The apartment building where the party was held was an around seventy square meter sized three-room apartment, which belonged to the host Pavel’s parents. Pavel, who was Misha’s age, still lived with his parents who had traveled off to visit their relatives in St. Petersburg and left their home in Pavel’s responsibility. Misha doubted that his parents knew about the party, since he remembered them to be quiet and modest people, opposite to their son. Pavel was one of those friends in Russia who knew about him being gay and therefore about his relationship with Joni.
They heard the loud music already in the hallway as they climbed the stairs to the third floor. ”I can imagine that his parents will hear about this later.” Misha commented in English and Galina grinned at him.
”Oh definitely,” she replied. They stood by the front door and rang the doorbell. There were loud voices mixed with music and laughter and finally Pavel made it to the door.
”Misha!” He declared, holding a beer bottle in his hand. He hugged his childhood friend tightly before bringing his attention to Galina.
”Galina, attractive as always…” Pavel had tried to make his moves on Galina for years with quite little success and the woman’s reaction didn’t give a cause for high hopes this time either.
”And you, drunk as always…” Galina replied and stepped inside. Pavel sighed and brought his attention to the brunet who stepped in after Misha, he smiled and held out his hand, introduced himself in Russian and the younger man replied, it was a shame that their communication would be quite limited, because Pavel only knew a few words of English.
”Handsome boy,” Pavel said to his friend, still looking at Joni. ”Want some vodka?” He asked and for a moment Joni looked confused. Pavel raised his free hand and indicated drinking. Misha smiled.
”Do you want some vodka?” He clarified to his boyfriend.
”Hmh… Is there anything less strong?” Joni asked, he didn’t want to get too drunk and risk making a fool of himself. When Misha translated the answer to his friend, Pavel chuckled, patting Joni’s back and saying something that he naturally couldn’t understand. Misha smiled suspiciously and finally told Joni that Pavel had said he could always mix him something.
Joni smiled insecurely and nodded while taking his shoes off, Pavel disappeared into the kitchen and Galina sighed. ”He thinks far too much of drinking, it would have been more polite to introduce you to the others first..”
”Well, I don’t think that an official introduction is necessary.” Misha smiled and they headed to the living room. There were around fifteen guests which made the small apartment quite crowded. Misha knew most of the people there, but a couple were new faces to him as well. Even Stanislav was there, someone that Misha had had a crush on in his early teenage years. It was strange seeing him after all those years. Stanislav stood by the window, his arm wrapped around a blond woman, his other hand holding a bottle of beer, they chatted with Petya and his girlfriend Kristina. When Misha greeted the crowd, Stanislav brought his gaze to him, smiled and nodded to greet him. They had never been close friends, but pals and Misha had admired the other’s appearance. Stanislav had become manlier, naturally, he was tall, lean and handsome enough, but at the same time he looked kind of worn out and didn’t capture Misha’s eyes the same way as before.
Misha introduced Joni as his Finnish friend and women looked at them both with clear interest sparkling in their eyes as they whispered to one another and giggled. Misha felt an odd pride in his chest when he looked at his boyfriend and saw the way others looked at him; how fine Joni’s posture was, the way he smiled; his warm brown eyes had that certain sparkle that Misha loved, his skin had a healthy glow, Joni stood out in the crowd to his benefit and easily drew the others’ attention to him.
Joni greeted the others in Russian, apologized with the sentence he had practiced that unfortunately his Russian skills were limited to that. The others took them in warmly; one of the women, Natasha, asked straight away if Joni was single and Misha lied that Joni had a girlfriend at home, who unfortunately hadn’t been able to travel with them because of her work.
”For now he has a girlfriend, soon he may be with another,” one of the women laughed. Pavel appeared, Joni was encouraged to take a seat and a glass was placed in his hand. Under curious stares, Joni smiled feeling somewhat uncomfortable and wondered if it was some internal instinct for a Finnish person to feel uncomfortable alone in a room full of Russians. It was a silly instinct though and perhaps it was more due to the curious stares, of being in the spotlight like that without understanding much of what anyone was saying.
They asked about him, what he did, how old he was and so forth. Misha translated the questions and his answers. When Joni said that he had done some modeling, the women clearly took more interest while a couple of men looked somewhat sour and Misha could hear Petya quietly saying to another guy how lame modeling was; just posing and looking pretty, what was the work in that? Male models, male bimbos… Misha frowned and Petya noticed his disapproving look, but merely grinned and drank from his bottle. Misha knew they were merely jealous and sour because their girlfriends were so curious about Joni.
