Puppy For Sale
Chapter 37 - The Unconventional Search
Dave stretched out causing me to wheeze as his body pressed against mine. "Well, I guess I better be going soon, got to be back to look after my little brother."
"God, the time has gone fast," I remarked, looking up at the clock.
"I need the bathroom, don't you go without saying goodbye," Steven said, heading out of the room. Dave nodded.
"Hey, um… would you like to stay over next Saturday night?" I whispered stroking Dave's hand with mine.
"Really? Actually, that might work, my mum has the weekend off for once, so I doubt I'll be called upon… unless she has another male guest over. What did you have in mind?"
"Dunno," I shrugged. "Sometimes I wish I was sixteen already, I'm due to get some money then we could go out somewhere for the day and then come back here."
"Perhaps its fate Jensen, you are hardly mobile right now," he said, looking down at my foot.
"That's due to be taken off soon, then I can wear shoes again… well that's the plan. But look, I'll see if I can score it with Max and Susan and I'll let you know yeah?
"Steven will be here next Saturday night right?"
I looked at Dave and grinned. "Thought you were the one who wanted to take it slow?"
His eyes went wide. "Oh my God, I didn't mean for of that,"
I blushed, feeling embarrassed I'd assumed. "Oh, well, I just thought…"
"No, Jensen, it was just a passing question. Maybe we could do something together… the three of us."
"I'm not enough to satisfy your mind alone?" I said, smirking.
"What's this about being satisfied? Jensen letting you down in that department already Dave?" Steven winked, coming back into the bedroom. I frowned at him.
"I should get going," Dave remarked. "Thank you for a lovely day, and thanks for not saying anything to Billy, Steven."
"Yeah, no sweat."
"I'll see you out," I said, looking suspiciously at Steven.
"Bye Dave," Steven added, before collapsing on his bed.
"Yeah, see you at school Steven, bye."
"What are you smiling about?" Steven asked as I returned to the bedroom after seeing Dave out. I felt warm and fuzzy after we had shared a quick kiss away from prying eyes in the hallway, just before I let him go.
"It's just been a good day that's all. Thanks for giving us some time; I'm so happy right now."
"Yeah, you look it."
"So did you really keep it a secret from Billy that Dave was round here?"
Steven smirked. "What do you think?"
"I couldn't help it, but look; he will keep his mouth shut while I have anything to do with it."
"Doesn't know, and Billy won't tell him if he knows what's good for him. Look, Billy is cool, trust me. I'll handle the fallout from Jessie if it comes to that."
"Well just make sure you do, Dave is going through enough right now without Jessie adding to the mix."
"Jensen, I know Dave better than anyone so please don't lecture me on his troubles ok?" Steven demanded, suddenly serious.
"Whoa, ok… I was just saying."
"Well don't, you might be in this little bubble with him at the moment but I've seen some fucking dark things go on with his family so don't tell me how to handle things."
I stayed quiet. He had a point I suppose. I didn't know Dave, Jessie or Billy anywhere near like Steven did, so I guess it might have come across like I was trying to think I did.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you mad, I just feel for him."
Steven sighed. "Yeah bro, we all do, it's shit for him… and you know, I'm glad you two have hooked up, he needs some happiness in his life right now."
"I'm sure you provide enough of that with your mouth," I remarked, teasingly.
"Whatever Boner, I need to take a-"
"Boys… Dinner!" Susan called from downstairs.
"Guess I'll take that shower later then. I'm guessing you can handle things on your own now in the bathroom department yeah?"
"Yeah it's fine now; I can put weight on it. C'mon, let's go, I'm starving.
As we got down stairs Susan was just bringing a whole roast chicken over to the table. Max had just come in from the front garden and we all seemed to convene together at once.
"Steven, go and wash up, your fingernails are disgusting," Max said, grabbing hold of Steven's left hand.
"Yeah, I was helping Billy with his dirt bike, it's got an oil leak."
"I hope you aren't planning to ride that thing," Susan chimed in, handing Max a carving knife.
Steven just rolled his eyes and went to the bathroom. "It feels like I haven't seen you all day, Max. Everything done out there?" I asked, sitting down.
"Yeah, he's been a busy boy haven't you Max," Susan said, smiling at him.
"Yep all done, mind you, I did get a bit carried away though and trimmed back next door's bush."
"Why, was old girl Sally getting a bit hairy down there?" Steven snorted, walking back into the kitchen.
"STEVEN!" Susan cried, covering her ears. "You will be the death of me Steven Chase, I swear to God!"
"It was just a joke, mum, jeez."
"It was dirty… and don't you encourage him Max, sitting there thinking I can't see you laughing, it's not funny!"
