The Saturday Boy

by James Matthews

Chapter 11 - Weekend Anticipation

"Oh you're up," said mum as I patted into the bar. Yawning, I rubbed my eyes and went and sat on one of the stools, struggling to keep my eyes open. "Would you like a cup of tea?"

"Yes please," I replied gently swaying back and forward.

"Bad sleep?" she asked, taking two cups out of the dishwasher and placing one under the machine dispenser.

"No, it was fine, I was asleep by eleven. It's just one of those mornings where I can't seem to wake up."

"What time is Jack getting here, I really would like that stock check done today."

"He'll be here in about fifteen minutes, and yeah I know about the stock check, I'm gonna do it like I promised."

I hated stock checks but there was a good reason why I offered to do it this time. I'm not a dishonest person but I needed to sneak some bottles of beer out of the pub for camping and since a stock check was due it would have been immediately noticed that we were down on some products. By next month's check we could account for breakages and waste so it will be easy to conceal by then.

Mum passed me my cup and I took a sip, enjoying the hot wetness on my lips. A cloud must have moved out the way of the sun because I was suddenly blinded by golden rays of morning light coming through the windows, soaking the pub in a bright yellow hue.

"It's gonna be another hot one," my Mum mused, coming to join me on a stool, shielding her face with her hand. "It should be nice for your camping trip with the boys."

"I hope so; we were hoping to go swimming as well today."

"Your father would probably object to this but would you like some bottles of beer to take along with you. I know your underage but as long as you're sensible and don't get trashed then I don't see the harm."

"Uh, yeah…thanks mum," I said, astounded.

Fucking hell, now I've offered to do this damn stock check for nothing!

"Pick out a crate of whatever you want and I'll put the wholesale cost through the register."

"Budweiser ok?"

"Yeah, just put it to the side before you do the check."

Mum got up and started to prepare the bar while I sat and planned in my head what we needed to do for the morning. I was brought from my thoughts by a loud tapping on the door outside.

"That'll be Jack I'm assuming?" mum asked from the other end of the bar.

"Yeah, I'll get it, where are the keys?"

"In my pocket, hang on." She came down to me and placed the pub keys in my hand. "Leave it unlocked will you Joey, the cleaner will be here soon."

"Yep, no worries," I replied, hopping off my stool and walking over the main doors. I could see the outline of Jack through the frosted glass. I opened it up to find him smiling at me dressed in a very tight black tank top and jean shorts. As my eyes travelled down his blond hairy legs I could see he had a pair of really cute adidas basketball shoes on, with no socks.

"Are you gonna invite me in, or just stare at me?" he asked. My face started to fill with blood as I realised what I was doing. Hardly subtle Joey, my brain hissed at me.

"Uh…yeah sorry come in, how are you?"

"Looking forward to today, I know that."

"The stock check?"

"Camping stupid!"

"Oh yeah, camping." I said softly, my eyes wandering to his butt as he walked along the bar and found a stool to sit on. "So what time are we getting started?"

"In a little while, I haven't been up long…would you like a drink?"

"Have you got a coke please?"

"I hope so Jack, this is a pub," I replied, winking at him.

"Yeah, stupid question. So what's the plan this afternoon?"

"We're gonna meet Dean and Shaun at Dean's place and then his dad is driving us to Beckton woods."

"Ok, sounds good. I left our tent in your garden, hope that's ok?"

Hmm, our tent!

"Yeah that's fine Jack," I said, passing him his coke. "Wanna head up to my room, I need to get dressed for work?"

"Yeah sure, lead the way." I did just that and led him through the restaurant and up the stairs to my room, shutting the door.

"I won't be a second," I said taking off my robe and hanging it up on my door. I could feel Jack's eyes burning into me as I stood there in my Calvin boxers, pulling out a t-shirt and a pair of shorts from my drawer. For the first time I felt the experience kind of nice. I knew I had a good body and the fact Jack was probably taking it all in made me shiver. I glanced down and saw I had sprouted a semi, the outline of my cock clearly visible in the underwear. Overcome with a sudden wave of embarrassment I quickly dressed and readjusted myself before turning to face him. Jack's eyes darted to my wall confirming that he had been looking at me.

