There’s a knock at the door which brings me away from my thinking.
“I’ll go and answer that son.”, Da says and goes to the door.
I can hear my boss Eddie’s voice. I forgot work today.
“Mr. Mitchell, hi.”
“Eddie, can I help you?”
“I wanted to see Josh. He didn’t turn up for work today.”
“Didn’t he tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“It’s Tristan. He’s passed on.”
“Oh my god, I am so sorry. I had no idea. What happened?”
“He was in a car crash.”
“Is Josh here?”
“Yeah, he’s in the living-room.”
dad lets Eddie in and he comes over to me.
“Oh kid I am so sorry about Tristan. I had no idea. Oh you must be in bits.”
“Thank you Eddie. Do you want to sit down?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
Eddie sits down.
“I’ll get you some tea Eddie.”, Da says and goes to make the tea for him.
“You should have told me.”
“I don’t want time off. I forgot today …”
“Oh kid, I think you might need some time off. When my wife Kara died I rushed back to work and I nearly had a nervous breakdown.”
“Please Eddie, I can’t cope with been here all the time.”
“You need to slow down. You need to take time out. Take as much time as you need kid. I’ll pay your wages the whole time.”
“Eddie please, I need to keep my head occupied.”
“Milk Eddie?”, my dad called from the kitchen.
“Yes thank you Luke.”
“Yes. Two please. Thank you.”
“OK Eddie. I’ll get that for you now.”
“Thank you Luke. Josh please, I’m saying this because I know what this is like. I know how you feel right now but going back to work straight away like this is not going to solve your problems. You can’t get away from them by running away from them.”
“If you insist, what can I do about it?”
Da came back with the tea.
“Here you go Eddie.”
“Thank you Luke. He was a good kid, Tristan.”
“He was.”, my dad agreed.
Was. Was. No one means anything by it but it’s killing me.
“The funeral’s on Friday Eddie.”
“I’ll certainly be there Josh. Did you put it in the paper?”
“Fr. Edwards did.”
“Yeah. He’s a really good man is Fr. Edwards. He was great with me when Kara died. Went to school with my father. I didn’t get the paper today so I didn’t know. I am so sorry Josh. I really am.”
“Thank you.”, I replied.
“How old was he?”
“Two years younger than my son. My god. He was only a child.”
Yes, we know Blake very well indeed. My mind goes back to two years ago. I was a few weeks working for Eddie at the bar. This was what you could call the first segment in the story of me, Tristan and Blake. It was a slow afternoon in the bar and Tristan came in to see me.
“Hey gorgeous.”, he mocked.
“Oh come on, we’re well beyond that.”, I laughed.
“So no custom?”
“No. I feel terrible for Eddie really. I mean he works hard to get this bar running smoothly and he gets no profits.”
“At least he has work.”
“Oh come on baby, he’d be better on the dole.”
“You’d know you’ve never been on the dole.”
“You’d know you were never the head of a business.”
“I’m not foolish enough to take out a loan I can’t get back and leave you, myself in debt. I’m not dissing him. I like the man. He’s been good to you with the job and stuff. I’m just saying.”
“Well I wish you wouldn’t.”
“OK then I won’t.”
“Why are you here?”
“Because I’m clingy.”, he laughed.
“You and I both know that isn’t true. That’s more me.”
“I knew today is usually a slow one and I thought I’d come in and well, give you a slow one.”
I was shocked. Had he just said that? He wanted to have me in my workplace!
“You heard me.”, he said with a cheeky smirk.
“No! I’ve just got the job! If Eddie walked in, he’d think I was a bloody porn star!”
“Hardly. I forgot the camera.”
For the record we never filmed it. Ever. He was messing.
“Oh ha-ha, very funny.”
“I brought the lube …”
“Oh god shut-up. There’s a woman in the corner.”
“Mrs. Havers? She’s ninety-five. She has a hearing aid!”
“Oh I’m sure she hears everything!”
“Well OK, if you don’t want to …”
He began to leave. I caught his arm frantically.
“I didn’t say that.”
To be fair where sex was concerned, I rarely said no to him. An odd night I might be tired or simply not in the mood but it was rare. In terms of our sex-life if he said jump, I’d say how high. And he knew that too. Tristan has an incredible body. In every way. The first time I seen it I couldn’t believe he was mine. His whole body was mine. But back to this incident.
“I know you didn’t.”, he smiles cheekily.
See, I told you. He knew I’d jump higher than a kite just to make love to him.
