The morning didn’t find Joni feeling any better, he hadn’t slept well and the thought of going to school… it was too much, just too much.
His father was still angry, tenser than ever before, ordering him to come home straight from school.
It was all fine with Joni who had no intention of going there in either case. Rest of the family out he walked aimlessly in the house, finally ending up in his bedroom, He got a text message from Dima asking where he was, he simply replied that he was sick and wouldn’t come to school for the rest of the week.
He lay down, hoping that there would be at least one word from Misha, anything; a message, a call… he hoped that he’d tell him that he was sorry and take back those nasty words, but it didn’t happen. Not a word, nothing.
In the afternoon, Ivo called him, asking him if he was alright. Joni lied that he was and told the man that it wasn’t wise for him to call because if his father found out, it wouldn’t be good for Ivo. Joni was quite sure that his father couldn’t be convinced of Ivo’s innocents in the mater of touching him. Joni promised to keep contact with emails and update the situation.
Asko was not a happy man, just as he had almost yield to what his wife thought better; not sending Joni away; a magazine and a call from a teacher made him change his mind again.
He had seen the pictures by chance, going to bring some papers to one of his employees, who sat in front of his desk reading the magazine intensely, annoyed by the lack of interest to real work Asko had sneaked up on the man, catching a glimpse of the pictures; his son… His 17-year old son posing in nothing but underwear and the man looking at them, was… literally looking not just glancing at the advert, obviously unaware of who stood behind him, until Asko grasped the magazine from his hands. The man looked up in fright,
“Shouldn’t you be working?” He roared.
“Of course sir, sorry sir.” The man apologised, clearly embarrassed. “I…so your son is a model?” The man asked pointing at the magazine, soon after regretting to have spoken.
“Get back to work!” Asko snapped at him, tossing the papers on the desk, if it wouldn’t be illegal to fire a man for such minor excuse he would have done it, “I’ll be watching you,” he threatened instead and stormed out with the magazine in his hands.
“Where is Joni?” Asko asked once he got home.
“In his room, why?” Katja, who sat in the kitchen with Sini, replied. Her husband gave her no answer, rushing to the room where his son was.
Joni sat in front of his computer chatting with his online friends on messenger, when his dad entered the room, looking like something had bitten him in his ass. Asko threw the magazine on the table for his son to see.
Joni took it, looking at the pictures of himself, “Oh these are rather good, aren’t they?” He noted, glancing at his father who was clearly mad.
“What does it take to get a hold of you?!” Asko asked.
“To get a hold of me?” Joni repeated raising his eyebrow.
“You have a sex relationship with someone 14 years your senior and then these pictures! Well just look at them!” Joni took the magazine in his hands and smiled, he thought they looked good, his body looked great and…
“I don’t understand what the big fuss is about, to be honest.”
“Those pictures… those are close to pornography,” his father hissed which made Joni laugh.
“Dad, honestly it’s an advert to underwear, not porn, you know porn would be with no clothes, with someone else in the picture touching…”
“Enough!” Asko yelled. “I forbid you, I remember clearly telling you no, I have not signed the paper, then please explain how is this possible??”
“It’s my body alright, if I want to show it off it’s my business, had I been 18, I would have done it anyway, I figured; what’s a few months? What difference does it make? Human body is a beautiful thing, well, if one takes care of it, and I’m young, so…”
“Joni, yes you are young and I don’t think you understand what-!” Asko tried to calm himself, his head was aching, “… you go showing your body in a magazine that everyone can see and there are some sick people out there, who…”
“Don’t you think I know this? Listen dad, these bad sick people, they walk out in the real world too, you know, so what if some…eh, wank? looking at those pictures, I don’t have to know, I don’t want to know, some might see me in the real world and do that too, there are hundred underwear models, I’m merely a one of them. So stop worrying!”
“Listen Joni, the reason of why this bothers me so much, is that some of those sick people see this and think…” He sighed,
“Think what? That I’m a slut? Dad come on, please… you act so old! And please try to remember that I’m a guy, not a girl.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well….” Joni shrugged, “…it’s not like I come home one day telling you I carry some bastards’ child, now is it? I can defend myself; I can look out for myself.”
Asko shook his head,
“I sometimes doubt you can,” he sighed looking at his son, “and your resent behaviour it only speaks against it, very unwise decisions… You’re young and think nothing can harm you.”
