Ahhh the fun, seems again everyone refers back to the Andrew/Will relationship. How can they find for a friendship but not love, how can they not be together... Again why am I and matt not toghter now is a question I often ask myself.
I've dated a wonderful guy named Kyle recently who lived the same distance as Will and Andrew do from each other. There is a massive strain on that relationship as a result. It didn't work, still a great relationship... but not exactly something that would make fantastic fiction.
Life is about living.
I've been asked about Will's Morals in regardes to Marc. Dating someone in a relationship... we've all been there once or twice in our lives. its how we choose to deal with it that matters. These chapters explore exactly that issue.
As usual Comments or questions direct to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feed back is welcome.
Saturday morning was something Will usually sought to avoid, but he awoke early for no particular reason. He stood in the kitchen window overlooking the snow-filled driveway holding a mug of coffee and wondered how he was going to clear it by himself. It had been a particularly cold winter, but spring had seemed set to stay, most of the snow had gone and the weather had been almost like summer. That was, until the blizzard changed everything.
Old man winter content to bury baby spring under several feet of snow out of sheer spite.
He blew out a sigh and rested against the counter and looked up at the grey overcast sky. It was preparing for another round by the looks of it, but at least the Jeep was back, and a four-by-four could handle the snow rather well.
He ran through a mental checklist of what he had to get done that day. He had planned to do some groceries, get his hair cut, and run some other errands. But considering Marc was still upstairs in the guest room, he would have to put it off. Instead he could get some real work done.
He pushed his dark hair out of his eyes as he shuffled his way down into the retro seventies basement and his computer sitting tucked into a corner across from Jared's. It wasn't a new one, not by a long shot. But it was reliable and fast enough to run his office applications. It wouldn't have a hope in hell's chance of running one of the latest games that sucked up computer resources like a kind drinking soda, but it was good enough for him to be able to get everything running he needed to.
He connected to the work servers via the remote terminal and punched in his passwords, settling back to input new data into the spreadsheets. Mundane stuff, but work that he needed to get done.
Craving a bit of background noise he reached out for the remote and flipped on the ancient television that had found its way into the basement. Searching till he found the infamous Saturday morning cartoos, he settled in for a few hours of solid data entry.
He didn't notice that Marc had wandered down the stairs until the guy was sitting down on the exercise bench next to him. He glanced down and nodded back upstairs, "Fresh coffee in the pot if you want some."
Marc beamed, bright-eyed beneath a mess of hair that showed he had just woken up, "Thanks."
Will grinned as he went back to his facts and figures, cross-referencing the names with the interview records that his employees had filed. Cut-and-dry stuff, it was nothing that would win him accolades for his innovation, but if he didn't do it then Alicia would on Monday, and guaranteed she would complain about it.
Marc returned a moment later to the bench carrying his own cup of coffee. "I'm starting to wake up," he murmured groggily.
Will turned his head and passed the remote back to him, "Change the channel if you want, I'm not watching it."
Marc accepted it without protest and began to flip through the channels on the television that looked more like a museum relic than something that actually worked. "We have the same movie we watched last night on TBS, four hours of Trek on Space. A whole bunch of sports shows..." he paused as he clicked again, "and cartoons."
Will shrugged as he plugged in a few more numbers, "I don't mind; whatever, is good by me."
Marc nodded as he wrestled with the archaic remote, slapping it a few times till the channel changed back to Space and the mini trek marathon. A great staple of Canadian Saturdays, it was a magnificent way to pass the time. You could laugh at the cheesiness of the original, ignore the Next Generation that you had seen a hundred times before, revel in Deep Space Nine's high tension drama as the wars raged, and comment about Seven of Nine's capacity for lesbianism with Janeway on Voyager.
Will barely noticed the time pass as he laboured to get done. Only when the final credits were rolling for Voyager did he glance up and realize he had just wiled away half of his Saturday working. He hadn't even noticed Jared come down and join Marc watching the trek; the two were engaged in a lively discussion about the benefits of female captains.
He stretched in his chair as he pushed the save button.
