Trainwreck - A Very Guilty Pleasure

Chapter 6: Just for Fun

It was Saturday morning and Ike had big plans. His lycra was all cleaned, Devin was due over at nine a.m., and they were going to spend a wild day together.

Yet, it didn't start as he had imagined it would. Ike slept long past his typical wake-up of six a.m. and instead groggily came around a bit after eight.

"Fuck." Ike sat up, his head swimming. He stood and flinched at his aching legs. "God damn it. I don't need this."

Ike shuffled into the bathroom of his new apartment. It was a small place, and not in a great building.The only good thing about it was the proximity to his fire-station. Do I have anything? He flipped on the light and squinted at himself in the medicine cabinet mirror. He was flushed, and his eyes were red. He grunted and opened the cabinet.

Ike groaned at his lack of choices. The only thing he had that might help was a bottle of aspirin. He took two tablets, closed the cabinet, and washed down his meds by slurping a few handfuls of water from the sink. Ike turned off the tap, hung his head, and water dripped from his face as he breathed.

With reluctance, Ike pulled the thermometer out of the drawer. He stood and wavered slightly on his feet as he waited for the thermometer to finish. The gadget beeped, and Ike took a look.

102.4 F.

"Fuuuuck." He rubbed his feverish face. "Sick."

Ike staggered into the bedroom. He grabbed a blanket from the bed and draped it over his shoulders, then walked to the living room. He put his phone on the coffee table and lay down with the blanket, grunting and groaning with the aches of his body. "I'll just sleep." All of his muscles ached and his face hurt from sinus pressure. He blinked up at the ceiling. "Wait. I'm forgetting ..."

Ike inhaled as he realized. "Shit." He picked up his phone and tapped out a message.

'Devin, don't come over. I'm sick with a fever. Sorry.'

He sent the message and a coughing fit seized him. Ike hacked, and had to sit up so he could breathe. He made a little, miserable sound when the coughing finally stopped. His phone vibrated.

'Awww. I'm sorry. Do you need anything? I can bring soup and ginger ale.'

Ike frowned as he texted back. Between coughs, he managed to get it typed out. 'Don't want you to get sick.'

'It's probably flu if you have a fever. I had my shot. I'll see you soon.'

Ike was too sick to fight. He lay there under the blanket, the phone on his chest, and between coughing bouts, fitfully dozed.

An indeterminate time later, a knock sounded, startling him awake. Ike grimaced as he sat up. He wore only his briefs and tottered like an old man over to the door to open it, heedless of his near-nakedness.

"Hey, Ike." Devin smiled kindly at him. He carried a couple of bags. Devin walked inside and motioned with his head at the couch with the blanket. "Go lay down. I'll fix some stuff and bring it to you."

The big man did as he was told.

Ike could see into the kitchen, and he watched as Devin puttered about. A can of soup went on the stove, and then Devin worked at slicing something small and green. That went into the soup while it simmered, and then the little fellow poured half a glass of orange juice. He filled the rest of the glass with ginger ale and mixed it up. Devin brought the concoction over to Ike.

"Okay. Sit up so you can drink."

Ike pushed himself up into a seated position. Everything was difficult, and he couldn't help but wear his misery on his face.

"Aww. I'm sorry you don't feel good." Devin handed the glass to him and then put a cool hand on his neck. He watched while Ike drank the juice and ginger ale.

Ike finished with the glass and Devin set it on the coffee table. "I'll be back with your soup."

"Okay."

Ike continued to watch him with glassy eyes. Devin hunted about in the kitchen for a bowl. He finally found one that'd take all of the soup and carefully poured from the pot into the bowl.

Devin walked slowly with the steaming bowl of liquid. "Okay." He stood by the couch with the food. "Sit forward so you can eat. Let's just put the bowl on your lap."

Ike shifted, and the bowl went on his blanket covered legs. Little slices of jalapeno floated on the surface.

