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About lomax61

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  1. lomax61

    Close To You

    Thanks Tim. Wow, I thought you'd read this story when it first went up!
  2. lomax61

    Gay Vacation Companion

    Dear all, Well, after 33 chapters, 64,000+ words, and 2 months of furious writing, Gay Vacation Companion has finally concluded. I hope you've enjoyed the journey as much as me (and that your suntan lasts longer than mine!). Thanks also for your 100,000+ views, 1200+ comments, 220 followers and 1 review (@chris191070) And my eternal thanks to @Timothy M. for his eagle eyes and sound plot line judgement. Take care, @lomax61 aka Brian Lancaster
  3. lomax61

    Epilogue: Three Years On

    Answers below, @FanLit (and I've sent you an additional message). And in case anyone else needs to know:- The story was called Second Half on the site, but I had to take it down at the request of the publisher; We decided to rename the story: The Missing Ingredient (which I kind of liked); It's now available in electronic or book form from Amazon or DSP; Amazon: The Missing Ingredient DSP: The Missing Ingredient
  4. lomax61

    Epilogue: Three Years On

    KIERAN ~ THREE YEARS ON “Where’s Kennedy?” asked Kieran, carrying a tray of pungent Indonesian appetisers to the outdoor table, followed closely by Matius, pushing a rattle-clinking drinks trolley laden with bottles of spirits and jugs of soft drinks. Kieran had spent the last hour watching—and occasionally helping—Maya prepare Indonesian dishes in the outside kitchen, mesmerised at the array of natural ingredients and spices going into the wok for each dish. Laurie and Claire sat enjoying the last of the afternoon sun, at a table beside the swimming pool. Steph sat several feet away from them, in the shade of the back porch cooled by an overhead fan, with little Polly in a crib next to her, rocking her gently from side to side. Even though Laurie had been the birth mother, their baby had brought out the maternal in Steph. “Inside. Feeding the twins,” said Laurie, enjoying a cool Singapore Sling. Kieran came over and joined them, sitting in the low two-seater rattan sofa. “He’s managed to get Link off to sleep, but Clint’s got a bit colic, he thinks.” “Maya will go help Mr Kennedy now,” said Matius, before turning back towards the kitchen. Lincoln and Clinton had been born nine months earlier, courtesy of a surrogate mother. Neither Kieran nor Kennedy had been expecting twins, but both had been as delighted as the other. This time around, Kennedy had been the donor, but Kieran had insisted on the names, in keeping with family tradition. “I can’t believe how he is with them. I swear he has the patience of a saint.” Not much in life left Kennedy speechless and in awe, but the arrival of their twins had seen a fundamental change in him, in his priorities. Even with their full-time, live-in nanny, Kieran often drove home at the end of a long day to find Kennedy already there, helping with the boys. Usually he dismissed the event as ‘working from home’ but Kieran knew better. If Polly had brought out the maternal in Steph, then the twins had brought out the doting parent in Kennedy. “Well, he does have practice, having to live with you and Ed,” came Steph’s voice, from the shade. “I heard that,” said Kieran, joining Laurie and Claire’s laughter. “Where’s Jeff?” asked Laurie, handing Kieran a chilled glass of white wine and clinking their glasses. “Doing me a favour,” said Kieran, quietly to Laurie. “He’s on his way back from the airport right now. Friends are over for a working holiday and having dinner with us before heading to their hotel.” “And tell me again why they’re at a family gathering?” called Steph. “Bloody hell. Does your wife have super-hearing?” asked Kieran, mugging at Laurie. “Meet Wonder Woman,” said Laurie, giggling. “You know Jeff,” said Claire. “Always finding waifs and strays to bring home.” “Mum!” said Kieran, with mock outrage. “I hardly think the son of the Earl of Stratham is either a waif or a stray. Nor is his partner, Trevor. They were the ones who helped arrange our wedding in Scotland at short notice, as well as the catering, and I didn’t hear you complain then.” Everything had fallen into place so quickly over two years ago, through friends of friends. Cole’s pals from Japan, returning in January from their holiday in Scotland, had sown the seeds in Kennedy’s mind when they met for a drink. And once Kennedy got an idea in his head, there was no stopping him. They’d referred him to their friends who, through family connections, had a slim window of opportunity to host the wedding for the newly appointed global CEO of Grey Steel Global and his gay partner. They, in turn, got in touch with the famous chef, Marcus Vine, to request his help in catering—something Vine was famous for declining because of a busy career running his international restaurants. But somehow, he’d found the time, and everything had come together beautifully, with Kieran and Kennedy finally married on a glorious day in early June with Loch Arkaig, Ben Nevis, and the stunning grounds of Mortimer Hall as their backdrop. “That lovely young man, Rudolph? Why didn’t you say so. Stephanie, I know I’ve said it before but it was such a shame you and Laurie couldn’t be there. So close to Polly’s birth, and all. But the whole ceremony was like something out of a Disney movie, with this world renowned chef actually there, catering the whole event. His partner even helped set up a couple of marquees on the grounds. Did we tell you? Absolutely adorable.” “Yes,” said Steph, while Laurie rolled her eyes at Kieran. They’d hated not being there, but Polly had been a difficult pregnancy for Laurie and they didn’t want to take any chances. “We saw the photos, Claire. The official ones, as well as all those posted by guests on Kieran’s Facebook wedding page. Even saw a couple of them featured in Attitude mag.” Kieran noticed Kennedy heading out to join them. Forty-five years old and