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Misdemeanor

Misdemeanor

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Misdemeanor

Länge:
323 Seiten
4 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Apr 7, 2017
ISBN:
9781786515667
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Life isn't always responsible...

After his mother tragically dies and his deadbeat father goes off the rails, nineteen-year-old Micky is left to care for his disabled little brother, Flynn.

Juggling college, a dead-end job and Flynn's special needs means Micky has to put his bad-boy past behind him and be the responsible adult to keep his brother out of care. He doesn't have time for anything else in his life.

Until he meets Dan...

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Apr 7, 2017
ISBN:
9781786515667
Format:
Buch

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Misdemeanor - C.F. White

Page

Misdemeanor

ISBN # 978-1-78651-566-7

©Copyright C F White 2017

Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright June 2017

Edited by Rebecca Baker

Pride Publishing

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Pride Publishing.

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Pride Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

Published in 2017 by Pride Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, UK

Pride Publishing is a subsidiary of Totally Entwined Group Limited.

Responsible Adult

MISDEMEANOR

C F White

Book one in the Responsible Adult serial

Love isn’t responsible

After his mother tragically dies and his deadbeat father goes off the rails, nineteen-year-old Micky is left to care for his disabled little brother, Flynn.

Juggling college, a dead-end job and Flynn’s special needs means Micky has to put his bad-boy past behind him and be the responsible adult to keep his brother out of care. He doesn’t have time for anything else in his life.

Until he meets Dan…

Dedication

To my sister, Karen, whose words of wisdom ring out in my mind every day. ‘Just f***ing do it.’

And to all those who have had to listen to me bang on about this story from its inception. I name Joe, Angie, Claire, Tara, Janey, Cara and Versus. And to all the readers on Wattpad whom, without you, this book would never have seen the light of day.

And to all the parents/carers of special children whose visit to Holland will never end. Alone you are a soldier, fighting your daily battle. Together we are an army, making the struggle that more bearable.

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

1984: George Orwell

Adidas: Adidas AG

Aldi: Siepmann Foundation, Markus Foundation

Ben 10: Cartoon Network Studios

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley

British Boxers: Dap Squared Ltd.

Chippendales: Easebe Inc.

Coca-Cola: The Coca-Cola Company

Coronation Street: ITV plc

Diet Coke: The Coca-Cola Company

Disney-Pixar: The Walt Disney Company

Dr. Pepper: Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

Energizer bunny: Energizer Holdings, Inc.

Fifty Shades of Grey: E. L. James

Ford: Ford Motor Company

Frosties: Kellogg Company

G-A-Y: Jeremy Joseph

Gap: Gap Inc.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Robert Hazard

Monopoly: Hasbro, Inc.

Gooeys: Burton’s Biscuit Company

Google: Google Inc.

Hunchback of Notre Dame: Victor Hugo

iPhone: Apple Inc.

Jägerbomb: Mast-Jägermeister SE, Red Bull GmbH

Kickers: Royer Group

Kindle: Amazon.com, Inc.

KitKat: Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.

Lambrini: Halewood International Ltd

Lenor: Procter & Gamble Co.

Levi’s: Levi Strauss & Co.

Lidl: Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG

McDonald’s: McDonald's Corporation:

Mercedes: Daimler AG

Movember Charity: Movember Foundation

Netflix: Netflix, Inc.

Nokia: Nokia Corporation

Oxford Dictionary: Oxford University Press

Piedro: Piedro Ltd.

Ralph Lauren: Ralph Lauren Corporation

Scouts: The Scout Association

Shopaholic: Sophie Kinsella

Shrek: DreamWorks Pictures

Slimming World: Slimming World

Stanley knife: Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.

Star Wars: Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC

SuperJam: Fraser Doherty

Super Nanny: Warner Bros. Television Production UK

Tannoy: Tannoy Ltd.

Tesco: Tesco PLC

The Gruffalo: Julia Donaldson

The Tweenies: British Broadcasting Corporation

Tiptree: Wilkin & Sons

Todhunter Hampers: Alexir Brands Limited

VW: Volkswagen AG

Wetherspoon: J D Wetherspoon plc

Whole Nut Dairy Milk: Mondelez International

World of Warcraft: Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

X Factor: Syco Entertainment

Yellow Pages: Hibu

YMCA: Jacques Morali, Victor Willis

Chapter One

The Sun Keeps Rising

Shit!

