I won't be home ever again, even for X-mas
Tristan thought he'd found the love of his life, but than he overheard a conversation on the subway…MxM
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Edited by Lisa.
It's the not so sappy half of me, who wrote this. This is a much longer chapter, and I struggled to get this written, but Lisa's 'Winter Doodle' helped me to get this out so fast. I think, there will be one more chapter. ;)
I am beyond exhausted; I'm dead on my feet. First there was the symposium in which I had to present my scientific work, followed by a lengthy discussion, where somehow the same few questions, only in slightly different words, were asked I don't know how many times. When this was finally over, the mingling with the investors and the small talk almost killed me. I'm horrible at small talk. I just can't think of enough harmless, apolitical, non-religious or otherwise innocuous topics, which inevitably lead to them asking about my family situation.
"No, I don't have a wife, nor do I have a girlfriend."
"Aww, you shouldn't be too devoted to your work; having a family is very important for a young man. Besides, my daughter will be at the dinner party tonight…"
Are this people for real? I can't believe this is still happening. I have been out of the closet since high school, and I told the professor that I don't want to pretend that I'm straight just for the benefit of the project. I am not hiding who I am. He said it would be okay, as long as I don't start every sentence with I'm gay, or suddenly wear purple frilled shirts in the lab, only to get my point across. Of course if I would suddenly start wearing those shirts, it couldn't be helped, and he and the others had to simply get accustomed to it then. I think this was his subtle way to let me know he's okay with me.
And some of the guests had of course read the newspaper and seen the picture of me and little TT. Aww, that was sooo cute, I so should have a little guy of my own someday, everybody can see what a good father I'd be. So I thought it wouldn't be too obtrusive now to explain that, although I wouldn't mind being a father, my future husband/life partner had to agree to it too.
This got me the typical three reactions. Some of them were like 'oh, yes he definitely should agree to it too, before you decide to adopt a child'; some were like 'ew' and a few of them had this slightly missionary glitter in their eyes, like maybe he could be cured, if he meets the right girl. Whatever.
All in all it went well, even the dance after the party. I live, the investors are happy; and the professor is too, because our finances are secure for the next two years. Yay!
I'm walking behind the professor through the revolving door into the foyer of the hotel. It's two in the morning and all I have on my mind now, is to get out of the suit, into the shower, sleep till lunch, and then catch the train home at 4.20.
That is until I see an all too familiar figure, sleeping on one of the leather couches, black coat open, revealing a blue scarf hanging loosely around his neck. Is that the one I gave him for Christmas? His light, curly, black hair is falling down to his shoulders. Peter! What the fuck is he doing here, this can't be a coincidence, can it?
"Mr. Alexander! This gentleman, Mr. Shaw, has been waiting for you since seven this evening. I already told him it would be late, as you were at a dinner party tonight, but he insisted on waiting for you," the hotel porter tells me excitedly.
I cringe; can't the guy be a little bit quieter? He's waking him up, if he doesn't shut up. Shit, shit, shit!
And of course, when I look over my shoulder to Peter, he's already stirring in his sleep. Great, just great; now it will take only one or two seconds until I have to look in those bright, blue eyes again, which still haunt me sometimes in my dreams. I turn into the direction of the elevators, when I feel a hand clamping down on my right shoulder. My boss is actually keeping me from bolting. He looks straight into my eyes.
"Is that him? Peter? Your Peter?"
"Yeah…, he isn't mine though…never really was, obviously…."
"And what are you planning to do now, Tristan? Run away? That never really solved any problem, huh? You should have had enough distance from the whole thing by now, to be able to confront him; maybe hear him out, listen to an explanation, whatever. Five years ago, going away might have been the right thing to do; now the right thing is to talk to him. You live, Tristan, but are you happy?"
"No…," I whisper.
His hand still on my shoulder he turns me in Peter's direction, and when I still don't move, he gives me a slight push.
