The Saturday Boy
Chapter 22 - Shaun Hits the Nuclear Button
It was approaching midnight, the moon high in the sky outside my window. London felt quiet tonight, in fact the world felt quiet. I lay in my bed and stared at the ceiling, watching as strange shadows ripped across it, created by the headlights of the odd passing vehicle.
I probably would have been asleep by now if not for the eleven missed calls from Shaun, calls that were missed because I chose to ignore them. I had nothing left to say to him, nothing of any value and besides, his recent displays of savage outbursts were beyond redemption. That's not to say I wasn't curious as to what he wanted, in fact the last three calls from him I even thought about answering.
I held my nerve.
Jack's condition was improving and I was keen to find out when it would be announced he could leave hospital. I wanted here with me, here so I could keep an eye on him, probably kidding myself I could take care of him better than a hospital full of trained doctors, but in my mind I felt like I could.
I had managed, with the help of Roman, to have a proper chat with my mum tonight regarding the last few days, namely Shaun and his verbal and physical attack on me. Roman seemed to think she knew I was not to blame and that it was Shaun that should now be punished. I wondered if, in light of us presenting 'new evidence', she would drop my grounding sentence, but that had yet to be seen.
The only part of the grounding that really bothered me was the restriction of movement. The confiscation of my gadgets, and working for free for a while, didn't bother me half as much as not being able to go and see Dean, or even catch up with Toby for that matter. To me the whole thing stunk. Here was Shaun, saying and doing all these things, and I was the one being punished. To top it all off, it was like I was paying him a cash reward for it all.
I made a mental note to ask my mum about that payment as well, there was no way I should pay him compensation for hitting him, if he can get away with pushing me to the floor and taking a swing at Roman, I mean, where was the justice in that?
My mind wandered back to the holiday we all went on, even down to the trivial events such as when Shaun rubbed sun block into my back, and the open conversations we had. I could see him laughing and joking around as he always did, Shaun was never serious, and it was really freaky to bounce the Shaun on holiday and the Shaun I see now back and forth in my mind. Who the fuck was that person I knew now? How could someone with absolutely no history of maliciousness exist in the real world like he was? Was it a breakdown, like a serious mental condition he had developed? Should I be supporting him through this, or am I in my right to take a stand with him? I had so many questions whirring around in my head, but absolutely no answers to any of them.
Six thirty flew round and it was evident I must have fallen asleep, but god knows when. I was cursing at my alarm for going off too early before realising my alarm was actually silent and it was my phone that had brought me out of a deep sleep. Disorientated and cranky, I picked my cell up from the floor and squinted at the screen. "If that's fucking Shaun again I'm gonna scream," I muttered, before seeing it was… Dean? I pressed accept!
"Why is it, whenever I get a call at some stupid hour it always seems to be you."
"Good morning to you too, listen I need to tell you something, I'm so pissed right now!"
"What Dean, its six thirty in the morning pal."
"I know, look, about Shaun…"
"Oh Dean, do you have to, I can really do without talking about…"
"Shut up and listen, look I'm worried Joey, he was texting me some really fucked up stuff last night."
"Is that a surprise to you, seeing as he is fucked up?"
"Joey, he even said I was conspiring against him with you and that I could go fuck myself… Joey he had no reason to think that or say any of that."
"Dean, my advice? Just leave him for a few days. According to his mother she is getting him in to one of these anti-gay specialist fuckers, maybe they will assess his state of mind while he's there."
"I just want my mates back to be honest, my old mates, back the way they used to be."
"What's that supposed to mean, I'm still normal, even if he aint."
"You might think so, but it's not like the three of us are hanging around doing stupid immature things like we used to, I mean fuck, joey, I don't even see you anymore, and Shaun? I'm not even allowed round his place!"
"The old witch banned you as well?"
"Joey! That old witch used to do a lot of good things for us."
"She's a bigot, she hates gays and after her performance the other day, I think she's gone just as mental as her son."
"Well I wasn't there, she's always been nice to me, even now."
"Nice? So she bans you from her house and you still consider her nice?"
"She said for me not to take offence, but that Shaun needed to rest and be alone for a while."
"What, so she can brainwash him or some shit. Look Dean, I love you but you can be so naive sometimes. She won't let him out because she thinks if she has complete control over him she'll be able to help fix him. Mind you, come to think about it, its probably a good thing he spends some time in isolation, he's like a fucking rabid animal right now."
"Joey, he's still our friend!"
"You don't believe that after what's happened to us you expect us to remain best friends do you?"
"Maybe I'm an optimist."
"More like fucking mad," I said, letting out a small chuckle. "Look Dean, whatever happens, you and me are still tight ok? I know things are going to be a bit different from now on, but you and I can still be the same as we always were."
"And you and Shaun?"