Micky cursed loudly and squinted through the morning glare to read the alarm clock that was obviously having trouble performing its one and only basic function. He threw off his duvet and jumped out of bed, his foot landing on a plastic wind-up toy penguin discarded on the floor. The penguin openly mocked him by tossing itself into a noisy backflip.

Fuck!

Micky cursed again, bending down to pick up the toy and throw it savagely against the wall. It shattered into a million pieces and Micky felt instantly guilty.

Flynn! he yelled, hopping over to his bedroom door and yanking it open. Treading more carefully to the bathroom opposite, he rubbed his eyes before coming face-to-face with himself in the mirror above the sink.

He looked like shit. No change there. The three hours of almost sleep he’d gotten obviously hadn’t done anything to improve on his disheveled appearance. He ran a hand over the stubble on his chin. He needed to shave but now didn’t have the time. Micky turned on the tap, dunked his head under the cold stream and squeezed paste onto his toothbrush.

Flynn! he shouted again, louder this time, before shoving the toothbrush into his gob and brushing vigorously. The minty taste did nothing for his dry mouth.

Yes, Micky, came a quiet little voice from the bathroom doorway.

Still holding the toothbrush between his lips, foam dripping out from the side of his mouth, Micky turned.

We’re late, he said, trying to suck the minty drool back up and stop it escaping from the corners.

I’m dressed, Flynn replied with a huge proud smile.

Flynn stood in the doorway, clutching another wind-up plastic toy. He kept spinning the thing around, setting off an ear-piercing buzz as it unwound at double speed. He appeared so small and fragile. More like a five-year-old than his actual eight years. He’d gotten dressed. Sort of. He’d managed to pull on his gray school trousers over his pajama bottoms and his army-green jumper clung inside out. No socks, and his mousy-brown curls stuck out from his head in all directions.

Micky’s heart melted a little at the sight.

Well done, Flynn. Micky finished brushing his teeth, spat down the plughole and cupped a handful of water into his mouth to rinse. Turning back to his brother, Micky then crouched in front of him. But how about we try taking the pajamas off?

Flynn looked down, waggling his toes, and back up at his big brother. Why? he asked, confused. I put them back on later.

Micky laughed. The kid had a point.

Come on. Micky took hold of Flynn’s hand to walk him back into the small box room. It had twin beds, pushed up against opposite sides. One had used to belong to Micky before he’d moved into the master bedroom.

What time did you get up today? Micky asked, dragging Flynn’s jumper over his head.

Five five two, Flynn replied.

He wound up the blasted plastic toy again and Micky breathed in deeply, preventing his immediate instinctive reaction to take the thing and smash it against the wall in comradeship with its penguin mate.

That’s early, Micky said, pulling off Flynn’s pajama top then rooting around in the drawer for his brother’s school polo shirt. He found it scrunched at the bottom and helped Flynn squirm into it while trying to smooth out the creases.

For what? Flynn asked, holding on to Micky’s shoulder as he knelt and stepped out of his trousers.

Everything, Micky replied with a yawn.

Daddy didn’t say it was.

Micky looked into Flynn’s blue eyes. The white starburst pattern within them gave him the feeling of being hypnotized. Micky blinked.

Dad’s not here, Flynn, Micky said slowly, standing to inspect his now school-uniform-clad little brother.

Yes, he is. Flynn smiled widely, his plastic toy buzzing in his hands.

Micky stared down at for a brief moment, then spun around and ran full pelt down the stairs and into the living room. The place was dark and dank, stinking of booze and fags with beer cans littering the floor.

Micky yanked open the curtains to witness the disgusting figure sprawled on the sofa. Tatty stonewashed denim jeans bagged around his knees and the T-shirt he wore, once white in color, was stained yellow with patches of Micky didn’t want to know what. His greasy, graying hair hung around his face like rats’ tails. He was snoring and every breath out from his wide-open mouth filled the room with a putrid stench.

Micky kicked at the arm dangling off the sofa. The man grumbled but didn’t move. Micky kicked him again, more fiercely. Opening one eye, the brute belched as he squinted through the glaring sunlight.

Get the fuck out, Micky demanded.

