… Previously on Roulette Of The Damned!!!
Itching to reciprocate, Jiro kissed Andrew. Man, Jiro could kiss. His mouth was sweet from the mayonnaise, his tongue gentle but skilled. He touched Andrew, held him, licked him. Andrew was melting into it like ice-cream in the sun. Jiro’s smell and touch made Andrew dizzy with need. The torture continued as Jiro pressed closer to his side and buried his face in the hollow of Andrew’s throat. The tip of his nose was and his breath was crazy hot. What the hell? Is he sniffing me? Andrew wondered. Andrew looked to the heavens and moaned a prayer to whoever was listening. Hopefully he didn’t smell that bad. At worst, he smelt of weed, need, and aroused male.
Jiro thought of standing up and holding Andrew in his arms but that would mean getting off the kitchen counter. Hell no! The kitchen counter was the only thing holding him up at the moment. He knew for certain that he couldn’t trust those rubbery things he called legs just yet so he opted for his second option. Latching himself firmly onto Andrew’s hips, Jiro pulled them closer until he could feel the throb of an erection pressed against his stomach.
The way Jiro clung to him delighted Andrew to the core. Lust consumed Andrew and he couldn’t control the groan that came from deep in his gut. He wasn’t sure if it was the smoking of the weed or the thrill of potentially making love in an unfamiliar terrain that made him feel light-headed and horny. All Andrew knew was that he needed this man wrapping his legs around him so tightly.
Desperation filled Jiro and he pulled Andrew tighter. Jiro felt like he wanted to crawl into Andrew’s skin and stay in his warmth. The more he got close, the more he was sure he couldn’t get close enough.
They didn’t hear the intruder enter the kitchen until it was too late.
“Blood of Jesus” The intruder exclaimed!
==========AND NOW on Roulette Of The Damned!!!==========
—– THE FALL—–
Jiro pushed Andrew away from him like a plague and jumped off the kitchen counter. Andrew quickly picked up his clothes to cover his near-naked body. Jiro followed suit.
“What the hell do you boys think you were doing?” the intruder asked.
Andrew kept looking from the intruder’s face to the floor like a blithering fool. Jiro found his voice first.
“Oh my God. I thought you were asleep. What are you doing downstairs so late?” he asked the intruder.
“Is that what you are meant to ask me right now?” the intruder asked, looking ready to throw a ton of bricks at the two near-naked men. “When did you start answering my questions with another question? Are you mad? Answer my damn question Jiro!” the intruder retorted. “What the hell were you doing with that buffoon behind you?”
“Uh…Mr Ejike it’s really not what you think.” Andrew said from behind Jiro.
Standing in the kitchen doorway with a bottle of Heineken in hand, Jiro’s father, Ejike, looked at Andrew as if he was one of the deadly plagues of Egypt. “I’m not talking to you idiot. You’ll get your turn when I’m done with my embarrassment of a son.”
“Dad, please calm down.” Jiro said, fumbling over his words. “Its really not what you think.”
“Really? Really?” Jiro’s dad asked, irritation, and anger laced in each word. “Because from where I stand, it looks like both of you were re-enacting a scene from the Sodom and Gomorrah era. I think both of you were fawning over yourselves and engaging in homosexual acts.” Ejike sniffed the air and continued. “I also smell weed. Seeing as only both of you have been downstairs, I can only assume that you have both been smoking weed in my house. You both said you’d wash up after dinner but from the look of things, you idiots waited till you thought we were asleep before you smoked weed and embarked on having sex in my kitchen. With a man!!! Of all people, Jiro! A man!!! When it is not like there are no women in the world anymore! A fucking man, Jiro!!!”
Ejike took a deep breath to calm himself and reduce his voice. When he spoke next, his voice was even but he sounded like a spring ready to burst at the faintest provocation. “I dare you to tell me I am wrong!” Ejike said.
Jiro opened his mouth only to close it right back. “Okay, maybe it is what you think.” Jiro muttered under his breath.
Wagging his finger at Jiro, Ejike said, “”You owe me an explanation but I can’t stand to look you in the face right now. We will discuss this at length in the morning. Just know that your mother will hear of this. In the meantime, both of you should get out of my sight before I stab you both with a knife!”
Avoiding coming close to Ejike, Jiro and Andrew rushed out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
Behind them, Jiro shouted “And make sure you go to your separate rooms you spawns of Satan!”
The house had stirred early on Sunday morning and from the stomping of feet, raised voices, and arguments from outside his door, it was obvious that Ejike had told Stella what he had seen downstairs last night. Andrew had not been able to get all the information about what transpired from the morning’s discussion between Jiro and his parents but it seemed like Stella had cried, Ejike had threatened Jiro on something, Jiro had called Ejike’s bluff, and Jiro had threatened to never return to the house if they made Andrew uncomfortable.
Needless to say that Andrew felt like he had caused an issue in the house. Knowing he couldn’t hide forever in the room he was in, Andrew had showered and prepared to face whatever was thrown his way once he got downstairs. So far, Jiro’s parents had been civil to him and everything seemed almost normal…almost.
With the evening drawing near, Andrew had gone outside to watch the sunset and to get some breathing space. If he thought the house was uncomfortable when he got here on Friday night, it had turned unbearable now. The evening weather was chilly but not in the same way as the reception from Jiro’s parents. Jiro’s mother, Stella, had slowly warmed up to Andrew throughout the day and treated him almost like she was unaware of what had transpired last night, but Jiro’s father had not. It was clear that he could not easily forget or accept what he had seen Jiro and Andrew were about to get up to last night.
