It took Declan a few seconds to realise what had woken him up. He quickly jumped out of bed and tried to hold Jerry down to stop him thrashing around too much and hurting himself.
Declan guessed Jerry was thrashing around because he was having a nightmare. He wasn't sure whether it was better to wake him up or just try and see if he'd come out of it on his own. The only thing he knew was when he'd had nightmares, he always seemed to feel better when someone held him. With a little struggle, Declan managed to move Jerry so he could get into the bed with him. He wrapped his arms around Jerry and quietly said everything was going to be ok.
Jerry calmed down after a few minutes. Not sure whether Jerry was going to start thrashing about again, Declan thought it was best to stay where he was; he eventually drifted off to sleep.
"Morning dudes, time to wake up."
Jerry was the first to stir and was surprised to find someone in his bed with him. He could feel an arm wrapped around him and something hard poking him in the back, he lifted his head and turned it to see who was in his bed with him.
Just as Jerry was looking around, Declan stirred.
"Did you have to wake me up Yuri, I was having a nice dream?" said Declan.
"Sorry dude, I gotta do those checks. You can go back to sleep as soon as I'm finished."
"Fat chance of that happening."
"What is it Jer?"
"Why are you in my bed?"
"I got in last night because you were having a nightmare and thrashing about and I didn't want you hurting yourself," Declan said as he got out of Jerry's bed and sat on the side of his.
"Was it bad then?"
"Well I wouldn't want to get hit in the head with one of those casts."
"He's right, those casts can do some serious damage," replied Yuri as he moved towards Jerry to take his temperature and blood pressure.
"I don't remember having a nightmare."
"That's the best ones to have, but believe me you were thrashing around a lot."
"So why did you think of getting into bed with me, wouldn't it have been easier to wake me up?"
"When I was younger I always felt better when there was someone there holding me when I was having nightmares."
Yuri moved over to check Declan's blood pressure and temperature.
"Well as we're awake, you wanna watch a film?"
"I need the toilet first."
"Now you mention it, I need to go too."
"Well, I'm done here guys so if you're quick Dec, you may catch the toilet before anyone else decides to get up and use it. I'll go and get you a bottle and be back in two ticks."
"You don't need to get him a bottle Yuri, I'll help him in the toilet like I did last night, it's no big deal."
"Are you sure? You don't need to, it's not like yesterday afternoon, I've got time this morning."
"It's fine Yuri, I'm ok with Dec helping me."
"If you're both sure, just be careful."
"We always are," said Declan.
Declan helped Jerry out of bed and the boys headed to the toilet. Yuri had been right; there was no one around so they didn't have to wait.
Despite what he had been told the day before, Jerry was still embarrassed about his erection when Declan lifted his gown. It took a bit longer before his bladder relaxed and he was able to go.
When he was finished, he moved out of the way for Declan to go. He was surprised to see that Declan's cock was pretty hard. After a few seconds he realised that that must have been what was poking him in the back when he woke up and it made him start to wonder.
After Declan was finished and he'd washed his hands the two boys went back to their room and settled down to watch another film. Jerry had really gotten into the Harry Potter film they'd watched the night before and was looking forward to the second one but he let Declan choose first. Declan decided on Mission Impossible 2.
Knowing that the others would be doing the same; when Alex got up he went to the toilet, showered and went downstairs without getting dressed. Again he was the first one up, so after he put the kettle on to make a cup of tea, he popped back upstairs to get his school work.
Alex had been revising for an hour before anyone else surfaced. He was a little surprised when Rick came into the kitchen sporting a full erection.
"Morning," said Alex.
"Morning, are you looking forward to the swimming later?"
"I'm not sure."
"You'll be fine, you'll have us with you and you don't have to worry about drowning."
"I know, it's just I've never tried it before so it's a little unnerving."
"I can see how that can be the case. Alan and I are going to spend a little time together upstairs, so help yourself to some breakfast and don't leave sleepy head in bed all morning."
After making a pot of tea and pouring one for Alan, Alex and himself, Rick went back upstairs carrying two mugs of tea.
Alex got back into his revision.
Justin didn't show his face until nine o'clock. Seeing Alex naked was all Justin needed to cause Junior to stir.
"How long have you been up for?"
"A while, Rick came down earlier, he and Alan are spending some time together upstairs."
"Yeah, I could hear them when I passed their door. So what are we going to do before it's time to get ready to go out? Do you fancy playing around in the bedroom, or would you rather sit down and watch something on the telly?"
"Cwtching up in front of the telly sounds good."
"Have you had breakfast yet?"
"Well why don't we have something to eat and then we can go into the living room."
"Do you want anything particular?"
"Cornflakes are fine."
Justin poured two bowls of cereal and placed them on the kitchen table.
"So how is the revising coming along?"
"It's not too bad, I'm finding things I'd completely forgotten about and it's surprising how quickly it's all coming back."
"Yeah, I know that feeling."
Once the boys had finished their cereal, Alex swilled the dishes out and Justin dried them off and put them back in the cupboard. With that done, the boys went into the living room and started looking for a film to watch.
Justin pulled out Stargate and suggested they watch that. After putting the disc in the player the boys cwtched up on the settee.