The laughter that followed made Micky’s skin crawl, along with the irritating scratching of fingernails across the man’s chest. The shirt rubbed against the curly dark hairs scattering his fat body and made the unbearable scraping of nails down a chalk board.

"Now," Micky growled.

The grunted response wasn’t something Micky could decipher, nor did he care to. Micky watched with contempt as he rolled off the sofa and landed on the floor with a thump. Several beer cans crunched under his heavy frame and he rolled again to push up on to all fours. Grunting once more, he heaved himself to stand. He tripped on his own feet and clutched at the wall. Micky clenched his fists at the ready as the second loud belch blasted out and Micky had to turn away from the oncoming stink.

Money, he demanded, holding out a hand.

Get fucked, Micky spat back.

Then I take his.

He staggered over to the fireplace mantelpiece and made a grab for the handmade clay moneybox shaped like a car. Micky wrapped firm fingers around his wrist and squeezed tightly.

Over my dead body. Micky gritted his teeth. Clutching the wrist harder, he used his other hand to root around in the dirty jeans pocket and yanked out a key. Shaking his head, Micky shoved him away. Now leave, before I fucking kill you.

Micky? Flynn’s delicate little voice squeaked from the living room door. He clung to the plastic toy still in his hand, his eyes tightly shut.

Micky ran over, picked him up and settled him on his hip. For an eight-year-old, Flynn weighed no more than a couple of stone, his body skin and bones. It wasn’t his fault. It was the condition. Flynn rested his head on Micky’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around his big brother’s neck, still clamping his eyes shut.

It’s okay, Flynn. Dad’s leaving now.

Chapter Two

Education, Education, Education

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Micky clenched his fists. Shut his eyes. Counted to ten.

You can’t take that to school, Flynn, he said, holding out his hand as he knelt on the hall floor to tie the laces on his little brother’s school shoes. Flynn perched on the last stair, winding up his toy giraffe, the four legs all rushing forward at triple time to the penetrating high-pitched buzz.

Why? Flynn asked and wound it up again.

Micky placed his hand over the toy. He curled his long fingers over Flynn’s tiny, delicate hand and squeezed gently. Flynn peered up through his sky-blue round-rimmed plastic glasses, the lenses so thick they made his large, oval blue eyes double in size.

You might lose it, Micky replied, instead of his initial instinctive reply of because it’ll annoy the fuck out of everybody. He sometimes had to give himself a mental nudge that his brother was only eight and his understanding and ability a lot younger than that.

I’ll hold it really, really tight, Flynn said, squeezing the toy underneath Micky’s grip while shutting his eyes and proceeding to hold his breath.

Flynn, stop it, Micky warned.

Flynn didn’t. He continued holding his breath until his entire face turned red and he wobbled on the edge of the step. Micky let go of Flynn’s hand and clutched his little brother’s shoulders to steady him. Flynn. I said stop.

Flynn finally breathed. He opened his eyes, displaying a huge wide grin. I love you, Micky!

Micky let out a sigh of relief. He closed his eyes for a second before opening them again and returning the smile. I love you, too, Flynn.

Flynn nodded, double time, and carried on winding up the toy giraffe. Micky scraped it out of his hand and tucked it into his jeans pocket.

Nice try, kid, Micky mumbled under his breath.

Flynn bobbed his head and hummed a tuneful melody as Micky secured the final lace on his boot. Flynn had a way with music. His vocal skills weren’t up to much, but his range of pitch was staggering. He couldn’t remember his full name or where he lived but could recite the lyrics to any song he’d heard play once on the radio. If only they taught math and English by song and verse, then Micky wouldn’t be spending most of his evenings trying to get Flynn to understand the homework set for a kid in reception class. Flynn was in year four.

Micky stood and grabbed Flynn’s book bag from the floor along with his lunchbox and water bottle. He held out his hand and Flynn bounced off the step to curl his tiny hand into Micky’s palm. He carried on humming whatever tune it was as Micky yanked open the front door and stepped out into the street. Flynn soon merged into full-on singing what Micky realized was an advert for car insurance. Micky chuckled. Only his little brother could make a crappy television advert sound like that.

Are we late? Flynn asked, skipping along beside Micky.

Yes.

Okay! Flynn smiled up at his big brother and squeezed his hand.

