Disclaimer: I don't know any of the people in this story. This is all fiction. I mean the story is fiction, not the disclaimer.
Warning: Homoerotic passages ahead. If you're not allowed to be here -- well, don't say I didn't warn you.
Errors: If you've paid attention in the previous chapters then you may be a little disoriented around Mormor's house. I've been mixing the words patio and porch as if they mean the same. It's an error on my part; it's absolutely not an attempt to change the English language. So -- when ever you've read 'patio' I really meant 'porch'; I just liked the sound of 'patio' better...
I'm a lazy person and I have no intention of fixing the errors in previous chapters for re-posting any time soon. If you are really disoriented I can email you the ground plan. It only works in respect to countering disorientation in relation to that particular house, though. I know. I've seen it. The ground plan, that is, not the house. The ground plan didn't work any wonders on me even though I stared at it for a really long time.
Feedback: Lots of thanks you those that have mailed me so far. I really enjoy those emails. And -- there's still a lot of room in my mailbox.
And of course -- thanks to my beta readers. If not for you guys there would be a lot more patios...
Hope you enjoy
The Tail of the Tiger, chapter 10
Through the window
The sheets were almost weightless on my skin compared to the eiderdowns that would usually be there. It didn't feel like I had a sunburn -- so why the sheets?
A small solid and warn lump snuggled against my legs -- a small dog snoring on top of the blanket. A bird screetched outside. The window had to be open; I could hear a wind in the bushes outside, the rattle was gentle, it was just a little wind. Then it was quiet again but for the snore.
There was too much light, I realized, the sun was high in the sky and I should be up. Be busy... The thought passed through my head and evaporated without stirring any urgency.
There were other sounds from the outside. A car sped up somewhere, moved away.
Something rustled nearby, paper being turned. Somebody was in the room with me.
I rolled over careful of the dog. Tom was sitting by the window reading a magazine. He looked up when I turned.
"Hi." He put the magazine away, studying my face for a moment before he smiled. "Coffee?"
I nodded and he left. Frida looked at me then she closed her eyes again, oozing comfort, showing the way. I pushed myself up, arranged the pillows against the headboard. I had a faint headache and my body was heavy and stiff after too long a sleep.
Tom came back with two mugs of coffee and sat down on the edge of the bed. He handed me a mug. "How are you?"
How was I? Cotton balls for brains. Aching. But most remarkably -- "Quiet."
He nodded, as if he already had guessed and knew it was a good thing.
I enjoyed the smell of coffee and watched the reflections of the light playing over the dark surface when the mug moved with the beat of my pulse. A sip, the burned taste of the hot liquid filled my mouth. It was good. Earthy.
Tom didn't talk until I looked up from the coffee. "The dogs are taken care of. There is nothing that needs doing right now."
As if he expected me jump out of bed and start running. I looked at the clock. We had another four hours before Mormor was released. The urgency still didn't stir. "Shouldn't you be in school?"
Well, that was an answer that left no room for doubt. Simple, like the pleasure of coffee. Tom was waiting for something. I thought I knew what it was.
He wanted to talk about last night.
It was hazy. There had been spinning...
He had been scared, hadn't he? He didn't look scared now. Just -- patient.
Vaguely surprised I realized I could talk, in the quiet I could talk. As long as I kept it simple. It took a while to collect the first words.
"Last night. The reason I haven't been able to sleep. It's old baggage that's... not finished. It has happened before, only this time it was kind of bad. I stop sleeping and... boom. I'm all right now, really."
"It's gonna happen again, right?"
"Probably." Perhaps not. Niller called... "Thanks for being there."
He shrugged. "You would have done the same for me or Paul. Have done the same for me. You know..."
I drank my coffee. Drinking liquid is such a basic thing, it pulled me into the moment, grounded me.
"So -- are you going to tell me about it?"
A no was on my lips.
But we were far away from my home, in a different country, and whom could he tell? Besides, the ten years were practically gone. Nobody's going to get hurt. The thought lit up in my mind, startling me.
Tom really had enough to carry of his own... He was still there, now unafraid, meeting my eyes. Trust your brother... Damn, even if I was fucked over again, the risk was worth it. Wasn't it?
"I suppose... Right now it's not like I can do it really structured."
"It's alright. You don't need to draw diagrams." He smiled and made himself more comfortable, sitting next to me and resting against the head of the bed. "Give me a pillow." He leaned forward and I put a pillow between him and the headboard.
I collected my sluggish thoughts. Important insights lurked just under the surface. Perhaps I was ready for them. Perhaps they were better left alone for yet another while.
I knew how that thought would sound if I said it aloud...
"After Chris had left I got thinking."
A flicker in Tom's eyes told me he had thought of some smart remark but he kept quiet.
"Thinking", I repeated and he smiled, "is perhaps not the right word -- it was more like remembering too much at once and trying not to."
"Alright. Tell me about the old shit. What happened?"
"It's... There were those four guys, like, my best friends. I mean, really good friends. I may not have trusted all of them with my savings but I would have trusted them with my sisters and my bike. Okay?"
Tom smiled and nodded.
"We more or less lived together for almost four years, like a family, really. Then they disappeared." I stopped, not sure how to go on from there, it suddenly got very complicated to make sentences.
"Yes. Like, poof, gone."
"How? Did anything happen to them?"
I shook my head. "That's what I thought at first but I'm pretty sure that they just -- left. Their things were gone. They had moved out. Gone underground."
Tom frowned. "Details?"
He nodded. "Details."
What did he mean, details? I wasn't sure where to start at all. Maybe at the beginning? Na. Maybe... Maybe coming home. Right. I'll try that one. There are still some parts of that night I don't remember.
"I had been working in the other end of the country for a while. Restoring an old watermill. It was like the chance of a lifetime. Learning the craft and working with some of the best..." Nice tangent. "That's too much detail."
"It's okay. Go on."
"Anyway, I was away a lot. At the end it was sleep, eat, work and nothing else. We had a deadline to meet. So, I hadn't been home for a couple of weeks. I had tried calling a couple of times but nobody picked up the phone. That wasn't really unusual so I didn't think much of it. The job was finished and I drove home.
It was dark when I got home. We lived on this small farm south of Copenhagen at the end of a dirt road. Very much in the middle of nowhere." I had hated being alone at night in that place. "The light on the barn was on. When I switched the bike off there wasn't a sound anywhere. Nothing from the hen house. The dog wasn't barking. The stereo wasn't on." What happened to the chickens? And Karlo's evil black rooster?
"I got a bit miffed. I mean, I had told them I was coming home that day at the latest. I was pretty sure they hadn't forgotten because the barn light was on and they only left it on like that for me. I hated when it turned on because the sensor was triggered. So, I rolled the bike into the stable and -- well, none of their bikes were there which was a bit odd. If they wanted to take the dog along they would use the car. So I worried because Krabat was an old dog, like really old." I missed that dog. It was The Dog to me. Krabat hated the rooster as much as I did.
"I could see they had been busy, somebody had really tidied the place up. All the junk that always ended up in the stable was gone.
Now, that had happened a couple of times before, the tidying up. So I figured it was just Karlo that had kicked the other three into it because there was something he couldn't find or Martin had done it because he couldn't find room for his bike." I sipped my coffee. "I went across the yard to the house. Had I walked through the barn then I would have know right away that they had left... Inside the... I don't know what you call that kind of room, it's a kind of entranceway by the back door."
