It wasn’t often that he got an invitation to the visitor’s room and when it happened Chris knew whom he could expect, the possibilities were limited after all. When he walked into the room and saw Aki, he couldn’t help but to feel a small stab of disappointment in his chest, although he knew that he couldn’t have expected to see the one that he most longed for. Dreams were the worst, the previous night he had walked these same steps with disbelieve, felt deceitful joy when the visitor across the table had been Joni. And in his dream Joni had smiled at him like had once before. ”I’ll wait for you,” his ex had promised. ”You’ll get out soon.”
Soon, a couple of months; time was relative, but the days that he still had left in prison felt depressingly long. On the other hand, the reality that he would return to, didn’t feel all that appealing either, he had lost so much. Aki grinned when Chis sat down and he managed to return some sort of smile back to him.
”How have you been?” Aki asked.
”One boring day at a time.” Chris sighed and gazed at the other with thoughtful mien. He hadn’t heard from Aki for a few weeks although normally he had kept contact quite regularly after his release and had gone through surprisingly much trouble to get closer to Joni. During this silence Chris had felt doubt raising its head; could he trust Aki? What were his motives in the end?
”I have news.” Aki said after a moment of silence. ”I saw your ex a couple of weeks ago, we were dining at one restaurant.” When Chris cocked his eyebrow, Aki chuckled. ”I managed to bring Eva at the same place where I knew Joni was at with that Ruskie’s little brother.” He clarified. ”We sat at the same table and I found out something… I don’t think you’re going to like this.” Chris was quiet and observed the other. He thought he sensed a grin behind his gaze; an emotion that he perhaps tried to disguise as something else but Chris assumed that in reality Aki was anxiously waiting to tell him the news with reasons that he wasn’t entirely certain.
”Go on.” He finally urged.
”Joni is engaged, they’re looking for an apartment together.” Aki whispered. Chris felt a twinge in his chest, his eyes stung and his temples ached. The foreign language around them turned to blur and for a moment it felt almost as if he would have forgotten how to breathe. Chris looked away, but could feel Aki’s gaze burning on his skin and he could have sworn that he saw a passing smile crossing the others lips. His chest felt heavy, his palms curled into fists; bitterness, grief, anger and hatred intertwined and formed a painful lump inside him. It was difficult to reach a clear thought. He looked back at Aki who tried to give him a sympathetic look. ”You’ll get out soon, then you’ll have your revenge.” The other said.
Why was Aki willing to go through this much trouble? A small voice questioned in his mind and Chris couldn’t find a solid answer.
After his visit Aki returned home and got a bottle of beer from the fridge. Eva had tried to call him, but he didn’t feel like calling her back just then. This role of a boyfriend exhausted him; he didn’t feel like playing the part anymore. Relationships in general were exhausting; he could deal with them as long as they remained shallow. Aki preferred to keep his privacy, but it was starting to prove difficult. Eva had started asking when she would meet his friends and the truth was that he didn’t really have friends, at the time Chris might be close to that term. Aki had acquaintances, nothing more. He wasn’t interested in making friends, never had been in truth. He was good with people when he wanted, but at times his boredom or in contrast a specific interest in something lead to distraction which was about to happen to him again.
On the other hand, perhaps he didn’t really need Eva anymore? Perhaps he had already gotten everything he could benefit from her? He was still Jami’s customer and perhaps that was all he needed. If he continued seeing Eva, she could get too close and find out his past. Then he would have to deal with her in a way that might complicate his other plans.
Aki sat in front of his computer. He opened the page that he had created for Joni, a fan page that he held under a false identity. He hadn’t planned to go this deep, but his interest had grown little by little. It was a peculiar coincidence, too good to miss.
The small little boy, from years ago, had woken a spark of interest, spark that had slowly faded with time until fate had brought Chris to him. And now the little boy had grown and how he had grown; beautiful like had predicted, more enchanting than any other man he had seen. And Chris, who also fascinated him in a different way… Aki desperately wanted to witness the reunion of the two; he wanted to be a part of it.
The last time that he had grown this interested of a project, had lead him to jail. He had gotten caught for a mistake he had made on the way to reach a bigger goal. If they had known his plan, perhaps he would have gotten a longer sentence. He had learned his lesson; he wouldn’t get caught this time. He knew he hadn’t really made an impression on Joni and for a while he had kicked himself for acting stupidly but perhaps he didn’t need Joni’s trust. He wanted to succeed this time without getting caught. He also knew the great risk of failing completely; it was a dangerous game and the danger made it worth while playing.
”Has the love already died?” Kasper asked looking at his friend who had just ended an unanswered call, looking frustrated.
