Monday, 30 June 2014

Rock 9

I got a little carried away with this one so it has been split into two parts - second part out tomorrow.

Stop Trying to Change me ...

Four weeks earlier ......

I am just drifting off into the sleep that I have been longing for all day when Mace snaps me awake again.

"The shower is free.  Gran?"  I hear him laughing  "Come on baby there is no time for napping, get a wriggle on we only have an hour to get ready."   

Hell I hate it when Mace calls me baby because HE used to call me that!! 

"No Mace."  I start moaning  "I'm well beat!!  Go without me please I need to sleep."

Mace is stood staring down at me.  

I watch his face change suddenly - I really hate that look of his!!  I knew he would not be happy with me when I returned home from work totally shattered, but when is he ever happy with me these days.  He doesn't even need an excuse to start a fight.

I am stretched out across the bed where I literally collapsed still in my clothes.  All I want to do is sleep and before it has even started I know exactly where this is heading just by the look on his face - a row!!  I close my eyes so I don't have to see his wrinkled up sour face!!

"Granite Rock You Promised Me!!"  I can tell by the sudden change in the tone of his voice that he is far from happy and know I am now in for constant earache probably from now till midnight.  "I am sick of you doing this to me!!  You know they arrange these things around your shifts so the least you can do is turn up!!"

"No YOU get them to arrange these things around my shifts!!  Tell them I've been called in on an emergency or something!"  I open my eyes to catch him pulling a right evil face at me  "and I didn't promise Mace I said I would try there is a difference!!  Why do you need me to hold your hand anyway?  They are your mates not mine!!"  I snap at him.

"I'm not letting you do this AGAIN Gran!!"  he snaps and scowls at me. 

"I'm sorry I am not going end of!!  I am totally wiped out - I'll probably be asleep before we even get there and I'll be crap company.  I've got tomorrow off I'll make it up to you then I promise!!" 

Why the hell did I just say that?!  It is not like I have to make anything up to him!!  I need to put the brakes on here because I can see he is slowly dragging me into that stupid fantasy world of his and I'm falling for it!!

Mace starts ranting and moaning that he is sick of me letting him down, he's sick of my job interfering with our life, he's sick of the long hours that I work, he's sick of hardly ever seeing me and when he does I'm too tired or asleep.  In fact he is sick of my job full stop!!  He is starting to sound like a nagging wife!!

"I'm sick of you moaning about my job - it's what keeps a roof over your head!!  You are quick to moan but I don't hear you complaining about the money I'm earning ... you are spending it quick enough!!"  I point at the new lamps by the bed. "I spotted the new lamps.  What was wrong with the old ones?"  

"They were getting old so I replaced them!"  he mumbles  "Do you like them?  They are marble.  Which reminds me I've seen a really nice four poster bed ...."

"Fuck off Mace!!  We DO NOT need a new bed this one is hardly 6 months old - four poster bed my arse you are not a princess you know!!"  I laugh at him  "Fudge Mace, Marble!?  Those lamps were not old I bet they were there for a few months if that.  You know people generally replace things when they break not when they get covered in dust for the first time!!  Maybe I should get you a pack of dusters and teach you how to use them it would be cheaper!!  Frigin marble!! didn't they have them in 24 carot gold - you twat!!  Maybe I need to cut down on what money is going into your account every month - if you haven't got it you can't waste it!!"

"Tight arse!!"  he snaps at me

"Its not the money Mace - you filling up this house with expensive shit doesn't make it look any better or you, it just makes it a magnet for burglers and especially the way you brag to everyone about everything you buy - how we have not been done over yet is beyond me - back in my day you would have been a dream ticket to a scumbag like me!!!"  he pulls a face at me  "Those lamps would work just the same in wood or ceramic but no - you had to go and get them in marble because Atlas has just got some in granite - I'm not stupid!!" 

I laugh because if I don't I'll cry.  He is so materialistic and a shopaholic.  While I'm working all day he is out shopping, buying stupid stuff that we really don't need because he always has to go one better than his friends - if they have it in granite he has to have it in marble, if they have it in silver he has to have in gold - I hate that about him!!  In fact there is not a lot I do actually like about him these days, other than his body.  How the hell did I even let myself get into this situation!!

"What the hell are my friends going to think about me turning up on my own AGAIN!!"  he says trying to change the subject  "Please Gran!!  They are already starting to talk ... they think our relationship has problems!!" 

"Well they would be about right wouldn't they and quite frankly its your own fault Mace for constantly lying to them about us - making us out to be something that we are not!!"  I laugh at him  "Who gives a shit what your friends think anyway, let them think what they like!!"

"Please Gran!!" he starts whining

"No Mace!!  I've done a double shift back to back, had hardly any sleep in 48 hours, I've hardly set foot out of surgery or eaten all day ... if they don't understand my job is demanding and I'm only human and not a robot ... fuck em!!"

"But ..."   There is always a but and its never worth listening to.  I cut him short and don't even give him the chance to say it. 

"They are not worth having as friends anyway if they are bitching behind your back.  And the stupid dinner gatherings ... that quite frankly I'm sick of you dragging me along to because all they do all night is bitch about each other and all the materialistic shit they have got!!"  I snap at him  "Oh and just GUESS what the topic of conversation is going to be tonight your frigin MARBLE lamps!!  I couldn't give a shit about who's got what - you know that's not me!!  They are narrow minding twats that need to get a life!!"

"Oh here we go!!  My friends are suddenly not good enough for Mr High and Mighty neuro doctor, Mr Pathetic who is still clinging onto a past love, Mr Tea Total I'm so clean my arse squeaks, but that's only because it hasn't been shagged for 20 years!! ... "  I just laugh at him  "Like all of your friends from the hospital aren't so stiff and boring I fall asleep in my soup just listening to their drivel or puke in it because I'm listening to their graphic descriptions of what someones bowel looked like!!  Then we have all your ex addict friends from that stupid group you go to who are so exciting ...  woo hoo lets go out together and drink WATER and whine about life!!  They drive me to WANT to drink and I'm not even an addict ... at least my friends do know how to have fun!!"

"Like bitching and showing off is even fun!!  Just listen to yourself, you are turning into one of them!! and you have the nerve to call me Mr high and mighty!! You - Mr social climbing snob, Mr Fantasy Bullshitter who makes up unreal crap about his bullshit love life, Mr look at me I'm a shopaholic and can buy better than you, but that's only a fake front to cover up the fact you haven't shagged arse for five years!!"  I snap angrily because I can hear myself - now I'm doing it!!   He is starting to turn me into him!!   "AND Don't EVER knock my addiction group again it's far from stupid - it keeps me clean!!  Believe me you wouldn't want or like the man HE had to put up with when I was an addict!!"

"Oh and up HE pops ... I wandered how long it would be before you brought HIM up - can you never go a day without mentioning HIM!!??"  he yells at me.  "If HE is so special why are you not there instead of here with me?"

"You know why!!  Grow up Mace ... do you know how childish you are starting to sound!!"

"You are the childish one not wanting to go out to play!!"  he snaps at me  "I do the shopping, the housework, the laundry, the garden, the cooking, I even clean your damn car ... the least you can do is come with me to a dinner party, but you've always got an excuse these days!!"

"How selfish can you be exactly I NEED SLEEP!!  I work damn long hour to keep a roof over your head and finance your shopping addiction and I'm KNACKERED!!!  Do you know how much of a nagging bitch you are becoming?!  Anyone would think you are my wife!!  and the more I earn the worse you get!!  Just face it - the only reason you are pissed about going alone or not at all tonight is because you will miss out on playing Mr I'm better than you, you'll miss out on showing off ... "

"Not true!!"

"It is so ... its because your bitches are not going to hear about your MARBLE lamps or see those new designer suits that have probably cost ME an arm and a leg that I spotted hanging on the wardrobe, which are revolting by the way!!   That no doubt you will have a tantrum to make me wear when I'd much rather just wear jeans and a t-shirt!!  Why do you even feel the need to dress me up like I can't dress myself anyway!!  Clothes don't make a man you know!!" 

