Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 16

Parting with an Angel

"Please, come in and sit down," Mr Watson said, moving aside so Max and I could enter his office. "Can I get you both a drink at all? Tea, Coffee perhaps?" Max and I shook our heads and Mr Watson nodded, taking a seat in his chair.

"Is Cindy ok Mr Watson? I haven't spoken to her since... well you know."

"I will make sure you can see her, Puppy before you leave today, and yes she is fine... a little shaken, but otherwise ok."

"Thank you," I said, rubbing my knees with my hands.

"Right, let's get started. I have had the relevant paperwork drawn up for your release Puppy. Your father needs to sign a few documents, then there are some things I need to explain to you both. Obviously, as we go through feel free to ask any questions you have and I will do my best to answer them. But firstly, how are you Puppy? That was a close call."

I shrugged, not really wanting to talk about it. "Doctor's said I'll be ok"

I kept it brief signalling my intention not to say to much. "Right, well... I'm sorry you felt so_"

"Could we just move to the paperwork, I'm sure Jensen doesn't want to re-live what happened," Max cut in. Mr Watson just paused, before moving his hands towards what was inside his desk.

"Of course, Mr Chase, so let's continue."

Max and I both nodded and I watched as Mr Watson pulled a beige file from his draw with my name on it. He opened it and took out a double ply form which I assumed was my release document as it made reference to that at the top of the page.

"Ok, so this form is to confirm that Max Daniel Chase has sought and been awarded complete custody of Jensen Andrew Stibbings. Do you agree this is your wish, Mr Chase?"

Max nodded and was passed the form to look at by Mr Watson. I Could see there was a lot of strange wording on it, none of which I understood, but I knew this must be the form that makes it all legal. Max studied the wording intently before looking up at Mr Watson.

"It says here that Jensen has a trust fund set up, can you explain this?"

"Of course. When the state handed Jensen to us it transcribed his parents had set up an insurance bond for him when he was born. There was a credit made to that bond each month for fifty pounds. After the death of his parents this continued to be paid from the estate of Brian Stibbings and will do so until maturity."

"Hmm, I see, and when will that be?"

"The Maturity? That will happen on his eighteenth birthday and will be paid to our central account with Puppy being the beneficiary."

"Can this be changed?"

"Yes of course, what would you like us to do?"

"Well, I will go to my bank with Jensen and have an account opened for him. This is his money and I would like him to have it under his control."

"Of course, Mr Chase. Once the funds are paid out I will have a cheque drawn up and made out to puppy as per your request."

"Thank you, Mr Watson." I said.

"So if you are happy with everything else, feel free to sign and that will conclude the transfer of custody."

Mr Watson handed Max a silver pen, and with one final skim over the form with his eyes, he signed the form. I was suddenly aware that with one signature my whole life had just changed and it felt profound.

"In terms of Puppy's medical regime I have asked Doctor Listern to draft a report explain-"

"I think Doctor Listern has done enough, Mr Watson. His report and recommendations will not be needed. I should stress that according to my source, Doctor Listern's approach to Jensen's treatment has been a disaster and I think the man needs to be made aware of that."

"I'm sorry that you feel that way Mr Chase, I would like to add that I have known Doctor Listern for many years, in fact, I talked him into joining us at Greenstone, and he is a very well educated doctor. I also feel he has always carried out his duties to Puppy's care in the most professional way."

"I don't doubt Doctor Listern's care levels Mr Watson, it's his methods that concern me. Jensen's drugs are all wrong and the dosages were being manipulated far too often. It seems Doctor Listern's answer for everything was to regulate solely with drugs rather than trying to get to the core of the problem."

"That is of course a matter of opinion Mr Chase. What you must understand is that Puppy's condition is very complicated and requires multiple drugs to control. I will add though that Doctor Listern is a trained child psychologist and has undertaken many hours of non-drug treatments with Puppy as I'm sure he will agree. I am not sure who your source is but I do feel he needs to have a full evaluation with Puppy before he deems our treatment at the home as ineffective."

I listened as Mr Watson and my Father exchanged opinions. I could see both men starting to get mildly irritated with each other on their different views. I could see it from Mr Watson's side. He wanted to protect the reputation of the home and that of his colleague. For me, I always thought Doctor Listern was a very good Doctor and a good man, so was inclined to agree with Watson, but my dad seemed adamant that this was all being done wrong.

