The next day we showered and ate breakfast and Con put some aloe vera on my sunburn and bites it eased the sting immensely. I put some light clothing on and we went to the hospital, it was a bit full on the other day so I hope everyone's calmed down a bit but Dave's got to be feeling down, he wouldn't be human if he wasn't. We bought some flowers and a card but it felt like I was celebrating Dave's loss instead of grieving with him. He would start some therapy in a couple of days, then the long hard road to getting back on his feet but within eight weeks he should be up on his prosthetic foot. He's lucky it was just one, if that wing had gone over three inches further he would have been well and truly stuffed.
He was looking good, his color was perfect and he had a big smile on his face as he greeted us and I felt no sense of sadness from him.
"They are just beautiful guys, thank you, can you put them in a vase for me please Brent?"
I grabbed an empty jar off the shelf and walked into the bathroom to fill it with water, popping the big bunch of flowers in I then placed them with the many others in his room.
Conner was talking to him and I casually picked up the newspaper with the headline, 'Pilots grateful to Flight Attendant.'
I read the article and it was all wrong, I hadn't seen any of the newspapers and this was the first one I had read, come to think of it, Ray hadn't dropped any off this morning as he usually does.
I re-read the article and looked through the paper but it was all bullshit, I involuntarily sighed.
Conner and Dave were looking at me but I didn't know what to say.
"You're not supposed to read that or anything that's been written Brent, most of it is bullshit," Con groaned.
"It's all wrong Conner, Dave, it's all bullshit, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you two wonderful guys. I have to put this right, do you have any more newspapers Dave?"
I started looking through the pile of magazines.
"Baby, don't read anymore of that crap, it's all twisted out of whack, Ray is writing a response to it all and he's doing an interview for the news sometime today."
"Because the company has to reply to this rubbish and he's the head man," Con said.
I looked at Davo and he was trying to smile but looked flustered.
"What did the others say Con?"
"Not much baby, you know what they are like. I guess nobody really knows what went on, Davo was out to it and Phil was focused on his well being and your's so he didn't say much. He knows whatever he says will be twisted so we are just waiting for the crash report to come in, they already know it was the jet's engines, mainly the port one so we are letting them do their job."
"Okay, then I'll set this story straight Davo, it's not correct," I sort of whined.
"Brent it doesn't matter to us if it's right or wrong, it's the truth in our minds that matters, we are quite happy, you are being praised as a hero and to us you are."
"But it's not the truth Dave, it's a long way off the truth."
"In your mind Brent, only in your mind,"Dave insisted.
I shut up and started cleaning up his magazines while thinking of my next step.
"I will start some therapy tomorrow, then we go from there, I should be back in the air within two months boss, it's going to take awhile before the insurance pays out though."
"It's taken care of Davo, I've given Ray instructions to get a new one, well a used new one, but the decision is to be made by you and Phil, whatever transpires, I want you to look it over and test fly it," Con asked.
"Thank you Conner, I was thinking along the same lines as the old one but newer, the jets on that one were a bit old but I never thought in a million years they were that bad. I think the last guy didn't service it very well, it showed when we lost the first jet engine, the second one should have coped with the loss of power, anyway I'll leave it up to the investigators." He looked tired so we said our goodbyes but before we left we asked what time Phil was turning up.
"He won't be in here for a day or two, he's staying at Mary's, he knows it's the best place for him and I've told the nurses not to let him in."
"Oh my God, don't do that Dave, he needs to know you are going to be okay, it will be agony for him not to be able to see or hold you, please have a re-think," I urged him.
"I will take your advice then doctor Brent, it's just that I have things to think about and he's hard to get to calm down when he's here," he laughed hesitantly.
"What things Dave, do you want to talk to me because I sure as hell want to talk to you and I'm guessing so does Phil. I get that you want to move on but it's hard for Phil, he saw it happen, he lived it, he felt it, he was the pilot, he got us on the ground safely and he saved our lives and he needs to know that," I said.
"Point taken mate, I guess I'm not helping by being brave," he answered.
"You are braver than you think but for the wrong reason Davo, Phil wasn't alone in that cockpit but he was when it hit, you have to let him talk and maybe baby you for awhile, at least until the memory fades."
"I was trying not to break in his presence, that's all Brent. You're right, I'm not brave and my mate didn't have his head blown off, I was shit scared and I just didn't want Phil to feel bad for me. I know he saved our lives, now I feel like a real prick," he said with tears running down his cheeks.