“What are you worried of dad, honestly?”
“I worry that one day police come knocking on our door, bringing bad news.”
“It’s more likely that I get to a car accident than…”
“Joni! You go out of your way to ignore the lines I set for you! It is as if you don’t care!” Asko took a deep breath
“I also heard that you’ve been skipping school and if that’s not enough your grades have been slipping.”
“Maybe I’m not interested of school anymore, I think I want to take a break from studying, work and go to army then, you know think about stuff, gather money.”
“What job do you plan on doing with no education!?”
“Modelling dad,” Joni replied simply “…and maybe, I don’t know I’m sure I could get a job from some restaurant.”
“Modelling,” Asko snorted, “what happened to these talks of becoming a police officer, you need to finish high school for that.”
“I’ve been thinking and perhaps it’s not what I want after all…. I know I could get far with modelling, they told me that…”
“It’s not real work!”
“Excuse me dad, but I can assure you that it is.”
“And what happens when you get old Joni? Believe it may seem distant to you now, but one day like all of us, you will get old, well at least I hope you will!”
“I know!” Joni shouted, “but this my life, my choices! And I want to see the world I want to different things! I don’t want to spend my youth with my nose stuck in some old books! And you know… I can just find some rich man to support me,” Joni grinned, knowing that it would annoy his father.
“Oh what a great plan you have there!” Asko snorted with sarcasm.
“It’s just a back up plan,” Joni shrugged.
“So let me get this right, you have no intention of going back to school?”
“It’s not like I just thought of it, but yes, I don’t… at least, not now… who knows later maybe? After few years, next summer, when I’ve turned 18, I plan to go abroad.”
For a moment Asko stood still, looking at his son, some sort of desperation spreading through him as he realised that there was virtually nothing he could do to stop him. He couldn’t force him finish high school, he couldn’t force him to stay home next summer, Joni would go, possibly he would move away and… then it would be too late.
“Then you can spend the winter at your grandparents,” he decided, hanging on to the last piece of stem he saw, if he would send Joni away from temptations, to a life that was more simple and quiet, then maybe there was a chance? Small chance but a chance at least that he’d come back to his senses, where it would be less possible to meet someone who’d be ready take advantage like that man had.
“I won’t go.” Joni said firmly.
“Yes, you will, you can be of some use there, then you can rethink of your decisions, avoid all the trouble you seem to be seeking from here.”
“You can’t make me,”
“Actually I can, you’re still underage, which means I can.” He smiled slightly.
“That’s so low, you do realise that?” Joni asked, “Do you really that it well helps a shit if you send me away? Let me tell you; it fucking won’t!”
“Watch your language. I will not change my mind about this matter, I’ve already booked a flight for you to Oulu and I have called my parents, they will pick you up from the airport at noon; you better start packing. We’ll be joining you for Christmas. This is for your own good, Joni.”
Joni stood up,
“It’s not for my own bloody good!” He screamed. “God! Why do you have to be so freaking controlling! This is my fucking life and I will not waist my time going in the middle of no where, listen to bunch of morons!”
“They are your grandparents, have some respect!”
“I do fucking have respect, I can go with you to see them at Christmas, but I won’t stay! And you shouldn’t make me!”
Asko gave him a tired look,
“I see no other choice here Joni. There’s nothing that you can say to make me change my mind,”
Joni followed him when he left his room.
“You will regret it dad!” He shouted. Asko said nothing, just walked downstairs, trying to stay as calm as he could.
“Get it in your head that I’m an adult soon! You can’t keep controlling me!! You can’t fucking live my life for me!” Joni continued following his father into the kitchen.
“If you would behave like an adult then it would be a totally different thing! But you’re not Joni! You’re still very immature!” Asko turned to look at him, “do you know how difficult it is to support yourself with modelling? It’s like you said; you’re a guy not girl, tell me two names of some very successful male models?” He asked and Joni was quiet.
“I’m not out to get famous and well known by the whole world! But I make money with it; I already have!”
“Oh Joni, you used to have goals much higher than that. I don’t want to see you wasting your life when I know you could accomplice so much more!”
“I have never said that I want to do modelling for the rest of my life or for my primary career! I just want to take a break from studying, what’s so wrong with that?! Lots of people do that! Lots of people don’t finish High school and they end up alright!”
