Misha sat in front of his computer checking his emails at the same time that Joni was finishing up his packing. The younger man had already sacrificed the previous evening for that task, there had been three bags then and when Misha had wondered about the quantity, Joni had managed to narrow them down to two. Now that they should already have been on their way, Joni had wanted to do a last minute checking. Misha set an absence notification to his e-mail account and glanced at his boyfriend who now seemed to be contemplating between two pairs of shoes. Sighing, Misha turned on his chair observing Joni silently for a while, apparently the restriction to two bags was giving him trouble.
”Are you going to be ready soon?” Misha asked cocking his brow. ”We have a long drive ahead of us,” he reminded him.
”I’ll be ready in just a moment”, Joni assured him, returning to his wardrobe. Misha got up deciding to check Joni’s bags himself, what on earth was he packing that it took so many bags?
”We’re gone for ten days”, Misha reminded him while checking one of Joni’s bags which was full with different shirts, at least he had the correct number of socks and underwear for each day, but Misha doubted that Joni would require more than ten shirts, and pants were packed in another bag. ”Do you really need this many clothes?” Joni turned, looked at him and at the content of his bag, Misha felt amused seeing the confused look on Joni’s face.
”Well… It’s not the question of need… but the question of choice.” Joni nodded, walked over to him, chose one shirt from his bag to be removed which he then replaced with another he had gotten from the closet.
”You do realize that we’re mostly staying at the country side, so I hope you have some outdoor clothes with you as well?”
”Yes, of course I do,” Joni assured. ”But we are meeting your friends as well… And I like to look neat.” Misha smiled at this.
”And for that you need fourteen different shirts?” Misha had actually counted them. “How many pairs of pants have you got?”
”Hmh… Well, a couple of jeans, sweat pants, jogging pants…” Joni said and tried to fit a shoe bag into one of the bigger bags. After a while of observing this attempt, Misha rolled his eyes and went to get the third bag that Joni had ruled out earlier and placed it on the bed in front of him.
”Just use that one, I suppose we can fit it into the car easily…” He said and Joni couldn’t help but to smile; now he could take yet another pair of shoes with him, just in case! Misha thought it better not to argue about the matter, most likely Joni would find that he wouldn’t need half of the stuff he had with him, but if he felt more comfortable having them with him, there was probably no harm either.
It was nine in the morning and Misha had hoped that they’d be on their way sooner, but with Joni things just seemed to move at a slower pace. Jami had cooked them breakfast and packed them sandwiches to take with them on the journey. Ivo helped them carry their bags into the car.
”Did you plan on moving there?” The older man inquired after they had stuffed the trunk full. Misha exchanged amused looks with his brother.
”Well, I don’t know about Joni”, Misha replied. ”I think he did pack a pretty solid survival kit with him.”
”Just things that I need,” Joni nodded and closed the trunk. They were taking Misha’s and Ivo’s car, which had more space than Joni’s, which they would leave for Ivo’s and Jami’s use.
”Just be careful,” Ivo reminded patting his brother’s back. ”Send my greetings and don’t lose Joni there.” He grinned.
”Of course not, I took a harness with me.” Misha nodded and Joni rolled his eyes at his boyfriend’s lame joke. Joni hugged Jami and Ivo briefly.
”I’ll see you again soon!” He said and opened the driver’s side door, they had agreed to change driver before crossing the border so that Misha wouldn’t have to be behind the wheel the whole time and it would be better for him to drive once they were in Russia, since he knew the road.
They crossed the border at Nuijamaa and after that they still had a five hours drive to Misha’s grandmother’s place ahead of them. After driving for two hours in Russia, Misha saw it best to stop for a while to rest, get gas and perhaps enjoy a cup of coffee; Joni had also whined about a bathroom break for some time. He pulled over to a small gas station that had a cafeteria connected to it.
”I’ll refuel first,” Misha said, parking next to the gas meter. Joni stepped out, relieved to stretch his legs for a while. ”Wait and we’ll go inside together.” Misha added as Joni looked towards the building, the sign could have used some new paint. Close to the front doors, there were a couple of outdoor tables and in front of one sat two men around their thirties having a smoke and Misha took notice of the way that they were staring at them, at Joni and his wealthy appearance, and he didn’t want his boyfriend to go wandering about anywhere alone. The place might not have been the best place to stop. After refueling the car, Misha had to park it. ”Wait where I can see you.” He said and Joni nodded, slowly approaching the building, the men chatted with each other but kept their gaze directed at him and Joni felt slightly uncomfortable. He stopped to wait for Misha.
