Hey guys! Here is the third instalment in the Unexpected serial novel. I got major positive feedback for the first two chapters, and I thank all of you for that. There were, however, people that expressed the view that my chapters are too short, so I decided to make this one a little longer – three times longer than the second chapter, in fact.
Happy readings and greetings from my slipper-crazy drool machine of a possessed dog, Mephistopheles.
Remember that your slippers are in grave danger from Meph should you not comment!
Special thanks to Brett Wright for masterfully editing this chapter.
This chapter, like all the others, is dedicated to my buddy, Cory.
The next morning I was stressing again. Not that there was any sane reason to, but I have never been what you would describe as sane. Even though it was a Saturday, I woke up at the crack of dawn. Like I said, I'm a morning person. I call it a good habit – Kevin calls it scary.
During the night I had a bad dream – one of those that leaves you shaky and without any details when you wake up. It was scary, nonetheless. I attributed the fact that some bitch of a monster was chasing me in my dream to the way I was feeling that morning, and decided to de-stress a bit. Before you get any dirty images in your head, I did not mean THAT. My way of de-stressing is playing any one of the myriad of instruments in my collection, most often the piano.
I didn't bother to put any clothes on (November in South Africa is extremely hot). I traipsed naked down the stairs to the studio. Sally never woke up before nine, and even if she did, I didn't have anything that she hadn't seen before. Nudity was pretty much a non-issue in the house, except for when my grandmother comes over.
Once, a couple of years ago, I ran naked from my room to the bathroom because I had a huge (and I mean HUUUGE) pee. It was still early in the morning and, naturally, I thought Gran would still be in bed, being old and stuff. Great was my surprise when she emerged from her room just as I crossed the hall, all my bits dangling everywhere. Greater even was Sally's surprise when she saw her son totally naked kneeling next to her mother who was lying on the floor, shaking her shoulder and calling out to her frantically.
Luckily she had just fainted, but I think that if Gran had really died that day, she would have died happy. The last thing I want to see before I enter that dark abyss is most definitely a naked boy running in front of me! Suffice it to say that I stayed clothed at all times when Gran was visiting from that day on, but I digress (I have always wanted to say that).
I quickly made my way down the stairs, past the living room and into my studio. Well, technically it is mine and Kevin's. It was a joint Christmas present from our parents, and it was super expensive, if one judged by all the instruments they decided to fill it up with. With Kevin's mother detesting mess and noise and all that, it was decided that the room be at my house. Sally never minded `boys being kids', as she always put it.
Even though a million bucks could easily have been put into fitting the room, I knew that finances weren't a problem for our parents. Sally was the country's most sought after freelance reporter and she is able to charge quite a lot of money for her services. Investigative journalism is her speciality, and she had uncovered a lot of very large plots, syndicates and even celebrity scandals in the past.
Kevin's mother, Gloria, on the other hand was a very successful attorney with her own practice. Sally met Gloria while working on a high-profile criminal case, and the two powerful women immediately hit it off. Through their friendship Kevin and I met and the rest, as they say, is history. They both earn much more than a six-figure salary per year, so they didn't mind creating this haven for their sons.
I walked through the door into the studio, and made my way straight to the beautiful black Steinway and Sons piano that was the centrepiece of the room. It was a collector's piece and the sound that it produced was of an extraordinary quality. In addition to the piano there were three keyboards – a Yamaha, a Roland and a very cool Kurzweil PC3X, a violin, a couple of trumpets, a drum set and about twelve electric and bass guitars.
I had just decided to play one of my favourite songs, a ballad by the band U2 called Stuck in a Moment when, out of nowhere, Kevin's voice said dryly behind me, `You know, modesty is a virtue, Shane.' Of course I nearly jumped out of my skin. Not only was it not even properly light outside yet (way too early for Kevin to be up!), I was also so lost in my thoughts that I literally nearly pissed myself from shock.
`K-kevin!' I managed, and then, getting my bearings back, `You bitch! What the hell do you think you're doing?' Kevin burst out in laughter, and I quickly joined him.
`Well,' he said through the laughter, `I missed you, and I thought we could jam a bit.' Now that was, without any pun intended, music to my ears. Kevin and I were like petrol and fire when it came to playing music together. Even Gertrude, the mostly sullen cleaning lady, sometimes stops to listen to us.
`Cool!' I said, `Lemme just go put some shorts on.' I expected quite a lot of awkwardness after the previous day, but our dynamic was just like before. I took that as a pretty good testament to just how strong our friendship was at that point. Of course, I really hoped that it would get a lot stronger.
`Aw!' He said in mock disappointment. I just laughed and shot up the stairs to get dressed. I didn't even bother to put a shirt on, because not only was it like 25° Celsius at seven in the morning, but we also usually exerted ourselves quite a bit when we played. Likewise, Kevin had also lost his shirt when I got back downstairs.
I had to catch my breath when I walked back into the room and saw him bare-chested on a high-back chair with a beautiful black acoustic-electric on his lap. The sun was just coming in through the windows and the rays fell directly on him, leaving most of the rest of the room still in shadows. Well, there is no other way to say it: he looked gorgeous. Swallowing, I pretended that nothing happened and crossed to room.
I closed the piano and walked over to the Kurzweil keyboard. The piano would be absolutely useless with just the two of us playing. With me on instrumentals and Kevin more often than not on guitar, we needed the keyboard to fill in the drums. As soon as I switched the keyboard on Kevin started strumming out the familiar chords to what was one of our favourite songs to play: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen.
Although it was pretty routine chord strums for Kevin, the song was super demanding on me. I had to control the beat on the Kurzweil, use the Yamaha to mimic an electric and a bass guitar and, above all, sing. Yeah, I sing – pretty well, actually. I seriously am not the type of person to blow my own whistle, but I learned a very valuable lesson early in life already: if you got it, and you don't flaunt it, you won't get anywhere.
My singing voice spans over seven octaves, a feat not easily accomplished. My favourite songs to sing are the Meatloaf and Queen style songs. In a nutshell: 80's rock. But that is definitely not the is-all-end-all of it. I also like some modern songs, and have even been known to sing one or two opera songs. Not that opera is my thing, but I have the voice to do it. Kevin and I had done some pretty amazing things with a song written by Puccini called Nessun Dorma. Instead of the accompanying choir, cellos and strings, we used Keyboard Generated Ooh's (I swear, that's what they're called!), a slow bass club beat without the frills and an electric guitar. It worked so well that it became one of our all-time favourites to perform. Of course, I use the word perform very loosely. We have never played in front of a large audience and only ever to our families and friends. Maybe someday we would try to step it up a notch and put a concert on. Maybe.
After Crazy Little Thing Called Love it was Kevin's turn to show off his vocals. Each of us took up a guitar, I set a beat that was pre-programmed into the Kurzweil by none other than moi, and we delved into a song called Cream and Bastards Rise by Harvey Danger.
Kevin seriously had a good voice, but he had many limitations. His comfort zone when singing was pretty small and he couldn't very easily hit high or low notes. This made his voice perfect for punk rock, though. I am not a great fan of punk rock, but we've always managed to work in a couple of songs for Kevin.
After working through about five more songs, it was mutually decided that we were hungry. One of my female friends once told me that when she used to be in a boarding school near Magaliesburg the girls in the boarding school's periods sort of synchronised. I found that hectically strange, and I still do not know what on Earth she told me that for, but I could immediately relate. Kevin and I always get hungry at the same time, no lies. I guess that since we're not physically capable of having periods (thank you Lord! Thank you!), our mealtimes started to synchronise.
Of course, it could also just be that I'm totally crazy, seeing patterns where there aren't any and thinking of girls bleeding out of their genitals when we're on our way to having breakfast. I told you I'm not normal. On that thought we got up and made our way through the house and into the kitchen.
`Cereal and OJ or eggs and coffee?' I asked. Those were the only two choices, and totally not in any way changeable. This was also mutually decided a couple of years back. There is a good reason for it, though. Cereal and Eggs just don't work and neither does cereal and coffee. Eggs and OJ give Kevin the worst heartburn ever, and bacon stinks like a sun-baked used condom to me.
`Cereal!' He said enthusiastically. Sometimes he is such a kid. Just as we sat down to eat our Cheerios Sally walked in. Naked. Again. Remember when I said that nudity was a non-issue in our house? Well, it normally is. Except for when Kevin sees my mother without any clothes. I have no idea why, but he always starts blushing and his eyes always roam and dart about the room, trying to find any other focal point but her nude body. Honestly! I decided to speak up before Kevin got a hernia.
`Sal, you know that Kevin gets embarrassed when you prance around without clothes.' I said in her direction. If I was under the impression that she would go upstairs to put some clothes on, though, I seemed to be terribly mistaken. Sal was even worse than Kevin when it came to mornings, especially if she hadn't had her coffee yet. But instead of being groggy for hours, like Kevin, she was a bit bitchy.
`Well, I didn't know that Kevin was here. Besides, I thought he liked boy-bits. If that really is the case then my boobs should be absolutely no problem for him.' She shot him an evil grin. `Unless it's not my boobs that are catching his attention.' Kevin's face turned about three shades darker but Sally, seemingly totally unperturbed, just smiled and sat down to her coffee.
When Kevin wasn't looking, I caught Sally's eye and mouthed the word `bitch'. She continued to smile. I then gave her a wink and turned to Kevin.
It was crunch time. It was ten o'clock in the morning, and Kevin and I had just finished our breakfast. Sally had finally put some clothes on and departed to do whatever she does. Jamming this morning and then later meeting Sally in the kitchen had kept Kevin and I from having The Talk.
The Talk was something that he and I had come up with a couple of years earlier. It was decided that whenever something big or upsetting happened with or to us, we would take some time to digest it and then discuss it with each other. The previous day's happenings obviously qualified us to have The Talk and Kevin and I had mutually decided to head back to the music studio where we were `both most comfortable before discussing anything.
We took up our usual spots when we weren't jamming – me on the piano stool with my back to the piano and him on the floor in front of me. Even though we weren't jamming, it was usually inevitable for one of us to pick up an instrument of some sort and softly play. I guess it's a good coping mechanism for us when things got serious. So it wasn't surprising when Kevin grabbed a nylon string brown acoustic and sat down cross-legged and with the guitar resting on his knee.
The nervousness from that morning had returned, and I had no idea how to start the conversation. It seemed that Kevin was in the same predicament because he just kept staring at the floor with both of his arms draped over the guitar. It felt like an eternity – but it was probably only five minutes or so – before I finally pulled myself together enough to initiate the conversation.
I looked at Kevin, `Kev? Tell me what's on your mind.' He continued staring at the floor for a couple of seconds more, but finally lifted his head.
`I'm scared...' He sighed. `For the past three years I have been in love with you, and I've always imagined how it would be. But now that it is really happening, I can almost not bring myself to believe that it is real.' He paused for a moment before continuing with a little chuckle, `I'm scared that I'm going to wake up any minute now and realise that this was all a dream. I'm scared that things will be the way they were before, with me secretly loving you, but I am also scared of what is to come. I have never been in a relationship and I do not have the slightest idea of how to act. I'm scared that I will mess things up, or that you will eventually decide that this was just a passing phase and that you don't want us to be a couple anymore. But most of all I am scared that our friendship will suffer in the wake of our romantic or sexual relationship. If I can't have all of you, then I at least want to be able to keep you as my best friend and I want you to keep me as your best friend.'
Like I said before, I am not one easily brought to tears, but Kevin's little speech made my eyes prickle. I couldn't imagine yearning after somebody else for three months, let alone three years. Of the two of us, Kevin was usually the one with the insecurity issues and I knew that I needed to allay his fears before anything else.
`Kev, I know that you might feel a little bit insecure over this whole thing, and I don't blame you. I only came to realise and accept that I am totally and irrevocably in love with you, and that does not say much for my observation skills, especially when it comes to my own emotions. But I can assure you that I do indeed love you. More as a friend at the moment than anything else, which is how it should be, I think. I think that we should take things slow. While we should definitely work towards building a strong romantic relationship, I think we should still first and foremost concentrate on our friendship. At the moment I feel much the same as you when it comes to that. I guess the bottom line for me is that I want, no, need, you in my life. I want to be able to say that you are mine – my boyfriend, my confidant, but mostly my best friend.'
He smiled at that.
`Thanks for being so understanding, Shane, it means the world to me. I am secure in the knowledge that I love you as more than a friend, but I will wait for how long it takes until you feel the same way about me.' I got off the piano bench and sat down on the floor behind him, wrapping my arms around his waist.
`I already feel that way about you babes. I just need to get used to these new feelings.' I moved my lips to his ear, kissing him softly on his earlobe. `It's just a bit overwhelming still.' He leaned back against me, and I could see tears slowly trickling down his face.
`I love you more than you can ever know,' He whispered.
`And I you.' With that said he turned his head and our lips met for the second time ever. It was different than the first time. I still saw stars and felt like a raw current was moving between our bodies, but it was much more subdued than the previous day. Like the last time it just felt right, and I could have spent the whole day in our studio, just kissing him.
So that was another chapter of Unexpected. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember to comment! Should you not, you may well find your slippers torn to shreds by the omnipotent fleabag, my possessed dog, Mephistopheles.