chapter 20

That morning I knew that it was time, time to make some phone calls, to sort stuff out and to head out straight looking for answers rather then looking at the problem.

At the end of the afternoon I told him that we where going out that evening. Surprised by it he didn’t asked a lot, but he didn’t object either, not like he had done a few days back.

Around 6 pm we had gotten dressed. I know I was dressed smarter then he was but then I knew what I was up too.

We got in the taxi and when we drove off he whispered to me “Are we going to the lake”. I looked at him and smiled.

“Yea, I thought we deserved that”.

“Did you talk her into letting us stay the night too”?

“Yea, all arranged”.

“Good, I love you Nick”.

“I love you Francis”.

Although I was not able to cook anything like Francis had done in the past. I had assured there would be a nice dinner waiting for us. If we where fast it would still be warm by the time we finished it.

When we had finished dinner I looked at him. “I know we are both struggling at this moment Francis, but I know also we need to go back on with our lives. I am sure the psychologist told you not to let it run your life although it is easy to let that happen”.

“I know but  …”

“St,” I said and put my finger softly on his lips. He licked it and made me giggle. “Wait Francis” I said trying to be serious.

“Ok, sorry Nick just couldn’t resist that, continue”.

“You know I have been on the phone a lot today”.

“Yea, I noticed that, but didn’t want to disturb you”.

“Well I think I have found a way out of this”.

“What do you mean”?

“A way we can both keep our careers going and also live together”.

“How did you do that”?

“Ok, I talked for a long time with my professor today. I explained him the situation and he understood the problem. I bluntly said that I was thinking about quitting. Well it seems he didn’t want me to do that so we worked a way out that I am going to do most of the studding off campus, including practical work. I should be only going in then for exam periods. He said he would give that a try if I would be regular in contact with him. Would tell him if any difficulties occur and if for the first term I would come in once or twice more to look at the progress I was making”.

“You think that would work for you, would you able to do that”. He said.

“Yea, if that it is what is necessary to keep us together”.

“But you need a place to work and have the material to do it all. You have that at the university”.

I smiled. “I know but there is where my first exposition comes in handy”.

He looked at me. “How”.

It had been one of the subjects that neither of us have had the guts to bring up. He had understood from Randy that it was a successes but that was it”.

“Well I think I will be able to afford to get my own stuff. Maybe not all in ones but enough to start with. Then there is the job for Nick”.

“Hmm, well I want you to have all the stuff Nick, not just a bit to do what you do now”.

“No, no worries about that Francis. I have enough to get most of it, just for a few expensive stuff I might need to finish the order I got from Nick”.

“Hmm, Sorry but getting confused now”.

“Ok, let me tell you what happened if you are ok with that”.

“Yea go on”.

So, without going into much detail I told him about how I met Nick, who he was and that he wanted me to do a painting of his boyfriend.

“You think he would still want you to do it then”.

“I haven’t been able to reach him but I might. But that is only to get stuff that I won’t need for the first year or so. I did well Francis, really well, I sold everything, well I could have sold everything and for good prices as well”.

He looked now quite stunned at me “You did”.

“Yea, and although it might mean we need to live tight for a bit together, if I invest it all in material and tools I think I might pursue another exhibition by this summer to make sure we will get some more money in to live on”.

“That much”.

“Yea, that much”.

“I knew they would like it” he said.

I just smiled, blushing a bit as he was right he had pushed me a bit on doing it although later he had found it impossible to come over, but I had the reasons for that.

“So you think this would work then”.

“Living together, with me, so I can train, you can be the artist you are, both have our careers working on”.

“Yea”.

He looked still if he couldn’t believe it. I knew I was still in shock that all the phone calls had worked out so nicely.

“Wow, yea that would be great, a dream come true”.

“Good, then I think I will give the professor and Nick tomorrow a ring and see if we can get ahead with it”.

“You told your Dad, Nick”.

“No, he has got nothing to do with it Francis. I know what I want, no what I need to develop my talent and you are big part of the inspiration for that”.

“Hmm, good, he might not agree with it though”.

“I know but that is why I said we might end up living a bit tight, both in space and in money but we can cope”.

“You are not going to tell him then”.