He blinked at the error message that flashed up on his screen, "Connection failure". He mumbled a curse and immediately tried it again. Greeted by the same error he backed his work up to a disk and tried to connect again. After a half-dozen attempts he gave up in obvious frustration.
"Damn," he murmured as he slotted a floppy disk into his drive.
"What's up?" Jared called out.
Will shrugged, "Network's down at work, I am going to have to go into the office and load this," he pulled the disk out of the drive after the light went out, "on to my computer by hand."
"Sucks to be you," Jared said with a grin. "Could you pick up milk while you're out?"
Will rolled his eyes at the total lack of sympathy as he walked to the stairs, "Well, good to know someone gets to rest today," he muttered as he stalked up to the shower and got ready to go into the office.
Marc bounded up the stairs behind him. "Do you mind some company?" he asked.
Will shrugged, "Not at all." He looked Marc up and down, "I can lend you something to wear if you want to change."
Marc nodded, "That would be cool."
Will motioned to his room, a soft place of reds and greens, a large Celtic pattern blanket hung from the wall like a tapestry giving the room an old feel to it. He quickly pulled the comforter down to hide the unmade bed. "My wardrobe's right there, borrow whatever you want. Towels are in the cupboard opposite the bathroom if you want to grab a shower." He yawned as he stumbled towards the door, "I shouldn't be too long."
When he emerged he saw Marc had found himself a shirt, one of Andrew's that had never been returned. It was several sizes too big for the small guy, and he tugged up on the sleeves, eventually rolling them back from his hands. He grinned sheepishly and pointed to the small crest on the pocket.
"I've always wanted to wear a shirt like this. It makes me feel rich." He grinned and tucked it into a pair of Will's khaki Dockers, "This good?"
Will rested a hand on the doorway and smiled. "Yeah, looks good," he admitted truthfully.
* * *
Driving through Toronto streets before they had been salted was a challenge. The Jeep had slid on the loose slush when he tried to brake, and when he applied gas it fishtailed. It was challenging to keep the vehicle going in any one direction, and navigating around the countless number of accidents that plagued the roads made the trip particularly hazardous. But they made it eventually.
The underground parking lot was virtually deserted. The weekend staff members at the head office were there mainly for troubleshooting. And Will doubted anyone who worked for him would be there. It was only a quick drop off of his files so he didn't think anything of letting Marc come with him.
Will paused a moment, listening to the abject absence of sound as they stepped out of the elevator onto his floor It was eerie, walking through the empty cubicles, and not seeing anyone there. The place was normally so full of life that to see it so quiet made him mildly uneasy, as if he sensed he wasn't supposed to be there disturbing that silence.
"This is where you work?" Marc asked in wonder as he looked at the white boards with their goal-tracking figures by the meeting area.
Will smiled, "Yeah, this is my floor."
"And you're the boss?" Marc asked, a note of wonder in his voice.
"Lord and master of all you see," he replied, opening the door to his office and crossing to his desk.
Marc tentatively took a step in after him, looking about him. It was as if the young man felt as though he didn't belong there, obviously uncomfortable in the very professional setting. And to Will it was perfectly natural to be there, it was his office. He spent so much of his time there sweating away the hours over various different projects that he took it all for granted.
He flashed Marc a warm smile, "Few minutes then we can go do breakfast somewhere."
"Cool," Marc said as he walked to the window and played absently with the battered brass telescope, looking through it over Lake Ontario.
Will booted up his computer and slipped his disk into it as the operating system flashed him the Windows logo, moments later he was into the company system and trying to transfer his files into the common directory. He grimaced when the communications error flashed up on his screen.
He reached out and punched the phone, connecting through to the security desk. "Connect me to IT," he requested without thinking about it.
Seconds later the phone was picked up, "Lee here, what can I do for you?"
Will glanced up at Marc and back at the phone, "Hi, I'm having trouble accessing the network drives for employee records."
There was a pause on the other end of the line, "We were told to reformat that drive today, it's about fifty percent done."
"Reformat?" Will stared in confusion. "All the files are backed up, right?"