"Ok, I'm ready, shall we go?"

Jack sighed, almost as if he had been holding his breath. "Yeah, I think that will be best, I need to cool off," He replied, a wry smile on his face.

"Oh shut up, c'mon lets go."

We got into the cellar and discussed a game plan. "Ok Jack, I think we will get this done quicker if we split our jobs. If you take the cooling room and pull out all the empties and I'll start on the stock check for spirits."

"You got it boss." Before I could say another word he was walking off. I was glad that he wanted to get this done as fast as I wanted to. I went and pulled down a small folder from the shelf above my testing lab. It contained the records for our previous stock checks and ordering history. My dad printed a spread-sheet on a weekly basis and placed it in the folder so we could see what we had sold and what should be left in stock. I found the sheet containing the spirits and went to work.

Everything checked out apart from Smirnoff vodka, but I knew Christie had dropped a bottle around two weeks ago. I wrote minus one on the sheet and the reason before I headed up to the bar and started to 'dip' the bottles in use. Dipping as the word suggests, meant I had to take a metal dipping stick and place it in each bottle. It told me how many measures were left, and that told me if we were short or over. We were nearly always short because of spillage and sometimes even breakages. There was another reason we dipped too, one which we never really talked about out loud, and that was theft. We had three bar staff who worked for us and although we knew they were honest and always had been, we did have a barmaid who used to give her boyfriend free drinks. She was found out during a stock-take and promptly fired.

After finishing the dipping and filling in the spread-sheet I met up with Jack again in the bottle room. He had rolled the empties to the drop-hatch and I smiled because he always worked with such speed and efficiency.

"What are you smiling at?" he asked.

"You're a good worker Jack, a real good worker."

"Oh, well…thanks. So what's next?"

"Ok, I'm gonna do lagers and ales, can you rotate the bottles before I check them?"

"Sure," he said, and once again he went to work as I watched on, shaking my head with a smile. I went into the cooling room and dipped the real ales. Ales always came up short as there was A LOT of wastage with them, they generated a lot of froth and also you had to pull quite a lot of ale through the pipes to start a barrel off. Even taking this into consideration we were down on one of the permanent ales called IPA. I made a note and got on with the lagers.

Jack came through to cooling room and waited for me to finish testing a lager before he spoke.

"You look real cute when you're concentrating," he remarked with a smirk. I stuck a finger up at him and giggled, no doubt going red in the process. "You don't take compliments very well do you Joey."

"I do, its just kinda weird coming from a guy, I'm not used to it."

"Would you like to get used to it?"

Ok this is your chance Joey you fool, just say yes and that will let him know how you feel. Don't throw this chance away or you might regret it.

"I need to check those bottles Jack, you wanna help?" I said rushing passed him, flustered.

"Joey, Its ok you know I'm…"

"Jack, I really don't wanna talk about this, its fucking my head up. I like you ok, I like you a lot but I don't know how to process these feelings."

"Ok I'm sorry, I'll back off, I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable."

"Its fine, I'm sorry too, I wish I could just say it… tell you what you wanna hear I mean, but I can't, it's too hard right now. I'm not quite sure how I feel about things…about you. Shit...i mean I do know how I feel, but I'm not sure how to feel it, I…fuck this is going all wrong, I'll just shut up."

"You look even cuter when you squirm," He stated, starting to laugh.

"Grrr, just shut up, you make me nervous."

"Hey believe me, I'm more nervous than you."

"I don't believe you."

"You should, after all, I really wanna show you how I feel and I'm scared I'll fuck it all up, it's me that has it all to lose."

"I just need to go at my own pace Jack, don't worry about it."

He sat on a crate and looked thoughtful for a second. "I'm glad you are opening up a little."

