The Boy from Castlebay Down

by Westcliff Writer

Chapter 9

Closing The Gap

I opened my eyes feeling wide awake for almost 5 seconds until the night before approached me like a speeding train, draining me of all energy. Pressing the button on my cell I looked at the time, it had just gone nine.

I untangled myself from the sheets I'd been wrapped in and pushed down on my aching dick which needed a piss. As I got up to head for the door I could hear voices coming from outside, the single glazed windows doing nothing to block out such sounds.

I stepped over to the window covering my morning wood just in case any nosy person caught a glimpse of me. I looked down. Outside, over by the sea wall was my sister in one of her rather more lavish Victorian style dresses, but that was not what caused my mouth to drop open. THAT cause was the person she was talking to, or rather the boy she was talking to.

I ducked my head level with the window sill and continued to stare out at them like some perverted stalker I imagined. They were constantly smiling at each other and laughing, with Zoe frequently touching his arm or running a finger down his torso.

Was my sister flirting?!

I watched some more, seeing he didn't have a problem with what she was doing even after I warned him to stay away from her. I could hear the chatting but it was muffled as my ears struggled to make out the dialog that was being said while she continued to unceremoniously throw herself at him.

Carefully and slowly I reached up and unlatched the window and opened it to a crack. The clarity of the outside improved and I was able to hear better what was going on.

"So are you planning on going to school here?" I heard Troy ask.

"Oh yes, dear Troy, and I am very much looking forward to it. Education is such a gift, wouldn't you agree?"

I heard Troy laugh. "Awww, you're so cute, and I don't mean that in a patronising way missy."

"Why thank you and I take all comments from you as compliments. Say, did you attend an educational facility?"

"Educa… you mean did I go to school?"

"Yes."

"Oh, well yeah I did, but just school, then I came to help my dad with his business and trained to be a fisherman."

Zoe squeezed his arm again. "You do have quite delightful biceps, Troy. Is this to do with your job?"

I just stood there and rolled my eyes. I didn't know who was blushing more, me standing up here, or Troy… who for the first time looked a little uncomfortable. In any case it sure wasn't Zoe blushing, looking as confident as ever.

"Actually I box… 2 nights a week actually, up at the community hall on Hook Avenue."

"A boxer, really, wow!"

"Yeah, I'm not a professional or anything I just do it to unwind you know."

"Well it is not a sport I would associate with unwinding but none the less it is a very masculine sport."

"Haha, yeah, I guess it is. So what about you? Do you have any hobbies?"

"Oh yes, I am very much a participant in equestrian sports," she replied to him. I put my hand up to my mouth and sniggered.

"Zoe you fucking liar," I muttered, almost wanting to laugh out loud. "You ride a horse it ends there!" I couldn't help saying aloud, shaking my head.

"Equestrian, eh? Sounds fun, that's horses right?"

"Very good my darling."

Her reply made my toes curl!

"Well, I should come watch you some day, how's that?"

"Oh Troy, that would just be delightful," she replied, jumping up and pecking him on the cheek. He smiled that smile he did and I knew it was doing things to her. Things that, as a brother I knew I was going to have to put a stop to.

And he should know better!

I waited a little longer at the window expecting him to ask where I was or mention the picture but there was nothing, nothing at all. I tried to pretend to myself I didn't care, after all, we don't give to receive mum always said. But a part of me felt a little hurt that he was just carrying on as if life was normal. But I guess why wouldn't he be? I'm the one with the problem… I'm the one who went mental at him. The fact that I gave him a picture to say sorry is not going to be a life changing event for him.

'A fucking picture that took all night!' A little devil inside me shouted trying to douse my rationale.

I stepped away from the window determined not to get myself in a state over the fact he had not come running… begging to be my friend again. I was just going to have to accept that yes he got the picture, probably thought it was a nice gesture and then got on with his day.

Besides, I wasn't going to have time to dwell on that as "CORBIN, are you out of bed, C'mon, we have work to do," was shouted by my fat abusive fuck of a father.

I quickly got dressed not wanting to feel his wrath for a second day. "Coming!" I called back, seeming to automatically accept my trip out with him today was happening. Well, I didn't have anything else to do now did I?

