After getting the address from Jerry, Martha left and Sarah went to the kitchen to put one of the lasagnes and some of the potatoes in the oven. She had just finished that and was putting the kettle on when there was a knock on the door. Rather than leave whoever it was waiting she turned the tap off put the kettle down on the worktop and went to answer the door.
"Hi, have I got the right house? Do Justin and Alex live here?"
"Yes, come on in. Alex said he was expecting someone."
"My name is Dewi."
"Pleased to meet you Dewi, I’m Sarah. It’s probably easier if I take you up to Justin’s room, so follow me."
"Do you want me to take my trainers off?"
"They’re not muddy; you’re ok but thanks for asking."
Sara led Dewi up to Justin’s room and knocked on the door before opening it.
"Did you want something mom? Oh hey Dewi," said Justin as Sarah stepped back to allow Dewi to enter.
"I thought it was easier for me to show Dewi where to go than to wait for one of you to come down for him. Dinner is going to be ready in about an hour; just for you boys to know."
"Have you had your dinner Dewi?" asked Justin.
"I’m sorry Dewi, I can’t believe I didn’t think of asking. It’s no problem if you’d like to eat with the boys."
"That would be great thanks. I didn’t think about food before I came over."
"Ok, I’m going to leave you boys alone now."
Sarah closed the bedroom door behind her as she went downstairs.
"Dewi, this is Dec and the one in the casts is Jerry, Alex’s brother," said Justin.
"Hi," said the boys.
"Glad to see you Dewi."
"H guys, you too Alex."
"Come on you two, let’s go and watch a film and leave Alex and Dewi to their revision," suggested Justin.
"What film are we going to watch?" asked Jerry.
"Choose one from the shelves and we’ll watch it downstairs," replied Justin.
"You don’t have to disappear, especially from your own room," said Dewi.
"It’s easier, you and Alex need room to work and if we’re in here making noise you won’t be able to concentrate. Me or Dec will let you know when dinner’s ready. If you want something to drink, let Alex know, he knows where everything is kept."
"I’m ok for now thanks."
Declan picked a film and the three boys went downstairs.
"So where do we start?" asked Alex.
"Why don’t we start with the core subjects, we both have Maths, English and Science right?"
"So which set or group are you in for those?"
"I am in the top sets for all my subjects. I guess it’s one thing I can thank my parents for."
"The only condition my parents gave me when I was asked about working at the pool was that my straight A marks were maintained so of course those marks mean I’m in the top sets as well."
"What about other subjects?" asked Alex.
"I made a quick list this afternoon before I left school... here you go. I don’t know if you’ve taken the same ones?"
"I didn’t take P.E., I can’t stand it. We have to take two lessons a week and I hate those days."
"Why? You look like you’re in good shape."
"Long story, I just don’t mix well and most of the P.E. lessons mean team sports."
"Ah, I can see how that’s a problem. So if you didn’t take P.E. what subject did you take?"
"Oh, that’s the one subject I was glad to drop. Too much time spent pouring over maps of this and that and soil samples and topography. It just didn’t interest me at all."
"So now we know there’s only one subject we don’t share, what do you want to do?"
"What have you been doing for your revision so far?"
"I had some past papers that I’ve been working my way through and Justin has been marking them from the answer sheets he had. After he’s marked them I’ve gone back through them to find where I went wrong and used that as a guide for the areas I need to concentrate on."
"That sounds like a good way of working. How about I mark your papers instead of Justin and you mark mine for me?"
"I don’t mind."
"Then if there’re areas that I don’t quite get but you know well we can work together until I understand it and vice versa?"
"I like that idea. I’m sure Justin would have been happy to help me like that but he’s going to have school stuff to be doing himself and I didn’t want him to let that slide so he could help me."
"That was easy to sort out, so which subject do we start with?"
"I think you should choose, you can work on the desk and I’ll work on the bed. That should give us plenty of room to spread out."
"Quick question; why are we in Justin’s room instead of yours?"
"Until I moved in the bedroom was used as a guest room and I’ve only been here a couple of weeks and I haven’t brought up the subject of furniture because I tend to spend most of my time in here with Justin."
"He’s got loads of DVDs, has he watched them all?"