"You can't dress yourself!!  You dress like a scruff - if you are not in your ripped jeans and a scraggy t-shirt, it's those cringe worthy cartoon shorts or that stupid cardigan you keep wearing and your shoes, don't even start me on those cheap fabric things you buy from the market ... you are a neurosurgeon you should act like one!!   You bounce around like a clown playing the joker and dress like an old man or a tramp!!  You walk around like you live off benefits and are still on drugs and the most expensive thing you choose to wear you hang around your neck and hide under your clothes and you need a haircut!!"

"And there we have it!!"  I snap at him angrily  "Does my job make you look good to your bitches but I'm showing you up because I'm not playing the part?!  I bet your friends don't even know I'm a convicted criminal and an ex junkie do they!!  Have you not filled them in on my alcohol and drug addictions, I bet you've told them I don't drink because of my job haven't you .... maybe I should make a point of filling them in on the truth!!"

"DON'T YOU DARE!!"  he yells at me

"SEE!!!  It's all about keeping up appearances and material stuff to you, it's all fake and surface shit - fuck what's underneath ...  and don't even start on about my ring again!!"  he is really starting to make me angry  "Mace - I am me and I am quite happy with me right now.   Stop trying to change me, you are never going to mold me into what you want. You are never going to make me act the way you want me to act or change how I feel!!  You are never going to change who I love or make me love you ... so quit trying!!"  he just stands there scowling at me with his arms crossed.  "If you don't like me - us - this situation - you know where the front door is USE IT!!!"  I snap at him.

"I'm going nowhere!!"  he snaps at me  "I love you!"

"You say you love me but you are not doing a very good impression of it ... I could have walked around in a paper bag for HIM and he wouldn't have even noticed ... "

"Oh here we go ... comparing me to HIM again!!"

"Yes HIM again ...  love is blind and if you loved me like HE did you'd take me as I am warts and all and be happy with me, which you obviously arent!!  Fudge!!  I don't love you or like you very much anymore for that matter and still I don't slag you off and run you down all the time like you do me - how the hell can you say you love me?!"  I start laughing  "It pretty comical really HE had the very worst of me, the addict, the piss head, the thief, the liar and HE never moaned, HE loved me, HE took all the crap and still had a smile on HIS face .... you however have the best of me, the clean hardworking decent guy who gives you everything except for one thing and STILL you are not happy, bitching, moaning - just look at that face it could turn milk sour and just because I won't go out to dinner when I'm exhausted - maybe I should tell you some of the shit I used to put HIM through then you might see how lucky you are!!"

"I DONT GIVE A SHIT about what you put HIM through!!"  he snaps at me  "I am sick of you talking about HIM!!" 

"Maybe it is time you did one Mace!!  You can't turn me into your Mr Perfect, if you loved me I would already be perfect to you and you wouldn't be trying to change me and quite frankly I am sick of your earache!!"

"But I do love you!!"

"Mace you don't know the meaning of the word - lust is not love - you seriously need to sling your hook, go out and find Mr Perfect because I'm not him ... which makes me wander what is going on in that head of yours - the reality of our relationship is far more plausible than the fantasy shit you make up in your head!"  I snap at him.  "Now go away, your bitches will be waiting for you, I need sleep!!"

He doesn't say anything he just stands there staring at me.  I close my eyes and hope that he'll go to his dinner and leave me in peace.  I just start to drift off again when I feel the bed moving, he slaps my leg and tells me to move over.

I give up!!  I should have known this was coming, when I tell him to sling his hook and show him where the door is, he always comes creeping!!  He starts to kiss me after he's crawled all over me and I just let him hoping that's all he's after.   It starts to become obvious it is more than just a kiss he's after when his hands start to wander and he's trying to undress me.

I push him off me and sit up a little, he is seriously really starting to pee me off now!! Has he not heard me say I need sleep?Have I not said it loud enough?!

"If you cared about me like you say you do - you would worry about my health before anything else and LET ME SLEEP like I've asked!!  But no we are having to have a row over it and now you are trying to molest me ... like I've even got the energy to be shagging you - are you trying to finish me off because you know I'm no good to you faded am I ... who's going to foot your ridiculous shopping bills then?!"

"I earn my own money thank you!!"  I laugh at him, man he is driving me cuckoo

"What?!  Remind me when was the last time you actually held down a job long enough to even get a decent months wage?  I'm not stupid even though you think I am!! I know you have jacked in your job again ... one good thing about your bitching friends, they can't keep their mouths shut!!"

"I'm looking for another job okay so keep your shirt on."  he snaps at me. 

"To hell with it Mace why bother it's pretty obvious you don't want to work ... stay at home, I don't honestly care - if you think it makes you look good being a kept man - you carry on!  Play the house wife like you play everything else in that fantasy world of yours!!"  I laugh at him when he starts grinning at me, I knew that is exactly what he has wanted for ages.  "Maybe then I might actually get a meal cooked for me when I get home from work!!"

"I do cook for you!!"

"Only when you've got your friends coming round otherwise I can whistle, like now I'm starving and don't have the strength to spit let alone cook myself a meal but you won't rush to feed me will you!!"   he just laughs at me and reminds me it's my own fault because we should have been having dinner out tonight.  "Which reminds me - our monthly food shopping bill is getting ridiculous by the way, I nearly fell off my chair when they told me how much it was!!  It's because of all the poncy food you insist we eat just to impress your bitching friends."  

I start laughing just remembering something I saw in the fridge when I first got in from work looking for something to eat but was too tired to sort through the shit he's got in there to find something I actually want to eat and I got a little freaked out by something moving about in there, so I just closed the fridge and came to sleep.

"Every time I open the fridge I already wander what the hell is going on in there ... but those thing you've got in there right now wrapped in damp newspaper ... I swear they are still moving!!  Since when did we keep living wildlife in the fridge?"

"They are lobsters"  he starts really laughing at me  "They are for tomorrow night, you haven't forgotten have you."  I roll my eyes, no I hadn't forgotten,  he annoyingly always arranges for someone to come round on my days off  "They are still moving because you have to cook lobsters while they are still alive."

"That's cruel and disgusting!!  You are taking the piss!!"  he shakes his head and laughs at me  "A tin of tuna is cheaper already faded and tastes a lot nicer!! "

"You've got no class or taste and you are a tight arsed git that's your problems."  he laughs at me. "I can't feed them a tin of tuna we'd be a laughing stock!!"

"I don't give a shit ... I want NORMAL food ... I'd kill for a cheese toasty, and I don't mean your poncy fruit flavored cheese that you've had shipped in from berry knows where and that stupid brown bread with bits all over it that tastes like dirty cardboard - I mean plain old cheddar and white bread with ketchup!!"  I've made myself even hungrier just talking about cheese toasties, I've not had time to eat all day.  "Actually I'm starving and seeing as you haven't taken the hint that I'm way too tired to cook I think I'm going to phone for a pizza and fries ... when was the last time you actually bought potatoes bigger than marbles so we can actually make fries?"

"You can't phone for a pizza .... what will the neighbors think?"  he snaps with a look of disgust on his face. 

"Which proves my point yet again ... Fuck the neighbors Mace, where the hell do you think we live anyway?! ... you are so far up your own arse I'm surprised I can even get in there!!"  I snap at him  "Just go to your social climbing dinner party with your bitches and leave me to eat my greasy pizza with fries and sleep in peace!!  I am sick of you Mace!!" 

"No I want you to come with me ...." 

"For Fudge Sake Mace!!!"  I snap at him really nastily because I'm seriously starting to lose my temper now.  "Actually why am I even arguing with you Mace - Do one!! When did you suddenly become my wife? - actually when did you even become my boyfriend?!  Mate!!"

He just lies there staring at me for ages without saying anything. I lie there just staring back wandering how we got to this? ... more to the point how did I let it get to this!!

It was great when we started out - it was the ideal situation for me to keep me away from temptation as well as grounded and it seemed the ideal situation for Mace too, we had the best of both worlds.   

