Puppy for Sale

by James Matthews

Chapter 34

All New Feelings

I was getting frustrated... frustrated because over the last four days, Dave had been round after school three times chatting to Steven about shit. Sure there were the odd glances and smiles but other than that, nothing since his text.

It would have helped a lot if I could just get him alone for a few fucking minutes to talk to him, but even if I had, what the hell would I say? I had thought about texting him, but again, what would I say? His behaviour was just confusing me and it was doing my head in.

Why send me a text saying he likes me if there was no follow up?

Each time he came round I would pray Steven needed to use bathroom for a minute, just so I could have a few words, but Dave never stayed long enough for that to happen. I felt weak... weak because I didn't have the guts to text him, and I was too scared to bring anything up with Steven just in case it was Steven who was the problem here. Oh, and not to mention whether Dave would freak out of I did!

I had my theories... theories that kept me awake long into the night. I remembered back to a few days ago when I had passed him in the hallway as Max was taking us to Greenstone. Maybe he viewed my going that day as a snub to him. After all, I had never got in contact and said I HAD to go but didn't want to. Well, that was one theory. Another was that maybe he got spooked about Steven knowing so much and was frightened about revealing he might like guys. That one I tried to discount because Dave had to have known I would show the text message to Steven... hmm, or would he have? GRRRRR, my fucking head was a mess with scenarios that wouldn't quit spinning!

"What's up with you?" Steven asked, pulling his attention away from some girl he was chatting to on his phone.

"Nothing, why?" I replied, as we both lay in our room.

"Bullshit, you hardly touched your dinner, and you have hardly spoken to me since I came home from school."

"Really, it's nothing," I repeated, wishing he would just quit asking.

"Is it the foot... is it that girl Cindy?"

"No, my foot feels much better actually... look for fuck sake I said its nothing now will you just stop?"

"Hey Fuckface, I'm just trying to be friendly, fuck you then!"

I turned over to face the wall not even bothering to apologise this time. For once, Steven knew he just needed to shut the fuck up, and actually do it."

"I'm going downstairs if you are going to be like this."

"Good, give me some peace and quiet!" I shot back, huffing.

"Asshole," was his parting word to me. He left our room and slammed the door making the whole house vibrate. I could hear Susan's muffled voice downstairs scolding him for his tantrum before I got up and went to the door.

I was actually walking much better now, and even moving about without my crutches was no longer hurting so much, although I still relied on them. It was a relief to not feel agony every time I needed to go somewhere, which right now, was downstairs.

"Where did Steven go?" I asked, as Susan cleared away the dishes from dinner.

"Something about going to Billy's, he'll be back at nine, or at least he better be."

"Oh, ok," I said starting to walk back out."

"Have you two had an argument?"

"Meh, something like that... it was probably my fault, he was just asking me loads of questions, some of which were repeated, I got irritated and shouted at him. I'll apologise later."

Susan tutted. "You boys, I don't know."

I plodded back upstairs and threw myself onto the bed, before grabbing hold of my phone. Unlocking the screen, I shifted on to my back and brought up the last message... the only message Dave had sent me and clicked on the reply icon. What I was waiting for? I thought, as I stared at a blinking marker on the screen. But above my empty reply box was the previous text, and that was what was sending me crazy.

I like U2. It stuck out at me.

I read it fifty times hoping it would give me some courage to text something back, but still I just stared blankly at the screen. Then, in a flash of pure frustration, I did something that just went against the grain of my personality - I texted something back... and worse still, I pressed send.

Prove it!

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," I muttered, throwing the phone down as if it was red hot. What the fuck had I done? I was giving him attitude and he hadn't actually done anything wrong. I lay there with my hands over my face, full of regret, and then...

Bing! Went the phone, as it started flashing at me. I nervously picked it up and unlocked the screen again, swallowing hard as I did.

U won't let me!

Came the reply. "What...won't let you... what the fuck..." I mumbled, then started to tap a reply.