"Too far gone Dean, I'm sorry to say. If you knew… if you really knew what I went through at his house you would understand me, and why I'm taking the line I am."
I heard Dean sigh down the phone. "Jesus this is shit, now I have to run around all over the place just so I can see you both."
"Dean, your so called best friend said you were conspiring against him and told you to go fuck yourself. I'm not trying to stop you seeing him, you do what you want, but is that really someone you wanna hang around with anymore?"
"I can't just give up on him Joey!"
"Yeah, and that's what I told myself… for a long time… too long, Dean. But in the end he wears you down with his actions and words."
"Well I don't know what to do, I just think maybe he needs our help and you should…"
"Dean, do you know how frustrating it is to listen to you say this shit after what he's put me through. I owe Shaun nothing. I've been there for him, felt sorry for him, given him the benefit of the doubt, I've listened to him, watched as he monumentally shit on me and even after all of that I went and even fucking apologised to him. Dean, the guy is crazy, he's not the Shaun we knew and my conscience is clear."
"Are you finished?"
"What does it matter, I get the feeling you're not listening to me."
"I'm sorry, I am, it's just I feel like a helpless prick."
"You are a prick Dean, always have been," I said teasingly. "Look, I'll say to you what my brother said to me… life has a way of working itself out."
"Yeah thanks, Joey, well, might as well get up, school time will be coming round soon"
"Yep, another day of fun coming my way."
"Hey, I got you back yeah?"
"Cheers Dean, I'll see you there."
I hung up and put my head back down on the pillow. I got the feeling Dean was starting to feel the strain of what was happening to our trio, and I felt for him. I knew he was torn, I knew he wanted desperately to stay friends with both of us, but I also knew Shaun would end up burning him sooner or later, like he had to me. Why did I know? Because Shaun had started on this road with me not long ago.
I noticed something else about Dean too; he was acting more like a… human being. Yeah, I may joke about that but Dean could be a real pain in the ass sometimes and it was actually nice to see him display some real emotion, even if it was under rather crappy circumstances. I don't know, maybe he was starting to move away from his five year old mentality. God forbid!
"Ok class settle down and pull out your text books to page three twenty one," my teacher bellowed. I sighed and did as I was told. It was History, a lesson I was indifferent to, but lately all lessons were a chore because I didn't even want to be at school. Partly because I wanted to spend all my time with Jack and partly because of the shit I was having to put up with while I was here.
"Hey Cork, I hear you suck dick now, wanna suck on this?" Greg Baldwin shouted from the back of the room. The class erupted into laughter, sending me an embarrassing shade of red.
"Baldwin, headmaster's office now, and when he asks you why you are there you will repeat what you said in my class. Let this be a message to all of you. I will not tolerate, and the school will not tolerate homophobic insults. It is a hate crime on the street and it is a hate crime in this classroom. Baldwin, you are a cretin, now on your way!"
I sat stony faced, as Mr Peters carried on with the lesson. I felt so small, I had never had the experience of being bullied or made fun of at school before and it was an unnerving feeling. I just tried to keep my head down and hope the bell would soon be ringing so I could get out of that room. As I jotted down some notes I kept getting the feeling someone was looking at me over to my left. I made a quick glance and sure enough he was staring at me, but quickly went back to his text book when our eyes briefly met.
I had never seen this guy before and wondered how long I had being coming to this lesson without actually noticing him. None the less, probably just another jerk making fun of me, I thought.
The bell rang out and I packed up my stuff in double quick time. I think I was that eager to get out of there I was walking out of the door before anyone else had even got up. I headed towards my locker, needing to stock up with books ready for the remaining lessons before lunch.
"Hey." Came a voice behind me. I chose to ignore it, thinking it would be some asshole wanting to have their two cents about some aspect of my life. "Joey, isn't it?" the person said as I was putting my key into my locker door. I turned round, it was the guy from history.
"Do we know each other?" I asked, sternly.
"Uh, no… I started here a week ago."
"That's great for you, now if you don't mind I'm a little busy."
"Right ok, well my name is Olly, but all my friends call me Orca, see you around."
"Hey, wait, look I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap, it's just been a rough few… never mind. Anyway nice to meet you, and yeah it's Joey."
"No worries… listen, do you mind me asking… what that prick said about you… is it true?"
"That I like sucking dick? You wanna know so you can go confirm it to your friends?" I remarked, defensively.
"Not if you like sucking dick… if you're gay, and for the record, I don't exactly have any friends, I'm new here remember," He said, before smiling.
"What if I said I was?"
"It's gets easier you know, once people get bored with it."
"Hang on are you saying…"
"That I like sucking dick?"
"That you're gay."
"Yeah, I think that's what I'm admitting… to a guy I've just met I might add." He said, shyly.
"Well, do yourself a favour then and keep it to yourself, unless you want to go through it again, here."
