30.Foolish Games

Joni woke the next morning and found Misha sleeping on the armchair in a position that couldn’t be so comfortable. Joni sighed; it was how he feared, the pictures did have some affect. Why else would Misha be sleeping on the chair and not next to him like the two other nights? He struggled to get up, feeling the need to go to the bathroom, feeling annoyed and angry, perhaps frustrated? Bitter? He would have given anything to be able to go back in time to change everything…

Misha woke to the noise, opened his eyes and looked at Joni who was up, trying to pull his sweatpants on. Misha rubbed his eyes and moved, feeling the soreness on his neck.

”Where are you going, Joni?” He asked.

”Bathroom,” the dark haired boy answered and slowly walked towards the door without looking at him.

”Joni?” Misha sighed, leaning forward on his seat.

”I’m about to pee in my pants…” Joni said simply and left the room.

Misha ran his hand through his hair and checked the time; 8.30am. He thought about the pictures, thought about the situation and stretched his sore muscles, waiting for Joni to get back. He looked up when Joni entered the room. The younger man gave him a hesitant look, approached the bed and sat down. Misha frowned observing him.

”Okay, what’s going on in your mind?” The blond man asked.

”What’s going on in yours?” Joni asked in return, pulling the cover over his lap.

Misha was silent for a moment looking down at his hands trying to sort out his thoughts and the waiting made Joni restless. ”I knew you’d be bothered by it… You couldn’t even sleep next to me. ” Joni sighed and looked away, crossing his arms over his chest.

Misha looked at him, got up and silently walked closer to the bed before sitting down on the edge next to him. He reached to gently take Joni’s hand in his and the younger man was surprised by this action. Misha stroked his palm with his thumb, remembering something from earlier that made him smile softly.

”A porn star, huh?” Misha asked glancing at Joni’s face, with the smile still lingering on his lips. Joni blinked, blushed slightly and looked away. ”I don’t blame you, Joni… You were and are young and often act foolishly and he took advantage of that.”

Joni gritted his teeth; act foolishly? ”I was drunk then, okay? Really drunk and okay I could have made the choice not to drink so much but it was my birthday and I don’t need you to…”

”Hey, calm down brat,” Misha stopped him. ”I said that I don’t blame you.”

”You also said I often act foolishly.” Joni reminded, glaring at him and pulling his hand away from the hold, somehow feeling uncomfortable.

”Well, you do,” Misha said. ”Don’t start pouting now. There’s no reason to.I just don’t understand why you didn’t talk about it before?”

Joni started to play with the edge of the coverlet looking down. ”Because…” He started. ”It’s just not so easy, it’s humiliating and…” He sighed.

”You really thought I would judge you?” Misha asked, still feeling somewhat disappointed that Joni would think that.

”Yes,” Joni whispered his answer. ”Not just you, I thought and still think that many would after seeing them.”

”People who wouldn’t know the circumstances perhaps,” Misha pointed out. ”I wouldn’t go judging a victim of a bad relationship. He knew what he was doing to you.”

”I don’t want to be a victim.” Joni groaned and pulled his knees closer to his chest.

Misha was quiet for a moment. He had wondered why Joni had stayed, had always wondered why someone would stay with abusive partner, and deep down he could admit thinking that these people were just plain stupid. It was unlikely that the abuser would change his ways; it was more likely in Joni’s and Chris’ case that things would have gotten worse. Knowing the reason, knowing the blackmail, the senseless situation made a tiny bit more sense to him. ”There’s no shame in it,” he finally replied. ”The shame is in him not you. People like that often find the one they can control into their own will and…”

Joni let out a dry laughter. ”And I was just perfect, huh? You’re saying I look weak.” Joni looked away annoyed, his lips forming a thin line. ”Like a victim…”

”No.” Misha sighed. ”You don’t look that way, it’s…” He took a pause trying to think his words carefully as Joni was in this sensitive mood. Truth was that he wasn’t good with knowing what the right words were. He thought back to the 17 year old boy Joni had once been not too long ago and… there had been certain amount of carelessness that might have worked as a bait, a certain amount of naivety and innocence that was sadly gone now. But weak? No, he wouldn’t call Joni weak. Misha sighed before hesitantly speaking. ”Okay… well… You were 17 and he was 25 with a lot more experience, knowing what strings to pull…”

”I know what the age difference is! It has come up so many times that I’m sick of hearing it! Sick of hearing about his experience and age!” Joni interrupted him.

