Fitting In

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 1

This is essentially a story of love between two boys. In the original story, 'Where Do I Fit In' these boys were under the UK's age of consent but they grew and have recently competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and came away having won gold in their chosen sport of formation diving.

Now having reached the age of sixteen, their personal relationship now legal in the eyes of the law, we pick up where we left off as their notoriety places pressure on their lives and they start having to make decisions regarding their future.

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You really ought to read Where Do I Fit In first. No, really, you ought. ~ Webmaster

Throughout this story real organisations and real people are mentioned by name. Their place in the tale is in the author's imagination. No thoughts, words or deeds attributed to those people or organisations are real, nor have they ever happened. This is a story! It's fiction. The people and organisations, even when they interact with the characters, are presented in an entirely imagined and fictitious manner, and no discourtesy is intended to them by the author nor by the web site.

"I hope you didn't mind me sort of taking over this afternoon Andy?"

"You have to be joking! I thought you did a sterling job. Would you really like to be a teacher, I mean I think you'd make a very good one."

"Yeah I'd love it. I meant what I said to Mr Emmerson, just looking at those kids made me realise that here was something I could do that's thoroughly worthwhile, it's like being given a blank canvass and the opportunity to create a masterpiece.

Think about it, any one of those kids could be the doctor that treats you in your old age, the first astronaut to land on Mars, a Prime Minister in waiting or even if they're just a street cleaner or something, to have the chance to instil in them the enthusiasm to be the best street cleaner ever, I mean what a privilege Andy!"

"Fuck, Lucas? That's very profound! I couldn't do it, there's always going to be the little shit I'd want to strangle!"

"Yeah well that's always going to happen but if I could be instrumental in inspiring just one or two of them…… good would that be?"

"Point taken, but you've a way to go yet."

"I know but it's something to aim towards rather than being totally without purpose. Ever given any consideration to what you might like to do?"

"No! I think I'm the without purpose person!"

"Aw come on? There must be something that gets you going?"

"Oh there is. You do!"

"Nice but you can't make a career out of me you dickhead?"

"Just kidding. I can't think of anything that I would be happy doing for like forty-plus years without getting bored out of my brains. I'm not academic, I'm not thick either just…….."

"Ordinary boring. Yes I know that's still how you see yourself. You've got to get a grip on yourself. You're very special and I'm not just saying that because I love you, you are and in all sorts of ways."

"Okay then? Name one."

"Alright? You are one terrific athlete."

"Yeah so that's likely to tide me through to retirement!"

"It might do? Why not think about taking up coaching the next generation of divers? That's something I reckon you'd be very good at and if you think back to when we started and how difficult it was for Mr Wilson to find us a coach? They're as rare as rocking horse shit! One other thing to bear in mind is going back to your comment about there always being the little turd you'd want to strangle, kids only take up sport because they're enthusiastic about it so like as not you'd never come across anyone like that."

"Makes sense I suppose. I'll think about it cos the way I see it, we've probably got enough time to have a pop at two more Olympics before we're over the hill and by then we'll still only be twenty-four. That's still eight years away and all assuming I get my A levels, I'll be eighteen before I leave school so six years of working at something else before I could take up coaching. Oh God, how depressing!"

"Not really? If in the event that is something you think you'd enjoy doing then have a word with the SCGB and see if they have training courses you could enrol in.

Look. You've already got a Commonwealth and an Olympic gold to your credit and that's way more than Liam has and he's a brilliant coach. I reckon they'd bite your hand off at the elbow to have an Olympian as a coach!"

"You know? You can be very persuasive sometimes?"

"Yeah, can't I just! I'm the one who's going to be living with you for the rest of our lives and I can't do that if you're some sort of manic-depressive, I want you to be happy and settled."

"What a beautiful thought! You've made me feel all funny inside!"

"After supper tonight, I promise I'll make you feel funny all over, inside and out!"

Oh and didn't he! We had been together for over three years and knew exactly how to turn each other on! There were evenings where just lounging around, listening to music or reading, occasionally watching rubbish telly was enough. Just being together was sufficient enough to make life wonderful but then there were nights of unbridled sex and the most unbelievable passion that rocketed us into another place, another world.

I sometimes cast my mind back to the comments made by our parents like it might seem that right now, spending every waking hour in each other's company is easy but time can dull the novelty of it all and chances are you'll get bored with each other. I'm not about to go telling you how old we are now but it's fair to say that our days of competing together have long since vanished into the mists of time but……..understand this. That never, ever happened. We are still very much in love, very much a partnership and very much committed to each other so Mum? Dad? For once you got it all wrong!

