Tell us about a time when you managed to extract yourself from a sticky situation at the very last minute.
Shaun was 23 and lived in a rather trendy part of town with his housemate Lauren, who had cerebral palsy. The two of them met several months prior after Shaun had answered Lauren’s online advertisement for a housemate. Shaun was 23 and was working in legal recruitment in the city, which was certainly not something that he enjoyed or was passionate about. It was just something to pay the rent and keep himself fed.
Having dealt with an on-again-off-again casual relationship with one particular guy, Shaun now found himself in a very familiar ‘off-again’ moment in time, ultimately allowing himself to see or date whomever he pleased. Having met a few guys online in the past, he knew that his screening processes were quite well-rounded, or so he thought.
Shaun began to chat to a guy online, Paul, and after a few online chats with each other, they progressed to exchanging photos and phone numbers and began to contact each other much more regularly. Unfortunately, both Shaun and Paul led quite busy schedules, and weren’t able to meet each other for quite some time, which they both found quite frustrating.
Paul was fourteen years older than Shaun, however, he certainly didn’t look like it – well, according to his photos anyway. Shaun had always had a ‘thing’ for older guys, and had actually met some truly incredible guys with whom he got along quite well. He couldn’t necessarily work out what it was about them that he was attracted to, but it was something! Perhaps it was because they were older and had their lives together, or perhaps it was simply because they were capable of actually engaging in an intelligent conversation for hours on end… Or in the case of Billy from Perth, it was simply because he was so incredible in bed, the only other person suitable of this title was Shaun’s current ‘off-again’ lover… But that’s another story!
Days became weeks, and weeks became almost two months. Shaun and Paul still hadn’t managed to be able to meet each other, and a long weekend was fast approaching. Paul had spoken about his plans to go away for the weekend to his place in the country and every now and then would make a comment about how Shaun was welcome to come along. The first few times, Shaun politely declined as long weekends meant two things: lots of clubbing with his mates, and in turn led to a couple of casual hookups. However, the night before the first big night of the long weekend, one of the clubs had closed suddenly due to flooding and water damage, and as a result, his friends all decided not to go clubbing at all, instead opting for a weekend of rest. Shaun was rather taken aback by this revelation and suddenly found himself with a free long weekend, which he hadn’t had for quite some time. A weekend off?? Couldn’t hurt, right?!
He decided to message Paul and see if the offer still stood.
Hey Mister, change of plans, free weekend now. What u doin’? Still going away? Mind if I tag along?
Within seconds, he got a text back!
OMG! SERIOUS!? Best news EVA! I’m just packing a bag now, will be at yours in an hour. See you soon, spunk 😉
Hmmm, perhaps a little too eager, but still, nothing wrong with putting a smile on somebody else’s face! Shaun sat there re-reading the messages over and over again, wondering if he was being too flirty, or if Paul was being too eager… until he just accepted that he was merely overreacting.
Stop reading too much into it, moron. Just go with the flow. Make it clear you’re going as FRIENDS and nothing more, that way there’s no expectations for well… y’know…!
Shaun raced around his bedroom trying to work out what to pack.
Do I take shorts? Do I need a jumper? How cold is it going to be? How long am I going for? How many pairs of jocks is too many? Do I need a ‘nice’ pair of shoes. Do I need ‘going out’ clothes? Is he taking me to dinner? Is there even anywhere to go out for dinner? Should I take a scarf? Where’s my iPod charger? Why can’t I find my phone charger? Where’s my toiletry bag? Should I take my speedo’s? Will it be warm enough to swim? Is there even a pool? Do I really even need a pool? God damn I look good in speedo’s. Which ones should I take? WAIT… how many pairs of trackies do I need? WAIT… I can’t pack my bathroom stuff until I have a shower! SHIT!! I NEED TO HAVE A SHOWER!!
Shaun dropped everything and raced into the bathroom. He scrubbed himself from head to toe under the piping hot water, blasting out of the small water-saving shower head. He really did hate this shower. It was far too temperamental with it’s water temperature and pressure. When it wasn’t going hot-cold-hot-cold-hot-cold, it was going from strong pressure to low pressure, or if he was really lucky, a combination of both. He washed and conditioned his hair, he exfoliated his face, wrapped himself in a towel and stood in front of the basin, brushing his teeth… and dripping water all over the floor.
Shaun, what are you doing? What has gotten into you? Why are you being so spontaneous? What if he’s some kind of psychopath who tries to murder you? What if he actually DOES murder you? Doesn’t that concern you? Doesn’t that even register in your stupid naive brain at all. What happened to all those lessons in school about ‘Stranger Danger’ and ‘STOP! IT’S MY BODY! YOU CAN’T TOUCH ME!’, didn’t you listen to ANY of that? I can’t support you on this. This is going to end in tears. You should just text him and tell him you can’t go. Tell him you’ve made other plans. Tell him you’re sick. Tell him you’re going back to visit your parents instead. Make up an excuse!
This went on for almost two-and-a-half minutes before he finished brushing and started gargling his mouth wash. The liquid foaming up inside his mouth, and spilling out over his chin and down the front of his body. The minty-freshness became more of a light minty tingle on his skin. He wiped it all up, gave himself one last glance in the mirror before running back to his bedroom.
Shaun walked back through the bedroom door to what looked like the aftermath of a bomb explosion. There was stuff everywhere. Piles of clothes all over the bed and the floor, jocks, socks and swimwear scattered all over the place. In the flurry of trying to quickly pack and get organised, Shaun had unknowingly knocked over his giant pile of magazines and a couple of piles of DVD’s. All in front of the bed suddenly became a no-go-zone, but he simply didn’t have time to clean it up. He rummaged around under the mess on his bed for his phone. Ooh, a text! …From Paul…
Hey cutie, leaving now. See you soon. Will txt when I’m close 😉 hehehe
Hehehehe, funny, and rude, but still a bit weird. 15 minutes ago. SHIT!
Hey hottie, stuck in traffic. 5-10 mins away. Will park out front.
Sent five minutes ago. FUCK!! HE’S HERE ALREADY!! SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT FUCK SHIT FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!
In what felt like a total whirlwind, he flew around the bedroom trying to dress himself and pack his bag. He sent Paul a message…
Hey P. Just heading out now. 🙂
Awesome cutie. C u soon.
…and closed the door to his bedroom. He dropped the bag on the floor, mopped up the water off the bathroom floor with his towel, and hung his towel up to dry. Grabbed his bag, and a quick gulp of water before heading through the front door and locking up. He walked out of the entrance and down the path to the front of the building. He saw Paul walk past the driveway, and then walk past again.
Fuck, he’s pacing. How long as he been waiting? Shaun, you really shouldn’t be doing this. It’s not too late, you know. You can say you’re actually going to see your family in Gippsland. Ask him to drop you at the station instead.
His brain wouldn’t shut up and his heart was racing. It felt surreal to finally meet this guy he’d been talking to for a couple of months. It’s one thing to feel some kind of connection from talking on the phone and emails etc, but it’s something completely different to then actually meet that person in person!
Paul stopped in the middle of the driveway, and saw Shaun carrying his bag. He stopped and waved with a big smile on his face and walked towards Shaun. They met halfway, and as they got closer, they both looked each other up and down and smiled, I guess in a sense of relief that the other wasn’t some kind of grotesque being that lives in the darkness and hides behind a computer screen, locked away in a bell tower, hidden forever from society.
Paul was not much taller than Shaun. He was exactly as Shaun had imagined. Tall, lean and athletic, he had a defined jam and brown eyes. His five-o’clock shadow had made itself known, and with his short floppy brown hair, he was quite easy on the eye. The grandpa jumper over the boring shirt, and the hideous khaki pants, however, that was a whole different story. But let’s be honest, clothes are meant to come off at some point, right!?
Shaun stopped just before Paul reached him. He said ‘Hello’ and that it was so nice to finally meet him in person and put a face (and a body) to the voice he’d spoken to numerous times, for numerous hours over the past couple of months. He went to shake Paul’s hand, however, Paul grabbed it, and pulled Shaun in, causing him to lose his balance. He began to fall forward, and almost as if it were in slow-motion, Paul took an extra step forward to stop Shaun from falling, put his arms around Shaun, and kissed him on the mouth.
Hang on, WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?!?
Shaun pulled back immediately, and apologised for ‘tripping’. Paul on the other hand, raised an eyebrow and gave him some kind of suave look, saying ‘I didn’t realise that you’d be falling for me so quickly’, and then chuckled to himself.
GET OUT!! GET OUT NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!
Laughing nervously, Shaun took a step back and instantly started second-guessing his decision to go on this trip. He realised just how easily something so minor like a ‘joke’ such as that, can completely change his entire outlook on a person. He suddenly felt really nervous, and started wishing he hadn’t asked to go.
You could’ve just stayed home instead, but noooo, you wanted to be ‘spontaneous’! Well done Shaun. Well done.
In the awkward silence, he picked up his bag and watched Paul turn around and head back towards the car. In a flash he contemplated making a run for the door to his building, locking himself inside and never answering Paul’s phonecalls ever again, but as tempting as that seemed, he decided to ‘be a man of his word’ and see this ‘adventure’ through. No need to let an awkward first impression spoil the rest of the trip. Come on son, get in there!!
Shaun followed Paul to the car. Paul opened the boot to reveal a very messy and extremely full boot. Shaun instead decided to just put his bag in the backseat instead.
You know, you should just keep it in the front with you, that way if you need to make an emergency runner whilst the car’s stopped at the lights, you’ve got an easy getaway. Or, if you feel compelled to throw yourself from a moving vehicle, your bag will help protect you whilst you commando roll off the freeway at eighty kilometres an hour.
Shut up brain!
They got in the car and Paul, pulled out into the street, and then got stuck in peak hour traffic. The silence in the car was deafening. They could both sense that each other was feeling quite awkward and nervous and uncomfortable, and so Paul turned the radio on. Within minutes they were flicking through radio stations and discussing their interests in music. Shaun immediately realised that this was going to be a very, very long trip.
