22.Foolish Games

            

Chris sighed when approaching him.

”I’m sorry about last night,” he said, taking a sip of his coffee before sitting down in the armchair close to him. Adam had just left and Chris seemed calm now, however, Joni felt wary near him. ”I talked with Adam after you had gone to bed,” he continued looking at him, ”and yes, I shouldn’t have shouted at you like that. I’m sorry.”

Joni sighed and drew his knees close to his chest, he had heard the whispers from the living room, he thought he had even heard Chris crying but wasn’t sure, it seemed so bizarre, he had never seen him crying. Those emotions were well hidden but Chris had been drunk and… maybe he did regret it?

”Well?” Chris asked.

”Well, what?”

”Aren’t you going to say anything?”

Joni shrugged, ”I don’t know what to say, it seems we keep having the same conversation over and over again. Same routine.” Chris’ expression darkened, he glared at him silently for a while.

”Nothing pleases you, Joni, you’re always whining and not willing to solve the problems. Tell me what it takes?”

Joni almost laughed bitterly, but managed to stop himself in time, he had to look away and take a deep breath.

”Our problems,” he sighed, ”yes, there are so many I don’t know where to begin.” He looked at the floor and drew his bottom lip between his teeth for a moment before looking back at Chris ”One, I’m…” He tilted his head, Chris was watching him silently, waiting and for a moment Joni thought there was a chance to talk honestly, to explain to Chris how he was hurting, in hopes that it might make a difference. ”I’m sad Chris, I’m depressed and I can’t sleep. Is that what you want to hear?”

”Of course it’s not, I’m sad when you are sad. It hurts me to see you so distant.”

Joni frowned, it felt odd, trying to reach out and talk to him, sensing that Chris wanted to reach out to him as well, but he wasn’t sure about his motives or honesty for that matter.

”We’ve been together for over two years, and… I’m not sure I know you at all, I thought I did; now you confuse me.” He spoke in a quiet voice, afraid to cross the line; Chris could explode at any minute, one wrong word and… Yet he was so tired and wanted a change, so he was taking a risk.

”Do you realize how alone I feel here?” Chris asked, ”if you would just….” he sighed. ”I just want you to be with me, make me feel wanted, love me, say that you do, touch me… Instead, I see in your eyes that I’m not your only one and I can’t stand it, Joni, I won’t. You belong to me, so act like it.”

Joni looked away again, feeling the tears rising in his eyes, he felt exhausted and weary, he rubbed his forehead and finally glanced at him.

”Stop hurting me, if you love me, stop hurting me.”

”You hurt me first, with cheating, flirting, you hurt me I hurt you. I can’t help myself, you need to understand, just stop fooling around. You have someone else, don’t you? Who is he?”

Joni closed his eyes and shook his head. ”There is no one Chris! No one!”he screamed, frustrated beyond measurement, looking at him through his tears. ”What the fuck do you want me to do?! How the hell am I supposed to prove it!? Stop abusing me and maybe I could stand your closeness!” he hadn’t been able to calm down, not even when Chris had stood up, approached, and finally slapped him. 

So much for that request then.

”I demand your fucking respect, Joni!” Chris was breathing hard, their eyes met, Joni’s eyes revealed his pain, his cheek was red from where he had been hit and Chris forced himself to calm down, ”you’re causing me to act like this, you bring out this side which I hate,” he breathed out, ”I promised I would never act like him but I am now. ” He knelt in front of the couch, touched Joni’s face, took his hands.

 ”I’m sorry…” Chris whispered, kissing his palm.”I love you, I need you,” he kept on. ”We both have our faults,” he sighed, before he moved to sit next to him, tenderly touching the cheek he had just slapped. ”I don’t want to be like him, I guess, watching it so long made me this way, but I can change if only you are with me. I need you… my Joni,” he pulled him close, kissing his forehead, both his cheeks, and Joni shivered, not able to believe him, people didn’t just change overnight, he wasn’t foolish enough to believe that.

”You need help and I don’t know how to help you,” he whispered, ”please Chris, we need help, it can’t continue like this.”