“But it’s not the only thing that concerns me Joni, you’re young and you’re rebelling against everything I’ve asked you, every rule that I’ve set. You’re running around with no direction doing what is fun not thinking the consequences! You’re simply too young to…”
“What? To have sex? To date? Might I remind you again dad that you were 18! Fucking 18 when you met mom! Look dad, so I’m gay? So I fuck with other men? It’s not… It’s … if I was straight we wouldn’t be having this fight, admit it!”
Asko looked at him silently for a moment.
“Alright Joni, if you were straight we probably wouldn’t, no woman can hurt you like another man can.”
“Oh really?!” Joni asked, “you know dad, there are women out there who can be just as cruel, no as many, but there are! So fuck this! Don’t you get it dad, you can’t lock me away to keep me safe! Life doesn’t work out that way! I want to live it! Just let me fucking make my own choices! Let me go! Don’t make me go there!”
“I’ve made up my mind Joni, the choices you are making now are concerning me, I just want you to wise up and stay in a place where it’s… safe.”
Joni’s eyes flashed in anger, he took the nearest object he got a hold of; glass vase and threw it on the floor,
“Fuck this and fuck your stupid ideas!!”
He screamed before storming back to his room; door closing with a loud bang.
Katja looked at her husband with uncertainty.
“You are really going to go through with this?” She asked glancing towards upstairs.
“Yes.” He nodded taking a beer from the fridge; he really needed to calm his nerves.
“Do you really think it’s wise?”
“Yes! What else do you suppose I would do?”
“Talk to him,”
“Talk to him?? When it’s so obvious how well he listens!?” Asko shook his head at her, “you accuse me of spoiling him and now when I decide to punish him, you go telling me I should just pat his head and tell him it’s alright??”
“I didn’t say that,” she sighed. “I just…. what do you think you accomplish with sending him away?” She sat down, looking at him; one of them at least should stay calm.
“What do I think I accomplish?” He asked taking a sip, “well for one; making sure he won’t see that man anymore, two; he won’t get in trouble, three; he rethink of this sudden nonsense of dropping out from school.”
Katja nodded, but still, she didn’t think it would necessarily solve anything, knowing Joni it could make it worse.
“You can’t shield him from meeting other men.” She pointed out. “The truth is that in less than a year he’ll be 18 and then… I fear that this sending him away will just make him want to rebel more, you know how it is in that age; more obstacles your parents set for you the more you want to break them?” She had been quite rebellious herself at Joni’s age and hoped that Asko would see her point. “If he wants to see that man…” she started hesitantly,
“NO!” Asko said firmly, “someone his own age not that man! This conversation is over, Katja. My word is final.” He nodded and left the room.
He wasn’t usually like that, he was usually very gentle and listened to her opinions, the only sensitive subject seemed to be Joni and his upbringing. Sighing, Katja decided to make another attempt to approach Joni, talk to him, make some sense out of the mess; she knew that it was more than likely that her head would be bitten off, a risk she was willing to take.
She knocked the door gently.
“Joni, can I come in?” There was no answer, so she decided to open the door and prepare to take what ever mood Joni was in. ¨
“Don’t” Joni muttered, sitting on his bed, face towards the window.
“Are you alright?” She asked carefully, approaching slowly.
“I won’t go,” he shook his head without looking at her, his voice upset and broken. Katja took a chair and sat down, giving some distance to him, he sounded like he had been crying and the last thing he would need right now was that she would point it out for him.
“You know, you could end up having fun.” She started, to which the boy snorted.
“Fun? In the middle of no where? There’s nothing! Nothing but miles of freaking snow and forest! And…” He shook his head.
“You could go skiing and…”
“I fucking hate skiing.”
“Alright, well… your cousins are there, you can spend time with them.” She smiled faintly
“15 year old girl? 8 year old boy? Heh, no thank you.”
“Suvi will be there, with her fiancé too, you know, that Canadian man. They’re young, you can hang out with them, and they’ll be there at least until Epiphany.”
Suvi was four years older than Joni, they had used to play together as children, now after spending a year in Canada as an au pair, she had met Adam 25 year old law student and they had engaged only after 3 months of dating.
