Box Shaped Heart Ch. 33

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Amateur

Chapter Thirty-Three – Unmoored

Ah, damn, it was raining. Carter didn’t exactly feel like going out in the rain, but Taz could care less about that and needed out like five minutes ago. Well, it wasn’t like he was the one depressed, right? There was no point for him, as a dog, to mope around the house, in slippers and pajamas.

Could dogs feel depressed? He wondered.

“Wanna go outside?” he scratched the dog’s fluffy ears.

Taz placed his head on his master’s knees and stared up, right into Carter’s eyes. He whined.

“I suppose you can feel sad, too,” Carter said. “Do you miss Aron, buddy? Because I do.”

His brain didn’t care to bother him with suppositions and whatnot. Maybe he wasn’t in the mood to listen. Also, he had Taz to talk to. Sort of.

Aron hadn’t called. They had not seen each other since that day. And, from that day, Carter could say that a new chapter of his life had started. One that was not nice at all.

“Couldn’t it be just a filler?” he asked Taz, while continuing to scratch the dog’s ears. “You know, like those episodes in the middle of the season that are a bore to watch, but you watch anyway, and the producers know that you won’t skip, because you’re already in love with the characters and …”

He trailed off.

“Let’s just go outside,” he finally found enough power of will to get up from the sofa.

Taz was quiet as Carter put on the leash.

“Not so happy to go outside in this kind of weather, huh?” Carter said. “It’s raining cats and dogs. Like it’s raining others like you. Like it’s raining you.”

He tried to chuckle to himself. He was attempting to tell his own dog a joke. And he was bad at it.

“He’ll call,” he said out loud.

Taz moved to push his head into his master’s hand.

“Glad we’re on the same page, buddy,” Carter patted the dog’s warm head. “We’re trusting Aron, right?”

Funny how lonely he could feel. Even with Taz around. It was like a portion of space, the shape and weight of Aron, had been displaced from his shoe box like apartment. When sitting on the sofa, watching TV, he often turned to his right, like he was expecting Aron to be there and laugh at his shitty jokes.

Or when he was having dinner in the kitchen, and he just stared at the empty place across from him.

Or when he was in his bed, and there was no heavy arm thrown around his waist. That was the worst part. How much of a movie clich├ę can he be, waking up in the morning, and searching blindly with his hands for the one who was supposed to sleep on the other side of the bed? He kept to his side. Aron said it clearly to wait for him. There was no point to get used to having the whole bed to himself again.

At least he had his work. And, of course, the TV. Which he got stuck on the local entertainment channel, in hopes of hearing of Aron’s and Alex’s divorce. Of course, he could just call Aron and ask what the hell was going on. But there seemed to be a code of silence Aron had imposed and he felt he needed to abide by it, as well.

It wasn’t like him to be left with nothing to do like this. What the hell was going on?

Maybe Alex convinced Aron they’re good together and he’s never coming back.

Shut up. I told you I can talk to Taz if I feel lonely.

It’s not about that. It’s about stating some facts.

There’s only one fact I care about. Aron told me to wait for him. So I’ll wait.

There was no point to be doubtful. But waiting like this was the worst torture he could imagine. Most probably, that douchebag Alex had imposed Aron not to call, or else … something.

He didn’t have the mind of a diva, to imagine what ‘else’ could mean in Alex’s vocabulary. Was the guy still keeping it up with that lie? Aron should have just ignored the bastard. And let the police come and investigate him or whatever.

Aron would never do that to you and you know it.

I just wish, this time, he would not care so much. I wish he was here already.

He put on the raincoat and began descending the stairs. Taz was whining softly while following him.

“Sorry, buddy,” Carter murmured. “I’m not the best father right now, am I?”

Maybe he could call someone else. Maybe he could talk to Aron’s parents. But something was telling him Aron didn’t want his folks involved. And he could respect that.

***

He went to the park, even though the rain kept pouring. Taz needed the exercise, regardless of weather. There was not a soul in sight. The only noise was the rain hitting the pavement.

The weather had been bad for several days now. It wasn’t making him feel any better, although maybe seeing too many cheerful people around might have just pissed him off, right now.

He was lost in thought, when Taz started to bark. As he raised his eyes from the pavement in front of him, he noticed that he wasn’t, after all, the only living soul in the park in that kind of weather.

Slowly, he approached the guy, and took a seat next to him. Simon sighed, but said nothing. He wasn’t wearing a raincoat, and he still had his normal ka├žak iddaa jogging clothes. Water clung from his hair, and his garments were wet. But he didn’t seem to care.