‘Im so excited you’re coming with me? I was actually thinking about not even going because I kinda didn’t want to go by myself, I mean I could have just stayed home. But when I got your message saying you wanted to go, I… I just go so excited. I mean, well, I kinda thought that you were gonna bail on me, but you didn’t! This is awesome! Just you and me together. FINALLY! Ha! I almost can’t believe it, it’s kinda surreal, don’t you think?
‘Yeah… um, surreal,’ Shaun replied unenthused.
Yeah, Shauny, buddy, look… he’s clearly WAY too eager about this… you can still bail… there’s still time…!
As they left the city skyline of Melbourne behind them and drove North on the highway towards the New South Wales (NSW) border, they saw the sun beginning its descent towards the horizon, and it felt as though they had been in the car already for hours. The reality was that it had only been about an hour, but already felt like they were running out of things to discuss. It was like a very awkward first date, except the option to just get up and leave wasn’t there… well, not unless Shaun wanted to hurl himself onto the highway from a moving vehicle. Shaun yawned, and Paul suggested that he have a nap, he didn’t mind.
Shaun woke up and saw darkness. The car had stopped. They were outside some building. His vision still somewhat blurry, he could make out a few vehicles and a long building with some lights.
Where the fuck am I?
He looked around and nothing looked familiar.
What is this place? Are we here? What’s going on?
Shaun pulled his phone out of his pocket, and saw a number of messages from his friends, asking him to come out clubbing with them.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!!?
He was furious. After being told that wasn’t happening, they changed their minds. Typical! He replied to one of them:
SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? You said no clubbing this weekend, so I made alternate plans with a guy. Starting to regret it. Just woke up in the car. No idea where I am. Everything is dark. Feeling nervous. If you don’t hear from me in 6hrs, call police. Love you xx
He wasn’t taking any chances. As soon as he found an address, he’d text them that as well, just as a precaution.
Shaun, seriously, what is wrong with you. You’re in fuck-knows-where, with a complete stranger you don’t really know, in the dark, and blindly throwing your trust in this guy. Just the fact that you felt the need to text the boys THAT, speaks volumes. Seriously, keep it up and you’re on your own.
Grrr. SHUT UP BRAIN!!
WHAT THE FUCK!?!?
Paul closed the boot of the car, and hopped back in the drivers seat. ‘Hey there sleepy-head, how you feeling? I just stopped off at the supermarket to get some stuff for breakfast. I wasn’t sure what you liked to eat in the mornings, hehehe, so I kinda got everything. I got a couple of kinds of cereal, I got some bread, eggs, bacon, pancake mix, maple syrup. And I didn’t know if you were a tea or a coffee guy, so I got both. And full cream milk – hope that’s okay? Is that okay? I can get something else if you like?’
Hmmm, hard to tell if he’s being genuine, or if this is slightly creepy.
‘No, no, that’s too much. You didn’t need to go to so much trouble! But thank you. Sorry I slept the whole way, I just closed my eyes and crashed!’
‘Yeah, you’re a bit of a heavy sleeper, aren’t ya! You’re so cute when you sleep, although you certainly do talk quite a lot… I don’t really know what you were saying, but you were talking to somebody. I thought you were talking to me, and I was like ‘Huh? What? What was that?’ hehehe. Anyways, we’re here now, and my place is just down the road. Are you hungry, we can get some dinner if you want. What do you feel like?’
Really dude? Paying more attention to me sleeping rather than driving is kinda weird.
‘Um, *yawns* I’m not really sure. What do you feel like?’
‘How ’bout a couple of pizzas?’
‘Pizza sounds great! Let’s go. Hopefully they have a barbecue chicken pizza or something.’
‘Hmm, I dunno bout that, might be a bit too fancy for this place.’
‘And where exactly is ‘this place’. Where are we?’
‘Oh, didn’t I tell you, we’re in Albury, well, technically it’s Wodonga. Although technically, we’re right on the border line, but most people just say Albury-Wodonga.’
DUDE? ARE YOU SERIOUS!! We’re so close to Mum’s place. FUCK! He doesn’t know that, does he? Don’t tell him. Whatever you do, DO NOT TELL HIM!!
Shaun began to have a moment. He was in Albury. He was closer to his parents house than he was his own place. It was only another hour or so to his parents place, and in that same moment of realisation he was so close, and yet still so far away.
Hmmm, I wonder what time the XPT train comes through here??
They arrived at Pauls house, and took the groceries inside. Shaun began to unpack them on the kitchen bench, whilst Paul went back outside to bring in some more stuff from the boot. It was an older home. Brick. Three bedrooms. It was built in probably the seventies or eighties, and had the interior decor to match.
I’m not feeling this, Shaun. Something isn’t right here. Not sure what it is, but I don’t like it AT ALL…!!
Shaun decided to take this opportunity to offer some help to Paul. As he walked out the front door, he stopped on the front porch and looked out over the view. Paul’s house was on a bit of a hill, and in front of him, he could see a bit of a valley, and then in the distance, the main lights of the city of Albury. Or Wodonga. Who really cares, at this point?
‘Wow, that’s a beautiful view. It’s so quiet here, so peaceful! So tell me, where are we again? I know it’s technically on the border, but what’s the name of the street, I didn’t see the sign when we drove in. Actually, I didn’t see any street signs since we left the supermarket. Is that what it’s like here? No street signs, people just know where to go? Like ‘Turn left at the giant oak tree, and then take the third right, go past the school, and it’s the second left, and my house is the white fence on the right’? hehehe Is that how it works here in the country?’
‘Ha, ha, smartarse’, Paul chuckled, ‘No, it’s not like that. This part of town has been having all the roads and gutters re-done so there actually aren’t any street signs for a couple of streets at the moment. However, we are at my place in the beautiful countryside of Albury-Wodonga. You, good sir, are at Chalet Du Paul, located in the street of Abicarne, Chalet number 28.’
‘And what a lovely Chalet it is indeed, sir!’. They both tipped their imaginary top hats, bowed to one another, giggled and continued to unpack the car.
28 Abicarne Street. 28 Abicarne Street. 28 Abicarne Street.
BRAIN, what are you doing?
Remembering this address for when police start searching for your body. You know, for when you turn up dead. From being murdered. Because you chose to go away on a trip with… whatever he is… Trade? A love interest? Whatever, simply because you wanted to be SPONTANEOUS!! This is how people get murdered. This is why they have ‘Stranger Danger’ campaigns in schools. Now, get inside, go to the bathroom and text the boys the address.
Shaun continued inside, and set down the pile into the spare room. Without hesitation he whipped out his phone and sent the boys back home a message.
Made it safe and sound. So far. Address is 28 Abicarne Street. Albury. Or Maybe Wodonga. Or maybe it’s just Albury-Wodonga. Will txt b4 bed, and again in morning, 8am. Will set alarm to do so. If I don’t, call me. Try every ten mins. If no answer, call cops. xx
Really? You’re a fucking mess, dude. You realise that now you’re stuck here, at least until tomorrow. Provided you don’t get murdered in your sleep!
UGH! Will you stop it, Brain. Just. Stop.
He didn’t turn the light on, but could see some really old furniture. It smelt ‘old’ in there. Maybe this was his parents house?
Yeah, and maybe he killed them too, chopped them up and stuffed them in the walls!!
*sigh* Shut up, brain.
He heard the front door close behind him, and the door lock. Shaun took a big gulp and slowly turned around to see Paul standing in the hallway. It was kinda creepy, but he didn’t want to read too much into it. Shaun didn’t want to let his brain completely take over and ruin what could potentially be a rather lovely couple of days.
Or a trip that ends in murder, because you’re a dickhead. *grrr* SHUT UP BRAIN!! JUST STOP FOR FIVE MINUTES, WILL YOU?! FUCK!
‘So, what’s for dinner? Did you still feel like pizza? I think I’ve got a couple of pamphlets in the drawer behind you somewhere if you want to have a look and see what takes your fancy.’
Shaun turned on his heels and began looking through some of the drawers.
‘Did you feel like anything in particular? Do you want pizza?’
He opened the first drawer and the light above his head reflected into his eyes , momentarily causing Shaun to lose his vision. He shielded his eyes and had another look in the drawer. He slowly closed the top drawer with a sense of comfort and self confidence.
BRAIN!! STOP HUMMING ‘MISSION IMPOSSIBLE’!!
Should he find himself in a compromising position, he now knew where the knives were, and purposefully move objects around on the bench to clear a space in case he needed to jump across the top of it.
Shaun continued to rummage around through some of the other drawers until he came across a small pile of takeaway menus. They were all crusty and crinkled from water damage, to the point where some of them were actually stuck together. He pulled out the like and held them in the air ‘Um, Paul, yeah, I think you might need to update your takeaway menus… They look like they’re older than I am!!’ Paul let out a small chuckle from the next room and walked into the kitchen to investigate. He walked over to the kitchen bench and leaned across to grab the menus that Shaun was holding in the air. ‘Wow! These really are old! Where did you find them, because these aren’t even the ones I was thinking of. Fuck, this place hasn’t been open for about fifteen years… And that place is now a nail salon… Ooh and this place burned down in a fire!’
He threw the menus on the bench and walked around to where Shaun was crouched down in front of some drawers. He cosied up behind Shaun, in some kind of half-squat position, pressing his chest against Shaun’s back, and reaching his arms around Shaun’s.
Really? How bout you just back it up a bit, huh?
He flicked a much newer pile of menus in front of Shaun, ‘These are the ones I was talking about’. Paul stood up and took a couple of steps backwards to lean up against the kitchen sink. Shaun stood up and perused the menus. ‘How bout we just do pizza? It’s just easier. Mind you, I’m getting one to myself hehehe, if you’re a good boy, I might even share it with you!’. Shaun flashed his cheeky grin, as he walked over towards Paul, pressing the menu’s against his chest, and slowly leaning in towards him. Pauls eyes widened briefly, anticipating a kiss, but Shaun just as quickly pulled back, turned around and walked over to grab the milk and put it in the fridge.