I just sat there frowning wondering what the hell had just happened. "Sorry did I miss something? What has Sally got to do with Max trimming back her bu-"
"Never mind," Susan cut in. "It's just Steven being filthy as usual."
"Jensen, a bush is another word for vagina hair."
"OH MY GOD!" Susan screamed. Max was about to split at the seams, as he burst out laughing, real hard. Steven was in his element.
He had made Max almost wet himself and Susan have a coronary. He and Max suddenly high fived and Susan just shook her head with utter disapproval.
"Let's eat, enough of the bush talk," she said. I could have sworn she almost grinned… well almost!
Max started to carve the chicken, having to stop every so often because he had the giggles. Susan poured some wine for us all and tried to ignore him.
"So how did your day go with Dave?" Susan asked. "I tried not to disturb you both, even though I had hot cookies in the oven."
"Yeah it was really nice, we talked loads and I found out lots about him."
"That's great honey. I really didn't want to say too much about his problems at home, I hope you understand. I just thought it would want to be something he discussed when he was ready."
"Yeah, I'm sure he appreciated that, and its fine, I pretty much know everything now."
"Good, he's a nice boy," She declared, pouring some gravy on to her dinner. "You could learn a few things from him Steven."
"Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm a big disappointment." He sulked.
"Oh shush, you know that's rubbish."
"I've been thinking," Max piped up, after putting a mouthful of food in his mouth. "I think we should move."
"Whoa," Steven shot.
"Erm," was Susan's only word.
"Where to?" I added.
Max smiled as we all looked at him with our mouths open. "It was just a suggestion."
"Don't you think it would have been nice if you had discussed this with me first, Max, before announcing it in front of the boys?"
"It just came to me. Besides, we need a bigger house, we can afford a bigger house and I know you would like a separate dining room."
"Don't try and sweet talk me Mr, with your additional dining room idea! You know how I hate it when you just announce things on a whim."
Max dipped his head down, and stayed silent. It was clear that as sweet and soft as Susan was, it sure looked like she was the boss.
"What about school?" Steven asked.
"What about Dave?" I added.
"Hey, slow down there guys… look it was just a floating idea, and even if we did move, I'm not talking the other end of the country. Although I would like to move further out of the city."
"I think we should leave this discussion until your father and I have had a chance to talk this through, right Max?" she said, glaring at him. Max just nodded and put another fork full of food in his mouth.
Taking advantage of the momentary silence I placed my cutlery down and prepared a pre-practised question I had.
"Um… I was, erm… well I was wondering if Dave might be able to sleep over next Saturday?"
Susan and Max stopped eating and looked up at me. I kept switching my view between the both of them, and tried on my best smile.
"But where will he sleep, Puppy?" Max asked.
"Max," Susan said, tilting her head at him, a slight glare in her eyes.
"Oh… oh right I see," he said, correcting his trajectory on the subject. "Susan? What do you think?"
"Don't see why not-"
"Hey, don't I get a say in this?" Steven barked.
"I thought you would be ok with it," I said, saying please with my eyes.
"Well I am ok with it, it would just be nice to be consulted, I might want an early night that night."
"Now you're just being awkward," I hissed, kicking him under the table.
"Look, sort it out amongst yourselves boys, but your mum and I are fine with it," Max suggested.
"Cool, thanks." I said, giving Steven a smug look. His eyes suggested a horrible death was imminent.
Back in our room Steven was on his computer looking at porn while I sat on my bed texting Dave on my phone. I was thinking about Cindy again, mentally chastising myself for putting her out of my mind as I had become so wrapped up in the new boy I had in my thoughts. It had felt so long since I had had any contact with her I started to think maybe she had just forgotten about me rather than there being anything suspicious at play.
I let my head drop down on my pillow and stared at the ceiling.
"What's up?" Steven asked, turning round, an obvious boner in his pants.
"Are you really interested?" I asked back, eyeing his crotch. Steven looked down and sniggered.
"Hey, I'm a red blooded male, but yes I'm interested."
"Just thinking about Cindy, that's all."
"What about her?"
"Do you think it's possible to be so close to someone and then for them to just be able to forget about you?"
Steven mused on the question. "Dunno, never been in that situation. Why don't I try and do a search for her, what's her surname again?"
"Batton," I replied, not holding out much hope.
"Hmm, Cindy B-a-t-t-o-n… " he tapped away. "Ok got a few results here… some girl in the US, but she is twenty six. Another one here who is a stripper… yeah I don't think that's her. Nope, nothing that sounds like your girl."
"Never mind, it was worth a try I guess."
"You're giving up?"
"Maybe I should Steven, if I don't, it will just haunt me forever… like it's doing now."
"She was your best friend right?"
"Totally," I replied, passionately.