Flynn was always cheerful. He only really had two levels of emotion. Deliriously happy most of the time or totally fucking pissed off. The latter tended to happen when he got confused or couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to do the thing he so desperately wanted to do at that particular moment—even if it might endanger life and or limb. Micky had a hard time controlling Flynn’s outbursts when they happened. Any typical child could be given a quick slap or, as Super Nanny would disapprove of that method, be put on the naughty step.

Neither method worked on Flynn. He simply didn’t understand and that wasn’t his fault. What Micky found hard to grasp about his brother’s outbursts were the random times they happened. When Flynn went into full explosive meltdown, he hit, scratched and punched as well as any healthy kid his age. It was a shame that the triggers to those outbursts were usually when an adult stopped him from playing or expected him to achieve a task he just couldn’t or didn’t want to do. But when teased or picked on at school by the bigger kids, which happened more often than Micky could bear thinking about, Flynn just took it. And he took it all with a smile on his face.

It could break the toughest of hearts. Even Micky’s.

Are you picking me up? Flynn asked as they arrived at the zebra crossing at the end of their street.

Micky grabbed Flynn’s hand and yanked him back, preventing his oblivious walk straight out into the busy road. Flynn wasn’t aware of danger. He would expect all the cars and mummy-wagons to stop for him. Micky’s nightmares were often clouded with images of his brother waving and smiling at the driver who crashed into him on a busy main road that Flynn just had to cross at that very moment.

Watch the cars, Flynn, Micky ordered.

I am. Blue car. Flynn pointed with his free hand at the cars driving over the zebra crossing.

Middle-class mums whizzed straight past, probably late in dropping off their little darling at a school that was a ten-minute walk from their semi-detached-house-with-conservatory. But it wasn’t as though they could walk there—their children’s legs might fall off from the exercise.

Red car.

Micky sighed and dragged Flynn over the now clear road, while Flynn waved animatedly at the drivers who had been kind enough to stop.

I start my new job today, Micky reminded him as they continued up the alleyway adjacent to Flynn’s primary school.

Flynn gasped. He let go of Micky’s hand and threw his arms around his brother’s waist. The impact nearly made Micky topple over into the neatly trimmed hedgerows of the houses lining the alley. Flynn squeezed tightly, his glasses squashing against his nose.

Thanks, Flynn, Micky said sincerely, patting his back.

Flynn let go and regarded his brother with his trademark wide grin. At the pub? he asked, nose scrunching up in confusion.

No. I got fired from there, remember? Micky replied, gently nudging him to carry on walking.

You were on fire? Flynn gasped.

No. It means sacked.

In a bag?

No. It means laid off.

Like sleeping?

No. Micky sighed. Never mind. I just have a new job. I start today. After college.

Okay! Flynn skipped off up the alley once again. He tripped over his own feet—the sturdy black Piedro boots he wore to protect his weak ankles were far too clunky to skip in. Luckily, Micky grabbed the collar of his brother’s coat in time to prevent him from landing face down on the concrete. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Nor would it be the last.

Where? Flynn asked.

The supermarket, Micky replied.

With all the food?

They turned left at the top of the alley, heading for the home stretch of the school gates where Micky’s responsibilities could finally be handed over to the expert professionals. At least for the next five hours anyway.

Yes.

Flynn jumped up and down. So we can have all the yummy food!

Not exactly. I still have to pay for it, Micky grumbled. He couldn’t very well nick the stuff now he was officially an employee.

It was relatively quiet at the school gates considering the time of morning. A few straggler mums still loomed at the entrance, chatting endlessly about the soaps on TV, the new X Factor winner and what little Harry had gotten up to at Scouts. They hushed as Micky walked past. He was used to it. He locked eyes with a few and they returned very unconvincing smiles. They looked down on him, Micky knew that. It was to be expected. His family was a total car crash. The school-gate mums probably got more drama out of the O’Neills than they did from their daily consumption of Coronation Street.

Flynn, of course, waved at them excitedly, as if they were the most important people in his life. He probably didn’t know any of them. He called out a loud hello, to each and every one, his smile adorably sweet. Some waved back. Others couldn’t be bothered. Flynn’s constant greetings often got on people’s nerves. Especially children’s.

Good morning, Flynn, a young girl waiting at the gates called out as Micky and Flynn arrived.