”Can’t you just listen to what I have to say?” Misha sighed, interrupting him in return. Joni glanced at him, silent and finally he nodded. ”It doesn’t make you weak if I point out that he, compared to you, has a lot more physical strength. I fought with him, remember? If you hadn’t done what you did chances are I wouldn’t be here talking with you.” Joni glanced at him carefully. ”I was really amazed then, when I first walked in I didn’t think you could move and then you defended my life. It sure isn’t something that a weak person does.”

Joni smiled a little now and Misha reached to ruffle his hair, his hand lingering on his cheek before pulling away. ”So how about some breakfast now? I can call the cops about that issue; I don’t think it’s necessary to drag you there when you’re still recovering.”

Joni nodded. ”Thanks Misha,” he whispered.

”No problem.” The blond man got up and walked towards the door. ”So the pictures are in his computer, right?”

”Yes, he has some password, I could not log on when I tried.”

Misha nodded and smiled slightly. ”Well, the cops can.” He said and then left the room.

Joni sighed; everything was going a lot more easier than he thought. Misha didn’t blame him, Ivo didn’t either and the cops would soon be working on discovering the pictures and Chris would be sentenced, but for how long? And what if they would let him out with only parole? The thought made Joni slightly nauseous. He had seen the sentences given in this country and there was a good chance that Chris would be out in only a few years time or less and it scared him.

Asko opened the door and stepped in his son’s room, looking around and thinking to himself. He would have preferred it that Joni was home with them. He was his child and Asko wanted to be there for him at this moment make up the past.

”Daddy?” He turned at the small voice of his daughter.

”Yes sweetie?” He smiled gently at her and she walked closer.

”Where is Joni?” She asked. ”He promised he would come and play with me.”

Asko sighed and sat down on Joni’s bed. ”Your brother is sick; he won’t be able to see you for a few weeks.”

Sini sat down next to him hugging a stuffed kitty toy in her arms that Joni had given her the previous Christmas. ”Is he terribly sick?” She asked worriedly and Asko reached to touch her hair gently.

”He will be fine, just needs to rest.”

”Is Clish with him?” She had never learned to say the man’s name properly; Asko gritted his teeth angered of the mere thought of Chris but tried his best to calm down in front of her.

”No,” he replied as calmly as he could manage. ”We won’t see Chris again, Joni is with his friends.”

”Why?”

”Sometimes it’s just better for a couple to part ways, this time it was better for Joni.”

Sini was quiet for a moment seeming thoughtful before she nodded. ”I don’t like Clish, he made Joni sad.”

Asko gave her a surprised look; had she really noticed something the rest of them hadn’t? The girl looked up and smiled. ”I will make Joni a card!” She decided then. ”A get well card!” She added before jumping up from the bed and running out of the room, calling for the twins to help her.

Asko felt another pinch of guilt, leaned forward, resting his elbows over on his knees, running his hands over each side of his face. Why hadn’t he noticed? He had asked this question many times during the last couple of days yet no answer came to him. Joni had been depressed and stressed; a clear change in him, a change that Chris had pointed out to him. A grim unhappy smile rose to his lips and his fingers curled into fists. As a father he felt like he should have known, should have squeezed the truth from his son; he wondered if Marianna would have been disappointed in him, for failing the last promise to take good care of their son.

”Hey.” Katja’s soft voice made him look up. She smiled gently and approached him. Feeling embarrassed Asko turned his face to hide the fact that his eyes were watering. ”I won’t think less of you being a man if you cry.” Katja said and sat down next to him reaching to touch his hair.

”It’s fine, I just…”

”It’s fine to be scared,” Katja continued. ”Joni will be fine, just wait and see.”