He missed Suvi, they had always gotten along, for a moment going didn’t seem that bad, when knowing that she would be there, but still….
“I don’t care even if there was an army of some freaking Canadians! I want to stay at home.” He snapped then and took a deep breath. “Couldn’t you just talk to dad?” He asked glancing at her.
“I tried, but I can’t change his mind, maybe both of you just need some time to calm down?” She wondered out loud, “Just… treat it as a holiday, and give it a chance?” She suggested, but Joni remained silent, looking out from the window. He pondered about her words, the thought of running away had grossed his mind, but he would have needed more time to think; where to go, what to do. Quietly he resigned; for now, he thought …without no doubt in his mind that in the end his father would end up regretting this.
His dad had taken him to the airport, stayed with him until he had passed the security gates. He had tried to be nice, saying almost exactly the things that Katja had about enjoying his time, he had bought him sweets; as if he was a fucking 5 year old who could be bribed with candy; his dad really had no clue anymore.
Only hour later he arrived to the airport in Oulu, where his grandfather was expecting him, he was stern 72 year old man, religious and… Joni knew it was going to be hell…
“Good to see you, Joni, you’ve grown since last time, haven’t you.” He said, taking one of his bags to carry as they walked towards the car.
“I suppose so,” Joni muttered.
“Your father has informed me of your troubles.” He continued. “A Russian?” He shook his head, “no son, they are nothing but bad news. It would be better to find a suitable girl. You needn’t worry, we will fix this for you.”
“Thank you but I don’t need to be fixed.” Joni hissed.
“We will see.”
The drive took close to 40 minutes from the airport, leaving the small city of Oulu back driving to the silent countryside, at summers there were always more people, tourists staying in the cabins and… well at Christmas times some returned, wanting to enjoy the prober white Christmas.
But now all Joni could see ahead was endless mountains of snow and forest, he had nothing to wait but days filled with boredom.
“Your great grandfather would turn in his grave if he’d knew of you latest stunt.” His grandfather decided to break the silence that had settled. “A Russian!” He sneered, shaking his head.
“I’m pretty sure he would have turned in his grave even from the simple fact that I am gay.” Joni sighed.
“You are so young still, you’re just confused I’m sure, and those Russians….”
“Oh stop it granddad, I’ve known that I was gay as long as I can remember.” He couldn’t help but to snap, “I can assure you that the Russians had nothing to do with this,” and for some reasons he felt like laughing.
“Hm… Maija has been asking about you.” The older man told him, seeming to ignore his outburst. Maija was the grand daughter of his old friend. Wealthy family like theirs. They owned trotting horses like his grandparents, and were quite successful in that business.
“And this is supposed to interest me how?” Joni asked raising his eyebrow.
“Well, you know, she’s single, you are single.”
“Eh, I’m gay remember?” The old man looked at him again.
“I’m sure it will pass, when you meet the right girl.” He said after awhile.
“No it won’t! I’m gay and it won’t change!!” Joni snapped folding his arms over his chest. He wanted home.
They got to the house, which was quite nice and big, so no complaints in that regard. It was just the watchful, religious atmosphere that bothered Joni. He knew it could have been worse, they could have rejected him completely when he told them he was gay. They didn’t reject him, but they didn’t seem to accept that it was something that couldn’t be changed either.
Grandmother was already waiting with ready made lunch. “I’ve made a bed for you in your father’s old room; you can take your luggage there and change if you wish, before lunch.” She told him, looking at him closely, clearly not entirely approving his choice of clothing, too well fitted perhaps, who knew?
Joni rolled his eyes, gritted his teeth and started heading upstairs without a word; he didn’t think that anything nice could make it from his lips right now.
He looked around in the room, lowering his bags on the bed. It was a nice room, it had to be admitted. It could be worse, it really could, but still… He wanted home where his friends were and where he was accepted for who he was.
He stood in front of the window looking outside, he had been here many times as a child, sent there when his mother was dying and they didn’t want him to see that awful end. But he had known, known that mother was very unwell and now he remembered the squeezing fear and helplessness he had felt.
He had been there after too, almost every summer until he was 15, that was when he had finally told his grandparents that he was gay and they hadn’t wanted to accept it. Apparently they still weren’t completely ready. He hadn’t visited them that summer, nor the one after that, or the summer this year. They had visited each Christmas though and they were in okay terms now, but it wasn’t like before and he knew it.