When Misha had satisfied their curiosity about who Joni was, it didn’t take long until one of the women, whose name Joni had forgotten although it had been told to him, took Misha’s hand and dragged him away. Misha could only give him an apologetic look before disappearing around the corner. Joni watched after his boyfriend, wanting to beg him not to leave him. Everyone around him chatted in Russian, some looked towards him and smiled and Joni suddenly felt terribly insecure and he hated feeling like that.
He drank, hoping to relax, one of the women from the opposite side of the room looked at him and winked. Joni smiled back softly and changed his posture. Someone sat beside him on the couch and Joni found himself looking at Galina’s smiling face, feeling somewhat relieved.
”You looked lonely…” The woman said in English and Joni nodded admitting the fact. ”I thought it would be best to come to you before someone else can…” Galina added and looked at Irina who had clearly been on her way to Joni and now the other woman gave her a poisonous look which amused her somewhat.
”Where did Misha go?” Joni asked. He felt the urge to go look for him, but didn’t want to seem like the lost little puppy insearch of his master.
”He’s with Ksenya on the balcony,” Galina replied with a smile. ”Poor Ksenya thinks she might have a chance with him.” Joni nodded and again took a sip from his glass. ”I’ll go in a moment to interrupt them. I am, after all, Misha’s only woman.” Galina grinned and Joni sneered and nodded looking at the light pink liquid inside his glass. ”He really loves you… I could read between the lines how interested he really was even when he swore to me that you annoyed the hell out of him.” Joni gave her an amused look and smiled. ”And you, I trust that you are serious with him?”
”Of course I am, I love him.” Joni assured.
”Good, because if you broke his heart, you’d have to answer to me…” The woman gave him the warning with a smile and Joni had no doubt that she would follow up to her threat if needed.
”There’s no fear of that,” Joni assured her. ”Misha is the only man I want to be with.” Joni added with a smile and Galina observed him quietly for a moment.
”Good,” she smiled then, Joni’s glass was almost empty and Pavel seemed to appear instantly like magic and his glass was refilled, Joni knew it would be quite a struggle to attempt staying sober that evening.
”I’ll go and get Misha,” Galina said then and smiled standing up. Pavel stayed close by him, smiled widely and raised his glass while saying something that Joni wished he could have understood. It felt bothersome, when one wanted to get involved in the conversation but a common language simply didn’t exist.
Galina observed her friend through the window, Misha was laughing, Ksenya stood close by to him, tilting her head in a sensual manner while looking at him. They were chatting about something, Ksenya’s closeness didn’t seem to bother Misha and Galina sighed before stepping closer and opening the door. ”I wondered what took you…” Galina said, smiled and kissed Misha’s cheek, before snuggling against his side and giving a meaningful look to the other woman. Ksenya gave her an icy stare accompanied with a forced smile before excusing herself from their company to get more to drink. Misha held his arm around Galina’s shoulders and looked at the scenery around them before bringing his gaze back to his friend.
”You shouldn’t give us poor women futile hope…” Galina scolded him softly. ”Ksenya has such a crush on you…”
”She does?” Misha grinned and sipped from his glass.
”As if you didn’t know.” Galina said and moved so that she was facing her friend.
”You’re my first woman, you know that, Galina.” Misha smiled.
”I know,” Galina nodded. ”You left your boyfriend alone…” She noted then,
”Only for a moment, Joni will be alright.”
”In a place where hardly anyone speaks English…” Galina took note raising her brow.
”I should go back…” Misha admitted. ”I forgot for a moment…” Galina lowered her hand on his chest making him stop. Misha gave her a questioning look and she smiled.
”Let’s just talk for a while, it’s been too long since we last saw each other and I’m sure that Pavel will do what he can to make your boyfriend feel comfortable.” Misha nodded and leaned against the railing. ”Have you two still had any troubles?” She asked.
”At the moment everything is fine, but…” Misha sighed and sipped from his drink before he continued. ”Chris will be released in November though.” He shrugged and stared at the content of his glass for a while. ”I don’t dare trust completely that we won’t hear from him again, but of course I hope for it.” The soft summer wind caressed their faces, playing with Galina’s red curls for a moment before continuing on its lonely path. ”Adam, Joni’s cousin’s husband, has talked with that lunatic and said that he hasn’t mentioned Joni anymore, asked about him or anything, but…”
”You still worry,” Galina took note.