”What love?” Eva sighed.
”The wonderful Aki”, Kasper grinned. ”Your boyfriend in case you forgot?”
”I don’t love him.” She replied. ”And the affection seems already fading…” She added and gave a thoughtful look to her friend who sat in front of the computer.
”What’s the matter? Just days ago you seemed to be crazy for him.” Kasper wondered.
”Yes… Perhaps I wanted to feel that way, perhaps at first I did because I thought he was different.” Eva said and Kasper gave her a questioning look.
”At times… There is something in him…” She stopped for a moment. ”Something odd and conflicting… I feel like I can’t get closer… And now he’s not answering my calls so…” Eva spread her arms in a frustrated gesture. ”And the sex…” She started and Kasper looked at her with curiosity. ”Well, lets just say that it hasn’t been worth the wait.”
”Leave him.” Kasper nodded. He thought he had sensed something off about the guy as well, something he couldn’t really put his finger into, but something that troubled him. He brought his attention back to the Word document where he had tried to put song lyrics together.
”There are good sides to him of course,” Eva defended. ”But lately…” She shrugged her shoulders lightly. ”I don’t know, something odd.” She decided and got up from the couch quietly walking behind her friend to read what he had written.
”Oh my god, you’re not writing about Joni, are you?”
”Hey, you can’t read a work in process!” Kasper snapped feeling somewhat embarrassed before closing the window.
”Are you still pining after him?” Eva sighed. Kasper didn’t answer; he opened his facebook account and started reading the updates.
”I see that Dima is back on your friend list.” He said. ”So who is pining after whom?”
”Yes and Joni is in your friends.” Eva sneered and was quiet for a moment. ”Alright, fine, we are both hopeless. I admit that Dima was the best boyfriend I ever had and I miss him. Sex was great… It was beautiful…”
Kasper turned on his seat. ”And I’m pathetic,” he sighed. ”I’m not stupid, I know that Joni will never be my boyfriend and still I can’t stop thinking about him … Some foolish part of me dreams things that can’t be… It was so much easier to think that he was an asshole, I almost wish that he wouldn’t have come and talk to me, that he wouldn’t have said he was sorry, then I could have kept believing that he was not worthy of my feelings.” Kasper gave a helpless look to his friend. ”You on the other hand could have hope with Dima.
”Kasper, we’re both hopeless.” Eva smiled slightly. ”Dima is engaged.” She said and kept a small pause. ”I still think Joni is arrogant. He used you.”
”I think… the using part was mutual, just different ways.” Kasper said quietly. ”And he can be strong in his opinions. He looks great, he knows it, but it just comes out differently than before… He’s changed Eva, he is much more softer, kinder, much more … appealing… I’m not as innocent as you think, please just stop blaming Joni, okay?”
Eva was quiet for a moment before nodding. ”It may be difficult for me to change my view on Joni, but perhaps if I did… Perhaps…” Eva paused for a moment and chuckled. ”He is Dima’s best friend… So I guess there has to be something tolerable in him and even… dare I say it; pleasant.”
Kasper smiled. ”You might both be surprised by each other, if only you’d give the chance for it. And if we are being honest, it was very shitty way to leave Dima….”
Eva sighed. ”I know.” She nodded. ”Why don’t we just go out for a drink or two? I could really use something else to think beside Aki and Dima…” She eyed Kasper before adding with a grin. ”And it sounds like you could use a new obsession.”
”One can always try.” Kasper agreed.
Adam flew to Oulu two days after Joni had arrived with Suvi. Before Adam got there, they had time to spend by themselves when Suvi’s parents gladly spend time with their grandson. Together they memorised their childhood summers, sauna bathed and went swimming and one night at a local karaoke bar. Suvi managed to incite Joni to sing; naturally she also thought it appropriate to send the video of it to Misha.
They had fun together and Suvi seemed to relax. When Adam arrived they took him to the same shabby karaoke bar and Adam sang an out of tune serenade to his wife, which seemed to move her. Joni felt relieved once the couple had made up. They talked about the job offer that Adam had received, which would mean moving to the state of New York and better salary. Adam hesitated because of his friends and family, not just because of Chris like Suvi had feared. They both also hesitated because of their son. Canada seemed more secure environment to raise a child. On the other hand they both felt that a change of scenery might be exciting and Adam concluded that this wouldn’t have to be a permanent solution. Joni had to be careful not to influence on their decision because he couldn’t really deny that he would much rather and possibly more often, visit them if they would live in a different city and on top of that, different country than Chris.
