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The Angel of Pie Jesu.
By John T. S. Teller.
Book two: Journey of the Coin.
The helicopter lands in the grounds of the house at LLantwit Major. Dai Williams waits for me to scuttle under the still whirring blades and then comes to me with a massive smile on his face and we shake hands firmly. He points to the helicopter and shouts, "I'll have to get meself one o' those, Boyo."
I chuckle at him, place a hand on his shoulder and lead him away from the racket of the engines, which are now winding down. He's still staring at it when the engines stop, so I ask him, "Is everything done?"
He beams at me. "Done good and proper, Boyo. All the paths have been done in tarmac as you asked, and wheelchair ramps been done as well. Come on, let me show you." He leads us to the chapel and unlocks the large oak door. "I'll show you inside first."
I look around and shake my head in amazement. Dai goes to say something about the pews having been to cut down to size to fit, but I place a finger on my lips as a sign that I don't want him to say anything. Dai is a clever man. He shuts up and stands by the door as I walk slowly down the aisle, surveying all before me. I feel the emotions welling up inside me, but manage to control them. I really can't believe what I'm seeing. What was once a shell is now a proper place of worship finished in white with dark church furniture and various religious objects and paintings on the walls to break up the monotony of the place. Although the chapel isn't large, it is tall, and above me the oak roof trusses have been stained and polished. The coloured leaded windows that were dull are now sparkling as the august sunshine flows through them, casting beautiful colours around the place. Dai was right... the pews have been cut down to size. There are six each side of the isle, abutting to the walls at one end and carved end panels by the aisle, and each will seat four persons comfortably. Whoever did it has got the dimensions perfect. Everything fits snugly, which creates a beautiful ambience about the place. But the most beautiful objects are at the far end of the chapel, on the raised chancel.
On the left, on the chancel, is a striking yet plain stone font, and on the right a wonderful carved oak pulpit. Slightly behind them and in the centre is an old oak table with silver communion objects on it. I step onto the chancel and go behind the table to run my fingers over the ancient Celtic stone cross that Dai phoned me about and asked my permission to get it because it was priced at £16,000. It was worth every penny. It's as tall as me and screams religion and history. I'm overwhelmed with it, but the thing that brings me to tears is the tall window above and behind it, and which I've been avoiding looking at because this is the most important thing in the chapel to me.
I spent hours designing it, always keeping it a secret from Aleric. This is my special gift to the Hahn family. It cost me a small fortune. I took a high definition photograph of The Painting – Raul's painting, cropped it to shape but not excluding the small table beside the bed where the small piece of cloth and the glinting gold coin sits, photo shopped a red silk garland over his private parts and blanked out the historical past that Raul had put in the background, and sent it to Dai and gave him instructions to get it made, and which window it was to go in. But I also did something else. On the bottom of the window in a scroll are the words: Et Spiritis – Tres Pueri, which means, One Spirit - Three Boys.
For a full ten minutes with tears rolling down my cheeks I stand and look at the window and it moves me so much that I want to go to my knees and pay homage to it... but I don't. Whoever made it is a master craftsman. I did well in choosing Dai to do this job for me. He has connections, and none better than the person who created this beautiful gift to the family I love. But I can't stare at it all day, and eventually, I drag myself away from it and go to Dai.
He's studying my face and I know there's no way can he not know that I've been brought to tears by the experience of being here. But he deals with it in his usual way. "You like it then, Boyo!"
I grin at him and nod. "It's beautiful, Dai. I don't know how to thank you enough."
He chuckles. "Well you could start by buying me a couple of pints and lunch at the pub. But I'll show you round the outside first."
I have my `usual', steak and ale pie and chips, and Dai has gammon and chips.
"You miss Wales, don't you Boyo."
I nod. "Yes. There's hardly a day passes that I don't think of my childhood here. I live mostly in Berlin and I've travelled to more than half the countries in the world, but this is the place I call `home'."
"Money doesn't buy everything."
I nod. "You're right. It can't buy the friendliness of the Welsh people. Nor can it buy the spiritual feeling whenever I'm listening to a Welsh male voice choir. I'm going to ask you to do me a special favour."
"And what's that Boyo?"
"I'll be over here from the 25th of this month until Sunday 2nd of September. I could add another day on if I have to. I'm bringing some very special friends with me from Germany. They love music. I was wondering if you could arrange for your choir to do their thing for us while we're all here."
