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The Angel of Pie Jesu.
By John T. S. Teller.
Book one – Star in the Hood.
I'm crying as I lie in bed. Gottwin puts his arm around me and tries to hug me, but I shove him away. I don't want anybody to touch me tonight. I'm trying to stop this anger building in me, but the more I think about it, the angrier I get. Gareth has betrayed me. He said he'd always be there whenever I wanted him to be, but that was bullshit. He won't even be here for me on my fucking birthday! He's using me like he uses everybody else. What more lies has he told me? He says he loves me, but I don't think he does. He's used that excuse to have sex with me. Look at us now! I've been here a few days and he's already got as far as Herr Biermaier did after months of trying. He's fucked me, and he's even got me to do something I'd never do to Herr Biermaier: suck him off, and I've even swallowed his stuff. And what about him leaving me with that fucking tramp! He went too easily. He left me because they'd worked it that I'm such a sexy sod that it wouldn't take much for me to want my pinkler sucked. The clever bastard! But he is a clever bastard. He was robbing his schoolmates when he wasn't much older than me. But he's not that clever. When we go home tomorrow, I won't be coming back here with him. Not ever! He can fuck off!
What time is it? 4 am. I must have fallen asleep. I remember now. I cried myself to sleep. I go to the bathroom to take a pee, and notice the light at the end of the corridor. He must be about somewhere. He's probably laughing at me. I can't have that!
I'm in the breakfast bar. I tried to sleep, but was tossing and turning so much that I couldn't. I really should do as Kurt said and let Aleric come out of his sulk in his own time, but I'm hurting real bad inside. I wanted to go to Aleric and tell him how much I love him and how sorry I was for misleading him, but instead I went and made a coffee. And I'm on my third one when Aleric comes into the breakfast room.
He sees me; half turns to go back, looks at me with hatred in his eyes, and says, "You really fooled me, didn't you!"
I stare at him, and then ask, "What do you mean?"
"What did I mean? All you wanted me for was to fuck me. You're no different than Herr Biermaier."
I can't believe what I'm hearing. This isn't the sulks; this is a small boy's mind twisted by circumstances and a well-intended, but incorrect thing I'd said, and I do and say the only thing I can so as not to make things even worse. I point to the door, and say, "Go back to bed. We'll talk about it in the morning and sort this misunderstanding out."
Aleric's voice is blatantly sarcastic when he says, "That's right. Just fuck me off, and I'll explain to mum and dad that you're a con-man. Dad can forget his boat and mum can forget her new house. At least they'll have me back home, away from you, you fucking pervert!"
I stare at him, stunned by his attitude and use of bad language. "Your dad will have his boat, and your mum will never want for anything in her life again. Now go back to bed."
He turns and walks out of the room. I, desperately, want to go to him and tell how wrong he is about things, but I'm completely lost. I don't know how to deal with a child who can turn things around so quickly. There's only one person who can help me.
Kurt sounds half asleep when I phone him. He's fully awake half an hour later when he walks into the kitchen in my apartment. I look at him, and point to a seat. "Sit down. I'll make you a coffee."
The moment I look at Gareth, I know by the look on his face and the set in his jaw that I'm in for a rough time. This is the Gareth that his enemies fear, but the man I love: the Bastard Gareth, and I know the only person in the world who can salvage anything from the mess he told me about on the phone, is me, and I'm going to have to be at my supreme best to achieve anything.
Gareth makes us coffees, and then sits opposite and not next to me: a bad sign. He takes a sip of his coffee, and says, "I'm sorry, Kurt, but I need to get Aleric home, and I'm not sure how to do it. I can't drive him home. Will you do it for me? If not, I'll get a limo to take him."
I nod at him. "Of course I will. Where is he?"
He points at the door. "In bed with Gottwin."
I ask, "Is he awake?"
Gareth shrugs his shoulders. "I don't know. I won't go anywhere near him."
I know why he won't. I don't think I would either if I was in his shoes, but somebody has to try to heal this rift before it becomes a bottomless one. I take a nibble of a cookie, and say, "I'll go and see him in a moment. Somebody has to try and put some sense in his silly little head."