”I know Joni is worried too, although we haven’t really talked about it recently.”
”Worrying beforehand doesn’t help you, one can never predict the future. It could very well be that you’ll never hear from him again and then all that worrying would have been for nothing.” Galina reasoned.
”You’re right,” Misha nodded. ”I just wish it was that easy to stop worrying… I guess I want to believe I could somehow control everything, and find a way to ensure that Joni is safe.”
Galina smiled softly at him. ”You know you can’t do that… The world is full of dangers, no one knows what will happen tomorrow… Don’t waste time fearing…”
”I’m not,” Misha denied. ”I just… if there is something I can do to prevent something bad from happening, then I don’t want to miss the chance.” Their conversation was getting too serious, Misha realized and was quiet for a moment before trying to lighten up the mood. ”Do you suppose I could just stay with him here, hide him at my grandmother’s house, until I was certain that the asshole has moved on with his life…?” He looked at the woman smiling a little crookedly.
”Hiding your treasure, huh?” Galina grinned. ”Would his nerves handle living at your grandmother’s, and would yours?”
”No.” Misha chuckled. ”It would be a nightmare…” He admitted and then sighed. ”We should go back inside, I promise that we can talk more later.”
”Yes, perhaps it’s best to rescue your love, Irina was eying him earlier…” Galina agreed with a smile.
Joni noticed one man staring at him from across the room, Pavel still stood close beside him but was talking with a few others. Joni looked back at the man, frowned and tasted from his drink pondering the reason behind the stare. Soon, however, one of the women approached, the same one who had flirted with him earlier, she smiled seductively and sat on the armrest next to him, she was measuring him with her gaze. Irina, Joni remembered her name, said something to him, leaned a little bit closer and Joni repeated somewhat helplessly that he couldn’t understand. This didn’t seem to bother the woman who was already quite tipsy. Jone felt her fake nail caressing his neck and moved his head to the other side to avoid her touch. Most of all he felt uncomfortable and the man across the room still stared at him raising his beer to his lips.
Joni was relieved to see Misha and Galina approaching. Galina was able to convince Irina that her efforts to capture Joni’s interest were pointless since Joni was very committed to his girlfriend who waited for him at home. Joni felt amused by the thought of a made up girlfriend and decided to call her Milla, a long legged blond who worked as a media-assistant and yes, they were very much in love.
Misha sat next to him and Joni relaxed, their glasses were continuously filled. The conversation took place mainly in Russian and at times Misha turned to him clarifying what they were talking about and every time that Joni seemed to lean too close to him, Misha had to fix his posture so that they wouldn’t seem too intimate with each other. Joni felt slightly annoyed which combined with boredom caused him to drink more. Misha was acting somewhat cockily in his eyes. Without understanding what he was saying, it was still quite clear that he was answering to the women’s flirting, winking at them and laughing and Joni was jealous of the attention, he wanted his boyfriend to pay more attention to him.
Misha felt how Joni once more leaned closer to him and gritted his teeth. The mood in the apartment was relaxed and happy but Misha was certain that it could change in the blink of an eye if they decided to open up about being gay. Joni didn’t seem to realize this though and Misha finally looked at his boyfriend who grinned with satisfaction after getting his attention.
”I feel horny, Misha…” Joni whispered and looked at him. Misha sighed; Joni was clearly drunk, not that he himself wasn’t horny, but this really wasn’t the place.
”Let’s go and get you some water,” Misha sighed and got up. Joni was quick to follow him into the kitchen and as soon as the door closed behind them, Joni brought his arms around him and kissed his lips. His hands roamed Misha’s body, down his back to his buttocks; squeeze. Misha moaned, his breathing tensed, finally he was able to get a hold of himself and grasped Joni’s wrists gently pushing him back.
”Baby…” Misha started and Joni looked at him expectantly. ”As much as I want you, we have to wait.”
”Why? We’re alone now…” Joni leaned closer again.
”For now, but anyone could enter here at any moment.” Misha reasoned.
”I can’t understand why you have to flirt with those bimbos.” Joni sulked. ”You’re behaving like some Russian macho… And why do I have to have a made up girlfriend and you don’t?”
