Dealing with loss – part 4
This story is about gay relationships and (at times in the future) gay sex. If you're not into reading that kind of thing, not old enough to do so, or it is illegal for you to do so in your region, please do not read any further.
This story is a complete work of fiction. The majority of places mentioned exist in real life. All characters are fictional and any correlation to anyone in real life is purely coincidental. All products and services that are copyrighted or trademarked belong to their respective owners.
The author does not intend to suggest or imply anything about any person, place, product, service or company that exists in the real world as well as the fictional one. Although popular technologies and other products are mentioned, a generalized term has been used in place where possible.
What the characters like to eat or drink, and their views on companies/products/etc that exist in real life are part of who they are. Product placement and character views are not intentional. The author really didn't want to reinvent Starbucks, McDonalds, radio stations, or anything else. If a product/place/company/etc is known to be used in bad light for more than a few paragraphs then a generalized term or made-up thing will be created.
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Sam went into the kitchen and got out the pans and ingredients he knew he was going to need. He started the coffee and turned around to see Dan and Dave watching him.
"My house, my kitchen, my oven. Get your arses out of here and watch some tellie. I'll be in with some coffee in a minute," Sam almost shouted at them.
"You're the boss," Dan said. They went back into the lounge and flumped into the sofa switching on the TV. Kids are kids after all so they didn't change the channel when they saw that Inspector Gadget was on.
Sam walked into the living room with a tray putting it on the coffee table. On it was a pot of coffee, milk, sugar, and three mugs. "Help yourselves," he said, walking back into the kitchen.
"Damn! Sam this coffee is great, where did you get it from?" Dave yelled to the kitchen as he almost scolded his tongue and mouth trying to drink it too fast whilst it was still too hot.
"I got it from Tesco," Sam shouted back. "It's Nescafé Alta Rica. When I find something I love the taste of I usually stick with it. You don't have it in the States?"
"I don't know, probably. But you know me. I either drink what's in front of me or pop to the Starbucks."
"You should get out more and live a little!" Sam shouted back. He then realized that was exactly what Dave had said in the e-mail to him.
After another twenty minutes of cooking Sam took all the food into the dining room and shouted, "Go go gadget breakfast! Get your arses in here boys!" He sat down at the end of the table waiting for the others to join him.
When they entered the dining room they both gasped stunned. There were several varieties of cereal sitting on the table along with everything that makes up a good old English breakfast.
Sam had outdone himself. There were sausages, bacon, fried bread, scrambled eggs and fried eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh bread and butter, beans, hash browns and freshly squeezed orange juice.
He knew it was going to be a long day and since Dave was here he thought he'd even bring the waffle iron out of retirement and made some waffles (as well as American-style pancakes) with maple syrup and more butter on the side.
"If you stare at it long enough it might come to life and jump into your mouths," Sam grinned, piling some food onto his plate.
Dave returned the smile. "You know you didn't have to go to all this trouble. God. You even made some American brekkie for me."
"Well. Couldn't have you missing your morning pancakes, could I?"
"Sam, this is too much. Why the fuck didn't you just make some cereal and leave it at that?" Dan asked starting to pour some Rice Krispies into a bowl followed by a lot of milk and sugar.
"I play a good host. Surely you know that by now?"
Sam turned to the cabinet behind him and turned on the DAB digital radio. The room filled with the sound of the local pop music radio station and it's ghastly jingle.
"God. I can't stand listening to that prick in the morning. Puts me right off my breakfast," Sam exclaimed, retuning the radio to talkSPORT. "Alan Brazil's Sports Breakfast is more like it," he said as he went back to eating.
They chatted casually whilst scoffing down the food – some of it surely not touching the sides of their mouths – planning the day ahead. They decided to take the DLR and tube to a park Sam had always liked (the Duck Park as Sam had called it since childhood).
They wondered if the steam train would be running this early in the year and whether or not they'd be able to hire a couple of canoes.
As always, on the way to the park Sam picked up a bag of monkey nuts and some bread from a nearby shop. It was a pure off chance since spring hadn't fully kicked in yet and the squirrels were probably still hibernating, but he did it religiously.
When Dan and Sam had swiped their Oyster Cards to go straight through the barriers at the DLR and tube stations they had to wait for Dave who had to queue for his ticket – something Americanized Brits have forgotten how to do. He almost had a punching match when an old lady with her guide dog barged in front of him whilst Sam and Dan watched on amused.
Sure enough the small steam train wasn't running, and they weren't able to hire any canoes because the whether was so bad the guy that hires them out didn't turn up to the park that day. So they spent the whole day just chilling and chatting – although none of the events of the previous days were brought up in any of the discussions.
