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Tim and Abbie 49: About Tim’s mates  

Clairew1959 62F  
90 posts
3/11/2021 2:01 pm
Tim and Abbie 49: About Tim’s mates


Tim always viewed himself as an outsider. He felt everyone viewed him as a in school for not having a father and wanted nothing to do with him. In truth, except for one day in school when he was about seven, no one ever thought about that at all.
That day was when the were asked to say what their fathers did. When it came to Tim’s turn, he blurted out that he didn’t know as he did not have a father. The giggled some, and at the break, one boy did ask Tim if he was a . Which caused another avalanche of laughing. the next day, as is in primary school, someone else was the target for ridicule for the day.
But Tim always felt that his classmates were always judging him about his illegitimacy. And in the same way that Tim viewed himself as friendless often, he had a of close friends since secondary school who cared for him and included him in things.
Tim’s mates started as a small of guys and now include their wives or girlfriends. He has been a part of their lives for twenty years now. The has been friends since their beginning at secondary school. Tim felt they were just individuals who tolerated him for what he offered them when he was , but over the years, Tim came to accept that they did like him.
In many ways, Tim was surprised that they still were friends and included him in things almost twenty years later. Though over the years, except for special events like weddings or 's christenings, Tim only met them at the sports pub on Friday nights to watch their team .
Since meeting Abbie in April, Tim has not seen them or been to the sports pub for the last five months. Most of the have called him to join them for the game or just drinks on several Friday nights, but Tim declined. This week they insisted he stop ‘avoiding them’ and join them to watch the game on Friday night.
Tim realizes he does want to see them all and have them meet Abbie, so he promised they would be there.
oOo
But back to the start.
Altogether, besides Tim, there were five guys in the that developed in school. It started when one of them sat behind Tim in math class their first year of secondary school. Mark, the football captain, who was chosen for that role more for his aggressiveness on the field and his muscular build than any real skill or intelligence. Mark was far from being a good student, barely passing a test, if even that.
Tim had known who Mark was for a few years but had never interacted with him until they were in the class together.
During the first test that autumn, Tim could feel Mark trying to see his answers. Math always was easy for Tim, along with most other subjects. Knowing Mark was trying to cheat off him, Tim didn’t care. If that was what Mark needed to succeed, whatever. Tim did not try to hide his paper, and actually, when he had finished the test, he pushed it to one side so Mark could have a clear view of the answers.
Mark did have enough sense not to use all of Tim’s answers, so it wouldn't be apparent he was cheating. Tim always aced the tests, so Mark knew he was the right person to copy from. When the graded tests were returned, Mark managed to get a B.
For the next few weeks, Tim did the same thing for their weekly tests. Mark’s math grades were improving, even if he did not know how to do the math. Mark was surprised and pleased that Tim so readily allowed him to cheat off him.
October, Tim grasped that he was not helping Mark at all and took a big chance. After class, Tim asked Mark if he could talk to him for a minute. Mark agreed, thinking, ‘I should have known, the little shit is going to want to keep helping him cheat.’ But he was surprised what Tim suggested.
“Mark, just copying my answers is not helping you learn or prepare you for work down the road. Football for you is not going to last, and eventually, you will need to be able to perform well in the job you chose,” Tim said with more confidence than he felt. Tim was sure Mark was about to punch him out for his comments.
Breathing deeply, Tim continued, “How about after your football practice, we spend an hour of me tutoring you in math so you can understand it? We could meet at the library, or wherever is good for you.”
Mark was amazed at what he was hearing. No one had ever offered to help him before. For someone to be willing to spend their time to try to get him to understand was beyond Mark’s expectations of people. When Mark asked Tim how much he would for tutoring, and Tim replied nothing, Mark was overwhelmed.
Mark readily agreed but suggested they meet in the equipment room after practice. Mark did not want to damage his image being seen in a library.
And so it began. Tim helped Mark, first with his math, but then with other subjects. Within a month, Mark asked if Tim would mind assisting a couple of his<b> buddies </font></b>in the same way. Tim agreed, and first, two more, and a few weeks later, another two joined the tutoring sessions.
All five of the guys were on the varsity football team. They were grateful for Tim helping them. So afternoons, Tim spent an hour or so in the gym equipment room helping them understand what went over their heads in the classroom. Tim did have a way of carefully explaining things using analogies that the five could understand.
Soon they were all improving in every subject and actually started enjoying what they were learning. When football ended, the tutoring continued. Now they met for a couple of hours each afternoon to cover all the subjects the five had questions about.
The five were well known around the school and were considered part of the elite. Suddenly when passing Tim in the hall, they would say hello. If they noticed Tim in the lunch line, they had him join their table to eat. None of the other students knew about the tutoring sessions. Instead just surmised that the jocks had made Tim their mascot.