”I have Galina…” Misha sighed. ”Believe me, if we went in there now and I told everyone that you are really my boyfriend, if I kissed you in front of all of them, we wouldn’t be quite so welcome anymore. I know for a fact that most of them don’t accept gays. Why do you think Ivo left so early? It’s damn hard to be gay here or even bisexual.”
”Then I don’t understand why we need to be here… Why waste time with people who wouldn’t like you if they really knew you?” Joni sighed.
Misha looked at Joni tensely, in a way he was right and it was difficult to come up with a valid counterargument, and still…”I’d place Pavel and Galina in an uncomfortable position as well,” he finally replied. ”I want to maintain some sort of connection to my past.”
”Well then keep them! I still can’t understand why it could be so important to maintain relationships with so-called friends who don’t even know who you really are! I had those kind of people in my life, who couldn’t accept that I was gay and so I weeded them out of my life and I haven’t missed any of them since!” Misha was quiet, took a water bottle from the fridge and poured a glass of it for Joni. ”If no one never shook people and their beliefs, if every gay and lesbian were always quiet, hiding, never daring to show: hey, this is the person that I truly love, because they’d be too afraid of what other people would say, then how could anything ever have changed?” Joni pressed on. ”We don’t live here, so why must we hide our relationship? If they can’t accept us then we never have to have anything to do with them!”
”You don’t understand, you’ve had too much to drink and I’m too tired to argue about this,” Misha sighed and gave the glass to his boyfriend. ”I’ll go back and join the others.” He added and left the room. Joni shook his head, sighed and sipped from his water glass feeling annoyed. Drinking too much, huh? – Joni snorted and sat in front of the kitchen table starting to play angry birds with his phone, at that moment he didn’t feel like going back to the homophobic Russians. Misha was right, he didn’t understand, he couldn’t see why Misha had to hide the truth from the people who called him their friend when at home they were openly together. These people might easily find it out on their own as well, sooner or later. He did understand the reason to hide when out in public, so far he wasn’t ready to provoke in this society either, it would only lead to trouble.
It didn’t take long for people to enter the room to get more drinks, the man who had stared at him earlier, another man and a couple of women. Joni glanced at them, but soon focused back on his game, whether his behavior seemed rude or not didn’t matter, they wouldn’t understand anyway if he tried to say something to them. The others filled their glasses, talking to each other, the women giggled and finally the door opened and closed after them. The dark haired man who had stared at him earlier, stayed behind in the kitchen, lounging near the table and Joni raised a questioning gaze to him. The man smiled, lifting up a bottle of vodka,
”Drink?” He asked in English and Joni was quiet for a moment before nodding. The man poured him a drink and sat opposite him. ”Stanislav,” he introduced himself and Joni nodded, smiling slightly.
”Angry birds?” The man asked and when Joni smiled once more, he continued: ”Can I try?” Joni gave his phone to him.
”Have you played before?” Joni asked and the man smiled widely.
”Couple of times,” Stanislav replied and looked into his eyes. ”You look familiar.” He said then and Joni tasted his drink quietly, not knowing how to respond. It seemed impossible for Stanislav to know who he was.
”Oh?” He finally responded.
”I…drive a truck… I’m…” Stanislav frowned trying to search for the right words. ”In Finland too…” Joni looked at him tensely, could he really know? And if he did, how would this continue? Their eyes met, Stanislav smiled, glanced behind him before leaning closer to him, still holding Joni’s phone in his hand. ”Pictures… I’ve seen… Misha said you’re a model… I’ve seen you…” Joni felt his heartbeat accelerate, he looked into the man’s face trying to interpret if he was seeing any sign of hostility or just plain curiosity. ”No fear, won’t tell, you and Misha, I understand.” He whispered and Joni relaxed slightly, although at the same time he felt somewhat uncomfortable. Stanislav played with his phone, stopping the game and started dialing numbers instead.
”Hey, what are you doing?” Joni asked. ”Can I have my phone back?” He held out his hand across the table, Stanislav looked at him and smiled.
”I call, we get numbers.” The man explained and Joni gave him an astonished look, his first reaction was to snap at him that he didn’t want his number and certainly didn’t want him to have his. However, it seemed too late because Stanislav gave him his phone back already having had the time to call on his own with it. ”Secret,” the man whispered with a grin as if this was a scheme they had planned together and for a moment Joni wasn’t able to do anything else than to stare at him with disbelieving eyes. ”I come to Finland, we meet.” He continued with a nod.