he still looked good enough to eat. As he spotted them and walked into the sunlight, when Kieran saw a flash of gold on his wedding finger, his heart swelled with pride. In the last hour he’d changed his shirt to a loose-fitting, short sleeved Indian cotton one, in aubergine, opened at the collar to reveal his chest hair. Kieran knew the shirt well, because he owned the damned thing. Seeing Kennedy wearing his clothing, he felt himself getting hard and had to adjust himself, before waving Kennedy over to his seat. “Thought I might find you here,” said Kennedy, squeezing in next to Kieran, taking the glass of wine from him and having a sip. “Leaving the old ones to do all the manual labour.” Once they’d tied the knot—and probably because he’d warmed to little Polly—Kennedy had been the one to push for kids. And, as usual, he’d taken to the project like a man with a mission. “Why are you wearing my shirt? Not that I’m complaining.” “Little Clint puked on mine.” “Ah. How is he?” “Asleep now. Maya managed to calm him down. She’s amazing with them, insisted on watching them, even though I said I’d take the baby monitor. I wonder what it would take to persuade her and Matius back to England—” “Don’t even think about it,” warned Claire, while lifting her glasses in place to checking her phone display. “Reagan, Bernie and the boys are almost here.” “And here’s Dad,” said Kennedy, nodding to the driveway. They all watched as Jefferson parked up the Toyota. Once the engine had died, he brought the two passengers straight over to where everyone sat around the pool. Considering their long flight from England, Rudy and Trevor appeared remarkably awake and alert, even though their loose, rumpled, travel clothing told a different story. Rudy’s broader build complemented the slighter frame of Trevor, his dark red hair worn almost militarily short and odds with Trevor’s wild black mop, as though the latter had just woken. Maybe the time shift would hit them later. Kieran remembered only too well his own jet lag experience the first time arriving in Singapore. Kieran warmed to see them, had really gotten on well with Trevor, had felt a bond between them both coming from humble origins. After greeting everyone, and cooing quietly over a sleeping Polly, they made their way back to one of the rattan sofas. “So how are you faring?” asked Kieran, as the guys settled in their seats. “Can we get you a drink?” asked Laurie, at the same time. “Funnily enough, Jeff just asked the same thing on the way here,” said Rudy. “How we feel. Hadn’t really though t about it.” “But we’re both great,” said Trevor. “If a little disorientated. And I’d love a drink. But I’m not sure if we’re ready for an early evening vodka and tonic—” “—or a morning mug of hot cappuccino,” finished Rudy. “In which case, how about I fix you both an Espresso Martini,” said Laurie. “Then you can have a taste of both.” “Done.” Over drinks, and while the last of the September sun bled from the cloudless sky, Trevor and Rudy brought them up to date with their lives. Although still managing the gym in the south, Rudy was spending more and more time helping to run his family business, Mortimer Whisky, while Trevor was now managing the books of a stable, profitable portfolio of clients. “Yes, we’re in a good place. Not sure we’re ready for kids just yet, but we’re definitely tying the knot next year,” said Rudy, reaching out to hold Trevor’s hand. “Where are you thinking of doing the deed? Scotland?” asked Kieran. “You know, we both want something small and non-traditional. Some place with sun and sand. We’re thinking maybe a simple commitment ceremony on a beach in this part of the world. Trevor favours Vietnam, maybe Halong Bay or Da Nang. I’d really love Bali.” Kieran exchanged a glance with Kennedy, almost certain the idea had popped into his head at the same time. Kennedy smiled and winked at Kieran before addressing the two men. “Guys, we still owe you so much for helping with our own ceremony at such short notice, so if it helps, I have a four bedroom villa in Bali which is yours whenever you want. And apart from the villa, there are plenty of other villas around, if you want to invite a number of guests to attend. There’s even a private cove linked to the villa where you could hold the ceremony. Just let me know the dates, so I can alert the staff.” “Seriously?” said Rudy, his eyes wide. Kennedy nodded, while Kieran laced his fingers into his husband’s free hand and squeezed. “And if you’re not sure about Da Nang, Halong Bay or Bali,” said Kieran. “How about doing them all? And how about adding Ho Chi Minh, Singapore and Semarang in Indonesia to the itinerary?” “Whoa. Our budget’s definitely not going to stretch to that,” said Trevor. “Bali will cost you nothing. It’ll be my wedding present to you both,” said Kennedy, grinning. “Driver pick up, villa with a pool, all food and drinks in the villa. All you’d need to do is get there and take a little spending money.” “There you are,” said Kieran. “Make Bali your last stop.” “Nice idea,” said Trevor, the accountant in him rising to the fore. “But it’s the cost of the flights to each of those other destinations and then hotel accommodation that’s the killer.” “Could you fly into Hong Kong and fly out of Bali?” asked Kennedy. Kieran smiled, knowing where Kennedy was going with his question. “I guess so.” “So what if you could still see all those other places without flying in or staying there,” said Kennedy, clearly on the same page as Kieran. “Sorry,” said Trevor. “I don’t understand.” “What my husband means is, have you considered a cruise?” said Kieran, smiling at Kennedy. “Because, let me tell you, we both highly recommend them.” “In fact,” said Kennedy, kissing Kieran on the cheek. “We might even join you.” THE END
  5. lomax61


    Fair comment, Will. This story is also undergoing an overhaul, although the essence of the story is still intact.
  6. lomax61


    Oops, good point. Well spotted. Tough to keep up with the cast of thousands. Chapter duly edited.
  7. lomax61