He nodded and got up. ”I was thinking I could renovate his room, you know paint the walls.” He turned and looked at the bed frowning. ”Get him a new bed, a better bed.” He looked out of the window. ”New curtains perhaps, you know make it… nice. If I get it started it should be ready in a week. Then he can come back home.”

She looked at him thoughtfully while getting up. ”Are you sure he wants to come back?”

”What do you mean? Of course he does, he is just staying there for the worst bruises to heal. Home is the best place for him. I’m sure if we explain it the children will understand. That man is too old for him.”

Katja couldn’t help but smile at this. ”But he’s younger than… hm… it’s just 4 years Asko.” He turned and frowned.

”14!” He corrected.

”Honey,” Katja smiled and got up. ”You still haven’t realised it?” His expression clearly gave the answer; pure confusion. ”Who was it that came to tell you about the improper relationship between Joni and his brother? This concerned and responsible young man as you called him?” She took a small pause. ”The same who was looking for Joni, who knew something, was wrong. The man, who saved Joni’s life, took him to the hospital and then offered his home for Joni’s recovery. He’s the one who was close to Joni’s side when we visited.”

Asko looked at her, his lips parting but no words coming out for a moment. He brought his fingers to his hair and ran through it. ”Really?” He finally asked and Katja couldn’t help but to laugh softly.

”Yes, really.” she nodded.

”Then… Why… Why didn’t he just tell me?”

”By he you mean who?” Katja asked.

”Joni…”

”Well did you really give an opportunity to him? You were so set on sending him away that…” These words made him groan and look away to the window.

”I’m a terrible father. If I hadn’t sent him there…”

Katja sighed walked closer and hugged him from behind. ”You are not a terrible father,” she told him, brushing his neck with her lips. ”At the time you acted that way you thought was best for him… and it’s pointless to wonder what if… We should focus on today, make it right now. If Joni cares for this man, if this man cares for Joni as I strongly feel he does, then please do not intervene with it. Listen to Joni, but do not push him.”

Asko sighed and finally nodded, some small part of him still wanted to argue, didn’t think it was wise for Joni to start a new relationship with all of this still going on but he also knew that this time he should stay quiet about it, at least to Joni.

”We brought you more clothes.” Asko said lowering the bag on the floor and watching at his son carefully, with concern.

”Thanks dad, Katja.”

”How are you feeling?” The father asked walking closer and pulling a chair beside Joni’s bed.

”I’m better.” Joni smiled carefully and then glanced at Katja who stood at the doorway finally stepping in further.

”Your voice sounds better and you look more…” Katja started.

”Alive?” Joni joked making her smile softly.

”That too.”

”Where are the kids?” Joni asked shifting slightly to make his posture more comfortable.

”They are at my parents,” Katja replied. ”They were asking about you,” she added and took a seat down on the bed edge.

”We told them that you are ill and that’s why they can’t come over to see you,” his father continued and Joni nodded.

”Tell them I miss them,” he said feeling slightly awkward.

”Of course.” Katja smiled. ”They made you a get well card,” she said then, took her purse and searched for it. ”Here.”

”Oh? Thank you…” Joni took the handmade light green card with funny drawings from his brothers and his sister, get well soon! written on it. He felt touched and smiled slightly. ”This is really sweet.”

”You are dear to them,” Katja told him with a gentle smile.

Joni set the card on the near table and took a deep breath. ”I have to tell you something… Well… I’d rather you hear it now than in the trial…” He didn’t look at them, felt uncomfortable. ”This is really difficult… He was blackmailing me… and that’s why I let it continue…” He whispered hesitantly, glancing at them briefly and seeing the anger forming on his father’s face.

”What?” Asko’s voice was hoarse and upset, slightly disbelieving.

Joni took a deep breath, felt his stepmother reaching for his hand and squeezing it comfortingly. ”Go on,” she encouraged.

”Chris has naked pictures of me… I was 18 and very drunk when he took them… I’m sorry dad, I didn’t want to…” His voice trembled slightly; his skin felt hot, he couldn’t look at either of them and withdrew his hand. ”He threatened to send them to you and grandparents, to everyone, publish them online and…” Joni shook his head. ”I’m sorry.”