"Oh yes, I have it all backed up to the computer terminal in records. You should be able to update your files from there, and when I'm done with the main server I'll be transferring everything there back to the network drive."
Will shrugged, "Alright then, thanks." He hung up the phone and stared in perplexion at his computer screen.
"What's up?" Marc asked moving over to sit on the edge of Will's desk to look over his shoulder.
Will shook his head, "I'm not sure. The network computer with all our personnel files is being fixed. It's just a bit odd that's all." He stood up and reclaimed his disk, "We're just going to have to go down there and upload this directly. I'm sorry about this."
Marc rolled his shoulders dismissively, "Hey, no problem; you can buy me a coffee when we get out of here."
"Done," Will agreed as the pair entered the elevator.
* * *
The archives were the same on Saturday as they were during the week, quiet. And it reminded Will that he still had to confront Bruce about the Jennifer Beatty situation. It irked him that he had been left out of the loop on that decision. Bertha was a valuable commodity; no one knew the payroll system like she did.
He rounded a rack of files and drew up short staring at Gavin tapping away on Bertha's computer. Marc glanced around him patiently as Will watched, his brow creasing. He seemed to be reading out of a large ledger and inputting numbers.
He looked up at Will standing between the racks of files and visibly jumped.
"Uh, Bruce, I have to go," he said quickly reaching out to hang up the phone. He turned to Will and looked furtively about him as if contemplating running.
Will stared at him a moment before he crossed to the computer. "Gavin," he greeted as he looked around at the screen and the large pile of orange folders amassed on the floor beside the computer. A quick glance showed that the benefits accounts were active and a wire transfer was just completed.
He stared at it a moment and then looked back at Gavin. "What are you doing?" he demanded.
Gavin swallowed. "I was told to do this," his voice sounded desperate. "We don't have any choice."
"What do you mean no choice?" Will asked, looking back at the smaller man, his eyes hardening. "Who told you to do this?"
"Bruce," Gavin said his eyes darting about again. "If we don't cover the margin the entire company could go under."
Will stared at the empty account and swallowed, it was gone, completely. He looked back at Gavin, "How did you do this? Why did you do this?"
"I..." Gavin shook himself recovering slightly, "You need to talk to Bruce."
Will pointed to the screen. "Put it back," he demanded angrily, whatever they were doing they had gone to some great steps to do it. That was his future they were playing with, his and everyone else's in the firm. If he remembered correctly, Avery-Woods had three pension trustees and Bertha was in charge. Now he finally had an explanation as to why Bertha had been sent on vacation.
"I can't put it back," Gavin replied. "We have a margin call against us, if I put that money back they'll close on us and liquidate the firm's assets..."
Will shook his head, "What are you talking about, what's a margin call?"
"It's," Gavin struggled to explain, "if you buy on margin, you put up some of the cost of stocks you are buying and borrow the rest from your broker. The margin is the deposit we put down."
"Alright," Will said "and...?"
"And to protect themselves, brokers issue a margin call if your margin account falls below the required maintenance level or a specific percentage of its original value." Gavin stared at Will's blank look, "You could get a margin call, for example, if the market price of the stock you bought on margin drops significantly. If you get a call, you must deposit additional money to meet that call, bringing the balance of the account back up to the margin required. Otherwise, your stock may be sold at a loss, and your broker repaid in full."
Will extended his hands, "Meaning what?"
"Meaning we are trying to buy Tri-Tech, and the price of the stock has been falling drastically. It's less than a tenth its original value as of closing yesterday, meaning the value of the stock is worth less than the deposit we put on it. We have to put down more money to cover the difference or they will begin to seize Avery-Woods assets."
"You mean Bruce bought a company that's now going bankrupt and it's going to take Avery-Woods down with it?" Will shook his head in shock, "What does Robert say about this?"
"He doesn't know," Gavin admitted.
"Shit," Will said feeling his shoulders sag. "We have to tell him."
Gavin shook his head, "No, we covered the margin liquidating the pension fund, if we can acquire a majority share in the company and announce the merger Bruce said the share price will skyrocket and we get back everything we lost..."
