It had to be Tuesday morning. Damn. I looked around me. Now where was I?
The sun was streaming in through the window when I woke up and for a moment I was lost. I had to actually think where I was.
I looked across and saw that Matt was lying there beside me, breathing quietly, with the sheet only covering him from about the waist down. Yeah, that seemed right. I was used to that now. He was there every morning. I looked around the room and then realised where I was. Matt’s flat.
Hang on. Our flat. Then I smiled to myself and snuggled in close to his body. He stirred briefly, rolling onto his side, then back again. I smiled at him and thought dreamy thoughts.
Now, Tuesday morning. What was it about today? That thought kept rolling about in my mind.
Shit. I had to go back to work.
I suddenly sat up in bed and looked across at the alarm clock. I couldn’t quite make out the numbers through my sleep filled eyes, but I knew that it was set to come on just before seven, and the radio hadn’t come on yet, so it couldn’t have been seven, I reasoned.
Even as tired as I felt, it made sense. I allowed myself to fall back onto the pillow and just as I did the sounds of Garth Brooks and To Make You Feel My Love suddenly filled the room. A beautiful laid back song, for a beautiful morning. They didn’t play his songs on radio very often, but on this morning it just seemed right.
Seven o’clock. Or near enough.
When the song had finished the news came on, and I learned about all the bad things that had happened overnight, all over the world. An earthquake. A murder. Another murder. Same shit, different day, as Steven King so eloquently put it.
A new day had dawned. And it was time to face it.
I gently shook Matt by the shoulder.
‘Wake up dream boat,’ I said to him. ‘We’ve both got to go to work today.’
He rolled over and opened his eyes and looked at me, then smiled.
‘Good morning gorgeous,’ he said.
‘And a good morning to you, too.’
‘You gonna get out of bed today?’
‘Only if you do.’
He didn’t know how tempting an offer that was. But my financial status was even worse than Matt’s, so I really didn’t have a choice. I had to go back to work.
I flung the sheet back to reveal his naked body in all its glory.
‘Somebody is excited at the thought of staying in bed today,’ he said to me, while looking down at the enticing sight of his erect shaft.
I shook my head. ‘We’ve really got to get out of bed you know?’
‘Come on, let’s have a shower,’ he said. He jumped up and grabbed my hand, then tried to drag me off the bed.
* * *
We made it to work on time. But only just. The shower took just a little longer than we thought it might!
As we pulled up and were about to get out of the car and go our separate ways, I had this sudden urge to lean over and kiss him goodbye. I really wanted to, but then something in my head told me not to be a fool. What was the point.
Shit. There they go again.
Instead I just placed my hand over his and gave him a squeeze. He looked up and smiled at me.
‘Why did I end up with you?’ he asked. ‘You’re just too nice.’
‘Wait until you really get to know me,’ I said with a laugh. ‘Then you’ll be sorry.’
We got out of the car and both went off to our jobs. This was how the rest of our lives would be, I realised. I kind of liked the thought of that.
The morning dragged on, and for hours all I could think about was Matt. Then I thought about Tony. Why was I thinking about him. Until yesterday I hadn’t even seen him in five years.
Matt. Tony. Matt. Tony.
I’ve got to ask him, I thought. I have to.
Thankfully, a customer brought me back to the present.
‘Have you heard a word I’ve said, young man?’ the old lady with the string shopping basket over her arm asked me.
‘Huh . . . oh, I’m sorry. What can I do for you?’
‘Light bulbs. Where are they?’
‘Umm . . . aisle three,’ I answered, pointing in the general direction, and she wandered off uttering something under her breath about the youth of today and wondering what the world was coming to.
I packed shelves for the rest of the morning for the Christmas crowds. Christ, what a week to come back to work. I felt like I was on another planet though and didn’t really achieve much.
The store manager, Mr Dawson, came by and checked on me every now and then. I think he was disappointed, but thankfully he didn’t say anything, with it being my first day back and all.
The hour hands ticked by ever so slowly. Nine became ten, which became eleven, which became twelve, which became one. Lunch time. Finally.
