The Sailor's Stories

1044 Chapter forty four – The Sailor’s Awakening.

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Time…, it’s a funny concept really. I mean…,what is time? Is it the seconds, minutes, hours, days even, that makes up the length of our lives? Or is it something else…, something elusive…, or something far more sinister? Actually, in my opinion it’s all of that…, and yet none of it. They say that ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’ I don’t know about that one but in years past, I think I’ve had enough occasions to show the proof of that statement…, yet at the same time I’ve had enough bad times to show how inconclusive it really is.

It often seems as though when everything’s going right, there’s just never enough hours in the day. So much so that when that day is over, most of the time, you find yourself pining for what you’ve left behind. Conversely though…, there are those moments that seem to drag on into eternity. How can something so creative…, be at the same time so destructive? I don’t really know if I can honestly answer that one, all I know is that we’re so totally bound to it, there really is no escape. And like all things mystical and hard to quantify…, fun isn’t the only thing that can make time disappear, as we very soon found out.

After that horrible scene with the police, I left the boys with Cabe and JJ, and went to pick up Cassie and Sam at the airport. They were due to touch down at St. Pete’s International at 1500, I had about an hour to get there when I left the hospital. When we first arrived we were so concerned about getting to JJ, that we just weren’t capable really of doing anything productive. So I took the time now that the pressure was off, to book a rental, and secure us some rooms for the next few days.

I managed to get two rooms for us at the Bayfront Hilton. When I asked why I could only get two, I was told that they were at the tail end of a large convention being held at he neighboring arena. To be honest that didn’t really bother me, I just figured one for each family…, plus I knew that the boys might not sleep well that night, and I wanted them close just incase. With that done, I took off to the airport, but with the unfamiliar traffic and road layout, I only just made it.

Once dropping the girls at the hospital, where hugs, kisses and tears were aplenty, I took the boys away, to give the Greens some much needed family time…, as well as the fact that I figured either JJ or Cabe, would repeat his story, and I didn’t want any of us to hear it again…, once was certainly enough. Besides…, in our rush to get out of the house that morning…, well…, we didn’t really have much with us, and it looked as though we were in for a protracted stay. After getting some decent directions from one of the younger nurses on duty, the boys and I went in search of a mall.

For the first time in I don’t even remember how long…, my heart just wasn’t into the shopping experience. To tell the truth, I don’t think any of us were. We must have traipsed through countless stores that afternoon, and still hadn’t come up with much of anything. Oh don’t get me wrong we each had something, but if we were to pool our current resources…, we would’ve been able to clothe only one of us. It was rather comical actually…, I had a three pack of boxers, Carl had a pair of jeans, Corey had a t-shirt, and Dale had the hoodie, which formed the crowning piece of our ensemble. Of course, each piece was in the owners original size, for the boys that was fine, as they were almost the same size…, but, most of it was useless to me. Cabe really was the lucky one on that score…, because Cassie at least had the foresight to pack an overnight bag for him.

Suffering through another twenty minutes of this, I realized that this really was getting us anywhere and something just had to be done. We needed to get our shit together and get of there. A shrill whistle and some rapid hand gestures later, I pulled everyone into the Wal-Mart, that we were walking past. Getting the boys in a huddle, I set the plan…, one hour three changes of clothes and a bag to put it all in. I also stressed the fact, especially to Corey, that we all needed toiletries, and made sure they all knew to get underwear and socks. I only put that last bit in, because for some reason boys were rather scatterbrained on the small things sometimes. With the plan set, we all agreed to meet at the checkout when the hour was up and then split, off on our own ways.

With the requisite time reached, only Carl was lagging behind. I can remember that worried me a great deal as he was usually so squared away. Leaving my card with the twins, I took off to try and find him…, it didn’t take me long. When I finally spotted him, he was standing in front of a display table looking at two packs of what looked like boxer shorts…, it wasn’t until I got closer that I realized they were both identical three packs. Placing my hand gently on his shoulder, so as not to scare him, he looked back at me and I could see that he’d been crying. While a slow tear tracked down his beautiful face, he got a bit of lip wobble going on, his eyes almost vacant…

“I…, I…, can’t decide…”

“Aw kiddo…, it’s ok…” I said, as I pulled him against me.

The poor little guy wasn’t able to say much more, having just burrowed himself into my chest. Wrapping my arms around him, I felt him do the same, as if he was trying to pull himself through my body to get to the other side. The sobs really came then, just as my cell chirped, I looked down and saw a “You OK?” from Dale. I sent him back a quick yes, and told them we’d be right along. The boxers must have been the last thing Carl had went for, because I could see the rest of his purchases draped across the table. Prying one of the packs out of his hand, I dropped it on the display and scooped up the rest of his shopping before turning and guiding him to the cashier.