One of the men raised his voice slightly and said something. When Joni didn’t react at first, he repeated his words, making Joni glance in their direction. The man grinned, eyed him from head to toes, blew smoke out of his mouth and again said something. Joni shrugged giving a somewhat bored smile, he had no idea what the man was saying to him. Misha hurried to his side after parking the car. He glanced at the men with doubt and they simply smiled back at him. ”Let’s go inside,” Misha muttered and obediently Joni followed behind him.
Misha walked to the counter paying for the gasoline and politely he inquired the location of the toilets while checking the sandwiches available in the glass cabinet, at which Joni was also looking in a skeptical manner. He was happy that Jami had prepared lunch for them because he didn’t trust these to be very fresh. ”Want some coffee?” Misha asked.
”I don’t know…” Joni hesitated.
”Do you or don’t you? Just tell me.”
”Well yeah, I guess I could drink one cup,” Joni sighed in a bored tone. ”Where’s the men’s room?” Misha pointed the direction to him and paid while Joni went. The toilet stank really badly. Joni shuddered, it seemed that it hadn’t been cleaned for a while, one of the cubicle doors hung slightly loose, the urinals had suspicious stains and the floor was somewhat sticky. Joni brought his hand to cover his mouth, he felt sick, he didn’t want to touch anything let alone relieve himself at this place. The door opened and closed behind him and Joni turned to leave only to face one of the men from the yard. The man looked at him a little too intensely and smiled. He said something, Joni shrugged and replied with his poor Russian skills that he didn’t understand. When the man tried to grasp him, Joni made a quick dodge and sneaked out to the cafeteria, quickly walking over to Misha.
”Okay, let’s go,” he said and already headed to the door while Misha still stood there with two cups of coffee in his hands feeling confused. ”Now!” Joni snapped and Misha lowered the cups down to a table next to him before following his boyfriend.
”What is it now?” Misha asked somewhat tensely as he opened the car doors.
”The place was filthy…” Joni muttered equally tensely. ”And then the man came over there and… I don’t know what he wanted from me!” He sat on the passenger seat and put his seat belt on, still clearly agitated. Misha sat on the driver’s seat, hooking his seat belt on as well and looked at Joni for a moment.
”Did he do something to you?” He asked. ”Did he try to steal something?”
”No,” Joni replied. ”I don’t know,” he added and massaged his temples. ”Let’s just go and stop somewhere else, the edge of a forest or something, that men’s room was awful.” Joni took a small hand disinfectant bottle from the glove compartment and started massaging his hands with it. Misha started the engine not saying a word.
”Did he touch you?” Misha asked finally while they were driving. ”Is that why you’re so upset?”
”No, not really, I don’t know what he wanted, perhaps money… I don’t know, let’s forget it.”
”Okay…” Misha nodded and hoped that this wasn’t just a bad omen for their holiday. They drove for a while until Misha found a resting area on the side of the road, Joni had been quiet the whole journey since the gas station and Misha couldn’t help but to wonder if something more had actually happened in the bathroom than Joni let on. The dark haired man marched behind the trees to relieve his bladder and Misha stayed behind to find the cooler where their sandwiches were. When Joni returned, Misha gave him a questioning look and opened the car door for him. ”Everything alright?” He asked.
”Yes,” Joni assured him, taking a seat, he took the disinfectant once more massaging his hands with it before taking the juice and sandwich that Misha offered to him.”I guess I overreacted,” he finally admitted. ”I’m sorry, now you didn’t get your coffee…”
”It’s alright, it probably would have been bad anyway,” Misha grinned circling the car and taking a seat to eat as well.
”That toilet really was horrid…” Joni said taking a small bite of his sandwich, Misha lowered his hand on his thigh, stroked it for a moment and nodded.
”I believe you,” he said and smiled, ”just don’t go too dandy on me…”
”I’m not dandy! It smelled, the floor was sticky and… You wouldn’t have wanted to stay there either longer than five seconds!”