One night of his visit Joni spend with his grandparents, they knew of his engagement but didn’t bring the subject up. There were couple of times that Joni caught his grandfather staring at his ring with a displeased and almost mournful expression but he didn’t voice what he felt. All in all, the situation was pretty good, better than what he had expected. His grandparents accepted him quietly; they didn’t joy over his relationship but had resigned from passing their judgement out loud. They could have told him that he wasn’t welcomed in their home, but instead they did welcome him. Would it have been the same case if Misha had been with him, Joni wasn’t sure.
Pretty soon after Joni’s return they went to see one apartment overview with Misha. The apartment was situated pretty close to their current home and they both loved it. The neighbourhood was peaceful, there were good jogging grounds, close to nature yet at the same there was good public transport nearby and not too far from town centre. There was two bedrooms, the other they could use as a study room combined as a guest room.
They decided to think about making an offer for a few days. The apartment was only a couple of years old and they could move quickly after the possible deal. The possibility of a quick move particularly interested Misha because their current living arrangement with Ivo and Jami was beginning to get on his nerves. Jami, as nice as he was, could sometimes go too far with his want to arrange things and Misha didn’t appreciate the way his coffee cup kept disappearing from where he had left it when Jami wanted to put the dishwasher on.
”Let’s make an offer,” Misha said when they sat at one pub the next day after they had seen the apartment. Joni looked at him, brushing his finger gently over the frosty surface of his pint. He had a thoughtful smile over his lips. ”I liked the place, you liked it… it’s just what we have been looking for… I’m sure we could easily rent it if we wanted to go some place else for a longer period.” Misha smiled looking in Joni’s eyes, he knew that the younger man hadn’t completely given up on his dream to move abroad for some time and the thought of buying a house had started to terrify him. ”It would be a good investment for our first home.” Misha added. ”What do you think?”
Joni chuckled quietly, moved his hand across the table to lightly touch Misha’s hand with his fingertips. ”A joint mortgage… It’s almost a bigger commitment than marriage.” He whispered smiling. ”Okay, lets call the real estate agent tomorrow.”
”How about now?” Misha grinned suggestively.
”I think we can wait till tomorrow morning, I doubt that decisions are made on a Friday night.” Joni chuckled.
”I don’t know, we could have competition, he could be making his offer right on this minute.” Misha said and took a sip of his glass.
”So, what would we offer?” Joni asked tilting his head.
”Five per cent off from the asking price?” Misha suggested and again Joni was quiet, calculating in his mind. The apartment was new so there might not be much room for haggling.
”Call the agent and ask if we can come and see the apartment again tomorrow? We could ask Ivo and my dad to come with us and then make an offer. It’s a lot of money after all and I don’t think it’s wise to make a rushed decision.” He finally answered and Misha gave him a look of half surprise and half amusement before he chuckled.
”Alright, you are right and I am amazed that you can be more rational with this than I can.” Misha said tilting his head. Joni grinned and rubbed his feet against Misha’s leg under the table.
”You’re just in a rush…” He said suggestively. ”You can’t wait…”
Misha cleared his throat and leaned over the table closer to his partner. ”I can’t deny… Little privacy wouldn’t hurt… And we would have all those rooms to ourselves and each of them need to be officially baptised…” He whispered huskily while the different possibilities, hot images ran through his mind.
”And what you promised… I wonder are you ready for it?” Joni asked with a cunning smile and for a while Misha felt confused.
”Ready?” He asked confusedly and Joni chuckled with disbelieving amusement.
”You can’t have forgotten?” He said looking at his fiancé who still gazed at him stupidly. ”Or… you are pretending to have forgotten…” Joni tilted his head. ”Cherry.” And finally it dawned on Misha, he frowned, seemed somewhat abashed, lost with words and Joni could easily read from his expression that the thought didn’t exactly please him.
”Yeah…” Misha said slowly and took another sip from his beer. ”Lets just wait and see if we even get the apartment.” Joni raised his eyebrow watching Misha.
”Is the thought really that repulsing to you?” He asked finally. ”I’m not going to pressure you.” He added and Misha thought about his answer.
”It’s not repulsing, it’s just…” Misha looked in Joni’s eyes and then down to his glass. ”We can talk about it later. I’m not backing down on my promise.” He decided.
”Doesn’t that sound sexy,” Joni snorted. ”Look, I don’t want this to be like some…” He took a small pause to think. ”…Sacramental gift.” He concluded. ”Either you want it or you don’t.”
Misha cocked his brow. ”And there is no in between? Can’t a person just be…” This time Misha took a pause. ”Insecure? … Sort of curious but insecure.”
