The musky smell of leather and dark timber and old books didn’t really hit us on our first couple of visits to Harry’s office, but it certainly did the next time around.
I don’t know why, but it reminded me of that heady, addictive, intoxicating smell that I had first inhaled in Matt’s flat, long before I had moved in. That manly fragrance, which I loved so much, like a mixture of sweat and sex.
As we sank once more into the deep leather chairs I almost had to stifle a giggle, as the image flashed through my mind of Harry beating himself off in his office, or bending his secretary over the leather covered desk.
Matt threw me an inquiring glance, as if to say, ‘What’s your problem’, but I quickly looked away from him and tried to think about something else.
Harry lowered himself into his own chair, on the other side of the wide desk, and just looked at us over the rims of his glasses, which were perched precariously on the end of his nose. His head moved from one of us to the other.
‘Well,’ he finally said, then asked, ‘Any word on the phone calls?’
We both just shook our heads.
‘Hmmm. Well, we better get down to it. Now, Matt, you know that your court date will only be a few weeks away, so you will need to be able to take that day off work.’
Matt nodded. ‘I’ve already arranged for that,’ he said quietly.
‘Good,’ Harry said. ‘How about you, Luke?’
‘I’ll be there, too.’
‘That’s good. From my experience, it doesn’t matter how a case goes, it is important for someone to be there to support whoever it is who is appearing there. There’s nothing worse than having to sit through that without having anyone there beside you.’
He nodded at that, apparently satisfied, then picked up a manilla folder from a pile that were sitting on his desk.
It was folded in half and had a pink ribbon around it, which he quickly removed, then, after pushing his glasses back into their proper place, he opened the folder and started to silently read.
Matt and I just looked at each other, not really knowing what we should be doing. We just sat.
After a few minutes Harry finally looked back up at us, once again pushing his gold frame glasses down onto the end of his nose and peering out at us over the top of them.
‘What I asked you to come in for was to try and work out our plan of action for court day,’ he said.
‘What do you mean ‘plan of action’?’ Matt asked.
‘Well, before we walk into the court room, we need to know exactly what we are going to do.’
‘I don’t really follow. I mean, you are going to get me off this thing. Aren’t you?’
‘I certainly hope so, and I’ll be doing everything I can to ensure that that is exactly what happens, but you must understand that there are never any guarantees. Right now, however, we need to discuss what your options are and how you want to plead. I’m going to lay the cards on the table for you, regarding your options.’
‘Which are?’ Matt aksed.
‘Well, basically this. We can fight it and plead not guilty, or we can simply plead guilty and . . .’
‘What are you saying?’ I demanded, jumping in before he could even finish. ‘That he is actually guilty? He didn’t do it for fuck sake.’
‘Please, just settle down, Luke,’ Harry tried to say.
I looked at Matt. He simply looked shell-shocked.
‘No, I won’t settle down,’ I said. ‘We’re talking about him ending up with a record here. Or worse.’
‘Can I just explain something? Please?’
Matt reached across and took my hand, trying to drag me back to my seat.
‘Just hear him out, please,’ he almost whispered.
I sat back in my chair, almost pouting.
‘Thank you,’ Harry said. ‘What I wanted to say is that we need to leave our options open. What will happen is this. When we go into the court room, and the case is called before the magistrate, we will be asked to enter a plea.’
We both nodded. That much we both knew from watching countless police dramas on television.
‘Basically we need to work out how you are going to plea, to which I would assume you will say not guilty; however there are a few things you will need to think about before you decide that. If you plead not guilty, then it actually goes to a trial, and if you are then found guilty, the judge will most likely give you the maximum possible sentence. Do you understand that?’
Once again, we nodded.
‘Now, I know that I told you that it’s not a jailable offence, and in ninety nine cases out of one hundred it wouldn’t be, but in a case where a not guilty plea is entered and then the case is lost when it goes to trial, well, let’s just say that judges tend to treat things a bit more harshly than they otherwise would have if a guilty plea had been entered straight away. A judge could quite feasibly impose a jail sentence of some kind.’
We just looked at each other, and both of our jaws dropped. The fear, which I thought had finally left Matt, suddenly returned. I could see it in his eyes and in his cheeks, which had drained of all blood.
He gripped my hand tightly.
‘What is the worst case scenario?’ I finally asked Harry, trying to control the shock and anger that was no doubt in my voice.
‘Possibly three months,’ Harry finally answered.
POW. We both suddenly felt like we had been punched in the stomach.
Matt was too shocked to speak. I could feel his whole body trembling.