"I think so. I’ve watched more films since I’ve been here I know that much."
"Ok, let’s see, do you have this past paper for Maths?"
"Yeah, I’ve got that one. Do you work on the papers themselves or on A4 paper?"
"I’ve been working on A4, that way I can work on the paper again and not have to work around my previous answers," replied Dewi.
"Same here; that will come in handy if one of us has a past paper the other doesn’t."
"I hadn’t thought about that."
"What if we go through all the papers we do have to see if there’s one or two the other doesn’t have and then perhaps we can get copies from school before we go on study leave."
"It doesn’t matter if we can’t get copies, there’s a perfectly good photocopier in the library in town we can use."
"That may be but I’m sure we’d have to pay for those copies where as if we can get them from school they’d cost us nothing."
"True. Ok let’s see; how about we start with the Maths papers and go from there?"
"Sounds good to me."
By the time Alex and Dewi had finished comparing past papers they’d been going at it for nearly half an hour. They’d found that apart from one paper for Maths, one for History and two for Science they had the same.
"Come on let’s go downstairs and get a drink, dinner’s going to be ready soon and there’s no point in starting that Maths paper now, we can start it after dinner," suggested Alex.
"I guess it makes more sense not to start and stop too often."
"How’s the studying going?" Sarah asked as they walked into the kitchen.
"We haven’t started yet. When Dewi suggested it might be good for the two of us to study together we weren’t sure if it would work because of us being in different schools, so all we’ve done so far is compare subjects and sets. Do you want apple or orange juice?"
"Apple is ok thanks," said Dewi.
"And what was the answer?" asked Sarah.
"We only have one subject each that the other doesn’t, and we’re in the same sets for the others," replied Dewi.
"So I guess we’ll be seeing more of you Dewi?"
"Alex and I haven’t discussed anything like that yet. We don’t live too far apart so both houses are possible places for us to work, but we can also look at working in the main library in town. They have plenty of open areas the two of us could spread out in. They should also have books we can use to answer questions we’re not sure on but if not, they have plenty of computers with internet we can use."
Alex handed Dewi his drink.
"That all sounds reasonable, but keep in mind you’re more than welcome to spend as much time here as you want," Sarah suggested.
"Thanks," replied Dewi.
"Dinner’s going to be another twenty minutes or so."
"We’ll go and watch the telly with the boys then, rather than go upstairs," Alex said.
"Ok," replied Sarah.
Alex and Dewi left the kitchen and went into the living room.
"Hey, how’s the revision going?" asked Justin when he saw Alex.
"We’ve not started, we wanted to make sure it was worth working together so we’ve just been comparing subjects and sets and past papers," said Alex as he noticed Justin putting the film on pause.
"So do you two study together or were there too many differences?" asked Jerry.
"Apart from Dewi taking P.E. instead of Geography, we have the same subjects and we’re in the same sets for everything so yeah, we’ll be studying together."
"That’s good. I took P.E. last year so I can help if you need some."
"Thanks, but that’s one subject I’m ok with."
"So what film are you watching?" asked Alex.
"Dec picked up Se7en, it’s a bit of a mystery," replied Jerry.
"I like it because it’s got Brad Pitt in it," said Declan.
"He’s a good actor, although I wasn’t all that impressed with Snatch," added Dewi.
"I thought it was alright, although some of it looked naff," chimed in Justin.
"Did Sarah say how long before dinner’s ready? If it’s not long then we may as well talk rather than put the film back on." asked Jerry.
"It’s about twenty minutes off being ready," answered Alex.
"I vote we put the film back on then," replied Jerry.
"Do you want something to drink first?" asked Alex.
"Nah, Dec got me a drink when we came down to watch the film. I’m ok till we have dinner."
"So I’m putting the film back on then am I?" asked Justin.
"Yeah," said Declan.
The boys watched the film until Sarah came in to tell them dinner was dished up. The boys went out to the kitchen while Sarah turned the telly over to watch something while they ate. There wasn’t much conversation going on around the table while they ate. Declan and Alex helped Jerry with his food which didn’t go unnoticed by Dewi. When everyone had finished, Justin told Alex and Dewi to go upstairs and study while he and Declan would take care of the dishes.
