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By Aiden Shaw
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Format:ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around May 26, 2009. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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"Had enough?" said David.
Ryan slid a rucksack half his size off his shoulder and onto the front porch. "Very enough!"
"Very enough. Is that how the kids are talking now?"
"For over a decade."
"You're looking . . ." David paused. The chaotic colour from the flowers in the garden framed Ryan's air-brushed looking features. " . . . Pretty as a picture."
"And you look like a Ken doll. All you need is a pie in your hands and you could upgrade to a Stepford husband."
"If you're referring to my baby blue gingham shirt, yeah it's a bit too quaint, but it's my favorite, a present from my Man."
"Oh! Speaking of heavenly He-Men how is Joe?"
"He's . . ." David tried to find the right word and drifted off for a moment. " . . . Joe."
"Wow! Could you be any more in love?"
"I try, but I think I've peaked. Anyway, what happened exactly?"
"Mum found some pot in my jacket."
"Big deal, right?" Bothered by the memory of this Ryan shifted his weight from one leg to the other and sighed. "Are you going you make me stand out here all day?"
"I'm sorry and you're cheeky!"
"You love it."
"Well, I love you," said David. "So I guess I love it."
"That's why I'm here."
David took Ryan by the hand and said, "Come in. And give me that rucksack. It looks heavy."
"It is. I didn't know how long I'd be away."
"Well, we'll talk about all that later. I'll stick this here for now" David said putting the rucksack at the bottom of the stairs. "And you can take it up later." He kept on talking as he guided Ryan into a huge living room. "It's a generational thing, I think . . . With your mum, I mean."
"She's only a year older than you." Then acknowledging the décor, "And wow! This room's crazier than ever."
"Yeah," said David both responding to Ryan's comment about his mum and the way the room, looked. "But she's a different species."
"She's your sister. Same blood."
"More important though she's a parent,"
"And we know they're from Planet Freaky. I like this paving on the floor, it's like outside in."
"Right!" David tried to relate to Ryan as a youngster talking about his mother, and at the same time not feel offended as he listened to somebody straight talking about the decor. "But!"
"Does there have to be a but?"
"Hold that tongue Young Man. Don't be blasphemous! The butt is sacred. What would we gays do without them?"
"I don't know." Ryan rubbed his chin in a comical way, yet still considered the question seriously. "Stand up?"
"Anyway, back to the less important thing I was going to say. But . . . I don't need to tell you how much she loves you, do I?"
"No, so don't. It's not what I want to hear right now. Just humor me."
"Okay. Well you're fine here until this blows over."
Ryan took hold of David's arm. "Listen, I appreciate this."
"Shut up, you soft bugger. I couldn't have you sleeping on the street."
The living room smelled of fresh paint. It had, as long as Ryan could remember. "Some things don't change", said Ryan looking around the room. "And by that I mean this house looks completely different, but just as mental every time."
"That's Joe for you," said David. He noticed that Ryan still held onto his arm, but he didn't mind. "Anyway, are you going to give me a hug?"
"Of course, I'm sorry. Come here."
They pulled together. Anybody watching would have thought them lovers, not friends, and definitely not relatives.
"Do you hug all your male friends like this?" David asked.
"If they're as cute as you are. I don't do un-models."
"Oh shit! I haven't modelled for a while now. Am I still good enough?"
"Once a model, always a model. Just because you went from London, New York, Paris and Milan to Hampstead house-husband, you can't just shake off your heritage."
"Oh great!" said David with sarcasm in his voice. Then his tone changed to one of concern, "Look, come sit here." He led Ryan to large emerald green velvet sofa. Directly opposite was another sofa that looked just the same.
"Why so much seating?" said Ryan, flopping down. "Jesus Christ Almighty!" he added. "Comfy!"
"It's goose down."
Embarrassed by the decadence David nodded his head apologetically. On the floor beside the other sofa Ryan noticed several beer cans and what looked like a couple of discarded paper wraps from some drug. Knowing David and Joe, he guessed it was cocaine.
