Subject: heatwave in the city chapter 30 This is a work of fiction. Everybody in it is entirely my own creation. Don’t even think of suing me for putting you in a story, because I haven’t. If you happen to be resident in one of the places mentioned, or to belong to any of the institutions mentioned, don’t even think about telling me I haven’t portrayed them accurately. Work of fiction. The name of the institution only occurs because it is common knowledge so I couldn’t get away with pretending it was otherwise. If I’ve borrowed your Church, school, police station, laundrette – I haven’t. I’ve merely used the name on the building because people walk past and see it every day. Work of fiction. None of the people in the story exist, so none of the things that happen in the story can have happened to them. The world, however, is the one exception to this – the world which has in it so many wonderful people that writing fiction of this sort becomes an obligation – for me; not for everybody. You’ll have found your own place in the scheme of things, and can be wonderful in your own way. This is a story of love. It isn’t a story of sex, though that might get mentioned. There is no pornography here. Some of it is cross-generational, but it isn’t about perverted love either. Some is what nowadays is termed “gay”, but the same applies. If you think you might be offended by that, the time to go and read something else is now. Still reading? Then enjoy, and remember, you don’t pay to read these stories, but it does cost Nifty money to bring them to you. Please consider donating to Nifty at fty/donate.html Heatwave in the City by Jonah Chapter 30 I woke on Sunday morning to find myself surrounded by Luke. I was surprised not to see any of the others, but only a little. Jake had percieved that something was wrong, and I couldn’t tell if any of the others had – or Jake might have told them. They might have decided to give me some space, or they might have been over-tired themselves. Something in the room seemed to flicker, and I lay there looking up at the ceiling trying to decide what it might have been. There was a loud crash of thunder and all was explained. Listening carefully I could hear rumbles of thunder as the cloud discharged itself in other directions as well. Another flash and a louder crash, closer this time. Suddenly there was the sound of rain pattering on the pavement outside. I heard Luke moan, but he didn’t wake. I climbed out of bed to go and close the window. It’s best to keep the rain outside. A flash and a crash at virtually the same time – probably the lightning conductor on the tube station, or some other tall building nearby. I stayed at the window, watching the lightning on the sky, and the rain dancing on the pavement below. There was nobody about, and a naked man in a second floor window would not be noticed anyway – not in this. FLASH/CRASH A shower of sparks from the lampost opposite, and its structure seemed to bend. “What the….” “It’s OK Luke. Pretty close though.” The lampost had developed a distinct bend about half way up and its whole length was steaming. Luke joined me at the window. A slight niggle of concern set in. A naked man AND a naked boy in a second floor window would probably not be noticed either – but if they were………… “Luke, put some clothes on if you’re going to stand here.” “But you’re……..” “And pass me my dressing gown too please.” We must have stood there, together, for the best part of half an hour, watching the lightning and the rain in the early hours of that Sunday morning. Somehow it just felt right – and not just because the heatwave was finally over. God was putting on a show, and I was watching with my boy. I showered and then Luke. “Is it time for breakfast yet?” “Are you hungry Luke?” “Not really. I just wondered if it was time.” “It’s only just past five o,clock. so the other’s won’t be up for a while yet.” “Except Kori – he’s in the shower. Jake fell asleep on the sofa, so he’s probably still there.” “Kori’s showering at five in the morning? No, on second thoughts, forget that. Nothing that boy does surprises me.” “I’m going to miss them when they go back.” “I think we all are Luke. It’s been good having them here though, hasn’t it?” “Why do they have to go back?” “Why did we have to come back to England?” “That’s different” “Why?” “I don’t know.” “Because you are you and no-one else is?” He stopped to think about that one, then finally said, “I don’t think like that. I did once, trabzon escort