"Thanks." He took a spoonful of the stuff and slurped it down. There was a faint bite of spicy that cut through even his lack of taste, and the warm ceramic bowl felt good in his lap. The steam from the soup rose and helped soothe his swollen sinuses. "Mmmm." Ike leaned over the bowl and mechanically ate. Devin sat beside him, gently rubbing Ike's aching back as he slowly worked through the chicken noodle soup.

"All done?" Devin took the bowl. "Need anything else?"

Ike sniffed loudly. "No."

"Okay." Devin took the bowl into the kitchen, then reentered the living room. "Why don't you lay down?"

Ike did. He lay on his belly, coughed a couple of times, then wiggled a bit to try and get comfortable. Devin pulled the blanket out from under Ike's legs and draped it over his body. He sat beside the couch on the floor. Ike stared at Devin.

"You don't have to stay. I'm not much fun right now."

Devin smiled and gently ran feather-light fingers over Ike's warm face. The fireman blinked slowly as he did.

"Where else would I be?"

Ike stopped fighting and let his eyes close. As he fell asleep under the patient, caring hand of his lover, the tiniest ember began to burn in his heart.

&&&

In Port Joy, Ben woke up on Saturday morning wondering what Devin was doing. When he shut his eyes all he could see was the big fireman, in his lycra suit, drilling his husband. “And the fucking prick loving it,” he whispered. He pulled himself up and reached for his phone from the bedside table. “Well … both of them loving it …”

Opening it, he gazed at the lock screen, which was blank. “Of course there are no messages. Who would …” He quickly checked the weather and shut the case. Ben sat quietly thinking about Devin and his marriage. It’s no wonder he wanted other men, because I’m no man, am I?

Ben pulled up his knees and wrapped his arms around them. He let hot, silent tears fall. They dampened the sheets. Men fuck. Why can’t I? Why can’t I be more like Ike? I tried with Devin. How often did we try and … what a fucking mess. Ben threw back the covers and got out of the warm, comfortable bed. He padded over to the window; before him was farmland and trees.

“It’s so beautiful here. Quiet. These days here with Frank have been so right. It feels right.” He reached down to touch himself. “Maybe … maybe I’m not like Ike. Is that wrong? I can still enjoy sex, enjoy my partner … why can’t I just be what I am?”

Ben went to the ensuite washroom to pee and wash up for the day. I wonder if this was how Devin felt? Why he needed other men … tops. He rinsed hands and washed his face and gazed into the mirror, deciding not to shave this morning. I should talk to him. He’s not a bad person, just unfulfilled. I think we both knew we shouldn’t get married. Back in the bedroom, Ben pulled on his clothes. As he dressed, he talked aloud to himself. “He’s a good guy, kind and loving. I’ll talk to him and we can get a divorce. Sort things out together and then say goodbye. I really do just want him to be happy.”

Frank had been up awhile and had been outside to fill his bird feeders. It was a crisp but lovely November day and once he’d returned indoors, he trotted up the stairs to knock on Ben’s door. He stopped as he heard Ben talking to himself. After it had gone quiet and he’d taken a deep breath, Frank rapped on the guest bedroom door.

Ben pulled it open. “Hey, morning! I was just on my way down.”

“That’s great. So, it’s Saturday. Anything you’d like to do?”

“Well … do we need to shop and things?”

“Yeah, there is that. I normally did it on my own.” Frank started down the stairs.

“Well, not now you won’t.”

Frank smiled. “I have a thought. Let’s go for breakfast, we can make a menu for the week and then go shopping.”

“That sounds like a plan.”

They ended up in the local old-fashioned diner. After ordering their meals and the arrival of coffee, they sat in silence for a few minutes.

Ben stirred a teaspoon of sugar into his cup. “I … I guess I … we maybe need to get a lawyer. I think Devin and I are through. I think we need to get divorced.”

Frank grimaced and closed his eyes. “Yeah, I suppose so. I need to call Ike and arrange to talk about all of this. I think you and me, well, all of us, ended up marrying the wrong person.”

