MF, chapter 11

 

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He snuggled closer to Jason.  They kissed with élan, Keith’s tongue clever and strong inside Jason’s mouth.  Jason kissed Keith back as enthusiastically, and then without stopping the pressure of his groin and doings against the other man’s side, he lifted his head and smiled at him.  “Hey,” he said.

“Hey, yourself!”  Keith’s smile mixed affection, love and lust, and Jason found that even more erotic than the feel of Keith’s hands on his body, of his mouth against his.

Luigi reached over started to massage Jason’s cock, which was already plumping up.  He began to stroke it slowly, up and down, his hands warm.  He leaned over Keith and nibbled Jason’s nipples.

“Hey!  Wait a sec,” said Keith.  “Jace should be in the middle.”  He climbed over Jason, and Jason wriggled over so that he was between Keith and Luigi.

Keith grabbed the tube of lube and slathered up the fingers of his hand.

“Lift your legs,” he said to Jason.

Jason raised his knees.  Keith inserted one well-lubed finger into Jason’s bum.

Luigi’s started pulling Jason’s wire as Keith inserted a second finger and then a third into Jason’s butt and started massaging his prostate.

Luigi was kissing Jason now, while Keith ran his mouth up and down the inside and outside Jason’s calves biting them gently every few seconds while he continued to rub with his fingers.  Jason took a bit longer to come this time. The sensation of two mouths on his body while one pair of hands stroked his cock and caressed his nipples and fingers stretched his arse and rubbed his prostate was extraordinary, and he came explosively.

 

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Deep sleep—arms and legs entangled—bodies against each other—a late awaking—the summer sun a brilliant coruscating white on the bedroom wall.

Luigi leapt out of bed with a yelp.  “Fuck, I’m going to be late!”

Keith flung back the bedclothes.  “I’ll make you some tea and toast!  You go’nd shower.  I’ve got some undies in that drawer, and you can borrow a t-shirt from the other one, the top drawer of that dresser there.”

Luigi didn’t argue.  He didn’t have time to go home and change, so he took the smallest pair of briefs he could find.  Keith’s T-shirt hung on him, but for once, not looking like he’d stepped straight out of the pages of GQ didn’t bother him.  He gulped his tea down, and was crunching his toast as he kissed the other two goodbye.  “Have fun without me!” he smiled, “you perves.  I’ll text you both.”

Keith and Jason drank their tea then went back to bed.

“Do ya want ta?” asked Keith, his face close to Jason’s.

“Yeah.”  Jason kissed Keith, his woody tenting the sheets.

Keith took Jason in his mouth, tasting the left-overs of the night before.

“Not too fast, Key.  I want to fuck you.”

“Don’t worry.  I want that too.”

Jason rolled a condom onto his cock.  He kissed Keith again, then said, “How would you like it?”

“Missionary position.”

“The missionaries never did it this way!”

“You’d be surprised.  I used to sleep with a Catholic priest.  Poor bloke.  He really enjoyed it, but he was so guilty.  He was kind to me, though.”

Jason lifted Keith’s legs up and arranged them round his waist.  He took the tube of lube and rubbed it into Keith’s ring.  He pressed his cock against the opening then inched into Keith’s body.  Their love-making was slow but intense, and a key part of the pleasure was watching the expressions cross each other’s face as they both moved through satisfaction to ecstasy.  After he’d come, Jason lubed up his hand and took Keith’s cock in it and brought him to orgasm, his eyes never leaving Keith’s face.

 

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TheAge.Com.au

Melbourne’s Daily Newspaper

Since 1845

By a staff reporter

20th March, ________

 

The body of the fourth victim of the Mt Macedon murderer was found on the slopes of Camel’s Hump yesterday by picnickers.  The police have not named the victim as he has not been formally identified.  However, The Age understands that the victim had been sexually assaulted before being mutilated and murdered.  His body was dumped off the peak of Camel’s Hump into dense native bushland.  The body was not discovered for several days. Camel’s Hump is a popular family picnicking site.