‘And the alternatives?’ I asked.
‘Please don’t this is cowardice on my part, because I will fight tooth and nail if it is needed, but if you do plead guilty, Matt, it would most likely be over, right then and there. They tend to go much easier if someone pleads guilty and the case is over and done with. The judge would probably give you a small fine and a Good Behaviour Bond and that would be it. You would be able to get on with your life and put it behind you.’
‘But he would have a record?’ I asked.
I knelt down in front of Matt and looked into his eyes. The frightened Matt, the one that I thought we had banished at Christmas time, was back.
‘But, I didn’t do it,’ he whispered to me.
‘I know, mate,’ I said to him, giving him a hug.
‘Boys,’ Harry said from behind me. ‘I want you to go home and talk it over, all right? This affects both of you, in one way or another. So you both need to sit down and discuss it. And Matt, talk it over with your parents as well. Okay?’
I stood up and faced him.
‘What if he pleads not guilty. How do we get him off?’ I asked.
‘We simply need to prove that Tony is lying,’ he answered.
I turned back around to face Matt, and as I did I bumped a pile of those manilla folders that were sitting on Harry’s desk. Glancing down at them I saw, neatly written in bold black letters, the name ‘Solomon, T.’
I looked up at Harry, who quickly gathered the files up.
‘Are you handling dad’s case, as well?’ I asked.
‘I can’t discuss that, Luke,’ he answered.
‘Has he been to court yet?’
He let out a sigh. ‘He goes the same day as Matt,’ he finally answered.
I looked at the pile of folders in his hands.
‘Can’t I ask them to drop the charges, or something, now that we’ve sorted everything out?’ I asked.
He shook his head. ‘It doesn’t work that way in Australia, Luke. It’s not like Murphy’s Law or The Practice or any of those high powered legal shows you see on television. Once a charge has been laid, only the police can drop them. Or the magistrate can dismiss them.’
‘Oh,’ I said.
‘Go on, take Matt home, Luke. I’ll ring you one day next week to make another time to come and see me, all right?’
I nodded, and got Matt to his feet.
‘Come on, mate,’ I said. ‘Let’s get out of here.’
We walked over to the door and opened it, then just as we about to leave, Harry said something else, for me this time.
‘And Luke, don’t worry too much about your father, okay? He’ll be all right as well.’
‘Thank you,’ I said, then nodded and closed the door behind me.
* * *
Thankfully, I had only had to work half a day today, so I had finished at noon, in time to meet Matt and go to Harry’s. I had also rung Dwayne and DJ that morning from work, to let them know we wouldn’t be able to make it for lunch, as we had to go and see Harry.
‘Come afterwards, if you like,’ Dwayne responded.
‘All right, we’ll see how long we are there for,’ I said.
As I looked at Matt now, as we walked, rather unsteadily, towards where we had parked the car, I thought that there was no way he would be up to having lunch with friends. He soon proved me wrong, however.
‘Are we still going over to Dwayne’s?’ he asked me, as he reached into his pocket and brought out the car keys, which he than passed to me.
‘Do you feel up to it?’ I asked.
He managed a slight smile. ‘Yeah, I’ll be okay. We can’t disappoint the chef.’ I chuckled, then he added, ‘I think I might call my boss and tell him I won’t be back this afternoon, though.’
‘Fair enough,’ I said.
As we walked along the street he dug his mobile phone out and pressed the numbers.
‘It’s me,’ I heard him say. ‘‘Well, it could have been better . . . Would you mind if I took the rest of the afternoon off? . . . Thanks. I’ll see you in the morning . . . Yeah, bye.’
He flipped the phone shut and put it back in his pocket.
Matt had told me that his boss had sat him down and made him tell him everything that had happened, which Matt had reluctantly done. Apparently I had also been mentioned in the discussion and he had told his boss all about our relationship as well. His boss had been really supportive and offered to help in any way he could, and afterwards, Matt said, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders, as if sharing his secrets had also shared the burden.
‘Was he okay?’ I asked him.
‘Yeah, he was fine,’ Matt answered. ‘Come on. Let’s go see how bad a cook this guy is.’
By the time we had reached the car, Matt was returning to his old self again. It seemed that his recovery time was getting better all the time, although I was still hugely worried about what was now hanging over his head and the decision that must now be made.
I unlocked the car and got in, then reached over and unlocked the passenger side door as well. He climbed in, then shut the door and just sat there.
‘Are you all right?’ I asked him.
‘Yeah,’ he answered. ‘I think so.’
‘We can talk about it later, okay?’