"I see you like your beer," said Ryan.
"I'm afraid so."
"Yes!" said Ryan intending to prove that he was adult enough, but only showing that he was still young enough to think it made him seem older.
"Whoa! A proper person."
"Not so proper." At this, Ryan laid back in a cocky way. He put one hand behind his head and hooked the thumb of his other hand into the waistband of his worn out jeans.
This sequence of actions made David feel weird, and he took a moment to understand what was happening to him. When he realised that he felt aroused, it came as a question, an answer, and a surprise. With seamless timing, he managed to mask his reaction by raising one eyebrow and saying with a patronising tone, "Well, I'll get you a beer from the kitchen and when I get back you can shock me rigid with an anecdote or two." Slightly taken aback Ryan turned away with a huff. David's eyes automatically skimmed over his nephew's body, noticing a thread bare t-shirt that had risen up just enough to reveal a toned tummy and the tip of some golden pubic hair. Full of conflicted thoughts and feelings, suddenly David stood up and said, "So, beer it is!" Then he headed towards the kitchen while his confusion developed into anxiety. "Make yourself comfortable," he added to distract himself from his own thoughts and feelings.
"That's not difficult on this sparrow down sofa." Ryan settled into its welcome and rubbed his cheek against the soft fabric. After enjoying the physical sensation of the texture, he turned his attention to the decor. At the far left of the room was a huge window with a chemical blue wooden frame with purple and black striped shutters. Directly under the window was an old iron bench. This was all set against a faecal-brown wall that Ryan assumed must have been some kind of decor irony.
To the right hand corner of this wall was a solid looking wooden chair with a seat covered in some kind of reptile skin. He thought it looked twisted, moody, and masculine, despite the obsessive attention to fuck with colour. At the opposite end of the room, hundreds of typed sheets of paper covered the entire wall. Between these, and directly in front of Ryan was a pale green expanse, in the centre of which, outlined by a two inch glossy red line was an enormous flat screen TV. To the right of this, was the sofa that faced Ryan. He tilted his head back to check out the wall directly behind him, and saw inch wide vertical stripes, a combination of all the other colours in the room.
When David returned, Ryan picked up the conversation where they'd left it, "Yeah, sixteen, so don't mess with me."
"I wouldn't. Child Services would take you away from me. And that would break my heart."
"Hey, less of the child, if you don't mind."
"Oh that's right, you're sixteen." David handed Ryan a can of beer.
David got onto the sofa, layback and put his feet up on Ryan's lap. "Cheers Kid. Oops sorry . . . It's just an expression."
"I know. Don't get all paranoid."
Ryan opened his can, tipped it to toast David, and drank. Since Ryan was eight years old, David had seen him nearly every year. Still, it surprised him that his nephew was turning into a man. Not just any man, but one with a slim waist, smooth hairless suntanned skin, and striking hazel eyes. His hair was about four inches long, and because the sun had lightened it, he looked like a surfer. With a slight erotic charge, David watched Ryan's Adam's apple move up and down as he swallowed.
"Do you feel different now you're a man?" David wondered if he'd voiced the word man in a creepy way. He hoped to obscure his apparent attraction, and so after taking several large gulps of beer he forced a burp, but this made him feel more self-conscious because he knew it was so out of character.
Oblivious to David's concern about what shade he might have laid on the word man, Ryan began to massage one of David's feet.
"Please don't patronise me," said Ryan acting as though he'd said it thousands of times before.
"There you go again."
"I didn't, did I?"
"You said Puppy."
"It's a term of affection. You've got to let me call you that."
"Oh okay," said Ryan "Anyway, where's Joe?"
"He's gone to the West End with some kid."
"No. I just don't know his name."
"I saw the Levi's ad he did. That was so cool."
"Yeah, Joe's cool all right," David said with a note of irony.
"There's that tone in your voice again."
"I'm just a bit down. I could do with a holiday."
