Jamie – The Journey Begins Ch. 23 – Santa I’m on the Other List

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“Fuck Jamie, have you finally lost it?” Yep! “I’ve gone mad, talking to myself now.” I pulled out my cell and called Lucas.

“Lucas, hey.”

“Oh, hey Jamie, it’s like…” Lucas sounded like a zombie, okay id just woke him up.

“Lucas, I need you to just listen okay, please?”

“Sure,” he coughed a bit, obviously I’ve woken him up, it’s like 02:20 in Houston. “What did you do now?” It was offered as a joke, but little did he know.

I took that as my cue, “look! it’s my fault, Lucas.”

“Hmmm ominous…” the sleepy dark voice countered.

“Well, I tried to silence some of the ghosts of my past, with my new-found adulthood. But someone took the training wheels off a-little-too-soon.”

“Oh, Fuck Jamie, you okay?”

I stopped to take a breath and try and slow my mind down, “I hadn’t spoken to Ben since that first call yesterday. No matter how many times I’d tried to call, message, snap him. Nothing, it is falling on deaf ears.” My voice faded away a little, “this all… this cost me dearly!

Oh, Lucas, I know in hindsight. I can see that it was too soon to meet up with Sam, just too soon and monumentally stupid.”

I heard Lucas under his breath, “Oh my god what have you done Jamie.”

“Lucas, the feelings between us, between me and Sam. They were still there somewhat. Well, a little; sure, they’d faded for me, coz I’m in love with Ben, but Sam was still very much not over it, us.”

“Okay Jamie, but what happened, did you two fuck or something?”

“Jesus no! No, no not that. I was telling him about Paris and our trip, the next minute. Lucas, you must believe me, I didn’t even see it coming. The next minute he almost kissed me! Shit, it was that close it might as well have been a kiss. Oh, Lucas, what am I going to do? I called Ben and told him, I wanted to be honest with him and I think I killed it between us.”

“Jamie, are you okay? No, you’re not okay you sound like …”

“Lucas, all I’ve been able to think about every waking spare moment has been consumed with, ‘if I’d been more in tune or aware, or just plain not so fucking stupid.’ I’d have realized what was happening, and not been like the giant dickhead I was, am.”

My emotions were fast escaping me, I could feel the hot sting as my eyes filled with unshed tears, “you know. It’s like watching a car crash but doing nothing to stop it because your welded in place, Jesus what the hell was I thinking, Lucas! What the absolute FUCK!”

“Lucas you there?” there was silence on the line.

His voice was quiet and slow, I’ma trying to understand it, Jamie. But it’s a struggle, what happened, how the-”

“Oh Lucas,” the tears were flowing freely now, “man I’ve cried more in the last six months than in the last ten years. Ben was heartbroken when I explained what happened, no matter what amount of apologizing or trying to explain my innocence in meeting Sam.”

“But Jaime, you should have known right. Didn’t you think something was going to happen?”

“I had no idea, Lucas. You’ve gotta believe me, please! You’ve seen us together, you know how much he means to me. But I guess when I look back, of course,” I could feel the sense of resignation and abject stupidity wash over me, “it was going to happen.”

I felt helpless, falling almost ripping through me. “Lucas I tried to get Ben. You know to see that it wasn’t planned. To be honest I kinda felt a little blind-sided by Sam, not to blame him I’m an adult… -well legally maybe not mentally- but I think I’d hit that self-district button subconsciously, with full detonation this time.”

I was shaking all over, I’d been switching between standing and sitting down. I had to sit down before I fell. I put my head between my knees for a moment to slow my breathing before I blackout.

“And then there’s Ty, you know Lucas, that we’ve been friends since Prep class. Then all the way through grade (primary) school and high school, think this has pretty much killed our friendship, well mortally wounded it now.” I stopped and took a long steadying breath, “I just hope someone doesn’t make the choice to turn off life support because I don’t want to lose him as a friend.”

“What do I do Lucas, I’ve fucked it up.”

“Jamie, I don’t know. But first you’ve got to try and calm down a little, else your gonna end up in the ER and that’s not going to help anyone right.”

Lucas paused for a moment, I could hear murmurs behind him and then him padding out on to a hard floor, the guy could never walk quietly, I smiled for a moment.

“We’ve got to try to get Ben to see that it was a mistake, honestly stupid. But a mistake all the same.”