Paul tilted his head back, and quietly growled out of torment. He wanted Shaun. He wanted him so desperately. He just wanted to scoop him up, throw him on the bed and rip his clothes off. It was taking every ounce of restraint not to do so. If Shaun kept this up, it was going to be a very long, long-weekend.
Paul exhaled as Shaun continued to put the groceries away, and called the local pizza place. He gave his name and address and then let out a laugh. He knew the guy on the other end of the phone taking his order. After a couple of minutes of standard conversation – How are you? What are you doing? Where are you living? How long are you in town for? etc, he placed the order and hung up the phone. Paul giggled to himself and shook his head with a grin on his face.
‘Who was that? Friend of yours?’, Shaun enquired.
*giggling* ‘As a matter of fact, yeah!’
‘Oh, so trade then?’, Shaun snapped, being a smart-arse.
‘Actually, yes. His name’s Ben. He was a guy I hooked up with a couple of times before. So cute. Huge cock.’
Great. Here five minutes and he’s already calling his trade. What a catch!
‘Oh really?! Is he hotter than me?’
‘Hmmm, no, he’s still pretty damn hot, but he’s still in school… well, year twelve now… but nothing compared to you, mister!’.
YEAR TWELVE?? DUDE!! WHAT THE FUCK?!? Shaun, is this guy a kiddie-fiddler or what?? You know we don’t condone that behaviour…!! That’s not right!!
Paul wrapped his arms around Shaun’s waist, catching him off-guard. ‘What’s the matter, feeling a bit jealous, are we?’
‘Hardly. Why would I be jealous of some country hick called Ben?’
‘You’re cute when you’re jealous!’
‘SHUT UP! No I’m not!’
‘Well, truth be told, he fucks like an absolute champion, but I haven’t seen him since the last time I was back here, which was almost eight or nine months ago.’
Wow. Waaaay too much information, thank you.
Shaun raised his eyebrows, ‘A ‘champion’ you say? Hmmm, well, according to you, but who knows what your standards are.’
‘Well, he was one of the best I’ve ever had, shame he’s back here though…’
‘Yeah, and a shame that he’s still jail bait you dirty perve!’
‘But you’re not jail bait are you!’ Paul leant in and kissed Shaun. ‘No, you’re not jail bait at all. You’re a little hottie and you’re all mine for the next couple of days!!’
Ah-hem… ‘All mine’. Creepy, much?
He kissed Shaun again, pulling him in closer and moving one hand from Shaun’s lower back, up to the back of his head, gently exploring Shaun’s tongue with his own. As the kissing between them intensified, so did the physicality between them. Their breathing became heavier; their hands began to grab and squeeze each others bodies, and the heat between them began to rise. Paul pushed back against Shaun, the two of them shuffling across the kitchen floor. Shaun backed into the bench on the opposite side and before he knew it, Paul had scooped him up and sat him on the edge of the bench. Paul paused briefly staring into Shaun’s eyes; standing between his legs and breathing heavily. He lifted Shaun’s arms and began to lift up his jumper, flinging it across the kitchen. Paul stepped back and unzipped his hoodie and let it fall off his back onto the ground. Shaun flicked his legs and wrapped them around Paul’s waist, drawing him back towards the bench.
Shaun took a beat, and stared at Paul’s face, moving his gaze slowly down his neck, scanning his chest. Paul had such a nicely defined athletic body. He wasn’t particularly muscly, but quite defined. His eyes were fixated on the subtle definition of his abdominals, and moreso the ‘V’ leading down into his pants. Just below his belt he could see a rather noticeable bulge in his pants, and felt some tightening in his own. He looked up slightly and saw Paul looking down at the same spot. Paul glanced up and locked eyes with Shaun, gently licked his lips, and leant in to remove Shaun’s t-shirt. Shaun sensed what was about to happened and leant back to slowly remove his own top, just to tease Paul a bit further. He purposely leant back and crunched his abdominals so show off his definition, removed his top and dropped it on the bench. He placed his palms behind him, leaning back to allow Paul to enjoy the view. He could see the lust in Paul’s eyes, as he stepped in closer, leaning forward to kiss Shaun. Soon enough his kisses began moving south; down his neck and across his chest, flicking Shaun’s nipples with his tongue. The hot breath on his cool skin gave his goosebumps, causing him to shudder suddenly. As Paul’s tongue worked it’s way down across Shaun’s abdominals, he closed his eyes and tilted his head back, and before long, he started to let out some quiet moans of pleasure.
Shaun wrapped his hands around the back of Paul’s head, refusing to let him stand up.
OH COME ON!! We were just getting started!
‘DAMN IT!!’ Shaun released his grip, and Paul stood up, gasping for air. Shaun grinned realising that Paul had undone his pants, and they were still around his ankles. Paul quickly fumbled trying to get his pants done up, realising how awkward it would look to answer the door with a noticeable erection. He wiped the saliva from around his mouth and stood there with his hands on his hips. Shaun hopped off the bench, grabbing Paul by the waist, ‘Don’t. I’ll go.’ and grabbed Paul’s wallet out of the back pocket of his pants. He quickly put his jumper on headed down the dark hallway towards the door. He flicked the switch to turn the porch light on, and saw a silhouette behind the frosted glass. Shaun opened the door and saw the pizza delivery guy standing there.
‘I thought that I’d deliver this one in per…’ It was Ben. The guy that Paul had spoken to earlier. ‘Sorry, I must have the wrong address…?’
‘No. This is the right address.’
‘I’ve got an order for Paul… two large pizzas… but you’re not…’
Shaun interrupted him, ‘No, I’m not. He’s inside. He’s just not able to answer the door.’ Shaun winked at Ben and revelled in the following awkward silence.
Yeah bitch, how do you like ‘dem apples!
‘Right, well, um… that comes to twenty-six fifty, thanks.’ Shaun handed over some money in exchange for the pizzas. As Ben fumbled around for some change, Shaun took the opportunity to look Ben up and down. He was good looking, and certainly looked much older than he actually was. ‘So, is this your last delivery for the night?’ Shaun enquired.
‘Uuuummm, no. No, I don’t finish for another couple of hours. I just thought…’
‘…thought what? Thought you’d come past and see if he’d still be up when you finish so you can be dessert?’
‘Ahhhh, no, I just… I, um… errr… I…’
‘It’s okay, we both know I’m right. Perhaps if you want some dessert you can come past later… well if you’re hungry. Just text Paul when you finish your shift. He reckons you fuck like an absolute champion, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you came over.’
Ben stood there unsure of what to say. He avoided eye contact with Shaun, ‘Oh, here’s your change’. He quickly turned and walked back down the path towards the car.
Shaun stood in the doorway waving, ‘Bye Ben… pleasure to meet you…!!’
Shaun closed the door, turned off the light, and walked back down the dark hallway into the kitchen. Paul had two glasses out and a bottle of soft drink sat on the bench. Shaun piled everything on top of the pizza boxes and brought it all into the lounge room, setting it down on the coffee table. He grabbed the coasters off a nearby sidetable. They had pictures of Corgi dogs on them, and placed them on the coffee table. He went back into the kitchen to grab a couple of plates, and when he returned Paul was already sitting on the couch. He’d changed his pants for trackpants, and put his hoodie back on.
‘Wow, look at you in your trackpants that are too small? Tell me, when are the floods coming?’ referring to the elastic of the trackpant legs which stopped at least two to three inches above Paul’s ankles. He chuckled to himself and walked towards the couch.
‘Well, it’s all I had. They shrunk in the dryer. Besides, the only flood you’ll be seeing is the one on your face later’
‘My face? Well, isn’t that presumptuous of you!! What makes you think that will be going anywhere near my face?’
‘Oh, so you swallow then?’ Paul fell back on the couch laughing. ‘No, that’s your job’ Shaun replied with a smile. Paul sat up and grinned at Shaun and patted the seat next to him on the couch, motioning for Shaun to come and sit next to him. He opened the other pizza box, and put a couple of pieces on his plate.
As Paul flicked through the channels, Shaun took a couple of bites of pizza, and exhaled deeply. This was nice. It was nice to just be sitting on the couch with a hot guy and some pizza, in his trackies and just chilling out. Whilst fixated on the television, and his endeavour to find something to watch, Paul tilted his head to the side towards Shaun, ‘You know, I’m so glad that you decided to come up here with me. I wasn’t entirely sure if you wanted to, let alone if we’d ever actually meet, because we’re both so busy!’
‘Yeah, well, I figure this is probably the only time we’d get to actually SEE each other for another couple of months, so I thought I may as well seize the opportunity to do so!’
As Paul realised that there was nothing on just yet, he settled for the local news channel. He grabbed his plate and leant back on the couch.
‘Oh, so I met Ben just before…’ Paul stopped mid-chew and turned his head to Shaun.
‘Yeah, he delivered the pizza himself. I think that he thought when you ordered the pizza, he’d come over and you’d be able to give him a tip… a BIG tip… but just the tip hehehe.’
Paul rolled his eyes, ‘Oh God. You didn’t say anything to him, did you?’
Paul exhaled in relief. ‘Thank god for that!’
‘Oh, well, I did mention that you said he fucked like a champion, and told him to text you later when he finished his shift in case he wanted to drop by later. He might be a bit hungry, and looking for some dessert. So I told him to text you.’ Shaun gave him a cheeky grin and continued eating his pizza.
‘I wish you hadn’t have said anything! But you weren’t to know, well any other person probably wouldn’t have said anything, but you’re certainly not like any other person!’
Damn right, bitch!
‘Ah-thank you’, said Shaun, tipping his invisible top hat.
