Never Give Up
Boy, what a week it was, Will's designs were sorted and ordered along with some cheaper lines for Rory and us and by the end of the week I collapsed into my easy chair and rubbed my eyes. I was fucked and fell asleep where I sat.
Dan woke me with a kiss and I could smell cooking. Tim and Donny had it organized as I was so tired. I went to splash my face then sat on my bed for a minute, I fell back and fell asleep again. The next thing I was aware of was being undressed and Dan snuggling up to me, I slept like a baby.
"Dad, are you okay?" Tim asked the next morning.
"Sure Tim, I was just a little tired that's all, it's been a big few months," I replied.
Dan brought breakfast in and that coffee sure was welcome.
"Not too much today Codes, I think we should go out somewhere, maybe go visit your mum's house just to check it's still there," he giggled.
"Little chance of that one running away, the people renting it wouldn't like it."
"Okay, your choice Codes."
"Can we just stay home Dan, I feel like I just want to relax. No pressures, just chilling out,"I said,
"Kiss me," Dan replied.
I did and Tim went, "Ewe." I winked at Dan. As if he hasn't seen us kiss before.
Dan lay down next to me and I fed him some toast.
Tim, who had been sitting at the foot of the bed snorted.
"Do you want a googie egg Timmy and some soldiers?" Dan asked.
Off he went, laughing.
Luke was called and he gave me a check up, he said I was just overworked. He understood the late nights and workload I had taken on was catching up on me. He caressed my face and smiled,
"Settle down dear friend, leave the gym business to the boys and if they want to know something they can ask you. We can't have you crashing and burning before it even gets off the ground," he bent over and kissed me.
I actually went to sleep again.
On waking up no one was around, the house was empty but I heard talking coming from downstairs, I couldn't make it out so I crept halfway down.
"He's exhausted Dan, he just needs complete rest and that means not keeping him up late at night. I've spoken to Rory and he's going to start teaching Will all about the shops, ordering stock and the banking stuff. Bobby is going to keep his eye on Cody and insist on coffee breaks, whenever possible, and Jamie will start dinner if Tim's tied up, by then, hopefully I will be home to help him."
"Will he be okay Luke?"
"Yes Dan, right as rain in a week or two. Don't forget he hardly slept when I was ill and with Will's drawings he didn't stop till midnight for a week. God knows how much time he spent on the business plan for the gym and of course 'fuck me superman' at three in the mornings, not really the best idea you've had Dan."
"Luke, that was months ago,"Dan whined.
"Be that as it may, no screwing after eleven, capiche?"
I heard laughing, with enough said, I crept back and took a shower. Almost the second I stepped in, two big arms were around me and Dan hummed in my ear. He still had his running shorts on which I helped him out of. He scrubbed my back and front, washed my hair (which took forever), then he dried me and did my smells. Stepping into a clean pair of boxers we both laid down for some kissing and cuddling.
"You feel okay Squirt?"
"Yes Dan I'm fine, just a bit tired that's all, my head was spinning the other day, there was so much to do but I'm okay now, just lethargic, that's all."
Just then Tim came home banging doors and slamming kitchen drawers, sounded like he was pissed off again.
"I'll go," Dan said and kissed me.
Dinner smelt wonderful when I woke up, I brushed my hair and that's when I saw it.
I screamed, "No!" and ran out to the family room.
"Luke, Luke,what's really wrong with me?"
"You're rundown Codes, that's all."
"Look, look, what does this mean, look on my brush, all that hair, what's it mean Luke?"
They all looked at me like I was mad.
"It means a few hairs came out when you brushed it, it means nothing Codes."
I leant into him and said, "Oh thank god, I thought I was really, really, sick Bubby, I need coffee, I'm in shock."
I giggled my head off.
"Sucked in Lukey baby," I grinned.
He started laughing along with Dan and Tim, I certainly didn't want them all to get too serious with me, at least I've still got a sense of humour.
The front door opened and in walked mum and Rob, they were all smiles and kissed everyone. She looked up at Donny and said,
"Donny, I heard you kicked butt last Sunday, I'm glad your cock ring didn't get in the way."
"Nanna!!" A shocked Timmy said.
"Fuck I love this family," Donny said.
"Donny!!" both mum and I said in unison.
"Umm, sorry mum, sorry Codes but she said cock."
A very gruff, "Don!" came from Rob.
"Sorry granddad," Donny blushed again.
"Mum what are you doing here?" I asked.
"Squirt I heard you were a little beat so we are taking a vacation for a couple of weeks just to give you a hand and Rob needs to go to training, he's getting too heavy," she laughed.
"Mum there's no need, I'm fine you know, look at this brush, do you think I'm going bald?"
"Cody, you are looking a little thin on top, maybe you should shave it all off, I've heard it helps with re-growth," she giggled.
"Absolutely fucking not mum," Dan butted in.
