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A Different Love - 44. Chapter 44

Despite my misgivings of the previous night, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with my alarm clock at all and its loud ringing made my sleep encrusted eyes slowly begin to open. My hand patted the bedside cabinet in a vain attempt to turn it off before my fuddled brain remembered it was lying on the floor. Its continuous ringing reverberated inside my head and even the pillow hastily pulled down over my ears failed to completely eradicate the irritating noise. Suddenly it stopped ringing altogether and a heavenly silence descended on the room. The winter sun was streaming in through a gap in the curtains and dappled sunlight played across the ceiling. The curtains danced slowly in the breeze from the small open window, and I couldn't understand why on earth I'd left it open. Shivering slightly, I pulled the covers up to my chin, vaguely wondering what time it was. Trying to remember when I’d last set the alarm clock was completely hopeless and I immediately dismissed the thought from my mind as far too difficult to process. Instead, the realisation of what had happened with Nathan the previous day came flooding back and I tried in vain to shut out the depressing and unwanted thoughts. Despite my determination to ignore them, the expression of derision on his face the last time I’d seen him just wouldn’t go away and I was finally forced to acknowledge the dismal reality. Had I finally managed to screw up the best relationship I’d ever had?

From the position of the sun through the curtains it had to be late morning and I hastily tried to turn over, shying away from the dazzling sunlight. My head was still hurting from falling out of bed and I tentatively felt around it until my fingers found a hard lump at the side. Luckily it wasn’t bleeding,and I slowly struggled out of bed, unableto force myself to sleep any longer. Due to the tablets that the doctor had prescribed, the pain in my hand and ribs had eased a little and I managed to get dressed, finding it a little easier than I thought it would be.

The wonderful aroma of baking bread that wafted down the hallway from the kitchen made me realise how hungry I was and in what seemed like no time at all I was standing in the kitchen doorway, watching mum remove two freshly baked loaves from the oven. As people who are being observed often do, she suddenly realised that someone was watching her and jumped slightly as she turned towards me.

“Oh, it’s you Jason”

“Morning mum. Sorry if I startled you”

“No, it’s ok love. How did you sleep?”

“Not too bad, eventually. I fell out of bed and bumped my head though”

“I thought I heard a bumping sound last night” she exclaimed, somewhat triumphantly “Your dad said I was imagining it”

She gazed at me sympathetically and I couldn’t help exaggerating a little. “No, you definitely weren’t. I’ve got a lump on the back of my head the size of a golf ball”

“Here, let me take a look”

I turned around and indicated roughly where it was on the side of my head. She ran her fingers slowly through my hair and stopped as they located the large lump, carefully parting my hair to take a closer look.

“Not quite the size of a golf ball but it looks quite nasty Jason. Stay there and I’ll put something on it for you”

She opened the cupboard door above the work surface and took out some antiseptic cream. It felt cold as she applied it liberally all around the lump and I winced in pain and pulled away slightly as she touched the centre of it

“Aah!! That hurts!”

“Sorry love, but it needed doing. You don’t want it to become infected”

Dr Ramsden's gorgeous smile appeared in my mind’s eye and I half wondered if it would be worth it. Mum's next words coincided with my thoughts as I turned my attention back towards her.

“After all, you don’t want to end up at the hospital again, do you?” she was saying.

Dad was sitting in his chair staring into the fire when I entered the room. It jolted him back to reality as he looked at me and a smile spread across his tired face.

“Feeling any better son?”

“Yeah, a lot better thanks”

The carriage clock on the mantelpiece suddenly caught my eye as it registered 11 o’clock and the pangs of hunger returned with a vengeance. I was just about to return to the kitchen when mum came bustling in and sat down at the table, smiling across at her husband.

“What do you think of this one, falling out of bed? she smiled, indicating me with a nod of her head “Told you I heard a thumping sound!”

Dad looked at me with an expression of surprise and his first reaction was typically one of concern. “You didn’t fall on your hand did you son?”

“No dad. I just banged my head” I answered with a sheepish grin.

“You should take something for it love” mum cut in

“Nah, it’s ok. I’m already taking the pills that Dr Ramsden gave me”

It was a good thing that the pain in my head had eased a little as I didn’t want to take any more painkillers on top of the ones that Dr Ramsden had given me. He’d specifically said that I should stick to the prescribed dose and I wasn’t about to foolishly ignore his advice and take some more.

“When do you think you’ll be able to go back to work son?” dad was asking

“Dr Ramsden said I should stay off until at least Wednesday. I’ve got to see my own doctor though, so hopefully I’ll be back at work by Thursday”

Dad nodded and smiled to himself, fully aware that I'd want to get back as soon as possible.

All this talk about accidents and hospitals was making me nervous and the opportunity to get some breakfast in the kitchen whilst mum was sitting down was far too good to miss. Without giving either of them the chance to say anything further, I quickly stood up and moved towards the door.

