Jonathan awoke to the incredible aroma of freshly brewed coffee. He was lying across the entire kingsize bed on his front, tangled in the sheets. For a moment his befuddled brain wondered at the mechanics of going to bed with someone and waking up alone when you were in their house. But he wasn’t alone long. As he started to sit up, to extract himself from the sheets, the bedroom door opened and Adam stepped inside wearing a green towelling robe, the colour of which matched his eyes perfectly, and carrying a tray.
“You’re still here,” Adam
commented gently, “that’s a good start.”
* * *
It seemed ages since he’d
been over at Maddy’s for a cosy dinner for
two. He wasn’t sure where the apprehension had
come from but
there were definitely butterflies in his stomach.
The kitchen was
a moment from actually being
on fire, as it always seemed to be whenever Maddy was
his coat and stepped into the smoke.
Jonathan looked around and
stared at her across the smoke-filled
kitchen. Suddenly the burning roast didn’t seem so
important. “What are you
But to end so soon....
“Him or you?” he clarified,
trying and just about succeeding to keep
any emotion out of his voice.
Jonathan sat in the back row of the stalls, feet up on the back of the seat in front of him, scribbling on the pad in his lap. Since arriving here from Maddy’s place he believed he’d been through every emotion possible. He’d decided upon burying himself in work, but even that wasn't helping. Adam was half an hour into a dress-rehearsal on stage for the show that night but Jonathan could practically feel his employer’s eyes upon him at every conceivable moment.
He timed it well, disappearing in the middle of the final trick so that after the rehearsal Adam couldn’t question him. He didn’t want to speak to anyone. He took himself off to Hyde Park and walked for hours, his mind going round and round in the same circles, over and over again. It wasn’t like he’d been jumping straight from one bed to the other. He and Adam seldom managed to grab any private time between them. If Maddy hadn’t seen them that night outside the windmill, she wouldn’t have known. And she and him had only slept together... what? four or five times?
Maybe he should give them
both up. Maybe he should just become
celibate. But at the mere thought he found himself
tearful. Why? Which one of them couldn’t he
without? He knew the answer to that one, but he
wasn’t sure if it
was because of how he felt, or because his dreams,
his hopes and his future lay in the hands of one of
Jonathan returned to the
theatre in mid-performance, start of the
second act. Adam was on stage, the audience were
and he could only assume things were going well.
Tim saw him as
he made his way
to the dressing rooms at the back of the building.
“Am I glad to see
you?!” There was real concern in his
otherwise light tone. He threw off his costume,
pulling on a pair
of black jeans and a denim shirt without taking his
Pouring himself a
glass of champagne almost on auto-pilot, he closed the
door of the
dressing room and sat down opposite his friend.
Adam’s hands suddenly
appeared on his shoulder, and in the next
second Adam had dropped into a crouch before him, arms
folded on his
knees. “Jonathan.... This,” he indicate the
“none of this
would be possible without you. I wouldn’t
be here without
you. I meant what I said at the awards
ceremony. As we said
before, everything we do together we do perfectly.
we are, we’re conjurers. I don’t think either of
us are willing
to risk that, are we?” Jonathan smiled, shaking
“So, I hesitate to ask... what’s brought this
All Adam actually said was, “Oh.”
For a while they just sat, and then almost in sync Jonathan looked down and Adam looked up and their eyes locked.
The magician wanted to say, ‘But I love you!’. Wanted to get up on stage and tell in the audience in no uncertain terms, wanted to shout it from the rooftops of London’s Theatreland district. But he couldn’t, because he knew now as surely as he’d known it before he’d started this that it wasn’t. Meant. To. Be.
It hurt. He wouldn’t have admitted it to anyone and could barely admit it to himself, but it hurt almost more than he could bear.
Jonathan waited, but he knew neither had a clue what to say. He couldn’t be angry with Maddy for forcing him into this decision. He felt he’d been using her as much as he often felt Adam had been using him. But then... he wasn’t sure, but something in his employer’s expression now.... Was he being used? Or did Adam truly love him as he claimed. Whatever, maybe he wasn’t ever supposed to know.
“Say something,” he insisted
But then... Valentine’s Day. The day he’d arrived home with Maddy after a wonderful meal out to find his windmill had been filled with roses, red and cream flowers downstairs, orange and white upstairs. And the card that had been placed on his pillow…. Suddenly he wanted to reach out, to take his lover’s hand and not let go, to pretend none of this was happening.
Finally, he couldn’t stand
the silence any longer. He got up
and crossed to the door of the dressing room. His
hand was on the
knob when Adam’s call stopped him.
“Jonathan?” He turned,
the sparkling green eyes of the man he loved above all
others on this
earth. “Promise me one thing, you won’t
won’t... leave me...