'No Corbin, you fucked that up,' I thought.


I got down stairs to find mum in the kitchen just about to place some bacon on a plate for dad. "Oh Corbin, you're up, would you like some breakfast, I did a full English?"

"Yeah please, I feel pretty hungry," I replied, sitting down opposite my father. We both consciously tried not to make eye contact.

"It's bright out there but cold. Make sure you wear something warm, I don't want you moaning like a sissy when we are out workin' got it?"

"Oh Donny, I'm sure Corbin knows what to wear, he has been through a few winters," mum remarked.

I looked up at her. "Yeah, a few winters in my mind too. That seems to be a cold a desolate place lately."

She frowned.

"What's that little comment supposed to mean?" Dad asked, coarsely.

"Explain this to mum did you?" I asked, pulling down my sweater collar. "You're a bully,"

"Bah, a little roughing up never did no boy and his man any harm, grow a pair of balls and you and me will get on fine!"

Seething from his dismissive response I looked at mum, waiting for her to say something, anything. But she didn't. Instead she just poured some baked beans on to my plate and changed the subject.

"Has anyone seen Zoe?" she asked.

"Outside talking to that biker boy, has been since eight this morning," dad responded.

Since eight? I thought.

"You mean Troy?" mum asked. "Aww, he seems like a lovely young man and so polite when I finally met him and his father last night… Jerry isn't it, Corbin?"

"Yeah," I replied, my head stooped as I chewed on my bacon.

"I must say they were very worried about you last night. Seems like this little village does look out for one another… even the new ones it seems," she said, coming past and rubbing my shoulders."

"Well boy, I'm glad you saw sense and stayed back to come with me today," Dad said, making me wonder if he knew why. Mum didn't seem to bat an eyelid either.

"You do know I quit my job, don't you?" I said to them both.

"Since when?" mum asked.

"Yesterday, I had this melt… Uh, I mean, I said to Jerry that I was needed here to help out so wouldn't be able to commit to anything after all.

Mum looked at me confused. "Oh, well that's strange; Jerry said you had asked if you could take a week longer to get settled in before starting properly."

My head shot up at her. "Did he?"

"Yeah, he said he expected dad would probably need a little help to start with and that he was happy for you to come back soon."

I just stared straight ahead in silence, my forehead creased, trying to work out what the fuck was going on, knowing that no such conversation took place.

I cleared my throat. "Uh, oh yeah, I remember now," I declared, slapping my head.

"Hmph, well, as long as that pansy art job down the wacky boat yard don't interfere with the periods I need you."

"So when are you hiring someone?" I asked quickly.

"When we have some fucking money. Do you know how much this venture has cost to get up and running?"

"Uh…"

"Well don't bother asking because it's none of your business. All you need to do is what I say and when I say it. You'll work hard but you'll feel like a man for it. Besides, it might take you away from that fucking painting shit you do."

I was about to open my mouth and argue, but just in my peripheral vision I could see mum shaking her head at me.

She was right, it wasn't worth a reaction.


I slammed the door to dad's car after he had pulled up at a small warehouse building that sat out on stilts over the water. We'd sat in silence the short journey down here and such was our non-existent relationship it did nothing for my enthusiasm to do anything for him.

Dad walked over to the large wooden doors, and with his car keys in hand selected one and attacked the brass padlock with it.

He looked around at me hanging back. "Are you coming or what?"

I sighed and walked over as he pulled open one of the doors. Inside, and taking up most of the room was the boat he had disastrously tried to get down our small road on land. Evident was the damage he'd inflicted too, bashed on a lamp post he took no care in avoiding it appeared at the time.

"Uh, if you ask Jerry, his guys might be able to fix that for you?" I said, trying to make conversation and kill the uncomfortable silence.

"Your new best friend is he?"

"No, I just mean that's what he does, he fixes boats… or his men do."

"That's all I hear lately, even from your mother, Jerry this Jerry that. Perhaps I'll wait until the fucking guy has moved in and then I can ask for a discount," Dad said before huffing and walking down the side of his vessel.

