The Saturday Boy
Chapter 26 - Do I Want To Know?
The sun had come up ages ago and I had been lying there for almost as long just staring at Jack sleep. He was on his side facing me, the sheets slipped down to his calves. I watched as his eyelids fluttered, probably in some dream somewhere nice I hoped.
My first real night of sharing a bed with Jack revealed he was a fidget when he slept. Twice I had woken up in the night to find an elbow in my face, or a leg draped over me. Don't get me wrong, I didn't mind, but having spent my entire life sleeping on my own, it was something that I would have to get used to.
I slowly moved towards him with my lips, lightly pressing them on his. Light gentle kisses to slowly bring him round from the slumber. After a little while he began to break into an ever so slight smile, confirming he was conscious, but his eyes stayed closed.
"Hmm, this is a nice way to wake up," Jack said, his voice groggy and slow.
"Morning handsome, how did you sleep?"
"Really well," he replied, his eyes fluttering open. "Well, after you let my dick go to sleep."
"Yeah sorry about that, I just couldn't resist."
"Don't apologise, it was nice, I was just sooo tired."
"Yeah, I know, and God was it cute!"
"Oh shut up, you're making me blush."
"Hehe, so, what did you want to do today?"
"Well if Roman is up for the journey, I would love to load up his car with my stuff, I hate having no clothes."
"I don't," I replied, sniggering.
"You know what I mean Joey… what time is it?"
"A little after eight. I got to get up soon for work, but you can stay in bed until Roman gets up if you like, which will probably be around eleven knowing him."
"Hmm, I need to pee." Jack said, sitting up in bed.
"Want me to hold it for you?"
Jack giggled. "I think I can manage sexy."
I sighed. "Oh Jack, I wish I could stay in bed with you ALL day."
"Hey you need the money to buy me nice things right, so off you go bread winner and earn us some cash… hmm, you don't suppose I get sick pay do you."
"It's not a subject I would broach my mum with Jack, if you value your life."
"Probably not… right I really need a pee now or I'm going to wet myself."
"Ok Stants, do you want a cup of coffee, or tea perhaps?"
"Tea sounds good." He replied, running from the bedroom, his semi morning wood jingling about in his underwear… I had to smirk.
I headed to my old room to pull out some tatty work clothes from my closet. I was hopeful I could get everything done in quick time today as I really wanted to go with Jack to his old house. Something told me even if it was just clothes he was grabbing, it was going to be a hard visit for him. I didn't envy him having to step back into a building where his mother was murdered and he was beaten to within an inch of his life, and I was pretty sure there would be repercussions once we left.
Pulling on a grey Nike tank top and matching sweat pants I went to the kitchen and put the kettle on. On the way through I noticed the lounge door shut indicating that Roman was inside fast asleep. I felt bad for him that he had to spend a night on the couch, but he had agreed the most important person to get a good night's rest, was Jack.
"Hmm, I think I like you like that," Jack remarked, coming through to the kitchen.
"Huh?" I replied, getting two cups down from the cupboard.
"Beat up clothes and bed head… kinda sexy."
I giggled like a school girl. "And it's all yours, big boy!"
Jack approached me from behind and pressed his lips against the back of my neck, wrapping his arms around my chest. "You know, I am feeling much more awake now."
I smirked. "Your point being?"
"My point being I might need to take that sexy body for a test run."
"Why do you always say naughty things when I need to get ready to do something, you are such a damn tease."
"What, you never been late for work?"
"Jack, I can't…mum will come up and ask where I am if I don't go down, and then she'll be knocking on the door while you're… well, you know."
Jack pulled a sad face at me. "Oh ok, guess I'll have to wait then."
"Yeah horndog, you will… now let me get to the fridge, unless you want black tea."
Jack moved out of my way and I pulled the carton from the fridge transforming the black tea into something more inviting. I passed a cup to him and we both sat at the table.
"Jack, I sort of learned a lesson yesterday with your Mum's funeral, so Instead of just assuming I'm gonna ask…"
"What… what is it?"
"I know today is going to be difficult for you for obvious reasons, so I was just gonna offer to come with you to the house… but, only if you want me to."
"Joey, I would really like it if you came, thank you," he replied, placing his warm, smooth hand on mine.
"Cool, well if that's the case, I'm gonna take this down with me and get to work. Hopefully I'll be done in a few hours."
"Yeah no rush, Joey, we can go whenever."