”You’re all I need,” Chris sighed, stroking his hair. ”Shh now, just be here. We can make it… I will change, you’ll see.”

It was just another idle promise, another one that would soon be forgotten, nothing would really change and the next day Chris would be back to the name-calling until he found another moment to apologize; ups and downs, lately more downs than ups and Joni knew how little chance there was that it would get better, some things were impossible to repair.

**^^**^^**^^**

The weekend after Adam’s visit Joni and Chris spent time at his parent’s house. It was in the mid of May and the weather was quite warm. His dad wanted to have a barbeque and Chris was eagerly helping him, busy sprucing up his image even more in Asko’s eyes. 

Joni sat on the porch, holding a can of beer watching quietly as his siblings played in the yard. Occasionally he caught a glimpse of his father and Chris chatting while cooking the meat, drinking beer all fine and normal, with occasional laughter shared between them.

Joni detested it and hated how friendly his father was with Chris. At times he wanted to scream at him, ask if he was really this blind, would he love Chris so much if he knew he was forcing himself on him, beating him into submission? 

Of course, he knew he couldn’t blame his father for not knowing. How could he? -When he couldn’t bring himself to voice it, when he kept actively hiding it. Still, he felt upset. 

These lies were weighing on him, pulling his spirit down. He saw the mock worried looks that Chris gave towards him; could almost make out how they were both worrying over his tired state and what might be the reason for it.

His brother then jumped out from seemingly nowhere in front of him.

”Haa caught you!” The boy screamed before spraying cold water on him from his water gun, which made Joni growl in anger and his brother laugh in delight, ”die, enemy!”

”You little shit!” Joni spat angrily. He narrowed his eyes, left his beer can on the ground and stood up, water dripping from his face and shirt. Julius’ eyes widened in fright as he made an attempt to reach him and he quickly dashed away from him, ”you little eel, get back here!”

”Daddy, daddy!” Julius screamed running towards where his dad and Chris stood. Chris looked at him with smug amusement, his dad had a disapproving frown on his face.

”Joni, don’t curse at your brother,” he said.

”He shot me with that fucking water gun!” Joni was fuming.

”They’re just playing, no harm done. ” Even his brother was looking smug now, Asko looked at Julius, ”don’t do that again, okay?” 

”You know an apology would be decent!” Joni pointed out upset.

”Come on Joni, get over yourself,” Chris sneered, ”it’s just water.”

”Fuck the whole lot of you!” Joni snapped and turned to go inside, cursing all the way up to his room. They were ALL against him, he was the bad guy now, they could just go fuck themselves.

*

Katja watched as Joni stormed past her to his room upstairs, clearly upset and dripping with water making her wonder what had happened. She continued her way to the backyard to set the table there.

”Why was Joni so upset?” she asked looking towards the two men.

”Julius shot him with a water gun,” Asko explained, turning the meat on the grill. Katja frowned and looked at her two boys and daughter who were running around in the yard with said guns, laughing.

”Julius, I want you to apologize to your brother,” she told him in a firm voice.

”But he’s scary when he’s mad!” The boy protested.

”No, he’s not, you will apologize,” she nodded, arranging the table, and then decided to go and check on Joni herself. ”Ten minutes,” she turned to the boy, nodding before returning inside.

She gently knocked on the door, but hearing no reply she peeked in carefully. Joni sat in front of his desk, gazing out, having changed his shirt.

”Are you alright?” Katja asked softly as she entered the room. She saw him nod silently; Joni’s back was turned against her, his hand raised to his face to rub his eyes. She frowned and approached, ”Joni?”

”I’ll be down in a moment,” he answered in a quiet hoarse voice.

”I’m worried for you; we’re all worried for you,” she stated, ”has something happened?”

He shook his head, ”everything is alright. Please, just go,” he asked, refusing to look at her. Katja however walked even closer, close enough to see his face and notice the tear stains he tried to wipe away.

”Joni, you’ve not been yourself in weeks, in months, what is going on?” she asked again.