“Hey, man,” Carter made the first attempt to speak.

“Hey,” Simon said back, in such a dejected voice, that Carter could swear the guy was even more depressed than he was. “What’s with you here?”

“I need to walk the dog,” Carter pointed at Taz who had taken a sitting position right away. “What’s with you?”

“You know,” Simon shrugged. “The usual. I’m out jogging.”

“Seriously? ’cause I see you’re sitting,” Carter said.

Even Simon’s laugh was apathetic.

“What the hell is happening? Do you have any idea?” Simon asked.

The man half-turned to look at Carter with his beautiful puppy eyes. Carter could feel his heart breaking a little.

“No, none. But you’re the one working with Alex. What is he telling you?” Carter pointed out.

Simon cast his eyes down in defeat.

“He broke it off with me. No explanations, no nothing. He just told me that he needs to put his marriage in order. But I don’t think that’s that.”

Hmm, even puppy eyes knew something was not okay with that bastard.

“Have you talked to Aron? What is he saying?” Simon asked.

“No, we haven’t spoken. I think Alex forbid him or something,” Carter replied.

“I can imagine him doing that,” Simon blew hot air into his cupped hands. “So they don’t have an open marriage, after all?”

Carter sighed.

“I don’t know Alex that well. Aron thought they were, or else he would not have been with me,” he lied. But it wasn’t like he could tell puppy eyes the truth.

“Alex … he likes playing games,” Simon said. “When I mentioned you to him, he seemed annoyed and surprised. But I guess it was just his way of pretending that he didn’t know about you.”

“Simon, may I ask you something?” Carter spoke.

“Shoot,” the young man replied.

“What exactly do you see in that guy? Okay, I know he’s beautiful and …”

“Seriously, I have no idea,” Simon interrupted him. “I just have the impression that he has taken me for a fool, all this time.”

“Really?” Carter expressed his surprise at that statement. “How come?”

“I think he’s just not pretending anymore. I think he pretended for a long time. He has a way of getting under other people’s skin. He does that at work. A lot. People eat from the palm of his hand, that’s how good he is,” Simon spoke bitterly. “He fooled me. He made me think that I … oh, just screw him,” he added with a sigh.

Wow, Alex must have really shown his true colors, Carter thought. With someone as gullible and as in love as Simon, it had had to be difficult to make the guy think otherwise. Which meant that the Wicked Witch of the West cared not for appearances anymore.

“Simon, would you say that you don’t hope for him to get back to you?” Carter asked cautiously.

Simon looked at him again, pondering for several seconds. Carter observed, without a word, the flicker of hope in the caramel eyes, followed quickly by despair, and then by resignation.

“No, I can’t be that stupid,” Simon said and shook his head. “You know, fool me once …”

Taz barked one time.

“Would you like a small treat, buddy?” Carter searched his pocket for Taz’s treats.

What was that thing doing there? He wondered as he pulled out a small elegant business card. Ah, it was from David’s club. Aron had given it to him, and he had just put it in these pants by accident. They had been too busy to go visit.

He stretched out his hand.

“What’s this?” Simon asked, taking the card from Carter’s hand.

“Just some place,” Carter replied. “I mean, it’s pretty cool. It’s run by a guy named David. If you decide to go and forget about Alex for some time, just tell David I am the one who recommended you his club.”

“Um, okay,” Simon said. “But I’m not in the mood to party right now.”

“Oh, no, it’s not for that,” Carter said. “Well, it’s for that, too. But David is quite a cool guy. You might feel good talking to him. Also, I should tell you. It’s kind of a BDSM club. Really tasteful, though,” he hurried to add, seeing that Simon was staring at him, wide-eyed. “Nobody’s jerking off out in the open or anything like that.”

“Just how much did Alex tell you?” Simon murmured. “And he really made fun of me for being into that kind of stuff,” he said that mostly to himself.

“Well, just forget about the douchebag,” Carter urged the other. “He’s not worth it, okay?”

“Why are you helping me?” Simon asked, turning to look at Carter again. “I mean, I was kind of an asshole to you and Aron that night.”

Carter waved.

“No sweat. You seem to be just another person caught up in this whole drama thing,” he gestured. “Well, it would have been easier for me if Alex was interested in you and left Aron for good, but …” he made a lame attempt to joke.

Simon snickered.