I don't know what you mean?? ?

I waited...

And waited...


tri'd 2 catch ur attention more than once, U just turn away, or leave the house, I thought Steven was having a joke with me about U liking me!

I didn't know what he was talking about but one thing was for sure, he had me all wrong.

Had to leave house to find out about a friend, didn't know you were coming round. Can't talk in front of Steven about how I feel, too scared


O h, well me 2, Ste doesn't no I like U, it's hard, soz if I got the wrong idea!

My hands were now shaking with...with I don't know what, and I felt all hot and light headed. My stomach was in knots. I wanted to see his face so badly, it hurt. I needed to set him straight... I needed him to set me straight.

Is there any chance I could see you tonight?


Cant get out of house, lil bro is awake and mum is working. How about tomoz?

It was disappointing to hear him say no as I desperately wanted to see him, but it didn't take long for me to tap out a response to his new offer.



I'll come out lunch time, can U meet me at the top of ur road at 12?

I didn't even know if that was going to be possible for all kinds of reasons but I was not about to say no to a guy that was really making me crazy with new feelings.

I'll be there!


Good, can't w8

I let my expensive phone fall from my hand onto the floor as I lay there in utter confusion, shock, fear and happiness. Needing to spend some excess adrenaline I started kicking my feet in the air and rubbing my hands up and down my face in excitement. I pulled my pillow tight over my face before screaming "WHooohooo!!"

I was on cloud nine with a hint of terror pushing me to freak out a little.

Steven got back around half past eight, revealed by my glancing at the clock as he entered our bedroom. I closed my eyes pretending to be asleep but he didn't fall for it.

"I can see your eyelids flickering, Bonehead, are you gonna tell me why you are being such an asshole tonight?"

I opened my eyes and smiled, looking at him standing there with a pissed look on his face.

"I'm sorry for yelling at you, ok? it's... it's, just sometimes I just want to be left alone."

"Well, if you just said."

I sniggered "I did, if you remember."

"Well... erm, I'm... glad you're ok!"

"Ha, you almost apologised didn't you, you just stopped yourself short."

"Did not!"

"Whatever... so how was Billy?"

"How did you know I went to Billy's?"

"Mum said,"

"So she's mum now is she?"

"You know what I mean... I actually came down because I felt bad, and then was told you had gone out to Billy's."

"I just needed some air, and the atmosphere in here was rather... toxic."

"I text Dave while you were out."

"Good for you, is that why you are in a better mood, been promised a fuck?"

"Steven, you are so crass, that really is all you think about isn't it... well no, I don't think we are quite at that stage yet, do you?"

Steven Shrugged. "Well something put a smile on your face between me leaving and coming back... oh now hold on a damn fucking minute, I know what's going on here... its him isn't it?"


"Oh my god, you were huffy because he hadn't sent anymore texts to you and your little brain couldn't cope. Aww, there there!" Steven said, stroking me like a cat.

"Fuck off," I grinned. "Well maybe that was part of it."

"All of it you mean... so what did he say?"

"Can we be serious for a moment?"

"O,oh," Steven said, sitting down on his bed. "Ok shoot, I don't know how long I can last without laughing at your desperate state."

"I might need a favour, but I want you to promise you won't get offended."

"The fact that you have asked that tells me I'm going to be offended, but ask away."

I rolled my eyes. "I was wondering if there was a chance you could maybe take off to Billy's on Sunday for a while so I can have the bedroom to myself?"

"What? Why, what's happening Sunday?"

"Well, if I can clear it with mum and dad, I was going to ask Dave to come over, you know, so we can-"

"Have sex?"


Steven shrugged. "Sure, whatever."

"What? I mean... is that it? You're not gonna throw a wobbly, or ask why you're not invited or..."

"Jensen, if it stops all these little hissy fits and mood swings and I get a quiet life, then a few hours away from here is a good trade, but you better check with mum and dad first like you said."