"Why are you so angry all the time?" I called; as he threw open the doors that opened up onto the water.

He marched back down to me, as usual getting in my face. "You wanna know? Because I look around and all I see is me working while the rest of you sit around doing nothing, that's for starters! I have a son who chooses to PAINT pictures instead of making something of his life… a self-centred son who needs to grow up and become a man. Even your girlfriend leeches off me."

"Leah has her own money actually and as far as I'm aware she is looking after herself."

"What would you know, your relationship is as stale as a week old loaf of fucking bread."

"What would you know about our relationship?" I asked, angry that once again he was bringing her into it."

"Enough to know she wants to be with a man and not a sissy boy!"

"If you are saying all this to make me angry you are failing. And for your information I don't sit around doing nothing, I have a job remember?"

Dad did one of his evil laughs at me. "Painting pretty pictures on fucking boats, what a joke!"

"Why are you so obsessed with my painting? I've been telling you for years that painting is my hobby. I am capable of doing other things you know!"

"That Jerry guy?"

"What about him?"

"His son, Troy? He's a boxer, that's his hobby… that's a real hobby. For a job he trawls… a man's job. The fucking guy might be small, but he looks more of a man than you'll ever be."

"Well I'm sorry I'm such an embarrassment to you." I said, folding my arms.

"Perfect word Corbin, perfect word. I dread the day anyone asks me about you… what am I supposed to tell them?"

"The truth?"

"Yeah, like fuck!"

I'd had enough!

"You stand here and insult me, you insult my girlfriend and you expect me to work for nothing. Sorry, I'm going!"

I began to walk out of the warehouse but dad had other ideas as he ran up behind me and threw me against the side of the boat. I closed my eyes and put my head sideways.

"Walk away from me like that again and I'll beat you to a fucking pulp, now get those fucking nets on the boat or you'll find your shit out on the street!"

He pushed me to the floor and walked away, starting to throw stuff into the back of the boat while I got to my feet again. I clenched my fists before walking around the edges of the warehouse and did as he asked in silence. Right now I felt my life was coming to an end I was so depressed.

I looked up as dad walked out of the warehouse and got in his car. I thought for a moment he was just about to drive off, maybe carry out his plan to evict me from home but instead he started to reverse until his tow bar clunked under the trailer joint. He pulled forward and I had to jump out of the way as he almost took the trailer wheels over my feet. He came to a stop outside in the road before taking the trailer backwards, lining it up with the wooden slipway that bolted on to the warehouse. He then continued to edge backwards down the ramp as I came out to watch. I was so praying he would fuck it up and drown himself, but then thought about mum whose livelihood depended on this working. I sometimes forgot about her in all of this as I constantly wanted my dad to fail at every corner. She had sacrificed a lot to come here and do this with the bastard and I guess it really needed to pay off for her to have any sort of life.

Dad had now backed up enough so the trailer was submerged under the water. He got out of the car and clicked his finger at me.

"Go down to the back and release the snap clips."

"Huh? It's freezing in there, I don't have any waders."

"Waders are for nancy boys, just get in there and do as I say!"

"Are you gonna help?"

"Fuck boy just get in there and release the fucking clips. Look there is a storm cloud in the distance and I ain't gonna be happy if we don't get out in time before it hits land!"

I looked up and over to the horizon. A deep purple, angry band of clouds sat in the distance and I just knew I was gonna get soaked later. Huffing loudly in protest I started to shuffle down the side of the boat cursing as the freezing water made contact with the skin on my legs. I reached down trying to figure out what I was supposed to release.

"I can't feel anything," I called up to him, still feeling around but just getting metal frame.

"There are two handles with black knobs on the end, pull them upwards!" he shouted, notably dry.

I continued to feel around until finally I grabbed something that felt like a snooker ball and yanked it upwards. I heard a clunk and the boat seemed to creak making me jump back in fright.

"Looks like there could be a small brain in that head after all… now the other one," dad said, starting to laugh. "How is the water? Might make those nuts drop if you're lucky!"