When they were in Justin’s room again Dewi asked, "Can I be nosey a minute?"
"What do you want to know?"
"I think I remember you saying Jerry is your brother, which would explain why you were helping him to eat, but who is Dec? I just assumed he was Jerry’s friend but watching him at the table suggests there’s more to it?"
"Jerry met Dec in hospital over the weekend. Long story but Dec is staying here while his new foster parents get approved. He and Jerry clicked when they were in hospital and it’s through his friendship with Jerry that he’s got the new foster family lined up and he I think he sees helping Jerry as a way to pay him back."
"So Justin’s parents have taken not one but three boys in, in a matter of weeks?"
"Actually it’s four. Cal is getting his things right now before he moves in later."
"Wow, are they some sort of nut jobs? I don’t know anyone who’d do something like that. I don’t mean that to sound nasty," Dewi said looking a bit embarrassed as he realised how someone may take what he’d said.
"I don’t think Sarah and Simon planned it. When Sarah first saw me I don’t think she realised then that taking me in would mean another three boys to follow but Sarah told me that she was fortunate to be in a position financially and emotionally to help and felt that it was her place to. Simon is happy to go along with it, although I think had Sarah brought home some two bit thug he would have said no."
"I know I’ve already said it, but wow."
"Yeah, we all feel extremely lucky, and it was all through one fluke encounter."
"I’d like to hear more but I think we should crack on with one of the papers before I have to leave for the night."
"You’re right, and there’ll be plenty of time to talk."
Alex and Dewi settled down to work. Alex was surprised how easily he and Dewi seemed to get along. Was it just that simple to make friends or was there something special about Dewi that made talking with him so easy? Alex wondered what Dewi would think of his self-harming. Dewi was bound to see the scars on his arm and ask him about them. Would he think he was some nut job or would he understand? Alex tried to concentrate on the exam paper he was working on.
"Is it alright if I use bathroom?" asked Dewi after nearly an hour.
"Sure, it’s through there," Alex replied pointing to the en suite, "while you’re in there, I’ll pop down and get us a drink if you want?"
"Do you want juice or pop?"
"I’ll let you choose, just so long as there’s no raspberry."
"No, just don’t like the taste of it."
"Ok, no raspberry."
Dewi went into the bathroom while Alex left for the kitchen. After he’d finished he went back into the bedroom and had a look around. As he took in all the different things in the room the more he was surprised. The room, the things in there and the en suite all smacked of money. Dewi could see by the house and Sarah and Simon’s ability to take in four strangers backed this image up, yet it was in complete contrast to the character he had spoken to the day before. He hadn’t flaunted the family’s wealth and seemed pretty down to earth when Dewi compared him to the two in his school whose families were pretty well off.
Looking through the DVDs on the shelves, he noticed there seemed to be a few he’d seen and he was shocked to see the complete box sets of the US & UK versions of Queer as Folk. Dewi hadn’t seen either version but he had lived in Manchester where the UK version was filmed and based around the gay scene there. It was a subject his parents’ friends had brought up a few times around him. From the conversations that went on around him at home and from looking at some of the description on the boxes, there was a fair amount of sex involved.
Dewi had just picked up another DVD case when Alex walked in.
"I’m sorry for being nosey."
"It’s fine, Justin won’t mind you having a look through the DVDs," Alex replied as he put down the drinks on the desk.
"I shouldn’t have done it without asking first."
"You’re fine honest. Did you see many you haven’t seen?"
"Yeah, I am surprised he has both versions of Queer as Folk. I’ve never seen them but I was in Manchester when the UK version came out."
"I haven’t seen the UK one so I don’t know why being in Manchester makes a difference."
"It was filmed around Canal Street in Manchester. My parents’ gay friends talked about it a bit so I was aware of it."
"Have you ever been down Canal Street?"
"A couple of times; not that you see much other than a few gay couples kissing in the street."
"Wow, how old were you when you went there?"
"Let’s see, I moved here in 2008 when I was around thirteen; and some of mom and dad’s friends took us down there that summer before we moved down here."
"I can’t believe you were able to go down there that age."
"It’s a family friendly area, well some of the pubs are. Some places are for over eighteens only, no exception."
"I’ve never seen anywhere like that. I wonder if Rick and Alan would be able to show us around there on the weekend?"