"Yeah, yeah I will. Oh thanks Steven, you're the best."

"I know, what can I say? So are we friends again?"

"No, we're brothers!" I replied, getting up and hugging him.

"Hey, watch the hair."

I walked into the kitchen around nine and saw the back door was open. I could see Susan hanging the laundry out and stood there planning my moves. She could obviously see me through the blind as she waved at me, two clothes pegs in her mouth.

Stepping outside on to the damp concrete I greeted her with a wave.

"Good morning, Puppy... sleep well?"

"Yeah good thanks, Max and Steven gone?"

"Yep, just you and me again... as always," she replied, smiling. "Oh, I had a letter from Steven's school in this morning's post and guess what?"

"What, what, tell me?" I said starting to get excited.

"You're in!"

"Whoa, no way, that's... that's awesome. So when do I start?"

"Haha, slow down. We need to get you in for an open day first and there will be some forms to fill out, so I can't give you that answer yet. But I'm hoping in the next couple of weeks. The headmaster is keen to get you up to speed on things before your grade moves into exam stage."

"Wow, ok, well I'm ready when they are... wow, school... a real school."

"Oh how I wish Steven would have that enthusiasm, Puppy. My life would be so much easier."

"Yeah... So, erm... do you... do you have any plans today?"

Susan sighed; stopping what she was doing and looking at me. "Darts meeting... please give me a reason not to go."

I laughed as realistically as I could. "Well, like Max said, they need you...so what time is that?"

"Eleven till two. I don't know why I still go to these meetings, it's not like I play for the team very much. I'm more like a stand in now. God, listen to me jabber on about trivial things. Anyway, if you'd like me to stay here with you, then I'm more than happy to cancel... maybe we can make cakes like we said."

"NO! Erm, I mean...nah, you go to the meeting, I'll be fine here."

"Well if you're sure?"

"Yeah," I said casually, waving my hand down. "Maybe I'll tidy the chicken run up or something like that."

"Well you don't have to, but that would be great, Puppy. I must say they seem to have really taken to you... they must know a kind soul when they see one."

"Thanks mum," I said, then wondered why Susan had just burst into tears. "Oh my God, what's wrong?" I asked, trying to quickly walk over to her.

"You... you called me mum, Oh, oh, I'm sorry, I'm being so silly, it just hit a nerve that's all."

"Sorry that I upset you," I said, feeling bad for her.

"Oh God no, Puppy, you just made my year, it was just so unexpected and natural."

"I'll say, I didn't even realise I had said it. Would you like me to get you a tissue?"

"You're so kind, but no, I'm coming in now, look, the washing is all done. Oh, dear me, crying like some old fool."

"It's ok, makes a change from it being me." I said, trying to lighten the mood.

I was just about to walk back into the kitchen when Susan grabbed me and pulled me into a suffocating hug. I enjoyed the embrace hugging her back and we stood like that for a couple of minutes sending telepathic messages of love to each other, I was sure.

"Ok, I made you up a few sandwiches and there is plenty of juice in the fridge. Your pain medication is on top of the microwave and make sure you take them with a full glass of water. Now, are you sure you are going to be ok?"

"Susan, relax, I'll be fine, I was home alone the other day when Max had to go to work remember?"

"Yes... aww, I know I fuss, I just worry that's all, I know you are not used to being without people around you."

"I might have had people around at Greenstone, but I was in my room alone nearly all the time."

Susan nodded, hopefully acknowledging my reasoning. "Right well, you have my number and your father's too, so call if you need us."

"I will."

Susan leaned forward and kissed me on the head, holding my cheeks in her hands, smiling.

"See you later then."

"Yeah, bye Susan."

I waited until she was out of the front door and then sighed. The house was now in complete silence as I just stood there in the hallway taking in the peace. Excitement about my pending meet up with Dave was starting to build so I went upstairs to check on my phone hoping that our plans still stood.