    @Howzat is right. Chapter 4: Up In The Air After Kennedy gives Kieran the download about his family, he asks Kieran about his. “Not much to tell. Got a younger brother and an older sister. Julie’s 31. Sean is 22. On the day mum announced to us all that she was expecting Sean, our father checked out. Disappeared off the face of the planet. Although we suspect he went to Argentina. He has family there. Mum was left to bring up a newborn and two young kids. Jules and I had to step up, but thank goodness we also had mum’s parents to help. Couldn’t afford to send Julie to college, but I went and Sean’s there now, finishing up his degree in Leeds. I help with his fees where I can.” “That’s got to have been tough.”
  8. lomax61


    KIERAN ~ FAMILY Kieran woke to the now familiar sound of scratching at the bedroom door. Aligned warmly along his spine, Kennedy slept still, the slow rise of pressure from his chest against Kieran’s back, an arm draped protectively around his waist, his hot morning erection lined against the crack of Kieran’s backside. Despite efficient central heating, the air in the room held a crisp December coldness and Kennedy’s toasty nakedness felt too good an opportunity to waste. But as he began to turn, Kennedy’s arm tightened around him, the other squeezing down to line up his erection, before reaching around Kieran’s body and grabbing lube and a condom from the nightstand. “May I?” came Kennedy’s hot breath in his ear. Without replying, Kieran waited until the sheath had been rolled on before pushing back onto Kennedy, still loosened up from the night before, but nevertheless experiencing the initial, delicious burn as Kennedy entered him. Kennedy followed up with a low grunt before biting Kieran’s neck and shoulder, while pushing himself all the way inside, before beginning their slow dance which only got better with time. Since they’d lived together, Kieran had found out a number of things about Kennedy, and one was that he relished morning sex, loved when one of them roused the other from sleep using sex, waking them to the new day like a steam train leaving the station, gradually building speed in their bump and grind, both brought to wakefulness with fast breaths and mounting pleasure. Without losing the momentum, Kieran turned his head so he could take Kennedy’s mouth, his orgasm almost upon him. Kennedy came first, ramming hard, filling Kieran with his warmth. Instead of stopping, he kept going, hitting Kieran expertly on his sweet spot, until Kieran exploded into Kennedy’s hand, sparks and dark spots flashing across his vision. “Merry Christmas,” Kennedy managed to breathe out, after carefully withdrawing, wrapping the condom in tissue and dropping the item into the bin. “You can say that again.” Both lay still a moment, chests rising and falling as their breaths normalised, staring at the ceiling. Until the soft scratching and whimpering at their bedroom door began again. Kennedy chuckled; a deep, beautiful sound. “I wonder who that could be?” Ed, their good-natured Cockerpoo had been an instant hit with everyone. Kennedy drew the line at letting him sleep in the bedroom with them, at maintaining their modicum of privacy. But Kieran knew eventually the charms of their ginger curly-haired, sad-eyed canine rescue pup would wear him down. “Can I let him in?” asked Kieran. “It is Christmas, after all.” Kennedy gently shook his head and huffed, but a fond smile had settled on his face. “Go on, then.” Without hesitation, Kieran sprinted naked for the door, and yanked on the handle. Instantly, the fiery ball of dynamite scrambled into the room, first running rings around Kieran’s ankles before leaping onto the bed and heading straight for Kennedy. When Kieran joined them back in bed, fearless Ed had already started licking Kennedy’s face, with Kennedy laughing, helpless to restrain the excited pup. Kieran took a moment to enjoy the scene; a usually in control Kennedy allowing himself to be smothered with affection was a sight worth paying for. Something fundamental had changed in his man, he had mellowed. Yes, the hard-assed businessman still appeared, usually in the mornings when they drove to work together, but when Kennedy arrived home, he seemed to throw off that professional mantle and relax into himself. With a supreme effort of will, he’d even made a point of limiting the number of times he checked his phone over the weekend. Just as Ed calmed down and settled on the quilt, there came a knock at the door. “Are you boys decent?” came Claire’s voice, pushing the door open a crack but not entering. “As decent as we’ll ever be,” said Kennedy, laughing. “Merry Christmas, Mum.” Kennedy’s parents had kept their promise and flown over on the twenty-first of December bringing Reagan, a very subdued Bernie, and their three boys, to spend Christmas and New Year with them. At first Kennedy had balked at the idea of the full house, of accommodating seven extra souls. But they’d all been brilliant—Kennedy’s three extra bedrooms and spare bathroom helping matters—with the boys fighting over walking Ed to the park every day; his mother and sister having dinner on the table one night when they arrived home after work, leaving Bernie and Jefferson in charge of drinks. Kennedy’s house had never seen such an abundance of life. After a couple of days, Bernie had finally chilled, and one night, over beers, he and Reagan told them the story of how they’d decided to give things another go, how Bernie had quit his job in Melbourne in November to make a clean break and had taken a new one in Singapore, so he could spend more time with Reagan and the boys. From what Kennedy told Kieran, Reagan remained quietly optimistic. “Merry Christmas, Claire,” added Kieran, as an impeccably dressed Claire opened their door, and stood in the doorway. “Merry Christmas to you both. Look, I know it’s early, but I’m starting breakfast right away. After that, we can open presents, get that out the way, too. Right now, the boys are still sleeping, but I’ve no doubt they’ll be awake soon and demanding to open them. Then Kieran, Reagan and I have a whole heap of table arrangements, food preparation, and cooking to manage for lunch, so I’m going to need you to take your father, Bernie, and that little rascal who should not be on your bed, down to the local pub. Get you out of the house. I’ll set Reagan on putting the boys in front of the television to keep them occupied. What time are our guests arriving?” “Around one o’clock,” answered Kieran. “Good. In which case we’ll aim to eat at two. What are you laughing at, Kennedy?” Kieran turned to see Kennedy chuckling beside him. “Nothing, Sergeant Major Mum,” said Kennedy, before turning to Kieran with a sly grin. “My mother, the perennial organiser. Whatever you do, listen very carefully to her instructions in the kitchen and do not—I repeat—do not deviate from the plan in any way. People have died for less.” “Don’t you go listening to him, Kieran. He never did a thing he was told growing up—” “Yes, and look at me now.’ “Don’t talk back to your mother. Now go get showered and dressed. I need you downstairs in fifteen,” said Claire, before stopping and addressing Ed. “And you, young man, come down with me right now. If you want feeding and know what’s good for you.” Ed stopped licking himself and froze, staring at Claire, aware he was being addressed, before sitting up, jumping off the bed and running out past Kennedy’s mother. “See,” said Claire. “At least someone does what they’re told.” Their bedroom door closed to the pair of them laughing. ***** Kieran answered their doorbell just before one. Dressed in red silk and white furry trimming beneath their warm overcoats—in fancy dress as Santa’s little helpers—Laurie and Steph stood there with carrier bags full of goodies, Laurie almost bursting with excitement. “It’s confirmed, Kieran,” said Laurie, hugging him, unable to contain her delight. “All going well, we’re looking at a July baby.” “And we agreed to tell you, Kieran, but we’re keeping things hush hush at the moment,” said Steph, with a loaded glance at Laurie. “Just to be on the safe side. So no big announcements today, isn’t that right, Laurie?” “I know, I know,” said Laurie. “But Kennedy will suspect as soon as I refuse a drink.” “Then I’ll let him know on the quiet,” said Steph, reaching in and hugging Kieran. “In the meantime, something smells absolutely delicious.” Kieran led them through to the open kitchen and dining room. Reagan ran over and hugged the girls, they’d clearly met before. Claire waved from her sentinel position at the oven. “Oh wow,” said Steph, her mouth dropping open. “This place looks amazing. Looks like somebody gave Kennedy’s house a makeover?” And Kieran had to agree. He peered across the room to find Kennedy by the fridge door pulling out a bottle of champagne, smiling at him and nodding. Every time Kieran entered the room, his spirits lifted seeing their beautiful Christmas tree, sparkling decorations, and the tastefully decorated table overseen by Claire. And Kennedy clearly approved. “Champagne, ladies?” called Kennedy, holding up the bottle. Before Laurie could answer, Steph jumped in. “We’re both still on our special diets. So no alcohol for us today. But why don’t you put some of this sparkling ginger ale we’ve brought into a couple of champagne glasses and nobody will be any the wiser.” And so the party began. By one-thirty, as the house continued to fill with the delicious aromas of cooking, all their guests had arrived. Claire shooed them all out of the way—including Kieran—into their living room to chat, leaving Claire and Reagan to ready food for the gathering. And they certainly had a crowd. Figuring how to fit sixteen around Kennedy’s ten-seater table had been a challenge. But Kennedy had found a couple of folding trestle tables and picnic chairs, and they’d formed a large square so—in true family style—everyone faced into the centre of the table. Kieran’s mum arrived last, together with his sister Jules and Curtis, the boyfriend. At first, his mum seemed a little nervous and out of place, but after a couple of champagne cocktails she relaxed, chatting to Len, Steph and Laurie as though they were old friends. Even Kieran’s brother, Sean, made a short appearance for lunch although he had to bail at five to visit his latest fling. At one point, Kieran sat back and gazed around the table, at his old and new family and friends, and felt a swell of pride. Just then, a warm hand landed on his thigh. “Well done, love.” “Me? Thank your mum and sister, they did most of the cooking.” “You know what I mean. None of this would have happened, had it not been for you.” Kieran smiled, turned to Kennedy and pecked him on the lips. “We should make this a tradition. Your kitchen suits this kind of occasion brilliantly.” “Whatever you want, Kieran.” During dessert, Ed, who had been confined to the living room, was brought out and, in a display of rebellion, took a fancy to a particular bauble high up on the Christmas tree, managing to jump up and topple the whole thing onto Jefferson, much to the squeals of amusement from Reagan’s kids. After they’d cleared most of the table and set the dishwasher going, Jefferson and Bernie had offered to make coffee or tea for everyone. Soft Christmas tunes played in the living room, as everyone made themselves comfortable. During a lull in the various conversations, Steph, sitting the other side of the room, addressed Claire. “So come on, Claire. I think we’re all intrigued. How did you and Jefferson meet?” “Oh, shush. Nobody wants to know.” After a few encouraging noises, Claire relented. “Oh, well. If you insist. I know Kennedy’s heard this story before, but I met his father at an embassy ball. Dragged along by my mother and father, I didn’t want to be there, even though the embassy were supposed to put on something of a spectacle for their guests. I think some lower ranking member of royalty had arrived for one reason or another. Of course, Jeff’s family were well-known, his father being head of the consulate, but I’d never met any of them. So when this nice young man approached me, asked me if I could waltz—which of course, I could—we took a spin around the floor. Well, by the third dance, I knew. Jefferson was the one for me.” Everyone made pleasant noises at the end of the story, and Kieran gazed over at his mother, who caught his eye, smiled sadly and shrugged. Not everyone got to have their happy ending. Once again, small conversations hummed around the room. “When did you know?” asked Kieran, snuggled into Kennedy. “Know what?” “That you wanted me. I mean, when did you really know?” Kennedy appeared to consider this. “You know, I think it was on my stroll up the lane in Okinawa, when you were waiting for me. I saw you standing there, grinning at me as I approached, and, I don’t know, something inside me just clicked. And then, when I got to you, and you gave me a hug outside that Buddha bar—” “Outside the what?” said Kieran, turning to face Kennedy. “That bar. The Giant Buddha lounge, or something like that. The one you were standing beneath when you hugged the life out of me. Only remember because the bar light popped on just as we hugged. What about you?” But Kieran’s mind went back to that evening and later to the night in the hotel, the one branded in Kieran’s brain forever, the first time they’d made love. And all this time, he hadn’t realised he’d been standing beneath the giant Buddha bar in Okinawa waiting for Kennedy to arrive—waiting for his destiny? “Hey, Kieran. Are you okay?” “More than,” said Kieran, turning and kissing him on the cheek. “I love you, Kennedy Grey.” “Love you, too. But for the record, I said it first.”
  9. lomax61