'Shut the fuck up!' My mind screamed, now up to my chest in freezing cold water as I moved around the back to find the other lever. This time it was easier to find and I pulled it up. As I did the boat lurched before sliding off the trailer and knocking me backwards off the ramp and fully into the water. It continued to come towards me quickly and I knew I wasn't able to get out of the way. Closing my eyes knowing what was going to happen, I was smashed in the head and pulled under as the large propeller caught onto my jeans.

I screamed in a panic under water trying to get myself free, tugging at the material. Finally with a tear I ripped my jean leg off of the blade and quickly pushed up to the surface. As the water drained from my eyes I could see dad standing at the top of the slipway pissing his pants laughing.

"You fuck! I almost fucking died!" I screamed, slapping the water with my arms.

"Oh nonsense, bit of sea water never hurt anyone you fucking big pansy! Now get into the boat and bring it alongside the ramp while I get the trailer up."

"What? I dunno how to move this thing?" I said, perplexed at his demand.

"You better work it out then because I expect to be able to get on this thing without getting wet. You got until I've parked the car!"

My jaw dropped opened ready to speak again but he walked off before I could. I heard him start the car and panicked, wondering what the fuck I was gonna do. Running into the box like compartment I took a seat dripping wet and looked at the controls, thinking the only thing I knew how to possibly work was the wheel.

I stared at the buttons and levers before eyeing a key that sat in the ignition. Without thinking I turned it and the engine chugged into life before settling to an idle. I turned the small brown wheel all the way to the right and then felt stuck, not knowing what to do next.

"Well?" Dad called, making me jump.

"What do I do?"

I saw dad roll his eyes which made me want to smash him in the face. Here I was freezing cold in wet clothes trying to make a boat move without being shown what the hell to do.

"The black lever, move it up one notch!"

"There's two of them," I replied, coming out of the little room.

"The bigger one you idiot!"

I sighed and went back in. "Well, here goes," I said to myself moving the stick up one notch, and straitening up the wheel.

The engine gently gained revs and I could feel it slowly start to move forward. Then, not wanting to hit the wall ahead and likely be killed by my fat overbearing father I pulled it down again and the boat came to a slow stop.

Dad jumped in with a thud. "See, it's not rocket science is it!"

He pushed me out of the compartment and did something and I felt the boat start to move backwards. "You're welcome," I muttered.


We'd been traveling for about 10 minutes out to sea when he suddenly killed the engine and came out. "Right, Start dropping these nets out the back and hook the ends on to the brackets there."

"Huh?"

"You heard me, drop the nets-"

"Yeah I heard you, I just don't know what to do… It's alright for you, mum said you been watching videos, I don't know what I'm doing."

"No, you're just being fucking awkward that's what you're doing."

"What? I can't believe you just said that, I am willing to help if you can show me first what I have to do instead of sitting on your fat ass barking orders at-"

Crack!,I heard as a fist struck me across the cheek, knocking me to the floor. Dazed, I tried to get to my feet but he was already coming at me again. Fearing another punch I used my feet to kick him away.

"DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE KICK ME YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!" He bellowed at the top of his voice. I quickly got up and we began this cat and mouse game as he tried to swing for me while I dodged. My jaw was hurting and I wanted to cry but right now, looking at his face, I just needed to stay alive.

He tried to grab me and I managed to push him away. "Get off me you fucking psycho," I screamed.

"This is it boy, I'm gonna fucking put you at the bottom of that ocean, you just lived your last day!" His words sent a wave of panic through my mind, not just because I could sense he meant it, but because he was likely to get his own way unless I did something. But once again those haunting words he said so often came back to me.

You're weak Corbin Waite, You're weak!

"Dad stop! Fucking stop!" I pleaded as he lunged at me. He managed to grab hold of my jacket before head-butting me and throwing me to the deck. I felt my head hit the floor as I went back down.

"Fucking calling me fat… fucking saying I sit around? Get up you little cunt, who the FUCK do you think you are?"

