Michael sat on the couch and watched an episode of Friends dubbed in French. It had been his favorite show with Jack and so it was only natural that Michael started thinking of him. Last night he and Jean had argued again about Patrick. It was intolerable to be involved with the man who kept treating him like a second-class citizen. Michael hated to think that the man could watch those videos that Ricky had filmed of him, anytime he wanted. Lord only knew where Patrick had even gotten them? It had to be little suspicious; after all it wasn’t like he had ever given his consent to any of that… He had been drugged!
Patrick had promised Jean that he had gotten rid of those tapes, but Michael knew that he was lying. Unfortunately Patrick’s word still seemed to weight more to Jean than his. Jean also felt annoyed when he wanted to be elsewhere when Patrick was there. So Jean sulked and Michael was fed up with the situation.
Michael remembered Jack, his touches, his kisses and his laughter. How comforting it had felt to be in his arms when everything else around them had felt so hopeless. The moments when it had felt like they were the only two people in the world, those small moments in their own little fantasy. Jack’s crazy stories that had made him laugh. Why hadn’t he noticed that Jack had someone else? Why hadn’t Jack told him? What would it have been like if Jack had come with them? Jack had told him he was collecting money, he was…
Michael felt his stomach churn, he couldn’t get over the fact that he hadn’t been given a chance to say goodbye. That Jack hadn’t told him face to face. Jack had cared about him, had loved him, Michael knew that, then why…?
The recorded laughter from the TV got his attention. Chandler had made one of typical jokes. Michael smiled slightly when he remembered how Jack had loved the character. Then suddenly he remembered something else and felt his heart rate speed up.
Michael frowned and got up. He got into the bedroom and opened a drawer where he kept his most valued memories; photographs of his family and Tony and Jack’s letter. Michael read it and stopped at; “…I told Jean about this and I asked him not to tell you. Jean promised to help me and Chandler…” Michael began to tremble, why hadn’t he realized this earlier? There was no Chandler; it was all a lie and Jean… Michael felt sick, he was angry with himself for not picking up on this sooner, that he hadn’t questioned something that now seemed so crystal clear! Jack had left him, only because he thought he was doing him a favor. There was no other man; the name Chandler couldn’t be a coincidence! It was so like Jack… How had he not realized this then?
Michael wasn’t sure what to do. He was overwrought and wanted answers. After everything it wouldn’t be easy to demand them from Jean, but on the other hand Michael felt that he couldn’t just let this go. It was seven pm when he heard the front door opening. Michael felt a nervous pinch in the bottom of his stomach when he got up from the couch and walked to the hall. Jean smiled at him while undressing his coat.
“Hi chéri, what’s for dinner? I’m starving.”
“Jack hadn’t really met anyone new and you knew that, right?” Michael asked looking at him intensely. Jean frowned and sighed with annoyance.
“What is this again?” He asked and walked past Michael into the kitchen to get a beer for himself. There had been times when Michael had brought the other boy’s name up, especially in the beginning, but it hadn’t happened lately and Jean had hoped that Michael had gotten over Jack. He heard the footsteps following him.
”You didn’t want to share me then, just like you don’t want to share me now and you convinced Jack that he would be better off elsewhere. That was what really happened? Chandler was a lie that you probably encouraged him to come up with and Jack always thought me above himself, so he agreed.” Jean gritted his teeth, he opened the bottle and drank. He had his back turned to Michael.
“Where did he really go?” Michael asked and Jean turned to face him. He gave Michael a stern look, he felt angry that the younger man would bring this up now.
“How the hell should I know?” He growled and took another sip. Michael moved nervously in front of him.
“I- I want the truth Jean, I deserve it!” At this the man laughed dryly.
“Did it even occur in your pretty little head that it really was Jack’s idea?” Jean asked and tilted his head. “Well?” He took a couple of steps forward that made Michael back away in return. However, Michael kept the defiant look in his eyes, somewhat certain that Jean had his hands on the matter.