“So you are the man my son has taken up with?” Ejike asked as he walked over to where Andrew stood on the front lawn of the house.
Andrew glanced backward to see Jiro’s father approaching from the house. The older man, a virtual mirror for what Jiro would look like in about twenty-five years, closed the door from the kitchen and came to stand next to Andrew on the front lawn.
After they had been caught by Jiro’s father, Andrew had cursed himself in a hundred different ways. He should have insisted that they go to one of the rooms to have privacy but it had felt so good to see Jiro so relaxed and carefree, it had rubbed off on Andrew too. Unfortunately, it was too late to cry over spilled milk.
Andrew turned to look the man in the eye. “Yes sir. I am the man your son has taken up with.” There was no need to lie, however Andrew wasn’t fond of the ‘taken up with’ terminology. Jiro had wanted them to accept Andrew, to accept his relationship with their son, but the instant he and Jiro had walked through their individual bedroom doors the morning after getting caught in the kitchen, they’d been under scrutiny and the object of disapproving stares. Andrew knew the only thing he could do now was answer any and all questions directly and let the pieces fall where they may. It is time I stand up for who I really am and stop hiding under the guise of being heterosexual, Andrew said to himself. If Jiro can stand up to his parents, I can do it too. I need to do this…for Jiro. For me.
“You should know I don’t approve of any of this.” Ejike stated succinctly.
“Yes sir. I know.” Andrew said with a curt nod.
“I could ask you to leave my premises immediately.” Ejike said, his voice sounding like he was constipated. He seemed unsure of his words.
“Yes sir.” Andrew replied. “You could.” Before coming downstairs after his shower, Andrew had decided that he was not going to get into a pissing match with this man. He adored Jiro too much. The rift between Jiro and his father over Jiro being in a relationship with a man wasn’t going to be worsened because of Andrew… not if Andrew had anything to say about it. He had already packed his bag early that morning and was ready to leave if Jiro’s parents gave the command.
Ejike sighed and continued “If I told you to get out of my house and never come back, Jiro would leave with you, I suspect.” He looked Andrew directly in the face waiting to read Andrew’s countenance.
There was resignation in the older man’s voice and that bothered Andrew. He managed to look the older man in the eye before he answered “Yes, he would.” Andrew said. It was a weak victory, but a victory all the same. Too bad it was useless to Andrew. How could he feel good about Jiro’s loyalty if it meant it would create a wedge between him and his parents?
Andrew had no doubt Jiro loved his parents as he should, but Andrew was also aware of Jiro’s feelings towards him. Andrew was Jiro’s guest and should Andrew be asked to leave, Jiro would go too. “I don’t think you’ll do that though. Knowing Jiro, he’d make good on his threat to leave if I left and he can be stubborn when his mind is made up.” Jiro finished.
“No. I wouldn’t chase you away because you are right. He’s stubborn.” Ejike said resolutely, “Besides, him walking out now would break his mother’s heart forever. She’s trying so hard to accept all of this but it isn’t easy for her and it certainly isn’t easy for me. Not even close.”
Taking in a deep breath, Andrew, for the first time since he arrived on Friday, spoke candidly with Ejike. “Jiro’s choice of who to date or make his mate isn’t up to you.” Andrew tried to be gentle with his tone and not let his frustration show. He knew that wasn’t going to do anyone any good, but he wouldn’t let himself be bullied into someone else’s belief system and without Jiro on the porch to defend himself. After Jiro had stood up for their relationship with his parents that morning, Andrew was happy to take up the task of standing up for Jiro.
“How dare you tell me how to raise my son?” Ejike asked angrily. There was pride, indignation, and a touch of sadness in his question. Andrew felt for the position Jiro’s family found themselves in. They didn’t know how to accept a relationship that went against their deep religious beliefs.
“There was no disrespect meant sir.” Andrew said. “I was not trying to tell you how to raise your son. I just want to point out that you have already raised him. I am well aware that the hardest part about being a parent is knowing when not to parent. He’s a grown man, responsible for his own actions, and capable of making his own choices. I just happen to be one of those choices he made.”
The older man didn’t say anything else for a long while and Andrew relished the bit of silence. He knew a person couldn’t choose the family they were born into, but they could choose to love beyond religion, belief, faith, right, and wrong. He hoped Jiro’s father eventually came to accept him as Jiro’s mate or at least be able to love Jiro in spite of his choice of lover.
“So has Jiro had more friends… like you?” Ejike asked, his face contorting as he voiced his curiosity.
“Like me? What about me?” Andrew inquired with a quirk of his eyebrow. He knew what was being asked, what was being inferred, but he was going to make Jiro’s father say it. Andrew was determined to not be the only uncomfortable one in this conversation.
Jiro’s father swallowed hard and opened his mouth several times before he actually said anything “You know…Like you. Preferring men.”
Andrew smiled inwardly. Close enough. I guess that couldn’t have been very easy for him. “Not exactly sir.” Andrew said. ” He knows some people who also prefer men but he’s never been with a man until me. Before me, he’s always preferred women and he’s had over a dozen girlfriends.” Andrew breathed out unsteadily. He had said a lot but he was still determined to be open and honest about his relationship with Jiro.
Cocking his head to the side, Ejike said “I remember Jiro bringing home that nice girl, Abbey. I liked them together. They fit so well as a couple. I was so sure he was ready for marriage with her. I was excited when I heard that they were finally engaged after three or so years of dating. He probably would have married her by now if you hadn’t made him a …..”