Gareth ignores me, and stares into space behind me. He's thinking, and I can only imagine the torment he's going through. But he hides it well by adopting his Bastard Gareth pose; the wall that's as strong as the Berlin Wall. My only hope is that, eventually, it will come down just as the Berlin one did.
I'm still sobbing when I hear somebody come into the room, and I cling to the duvet, ready to reject him when he comes to me. Then I hear a familiar voice whisper, "Hello sweetheart. Get up. I need to speak to you. Be quiet, we don't want to wake Gottwin." I turn and see Kurt staring down at me in the half-light, and I get up and sink into his arms as we sit on the edge of the bed. He gets up, lifts me to my feet, and pulls me out of the bedroom, into the one Gareth's mother and father use, and we sit on the edge of the bed.
"You silly boy."
I look at Kurt. "No I'm not. I understand what he is now."
"What he is now?"
I nod. "Like Herr Biermaier."
Kurt shakes his head. "You're a silly boy. You couldn't be more wrong. Gareth is the exact opposite of Biermaier."
I shrug my shoulders. "You're wrong, Kurt. He's lied and schemed his way into my pants."
"Lied? Schemed? Tell me more."
"He said he would be there for me whenever I wanted him. Then I discover that it's only when it doesn't interfere with his schedule. He won't even be here for my birthday! I'm his plaything. He's a pervert... a proper paedophile. He's cleverer than most, but that's what he is. At least Herr Biermaier was honest about what he wanted."
I expect a lambasting from Kurt, but all he does is shrug his shoulders, and say. "You're completely wrong. Maybe I can put some sense into you and make you realise how wrong you are, but jealousy is a vile thing. It can destroy you... and everyone around you when it takes hold. We really do need to sort this out before you lose the most beautiful person you'll ever meet in your life."
Jealousy! What does Kurt mean, and I spit the words out at him. "I'm not Jealous! What is there to be jealous about?"
Kurt puts his hand on mine. "Maybe that was the wrong word to use. Possessive would be a better one. But that can be even worse than jealousy. You don't own Gareth, and he doesn't own you. You're partners, and you have to be able to share your partner with others. Not in a love way, or in a sexual way, but in an allowing each other to be themselves while you share your love and friendship. That's the way it has to work, Aleric. You'd be right to be terribly hurt if he betrayed your love and friendship, but Gareth hasn't done that. When he said he would always be there for you whenever you wanted him, he was speaking relatively. He wasn't including normal life... he was speaking about if you desperately needed him. You'd be no different than me. I was taken to hospital once. Gareth was doing important business in Japan. I didn't tell him, because I knew what his reaction would be. Heindrich telephoned him and told him I was ill. Gareth caught the first flight back and was at my bedside the next day. That's what he meant. And I'm one hundred percent sure he'll be with you on your birthday."
I stare into Kurt's tired eyes. "But what's the use of us having a friendship if I hardly ever see him?"
"You're exaggerating things. Something has triggered paranoia in you. I don't know what it is, but we need to sort it before it destroys you both and I'll be the one taking you back home later today." Just then, I hear the hum of the elevator. Kurt hears it, too, and looks at me, and I can see the blood drain from his face when he says, "I'll definitely be taking you home later today."
I ask, "Where's he gone?"
Kurt shrugs his shoulders, puts his head in his hands, begins to cry, and mumbles sadly, "I've no idea." He lifts his head, and says, "Maybe it's for the best."
I begin to cry, and look into Kurt's face, "Maybe for the best?"
Kurt hugs me tight. "Gareth doesn't understand little boys, and it seems that little boys don't understand Gareth." He lifts me to my feet. "Come on, we'll go and see if he's taken his passport. If he has, he'll be on the way to the airport and to anywhere to drown his sorrows."
Still hugging me, Kurt takes us into Gareth's bedroom. I notice the bedclothes have all been removed... the bed is stark, and Gareth's laptop is missing. Kurt goes to a drawer in the wardrobe, searches through a drawer, turns and looks at me with more tears in his eyes, and says, "I thought so. He's gone to the airport."
