Note from translator and author: this chapter took 6h to translate. I know my translations are not perfect. Try it yourself. I'm no genius. Just a fan ; )
Before you start reading the second part [starting with words: "three days..."]
please listen to the soundtrack, link to which you can find down below under the first star.
- Ohhh...You look terribly awful - said the light haired man as a means of saying hello, standing in the opened door, that only a few days ago were a gateway to freedom.
In the newcomers voice you couldn't actually find an ounce of pity, that the words said in Norwegian, might have suggested. The man pretended a false worry for a moment, but in a matter of seconds it changed into a wide unpleasant smile.
The flat owner frowned seeing that face and gave the man a disdainful look full of animosity. Without saying a word, with a tilt of his head he called the newcomer in.
Not waiting with a slight limp he went slowly to sit on the sofa, that was in the middle of the room. He sat down, his legs spread wide.
- Why such a long face? - said the light haired man, entering on a light and springy step, still with that ironic smile on his face. - It's not that bad, they didn't have to stitch it back to your groin - he continued approaching the long haired guy.
- Give me my money and get the fuck out Winter. I'm not in the mood to listen to your sick psycho babble. It's not worth the money.
- Hmm... you are right - the light haired guy said with irony. - This wasn't worth the money. My boy gave me more entertainment than you did.
- What...? - the man recoiled in surprise. - What do you mean by that?
- What you probably already expect. You didn't keep your end of the deal. And so I don't owe you anything - Winter smiled with a sick satisfaction.
- You wouldn't dare, you son of a bitch... - the black haired man said through clenched teeth, looking with wild eyes at the man.
Winter didn't allow him to finish, silencing him with a raised hand.
- I didn't finish, so shut up - he said his voice turning cold. He looked down at him, eye lids at half mast. - I would watch my mouth If I were you. I get angry fast, and when angered I do stupid things. I could for example... make a film public, in which... a man tries to rape another man. And imagine that, one of whom looks unbelievably like you, Niklas.
Winter said it with an arrogant smirk on his face, lightly gesticulating with his hands. He started to pace there and back around the room continuing his speech:
- Rape. Man. Faggot. It doesn't sound good now, does it? It can spoil your career, for which you sweated intensely... You would lose your job, and that in turn would snowball things which I really shouldn't remind you about.
Niklas's chin quivered in suppressed anger. He tightened his fists.
- I can see that I made you a bit nervous... It's totally unnecessary. You're going to get wrinkles and collagen is expensive - Winter added, approaching him and touching his cheek.
Changing the tone of his voice, turning dispassionate he said:
- In a manner you gave me what I asked for, so I'll keep my end of the bargain. Connected with work. Not money. You can get some of the money if you have what I asked for. Do you have it?
- I do.
- Beautiful - Winter responded melodically. - You are naive, but you can be useful if you want to. You'll come to see me tomorrow and I'll give you the promised cash. I wasn't in the mood to carry it with me today, so... where is it?
- On the shelf.
Three days earlier*.
- FUUUUUCK! - Marcin yelled unloading all his frustration on the innocent bathroom wall. He kicked at it a few times with all the anger he had in him, clenching his jaw. Finally he punched the wall with his fist, which hurt. Then he finally stopped, breading fast.
- Fuck... Fuck... Fuck... - he was saying over and over again but this time quieter, to himself as if trying to calm himself down.
The reason to this anger was the unfortunate evening followed by equally unfortunate morning.
Marcin woke up with his body aching but with a semi conscious mind, that reminded him about the promise he gave the Redhead.
That he will let him know once he was back.
Marcin went to the bathroom to retrieve his mobile that should be in the pocket of his pants.
He checked them carefully four times, then he searched the flat, then went back to the bathroom and absurdly checked his pants again.
He came to one conclusion.
The phone wasn't there.
- Fuck... - he said again.
He rested his forehead against the cold tile wall.
Closed his eyes.
"Wisesurection please give me Father ours.
Thought taking not possible in my state."**
That's the way it is sometimes - he thought. - That's the way it is sometimes...
He fixed his mohawk, trying not to look to close at the swollen cheek and the marks from yesterday's fight. Trying to keep some semblance of normalcy and peace.
But his chest was tight, something squeezing tightly. And the "big ball" in his throat was back as well.