I chose to remain quiet.

"I will be doing that, thank you, Mr Watson." Max said, sitting back in his chair.

"Now, I have arranged all of Puppy's belongings to be boxed up and sealed. If you are in a position to take them away today, you can do so otherwise we are happy to put them in storage until it is convenient. All furniture will stay at the home as it is Greenstone Property and cannot be removed."

"I thought you had already got them Max," I said looking at him.

"It was on my list Jensen, but I got distracted." I remained quiet as Steven came into my mind. "I understand, and its fine, I have brought my company van with me and am able to remove his belongings today."

"Excellent, so the rest of the documents in Puppy's pack include his dental records and treatment history, his jabs for tetanus, measles and Polio, and also BCG are also in the file.

"Yeah that one hurt," I said feeling the scar on my left arm.

Mr Watson Laughed. "Yes, nobody seems to like that one, I know my children didn't. Mr Chase, You will need to register Puppy with a doctor and dentist once he leaves, and you can hand these files over to them."

"Right, well thank you Mr Watson, I can see Jensen has had a very good life here in some respects and I want to thank you for taking good care of him. Obviously my views are my views on his medical treatment but I can see all other areas have been run to a high standard under your watch."

"We only ever do what's best for the children. Mr Chase... and Puppy, I am really going to miss you but this is your opportunity now, this is your time to start a new life and hopefully become a very successful person."

"Thank you Mr Watson, I will miss you and the guys here as well. I have so many memories, most of them good, so it will be really strange not to wake up here anymore."

"It will, but as much as I love running this home and looking after the children here, its really not a place any child should end up, especially for as long a time as you have. Now I understand you wish to see Cindy?"

"If I could Sir, yes."

"I am very happy for you to go down to her room if you wish. While you are gone your father and I can wrap up everything here and then you can be on your way."

"Ok thank you."

I got up from my chair, and looking for an ok from my father, which I got, I headed out of the room and down towards the stairs.

Inside Cindy's room she was very quiet, almost to the point of not talking at all. I could see she had been crying as she lay on her bed clutching a small yellow bear she always had when she was upset. I didn't know what to say really, or where to start, I knew that I was leaving today and she would not be. It had all been a long time coming but seemed to be happening so quick.

"What you did... the way you made me feel seeing you do that... Puppy it was... I thought you were going to die, why, WHY!"

"I'm sorry, I was in a really bad place and..."

"Then why didn't you talk to me?"

"Because talking wasn't helping Cindy, it was beyond that, it was a new level Cindy, I cant explain it to you. When I thought about ending it all, it was the first time for ages I actually felt peace."

"And what about me? You wanted me to find your dead body?"

"I wasn't thinking about that at the time Cindy, Its hard to explain to you, and I know me saying I wasn't thinking about your feelings is selfish, but my mind... my mind was falling apart and all I could think of doing was... well you know."

I came in here and saw your face... Puppy, you smiled at me! You were hanging yourself and you fucking smiled at me."

"I was saying goodbye Cindy, I was smiling because I wanted you to know I was going to be ok."

"Well it was fucking creepy not to mention cruel."

"I know, please forgive me Cindy, you know how I feel sometimes. Well take one of my low days and times it by a hundred and that's how bad I felt, I was in total meltdown, and it felt like the only thing I could do to stop the pain, Cindy."

"I get it, ok!"

"Good, and thank you for saving my life. I now know what I did, was a stupid mistake."

"You're damn right it was, and it was Charlotte who saved your life, not me. She is the one who cut you down."

"I really thought she would have tightened the belt rather than cut it," I said, trying to inject a touch of humour into what was a rather depressing atmosphere.

"They were in your room today, and I knew," Cindy remarked softly, changing the subject.

"Knew?" I asked.

"That the day had finally come... I'm not going to see you again, am I?"

"Of course you will Cindy, I can come and visit... at least I think I can."

"You'll forget about me in time. Once you leave here and start your new life I'll be a distant memory."

"Never! Why would you think that, I love you Cindy, I will never forget you."

Cindy gently started to weep. "Oh Puppy, what am I going to do without you, who will I talk to every day... I don't think I can bare it."