And then the enormity of what I've done hits home to me, and I'm even more stunned when I see Gareth's Blackberry on the dressing table. I go to it, pick it up, and when I turn it on, I see the desktop is the picture of me as a schoolboy that we gave him on Heiligabend. Even in my despair, I realise that he hasn't used the naked picture of me, which he would have done if he wanted to see me as a sex object. I go to the address book. I thought he used this phone for all his private contacts, but he doesn't. There's just one number in it: mine. Still blubbering, I look at Kurt, and ask, "What am I going to do?"
Kurt hugs me. "There's nothing to be done now. I'll stay here with you until the morning, and then we'll sort things about getting you home."
I grab Kurt and shake him. "Can't we go to the airport and stop him!"
Kurt shakes his head. "I know Gareth far better than you, Aleric. It will only make things worse. Some things can't be undone, and Gareth is hurting so badly that he's liable to lash out at anything... even me if I interfere too much. Come on, let's go and sit in the lounge, and we can both cry ourselves to sleep."
Hugging Kurt and the phone, I'm crying so much that Kurt has to almost carry me into the lounge and to the sofa, and I realise that I've made the most terrible mistake in my life.
I can hardly see through my tears as I drive. But I have to get away. Kurt will take care of Aleric and Gottwin. It's what he's good at: caring for people. I could have gone to Tegel, but I decided to drive to Schönefeld Airport to give me time to compose myself. I'll get a plane to London and work from there.
The streetlights of the Expressway flash past me at an alarming rate as I grit my teeth and put my foot to the floor. I'm doing well over 200 KPH and all it would take is the base of a concrete bridge and a slight turn on the wheel to end this pit of insanity: this fucking cruel world that, one moment, can take you to dizziest heights, and the next, send you plummeting to the depths of Hell-Fire. And that's where I am now. But that's not how I'm made. Despite everything, I'm still sane. Others - the poor souls - might have flipped from reality into the nether world of indifference to others, and ended it all. But I can't be indifferent to the two thousand souls who work for me. They have families and responsibilities. I have a mother and father in the autumn of their life who would be devastated. I have Kurt, my lovely friend who is more than a soul buddy. His life would be shattered. But most of all, there's Aleric and his family. Despite what he thinks about me, I can't have the boy growing up with my death on his hands. One day, maybe in the distant future, he'll know he was wrong. And then what? Guilt; self hatred; regret; all twisting his mind and turning him into what? He's innocent in all this. I'm the guilty one. I can hear him now saying to Kurt: He's a pervert... a proper paedophile.
If he was wrong, it would be terrible, but he's right. That's exactly what I am. But before I met Aleric, I didn't know it! That's what I can't get my head round. How could I live all my life not knowing what I really was? Not an inkling! Nothing... until a small boy singing Pie Jesu unlocked the door to that pervert... a proper paedophile.
There's a Ryanair flight at 08.30 to Gatwick. That will do. Anything will do. The Ryanair desk is just opening, so I pay for the flight. Its 06.10 now. Twenty minutes before check-in opens. I'm still not right. I need a coffee to try and clear my head.
Where will Aleric be now? Kurt will have taken him and Gottwin back to his apartment. I know how he works. He'll be really pissed off with me, but he knows I wouldn't have left him in the lurch without reason. I left because I didn't want Aleric to have to look at me again. I didn't want him to look at me with that hate in his eyes. God! Hate! Never in a million years would I have thought he would hate me. But it was so obvious, and I can understand why he's thinking the way he is. I have let him down. I did tell him lies... or in my stupid moment of ignorance, I didn't tell him the whole truth. Of course I would have come back for his birthday! Nothing would have stopped me being there for him on his birthday! Why shouldn't he think I'm different than Biermaier? I'm a fucking idiot! What did I expect a little boy to think when I broke a promise to him? He isn't a streetwise high-flyer who would have taken my words contextually. What it says on the tin is what he thought he was getting, and what it said was: I'll be there for you whenever you need me. How can I be there for him when I have business in fucking Timbuktu or wherever? In an emergency, or for special occasions such as his birthday or Christmas or the boys' concerts; yes, of course I would be there for him!