"Mud room. We used to leave outdoor gear there, all kinds of things. The only outdoor gear I could see was my stuff. And a lot of things were missing, like the fishing gear and the net with soccer balls." My hands had been shaking, almost too much to deactivate the alarm within the twenty seconds one had before it went off like a contraption from Hell.
"I began getting this creepy feeling. Really. Like, what the heck is going on? So I walked into the kitchen; most of the chairs were gone and everything was clean and it felt kind of empty -- like nobody had been there for days. Niller's mug was missing from the windowsill. He had this huge ugly mug none of us were allowed to use.
I went like, okay, this is a joke, the shitheads are playing a joke on me and the three of them have gone along on one of Palle's weird pranks. He always confused humor with horror." I was close to panic. "They've decided we should move and now they are giving me this. It was the only guess I could make. None of the warning signs were up. Like, they would have turned the mailbox by the road if it was dangerous to come near the farm, disconnected the barn light, stuff like that. And the barn light was on so..." I stopped before I began talking in circles.
"The cops had raided the place once before. Also, well, we knew people that weren't that nice." Really not nice.
"Uhu. Go on."
"Okay. I was getting angry." It was better than scared. "I was tired and had been away for a long time and I wanted my friends, a smoke of proper weed, food, a bed and a horny boyfriend... I did not want Palle's pranks.
I walked into the living room. They had left a lot of the furniture and all the potted plants behind. The books left in the bookcase were mostly mine. The blue binder was there, and that was kind of odd. That was where the Cash-master kept track of our household budget and the bills. That binder belonged to the household so they should've taken it. Niller always was updating it almost before the bills were paid. He wouldn't have forgotten to bring it. I was staring at that fucking binder with the stupid Honda sticker on the back and my brain just -- stopped." What had I done next? Panicked.
"... You never found them?"
"Not... I looked for them, obsessively. I mean, at first I was really careful. I was rather paranoid." Rather?! "I found Palle's sister about a year later, she said that last she heard, Palle was living in Berlin. That's in Germany. But -- I didn't find them."
Tom frowned. "Why would they leave like that? Do you know?"
"That's what has fucked my mind on and off since." I really wanted a cigarette. "I want to know but..."
"I don't think I really want to know." My thoughts moved in the quiet. It was like looking from a distance. See, the puzzle falls into place. The most complete one yet.
Fuck. It really just was a matter of adding myself to it. Simple...
And I call myself an expert on structures. Dude!
"Like, on some level I have known all along but didn't want to so I have been looking for different answers." Deep breath. Saying it aloud was a test, stupid always sounds really stupid when said aloud. "I got a call from Peter on Wednesday. Niller had been at the door asking for me. I found Niller and we talked."
"How long had it been?"
"About eight years."
"What did he want?"
"Palle is in hospital with AIDS. It's bad but Niller said it looked like he would make it for now. He wanted to ask if I have had a HIV test."
"Bad. Yes..." I should have asked how to get in touch with Palle. Or perhaps not. Niller would tell him how to find me. "Niller said something more."
"He told me that he always thought I was too smart for the likes of them. And he said that Martin has been clean for three years." I drank my coffee. "Martin couldn't have become clean with me around." He needed it to cope with us, didn't he? "And Niller always tried to protect me. He didn't like it at all when I began working with Palle and Martin on a regular basis and he tried to make me stop. I was the only one of us that had never done time and I was the kid. Of course I didn' t listen." It fits.
It fucking hurts.
"I think..." My mug was empty. I took Tom's and put my empty one into his hand, before drinking his, not caring that there was sugar in it. I want a cigarette! "I think that Niller masterminded the whole disappearing act and that he kidnapped his own brother because he could see where things were going. With Martin and with me."
Should have asked if they ate the frigging rooster.
"Huh? Yes. He would have had to. Martin wouldn't have left willingly. We weren't finished." The art of understatement, huh?
"Oh." Tom was looking at me. He swallowed. "Uhm. Niller didn't say anything else?"
I shook my head. "Not really. We are going to talk when I get back."
My thoughts had begun spinning again. I leaned my head against the wall and didn't fight the spinning. It wasn't the mad swirl of yesterday, it was years-old petrified fear that was dissolving and leaving my bones.
Alive, they are alive. They came back. Alive...
He's alive, he's alive...
"Mikkel...?" Tom took the mug out of my hands.
I didn't understand the question until he used a wad of paper to wipe water off my cheek.
Alive, alive, all of them, alive...
"He made it!" I could no longer sit still and I rolled out of bed, whooping. "He's a-fucking-live." My sudden motion made Frida tumble out of bed. She barked at me, perhaps in protest at the rude treatment.
Tom laughed and shook his head. "Get some clothes on, Barbarian!"
Clothes? Who cares about clothes? Tom obviously did. I pulled on a pair of underwear, hands shaking, hardly able to stand still enough for balance. My skin was straining to keep the rush inside.
There was too much relief in my blood, it was running wild and I didn't know what to do with myself.
He must have understood the expression on my face. His eyes widened and he put away his mug in a hurry. Then I was on him, dragging him into a wrestling match. Tom roared and I found out for sure that the beef was not purely ornamental.
On my back on the floor, breathing heavily, fighting for breath. Finally exhausted, still restless... Frida came forwards from the safe spot in the door and I scratched her.
He's alive! They're alive!
I knew that I would stay inside my skin. Tom was laying next to me, on his side, resting his head on his hand, chest heaving, his temples glistening with droplets of sweat.
He was watching me with an amused expression. "Enough, Cousin?"
I laughed, bubbling inside. They are alive! Tom shook his head and rolled up to sit. "I asked you a question." He poked my side.
"Hey!" I rolled up to sit cross-legged. "Want me to beat you again?"
He laughed softly, eyes gleaming at me. "You beat me? You're crazy! I won, dude! I won, and you know it, squirt."
"No you didn't!"
"Yes I did!"
"Look, I don't wanna get in a fight over this-"
"Of course you don't. You know you don't stand a chance."
"What? Now, who's crazy?" I was getting ready to have my ass beaten again.
A phone rang nearby. Tom stiffened. He rolled up in a hurry snatching his cell off my desk. "Maria?" He listened and then he smiled.
I got up and left the room so he could have his privacy and I could get something to eat. I was suddenly very hungry.
Shortly after I had sat down to eat, Tom came into the kitchen. He had one of my t-shirts in his hand and dumped it on my head. "Get dressed. Barbarian."
I wiped my hands and pulled the t-shirt on. "How was she?"
"Better. Calmer than yesterday. She said to say hello. I told her we had a cousin we didn't know about." He stole one of my sandwiches and sat down to eat it.
I checked the clock on the wall. I had planned on doing a lot of things that morning. Most wasn't on the must-list so they could wait. The preparations for tonight's dinner couldn't. "Do you have time for helping me a bit?"
"Sure. What do you want me to do?"
"Keep an eye on a pot, take some things out of the oven when the clock pings. I have to go shopping. I'm going to take a quick shower first, though."
