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'He has a BMW? What model? Is it new?'
'Yes, I don't know, and yes,' I replied.
Roman shook me excitedly. 'Will, you have to stay with this guy. Muslim or not, he's the one for you.'
'He's not Muslim. I thought he was, and he said he used to be, but he's not anymore.'
'Even better. Arabs are unpopular enough as it is.'
'Turks aren't Arabs. They're Turks,' I pointed out.
Roman looked surprised. He wasn't an intellectual. 'Really?'
'Really,' I assured him.
Romie shrugged. 'That's interesting. I've been there but I never knew that.
'You've been there but you don't know the nationality of it's people? And what were you doing during all those history lessons? Sleeping?'
Roman shrugged. 'I was thirteen the last time I was there.'
I sipped my beer. Roman slurped on his cocktail. It was pink and had an umbrella sticking out of it. As I've said; Roman has the personality of a stereotypically camp gay.
'So what's Turkey like? Is it good?'
'Oh, you know,' Roman shrugged. 'It's cool, from what I can remember. You know how Australians are mainly Christian? Turks are mainly Muslim. They have mosques and some of them pray and shit. The food isn't bad; I'll give them that.'
'All you remember is the religion and the food?'
'Do you want to hear about the women?'
'I didn't think so.' Roman retrieved his umbrella from his drink and laid it on a serviette. 'Will? How serious are you about this guy? 'Cause from what I remember, they're not as um, liberated about gay stuff. Does his family even know he's gay?'
Roman had raised the point I'd been puzzling over. The truth was that I didn't knowwhat the deal was with Ahmet's family. It hadn't been something we'd discussed.
'I don't know,' I confessed. 'That's kinda what I was worrying about.'
Roman nodded thoughtfully. 'That's what I'd be worrying about.' My curly haired friend ran a hand through his hair, before smiling brightly at me. 'You should ask him next time you see him. Don't forget to let me know what he says.'
Frustratingly enough, the very next day Ben asked me the same question. I again replied that I wasn't aware of how 'out' Ahmet was, and whether or not his family were aware of his sexuality.
'There's no way they know,' Ben remarked.
'Then why did you ask?' I demanded.
Ben shrugged, not at all taken aback by my attitude. 'I wanted to see what you thought the deal was. I've asked people I know, and they all say his parents will probably disown him when they find out.'
'Well, he's in his twenties,' I argued. 'So I daresay that if they don't know now, he's not planning on telling them.'
'You're going to stay with a guy who won't ever live with you?' Ben questioned. He pulled a face. 'You should break up with him. You could find a girl, easy. You want to date Dragana's cousin? She's really pretty. Not as pretty as Dragana, but pretty.'
'I've only known him two weeks, so for all I know, it won't ever be serious,' I pointed out. 'And no, I do not want to date Dragana's cousin. I'm sure she's very nice, but she's a woman. That, um, wouldn't really work out.'
'Will,' Ben leaned in, serious. 'The first time I had sex with Dragana, it was super weird. It didn't, you know, feel the way everyone said it would. But we kept doing it, and it got better.'
His smokey blue eyes stared into mine sincerely. He honestly thought he was doing me a favour. Frankly, I was fucking dumbfounded. I did not need sex advice from a thirteen year old. Hell, what was a thirteen year old doing having sex? Sure, he was only a week off fourteen, but the thought of him having sex at fourteen was equally ridiculous.
Ben made a face. 'Women have funny things between their legs. Have you seen it? I was like 'crap, where does it go?' when I first saw it.'
Oh God, listening to him was beyond wrong. I wanted to turn back the arms of the clock and organise my day so I'd never have had this conversation with Ben. His intentions may have been good, but what he was saying was stomach turning.
It's not often that I seek advice from my older foster brother, Lee. Lee can be a right pain in the arse. He can be insensitive. He has been known to laugh out loud at matters that have caused me grief.
Despite this, we seem to be growing closer as we age. Maybe we're more confident now. He no longer lives at home, and neither of us are as needy as we used to be. We don't need to compete for love and attention.
Lee stretched out and stared at me idly. He wore jeans, converse chucks and a t-shirt, and his blond hair was hanging in his face. He had a stack of tattoos; two full 'sleeves' of colour, plus more on his back and legs. He was an erotic artist by trade. You don't want to know what this involves. Really, you don't. All you need to know is that Lee has a very liberal attitude towards sex and sexuality. He's open to the point that he's told me that he's sufficiently recovered from a workplace accident that took place eighteen months prior, to be able to get an erection without the help of drugs. He was also open enough to give me frank advice when I told him Teagan once touched my crotch while I was watching television.