”I’m in a relationship,” Joni answered tightly, not feeling quite as drunk anymore.
”Me too, no matter.” Stanislav smiled and got up. ”Nice to talk.” He walked to the door and Joni stayed on his spot still hardly believing what had just happened.
”Your Finnish friend is sulking in the kitchen,” Natasha told Misha who sat on the sofa talking to Pavel and Galina.
”Perhaps he had too much vodka,” someone commented and there were a few giggles that followed.
”Well, it must be boring to be here when he isn’t able to take part in the conversation,” one of the women contemplated. ”We should think of something to involve him.”
”Poker!” Someone thought.
”Hey, let’s spin the bottle!” Ksenya suggested cheerfully and the women started giggling with enthusiasm, while the men mumbled their agreement to the idea.
Stanislav stepped out from the kitchen and met with Misha’s gaze, the dark haired man smiled oddly causing Misha to frown.
”I’ll go and get Joni,” he said and got up, realizing that he had been somewhat rude to his boyfriend.
Joni sat in front of the table when Misha stepped into the room. ”Want to come and spin the bottle?” Misha asked and Joni was quiet for a moment, looking at him.
”Spin the bottle?” He repeated. ”I haven’t played it since elementary.” He took note, but frowned when remembering that he actually might have played it as a teenager too at some party. The memory was vague, because he had probably been very drunk as well, he remembered that it had involved some kissing. Misha shrugged and smiled.
”It could be fun,” he said. ”Better than moping in here.”
”I’m not moping,” Joni argued and Misha gave him an amused look.
”Yeah, right,” the blond chuckled. ”Hey, I’m sorry if I was rude… But do you understand my reason?” Joni looked at his boyfriend who was still standing in the doorway.
”Maybe,” he replied and put his phone back into his pocket. ”So, let’s go and spin the bottle…” When he reached Misha, he stopped for a moment and looked up at him. ”Stanislav knows about us by the way,” he said and for a moment Misha looked fearful. ”But I doubt he’ll tell, I think he’s gay too, or at least bi.” Joni added and passed Misha before he could say anything.
Misha followed Joni into the living room and tried to think about what might have happened between Joni and Stanislav in the kitchen. They sat down onto the floor forming a circle to play, there were a couple of guests that didn’t want to participate and sat close by to watch.
”Okay, let’s play so that one has to kiss whomever the bottle stops to point to.” Natasha grinned. Misha told Joni what was happening and glanced at Stanislav, who sat opposite from them, the other man met his gaze and smiled. Had he had some kind of radar even when he was younger? Misha pondered, it would be quite a coincidence if Stanislav leaned into that direction as well and he was still sitting next to his girlfriend looking quite pleased. The first pair, Petya and Galina kissed, a shy kiss that probably was due to Petya’s girlfriend watching them with an icy stare.
It was Galina’s turn to spin and the others clapped when the bottle came to point directly at Misha, the woman grinned as she gracefully leaned across the floor supporting herself with her arms. ”Well, should we show them how it’s done?” She asked and Misha smiled when leaning towards her, their lips met softly at first, Galina brought her one hand behind Misha’s neck, nipping at his lips playfully and then deepening the kiss. Misha responded, he felt how his friend’s tongue slipped between his lips and massaged his own gently against the other. The others cheered, Joni watched them queasily, trying to hide just how bothered he was by this; the whole game was stupid, stupid and childish… They were over twenty after all, he was the youngest of the group and was he the only one to consider this game to be somehow… well, immature?
Finally the kiss between Misha and Galina was over, a kiss that in Joni’s mind had lasted for an unnecessarily long time. After Galina, Misha spun the bottle, which came to point at Irina; the kiss was shorter this time, the game continued, some kisses between two women caused the men go wild; Ksenya and Natasha especially put on quite a show and when it was over it was Natasha’s turn and the bottle directed at Joni. The young man sighed, well it was different at least, the last time that he had kissed a woman properly might have happened in the last spin the bottle game, the vague memories slowly started to open up. Joni leaned across the floor to Natasha who grinned before bringing her lips against his own. The woman’s lips were soft and moist, the kiss was at the same time soft and eager, pleasant without waking further thoughts or feelings.
