Back home, Kieran does a little research into Kennedy Grey and other more delicate areas of his personal life.
KIERAN ~ RESEARCH
Friday, opening the front door to his home, his temporary home, Kieran looked around the shoebox one-bedroom apartment. Out of respect for Jules and Terry, his sister and her boyfriend, he always rose early from his bed on the two-seater sofa, tidied away his bed covers, put fresh coffee on—the only sign to him being there—showered and left the apartment before either of them had awoken. Usually, he would breakfast at the corner cafe and return around ten, once they had both left for work. As much as he could, he minimised the evidence of him even being there, of him relying on their goodwill. Having lived with his ex-girlfriend Jennifer for the past seven months, life right now felt more like a scraped existence; lonely, desperate, living constantly on edge. Although he knew his sister wouldn’t throw him out, he wanted to make sure neither of them had any reason to even consider the idea. Signs of their morning ritual remained; cereal bowls and mugs left unwashed on the sideboard, the coffee pot almost empty, clothes dotted around the room. Jules knew he would clear up after them, would even make their bed without her asking, basically because not only did he dislike any kind of mess, but because he felt indebted to them both.
After putting his laptop on the table, he hung his bag on a coat hook, before setting about tidying up. With only one bedroom, the apartment didn’t take long to clean. After he had finished, he put a fresh load of laundry in the washing machine which included some of his own clothes. A drawback to staying with them and having no bedroom of his own was that he had nowhere to store his clothes. Jules had emptied out one of the drawers in the living room cabinet, beneath the television. She had also allowed him to hang his interview suit and a couple of pairs of trousers in their small wardrobe.
However unlikely, he desperately needed this one-off job with Kennedy Grey, which would mean he could give them back their apartment for the whole of September. And if he could land a permanent job—the job centre had gone quiet again—he might be able to use part of the money to put a deposit down on an apartment of his own. One thing was for sure, he couldn’t keep living like this. Unemployment benefits barely covered the cost of bills and food. What he needed right now was a healthy dose of luck.
Sitting at the small table, he clicked on the attachment to the email Kennedy Grey had sent him yesterday. Once displayed, he opened a browser and googled the man himself. Maybe he shouldn’t have been surprised, but Kennedy had a Wikipedia page dedicated to him, not with a photo or much information, barely two paragraphs—but still. From the small amount online, Kieran learnt that Kennedy had salvaged the company originally run by his uncle—his mother’s brother—Ashwood Havens. Clinging to old VHS technology and unable or unwilling to embrace the digital age, Havens had pretty much run the company into the ground before Grey came on board and started turning things around. Success began shortly afterwards. Grey Havens pretty much introduced the first fully-integrated digital surveillance system—an industry standard—something adopted by major hotel chains around the world. Never one to rest on his laurels, Kennedy made sure they refined and upgraded their offering, as well as expanding into other commercial areas; shopping malls, airports, exhibition halls, until becoming the number one player in the market. On various other searches Kieran found photographs of Kennedy, usually speaking at conferences or in business conversations, rarely at anything social. Incredibly photogenic, one rare social photo had him standing with another man—dark haired, good looking, but unsmiling—both of them looking dapper.
Before his next search, he took a few deep breaths. Even with nobody else in the apartment, he still looked around before typing the words ‘gay sex’ and then hitting the search button. Maybe he shouldm't have been surprised by the number of sites that popped up but some of the descriptions had him mystified. What the heck was BBC, slurping, rimming and edging? Selecting one site, he searched a couple of video clips until he found two reasonably good looking guys around his age. Clicking on the clip, he waited to see how much he could stand to watch. At first they just spoke to the camera. After a while, however, they began to make out. Two men kissing didn’t faze Kieran at all. Having said that, neither did the sight push any buttons. But when they started to get naked, and one went down on the other, going to town with a blow job, he noticed his heart began to beat faster. As though someone had flicked a switch inside him, his breath began to quicken, and his cock became swollen. Shit, he thought, what does that mean? About to slam the top down, a pop up message appeared on his screen telling him his friend, Coleridge, was online. Fumbling the touchpad, as though he had just been caught doing something illicit, he shut the browsers down and cleared the history.
Coleridge ‘Cole’ had taken a couple of the classes Kieran attended for his master's. More importantly, Cole was gay. After taking a few steadying breaths, he clicked onto the pop-up and asked if they could talk. Within seconds the grinning face of Cole popped into view.
“K, my man. How’s it hanging?”
“Not bad. I’ll be pleased to get this assignment out the way. Listen, do you mind if I run something by you?”
“As long it’s got nothing to do with Russian bloody communism. I can’t get my head around it.”
“No, this is—uh—a gay thing.”
“Gay thing, eh? Then you’ve arrived at your destination, buddy. Fire away.”
Kieran told the story about meeting Kennedy in the coffee shop, about the man searching for a companion for his holiday. While chatting, he sent Cole a copy of the attachment and asked him for his thoughts. Somewhat out of character, Cole listened without once interrupting.
“So what do you think?”
“What do I think? I think you’re pig shit crazy to even be considering the idea. You know what my people call this kind of thing?”
“Gay-for-pay. Straight guys who do all kinds of things with gay guys for money. Jerk off on camera, play around with sex toys, some even have sex with men. They either get addicted to the money, or the drugs the money buys. And one cute tattoo turns into a whole body covered in ink, because they can’t bear to look at themselves. Most of them eventually fuck up their lives.”
“This is nothing like that.”
“This is exactly like that. Shit man, how does Jennifer feel about this?”
“Jennifer and I are done. Or at least having a cooling off period. I’m staying with my sister right now.”
“She kicked you out?”
“No, she—well, yeah.”
“She kicked you out, man? After you’d lost your job? After you’d spent those weekends decorating her place from top to bottom? She fucking kicked you out?”
“She wanted more, Cole. And I wasn’t ready to—”
“Of course you weren’t ready! What a prize fucking bitch! Good riddance. Who in their right mind would want to dive into that kind of commitment without a stable job with prospects in their pocket. Or at least with your master’s under your belt... Woah! Did you read this bit on the travel requirements page?”
“Page five. There’s a whole list of stuff you need for the holiday.”
Page five had a long inventory of all the items of clothing Kieran would need to bring including a tuxedo. His heart sank. All he had was the one work suit which—if he was going to be perfectly honest—had seen better days. Kennedy wouldn’t even need to tell him he hadn’t got the job, because he couldn’t afford to take it anyway.
“Ah well. That solves that little quandary.”
“Trust me, K, you’re much better off.”
Just then his phone rang with an unknown number.
“Another call coming through. Talk to you later, Cole. Thanks for the advice.”
“Any time,” said Cole, before dropping the link.
“Can I speak to Kieran West?”
Kieran recognised the voice instantly.
Thanks for reading and being patient with new chapters. I tend to read reviewers comments to see if I'm keeping everyone engaged, but not making the plot too obvious.
This new chapter added to see Kierans's POV.
All comments, suggestions or reactions gratefully accepted.