Joni looked at him for a moment before he sighed with a smile. ”It doesn’t have to happen as soon as we move…” He smiled and touched Misha’s hand. ”I might try to tempt you, but I won’t pressure.” He grinned.
”You can always tempt me…” Misha nodded. ”I might be persuaded… Just make sure I’ll have a couple of beers first.” He winked.
”I’ll keep that in mind.”
When they went to see the apartment the next day with Ivo and Joni’s dad they made the final decision to make an offer. The offer was met with a counter offer, which they accepted. They could move after just one week. It felt amazing, they were both excited and terrified at the same time, luckily the excitement was more powerful.
When they finally got the keys after closing the deal, they decided to move some of their stuff straight away so that they could spend the first night in their new home. They would get a moving van the next weekend and couldn’t take any of the bigger furniture with them straight away. Misha borrowed an air mattress from his friend and they also took Joni’s laptop so that they could watch movies from it. They also took candles, curtains, coffee maker, food and sparkling wine. Ivo watched as they were packing, feeling somewhat melancholy about their leaving.
”Be careful not to disturb your neighbours too much,” Ivo grinned as the couple were packing snacks in the kitchen. When Misha glanced at his brother he continued. ”I bet there will be a nice echo with this little furniture.” Misha rolled his eyes.
”We’ll be quiet,” Joni grinned. ”We’ve been practising.”
”Yes… just the even creaking sound from upstairs…” Ivo teased referring to the bed that they planned to change once they moved. ”I’m almost going to miss it.” He continued while helping them carry their stuff into the car.
”Perv.” Misha retorted.
”And proud of it.” Ivo nodded and lowered the bag he had carried into the trunk. ”Okay, have fun you two!” He said and stayed outside to watch them leaving. He waved when the car drove out from the driveway, sighed deeply and put his hands in his pockets. He turned to the house looking at it for a while, smiling faintly at the memories that rushed in his mind. Their parents had died so suddenly; he had been in his twenties, single and in his own apartment and just like that his life had made a complete turn. Sure it had been rough at times with two teenagers, but in the end… Mostly the memories were good. He had felt melancholy when Dima had left and Misha had been sulking a lot back then. Joni’s move had cheered up the mood, Jami’s as well…. But now there would be just him and Jami and everything would change once more. Ivo had to admit that he felt little nervous.
He walked back inside; Jami sat in the living room watching TV and turned his head when Ivo stepped into the room. Jami smiled slightly and Ivo returned the smile unsure why the situation suddenly oppressed him. Now when they would be living by themselves, their relationship would somehow turn more real, it wouldn’t be just a happy commune anymore.
Joni lowered the first box onto the living room floor and moved to the window to gaze the park view from the window. Misha walked behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist; a soft kiss was planted on his neck, Joni smiled.
”Well, brat, we’re home.” Misha said and sighed contently. ”Welcome peace, welcome privacy.” Joni chuckled and tapped Misha’s hand before turning.
”Are you sure about that peace?” Joni asked.
”No.” Misha admitted. ”With you I can’t really expect a peaceful life…” He grinned. ”But it’s nice being alone with you, in our home.” Joni reached to kiss Misha and when they stopped for a moment to look at each other he thought how funny it was that they had ended up like this. Moving in together… everything felt so different then it had with Chris. He didn’t hear any voice of doubt in his mind; instead he felt convinced that this was right.
Misha grinned and slapped his bottom. ”Well let’s build ourselves a nest and pop the bottle of sparkling open.” He said and Joni nodded.
”I’ll go and turn the fridge on so that we can move the food there.”
Misha nodded and started filling the air mattress, which was luckily easy with an electric pump. They had ordered a new bed the previous week, but it would take a month to arrive and that time they would have to make use of the mattress. Misha had pointed out that they could have gotten a bed from Ikea straight away but Joni had already set his mind to a more expensive bed from a store that specialised into selling them. Misha had given in, Joni had an expensive taste and that had been clear to him from the start.
Later, drunk from the sparkling wine, naked and wrapped around each other, they painted pictures of the future. They planned where each piece of furniture would be placed, which would be their bedroom. They spoke in whispers, Ivo had been right, the echo in the almost bare apartment was good and they didn’t want to upset their new neighbours so early on.
Joni studied Misha’s body with his hands, stroking the sensitive skin of his inner thighs, slowly coming closer to his opening and Misha watched him in the darkness, parting his thighs little more and allowing his partners curiosity.
”Only a small expedition,” Joni whispered smiling and planted a kiss on Misha’s stomach before moving lower. Misha sighed, although they had already had sex he felt himself hardening again while Joni’s lips gently fondled his balls and his finger teased his opening.