“If I hadn’t what?” Andrew asked, his eye squinting as he tried not to take offence to what Ejike was about to say. Still, he had to know exactly what Jiro’s father meant. “If I hadn’t turned Jiro over to the dark side? If I hadn’t made him a man-lover?” Andrew wanted so badly to laugh out loud at the common misconception that a heterosexual could be converted to participate in homosexual activities under duress but he restrained himself. Nothing about the current discussion was funny.
“Yes.” Ejike said, infusing more courage and gusto into his voice. “Yes if you hadn’t come into the picture and corrupted his sexual desires. If you hadn’t…hadn’t…” Ejike blustered.
Andrew had known this was going to happen and although he knew nothing he could have done before coming downstairs and facing Jiro’s parents would have prepared him for this part of the conversation, he was determined to face the anger and confrontation head on. “For your information Mr Ejike, Abbey, the fiancée-gone-wrong that you are so fond of, is the one who made Jiro and I happen. She pushed him to me. I had nothing to do with how things began between us. I only accepted Jiro’s invitation when I knew what Jiro wanted.” Andrew swallowed hard. That much about his relationship with Jiro was true…So far so good, he thought to himself.
Sucking in a deep breath, Andrew continued “I’m sorry you don’t approve, but Jiro and I are a couple and he wants nothing more than for you and his mum to accept it, to welcome me as you would if his partner had been a woman. I hate to break it to you sir but the possibility of Jiro being with only women from now on is slim to none-existent. He’s with me right now because he wants to be with a man. If he wants a woman at any point in his life, I will willingly back off and let him be with a woman. Until he tells me he doesn’t want me in his life, I’m here to stay.”
“No no no no no.” Ejike said, shaking his head vehemently, “It is an abomination and I will not allow it.”
Emboldened to finish what he had started, Andrew answered. “I understand that’s how you feel sir, but its not how I feel and it’s certainly not how Jiro feels,” Andrew said easily. He really wanted Jiro’s parents to like him but he didn’t care to try to change anyone’s mind about him or his relationship with Jiro. The only thing Andrew knew for sure was that he was willing to fight anyone to defend his best friend and lover.
Ejike sighed heavily. “Do you and my son live together?” Ejike asked cautiously.
“How do you mean sir?” Andrew asked innocently.
“I mean, do you boys sleep in the same house on the same bed each night?” Ejike asked, his face showing his discomfort with having to ask the question of whether or not Jiro and Andrew have had sex before.
The question was awkward and Andrew felt for the man. Andrew didn’t know what it was like being a parent, but it couldn’t be easy, especially when your child turned out so different than how you’d expected they would turn out. “No. We don’t sleep in the same bed every night. He still has his apartment and I still have mine. We might work in the same office but we definitely have different schedules and deadlines. We don’t live together and doing so isn’t in the plans just yet.” Okay so I lied about that one tiny detail of not sleeping together every night…big deal. Andrew thought. Just because I and Jiro sleep on the same bed every night doesn’t mean we don’t have our separate apartments. It just means that we select which apartment to stay in for the night… his or mine. Altering that minute detail so Jiro’s father could at least feel better wasn’t a bad thing. Its hard enough having to discuss my sex life with Jiro to his father, but confirming his suspicions that we fuck every night is just asking for trouble. Nodding affirmatively to himself, Andrew made it a point of duty to remind Jiro to go with the story he’d told Ejike about their living arrangements…The less Jiro’s parent’s know, the better. At least for now.
“Do people at the office know about the both of you?” Ejike asked cautiously, his brows raised slightly, ready to echo his condemnation of their lifestyle further.
“No, they do not.” Andrew said as a matter-of-factly. “Not to my knowledge anyway. We certainly don’t intend to tell anyone either. Its none of their business, and If they find out and have a problem with it, well, Jiro and I will deal with that bridge when we get to it.”
“Look,” Ejike said, ” I’m uh…I’m sure you are a good man, and I can see you really do care for Jiro. I just can’t accept that he…you…both of you chose to live this way.”
Andrew couldn’t hold himself any longer. He felt it was time to educate Jiro’s father on the issue as best he could. If Jiro’s father was going to see any reason to at least accept Jiro for who he was and for his choices so far, he needed to know more. “Sir, some would tell you that its not a choice they’ve made. It part of who they are.” Andrew said. “After going through various sociological research, certain people have come up with the theory that having an attraction to the same sex caused by a combination of both the biological and sociological theories. From the biological stand point, an individual must be birthed with an inborn tendency to be homosexual; but in order for the tendency to become a reality, that individual, according to the sociological perspective, must be socialized in a certain way, where the behaviour is relatively — although often unintentionally — approved. In other words, if someone is exposed to that lifestyle for a long period of time, it could have an effect on the person. Both theories are correct in their own way but a combination of both theories give the best explanation when discussed together. The combination of these two theories are what build up the attraction to men. That’s why some people say it’s part of their DNA. That’s just how sociology describes it.”
“You are wrong Andrew,” Ejike said, “and you telling me all these things means you don’t want to change. I heard you lived in the London for quite a while so I’m not surprised that you are saying all this rubbish. If you don’t want to change, its fine. Jiro on the other hand, doesn’t have a choice. He must change this nonsense. He cannot be attracted to men. It is abnormal and it is an abomination and my son will not be party to it.”
