That evening they were getting ready to leave the hotel. Joni still wasn’t sure if he had completely forgiven Chris about the whole incident regarding the unused condom, after all they had known each other for such a little time that it wasn’t easy for him to completely trust the man’s word and now he had to get tested AGAIN.
But when Chris sat on the bed that evening, dressed neatly and looking nervous, it made him warm up slightly; he had agreed to come meet his family. If it had been just about the sex, if he had just used him then he wouldn’t be there now, he wouldn’t have agreed.
“You look nervous,” Joni pointed out, smiling through the mirror while fixing his hair.
“He’s going to kill me, isn’t he?” Chris asked, giving a crooked smile back, but his eyes still betrayed some true worry.
Joni turned and walked towards him until he stood in front of him, his hands lowering on his shoulders.
“Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.” He grinned; Chris looked up at him, with a somewhat amused expression, before pulling him down to sit on his lap.
“Will you now?” his hand brushed his cheek softly.
“Yes… He has to behave if he wants me to stay, he has no options…. He’s just overprotective.”
“He sounds like a maniac when you talk about him.” Chris pointed out making Joni laugh.
“He’s not always that bad, he has his moments.” Joni smiled and got up to finish making himself ready.
“And your stepmother, how do you get along with her?” Chris asked, looking at Joni.
“Hm… it’s… complicated…” Joni sighed, “… for a long time it was tense between us, I guess if I look at the whole situation honestly…I…” Joni hesitated and glanced at Chris. “I didn’t want to give her a chance, you know I guess I was afraid somehow that she would take away my mom’s memory, wipe away everything as though she never existed; I know it sounds silly now… But… well… also I guess I’m a selfish person?” He pondered, “I like attention, I won’t lie…”
“Yes, I’ve seen that…” Chris smirked.
“God I sound awful, don’t I? I am afoul…” Joni frowned.
“You’re not that bad, Joni. I wouldn’t be sitting here if you were.” Chris smiled at him, “was it her idea to get rid of you?”
Joni shook his head,
“No… it was purely my father’s idea, to protect me, she actually tried to talk him out of it… How annoying; you try to hate someone and then they make it simply impossible.” Joni joked. “So… yeah… honestly, I’ve started to like her, I realised that it doesn’t have to mean I have forgotten my own mom and besides, she’s only 32…”
Chris got up and walked behind him, wrapping his arms around him.
“Maybe you can use that, I mean get your father back to his senses through her.”
“Hm, maybe…” Joni nodded, turning his face towards him, “anyway, it’s for our good that she’s there, I’m sure she’s managed to calm my dad slightly, so he won’t be so bad.”
“I hope so…” Chris grinned and kissed the boy.
Asko opened a bottle of beer, he needed to calm down, he didn’t like the way things had turned out, not at all and he felt helpless, he had no clue of how to handle this; he just had to let it happen? Watch from the side and smile when his son would arrive home with the man? – He definitely didn’t like it, he definitely didn’t like the man, it all seemed so… secretive, too secretive… His brother’s family hadn’t known, if they had there would have been no way that the two would have shared one room! Let alone one bed! The man must have known this…
It made him feel sick to his stomach, thinking how the things had developed, had it already started before they had visited? Why hadn’t he seen anything between the two? Had it been so well hidden?
“They’ll come here tomorrow, both of them.” Asko told Katja, his voice tired and defeated. “And I just have to accept it?”
“Yes, it’s for the best.” Katja smiled gently at him, sitting down on the sofa next to him.
Asko gritted his teeth and took another sip of his beer.
“What if he …gets into his head to… move to Canada? What if… No I can’t accept it, this whole relationship is ridiculous!”
“You have to calm down, and just welcome them, both of them… maybe if you … well it could work better if you are friendly towards them. Knowing Joni, if you attack him, he will get more defensive. If you accept it, he might not see the relationship as so exciting anymore?” She suggested carefully. Asko was silent, looking out of the window.
“I doubt I could ever grow to like this man, it just sounds all too fishy to me.”
“I know dear, but I really doubt that their relationship will last, let’s just try to handle the few days that he stays with us, alright?”
“Fine, I’ll try, but I can’t promise anything.”
