On the Inside ....
I suddenly feel like I'm going soft in the head!!
Something that would have annoyed the hell out of me last week is actually amusing me today. Mace is holding my hand and skipping along rambling and laughing like a happy excited child. You'd think he's never been on a plane before, although this flight was a little different to any we have taken together before, and that is why he keeps laughing.
I had been playing him up all morning, over breakfast and on the way to the airport calling him boyfriend and it was annoying him a little. The years he has nagged me to put that label on our relationship and I have refused and when I say he can use it he throws it back at me. He thinks I'm just trying to keep him sweet because of me having to tell him about my marriage and not knowing if I am actually still married or divorced. I still can't believe he hasn't questioned the ring on my finger yet!!
Our seats on the plane are in a row of three right at the back of the plane. I am sitting in the isle seat, Mace in the middle and a single middle aged red guy is sat in the window seat. The red guy made small talk with Mace which I didn't really join in with, my head swimming with quite a few different emotions about going home and back to Sugar Valley.
The red guy went off to to the toilet for about the sixth time, he told Mace he gets travel sick especially on planes and even suggested that me and him swap seat so he doesn't keep disturbing us every time he runs off to the toilet. Mace decided he wanted to mess about while the guy was away. He's virtually sitting on me and my seat kissing me.
When the guy returns to his seat we are still kissing. Mace jumps back in his seat, sits up straight and tries to act all proper. Not everyone likes to see kissing in public especially when it is two gay men. We hadn't even thought about the people sitting in the next row of seats across from us, they could see us perfectly clearly.
"It's okay you and your boyfriend can carry on, it doesn't bother me - I've got a gay son, I'm used to it." the man turns and says to Mace.
"Oh he's not my boyfriend we are just mates who shag." Mace says suddenly. I choke on the coke in my mouth that I've just taken a mouthful of and it sprays everywhere, including all over the woman who is sat in the seat in front of me. I could have faded!!
Mace gives me a straight back at you smirk as he sits there with his arms crossed while I'm trying to apologize to the woman in front of me who I've drowned in Coke. I can't help but laugh because this is more like the Mace I remember. I notice the red guy is sitting there next to Mace looking a little confused.
"Excuse me for asking, but 'mates who shag' how does that work exactly?" the guy asks. "Is that some kind of new modern thing?" Me and Mace just look at each other and crack up completely!!
I get up out of my seat while I'm still laughing brushing my clothes that now have damp patches from the coke. I tell Mace I'm going to the toilet to clean myself up before the coke stains my clothes and go off to the toilet leaving him to answer the guys question - well he started it!
I stand in the gang way where the toilets are situated waiting for one to become vacant. I can't see what is going on down the plane because of the curtain that hides the gang way from view where they keep the hostess trolleys opposite the toilets. I stand there on my own just laughing at what Mace had said and wander how he's going to explain it to the curious red guy. Suddenly he appears round the curtain and is standing in the gang way with me laughing his head off.
"I had to get away ... " I start laughing at him "Did he seriously just ask me how mates who shag works?" We both stand there laughing hysterically.
A woman comes out of one of the toilets with a little girl and goes through the curtain. When there is no one in the gangway with us I push him into the toilet with me and lock the door behind us. Mace starts smirking at me as I push him against the wall of the toilet and start kissing him. After a while and without me even saying anything he starts removing my trousers.
He must have read my mind because I've always wandered what it would be like to have sex in a plane toilet, I've heard it can be quite a thrill ride especially if the plane hits an air pocket.
We were nervous about leaving the toilet together in case anyone sees us, especially me with wet patches all over my clothes. I'm not even sure if you can get into trouble for having sex in plane toilets!! All we could do is to open the door and hope nobody is out in the gangway queuing up waiting for one of the toilets.
We open the door and who do we see standing there ... the red guy from our row of seats. We both burst into hysterics and laugh our way all the way back to our seats.
The rest of the flight me and Mace spent in virtual silence because every time we looked at each other we started laughing. I can't help but smile because already I can see a lot of the old Mace coming back - I think this just might be working.
The red guy hardly spoke to us again after that, I think he was more embarrassed than we were. Of course he would know exactly how long we had been away from our seats for and just how long we had been in that toilet together - it doesn't take a genius to work out what we have been doing.
As soon as we walk out of the airport terminal I let go of Mace's hand, after I explain Mango always used to be a bit of a stuffed shirt and he will have to behave in front of him and definitely not tell him what we were up to in the plane toilets or what went on with the red guy.
I start look around nervously for Mango, who is picking us up from Raspberry Hill airport and taking us back to Sugar Valley. I spot him virtually straight away standing not too far away from the main doors talking to someone on his phone.
Of course I recognize Mango instantly, I've seen his photograph in the medical journals so often it doesn't feel like I haven't physically seen him for over 20 years. I see him cut off the call and he stuffs his phone back in his pocket, he looks a little stressed.
"Well Mango Muffin you haven't changed a bit!!" I say as I approach him, he looks up and smiles. He really surprises me by hugging me. "Although you have grown a little taller since the last time I saw you!"