Misha bit his lip when Joni moisturized his finger and moved it carefully inside him while distracting him by taking his organ between his lips. It felt good, it wasn’t the first time that Joni’s finger had tried him and it had never been unpleasant. He knew Joni wanted more but he wasn’t ready to surrender completely. He allowed Joni’s expedition while trying to seduce himself into the idea of giving in completely… Part of him still wanted desperately to take the control back, make some gesture to signal that he called the shots, but he managed to stay relaxed and enjoy the oral sex that Joni offered him while getting bolder with his fingers. Misha had to admit that even two fingers didn’t feel displeasing, on the contrary. He had to have more time to progress the idea; in the mean time he had nothing against Joni’s attempts to seduce him to it.
”So, when are you having the house warming party?” Jami asked. Two weeks had passed since their move. Jami had joined Joni for a shopping trip and they had stopped for lunch, sitting out on a terrace enjoying the last warm days of the fall. Joni had ice water and salad while Jami had beer and pizza.
”I guess in a few weeks, we’ll let you know soon. Galina is coming for a visit but she didn’t know her work schedule yet so we’ll wait until she does and throw the party the same weekend.” Joni said. ”I don’t remember if I told you, but I signed up for a gym instructor course that starts next weekend.” He smiled.
”Where is that?” Jami asked.
”Lohja, it’s from Friday to Sunday and the next weekend is on October. You see, I changed my mind and decided to ably to school next spring. I’m not sure yet what it is that I want to do exactly so I try this course first. Perhaps if I like it, I can continue to personal trainer course.”
”Okay, well perhaps you could plan a gym program for me… Although the greater challenge might be to get me excited to train at a gym.” Jami smiled taking a sip of his beer watching as Joni ate his healthy salad. ”You make me feel like a lousy person.”
”Come on, don’t stress.” Joni said. ”I have photo-shoots next week, I have to avoid everything that might make me bloated. That pizza looks delicious.”
”I wouldn’t be cut out for that,” Jami nodded. ”Plus I’m too short.” He grinned. ”But… speaking of which… I have this idea that I’ve been cooking… I’m leaving my current work place, everything is still on the starting pit, but I’m setting up a salon with my co-worker and…”
”Oh, that sounds exciting!” Joni interrupted and Jami nodded smiling.
”I am excited…. She tried to talk me into this for months… Now I started feeling like I could use something new in my life and yesterday I told her that I accept. I plan to terminate my current contract on Monday. Susa already has a place in mind… I’ll go and check it out with her tomorrow… Anyway back to the idea: a hair fashion show to get new customers. I know an owner of one gay club and I plan to ask him if we could arrange it there and since you have modelling experience…” Jami gave Joni a hopeful look. ”Could you be one of our models? I would cut your hair for free for an entire year.”
”Sure, as long as you won’t do anything funny to my hair, no green or anything like that.” Joni grinned.
”I promise!” Jami swore and smiled enthusiastically. ”There is so much to do, this is so exciting! I will let you know the date in good time and if you could ask Misha as well?”
”I can try.” Joni promised although he knew it would be difficult to convince Misha. He wasn’t the kind who enjoyed parading on stage. ”I know some photographers if you need pictures as well? And I can ask some models I know if they would like to come as well?”
”We are trying to make this happen with as low budget as we can. But with that in mind ask, it would be great.”
”Have you been looking for a new home with Ivo?” Joni asked after a moment of silence and Jami shook his head.
”The real-estate agent gave us an estimate price and the first open house is next week, but every time that I ask when are we going to see apartments, Ivo says he’s too busy with work…” Jami shrugged and took another sip. Ivo had been acting peculiar after Joni’s and Misha’s move, somehow distant and it worried him. Maybe Ivo didn’t want to live with him anymore? Perhaps this situation at home had made him accept his co-workers idea of their own business, to distract his thoughts.
”I’m sure it will ease up soon,” Joni comforted. ”At least when the first offer comes, I’m sure Ivo will want to see new places then.” He grinned.
”Yeah, or then we’ll move in your guestroom.” Jami said teasingly. ”I’m sure Misha would love that.”
”Sure he would,” Joni chuckled. ”But seriously, of course you are welcomed to stay with us for a sort period of time if you need to.”
”Note on the word: short.” Jami grinned. ”Don’t worry, we’ll get this sorted out.”
They had their house warming at the end of September when Galina came over for one weeks visit. Joni had at first thought that the woman would only stay for a few days and tried not to show displeased when the truth revealed. Not that he wouldn’t have liked the woman but entertaining a guest for a whole week could be exhausting and Joni didn’t know her that well yet.