Chris held the boy’s hand in the taxi on their way to the kid’s parents’ house, he had no expectations of a warm welcome, but hoped that it wouldn’t be too bad either.
The situation was somehow amusing; he looked at the teen next to him who was smiling back at him, and wondered just what he was getting himself into.
The taxi pulled up in front of the house, Chris paid the driver and got up, looking at the house; it looked nice, a two storey house with a big yard… The driver handed them their bags and they walked towards the door, Chris noticed the snowman that stood lonesome under an apple tree, surrounded by snow lanterns, in the darkness of the evening it looked beautiful.
Joni gave a encouraging smile to his companion before searching for his keys and opening the door.
“Oon kotona!” He called as they entered and it didn’t take long for his father and stepmother to appear from around the corner. His dad didn’t look happy at all, his eyes narrowed as soon as they landed on Chris, but Joni pretended that there was nothing odd and smiled.
Katja’s hand lowered on her husbands arm.
“Welcome,” she greeted, “please come further inside.”
Chris answered the woman’s smile,
“Good evening, sir, ma’am,” he nodded and Joni felt slightly amused by how formal it sounded.
His father muttered something that sounded like hello…
“The children are already in bed,” Katja explained, “you must be hungry, care for some sandwiches?”
“Yes, please,” Chris smiled and they all followed her into the kitchen after Joni and Chris had gotten rid of their outdoor clothes.
“Coffee? Tea?” Katja asked moving around in the kitchen, Asko was still quiet, looking very much like trying his hardest not to attack Chris.
“Coffee, thanks” Joni answered, feeling slightly weird with answering in English to Katja but he didn’t want Chris to feel anymore outside than he had to feel already.
“The same,” Chris answered, and glanced at Joni’s dad, if he hadn’t been a boxer he would have been seriously scared of the man.
Joni took Chris’ hand under the table, smiling at his father at the same time. Katja served sandwiches and coffee and like Joni she kept smiling softly.
“So, Chris, how have you liked our country so far?” She asked taking a seat down next to Asko, it was still such a tense atmosphere in the room; she didn’t like how quiet it had been.
”It’s very similar to Canada, calm and… cold” Chris smiled reaching for a sandwich.
“I’ve always wanted to visit Canada,” Katja smiled, holding a coffee cup between her hands. “I love nature and the change of seasons, if I should ever move to another country Canada would definitely be on my list.” She was slightly nervous she realised, and took a sip of her hot drink.
“What was it that you do for living Chris?” Asko finally opened his mouth to ask, glaring at the young man.
“I’m a programmer,” Chris answered calmly, “games, design and so on…”
“And 25 years old?” He asked raising his brow.
“Yes, I finished university not so long ago.” Chris answered trying to smile at the man.
“When I was your age my wife had just passed away and I became a single parent to Joni.” Asko took note and sipped his coffee. Joni rolled his eyes; it was always about age, wasn’t it?
“What is your family like, Chris? What your parents do for living?” Katja asked wanting to change the subject.
Chris cleared his throat; his family was a bit of a sensitive subject for him.
“Well, they’re… retired… They live in a different city from me, we’re not that close.”
“Oh I’m sorry to hear.” Katja told him.
“You smoke Chris?” Asko asked when they were finishing eating.
“Sometimes, if I’m nervous.” Chris answered and Joni tried not to snicker at his reply; it would have meant that the man was nervous quite often.
“Then you won’t mind going out to for a smoke with me.” He said and got up waiting.
Joni looked at his dad frowning.
“Isä, älä viitti ahdistella sitä…”
Chris glanced at Joni and got up,
“Of course, Sir,” he said nodding, Joni was about to get up as well.
“Juttelen hänen kanssaan kahden.” Asko spoke to him and the look in his eyes made Joni sit back down.
Chris followed Joni’s father out of the room, nervously playing with his packet of cigarettes.
They got dressed in their outdoor clothes in silence before stepping out. Chris offered a smoke to the man,
“Thank you,” Asko nodded, taking one and lighting it, for a moment he studied the young man in front of him, his eyes slightly narrowed.