"Then don't give up!"
"What else can I do? Greenstone will never give me the name of her parents, she hasn't contacted me… and I don't know if she even wants to, or can."
Steven stroked his chin for a moment. "Hmm, what if there was a way to make the kid prison give up its secrets?"
"I have a plan, but it's risky," Steven declared, sighing.
"Risky as in illegal?"
He Snirked. "Yeah kinda."
"Oh no, I don't want no part in any activity that's gonna get us into trouble. I don't want mum and dad regretting ever finding me."
"Relax, will you, it might not even come to that. Do you wanna hear my plans?"
"Plans… you have more than one?"
"Jensen, when you wanna pull off something that's tricky, you always have a plan B in mind."
"Ok, let's hear it then, but I'm not agreeing to anything yet."
Steven jumped off his computer chair and on to his bed getting into a crossed legged position. I leaned back against the wall and pulled my knees up wondering what nonsense was about to come out of his mouth.
"First, I need to know what sorts of records are held at Greenstone."
"Yeah, like all those urchins that live there, do they have paper records in some vault or something, or computer records?"
"Both as far as I know, but the paper ones are held in a filing cabinet, nothing fancy like a vault."
"I'm glad you said both because that makes both of my plans optional."
"What are you suggesting?"
"Where are the paper files kept at Greenstone?"
"The homing records are kept in Charlotte Grange's office, the Medical ones in a locked room on the third floor."
"It's just the homing ones that interest me."
"Why, what are you planning?"
"Wait… lemme bring up a picture of Greenstone on my computer, then I want you to tell me where Charlotte's office is located," Steven said, rushing back to his PC with a sort of excitement I found strange.
I got up and went over to join him. He typed the name of my home in some box that had Google above it and clicked. Straight away loads of different pictures of Greenstone came up on the screen.
"Now, I need to find one that's got a high resolution, that should help you." He said, talking more to himself, I felt. Moments later a large picture appeared on the screen that showed the house and a small part of the parking lot.
"No," I said, shaking my head. "You need to get the other side, Charlotte's office is round the back of the building."
Steven came out of the picture and flicked down the search page. "There!" I said, touching the screen. "That's a good one."
Steven clicked on the image and sure enough another large picture appeared, but this time showing the rear of the building. "So?" Steven said, looking at me.
"Hold on, I'm trying to get my bearings… ok, that window there," I stated, pointing at one of the old white windows that uniformly sat within the building.
"How do those windows open?"
I huffed. "How the fuck should I know? It's not something I paid much attention to while I was looking for new parents. Oh yes, sorry Mr Watson, can you postpone looking for any parents for me for a while, just so I can fully investigate how the windows open at this place before I go, I might need to break in one day… Jesus!"
"Well it's either that or we go to plan B, you sarcastic shit! Do you want to find your friend or not?
"Give me option B!"
"Its plan B, twat!"
"Plan B, I will need to call a friend for."
"I hate it already… getting others involved, are you mad?"
"I share a room with you don't I…now shut up and pass me my phone, it's on my bed." Steven demanded.
"Oh, I'll get that then shall I?"
"Hey, I'm doing all the leg work here! What are you doing? Apart from watching me… like you always do, I might add."
"Who are you gonna call?"
"Ghostbusters? Ha, actually, my friend, Ming… well actually he's Jessie's friend, but what's the difference."
"Ming? What a strange name."
"His full name is Ming Chow Lang Yeung, He's Chinese, and a whizz on computers."
"Yeah… he sounds like he would be for some reason."
Steven put his finger up to his mouth indicating he wanted me to be quiet.
"Hey Ming, Its Steven… yeah I'm good, listen I have a challenge for you… yes it's legal." I rolled my eyes. "Yeah… can you come over?... now. Yeah now, why is that not possible?... ok… yeah… yeah, good… ok see you in ten."
Steven hung up his phone and smiled at me. "What have you gotten us into?" I said, fearfully.
"Nothing yet, listen, I'm gonna see if he can do this and do it safely, if he can't then we'll think of something else."
"Steven, I don't even know what THIS is."
"I'll explain it when he gets here."
Steven's phone buzzed and he picked it up swiping the screen. "Great, he's outside. Wait here, I'll be right back, don't want you injuring yourself do we?" I gave him a sarcastic look and watched him leave the room.
"Who is it Steven?"
"Just a friend mum, he's not staying long," Steven called back.
Moments later I could hear Steven and Ming coming up the stairs before entering the bedroom.
"Ming, this is Jensen, my brother… Jenson? Ming!"
"Nice to meet you Jensen."
"He's starting out our school soon." Steven announced to Ming.