Dai grins. "No problem Boyo. Fact is we doin' a charity night at St. Athen Community Centre on Saturday 1st. Seven o'clock Boyo. Will that do you?"
I raise my glass to him. "Best seats in the house?"
He raises his pint glass. "Best seats in the house, and cake and tea after. Will that do you?"
We clink glasses. "That will do me fine. But just one more thing. Three of the folk I'm bringing with me are boy sopranos. Two are brilliant ones who used to be in one of the best choirs in Northern Germany and the other can sing almost as well. Any chance your guys could practice a background while they sing a couple of songs?"
Dai looks impressed. "They that good eh! What sort of songs?"
I think for a moment. "Practice two for me. Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Pie Jesu from Requiem, and Bach's Air on the G-String. If you listen to Aled Jones singing them then you'll know what I want as a background. Can you do that?"
"I'm sure we can Boyo. Love Aled Jones. Can listen for hours to him singing. Wish he was in my choir now. I'll root some Aled Jones music out and get the lads working on them. They'll enjoy a bit of harmonising. Your boys got strong voices Boyo?"
I grin. "Oh yes! They'll wow your audience I can tell you. But I don't want them to know they'll be singing. I want you to surprise them and introduce them as Die Drei Bengel, which means in German, the three mischievous angels."
"You'll have to write that down for me. I might forget that name. Do they get stage fright Boyo?"
I laugh. "Not a bit of it. They're what it says on the tin... three mischievous angels. But they're not angels, they're little buggers. Proper boys. One of them will be in a wheelchair. He's still recovering from a serious road accident. I want you to ask him to be lead singer when you do Pie Jesu. The other two boys will harmonise with him. All three of them will do Air on the G-String. I'll email you all the details."
"No problem Boyo. Seats at the front and I'll surprise the little buggers."
"What's the charity?"
I take out my chequebook and write a cheque for £10,000 and give it to Dai. "That should help. Now I'll settle up with you for the work you've done. It cost a bob or two more than we thought. And do you want a cheque or cash."
Dai laughs. "More than a bob or two!" He winks at me. "Cash, Boyo. You know how we work down here. Those buggers in London steal enough from us without handing it them on a plate."
************ ************** ************* ************** *************
Gunther dropped me off at the airport an hour ago. It's now almost ten o' clock and I'm waiting at Tegel Airport in Terminal A for Gareth. Flight BA988 landed at 9.55, so he shouldn't be long. He caught an early morning flight to London this morning. He said he had some important business to sort out but he could do it in one day. I'm not wearing my Bedri suit even though we are going to Bedri's place when he gets back. It's too warm for that suit. Instead, I've chosen an outfit that Kurt sorted for me... black trainers with a white Nike logo on them, black chinos, a black shirt outside my chinos and a black baseball cap I'm wearing back to front because it has a white Nike logo on the back. I'm not The Man in Black... I'm the Boy in Black. LOL.
No stupid wayward trolley this time... just a small man-bag and his laptop. Gareth is dressed in blue jeans and a blue shirt and he's slung his jacket over his shoulder. I take a chance. Before he gets to me I go to him and hold out a hand. He smiles at me and takes it, and together we walk hand in hand out of the airport to the short stay car park where a limo he's ordered is waiting for us.
************ *************** ************* ************* ***********
John Summers, private detective, London, England.
I'm pretending to use my phone, but I'm not. I'm filming Gareth Rhys-Jones walking hand in hand with the young lad. I have no idea who the boy is, but they seem to be more than familiar. They walk out of the airport to the short stay car park and get in a limo. Shit! I run to the taxi rank but have to wait a short while before I can get one. I think I know where they're going, but when I arrive at Rhys-Jones's apartment, there's no sign of them. I ask the driver to wait for a while and look up at the top floor, waiting for the lights to come on. After half an hour of waiting and the lights haven't come on, I ask the driver to take me to the Berlin Mariot Hotel where I've booked a room.