A rather pretty girl, probably no more than early twenties and straight out of university, with a sweet and welcoming smile. No doubt first job in the school. Her blonde hair was tied up in a neat ponytail and red-rimmed glasses framed her blue eyes perfectly. The ID badge displayed around her neck confirmed she was Jenny Aldridge, Teaching Assistant for Special Educational Needs Children at the Heath Farm School.

Morning, Mrs. Aldridge. Am I late today? Flynn asked, slipping his hand from Micky’s and into Jenny’s. She glanced down and gripped it.

You are a little late, yes, Jenny answered, wide eyes filling up with the usual concern Micky didn’t care for. Everything okay?

Fine. Sorry. The alarm clock didn’t go off.

Micky handed over his brother’s book bag, lunchbox and water bottle, doing his best not to meet her gaze. She handed the first two down to Flynn, who accepted them with a wide grin.

Go straight in, Flynn, Jenny instructed, nudging his shoulder. I need a word with your brother.

Flynn nodded and skipped through the main gate. Before reaching the junior playground, he turned and waved erratically in the air.

Bye, bye, Micky. I love you!

Micky gave a half-disconcerted smile and waved back. Jenny twisted the water bottle in her hands. Micky shuffled his feet and crossed his arms.

What is it? he asked, a little impatiently.

We tried to call your father last week. And yesterday. Is he still unwell? Jenny’s voice crackled, full of concern and apprehension.

Micky saw she was new to all this—new to the school and the O’Neill case load. She would no doubt know about his mother, of course. Everyone knew what had happened to her. And she would have been told stories about him. His temper. His track record. He could tell she found it hard to put what she’d read in her thick file together with the person who delivered Flynn to the school gates each morning. But it was there. Undeniably in black and white.

I told you to call me— Micky started.

We need parental consent, Jenny responded before Micky even had the chance to finish his sentence. Are you officially his guardian now?

She pushed her glasses up her nose and Micky knew she was doing her best to come across as unthreatening. He also knew the last thing she needed was for him to stop delivering Flynn at all.

Yes, Micky lied. He was usually better at bullshitting than this. The girl was too damn nice for him not to feel slightly guilty about the deceit.

Then I’m going to need a copy of the paperwork, Jenny said, peering over the top of her glasses. Perhaps I can come by after school today and pick it up?

Can’t. I’m working. Micky blanked, sniffed and stood straighter.

Jenny reached out, brushing her fingers on Micky’s folded arm. She smiled and Micky looked deep into the blue eyes behind the lenses of her glasses. She was sweet. Too sweet. She smelled of potpourri and antibacterial hand sanitizer. Her pert, small but rounded breasts elevated as she breathed in, the nipples protruding under her thin white jumper. In another life, Micky would have ruined her.

I’m here to help, Jenny said, pressing her lips together to smooth her delicate pink gloss.

Micky narrowed his eyes. He couldn’t decide whether she was genuinely offering kindness and support, or flirting. Micky knew he was an attractive bloke. At nineteen, he had the body of a well-oiled machine. Years of amateur boxing at welterweight had provided him with an impressive bulk. Even though he’d quit the circuit some years back in favor of street fighting, he still maintained the physique. He was ruggedly handsome. His face, once full of boyish charm, had made way for features resembling a hard life lived to the extreme. His face preceded his reputation.

He glanced down at the painted nails that the woman had curled around his arm, and cocked his head. He didn’t have time for women anyway. Even if he did want one, which he didn’t. Women caused problems. Confused things. Wanted more from him than he would ever be willing to give. He twisted his arm to loosen Jenny’s grip and she let go.

You call me, Micky demanded, stepping back.

I need the paperwork, Micky, Jenny sighed.

I’ll get it.

After school? At pick-up? I’ll come find you. Jenny smiled again, but it didn’t reach her eyes this time. She turned and walked back through the entrance gate, swinging it to close and click shut behind her.

Micky ruffled a hand through his short light brown hair and growled.

Fucking educational policies.

Chapter Three

It’s Not All Work, Work, Work

So what time did you finish up the other night, then? Dougie, the rotund shelf-stacker, sorry grocery floor assistant, asked his boss while bringing forward all the jars on the preserves aisle.

Dan groaned. He tucked in the new label behind the plastic casing that signified the on-sale price of the latest delivery of limited-edition SuperJam range—kumquat and passionfruit flavor. Dan didn’t hold much hope for it to be

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