"That’s right, you’ll be up there for the game on Sunday. I still can’t believe you’re going to a game where you don’t support either team."
"I don’t think we’ve had confirmation yet that the tickets have come through but I like watching Premiership football and you don’t get much bigger game than Man U vs Chelsea."
"True, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be watching it on the telly with my dad. You never know I may get to see you and Justin on telly as well."
"I doubt it, we’ll probably be sitting up in the lap of the Gods where the players will look like little ants running around."
"It will still be a great atmosphere to take in. I’ve been to games like that before and it doesn’t matter which seat you’re in, you have a great time. That is if Man U win of course."
"I don’t care who wins, it’s going to be great just being there."
"Why don’t we crack on with the rest of this paper or we’ll never get it finished."
"Sounds like a good idea."
Dewi sat at the desk and began where he’d left off before their break and was already concentrating on one question when Alex came back in from the bathroom and got on the bed.
Alex was the first to finish the paper so he sat on the bed while he waited for Dewi to finish. It took Dewi another fifteen minutes before he had finished.
"How are we going to do this now?" asked Alex.
"Why don’t we swap papers and we’ll mark each other’s answers. I’ll read out the solution from the answer sheet and we’ll see how we do?"
It took them about twenty minutes to go through the whole paper and mark where they had gone wrong.
"Right, let’s swap back the papers so we have our own and compare," suggested Dewi.
As they compared the papers they found that Alex was stronger in certain areas and Dewi in others. Alex could point out exactly where Dewi had gone wrong with some of his answers as could Dewi with Alex. They were both stumped on a couple of the questions and couldn’t see how the answer was found.
"I think that’s enough for one day. Why don’t we pack it all up for tonight? There’s no point starting on another paper tonight, it’s too late," suggested Alex.
"Now that does sound good. What do we do now then?"
"We can talk some more while we play on one of Justin’s game consoles?"
"Sure. Have you got a game in mind?"
"Yeah, Justin has this tennis game and it’s like you’re playing on a real tennis court."
"I think I know the type. Ok, you set it up and I’ll put my things in my bag. Can I ask a personal question?"
"What do you want to know?"
"You mentioned yesterday that the reason for you moving in here was a long story and I understood why you wouldn’t want to go into it in the middle of town, but would I be able to hear it now?"
"I think there is less than a dozen people all told who know some or the entire story. My parents were heavily involved with their church and took a lot of the things in the Bible seriously. Jerry and I were not allowed to have many friends and the ones we were allowed were part of the Church’s congregation. My father was strict when it came to school. He believed that straight A’s were the only thing he wanted to see on a report card. So when you add all that together I was a loner in school. Outside of school the only kids I spoke to were Jerry and his friend Cal and, even though Jerry’s my brother I wasn’t close to them."
"So when I realised a few years ago that I wasn’t like other boys I had no one to go to and I knew it was a subject I couldn’t bring up with my parents. I ended up doing something to try and change myself but no matter how much I did it, the change never happened."
"Am I right in guessing that you realised you are gay?"
"What made you think you could change? What did you do to try and change?"
"It’s kind of difficult to get someone to understand what I was thinking at the time. As I said I was alone and I knew I fancied boys not girls and according to my parents, their Church and the Bible, it was a sin and wrong so I knew something had to change. What did I do? After an accident led me to see how the pain stopped me thinking about being gay I began to cut myself to stop thinking about it."
"A couple of weeks ago I got up on my birthday, which was never a happy day, began to cut my arm like normal and somehow slipped and cut deeper than I meant to. Jerry walked in at that point and I was taken to hospital. When we all got back from accident & emergency my father searched my room found my cutting kit and a magazine I’d kept hidden. The magazine was just a supplement for swim wear and underwear but my father realised what it meant. He threw me out of the house and later that day I met Sarah. With the help from a whole bunch of people, I’ve come to accept that being gay isn’t a bad thing."
"Wow. I can’t believe you’ve just told me that. I don’t mean that to sound like I disbelieve you, it’s just you hardly know me and you’ve told me all that."
"I guess David would say that it’s good for me to talk about it with people."
"Who is David?"