I slowly walk over to the couch opposite of the one Peter is currently sleeping on, and sit down. And then I see the newspaper beside him. That's why he knows I'm in town; he saw my picture in this damned newspaper. He saw me with this ridiculous Santa hat on my head, holding TT in my lap like a loving father. Which adds even more to my housewife image. Well, so what, as if I gave a flying fuck…
He has his hair grown out; it falls into his eyes and almost onto his shoulders. I wonder what his sly boss says to this; isn't he one of these big wig wearing-a-three-piece-suit-all-the-time lawyers, with his hair always freshly trimmed and all?
While I keep looking at him, I'm suddenly confronted with these bright, blue eyes, still slightly glazed over from sleep.
"You're home again."
"This isn't my home anymore, as you well know. I'm just here for a symposium, I'll go home tomorrow afternoon."
"Oh…yes, of course. Sorry."
"Hm…the porter said something about you waiting for me? Why is that?"
"Yes. It's…I saw you're picture in the newspaper. I…needed to speak to you for so long. I…want to explain, need to explain…what…why I said all those awful things. Please, Tristan can I explain these things to you?"
"Why would you want to do this? I mean it's been almost six years; you're married, we moved on with our lives. What sense would it make to talk about this past shit?"
"You moved on, as in having someone new?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
"Yes, yes…of course…why wouldn't you…"
While we're sitting there, each thinking our own thoughts, I cannot fail to notice some single white hairs in his otherwise black strands, as well as fine lines around his eyes. He doesn't look like the happy married man, whose life is going on as planned. He looks exhausted and…sad. Well, why should I care? It's probably just the holiday stress.
"Tristan…" I look up. "Can we talk? Please?"
"All right, but not now; I'm tired, I need to shower and I need to think."
"Sure. Maybe tomorrow at ten then?"
"Nah, I'll probably still be sleeping then," I really doubt that though now, "we can meet after lunch at two, here at the hotel. I have to catch my train at 4.20, but it won't take that long I think."
"All right, at two here. Thank you Tristan for hearing me out."
"Yeah, yeah," I stand up and go to the elevator without saying another word, but I know he's looking after me. Am I being an ass? Yes. Do I like it? Not really.
When I wait for the elevator to come down, I finally can't resist looking back any longer, but by now he's already gone.
When I come back from lunch Peter is already waiting for me, sitting on the same couch as last night. He hasn't seen me yet, so I could still avoid this, wait in my room until it's time to go to the train station and never see him again. Really now Tristan! Well, it's too late anyway; he has seen me already and gives me a nod. So I walk over to him.
"Tristan, you came…" He obviously considered that I might not come. He knows me too well.
"Yeah, of course. I said I'd come, so I came." Ha! Liar!
"Um…should we talk here?" Peter looks somewhat uncomfortable.
"Rather not, but we could go upstairs to my room…"
"Yes, I think that's a good idea." He seems relieved.
I lead the way to the elevator. Just as I expected it, this is a very strange situation; nobody tries to talk and I suddenly feel the desperate need for a coffee.
"Do you want something to drink, a coffee maybe?"
"Yeah, that would be great."
I give him my key card. There's no personal stuff left in my room; I already packed my suitcase, so I think he can wait there for me while I get us some coffee.
"Are you sure I should wait in your room? I could just wait for you here in the foyer or come with you to the coffee shop…"
"Nah, that's okay, I already packed my things. Just leave the door open; it won't take long. There is a coffee shop right around the corner."
"Oh…all right then."
He enters the elevator and I go get us the coffee.
When I come back to my room Peter is standing in front of the window, his hands shoved deeply in his jeans pockets, and he's staring outside. I think he didn't notice I'm already back.
"Two shots of espresso, cream, no sugar, right?"
"You still remember it…"
"Of course I do; I'm not suffering from memory loss or something…"
"There's no need to become defensive, I know you remember everything, I'm just glad …shit!" He runs his hand through his hair almost desperately.