I had placed an ad for a housemate, I was rattling around in the three bedroom house I'd just brought.  I didn't really need a house this big just for me, but I needed to move to a better class of area far away from the drugs and alcohol that I was having to walk past on the streets everyday on the rough estate where I lived, kids on the corner of the street as young as twelve blatantly swigging cider and smoking spliffs ... I was starting to get tempted.

I was okay when I was at work or out with mates but they have their own lives to live and when I was home alone I was getting a little lonely and found myself tempted on more than one occasion to find a bar to haunt just for company and the last thing I could afford was to start drinking again.  I wanted a female housemate, not interested in a romantic relationship - still being in love with the man I'd walked out on 15 years before, I still couldn't let it go.  I doubt anyone would ever come close so I'd resigned myself to a single life.  I'm gay, I didn't need men wandering around the house and that's why I advertised for a female housemate. 

Then Mace turned up at the door with a cheeky grin on his cute face.  I told him I was after a female housemate and he made me laugh saying that he basically is female, he's gay.  Really I should have told him to sling his hook there and then - he was gay and way too cute stood there in just shorts and flip flops showing off a body you could fade to get your hands on.  My imagination was running totally wild just having him stood on the doorstep!!

The ad had been running for a month and he was the first one to even inquire about the room so against my better judgement I told him he could move in on a trial basis - helped by the fact that he looks like a pure brown berry like I do even though underneath we are both mixed - I like to travel when I get vacation time from work but hate traveling alone - he was not just becoming my housemate but also my traveling companion, he can go out into the coded world with me without any stress, nobody would bat an eyelid at two brown berry's being together.

It worked out great, he went about his life and I went about mine and he was always around when I needed company.   He'd just come out of a bad relationship so we were both on the same page - neither of us in any hurry to start up a romantic relationship with anyone.  We became a sounding board for each other, he poured his heart out about his ex and I told him about mine, the only thing I didn't tell him was his name.  I can't even say it and I don't want to keep hearing it because it hurts too much so he became known as HIM or HE.

Mace had been around for about six months and in that time we'd become good mates and spent a lot of our free time together.  Back then we seemed to both be a lot alike,  we liked a lot of the same thing, we had a laugh always pulling harmless pranks on each other he was just as much a joker as I was.  One day we were playing video games together and he just randomly came out with  "I need a shag I'm as horny as hell!!"  I cracked up.  The joker I am, you don't say something like that around me and get away with it so I told him  "I can easily sort that problem out for you!"  I didn't expect him to answer back  "Come on then, I'm game if you are!"  I thought he was joking but he wasn't.  He went straight for my trousers and I lost my head.  For me it had been a long time - 15 years too long and it was just sex.

Life couldn't have been any more perfect after that - we agreed nothing would change neither of us wanted to get into a relationship so we stayed just mates having sex together when we needed it with none of the relationship hassles - we both carried on with our separate lives - we really did have the best of both worlds - total freedom with sex on tap.  

I made it clear from the start I loved HIM and didn't want anybody other than HIM.  If I still loved and missed him so much to the point it still hurts even after 15 years apart I doubted I ever would be able to love anyone else.  Mace knew that and he was fine with it ... to start with.

Slowly over time without me even noticing things were slowly changing.  He came to me more and more for sex until he had moved into my room without me even realising at first, we slept in the same bed whether we were doing anything or not.  His clothes slowly found their way into my wardrobe until he was completely living in my room. Bit by bit things change, he no longer paid rent and I found I was supporting him because he never held a job down for more than five minutes.  Everything became ours and not his or mine, we went out together, his friends became my friends and mine became his, we shared everything.  We even wound up with a joint bank account which I put money into every month for him to do the food shopping, the small amount going in there has slowly grown and most of it he now wastes with his shopping addiction.  We were literally playing house together before I even realized it.  We had fallen into a relationship of sorts but I refuse to give it a label.

The situation wasn't the only thing changing, so was Mace - he became quieter and troubled, his personality changed and he started to act like a nagging boyfriend.  He started telling his friends I was his boyfriend and started with the fantacy world he's now living in for his and their benefit.  When I tackled him about it all - he dropped the bombshell.  He told me he loved me.  

I handled the situation all wrong - I should have sent him packing, instead I gave him the choice to go or carry on as we are.  I made it clear I don't love him and never will, I still don't want a relationship we are still just mates having sex he is never getting anything else out of me.  Even though I didn't realize it myself at the time he is actually getting everything from me that you can get from a relationship other than one thing - love.  He chose to stay, he said he was okay with it, he said just being with me how we were was better than nothing at all.  He was fooling himself!!

Now it's getting to the point where I think he is starting to believe the fantasy, sometimes he forgets we are just mates having sex, he forgets I am not his boyfriend, he forgets I don't love him even though I tell him often enough - and when he isn't forgetting he is pushing me all the time for more when I've got nothing left to give him.  He wants and probably needs me to love him but I can't!!  I can see what this situation is doing to him, it has totally changed him, it is dragging him down and twisting him into a person I don't even know or like anymore.

Five years down the line we are lay here bitching like an old married couple who are spent and falling apart.  I know I should have put a stop to this a long time ago for his sake and I never should have let it go this far.

My phone starts to ring which kind of pees me off a little because I really do want to order me a pizza, if for no other reason now than just to piss him off!!  

I push Mace off me trying to get my phone out of my pocket, always aware that it could be an emergancy call from the hospital.   Mace gets up off the bed and just stands there still staring at me ... I hope he isn't waiting to continue with this row!!  I stay where I am lying on the bed and answer my phone glancing at the unknown number flashing up on my screen.  

"Hello, is it possible to speak to Granite Rock please?"  the male voice asks quietly and politely.

"Speaking."  I reply wandering who it might be as I don't recognize the voice. 

"I'm really sorry to disturb you but we are trying to locate a friends brother and I've got your number off a long list that we have of all the Granite Rocks we can find."  

I laugh wandering if this is a dodgy call - any minute now he is going to try and sell me something.  

"The Granite we are looking for is Granite Slate Rock who was born in Sugar Valley and has a brother called Gravel."  he mentions my parents names and my date of birth  "I don't suppose that is you?"  

This makes me sit bolt upright.  

What the fudge?! ... I automatically think something has happened to Gravel, I've been clean for too long for anything to be catching up with me now.  Or is this about HIM?!  I can hear another voice in the background saying something pretty similar almost like they are on another phone.  Now I'm getting worried!!

"Yes that is me!!  I am the Granite Rock you are talking about ... who is this??"  I ask.  I look up at Mace nervously, he is frowning at me and all I can do is shrug my shoulders.

"Oh Berry!!  Can you hold on one second."  he says to me then shouts almost excitedly to the other person who I can hear in the background   "I've got him!!  It's him!!"  the phone makes a muffled noise like it is being passed about.

"Hello Granite.  Do you know how hard you have been to track down ..."  a different voice starts to speak to me and he's laughing.

"Who is this??!!"  I snap because I'm starting to get irritated as well as worried.

"I'm sorry, Granite!  I am Mango Muffin ... hopefully you will remember me from when we were children, I am Gravels friend."  

My stomach flips over.  Mango Muffin - The Dr Mango Muffin no less - well I never!!  Now there is an orange blast from the past!!

Hell!!  There are only two reasons that I can think of for why Mango could be calling me after all these years ... something has happened to Gravel or HIM!!

I'm scared of what he might be about to say!! 

.......... Part 2 out tomorrow :)

Song = Stop tryna Change Me ~ Olly Murs

Sunday, 29 June 2014

PS - Cinnamon Forrest

Does a happy dance!!

This is Cinnamon Forrest

Alpine and Caramels have had four children over time
and I lost Cinnamon (hides under a chair) when he was a child

Ive just been digging through old files looking for two of the Shine children who have never seen the light of day in chapters and I found Cinnamon :D

Friday, 13 June 2014

Rock 8

Heaven Sent ...

I feel myself drifting in and out of consciousness.  

My head feels really heavy, my throat really sore and I ache like hell.  I don't think there isn't an inch of me that doesn't feel battered and bruised even my nose hurts and I have an evil pain in my sides.  I try to move my fingers but they feel stiff.  I feel like I don't even have the strength to move - the only thing I don't feel is sick.