I put my folder down and turned an empty crate upside down and sat on it. "Jack listen, this is all really new to me. Up until recently I never even looked at another guy and here I am struggling to keep my eyes off of you. It's kinda blowing my mind to shit to be honest. I know you wanna get closer and part of me is screaming to let you, but you have to accept that a bigger part of me is going against that because all I have ever known up to now is girls and being straight. I know that sounds dumb and a bit of a cheap lie, but it really is how I feel."

"I don't think you're lying to me Joey and I get this must be hard for you, in fact I can see it is. You're right, I do wanna get close to you and sometimes it hurts that I can't just kiss you and stroke that fit body of yours, but I get that you need time."

"I do need time Jack, but I want you to not get your hopes up about anything. I'm really confused right now and the last thing I wanna do is lead you down the garden path and hurt you. Can we just see how things go and see what happens?"

"Sure, I'll go at whatever speed you like Joey, just tell me if I do anything you don't like."

I breathed out hard through my closed lips, relief spreading through my body, relieved that I had at least gone some way to explaining how I feel to Jack…and even myself in some sense.

With the stock-take complete and all our jobs done for the Saturday shift we headed back up to my room so I could fill up my ruck sack with a change of clothes and swim stuff. I went hunting through my closet for some swimming shorts before packing my hair wax and a brush. My mum had packed the crate of beer I had chosen into a separate duffle bag along with some sandwiches she had made from the kitchen before we opened.

"You do know that's gonna be really heavy to carry," Jack remarked picking up the duffle bag to test its weight.

"We just have to get it to Dean's, after that it will be in Vince's taxi until we get to the woods. Besides I'll get Dean to carry it, he's the strongest out of all of us."

"Yeah true, so your sleeping with me right, in the tent I mean."

"Yeah that was the plan, why?"

"Dunno, do you think it's a good idea, I mean, after what we discussed?"

"Well it's either that or you sleep with Dean."

"I could always sleep with Shaun and you sleep with Dean." He remarked. I wondered in my sudden paranoid state if that's what he really wanted all along.

"You wanna sleep with Shaun, that's fine, I don't care Jack." I said, surprising myself with the defensive tone I used.

"Joey, don't be stupid, of course I would rather sleep with you. Look, Shaun is not my type ok, although I'm blond myself I have never really been into them, I prefer tall dark and handsome," He said winking at me.

"I'm hardly tall, I replied blushing.

"Two outta three aint bad,"

"Whatever," I said turning away from him.

"Joey Cork, Did I detect a hint of jealousy back there?"

"Jealous…of Shaun? No!" I retorted. The comment just made Jack laugh and I shifted uncomfortably on the spot. "We should get going, c'mon."

He was still sniggering as we reached the bar. I waited until my mum had finished serving a customer and went to speak to her.

"We're off now mum, thanks for the beer, and by the way where is dad I haven't seen him all morning."

"You're welcome honey, and your dad is at a beer convention looking at some new equipment. It was supposed to be last month but it was cancelled due to a lighting problem."

"Oh I wondered why I hadn't heard about it, I should have gone you know, if he's planning to buy anything."

"Well I know he is looking at getting a bigger ice machine to replace the one we have."

"About time," I said grinning at her, remembering how many times she had stabbed the old one with a knife. "Well I'll see you later and thanks for the drink and food again."

"Ok Joey, you both be careful in those woods ok, and keep your cell phone on. Any trouble and I'll think twice about letting you go again. Oh and don't forget to brush your teeth, and also make sure you drink fresh water, and make sure you keep the fire small…"

"Mum…Jeez, chill, I'm a big boy, I'm not stupid." I cried, interrupting her.

"You're sixteen and I know what sixteen year olds get up to, especially when they have beer. All I'm saying is be mature about it, that's all."

"Ok, I will, See you tomorrow, love you."