Finishing his hair of, he looked himself over in the mirror, with disgust.
- Well, Marcin... Now you look like a real "punk". The neighbourhood's fucking nightmare. Mum would be proud - he said to his reflection and dared a smile.
His swollen lip let out a howl at the motion.
He left the bathroom, grabbed his leather jacket and went to put on his boots.
HIS COMBAT BOOTS.
He left them he-himself-didn't-know-where. He left his boots.
His lower lip quivered uneasily.
He averted his eyes, to stop what already started to form in the corners of his eyes.
- Fuck this... - he said, his voice hoarse - ...I was supposed to buy new ones anyway.
He looked at black shoes he had on yesterday.
"So perfectly matched to your outfit, blahblah".
He quoted ironically in his head.
He grabbed both the shoes with two fingers and quickly approached the window.
He opened it wide. Took a step back.
Took a wide swing.
- Damn them to hell and back...
He threw one shoe into the gray sky.
- ...those fucking motherfuckers...
He said through clenched teeth, doing the same with the other shoe.
He stood like that looking into the overcast sky.
He didn't feel any better.
He went down to the lowest part of the hotel from where he wanted to make a call. That was his first and most important quest.
The second was to get a new phone, which he didn't manage to get that day. He didn't have the money to get a new one and he wasn't able to find a second hand mobile store in that "big-fucking-city".
Third quest - to buy new boots - was a success. It helped to up his mood a bit, because he found a pair that had a lot of straps and buckles. And they weren't as expensive as he expected. He changed into them since he didn't feel all that well in those running shoes.
Fourth - "make this fucked up day even better" - ended up with him stuffed to the brim with fast food and a purchase of a hair dye.
Black. He didn't even know why.
Additionally he got himself some painkillers, in case he wouldn't man up. He threw his things-to-do-list away too.
But going back to the first quest.
Marcin didn't call Niv. Not because he didn't want to, but because he didn't remember his phone number.
So, deep inside he was actually glad he forgot it.
He remembered Firka's number though and well at that. All because he was giving it to the band members out so often.
- Hello? - he heard her well known and specific voice, which personally he liked very much. He smiled a little.
- Hey Firka. It's me - Marcin said over the receiver.
- Marcin? - she asked shocked - Something happened? Nivan was going insane over here.
The Blonde winced.
- No... nothing happened. Well, it did... kind of. I lost my phone. Is Nivan there?
Firka fell silent for a while.
- No, he's not there. And you know it. What happened Marcin - the last sentence wasn't a question really.
The Blonde was stunned at how she and the Redhead always knew when he was hiding something.
"The Fairy Firyal Mother" and "The Nivan Oracle".
- I don't even know how to start.
- Start with the most important, or better yet, at the beginning.
- Well... hm... so I'll start maybe with the fact that I have almost bitten of someone's penis.
- ... - Firka was silent. - You what?!
- How...? - she asked.
- He wanted... and I didn't... And so it happened. - he said shortly.
- ... - she was silent again - So he ...wanted...did he want to rape you? - Firyal asked in a weird voice.
- Don't call it that. Anything but not that.
- Marcin, did he do something to you? And why are you calling me, not Niv?
- I have a few scratches... And a bit of shattered pride. But besides that not much... And I don't remember the Redheads phone number...
- And? - she asked knowing that there sure was more.
- And... it was all my fault.
- How do you mean?
- Because he didn't force me to go to his place.
- ... - she was silent again, and the Blonde knew she was angry. He was waiting for her to go off in a spectacular boom. - MARCIN! What the fuck, will you ever learn?! - she screamed, losing it.
The Blonde closed his eyes, then looked down.
- I don't know... but hearing your reaction... I think it's good I didn't call him first.
- I don't know if that is good or not but you need to speak to him anyway. He was worried about you, me too. Do you actually understand that you are fucking up your own life?
Marcin was silent.
She finally fell silent as well.
- Okay, I'm calm now. - she said - But... I am so sorry, because you try so hard, and then you screw it up yourself. Something might have happened to you. If it already didn't, which I don't believe anyway.
Marcin took a deep hard breath and rubbed at his forehead.
- I'm fine - he said. - Firka... maybe it's best not to tell him, I don't know. I'm not thinking straight, I don't know what to do.
- So you do want to know my opinion?