"I hardly recognized you Granite!! You look well!!" he says as he stands back and looks at me. Yeah I guess it must be a pretty shocking sight I'm not drunk or as high as a kite and fairly smartly dressed compared to how he's used to seeing me.
He says one of his sons is in the car so we make our way to it straight away. He explains his son has come for a ride out and doesn't want to leave him alone too long in the car. I was expecting a child to be in the car when we got there, so I was very surprised when a grown adult get's out. I realize why he didn't want to leave him alone for too long, he's a mixed berry out in the coded world.
"This is Mosaic one of my sons." Mango tells me as I shake his hand.
"How many children do you have then Mango?" he tells me five, three boys and two girls. I start laughing "You've been busy. Not so much starch in your nappy these days then!!" I wink at him. He laughs at me, I remember how I used to play him up chronic when he was a kid.
I stand studying Mosaic who is smiling at me. I'm a little puzzled by his unusual colouring, he has the strangest eyes I've ever seen combined with the same orange skin as Mango and purple hair. I remember Mango's Mother having purple hair. I can see Mosaic's eyes are colourless, I have seen colourless berry's before but they are usually completely colourless not part. I didn't think that part colourless was even genetically possible!! I think Mosaic can see that I'm staring at him and he starts to look uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry Mosaic I didn't mean to stare ... it's your eyes." he smiles at me "I've seen a few colourless berrys but never a part one before I didn't think it was even genetically possible ... I take it they are colourless?" I say a little embarrassed.
"Yes My wife Lilly is colourless." Mango surprises me by answering for his son as he smiles at me "Four of my children defy the laws of genetics they all have colourless eyes which we don't quite understand." he starts laughing "It seems the Orchid side of our family keeps throwing up oddities - my first granddaughter has just arrived all yellow with colourless eyes too and my nephew Affair, who is colourless has got none identical triplets that are all colourless, the odds on that are quite huge."
"Did you just say Orchid?" Mace suddenly pipes up "Lilly Orchid?" I frown at him wandering why he would even ask that question. "As in Lilly White Orchid the painter - I know she is colourless and comes from Sugar Valley." I just stare at him confused
"Yes Lilly White Orchid is my wife." Mango smiles. So I ask Mace how he would even know her name or anything about her.
"You know that painting in the dining room and the one in the living room by the fireplace?" I tell him how can I forget them, they cost me an arm and a leg and he had a right tantrum over having them because I didn't want to buy them because of how much they cost. "Lilly White Orchid - she painted them!" he smiles at me.
"Oh No!! I knew I should have left you at home!!" I roll my eyes at him "and don't think for one minute we are taking a load of paintings home with us because you can forget it!!" I laugh at him because I know that look on his face!! He calls me a tight arse! Mango and Mosaic both laugh at him.
"My daughter Coral is a painter too, not as good or as famous as her Mother, but that is how she earns her living." he turns to me and laughs "Which might amuse you Granite as she lives with your brother and that's where I presume you will be staying. I wouldn't be so sure about not taking any home if your friend is into paintings." I just stand there shaking my head and laughing - my wallet is in big trouble!! "So are you not going to introduce us to your friend Granite?"
"Sorry yes ... this is Mace the boyfriend." Mace steps forward to shake his hand "Although he's more like a nagging girlfriend!" Mace thumps my leg.
I just laugh at him, I know why he thumped me because I used the word - boyfriend. I notice Mango and Mosaic exchange a strange look and wander what that is all about. Mace starts with his performance and grabs my hand, when I've told him he's got to behave in front of Mango.
"Granite is always this rude, if I didn't know him any better I'd think he was ashamed of me!!" he grins at me and I just laugh at him and he knows why! I'm already wishing I'd left him at home and he hasn't even met Gravel yet!!
"I hope you haven't told Gravel I'm coming Mango!!" he laughs and says he hasn't even told him he has spoken to me. "Good - I want to knock his block off and I don't want him to see it coming!!" I smile at Mango.
Mosaic and Mace put our cases into the boot of the car then they get into the back.
"I presume you are staying at Gravels?" Mango smiles at me and I nod, even though Gravel doesn't even know it yet. "Just in case there are any problems, there is a room at mine that you and Mace are welcome to use. I know you and Gravel have a lot of stuff to sort out and I remember how you pair used to fight!!" we both start laughing "Is it okay if I give you a few hours to settle in then come round to pick you up so we can get you tested. If you are not compatible we still need to keep searching and I don't want to waste any time!!"
"We can go straight to the hospital and do it now if you like, if you have nothing else to do. I'd rather get it done out of the way before I face Gravel. We do have a lot to discuss and I'd like to pop in and see Slate first too, I need to put a real face to the name." he smiles at me.
"You'll be pleased to know we took Slate off the ventilator successfully yesterday, so he is now breathing on his own and things are finally starting to look up!" He smiles again as he opens the door so that I can get into the car and closes it behind me.