Police would not comment on any similarities between this case and previous cases, where victims were apparently given the date rape drug, GHB,  before being brutally raped and strangled.  The previous victims were all dumped in the Macedon Ranges area.  A police spokeswoman warned gay men not to go home with strangers.  Mr Peter Smith, a spokesman for C.A.M.P, the gay support organisation, condemned the slow police response to the serial murders.  “The police and the government don’t care about gays.  If it had been children or women killed they would have a full-on investigation going right now, and some of these men would today be alive.”  The Minister for Police, Mr  Thaddeus McFarlane, and the Police Commissioner Justin Theotokos did not return The Age’s calls.

 

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Keith, Luigi, Jason and Esmé were sitting having coffee the next evening, after The Lord Grey had closed.

“Another victim,” said Esmé, who was leafing through a copy of The Age the café provided for its customers.

“Of what?” asked Keith.

“The Three M killings.”

Keith shook his head.   “Three M?”

“Mt Macedon Murderer.  You guys are so busy fucking each other that you aren’t keeping up with stuff that matters.”

Keith looked at her then gave her the crooked grin that always turned her heart to water.  “I’m all attention now, Ezzaloona.”

She swatted him with the paper.  “Idiot.  OK, listen everyone.”  She waited until they were paying attention and then read out the report.  When she’d finished there was silence.

“Poor fucker,” said Keith, at last.

“There are always the rumours, aren’t there?”  Luigi looked at the others.  “You know, the pick-up with the sound-proofed van, who’s as hot as, and so sexy and loving in the pub, then coldly slices you up and you’re never seen again.  The elegant old dude who keeps a leather dungeon where he expects the ultimate fuck.”

Esmé shuddered.  “Men are such awful creatures!”

“Sorry,” said Jason.  “If it’s any consolation, I’m pretty vanilla.”

Keith was silent.  He’d seen stuff which would haunt him always.

“Anyway,” Esmé continued, “I hope you blokes aren’t picking up anyone.” She looked from one to the other, then said, “I would miss any of you idiots if … you know …”

“Hey!” said Keith.  “It’s OK, Ezz.  We don’t pick up strangers.  Right, Lou, Jace?”

“Nope!” said Jason.

Luigi was silent.

“It’s just that men … gay men … like pick-ups and hot anonymous sex … you know.”  Esmé was getting a bit pink and uncomfortable.

Keith stared at her.  “Hey, love, daon’t worry.  That part of my life is over.”

 

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“Well, yeah, but how did you two meet, then?”  Esmé was accusing as she looked at Jason and Luigi.

Jason coloured.

Luigi smiled astringently at her, his shiny black-olive eyes a little cynical, a little sad.  “It’s not that easy, Esmé.  We are outcasts.  We can’t meet people like you can, you know, a bloke fancies a sheila, he just goes up to her and makes with the happy noises, and then before you know it …  But with us, if we go up to someone we fancy, he could be a raving homophobe, and next thing we’ve lost a tooth or two and are in emergency getting our jaw wired.”

“Yeah, and …” began Keith.

“… hang on, lemme finish.”  Luigi took a breath.  “OK, so you try a different approach.  You make friends with another man.  You don’t mention sex, you don’t make passes, you just try to be friends, and fuck it, next thing you’re in love, and you discover he’s as straight as a plumber’s rule, and you’ve lost your fucking heart to him.  At least if you get down to business quickly, at least then you know that you’re on the same page.  That’s why we pick blokes up.”

“Yeah, and the problem is that sometimes that’s the only thing we have in common with them.  That we can fuck.”  Keith was bitter.

“Yeah, and then we get a kind of taste for the chase, we don’t even want something permanent, or we don’t want it enough, so we just keep on trawling the meat racks, and then when we’re old we have nobody.”  Luigi spoke softly but his tone was savage.

 

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“But now that you know that, you can do something about it.”  Esmé was all sweet reason.

Luigi’s smile was small and very sad.  “We always knew.  And it doesn’t help.”

“What about us then, Lou?” asked Keith, looking unhappy.  “I mean, I knaow … OK, we’re not the only blokes around but … Oh fuck it!”

“I dunno.  I don’t want to … I don’t want to promise stuff.”

“Who’s fuckin’ talkin’ about promises?”  Keith was furious, but trying to hide it.  “I thought we had somethin’ good, ya knaow?”  His accent was escaping him again as he became upset.

“I’ve got to go,” said Luigi and stood up and without a backward glance, walked out through the back door (the door to the street was locked because the café was closed)

“What the fuck?” ejaculated Keith.  He looked at Jason and Esmé.  “What did I do?”