Asko felt his hand clenching into fists. If he could have gotten his hands to Chris was quite sure he could have been able to commit murder. His breathing was harsh, his body trembled as the upsetting anger spread trough his veins.

”Oh Joni, you don’t have to say you’re sorry… its okay…” Katja said and leaned closer to hug him, felt his rapid heart beat and trembling. ”Shh… It’s ok, we don’t blame you… It’s good that you told about it now, don’t worry.”

Joni wasn’t sure why he couldn’t stop trembling or why he felt so utterly terrified. His dad hadn’t said anything.

Katja glanced at her husband wanting to kick him into speaking; the upset he felt was clear on his features.

”Has he published them?” Asko was finally able to ask, trying to sound as calm as he could manage.

”Not that I know of…” Joni answered. ”I don’t think he had the time, but… I can’t be certain. The cops know though about the blackmail…”

Asko nodded and looked at him; at that moment Joni looked so terrified and lost, like a small child and it nearly broke his heart. ”Hey…” He started much softer now. ”You know that I am not angry at you, don’t you?” Joni’s father asked. ”If I sound and look tense or angry it’s all directed to Chris and to myself, but not to you, Joni… I’m sorry that my own action in the past made you too nervous to tell me. Had I been a better parent…”

”Dad stop… You’ve been a good parent… I don’t want any blaming… If we go that way I could also say that I haven’t been a very good son, stubborn and difficult to deal with.”

”Just a teenager.” Asko smiled. ”Who is very important to us! Don’t worry now and in the future Joni, I hope you tell us what ever it might be that bothers you, even if it might feel like something embarrassing. We are your parents, it’s our job to help you and we want to.”

Joni felt relieved; it had gone a lot smoother than he would have thought. It couldn’t be this easy, could it? ”Thank you,” he said looking at them both with a small smile which was returned and his father touched his knee, gently tapping it.

There was a knock on the door then and Misha looked in, cleared his throat when Joni’s parents turned to look at him. ”I was just wondering if you’d like some coffee or tea or perhaps juice?” He asked.

”Coffee would be wonderful, thank you,” Katja answered.

”Yes, coffee, thank you.” Asko nodded soon after.

”Joni?” Misha asked

”Hm… yeah thanks.” Joni decided after awhile getting a smile from the blond.

”I’ll bring it here to you. I won’t take long.”

”Hm, why don’t I come down and help you.” Asko decided and got up. Misha raised his eyebrow but smiled; glancing at Joni he thought he saw a hint of worry pass through his features.

”Sure, thanks.”

Asko followed the young man downstairs, observing him carefully when they got to the kitchen. The youth was tall and strong looking, taller than he was and in physique close to what Chris was. Asko felt slightly nervous and awkward suddenly.

Misha walked to the coffee machine starting to prepare coffee, slightly nervous in Joni’s father’s presence. He wanted to say something smart, but what?

”It looks like it’s going to be a warm weekend…” He started. ”Though warm weather and Midsummer’s eve equals more drowning cases and that’s not good.” Okay what the hell was he blabbering? This was not the way to impress someone, weather? Drowning?! ”Because people drink more alcohol and …” This was not saving it.

”Yes, well, the people should know better by now…no drinking and swimming…” Asko frowned.

”Yeah… So you are… staying home or going somewhere later? A cabin?” As soon as the word had left from his mouth Misha wished he could take it back. The man smiled somewhat grimly.

”We’ll stay at home, with the situation being what it is there’s nothing to celebrate.”

”Yes of course.” Misha nodded.

”The children are disappointed, they were looking forward to spend the holiday at the cabin… But now… Well we are going to sell the place.”

”That is understandable.” Misha agreed feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the conversation.

”Anyway… I wanted to thank you for what you did, for helping Joni, for saving him… I don’t know what I would have done if…” Asko took a pause and shook his head, didn’t want to finish what he had been about to say. ”I’m sorry I didn’t thank you before, it’s just been so difficult to understand this all.”

Misha looked at the man carefully. ”There’s no reason to thank me… I mean… Joni is…” He sighed hesitating. ”I wouldn’t know what to do either if… if he wasn’t around.” A Moment of silence settled that was soon broken by the sound of the coffee machine. Misha cleared his throat and turned to look for some cups.

