Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 8

Today is The Day

A whole week had passed since the results from my DNA test with Max Chase, also now known as... dad, had come back.

Everyone was asking me when I was going to make contact with a man I never knew existed up until very recently. All the positive feelings I had, all the yearning to meet him had now gone, being replaced with severe apprehension and anxiety. I was scared and frustrated...frustrated because I was scared, and scared because I didn't know what to say to the man.

Discovering I had a father was starting to feel like the biggest anti-climax of the century and I almost felt like I hated him already because he had brought huge waves to my otherwise calm life. But, in a dark corner of my subconscious, I knew how much I longed to get out of this place and find some normality, and normality had to start with having a family.

Sitting at the small desk in my room I stared at a blank notepad, pen in my hand. I had been here for about ten minutes now thinking it would be a good idea to write down some questions that I wanted to ask my new relation. If I could just get past the feelings and get to the questions, I thought as more minutes ticked on by. These feelings I had were mainly about Cindy. After everything we had said to each other I still felt so guilty for even thinking about leaving her.

So I was told by Charlotte, my dad was contacting the home daily asking to speak to me, each time resulting in him being told I was not ready. I had made the decision to let Mr Watson handle the conversation telling Max I was his son, mainly because I couldn't bring myself to hear his voice, or let him hear mine. Mr Watson told me that my father had broken down in tears on the phone when he heard about the results. This after I had asked him how he took the news. Apparently all he kept saying was, at last, at last I found my son. I should have taken that as a positive sign, a sign that he really was genuine about wanting me in his life. But as with all my feelings about him now, all that happened was, it left me feeling more nervous and anxious.

I threw the pen down and got up from my desk deciding that I wasn't getting anywhere fast apart from more frustrated. Pulling out my weights from under my bed I began to do some reps in front of the mirror. I was still really slim, but I had noticed my ribs that had previously been on show were now starting to be covered in a thin layer of muscle and fat. My chest was also starting to develop too and although I was not going to win body builder of the year, at least the top half of my torso didn't just look the same of my bottom half.

Yes, I was developing pecks!

I was starting to work up a sweat when there was a knock at my door. I really wanted to ignore it seeing as every knock previously was just some do-gooder asking me if I had decided to make contact with my father yet. "Go... Away... Go...away," I muttered in rhythm with lifting my weights.

"Puppy, are you in there?" Cindy called. She was the only person I was willing to break my cycle for, and upon hearing her voice I placed the heavy weights down on my bed and went to the door.

I eased it open just a few inches suddenly worried someone might have been with her ready to pounce on me, but there was no one there.

"Hey Cindy, sorry I was thinking you might be someone else, come in," I said, before opening the door enough for her to wander in.

"Still doing that body building thing then," she asked, placing my weights on the floor before commandeering my bed, like she always did.

"Yeah, I was trying to clear my mind. Cindy I dunno what to do."

"About your dad?" she asked, manoeuvring herself to a horizontal position.

"Yeah, it's all I think about and it's driving me crazy," I suddenly sniggered, thinking how ironic that comment was seeing as I was... well, a little crazy.

"Look, you wanna know what I think?"

"Always!" I said.

"It's not doing you, or your dad any favours by holding off contact. Each day that goes by is making you worse Puppy. I think you need to bite the bullet and call the guy. If you like, I will sit there with you and hold your hand if you want some support, but you really need to do this. I think you will feel much better when you do."

"You really think so?"

"Yeah, and you might find it will clear all that mess from your head once you do." She said reassuringly.

"And you really mean it about holding my hand?"

"Well I was actually trying to make you smile with that, but yeah, if that's what it takes."

"I guess a quick phone call wouldn't be too painful...but what if he starts asking loads of questions I'm not ready for, or... or worse, what if he asks to meet me or something like that, then what will I do?"

"What if, what if... Puppy, he might ask all of those things or none of them. Whatever happens just be honest and tell him if you are not ready for whatever he asks and that you need time to think about it." She shrugged.

"You know, you are WAY better than Doctor Listern Cindy," I said managing a chuckle.