I knew I was going to have to keep a good eye on him that night. Though I didn’t have to worry about it right then, as soon as we got close to the checkout, Dale saw the state his boyfriend was in and immediately took over from me. I witnessed one of the proudest and nerve racking moments of my parenting career right then. Dale, with a complete lack of abandon and showing the total love he had for his boy, took Carl into his arms and held him for dear life, all the while kissing him softly on the lips. Visibly blanching, I made ready to defend them, but if anyone thought bad of it, they had the good sense not to say anything. To my knowledge, that was the first public display of affection they had ever made. Even Corey had a slight proud smile going.

Almost three hours had passed since leaving the hospital, and when we got back, there was two very ashen faces. Obviously someone had retold the tale, but I doubt it was JJ, as he was sleeping quite soundly. I was grateful for that at least, as the body did it’s best healing during sleep, that and the fact that if he was asleep, it meant that his pain had gotten to a manageable level. As soon as we entered the room, Corey bee-lined his way to Sam’s side, and took her in his arms. Carl and Dale however, made their way over to the window, and sat on the ledge, still holding each others hand. Dale had taken to keeping Carl particularly close to him…, especially after the scene at the mall. It was at times like that, that I wished I had someone to do the same for me…, being the strong one all the time was getting rather taxing on my worn out soul.

Once again time seemed to speed up on us. Only one parent could stay overnight in the hospital, and between Cassie and Cabe, they decided that she would do the first. Don’t get me wrong, Cabe didn’t go without a fight, but he soon relented to her unerring logic…, it never ceases to amaze me how women can do that. Not to mention the fact that he was quite visibly crashing, now that the adrenaline, that had pumped through him like a freight train all day, had almost completely worn off. Just like the rest of us, he was hungry and exhausted…, so after a little more convincing, we headed over to the hotel to check in and get something to eat.

Dinner was a subdued affair, with little conversation other than a few pleasantries, I think we were all caught up with our own thoughts right then. In total truth, I think we were all still reeling from JJ’s account of what transpired that night. In the end the poor kid really did hold nothing back that I could tell, but then every now again, in the brief moments of calm, I’d flash back to his story, and found myself really wishing that he had. It’s not like I wanted him to be dishonest, it’s just that the whole story had a very profound effect on all of us, but primarily my boys.

The food was in fact excellent, as you would expect from a four class hotel, and there was even plenty of entertainment, provided by the raucous shouts and cries of the various conventioneers, but it did little to lighten our mood. I was in fact, not really filtering through to us at all except for providing a dull background to our solemn meal. And all too soon we found ourselves in our rooms. We let the kids have a bit of together time, primarily Corey and Sam, while Cabe and I went into the other room.

“I don’t know what to do Cam…” He said, as he reached down into the mini-bar fridge to retrieve two very overpriced beers. “I mean if I take the school down, it’ll tarnish the navy…, but if I do nothing…, it’ll be like I don’t even care about my child…, Jesus! … This is all so fucked up!”

Taking a sip of the beer he handed me, straight from the bottle I might add…, oh yeah…, we’re all class…, I took the time to really think about what I wanted to say. I knew that I had to tread really carefully here. At the mall today I’d had plenty of time to mull this over, and to be honest, could only come up with bad outcomes for all involved. The one and only fact of the matter was that the school that JJ went to did have very strong ties to the navy, and being that we were both in that service, this could go south real fast…

“I don’t know what to tell you man…, I mean…, I know what I’d do…, but that doesn’t really help you right now.”

“Ha! … Let me guess…, you’d storm the place taking it down one brick at a time…, right?”

“Pretty much…, like I said…, that doesn’t really help you.”

“You’re right…, that doesn’t help.” He said, dropping onto the bed in defeat.

He was unfortunately correct…, attacking the school wouldn’t be the best thing to do. Like I said, that school had a long and proud history, so much so that some of it’s alumni were pretty high ranking people, civilian, political…, military…, take your pick. If Cabe made waves, as it were, his career could take a definite turn for the worse. But then, it wasn’t the school that hurt his boy…, not really…, or at least not directly…, it was just a few bad apples that at the time happened to attend there. On the other side of the coin though, he was also right in that he couldn’t just do nothing…, to do so, would be in his eyes, the ultimate betrayal to his fatherhood.

“Well as much as I hate to say it pal…, I don’t think you can go after the school…, I’m not you dude…, I’m no lawyer…, but that could end really badly for both of you…, having said that…, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from going after those kids and their parents.”

