Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 20

Room Of Doom

The Chinese food that Max and Susan had ordered in did indeed live up to the hype. I must admit, when I saw all the plastic containers arrive on the table, it all looked a little too colourful for me, but boy did it taste good, something which I commented on. I think my favourite was the sweet and sour chicken. Although when I heard the word sour, I was immediately put off. It's funny how the mind can put you off things by creating a preconception about them.

We had all sat round the table in the dining room to eat. Susan was doing most of the talking, along with Max, who came a distant second. I was mostly being asked questions, which under normal circumstances, I would have no trouble answering, but as I talked, I could see Steven pulling faces out of the corner of my eye, as if judging me. I tried to keep the answers short and void of detail. Part of me wanted to not care what he thought, but for some reason I did. I wanted him to think I was as normal as his friends at school.

I wanted him to accept me.

Dinner was a struggle, really, as my stomach was in knots most of the time, but I did enjoy this new culinary experience and hoped to do it again in the near future promising myself that next time, I would be in a better place.

As soon as Steven had wolfed down two plates of food he immediately left the table and headed back up to his room, commenting that he had nothing to say. This was after Susan had asked him if he had any questions for me himself. No sooner had Steven bolted for his room, Max gave me a reassuring look as if to say, it will get better.

With dinner consumed, Susan had begun to clear away the dirty dishes and sealed up what had not been eaten in the plastic pots. I helped load the plates into the dishwasher that she had placed on the work surface while she found a home for the remaining food in the fridge.

Max made us all a cup of tea, even shouting up to Steven to see if he wanted one, not that he got a response, but I admired him for caring about people as much as he did. He invited me into the lounge to watch TV with him and Susan, and it was an invitation I was only too pleased to accept. The thought of having to spend time in a room with someone who really didn't like me wasn't something I was relishing.

As the rolling credits came up from a movie we had been watching I glanced over at the wall clock seeing it was just after ten.

"So, uh, what do you normally watch now?" I asked, trying to put off the inevitable of having to go up to bed. I hoped they didn't have any bedtime rules in place and I guess this was one way of seeing if they had.

"Are you not tired Puppy? It's been a long day for you." Max asked, casting a gaze on me. The truth was, I was tired... very tired in fact, but I knew what the alternative was.

"Meh, I'm ok."

"Are you sure honey?" Susan added, "Your eyes look pretty sleepy."

"Puppy, I get the feeling you really want to go to sleep, but something... or someone is putting you off doing that, am I right?" Max asked, a sly grin coming from the corner of his mouth.

My game was up.

"It's just, well you know... I'm just nervous about going in there. It's his room and I feel like I am invading it."

Max sighed. "It's your room too now and Steven is going to have to get used to that. You can't live your life avoiding each other, Puppy."

I can try, I thought.

"I know, I'm just being a big baby, it's just he makes me nervous and it in turn that makes me feel unbalanced."

"Unbalanced?" Susan asked, a little shocked at my term of expression.

"It's a bipolar word they use honey," Max said, looking at his wife. I nodded.

"Hmm, looks like I have some research to do, If I am to be a fit and prepared mother to you, I really need to know my stuff," she replied, her statement aimed towards me.

"Which reminds me, we need to get you in to have a full evaluation from, Doctor Burrows soon - I would really like to get you checked over. I know how much you respected Doctor Listern, Puppy, but I always think it's good to get a second opinion.

I just nodded.

"Who is Doctor Listern?" Susan asked. "I keep hearing his name... was he the Doctor that looked after you in the children's home Jensen?"

"Yes, he was, we were quite close, and he managed my condition Susan."

"He also played around with Puppy's medication too much. I felt he was using Puppy as some kind of experiment... in fact, whenever I think of him I always picture Josef Mengele for some reason," Max commented, shaking his head.

Susan laughed. "Oh darling, I think that's a little extreme."

I didn't have a clue who they were talking about so just smiled politely. I was starting to get really tired now. What with the long day and the added washout from my daily dose of MEDs I was ready to hit the sack. I need to grow some balls and just go up there. I knew that, I knew Max knew that as well, and Susan possibly, but I had a feeling she wouldn't say anything.

"Would you like me to come up with you, Puppy?" Max asked, seeing my eyes must have momentarily closed.

"Nah, that would just make me look like a wuss, I'll go up now. Just working up the courage," I replied, managing a false smile. But despite my light hearted answer, that was actually the truth - it did feel like I had to summon a heap of courage. Most of the night I had been working myself up into a state, thinking that sooner or later that dreaded time was going to arrive where I HAD to retire to the room of doom that contained Steven.

As I got up from the sofa, so did Max and Susan. I was worried what they were going to do until Max put his arms out and pulled me into a hug, with Susan patiently waiting for her turn.

Was that normal?

"Awww, such a cuddle button," she said squeezing me tight.

"Thanks," I wheezed out. "And thank you for dinner tonight, it was very nice."