Will shook his head, "No, Robert needs to know about this, you're playing Russian roulette with his company. What the hell were you two thinking?" He blew out a sigh and walked out of the archives shaking his head.
Marc hurried to catch up to him. "What's going on?" he asked in concern.
"Someone fucked up big time," Will said as he rubbed his jaw. "I need to speak to my boss."
Marc nodded, "Okay."
It wasn't called the black tower without reason, the tallest tower out of the collection of skyscrapers that dominated the down town core of Toronto, a collection of stricken fingers grasping at the heavens. It stood in stark contrast to the others in that its surface was mirrored black, the pale glow of its internal lights did not penetrate its skin to blemish it. A monument to the security and the sanctity of that construct. It had been built with a dual purpose, to provide security for the cutting edge of Communication research and design and for aesthetics. Robert Avery had built it specifically to house his head office; the old facility had lacked a certain presence that Avery-Woods needed to maintain, a prestige that commanded respect.
The black tower housed the offices and research departments of Avery-Woods, as closely guarded as its primary development and manufacturing sites dotted around the globe, Avery-Woods was shrouded in an air of security. Every access junction to the tower required security passes to gain access and each floor was patrolled by a handful of specially trained security officers hand picked by the man in charge of Avery-Woods security, a former US marine named Sean Iver. It ran off of its own power source, dedicated to keeping the mighty information machine that drove the Avery-Woods communications network running.
Floor upon floor of computer databases, monitoring equipment, Laboratories, offices all working together to keep the firm operational. Rows upon rows of cubicles, where Avery-Woods employees compiled data and processed the myriad of projects that streamed down from their department heads, who received their orders from the Directors, who in turn received their orders from Robert Avery's office.
The top floor of the Black tower was even more secure, housing the President's office. A large modern office suite in which Robert Avery could carry out his day-to-day business in relative peace. His secretary, Lisa Sternosti waited as ever behind her desk as the elevator doors slid open to allow Will Carter to approach.
Lisa wasn't surprised by much, she was used to being called into the office on a Saturday. It was part of working for Robert as long as she had, she was indispensable, reliable and good at what she did. She stared levelly over her glasses as she sniffed at the young man she had known since High School.
"I see you haven't changed," She took in his jeans and un-tucked plaid shirt, her voice a motherly scolding tone. "The old man is expecting you Will."
Will stepped forward with a tense nod, "Thanks," he looked down at his appearance, he really hadn't expected this meeting, "I didn't have time to change."
Lisa suppressed a chuckle, "It's okay Will I wouldn't worry about it, you should go in now."
Will smiled and glanced at Marc who was shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot and staring out of the window, "Do you mind if he waits here?" Will asked quietly.
Lisa frowned as she looked over at the handsome, if thin, young man that was wearing a shirt she recognized as Andrew's. She looked back at Will and nodded in understanding, "I'll get us some coffee." She said struggling to stand up despite the fact she was six months pregnant.
Will nodded and winked over at Marc. He wondered it if was a good idea to let Lisa get her clutches on him, but he had other things to think of right then. And despite her talent for getting mixed up in other peoples business, she would have his best intentions at heart.
* * *
Will paced the breadth of Robert Avery's office, the magnificent book lined room, textured aged oak and worn leather held a commanding view directly down over the city beneath it. It was literally amidst the clouds, and from here a communications empire that spanned half the globe had its centre.
Robert Avery was wearing a suit, a high mandarin collar that gave him the appearance of a sixties Bond villain, combined with the awe inspiring view and setting only heightened his sense of foreboding. Robert sat with his hands neatly folded on the polished oak desk, surprisingly simple for a man that employed several thousand people across five continents.
"Sit down Will." Robert commanded continuing to wait for Bruce Weippert to arrive; he was in no mood to be dragged into the office on a Saturday afternoon. He had sat impassive as Will had explained why he had called Robert out of a luncheon meeting with the Canadian Finance Minister. His eyes had narrowed only slightly as the implications of what Will had discovered set in.