‘See, Ben and I have hooked up a few times, although he hasn’t said it, I think that I may have been his first. After we fucked the first couple of times, he used to message me constantly, wanting to know when I was fee. Wanting to know where I was, when I was going to be home. I only found out after we hooked up the first time that he was only sixteen and I freaked out about it. Even then he looked like he was about eighteen or nineteen, so I just assumed he was. It wasn’t until he rocked up on my doorstep one afternoon in his fucking school uniform that I realised. I told him to not contact me, and he said that he’d go to the cops.’
Kiddie-fiddler. Uniform fetish. Gotcha.Keep going, mate. Although, I guess if there’s grass on the pitch, you can play with the bat, right?
‘So, basically, he blackmailed you into sleeping with him…??’
‘Ahhh… Yeah. It sounds so horrible. It just makes me sound like a dirty old man, or some kind of predator. I swear to god I’m not, I swear I didn’t know he was sixteen!’
That’s what they all say. ‘Sorry officer, I didn’t know she was twelve. She looked thirteen to me!
‘Yes, well even then, he was sixteen, so he’s of legal age. Granted, you shouldn’t be fucking a child, but regardless, he’s of legal age, so it doesn’t really matter. Hell, I’d fuck him if I were you!’
Really Shaun? Really? Don’t encourage him!
‘Anyway, he got a bit obsessed soon afterwards, and we had to have a talk about his behaviour. I was moving to Melbourne and he wouldn’t see me any more, and he would just have to accept that and move on – preferably with somebody his own age… And I thought that he had a boyfriend?’
‘Well, guess he still wants a piece of Uncle Paulie. Hehehe’. Paul cringed at the thought. Silence filled the space between them on the couch, and the distant sound of the television because a focal point. As they both finished their pizza, they placed their plates on the table and Shaun cosied up to Paul’s side, and rested his head on Paul’s chest. ‘This is a bit nice’, Paul whispered into Shaun’s ear.
…and you’re a bit creepy.
‘Are you sure, I don’t want to be too forward or anything, or make you feel uncomfortable’ Shaun queried.
Paul didn’t say anything, instead just began stroking Shaun’s hair. Shaun opened his eyes to the sound of Paul having a little laugh. The resonance from the laughter was causing his chest to vibrate. ‘What? What’s so funny?’ Shaun realised what was so funny… ‘You’re so adorable, you’ve been asleep for almost an hour-and-a-half. It’s so cute. You just laid down on my chest and within minutes you were asleep!’
‘Oh god. Was I snoring?’
Paul began laughing even harder, ‘OH MY GOD YES!! It wasn’t loud or anything, but you were out like a light. It was so cute. It was kinda like when a puppy goes to sleep and starts snoring and having puppy dreams. Y’know, when they sorta twitch every now and then, yeah, you were doing that.’
You dickhead. What is wrong with you? Why would you do that?
‘Oh GOD!! I must really have been really tired!’ Shaun recoiled to the opposite end of the couch in embarrassment, hiding his face with his hand so Paul couldn’t see how much he was blushing.
Paul reached across the couch, grabbing Shaun’s arm, ‘You get back here, you’re so adorable. I loved it. It’s been so long since I’ve felt so comfortable enough with anybody to have them do that. Nobody has fallen asleep on my chest for a very long time. I loved it. I could happily do this every single night with you. It would be heaven.’
DING DING DING, my ‘desperate and clingy’ alarm is going off right about now…
Shaun didn’t want to admit it, but secretly he was enjoying it as well. It had also been some time since he too also had somebody to curl up on a couch with, let alone fall asleep on their chest. He found a strange comfort in it. It was almost enough to make him feel safe.
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING SHAUN?? THIS IS HOW THEY LULL YOU INTO A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY BEFORE HACKING YOU UP IN YOUR SLEEP. IF YOU WAKE UP IN A BATH TUB OF ICE, MISSING A KIDNEY, DON’T YOU DARE BLAME ME!!
ugh, shut up brain, stop being so melodramatic, it’s fine, I promise!
It started to get a bit late and Paul started yawning, opening his arms to stretch. ‘So, um, I feel kinda bad but I’m exhausted, I think I’m ready for bed. How bout you? You wanna come to bed yet? You don’t have to, you can stay up if you want?’
‘Oh, if it’s okay, could I maybe have a quick shower first? I just like to be clean when I go to bed’.
‘Yeah, sorry, of course you can. We can do whatever you want, you’re the guest here…’, Paul leaned in and wrapped his arms around Shaun. ‘My incredibly special and adorable and unbelievably hot and sexy guest… especially sexy! I’ll do anything you tell me… And I mean ANYTHING! Hehehe… Consider me your weekend slave…’, he got up close to Shaun’s ear and whispered ‘even a sex slave…’ and licked Shaun’s ear.
WHHAAAAAAATTTT. THE. FUUUUCK?!
Shaun let out a nervous laugh and made some space between his head and Paul’s mouth. ‘Really? he said, raising his eyebrows, ‘well then, I really should go and have a shower… Or do you wanna have one first?’.
GET OUT! Just get out. Get out now!! Stop fucking around and GET OUT!
Paul stood up and stretched out his hand for Shaun to grab, helping him up off the couch and leading him into the bedroom. They walked through the doorway to the bedroom which was dimly lit. On the left-hand wall were two very old key-lock wardrobes, and opposite the end of the bed was a matching chest of drawers. In the far right corner was an old broken cane chair with a large pile of folded clothes on it. On either side of the bed head were two small vintage stained-glass lamps sitting upon two even older bedside tables. The bed itself was a rather large and extravagant wrought-iron frame with swirls and curls of iron everywhere you looked, and an old spring mattress that looked to be at least as old as Paul was. Shaun could notice several indents in the mattress from years of sleeping. The pillows were old and felt and everything was brown. More brown. brown carpet. Brown lace curtains. Brown bedding. And the smell… It smelt like this room hadn’t had any fresh air, or sunlight, since the Fifties. The musty smell filled Shaun’s sinuses and made him want to gag.
OH. DEAR. LORD. What the hell is this? Seriously! What the hell. This is wrong, so very, VERY wrong. I bet this room is secretly soundproofed, so that when his innocent victims are chained to the bed and beaten, their screams can’t be heard.
Brain, shut up.
Or maybe there’s a secret dungeon under the floor. Maybe check out the rugs, and see if any of the floorboards look out of place. Or maybe one of the wardrobes is actually a secret staircase to a dungeon?
Maybe there’s a fully decked-out lab down there where he tortures and hacks them all up.
Maybe those indents in the mattress are from previous victims?
You should look for blood stains!!
SHUT UP!! JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!!
‘Shaun? Shaun? Shaun, are you okay… you kinda drifted off there for a sec… you okay?’
Shaun realised that Paul had been speaking to him about all kinds of stuff, but due to the fighting with his brain, he was completely oblivious to anything that Paul had actually said to him.
‘Oh, shit, I’m so sorry, I was just thinking about something, I just got lost in thought. So sorry. What were you saying…?’
‘Oh I was saying that I think you’re a really special guy…’
…uh oh. Here we go…
‘Oh… you didn’t hear me?’
‘Shit. No, sorry. I didn’t mean to, I just was somewhere else for a moment. Please, I’m sorry, what were you saying?’
What are you doing, Shaun? Don’t encourage him. This is bad!
‘Oh, well, I was just reiterating what I had said earlier. I think that it’s so great that you’re here with me, and that we’re spending time together…’
…riiight. You said that earlier…
‘…and I’m just feeling really special because I’ve managed to find somebody who’s so… I dunno… great. And funny. And entertaining. And fit. And hot. And sexy. And is interested in me. And is taking a chance….’
I’m sorry, what? Taking a chance?
‘…I mean, you know what it’s like, well, actually, you probably don’t because you’re young and hot, but for guys like me, once you pass thirty, it’s just so hard to meet somebody…’
Hang on… is he…?
‘…everybody just wants somebody young and hot and ripped. They all want the model with a big cock and a tight arse who can go for hours. I can’t compete with that. I’m just me. I am who I am. I’m not a model. I’m not as young as I once was…’
Oh god, he is. Run, Shaun. Run away very fast!
‘…and so it gets a bit lonely. You go through life living day-to-day, and then all you do is spend your spare time trawling around on Gaydar, and even then, people only want a specific type of guy for a quick fuck and that’s it. I want more than that. I want a person who wants me back. I want to feel wanted. I want somebody to wake up with, to bring up here on long weekends just like this, I want somebody to curl up on the couch with. I want somebody who isn’t going to dick me around like everybody else does…’
Shit. Too late. You’re fucked, Shaun. You’re well and truly fucked.
‘…I’m just quite intimidated that a guy like you, would even be into a guy like me. Let alone actually come away with me for a romantic weekend for the two of us. It’s so surreal. The truth is, I never thought you and I would ever meet. So the thought of having you here in my house, in my room, in my arms is simply heart-stopping. I can’t believe that you’ve come into my life, and I can’t believe that you’re here as well. It’s like a dream, and I’m going to wake up and discover that it wasn’t real at all… but if that’s the case, I don’t care, if this is a dream, I’m happy to not wake up for a while longer and just enjoy the rest of it…’
…aaaand there it is. You’re in deep now, son. This is baaad. So bad. What have you gotten yourself into?
‘…but seeing as how you are here, and this isn’t a dream, I just want to make sure you understand how glad I am that we’re sharing this together. I’m amazed that you also want to explore this further with me. I want to say that ‘R’ word, but it’s too early, seeing as how we’ve only been together for a matter of hours, so I won’t say it. I just want to say that I’m excited for us to be together and develop a journey, and who knows, maybe even build a life with each other.’
DING DING DING DING DING DING!! You need to set him straight. You need to shut that shit down RIGHT NOW. DO you hear me? Shaun? SHAUN?! SHUT IT DOWN!! NOW!!