"Really, poor boy…nah, only joking, you'll be fine," Ming said, taking a seat in Steven's computer chair. "So what's this all about, Steven?"
"Simple. Can you hack into a database of a children's home?"
"Whoa, Steven, I don't think that is a good idea man… anyway what for?" Ming asked.
"Ahhh, I see I got you curious. Well, we need a name that's all and-"
"You need a name, Steven, I dunno if I want anything to do with this! It sounds bad judging by Ming's reaction. I dunno what you are talking about when you say hacking but I know the word means to hack at something."
"Relax… and besides, if you don't know anything about it, it will be easy for you to claim ignorance yeah?" Steven assured me, before turning back to his friend. "So, Ming, can you do it?"
"It depends. If it's a simple case of their being a firewall and the usual basic PC security then I don't see why not, but if it has beefed up-"
"It won't, its run on a shit budget, right Jensen?"
"I don't know, why are you asking me?"
"You lived there."
"Yeah but I don't know what fucking security they have on their systems do I…I think you need to forget about this."
"Don't listen to him Ming, he'll be thankful if we can pull this off, more than you know, so what do you need from me, apart from my PC?"
"About half an hour and some coffee, Oh and the name of the building and where it's located."
"I'll grab the coffee, Jensen will fill you in on the other stuff…be right back."
Ming had been tapping away for an hour and I was just lying there watching the two of them converse. Every now and again Steven would step up behind Ming and rest his hands on the back of the chair, as if getting impatient.
"Okeeey, I think I'm in, just got to undo the encryption on the database. So once that's done, what do you need?"
"Can you search for a girl on there, called Cindy Batton?"
"I'll need to see how many files there are, it might take a little while to find what you need, it's unlikely there will be one huge file waiting to be opened Steven."
"So how long will it take?"
"How long is a piece of string? I have masked your IP address, so there are no worries about being traced, if that's what you are worried about?"
"You're the expert, but knowing that makes me feel a little better." Steven declared, looking round at me and grinning.
I shook my head. "I still think this sounds very dangerous."
"You heard him Jensen, its fine, he's masked the… what's it called, address thingy."
"There is a file here called Child PVD," Ming announced, Steven came and looked at the screen before turning to me.
I shrugged. "Dunno what that… oh, hold on… PVT? Yeah, Child Parent Vetting Disclosure. I had to have a PVD with Max I remember now." Steven nodded and turned to Ming.
"Click on it."
"Damn, it's encrypted!"
"Can you do anything?"
"Maybe, give me some time… and must you hang over me… go make me some more coffee if you want to help."
I was amazed by Steven's obedience when he wanted something done. I followed him with my eyes as he dutifully left the bedroom to get more coffee for Ming.
"Is there any way we could get in to trouble for this Ming?" I asked, feeling quite uneasy about what was going on. If we were found out, there was no doubt I would be suspected seeing as I was the one with the history at Greenstone.
"It should be fine Jensen, we are only looking at files, we do not plan to remove any. Once I break the link there is no way for them to ever know someone was in here. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, I am masking your IP address so if we were being traced it would look as if the attack came from… hmm let me see… um, in this case, Zambia."
"Great, I understood all that, thanks very much." As Ming turned back to the screen, I shook my head.
He'd lost me as soon as he spoke.
"Here you go Master, more coffee," Steven said returning to the computer screen.
"Ok, just a few more seconds and I should… there, bingo, I'm in."
"Great!" Steven chirped.
"So, the name again?"
"Cindy Batton… we need to know who she left with so look for names that are connected with her file."
I got up from my bed and wandered over to the computer, curiosity now getting the better of me seeing as this appeared to be working… whatever Ming was doing.
"Got a Watson guy listed here, and what looks like his wife, maybe?" Ming said.
"No, that's the Home Director," I stated. "He'll be on there as the one who signs stuff off.
"Well it says here, Cindy Batton, dur dur dur… into the care of Dennis Michal Watson and Jane Theresa Watson. It's been date stamped. Post vetting procedure passed… bla bla bla, given in right to the said parents, such of this date… bla bla bla," Steven reeled off.
I shoved Steven out of the way to get to the screen. "What the fuck are you talking about?!"
"Look, it says right here… and, there is an address… number thirty eight Badgers Lane."
I brought my hand up to my mouth, perplexed.
"Are you ok?" Ming asked, as I stumbled forward. I kept reading the screen, over and over again. Dennis Watson!
What the hell was going on?
"This is the same guy you always mention right?" Steven asked me.
"Yeah, but why would he tell me… I really don't understand all this."
"Is that all you needed, guys, want me to break the link?" Mind said twisting his head round to face us.
"Yes, I've seen enough," I stated, walking away from the screen. I'd been lied to, big time. But at least it was one mystery solved.
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