The Saturday Boy
Chapter 25 - Always Getting it Wrong
Roman and Jack pushed aside their pizza boxes almost simultaneously; having both wolfed down what must have been two thousand calories. I, on the other hand was still munching away, staring into the ocean that was Jack's eyes.
Roman leaned back on his chair and rubbed his stomach, demonstrating he was obviously full. Jack let out a belch making us all laugh and Roman threw a napkin at his face. I missed this, it was like everything was normal, had always been normal. I realised I had been searching for someone like Jack subconsciously forever, someone to fill the missing gap in my life that had always been there, I mused.
"So Joey, if you help me clear a space in my room, I'll help you get this bed made up ," Roman declared, clearing away his and Jack's pizza box. I tried to respond but had to wait until my mouth was empty. It was that damn thing where someone was waiting for an answer and you can't swallow the damn food fast enough so you can talk again.
"Yeah, no worries, so where is your bed gonna going?"
"I'll put it in the lounge for now. Once we've got your new sex slab made up I'll take apart your bed and put mine in it."
"Hmm, sex slab, sounds naughty," Jack remarked, licking his lips suggestively.
"Don't teach him bad words Roman, he has a potty mouth already," I snorted, throwing the last piece of crust into the box and closing it.
Roman and I left Jack in the lounge to chill and watch TV, while we sat in the bedroom trying to figure out the instructions for this flat-pack bed. It was made of solid pine wood, came in about twenty different bits and had what looked to be a hundred screws bagged up.
I sat patiently while roman flicked through the four page booklet. "Nope, it's no good, I'm gonna have to send this off to a cryptologist!" he groaned. I laughed and took it from his hands. Roman was never any good with stuff like this. There was one Christmas when he got a massive Scalextric track for Christmas. Well I remember him taking off the wrapping paper at around eight in the morning, and he was still trying to put it together when my mum called us for lunch at twelve. Yep, that was Roman, never any good with puzzles. He even failed miserably trying to play Tetris.
"Ok Roman, the parts are numbered, if I call out the number, then you can put it in place. So to start off you need one times part three, got it?"
"Hmm, part three… oh ok yep."
"Ok there should be two parts labelled seven, which you have to screw to number three."
"Oh I get it… ok I think I can work with this."
"Good, I'll get started on the smaller bits."
Before long we had figured it out and were making good progress, with the main frame now complete. I started to slot the slats into place which would hold the mattress and Roman went round making sure everything was tight, claiming that it would squeak less when we were going at it. The cheeky fucker!
I laid the last slat and Roman helped me push it against the wall. We both stepped back together and folded our arms, nodding at our success in woodwork.
"Honestly, some of these things that come flat-packed you need a fucking PHD to get built." Roman barked, before huffing.
"It's just a bed Roman, not the inner workings of a clock."
"Yeah well, the next thing mum and dad buy, make sure it's ready built, I'm sweating like a pig."
"Wanna help me get the mattress on top and then I think we're done," I asked, ignoring his last comment.
"No, I'm gonna have some of that cake first."
"My cake you mean?"
"Yeah your cake, call it payment for helping you put together this thing."
"You will need my express permission before a crumb passes your lips."
Roman chuckled. "How about, go fuck yourself."
"If I could, I wouldn't need my boy out there."
"Shallow Joey… real shallow."
Roman walked passed me and out of the room, no doubt to attack my cake. I wasn't going to stop him, after all I was only joking around. I grabbed a handful of plastic that contained the mattress and dragged it over towards the wooden frame. Using my teeth I tore a hole in it and started to release the item from its wrapping.
I threw the plastic to one side before heaving the mattress on to the frame. With some gentle adjustments to get it square level I threw myself on top, confirming the whole thing was now complete.
"If you don't get up in five seconds I'm gonna come over there and start undressing you," came Jack's voice from the door way. I tilted my neck, seeing him leaning against the frame.
I smiled. "Hey, you ok?"
"Yeah, just wanted to see how you were doing, and TV is shit right now."
"Well, as you can see it's all done. Apparently there are some new bed clothes to go on this, but I don't know where my mum has put them."