‘I, ah… wow, I, um, I don’t really know what to say to that… Hmmm. That’s very forward of you, and very open of you, but I have to be blunt, I didn’t realise that you were becoming so ’emotionally’ invested into… this… whatever ‘this’ is. Like you said, we only saw each other for the first time in person only hours ago. You can’t force a relationship. I’m sorry if you thought that this is why I came here with you, but I thought that it was just a casual offer for a weekend away. I didn’t realise that you thought it was going to be, like, our first trip as boyfriends or something… that’s not why I came, and I’m sorry if I have given you the wrong impression.’
Good for you. He needed to be put in his place. So… now what?
‘I see. Hmmm, well, now I kinda feel quite stupid. I thought it was too good to be true…’
And this is where he begins his downward self-pity spiral. Strap yourself in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!
‘…to think that somebody like you would be interested in somebody like me was just foolish. I mean look at you. You’d no doubt have guys climbing over each other to get into your pants…’
Shaun interrupted, ‘To get into my pants, maybe, but to try and be my boyfriend… not at all. The reality is, I’ve spent the past couple of years having an on-again-off-again relationship with a guy who ALREADY HAS A BOYFRIEND. That in itself is pretty soul destroying. To want somebody who is so completely emotionally unavailable. I want to believe that he wants to be with me, but he’s not going to leave his boyfriend. And even if he did, I don’t want to be the reason he ends his relationship, I don’t want that burden weighing down on me. Yes, it’s flattering to actually meet somebody who is interested in me for more than just what they see, or what I’m like in bed, but it means a lot to have somebody who is interested in me for me as a person. Me as a creative and talented and intelligent individual. Somebody with real emotions just like you… but the fact is, I’m not ready for something, well, anything just now. I’ve got my own shit to deal with. I’ve got more than my fair share of baggage. I’m not saying it as an excuse, I’m saying it because it’s the truth, and I don’t want you to think that it’s just a cop out. I’m just not ready. I wish I was, because things could be different, but the cold harsh reality is that I’m not. If anything, I’m a complete fucking mess. I have my own shit to deal with and try to sort out, and I’ll end up sabotaging anything good that comes into my life – including a potential relationship, whether it’s with you or somebody else. So… I’m sorry, but I can’t.’
Wow… even I wasn’t ready for that…! You okay? Maybe you just need a nap. I think you’re a bit overtired.
‘You’re right, I am tired, and I do need a nap.’
‘Um… I didn’t say anything…’
Well done, retard.
‘So, seeing as how we’ve both completely humiliated ourselves, now what??’
They both sat on the edge of the bed looking at each other in silence.
‘So I ‘spose a fuck’s outta the question??’
The two of them erupted into laughter and fell backwards on the bed in hysterics. As the laughter died down, Paul rolled over to face Shaun, ‘No, seriously, do we still get to fuck, because I’m ready to if you are…’
Okay… well that was unexpected!
‘Um, err, well, fuck it, I don’t see why not. We’re both here, we’re both horny…’
Oh, are WE? I’m telling you, you are not horny at all. He’s just far too weird for my liking.
‘…so I guess that’s not a problem. It doesn’t have to get weird… right? It can be just sex, can’t it? I just don’t want it to get weird at all.’
Paul moved closer, and propped his head up with one hand, and placed the other hand on Shaun’s hip, ‘No, it doesn’t have to get weird at all, we can just fuck like rabbits and leave it at that… and just think, we’ve got three days ahead of us… I’ll give you some breaks in between to re-fuel and stretch, but otherwise, your arse is mine and I’m going to fuckin’ tear that shit APART!!’
‘…what?’, Shaun let out a nervous laugh.
‘I’m going to fuck you so much you’ll be unable to walk properly for a few days. I’m gonna pound that tight hole of yours so hard, you’re going to beg me, BEG ME to stop, and when you do, I’m just gonna hit it harder. You’re gonna be my little fuck slut. You’re gonna do what I tell you. You’re gonna obey everything I say. You’re gonna submit, and you’re gonna fucking like it. You’re going to call me sir, and ONLY sir. You will only stop when I say you can stop, and I’m telling you now, I go for hours. You’re going to be in fuck-limbo… somewhere between pain and absolute ecstasy. It’s going to make you want to stop, but also make you want more as well. Pain and pleasure all at once, and you’ll be begging for more. You’ll be aching for it. Every fucking inch of it. Deeper and harder…’
Okay, dude, seriously, this is going south, rapidly. Like, fucking RAPIDLY!!! You need to get the fuck out now… because this is not going so well…
I know… I’m thinking, I’m thinking…
‘oohh… yes SIR!!’, Shaun winked. ‘Well, it seems like you know exactly how this is going to go down, so why don’t you go and have a long hot shower – I have a few emails I have to send that I completely forgot about… so give me ten to fifteen to get myself sorted, and then I’ll come and join you… how’s that sound?’
WHAT?! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!?!?
It’s okay, I have a plan…
GOOD!! YOU CAN’T FUCKING STAY HERE OVERNIGHT!!
‘Oh, fuck yeah… well, you’re gonna be screaming out later. If you want, there’s some Red Bull in the fridge… might help you keep up. Hehehe.’ Paul leant in and slammed his tongue into Shaun’s mouth unexpectedly. Shaun tried to pull away, but Paul had wrapped his hands around the back of Shaun’s head, preventing an escape. He tried resisting but it was too forceful. Shaun realised that this was definitely not going to be anything like he expected. Paul, pulled back, licking his lips, leaving Shaun gasping for air.
‘I’m gonna go have a shower and scrub up, while you do what you need to do… then you’re arse is all mine… maybe we’ll start in the shower hehehe’
FUUUUCK THIS!! I’m out!!
Paul stood up and took off all his clothes, dumping them on the floor. He then knelt on the edge of the bed, grabbing Shaun by the back of the head, and pulling his face towards Paul’s now erect penis. Shaun resisted, and Paul tapped him on the top of the head. ‘What did I just say? You don’t fucking refuse, get it? Now suck my fucking cock!!’ Shaun was starting to get a bit scared now, this persona was the complete opposite of anything he anticipated Paul to be like.
I don’t know why you’re so shocked. The reality is, it’s always the quiet ones that you need to watch out for… they come across as all sweet and innocent, and then *BAM* they’re pure evil or violent or some shit. Gee Shaun, he’s such a keeper!
Shaun complied with Paul’s request, and he began to do so, Paul began thrusting harder and harder, grunting and groaning, ‘Yeah, you fucking love that. You love my fat fucking cock, don’t you, you little pussy boy. You’re a little pussy boy, and you need a big hard man cock! Don’t ya! Yeah you do! You fucking love it! Fucking swallow that cock, bitch. Fucking take all of it!!’ He kept thrusting harder, and holding Shaun’s head, forcing him to gag. Shaun’s eyes began to water and he tried to grasp for air, until he couldn’t take it any longer, and grabbed Paul’s hand and pushed him away.
‘Stop, just stop. I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!’
‘What the fuck did you say to me? You get back down there and you swallow my cock you little cunt!’
Shaun had had enough. ‘Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?! Is this you? Is this the real you? The REAL Paul? SERIOUSLY?? IS THIS WHAT YOU’RE LIKE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS? IS THIS HOW YOU’RE LIKE WITH YOUR TRADE? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FUCKING MIND?? THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY ANYTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN IF YOU KEEP THIS SHIT UP. THIS IS NOT THE PAUL I KNOW. THIS IS NOT THE PAUL I WANT TO KNOW EITHER. SO WHO ARE YOU? WHO THE FUCK IS THIS PERSON??’
Paul took a step back, ‘What did you say to me? WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME?…’
Shit Shaun, this is getting bad… you’re gonna need something to defend yourself. He’s bigger and stronger than you… get past him and there’s knives in the top drawer. There’s umbrella’s in the hall and a cricket bat in the other room… I’m not liking this at all… he’s gonna beat the fuck out of you… this is about to happen… you need to get out now. UNDERSTAND!! THIS ISN’T A FUCKING GAME!! GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS HOUSE, RIGHT NOW!!
‘…HOW DARE YOU FUCKING SPEAK TO…’
‘OH SHUT THE FUCK UP PAUL!! I’M NOT GOING TO BE PART OF WHATEVER THE FUCK THIS IS THAT YOU’RE DOING. YOU WANNA GET INTO ROLE PLAY, GOOD FOR YOU, BUT IF THAT’S YOUR THING, YOU FUCKING SAY SOMETHING FIRST. I NEVER PICKED YOU FOR THIS SORT OF PERSON. NOT A CHANCE. YOU’VE GOT FUCKING PROBLEMS. THIS IS PROBABLY WHY YOU’RE SINGLE, BECUAUSE YOU’RE FUCKING CRAZY AS FUCK!! THIS IS WHY YOU CAN’T FIND A MAN, OR KEEP A MAN! YOU COME OUT WITH THIS VIOLENCE SHIT AND THEY RUN, SO DON’T SIT THERE AND GIVE ME SOME FUCKING SOB STORY TO MAKE ME FEEL SORRY FOR YOU, WHEN YOU’RE A FUCKING NUT CASE WHO CAN’T SORT THEIR ISSUES OUT!!’
‘FUCKING SAVE IT!! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR BULLSHIT ANYMORE. GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE AND GO HAVE A FUCKING SHOWER. I’M GOING TO SLEEP ON THE COUCH TONIGHT, BECAUSE FRANKLY, I’M NOT DOING THIS. FIRST THING TOMORROW, I’M OUTTA HERE. I’M NOT DOING THIS. I ASKED YOU NOT TO MAKE IT WEIRD, AND INSTEAD YOU MAKE IT FUCKING SURREAL-SLASH-VIOLENT. THAT’S JUST FUCKED UP. I’M DONE, I’M FUCKING DONE!’
‘I SAID I’M FUCKING DONE!’