- Yes - was his reply.
- Are you sure? Because one individualism still mortally offended at me for telling him what I think.
- Are you talking about Illyas? And yes. I do.
- Fine, but don't go mad at me okay? - she said. - In my opinion you should change your behaviour around Niv. You should act less like a puppy, asking for a little attention and love like an idiot. You should do with him what you do with the others. Press him to the wall and say something in that arrogant style of yours, about how much you want and how you crave. Nivan is not looking for a girlfriend or a kid and you act like one sometimes. Believe me, you both would do it long time ago if you would do it like I told you to. And you wouldn't even dream of going to bed with someone else. And you wouldn't be in that fucking Oslo. Some sick fucktard wouldn't want to I'm-not-saying-rape-you. And even if he wanted to, then Nivan would beat the ever loving shit out of him. That is my opinion - she said quickly. - Now, you two messed it all so far up, you both don't know what you want, what you feel, why you do this, that I don't know what to say or think any more. I have no idea what you should do and what you should say primarily because you are there and not here. Sometimes I think that you two tell yourselves that you feel something for each other. Maybe it is better to stay friends and sleep with whatever stumbles upon your bed. At least the itch would be scratched.
Marcin stood there with the receiver pressed to his ear and listened. Listened surprised.
Because he didn't expect that Firka had so much to say about them. She was always supportive, and she never voiced her opinion, she never stood between them.
Now he even got curious at what she told her brother.
But it was truth, for sure. Because truth hurts the most.
- You think that Nivan doesn't feel anything for me? - he asked after a while.
- And what do you think, honestly now, hm?
Marcin thought for a while.
- I don't know... I know that he doesn't trust me.
- Can you really blame him?
- No - he fell silent. - You're not really helping over here...
- Because I don't know how to help you. I just don't get it, how a guy like you, who with one smile or a wave of a hand makes even the heretics hard but can't cope with a simple Nivan.
- You are overrating me. I don't have it that easy. And Niv is not SIMPLE.
- Yes, I am blowing it out of proportion a little and you need to squint a little.
- You are so funny... ha ha.
- It's not a case of "ha ha", what I'm trying to say is that not many guys are emanating sex appeal like you do. And besides you act differently around the guys from the band and differently with Niv.
- I know. I am a pussy around him - he grumbled under his nose.
- You said that. And you think that Nivan is not simple?
- I do.
- You only think that way because you drowned him in your own insecurities and remorse.
Marcin was silent.
- ...and you give him conflicting signals - she added after a while.
- Meaning what?
- You say that you feel SO MUCH for him, that you want to be with him, after which you pour a ton of hearts and fucking flowers over him...
Marcin winced a little, and Firka continued:
- ...and then you go away to Norway, you sit there I don't even know what for and why so long. Then you trail behind some guy that wants to screw you. Is this supposed to be that big love? - she asked not really expecting any answer. - I myself don't really believe it, so why should Nivan?
- ... - Marcin fell silent again. - Thank you Firyal.
- I'm not telling you this to anger or spite you but because I worry about you.
- I know... but now I have the feeling that I made so many mistakes that... I won't be able to fix it this time.
- Yes you can. I'm sure you can. But you have to make a right choice.
"Words put together not happening
Wisesurection please give me Father ours.
Thought taking not possible in my state.
Sentences play write down on your knee."
- Can you tell Niv, that I need time to think? That I am alive and so on... That I need some time to think... Without a computer and a mobile.
These were the last words of the conversation.
He felt empty.
"Love is bad my son
Love is bad my son
For your eager heart
Your bigger eager heart
Get yourself a gun
Get yourself a gun
Your bigger eager heart."
Two days came and went, fast.
There were three more left until his birthday.
Twenty three years old.
A birthday he was supposed to spend without his friends.
He was already a month in that hotel room.
There were two more to go.
Almost half a year since he met Niv in the Uni's corridor.
Almost half a year of remorse, anger, insecurities but nice moments as well.
Doing their homework together, free running, playing games.
Cooking together, walking in his sweatshirts, sleeping next to each other.
Two days came and went, fast.
And he didn't muster the courage to call Niv.
He got a massage from him on his IM, something along the lines: "Are you there?"
But he didn't feel ready.
He wasn't on the IM.
He was absent for everybody.