"Ring him and tell him that Dave, he can't do this on his own, you're a team, you need him as much as he needs you." I kissed his forehead and Conner and I left him to his inner demons.
"Do you think we should go and see Phil now Brent?"
"No, I think he will be here very shortly, his main problem is he shields people, he makes it easier for people to exist around him, and Dave's not helping. Phil needs to hug him and make sure he's safe but Dave's resisting because he doesn't want to make it seem that he's weak.
"And you baby?"
"I need a pizza and a young man to sit with me for an hour or two, do you feel like going over to the park tonight?"
"Of course, anything you want Brent."
"I'm okay, you know, I knew you would be all right, I felt it, I think I would have known like Papua that something was really wrong, I nearly went mental then but this time I just knew."
"Okay, we will talk about it tonight."
And that's what we did. I drove us to our park and we sat and talked for a few hours and decided if either one of us gets kinda crazy we would call Mary immediately but then a guy started masturbating behind a tree, not too far from us.
"Want to get that Con?"
"No, allow me, you first."
I started to get up but he pulled me down and in no time I was being kissed deeply. We made love when we got home and later I checked my messages, Phil had sent a thank you note.
I wanted to talk to Ray sometime today and Conner had his little group to teach so we decided I would drop Conner off before I went to see Ray and when I got back we could go talk to Father Thomas about the boys. Con tried to find out why I wanted to see Ray but I just said it was some unfinished, work related business, of course he didn't believe me.
We pashed in the car for awhile then he proceeded to go inside, slinging his guitar over his shoulder so I waited until he closed the door behind him and then drove to the office.
I was hugged, patted on the back and kissed by a lot of the staff and it was getting a bit awkward but luckily Ray scattered his staff to the four winds, except the tea lady, yes there is still a tea lady, a bit old fashioned and pleasantly quaint.
"Are you really okay Brent?"
"Yes Ray I am, I knew I would be all right and I really didn't have time to panic or think of dying, we came down so fast," I explained.
"Alright then but please remember John and I are only next door if you need us. Now what can I do for you today?"
"Can you record our conversation Ray, I need to tell you something but I really don't want to repeat it again when it's done and dusted?"
"Strange request Brent, do I need to know anything before we start?"
"No Ray, I have a plan."
"Go for it, the recorder is on."
I talked about the accident, what I felt earlier, the scraping feeling, then the next one, the cleaning up and the bump on my leg, every little detail I could remember. Then I went into detail of what I did for Dave and then I started on Phil. I said he was one of the finest pilots in the world, he didn't panic but he played everything by the book, he glided that jet down to the ground, lifted it's nose and did a belly flop in the red dust. He was the real hero and both his co-pilot and I owed our lives to him. I added while all this was happening, I didn't for one heart beat feel threatened because I knew two of the most wonderful men had my life in their hands and if you ask me, they both deserve a medal.
I went on about my stupid plan to find a better phone signal but apart from sunstroke, a bad case of bites and sunburn, I knew I would be found because I had God on my side, you don't go through something like that to lose your life on an anthill.
"Thank you for recording this for me Ray, now can you get one of your clever secretaries to put it all in an open letter and send it to every newspaper in the country?"
"Are you sure, you don't want to run this past Phil and Dave or even Conner?"
"No, I don't think so Ray," I smiled.
"Now can you get me the Prime Minister's number, I have to talk to him about medals," I chuckled.
"Already been done Brent, Conner started the ball rolling last week, and no, he didn't mention you."
"I'll get one of the girls to type it up and you can look at it before it goes off."
"It's okay Ray, you know the story so I'll leave it in your capable hands."
"Now can we talk about university scholarships?"
"Already in the works," he smiled.
I kissed his cheek as he felt my ass while chuckling to himself, then I left for the church.
"Well you have two very bright lads in your class Conner, one is Abe and the other is Tan," Father Thomas said.
Abe is breathing only because his grandmother took him in, she does it tough but we help where we can. His grades are straight A's and he will be sixteen soon but is already looking for a job in the take away shops because that's what he thinks is all he can do. His need to share the load with his gran is great and he actually excels in computer science, he's already written three programs that apparently are vibrant and new but he needs money to fine tune them. If he gets a scholarship he will have the resources to finish them and who knows what kind of money that will generate. The ball is in your court with that one, he's an angry young man who thinks he's going to push trollies around for the rest of his life.