Paul’s demeanour completely changed, that aggressive and forceful person he was just before had completely vanished. The realisation of his actions and their effect on Shaun had clearly hit home, and he felt so foolish. He was mortified about what had happened, and couldn’t believe that he had lost control like that. He didn’t realise how extreme he was and sheepishly cowered away and took off to the bathroom. He closed and locked the door and soon Shaun heard the sound of running water.
RIGHT… NOW WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING?!?
Shaun raced over to Paul’s computer and jumped online. The very first thing he began to look up was train timetables. V-Line, XPT, anything, he didn’t care, as long as it got him the fuck out of this nightmare. As he waited for the first website to slowly load, he grabbed his phone and messaged the boys back home.
EMERGENCY!! Things have gone south. Guy is totally fucking psycho. Almost tried to attack me. Feeling scared. Looking for exit strategy. Keep phones close. No contact every 20mins, call police.
As Shaun scoured all the possible train timetables, there was nothing until at least 8am the next day. He then began looking at flights, and they were the same as well. He had reached a point where he was contemplating just packing his shit and leaving whilst Paul was in the shower, but he didn’t know of any hotels in the area.
What the fuck am I going to do? I gotta get out of here, this is just fucked up. Maybe I just catch a train. I’ll take a sleeping bag or a blanket or something and sleep at the station? It’s gotta be safer there, compared to here. How the fuck do I get to the station? What’s the number for a taxi here?
Desperate for a way out, he tried to think of anything, and everything possible.
Who do I know that lives near here? Maybe I could call somebody from home? What about B? She might come and get me? How weird would that be though? ‘Oh hi B, we haven’t spoken for a couple of weeks, but I was wondering if you could drive to Albury? Yes I know it’s the middle of the night, but because I’m such a fuckwit, I kinda got myself into trouble with a complete fucking psycho and I don’t know where else to turn…’ Yeah, that’d go down REALLY well. Nope. Not an option!
NOT AN OPTION!!
I don’t want anybody at home to know. NOBODY can know. EVER!!
Seriously, what the fuck am I gonna do? I’m going to have to just sleep at the train station for the night. Fuck.
Shaun’s thoughts were immediately interrupted.
ROGER!! Fucking message Roger and see if he’s working around this way. He might be able to help.
Are you serious? You wanna ask Roger for help? That’s so wrong?
Well, it’s either ask Roger, sleep at a train station or stay here and well, who the fuck knows how that’ll play out.
But Roger might not even be in the area. Although I remember him saying something ages ago about his ‘nights up the Hume’!!
Look, no harm in asking. You have to at least ask. And if he says no, you suck it up and head for the station. You just can’t stay here. That’s not an option.
Hey stranger, how goes it? You working at the moment?
Where are you?
Um, just curious. You north or sth bound?
I’m in Albury. You near here?
Nah, won’t be passing through until bout 1:30 – 2am
Fuck. K. Reckon I could hitch a ride?
No. Got into a situation. It’s gone south and potentially dangerous. Need to get out ASAP.
If you can hold out til then, I can meet you just outside Wodonga. Can’t bring the rig into town. Will txt you as I approach Albury.
Done! You’re a lifesaver!
Just don’t be late. I’m on a tight schedule and already late.
I’m not waiting for you if you’re not there!
Roger, Roger. 10-4.
Um… What the fuck?? Is this actually happening? Like ACTUALLY HAPPENING?? Right. 1:30… That’s like 3hrs away.
Shaun took a giant sigh of relief and as he did, he heard some kind if muffled sound coming from the bathroom. He snuck up to the door, pressing his ear against it. That sound was crying. Paul was crying.
Well, this is awkward!
Shaun knocked on the door. ‘Paul, you okay? You wanna let me in?’
‘Let me in’?? Seriously, what is wrong with you?
‘Paul, look, I’m sorry that I yelled like that, but I don’t like being backed into a corner. When I do, I lash out. I’m sorry that I upset you.’
Seriously, what the fuck are you doing?
The crying stopped, and the running water stopped. A couple of minutes passed before Shaun heard the click of the lock on the door and the handle turn. The door slowly opened as steam billowed out of the doorway. Shaun’s glasses immediately fogged up from all the steam, and as he lifted the rims up above his eyes, he saw a silhouette standing amongst the steam.
‘I’m sorry if I scared you. I didn’t mean to. I never had any intention of hurting you, I’m all talk, really. I’m not that kind of person. I’m not a monster. I’d never hurt you. Ever. I could never hurt you, I lo…’
‘A BABABABABABABABA… Don’t even say it. Don’t you dare!’
He said it! HE HAD TO SAY IT, DIDN’T HE!!
‘Aaand you haaaad to say it!! Awesome. Well, now it’s really fuckin’ weird, sooo well done on that!
‘Sorry. I know I shouldn’t have said it, but it just came out.’
The steam began to clear, dancing and swirling around their mouths as they spoke. Soon enough the steam cleared the room enough for them to see each other. Paul was standing there in only a towel, dripping water everywhere, enough for a small puddle to develop around his feet. His face was bright red and his eyes were bloodshot, probably from all the crying.
‘How bout we go sit down and have a chat? A real chat. With the real Paul, whoever he is.’ Shaun stretched out his arm, offering his hand to Paul. Paul reluctantly grabbed his hand and let Shaun lead him out to the kitchen area. They stood on either side of the island bench. The room was cold enough for Shaun to see the steam still radiating off Paul’s wet, naked body. ‘Look, let’s have a talk. a real one, just you and I and none of your other personalities that may be lurking in there somewhere’.
‘Let’s not, and just save it for tomorrow instead. I’m just gonna go to bed I think. I’ve embarrassed myself more than I ever thought humanly possible, and I just want to go to sleep. I don’t even want you to look at me. I don’t even want you to stay here, because I’m so humiliated. I’m gonna go to bed, you’re welcome to sleep in there as well, or you can sleep on the couch, the choice is yours. Night.’
Um… wow. That was unexpected.
Shaun stood there, stunned, watching Paul’s steaming naked body walk off towards the bedroom. He watched the light go on, and then moments later, go off. He couldn’t believe that had just taken place, and started to actually feel bad about his new plans to totally ditch him.
He walked to the desk, and turned off the computer.
Well, it’s too late now. I’m going. I think it’s easier for me to leave, rather than stay here and deal with, well, THAT, for another couple of days. He’s a fucking mess, and I, I just can’t. Not now.
Shaun began to quietly pack all his belongings back into his bag, realising that he now had just on two-and-a-half hours until he had to go, and he had some clothes in the bedroom. He’d have to plan this carefully. Shaun left his bag down by the front door. It was at the other end of the house, so Paul wouldn’t hear it when he snuck out. He put his phone on charge on the bedside table, and gathered his clothes underneath.
Right, GAME PLAN!! Go in there and go to sleep. If he’s awake, let him talk, then get him to sleep. Wait for Roger to sms. As soon as he does, grab clothes, go to toilet. Get dressed, flush, open and close fridge, so he thinks you’re getting a drink. Turn lamp on in lounge, then head for the door. Pack your shit as you go. Head towards Norton Street, and call cab to meet you there. Call Roger to coordinate rendezvous point, and head back to Melbourne. Are you ready?
Are you sure.
Let’s do this.
Shaun stripped down to his underwear and crawled into the bed beside Paul. Not certain if he was still awake, he rolled over and put his hand on Paul’s hip. ‘You awake?’.
‘Look, I’m really sorry things turned out like this.’
‘Oh well, goodnight.’
Shaun fell asleep, and awoke to a flashing light. It was Roger.
Hey mate, almost bout 10mins from Thurgoona / Lavington. Meet me at Hume Fwy turnoff @ Wodonga. U know the spot? Where u turn right onto the fwy. I’ll be there in 20mins. Remember, not waiting longer than 10 mins.
This was it. It was actually happening. This was really happening. Shaun couldn’t help but feel as though this was all far too surreal. Almost dream-like, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. He knew he couldn’t stay any longer, and he was feeling far too much regret about coming here in the first place, despite the multitude of warnings his brain had given him.
Shaun crept out of the bed and grabbed his clothes and tip-toed through the darkness towards the bathroom. Every couple of steps a floorboard would creak, causing Shaun to completely freeze, listening intently for any stirring from Paul in the bedroom. Nothing. He closed the door in the bathroom and got dressed. He had put his jumper on backwards, but he didn’t care at this point, it wasn’t important. He flushed the toilet and snuck back outside the toilet, and waited. Still nothing. This is almost too good to be true.
As Shaun tiptoed towards the fridge in the kitchen, he heard a rumbling in the bedroom, and dived behind the kitchen bench. Shaun’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness by now, so he was able to see across the room quite well. There was an uncomfortable silence of what felt like minutes, but really, wasn’t even thirty seconds, and he heard Paul snoring. Even better!! He quickly took off down the hall, grabbed his bag and just threw everything in it. Shaun slowly unclicked the lock on the door, and turned the handle, stepped outside, and slowly closed it and then he was off.
Running down the road calling for a taxi.
Sixteen minutes, Shaun. You’re not going to make it!
SHUT UP BRAIN!! I HAVE TO MAKE IT!!
You don’t have enough time. You’re not going to make it. It’s the middle of the night in the fucking COUNTRY!! You really think that a taxi is…
‘Yeah, hi, um, I need a cab ASAP. I’m currently on Wellington Street. Shaun. Going to Wodonga. Towards the freeway turnoff. Great, thanks.
Shaun’s taxi had been ordered and would arrive within five minutes or so. As he kept walking down the street, he kept waiting and waiting for his phone to ring. Waiting for Paul to start calling him, wanting to know where he was; what had happened; why did he leave? He couldn’t deal with that right now, his mission was to get to Roger and not miss his ride back to Melbourne.