He gave me a brief smile, then reached across and put his hand on mine.
‘I can’t tell you how good it was to have you with me in there,’ he said. ‘Thank you.’
‘Thank me later,’ I said to him. ‘Tonight.’
He caught my drift, then starting grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat.
‘Definitely,’ he said.
I laughed, then started the car and backed it out of the parking space.
* * *
When we arrived at Dwayne’s place we found them out the back with the gas barbeque going. It was only about half an hour later than we had originally told them, so it wasn’t too bad, and as we walked up their driveway we were met by the fragrance of sizzling meat and onions.
‘Beats a sandwich down town,’ Matt said to me.
‘It’ll have to be good to be better than one of Con’s burgers, though,’ I answered.
There wasn’t much of a back yard, more of a little courtyard really, but it gave Dwayne enough room for what he needed. The flat itself had two bedrooms, one of which was slept in, with the other being his office, plus a living area and kitchen and bathroom. About what you would expect for most living quarters, I suppose.
‘Well, better late than never,’ DJ teased, as we reached them.
Dwyane threw him a black look, as if to say that was enough, back off, and he quickly shut up.
‘Things to do, and all that,’ I said to him.
‘Actually, you timed it perfectly,’ Dwayne said. ‘It’s almost ready. Home made burgers. Better than Con’s.’
‘We’ll see,’ Matt answered.
DJ busied himself putting the burgers together, with a little help from Hoss, then passed a plate to each of us. They looked good, and they smelt great, but somehow we were still having trouble getting used to the idea that DJ could actually be useful.
We all sat down around an outdoor table and ate in the sun. It was a beautiful day and the food was actually great, and as neither Matt nor I were going back to work today, we relaxed and enjoyed the afternoon.
‘So, your exam results should be out soon, shouldn’t they?’ Dwayne asked as he poured us all some drinks.
‘Yeah, Friday, we think,’ I answered.
‘Made any special plans for the day? Are you looking forward to it?’
Matt, Hoss and DJ all shook their heads.
‘Yes and no,’ I answered him. ‘I’m nervous though. As for plans, well, Matt and I thought we might go out and celebrate somewhere, just us.’
‘What have you got to be nervous about?’ DJ asked. ‘We all know you might not be the brightest kid in the class, but you won’t be far off it.’
‘I wish that were true,’ I said to him. ‘I just want to get a good enough result to get into the Computer science courses at a decent university.’
‘I don’t think you’ll have any problems there,’ he answered.
‘What about you, DJ?’ Matt asked.
‘Doesn’t really matter what I get,’ he answered.
‘What makes you say that?’ I asked him.
‘I’m going to do some work with Dwayne,’ he answered, with a grin. ‘Although he’s told me I’ve got to go and do some courses somewhere, like at the tech college or something, just so I’ve got some sort of qualifications.’
‘That sounds reasonable,’ Matt answered.
‘You think so?’
‘You think it isn’t?’ asked Matt.
DJ just grinned.
‘All I suggested to him was to do some of those short one semester courses, that are only part time anyway, so he’s at least got something in his hip pocket that says he knows what he’s doing and can fall back on,’ Dwayne said. ‘It’s not that I’m going to kick him out or anything, but you just never know what is around the corner. Plus I’m going to send him to a few specialised courses for the various computer programs that I use.’
‘Wow,’ I said. ‘Sounds like you guys have got it all figured.’
‘We’re getting there,’ Dwayne replied.
‘How about you, Hoss?’ Matt asked him. ‘You’ve been pretty quiet today. What are you going to do?’
He shrugged. ‘I really don’t know.’
‘Don’t worry about him,’ DJ said. ‘His mind has been elsewhere for the past couple of days. Hasn’t it Hoss?’
Hoss simply blushed when he said this.
Matt and I looked at each other. There was something we were missing, but I guess we’d be let in on it when the time was right.
‘What do you mean by that?’ Matt asked DJ.
‘Ask him,’ he said, motioning towards Hoss.
At this point Hoss blushed again, but he got out of having to answer anything by managing to make himself scarce, gathering up all the dirty plates and taking them inside to the kitchen. Dwayne got up and gave him a hand.
‘What was that all about? Did we miss something?’ Matt asked quietly, after Hoss and Dwayne had gone inside.
DJ chuckled to himself. ‘You remember on the weekend when I threw the bucket of water over you guys?’ he asked.
We both nodded.
‘You have no idea how hot that got him.’
‘What do you mean. Hoss, hot at that?’ I asked.
‘Ummm . . . hot at Phil, I think. He’s been talking about him all week.’