"Hmm, want me to go and ask her?" Jack asked.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, where is she, bar or kitchen?"
"Uh, Saturday, Saturday…. Oh, she'll be in the kitchen, just go through the side door, straight in."
"Cool, see you in a minute."
I let my strained neck let my head fall back on the bed. I couldn't believe that in a few hours' time I would be sharing this bed with my hunk of a boyfriend. I had to blink a few times just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
I was pretty sure nothing was going to happen between us tonight, and I was cool with that. Just lying next to him was good for me. I knew that he was still sore in places and I didn't want to appear like I was being selfish by instigating sex… as much as I wanted it. Nope, I was going to leave the ball in his court and go at his pace.
I briefly closed my eyes before they were jolted open again by something crashing down next to me. "Wow, this is nice and comfy, are you sure you don't wanna swap?" Roman, asked, laying level with me.
"Eat it all did you?"
"The cake? Oh no, just seven eighths.
"The greed of it," I growled.
"Just kidding, I had a small slice."
"It's fine, I'm just playing with you."
"I know… so are you happy with it?"
"Jack, yeah, he's a good model."
I cracked up. "I know, I know, I was just being facetious."
"So, is he the one?"
"Sorry I couldn't help myself… yeah, I think he might be."
"You think?" Roman asked, lifting onto his elbows and looking at me.
"I dunno Roman, sometimes I look at him and wonder if he feels the same as I do."
"What? Where has this come from?"
"Nowhere really, It's just I get the feeling that he's not as enthusiastic about us as I am."
"No,no,no Joey, you are looking at this totally the wrong way. You wanna know what the problem is?"
"You are too full on, Joey, and because you act at this sky high level, you think if he doesn't, he's not feeling the same. You need to get that thought out of your head right now, or you really will fuck things up. Let me tell you squirt, that lad loves you, probably more than you realise, you only have to look at him looking at you to see that."
"You really think so?"
"I know so Joey, and you would too, if you just took a step back a bit."
"Hmm, I am rather full on aren't I." I said, to myself rather than Roman.
"It has been known." He remarked.
"Do you have to bring that up?"
"I'm just saying, I know what you're like."
"How can you, Jack's the first guy I have ever had feelings for." I snapped, not meaning to.
"I'm not talking about sexual preferences here bro; I'm talking about your personality."
"I'm just gonna put it out there Joey, that I think your brother is totally hot horizontal" Jack said, appearing in the doorway again, his hands full of packed bedding."
"Oh you found them… and you keep your eyes to yourself, you belong to me."
"Hey, hang on I'm enjoying this. Say something else nice, Jack." Roman teased.
"Better not, I'm getting daggers."
"Yes you are, here chuck them to me and I'll get this bed made up." I said holding out my arms. Jack threw the contents of his hands over to me and most of it fell short of where I was causing me to get up to collect everything from the floor.
"Well, I guess I better go and sort your room out now. I'll start bringing stuff in and you can arrange it how you want." Roman said, getting up and wandering out of the room.
"How's the head?" I asked, seeing a small area on the bandage was dark red.
"It will need changing soon, hopefully I can go bandage free in a couple of days when this stops weeping."
"Who normally does it, you or the nurses?"
"Oh, the nurse."
"Wold you like me to change it for you, or would you rather my mum did it?"
"No, its ok, you can do it. If you can change it before we go to bed that would be good, I don't wanna get blood on these new sheets."
"That's cool baby, just let me know when."
Jack let out a wide yawn exposing his beautiful white teeth. "Long day huh?" I asked.
"Yeah, for me anyway, I still feel a little washed out."
"We can get an early night if you like, I don't have to sort this room anymore, the bed was the main thing, plus I have all day tomorrow to sort it out."
"Do you mind, that would be swell if we could hit the sack soonish, I'm beat."
"Hey, anything you want. I'll let Roman know we are calling it a night and we'll leave it here."
"Cool, thanks Joey."