After a relatively quiet Saturday night there was not much work needed in the cellar. No barrels had expired and I was pleasantly surprised to find the real ales still half full. My next job was to fill the shelves with bottles so I went upstairs to make a list. As I approached the top I could hear my mum and dad talking to someone. Looking out from the bar I saw there was a young guy sitting in one of the compartmental seating booths, he looked about eighteen, had very short black hair and was in a suit.
"Ahh, Joey, Come over will you, I would like you to meet Ryan… our new Chef." My mum called.
"Chef?" I asked, walking over to shake his hand.
"Yeah, Ryan is fresh out of college and has been working part time at the Buffalo."
"Nice to meet you Joey," the guy said, looking me up and down.
"yeah… nice to meet you," I said, trailing off.
"Well Ryan, unless you have any more questions I am happy with what I've heard so you can start Tuesday right?"
"That's right Sarah, and thanks for the opportunity."
"Good to have you on board, I'm hoping you can bring some of your recipes here when you start, as I do love the Buffalo." My dad said, shaking the young guy's hand.
"Joey, will you see Ryan out so I can start setting the kitchen up… Andy can you fill up the coffee machine please darling?"
Ryan got up and I led him to the main doors. We exchanged pleasantries and he left for wherever he was off to next. I locked the door and went to see my mum in the kitchen.
"A new Chef?"
"We did that bit Joey, yes, a new Chef."
"I didn't know you were hiring any more people?"
She gave ma playful look. "I didn't know I had to consult my children when it came to running this business."
You don't… it's just, we already have a chef."
"We don't since she has been taking food home for her family we don't."
"Joanne? She's been stealing from us?" I said, wearing a shocked look.
"Not half… six bags of chips, eighteen burgers, four lamb shanks… I had it written down on a list somewhere."
"But how did you know?"
"I worked it out when I was doing the food accounts for the month. I know roughly what we use and the figures just didn't add up. I'm hoping Ryan will be a little more reliable."
"But…but what's she been doing with it all?"
"Well she hasn't been giving it to our customers, Joey, that's for sure. Two lamb shanks went missing on Thursday, and after checking the receipts for that day I found out we didn't sell any, so she has obviously been taking them home."
"Hmm, so when did you fire her?"
"I haven't yet; I wanted to get Ryan in place before I did. Thankfully the Buffalo pays crap money so it wasn't hard to twist his arm to come here for too much more… he's actually cheaper than that thieving bitch. Anyway, why am I telling you all this, its business… haven't you got cellar work to be getting on with?"
"Cellar is fine, I just got to bottle up and clean one of the lines."
"Ok, well come and give mama kiss and then go and finish. Oh, and is Jack up yet?"
I gave my mum a kiss on the cheek and a hug, before stepping back. "Yeah he's having a cup of tea in the kitchen."
"How is he… his head ok?"
"Yeah, it was hurting a little bit last night but he seems to have woken up in…"
"Uh… a brighter mood."
"Well I'm glad to hear it, so I understand he is going to his old house to pick up his stuff right?"
"Yeah, that's if Roman gets up at a reasonable hour."
"Well don't let your brother sleep in too long or they won't end up going."
"Ok," I said leaving her to it. I walked out of the kitchen and through to the bar eyeing my dad wrestling with the coffee machine.
"So, Joey, it looks like we another one from the dark side joining us." He said, trying to fill up the machine, but making it look like he was trying to get toothpaste back in a tube.
"Didn't mum tell you?"
"No… what are you talking about?"
"Ryan, he's gay."
"REALLY?" I squealed, scratching my head. "What, he just came out with it?"
"Not exactly, your mum started digging in to his personal life, as she does, and it seems he moved here from Ireland after his parents disowned him. Your mother asked why and he said it was because they didn't agree with his life style… Catholics apparently. She asked him what he meant and he told her."
"So that's why he gave me a funny…" I trailed off, going into deep thought.
"Anyway, apparently he moved to London to live with his boyfriend here when it all went a bit wrong, but he's doing well for himself… God it's such a good story!"
"And why do you look so excited about this dad?" I asked, raising a brow.
"Joey, the guy is kicked out of his house, takes a gamble to move hundreds of miles away to a city he doesn't know, no friends, no family, his relationship fails, and look at him, he's just got on with life, he smiles, he works. Don't you think that is great?"
"Uh… yeah sure dad, but I hope this doesn't mean you are kicking me out?"
"Of course not, I just admire people who survive when the going gets tough that's all. Look Joey, I might not get the whole gay thing… when I was growing up, I was taught queers were people who failed in life, who hooked up in toilets for… whatever they did, lived in the shadows. I was taught to believe they were not like straight people."