Will sat in the chair; "I'm sorry, I wasn't sure what else to do."
Robert nodded heavily, his brow knitted together thoughtfully as he studied the problem, "You're saying that he has brought my firm close to bankruptcy?"
"Not quite." Will said as he shifted in his chair, "from what Gavin Jefferies told me most of Avery-Wood's liquid assets are tired up in the purchase of Tri-Tech, if we don't meet this margin call they will begin to seize assets."
Robert reached out a hand to tap a few keys on his computer, no doubt checking the figures for himself. His eyes moved to and fro as he scanned, and tightened again, the only real sign of his shock. He rested his hand on the desktop, the other on his crossed knee as he sat back into his chair. "This is a problem." He admitted after a pause.
Avery looked up at the door as it opened to admit Weippert, the coiled gate of the man was less controlled, and obviously he was trying to appear like he wasn't hurrying.
"Bruce." Avery greeted with a simple nod of his head, "Would you care to explain what happened to the pension fund and why I wasn't informed that there was a margin call taken out against this firm?"
Bruce straightened up, his eyes glittering as they glanced at Will seated watching him, "There was no need," he said after a moment to collect his thoughts, "I have the matter under control."
Robert Avery's eyebrow rose slightly, "Under control?"
"Yes," Weippert said as he took a step towards the desk, "I have covered the margin long enough for us to enter the final negotiations with Rena Allison for Tri-tech, once the merger is announced the stock will sky rocket and we will be back in a comfortable position."
"And if Will here hadn't happened upon your little operation, would I have known about any of this?" Robert's voice was level and dangerous.
"Of course," Bruce said, "First thing on Monday morning, as a matter of fact I had a meeting scheduled to inform you of this." His eyes shifted to Will, "I see that I was beaten to the mark."
Robert caught the motion and shook his head, "Carter did his job Bruce, and you on the other hand did not. It is not my policy to allow directors, even senior directors, make the kind of decisions you made today that affect the entire company. By rights I should fire you for a stunt like this."
Weippert licked his lips, "under the circumstances, I did warn you about the problems with Tri-tech, and you gave me the authority to do what I had to do to ensure the acquisition is a reality. I was simply carrying out your instructions."
Robert considered that a moment, "You over stepped that authority, but its too late to do anything about it we're committed to this course of action now." He sighed as he shifted in his chair, "We should move that party ahead to next Saturday, there is a share holders meeting on the Monday after that, I expect this matter to be resolved before then. Until then I expect to be informed of all decisions involving Tri-tech, do I make myself clear Bruce?"
Bruce nodded, "you're in charge of the Tri-tech acquisition directly from here on, we should send a memo to all the board members making that clear then sir."
Robert reached out and tapped his intercom, "Mrs. Sternosti could you send a memo out for me please..."
Lisa Sternosti marched through the same door first thing on Monday morning, Avery detected the self-satisfied smile playing across her face, and the all encompassing sinking feeling began to form in the pit of his stomach.
"I just got a call from downstairs, John Jennings is on the way up."
Avery's smile was forced, "Excellent, on schedule as well."
"I guessed." Avery drew out his watch, "3...2...1..." The doors parted and John Jennings marched briskly into the centre of the large room. "Welcome John, how can I help you today."
"Well, sir" his voice sounding short and gruff, "As I understand my responsibilities, I am to ensure that ethical practices are maintained in this company and to ensure that you don't do anything that could get you thrown in Jail. I was wondering how I am supposed to do my job efficiently when you disregard Canadian law at every turn."
Avery leaned back into his high backed chair watching the John with a bemused smile on his face.
"You directly violated the law by liquidating a corporate pension fund and using it as collateral with a brokerage firm. How can anyone propose to maintain order in this company and be the last defence for enforcement of company ethical practices with this kind of behaviour coming directly from the top echelons? Perhaps you should take another look at this..."
The lawyer, barely containing himself, tossed the hefty tome onto Avery's desk. The cover read corporate charters & laws.