“I’m really hungry, I’ll just get some breakfast”

The spoon clattered against the empty bowl as I set it down much too heavily on the draining board. I was so hungry that I’d eaten my cereal in great big spoonful’s and now all that remained was a tiny drop of milk in the bottom of the dish. The kettle had almost boiled for my cup of tea and I stood frowning with my back to the sink, deliberating if I should go back in the room or take it into my bedroom. Before I could move mum bustled into the kitchen with dad’s empty teacup.

“I hope you didn’t have too much to eat Jason” she remarked “I’m going to start dinner now”

“No, just some cereal” I replied with a grin “Don’t worry mum, I’m still starving!”

A couple of hours later dinner was over and we were all sitting in the lounge relaxing. Conversation had eventually tailed away and as the three of us lapsed into silence, I reached for a book that I’d left on the sideboard. Ten minutes later I was still on the same page and I pushed it roughly aside, annoyed with myself for being unable to concentrate. If only Nathan would get in touch! The truth was I knew he wouldn’t call today, but it still didn’t stop me hoping that my phone would start ringing at any time. It stubbornly refused to do so however, and mum suddenly interrupted my thoughts with a question.

“Are you ok love?”

“Yeah, why?”

“You seem a bit down, that’s all”

“Oh, it’s just my wrist” I said, trying to hide from them how upset I really was.

“Why don’t you give Nathan a ring? She suggested “See if he wants to come round”

My face momentarily clouded over at the mention of his name and I couldn’t help myself from snapping back at her. “I’m sure he’ll get in touch when he’s ready mum! I'm supposed to be resting”

A brief expression of hurt at the harsh tone in my voice quickly swept across her face and I immediately regretted the way I’d spoken to her. “Ok love, it was only a suggestion”

“Sorry mum, I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that….well he’ll probably be busy. I’ll leave it for a while”

“Whatever you think is best” she answered, still sounding slightly miffed.


I spent the rest of Sunday and all-day Monday moping around the house, bored to tears. There wasn’t a lot I could do with one hand except play music, read, watch television then read some more. I tried to make myself useful, but it seemed as if everything that needed doing around the house required two hands and despite my earlier resolve not to do so, in the end I just shut myself away in my bedroom, miserable and depressed. I was desperate to get back to work as soon as possible, but it was by no means certain that the doctor would advise it. Legitimate time off was precious, but for some strange reason as soon as it became enforced, the need to return to work became all consuming. Even though it would probably mean another altercation with Aiden, going to work was still preferable to prolonged boredom. Nathan still hadn’t contacted me, and I was becoming more and more desperate, as the prospect of not hearing from him again became ever more real. I kept telling myself that it was just me being melodramatic. That my emotions were heightened by all the spare time I had to go over and over what had happened in my mind. After all, I reasoned, he had said that he was going to be busy, and his father would definitely be here by now. A crushing sense of defeat snatched at my heart as the thought of what had happened between us unrelentingly forced its way into my brain, and I struggled to push it away. The thought of never seeing him again was pure hell and I was fiercely determined not to let it happen. I’d already decided in my mind that if he hadn’t contacted me by the end of Tuesday afternoon I would go to his flat in Cranford and find out exactly where I stood.

When Tuesday finally came around the determination and hope on my face must have been evident. It was breakfast time and as I buttered some toast at the table, dad called over from his chair with a smile of relief on his face.

“At least you look a bit happier today son!”

I smiled back at him, holding the toast halfway between my mouth and the plate. “Yeah, I am dad. As soon as I’ve had breakfast, I’m going to the doctors to see if he’ll let me go back to work”

“Be careful Jason” mum added hastily “You don’t want to rush back and make it worse”

The toast almost reached my mouth when dad asked another question “Will Mr. Buchan let you go back when you can’t lift anything though?”

“I don’t know” I admitted, gazing longingly at the uneaten toast “I’ll ring him when I find out what the doctor says””

Before they could say anymore a large bite of the toast disappeared inside my mouth, quickly followed by another. For some reason I seemed to have been constantly hungry this weekend and no matter how much food had been put in front of me, within a few hours I was ravenous again. Little or no exercise and far too much sleep had left me feeling lethargic and in desperate need of some fresh air and I looked forward to my walk to visit the doctors.

“Sad news about Mrs Thompson” mum suddenly remarked out of nowhere.

My heart skipped a beat and I glanced at her sharply “What news?” I asked, already suspecting what the answer would be.

“She died at the weekend love”

I recoiled in shock, even though I knew what was coming. Suddenly, all I could see was Aiden’s ghostly white face as he walked towards us at the hospital.

Dad was busy reading the newspaper and peered over his glasses to see who her remark was directed to.

