Ethan looked over at Andy and grinned. ‘Okay Babe, today’s the day you get to see our love nest.’ His eyes twinkled.
Andy blinked in momentary confusion and then grinned back. ‘Okay then.’
‘We’ll stop and get you a toothbrush at the local shop. You’ll like the lady who runs it, we all call her Granny. Just let me make a quick call.’
He hit Jack’s number and when the phone was picked up said, ‘Hey Lover. I aim to misbehave this week so practice, practice, practice and I’ll let you know when I get back.’
Jack raised his eyebrow and then smiled. ‘Have fun, I’ll see you when you’re home. Animals taken care of?’
‘Yep. I begged Shappa to take them. I will have a ball. See ya.’ He hung up and grabbed his coat. ‘Let’s go. For the week you are going to have fun my way.’
Andy picked up his coat. ‘I’m all yours, sweets.’
Ethan drove the short distance to the flat and got out of the car. He went around to the passenger side and with a hand in Andy’s back guided him up the set of stairs to the front door. ‘Ta da,’ he said as he pushed the door open with a flourish.
‘Call that a fanfare?’ Andy said with a grin. He walked inside and shrugged off his coat. ‘It’s warm. Do you keep it like that all the time?’
Ethan shrugged, ‘One of us likes to be prepared. Okay how about this then?’ He pulled Andy back out and bent him over backwards to kiss him passionately and then without breaking it picked him up and walked through the doorway and over to the sofa.
He sat down and broke contact, ‘Better?’
‘Much better.’ Andy looked round. ‘Very nice. Understated, but very classy.’ He lay back into the cushions and grinned. ‘So what do you get up to here?’
‘Wild parties with egg related foods.’ Ethan said.
Andy snorted. ‘Uh huh. I bet. You’re a demon with those eggs.’
‘I am but it’s usually Jack doing the egg things and speaking of I should hit the shop before it closes or we’re stuck with Indian takeaway and unless the father is there it’s a bit hit and miss. Have a look around and I’ll be back in about twenty minutes.’
Andy nodded. ‘I can do that.’ He watched as Ethan left and then started exploring. He opened the wardrobe and blinked. ‘That’s … imaginative,’ he said. He closed the wardrobe again and looked over the rest of the flat.
Ethan got the things he figured they would be needing and with his bags in hand and a smile he went back to the flat and into the kitchen. ‘Find everything all right?’ he asked as he unpacked.
‘Oh, yes. Jack has a vivid imagination,’ Andy said. ‘Coffee?’
Ethan stopped and looked at Andy and then laughed. ‘He does. Coffee is great and then you and I are going out to paint the town pink. I don’t think you’ve ever just gone out and been stupid so this week, partner, lover, friend and play mate you will drink until you puke and crawl in the mud. You will strip in front of strangers and sing off key at the top of your lungs. We might even have a party here by Friday.’
Andy looked at Ethan for several moments. ‘You are a very bad influence, young man.’
‘Yes, I am. Now make the coffee and then we need to change our clothes. You can wear mine and I’ll use Jack’s. He’ll never know.’
Ethan put the rest of the groceries away and then sat down to drink his coffee. ‘Sometimes I come here when I’m working too, not just with Jack. He probably knows about the music collection but he hasn’t said anything so we can blast it out later on. That will probably get the rabble’s attention.’
Andy stared at the ceiling. It was spinning round and round. Either that or he was spinning round and round. He poked Ethan. ‘I think I’m going to be sick.’
Ethan opened one eye and pointed to the bathroom. ‘That way.’ He said and rolled out of bed. ‘Oh God, the floor is moving again. It must have been that last tequila.’ He sat up and grabbed his head. ‘Euw, Andy, I said the bathroom is that way.’ He looked at his feet. ‘At least it’s warm.’
Andy wiped his mouth. ‘Won’t be for long.’ He managed a weak grin. ‘I’m dying. Bury me somewhere with trees.’
‘Okay. I’ll make a mental note.’ Ethan went to the bathroom and turned the shower on. ‘You can’t die yet. We have a date tonight.’ He called as the stepped into the steaming water, clothes and all. ‘My head is dancing around all by itself.’ He said to the shower.