After I've showered and poured myself a brandy, I sit down and copy the notes I've made since I boarded the same flight as Rhys-Jones at Heathrow, onto my laptop. A big shit firm of investigators in Houston, Texas, have sub-contracted me to do this job for them. I have no idea what they want. My instructions were, after they provided me with the details of the flight he was on and the address where he lived and the address of his offices, was to follow Rhys-Jones for two weeks and let them know everything he does and who he associates with. Up to yet all I've got is that a kid of maybe thirteen or fourteen has met him at the airport and they've disappeared. I've no idea who the kid is. All I know is that he's bloody well-dressed and dead cute. And they held hands. And I've got film to back it all up. Well, that's better than nothing I suppose. And I've got two weeks to see what else he gets up to.
************ ************** ************* ************** *************
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has blessed me again. I was beginning to think I had sinned badly, but it seems that if I did sin, it could not have been that great. I know I have not missed my prayers. Never a day goes past that I do not go to my knees five times a day and face the east and pray, and now I have my rewards for being such a Godly man. I have been blessed with the Angel Aleric once again visiting my humble establishment, and tonight Gareth has booked a room for them both. I have given them the Blue Room, their room, and I have again used Muhammad's (PBUH) finest aphrodisiacs: my own concoction of frankincense, myrrh, musk, rose petal and sweet almond blossom. The best. The very best. The very, very best, sprinkled lightly on their bed sheets and feather down pillows. Allahu Akbar!
They are happier tonight. The boy's eyes are sparkling like jewels... sometimes like amber and other times like jade, and occasionally I am blinded by the dazzling lights emanating from the diamond stud in his perfect little ear. It's those eyes that enchant me... take twenty years off my footsteps... and more off my fading manliness. He is more powerful to my loins than 200 mg of Viagra. And still he is giving me those special smiles. He is a very naughty boy, but there is nothing in the world that Bedri Tabak loves more than a naughty boy. But the beauty now is that his special man is aware that he is doing so, and there is no anger inside him that his boy is flirting with me. They have come to terms with my presence in their lives.
No cigarettes tonight. Gareth only uses those poisonous things when he is angry beyond words or wallowing in grief. He doesn't like cigarettes. He uses them to punish himself. That is one of his weaknesses. But maybe he is capable of anger greater than I have known. He is a man of great passions, so why should his anger not be as powerful as the love he is capable of? I like Gareth Rhys-Jones. He is growing on me. And I sense something else tonight: the spirit I see in the Angel Aleric is surrounding both of them in a mystical aura, creating a perfect symmetry with what they are... beautiful lovers. But I sense there is another spirit with them, and one that does not sit well with me and makes me uncomfortable.
Their table is filled... their glasses are full. I order my boy to serve them with anything they require and slink off to my room where I shower and change all my clothes so I am clean before I kneel on my seccade. And I begin my prayer... Allahu Akbar....
When I return to the restaurant I go to them and ask if there's anything they require. Gareth shakes his head. Aleric also shakes his head, but he flashes me one of his naughty smiles as he does so. I grin at him, and then leave them. I am pleased. The other spirit has gone. Allahu Akbar!
I am sad when they have gone to bed. I made a great promise to Allah when I was praying for the spirit I was uncomfortable with to leave them alone. My forfeit for ridding them of the spirit was a great one. I cannot watch them in their boudoir tonight. Bedri Tabak is more than a good man... he is loyal beyond belief to his God, and to those he loves.
************ ************** ************* ************** *************
We're in the same room as the last time we stayed here, but this time there is the scent of something surrounding us. I'm familiar with the smell, but I can't quite put my finger on where I last smelled it. And then it comes to me. It was on Aleric when he met me at the airport the day after he had sex with the cur dog with the vibrating tongue... Bedri Tabak. I should be angry, but I'm not. It's powerful stuff and is making me feel damned sexy.
I showered when we got here, but Aleric insists on having one before we go to bed, so after I've had a pee and washed the thing he'll be sucking tonight, I strip off and lie on the bed waiting for him. I hear the shower stop, and I wait while he dries himself. He comes into the bathroom still drying his hair, and when he sees me looking at him, he grins and asks, "What are you staring at?"
I grin back at him. "I'm waiting to lick your feet clean."
Aleric laughs, lifts up a foot, and says, "They're already clean. You're not thinking I'm Yokiko, are you?" Then he throws the towel at me and goes to the dressing table, sits down and begins to brush his hair whilst drying it with a small hair dryer, all the time grinning at me through the mirror. When his hair is dry and he's brushed it to perfection, he gets off the chair, and still grinning, comes to me holding the raging hard-on he's got. I wait until he's getting on the bed and then grab his left leg. In less than two seconds I've got all five of his toes in my mouth and I'm sucking madly on them. Aleric is laughing so loud that I'm sure everyone in the place can hear him. But I don't care, especially if the cur dog with the vibrating tongue can hear us. It will pay him back for flirting with my boy since we arrived.