"Love you too sweetie, have fun," She replied, blowing me and Jack a kiss before moving to serve another customer. We picked up our gear and walked to the double doors, having to open both to get our stuff through it. Jack went round to the side gate to get his tent from the garden. It had loads of accessories hanging from it, including a sleeping bag, mat and Tilly lamp. It was big, bulky and I wondered how in the hell we were supposed to get it on the tube train.

I pulled the straps tight on my rucksack before slinging the duffle bag over my shoulder. Jack attached his tent to his back and pulled the straps tight before we nodded to each other confirming we were both ready to set off for the station.

We got off the train at Dean's station and made our way towards the exit. As we climbed the stairs of the tube station I had to stop half way up, I was exhausted and sweating like mad. Jack looked as if he welcomed the rest as well; his cheeks flush, breathing hard.

"It's…not…far…now," I said leaning on the hand rail. "Just up the road from here."

"I'm glad," He said letting his head drop down, puffing.

"Ok let's get this done."

We got to the top of the stairs and I was happy we were on the home stretch now, almost at Dean's place. The sun was beating down on us as we walked and there was absolutely no breeze. I really felt like I was in one of those army basic training camps you see on reality TV, sweat pouring off my head as bottles of bear clanged in the bag over my shoulder, reminding me how heavy they were.

Soon enough we were reaching the stairs of Dean's parents and I hobbled up and rang the doorbell. Sarah came to the door and greeted us with a warm smile.

"Oooh, Joey sweetheart, lovely to see you, and you must be Jack…oh my, what an absolute handsome chap you are, adorable. Is this the one you said was cute Joey, oh I can see why."

"Yes thank you Sarah," I said, mortified. Jack just looked at me curiously.

"Cute?" he whispered.

"Not now Jack," I replied in a hoarse voice.

"The boys are out in the garden, why don't you drop your stuff and go on through; there is lemonade on the table outside with some ice."

"Thanks Sarah."

"Yeah thanks Mrs…"

"Call me Sarah, Jack, all the good looking men in my life do. That's why my husband calls me love," She said, her famous cackle ringing through the house.

We travelled through the hallway, into the kitchen before heading outside where Shaun, Dean and Vince were standing, chatting. Dean's eyes latched on to Jack, but his faced softened as he probably remembered he would be spending some quality time with him.

"Hey guys, we made it," I said, as I went round and shook everyone's hand. Jack did the same, exchanging a smile with Dean when he shook his.

"You must be Jack, nice to meet you, I'm Vince, Dean's father," Vince said, pouring a glass of beer into a glass.

"Nice to meet you Vince," Jack responded, nodding to him.

"So when you guys wanna leave?"

"As soon as you're ready dad, I just gotta grab my bag from my bed and I'm ready."

"Ok, well if you leave all your stuff in the hallway together I'll start loading it in the cab and you lot can talk."

"Cool, thanks dad." Dean said, as his mother came out to join us.

"So what are you boys gonna be getting up to in those woods, skinny dipping? She asked, smirking. "Vince and I used to love going skinny dipping," she declared, a look of reminiscing showing on her face. "I said we used to love going skinny dipping didn't we Vince? Oh yeah he loved it, mind you, it made your scrotum turn in to walnut whip when it was cold though didn't it dear?" She said, bursting out laughing. I think we all cringed at that moment, especially Dean and Vince.

"Mum! Really, do you have to?"

"Whoops, me and my loose tongue. But I do remember having to push your testicles out of your stomach." Vince just shook his head and rolled his eyes. I got the feeling he was immune to her comments after all these years. It was Dean I felt sorry for, he looked positively green and about to fall over with embarrassment.

"So who brought food?" Shaun asked, sitting down at the table.

"Uh well I got sandwiches my mum made us in my bag." I replied.

"I got marshmallows and sausages," Jack added.

"I'm bringing rolls and chicken drumsticks as you know Shaun," Dean said, finally.

"Dad, are you ok to start loading then?"

"Sure thing," replied my dad as he put his glass down and went through to the hallway. Dean followed him, I guess to get his stuff, leaving Jack, Shaun and I outside with Sarah.