'What's the problem, William?' he inquired.
'There's lots of them,' I admitted.
'Drama queen,' he grinned incitefully.
I rolled my eyes. 'Not really. Did you know Ben is having sex with Dragana?'
'No, but I'll file that information away for later use. It might come in handy.'
'Can't you be trusted with anything?'
'Of course. Whatever gave you the impression that I couldn't?'
'You paint people having sex.'
'Because they pay me,' Lee argued. 'Would you paint someone having sex for three hundred and fifty dollars?'
I didn't answer.
Lee laughed. 'Sorry.' He said, though he didn't look particularly sorry. 'I won't tell anyone about Ben and Dragana. Tell me about this new poof of yours.'
'If he's the Turkish dentist, then he's the one I want to hear about.'
I slunk into my chair. 'I've only known him two weeks. He'll probably dump me soon.'
'Why would he dump you?'
'If you went on a date with someone, and their thirteen year old foster brother had a drunken puke in the back of your BMW, would you be happy?'
Lee laughed. 'That sounds like something I'd have done.'
'In that case, I won't let him give you any lifts. The poor guy. Plus, he's already met Brett and Mike. His housemate used to work with Brett. Sooner or later he's going to wise up and run for the hills.'
Lee removed the cap from a new bottle of beer and flipped it into the middle of the table. 'Maybe. Does he know any other guys in Australia? If not, he might be horny enough to stick around for a while.'
'Geez, thanks,' I replied sarcastically.
My foster brother shrugged. 'I was trying to be helpful.'
We returned to our beers, all the while surveying Lee's two young children. They were in the backyard arguing over who got the 'good' ball. Lee was ignoring their arguments. He had a very laid-back attitude towards parenthood, though I have to admit, it worked for his kids. Neither of them were brats.
I tipped my patio chair backwards and took a swallow of beer. 'Do you know much about Turkey? I mean, other than Gallipoli?'
'I know belly dancers come from Turkey.'
'Do you know anything about Turkey not including the women?'
God, it was pathetic. Neither Lee nor Roman had any knowledge of a country other than it's female population.
'Wait, wait, don't they make kebabs?' Lee guessed. 'I could really go a kebab right now.'
'Will, Will, look what Ahmet gave me.' Teagan waved something in my face.
Hot, sweaty and dressed in bright yellow lycra, I can assure you that I couldn't care less what Ahmet gave her. Oh no, I had bigger problems. What was Ahmet doing at my house, uninvited? And did this mean I was going to have to walk past him wearing aforementioned tight, yellow lycra?
Roman rode alongside me and grabbed me. 'Is that his car? Will, please tell me that's his car.'
'That's his car,' I sighed. 'Teagan, is Ahmet inside?'
'Yup. He gave me money. Look.' Teagan shoved a crumpled note in front of my face. 'I'm a millionaire.'
Fabulous. One of my foster siblings pukes in his car, and another scabs money off him.
I walked inside, dreading the situation. Why had my Wednesday afternoon suddenly been turned upside down? Whatever happened to personal dignity? Well, actually, I can tell you what happened to personal dignity. It disappeared the second I bought my first pair of bike pants.
'Hello,' Ahmet greeted. 'Training for the Tour de France?'
'No, not really,' I muttered, humiliated. 'Hang on a sec. I'll go and get changed. Um, this is Roman, by the way. He's a friend of mine.'
Roman took it upon himself to sit down and drink tea with Ahmet and Michael and Teagan while I went off to have a shower. Needless to say, I had a very quick shower and made my way back out to the kitchen table, where I nudged Roman very indiscreetly and told him to get changed into regular clothes.
'Wow Will, anyone would think you didn't want me to speak to Ahmet,' Roman smirked.
'Jeez, whatever gives you that impression?' I replied through gritted teeth. 'You're enjoying this.'
'Yes. Yes, I am,' Roman agreed. 'Ahmet, don't go anywhere. Tell Will what we've planned while I go and shower.'
Ahmet smiled. 'I was going to call,' he explained. 'Then I thought 'no, I'll surprise him'.'