Back to the story.

I thought about what Lucas had said about my future and the more I thought, the more it seemed like a plan.

Unlike him, no way could I work with anyone that wasn't fully committed so I sought the ear of Tony Rogers but rather than approaching him at Christchurch, this after all, was about my education, I decided to talk to him at school.

I found him in his office during one of my free periods.

"Come on in and close the door Andy, we can be less formal that way. What's on your mind?"

"It's just that Lucas and I had a long conversation the other day. He wants to teach once he's left school, primary school kids and I think he's well capable of making a great teacher."

"Yes I heard about the talk you gave the other day. I've known Tim Emmerson since our college days and he was well impressed but you didn't come here to tell me that did you?"

"No I didn't. Lucas sort of told me that I might make a half-decent coach, diving and stuff and the more I think about it, the more I warm to the idea. What I want to understand is, if I choose to go down that route, what qualifications would I need?"

"Well first off, I think Lucas was born to teach. He has the marque stamped all over his forehead but you Andy? You take life far more seriously to teach but to coach committed children? I can see you doing that.

Qualifications? Well now, let's see. Go down the route of sports sciences. We can teach this at school and also the SCGB offer courses once you leave or even run in tandem one with the other. God knows you have the ability, you're an Olympian for heaven's sake and a gold medallist to boot so that would never be an issue. If you're really serious about this, I can set something up for you so what I suggest is, you give it some thought then once you've made up your mind, come and talk to me again. Sound reasonable?"

"Yeah, thanks Tony!"

"Good man! By the way. You do know that the entire school is very proud of, not just you and Lucas but all of you guys don't you, me especially!"

"We're just a load of kids who were fortunate enough to discover something we love doing, nothing that special really."

"Modesty! That alone sets you apart from the rest Andy! Cut along, I'll see you tonight mate."

It took me only a few days to make up my mind. I was going to do it, so at the next opportunity I went to find Tony.

"I definitely want to do it Tony, I mean I've given a lot of thought to it and actually, it excites me."

"Do you want to know something? I'm pleased, very pleased! I think it's the right move for you and that you have so much to offer. Oh……..I was going to add that it will take a lot of commitment! Shit! Here's me talking to you about commitment?! You could teach commitment! Forget I even mentioned it, Andy! Look I'll get right on it. I'll have to get Mr Fairbairn's okay but that won't be a problem. I'll also have a word with the SCGB and follow it up in writing requesting details of what programs they have to offer you and we'll take it from there."

"Thanks Tony, I really appreciate it. What other subjects do you think I should take?"

"At A level you mean? I'd not bother if I were you. I mean great if you were academic but you've already admitted that you're not but……..there is something you might like to study. It's a part of a doctors training and that's all to do with the human anatomy, bone structure and the interaction of muscle groups and so on. It's not an easy subject; then what is easy if you want to be a medic? I think that because you're interested in coaching and also having first-hand experience of what is required to succeed, you'll walk it and what's more, you'll become certified in the subject and there's no good reason why you shouldn't go even further with it and gain a qualification in physiotherapy. Think on that if you like but first to the basics. Let me get all the information together and we'll have another discussion as and when."

I was now seriously up for it. Yes I could coach but if I really applied myself, I could also qualify as a sports physio. This had to be my calling and it excited me no end!

I was busting a gut to tell Lucas but I waited until that night when we were in bed.

"Whoa! Really? Now that I could see you doing! So Mr Rudderless now are you?"

"Nah. I want this Lucas, I mean I'm excited all of a sudden! I know my limitations and everything, I wasn't happy with the prospect of studying for exams without having a game plan but now? Oh God let me at it!"

"So good! Do you want to make a start like right here, right now? I'll not complain if you want to study my anatomy, tinker around with my muscle groups?"

With both of us focused on the future and what we intended doing with our lives, we put even more energy into training to the point where Peter had to slow the pace but enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm and all of us went from being fit to super-fit in a matter of two or three months.

Lor and Paul found themselves touring with their Basketball teams and came home with various cups and awards. The UK was fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in that particular arena.

Alec was now fully qualified to level five as a gymnastics coach and accompanied Benny on his trips abroad to various meets and his success seemed to follow success. He never changed from being the full of life lad we had come to know, but he was still lacking a regular girlfriend. Well, that was until Millie came on the scene.