I met Matt outside his shop and we headed for the Centre Café. After the morning I had had, it was good to see daylight again, I can tell you.
While we were waiting for our burgers I said to him, ‘Matt, can I ask you something?’
‘Sure, anything,’ he answered.
‘It’s about Tony,’ I began. ‘I saw you looking at him yesterday when you met him, and then again last night. Do you find him attractive?’
‘Of course. Who wouldn’t? He is gorgeous.’
‘More attractive than me?’ I asked
‘No contest there,’ he answered. ‘You win, hands down.’
‘Do you want him?’ I asked. I knew this was dangerous territory, but I had to know.
‘What do you mean? Would I like to screw him? Don’t be stupid, he’s only a kid. Besides, I’ve already got a boyfriend, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything, or anyone. What’s this? The old green eyed monster rearing its ugly head?’
We were talking very softly and leaning in close to each other, trying to make sure that no one could overhear what we were saying.
‘You’re sure about that?’
‘Absolutely. Positively. No question.’
Just then Con came over and placed our burgers in front of us, making us both suddenly sit back.
‘Enjoy it boys,’ he said, giving us both a slap on the back.
We ate in silence after that. I was comforted by what Matt had said, but now my little voices were saying to me, ‘Yeah, but are you really sure he means it?’
I wanted to tell them to shut the fuck up. I almost said it aloud actually, but they went away by themselves and I enjoyed the rest of our lunch together, managing to put all my doubts and fears out of my mind, for the time being at least.
After we had eaten and paid for our lunch, we started walking back towards our work places, taking our time and enjoying the warm summer sun that was beating down on us. All around us there were people sitting in the mall, and wearing very little. Guys without shirts. Girls in skimpy summer outfits.
The girls didn’t rate much attention from us. But the guys, now that was a different story.
‘There is something else you need to know, though,’ Matt said as we walked along the street.
My eyebrows asked the question, and he answered.
‘He tried to kiss me.’
‘What? When did this happen?’ I asked.
‘Do you remember when the three of us were outside bringing in their luggage last night, and you had gone back inside with a couple of suitcases?’
I tried to remember. I could remember bringing in the suitcases, but I couldn’t remember them being alone together. Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t.
‘I’m not sure,’ I replied.
‘Well, while you were inside, he kind of brushed up against me. He’s a fast mover, that cousin of yours. I didn’t think too much of it, but after that, when we were both leaning into the luggage compartment, he tried leaning over and kissing me.’
‘What did you do?’
‘Pushed him away, of course. I’ve already told you, as cute as he might be, I’m not interested in him.’
We walked a bit further, in silence.
‘You’re fairly quiet,’ Matt said to me as we walked along. ‘What are you thinking about?’
‘I don’t know,’ I answered.
‘I didn’t touch him. I promise you,’ he said.
‘It’s all right Matt. I believe you.’
We reached Auto Stop and the arcade, then said our good byes.
‘Five thirty?’ I asked.
‘Yeah. I’ll try not to be late.’
‘I’ll be here.’
There was little doubt that we both had fears and worries and concerns racing around in our minds at that time. I so wanted to kiss him. Or hug him. Or even just hold his hand. But I knew it was out of the question, at least here and now anyway.
We settled on bumping fists, then went our separate ways.
* * *
The afternoon dragged on, and I didn’t get much more accomplished in the afternoon than I had in the morning. The manager came around and checked on me a couple of times to see if I was making any progress.
He even asked me if I was feeling all right at one stage, to which I answered, ‘Yeah, thank you, just a little tired. I guess I’m just not used to working. Gone too soft or something.’
I wasn’t sure if he was taking it easy on me or what, but he didn’t make any other comments apart from that.
The afternoon seemed even longer and busier than the morning had been, and when the clock finally clicked over to five thirty I was more than ready for home.
I walked around to Matt’s shop and found him filling up the outside display stands, as the shop was staying open for a couple of hours yet due to this being Christmas week. I gave him a hand with some of the boxes.
‘Nearly ready?’ I asked, as we finished.
‘You bet. I can’t wait to get out of here today, it’s been like a madhouse all day.’