"Not really Puppy, I just know what makes you tick, and you have this wonderful way of getting yourself into a state when really, one does not exist. But that's you and I love that part about you as much as the rest, got that?"

"Yeah I got it," I said, deciding to push my weights back under the bed for the day. I sat down on the mattress with Cindy and she got back up into a seated position. She draped her hands on each of my shoulders and looked into my eyes.

"This may be your break Puppy, don't waste this opportunity."

"I know, and listening to what you have said I am going to do it... I am going to go and see Mr Watson and I'm going to call my dad and speak to him," I said, courage coming back to me once more.

"That's my dog!" Cindy said winking at me. "And listen, if it goes bad then hey, you can press the reset button and try again another day, just remember to breathe and keep an open mind."

I nodded. "And you're ok to come with me still yeah?"

"Of course, it's not like I have anything better to do."

"Cool, thank you Cindy."

"Hey, no sweat, and look on the bright side, later on when all this worry is just a distant dream, one day you might even find yourself peering into the Grand Canyon standing next to your dad," she exclaimed, peering over to my poster on the wall and smiling. I looked over too and gently nodded, more to myself more than her. It was a lovely thought.

After a two hour class today with Mrs Baxter (my new teacher) I headed out of her room, a book of homework to be completed shoved under my arm. Mrs Baxter was so nice and she really got into her class, unlike Norman Bates. As it was my first lesson with her since having to deal with Elaine Bates, my new teacher used the first twenty minutes telling us about herself before asking each of us to tell her some stuff. She seemed to immediately have a soft spot for me when she found out how long I had been at the home, even commenting on how it was astonishing someone so polite had not found parents. I naturally told her she was seeing me on a good day and that things in the recent past were not always so good.

After settling into the class we did a little Maths and English before moving on to Science. For the first time in ages I had walked out of class without feeling anxious or terrified. I even looked forward to the homework she had given me, really wanting to do a good job for her.

As I headed back towards my room I planned to knock on Cindy and tell her I was ready to make the phone call to my father. Cindy had spent most of the day in her room after saying she had a stomach ache. She appeared to have these little strips of thick tissue on her bed, and I think they were to rest on her stomach to ease the pain; I wasn't sure though because whenever I had pain the Doctor always gave me tablets to take.

I turned right into the corridor where our rooms were located and went straight in, chucking my book on the bed. I stripped off my clothes and immediately darted into the bathroom and threw my shower handle to the on position before pulling on the extractor cord.

Plumes of steam erupted into the air as the water increased in temperature and I quickly used the mirror to pull an extra-long eyelash out before it steamed up. A quick scratch of my balls and groin and I hopped in, my shoulders dancing and darting to escape the rather too hot water. "Ouch" I cried as I moved out of the spray, adjusting the handle which let cold water in.

I stood under the shower for ages, in a way it was another comfort mechanism I used when stressed or anxious. A good shower always seemed to calm me. It was like washing away the dirt that was the worry, and even on a really bad day I never failed to feel even a touch better when I vacated my bathroom after soaking myself in hot cleansing water. Today was no exception as I was finally going to do the one thing I thought I would never have the courage to do.

Call my father!

I was now done in the shower so I got out and started to scrub my wet skin with a towel. Wrapping it round my waist I went and sat down on my bed letting the rest of my body air dry. I got some clean underwear from my little bed compartment and then gave my head one last frisk with them towel. Pulling some clothes from my drawers I got dressed making sure to spray myself with deodorant before leaving my room for Cindy's.

I gently knocked on her door and waited for the familiar voice to invite me in. As I walked in I saw she was sitting up in bed clutching a hot water bottle. She managed a smile, but I could see she was not feeling her normal self and I made a sad face expression at her to let her know I knew.

"Girl problems Puppy, I won't go into detail." She declared. I just gave her a funny look and decided not to pry. Also I didn't have a clue what she meant by that so I didn't want to make a fool of myself asking either.

"Listen if you don't feel good I can always_"

"nuh uh, no you don't, I'm not having you use me as an excuse to get out of this Puppy, you'll only regret it if you back out now."