    Next chapter with my editor for approval.
  10. lomax61


    Wow, okay. So let’s assume that the original phone call and drink with Len after the company dinner was because Kennedy wanted talk to Len about how Kieran had been lately, whether he talked about Kennedy, missed him, etc - and leave things at that. Let’s also assume that all Leonard told Kennedy on the Friday was that Kieran would be moving in with his sister after work, and that if he hurried he might be able to catch him if he wanted. Let’s also assume Len only told Kieran that Kennedy might be swinging by later, in case he wanted to speak to him.
  11. lomax61


    KENNEDY ~ HOME Early December, two months after the end of what Kennedy now considered to be the best vacation and the biggest mistake of his life, he found himself marching through an almost empty, unfamiliar office space at seven-thirty on Friday evening, with nobody except the cleaning staff most of whom stared at him suspiciously. Not that he cared. This was something he should have done weeks ago. He had been directed to the sixteenth floor and to the reception for Leonard’s office space. Standing still, he stared around himself, at the completely empty reception area, as a sinking feeling filled him. But then, beyond, in the fishbowl office, he noticed the familiar dark-haired man stand up and walk to the photocopier, prodding buttons on the display. Kennedy rarely felt unprepared, but this whim felt like walking on broken glass. Without hesitation, he marched over and tapped his knuckle on the window of the security door. After peering up, the figure frowned then moved towards the portal. “Len’s not here,” said Kieran, after opening the door for him, and before turning back to the machine. “Oh, okay,” said Kennedy, stood awkwardly in the doorway, his back propping the door open, his hands shoved deep in his trouser pockets. “So how—uh—how have you been?” “Fine. I’m doing fine.” “Okay. And the the job’s going well?” Kennedy had never been very good at smalltalk. “Loving it. Lots to do, but we’re getting there and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” “Good. That’s good. Got you working late, I see. So what’s with the suitcases?” Up against one wall, Kennedy recognised the large black case Kieran had brought with him for the holiday, plus a couple of other, smaller ones. At his remark, Kieran let out a small sigh. “I’ve been staying with Cole since I got back. Had a flat-share lined up, but it fell through at the last minute. Anyway, Cole’s friends are over from Tokyo, so I’m bunking back with my sister for the week, until I get something permanent sorted.” Kennedy stared at the sad line-up of cases, until Kieran broke the silence. “What do you want, Kennedy? I already told you Len’s not here,” said Kieran, after lifting the top of the copier, placing another sheet inside, and slamming down the lid. The question sounded so harsh and direct, Kennedy faltered for a moment, unable to speak. “I—I wanted to see you.” “Me? Oh, let me guess. You want your dad’s watch back?” “No, that’s not why I’m here at all,“ said Kennedy, rubbing a hand nervously around his chin. “At least, not unless you come with it.” “Unless…what?” “You heard me,” said Kennedy, softly. “Okay, Kennedy, what’s going on?” This time Kieran stopped his work and folded his arms. Kennedy came into the room, let the heavy security door slam closed behind him and perched himself on the edge of a desk. For someone so accomplished in his professional life, he felt in unchartered waters here. But he had never been one to back down from getting something that he sorely needed. “I’m going to say some things to you that I’ve never said to another living soul.” Kennedy waited to see Kieran’s reaction, but he simply leant back against the copier, his arms still folded. “I’m listening.” “You’ll need to be patient; this is somewhat difficult for me.” “Do I need to sit down?” “You might want to.” Kieran wheeled over an office chair and sat with the backrest to his chest, his arms draped over and his hands clasped together. “First off, I need to say I’m sorry. Sorry for not being brave enough to tell you how fond I’d grown of you. Sorry for not keeping in touch after the holiday, although, God knows, we’ve been rushed off our feet with the merger, which is all coming along nicely, by the way, with regular updates from Giorgio and Sloan. Yes, I took your advice.” “Good.” “And the second thing is—” “You mean there’s more?” “—is that as much as I feel this particular word has become bland, overused, and, in this case, is totally inadequate—I mean, for goodness’ sake, the Eskimos have fifty words for snow, so why do we only have one—sorry, getting off topic. What I mean is, Kieran, I’m falling in love with you. No, sorry, scrub that. I’m already in love with you. Have been since our tango together on the cruise. Maybe even before that, and now I’m—” “Stop,” said Kieran, softly, which caused Kennedy’s voice to break with emotion. “—I’m second guessing everything, Kieran. Every decision, which is not like me. I’m fucking asking for your opinion in the mirror every morning, asking you as though you’re standing there in the bathroom next to me. I can’t do this without you. Move in with me, not with your sister. You can have a spare room as long as you want, if that’s what you want. Hell, you can stay forever, which is what I’d prefer. But it’s your choice. I want you to do what you want.” “What if I tell you I’ve met somebody?” Kennedy’s heart sank then, all the hope he’d been storing up evaporated, and suddenly he felt a sting in his eyes. And the Greys never shed tears, his father had taught him that. Was he too late? Trying to pull himself together, he stared down at the office carpet. “Have you?” “What would you say if I told you I have?” With an effort of will, Kennedy brought his emotions into check, and eventually smiled, still unable to meet Kieran’s eyes. Something else his father had taught him was that even in defeat, an Englishman remained gracious; a gentleman above all else. “I’d say that man—or woman—is the luckiest person alive. I’d tell them they’ve just hit the jackpot with the most beautiful person in the world. Someone who lights the room up just by walking in and makes the person with him feel like they’re blessed. And I’d tell them to tell you so every day you’re together—” Kennedy hadn’t heard the soft movement from across the room, but suddenly found himself being enveloped by Kieran’s arms. While Kennedy wrapped his arms around Kieran’s waist, Kieran pulled Kennedy’s head down onto his shoulder. “For fuck’s sake, Kennedy. Why couldn’t you have told me that before?” “Because I was scared. Because I was worried I might fuck up and let you down