'You surprised me,' I agreed.
'Is it a bad surprise?' he prodded.
'Oh no. It's fine. You can come over whenever,' I glanced carefully at Michael and Teagan. 'Roman does.'
Michael shrugged. Teagan smoothed out her Turkish note. Teagan liked money, liked it a lot. She mowed lawns, ran errands for our neighbours, and collected their mail while they were on holidays, all to make a few bucks. She had more money in her bank account than I had in mine. That said, she has several awful habits. Ben is good with her, but she freaks me out. Her biological family abused the hell out of her, physically and sexually, so it's kind of understandable, but it's nothing that I can deal with. I avoid being alone with her as much as possible.
Ahmet noticed my gaze, and commented that the money he'd given Teagan was old Turkish currency. It was no longer in use, and at any rate, the note was only worth a few cents, maybe a dollar at a stretch. He'd found it tucked into the cover of a book he'd bought to Australia with him. He hadn't realized the money was still inside until he'd gone to read it.
'So what would it have bought you in Turkey?' I asked, suspicious.
'A can of Coke,' Ahmet replied. 'Maybe. It would depend on where you were.'
'Oh.' I blushed. 'I didn't mean to interrogate.'
'Yes you did.' He raised his eyebrows. 'I thought I was trustworthy.'
Michael excused himself, but Teagan remained at the table, intently observing our interaction. It creeped me out.
'You are. Um,' I coughed. 'So what are we doing tonight?'
'Roman invited us over to his house.'
'You'll like that. He has a nice house. His mother is living with her boyfriend, so Roman and his girlfriend have taken over their McMansion. It's a gorgeous house. They even have a maid.'
'I'm sure I'll appreciate it.'
I wasn't sure how to answer. I wanted to kiss him, hug him, get some idea of why he'd come over, but there was no chance to do any of these things. Roman, Ahmet and I were soon on our way to Roman's mother's house and I rode in the front, wondering if Ahmet would mind if I touched his leg in an affectionate kind of way.
I didn't have a chance to find out. We were soon at Roman's house, where Roman proceeded to basically drag Ahmet inside.
'Do you drink?' Roman asked him. 'God, please tell me you drink.'
Ahmet confirmed he was a drinker.
'I'm so happy. Will's ex didn't drink. It drove me crazy. Do you drink in Turkey? I can't remember; I was a kid the last time I was there.'
It turned out that Turkey manufactured some god-awful liquor, with a disturbingly high alcohol content. Roman was fascinated. He wanted to try it. The only problem was that he didn't know where to buy it. Never one to be dissuaded by the little problems of logistics, Roman and Ahmet decided they would drive around to the local bottleshops to see if they could procure this magical substance.
'Come on Will,' Ahmet said, tugging my arm. 'Let's go.'
The ridiculous part was that when Ahmet and I picked up drunken Ben, I could see how stupid he was to get sloshed in front of his girlfriend. I knew he wasn't doing himself any favours. I wanted to shake him, actually, and tell him to wise the fuck up.
Nonetheless, I decided to do as Ben had stupidly done, and drink myself into oblivion. Ahmet reacted first with kindness, gently telling me to slow down, before seemingly giving up on me. He continued to sit next to me, and both he and Roman tried to draw me into the conversation, but he didn't give me any undue attention. In short, he didn't seem to give a shit that I was out to get plastered.
We went to bed in the wee hours of the morning. I kissed him sloppily, and tore at his clothes. I wanted him to refuse my advances, but he didn't. He lay on his back on the bed and let me maul him.
We fucked. No, no, that's not right, that's not what it was and that's not how I wanted him to see it. I fucked him. Drunkenly. Badly. I came too soon and was too rough with him, too selfish, but he still didn't get angry.
Afterwards, while he slept – he always rolled over and went to sleep following orgasm – while I, now slightly more sober and regretting my actions, lay awake and stared at the ceiling.
'Ahmet?' I whispered.
'God, what is it?' he complained sleepily.
'I'm sorry,' I slurred, giving him a slobbery kiss. 'I won't drink this much next time.'
'Will?' Ahmet replied tiredly. 'I'm not angy. Go to sleep. It's almost morning and I'm supposed to start work at eleven.'
'Right,' I replied quietly. He'd forgiven me for being drunk and embarrassing. Just like that, he'd fogiven me, rolled over and gone back to sleep.