"He’s a therapist I’ve been seeing to help me. But he’s not the reason I’ve told you. I am very self-conscious about the scars on my arms."
"I didn’t see anything yesterday."
"I’ve become good at hiding them. I tend to wear long sleeves a lot and when I don’t I hide my arms behind my back. This is difficult to explain without you getting the wrong idea so please don’t assume the worst. You see it’s partly because of my scars that Justin asked you to meet us in the afternoon. He realised that if I went to the learner classes then I wouldn’t have the support around me in the pool like I did yesterday. When we decided to go swimming, Justin asked Rick and Alan to go with us, so I felt better about being there. He thought if I knew someone at the pool then I wouldn’t feel too bad. And because you were so nice in the pool and around our age, he asked you to meet us."
"So you just wanted me to help you in the pool?"
"No, that was just a part of it. Justin also thought you were a nice guy and worth getting to know better."
"And what did you think?"
"I know I’ve said it was all Justin’s idea to get to know you better and that’s true, I don’t have any experience of what to look for when it comes to making new friends. If it had been left up to me I wouldn’t have spoken to you much besides asking about the learner classes you mentioned. I do know this though, I’m glad Justin asked you to meet up with us. I think what you said yesterday about us being good friends was right and I’d like that regardless of whether you help me in the pool."
"People become friends for all different reasons. Justin saw me as a possible ally for you in the pool, I saw you in Starbucks as a study buddy. I’ll admit that I was surprised by Justin asking to meet up in town but after we’d spent a bit of time talking in Starbucks I was glad I went. I’m not concerned with why we started talking, it’s how we go forward that will define the type of friendship we have."
"Good, ready to try your hand at tennis then?"
Dewi had just beaten Alex when Justin came in.
"Hey guys, not doing a lot of revising I see."
"We’ve done one paper, perhaps you can have a look and tell us how they got the answers to a couple of the questions we couldn’t answer," asked Alex.
"Let’s see, I made a note of them so I could ask someone... There you go, it was these ones," said Alex as he showed Justin the questions he and Dewi needed help with.
"Ok, give me a couple of minutes to work these out and we’ll see if I get the right answers and then I’ll explain how I got there."
Alex and Dewi played another game of tennis while they let Justin work on the questions. When he was finished he checked the answers and then explained how to work out the answers.
"What time do you need or want to go home?" Justin asked after the other two understood where they’d gone wrong.
"My parents know I’m here to study with Alex. They don’t tend to set curfews for me; I don’t go far enough usually to need one. What time do you want me to go? I don’t want to overstay my welcome."
"We could watch a film or do something else?" suggested Justin.
"It’s no good looking at me; I’m not the best person to look to for help on curfews," added Alex.
"Don’t worry about getting home, mom or dad will take you in the car."
"Watching a film sounds good then. Which one do you suggest?" asked Dewi.
"You’re the guest, you choose," said Justin.
"Ok, let’s see, do we want comedy, horror, romance or action?"
"We’ll leave that entirely up to you," replied Justin.
While Dewi spent a few minutes checking some of the DVD cases out, Alex went to the bathroom. When he came back, the telly was set up and the other two were sitting on the bed.
"It can be uncomfortable sitting on the chair for a long time when you’re not working at the desk so I suggested that if he was ok with it, Dewi should sit on the bed with us to watch the film."
"Ok," responded Alex a little surprised.
"We also agreed that we’d watch the film with the lights off just like in the cinema," added Dewi.
"If that’s what you guys want, I’m ok with it," said Alex as he sat on the bed next to Dewi while Justin went to switch the light off.
Justin sat on the bed the other side of Alex, resting his head on Alex’s shoulder as he pressed play on the DVD remote before holding his hand.
Despite saying he was ok with it, Alex was very nervous being this close to Dewi so soon after he’d come out to him, especially with the lights off. He was afraid Dewi might think he’d try and do something inappropriate so he was glad he hadn’t been involved in the discussion about the lights and seating arrangement but that didn’t make him feel any easier.
The opening credits told Alex the film was called Get Real . The first scene made Alex even more uncomfortable as it was a teenage boy talking about the first time his friend told him how babies were made. Quickly followed by how this misconception was corrected in Secondary school by the sex education lessons then the main character rides up to a park bench outside a toilet building where he gets talking to an older man.