"So why don't you have one?" Ryan seemed genuinely sincere, which touched David.
"When'd you get so adorable?"
Ryan responded with an expression he knew was cute. "Who me?" he said, feigning surprise and humility.
"Yes you! Getting back to what you were asking. The main reason I don't go away is work." David paused, as he thought about what he'd said. "But I'm sure somebody would be happy enough to pick up my shifts." This thought made him rub his feet together.
Ryan understood rubbing feet as happy thoughts. "So go," he said as encouragement.
"And you won't have a party when I'm away?"
"Of course not."
"Of course you would. You act as if I was never young."
"You were young?"
"In the Eighties. Or Seventies."
"Give me a break," said David, prodding Ryan's ribs with his feet.
"Ow! Stop! Stop! Please!"
"Well you stop being so cheeky." He climbed on top of Ryan. "I didn't know you were so ticklish. "Prepare to die, or say you're sorry."
"Okay. Okay." Ryan pleaded. "I'm sorry."
"Really though. How old did you think I was?"
Ryan squinted, and then his face shone with a smile. "What really?"
"Don't you dare," said David.
"You know I dare."
"That's what I hate about you," he said, acting angry.
Then he paused and his voice softened. "And love." David stood up again, walked over, and closed over the shutters on the window. "I'm hot," he said. Then to clarify. "The sun's a bit intense this time of day." On his return, he knelt between Ryan's legs. Then he rested his elbows on his Ryan's knees, and for a moment couldn't help wondering how much, if anything, Ryan was aware of David's underlying feelings for him. "How was your journey? Did you have any problems with the tube?"
"No, but it took ages."
"That's the Northern Line for you."
"You think there'd be a special service for their Hampstead clientele. A high-speed train."
"Get recent. London underground, spend money?"
"Sorry," said Ryan, and was amused that David said get recent. "I'm not up with your big city ways."
"You country kids are so cute."
"I hardly think Manchester's classed as country."
"Where is that place, anyway?" David asked playfully. With this, he hooked his arms under Ryan's knees and lifted his legs in the air.
"What place?" Ryan laughed. "You going to fuck me now?"
David played along. "Maybe . . . I meant that Manfester place you mentioned. I have heard of it, I think. "You must take me sometime. While I'm there I'll visit Judy."
Ryan set down his beer. "It's odd hearing her called that."
"What should I call her?"
"It would be a bit twisted calling my sister mum.
Don't you think?"
"That would suit you."
"Enough," said David using Ryan's legs to lean on as he stood up. "You're too quick for your own good."
"That's what my girlfriend says. Too quick!"
"Yeah! Not everyone's gay."
David sat down on the sofa and put his arm around Ryan's shoulders.
"You're very touchy feely," said Ryan without a trace of humour.
"What, too much?"
Ryan thought for a moment, "No." Then he grinned. "Aren't you getting enough?"
"I've no idea. Got no benchmark."
"Arh! Sweet Man." Ryan cuddled into David's chest, and then to comfort him further, he stroked David's tummy like a pet. This simple action created a more complex reaction, which ignited in David's brain, fluttered while moving from his chest to his gut, then rushed down to his groin where it pulsed. Spooked a bit, David withdrew and reached for a cushion to cover his crotch. "Here put your head on this Puppy. You must be tired."
"Thanks Dad." Ryan paused thoughtfully. "You know sometimes I wish you really were my dad."
"Your boyfriend, thought David. "Me too," he said instead.
"I love you."
"Me you too. Anyway, what's she called? The girlfriend."
"Her name's Leila, but she answers to Baby, Foxy, or Slut, depending on her mood."
"You mean your mood."
"Oh no, not with Leila." Now Ryan stared off into space. His gaze wasn't dreamy like David's but looked more intense and exhilarated. "She's a model," he continued distracted by the picture in his head.
"Shit! You weren't kidding about not doing un-models."
Ryan looked serious. "I wouldn't kid about such an important thing."