************ ************** ************* ************** *************
I am a good man and I pray five times a day, but I am not inhuman. I am of flesh and blood and I have sinned often. Allah is a good God, and even though I made him a promise, he will understand that I am weak of spirit when an angel is laughing as Aleric is now. What on earth can they be doing that is making the beautiful boy become filled with so much joy?
I am impatient to get the equipment up and running. I am a fool! I should have had it ready but not used it as I promised. Ahhhh... now I can see them. What silly boys they are!
I should have fed Gareth more! The man is eating Aleric's feet! Both of them. Alternately. They are both naked. Gareth is sitting at the top of the bed, Aleric is lying the opposite way to him and between Gareth's legs, and Gareth is holding both his feet by the slim ankles while he bites on them and licks the soles and sucks his boy's toes. Tears are flowing from Aleric's eyes while he struggles, unsuccessfully, to break free from his man's grip, but I love these tears. They are tears of a boy's laughter, and he is helpless because his man is much stronger than him. This is a game... a joke, and I cannot imagine what Aleric has done that Gareth has made him suffer so. Some boys enjoy having their feet loved, but others find the nerves in their feet so sensitive that it tickles them to death to have them fondled or licked. Aleric is the latter, and I am grinning at his futile attempts to escape from the strong grip Gareth has on him. But Gareth is a wise man. He knows when to stop, and he does just that and throws Aleric's legs to the side of the bed. But I am grinning more now! There will be a high price to pay for Gareth's foolishness. I can't wait!
For a while, Aleric lies on his back across the bed, his lower legs dangling over the side, stroking his swollen boyhood, staring at Gareth with a scowl on his gorgeous face. He has not lost his sense of humour. Occasionally he chuckles. I know what he's doing. Gareth knows what he's doing. Aleric is planning his revenge. When he's made his plans, he stands up and says, "Move down the bed Herr Moneybags!" Gareth does as he's told and moves down until his head is resting on the pillows. Then Aleric gets onto the bed and sits on Gareth's chest with his penis by his man's mouth. He pulls back the sheath to reveal the swollen glans, and says, "Open!" (I am chuckling so much that I am shaking. I think I may know what is about to happen.) Gareth's face is full of amusement, but he opens his mouth and waits for his punishment. I'm hoping Aleric has fooled him. Aleric is not gentle when he grabs a handful of his man's hair and leans over as if to insert his penis into the gaping cavity, but I am watching Aleric's midriff, and tears begin to fall from my old eyes when I see him flexing his abdominal muscles. Then it comes... a thin stream of urine directly into Gareth's mouth. I knew what he was going to do! Oh beautiful boy, you do amuse me so!
Gareth throws his head to one side, but Aleric doesn't let up and continues to direct the flow onto his head. Unfortunately (or fortunately for Gareth) Aleric must have taken a pee before he went to bed, and the flow quickly dries up. What follows is as funny as the events previous. For two minutes they grapple with one another, thumping and biting as they playfight. And then it's over. They both lie on their backs, chuckling. Their heads turn to one another. They're looking into each other's eyes. Aleric's hand seeks his man's. They join at the hands. Then Gareth raises himself from the bed, turns the wet pillows over and leans on one elbow and looks down into Aleric's beautiful eyes. (I switch cameras quickly to the one in the Arab Gelding painting. I now have a profile view of them.) The amusement is gone. I watch their lips parting. Then the kiss. This is not a kiss of lust... this is a kiss filled with the greatest of loves. Aleric's hands are holding the sides of his man's wet face and he is directing proceedings. Lips, tongues, small interludes to look into each other's eyes, and then more of the same. But this loving can only have one outcome and I am relieved when Gareth rolls over on top of his boy. Aleric is a willing partner and draws up his legs. He has very probably prepared himself after his shower, because Gareth's gentle entrance shows no sign of distress on Aleric's face.