"And your views now?"
"I know I don't talk to you about it a lot, but don't worry, my views changed a long time ago. You are taught to believe what you parents tell you, Joey. Nan and Grandpa? They came from the old school, so I've had to re-educate myself, but I never had a problem with gay people even well before you came out to your mother and me… I mean hell, living in London, you can hardly escape its influence."
"Why are you telling me all this now dad? I always thought you resented the fact I was gay."
My dad sighed. "Joey, come and sit down… let's do something we rarely do… let's have a chat, just you and me. Wanna grab a coke? In fact no… C'mon, we are going out. We'll go to McDonalds for breakfast."
"Dad we can't, we open in a little over two hours, I still have bottling up to do and a line to clean and you need to get the bar…"
"SANDRA?" My dad shouted, in the general direction of the kitchen, cutting me off. My mum came through wearing a pair of rubber gloves.
"What Andy, I'm really busy right now!" She replied, irritation in her voice.
"Joey and I are going out for breakfast for an hour."
"Andy, are you kidding, we open in…"
"Two hours…and I want to spend some time with my son, which I don't do very often… in fact WE don't do it very often. I'm sure you can cope, honey, until Christie gets here."
"Dad, if it's too much of a problem…"
"No Joey, I've put this off long enough, let's go!" My dad started to walk towards the door that leads out to the beer garden, my mum just stood there speechless, he jaw wide open. All I could do was look at her and shrug as I followed my dad outside.
"Do you really think we should be doing this?"
"Why not, your mother gets her own way on everything with me, can't I spend some quality time with my own son… C'mon, I'll drive, it'll be quicker."
We got in the car and my dad headed towards a drive-thru McDonalds, a few miles up the road, humming to himself quietly. I just sat there wondering if someone had put a rocket up his ass.
Dad had parked the car outside after deciding it would be better to sit inside. We had our food and went and found a place to sit, and I watched as he pulled his cell phone out and looked to switch it off, almost dropping his tray in the process.
"There, no one disturbs us now," He said, sitting down.
"Dad, what's all this about, we never do anything like this, what gives?"
"And that's poor isn't it… Joey, do you think I'm a bad father?"
"What? Dad…" I sighed. "Dad, we don't have these kinda conversations and I must admit, being here? Well it's pretty weird."
"You didn't answer the question, do you…"
"Yes yes, do I think you're a bad father… no, I don't."
"I think I'm a bad father."
"And you have just decided that now?"
"Not decided Joey… realised."
"Dad, could you please tell me why we are having this conversation, now, of all days?"
I was getting a little irritated with my dad now, and I really wasn't meaning to, it's just he has never been this spontaneous before and it was really freaking me out. Plus the philosophical questions that were coming, I wondered what the hell this was all about.
"Oh my god dad, you're not ill are you? You haven't got cancer or something, shit."
"What?" he asked, his face screwing up. "No of course not, stupid."
"Oh, well that's good."
"Joey, look, I listened to that kid this morning and…"
"Yeah Ryan, I listened to him this morning and you know what, he's a good guy… a good guy who's been dealt a shit hand Joey. But do you know what he's done?"
"He's accepted that, he's dealt with it, and he's moved on. Joey, his parents booted him out because of who he loved. They took from him everything he knew, his home, his family and his life. Look around Joey at the world… what creature on this earth abandons their child? Only a human does that. And you know it got me thinking, how bad it's been for you, to deal with this, aware that I haven't always been there to talk to about it."
"I guess I did fell a little reluctant to talk when you didn't mention it to me." I said, listening to him intently.
"Yeah and how shit must that have been for you? I'm your father for god sake; you should be able to come to me for everything. I'm supposed to be there to solve all your problems and take care of you, and…and when I listened to that kid talking about how isolated he felt because his parents didn't understand him, you know, I felt close to tears, because apart from not throwing you out like they did him, what better have I been?"
I looked at my dad and could see he was trying to keep hold of his emotions; it saddened me to see him like this, and also surprised me, because my dad was never a heart-on-your-sleeve kinda guy.
"Dad?" I said softly, "You are a good man, with a kind soul, and I believe you are a good father. Yes you might not get how being a gay person works, but you have accepted me for who I am. You might not talk about it, or ask me about it, or promote it, but I can see you have accepted it, and that's always been good enough for me… you have always been good enough for me"
"After listening to Ryan, it doesn't feel like it… I felt like I have misunderstood you. I have shied away from my responsibilities as a father because who you were in a way… because of whom you loved, partly because I didn't understand you, and partly because I was scared to."