”Alright, if you say so.” Misha smirked and took a healthy bite of the bread. Joni felt like his boyfriend wasn’t taking him seriously.
It was late afternoon when they finally reached their destination. They drove through Misha’s old hometown in light rain and Joni watched the opening scenery around them with interest. Misha showed him the school he had attended as a child and promised that he’d later also show him his childhood home. They drove outside the town for twenty minutes until reaching an area that could be called the countryside with old wooden houses, cornfields and cows.
Misha’s grandfather had died six years earlier and since then the woman had lived alone, refusing to leave her home although Misha’s aunt and uncle had often suggested to her that she should move to live with one of them. Misha’s aunt lived in Moscow, where the grandmother refused to move for the reason that she hated the smelly air of the big city. The uncle and his family on the other hand lived nearby, in the same town that they had just driven through, but grandmother simply wasn’t ready to let go of the place she knew as home, and on the other hand as long as she managed on her own, she didn’t need to. Misha knew that one of his cousins had told grandmother about Joni, but wasn’t sure if his uncle was also aware of the situation.
Misha parked the car on the muddy driveway. It was still drizzling outside and stretching his sore limbs, Misha stepped outside as Joni did the same. The dark haired man soon sighed with annoyance as he had stepped straight into a mud puddle and Misha felt amused as the other checked his new, now mud stained shoes.
The front door creaked as it opened and Misha smiled at his grandmother who had just stepped out on the porch greeting them with joy. Misha lifted a couple of their bags from the trunk before he walked over to the woman, lowered the bags and gave her a gentle hug. Misha then turned over to his boyfriend. ”Grandmother, this is my boyfriend Joni,” Misha introduced in Russian. ”Joni, this is my grandmother, Anna.” He continued in Finnish and Joni smiled somewhat nervously under the estimating gaze of the woman. The dark haired man approached, greeting the woman in Russian and handed out the present he had gotten for her; a cotton scarf, Finnish honey and a bottle of liqueur. Misha’s grandmother was a well-built woman of average height, whose aged face seemed strict at first. The woman eyed Joni from head to toe before nodding with approval, smiled and reached to hug him to welcome him in.
As Joni took his coat off in the hall, the woman stood nearby watching him with curiosity. ”He sure is a beautiful man,” Anna said to her grandson and smiled at him. Misha glanced at Joni who was taking off his muddy shoes clearly wondering where he could clean them.
”He is,” Misha agreed, smiled and met Joni’s confused gaze. The younger man didn’t know more than a few words of Russian yet and grandmother didn’t speak any other language, Misha would have to act as the interpreter. Anna still observed Misha’s boyfriend. ”He does look like a model, handsome face structure and beautiful teeth.” Joni rarely managed to appear as insecure as he did at that moment, standing in the hall, looking between his muddy shoes, Misha and his grandmother, who were clearly talking about him without him knowing at all what they might be saying. ”Alright, take your bags upstairs then, I’ll make the dinner ready, you boys must be hungry.”
”Thank you,” Misha said and brought his attention back to Joni. ”Let’s go take our bags upstairs, you can leave your shoes there and we’ll clean them after dinner.”
Joni nodded taking two of his bags while Misha carried his third one and his own. The first meeting seemed to have gone well, Joni thought, and watched the pictures that hung on the wall of the staircase, pictures of old relatives.
Misha stepped into the room that had belonged to his mother and her sister, the room wasn’t very big, it was decorated simply and slightly chilly, on both sides of the room were ready made narrow beds. Joni wondered if they could move them together, but perhaps it would be awkward, they probably wouldn’t get much intimacy under this roof. There were pictures on the wall, Misha’s mother, his aunt and their families. Misha’s father had the same stern expression as he seemed to have on every picture that Joni had seen of him, the same look that Misha often had when he was annoyed. ”You can choose which bed you want,” Misha woke him from his thoughts and Joni nodded lowering his bags next to the right side bed before he walked over to the window to look outside. He saw chickens strolling outside in their fence, a barn that had seen better days and another country house where a dog and a small child ran on around in the yard, playing.