I turn off the equipment. What will follow I have seen before. Besides, if I continue to watch this golden pair it will spoil what I have seen. Tonight I have witnessed something that these two will remember all their lives. If they manage to grow old together, when they are old they will laugh at that night at Bedri's place. And Allah will spare me now that I have not watched the sexual side of what they are. I am a good man.
************ ************** ************* ************** *************
Thursday August 23rd.
It's my birthday. Today I'm thirty-three. I've never bothered with birthdays since I was child. One year is pretty much the same as another. I'm a year older. That's it. Move onto the next. But this time it's different.
There are a lot of people in my life now who couldn't wait to celebrate it. Number one is Aleric. He's been on about it for ages. He pestered me and pestered me to sort out what I wanted to do. He wanted us to go to The Adlon and have the same as he and Gottwin had with all the same trimmings. I told him I wasn't going to do that because I wanted that not to be replicated. He sulked for a while and then suggested a lot of other things, but I turned each one down. He sulked even more. Then I told him what I would really like to do, and why, and he fell into my arms and cried his eyes out. But I told him not to say a word to anyone until I'd spoken to his mother.
I did speak to her on Saturday the 18th, four days after I got back from the visit to the house at LLantwit Major, and a day after I'd had a phone call from Pete Sawyer that had upset me... really upset me and made me so angry that the adrenaline within me was stressing me up so much that it was making my stomach churn! In fact I'd been thinking of little else since he phoned me.
We were staying with Aleric's parents for the weekend. I spied my chance. Gretel was in the kitchen. I sauntered in, sat on a breakfast stool and asked her to make me a cup of her delicious lemon and honey tea. There are no flies on Gretel. She grinned at me. "I'll make us both one. What are you after?"
I chuckled and waited for her to make the tea, and then, when she'd sat down beside me, I said, "That boy of yours. He's driving me crazy about my birthday. I've got a favour to ask you. Can we have it here?"
She cocked her head to one side. "Here. Not some posh place? Why would you want it here?"
I scowled at her. "Don't mess me about! You know why I want it here!"
She smiled. "Of course you can. We'll sort it out. Don't you worry your posh little head about it. Next Thursday isn't it?"
Another scowl. "You know when it is!"
She giggled. "Don't get grumpy... old man!"
I giggled. That little bastard could never keep anything from his mother. Then I shook my head at her. "You and he are as bad as one another!"
This time she gave out a deep chuckle. "I never stuffed a mobile phone box down a boy's underpants."
I laughed, left my tea and went out of the kitchen. It's not often I get embarrassed, but I was then. Aleric knew I was going to ask his mother, and when he saw me, he came to me and asked, "Well, what did she say?"
I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, told him that his mother was as crazy as he was, and shoved him towards the kitchen. "Go and ask her yourself."
A few moments later and I could hear them both laughing. Ralf looked at me and asked, "What's up with those two?"
"I've asked Gretel if I could have my birthday party here. They think it's funny."
Ralf grinned. "Why would you want your birthday party here?"
I pointed a finger at him. "Don't you start! You're all daft buggers here!" Then I went out and wandered down to the boat. I stood at the end of the jetty, gritting my teeth to keep my emotions under control, but I couldn't help a few tears escaping from my eyes, and I thought about walking into the Wannsee.
Then I felt a presence by my side. I thought it was Aleric, but it was Gretel. She linked my arm and hugged it tightly. "I'll make us a special dinner. A special family do we'll have. Will that do you?"
I nodded. "That would be lovely. I haven't had a special family do on my birthday since my grandparents died."
"You miss them, don't you?"
"Yes. I've never belonged to a family since they died."
"Until you met us, you mean?"
I turned to her and managed to muster up a smile. "Until I met you daft buggers."
She chuckled. "And we didn't really become daft buggers until you came into our lives. Shall we go back and join the others?"
I looked her in the eyes. "Yes. But I've got another favour to ask you. I want Aleric to stay here all day Wednesday and also Wednesday night. I'll drop him off early Wednesday morning and then go back to work. I need him not to be around for a couple days. Then I'll come down on Thursday at about four for my birthday party. I know he'll argue. That's why I want you to tell him and me not to have to ask. You know what he's like. You're still the only one who can make him do what he's told and there's no backlash. But I need some time alone. I've got a few demons to exorcise before I become an old man."
She stared at me. "That sounds nasty. Is somebody going to get hurt?"
I nodded. "Yes, and then I'm going to get pissed up and start a new life with you daft buggers. If you'll have me that is?"