“So you’re not keen on pushing me back into that guy’s arms? Even if that means, you know, that you and Aron …” the ka├žak bahis young man trailed off.

Carter patted him on the back.

“I could never do that to anyone. That guy’s really bad,” he said.

“Funny, I thought you said you didn’t know Alex that well,” Simon pointed out.

Carter sighed.

“Let’s just settle for the simple truth that I probably meant every bad word I threw at the guy at their wedding.”

Simon giggled again.

“He told me about that. As a gay guy, I feel like I should be mad at you, but, as he was telling me what you said … I don’t know, I felt like finally, someone stood up to him and told him something bad to his face. It’s petty, I know. But I felt a bit avenged, for all the times when he put me down. I bet he made such a face,” Simon shook his head, smiling.

“Ah, well, it looks like I’m batting for your team now, so I certainly exaggerated back then …”

“Hey, I’m glad you joined our team,” Simon hurried to hug him. “You know what? I think I’ll go visit that club. Alex never wanted to go to anything similar, so I’m glad for this chance. I really feel like it’s something I’d like to try.”

“Great,” Carter patted the guy’s back. “Now how about you go home, take a hot shower, and spend the day in? Call in sick. A day away from that douchebag will do you good.”

“Excellent advice!” Simon stood up, and clapped his hands in glee.

And sneezed loudly.

“Bless you,” Carter said, and Simon grinned at him.

He wasn’t expecting to be embraced so effusively again. But he could live through it.

“Are you sure you don’t double as a shrink in your spare time?” Simon asked. “The second time I’m talking intimate stuff with you and I feel great.”

“I’m pretty sure,” Carter replied. “Being a shrink is not for me. Although I would like one of those couches they show in movies. They look really comfortable. Do you think they sell them online?”

Simon smiled at him.

“You’re a bit different,” the guy said. “From anyone else I know, at least. But I like you, man. You’re cool.”

“Thanks,” Carter replied promptly.

“See you,” Simon waved while walking away. “And thanks for this,” he pointed at the card.

Carter looked after Simon for a while. He felt a little better, too. Even if helping Simon wasn’t going to get him closer to Aron, it felt good, nonetheless. Plus, he had a little idea about what to do next.

***

It wasn’t difficult to spot Alex’s Spyder, even among the numerous luxury vehicles parked in the parking lot at Beauty X. Unless the douchebag was working late, he was going to be there any moment now.

Carter decided to wait, and fortunately, didn’t have to do that for long. He noticed Alex coming out of the building, while chatting and flirting with some co-worker, by the way he was throwing his head back and gesturing with both hands.

The guy slowed down when he noticed him, but, after a short moment of hesitation, he decided to continue walking.

“I want to talk to you,” Carter said, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Are you here to make a scene?” Alex huffed and tried to maneuver himself around Carter.

No way. The scumbag wasn’t going to run away from this.

“No, I’m here to set things right,” Carter said.

Alex sighed theatrically and stood in front of Carter, mimicking his moves and crossing his arms over his chest.

“Let Aron go. You don’t want him,” Carter spoke first.

“And you do,” Alex set his chin high. “Seriously? How long have you two been screwing each other? I have to say I was pretty damn surprised to hear about it.”

“Not long enough,” Carter said through his teeth. “It was after you two got separated, just so you know. Unlike you and Simon,” he added.

Alex assessed him, his eyes at half-mast.

“You seem to know all kinds of things. It makes one wonder,” Alex said slowly, measuring every word.

“Wonder what?”

Alex shrugged.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m not giving up on Aron.”

“Too bad. Because he has given up on you already,” Carter said.

For a brief second, Alex’s green eyes shadowed.

“Well, there’s no marriage without rough patches. We’ll work through this one. I’m sure.”

Alex made a move to go for his car, but Carter caught his arm.

“What’s this story about me pushing you in front of the fire truck? You know it’s not true,” he hissed at the other.

Alex shook his arm free.

“No, it’s not,” he admitted, as he searched his man purse for the car keys.

“So why are you insisting on it? Do you want to see me thrown in jail? Will that make you happy?”

To Carter’s surprise, Alex’s eyes became even darker. Suddenly, the guy was looking older than his age. Now that was one of Alex’s faces he could not remember seeing.

“No one’s throwing you in jail, don’t worry,” Alex sighed. “I’m not going to say that.”

“So? Did you tell Aron that?” Carter asked, hope rising inside.

“Why should I?” Alex said, the corners of his mouth dropping lower. “It’s the only way I’m keeping him right now illegal bahis from shutting down our marriage.”