The thought of running away did cross his mind, it had to be admitted. His dad was punishing him, maybe he too now wished that he’d turn straight or something? Joni felt frustrated. He could run, but where would he go? He had some money, but to rent an apartment he’d need his dad’s approval, so… He would just have to wait, it wasn’t long, seven months, he could do it….
Joni sat on the bed after opening his bags, he didn’t know what his grandmother expected him to wear because pretty much all his wardrobe were the same; expensive neat clothes that were almost like made especially for his figure, not too tight, but definitely not loose either, tight from all the right places, but leaving something for imagination as well.
Damn Misha he thought, had it really been worth this? He wondered and yet still he found himself hoping to hear something from him, hoping for the apology that… deep inside he knew wouldn’t come.
Misha loathed him and somehow he had to accept the fact; never again, he thought, never again would he crawl to get his attention, or anyone else for that matter.
It still hurt though… he had to admit that it hurt.
Finally after changing to something that he considered the most comfortable clothing he had, he walked downstairs, seated himself down with his grandparents; the lunch was already served and it made him… nauseous…. Potatoes and some meat sauce with fat in it, he hated meat that still had the fat pieces in it, he knew they would make him throw up.
“Well eat up Joni, a young man like yourself should eat more, you’re far too skinny.” His grandmother told him, when she saw him moving his food around on the plate.
“I’m not skinny,” Joni protested, he was normal weighted and healthy, perhaps his grandparents thought that normal was to have little fat? He wasn’t sure, finally took a piece of potato in his mouth with a little bit of sauce, no meat. It tasted… well…like the sauce had only some salt in it a hint of pepper that was it… He tried to separate the fat from the meat and then happened to look at his grandmother; she held her mouth already open when fork was just taking food from the plate, the sight made him shudder; disgusting….
“What’s wrong with the meat?” His grandfather asked then.
“It has fat in it,” Joni replied simply.
“Of course it has fat in it! It brings taste to it!”
Joni pushed his plate away after eating most of it, but leaving the fat aside.
“I can’t, unless you want me to throw up,” he said and the woman looked at him slightly hurt expression,
“Don’t you like my cooking anymore?”
“No, I mean, it’s good grandma,” he lied, “but I just can’t eat the fat pieces…” He didn’t really want to hurt her feelings. They had been close before in his childhood and of course it would have been nice if they could be close again. Only thing was, they would need to accept that he was gay and it couldn’t be changed. Perhaps if he would do his best to rebuild their relationship, then after Christmas his father would allow him to return home without another fight?
“It’s okay, now desert.” She smiled cleared the plates and then returned with a Swiss roll.
“You used to love sweets as a little boy,” She smiled cutting him a rather large piece that would only mean an extra workout for him. Joni sighed, he didn’t care much for sweets anymore at least not this kind, but not wanting to disappoint her so early on, he decide to eat.
“Tomorrow you come with us to church,” His grandfather told him. “We’ll be leaving at 9.30am, so make yourself ready before that, service starts at 10.”
Joni wasn’t thrilled of going, he wanted to protest, but quite frankly his grandfather really wasn’t the kind of person he wanted to argue with, he’d only end up losing the fight and besides he really thought it was better trying to behave in front of them, so they would report back to his father that he had been quite good, thus his father had no other choice than to allow him back home, right?
No harm in trying anyway…
“Hello cousin,” Came the whisper next to him and Joni turned in surprise,
“Suvi,” he smiled, keeping his voice low, “where’s that Canadian of yours?” He asked.
“Oh, Adam won’t arrive ‘till tomorrow” She waved her hand, “And how are you? You’ve grown so much; it’s been what, two years?”
“Yes, two and a half year to be correct,” Joni grinned, looking at older cousin. “I missed you,” he confessed, Suvi wrapped her arm around his shoulders and leaned to kiss his cheek.
“Missed you too, Joni..” She looked at him more carefully. “And damn you; you’re taller than me now.” She pouted.
“Ssssh! Quiet in church, the service is about to start.” Their grandmother hissed, looking at them with a frown.
Joni grinned looking back at his cousin.
“I think the last time I was at church was at my confirmation….” He whispered, “I guess I’ve been naughty… and what is your excuse? Where’s the rest of your family?”