We got things done and picked up the rental. The pot was still simmering on the stove when we left for the hospital. Tonight's sauce was going to be of the old fashioned kind, made on the best stock. Not made on evil rooster but on a couple of pigeons, too sinewy for eating, but very good for stock.
The van was a clumsy box to drive and on top of that, my thoughts were straying. Tom pulled my full attention back to the traffic. "Man, look out! Shit. That was rude of you. Say, have you ever driven a car before?"
"Hey, I'm trying here!" Alive!
"You know, I think I better chauffeur Mormor today."
"Now -- here we go again, just let him... Yeah. That's it. Good, Mikkel, very good. Want a carrot?"
I punched his shoulder. "Will you stop it!"
"Hey! You're the one that said that positive reinforcement is the way to go."
"When you are dealing with pugs! Now, shut up."
Tom chuckled and was quiet for a while. "It was a good thing you told Granny's friends not to come around until later. This way she'll get time to settle a bit."
"Yes. It pissed Karen off, though. They wanted to hang a welcome-home banner up out in the front and really weird stuff like that. As if Mormor is some soccer team bringing medals home."
"Now, look out, there's a car -- remember to be polite... Yes! Gooooood boy. You sure you don't want a carrot?"
"Scabies-monkey." I made a turn without getting any corrections from my support driver.
"Say, why were you trying to undress Paul last night?"
"We talk about scabies-monkeys and you think of Paul?"
"Now you sound like Mormor. I woke you guys up?"
"You woke Paul and he woke me. He was swearing at you."
"I do that in my sleep. Did I succeed?"
"Not really. He woke up every time you started."
"Yeah. You tell him that. Watch out. Red light coming up."
"Will you shut up?"
"No. Hey, look, it changed. To... green. Man, did you see that? Green!"
"Exactly what light are you talking about?"
We made it to the parking lot in front of the hospital without accidents or damage and without me kicking Tom out of the car while breaking the speed limit.
"Yes!" Tom raised a fist in victory. "The survivors have arrived."
"Shut up and get out."
Tom picked up the empty rucksack and got out of the car. He shook the rucksack and listened to it. "No snorting today." He fell into step next to me. "I think Marian noticed."
"I think a lot of the staff noticed. Dogs shed."
The door to Mormor's room was wide open when we arrived. She sat in her wheelchair and was busy folding up her last clothes and packing her suitcase.
I said "Hi, Mormor" at the same time, Tom said "Hi, Granny."
She looked up and smiled, widely. "Hi." Then she frowned at Tom, glare at the ready. "Shouldn't you be in school?"
"No." He put the rucksack on the table.
Glare was building up. "Why not?"
"I had a nervous breakdown last night. Tom stayed at home today to make sure I was all right."
"You?" The gray eyes searched my face, looking for something, perhaps a joke.
"Yeah, me. I'm fine now."
Tom snorted and disconnected the video. "Well, it wouldn't have happened if you hadn't let it build up like that, and you know it. Sometimes your stupidity is really impressive."
I grinned and lifted the pictures off the wall. Mormor looked from one of us to the other, then she shook her head and went back to packing.
"Mikkel said you found a physiotherapist?"
"Yes. Johnny Schmith. He'll drop by on Monday. Did you get hold of Nina and Rita?"
"Yes. They'll drop by tomorrow at four to set up a schedule." I busied myself packing the books and the videos. "We should be back from the game then, right, Tom?"
"Sure." He had found the stuffed teddy cat and looked it over curiously. "This yours?" he asked Mormor.
Her lips thinned and she tore the cat out of his hand and put it in the suitcase. "Get the pictures."
Tom docilely began packing the framed photos while I latched the larger pieces together so that they could be carried in one hand.
"You have a football game tomorrow?"
"Yeah. Wanna come?" asked Tom, nonchalantly, as if it didn't matter one way or the other.
"Of course. Who's it against?"
Tom stopped what he was doing and stared at her for a moment, mouth slightly open, then he got a hold on himself and told her about the game.
I knew that she liked watching sports on TV. And I knew that she and Tom talked football when he was visiting her.
Until then, I hadn't considered that she could be a sports nut.
She certainly asked all the right questions; even if I couldn't understand all that was said, I recognized the nutty level of detail.
The nurses must have kept an eye on us; because when we were finished packing several of them and a couple of doctors showed up to say good bye.
We had barely shaken hands all the way round when -- "Enough of this." Mormor turned the wheelchair and drove towards the door. "I want to go home. Good bye, everybody. Boys -- march!"
Marian hurried to follow us out, arguing back and forth with Mormor before Mormor let her grab the handles of the wheelchair. It was something about insurance. Apparently the subject was moot by the entrance to the hospital.
She let go of the wheelchair and Mormor gave it full power, following Tom towards the van. Marian touched my arm. "Glad to hear that you're breathing is easier these days," she murmured.
"Thank you. And -- thank you for taking good care of Mormor."
She nodded and smiled. "Take care."
I grinned. "I think she wants to go home."
"I am sure she does. Bye."
Tom was folding out the ramp. Mormor was looking around, a shine in her eyes and a small smile around the mouth. She caught me looking. "What are we waiting for?" She snapped.
Tom straightened. "You."
"Brat." Mormor maneuvered the wheelchair into alignment with the ramp and drove up and inside. I jumped in after her and helped secure her and the wheelchair while Tom folded the ramp back up and closed the door.
She didn't say much while we drove. She spent the time looking out of the windows. The last kilometer couldn't go fast enough, though.
"Next time I'll let Mikkel drive," grumbled Tom when she tartly had pointed out that this was a road and not a parking lot.
"Go, go, go."
Tom shook his head, not letting Mormor stress him. Finally, we reached the house, rolling slowly into the driveway.
Driving the wheelchair backward down the ramp turned out to be a bit tricky. "I want mirrors on this thing," she said when she was safely down from the van. Then she fell silent, looking at her house. With a small grin, she set full speed on the wheelchair going for the ramp to the porch like a pro.
"She's gonna be a hazard around the house," murmured Tom in my ear.
"Traffic lights. We will definitely need traffic lights." I picked up the suitcase and the rucksack, following Mormor at a slower pace.
Tom laughed behind me. "Speed limits and house rules will do. Perhaps now you see my point."
"Never! Traffic lights and a bell on that vehicle -- I want technical solutions!"
"Traffic lights without rules attached? Man..."
I didn't know what to say to that, so I kept my mouth shut.
By the time we got into the living room she had already raced through the house to the dogs' den. I could hear the stormy welcome going on up there. It was a good while before she returned form the den to inspect the rooms we had renovated, chatting with the dogs that followed her around.
I was setting the table when she rolled down the ramp to the living room, heralded by Leika and Frida.
"Is there anything I can do?" she asked and watched me lay the cutlery, straight and evenly spaced like my mother would have done it. Today there were flower arrangements too.
"Well, not really. Tom and I have it in hand."
"What was that about you having a breakdown?"
"Oh. Old unfinished business catching up with me. It will do that sometimes. I'm okay now. Tom made it a lot better."
She eyed me, then she nodded. "What are we having?"
"Fish, salad, bird, sorbet and cake. Since you are paying I didn't look at price tags at all. You want the wine list?"
"No." She chuckled. "You have the receipts?"
"Oh, yes. Enough to last us for days if we should run out of-"
"Mikkel!" It was somewhere between a bark and a laugh.