She hugged my arm tightly again. "You've been one of us since the night you met my boy. You didn't know it then. Neither did we. But God knew." She looked up at me. "Very probably your grandparents know. I'll have a quiet word with your grandmother and see if she can let me know what you liked to eat most when you were her boy."
I chuckled. "You couldn't make that. You're a great cook, but nobody can make an egg custard like my Grandma used to make it."
We walked back to the house arm in arm, and when we got in, nobody said anything about what had gone on. I knew why. Gretel had laid down the law before she came to me.
Yes, it's my birthday and ten o' clock, and I've still got a fuzzy head from drinking too much last night. But some people will be waking up this morning in a worse state than me even if they haven't been drinking. I've exorcised those demons.
It was Pete Sawyer who alerted me. He watches my back, and he's damned good at it. It was late Friday afternoon, 17th August that he phoned me and told me that Dad had hired someone to spy on me. Then he sent me the details and a photograph by email of the guy. An agency in Houston had hired a PI from London to shadow me, and he'd been on my tail since my flight from Heathrow after I'd been to see Dai on the 14th. That meant that if he'd done his job right he would have seen Aleric meet me at Tegel, and thinking back, he would have seen us holding hands as we walked to the limo. And God knows what else he'd seen since he arrived! That's why I needed to sort it... pronto, so after I'd asked Gretel to have my birthday party at their house, I also brought Gottwin with us on my way to work on Monday morning after I'd arranged with Kurt for the twins to have a day out with Hansie at the zoo and take in a film at a multiplex cinema afterwards. Three Wieck rogues together. It was like being back in the old days.
So, on Monday morning, after I'd dropped the twins off at Kurt's place, it was time to deal with John Summers, Private investigator. Edgware Road, London.
So after I'd dropped the boys off I went to the apartment and looked down and tried to see if I could see if Summers was about. I couldn't, but when I pulled out of the apartments in the Bentley and saw a silver VW Golf pull away from the kerb opposite the apartments, I was pretty sure it was Summers following me, so when I parked the Bentley in my reserved spot at the office, I looked to see if I could see the Golf. It was parked by the old church... a clever place to park to keep an eye on me. Summers would be able to see me if I went out in the car, and also if I went out the front doors of the offices. So I went up to the office, gave it some thought, and decided to act sooner rather than later. I went down in the elevator, turned left when I'd left the offices, and walked to the car he was sitting in. It was a warm day and he had the window down. I leaned through it, and said, "Mr Summers?"
He tried to bluff his way out of it. He shook his head. "You've got the wrong man."
I smiled at him and showed him the photograph that Pete had sent me. "I don't think so. This is you. John Summers. Private investigator. Now we can do this the easy way or the hard way. If you choose the hard way then I'll have you in the gutter for the rest of your life, that is if you live much longer if you don't cooperate. The easiest way out of this pickle you've got yourself into will be to get out of the car and come with me to my office. Then we'll sort things and you can go on your merry way and live happily ever after. Your choice. If you've done your homework on me, as you should have done before taking on this job, then you'll know you're up shit creek without a paddle." Then I saw a notebook and a laptop on the passenger seat. I pointed at them. "Bring those with you."
He sat in the office with me on the opposite side of my desk and I asked him who his employer was. He confirmed what I already knew. I knew he wouldn't know who had really instigated the tail on me, so I didn't ask him or tell him. All I was interested in was what he knew about me. He didn't mess about. He gave me the notebook. I read through it. There was enough shit to make me headlines in the Tabloids, but the Broadsheets would have been more circumspect because of who I am. (They don't like massive legal bills.) Summers had not missed anything. He'd captured the intimacy of my relationship with Aleric, but apart from the holding hands bit and a few other slight indiscretions when my boy couldn't keep his hands off me, there was nothing overtly sexual in his notes other than I was showing an unhealthy interest in a young boy. I looked him right in the eyes. I had to know he was telling me the truth when I asked him, "Has anyone else got this information?"
He shook his head. "Just me. I haven't sent in a report yet. What you're reading is also on my laptop."
I've seen through better men than Summers and I knew he was telling the truth, so I nodded at him and said, "I'll keep this notebook and I'll take the laptop."