Jack left for the lounge again which gave me time to sort the bed out. I straightened out all the sheets and pillows, with the last thing being the duvet cover. I must admit, it looked really inviting and I did always love that fresh-out-of-the-factory smell of new fabric. With the bed complete I went to my old room and found Roman taking apart my single bed.
"Roman, Jack is pretty tired, I'm gonna change his head dressing and then we're gonna head off to bed, is that ok?"
"Yeah sure bro, we can sort stuff out tomorrow, one night on the couch aint gonna kill me."
"Oh shit, I forgot, you have nowhere to sleep."
"Don't think anything of it, just look after Jack ok, and make sure you let him rest."
"What are you getting at?"
Roman grinned. "You know damn well Mr." I gave my best innocent look and left the room.
I had only been gone a minute or so but as I walked into the lounge there was Jack with his eyes closed. I went over and turned off the TV before walking over to the sofa he was on. I stood there for a few seconds taking in the sight of how cute he looked before kneeling on the floor in front of him.
"Hey big guy, wanna get that dressing changed?" I whispered, careful not to startle him.
"What? Oh, did I doze off?"
"Yeah but its ok, I know you're tired."
"Yeah, I didn't realise how much."
"Why don't you stay there and I'll get the bag with your medical supplies in. Do you need any pain killers, cause if you do, I'll grab you a glass of water."
"Yeah, please if you don't mind, it is kinda hurting."
"Why didn't you say earlier, there's no need to suffer in silence."
"Dunno, just didn't want you to think there was anything wrong."
"Well, if there is, then I need to know about it, silly. Stay there and I'll go grab the stuff"
Jack's lips curled up. "Thanks, I won't move."
I came back with a glass of water and his dressing bag, plus his pain relief. I was just about to hand him the glass when I noticed he was out like a light again.
"Jack?" I whispered, causing him to open one eye.
"I did it again, didn't I." He said, and I laughed.
"Yeah… here take these and I'll get your bandage ready." I passed the glass and two pills to him which he promptly put in his mouth and swallowed. Taking the glass from him I leaned forward and cupped his head in my hand and gently pulled it forward. I began to unravel the used bandage from his head until he was free of it, and inspected the wound. I could see the doctors had shaved a large part of his hair off, which made me feel sad for some reason. Jack had beautiful locks and it was such a shame he had to lose some of them for this.
Looking at the gash I could see it was healing nicely with a hard scab covering most of the injury, with only a tiny part still weeping. I let his head rest back on the sofa while I dug through the bag for the surgical spirit I had eyed earlier. I pulled out some cotton wool and wet it with the liquid before ever so gently cleaning his wound. I repeated the action with new wool until I was satisfied there was no more discolouration being transferred onto it, before taking a new roll of lint from the bag.
Jack had pretty much fallen asleep again as I was seeing to him and I had to smile. Unrolling a small part of the bandage I began to slowly circumnavigate his head with it, making sure to cover all of the injury. I pulled firmly to ensure a snug fit and then taped the end, finishing the job.
"There, very handsome," I said, pleased with my effort. Jack opened his eyes again and felt his head.
"Oh, it's all done, thank you Joey."
"Yep, all done sleepy head, now you are all set for bed."
"I don't think I have ever looked forward to something as much, God I'm so tired here."
"It's been a long day for you Jack, so I'm not surprised, plus it's the first time you have really been up and about after lying in that hospital bed for so long."
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
"Well, the bed is all made up so if you want to go and crash then I'll tuck you in Mr."
"What? Are you not coming to bed yet?"
"Yeah, I will be but I need to see mum first, but I'll come and lie down with you until you are asleep if you like?"
"Yeah, that would be nice."
I helped Jack up from the sofa and we headed towards our new room. I pulled back the covers and allowed him to get undressed while I went and opened the window. It was another muggy night and as much as I liked the warm weather, I was looking forward to some cooler days ahead.
Turning round I saw Jack had stripped down to his underwear and I stood looking at him in awe… AGAIN!. I would never get bored of seeing that body for as long as I live, I thought, before realising that I probably looked like some shallow pervert.