Tears were now streaming down my face as I feared for my life. I wanted to run away but I couldn't for obvious reasons. I started to think he planned this. It was like he wanted to start an argument so he could do this to me. He's always wanted to get rid of me, I had a feeling, and now he stood a good chance of doing it. As I lay there, my head splitting, nose pissing with blood everything seemed to slow down. I could see his mouth moving, screaming at me. I could feel the pain in my stomach as his boot found its way right into my gut. He's now kicking me and I can't escape, I can't get up. I look at him, my face pleading with him to stop. All I can think of is how he was going to announce my death to the family… to the police. It was a tragic accident he'll say I know it. I scream out in agony as another kick lands in my groin.

I feel like I'm going to pass out, I feel sick, and sort of numb. He knows as soon as I'm unconscious that's when he'll make his move. That will be the point where I am thrown over the side. I can't swim, I can't swim and nobody knows because I have never been able to admit it not wanting something else for him to ridicule me with.

I think it's the end when suddenly where is a splitting sound and I see my fat father falling towards me. Something has knocked him over, have we hit something? I wonder as my lucid mind struggles to keep up with reality.

There is a voice in the distance. "Corbin!"

It feels echoic. "Cooorbin!"

I watch as my dad moves off me and tries to steady himself. He gets to his feet and I see his eyes go wide.

"CORBIN! Get up!" came the voice again, this time with more clarity. My dad is starting to raise his hands up and is now stepping backwards. I use a rope connected to the bow of the boat and haul myself to a standing position.

Up alongside us is a large boat. I wipe my eyes. "Troy?" I call, squinting.

"Corbin, get over here," he demands. "You, BACK OFF!" he screams at my dad who is trying to edge closer to me.

I stay where I am, unable to move as I shoot my eyes between my father who looks angry, his eyes bulging and Troy who appears to be holding a red coloured gun and is pointing it at my father's chest.

"Corbin, get in the boat please," he asks with urgency.

"Get in that boat son and I will kill you, I make that promise to you." Dad threatens, his eyes fixed on Troy.

As my mind comes back to me I realise it's a no brainer and make a jump onto Troy's vessel, managing to wind myself on top of everything else as I fall and land awkwardly.

"My dad will be speaking to you later, but right now you need to take your boat away from mine now, Sir."

"Who the fuck do you think you are, you cocky little shit?"

"I'm the guy with the gun, so like I said, please move your vessel away from mine."

"Shoot me then, go on!" My dad hisses. I look at Troy, trying to read him, he looks calm enough right now but I dunno how this is gonna play out. Unless dad wants to die, which I don't think he does, he is clearly bluffing, but Troy doesn't seem sure. I just cower in the corner of the boat, clutching various parts of my body in pain.

I feel weak, and in the kinda way my dad says!


With a stalemate now developing, Troy changes tactics and starts to move towards his bridge backwards, still keeping the gun pointing squarely at my father. Dad meanwhile has that look about him. He's calculating what to do next, it's obvious. But before he decides whatever it is he plans to do, Troy yanks a lever and I hear the Trawler's engine roar into life and we start moving forward rapidly. He drops the gun and runs over to me.

"Shit, are you ok?"

"Yeah, uh who's driving the boat?"

"It'll be ok for a minute… Corbin you're bleeding."

"I'll be fine," I reply as Troy looks up , a fearful look coming over his face. "What is it?"

I see him swallow. "He's following us!"

I got to my feet and looked back seeing dad sitting at the controls to his boat. Troy rushes back to the controls and puts the boat on a gentle right arc. He then came back out and stood in front of me.

"How bad is it?"

I blew air through my lips. "I've had better days," I replied.

"Corbin you're soaked, aren't you cold?"

"Not really, just scared, I don't mind admitting."

"Hmm, probably the adrenaline, I'm gonna radio my dad and get him to come and meet us with some guys."

"NO!" I blurted. "No, please, I don't want anyone to know about this, it will cause huge problems."

"Corbin I saw everything, I've been watching this from the start. Do you put up with this all the time?"

I just looked at him, not ready to admit that I was weak and scared of a middle aged fat man, but my look told Troy the answer he probably already knew.

" What choice do I have . . . Listen, about yesterday, I-"

"No, no way, you don't get to decide when we talk about that. In any case, now is not the time, I need to shake your father from our tail. If you can, I need your help."