one day. Because I’m a coward and an ass.” “No argument here.” Kennedy chuckled softly, breathed in Kieran’s unique scent, one he’d missed so much, but when he pulled his head away and faced Kieran, he saw his lover’s eyes were moist, too. “Have you really met someone else?” “Of course not. Cole took me to a couple of clubs—gay and straight. Must say, the music’s better in the gay clubs, but it’s not really my scene, neither of them are. And, more importantly, nobody looked like you.” “Thank goodness. So will you let me try again, to be your partner, or boyfriend, or whatever you want to call us. And will you come and stay with me? If I ask you nicely? You can have your own room, if you want. Or you can—you know—sleep in mine.” In response, Kieran pushed his lips gently onto Kennedy’s. Soft kissing soon became more, something Kennedy had dreamt about every night. Kieran also warmed to the connection, except before things got too heated, Kieran put his hand on Kennedy’s chest and pushed away. “If I sleep in your bed, where will you sleep?” Kennedy chuckled and pulled him back, hugged him tightly. “Heaven knows, I’ve missed you.” “Look, Kennedy. If we’re really going to be together, you may want to hear what I want.” “Anything.” “We’ll need to be open and honest with each other, especially if we’ve pissed each other off somehow.” “Okay, I deserve that.” “Not just you, me too.” “Okay.” “We’re taking ballroom classes together at least once a fortnight. And you will make the time.” “Agreed.” “And I’m sure you’ve heard Laurie’s more than likely pregnant with her first child and I was the donor. Well, I want us to have kids one day.” “Oh, wow, okay. Wasn’t expecting that. How about we start with a dog?” “Really?” “Why not. Let’s go pick one out at the dog rescue tomorrow.” “I would fucking love that.” “Thought you might. I’ve cleared my weekend in the hopes you might be free. Now are you ready to leave yet? We can pick up some Thai take-away food on the way. And in the meantime, I can take your bags down to my car if you have things you need to finish up here.” “Nope, I’m done.” Between them, they collected Kieran’s bags and headed towards the lift lobby. “Does Len always expect you to work this late?” “Len normally kicks everyone out by five-thirty.” “So what’s got you working so late tonight?” Kieran stepped into the lift, pressed the ground floor, and turned to Kennedy with a sly smile. “I was waiting for you.” ****** When Kennedy opened the burgundy front door to his house, he saw everything in a new light, nervous about having Kieran there, and badly needing his approval. The four bedroom house had always been nothing more than a space to live and sleep in for Kennedy, and also an investment in case he needed to realise the equity one day. Now, for the first time, he wanted someone to like the place as a home. “Leave the bags and let me give you the grand tour.” When he led them to the living room, he realised for the first time how spartan and functional he had made the room. When Patrick had lived there, at least they’d had some paintings on the walls, to brighten the decor. Patrick had taken them with him. Even though the furnishings were Italian and expensive—three piece navy sofas in a U-shaped arrangement, dark frosted glass coffee table and grey silk carpet—everything felt cold and formal. Kieran said nothing so Kennedy immediately took him to the place he did most of his work. “Open kitchen and dining room.” This was one space he liked because one whole windowed wall lined the back yard, and the houses overlooking. He had also bought a large table and fitted the kitchen with a range of expensive appliances—not that many of them ever got used. “A ten-seater dinner table. Impressive. And your kitchen is spotless. Does either of them ever get used?” Kennedy snorted and shook his head. Nothing got past Kieran. “Not often. Not any more. Mrs Dabrowski comes in every morning to do any household chores—cleaning, making the bed, washing, ironing—so everything is always kept looking spick and span. I’m at work most of the time, so don’t have a chance to mess things up. There’s probably not enough to keep her busy, but I know her family needs the money.” “And she’ll have a dog to care for soon, while we’re both at work.” “That she will. Shall we get your things upstairs?” “Look Kennedy. I’m not going to simply mooch off you. Somehow I need to contribute.” “Of course, but the house is bought and paid for.” “Then I’ll pay the bills.” “Contribute, maybe. Fine.” “And I’m cooking for us. At least three or four times a week. Man cannot live by takeaway alone.” “Whatever you say.” “Hang on,” said Kieran, peering curiously around. “Where’s your Christmas tree?” “I—I don’t usually bother. When it’s just me.” ‘Well, that’s going to change, too,” said Kieran, folding his arms across his chest. “You know what? We’re having the best fuck-off Christmas tree over there by the front window. So the whole world can see. And we’re having all our friends over for a fantastic Christmas party.” Kennedy laughed, and already felt a ripple of relief running through him. Life, that was what this house needed, some life. Something Kieran would provide in abundance. “Whatever you want,” said Kennedy, heading towards the stairs. “Let’s haul your things upstairs. And, by the way, Leonard’s office is on the way to mine. So as long as you don’t mind leaving early in the morning—around seven-thirty—I’ll give you a lift to work every day. So, here’s the upstairs.” Kennedy showed Kieran the three spare bedrooms, before trailing him into the master bedroom. After appraising the bed for a moment, Kieran poked his head into the adjoining bathroom, before strolling into the room that had been turned into a wardrobe. “Fuck. Your walk-in wardrobe is almost as big as my sister’s apartment. Why is it half empty?” “That side used to be Patrick’s.” “Oh, I see. Shall I hang my things there?” “You’re going to share this room with me?” said Kennedy, feeling the smile lighting his face. “Of course I am, old man.” “In which case, you can put things wherever you like. Before you come and have a shower with me. This is your home now.” Kennedy had been putting his jacket on a hanger and turned to see Kieran quickly turn his head away, and bring a hand to his eyes. This time Kennedy stopped him, gently turned him around and pulled his hand away. Kieran didn’t resist, and once again he had tears in his eyes. “Hey, what’s the matter, love? Did I say something wrong?” “No, of course you didn’t. I’m being stupid. But you don’t know how long I’ve waited to hear that single word, one that everyone I know seems to take so much for granted.” “Home?” “Yes, home.” “Kieran, you are home. This is your home now.”
  12. lomax61