Jack smirked. "It's just me Joey; you can put your tongue away."
"Yeah, but just you is giving Joey a hard dick," I said, matter-of-fact. "Now get into bed before I give you a reason not to be tired anymore." Jack did as he was told and got comfortable, while I walked over to tuck him in. Walking round to the other side of the bed I laid on top of the covers and stroked his hair, now and again kissing his neck.
"I'm sorry that I'm not up to doing much tonight Joey… if you know what I mean."
"Well yeah… I felt ok earlier today and I was looking forward to some loving but…"
"Hey, shhh, it doesn't matter, it's not like we have to rush anything. I mean, yeah, I'll admit, the thought did cross my mind today, but then seeing you asleep on the sofa I would rather you get some proper rest then risk making yourself ill again."
"I just don't want you to think that I'm not up to the task."
"Jack, I know full well you are up to the task, we went camping remember?" The memory must have been clear in his mind as I saw a sly smile come to his face.
"Hmm, that was a good night wasn't it."
"The best," I replied, "So stop thinking silly things like that and accept that you are recovering from a serious injury."
"Yeah ok… Joey, I want to make a request, but… but I don't want you to flip out on me, ok?" he said, looking at my face intently.
"Joey, I'm serious, I've been putting this off as long as I can but I need to ask you now."
"What… what is it?"
"My mum's funeral."
"What about it?"
"I want to go alone… I… I don't want you to be there, and… and its not what you think."
My face turned to one of bafflement. "Well what should I think Jack?"
"It's just, I don't want you to see me in a state I guess, and I just want to go and get this done without any fuss."
"Fuss? Jack I want to be there to support you."
"I know you do, I just think it would be better if you didn't come with me that's all."
"Hang on… this is about you being seen with me in front of your family isn't it?" Jack didn't say anything, he just looked away from me. It was enough to tell me I was right.
"You know, I'm starting to get a complex, it seems no one wants to be seen in public with me."
"Joey, please, I knew you would take it like this, and you know it's nothing like that, but you really don't want to meet my family."
"Why? In case they hound me… in case they say nasty things? Well tough shit Jack, we are together and we come as a package, if they don't like it then they can stick it."
"Joey, will you please just do this for me?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Yes you do, and I'm hoping you pick the right one. If you want to come then I can't stop you, but I would rather you didn't, and I'm asking you not to."
I didn't answer, I just sat there in a sulk, pissed off that he would give in to his mental family.
"I'm gonna go see my mum ok?"
"Joey, don't be like this."
"Like what Jack, how do you expect me to feel, it's like… it's like I'm being fucking rejected by everyone." I got up from the bed and walked towards the door, I had heard enough and didn't want to listen anymore.
"Joey, babe, come back… Damn it!" I heard him shout, but I was half way to the kitchen. Roman was just coming out when I barged passed him.
"Hey watch it Joe"
"Fuck off Roman, I'm not in the mood!"
"Hey, that was un called for… what's wrong?"
"Nothing, I'm fine."
"Yeah looks like it, ok in the lounge."
"NO!" I growled.
"Joey, get in the fucking lounge, now." Roman shouted at me. I took a step back in shock. Roman had never raised his voice to me. I quickly did as I was told, but grunted on the way past him. I threw myself on the sofa like a spoilt kid and he came in moments later and closed the door.
"What the fuck is wrong with you? You barge me out of the way, tell me to fuck off and then growl at me for no reason." I went to stand up, not wanting to answer. "SIT, Joey, and drop that fucking attitude."
"Who are you, dad?" I retorted.
"No, I'm Roman, the one you come to with all your problems, so tell me this one before I beat it out of you."
"You wouldn't dare."
"Try me!" He hissed, and I flinched as he started walking towards me.
"Jack doesn't want me at his mum's funeral because he's embarrassed to be seen with me in front of his family."
"And he said that?"
"Well, no but that's basically what it is."
"Jack's family do not accept or like the fact that he's gay right?" Roman asked.
"Yes, true but…"
"Do you think when it comes to losing your mother so young that saying goodbye to her should be an uncomplicated and stress free day?"
