Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 4

All About the Chase

I sat opposite Mr Watson, watching his face intently. He was looking at me biting his bottom lip. It was like those times when someone wanted to tell you something but didn't know where to begin, or didn't know whether they should say anything at all. The man had been silent ever since he said he had some news I would like. Was he waiting for me to ask more questions? Was he gauging my reaction?

I'd had good news before, only for it to crash and burn because these days the only news I considered good anymore was the kind that had the words new parents in it, and we all know how that ends, seeing as I'm still here.

I was now growing impatient!

"Would you like to give me a clue, sir?"

"Sorry Puppy, I'm just very aware of your potential reaction when I begin."

"Can I just ask then, have you found me some new parents?"

"Hmm, something like that but this is slightly different. You see early this morning I had a telephone call from a gentleman called Max Chase asking if we had a Jenson living here. Does that name mean anything to you?"

I thought about the name really hard, tilting my head diagonally and pouting my lips. I wanted that name to mean something, I wanted any name to mean something, but nothing was coming to mind, no picture in my head, no past memory, nothing.

"Sorry no, sir, that name means nothing me."

"Hmm, Look Puppy I can't verify the authenticity of a person by one phone call alone, but he asked for you as Jenson Chase which only leaves me to one conclusion."

My eyes grew wide. "Jenson Chase?"

"Yes Puppy, Jenson Chase... and I think I had that exact same look when he said that name to me."

"Are you saying what I think your saying?"

"That's he is your natural father?" Mr Watson took a deep breath and sighed. "I might be, Puppy, but look, we need to delve into this in more detail. I wanted to give you the news now though because I don't want you to think we are hiding anything from you...God knows you have had enough let downs in your life." He finished, talking more to himself on the last sentence. "I almost thought about not telling you to be honest, just in case, well_"

"He's a fraud?"

"I don't personally think he is, he sounded sincere and hopeful."

I felt a buzzing feeling travel through my body, and I wanted to pinch myself to see if I was really awake. I mean, this was about as far away from anything I ever expected, walking up here."

"So when...I mean what happens now, is that it, I mean did this guy just call and that's it, or..." I asked, starting to get excited and fidgety in my chair.

"We have to be very careful here Puppy, first of all we need to establish who this man really is and_"

"What do you mean who he really is?" I snapped. "You just said he was sincere and hopeful, right?"

"Yes I know, but Puppy, he could still be anyone, I can't take the risk of just taking a faceless man's word on something as big as this."

"I know, I'm sorry, this is all just a little overwhelming for me, I never knew...I never knew...I mean, my father is dead, this has got to be a wind up. God, so many thoughts in my head. I just feel something is... I dunno, like it feels right? Jesus, I just need to know!"

"I know Puppy, and you have my word I will keep you up to date with what we find out."

"Did he erm...did he ask to speak to me?"

Mr Watson paused for a moment. "Puppy, he asked to meet you, and you know I can't let that happen at least until_"

"He asked to meet me and you said no?" I asked, now perplexed.

"Puppy you need to understand the problem here, the world is not a safe place and that worries me so much because you have grown up in a bubble. Not everyone is genuine like the people in this home... the staff, your friends...; it's not like that outside."

"But he could be my father, and_"

Mr Watson cut me off. "Puppy, he is not your father until its proven he is, and your welfare is my priority, now please, I know this is lot to take in but let me and my staff do some checks and as I said I will keep you informed." I sat there and just stared at Mr Watson, his reasoning just bouncing off me.

"Can I go now?" I asked, stating to feel angry once again.

"Yes, you can go Puppy, but I don't want this to consume you, you are doing really well at the moment and that needs to carry on if there is any hope of you leaving here, understand?"

"Yeah I got it," I huffed, getting up from my seat.

Lunch was being served and I left my room to go join the other kids in the eating area. Cindy came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder while balancing a tray in her hand.

"What's up Puppy, I came by your room and you weren't there."

"I was in the garden, I needed to think."

"How did your meeting with the home director go, I thought you would have come and told me?"

"Can we talk about it later?" I said, dropping my head down.