"So who is sharing with whom tonight?" Sarah asked, breaking the silence that had naturally developed.

"I think I'm with Dean," Shaun decided to say, looking at Jack briefly.

"Yeah and I'm in with Joey," Jack declared, as if to send Shaun a coded message…I hoped.

"So what else have you got planned?" Sarah asked, speaking to nobody in particular.

"We're gonna make a fire and then chill out under the trees and stars," I said, feeling relaxed already. "But we might go swimming before that, if the water is warm enough."

"Well it's a nice day, so it should warm up a little by late afternoon,"

"Yeah, that's what I'm hoping." I said beaming a smile.

"Ok boys, all ready to rock and roll?" called Vince from the back door.

"Dean, come and give mama a kiss." Dean moved passed his father and went over to his mother. Despite his objections she smothered him with no less than five kisses. "Now, you all be sensible right, I don't want to find out you have burned half of north London down. We all nodded to her before following Vince out to the car, where Dean had already rushed out and taken a seat.

"Climb in guys," Vince said as he got in his black cab and started the engine.

The drive there was uneventful and we all just chatted about what we were gonna do first. Shaun being the more sensible of all of us, suggested we put up the tents first just in case the weather changes. I on the other hand just wanted to find the small lake and go swimming. Jack and Dean both settled on making a fire ready for the evening telling us we all needed to collect wood straight away or there would be no fire when darkness fell.

Although we didn't do a voting system on the ideas, we did all agree to go with Dean and Jack's idea as it would probably get chilly by the time the sun actually went down.

"I know it's a stupid question but does anyone actually have a lighter?" Jack asked. "You know, to get a fire going?" We all looked at each other and mumbled under our breaths.

"Dad, do you have a lighter we can borrow please?"

"Sure, here take this one, I can use the lighter in the cab," he replied passing one through the hatch to Dean.

"Thanks dad," Dean replied reaching for the lighter and placing it in his shirt pocket.

Vince pulled into a small bumpy road and pulled up in front of a large wooden farm gate. He got out and opened it. We knew this was allowed as we had camped here a couple of times and the gate was just there to stop people in cars using it as a dogging park at night. In the day it was unlocked and Dean's dad returned to his taxi after opening it. We drove forward and down a dry muddy track until he reached the start of the woods.

"Here you are lads, Beckton woods."

"Thanks Vince," we all said in unison.

"Yeah thanks dad. Are you ok to pick us up tomorrow?"

"Yeah sure son, just give me a call."

"Thanks again. See you later Vince." I said getting out of the cab with some of our stuff.

The guys started to unload the rest and we waited while everyone strapped, tightened and pulled on different items ready for the walk through the forest. Vince began to move away from us in his Taxi, reversing a little before turning round and heading back down the track.

"Is everyone ready?" I asked seeing they were almost done. I saw the three of them nod and we all started our trek towards the thick canopy of trees in front of us.

The weather was lovely, and as he got to the trees the light dimmed a little and the sound of birds started to get louder. Narrow spikes of light pierced through the canopy on to the forest floor as we walked through, the sound of dead twigs snapping under our feet. Shaun took his digital camera out and started snapping away at a squirrel he had eyed crawling up a tree trunk.

"Its really nice here," Jack commented as he came up alongside me.

"Yeah it is, you wait until you see the stream and lake."

"How far is it?"

"Well we got another ten minutes of walking to do I'd say, but it's worth it. The woods become a little less dense when we get there and they'll be warm sun on us before you know it, just in case you were thinking it was gonna stay dim like this."

"I did wonder, but it is nice and cool under all these trees."

"Yeah it is," I replied. I turned back to a lagging Dean and Shaun, they were in light conversation as they walked, occasionally laughing as each of them said something. It was nice to see them relaxed as I did wonder if today was gonna go wrong, what with all the shit that had been discussed lately. But then, nothing really happened between the two of them, it had always been some beef they had with me…or Jack.