but I don’t now.” “That’s because you belong with us Luke. It’s good to belong with people who love you.” “And God loves me.” I ruffled his red hair. “So he does Luke,” I said, “and I can see why. Now do you want to go and lie down some more, or shall we see if this American boy is ready for breakfast?” “Breakfast is in twenty minutes,” said Kori. “Wait a minute Sergeant-Major, ” I said. “Whose house do you think you are in?” “Yours,” he said shortly, “and you ain’t cooking breakfast.” “Kori, you were taught better English than ‘ain’t’, ” said Luke, in his best Jake voice. Kori and I both looked at Luke in stunned surprise. He immediately responded by doubling up with laughter and,eventually, rolling on the floor. “I’m gonna be having a word with that Jake.” Kori said finally. “Best not Kori,” I said. “He’ll only agree with Luke.” “Didn’t know he’d trained a parrot though,” he muttered. “Yeah?” I said. “You’re just sore because you didn’t get away with something you thought you’d get away with,” I ruffled his hair. “Dare you to do that again,” he challenged. “Oh, I can do better than that Kori,” I responded and seized him around his middle. As soon as I tickled his ribs he collapsed to the floor, but I wasn’t about to let up as he rolled in helpless laughter. “Had enough?” I demanded. “Yeah,” he squealed.”Uncle, uncle!” I stood and let him scramble to his feet. “Breakfast is STILL in twenty minutes,” he said. “Kori,” I said. “Do you know what time of day it is?” “I know it’s our last day in England,” he replied, “and I ain’t aiming to miss any of it” “Good boy Kori,” said Jake, coming up the stairs. “Just one thing though – you were taught better English than ‘ain’t’ ” Even Kori joined in the laughter that time. Jake must have wondered why these three idiots suddenly collapsed and rolled on the floor. By six o’clock everybody was up and showered and digging into breakfast. You’ll notice I didn’t mention them being dressed. Well some of us were. In fact all the American contingent were – even Liam. Luke had put on boxers and a T- shirt. I’m afraid my other two let the side down though. In the end I felt constrained to say, “Peter, this is not a naturist’s colony, and Simon – you’re old enough to know better.” “Come on Pete,” said Simon heading back up the stairs. They were not overdressed when they came back down again, but they were at least decent. “Don’t you open your mail?” said Simon, handing me an envelope. “Where was this?” I said in some surprise. “On your desk” “Simon, I’ve spoken to….” “Our cases are still in your room,” said Simon. Wind knocked firmly out of sails. The envelope only bore my Christian name, so had obviously been delivered by hand. It contained a single sheet of scented notepaper, and in a beautiful, hand, with lots of flourishes it said: Jonah As your friends are leaving on Monday, the Catholic Ladies of St John have expressed the wish to throw a farewell tea for them on Sunday 11th August. It will be in the Church Hall at 4pm. Please bring all of your family and, of course, all of Mr. Roberts’ family. Dress casual (but please tell the boys – not TOO casual). Looking forward to seeing you all. Susan Porter (Mrs.) I handed the letter to Jake, who read it in silence. “Is that Sammy’s mom?” he asked at last. “It certainly is, and I’m already in trouble for refusing to take you to dinner at their house last Sunday. It looks like they’ve got us cornered this week.” “I like the idea of tea with the Catholic ladies,” he replied. “It’ll be a blast.” I closed my eyes for a second and tried to imagine tea with the Catholic ladies in those terms. If they’re anything like Methodist ladies, (who are lovely – I hasten to add – in case this is ever used in evidence against me), then a “blast” is probably the least appropriate term to use. I forced my face into a smile. “Of course it will be,” I said. We were ready for Church long before it was time, so I rang Rob. Ben aswered the phone, which surprised me, and also struck me as a silly thing to do since he couldn’t see my lips. “Ben how are you…..?” “I’ll just get him for you, Jonah” he said. The penny dropped. He had answered the phone, knowing that that would be a safe thing to say whoever it was. It had been the caller-display that had alerted him to its ringing. I needed to remember that Ben was very intelligent. “Jonah!” said Rob. “Hi mate,” I said. “How’re you doing?” tunalı escort “Oh, mending,” he said. “Physically fine. My doctor says I’ve still got to take it easy, and THIS