They sat down on a bench looking at the lake and Sam threw a couple of pieces of bread on the grass in front of them. He shared the rest of the slices between Dan, Dave and himself and five minutes they later were surrounded by a variety of ducks including some very hungry geese and swans.
"You scared of swans or something Danny?" Dave asked, seeing Dan looked petrified when a couple of them tried to take some of the bread out of his hand and he just threw what he had left over their heads hoping they'd go away.
"Let's just say I had a bad experience when I was younger and a dozen swans surrounded me and started nipping. If it wasn't illegal I'd kill them two swans there for scaring the shit out of me."
Dave and Sam started laughing and made their hands into the shape of duck heads and started nipping him with their fingers.
Once the birds had got all they could they wondered off back to the river leaving the three of them alone on the bench. Sam opened up the bag of monkey nuts and each of them took one out of the bag and held it in front of them.
"I doubt there are any squirrels around. It's too early in the year for them," Dave stated.
They carried on chatting when ten minutes later a red squirrel jumped out of the tree behind them and ran up the bench. It climbed up Dan's back and along his arm and sat on his wrist. They all sat still and Dan was shocked at how calm the squirrel was.
It took the monkey nut in its tiny paws and started to gnaw at it aiming to get at the contents. Once it had it sat back down on Dan's wrist and slowly ate it.
It then moved on and did the same to the nuts Dave and Sam were holding (monkey nuts, that is). Finally it went off and a few minutes later came back with some companions and pretty quickly the whole bag was gone.
"Well that was strange," Dan said, Dave muttering his agreement.
"Nothing strange about that. Why do you think I bought a big bag? I think when they see me they know it's time to come out of hibernation."
They left the park a couple of hours later, both Dan, Dave and Sam annoyed that they couldn't go canoing.
"Well," Sam started, "the canoing here is nowhere near as fun as hiring an Ardechois Plus canoe and taking it down the rapids along Route des Gorges in Ardeche. That's really exhilarating."
"Really?" Dan and Dave asked.
"Yeah. I went when I was younger with Jason when we went on holiday to South France. Really want to go back there some time. You know, those canoes there are pretty cool. They're uncapsizable so you should be OK with them Davey."
"Why? He scared of water or something?"
"No I'm not scared of water. I just don't like the idea of not being on land. If we were to be in the rivers or sea we'd have fins, not legs."
Sam whispered into Dan's left ear, "He can't swim and is petrified of water."
They both grinned looking at Dave.
Dave turned around, and said, "So what if I can't? I was born on the land. I grew up on land. The closest thing to water where I grew up were the Docks and there is no way you'd find me swimming there with all the garbage in them."
"Humans don't have wings either but you seem to like flying all over the place," Dan muttered.
On the way back to Sam's Dan was unusually quiet. Both Dave and Sam noticed it and kept asking what was wrong.
Dan kept replying with, "Nothing really. Just thinking about things."
Deep down, Dan was thinking about how to help Sam overcome his trust and relationship problems.
He knew Sam wanted to go back to Ardeche again. He also wondered if he'd want to go to the Cyclades Islands of Greece including the island of Naxos – and of course the gay island of Paros.
How he'd bring it up in conversation he wasn't sure. He rarely got time away from work and when he did it was only for a few days here and there. Never a week or two. And in all likelihood if he somehow managed to persuade his employer to let him have some time off Sam would be working throughout it.
It's not like he's a big shot like Dave and could drop things at a moments notice and fly half-way round the world.
Maybe this isn't going to work at all. There would be so many problems with me working where I am, and Sam doing his thing.
Dave did say that Sam hated his job. I wonder what job Sam would rather be doing.
"Hey Sam. What would your ideal job be?"
That got both Sam and Dave's attention. After all he hadn't said a word or been involved in any of the conversations for the last forty-five minutes.
"I'm not sure really. I guess I'd like to do something that's meaningful instead of just doing what I'm doing."
"Like what? Prime-Minister?"
"Bah. You think that's a meaningful job? I can't be a PM anyway. I'm able to think for myself. I've always wanted to do something like becoming a teacher, a PA to someone important and dealing with the press, those kinds of things."
"Ah. Alright then. Just wondering."
"Why do you ask?"
"Oh nothing really. It's just you don't seem to like your job much."
"I hate it a lot. I've been working there for ages and never even get any thanks for anything I do."
"I see," Dan replied, ending all conversation and going back into a silent state of deep thought.
He continued with his train of thought for the rest of the journey, until ten minutes from the DLR station closest to Sam's. Everyone checked their pockets when they heard Für Elise.
"Blasted default ring-tone," Sam grunted.
Dan looked at his caller ID. "Excuse me guys. I've gotta take this. It's work."
"I thought you had the day off?" Sam asked, with a sad look on his face.