He took a deep breath, shaking his head, ”I’m just so tired…” He replied, ”but I’m fine, I will be, please, just…”

”We are your family if there’s something, anything… Please tell us so we can help you,” she sat on his bed observing the youth who took a deep breath and forced a smile.

”I’ll be fine,” he assured again, ”nothing but stress, I will get over it.” She wasn’t convinced, there had to be something else in this whole matter, something he wasn’t telling and it was frustrating not to know what it was.

”If you’re sure?” she asked, getting up slowly.

”Yes, very sure,” Joni assured her. ”Thanks though,” he added after a while.

There was a small knock on the door, Katja gave him a small smile knowing who she would see outside, and sure enough, when she opened, the small eight-year old boy stood there, his arms in front of him, biting his lip slightly as he first gazed upon his mother and then at his older brother.

*

Joni raised his eyebrow, on some level feeling curious and amused; so regretful and small Julius was looking at the moment, almost frightened when his mother left them alone. Joni fought to keep a serious, indifferent face.

”What is it?” he asked somewhat flatly, turning on his chair to face the boy better.

”Um… well… um…” Hesitant grey-blue eyes looked up at him, ”sorry,” he muttered.

”Excuse me? I didn’t quite hear you?”

”I’m sorry I shot you,” Julius said then, making Joni smile though the boy didn’t see it: too busy looking at his hands. ”I didn’t want to make you mad, I wanted you to play with us,” he hurriedly added. ”You looked so bored.”

Joni chuckled then, ”I see.” Julius looked up at him. ”Don’t worry about it, okay? You’re forgiven and I overreacted, it was just water after all.” He shrugged then and the boy smiled a little brighter and nodded.

”I can shoot Chris as well if you want?” Julius asked, ”for laughs,” he added.

The offer was quite tempting, making Joni wonder how the man would react to it.

”If you like,” he grinned then, ”he could need it.” He nodded and stood up, ”let’s go back outside, but don’t tell him I encouraged you,” he asked ruffling his brother’s hair, who then grinned widely.

”I won’t,” he promised.

Joni took his seat, reaching for the book he had left on the table earlier and for his beer. Katja was setting the outside picnic table, Chris still helping his dad and Joni watched with amusement how the twins seemed to be plotting together now, glancing at Chris from time to time.

In the end, it was Sauli who crept closer to Chris just as the man was on his way to get something from inside, the boy jumped in front of him and… aimed… The surprise and a stunned expression on Chris’ face after Sauli had managed to wet Chris’ trousers, making it look like he had wetted himself, was enough to make Joni laugh, he knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t help it.

”Finland rules!” Sauli announced before running off and soon both Katja and Asko scolded the boy, embarrassed of his unexpected behavior.

 Hearing Joni’s laughter caused anger to take over the surprise on Chris’s face. His hands curled into fists and his breathing was tense, he looked like he was about to snap.

”What’s the matter, Chris?” Joni couldn’t help but ask, ”it’s just water,” he grinned, trusting in the fact that Chris couldn’t hurt him here. His grin however faded when he saw the look Chris gave him, the man’s eyes were narrowed and there was that certain glimmer that made Joni swallow. The next moment Chris composed himself, smiled, managing to hide his anger from everyone else but Joni.

”Yes, no harm done, just water, I have spare clothes,” he smiled at Joni’s parents, ”boys will be boys, huh?” He laughed it off and headed inside once again giving Joni a certain look that meant trouble for him.

**^^**^^**^^

Later Joni got into his room before Chris did, getting ready for bed, hoping Chris might chat with his father for a little longer, enough to give him time to fall asleep or to at least fake it. It was past eleven pm but the room was bright with light coming from outside, sighing he drew the shading curtains bringing the darkness, stripping from his shorts.

Then he heard the creak of the door behind him, tensed, he didn’t need lights to know it was Chris. Silently he proceeded to sneak under the coverlets, facing the wall, and heard the almost dooming steps behind him. 

A ruffle of clothes, click of a belt, zipper, ruffle, Chris didn’t say anything and Joni heard him taking something from his bag then walking closer again. He opened the curtains just a bit to have some light in, just enough to see better.