"What do I need to do?"

"Help me bring the backup motor down, it's heavy and I don't wanna let it drop."

I watched as Troy walked to the back of the boat and waited for me to gather myself. In the middle was a large outboard motor that was lying horizontal.

"Why are we using that?"

"It should give us a few more knots. Since you won't let me radio my dad, and we can't go back then there is only one option… we have to lose him somehow."

"And how are we gonna do that?"

Troy turned around and nodded at the horizon ahead of the boat. "By going into that!"

I adjusted my view to see what he was looking at. My eyes went wide as in the distance lay the angriest cloud formation I had ever seen. It hung low, was almost black and you could see the lashing rain that was falling from it.

"Uh, that looks bad!" I uttered, swallowing.

"It's a ship killer, that's what it is, but I have a feeling your dad won't follow us in, his boat is too small to ride what's out there."

I helped Troy set the outboard motor and he primed it before pulling on the cord a few times until it burst into life. He twisted the handle setting it to maximum power before grabbing my arm and pulling me towards the cabin.

As we got in he closed the door and sat at the wheel. "On the left there is a hatch, if you pull it up you'll see a steep ladder. Go down and on the small bed you'll see some towels and a blanket. Go get warm; I'll take care of things up here."

I tried to smile at him. "Thanks, you're a good friend."

He turned and looked at me. "Yeah, for all the good it's done me."


Twenty minutes later I heard the engine die down to idling as I sat on the bed wrapped in a warm blanket, naked. It was such a relief to get out of my sodden clothes which had started to numb my skin.

Looking around me I was surprised as to how much space there was down here. Apart from the bed I was sitting on there was a small table clamped to the wall complete with two seats and another bed on the other side of the deck. Towards the back lay a 3ft door with the words – DANGER MOVING PARTS stuck onto it. I presumed the engine plant lay just beyond it.

I was brought from my thoughts by the sound of Troy coming down the steps backwards.

"Hey, you ok?" He asked, sort of looking at me up and down.

"Uh, yeah… have we stopped or something?"

"He's turned back, and we needed to save fuel. Right now we are sitting right on the edge of this storm. Things are calm now but the satellite picture on the bridge shows it is moving in our direction. We'll probably have to move in around half an hour."

I dropped my head in my hands, being able for the first time to think about what had happened today.

"Fuck!" I hissed, feeling angry and still in pain.

"I would ask if you wanna talk about it, but I get the feeling you'll spaz out on me again."

I glanced up at him. "I'm sorry, I was just dealing with a lot and you were there. I felt awful you know after what I said to you"

"Yeah I know," he said sitting on the bed opposite me. "I got your picture."

I smiled. "Good, what did you think?"

"Oh, I cried," he replied, matter of fact.

"Really, oh shit, I mean, I didn't wanna upset you even more than I had already, that's not why I painted it."

"It's fine, Corbin."

"Hmm, I didn't think the picture looked sad, I chose that one because you and Jasper looked happy in it."

"I didn't cry because of the picture Corbin, I cried because I realised that despite your flaws you are a beautiful person that I can't bear to see hurting like you are… and obviously have been."

"Uh, well thanks, I didn't expect that sort of statement to come out of your mouth I must be honest. At least not from one guy to another."

"What were you expecting then, humour me."

I thought about his question, and then back to the statement before. "I uh… I dunno, I mean it just sort of sounded a little…"

"Gay?"

I coughed. "Well yeah, I mean, I can imagine my girlfriend saying something like that to me, but not another boy. Anyway, it's cool, I know you're not gay or anything," I scoffed. "At least not after what I saw with you and my sister this morning… which by the way I need to have strong words with you about." I waved my finger at him and smirked.

"You assumed I was hitting on her?"

I chuckled. "Yeah like totally, In fact when I eventually got the nerve to see you again I was going to tell you to lay off her, I mean she's-"

"Fourteen, yeah I get it."

"So Corbin, question for you…"

"OK."

"If you were another guy say, and someone painted you a picture and left it outside your door, what would you think?"

"What would I think?"