I just sat there for the next forty minutes while we talked, I don’t even know what was said mostly. Lucas made me promise to get some rest, no booze and that he was going to call the guys to come and keep an eye on me, no arguments or he was going to call Mom.


Gav, Dave, Mike, and Louis surrounded me and Sam in bursa escort shifts almost for the next week. They were somewhere between supporting and schooling me on how dumb I was, well the both of us.

Ty had been made to feel like a second choice by Sam and me too I guess, that was going to hurt for a while. I tried to call Ty a few times and explain but the words just choked me, so I did it old school, I messaged him, explaining that I was sorry and struggling with trying to put into words all that I felt and regretted.

To complicate things, Sam tried to do a runner, Mike called in and found Sam three quarters packed and getting ready to flee, but the guys stopped him. Although he was a relative newcomer to the group, they all supported him and Ty, that what we do, through thick and thin.

For me though, thank god though for Adam, Julie and Lucas. They helped me through the following month, I don’t think I could have done it without them, I think it was like less than ten minutes after I’d spoken to Lucas that night and told him what happened with Ben, Sam and me that Adam turned up.

All flushed in the face and out of breath, he’d been on a run when Lucas called him and he sprinted over to me, so I’m guessing by the look of him it was a good six kilometers. -Not a bad effort sprinting Adam.- I was sitting down on the ground leaning against this old Redgum Eucalypt that I’d help save, it’s was kinda my tree at the reserve near the Cafe. It had seen the arrival of the first white settlers in the 1700s, and everything unfold around it. Guess I hoped if it could withstand all of that, it could help me.


Bad news spread quickly, no surprises, there right? Three days after that infamous day I got a message from Daniel, Bens brother asking me to call him, I did my god that was a painful call.

It ended in me just falling to pieces with Daniel, he’d just seen Ben and said he looked awful. Ben had been hiding at work and home and not talking to the rest of the family, Ben told him what had happened. It hurt so badly to hear Daniel explain to me how upset Ben was, how I’d wounded him, that although on some level Ben could see that it wasn’t my clearest group of decisions seeing Sam, he kind of acknowledged that it wasn’t like I’d gone looking for it, more as usual trouble found me.

Even though Ben told Daniel that he thought that Sam probably wasn’t entirely without blame, I was, I could have stopped it, I should have stopped it but still…

“Daniel, I just want to speak to him, please help me.” I sobbed into my cell phone.

“Jamie,” Daniel took a long breath, “I know how much Ben means or meant to you.”

His words burned my ears, I know that they weren’t intended too but they did all the same, “No! Daniel not meant! Means. Your brother means the world to me. I know I’ve been stupid, but it truly was well-intentioned, I just wanted to but the demons of my past behind me.”

I paused for a second, trying to get my mind, emotions, and mouth in the same sync. “I made peace with my ex-wife, I even excused my ex-father-in-law for his failings, I wanted to clear the decks, I wanted to have a clean slate. So that I could be everything for him-Ben. But I’ve just fucked it so badly.” My voice trailed away.

“Yeah, I get all of that and some Jamie! Hey, know you’re a great guy, genuine and all. But this-this.” Daniel stopped for a second, the frustration in his voice was palpable. I was waiting for him to pitch a fit at me, but it didn’t come. “I just don’t get how a guy that’s thirty years old, a firefighter and an officer can be so stupid? You’ve hurt my brother in a way that I didn’t think was possible. To be honest Jamie the day I found out y’all were lucky that there are eight thousand miles plus between us.” I was completely silent on the other end, he was right, how could I be so stupid.

“Don’t get me wrong Jamie, you’re not forgiven, not by a long shot. Love nothing more than to come down under and do the big brother thing. If I you don’t fix this! Plus, Ben wouldn’t forgive me either.” Daniel stopped, I think he was trying to speak without totally losing it at me, sure his voice had been steadily rising through the conversation, his anger growing but, who’s wouldn’t, right? “Jamie, what the absolute fuck! You didn’t see this coming? This whole thing with Sam, if it all happened as you say, there was a load of red flags going on, you didn’t see them?”.”

“No Daniel I didn’t.” I felt dejected like I was falling into a pit of doom. “I didn’t know or realize what was going on until Sam almost kissed me, that’s when my mind said oh fuck. This is not going the way you thought Jamie, you need to stop it now.”