The coverlet was moved, Chris sneaked under it, moving close to him. Joni felt himself tensing, he felt tears rising in his eyes, Chris was naked and his half-hard shaft now pressed against his buttocks making him shiver from disgust and fear.

”You will not deny me, will you dear?”Chris breathed in his ear, with a threatening ring to his voice.

”It won’t matter if I do,” Joni whispered bitterly the words Chris would ignore. He felt the organ hardening further as Chris moved demandingly against him, his lustful breath in his ear sickening him further. 

Chris’s hand moved under his boxers, rubbing his organ rather roughly which made Joni whimper quietly. ”Don’t,” he whispered lowering his hand on Chris’s wrist in a useless attempt to stop him. The roughness simply changed softer, but it did nothing to arouse him.

For a moment he thought about screaming, thought what would happen if he would. His father and Katja would rush in to see what was wrong, and his siblings would wake. And then he’d have to explain, his dad would be angry at Chris, he would believe him, but it would be so embarrassing, to be a man, and to be forced in this weak position, forced as a victim of this abuse

Did this happen to other men?  He wondered silently, surely he couldn’t be alone to suffer like this? Heknew there were those helplines, but they were for women, right? Who could he talk to? Would they just laugh if he called to ask for advice or for help? Maybe they would

He should be able to fight Chris, but fear stopped him. Fear of what Chris would do to ruin his life completely. Fear of shame that would follow. 

His chest tightened, he couldn’t, he couldn’t scream. He wouldn’t be able to take the embarrassment of everyone finding out, everyone seeing those shameful pictures of him.

”Please Chris, not here,” Joni pleaded quietly instead, he didn’t want it to happen in this room, his childhood room, where he had been safe before. ”At home… not here.”

”Ass or mouth, choose,” Chris whispered as if not hearing him. He was sucking on his earlobe, making another demanding thrust against him. 

Tears ran down, slowly, quietly, Chris could see them but he didn’t care.

”Mouth,” he whispered brokenly and Chris allowed him to turn while making himself comfortable by laying down on his back.

Joni wiped the tears away and reluctantly moved to give him a blowjob, not bothering to stall with other caresses he just went straight to business to get it over with. Chris’ hold tightened in his hair as if to make sure he wouldn’t back off, making him gag, bringing out new tears.

His safe place no longer a safe place. His siblings a sleep, his parents still awake outside in the terrace enjoying the beautiful and warm Spring evening, without any clue what was happening upstairs in his room.

Chris was forcing his cock violently in his throat as a punishment for laughing at him earlier.

 There had been a time when he had enjoyed sucking him, he would have done it gladly and without hesitation, but all that was gone. Still out of two bad this was the lesser evil.

Chris didn’t need long to finish and like many times before, he held him still forcing him to swallow the thick cum. Joni gagged once more, closed his tear-stained eyes, and did what was necessary. When Chris released his hold, he sat up abruptly and brought his hand over his mouth, feeling like he was about to vomit.

 He tried to calm down, and felt Chris’ now tender touch on his thigh, rubbing gently. As if the violence of the action never happened, as if it had been normal.

”Felt good,” Chris whispered and Joni, still holding his hand over his face could only nod, avoiding his gaze.”I’m getting a glass of water.” He finally spoke in a hoarse voice after getting the chance to calm down. Chris didn’t say anything, just watched him with his infuriating smile that almost resembled something gentle.

He made his way to the bathroom as quickly as he could and finally couldn’t hold back anymore, he kneeled in front of the toilet seat and threw up. He felt his body trembling heavily, cold sweat on his forehead, gasping for breath and fighting back new tears.

He forced himself to stand on his shaky legs and walked over to wash his face and mouth, trying to calm down. He finally looked up to face the mirror; he was looking so pale and tired, so ugly… He bit his lip just watching himself, touching his face detesting what he had become, this submissive thing. This couldn’t go on much longer; he needed to do something, anything, just to… stay on the surface. He needed to get himself back in some kind of control.