The film rolled on and Alex found it interesting to see how two teenage boys who had nothing to do with each other in school, could fall in love and deal with the problems of being in the closet in a school environment while still trying to be a couple.
Alex became engrossed with the film and completely forgot about being close to Dewi. There were parts of the film that made Alex really horny. As the film ended Alex felt let down, he had been hoping the boys would be able to find a way to make it work and live happily ever after.
"What did you think Dewi? Was it what you expected?" asked Justin as he got up to put the light on.
"I wasn’t completely sure what I was expecting."
"So what made you choose that one?" Justin replied.
"After Alex mentioned about being gay earlier, I read the cover and thought this might give me a bit of an insight into what it might have been like for him in school. Was it anything like you’re time in school?"
"I don’t think so, I mean I can see some similarities, Steven got bullied by some boys but he also had a small group of friends he could go to, and he was comfortable with his sexuality. It’s only since I’ve moved in here that I’ve accepted mine."
"Can I ask you something Justin?"
"What do you want to know Dewi?"
"Am I barking up the wrong tree when I say you and Alex are a couple?"
"What makes you think that?"
"Well during the film I couldn’t help noticing how close you and Alex were, also there was something between the two of you yesterday in the pool, at the time I thought you could have been brothers."
"You’re right, I came out to Alex after he told me about himself, and just so you don’t worry about putting your foot in it, everyone in the house knows we’re a couple."
"And you’re parents are ok with it?"
"Sure they are."
"I think Sarah and Simon knew about Justin long before I came along and they were the first ones to bring up sex."
"So they’re ok with you guys doing it? Sorry, I shouldn’t have asked that."
"No, it’s fine to ask. The simple answer yes. They have said it’s ok for Alex to sleep in here with me whenever he wants and as often as he likes."
"Wow, I know my parents are broad minded but I don’t think I’d get them to let me bring a partner home and to share a bed with them."
"I’ve been comfortable with my sexuality since I knew all about it, so I’ve had a lot of practice at hiding it. Am I reading more into your last answer or are you gay as well?"
"You two have been completely honest with me so it’s only fair I am with you. I don’t think I’m gay, no that’s not right, I know I’m not gay, I fancy girls and I’ve had plenty of dreams involving them, but I am curious about what it’s like to have sex with another guy."
"So you think you’re bi?" asked Justin.
"I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that. I don’t look at you two, for example, and think ‘God he’s gorgeous’. I guess you could say I’m straight but curious."
"Have you and Alex discussed when you’re going to study together again?"
"No, I’ve enjoyed tonight and I’m looking forward to doing it more often, and that includes getting to know you a bit better Justin. But I work some evenings at the pool so until we break up for study leave we’ll only be able to meet up a couple of times a week."
"What evenings do you work?" asked Alex.
"Normally it’s Tuesday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday. I got tonight off because I changed shifts with someone so they could have yesterday off."
"So what about tomorrow, do you want to meet at your place or here again or would you rather have a night off?" Alex enquired.
"I don’t need a night off, I’ll get that on Thursday, are you’re parents ok with me spending the evenings here Justin? I don’t want to become a nuisance to them."
"You’re here to help Alex study, so as far as they are concerned you’re more than welcome."
"Have they told you that or are you making assumptions about what they’ll say?" queried Dewi.
"We can ask them if you like but I know what they’ll say, if you’re helping Alex, you’re welcome here any time."
"Ok, well then if you want to Alex, I’m happy to come here tomorrow."
"It’s fine with me but don’t feel you have to come here every time."
"There are two reasons coming here is better for me. The first is that we’d be more likely to get work done here than and my place and secondly Justin is here and he as a better DVD collection than I do."
"Well that’s sorted then, don’t worry about eating before you get here, you can have dinner with us like you did today," suggested Justin.
"Are you sure that’s alright?"
"You’ve got two choices, you can believe me or you can ask mom when we go down stairs."
"Right then, let’s go and see whether mom or dad is going to take you home tonight."
"Before we do, I want to say thanks to you both. I know to some people, this evening wouldn’t count as a fun time to them but I’ve enjoyed myself tonight and you two are the reason for it."