I sent her a grin. "-kitchen roll. If you want, I can serve you a drink on the back porch. It's your day."
She was studying the floor. "Where's the stain? Under that rug?"
"Remove the rug. I want to see."
I pulled the rug aside. The stain looked paler than I remembered it. Mormor grunted, her mouth a thin line. "Is that all?" She sounded disappointed.
"I'm afraid so." I put the rug back.
She was looking at the Mexican weaving that Dani had hung on the wall. "Wall hangings... It could be worse. Could be one of Rose's. With deformed exotic birds with lumpy feet." She rolled into the library to look at the wall from the other side. "What's this?"
I came over to see what she was looking at. "Blackboards." I had found two in the basement. "It's a diagram of a site with a database. I didn't get around to putting them away. It's part of my work arrangement. I like to do the initial planning on a large board so that I can move around or sit by the computer when I look at it."
"Why do you want to take them down?"
"Well, to make room for the pictures."
She snorted. "This makes more sense than pictures. Leave them up."
She turned the wheelchair and rolled further into the room.
I was putting out the fine china on the coffee table when she came out from the library.
"I'll roam a bit and let you know when I want the drink." She headed for the back again. "I like the bathroom." She was gone, racing up the ramp, the dogs running ahead of her.
A few minutes later Tom opened the door to the kitchen, stuck his head in to look at me and tried to hide a grin.
"I just wanted to make sure you were alright."
"You were, ah... singing? Or something."
I stuck out my tongue at him and hummed on while folding napkins into shapes resembling peacocks.
I could dance too. Alive! Tom laughed and left me to my own devices.
Everything was ready several minutes before the guests arrived. And arrive they did, chatting and laughing and doing a lot of cheek kissing, making me want to go hide.
The talk around the table went on and on, mostly it was about dogs. Karen apparently hadn't brought any of her meaner stories along or maybe it was Mormor's presence that kept them at bay. Or maybe it was that more pressing news had reached her -- news about a litter of pups showing defects, that shouldn't appear in that particular line. The pug that had fathered the litter was littermate to the one that had fathered Violet's latest litter and some kind of uncle to one of Karen's bitches.
"Man! They chatter," murmured Tom when we were in the kitchen making ready for the main course. "You want the herbs?"
"Yes." He passed me the plate and I added the fresh greens.
"I never heard of anybody eating pigeons before." He hadn't liked to hear that the pigeons were slaughtered before they could fly. I didn't quite understand why that made them different from the chickens that he would eat without hesitation.
"It's one of my favorites." Miguel's wife had told me of a place where I could get them freshly slaughtered. I really owed both her and Miguel a lot.
"I'm already getting fat. That sauce smells just..."
"Stock on pigeons gives the best sauce you can make. Period. There." I eyed the dish. It was perfect. "Let's go."
Tom picked up the bowls and followed me into the living room.
"Oh, dear," sighed Sara when I filled her plate. "Who did the catering? This is amazing. The fish was fantastic. What was it again?"
"Mikkel cooked," Mormor smiled.
"Noo!" Sara turned so fast that I almost tipped the dish into her lap. "You didn't! You made all this yourself? Oh, my god. I can't believe it!" I evaded an exited hand flutter.
"Hey, wait with the praise till you've tasted it." I found the balance without any birds flying off. "Tom did a lot of it."
"It's fabulous, dear. I am so impressed with you. Rose, you are so lucky having grandsons like Mikkel and Tom; you must be so proud," Sara gushed on and Mormor looked amused. "Dear, they made this fantastic meal just for you. You must love your grandmother a lot... Please, yes, more of that fruit, it looks delicious..."
I wanted to go hide. Tom was fighting a grin, watching my expression.
Karen was looking at Sara, sharply, for a split second she looked really irritated, almost hateful.
I don't trust you.
The thought popped in my mind like a popcorn and more pops followed in short order. The meal is a war strike. I won this round, Sara gave full points. The gossip yesterday -- about the disgustingly perverted women that found 'boys' for lovers, boys that 'destroyed' families... Had she been laying out poison for me? That didn't make sense. For the other two, maybe. Getting them back into line. When did I become so sure of my mistrust? Since this morning.
"Wait till you taste the sauce," said Tom and passed the potatoes to Karen, almost throwing the bowl at her. "Oops, sorry. Take some; Mikkel has been looking all over town for 'proper' potatoes. Mikkel, you want me to pour the wine now?"
"Please." I had had him practice that while we were working in the kitchen. He did just fine and we all dug in.
Things went smoothly and the conversation around the table was mostly about infinitely complex pugs' pedigrees.
There was a lull in the conversation right after the desert had been served.
"So, how are your parents, Tom?" asked Karen. Counterattack?
"Fine," said Tom and spooned sorbet into his mouth.
Mormor eyed Karen, mouth an irritated line.
Beth looked up from her plate. "You still attend Father Summer's?" she asked Tom.
Karen smiled, the innocence of the mouth was countered by the gleam in her eyes. She knew that Beth would ask.
"Mhm," said Tom, which is very much the answer when the mouth is full of cold sorbet and one really doesn't want to talk about a subject.
"What is Father Summer's?" I asked Beth.
"A local denomination. Summer is very popular, very charismatic. My brother attended for a while."
"Local denomination? I'm not sure I understand." Denomination -- as in classification? It didn't make sense.
"A church. Summer preaches his own hellraising brand of christianity," explained Mormor. "If he got the chance he would have Hell patented, copyrighted, trademarked and bottled and made himself head of the board. "
Tom grinned into his food.
Beth raised an eyebrow, pointedly ignoring Mormor. "What church do you belong to?" she asked me.
Which I thought was a rather personal question when we didn't know one another better than we did. On the other hand -- neither Tom or Mormor stiffened so I gathered that it wasn't meant to be offensive. Next problem was how to answer it. Somehow it didn't seem probable she was asking whether it was the church around the corner, the one at the end of the street or the one in the next street. Which was well enough because I really didn't know the answer to that. "I'm not sure how to answer that. How would you answer if I asked you the same question?"
"Would you answer that whether you were practicing or not?"
"Okay. Then I'm protestant. We have a national church, the membership is pretty automatic... Is that an ordinary question?"
She blinked. "Excuse me?"
"Asking people what church they belong to."
"Well, yes. Fairly ordinary."
"Why do you ask? I mean, why is it important?"
"Why... I don't know," she frowned. "To get to know you better, I guess. It isn't really important. It's like -- asking what shows you watch on TV or something."
"So, it wouldn't really matter if I had answered that I was an atheist or that I'm of-" I turned to Mormor to get a translation. "Asetro?"
She smiled. "Asa-tru."
"-that I'm of Asa-tru?" I finished my question.
"Oh, dear. No, no it wouldn't, though it might with some people. Why are you asking those questions?"
"I'm curious. Most of the Danes I know don't talk much about religion. Like, we have forgotten that one can talk about it as an everyday thing. You could say that it's taboo, I guess."
"Oh, I'm sorry. Mikkel, please, I didn't mean offense."
"Hey, it's okay. I'm not offended. Mormor didn't blow a fuse so I figured you didn't mean to insult."
"Well, you didn't. I'm sure I would have noticed."