Daniel just sighed. “Please, you must believe me, I was thinking about Ben, I was daydreaming almost we were back in France and it was … I’d disconnected from what was happening at the Café, then a second later he kissed me.” I could hear the desperation in my own voice as I spoke, “I recoiled, saying no-no we can’t! bursa escort bayan I love Ben! Sam stop you have Ty and…” Silent tears were steadily flowing now, I couldn’t help it.

“Then Sam and I talked about all the people that would be hurt by this, and I wasn’t going to hurt Ben, guess it was all for nothing.” I was aimlessly staring out the window of my bedroom, looking at the parkland to one side and construction site that was the rest of the redevelopment, maybe there’s a hole I can crawl into and hide. “Daniel he won’t take my call’s my messages go unread I can’t get hold of him, it’s hopeless.”

We ended the call with Daniel saying that he’d try and help me if he could, but he wasn’t sure but he’d try.

If my grandma was still with us, she’d have described my world as ‘darker than the devils riding boots,’ and we all know that bad news spreads faster than a wildfire. Not to be outdone.

I think that Lucas’ resignation at this was really fucked, which matched my own assessment hurt the most. I was just waiting now, once Mom and Steph, Dad and everyone got hold of it I was going to be right royally fucked, and I was.


At times it felt like everyone was against me, I’m not minimizing it, but the way people were going off you would have thought that Sam and I were fucking and the video of it was being broadcast live into time square.

Everyone on the course was excited-nervous about the end coming up, I was just over it all. I’d written my resignation from the service three times and deleted it twice. The third attempt was sitting in my drafts folder. I was on the edge, just picture donkey in Shrek, when he’s ranting and saying he’s on the edge yup!

Maybe I need to just walk away from everything, head over to the west and work in the mines for a while. I could feel a slow burning smile cross my face, “Hmm that idea is looking better and better every day, maybe some simple hard work, without any of this baggage to carry around would be good for me,” humph… “or maybe I’m just running away.”

The four weeks leading up to the final exams plus the rounds of practical assessments were tough. It kept me distracted as the weeks just flew by, but none of that compared to what I was feeling outside of work. What can I say! I fucked up hard, beyond hard really.

Is monumentally fucked-up strong enough?

No, I don’t think that even covers it.

It all came to a head with the family one night. I walked out of the college Friday night before placement, thankfully it was Friday night so there wasn’t a full carpark of people to witness the inquisition.

I’d hidden in the library for a few hours like I’d been doing most nights for the past month, not able to study, I was just looking at the pages not seeing the print or not understanding it anyway. After another four-hour faux study session, I looked up at the clock, it was close to 2200h, “Okay let’s go home and hide in my bed for forty-eight hours.” I swept up my notebooks and manuals and headed out the door towards the darkened exit and carpark.

It was a warm night, the sweet smell of the eucalypts and last of the wattle trees filling the air with that unmistakable smell. It has been a dry month, we were expecting the summer to be big if the predictions stayed on target. The Eucalypts had started to shed leaves, the sound of them crunching beneath my feet as I walked across the roadway made me think of summer, summer in France with Ben. I felt that dark cold feeling wash over me at the memory.

As I walked over to my truck and unlocked it, movement from my right caught my attention, giving me a startle at first. Pretty quickly I realized that it was Mom and Steph appearing from the carpark shadows. I kinda knew what level of ass kicking was coming, there was no way to avoid it, I’d done pretty well I think dodging them this long, but my time on the run was over. I dropped my bag on to the driver’s seat of the truck, turning back toward them, closing the door, leaning against the rear door waiting for it, resigned to my fate.

Mom started off first, not in a loud voice, more questioningly “Jamie, how could you. The boy loves you!” exasperated was how I’d describe Mom’s voice. “Jamie, good god, his family love you… not to mention without his help you’d be dead!”

Fuck Mom, you don’t think I know all of that, I shook my head. Yeah Nah, not saying that else his hard work would have been for nothing, my Mom is wonderful, but don’t cross her.

“You don’t think he deserves better than you making out with your ex- or hook-u. I think you call it?” She looked at Steph for reassurance that the correct term had been used. “I thought we’d taught you better, James. That we’d set better examples.” Mom stopped there silent for a moment as if to let her words wash over me and kick in.

I rolled my head back, looking to the sky for salvation, taking a breath, Mom wasn’t finished, not by a long shot. I couldn’t help it, a tear escaped my closed eyes, and she caught escort bursa sight of it slip down the side of my cheek toward my earlobe.