Seeing that his words were not getting anywhere with Jiro’s father, Andrew tried a less clinical approach. “This isn’t a matter of where I have lived before sir. If anything, living abroad helped me think out of the box and see things for what they truly are. As individuals, who we love isn’t — and shouldn’t be — up to anyone but us. Its hard being attracted to the same sex. Most people have a problem with it and as such, they instantaneously judge people based on their sexual orientation. Take a walk in our own shoes for a minute. You don’t want to mess your life up but you don’t know what else you can do. The craving and attraction just sort of creeps up on you without warning. When you finally notice the change, you realise that things aren’t what they used to be. Your whole world is transformed. You only realise that the ground beneath you has shifted when its too late. You might not accept it sir, and I’m not trying to make you accept me either; but I hope for Jiro’s sake, you’ll respect his decision to have me in his life while he still wants me here.”
“I don’t believe that.” Ejike insisted yet again. “He chose this and that’s all there is to it. I don’t know why but I’ll stop at nothing to make sure that my son comes to his senses.”
Andrew almost rolled his eyes and groaned out-loud. He could never understand why straight people always believed they could pray-the-gay-away. After years of trying to do just that, Andrew knew better. Still, he couldn’t say what he truly felt to Jiro’s father. No point taking away the man’s hopes of Jiro changing…even if they are useless at this point. “For everyone involved sir,” Andrew said, “I think we will have to agree to disagree.”
That said, both men stood side by side and watched the sun set. In uncomfortable silence, both men focused their thoughts on one thing: how to do what was best for Jiro.
Dressed to impress, Jiro walked smartly with precision through the long hallway on Monday morning like a man on a mission towards his destination.
Any other day, he would wait for Andrew to come to his office but he couldn’t wait for him today. The both of them hadn’t spoken about getting caught on Saturday night and something had changed in Andrew’s countenance towards him after they had left his parent’s place. Jiro just couldn’t put his finger on what exactly had changed or what had triggered it. Before Saturday night, Andrew had been great. He was fun, affectionate, and amazing with his parents until they got caught. In the last twenty-four hours, Andrew had become distant with Jiro and something didn’t feel right. Jiro didn’t know what was wrong but it was starting to bug him.
As Jiro got to Andrew’s office, he peered in and noticed Andrew’s buried in paper work. He was typing something on his computer and his ipad was open on the table as well. Jiro didn’t care. Now was the best time to get to the bottom of the issue.
“Good morning. Can I come in?” Jiro asked from the door of Andrew’s office.
Andrew looked up from the tons of paperwork he had to get through before noon and gave Jiro one of his award-winning smiles. “Nothing would make me happier.”
Jiro eyes swept Andrew’s office with a curious glance. “I can count how many times I have come to this office in the last three years. I usually see you at my office every morning…well until this weekend’s visit to my parents happened. Look Drew, I know you’re busy but you have got to tell me what happened.”
“What are you talking about?” Andrew asked, calmly feigning ignorance.
“I am talking about this. You and me” Jiro pointed back and forth between them.
Andrew looked perplexed. “What do you mean, cupcake? Nothing happened. Everything’s fine between you and I”
Jiro shut the door and walked into the office towards Andrew. “Everything’s not fine. You have been acting weird with me ever since my father caught us. You may not know you are doing it so I’m letting you know. It only got worse after you came inside the house for dinner yesterday. From the look on your faces of my father’s and yourself, I could tell that both of you had a discussion that left a sour taste in both your mouths. I want to know why you are shutting me out.”
Andrew sighed, relaxing his back on his chair and forgetting about the piles of paperwork in front of him. “Its nothing babe, really. Just need to …”
“Cut the crap.” Jiro said in a clipped tone. “You are my best friend, my boyfriend, and I love you like a brother but if you don’t tell me what happened that’s’ got you shutting me out, I will beat you up so bad, you’ll be eating out of straws for the next month! Spill it. I know my mum never hassled you because I was with her the whole time but I saw you talking to my dad. Tell me what he said.”
Andrew looked stoic. “Jiro, I’ve got a lot of work to get through before noon and this isn’t the right time to discuss this.” Andrew said. “I’d like you to leave. We can discuss this during lunch or something. How about that?”
“Don’t test my patience Drew.” Jiro said. “Tell me what my dad said. Now!”
Andrew felt like an Alzheimer’s victim in a whore house. From Jiro’s tone, Andrew could tell that Jiro was getting fed up of not knowing what was going on in Andrew’s head; and Andrew had no doubt in his mind that Jiro would indeed make good on his threat and beat him to a pulp if he didn’t speak up about the conversation between Ejike and himself. Knowing Jiro, he’s most likely be the one to feed Andrew with the straw after putting him in the hospital just so he could teach him a lesson.
“Your dad said you didn’t use to do a lot of things.” Andrew said, carefully picking his words.
Until me. Andrew had left out that part of Ejike’s talk with him but Jiro heard it anyway.
“Andrew…” Jiro began
“No wait, let me finish.” Andrew said. “Its all my fault. You said you wanted me to go with you for your parent’s anniversary weekend and I obliged because I knew how much it meant to you. All you asked me to do was to stay at your parent’s house from Friday to Sunday. I should have respected the fact that it was your parent’s house and stopped myself and you from smoking weed that night. More importantly, I never should have come to hold you in the kitchen. I should never have kissed you or tried anything with you there. If anything, I should have waited till we got upstairs to one of the rooms assigned to us before ripping your clothes off you like a maniac. It’s just that I couldn’t help myself. I just wanted to hold you and steal one kiss from you without caring about where we were. That mistake led to clothes being shed. I honestly thought your parents were asleep. I never thought your dad would come down for a beer in the middle of the night and check if all the doors were locked. It’s because of me that your parents now know you like men.”