”Joni must be quite confused now… He needs time,” Asko started. ”Time to recover and who knows how long it takes for the actual trial to be held…”

Misha glanced at him; ’so don’t try to push my son into a new relationship.’ He was sure that was what Joni’s father really wanted to say.

”Yes, I understand. He nodded.

”It’s not that I object.” Asko corrected quickly. ”That is if… well… I am going to ask honestly; is there something going on between Joni and you?”

Talking with parents about such matters was new to Misha. His own parents were dead and he had managed to avoid talking to the parents of his ex boyfriends. Not that Joni was his boyfriend… yet? But could he be? Later? Anyway it made him nervous.

”It’s… complicated.” He started awkwardly. ”But… I like him…” He admitted. ”And I wouldn’t push him into anything he’s not ready for and I understand that it will take time.”

”Good, I am relieved to hear that.” Asko smiled. ”Now let me help you with those cups.”

’Well, it didn’t go too bad, did it?’ Misha wondered and nodded smiling to the man.

Later that evening after Dima and Linda had gone home, Joni was laying on the bed watching Misha who slowly sipped his beer sitting on the armchair.

”So… What did my dad want?” Joni asked. ”What did he say to you?” He had wanted to ask that earlier, but there hadn’t been many opportunities.

”He just wanted to thank me…” The blond man answered with a small smile. ”For saving you. Though I’m not sure he needed to thank me for it.” Misha was feeling pleasantly light headed after some beers and few drinks he had taken that evening after making sure that Joni didn’t mind if they drank some.

”Oh…” Joni wasn’t sure what to say at first. He remembered the night with Misha, the morning when he had woken with such intense feel of panic in his chest and the note he had left behind. ”What made you decide to go after me?” Joni decided to ask. Misha looked back at him, took another sip of his bottle before answering.

”I wanted to finally clear things between us, wanted to get answers. I already suspected he might not be treating you right but I didn’t know how bad it really was.”

Joni nodded to this. ”What if it hadn’t been that bad?” He dared to ask. ”If you had found me home without him?”

”I would have done my best to persuade you into leaving him.” Misha replied honestly, the alcohol he had consumed that evening had made him more relaxed and open. Joni smiled at this, though his smile was slightly melancholy; how he wished it could have gone that way, spare himself and Misha seeing the low point of his life.

”I guess it could have happened sooner or later.” Joni sighed shifting his gaze towards the window.

”What?”

”This… What he did… Ever since that first…” Joni hesitated. ”Beating I knew that even if I would ignore the pictures… The chance of leaving him and getting out without … ’drama’…was impossible… ”

”Do you want to talk about it? About the relationship and…” Misha shrugged feeling somewhat awkward. ”Feelings?” He wasn’t good at this stuff.

”Feelings?” Joni chuckled quietly and looked at him. ”It’s sweet that you suggest that but no, I’m fine, I’m not in the mood to talk… I want… I want something else to think of, something light and innocent…” A small pause. ”Tell me a story?”

”A story?” Misha cocked his eyebrow.

”Yeah.” Joni gave a small smile. ”Hmm… A story about a drunken teddy bear with an addiction to vodka and a confused alien who has a thing for teddy bears?” He grinned.

”Did you steal some alcohol when Ivo and I weren’t looking?” Misha asked partly amused. ”You know you shouldn’t drink with your medication.”

”I haven’t. I just want a story.”

”Well, I’m no story teller, sorry… I can read you something?” Misha suggested.

”If I want I can read myself since my eye is not so swollen anymore. I want you to tell me a story. Come on, don’t be such a tight ass, try it.”

”Tight ass?” Again Misha cocked his eyebrow.

”Yes.”

”I’m not a tight ass.” Misha argued.

”Sometimes you are.” Joni merely smiled. ”And it looks pretty tight to me, or do you wish to argue with that?”

Misha chuckled. ”I know my ass is great. But enough of that…”

”So, the story? I’m sure that Ivo would tell me. Should I ask him instead?”

