Over coffee next morning in the cafe, Kyle told me about what had happened in the pool with him, Steph, Wingnut, and Candy. I was in absolute hysterics, and couldn't believe that he and Steph had been fucking in the water while the grommet and his girl were just a few feet away.
I called Sam [the waitress] over, and was about to tell her the story, when I felt a sharp pain on my shin beneath the table. Actually, Sam and Kyle had become pretty friendly. She'd call by the shop where he worked now and then to have a quick chat with my bud. Hey, who could blame her?
I didn't make it for coffee next morning, so it was no surprise that Kyle called me at work. I was too busy to answer the phone, so I returned his call about an hour later.
"Sorry, Kyle, but I didn't hear the alarm this morning. I was in a total fucking panic. I'll definitely make it for coffee tomorrow morning, though. By the way, Carol's gonna be staying with me in the flat for a few days."
"So you'll be kinda busy."
"Hey, it's lonely there. I cook dinner, and there's only one mouth to feed... and nobody to talk to. Having Carol around will be cool."
And it was. Carol was pretty impressed with the way I'd decorated the place with my fav posters and stuff, and made it feel like home.
"There's something missing."
"The calendar Kyle gave you for Christmas."
"Must've misplaced it."
"No way, Mark. No way you'd misplace that calendar. It's gotta be here somewhere."
"It's in a drawer. I was gonna put it on the wall... but I figured you'd wanna be alone with me... y'know, without any reminders."
"Reminders of Kyle?" she laughed. "You guys are joined at the fucking hip."
"Is that a problem?"
"Sometimes I think you love him more than you love me."
"That's fucking ridiculous, Carol."
"But you do love him."
"Yeah. I don't understand it, but I do love him. Not the same way he loves me, or the same way I love you. It's all different. I don't know how to explain it."
"Maybe some things aren't supposed to have convenient explanations."
That night, the boss and his wife treated Carol and me to dinner at an expensive restaurant. I'd never been to anything like it before. Waiters in black and whites, a menu as long as your arm, prices that blew me away. But my boss was loaded. His house was a fucking mansion, with landscaped, tropical gardens, manicured lawns, a huge kidney-shaped pool, and everything that opened and shut. Even my flat was mini mansion.
Carol joined Kyle and me for coffee next morning. I introduced Carol to Sam, and it turned out that they'd met before... casually.
I could tell that Kyle was feeling a bit uncomfortable in Carol's presence. There was obviously a lot on his mind that he wanted to tell me, but not in front of my girl. He did tell us about what he and Steph had gotten up to the previous night, though.
"She was at my place. She got the sarong, and I had to model it in a whole bunch of different ways. Over my shoulder, around my waist, pulled up between my legs, folded small like a loincloth, and then we wrapped it around the both of us."
"What happened then?"
"You really do love Steph a lot, don't you?" was Carol's rhetorical question.
"Yep. A stack. She keeps me on track."
"That'll be the fucking day," I laughed.
Later that day, Kyle phoned me at the yacht company, and asked if he was gonna see me.
"I'm hoping tonight, Kyle. You, Steph, Carol, and me... like always."
"Don't suppose we're gonna get a chance to be together alone to talk or anything?"
"I'm not sure, Kyle. But lighten up. OK? Things are coming together."
"I know... you're looking totally different... relaxed."
"I am. Hey, I've gotta jet, Kyle. Can't talk for too long on the work phone."
"Can I call later?"
"I'm gonna be busy. It's a hassle when I get called to the phone. I don't wanna screw things up here."
"OK. Well, try to call me if you can. OK?"
"I'll try... else I'll see you tonight."
"Same here. Bye, Kyle."
"See ya, Mark."
I'd arranged with Carol to sleep over at her place on Friday night, so the four of us went to Wipeout to play pool and enjoy the music. The name 'Wipeout' seemed to be pretty appropriate as Carol and I wiped Steph and Kyle off the pool table... that was until the last game, when the fuckers thrashed us. How the fuck did they do that? We'd only managed to sink one ball, dammit! It was a great vibe, though, and we all had a totally wicked time.