He squirmed a bit. "Is taking the laptop really necessary? I can do a secure deletion of the files I've got on you. There's other stuff on there that has nothing to do with you, and it's important."
I gave him a look as if to say he was crazy. "Don't you backup to Cloud?"
He shook his head and gave me a stupid half-grin. "I was in the police force for thirty-five years. I haven't quite got used to this modern technology yet."
"What rank were you?"
"I finished up as a sergeant in CID."
I could have jumped for joy when he said that. It tallied with the man I was looking at. He was a copper who had retired on a good pension and was greedy and wanted a bit of high-life, so he took up private investigations to supplement his pension. I'd have bet my arse that he spent his holidays in some swank place bragging about his exploits. But I'd no intention he would be bragging about my indiscretions. However, it was important to me that he went from the office with the proper equipment to do what else I had in mind for him, so I took a new 64 gig flash drive from a drawer and told him to come round to my side of the desk. Then, together, we transferred the files he wanted to keep onto the flash drive, including his email contacts. I gave it to him. "When you leave here my PS will give you an order form for a new laptop." I pointed at the window behind him. "The place you'll get it from is just across the street. Now give me your phone. I'll get my PS to give you another order form for that."
He didn't argue this time and gave me his Iphone. Then we got down to the nitty-gritty of what I'd decided to do. My mother's horrible words about gay people, and especially the vile stuff she came out with about folk like Kurt had gone deep inside me. So deep that I had come to a point where the only way I could deal with it was to cut out the cancer, and I could think of no better way to exorcise the demons than to give them a few half-truths that would do just that.
I told Summers to make up a cock and bull story that I'd been seen out with a twenty-five year old at some gay clubs. He actually liked that. He'd got some shit on me and he'd get paid. We even made up a fake name for my boyfriend: Frank Schumacher. I even made him giggle when I winked at him and told him to drive on the wild side. But I really wiped the grin from his face when I told him what I was capable of doing to him if he double crossed me, and he went an even whiter shade of pale when I filled him in with the exact details of how he would end up in the gutter or dead if he didn't do as he was told. But I needed to give him a bit of spice to add to his report, so I took him outside and got one of my office workers to accompany us. Karl is twenty-five and gay, so the photographs and film he took of us while we were sort of intimate in the street would look the real deal. And Karl was like a dog with two tails that I'd had my hands on him. Then Summers went away to enjoy the last few days of his time in Berlin. But not before I told him that the info he had about me was to be mailed to his employer that morning. That was important! I wanted the information to hit home before I made a special call to someone. That was the real shit I'd got to deal with.
I waited until Wednesday afternoon before I made the call. That's why I didn't want Aleric around.
Dad answered the phone almost immediately, and because of how curt he was and because of the tone of his voice, I knew that he'd received Summers's report. "Hello Gareth. What's the problem?"
My eyes were misted over when I answered, "Dad, why didn't you just ask me?"
Again his voice was abrupt. "Ask you? Ask you what?"
I gave out a deep sigh. "Yes, ask me. Don't bullshit me. Don't treat me like an idiot. I've got a private investigator here in Berlin watching every move I make. He's very good and I wouldn't have known about him if I hadn't been tipped off that you've sent him to spy on me. Have you received any reports on me yet?"
I could see Dad's face in my mind. His face would be on the floor, and my previous instincts that he'd received the reports were confirmed when he said, "Why didn't you just tell us you were gay?"
"That's simple, Dad. I've got a bible thumping mother who is a bigot and who hates fucking queers like me!"
"Don't swear at me, Boy! And leave your mother out of this!"
Then my anger really surfaced. I spat out the words, "I won't leave anything out of it! You're about to lose your only son and you won't do it without I tell you everything! I'm gay... I've got a boyfriend that I love, and I don't give a damn whether you like it or not. Why on earth did you do it?!"
Dad was silent for a few moments. "After you'd gone. Devine made a few comments about you not being married. He even hinted that you might be gay. Your mother was upset. I needed to know."
"And now you know? Are you going to tell her?"
"Of course I'm not!"
"Of course you're not! In fact you've made things a thousand times worse! I'll tell you something, Dad, if you and Mum had acted like proper parents then what I am would make no difference to you. You would have defended me through everything and not had people spying on me, people who now know what I am. And you know what's going to happen now, don't you! The rumour mill will soon be in full flow and she's going to find out. Then she's going to disown me and you'll be on her side, as you always have been. Can you imagine that, Dad? Can't you see the irony? My genetic makeup isn't perfect, so I'm a reject. It's no different than a mother rejecting a child born with physical defects. Would she have rejected me if I'd been born with Down's Syndrome? Probably, eh!"