This tickles me a little, to most of my work mates in Neurology this man is like God ... if only they could see me now! I've always kept quiet the fact that I know Mango and grew up with him. I doubt they would have believed me anyway if I'd told them! I've always tried to keep my past to myself, I didn't want it catching up with me.
The journey from Raspberry Hill airport seemed to take a lot longer than I remember it taking, probably because I am so eager to see home again. It has been way too long and I wander if I'm even going to recognize the place. I sat in the front with Mango while Mace sat in the back with Mosaic. I am amused that they nattered constantly all the way to the hospital. I dread to think what he might have been telling Mosaic, most of their conversation I didn't catch too busy talking to Mango.
After I had completed all the tests that needed to be done, Mango stayed behind to try and get them pushed through straight away. Mosaic showed us where Slate is after phoning his sister Coral and checking that Gravel is at home and not at the hospital. This is the last place that I want to be bumping into my little brother for the first time after 20 years, in a public place. On the way to the intensive care unit Mosaic stops off at the coffee shop and grabs a coffee and sandwich.
I am very surprised when we walk into Slates room to see a green and brown mixed berry guy his head on Slates shoulder, he is holding Slates hand and he is fast asleep. Mosaic starts laughing.
"Bay wake up you sap!!" he laughs as he shakes his shoulder. Bay jumps and nearly falls off the chair in fright as he snaps straight out of his sleep and stares up at Mosaic wide eyed who is stood there just laughing at him. I can't help noticing he's quite cute. "Man you are seriously making it obvious!!"
"Shut up Mo!!" he snaps
"Bayleaf you've been here all night again haven't you?!" Mosaic says to him as he sits there rubbing his eyes "Dad is going to go mad at you, he thinks you are going to make yourself ill and Fudge is worrying herself sick over you!!"
"Don't you start!!" he smiles at Mosaic as he passes him the coffee and sandwich. "I wish everyone would stop fussing I'm fine honestly!! Thanks for breakfast or is it dinner?! " he smirks " So, spill bro ... don't you have something to tell me Dadio! Something about you knocking my sister up!!" they both start laughing
"I'm surprised you already know ... who told you? We were going to tell you today."
"Mango told me last night, he's hopping you know! He's wandering just how many Grandchildren you lot thinks he needs!!" they both start laughing again. "And not one of you have bothered to get married first ... tut! tut! tut!"
"Don't I've already had a round of his earache! Like he can talk he forgets about River!" Mosaic laughs at him. "It was your Dad I was more worried about but he's quite excited, he told me it better have his green hair or I'm in trouble!" They both start laughing for a moment, then I see his eyes move past Mosaic to me and Mace.
Bayleaf stands up after he has finally spotted me and Mace. I get the feeling he might know who I am already as he just stands there studying me and he smiles. He stands there grinning at me, he is cute! Mace grabs my hand, he must feel threatened by Bay's continued grinning. I look at Mace and laugh as he just glares at Bayleaf. He get's worse!!
"Are you Granite?" he asks
"Yes, I'm Granite." I smile at him "I recognize your voice you are the one who I spoke too on the telephone." he just continues to smiles "This is Mace, my nagging girlfriend." This makes everyone laugh including Mace "See I didn't forget you this time lover!" I smile at him. "He thinks I'm ashamed of him, but if that was the case he would be walking round with a paper bag on his head!" Mace just thumps me.
"Ignore him - he's a joker, he will seriously get on your nerves after a while."
I let go of Mace's hand and walk over to the bed and just stare down at Slate lay there on life support. This is not exactly how I would have wanted to see my nephew for the first time. I can already see how like me and Gravel he is, I'm amused that the poor kid got the horrible Rock nose that I thankfully escaped!!
"You turning up - this is really going to mess Slate's head up!!" Bayleaf says looking all distressed as he stands beside me.
"Why will it?" I frown at him
"He doesn't even know he has an Uncle, Gravel never told him about you. Slate thinks it is just him and Gravel - none of us knew anything about you, until Gravel wasn't compatible and Forrest said it was important that we had to find you. Only Mango and Forrest knew you actually existed." I look at him when he says Forrest, but Mace is in the room which stops me from asking him any questions about Forrest.
"You are Slates mate aren't you?" I ask him and he says yes "Why did he do this to himself do you know?"
"I don't know exactly, only he can tell you that ... but I think it was more what Gravel has done to him. He's always felt alone not having a Mother or any other family and what his Dad has done has totally wrecked him. Slate told me he can never forgive him and doesn't want to have anything to do with him ever again. He felt like he had lost everything and was totally alone."
"This girl ... Coral, what about her?"
"Yeah he is upset with Coral obviously, they were supposed to be getting married, but I don't think she was bothering him that much. He hardly mentioned her, it was mainly Gravel he kept on about to me. He kept saying if it was any other man in the world she'd gone off with he could take it, but not his Dad."
I pick up the clipboard off the end of his bed and start thumbing through the pages reading the notes. Something catches my eye that shocks me for a moment. The boys name - when it sinks in this really makes me laugh.