I've left Aleric's phone in the apartment. I wish I hadn't now. I adore that picture of him in his school uniform. That's the boy I really love; not the boy in his seductive poses. I need him. I love him. But I have to give him space to get his life together. He'll get over me eventually. Maybe one day he'll realise he was wrong about me. I hope so. I don't want him to hate me forever. I've left the phone behind to give him that space. He won't be tempted to phone me and call me all the things under the sun. I couldn't bear that. Maybe he had one last look and saw it in my bedroom. He will have seen how I stripped the bed if he went in there. I shouldn't have done that. I did it for self-preservation; to rid my own mind of the boy I love. I had to. Before I left, I considered that I was overreacting, but I wasn't. Words I could probably have got over, but that look of hatred he gave me made me snap. It was horrible beyond imagination, and will torment me forever.
But even now I can't let go. When I close my eyes I can see him; when I smell the coffee I can see him drinking one I've made for him. Physically, we'll be apart, but mentally I can never be apart from him.
I've got my iPhone with me. Aleric's picture is on the Blackberry I left behind. Oh, my beloved boy, I want you now, and I'm going to ring `our' phone, because it's the only thing I can think of that can connect us. I open my address book and ring the Blackberry. My apartment will be empty, and the sound of the Blackberry ringing will be my final salute to the only person I've ever loved in my life, and after this experience, the only person I ever will love.
I'm feeling so sick, I want to retch, and I'm just about to get off the sofa and run to the bathroom when Gareth's Blackberry rings. I look to see who's ringing, but because only my number is in the address book in the Blackberry, it shows as an `Unknown number'. I look at Kurt. He looks at the number, and says, "You'd better answer that."
I press the key, and say, "Gareth Rhys-Jones's phone."
A familiar voice says, "Aleric?"
I break down and cry into the phone.
Kurt takes it from me, and says, "Gareth, break the call, and I'll call you back in five or ten minutes."
As soon as I saw the number, I knew who was calling. I had to think fast on my arse - probably the most useful part of me. I decided to let Aleric answer, thinking it would kill or cure. I'll soon be finding out if I made the right decision.
When Aleric has calmed down, I lift his head and stare into his eyes. "Right, sonny boy, I'm going to ask you a question, and it might be the most important one you ever get in your life. If I can do it, do you want me to get Gareth back here to you?"
I've never seen such sadness in eyes as that I see in Aleric's now, and he just nods.
I ring Gareth, and ask, "Where are you?"
A very quiet voice says, "Schönefeld."
My arse is working again, but now it's in top gear, and I choose my words very carefully. "Remember when you rang me from Wieck and you were upset?"
Gareth says, "Yes."
"Well, I meant what I said then. But things are different now. Do you understand?"
"I think so. You don't blame me?"
"No I don't. Not for a second. I would have done exactly the same as you. But I've got a young man here who knows he's made a terrible mistake. What you do about it is up to you. I'm not even going to let him speak to you again, because I don't want him to influence your thinking. I want you to think very carefully about everything. I'll be here with the boys until about eight, and then I'll sort things and take them home. You take care, sweetheart, and never forget that I love you."
I break the call, and hug Aleric to me. "It's out of our hands now my little petal."
