Never Give Up
"I'm not going to go now, you can get fucked," Tim was yelling at Donny.
"You can't come into the change rooms baby, they won't allow it."
"Well I'm not going then."
I rolled my eyes at Dan who was getting his bag from the hallway cupboard.
He chuckled as Donny exited their bedroom all red faced and on fire.
"He thinks he's going to help me get ready Dan, what the hell?" Donny spat out.
"Want me to talk to him?" Dan asked.
"No, Codes can you make sure he comes to the game?" Don pleaded.
"All sorted Donny, you go and good luck, I hope they play you," I said.
As I kissed my Dan and rubbed his iron bum for luck Tim arrived looking very pleased with himself.
"You okay baby?" I asked.
"Yes dad but it's not fair, this is his first game and I need to be there with him."
"Don't worry about it Tim." I then turned to Donny and said,
"You got your cock ring on Bubby?"
Donny blushed or I thought he did, it's hard to tell with this kid, his face was always red.
"Dad!" Tim shouted.
"Well if he has then a little piece of you goes with him baby."
"Let's go Dan, is Uncle Jamie coming with us?" Donny asked.
"Yes Bubby and Uncle Tom."
"They are allowed in the change rooms so why can't I be there too?" Tim whined on.
"Stop whining Timmy, you're starting to sound like your Uncle Luke," I said as I spied Luke coming upstairs.
"I don't whine Cody Mitchell, it's not in my nature but if Jamie takes me into the change room I will give him a nice massage tonight."
"Oh Luke, give it up," Jamie said.
"Oh, but Jamie I want to, I really need to be there to protect you from the big bad boys," Luke did whine.
We all turned and looked at Tim, he shrugged.
"God your weird Uncle Luke," Tim shrugged then added,
"Well a guy's got to try at least, get your camera dad, let's go."
He kissed Donny very passionately and stroked his cheek and the boys left.
Jamie and Tom were allowed full access to the club and they are kind of heroes for the younger players so it's good they want to support the younger up and coming stars. We will be in the club's corporate box today, it was getting a bit chilly and I felt the need to protect Luke. He was a lot better but being the protective brother I thought it best. I wasn't too happy when we arrived and saw the coach's son, Shaun, with his two mates sitting in the same box.
We all grabbed a seat, Rory and Bobby were with us and Donny's grandmother and auntie were there to meet us. They were lovely people and if it wasn't for them, Donny wouldn't have had the loving childhood he deserved; they also helped Tom in so many ways and were both in love with Tim, always have been.
The game started and my Dan looked awesome strutting around the ground. He kicked the first goal then went quiet. The game wasn't going well and our boys were being stopped at every turn. The opposition kicked two more goals but the crowd went crazy when Dan almost ran the full length of the ground and kicked his second screamer.
We all slapped hands while Tim moved to the front to take some pictures.
Cam was played then Donny in the last five minutes. The camera was working overtime; Tim tried to get every angle.
It was because of Donny that Dan kicked his third goal. The ball was passed to him and he ran like the wind and punt kicked the ball to Dan who was within the goal square. He turned, then gently kicked an easy goal.
He and Donny hugged on the ground along with some other players, John and Matty included. I heard it first and it wasn't subtle but I heard it coming from that insufferable kid at the back. "Fucking poofter, just like his father."
Luke looked at me and shook his head.
Okay, there's a lot of that at football games and mainly it's said in fun but when Shaun said it, it was different, maybe a bit insulting. It started a barrage from his mates, they went on and on about girls playing a man's game.The insults were not very nice and uncalled for; it was his team that was playing after all.
I noticed Tim arc up, he put the camera back into it's bag then started to walk over to them. We all heard it and boy did we ever hear it.