"Her son must be devastated" he remarked, deciding it was him.

"Does he still work with you Jason?" Mum enquired, after a few second’s silence.

The question caught me completely off guard and I struggled to answer, saying the first stupid thing that came into my head. "Oh, erm yeah. But he's off at the moment"

"Well he would be, wouldn't he!" cut in Dad at once.

I thought my response would be the end of the conversation, but I ought to have known better.

"Perhaps you should go and see him Jason. That way you can pass on our condolences" mum went on "Seeing a friendly face might be just what he needs at the moment"

My heart gave a sudden leap and I swallowed nervously. Why was it that people automatically assumed we were friends just because we worked together? For a second or two l was lost for words and unsure how to respond, but I quickly regained my composure and tried desperately to put them off.

"Oh, I don't think he'll want to see me mum. He probably just wants to be on his own right now"

I held my breath, hoping that was the end of it, but unfortunately Dad decided to add his opinion too.

"I think your mum may be right Jason" he said "He probably just wants a bit of normality at the moment. Someone his own age perhaps. Seeing a familiar face might do him good"

I coloured up slightly and mumbled to myself noncommittally, hoping that that was the end of the conversation

"Mmm. Maybe"

My heart was still beating like mad when I returned to my bedroom a short while later. Mum and dad's words were still ringing in my ears as I slumped down on the bed and tried to sort out my jumbled thoughts. What if they were right and it would do Aiden some good to see me? I couldn't possibly deny him that under the circumstances, but I also didn't want to add to his woes any further. Our interaction in the restaurant the other night hadn't been too bad, but these days Aiden seemed to be like a loose cannon, ready to go off without warning at any time. Would he really appreciate my involvement or just be angry and upset to see me? No one close to me had ever died before so I had no idea how he might be feeling right now, but who knows, that might even help him. He may find it easier to talk to someone outside his family and at least that might ease his hurt a little. Like dad had said, someone of his own age perhaps. From what I could tell, Aiden didn't seem particularly close to anyone these days except his mother and now she was gone, he had no one except his two brothers in Australia. A rumour had recently been going around at work that his girlfriend had dumped him, and from what he’d told me it was obviously true. I weighed up the pros and cons for a further twenty minutes until finally deciding to grab the bull by the horns and do it. But not yet. I’d call at the doctor’s first and then walk to his house from there.

As soon as I'd made the decision to go, I felt strangely calm, as if the outcome didn't matter one way or another. If he told me to get lost and didn't want to see me, then at least I'd made an effort.

I could just imagine how Tom would react if he knew what I was about to do, but I pushed the thought to the back of my mind, knowing that he was probably right. Nathan, on the other hand, would probably encourage me to go, I thought to myself with disdain. Just another opportunity to push me away!

My appointment with the doctor was at 10am and then I would walk to his house at the other end of the village. That way if he’d decided to sleep in it wouldn't be too early, yet it was also a good while before lunchtime. Not that Aiden probably cared anyway! I don't suppose time or food was really important to him at the moment.

I skimmed through a magazine and listened to some music until the clock read 09:30, then I went in search of mum. She was in the lounge with dad when I popped my head around the door.

"I've decided to go see Aiden after all" I volunteered, with a weak smile.

"That's good love" answered mum " I'm sure he'll be pleased to see you. Make sure you tell him we're thinking of him"

"I will"

My expression remained outwardly impassive, and I silently disagreed that he'd be pleased to see me, knowing if I thought about it too much longer, I wouldn’t go.

Fifteen minutes later I left the bungalow, wrapped up in a heavy coat and a thick woollen scarf. My need for fresh air was immediately fulfilled by the cold breeze that blew across my face and despite the several layers of thick material that covered my body, a shiver ran up and down my spine. It had snowed again during the night and everything was covered in yet another thick white blanket. More snow was forecast for later on and the grey, cloud filled sky was heavy and laden.

The small village surgery was located at the far end of the High Street and my heavy boots left deep impressions in the snow as I trudged past the post office towards it. It was eerily quiet for the time of day and virgin snow lay undisturbed on many of the pavements and smaller side streets.

The surgery was far too warm and as I sat waiting to see the doctor a thin band of sweat broke out across my forehead. I gradually became lost in a world of my own and all I could see was an image of Aiden's white, tear stained face and his expression of devastation.

Several minutes later I felt a sharp poke in the ribs and wincing with pain, glared at the elderly man sitting one chair away. He was leaning towards me, digging his bony fingers into my ribs. Before I could say a word, he looked down his long nose at me and barked out a question.

“Is your name Jason Wright lad?”

With a startled glance I turned towards him and there was a short pause as my mind struggled to come out of its silent reverie. “Erm, yes yes it is”

“The doctor just called your name” he grunted “Off you go lad, it’s my turn next. Can’t wait all day you know, thing’s to do!”

