Misha chose his clothes extra carefully that Sunday and spent almost fifteen minutes just fixing his hair in front of the mirror. He would never admit it, but on Saturday he had bought a new aftershave with this date in his mind. Joni might have said it was just a friends’ meeting, but… Well, he was courting him after all (though he also wouldn’t admit to Ivo that he was taking his advice) trying to fix his mistake and if possible do such a damn fine job that the brat would forget the silly idea of golfing.
He checked his appearance once more before leaving and wondered if he should bring something for Joni’s parents, or would that just be pushing it to a corny level? – It might be… So he decided to go empty handed, slightly worried that Joni’s father would still be angry at him.
He parked the car in front of the house and got out, slowly walking towards the front door. Misha took a deep breath before ringing the doorbell, he listened to the approaching steps, hoping that it would be Joni and had to be disappointed when the door was opened by Asko. The man raised his brow and gave him a stern, expecting look.
“Hi, I came to pick Joni up,” Misha smiled under the hard gaze.
“Pick him up? I am not sure if…” Asko started, but was soon cut off by his son who hurried down the stairs.
“I’m going to play mini-golf with Misha,” Joni explained smiling. “Didn’t I tell you?” He asked his father while putting his shoes on.
“No, you didn’t,” Asko sighed. “Now what about lunch?”
“I’ll take him out to eat,” Misha told the man, who glanced at him with a somewhat worried expression over his features.
“Don’t look so worried Dad, see you later!” Joni grinned and grasped his jacket. It was a sunny day, but the wind made it a bit chilly out.
“Bye then,” Misha said to Joni’s father feeling somewhat awkward in his presence.
“Bye,” Asko sighed and watched the two of them go.
Misha walked ahead and opened the passenger side door for Joni, which made the younger man chuckle. “You know, I can actually open doors myself,” he grinned at the blonde who smiled and shrugged.
“I’m being polite,” Misha answered and waited till Joni got in.
“Well, thanks,” Joni said and gave the taller man a curious look as he fastened his seatbelt. It was really quite silly how he had been looking forward to seeing Misha all morning and it was also almost annoying how weak it made him feel at the same time…
“No problem,” Misha said, grinned back and closed the door, before circling the car. “Would you rather go eat first or later after playing?” He asked once he had started the car.
“Later,” Joni replied watching him. “Have you ever mini-golfed before?”
“Once, years ago… You?” Misha asked glancing at him.
“Few times,” Joni nodded. “I bet I can beat your ass in the game,” he grinned.
“Oh indeed? Well, we just have to wait and see, don’t we?” Misha chuckled and again gave the brunet a brief look while driving. Joni at least seemed to be in a good mood and for that he was pleased. “Your father is scary by the way,” Misha commented then.
“Scary?” Joni chuckled. “He’s just constantly worried,” he shrugged. “I think he just can’t help it, like it’s programmed into him to worry about everything.”
“I don’t blame him for worrying, especially after… Well you know…” Misha trailed off.
“He doesn’t like me much at the moment, does he?” The blonde asked and Joni watched him silently for a while, leaning back on his seat.
“Give him time,” Joni finally replied. “He’s just… It’s in his nature to be suspicious of every man I like…”
Misha couldn’t help but to smile. “So, you do still like me?” He asked glancing at him and Joni grinned, looked to the window before bringing his gaze back to him.
“Sometimes, when you’re not being an insensitive prick …” The brunet answered teasingly.
“Look, I’m sorry about that morning, that was me having a panic attack or something,” Misha shrugged and again glanced at him. “Give me another chance?” Joni stared at the road ahead of them smiling to himself.
“I am giving you a chance,” The younger man replied. “I’m here, aren’t I? So let’s just be friends and see how it goes from there.”
“So, you still hold on to the golfing thing?” He asked and again Joni grinned not looking at him.
“It’s on my plan list.”
“What if the plan list should disappear?” Misha cocked his eyebrow.
“Are you planning to steal it?” Joni asked again with a teasing tone.
“Could I? … Or perhaps I could take the hobby of bowling, how’s that?” Joni laughed and shook his head.
“Not the same thing.”
“Nope,” Joni had to admit that he was enjoying this situation far too much perhaps.
“Damn, so it really has to be golfing? Wear a funny vest and a silly hat?” Misha couldn’t help but smile when he asked this.
“I believe you don’t have to wear a hat if you don’t want to, but I would consider it a bonus.”