Jason sighed.  “He has a thing about straight guys.  Ever since Cody.  Maybe before.”

“Stright?  Me? Bugger me sideways with a wet banana!”

“Cody?” asked Esmé.

Jason explained.  Then he added, “He’s filled with self-hatred.  He … I dunno … he’s almost needs the beating up, the beastliness of the straight guys who hate him but are so attracted to him.”

Keith was staring at Jason in wonderment.  “Clever clogs, aren’t ya?  See inta people’s hearts, huh?”  He pronounced ‘see’ ‘say’, his emotion was so deep.

Jason was deeply embarrassed.  He muttered something.

Keith smiled suddenly.  “It’s OK.  It’s just that if you say into Lou like that you’ll say inta may too.  That’s embarrassin’.”

Jason put his hand on Keith’s.

“I suppose you know all about me, too?” asked Esmé, only half joking.

 

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“Nope,” said Jason grinning.  “You’re a woman.  And therefore completely incomprehensible.”

“I want the same things you do,” said Esmé quietly.  “Love, and friendship and meaning.”

“I dunno that’s that is the same, Ezz.”  Jason slipped into the diminutive without being aware of it.  “Sometimes a man will give up those things just for a good fuck.  I’m not going to deny I met Luigi … in the park.  I was grieving for Brent …”

“ …Brent?”

“… I’ll tell you in a minute.  And Luigi picked me.  And he was so sexy.  But … then I saw how … sad, vulnerable …. fuck, how fucking tragic he was … all that beauty … and he so needs to be loved.  So … I’m glad he picked me up.”

“Will you try and get him back?  Will you go after him, persuade him?  He’ll get over this soon.”

“Oh yes.  Most definitely.  We … he’s not just a fuck.  And nor are you, Key.”  Jason waited till Keith looked up at him and held his eye for several heartbeats.  “You’re friends.  And if there was one thing I’ve learnt from the whole Brent thing, it’s this:  I’m not going to let bad stuff happen to my friends.”

He let go of Keith’s hand and took hold of Esmé’s.  He thought she was looking sad and depressed.  “Don’t be sad, Ezz.  I’ll find him and bring him back.  I’m going to look after my friends.”

Esmé burst into tears.

 

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“Hey … don’t … it’s OK … here’s my hankie …. it’s clean … c’mon … cry all you want …” and Jason took her into his arms and hugged her close, his face comically bewildered as he looked over Esmé’s head at Keith.

Keith got up and also put his arms round her.  “What is it, love?”

Love?  Jason put that away for later thought.

“I’m just a fag hag.  I’ll never meet a straight bloke.”

Jason didn’t know what a fag hag was.

But Keith did.  “That’s a hateful word, Ezzaloona.  Don’t use it, for fuck’s sake! Ya’re fuckin’ not a hag.  Ya’re beaut.  Ya fuckin’ are.”

“Whatever!” said Esmé, but she appeared comforted.  “But all the same, here I am spending my spare time you bunch of queers, instead of vamping up some boyfriend.”

“Ya’ll find someone, Ezz.  Ya’re so beaut and clever and witty.  Any straight guy would be mad not to fall hell over heels in love with ya.”

“Yeah, but how’m I goin’ to find a man if I only ever hang out with you lot?”

“What about the men who come into this café?  Surely there are some decent straight guys among them?”

“Yeah.  Till you see they’ve taken their wedding ring off for their night out.  Or they think foreplay is the same as watching the footy.  Or they don’t return your phone calls.”

“Well, gays do that too,” said Keith.

“Men are bastards.”

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Some men, Ezz.  And some men are fuckin’ princes.”  Keith was firm.

“Well, I’m a princess.  I need a prince.”

“Jace and I will find one for ya.  Handsome, kind, sexy, good in bed.”

“How’re you going to find that out.”

“We’ll sleep with him, ‘course.  Numpty!”

They were both grinning at each other by now, and Jason felt a little de trop.  “I’d better go.  I’m a bit tired.”  He stood up and kissed Keith, and for the first time, Esmé.  He stood for a moment holding her hands and then kissed her again.  “Chin up!  Hey, my grandma gets here on Friday.  She’s coming to stay at Majorca Flats with my landlady.  You’ll like her.  I’ll organise a party.”