Walking from where he stood and over to Andrew’s table, Jiro sat down beside Andrew and waited until Andrew looked him in the eye. “Okay first off. We are both to blame.” Jiro said. “I didn’t know about the beer-at-night thing. Mum was only just telling me about that on Sunday afternoon; making me promise to talk to my dad to quit sneaking out of bed at night to drink. He thinks she doesn’t know but she always smells it on his breath every time he gets back into bed. Anyway, that’s not the issue. I need you to know that its not your fault babe.”
Andrew looked away, the memory of Jiro’s dad’s face when he caught them and screamed ‘blood of Jesus’ forever burned in his memory.
“Drew, look at me” Jiro guided Andrew’s face with his hands and said it again with affection laced in his voice. “It. Is. Not. Your. Fault. To be honest, I thought you would be relieved that my parents now know about us. I know I am! I have thought of how I’d say it to them or if I’d wait for them to die before I say it so I don’t destroy the dreams and aspirations they have coined up in their heads for me. I know I never would have told them anything if I had my way but what’s done is done and they know now. They are my parents. They’ll eventually get over it. I’m sure yours will too when they find out.”
“Like hell your parents will get over it.” Andrew said exasperatedly. “You can’t speak for them Jiro. You don’t know if they will ever get over it. From what your dad said, he’s not ready to get over it any time soon,” Andrew insisted.
Trying to calm down, Andrew blew out a breath and finally revealed the secret about his family to Jiro. “My family already knows about me and my attraction to men and women. My father found out about me and he never forgave or accepted me as his son from that day till now. My mother went all over Nigeria and other parts of the world looking for native doctors, pastors, Muslim leaders, Buddhists, and every kind of religion known to man just to find a cure…a way to pray-the-gay-away. My mother almost died of high blood pressure and depression shortly after that and my father has never really forgiven me for it. She didn’t die, thank God but her health became extremely sensitive. To get away from all the family drama, I relocated to the UK and was only forced to come back to Nigeria after I lost my job and became broke. After I returned from the UK and had to live with my parents for a while, I had to swear to them that I was done with liking men– like its something I personally refused to turn off. I wish I could but it’s not a switch for a bulb. People just don’t get that. My family surely never did. Two weeks after I moved out of my father’s house and into my new place, my parents paid me a surprise visit and found a half naked man coming out of my shower while I was only wearing my boxers to meet them at the door. They disowned me after that.”
Jiro looked like he was about to say something but Andrew had started opening his proverbial black box of family secrets and he couldn’t stop talking. His never talking about things was so he’d not bother anyone with his issues. With all the walls closing in on him, Andrew was done keeping quiet about things and everything came flooding out of his mouth.
“My younger sister and brother say they accept me as I am but I can almost hear the fervent prayers in their heads begging God to make me like only women. They are confused about how to explain to their future kids that their big uncle might possibly be in a relationship with a woman one month and a man the very next month. That’s why I wanted so badly to stay in the UK all those years ago. So don’t sit there and tell me that your parents will forgive or accept you like you are because you don’t know. You cant be sure. Not completely.”
“Andrew,” Jiro said, “calm down you idiot. I know you’ve had it pretty rough but these are my parents we are talking about. They will get over it. Not all parents are the same. I have to believe mine will let this go and love me regardless. With time, they will come to love you too. I’m sure of it.”
Andrew tapped his fingers against his left leg and starred off into the distance as a different kind of pain Jiro had never seen before crept into his best friend’s eyes. When Andrew finally spoke, his words were full of pain and lost hope. “Your parents want grandchildren, Jiro. You know they do. You are the only child. How in God’s name do you expect me to give you children? I can’t get pregnant even if I wanted to. Not even a sex change operation would give me a womb — not that I want a sex change operation or a pregnancy. I’m very happy being a man thank you very much. Besides, you love kids. Do you think that I’ll be enough? Do you really think that you and me will be enough for you? The thought of sharing you with another person, even a woman, will drive me crazy for sure. Even if we both decide to get married to women, how do we still stay together when we are married to two separate women? How will that work exactly? Four people, two marriages, and one homosexual love affair? I don’t see that happening. What happens if the women we marry find out? Abbey walked out on you before anything happened between you and i. Do you think if we decided to marry women, they’d react any different given that we are already so into each other?
“We can get married to a lesbian couple.” Jiro grumbled. “At least they’d understand. You’d marry one and I’d marry the other but four of us will know who our real partners are.”
“Yes we can marry lesbians but for how will that work out?” Andrew asked. “A lie weaved in a lie that was ultimately born out of a lie! Two fake marriages to cover up two real relationships that will bring children into this world. What kind of future would we be fostering for our children? Secrets never remain secrets Jiro. At the end of the day, every secret always comes out into the open one way or the other, whether or not you are there to witness it. Not even Olivia Pope would be able to cover up this scandal if people found out about us.”
Jiro opened his mouth to speak but Andrew kept on rambling. “This is a big risk for the both of us. You might be okay with family knowing today but what about the future when everyone else finds out one after the other? All of your neighbours, our acquaintances, people at work- what if they find out? What if we don’t work out in the end? What happens to our friendship? What happens to you? Everyone will know and there will be no taking it back once that happens. What then Jiro? What then?”