“Oh yes, of course, thanks” I mumbled, hurriedly standing up.

The doctor’s consultation room was down a short corridor to the left and tapping sharply on the door, I accepted his muffled invitation to enter.

Doctor Parker was sitting at his desk studying his computer screen and the reflection of moving images danced across his spectacles. He turned towards me as I closed the door and gave me a curt nod. “Ah Jason isn’t it? Jason Wright?

“Erm, yes it is”

Dr Parker was as different from Dr Ramsden as it was possible to be. He had collar length silver hair and a lined and weathered face. His manner was brusque and straightforward, and I estimated his age to be late 50’s or early 60’s. I was instantly reminded of John Buchan, my manager at work, whose whole demeanour apart from looks was remarkably similar. He offered me a chair with a flick of his hand and stared at me, carefully scrutinising my face.

“Now then lad, I understand it’s your hand”

I must have looked surprised that he already knew about it and before I could say anything he abruptly continued “We are in contact with the hospital you know” he explained, failing to hide the harsh undertone in his voice “They do tell us what’s happening occasionally”

“Yes Doctor. Sorry. I didn’t mean to….”

“Right, pass it over then” he said, referring to my hand and completely ignoring my response to his comments. His touch was surprisingly gentle as he began unfastening the bandage around my hand. When it was finally removed, his thumb moved gently over the painful area around my knuckles, and I winced slightly as he moved it nearer to the raw skin.

“Mmm….not too bad” he murmured, almost to himself “It’s coming along”

It still looked just as bad to me but I daren't say a word as he took a new bandage and some cream from a nearby cabinet.

“How did it happen anyway?” he asked, beginning to dress it.

I opened my mouth to reply but he unexpectedly smiled and continued speaking “On second thoughts maybe it would be best if I didn’t know”

A sigh of relief escaped my lips and I smiled back at him gratefully. Remaining silent about the cause of my injury was definitely the best option but I had to ask the question that was uppermost in my mind.

“Can you tell me when I can go back to work Doctor?”

He glanced at me in surprise and stroked his chin thoughtfully “Well providing that you don’t lift anything……”

“The doctor at the hospital said Thursday” I broke in, realising too late it was the worst thing I could have done.

“If you let me finish” he snapped, obviously annoyed at being interrupted “I was going to say in a day or two”

“Ok thank you Doctor” I said, unable to keep the grin off my face “Now all I have to do is convince my boss!”

“Mmm, that keen to get back, are you?” he exclaimed, clearly surprised “Most unlike someone of your age!”

I wisely ignored the insult and looked at him expectantly, hoping the consultation was finally over.

“Come back in a week and I'll take another look at it” he explained “Make sure you don’t forget”

“No, I won’t doctor. I’ll make an appointment now”

He nodded, seemingly satisfied with my response and I stood up to go. “Thank you doctor”

“I’m sure I don’t have to tell you not to do anything stupid” he added as a parting shot “And remember; make sure you don’t lift anything”

“No of course not doctor” I muttered, almost falling over the chair in my haste to leave the room. I gave him a fleeting glance of relief before closing the door and he stared back at me, shaking his head as if I was slightly insane.

The feelings of calm and serenity I'd experienced earlier on quickly disappeared as I trudged through the snow laden streets towards Aiden's house. My heart began beating madly as the row of old railway cottages came into view and a moment later, with some trepidation, I knocked on the door. There was no going back now and as I waited on the doorstep, I couldn't help wondering if I was doing the right thing. There was no answer and secretly relieved, I was just about to turn away when the door opened slightly, and Aiden peered out. His pale face and tear stained eyes instantly invoked feelings of pity and sympathy and our past differences immediately took a back seat. He stared at me for what seemed like an age, seemingly devoid of emotion, before slowly opening the door wide and standing back.

"You'd better come in Jason" he muttered quietly.

I gave a nervous half smile and stepped inside, unsure what to say or do now that I was here. He closed the door and turned around to face me, sporting a perplexed expression on his face. A flash of the old Aiden briefly shone through and his eyes widened in surprise.

"Bloody hell Jason, you're the last person I expected to see!"

“Look, if you don't want me here Aiden” I said, half turning around “I'll go. If you’d rather be on your own.....”

"No, sorry!" he replied quickly "I didn't mean it like that. I'm just surprised, that's all, after the way I've treated you. I'm really glad you’ve come"

His words were spoken with a real sense of gratitude and sincerity and it was my turn to be surprised. He seemed genuinely pleased to see me and I relaxed slightly, thinking maybe I had done the right thing after all.

"But why would you bother about me?" he went on "I can't believe I'm exactly your biggest fan"

"I just thought you might need someone to talk to, that's all"

"That’s really good of you Jason. Come in, please"

He offered me a chair at the kitchen table, but I preferred to stand, subconsciously ready to bolt for the door.

