Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Lost Years - 5

Nicholas & Conrad

Jonathan answered, "Robbie? Yeah, he and Bryce live in that white one over there."

"That old place? Surely they could afford something better than that!"

"I don't know. Why don't you go ask them?"

"I might. See you later, brother. Billy, I'll find my own way back to town. I'm just going to see Robbie K. for a few minutes."

"We'll wait for you. I'll just take the boy over to the beach. He loves making sandcastles, don't you, Son?"

"They're not castles, Daddy. They're beach-houses."

"Okay, let's go and make some beach-houses."

"All right!" Jeremy took off, running.

Billy sighed, "Endless energy! If we could bottle it, we'd be rich."

"We're already rich, Sunny. We always have been."

"Yeah, we have, but we'd be richer. Come over and find us when you're ready for home."

"Okay, thanks. I'll just be a few minutes. 'Bye family, see you later."

The party broke up. Jonathan's car and mini-van headed back to town, Billy went to the beach with Jeremy and Justin went in the opposite direction, across the Domain, to Robbie and Bryce's house.

The front door opened before he reached it and a tall, still-handsome, man came outside.

"Hey Superboy. Are you looking for someone?"

"Hey Bryce. I wanted to see Robbie, is he here?"

"He's out the back, in the pool. Come on through the house. Put your pants on, Robbie. We've got company. Can I get you a drink, Justin?"

"No thanks. We've just eaten. Hey Robbie."

Robbie, in the pool, straightened up and pulled his shorts up. "Hey Justin. How are you?"

"I'm good. Why have you guys got a pool when there's a perfectly good beach right across the road?"

"Too much salt and sand over there, and the water's warmer here."

"Besides which," Bryce interrupted. "We wouldn't want to scare the fish away. Robbie likes an all-over tan."

"On you, I do," Robbie grinned.

"Whoah! Too much information!" Justin laughed.

"You started it. What can we do for you, Superboy?"

"Justin. Robbie, where does your nephew, Conrad, live?"

"Conrad? What are you looking for him for? Isn't he a bit young for you?"

"No he's not. He's 15, or so I'm told. I just want to throw him on a bed and ravish him."

"Doesn't everyone? He lives here with us. I think he's in his room, he usually is. Bryce will show you where."

"Conrad lives with you guys? How come?"

"It's all your fault, but that's okay. We don't mind, it's great having him here."

"My fault? How do you work that out?"

"Both of his parents work for you - for Billy's Burgers. They moved to Dunedin to manage a new restaurant. Conrad refused to go with them, so he lives here with us."

"He's 15 and he refused to go with them?"

"Have you ever tried to make a teenager do something that he really doesn't want to?"

"Not yet, but I'm sure we'll have that to look forward to. So, where is he?"

"Come on, Superboy," said Bryce. "I'll show you, and no ravishing the boy."

"Wouldn't think of it, Bryce. Thanks, Robbie. I'll see you later."

"Yeah, laters Superboy!"

Bryce led the way back inside and indicated. "The blue door there. Knock loudly, he's probably got his headphones on."

"Headphones?"

"Yeah. Music is Conrad's life. If he's not on the radio he's usually here, listening to music. Sad really, at 15 he should be out there having a life."

"Well, maybe - just maybe, we might be able to do something about that."

"I hope you can, I really do. I'll leave you to it, I've got lawns to mow. That's the story of my life - old houses and big lawns. Later, Superboy."

"Later, Bryce. Thanks."

"Thank you, Justin. Dig him out of there if you can."

He knocked, loudly. Conrad heard him, he opened the door and looked out.

"Oh. Hello. Are you looking for someone?"

Justin stood and looked at the boy before him. He was an okay-looking kid, but nothing exceptional. Blue eyes, a rather long face and his mouth looked to be over-full, like he had the wrong teeth. His hair was light-brown, spiked into a 'comb' on top but cut really short around the back and sides. It was a bit nerdy-looking really.

He did have great skin though - really great. It was all an even light-tan colour and, yes, he glowed. He glowed with health and vitality and the beauty of youth. A nice-looking boy, but he didn't see the perfection that Nicholas saw.

"Hey, Conrad. I was looking for you. Can we talk? I'm Justin Reynolds by the way."

I know who you are, Superboy. Everyone knows who you are. Come in and sit down."

"Please don't call me Superboy. My name is Justin."

"You might think so; no-one else does."

"Yes they do. My friends call me Justin."

"I'm not your friend, I don't even know you."

"I'm hoping to change that."

"You are? Why? You're not another fan of the Seeker, are you?"

"Nope, not me. I've heard the Seeker on the radio, I think, but not a lot."

"All right then. Sit down. You can have the chair, I'll sit on the bed. What do you want, Justin?"

"You're direct, aren't you? I like that. Okay, cards on the table. I haven't got a lot of time, Billy and Jeremy are waiting for me, so I'll just come out and say it."