When the film finished Alex went to grab his school stuff off the kitchen table before he and Justin went upstairs to get dressed ready for the trip to the pool. On the way past Justin knocked on Alan and Rick's door before letting them know what the time was.
"I take it you want me to wear the Speedos?" Justin asked as he noticed for the first time the swimming costumes Alex had brought over.
"I don't think I'm ready for being so exposed in public."
"That's ok Baby."
"Do we put the swimming costumes on under our jeans or wait till we get to the pool?"
"I think it won't hurt to put them on here."
Alex grabbed the swimming trunks and started to put them on as he watched Justin putting the Speedos on.
After grabbing a kiss the boys put the rest of their clothes on before getting their towels and underwear ready to take with them. With everything ready they went back downstairs to wait for Alan and Rick.
When they walked into the living room, Rick was sat there waiting.
"You guys ready to go?"
"Yeah, oh wait, I just remembered, mom is taking us shopping after we've been swimming, do you want us to take all our stuff now or leave it and grab it later?"
"Later's fine, that way there's plenty of room in the cars for whatever."
"Ok," said Justin.
"Let's get going then; Alan's already got the car ready."
The trip to the swimming pool didn't take long. When they went into reception to pay for their session and get their lockers, there was no sign of how many people were already there. They got their locker keys and went to the changing rooms where there was still no indication of how busy the session was going to be.
Alex was starting to get nervous now that he was almost in the water. Justin could sense it and gave Alex's hand a quick squeeze to calm him.
Rick and Alan had done the same as Alex and Justin and put their swimming trunks on before they left the house. With all their clothes in the lockers and their towels and shower gel on top, they headed to the pool.
"Ok, how do you want to do this Alex? Do you want us all to stay together to begin with?" asked Alan.
"I um… I think I'd prefer it if you were close for now, if that's ok?"
"Of course it is," replied Rick. "We are here for you."
The four of them went through the shower area to get to the opening that led to the pool. They were all surprised when they walked through and saw there was no one else in the pool yet.
They walked down to the shallow end and got in, with Alex getting in last.
"Being as we're all alone at the moment, how about Alan and I do some lengths while Justin starts you off. We'll check in with you every couple of laps and if you want us to hang about when it gets busy, let us know."
"That sounds ok," replied Alex.
Alan and Rick headed off with a bit of a splash.
Justin started to talk Alex through the first steps of swimming.
Not having much to do so early, the lifeguard was watching what Alex and Justin were doing and decided to try and help while it was quiet.
"Um, excuse me, but it looks like you're a beginner?"
"This is his first time swimming if that's what you mean," replied Justin.
"Do you want some of the floats we have here for beginners? It will only take me a second to get you some?"
"That would be great thanks," replied Justin.
The lifeguard quickly returned with a couple of floats.
"Here you go guys, I'm not sure if you'll be interested but we have a number of beginner classes you could join?"
"I'm not sure if I would be ok with crowds."
"To be honest, there's not a lot of people turning up to them at the moment but if you're worried about people making fun of you while you're here, don't be, the sessions are only open to the class so you won't have people watching you while you learn."
"I'll think about it, but thanks for getting the floats and for telling us about the classes. My name is Alex and this is Justin."
"I'm Dewi; and it's no problem. It's good to see people wanting to learn."
Dewi went back to his seat and left Justin and Alex alone.
"He's cute don't you think?" asked Justin.
"Yeah, how old do you think he is?"
"I'm sure he's sixteen or seventeen. I've seen him in some of the swimming competitions at school."
"So he goes to our school? I don't think I've seen him around."
"No, he was swimming for one of the other schools that were competing; I'm not sure which one now though."
"Enough talking, let's see if these floats can help out."
Over the course of the session there were quite a few other people who turned up. A lot of them were old pensioners but a few youngsters turned up too. Despite the additions, Alex and Justin were able to continue in peace.
About five minutes before the end of the two hours, Alex turned to Justin.
"Come on let's give these floats back to Dewi, I want to ask him about those learner classes, not that you're not a good teacher, you are, it's just, well what are the chances that every time we come to the pool, we'll have the room for you to help me?"
"If that's what you want to do Baby, that's ok with me. I know mom and dad won't have a problem with it."
"Come on then."
"Um Dewi, do you have a minute?" asked Alex.
"Sure guys, what can I do for you?"
"Firstly, thanks again for the floats, they really helped."
"I'm glad of that."
"I also wanted to ask about the beginners' classes?"
"Well there are a few different ones available; I can give you all the details about them and other bits of info if you want."
"I do, but we don't have much time right now, we gotta go and meet someone."
"No worries, you can call the centre up and they can fill you in on the details."
"Do you have any plans for later today?" asked Justin.
"I don't finish here for another hour but after that I don't have any plans why?"
"We're off into town to do a few things and I thought maybe we could hang out for a bit and you could fill us in on the details, if you don't mind that is?"
"I wanted to check out a few things in town, so yeah sure. Where are we going to meet?"
"What if we meet up in front of the castle say around half three, is that giving you enough time? Or would later be better?"
"Would you mind if we made it four, I can grab a shower then before I meet you, otherwise I'll have to rush to make it."
"We'll see you at four then."
Although Alex thought having Dewi explain about the classes was a good idea, he couldn't understand why Justin would want to meet up with him in town, when they were supposed to be meeting Sarah and Jerry.
