Green Room II
For the next half hour we exchanged not a word. We ate in silence. Following the meal, Brett asked if I wanted another beer. When he left to fetch it from the house, I dove into the pool to clean off the blood and dirt. "I'll give you some credit," he said when he returned, "you got bull's balls for coming here to tell me what you did."
"I'm trying to straighten things out with people, that's all. You were the first on my list. And, yes, I am in shit. I told my supplier I'm not dealing anymore."
"Not sure I believe you, but if that's true, it's pretty hectic."
"Only for a while. The heat will cool eventually. This trip was worth it, though--gave me time to think about things."
"I didn't mean what I said about Kyle. I know he thought the world of you. Pity you wasted all that."
"He thought the world of everyone. I haven't handled his absense. I'm taking too long to get over it."
"We never will, you know. He got under our skin and into our hearts. You don't ever get over someone like Kyle. Too many memories. I don't ever want to forget him. I owe him the rest of my life."
"Think we'll ever meet someone like him again?"
"Not in this lifetime."
"Imagine him here right now, running around with a massive boner bouncing all over the place, and laughing. He was always laughing, and calling us wusses for keeping our shorts on."
Brett responded to my remark in a way that totally took me by surprise. He dropped his shorts, then raised his beer and said: "To Kyle." I followed suit: "To Kyle."
In Kyle's honor, we remained naked the rest of the night. Once in a while, we got an erection, which soon deflated, but never quite became flaccid. Brett began a debate about cut versus uncut, which was the more sensitive, and which could satisfy a girl more. He was cut, as was Kyle. "I can last longer," I grinned.
By midnight, we were on our backs, studying the heavens. Brett switched off all lights. We tried to spot satellites in the perfectly clear West Australian sky. "He's up there now, laughing his tits off," Brett commented.
"You really believe that?"
"I do. I honestly think he watches over us every single day."
"I'd like to believe that."
"I've done some really stupid things, and I want to set them right."
"Apology accepted. You got some serious mending to do back in Byron, mate. Melanie, for one. I also think you should stay away from Graham. He's an easy drug target and can be a real little jerkoff when he's stubborn. He's too much like Kyle in some ways. Melanie told me you spiked Kyle's drinks one time. I think I might know why, and I think you're playing with fire. For all Graham's shit, I'll look after him because that's what Kyle would want. And if anyone fucks with the grommet, I'll do some serious damage."
"Can I visit here again, maybe during school breaks, and again after I graduate?"
"Ask me later. Right now there's too much anger in me, directed at you. It's cool that you apologized, but there's an issue of trust here, and that's gonna take a long time to mend."
"I think I understand."
"Tell me, what was your scene with Kyle?"
"How do you mean?"
"Were you into a sexual relationship?" I didn't dare answer the question. Instead, I continued to gaze at the starlit sky. "I think you were," he continued, "together with others."
"How do you figure that?"
"Because of the man. He had no conventional boundaries. If he fell in love, it meant an act of love for him to show it."
"And that would mean...?"
"Yeah, it does. But you've not answered my question, Stuart."
"We were pretty intense."
"How intense? I want to know."
I took a while to summon the nerve to reveal the truth. "All the way." You could have knocked me down with a feather when I heard Brett laugh.
"Kyle," he giggled as he studied the heavens, "you're in the wrong place, bro, you need to get your ass downstairs." With that, we both cracked. Then Brett added, "Melanie knew from the beginning about you two. At the time I thought she talked crap. Don't ask me how she knew, Kyle never spoke a word to her about it. He would never do that. We all have these Kyle secrets that we carry in our hearts."
"So, how intense were you guys?"
"Pretty much but, no, we didn't go that far. It just didn't appeal to me. I think he wanted it, though." Brett cracked again. "Caught his index up my ass a few times, though!"
"I fantasized about you and Kyle together sometimes," I admitted. "Hell, I fantasized about you and me together." This was confession time, right? So I got a little adventurous and let my hand slide down his chest to his pubes.
"You're an inch away from getting your arm broken and shoved up your ass."
"Just don't go there, Stuart. For all that happened between Kyle and me, that was something unique and special, and you'll never step into those shoes."
"I guess a kiss is out of the question?"
"You're a fucking genius."
"So why are you allowing me to touch you?"
"Because it feels good."
"Like a Fingers' massage?"
"He also knows his limits."
"How about giving me a massage?"