"Oh ... My brother is a joker!!" I carry on laughing and Bayleaf is really frowning at me so I tell him why I'm laughing. "Slates name ... Slate Granite Rock - my name is Granite Slate Rock ... Gravel is a piss taking berry hole!!" he just looks at me blankly "I take it you don't know what has gone on between me and my brother if you didn't know I existed." he shakes his head. This makes me laugh "I'll have to fill you in sometime!! Lets just say his favourite game is back stabbing, especially his family!!"
"Be a sweetie, can you fetch us all a coffee? I'm parched" I smile at Mace and hand him some money. I need to get rid of him, Bay mentioning Forrest is making it hard for me to even think straight. "You don't mind showing him the way to the coffee shop do you Mosaic?" he smiles and says he doesn't mind. I wait for Mace to leave the room.
"How well does Slate know Forrest?" he looks a little puzzled then realize I might even be barking up the wrong tree, there is more than one Forrest in the world, it might not even be him! "The Forrest you mentioned earlier is he an all green guy, elf ears, his hair and eyes are actually very similar to yours, he used to wear his hair in dreads, he's gay and got a sister called Meadow."
"Yeah Forrest Rock, that's who I'm on about." That really surprises me that he hasn't changed his surname back to Leaf and he's still using Rock.
"Go out?" this makes my blood run cold because I have already half suspected that Bayleaf is gay "Are you gay?" he smiles and says he is "So you and Forrest are dating?"
"Hell no!! I love the way everyone always presumes that!" he starts laughing so I frown at him "We don't fancy each other besides he's old enough to be my Dad!! Just because we are both gay doesn't mean we have to be dating, you should know that better than anyone!! We are just mates we go out drinking sometimes, but mainly we go to the gym and bowling together!!"
"So who is he dating these days?" I ask even though I shouldn't because if I hear something I shouldn't it will only set me off and this is exactly what I am supposed to be trying to avoid.
"Forest doesn't date anyone, he's a little strange in that department if you ask me!!" I frown at him and ask why "He's pretty much a loner, I've never known him date anyone, he's been hurt badly in the past, Mango says he's now married to his job." he carries on laughing then he frowns at me "Why all the questions about Forest anyway?"
"Just curious, I knew him from way back, we went to school together." I smile at him
"So are you and Slate good mates?" I ask trying to move the subject away from Forrest. He pulls a weird face.
"We used to be best mates, it got complicated, I'm gay and he's not." He stares over at Slate for quite a while and he goes quiet. "I need to ask you something - will you be sticking around permanently, because he really needs you!!" I just stare at him for a moment, he looks like he's starting to get upset and well up.
"I ... I hadn't planned to why?" I frown at him "Obviously if I'm compatible he can have one of my kidneys, and now I know about him I'll keep in contact with him, but I didn't plan to move back to Sugar Valley permanently if that's what you mean." He looks upset by me saying this "Why what's wrong?"
"I'm worried about him, and really don't know who to talk to, but I think you are probably the best person for a few reasons." I frown at him "Me and Slate, we kind of haven't seen too much of each other for a while until recently ... we used to be best mates, we were very close and always together until it got complicated ..."
Bayleaf looks over at Slate again and seems to hesitate for a moment as he starts to study me like he's trying to decide whether to carry on or not.
"I love Slate and he doesn't have a clue how I feel about him and I don't want you to tell him either. Gravel knows and so does Mosaic and my sister, but nobody else does, not even Mango although he suspects it." I just stare at him for a moment he's taken me by surprise a little by telling me this. "I distanced myself from him when he started dating girls and realized he's straight, I couldn't cope being around him and he didn't and doesn't need to know how I feel about him. I just walked away without an explanation and totally blanked him, which he's told me recently really upset him." he goes quiet for a moment.
"Slate found me the day he walked in on Gravel and Coral and I took him home because he was in a right state he was hammered." he looks down at the floor "One of the things upsetting him most was feeling alone, as far as he is concerned he has no one only his Dad and after what Gravel has done Slate feels like he's lost everything especially his Dad. He says there is never any going back after this. Before he did this to himself, he started to do some crazy shit that I haven't spoken to anyone about, because I didn't know how to." I frown at him
"What sort of crazy shit?" I ask him
"He ... he kept kissing me. The first time I thought it was because he was hammered, but he did it again when he was sober." I laugh a little "and it wasn't just kissing he wanted - I had to keep pushing him away to stop him. He was also trying to convince me that he liked kissing me and wanted to do it. Slate is as straight as they come and I don't know why he was jumping on me and I'm worried he's going to mess his head up if he hasn't already!!" he looks at me nervously "I know, I'm totally gay and I slept with a woman once when I was hammered and it really messed my head up and I'm worried he'll do the same and his head is obviously messed up enough already!!" he smiles at me and I think he is a little embarrassed by telling me this.
"Yeah I bet it messed your head up!!" I laugh at him "I've not even kissed a woman - just the thought of sleeping with one makes me want to puke - hell!! You actually SLEPT with her?! How did you manage that?"