‘Tell me about it.’
‘So, how was the first day back at work?’
‘Tiring. I just couldn’t get going all day. I think my boss might have been a bit pissed off with me because I was so slow all day. He might be taking pity on me, though, so I might be able to take it easy for a couple of days without getting into too much trouble, but after that though I better get stuck into it and actually do some work.’
‘What do you want to do tonight?’ he asked me.
‘I don’t care what we do, so long as we don’t spend all bloody night at mum’s place, listening to that loud mouthed aunt of mine.’
‘It’s a deal.’
‘We better call around and at least say hello to them though, just so long as we don’t stay for too long. I couldn’t bear it.’
‘All right then.’
‘Do me one favour though will you?’ I asked.
‘Just don’t say anything to Tony about what you told me happened last night.’
He nodded. ‘Sure. Scout’s honour.’
‘Don’t you remember. You told me you were never in the Scouts,’ I teased.
We walked up the arcade, heading in the direction toward where the car was parked. A couple of times while we were walking along, our bare arms brushed up against each other and I felt this tingling sensation, almost like electricity. I wondered if Matt felt that as well.
Just as I had thought that, I turned and looked at him. He was looking at me with that huge, infectious grin that he gets. My question was answered.
Once we reached the car we got in and headed out of the car park, in the direction of mum’s house.
Now, just in case you were wondering why I didn’t call it home anymore, I had decided to stop saying that, because it wasn’t actually my home anymore. I had a new home. And I liked it just fine.
When we reached the house it was chaos, much as we had expected. Tony and Michael were wrestling on the floor. Jess was trying to watch the television. Katie was throwing a tantrum. Mum and Margaret were ordering each other around the kitchen.
As soon as they saw us arrive however, all four kids descended upon us.
I was watching Tony carefully, and noticed that he couldn’t take his eyes off Matt, although the expression that he had on his face wasn’t one of adoration. I couldn’t quite make out what it was he was thinking, but it looked like I might have some competition here. After Matt’s reassurances at lunch time, however, I think I was fairly safe.
Matt said hello to him, but basically tried to ignore him as best he could, knowing the dangers that were involved.
I had to trust in him. If I didn’t do that, or couldn’t, then our relationship was bound to run aground. And that was one thing I was determined was not going to happen, in spite of those doubts that kept hacking away at my mind, trying to whittle away at my sanity.
Mum and Margaret were cooking dinner and asked if we were staying.
‘No thanks,’ I said, jumping in quickly. ‘We’re having dinner with Matt’s parents.’
Matt looked at me as if to say, ‘We are?’
I quickly shook my head at him, and he smiled back.
I was sitting at the table and Katie came over to me and sat on my lap, just as she had been doing for years. Being twelve now, I thought she would be well past that stage, but apparently not.
She gave me a hug, then jumped off me and walked into the kitchen to help mum. Between them all they were doing a good job of putting something together for dinner. We could smell it. I was almost going to say that we had changed our minds and would stay, but then realised what sort of an evening would result, so I remained silent.
The boys quickly grew tired of us and retreated to the lounge room, where they watched television, while Katie continued to help in the kitchen.
Just as I got up and was about to leave I heard Katie ask mum something that stopped me in my tracks.
‘Mummy, when is daddy coming back?’ she asked.
‘I’m not sure sweetie,’ mum said, while wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. I could hear the emotion in her voice. ‘Damn onions,’ she said.
Aunt Margaret glared at me. ‘See what you have done now,’ she whispered.
‘You have got to be kidding me!’
‘It’s your fault that your mother and sister are like this. Can’t you see that?’
Katie picked up on the conversation we were having.
‘Is that right Luke?’ she asked me. ‘Is it your fault daddy isn’t coming home?’
‘No, Katie,’ mum said to her, giving her a big hug. ‘It’s not Luke’s fault at all. You just remember that, okay?’
‘Then why did Aunty Margaret say that?’ Katie asked.
‘She is just being silly,’ mum answered, giving Margaret a glare that would have frozen the gates of hell.