"Listen here you uneducated, insignificant fool, wasn't it you being the big girl when you kissed me on the beach when we were smaller and you ran off to your mummy when Donny hit you. Then you came back and hugged me and kissed my mouth; did I just dream that you fool? And didn't you try it again when we hit high school?, It sure wasn't me that tried to grab your cock Shaun, but I detected you had a boner in the bleaches that day. Oh sorry, was that for me? Becky saw it too so leave off with your insults mate. You forget I know the real you. The person you try so hard to hide from your arrogant, dickhead mates." He pointed to Shaun. "The real you I know and soon the whole school will know too but not from me," he gave the other two a smile.
Shaun went a beetroot red and was lost for words. I looked over to Tom's mum and she was talking to the security guard, he quietly removed the three boys from the ground.
"I guess I'm not needed anymore Luke, I think Tim sorted that one out," I giggled.
"Oh you're still needed Squirt, after all this time still nobody likes doing the dishes," he laughed loudly.
It was quarter time and Tim was flicking through his photos. I sat with him; they were good, very good.
"You okay baby?"
"Of course dad, he had it coming. I wasn't going to say anything because of what Donny would do to him but he did kiss me at school and tried to grope me. I was embarrassed because he was the coach's son, and you know I loved Donny, it wasn't even on my radar at the time but ever since it happened he changed into a brat. He had it coming, now his mates know what he's like maybe he will get a little of his own back from them," he said with an evil grin.
The coaches were so pleased with Donny's performance he was played in the last three quarters for ten minutes each, his grandmother and aunty along with the rest of us were so proud of him. He's going to be a star and the connection with my Dan was electric. They played off each other to the point the game was captured back from the opposition. When Donny kicked a goal, time stopped for me and Luke remembering Jamie's first game; we hugged and jumped up and down like schoolgirls.The arena went wild and the fans were very pleased. We won the first game of the season and the celebrations continued at the ground long after the opposing team's fans went home. We all headed for the Player's bar to wait for our boys, but Tom's mum and sister went home, they were bushed.
I invited them for a barbecue the next day but they declined but we will catch up again soon.
While we sat in the bar I flicked through the photos Tim had taken, he was good, very good indeed. I looked at him and started to say how good they were when he interrupted me.
"I guess this is as good a time as any dad, yes I'm going to study photography and the arts," he grinned.
"Well done son, well done," I was so proud of him.
He had found his calling and by the look of his photos he's going to earn a good living from his art. He became the club's unofficial photographer after I showed the secretary his photos of the game. They paid him well for each photo which would be posted on the club's website and used for promotions.
Trent told him about the paparazzi websites where you can upload your pictures for sale. Tim began his career early and quite a few of his photos were used for advertising, mostly they were taken on our beach.
I have to thank that little rascal Rory for that; he was the one that put Tim's first camera in his hands.
The boys arrived and were really pumped. Donny was a star and as he blushed his way through his newfound fans back slapping, he finally flopped down into a chair next to Tim. He leaned over and smiled, Tim blushed, then he did the happy dance sitting down and quietly he sang,
"I got me a footy star just like my dad, I got me a footy star just like my dad, yeah me!" he laughed.
There's a lot of that going around lately, Dan was staring at me like he hadn't seen me before, his eyebrow was working overtime.
I thought 'okay'.
"I got me a footy star just like my son," I said as I did the dance and giggle.
"That's better Squirt," Dan smiled.
Autographs were always the go in the bar many of the fans were coming and going, Donny had the girls gushing and Dan did a fair amount of them but the excitement was wearing off, we were feeling a bit tired, as it had been a big day.
I don't know whether Tim told Donny about Shaun's behavior but I'm guessing he just let it slide.
Working for Armani I had a lot of time on my hands, occasionally emails from different designers would come through and I would look at the better ones and if I thought an outfit could do well I forwarded it on to Jacques who usually thanked me and used it.
The second week into the season I got my first email with an attachment from a school kid who lived further north from us, it read,
'Dear Mr. Mitchell,
I am a friend of William Zuen and my name is Melody.
William has been a friend of mine since kindy, he's a really cool guy.
Last year his mum and dad died in a car accident that left Will sad and lonely, he now lives with his grandmother. He is alone now except for me, he's been hit, bashed and bullied all throughout school and doesn't have any confidence left at all. I think it is because he is part Asian that people don't like him, but I think he's beautiful.
