Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Lost Years - 2

Nicholas & Conrad

Justin glanced at the gentle boy beside him, and smiled at the look of utter delight on his face.

"Okay, Nicholas?"

"Oh yes, Superboy! This is great. Thank you for bringing me up here."

"Not a problem. The plan was for Billy to be here, but I'm glad that you like it."

"I do! I love it."

"Yeah. Me too. I actually thought that we'd be looking down at the fireworks. I was wrong. They're still way up higher than we are. Next time we'll have to get a plane or a helicopter maybe."

"Next time?"

"Yes, next time - next year. When I make friends, I keep them."

"Oh good! Thanks, Justin."

"Thank you, Nicky. Tell me about yourself."

"There's not much to say, I'm just ordinary - a bit dumb though. That's me - the Dummy."

"The Dummy? Says who?"

"Says everyone, because that's who I am."

"I don't think so. You shouldn't say that, that's not nice."

"It's true though."

"I don't think so. Tell me about Nicholas. How old are you? Where do you live, and who do you live with?"

"I'm 14. I live in Eastman's Road, with my mum and my sister, Jo-Anne. She's 17."

"Just the one sister? Where's your dad?"

"He's dead. He died a couple of years ago, whitebaiting on the rocks down by the river-mouth. They said he had a heart attack, I think that he was drunk, again."

"Drunk and fishing on the rocks? That's asking for trouble. Hey, your dad must have been PJ - PJ Awatere, right?"

"That was him - PJ. Just another old Maori drunk."

"He was Maori? Sad to lose your father. I hardly remember mine, he shot through years ago."

"Your father died too?"

"No. Well, I don't think so, I wouldn't know. He just left. My mother threw him out and he's never been heard from since. So there's just the three of you at home?"

"There is now. I've got lots of cousins though. My dad came from a big family and there's always visitors."

"How about your mother's family? Do they live around here?"

"No," Nicholas shrugged. "We've never met them, they live in Mexico."

"Mexico? Wow. So your mother's from there?"

"Yeah, a long time ago. She met my Dad when he was in the navy. She ran away to be with him and her family disowned her. That's a shame, because they were rich. She's part-Spanish you know. So am I."

"You've got Spanish blood? Yes, I can see that, especially in your eyes. You've got beautiful eyes - Spanish eyes.'

"Do you think so? My mum says that I've got big, dumb, cow's eyes."

"Well she's wrong then. You're a good-looking boy and your eyes are your best feature. You're going to break a lot of girl's hearts."

"That's not going to happen. I'm gay you know."

"You are? Yeah, so am I. You're going to break a lot of boy's hearts then."

"Why would I want to do that? I won't anyway, I'm just a Dummy."

"Don't say that. You're not a Dummy, you're my friend and I don't want to hear you saying that again."

"I won't say it then, but I still am. I like being your friend, Justin."

"You're still not! I like being your friend too. Thanks."

"Thank you. What are we going to do now?"

"Do you want to go back to the Square? The fireworks are over, but the party will go on for hours yet."

"No. I should just go home. I'm not good at parties and my mum gets mad if I'm late home."

"We don't want to do that then. I'll walk home with you."

"You don't have to do that."

"I know I don't, but I want to."

"Okay then, but you won't be able to come in. It's Saturday night and my mum gets funny when she's been drinking."

"She gets funny?"

"Yeah. She gets real nasty too, sometimes, when she gets upset."

"We'll try not to upset her then. We'd better get going." He looked over at the town clock. "It's nearly 11 o'clock."

They rattled down the stairs. Luckily, there were lights in there with switches at both top and bottom of the stairs. It would've been pitch-black otherwise and that could have been interesting. Back across the main street and they started along Brigham Street.

When they came to the Square, Nicholas said, "Why don't you go back to the party? I can walk home by myself."

"You trying to get rid of me, Kid?"

"No! I just thought you'd rather be in there."

"You thought wrong then. I'd rather be with you. Billy will have taken Jeremy home by now and I'm not going back in there on my own."

"You could go home then."

"I could, but I won't. I want to walk with you."

"Thanks, Superboy."

"Thank you, My Friend."

They walked along in silence for a while, and then Justin said, "Tell me some more about yourself. If you could have anything in the world, what would you wish for?"

"Anything in the world? That's easy! What I would want is for the Seeker to play a song, just for me, on the radio. But that's never going to happen."

"The Seeker? That's the new, teenage, DJ on West FM, Robbie Keenan's nephew."

"Yes, that's him. Conrad Keenan, he's great!"

"So that's why he's the Seeker. Conrad Keenan - CK - Seeker. That makes sense. We don't listen much to the radio these days, but I've heard that he's really good - a bit of a star on the radio waves."

"Not just a bit of a star. He's the best DJ ever. He's really cool and everybody loves him."

"Including you."

"Yes, including me. I listen to him all of the time."

"Right. But he plays requests and dedications, that's what he does. Why don't you ask him to play a song for you?"

"Oh no. I couldn't do that."

"Why not, Nicky? Everyone else does and he plays songs for them."

"I couldn't! I don't talk to him. I've never talked to him. Conrad is a star and he's really cool. I'm just me - the Dummy."

"Don't call yourself that. You're not a Dummy."

"I am the Dummy. Everyone calls me that."

"Everyone is wrong then. I don't see a Dummy, I see Nicholas. You're a good-looking boy and a nice kid too, I think."

"I'm not good-looking. I'm just ordinary. Conrad is good-looking, he's beautiful!"

"He is? He's about the same age as you, isn't he?"

"Yes, exactly the same. Conrad is 15, same as me."

"He's 15 and he's got his own radio show? That's impressive. Of course it wouldn't hurt that his Uncle Robbie owns the radio station."

"Conrad doesn't need his uncle to help him. He's a star!"

"Yes, so you said. You really like this boy, don't you?"

"Oh yes. I love him."

"How do you love him? Is that like you love him because he's a radio star?"

"No, I just love him. I've always loved Conrad, since long before he was on the stupid radio."

"Stupid radio? But you still listen to him?"

"Of course I do. I never miss his show."

"You always listen to him. You've always loved him, but you don't speak to him. Why not?"

"Because I can't. He's way too good to be bothered with someone like me."

"If he can't be bothered with someone like you, then he's not much good at all."

"Don't say that! Don't you ever say that. Fuck you, Superboy! Go away and leave me alone. Conrad is a better person than you'll ever be."

"Whoah, Nicholas. Don't get so upset. I wasn't putting him down; I don't even know the kid. I just meant that you're good enough for anyone."

"I'm not. Not for him, I'm not."

"You bloody are! Are we still friends?"

"We're friends, but don't you say bad stuff about Conrad."

"Okay, deal. But don't you say bad stuff about Nicholas either."

"Thanks, Superboy. I'm glad that you're my friend."

"I'm glad that you're mine too. You really love Conrad, don't you?"

"Oh yes!"

"But you don't talk to him. Do you want me to request a song for you?"

"No I don't. I don't want a request; I would want him to play a song for me because he wants to. That's why it will never happen."

"I see the difference. Tell me about Conrad, why do you love him?"

"He glows."

"That's it? He glows?"

"Yeah, he does. Conrad is perfect!"

They walked along the quiet streets to the north-east corner of Westpoint, chatting quietly as this gentle boy told Justin of his love for a wonderful boy named Conrad. Justin said nothing, of course, but he doubted whether anyone was as perfect as the picture Nicholas was painting. This Conrad was just too good to be true. Well, except if someone was looking through the eyes of love, like Nicholas was.

The quiet of the evening was shattered when they arrived outside Nicholas' home and a screaming banshee came running out and attacked them.

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