Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chapter 8 - To bed

“So now that I have you liquored up, you think you can help me to the shower?” Justin poked at Chad as he continuing to have a laugh at the young man’s awkwardness in the situation. “Well… not actually into the shower but maybe to my room.”  He reached down and adjusted his makeshift kilt, his legs held one over the other in a polite sort of way as to only slightly embarrass the lad.


Now with a drop or two of spirits in his gut, Chad responded, “I would suggest you do a better job of keeping a nickel between those knees, Miss. Next thing I know, you’ll be eating pickles and ice-cream.” He looked over at Justin and pointed his finger all around him. “I’m surprised while you were squatted down digging into the back of the refrigerator on your little binge for food you didn’t drop out a class ring and a wrist watch out of that toll road you call a butt-hole.”


Justin’s mouth dropped to his chest in only a brief moment of shock, Speechless that the Chad from thirty minutes prior had the wit to say something clever, insulting and funny all at the same time. The man burst out in laughter. He wailed with hysterical delight at Chad’s response. “Well, well, well,” he interrupted himself with his own laughter, “aren’t you just a knee slapper.”


Chad joined in the laughter thinking for a moment he may have gone too far. “Look. I’m going to pour another for us and then we need to get to business if you are going to be in London on time. Look,” he paused as he picked up the glasses and walked toward the freezer door and plunged the glass into it and waited briefly for chunks of ice to drop, “I am not opposed to helping you out, I get paid to do this you know. But I think you need to see someone. I mean, for Christ’s sake, where are your clothes, Justin?” He paused again as he dropped about half a glass full of Belvedere in each glass, grabbed a half slice of lime and squeezed generously over each glass, letting the juice pour over his fingers and filter out the seeds and dropping a cherry to finish. He put his finger in the glasses and stirred them up chaotically. “I haven’t worked for you that long, but I know that you don’t scurry around in your kitchen stark naked when no one is looking, do you? I mean, can you even tell me what the hell is up with you running around your house exposed, not answering you phone? Seriously, the last time we spoke it was ‘Oh, cut out early, have a nice weekend,’ yet here we sit drinking and figuring out how the hell we are going to get you across an ocean.”


Chad’s frankness stunned him a bit but he was right. He needed to be here figuring out what the hell is going on rather than being off to Europe. “Fine. You’re right.” The words spilled out of his mouth tasting salty. Justin was not one to admit to an error in judgment easily. “But listen closely as I am only going to say this once. I am not going to the damned doctor, nor are they coming here so long as my heart is beating. Do you understand?” His tone had changed to be more commanding. Justin walked over to the black panel on the wall of the kitchen.  Marshall.” He said sternly.


“Yes, Justin. How may I be of assistance?” The pleasant, ambiguously masculine voice responded.


“Dial Valero’s cell number.” Justin stepped away from the panel. He flexed his arm gently as his hand made its way to his heavy head. The palm arched to cup the crescent of his hairline. His fingers extended as the weight of his arm pressed back his hair. He exhaled smoothly.


“Connected.” Marshall responded calmly. Several beeps and boops followed. The console rang five times and a voice popped on saying, (in Portuguese) [Unfortunately, I am not able to take your call right now. Please leave a message at the tone and I will call you back.]”


The voice sounded so sorry about whatever he was saying, Chad thought. Chad’s head had turned back to the sink where he’d continued to wipe the lime squeezing away though it had already been removed.


Justin responded without hesitation matching the dialect perfectly.  [My love. I am not feeling well and I don't see how I can make it for tea. I hope you are not feeling disappointed and I hope that I do not sound vain for thinking that you might be. I am going to get some rest here and I will try to get to where ever you are later this week. I miss you and hope you are not upset. Call me when you get a minute so we can revise the plan. Talk to you soon.]”


Justin looked up at Chad and said, “You are so fired… Mostly for being right. I don’t’ think I like that about you very much.” A moment passed as he crossed the room and grabbed his cocktail and swigged at it. “I don’t know why I surround myself with decent people.” He laughed as he sipped again.


Chad was taken back and didn’t know what to do but continue to wipe the lime juice from his hand with the wet bar rag. “Oh come on, you know I am not seriously firing you, Chad.” He looked up at the bartender. “At least not until I get upstairs to my room.” Justin pinched out a small chuckle as he swigged a bit more of his drink.


“Justin, you are a freak.”


“Oh now Chad, that is completely true, but you don’t even know the machinations of my madness. Of course, I don’t either.” He chugged the rest of his drink and motioned for his companion to do the same. “How about that ride back to my place?”


“This is your place.” Chad countered. Chad gulped the rest of his drink as well and after a moment to regain composure, he said, “Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?”


