'It's just uh...I gotta be somewhere so...I'll see you later yeah?'
With one last look back at Jackson Aaron closed the door behind him and made his way back to Smithy. In a daze he opened the door and headed straight up to his room, not even noticing Paddy & Rhona in the kitchen. He lay on his bed staring at the ceiling, desperately trying not to think about what he'd seen but unable to forget. The image of a broken Jackson in tears and saying...that into the camera now permanently etched on his mind. He had no idea how long he had been lying there when he heard a gentle knock on the door and Paddy entered the room.
'Me and Rhona are meeting Marlon in the Woolie, just wondered if you wanted to join us?'
Still engrossed in his thoughts Aaron just about managed a response, 'No you're alright I'm just gonna stay here.'
At the mention of his lover's name Aaron was finally pulled back to full awareness 'He's fine. Why? What do you mean? Why wouldn't he be?'
'Calm down I just meant...well you said he was going to the hospital today.'
'Oh that yeah, he's fine, well he's not obviously but I mean they said he's doing well.'
'Well that's good, right? We'll be getting off then, you sure you're gonna be all right here on your own?'
'Yeah why wouldn't I be?'
'I don't know you just seem a little distracted. Anything you wanna talk about?'
'No just it's been a long day that's all. I'm tired I just need to chill here for a bit.'
'Ok. Well you know where we are if you need some company.'
'Yeah I do, thanks Paddy.'
Even with Paddy now gone Aaron was reluctant to return to the thoughts that haunted him. He had to do something, anything to try and change things because the alternative just didn't bear thinking about.
Glancing around his room, the room he and Jackson had once shared, his eyes settled on a video camera. When Jackson had got his new computer he'd no longer had any need for it so he'd given it to Aaron telling him to give it to Paddy and Rhona as a present for when the baby arrived. Aaron being Aaron typically hadn't gotten round to it yet.
Suddenly struck by an idea he crossed the room and picked up the camera. Turning it on and checking the picture he positioned it on the cabinet that stood at the foot of his bed. Taking a deep breath he sat down and stared down the lens.
Around 9pm that same evening Hazel had just finished getting Jackson into bed and, as she seemed to be doing every day at the moment, was setting the laptop up in front of him. A knock at the front door disturbed her before she had the camera switched on.
'Who's calling round at this time of night? Maybe its Chas come to give us another lecture...'
'Leave it now Mum!' an exasperated Jackson rolled his eyes, 'Well go on then answer it will ya or we'll never know and the suspense is killing me.' If there was one thing the accident hadn't taken from Jackson it was his sarcasm.
'All right, all right.' Putting the laptop down on the table she moved to the door. 'What are you doing here? Or more to the point why are you knocking, forget your key did ya?'
Jackson heard Aaron's voice from the doorstep. 'Yeah something like that, anyway I can't stop I'm just on my way to the pub to meet Paddy, just thought I'd stop by and see if Jackson wanted to come.'
'You're a bit late we've just got back.' Jackson voice coming from out of sight.
'Oh alright well I'll get off then, I'll be round in the morning before work.' Instead of leaving however Aaron raised his finger to his lips, gesturing for Hazel to keep quiet. Handing her a cd case with a post-it stuck to the top he stepped quietly around her into the house, making sure to stay hidden from Jackson's view and sat at the bottom of the stairs.
Get Jackson to watch this. Now. Alone.
Hazel shut the door behind her and returned to the front room, the disc behind her back. She wasn't sure what was going on but she knew better by now than to second guess anything between her son and his boyfriend. For all the stick she gave Aaron she knew that he loved Jackson, she'd known for longer than he had, and she trusted that anything he was doing was in Jackson's best interest.
'You gonna put this camera on for me or not then?'
'Not!' Making her way to the kitchen with the pretence of fetching what she already had in her hand she turned on her heel and came straight back again, the disc minus the post-it now in view.
'It's something for you to watch. I'm sure that camera could do with a break from your ugly mug for one night anyway.' Slipping the disc into the drive and positioning it so Jackson could see the screen clearly she turned off all the lights except a small bedside lamp. 'Right I'm going upstairs for a lie down, call me if you need anything ok?'
And with that Hazel made her way up the stairs for what she expected to be the rest of the night, pausing only to squeeze Aaron's shoulder.
Slightly puzzled by his mum's behaviour Jackson was curious to discover the disc's content. 'Picture on' he spoke clearly so the laptop's microphone could pick up his command. When it did the image which greeted him was one of Aaron. Wearing the same clothes he'd had on earlier that day he was sat on his bed at Smithy, his blue eyes looking straight at the camera. Steadying himself for what might lay ahead Jackson paused before saying 'Play'
'Hi. My name's Aaron Livesy, I'm 19 years old, I live in a village called Emmerdale, I'm a mechanic...and I'm gay. A year ago I couldn't admit that, to myself yet alone anyone else. I even tried to kill myself because I couldn't handle it. But things have changed since then...they've changed so much and all because I met this guy, this... amazing guy.'
To be continued...