‘The sly dog,’ Matt said. ‘I thought you said he grew out of that years ago? We’ll just have to see what we can do about it then.’
‘Maybe he hasn’t,’ DJ answered, with a chuckle. ‘Grown out of it, I mean.’
At that point both Dwayne and Hoss returned. We didn’t say anything to him, but I could see the cogs ticking over inside Matt’s head.
At least it gave him something else to think about for a while, other than an upcoming court case.
* * *
That night, when we finally made it back home, after agreeing that we would meet them all for lunch at our place on Saturday, Matt and I lay down on our bed and talked about what Harry had said to us earlier in the day.
It had him worried, I can tell you that much, as the threat of jail would be enough to rattle anyone.
‘It’s not going to happen,’ I kept saying, trying to reassure him.
‘But you heard what Harry said, didn’t you?’
‘He also said that if we get Tony to tell the truth that you would be cleared. Home free.’
‘And how do we do that?’ he asked.
‘It’ll happen. He’s bound to crumble.’
‘How can you be so sure?’
‘I can’t be, really. But I just feel that he’ll come clean. Somehow we’ve got to put some pressure on him to make sure he does.’
‘We can’t do that. We’re not allowed to contact him or go near him; it was one of the conditions of my being bailed after they charged me.’
‘I know. But somehow we have to. Besides, it’s only you that isn’t allowed to talk to him, isn’t it?’
‘That’s dangerous territory, Luke.’
‘Yeah, I know, and I really have no intention of contacting him, but there has to be a way to get him to ‘fess up.’
We said nothing more on that subject after that, as we were lying on the bed, holding on to each other.
Matt leaned towards me and kissed me, then ran his fingers through my hair.
I kissed him back, and no more words were spoken until later that night, when we got up and got dressed and decided to make some dinner.
* * *
The rest of the week dragged on. Friday, and the mail delivery, couldn’t come quickly enough.
When the day did arrive, however, it was just another day. We both went off to work, deliberately wanting to make sure we weren’t home when the mail man arrived.
My results would be delivered to mum and dad’s home, as that was the address the school board had down for me, while Matt’s would be delivered to his parents’ place.
Despite the howls of protest, we both told our parents that we didn’t want to even see the envelopes until we came to pick them up after work.
‘We just want it to be us when we open them,’ we told them all. ‘Then we’ll tell you. We promise.’
When I met Matt after work we were both a little on edge.
‘Mum rang and told me it was there,’ he said to me as we got into the car.
‘Mine too,’ I answered.
‘Crunch time, huh?’
I nodded. ‘It’s now or never.’
We got into the car and headed home, first calling by my parents’ house to pick up my envelope.
They reluctantly handed it over, but not without putting up a bit of a fight, as they were so eager to find out themselves. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had of opened it already, but upon close inspection I found it was still in one piece.
‘I promise we’ll ring you as soon as we open them,’ I said to them as we were leaving, giving mum a kiss on the cheek.
‘Well, just make sure you do,’ my father replied. ‘After putting you through school for twelve years, it would be nice to know if it was worth it,’ he added with a smile.
‘I’ll call you,’ I said, then got in the car and left.
As we drove towards home I looked down at what I held in my hands. Twelve years of school were behind me, and I was now holding my future. I knew that so much was resting on what was inside this plain looking envelope, but at the same time I knew that even if I didn’t do as well as I hoped, I still had Matt, and in spite of all the problems going on around us, we did have a future. Together.
Matt looked across and saw me staring intently at the envelope.
‘It’s amazing that that little envelope represents one part of our lives having now finished, doesn’t it?’ he asked.
I looked up at him and nodded. ‘And another part of our lives is about to start,’ I said to him.
He smiled. ‘Shitless.’
When we reached home Matt walked up to his parents’ house to pick up his envelope, while I went inside to have a shower and get changed before we went out.
Matt came back down to the flat while I was in the shower. I didn’t hear him come inside, the first I knew of it was when he pulled back the shower curtain and I saw him standing there, naked and gorgeous.
‘You coming in?’ I asked him.
He didn’t need to be asked twice.
* * *
For our celebratory dinner I had picked a small Italian restaurant that I had been to, with my family, a couple of times before. It was called Antonio’s, and we sat at a small table in a secluded part of the restaurant, where we knew that we couldn’t be stared at by too many patrons.
The waitress came over and placed a menu in front of each of us, then asked if we would like to order any drinks.
‘I’ll have a Scotch and Dry, thank you,’ I said, while Matt ordered a beer.
‘Are you both old enough?’ she asked.