doctor says I’ve about had enough of it.” “This is me Rob,” I told him. “Worst patient in the world, remember? Do you expect sympathy? I can only tell you that every word you say now, you’ll feel ashamed of when you’re better, believe me.” “Touche’!” he said. “Do you think being clever is going to make me feel better?” I left an extended silence. “I’m wasting my time talking to you aren’t I?” he said at last. Another long silence. “What if I apologise for not being sympathetic enough when you were in hospital?” “I’d think it was my lucky day. ” “I’ll bet you would.” “I hear Phil’s been going out to RTAs,” I said. The silence was from the other end this time. At length he said, “I might need to talk to you about that Jonah, but I can’t at the moment. The police are investigating.” “Anyone we know?” “Sub judice’ and patient confidentiality – I can’t say any more than that, but I’ll let you know if I need to involve you. There’s just one thing though.” “What’s that mate?” “Some prayers wouldn’t go amiss.” I would have done that anyway, but I just said, “Of course mate. See you later.” “Are you going to Susan’s tea?” “Wouldn’t miss it for worlds.” “I’ll see you there then, Ciaou!” “TTFN.” I responded, and hung up. Well that left me either somewhere or nowhere, but feeling even more uneasy. However, I reasoned, Rob had made it quite clear that there was nothing I could do. I did what I needed to do, which was to round up the troops and march them to Church. Jacob spent the entire service sitting on his Godfather’s lap and loudly offering his version of the hymns, though he hadn’t yet learned to stop when the rest of us did. He was enjoying himself too much for that – and so was everybody else. After the third hymn Steve Richards, who was officiating, said, “Now, does Jacob want to come and preach the sermon?” “Woah woah, woah woah, woah woah woah,” said Jacob. “Well that was better than the one I’ve got written down,” said Steve, “but you’re going to get it anyway.” We did. We got it – though Steve and Jacob shared the job. Miriam was creased up with laughter. A few weeks ago she’d have attempted to take Jacob outside. She wouldn’t succeed because Luke would prevent it. With Jake holding the baby, that option was, once more, denied her. She seemed happy enough with the situation anyway though. She was among people who loved her. Jacob was among people who loved him. It couldn’t get any better than that. Coffee and cakes afterwards was particularly impressive. Cream cakes, and gateaux abounded as well as coffee and tea. it took a couple of minutes for the penny to drop. Word had got around of our tea at the Catholic Church later. The Methodist ladies had determined that they would not be outdone. I looked around the hall and saw Hilary Blake standing over the teapot. Hilary usually took the lead in organising things like this so I walked across. “Hilary,” I told her, “we’re only going for tea, and it’s a one-off. We shan’t be defecting to the Roman Catholics if you don’t give us good enough elevenses.” “I don’t care,” she said. “We love it when your friends come, and we want them to know it.” I put an arm round her shoulder and kissed her on the cheek. It would have been impossible to find words to do the job. A quick look around the room would confirm the truth of what she said. Poor Liam had taken to hiding in corners lest another middle aged lady should hug or kiss him. Kori, daren’t do that, but was engaged in conversation by everybody he couldn’t manage to avoid. He was too well mannered to try anyway. Jake (and child) were also much sought after. Steve eventually rescued Liam. He and I took the boy to the middle of the room and sat ourselves at a table. “It’s harder for them if you’re sitting down,” he told Liam. “You just watch Mrs. Morton try it.” Sure enough Joan Morton walked purposefully toward us. “There you are,” she greeted Liam, but of course the table prevented her from approaching from the front. She had to bend down and, at the same time, try to turn him in his seat. “What are you doing Joan?” Steve demanded. Embarrassed, Joan began. “Well I’m only trying…” “Well it looks like child abuse from where I’m sitting,” said Steve, “and it’s not good for international relations. Stop it at once, and have a seat.” Joan sat down tunceli escort with us. “You see Liam, that’s how you stop scary, strange women from kissing you when you don’t want them to,” said Steve,” but you can still talk to them. In fact it’s only good manners.” “How do