"I guess it must have been hard for you too Dad, I mean growing up believing what your parents told you and having to change that?"
"Joey, I taught myself to accept it, not understand it, and for the first time today, I think I sort of get it, you know? It's not about a label is it, it's about who you fall in love with, it's about having someone to take care of you, see you through the good times, and the bad. Does that matter if it's a person of the same sex?"
"Are you asking me or telling me?"
"Both I guess. Look, you being gay, it was something I had to put in a box, I had to put in a box so I could rationalise it, make it make sense. But there is no box, there is no right or wrong with this, you are who you are and I'm really pleased to see you are with someone who obviously loves you for the person you are. What I'm saying is, as long as you are happy, then who gives a damn who it's with."
"I don't really know what to say dad… thank you I guess, thanks for talking to me about it."
My dad wiped his eyes. "Roman, he… he's filled in a lot of gaps hasn't he, because I haven't been there for you to lean on."
"Yeah he has, and mum has too, to a lesser extent."
"I'm sorry, Joey, I'm so sorry I haven't…God, I love both my kids." He said, leaning back and looking at the ceiling.
"And we love you dad, be sure of that."
"Well, I hope you know I'm in your corner now and sorry for the weird breakfast, I just wanted to tell you so bad, that I love you and I would never abandon you. You and Jack will always have a home, wherever our home is Joey, and I mean that. Now we better be heading back before your mother divorces me."
I grinned. "I think she did that the second we walked out."
"Meh, she'll get over it."
We got back to the pub and got a less than friendly greeting from my mum. I made a quick getaway to continue my chores, leaving my dad to fully explain what this was all about. I knew he would tell her everything, he always did.
Grabbing my pad I made a list of all the bottles that needed replacing from the night before and headed down to the cellar to acquire them. I chucked two empty crates on the floor and went to work selecting the stock I needed, whistling as I did. I actually felt great, the conversation with my dad beginning to sink in. He accepted me… no, he understood me, what I was, what I felt, and best of all he was all for Jack and me being a couple. Whoever this new Ryan guy was must had poured his heart out to them given the effect he had on my dad, and I found that strange. Then again, being interviewed by my nosy mother probably didn't give the poor guy much option.
"You look deep in thought…"
"SHIT! Fucking hell Jack, you scared the crap out of me, don't sneak up on me like that!" Jack started cracking up and it became contagious with me soon laughing myself.
"I'd love to play that back in slow motion; you almost threw that bottle across the room."
"It's not funny, I could have injured you," It wasn't funny, but I laughed anyway.
"So, what were you thinking about?"
A wry smile came over my face. "Just some incredibly sexy Irish lad who's coming to work at the pub; I was thinking of asking him out."
"Over my dead body, and I'll fight him for you."
"Nah, no need for that, your position as my one and only is quite safe, although I was actually thinking about him… in a non-sexual way. I just had the strangest conversation with my dad."
"Yeah, your mum said he had taken you out for breakfast. She looked kind of pissed off about that, but what's that got to do with the Irish eye candy?"
Jack pulled up an empty crate and sat down and I went into the details of my little excursion with him. He listened intently as I explained it all and his smile was growing bigger with every sentence.
"So… so he's really cool about us?"
"Yep, and he says it's great that I'm with someone like you."
"Wow, Joey, that's amazing, I mean… wow. You know I always thought your dad was a bit…"
"No, joey, that's not the word…uh, I was going to say conservative."
"My dad? Nah, it's just when he doesn't understand something he just leaves it alone. A bit like the new till system we had installed six months ago… he refused to work behind the bar because he said the till was mocking him for not understanding how it worked… yeah, he can be a bit odd like that. The thing about my dad is… he doesn't say much, but when he does, you should really listen because he'll mean it."
"Yeah, I'm just starting to understand that."
"So you, what are you doing down here, you should be upstairs resting."
"I was bored, I can't get into the lounge to watch TV because your brother is still asleep, and there is no one up there to talk to."
"Aww, want a hug?" I asked, walking over to him and putting my arms round his back. He leant into my neck and purred like a cat, which was funny, sexy and cute all rolled in to one.
"So this Irish dude, what's he going to be doing here, and how old is he?" Jack asked, between nibbling my ear.
"Mum said he was out of college, so I'm guessing at least eighteen or nineteen, and he's going to be our new Chef. Apparently he was responsible for bringing some new business to the buffalo while he was working there part time, you know, has his own recipes and shit. Oh, and he's gay!"