    Shades of Gay

    UK. Hong Kong is a bone of contention right now on a lot of levels, and not getting any better. But as long as all the right papers are signed and visas (for him) are approved, then we’re set to do the deed in London 2019, fingers crossed🤞
  13. lomax61

    Shades of Gay

    Not my views, Kieran’s. And you’re right, the real man comment has been removed. My own male partner is Malaysian Chinese and he is more man than I’ll ever be. We’ve been together since 1993 and are finally tying the knot next year.
  14. lomax61

    Shades of Gay

    KIERAN ~ SHADES OF GAY Ever since Kieran returned to England, and came out to Cole with a confession about his first time with Kennedy—almost two months ago to the day—peppered with enough detail to convince his friend of the authenticity, Cole appeared comfortable to strut around his apartment in only Armani underwear. And it was not that Cole didn’t get more than his fair share of admirers, more than a few. But Kieran definitely preferred the carved lines and hairiness of Kennedy’s body “So listen up, Q1,” said Cole, thumping his mug of coffee onto the table. Every since he’d mentioned Pete’s nickname for him on the cruise—Queer One—Cole had been hooked, calling him either Q1 or plain Q. “Gay friends of mine are coming over from Tokyo to stay with me at the beginning of December—Jon and Takamori—on their way up to Scotland to spend Christmas with gay friends. Apparently a whole bunch of them get together each year and they missed out last year. Staying at some kind of castle owned by friends of theirs. Why can’t I have friends like that? Sounds like a perfect antidote to Christmas. Anyway, can you stay with your sister for a couple of weeks while they’re here?” Kieran lowered the screen of his laptop and forced a smile. “Of course I can. Sorry, I should’ve had my own place by now.” “Not your fault, Q. Our female brethren are famous for their fussidom. Besides, it’s been nice having you here.” Two days ago, the promise of a flat share with a lesbian couple had fallen through when the two had finally decided they wanted another woman sharing their space, but especially their bathroom and kitchen. Kieran’s holiday money from Kennedy hadn’t stretched to him being able to put down a deposit to rent his own apartment, although now the second month’s salary from Leonard had hit his bank account, he was in a better position. But the whole process took so much time. Now he’d need to call on his sister’s goodwill again after finally giving her and her boyfriend back their space. “I’ll call her later.” “What are you doing on your laptop? Better be gay porn, or pervy chat rooms, and definitely not study. Our next module isn’t due until after Christmas. Shit, don’t tell me you’re working? On a Saturday morning?” Cole knew how much he loved his new job. Len had instigated a regular weekly meeting with him—usually in the morning informally over cappuccinos and chocolate muffins—to go through his achievements. Much of the technical detail went over Len’s head, so Kieran had learnt to show rather than tell; the redesigned antique furniture website, fast and slick, allowing browsers to view the pieces in three dimensions, and rotate them on the screen; the site selling listed or character buildings, which now had a handful of three-sixty degree tours of properties online and direct links to Len’s other complementary sites; the antique store, specialised building insurance; the tasteful draper and haberdashery—plus a link to Steph and Laurie’s furniture renovation service. He always saved the figures until last, knowing Len’s main concern. The most recent spreadsheet showed not only the exponential rise in hits on each of his sites, over four hundred percent, but figures indicated an initial five percentage increase in sales across all sites in the last month alone. And Kieran had only just begun. “Nah, just browsing media sites. Nothing in particular,” he lied. Once again, he had been checking the photograph of Kennedy and Giorgio Milletto on the announcement of their merger. Kennedy had maintained his amazing tan and, looking into the camera, Kieran felt as though he was staring straight at him. And he knew just what that felt like. Every time, the sight gave his heart a tiny squeeze of regret. In his phone, he still had Kennedy’s number plugged in, and a couple of times had even been tempted to call. But each time he managed the urge and resisted. Kennedy needed to make the next move. “Q, honey. Not only is it the weekend, but it’s the end of the month. So not only do we have time, but we also have money. Let’s head up to polluted London and do something gay. You have any plans for brunch?” “Heck, don’t remind me. I’m meeting mother up in Waterloo. And coming out to her.” “Oh shit, yes, I’d forgotten. Good luck with that. Even if the weather turns shite, I’m not sitting in watching more episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. So let me know if you need emergency cocktails afterwards. I’ll be at The Nipple Clamp in Soho for happy hour from four ’til nine. Gerard, Nob, and Lickme are joining.” “Let’s see how things go.” “It’s just a chill-out bar, Q. No deafeningly loud music, no pungent aroma of poppers, no sweaty bodies wrapped around each other, sliding down the walls—more’s the pity. I’ve learnt my lesson. Say you’ll come.” Cole had taken Kieran to Pulse, a club beneath Waterloo Bridge. From the moment he walked down the steep stairs and through the door, Kieran had disliked the crush and backstage darkness. Two men had stumbled