I have attached some of his drawings; he's always drawing some outfit. I have secretly borrowed them from him to send to you, he doesn't know.
I want to ask if you can you look through his sketches and see if there is anything you think that's good, that you can have made up for him as a present. I can pay you for it; he loves Rory's and your labels so much.
He is a small boy's size ten. Please can you help cheer up my friend?
By the way he is fifteen like me.
She added her address and phone number.
My heart fell.
I opened the attachment and there were literally dozens of designs. I instantly decided after a short look, that Rory needs to be in on this, so I phoned him.
"Rory what are you up to today?"
"Nothing Codes just working on some new outfits," he said.
"Well drop everything, you need to be in my office," I replied
He arrived fifteen minutes later and I sat him in my chair and made coffee. Bobby had seen him arrive and had moved over to kiss him.
"Ah ha, my muse is lonely, best I get home early," he giggled.
Rory just blushed and nudged him.
"What am I looking at Codes?"
"Just let me know what you think Rory," I said back.
"They are all brilliant Codes, they are more than that they are fucking awesome, most of them."
"Now read the letter," I smiled.
He read and re-read the letter, his face dropped for just a moment.
"We have to get them sorted Codes, I don't think Armani is going to let this go too easily."
"My thoughts exactly baby, there's so many of them. Maybe we can sort out the more Asian ones from the Australian designs. Maybe, just maybe, Armani will look at putting them in their store in Japan. I will have to bring Jacques into this ASAP."
"What do you think Cody? I want to help too and put some in the shop but I would rather do what you did and register a label for him. We got to do something," he looked at me with pleading eyes.
"I know Rory, fuck my heart goes out to him."
"Mine too," he said.
"Okay, first things first, we answer Melanie's letter and see if this is all his work and does he have more," I suggested.
We both got into answering the email. We just said we were very interested in his designs and have shot some off to Armani for consideration and she would hear more in a few days. Then we planned our attack, somehow I knew this boy wasn't going to be bullied much anymore. If we had our way it will be straight to university for an arts design degree of some sort.
Sitting on the porch we waited for Jacques to reply but he didn't, Vincenzo rang. We discussed the range and he got our thoughts then he asked about the family, Tim in particular.They wanted him and Donny to come for a holiday after the football season with Rory and Bobby.
He talked to Rory then my Dan.
Jacque's letter came through a half hour later. He said that Armani had bought twenty-five of the drawings and could we get William to do detail sketches of each one and could we issue him a cheque. He has two months maximum because they want to start on the advertising in Japan as soon as possible.
We sorted through the rest and picked another thirty then planned our trip to see him. Before we left I rang Melanie, she gushed her way through the call and said she hadn't told him what she did. I got his address and made sure she would be there when we arrived.
That night I was so excited for the kid and so was everyone else.
Dan was very excited when his fierce looking dick entered me; he fucked me like no tomorrow. I just moaned my way through it as I licked his nipples and kissed him.
Dan's favorite thing to do was cuddle and tonight was no exception.
"So you think he's good Codes?"
"Better than me Dan, his designs are new and fresh," I said.
I added, "He has to do the detail drawings, I will get him to do two while we are there then we go from that."
"What if he can't do them Codes?"
"Rory and I will show him but me thinks he already knows how," I replied.
He snuggled into me and started sucking on my nipple.
"Get some sleep Dan, don't start again, it's late."
"Umm, okay Squirt, you smell so nice, what smells have you got on tonight?"
"Body odour Dan, no smells."
"I like it, does it cost much?"
"No Dan, it's free."
"Free? Oh, I must get some."
"You are already wearing it Dan."
He nuzzled closer to my pubes.
"Squirt you're hard again."
"Yes, thanks to you Dan."
"We better get you sorted then."
He started on my hard dick then flipped over for a sixty-nine, it took awhile for him to get release but when he did I was in no shape to move.