"I would never have managed it if I'd been sober, I was so hammered I vaguely knew what I was doing ... I must have thought she was a guy!" we both start laughing. I think I can tell I'm already going to like Bayleaf.
"I think what Gravel and Coral have done has seriously mashed his head up - jumping on me and the suicide attempt - both of those things are seriously not Slate!!" I can see he's starting to get upset "I've thought about nothing else for the past month and all I can think he is desperately trying to grab for something or someone and I'm the closest person to him, he's trying to attach himself to me so he's not alone. This is why I said he really needs you - just you being here and knowing you're his Uncle, should help him feel so not alone." I can now see he's starting to cry
"I need to put distance between us again for both of our sakes, before he does something he's going to regret and before he tempts me into doing something I'm not going to be able to help doing. I've been worrying - when he wakes up - how can I walk away and leave him alone again when he's feeling like this. His head is mashed up enough without me adding to it and he doesn't even know about the babies yet - that's going to send him off his rocker!! Plus the kidney problem, plus anything else that might be wrong with him ... how can I walk away from him when he's going to need me as a mate especially if he has other medical problems that are going to affect him for the rest of his life?! I don't want to walk away but I have to!! He needs you here, you are the only family he has got!! He has got nobody else!! I need you here!!" he is now really starting to get upset.
"Hell!! That's going to take some thinking about!!" he's blown my mind a little, he's now really crying which is pretty awkward because I don't know the guy. I put my arm around him. "Don't worry, you're not on your own now, we'll sort him out somehow, even if I do end up having to stay or take him back to Cherry Hill with me, which might be best for him if those babies do turn out to be Gravels."
I can't think straight - I suddenly remember something about my brother that lessons the odds drastically of those babies actually being his. Slate must be the result of the Artificial Insemination and fertility treatment that they were going through when I got banged up because of Gravels fertility problems.
I look at Bay as he stands there crying and can't help noticing the boy is a wreck!! It's pretty obvious how much he cares about Slate and how he's beating himself up over everything and carrying a heavy emotional burden around with him.
"Do you want me to call someone, I think you need to take a break you seem to be carrying a lot around on those shoulders of yours!! You should go home and get some rest, who do you live with? Your parents? a boyfriend?"
"No I'd rather stay here!! I live on my own and I don't have a boyfriend anymore, he ... faded 8 months ago." he looks over at Slate again and laughs while he is still crying "That relationship was a joke too, the only reason we were together in the first place was because we both had the same problem - him!!" he points at Slate and cracks up completely.
His legs go from underneath him and I have to sit him down on a chair. He's crying so hard he can hardly breath. He's sat there shaking and looks like he's about to pass out. I tell him to take deep breaths as I check his pulse and it's erratic, his hands are also clammy. He's having a melt down.
"Have you gone like this before?" I ask him and he nods "We need Mango to check you over, he's right you ARE making yourself ill!!"
"No!! Don't!! He'll just go mad and I'll be alright in a bit!!" he says as he starts to calm down a little "It's just a panic attack!" I laugh at him because I know it's a little more than just a panic attack.
"So what happened with you and Gravel, I don't get why he has kept you a secret." I smile at him. "When Forrest said we had no choice but to find you, Gravel went ballistic and they had a huge fight - I don't think Gravel wanted you here at all - I don't get it he's your brother!!" This makes me laugh a little.
I know he's trying to distract me away from Mango, but I answer his question thinking it might give him a chance to calm himself down. He's an emotional wreck and while he's thinking about my problems he's not thinking about his own.
"Years back I was a bit of a mess, I was an addict, drugs and alcohol ...." I start explaining to him.
I started going off the rails when I was a teenager, after our Mother faded leaving me alone to look after Gravel who was only a child. Our Father went first and she followed three years later. My boyfriends family took us in to keep us out of care. Over the years my addictions continued and just got slowly worse. I started hanging around with the wrong sort - the criminal kind and was always up to no good. Gravel wasn't impressed as you can imagine being in the police force!! That's when the rot really started setting in with us, but as brothers we have always fought and our relationship has always been rocky.
Basically I was putting my bloke through hell and I could see how much I was hurting him with all the shit I was causing. I was trying to get myself clean of everything drugs, booze and crime before I lost him - which didn't go down too well with my crimanal friends. They started making threats because I knew too much, they wouldn't let me walk away only in a wooden box. I went to my brother for help, it was the only way I could see out of the mess I was in. I wanted to walk away from crime and clean up my addictions so we could have a 'normal' life.
Gravel said he would help me get out of the mess and I believed him because he is my bother, more fool me!! The plan was for him to take my criminal friends down and get them locked up to get them off my back so that I could clean my act up, which is what he said he wanted just as much as me. So I told him stuff, things I shouldn't about jobs we had done and never been caught for. However my little brother decided to do some backstabbing to earn a promotion ... he took me down with them - he had me banged up with them for quite a long stretch thanks to the things I had stupidly told him in desperation thinking he was going to help me. Obviously me being his brother meant nothing to him!!
