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Can I Claim For My Heart

January 01, 2015 01:24PM
CHAPTER 25

Will had been busy in the week following his “coffee date” at the club. He had been involved in several business meetings, including one which had necessitated in him travelling interstate. Late nights and early mornings had left him tired and grumpy, and days became a blur of quick dinners in front of the TV. He never noticed what was on the screen and even Susanna York was pushed off when she dared to try and sit on his lap.

He felt despondent and didn’t really know why. Sure, he was tired but it was more than that, and he couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong. He really had nothing to complain about; a great career, wealth, respect, loving family, enviable lifestyle. And then it hit him – he was lonely. It had been a long time since he had any intimacy – real intimacy that is. He started thinking about things that many others bemoaned – someone telling him to take his shoes off in the house and not slouch on the lounge; kids thrusting drawings in his face as he walked thru the door; weekends filled with sport and hardware shopping, and birthday parties; rushing to get the washing off the line before it was rewet by rain; dogs barking; doors slamming; music blaring…..his head felt like it was going to explode. Then his logical mind kicked back in and he chided himself for letting his thoughts run away in such a manner.

But he did think again about the intimacy issue. Everyone has certain “needs” and he was no different in that respect. But for him need and intimacy were entwined – unlike some men his need could not be satisfied without true intimacy, and by that he meant having a real partner, someone who liked him for him, not for the status that a relationship with him could bring.

At various times Liz crept into his thoughts and each night as he arrived home he pondered on how nice it would be to have someone to greet him, and his dinner waiting for him. He recalled the conversation that they had where Liz talked about her children. She had literally beamed with pride as she described them – even the “devil child” that her daughter seemed to be.

When Will checked his calendar and saw that he had scheduled in a weekend visit to Daniel he thought seriously about cancelling. However he knew that the boy had not had any visitors for a few weeks – he had heard that his grandmother was now gravely ill, and did not want to disappoint him.

Out of courtesy he rang Daniel’s grandfather, Herbert, to make sure that it was ok for him to see the boy. Herbert answered the phone, sounding very frail and vague – it took him a little while to process who Will was and what he wanted and after what seemed like several minutes he responded.

“Yes Will, of course that is ok. I’m sure that Daniel will be pleased to see you”.

There was silence as Will wondered what to say. He felt awkward asking Herbert how he was, or how Dulcie was doing as he knew the answers to both. He was just about to say that goodbye when the old man again spoke.

“I say Will, would it be too much to ask a favour?”. Will muttered that of course it was ok. “Would you be able to bring Daniel to see Dulcie? He has not been here for a while and she would like to see him very much”. Will answered that of course he would and a time was arranged for him to bring Daniel around the next weekend.

∞∞∞∞∞∞

Will arrived at the boarding school as arranged. He still felt uneasy each time he walked into the great hall and was relieved to find that he didn’t have to wait around as Daniel was already there. They greeted each other warmly and then went out to the car to commence the short drive to his grandparents house. Daniel was silent, appearing to be nervous, and Will’s attempt at small talk was not reciprocated. They walked up to the front door and rang the bell – after a few minutes they heard footsteps and the door was opened by one of Herbert’s sons, Thomas.

“Oh, it’s you. Hello Daniel”, said the man. It was not said in an unfriendly way, but there was no warmth.

“Uh, hello Uncle Tom”, Daniel managed to squeak out.
Will, standing behind, cleared his throat.

“Oh, hi Will, dad said that you were going to bring Daniel ”, said Thomas. “Come in”.

Just then Herbert appeared. He reached out his arms and hugged Daniel tightly, burying his face in the boys chest. He then looked up and whispered “Thank you” to Will. The two of them set off down the corridor leaving Will standing on the verandah and Tom holding open the door. He moved aside to let Will enter but Will shook his head, saying that he would sit on the verandah. Surprisingly Tom stepped out as well and sat down in a chair.