Galina seemed to love fashion almost as much as he, although she didn’t have a lot of money she didn’t skimp on clothes. Suddenly their bathroom was filled with her feminine products and Misha laughed that Joni had met his better. Galina was a great help though in arranging the party, she gladly prepared the snacks, cleaned and decorated the apartment after which she used good couple of hours making herself look nice, breaking Joni’s record.
Ivo and Jami were the first guests to arrive. Ivo brought a bottle of vodka and Jami the traditional loaf of rye bread and salt. ”Good luck to your new home!” Ivo grinned and hugged Joni first before tapping his brother’s shoulder. ”Looks nice…” He said walking towards the living room while Jami still took off his jacket.
”Hi Ivo,” Galina greeted the man. ”Welcome drink?” She asked and Ivo looked at her amazed. He hadn’t seen her in a long time and she had really matured, she was gorgeous. Galina held a tray with drink glasses that had pink liquid in them.
”Well, I rarely say no to drink.” Ivo grinned and took a glass while staring into Galina’s eyes. ”You look gorgeous.” He complimented her receiving a dazzling smile.
”Thank you and same to you.”
Jami stepped into the room and couldn’t help but to notice how Ivo devoured Galina’s body with his eyes. The woman was annoyingly beautiful, tall and slim, with gorgeous hair and suddenly Jami felt insecure. The woman turned her eyes on him and offered a drink.
”Galina, this is Jami,” Ivo introduced in English. ”Galina is Misha’s former girlfriend.” Ivo grinned and Jami smiled with surprise.
”Misha’s short-lived hetero experience and long time friend.” Galina chuckled and lowered the tray on the table when Joni and Misha stepped into the room. Soon the doorbell rang again.
”I’ll go and open.” Joni said.
Galina also attracted attention of other guests, Joni’s cousin Jyri among them. He admired the woman quite openly and tried to have a conversation with her a couple of times but his attempts fell quite short because of his poor English skill. ”Damn, I should have paid more attention in school,” he cursed to Joni during the evening and settled on admiring her from afar.
”So, did you finish that personal trainer course already?” Jyri asked.
”No, I would have been super fast if I had.” Joni smiled. ”I went to a gym trainer course, it continues in a couple of weeks and then we have a test. Then I should plan programs for at least a couple of people and then… At spring I plan to go further.”
”You can plan a program for me.” Jyri nodded and Joni watched his cousin’s well-trained arms with a smile.
”You don’t look like you’d need any help, this course prepares me to help beginners mostly.”
”Well, for practise, couldn’t hurt, right?” Jyri said. ”Look, you should talk to Eljas. He’s starting out in gym business with his brother… Now since you’re heading to that trait as well you could help each other.”
”Eljas?” Joni smiled.
”Yeah, you had a crush on him when you were little.” Jyri grinned.
”God, was it that obvious?” Joni chuckled.
”Well….” Jyri shrugged still grinning and brought a beer bottle to his lips. ”There wasn’t anything wrong about it, it was cute.”
”Did Eljas know as well?” Joni asked and Jyri chuckled with a nod.
”Well not exactly at the time, but he guessed it later when he heard that you are indeed gay.” Jyri answered and glanced at his cousin. ”Are you blushing?” He teased and Joni chuckled feeling little awkward. ”Eljas was only flattered.” Jyri assured. ”But seriously come and see me one day, I’ll invite him over as well and you can talk… Or we can go out for a beer one day?”
”Maybe… Lets see… Everything is still only at the beginning for me.”
”Well…They are only starting out as well and if you aim for that career you need experience and lets face it; these days you need connections when it comes to work.”
”You are right.” Joni nodded. He heard Ivo’s loud burst of laughter and glanced towards him. Ivo sat next to Galina engaged in a conversation with her, Galina smiled, swept her hair behind her ear and leaned closer to Ivo; their body language told a lot. Joni glanced at Jami who sat little farther away from Ivo, next to Sonja, casting jealous glances to Ivo. Misha who talked to his friends on the opposite side of the room also glanced towards his brother from time to time, until he found Joni’s gaze and smiled slightly.
”I’m sorry, I’ll go and get a new drink. ” Joni said when he saw Jami leaving to the kitchen with Sonja.
”Calm down, they are only talking…” Joni heard Sonja saying and Jami snorted cynically.
”They’re flirting with each other and I can’t stand watching it…”
Joni stepped into the room. Jami and Sonja sat in front of the table and Jami twirled a beer bottle in his hands nervously before lifting his gaze up to Joni. ”Galina is single, right?” He asked and Joni nodded taking a seat next to Sonja, opposite to Jami. ”I knew it,” Jami said hoarsely staring at the bottle between his hands. ”It was bound to happen sooner or later, it always does when one starts dating a bisexual…” He murmured.