“I’m not a fool to even try to play clueless; I know you’ve slept together.” He stated, “Joni however is only 17, you have 8 years of age difference and have such a long distance to separate you once you go back. How serious can you be with him? Is this just some sort of game to you?”
Chris looked at the man after exhaling some smoke.
“I’ll be honest sir. Yes, I find Joni very attractive, but he’s also smart…” Chris tried to pick his words carefully, “as for how serious? As serious as two people can be after spending a few days together almost continuously. I do like Joni, I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t.”
Asko raised his eyebrow, part of him still suspicious, unsure whether to believe this or not.
“I am protective of Joni, I realise he’s growing up and at some point I have to let him go… But I see him as a child still; it’s unlikely that my view changes fast. He’s impulsive and headstrong, the choices he makes aren’t always wise and honestly at this point you feel to me like one of those unwise decisions. I don’t want to see him hurt.”
Chris gave the man a small smile, gentle he hoped.
“Yes he is slightly stubborn and can be very annoying, but that’s what makes Joni himself… And I’m not out to hurt him, as a parent I suppose it must be difficult to ever see your child as something other than being a child? However, he is young, but not a child anymore.”
“The thing that bothers me the most, Chris, is the fact that you live in Canada. So how could there be any future for this? Yet, Joni brought you here, so some feelings must be involved.”
Chris smirked deep inside.
“I thought you might be glad about the fact that I’m a foreigner.” He answered calmly.
“I’m more concerned about this fact than glad… What is it between you two? Are you dating? Having a sex relationship? Trust me, the last option makes me anything but glad!” Asko told him in a firm voice, “nor do I want Joni to get some silly idea in his head that he would like to move to Canada to be with you.”
“Sir, it’s complicated for me too, but to be honest, Joni is young, he might change his mind every second. He might stop… liking me, at any moment.”
“I guess you’re right.” He nodded then glaring at the man, “I still can’t say that I’m happy about this, but I suppose I have no other choice… If you hurt him, though….” He threatened.
“I understand.” He said finishing his smoke, “He likes your wife…” He took note then.
“Joni, likes Katja?” Asko raised his eyebrow.
“He just doesn’t want to admit it ‘cause he misses his mother, it’s natural.”
Asko looked at the man, more curious now, even smiling slightly; so they had talked about real things too?
“I’ve hoped their relationship would get better… I’m glad to hear that there is hope… Well then, we better get back inside…”
“Yeah… Joni might soon think I didn’t make it,” Chris grinned at the man, who gave him a slight smile back.
Joni led Chris up to his room, his mood had lifted upon seeing his father slightly relaxed after the talk with Chris and looking at him; he seemed to be okay too.
“So, what did my dad say to you?” Joni asked curiously after closing the door to his room behind them.
“He worries,” Chris answered, looking around; the room had nice space, tv, computer, stereos, everything new. There were some pictures on the bookshelf,
“Of course, he always does,” Joni nodded following Chris’s movements while starting to change the bed sheets, “but I guess you did something right since there was no big fight about letting you sleep in my room.”
Chris glanced at him and smiled,
“This is your mother I guess?” He asked holding a picture where Joni was only two sitting on a dark haired woman’s lap.
“Yes, that’s her.” Joni nodded.
“She’s pretty, and you were cute even then.” Chris grinned, putting the picture down and walking closer.
“Nice room, expensive things, it’s going to cost to impress you, huh?” He asked, wrapping his arms around the teen.
“Hm… I’m not THAT high maintenance,” Joni grinned, “okay so I like nice clothes and all that, but I do enjoy simple things too, I assure you.”
“Simple things, such as?” Chris asked, brushing his hair,
“Well… like, fishing for example,”
“Fishing?” Chris asked surprised, “I would have never thought you like fishing, getting your hands dirty and all that.” He teased, making the boy frown.
“Well, you can’t expect to know everything about me.” He reminded the man, pulling away from his embrace, putting on the pillowcases.
“I know I can’t,” Chris sighed, watching him with curiosity, before taking another look around the room, “So what secrets can I find in here?” He pondered, “What are your passions and desires…“ He raised his eyebrow, glancing at him. “Fashion? It’s still difficult for me to imagine you fishing…” He grinned.