As he left, he pulled out his mobile and started to text Luigi.  Then he stopped and decided he would go and see him at his flat the next day.

 

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Jace-babe, what’s all this about sloping off to Oz like this, all secretive?  I managed to worm it out of gran when she thought she was getting info from me.

You know you can do what you want, Jacie-Dacie, but you could have told me you were just going to light out.  I had conniptions when you weren’t there when I got home from work.  Mum has been nagging the living soulcase out of me to find out where you are, asking me twenty times a day where you’ve gone to and I’ve been answering as vaguely as possible but she can nag as you know.  Full of grumbles and complaints, as if she were the one who’d lost something.  She went on and on about how if you’d only found a nice girlfriend “from our class” “this would never have happened.”  I could have struck her and in the end I said “Well it has happened and he’s your son and don’t you think it’s time you started loving him?”   So now we aren’t speaking.

Jace, I’m so sorry about Brent.  I did tell you before, but I don’t know whether you were listening, you were so sad.  So I’m telling you again. You know he and I got on, don’t you?  I think he was a bit intimidated by me at first but I watched how he watched you and he was besotted.  He adored you, Jace.  So of course, after I saw that, how could I not like him?  I miss him as much as I miss you.  I keep on thinking of afternoons when the three of us would do stuff together.  I miss his sense of humour, the sly way he’d look at me when he was about to say something ridiculous or outrageous.  Curse it, I’m crying now.

I’m not helping, am I?  I just wish things had turned out differently.  But don’t reject me along with the rest of the family.  I know Mark was tepid about Brent and your gayness and mum was simply horrid but truly I was on your side and I still am.

Do write, Jacie-Dacie.  I miss you more than I can say.

Your loving sister

Amanda

P.S. They always end letters like that in those soppy books you used to read but you know I don’t know anyone who really ends letters like that.  So I’ll end properly:

Heaps of love, Jacie-Dacie, you sodding rascal

Gups.

P.P.S. Write back soon or I’ll kill you.

P.P.P.S.  Worse, I’ll give mum your email address and tell her where you are.

 

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Darling Jason,

Well, your mama heard about my trip to Australia and turned up in such a tizz convinced that I was going to see you so I said that as well as Mrs Cumberledge I was going out to see Lucy Anstruthers in Malaya you know the wife of Colonel Anstruthers who was seconded to help the Malayan air force after independence or is it called something else now look at Rhodesia which has a new name and they stayed on after independence.  And I told her I was also going to see my dear friend Eleanor Cumberledge since it was such a long way and she said suspiciously that I’d never mentioned her before and I was annoyed why does she have to vet my friends I ask you.  So I asked her if her memory was going and was she very stressed in a polite way I assure you so she said of course she was stressed and there was no ingratitude sharper than a serpent’s tooth which is a misquote from the Bible you know the verse I mean but she meant you and how you’d mistreated her.  I saw red and decided to be sharp with her and gave her my mind about you and Brent and how selfish she had been and I think I’ve burnt my bridges which is a pity because she is family but really to try and say it was all your fault and why didn’t you just find a nice girlfriend?  She said more but I shan’t repeat it because she is your mother after all but really she can be more offensive than anyone I know and that includes Betty Whistlethorp who made a fine art of being rude and offensive but that was at school so I don’t think you met her tiresome creature.

So I will be spending a few days with Lucy whom I haven’t seen for 20 years since she came over to England with Hugh the colonel I mean only he’s dead now poor man from heart attack men are such fragile creatures we women have to endure childbirth and children and men so we are strong so Lucy is quite alone but she has faithful servants who have been with for 30 years or more.   I had to change my flight but British Airways was very kind about it though what was wrong with B.O.A.C. I don’t know but I suppose I should have got used to the new name now but when I went overseas with your grandfather we always flew B.O.A.C. I think except once we went with TWA which was dreadful and another time when we flew Air France with the Concorde.  So I won’t get there on Friday after all but on next Wednesday and I know I said Thursday before but I forgot the time difference anyway Parker checked the details and I gave her your email I hope you don’t mind just in case and she will probably want Mrs Cumberledge’s and Lucy’s phone numbers so if you can send me Mrs Cumberledge’s that would be useful.