Jiro swallowed spit and didn’t know what to say. “I cannot believe that you got all of these depressing thoughts from speaking to my dad for half an hour yesterday. He must have really done a number on you. Look, all the points you raised are valid but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a way around every one of them. Loads of people get through this everyday. We just have to take it one step at a time.”
“Don’t be naive Jiro.” Andrew retorted. “What’s the point in believing in fairy freaking tales that will never happen? You don’t seem to understand my logic on the situation. As it is, the odds are against us but its not just that. Its me!!!”
Trying hard to understand Andrew’s point, Jiro asked “What about you?”
” I’m a one-man-wrecking-ball.” Andrew said, throwing his hands in the air in defeat. “All I do is break things…My mum’s health, my dad’s happiness, your relationship with Abbey, your relationship with your parents, your sexuality, your virginity when it comes to same-sex practices, your life, and if I’m not careful, I’ll break your ass and your penis too from overuse.” He sighed, shaking like he had pneumonia.
“Dude,” Jiro said to Andrew, “you sound like a crazy person now. You do know that I’d probably break your genitals first from overuse before you break mine? For some reason, I can’t seem to get enough of your body no matter how hard I try.”
Andrew wanted to butt in and say something but Jiro said “Shut up and let me finish. Yes, you are a one-man-wrecking ball and yes the odds are against us. I’d say our survival rate is about 3%, and yes I agree that the statistics are very bad but its not nothing; and I don’t think we should give up on it or us, at least not yet.”
Looking at Jiro as he said those words to him, Andrew’s love for Jiro grew exponentially. He cared so much about Jiro and prayed that nothing bad ever befell this man… His man!
He makes such a great point, Andrew thought to himself. The odds may be against us but what we have is not nothing.
The devil on Andrew’s shoulder – or was it the angel — he didn’t know, said what the hell are you doing? You know he deserves a full life and he will never get that with you. You are his best friend and you will always be, but that’s all you will ever really be. He belongs in the straight world with loads of kids, grandkids, friends and family.
Andrew’s thoughts sought to find excuses to debunk the facts being thrown at him in his mind by his angelic/demonic conscience. But I can still be his lover, can’t I? He asked his conscience.
No! His angelic/demonic conscience said. You cannot be more than a friend to him. He deserves a chance to watch his wife give birth, see his child’s first steps, and have a couple of his kids look exactly like him. He deserves that. If you really loved him, you’d let him go. If he regrets not being able to do all these things later in life, he’ll forever blame you. Its time for you to let him to fly away.
Despite his failings as both a best friend and a boyfriend, Andrew had always tried to follow the simplest and most profound of edicts he lived by: Do no harm! How had he managed to fail so miserably, so completely where Jiro was concerned?
You’ve harmed Jiro by turning him into someone like you, The conscience in his head continued. Let him go so he can put the pieces of his life back together and make something of his life while he still has the chance.
Finally seeing reason to what the angelic/demonic conscience was saying, Andrew began to think to himself. I was selfish. That night when Jiro kissed me for the first time, I should have walked away but I didn’t. I wanted -no- I needed, God I needed — and I took. I’m so sorry Jiro. Andrew’s eyes burned with unshed tears of remorse. A lump of guilt stuck in his throat.
Butting into Andrew’s reverie, Jiro said “Drew, quit spacing out on me. Talk to me.”
Andrew knew the first step toward his decision would be the hardest but each step thereafter pricked his conscience even more. Do it. You have to, you know you do. “I don’t think we should continue seeing each other anymore.” Andrew said. “I think its time I let you go.”The only way to chase Jiro towards the right part is to hit the nail on the head, the conscience in his head said. Say it now before you lose your nerve. He will thank you for it later in future. With that in mind, Andrew opened his mouth and finished his sentence. “You…you are not attracted to men…not really.”
“You son-of-a-bitch?”Jiro asked. Jiro knew he was raising his voice but he couldn’t help himself. Andrew looked guilty as he gazed to see who was watching or listening from outside his office like they were doing something wrong. If anyone could hear him from outside Andrew’s office and they decided to stare, he didn’t care. It was their lucky day because he really didn’t give a shit right now. Let them stare.
Even before he saw it in Jiro’s eyes, Andrew already felt Jiro’s defences go up. “I thought you liked being with me. I thought you cared about me. I thought you would fight for our relationship no matter what but I guess I was wrong. If you were tired of me, you could have just said so. I wouldn’t have bothered you anymore.”
Still looking down in despair, Andrew said it again. “You are not attracted to men. Not really.” Andrew’s words only made Jiro angrier.
Shaking with anger, Jiro clenched both his fists but kept his vibrating arms locked to his sides. “You sadistic, cynical, overly-pessimistic, borderline-crazy bastard! I became attracted to men for just you… because of you. Wasn’t it enough that you fucked with my mind and my head until you made me want you? Wasn’t it enough that you made me want your hands on me? Wasn’t it enough that you teased me endlessly and made me beg for permission to suck your cock?” Wasn’t it enough that you let me enjoy making love to you until I practically sold my ass to you in submission so you could make love to me too?”
He became attracted to men just for me; because of me? Is that even possible? Andrew knew it was a stupid question. Jiro had shown him it was very much possible.
Trying to get Jiro to reduce your voice, Andrew used his hands to gesture to Jiro to speak quietly but Jiro would have none of it. Pushing Andrew’s hand away, Jiro continued. It seemed like asking Jiro to reduce the volume of his voice only seemed to make him go higher in tempo. “Weren’t all these things enough thrill for you? Sorry if I wasn’t gay enough for you.”