"I’ve done nothing other than put a film on," said Justin.
"That may be but you were the one who suggested we meet up yesterday and that led to tonight so you are a part of it. And Alex, you’ve told me things that were really personal when you didn’t have to and that shows a level of trust in me that I hope I can prove I deserve."
Justin moved closer to Dewi and hugged him. He held Dewi for a few seconds before pulling Alex into the hug as well.
"Now that everyone’s finished with the mushy stuff can we go downstairs?" asked Justin.
"Yeah, I’m ready to go," replied Dewi.
Alex and Dewi went into the living room while Justin stopped on his way down to see how Callum was settling in. When he walked into the living room, his parents were telling Dewi exactly what he had said about how he was welcome any time.
"Can one of you give Dewi a lift home? I know he doesn’t live that far away but it is getting late," Justin asked when the conversation broke.
"Why don’t you take him home?" asked Simon.
"Yeah, after you’d passed your test I called up the insurance and sorted it with them."
"How come you haven’t mentioned it before?"
"Because we’ve hardly seen you since and I’d forgotten all about it, if I’m honest."
"Does it matter which car I take or am I only insured to drive yours?"
"I’ve put you on your mother’s insurance because it’s more likely her car will be free for you to borrow now and again."
"My keys are hanging up in the usual spot, and if you want to take Alex along and drive around for a little that’s ok too," said Sarah.
"So are you coming?" asked Justin excitedly.
"Yeah," replied Alex getting caught up by Justin’s excitement.
"I know I shouldn’t have to say this, but be careful," said Simon.
"I will dad, and thanks."
"Thanks for having me."
"You’re welcome Dewi and we’ll see you tomorrow," replied Sarah.
The three boys left and Justin picked up the car keys before they went out to the car.
"The choice is yours Dewi; do we drive around for a bit or take you straight home?" Justin asked.
"I’m guessing you and Alex haven’t been in the car alone before. Right?"
"No we haven’t, the only time Justin’s driven and I’ve been in the car with him was just before his test and his dad was in the front seat."
"Well then I think I should sit in the back and you should take me home before the two of you go for a bit of a drive alone."
"You don’t have to do that, Justin and I get plenty of time alone together."
"Honestly it’s fine; I’ve got a couple of things I want to take care of before school tomorrow anyway."
"If that’s what you want, but tomorrow night we’re all going for a drive, deal?" asked Justin.
"Ok, deal," answered Dewi.
After a quick alteration to the seat and mirrors, Justin started the engine and drove the car to Dewi’s house. Just after he pulled away from the kerb, Justin turned the radio on and the boys listened to the music rather than talked.
Justin and Alex said a quick goodnight to Dewi as he got out of the car and Dewi replied with a ‘see you tomorrow’. With the car to themselves, Justin drove around for a little while before heading home. Unlike other teens their age, driving round and round the streets for hours didn’t appeal to Alex or Justin. Also unlike most of their contemporaries, the car wasn’t the only place they could make out with each other.
With the car parked and all locked up, Alex and Justin went into the house. When they went into the living room, they saw the three boys sitting there with Sarah and Simon.
"How did it go Alex? Did he scare you off learning to drive?" asked Simon.
"You were driving Justin?" Jerry asked.
"I passed my test last week. When I asked about mom or dad taking Dewi home dad said I could take him if I wanted. I wasn’t going to say no," replied Justin with a grin.
"Wow," said Jerry.
"So why are you guys down here?" asked Justin.
"We were waiting for you and Alex to come back so we could see if we could watch some telly with you before we go to bed?" asked Declan.
"Of course you can, you all go upstairs and I’ll be right behind you when I’ve got a drink for me and Alex."
Alex led the boys upstairs while Justin went out the kitchen before going upstairs.
As he was passing the living room Justin heard his name being called.
"Justin, can I talk with you a minute?"
"Sure dad, what’s up?"
"I didn’t want to mention this in front of the others but Rick called earlier. He said he’d got a call today from Thom to say they’ve managed to get hold of tickets for Sunday’s game. He also said that there’s a spare ticket if you can think of someone else who’d like to go."
"Thanks dad, I’ll have a talk with Alex later and see if we can work out who else we want to take and I’ll call Rick or Alan tomorrow and let them know. Night dad, night mom."