“Yeah, we did, sadly. But there is no time like the present.” Ben pulled his phone from his pocket. After pressing a couple of buttons he held the phone to his ear. “Hey, hi. Yeah … You? Good. Listen Devin, can we arrange to meet at the boat and talk? … Nope, I have no desire to argue either. We can do this as friends, share everything and then move on is my vision … When? … Yeah. Um, Mondays are terrible because we rehearse and shoot the soap that day … Yeah, Tuesday works. See you then … about six p.m.? Great. You too … Bye.”

Frank watched the exchange, then said, “That went okay.”

“Yeah, best just to get on with it.”

“I suppose so. I’ll call Ike later on.” Frank sipped his coffee. He glanced around at the other diners before settling his attention once more on Ben. “I just wanted to say that it’s good to have you in the house.”

“It’s a great place. So quiet and beautiful. Thanks for having me. I should be paying toward the rent or mortgage.”

“It’s paid for, the house. My grandmother lived there and left it to me. There’s only the upkeep and taxes.” Frank smiled. “If you decide to stay on after the month, we’ll work something out.”

Ben allowed the smallest of smiles. “Frank …”

Just at that moment, their server arrived with their food. “Here we are, boys. Bacon and eggs, twice, with an order of sausage to share.” The woman placed their plates down. “I’ll be back with more coffee in two shakes.”

“Thanks, Mona.” Frank picked up his fork and stabbed a sausage. “Try these. Most of this food is local. These come from a farm not far from here. Guy raises excellent pork.”

Both men tucked into their food. There were glances and smiles but no words for several minutes until Mona returned to refill their coffee.

Frank paused after wiping his plate with his last piece of toast. “Ben, before the food arrived you started to say something …”

Ben stirred his fresh cup of coffee. “Um, yeah. I don’t know what will happen, Frank. I mean if we will be more than we are … but we get on okay. I’d love to stay with you, I don’t think that’s gonna change.”

Nodding, Frank reached across the table and held Ben’s hand for a few seconds. “Okay. I like you. But unlike my husband … ex-husband … I need more time, I think. I’m not ready to jump into …”

“No! No, neither am I.” Ben squeezed Frank’s hand. “But this is nice.”

Frank held on more firmly. “Yeah, it is.”

&&&

Several times on Saturday afternoon, Frank picked up his phone to call Ike. Each time he put it down. I can’t do this today. Monday … I’ll call him from work. He’ll be at work so it won’t last long.

Monday came and Frank struggled. Stop being such a wimp. Just call him. Frank sat at his desk. Ben had gone down to talk to Jessica about lunch. Finally, he forced himself to call.

“Hello?”

The voice was sleepy, nasal and thick. Frank frowned, wondering if he had the correct number. “Ike?”

“Yeah. Hey, Frank. How are you?”

“I'm fine, thanks. Hey, are you okay? You don’t sound so great.”

“I’m doing better. Just getting over the flu.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Frank’s heart hitched. “Do you need anything? You’re at your apartment, right? I mean I could come by, pick stuff up for you.”

There was silence. Then Ike said, “Um … well, I’m okay.”

Realization slapped Frank like a cold wet salmon. “Yes, of course, Devin’s there. Sorry. I won’t keep you long.” Frank closed his eyes and swallowed. “I … um, was wondering if, once you feel up to it, we could talk? I think maybe … maybe …”

“You think we should get a divorce?”

Frank opened and closed his mouth. “Fuck … Yeah, I think so.”

“So do I, babe. I mean … it was good, but it was never really right, was it?”

“No. I’m sorry.”

“Hey, it wasn’t all shit either, Frankie. We had good times. I fucking care about you. We need to change how we live, not give each other up completely.”

Frank’s eyes welled. “Me too. I feel that way too.”