My heart was breaking; I could see the desperation in her eyes. It had been her and I for so long and I knew if one of us ever went, it would be massively hard on the other. Who would she talk to, how would she cope? I was lost for words, choosing instead to move towards her and take her in my arms.

"It's going to be ok Cindy, I will talk to Max again and see if anything can be done."

"There is no point Puppy, he already has one son, is now getting another. I'm nothing to do with him, he would never want a stranger living in his house and I understand. It's just hard you know, because... because it scares me when I realise, I... I have no one Puppy... absolutely no one I can call family."

I choked back tears of my own listening to her sweet voice cry out for help. She didn't have anyone, it was true. All she wanted, like me, was for someone to love her. Someone to tell her she looked beautiful, tell her she was pretty and her hair was nice, tell her she was protected and safe. She needed to be loved by someone, and that used to be me. It still was in my eyes, but in hers, all she saw was another person leaving her life.

It was killing me!

"Perhaps I should stay," I said, surprising myself with actually meaning it.

"NO!" Cindy almost screamed. "No, I will not have you giving up on your dream for me. You need to do what's best for you, Puppy, I am wrong to lay my sadness on you, it was cruel of me."

"Hey, we tell each other everything, it's always been this way, right?"

"Yes, but look what it is doing... no, I will not make you feel guilty for this."

"I understand your feelings Cindy, I have been there, remember? Don't feel bad for telling me how you feel, even now."

Cindy nodded and wiped her wet eyes with a sleeve. "So how do you feel?"

"About leaving?"

"Yeah," she said, looking at me as if it was an obvious question.

I puffed air though my lips. "Like it's all a dream, like its not really happening. I'm scared if I honest... shit scared. I don't have a clue how I fit into the world Cindy, I'm worried I'll eventually be rejected and end up back in here, or worse, homeless."

"What do you mean worried about being rejected, Max obviously loves you."

"Max doesn't know me Cindy, he's just excited he has found his son, he doesn't know what he is taking on. Once that excitement goes, will I just be a problem for him? Steven, his other son is scaring the crap out of me too. From what I know, he is not going to welcome me with open arms, and I got to share a room with the guy."

"This does seem to have happened quickly, are you ready?"

"No," I laughed. This is only happening like this because of what I did, and that scares me too. I worry that his family thinks I did it just so I could force Max's hand."

"And is that true?"

"You know it isn't Cindy, I can't believe you would ask that."

"Well I'm asking because I never thought in a million years you would do something so stupid."

"We've been through this, you know why it happened."

"Yeah, well, it's not any easier to accept."

"So, what will you do now?" I asked, deciding to change the subject.

"Grieve, cry a little probably... I don't know, I don't think I prepared myself enough for this day. I will miss you so much Puppy, I can't begin to get my head around the fact you will no longer be in that room next to me."

"You'll make new friends Cindy, you are very popular."

"Don't patronize me Puppy, the only two people that are close to my age are Leah and Billy Jones. One of them hates me, and the other doesn't talk. The rest of the kids here are just starting to read, I doubt conversation is their strong point."

"I'm sorry, I just don't know what to say to make this better, Cindy."

"There is nothing you can do Puppy, it is what it is and you now need to give yourself the best chance of happiness. That's what I want for you and if you love me you will make the best of your new life."

I was about to respond when there was a knock at the door. Cindy got up to see who it was but I already knew. It was my cue to leave and thinking about that almost caused me to burst into tears. Cindy opened the door and true enough, Mr Watson and my father were standing in the corridor.

"Time to go Jensen," my dad said softly, knowing that would be hard for me. I grabbed hold of Cindy and squeezed her tight. I felt her body shudder as she began to cry again. I was unable to contain my own tears and we both stood there in each other's arms bawling, with Mr Watson and Max just watching.

"I love you angel," I whispered in her ear. "I will always be with you, please remember that."

"I love you too, Puppy, have a good life, yeah, and please don't forget me."

We broke our embrace and I made my way out into the corridor. Looking back at Cindy she raised her hand to gesture a goodbye and watched me walk away. I had to leave the area, fearing that if I looked back at her again, I would not be able to leave.

I stood near the main entrance crying my eyes out, which seemed to be getting easier to do since Doctor Listern had cut my pill dose down. I fell to my knees in what must have looked like a dramatic response to a situation that was now finally hitting me.

I was leaving Greenstone and a virtual sister I loved so much!

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