And my passport arrived.  How they will believe that’s me I don’t know I’m sure I really do look like a Chinese Madam with hordes of odalisques at my beck and  call and lots of hidden power and mystique which is quite untrue.   Janet Fitstone was quite put out that I had the temerity to go travelling all the way across the world by myself as if I was a dotard which is a bit much really since it is she who has got all dithery but I think she wanted to come with me which is quite out of the question imagine having her all quavery and irritable and she always hated to go exploring and do different things and I do intend to enjoy myself.  By the way I want to go and see Sydney Harbour Bridge because I saw pictures of it as a girl and I’ve always wanted to as long as it’s not too far from Melbourne.

gran

 

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Luigi knew at once he’d been a dill.  What on earth had possessed him to chuck a wobbly over nothing?  Of course Keith thought there was some kind of promise between them.  Because there was.  He knew quite well that nothing exclusive had been proposed or suggested just that whatever they, the three of them, had was special.  He knew Keith wouldn’t fuss if he, Luigi, picked up a bloke.  Any more than he would if Keith found someone.  Perhaps it was all the talk about het stuff.  Esmé made him feel a little uncomfortable.  He wasn’t used to women who took all that gay stuff in their stride.  All that talk about fucking.  Somehow it offended him that a woman should talk like that.  He knew how silly this was and that only made him feel worse.  He was grumpy and peevish and knew that that was absurd.

Then he caught a glimpse of something which really ruined his evening.

 

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Keith sat quietly holding both Esme’s hands.

“I’m not much help, am I, Ezz?  What you need is a 100% stright blaoke who loves ya.  And ya’ve got me instaid.”

Esme squeezed his hands.  “You’re my best friend and I love you.”

“Yeah, but ya knaow all the reasons …  Ezzaloona, I love you.  You’re my best friend.  But I love Tom, too. And I think I’m … well … Jason is a top blaoke.”

“Yeah.  I know.  I like him immensely.  He’s so different to what I expected.”

“What did you expect?”

“I dunno.  An upper-class twit.  All teeth and fruity voice and bobbing Adam’s apple.  He does speak very posh but he’s seems so ordinary.  I really like him.”

“Me too.  He’s … he’s lovely.”

They looked at each other then smiled simultaneously.  Keith pulled her close and hugged her.  She could feel his hard-on pressed against her.   She looked at him her eyes dark.  “That’s not a good idea.”

“Naow.  Maybe not.  But I want to.”

They set off for his flat.

 

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Keith pushed Esmé’s bicycle with one hand and held her hand with the other.  She lived a ten minute’s bike ride away from the café, and rode her bike to work.

He put the bike against the wall of his sitting-room and pulled her into an embrace.  Esmé always enjoyed his kisses.  He kissed as if he meant and enjoyed it, not as a necessary prelude to sex to be got through as quickly as possible.  His tongue was strong and mobile, his lips full and sexy.  He kissed her mouth, her chin, her eyes and eyebrows, her neck.  His own arousal was obvious.  It kindled her desire.  With her hands she rubbed the woody she could feel through his jeans and pressed herself against him.

He lifted her T-shirt over her head and kissed her shoulders and her neck, tracing a line down towards her breasts.  He undid her bra and in a moment she felt the warmth of his mouth on her nipples.  For a moment he used just his lips and tongue.  She gave a groan of pleasure when his teeth grazed them.  A sharp electric line of pleasure ran through her body to her groin.

“Come through,” he urged, his eyes dark with lust.

On the bed, he undid the top button of her jeans and pulled down the zip.  He tugged them off her.  She was wearing a red thong with embroidered black roses.  “Sexy!” was his laconic comment before he pulled their waistband down with his teeth and started licking the folds of her pussy.  “Oh yes, Key, oh God that’s good!”  He lifted his head and smiled. She felt a rush of love for him.  Don’t! she told herself.  He’s gay.  Don’t fall in love with him.  But she couldn’t really think straight with his mouth on her, his tongue inside her, his hands stroking her chest and sides.

He took off his T-shirt and unbuttoned his jeans.  He stood in front of her in his boxers, his erection tenting the fabric.  The tip of his cock was wet with pre-cum.  In a slow striptease, he wriggled out of his boxers, and his cock popped free.