you do Ma’am,” said Liam. “Why you’re a perfect gentleman,” said Joan, “which is more than can be said for our minister. He has got a point though, and if I stay where I am, and he’s got your other side, no more scary ladies can get to you.” Liam got up from his seat, kissed Joan on the cheek and, without another word, walked off into the room. Apparently he was equal to anything now. Dinner, we had arranged, would be at Monica’s, then she could walk with us to the Catholic Church. That arrangement apparently suited Jacob, who loved having lots of people to play with. Joe had the joint in, and roasting slowly, before he went to Church, so it was done perfectly, as if I need to say that about anything that Joe cooked. I had thought about a Sunday afternoon walk in the woods, but the grass was still wet from the storm. We stayed in and played various card games, or most of us did. Luke wasn’t going to play any game that Jacob could not join in with. Soon it was time to think about getting ready for tea. Monica supervised slicking down of all hair (including adults). Jacob was strapped into his pushchair, and we were off. The Catholic Church is a huge brick and glass ediface which, from the front, looks like a V bomber standing on its tail (not something which, so far as I know, V bombers were ever in the habit of doing). The church hall is behind it and we found it decked out with streamers and balloons. A line of folding tables stretched across the far end, buried in foodstuffs in a way that only lacked the Ghost of Christmas Present sitting atop it. Smaller tables, with chairs around, were dotted around the hall. Phil Manley met us as we came in. “Jonah,” he said. “It’s good to have you back. ” “Jake, this is Doctor Philip Manley, Phil this is Jake Roberts, that’s Kori and Liam. You know the others.” “Delighted,” said Phil shaking hands with them in turn. “I need to speak with you later,” I said. “No you don’t Jonah,” he replied. “I know what you think happened, but it didn’t. We can only leave it to the police. If you want to talk to anyone, it’ll have to be them.” “Okey Doke,” I said, satisfied for the moment. Apparently a “tea” is the Roman Catholic name for a “party”, and it was certainly that. Alcohol was kept to strictly Methodist limits, which was just as well, but canape’s, sandwiches, jelly and ice cream, trifles, pizzas, pastries and cakes, abounded. Rob was parked in a corner . Ben guarded him for a time but was eventually to be found missing. Kori was the other missing one, so no further search was made. Sammy, Liam and Peter conducted the search at first, until I told them to call it off. Jeff Porter grasped my shoulder. “Sorry about all this Jonah. There was no stopping her.” “I think everybody’s enjoying themselves Jeff,” I told him. “You can tell her she’s forgiven.” I went and sat down in the corner next to Rob. “Glad you came?” I asked. “I’ve been chatting to Jake,” he replied. “We both graduated at Yale, but I’ve never met him before. He’s a good bloke.” “He certainly is that,” I agreed. “And he’s done wonders for those boys.” “You don’t do so bad yourself,” he remarked. “Except I sometimes wonder who’s looking after whom,” I said. “Oh no!” he groaned. I looked over my shoulder to where he was looking. Jason Dorridge was heading for our corner. “Jonah!” he said. “Can you please tell me what’s going on? Something is and these two doctors won’t tell me.” “It’s good to see you too Jason,” I said. “That’s because there’s nothing to tell you. There’s a rumour going around that something that happened yesterday was connected to your family, but it isn’t. It was only a rumour, and a false one at that.” “OK Jonah, If YOU say so,” he said, walking away. “Thanks mate,” said Rob. “Now please tell me I didn’t just lie to him,” I said. TO BE CONTINUED If you’ve enjoyed this story, you’ll probably enjoy other stories in this series by the same author. This is the latest in a series that includes “A letter from America”, “Stranger on a train,” “Marooned”, “the Boston Tea Party”, “Immigrant,” and “A Cantabrian Operetta”, all the foregoing are on Nifty’s Adult/Youth site. “The Pen Pals” is on Young Friends. You might also like “A Neglected Boy”, by Jacob Lion, also on Adult/Youth. You can find links to all these stories, as well as some illustrations on Jacob Lion’s website bly/jonah-stories.html My thanks go to Jacob for providing this facility as well as for his kind and generous support without which I would never have written any of them.