I think I'll go with better late than never. I am such a scatterbrain that I give goldfish a run for their money. But here they are the first few chapters. I will only be keeping them here for three weeks. Hopefully, that will give all my newsletter readers time to catch up.
“Hey guys, calm down! That sort of attitude is not welcome here.” I looked at the three boys and could feel the tension rippling off all of them. I could take a guess at what’s going on, but they knew the rules. “Josh, what’s going on?”
I looked at the skinny boy, he’d been coming here for a couple of weeks now and was still tiptoeing around, not sure if he was being accepted.
“Nothing, there’s nothing going on.” Josh scuffed his worn-out sneakers over the painted concrete floor of the workshop.
“Blake, do you want to tell me? Because from where I’m standing it looks like there’s two against one and I want to know what is being said.” I turned to one of the slightly older boys.
“I wasn’t me that started it, Dylan called Josh a faggot.” Blake blushed with embarrassment as Dylan pushed him away from him.
“Fuck you, Blake.” Dylan spat out.
“Right Dylan, you’re on report for a week. I will not stand for that sort of attitude here. I want you to take your gear and go and sit in the study room. You can spend the rest of today’s session, doing your homework. You need to apologize to Josh too.” I hated having to reprimand these kids, it didn’t seem that long ago that I was the sulky, frightened kid. Ready to argue with anyone and everyone, and my outing by my so-called best friend that led to me being thrown out of my home when I was just fifteen.“Fuck that shit! I’m not apologizing to some cock-sucking faggot.” Dylan snapped back at me, his face getting redder as his anger escalated. “You’re just as bad! Fucking queer!”“DYLAN!” I watched the teenager flinched as Matt, my manager shouted. “My office now!”“I don’t care, this place is shit anyway!” Dylan argued but he was looking scared now, I knew he is having a tough time at home. His father was an alcoholic and was too quick with his fists, beating on him for any reason he could think off. The mother disappeared years ago, he was a ticking bomb getting ready to explode, I just hoped he was here with us when he does.As I watched him strut to Matt’s office, I got a feeling that the moment is now and was going to be too much for Matt to deal with alone. Turning to Josh and Blake I noticed them watching him too, their young faces full of concern. “Okay guys, you two go and clear up in workshop, and I’ll be with you soon. No goofing around, I need to trust you now.”The looked at me solemnly and nodded their agreement before scuttling off to the workshop. I hot-footed it after Dylan and walked in behind him, I could see his hands clenched into tight fists and the tendons in his neck were taut, I walked past him and leaned up against the wall, making sure it didn’t look like Matt and I were ganging up on him. I folded my arms over my chest and crossed my ankles keeping my stance relaxed.“Dylan, c’mon. Talk to us, it’s what we’re here for. What has gotten you so upset?” Matt kept his voice low and calm, he was so good at this. Hell, he got me sorted and I was a damn sight worse than Dylan.“I don’t wanna talk about it, it’s nothing, I mean. There’s nothing wrong.” The poor boy tripped over his words as he tried to cover up his mistake.“Okaaaay, so it’s normal for you to start on your friends, right? I guess I got you all wrong. I’ve been thinking that you’re one of the good guys, ready to be a mentor for one of the other new boys. So, am I wrong thinking that?” Matt leaned back against his desk looking relaxed, not angry.“No, I mean. Oh fuck, Matt! I just can’t deal with it no more, I fucking hate him. He starts on me the second I step in the house, I can’t wait to get out of there.” Dylan sighed trying to calm down.“Do we need to find you a safe house, Dylan?” I kept my voice just as calm as Matt’s, and sighed as the young man nodded his head and a tear leaked from one of his eyes.“He says he’s gonna kill me, if I come here again. He says he needs me at home, but all he wants is to beat on me and shit!” Dylan lifted his head up to face us, pain etched deeply in the teens expression, and suddenly it clicked. His father is abusing him as well as hitting him.“Okay, Dylan. We’ll get onto it now. Do you need anything from your house? We can go together to get your stuff.” I asked.“Nah, it’s all shit anyway. I ain’t got anything worth keeping.” His anger dissipated as relief poured through him.“You still need to go apologize to Josh, you do that while I make a couple of calls.” Matt smiled at Dylan, “He won’t hurt you again, bud, I promise.”He gave us a rueful smile, “Yeah, I’ll go grovel. Josh is alright really.” He walked away with a straighter spine then he walked in with.“I don’t want you getting to involved in this one, River.” Matt looked at me and then smiled when I frowned.“Don’t be stupid Matt, I’m already involved. Don’t you think I can handle it?” I bristled, I knew I was good enough, I’d passed all my exams so on paper I was qualified as Matt, I just didn’t have as much experience.“Oh, I know you can handle it, but Griff called today, and he wants to open another branch in his new city, he’s all loved up and staying put out there.” Matt laughed. “He wants you to run it, River. Right from scratch he wants you onboard. What do you say to that?”“Fuck me! Really? He asked for me?” I couldn’t help a huge smile breaking out as I fist pumped the air then high-five Matt. “Oh My God!! This is huge! I wonder if I get a pay rise?”“I think you’re pretty much guaranteed a pay increase. He wants you to call him to arrange a trip out there.” Matt handed me a sheet of paper with a number on it.I looked at the number, “Do you think I can do this, Matt? Am I good enough to run my own program?” My hands scraped through my dark brown, shaggy hair, as I panicked.