"Daniel Lawrence," Tim growled.
"Sorry Timmy, you want a googie egg?" Dan teased.
"Hell, I had forgotten that Dan, Tim and his googies," Donny smiled at Tim.
Well from there on they were known as Bubby two and googie. Tim kinda liked it but who knows what goes on in that kid's head?
"Sit at the table dad and then I'll serve dinner," Tim said.
Everyone had a beautiful dinner; Tim had rushed home from school to cook, that explains the banging in the kitchen.
"Codes you can sleep in tomorrow. I will be up at sparrow's fart, you know us country gals are always up early," mum said.
"Bubbie number one, I will make up your room," she said to Dan.
"Well fuck me, superman at three in the morning isn't going to happen on my watch Dan so for now, you're in the spare room."
"What was that Donny?" mum didn't miss a beat and looked at poor Donny who was in fits of laughter, he is such a gorgeous kid.
"That was three months ago mum, stop it," Dan moaned.
"Well, whenever it was, no more," mum put her hand on her hips.
Rory and Will arrived and I could see Will was practically jumping up and down seeing her; she hugged Rory then squeezed the life out of tiny Will.
"Good to see you again grandson, let's go over here and talk, I want to know all about your shops then I will have to go make Dan's bed," she chuckled.
I went and put the coffee on but was quickly made to sit with mum and Will. We explained everything to her and she was so proud, she let him know too. Mum wasn't the type of person to ignore kids, especially kids with problems. She started talking about his new school and he was telling her about his last one, she ended the conversation with,
"You know son what happened, happened. It's in the past, what matters now; this very moment isyour happiness and your courage. I only see a happy young man with a big heart in front of me, all your grey clouds are gone so forge onwards and upwards, my boy. Life's for the present not the past." By this time Will was in tears, he leant into her shoulder and kept saying, "Thank you mum, thank you." At the end of the day he was a scared little boy, not quite a man yet.
My crowd had moved out to the porch, the gas heaters had been lit and they warmed the big area. Will stayed with mum for awhile then she started on Tim and Donny. They were planning their week and she was taking over the cooking and she asked if they would help with the laundry and a bit of cleaning.
They seemed happy with that, at least they would get different meals compared to my old boring ones.
This night was just so beautiful. I was wondering why mum and Will were talking to Rory for ages, he looked furious, Will ran off down the beach and Rory took off after him.
This was all happening behind the boys so I moved over to the swing.
"What's happening mum?" I asked.
"Come inside Squirt."
She pretended she was going to settle her things.
When we got into the bedroom she started tearing up.
"My little talk with Will hit a nerve Codes, there's a kid at school calling him awful names and he's worried Donny and Tim will find out. He's been saying everything's all right but it's not, he's the only kid whose doing it Codes."
"Oh let me guess, his name is Shaun?"
"Yes Codes, how did you know that?"
"Just a lucky guess mum," then I told her about the coach's son. She knew who I meant as she was there that New Years Eve when Donny had to be taken home because he was going to fight with Shaun for kissing Tim.
"Mum, Dan needs to be brought up to date with this, he's the coach's friend and it's better he deals with it."
I got Dan on his own and then told him everything that had gone on at the footy, what Will was putting up with and who the boy was. He wasn't very happy and sneaked off down to Rory's place; he was gone quite some time.
"What's up Codes?" Luke asked.
"Ask mum Luke, I don't want the boys to hear it," I whispered.
Tim sat with me for a few minutes and he looked concerned.
"You okay dad, is there something going on with Will I should know?"
"No baby, dad will get it done, it's nothing important."
"Okay dad, Will's safe, it's over," he whispered to me.
I wondered what he was talking about, as it was a strange comment.
The phone rang and mum answered it as she passed, she was talking to someone as I spied Will and Dan coming back, they looked very animated.
Will sat with Tim and me, he kept looking at Tim like he was prime beef, he was almost drooling and then he did something very strange, he leant over and kissed him on the cheek then said, "Thank you."
"What do you mean Will? I didn't do anything, no need for thanks."
"Oh yeah, I meant thank you for helping with my homework."
"This gets more interesting with every breath," I said to myself.
"Excuse me kids but I have to go kiss my man, it's been sixty minutes since the last one and I don't want him to forget me," I giggled.
"Okay, give," I said to Dan as I kissed him.
"Codes, I talked to Will then I rang the coach but I never got out what I wanted to say, he told me Shaun was expelled today after school. Some kid had made a complaint about sexual harassment at lunchtime and a girl backed him up so the headmaster, considering Shaun's history, had no choice but to call the coach in and explain why he can't come back to school. Maybe that's solved Will's little problem, then he asked me why I was ringing, I said I had just heard about it and rang to say how sorry I was to hear it and if there was anything I could do."