”We’re going to the town tomorrow?” Joni asked, slightly worried that he’d be bored if they stayed there the whole time. Misha smiled to himself, walked up to his boyfriend from behind, lowered his hands onto his shoulders and kissed the crown of his head.
”Sure,” he said. ”First we’re going to visit my uncle and then meet some of my old friends.”
”And do I have to pretend to be straight to them?” Joni inquired.
”I’m not sure about my uncle, I’ll call my cousin today and ask some questions… Galina knows, Pavel knows, the others I haven’t told. So yes, tomorrow evening we probably have to pretend.” Joni nodded, he didn’t like the idea of pretending to be something that he wasn’t but he understood the situation and accepted it. ”Well then, let’s go downstairs, I’m sure that grandmother is expecting us.”
They had mutton stew for dinner which had been one of Misha’s favorite dishes as a child, the food smelled heavenly and Misha sat down in front of the table with a smile on his face, Joni next to him. The woman served them quite healthy proportions with fresh bread and milk that she had gotten that morning from her neighbor. When she told Misha that the milk was straight from a cow, he glanced at Joni who was eying the glass of milk in front of him with suspicion and knew that the younger man wouldn’t want to drink it. ”Doesn’t he like milk?” Anna asked, already walking to the fridge thinking that the boy probably wanted something else.
”I think he would prefer juice,” Misha replied and Anna took a box from the fridge and a glass from the cabinet which she then set in front of the boy, pouring it full. Joni thanked her in Russian and she smiled before taking a seat.
”Did your trip go alright?” She asked and Misha nodded after already stuffing his mouth with food.
”Yes,” he replied after swallowing. ”Long drives are always tiresome though”, he admitted tearing a piece of bread and dipping it in the food. ”This tastes heavenly,” he praised. ”Just like in my childhood.”
”I’m glad you’re enjoying it.” Anna smiled and glanced at Misha’s boyfriend, who ate more slowly and neatly. ”Does he like it?” Anna asked and Misha translated the question which made Joni smile and nod.
”It’s good,” Joni answered in Russian and Anna smiled back at him. She asked about Joni’s family and Misha replied in between his meal, taking a second helping after finishing the first. Joni marveled at Misha’s appetite, he didn’t gobble his food down like that at home, so that after finishing he loosened his belt and burped with satisfaction, although he did at least apologize afterwards. Joni had trouble finishing his first helping, he had gotten used to eating small portions often rather than eating lots at once. He succeeded in his task almost at the same time as Misha had finished his second.
”I thought we’d visit uncle tomorrow, does he know about Joni and me?” Misha asked his grandmother who nodded.
”He knows, we’ve talked about it, it was a little hard for him to swallow at first, but it’s alright now, you can visit them. I think it’s best that there are no secrets between family, your mother would have agreed.” Misha nodded slowly, he often wished that he could have talked with his mother and told her the truth. Perhaps if grandmother accepted, his mother would have as well, he didn’t think his father would have, not easily at least.
Later that evening they went up to their room, Joni laid on his bed and played with his tablet pc, deciding to check his facebook page. He had gotten one friend request and with curiosity Joni clicked it open, it was from Kasper. ”Friends?” was the short message with the request and Joni pondered how he should reply.
”Kasper sent me a friend request.” He said to Misha who was taking off his jeans to change into something more comfortable after having eaten so much. The blond sighed with annoyance, he should have guessed…
”Why?” He asked pulling his sweatpants on.
”Perhaps because of our talk, after settling our differences….”
”Are you going to accept?” Misha asked sitting next to his boyfriend on the edge of the bed. Joni glanced at him.
”It would feel rude not to,” Joni answered studying Misha’s expression, searching for signs of jealousy and Misha couldn’t hide completely that he didn’t like the idea. On the other hand, Misha knew that this was a kind of test from Joni, signs of jealousy made him uneasy and he had to keep them in control. The traces that Chris had left… At times one had to remember, control one’s voice even when annoyed. A raised voice with even a hint of threat in it caused a clear reaction of fear in the younger man, so Misha swallowed his first reaction which was the desire to tell Joni to refuse the request.
”You do as you see fit.” Misha replied and brought his hand on Joni’s upper back to stroke him gently. ”Just remember…” He started and Joni looked at him. ”Deal with him cautiously.” Misha couldn’t help but to warn. ”He did have a pretty big crush on you back then, didn’t he?” Joni was quiet for a moment.
