My Novel: Josh and Tristan: Part 1!

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                                                                                          Chapter 1 
 
 
There is a knock at the door. Oh no. I don’t want anybody right now. I don’t answer. My denial to answer the door is met with the familiar voice of Greg, Tristan’s older brother. 
“Mate, are you in there?” 
I think of Tristan. He’d tell me to get up off that sofa and stop ignoring Greg. I breathe deeply and stand up. Tristan is even ticking me off and bossing me around in death. I walk over to the the door and answer it. When I do, I see that Greg’s eyes are red. He has obviously been crying. This makes me wonder once again why I can’t cry. 
“Hi Greg.”, I manage to say though pleasantries are hard when you know the love of your life is lying stone cold. 
He instantly pulls me into a tight hug. 
“Oh mate, I don’t know what to say. If there is anything you need we’re here.” 
I appreciate what he’s said but the only thing I want is Tristan. Our normal, happy life together. And that no one can give to me. 
“Thank you Greg.” 
“Don’t thank me. It’s the least any of us can do.” 
“I’m sorry. I’ve forgotten my manners. Come in. Sit down.” 
Oh my. I sound upbeat, almost cheerful. What on earth is Greg going to think of me. 
“Thanks. That’s alright mate.”, he says and comes in and sits down on the sofa. 
He is looking at me though. His glare is disapproving on me and I choose to look away. 
“Tea?” 
“No. Your alright. Maybe you should sit down.” 
“No, I’m alright.” 
“Clearly.”, I hear him say under his breath. 
“What?” 
“Oh nothing. I’m just mumbling rubbish to myself. Nothing to worry about.” 
But I have heard him and it worries me to my core. It’s certainly hit a nerve. I don’t know why I’m been so upbeat myself. It’s not like I didn’t love this man. I adored him. But this has been my natural reaction. I sit down beside him uncomfortably. 
“So Greg, how’s the construction business going?” 
Why did I just ask that? Making small-talk when he’s just dead. It sounds like I’ve forgotten him already when in fact I’ve thought of nothing else. I can see that Greg is taken aback too but he chooses not to show it. 
“Not great with the economy but almost everyone is in the same boat so I can’t complain. Did you identify the body?” 
I gulp hard. I don’t want to talk about this. 
“Yes.” 
“I’m sorry you had to do that. You should have called one of us. We could have done it.” 
“He is my partner.”, I say sharply. 
“Mate, I know. I’m just saying that it would have been better if it had been one of the family …” 
“I am his family.” 
“Your just a lad he was dating … 
“A lad he was living with. We were well past dating.” 
“Don’t get me wrong here Josh, he really liked you …” 
“Loved me.” 
“But it should have been one of us. I appreciate you doing it though. We all do.” 
“I didn’t do it for you. Or any of you. I did it for him. And it should have been me identifying his body. I am his partner.” 
“When it suits you.” 
“What’s that supposed to mean?” 
“Look, I’m sorry Josh. Let’s not get into this right now. You know what I mean.” 
Of course I do. He’s referring to my indiscretion. The time I made Tristan cry. 
“I was an idiot but I love him.” 
He puts his arm around me. 
“I loved him too.” 
The past tense sends a chill down my spine. 
“I don’t think I can live without him.” 
“Oh don’t think like that. Your twenty-four. You’ll be back at the discos in no time.” 
I don’t say anything but it stings me that he thinks I’ll get over Tristan that quickly. This was the love of my life. Not some lad I picked up one night in a club and took back to mine. 
“Giselle is in bits too. She was always so fond of Tristan.” 
Giselle is Greg’s wife. I suppress a smile as I think how she may have been fond of him but he most certainly wasn’t of her. He felt she patronised him because he wasn’t the most forward. Which to be fair she did. 
“Tell her I appreciate her sending her wishes.” 
Greg looks at me. 
“Josh, I really like you. Your a cool guy and for the most part you were a great boyfriend for Tristan but the family can take it from here. Your not going to take this over. And I mean that with complete respect and love.” 
My mouth is gone dry. I can’t believe I’m hearing this. 
“He would have wanted me to organise it.” 
“I doubt that. He’d have wanted his family to. Surely you respect and understand that?” 
The way he says it. Like I’m some selfish twat. I have to remind myself that I am fully within my rights here and that this is what Tristan would have wanted. I have to fight for what he wanted and for my own rights in this situation. And I don’t want to fight right now. I’m not able for it. But I will. 
“Greg, I’ll be taking care of his funeral arrangements and that’s final.” 
“You have a cheek Josh.” 
In my mind I wonder why this is such a struggle. I’m his partner. It’s obvious that I should be making his funeral arrangements. 
“Look, I’m not able for this right now. I’ll phone the Priest tomorrow …” 
“Tomorrow? I really think you should give this over to us. Fr. Edwards should already have been rang.” 