“Do you want to sleep on the bed or on the floor?” Joni asked rolling his eyes.
“Well what do you think?” Chris asked again walking close to him, wrapping his arms around him from behind, kissing his neck.
“You’re one horny guy Chris,” Joni took note,
“Takes one to know one,” He nodded, sneaking his hands under his shirt, stroking the smooth skin.
“Okay so it’s been awhile since I was fishing but yeah, I like it whether you believe or not… as for my passions and desires, hm, dancing, exercise, travelling…”
“Sex?” Chris teased him trying to sneak his hand down to his pants then; Joni grasped his wrists and turned to face him.
“Yes, but you’re not getting any tonight.” Joni told him, “You don’t deserve it after last night.”
“Oh come on, I said I was sorry…” Chris pouted,
“Not working, no matter how cute that face is, not tonight, I’m also tired.”
“Fine…” Chris sighed, giving up.
Later that night they were laying on the bed close to one another, Chris’s hands travelling on Joni’s naked torso, tickling him, making him giggle quietly.
“Stop…stop…” he wriggled, trying suppress himself from laughing,
“But you’re so cute when you giggle, wriggle like that.” Chris snickered, finally stopping to kiss him, moving to lie on top of him.
“I like you…” He whispered to the teen, kissing him again softly, touching his face, “God I could stare at your face forever and never get bored…”
Joni grinned, then smiled looking up,
“I like you too, when you’re not being a jerk,” he joked.
“A jerk huh?” Chris raised his eyebrow.
“One is referring to the incident with the condom that didn’t get to perform its duty, poor fellow.” Joni stuck his tongue at him.
Chris kissed the tip of his nose,
“Yeah, unless I find out I have some nasty disease. Then, I regret to inform you, you would have to say goodbye to your …penis.” Joni nodded with a slight grin, watching the man’s reaction, Chris only looked amused.
“I’m glad it won’t have to come to that.” He ran his fingers through Joni’s soft hair.
Down to his neck, further down his shoulder, eyes following his hands movement.
“Chris?” Joni asked,
“What’s going to happen when you go back to Canada?”
Chris glanced at him with a slight smile.
“Well, I’m going to go back to work, earn money…that sort of thing….” He answered.
Joni frowned, parting his lips to say something,
“And hope that you will come visit me there as soon as possible.” Chris continued grinning. “So how about it, would you make me happy by coming?”
“Happy by… coming?” Joni snickered, unable to help himself, Chris raised his eyebrow again grinning back. “Yes, I would love to come visit you Chris.” Joni nodded smiling, brought his head up and kissed him.
“You think your father will agree?”
“He will, I’ll make him agree.” Joni replied with confidence.
“Good… and now about that; happy and coming?” Chris grinned pinning him on the bed beneath him.
“You’re impossible Chris,” Joni sighed, amused.
Misha sat in front of his desk, trying to study even though it was Christmas holiday; he wanted to be properly prepared. The house had been oddly quiet; everything was quieter; no more drama. He wanted to be glad for it, but in truth it made him more restless than happy, irritated even.
And whether he wanted or not he was thinking about Joni, perhaps he had just gotten so used to seeing him in their house? He wondered to himself. Perhaps… He caught himself wondering what the boy was doing in that exact moment, imagined him caught up in his relatives’ house, imagined him being his irritating self about the fact and soon after imagined him lying on the bed, lonesome and waiting, his hands moving down his torso, with that look in his eyes… Misha groaned, the pen in his hands breaking because he had squeezed it too hard.
Some part of him did regret the words he had chosen, he knew he had hurt Joni, the kid had had feelings for him, why was it always so complicated? He wanted to convince himself that whatever Joni had felt was simply because he couldn’t have him that easily, honestly what could their future be? Joni was annoying, his behaviour was… Misha stopped to think, Joni’s problem was that he didn’t think what his actions caused in the long term, on many occasions the boy seemed to be sending those messages; please fuck me now, maybe he didn’t even realise he was doing it? Joni was spoiled, annoying, childish, sexy and cute… Cute? Where did that come from? He wondered.