He seemed to ignore my advice. "So, you never answered my question." He said, smirking.
"I would have thought at this stage of the conversation it would have become obvious. But if you still want it to come from my mouth then yeah, I'm gay, and I'm actually seeing someone."
"Hey I'm not trying to hit on you; it's just nice to know I'm not the only one. I was in my last school and it was kinda isolating."
"I'm sorry… again. I'm not being very friendly am I?"
He chuckled. "Not really, but its cool."
"It's just been a rough morning that's all. So, uh… why do people call you Orca?"
"It's a long story, but basically I love to swim, and uh, when I was on holiday in Australia I got bitten by a snake on the shoulder blade and it sent my entire back a sort of black colour. When I got back to the school and started swimming again people said I looked like a killer whale."
I started to laugh. "Oh shit that's hilarious, and a very fitting name."
"Yeah, and it's usually a good ice breaker for meeting new people," he said, before winking and walking off. Nice guy, I thought, nodding, before wrapping up things at my locker.
Lunch time had rolled round and I was joined by Dean and Toby while I ate. For once Dean was not going on about Shaun, and Toby had shown us his latest scrape from skateboarding. I told them about my encounter with Olly and the fact we had a new resident homosexual at our school. This was met with rolled eyes from Dean and a thumbs up from Toby, for my benefit of coarse, as I was certain Toby was not gay.
As I walked to my next class I was met by my tutor in the corridor. "Joey, could I have a word with you please?"
"Sure," I said with a smile.
"The headmaster wishes to see you immediately," He said, with a look of sorrow.
"Did he say what it's about?" I asked, my face turning serious.
"He's uh… he's asked that he speak to you personally."
"Oh… oh right, well I'll erm… I'll go there now then, thank you." I said, before walking away. "For fuck sake, I bet this has got something to do with that prick Baldwin," I muttered as I marched down the corridor, towards the headmaster's office. I arrived outside and gave the door a gentle knock.
"Come in." came a response from behind the closed door. I turned the knob and walked in. Mr Reynolds was sitting behind his desk and took his glasses off as I approached his rather oversized desk.
"You asked to see me Sir?"
"Yes Joey, please, sit down."
"Joey, I have asked to see you because, uh… well I understand you are very good friends with Shaun Winters."
"Were, Sir, as you know we had a rather bad falling out, which is why…"
"He isn't here, yes I am aware of this," he said finishing for me. "Joey, when did you last speak to Shaun?"
"Erm, it was two days ago I think."
"Right I see,"
"Sir, what is this about, I get the feeling I'm in trouble, has his mum contacted the police again about me?"
"I'm sorry, Joey, I wasn't aware the police were involved in your situation with Shaun."
"Well I guess you do now." Shit Joey, learn to keep you big fucking mouth shut; now you've had it!
"Joey, you are not in trouble, but I need to inform you of some very sad news."
"What… what is it?"
"Joey, Shaun's mother went into his room this morning and tragically it appears he committed suicide sometime in the early hours of this morning."
"No, that can't be, I mean how… how did he… how could he do…"
"I'm sorry to say it looks like he cut his wrists and died as a result of blood loss. His mother called an ambulance but there was nothing they could do as he had passed away some time before he was found."
I put my hand to my mouth and promptly vomited on Mr Reynolds's carpet, probably with shock. I was lost for words, gutted… yeah gutted.
"I'm sorry, I'll clean that up," I said, rather robotically.
"Its fine, I'll have someone do it. Joey, I am going to call your mother and asked that you be collected from school."
"Dean… what about Dean Grissom, does he know?"
"No not yet, I wanted to see you one at a time, and I picked you first. He will be called to my office when you leave."
"Right, I see. I'm sorry, I don't know what to say… I mean, we… I was ignoring him. He was calling me last night and I was ignoring him… what if… what if…"
"Joey, let's not jump to conclusions as to the whys and how's. I realise this has come as a complete shock to you and the easiest thing to do is let your mind run amok. Would you like to speak with the school councillor until you are picked up?"
"What… uh no thank you, I'll just wait in the parking lot if that's ok, you know, get some fresh air?"
I wandered out of his office like a zombie, my whole body numb. What the hell had happened? How had this become real life, things like this only happened in the movies, I thought.
As I walked down the corridor towards the main entrance, school life just carried on. The noise, the banter, everyone just seemed normal, and yet someone who went to this school, a former best friend of mine had killed himself. Shaun… Shaun, the name kept ringing in my head.
He was dead!
I sat on a wall just across from the bike sheds. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't, the numbness taking away and raw emotion that was screaming to get out of me. I knew things were bad, I knew he was bad, but to do this… to feel like you had no way out. Was it me, did I cause this, did his parents… did Jack?
As I sat there it was strange, now I knew he was dead the only memories that came to mind were good ones. It was like all the bad stuff we went through never really happened, and that only went to intensify the guilt I felt.