I had to work Saturday, and I'd been pretty busy with one thing or another for the next few days. Then Carol told me about a convo she'd had with Kyle.
"He wanted me to give him your number."
"At my boss's house?"
"Yeah... but I told him to forget it... that you'd told me not to give it to anyone."
"He doesn't understand. This is not my house. It's bad enough at work when I get called to the phone, so I don't want it happening here."
"Anyway, he said I was being a total fucking bitch."
"So I said fuck you! Who do you think you're speaking to? Then be backed off."
"Kyle's obsessed with you, Mark. Totally. I'm not sure it's healthy."
"Let me worry about that. OK?"
It was Thursday night before I got a chance to phone Kyle at home. I was mad as hell, and didn't beat around the fucking bush.
"First q: Did you go over to Carol's place to get my number?"
"I already told you that I can't give it to you."
"Cool. I get the message loud and clear. Hi, Mark. Hi, Kyle. How's it going? Totally fantastic. And you? Cool, man."
"Whatever. Did you call Carol a fucking bitch?"
"I said I was sorry. I didn't mean it."
"Just stay away from her, Kyle."
"Hey! I said I was sorry. All I wanted was your number."
"Did you hear me? I said stay away from Carol. If you do that again, Kyle, I'll come over there and fuck you up good and proper."
"Yeah... I heard you the first time," he replied, lowering his voice. "Hey, how's it going? I've missed you."
"It's going OK... busy."
"Why haven't you been at the cafe for coffee? I've been sitting there every morning waiting for you."
"Busy and exhausted."
"Will I see you there tomorrow morning?"
"Hey, can I ask you a question and get a straight answer?"
"Are you trying to avoid me?"
"Crap. I've been working my butt off. Anyway, we need to chat."
"My buddy would've said, 'Yeah, sure,' and he would've been there."
"I've gotta go. Cheers."
"See ya. Miss you."
I replaced the phone in the cradle, and headed for my flat. Jesus! Carol was right... he was obsessed. Why the fuck couldn't I make him understand that there were limitations? That there was only one of me? And that I couldn't divide myself into separate parts? One for Carol, and one for him? That was my dilemma, though. I loved them both. But my love for Carol was simple. Boy meets girl, boy loves girl. No problem. And my love for Kyle? Yeah, right. How the fuck was I supposed to rationalize that?
Kyle was also right. I had been avoiding him... not on purpose, though, 'cause I'd been working long days and into the night. And when that wasn't happening, I had my obligations to Carol. But there was more. Much more. I'd made a decision that was gonna devestate him, and I hadn't figured out how to tell him. There was no way that I could let him down easy.
Once again, I couldn't -- or didn't wanna -- make it for coffee in the morning. Just after I'd arrived at work, Kyle was on the phone.
"Yeah... it's me. How's it going?"
"OK... just been busy."
"Keeps you outa shit, though," he laughed. But I knew that he was trying hard to lighten the convo.
"Pretty much. What's up with you?"
"So, so. Waited for you every morning."
"Yeah... I'm sorry. We've been working nights 'til really late."
"Guess you're pretty fucked then."
"I just thought that... well... you said you wanted to chat... so I thought you'd be at coffee this morning."
"I said I'd see, Kyle."
"I'm not handling this not seeing you, Mark. Fucking serious downers at the moment."
I'd wanted to tell him the news to his face, but right now seemed like an opportunity... not a good one... but when would there be a good one? And time was running out. "Well, you're going to need to handle it, Kyle. I'm going to Joburg for a while."
"What about your job here?"
"My boss says the job is mine as soon as I get back here."
"I don't fucking know! Maybe Joburg will pan out. If it doesn't, then I'll come back. But if it does... well, we'll have to wait and see."
"You coming to coffee tomorrow?"
"I'll try. OK?"
"Yeah, well, whatever. I'll try. I've gotta go. See ya, Kyle."
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