Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 10

Billy, The Lake, and That Damn Movie

I carefully placed the phone down on its base, treating it like a glass I was scared of dropping. Pulling my hand away I sat back in the chair and tugged the elastic on my t-shirt collar before puffing air through my lips.

"That was intense," I muttered. Cindy was looking at me intently, her eyes wide, like I was the person who knew when the world was going to end.

"Well?" she blurted. "What did he sound like, was his voice like yours... did he tell you about himself... was he-"

"Cindy, slow down, Jesus!" I said, chuckling at her deliria.

"Sorry Puppy, but you need to say something, you can't just sit there in silence when the biggest thing... like ever has just taken place!"

"Just give me a minute, I need to calm down." Cindy beamed a smile and smothered me in a hug.

"Puppy, do you know what you just did?"

"Almost crapped myself?" I replied, matter of fact.

"You... just... spoke... to... your daaaad!"

"Yeah... yeah I did didn't I." I said, starting to beam my own smile.

"This is such a step forward Puppy Stibbs, I am on cloud nine for you. So, you have to tell me, when is he coming to see you?"

"Well, I think he said he was going to call Mr Watson and talk about getting permission. To be honest the whole phone call feels like a blur now. It's like one of those dreams you wake up from and remember everything in the first ten seconds but then right after you forget the lot."

"Hmm, I know what you mean, but hey, why does he need permission, he's your dad, he can come in here now and get you when he likes, cant he?"

"I don't think that would be very respectful, and I get the feeling he is a soft kind of guy who wouldn't want to make waves if he could help it."

"Oh wow," Cindy gushed. "He sounds so cool already."

I slouched even further down into my chair and looked up at the ceiling, briefly closing my eyes. I had done it; at long last I had actually picked up that phone and called him. It was a relief mixed with satisfaction, Sadness mixed with guilt. The guilt was for Cindy, because in my mind, although I was one step closer to my father, on the flipside, I was one step away from Cindy. My heart bled for her. So much love for her boiled inside of me. Her sweet face as she watched me from the window when I kicked around my ball outside. Such a true and pure heart with only affection and compassion for people. Where did a girl with such a devastating background get such an awesome soul from? I didn't know much about God or religion but my best friend was surely destined for higher places when she was done on this earth.

She was amazing, quite simply amazing!

"You make me want to cry Cindy. Fucking hell I wish I could just cry now, and I don't think I could ever admit that to anyone but you, not even Doctor Listern."

"Aww Puppy, why do you say that?"

"I dunno, I just love you so much it hurts to think about... man, I don't even want to say it."

"Leaving me?"

"It's a horrible prospect."

"Puppy, you are my brother in everything but the blood that runs through you. You don't need to worry because I'll always be with you no matter where you are, and do you know how I know that?"


"Because I know I'll always be in here," she said passionately, lightly prodding at my chest. I felt a light fizzing and pressure come to the bridge of my nose and a tear strained itself out from my eye. Proving that I was not emotionally dead inside I let the tear fall over the rim of my eye and fall down my face. The feeling of that lone tear seemed to induce more and suddenly I did in fact start to cry a little.

"Crying is good puppy, it lets the soul breathe."

"Life without you is like not being able to see." I said, stroking her hair.

"Now you are just being dramatic Stibbs, behave or you will start me off."

"C'mon, let's get out of here; this room is having an effect on me."

Back down on the ground floor Cindy and I went back to our rooms. She suggested that we spend the last hour or so of light down by the lake to clear my head somewhat. I agreed that was a good idea and grabbed my jacket before meeting her outside her room.

We headed out through the main back doors carefully closing them so as not to let them bang. I hated those doors, they seemed to have quite a violent recoil on them and many a time was I chastised by Charlotte Grange for letting them crash shut.

Travelling down a slight incline in the cool Autumn air, our shoes being stained green by the freshly cut grass, Cindy spotted a familiar face sitting on the water's edge.

It was Billy Jones, the guy who had traded me the Grand Canyon poster.

"Isn't he always with his sister?" Cindy remarked alerting me to the fact Leah Jones was nowhere to be seen.

"Usually yeah," I declared, scanning the area.

"Look, shall we turn back? That boy and his sister really give me the creeps."

"Oh Cindy, they're not that bad, and once you get talking to Billy he is actually ok. I just think what ever happened to them must have left a big scar on their minds that's all."

Cindy started to slow down as if at any moment she was going to turn back. That was until I grabbed her arm and called out to Billy.

"What did you do that for?" She hissed.

"Just shush and be friendly," I whispered as Billy turned to look at us. As we approached the edge of the lake where Billy was still seated I raised my hand at him and smiled.

"Hello you two," he said shyly.

"Hello Billy, you know Cindy don't you?"