"Echo calls your name
But life stays just the same
Life stays just the same"
20th of May.
Over a month passed as quickly as those two days.
He still didn't make up the courage to talk to Niv.
He sang, wrote and exercised his voice instead. He was sightseeing, watching...
He learned the language a bit, trying to speak some Norwegian.
He changed his hair colour and the hair style a bit.
He was running.
Reading comic books. Watching movies.
Finally he broke the ice with the nerds and started to spend some time with them.
He bought a new mobile phone.
But only to stay in touch with the local environment.
No one beside them had his number. He even called Firka from the hotel number.
It was difficult in the beginning.
Without all the contact with the Redhead.
Then he felt a bit sad that the Redhead didn't contact him.
But he didn't do that either.
He felt emptiness that soon changed into indifference.
He started to like the way things were.
He did what he felt like doing. Not giving a squat about small things. He pushed away things that could change this state. He avoided people he thought were toxic.
He didn't give them any chance.
On one hand he knew that he run away again.
But on the other he felt free. Fresh.
He slept better. And the food tasted better too.
He didn't have the urge to go to a pub and fuck whatever crossed his path.
He had the thought that he probably should stay here more often now.
That it was better that way.
He didn't have the longing feeling anymore. He didn't feel that curiosity anymore about what was happening to Niv.
He started to wonder, if maybe Firka was right, that he was just telling himself that he felt something for him.
That he only wanted. That there wasn't anything else.
But he didn't think too often about that.
What for, if he felt good at the moment?
25th of May.
- Hi - she said with a reluctant tone.
Marcin knew she was mad at him for the decision he made after she voiced her opinion. Because it wasn't what she wanted for them.
She wanted for him to come back.
And now he knew it.
He suspected that she told Niv about what happened to him. That, that was the reason why Nivan didn't contact him anymore.
That he... didn't forgive him.
Marcin didn't have any negative emotions left in him.
He didn't feel any bitterness. No resentment.
He was empty and indifferent.
But he made a decision.
- I wanted you to know Firka that I'm not coming back, probably - he said straight away.
Firka was silent for a long while. Very long while.
- Why? - she asked her tone disturbing.
- I just feel that way. Even if I'll come back, I'll move out. So I want you to give my room away. You can use some money.
- Nivan got me a manager's position in the Muffin's Bar - she said after a short while.
Marcin frowned. He knew that it wasn't accidentally that she mentioned his name.
- I'm glad... but still...
- Marcin, why are you running away again? And from us at that? - she said very quietly.
He fell silent.
- I knew it would be like that... I knew it from the first moment I saw that Winter person. That you'll leave us for him.
- I'm not leaving you for him. I don't see him at all.
Now she fell silent.
- What about your snake? You want to leave her here?
- She'll be better off with you guys.
- Nivan will take care of her.
He smiled sadly.
She did it on purpose. Cunning witch.
- That's good. She'll be in good hands. - he didn't take the bait.
- What do you want me to tell him?
- The same I told you. That I'm not coming back.
- You know that there will be no next time? No more chances?
- I know.
- Fine. What about your stuff? - she said, anger rising in her voice.
- They are all packed anyway, so... I don't know yet. If you can put them in basement that would be great. I'll take them someday.
She was silent again.
- It goes without saying that I'm sorry and that I'm disappointed. Generally I feel like hitting you, so... I don't know, see you around, or whatever, good bye.
- I'll see you...
She hung up.
He knew that he hurt her very much, although he tried to use the right words.
It didn't work out.
It took him a while to understand that it wasn't about the words he used.
26th of May.
- Well well, my prodigal son finally came - said the older man jokingly, seeing Winter's silhouette in the doorway.
He smiled sitting in the tall armchair, with his back to the windows.
- Believe me I'd rather be recording - said the light haired man with a bored tone and sat down in the chair opposite the older one.
- I don't believe you anyway, the stage is your element. Besides, not even a year ago you said you'd rather go on tour.
- Maybe I said it or maybe not... - Winter was intensely looking over his finger nails at his left hand. - How are my kids doing? - he asked, as if he didn't really care one way or the other. Not even looking at the other man.
- Good. Although I sent three of them back already.
Winter's light eyes moved rapidly.
- Who? - he asked harshly.
- Don't worry. Your favourite darling pet is still here.