“No not yet, not until it is all arranged. I will have to go to the university to arrange things. Then we need to look at a bigger place at your end. When all that is done we will go together back here and then only then I will tell Dad. There is not a lot he can do anymore then.”

“No he can’t I guess.”

He got closer to me and started to kiss me. The change I had seen from the beginning of the evening till now had pushed me further then I could have gone but I knew it was the right thing. I had hoped not to have asked Nick but I felt that money wise it was the best. I just hoped that Thomas was not doing to bad yet and where able to do this. I still had the sketch but not sure that was enough now.

We kissed and cuddled up just in front of the open fire. I felt like I had not felt when we where here last time. I looked at him and knew he had just though the same.

‘Scary” I said softly.

“Yea, it will take some time to get used to but also reassuring and safe Nick”.

“I know” and gave him another kiss.

We had a good night sleep, no not to much of that going on as I was waited for Francis to be ready for it. I was not going to push I knew to good that was the wrong thing to do. But I noticed he would be getting their faster then I did.

Again he looked so peaceful with his eyes closed, his breast going slowly up and down, a soft smile on his lips. More then ever I was overwhelmed and knew although I had not been sure until that point to do the last bit of my plan as well. I moved forward and softly kissed him on his lips.

When I felt him started to move I moved my mouth close to his ear and whispered.

He smiled immediately. I saw the approval on his face and the tension broke. This was how it should be how it would be in the future.

We talked things over during breakfast and around noon we left to go back home. We had a long talk with my Dad, Francis mom and Susan. My Mom was not in town and it was not something I felt the need yet to talk with her about. It was not easy but in the end I think they saw we had made up our minds and there was no way back anymore.

It was decided that we would go back to the university for 2 weeks to get everything arranged. I would then go to stay with Francis to see if we could find a big apartment of a small house or something to rent so I could have my studio there as well.

When I arrived at the airport I was so eager to see Francis that I almost left my bag behind. It had been a hard two weeks. I finally had been able to contact Nick and he was more then happy for me to finish what I had started. It still had not been going ok with Thomas but both of them wanted me to finish it. I said I would give it a try or I would come out to their place in a months time for a few days if need be.

“At last” Francis said after we had hugged each other.

“You can say that again”.

“Well it was not easy and I know now again that it is good to do this. Although we talked this time each night I am not able to do this long distance. I want to see you, feel you, smell you”.

I smiled you will lets get to your place.

It was a bit of a shock to see his room again, the last time the memory’s had not been good at all. We got back up to speed with what we where doing. Francis and David had looked around. They had found a small house not to far from where David with his family where staying. We want to visit it the next day and I loved it, it was old, ok, small ok but also it had something that you could say atmosphere in it. It had been lived, used and more important loved in the past as well.

We then started to get everything in order. At the end of the two weeks we flew both back home to get the stuff from home as we now had space to put it in.

We had arrived on the Tuesday afternoon. Dinner was nice with Susan, Francis’ Mom and my dad. We talked about what had happened. Francis told them a bit how he was doing but I notice that he didn’t fool his Mom nor my Dad. We had decided not to spoil the evening and would wait until the next day before we would tell. The last thing we wanted was his Mom and my Dad fussing over the two of us. So when we had done breakfast he left to pick his Mom up. They would go into town to do some shopping and have lunch together. I am sure he would be drilled by her a lot more about how he was doing.

As expected my Dad was not leaving the question for to long either. The moment Francis had left he looked at me and said “I hope you haven’t planned anything. I thought we could go to the living room and talk for a bit.”

“No problem with, me I am not going anywhere,” I said.

I followed him to the living room.

“So, how is he doing Nick as he looks ok but is he?”.

“Yea, he is doing a lot better, but as you can expect after his experience it will take a while, just as it did for me.”

“He told you everything that happened then?”

“No, I am sure that he didn’t but he told enough for me to realize that if that is what really happened it probably was a lot worse as I felt he had left things out.”

“He is still going to the shrink then?”

“Yea, and me too. But we can do with a session every now and then. as if need be we can always call him.”

“You ok then too? No backlashes of the past?”

“No, those are over Dad.”