“We were supposed to leave together… Jack didn’t even say goodbye, he… H-he would have explained to me face to face…”
“You ungrateful little brat!” Jean roared. “After everything I’ve done for you, you dare to stand there and accuse me!” The man breathed tensely. “Do you realize how fucking hard it was to help you two?! You realize the risk I took for you?!” He grasped Michael’s shirt collar and held him close. Michael felt tears in his eyes. “Do you know what they would do to you if they found you now?” Jean asked with lower tone. Michael trembled, he looked down and nodded. Ricky would kill him to be sure, that he didn’t doubt one moment. For a moment he felt embarrassed of his behavior.
“I-I’m sorry…I just miss Jack so much…” He finally whispered. The answer didn’t please Jean. Jealousy caused him to shove Michael backwards so forcefully, that he fell on the floor crying out from pain. Jean trembled, Michael wept silently and looked up at him with shock.
“It’s him that you want then, huh?” Jean roared. “With Jack you would be nothing, two pathetic whores out in the streets, starving, without a prober shelter. Without me you would be nothing! Dammit!” Michael’s lower lip quivered, he got up shakily and backed away.
“I’m tired of this Jean,” Michael said quietly and wiped the tears from his eyes. “It wasn’t my choice, you know that and still… I had a home and a family, I had a future! Ricky forced me into that life! I want to be free and I want my life back! I’m tired of you calling me by that word!” Jean gritted his teeth and looked at him.
“Tough luck chéri. One has to pay for wrong choices.” Jean said coldly. “No one forced you to leave your home and the fact is that you were a whore.” He added and Michael gave a disbelieving look to him. “Without me you wouldn’t have gotten a way and that’s also the truth.”
“You are unbelievable!” Michael breathed. His face distorted by the sudden disgust to the man, the remorse washed away.
“Lets just forget about this.” Jean sighed with fed up tone. He walked closer and touched Michael’s cheek but the younger man shrink away from the touch. “Lets just go into the bedroom and…”
“Don’t even think about it! Not after what you just said! Fuck you Jean!” Michael roared, turned and rushed to the bedroom locking the door after him. He leaned against the door, breathing fast, confused of his own courage. Other part of him was scared and the other tried to assure that he didn’t deserve to be treated like this by Jean or anyone.
“Michael, open this damn door!” Jean roared from the other side, pulling the handle.
“No.” Michael replied hoarsely. “Not until you calm down.” He added and listened Jean’s tense breathing for a moment.
”You’re the one that needs to calm down!” Jean snapped and kicked the door once. “Ungrateful slut!” Michael heard him mutter after and he close his eyes as the footsteps echoed away from the door. He cried with confusion, perhaps Jean was right after all? Perhaps he was ungrateful after everything? Perhaps he didn’t have the right to expect to be treated equally in a relationship anymore? He had made a choice and now paid the price of it.
Michael walked towards the window looking out into the darkened evening. He knew he owed a lot to Jean and still… Couldn’t the man treat him better? Hadn’t Jean asked him here to be his lover, not his whore? How come he was so wonderful at one moment and so hurtful the next? – Too many questions. What if… Could he just walk away? Start all over? The thought tempted him, but he knew he couldn’t really do it. Jean was a good man deep down, better than most and he was right about taking a huge risk with helping him.
There was a soft knock to the door. Michael turned to look. “Chéri,” Jean’s voice called softly. “I’m sorry, I-“ The man sighed deeply and took a small pause. “I was horrible, would you let me in? I don’t want to argue anymore.” Michael hesitated a moment, before slowly walking closer and opening the lock, cracking the door open. For a moment they looked at each other before Jean pushed the door to open further and brought his lips on his, kissing him. Jean moved, pushing Michael with him towards the bed. But Michael felt exhausted; he brought his hands on Jean’s chest while the man continued kissing him hungrily. “Lets not argue anymore…” Jean muttered against his cheek.
“Yeah, lets not…” Michael agreed and tried to stop Jean when he started to open his pants. “I’m tired Jean,” he whispered and the man looked in his eyes, snorting.
“You won’t be for long.” Jean replied, slipping his hands into Michaels pants and starting to caress his organ. The older man soon grinned. “I told you…” He moaned when Michael’s body responded to the caress. “You need me chéri, we belong together.” Jean whispered and Michael closed his eyes. “You need me, no one else would understand where you come from, no one else could protect you.” Jean undressed him and Michael allowed it to happen.
