They sat in silence for some time, both absorbed by their thoughts, and then Cody said, “Wait—what about my work? I need to phone them and tell them I won’t be in today and for the next few days.”
“What’ll you say?” asked Luigi.
“I dunno. It was bad enough last time. I really expected to lose my job. That can’t happen. I have to keep my job! I have to!”
“Why not tell them the truth?”
“They’re going to find out sometime. The shootout will prob’ly be in the papers and on the news. You can’t be blamed for being abducted by a murderer.”
“That will mean letting them know that I’m . . . living with you.”
Luigi smiled. “Yeah. Isn’t that nice? I want to wake up next to you for the rest of my life. To feel you next to me in bed. To bring you a cup of tea every morning.”
“I can’t. What if they . . ?”
“The truth is the best. They’re going to find out at some point. Why not just tell them now?”
“They’ll sack me if they know I’m gay.”
“No they won’t. Things are different these days. People are more accepting than they used to be. And anyway, the truth is that they will find out at some point. These things always get out. You’ll have to give them your new address. At drinks after work, they’ll ask you about your wife. Plus you’ll have to concoct some explanation about what happened. What if it gets into the news? There was a shootout on the summit of Mt Macedon. Someone leapt to his death. There was a police helicopter which landed on the summit. And, let’s face it, there are prob’ly people who will let the press know that something happened, and once they start digging ….”
Cody sighed. “Yeah. I suppose you’re right. My new mobile is still at your flat. Can I use yours?”
Luigi handed it over.
“Hi, is that Janice? Yeah, it’s Cody. Can I talk to Mark, please? Hi, Mark, it’s a long story, but I won’t be in today or tomorrow ….. You’ll see it on the news, I s’pose. …. I was abducted by the Mt Macedon murderer.” The phone squawked. Cody waited patiently for the exclamations to die down, then said, “He was going to kill us. So I charged him and he shot me. I’m in hospital now …. The Royal Melbourne ….. Yeah ….. No, not my wife, my friend. The one I’m staying with ….. Anyway, I’ll be here another couple of days. I’ll keep you posted.”
As he handed the phone back to Luigi, he said, “Mark was pretty good about it. I think he’s put 2 and 2 together, but he didn’t sound fazed. He seemed OK. Anyway we’ll see what happens. Funny, isn’t it? That took more courage than attacking the Killer.”
Luigi leaned over and kissed him, careful not to touch his torso. “My hero,” he said.