Dan paused a bit then added, "He told me he was at the end of his rope with Shaun and he was sending him to his brother's place in Darwin. His brother is in the army and doesn't take any shit. He said he told Shaun he could come home when he starts respecting the people who love him. I didn't have to say anything Squirt, just wished him luck, that's all."
"Dan did he say who the kid was that was abused?"
"No Codes, he can't be named but the head trusts his word and his girlfriend, they are top students."
I let my mouth smile a bit.
Dan told mum before she went to bed and she said Rory had rung and told her, we walked a very happy boy home. He talked our ears off and he was on top again.
I turned out the lights and Donny came out of the bedroom looking flushed.
"I forgot Tim's water Codes," he said and blushed again, probably because he only had his boxers on.
A few minutes later Tim came out.
"He got it in the wrong glass dad, this is your glass and this is mine, you would think by now he would know," he laughed.
"Tim, can we talk for a minute honey?" I asked.
"Not really dad but I will say something."
He grabbed me on the shoulders and leant in forehead to forehead and said,
"And that dad, is how it's done properly."
He smiled and kissed me.
"That's my boy," I laughed as I went to find that handsome man in my bedroom.
He was where he should be, under the covers naked.
"Get undressed Codes and we can get a good nights rest," he said as he threw back the covers.
"Handsome man, do you think I could ever sleep without making out with you?"
"Okay Codes but just a quick one," he had that killer smile on.
Somewhere in the house I heard mum yell.
"Daniel Lawrence, go to sleep."
Then I heard laughing.
Dan whispered to me, "My scary mum."
"It's okay Dan, let's just cuddle."
"Do you think Will will be good now?"
"Yes Dan, thanks to Tim."
I told handsome man what I thought and he promised to keep the secret.
No telling what will happen if Donny finds out about it.
I drifted off to sleep, the best one I've had in ages.
Dan's morning wood was knocking on my bum when the door burst open and mum appeared with my coffee.
"What are you doing Daniel, leave Cody alone and get up, you need to take the dog out,"she laughed.
It was nine o'clock, boy that was late for us. Tim had already left for school and Dan had slept in with me.
"What dog mum?"
"The one I'm going to buy you so you can walk it son," she laughed again.
I love having her around, she was so full of love and life and over the years she had become a real mum to me. Not that I didn't have one; it's just my real mum is busy saving abused kids throughout the European continent; and for that I can be very happy with just seeing her a few times a year. We do Skype about once a month. She's also a very happy person. When she decided to hand over her Australian company to Dan and me, I was blindsided. She was moving to London for a few years and wanted me to get up to speed with her holdings which weren't small change. I really left it in the hands of the accountants; they had done such a good job so far so why change now. It was just easier for mum and for Dan and I to make the urgent decisions.
"Now you've got two hours to do your email and work son then I expect you to come in for morning tea. I might even let Daniel take you for a nap this afternoon if you're good and do what I say," she grinned.
"Okay mum, anything for you." She hugged me and then went about making scones.
She added, "Oh and Daniel, you're not slouching around all day, you need to clean the gutters out."
By the end of another week I felt my old self again, some nights were spent down in Luke's place and some at Rory's. Many nights the boys would go walking with mum and Rob. Tim and Donny would run but Will would walk. I don't think he's going to be an athlete but as a designer he's already got it made. Jacque's was going mental over his work and couldn't wait for it to be launched. The word had got out and the phone calls started. Karen had to pull the plug on her home phone and buy a mobile one. European magazines were calling for Will at all hours.
We sat with him as he typed out a few different responses, then when they called, we faxed them a prepared interview with a few great photos done by Tim. When the Australian fashion world caught up, he had enough information to do the same with them, so they left him alone.
By the time mum and Rob left for the farm his confidence was at the top of the scale, even Karen noticed a big change. Also, Mel seemed a lot more relaxed around us all, I know there's a story there but it's just never come up. When I've tried to talk to Will about her he waves it off like nothings happening.
One afternoon when Karen arrived just before mum went home I finally asked her about Mel's home life. She said it was okay. Her folks were never home and she spent a lot of time with Will at their place. Her parents were professional people and forever interstate or overseas.
"I doubt Mel's been abused Codes, I think she loves her parents but they're never home, it's like they have forgotten her," she related.
"If only they could see what a beautiful young lady she's turned out to be, it's sad but she's a fighter, as you know."
Mum gave me that look she always has when she's about to solve world hunger.
"Codes do you think a small article in 'Business Weekly' might be appropriate for Will's career? I'm thinking on the lines of his discovery and how it came about."
"Umm, I might just have a better idea mum, think 'National Newspaper' then the story's not limited to a select few."
I rang April, her friend worked at the newspaper and she was thrilled Cody Mitchell wanted to do an interview but before we made a time I had to speak with Will and Mel.