"Do you think Jack is asking you not to go because he's ashamed of you, or because he wants to make sure his mother's funeral goes off without a scene?"
"Joey, this is not about you, it's not about getting one over on his family, it's not about trying to proud that you are both a couple and want to be seen together, it's about doing what is easiest for Jack… to make his goodbye's ones he would like to remember."
"I just wanted to be there to support him." I whined.
"Yes, but if I know you Joey, you will probably be wanting to tick off other boxes as well. Do him a favour and respect his wishes. Now go in there and apologise for being a total selfish prick and if you ever get arsey with me again, you better have a good reason, now come here you little fucker and give me a hug."
I went over and put my arms around Roman. He was right, I was just thinking of my feelings and that was stupid and wrong.
"I'm sorry I got annoyed with you, I didn't mean to."
"You were upset Joey, and as the old saying goes, people usually take their anger out on those closest to them. Just remember, I'm here to help you, nothing else. Just stop looking at everything as a personal attack on you."
"I know, I got to work on that."
"Good, now go and see lover boy and tell him you're sorry, before he leaves you for someone rational." Roman said, ruffling my hair, smiling.
I padded out of the lounge and back into our room and saw Jack lying awake staring at the ceiling.
"I'm, uh… I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking," Jack, turned his head towards me, his expression unchanged.
"There was no need to storm off, we could have talked about it."
"I know, and I'm sorry, I just thought you were ashamed of me, and it upset me."
"Why would I ever think that?" Joey asked, lifting onto his elbows.
"You wouldn't, I was just being stupid… and selfish. Go to the funeral on your own Jack, it's the right thing to do."
"Are you sure, because if you really want to…"
"No, it's cool, now that I've thought about it, I think it makes a lot of sense." I said, cutting him off. "I've kept you awake haven't I?"
"Yeah, but it doesn't matter, I was just thinking that's all."
"Duh… you did just leave the room in a huff. I was trying to decide whether I was wrong in asking you not to come."
"Forget it, you were right, Roman was right, and I was wrong."
"Doesn't make me feel any better."
"Its really ok Jack, I'm just a little insecure sometimes. I was being a prick, let's say no more about it."
"Good, so are you coming to bed or not?"
"Yeah soon, I just gotta run down and see mum for a sec, and then I'll be up. Its ok if you want to go to sleep."
"I might, I'll see how long you are."
"Ok see you soon, I'll turn the light out yeah?"
"Yeah please…love you!"
I felt a lump in my throat for a second before it passed. "I love you too Jack."
I walked into the pub kitchen to find my mum helping clear away the last few customers' plates with Jason the pot wash guy.
"Hey Joey, I haven't seen you at all today, how are you?"
"I'm fine thanks Jason, how are you… glad the day is over?"
"Yeah, doing some overtime, need the money."
"Don't we all Jason," I remarked, glaring at my mother.
"What's that look for?" she asked.
"Never mind, look mum, I was wondering if I might have a drink?"
"You don't need to ask Joey, just get what you want."
"No I mean a real drink."
"Alcohol? Hmm, well ok, but no spirits, and only as it's the weekend."
"Thanks…and then I wondered if you would join me."
"Joey I've been on my feet all day."
"Well what else were you going to do, watch TV when you finished?"
"Ok fine, go and ask your dad for a drink and sit down, but please make sure all the customers have left before you do."
"Yeah ok, see you in a bit… Oh Jason leave that, love, you can go home now, thank you for staying on."
I walked out of the kitchen and into the bar, eyeing my dad. He was behind the bar taking out the last few glasses from the washer. The lights were down low and it looked like everyone had left. I pulled a stool up and plonked myself on it.
"Hey dad, busy night?"
"Not really Joey, pretty quiet for a Saturday night."
"Oh, really, I could hear quite a few people outside earlier when I was upstairs."
"Yeah that was a hen night; they only stayed for one before moving on. So, how is Jack?"
"He's ok, but really tired, he can't keep his eyes open."
"Yeah, it's to be expected. I'm sure he'll feel better in a few days."