"Goodnight Codes, I love you," he sighed.
"Goodnight Dan, I love you too."
I slept across the bottom of the bed, Dan giggled.
We slept in again and it was Rory who woke us and forced us to shower and eat quickly, we had to hit the road.
It was nearly a two-hour trip and Dan and Bobby came with us, they were just as excited.
We lunched in Maroochydore then headed to Budrim. Pulling up outside a very modest cottage I got my briefcase and friends out of the car and up to the front door.
Ringing the doorbell we only had to wait a few moments until a very lovely lady answered it, she stepped onto the front porch and asked,
"Which one of you is Cody Mitchell?"
"I am ma'am," I replied then I introduced Dan, Rory and Bobby.
She said, "Very pleased to meet you all, Will is upstairs with Melanie. She told me you were coming and you had some good news. Please tell me now, I don't want any more disappointment happening in his life."
We sat on the porch and I outlined what we had in mind, her eyes watered and near to the end the dam burst.
"I am sorry boys but this is too wonderful. I knew he designed beautiful clothes but I never thought he would be famous."
"Well he's not yet but with your help he will be, I can assure you of that."
She is still his guardian and everything we do for William has to go by her first, that's the law.
We explained this to her but decided it was too much all at the one time so she invited us in for coffee and cake; she had been baking all morning.
She led us to the back verandah which was a big area where she started serving snacks.
"I'll call him now you're settled."
Melanie and Will were hurrying down the stairs and when they came to the back door all I saw were two gorgeous kids who obviously were best friends.
Will saw Dan first.
"Daniel Lawrence, my god what are you doing here? You're my hero, look Mel."
Dan nudged me with his foot.
"I've brought some friends to meet you. This is my friend Cody Mitchell, Bobby and Rory."
He looked at us like we had just struck him then he ran inside and upstairs.
It was too much for the poor kid.
"I'll explain about the drawings to him, maybe I can coax him down. Please don't go, he's usually not this rude," Mel said.
"We won't go anywhere Mel, just tell him it's all good news."
Dan whispered he would take Bobby to the beach for a while and just give him a ring when we are nearly finished, less people might make it easier.
I agreed and they started to say goodbye to Karen, Will's grandmother.
"Please don't go Mr. Lawrence," a small voice was heard from the inside of the house.
"I'm sorry I was rude, please stay here with us," Will pleaded.
"Okay Will, we will stay. Come sit down, Cody and Rory need to talk to you so don't be nervous, they're the good guys," Dan was trying to put him at ease.
He sat down next to Karen and she took his hand and squeezed it.
"I just love both your works, one day I will be able to afford it but not at the moment though."
"Well Rory and I just loved your designs also, thanks to your friend Melanie who sent them to us. We realize you have a wonderful talent Will, so young, yet so vibrant.
Those designs are the most exciting thing we have seen in years."
"We want you to do the detail drawings to some of them. You will need to do them within two months; do you think you can do that?"Rory asked.
"Yes sir, I sure can, do you want to use them for something?" he asked.
"Yes and no Will, I'll let Cody tell you the first bit, just sit back and enjoy the ride," he grinned.
Will looked at me and I smiled broadly with great pride, he was a handsome kid and his skin was flawless.
"Okay Will, apart from my own label I also represent Armani, you have heard of them haven't you?"
"Yes sir," he said quietly.
"Well, we want to buy twenty five of your designs for our store in Japan and once we have the detailed drawings you will be paid for each one, okay?"
"Yes sir." I could see he was starting to squirm in his seat.
"Now you have to sign a contract for those designs which your grandma will co-sign as your guardian, that means Armani will own those designs, for that they are paying you ten thousand dollars for each completed design."
I let it sink in; he was looking at his grandma like he was going to panic.
"They are not that good Mr. Mitchell and I don't want that much for them. I would feel awful taking money for my doodles; tell them they can have them."
"No I won't Will but thank you for the offer. Those designs are beautiful and the ones we have picked are perfect for the Asian markets. In this folder are the designs we want so after the contract is signed you can't sell them on, do you understand a little of what I'm telling you? Do you want to rest a bit?"