"Perhaps staring at a computer monitor all day has inhibited your ability to absorb the very core of what this company was built upon. Maybe this hard copy will allow you the time to peruse it more carefully and absorb and understand what this Firm was built on..."
John tried not to let his bias against electronic media seep into his job too much, but this time he could not help himself.
"According to my files, sir, you have a clear record of disregarding regulations at your convenience... Yet you finally stepped forward and claimed this was all going to change when you hired me. Still, your record holds true. You continue to disregard regulations at every turn. Sir, if this continues, I may be forced to bring you up on charges. This I avoid now for the interests of the company as a whole. It would not look good to charge the President of the company with violations of the law, especially considering all the futures on the line. However, I give you notice, sir, with all due respect, that I must do my job. I have been commissioned by you to do a job, and I feel obligated to follow through on a commitment that I have made."
John took a step back, and folded his arms behind his back, standing at ease. He waited to hear a response from the man with whom he both respected for his leadership and maligned for his methods. The lawyer waited quietly...
Avery licked his lips and looked down at the tome sitting squarely where it had fallen with a satisfying thumb in front of him. Throwing a glance up at the lawyer he suppressed the smile and nodded gravely at the John. "I understand that we broke the law, but the pension fund will be replaced before the end of the week, if you would like I will take steps to ensure that it is covered by allocating an equal value in Avery-Woods stock to the pension fund, which I will have the option to buy back at the original purchase price at the time of my choosing."
John nodded, "That would be acceptable, the shares will be at the disposal of the board of trustees for the pension fund and I will draft the appropriate papers this afternoon."
Robert Avery steepled his fingers, "Good, of course I want it in writing that my signature is required before that stock can be sold on the open market, a small guarantee."
John nodded again, "Yours and a representative from the board of trustees." He smiled in relief, "That should sort out the pension problem."
"Good," Avery lifted the codex of laws and regulations, "I will take your advice and read this, on the condition that if it looks like I am about to break a law, that you do exactly as you just did. My job is to protect the foundation of principles we have been built upon, if I forget that then our purpose no longer stands. Thank you John."
There was a saying in Toronto, that there were two seasons: Hockey season and two months of bad skating. In a nation built upon the great Canadian game it was the religion that saw the great pilgrimage up the 401 every Saturday night to the Air Canada Centre arena that was the eventual Mecca of every red blooded Canadian. Tonight was a game night, and you just weren't a man if your pulse wasn't racing as you wound along the off ramp and the Air Canada Centre finally came into sight.
It had been a tense drive, so many cars packed in tight together, all heading for the same spot on that cold December night. And Will was glad of the heater in his Jeep; at least they were warm while they waited in no hurry sitting in gridlocked traffic.
He glanced out of his window at a man screaming at the traffic ahead of his car, swearing and offering profanities while his little boy sat looking scared in passenger seat. Will shook his head as he returned his gaze ahead of him. He had come to love Hockey night, and was more than glad to accept the tickets Brody had offered him, for him it was exciting. He couldn't imagine some of those fanatics terrified of missing a single minute of the game because they had forgotten to leave earlier to account for the traffic.
"Ever wonder what's going on?" Marc mused from beside him; the younger man absently traced a finger through the frosted condensation on the glass as he stared out of the window on his side.
"Where?" Will asked as he looked at his young companion.
"In other peoples lives." Marc said he looked sadly at another car where a young man and his girlfriend sat in stony silence. Each looked depressed, trapped. Going through the motions of a happy existence despite the fact that they fooled no one.
"It's natural to wonder about that I suppose." Will said as he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, "Take this guy here," He motioned to the car ahead of them, a station wagon decked out with Leafs bumper stickers, and flying a Leafs flag from its antenna.
"What about him?" Marc asked following Will's gaze, "Looks like a big fan."
"Station wagon suggests he's a family man." Will observed, but he's alone in the car, "meaning he probably has a family, all daughters. This is his one escape, his way to be a man without being made to feel guilty for it."
"You can tell all of that from his car?" Marc asked as he turned, there was a newfound respect in his eyes.