"Oh, uh dad, could I have a pint of Fosters please, mum said it was ok."
My dad tilted his head. "Did she, or are you just bullshitting me?"
"Dad, honest, phone the kitchen if you don't believe me."
"Its fine, I was just sounding you out. One Fosters coming up… are you paying for it, or am I?"
"Well since you are offering, thanks."
"So what's this in aid of?"
"Just felt like I needed one, and I need to talk to mum."
"Joey, saying you need a drink at your age is quite worrying."
"Yeah well, I blame my parents for buying a pub, I think it probably explains a lot."
"No comment, so, what do you need to talk to mum about?"
"A raise," I said, seriously. Unfortunately, looking at my dad almost drop a glass before bursting into a fit of laughter said to me he thought it was anything but serious.
"Well, uh, I'll be taking cover when you ask her that question."
"Dad! You gotta back me up, I'm on peanuts when Jason who washes plates for a living earns almost double, it's not fair."
"How do you know he makes double?"
"I looked at the payroll books."
"Joey, if your mother finds out you have been snooping she will kill you."
"I wasn't snooping, I was just curious, and I'm glad I did look because I am being sold out big time."
I noted my dad's eye contact change from me to the kitchen door and sure enough my mum was coming through towards us. "White wine please Andy… God, what a long night, it seemed to drag."
"You ok honey, do your feet hurt?" Dad asked her.
"No, just glad to sit down." She replied.
My dad bent down and grabbed a glass for my mum and then pumped out some white wine form the tap, before putting it in front of her and stroking her face.
"So Joey, is Jack ok up there?"
"Yeah, he's probably asleep by now."
"Good, he needs the rest, I feel so sorry for him, poor kid."
I agreed. "Yeah me too…mum, I need to ask you something."
"If its money the answer is no," she said, taking a healthy sip of wine.
"Not directly money."
"Oh god, I think I'm gonna go upstairs," remarked my dad. Chicken shit!
"You believe in fairness right mum?"
"Oh Joey if this is going to be another one of your, 'I'm hard done by' speeches, forget it, I too tired."
"It's not… it's one of my 'why am I being taken for a ride' speeches actually!"
She sighed. "Ok then, C'mon, spit it out."
"I would like to request a raise, in line with…"
"Joey you are kidding right?"
"In line with what Jason is getting paid, who, I might add, has a far easier job than me."
"And how, may I ask, do you know Jason is paid more than you?"
"Oh Jesus!" my dad blurted, putting his fingers in his ears.
"Because I happened to come across the payroll books," I said, casually. My mum glared at me, I glared at her back, and my dad went and died in the corner, fingers still in his ears.
"You happened to come across records that were securely stored in a locked cupboard did you?"
"Well, yes, that's pretty much what happened… Dad will you please get up from the floor, I feel like a bomb is about to go off."
"Andy stop messing around… what do you think of all this?"
"Far be it from me to dare argue with you my queen," he said, before curtsying.
"So what were your findings Joey?"
"Well, you pay me Eighty five pound a week for what I do here. I do more hours than Jason and more heavy work and yet he gets paid a hundred and twenty per week."
"Hmm, interesting Joey, very interesting! Well if you had bothered to do your research and talk to Jason behind my back then you would know that out of his hundred and twenty pounds he gives his mother forty pound rent, thus making him actually earn five pounds less than you a week. But I'll tell you what, as you are so concerned that Jason is earning more than you then I will match his wage for you and charge you forty pound a week rent, that way you are both earning exactly the same and have exactly the same outgoings, deal?"
"But…but that would leave me earning only eighty pounds."
"Precisely, Stephen Hawking, so thank you for bringing this to my attention, I will adjust your pay accordingly and make an automatic deduction from your wage to cover rent and board."
"Fine you win, leave things as they are!" I growled.
"As you wish Joey, but let it be a lesson to you not to go poking around in things that do not concern you."
I took three large gulps on my beer in frustration, I had been humiliated by my own mother by an argument I was confident I would win. I should have known she would have an answer; she always does, every time!
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