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fic : beginnings 3/4

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  • s.riley@southampton.gov.uk
    for details see part 1 3/4 Daylight came and Scott found a spot just outside the small coach station. Baseball cap upturned before he sat huddled against the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2001
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      for details see part 1

      3/4

      Daylight came and Scott found a spot just outside the small coach
      station. Baseball cap upturned before he sat huddled against the
      wall. On the one hand he wanted to attract some small change, maybe
      enough for some coffee and a sandwich or something, on the other hand
      if he attracted too much attention the cops would come. Begging was
      definitely discouraged here – forcefully. Come lunchtime he had
      actually begun to feel like the day was worth getting up for. Enough
      loose change had bounced into his cap that he may actually be able to
      get by for a couple of days if he kept to himself and out of sight.
      He still hadn't been able to bring himself to ask people for change,
      preferring to just sit there and let them make their own choice. He
      liked to kid himself that he still had a little pride left, a little
      worth maybe. The blast of movement in front of him caught him off
      guard. He had been drifting off to sleep he realised even as he
      grasped the fact that someone had grabbed his cap and made a break
      for it. Cursing he shot to his feet, dizzy from the sudden movement
      and took off after the sounds before his brain caught up with how
      stupid that really was. The crash of the littler bin thrown down in
      his path was no warning at all. He tried to jump it, but it tangled
      his feet up anyway. He crashed to the concrete, his breath driven
      from him at the impact, scraping chin and arms in the process.
      Swearing in frustration he sat up and kicked out at where he imagined
      the trash to be. "Shit!" He felt hot tears behind his tightly closed
      lids as frustration overwhelmed him. He heard the sound of running
      feet and hands reaching for him. Survival instinct kicked in and he
      threw himself backwards on the ground, shrugging off the hands that
      sought him.

      "easy, lad" and older mans voice cautioned, "you took a bad fall
      there. I just want to be sure you're okay."

      The voice sounded sincere enough but fear overrode any need for
      comfort however badly Scott wanted to believe he was still capable of
      attracting someone's care.

      "I'm fine", he muttered pushing himself unsteadily to his feet.

      "Sure you are, I just wanted to make sure." When Scott didn't answer
      the guy continued. "I've seen you around the last couple of days…uhh
      well, you know. That kid got all your money didn't he?"

      Scott abruptly turned away and reached out to brush the wall to get
      his bearings. He stumbled on some loose trash before he steadied
      himself and moved back toward the coach station.

      "wait!. You're blind aren't you?" the guy sounded a little startled.

      Scott canted his head toward the man's voice but didn't
      stop. "Nah..", he muttered, "I wear dark glasses and trip over litter
      bins for fun."

      He heard the guy chuckle and then hurry to catch up to him. "Sorry, I
      didn't mean that to come across as stupid as it sounded. I really
      just wanted to help. I know from what I've seen of this place that
      they're not too tolerant of people living on their precious streets
      here."

      Scott snorted. "What gave you that idea." Despite his better
      judgement he was actually enjoying having any kind of normal
      conversation that didn't involve someone pushing him away verbally or
      otherwise.

      The guy paused suddenly . "There's a cop on the corner", he said
      suddenly. "He looks like he's taking an interest in you."

      Scott stopped sharply, his stomach churning. The last time he'd
      been `moved on' they hadn't been at all gentle. It'd been like one of
      those old movies where the bad guy was told in no uncertain terms
      to "get out of town before sun up".

      "Do you have somewhere to go tonight, now that your money is gone?"

      "What?" Scott must have looked startled and suspicious all at once.

      "Look I'm not from around here either. I help run a shelter in LA
      where we help kids on the streets to get jobs, get a little self
      respect back, or just give `em a bed for the night. No strings , no
      demands. I'm on my way back there tomorrow. You're welcome to join
      me. No pressure – your choice."

      The guy must have sensed Scott's hesitation, his mistrust. "I
      understand you have no reason to trust me" he added gently, "so why
      don't we start small. My car is right behind us, I'll give you a lift
      a couple of blocks down away from the cop and you can do what you
      want from there – OK?"

      Scott weighed the risks swiftly. The cop was a certainty, this guy an
      unknown. "Two blocks," he said shortly.

      "Okay, put your hand on my arm and I'll guide you to the car. You're
      in control here that way. You can walk away at any time."

      Scott felt the car come to a halt a few minutes after pulling out
      from the kerb. "Like I said, two blocks. We're right outside that
      Starbucks by the library. You know the spot?" . Scott nodded. They
      sat in silence for several minutes. Scott felt pleasantly numb. The
      car was warm, the radio on in the background burbling on about some
      used car sale. Despite his misgivings and the danger he knew a
      stranger might represent he was unwilling to give up the contact. He
      was tired beyond belief of running. A corner of his mind still
      screamed at the unfairness he had faced over the last few weeks in
      particular. He'd lost his parents when he was young. When he'd been
      fostered he'd still felt a sense of separation. Like he was only
      accepted while he did well at school, made them proud of him, made
      himself useful or valuable to them in some way. The horror at the
      high school had left him fully and absolutely alone. How much worse
      could this guy make it. Scott wasn't sure he actually cared.

      "My name's Mike" the guy offered at last. His voice sounded a little
      weird after the silence of the last few minutes. "The offer still
      stands if you want. LA I mean."

      Scott shrugged. "What's in it for you?"

      "We are all gods children. For every kid I get back on the right
      track, the better I feel about having spent my time here wisely."
      Scott turned his head as if to regard him, his eyebrows raised
      incredulously. "Yeah, okay. I know that must sound pretty `uncool' to
      you right now, but I'm not some kind of religious nut or anything.
      And I am on the level with you. Look, you can either meet me a my
      motel tomorrow if you want and catch a ride south or you can take
      advantage of me and get a hot meal, shower and sleep in a real bed
      for a change." He glanced over at Scott. "I'll take the couch, just
      in case you were worried."
      Scott rubbed the bridge of his nose. The sunglasses he had swiped off
      a trucker a few weeks back didn't fit real well and the weird
      headaches he had been getting since his eyes had gone postal right
      there in his head made it very difficult to think straight when he
      was so tired. "No strings!" he stated firmly.

      "You have my word." Scott's misgivings would have patted themselves
      on the back if only they had been able to bear witness to the
      smile `Mike' flashed Scott's way. If only.
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