"Well, good for you," she said drily.
Beth chuckled and pushed her plate away. "I am so full. This was so good."
"You should open a restaurant, dear. Or a catering service," said Sara brightly. "I would be your number one customer."
"You want more sorbet? Chocolate cake?" She had eaten more than Tom had and I found myself liking her a lot better than I had when they left on Thursday.
"Perhaps just a tiny little bit, dear. I am being such a naughty girl. That cake should be outlawed."
"Are you still on that diet?" asked Beth.
"Don't, don't talk about it, dear Beth. I don't want to think about it." And they were off talking about diets since it apparently was something they really liked to talk about and Karen joined too. It was rather offensive, involving powders and pills, and Mormor delighted in taking offense.
"What was that with Karen? " Tom asked later when he was stacking the dish washer and the door was closed so that the chatter was just a faint noise. "Man, if looks could kill she'd have been instantly deep-frozen, zap!"
"I was that obvious?"
"To me, yeah. Did she do anything?"
"She didn't like the meal."
"I heard you, man. But she ate like everything -- except the baked fruits. Really, that's not a killing offense."
"I mean, she didn't like that the others enjoyed it so much."
"Man, she's just a bad tempered, old bag. Like Granny."
"Huh." He seemed set in his belief that 'older woman' automatically meant 'harmless woman', which was odd considering he knew Mormor. "I don't trust her."
"If I didn't know you I'd say you were jealous." He closed the dishwasher and started it.
"Yeah. Well, I'm not."
"I know." He began washing the bowls that hadn't been room for in the dishwasher and I joined him with a dishcloth when I had finished putting the food away. "How are you doing?"
"Fine. I can think now, take one thing at a time."
"What are you thinking?"
"Apart from just being happy that they are all alive... It's, well, I'm really trying to swallow a camel -- accepting that I was part of the problem that Niller chose to treat like a Gordic knot."
"He must have used most if not all of his savings to pull it off. He'd been saving for his own garage for years. It was like his one big dream, setting up his own shop and go legal." The bank had been less than enthusiastic when they found out about his jail-sentence. "He took courses and everything." I'd helped him with the homework. He was dyslexic like Martin, though not nearly as much, and it had taken him a lot of sweat and determination to pass.
"You feel bad about him using all his savings?"
"Yes. They left everything important..." Including me. "I'm still angry with them, though."
"No shit." We cleaned the last bowls and he wiped the counter and I hung the dish cloth up to dry. Tom watched me move about. "Say -- did you have a test?"
"I've had several. The last one was two years ago. All negative. Sorry. I should have told you."
"Yeah. I was wondering." He eyed the tray I was making. "You think they drink cognac?"
"Mormor might. I do." I opened the cupboard taking some of the sweet liquors. "Anything you like?"
"No. Well, perhaps some of that cherry thing."
I got that one too. "What's so special about cherries?"
"What do you mean?"
"Chris made a quip about cherries. I didn't get it."
"Man... Do I have to explain everything?" he said almost in the same tone Chris had used for the same words. There was a tug in my balls. Chris-kisses. I want Chris' kisses. His hands all over my body.
I really hoped he would get over freaking before I had to go home.
A couple of hours later, the house was quiet. The guests had left, Tom and I had helped Mormor into bed and Tom had gone to bed too. I sat in the library trying to work but was too tired to get much done. The time would be better used the following morning. Checking the local news sites for Houston I found a short notice and a small picture from 'NSync's show Wednesday night. Apparently there had been some trouble with the sound system; the notice didn't say much more than that. I couldn't really see Chris in the picture, the others were in the way and the picture was low quality. For a moment I felt tempted to tell the owners of the site what I thought of their service.
Chris on the front page.
I closed the computer before I got started on a really silly email.
What was going on with me? Was this... possession just to keep Martin at bay? I didn't think so. Eight years is a long time and this was a different life. Martin would have changed, both of us would. Do I miss him? Don't think I want to open that one just yet... He was clean...
Niller is scared of what will happen if we meet. When we meet.
Which meant Martin wasn't really free of 'us' yet, Niller knew things like that. Used to know them better than Martin did. Or I.
I got up from the chair and tidied up the desk before heading to bed. When I turned the light off in the hall, I noticed light seeping out from under Tom's door. He had been adamant about going to bed early so that he would be fit for fight the following day.
I knocked on his door, softly enough not to wake him if he was asleep. There was an answering grunt form the other side and I pushed the door open.
He was sitting in bed and looked at me with a tear streaked face.
"Want me to get my pillows?" I asked.
He nodded and put away the photo album he had been looking at. I caught a glimpse of pictures with football players in them before the album closed completely.
"Man, aren't we a merry bunch?" he said when I returned and dumped my pillows on the bed.
I handed him the washcloth I had wrung in cold water and he held it against his eyes. "Yes. And Mormor is hogging all the dogs. The world is coming to an end. Let's make our own lonesome choir and wail!"
"What was that you were looking at?" I crawled into bed.
"Just old photographs. I was wallowing and feeling really sorry for myself. Think I can make it as choir leader?" He removed the washcloth to look at me
"Sure. We can take turns. Show me the album?"
He shook his head. "Later. I hadn't realised it was this late."
"Okay. If you think you can sleep."
He nodded and we snuggled down and he turned the light off.
"Mikkel?" Tom shifted and moved the pillow he had put between his head and my shoulder.
"If you strip me I'm gonna skin you."
"I can leave once you fall asleep."
"It's okay... Just thought you wanted to know."
I wasn't sure what to do about that statement and was so busy wondering about it that I fell asleep before I had made up my mind to run.
That turned out to have been a very bad disposition.
Not that I was uncomfortably skinned when I woke up. I was very comfortable in my skin; there was enough strength left in the echoes of a pleasant dream to make me feel really good. Chris had been there. And Martin. So perhaps there had been two dreams. My imagination didn't stretch to see them together but then dreams have a tendency to go beyond that. Wonder if they would get along at all. Wouldn't want those two to get into a fight. They wouldn't know when to quit, like female cats or evil roosters...
I had really wanted to be the one axing the neck of that rooster. If not for Karlo I would have. Oh, what joy to smell it cooking.
Tom shifted. He had turned away at some point during the night. His naked backside touched my naked hip.
Oops! I'm in trouble here.
He pulled at the sheets and buried deeper into the mattress. I noticed a familiar stiffness in the sheets when they moved across my belly and groin. An equally well-known smell reached my nostrils.
Deep trouble. Really, really deep trouble. Pleasant dream indeed.
I didn't think I could change the sheets without Tom noticing -- not while he was still between them. So I had to discard plan A. Plan B involved Novo Sibirsk and a lot of flight changes. Which probably meant visas and seat reservations weeks in advance, so I discarded that one too. Perhaps I could carry Tom to my bed and then change the sheets and carry him back again...
I was quickly reaching the end of the alphabet, wasting quite a lot of letters on teleportation theory.
P, hide behind Mormor, seemed if not the best then at least the most realistic one. I would have make sure she got out of bed before Tom for that one to work. Right.
Done with planning I wriggled out from under the sheets, taking a lot of care not to disturb Tom. I didn't dare to look at him because this was the time when he got really scary -- the fangs and claws had emerged, and hair had grown out all over his body. He was ready to be woken.