“They’re sleeping….” Suvi grinned, the priest signalled everyone to stand up for the first hymn. “You can believe that grandparents have been very disappointed in them… I suppose now I get some extra credit, never mind the fact that I only came to rescue you…. I think God would approve at me though… I…”
“Joni and Suvi, start singing and stop talking,” came their grandmothers annoyed voice.
“Yes Joni…sing; you have such a sweet angelic voice, let us hear it” Suvi teased, Joni had often been made to sing by their grandparents when he had been a child, sure he had very lovely voice but she knew how much Joni had hated it; singing hymns for the towns old ladies who later pinched his cheeks and patted his head, admiring how beautiful child he was.
Joni gave her a glare, but he was more amused than angry, to please his grandmother, he pretended to sing, only moving his lips silently.
“Next time use more voice Joni, I couldn’t hear you,” his grandmother whispered when they seated down.
“My voice is not so lovely anymore,” Joni said quickly, hoping that she would let him out of the hook.
“I want to hear you, next time.”
“Be careful, if you don’t sing here, she might make you do it on Christmas Eve,” Suvi grinned nudging at his side.
“Uh no way, I’d run first.” Joni nodded.
For a moment they listened quietly the sermon,
“You’re invited to stay at our house,” Suvi whispered then, Joni looked at her.
“Yes,” she nodded smiling, “unless of course, you’d rather stay at grandparents?” She ginned.
“No, no, I want to come with you, trust me.”
“Good,” She hooked their arms, “then I can tell you all about my sweet Adam,” She sighed longingly and grinned after.
“Oh I can hardly wait.” Joni snorted, but smiled just the same.
“Hey, you don’t mind terribly if I steal Joni away for at least couple of nights?” Suvi asked their grandparents while they were getting ready to leave the church.
The old woman looked at her husband, then back at Joni.
“Well if you want to go? And promise to be good?” Suvi laughed at this.
“Of course he will be! I’ll watch over him so he won’t have the chance to do anything naughty.”
“Well alright then, you should call your father though and let him know.” She nodded then, Joni rolled his eyes; he truly felt like a fucking 5 year old.
They stopped by to collect his stuff from the house, before driving the short distance to his uncle’s house, where he was warmly welcomed by Suvi’s parents and his other cousins; Nina 15, and Sami 9.
It was definitely better than staying at his grandparents where bedtime was at 9pm, and where he would be woken at 6am, forced to listen to religious hymns and his grandfather’s tales of how things had been a lot better way back when.
After dinner they went to the sauna, sharing a couple of beers after Nina had left them alone.
“So, go ahead, I know you’re dying to tell me about this oh so heavenly Adam.” Joni grinned, she rolled her eyes and giggled.
“Well, he’s 25, a law student and so handsome, tall, kind, funny. Oh I love him so much!” Suvi sighed happily, “he’s sooo different from the guys here, he’s open and you know fun! We met at this coffee house there, I was sitting alone, reading a magazine when he walked up to me and asked if he could join my company… I mean you’d never meet anyone here like that! People have to be drunk to pick up the courage to go talk to a stranger, right?”
“I suppose,” Joni grinned, “so, you’ll move there after your married?” He asked.
“Yes,” Suvi nodded, smiling, “I miss him so much, I haven’t seen him in a month and oh I’m going to drown him with kisses tomorrow!”
“Uh, and I’ll be stuck with Nina, won’t I?” Joni sighed. “You’re too busy cuddling and making out with your man.”
“Did I tell you that Adam is bringing a friend with him?” She asked then smiling.
“Hm, no you didn’t.” Joni shook his head, looking at her with curiosity.
“Oh yes, poor Adam, I think he was scared coming here alone to meet my family.” Suvi snickered, “so he got his friend Chris with him…. And this means, that no matter how much I’d like to just lock myself and Adam in one room, I can’t do that.”
“Oh my God, Suvi, your future husband is a coward!” Joni teased her, which made her shove his arm.
“Oh shut up you, he is not!” She corrected him.
“Are you sure?” He raised his eyebrow.
“Yes! Very.” She nodded, “and you better treat him nice or… I’ll have Chris kick your ass, and don’t think he couldn’t; I heard he does some boxing.” She grinned and Joni shook his head,
“oh great, can’t wait.” He snorted.