“C’mere!” she said.  He moved up to her and she took him into his mouth.

“Wait, let me put on a cock-jacket,” he said.

“I hate them.”

“Ezz, we’ve been through this.  I don’t want you to get anythin’.”  She knew what he meant by anything.  She smiled a little, sadly.  Why did she have to fall in love with a bloke who wasn’t just gay but also poz?  Sometimes life was such a fucking bitch.

He rolled the condom onto himself and then entered her, his eyes never leaving hers.  His tongue had brought her close, and he angled himself so that each thrust rubbed against her clitoris sending waves of pleasure through her whole body.

She came first, and that brought him to the edge too.  He kissed her frantically and then she felt him thicken even further inside her. His hands gripped her shoulders tight.  He arched his back and he pressed himself deeper into her as he climaxed.

 

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They lay together in the afterglow.  Esmé knew that it wouldn’t last, this happiness, this contentment.  Keith was gay, and one day he’d find a man he really loved, and they’d get married.  But “sufficient unto the day the evil thereof”.  She would worry about that when it happened.  She snuggled up to him.

“Hi, beautiful!”  said Keith.

“Hi yourself, sexylegs.”  She put her head close to his.  She could hear his breathing slowing.  “So are you fucking Jace and Lou?”

“Yeah.  And Tom.  I’m a slut, amn’t I?”  But he didn’t sound sorry.

“What happens when you find Mr Right?”

He pulled her closer, and drew the bedclothes over them against the late night chill.  “Maybe I have.”  He stopped for a while.  Just as she was about to break the silence, he said “I have this draim.  Of you and me and Jace, sharin’ a house and a life.”  He was silent again.  “I know it’s a draim.  It’ll never happen.  Things daon’t work out like that.  See, Ezz, I’m gay enough to need a man in my life.  I daon’t want to have a wife and then cheat on her behind her back.  Like Cody with Lou.  And I don’t want casual pick-ups.  I mean, they’re hot and all that, but … I want love.  There isn’t room for people like me in this world.  The gays think I’m a fake, that when I like women I’m pretendin’.  The strights think I’m just another hypocritical homo.  All that stuff.  All those expectations.  Fuck it, Ezz, I love ya and I love blaokes too.  Settle daown they say.  But I’m me!  Not them.  And naow I’m hurtin’ ya, roight?”

Unable to speak, she just kissed him.  Yes, he was hurting her.  Oh yes.  But if he changed, he wouldn’t be Keith any more.  The sparkle would go out of him.  She didn’t want that.  But she didn’t know whether she could take him as he was.

She’d been right.  The happiness didn’t last.

 

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Luigi stared through the window at the two men on the barstools in the café.  Cody was staring deep into the eyes of an older bloke.  They seemed very intimate.  He was filled with rage.  He wanted to go in and wring Cody’s neck.  How dare he!

The older man was slim with salt-and-pepper hair, his face a little lined with rubbery folds, and undeniably handsome.  He looked vaguely familiar.  Luigi wondered where he’d seen him before.  Cody looked as handsome as ever.  Luigi’s anger was quickly replaced with sorrow.  After all, it was he who’d dumped Cody, not the other way round.  Even taking into account that Cody had deceived him …

He stood back so that Cody wouldn’t see him.  Yet he was unable to simply walk away.  His life with Cody was over.  But his heart was breaking.  If he could just look at him again.

Cody and the man stood up and left the café.  Cody seemed to be tipsy, and his companion was helping him.  They came to a Volkswagen van or mini-bus.  Supporting Cody with one hand, the man wrenched open the van door.  Cody turned and looked directly at Luigi.  Their eyes locked.  Luigi’s heart stopped.  He felt sick.  Then Cody smiled, a sweet smile, and unable to help himself, Luigi smiled back.

A moment later, the car drove off.  Turning on his heel, Luigi plodded home, his mood black and despairing.

 

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Jason knocked at the flat’s door.  Luigi opened it and stared at him in silence.  Jason’s heart sank.

“May I come in?” he asked, his upper-class English accent suddenly strong.

Luigi bowed.

“You all right, Lou?”

Luigi’s shiny black-olive eyes were sad.  “I don’t know, Jace.  I …  I feel …”

Jason was unable to stand it any more.  He pulled Luigi into a hug.  He squeezed the other man hard and then he kissed him.