"That's organized Karen, I want them to feature Mel's letter and the story of our meeting but if they just want me I will decline. I have to talk to the journalist privately before anything is signed."
"Get it sorted son but don't go overboard, okay?" mum said.
"Yes Cody, ask for help," Karen added.
"Coffee and cake ladies?" I asked.
"I'll get it," Tim yelled as he walked up the porch stairs.
Rory, Dan, Will, Karen and Mel sat with me while the journo talked about Will's impact on the fashion scene. She had some photos of the Tokyo film awards night, a few celebrities were wearing Willz outfits, Armani labels, he was in shock, but this was his reality from now on.
The article was about Will's school bullying and his work but more importantly it was about what true friends do for one another. Mel and Will's photo featured on the side of the front page along with the state of the nation. The article was great and heartwarming and there were two pages of who's who with celebs wearing Willz. Armani got a paragraph, which I liked very much and the write up mentioned our shops and a piece about the launch of the Willz line in Japan in two months.
I didn't mention to Will and Karen that they must attend the opening fashion gala. I did say to Karen to get passports organized and to see if Mel has one, then winked.
It was after the article came out that Mel's parents started to notice her and her mum was staying home a lot longer between trips. I think the article helped but only time will tell, she was a lot happier with her life now.
She even had a part-time job as Willz media consultant.
I felt very lazy and started talking about the gym with Dan. He told me John and Matty had it organized and we should go look at the plans and what Jamie had done looked awesome.
So we did, it looked spectacular.
"You know John is already talking about another one on the Gold Coast. Do you know how many pensioners needing exercise live there Codes, not to mention the thousands of schoolies? The Gold Coast in Australia was the number one holiday destination for thousands of school leavers to party. These kids would welcome temporary memberships.
Beautiful bodies are paramount at that time of life.
Well, Willz has been launched with a bang, we all went to Japan for the grand unveiling, he was speechless when Vincenzo introduced him and so were Rory and I, we were made seriously welcome by the Japanese media. Karen and Mel spent a lot of time shopping and I was very lonely because Dan couldn't come, he had his football. I moped around the hotel room in between the media, the store and trying to get Will through it all relatively unchanged.
We were only there for a week but it felt like a month.
Dan rang every night to say goodnight and I did get a little weepy once but his voice brought me back.
Vincenzo had invited Tim and Donny to come over to Paris along with Rory and Bobby and they were very excited at the offer. They didn't come with us, Tim wasn't going to stand being away from Donny for any length of time and I knew how he felt.
A very excited Will waved to his media fans as we went through customs and settled into our seats. He babbled along for some time then slipped off to sleep, he would need his strength for the Australian media on arrival.
Two hours after landing I was in my handsome man's arms and we cuddled a lot on the drive home. Tim and Donny were excited and wanted details, so Karen and Mel gave them the low down. Tim was being overly protective of me for some reason and he held me for ages.
"What's up Googie boy?' I smiled.
"Nothing dad, it's just good to have you home again, I missed you."
I kissed his head and hugged him harder.
"I missed you too baby."
Will's stock had arrived and we did a small show on the opening day and as predicted it was almost a sellout, he was in shock.
Karen and Rory kept him grounded, he clung to them most of the time and it was then that Rory announced Karen was moving into Julie's place, just until things settled down.
The football season finally finished and our team was second on the ladder this year. The banners around the stadium were all about Dan. It was a sad day and he was carried around the ground on Matt and John's shoulders then Larry and Donny's. He was a bit low in the bar afterwards but I knew he had his brave face on.
We sneaked out and went home, mum rang and he talked to her, Rob and Mike.
"Can we go to bed Codes, before the boys come home?"
"Sure baby, I think that would be nice."
I held him in my arms while he cried; it hit him hard, just the realization he wouldn't play again. I kept reassuring him it wasn't over yet and he will be kept busy with the gym and he still has his final dinner to attend. He will always be involved with the club.
"It's all I know Codes and it's gone, just like that."
"Oh no, it's not all you know, you know how to be a good dad, you know how to be a good person, there are tons of things your good at Dan, you just forget sometimes, that's all."
I nestled him in, turned out the light and stroked his cheek while he tried to go to sleep.
I know he will bounce back, that's another good thing he's good at.
Soon after I heard the boys come in, there was a light tap on the door and then it opened. Tim and Donny squeezed into the bed with us and Tim spooned Dan, Donny spooned Tim while I kissed him. They stayed for some time before they went to their own bed.
The next day everything seemed to have settled down. Dan was pampered a lot and answered loads of phone calls, even did a few radio interviews.
It was not long after that day my babies were on their way to Paris. Rory and Bobby couldn't go this time but they would be safe with our Vincenzo and Marcel and they would be back in time for Dan's night. Tim was all geared up for shopping and sightseeing, he had no idea what was going to happen to his perfect life when he got back and I didn't even see it coming.