There was nothing showing that would indicate he had tried to get in touch with me so I took that as good news, thinking that if he was having second thoughts, he would have the decency to let me know.

Padding into the bathroom I stood in front of the mirror and tried to decide how best to have my hair when I met Dave. Since Steven had cut it so short round the back and sides, my choices were limited to the top. I deliberated between spiky with gel, cropped with mousse, or brushed sideways with wax.

I tried all three for good measure and settled on spiky and messy... with gel.

"Now, what to wear," I mumbled, heading back into the bedroom. I pulled out every piece of clothing I owned and lay them out on my bed. Using Steven's bed as a canvass I began to lay out sets of tops and bottoms, seeing what went well. I was no fashion expert, but looking at my latest arrangement I could see that red and green should never be seen.

After wasting nearly twenty minutes fucking around doing that, I settled on some blue jeans and a white Lacoste shirt, pre ironed by the lovey Susan of course. I then decided that my black Adidas plimsolls were gonna go better than the Nike sneakers and so threw them to one side.

Looking down at my feet I suddenly remembered! "Ah shit, bandage!"

Time was now getting critical and I needed to get a move on. I snuck into Max and Susan's room and found my final ingredient. Pulling the top off Max's Hugo Boss bottle I sprayed a few healthy blasts of aftershave onto my neck.

Quickly getting dressed in my chosen clothes I pulled on a plimsoll and strapped up my support boot picking up my crutches on the way downstairs. On the way through to the kitchen I found the spare front door key which hung next to Max's car keys and went and stood by the front door.

I had about ten minutes to kill.

Looking at myself in the large mirror that hung just by the door I inspected myself for defects, before trying to shake the tension out of my body.

"Hi, Dave, good to see you... Hi Dave, thanks for coming... no, no no, too formal. Hi Dave, glad you could make it? Nah... too sarcastic. Hi Dave, you look nice. Nope too forward.... Oh shit, erm..."

Chastising myself in the mirror I decided that whatever I said when we met was going to sound stupid so I might as well accept it. Taking a deep breath I pulled on my coat hanging on the stair frame and opened the front door.

The road was quiet when I stepped out, the only noise being someone cutting a bush with some machine down the end of the street. Closing the front door I positioned my crutches and started to walk down the driveway.

It was a slow and tedious journey and my wrists were starting to ache, not being used to travelling long distances on crutches... not that the road we lived in was particularly long.

As the slight bend in the road opened up I could see Dave standing by a lamp post at the end of the street as promised.

He looked well nice in his uniform.

I tried to act cool, but the smile that was forcing itself onto my face was undoing that coolness. I looked like a Cheshire cat by the time I reached him.

"Hello Jensen," Dave said, shyly.

"Wow, you came... I mean, Hi Dave."

"How are you?"

"Yeah, I'm good thank you, and you?"

"I'm well thanks."

Hmm, this was awkward! I thought.

"Look, Dave, I erm... I don't have a clue how this is supposed to go, I mean Jeez, I have never done this before and I was thinking about all the things I wanted to say to you and then of course when I get here that all goes out of the window because I'm so nervous, and I mean... you probably are too, and I really don't want to talk about silly things, but what should we... I mean, how should we start this conversation... ha-ha, Hmm, I rambling aren't I?"

Dave grinned. "It's cute though."

"Sorry." I said, dropping my head. "Erm, so how much time do you have, I mean, you can come back to my place if you want, no one is in." I said, pointing back up the street.

"I have about forty minutes, but within that time I hopefully can conjure an excuse to skip Religious Studies, so I accept your offer."

"Excellent, that's great... yeah that's really good, I'm really happy you said yes. Ha-haha-ha...hmm."

"You make me smile."

"Do I? Sorry, I'm just nervous."

"You're apologising for making me smile, Jensen. You know, there are worse things you could do."

I sighed. "I'm hopeless at this, I'm sorry."