Andy was busy throwing up. He stopped and flushed the toilet without thinking. ‘Sorry,’ he said as Ethan squeaked. He washed his face and rinsed his mouth out. ‘That is disgusting. No more tequila for me. Or maybe I’m allergic to lime.’
Ethan finished up and stepped back out. ‘I hope the stains come out. What the hell did we eat?’ He looked down at the shirt he had on and wrinkled his nose. ‘It’s the tequila. Nasty stuff and I think we did a lot. Your turn. I’ll go make us something to eat and get coffees. Bring the clothes when you’re done.’
Andy stepped into the shower and leant into the water flow. ‘No coffee,’ he called. Just the thought of it was making his insides do somersaults. He wasn’t entirely sure he was having a good time, but Ethan seemed to be.
Ethan went back to the bathroom and flushed the toilet.
Andy yelped. ‘Hey, mine was an accident!’
Ethan made toast and tea for Andy who seemed to be a virgin at this and eggs, toast and coffee for himself. As they ate he was deciding where they would go that night.
Andy dragged on a T shirt and track pants and padded into the kitchen. ‘Toast,’ he mumbled and picked up a piece. He looked at the eggs and pulled a face. ‘I think you’re trying to kill me.’
‘No, you wanted to play with me didn’t you? I used to be better at this but now it’s a few days and I’m ready to be at home. Of course at home can mean party too but at least I can go to bed when I want. I thought maybe we’d go to Rocky Horror tonight. If you think you’ll still be alive.’
‘I wanted to play, but I don’t think I’ve got the constitution for alcohol abuse. I can do Rocky, so long as I don’t have to drink anymore.’ Andy grinned. ‘I don’t have any stockings.’
‘I’m sure Granny does. I do Riff Raff.’ Ethan grinned.
That was an easier night. They had dinner out and no drinking. Ethan danced Andy around the restaurant and then put him on a table and asked the ladies to bid on him. They made the 7.30 show and stayed for the next three.
They strolled through the city during the early hours, eating popcorn and talking about inconsequential things. Back at the flat they fell into bed and slept well into the morning.
Andy opened one eye. ‘Bright lights,’ he complained and pulled the covers back over his head. He poked Ethan in the ribs. ‘Feed me,’ he mumbled.
Ethan rolled over on top of Andy and brought his partner’s hands up over his head. ‘Sausage?’ he asked.
Andy raised his eyebrow. ‘You are insatiable.’
‘I can be yes. You can top this morning and I will make you French toast if you make me scream your name.’
‘And if I can’t?’
‘No French toast.’
Andy sat at the table and banged with his cutlery. ‘Where’s my French toast then?’
‘I’s a comin’ sheesh.’ Ethan said as he plated the food and brought it out. ‘You are insatiable.’ He sat down and sipped his coffee.
‘Feel like visiting the animals today? The zoo’s open.’
‘I am,’ Andy grinned. ‘I’d like that.’ He cut into the toast. ‘No maple syrup?’
‘Oh, sorry,’ Ethan got up and grabbed the bottle. ‘Dress a bit warmer though, the wind can be cold. I should throw a load of clothes in too, come to think of it.’
Andy handed Ethan an ice cream cone. ‘Because we need to be colder. Fancy a ride on the train?’
‘Sure.’ Ethan said as he took his cone. He was still pouting over being lectured about not going in with the monkeys and chasing the birds. He had fed them so where was the harm. Some people just had bugs up their bums.
‘You are a very bad boy,’ Andy told Ethan. ‘And don’t even think about teasing the cheetahs. They are very fast.’
‘Oh, here kitty kitty.’ Ethan grinned.
They found seats and Ethan waited until they were well underway before he got up and grabbed Andy by the belt and collar and held him over the side. ‘Here kitty kitty,’ he called.
Andy screeched. ‘Put me down.’
‘Really?’ Ethan pretended to let loose and then brought Andy back inside and sat down. ‘Having fun yet?’
‘Oh, lots and lots of fun,’ Andy scowled and then grinned. ‘You know, I’m not wound that tight, you don’t have to loosen me up that much.’
‘Coulda fooled me. Oh the guys are coming round tonight. Apparently we are throwing a block party. Ever been to one of those?’ Ethan asked.
‘No. Does everyone bring their own blocks?’