It took him fifteen minutes before he could return to the room, Chris had been waiting, shifted on the bed making room for him, lifting the coverlet pulling him close to his chest, his hand went to his hair stroking softly. ”Took you long,” he remarked, ”I could turn the favor you know,” he surprisingly offered, and Joni, who felt uncomfortable enough as it was, shook his head softly.

”I’m tired,” he whispered.

”You’re always tired, I’m worried about you,” Chris sighed looking down at him, almost causing bitter laughter from Joni’s lips; worried? 

He didn’t want to be there, not in his arms. He turned so his back was against Chris, it did not bring any comfort, but he didn’t want to see his face either. Chris’ arm snaked around his waist, his breath tickled his neck. ”You are very lucky Joni, you should realize that; a great family, all these nice things…not everyone has that, you know,” Chris began whispering. ”I didn’t have that,” he sighed. ”Yet you don’t seem to appreciate anything, you’re selfish like that.”

”Oh am I?” Joni asked bitterly, looking at the far wall.

”Yes, but I still care for you, just have to change that attitude of yours. I know we can be happy again, it’s up to you.”

”So all of this is my fault?” He asked with a whisper, bitterness aching in his throat.

”We’ve talked about this before.” Chris sighed.

”That morning when you…” Joni started, swallowing, ”don’t you see that… how could it ever be like it was ?” He felt Chris’ form tensing up. Silence, his hand moved to his arm, rested there, the silence was tense and nerving him.

”Go to sleep,” Chris merely whispered and finally turned his back to him as if he was the one insulted. Joni glanced at him, sighed quietly, but remained still, again finding himself staring at the wall, he wanted to change, he wanted his life back, and somehow he would get it.

**^^**^^**^^**

A couple of days later he finally went to the doctor to ask about sleeping pills.

It wasn’t the first time he had gone to see him after Chris has first started to abuse him, somehow in the back of his mind, unconsciously perhaps he was trying to take that step into getting help from outside, the last time he had gone because of flu yet knowing he had some fading bruises, not really on his face, but on his shoulders and arm… when asked, he had again made up a lie about their cause.

He didn’t think the doctor really suspected anything else either, no further questions were asked, in some ways it was slightly frustrating as well. He wanted to find a way out, but didn’t know how, didn’t know how to handle the embarrassment and shame. Fear that he would be laughed at. He didn’t know who to talk to and ask for advice on how to get out without everything falling apart. 

”I have trouble sleeping,” he confessed now and the man in his fifties looked at him thoughtfully, ”I was wondering if it would be possible to get some pills for it?”

”Has this been going on for long? The sleeping troubles?”

”Hm… a few months.” 

”I see, have you experienced stress? Depression? Other symptoms like that?”

Joni sighed, ”I guess I’ve been a little stressed lately. Studying and things like that…”

The man nodded, watching him thoughtfully. 

”Well I can write you a prescription, but this should only be a temporary solution, these pills are easily addictive if you take them too often and for too long.”

”I understand.”

”So for one month, not longer, and you slowly lessen the dose to the end. No alcohol when you take them. You may experience some drowsiness even during the daytime, especially at the beginning.”

Joni nodded feeling relieved, perhaps finally he’d be able to get much-needed rest?

*^*^*^

Just two days later faced with Chris’ pressure to have sex with him, the idea came to him. It was a desperate attempt to buy himself just one night without Chris’ unwelcome touches and demands for more. 

He had been sexual, he had been willing, but Chris had killed every trace of desire he had once felt for him. He felt nervous when he took the pill and made the hasty decision to crush it and hide it in Chris’ dinner. He knew he’d be screwed if Chis noticed, but he was getting desperate enough to take the chance.

As they sat down in front of the table Joni felt nervous and tried to smile at Chris who studied him carefully.

”No wine?” he asked and Joni shook his head, pouring some water on them both.

”I was busy today, didn’t go get any,” he answered as calmly as he could, watching Chris eat.

”These mash potatoes are lumpy,” he only complained but ate just the same and Joni tried to hide his sigh of relief.

”Come to bed when you’re finished,” Chris said next, getting up, and using a napkin to wipe his mouth. Even such a simple gesture disgusted Joni and he shuddered, looking down at his water glass. He had deliberately eaten rather slowly.