Misha sighed; apparently Joni knew which strings to pull, and that Ivo card did the trick. ”Fine…” He grumbled. ”So…” He started and paused to think. ”Once upon a time…” ’That was how stories usually started ,right?’ He wondered and somehow felt both silly and amused. ”There was this…. fox…”

”Fox? Where’s the teddy bear?” Joni asked.

”Who is telling this story? You or I?”

”You…”

”Then be quiet and listen.” Misha grinned and took another sip. ”So this fox, he was not an ordinary fox, instead of red his fur was black, he was a very handsome little fox and he knew it, everyone admired him but he could also be quite annoying.”

”Oh really?” Joni was slightly amused. ”So did the fox have a name?”

”Hmm… ” Misha pondered for awhile before he gave his answer with a small grin. ”Foxy.”

”Figures…” Joni grinned back. ”So… go on.”

”Well one night Foxy was feeling bored. He wanted an adventure and so he decided to go for a walk… to the dark forest, where his family had always forbade him to go, but Foxy was stubborn.”

”And Foolish?” Joni suggested.

”And foolish.” Misha agreed with a nod and a small grin. ”So off the little black fox went…. Ignoring every warning and then….” Misha paused to think.

”He met a wolf?”

”Alright, yes, he met a wolf.” Again Misha agreed.

”A big white wolf?” Joni grinned and Misha took a sip of his beer observing the other with small amusement lingering over his lips.

”Yes… The big white wolf, who was… sort of… the king of the dark forest… ”

”A king?” Joni chuckled.

”Yes, a king.” Misha nodded and grinned. ”And he was a very smart wolf and brave and…”

”And handsome and strong?” Joni interrupted again.

”Hmm… yes, that he was. So shut up now I’m trying to tell a story.”

”His name was vodka?” Joni was unable to hep himself and snickered.

”What did I just say?” Misha asked raising his brow.

”Shut up? Fine… I listen, go on.” Joni smiled.

”Good.” Misha took another sip to empty the content of his drink, before lowering the bottle on the table. ”So the great white wolf saw little black Foxy making his way towards his forest and the king decided to follow the foolish little fox for awhile. There were dangerous creatures roaming around, bears and evil grey wolfs who ate little things like Foxy for breakfast or… Well it was dangerous for such a cute little fox to walk those parts alone. And finally the king decided to make his presence known so he stepped out from the shadows and startled little Foxy.”

”Is Foxy really THAT little?” Joni couldn’t help but to ask.

”Compared to the king he was.” Misha grinned back and winked at him.

”I see… okay, so go on?” Joni rolled his eyes slightly but smiled.

”Well, Foxy of course was startled by the wolf and looked at him warily as the King stepped in front of him. Any other would have quickly run to escape but Foxy…”

”Was foolish?” Joni raised his brow.

”Well, he was… He wasn’t a coward, but he also had a big mouth that got him into trouble many times. So Foxy glared at the wolf and told him to move from his path. It made the king curious about this little cute but slightly annoying fox and also amused, but he tried to remain stern and told the fox to turn back if he didn’t wish to get eaten by the evil grey wolfs or the evil bears. Foxy of course told the white wolf he could take care of himself just fine and demanded the other to move. The great king finally did so; it wasn’t his funeral after all. He watched as Foxy made his way past him and to amuse himself he decided to follow just in case, which of course annoyed Foxy.” Misha had to pause and think for awhile.

”So… Foxy got in trouble I imagine?” Joni asked. ”With an evil grey wolf?”

”Yes… after making his way further in the deep forest he came across the leader of the grey wolfs clan, the nemesis of the great white wolf. The grey wolf immediately had his eye on little black fox and approached him with the intention to sweet talk his way to gain Foxy’s trust and then lead the unsuspecting fox to the grey wolf’s cave. So Foxy was lucky that the great white king had followed him.”

Joni was curious of the way Misha planned to end his story; he didn’t wish to interrupt him anymore, since perhaps the story was the way of Misha telling him how he truly felt towards him.