When Kurt ends the call, I slump with my head in my arms on the table. I'm lost – completely and absolutely lost what to do. Innermost is self-preservation; a need not to be hurt again. That hurt was and is so great that, for the first time in my life, I've run away from something. I knew when I was leaving that it was the wrong thing to do. But I couldn't help it. That look of hatred! Aleric's words: He's a pervert... a proper paedophile tipped the balance between sense and nonsense. But I've got a young man here who knows he's made a terrible mistake. Aleric has and he hasn't. I am a pervert... a proper paedophile, but my love for him transcends all things physical. The problem with that is that it's impossible, especially when you're a pervert... a proper paedophile, to make someone understand how you really feel. The physical is all one can experience. The rest is down to trust, and something triggered paranoia in Aleric not to trust me. I think I know what it was: The painting. I don't think it was all down to me having to travel and not being with him. But what now? I know I'm hurting Aleric right now, but that hurt will diminish in time. Kids get over things far easier than adults. He's got his family – a wonderful family, full of love and support; warm arms and warm hearts to shield him from the worst of it. He's only thirteen. Kurt says Aleric knows he's made a terrible mistake. Maybe he has, but maybe it's for the best that he has. Maybe him thinking that he's made a mistake will help him through it in a strange way. Maybe because he knows he's made a mistake, he won't reject everything on offer to him. Except for things between us, I've no intentions of changing anything. Helena can sort that side of things, and later, maybe, I can write or contact Gretel and get her to see that her son takes every opportunity I can manage for him. The same goes for Ralf. Gretel will sort him, too. She's very practical is Gretel, and when or if I can explain everything to her, she'll be even more determined to see things through without me in close contact.
Maybe when I get to London I should phone Gretel and explain things. She'll be prepared then when I don't make an appearance. There's no problem with money... I've already transferred the money I promised her into her bank account. If she sends it back unused, then I'll know how she feels towards me. If she keeps it, then she'll be thinking as I am; that it's best for Aleric. Helena will sort out all the details of the boat deal once Ralf has sorted things his end. Everything will be the same. Well, except Aleric and me that is.
7.10. Just thirty minutes before the final call and the flight closes. I have time for one more coffee. I'm travelling light... just a holdall and my laptop. No checked in luggage to bother about.
`I'll be here with the boys until about eight, and then I'll sort things and take them home.' That's what Kurt said. 7.20 now. In forty minutes, Kurt will be taking the boys to his place. The poor man must be knackered taking care of my problems. He'll probably go asleep in the passenger seat on the drive to Wieck. What will he do then? Stay and celebrate New Year with the Hahns? No, he'll probably pay his respects, sort stuff, and then drive back to Berlin. He'll celebrate New Year for Hansie's sake. If Aleric doesn't make things too difficult, he'll spend it with the Hahns. No, most likely he'll spend it at the hotel with Heindrich and Hans, and then drive back tomorrow.
Aleric. What will he do? Probably go to bed and sulk, and have an awful time. 7.30 now. Time to check in and go through customs.
7.30 am. There's no sign of Gareth. He'll not be coming back now. It's over. Because of my stupidity, I've lost my Beautiful Man. How on earth could I possibly have thought he was like Herr Biermaier? What was I thinking? I told him that all he wanted to do was fuck me. What a horrible, vile thing to say to someone who had to ring Kurt because he was upset after we'd done stuff on the headland. He nearly left me then. Herr Biermaier would have been booking a second helping and had a grin on his face like an idiot if he'd managed to get in my pants so quickly. Gareth thought about leaving. I nearly lost him then, and I'm about to lose him now. Forever.
Kurt has fallen asleep next to me on the sofa. His mouth is open, and he's snoring. The Backberry is warm in my hands. I look at the last number who called. Gareth's real number that other people use. I get up and go to our bedroom. Dare I? I have to. It's our only chance.
No queues at check in. They're getting ready to close. I need to hurry. I take one step towards the check-in desk, and my phone goes. It could be anybody. Somebody who is completely unimportant and I'll miss my flight if I answer it. But it could be...
I hear his voice. "Gareth?"
I grit my teeth and try not to lose it again. "Yes."
"Where are you? Are you on the plane?"
"No, not quite."
"Please don't go. I'm sorry for what I said. I was crazy. I love you more than anything in the world. Please don't go."
I'm three metres from check-in. The lady has her hand out to take my details and passport. I stop and look at her. She's giving me a false smile. I know it's false because I know she's pissed off with me for keeping her waiting. I'll give her what she wants, and then she'll have to rush to get things organised for boarding. The look on her face changes from the false smile to one of exasperation. I know what she's thinking: how dare I be on the fucking telephone when she's waiting. I have to make a decision. And then I recall Aleric's look of intense hatred, and again hear the words he said, `You really fooled me, didn't you?'
To be continued...
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