“Oh Jamie, oh my boy… I’m sorry. It’s just that.” Mom stopped mid-sentence, stepping forward silently, then wrapping her arms around me. I felt myself subconsciously leaning forward hugging her back, her warmth, her love I could feel it, like some sort of envelope surrounding us, protecting me. I’d felt so much worse than I thought I could possibly feel, I couldn’t help it, in the end, I just broke down, I needed to. I think I was grieving what was lost.

“I’m not angry as much as I’m disappointed James,” quietly, she finished with and it hurt.

I still don’t know if she meant to hurt me with that one, or it was just an honest feeling. I’m gonna give mom the benefit of the doubt, I think I was at a point where anything said would hurt. Now the tears were streaming down my face, “Mom, Stephanie. You don’t think I know that… You don’t think I regret it?” I was just sobbing now, weeks of pain, hiding and regret had taken their toll on me. “If I could take that five minutes back there is nothing I wouldn’t change for Christ sake Mom.” I could feel her stiffen at my cussing out, but I thought well if I’m ever going to get a free pass its now.

“The bit y’all don’t get, is that I love him. I love Ben! I’d marry him given the chance, now because I was trying to be more adult and face things not run from them, I fucked up hard. I’ve only felt this bad once before…”

“So how about y’all…” I thought I better not to complete that sentence as I was somewhere between hurt and angry now. I so desperately wanted to just say “just fuck off and let me be,” but although I could easily welcome sweet silent death now. I knew that it would come to my mom’s hands if I said that, instead I turned slightly and pulled away. “Thank Mom, you to Steph. I’m guessing you came down to kick my ass, but …”

“No Jamie, we came down too-okay well maybe a little bit,” Stephanie laughed, “but I think what we need to do is get out of your way and let you work through it, okay little brother.” She smiled at me, “once you’ve worked out what you want to do, we’ll help, okay.”

“Thanks, Steph, thanks, Mom.” I hugged them both and climbed into my truck without another word. I turned the key and pulled the truck it into drive, headed off out of the car park and along the highway home.

Imagine my surprise was when I pulled up out front of my place to see my dad sitting there. My blood ran cold for a second till I spotted a six-pack of beers, I clicked open the garage and drove alongside him, “those for my wake?” pointing at the beers. “You won’t have long to wait, Mom and Steph had a crack.”

His face was mixed with sadness and disappointment, he stood up off the garden seat that Adam had installed. So, Adam, I came home one day and bang there was an antique looking garden seat there. Said he’d always like them, “they make a garden look inviting,” guess he was right.

“Well son, there’s no round two here, it’s just us now.”

‘Oh, great’ I thought to myself, gonna get my ass kicked by my dad now.

“And I’ve gotten a different take on it than your mom, and sisters.”

His comment made me snap my head back in his direction, wonder if “those beers to drink or hurl at me Dad?”

“No son,” he grimaced a little, “there for us to drink. While we talk about this and work out a way of resolving it.” He smiled a little, “and they’re not actually from me, seems Lucas is feeling bad about the conversation you two had, says he can’t reach you so sent me over with beers to make sure you were okay.”

“Yeah well, my phone is off so…” at that moment it dinged with a stupid message from the home management system telling me I’d left the roller door up… of course, I had! I hadn’t driven in yet, no you can’t close the garage door fuck’n!

“Hmmm,” dad rubbed his chin. “Seems it’s just turned itself back on Jamie, amazing things these Smartphones hey.” He smiled raising his eyebrows, walking into the garage ahead of the truck as I parked it.

Dad had a totally different take on it, I could see that I was trying to sort stuff out, Mark had called him the other day and told dad about my conversation with Tracey, “So you’ve settled thing between you and Tracey I hear Jamie. That’s a good move.”

“Thanks, Dad, but I’m-”

“We need to get Ben to listen to you, at a minimum. To understand if possible and hopefully forgive you if you’re lucky, right?”

“Yeah well that’s a nice plan, but don’t think it will work out. See Ben has to speak to me to start with and that’s not happening.”

“Well let’s see if over these beers we can’t think of a way to sort this out, I know you were just trying to mend fences with people in your life, it’s commendable. I don’t think your mother knew about your conversation with Tracey the day before all of this.” Dad smiled, “so you leave your mother to me, okay son.”

“Thanks,” We settled down for a few beers and watched the game that Adam had recorded for me on the DVR, Eagles vs Cowboys, god I hope we win. A win would be nice now and that’s how we came up with the plan to write to him.

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