”So the grey wolf asked where Foxy was heading, circling the little one and admiring it’s silky fur and… ” And then Misha’s cell phone began to ring. ”Sorry,” he muttered before answering and Joni watched him quietly as he spoke to his phone in Russian. Misha got up, paced the room, his voice was loud and his free hand kept making gestures in the air that almost made Joni snicker. He heard the other male’s voice from the other end; loud as well, they almost sounded angry. Joni continued to watch Misha, wondering why it was that he sounded so different speaking in Russian than in Finnish, more… intimidating… or was it because he simply couldn’t understand what he was saying. But then again he had heard Dima speaking in Russian and it wasn’t intimidating at all. Well perhaps Dima was just too good friend to be intimidating. And Ivo…? The thought of Ivo made Joni smile; and Ivo was just too funny and odd and brotherly to be intimidating. But Misha… Misha was a mystery, a mystery Joni had always wanted to solve.

It took about 20minutes for Misha to finish the call. He sighed, smiled and glanced at Joni. ”Sorry, it was my cousin.”

”Were you mad at your cousin?”

”Eh… No, why?” Misha raised his brow in question.

”You sounded mad. It sounded like you were arguing,” Joni explained.

To this Misha chuckled. ”Did it really?” He asked and approached the bed sitting on the edge of it, keeping his eyes on the brat.

”Yes. Why do you people like to shout so much?”

”You people?” Misha asked partly amused.

”Yeah… Russians… Or am I just imagining it… Ivo or and Dima not so much, but you and others I came across…”

”Well, I can’t really say why. I don’t think I was shouting, I was speaking with loud clear voice.” Misha nodded and then grinned at Joni reaching to stroke his hair as an impulse. ”Maybe you just have this… ’vibe’… if ’us people’ have shouted at you. The annoying brat vibe.” He joked and Joni pushed his hand away hiding a smile.

”I’m not an annoying brat, not anymore…” He muttered. ”Or am I?”

Misha looked at him for awhile, quiet and simply watching the face that was beginning to heal, the swelling was almost gone, the bruises were changing colour and it wouldn’t take too long for them to be gone completely. The warm brown eyes were looking at him expectantly and Misha felt an odd tingling in the bottom of his stomach, an almost overwhelming need to lean down and softly brush his lips against the brunet’s. He felt such an odd warmth that was almost frightening in its unfamiliarity.

”Well…” Misha started his mouth speaking on its own, without giving him the time to think his words further. ”I have this… soft spot for this annoying brat… So don’t banish him completely…” It was the damned alcohol, Misha was sure, feeling awkward again. He brushed Joni’s hair back briefly before withdrawing his hand, clearing his throat and standing up. He just wasn’t good at this, these feelings and warmth both confused and scared him with the situation being what it was. Joni was looking at him and Misha had to look away this wasn’t the right time… It couldn’t be, not after what Joni had been through… Suddenly Misha felt odd being in the same room, these thoughts and feelings felt too much. ”I think I’ll go and check what Ivo is doing, you should… get some sleep.” He decided with a nod and turned to the door.

Joni wasn’t sure why Misha was in such a hurry. ”You didn’t finish the story,” he reminded when the other man had reached the door.

”Tomorrow, okay? Sleep now.” Misha smiled. ”Good night.” He added and stepped out of the room.

Joni felt confused. Understanding Misha’s actions was difficult, no one had ever managed to confuse him this much. Why did he suddenly leave? Was it because of the call? Was it him? Joni didn’t understand. What did Misha feel about him now, after everything? Sighing heavily Joni turned to lay on his side. He wasn’t tired and he hated these moments alone when he had too much time to think, too much time to be thinking about Chris, what had happened and then worry about the future. If only there was a way to turn back time, be that silly 17-year old again and understand how precious it was, to understand how minor his problems had been, to understand not to hurry to adulthood so fast. In these moments alone he felt scared; everything came back to him, everything that Chris had done and it caused such disgust to remember his hands on him, his touch printed on his skin. Joni wanted to believe that when the trial would be over he could somehow go back to lead a normal life, somehow push everything that had happened behind, but deep down he knew it wouldn’t be that simple.

         Web published: December 21st, 2009.

            My Secret Shore

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Foolish Games 31

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