"No, I think I understand Mr. Mitchell.You are going to give me money for my pictures and then you own them."
"Correct Will, I will issue a cheque when you do the detail drawings but for now this is a cheque made out to you for fifty thousand dollars. It's what's called a signing retainer," I explained to him.
I handed the cheque over to him and he passed it to Karen. His hands were shaking heavily but Mel's smile said it all.
She had tears running down her cheeks so he took a napkin and wiped them away; he wasn't the only one doing it hard I thought.
"Now I will let Rory tell you the really good news," I laughed.
William looked at Rory, his eyes narrowed.
"Will, you have to create your own company and your own label. You can call it anything you want I personally like Willyz. This is the address of a local solicitor who is very trustworthy and will set all this up for you.
Codes and I have chosen thirty more of your designs and these will be made in our workroom in China. As soon as we get the detail drawings we will go through color charts and get you sorted with space in our stores. We will rent you the space and you will have your own staff which we can help with, it's not that hard and for you, we will make it easy."
"My own label?"
"Yes Will, it would be so easy for us just to put our labels on but you have real talent and that's not what we are about anyway, ripping people off isn't our style," Rory smiled.
He started crying then, we had overwhelmed him.
Rory continued, "Melanie, in this envelope is five thousand dollars and two gift vouchers for our shop, you may like to give one to a friend," he indicated Will.
"The money is a spotter's fee and I now have two very important questions for you both."
"Yes Mr. Rory?" she said.
"Just Rory please, have you any more designs Will? And Mel, do you have any other clever friends? She laughed.
Will looked up from his grandmother's breast and asked,
"Do you like handbags?"
"Wha? Do we ever," I did an air fist.
"I got shoes too."
"Oh boy this is going to take all day. Please Will go get everything you have," I suggested.
Karen was telling us about his dreadful life and was thanking us all for making his day. She said he spent most of his free time just sketching in his room so we shouldn't be too surprised with what he offers. We said he was a wasted artist; he needed to go to a design school in Brisbane for some training, and we offered to get it sorted. She told us she ran her own deli for years and she knew exactly what we were talking about, as far as business goes.
"You have no idea how happy he is right now, you are angels, just angels," she wept.
Rory said, "I think we do know how he feels Karen," he looked at Bobby and winked.
We left with a large folder loaded with his designs and a promise from Will to go see that solicitor as soon as possible.
Melanie was speechless and all she did when we left was curtsy, I hugged her and said thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a good friend to Will. I kissed her head.
Rory and I looked over the drawings on the way home; it was mind boggling, so many accessories and it's going to take weeks to sort this lot out.
Rory took my hand and mouthed, "Thank you."
I kissed his cheek.
The kids had cooked dinner and wanted to know all about our trip. We told them about the bullying and Will's amazing talent. We showed them his designs and they loved them, which is a very good indication for us. Tim already was picking items out for himself and Donny.
Dan was on the phone to Tom for a while then he got into Jamie's ear.
We finally finished going through the drawings then sent what we thought were suitable to Armani. Jacque's said they would take them but they had to negotiate a price on the bags and shoes, which would be less than for the full outfits.
We came up with another figure and considering what he had already earned, Will was going to be a pretty wealthy teenager. He will have to use some of it to get stock organized and the legal work done but with what he's going to make out of his shop, this is nothing but loose change. He needs to be guided, so we decided to meet with him next weekend at the farm which is about halfway.
I called his gran and she said they would be there. She also said he had made an appointment with the solicitor. She said he was elbow deep in drawing paper doing the details and he's talking non-stop about paying my mortgage. He doesn't realize it's small; I've been paying it for years. He's worried about me that's all. He lost everybody but me but I'm as fit as a fiddle. She said she had taken the headmaster to task on more than one occasion over his treatment at school. It gets better for awhile but then the bullying starts again. She would love to send him somewhere else but it's all about the money, maybe this will be his saving grace.