As Shaun continued down the hill of Wellington street, a taxi drove out from one of the cross streets. ‘TAAXXIIIIIII!!!!’, Shaun screamed and waved his arms. The taxi driver flashed his lights and pulled over, and Shaun ran a couple of houses to get into the cab. He flung the door open, and fell into the backseat with his bag still on his back, and his laptop under his arm. ‘Head towards the Hume Freeway turnoff… I’ll direct you, just go. GO, GO, GO, GO!!’ The driver looked at him in the rear-view mirror with a puzzled expression. ‘But there are no houses out there, and there will be a surcharge for crossing the border and entering the freeway.’
‘Yeah, yeah, I don’t care. Look, I need to get there within ten minutes. I’m meeting somebody, and I’m running late. Just drive… DRIVE!!’
Shaun took off his bag, and sat up, putting on his seatbelt. He pulled out his phone. ‘FUCK!’. It was a message from Roger.
Hey mate, almost at the turnoff. Where u at? It’s 1:42. Giving u til 2, then I’m gone. u coming?
FUUUUCCKKK!!! that was almost ten minutes ago. What the fuck am I gonna do if I miss him? I’m gonna have to go back to the station? Or do I chase him down the freeway? I wonder how long that would take? I don’t even know what truck he has? How am I gonna do this?
SHAUN!! JUST FUCKING CALL HIM!!
Shaun pressed Roger’s phone number, and the phone began to ring.
‘G’day mate, where are ya? I’m pulled over on the side of the road, a couple of hundred metres from the turnoff. I needed to find a space to pull the rig over. You on your way, or what?’
‘Yes, God, yes. I’m in a cab, and I’m about seven minutes away. I didn’t realise you were there already, I only just got your message. I’m so sorry to keep you waiting. I’m coming, please don’t leave without me. Please.’
‘Well, like I told you, I’m waiting until two, then I’m gone. I’m already late as it is, and need to make up some ground on the road. I can’t wait any longer than two. I’m sorry, but it’s my job we’re talking about. I’m not even supposed to have passengers!. You’ve got until two!!’
‘I’m coming. Just don’t leave. I’ll call you in a few minutes.’
Shaun hung up the phone. His eyes were feeling glassy and his heart was pounding in his chest. He couldn’t afford to miss this ride home. He couldn’t do it. He leant forward to talk to the driver, ‘Excuse me, but how much longer are we going to be?‘
‘Oh, we’re about five minutes away. Is everything okay? You in some kind of trouble or something?’
Shaun let out a nervous laugh, ‘Ahh, yeah, something like that. Look, this is going to sound really random, and trust me, I’m still not even sure I’m able to wrap my brain around it, but I’m meeting somebody on the freeway to give me a lift back to Melbourne. I have to be there by two, or he’s leaving without me, and then I have to go sleep at the train station for a few hours until the next train to Melbourne comes through, and I really don’t want to have to do it, so I’ll give you an extra ten bucks, because it’s all I have on me, if you put your foot down. There’s hardly any traffic, and it’s Albury, there’s no cops around… floor it!’.
The driver looked at Shaun in the mirror. He could see the desperation on his face, and hear it in his voice. ‘Call you mate. Tell him you’ll be there in a couple of minutes. Oh, and hold on.’ Shaun fell backwards into the seat from the sudden acceleration of the car. He really meant what he said. Soon enough, this guy was starting to run red lights. Shaun’s feelings of desperation soon turned to fear as he wondered if he’d make it out of the taxi alive. He pulled out his phone and called Roger.
‘Hey, it’s me. So, my new best friend Dave here, is almost flying his taxi. I’m almost there. I know it’s almost two, but I’m almost there. We’re just passing the park and the bridge over the river. I’m coming. Don’t leave. I’m almost there!!’
‘I told you, you had until two. You’ve got three minutes, and I’m gone. I wasn’t kidding. I’m not waiting for you because you couldn’t sort your shit out. You shouldn’t have ever put yourself in whatever situation you’re in, in the first place, so don’t put that burden on my shoulders now. Sorry mate, but you’re affecting my job, and I’m not letting you do that. Three minutes and I’m gone.’
‘But Roger, please….’ Shaun was interrupted by the sound of the dial tone. Roger had hung up, and almost instantly, Shaun could see his entire plan falling apart and slipping through his fingers. There was no way he’d make it in time. The taxi slowed down at a red light.
Great. A fucking red light. Well, I guess we’re kinda fucked now buddy. It was exciting whilst it lasted, but we failed. We tried, and we failed. So close, and yet so far. Look, I guess you may as well tell the driver to just turn around and head back to the station instead. It’s over.
Shaun sat there in silence, with his head against the glass window. A couple of tears silently rolled down his cheek. It was over. It was true, he did try. He tried his best, but let himself down because he wasn’t ready early enough. He let out a big sigh, and just as he opened his mouth to ask the driver to turn around, the car went flying around the corner. Forcing Shaun’s face hard against the glass window, he pulled himself away and asked what was going on.
‘I’m not letting you miss your ride. I’ll chase this guy down the freeway if I have to!’
Shaun momentarily stared at the driver. More tears tumbling down his cheeks. As the driver made a call on his CB, ‘This is Yellow Bug in pursuit of Roger. Yellow Bug searching for Roger. I have precious cargo en route to melbourne looking for a drop point, over.’
Shaun couldn’t believe what he was hearing, he grinned and mouthed the words ‘THANK YOU’ to him. ‘Yellow Bug in pursuit of Roger. We are south bound on the freeway and looking for a drop point. I have your cargo, over.’
Suddenly, Shaun’s phone vibrated.
Yellow Bug? Precious Cargo? WTF?
Shaun laughed as more tears fell down his cheek, and immediately dialled Roger. ‘Yes, oh my god, we’re on the freeway, where are you?’
‘I’ve just pulled over again. I heard the call on the radio. You’re a dickhead.’ Roger started laughing, ‘Fuck me… ‘precious cargo’… what the hell? Did you put him up to that?’
‘No, that was all him!’, said Shaun, looking at the taxi driver.
‘I SEE IT!! A BLUE TRAILER?!’
‘Roger, do you have a blue trailer?’
‘Certainly do. See you soon buddy.’ Roger hung up the phone.
The taxi came to a sliding halt behind the truck, Just as the car stopped, they were engulfed in a giant cloud of dust. ‘I told you that I’d get you here. I dunno what you’re running from, but I just want to make sure that you get home okay. Now, do you know this guy?’
‘Yep. He’s a good guy.’
‘Can you trust him?’
‘Hehehe yeah, well, he went out of his way to stop in order to pick me up and take me back to Melbourne.’
‘Well, I just want to make sure. I don’t want to let you get in a truck with a stranger, and then see your dead body on the news in a day or so… I’ve got his truck details just in case. This is my number, if you get into trouble, just call or ams and I’ll contact the Police!’
Shaun was stunned. That gesture of kindness was overwhelming, and Shaun’s tears continued to fall. He leant across to pay, and shook the driver’s hand.
‘Thank you so much. I know you don’t know what the story is, but you’ve helped me so much just by getting me here. You’re a lifesaver, and I’ll be forever grateful. Thank you so much. Keep the change.’
Shaun grabbed his belongings and opened the door of the cab.
‘Yellow Bug to Blue Rig. Preparing for cargo drop. Over.’
Shaun laughed as he closed the door, and walked towards the passenger door of the truck. Dust still swirling around him and the smell of diesel in the air, the door flung open, and Roger jumped out of the truck. He ran down to the back of the truck, and motioned for the driver to wind down the window.
Although Shaun couldn’t hear what was being said over the noise of the engine, and the passing traffic, he saw Roger lean in through the window and shake the driver’s hand as well. He pulled back from the window, tapped the roof of the car, and walked back towards Shaun.
‘Well, I guess you must be my ‘precious cargo’, huh?’
‘I guess so…’
‘Oh. Pity. I was expecting a suitcase full of cash or something. But I guess you’ll do.’ Roger laughed, as Shaun playfully punched him in the side of the arm. Roger climbed up into the passenger side and grabbed Shaun’s bags, placing them in the cabin. He stretched out his arm, and Shaun grabbed hold, and climbed up into the cabin.
He closed the door and put on his seatbelt. The taxi drove past as it pulled back onto the freeway, the driver tooting the horn as he passed. Just in front of them he made a u-turn, crossed the median strip and headed back towards Wodonga, flashing his headlights and tooting his horn.
‘Big Blue to Yellow Bug. Package is secure. Over and out.’
Roger turned to look at Shaun as he shifted the truck into gear, and pulled out onto the freeway. ‘Well, make yourself comfortable, because you have a lot of fucking explaining to do, Mister. I swear to god, if I end up in trouble, you’re going to be in worse trouble, and I’m not kidding.’ Shaun wiped his smile off his face, and cowered back into his seat, looking out at the darkness. ‘I’m so sorry for putting you in this situation, but I really didn’t know what else to do… I can’t express just how incredibly thankful I am that you’re here, and that you were on your way to Melbourne. Maybe it’s fate? Maybe it’s a sign…’
Roger interrupted, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be such a foolish dickhead, needing to be rescued off the side of a freeway, three hundred and fifty fucking kilometres from home. Seriously, what the fuck were you thinking?’
‘uh… uh… WHAT? I deserve an explanation. I don’t hear from you for a couple of months, and then get a god damn distress call in the middle of the fucking night, to pick you up from the middle of nowhere… SERIOUSLY… WHAT THE FUCK!?! I’m so mad at you!!’
‘I’m sorry… I didn’t think it through…’
BULLSHIT!! I WARNED YOU FROM THE START AND YOU IGNORED ME!! THIS IS YOUR FAULT WE’RE IN THIS MESS!! NOT MINE. KEEP ME OUT OF IT!!
‘Well, the most important thing is that you’re okay. Are you okay? Are you hurt at all?’