”I will,” he promised, ”I’ll just…. take a shower first,” he added, watching Chris who nodded stiffly.

”Just don’t take too long,” he requested or rather demanded before walking to the bedroom.

Joni finished eating, cleared the dishes without a hurry, and showered before he hesitantly walked to the bedroom. Chris was lying on the bed, on his side and his eyes were closed. With his heart beating faster Joni approached, kneeling by his side, yes he was breathing and it was even.

”Chris?” He called out quietly, the man shifted but did not wake, which caused Joni to smile. It worked! It really had, he felt odd triumph settle inside him. It was a small victory, but a victory nevertheless.

He almost snickered to himself and decided to celebrate his free evening and night with a cold beer and perhaps a movie? A small moment to himself and just to himself.

During the night he regularly checked on Chris, to see that he was indeed breathing and only sleeping, before dawn he decided he should sneak into the bed in case Chris would woke, it would only anger the man to not find Joni next to him.

When Chris woke at 8 a.m. his confusion was visible. Joni did his best to play innocent, he smiled, kissed his cheek, and suggested that Chris was working too hard. But as Chris tried to pull him closer, Joni reminded him he should hurry not to be late for work. 

”Tonight then, I’ll pick up some wine on my way home,” Chris said when he was leaving. A kiss, that felt so cold, was planted on his cheek. The sense of victory taken, the knowledge that he couldn’t pull off the same trick twice, not so soon.

 Surely there had to be a way out of this nightmare?

**^^**^^**

In late May Dima told him that he and Linda were getting engaged and would hold a party at Ivo’s and Misha’s house two weeks later; Chris and he were naturally invited.

Joni felt depressed, taking Chris there would only end up as a disaster; he knew it would, and it also meant he wouldn’t be able to go either.

Life seemed terribly unfair and he felt depression getting a stronger hold. He was angry as well, more each day that passed, angry at Chris and himself for settling for this horrible existence. 

 But then, just as he had lost hope of being able to go, Chris got the call: urgent family matters demanding him to travel to Canada.

His mother was ill, that much Chris had been able to say and cursed the fact he had to leave and could not take Joni with him on this trip; his parents didn’t know he was gay and Chris rather left it at that, which Joni was also thankful for; it meant a week’s holiday for him! A whole week without Chris, the mere thought cheered him up like nothing else and the best part was that Chris would be gone while Dima and Linda had their party; he was free to go, yet it had to be another secret.

**^^**^^**^^**^^**

He met Misha at the supermarket the next day, almost laughing when he saw the man, picking up cucumbers, unable to help himself Joni approached; quietly walking behind him.

”Are you sure that’s big enough?” He commented, looking at the cucumber that Misha was holding, then grinned when the man turned to face him,

”So you think it’s too small?” Misha asked bemused, cocking an eyebrow. Joni looked at the pile of the green vegetables and then picked up one,

”I think this one is juicier, more… satisfying,” he said playfully handing the vegetable to the man. He had seen Misha so often lately that he was starting to feel more at ease around him and enjoyed these moments where he could forget his miserable relationship. Misha took the cucumber measuring it in his other hand and comparing it to the one he had, looking at Joni.

”Hm, I think you are right, big and thick, just the way we like it, right?” He grinned, and looked at him in a way that almost caused Joni to blush, but only almost.

”Yes, of course,” he answered and flashed a smile at him.

”How is it possible we keep running into each other like this?” Joni asked while moving to pick some tomatoes.

”Hm, interesting question,” Misha mused while moving next to him picking the tomatoes as well.

”You are stalking me,” Joni snickered.

”No, I would never,” Misha denied with a grin.

”You are! Admit it!” Joni turned to face him briefly, amused.

”Nah, you’re not that famous Joni,” he teased and the youth rolled his eyes moving to the fruit section, going for the pears. Misha moved to take some apples nearby, looking at Joni, grinning when their eyes met, receiving a smile back. 

This game continued, Misha following close behind Joni casually, he might have said. And each time their eyes met, a smile was shared between them.