“Let’s go in the back.”, I said and let him behind the bar.
“As you wish gorgeous.”
“Shut-up.”, I laugh.
“Oh I love it when you dominate me.”, he laughed.
“Well I have to. Your a very naughty boy.”, I giggled.
“I can be naughtier.”, he replied with a cheeky grin.
I placed my index finger down the top of his shirt and clutched his collar. I then led him into the back where we kicked off our shoes and ripped each other’s clothes off before I proceeded to penetrate him when I heard an awkward voice.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll come back.”
I looked up to see a lad holding a crate of drinks hurrying away. I quickly pulled on my trousers, minus underpants and threw my shirt over my head. Tristan hadn’t opened it, just frantically pulled it over my head.
“I’m sorry. Wait.”, I called after him.
He stopped and turned around sheepishly.
“I am so sorry. I had no idea you were having a moment back there.”
“No, it’s not your fault. I’m absolutely mortified.”
“Oh don’t be. He’s …”, his words trail off.
I can feel anger building inside me. What on earth was he going to say?! Did he fancy my boyfriend?! I then realised he was holding the crate in front of his penis. Was he getting an erection?!
“Nothing. I wasn’t going to say anything. Look I’ll come back later. My dad needs me to help with accounts.”
Oh my god! The realisation has set in. He’s Eddie’s son!
“Your Eddie’s son?!”
“Yeah. But don’t worry. I won’t tell him. There’s a lot I don’t tell my dad!”, he said, winked and smiled before leaving.
Of course he fancied him! I couldn’t blame him but it still angered me. I was in the bar with Blake one day. He did a bit of bar work for his da part-time. He was also a business student.
“Did you watch the match last night Josh?”
“I’m not really a football fan. Tristan watched it though. I went to do the shopping. Groceries.”
“Tristan likes sport?”
My mind went mad. Not any kind of sport with you!
“Yeah. Except cricket and baseball.”
“Cool.”, he said.
I didn’t even like the way he said cool. It sounded like he was making a mental checklist of all the things he wanted in a perfect boyfriend.
Tristan came in.
“Hey guys.”, he smiled.
“We were just talking about you.”, I said.
“Really? All good?”
“About your sporting interests.”, Blake smiled.
He was physically blushing. Blake stud personified, one in every port Huston was physically blushing! And he’d only said four words to him!
“Oh yeah, anything but cricket and baseball.”
“Josh said. He said you seen the match last night …”
“I did. I didn’t think that was a penelty in the last minute though.”
“No. I thought he shoved the keeper in the net before putting it in.”
“Yeah, I felt terrible sorry for the others. 2-1.”
“Mate, I think I left some of those beers in the back. You couldn’t get them for me?”
“But mate no one’s here. Can’t they wait?”
“But Mr. Kennedy comes in usually at about 2 and he loves that beer.”
“Can’t we get them then? Oh OK, I’ll go and get them.”
“Cool thanks mate.”
When Blake goes into the back to get the beer I turn to Tristan.
“If you sleep with him I’ll cut your balls off.”
Tristan was taken aback.
“What? Josh, that never crossed my mind. I’d never do that to you!”
“Good. Keep it that way.”
“Sweetie where did this come from? We were just talking.”
“It’s not the chat! I’ve been watching the way he is with you for a while. And your attracted to him too.”
“No. I’m not.”, he said unconvincingly.
I raise my eyebrow.
“OK. Maybe I am a little bit …”
I raised my eyebrow again.
“OK. Maybe a lot but I wouldn’t ever do that to you. It’s a crush. I would never risk what we have for a crush.”
“Yes really.”, he spoke softly.
“OK. Don’t hurt me please. Even though I hurt you. I’m sorry baby. For what I done. I’ll never do it again.”
“No, I hope not because I don’t want to do what I said I’d have to when I agreed to stay with you.”
The thought of him doing what he said sends a shiver down my spine.
“No, I don’t want you to leave me either.”
“Leave you?”, Blake says on his return carrying the crate of beer.
I swear there’s a hopeful glint in his eye and I instantly want to punch him. I told you I have anger issues.
“Oh he’s just been all insecure. I’d never leave him.”, Tristan smiles.
“Of course you wouldn’t. You two are perfect together.”, Blake replies through gritted teeth.
Tristan notices his gritted teeth and it makes him uneasy.
“Well I’m going to head. Just came in to see how you two were.”