Ethan laughed. ‘No but there is drinking. Beer mostly and that’s watered so we last longer. We start at one house, ours in this case and have a drink and something to eat. Then move on to the next one. Lots of food, baby beer, music, dancing and some guys get a little rowdy but its all fun.’
Andy nodded. ‘All right then.’ He pushed Ethan a little closer to the edge of the car. ‘That one’s making goo goo eyes at you.’
‘Oh ‘allo sweet thing. Come to daddy.’ Ethan leant out as they passed and ran a hand over the big cat.
One of the porters came by and lectured him.
‘Andy, this is Pete, Todd, Mark and Craig. They will be a few of the hosts tonight but you don’t have to remember names. Just your own and where you live.’
‘Oh, adorable.’ Pete said and smiled, ‘I love blondes with curls.’
‘Down boy,’ Todd said and swatted him.
‘You never let me have any fun.’
Ethan ignored the two of them and went to get the warmed cheese and spinach dip and the bread. ‘Sit, eat. Where’s the rest?’
‘Coming. Joe and Neil were picking up Chad and Phil and don’t ask me where Ian and Dave are. I think on a beer run.’ Craig said as he grabbed a glass of beer and sat down.
‘I have to remember my own name? You didn’t tell me that. I’m going to need a label.’ Andy told Ethan as he grabbed his second drink of the evening.
‘The only label you get tonight is cute and blonde. Remember where you live or Pete will have you for breakfast.’ Ethan teased.
Phil came into the flat and looked around.
‘Nope it’s safe. I left the Master at home.’ Ethan said and watched as his friend came in and grabbed a glass. ‘Where’s Chad?’
‘At Craig’s.’ Phil said. ‘He jumped the queue.’
Andy sat back and people watched. There were a lot of new faces and he felt unsettled by the fact that Ethan knew all of these people and he had never met any of them.
Ethan rested an arm over Andy’s shoulders and clinked glasses with him. ‘Guys, this is my partner…’
Catcalls and whistles stopped him for a few minutes.
‘Done now? Okay This is Andy and it’s his first time so be nice. No groping.’
‘Pity.’ Pete said.
‘Pig.’ Craig looked at Pete.
‘Hush. I work with this lot most of the time. They are barely house broke so I keep them away from where I live.’ Ethan said to Andy.
‘Hah, we know. Ewan told us. One day we will toilet paper your house.’ Chad said as he walked in and held out a hand to Andy. ‘Glad to see he finally broke you out for the parade. Bout time. We were all sure you were wrapped in cotton wool.’
Andy grinned a little shyly. ‘I usually am. If you look real close you can still see bits of fluff stuck to exposed parts.’
‘Oh take it off Babycakes. Let us get a good look.’ Todd said his eyes dancing.
Ethan nearly choked on his beer and he reached for a napkin to wipe up the mess down the front of his shirt.
Andy patted Ethan on the back. ‘Careful there darling, don’t want you coming to a sticky end.’ He gave Todd a look. ‘You first, sweet stuff.’
Todd grinned, ‘Music maestro.’
Phil got up and rummaged through Ethan’s collection and came across one he didn’t know and held it up.
‘Jack’s, put it back, it’s crap.’ Ethan said.
Phil raised an eyebrow and tossed the CD aside. He found the classic stripper song and put it on.
Todd got up and stood on the coffee table and began to take it all off.
Andy patted Ethan’s leg. ‘Your turn.’
Ethan grinned. ‘Nope. You told Todd him first implying you go second so get up there Sport. Show us what you got for moves.’
Andy downed his beer and stood up. ‘Okay then.’ He looked at the table. ‘I’m not sure that is structurally sound. If I fall and break both my legs, I’m so telling Jack.’ He climbed onto the table and started to undress in time to the music.
The guys all watched and Pete even licked his lips a few times. ‘And you hid him away from us all this time.’ He said.
Ethan shrugged. ‘I didn’t know I could do this with him. He informed me a few months back that he wasn’t going to break and that he wanted to play with me.’
Craig got up and went over to look at Andy a bit closer. ‘Real blonde too.’ He grinned. ‘Hey are the cuffs still on this table?’
‘Yeah. Why?’ Ethan said.
Chad helped Andy down when he was done and bowed to him. ‘Very nice. But dress because we have to move on soon and you don’t want to catch cold.’