For the most part, Tim still kept to himself and was sure all were judging him for being a . During the tutoring sessions, Tim relaxed and felt more confident. The guys all were getting better grades, on their own now, without cheating. After passing a test, the five would come into the equipment room cheering about the grades they just got.
Early on in these tutoring sessions, the school coach became aware of them in the equipment room each afternoon. He was worried at first about what they might be doing, especially having Tim with them. Were they doing something to Tim which he should be concerned about? But after eavesdropping on the and realizing that Tim was tutoring his team, the coach made sure they were never disturbed during their time in the supply room.
The coach never told anyone, but after that, he would go easy on Tim when he was not always successful in gym class’ physical activities. He would listen in from time to time. Hearing Tim explain concepts and formulas in a way that the jocks could comprehend, the coach thought Tim would make an excellent teacher one day.
But to back up a little. Why did Mark even agree to Tim’s suggestion from the start?
The truth lay in his family life. Mark had two sisters ten years older than him. His and sisters did coddle him, but his father was a different story. So pleased to have an heir when Mark was born, he rode Mark hard with expectations for him. He never finished school and felt that held him back from advancing at his job on the railroad.
Mark’s father’s measure of success for his was first athletic prowess, second, being attractive to the ladies and sexually active, and third having good enough grades to improve Mark’s chances of getting a decent job. He did not expect an all-A student. Bs and Cs were acceptable. Though when Mark brought home Ds or a failing grade, his father did not waste any time escorting Mark to the shed for some attention from his belt.
In reality, Mark’s father led him to the shed somewhat regularly for one indiscretion or another. His theory was that such discipline made Mark stronger and built his character.
This led to Mark learning the skill of cheating. Tim's offer to Mark was readily accepted as Mark knew deep down, cheating through school was not accomplishing anything. Mark was afraid of what his father would do to him if he ever learned about Mark cheating. Mark knew that his days of cheating without being caught would probably come to an unwelcomed end soon. It was only a question of how long his luck held out. Underneath, Mark did want to learn to be able to get passing grades on his own.
With Tim’s all through their time at secondary school, Mark did improve. Mark actually came to enjoy history and literature, and even math to a degree. Mark’s father, seeing his grades at first, wondered what racket Mark was playing. Over time, with Mark spilling out things he had learned over dinner to his and sisters, his father’s view changed. Maybe Mark wasn’t the dummy he had thought. As the years went , the dinner conversations would often be over Mark’s father’s head. Then he would just nod off and on during the meal.
their last year at school, the guys besides Mark – Matt, Peter, John, and Luke all had steady girlfriends. Matt and Luke were with the same girls they started dating a few years earlier. At first, the girlfriends were jealous of what the guys were doing each afternoon after practice. But as soon as they learned what was going on, they encouraged the guys. They all had their futures pinned to the four guys and did want their future mates to be able to provide for them well. They, too, showed attention to Tim at school.
Mark would have fleeting girlfriends over the years, but he never stayed with any of them for more than a couple of months. And rumors around the school were he would be a bit aggressive with females, egging them on to go further with him than they wanted to.
When one of the five passed a test, there would be a whoop and holler session at the start of tutoring. Then one day, Peter came in busting with pride. The history paper he had written earned an A. The teacher even commented on his insight into the consequences of the historical event. The whole crew celebrated his accomplishment.
What began as Tim just helping the guys with their school work turned into a friendship with them. In truth, Tim was the one who held back. The guys would invite Tim to parties, but Tim would come up with excuses why he could not attend.
When secondary school ended, the five guys were determined and dragged Tim with them to a local pub. None of them were of age yet to get beers served directly to them. Tim’s mates managed to get pints of ale having one of the older customers the drinks for them, being the ‘parental’ unit with them.
At the pub that day, Tim tasted his first beer. Oh, his would give him glasses of wine to accompany the gourmet dinners she would make; occasionally, an apéritif or digestif before or after dinner. Ale, though, was considered too plebeian to Cynthia. Tim did find he liked the taste. Perhaps in part as the others had encouraged him to join them.
There was more to this outing than just bringing Tim to a pub. After a round of drinks, the guys started making toasts, first to all of them passing and graduating. Then for Tim being second in their class and earning a full scholarship. But the most cheers were for Tim’s over the last few years to bring them all to a successful end of school.
Then Mark stood up and fumbled over the words, thrusting a box at Tim, “Just something we all got you for helping us through all this. We do appreciate what you did for us, Tim.” He sat down as Tim, his face fully blushed at this surprising addition, opened the package.
Inside was a new cell phone, a RAZR. It wasn’t the best model, but for them to get him one in thanks was overwhelming to Tim. Mark mumbled that they for a year of for Tim, “To make sure you keep in touch with us while you’re absorbed in your college courses.”
Tim thanked them all profusely, with tears in his eyes for what they had done. He knew they all had jobs after school and on weekends, but the idea that they pooled their to get him this, meant the world to Tim.