Tan is a nearly sixteen year old that badly wants to be a pilot of all things but he needs to go to university to achieve that. He's clever, not quite in Abe's league at school but he is brainy, he picks things up quickly and you probably know that by the way he quickly learnt to play the guitar. He lives with his mum who is an ummm streetwalker, but she does look after him and he's her first priority, there's always food in the cupboard and he's never left alone or with the wrong people. There was an episode awhile back where a neighbor was found fondling him but he was charged and is now in jail.
Ron already has a job in his father's garage but Steve is lost to his motorbike and he will follow his father into the bike gang, the rest are too young to worry about as yet, they are not abused physically just mentally but they know if they want to talk, my door is always open."
"What if we ask Mary to come talk to them once a week, do you reckon they would accept that?" I asked.
"Probably, she's good and I know Abe has already been talking to her so that would be great."
Conner was deep in thought; he didn't want to throw money at the kids because if they get what they want then they may not appreciate what they are working towards.
"Alright, we can start on Abe, I'll get Ray to send him an invitation to receive a scholarship on behalf of the company and he can say his name came up in a school search as a successful student or something like that. We can pay his uni fees and give him a small allowance then when he comes to the interview we can offer him a job in our IT department part time. What do you think Brent?"
"Sounds good to me, see, that was easy," I smiled.
"Now Tan, maybe he's a bit young for uni but he's not too young to fly, I think we can offer him a small job maybe as work experience and then if his mum agrees, he can do some flights and sit with Phil and Dave, just to learn the different controls, of course he can't touch anything."
"Con, he could get a student's pilot license when he turns sixteen, he could also go to uni then under special circumstances."
"Google Conner, I googled it last year, see, I did think about improving my conditions, I should get a big bonus for even thinking about it," I said leering into his baby blues.
"If you want a big bonus then I will give you one when we get home."
"Boys," Father shouted and clapped his hands.
"Woops, sorry father," Conner said as he bowed his head.
"Sorry father," I mirrored his apology.
"That's better, now do you want me to start files on the boys and do you want me to contact Mary?"
"Yes please father and if there's anything that looks suspicious, could you please let us know a.s.a.p. And we will deal with it, like abuse, also, it's not restricted to the music class boys, it's for anyone you think needs a leg up, okay?" Con asked.
"Good, all good and thank you for your donations Conner,they are a God send."
"My bloody pleasure father." They shook hands and we left for home, Conner showed me his big bonus on the way.
"Con, I'm driving so don't do that, someone will see you."
"No they won't, put your hand on it Brent, go on."
I looked at him sideways and thought,'oh what the hell,' my hand was playing with it all the way home; it was hot and very rigid.
He couldn't walk properly but managed to get the key into the wrought iron gate that locked us away from the world. No, not even a by your leave, his jeans were down the instant the door closed and God this guy has got some weird fantasies, oh well, better do my job and make him happy. I fell to my knees and started sucking away to my hearts content, shortly after Con had drowned my face with his cum and I had made a mess on the floor.
We talked to Ray and John that night about the boys and Ray said he would get started on it in the morning. The scholarship invitations were ready to go so he will give it the once over and place Abe's name on one and send it out to him.
He looked at me and I nodded my okay.
"Your letter has been sent, I got Peg to elaborate on it just a little and she put form and a little punch into it at her suggestion, it's good Brent, she's the best."
He handed me a copy and I put it on the table, John was feeding us again so the meal was ready, Conner looked at my letterand I knew he was dying to find out what it was but I snatched it up and folded it in two, then filed it in my pocket.
"You can read it later Con, let's eat for now."
"K," he answered.
"So what's my favorite little rock star going to do with himself for the next few years Con?" John asked.
Conner thought about it for a minute while he formed his answer in his head then he filled his mouth with vegetables.
After he chewed them to death he started, "I'm going to write songs, record them, make albums and sit on my fat arse and do nothing. I would like to go back to Paris and maybe holiday in the south of France, I believe Speedos are mandatory on the beaches there, I think Brent would be popular in his, but what I would really, really like is for Brent to marry me."
"What?" I shrieked.
"Well I would like to get the family together and fly to Canada and have a civil marriage like Phil and Dave's. It's not recognized here but it's the best thing I can think of that even comes close to being married, so I want a big lavish wedding with my man and with my family present."
He took some more mashed potato and drowned it in tomato sauce while John gasped.
I couldn't say anything, my stomach was in knots and of course my eyes were moist.