I settle myself on the desk chair and look at him expectantly. When he still says nothing for some minutes, I remind him of my departure time.
"You know I have a train to catch at 4.20, yes?" Am I being an ass?
He rubs his eyes, pinches the bridge of his nose several times, and then sighs.
"I've waited so long for this, even rehearsed it several times in my head, and now I don't know where to begin…All right. You remember my father is a lawyer yes? He always wanted me to follow in his footsteps. And I didn't fight this; on the contrary. All I ever wanted to be was a lawyer. When I was in high school and even in law school, I dreamt about fighting for the unjustly accused or abused, or people being shortchanged by big companies, you name it. I did several internships, two of them for this big law firm I ended up working for. David, the boss knew my dad, he said I had the potential of being a good and successful lawyer and maybe some day, even a partner. Of course dad was proud of me and so was I. Many of my friends envied me because of this one time opportunity I got. While working for David, slowly but surely all of my ambitions went out of the window, I worked for the people, who had enough money to be represented by us, the big companies, not the people who needed to be protected from them. Yeah, don't look at me like that; it's too Erin Brockovich for me…and I'm not that good of a person."
Peter sips at his coffee and finally turns away from the window to look at me.
"Then I met you. You certainly remember this alumni-meet-students-party. There we were, the cool ex-law-students mingling with the equally cool lawyers- to- be, and there you guys were, the weird geek science students and their Dr. Geeks. I fell in love with you the minute I saw you. I know you don't believe me, but I did. I had to get to know you right then and there, because when would I have the chance to see you again? Well you know the rest. One of the happiest moments of my life was when you decided to move in with me." He comes over, squats down in front of me, and looks into my eyes.
"Tristan you have to believe me, I loved you…and still do, although you're lost to me now, I can see that in your eyes. All because I'm a bloody coward!"
He gets up again and goes back to the window to lean against the window sill.
"I had a relationship in law school. Adrian. He left me; because I couldn't admit who I was, that I was,… that I am gay. I couldn't tell my dad, I couldn't come out of the closet. I remember this one time, when I told my dad I could, maybe be bi, a lie, and even that was bad. He almost disowned me. So I told him it was only an experience I needed to have, in order for me to know for sure. My dad told me he expected me to have a family and kids; to carry on the family name, and moreover, there had never been a queer Shaw, and there never would be."
"You never told me any of this, why?"
"Can't you guess? I was afraid you'd leave me too. That you would demand the same Adrian demanded from me. To out me. That Adrian left was bad enough, but if you left me, the thought alone; I didn't want to risk this. And then it happened anyway…"
He stands in the middle of the room, somewhat lost in his thoughts.
"Now to that awful day on the subway. My colleague, Larry, saw us in the mall. He asked me if I was gay. Maybe you should know that he was one of my biggest competitors for becoming a partner. David, our boss, doesn't agree with gay relationships, as in life-long relationships, that is. He sleeps with guys too, but only to boost his ego. So, if I admitted, that I was in a serious relationship with a man, and I planned to be together with you for the rest of my life, Larry would have run to David to tell him. Everything I'd worked so hard for, would have been in vain. I panicked. And therefore, in order to not blow my chances, and on top of that get disowned by my dad, I told him what you overheard. This is not meant as an excuse, but an explanation. What I did was wrong. I was a coward."
By now Peter paces through the room.
"When you called that evening and told me you wouldn't come home because you had to study for an exam; I was very disappointed; it was our one year anniversary after all, and you obviously had forgotten about it. Some days before, I'd bought a necklace during my lunch break. I knew you wouldn't want to wear a ring because your work at the lab; you once told me wearing those lab gloves over a ring would be a bitch. I was so anxious to see if you liked the necklace, and then you said you weren't coming home. Of course I tried to understand you; I knew how important it was for you to get good grades and ace all the exams. But then you even didn't want to say good bye to me the next morning. I thought, if you would get up a bit earlier, you could make the time to say good bye to me, and it was our one year anniversary after all, and… whatever. Of course I didn't know then, that you overheard my conversation with Larry. So I really was at a loss. I tried to reach you several time on the phone, but you never answered it. I was worried the whole time. When I came back and found your note I was devastated. I couldn't understand why you left me all of a sudden. The only explanation I could think of was that you had someone new. I was so devastated, and later I was angry."