Winter went back to scratching whatever it was on the fingertip.
- He changed his hair colour and hair style, if you want to know.
- By how much?
- The hair style a little. His hair is now black.
- That's even better.
- He started to sing better, he's not yelling as much.
- That's bad - Winter said with the same dispassionate voice. - And it was so good already... - he said dragging it out.
- What do you mean?
- That before I left he was singing from deep in his visceral. You said it yourself that you felt what he was singing about.
- And you still didn't tell me how you achieved it - the man said sliding his pen over the surface of his desk.
Winter smiled with the corner of his mouth.
- So you're not going to tell me - he commented on the smile. - Niklas left if you want to know. He was supposed to be back but he's not.
- He'll come back... he always does.
The older man looked at the light haired one as if he wanted to get into Winters head.
- He probably is at his sister's. She got worse lately, the poor thing - said the light haired after a while.
- You could do something for me and contact him.
- I have no interest in it - Winter replied still not looking at him.
- I see, now your interest passed onto someone else. But I'd like you to notice that there are others around you too.
- He won't pick up the phone anyway. You need to change your plans because you won't see him for a while. But soon enough he will come back to lick at my feet.
- And you will kindly allow him to do that - he said jokingly.
- I am gracious. And besides he's good at licking.
The older man rolled his eyes.
- Come with us Marcin, party hard like we always do! - the longhaired brunette pulled at his arm, trying to convince him to come. In English.
- No, really. I'm dead on my feet. Next time. Like always.
The girl saddened but seeing the resolution on Marcin's face, she stopped the nagging.
- Okay then.... - she said reluctantly. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek and run off to catch up with the others.
Marcin felt tired.
He had long, hard, filled with work days.
Besides he still had the ghost of the conversation with Firka hanging over his head.
He didn't sleep well, again.
Pangs of conscience?
He went back to the hotel. Walked in the elevator with the intent to have a beer and crawl under the covers.
But the word beer gave him other ideas.
He stopped the elevator and went back to the reception desk. He asked for the nearest bar.
He needed a different place, different people. Different beer. Even if it was a watered one.
He had not one, but three.
He felt his stomach was full.
He liked beer but it stuffed.
His stomach was just too small in comparison to Firka's.
He moved his fingertip over the glass's rim.
Drowned in his thoughts. Saddened.
He didn't want to think about Firka....
He didn't want to think about... HIM.
He didn't do that a long time.
He wondered if he became indifferent to that as well.
In the indifference he lost himself.
Like the glass.
With no desires.
Maybe... It's time to get them back? The desires.
Because he's not going back.
He doesn't have to hold himself back anymore. He can be himself again.
But which "him" is the real him?
A few fleeting looks. A few glances.
Apparently every tenth man is gay.
Marcin believed that at least every ninth doesn't know that fact about himself.
But he would recognize that as soon as he met Marcin.
Blue eyed, handsome guy. At first he was trying to get rid of Marcin's attention.
But Marcin claimed that he just wants to talk and have a few shots.
He was pretending a funny accent and poor English.
He gave him his staple smile. He made it only partially conscious.
He had his lids lowered.
The man started to relax; he smiled and started to talk.
Marcin was whispering into his ear.
He felt the desire rising. The excitation.
He felt that he was getting back to his old self.
The other man looked at him differently. With curiosity and a slight smile.
Marcin knew he was going to score.
That he will spend the night differently.
But he didn't know that someone watched his moves. His gestures and glimpses.
His smiles. His laugh and the involvement in the conversation.
The tilt of the long neck and secret touches.
He didn't know.
- Please excuse me, but I need to take this little snot with me - the man that not long ago was watching the whole flirting scene, grabbed Marcin's arm all the while talking in English with a smile on his face. - Marcin run away from home and is playing an adult now. Paedophilia is a crime so I suggest you go home boy, before you get into any more troubles.
The blue eyed guy looked surprised from the unusually cheerful newcomer to Marcin and back.
Finally with anger and a bit of shame painting on his face, he got up and left.
Marcin never had such huge eyes before.
He looked at the newcomer with wide eyes.
With his mouth slightly parted as if he saw Karma itself, live and in colour.
The newcomer's words didn't stay with him, they rushed right past him.
He just stared.
Stared at the Redheaded guy.