It was quite a mystery how my underwear had ended up under the bed. I pulled them on and peeled my t-shirt off the bed side lamp, carefully, didn't want the lamp to end up on the floor.
It wasn't until I had pushed the door shut behind me that I registered that the light in the hallway was on. A sound made me turn to find an essential ingredient of plan P sitting in her wheelchair and glaring at me.
"What are you doing in Tom's room?" she snapped and I suddenly recognized where Tom had his lycanthropic disposition from.
I should have known that that was a sure way to make her talk even louder. "Don't you ssh! me, kid. Now, answer!" she said in a voice that made the furry herald that had come forward to sniff my feet whine and the hallway seemed full of noise.
I moved away from the door. "Nothing, I..." I paused, thinking I had heard a sound from Tom's room. "Shit."
"Language!" she barked, making the heralds and me jump.
"Would you please be quiet, you are waking it up."
"What is going on?" she asked, lowering her voice a little but far from enough.
The door to Tom's room was almost torn off its hinges. It stood there glaring at me with small, mean, glowing eyes, fur bristling and foam dripping from the gleaming fangs. It was dressed only in Tom's boxers -- a danger signal. They had the wrong side out. Run!
"Eh. Hi." I waved lamely.
It growled and lumbered past Mormor and into my room, slamming the door behind it. Without bringing any pillows with it. It was particular about Tom's pillows. Shit. I hurried into his room and picked them up before running to my room, meeting it there in the door, likely on its way back to fetch the pillows. It violently tore them away from me and the door almost hit my nose when it slammed shut.
"Now, look what you did!" I hissed at Mormor.
She blinked at the closed door and turned her gaze on me. "What did I do?" she asked in a dangerously tense, but calmingly low voice.
"Woke him up. He'll be really pis-"
"-fucking pissed when he wakes up for real." At a minimum it would take the entire diplomatic corpse, the sports section, two bowls of his favorite brand of cereal and a pot of coffee before he stopped being downright lethal.
Luckily he would have an entire football team to take the rest out on. I just had to survive until the game.
Cereal -- I walked to the kitchen to check that there was any of Tom's favorite kind left. There wasn't and I knew I better go shopping very soon, a pineapple wouldn't hurt either, he seemed to prefer those for breakfast, and we were out.
Mormor rolled into the kitchen. I suddenly remembered she was angry too, angry enough to speak English at me. "What is it?" I asked and pulled my t-shirt on while wondering if I should chance going to my room for a pair of clean pants or just take my dirty work pants from the hamper by the washing machine.
"What were you doing in Tom's room?" she asked between clenched teeth.
It finally dawned on me what she was really asking. "We spent the night fucking like rabbits."
I hoped Tom hadn't understood what was going on with her in the hallway.
It was glare against glare until it began to feel stupid and I turned away to check the fridge to see if there was anything else we needed. Somebody had been drinking a lot of milk since last night. The shopping turned out to be a regular emergency run. I had better get moving.
I turned in the door. "Yes?"
"Why were you in Tom's room?" This time I thought she meant the question in the sense of the actual words.
"He couldn't sleep. Snuggling helps. Look, I have to go shopping before he gets up. Is there anything you want me to get or do before I leave?"
I headed towards the back and heard a pensive "I'm fine" behind me.
I got thinking and turned, backtracking to the kitchen door. "How did you get out of bed?"
She blinked up at me, pulling herself out of what ever funk she was lost in. "I'm not helpless." She flexed her arm and pushed up the sleeve, showing off her slim muscles. "They had me do bodybuilding. I told you. Those grips and handles you put up work fine."
It occurred to me that she wouldn't be able to reach the hangers. "You want me to take a dress out for you?" She was still in her nightgown and had covered her legs with a blanket.
"It can wait."
"I'm not that much in a hurry. Come on. I should check the battery in the wheelchair..."
After I left, that small 'I'm fine' lingered in my memory, a multi-layered, floating thing that told me that I better make pancakes for Mormor when I got back. I got extra eggs to be sure we had enough.
She said no. It turned out it was the 'flabby flat European rubber slaps' she didn't like. After further consultation, I managed cooking up a pile of 'proper pancakes' and everything was nice and quiet by the time Tom made an appearance. Mormor had finished with the sports section and was busy with the financial section when he came into the kitchen. I slipped out of his sight and went to change the sheets on his bed.
"I did that?" she asked quietly later when we met in the library.
"Well, yes." I put the steaming mug down by my computer. "Of course it wouldn't have been quite that bad if I hadn't had a wet dream in his bed. Once Paul comes over, he'll be fine. You want coffee too?"
"No thanks." Mormor sent me an amused glance and returned her attention to the screen. "Did you muck around with my computer?"
"A little. I installed an anti virus program. You had quite a virus collection there. I also uninstalled the-" I stopped myself. "I made it more secure against unwelcome visitors when you are online. Is anything bothering you?"
"No, no. I wondered about the new picture on the desktop..."
Likely she meant the icon. "Just tell me, okay? Some things may have changed when the infections were removed."
I got caught up in my own things and didn't surface until Paul knocked on the top of my head to get my attention and tell me we were getting ready to leave. I fought myself back into our common reality and let work go. The rest would have to wait until I got back.
It turned out that I needen't be sorry that I had forgot to buy face paint for the game. Neither Paul nor Mormor would hear of painting their faces and wearing huge silly hats and long scarves in the colors of the team we supported.
Which was well enough, since Mormor likely would have scared both teams off the turf if she had been wearing proper colors.
At some early point, I forgot that the players looked like upholstered gorillas wearing the safety equipment of construction workers. I had received a crash course on our way over and knew that the tendency to pile up wasn't because the players didn't know what they were doing. I was sucked into the game, standing next to Mormor and Paul and some of Paul and Tom's friends, cheering my heart out with them though not calling out for blood and mayhem the way Mormor did.
The entire place was boiling with the support for both teams.
I wasn't at all sure what was going on almost of the time. But a member of Tom's team kicking the ball between the two sticks couldn't be bad. Amazing how somebody could make a precise kick with a ball shaped like a loaf of Turkish bread. True enough -- the numbers changed from even in a most satisfying way and Mormor almost stepped out of the wheelchair. We were jumping up and down at that point and waving our arms. I slapped Paul's shoulder and if he hadn't grabbed my arm to save himself from falling, I probably wouldn't have noticed I had done it. He sent me an ecstatic grin and put a hand on my shoulder to use me for a launch pad for some high jumps.
The match ended shortly after the ball had gone between the sticks.
"Did you see Tom!" Paul was still flushed. We were slowly moving towards the exit, walking in front of Mormor who was glowing and still a little flushed.
I laughed. "I was trying to. He kept disappearing under piles of construction workers. Was he good?"
"Dude! You Danes are dense."
"That kid has potential." Mormor pushed herself in between us. Paul grinned and nodded. They launched themselves into a discussion about the game. It was amazing how many details Mormor remembered. I listened with half an ear and kept an eye on the people around us, plotting a course suitable for wheelchairs.
We reached the van before Tom and had a drink outside while we waited. By the time Tom arrived Mormor had finished dissecting and shredding the officials. Tom looked tired but he was beaming and he didn't seem to mind Mormor grilling him about coach's evaluation of the game, keeping the talk going while she drove into the van and Tom secured her.