I admired Jack from coming on this trip as well. He knew Dean wasn't keen on him…Yet, and he also had it revealed that Shaun liked him, which no doubt made him feel a little awkward. I was glad he was here though, I loved to listen to him talk, and he was such a sensitive soul, together with a hint of innocence about him.

"Hey guys, keep up," I called to Dean and Shaun, noticing they had fallen quite a way back. They both looked up and quickened their pace.

"Sorry, we were too busy talking… didn't realise you and Jack had got so far ahead," Shaun shouted back. I got the feeling that Dean was quite happy to be so far back, judging by the look on his face.

"He hates me doesn't he." Jack remarked, a sad look on his face.

"No Jack, he just doesn't understand your lifestyle. Give him time, Dean is a good ally to have once you get to know him, and I know you two will be fine when he gets used to you."

"How can you be so sure? He doesn't seem to be getting any better towards me."

"He apologised, it's a start. Getting Dean to apologise for anything is a triumph in itself Jack."

"Yeah I guess, but he still seems freaked out when he's near me."

"Like I said, he needs to get to understand you… who you are… that you're not a threat to him."

"But I'm not," He said, wearing a frustrated look.

"Yeah I know that, and so do you, but he doesn't. Look, Dean is very black and white, and maybe a little naïve. He doesn't think in three dimensions like normal people. He tends to think in the easiest way possible, like how he associated his brother raping him with gay people. He thinks that because someone put a dick up his ass, that he was attacked by a gay person, and so because of that he sees all gay people as potential rapists, you get it?"

"Yeah, I get it; I just wish I could convince him otherwise."

"I know Jack, but I have made progress with him. The fact that he's here with you says a lot."

"It's like you're saying I should be fucking grateful or something, at the end of the day I haven't done anything wrong to him."

"I know, I'm sorry if you thought I was suggesting otherwise."

"He's the one with the problem Joey, not me. I have offered an open hand to him; forgiven him for all the shit he gave me at school and even tried to make conversation with him. He's…he's just a stubborn prick if you ask me."

"Yep he is," I said laughing.

"What's so funny?" Dean asked as both he and Shaun finally caught up with us.

"Jack was just saying what a stubborn prick you are, I was agreeing with him." Jack looked at me as if I had just revealed I was his mother. But I knew what I was doing.

"Oh you did, did you Jack?"

"Uh, well…I mean…"

"Tell him Jack, tell him what you really wanna say," I said willing him on. "Go on."

"Joey, what the fuck are you doing?" Jack hissed to me, almost in a whisper.

"Just trust me," I whispered back. "So c'mon Jack, tell Dean how you really feel," I said louder so Dean would hear. Dean stopped walking, making us all stop too. He was glaring at Jack, and Jack looked uneasy by it. I moved to put a hand on his shoulder, silently telling him to trust me, again. I knew Dean would not hit him and I also knew how to get through to Dean…brutal honesty.

"I…I hate the fact you don't like me, yeah I do think you're a stubborn prick and you need to know that. I have done everything to try and be friends with you and you just look at me like I'm some kind of freak. Yeah I'm sorry I like guys but that doesn't affect your life and it doesn't mean I wanna jump into bed with you. I'm really sorry what you went through with your brother, James, I really am, but I'm a good person and I shouldn't have to apologise for what he did just because I'm gay, OK?"

As expected Dean stood silently, no doubt trying to process everything Jack had just thrown at him. Dean knew deep down every word was true, and sometimes it took someone to lay it on a plate to make him realise he was being an asshole to someone that didn't deserve it.

"I'm…I didn't realise I made you feel that way."

"Well you do, and I haven't done anything wrong to you Dean, all I want is to be your friend, like I am with Shaun and Joey"

"Uh…hmm, well I guess I may have been wrong about you Stanton."

"You are Dean, I don't mean any harm to you or anyone, and I'm certainly not here to jump on anyone if you worry about that."