“Ah, and what extra does one get with the bonus?” The blonde asked with a grin and Joni turned to look at him.
“What would be pleasing to you?” He asked.
“So we are having a negotiation, huh?” Misha smiled. “Okay, if I was to golf and wear a funny hat and a vest while doing it… The bonus would be…hmm…a massage?”
“A massage?” Joni cocked his eyebrow.
“Yes, in the future, I get to give you a massage, long and thorough,” Misha hoped he wasn’t pushing it. “Within the limits you set,” he decided to add. “And I said I’d only expect it to happen sometime in the future.”
“Would I be naked?” Joni asked.
“If you don’t want to be naked then you don’t have to, though it would work better if you were. “
“And how is giving me a massage a bonus to you?”
“It would be a bonus for me to be able to give you pleasure,” Misha replied. Joni chuckled a bit overwhelmed and amused.
“You’re really trying to butter me up, huh?”
“Yes, is it working?” Misha grinned.
Finally they arrived to the mini-golf field, Misha parked his car and they got out walking towards the hut where they could rent the necessary gears. There were only few other players, which they both were happy for.
Misha lowered the ball on to the first track and glanced at Joni. “So, you want to try first?” He asked and Joni shook his head and grinned.
“You first,” he replied and Misha raised his eyebrow.
“I wonder why that grin?” He asked with suspicion and amusement. “Something amusing?” Joni simply shrugged, smiled and faked an innocent look. Misha sighed and tried to find the proper way to hold the club that seemed somehow ridiculously small. He concentrated, carefully touched the ball with the club and then swayed it up slightly before slowly bringing it down and again just touching the ball, not shooting it and this he repeated few times.
“Come on, you are supposed to hit it, not caress it!” Joni chuckled and Misha glanced at him.
“I’m just working on the right angle, get them acquainted first and then…”
“Acquainted?” Joni asked snickering. “This should be a simple game! At this rate we’ll be stuck here the whole day.”
“Now, now, patience my dear, golfing is a serious business…” Misha said keeping his eyes on the ball, a concentrated look on his features. Joni wondered if Misha realized he had called him ”dear”? Anyway, it felt kind of nice and made him smile. When Misha finally took his hit, he only managed to move the ball less than 50cm and Joni couldn’t help but laugh.
“I guess getting them acquainted didn’t go so well, after all?”
“I meant to do that,” Misha said.
“Yeah right,” Joni rolled his eyes.“You meant to get that ball into that hole over there.”
Misha brought his gaze to him. “Often, a little foreplay works better than aiming straight for the hole, it’s more fun that way.” When Joni blushed and looked away Misha regretted his words. “Sorry I…“ Joni then gave a slight chuckle and brought his gaze back to him.
“You don’t have to be sorry, I agree,” Joni grinned. “But in this game… I am so going to win!”
“Don’t be too sure,” Misha smiled back and gave a second swing, again not getting the ball quite there and Joni laughed.
“Oh, I am pretty sure,” he said with confidence. After all, this was the first and easiest track and in the end it took Misha five swings before he got the ball into the hole.
“My turn,” Joni said and only needed two swings to do the same.
“So, what were you so busy with yesterday?” Misha asked casually as they moved onto the second track.
“Stuff, meeting with my old army friend Markus, went to have coffee at his house…” Joni shrugged watching the older man with amusement as he once again tried to get the golf ball into the coal, rather slowly.
“I see, I don’t think I’ve heard you mentioning him before?” Misha said and glanced at him, their eyes met briefly.
“I hadn’t seen him in almost a year, Chris forbid it and… Well, it’s in the past now.”
“So he forbid you to see your friends as well?” Misha asked and sighed when the stupid ball didn’t seem to co-operate with him.
“The ones he didn’t trust. Markus is gay and Chris thought there was something going on between us. Though at the time he was living with someone as well, now he’s broken up and… I don’t know… Perhaps Chris saw something because Markus…” Joni hesitated watching the blonde, he was curious of how he reacted. “…kinda asked me out yesterday.” And the ball flew out of the track completely making Misha curse in Russian.
Misha felt an odd feeling of…worry? No, this was jealousy, he recognized, and worry that Joni would be going out with some stupid army friend of his. And the evil ball was now sitting on the grass as if mocking him further! And somehow he would need to appear calm, couldn’t allow the jealousy to get to him too much. He groaned. “Can’t I just lift that ball back onto the track?” He asked looking at Joni almost pleadingly.