Shortly after we left the parking lot, Mormor began her own distinct analysis of the game, pulling detail after detail to Tom's attention. I could see him in the mirror, listening attentively and nodding, eyes alight.
Paul twisted in his seat to look at them. Then he turned, sending me a smile so full of relief that I knew that I had not quite understood just how many hangups Tom had had about this game.
"So how are you?" he asked.
"You mean after the breakdown on Thursday?"
"Yeah. You look a lot better."
"Good. Kind of light-headed. Most of it was the missing sleep, I think. I'm sorry I scared you."
"I look at it like this -- now we know what to look for so next time we can sit on you. Will you tell me why it happened?"
I gave him the short version. When I finished the two behind me had fallen silent, listening in.
"You mean they left to save you, like, because they love you?"
"That's kind of twisted."
Mormor snorted. "Sounds to me like you're setting yourself of for a fall believing that, kid."
They are alive! I laughed. "I didn't say I trust their reasoning." Damn right. "I trust their intentions." What we had together was real, no fucked up illusion in my head... I couldn't remember feeling this sane, this sure. "That's what's important, really."
She snorted again. "As if you can separate the two."
I caught her eyes in the mirror for a brief instant. "That's what trust and friendship is about, basically."
"Don't instruct me on trust, brat."
I caught her eyes in the mirror again and stuck my tongue out at her.
"Mikkel!" she snapped but her eyes were smiling.
"Red light," muttered the support driver.
I returned my full attention to the road and Mormor returned to instructing Tom on football, explaining him that he was too civilized and well behaved on the field. "You have to set the fear in them, make them feel really small and helpless."
"Oops," muttered Paul under his breath.
"What?" Tom sounded like he didn't believe his own ears. "You're kidding! I need control. I mean, I used to-"
"I didn't say you didn't need control. But control is more than just suppression of your killer instinct -- it's using the power in it, knowing when to let go. You had it almost right a couple of times-" she was off, making me wonder if she had a past as a coach in kick boxing.
I woke, came fully awake in an instant, heart hammering and adrenaline rushing in my blood. It wasn't the dream intruding on reality, no, couldn't be, there were no rooster downs tickling my nose and no axe in my hand; it was something else that had woken me up.
Tom having a bad dream? I listened but it was hard to hear anything above the the pulse drumming in my ears.
The curtain moved. My heart skipped a couple of beats when I realised somebody was on his way through the window. Should have repaired the screen. Realizing that my time for attack was now, while the person was on his way in, I wormed quietly towards the edge of the bed, trying not to worry about the sleep still in my body... Fucked up way to do a bed, like a trap... I'll end up landing on my face if I am not careful.
Then the curtains parted properly and I saw his profile. Not a big guy, a very adroit and quiet one, with a funny thing on the top of his head his head, could be a small potted plant in need of water...
I would know that profile and those sure movements anywhere. I blinked. He didn't disappear.
He was pulling himself inside now and putting his feet down, one by one, quietly. He turned, pushing the screen back down. All the while my head spun and my dick went Chrischrischris...and the bottom of my belly took flight downwards in an elevator.
I tried to calm myself, to take it easy until I knew what this was about.
It was probably just a dream, anyway. I blinked again. He was still there.
Finally I came to my senses and stopped blinking -- if it was a dream, then the last thing I wanted was to wake up and find out. This was so much better than the one about separating the head of a black rooster from its neck.
The curtains fell shut leaving the room in almost total darkness.
I should turn the light on before he falls over something.
Of course he bumped into something, it sounded like the chair. His soft swearing didn't clarify what object he had encountered.
Listen, it speaks! Beautiful voice. It's Chris!
I fumbled around for the light switch that suddenly had decided to move away from its usual place. Chrischrischris through the window. Finally I found the elusive thing. The click was loud.
Chris! Glaring and beautiful. For a moment I thought he might forget to take off his glasses before he attacked me.
Only this was Chris and Chris could talk. There would be no frustrated violence. The yellow light glittered in his glasses.
"I'm supposed to be quick, you know, really smart." The words came out like velvet whip cracks and he waved his fist. "I even have it on fucking paper."
I didn't doubt the truth in that, but what was he getting at?
"I'm real fast. I don't miss important things, like signs and fucking billboards."
Oh? What's important about billboards? I pushed myself up to sit and cleared my voice. "If one goes really fast sometimes one overlooks a sign, you know."
"Fuck speed limits and one way streets. I'm gonna sue the guys responsible for the signs." His eyes narrowed and he looked really determined. "They won't know what hit them. I'll sue the shirts right off their crooked backs!"
I nodded. "Uhm. You going to tell me what it says on those signs?"
"I told you." He glared at me. "I missed them. Motherfucking brainless bastards made them all in Cantonese."
"You've had fun playing in traffic, huh. "
"It's better than a rollercoaster." There were dark lines under his eyes and his skin was pale, but his eyes sparkled. "You still interested in messing around with my hot and handsome body?"
Yes! Don't say 'maybe' this time. Don't! "You mean, like, right now?" Idiot, Mikkel! Idiot!
His mouth quirked. "My, my, aren't we bursting with enthusiasm here. Sure. If you can find the time. Want me to fetch your calendar for you?"
Want him! Want! Say it! I swallowed. Sex with Chris! Say yes! Say it! Take his clothes off! "You sure you won't freak in the morning?" Fool!
"Of course I'm gonna freak..." He rolled his eyes. "What's with the third degree -- now, will you please answer my romantic proposal before my ego, like, totally deflates."
He was too far away, at least one and a half meters from the bed, which was way too close to the horizon from where I was. I got out of bed in a hurry to catch a hug full of solid, breathing Chris. He flung his arms around my neck and seemed quite contented getting crushed against me while the tension slowly seeped out of him and he molded himself closer, melting all the way into my heart it felt like. I breathed myself dizzy on the smell of him, nosing the soft short hair behind his ear. Chris!
"Bastard," he muttered against my neck.
I blew lightly into his ear; he shivered a little in response. Nice. Lick it! Make tongue sex with nice Chris-ear. "Missed you."
He pulled my hair. "Don't go sappy on me, man."
"Mmm. Perhaps we should talk-" Talk?? Shut your mouth up, it's stupid!
"No." He leaned his head back to look up at me, his hands slipping down my back to cup my buttocks. He licked his lips. Beautiful mouth. Lick it. Find that tongue, you saw where it disappeared to, find it, find it! "You still haven't ans-" I licked his lips. He shut up and blinked. I set out to find his tongue. It wasn't difficult -- when I probed his mouth, it came out all on its own to slide around mine, slick and quick.
Chris' hands were all over me, tracing flushed tracks on my skin, his hot and handsome body open for my roaming. Our mouths just couldn't get enough and it got wet, greedy and messy and very nice indeed and would have been perfect if not for all the cloth he came wrapped in.
I pulled back, out of breath and frustrated with the clothes.
He looked down. Hi! "Man, you're drooling on my shirt." Of course! Why did you stop?
"Why are you wearing that thing in the first place?"
"Heck if I know. Must've been an oversight. Un-intentional, I assure you. Probably Lance's influence."