- Get your ass moving, Marcin. - Nivan said with the same pretended, sympathetic smile.
He left the money on the bar, after which he squeezed the shocked guy's arm suggesting him to get up and get moving.
Nivan walked out just behind Marcin, taking glimpses at the people in the bar. He felt them staring at him.
Niv felt much better when he closed the bar's door behind him. He took a deep breath of the frosty air outside.
He gave the surprised guy a cold look and walked on.
Not saying a word.
Marcin knew that the Redhead won't say a word on the way.
If he's going to say anything at all.
He followed him, scanning his silhouette.
His wide shoulders and red hair.
Marcin clenched his teeth.
He didn't want to explain himself. He won't explain himself.
He didn't ask him to come. He decided. He himself. Made the decision.
That he won't go back. That he doesn't need him anymore.
He can do whatever he feels like, what he wants. With whomever he wants.
He could have come earlier. When he was still waiting for him.
He made the decision and Nivan... won't change it.
He doesn't have the right to be angry.
To treat him like that... He just doesn't have the right.
- I see that you found what you were looking for - the receptionist called with a smile seeing Nivan and Marcin entering the lobby.
- Yes, luckily he was where you indicated he would be. Thank you - Nivan smiled at her putting his arm around Marcin. It made the dark haired guy's gaze fall.
The Redhead with a pretend smile led Marcin to the elevator.
It irked Marcin that Nivan was able to find himself in the new surroundings. Being in a new place he didn't show, if he felt lost.
Like Marcin felt when he first came here.
Like he felt for a long time since...
When the elevator's door closed, Nivan let go of him. He stood opposite Marcin looking at him without the earlier pretended smile. The Black haired wasn't about to let his gaze fall. He wasn't about o feel guilty. He wouldn't hide his tail between his legs, like he usually did.
They looked into each other's eyes. Intensely.
With no words.
Listening to the sounds of the moving elevator.
The green eyes didn't tell much. They were cold.
The brown ones were angry, bitter, rancorous.
But confident and insolent.
In both, green and the brown ones you couldn't see whatever was there not more than a month ago.
"I tell myself that you are crappy
That I don't care.
But I don't believe it myself."***
Marcin opened the door.
At first he had the urge to tell Nivan to go fuck himself.
That he didn't invite him. That he doesn't know why he is here.
But he couldn't.
He couldn't tell him that.
He couldn't push those words past his throat.
They got lost somewhere.
Marcin made a step. A second. And a third.
He looked to the Redhead who was closing the door.
They were alone. Here in this room.
He had a fleeting thought that not so long ago he was wishing for a moment like that.
He dreamt about it, wanting it so badly.
He wanted him.
He wanted this redheaded motherfucker.
Marcin didn't manage to finish the thought.
He felt a sudden pain in his cheek. Unexpected.
He gabbed on to the bed, losing his balance.
Marcin didn't look at the Redhead.
He touched his cheek with a shaking hand.
The Redhead never used violence without a cause or reason.
- Do you know what for? - the Redhead asked in a deep clod voice.
He crouched just in front of him, looking into the shocked, scared and surprised eyes.
- Do you know what for? - the Redhead repeated.
- I do...
- What for? - said Nivan raising his voice.
- You hit me, you red headed fuck! - Marcin yelled, still holding on to his pulsing cheek.
He felt the anger flood him. He felt it boil over. He felt the urge to grab the Redhead and do all the worst things to him.
Because when I'll meet you, I am going to kill you"
- What were you thinking? That I'll give you a kiss and a hug? For the motherfucker you are?! - Nivan yelled.
Marcin never heard that tone of voice before.
- I don't give a shit about your gracious kisses, I don't need you anymore and certainly I didn't ask you to come! I won't explain myself to you! - he yelled back.
Nivan seeing Marcin's wide pupils, and fast short breaths and hearing his words, he calmed down.
His face turned to stone again.
He was silent... for a moment.
He looked at him. He looked down at him with calm and a cold stare.
- You are so fucked up...
Marcin didn't manage to answer to that, although he wanted.
He wanted to scream everything at him. EVERYTHING.
Yell, hit. Murder.
Do all the worst things to him.
That's what he wanted.
But he didn't do any of those things.
Because straight after Nivan spoke those harsh words, he pulled him close.
He made so that Marcin didn't want to scream anymore.