The Year We Grew Up – Chapter Seven.

The Party Kicks Off.

I don’t know if I had been looking forward to the party Saturday night or looking forward to seeing Zack, but I realised a party was probably not the venue to get to know someone. I almost said, to get to know someone better, then I realised I don’t know him at all, I still don’t have his phone number.

Aaron was happy when Josh told him the girls were coming, including Sammy’s cousins and a friend of Mandy’s. We all clubed together with what little spare cash we had and included in the shopping stuff like crisps and of course beer. We told everyone who was coming to bring a bottle and we set up the bar and buffet in the kitchen. There were plenty of plastic cups and some paper plates, although the buffet was not spectacular, when it came down to it, apart from the crisps there were just some of those little sausage rolls you get at parties and olives.

The last couple of days I had more or less been avoiding Josh, not because anything had happened between us, we hadn’t argued, it was because of what he’d said about having problems with his dad, not being like his brother, all that family problem stuff. I had put him off discussing it the other night and I was still trying to steer clear of having that particular talk.

I had loads of my own problems and if Josh’s life sucked, well so did mine, and more than Josh because I had to deal with being gay. I know it’s being a shit friend when you can’t just give the guy the time to listen to him, but I was so bound up in my own problems I just couldn’t face listening to more. At least the party would allow a moment of escape.

Steve and Mark were the first to arrive around 8 o’clock and they brought with them some booze to top up the meagre supplies. Mark insisted on kicking off the festivities by rolling a joint before anyone else arrived. It was then, sitting in the lounge passing the joint around, I realised that I don’t think we ever told anyone a time. Well, too late now, I guess they will all turn up, I hope so, I hope Zack turns up.

As if on cue the bell rang and Josh wizzed downstairs to let who ever it was in. The music was playing when Ali appeared at the top of the stairs, followed by two guys.

“Hi, really good to see you,” I said and kissed her.

“Mikey,” she replied. “This is my boyfriend, James.”

I turned to face the guy who was right behind her and we shook hands. That was a shock, I always thought that if Ali had a boyfriend it would be Josh, the two of them were always so close.

“And the other guy,” Ali continued. “That’s James’ friend Calvin.”

Ali and James moved to one side on the small landing at the top of the stairs and I stood face to face with Calvin.

“Hello,” he said extending his arm and smiling.

We shock hands, and this was a bigger shock than meeting Ali’s boyfriend, because to say that Calvin was good looking would be an understatement. He was tall, slim, with a deep but soft voice and the looks of a male model or movie star. You know what I mean, he looked like one of those guys you see doing the perfume ads on tele. He was well dressed and gorgeous, and just like in the adverts you couldn’t be sure if he was straight or gay.

“Come on through and get a drink, the guys are in the lounge,” I first pointed them all towards the kitchen and Josh followed them holding a couple of bottles and some more food, looked like a quiche.

“Grab this,” Josh said, indicating the quiche.

The bell rang again, I dumped the quiche in the kitchen, left Josh with Ali and went to open the front door. It was Sammy and her cousins who she introduced as Celine and Julie. I’d met them before once or twice, I’m not sure, their names reminded me of this old French film I’d seen with Aaron at a local art house cinema, ‘Celine and Julie Go Boating,’ weird film, but Aaron liked it.

Mandy arrived about half an hour later with her friend Jane. The party was in full swing, being a small apartment people were spread out all over, the only person missing was Zack.

Looking into the lounge I saw Aaron with Sammy, looked like they were getting on well together. Mark was in the corner by the window rolling a joint, Steve was next to him. The twins, Celine and Julie looked like they were trailing after Calvin, following him wherever he went. It crossed my mind that he might be gay, but I dismissed the idea. Obviously he wasn’t interested in the two sixteen year olds, but that’s due to their age, I guessed Calvin to be about twenty.

Josh saw me watching Calvin and the twins disappearing down the hall towards the kitchen. “That guy Calvin is stunning,” Josh said. “I mean you can’t help but notice, huh?”

“Yep, you aren’t wrong,” I replied. “I wonder if he’s straight or gay,” I added, and immediately wondered why I’d allowed myself to voice my private thoughts. Perhaps because Josh started talking about him and was pretty blunt, which was not that usual for Josh. Maybe we were talking like this because we’d had a few beers by this time, and a joint or two.

Josh smiled at my remark. “And Mandy and Jane?” he posed a question.

“Mandy and Jane what?” I was not following what he was saying.

“Mandy and Jane,” Josh repeated. “Are they lesbians?”

“Shit Josh,” I said. “Are you working out everyone’s relationship?”

“Pretty much,” he replied. “Aaron would like to get off with Sammy. Ali, well, nothing to work out there. Steve and Marc are just getting stoned, unless they are secretly after the twins.” He laughed.

“That just leaves you and me then Josh.”

“Well we do sleep together!” he was still laughing and that cracked me up.

Joining in the laughter, I added, ” In the same bedroom, but not the same bed.”

I didn’t notice, but Calvin was standing next to us in the hall. “You’re not a couple then?” Said Calvin looking at us and smiling.

“Ha, ha, very funny Calvin. Nope we’re not a couple.” I told him.

“That’s good to know,” he replied, and moved on down the hall. I thought for a moment, it was a handicap of mine to always analyse people’s remarks, even when I’d had a few drinks. ‘Good to know’ I turned it over in my head. ‘Good to know’ because we’re not gay or he doesn’t like gays, or he likes one of us. No, no, I dismissed that, he would have said ‘Nice to know’ not ‘Good.’

I was jolted from my drunken musings when the bell went. Josh was in front of me going down the stairs. He opened the door as I arrived and turned to me. “Do you know these guys Mikey?”

“Josh meet Zack and Colin,” I said introducing them. “Pay no attention to him, come on in and join the party,”

Zack handed me a bottle. “Guess we’re a bit late Mikey, sorry,” he said.

“Don’t be stupid, you’re here,” I told him. “I’m so glad you came.” I smiled, Zack smiled back.

Josh led the way back upstairs into the kitchen. Suddenly I found myself alone with Zack. Josh had disappeared with Colin and everybody else was in the lounge or along the hall. I gave Zack a beer.

“I thought you might not make it,” I said. We clanked our beers.

“No chance I’d miss your party,” Zack replied.

All of a sudden I found myself with nothing to say and I caught myself just staring at him.


 

next – the secrets Out! 

Chapter Eight – Outspoken

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