Walking back to the changing room, Alex and Justin were quiet. When they reached the showers they saw that Rick and Alan were already there.
"Come on you may as well use this shower gel rather than go to the locker to get a different one," said Rick.
Justin got into the shower and whipped off his Speedos with no hesitation. Alex wasn't sure about getting completely naked. It wasn't the idea of being naked in front of Alan or Rick it was all the strangers that were going to be getting out of the pool anytime now.
"Alex, you can shower with the swimming costume on, it's only to rinse the chlorine off your body anyway," said Alan who noticed Alex's hesitation.
With that Alex got in and started the shower off.
Not long after that all four were walking out to the car having dressed and handed in their locker keys.
Yuri came in just as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was finishing.
"Hi guys, I got some good news for the two of you, the doctor has been and looked at your charts and said you can both be discharged today. So we need to make arrangements for you to go home."
"That's ok Yuri, Sarah is already coming over soon so we'll just go with her."
"I'd like to say that's ok Jerry, but from what I could see just now, Sarah isn't able to sign Declan out of the hospital. It has to be his guardian, which is currently his social worker."
"Is it possible for me to ring Sarah? I can let her know and then she'll be able to sort something out."
"Sure, I'll go get the phone for you."
"Um, I don't have any clothes to change into."
"What happened to the clothes you were brought in with?"
"Because I was unconscious when they brought me in they had to cut them off me so they could examine me."
"No worries, I'll tell Sarah she'll need to bring something for you to wear."
"Here's the phone Jerry, make it quick though, we're not supposed to let patients use this line."
"Thanks Yuri, I won't be long."
Yuri left the boys again while they made the call.
"Um Dec, I'm going to need you to help me out."
"I'd guessed that, where do I find the number?"
"It's in the drawer."
Declan found the number and quickly dialled it and then held the phone next to Jerry's head.
"Hello Sarah… yes the doctor said Dec and I can be released today… yes it's good news, but we've got a couple of problems, you can't sign Declan out for a start and Declan doesn't have any clothes to change into… no they cut them off him like they did with me… ok, see you then… bye."
"So what did she say?"
"Martha is going to be coming with her to sign you out and she said she'll get some clothes for you so no need to worry there."
"Did she say what time she's going to be picking us up?"
"Yep, she's going to be here for two."
"Ok, I'll take the phone back to Yuri and then we can watch another film while we wait if you want?"
"Sounds good to me, but I do need to use the toilet if that's ok?"
"Sure, we can go the same time."
The boys came back from the toilet and settled down to watch the third Harry Potter film. During the film Yuri came in with their lunch.
"I'm going to ask Yuri if he can get me something that we can use to wash up with and then I'll help you get dressed ready to go," said Declan when he'd finished helping Jerry eat his lunch.
When Sarah arrived with Martha at two, Jerry was dressed and ready to go, while Declan was still in his hospital gown.
"Here are some clothes for you Declan. Don't worry about them not fitting properly, we've arranged to get your things later," said Sarah.
"Thank you for all your help. I don't know what else to say."
"Don't worry about it now, while you get dressed, Martha and I will sign you two out so make sure that everything you need to take with us is packed up."
"I'd help out Dec but I'm kinda not much use right now," Jerry said with a grin.
"I'll leave you two to get sorted then."
When Sarah left Declan pulled the clothes out of the bag Sarah had given him, grateful to see she'd included some underwear and socks. He took the hospital gown and started to get dressed.
Seeing Declan naked again still brought strange feelings to Jerry that he struggled to identify. He did know that his cock reacted to the sight but he knew in his head that he didn't fancy Declan so he didn't understand why he got that reaction.
The nurse who'd cut Declan's clothes off him the night he was admitted had been able to just slip his trainers off him so he was able to put them on when he was dressed. He used the bag Sarah had brought the clothes in to put the DVD player in while he placed the DVDs in the bag Jerry's clothes had been in.
Before they left the room, Declan opened all the cupboards and drawers and checked under the beds to make sure he hadn't missed anything. With everything checked and the bags in his hand, he and Jerry left the room and went to find Sarah and Martha.
"You boys all ready to go?" asked Sarah as she saw them coming down the corridor.
"Yep, all ready, but there's something I want to do before we go if that's ok?"
"What's that Jerry?"
"I want to say thanks to Yuri, he's been really great while we've been here and I didn't want to go before we saw him."
"Did I hear my name being called?"
"Yes, I wanted to thank you for all your help over the last few days."
"It's no problem dude, it's part of the job you know?"
"No, there were other nurses here who checked in on me but you made me feel at ease and that made a lot of difference."
"And you helped me a lot more, thanks to you, I'm going to be living somewhere I don't get used as a punch bag."
"I'm pretty sure I had nothing to do with that."
"You did, if you hadn't asked Jerry if I could watch the movies with him, he wouldn't have asked Sarah to help and I wouldn't be going to live with Rick and Alan."
"Well I'm glad it's worked out well but like I said, I was only doing my job dudes."
"I know you probably think I'm too young but would you mind if we kept in touch?" asked Jerry.
"I don't see that being a problem dude. Hang on… there you go, that's my email address and mobile number, send me an email or something sometime."
"Thanks Yuri, you've been great," said Jerry.
"I agree with him, thanks Yuri."