When it came to be Joni’s turn to spin, the bottle pointed at Stanislav; apparently fate had decided to play its cruel jokes with him, Joni thought. So far no man had agreed to kiss another, they simply moved to the closest woman. Now however, Ksenya was first to point out that since she had kissed Natasha for quite a long time, the men should follow the rules as well. The other women joined to demand the same, Stanislav grinned and shrugged.
”Well, why not, just this once,” the man chuckled and started to crawl towards Joni, who glanced at Misha, who didn’t look pleased.
”Kiss!” A couple of women started to cheer and Joni looked at the man close to him hesitantly. On the other hand he remembered the kiss between Misha and Galina and how annoyed he was by Misha’s sudden urge to hide himself back in the closet. Sighing Joni leaned slightly closer, the others cheered them in Russian, well mostly the women cheered, the men chuckled embarrassedly and Misha tried to hold on to some kind of poker face.
”We give them show,” Stanislav whispered with his poor English and for a moment Joni felt amused, but at the same moment their lips had already met. Stanislav was really giving his all, the man’s hand searched its way to his hair, his lips caressed Joni’s surprisingly gently at first and his tongue teased them open and Joni went along with it, allowing the other’s tongue to enter, he tasted the mix of orange juice and vodka. The gentle beginning changed to more demanding, Stanislav seemed to get excited by the situation and Joni pondered if this was the first time for him to kiss another man. The women giggled excitedly in the background and the other men commented something that Joni couldn’t understand but he imagined them saying something like: ”Oh fuck, disgusting…” The alcohol he had consumed that evening encouraged Joni to receive the kiss with the same force that it was given, pushing all uncomfortable feelings aside. Stanislav was a pretty good kisser after all, but couldn’t compare to Misha and kissing in front of a loud crowd was somewhat unpleasant as well.
Misha watched the scene feeling uncomfortable, Stanislav seemed to enjoy kissing Joni far too much and it some strange way seeing them kissing turned him on, but for the most part Misha felt his possessive side step forward, the side that didn’t like witnessing this at all, only he should be allowed to kiss Joni like that. Finally it was over though, Stanislav brought his hands up in a sign of victory and the women cheered, even his girlfriend had seemed to enjoy the show.
Joni returned to his earlier seat, glanced at Misha and wiped his reddish lips, he recognized the look on his boyfriend’s face: jealousy, and it didn’t make him feel successful, rather it woke old unpleasant feelings that made him lower his gaze. And for a moment Joni didn’t dare to look back at his boyfriend, perhaps fearful of witnessing that specific fire of rage in his eyes that he often remembered seeing in Chris even though his heart and his mind knew he could never face the same with Misha.
Misha felt somewhat confused, although he had imagined that most were incredibly homophobic, the previous performance and the reactions it had caused spoke a different language. Sure there had been Petya and a couple of other men who had covered their eyes at first saying how disgusting it all was, but at the same time they had laughed and finally stared. The women on the other hand – most had giggled with their eyes glimmering, cheeks flushing and Misha wasn’t convinced that it was just because of the alcohol. Stanislav had clearly enjoyed it… Joni hadn’t seemed to mind. Misha looked at his boyfriend, who was now avoiding his gaze and he couldn’t stop the jealous feelings from creeping up and alcohol certainly didn’t help with that and at the same time he knew how important it was to control the jealousy from showing off too strongly to Joni.
If he told everyone, could they accept after all? Or was it only an illusion because of the kiss to think that they could?
”The bedroom is free, if you want some alone time with your new boyfriend, Stanislav?” Peter grinned and the others laughed a bit.
”Who knows, maybe later!” Stanislav answered the joke.
”Only if I can watch!” His girlfriend chuckled. Misha took a big gulp from his drink and looked at Joni who happened to glance back at him looking quite confused. The others joking made Misha feel strangely overwrought, the alcohol he had consumed gave its extra kick. Joni was his boyfriend, Misha swallowed, the game continued and he couldn’t tear his eyes away from his lover. He woke from his thoughts when the bottle that Pavel had spun stopped to point at Joni.
”Oh, maybe I should…” Pavel grinned and looked at Misha teasingly, easily reading his thoughts.
