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Three Tears

Chapter 14

by David Heulfryn

When Martin had woken, he spoke. James was anxious that everything be alright between them after last night. As Martin allayed his fears, they hugged again and Martin asked to be alone so that he could contact Phil.

They didn't speak on the phone; Martin just sent him a text message. A phone conversation now might lead to Martin blurting out everything he needed to say and he wanted to say it all to his face. It would be better that way and could be more honest with each other.

"Can you meet me at the park by your house? 10oc?"

The short text message from Martin was quickly answered. "I'll be there."

Phil saw Martin walked from behind the high hedge that surrounded the park, through the gap and along the path that led to the swings, roundabout and slide. As he waited on the swings Phil had seen the occasional dog walker pass through but none stopped and none talked to him. Hunched over, his eyes would always connect with the same spot on the ground after each glance around the park to keep watch for Martin, every movement, each blink from his eyelids were an effort as if Martin had yanked the life from him. It was still early so they were alone for the moment. He was very tired from last night. Despite Martin's text message saying he was fine he still worried about him. The message said nothing about them and how Martin still felt about him. The way Martin bolted was like he couldn't stand to be around him anymore. Phil was certain that Martin now wanted nothing more to do with him.

Every step Martin took was eagerly watched by Phil, afraid he would see him turn and disappear. But the walk seemed to take an age and each step Martin took, both became more nervous.

Martin just sat on the next swing when he reached Phil. They both looked out across the park to the far end, not each other.

"I'm very sorry about yesterday." Martin almost whispered.

"What happened? What did I do?"

Martin had gone over the conversation in his head many times, both as he lay in bed and on the walk over here, but it did not prepare him for actually speaking to Phil. The imaginary conversation was so much easier and Phil understood and hardly said a word. It wasn't until he met Phil again had he realised just how much his actions seemed to have hurt Phil. He was subdued and looked scared, on the occasions Martin did look into his eyes, he saw the residual puffiness that was left from night of crying himself to sleep in confusion. It was then he realised that he was not only here to explain, but to ask for forgiveness and that was the hardest part. Martin had been so wrapped up in his own feelings that he didn't realise just how hurt Phil seemed to be. Thinking back on his actions he was horrified at how casually he disregarded Phil and hadn't contacted him for nearly eight hours after he ran away; eight hours in which Phil's mind was concocting all sorts of horrible and tragic events that could have befallen him.

"I'm so sorry." He repeated, stalling for time.

Listening, it gradually dawned on Phil why Martin had reacted in such a way, the imagined relationship he had previously had with his brother and the imagined betrayal. Martin had only got a couple of sentences out before tears began to roll down his cheeks, although his voice remained steady.

The events from two years ago had stayed with Phil and he would often fondly look back at them. It was a time in his life after he had just sorted himself out, with help from his brother. His self esteem was still low and he was still coming to terms with himself, not just his sexuality but his personality and his past. It was a time when he needed reassurance and acceptance, for those few moments each day with James, he had achieved that. He grew from the experience, giving him the confidence to go out in the world a do what he wanted, to express himself again; for that he would never regret what happened.

It was a very emotional conversation but both understood each other better at the end of it. Phil told how the experience with his brother had affected him and also how he had never done anything like that before or since; at nineteen he was still inexperienced and slightly afraid of sex.

They didn't care who was around and who saw them when they pushed their swings together and hugged each other tightly. The dog walker at the far end of the park kept glancing over quizzically, wondering if he'd got it wrong as he thought it was two boys on the swings when he passed. The little girl playing with her older brother ignored them, having grown up with affection it was nothing strange to her, but her twelve year old brother just stared. His mouth fell open when Phil pressed his lips to Martin's, amazed that the rumours and playground banter about queers were not just an urban myth circulated to frighten and emotionally stunt boys as they grew up.

Martin tasted salty tears as Phil kissed him and he made a vow never to hurt him again. It was a vow made in the heat of the moment, later realising that sooner or later one of them would be hurt the other but hoped that moment never came and they could stay in this moment forever.

Out of the corner of his eye, Phil noticed the young boy gaping at them. His lips curled into a smile and he wondered how many times he would tell his friends the story of when he saw two boys kissing in the park. Breaking the kiss, he whispered to Martin, whose eyes strained to see him the boy.