"It's been a pleasure dudes; now I need to go and help someone so I'll see you around ok?"
"Bye Yuri," Jerry and Declan said together.
"Ok, so can we go now?" asked Martha.
"Yep, all ready," replied Jerry.
"Let's go then."
They all walked out to the car park and got in to the car before Sarah headed to town to meet Alan, Rick, Alex and Justin.
Sarah parked up and they all got out before heading to the meeting point. When they got there, they were early so before the boys arrived Sarah decided to have a quick chat with Declan.
"Declan, there are a few things we need to talk about."
"Nothing's wrong, it's just I need to know a few things that's all."
"Oh, what do you want to know?"
"Well for a start there's school. Martha has told me that you don't go to Connor High, so tomorrow morning when I go to see the head about Alex and Jerry, I was hoping you'd be ok with me asking if I could enrol you at the same time?"
"So I'd be going to the same school as Jerry? Sure that's fine."
"What was the uniform situation at your last school? Did you have to wear shirts and trousers or did they let you wear whatever you wanted?"
"Whatever we wanted."
"Ok so we'll need to get you some shirts and trousers. I don't want to embarrass you but what are the rest of your clothes like? The reason I ask is that we'd planned for you, Martha, Rick and Alan to go and get your things from Susan's while I go shopping with Justin, Alex and Jerry, but I was thinking last night that maybe you'd need some clothes as well."
"I… um… are you sure you want to buy me stuff, I mean you're already giving me somewhere to live."
"I know you don't know me so I'll explain something pretty quickly, I'm not poor and I don't like the idea of buying for one while shunning another. Whether you move in with Rick and Alan or stay with us, you're part of our family now and as such you're going to be treated as an equal so don't worry about the money. Besides, I'll be getting money for being your foster parent."
"You'll see for yourself later anyway so I guess there's no point lying to you. The clothes I have at Susan's aren't brand new. She liked to get me stuff from the cheapest place possible."
"I'm not a fan of paying through the nose for things either."
"Please, I didn't mean I wanted designer stuff that costs loads, it's just when I told her I needed new clothes, the only place she'd go shopping would be the charity shops so she'd not have to spend much. She'd come back with some stuff that looked nearly new, but most times you could tell they'd been well worn and I just had to make do."
"I know what you mean now. So if Martha, Rick and Alan were to go around to Susan's would they be able to easily tell what things were yours? Or would it be better if you were there with them?"
"I had my own room there so my stuff is just in the bedroom."
"Ok, you can come shopping with us while Martha, Rick and Alan go pick up your things."
"Are you sure? I'm happy going with Martha."
"Come on Dec, it'll be more fun if you come shopping with us," said Jerry.
"What if you go shopping with Sarah and the boys for an hour and then come with me to get your things? Does that sound better?"
"Yeah, thanks Martha."
Just then Jerry spotted Justin, Alex, Rick and Alan.
"Hey guys," he said.
"Hey kiddo," replied Alex.
"I see they let you both out, how does it feel? Glad to be from there?" asked Justin.
"Yeah, while it was worth being there, 'cause I met Dec, the place stinks, it smells of old people."
"Yeah we noticed, think what Alan has to deal with then, he works there," said Justin.
"What's that you were saying about me working there?"
"Jerry was talking about the hospital smelling like old people," replied Alex.
"Well you get used to it and eventually you don't notice it. I'm glad to see they let the two of you out."
"There's been a change to the plan Alan," said Sarah.
"What's the change?"
"Declan is going to do some shopping with us before going to get his things with you. So if you and Rick want to go do something for an hour or so I'll give you a buzz when he's ready to go?"
"Sounds ok with me, Rick?"
"Sure, I can think of something to do while we wait."
"I bet you can," said Justin with a grin.
Rick playfully clipped him around the head.
"That's for being cheeky, and for your information I wasn't thinking what you were. I wanted to get some computer parts."
"Rick can I have a word with you a sec?" asked Sarah.
The two of them moved away from the group for a moment.
"Can you do me a favour?"
"What do you need?"
"When you mentioned the computer shop, I realised that Justin's P.C. isn't going to be enough for the boys to work on. I mean at the moment there's going to be four boys at the house and only one P.C. What would you say is the best thing to do? I just thought that another computer and perhaps two laptops?"
"Alan and I've already discussed getting Declan a laptop for when he moves in with us so how about we get the one and you and Simon get the computer and laptop?"
"That sounds fine. You know all about that stuff so can you sort all three out and we'll sort the bill out later?"
Sarah and Rick joined the group again.
"Now that's sorted lets go and get you all some clothes," said Sarah.
Rick and Alan went one way while the rest of the group went another.
"How did the swimming go Alex?" asked Sarah.
"It went well thanks."
"Talking about that mom, the lifeguard told us that there are some learner classes Alex could take at the pool and we arranged to meet him later to talk about them."
"You mean you arranged for us to meet up."
"What time are you meeting him?"
"He's meeting us by the castle at four."
"That's fine; that gives us a good hour to get things. Let's go to Primark then and see what we can get there."
"Being as you won't need me for an hour or so, if it's ok with you I'm going to run a few errands while you and the boys shop."
"Sorry Martha, I didn't think about you when I changed the plan for this afternoon."
"It's fine, I understand why you did."