Leila had been brought up Jewish, although she was Persian in origin. She was extremely intelligent, and beautiful, a tentative combination in itself, but added to this she had an at-times-childlike-but-always-rebellious nature and a changeful personality. Ryan liked the blend he knew as Leila, finding her enigmatic and so intriguing. The thing that attracted him most was that she was kooky.
Once, when modelling for Vivienne Westwood, she went on the catwalk drinking whiskey from a bottle. Then when she stopped in front of the photographers, she lifted her skirt to show them she wasn't wearing underwear. Somebody must have intervened, because she never came back on.
Leila was six feet tall; hardly the tallest model working but she had a distinctive quality about her. She held and carried herself in a unique way that was compelling to watch. Her lips, eyes and face shape all verged on average, but this generally worked to her advantage, because make-up artists could make her look any way they chose. Still it was her manner that set her apart from her pears, and so despite her behaviour in Westwood's show, she was still booked season after season. Bookers and designers alike never seemed to get tired of her.
The coolest of people usually wanted to be near, with, or preferably in Leila, but her interests lay mainly with one person; Ryan. Generally, she couldn't get enough of his time, and attention but most of all his affection. She mothered the boyish, sweet, and unaffected him. While at the same time respected and looked up to him, especially when he protected and guided her. They had a tight relationship; both intimate, and sure. When Ryan died his hair green, Leila did too, and when he shaved his head, so did she. Invariably they looked stunning as a couple. They had been seeing each other a little over a year. Leila often tried and succeeded in impressing Ryan. She knew he liked unusual behaviour, so played up to this. One of her favourite tricks was to shock strangers. When entering a busy café, she would stand in the middle of it and lift her skirt over her head. Usually nobody complained. Women tended to pull a sympathetic expression, or look away. Men simply stared, embarrassed, confused, and excited.
Another of her favourites acts might follow immediately afterwards. She'd sit next to somebody, sometimes at a table full of people. Putting her head in her hand, and resting on one elbow, she'd stare at the food they were eating. She'd lick her lips, not taking her eyes off the plate in front of them. After a short time, the people who were eating would usually offer her their food. Other times, she'd wait until they were finished eating, then ask if she could have their leftovers. If they said yes, she'd slide the plate in front of her, and using their fork, would finish their meal. Predictably, several cafés banned her. Still, Ryan encouraged her behaviour, thinking it was funny.
When Leila had her head shaved, she took to wearing a long red curly wig. On close inspection, it was obviously not real hair, but from a few feet away it was surprisingly deceptive. When stopped at a red light, other drivers would always look to see who was driving. This is when Ryan took hold of the wig, from the bottom, out of sight. Slowly, he'd pull at the wig so it slid back, off Leila's head. Sometimes, she would pretend nothing had happened, simply turn towards those watching and smile. Other times, she would face the other drivers, put both her hands to her head and scream.
Leila had a scar in the middle of her chest, two inches under the base of her neck. She liked to wear V-necks, so it showed clearly. No matter how glamorous a dress she was wearing. It was never covered. The way it was displayed felt as though she was saying, 'so what!' She lived off a large allowance given her by her parents, so had enough money to have it removed, but preferred to keep it.
"I like her," said Ryan.
"I didn't use the L word."
"Everyone knows," David added as he leaned forward and whispered into Ryan's ear. "Like is a euphemism."
"Give me a break."
"Sorry! Don't straight guys do love?"
Ryan smirked. "No, it's so Victorian. Why? Do gays?"
"Of course not," said David and put his hands behind his head. We're famous for our fickle relationships and proud of them too."
"Oh, yeah! I saw the movie Cruising."
"It's all we do, you know."
Ryan gave the room a swift once over with his eyes. "That, and decorate."
"Yeah, but you have to admit, we do it well."
"What, decorate or cruise?"
Now David looked around at the décor, but gestured more subtly with his eyes. "Cruise, of course."