“I’ll protect you so that he doesn’t find you.” Jean continued and kissed Michaels naked chest and finally lifted him up on his lap and carried to the bed. “You’re mine, say that you’re mine chéri,” he breathed while kissing his neck and undressing himself. Michael was quiet for a moment, he was feeling conflicted, something inside him was rebelling. He didn’t really want to have sex at the moment, not in his mind though his body spoke a different language. Michael felt close to bursting out in tears, he was only twenty-one and couldn’t see how he could find happiness living like this. He felt hopeless and those words; ‘I belong to you’ felt like a sentence he didn’t want to give himself.
“Say it…” Jean’s voice had a tight ring to it and Michael brought his hand on the man’s cheek before bringing his head up to kiss him long enough to make Jean forget about his demand. The man growled, pressing against him more intensely, rubbing their organs together. “You’re so sexy, so beautiful, mine…” Jean panted and reached out to take the lube.
Jean spread the lube hastily on his opening and on himself before thrusting inside. Michael gasped and closed his eyes. Jean was impatient and Michael did his best to endure. He felt no pleasure, once Jean was in Michael felt like a mere object to his pleasure. The bed creaked, Jean panted, moving against him and Michael gritted his teeth, nails digging into Jean’s back, waiting it to be over soon so he could go to sleep.
Finally the man groaned in pleasure reaching his orgasm. The man’s sweaty body collapsed on top of his own. “That was wonderful…” Jean sighed. Michael couldn’t say the same; he patted the man’s back and forced himself to smile before planting a kiss on his cheek.
“I’m going to take a shower,” he said and tried to wriggle free from under him. Jean smiled and rolled over to lie on his back.
Michael stood up slowly and gritted his teeth before walking into the bathroom. Jean hadn’t even tried to make him cum! Michael felt annoyed. He would have rejected the attempt because he was too stressed out to enjoy it, but the fact that Jean hadn’t tried bothered him. The man was selfish and often seemed to really think of him as a whore made only for his pleasure.
Everything depended on whichever mood Jean happened to be in, everything went on his terms. Michael felt the need to bang his head to the wall, roar from the frustration and sudden terrifying images that he would spend the rest of his life like this. The rest of his life fearing Ricky, Jean’s mood swings, Patrick’s visits, humble and lonely. At the same time he felt quilt, Jean was a good man; Michael reminded himself. Jean had done so much for him and after Ricky he shouldn’t complain! Michael didn’t understand what was wrong with him, why the sudden thirst to rebel? However, life seemed too long to live it like this. Didn’t he have the right to ask for something better? Michael hoped that his odd feeling would disappear soon and he could accept this life as his own.
The next day he came to work at two in the afternoon. He had started to like being at work more than he liked being at home and wondered if he really should start to worry about it? It couldn’t be normal, right?
“Michael! Our happy little mascot! We missed you yesterday!” Santo, the Italian, forty-year-old chef called from the kitchen. Michael laughed softly.
“I missed you too,” he grinned. Olivia, one of the waitresses, lowered her hand briefly on his shoulder when walking past.
“Nice to see you cutie,” she grinned and filled two glasses with cider from the tab. “How was the day off?”
“It was… boring.” Michael shrugged. He then took a look at the work list that told him his response area for the day.
“Work beats home, huh?” Olivia chuckled.
“Maybe,” Michael glanced at her and grinned.
“You are one weird kid, or then the problem is in that man of yours.” She winked and Michael smiled, again shrugging his shoulders before taking the notebook to get the order from the customers that had just walked in. “The problem is that man,” Olivia noted to herself.
It was four pm when the door to the restaurant opened and the blond man walked in. Olivia smiled and glanced at Michael who was with her behind the bar. “He was here yesterday and the other day in the evening when you worked in the morning shift…” She whispered and noticed the blond looking at Michael and smiling in delight before taking a seat.
“I remember him. He was here on Monday with that one red haired woman,” Michael said and smiled to the man whose grin only grew. Olivia grinned to herself.
“He’s pretty hot. Well, go and see what he wants…” She urged him.
“But isn’t that your table?” Michael asked.
“No, you go.” She replied and Michael nodded. He took the notebook and a pen before nearing the table.