"You and I are gonna get along fine, Jensen, you are so polite," she cackled. "I can't remember the last time Steven ever thanked me for a meal... not that I cooked this one, mind."

"Remember, Puppy, if you need anything in the night Susan and I are just across the hall, so if you wake up for any reason and need us at any hour, feel free to wake us up, ok?"

"Thanks Max, but you have work tomorrow right? I don't want to disturb your sleep, or you, Susan."

"I'm sure you will be fine Puppy, I just want you to know that if you need us, we are here for you," Max added, wearing a kind smile.

"Or, you can wake Steven up," Susan continued, bursting out laughing. Man, this woman was full on.

I was starting to like her, a lot!

"Ok guys, well I'll head on up then, good night."

"Good night Jensen Sweetie, sweet dreams... Oh, oh, wait... I forgot to ask... breakfast, what would you like?"

"Well, I'm not su-"

"I have eggs, bacon, cereal, toast... ooh and some waffle things they have in America, oh and what else did I buy Max, do you remember? Oh yes, I remember, I have Oats," she said, cutting me off and not letting Max even answer her question. I nearly passed out with the overload of information, but felt I needed to reply before I did.

"Cereal is fine, Susan, thank you."

"Awww, I can't wait to make it for you, good night honey," she gushed, holding her palms out flat. "He is just adorable," I heard her say as I approached the stairs. I could hear their continued conversation about how special I was until I reached the top of the stairs, but was then out of earshot. The hallway was dark, but I managed to remember where my new room was.

Shit, I thought as I could see a dim light coming from underneath the door to our room. Maybe he just keeps a lamp on, I thought again as I stood outside like a scared mouse.

I took hold of the chrome plated door handle and gently pushed down. As I opened the door, I could see Steven on his bed with some earphones on. He was bare chested and his eyes were closed. I briefly thought he might have been pretending, but his breathing was rhythmic and steady.

I excruciatingly gently closed the door and turned back to look at him. His body was really well defined for someone the same age as me. I even felt slightly envious. He had well developed pecks and because of the way he was laying his noticeable six pack was clearly visible, in the orange hue of the lamp light.

As my wandering eyes travelled up his smooth arms I could see a little tuft of brown hair sticking out from under his armpits, looking down again, I could see a trail of course hair that went from his belly button right down to his track pants and disappeared below I expected.

Something about him was slightly making me feel strange!

Minutes had now passed and I still found myself staring at him. I was fascinated with the differences between the two of us. Steven's brown messy hair in contrast to my short blond hair. He had deep set eyes that very slightly curved down at the ends. His nose was perfectly straight, small and wide. His lips were sat perfectly above a cleft chin which was aligned with his nose, giving him, neither an overbite nor an under bite. Whoever his father was, produced a good offspring. Bottom line?

Steven was very handsome!

I didn't really understand the feelings that were going through my mind as I stood looking at Steven. This was the first time... well the only time since I arrived that I had had enough time to really stop and look at him. The rest of the time I had been too scared or shy. I couldn't help thinking back to what Cindy had said about me liking boys instead of girls. Perhaps that held some truth and something told me there was something a little wrong with that. After all, I had grown up seeing guys with girls and had never seen a guy with a guy, like in that movie I watched. Perhaps there were more people like me, it was just a shame there was no one to ask about it. All I knew was that I was curious and that seeing a male with no top on sent strange feelings rushing through my brain.

It was all very confusing.

"What the fuck are you looking at," came a voice that shook me from my thoughts. It was Steven of course, and during my daydream it had totally escaped me that I was still standing in the middle of the room with what must have been a dreamy look on my face, staring at him.

I cleared my throat. "Erm, uh... sorry I had just come to bed and wondered if you were awake."

"What is it to you?"

"Nothing I guess, I just didn't want to disturb you... erm, do you sleep with the light on?"

"Yes, do you have a problem with that?"

"Uh, no... no, of course not, you do what you want."

"That's right, I do. Now are you just gonna stand there checking me out or..."

I let out a high pitched snigger, one hundred per cent from embarrassment. "Uh, I wasn't checking you out, like I said, I just wondered if you were-"

"Awake... yeah, you said. Your bed is over there, just stay over your side of the room and you and me will get along fine."

I slowly turned around and looked at my bed. It was brand new and had been made up with a warm looking duvet that looked very inviting. I wandered over to it and sat down. Steven had obviously followed me with his eyes and by the time I turned round to look at him, he had removed his earphone and turned on his side to face me.

"Well, are you going to get undressed or is sleeping in your clothes another weird thing you do?" He asked, his gaze putting me on edge.

"N-no, I just... you are looking at me and its putting me off."

Steven let out a snigger. "What, have you got tits or something?"


Steven rolled his eyes. "Forget it douchebag, probably something you have never seen in the kid prison."