Taking Martin by the hand, he pulled him from the swing and, wrapping his arm round Martin's, they slowly walked out of the park; each step eager watched by the young boy.

Both Martin and Phil now understood how each other had felt and had forgiven each other; although the emotions were still raw and it would take some time before they were perhaps back to where they were before Saturday afternoon.

"Would you like to meet James again?" Martin ventured.

If they were to stay together then they would inevitably meet each other's families. Martin wanted their reunion to be over with quickly.

Martin took James along to the 'Lord Duncan' on Wednesday evening. They were early and so sat together drinking. The barman looked over at James funny, so rather than get challenged about his age which might also prove him to be underage; Martin thought it safer to buy him a coke. When he put it in front of James he looked disappointed and scowled at the barman who was now serving someone else.

James wouldn't admit it, but he was slightly nervous and wondered what he would say to Phil. The more Martin thought about the meeting, the more he regretted it; his insecurities bubbling up with what if they hit it off again and wanted to rekindle whatever they had two years ago.

As Phil came through the door, Martin and James stood up as if for a formal introduction. As he came over, Phil said 'Hi' to Martin and then quickly kissed hip on the lips. This was not only to indicate to Martin that everything was still ok between them, it was also for Phil to ensure Martin felt the same way. Immediately it put Martin at ease and he introduced James. Not that he'd expected any as they had spoke every evening since the finally parted on Sunday evening.

"Phil, this is James." Martin smirked as they shook hands. "There's no need to be so formal. Not after the way you first met."

Both James and Phil smiled at each other, surprised that Martin felt comfortable enough to have a quick jibe at them.

It wasn't as trained as any of them thought as it wasn't old lovers reunited after two years; it was just two friends meeting after some time. They reminisced about the few weeks they spent together and shared a joke about the other cast and crew members. Martin was pleased they were getting on and there appeared to be no awkwardness between any of the three of them.

James spoke of his departure in the next few days to start filming and his new friend Tom, whom he thought might get together. Martin was surprised at this and felt a pang on guilt that his own, so far, tumultuous, affair with Phil had over shadowed his brother's emerging love.

The way James spoke of Tom made him sound too perfect; an unashamed great athlete, swimmer and diver, effervescent, sweet and kind. So far they had only shared one kiss but he felt that Tom would soon throw off his last inhibition so that they can explore their relationship. Since the kiss on Saturday, Tom had kept in touch, almost daily, excited about when they would meet again. He wanted to meet before they left for the island but as things had panned out it was not possible. Both their mothers were busy fussing round them ensuring everything would be ready for the weekend.

It was time to leave or else they would have to wait another hour for the last bus. James stood idly by as Phil and Martin said goodbye with a long lingering and passionate kiss. James had never seen his brother so passionate before and couldn't demurely avert his gaze.

James' Diary

Tomorrow we go, Mum has got me all packed and keeps checking every hour or so that my passport is where she put it. I'm really looking forward to it and I don't think I'll be getting much sleep tonight.

We were given a luggage weight which we couldn't go over and a list of clothes we should take and that out clothes shouldn't display any logos. (Can't give free advertising can we!) It all fits in one small suitcase. We are not allowed to take any food or drink in our luggage and only essential toiletries, soap, shampoo, razor, that sort of thing. Also, we aren't to take any money - I suppose they will pay for everything.

I've been speaking to Tom and we both finally managed to get out the house of an evening to meet up. We also kissed again, well to start with he kissed me and then we just couldn't stop. I was so happy and when I got home I had to tell Martin. He wants to meet Tom now, but I don't think he will, unless he comes with us to the airport. I've not told Tom about Martin, it's just that we've not got round it talking about thing like that yet. No doubt when we are on the island we will have plenty of time to talk, but I don't know if we'll ever get any privacy. I hope so as I don't think I can spend four weeks with him without being able to kiss him. I think I might be in love with him as I just feel this urge to be with him all the time and when I'm not I'm always thinking of him. Is that love? I don't know, it my just still be an infatuation or even lust. Tom wants to keep things very low key while we are on the island and doesn't want all the others to know about us. I can't blame him really and I don't think I do to; the others may not like it and make out life hell. Besides, I don't think two boys on an island each running around with a hard-on after each other would make good kid's TV. Although I would watch it, millions wouldn't.