”What happens?” Joni cocked his brow. ”They are just talking, Jami. Nothing else has happened.”
”Yet.” Jami said. ”Give me a break Joni! Look, I’m not blind! They are flirting… Ivo hasn’t paid any attention to me throughout the evening… I can’t even understand what they are talking about, but I can see….” Jami’s voice broke, his lower lip quivered and shakily he took another sip of his bottle. Sonja gave a helpless look to Joni.
”Ivo loves you.” Sonja tried, but Jami continued glooming.
”So perhaps they are flirting, it doesn’t mean anything. Ivo wouldn’t hurt you.” Joni said finally and Jami gave him a hurt look.
”Oh it doesn’t mean anything? If Misha was out there flirting with someone else, treating you like air, you definitely wouldn’t take it lightly!” Jami snapped. ”It’s easy for you to say… Misha worships the ground you walk on… When Ivo…” Jami swallowed his lower lip quivered once more. ”There was a time when I wondered, which would be better… To be the one who loves more in a relationship or the one who loves less… Now I know… when you love more, you hurt more…” Jami could be a bit dramatic at times, especially after drinking and it seemed that he had drank quite plenty by then. Joni wasn’t sure what to say, he gave Sonja an expecting look, weren’t women supposed to be better in these situations?
”Jami, please honey, Ivo does love you, so much! I love you!” Sonja nodded, seeming as drunk as her friend. ”And don’t you care about that woman, she can just take those skinny legs of her back to Russia! Trying to seduce men who are taken, men who are gay and taken! Screw her… You are much more sexy, much more desirable!” Sonja nodded firmly and took Jami’s hand between hers. Jami looked at her looking somewhat moved and Joni still felt awkward. What could he say really? Should he fetch Ivo?”
”Here you are,” Ivo’s voice suddenly said and Joni turned to look towards the man, feeling relieved.
”I’m surprised you noticed that I was gone…” Jami muttered.
”What’s the matter now?” Ivo asked sounding genuinely clueless.
”Like you wouldn’t know,” Jami snorted and Joni got up.
”Sonja, let’s go back to the living room?” He suggested and the woman nodded following him out from the kitchen.
”Now that bitch is trying to seduce your man…” Sonja whispered when they saw Galina talking with Misha.
”They are friends.” Joni sighed. Although Sonja was lovely most of the time, when she was drunk she could be foolish in a way that sometimes annoyed him. Joni walked to Misha Sonja in his tow. ”Dima and Linda still haven’t arrived?” Joni asked after getting close.
”Dima called, he’s running late and is coming alone.” Misha replied wrapping his arm around Joni’s shoulders.
”Again?” Joni sighed. The sudden relationship troubles around them seemed odd when they happened at the same time. Almost as if sensing his worry, Misha leaned closer and planted a kiss on his forehead. ”The tables have turned, I gave Ivo an earful over his behaviour to Jami.” Misha whispered and Joni smiled looking up at him.
”Good, it was beginning to get a little icy in the kitchen.”
Ivo and Jami seemed to have talked things over and made up and the rest of the night they spend in each other’s company although Joni couldn’t help but to notice the small glances that Galina and Ivo exchanged with each other. Perhaps there was a small crush between them? Joni only hoped that it would remain only as a crush.
Dima arrived late and Joni sensed some tension in his friend. ”Where’s Linda?” Joni asked as Dima put his drinks in the fridge. Dima shrugged at his question.
”Work I guess,” he replied.
”Yeah, work or hobbies or her friends…Where ever.” Dima sighed and opened a beer can. ”But look, I’m too tired to care. It shouldn’t be this damn difficult.” He said and took a sip. ”I don’t know what the hell it is that women want… We talked about marriage and kids and suddenly she tells me that she’s not sure if she ever wants to be a mom after all. The world is such a shitty place she says.”
”Okay…” Joni said slowly and decided to take a beer as well before sitting down with Dima.
”I know I want to be a dad one day… This world can’t be that shitty and someone has to make those who build a better future!” Dima said firmly and Joni thought that he might have had a couple of drinks before arriving.
”Linda could still change her mind.” Joni tried.
”Yes,” Dima admitted. ”Lately she’s changed her mind often. She’s changed Joni and I’m just tired of the constant mood shifts. I can’t wait forever to see what she ends up deciding. Linda flashed an idea to take a break, she said it might be good for us both to be single for a while; still she’d like to keep me hanging! I don’t know, maybe she has some bloody twenties crisis, as ridiculous as it sounds!”