‘Hmmmppff,’ Margaret said.
But Katie was still looking at me out of the corner of her eye. I could see the doubt just sitting there in her eyes.
* * *
Okay, so we lied about having dinner with Matt’s parents. Instead we grabbed some Chinese take-away for ourselves and headed home for a quiet night.
‘You haven’t said much since we left your mum’s place,’ Matt asked me as we sat down for our dinner. ‘Are you all right?’
‘I don’t know,’ I answered. ‘To tell you the truth, I really didn’t know how I felt about what had been going on around us for the last couple of days, and especially not about what Katie said tonight.’
‘Things will settle down. I just know they will.’
‘How can you be so sure?’ I asked him.
‘Because they always do.’
As usual, I knew he was right, but it’s not always easy to see that.
We finished our dinner and then watched television for a little while, but there wasn’t much worth staying up for, so after clearing up our dishes we decided to simply go to bed.
Tomorrow would be another day, with new things to do and no doubt new problems to confront us.
As we did every night, we turned out the lights and went to bed, drawing each other together in the darkness, feverishly exploring each other’s body. Each of us exciting the other in new and wonderful ways.
It was as if we were now one. And it was heaven.
* * *
Wednesday was another day. More work. More madness.
I managed to get more work done on that day than I had on Tuesday. I at least gave the manager the impression that I was getting back to my old self and he seemed a little more satisfied than he had been on the day before.
At the end of the day I walked around to Auto Stop to meet up with Matt to go home, but when I got there he came over to me, looking all flustered.
‘The boss wants me to stay for a few hours tonight,’ he said to me. ‘Is that all right with you? One of the casuals has called in sick.’
‘Yeah, no problem,’ I answered. I knew that the shops were all staying opened late every night this week, because of Christmas, so it wasn’t a big deal.
‘How about we grab a bite to eat now, then you can take the car home and come back and pick me up later?’
‘Sure, let’s go.’
Matt called out to his boss and said he was going to grab a bite to eat and would be back in fifteen minutes or so.
‘No problem, Matt,’ he answered, so we left the store and went up to one of the little take away places in the arcade.
‘Been busy today?’ Matt asked me as we sat down with our food.
‘Flat out,’ I answered. ‘I haven’t had time to scratch myself all day. I can’t believe how many people are down town today.’
‘Yeah. At least Christmas is nearly over and things should start getting back to normal after this week.’
‘I hope so. But there are still the Boxing Day Sales and then New Year after that.’
‘What are you trying to do? Make my day or something?’
We finished our meals and then Matt pulled the car keys out of his pocket and handed them to me.
‘Don’t scratch it,’ he said, with a huge grin on his face.
‘Trust me,’ I said to him.
We were sitting in one of the quiet alcoves in the café, and at the same time I reached across under the table and put my hand on his knee.
‘Yeah right,’ he joked.
We walked out of the shop and went our separate ways. I headed up to the top of the arcade and out to the car, then got in and drove to mum’s place.
* * *
When I walked in the back door I was greeted by them all, but only Michael came over, jumping onto my back and grabbing me around the neck, trying to wrestle me to the ground.
I looked at the other kids, who stayed where they were watching television.
Tony waved and said ‘Hi,’ but kept looking past me at the back door. At a guess I’d say he was expecting Matt to walk in behind me.
Katie was sullen and seemed withdrawn.
‘How’s it going, sis?’ I said to her.
‘Fine,’ she answered, without even looking up at me.
‘Where’s Matt?’ Tony asked me.
‘Still at work. I’ve got to pick him up in a couple of hours.’
I walked across to mum and gave her a kiss on the cheek, and said ‘Hello’ to Aunt Margaret, then walked down the hallway to my old room, where I started looking to see what else there was that I still needed to take over to the flat.
I noticed that the boys were apparently sharing the room, now that I was gone. The beds were unmade and their clothes were scattered around. One of them had use of the bed, while the other was stuck with the spare mattress on the floor.
Just as I started looking through my old cupboards I heard a voice behind me.
‘You’re not touching any of my stuff are you?’ Tony said, with a note of belligerence in his voice.
‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘I’m just looking for a few things of mine to take back over to our flat.’
‘Oh,’ he said, as he came in and sat down on the bed.
I had the feeling that he wanted to talk, so I left what I was doing and sat up on the bed beside him.
After a short silence he said, ‘Can I ask you something?’
‘Sure,’ I answered.
‘How long have you two . . . ummm . . .?’
‘Not that long,’ I answered.
‘Do you love him?’ he asked.
‘That’s a fairly heavy question for a kid to be asking. But yes, I really do. And he loves me. So don’t you go getting any ideas, you hear me. I’ve seen how you have looked at him.’
I said it half jokingly, but he glanced at me with a look of total bewilderment and hurt.
‘I’m not a little kid anymore. And I’m not . . .’ he started to say.
‘Matt told me what happened the other night,’ I said, cutting him off before he could finish.
He quickly looked away from me, his face a mixture of confusion and guilt and embarrassment.
‘It’s okay,’ I said. ‘I’m not mad at you or anything. And if you want to talk about it, or anything else that might be on your mind, you only have to ask me. Okay?’
He nodded, obviously thinking things over in his head.
‘Did he tell you he kissed me?’ he asked, after another lengthy silence. I looked across at him and he was sitting with his hands in his lap, fidgeting with his hands.
‘He didn’t kiss you,’ I said, correcting him. ‘You tried to kiss him.’
‘Is that what he told you? He tried to kiss me.’
‘He did what?’ Aunt Margaret suddenly asked, appearing at the doorway, apparently having overheard us as she was walking down the hall.
Tony stayed silent.
‘What did you just say, Tony?’ she demanded, standing over us both like a menacing bully.
‘M-M-Matt kissed me,’ Tony stammered. ‘And he ran his hand over my . . .’
Immediately I was fully aware of what was going on here. Tony was trying to get back at Matt because he had rejected him. There is no way that Matt would be this stupid. There was no way that he would lie to me like that. Would he?
‘Don’t bullshit us, Tony,’ I warned.
‘I’m not,’ he cried. ‘He really did.’
‘Well he obviously has,’ Aunt Margaret added. ‘Your precious boyfriend has tried to molest my son.’
‘That’s laughable,’ I said. ‘Your son is . . .’
Tony looked at me with a horrified expression, so I stopped what I was saying.
‘We’ll see about that,’ she said, cutting me off. She grabbed him by the arm and stormed out of the room with the boy in tow.
‘Where are you going?’ mum asked, having heard the raised voices and come to the door.
‘You’ll see,’ she said and they walked straight outside and got into their car.
We listened to them as they started the car up and sped out of the yard. My mother and I just stared at each other. Neither of us had any idea where she was off to, or what she was up to.
I started pacing up and down the length of the kitchen. ‘I’ve got to go and see Matt,’ I said. Then I had a thought.
‘Shit, I hope she’s not going there . . . to his work?’
I ran out the back door and jumped into the car, started it and slammed it into reverse. He wouldn’t have appreciated the grinding of gears, but this was no time for taking it easy.
Thankfully, there was little traffic about, so I had a clear run all the way to the shopping centre, then was lucky enough to find a park real close to the arcade. I ran all the way from the car to Auto Stop, and when I got there, out of breath from my lack of exercise, thankfully there was no sign of my relatives.
‘What’s wrong?’ Matt asked when he saw me run into the shop.
‘We need to talk,’ I said to him urgently.
‘Has Aunt Margaret been here?’ I asked.
‘No. Why would she?’
Shit, I thought, pacing up and down the aisle. Where did they go?
‘What is wrong Luke? Tell me. Please. You’re starting to freak me out here.’
Matt’s boss looked over at us for a brief moment, with a quizzical expression upon his face, then returned his attention to the customer he was serving.
‘Listen, I need to ask you something, and you’ve got to be totally straight with me okay? I mean totally!’
‘I know that you said nothing happened, but Tony has said that you kissed him. Did you?’
‘That little shit. What, are you crazy?’
‘Of course I’m fucking sure. We’ve already had this discussion haven’t we?’