“Oh, just wondering as I didn’t think you where seeing the shrink anymore.”

“No, this is to deal with I guess Mom being back and everything that came out then.”

“You got any of those visions again or not.”

“No, not really. It slowly start to be very unreal if you ask me. Not sure it really happened.”

“And your Mom you talked with her lately.”

“Yea, a few short times.”

“Good, I ..”.

“No, not good Dad, just talks nothing more. I am not trusting her, it still feels like there are parts she is not telling me, us even and that is a big problem for getting her more into my life”

“You saw her, or just on the phone.”

“Just on the phone. I think she starts to realize that she hurted me more then she though she did by leaving. I think she starts to see that it was kind of selfish what she did. Good for her from her point of view and, oh maybe good for us too but that is something we will never know.”

“I don’t know but I can see your point of view.”

“You did see her again.”

“A few times yea. I think we needed that to bring it all to a close down Nick. I also wanted to thank her for her work in finding Francis. Not sure if we ever would be able to do that.”

“I know and that is the only reason why I am still talking with her as I am gratefull that she did what she did. I know she put her own life on the stone with that, too. But there is to much more that is unanswered and a few weeks ago Francis opened my eyes a bit more as I am not sure I understand some of her biggest descions. Even if I could understand us leaving then it gets very disturbing with Damion. How could she let them do that to him. There is not one good reason for that to happen Dad.”

“So Francis got problems with her as well?”

“Oh, lots more then I do, I talked with her. I don’t think that he is up to do that for a long time. If I will meet up and I might then it will be somewhere alone and not together with him around.”

“Is that troubling your relationship with him.”

“No not at all. We know where we stand and I will let him know when and if I meet up with her. How is Susan dealing with it all.”

“Oh, shocked at first I would say but she trusts me and I know she has no problem with the meetings we had. But as you do with Francis, I told her all about them. Your Mom knows that as well. I am not letting Susan go she is the best next thing to have happened to me so no worries there.”

“Good, I hoped that would be the case.”

“Hm, did you talk with David about your Mom as well while you where down at Francis’s place?”

“Oh we did several times. I think we are more or less on the same level although he has less to deal with. It might though, that it makes that only tougher to believe, why she left in the beginning anyway.”

“It could. As long as he talks. He has met her again then?”

“No not yet. But I think that Kathy and he came to the conclusion that they want their son to know his Grand Mother so I guess that will happen at some point.”

“Good as I had hoped that would have happened. It is something that what ever happened she deservers and the little rascal deserves to know her as well.”

“I must say Dad that it seems you are dealing with this all very easily you know. Hardly if you are not having any anger towards her at all.”

He looks surprised at the question then smiles. “I guess I am past that point Nick, maybe even to old. Or maybe if I hadn’t had Susan I might have but now it feels like a waste of time to be honest. I want to enjoy it all and being mad at your Mom is not going to help at all.”

“Maybe yea, but …”

“Just let me finish for a moment Nick. I just want you to realise one thing as well. You might have all the time of the world but maybe not your Mother, she is older just like me and when you get older you realize you might not have the time of the world to heal things so think about that too because it will be to late not only for her but also for you when she dies.”

“Hm, yea I guess you are right about that too. I am not going to make a descion on a short term but might in a few weeks or so to take her up and see her again.”

‘Good, so now what about you. James was wondering when you would be back with him. You thought about going back to the University?”

Ah I thought there is the question, the one that I had been waiting for all the time. I knew he would be coming. I was wondering how to do this.

“You have your inspiration back to do the good paintings again haven’t you?” he asked before I could say anything

“I think so, not had a lot of time to do anything but it feels good again so yea that should not be a problem. I talked with Nick, you know the one that asked for that painting to be made and I agreed with him that I would finish It. I might be going soon back up there soon to finish it.”

“So what about university then?”

“Yea that too. I talked with my professor for quite some time. He is eager for me to start as well. I explained I would but it would mean some changes in how I would do it.”

“What do you mean Nick?”

“We worked out a way so I don’t need to go back to University for the whole time. Just for certain periods. It would mean making a lot more work though. But I think I can handle that. It might turn even good enough for another exposition around the summer.”

“Oh, but where are you going to stay then in the meantime.”