Andrew spoke up trying to defend himself. “N- no, no… That’s not what I meant…” Andrew’s throat felt dry and he lost his words. Some of the remarks Jiro had made felt uncomfortably close to the truth.
“Did I amuse you good enough?” Jiro asked spitefully. “Did you laugh about how pathetic I am? Did you make me a joke to all your gay friends as you laughed about how a man that was so straight could indulge in such gay activities and fawn over you? I guess now that you know I’m willing to go the extra length with you in this relationship, you got bored, huh? I don’t really blame you, Drew. Hell, I cannot believe how stupid I am! How could I have fallen in love with the biggest son of a bitch this world has ever produced? I should have known better!”
Whoa…Did he just say he loves me? Andrew asked himself, trying to be sure he heard right.
“I have no one to blame but myself.” Jiro continued. “I knew you were into men from the get go after the first kiss when you told me. It was my own damn fault for letting it get this far. It is all my fault”
“Jiro,” Andrew started. He never got to finish his sentence because Jiro stepped around the edge of Andrew’s table and towards Andrew with closed fists. He knew Jiro’s body had gone into attack mode and he was most unpredictable when he was this way. Andrew jumped out of his chair and moved back, holding his hands out defensively.
“Actually,” Jiro snarled as he continued advancing towards Andrew with closed fists. “How about I give you half the blame?”
No, its all mine!.Andrew wanted to say. He so badly wanted to speak but he couldn’t find his voice.
Jiro’s trembling hand swept across Andrew’s table, his full strength behind it. All the files, papers, laptop and ipad Andrew had been using to prepare for his meeting at noon all went flying across the office floor. Andrew’s hands remained on the defensive to protect himself from any sudden moves from Jiro. Knowing Jiro was unpredictable when he was angry, Andrew never took his eyes off Jiro to about the damage to his work files and laptop. He’d do that later.
Jiro was oblivious to Andrew’s fear. He just kept on talking. “But since I let you fuck me six ways from Sunday in every way imaginable, mind and body included, how about we call this checkmate.” Jiro’s ice cold stare felt solid, like a touch.
“You win. You don’t want to be with me anymore? Consider yourself a single man once again. Congratulations.” Eyes steady, spine straight, Jiro turned and walked over towards the door.
I cant do this, Andrew told himself. I can’t let him walk out of my life forever. It fucking hurts too much. Under his shirt and past his breastbone, Andrew could feel his heart breaking with each step Jiro took towards the door. If I let him leave this office, I will definitely lose him forever.
Jumping over his now-messy table, Andrew followed Jiro towards the door. “wait Jiro”
Uncharacteristically quiet, Jiro turned to face Andrew. He stared at nothing and pointedly avoided looking at him “What for?”
“I’m not kicking you out of my life.” Andrew said. “Please don’t go. I’m so sorry. I never thought about how what I was saying would affect you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Please lets talk it over. This is not what I meant at all.”
Jiro looked irritated. “Oh fuck you Drew.” Jiro said with bitterness in his voice. “You don’t have to lie to me to spare my feelings. I’m already leaving like you wanted. I’ve had lots of experience with Abbey to know when I’m not wanted. I am not a toy you can take out, play with, and shove back into a box when you get bored or lonely or horny. I am not the guy you get at the end of the fucking movie. I am not a fantasy.” With one last icy glare, he turned and said harshly, “I’m done putting my heart on the line for you when all you seem to do is play with my emotions whenever the hell you like. If you want me, earn me!”
Blocking his exit route, Andrew stepped in front of Jiro.
“Move,” Jiro snapped
Andrew didn’t bulge.
With his elbow, Jiro knocked Andrew out of the way. and yanked open the door.
Desperate to keep Jiro in his office a little longer, Andrew went for broke. “Jiro,” Andrew called out. “I forbid you to leave this room.”
Jiro stopped dead in his tracks like someone had shot him in the head. He wasn’t sure he had heard Andrew correctly. What the hell did Andrew just say to me? Wait, hold on, Jiro thought to himself as he did a double-take on the words that had just come out of Andrew’s dirty mouth. Jiro turned back to face Andrew, deadly intent in his eyes. If looks could kill, Andrew would have been dead in that very instant; and from the strides Jiro took towards him, Andrew knew it would have been a very painful death.
“You what?” Jiro asked him angrily. “Nobody forbids me from doing anything. Not even you. Especially not you!” Jiro grabbed Andrew by the shirt, looked him dead in the eyes and used his most threatening tone. “Got it?”
Too scared he’d get punched in the eye and knowing he’d be unable to explain a black eye to his boss in his meeting at noon, Andrew mumbled a simple “Got it.”
Pulling away, Jiro stared Andrew down. A fine crease was visible across the man’s smooth forehead, but his brows were less furrowed than before. Jiro pointed at Andrew and said ” Love, like every original emotion in the universe, cannot be destroyed but it can change over time. There’s a thin line between love and hate Andrew, and you just crossed it. You’ll regret you ever said the words you said to me today.”
Without another word, Jiro turned his back to Andrew and he was gone.
Andrew wanted to chase Jiro down and take back all that he had said, but thought better of it and let Jiro go. At the moment, Jiro was livid. If he was going to get through to Jiro anytime soon, he simply had to lay low for a while and let Jiro’s anger simmer down.
I’ll give him his space for now and talk things out with him later, Andrew thought. He can’t stay mad at me forever.
Whether it was cowardice or good judgement that led to that decision, Andrew didn’t know. All he knew was that staying away from each other for a couple of hours seemed like the right thing to do.