Dean didn't say any more, Jack had done what needed to be done, he stood up to Dean, which was essential if real progress was gonna be made. With everything off Jack's chest and Dean dealing with the fact he had actually been acting like a prick towards him, we all started walking again, with Dean and Shaun dropping back again. I didn't mind though, I knew Jack would wanna talk to me about what he had just said.

"I thought he was gonna whack me."

"I knew he wouldn't, I think he knows he's in the wrong, and good job for standing up to him."

"It's not something I would like to do again, he scares me. The way he does that death stare thing." Jack said looking at me perplexed. I had to laugh at his comment.

"His bark is worse than his bite, although he has taken a swing at me in the past, but I probably deserved it."

"How anyone could hit that cute face I don't know," he stated, making me blush.

"So how have things been with your dad?" I asked, changing the subject.

"It's been ok actually, but he's suffering from a virus right now, it's making him ache apparently, so he's just been slumped on the couch."

"Well that's good news, I guess."

"Not really, he'll soon be on my case again."

"Is this about you being gay?"

"I wish it was. I wish it was because then maybe he could justify it in his tiny little mind. No this is just him not being able to handle his drink."

"And your mum?"

"Oh, she's back now, I keep telling her to leave him but she doesn't really have anywhere to go."

"What about your Aunt?"

"Yeah, I said that, but they don't have the room and she wouldn't want to impose."

"Don't you have any other family?"

"My grandparents and my uncle all live up north, but they have never forgiven her for getting pregnant at fifteen with me, so I don't see my grandpa and grandma, besides they think I'm the cause of why my mum never made anything of herself, plus they hate the fact I'm gay."

"And your uncle?"

"Pfft, he's a drug addict Joey, he can't even look after himself let alone my mum. Nope, there is nothing she can do really. We don't have a lot of money; it's always been like that. She just puts up with it. That's why I always take the beatings so he doesn't hurt her."

"Jack that's terrible, this is not a life you should have to endure."

"Like you just heard, it's complicated and there is no easy solution. I'll have to get a job when I leave school and then maybe we can get somewhere cheap. Until then I just got to put up with it, you know."

I shook my head in disapproval, I knew things were bad at home with Jack, but I never knew his whole family were fucked up, and I also didn't know their financial situation was so bad. I mean, whenever I saw Jack he was always wearing the latest fashion and his hair was always cut by a proper barber. I wondered how that happened if his parents were poor. I wanted to ask but thought I might be prying too much if I did.

"Hey guys, almost there, I can see the clearing," Shaun shouted to us.

"Yeah, I can't wait to get there and put this stuff down," I called back.

"Can I take anything from you, you look kind of exhausted there, Joey," Jack asked, putting a hand on my shoulder. The contact from his touch made me light up inside. It was such a simple thing but I liked it.

"Its fine Jack, I can manage…anyway you have enough to carry with that big thing on your back."

"Yeah I guess, but I'm ok."

The light was starting to get brighter, the trees beginning to spread out as we walked. I knew we were really close now. I could hear the faint sound of trickling water up ahead, telling me that we were nearing the stream that flowed parallel to the forest edge.

"So you really think we can swim down here?"

"Yeah, wait till you see the lake, you can swim right?"

"Yeah I can, and I know you can too. I used to come by the pool at school and secretly watch you."

"Really? Wow, I'm flattered," I said winking at Jack.

"Stupid really, it sounds desperate in a way."

"Yeah it does, but it's cute." I remarked as we got to the edge of the woods. Jack stopped and looked in awe at the area around him and I grinned at him, liking how impressed he was.

"Fucking hell guys, this…this place is beautiful, it's awesome." We all chuckled as a dumbstruck Jack dropped his backpack and wandered around, taking everything in. it was like he had just stepped on to the surface of Mars or something. "I love this place already." He remarked.

I loved the place anyway, but the fact Jack was here made it all the sweeter. It was going to be an interesting weekend.

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