Peter sits down on the bed, his elbows are resting on his knees, and for a moment he hides his face behind his hands.
"Beside the purpose of learning new strategies and all this official stuff, these conferences are also an opportunity for young lawyers and students to get together with the big wigs, to impress a future boss, in other words, to get a job. One of them was Andrea. She knew David and wanted to work for him, so she tried to get to know him through me. And she was successful, although David wasn't impressed by her grades or knowledge, but by her looks. He is an ass; he often gives internships only to get the interns in bed. After you left me, I went out with her, and yeah, I thought you left me for another man; I was angry and I thought I'd try the whole hetero thing, because if you ever found out about it, it would hurt you the most. Isn't that ironic? One month later Andrea told me she was pregnant. She said the child could only be mine; of course I doubted that, she's a slut after all. It turned out it actually was mine. Surprisingly, she asked me if I wanted to have the child, she preferred not to abort it because of personal reasons. Of course I wanted it, him. This was my one time chance to have a kid of my own. Andrea's only conditions were, that I'd pay for everything, that I'd accept sole custody and that she could name him Tyler. My son was born on Christmas Eve. I was the happiest man that day. When you called on New Year's Eve , Andrea was only there to bring me my son. I know I said I was on the way to my engagement party. Don't ask me why I said that. It was some kind of reflex or whatever. The whole time I thought my son was, in some strange way, our son, because if you wouldn't have left me, I wouldn't have had him. When you told me that you overheard that awful conversation with Larry, I finally understood why you left me all of a sudden. And therefore, maybe as an amendment, I don't know, I wanted to give him your name also. So now he's called Tristan Tyler or short TT and I believe you already met him."
I'm shocked. This is so extremely improbable, that I meet his son, of all the kids in the mall. But then, he caught my eye, because he seemed some how familiar, he touched my heart with those sad, familiar, bright blue eyes.
"TT is your son? Oh my God. ….But I'd never guess…that he's your son. That his Christmas wish…"
"His Christmas wish? That's why he wanted to go to the mall with Julie to tell Santa his Christmas wish. He told you?"
"Yes, he did."
"Oh yes. I know, he wants this Captain I don't know how he's called thingy, which is already sold out for weeks. I tried to get it for him, but there is no chance…Well, I see you've looked at your phone for several times now…I'm almost finished. When I realized how I fucked up, I thought it was time to change a few things. It was pure chance that I met Adrian again. We talked and we rekindled our friendship. I changed a lot the last five years. I came out to my family; we're still in contact because they have a grandson now. I have my own law firm together with Adrian. I can finally do what I ever wanted to do with my law degree, and now I'm much more satisfied with how my life is going. All I need now is somebody to share this life with."
He looks at me, and I know what he implies, but I can't do this. Too much has happened, too much is broken. I hate to destroy the hope I can see in his eyes, but I can see no future for us.
"Peter, although I can't agree with what you did, or how you lived a lie, and that you never told me of any of your problems with your dad, I at least understand now why you did what you did. I have to thank you. Maybe this time it's really the closure we needed, and we can move on. I hope you'll find this someone you can share your new life with. TT is a great guy; he really loves you and cares for you." I look at my phone.
"Well, I think I have to go call a cab to get to the train station, I don't want to miss my train…home. Good bye Peter…"
"Tristan…would you…I mean, could you, maybe consider to…oh God. I'm so sorry, Tristan, I'm really, truly sorry I fucked up what we had. I just hoped, that we somehow, that we just…shit," without finishing his sentence, he storms out of the door.
Yes, I know I have a thing for names, and for coffee. Anybody noticed this? lol