Millie was a local girl who had been spotted by her PE teacher. By all accounts she had been seen exercising in her school gym out of normal school hours, doing routines on the mat which her teacher had immediately picked up on.

She was petite to the point of tiny, but oh my God! Fast? No that doesn't do her justice. She moved like the wind so once persuaded to come along to one of our training evenings, she and Benny immediately paired off, I mean in the sporting way.

They would arrive early and we would see them practicing joint routines, almost formation stuff and whilst it wasn't a recognised discipline, the result was a joy to behold.

I guess it was inevitable. They became very close and one evening after training as we sat over coffee, Benny broke the news.

"Millie and I are………seeing each other. Just thought you should know."

I think we all wanted to buckle up laughing at this! His quaint usage of words were well beyond his tender age of almost fifteen. I mean most lads of his age would most likely have said something like I'm shagging the arse off her or we're getting it on together but not our Benny! Correctness and respect were at all times a part of his makeup.

Pleased for him, pleased for both of them, a sentiment Lucas shared with me.

"Told you! This is the girl for Benny. I can feel it almost, just like the way I knew I wanted you so much. Okay you had doubts but I never did. Lor and Paul? I didn't know them back when you got them together but I'll bet my last dollar that all of us are sorted at least on the personal relationship front!"

"I think you might be right. It still makes my chuckle the way Benny uses words though. He's so old fashioned in the way he refers to her. So much respect for her almost."

"Like Paul in lots of ways. We've been on nights out with them and apart from when we were in Guam and it was just too damned hot, when have you ever seen them out together without him being immaculately turned out?"

"A bit like me then!"

"Yeah, right! You put on your Sunday jeans and find the least crumpled tee shirt in the laundry bin and go out like that. Joke already?? Sack cloth and ashes and you'd still look good enough to eat!"

Tony found me in the old chem lab.

I don't really know why I carried on attending school, I could've dropped out at any time as I wasn't studying for anything but it got me out of the flat each day and gave me time to answer all the messages we'd received and be amongst our friends.

"Andy? I've managed to get all the information you wanted.

Mr Fairbairn has agreed for me to take you for Sports Sciences and the Council have also agreed to let you run a tandem coarse in Physical Education with a view, depending on how you get on, to expand that remit to a Physical Development coarse which will lead to basic physiotherapy. If you wish to take this further then we'll have to find a means by which you can take your studies to the next level and qualify as a sports physio but that can't be done here at school."

"What's the time frame Tony and if I do okay, where would I have to go to get to that final level?"

"Two years, the same as A Levels. You'll have to study physiotherapy at Birmingham teaching University so once you're seventeen you might like to think about taking your driving test. Grants are on offer for everything, your University tuition costs will be met in full as will travelling expenses but your driving test you'll have to do under your own steam."

All the theory for my subject was conducted in the old lab as it was no longer used, practical work, not that there was very much of it, took place in the school gym.

Tony knew his stuff and made the entire learning process really enjoyable. As this was the only subject I was studying, it left plenty of time to work on the SCGB stuff and this was fascinating, almost addictive in its own right.

We took breaks for coffee at times when the other students adhered to the school timetable which gave us time to talk openly about my progress.

"I thought you said you weren't academic? You're doing exceptionally well as it happens and looking over your SCGB work, the same applies so I don't think you'll have any problems come the exams."

"Well maybe because I'm thoroughly absorbed in the subject helps. I can't ever remember being so keen to get to school, not ever!"

"It shows in your work. Even in your training you seem to have more drive than ever and that enthuses everyone around you. Lucas, Lorain, Paul and Benny seem to feed off your attitude and will to succeed so here it is. I want you to sit your Sports Sciences exam at Christmas. You may well think that's too soon but I'm of a different opinion. You'll be ready enough and once that's out of the way, we can devote more time to the SCGB stuff, up the ante in terms of what you can get under your belt before next autumn when I believe you'll be ready for Birmingham and have a go at physiotherapy. There's nothing I can do to help you in that regard, I'm simply not qualified but I'll do my best to find someone who you can turn to if you start finding it too difficult but to be honest? I think you're more than capable of making a success of it."

That night once we'd gone to bed, I relayed the conversation to Lucas.

"I can see the difference in you. You've more confidence in yourself, that spark you have when we're training or diving is with you all the time now so are you, do you still see yourself as ordinary boring?"

"Maybe just a little but I think I've found my niche and if I qualify…….."

"Don't you mean when you qualify?"

"Have it your own way, when I qualify, I reckon I'll finally have discovered where I fit in."

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