I lie there in a hazy blur trying to wake myself up.

Hell this is some hangover!!

I lie there for a moment trying to make sense of where I am.  I can't open my eyes because they feel too heavy and all I can hear is a beeping noise that is starting to really irritate me ... I lie there anxiously trying to think.

I recognize the smell of this place all too well and know exactly what that noise is, and that is what is scaring me ... I hear it everyday at work ... It sounds like a heart monitor.  I'm hooked up to a machine in the hospital aren't I!!?  Hell what have I done?

I suddenly feel the bed moving by my side like someone has just sat down on it and become conscious of someone taking my hand and gently playing with my fingers and hand.  I automatically think it's Bayleaf, I'm not really sure why but I could be wrong.

A hand runs up my arm gently, my skin is tingling from his touch.  I feel my hand being gently lifted and rubbed against something ... a face, I know its not a woman's face as I can feel the stubble tickling the back of my hand.  My hand is kissed a few times then taken back down onto my stomach where it was originally lying and he continues to play with my fingers.  

I know it's Bayleaf, I can feel him.

I feel like I've been in some mad and mental dream that I haven't been able to get out of.  While I've been trapped in the darkness I've heard all sorts going on.  I've heard bits of conversations between quite a few voices that I've recognized and a few that I don't.  One voice that has been constant - Bayleaf's.  I've heard him a lot talking I think to me.  I wander if he know's sometimes I have been listening to him as he has waffled on reminding me of some of the stuff we used to get up to when we were kids and best mates. 

I'm not really sure if this has all been a dream or if it's reality.

I hear the door open and his hands suddenly leave me like he has just snatched them away from me quickly.  I hear Bayleaf asking whoever has just walked into the room why I am not waking up. 

"Have a little patience Bay!! He will when he's ready I told you it wasn't going to be instant wake up! and what have I told you about keep sitting on that bed!!"  I recognize Mango's voice.

I feel the bed moving suddenly like Bayleaf has just got up from sitting on it as he mumbles 'sorry' and I hear chair legs dragging across the floor very close to the bed.  I know exactly what is going on here - we don't let visitors sit on patients beds.  I am the patient aren't I - what am I doing in the hospital?  What is wrong with me?  

"You keep denying it but you really are not fooling me - I've been where you are - I know!"  Now I can hear Mango laughing.  "Besides I've been talking to Fudge about you ..." 

"Okay, okay!!"  Bayleaf snaps at him "I'm going to tell you just to shut you up!!  You are right okay - now can you just drop it!!"  Mango starts to laugh again loudly. 

"You need to go home and get some rest and take a break ... you spend way too much time here Bay ... he's not in any danger anymore bar his kidneys, so you don't need to sit watching him 24/7 he's going nowhere now!!"  I hear Mango telling him. 

"No I want to be here when he wakes up!"  Bayleaf mumbles. 

"Suit yourself but if you keep this up for much longer you are seriously going to make yourself ill!!  Your job is too strenuous for you not to be eating or sleeping properly ... don't say I didn't warn you!!"   

I lie there just listening to them and I'm almost laughing in my head thinking Bayleaf is about to cop for one of Mango's lectures.

"How soon after he wakes up are you going to drop 'the bomb shell'?"  I hear Bayleaf asking 

"Berry knows, but I guess he will have to be told sooner rather than later.  Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of assessing his mental state before I tell him because everyone knows now and I don't want anyone just spilling it out and upsetting him."  Mango laughs quietly  "Talking of spilling things ... isn't there something you should be telling him!"

"NO!!   There really is no point to him knowing is there!!"  he snaps at Mango "Please don't say anything - him knowing - it's not like it's ever going to change anything other than making things even more awkward than they already are.  When he's back on his feet I'll just do what I did before distance myself away from him again, he won't miss me and I'll get over it eventually - I have no choice!!"

"And what if Gravel is right?  Won't you be shooting yourself in the foot again like he said you've already done once?"  I hear Mango laughing  "I don't see what he's saying myself, but you need to tell him even if it's for your own sanity - its better out than in bottling things up never does anyone any good!!"

"No Mango!!  Gravel is talking shit and I don't even understand why you would entertain the idea of him being remotely right!!  I still think he's talking rubbish to try and clear his own conscience!!"  Bayleaf sounds snappy  "Now can we change the subject, you are starting to sound like Fudge and Mosaic now and I wish they didn't know either!!"

I lie there just listening feeling like I'm in another world that I don't even try to get out of.  A few things that they have both said puzzle me - What is the 'bomb shell'?  What's wrong with my kidneys? and just how long have I been here ... why am I even here in the first place?  

Bayleaf is just talking in riddles, none of what he has said makes any sense, especially about distancing himself away from me again.  He thinks I wouldn't miss him ... like hell am I going to let him do that again!!  I shut myself away for over a month when he did it to me last time wandering what the hell I'd done for him to suddenly shut me out, he wouldn't even answer my calls.  I missed him and even sat crying sometimes because of it  - I don't think he even knows how much he hurt me doing that.

What is his problem anyway?  He's either my mate or he isn't!?  One minute he's holding and kissing my hand the next he's talking about ditching me again ... what is this shit? 

"Mango ... is he crying?  I swear I just saw a tear run down his face."

When I feel myself drifting in and out of consciousness again, the first thing I feel is my hand being held and my fingers being played with again.  I can also hear that irritating beeping noise again reminding me of where I am.  In the hospital.

Bayleaf is talking to me quietly and I just lie there listening to him going off on another one of his memory lane rambles. Why does he keep talking to me like this?  I think about why we would encourage patients to be spoken to like this  - I hope to berry I'm not in or coming out of a coma!!

"Do you remember that tent my Dad bought me?"  he starts laughing.  

Yes I remember it, the tent we killed thinking we would be clever and have a crafty smoke in it.   One of our fags touched the tent material and the side of the tent suddenly became a big hole - my Dad only took one look at that tent and he knew we'd been smoking.  We were both grounded for a month, Alpine especially was livid with Bayleaf for smoking!!  Neither of us touched another cigarette after that.

"Man we had some fun in that tent, except for the night we burnt it down!!"  he starts to laugh again  "Do you remember that weekend when we camped out in your back garden?  I'm on about that weekend in February - when you got your first valentines card.  You didn't shut up about that damn card ALL weekend you nearly drove me mental going on about it."  his laughter suddenly stops.  "I think that's when I knew we were different."  he goes quiet for a while but he is still playing with my fingers.  "You went on all weekend like an excited child hoping that Juniper had sent it to you.  You was gutted when you found out it wasn't from her!"  he starts laughing again as he runs his finger gently up and down my arm sending a nice tingling sensation racing around my body and shivers down my spine.  "You never did find out who sent you that card did you!"  No actually I never did find out.  "I'm sorry it was me - I sent it! and it wasn't a joke either I meant it!!"

Did I just hear that right?

"I was too scared to tell you and imagined you would have been very pissed if you had found out at the time that it was me who sent it!  Especially as it wasn't a joke!!"  he starts laughing quite loudly  "I'm such a jerk!!  Only I could fall in love with my straight best mate!!"  he starts to sound upset and goes quiet for a moment  "They keep nagging me to tell you, so now I have ... it's just a good job you are not awake to hear it!!  I don't think it's something you ever need to know."

Too late mate - I've heard you!

I'm pretty surprised by what he's just said and suddenly when I think about it, everything starts to fall into place and things that didn't before now suddenly makes sense!  The conversation I heard earlier now makes sense!  Now I see why he might want to put distance between us - is that why he was totally blanking me?  Why did I never see it?  Why didn't he just tell me?

I feel the bed moving a little bit like he's just sat down at the side of me.  I know he's leaning over me as I can feel his breath on my cheek.  I can feel him hovering there.  I don't know why but I get the feeling he was going to kiss my lips but he doesn't he changes his mind and kisses my forehead instead.  I'm a little disappointed that he didn't kiss me properly.

"Bay ..."  I try to speak but all that comes out is a croaky noise. 