"Yeah, I mean, it's almost like leaving a bunch of flowers to say sorry isn't it? I'm assuming that's why you painted it, because you wanted to say sorry?"

"Yeah… yeah it was. And I put a lot of effort into it."

"I know you did, I can see, and I love it. I spent 20 minutes just looking at it today before I came down and saw your sister."

"Why were you down seeing my sister?"

"Because she asked me to."

"How?"

"She asked for my number, so I gave it to her."

"Oh what a can of worms that's gonna open up. You do know she is head over heels for you right?"

"I know, and that's ok, like you said, she's fourteen."

"And how do you feel about her?"

I heard Troy sigh. "Have you listened to anything I've said?"

"Yeah everything!"

"And?" Troy asked, arching his shoulders.

"Aaaand," I repeated, holding out my hands.

"Corbin I like you!"

"Good, because I like you too," I replied, smiling.

Troy shook his head. "You know, maybe you haven't been listening hard enough," he said, getting up.

"Where are you going?"

"To get the first aid kit and take a look at your head, it's got quite a bad cut on it."

He walked across to the back of the boat and pulled a white box from the wall and brought it back over. Pulling out a few foil packs of sterile wipes and a large plaster he came and sat next to me on my bed, nudging my legs out of the way to make room.

He took out the moist cloth from the wrapping and unfolded it. "Lay back, this might sting a little."

I did as he requested and got comfortable. Troy shifted up wedging himself between my chest and inner arm leaving me nowhere to rest my hand apart from his leg. I was scared to place it down just in case it made him uncomfortable but had to in the end as it was starting to ache. Troy then came towards me with his cleaning wipe and I closed my eyes. I felt the cold sting of the alcohol cloth touch my wound causing me to yelp softly.

"zzzzzsssp"

"Sorry," he whispered.

"S'ok, you did warn me I guess." I responded dreamily as he wiped. It was about that time, with my eyes still closed I felt his free hand touch mine… softly at first, and then into a position where he was holding it. I slowly opened my eyes to get a gauge on what he was doing but my view was eclipsed by his face looking serious at me.

"Aren't you gonna throw me off, ask me what I'm doing, freak out?" he asked.

"Because you're holding my hand?" I replied.

Troy shrugged. "Well, it is pretty weird right?"

"It could be," I replied.

As I answered I suddenly felt like my mind was now being flooded with the realisation of everything… just everything.. It was overloading my brain as I replayed every second of my interactions with Troy. Talk about a light bulb moment!

"What? What is it?" Troy asked, the expression on my face one of deep thought probably.

"The coat you put on me when I was cold… the hot chocolate… the staring at me in your lounge and then telling me to go… that thing you said at the door about reading things wrong…. Trying so hard to be super friendly at the boat yard… coming out here to rescue me, cleaning my wounds… I mean…"

"Don't forget holding your hand," Troy said smiling.

"Yeah, and that should have been the giveaway I guess. Jesus I have been so blind! Fuck!"

"Is this the part where you tell me to get lost?"

"You said you liked me!" I announced, ignoring his question. "Wow, I have been so…"

"Stupid?" he said, raising a brow.

"Ignorant!" I chose.

"So? Do you wanna ask me now?"

"You're gay?"

Troy burst out laughing. "How did you guess?"

I closed my eyes and shook my head. "oooooh my god, I feel like such a fool. I have SO not been listening hard enough have I?"

"Well, I did say didn't I?"

"Yep, you did!" I replied, looking up at him.

"By the way, I'm kinda confused?"

"With what?"

"We um… we're still holding hands?" Troy replied, looking down at them.

I pursed my lips. "Yeah, but the gap's closed!" I replied.

Troy looked at me totally lost. "Sorry what does that mean?"

"I'll tell you later," I replied. Troy took his hand out of mine and the strangest feeling went through me. It was like his hand filled me with something. I felt connected to him, warm, safe and peaceful. As alien as the act had been to me it almost felt like this was what I had been missing. The gap in my life had been gaping… the gap that had revealed itself most of my life but no matter how much I searched I never quite found anything to fill it, until he had held my hand. And now without it connected to mine?

I felt almost alone again!

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