"Would you like a drink?"

I relaxed slightly but still couldn't quite believe he wanted me there. A hot drink, however, meant I'd have to stay longer, so I guess he did.

"Yeah, I'll have a coffee if that's okay"

He smiled for what was probably the first time in a while and turned around to fill the kettle. Despite his pale skin and blotchy eyes, Aiden was still unbelievably hot, and I felt slightly guilty when my eyes automatically dropped to ogle his rear. After busying himself preparing the drinks he turned around and leant against the work surface, folding his arms. I quickly looked away, unsure if he'd seen me staring at him or not, but if he had it didn't seem to faze him.

"It won't take long" he muttered unnecessarily.

There was an awkward silence as we gazed at each other pensively, both unsure where to go from here.

"So?" I started hesitantly, giving a nervous laugh "Probably a really stupid question, but how have you been?"

Aiden quickly gave the stock answer, but it was obvious from his whole demeanour that his feelings ran much deeper.

"Oh, you know, not too bad"

The look on his face was a picture of misery, clearly belying his real feelings. It was heart-breaking to see, and his obviouspain and grief tugged at my heartstrings.

"I'm so sorry Aiden. I was shocked when I heard about it. I only met your mum a couple of times, but she seemed like a really nice lady"

There was a wobble in his voice as he answered, and I could tell he was close to tears.

"She told me how you helped her the other day with the shopping Jason. I just want you to know how grateful I am. You didn't have to do that, especially under the circumstances!"

My eyes opened wide with surprise and for a second or two, I was lost for words. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask him why he'd told his mother we were friends, but there was no point upsetting him further. I couldn't help thinking, however, if this could explain his sudden change of attitude towards me.

"It's ok Aiden. I didn't mind, really"

"I can't believe I left her to go to that stupid party' he went on "She obviously needed me here"

The grief and anguish in his voice was painfully apparent and I couldn't help reaching out to squeeze his shoulder in a gesture of reassurance.

"It's not your fault Aiden. You couldn't look after her twenty-four seven. You needed a little time to yourself"

He suddenly moved closer to me and my heart began to race. As he gazed at me intently his next words completely stunned me, and I was instantly reminded of what Tom had said in a similar vein.

"You're so much better than me Jason, you do know that right? he exclaimed, shaking his head sadly "You're always so nice to people and everyone likes you. Look how far I've pushed you and yet you're still the only one to come here, wanting to know if I'm ok"

I blushed slightly, feeling a little guilty that if it hadn't been for Mum and Dad, I probably wouldn't have been here either.

He suddenly reached out and softly brushed my cheek with the back of his hand. I gave an involuntary gasp of surprise and instinctively took a step backwards. He instantly withdrew his hand as if he'd been burnt and began apologising profusely.

"Sorry Jason, I shouldn't have done that. I really didn't mean to......"

There was an embarrassing silence as his words tailed away and I glanced over his shoulder to avoid his gaze. He must have thought I wanted to leave because he immediately implored me to stay.

"Please don't go Jason"

If only he realised, I had no intention of going anywhere. My heart was racing madly, and I realised with a sudden jolt of desire that despite my step backwards, I hadn't wanted him to stop.

At that moment the kettle began to boil furiously, and he turned around to make the drinks.

"Is there anyone here with you" I asked him "Your mum told me you have two brothers, but they both live in Australia"

"They're here now" he answered "They just managed to get a flight in time for the funeral"

He handed me a cup of coffee and pointed towards a door in the corner. "Come on Jason, let's go into the lounge, its much warmer in there"

The room we entered was furnished in a typical country cottage style with a roaring fire in the hearth. Reminders of his mother were everywhere, from the open sewing box on the sideboard to the numerous family photographs that lined the walls. Aiden immediately sat down on the small sofa and patted the cushion next to him.

"Sit down here if you like Jason" he urged.

Despite the circumstances, there was something slightly sensual about being this close to him, especially when our knees lightly brushed together. Every time it happened my leg stiffened, and I quickly moved it away, only for it to move slowly back and touch his again when I relaxed. As much as I tried to tell myself otherwise, Aiden’s kiss a few days ago had cut deep into my emotions, arousing a sense of yearning that filled me with excitement and longing. He continued to talk, and I forced my mind back to the conversation.

“She was such a big part of my life Jason. I just feel so lost now that she's gone”

I could almost feel his pain and my heart went out to him as he gazed at me in abject sadness.

“You’re bound to feel that way Aiden” I answered him, in an attempt at reassurance "You've lost the most important person in your life"

He stared ahead unseeingly, and I lightly touched his arm "Look, it’s going to be okay. You've still got your girlfriend and a decent job to go back to. You won’t be alone”

He laughed mirthlessly and shook his head “She dumped me last week!” he exclaimed bitterly “Said I wasn’t treating her very well”

Before I could stop myself, I blurted out my thoughts. “Yeah well, I know how that feels!”