”Yes, and I didn’t consider his feelings then as I should have…” He finally replied, brought his attention back to his tablet, smiled and accepted Kasper.
Misha couldn’t get to sleep that night, he gazed at his parents’ picture in the dimness of the room and thought back. He had wanted to move in with Ivo already at the age of thirteen, when he had started to really understand his own sexuality. Galina had been a way in between with whom Misha had tried to be ”normal”. Deep down Misha had been afraid, there hadn’t really been anyone to talk to, except Ivo… He had started to study Finnish, his mother had encouraged his studies and the thought he had about possibly moving to live with his brother later, his father never really commented on the subject.
Father had been somewhat distant figure, scary even in the eyes of a child. More than once in his childhood, Misha had been made to go out and find a stick which would be used to spank him because he had been naughty. His father had been strict, but not cruel, only repeating the same methods of child raising that he had learned from his own parents.
Mother on the other hand… She had been smart, she could have succeeded in great things. She had learned to speak English and had been talented in mathematics, she could have easily become a doctor like Dima was most likely going to be. But her destiny had been to meet a boy, fall in love and find herself pregnant at the early age of 16. Father had done what was right and married her, on her 17th birthday three months before Ivo was born. Love had been stumbled under the harsh reality, father hadn’t been a very romantic or considerate partner and Misha wondered if his mother had ever regretted the chances left unused.
Finally he got up and quietly walked next to Joni’s bed, kneeling in front of it and watching his lover with a soft smile. Joni slept peacefully and Misha felt the urge to touch his face, but feared that he’d only wake him from his dreams, instead he softly fixed the blanket and the younger man made a small sound in his sleep, rolling over on his other side and Misha got up. He sneaked out of the room as quietly as he could and went downstairs surprised to find his grandmother awake and knitting.
”You couldn’t sleep?” Anna asked her grandson and smiled.
”Too many thoughts in my head, I guess…” Misha replied. ”And what’s your excuse?” He inquired with a smile.
”I’m old and my limbs are aching,” Anna replied glancing at him, still with that same soft smile on her lips.
”I’ll get myself a glass of milk, can I bring you anything?”
”No thank you.”
After returning with a glass of milk, Misha sat down on an armchair next to his grandmother.
”Is Joni sleeping?” Grandmother asked and Misha nodded. ”He seems sweet,” Anna took note.
”Most of the time he is,” Misha grinned.
”The most important thing is that you’re happy, it’s what your mother would have wished as well.” Anna continued and looked at him. ”I believe she would have been proud of all three of you.”
Misha took a more comfortable position and tasted from his glass. ”Perhaps,” he replied looking around in the living room, the house was filled with childhood memories. They had often spent their summers here, Misha had followed Ivo everywhere, Ivo had been annoyed that he always had to take him with him. Misha had been eight when he had seen Ivo kissing another boy behind a building. Ivo had gotten scared at first when seeing him, they had stared at each other, Ivo’s friend had gone pale as a sheet and then both of them had tried to explain that he probably just thought that he had seen a kiss when in reality they had just given each other a friendly hug. Misha had looked at them and nodded, knowing that he had seen something forbidden, something confusing and at the same time intriguing, something that perhaps should have bothered him more. Two years later Ivo had moved to Finland and only three years later from that, Misha had dared to bring out the subject again, when he had been visiting his older brother one summer.
”I kissed another boy as well,” Misha had admitted, afraid of how his older brother would react, in case Ivo didn’t remember the episode five years earlier. But Ivo had sighed, smiled and sat next to him.
”Did it feel nice?” Ivo had asked and feeling embarrassed Misha had nodded. ”Better than kissing a girl?” Ivo had continued and Misha had blushed. ”I know the feeling, sometimes it just goes like that.” Ivo had however responded. ”I also have one friend… we kiss at times, sometimes we do more than kissing, he’s a man as well and it’s okay.” Misha had given his brother a confused look and he had messed up his hair with his hand.
”You won’t tell our parents, will you?” Misha had asked worriedly and Ivo had laughed.