"It's easy," Will reached down to turn off the radio that was hissing mildly from the interference of the power lines the car sat under. "Everything about a person tells you something about them."
Marc grinned as he pointed to another car, "What about them?"
Will glanced, "Business men, probably work colleagues on their way to the company box."
Marc nodded his eyes filled with wonder, "How do you know?"
"Car first off, it's a BMW. Impatient people drive BMW's that or rich men's wives." Will shook his head, "now look at the back window, and see the suit jacket hanging up there? Means some one that spends a lot of time in one and needs to keep it unwrinkled."
Marc thought about that for a moment, "Could just be a banker."
"Not in Toronto, and not driving BMW's," Will adjusted his seatbelt, "most bankers like to drive a car that makes them look economical. I wouldn't trust a banker driving a BMW, though a Banker driving a Mercedes I can see."
"Ah," Marc said as he went back to staring out of the window, "Why are you taking me out to a game?"
Will looked up in surprise, "I thought it would be fun..."
Marc shrugged, "No I don't mind, its just those tickets had to cost a lot and... I don't know... I can't..."
Will nodded, "Hey, look you don't have to come if you don't want to..."
Marc rolled his shoulders, "It's not that," he said after a pause, "It's just that I can't pay you back." He looked up at Will with deep eyes filled with regret.
Will sighed, looking off of the Parkway at the Air Canada Center, so much for the hockey game. "Let's do something else then."
"Like what?" Marc suddenly brightened.
"Hang on," Will ducked the jeep off of the Richmond Road exit and wound through the city streets till he arrived at the bottom end of Church Street. "Let's do something cheap," he craned his neck around and changed lanes, "and fun." The Jeep swung again, this time heading up Queen.
After they had passed under the overhead pedestrian way belonging to Ryerson University, Will started looking for a parking spot, finally they both stepped out of the vehicle into the middle of the vibrancy that was Church Street at night.
"You want to come down to the village?" Marc asked as he closed his door and took in the crisp evening air.
"Figured we might as well go somewhere where we wont get stared at." Will said as he stuck his hands in his pockets and started up the road.
Church Street had a history as old as Toronto was itself, Maple Leaf Garden's the historical home of Toronto's hockey sat like a beige gargoyle across the street from them as they waked up past the school and into the heart of what had been dubbed the Gay Village by Toronto residents. The Church and Wellsley area had a life within itself that nowhere else in the great city could boast. And people walked to and fro with an air of tolerance past Drag queens in glitter and gaudy dresses holding hands with their leather men boyfriends.
"You sure about this?" Marc asked a smile dancing across his face as he looked at Will who seemed to be experiencing the Village for the first time.
"I'm fine." Will said in a tone that said he was trying.
Marc grinned, "You didn't have to give up a hockey game to come here you know..."
"I know." Will replied relaxing, "Hey it's all good. Let's find some where to catch a bite to eat and..."
"On me." Marc insisted, suddenly grabbing Will's arm and dragging him down a flight of steps below street level into a cramped Pizzeria.
"Okay..." Will said letting himself be led down to look at the greasy slices rotating beneath heat lamps. To any red blooded Englishman that in of itself would be the ultimate sacrilege, Pizza was prepared for you, it was cooked while you waited, not reheated. But Marc seemed happy, he placed an order and waited while the cook slid the two large slices into the oven to reheat.
Will rested against the wall as Marc came over to lean next to him, "Won't be long." He said with a smile as he stopped and flipped Will's hair out of his eyes, where it had fallen in the excitement.
The door jangled as it swung open to allow a couple into the pizzeria, an older man with a bubbly club kid, who wore his shirt just a little too tightly with the word "Biatch" sewn across it in sequins. The older man walked up to the counter to order as the club kid hung back.
"No anchovies!" the Club kid called out a reminder, as he looked over at Will and Marc, "I hate the things, if I wanted to eat fish I'd be straight."
Will balked, what?
The club kid continued unperturbed, "We're on our way to Remingtons..." he looked Will up and down appreciatively and turned to Marc, "Mmhmm betcha have to keep a leash on that one, how long have you two been together?"