“Okay. Then don’t be sad. I need a nap, but now I can sleep. Now I know that we can be together, but apart.” Frank heard a little creaking sound as Ike shifted on the sofa. “Listen, I’ve seen a lawyer. Told him I want a simple uncomplicated divorce, nothing to split, no money issues. He said I shouldn’t talk to you about it until you had a lawyer and blah blah. We aren’t going to fight over anything, are we?”

“No. We can do this as friends. I really want that.”

“Perfect. So … listen, we’ll get together soon to talk and work stuff out. Okay?”

“Yeah. Soon. Thanks, Ike. Take care of yourself.”

“You too, Frankie, you too. Be happy.”

“Bye, Ike.”

Ben stood quietly in the doorway. “Are you okay?”

Frank blinked at the screen and then regarded his partner. “Yeah … yeah, I’m just fine. Ike is … ah, sick. Flu or something, he said.”

“Aw, man, that’s shitty. I hope he feels better soon.”

“Yeah. So, lunch ordered?” Frank opened his script notes.

Ben sat at his desk. “I ordered a chicken sub for you, so with any luck you’ll get beef.”

Frank laughed. “Lunch, the mystery meal.”

“I guess we could go out and get our own food.”

“Where is the fun in that? I’m only glad I’m not a picky eater.”

Ben sniffed. “I’m sorry. The chicken feet were really just too much! They really were.”

About a half-hour later, Jessie entered the office. She toted a large carrier bag which read: Hot Stuff Vietnamese. In black heels, the young P.A. tottered over to the kitchenette, and said in her breathy voice, “Hello Mr. Frank and Mr. Ben. I’ve brought you your delicious soup and sub rolls.”

Ben opened his mouth but Frank grinned and waved at him. “That’s lovely. Thanks, Jessie.”

“Okay. I’ll just go back to my desk. Have a wonderful afternoon. Toodle Loo!”

The men watched her leave.

“Vietnamese soup and sub rolls?” Ben got up and walked over to unpack their lunch. He pulled out two containers of Pho and salad rolls. “Well, it will be good, at least she got that right!”

They sat at the small table to eat.

Frank spooned hot soup into his mouth. “Damn, they make the best soup.” After a couple more spoonsful, he said, “I have a few ideas for this script, Ben.”

Ben twisted a salad roll with pork and mango into the dip. “Like?”

“Well, Stella … Lightning's Mistress!”

Ben laughed, covering his mouth with his hand. “Say what now? You’d better explain.”

“Well, she is from Freakling Brothers as well. When Weatherby ran away, she followed him a couple of days after. I was thinking that maybe Lupe could ...”

An hour later, their script changes had been sent to the Director. Rehearsals had begun.

“All right, folks. Let’s do this right the first time. Maybe we can start shooting early!” The assistant director, Gary, clapped his hands as actors took their places.

 

As The Houseboat Floats - Episode Four

Scene: Outside the store a lovely, nearly white-haired blonde woman sits. She is reading Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne.

Lupe walks toward her, licking his lips. He whispers, “Lamb chop,” before he gets too close. He is wiping greasy hands on a rag.

He stops in front of her. “Good day. Hows can I helps you, lil’lady?”

Stella peers up from her reading and sizes the man up. He’s creepy in a sexual way. She stands, thrusting her ample chest forward. There is no doubt what is on her mind. “I’m looking for someone.” She steps into Lupe’s ‘personal space’. In response, he puts his hands on her hips and pulls her in closer.

“Mmm, you are a big sexy man.”

He fondles her ass. “Who you be seekin’ out, missy?”

She bends at the knee and rubs herself against Lupe. She whispers huskily, “He can wait but right now, I can’t.”

Lupe grins and licks his lips. “Well, Lupe aims ta please.” He takes her hand and leads her to the houseboat. As they pass Gerry and Tom’s cabin, grunting, groaning and wet thrusting sounds can be heard.

Stella notices and Lupe laughs. “Pay dem no mind. Newlyweds.”

She smiles. Lupe unlocks his door and they enter.