“What happened last night?” he asked.

Luigi stared at him.  He didn’t pretend not to understand.  Still held by Jason’s arms he muttered, “I dunno, Jace.  Maybe … it was … fuck!”

“Did Esmé freak you out?”

Luigi rubbed his chin on Jason’s stubble.

“Having fun?” asked Jason.

Luigi grinned.  “Sorry, I had a sudden itch.  And you’re holding my arms.”

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“Did Esmé being there freak you out?”

“It’s … it’s just that I’m afraid that Keith will decide to go straight.  And then …”

 

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“Yes.  I understand.  Another Cody.”

Luigi rested his head against Jason’s.  Through the bones of his skull, Jason heard Luigi say, “I saw him last night.”

Jason turned to look directly at Luigi’s face.  “Did you talk?”

“No.  I … I couldn’t speak.  I couldn’t.  But … he smiled at me, Jace.  And it all came back.  How much I loved him.  How much I’m still hurting.  I loved him so much, Jace.  So fucking much!”

Jason hugged him closer.   “Why don’t you …?”

“ … never!  He deceived me!”

“But he loves you, doesn’t he?”

“Yes.  He does.  But I’ll always have to come second.  His wife will come first.  And if one day she finds out, that’ll be it.”

“Maybe … maybe she’ll chuck him out?”

“Yeah.  But he’s straight.  He’s a pussy-hound.  I could see when he was with her.  He loves her.”

“And you think Keith’s going to do that to you?”

“I don’t know!”  Luigi voice was anguished.  There was a long silence, and Jason just kept on stroking Luigi’s back.  “I don’t want to …  to hurt like that again.”

Jason just nodded, his hands warm angainst Luigi’s back.

“And besides.  All that het stuff.  It … makes me feel … worthless.  We don’t count for anything with them.  You know that.”

 

219

 

“Esmé isn’t like that.”

“Isn’t she?  She’s fucking in love with Key.  For all I know, they’re fucking.”

“So?  Keith fucks Tom.  You knew that, didn’t you?”

“Yeah.”  Luigi scowled.  “But it’s different!”

“Why?”

Luigi pulled himself out of Jason’s arms and went to stand at the window looking down at the street below.  A tram went by, rattling over its tracks, and the driver pinged its bell at a wayward car.  “I don’t know,” he said at last.  “Maybe because … because if you’re married you’re supposed to be faithful and all that stuff.  Maybe because the hets always win.  Everybody approves of marriage!  Everybody goes all dewy-eyed about a newly married couple.  As long as they’re a man and a woman.  Everybody’s assumptions are that this is the real relationship and ours is inferior.  Worthless.  Meaningless.”

“Keith would never hurt you, Lou.”

“Yes, he would, if Esmé married him and then said marriage is for two and he had to be faithful to her.  I knew a bi bloke who got married and his wife knew he was bi and before the marriage said ‘no it’s fine I won’t mind if you have a man occasionally.’  As soon as they were married, she said, ‘oh, I can’t bear it when you’re with a man.’  So he stopped.”

 

220

 

Luigi threw himself down on the sofa.  “Look at Cody.  His marriage was the thing.  His sex with men would always be less worthy, less important, never mind that he loved me.”

Jason went over to the sofa and sat down next to him.  “So he did love you.”

“Oh yes!  I knew that.  It makes it worse, somehow.  That his love for me counted for less than his love for his wife, even with him.  And because he needed a man in his life he went out and had casual tricks, until he met me.  Who the fuck knows, maybe even after he and I were …”  Luigi shook his head in disgust and despair.

Jason lay down with his head on Luigi’s stomach.  “Go on,” he said.

Luigi sighed.  “It’s just that we can’t win with bi guys.  We’re always going to come second.  Cody, Keith … you.”

Jason lifted up Luigi’s T-shirt and licked the firm flatness of his abs.  “Me?” he asked, nipping Luigi’s skin with his teeth.  “Me?” he asked again, running his tongue down Luigi’s torso towards the waistband of his thong.

“You’re just trying to distract me, aren’t you?” asked Luigi, mildly annoyed.

“Yeah, and looking for a cuddle.”

“And a fuck!”

“That too,” replied Jason placidly.

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