Dan tried to work his way around this, being careful about what he chose to say. "It's probably nothing. Likely something that needs to be gone over. But as you both know, I have to be available 24/7. I'll be back in a bit."
Dan answered the call and walked to the middle of the carriage – it was one of the long carriages with the bendy part in the middle – for a bit of privacy.
Dave was trying to cheer Sam up but it wasn't working. He thought he'd try another approach instead. "I bet you one hundred quid that Dan has to get off the next stop and head to The City."
Sam pondered the bet but decided against it. "I'm not putting any money on a bet that I don't believe I have a snowballs chance in hell of winning."
Five minutes later Dan went back over to them. Sam moved over on the seat so Dan could sit back down but the space remained empty.
"There's an emergency at work and everyone that's on call is needed in. Sam, Dave, I'm sorry. I'll try and get back as soon as I can."
Just then the intercom sounded that the DLR was approaching the next station.
"Guys, I'm truly sorry. Duty calls I'm afraid," Dan said, and moved to the exit so he could head back in the opposite direction they were going.
Dan exited the DLR and got on the next west-bound one heading for Tower Gateway so he could connect to the tube to get to Westminster. He had a real bad feeling about all of this.
Ever since he'd started working for his boss there had only ever been two other occasions when all the staff had been called in. In both occasions details were given over the phone about the situation. All he got this time was a standard response of "emergency situation" and nothing else.
It was as if there was a complete security blackout – sure they'd had simulations of what would happen if that was the case as well as training scenarios – but in the four years he'd worked there it had never been implemented.
"Well, at least it is the weekend and the tube is pretty quiet," he said to himself.
On the way home Sam popped into the local Sainsbury's to pick up a few things for dinner.
Dave hated shopping, usually getting someone to do it for him or have it delivered. Sam was the complete opposite. After forty minutes in the shop they got on a bus and headed home.
Sam filled the fridge and left the items that needed to be stored at ambient temperatures out, ready for when he got around to cooking. He'd also bought a couple of cases of Stella Artois because he knew there would be a lot of drink needed when Dan got home.
Dave tried calling Dan again but to no avail. He couldn't get through at all and it didn't even go through to voice-mail. Something was up but he couldn't get any details.
Sam filled the fridge with some of the booze and restocked the mini-fridge in the living room, taking two chilled bottles out and handing one to Dave once he'd opened them.
Sam switched on the TV and tuned his Freeview receiver into BBC News 24 and used Picture-In-Picture so he could tune the Sky-Plus box into Sky News and watch them at the same time.
After all, if the "emergency" where Dan worked was that important they were sure it would be mentioned on one of the two channels.
At 7pm there had been nothing out of the ordinary mentioned so Sam went off to the kitchen to start dinner. His aunt had taught him from the age of eight how to cook and was going to cook something simple tonight.
He always talked to himself when concentrating because he knew blokes can't do more than one thing at once and if he forgot to do something he'd notice himself not saying it.
"Chicken is diced and in the wok. Oven is heating up. Pasta can go in the boiling water. Broccoli and cauliflower are floretted and chopped. Cheese is grated. Pasta is almost done as is the chicken. Time to cook the brassicas lightly. Oven dish is warming up."
Sam was cooking a chicken, pasta, broccoli, and cauliflower pasta bake. It was somewhat easy to make but he prided himself on perfection.
Ten minutes later it was all inside the large Pyrex dish and in the oven. Sam returned to the living room and sat back down on the couch.
"Any news yet?"
"Nope. Nothing. What are you cooking? It smells great whatever it is."
"My chicken pasta bake. Not cooked it for a while and didn't fancy spending all evening in the kitchen. It's in the oven and should be ready in about forty minutes."
"Cool. I really miss having home-made food."
"Thought you had servants and maids to do that kind of thing for you."
"Come on man. I might be doing alright in my job but I don't go for all that."
"I was joking with ya. Calm down alright?"
"Sorry. Think I'm a bit on edge. That's all."
After 3 hours of convincing, Dan managed to persuade his employers to let him go home. He got to Westminster station but wasn't allowed access because it was closed for a "training simulation" the Met and British Transport Police were carrying out.
He double-backed on himself and headed towards Tower Bridge to catch the Jubilee Line to Stratford and catch the DLR from there. With some luck, Tower Bridge station was open as usual.
Once he got down the escalator and was waiting for the next train he checked his phone and realized it was still turned off. He turned it on and decided he'd call Sam's when he got to Canning Town since he'd be able to get a signal there.
Dan hated commuting with every blood vessel in his body. Why he didn't just buy a speed boat and use it down the Thames to avoid all the hassle he didn't know.
He looked at his watch and worked out it would be past eleven at night before he got back. "So much for a day off," he muttered.