The younger man had tried his best not to laugh when the ball had flown off and now… Misha looked so disturbingly cute with that pleading, almost miserable look on his face.
“Okay… I won’t tell anyone,” Joni agreed, giving in and Misha sighed with relief.
“Thank you, I was sure you were going to make me somehow get it from there…”
“Would just take too much time,” Joni grinned. Lowering the ball back onto the spot where it had previously flown to misdirection, Misha glanced at him.
“Are you going to go?” He couldn’t help but to ask.
“Where?” Joni pretended clueless.
“To that date?” Misha couldn’t hide the slight sourness in his voice.
“Do you think I should?” Joni asked teasingly.
“No,” the Russian replied with low voice. “I can’t stop you, but if you must know, yes I would be jealous,” he muttered not looking at the brunet. “I’m not like Chris though, you make your own choices and I must live with them as happy or unhappy they might make me.” He then made another swing at the ball this time getting it into the hole. “Your turn,” he sighed then.
Joni watched Misha curiously, liking his answer and already leaning towards forgiving him completely and still at the same time holding some insecurity. “I only want him as my friend and that’s all,” he replied then before taking his turn, concentrating and not seeing the relieved smile that formed on the blonde’s face.
They continued playing, Misha’s skills not really improving which made Joni snicker, seemingly pleased that his own skills outdid Misha’s and the taller man didn’t really mind. In the end he even exaggerated his poor skills only because they seemed to amuse the younger man so.
“I won! I said I would win and I did!” Joni cheered after their game, grinning smugly at him and Misha couldn’t help but chuckle and shake his head.
“Yes,” he sighed. “You won; I am utterly and completely defeated,” The blonde smiled. “So, can I take the winner out for lunch?”
“Hmmm… Okay,” Joni decided and smiled back at him. They walked back to the car after taking the gears back.
“Any wishes?” Misha asked while driving.
“Anything goes, except fast food places,” Joni replied. “Or any other place where they only serve food that is dripping with fat.” The blonde chuckled at this.
“Alright, I know a good French restaurant, is that to your standards?”
“I suppose,” Joni nodded, then glanced at him and grinned. “I think it will be.”
“Good,” Misha smiled back.
Fifteen minutes later they arrived at the place, the busiest lunch time was over and the restaurant pretty quiet which Misha was grateful for, thinking that it would help Joni stay relaxed. They were seated down to a quiet corner table by the window and given the menus.
“Feel free to order anything at all you like, I’m paying,” Misha told him.
“Is this how you always act on dates?” The younger man asked and Misha cocked his eyebrow in question. “Opening doors, paying for everything and stuff?”
“So this is a date?” Misha grinned happily making Joni roll his eyes.
“If it rocks your boat to call it that…” Joni muttered and took a sip of his water. Damn, he had forgotten to play the distant role.
“It would, yes,” Misha nodded and smiled watching him. “And the answer to your question is no, I wouldn’t act like this on every date, just when it matters… You matter…” He whispered the last part studying Joni’s expression carefully. The youth smiled staring at his water glass before taking a quick glance at him. He didn’t have the time to reply though as the waiter came to take their orders. Misha waited for him to order first.
“I would like the steak, medium, without the potatoes, just with a salad and… diet coke.” Joni decided.
“Would you like the steak 150grams or 300grams?” the waiter asked.
“The smaller size will do, thanks.” The waiter nodded and wrote it down and turned his gaze to the blonde who was looking at Joni amusedly.
“Just bring him the bigger one and an oven potato on the side, I will have the duck and a glass of the recommended red wine for the both of us,” Misha said and handed the menus back to the man. Joni was narrowing his eyes at him about to open his mouth in protest. “And please hurry now before my companion will throw a fit,” the blonde added and the waiter gave them a confused look before leaving.
“You are so annoying! I said I didn’t want any god damn potatoes, what gives you the right to order for me?!” Misha couldn’t help but feel amused of Joni’s little fit, it was just so… his brat like.
“God damn potatoes?” He asked. “What evil have potatoes ever done to you?”
Joni took a sip of his water glass and avoided his gaze. “Nothing, I just don’t want to eat them…” He muttered and Misha frowned at this, Joni was barely in the normal weight category after losing weight during his recovery. He was starting to get a little worried.
“Don’t tell me that you’ve picked up some mindless Hollywood diet, avoiding carbohydrates?” He asked with a sigh. The expression on the brats face told him the answer.
“You know, it’s disturbing how much you’re sounding like my father just now…” Joni responded tightly and Misha cocked his eyebrow.