‘No, no, *sigh* I’m fine. I just… I just didn’t think anything through. I ignored all the warnings and went against my better judgement, and look at what happened… I’m sorry for inconveniencing you so much, but I’m thankful that you did come to my rescue. I need you to know that…’
‘So… what the fuck happened??’
‘…how long have you got?’
‘Hmmm… well judging by the clock, I’ve got about four hours to make a four-and-a-half hour trip, so you can fucking sit there and tell me everything… once we get back to Melbourne and drop off the rig, I’ll deal with you properly… Right now, I’ve gotta make up some time. We’re not stopping, I can tell you that much. If you need to pee, too bad. Pee out the window. If you’re hungry, there’s some food in the esky. I think I’ve got a left over sandwich or something, but I’m not stopping. So now, you can start talking!’
Shaun began to replay the entire story from the very beginning – how he and Paul first met and interacted. He relayed every moment of their ‘relationship’ with each other in explicit detail. As the time passed and the story progressed, verbalising what had transpired between both himself and Paul began to be seen from a different perspective. The rose-coloured glasses of that initial curiosity and infatuation had lifted, and Shaun soon began to realise that the warning signs were all there from the very beginning, he’d just been far too oblivious and naive to actually notice it. Perhaps subconsciously he knew, but chose to ignore it, and give him the benefit of the doubt.
The more he realised how foolish he had been, the more embarrassed and humiliated he began to feel in front of Roger. The more of the story he relayed, the more upset he became, and more the tears began to trickle down his face. He got to the pinnacle of the story, telling Roger about Paul completely flipping out, and becoming quite aggressive. Roger shot him a look of pure rage.
‘DID HE HURT YOU?? DID THAT CUNT FUCKING HURT YOU?? I swear to god, I’ll go back there and beat the living shit out of him. Did. He. Hurt. You?? YES OR NO!?’
‘No, NO! No, he didn’t hurt me. He just crossed a line, but I put him back in his place. As soon as I got there, I texted my mates giving them his address and telling them to call the cops if I didn’t check in with them after 6 hours. I worked out where all the potential weapons were as a precaution… I knew what to do.’
‘Who the fuck are you kidding. Shaun, you’re twenty-three years old. You can’t handle a sad episode on tv. You wouldn’t know how to defend yourself if you’re life depended on it. Was he a big guy?’
‘No. Well, he wasn’t super muscly or anything…’
‘No offence kid, but you’re a bit of a pussy. You’re all bark and no bite. You talk a big game, but you wouldn’t follow through on it, it’s just not your nature.’
Roger was right. In one sentence, he’d manage to peg Shaun for who he really was. It was true. Shaun didn’t really want to hear it, but he knew he was right. He wasn’t a violent person – it’s not the sort of person he is. He only ever used his words, rather than violence, to sort out a situation, or do what he just did – run away. It was somewhat of a revelation for Shaun. He realised that if he wanted to, Paul could have quite easily attacked Shaun, and he would’ve succeeded. Shaun was simply far too weak to defend himself properly. He might do some initial damage, but he’d easily be overpowered.
‘Go fuck yourself.’
‘What? It’s true. You’re a weak little bitch. Maybe you should keep this whole scenario in mind next time you think about hooking up with somebody. Or maybe you should hit a gym. Or maybe learn how to box. Or defence classes. Something. Anything!‘
‘Yeah, maybe, whatever… Anyways, as I was saying…’
Shaun resumed his conversation, explaining how he had snapped at Paul, causing him to cry in the shower. Detailing the stresses of working out how he could best escape.
‘Sooo… you took a gamble and thought of me…? What made you think of me?’
‘Well, I remember you telling me a couple of times that you were somewhere on the Hume. When I told you where I was from, you knew exactly where I was, so I knew you must go through there quite regularly. I know it was a gamble, and I didn’t really have much of a backup plan if you weren’t here.’
‘So, what was the plan if I wasn’t around?’
‘Well, I had planned to just go to the train station and sleep there until the next train to Melbourne. Granted, I could have been there for like six hours or something, but it would have been better than staying in that house.’
‘So why not just call your parents, or somebody from home. They could have just come and gotten you?’
‘I couldn’t do it…’ Shaun began fighting back the tears. ‘I didn’t want them to know. I don’t want them to know. I couldn’t live with myself asking somebody I know back home to come and get me. I just couldn’t do it. Yes, they’re so close, but I just couldn’t do it. I would rather sleep at a train station than have them find out about this. I’ll NEVER tell them about this.’
‘But why? Why couldn’t you just call them? They love you and care for you. If you’re in trouble, of course they would come and rescue you, that’s what family and friends do… they help you out. Regardless of the situation you’ve gotten yourself into, if you can get out and get to safety, and they can help you get to safety, that’s all that matters. Yes, you’ll have to face a spanish inquisition, and if it’s your parents, then probably a firing squad… but it’s not really much different than having to deal with me…!’
‘I know, I know, but there are some things in life that should just remain a secret, and should never be revealed to certain people. I’m a Scorpio for fuck’s sake, all I do is keep secrets. Not just mine, but everybody else’s as well… THAT’s who I am. I’m a fucking vault.’
Shaun pulled out his phone to see what the time was, ‘Oh shit!!’
‘Paul. He’s been calling me! FUCK!!’
Shaun hadn’t heard his phone due to the noise inside the cabin of the truck, let alone felt the vibrations in his pocket from the bouncing around in his chair. He fumbled with his phone, and sent Paul a message,
Hey Paul, I’m really sorry for disappearing. Family emergency. Didn’t want to wake you, as I knew you were exhausted. Sorry that things turned out the way they did. Perhaps use this time to reflect on your actions and who you are, and learn from it. I’m on my way back to Melb. Take care. S.
He pressed ‘Send’ and turned off his phone. He didn’t want to deal with that right now. Shaun was exhausted. Physically. Emotionally. He just wanted to get home and forget that this ever happened.
‘You okay, mate?’
‘Yeah, Paul’s just discovered I’ve gone. Told him I had a family emergency, and apologised for disappearing?’
‘You apologised? TO HIM??’
‘Yes, yes, just settle down. I told him that I was sorry things turned out the way they were, and that hopefully he’ll learn from what happened.’
‘Well, he knows now. That’s all that matters. Now you can just forget about him, and move forward. Speaking of which, not long until we’re home. You okay?’
Shaun looked at Roger and nodded, and then turned back to look out at the darkness on the other side of the window. In the distance, he could see a glow on the horizon. He knew those were the lights of the city. He knew that if he could see the lights of Melbourne, he’d be home soon. He closed his eyes, and despite bouncing in his seat, he managed to drift off to sleep.
When he opened his eyes, everything was blurry. In a sleepy daze, Shaun looked around. Roger was gone. The truck had stopped. It was silent. He could see street lights. As he struggled to keep his eyes open, he saw a car pull up in front of the truck. Moments later, he heard the driver door open, and a voice talking to him. He couldn’t make out what was being said, it was just muffled garble. Shaun struggled to keep himself awake enough. He closed his eyes again. He opened them again to the feeling of the passenger door being pulled out from under him. There’s that voice again…
‘Shaun? Shaauunn? SHAUN!! We’re here. You need to wake up buddy, and climb out of the truck.’ It was Roger. He climbed up the side of the cabin, and undid Shaun’s seatbelt, blocking the doorway in case Shaun fell out the side. He coaxed Shaun out of the cabin and down the step ladder, then felt weightless.
By the time Shaun opened his eyes again, he was being carried down a hallway.
…but not his hallway. Still half-asleep and too exhausted to wake up, he couldn’t resist. Unsure of his surroundings, he felt himself being lowered onto a bed, his clothes being removed, and the softness of the pillow under his head. In that moment, he was out like a light.
He awoke the next day, in a dark room. He wasn’t in his bed, and his clothes had been folded and placed neatly on his bag by the door. He rubbed the sleet from his eyes, and tried to focus his vision. Opening the blinds, he was blinded by sunlight, immediately closing them again and falling backwards onto the bed.
He slowly opened the bedroom door and peered out into the hallway. He heard nothing. Just silence. He tiptoed down the carpeted hallway to the kitchen, and looked around.
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto…
There was a note on the bench.
Hey sleepy face. Gone grocery shopping, was going to wake you, but figured you needed some extra sleep. Help yourself to whatever. There’s cereal and bread in the cupboard behind you, or eggs in the fridge if you want to cook. Milk in the fridge. Bowls in the cupboard below you. Cutlery in the top drawer on the right. Shower towel in the bathroom. I’ll take you home later on, when you’re ready. Rx
He couldn’t believe it. Who’d have thought this scary-looking guy was such a generous and thoughtful person. Shaun let out a giant sigh of relief, and prepared himself some toast and a cup of tea. He found one of Roger’s jumpers, and sat out on the balcony, in the cold, crisp air, reflecting on the past 36 hours, and everything that had transpired.
Just thinking about it was exhausting and confusing, but something that needed to be pushed to a very dark place, never to see the light of day again. As he sipped his tea, he head a car pull up in the garage. Roger had returned. Feeling overwhelmed with thanks, he put down his cup of tea, walked back inside, and met Roger in the kitchen. Roger gently placed his groceries on the kitchen tiles, ‘Hey, kiddo. How you feelin”?
Shaun walked over to Roger, threw his arms around him in a giant hug, ‘Thank you so much. I don’t think you’ll ever understand how grateful I am to have somebody like you in my life. I’d probably still be in Albury if it weren’t for you, so thank you, from the bottom of my heart.’
‘No worries, mate. I couldn’t exactly ignore you. You were in trouble and I couldn’t not help you.’
‘Do you want a cup of tea or something? A coffee? I’ve just boiled the kettle…’
‘And raided my wardrobe, I see!’
They both laughed, as Shaun went over and prepared a coffee. As they both went and sat outside, Shaun felt a lot of comfort in knowing that he at least had one person in his life that truly had his back. He’d never had a friend like this, so had never known what it felt like, but now he did.