“I am moving in with Francis. We …”

“Nick, are you sure that is a good idea. He needs his concentration just as much as you do you know.”

“I know but we also need each other as inspiration. We came to the conclusion that that is more important then the distraction. We have learned from that Dad, we can’t do that anymore. We tried that for the last 2 years and it just didn’t work. It worked but not in the way it should. We need to concentrate on our work and not only on what the other is doing, if he is ok etc. That worked more as a distraction.”

“Hmm well I am not sure Nick. You are still young and I know what is on your mind. Why do you think I had those rules when you where living down here.”

“I know but I think we have grown and we know the responsibility we have towards each other careers.”

“Does Francis Mother know?”

“I think they are having that conversation right now as we had planned to tell you this morning.”

“Oh, well sorry I am worried about you two you know. I think that if I would have known that this is the path that was layed out for you then I …..” he started to cry a bit.

“No worries we are ok and yea it has been hard first for me and now for Francis but I know I got stronger because of it and I am sure that Francis will be as well. I think especially mentally it will help to improve his gymnastic even but that might be a while before he gets there.”

He looked up at me. “I know I let you down when Mom left. That I spend a lot more time with David but that was not because I didn’t love you as much. Just that for some reason you wanted to cope with it on your own. You are so much stronger then you think Nick. You are able to deal with stuff that even I am not sure I could.”

I smiled now, got closer to him and hugged him. “I learned too, from you and how you dealt with it all Dad. It is not something that comes from me.”

“Even though. I had more years to get there.”

“We will see,” I said.

“So when are you moving then?”

“Oh we moved already most of my stuff. We got to buy a bit more stuff so I am able to do all the work I wanted to do. Especially while I can’t use the facilities anymore of the University.”

“Is that going to be difficult money wise, Nick?”

“No, I earned enough with the exhibition and I have the painting for Nick to do as well. I think we will be able to manage. Now if the summer exhibition is not going to be a success it might be a different story all in all.”

“Well I can always help as you know. But are you going to stay here for a bit longer then or are you going back soon.”

“No, we are going to stay until the weekend. We have invited a lot of people over for a party on Saturday evening.”

“Oh, but not here is it?”

“No, we are going up to the restaurant at the lake.”

“Ah, ok, well I am sure you will have a lot of fun you deserve it.”

“Oh, we will but you and Susan are invited as well.”

“Hm not sure I want to Nick, it is nice you thought about us but we are getting older you know. I don’t think we will fit .”

“No, you better be there and there will be others like Francis Mom and I am sure you would not want to miss out in meeting up with David and Kathy and the little one?”

He smiled”Are they coming too then?”

“Yea they should arrive on Saturday morning.”

“Nice, we can go and pick them up.”

“You are coming then?”

“Wouldn’t want to miss seeing them and I guess you got all the others of the gang down there too?”

“That is the plan. But no need to pick them up we have arranged all of that. Just make sure you are ready by 11 ok?”

“Oh, ok, so any plans for the rest of the day?”

“No, I thought we could hang out a bit. I haven’t told you about our new place.”

For the rest of the morning and during lunch time we got up to speed with what has happened during the last few months. Not the hard bits but everything else around it.

Francis came back early afternoon. He had a smile on his face so it meant that it had went ok with his Mom. We got back to our bedroom just around 3 pm to have a bit of an afternoon cuddles.

“So it went ok with your Mom then Francis?”

“Yea no problem she is just happy that we are happy together. I think after the situation with my Dad that she knows how important that is”.

“Was she not going on about how you were doing”.

“A bit but I think when I told her that I would be back in training and school soon she was a bit more convinced about it.”

“Fine, how did she react to the invitation for the party this weekend?”

“Oh, she didn’t want to come at first but when I said there would be older people as well she was easily convinced.”

“Good, the same with Dad.”

“Was he difficult upon you moving in with me?”

“A bit yea, not sure he is totally convinced about it but he knows he can’t stop me.”

“So we are all set then for the weekend. You still want to go through with it all?”

“Yea no problems there.”

“Good, well lets see if we can do a nap.”

He rested his head on my chest and in silent we enjoyed each others company.

chapter 21

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