"But you look unwell and I don't want to drag you upstairs if you just want to sit quietly."

"I'll be fine Puppy, let me just go to the toilet and we'll go."

She edged herself off the bed and went to her bathroom. I sat on her bed and waited, casually looking around her room. Cindy was different from other girls I had met. She had no dolls or stuffed toys lying around. There were also not many things you would usually expect to find in a girls bedroom. No, Cindy was, in a way, more like me. She had huge posters on her wall of famous monuments. Scattered all over were pictures of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, Ayres Rock and so on. She also had a hobby which involved tiny rubber bands called loom bands. She would sit there for hours making these bracelet things, two of which I wear with pride on my own wrists. They were multi coloured and really pretty and I really cherished them because they came from her.

Moments later Cindy appeared from her bathroom looking a little better and she asked me if I was ready. I nodded, still unsure, but decided it was now or never.

"Now remember Puppy, keep it simple and remember to breathe. If you don't feel like answering any questions he has then just be honest and say you're not ready."

"Ok Cindy... so shall we go?" She nodded and we both left her room with me closing the door behind us.

On route to Mr Watson's office I began to feel jittery which Cindy immediately noticed, taking hold of my hand and squeezing it. I felt better knowing she was here, and I knew without her, well, I wouldn't even be thinking of doing this.

We got upstairs and I knocked on Mr Watson's door waiting for a response. Watson called out telling us to enter and we both walked in. He greeted us with a smile and immediately knew what I was here for, I could tell.

"Well I wondered when I might see you Puppy... hello Cindy, feeling any better?"

"How did you know I was unwell Sir?"

"Cindy, it's my job to know how all of the children are in this place. There is not a lot I don't know about, but its ok, I understand you might not want me asking about it so I won't."

I gave Mr Watson a funny look wondering what he meant. Was Cindy really ill and not telling me? I made a mental note to ask her later.

"So Puppy, Cindy, what can I do for you?"

"Like you need to ask Sir," I said, not really impressed he was playing this game.

"I didn't want to assume, but yes, I had an idea what it might be about. Do you want to use the phone in here or shall we see if Charlotte's office is free?"

"Would you mind if I just had Cindy with me Sir? I don't wanna be rude, but I'm just a little nervous right now and_"

"Puppy, it's absolutely fine, I know this is a big deal for you. I am happy to leave you to it. Just let me call charlotte and make sure its ok for you to use her room."

"Thank you Mr Watson, thank you very much," I said.

Watson got on the phone and dialled an internal number. I assumed Charlotte picked up because he was soon off the phone again telling me it was fine to go ahead and use her office. As I thanked him again he took a key from his desk drawer and dangled it in front of me before ripping a piece of paper out of his notepad containing a number. I took both from his hand and smiled before leaving the room with Cindy close behind.

Inside Charlotte's office we both took a seat on the guests' side of her desk and I stared at the telephone. I placed the scrap bit of paper out in front of me and remained silent.

"Take your time, Puppy, there is no rush."

"Yeah." I replied quietly.

"Just get the first few sentences in your head as to what you want to say and stick with that. I'm sure as the conversation goes on it will get easier anyway."

"Cindy, how do you know all this stuff, I mean it's not like you have been in this situation before."

"Call it girl power Puppy," she said cracking into a giggle. "I just have more time to think about this rationally and so I can look beyond the chaos you probably feel. It really is as simple as that Puppy."

"Hmm, well I just wish I could feel like you do now, believe me."

Cindy turned her lips up at me and lifted the telephone off the receiver and held it out in front of me. Watching her reassuring expression I took the phone from her hand and took a deep breath before slowly dialling the numbers laid out on the desk.

As I hit the last number I waited a second and placed the phone against my ear. It began to ring and after three or four seconds a voice could be heard.


"Uh, erm hi, is this... erm, is this Max Chase?" I asked, fighting the need to swallow hard.

"Yes speaking, who is this please?"

A surge of adrenaline entered my bloodstream on hearing that question and quite simply...

I panicked!

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead