Frankie Fey

by Rigby Taylor

Chapter 55


Ten minutes later Frankie's tale was done. Brief it had been, but nothing important omitted. László sat in silence while Frankie hoped he hadn't shocked him. Why he cared was something to be thought about later. He only knew it had been essential to be honest. After the debacle with Clarence and Violet he'd promised himself never to trust first impressions again, yet here he was again becoming involved with someone about whom he knew nothing. But this felt different. Didn't Lucien feel different?' asked a little voice inside his head.

'Let me summarise your life.' László's smile was more than a little bemused. You've been orphaned. Abducted. Disorphaned. Educated. Inherited millions. Killed someone. Educated again. Saved someone. Sought enlightenment. Abducted again. Killed again. Discovered religion. Saved someone. Abducted again. Killed again. Rescued me.' He paused and gazed solemnly at Frankie for several seconds. 'Have I missed anything?'

'I don't think there's such a word as disorphaned.'

'Poetic licence. Better than saying you discovered that someone you thought was your father wasn't and someone you thought was an uncle was in fact your father and not dead, don't you think?'

'Absolutely. So… what do you think?'

'I think I am a total wimp. A wee, sleekit, cowering, timorous beastie. I cringe before your godlike form and character.'

'In fear?'

'In homage,'

'So you're not disgusted?'

'With myself?'

'With me, you great galah.'

'Of course not. But there's no way I'm going to tell you my own pathetic history.'

'Not even if I threaten to break your arms and legs and cut you up for dog meat?'

'Not even for that.'

'What if I promise not to laugh or sneer.'

'That would do it.'

'Ok, I promise.'

László sighed, lay back on the grass and gazed at the sky. 'The air is different here than in New Zealand. Warm. Do you know the air never gets warm there; even in Auckland? As soon as you're out of the sun you feel a chill. I don't think I ever really relaxed in that country, and yet here today in a new city with a total stranger I'm feeling completely relaxed for what seems like the first time in my life.'

'Probably because you're not likely to meet anyone you know.'

'Yes. Yes, that's it! There I always felt watched and evaluated. Always someone ready to tell me what I should be doing, how I should be behaving. "Oh László, you can't think that. You can't say that. When are you getting married? Please don't tell me you're queer. Your hair need cutting. You're too skinny. Put on some weight. You must come to this concert. You can't like opera, that's so gay. Why are you always alone?" He looked shamefacedly at Frankie. 'I realise that every young – or in my case youngish - person gets more or less the same treatment, but it doesn't seem to worry them. They just laugh or say fuck off or ignore it. But I can't. I have this insane urge; this self-destructive urge to be agreeable, to appease, to propitiate.'

'Ok, that's your psychological history covered, what about the physical?'

'Please try not to be so compassionately caring and concerned about my feelings, it's embarrassing.'

'Ok. But get on with it.'

'Primary school; no problem. High school no problems apart from boredom and discovering I'm not a team player. I keep fit but don't like organised sport. A few years ago my mother became infected with a severe case of Orthodox Catholic Bigotry and discarded me when she realised she wasn't going to be a grandmother. Dad took off to his tangata whenua, ancestral lands near the Bay of Islands, to live with his relations who grow their own food, catch crayfish and think they're living like their ancestors before the Pakehas came and stuffed everything up. Got into the University Music Conservatory, but they concentrated on modern crap so I dropped out and managed a music store that was already on its last legs because of the Internet being an easier and cheaper source of CDs and DVDs. When that folded I was editor of a niche Press, publishing works of independent, off-centre authors. But eBooks and Indie Internet publishing sites like Smashwords and Amazon closed us down. So with no prospects and no friends I'd miss, I put my life's savings into a suitcase and bought a one way ticket to Australia.'

'Where we're either drought struck or waterlogged, unemployment is ten percent, millions are homeless, violence, suicide and crime are rife, the climate has become the enemy, laws are increasingly repressive, minorities are constantly threatened with abuse, violence and injustice, and the gap between rich and poor has become an unbridgeable chasm?'

'Don't tell me… you work for the tourism board?'

'How'd you guess.'

'If Australia's so bad, why did you return?'

'Because the rest of the world's the same. And I love Ingenio and want to be near him.'

'Then why are you with me instead?'

'Good question. I've no idea what you think of me, or even if you think of me at all. But when I saw you peering myopically at the map on the wall at the airport, I was curious. Then as soon as I heard you speak I wanted to know you. But realised that if I didn't leap right in and invite myself into your life I would lose the chance. But if I acted too precipitously and skipped the interview, I might arrive home with a gorgeous young man who didn't like me, and who I would dislike after a couple of days.'

'You want to know me.' László pursed his lips as if considering the implications. 'Biblically?'

'That as well.'

'Try before you buy?'

'More or less.'

'What makes you think I'm gay?'

'I don't.'

'Then what do you think?'

'I think you're an attractive individual with whom I'd like to spend the night in a hotel so we can both see how we feel in the morning. I've a desire deep inside me for a lover, a friend, one person to love and cherish to the exclusion of all others, and in a moment of madness I wondered if you were the one. Some Enchanted Evening and all that crap.'

'It isn't crap and not yet evening, but mightn't your hopes be a consequence of your traumatic experiences?'

'Yes, but I've always felt like this, which is why I don't have the sort of casual friends most people have, because they seem a waste of time – and they usually think I'm slightly mad.'

'Did my answers to those questions you asked me at first, have any bearing on this?'

'Indeed they did. Your responses indicated we are in accord; even liking Bogdan Mihai. I like him best in Aurelio in Palmira, what's your favourite?'

'The Prince in Cenerentola.'

'Good choice. So… what are your thoughts on my proposal.'

'If you don't think I'm gay, why do you imagine I'd like to spend the night with you?'

'Because you've put up with my nonsense and not been repelled or become irritated.'

'Amused, actually.'

'There you are! We're men with similar ideas and ways of thinking.'

'But individuals.'

'Of course, and that means our choice of partner doesn't imply we have anything in common with other men who like men. And if you don't tell me to shut up I'll never stop.'

'You can shut up for now. We'll continue this engrossing discussion tonight in bed. Ok?'

Frankie literally glowed. 'What about your aunt?'

'There isn't one.'

'Then why…?'

'So you wouldn't feel sorry for me and imagine I needed help.'

'You're a danger to yourself.'

'But constantly on the alert.'

They caught a bus to Bondi, then walked south along the coast ending up at Coogee Beach where they took a room in a private hotel right on the waterfront and deposited their valuables in the hotel safe. The waves looked just right, the air clean and the sea limpid. As neither had swimming togs they wore the two unused bikini briefs Frankie had bought in Chennai. They swam and body surfed and swam again and chased each other through the waves and made sand castles before showering the sand off, dressing and finding a restaurant where they lingered and laughed and chattered and discovered they'd both enjoy a walk along the beach back to their hotel. Once in their room with the door locked they stood calmly, searching each other's face for confirmation.

'What'll we do, László?'

'We will stand naked, facing each other, and honestly describe the other's body so we know exactly what the other thinks of us, and… and I will know if I have to feel inadequate because you're stronger, more muscled, more attractive than me, and…' he stopped. Nervous. Embarrassed. Shrugged and stared at his feet.

'You're saying that physical attraction is as important as mental?'

'Yes… at least at the beginning. At least until we're both in our fifties and starting to decay.'

'I don't intend to decay until I'm at least seventy-five.'

'That's a relief. The thought of settling down with a handsome hunk who then gets fat and jowly is totally off putting. As my Mother used to sing before Jesus made her stupid, Keep young and beautiful, if you want to be loved.'

'She was right. We know we like each other's minds, but do we like each other's bodies? I agree it's important. I've known several people I really like talking to and arguing with but couldn't bear for them to touch me, nor me to touch them. We've been practically naked on the beach all afternoon, and I liked what I saw, but neither of us dared look too closely; so, off with the clothes!'

They took it in turns to inspect, starting at the toes and finishing with the scalp. It was a surprise to neither that they both needed to augment sight and touch with smell and taste, and obviously lips gave more information than anything else when it came to really sensitive areas.

For what seemed like five minutes but was more than an hour, they gazed into each other's eyes, unable to look anywhere else being pressed tightly together from top to toe.

'I can't find any fault,' Frankie said with a worried frown.

'I'm myopic and wear glasses.'

'Which make you look even more handsome and intelligent.'

'You have a magnificent nose. I'm embarrassed at mine; it's so wide.'

'Put your glasses on, László. People have asked if they can use my nose as a billboard, whereas yours is mathematically and aesthetically perfectly in proportion to the rest of your face.'

'I think yours is perfect. I don't trust men with small noses. It gives you character. Makes you look even more distinguished.'

'Your skin is flawless. A smooth velour the colour of golden syrup that seamlessly encloses the body I would have designed, were I a designer of bodies.'

'Even though my hips are nearly as wide as my shoulders?'

'That's for stability and endurance. I don't want a man who will compete with me, I want someone to complement me. I'm a sprinter; you're a long distance runner. Together we can do anything we choose.'

'I give in,' László said with a dispirited sniff, 'I can't find any faults in your body. Even your sticking out ears make me want to kiss them.'

'I've a similar problem. I look at your bristly black hair and long fingers and cute bum and want to lick you all over to make sure you're real.'

'Sounds reasonable. So, what'll we do now?'

'Continue exploring until we get bored and fall asleep?'

'Or have an orgasmic experience.'

'Sounds even more fun.'

And so they did, waking when the sun streamed into their room, for another exploration before racing into the sea to wash off the debris deposited during their hours of orgasmic investigation.

After breakfast they paid their bill then lay on the sand to decide their future.

'So, László Brooker, do you take me, Frankie Fey as your devoted lover for a long, long time?'

'I do. And do you, Frankie Fey take me, László Brooker to be your devoted lover for just as long?'

'I do.'

They checked that no one was watching and enjoyed a short, chaste but groin-tingling kiss to seal their vow.

Ingenio answered the phone. 'Yes?'

'Ingenio, it's Frankie. I'm in Sydney and will be home in a couple of hours.'

'Frankie! That's wonderful! I mean really, really fantastically wonderful! We were starting to get worried. How are you?'

'Never better. And I'll be bringing my partner, László.'

'The news gets better and better.'

'Are you guys Ok?'

'Never better. Thought we were going to be burnt out yesterday, but the wind changed and for the time being we're Ok.'

'Looks as if I've come back in time.'

'Indeed. Well, I'll get the kettle on and…' he sniffed. 'Oh fuck, I'm crying, blubbing all over the phone. Frankie you've no idea how happy, relieved and crazily excited I am to hear you. I've felt amputated all the time you were away. I'll hang up before salty water gets in the electronics. Be quick… and love to László.'

Frankie too was crying when he replaced the receiver. László grasped his arm, 'Are you Ok? Is it bad news?'

'No… the best. I just hadn't realised how much I love Ingenio and how much I was missing him. I'm a big baby inside.

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