"Sure, whatever you want, but are you ok?"

"I said can we not talk about it."

Cindy rolled her eyes and placed her tray on the table before sitting down opposite me. I knew what she was like when it came to me not wanting to talk. She would just keep bringing it up until I cracked and told her so I took a bite out of my apple I'd got earlier and looked up at her.

"I think my real dad has found me," I said softly. "But I dunno how that's even possible!"

"Your real dad?" Cindy blurted, reeling her neck back. "But...but Puppy, your dad is_"

"Dead? Yeah, I know" I replied looking at her directly!

Cindy looked off into the distance as if in deep thought. I saw her lips say something silently as she zoned out.

"This uh...this guy! So can they like do a test or something?"

I shrugged. "I dunno"

"Puppy, that's just crazy news" She shook her head.

"Unreal, yeah I know."

"So...so how do you feel?"

"All over the place, so many questions Cindy, I can't get my head around it all."

"I mean how do you feel knowing, or thinking your real dad exists?"

"Same answer Cindy, all over the place. I wanna know so much, why he left and why he came looking for me now, I mean I know nothing about this guy, not a thing, no one has ever told me anything about him."

"It sounds frustrating Puppy, I'm sorry."

I sighed. "Well, it would be the sick joke of the century if he was some kind of fraudster. So I can only assume he thinks he has a missing son."

Cindy started to eat her food slowly keeping her eyes locked on to me. I placed my apple core on the side of her tray and leaned back in my chair.

"Blimey, this is such a mystery" Cindy muttered between chewing.

"It is Cindy! I spent so much of my life thinking the guy that killed my mum was my dad, and then when I found out he might not be I thought about who my real dad could be and...and, argh god it's just such a mess Cindy."

"Has he asked to meet you?"

"Yeah and he was told he couldn't."

"But why?" Cindy asked, that same surprised look on her face I had in Watson's office.

"Mr Watson said it was because he might be lying and stuff. I don't really understand what the fuss is about but he seems to be really worried about it."

"But why would someone make that stuff up, but then again Watson is right that he needs to provide evidence and I'm not sure what that might be."

"I don't know Cindy, like I said, it feels such a mess. But Watson did say he asked for Jenson Chase which makes me think it must be real because hardly anyone calls me Jenson anymore and who knows I live here?"

"Family?" Cindy asked, tilting her head slightly.

"I don't know any family, it's not like anyone has ever come to visit me or anything. Up until today I didn't know anyone from outside Greenstone knew I existed."

"Hmm, so what happens now then?"

"Dunno, Watson said he would keep me updated with news, but it's ripping me apart not knowing what the hell is going on with this. Part of me wishes I had never been told."

"Aww puppy, don't say that, whatever happens, you know there is someone out there who wants to meet you."

"Yeah and I wonder if that will still be the case when he finds out about my medical history and behavioural problems."

"Well, if he is your real dad then I think he should accept you for whoever you are."

Bless Cindy, she was always the optimist and as I looked around the room at all the kids with no parents I suddenly realised that actually, I was the only one who might just have a parent who wants to know me...hell, might even care about me.

I picked up my apple core and started twirling it in my hands feeling restless. Cindy pulled it from my fingers and placed it on her now empty plate and smiled. The eating area was full of activity with kids of all ages tucking into their lunch. Greenstone had around forty children living in it with about space for another ten. I remember the place a few years back when there were only around fifteen children here. At that time it felt like as soon as a child came in they were finding new parents. Except for me of course who remained here trying to sound happy for the people who were leaving each week. Selfishly, I felt jealous with every one of them.

The older I got, the fewer people I spoke to. Most were not capable of holding a conversation anyway simply because of their age, and some, well some just bored the hell out of me to the point where I had to walk away. Maybe it was me; maybe I just wasn't a very social person. There was something different about Cindy though and when it came to her I got scared when I thought of being without her. She was my emotional support to an otherwise chronic loner. I had no ties to anyone else like her and I wondered what the future held when I let my mind wander into thoughts of life after Greenstone.

If that day ever came!

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