”Oh God no, father would have a stroke! We’ll keep this between us for now. And you don’t have to feel embarrassed about it, as long as both parties enjoy it and want it, then it’s okay. Not everyone understands it, but you can always talk to me…”
Misha had felt relieved, that visit to Ivo was one of the happiest memories of his teenage years and he had longed to visit him again, staying with Ivo he had felt free. But when he had returned home, everything that Ivo and him had talked about had felt pressing, it didn’t seem to be okay anymore to like other boys, it wasn’t normal, he had to be straight, he had to have a girlfriend, had to be tough. Galina had been his friend for a long time, she was beautiful and Misha made the decision to date her, to become normal like others, it just didn’t work out as he planned… Even sex with Galina didn’t turn him straight, on the contrary, it was like a depressing slap in the face that confirmed his fear, he was gay, not even bi, but gay, because the whole time during that clumsy first encounter he had thought of one dark haired boy in their class.
Galina had been the second person to know, naturally the girl had felt disappointed at first but finally assured him that she understood. Misha felt grateful that their friendship had lasted despite everything. To Galina, Misha had often talked about Joni, even when he hadn’t liked the brat. Their childhood had been scanty, they had been content with little and it had been annoying to watch a boy who had been given plenty and still acted as though it wasn’t enough. In any case, Misha hoped that Galina and Joni would get along well with each other.
”A penny for your thoughts?” Anna asked with gentle tone, waking him from his thoughts.
”I just thought about the past,” Misha replied. ”Childhood…” He shrugged. At times he wondered how different his life would have been if his parents were still alive. Losing them had happened so suddenly, too suddenly. ”Do you think that mother was happy with father?” Misha finally asked.
”You boys made her happy,” Anna replied avoiding the real question and Misha emptied his glass silently.
”Did Dima tell you that he applied to medical school?” Misha changed the subject and grandmother nodded.
”I believe they will accept him. Your mother wanted to move to England and study to be a nurse, when she was young.” Anna sighed. ”She was such a smart girl, you boys have inherited her intelligence.”
Misha looked at her thoughtfully, he felt like she had never really cared for his father, or perhaps she had only been disappointed for her daughter. As if sensing his thoughts, Anna glanced at him and smiled. ”Elena wouldn’t have traded you three for anything in this world, she never regretted having you.” She touched Misha’s hand. ”I too am so very proud of you boys.”
”Thanks, you are very important to us,” Misha smiled and grandmother patted his hand softly.
”You should go back to bed,” she said. ”You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow if you’re going to your uncle’s.” She continued and brought her attention back to her needle work.
”That’s true…” Misha nodded, got up and stepped closer to her to kiss her cheek.
”Good night, grandmother.”
”Good night, dear.”
Kasper sat in front of his computer, listening to the music that his band had recorded while browsing through some photographs from the time he had been in High school. How fast the time went by – he thought to himself and smiled at one goofy picture that he and Eva had taken of each other four years earlier. In one of the pictures, Eva sat on Dima’s lap on a couch smiling happily. Kasper stopped to look at the picture for a moment, he didn’t always understand Eva’s mood swings, only a moment ago she had pined over Dima, swearing that she couldn’t be happy if she wouldn’t get back in his arms and now she had found someone new. Eva had dated Aki for a couple of weeks and Kasper had only met him briefly that evening when the two of them had met, too briefly to form an opinion of him. That evening Aki was supposed to arrive with Eva to visit.
Kasper browsed the pictures forward and stopped again when he saw Joni in one picture with Dima, they were at some house party. In the photograph Joni smiled with a confident expression, holding a beer bottle in his hand and Kasper allowed his gaze to linger on the other for longer, there were a few more pictures with Joni in them and after noticing that he had spent several minutes gazing at these pictures, Kasper decided to get a grip and closed the folder. A couple of nights earlier he had been drinking alone in his apartment and gotten ’the brilliant’ idea of adding Joni as his facebook friend, he was quite certain that the other had refused and hadn’t dared to check until now, he must have been drinking more than just a few because he wasn’t completely certain if he had written something silly with his request.