‘Would you like to see our driver’s licences?’
She looked at us again for a moment, then shook her head and left us, saying, ‘No, I don’t think so.’
It was still early, so thankfully, there weren’t too many people in the restaurant. We propped our precious envelopes up against the vase that was on our table, and we both stared at them.
Our drinks arrived a few minutes later, while we were still staring at them.
‘Would you like to order yet?’ the waitress asked.
‘In a little while, thanks,’ I answered.
She nodded and was about to leave when she noticed the envelopes on the table.
‘Exam results?’ she asked. I nodded, then she went on her way.
A young couple came in and sat down at a table not too far away from us. They looked at us in that funny way that we were just now getting used to. You could quite literally see their eyes asking the question. The woman managed a smile, to which I smiled back. Then I watched as she whispered something to her partner.
‘We’ll have to open them eventually,’ Matt said to me, bringing my attention back to the matter at hand.
‘Well,’ I said, as I lifted my glass and held it in front of me. ‘Now is as good a time as any.’
Matt picked up his beer and we clinked our glasses together.
‘Here’s to what we’ve finished,’ I said to him.
‘And here’s to what we’re starting,’ he responded.
We clinked the glasses again and each took a sip.
After putting our glasses back on the table, each of us picked up our own envelope, carefully turning it over in our hand, wondering just what news it contained.
I picked up the knife from the table, then carefully slit the envelope open. I watched as Matt did the exact same thing.
‘Well, it’s now or never,’ I said.
‘Yeah,’ he answered.
Then we both reached in and pulled out the forms they contained.
I quickly read through the forms that came out of my envelope. I wasn’t too interested in what the individual subject scores were, all I wanted to see was the final TER Score, the figure that would determine what course I ended up in, and where.
When I finally found it at the bottom of the page my heart skipped a beat, then I felt myself break out into a big smile. I was about to float away and do some back flips or handstands or triple jumps or something, when I looked up at Matt and saw him grinning too.
‘How did you go?’ I asked.
He handed me his results, so I passed mine over to him. I quickly found his TER Score and my heart soared for him. It was way over what he had expected to get.
When his eyes settled on my score, they almost jumped out of his skull. Mine was way over what I had expected, or needed, as well.
Once again we clinked our glasses as we toasted ourselves. ‘To us,’ I said.
Little did we realise but the few people that were around us were watching us closely, including our waitress.
‘Well?’ the waitress enquired, from where she stood at the nearby bar. ‘How did you both go?’
It wasn’t really any of her business, but I gave her the thumbs up sign anyway. She beamed back at us, and gave me the same sign in return.
A few minutes later the waitress brought another round of drinks over to our table.
‘On the house,’ she whispered, as she put them down in front of us. ‘Congratulations. Just don’t tell the boss.’
I laughed. For some strange reason I even wanted to kiss her, but then thought better of it. Instead I simply thanked her.
Matt soon fished his trusty phone out of his pocket and handed it to me.
‘Ring your folks,’ he said.
I took it with a smile and then punched in the numbers for mum and dad. They answered on the second ring.
‘Hello, Mum,’ I said. ‘92.5.’
Matt smiled when he heard the shriek of delight that was so loud it carried to him. I even had to hold the phone about six inches away from my ear.
Mum and dad both congratulated me, then asked how Matt did.
‘Way better than we had hoped,’ I answered.
I disconnected after that and passed the phone back to him.
‘Your turn,’ I said to him.
He quickly punched in the numbers for his parent’s home.
‘It’s me,’ he said. ‘Good . . . Real good . . . Way better than I expected.’
He looked at me as they were talking to him, then smiled.
‘Yeah, Luke did heaps better than he had expected, too.’
When he disconnected and put the phone back in his pocket, I raised my glass once more and clinked our glasses together again.
Nothing more was said. Nothing needed to be said. We just grinned at each other, before taking a sip from our drinks.
When we put our glasses down Matt left his hand on the table, stretched out towards me. Without any thought I reached across and placed mine on top of his.
He smiled at me and I smiled back, then I glanced around the room.
The couple sitting beside us were both staring at us in disbelief, or should I say disgust? My first reaction was to pull my hand away, but I just left it there. I decided that I just didn’t care any more.
* * *
It was quite a cool night when we eventually left the restaurant. The couple who had been sitting beside us kept giving us funny looks all night, but like I said earlier, I no longer cared.
We only ended up having those couple of drinks, then everything after that was either Coca-Cola or orange juice, so there were no problems about our driving home after our night out.