Martin kissed and hugged me tonight. He's lying in his own bed now. We've talked a lot over the past few days and tonight he said that he would miss me; I'm going to miss him too. We've become a lot closer, not that we weren't close before, but now we talk about everything and neither are afraid to talk about how we feel to each other, although we don't do that with anyone else. We have both decided not to tell mum and dad yet, we're not quite ready to take that step. They have also been oblivious to the little drama that's erupted over the past week, but I think Tony has wondered what's been going off; he was easy to fob off.

I'm not going to take this diary with me tomorrow, just in case there is nowhere secure to keep it. Instead I have a fresh book in my suitcase. I've been writing a diary for years now and I think it'll be good to keep one on the island. I've asked Martin to look after this one for me, keep it safe. Although he's never read it, he knows where it is. Tonight I said that I didn't mind if he read it while I was away. He's so sweet; he just said that he wouldn't.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

James was woken up by his mother barging into the room and shouting at him. He had stayed awake for most of the night, tossing and turning. His noise had initially kept Martin up, but after acclimatising to it, Martin drifted to sleep, albeit much later than normal. The last time James looked at the clock it read 03:42, he must have drifted off soon after that.

This morning he was dog tired and jumped into a cold shower to wake himself up. Once woken, he turned up the heat and enjoyed the hot water on his body. This was probably going to be his last hot shower for a month, he thought, so he was going to make the most of it.

After much banging on the bathroom door, he emerged and his mother got ready to take him to the airport. Everyone was up and frantically running about either trying to get ready, washed, eat breakfast or load up the car. Last night everyone wanted to come and see him off, so it was going to be a squeeze in the car.

James was nervous and looked out the side window at the cars on the opposite side of the motorway cruise passed. Tony was in the middle and babbling about how much fun it was going to be and what he imagined they would do and what they would eat. He got it into his head that the teenagers would have to start foraging for their food. Nobody really paid much attention to him, only their mother would say 'is that right' or 'I don't think they'll have to do that'.

Martin was quite too. He wasn't nervous like James, but it had suddenly dawned on him that James wouldn't be around to talk things over with; say how his dates with Phil went and what they got up to.

Neither could let their mood fester when they parked up in the airport multi-storey car park. It was as if their mother had taken some sort of medication. She was talking fast, organising everyone so they all knew in which order to get into the car park lift. Someone would have said something, but they all knew it was her way of coping and not becoming too emotional as she lost a son for the summer.

As they made their way to the check in desks, they saw a high placard with the production company name on. This was their meeting place.

Two women stood by the placard with ingratiating smiles on their faces. They introduced themselves and one lady took James and his mother over to the check in desk, while the other woman rambled on to the others about how much fun James was going to have, and once he was checked in they would take him to the departure lounge to meet the others, most of whom had already arrived.

"Hi, this is Tom." Martin heard a woman's voice behind him.

Turning round, Martin saw Tom standing with his mother. Unsure of whether or not to say something, Martin just kept quiet and let the woman from the production company ramble on and tell them to join 'them over there' she pointed.

With both boys checked in, it was time for them to leave their families. Tom and his mother had a quick goodbye and he waited with one of the women who would chaperone them for the rest of the day. They waited for James and watched as his mother wouldn't let him go.

Squirming from her grasp, he gave his father and Tony a quick hug goodbye. Martin stood and tried to prevent his tears from welling up and blinked them away. James then hugged him almost as tight as his mothers had hugged him.

"I'm really going to miss you." He whispered in Martin's ear.

"Me too."

"Are you and Phil going to be alright?"

"Of course, don't worry about us; we're falling in love I think."

James gave his mother one last hug goodbye and walked over to join Tom who was standing with the chaperone, waiting to escort them through to the departure lounge.

They followed the chaperone through the automatic doors and, as they closed, Martin saw Tom reach over to hold James' hand; he felt a single tear escape and roll down his cheek.

Martin felt lonely in his bedroom without James. It will take some getting used to, he thought. He saw James' diary resting on the pillow of his unmade bed. Stroking it, he thought about James and tucked it back in his place, out of sight.

Reaching for his mobile phone, he rang Phil.

"I love you." He said when Phil answered.

The End

Reproduced with David's permission from Screeve. © David
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