"Yes Puppy, I have seen her around the home. I think we may have said hello, but hello Cindy."

Cindy just smiled her acknowledgement and said nothing. "So where is Leah today?" I asked, trying to spark up a conversation, which Cindy didn't seem that keen on my doing.

"She's with Doctor Listern, Puppy. Do you know Doctor Listern?"

"Yes Billy, I see him quite often." I grinned, more to myself.

"He says he is going to make my sister well again. My sister is very unwell you see, more so than me."

"Oh I see, well I'm sorry to hear that Billy, that's very sad to hear, isn't it Cindy." I replied, elbowing Cindy to agree with me. She just smiled before feeling she should make conversation too.

"Yeah it is. So Billy... I hope you don't mind me asking, but what happened to your sister and you to make you both come to Greenstone?"

A scared look formed on Billy's face and he started to look around to see who might have heard Cindy ask the question.

"My sister says we are not allowed to talk about it, she gets real angry with me when I talk about it."

"Oh," said Cindy, looking surprised. "Well that's ok, if you shouldn't talk about it then that's fine. So how are you settling into Greenstone, you both haven't been here very long we noticed," she asked, earning my admiration for making an effort with the poor guy.

"It's very lonely. I miss my dog."

"Your dog?" I asked, thinking that family or friends might have been missed first. Maybe that was a clue somehow.

"Yes his name is Elmo, he's a husky. He used to sleep on my bed, but he can't now."

"Aww, I'm sorry to hear you miss him Billy. I bet he is missing you too but being looked after I'm sure." I said, but Billy just shook his head.

"Mummy took him to the vets and had him put down because he reminded her of Daddy."

"Oh my God that's terrible," Cindy cried. Although I didn't say anything I was rather horrified myself.

"Uh, Billy, does any of the staff know you are out here on your own? I asked him, thinking that for eleven and also new to the home that it would be unlikely he would be allowed out near water unsupervised. Billy just stared out across the lake and shrugged.

"Billy, do your mummy and daddy not get along anymore?" Cindy asked, gently prying for information.

"SHE'S DEAD!" he shouted, glaring at her. Before Cindy could say anything he burst into tears and ran back up towards the home leaving us with our mouths open.

"Cindy, I knew you would push him too far, now look what's happened."

"Sorry, I just thought maybe if he talked about it, it would help."

"He's eleven; he probably doesn't even know what's really going on. I think whatever has happened he hasn't been told the whole truth about it, either that or his mind has supressed it. I went through that phase when I was around nine so I know how that works."

"I agree, something bad has happened, do you think his father killed her?"

"Well she had the dog put down because of him so she must have been alive when that happened, and seeing as he says he still misses the dog it makes me wonder if this has all happened quite recently." I replied, trying to put together a puzzle with half the pieces missing it felt.

I picked up a loose stone and skimmed it across the lake watching as it bounced three times before plopping below. I watched fascinated as the ripples expanded outwards disturbing the otherwise calm water. Cindy placed her arm around my waist and we both stood gazing across the lake, the sun now low in the sky. I loved this time of day. It was so peaceful and it felt as if the earth was gently renewing itself for a new day.

"Do you think Billy will be ok? I feel so bad now," Cindy remarked, looking up at me.

"Try not to let it worry you Cindy, I have a hunch that his problems were already bad... what you said to him would not have made them any worse."

"I hope not, I don't think I have ever upset anyone here and I don't intend to start now. Perhaps I should talk to him."

"Leave it for a while Cindy. He's obviously feeling very raw about whatever has happened and you don't want to carry that burden of upsetting him again."

"You're right... so shall we head back in, I have to admit, I'm starting to feel pretty cold standing here."

"Sure, my room or yours?"

"Haha, well you know I am biased towards your more comfortable mattress, so yours!"

"Ok... hey what's that over there?"


"Race ya!" I said starting to run away up towards the house.

"Hey that's not fair, you did that on purpose," she shouted, starting run herself.

"Did you see what it was?" I said, starting to crack up.

"There was nothing there; you played an evil trick on me. Anyway. if you win the result is void because you cheated."

I did indeed win by touching the wall of our home first. Cindy arrived moments later out of breath but still in an altogether jovial mood. I held the door open for her and we both went inside. Appreciating the warm air that was being forced down from the ceiling air conditioners we loosened our coats and took a slow walk towards our rooms.

"Puppy?" Cindy asked, stretched out on my bed, while I sat tightly at one end. We were both loosely watching TV.

"Yeah?" I replied, dreamily.

"Do you ever think about girls?"

"Huh?" I asked, not really paying attention.

"I mean, I sometimes think about boys, but not anyone here, more like the ones on TV, but I just wondered what-"

"Cindy, what are you on about?" I asked, really just hearing a load of words come out of her mouth while I watched TV. Perhaps I should have been paying more attention.