‘No running through the streets naked. Leave that to Ethan.’ Phil said and sipped his beer.
Andy looked at Ethan as he got dressed. ‘Really? Well, that explains quite a lot.’ He grabbed another beer. ‘Who’s next?’
Pete went next and his finish was to shake his bum in their faces. Ethan swatted it and laughed at him. ‘Bubble butt.’
One by one they went up and danced and Ethan just watched. ‘Explains what exactly?’
‘Those unexplained chills you come home with periodically,’ Andy said with a grin.
‘Ah…those.’ Ethan said and then got up to finish them off.
More people came and went. Men and women both, some stayed longer than others and one woman wanted to know how much Ethan wanted for a night with Andy. He had pretended to give that one thought until Andy slugged him.
‘Ready for the next house? We can’t stay here all night.’ Ethan asked as he watched people leave in groups, twos and a few alone.
Andy nodded. ‘As ready as I’ll ever be,’ he grinned. ‘I’m keeping my clothes on for the next one though.’ He finished his beer. ‘Come on, slowpoke,’ he said, giving Ethan a poke in the ribs.
That night ended very late the next morning and Ethan true to form ran naked through the streets, ringing a bell and announcing the time to the block. They had steak, jacket potatoes with toppings, puddings, cheeses, fruits, seafoods and pork dishes and as much as they wanted and then some.
He fell onto the bed and moaned. ‘I think my stomach is going to burst.’
Andy lay down gingerly and sighed. ‘You’ll make a mess.’ He yawned. ‘What are we doing tomorrow?’
‘Sadly we have to think about going home. I have a job coming up and need to get the drawings done by Sunday. Did you enjoy this? Want to do it again sometime?’
Andy yawned again. ‘I did. Maybe when my liver’s regenerated. You’re quite the party animal, how did you end up with a stick in the mud like me?’
Ethan raised up on an elbow, ‘Because I fell for the most beautiful blonde in the world. You’re not bad yourself you know, when you let loose. It just took a while is all.’
‘It’s all that tight winding, it takes a time to unwind.’ Andy grinned. ‘I need something fizzy. Possibly Alka Seltzer.’
‘Do they still make that stuff?’ Ethan asked. ‘Dang wish I’d known that a long time ago.’ Then he laughed.
‘They do. Plink, plink, fizz. I remember the adverts.’ Andy looked at his watch. It took him several moments to focus. ‘Granny should be just opening up, want me to go get some? I fancy pancakes for breakfast.’
‘Now?’ Ethan looked horrified.
Andy laughed. ‘Not now, at some point in the future, after we’ve slept. I just don’t want to have to stagger out for it then.’
‘We can do that. Pancakes. How can you even think about food?’
Andy laughed. ‘I didn’t consume quite as much as you, darling, but I’m just planning ahead. If I have to eat another egg and bacon sandwich, my system might give up altogether and insist on a steady diet of gruel and dry bread. And I don’t even know what gruel is.’
‘That would be why then. Gruel is nasty. You need the dry bread to keep it down.’ Ethan said. ‘Hey, I remember one morning there was French toast. But yeah, pancakes would be a nice change.’
‘I remember I had to perform for the French toast. So, coming with me? You look like you could do with a little stroll before bedtime.’
‘You enjoyed it, don’t kid yourself.’ Ethan said and got up. ‘Oh, I’m dying now.’ He reached for his jeans. ‘I’m coming, I’m coming. Slave driver.’
‘Now, I never said I didn’t enjoy it,’ Andy grinned. ‘Would you prefer something looser? A bed sheet, perhaps.’
‘I could always tell everyone I was method acting and my role was Caesar.’ Ethan said and snapped the snap. ‘Jack needs bigger jeans for times like this is all.’
‘I want to be there when you tell him that.’ Andy grinned and patted Ethan’s tummy. ‘If you need anything on the bottom shelf, ask me. If you bend over, something will pop.’
‘Yeah, me.’ Ethan said and shoved his feet into his shoes. ‘Let’s go, my body wants to sleep. Maybe I’m getting too old for this…nah.’
Andy snorted with laughter. ‘Come on, old timer.’ He steered Ethan towards the door. ‘Think you can manage the stairs without help?’