"Night son," answered Simon and Sarah.
Justin’s mind was whirling as he went up the stairs wondering who would want to see the game. Who could they take without upsetting others? He hadn’t found any answer when he walked into his room.
"So what are we going to watch?" Justin asked as he passed Alex his drink.
"It’s pretty late so we don’t want something too long or we’ll have to stop it half way through," replied Declan.
"I think I’ve got something we can watch, it’s a series about two brothers who hunt demons," said Justin.
"What’s it called?" asked Jerry.
"Supernatural," he replied.
"I’ve seen some of them before, they’re pretty good," added Declan.
"Ok, so that’s sorted, now we just need to work out where everyone’s going to sit," added Justin.
"I’m ok in the chair," said Declan.
"I’m better on the floor," chimed Jerry.
"I’ll sit with Jerry and then you and Alex can have the bed," said Callum.
Justin got the disc out of the box and put it in the player then switched the light off and got on the bed cwtching up to Alex.
When the first episode ended the boys all agreed it was time to turn in. Justin gave Declan the alarm clock he’d mentioned earlier and showed them how to use it. As it ran on batteries it didn’t matter where in the room they wanted to put it.
Declan and Callum helped Jerry get up off the floor and with the alarm clock in hand went down to their room.
"I’ve got a problem I hope you can help me with," said Justin when the boys were out of earshot.
"What’s up Sunshine?"
"When I was coming up with the drinks just now, dad called me and told me Rick phoned earlier. They’ve got the tickets for Sunday’s game."
"That’s great, but what’s the problem?"
"Rick said there’s a spare ticket. So who do we take with us?"
"I don’t think it’s fair to choose between Dec, Cal or Jerry. I mean I know of the three Dec is the one more into football but I think it would be unfair to Cal and Jerry to leave them behind."
"So we just leave the ticket go to waste?"
"What about if we asked Dewi? He’s a Man U fan and he said he’d love to go."
"I don’t know, I know to Thom and Rory, you and I are strangers, but we’re family to Rick and Alan, Dewi hasn’t even spoken to them. And then there’re the sleeping arrangements and the breakfast routine to think about."
"I hadn’t thought about the sleeping arrangements. Plus didn’t Dewi say he works on Saturdays?"
"Swapping shifts doesn’t seem to be a problem for him, why don’t we talk to Rick and Alan and ask them what they think? I don’t think Rory and Thom would have mentioned the extra ticket if they didn’t have room for one more person to sleep there. We’ll just have to miss out on the eating breakfast naked until they move down here."
"Is it too late to call Rick?"
"No, I suppose it’s better to try and sort it tonight," replied Justin as he went to get his phone from his desk.
After a few seconds, "Hi Rick... Yeah dad’s told me about the spare ticket, that’s why I’m calling... before Alex and I ask someone we thought we should ask you and Alan about a couple of things...one of them would be the sleeping arrangements... I thought there’d be somewhere for them to sleep but it’s good to know... we also wondered about the breakfast routine, would it bother people wearing clothes to eat?... ok... do you need to know who we want to come with us?... I’ll talk to you as soon as I know what’s happening then and thanks again from both of us for getting the tickets... bye."
"So what’s the other side of that conversation?"
"I’m sorry baby; I could have put that on speaker so you’d hear. The sleeping arrangements won’t be set in stone until we’ve all had a chat together but there’s enough bed space for seven people in one way or another."
"What does that mean?"
"No idea, we’ll find out on Saturday. As for the no clothes for breakfast, that’s another thing that we can talk about when we’re all together but Rick doesn’t think it would be a problem if one of us is uncomfortable with the idea."
"When does he need to know?"
"As long as they were ready to go for one o’clock on Saturday it didn’t matter who it was."
"So that’s when we’re going?"
"Yeah, we’ll be at Rory and Thom’s around five."
"Sounds good, do we ask Dewi if he’d like to go then?"
"No, it was you who thought of him and I think it would be better if you asked him. It’s up to you if you want to leave it until I’m there but it’s your call."
"Are you up to a bit of fun before we go to sleep or do we wait for the morning?"
"Tonight and maybe tomorrow as well," Alex replied with a grin.
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