Weatherby comes out of the back room. He checks around for Lupe. He steps outside and sees Lupe enter the houseboat and close the door. “Maybe he needs a personal break.” As he goes back into the store, Weatherby notices a book. He picks it up, opens it, reads for a few minutes and then, still reading, he sits down.

  • Commercial break -

Scene: In Lupe’s bedroom. Both are damp with sweat and sitting up in bed. Stella runs her hand down Lupe’s chest. “Is that all you have?”

Lupe laughs. “Lil lady, yous gonna beg me to stop dis time. Lupe can fuck all day.”

Stella laughs and lies down. Lupe grins. “Oh no, dis time yous be on you hands 'n knees.”

“You are such a wolf.”

“Yous have no idea. Now, are we gonna fuck, or talk?”

Suddenly, the bedroom door opens. Weatherby stands there. He eyes flash between Lupe and Stella.

“Oh my god! Lupe!” Weatherby walks in as Stella spins around. His eyes widen. “Stella! How did you find … damn it, you’re fucking my boyfriend!”

“Billy?” She tries to move but Lupe moves behind her.

“Hold on now! It be rude leaving Lupe when he’s ready.” Lupe considers Weatherby. Lupe is laughing. “Billy, eh. You comin’ or goin’ boy? I can sees you wanna stay.”

Weatherby unbuttons his shirt with shaking hands and pulls it off. “Yeah, fuck. I’ll stay.”

&&&

“Cut … cut, folks. That was terrific. Let’s take five and we will do the second half,” the director said.

Gail was watching the rehearsal. She spoke to the props master. “I want this book substituted for whatever that little slut is reading.” She handed him a novel.

Dan examined the book. “But, ma’am, this isn’t the type …”

“I don’t care. Take that out and put this in the final. Do it, or you won’t work on any soap of mine again. Is that clear?”

“Yeah … yes, ma’am.” Dan took the book.

Gail smiled coldly and stalked off the set.

Gary the A.D walked across the set. “Places everyone. Let’s get this second part done as beautifully as the first. Maybe we can shoot it and scram.”

&&&

Scene: opens again on the dock. Lupe, Stella and William Weatherby are standing there in the gathering dark of evening.

“Now Lupe don’t know what happened 'tween yous two,” Lupe gestures back and forth at Weatherby and Stella, “but da way Lupe sees it, she can stay if she pulls her weight." He grins. “It be perfect! She adsorbs yous shocks!”

“That’s right." Stella smiles. “And I’ll do whatever needs doing." She says the words in a sultry purr. Then she reaches and puts a hand on a cringing Weatherby. He gasps as his electricity flows into her. Stella’s eyes flutter and her nipples prominently harden through her white blouse. “Sweetie, you always were my favorite in the Freakling family.”

Weatherby bites his lip. “S-sure, Stella." Both fear and pain appear on his face.

She smiles, drops her hand and goes back to the houseboat. “Come on, Billy." Lupe watches with a frown as Weatherby crosses his arms and follows her aboard.

  • Commercial Break -

Scene: opens on the back deck of the houseboat. Stella looms over a cringing Weatherby.

“You don’t belong here!" Stella grabs Weatherby’s arm and his electricity seems to die where she touches him. “We belong together, not you and that hairy freak!”

Weatherby weakly pulls. “You’re taking too much." His electricity barely flows, and he falls to his knees. “Please. I’ll go. Don’t hurt Lupe. I’ll go.”

She glares down with a maniacal gleam in her eyes. “Good. Let’s get—”

Lupe swings up onto the deck from where he hid listening below the rail. “Where do yous think—”

Stella pulls a long, gleaming knife from a leather holster on her thigh, then lets out a scream and lunges at Lupe. She buries the blade to the hilt in his chest. He stares at the handle as it sticks out of him and she laughs.

“No!" Weatherby cries. “Lupe, no!”

