Saving 6 (Boys of Tommen, #3)

Saving 6 (Boys of Tommen, #3)

Chloe Walsh

For my children.

Earthside and in heaven.


I never knew devastation until he walked into my world and gave me a glimpse into his.

I never knew heart break until he decimated my heart by decimating his body.

I never knew hurt until he walked away from me.

I never knew.

I never…



AUGUST 30TH 1999
“All you need to do is keep your head down and your temper reigned in. You’re a smart kid. You’ve got this. Just keep that tongue of yours in check and don’t react to any nonsense. Do you want me to walk in with you?”
“Do I fuck.”
“It’s okay to be nervous, Joe.”
“I’m not nervous.”
“And it’s okay to be scared, too.”
“Do I look like I’m scared?” I growled, aggravated by his incessant coddling. “I’m not a baby, Dar.”
“I know you’re not,” my big brother conceded, as we walked up the path to Ballylaggin Community School – a journey he had taken every weekday for the past six years. His time at secondary school was over now, while mine was just beginning. “I just need this to go well for you.”
“Yeah,” I snorted. “Well, we both know that’s not going to happen.”
“This is your fresh start, Joey,” he said. “Whatever happened in primary school is behind you now. Don’t carry any of that trouble with you.”
“There’s no such thing as fresh starts,” I drawled. “Just different locations filled with the same bullshit.”
“You’re too young to be this cynical.”
“And you’re too smart to waste your time and breath on this pep talk,” I countered. “I’m not Shannon, lad. I don’t need the words or the hand-holding.”
“Is it so wrong of me to want to see you off on your first day of secondary school?”
“You could have done that back at the house,” I reminded him. “You didn’t need to walk me to school. I’m not a baby.”
“You’re my baby brother.”
“I’ve never been a baby anything, Dar.”
“Always so self-sufficient.” Shaking his head, he gave me a sad smile. “Well, maybe I wanted to spend some extra time with you.”
“We share a room,” I deadpanned, shifting the ton of bricks that was my school bag onto my other shoulder. “We already spend enough time together.”
“I love you, Joe,” he threw me by saying. “You know that, right?”
“You love me?” Feet faltering, I turned to look up at him. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Nothing,” he replied, tone thick with emotion. “I’m just… I need you to know that.”
“Why?” I demanded, feeling unnerved by his sudden declaration. It was out of place and felt all wrong to me. “What’s happening?”
“Nothing.” Smiling, he reached down and ruffled my hair. “Nothing’s happening, shithead. I just wanted to tell you.”
“Okay…” I eyed him suspiciously, not sure if I entirely believed him. “But if you even think about hugging me in front of all these people, I will kick you in the nuts.”
“Your voice is starting to break,” he chuckled. “My baby brother is growing up.”
“I don’t need a deep voice to kick your ass,” I shot back, hackles rising.
He rolled his eyes. “Sure thing, squeaky.”
“Do all the girls here wear skirts that short?” Eyes widening, I watched as a group of girls filed out off a school bus and onto the footpath in front of us. “I take it all back, Dar.” Delighted with life, I grinned up at my brother. “I think I’m going to like secondary school.”
“Don’t even think about it,” Darren chuckled, ribbing me with his elbow. “Those girls are in sixth year. You’re a baby first year to them.”
“Already told ya that I’ve never been a baby anything,” I shot back with a wink before turning my attention back to the glorious view of bare legs and peachy asses.
“Aren’t you a bit young for getting notions about girls?”
“I’m thirteen.”
“Not until December.”
“I bet I’ve seen more tits than you.”
“Mam’s don’t count.”
We both laughed, causing a few of girls in front to turn around.
“Oh my god! Darren Lynch!” one of the blonde’s squealed, giving my brother a warm smile, as she moved straight for him. “What are you doing here? Didn’t you get like a thousand points in your leaving cert last June? There’s no way you’re repeating sixth year?”
“No, not repeating. Just walking my little brother in for his first day,” Darren replied, receiving the half-hug the girl offered him. “And I could ask you the same question. What are you doing slumming it in a BCS uniform, Tommen girl?”
“I, uh, transferred over here. I’m going to finish up sixth year at BCS,” the blonde replied in a strained tone. “It’s, ah, sort of for the best, all things considered, you know?”
“Yeah.” My brother nodded and sympathy filled his eyes, which confused the fuck out of me. “I do.”
“So, how’s everything going, Dar?” She was quick to push on from whatever the hell had them eyeing each other meaningfully. I rolled my eyes and forced back the urge to hurl. “I haven’t seen you since that weekend.”
“I’ve been around,” he told her, scratching the back of his neck. “Just dealing, you know?”
“Yeah.” Another meaningful look passed between them. “I know.”
“I don’t,” I decided to interject, because why the hell not? “Care to explain what the hell you’re both talking about?”
My brother sighed in resignation before reeling off introductions. “Caoimhe, this mouthy shit is my little brother.” He turned to me and gestured to the girl. “Joe, this is Caoimhe Young. You were probably too young to remember her in primary school, but her little sister is friends with Shannon.”
Her blue eyes landed on my face, and she smiled. “So, you’re the next Lynch in the pecking order, huh?”
“Apparently so.” I shrugged noncommittedly before turning back to Darren. “Are ya done with the trip down memory lane, or do I need to stand around for another ten minutes?”
“Oh boy, Dar,” she laughed. “You’re in trouble with this one, huh?”
“Tell me about it,” my brother replied with a sigh. “It was good seeing you, Caoimhe.” Catching hold of the back of my neck, he steered us around the group of girls and up the path towards the school. “Take care of yourself.”
“You, too, Dar,” she called after us. “Keep in touch.”
“Keep in touch?” I shook my head and wrestled free from his hold. “What the hell does that mean?”
“Who knows,” Darren muttered, steering me towards the gates of the school. “You know the way girls are.”
“Did you have sex with her?”
“What?” He stopped walking and swung me around to look at him. “No, I didn’t have sex with her. Why would you even ask me that?”
“Don’t get all high and mighty on me,” I laughed, playfully shoving his chest. “I know you’ve been with girls in the past.”
Darren sighed heavily. “Not like that, I haven’t.”
“Well, I think she likes you,” I offered up, falling into step alongside him once again. “She was looking at you with those gooey eyes.”
“Gooey eyes,” Darren chuckled. “You’re a dope.”
“She was,” I laughed. “I’m surprised she didn’t swoon when she saw you.” Clearing my throat, I pressed a hand to my forehead and mimicked, “Oh, Darren Lynch. Is that you my eyes can see? Be still my beating heart!”
“You’re such a little shit,” my brother laughed.

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