” I’m sorry…” Joni said when he didn’t know what else he could say. Dima looked at him and smiled miserably.
”At times I wonder if there is something wrong with me…” Dima sighed. ”I only want a steady relationship, good job and a family, normal life. Where could I find a girl who wants the same?”
”Dima, there’s nothing wrong with you!” Joni sighed. ”You deserve better.”
”Perhaps I shouldn’t be so nice or something…” Dima pondered.
”No, you should be just as you are.” Joni said firmly.
”Well, could you have imagined dating me if I would be gay?” Dima asked and confirmed Joni’s suspicion that Dima had already drank before arriving. He took a moment’s pause to think about his answer.
”I saw you as a friend straight away,” Joni answered. ”It’s hard for me to imagine anything else.”
”Because I’m too nice.” Dima nodded.
”True, you are kind and I like you tremendously. But your question is little funny, at the same time I could ask that if I was a girl, with the same personality, would you want to date me?” Joni tilted his head and Dima was quiet for a moment until he started laughing.
”Oh lord, I tried to picture you as a woman, you are right… I wouldn’t have a chance to survive with someone like you in a relationship.”
”Because I would be a total bitch and could always get my will with you…” Joni joked happy that he had made his friend laugh. ”I would be super pretty though…” He flashed his eyelashes.
”Yes, and I’m sure that I would have tried to get some…” Dima chuckled.
”And I’m sure I would have given some,” Joni winked. ”Okay, this conversation officially turned disturbing.” He decided. ”We are good friends Dima, when I need someone who can stand up to me, can be a little mean too at times, in a gentle way… You know I get impossible if I always get my will… And you need someone who is equally kind as you… You’ll find her.”
”Yeah, I guess I have to lick my wounds for a while… We haven’t yet broken up with Linda, but it seems inevitable.” Dima sighed.
”Well if it gets difficult, we have a room free… Well, it should be free in a week at least.” Joni said. ”Cheer up.”
”Do you think there might be something between Galina and Ivo?” Joni asked later as they lay together in bed with Misha. Misha stroked Joni’s arm slowly.
”Could be,” Misha admitted and turned on his side facing Joni. ”Jami is Ivo’s longest relationship, I’m surprised it’s lasted this long.”
”Do you believe that they might break up sooner or later?” Joni frowned. ”I think they are good for each other. Ivo loves Jami.”
”Perhaps so…” Misha said. ”I think they are… Somewhat peculiar couple in the end.”
”How so?” Joni wondered.
”Well, Ivo’s always been little careless, generous, free… And Jami, although he is nice, he’s also quite squeamish, like with cleaning and other stuff… Seems easily offended… If he doesn’t relax a little, I think Ivo’s patience will run out. In the end Ivo likes to come and go as he pleases, not asking permission from anyone.”
”But Ivo has always been so… caring and…” Joni took a small pause. ”Sensible in certain things.” Ivo represented something secure to him, someone he could always count on. Misha smiled.
”Are those really the only sides of him you’ve seen?” He asked amusedly.
”No,” Joni admitted.
”At times Ivo can be anything but sensible,” Misha assured. ”Ivo has always liked you…” Sometimes Misha wondered if something would have developed between Ivo and Joni if he hadn’t been there.
”What do you mean?” Joni asked.
”What I said and because Ivo has always stood up to you, you only want to see the good in him.” Joni sat up in confusion.
”And what does that mean?” He asked. Misha brought his hand above his head looking up at Joni.
”Ivo might not be the most loyal partner.” He said calmly.
”You mean he’s cheated on Jami?” Joni asked with slight shock.
”I don’t know…” Misha sighed. ”But it wouldn’t surprise me.” Joni was quiet; the thought was disturbing because Jami had become a good friend to him as well. ”Hey, it’s their relationship, it’s useless for us to speculate.” Misha said touching Joni’s arm.
”Dima and Linda are on the verge of breaking up as well, isn’t anything to be counted on anymore?” Joni sighed.
”Yes, you can count on me.” Misha grinned and pulled Joni on top of him. He moved his hands down on Joni’s back to his buttocks and squeezed. ”I can count on your firm buttocks…” He continued, planting a kiss on his neck. ”That you can always make me hard…” Misha added grinning and Joni chuckled quietly. ”I will want you always, many times a day at times…” He murmured and pulled Joni’s pants down. ”That will never change, even when we’re old and wrinkled I still want to do profanities with you…” He continued sliding his finger between Joni’s buttocks.
”Promise?” Joni sighed.
”I promise.” Misha assured.
A/N: Please review 🙂
Web published: December 7th, 2014.
My Secret Shore