Letting out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding, Andrew picked up his laptop from the floor. The screen had cracked but it was still on. At least it’ll get me through the meeting, Andrew said to console himself. I’ll have to get this laptop over to the IT department to repair it after the meeting. I wonder how I will explain the cracked screen to them.
Sighing, Andrew dropped to his knees and started picking up the files and scattered papers from the floor.
Righteous anger carried Jiro out of Andrew’s office, down the hallway, and all the way to his own office. It was only after he had gotten to his office that the anger dissipated a bit and then it dumped him in his chair feeling empty and shaking like a leaf. Turning to face the window, Jiro held the armrest of his chair firmly in both hands and stared outside at nothing.
He had given up everything for Andrew: his love for women, his body, and his heart. When he was a teenager, planning an education and career had been easy for Jiro. He had known exactly what he wanted to study in the university and what career path he had wanted ever since he was in secondary school So far, he had accomplished every goal he had set for himself in every area of his life.
…except when it came to the love department.
He had always believed that love made the world go round and love could heal the deepest of wounds.
How can love heal wounds when love is the primary cause for heartaches? First Abbey and now Andrew!
Abbey had tossed him around and nagged him to death about getting engaged before breaking up with him. According to Andrew, Abbey and Mofe were now engaged. As for Andrew…the son-of-a-bitch had just broken Jiro’s heart into a million little pieces.
Jiro was done believing how love could make the world go round and how love could make people whole again. The only thing that idiotic notion had brought into his life was pain and indescribable heartache. Love was built for idiots, Jiro surmised. He was done with being a player in cupid’s lousy games.
What Jiro wanted now was revenge. He wanted his pound of flesh and he wanted it badly. There was only one problem… How was he going to get his pound of flesh when his stupid heart still loved Andrew?
There was only one way….
Jiro had to hit Andrew where it would hurt the most!
Glad her plans were finally falling into place, Abbey ended her phone conversation. Although it was a Monday, she had called in sick and promised to work to the best of her ability from home. Her boss, knowing that she had never missed a day of work before, had willingly let her stay home and had told her to get better soon.
After the face-off between Mofe and her dad, Abbey had gone home with Mofe and had stayed at his place all weekend. She hadn’t wanted to call in sick but knowing that her father could find her in her office had made Mofe a bit worried. He had begged her to stay home for the week until her father had let go of his anger and was no longer a threat to her. After a brief tussle of wills, she had agreed to call in sick only for today. Mofe had willingly jumped at her concession to stay home even if it was only for one day. She knew he would still try to make her stay home for the rest of the week but for now, he was happy having her safely away from her office, her father, and her father’s house. Mofe had left the house before she woke up but he had left a gift for her on his side of the bed.
Abbey absolutely loved her new bag and shoes. She knew he was trying to take her mind off stressing over everything that had happened. So far, his method was working.
Being with Mofe had taught Abbey a lot in the short time they had been together. His understanding nature was fast rubbing off on her and she was loving every minute of the transformation. So far she had learnt that just because she wasn’t with Jiro anymore and she didn’t talk to Andrew as such anymore didn’t mean she didn’t care for both of them. Although she wasn’t completely comfortable with Jiro and Andrew’s relationship, she was beginning to warm up to it. It was just like Mofe had said… Having homosexual tendencies in the middle of a heterosexual community couldn’t possibly be easy for Andrew and Jiro. She had decided to focus on their personalities as good friends and not their sexual orientation.
For the first time in her life, Abbey was finally happy. All her friends were in good places, her mother was finally out of her father’s house, and her father couldn’t hurt her or her mother anymore. The only people left in her life that she had to make amends with were Andrew and Jiro and she wanted her two best male friends back. After the surprise plans Abbey had just planned over the phone for the two men, she was sure that her efforts to win back their friendship was in the right direction. Nothing can go wrong from here on out, she thought to herself with a smile.
As she thought of logging into her emails from work, her phone rang. Abbey looked at the caller ID. It was Bukunmi. Looking at the laptop and the tons of emails from work she was yet to go through, Abbey reluctantly stood from the office space she had created in Mofe’s house and walked towards the balcony of the house to get better reception for the phone call.
“Hi BK. I was just thinking about you.” Abbey said with a grin on her face.
After listening to what Bukunmi was relaying to her over the phone, Abbey quickly got up from the comfort of the couch and started pacing. Her grin was quickly replaced with a frown on her face and fear in her eyes.
Oh my God! No no no no no. Abbey repeated in her head over and over again. This is not happening! Not now! Not when everything’s going so well.
Taking a deep breath, Abbey tried to calm her nerves and get all the facts. “Wait, say that again slowly. You are where?” Abbey asked, her heart skipping beats by the second.
“I’m at your parent’s house.” Bukunmi said in a rattled voice. “Please Bukunmi, help me. I don’t know what to do.”
“Bolt all the doors!” Abbey instructed. “Don’t leave the house or open the door for anyone except me. In fact, stay where you are. I have my house keys. I’ll let myself into the house that way. Don’t do anything until I get there. I’m on my way. Please Bukunmi stay EXACTLY where you are and tell no one else about this.” Abbey insisted.
“Okay,” Bukunmi said. She was sobbing violently.
Abbey quickly cut the call, grabbed her car keys and ran out of the house.
Knowing that time was of the essence, Abbey jumped into the driver’s seat and drove like a mad woman all the way to her parent’s house.
To be continued…
I look forward to your comments!
Soundtrack for Episode 10: THE FALL – REHAB by RIHAANNA