Eyeing him closely, waiting him out, I tried to discern what his response might be. But he just sat there sipping his beer, obviously mulling things over. That’s how it went for a while, but soon we started chatting about the few scenarios that were open to him. Almost an hour later the poor guy still had nothing set in stone, the only thing he knew for certain was that JJ wasn’t ever going to set one foot on that schools soil again.

The three beers we had consumed to that point, were starting to give us a little buzz, which in turn quickly opened the door to exhaustion. The last thing I did before I left his room, was to gently strip him down to his boxers, taking care to properly unstrap his leg, and then slide his next to lifeless body under the covers. I have to admit the leg was a new experience…, but putting him to bed certainly wasn’t. Not that I cared any, but he always was a bit of a light weight when it came to drinking…, that’s why he usually went for light beers…, not that he’d admit though.

By the time I made it back to my room, the kids were mostly asleep. The TV was on in the corner, emitting a soft glow, so I decided to forgo the main lights. Years of working in the dark had given me pretty sharp night-vision anyway. I noticed as I walked towards the beds, that Dale was curled up against Carl’s side in one. And as unfair as it was, I was happy to see that Corey and Sam, were still fully dressed…, even though they were curled up together on the other. Right then, beautiful didn’t even begin to cover how they looked together. Corey had spooned up behind Sam, with his arm wrapped lovingly over her side…, as I got closer I saw that their fingers were locked together. There was absolutely no doubt that they were very much in love with each other.

Though I had tried to avoid it, Sam stirred while I was taking my shirt off, even though I was doing it as quietly as I could…

“Hey Cam…, is daddy ok?”

“Yeah sweetie, he’s fine…, the day pretty much did him in though…, he was sleeping soundly when I left…, you wanna go over there, or stay here?”

“You’d let me stay?” She said, with possibly a little too much surprise, causing Corey to stir a little but not wake.

“Sure…, I don’t think that horndog of mine would try anything with me in the room…, you can stay with him if you want too…, but I really think your dad needs you more right now.”

“Yeah I guess…, ok…, well…” She said with a slight, cute little yawn. “I’ll see you in the morning, huh?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.” I replied, with a gentle smile of my own, as she got up to leave.

Before she did though, she leaned over and gave Corey a light kiss on the forehead. She may have been a hardcore skater chick…, but it was nice to see she had a soft side as well. So much so, that I couldn’t help but smirk, as I finished stripping down after she left.

Standing there in only a pair of boxer shorts, I took in the sight of my boys and for the first time I noticed how tight Dale was holding Carl. For his part, Carl wasn’t exactly sleeping peacefully…, but even in sleep Dale was right at his side, doing his best to comfort him. Likewise I did my best not to disturb them, as I pulled the covers up a little before bending down to kiss them each softly on the forehead. I did the same for Corey, but first I slipped his pants off, knowing full well that sleeping fully clothed is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Leaving him in his t-shirt, boxers and ankle socks, I pulled the covers back on the opposite side then rolled him over gently and tucked him in. Not wanting to scare the life out of him when he woke up, I took a blanket, and went to sleep on the sofa.

My dreams that night were pretty vivid, and I can remember waking up several times. It was during one of those times that I felt like I was being watched, when I opened my eyes, I saw a shadow looming over me. He jumped back as I reacted like anyone that was trained to do what I was…, but as soon as I came back to myself I knew I’d made a big mistake…, that’s when the tears started….

“I’m sorry Caaammmm…” He said, as he was wracked with sobs.

“Shit kiddo…, it’s me that’s sorry…, you just startled me is all me…, what’s wrong?”

“I had a ni…, a bad dream.”

“Come here kiddo…” I said, lifting the cover.

He slipped in under the blanket and into my arms. I thought that would be the end of it…, that he just needed some ‘Dad like’ comfort, god knows he probably never had the opportunity before. He was still sobbing softly as I held him, and I found myself joining him in his sadness, I just felt so bad for the poor boy.

“It might help if you talk about it…”

“It’s just I…, I feel so bad for JJ…, I mean…, what he said happened to him and everything…, and then…,  then seeing him in hospital like that…, it’s just…, just hold me…, please…”

“Aw kiddo…, I really didn’t want you to see or hear that…, if I could’ve stopped it I would…, but I will hold you…, I love you so much Kiddo…, if you’ll let me…, I’ll hold you forever…, or at least until you don’t need me to anymore…, how does that sound?”

“Sounds good…, I love you too Cam…”

And with that we both drifted off to sleep. When I woke in the morning he wasn’t there, at some stage he had gotten up and gone back to Dale. Smiling to myself, I realized that that really was probably a good thing…, after all Dale could give him what I couldn’t…, in more ways than one. I did mean what I said to him though…, that was a promise I knew I could never break.