”This game is stupid…” Misha muttered. ”Joni,” he called and the brown eyes met his own. The decision formed quickly and it felt right, he leaned across the floor to Joni, grasped a hold of his shirt and pulled towards himself, kissed him. The others around them fell silent for a moment, someone said ”wow,” and some started chuckling bemusedly. Joni smiled into the kiss, he hadn’t expected it from Misha, not after their earlier talk and now he felt proud of Misha’s courage. Finally Misha moved back on his own seat and as calmly as he could he looked back at the others who still looked like someone had hit them on their heads with a stick, incredulously amused, all but Pavel and Galina who were grinning at him and Stanislav who seemed to have a knowing smile.
”We’re together, Joni is my boyfriend,” Misha finally cleared and managed to cover his nervousness on the outside, though inwardly he felt some form of terror. When no one said anything at first, Pavel decided to laugh to lighten up the quiet mood.
”Well I thought I sensed something like that!” He said, as if he hadn’t known for certain. ”Let’s drink to that!” He said and brought his glass up. Galina, Stanislav, Natasha and Peter followed the example.
”To Misha and Joni,” Galina smiled as she raised her glass. ”I accept my defeat, I can’t compete with a man.” Galina chuckled somewhat nervously and then winked at her friend. A couple of others hesitantly raised their glasses as well and drank. Some still seemed uneasy as they looked between Misha and Joni. Petya, who had just a moment ago laughed with others to Joni’s and Stanislav’s kiss, got up from the floor, his girlfriend following his example. Misha met with Petya’s contemptuous stare.
”I wouldn’t have believed this of you, Misha! That’s fucking sick!” Petya spat. ”Pavel, either they leave or we leave!” Pavel looked up at him calmly and took a sip from his glass.
”Well, if you got to go then you got to go,” he said to Petya who looked quite pissed off. ”And if anyone else has a problem with this, then you know where the door is.” He added, the others were quiet, staying still and Petya gave them a disbelieving look.
”Well, don’t you find this sick? Just think about it, two men, it’s disgusting!” He roared. ”It’s a sin!”
”I don’t care what they do when alone together, it doesn’t concern me,” one of the men said.
”And if we start talking about sins…” Galina started. ”I doubt that you’re the best person to judge, Petya.”
”It is quite a bomb though…” Ksenya said seriously.
”I could never have believed this of you, Misha,” Natasha admitted.
”Neither could I!” Peter chuckled. ”Not in a million years,” he continued shaking his head. ”And may he without sins cast the first stone, or how did it go?” The man grinned looking straight at Petya.
Petya snorted. ”Kristina, come, we’re leaving!” He commanded and the woman who had been silent, remained so and obediently followed her boyfriend into the hall. Misha sat still, glanced at the others around them, no one spoke, just looked at each other insecurely and at times glanced at him and Joni. Petya still spouted hateful words against gays in the hall before the door banged shut after him and Kristina.
Ksenya got up. ”I need more to drink,” the woman muttered and Misha felt a stab of guilt in his chest, he should have been honest from the start. Now Ksenya felt uncomfortable after flirting with him earlier.
”Have you always been gay?” One of the women, Dina, finally asked with a drunken voice. Misha smiled slightly and nodded.
”I’m sorry that I wasn’t honest, this just wasn’t the easiest thing for me to tell.” Misha said and glanced at Joni, who sat quietly in his place, looking quite uncertain when he couldn’t tell what the others were saying.
”He’s hot though, you’re hot together, I wish I was gay…” Dina spluttered. ”I mean a guy, gay guy…” she cleared and Misha felt somewhat amused. ”Didn’t you say he’s a model?”
”Yes.” Misha nodded.
”Figures,” Dina nodded. ”I’ll google him.” She decided. ”Can I find him if I google him?”
”I think so…”
”I don’t remember his last name… ” She sighed. ”And I won’t remember if you repeat it to me now… I think I’m too drunk…” Then she pointed at Joni. ”But I will google you Finnish hot model Joni…who is gay…” She said and for a moment Joni looked almost scared, of course because he didn’t know what the woman had actually said to him.
”Is he rich?” Peter grinned, Misha glanced at his old school friend and smiled a little crookedly, deciding not to answer. Peter however made the conclusion from Misha’s expression that the answer was yes and brought his gaze to the Finnish man. ”You made a good choice then, he’s not ugly either, that’s good.” Misha really felt amused, he glanced at Joni and smiled at him and saw Joni’s posture relaxing as well as the brunet answered his smile.