There was a deep silence and before I could say anymore, I realized that tears were beginning to fall down his cheeks. I felt unbelievably bad about what I'd just said and rushed to apologise.

"I'm so sorry Aiden. I shouldn't have said that"

"Why not?" he answered with a defeated sigh "It’s true after all!"

I wished I could have bitten my tongue, but it was too late now and all I could think of to do was put my arm around his shoulder and offer my silent support. As soon as I did, he immediately leant in closer towards me and rested his head on my shoulder. I could feel his chest heaving with silent sobs as he moved as close as he could and at that moment, I never wanted to let him go. I felt incredibly close to him and as my face nuzzled his hair and his sweet scent filled my nostrils, I couldn’t help myself becoming hard. After what had happened in the past it seemed so surreal to be holding Aiden in this way and I half-heartedly pulled away, juggling my desperation to be near him with a sense of propriety for his vulnerability. He sat upright and as he gazed at me in utter despair, I couldn’t help gently grasping his chin before brushing away the last of his tears with my thumb. His expression changed to a mixture of terror and anxiety as he slowly moved his face towards mine. The moment was electric, and it seemed as if time stood still between us. I knew at that moment we were about to cross a line that would be nigh on impossible to step back from. I couldn't seem to stop myself though and my heart was beating so hard I thought it would burst through my chest at any moment. He closed his eyes and as he softly brushed his lips against mine there was zero resistance from me. My stomach felt sick with desire, unable to believe how a simple kiss could be so erotic.

"Sorry, I shouldn't have done that" he whispered uncertainly "I don't want to spoil things between you and your boyfriend"

"Aiden, he's not my boyfriend, I keep telling you that! He's not even gay!"

There was a shocked silence as he took in what I'd just said, and I immediately knew that Nathan's reasoning had been spot on. Aiden had been jealous all along! Within seconds he confirmed it and my heart beat even faster as I realised the strength of his feelings.

"Jason, I'm so sorry I treated you the way I did. This......it's all new to me and I let stupid jealousy take over!"

Suddenly he took my hand and placed it between his legs before I knew what was happening. "There, you see!" he exclaimed with a shy smile. "That's what you do to me"

He was as hard as a rock and I quickly snatched my hand away, immediately breaking the spell between us.

"AIDEN!!! This is madness, you're not thinking straight! I should just go"

I half stood up and he grabbed my arm, pulling me back down. "NO JASON!!! PLEASE!! DON'T GO!"

I quickly repeated my earlier plea. "Aiden, you're not thinking straight!"

For a second or two the old Aiden came bursting though as he momentarily lost his temper “HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M THINKING JASON!!!" he cried "YOU JUST......you.....you don't know"

The desperate way he spoke made any thoughts of leaving disappear and as he continued in a quiet determined voice, I felt compelled to listen.

"I've struggled with these feelings for years. Ever since school! I never dared to say anything before and then when you started at the store, I thought I might finally have a chance to....... I don't know.....I just had this feeling you might be gay"

He paused and shook his head helplessly “I'm really sorry for how I treated you Jason.....but for some totally fucking idiotic, stupid reason I told Craig that I thought you might be gay and he just wouldn't let it go. In the end I was as bad as he was! A fucking prick and a coward! I let that stupid jerk influence me"

He shook his head despairingly, unable to believe what he'd done "And then when he saw you in the cinema with that guy, I thought that was it...I thought I'd lost my chance forever"

His voice tailed off in desperation before he smiled at me lustfully "You're so fucking hot Jason! All I've wanted to do for ever is tear you're clothes off and fuck you all night!"

His face was flushed red after his outburst and there were tears of frustration running down his face as he finally managed to let the words that he'd obviously been holding back for ages spill out. I sat there in stunned silence, aghast at the strength of his emotional outburst. My mouth gaped wide open like an idiot and words completely failed me. I would never have guessed in a million years that Aiden felt this way.

"You are gay though Jason, aren't you?" he went on despairingly.

My heart sank and I gulped nervously. The way that things had been going with him lately, I was loath to admit my biggest secret outright. He stared at me with a mixture of terror and longing and I instinctively knew that every word he'd spoken was true. I made a final fruitless attempt to avoid answering.

"Fucking hell Aiden, I don't know what you want me to say!"

He managed a wry smile and gently rubbed my arm. "You could start by answering my question"

Silence descended and I sighed and gazed at him uncertainly. An image of Nathan danced before my eyes and my heart instantly began pounding. The intense feelings I had for him refused to go away, but I couldn't live on a knife edge forever. After an age, I finally reached a decision and in a low voice, tentatively began to explain. "The answer to your question Aiden is......Yes ok! I am gay. But the thing is......."