"I'll give you a ring when he's ready then."
"Thanks. See you later."
While Martha headed off, Sarah and the boys headed to Primark.
When they got there, as usual it was fairly busy. They went downstairs to the men's section and started to look around.
"Can you get me a couple of shirts and trousers for Declan for school, Justin? You know the ones he's going to need."
"What size waist are you bud?"
"Um I don't know. What size are these?"
"It's no point trying to go by joggers; they don't go by waist size as such. I'll grab a couple of sizes and you can try them on to see which ones are best."
Justin headed off to get the shirts and trousers while Sarah and the rest started looking at the t-shirts.
"Why don't you boys pick out three or four t-shirts," said Sarah.
"Are you sure Sarah?" asked Declan.
"Yes, now start looking while I help Jerry look."
The boys hadn't been looking long when Justin returned with the shirts and trousers in a basket.
After they had chosen the t-shirts they moved around to the jeans and without knowing their sizes, Jerry and Declan chose a couple of pairs of each style so they could judge the fit. Next they went to pick up underwear and socks before Alex, Jerry and Declan went to the changing rooms.
"We only need to make sure you're jeans fit you kiddo so I'll help you try those on while Dec checks his clothes," said Alex to Jerry.
"When we're home later Alex, can we talk about something?"
"Sure kiddo, is something wrong?"
"It's not wrong I don't think, but I do need to talk about it."
"No worries, I'm sure we can find some time later."
Alex helped his brother out of his bottoms and chose the first pair of jeans Jerry had chosen. When he pulled them up Jerry's legs and did the fly and button up, it turned out they were a little too large. He quickly helped Jerry out of them and went for the next pair.
When both Jerry and Declan had tried on the clothes and found the sizes that fit best, they went back and handed them to Sarah so she could go and pay.
With the bags of clothes all paid for they headed out of Primark.
"I'm guessing you boys are going to need some trainers," Sarah said as she caught a look of Declan's and started walking in the direction of the sports shop.
As they walked into the shop, they were confronted with shelves and shelves of trainers and different styles of shoes.
"What is it Declan?"
"Um… well you've already spent loads are you sure about the trainers?"
Justin pulled Declan to one side after hearing him ask about the trainers.
"When it comes to shopping for shoes, mom has one rule."
"I can have any pair I want, just so long as they don't cost more than £30. So just look at the different styles but keep the price in mind."
Sarah helped Jerry try the different types of trainers to find a pair he liked in a size that gave a little room for growing, while the other boys did the same.
When the boys had all found a pair of trainers they were happy with Sarah paid for them all.
As they were leaving the shop she got her mobile out and called Martha and then Rick to let them know Declan had finished shopping.
It wasn't long before Martha arrived and a few minutes later Rick and Alan turned up.
"Ok then Declan, you ready to go and get your things?" asked Martha.
"I suggest that as I know where Susan lives, you ride with Rick and Alan so you can point them in the right direction."
"Sounds like a good idea," said Alan.
"Do you want us to give you a call before we leave with Declan's things?" asked Rick.
"Ok, see you soon," said Martha.
When they were leaving Justin, Alex, Jerry and Sarah were left with all the shopping.
"Justin, can you and Alex help me carry the bags to the car and then the two of you can head off to meet your friend."
"Sure mom no problem, is it alright if we have some money? I left my wallet at Rick's."
"Of course you can."
After carrying the bags to the car and receiving the money from Sarah, Alex and Justin headed back to the castle to meet up with Dewi while Sarah and Jerry got in the car and drove home.
"Perhaps now we have a few minutes alone, you can tell me why you wanted to meet up with Dewi rather than call the centre for the information?" asked Alex.
"You're self-conscious about your scars and while today you didn't get too crowded and you had Rick, Alan and I around you, during those classes we won't be so I thought that if Dewi was going to be around, that knowing him would make things easier for you. Does that make sense?"
"I'm not saying you tell him about the scars or the reasons for them today. It may turn out that neither of us can stand him away from the pool, but something tells me he's a decent guy and worth getting to know."
"What's wrong baby?"
"I don't know… I guess it's just that I'm so used to keeping a low profile so I don't get picked on that I'm not used to mixing with others."
"Hey," Justin stopped and turned to Alex and placed his hand on Alex's arm. "I'm here with you, so don't worry. No one is going to make you feel bad again while I'm with you."
"I'm just being silly."
"No, you're just not used to making friends. Let's go and spend some time with Dewi and see how things go."
When Alex and Justin got to the castle, Dewi was there waiting for them.
"Hey," said Alex and Justin.
"So where do you want to go?"
"How about Starbuck's down St Mary's street, we can talk in there while we have something to drink?" asked Justin.
"Sounds good to me," replied Dewi.
The boys went to the coffee shop with Dewi in front. He placed his order while Alex was awestruck by the different choices they had there. The good thing for Alex was that as he didn't drink coffee his choices were limited.
"What are you going to have?" asked Justin.
"Well I guess the hot chocolate sounds ok. I don't know what half of these drinks are; never mind what they're supposed to taste like."
"I didn't think of that, sorry. You'll be ok with the chocolate, go on I'll get them, you go and get a table for us all."
Alex chose a table in the window and was soon joined by Dewi and Justin.
"I've brought you a couple of brochures that tell you all about the times and prices for those beginner classes."