“Your right. I should ring him tonight. I guess it just wasn’t my first thinking after the news. I don’t know where I am to be honest. It’s weird.” 
“I’ll ring him on behalf of our family. Tristan’s family.” 
I stand up and take up my mobile phone from the kitchen counter where it’s lying. I left it there when I got in from work. Before I got the news. 
“Josh what are you doing?”, Greg asks concerned. 
I don’t answer him. I search for Fr. Edwards’s phone number in my contacts. Once I’ve found it, I press the call button. 
“Hello Fr. Edwards speaking.” 
“Hello Father. This is Josh Mitchell. It’s about my partner Tristan Murphy. He died suddenly today in a car crash.” 
“I’m very sorry for your loss son.” 
“Thank you. I was just wondering if you had any slots available in the week for him to be buried.” 
Slots. The coldness of it. And yet, how else do you describe it? To me, Tristan was the most precious person in the world. To outsiders, he’s just a number. 
“I’ll just check son.” 
“OK. Thank you.” 
I can hear the opening of a drawer followed by the flicking of pages. 
“I haven’t got any funerals to proceed over on either Thursday or Friday so which day would suit you best?” 
“I think Thursday but sorry Father, could you just wait for a moment?” 
“Oh yes, sure son.” 
I’m arranging the funeral but I feel I should consult with Greg. He loved him too after all. 
“Greg, would Thursday or Friday suit you and everyone else?” 
He looks at me sourly. 
“Why don’t you just decide? Your his partner after all whatever that means.” 
I feel my anger building up inside and the backs of my eyes are stinging with tears. I want to tell him exactly what it means and how much it meant to his brother but I can’t leave Fr. Edwards hanging. 
“Thursday Father.” 
“OK son, I’ll pencil you in for Thursday.” 
“Thank you Father.” 
“Will you be putting it in the paper?” 
I feel sick. I’m supposed to be in charge of this. I’m letting Tristan down. I’ve forgotten the Priest and the paper. Maybe Greg and the others would be better arranging all this? 
“I completely forgot. I haven’t been thinking straight since I found out he was dead.” 
Fr. Edwards speaks softly. 
“It’s OK son. That’s natural. I’ll give my friend at the paper a call if you’d like and we can get this sorted.” 
“Oh thank you. Could you do that Father?” 
“Of course. Son, I know it hurts right now. God never meant for grief not to. But remember he’s with God and the angels in heaven. He’s found everlasting peace.” 
The idea that this would be true is lovely to think. I don’t believe it though. I’m an atheist but Fr. Edwards is been really kind and this is what Tristan believed in. Part of me wants to believe it too because I want to believe that Tristan has found everlasting peace with God and the angels and his deceased relatives and Lucky his dog growing up and Jay, our mate. But I just don’t. 
“Thank you Father.” 
“Get some rest son. We’ll discuss the funeral plans when your ready.” 
“Thank you.” 
“OK. Goodbye.” 
“Goodbye Father.” 
I end the call. 
“I’ll be heading so Josh.”, Greg says. 
“Greg, don’t be offended. I’m just doing what I should do. When your first wife died, you did all the arranging, didn’t you?” 
“Yes. But that was different.” 
“How?” 
“We were married. Your some lad he’s dating.” 
“Living with.” 
“Like that makes a difference.” 
“Actually yes, it does. 
“How exactly does it?” 
“Well we made a commitment to each other that we’d be together always. When we were dating, we never had a commitment to each other. I could go into a whole lot more but that’s the fundamental difference.” 
“You could have walked away at any time.” 
“I could have too if I was married to him. Or civil partner to him or whatever the official line is. It might have took longer but divorce is in you know.” 
“It would have took a lot longer.” 
“Yes but I still could have walked away.” 
“Why didn’t you propose?” 
I did. In fact I thought very similar to Greg because I was massively insecure about how he felt about me. I proposed five times. He turned me down five times. The fifth time I lost my head and I hit him. Bust his lip. I behaved like an absolute twat. I’ll never forgive myself for that. I wonder if he ever forgave me for that. But I’m not going to tell Greg all this. 
“It wasn’t for us. Either of us.” 
“This is not your place. You are not part of this family. He wouldn’t want you taking over from his family. He liked you …” 
“Loved me.” 
“But he would not want you doing this. We’re the chief mourners at this funeral …” 
“I think you’ll find we all are. We all loved him. And Greg, as his partner and as the organiser of this funeral, I would appreciate if you kept your bitterness at the door. At least until I’ve brought his ashes from the Church.” 
“His ashes?!” 
I gulp hard. I had assumed that Tristan had told Greg that he wished to be cremated. 
“I’m sorry. I thought you knew what he wanted.” 
“Oh no way. You are not burning my brother to a crisp.” 
“But Greg, he wanted to be cremated. He told me.” 
  
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