The next few days just seemed to evaporate, like the sands that slip unabashedly through your fingers. As each one passed, JJ was getting better and better, the various bruises that had been  black and vivid, had turned to more of a sickly yellow brown, that was a good sign that he was healing nicely. On that second day, Cabe and I had paid a visit to the school…, not the most pleasant of experiences…, but in the end it was decided that it would be best for all parties to leave it alone.

The boys that were involved were to be expelled, and to face charges of assault, both physical and sexual. As they were all of the seventeen to eighteen age range, the police were pushing for them to be tried as adults. That alone meant that they would pay for what they had done for the rest of their lives. Bobby Daniels had to have a testicle removed, and the doctors weren’t sure if the other one would survive either, as soon as he was able to be brought in, he would have to answer to most of the charges. That alone I think appeased Cabe the most…, it gave him a villain that he could fight.

Greg Foley, the boy that had tried to help JJ that night, and who was the second boy to be taken to the hospital, the one with the broken nose, was found to be in the clear. The school was prepared to welcome him back…, he had decided to leave and finish his schooling elsewhere. His parents had some to collect him from the hospital a few days before we left. They tried to slip out quietly but Cabe and Cassie managed to track them down in order to thank them. All in all, it wasn’t exactly the best outcome for the Green family, but Cabe decided that what would happen eventually, was at least, better than nothing.

Before we left the school we were taken to JJ’s room and packed all of his belongings. We got them all stowed on the plane just in time to meet the others at the hospital. Having received the all clear from a very happy and smiling Dr. O’Connor, JJ was released five days after he was taken to emergency surgery. The plane ride home was a pretty quiet, but a very happy one, now that we were all on our way home. This time though, with Sam to keep Corey’s attention, I had Carl sitting next to me. He finally had his day in the air.

Written by bigct/Octavius

May 17, 2010 at 18:15

9 Responses

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  1. I’m glad JJ survived, but that was sure a traumatic episode. I hope the rest of his life will be way better than that. I hope things like that don’t happen very often in schools of that type. Just a bunch of bad apples in that one I guess.


    May 17, 2010 at 18:46

  2. CT I’m gunna pinch a couple of words from this chapter that describes how I feel much better than anything I could come up with. I got a little lip wobble going while reading this chapter myself.
    You have such a wonderful way of incorperating so many human emmotions and feelings it works strongly on this readers emmotions. To say thanks I enjoyed tis chapter just dosen’t feel addequate, but thanks anyway.
    Regards Stef


    May 17, 2010 at 23:14

  3. If you seriously don’t think your the best out there…. I would stack the last three chapters up against ANYTHING out there. Best stuff I’ve read in a long time. You handled a very bad situation with a style and grace few could match. Talk to you soon, CT


    May 18, 2010 at 01:06

  4. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Anxiously waiting for Carl’s reaction to the papers Cam has! And the “cliffhanger” continues, though not as bad as the last ones! I can at least thank you for that. Rick.


    May 18, 2010 at 04:12

  5. All I can say, is I love this story. You get me so wrapped up in their emotions, I can’t stand it. Great job again Octavius!



    May 18, 2010 at 07:33

  6. Thank you Octavius, it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, But i hope those big boys learned you can’t make little boys do what they want. They could ask and maybe some would say ok, but when you make them do it it is not good. I like doing some things but i don’t if someone making me do it. love you, Hugs JJ


    May 22, 2010 at 02:58

  7. Bullying is always bullying and the crime of rape, which this surely was, is always a crime. No one should ever be forced to do what those older boys were expecting the younger ones to do and violence is no way consensual. This has been a very traumatic episode(s), and hopefully the story might lighten up for a bit now (please).

    Having said that it’s, as ever, well written and the parenting by Cam and Cabe is hard to fault, even if I think their judgement on how a school operating under a military code and presumably an honour system might be expected to react is a bit worrying; surely it ought to be a bit more self-examining if this happened? I imagine (naively?) that once the police get involved the military’s code of silence might have to crumble? One would like to think such a serious assault might well force the school’s closure in such circumstances? “The buck stops here”.

    A lot to think about.

    Looking forward to life back home.



    May 25, 2010 at 00:15

  8. Octavious, Don’t worry about your style etc. I find it most refreshing to read a story that touches my heart, from the adult parent figure. There are many coming of age stories from the teen perspective, so your story stands at the top of how an adult should react to a son/daughters discovery years of young adulthood. Keep it coming. I love it.


    May 26, 2010 at 13:52

  9. I agree with all above comments
    Geez ur GOOD !


    May 9, 2012 at 06:23

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