"You ok?" Asked Olly, suddenly appearing next to me, like some rabbit out of a hat.
"Shouldn't you be in class… and how the hell do you do that, how did you know I was here?"
"It's not rocket science, I saw you in the corridor and you looked like you just found out Santa was fake."
"Santa's fake, well there goes another dream."
"Nothing just talking shit, look Olly, I appreciate you coming to see if I was ok, but I really don't want you to get in trouble for being out here."
"Well I'm already late for class so what difference does it make; besides you looked like you could use a friend."
I sighed. "I could, but he's dead, ironic don't you think?"
"I'm sorry, I guessed something had happened but I didn't think it would be something that devastating. Wanna get out of here?"
"Well actually I'm waiting for my… Yeah fuck it, why not; I'm supposed to be grounded though."
"My mum tried that once."
"What happened?" I asked.
"I brought her some flowers and she cried. She let me go out an hour later."
I laughed and we began to slowly walk towards the school gates. It was nice having Olly with me actually and this gave any vestigial worry I had about him getting into trouble the boot. Olly talked a lot, and for the state of mind I was in, that was a good thing. It was easy just to let him talk, easing my train of thought slowly away from the catastrophic news I had been presented with just moments ago.
"So do you live nearby?"
"If I tell you, are you going to stalk me?"
"I might," He said, a grin forming on his face.
"I live about six miles away, on the outskirts of Limehouse."
"Not far from me then, I live in West ham."
I smirked. "Poor you,"
"Hey, it's not that bad," he barked.
"No its not, I'm just teasing. So uh, where exactly are we heading?"
"I dunno, we're just walking, and as long as it's away from school, who cares."
"You hate school?" I asked, wondering if there was more to his comment.
"I hate the cruel people inside schools. I'm a pacifist and when I see innocent people just trying to go about their day and get an education it saddens me. We all come into this world as equals Joey, so what gives one person the right to hold dominance over another?"
"That makes a lot of sense Olly, life can be cruel as I'm finding out… hey, there's my brother, Roman," I yelled, mostly out of surprise.
"Roman?" Asked Olly, "Sounds rugged and handsome."
I waved to him and he pulled up alongside us, winding down the window. He leant over the passenger seat and smiled.
"I just heard, are you ok? Mum said to come and get you, she would have done but she's too far away at some auction."
"Yeah, it's sinking in, thanks for coming down."
"Wow, your brother's really hot Joey," Olly blurted, loud enough for Roman to clearly hear him.
"I know," Roman remarked. "You must be gay?"
"Actually my name is Oliver, but you can call me Olly or Orca."
Roman raised a brow. "Orca?"
"It's a long story," I interjected "Olly I need to go home now, thanks for the company, you had better be getting back."
"Want a lift back to School, Fish?"
"If you are referring to the Orca, actually it's an aquatic mammal and a member of the Dolphin family, but I guess you can't be stunningly good looking and have the brains as well dear, Roman."
"I guess not, get in you cheeky fucker, I'll drop you off."
"I'm honoured to be in the same space as you Roman, thank you for the ride." Roman smiled and shook his head before moving away, back towards the school.
After dropping Olly off, Roman pulled back out of the school gates and headed for home.
"Is he always like that?" Roman asked, referring to Olly.
"I dunno, I just met him."
"I like him!"
"Why because he reminds you of you?"
"Something like that, and the fact he thinks I'm hot… anyone who says that about me gains instant respect."
"Oh Roman, your so shallow sometimes."
"Hey, ignorance is bliss," he muttered. "So little bro, the shit has hit the fan with Shaun, how you holding up?"
"Ok I guess, it's a bit unreal. I keep shifting from sadness to anger."
"That's natural, you wanna talk about it?"
"What's there to say? In the end I hated him, so that makes it easier to accept I guess, but then if I didn't hate him then he would probably still be alive. Is that a paradox?"
"Maybe, but you don't know his reasons, you never will, so what are you gonna do, spend the rest of your life taking the blame for this, or accepting he was in a bad place because of his own doing."
"I know… I know Roman, it's just I can't help thinking I might have been some kind of catalyst."
"How do you think Jack will take it?"
"That's the million dollar question Roman, but I'm actually more worried about Dean, despite all of what has gone on, he was still pretty good friends with Shaun."
"Does he know, do you think?"
"He should do by now, in fact I'm quite surprised he hasn't called."
"So what are your plans?"
"Yeah, when you get home."
"There is some stuff I need to do in the cellar, then I'll probably go and see Jack. I'm hoping to find out when he can come home with us."
"Want me to take you over there?"
"Do you mind?"
"No, it's not like I have anything better to do."
"Thanks then, that'll be good."
"Gonna tell Jack about your new admirer?"
"Don't start Roman, and anyway, he's your admirer, not mine!"
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