”Do you think this bread is good?” Misha asked picking a similar bag of rye bread to the one that Joni had just placed in his shopping cart.

”Yes, it’s the best here,” Joni replied watching him with curiosity.

”Hm, I think I’ll try it then,” Misha nodded and placed it among his shopping.

”You are following me,” Joni pointed out when both were facing the egg section.

”I need eggs; you know everyone needs a bit of egg sometimes.” He answered again, grinning at him. ”Those are small, these are bigger; you like your eggs big, don’t you?” He asked handing the box to Joni, who took it with a small shake of his head, looking away from his eyes for a second then back up,

”Yes,” he answered, ”thank you.” He smiled and placed the eggs down with the rest of the groceries. ”Now I’m going to get some chicken, I assume you planned to eat chicken as well with Ivo?” He was already walking, looked back at him from over his shoulder, and grinned, Misha soon found himself following.

*

Misha wasn’t sure what was happening, he wasn’t sure about these strange feelings that had started to wake, they confused him, deep down he knew it wasn’t only worry. He was thinking of Joni often, and right now seeing those curious brown eyes watching him, seeing that smile grace his lips… well, seeing him like this made him feel good as did these playful comments that Joni was again giving him. So perhaps he… gods forbid… really liked Joni?

”Do you want a ride home?” He offered after they both had paid for their food. Joni seemed to hesitate to look at him but finally nodded.

”Thank you,” and together they walked to the parking lot.

”Nice car,” Joni commented after they had taken a seat down.

”Thanks,” Misha smiled.

”New?”

”Yes…” Now Misha glanced at him, frowning as if in deep thought, then he smiled, drifting his gaze back to the road.

”So…How’s the boyfriend?” He asked and Joni glanced at him briefly.

”Going to Canada tomorrow,” he answered sounding quite cheerful about it.

”For good?” Misha couldn’t help but ask to which Joni laughed.

”God I wish!” He said chuckling before his face got serious and there was a hint of pink that crept on his skin. ”It was a joke,” he added with a small smile when Misha cocked a questioning brow.

”Are you sure?” He asked, keeping a playful tone though, in reality, he was being serious. Joni rolled his eyes.

”A week alone without the person you have to see daily otherwise would be a welcome break for anyone.” 

”I see… well I suppose a week’s vacation from Ivo would do good for my nerves as well,” Misha chuckled.

”We could trade, you take Chris, I take Ivo,” Joni joked, nervously it seemed to Misha.

”Hm… I don’t know… Is this Chris house trained? Can he cook? Does he make a lot of noise?”

”He can cook,” Joni nodded, ”ah but you wouldn’t want him, he can be quite loud and obnoxious,” he sighed and looked down at his hands. ”You would think so at least, I’m sure.”

”And you?” Misha was kind of surprised, Joni was behaving… oddly and he was beginning to feel quite certain that the relationship wasn’t happy.

”He’s my boyfriend,” Joni merely shrugged.

”If he’s obnoxious, why not dumb him?”

Joni again looked at him quietly before he smiled, ”He has his… qualities… ”He answered before looking out of the window.

”Hm, you can stop at that bus stop, my apartment is right over there,” he pointed then.

Misha stopped the car.

”Are you sure everything is alright?” He asked and again Joni flashed him a smile.

”Of course, thanks for the ride, I guess I’ll see you at Dima’s engagement party on Saturday if not before at the gym.” His voice was cheerful; Misha didn’t exactly trust that cheerfulness.

”Yes, I see you there.” Misha smiled then, wondering how conveniently Joni could again come without his rather mysterious boyfriend.

Joni took his bag and left the car waving at him, and for a while Misha watched him walking away before finally continuing his way home; he couldn’t say he felt sorry that Joni would be coming along to the party, in fact, it made him feel rather pleased. Perhaps he could finally convince Joni to tell the truth about the state of his relationship? –Misha wondered, quite convinced that Joni shouldn’t be with that man, and he was thinking of Joni’s well being, of course, he didn’t have any other motive for it… or so he still tried to convince himself.

            My Secret Shore

© KOLGRIM

Foolish Games 23

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