The long and short of it - I lost my bloke anyway, which I don't think I'm ever going to get over - 20 years later I still haven't!! Getting me locked up was far from the last of it - I had to get myself transferred to the prison in Berry Shores away from Sugar Valley. Being banged up with my criminal friends ordinarily wouldn't have been a problem. However, Gravel just had to stick the knife in again and a little deeper - he made sure he told them that I was the one who had grassed them up for everything , so they had it in for me. They started making threats, I didn't worry about myself, I knew they would probably get me inside eventually, I was actually resigned to them finishing me off inside, I expected to come out of that prison in a wooden box.
It was the outside threats that they were making - Gravel, Amber and my bloke - they were threatening their lives if I didn't ship out and disappear. They knew they could do anything to me and it wouldn't bother me, I even told them if they were going to do me in to hurry up and get on with it!! They knew Gravel wasn't bothering me so much because I was very angry with him for what he'd done. I wasn't happy about the threats to Amber or my bloke, but it was being separated from my bloke, they knew that is what would hurt me the most - so they made it happen. If I didn't toe the line they would just have had him faded, they did Gravel over to prove they were serious, he came into the prison really badly beaten up, his arm and fingers all broken. They warned me my bloke was next then my sister in law - so I had to do what they wanted.
So I had to move away from them and Sugar Valley even though I didn't want to. I might have been a lot of things but having their death on my conscious especially my blokes and Amber's I could never have lived with. I thought he was probably better off without me anyway, I was only putting him in danger and dragging him down with me - I would have ruined him eventually like I was ruining myself, he deserved better than me. So I had to walk away from my life and have never come back, even after I knew the danger had gone, but by then I thought it was to late - 10 years too late for me and my bloke, I had nothing else to come back for. Neither of them have come to find me so ... that's that!!
Bay amuses me, he sits there looking shocked with his eyes wide and his mouth wide open. I stare over at Slate for a moment.
"I've been away for 20 years and I'm only back because of him." I point at Slate "It seems my little brother has learned no lessons about losing people he loves because of his actions or about family loyalty ... if he had Slate wouldn't have had a dose of his backstabbing!!!"
Bayleaf sits there for ages, he suddenly starts smirking at me but saying nothing, I wander what the smirk is for and I'm just about to ask him when he finally speaks
"Soooooo your bloke?! he starts laughing then smirks at me again "I know him don't I ... only I noticed you constantly playing with that ring on your finger - I know somebody who also wears an identical square ring to that and his surname is Rock funnily enough and he had his bloke disappear on him 20 odd years ago and hangs around a hell of lot with your brother!! It's you isn't it - Your bloke is Forrest isn't it!?"
I look at him a little shocked, not by him being so observant and he's put all the pieces together and worked it out - what's shocked me is him saying Forrest still wears the ring like I do.
"That's why you was asking me all those questions about Forrest earlier ... you are the one aren't you!" he starts laughing
"What do you mean, I'm the one?" I frown at him
"I know its a wedding ring he wears - all he's ever told me is he got married when he was eighteen, and the hubby just walked out on him one day without an explanation and it really hurt him ... but that is all he will ever say." he starts laughing "I tried to get him drunk once so he'd spill, but he wouldn't budge, he just won't talk about it - I half suspect that's why I've never seen him dating anyone, I think he's scared of being hurt again ... it is you isn't it?!"
"Yeah it's me!"
"Man you seriously need to tell him what you just told me!!"
I suddenly feel very very sick. What Bay is telling me is sending my head all over the place - he's still wearing his ring, he doesn't date anyone? Hell!! This is the last thing that I expected to hear about Forrest!! I'm having to sit here fighting with myself, now I just want to go and find him. Bayleaf just sits there looking at me in a strange way, he suddenly starts laughing really hard so I frown at him.
"Oh Berry!! Wait till Slate hears this one ... when we were kids, you wouldn't believe some of the stuff we used to think sometimes about Forrest and Gravel's relationship - Slate even questioned Forrests surname and they told him it was just a coincidence there are hundreds of Rock families in the world. All along they were brother in laws, although we would never have thought of that one because we didn't even know you existed!!"
"They are not just brothers in law they are actually also brothers by law." he frowns at me "Forrest's parents fostered us when they took us in ... Mommy & Paps actually adopted Gravel because he was so young, but not me because me and Forrest were dating from the age of 13 so it would have been a little awkward for us being adopted siblings it would have been illegal for us to date and marry - has Gravel not even told Slate that Forrest is his adopted brother and he has adopted parents and a sister?"
"No - he doesn't have a clue!!"
"So has Slate never had anything to do with Forrests' parents or Meadow?"
"No, we did see quite a bit of Meadow when we were younger, but Forrest's parents moved out of town - they moved back to Raspberry Hill and so did Meadow - Forrest stayed here." he looks over at Slate thoughtfully "He's going to flip his lid when he finds all this out!! He's always felt so alone and all the time he's had family right under his nose!!!"