After Petya and Kristina had left, no one showed any signs of disgust towards them, but there were some who were clearly still bothered. Few cast odd looks towards them from afar and gradually people started to leave, some with a clear excuse, some from simple exhaustion.
Finally there were only Pavel, Misha and Joni, Galina, Peter, Dina, Stanislav and his girlfriend. Pavel thought the party could only get better with a smaller crowd.
”Hey, which one of you is the top?” Dina asked, clearly obsessed about the details of their sex life. ”You must be the man, Misha?” The woman nodded at her question.
”We’re both men,” Misha answered amusedly. ”It’s not that black and white,” he continued and was happy that Joni couldn’t understand Dina’s words, he probably would have thrown a tantrum if he had.
”Yes and I don’t want to hear any details, thank you!” Pavel laughed.
”No worries, I wasn’t going to tell,” Misha assured with a wink.
The rest of them stayed for the night and they started to think about the sleeping arrangements. Dina and Galina took Pavel’s parents’ room, Peter slept on a mattress on the floor of Pavel’s room, Misha and Joni on the living room floor and Stanislav and his girlfriend on the sofa-bed in the living room as well. It was past three a.m. when they finally got to bed.
It was difficult to fall asleep, Stanislav’s girlfriend started to snore and Joni pondered, partly amused and on the other hand annoyed how such a small woman could produce such noise? Stanislav was somewhat peculiar, but despite the man having successfully taken his phone number and implying that they could meet sometime, Joni didn’t see him as a threat. After Chris, Joni liked to think that in some way he had learned to read people better and he didn’t feel that Stanislav meant any harm. In the end, the evening had been fun, Joni had liked the company of those who had stayed for the night. It had been easier to get involved in the conversation when there were fewer people present. Pavel had decided that he wanted to improve his English and Galina had agreed to help him, which had clearly made the man overjoyed. Misha had told him that Pavel had nursed a crush on Galina for years and so far the woman hadn’t answered his affection for her, clearly something had changed in the late hours of the night and finally she had seemed to answer his interest.
Joni laid next to Misha and they looked at one another in the darkness. ”It wasn’t that bad, huh?” Joni whispered smiling and Misha reached to take his warm hand in his own.
”No,” he admitted. ”I have to admit that I’m relieved.”
”Now you’re completely out of the closet,” Joni grinned crawling closer to him, he snuggled against Misha’s chest and kissed him softly. Misha stroked his dark hair gently, moved his hand slowly down his neck to his back.
”I guess I am.” The blond whispered back looking at his boyfriend with affection. He had talked with Galina earlier on the balcony once more, she had complimented his courage to tell the truth to the others and Misha, moved by alcohol, had revealed that he had bought Joni a ring which he intended to give him on his birthday in a couple of days. In some way the idea still amused him, he had never imagined even sparing a thought to something like this, now everything seemed to have turned upside down and Joni had awakened some kind of romantic soft side in him. Perhaps he had needed to see Galina’s reaction first to see if she thought that he was insane. She had looked surprised at first, then doubtful and finally she had smiled and hugged him. She had also cried; moved by happiness for him, she claimed, because the thought of him and Joni getting engaged was so cute and Misha had chuckled, feeling somewhat uneasy witnessing her tears.
”Luckily you’re not ugly either,” Misha said after a long silence and chuckled slightly after remembering Peter’s earlier words. Joni frowned.
”Oooo-kay…” Joni answered slowly, pondering how much Misha had actually drunk that night since he seemed to find his comment peculiarly funny. ”It would be pretty bad for my career if I was… Well, I would naturally do something else then…” He continued and Misha grinned leaning closer for another kiss.
It felt like someone was watching them, Misha glanced towards the sofa-bed, Stanislav was lying on his side looking directly at them, Misha pulled away from the kiss and the other man smiled slightly, closed his eyes and turned his back to them. Misha pondered if Stanislav hid his own true desires and wondered how sad such a life really would be, or perhaps his girlfriend knew? Perhaps Stanislav was bi, or perhaps he was just curious, who knew. Misha planted another kiss on Joni’s forehead and laid his head on the pillow, Joni was snuggled against him and Misha smiled to himself as he wrapped his arm around the smaller form, he was happy like this. ”Ya tebua lyublyu,” he whispered and Joni smiled with his eyes closed.
”Minäkin rakastan sinua.”