“Well, then I’d say your father is a wise man,” The blonde responded with a calm voice and smiled. “I thought you wanted to start working out more? Go back into gym training?” He asked.
“Yes, so?” The waiter returned bringing them their drinks and Misha thanked the man, waiting him to go before continuing.
“Well, your muscles need carbohydrates to develop.”
“Are you going to lecture me about the right diet now? Don’t you think I know this stuff already?” Joni asked a bit tightly.
“I don’t wish to lecture you,” Misha sighed. “I-, “he didn’t know how he could put it without upsetting the younger man. “The last thing you need right now is to lose more weight if you want to gain the muscle tone back… I don’t know, maybe it is a model thing that I don’t understand and you’ve had such stressing past months that perhaps… Joni, you are gorgeous, but you need to gain weight rather than lose more. So please humor me and eat the potato I ordered for you, it tastes absolutely divine, take my word on it.”
Joni felt slightly annoyed that he was being advised like this as if he didn’t know and at the same time, deep down he knew that Misha was right. However, he didn’t see what others did, he didn’t really realize how much weight he had actually lost.
“You know, I could help to train you, if you like? You wanted a personal trainer right? I have some knowledge as… Well, believe it or not I have once been a scrawny, awkward looking teenager, you know the type who suddenly grows tall and doesn’t quite know how to carry himself at first. I bet you wouldn’t recognize me if I showed you a picture,” Misha grinned hoping to lighten up the mood. Joni glanced at him carefully and took a sip of his wine.
“I didn’t think you were born with all those muscles,” Joni sighed but smiled after. “Yes, I think I would like to see that picture.”
“Alright, as embarrassing as it might be for me,” Misha chuckled. “Can I have your email address? Do you use a messenger perhaps?”
Joni watched him for a while before taking a piece of paper and writing his address down. “Here, you can add me and I am looking forward to that picture,” he grinned and slid the paper over to Misha.
“Thanks,” the blonde folded the paper neatly into his wallet. “So, what do you think, could I help you train? Perhaps I could also help you to learn some self defense.”
Joni sighed, playing with a piece of napkin, unsure if he was pleased or annoyed by the suggestion, his emotions were a mess. “What if we just end up fighting?”
“Why would we fight?” Misha asked tilting his head, smiling at him.
“I’m not good at taking orders, I might whine and get on your nerves, and you might get on my nerves, if I were to feel like… like you’d boss me around too much, let’s face it Misha, we do get into arguments easily.”
“Yeah… But it just makes it interesting, no?” Misha smiled. “I know you can whine, most likely you will, I will probably get on your nerves and you on mine, but…” He shrugged. “That’s life, I would like to help you to train and since you already have knowledge of your own, you’d be an easy pupil, for the most part at least.” There was gentle amusement in the taller man’s eyes and Joni smiled back at him.
“When I’m not whining, you mean?” He asked.
“I know what you are like by now… I think I know what I need to be prepared for,” Misha assured and Joni again was quiet for some time thinking about his answer.
“Alright then,” he sighed. “No harm in trying, I suppose…” The waiter was back with their food.
“Enjoy your meals,” he said, smiled and left. Joni looked down at the seemingly huge portion in front of him.
“As your trainer, I must insist that you include healthy carbohydrates in your diet, you’ll need lots of energy, so eat up.” Misha grinned at him before grasping his own knife and fork.
“It’s your fault if I get fat…” Joni muttered, glanced at him and smiled slightly before starting to eat slowly.
“Fine, I rather you’d be a little bit chubby than a victim of starvation,” Misha grinned back before taking a first forkful of food. He was happy to see that Joni tasted the potato as well and though he ate slowly, at least he ate. But what made him even happier was how well their date had gone so far, there was hope, he knew there was.
“It’s been oddly quiet in the house,” Misha started after a while. “I think I got used to having you around and now… it feels weird not to have you there.” He took a sip of his wine glass observing the brunet, who gave him a somewhat confused look.
“Misha…” Joni started with a sigh. “Do you even know for sure what you want?” He asked.
“I want to be with you, I know that now, these past days without you proved that to me.” Misha told him, looking in his eyes, sure he was nervous but he knew that now he needed to be honest and state what it was that he wanted. Joni was silent, reached for his wine glass and tasted.