"Never mind, I was just thinking that's all."

"About girls?" I asked, turning to face her.

"No silly... see, you aren't even listening to me. I was talking about boys and I asked you what you thought of girls."

"What about them?"

"Well, as in... do you like them?"

I shrugged. "I dunno, I guess so, why?"

"Dunno, just there is this boy on TV that I think is really cute and I just wondered if there was anyone you liked?"

"On TV?"

"Not just on TV, anywhere really?"

"Well since you ask, no I don't think I have ever found anyone anywhere that I have liked in that way."


I giggled. "Aww, has that disappointed you?"

"No, don't be silly... I don't even know why I brought it up."

"Wait a minute, you're not suggesting-"

"NO! God no, the thought of me and you... haha, nah, that would be too weird!"

"I'm glad, because you're like my sister Cindy, and... well that just wouldn't work."

Cindy cleared her throat. "Is, um... is that because you like boys, Puppy?"

"WHAAAT? No!" I blurted, starting to go red.

"Ok, calm down... but its ok you know." She said casually, twirling her hair round her fingers.

"Whatever gave you the idea that... I mean how did I ever... Cindy, why are we having this conversation."

"Look Puppy, just forget I mentioned it, but just so you know, if you do like boys, then I am totally ok with it... end of conversation."

My face was now as red as beetroot. Part of me wanted to ask her where she got this idea from, but the other part said if I brought it up she would carry on talking about it.

"So, erm, are you all set for class tomorr-"

"Brokeback Mountain!" Cindy turned to me and said.

I coughed involuntarily. "What's that?" I asked, looking away from her.

Cindy grinned. "What? So you're telling me you don't know?"

"Why would I?"

"Because it's a movie that is currently saved to your TV recorder perhaps?"


"Hey, you were In the shower one day and I was bored waiting so I just looked to see what stuff you had saved," she whined.

"I...I was just curious that's all, and how do you know what Brokeback Mountain even is?" I retorted, trying to shift some heat away from myself.

"Duuuh! Because when you select the program it gives you a description, and I could pretty much tell after reading that description it was about two guys doing it up a big hill."

"I feel sick!"

Cindy burst out laughing. "Something you ate?" she asked through the fits. Her laughter mixed with my pure embarrassment was making me smile too and in the end I was giggling, still bright red.

"I'm sorry Puppy, I didn't mean to embarrass you, I have just been trying to find a way of asking you about this. I knew whenever I did it was going to be an awkward moment shall we say. So... I mean, when you say you are curious, what do you mean?"

I shrugged. "Just that really."

"But I am right though yeah, you lean more towards boys than girls?"

"I'm not sure Cindy... honestly, the whole Brokeback Mountain thing was totally a curiosity thing." Cindy tilted her head and gave me a sly expression. "What?" I asked.

"The recorder says it's been watched four times."

"And you have a disgusting ability for attention to detail!"

Cindy yawned before smiling at my comment. "Well." She stretched. "I'm gonna head off back to my room as I'm starting to feel a little tired."

"Are we ok?"

"What? Yeah of course we are... look I don't care who you like, the only thing I care about is the fact you didn't feel you could talk to me about it, and you know how I love hot gossip, Stibbs!"

"It's nothing Cindy, but I'm sorry I didn't tell you, I was just embarrassed that's all."

I laid in bed with the light out trying to get to sleep. All I could think of were two things... the conversation with my dad, and fucking Brokeback Mountain. The truth was, I had never seen a film with sex in it before because the TV service we get is quite moderated in the home, for obvious reasons. Usually, when a programme was about to start that was deemed too adult for us, it would cut to a black screen and all you would be left with was the sound. This was exactly what I expected to happen one night when they had advertised Brokeback Mountain earlier on that evening. I actually forgot it was left on the same channel, so when I heard it was about to start I picked up my remote intending to change channel thinking the screen was about to go black.

But it didn't.

For some reason the film escaped the normal filters, and don't ask me why because I don't know. But I ended up watching it because it seemed really interesting right from the start, plus the fact there was nothing else on I was aware of that evening.

Even though I was watching the movie... as I was feeling tired I decided to record the film just in case I fell asleep. At least that way I could watch it another night. So that is how it got to be on my TV recorder. Unbeknown to me at the time, the movie contained a sex scene between two men. I thought I would have been weirded out by this, but instead I actually found the parts where they did the romantic stuff quite arousing. Maybe it was because I had never seen anything on TV, intimate wise, that was quite so graphic, who knows. As sleep approached and my mind started to settle, I was left with just one last thought.

Being Sixteen was starting to feel quite complicated!

But the details of that are for another time!

And, sleeeep.........

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