"You're exaggerating Gareth!"
"No I'm not Dad... and you know it. That's why my office staff is now in the process of annulling every contract I have with you and your companies. Oh, I know, it will probably cost me a few million dollars, but I can afford that Dad. You see, Mum gave birth to a child that was gay, but she also gave birth to someone who was brilliant at making money. She's always been proud of that side of me. She could boast that she has a son who can make millions, but she would hide her head in shame that that same son is gay. But I could have dealt with that, Dad. I would have said nothing and not put her through the dilemma. Yes, I was prepared to do that. I'm almost thirty-three and have kept it a secret from her all these years. I could have done it for the rest of her life and she would have died happy thinking her son was perfect. But it was you that brought the happy house of cards tumbling down. You didn't have the balls to ask me privately if I was gay. That's what I'm really, really angry about. You're a weasel who sends rats to spy on his son. Now I'm done with you, but one more thing... when you deal with Devine, wait until young Cody has flown the nest. If you blow the lid on them now then you'll destroy that boy's life, and another innocent little boy's life will be shattered if young John Jnr. is left with no parents. If you do that, then it will be me coming after YOU!"
Then I slammed the phone down and went over things.
I knew how this had come about before Dad told me. Devine has never liked me, but because he doesn't register in my life as being of the slightest importance, I've pretty much ignored those thoughts about him that I couldn't quite put my finger on. But back then I was an ignoramus. But it takes one to know one, and because of my association with Aleric, once Pete told me that I'd got a tail on me and where the orders were coming from, I put two and two together and it became obvious what was going on. And thinking back, all the signs were there when I was having fun with Cody. I saw the way Devine was looking at me. He was jealous. Now this shit has happened I know what he would have done when I left. He would have taken his revenge. Oh yes! He knows what a bigot my mother is! She was the one he could hurt.
But if Dad doesn't deal with Devine then I will, but not until Cody flies the nest, and I'd do it in such a way that the least harm came to John Jnr. I know what the Yanks are like. Cody would be interrogated and the family would be split asunder, and the poor boy would have had that on his conscience for the rest of his life. So, if Dad does deal with Devine, his demise had better have nothing to do with his association with Cody. There are many ways to destroy someone without that happening. I only wish I'd told Dad I would deal with him. But I think my words would have fallen on deaf ears. I'm not the only bastard in the family. But I'm not a stupid bastard like my father is!
Then I went home and started drinking, but in the late evening I phoned Kurt and asked him to come over. I told him everything. Then I got even more pissed and went berserk. Then we cried together. Then it was over, but only after I'd told Kurt that Aleric was never to know the reason why I was splitting from my family. I'll tell him it was about money. That's why most families split up. He'll understand. The reason his extended family at Wieck have split up is because of it. But it didn't cost them about ten million dollars, which is what it's costing me to protect the boy I love, not to mention my own precious fucking reputation and losing both my parents!
But now it's my birthday. I'm sad, but I've got my own life to live now. I've dressed in Hahn clothes. No posh stuff on me today, Boyo! Well, I will be going in a posh car, but not because it's a posh car. This is our car, and today will be another journey in its memory bank. Today it's taking me to be my boy's Old Man because I'm thirty three!
Four o' clock. I reach the open gates to the Wannsee house and stop the car. They've decorated the entrance with balloons and streamers, but the thing that makes me howl with laughter is the banner they've stretched between the two stone lions atop the pillars each side of the gates. It's in German.
Alles Gute zum Geburstag Alter Mann.
(Happy birthday old man.)
I park the car by the house. The Hahn's have been given instructions... not be me, but by the boy who comes around the side of the house and runs into my arms, and in his stupid version of English when I've lifted him off his feet and he's wrapped his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist and we're staring into each other's tearful eyes, he says, "Happy birthday Old Man!" And I'm hoping nobody is watching us when his open, hot lips are crushed against mine and he gives me the best birthday kiss anyone has ever had. And that's all I really want for my 33rd birthday... a kiss from my fourteen year old Ten Million Dollar Boy.
To be continued...
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