"Thanks. So what can you tell me about them that isn't in the brochures?" asked Alex.
"Well, there are a couple of different people who take the classes."
"Would you be one of them?" asked Justin.
"I do take a few, but I tend to work mostly with the younger ages. Some of the oldies who come to learn don't like learning from someone still in school."
"You must be a really good swimmer to be teaching classes," said Alex.
"I'm a decent swimmer."
"Oh come on, I've seen you swimming in the school competitions," said Justin.
"Don't get me wrong, I can swim well enough to win a few competitions amongst the schools, but when I've gone into the national ones, I don't do quite so well. I guess you could say I'm a big fish in a small pond when it comes to the school competitions but when I go up a level I'm more like a little fish in a big pond."
"So does your school have a really good swimming programme or something?" asked Alex.
"I don't think it's great. The last school I was in, up in England was a lot better. But I'm not looking to make swimming my career so I guess in the long run it doesn't really make a lot of difference."
"When did you move down here from England?" asked Justin.
"We moved down in 2008 during the summer holidays and then I started year nine in St Joseph's Academy."
"So that makes you what, seventeen?" asked Justin.
"Nope I don't turn seventeen until October."
"So you're taking your GCSEs this summer then?" asked Alex.
"Me too; how is your revision going like?"
"Not too bad."
"Do you go on study leave soon? I start mine in a fortnight."
"I think it's the same as you. From what I remember from before Easter, they told us that we'll be given an appointment for each subject each week in case we need to discuss something but we don't have to turn up for it if we're ok."
"I don't know if our school will do that."
"Yes they do, or they did last year for me," replied Justin.
"So you've done you GCSEs then?"
"Yep, so other than swimming, what else do you like to do?"
"I like movies, music and football."
"Which team?" asked Justin.
"I'm a Man Utd fan, what about you two?"
"Liverpool," replied Justin.
"Leeds," said Alex.
"Leeds? How can you support them, they're not even in the top division."
"They're just going through a bad spell. We'll get back up there one day."
"You'd get on well with my father; he's a Man U fan."
"Can I ask something?" asked Dewi.
"What do you want to know?" replied Justin.
"I was wondering what was so special about today that made you decide you wanted to try swimming?"
"It wasn't that today was special. I recently moved in with Justin and his family and before that I had no chance to learn how to swim, so when Justin suggested we go to the pool today I thought why not."
"You can tell me to mind my own business if you like, but what led to moving in with Justin?"
"It's a bit of a long story and if it's ok with you I'd rather not go into it here."
"Of course it's ok. You hardly know me and it's pretty public, I understand."
"So can I ask, did you two know each other before you moved in?"
"We both go to Conner High, but as Alex and I are in different years there weren't many times we would have had the chance to mix in school."
"And there was definitely no chance outside of school," added Alex.
"I thought you two may have been brothers or something. I know you don't look alike but the way you interacted at the pool I thought it was possible."
"Nope, technically I'm an only child."
"Well my parents' only had me but now we have Alex and his brother living with us and I think of them as brothers, so I guess you weren't that wrong."
"As far as I know, I've never met anyone who wasn't living with their parents."
"Well it's not something a lot of kids would advertise," said Alex.
"True, sorry I didn't mean to sound insensitive."
"I was wondering about something?" asked Dewi.
"What's that?" asked Justin.
"Well it's more for Alex really."
"It's to do with the GCSEs. Before we broke up for the Easter holidays, one of the teachers suggested we revise with someone, she said it helps reinforce the information working together rather than trying to remember it all by repetition. I was wondering if you'd be interested?"
"I would be, but can I ask why you're asking me?"
"Well for one, I get the feeling the three of us could be good friends. Another reason is that while I've been at St Joseph's now for three years I still get treated like an outsider by most of my year so and those who don't treat me like an outsider are not in my year."
"There is a possible problem with your invitation," said Alex.
"Well it is possible that we are not in the same types of classes."
"You mean sets or subjects?"
"It's possible both."
"How about this, I come to you or you come to me after school tomorrow and we can compare subjects and see from there if it's worth us working together?"
"Sounds ok, which would be best for you, meeting at yours or Justin's?"
"I think meeting at yours would be better, that way we can all hang out for a bit afterwards."
"That sounds good, what shops did you want or need to go to?" asked Justin.
"I need to get some toiletries and I wanted to check in the book store."
"We'd best drink up if you want to catch some of the shops, most of them close soon."
"Oh, I didn't realise the time."
All three finished off their drinks and got up to leave.
"So I'll see you both tomorrow?"
"We don't have to rush home, so if you want, we can come with you?" asked Justin.
All three got up and headed out. They carried on talking while Dewi shopped for deodorant and shower gel. When they entered the book store the subject moved onto the books they had read or planned to read and while Alex and Dewi had a few in common, mostly the ones they had to read as part of their studies, it was Dewi and Justin who talked the most.
Just as Dewi was paying for the book he'd chosen, Justin's phone rang.
"Hi dad… yeah… ok we'll meet you by the castle…see you soon."
"I take it your dad's gonna pick you up?"
"Yeah, do you need a lift home?"
"No it's fine, I can walk home."
"Don't be silly, dad won't mind."
"Are you sure? I'm ok walking."