"And stop apologising." Dave commanded, laughing hard. "I'm a little nervous too if it makes you feel any better?"

"Hehe, not really."

As we both approached the house I was about to get my key out when Dave pulled out a set of his own and opened the front door. My jaw almost hit the ground when he went in, casually holding the door open for me to come in AFTER him.

"You're wondering about the key right?"

"Uh, yeah, it had crossed my mind."

"Steven not told you?"


"Hmm, I guess not. It's kind of a long story, but right now is not the time."

I looked at him strangely wanting to know more, but he was right, time was limited and I also wanted to talk about other things... I guessed he did too.

We walked into the kitchen and stood there in silence for a few seconds, looking into each other's eyes.

"So...so, erm, would you like some juice? Or how about a sandwich?" I asked, breaking the tension a little.

"Can I be honest?"

"Sure, sure whatever you want."

"My stomach is full of butterflies right now and so I'm not really hungry, but if you wanna eat some lunch then-"

"No... no, I feel the same, it's just I know it's your lunch hour and, well, you gotta eat right, I mean that's what you do at lunch isn't it. Heehee, no point having a lunch break if you don't eat lunch, I guess. I wonder, if everyone didn't eat at school break whether they would just replace lunch with another les...son...."

Dave was smiling at me again and shaking his head. "Do you always talk this much?"

"Mostly," I admitted, smiling back.

Dave's face then took on a serious look, and he inhaled quickly. "I was worried when you didn't text back you know."

"I didn't know what to say. I wanted to, hell, I wanted to actually talk to you, but with Steven and all I-"

"I know, I get it now. I'm sorry I thought you were pushing me away."

"It's cool, I can see how it looked, but Steven is... well you know what Steven is and... erm, would you like to sit down?"

"Sure," Dave replied, sitting at the kitchen table. I joined him opposite and let my crutches lean against the wall.

"Dave, just so we are clear on something... How much does Steven actually know?"

"About my orientation? Or my feelings for you?"

"Both I guess."

"Nothing. Him and the guys have their suspicions about me liking guys, but it's not something I have ever admitted. As for my feelings for you? Well, Steven has made me fully aware of your feelings for me, but I never knew what to think because I know what a joker Steven is. I thought at first maybe he was playing a game to try and get me to admit I was into boys... you know, like saying you liked me so I would say I liked you back..."

"Confirming their suspicions, yeah I get it."

"Yeah, so when you left that night with Max, and then other nights when you haven't really spoken to me, I was thinking that maybe what Steven said was sort of a joke? That like, maybe you didn't have any feelings for me?

"Uh huh."

"What made it worse was that you didn't reply to my text, and then I thought maybe Steven had made it up about your liking me and that I had made a complete fool of myself."


"I know, it all sounds silly, but I had to be careful, and that's maybe why I was giving off mixed signals. I didn't know how much you knew or what your true feelings were... until yesterday of course when you text me back finally."

"Look, Steven is right, I do like you. You are stunning and have a beautiful nature," I stated, making him look away in embarrassment. His face was now red and he wore a real cute smile on his face.


"Yeah, it's a word I learnt from Steven, he uses it to describe girls he likes, I thought it was a good word."

"It's a typical Steven word, yes, but thank you, I'm flattered you think so."

"You are very handsome."

"Ok stop now, your making me look like a beetroot."

I laughed. "Now that is cute."

"So now we both know how the other feels, I mean, what now?" Dave asked.

"I'm not sure, I am well out of my depth here, Dave. I erm... I mean, my circumstances, you know, in the past? Well it's meant that I have never experienced anything like this before. To me this whole... this whole thing... well it's like learning to walk for the first time."

"Don't worry, I'm new at this too, and Steven has filled me in on some of your previous life at Greenfields? Not that I asked for information or anything."

"Greenstone... and hey, don't worry; I know what a motor mouth Steven is, and really, its fine. It's not a secret anyway, some of it is just hard to focus on and remember that's all."