"Okay Karen I have something in mind, we will talk about it on the weekend."
I hung up and we ate.
"What's up Dan?"
"What are you up to Dan, the phone calls?" I said.
"Tell you later Codes," he winked.
"Okay baby, later all right." It wasn't a question it was a statement.
I couldn't help but feel sorry for Will, his life has changed enormously in the past twenty-four hours but he's still clearly just a kid with problems, his designs may be a one-off but I don't think so.
Donny and Tim were going over to Trent's place for the night to study then sleep. They have spent so much time at our place Trent is having withdrawals and is insisting they spend some time there. I will talk to Rory and Bobby on our own tomorrow about Will and maybe my plan will become reality.
"So what's up Dan?"
"What's the big secret Dan?"
"Oh nothing Codes just an idea I'm thinking about."
"Ah, no can do yet Codes, I have to think it out more," he said.
"A hint then."
"Maybe not Squirt, I have to talk to people tomorrow, it depends on what they say," he answered.
"Goodnight Codes, I love you."
"Goodnight Dan, I love you too. Just a little hint?" I said hopefully.
He turned me over and hugged me.
I was restless for the next hour or so; I just couldn't get to sleep.
"Dan you awake?" I asked as I shook him...hard.
"Dan can we talk?"
He turned over and faced out, I not only got the cold shoulder, I was now fully awake.
A quiet house this morning just Luke, Jamie, Dan and I for breakfast.
"You get enough sleep last night Codes?" Dan kissed me.
"Yes Dan," I was grumpy.
"Everything okay with you Lukey?" he smiled.
"Yes Dan, wonderfully perfect," Luke replied.
"How about you James, you okay?"
Before Jamie could answer I slammed my hand on the table, looked Dan in the eye and said,
"Daniel Lawrence if you don't stop the Mary sunshine act I'm going to come over there and personally stick your head so far up your ass you are going to think it's fucking raining liver spots, now what's up and no crap."
They all started laughing at me and Dan was in fits.
"That's so fucking funny Squirt, you nearly had me scared."
"Tell me," I screamed.
"Okay, hold your horses, I'll tell you," Dan said.
"You should have told me last night so I wouldn't be so grumpy this morning," I yelled at him.
"Okay, listen to this."
"I had a great idea for a job when I retire. Will gave it to me, he knew me straight off. He's really a nice kid Luke, you are going to love him. He's very cute for a fifteen year old," he went on and on.
I got up and walked out to my office, I haven't got time for this shit, I don't care anymore, it's not funny and anyway I need to get Will's drawings sorted.
Dan came out with a smirk on his face, I was pissed.
"Don't even try to come in here to make a fool of me Daniel. You kept me awake all night. You can't even give me a straight answer this morning which tells me you think I'm not worthy of giving my opinion on how your life is going. Don't you dare even try to treat me like an idiot."
His jaw was dropping.
"I'm sorry Codes; I was just having a little fun with you, that's all."
"Well take your ideas and fun over to your mate Tom's house, I'm sure he will listen, I'm no longer interested."
"I'm thinking talk circuits but not about football but about bullying and abuse and I want Tom and Jamie to do it with me," he blurted out.
I turned to him and said,
"See Dan, that was easy wasn't it? I agree with you, it's the perfect job, now you can kiss me and we can make up," I winked.
"Cody Mitchell you are going to be the death of me," he let out a noisy breath.
"Come on Dan, you know you want to, kiss me."
He did, and before it got hotter and out of control Bobby stuck his head in and said,
"Is it safe to go to work yet?"
"Sure Bobby, we are finished."
Dan of course groaned loudly.
"I need to talk with my manager Codes, I'll call you," he said.
I was updated every hour on the hour that day, I reckon by the end of the day I knew more about the talk circuit than Dan.
That night when I finally climbed into bed I turned the light off and went straight to sleep, I was so tired. I think Dan was up all night; he was so grumpy the next morning. (And that Tim is how it's done, whack.)