"Do me a favour Bay, don't talk about Forrest when Mace is around, he knows I used to be married but not who too, he doesn't even know his name - I don't want Mace causing any trouble." I roll my eyes "He's very clingy and possessive as you will soon see, he's likely to hunt him down and warn him off and cause all sorts of trouble." I laugh "Wait till he finds out you are gay - we are in for some nagging fun!! I have a gay mate at work, I can't even talk about him without Mace screaming the house down." he just starts laughing
"My lips are sealed - Forrest who?" he laughs at me "You have really shocked me ... I never saw a bad side to Gravel until Coral and I found out about Strawberry ... now all this - he's a nasty piece of work!!" I laugh a little
"Who's Strawberry?" he rolls his eyes
"Strawberry is our age. She's mine and Slates mates girlfriend. Slate walked in on Gravel and Strawberry. Gravel said it was a drunken one off but Slate doesn't believe him especially as six weeks later he walked in on him and Coral. My mate still doesn't know, I feel awful and so did Slate for not telling him." he starts laughing "Mango has ripped shreds out of Gravel over it, he threatened to amputate his arms and legs if he goes anywhere near Straw again or catches him cheating on Coral - Straw's boyfriend is Mango's nephew so he was well pissed when he found out about it!!" we both laugh for a minute.
"My little brother is very sly! Stuff like that has probably been going on under all of your noses that you've never noticed, he's good at that ... you don't see it till it slaps you in the face - he's very good as shifting the blame too, he can make it look like you are the one in the wrong when he is - he can wriggle his way out of anything that one!! Oh I could tell you some stories!!" Bayleaf really starts laughing then so I frown at him.
"Funny you should say that ... I've said that recently about him myself - he's come up with this theory!" he sits there giggling to himself for a moment "He has been trying to convince me suddenly that Slate really should be gay he just hasn't found himself yet!! He says Slate never treated Coral right and doesn't really have a clue where women are concerned. Its my fault apparently that Slate hasn't realized he's gay yet because I ran away instead of sticking around, he recons he always expected me and Slate to fall into a relationship because of how close we were. He's even said he knows all the signs because Slate is so like you it's hysterical." he starts giggling again "It's almost like he's trying to make out he's doing both Slate and Coral a favour by splitting them up!! He's rescued Coral and set Slate free to find himself."
"Yeah that sounds like Gravel!!" we both start laughing. "Ignore him, he will say anything to shift the blame away from himself!"
The door opens, Mace and Mosaic finally walk back into the room, it seems to have taken an age for them to fetch that coffee. Me and Bay are both still laughing and I watch the smile drop off Mace's face smiles then he starts to cut his eyes at Bayleaf as he grabs for my hand. I roll my eyes at Bay who is now glaring back at Mace. I'm guessing Mosaic has told Mace that Bay is gay and Mace is feeling threatened like he does.
"Where did you go for the coffee Cherry Hill?" I laugh at Mace "Or have you been chasing some sexy doctor around the hospital and into a broom cupboard while I wasn't looking?!" This makes Mosaic and Bayleaf laugh. Mace rolls his eyes at me.
"Mosaic bumped into his Aunt, they were chatting and we popped into the baby unit to see his niece." Mace smiles at me "Why did you miss me? ... and what would I want a sexy doctor for when I already have you!" he smirks at me
"Ha! Ha! Flattery gets you nowhere boyfriend, so what are you creeping after I wander .. ?" I smirk at him and he rolls his eyes at me, probably because I've used that word again.
The door opens and Mango walks into the room staring down at a hand full of paperwork. He is shaking his head and laughing.
"I'm in shock ... it was a long shot after Gravels results Granite because I thought Slate must take more after Amber, but it appears not - you are a more than acceptable match for Slate!!" he stares at me "Slate is lucky, the results are a little puzzling but brilliant!!" I laugh at Bayleaf who's eyes nearly pop out of his head. "I had to have them double checked I thought they'd messed up because you are showing as an almost perfect match!!"
"That's great!! So he can have one of my kidneys" I smile at him and he nods. I'm a little puzzled as to why he is puzzled. I would love to take a look at the results that he has in his hand that he is now frowning down at again. If I ask to look I'll give myself away, only a doctor would understand what he is looking at and I want to keep my secret to myself for a little longer.
"Pretty ironic, it's another mess I've got to clean up that my useless little brother has caused and it's my body paying the price!!" I start laughing "It kind of reminds me of the time you two actually decided to act like little boys and climbed that tree after that cat!!"
"Don't Granite!!" he starts laughing "Just don't!!" I'm really laughing at him now!!
"I bet you've never climbed another tree since trying to rescue a cat that wasn't even stuck in the first place!!" I laugh at him as he shakes his head.
"Don't I'll always feel guilty about that!!" he laughs at me "And it's one thing Forrest still never lets me forget about now - you falling and landing on him and breaking both yours and his legs!!" I feel the blood drain away from my face again just hearing his name mentioned again especially in front of Mace.