“I know you can’t.” She giggled.
They were quiet for awhile.
“Aren’t you scared at all? Leaving everything behind?”
“Yes, but I already spend a year there, made new friends and I like the people, I like Canada, perhaps it’s easier because it’s similar as far as nature is concerned. Of course I’ll miss my family, friends here and I won’t lie and say that it feels easy to just go, but I’m sure it goes alright, I’ll have Adam and his family is very nice, I’ll get along with his mother fabulously, so yeah I’m quite confident.” She nodded again. “And I’ll visit every year, most likely I come back for every summer if it’s possible.”
“I’d like to live in some other country for a short time, but I don’t think I could move permanently, I guess I like our odd little country too much and I guess… I kinda like dad too, sometimes, don’t tell him though.” Joni grinned. Suvi traced her finger on her lips and nodded,
“not a word,” she chuckled. “So what was this talk about some Russian?” She asked then.
Joni sighed, took a sip of his beer.
“It’s a long unhappy tale,”
“and I’m all ears.”
“Well, it’s so stupid; I was stupid, if I tell you I trust you not to tell anyone?” He asked.
“I won’t, you can trust me.” She promised.
“I had this crush to my friends older brother,” Joni shook his head with a faint smile, “it all seems so terribly foolish now and I must admit that I haven’t like to talk about this much,” he touched his bare chest, “I’m afraid that my ego took a quite big hit there,” he glanced at her grinning, somehow to Suvi he had always been able to be honest, even if they hadn’t seen each others in some years, he felt comfortable with her, they understood each other. “I… lost my virginity to him, we were both drunk and I got what I had been asking for really… anyway the story is that he hates me, he thinks that I’m a slut and I tried to use his older brother Ivo to make him jealous, Ivo is 31 and that’s who my father thought I was with. Uh, all the details are exhausting to go through but that’s basically it.” He sighed heavily and took another sip.
“Oh Joni, who ever that guy is must have been a dump ass for letting you go, and most likely is hitting himself on the head for it, you can do a lot better, I mean who wouldn’t want you? If you weren’t my cousin and er… gay… I’d be all over you…Might even forget that Adam exist,” She laughed. “I was joking there, I love Adam, but you know what I mean?” She smiled.
“I know, and thanks for cheering me up, but you do realise that if you ever tell anyone that I’m really this soft inside, I will have to kill you,” he grinned. “I mean I can’t let my carefully created reputation as a cold, heartless bitch go to waist.” He laughed then; Suvi took his hand and squeezed it.
“Don’t worry bitch, your secret is safe with me.” She grinned back.
The next day at noon they arrived together to the airport. Suvi had been talking about Adam so much that Joni had started to feel nauseous of hearing about him.
Anyway, it might be interesting, he thought, trying to find the positive side, it might even be amusing. Nina had already lost her marvels when hearing about the potential single Canadian that would arrive together with her sister’s fiancé. No doubt the girl was already fantasising about double weddings and such, never mind the fact that she was only 15 and the guy would be… what 25? Like Adam?
Part of him also felt sorry for the two men; they were both coming from a bigger city, had they any clue just where they were stepping into? Had they any clue what kind of crazy family they were going to meet? At least someone else beside him might feel miserable and somehow it made him feel better.
“Adam!” Suvi suddenly shrieked next to him, making him jump slightly. She started running towards two men, both tall and brunet, other Joni recognised from the photo Suvi had shown him the night before; he was … well skinnier than his companion; who had long brown hair tied back, piercing blue eyes and broad chest, an arrogant look around him. Adam’s friend was more handsome and for a moment Joni entertained himself at the thought of his cousin running to him instead, the look of horror and disbelief that would in turn form on Adam’s face. And next, when Suvi was indeed greeted warmly by his fiancé, Joni thought another thing that could be fun; him running to the other man, screaming his name and hugging him tightly, perhaps the man would catch a first plane back to Helsinki and then back to Canada, complaining there that Finnish people were crazy and he had been harassed by some overly eager teenager.
Ah it could be funny and had he been drunk he would have done it, but no, he was too tired for craziness, perhaps later? He mused to himself.
After greeting each others, kissing and hugging the two lovebirds were finally able to pull back from each others embrace. Suvi took Adam’s hand walking closer to Joni with him, Adam’s arrogant friend following somewhat lazily.