“No. Maybe later.” Justin shrugged Chad’s remark off as another friendly jibe. “Can you please help me to my room? Come on.” Justin paused. “You know… for a straight man, you sure are quick with those.”

Chad lowered his shoulder allowing Justin’s arm to hold on to him. Justin hopped down from the chair and used Chad as a large crutch. Chad’s body felt warm against Justin’s cool skin. His nakedness left his arms and chest to loose their heat. He felt woozy but good enough to walk. Chad guided him through the house and over to the stairway that led to his bedroom. Chad marveled at his employer’s taste in furnishings each time he was in the house. Everything seemed to have a place and purpose. Chad found this comforting. His life had been chaos since as far back as he could remember. His home was on the other side of town, literally on the wrong side of the tracks. He left home at 17 before completing high school. This held a secret shame for him but that was then and this was now. Paintings lined the walls. Wall mounted lamps that cast light down delicately, elegantly plotting the course like a series of runway lights. 


The kitchen was blessedly close to the library, but his room was in the rear of the third floor. They reached the entrance of his home and began the ascent round the massive staircase leading up to the first landing and then splitting off again on the 2nd floor and up onto the 3rd. By the first landing, Justin made Chad stop so that he could rest. Chad thought it best to be done with the walk and decided to take things into his own hands. Chad’s body tucked down and he moved toward Justin’s mid section in a slow embracing tackle. He picked the man up off his feet like a wiry bag of mulch and posted him up by the backs of the man’s legs so he would not fall. “What the hell do you think you are doing?” Justin protested. His voice strained as his weight pressed through his diaphragm into Chad’s shoulder.


“Just moving you up these stairs. If you cooperate, this will be a lot quicker.” Chad replied matter-of-factly. Chad stepped up each step making sure he had good footing. Like a mountain goat, he swiftly made it up and around to the third floor where he sat his employer down gently onto his feet, holding his shoulders until he regained his balance against the wall. “There. All done.” Chad said with pride.


“I guess so.” Justin responded. His voice revealed his relief.


 As he turned away to open the massive doors that opened up to his private room, Chad said, “Here you are sire.” The double doors stretched from floor to ceiling. The craftsmanship was evident over every inch. Chad was surprised how easily they opened considering their size. The wood was a rich brown, the color of honey and coffee interwoven in the detailed carvings of Greek gods at some party laying about eating and laughing at the edge of a grove of trees and a stream. As the doors opened, they revealed a large room lined with large block windows separated by white marble columns. The floor sank down three steps, the mahogany floors as most of the rest of the house continued in this room as well. The side of the room opened up to a shower room, vanity and tub. A sitting dressing area along the other wall was further set off to what he supposed as a closet. The ceiling in this room was quite high and rounded at the top. Roman blinds rolled up to their tops hung evenly atop the windows showing out to the evening landscape. From here, the body of the estate could be seen from the four poster bed that loomed in the center of the room. Massive in size, it seemed so much larger than any bed Chad had ever seen in real life before, let alone slept in himself. Every surface was clean and polished, luxurious and stylish. Justin looked on at the face of his helper who was immodestly amazed to behold his bedroom. This made Justin feel proud but awkward for the first time since he’d been provided cover for his body. “Okay, pal. You have been a great help here. I really appreciate it.” Justin walked past Chad who still stood at the doorway shocked back into reality from these words.


“Uh… okay then. Do you think that we should call Eddy and let him know that everything is okay here or was there anything else before I go?”


“That is a great idea. Could you please? Then if you wouldn’t mind, I am going to just take a hot shower and lay down. It would be great if you could come back tomorrow morning.” Justin said as he headed slowly to the outside of the room where a glass wall parted the rest of the room from the shower area. The glass was etched in the center for about three feet witch was enough to hide the center of a man’s body but still revealed thousands of one inch tiles.


“Sure. No problem.” Chad said as he walked back a few steps and reached for the doors, closing them as he went. The doors closed silently until they reached their frame with a click. Justin pressed a clear glass panel similar to others throughout the housel on the side of the snow white vanity by the shower. He touched the black screen and a louder “Click-Clink” sounded at the door alerting him that they were now locked. Another touch and the windows darkened allowing light in but not out. A third touch lowered the blinds down their full length until the rested at their foot against the floor. He pressed a few more buttons turning lights on in the shower area and then the sound of water falling like rain followed. Steam fell from the ceiling and a cloud formed from the stall. He unclasped the cloth that hung on his waste with a flick of his thumb and it fell to the floor where he stood now once again bare to the room. The tile floor felt cool against his bare feet. Playing with the panel one last time, the room resonated with Schubert. Life ebbed its way back to him. The cocktail and food were in his system now and he felt whole again. He lamely made his way into the cloud of steam that flowed from the shower like a warm half lit fog.