"I wish you would."

"Conrad, you're 15. You're not a kid anymore, you're growing up, but you're all alone. They tell me that, when you're not on the air, you don't have any close friends."

"That'd be right. I've got no friends at all."

"Why not? You're a nice-looking kid and you're very popular on the radio."

"I don't have any time for friends. I go to school, I study and I work on the radio 5 nights a week."

"That still leaves 2 days a week."

"Damm, Justin! I need some time to myself."

"Fair enough, some time but not too much. I want to know, would you be at all interested in a relationship?"

"A relationship with who? You're not coming on to me are you?"

"No," Justin laughed. "I'm not coming on to you, I wouldn't do that. I'm far too old for you and, besides, I've already got all the relationship I'll ever want. I'm very happy with my Billy and our son. I'd just like to see other people as happy as I am."

"You would? Yeah, you would. You are Westpoint's Superboy after all."

"Once maybe, but not now. I've got a friend who is seriously in love with you. Is there any chance at all that you might be interested?"

"Seriously in love? Yeah, right! Sure you have. Look, Justin, I'm not being big-headed, but I'm the Seeker. I laugh and joke and play great music on the radio. The show is way popular and lots of people think that they're in love with me, but they're not.

It's all a bit of fun and they're just fans, they don't even know me. You've got no idea how many offers I've had. I tell them no, I'm not interested."

"Not interested? That's a shame. My friend knows you and has loved you since long before you were ever on the 'stupid radio'. My friend listens to your show, of course, but to hear your voice, not just being a fan. He loves Conrad, not the Seeker."

"He?"

"Yes, he. I didn't mean to say that. That was a slip. Would it be a problem that it's a boy and not a girl?"

"Your friend's a boy? Someone my age?"

"Yes, exactly your age. He's 15 as well. Would it be a problem?"

"No, it wouldn't. My problem is that I haven't got time for any more in my life. I really haven't."

"You could find time. You could if you wanted to. Friends and lovers are the most important things in anyone's life. Everything else pales in comparison. Trust me, I know. Once I had neither, now I have."

"I still don't see how I could. I just don't."

"You could cut back on the radio. Look, this boy adores you, everybody needs to be adored, and he thinks that you're just perfect. I'm sure that you don't think that, nobody does, but he thinks that you are. He'd be more than happy to just be your friend. He really doesn't think that he's good enough for that even."

"But he's your friend?"

"He is."

"He's good enough then. But I just don't see . . .who is he anyway?"

"I'm not telling you that, not yet. Look, I'm not asking you to make a decision right now. Just think about it, okay? Think about having a friend, a true friend - someone who loves you no matter what and would love to spend time in your company.

Maybe it would never come to any more than that, but you'd still be better off for knowing him. Okay? Now I've gotta go. I've already stayed longer than I should have. Billy and Jeremy will be waiting for me.

Think about it, Conrad. Think about it and let me know, you know where I live. Okay? Thanks. Now, goodbye, I'm outta here!"

"Goodbye, Superboy. I'll think about it."

Justin ran back over to the beach. That went well - better than he'd expected. It would be so great if he could help bring two lonely boys together.

Billy and Jeremy were busy on the beach, busy building streets of little houses. They hadn't even missed him and Jeremy was not ready to go home, not yet. They agreed to give him half an hour more and that was all. They were going home.

He protested, but agreed. He knew when not to push the limits. He could, sometimes, get the best of either of his dads, but not both together.

He was a trier though. On the way back into town, he asked, "Can we go and see Ma? Please, please, please! I love Ma and I haven't seen her for ever so long! She'll be missing me. Can we go and see her?"

"No, Jeremy," Billy said. "We're going home, it's nearly your bedtime. We had lunch with Ma on Friday, two days ago, that's not long."

"It's long for me. I never get to see Ma. I'm a Carver you know."

"You are, Darlin' Boy," said Justin. "You're a grubby little Carver and you're going home to your bath and bed. We'll read you a story and then you're going to sleep. You won't grow up if you don't sleep."

"You hate me! You hate me and you never want me to have any fun!"

"Yeah, that's right," Billy said. "We can't stand the sight of you. We hate you and we just want to make your life miserable."

"We'll throw him down stairs without any banister and feed him on cockroaches kept in a canister," Justin nodded.

"Eww! Cockroaches! They're disgusting. Grandmother hates cockroaches. There was one in her kitchen, she said not to tell anybody."

"You just told us, you twit."

"You won't tell, will you? Don't tell Grandmother. What's a canister?"

"It's a sort of a tin can."

"Oh. You don't hate me. I love you, Daddys."

"Yeah, we love you too, we really do."

"Ca we go to Ma's then?"

"No, Jeremy. We're going home. We'll go and see Ma tomorrow, if you're good."

"I'm good. I'm always good."

"Yeah, when you're asleep you are."

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