We walked slowly back to the car, and when we were there Matt made a point of checking around it. No vandalism this time, which was a huge relief to him, as he still hadn’t finished the paint job off from the last little episode.
Then we drove steadily towards home, basking in the afterglow of spending a wonderful evening together, in public.
‘So, what do we do now we have our results?’ Matt asked as we cruised along.
‘I guess it’s time I started applying for positions at a university,’ I answered.
‘Yeah, but which one?’
I had to stop then, and think for a minute. I know we had discussed it previously, but now that it was almost upon us, I finally realised what it would mean. We would be moving away. We would be leaving our families. Our homes. Our friends. And what about Matt? What if he didn’t want to leave his job?
A million questions suddenly started running through my mind.
Maybe it was the couple of Scotches I’d had to drink, I don’t know, but all of a sudden the future became an uncertain jumble of paths which went off in all sorts of different directions, and I didn’t know which one to take.
‘Are you all right?’ I finally heard Matt ask me, bringing me back to the present. ‘You look like you’ve gone all white.’
‘Huh? Ummm, sorry, I think I just went AWOL there for a moment.’
‘What were you thinking about?’
‘The future. And what road we should be taking,’ I answered.
‘That’s easy,’ he said.
‘Yeah. We just take the road that takes us away from here. It doesn’t matter where it leads us to, so long as it is leading us somewhere. Together.’
‘You seem so sure.’
He smiled. ‘I am.’
Suddenly, Matt swerved off the main road and took the Lookout Road, accelerating quickly through the edge of the town and then following the winding road to the summit.
‘What’s this for?’ I asked him.
‘Just thought it would be a nice view tonight. And it would be somewhere nice we could talk,’ he answered.
When we reached the top we pulled up in the car park, with the bumper almost against the guard rail, then we got out and sat on the bonnet of the car, with our feet on the railing in front if us. It was quiet and there was no one else about; the only sounds we heard were those that were drifting up from the town below us, and the occasional night bird somewhere away in the bush.
After we had sat in the quiet for a few minutes, Matt left his seat beside me then reached back into the car and turned the key, bringing the radio back to life, and letting the music waft out into the night. Then he returned to me and for a while we just sat there and listened to the night program, which was a mixture of easy listening music, that wasn’t real hard to take. As we sat in the quiet, they played some old sixties stuff, some country, and even a bit of newer soft rock stuff thrown in for good measure.
As we listened, with my head on Matt’s shoulder and his arm draped around mine, we watched the city lights shimmering far below us. We also watched the lights of vehicles coming into and going out of the town, along the highway, which stretched far away into the distance, both to our right and our left.
‘Well, there it is,’ Matt said, as he pointed to the scene below us.
‘There what is?’ I asked him, slightly confused.
‘The road to our future,’ he replied. ‘We can go that way, or we can go that way,’ he said, pointing to each line of headlights that stretched off for miles in both directions.
‘Which way do you want to go?’ I asked him.
He laughed, then said, ‘Which ever way you want to take me.’
I slid down off the bonnet of the car, and stood directly in front of him, then cupping his face in my hands, I drew him to me and kissed him.
‘What was that for?’ he whispered, once our lips broke contact.
‘Just for being you,’ I answered.
I kissed him again, and then, just as Bryan Adams and Everything I Do came on the radio, he too slid down off the bonnet of the car and into my arms, where we both stood, embracing each other and shuffling slowly around to the music.
‘Look into my eyes…’
‘You will see…’
‘What you mean to me…’
‘Search you heart…’
‘Search your soul…’
‘And when you find me there…’
‘You’ll search no more…’
‘Don’t tell me it’s not worth trying for…’
‘You can’t tell me…’
‘It’s not worth dying for…’
‘You know its true…’
‘Everything I do…’
‘I do it for you…’
‘Look into your heart…’
‘You will find…’
‘There’s nothing there to hide…’
‘Take me as I am…’
‘Take my life…’
‘I will give it all…’
‘I would sacrifice…’
‘Don’t tell me…’
‘It’s not worth fighting for…’
‘I can’t help it…’
‘There’s nothing I want more…’
‘You know its true…’
‘Everything I do…’
‘I do it for you…’
‘There’s no love…’
‘Like your love…’
‘And the world could…’
‘Not give more love…’
‘There’s no where…’
‘Unless you’re there…’
‘All the time…’
‘All the way…’
‘Just listen to your heart baby…’
‘Oh you can’t tell me…’
‘It’s not worth trying for…’
‘I can’t help it…’
‘There’s nothing I want more…’
‘Yeah, I would fight for you…’
‘I’d lie for you…’
‘Walk a while for you…’
‘Yeah I’d die for you…’
‘You know it’s true…’
‘Everything I do…’
‘Ooooh, I do it for you…’
As the song finished, and we separated briefly, he leaned in and kissed me again.