Stella shoves the stunned Lupe over the railing. Lupe falls and splashes into the water, and she grabs Weatherby’s hand. Helpless in her grasp, he’s towed along in her wake.

“Come on!" Stella frowns and pulls at Weatherby as he stumbles on the boarding platform. “We’re getting off this …”

An inhuman growl makes Stella jerk her head around. A dripping, shirtless and bleeding Lupe stands in the way on the dock. He reaches and slowly pulls the knife from his chest. The wound oozes blood. “You ain’t goin’ anywheres wit my boy.”

Stella screams in anger and surprise as Lupe picks her up over his head. He makes a grunt of effort, all his muscles bulging, and throws her off the boat into the water.

Stella surfaces and sputters in rage. “I’ll have what’s mine!" She watches as the wound on Lupe’s chest closes up. Stella frowns. “Someday!" She begins swimming until she is on the far bank. Once there, she disappears on the shore.

Lupe switches his attention to his boyfriend. Weatherby seems utterly drained and lies on the deck. “My boy." He rushes over to the prone younger man.

Weatherby gazes up at him. He’s wan and shaking. “You’re ok? I thought she had taken you from me.”

“Lupe be fine." Lupe lovingly picks him up and holds him in his arms. “Come on. Yous need ta recharge. Lupe gonna takes care of yous till you does.”

Lupe walks onto the boat with Weatherby in his arms, the tiniest of crackles from his electricity sparking on his pale skin.

&&&

“Devin, dinner was great. Let’s watch the hockey game.” Ike settled on the sofa while the other man cleaned up the dishes.

Devin put the remaining dishes in the dishwasher. “Um … Okay, sure.”

Ike glanced over from his seat on the sofa. “Is there a program you’d rather watch?”

“Well, I thought we could watch the guys’ soap. Neither of us watched the Friday showing, and I've heard good things about it.”

Ike raised an eyebrow. “Really? You want to watch our exes’ show?”

Devin dropped in the detergent tab, closed the door and set the wash cycle. The machine started with a whoosh and a hum. “Well, yeah. I thought we were staying friends.”

“Yeah, friends. Sure, whatever, fuck it, we’ll watch it. I can check in with the hockey game.”

“Are you okay, Ike?” Devin sat down next to the big fireman.

"Yeah." Ike's eyes were on the TV. "Fine."

Devin tried to give him a smile, though Ike kept his gaze firmly on the television. "Well, okay." Devin scooted so their legs were pressed against one another. He took reassurance from the closeness and leaned into Ike.

Ike stiffened.

Devin drew back aware something wasn’t right with the man. "What?" He shifted so that he faced Ike on the couch. "What is it?"

Ike worked his jaw. He refused to look at Devin. "I think we should talk. About, ah … about what this is with us."

Devin's stomach felt as if it were in free-fall. "Oh?" He pulled in on himself, subconsciously leaning away from Ike. "What, uh … what about us?"

Ike stared at the opening credits of the soap. "I think we need to call it what it is; that it's just for fun, right?" He still refused to focus on Devin, and his Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed.

Devin paled. "S-sure." He put his hands in his lap and wet his lips, trying to crush the weight of his disappointment. "Yeah. Just, ah …" He couldn't do it. Devin stood. "I … I gotta go."

Ike watched as Devin rushed out of his apartment, tears streaking down his face, and a muffled sob choked back in his throat. The door shut, and Ike turned back to the television. As the soap began to play, he sat forward and put his face in his hands.

&&&&

Author's Note:

Our story proceeds, and the soap adds a new character! Stella, Lightning's Mistress! She fits right in, don't you think?

While Ben and Frank become more comfortable and grow closer, Ike and Devin hit a snag. Devin was sure something more was going on between them, while Ike wants to keep things casual.

Or ... does he?

There's more to come next week, so make sure to turn that dial back to SNET! We are your station for soaps. You know the jingle: SNET - All Soaps all the Time!

We'd love to hear from you if you have a moment or two!!