"Shit!! Slate!!"  I hear Bayleaf saying  "Slate can you hear me?!" 

He takes hold of my hand again and tells me to squeeze his hand if I can hear him - I really don't like this!!  How does he know to do and say that?!  What he's saying is scaring me!!  I squeeze his hand slowly as I try to open my eyes.  His hand leaves me and he moves off the bed.  I hear a door opening.

"Nurse I think he might be waking up he just squeezed my hand and made a noise.."  There is a short silence before I hear another voice. 

"It might have just been a reflex, but I'll page Dr Muffin to come and check Slate over, its probably about time for him to be coming out of it anyway."   

I hear a very familiar voice, oh fudge!!  I recognize the nurses voice, a nurse who I work with nearly every day ... I'm in Intensive Care ... what the hell have I done?  Why am I here?

I must have drifted back off to sleep because the next thing I know I'm startled awake by the light shining into my eye when my eyelid is forced open and pulled back and I can hear Mango's voice.  Mango and his damn light that he constantly carries around in his pocket.  We've even joked about it at work, we recon that he even takes it to bed with him.  I was even dared to ask him once, which of course I didn't, as nobody else had the nerve to, they thought I'd get away with it as I am was marrying his daughter.  Huh!!  Coral!!  Why did she have to creep into my head and spoil the peace?!

"Slate!"  I hear Mango calling my name a few times  "Can you squeeze my hand?"  I squeeze the hand holding mine.  I automatically thought it was Bayleaf's but it's not it's now Mango's.  I seriously don't like what's going on here ... have I been in a coma or something? 

I open my eyes slowly, my vision is a little blurred at first and the world feels like it's swimming for a while but slowly the face leaning over me comes into focus.  Mango is smiling down at me.

"Welcome back Slate!"  he continues to smile at me "Slate do you know who I am?"  he asks which makes me laugh a little.

"Mango."  I try to speak but I hear my throat croaking again, the word I spat out is understandable - just.  "Mango"  I try to say it again and it came out a little better this time.  Why can't I even talk properly?  Shit we are at work he won't be happy with me calling him Mango  "Dr Muffin."  I say and he starts laughing at me.

My vision is now pretty clear and I can see Bayleaf standing behind Mango.  I lie there continuously staring at him.  I can't help but notice he looks rough, he has dark rings around his eyes and he looks tired.  I smile at him.  Mango follows my gaze and looks over his shoulder and laughs quietly.  

He starts asking me stupid simple and routine questions which I answer painfully. I don't understand why my throat hurts so much and I can hardly get my words out. I can still feel and move both of my arms and legs, even doing that feels like hard work and painful.  So I know I'm not paralyzed.  I know what Mango is doing as he continues to question me, he is checking to see if my brain is still with me.  All the time I don't take my eyes off Bayleaf.  I get a nasty feeling I've been away for a while judging by the state of him.

"Who are you looking at Slate?"  he asks and smiles

"Bayleaf."  I answer and he laughs again but I'm not sure why.

"Well it looks like you haven't pickled your brain - the last thing we needed is somebody else with brain damage to look after!!"  he looks really pleased and relieved with that!!

I try to clear my throat but it really hurts.  Mango pours me some water from the jug that the nurse has just put down on the side cupboard with the glass.   She smiles at me before she walks out of my vision.  Mango helps me to hold my head up a little so I can drink some water.  I feel so weak I can hardly move.  Why?

"Why am I here?"  he stands studying me for a moment.

"Don't you remember?"  he frowns at me.  I just stare at him blankly before I shake my head - I kind of do but it doesn't make any sense.  "What is the last thing you remember Slate?  Why do you think you are here?"  I start crying remembering what Coral and Dad have done.  I remember buying four bottles of vodka to blot it all out.

"Vodka ... bad hangover!"  I mumble

"Don't joke Slate! ... never joke about what you have tried to do!! ... three bottles of vodka and 80 painkillers is no hangover!!"  he's giving me that disapproving look of his

W.T.F!!!  I remember the booze but not the painkillers!!  I try to remember but can't. I can only think that I must have really messed up big time when I was drunk!!  Mango sticks a thermometer in my mouth as he stares down at me, asking me to follow his finger with my eyes as he moves it in front of me from left to right. which I do, even my eye movement hurts.   

"Not only did you take an overdose you gave yourself acute alcohol poisoning Dr Rock, so I don't really have to explain what you have put your body through do I."   

Fudge!!  I shake my head, I can see he is far from impressed with me - I'm a doctor I should know better, I know he'll be very disappointed with me.  We watch people lose their lives unwillingly everyday through illness or like Storm who has had his life taken away needlessly and before time ... and here am I lying here so they think after trying to take my own life away for what - a bit of upset - I know that this will never sit very well with Mango.

 "You've been on full life support and out for quite a while - while you've put your body and everyone who care about you through total hell!!" 

"I'm sorry!!"  I mumble knowing they think I've tried to top myself but don't have the energy right now to try to convince them otherwise.  Mango doesn't say anything else as he starts checking me over, checking my reflexes and other routine stuff.  I just lie there staring up at the ceiling trying to remember what exactly was going through my head that night ... did I do this intentionally or was it just an accident, something I did when I was drunk?

"I know you are going to be very weak but is there any dizziness, blurred vision, pain, numbness, shortness of breath?"  he asks and I tell him I feel like shit but only the evil pain in my sides is bothering me.  "Unfortunately you'll have to live with that for a little while longer until you are strong enough for us to sort it out - I'll get you something brought in for the pain."  he stands there staring at me for a moment with a far away look in his eyes - I wander if I've got one of his lectures coming! 

"What permanent damage have I done?"

"I'll let you rest for a while first so you can wake yourself up properly, then we'll have a chat."  he glances at Bayleaf  "Your mate needs some attention he's hardly left your side while you've been sleeping on the job!"

He puts the buzzer in my hand and tells me any problems I'm to use it.  I think he knows that he doesn't have to explain exactly what problems he is talking about, because of my job I know, I deal with patients like myself every day  ... I guess this must be a lot more serious than I first thought!  

80 painkillers - WTF!!  I must have been seriously drunk to have taken any at all while I was drinking!!  All that I can remember in amongst the drunken fog is that I was starting to get a migraine.  I watch as Mango pulls Bayleaf to one side and they stand whispering for a while before he starts speaking to me again.  I wander what that was all about?!

"I have something I really need to urgently finish off then I'll be back to explain to you exactly what you have done to yourself!!"  he smiles at me  "I also had better put everyone out of their misery and tell them you're back in the land of the living ... you have had us all worried to death!!"

When Mango leaves the room a different nurse comes into the room who I work with every day, she smiles at me, now I'm embarrassed.   I bet everyone at work must now think I'm a right idiot!!  They think I was trying to top myself when really I wasn't ... I don't think!  

Amber waves a syringe at me before she jabs it in my arm.  She looks at me awkwardly and tells me she needs to check a few things, I just smile at her and try to ignore what she's doing as she rolls up my hospital gown, I feel her fingers touching the painful area on my side before she smiles at me, pulls down the gown and walks out of the room.  I don't even want to think about what I think is going on down there!!

I turn my head in Bayleafs direction.  He's got his head in his hands and he's crying.  Hell what have I put him through!!  I remember something that I heard while I was drifting in and out of consciousness ... I guess it couldn't have been nice for him to return home from work to find me in whatever state he found me in.

"I'm sorry!!"  I mumble as I hold my hand out to him which he takes and automatically starts playing with my fingers like I know he's been doing while I was out.  He looks at my hand and not at me, he just sits there quietly.  "Bay?" 


"Please tell me this isn't my fault, that you didn't try to top yourself because of that kiss?!"  he looks up at me then, he's obviously worried and upset.

"No!!  Why would you even think that you idiot!?"  he studies my face like he's trying to work out whether I'm lying or not.  He helps me to drink a little more water, the more I talk the easier it is getting, but my throat still hurts.