But he wouldn’t know unless he checked. Sighing he logged in on his facebook account and to his surprise Joni had accepted him. Kasper smiled with relieved joy and for a moment he studied the front page of his old crush and the pictures he had added. ”Made it safely to Russia! And hopefully will later return home safely as well ;)” Was the latest update of Joni’s and many had liked it and Kasper decided to join the rest. He smiled stupidly and then cursed himself. Had it really been too long since he had been with anyone, considering he thought about Joni this much? He lowered his headphones, logged out of his account and decided to get a cold beer from the fridge.
Kasper slowly walked around in his apartment, beer bottle in his hands until he returned to his computer and decided to visit one gay page, he pondered about entering a chat room, but there was always a risk of talking to some fake, this had happened to him a couple of times earlier. Finally he ended up reading the conversations and sighed with boredom when seeing some of the starts, there always seemed to be some straight people who saw it as their business to come and lecture that being gay was a horrible sickness. It was amusing in a way, to wonder why these people even searched their way to these pages, why come there if it stressed them so much? Kasper tasted his drink and almost choked when seeing Joni’s name as one of the conversation starts; ”hot gay model Joni Lehto” and the person who had started the conversation had named himself as a fan.
Kasper couldn’t help but to click the conversation open, it started with the writer praising Joni’s appearance and the fact that he was openly gay, then there was a link to a fan-page that the starter had created for Joni, saying there were lots of pictures for everyone’s pleasure. Kasper read some of the responses, of course there were a few negative ones as always and few against gays with their childish comments, someone pondered if Joni took it up the ass and someone else responded as a sure knowledge that yes, the third one said he could only dream about someone like Joni, fourth saw it as his personal business to declare that Joni had ruined himself by being a Russian’s fuck toy, another then claimed that he could offer Joni a taste of national sausage if he simply hadn’t had a proper taste of it yet, someone then criticized all the idiot comments and said they were all just jealous, one even claimed having fallen in love with Joni at first sight, and the next person declared Joni and Misha the hottest couple of the year. Then there were a couple that dreamed of being in Joni’s shoes, as Misha’s boyfriend.
In his curiosity Kasper decided to check the fan-page, there were quite many pictures already added. There were also the underwear pictures that had been taken when Joni was younger and there were a couple of comments that hoped there would more pictures like that, even better if there would be nude pictures. The most resentful comment pondered if the copyright issues were settled concerning the site. Kasper felt his skin burning as he admired Joni’s underwear pictures, his heartbeat increased, his palms sweated and he felt like he was doing something forbidden.
At the same moment his phone rang, Kasper almost jumped on his seat and then hurried to answer. Eva inquired if they could bring anything when she would arrive with Aki. At that moment Kasper couldn’t think of anything but as he looked around in his apartment, he realized that he really had to start cleaning before Eva and Aki would arrive and as he started, he forgot completely that he hadn’t closed the page he had just been looking at.
An hour later the doorbell rang, Kasper dried his hands quickly after wiping some dust and then opened. ”Welcome, come in,” he invited and held the door open for the couple.
”Thank you,” Aki said and handed Kasper a bottle of wine. ”We thought we could enjoy a glass of wine together.” He said before helping Eva undress her coat.
”Thanks,” Kasper nodded and gave the man a closer look, he was tall and well-built, now that the man had his beard shaven, he looked okay, the kind of a man that Kasper had seen his friend dating before. ”Are you guys hungry? I could warm up some French bread in the oven or…” He paused to think. ”I didn’t remember to go to the store so I don’t have anything that special to offer, I’m sorry.”
”Oh it’s okay, we just came from a restaurant.” Eva giggled and glanced at Aki with an adoring smile.
”Yes, wine is perfectly enough.” Aki confirmed and after placing their coats on hangers they followed Kasper into his living room. The electric guitar was propped up visibly, the living room was furnished simply but with a good taste. The computer table had also been placed in the living room.
”I’ll just get us glasses from the kitchen,” Kasper said leaving the couple alone for a while. Aki looked around in the room while Eva sat down in front of the computer.
”I’ll just check my email, Kasper!” Eva said and didn’t wait for the reply before clicking the screen open. With confusion she gazed at the page that opened in front of her. ”Wha-” She started and frowned. Joni… Now that conceited male bimbo had created a web page for himself and his pictures. Kasper returned quickly back into the room after remembering that he might have left the page open and he wouldn’t have wanted to hear Eva’s rant about Joni. ”Kasper, why are you looking at his pictures?” Eeva asked. Aki stepped next to the woman and looked at the pictures, inwardly he was grinning but outside he managed to keep a neutral expression.