Dave looked at me sincerely, almost as if being able to connect with that comment. His eyes told me something, but what, I didn't know. It was a look I could have sworn Cindy had given me on a few occasions and I had to shake my head to snap out of my gaze of him.

"Say, I was going to ask you if you wanted to come over Sunday so we can have-"

"Can I kiss you?" Dave cut me off, staring into my eyes.

"I... I guess,"

He slowly got up from the table and stepped towards me before placing his lips ever so gently on mine. The new feeling it generated was electric and left me wondering what to do. I could see his eyes were closed but they opened again as he pulled away, and gave me a smile.

"You have soft lips, very kissable." He remarked.

"Thanks," I said, feeling lightheaded and floaty.

"You were saying?"


"About Sunday."

"Right... right sorry, yeah erm...Jeez I can't get what you just did out of my head now."

"Would you like me to come over Sunday, I think you were asking?"

"Yes, that was what I was going to ask, would you like to come over Sunday."

"What about Steven?"

"He will be going to Billy's."

"I would love to; I'll see if I can get away for a few hours."

"Great, I'll check with Susan and my dad, it should be fine though."

"I look forward to that... Erm Jensen?"


"Are you going to tell Steven I was here today?"

"I wasn't planning on it, only because no one knows you are here today."

Steven sighed. "I know asking you that makes it look like I see you as some guilty secret, but I'm just not sure I am ready to let Steven and the others know about me yet. If I thought Steven could keep a secret I probably would have told him ages ago, but its Jessie I worry about more than anyone."


"Uh huh, Jessie's father is a Captain in the Army and a complete homophobe, Jessie is nowhere near as bad, but as you saw down at Cutters Farm, he still holds a slither of his father's sordid views on the matter."


"Phobe... it means someone who hates or is scared of gay people."

"Oh, well that's not nice is it?" I said, frowning.

"Yeah, that's why it is so frustrating with Steven, because I know he would support me and protect me... he always has, but I know he'll blab, so I can't say anything. I was thinking of doing it when I left school so that if things got weird in our group, I knew I didn't have to see one or more of them. I mean, I know Billy would be cool with it, he is indifferent on the subject, and Steven... well you know Steven, but Jessie is the loose cannon in all this."

"Yeah, I see what you mean."

"However, my plans to do it when I left school may have to change now."


"Ha, what you want me to try and keep my secret while at the same time trying to keep my eyes off you?"

"If I was being selfish, I wouldn't want my feelings for you to be a secret, but I understand your position."

"It's ok, I'll figure something out. By the way, Steven said you might be coming to join our school?"

"Oh, well, might be has actually changed to will be... I found out today."

"Well then, I am definitely gonna have to own up to my... preferences. Having that distraction is definitely gonna give it away," Dave grinned, touching my hand. I curled his fingers into mine and pursed my lips together.

"I like you Dave, I mean, I really like you."

"You're a sweet guy, and I like you too. I did ever since I saw you walking down that jetty at Cutters Farm and you opened your mouth and spoke. I knew you were my kind ofperson right then. Damn, you're even cute passed out," he declared, teasing.

"Yeah, but I don't go much on the pain that went with it."

"No, I guess not Jensen, I apologise for making fun."

"Nah, its fine, I took it as a compliment."

Dave looked at his watch and sighed. "I need to be going, and now I will be thinking about you all through class."

I grinned shyly. "And I you, except not in class obviously."

"Yeah, obviously." He smiled back. "So, Hopefully I will see you in a couple of days. We can text later if you like?"

"I'd like that Dave, yeah."

"It's a cyber-date then, I'll see you later. Don't get up, I'll see myself out."

Dave got up from here chair to leave before pausing and turning around. He came back up to me and placed another soft kiss on my lips making me feel all warm and fuzzy. Then as quick as it happened, he was gone... off back to school, leaving me fizzing with excitement and melting with amazement.

That was it, I was under his spell.

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