I place my finger down the front of his shirt and clench his collar before pulling him slightly across the bar. I kissed him passionately and lingeringly. I so wanted to make Blake jealous and to show him he was not getting my man. Lingering. Because it prolonged his agony. Passionately. Because it made his agony all the more worse. When I ended the kiss, I could see Blake staring at the floor.
Tristan looked around the bar and then back to us.
“Keep working hard boys.”, he said playfully.
“Oh ha-ha, very funny.”, I replied.
“See you both.”, he said and left.
“Well that was PDA overload.”, Blake smiled but he was seething and he was digging at me.
“Well he is my boyfriend Blake. We like to display our affection for each other.”
“And nothing. It’s cool. Call of nature. Be back in a minute.”
He quickly hurried to the bathroom. Clearly upset. Totally jealous.
That night when I got home, Tristan was reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell while sitting on the sofa with no shoes on. Something about his bare feet always did something to me.
“A bit of light reading?”, I say playfully sarcastic.
“Poor Rufus Sixsmith is going to killed.”
“As I said. A bit of light reading.”
He looks up at me and smiles.
“It’s a good book. Sixsmith reminds me of me. Oh the poor man.”
I sit down beside him. He puts his bookmarker in his book and places it on the coffee table.
“So your going all Sandy Shaw on me are you?”
“Well male version of Sandy Shaw possibly. I was cleansing my feet.”, he smiles.
I kiss the side of his foot gently.
“Well I approve of your cleansing regime.”
“You just wanted to kiss my foot. You’ve really got to do something about these foot fetish issues.”, he smiles.
“But I don’t want to get rid of my foot fetish issues.”, I smile back.
“Good.”, he replies and I kiss him on the lips gently.
His face then turns serious.
“How was Blake after I left?”
“Oh he was jealous. Had to go to the bathroom to compose himself and all.”
“Sweetie, don’t get me wrong when I say this …”
“Why do I get the feeling that your going to tick me off?”
“No honey, I’m not going to tick you off. It’s just that I wouldn’t want to hurt him. I love that you are going out of your way to show him we’re together and it’s going to stay that way but I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”
“Do you like him? Like him more than a crush?”, I ask with an enquiring eye.
“No! Josh, don’t take it like that. Try to see it from my point of view here. It’s not you that’s really hurting him. It’s me. And sweetie I don’t want to.”
“I don’t like the way he looks at you.”
“He only has a crush.”
“But that’s the point! He doesn’t only have a crush! I’m a rational green-eyed monster. I’m not some irrational green-eyed one Tristan! Men look at you all the time. I don’t mind. I understand it. Your hot. Why wouldn’t they? He’s not just looking. He’d take you off me in the morning!”
“Actually he wouldn’t. I wouldn’t leave you for him.”
“I don’t mean on your side.”
“Just cool it on the kissing and all that in front of him. I like that you care but I’m not going along with it.”
“You did today?”
“I couldn’t show you up. But next time I will.”
“Is that a threat?”
“It’s a promise.”
“OK. I’ll try. He drives me mad though. Perving around you …”
“Really? I don’t notice that so much.”
“Oh I do. I want to punch him.”
I can see fear come over Tristan’s face. I speak quickly.
“Babe, I feel like it. I’m not going to do it.”
“Keep it that way.”
“Trust me. You do trust me, right?”
“Yeah.”, he says unconvincingly.
“Don’t lie to me.”
“I don’t know what to think Josh.”
“I’ll never hit you again.”
“I don’t want to talk about this.”
“OK. But I won’t.”
“OK. Now can we stop?”
“Yeah OK. I’m sorry.”
“It’s OK. Let’s just …”
I take his hand gently in mine and trail gentle kisses on the side of his hand.
“I won’t antagonize him again if you don’t want me to. OK?”
I held him close to me. I could feel fear coursing through his entire body. I knew he still didn’t trust me that I wouldn’t hit him again. And the scary thing was that even though I didn’t want to hit him again, I was scared that I would if ever I felt pushed to it. And the keyword there is felt. He wouldn’t have pushed me to it. Someone like Tristan does not deserve to be hit. He’s a very kind, loving, good person but I get into rages easily and I felt like I was pushed to hit him. I don’t want to hit him again though. All this thinking causes my body to tense up. He feels this and cocks his head sideways so that he is looking up at me.
“Are you OK?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Your gone all tense?”
“You deserve someone better than me.”
“I don’t want anybody else. I love you. And your a good man Josh. Remember that.”