Will blushed, and the older boyfriend flashed him a look of sympathy from the counter.
Marc grinned, "Not long."
Will's eyes widened slightly realizing that Marc was playing along.
"Oh yeah," the club kid said with a slight purr to his pronounced lisp, "He's cute, you two," his hand worked back and forth, "Make a sweet couple. If you two get married I want to be a bridesmaid."
Will turned a shade of green.
Marc could barely keep his laughter in check, "Oh I don't think he's ready for that. He's..." he winked.
The club kid took a step back the artificial grin on his face growing, "Oh, he's still closeted, isn't that cute. You'll break him out of that when you take him shopping." He accepted the Pizza slice that his boyfriend handed him and turned, "Well BYE!" he stated in an exaggerated gesture as if he were exiting a stage and they were gone.
"Shopping?" Will collected their slices from the counter, "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"
Marc winced at the plain grey dress shirt and charcoal trousers under the company jacket, "Well it is a little..." he winced at the word, "Boring..."
"Boring?" Will worked the word around; Alicia would have a field day if she found out.
"Well," Marc said with a shrug, "It's just...very professional, like your coming from work..."
"I am coming from work." Will reminded him.
"Yeah, but even then its very..." he shrugged, "ever read the book `the man in the grey flannel suit'?"
"Sloan Wilson," Will said as they walked back out onto Church Street in all its evening splendour.
"Yeah well you're the man in the grey cotton shirt." Marc bit into his pizza, sucking up the excess cheese that stretched out after his bite.
Will shook his head emphatically, "I'm not stuck in a rut..."
"You always play by the rules," Marc replied between mouthfuls as he dodged to the side to let a group of drag queens waltz past in their garish coloured dresses, "I mean I bet you don't even bluff at poker..."
"I don't," Will said his gaze following the brightly clad pseudo-women as they passed him.
"Exactly," Marc said hopping back up onto the sidewalk, "You don't bluff. So how do you know when someone else is bluffing?"
"This from a pool shark." Will said with a grin.
"Well think about it," he stopped outside a store front with a couple of tee shirts in the window, "Come on be daring, I bet you won't wear one of those." He pointed to a t-shirt with a rainbow stamped on it.
"I would." Will said firmly.
"Good cause I'm calling your bluff." Marc said as he pulled Will into the store.
Will again allowed himself to be led, fishing in his pocket for his wallet. He could have been at a Leaf's game, instead he was there... He shook his head as he followed Marc into the store.
When he emerged he had slipped the t-shirt on and had wrapped the offending shirt around his waist. He and Marc continued up the road, through the heart of gay culture. He felt the lifeblood flow around him and he relaxed, he was actually enjoying himself. Something about Marc did that to him, it made him want to simply relax and let life carry him along.
He looked at the young man who had finished his Pizza and was now searching the Thursday night crowds around him. He was constantly in motion; the energy seemed to crackle around him, charging everything with his excitement.
Will grinned as they crossed the road to a bar, both sitting down at a table in the window so that they could see the street below. The bar was trendy, of a style Will would associate with gay taste. It felt new... he couldn't quite explain it, he had been to straight bars but none of them had the same kind of upscale feel to them.
They sat quietly for a moment, before Will looked up at Marc, "So where are we now?"
Marc looked up from his rye and coke and grinned, "Church Street."
Will winced, "I asked for that one, I meant us..."
Marc's face fell slightly as he turned the drink in his hand, "there can't be an us." He said slowly.
"But there is an us." Will said after a moment setting his glass down and running a finger along his jaw line thoughtfully, "And that's what's bothering you."
"It's complicated," Marc met his eyes with his own, the sparkling green eyes that reflected his soul for just an instant, "I still have Libbet..."
Will nodded, "Yeah."
"And you're still not making that easy," Marc said, "I think...I think we should stop seeing each other."
Will sighed heavily, "You're probably right there."
Marc smiled despite the fact that his eyes were beginning to water, "Hey we still have tonight, lets make the most of it while we can."