Maybe he should apologise when he saw Joni again? Basically he had called him a slut and it wasn’t very nice considering that… well that first he had slept with him and second Joni had this big crush on him. He would just explain things to him, let him know why it wouldn’t work between them; Joni was immature, they were in different places, had different goals and in the end could someone like Joni even settle for one guy? He seemed so restless and he was flirting too much and yes, he was quite childish. So, all reason spoke against any possibility of them ever having a relationship.
And soon Misha caught himself wondering what it would be like to have Joni as a boyfriend and he imagined them together in bed and he was thinking about it too much! He groaned, he seriously needed to stop thinking about Joni and what he looked like without his clothes!
He didn’t think Joni could stay fateful for long, he would flirt and move on from one crush to another, and someone like Joni wouldn’t be able to settle, right? It made sense to him.
Ivo still seemed upset with him; he guessed that his idiotic brother had really seen some great romance forming between them? When Misha had tried to reason with him, tell him exactly why such a relationship was impossible; Joni was too young and too childish for him, Ivo had begun to laugh! The nerve of him! He had patted his head and said; yeah, and you’re such an adult are you? 21 and seen the world.’ And then he had laughed some more, wiping tears from his eyes – idiot.
Again his thoughts wondered off to Joni; how long would he stay at his relatives’ place? When he came back, Misha would try and talk with him, let him down more gently than he had before.
Dima finished the call with Joni, shaking his head not knowing whether to feel amused or worried. Watching Joni’s life had begun to resemble watching a soap opera; he wondered what he would come up with next. A 25-year old Canadian, Dima wasn’t sure what to think, it couldn’t be very serious? He thought to himself, but was curious to see for himself what the situation was.
He walked downstairs to join his brothers for breakfast, he hadn’t really talked with Misha about the situation he had had with Joni, it felt too uncomfortable to do so, so he preferred to act like nothing had happened and forget. He didn’t think Joni would want him to remind him about it either when they would see each other.
“So how’s our baby brother going to celebrate his new year?” Ivo asked once Dima had taken a seat down, “staying here with us?” He raised his eyebrow.
“No, I’m going to a friend’s party with Joni and…um Chris?” Dima answered reaching for the juice.
“Oh so Joni is back?” Ivo asked, smiling, glancing quickly at Misha, who was listening quietly faking disinterest.
“Yeah, he arrived home yesterday, he and Chris.”
“And who is this Chris character?” Ivo asked taking a sip of coffee.
“Erm, some Canadian Joni met over at his relatives’, he came with Joni, so I guess they’re like… dating, or something.”
“A Canadian? Well would you look at that.” Again Ivo glanced at Misha whose expression had turn sour.
“Some old guy again, I bet.” Misha muttered finally, stuffing his mouth with food. How was it even possible that the kid had managed to find someone already? It just proofed him right, didn’t it? Who was this guy anyway? Chris… from Canada?
Ivo looked amusedly at him,
“Touché,” he grinned, wondering if he should be mad that his brother had basically just called him old. “So what do we know of Joni’s new boyfriend?” He asked, he had received an email from Joni a little before Christmas Eve with no mention of the guy.
“Well, some game designer, his friend is marrying Joni’s cousin, he’s 25… That’s all I know for now.”
“So, some perverted geek drooling after teenage boys, how lovely.” Misha couldn’t help himself.
“Sounds like someone is jealous.” Ivo grinned looking at him.
“I’m not jealous! Why the fuck would I be jealous?!” Misha got angry; he had seriously had enough of this, “I couldn’t care a rat’s ass!” He got up, “you know, whatever, I’m done with breakfast anyway.”
“He’s jealous,” Ivo nodded after Misha had left the table.
Misha got up to his room, closed the door behind him, and settled in front of his desk, with the full intention to study, after all he wasn’t the least bit affected by the news, well that was what he wanted to tell himself, but soon enough he found his thoughts travelling to Joni. The guy was 8 years older than him! 8! How the hell did his parents even allow it? He couldn’t understand… But of course the relationship would have no chances of working, after all, the man was Canadian, sooner or later he would have to go back. This thought made him feel a lot calmer, though he didn’t really want to think about why….
Web published: November 29th, 2008.
My Secret Shore