"Honestly, it will be fine."
The three boys started walking to the castle to meet Simon.
"Would you mind if I asked you a couple of questions Dewi?" asked Justin.
"What do you want to know?"
"Well for a start, do you have any brothers or sisters?"
"Yeah, I have a sister she's six years younger than me, so at the moment she's still in Primary school."
"What was the reason you moved down to Cardiff?"
"My mother was from Cardiff, she moved to Manchester when she went to Uni, met dad and they stayed there when they graduated. A few years ago her mother fell ill and she wanted to be closer to them so we moved down."
"If you lived in Manchester did you go to Old Trafford much?"
"Dad took me a few times each season, since we moved here though we don't go so often as it's so expensive to travel back and fore."
"We are going to see the Man U, Chelsea game this weekend."
"But you're not Man U or Chelsea fans so why would you want to see that game?"
"Over the years I've been to a few different games but Alex hasn't so I thought that going to see two of the top teams in the league face each other would be a good first game."
"I would have loved to have had the chance to see that game but dad couldn't get tickets, but at least the game will be on the telly."
"What was the last game you were able to see?" asked Alex.
"The last game I saw was when Man U went to Upton Park and beat West Ham but the last game I saw at Old Trafford was the Manchester derby in February."
"Wow," said Alex.
"Who is your favourite player?"
"I like watching Rooney play, on the right day, like in the game against West Ham he's great but I think Chicharito is one to keep an eye on."
"I know I'm a Liverpool fan but even I can admit that Rooney is good, but I think Alex Ferguson did well buying Chicharito I think he's a great little player."
"Do you think Man U can take the title this year then?" asked Alex.
"I think it all depends on what happens in the game on the weekend, if Utd win then I think it's in the bag."
"I think so too, but I hope they don't," replied Justin.
"You said earlier that you get treated like an outsider at your school, how come? You don't have to say if you don't want to, I was just curious," Alex asked.
"I guess part of it was because of something I said in class not long after I'd arrived at the school. You know the school is a heavily religious one? Well there was a comment made one day about gay men burning in hell because they were an abomination in the eyes of God and I told them they were wrong. I was brought up around gay people so I've always seen it as normal."
"But that was three years ago, surely they don't still use that?" asked Justin.
"No they don't but I keep arguing with them over it."
"You said you were brought up around gay people, were they friends of yours?" asked Alex.
"No, remember I was only thirteen when we moved down here. They were all friends of my parents."
"Oh look, there's dad. Come on."
"Hi dad, is it ok to give Dewi a lift home?"
"Sure, where do you live Dewi?"
"Over in Roath."
"No problem, just tell me where to go."
They all got in the car and Simon drove through town to Roath.
"Thanks for the lift, just one thing; I'm going to need your address if I'm going to come over tomorrow."
Justin gave Dewi his address and his mobile number.
"See you tomorrow," said Dewi.
"See you tomorrow," replied Alex and Justin.
After Dewi closed the door Simon headed home. After a few minutes he was pulling into the drive and switching the engine off. The three of them got out and went into the house.
"Hey guys," said Jerry.
"Hey kiddo," said Alex.
"Has Dec brought his stuff over yet?" asked Justin.
"No not yet."
"You must be Jerry, nice to meet you, if you haven't guessed already, I'm Simon."
"Nice to meet you; and thank you for taking me in. I'd shake your hand but mine are kind of tied up at the moment."
"You didn't tell me he was a comedian Alex," Simon said laughing.
"He's not very good that's why I didn't mention it."
Simon went out to the kitchen while the boys went into the living room.
"Do you need a hand putting your things away?" asked Alex.
"No, I was going to leave it till Dec came and then we can work out where things can go."
"Have you seen your room yet?" asked Justin.
"No, since we came home, Sarah has been in the kitchen working on getting dinner ready. She said she's going to do a big dinner for everyone."
"That should be fun, we haven't had a big dinner party in like forever," said Justin.
"Will there be enough room for everyone?" asked Jerry.
"Yeah, there's a big table in the dining room, it's only used when there's a lot of us or for special occasions. Come on, you can watch me beat your brother at tennis while we wait for Dec to get here."
"What, you have a tennis court?"
"No, he means on the game console."
The three boys went upstairs to Justin's room. On the way up, Justin opened the door to Jerry's room for him to have a quick look.
"Oops, I think mom may have forgotten about this."
"What?" asked Jerry trying to look around Justin.
"The bed, there's only the one in here."
"That's alright, I'll share with Jerry and Dec can sleep in mine."
"No need, I'm sure Dec won't mind sharing with me, he did last night."
"Why was he sharing your bed last night?" asked Alex.
"I had a nightmare and was thrashing about. He got in to calm me down so I didn't hurt myself."
"Why don't we leave the sleeping arrangements until Dec gets here and then we can ask him what he wants to do," said Justin.
"And why would you want to share my bed when you could be sharing Justin's?"
"Who said Justin and I share a bed?"
"We have done yes," replied Justin.
"We just weren't sure about flaunting it in front of you and Dec; especially as we haven't even told Dec we're a couple yet."
"Oh. Let's go and see how good this game is then," said Jerry.
The boys carried on up to Justin's room. Justin put the telly and console on while Alex and Jerry sat on the end of the bed.