“Adam, this is my cousin Joni, Joni this is my fiancé.” Suvi introduced them smiling. The man smiled the smile showing in his green eyes as well; the first impression was that he seemed like a kind man.
“Oh you’re THE Joni?” He asked with a chuckle when shaking his hand which made Joni raise his eyebrow and glance at his cousin.
“Oh I didn’t realise I was this famous.” He grinned still looking at her.
Suvi blushed slightly, brushing her shoulder length blond hair behind her ear.
“Well when you have a model in your family…” She smiled innocently, shrugging her shoulders, thinking that it was better to left unmentioned all the other things that she had told about Joni to Adam too.
“And this is my friend Chris,” Adam introduced, the other man walked closer, looking at him with a crooked smile before shaking his hand as well.
“I need a smoke,” Chris told them then, glancing at Suvi.
“Sure, sure, let’s go outside.” She smiled and they began walking towards the car. “Anyway, how was your flight?”
”Boring, only his rant and rave about you kept me awake” Chris answered grinning as he lighted his smoke outside. Suvi giggled then, looking at Adam adoringly, it made Joni roll his eyes. He noticed the man looking at him, giving him a slight smile when their eyes met. Joni gave him a small smile back, unsure how to intrepid it.
Adam sat next to Suvi, while he and Chris were seated on the backseat.
“You live in Helsinki, Joni?” Adam asked glancing towards him.
“Yes,” Joni nodded, Adam was still looking at him as though expecting something, and Joni sighed.
“My dad send me here as a punishment for having what he called; indecent relationship with 31 year old man.” Joni decided to continue, slight grin tucking the corners of his lips, ”I am not certain how long I am forced to serve this punishment, but hopefully I get pardon after Christmas, I am, after all, being falsely accused.” He nodded, looking out from the window, when Adam gave slightly uncertain laughter, one that sounded like he wasn’t sure if it was prober to laugh at it.
Chris leaned against the door slightly looking at the boy with curiosity; the kid was hot, damn hot and the best part: gay. Maybe he wouldn’t have such a boring time as he had originally though, he wondered to himself.
”31? That’s not that bad, your father should panic if you date 41 or 51 but 31 is okay.” He shrugged.
“Yes! Exactly! It’s not THAT bad.” Joni was happy that finally someone agreed with him, well sort of, putting the fact a side that even he had been quite hesitant of the age difference when he had first started flirting with Ivo and when Ivo had started flirting with him. “Besides the man is quite innocent,” he decided to add.
“But his brother isn’t!” Suvi laughed then. “And I have to say I would agree with Joni’s dad if he had really had a relationship with someone over 30, when he’s still only 17!”
“17, really? You look older than that.” Chris smiled at him, knowing that it would be something that the kid would gladly hear and he was right; the kid’s attention was once again at him.
“Thanks,” Joni replied smiling, “I think I do too.” he nodded then.
”And come on girl, since when having older lover is bad? At last guy’s experienced, it’s good for novice and virgins. Many end up traumatic after sex with guy same age!” Chris smirked, noticing that his friend was giving him slightly worried look, probably sensing what he was up to.
“Well, I suppose,” Suvi shrugged staring a head at the slippery road, “But still… We’re talking about 14 years of age difference here, one that is just about to start adulthood and other who is in perfect age for… well, starting a family for instance.” She continued. “If I had children, I think I would freak out too in such a situation… If Joni was older, more mature then I wouldn’t see a problem there.” She nodded.
“Hey! I’m right here!” Joni protested. “And who says I’m not mature?” He asked pouting slightly. Suvi started to laugh.
“I know you and trust me, it isn’t a bad thing if at 17, you act like… well, 17!” She glanced at him through the mirror. “The age difference that I have with Adam; 4 years, that’s still okay.” She smiled.
“I don’t understand why you’re now defending my dad when yesterday-“ Joni protested.
Again Suvi looked at her cousin.
“I’m not defending anyone; I just said that I understand him.”Chris still looked at the boy; he could see that he was pissed off, he was at that age, tender age when hormones were flowing and even the most simple things… He smiled to himself looking out from the window; yes his stay could prove rather interesting…
Web published: July 31st, 2008.
My Secret Shore