I took his glasses off and put them on the dresser before I tugged at the double layer of offenders. Chris lifted his arms so that I could pull the shirts off him. "Oh." Beautiful belly! The top of the love trail was visible, the belly button the perfect starting point for a tongue walk. Not necessarily following the beaten trail... There -- there -- the nipples! "Umm." The rosy brown knobs were hard, I was sure I could hear them tell me to suckle-
"What are you doing?" He didn't sound pleased with being trapped with his arms over his head inside the jumble of two shirts.
"Umm. Looking at your hot and handsome body." I pulled the shirts the rest of the way off.
He glared at me as soon as his head was free. "Goof."
There was no denying that so I nodded and touched his shoulder. "I want you naked."
He swallowed and looked down, starting to unbutton his jeans. The pale neck looked vulnerable, somehow more naked than bare skin, when he bent his head. My heart panged and ached. So beautiful...
"I want to." I pushed his hands away from the fly and knelt to untie his sneakers. He put a hand on my shoulder and kicked the sneakers off. He hissed and shivered when I pulled the zipper and I looked up. His black eyes were smoldering, pulling at me. He nodded once, a small impatient nod emphasized by the swinging braids. Beautiful...
Get those pants off him!
Well, of course. I slid them off him, taking the boxers along too. Not all the way off, though; about mid-thigh I forgot all about pants because his dick was free and slapped against his belly, blood filled, broad and veiny, and-
Partner! Nice, nice, so nice!
I had my nose buried in the soft spot at the root, the hair on his balls tickling my face as I breathed in his scent. His buttocks were just the right size in my hands, the skin soft and shivering at my touch.
"Fuck." Chris stumbled and caught himself against me. The pants slid down around his ankles and he stepped out of them. I leaned back in order not to get hit by a knee; the stepping was somewhat frantic. Then he let me pull his socks off.
He pulled me up before I could get a proper look at his tattoo and there was a lot of hot, handsome and naked Chris flush against me, solid arms pulling me in for another crazy kiss. I tried to wrap myself all the way around him, unable to get enough squirming, straining, kissing Chris, inhaling his taste and smell greedily. I lost my balance or he lost his, I'm not sure, we stumbled and made a rather entangled landing on the bed. I landed on top of him; his body kind of gave under me and he made a strangled noise. I thought I had hurt him and rolled off, concerned, apologies at the ready. Then he began laughing quietly, sparks were dancing in his eyes and he looked really okay to me when he scooted properly onto the bed.
"Please be gentle with me," I smiled and propped myself on an elbow and loosened his braids with my free hand.
"Don't worry, you are safe with me. A fragile two hundred pounder... I specialize in that weight category." He blew at a braid that fell down in front of his eyes; it merely swung back, hitting his nose.
I pushed the braid away. "Yes? How do you specialize?" You're talking too much.
"Like, I got a lot of sproing..." He poked his belly and his dick gave a small nod in agreement. "See, I sproing right back into shape and it's, like, soft sproing too, never hurt nobody. Really high quality sproing."
"Show me again."
Wanting some of that too I pushed his hands away and rubbed circles on the fine, high quality belly, slipping my hand under his dick so that it rubbed against the back of my hand. The belly skin was secret, warm silk hiding under a thin layer of coarse curly hair, moving with his breath. Beautiful.
He slid his fingers through the hair on my chest. "Mikkel?"
"Mmm." Nice belly. Very, very nice partner. Want to play with it. Lick and rub-
Chris tweaked one of my nipples lightly. More! "Is gay sex always this low action?" Another tweak. Thank you. Again...
I enjoyed the sensation of his fingers too much to give an immediate answer. "This is actually high action, hyper speed gay sex." What?? "It's..." He pulled and tweaked; my joints were loosing power, going into rapid jellofication.
He smiled, eyes half lidded, glittering dark pools. "Yeah?"
"It's at least a seven on the metric gay sex scale."
He chuckled and pulled and I followed my nipple and got caught in a kiss on the way. Caught by Chris! Right, Chris and one of his mind-blowing kisses.
Still attached to my mouth, he wriggled to get under me and pulled at my arm, and I slipped my leg across him, stroking his balls with my thigh. He shivered and pulled harder until I rolled on top of him. He punched my shoulders, so I let him take my full weight, and he squirmed under me making contented little sounds in his throat.
Yes, yes, yes! Partner-rub, partner-and-sproing-rub! Make Chris make noise! Nice Chris-noise.
I pulled out of the kiss, fighting for air. "Er, Chris?" Nooo! Not your stupid mouth again. Now, rub me!!
"I know." He panted. "Can we, like, do speed seven later?"
"You think you can go another-" Shut up! I'm suffering!
"Dude!" That little stupid word and the way he said it, grinning cockily, exploded in the fuzzy cave in my chest, pressed against the inner walls of my chest, aching and bubbling, making me laugh. He smiled, eyes glowing black heat. "Can you?"
His grin grew expectant, wolfish. Oooh! Methinks he wants us. Never mind worrying, he knew himself best and he wanted this and I did too. Took you long enough. Now, go!
Tongue-sexing his ear and neck made for a lot of the best Chris-sounds and almost right in my ear too. Sex-poetry. After a lot of delicious groping his hands found the spot at the lower base of my spine and our bodies locked in sync. It got really hazy from there; the only constant was the heat.
Chris grunted and pushed at me, telling me he was running out of sproing and fast, my head cleared a little and we rolled over. He raised himself up to sit astride me, sweat-glistening and glorious, resting heavily on his arms, hands on my shoulders, gasping for air in a way that looked painful and made the braids swing in time with his breath.
Nooo! Don't stop. Wriggle! Rub, rub! I hurt! "You okay?" Hurt!
He grinned and nodded, dripping sweat on me. "Close... wanted to..." He grimaced and paused for breath. I want that too!
I grasped his hips and moved him back a little, enough so that I could put my hands around both our dicks. Chris gazed liquid darkness at me, growled softly and moved his hips, pushing between my hands, his hard dick sliding against another very relieved dick. It didn't take much before spots of light danced in front of my eyes and the well-known tugging was back in my balls. Chris grasped my wrist, adjusting the speed. I went over the edge, the pulsing flashes of heat, light and relief blending with the sound of Chris' soft growl changing to a mew.
When my head cleared, he had rolled off me to lie on his back, eyes closed. The room was quiet, except for our breathing. I rolled onto my side to see him better. Some of our mixed spunk ran down my chest and belly, tickling. Chris looked utterly relaxed. Beautiful. I slowly ran a finger from his shoulder down his chest to the bellybutton, following the love trail from there. His dick was soft, dark and fat from the pleasure, resting against his thigh. Nice. He didn't stir when I cupped his balls. He appeared fast asleep.
I checked his face. Out like a light. Exhausted, really. Unless he was teasing me. "You call this speed seven?" He didn't stir, his face stayed peaceful and relaxed. "You do, huh." I kissed his cheek before cleaning myself with a paper tissue and rolling out of bed. He didn't appear to have stirred when I returned with washcloths wrung in very hot water and extra pillows. I dried the sweat off him. There were no protest, only sleepy compliance, when I rolled him over to wipe the other side.
I picked the sheets and blankets off the floor and settled into bed with him. This time my bed partner was willingly naked. And he smelled just right.
* * * * * * *