While he holds me up so I can drink from the glass he says he knows how he felt after being with a woman while he was drunk, repulsed with himself, it messed his head up and he's been thinking I was feeling the same way about kissing him and it helped push me over the edge on top of everything else and that is why I tried to fade myself ... oh if only he knew I haven't been able to stop thinking about that kiss but not because of the reason that he thinks.

"Stop stressing, you are wrong ... I was stupid."  I start crying which makes him lean over the bed and he tries to comfort me by stroking my face which I really like him doing.  "I only meant to get hammered to blot my head out.  I downed the first bottle in one, I wanted to knock myself out for the rest of the night to stop me thinking and to get rid of the pain - after you went to work I wasn't coping being on my own. 

"You should have phoned someone - Mosaic or Parsley would have been round like a shot - they are both really pissed with Coral!!"  he says to me  "Why Slate?  I can understand the vodka ... but why the overdose?"

"I started getting one of my migraines so I must have gone looking for some painkillers - the vodka must have puddled my brain, I don't actually remember taking them, I wouldn't normally take painkillers if I've been drinking!!  It's not like I actually meant to top myself!!  I don't think ... and if I did it was a spur of the moment thing because I was drunk ... and it definitely had nothing to do with that kiss!!"

"I hope you are telling me the truth!!"  he stares at me in a strange way - I don't think he believes any of what I've just said. 

"I've already told you, I like kissing you and I will do it again!!"  He rolls his eyes at me and shakes his head.  I laugh at him for a moment and signal with my hand for him to come closer, which he is stupid enough to do.  I put my arm around him and try to pull him towards me so he has no choice but to kiss me ... but I can't pull him, noticing how weak my arms feel, I've hardly got any strength.   Any strength I do have I'm having to use just to keep my arm up and hang onto his neck.

"Kiss me!"  his eyes widen and he shakes his head  

"Slate why do you keep doing this to yourself?"  he frowns at me  "You are straight so why do you keep going on with this shit?"

"Because I need you to kiss me! ... I'm not so sure I'm completely straight anymore, I fancy you, you turn me on and if I could get up off this bed I wouldn't be asking I'd just be kissing you."  he starts really laughing as he shakes his head again  "Kiss me." 
"No Slate!!"  he stops laughing, his face goes serious for a moment  "I'm not going to kiss you because I think you are obviously not right in the head right now!!"  What is his problem?!   I thought he would be happy that I want to kiss him. 

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with my head!  I WANT you to kiss me - anyway why do you keep fighting me?  I heard you - I know you love me so why won't you kiss me?"

"You was not supposed to hear that!!"  he just stares down at me, he looks a little embarrassed and I can see he's searching my eyes.  He's now driving me crazy his eyes always get me and do the strangest things to me. 

He is so close but so far away.  I try to close the gap and pull him closer but I'm too weak and he pulls away from me quite easily my arm dropping down onto the bed like a lead weight.  I stare at my hand and try to clench my fist a few times wandering why I feel so weak and I'm hardly able to do it, it's like my muscles aren't working anymore.

"For berry's sake can't you just kiss me!!"

"Not until you've brushed your teeth!!"  I start howling at him, only he would say that!   "It's been two months and if you only knew what you've had in your mouth during that time ... it's got to be like a cesspit in there!!"  he starts laughing as he pokes the end of my nose. "and that cute little piggy nose of yours is not so little anymore - you've had tubes as wide as hose pipes up there!!"

I've always hated my nose which I have inherited from my Dad.  When we were kids I always used to stress and be very self conscious over it.  Bayleaf always used to tell me I was stressing over nothing, he used to say I had a cute piggy nose ... cute ... see there is something else that I never picked up on at the time, him calling my nose cute - and he's just done it again!!

I stop laughing suddenly when my brain finally registers something that he has said, and I frown at him in confusion -  TWO MONTHS!!  What the hell is he on about!!

"Two months ... you've got that wrong!!"  he shakes his head at me.

"Slate you have been out for two months and two days to be precise!!"  he sees I'm starting to get upset again so he leans over me again and stares down at for a moment  "You've been through hell Slate and you are very lucky to even still be here - we nearly lost you quite a few times!!"  

He starts to tell me about how Mango only just managed to keep me alive before the ambulance arrived and if Mango hadn't given him a lift home from work I would have faded before he got home walking.  He told me about the journey in the ambulance, the seizures and cardiac arrest and some of the things that have gone wrong while I've been on life support.  He points miserably towards the dialysis machine that I've already spotted and have been trying to ignore hoping and praying that it has nothing to do with me, even though I think I already know why I've got the evil pains in my sides.

"I'm not sure if I should even be telling you any of this stuff - but Mango says you're actually pretty lucky to come out of this with only one major problem."  I mumble 'my kidneys' to him and he nods his head.  "you need a kidney replacement, but Mango will tell you about everything when he comes back."  

I lift up the neck of my hospital gown with my free hand and look down at the tubes that I can just see running into my body which I know run from the dialysis machine.  I drop the gown and lie my head back and close my eyes.  

Fudge how could I have been so stupid!!  Now I know why I feel so weak and can hardly move - my muscles are not working properly.  I've been lay like this for two months and I am going to need physio to get my body working normally again.  I lie there for a while thinking - remembering why I was even drinking like an idiot in the first place.  

I feel strange somehow as I lie here thinking about what Coral and Dad have done - somehow it doesn't feel so bad, it doesn't seem to hurt so much not like it did before I stupidly put myself in here.  Coral has completely gone to me, when I think about her I just feel angry and numb.  The only thing that is bothering me or hurting me at the moment is my Dad and what he has done - he is my Dad for berry's sake the only person that I've ever had in my life.  He has chosen to remove himself from my life so easily, he has to know there is never any going back from this and it hurts like hell.  I don't understand, if he loves me like he should, how could he do this to us!?  

I wander if the last two months have washed most of the hurt, especially Coral, away?  Now all I feel when I think about her is extreme anger.  I can feel Bayleaf playing with my fingers again and I suddenly think I know what might have helped.  I think I'm starting to see what he obviously saw years ago.  I open my eyes and stare at him.  I need him to kiss me.  I'm going to get him to kiss me if it kills me!!

"My eye is hurting, have I got something in it?"  

I ask him not really thinking he will fall for it but he does.  He leans in really close asking which one so I tell him the left one.   Before he knows what's hit him ive summoned up enough strength in my arm and pulled him towards me closing the few inches between us.  

His eyes roll when our lips smash together but he doesn't even try to fight me this time straight away he starts to kiss me.  At first the kiss is cautious but it doesn't take long to build up to the intense passionate kiss just like the last one.  How can kissing another guy just feel so right?  I start to feel really giddy and my world starts to spin probably because my body is still too weak to handle all the emotions running through it.  But I don't care, just like before I don't want the kiss to stop.

Suddenly the door bangs open and Amber comes running in.  Bayleaf jumps away from me quickly like a scared rabbit, but not before Amber has seen what we were doing.

"Fudge Slate!!  Put him down!!  Give me heart failure why don't you!!"  I start laughing at the look on Amber's face.  "Did you forget your monitor rings bells on the front desk?  Someones pulse has just hit the roof!!"  she starts laughing at me  "Only you could do that Slate!!  You've pulled some stunts but this one takes the biscuit!!"  

We are both laughing at each other.  While we do take our jobs very seriously to lighten the mood of this department, which can be pretty depressing at times, we quite often pull pranks on each other for a laugh - if she wants to take this as a prank then I'm not complaining, but I doubt she'll top it!  I laugh to myself.  

"You wanna hope Muffin doesn't check your readings or he'll be reading you the riot act if he finds out you've just been making out to send your readings all over the place!!"  she smirks at me.

"Amber who's my doctor?"  I ask her wandering why she just mentioned Mango and curious as to which of the IC doctors has been responsible for my care.  I know I'm seriously going to get some stick for this when I eventually get back to work - of all the departments that I could have landed in - I land in my own!!

"Oh you've been getting special treatment - Dr Muffin has been responsible for your care - he's been camped out in here shaking the place up, you might know he's changed a few things!!  In fact we've had all three Muffins in here hovering over your bed."   she smiles at me.  I am quite surprised to find out that Mango has been in here looking after me when I'm not a neurology patient.  

