't come on to his brothers."

"I wish he'd come on to me."

"Jay!! Why?"

"So that I could turn him down and tell him that I love my Elf."

"Cool. You're an idiot, but I still love you."

Jay's dad arrived to collect them and they drove back to Westpoint. By the time they arrived back in the town it was raining. It was coming down in bucketfuls. Mr. K commented.

"Wow! Talk about good timing. Did you have any rain in the weekend?"

"No Dad. None at all. The weather was great - couldn't have been better."

"Someone up there likes you guys."

"Sure does, Mr. K. Life is sweet."

"Yeah, Elf. Sweet.'

"The hot springs are still going are they? I camped up there a few times when I was a kid."

"They're still bubbling away, Dad. Guess they've been going forever then?"

"Careful, Jacob, I'm not that old. I can still remember what it was like to be a teenager. Believe it or not, I was 16 once too. I never had a friend like Peter though. You're a lucky kid, Jay. Don't stuff it up."

"I try not to, and Dad?"

"Yeah?"

"Thanks Dad."

"You're welcome, Son. Be happy Boys, both of you. That's all I want for you."

"Mr. K?"

"Peter?"

"Thanks, Mr. K. I really love Jay, you know."

"I know you do, Son. That's good. So do I."

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