Brett straddled my back without hesitation. His talented fingers soon found the knots in my muscles and worked them beautifully. I could easily have dozed off, but I wanted to remember his doing this to and for me. He massaged for twenty minutes, then I offered to massage him.
As my fingers worked his incredible definition, he mumbled, "It's going to be hard for you--you know--to quit the dealing."
"I'm scared about that," I confessed. "I'm not big into pain. I attended one of the syndicate's discipline meetings. There was a little junior school kid there. They beat him up, then threatened to kill him if he quit. He's still dealing."
"So who's your boss?"
"He's not the main man. He controls just one area...black guy...Moroccan, I think. Wanna turn over?"
"You better sit to one side, then," he grinned, referring to his erection. He rolled onto his back and allowed my one hand to explore his chest and abs. "I remember when Kyle touched me like that," he said softly. "You could almost not feel his fingertips, just the electricity tingling my skin."
"I wish I could turn back the clock and make everything right with him."
"He's watching us all the time. He'll know when you've made things right. He sometimes spoke about how much he missed you. He got so crazy mad at you and the drugs thing. I hurt him as well. Sometimes I rocked up to his house, all spaced out. One time his dad opened the door and I almost burst out laughing. Kyle was sooooo pissed off at me. Then I riled him to get a reaction. Always did." Brett's tone changed dramatically. "Move your hand before I move it for you."
My hand retreated instantly from his crotch. "Is it really so bad for you when I do that?"
"Don't spoil it."
"There's no need for aggro, Brett. Kyle was one of the few guys I loved. He taught me how to love."
"You must've gotten a C."
"The way you treated him, Stuart. You've no idea how much he loved us--all of us--and you treated him like shit. His problem was that he always came back for more."
I dove into the pool, swam a few laps, then hung by my elbows on the wall. "We used to be good friends, you and me. Any chance we can again?"
"Nothing's changed. We're still friends, otherwise you wouldn't be here. What are you looking for, Stuart? Do you want me to tell you how much I love you? If that's what you want, be prepared for a rocky ride, boyo, because Kyle had to fight his way into my heart." Brett paused to light another joint, then added thoughtfully: "But when he got there, I loved him more than anyone in the whole world--and still do. If Kyle lived to 100, I still couldn't repay him for what he gave me."
"And what was that?"
"Self respect. He made me feel I was worth something. Most of all, he gave his unconditional friendship--for better or worse."
"Sounds like a marriage."
"Marriage could never be that good."
"Were you jealous?"
"Only when we first met. I thought he was an arrogant fuck. I was jealous of the way he attracted friends."
"Me too. I wanted him all to myself. Only after he was killed did I realize what I had."
"All of us."
"Do you reckon he would have become a marine biologist?"
"Not sure. He planned to go to university this year but I don't know if he could have managed the financial side of things. He would have ended up doing something in relation to the sea, though."
"Will you ever get over him, Brett?"
"People will get over his death, but nobody will get over the person he was, and what they have become as a result of his influence."
"Graham still breaks down and cries for no reason when we're in the surf together."
"Graham lost a brother. None of us will ever understand what that's like."
We chatted for ages about Kyle; the memories, the fun times. Brett's mood lightened quite a bit. He eventually admitted that the physical side of his relationship with Kyle--after completely blowing his mind--was among the most special times of his life. "It's weird," he said, "trying to imagine you and Kyle together. But, then, reflecting on our own intimate moments, maybe it's not so hard. People who never knew him would never understand."
"He thought of you as a god."
"In his mind, all his friends were gods. Each friendship was unique. He made each of us feel as though we were the only friend he had. That was his style. His big thing was touching and being close. If it went any further, it was mutual."
"That's why I never thought the friendship between you and Kyle would work. I'm surprised it went that far."
"We were friends for a long time before it got to the stage you're referring to. It was when Rick arrived from Canada for Kyle's eighteenth birthday that I realized those feelings were, to Kyle, normal--his way of expressing love for a friend. He often told me not to be afraid of getting too close to a friend." Brett burst into laughter. "At first, I thought he was a lunatic!"
"I've longed to talk to someone about my experiences with Kyle."
"Yeah, well, just knowing Kyle was itself an awesome experience."
Time for the biggie. "Could I sleep in your bed tonight, Brett? Not to do anything; just to be close to someone. It's okay if you'd rather not."
"Up early in the morning. I don't want Fingers getting any ideas."
"Is that a yes?"