”I only happened to find a conversation online with a link to this page,” Kasper explained with a calm tone and poured wine into three glasses. Eva still gazed at the pictures, Aki stood behind her, his eyes on the screen as well.
”Did I see that boy with you that night we first met?” Aki asked and Eva frowned.
”Joni is a selfish prick,” she snorted and Kasper rolled his eyes; a gesture that didn’t go unnoticed by Aki as he accepted the wine glass from the other man.
”Give it a rest already, Eva,” Kasper sighed with a bored tone and the woman gave him a surprised look.
”Well, to create a page like this to show off your own sexy pictures sounds pretty self-centered to me!” Eva said. Kasper poured himself a glass of wine and sighed.
”Joni hasn’t created that page, someone else has…” He said and for a moment Eva was quiet. Kasper brought his glass to his lips and met with Aki’s gaze, the man smiled at him in a manner that seemed odd at first.
”Well, he’s still a prick,” Eva said clicking new pictures open. ”Kasper and Joni dated before.” She clarified for Aki before deciding to take a look what people had written in the guest book. ”And Joni behaved horribly to Kasper.”
”Eva!” Kasper snapped. ”I’ve already settled this with Joni and it’s not your business anymore, it’s not your job to spread it to others!” Kasper often managed to keep his cool with Eva, but lately and especially with the subject of Joni, it had been difficult.
”I can be trusted, Eva already told me that you’re gay and it’s alright, I have gay friends as well.”
”So you see, Kasper,” Eva smiled. ”Everything is alright,” she continued and closed the web page. ”Let’s forget about Joni, it’s time that you find yourself a new boyfriend!” Eva smiled. ”Then we could go out on double dates!” She grinned and decided to find a good online dating page where they could create a profile for Kasper.
”Eva, seriously, I can take care of my own love life,” Kasper sat on the couch and gave his friend a somewhat sour look as he tasted his wine. Aki decided to take a seat on a free armchair.
”Eva, you heard your friend, leave that computer and come and take a seat with us.” The man encouraged with a smile.
”Just a moment, I’ll just check my e-mail first.” Eva responded.
”I heard your music at the club, you play well.” Aki praised seeing it best to change the subject, perhaps later he could get more out of Kasper concerning Joni.
”Thank you, we do our best,” Kasper responded somewhat meekly. He had difficulties believing that Aki could stay in Eva’s life longer than anyone else that had come along after Dima. ”Eva said something about you working in investments?” He however decided to ask with politeness.
”Yes, I did that before, now I’ve taken a break. You know, been out to see the world, studied and thought of options, photographing has always interested me, but it’s difficult to make a fortune with it…” Kasper nodded slowly, twirled the glass in his hand before tasting. ”At my age, I suppose one should have a clear plan for the future already, but on the other hand I like to leave my options open.” The man shrugged and grinned.
”There are so many options that it’s difficult to choose,” Kasper agreed. Eva got up and moved to sit on Aki’s lap, the wine glass in her hands, wide smile on her lips.
”Kasper was accepted to law school, but he isn’t sure yet if he will accept the place.” Eva said.
”I’ve heard it’s pretty difficult to get in?” Aki wondered and Kasper nodded.
”Four years ago I thought I’d end up as a doctor, I applied a year ago but didn’t get in, now I thought to try my luck with law and to my surprise they’d take me in, I just don’t know if it is what I truly want… I applied to get some peace from my parents.”
”I understand the feeling.” Aki smiled.
After they emptied the wine bottle, Eva wanted to open up a second one and finally insisted that they should all go to a pub together. Aki seemed like a nice guy, considerate to Eva, still Kasper wondered about their relationship. He wanted to ask if Eva had truly gotten over Dima, if it was real what she felt for Aki, but he didn’t know how to ask. Perhaps he’d find a way later in the evening? Would the right opportunity present itself?
A/N: Please review , either on shout box or the questbook where the review link leads to 🙂
Web published: January 19th, 2013.
My Secret Shore