I looked at the number, “Do you think I can do this, Matt? Am I good enough to run my own program?” My hands scraped through my dark brown, shaggy hair as I panicked.
“You are more than good enough and I’m only ever a phone call away. Now go call him and let me sort out somewhere safe for Dylan to stay.” Matt grinned and slapped his hand down on my shoulder. “Go for it, River, you deserve this.”
I was still grinning as I walked to my tiny office and picked up the phone and started tapping in the number. It rang just twice.
“Broderick.” The deeply sexy voice of Griff Broderick, MotoGP champion, greets me.
“Er, um. Hi.” My voice came out as a squeak, making me cough. “Shit! Oh crap, sorry! It River Memphis, Mr. Broderick, from Revved Up.”
His laughter eased me back into my smile. “It’s just Griff, River, and thank you for calling me back so promptly.” Griff continued to talk, laying down his idea for the new outreach program. “So, does this sound like something you can be part of? You need to be fully on board because you will be in charge from the start. I’ll be with you for the big decisions like finding the building and the setup, but you will be running it from the start.”
“Hell yeah! I’d love to. I know I can do you proud. When can I come out?” My eagerness made him laugh again. By the time I’d put down the phone, my head is in the clouds. I can’t believe my fucking luck!
What do I do now? I looked around the floor and stared at all the letters scattered, but gripped the most recent so tightly in my fist.
I thought I was prepared. I really believed we had talked through our issues and had shared all our secrets and fears. Watching the amazing woman, who’d raised me, all by herself, wither away, eaten by a cancer so malevolent, broke my heart, splintering more and more each day. And now she had gone, so quickly, so painfully, and I’m left here alone.
I’m twenty years old and had spent the last two years at college until mom got too sick to look after herself. I didn’t regret it, she needed me. I wouldn’t have missed out on the last few months with her. I expected to return to college. Now there was no chance.
As I looked at the letter again, I didn’t know how to react. But I guess it made sense, her reaction to the death of a man I had never heard of before seemed so out of character, how quiet she became, as was if someone had switched a light off inside. I now understood that it was grief for a man she had truly loved.
Ferdie Deschamps, Senator. Incarcerated in jail for the vicious attack on his castaway son’s boyfriend was my father. How did I not know this? How could my mother have taken that secret to the grave?
Now spread out around me are the love letters, the proof that he loved my mother. It explained the holidays to my grandparents by myself and the happiness that surrounded her when I returned. She had been with him.
And now, I have brothers. Two men I have never met but had seen on newsreels and magazines, both so wealthy and successful, and both with no knowledge of me. They don’t need me, they sure as hell didn’t need another reminder of their father. A man they happily watched be sent down.
The letter tells me to find them, to connect with them. I’m not so sure.
I had enough to deal with. I’m twenty and about to be homeless. The medical bills had taken the last of our savings, the house wasn’t ours, so I had to leave. The lawyers generously, yeah right, gave me three months to leave. Is this why I must find my family? Did she know I wouldn’t be able to stay here? The unknowing brothers won’t want me. I was truly alone, and it hurt. It hurt so bad. She should’ve told me!
I’d been watching the setup of this place for a couple of days. It looked safe, I’ve watched the same guy, the same incredibly-I-want-to-fuck-you gorgeous guy, he looked a little shorter than me, but I’m tall standing at 6’ 3”, but was his dark brown floppy hair, neat short beard, and tanned skin, his permanent wide smile made my stomach flip-flop. He’d walking around with some younger kids, they all look about sixteen or seventeen. They seemed happy always messing a joking about, I missed that. I missed my friends. I missed my home.
I’d been talking to myself for nearly an hour because I so needed to find somewhere to sleep tonight, it’s been in the park two nights now I don’t think I can’t risk it a third. Maybe I’ll try down by the marina, it’s seems busy enough down there that I won’t get noticed, pushing myself away from the wall I’ve been leaning on I shamble away. I’ve been trying to ignore the pain in my stomach as it rumbled and demanded food, but with only got a few of dollars and some loose change in my pocket, I don’t want to give it up yet.
“Hey!” A voice called out, “Hey, wait up!”
I’d learned to run away from these words in the last six months, it was either someone wanting something from me, like a blowjob, or I’m about to get a kicking. I moved quicker, but he calls out again.
“Please wait.” The voice sounded kinder.
When I risked looking back, it’s the handsome guy from the shelter walking toward me.