‘God, I love you,’ he whispered.
‘And I love you right back,’ I whispered back to him, then kissed him again.
* * *
From somewhere below us came the screech of car tyres, and as we looked down towards the bottom of the mountain, we could see a pair of headlights coming up the road towards us.
Even though they were still a long way away, we knew it was time to leave, so we got back into the car and started it up. Just as the car load of hoodlums came through the lookout gates, we were going out of them, heading home.
When we finally reached our flat it was quite late, but there were still lights on at Matt’s parents’ house so we walked on up there to see them.
‘Did you have a nice night boys?’ Matt’s mother asked us as we walked in through the back door. She was sitting alone in their lounge room, already dressed for bed in her nightie and dressing gown, watching a late night movie on television.
We both leant down and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
‘Great, mum,’ Matt answered. ‘You?’
‘Quiet,’ she answered.
‘Dad gone to bed already?’ Matt asked.
She nodded. ‘Okay, now young man, where is it? Don’t keep me waiting any longer.’
Matt grinned at her, then pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, which he handed to his mother.
As she read through the results a huge smile came across her face, and I could see now where Matt got his smile from.
‘I’m so happy for you darling. This is wonderful,’ she told him, giving him a big hug and a kiss. ‘Now, what about you Luke? How did you go?’
‘All right,’ I answered, rather modestly.
She playfully snapped her fingers at me and said, ‘Come on, hand it over,’ which I did.
‘Wow,’ she said, as she read through my results. ‘Seems like you’ve caught a smart one here, Matt.’
Matt said, ‘Yeah, I know.’
I blushed, then his mother came and gave me a big hug too.
I rolled my eyes at Matt, in a sign of exasperation, to which he just laughed.
‘Come on, mum. At least leave him breathing for me,’ he said.
She broke away from me and then started wiping the tears from her eyes, using the sleeves of her dressing gown.
‘Hey, come on mum. What’s this?’ Matt asked, coming to her and giving her a hug.
‘I . . . I don’t know,’ she answered. ‘It’s just that, well, you’re not my baby boy anymore.’
‘I haven’t been your baby boy for about 16 years mum.’
‘I know,’ she said. ‘But I’ll always think of you as my little baby boy. Always.’
Matt laughed. ‘Well, right now your baby boy wants to go to bed. So we’ll see you in the morning, all right?’
‘Yes, boys. Goodnight,’ she answered.
‘Goodnight,’ I said to her as well.
We left her then, and walked the short distance down to our flat. Within a few short minutes we were in bed, curled up in each other’s arms, like the two babies we were once were.
* * *
When I woke up the following morning, with sunshine streaming in through the windows and still feeling tired after our late night out, I reached across to his side of the bed and found that Matt wasn’t there; he was already up and about.
Propping myself up on one elbow I looked through the open doorway into the kitchen, where I found him sitting at the table wearing only those white boxer shorts with red hearts. He was casually flipping through one of his car magazines and sipping on a cup of coffee, and as always, he was looking gorgeous.
The morning sunlight, coming in through the kitchen window, fell across him and his body almost shimmered. I instantly felt myself growing hard at the sight of him.
Just then he looked up and noticed my staring at him. He smiled, and I smiled back.
‘Good morning, sleepy head,’ he said to me.
‘Morning,’ I replied. ‘You’re up a little early this morning?’
‘Lots to do,’ he answered, as he got up from the table and walked over to me, sitting down on the edge of the bed and facing me, with his cup of coffee in his hand and his leg propped up on the bed.
‘Are you trying to give me a hint or something?’ I asked him, nodding towards his groin, where I had a clear view, straight up the legs of his boxers, of his beautiful manhood.
He looked down and just smiled, but made no effort to cover himself up . . . thankfully!
‘So, what is going to keep you so busy today?’ I asked him, as I took his cup from his hand and drank a mouthful of his coffee.
‘The car. I want to try and do a couple of coats today if I can, then finish it off tomorrow.’
‘Cool. Want some help?’
‘If you like. That would be great, but don’t forget the guys are coming for lunch today,’ he answered, running his hand through my hair as he said it.
‘No, I hadn’t forgotten, but there’s something I want to do first though,’ I told him.
‘What’s that?’ he asked with a smile.