"Hey Buddy! You're not being very comfortable." How do you know how I feel? thought David. However, he opted to voice a different question, "So? What's going to happen with Leila now?"
"She said she'd move down here as well. Manfester's too small for her, anyway."
"We'll have to meet her first, but she could always stay here until you both get settled."
"Don't mention anything to her yet. First, let me have a word with Joe."
"God that would be so great."
"Room, we've got," said David, using a caricature of a Jewish accent.
"What rooms they are." With his beer still in his hand, Ryan got up and walked over to the wall with the writing on it.
"What is this?"
"A fairytale." David looked suddenly nervous.
"I won't make the obvious joke."
"You'd be the first not to."
Inspecting the paper more closely Ryan asked, "Who wrote it?"
"Joe. You might recognise it. I read it to you when you were a kid."
"No, I don't remember," said Ryan, and paused. He read a little. "Nice idea."
"Thanks. It was Christmas, the first time you visited. I read it to you in bed."
"Aah Stop! You're making me feel all fuzzy."
"You loved it at the time."
"No doubt," said Ryan with his back to David. "It looks sweet, but I really can't remember."
"Really?" David smiled, but this betrayed how he felt inside.
Sorry I'll read it sometime, and see if it jolts my memory," Ryan said with a sip on his beer." But, why on the wall?"
"I haven't a clue. It was Joe's idea." David paused, seemingly distracted. "He likes how it looks, I guess."
"Now he's a funny one."
"Yeah, creative," said David...
"That sounds like you're referring to his sexuality, or what he likes to do in bed."
"Well, I guess it covers all bases."
"Spare me the details," Ryan said with a wave of his hand.
"You're the one who brought it up."
"Actually, I'd love to know what you get up to."
"Really?" David folded his arms, but only for a moment before. He needed a prop again and so reached once more for his beer.
"It's interesting for me," said Ryan with his attention still on the writing. "I haven't a clue, you know. What's the weirdest thing you guys have done?"
"Joe's not weird," said David. Then, almost wistfully, "He's quite vanilla actually."
Ryan turned, and joined David again on the sofa. "Ah, come on! Give me something juicier than that."
"Well, it would have to be somebody else then."
"So download," said Ryan clearly prepared to focus. "I'm ready."
"I used to see this man called Rob."
"Rob . . . Good. We have a name . . . And?" said Ryan joking, but a little impatient too.
"He used to like to take Rohypnol, that's a sleeping tablet."
"I know. Do you think I was born yesterday?"
"No. The day before. Anyway, it's hard to get hold of now."
"You've just got to know the right people."
"And do you?" asked David sceptically.
"My man can get me any shit I want," said Ryan with an admirable Brooklyn accent. David was a little surprised. Ryan dropped it seamlessly and continued, "Anyway, what about Rob?"
"Oh yeah. Rob." David paused and wondered if he should censor the anecdote, he was about to tell for his nephew. He didn't. "We'd take enough to knock us out. It usually took three or four to do the trick properly."
"So what's so fun about sleeping?"
"Only one of us would sleep. The other would do whatever he wanted."
"I get you."
"I mean whatever."
"Did you do it to him?"
"What did you do?"
"Are you sure you want to hear this?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
"Sorry, I mean, am I sure you want to hear this?"
"You should be. You know what a culture dog I am. If I haven't done it, or can't do it myself, I sure as hell want to hear all about it, especially the inside story."
"Exactly how inside do you want to get?"
"Does it involve poo?"
"No!" said David covering his mouth and holding his stomach as though about to vomit.
"Of course there'll be bum holes," said David. "Do you think we'd sketch each other then clean house until the other woke?"
"Phew!" As long as there are bum holes it's bound to be good "
The fact that Ryan was so bold in joking about sex turned David off, as it made him feel freakish and side-show. Also, it was too upfront, not innuendo enough.
"So give me the scoop."
- On Sale
- May 26, 2009
- Page Count
- 320 pages
- Running Press