"It wasn't your fault, you came down the tree okay, it was that idiot brother of mine getting hysterical like a girl and pushing me ... I've thought about you two many times over the years." I laugh at him "especially when that plate in my leg has set the metal detectors off at the airports!" I start laughing "Listening to your Mother telling you off was a scream especially as she left us riling around on the floor in pain to do it!!" we both start laughing "I can still hear her now ' - cats don't get stuck up trees you silly little boy don't you know they have 9 lives and springs on their feet!! I bet that cat is sat up another tree laughing it's head off at you two. Wait till your Dad finds out you've been climbing trees you'll wish you was still stuck up that tree!!" we both start laughing "I loved your Mom she used to crease me up ... how is she?"
"She's great!! Mom and Dad both still work here so you'll see them knocking about or popping in to see Slate no doubt." he smiles at me.
"On a serious note, I'm sorry Bay but I'm going to have to tell him about your health issues!!" He just looked down at the floor while Mango frowns at me "Our boy here had an episode earlier, he's got a mental health crisis going on - erratic pulse, clammy hands, dizziness, tremors, tension, exhaustion, nervous disposition - I noticed earlier when he was woken up, he jumped liked a startled cat, he's an emotional wreck - he tried to tell me it was a panic attack but it was no panic attack!! He was a little short of breath but that was only because he was crying so hard and he says he's had these episodes before."
Mango frowns at me suspiciously with half a smirk on his face and raised eyebrows and I just realize what I've done - it's so hard to switch off!! Without even thinking I've probably just given the game away!
"After our phone call the other day and this just - I think there is something you are not telling me Granite!!" he smirks at me "So what's your prognosis? Tell it me in layman's terms and what you'd prescribe!"
"Busted!! I'm sorry before you even say anything, yes I could have made your call to me a lot easier the other day!!" I laugh at him and he rolls his eyes at me. "The boys heading for a breakdown!" I tell him what medication I'd give him and he stands there looking a little shocked for a moment.
Mango suddenly starts laughing and hands me the papers in his hand - the guys no fool and I'm an idiot for giving myself away so easily!!
I start looking at the results in front of me and don't really believe what I'm seeing
"That's damn near perfect how does that happen - Mango are you sure they haven't messed these results up?! I've known cases of blood confusion in mix matching."
"No that's what I thought so I got them to double check - I double checked myself I stood over them while they did it!! You haven't seen the antigens count yet have you." he smiles at me so I look and am shocked "Gravel was 2/6 not that it mattered mix matching would have been cell annihilation - he's B slates A!! After Gravels results I didn't hold much hope of you coming anywhere close so I'm a little surprised, shocked even by those results!"
"I'm shocked! Amber must have been A luckily for Slate I'm also A!! Haven't I always said he's totally useless and slimy that brother of mine - being his parent he should have been a certain 3/6 - he's even kept some of genes to himself!!" we both start laughing.
"Are you a doctor or something?" Bayleaf is frowning at me
"Yes, I'm actually a neurosurgeon for my sins." I see Mango's eyebrows rise "and it's our little secret I don't want it leaving this room ... I don't want Gravel knowing just yet ... I want to have a little fun with him first!! He still thinks I'm in a gutter somewhere as high as a kite, well he can keep on thinking it until I've had some fun!!" I turn to Mace "You still need to keep your big trap shut! I'm actually surprised you haven't blurted it out yet!" he smiles at me.
"So Bay? How long have you been having these funny turns?" Mango asks him and he mumbles a few weeks "I could swing for you, stubborn just like your Dad, making yourself ill is not going to help Slate when he wakes up is it and he's going to need you more than most!!" he frowns at him for a moment "I'll get you checked over, give you something then I'm taking you to Caramel, she's going to have to look after you because you are obviously not looking after yourself!! No more sleeping here Bay I mean it - I'm going to get you thrown out at 11pm every night and I don't want any arguments!!"
Mango stands up and pulls Bay up off the chair and puts his arm round him then starts walking him out of the room. He tells me he'll sort Bay out then we'll drop him off at his parents house on the way to dropping us off at Gravels.
The car pulls up outside Gravels house and I just sit there staring at it. My emotions are all over the place I've got quite a few different emotions running through me and all of them together are starting to make me feel sick. Mosaic and Mace jump out of the car and open the boot to get the cases out.
"I'm wandering if I should hang around for a while." Mango grins at me "Is Gravel going to need a doctor?" We both just sit there and start laughing at each other.
"I'm sure I'm medically trained enough to handle a bloody nose!!" I laugh back at him "I'll try not to hit him too hard and I promise I'll only hit him once - I value my hands a lot more than his face - now if I'd got a baseball bat it might be a different matter!!" he really starts laughing at me
"Well phone me if there are any problems ... and Granite ... go easy on my daughter, she's pregnant with my grandchildren remember!!" I smile at him.
"Grandchildren?" I ask frowning
"Yes, twin girls." I start laughing "So we are getting double trouble!"
I get out of the car still laughing.
I start getting really nervous as I stand and watch Mango's car pull off.
Song = On the Inside ~ Daughtry
if you are wandering about the song - it doesn't fit the chapter but more Granite himself, the song actually sums up Granite and his life and feelings for Forrest quite nicely.