It was clear Steven wasn't going to turn away and I didn't have the courage to ask him, so I swallowed hard and started to pull my jumper off, taking my t-shirt with it. I was now in the same amount of clothes he was, but knew I would have to take my Jeans off otherwise I was going to look strange getting into bed with them on... and strange was something I was trying to avoid when it came to Steven's perception of me.

"You work out?" he asked as I sat there for a moment.

"A little, I got some weights quite recently and I have been trying to build up."

"It shows, you look pretty good for a crazy dude."

Was that a compliment?

"Well, you do too... I mean, look pretty good." Was all I could think of in response. It probably sounded weird.

"I know, check these out," he said, sitting up and flexing his biceps. He was right, he had some good muscle there, something I was working towards. "I play a lot of football, and I am also on the rugby team at school."

"Looks good," I said, not really knowing how to react once again.

"So, are you going to take those jeans off or scared I might laugh at your junk?"

"My what?"

"Your tackle, your dick, your meat and two veg etc."

"Oh... erm, well, I guess."

"Man, you are insane, just get them off, I don't care what you have down there, after all, we both have the same equipment, right?"

"Yeah, I suppose."

I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but it seemed to give me the courage I needed to take the plunge, so I undid the button on my Jeans and slid them off.

"Hmm, I wasn't expecting such hairy legs, you seem pretty smooth up top."

"You seem to be paying attention to my body a lot." I said, feeling irritated now.

"Meh, just comparing that's all, you know, since we are the same age. I have more hair here, see?" He said, rubbing his treasure trail with his fingers. Something about that seemed mildly erotic. "But your legs are much hairier than mine, I can see that straight away."

"Right," I said, standing up to pull off my jeans completely.

I quickly got into bed, encouraged by Steven's analysis of me. It didn't look like Steven had noticed. He was still busy bigging himself up about this girl and I was pretending to listen.

"Don't talk much do ya?" Steven said, noticing I hadn't responded to his vanity topics.

"Erm, well you were talking and I was listening."

A dose of courage raced to my brain. I decided to take full advantage of the gift. "I do have one question for you."

"I'm listening."

"Why do you hate me so much?"

Steven bust out into laughter. "Do you really need to ask that?"

"Well, I don't understand. Just when I think you are about to be nice you turn on me again... I mean, what have I done to you."

I kept my eyes locked on Steven as he fought for an answer to my question. He looked as if he was lost for words, as he played with his earlobe.

"How would you feel if your parents announced a stranger wasn't only going to be coming to live with you, but you had to share your room with them as well? Not only that, a stranger that has suicidal tendencies and could flip out at any moment and kill you while you sleep." He reeled off, eyes wide. I felt suddenly angry at his impression of me.

I felt a rage burn up inside me offended by the latter parts of his comment!

"You know nothing about me, you haven't got a clue what I have been through." I hissed. "What's more, you haven't even bothered to find out. You wanna know why I have issues? Try watching the man you thought was your father blow your mother's brains out, with the blood from her lifeless body spraying over you and up the wall. Try then finding out that not only is your mother now dead, but the man you thought was your father never was. Try accepting the fact that now you may not have any parents. Try dealing with being isolated day after day in a children's home with only one friend and no one that really understands you. Try growing up in a world where life is going past and you have no clue what is going on outside of the four walls you live in. Try dealing with a condition that you wish every day would go away, a condition that makes you mentally and physically disabled a condition that drains you and takes away your soul. Try growing up knowing that when you hit eighteen you may be homeless with no friends, no family, no job, no money and a world you know nothing about. If you wanna hate me Steven, that's fine, but at least understand why I am this way and have a decent reason why you have to hate."

With that, I buried my head in my hands and burst into tears. It took a lot to remember all that stuff and a lot more to focus my mind on it. Some things in my rant had already happened, but the things that scared me the most are the ones that could have happened.

"Hey man... ah shit, don't cry. Look, I was just angry myself. Yeah you're right, I ain't never been told that stuff... well, most of that stuff anyway."

"Some people have problems Steven," I said, looking up and wiping my soaking eyes with a pillow.

"My dad died too, but he was a prick."

"I know, that's why I can relate to you, I just wish you could go a little easier on me. I know me being here has been a lot to deal with. Hell, Steven I even thought about staying where I was because I didn't want to upset you."

"Really? You would have stayed at your kid prison, for me?"

"It's a children's home, Steven, and yes, I seriously thought about it because I knew you were not happy about me coming. The last thing I wanted to do was cause problems. In fact, I will tell Max tomorrow that I am going back to Greenstone, this is not going to work out, I can see you and I are not compatible living under the same roof."

Steven just stared at me, a mixture of shock and anger on his face, with mine a mixture of sadness and determination.

But he had won!

"Look, uh, Jensen, I..."

"Don't bother Steven, I'm going to sleep," I cut in, slamming my head down on the pillow and heaving a sigh. Steven turned off the lamp and slowly turned over, leaving just a half moon to shine enough light for me to see his act.

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