“Then… What about all the reasons you gave me? About it being too soon, that you don’t know how to help me or know how to control yourself around me? Now what about all that? How can I be sure that you won’t have another panic attack or whatever? The trial is coming closer, can you handle that? To be honest the whole trial freaks me out and I don’t know what will happen, it won’t be easy Misha. I am what I am; right now I do not want anyone in my life that isn’t sure if they can go through with this.”
“I understand Joni, I do… I know there will be difficult times ahead and yes, I want to be there by your side. It’s true that I might not know the best way to help you, but if you just accept me there next to you, I promise that I won’t leave.” They both spoke with lowered voices. Misha felt his heart race; he wasn’t used to talking so openly of his own feelings. The brunet was quiet and Misha could see how he was trembling, looking down. “Joni…” Misha whispered and the youth finally brought his gaze back up to him. “I-“
“I don’t know… “ Joni said feeling his head starting to ache slightly. “You could very easily meet someone who… Someone easier to be with, someone who doesn’t have a mental jealous ex boyfriend in jail…” Joni gave him an unhappy, insecure smile and Misha sighed, carefully reaching over the table to squeeze Joni’s hand briefly before pulling back.
“I wish I was better with words…” Misha started glancing at Joni’s face. “I want to be with you and I’m so glad you agreed to go out with me today so that I can at least try to correct my mistake,” he took a deep breath. “Look, I know just how… annoying you can often be, and…”
“If this is your way of trying to compliment me then I can tell you that you are doing a terrible job,” Joni sighed.
“Please, just listen, okay? What I was about to say is that I know, I’m far from being perfect either, even though I sometimes act like… I’d know all the answers…” Misha smiled crookedly at the brunet who was now smiling back at him softly. “…I don’t always know and…” Again Misha sighed. “What I’m trying to say is… we know each other’s faults and if you’d be willing to put up with mine as well then… I think, well… We could really work together. We could take it slow, go on dates first and…” Misha shrugged, glancing at him again. “What do you think? Do I have to start golfing first or do you accept my apology and give me another chance to prove to you that I am the right man for you?”
Joni felt quite touched by Misha’s words, touched, surprised and a bit overwhelmed. He knew it took a lot for the man to speak this openly and Joni could see how nervously he was waiting for his answer. “Please say something?” Misha chuckled and took another sip of his wine.
“I accept your apology,” Joni whispered and smiled at him. “And I think there’s no need to torture you or any golfing teacher for that matter…” He chuckled and Misha grinned rolling his eyes. “I just… I need to be sure that you can…” Joni sighed. ”Can you wait? I mean…”
“I can wait, I promise. I think we made a mistake by rushing, you just take your time and there is no pressure, really.” Joni nodded, feeling relieved and yet worried at the same time. Relieved by Misha’s words, worried that he still wouldn’t be able to give Misha enough to satisfy him and that he would go and break his heart again.
“Let’s see how it goes…” Joni whispered and Misha nodded smiling at him with relief written over his face.
After eating, Joni having eaten only half of his meal but still a bigger portion than his other meals had been that week, they left the restaurant, walking side by side, silent and glancing at each other from time to time with a smile. There was now some understanding and agreement between them, yet some shyness and insecurity as well. Misha caressed Joni’s upper back gently as they got to the car and then opened the door for him.
The brunet looked up and smiled. “Thank you,” he whispered before sitting down and fastening his seatbelt. Misha circled the car, sat down on the driver’s seat, briefly touching Joni’s hand before starting the engine. Misha started to whistle happily while driving and Joni chuckled softly shaking his head. They didn’t really speak during the drive, their minds still working on what had been transferred between them at the restaurant. Finally Misha pulled over on the driveway to Joni’s home.
“So… will you be online later this evening?” Misha asked.
“Yeah, I think so.” Joni nodded and grinned. “I want that picture,” he added.
“Alright, so… Talk to you soon, I hope,” Misha smiled and looked at him. “I had a nice time today.”
Joni smiled, feeling silly somehow; he felt like a teenager again, coming home from a first date, it was an odd feeling. “Yeah, me too, talk to you soon,” he nodded and unbuckled his seatbelt. He was already about to open the car door to get out before he glanced at the smiling face of the blonde and as an impulse he leaned over to kiss his cheek. “Bye Misha, thanks for lunch!” he said and hurried out of the car leaving a goofy smile on the older man’s face. This time Misha was determined not to screw up again, no matter what.
A/N: Please review , either on shout box or the questbook where the review link leads to, thanks 🙂
Web published: December 18th, 2010.
My Secret Shore