“You’re impossible!” Carter exclaimed, fighting with the guy over the car door.

“And what do you care?” Alex hissed like a wild cat. “Aron loved you like a shmuck for years, and you were blind. I come along, I marry him, and you suddenly want him? Is that it? You only care when the toy’s taken away from you?”

Carter gaped in shock. The scumbag was right. In a fucked up way, but he was right. What could he say to defend himself against that? He had practically given Aron the cold shoulder for years. And he had no excuse for that.

Alex took advantage of his surprise to slide inside his car and slam the door shut. Carter barely managed to get out of the way, as the asshole kicked the Spyder into gear.

***

Cereals. Without milk. He didn’t care for food much lately. At least he wasn’t leaving Taz unfed. Yay. He could congratulate himself for doing something half right, and that was taking care of his dog. If it hadn’t been for Taz, he was pretty certain he would have gone without food or leaving the house for days. At least, he was going through the motions. Sleep, work, shower, shave, stuff like that. But he wasn’t in the mood for eating, that was all.

The problem was, that asshole was right. How could he claim Aron when he had been such a stupid piece of shit for years? He wasn’t in his right to do that. Not that he wanted to let Alex have him. If there was one thing he was certain of, that was that Aron should be free from that asshole. And then, well then, Carter was going to love him for at least 15 years, until he was going to muster the courage to tell Aron how he felt. It was only fair. 15 years for 15 years.

The TV blared as some energetic anchorwoman wearing vibrant war paint was reading the latest in show biz.

“And, now, we are live with our correspondent on the ground,” the woman spoke cheerfully.

Carter was busy searching for a piece of raisin in his cereals, when something from the reporter’s commentary drew his attention. He almost had to turn the couch upside down to find the remote and pump up the volume.

“Yes, we all heard the rumors,” the reporter was conversing with the anchorwoman in the studio. “But it looks like Alex Ruskin is back in love with his husband, as they are both attending this very special event for our fashion icon.”

The camera panned over a beautifully adorned room, where people dressed up to snuff were seated at tables, in what looked like a restaurant or club setting. His heart clenched as the camera zoomed in on Aron and Alex who were at the same table with others Carter remembered to be Beauty X employees.

“So, no more trouble in paradise?” the anchorwoman demanded to know.

Alex was clearly busy chatting with the others at the table, but, when he made a move to take Aron’s hand, as the man was keeping one resting on the table, Aron stood up brusquely. Alex turned his head to watch his husband with a frozen look on his face.

Carter watched in fascination, while tuning out the reporter’s commentary. He was too busy looking at Aron. The man’s face looked dark, his lips pursed as he leaned over his husband, probably whispering something only the two of them could hear.

Alex seemed surprised for a fraction of a second, and then he seemed to notice the camera focused on him. Right away, he began smiling charmingly, and waved. The camera zoomed in for a few seconds. When it zoomed out, Aron was nowhere in the picture.

Carter sighed. Aron looked good. But pissed like hell. So, at least, whatever Alex was doing to fix that so called rough patch, it wasn’t working.

I thought you wanted to save that marriage.

No way. I decided to be an egoist. I hope that marriage gets wrecked.

Wow.

Yeah, wow. Sue me if you don’t like it.

He was done fighting that kind of moral dilemma. Aron wasn’t happy with Alex. He was better out of that marriage.

Anyways, he thought, as he took his half eaten bowl of cereals to the kitchen. He needed to be patient. Aron was going to come back to him. He had to. And then Carter was going to make sure that the guy was going to be happy until a faithful day, 15 years from now, when he was going to be in his right to say the words. And ask for Aron’s hand in marriage.

Yes, he thought to himself, satisfied with that order of things.

What if Aron gets bored and finds someone else?

No way. I’m going to keep him so busy, he won’t have time for chasing guys.

You know what they say. Even the tastiest food, if you eat it every day …

Shut up. I’ll learn how to be kinky. I’ll have David teach me. Aron will never get bored with me.

It’s not all about sex. What if you two run out of things to say to each other?

We’ll travel. And I’ll learn ten foreign languages, so I can impress him when we go abroad. Donde esta la biblioteca? Shnelle, shnelle … Voulez vous coucher avec moi? See, I’m already more interesting than five minutes ago.

His brain was right. That was a serious issue. At least until they were going to get married, 15 years from now, he needed to make sure Aron wasn’t bored. Hmm, he needed a plan. Something to cover all weekends and vacations.

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