"He is cute by the way!!"  she says winking at me before she walks off laughing quite loudly saying  "No more snogging Slate or I won't be able to hide your readings!!" 

Bayleaf sits there looking embarrassed and confused.  I see the expression on his face which cracks me up.  He looks like a naughty child who's just been caught doing something he shouldn't.  He asks me why I'm not embarrassed.

"Why should I be embarrassed?  You heard her she thinks you are cute!!"  I'm still laughing at him as he goes even redder.  "You are such a girl Bay!!  Anyone would think you've never been caught snogging before!!"  

He shakes his head and says he hasn't which makes me laugh at him even more!  He is cute!!  I tell him to come back and sit on the bed but he say's he'll stay sat on the chair because its safer and Mango should be back soon anyway.  I change the subject because he now is sat there looking like he's squirming.

"Has my Dad been coming in here?"  I ask wandering why he is not in here now, another sign that he doesn't really give a shit about me.

"Only once, but not for the want of trying!!"  he laughs and starts to relax a little as he  tells me that Mango had two security guards on the door for the first few weeks to stop him from coming in.  He showed him me the first day just after they had stabilized me and I was on full life support and hooked up to all the machines, which I know can be a frightening sight to someone who is not used to seeing it.   Dad has been made to sit out in the corridor ever since until I say he can come into the room.  Bayleaf made me laugh telling me that Mango and Dad have had quite a few proper punch ups over the past few months.  I ask him out of curiosity if Coral has been.  He pulls a face just at me mentioning her name.  I know he's never been her biggest fan and now I think I know why!

"No, sorry but I do know she's in Mango's bad books big time so I doubt she'd even dare to show her face - she wouldn't have been allowed in either just like your Dad!"  he smiles at me.  "Everyone else has been here regularly Mosaic and Parsley are here every day without fail one of them always sits with you while I'm at work ..."

The door opens then and a man strolls into the room.  I know he is not hospital staff because he's wearing normal clothes and I know most of the staff at this hospital by sight because of working here.  I can't say I've seen this guy before.  He is completely brown and think maybe he might be a member of Bayleaf's family on his mother side, from out of town, especially after he smiles and speaks to Bayleaf as soon as he comes through the door.

"You look shattered Bay, go and grab a few hours, I'll sit with Slate for a while if you want."  he says smiling at Bayleaf who starts laughing as he nods in my direction.  The brown man looks towards me and spots I'm awake.  "Oh finally Slate is back with us! I suppose I should go and tell that useless brother of mine the good news!!"

The man who I don't know is just standing by the bed and smiling at me with a big cheesy grin on his face like he's actually happy to see me awake.  Who the fudge is he?  Am I supposed to know this guy?

"Granite we haven't had a chance to tell him anything yet - he's not been awake long!"  I watch Bayleaf who is starting to appear a little nervous and I wander why.  "You maybe should wait and come back once Mango has spoken to him."

"Nonsense, you stress too much ... it's not going to kill the boy to know who I am is it!"  he laughs as he holds out his hand to me  "Granite Rock is the name and I am your Uncle.   It's a shame we didn't get to meet under better circumstances, but hey, that's my useless brother for you!!"  he says smiling at me.  

What?!  I just stare back at him - Uncle - I don't have an Uncle!  I take his hand which he is still holding out to me and shake it just to get it out of my face.  I notice he is exactly the same shade of brown as I am.  He is actually completely brown - he looks like a pure berry to me.

"I don't have an Uncle!"

"Oh yes you do son and I'm it."  he smiles at me  "unfortunately the grey and brown idiot sat out in the corridor is my little brother."

"I don't believe it - why has he not even told me he has a brother?!"  This is just mental!!  I thought that my Dad was an only child like I am.  How can he have a brother and never mention him? 

"It really doesn't surprise me that Gravel didn't even bother to tell you about me - the last time I saw my goody two shoes brother he was getting me arrested and banged up for a stretch inside - I'm the criminal half of the family which has never really sat very well with my little brother!"  he laughs a little  "Kid it looks like you and me have both had a rub of Gravels brush!!  Back stabbing!!  Family loyalty never really being one of Gravels strong points!!"

"So where have you been?  Why have I never seen you?"  I ask still thinking this is total madness - how the hell can my Dad neglect to tell me that he has a brother?

"Prison - here in Sugar Valley to start with but I got myself transferred to Berry Shores to put distance between me and the back stabber!"  he laughs a little  "That was before you was born, I didn't even know you existed until recently.  When I was released I didn't come back to Sugar Valley, I moved around a lot, I did a lot of traveling.  I look like a pure berry so the world is open for me to explore - but I've been living in Cherry Hill, another colour mix town, for about 10 years now it's kind of hard to break the habits of being a mixed berry."

I just lie there staring at the man who says he is my Uncle, not quite believing that I'm hearing this!!  My Dad has a brother and he has never even bothered to tell me about him!?  Why?  I am seriously starting to wander who my Dad is and if I even know him at all.  I get a little excited for a moment thinking that maybe I have more relatives out there that I don't know about?  So I ask him. 
"Not from me mate, I'm gay and I'm not sure about your Mother's family."  he starts laughing  "As far as I know it's just you and me kid at the moment but I see that is all about to change soon!!"

"Granite DON'T!!"  Bayleaf snaps as he jumps up off his seat suddenly so I frown at him but he's not paying attention to me too busy staring at my Uncle with worry.  "You can't just blurt it out!!  Mango hasn't spoken to him about anything yet - you are going to upset him and he's only just woken up!!"

"Bayleaf you need to chill out you are always too serious - your boxers are too tight man!"   he smiles  "I can always help you loosen them - you seriously need to get laid!!"  he starts smirking at Bayleaf

"I wandered how long it would be before you started your rubbish - you just can't help yourself can you!!"  Bayleaf snaps at him  "I don't know how Mace puts up with you!!"  

It amuses me that they seem to know each other pretty well.  I just lie there quietly watching as they are bickering like a pair of girls, you can tell from a mile away that they are both gay.  My Uncle is really playing Bayleaf up.  I wander for a moment if they don't fancy each other!  Suddenly I'm not amused anymore.

"Bay what can he not tell me?"  I ask him interrupting them as Bayleaf sits back down on his chair looking all flustered shaking his head and swearing at my Uncle because he has just tried to pinch his backside.  My Uncle is having hysterics at Bayleaf and calls him a prude.

"Nothing for you to worry about Slate!!  Your Uncle has already said enough for one day, he needs to shut up ... we really need to wait for Mango to get back!!"  

Granite smiles and says his mouth is zipped as he draws his fingers across his lips and grins then smacks the back of his hand while he smirks at Bayleaf.  

"I'd better go and tell face ache you are awake before I get myself into any more trouble with your over protective boyfriend here!!"  Bayleaf snaps at him saying he's sick of telling him he's not my boyfriend.  "Yeah but you wished bright eyes!!  Why else won't you let me take you out and show you a good time - you really don't know what you're missing!!"  he winks at Bayleaf who just pulls a face at him.

"Oh I do ... earache and a migraine!!"  I can't help but laugh at Bayleaf who looks embarrassed and flustered.  "You can quit your crap now - you know I don't find you the slightest bit funny!!"

"Slate my useless brother wants to know if he can come in to see you?"  he says while he is still laughing at Bayleaf.

"NO!!!  Tell him I NEVER want to see his back stabbing face ever again!!"

"Can't say I blame you kid!!"  He smiles then breezes out of the room saying "I'll be back!"  like he's watched the Terminator movie one two many times, his head and cheeky grin being the last part of him going through the door.

I can't help but laugh at him, especially how he hardly refers to my Dad by his name it's 'useless brother' most of the time!  I already get the feeling I am going to like him - he looks like he's fun - he is nothing like my Dad at all!!

"I guess I should warn you - that guy is a total nutcase!!"  Bayleaf starts laughing.  "He's permanently on hyper rails, he's a right scream!!  He has had the doctors and nurses in uproar, wait till you see how he winds Mango up!!  You would never believe he's your Dad's brother!!"