‘I’ll show you,’ I answered, taking the cup from him and setting it on the bedside table, then sliding my hand up the inside of the leg of his boxers until I found what it was I was after.
He leant down over me and kissed me, and it wasn’t until mid-morning before we were able to get out of bed, after we were disturbed by someone knocking on the door.
* * *
‘Hang on, hang on,’ Matt said as he quickly pulled his boxers and a t-shirt on to go and answer the door, then asking, ‘Who is it?’
‘Only me,’ he answered.
It was Hoss.
I stayed where I was in bed, carefully pulling the sheet up to cover at least part of myself.
‘I hope I’m not interrupting anything,’ he asked, as Matt let him in.
‘Well, as a matter of fact . . .’ Matt started to say to him, but by this time Hoss was already at the bedroom doorway, where he suddenly stopped, and just stared at me, seeing only a sheet covering me from the waist down.
I noticed his eyes, as the traveled from my head all the way down my body, then back upwards again, before finally resting on my groin, where the sheet was unmistakably tented out by my erection.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked him.
‘Ummm . . .’ was all he managed to say, before turning away from me, blushing like a new bride.
Matt and I both laughed.
‘What’s your problem? You’ve seen us both naked before. Remember? In the showers, at school. You’ve even seen us both with boners, and that wasn’t that long ago, you know,’ Matt said to him.
‘Yeah, but it didn’t t . . .’ he started to say, but stopped.
‘Didn’t what?’ I asked, having now climbed out of bed and wrapped the sheet around me, to stand beside Matt.
‘Nothing,’ he answered, turning slowly around to face us.
‘That’s no good,’ Matt said to him. ‘It didn’t what?’
‘Come on guys, just leave it will you?’
‘Sorry, no can do. Didn’t what?’ I asked again.
He looked from one of to the other, with that same look of fear I had seen in Matt not so long ago.
‘All right, all right,’ he finally said. ‘It didn’t turn me on then. There. I’ve said it. Happy now?’
Matt leant forward and tried to hug him.
‘What the fuck,’ Hoss said, pushing him away from him.
‘Relax, you great lump,’ Matt said. ‘DJ told us about you getting turned on by out little game last weekend.’
‘He what?’ Hoss asked. ‘That bastard!’
‘It’s okay,’ I tried to say to him, but he just glared furiously at us both for a moment, before storming out the door, slamming it shut behind him.
Matt and I just looked at each other then Matt raced out of the flat after him.
‘Wait up a sec,’ I heard him call out, then a couple of minutes later they both came back inside, with Matt looking flustered and Hoss looking severely embarrassed.
Hoss just plonked himself down in one of the chairs, looking worried and scared and embarrassed, not really knowing what to say.
I went into the bedroom, where I dropped the sheet and then pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt as well, before rejoining them in the kitchen.
‘Don’t worry about it,’ Matt was saying to him. ‘We’ve all been through that already. We know what it’s like and how you’re feeling. And we don’t care.’
Hoss remained silent. Apparently unconvinced.
‘So, have you actually done anything with a guy yet?’ Matt asked cautiously.
‘Well . . . kind of,’ came the reply.
‘And did you like it?’ I asked.
He just crossed his arms and remained silent, intently looking at what I think was a scuff mark on his shoe.
I took that as being a yes, knowing full well that he and DJ had once fooled around.
‘There’s nothing wrong with it, if that’s what you want,’ Matt said to him.
‘Then why is it that everyone is so against it?’ he asked.
‘That’s just the way they are, or have been brought up,’ Matt answered. ‘It doesn’t mean that they are right, or they are wrong, it’s just that it’s all they know.’
‘I don’t think I would be able to go through anything like what Luke went through. I think it would kill me.’
‘It wasn’t that hard,’ I said to him. ‘The worst of it was having my parents find out. That hurt more than the broken ribs. But now they understand, well, we are probably closer than we have ever been.’
He looked up at me just as I said that, and managed a smile. I thought that he was about to say something else, but just at that moment DJ decided it was time he made an entrance.
‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ he asked.
‘Not much,’ Matt answered. ‘What are you up to?’
To be continued . . .
Everything I Do by Bryan Adams
Writers: Philip John Wandscher, Bryan Adams, Michael Arnold Kamen, Robert John Lange, Ryan Adams, Jeffrey Lorber
Copyright: Bug Music, Emi Blackwood Music Inc., 2855 Music, Fintage Pub & Coll B Usa O.B.O. Zachary Creek Music, Almo Music Corp., Out-of-pocket-prod. Ltd., Kuzu Music, Fintage House Music Usa O.B.O. Miracle Creek Music