I struggled to even get a sound out.
"Well do you want to get married or not?"
"Yes Con, more than anything, anything," I blurted out.
"Well then let's do it."
"Yes, let's do it," I squeaked out.
"Any more rissoles John?" Con asked and continued eating.
"He will do it for me Brent, he's stopped working from home but I got to know him really well after I did some work for him. He's the best and a beautiful man, I will make the appointment and come with you, just another look at Daniel Lawrence is worth putting up with Conner's crazy jokes."
I was talking to Di about the wedding and wanted to see if I could get Cody Mitchell to do our suits for the occasion.
"I remember Daniel Lawrence, I was so in love with him, I had his footy posters all over my walls, is he still hot?"
"Hot and sizzling Brent, awesome body and looks, their friends are beautiful too, but don't just focus on Dan baby, Cody's one mother fucker of a gorgeous piece of ass too," she giggled, then added,
"Better than your rock star."
"Never honey, never, my rock star is beautiful, have you seen those eyes?"
"No, been too busy looking at that big cock honey," she shrieked.
"And anyway, wait until you see Cody's green ones, but don't touch honey, they only look at Dan."
"Oh Di, I love you."
"Me too you hun, me too."
"Well it's early stages at the moment, we have to work out a date and the wedding party, fuck me, I have to get cracking, there's so much to do."
"Honey please, if I know your blue eyed boy like I think I do, he's already on top of it."
"Okay Di, will see you soon, love you."
"Bye hun, talk soon, love you to the moon and back."
She hung up and I was starting to get a little panic on, deep breaths Brent, deep breaths.
Con had to go into work so I was tagging along for the day, I had let him read the open letter last night but he didn't say much, just held me and kissed me. It was in this mornings papers and I have to thank Peggy for the great job she did on it, very professional. My letter was on page three; there were no crazy comments from the editor, just the letter and I hoped that whoever read it would get a clearer picture of what happened.
"Hi Ray, is Peggy around?"
"Last booth on the left Brent, I think she's there or she will be at the water fountain," he said.
I left Conner with Ray and walked up to the last booth.
"Yes Brent, that's me."
"I just wanted to thank you for the work you did for me, it is brilliant, a very heartfelt thank you."
"Give me a hug Brent."
She stood up and I hugged her, kissing her cheek in the process.
"You want to hang out with me at the water fountain?"
"Sure, you want water or aqua?" We laughed as she led me to the tearoom and we helped ourselves to a cup of coffee. Sitting with this young, bubbly girl I couldn't help thinking Conner really does surround himself with beautiful people, her personality was so infectious.
We had a heart to heart about the accident and my letter/reply to the newspapers.
She thought I was being very brave doing it and I told her I had no choice, that Phil and Dave were the real heroes. She let slip that all was taken care of, they have been selected to receive a special commendation of an Australian bravery award each and they will receive their medals soon at Government house. I was over the moon; finally someone was listening to me.
We finished our talk and I went to find Conner.
"But Brent doesn't want that Ray."
"Brent doesn't want what Con?"
"Oh that," I smirked.
"Are we done here Ray?"
"Yes and no, you have to think of another name for the scholarship Conner, I presume your name won't be displayed?"
"Why don't you call it the Brenton Walsh Scholarship and stop being such drop kicks about it," I suggested.
Conner's jaw dropped.
"Coming, drop kick number one?" I said.
Rays jaw dropped.
I took Con's elbow and led him to the lift while waving at Helen as we passed.
He kept looking at me on the way home so I pulled into a car park along Chapel Street, turned the car off and put my hand on his shoulder.
"That is what you wanted to call it, isn't it?"
"Umm yes Brent, we were trying to find a way of getting you to accept it." He hung his head.
"All right. One, it's a really good thing you are doing, I do understand you don't put your name to anything concerning charities, in a way it's appropriate and mirrors us as a couple, so all's good. Two, but I won't be nude on your next album cover," I laughed.
He took my hand and said,
"Thank you." A standard Conner reply, but genuine.
"Ask me why I'm parked here?"
"Why are you parked here Brent?" He looked perplexed at my question.
"Look to your left."
He looked and the penny dropped, a Dairy Bell ice cream shop.
"Let's go," he said.
"Put your cap on Con."
He did and I fluffed his blond locks and touched his face in the process.
"I love you."
"I love you too," he answered.