up to him, clearly off their faces on either alcohol or recreational drugs, both had spoken to him in their usual voices as though he could even hear anything. Even the next morning, his ears rang with pain. Although he never openly complained, Cole knew he hadn’t really enjoyed the experience, and vowed that before he took Kieran into such a club again, he would first ensure his friend mastered the art of sign language. Cole must have taken Kieran’s silence for denial, because he continued his case. “Look darling. Despite the world painting us fabulous people onto one easy to point to billboard, we’re different shades of gay. I am flaming pink and you are more of a darker red, like burgundy, into daddies—” “—I am not into daddies—” “With beer bellies, man boobs, bald heads, and hair on their bums—” “Okay, okay. I’ll come and join you afterwards. Give you the mum download.” “Oooh, goss? Priceless. Now we’re talking.” At midday, Kieran met his mother at the Skyline restaurant in the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. Their table for two sat right next to the window, the whole space located above the walkway below, overlooking of The Thames and Waterloo Bridge. Every now and again, Kieran enjoyed treating his mother to a special meal, even though she would inevitably make a point of commenting on the exorbitant prices. Living in Hove on the south coast, she rarely came into London, so when she did, he’d spoil her with lunch and a movie or a trip to the theatre. Unfortunately, she needed to get back by six o’clock for dinner at one of her friend’s houses. A few years off sixty, she still looked good; happy and settled. She’d dyed her hair recently, a deep red which covered up the persistent grey. Not really one for make-up—something Kieran admired about his mum—she came fresh faced and red cheeked courtesy of the chill weather. Over the past years, she’d had a number of boyfriends but nothing she’d ever referred to as a relationship. Over a glass of wine each, they caught each other up on their lives, Kieran enthusing about his new job much to his mother’s delight, but never mentioning his month as a paid travel companion. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, he’d taken the month out to travel the country with his friend, Cole. Nice and general, not too much detail, nothing more. Besides, he had bigger things to discuss with his mother. Two glasses of wine later and now on desserts, Kieran finally found a pause in the conversation to bring up the topic foremost in his mind. “Mum, I’m gay.” For a few seconds she stared at him, before smiling and nodding. After a moment, she turned her gaze out the scene beyond the window. “I thought you might be. Even in your early twenties, you were never really into girls, not like your brother. And, let’s face it, you and Jennifer were hardly love’s young dream. Even though you told me otherwise, I never saw her making you happy, never saw that spark between you.” “You knew? Why didn’t you say anything?” “Oh, honey. What would I have said? And, more importantly, what would you have said to me? I don’t think you even knew yourself. But a mother knows. Of all my children, you were the sensitive one; the worrier, always fretting about me, worrying if we’d be able to make ends meet. Half the time your worrying helped to stop mine, if that makes sense?” “But how does that make me gay?” “It doesn’t, but—I don’t know—I just saw something special in you. Of all my children, you are most like my oldest brother, Peter.” Uncle Peter. Or gay Uncle Peter, as most of the family had come to refer to him. Kieran liked him and Uncle Gino a lot. Along with his grandparents, they’d helped care for Kieran and his siblings as kids. Both men had been low key and fun, sharing a tiny bungalow in the country which had a huge garden backing onto a farm. So Kieran had the family gay gene? His mother must have sensed his confusion, because she went on to clarify. “Don’t get me wrong, love. I think you’d have made a brilliant husband for Jennifer. But she’d have been the one ordering you around, getting you to do what she wanted, when she wanted it done. There would’ve been no give and take. She’s that kind of woman. And I know you, dear. Eventually you’d have walked away. So better it happened sooner rather than later, when you’d have had far more to lose. Do you have someone?” “Sorry?” “Do you have a boyfriend?” Kieran blanched. His mother had actually used the word ‘boyfriend’ with him. As natural as breathing. No drama, no tears, no accusations. For a moment, he felt the sting of tears in his eyes. “I did. That’s where I was in September.” “And what’s he like?” How the heck did he explain Kennedy to his mother? “He’s amazing, mum. Smart, successful, handsome, funny.” “Sounds like somebody’s smitten.” “No, we’re not together anymore. Just travelled as companions for the month.” “Then he’s not as smart as he thinks. My son is a catch.” Kieran laughed and he enjoyed the sound, loved seeing his mother’s approval. After coffee arrived, both of them fell quiet again, until his phone beeped with a message. Even before he pulled the phone out, he was sure the reminder was from Cole. But the display announced something different altogether. Steph: Not counting our chicks just yet, but doctor says we’re likely going to be a mother. Kieran felt his face redden. “Oh heck, mum. There’s something else I need to tell you.
  15. lomax61


    I promise, as soon as I get home from work, I'll post the next chapter.

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