His face immediately lit up, but I raised my hand to let him know I hadn't finished. "The thing is Aiden, I have feelings for someone else. Feelings I can't deny"

"So, you do have a boyfriend?"

"No....look, it's complicated"

He gazed at me doggedly, demanding an explanation without even opening his mouth.

"The guy in the cinema" I said after a while "The one that Craig saw me with?"

"I thought you said he wasn't gay!" he exclaimed, immediately interrupting.

"He's not! But don't you see. That's what makes it so complicated!" My voice dropped to a helpless whisper "The thing is Aiden......I've fallen in love with him"

Aiden let out a surprised gasp, clearly taken aback "Phew! I see. And does he know?"

I gazed at his shocked expression, suddenly overcome with embarrassment "Yeah, he knows!"

I sighed for a second and stared off into the distance, a myriad of emotions surging through my body as I struggled to make sense of everything going on around me.

“I take it he was the one in the restaurant on Friday then”

“Yeah, that’s him. And look how that went!”

“You shouldn’t have run away Jason, he was just shocked, that’s all”

I glared at him in surprise “How do you know about that?”

“Because I watched you” he said simply “From the doorway of the restaurant”

I shook my head in embarrassment as my behaviour that night came back to haunt me, and I couldn’t believe that Aiden had witnessed the whole thing.

His next question stunned me, and I didn’t quite know what to say.

"So Jason" he began tentatively "What do you do about...erm...you know...about...sex?"

I gazed at him in amazement before answering, unable to believe how bizarre the situation was "I don't.....I mean there isn't any"

Aiden gasped in surprise “What do you mean, there isn’t any? Jason, you can’t live like that!”

My cheeks burned and I couldn’t believe what came out of my mouth next “I’m afraid I have to rely on my hand Aiden”

There was a few seconds silence then he nudged my shoulder and gave a nervous laugh “You could always rely on mine Jason, or my mouth, or my.....”

I raised my hands and immediately interrupted him “Ok Aiden, I get the picture, you don’t have to say anymore!”

His expression became serious, and his forehead creased in thought "Do you mind if I ask you another question?" he went on.

I gazed at him reluctantly, instinctively knowing that what he was about to say would make things even harder for me. I sighed and shook my head warily "I suppose not"

"Do you find me attractive Jason?"

"Fucking hell Aiden, you know I do!" I cried passionately, throwing caution to the wind "You must have seen me watching you"

He didn’t say anything but moved closer towards me "Well then! What harm can it do? You and me! All I know is that right at this moment it seems to me that we need each other"

His hand was resting on my leg seductively and he slowly began moving it towards my inner thigh. I closed my eyes, just about to succumb and let him touch me when the back door opened and slammed shut again and voices could be heard in the kitchen. Aiden instantly sprang to his feet and stood by the fire, hurriedly adjusting the material of his trousers around the crotch. A few seconds later the door opened and in walked two tall, blond haired guys. One of them immediately greeted Aiden.

“Hey, watcha mate!”

As soon as they started talking it was obvious from the Australian twang in their accents that these guys were his brothers. There was a short expectant silence as they looked at me, before the second one addressed Aiden.

“Mate, aren’t you going to introduce us?”

“Oh, sorry! This is my erm friend Jason”

The barely discernible rise of my eyebrows went unnoticed as I grasped one outstretched hand, quickly followed by the other. Aiden’s brothers were called Sam and Kyle and seemed really nice and friendly. We chatted for a short while longer before I made my excuses and prepared to leave. Aiden accompanied me to the back door and closed it quietly behind him.

"Look Jason, when can I see you again?" he asked in an urgent whisper. "So that we can carry on where we left off!"

I sighed loudly, brimming with uncertainty and indecision "Aiden, I'm not sure it’s such a good idea. Maybe we should leave well alone"

His tone was almost pleading as he grasped my shoulder, unwilling to let me go "You can't do that to me Jason" he urged desperately, quickly repeating his earlier statement "Like I said. Right now, it seems like we need each other!"

He was right of course. Even though it was the most unlikely pairing in the world, after being with Connor I desperately needed a sex life and it looked as if Aiden was willing to provide it, however incredible it seemed. The only problem was that unrequited love with Nathan was still the major stumbling block.

Without saying another word, he leant in towards me and gently grasped the back of my neck. When he kissed me there was absolutely no resistance from me and as his tongue snaked its way between my lips, my response was as urgent as his. We pulled apart and briefly kissed again before I smiled at him, swiftly following it up with a frown. My feelings and emotions were all over the place and I had no idea what to do. I'd reluctantly come here in an attempt to offer him some kind of comfort and reconciliation, but instead had found myself giving him comfort in an entirely unexpected way. After all my dreams and fantasies about him in the past, Aiden was incredibly hard to resist sexually and if his brothers hadn't returned home when they did who knows how far things would have gone, despite my half-hearted protestations. I reluctantly tore myself away from him but couldn't stop gazing at the forlorn yet predominantly hopeful expression that adorned his face. He gave me a small wave as I reached the garden gate and hesitantly waving back, I fled down the street as fast as the snowy path would allow me.