At 22:00 Sam got a phone-call from Dan saying he'd be there in about an hour depending on the trains.
Sam asked if he'd eaten, which he hadn't. Sam told him he had cooked quite a bit and there was some food waiting for him when he arrived.
He was unable to get any details out of Dan, but he sounded a bit shaken.
Sam relayed all this information to Dave when the call was over and they both wondered what the hell had happened. They knew he did an important job and the fact he wouldn't divulge anything over the phone they both found a bit unsettling.
Fifty minutes later the door bell rang and Sam let Dan in.
Dan asked if Sam had bought any booze, to which Sam replied with the affirmative.
Sam tried asking what had happened as did Dave. Dan just said he had something he needed to tell them but he needed nourishment first.
He zapped the food which looked scrumdiddlyumptious and sat in one of the arm chairs in the lounge. It took almost five minutes for the large over-sized plate full of food to be consumed. He took the plate back to the kitchen, put it in the dishwasher, returning with a nice cold beer from the fridge.
"OK guys. You both know what line of work I'm in and there is a complete security and media blackout regarding the events. I've persuaded my employers to allow me to divulge some of the details to you. I pretty much had to convince them that you were both like family to me."
Sam and Dave didn't like the way Dan was talking. They had thought what had happened was bad but the look in Dan's eyes and the tone in his voice made them feel ill at ease.
"Alright then. What are you allowed to say?" Dave asked.
"Do you want the bad news, really bad news, good news, or great news first?"
Both Sam and Dave exchanged glances not liking where this was going. Sam broke the silence. "Start with the bad news."
"The bad news is that I'm not going to be around much. Something has happened and I'm going to be needed 24/7. I'm going to have to move in with someone I work for."
"So what's the good news?" Dave asked.
"Well. I'm going to be settled instead of moving from one client to the next. I've been given permanent assignment to one of the clients so won't be shifted from one part of the country to the other."
"And the great news is?" Sam asked.
"Well, the great news is that the person that I've been assigned to, has a position available. I've put in a good word for you, Sam. He'd like to meet you tomorrow if that's OK with you. I told him you probably need to give some notice before you switch jobs which he's OK with."
"Who is this guy? Does Dave or me know him?"
"You've heard of him although I doubt you've seen any photos of him since his previous PA dealt with the press. It's Ryan Chiswell."
Dave and Sam gasped at the mention of Mr. Chiswell's name. Neither could believe who Dan was going to be working for full-time.
"You're telling us you've been assigned to protect Ryan Chiswell? The hot 25 year old multi-billionaire?" Dave exclaimed.
"Yes I am. As will Sam if all goes well."
They kept talking about what Sam would be doing if he got the job for another three-quarters of an hour. He'd be personal assistant to someone famous. Someone that doesn't like being in the public eye or dealing with the media.
Sam would be dealing with all the press from around the world whenever Ryan Chiswell had made a purchase or there was an important story.
He'd finally be doing a job he might enjoy, instead of a job he hated. Something didn't seem right though and he couldn't put a finger on it.
"This is great and all, but why all the secrecy about it?" Sam asked.
Dan reached into the liquor cabinet and poured three glasses full of port. Whatever he was going to say needed to be followed by a stiff drink.
"As I said, there was also some really bad news. I guess I'd better talk about it. But you have to promise not to tell anyone about what I'm going to tell you." He handed Sam and Dave a glass each and took a sip of his own.
"We promise," the two said after careful consideration.
"The reason I've been assigned to Mr. Chiswell is because his previous bodyguard was shot in the lower back this afternoon. It missed his spine and organs but they're not sure if there was any trauma to the spinal cord. He's still in intensive care being guarded."
They both gasped and downed their glasses of port. Bodyguards protect people after all, but taking a bullet is still shocking.
"It wasn't the first attempt to take Ryan's life this week. Up until yesterday all attempts had been foiled. The press have no knowledge of anything that has transpired."
"What happened yesterday?" Sam asked, not sure if he was prepared for the answer – even though he knew he would have got it had he not asked the question.
"Barry Jones, his PA, was –" Dan downed his glass in one before continuing "– murdered in his sleep. His throat was slashed as were his wrists, body and head He was cut open from jaw to pelvis. His heart, lungs, kidneys, and pancreas were removed, as were his brain and eyeballs. His spleen, bladder, intestines and stomach had been sliced open and the contents were left to empty on the floor."
Dave ran to the downstairs toilet and started spewing up his dinner and the beer he'd drank.
Sam sprinted in the opposite direction and emptied his stomach on the back lawn.
Dan sat back down on the arm-chair waiting for them to return. At least I wasn't allowed to reveal everything that had happened, he thought taking the port and refilling his glass.
To be continued...