"Irish and gay eh? Sure to be sure to be sure to be sure to be sure to…[JM1] "
"JACK! That is making me mental!"
"Whoops… sorry," he sniggered.
"And don't do that in front of him, he might take offense."
"As long as he keeps his eyes off of your sweet ass I promise NOT to take offense."
"Jealous already Jack, that's quite sexy actually. C'mon, let me get these bottles up and then we'll go and jump on Roman."
"ROMAN! London is being evacuated due to a deadly plague, get up, we must leave the city now!"
"What…w-what, Shit, oh my god…" Jack and I stood in the door way to the lounge in fits of laughter as a very sleepy and disoriented Roman jumped off the sofa and started darting around like a headless chicken. "You pair of assholes… you fucking… grrrr!"
"Morning Roman," Jack said innocently. "How did you sleep?"
"Uh… yeah, I think I slept," he said, not making sense and rubbing his eyes.
"Roman, as much as Jack likes dick, your morning wood is a little revealing." I said, pointing.
"What?... oh, yeah sorry," he replied, tucking his boner under his waistband, which actually made it look worse.
"Nice cock Roman, do ya want me to work it for ya?" Jack said, suggestively, before giggling.
"Joey, take your horny boyfriend and lock him under the stairs, and Jack, let's put it this way, you couldn't handle me!" he said, grabbing his crotch, rattling it and walking out of the lounge.
"Fuck, he's hot!" Jack muttered, shaking his head.
I smirked. "You know, I'm gonna start getting worried about you if you keep referring to my brother like that."
"Ahh come on Joey, if he weren't your brother, you'd suck that dick right?"
The comment made my gut twist up and I had to clear my throat "Uh… do you want me to make you some breakfast?" I asked, walking out to the kitchen. Jack followed me out.
"Did I just say something wrong?"
"No, why… why do you ask?"
"Your mood… it changed."
"Did it, when?"
"Just then, back there, when I mentioned…"
"Can we talk about something else please Jack, instead of Roman's anatomy all the time," I snapped, immediately regretting it.
"Yeah sure… sorry I was just messing around," he said dejectedly.
"Sorry I didn't mean to snap at you. I…I guess I didn't sleep very well last night, must be a little tired."
"Hey its cool, maybe we can have a snooze later, just the two of us."
"Sounds like a plan, now, do you want some brekkie, keep your strength up?"
"Are you on the menu?"
"Cheap, Jack, but I like your style… how about some eggs and bacon?"
"Anything Joey, whatever is easiest."
Roman padded into the kitchen now fully clothed and greeted us both again, this time fully awake.
"So what time did you want to go Jack?"
"Whenever you're ready Roman, since you are taking me it's your call."
"Ok well let me eat first, and then we'll head out… say Joey, any spare for me?"
"I can do that." I said, collecting extra food from the fridge.
"So did you both have a pleasant first night in bed together?" Roman asked.
"Jack fidgets, but he slept ok."
"I do not!"
"Uh…yeah, ya do!" I said nodding, pulling a false smile.
"My last girlfriend was a fidget in bed, I felt like tying her down most nights," Roman remarked, looking like he was remembering.
"So, how many people have you bedded Roman, it must be a lot, a stud like you?" Jack asked, making Roman lightly blush. As he sat there thinking about it, my stomach started to tense up again. I don't know why, it's not like he was about to admit the thing we did. But Roman didn't have to say anything because he was just about to reveal his five girls to Jack when he looked at me. Our eyes locked, and then I noticed Jack looking at us… looking each other. It was a weird moment where time seemed to stop and I was frantic for Roman to take his eyes off me and answer the damn question, but the look on Jack's face told me he had put some kind of puzzle together.
Roman eventually looked away from me and turned to Jack, smiling. The whole sequence probably only lasted a few seconds but I wondered if it was a few seconds too much.
"Uh…five, Jack," Roman finally replied, swallowing hard. Jack had a suspicious look on his face and I was starting to shake.
"Right…well, uh, that's not bad for seventeen," he said, trying to act normal, but I knew better. I knew that look. The look that said something is not quite sitting right.
"I was drunk with three of them, so it's not a vivid memory for the most part, anyway, I'll be right back, I need to pee." Roman got up from the table and left the kitchen, leaving me to try and compose myself and keep busy.
"Yeah?" I replied, my back still towards him, my hands sweating, my shoulders tense, my mouth dry, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!
"Do I want to know?" he asked, causing me to bite my bottom lip hard and clench my eyes shut.
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