As I approached the bungalow a familiar car was pulling away from the kerb towards me and a surge of excitement coursed through my veins as I realised it was Nathan’s. As it slowly drew level with me, I could see the passenger was his father and the two of them appeared to be engaged in angry conversation. Nathan's expression was set like stone and his fingers were white as he gripped the steering wheel tightly, whilst his father’s face was red with anger. Mr. Brown suddenly gazed out of the side window and for a brief moment our eyes met. His expression softened noticeably, and he gave me a weak smile, raising his hand in acknowledgement. Nathan, on the other hand, continued to glare angrily and when he briefly glanced across in my direction, he immediately turned away again. I couldn't be one hundred percent sure if he'd seen me or not, but he might as well have thrust a dagger in my heart for all the difference it made. My feelings swung between elation and the depths of despair and I hurried inside, desperate to discover if dad knew anything about it. Mum was just bringing the remains of tea and biscuits on a tray into the kitchen, and she looked at me and smiled happily.

“Oh, you’re back Jason. You’ve just missed Nathan’s father"

“Yeah, I saw him leaving”

“He’s been here all afternoon laughing and joking with your dad. It’s really lifted his spirits”

“Was Nathan with him?”

“No love. He stayed outside in his car”

“What! All afternoon”

“No! Of course not” she laughed, thinking I was joking “He dropped him off and then came back later to pick him up”

Mum’s words seemed to hang in the air as I desperately tried to make sense of them. A few seconds later, I shivered with fear as the realisation of what it meant hit me with the force of a speeding bullet. Even though Nathan had been at my house twice today, he’d never once called in to see how I was.

She gave me a barely noticeable frown, and her face became creased with concern “Are you ok love, I thought he would have come in to see you”

I quickly thought up an excuse and hoped it sounded plausible. “It looked as if Nathan and his father were having some kind of disagreement and I didn’t want to interrupt”

She gasped in surprise as if she couldn’t believe it “Oh, ok love. Perhaps he’ll come by later then”

She gazed at me with a thoughtful expression on her face before posing a question. “Are you going out again Jason?”

I thought longingly about my visit to see Nathan before answering in the affirmative. "Yes mum. But not until later on"

"Ok love. Will you stay with dad until I come back? I'll only be about half an hour"

"Yeah, sure mum. Take as long as you like"

I gave her a smile of confirmation and she left a few minutes later. I didn’t get chance to ask dad about Mr Brown as he’d already dozed off again, so instead I sat on the sofa and turned on the television. The usual dross flickered before my eyes as I constantly channel hopped and yet again, I was amazed that so many channels held virtually nothing at all worth watching. I was just about to pick up a magazine when there was a soft knock on the front door, and I hurried to answer it. Surely this had to be Nathan. He must have decided to come back and see me without his father being here.

The shock on my face must have been apparent when I opened the door to find Aiden standing there, sporting an uncharacteristic look of embarrassment on his face. It was barely half an hour since we'd parted and yet here he was, standing in front of me on the doorstep. My heart began beating madly and every nerve end in my body was on fire with anticipation and desire as I gazed at his handsome face. He must have missed Nathan on his way over here by minutes and as I opened my mouth to speak his nervous voice beat me to it.

"Jason. I hope you don't mind me....erm.....calling round"

Copyright © 2021 Filzmoos; All Rights Reserved.
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Nathan has pissed me off. I’m done with him. I hope Aiden and Jason try and find something between them.  They both need each other.

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Seriously, Nathan can go to hell! If it would have been him at the door, I hope Jason would have slammed it in his face! I don't care what issues he's going through, treating someone he obviously cares for like shit shows me he isn't as good of a person as he makes everyone think. Also makes me think the issues with his ex and not being able to see his child aren't so far fetched. Aiden apologized and showed he's interested. He's looking like a much better option then the, now dead to me, Nathan. 

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If you look in the dictionary for the word pathetic, both Jason and nathan's picture will appear next to the definition.

I get the feeling this story will have more bizarre twists and turns...and its not being stuck between a rock and a hard place but being cockblocked by your mother!

Somehow...in some twisted way nathan will come to realize his feelings for Jason. And it may take some serious crawling on his hands and knees.

Lions Sharks GIF by William Garratt

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Something is seriously going on with Nathan that he needs to tell Jason about.

Glad that Aiden is reaching out and apologized about his earlier bad behavior.

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