‘Keep it up and when I feel better your arse is mine.’ Ethan said and trotted down the stairs only stopping once to burp and fart.
‘Always,’ Andy said, waving away the noxious odours. ‘You’re sleeping with the animals if that keeps up.’ They strolled up and down the aisles finding pancake ingredients and other bits and pieces. ‘Ah ha.’ Andy waved the familiar pale turquoise box. ‘Told you.’
‘I don’t think they would have me either. I would be homeless and without comfort in my dying days. Cast aside for a little unpleasant air that is part of normal human behaviour. I see how it is.’ Ethan said.
He grabbed some cleaning supplies while Andy did his shop and then went to the register to wait.
Ethan looked up at the box and grinned. ‘Good man. Do I have to wait for water or can I just eat one now?’
‘Maybe if we pour some water down after?’ Andy grimaced. ‘No, that won’t work. Just drink some of this.’ He handed Ethan a bottle of water. He watched Ethan drink. ‘That’ll do.’ He took the bottle back and broke two of the effervescent tablets into the bottle. ‘Take two and call me in the morning.’
Ethan drank the fizzing water and let out a burp that brought Granny from the office. ‘What was that?’
‘I burped. Alka seltzer.’ Ethan held up the empty bottle.
‘Next time cover your mouth young man or I will tell Jack about your lack of manners.’ She said with a frown.
‘Yes Granny. We’re leaving later today too so I won’t be seeing you for a while.’
‘Come give me sugar then Ethan and you too Andy. I miss you boys you know. Where’s Jack?’
‘Oh,’ Ethan said after he kissed her cheek, ‘he’s waiting at home.’
‘Tell him hello for me and that I expect to see him soon.’
‘Yes’m.’ Ethan said and grinned at Andy.
Andy kissed the elderly lady. ‘It was lovely to meet you.’ He paid for the shopping and led them back to the flat. ‘Ready for bed then?’
‘Oh yes.’ Ethan burped again and went to the bathroom. When he came out he grinned at Andy, ‘I feel much better now.’ He said before he climbed into bed and spooned up behind his lover. ‘Night Babe.’
Andy snuggled into his partner’s embrace. ‘Night, night,’ he said as he closed his eyes.
Ethan woke up and after going to the loo he went to start the pancakes. He was humming to himself and feeling quite well again. Soon the smells of food cooking filled the flat and he flipped the kettle on for coffee.
Andy got up and showered, then padded through the flat clad in T shirt and boxer shorts. ‘Morning, love. Smells good.’
‘Just in time.’ Ethan said and handed him a plate. ‘Syrup and butter are on the table or if you prefer lemon and sugar it’s there too.’ He took a plate to the small table and sat down. ‘This was an excellent idea.’
‘What, the pancakes or the week? I’ve enjoyed myself.’ Andy sprinkled sugar onto his pancakes and squeezed lemon over them. ‘But I never want to see a bottle of tequila again so long as I live.’
‘That’s all right then darlin’ no tequila for you ever again. I have to say I agree until someone offers and then I forget and oops I did it again.’ Ethan chose butter and syrup and took a bite. ‘Oh, these are good.’
‘They are. You’re quite the chef on the quiet… well, maybe a short order cook,’ Andy grinned and ducked. ‘Maybe Adam’s looking to recruit.’
‘He has Trevor and besides I have enough to keep me out of trouble without adding Adam to the mix. I’ll just save the cooking for you and Jack if that’s all right.’
Andy grinned. ‘I can live with that.’ He finished his pancakes then washed and dried the dishes while Ethan showered.
He stood at the bathroom door and waited for Ethan to shut off the water. ‘So what’s the drill then? Do we clear everything out and change the sheets and so on, or do you have magic cleaning fairies that come in once we’ve gone?
‘I wish. No, actually I don’t because this place is not for fun most of the time. The cleaning up after is part of the whole ritual thing but for this time I did happen to ring a cleaning crew. I just had to buy supplies for them. So we can leave and be home in time to have a coffee at Adam’s.’
Ethan put an arm around Andy as they went down the stairs. ‘Did you really have fun then? Would you like to come back again?’
‘That’s great. The one thing this flat could do with is a decent coffee machine.’ Andy grinned. ‘A week’s a long time to go without my lattes. Yes, I did enjoy myself. More than I expected to, if I’m honest.’