With a very large hot chocolate fudge sundae under our belts there were no plans for dinner, Con and I showered and changed, we had to go see how Dave was and we figured early evening was the best because he would be doing his therapy sessions during the day.
Phil was there and we hugged him, he looked a lot better and was very humbled by my letter, he said they didn't deserve it. I thought he might just think that.
"You know what Phil, Dave, you're right, you don't deserve it, you didn't do anything to save three lives, nothing was done, the jet just fell out of the sky and belly flopped across a mile of desert on its own, saving the lives within, yep the jet saved us."
"He's got a point there Phil," Conner chuckled.
I got stared at for a few seconds then hugged again.
"The only thought I had was to keep David and you safe Brent, that's all I remember."
"Well you did and I'm sure so did Dave before he was knocked out."
Adam and Rob had arrived mid sentence and were waiting to say hello to the boys so I side stepped Phil's gaze and let them by. Adam hugged us both and I put my hand out.
"Fuck off Brent, it's getting tired."
"Oh okay," I blushed.
I had better come up with something else to annoy Adam with, I just can't let him off too easily for dobbing me in for the social club gig.
Everyone was laughing and still talking about the accident when we left and I detected a shift in Phil and Dave's relationship, it seemed more bonded, more complete and I couldn't wait for them to get back on the horse and fly me into the sunset, I mean fly me over to Canada so I can marry my guy.
Within the next two months the company acquired a new jet and it was awesome, just a little bigger than the old one. It had two private rooms and of course Adam put his name on one of them. The interior was much bulkier and more luxurious and Dave, who by now was on walking sticks, supervised its first service in the Qantas hangar. He had been fitted with a new ankle and foot but it is early days yet so he rested his stump as much as he could. When he had the foot on, he looked and walked quite normally but it ached some, which is understandable. Phil said he was sexier and easier to catch; Dave smiled out of the corner of his mouth.
Abe had received his very generous offer and accepted it, he was a changed boy and so was his gran, he brought her along to the interview with Ray but it was just a formality. He has a very protective woman in his life that asked many questions but she was in shock I think when they left, he would start his uni courses next month, just about the time when I start back at work.
The boys put the jet through its paces and scrutinized its history thoroughly and we would do something about Tan after we have done a few flights, maybe Tom would like to fly with us, someone a little older than him but on the same level. My brain was working overtime but somehow those blue eyes kept me grounded. Strumming his guitar out the backyard one beautiful day, he was singing the same verse over and over, I guess trying to fill in the next line but it wasn't coming, I listened to the words while I did the washing.
'It's impossible to imagine you as anything more than perfect.'
I mulled it over and had a vision, well a scene flashed by of the time I had looked out the jet window when we were going down, I hadn't remembered it until now but way beyond the dust and the noise, I remembered seeing a glorious sky.
So I put pen to paper and while I was going to the clothesline with an armful of wet clothes, I handed Con the note.
"This might help." I had added to his words.
'And when I look to the sky and see the glory in God's gifts, I always see your smile.'
"Wha?" He quickly looked at me.
I hummed the tune as I pegged his favorite shirt.
"Con, it stinks, I had to wash it so don't go the, 'Oh, but it's my lucky shirt,' it's grubby!"
I smiled as he watched me walk back to get more clothes.
His big arms snaked around me while I stood and waited for the kettle to boil.
"I love you so much."
"Not as much as I love you Conner Wilson, not nearly as much."
I turned and kissed him.
It became a game with Con and I, we would leave slips of paper around the house accompanied with a pen, a few lines of a poem would be written and I would write the next line, it wasn't I decided for his songs, it was a gesture of his love, so I played the game and wrote some seriously heavy words.
I was a little bored with my quiet life and wanted to get back into the skies, Ray had organized a meeting with Phil and Davo and they went through the new plane's insurance and set up, it's capacity, weights; which was twice that of the old jet, assorted other things then he handed my boys each an envelope.
"Be there guys, it's important."
They were invitations to government house for a special awards day where they would be presented with a,'Special Service to the Community,' medal. Their medals were for saving the life of a fellow worker with no thought for their own safety.
"This is for you Brent."
I opened it and gasped, it was a personal letter from the Prime Minister, he was congratulating me on my efforts to save a fellow worker from certain death, he said he was proud that I was an Australian and he wished me a long and happy life.
Well I didn't really expect that one.
The guys read it and shook my hand; Phil hugged me and said a thank you in my ear. I shuddered at the thought that all three of us could have been killed that day but thanks to God, it never happened.
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