After a few games, they heard the door go so they stopped and went down to see if it was Declan, Rick and Alan.
When they got downstairs they found that Declan had arrived.
"Alex, Justin, can you help Declan carry his things up to the room please?" asked Sarah.
Alex was surprised to see how many bags Dec had. They grabbed a couple of bags each and headed up to the bedroom.
"A little warning," said Justin.
"What's that?" asked Declan.
"We appear to have a problem with the bed."
"What sort of problem?"
"I think mom forgot that there was a double bed in your room."
"That's ok, I don't mind sharing the bed with Jerry."
"You can always have my bed Dec and I'll share with Jerry."
"It's ok Alex, I honestly don't mind."
"I told you both," said Jerry.
"Ok, let's get the stuff in your room, you can sort out where everything is going to go later," said Justin.
Justin popped into the kitchen when they went down to grab a second load of bags to ask how long dinner was going to be. When they finished carrying all of Declan's bags up to his and Jerry's room they went back down ready for dinner.
"Mom, Jerry and Dec are ok with it for the moment, but you do realise there's a double bed in their room?"
"Yes Justin, I'm not senile, I was going to see what the boys wanted to do for beds before going out and buying them. For example would Jerry and Dec be happy with the double bed or would they prefer single beds. If they wanted the single beds, there are a couple of options there too, for example there's the divan style or bunk beds."
"Do you boys have a preference at the moment?"
"I don't know about Jerry, but if I'm only going to be here for a few weeks before I move in with Rick and Alan, then I don't see the point in you spending money on changing the bed."
"Are you sure Declan? I don't want you doing something you're not happy with just because you think you're saving me money."
"No, I'm ok sharing Jerry's bed with him, so long as he's ok with me sharing."
"It's fine with me."
"Well we'll have to see about getting you boys a few things for the bedroom but there will be conditions attached to those things."
"What do you mean?" asked Jerry.
"We have let Justin have things like a television and games consoles in his room for a while now, but he gets to keep them so long as his school work is completed and to a certain standard."
"Oh, I understand."
"When you say certain standard what do you mean?" asked Declan.
"At the moment, I don't know what sort of marks you have both been getting, but we expect you to do your best at all times in school, does that sound fair?"
"That's a discussion for another time though. Dinner's going to be five more minutes, Alex and Justin can you set the table please."
"How many are eating?" asked Alex.
"There will be nine, the six of us, Alan, Rick and Martha."
Declan helped Alex and Justin with the table and everyone was soon sat around eating. There was all sorts of conversation taking place while they ate. Alex and Declan helped Jerry to eat and drink.
After dinner the adults went into the living room to talk, while the boys cleaned up. Declan offered to wash, Alex dried and Justin put all the dishes away.
When they were finished the boys went up to Jerry and Declan's bedroom.
"Why don't we all muck in and we'll soon get this room sorted out?" asked Justin.
"You two don't have to help, I'm ok doing it," said Declan.
"Dec, Jerry can't help you so let us," said Alex.
"If you're sure."
"We also wanted to talk to you about something Dec," said Justin.
"Remember yesterday, I said you knew more gay people than you realised?"
"Yeah, then Alan and Rick told me they were a couple."
"What we didn't tell you at the time is that Alex and I are a couple too."
"It doesn't bother you?" asked Alex.
"I told you yesterday it doesn't, but why did you feel you had to tell me?"
"Well for a start I thought it was only fair that you know considering Jerry already does. Whether your stay here is short or more permanent, we felt it would only be a question of when you'd find out and not if, so we thought we'd be honest from the beginning,"
"We just ask one thing though, when it comes to school, you don't mention it please?"
"No worries there. Apart from you three I doubt I'll know anyone there anyway."
"I'm sure that will change. Now let's get cracking on sorting this lot out. The sooner we do the sooner we can go and play a few games in my room."
They quickly sorted out drawers and hanging space for the clothes and other possessions. When that was done, they all headed up to Justin's room and played on a few games.
"Can we put a film or something on; it's not fair that Jerry can't play as well."
"I'm ok Alex, don't worry."
"No he's right bud, it's not fair on you. Why don't you and Dec have a look through the DVDs on the shelves while Alex and I go and get everyone a drink?"
"Ok," said Declan.
When Alex and Justin returned Declan and Jerry had decided on Wanted. Justin put it on and they all settled down to watch.
As the film was finishing, Simon stuck his head in.
"Hey guys, time to turn in, remember there's school tomorrow."
"The film's nearly finished dad."
"Ok, not much longer then,"
"Thanks Simon," said Jerry, Alex and Declan.
Jerry and Declan went down to their room when the film finished.
"I know you wanted to help your brother but I'm glad Dec was happy sleeping with him."
"I would have missed sleeping with my baby if you had slept with Jerry."
"Oh, and who said I was sleeping with you tonight anyway?"
Justin looked crestfallen at Alex's question.
"You mean you weren't planning to?"
"I hadn't made my mind up earlier. I wanted to make sure Jerry was safe, now Dec is in there with him, I can decide what I want, and I chose sleeping with you."
Justin's face beamed at hearing this.
"There's my Sunshine."
"Do you want to shower tonight or in the morning?" asked Justin.
"Let's leave it till the morning. We can have a bit of fun with Junior before we go to sleep if you want."
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