‘Yeah? Well that’s a good thing. I went to Uni with a few of those people and others I met later on. Most of the men I work with at one point or another. Some are partnered and others aren’t. They might pull your chain but they’re good people.’
Ethan drove back to the village and parked the car across the road from the café. ‘Home sweet home,’ he grinned.
Andy returned the grin. ‘Home sweet café. You up for your chocolate cake, or are you detoxing?’
‘Maybe in a few days but right now I think I’m better off with just coffee. Hi Chloe.’
Chloe smiled at them as they came in, ‘Where have you two been? I’ve missed you.’ She said as she gave them each a coffee.
‘We’ve been on holiday,’ Andy said.
‘Good for you. Nothing’s happened around here that’s interesting but welcome home anyway. No cake?’
‘Not right now sweetie.’ Ethan said and sat down. ‘Maybe we should take her along sometime and see if we can party with the mini lesbian.’
‘We’d have to take Molly too. I’m not sure if I’m unwound enough to party with the Mollzilla.’
Ethan laughed. ‘Molly can get down with the best of them so try to picture that one. She’s a party girl from way back or so I hear.’
‘I wasn’t disputing her party girl status, more my ability to get down with her.’ Andy grinned.
‘All in time my boy all in time.’ Ethan said.
Jack walked into the café. ‘Home from your party week?’ He asked as Chloe wrapped his order. ‘You don’t look like it’s had too detrimental an effect.’
Ethan looked around and then at Jack, ‘Looks like it, feels like it, must be it.’ He said. ‘Alka Seltzer. I didn’t even know they still made that but Andy did.’
Andy nodded. ‘A massive hole in his education.’
‘Giving up the tequila again?’
‘How do you even know that?’ Ethan shook his head. ‘Did you ring him?’ he looked at Andy.
Andy held up his hands. ‘Not guilty, guv’nor.’
Jack snorted. ‘You love that stuff. Until it makes you sick and you swear off it for a few years.’
‘Ah, you are vindicated then.’ He winked at his lover. ‘Andy says you need to get some bigger jeans too. He thinks you’re putting on weight.’
Andy choked on his coffee.
Jack raised his eyebrow. ‘You were wearing my clothes, weren’t you?’ he said to Ethan.
‘Yep.’ He looked down at himself and then at Jack. ‘We really need to talk about you and your clothes too.’
‘I think a shopping trip is in order. Andy, are you all right?’ Ethan patted him on the back.
‘I’m fine,’ Andy stuttered.
‘There is nothing wrong with my clothes,’ Jack said, a little affronted.
‘Well yes there is actually.’ Ethan said.
Andy’s eyes went from Jack to Ethan and back again as though he was watching a tennis match.
‘I am dressed just fine.’ Jack said.
‘Yes you are. Those look good too. That’s not the problem.’
‘What is the problem then?’
‘A week is a long time and there was drinking and … stuff.’ Ethan said.
Jack was beginning to realize what Ethan was talking about. Andy had already realized and was pushing his chair out of range. ‘What kind of stuff?’ Jack said in a cool tone.
‘Oh just the regular things that happen at these things. Monkey poo, bird poo, elephant dung, puke, cigarette burns you know.’
Jack raised his eyebrow. ‘That is not … regular.’
‘Well pretty much it is. Although I do have to say having a poo fight with chimps is not usually something that happens but they started it.’ Ethan explained.
Jack’s eyebrow almost reached his hairline. ‘We can continue this conversation later. I need to get dessert home before Chris sends out a search party.’ He headed for the door then turned back. ‘They started it?’
Jack shook his head. ‘I should spank them too,’ he muttered as he left.
Andy looked at Ethan in something akin to awe. ‘You did that deliberately.’
‘Did what?’ Ethan asked as he sipped his coffee with a bit of a smile on his face.
‘Wound Jack up.’ Andy grinned.
‘Yeah: and the next time you try it on me remember how it’s done.’ Ethan winked.
Andy doffed an imaginary cap. ‘I bow to the master.’
Ethan snorted out a laugh and paid for the coffees, ‘Come on Sport, let’s go get our girls and go home. I know some Lego folk that need a work out.’
Nether Kipping Books©