"He fancies you!!"  I frown at him  "and I saw you blushing!"

"You almost sound like that upsets you!"  he frowns at me for a moment.  I guess I didn't like the way my Uncle was messing about and flirting with Bayleaf.  "He doesn't fancy me he's just playing me up!!"

He explains that my Uncle is actually totally into his boyfriend Mace and he's just playing him up like he plays everyone else up.  I'll soon see that Granite is quite the joker and is constantly winding everyone up in one way or another.  He even plays the female nurses up and flirts with them even though he's gay.  He's harmless really and no doubt it won't be long before he starts playing me up.

"Why was you blushing?"  he rolls his eyes and starts to get a little red cheeked again as soon as I mentioned it.  "You like him don't you."

"NO!!! I don't like him!"   He looks a little hurt for a moment  "I ... I'm not comfortable with all that stuff - your Uncle he scares me to death when he starts with his flirting - he knows it embarrasses me and I don't know how to handle it - that's why he does it!"

I guess I can see that, he got embarrassed just over Amber catching us kissing. 

Mango appears with his serious face on.  I expected most of what he told me and I guessed Bayleaf had probably only told me a part of it.  I know exactly what acute alcohol poisoning and over doses do to a human body - and I haven't escaped any of it!  I've been through it all.  At the moment it is looking like I've been very lucky with the only permanent damage that I'm going to suffer is my kidneys which are now no longer functioning.  

I am pretty surprised when he tells me that my Dad was tested and he wasn't a very good match, that is why my Uncle keeps calling him useless.  Virtually the whole extended family have been tested and ironically Bayleaf and Caramel were the closest matched, he thinks possibly because of the brown colouring, but it wasn't close enough so they've managed to track down my Uncle who turned out to be a perfect match and that is why he is here - to give me one of his kidneys.  

I just lie there struck dumb for a while I didn't know what to say - I thought they would turn their back on me, Bayleaf was right, he told me they wouldn't.  And my new found Uncle - he doesn't even know me yet he is willing to give me one of his kidneys.  I guess I'm not as alone as I thought I was.

I know this is far from over, I've got a kidney replacement to go through, months of physio ahead of me amongst other things.  I am such an idiot!!

"Mango please just don't send me down to psych!!  I don't need it!!"  he frowns at me and tells me I know as well as he does it's procedure because of what I've done.  "I've told you it was an accident - I wasn't trying to top myself!!  All I was trying to do was get wasted to block it out - the painkillers was just something I did stupidly when I was off my head because I was getting a migraine!  I was drunk - I know better than to take medication with alcohol!"

"You know better than to consume that amount of alcohol and in such a short space of time too - but still you went and did it Slate!!"  his forehead wrinkles up and he's looking at me like I'm a naughty child.

"I know and I'm sorry I'll NEVER touch another drop again - I promise - anything just not psych!!  PLEASE!!!"  I mumble back miserably!

"You might need psych once I've told you our next bit of news!!"  

He glances almost nervously towards Bayleaf who gets up off his chair and stands along side Mango.  I'm not sure that I like the look on either of their faces.  Mango hesitates for a moment and takes a deep breath before he says anything.   

"Coral is pregnant."  

That felt like a punch in the stomach.  I just lie there staring at him for a while.  I can not even react at first because my brain is struggling to process what he has just said.  Haven't they already done enough to me - this is just adding insult to injury!!  What are they trying to do - completely rub my nose in it??!!

"BERRY HOLES!!  They didn't waste any time did they!!  Next you'll be telling me they've got married while I've been away - they might as well keep twisting the knife that they have already stuck in my back!!"  

I snap as I stare up at both Mango and Bayleaf who are staring down at me both looking as worried as each other.  Mango tried to speak but I cut him straight off.

"Well if they think I'm having anything to do with their brat they can think again - it will never be a brother or sister of mine!!"

"No Slate I don't think you quite understand - Coral is nearly four months pregnant."  he says quietly glancing at Bayleaf again.  Four months - I've only been out for two!  "They might not be Gravels - at the moment we don't know who's babies they are."


"There is a 50% chance that those babies are yours Slate."  I just stare at him blankly.

I'm struggling to take it in - the baby could be mine!  Fudge!!  She doesn't know if it's mine or his - what a joke - this is making me feel sick again just thinking about her  sleeping with both me and my Dad at the same time - I guess this is pretty much poetic justice for her!!   

"We could actually run a paternity test before they are born but as you know its an intrusive procedure that carries risks and we are not going to take that risk especially with it being a multiple pregnancy ... so unfortunately we won't know if they are yours or Gravels babies until they are born."

"Multiple pregnancy? They? You keep saying babies - plural"

"Sorry didn't I say, she's having Twins - they are two girls." 


I have to lie there and think about that for a moment.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse.  I can feel the tears starting to run down my face - I really don't want this.  Bayleaf sits on the bed and tries to comfort me, he holds my hand and tries to wipe the tears off my face.  I think I know he'd be doing a lot more if Mango wasn't in here.

I really don't know how I'd feel about them being my babies!!  I never want to have anything to do with Coral or Dad again ... if they are mine, this is going to make it virtually impossible!!  All I can see ahead of me if they are mine, are the drama's she's going to cause and the games she's going to play - she milks everything - this is going to be nothing other than a total nightmare!!  

Right now I really hope they are NOT mine!!  The last person I want as the Mother of my children right now is HER!!!!

Suddenly the door bursts open with force.  Mosaic comes running into the room in a right state, he's crying and shouting Mango probably loud enough for the whole hospital to hear him..

"DAD!!  DAD!!  Ice sent me to fetch you ... Tapestry and River are in A&E."  he shouts breathlessly.  "I was on my way up here to see Slate and just spotted them coming out of the back of an ambulance." 

Mango grabs him trying to calm him down because Mosaic is almost hysterical.  Mango asks if they are okay, he now seems to be falling apart and is all over the place.  

"Ice is with them ... they both look dirty and beat up.  River has been stabbed - but don't panic Ice said the knifes in a safe place in his shoulder like where I was stabbed.  Dad they are still alive!!"   Mosaic tells him almost like he's in total shock.

"Bay don't leave Slate alone for a second until I get back!!"  Mango shouts as he rushes out of the room with Mosaic in tow who quickly smiles and waves at me before he leaves the room. 

Me and Bayleaf just stare at each other in shock!!

I don't believe it ... I never expected Tapestry and River to come home any other way than in a wooden box!!  Thinking about Tapestry, I wander if Honey has had their babies yet.  I struggle to imagine Tapestry being a Dad!!  Hell I can't imagine myself being a Dad either.

"Tapestry couldn't have timed coming home any better - has Honey had the babies yet, aren't they about due now?"  I ask Bayleaf who's face washes over with the strangest look I've ever seen, he just sits looking at me and saying nothing.  He almost looks like he's going to cry, so I frown at him.  "Bay?"

"Yeah, about three weeks ago."  he says quietly

"Well?  What colour are they?  What has she called them?"  he continues to look at me and doesn't answer my questions, I can't help but think he's acting a little strangely.

"Maybe you should get some sleep, you must be washed out."  he smiles at me awkwardly totally ignoring my question.  "I think you've had enough to think about for one day!"

"I'm not tired I've been asleep for two months I've had enough sleep don't you think."  I frown at the look on his face  "Is something wrong ... you still haven't answered my questions about Tap and Honey's babies!"  Still he doesn't say anything and I can see his eyes welling up.  "Bay - what's wrong?"

I don't get an answer to that question either.  Suddenly he just lunges forward and starts to kiss me.  After all the fuss that he caused earlier!!  This is the first time he's actually made the move to kiss me - all the other times before I've forced the situation, so he took me a little by surprise.

Why wouldn't he answer my questions?  He clammed up when I started to talk about Tapestry and Honey's babies!  I think something is wrong!!  

I get the feeling he's only kissed me trying to avoid telling me something.  

But while he's kissing me like this I'm not complaining.

Whatever he's not telling me can wait.

Song ~ Heaven Sent ~ Hinder