“Sad business”, he said. “Doctor says that it won’t be long now”

“How is your father holding out?”, Will enquired.

“As best as can be expected. I think that he is in denial that it will be soon. Cass and I have been coming every day, and Peter and Jan as well. We think that it is time that mum was moved to a hospital but dad won’t have a bar of it until it is absolutely necessary. The nurse comes every day to clean her and administer medications, so we have to be guided by her and the doctor”.

They sat in silence for a few minutes then Thomas spoke again, almost in a whisper, “Rebecca has been advised”

Will let out a sharp breath “Yes, I assumed she would have been. Do you know what her plans are? Is she coming back home?”

“As far as I know she is. Will probably flounce in just in time for the funeral”, her brother sounded bitter.

For a fleeting minute Will felt a bit sorry for Rebecca – but then his heart hardened again. She should be here with her parents, she should be comforting her son. As if he had read Will’s mind Thomas spoke again

“Thanks for bringing Daniel. I know that it means a lot to my parents. I know too that you have been visiting him and taking an interest in him – I just hope that it is for all of the right reasons and not just to make you feel good!”

Will was affronted at being accosted so. He sat himself upright and stared at the other man.

“I’m sorry Will, and don’t mean to upset you. We have known each other for a long time and I just find it unusual that you would take such an interest in a child who I assume is not related to you”.

Will caught the meaning of ‘assume’ and felt his face redden. He wanted to say that he felt that someone at least should take an interest in Daniel, however now was not the right time for hostilities so he softened his answer.

“Well, your father had spoken a lot about him and I could see how much of a burden it was becoming for him to make time for both your mother and Daniel. I have some spare time on my hands and decided that I wanted to help him out. I must admit that I made the offer hastily and regretted it immediately, however your father was so grateful that I could not back out. Of course, when I met Daniel I was impressed and decided that I wanted to continue to get to know him better”.

“Yes, I could see why you took a shine to him – if my memory serves me correctly you were a bit of a ‘geek boy’ yourself at his age”, Thomas responded. Will was very surprised by this but instead of making a sarcastic remark he just chuckled and agreed that he probably was.

They sat in silence for a few minutes and then Thomas spoke again. “My boy, Nick, is around the same age as Daniel. Goes to the same school too. But I don’t think that they really talk to each other very much – Nick is much more outgoing. I have been trying to get him to come and see his grandmother and grandfather but….he always has something on”.

Will could tell by his tone that Thomas was not happy with his son’s lack of respect or concern for his grandparents and he smiled slightly – Daniel may be a ‘geek” but at least he loved them. A short time later the door was opened and Daniel and Herbert stepped out on to the porch. The two of them embraced each other and then Thomas shook hands with Daniel and Will. Herbert come over and put his hand on Will’s shoulder and looked into his eyes. “Thank you again Will. It has meant so much to Dulcie and I”.

Will muttered that it was his pleasure and to let him know if there was anything else he could do and then he and Daniel walked down the path to his car. Before he drove off Will turned around and saw the old man still standing there, head bowed and faced lined with sorrow, before Thomas led him back into the house.

They drove off in silence. Will did not look at Daniel but could tell by his sniffles that he was crying and his heart went out to the boy. Rather than go straight back to school Will drove around for a while, instinctively knowing that Daniel would not want to walk into the school with a tear stained face. They came to a fast food restaurant and

Will went into the drive through and asked Daniel what he would like to eat. When they had their order Will pulled up on the side of the road and they ate in silence before again driving off. They arrived back at the school and Daniel opened the door and muttered ‘Thanks’ before getting out and starting to walk away. Will called out his name and when Daniel turned around Will said softly ‘it’s ok’. The boy nodded, sucked in his breath, and continued on. Will watched him walk off, sighed, and headed for home.

Two days later he received a call that Dulcie Donoghue had passed away.
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Can I Claim For My Heart

AnneAJanuary 01, 2015 01:24PM

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EliseJanuary 03, 2015 12:45AM

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