‘Yeah. That’s what I thought. I believe you Matt, but now she’s gone somewhere with him, and I don’t know where. I think they may have gone to the cops, but I really don’t know.’
Matt just went white. He looked as if he’d just had the wind knocked out of him. He sat down on top of some boxes of motor oil and I could see his hands start trembling.
‘Do you really think they may have gone there?’ he asked me. Almost in a whisper.
‘I don’t know. I’m only guessing. She’s obviously doing something. But what?’
‘You know what happens when the cops get involved in these sort of things.’
I just looked at him. What could I say.
‘Is everything all right boys?’ Matt’s boss suddenly asked, coming over to see what was happening.
Matt and I just looked at each. Once again, I could see the fear in his eyes, the same fear that I had seen back when we were still at school.
‘What’s wrong?’ he asked again.
‘Would you mind if I went home boss? I don’t feel very well,’ Matt said very quietly.
His boss looked from Matt to me and then back again.
‘Only if you tell me what is wrong. Are you sick or something?’ he answered.
‘It’s kind of personal boss. Come on, please . . .’ he pleaded. ‘You don’t really need me here. It’s not all that busy.’
We could both sense the urgency and the fear in Matt’s voice.
‘Okay, then. But tomorrow, we talk.’
‘All right,’ Matt said.
‘Go on then, get out of here. And Luke . . .’
‘Yes?’ I asked.
‘Just take care of him.’
I tried a smile, but I don’t think I managed it.
When we reached the car Matt said, ‘You drive,’ so I got in and then unlocked the passenger side door for him to get in as well.
‘Where to?’ I asked.
‘Your mum’s place I suppose. We better try and find out what’s going on.’
I nodded, then started the car.
As we were driving across town I looked across at him a couple of times and all I saw was worry and anxiety etched into his beautiful features. I hated seeing him like this. I truly did.
This was some roller coaster ride we had been on over these past weeks. I wondered when it would end, and whether we had yet passed the worst turns that were to be presented to us.
When we reached mum’s house there was no sign of Margaret’s car anywhere, so we both went inside, where we found only mum and Katie.
‘Where are they?’ I asked her.
‘Gone,’ she answered.
I ran into my old bedroom and found it empty. The beds were still messy, but anything that belonged to either of the boys was now gone.
When I got back out to the lounge room, where mum was sitting, she simply said, ‘You better sit down boys.’
‘What has she done? Where have they gone?’ I asked.
We sat, as directed. Both of us fidgeted nervously.
‘They’ve gone to a motel,’ mum said. ‘It appears that she went to the police after she left here, and both Margaret and Tony have made a statement to them. She told me when she came back and picked up Michael, Jess and all their clothes.’
I gripped on to Matt’s hand and put one arm around his shoulders. I could feel him shaking all over.
‘What for? Nothing happened?’ I said.
‘Tony has said that it did happen. And the police apparently believe them.’
‘That’s bullshit,’ I said. ‘How can they think that?’
Matt was just sitting quietly. He didn’t say a word, he didn’t need to, as the ashen colour of his face was sufficient to let us know what he was feeling.
‘Matt?’ mum asked. ‘Did anything happen with Tony?’
He shook his head, but just kept looking at the floor. ‘He tried to kiss me and I pushed him away. And that was all,’ he said quietly.
‘We’ve got to do something, mum,’ I pleaded.
It was times like this that I wished my father was here. For all his faults he could usually be relied upon in times of crisis, and this was certainly one of those.
‘We better talk to your parents Matt,’ mum finally said. ‘Surely they will be able to help.’
Matt looked from me to my mother and back again. I could see the fear there in his eyes.
I pulled him close to me. ‘We have to,’ I whispered.
* * *
I called in sick the following morning. I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to do anything there at work anyway, as my mind would obviously be someplace else.
My boss wasn’t too happy about it. ‘Sorry,’ I said, then hung up.
After that, I called Matt’s boss to tell him that he wouldn’t be in, as he was still feeling ill, and in spite of his best efforts to get the truth out of me I didn’t tell him why.