“Hi,” Michael greeted.
“Hi, I heard you had a day off yesterday,” the blond smiled and Michael chuckled embarrassedly.
“Yes, I suppose one has to stay at home too from time to time,” he smiled. “What would you like to drink? Guinness was it?”
“You remembered right.” The man smiled. “Yes, please.”
“I’ll be right back.” Michael returned the smile.
“Good, I’ll wait,” the man grinned and looked at him almost in a playful way, which made Michael almost blush. He turned and took a deep breath walking towards the counter. That man was breathtakingly handsome! Michael didn’t remember looking at another man like this in a long time, let alone feeling that exciting tingle in the bottom of his stomach. Now he had to pull himself together, be calm and businesslike!
Michael returned with the drink and placed it in front of the man. “Here you go.”
“Thank you,” the blond looked in his eyes and it felt oddly difficult to breath. Michael didn’t understand why he felt so odd.
“Are you waiting for your girlfriend or are you ready to order?” Michael managed to ask.
“My girlfriend?” The blond asked amusedly. “That redhead is a girl and she is a friend but that is all and no, she’s not coming.”
“I’m sorry for my mistake,” Michael chuckled.
“Anyone could have made the same assumption, I don’t mind.” The other man grinned.
“So you’re eating alone today?” Michael asked and tried to pull himself together and not smile like an idiot. Honestly, what was wrong with him? The man was quiet for a moment, grinning still and not taking his eyes away from Michael’s face.
“I’d rather not.” He said then and for a moment Michael felt confused.
“Oh, so you’re still waiting for someone?”
“What time does your shift end?” He asked and Michael glanced around him quickly, now he definitely felt like blushing and thought of blushing made him more embarrassed.
“I um…” He tried to find words. “My shift?”
“Yes,” the blond nodded. “Come and have dinner with me when you get home?” He suggested and for a moment the young man looked utterly dumbfounded. “I’m sure this is strange for to suggest,” he admitted. “But you see I’ve just moved here and besides that red hair I don’t have many friends yet. I figured that since you’re British too, right? And we’re close to the same age, so I thought it might be fun to get to know you better. So how about that dinner?”
Michael really hadn’t expected a suggestion like that. Of course he had heard a lot of different kind of suggestions from others, but… It would be insane to agree, right? Jean would have a fit, besides… What did the man really want?
“I promise that I’m not a crazy axe murderer,” the blond added and then chuckled nervously. “Shit,” he said. “That really sounded a lot better in my head before I said it out loud. But listen, I’m an okay guy, I don’t know the restaurants here so well yet, so you could pick the place?”
“Well I, um…” Michael hesitated, still confused.
“Please say yes, it will be my treat… My name is Sam…” He smiled. “Samuel Grey.”
“I’m sorry but I work the evening shift today and I don’t get home until ten.”
“Tomorrow then?” Sam asked. Again Michael looked around him as if searching for the right answer. His curiosity had woken, and his mind quickly scanned the reasons for and against. It was certain that Jean wouldn’t like it, if he agreed it would mean trouble at home and on the other hand… Michael had felt frustrated and lonely for so long. The will to rebel had woken and now, this man walked into his life at a perfect time. Only few weeks back Michael would have probably said no from the start.
“Tomorrow I’ll get home at six.” Michael found himself replying,
“That would work perfectly then, right? I’ll come here a little earlier and then we can go together.”
“I don’t know…”
“Come on… Otherwise I’ll come here everyday to ask the same question.” Sam smiled looking at him intensely. Again Michael chuckled with confusion; the man was quite cheeky, but oddly enough it didn’t make him feel uncomfortable. The whole thing was mad! “No ulterior motives, I just want to get to know you.” Sam added, smiling.
“Alright,” Michael finally replied, still confused over the situation. He knew that part of the reason he agreed was because he had argued with Jean. Because he missed having his own friends and normal life… Because he found Sam to be drop dead gorgeous…
“Great, see you tomorrow, Michael!” Sam smiled, winked and paid his beer leaving rather huge tip. Confused, Michael looked after the man who hadn’t even drank his beer. Dinner couldn’t be a good idea really? What on earth would he tell Jean??