Tim did stay in touch and met them at the same pub on most Friday nights. They all were fans of one football team and enjoyed evenings of beer and cheering their team on.
oOo
Over the years, Tim finished college and got the position at Microga. The five guys all took different routes learning skilled trades or just jumping into jobs. The girls they had each been with since school days often accompanied them on Fridays. Soon these women became their wives or fiancées. Only Mark did not have a steady girlfriend. He would have a woman with him for a week or two. Then it would be someone else, or him himself as it had been in school.
Mark was the most boisterous of the . He would make inappropriate advances to women in the pub and egg the other guys to hit on other women if their spouses weren’t there. In time Tim did come to know that overall, Mark really was an ass. It was only due to the past kindness Mark had shown and interest in the other guys' lives that kept Tim meeting them on Friday nights.
The had shown such concern and were there when his died, though none of them had ever met Cynthia. That kindness had meant a lot to Tim.
After years of Mark’s bigoted and homophobic remarks, the evenings had been losing their charm for Tim. It was only knowing what Mark had shared with him over the years about his father that kept Tim continuing with him. Tim knew this negative side of Mark came from trying to be like his father and live up to his view of the world. And even though Mark’s father died a few years after Cynthia, those feelings were still embedded in Mark.
After starting at Microga, Tim recommended Matt and Peter for positions in the factory. Both were very appreciative of Tim’s getting them the jobs. Tim always made a point of stopping and saying hi to them when he was in the plant. They knew about Tim’s promotion, and both are so proud of their friend.
Matt, now married to Martha for a few years, was awaiting their first 's arrival. The last time Tim saw them at the pub was in April. Martha had just learned she was pregnant. Now she should be almost to her due date.
Peter and Sarah have had an on-again, off-again relationship for about years. But now they are engaged and planning a wedding next spring.
John went to trade school to learn computer programming and has a good job with a gaming company. He and Debbie have been married for over ten years but have no interest in starting a family.
Since finishing school, Luke has worked at a commercial construction company. He married Mary right out of school and now has a couple of . The older one was getting ready to start secondary school.
And then there is Mark. He, too, looked for work with no offers to football at a professional level when he finished school. Mark had known that football would end with secondary school, as he was not good enough to with the ‘big boys.’ Instead, he was offered a full-time position from his part-time job while in school as a stocker at a local grocery store. Over the last several years, Mark has advanced in the company.
Mark went from stocker to cashier and then to being a merchandise buyer for the store. Five years ago, when a large chain purchased the grocery store, Mark was promoted to head buyer for the district. All five, well, six including Tim, have done well for themselves and were living comfortably.
As of last spring, all of the others are married or soon to be so. That left Mark and Tim as the only single guys. It was interesting that while he egged the others on to flirt and try to pick up women, Mark never pushed Tim to approach women. Somewhat knowing that Tim was too shy and unsure of doing so.
It was just one of the small ways they all have looked out for Tim over the years. But now, with Abbie, and his promotion, Tim realizes that to not respond to their invitation would make it appear that he was now too above them, which Tim did not think at all.
Tim is proud of all of them and the accomplishments they have made. That Tim being a small part of helping them learn and succeed has been one of the shining lights in Tim’s dull life over the years. But to both the men and their wives, Tim was much more than a ‘small part’ in their lives. They all clearly remember what Tim did and feel they can never repay him.
oOo
When the request comes asking Tim to join his mates for the game in September, Tim knows it is time for them to meet Abbie and understand his life now. Tim does not think about how they might react to Abbie as he still is blinded his love for her. He could not comprehend anyone finding fault with her or their relationship.
Tim tries to tell Abbie about his mates and what they mean to him, but he is so unsure of the emotions he feels about them, he stumbles over his words. Abbie comprehends what Tim is trying to say but is still nervous about meeting them. How would they react to her?
Abbie knows she can ‘pass’ with strangers if just in a chance meeting of no length. But to meet up close, for an extended period, with people who would be judging if she is good enough for their mate is something different.
Abbie anguishes over what is ahead, and Thursday night, her apprehension is apparent to Grace right away. Taking Abbie aside to question her, Abbie spills all her worries out to Grace. Hugging her, Grace says, “So what if they figure things out? What does it matter to you and Tim? There is no way they can throw a wrench into things, and if they are loyal friends of Tim’s, as you say, they will be supportive of you when they see how happy Tim is. If it would make you feel better, Sam and I could join you tomorrow night, so you have some of your ‘team’ there for reinforcement.”
Abbie hugs Grace back and tells her, yes, them being there would be good. So after joining the rest and Grace having quiet words with Sam, Abbie tells Tim that Grace and Sam would like to join them for the game at the pub tomorrow.
Tim agrees that would be nice, not comprehending the reason for their participation. Plans are made, and it is agreed that Grace and Sam will meet Tim and Abbie at the pub around seven the next night.

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