We had called Matt’s father the night before, and after we had rung him he sprang into action immediately and called a family friend who was a lawyer. Ten minutes later Matt’s parents and the lawyer arrived and we told them what was happening, or at least as much as we knew ourselves.
It ended up being a late night for all of us, and a lot of tears were shed, as we went through not only the event that was supposed to have taken place, but also our relationship and the events of the past few months. I kept asking why we had to go over and over this, but the lawyer, who Matt’s dad kept calling Harry, just said he needed to know the whole picture.
We managed to make it through the night, however, after heading back to the flat sometime after midnight, and by the time morning came around we weren’t quite as strung out and upset as we had been earlier.
‘Things will be all right,’ I kept saying to Matt as we lay in our bed, with the sunshine streaming in through the window.
He wouldn’t say much, he just cuddled up to me and made me hold him. I just rocked him back and forth like a baby.
This had shaken him to the core, even worse than the events that had taken place at school. I only hoped that we would get through it and that Tony would eventually tell the truth.
‘Harry said we should go to his office when we are ready,’ I said to Matt. ‘Do you want to have a shower and then go downtown?’
He didn’t answer me.
‘Come on, Matt. Please don’t be like this. You’re the one who always tells me that things are going to be all right. Now it’s my turn to tell you that. You have to trust Harry. He’s a friend of your father’s isn’t he? He’s not going to let you down.’
Finally he spoke. ‘Do you know what happens in jail to people who do these sort of things?’
‘You are not going to jail, you idiot,’ I said to him, trying to laugh it off.
I kissed him on the forehead.
‘How can you be so sure?’
‘Because it needs to be something a fair bit more serious than this. I heard Harry tell your father last night.’
For the first time he looked straight at me. ‘Are you sure he said that?’
‘Of course I am. Nothing like that is going to happen. And do you know why?’
He shook his head.
‘Because you didn’t do actually anything. Tony will crumble and tell the truth. I’m sure of it.’
‘I hope you’re right,’ he said.
I hoped so too.
* * *
Martin, Lawson and Smith, that was what the gold lettering on the frosted glass said. It was eleven o’clock when we walked into Harry’s offices.
Harry was standing at the reception counter when we arrived, talking to an attractive blonde lady behind the counter. He noticed us and then ushered us both straight into his office, which was just down the plush carpeted hallway.
‘Are you all right?’ he asked Matt as we sat down into the comfortable seats.
‘I . . . I guess so,’ Matt answered.
‘Good. There’s nothing too much for you to be worried about, all right?’
‘That’s what everyone keeps telling me.’
We were sitting in two leather chairs, which were side by side in front of Harry’s desk. Matt reached across and took my hand, wanting to hold me, or for me to hold him.
Harry looked at us and smiled, but said nothing.
‘When we go to the police station,’ he said, ‘they will most likely want to interview you, to get your side of the story. Just remember you haven’t been charged or anything, just tell it exactly like you remember it. I’ll be in there with you, and if there are any questions I think you shouldn’t answer, I’ll intervene.’
‘They may charge you, or maybe not, okay? It will depend on what they think of what you tell them, and how convincing Tony may have been yesterday when he spoke to them. From what I can gather though, after speaking to one of the Detectives this morning, it was Tony’s mother who did most of the talking. So there isn’t any point in getting too worried just yet. And even if they do charge you with something it will be weeks before anything happens. That’s just how it all works.’
Matt’s eyes were wide open and he was still nodding. I guess he was trying to take it all in.
‘You okay?’ I asked him.
He looked at me with tears forming in his eyes.
‘I’m scared, Luke.’
‘I know mate,’ I said, getting up from my chair and going to him, kneeling down in front of him and giving him a hug.
Harry, who was the Lawson in the gold letters at the front of the office, got up and excused himself for a moment. He went outside into the hall way with the fancy carpet and closed the door behind him, leaving us there alone amongst the leather bound books and dark timbers of his office.
Matt sobbed. And I held him close. And when Harry returned about ten minutes later, we were still in exactly the same positions we had been in when he had left the room.
To be continued . . .