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Chapter 8: I’m not sure about this..
Oh finally – some quiet time with Sam alone. Thoughts were streaming through my mind of how we could spend our time together before I flew out of the country in the morning… well, in a few hours really.
I snuggled up to Sam in the back of the Uber with my carry-on bag next to me. Sam was looking out the side window, not really looking at anything in particular … I think just staring out at nothing. Turning slowly towards him, I leaned in sideways, kissing him on the side of his neck and pausing for a moment to take in his scent. It was intoxicating.
“Umm… that’s nice, Jamie. I like the scratch of your stubble… hmm…”
Sam remained pretty quiet. I guess the realization was dawning on him too that soon I’d be gone and what was going to happen to us then. I have no idea, none at all. It was all that I could think about, if the truth is known. I’d been thinking about this for days now. I’d even been hammering the guys to make sure that they kept up contact with Sam – he’s part of the gang now. I know I’m not the best catch in the world, and we’ve only been seeing each other for weeks, but I can feel a strong attachment to Sam and want him to be okay.
Sam twisted a little. He was now facing me side on, and for a fleeting moment, his face was void of any real emotion – sad almost. Then those thoughts seemed to slip away, pushing away whatever had been occupying his mind. He smiled. At first, it was a half-hearted smile. I was searching his face for something to give me a clue about what he was feeling, but then it turned into his normal 1000W heart stopper smile. It just lights up the place around him – you can but feel happy when he does it – it’s almost infectious.
“Sam,” as I gently licked and nibbled on his neck, “it’s so nice of you to let me stay at your place tonight.”
The Uber pulled to a stop outside Sam’s place. “Thanks, Vince. Appreciate the ride tonight.”
“No problems Jamie. My guys and I collected over twenty fares tonight just from your guests coming and going. Really appreciate the business, mate. You must had had half the district at your place, plus, what’s with all the fire trucks and police cars around the block? Looked like a riot or something had gone down.”
“Nah, Vince. That’s all of Jamie’s buddies. Looked like half the state was parked on his block, although, hey Jamie?”
As Sam playfully punched my arm, I smiled with a cheeky grin. “Well, what can I say – I’m popular.”
Sam just looked at me and rolled his eyes.
“You wish, Spence.”
“Jamie,” Vince turned around to face us both, “as a thank you, can I give you a ride to the airport tomorrow – no charge – as a small thank you? I’ve made 15 new clients tonight on top of the fares as well. It’s been a fantastic night for us.”
“No, not necessary Vince, not at all. I couldn’t really, but thank you.
“Look, Vince, you really helped me out, as I was more than happy to get you guys the work. Your fantastic service and cars … it was brilliant. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about people making bad choices about drinking and driving, so you really helped me too. “
“Jamie, on top of the fantastic business we did, your Mom and Aunties were bringing plates of food out to us as we dropped people off – so hospitable your family is.”
“Vince, you’re lucky Mom didn’t insist that you drop your partner and kids off!”
“She did ask me that,” Vince let out a laugh. “I explained to your Mom, that my wife and four kids are away on school break at the moment. So, she brought me out this pile of leftovers – should be enough to feed us for a week. She didn’t want me to go home hungry or have nothing to eat for the week. I don’t know how you guys are all so thin with the mountains of food your Mom tries to push on to you. She’s a lovely lady, Jamie.”
I couldn’t stop laughing. That is so Mom. “Well, thanks again Vince. See you when I get back, I guess.”
With that Sam and I wished Vince well.
As we were walking across the lawn to Sam’s front door, he pulled me into a sideways hug and smiled up at me.
“Glad you took up my offer to stay over, Jamie.”
“Me too, Sam.” I laid a kiss on his temple.
Even more, Mason was now staying at Mom and Dad’s place for a while – apparently ‘until he can get back on his feet’ was the way mom was selling it – I wasn’t buying that pile of crap not one bit, but he is my brother and the parents always look out for us.
As we walked into Sam’s place, Jeff was sitting at the kitchen counter with a young blonde guy, deep in conversation about something.
Jeff waved at us as we walked through the room.
“Oh, hey Sam, Jamie! Come over and meet Peter. Peter this is Sam, my roommate, and Jamie, his … you know the Firefighter I told you about.”
“Hi guys,” Peter stood up and pulled us both in for a hug.
“Hey Jeff,” Sam answered while I just waved.
“It’s really nice to meet you, Peter,” Sam canlı bahis said, backing away a little from Peter. “But someone has an early night.” Sam shot me a look. “So, we’re going to hit the hay.”
“Nice to meet you, Peter,” I replied. Sam smiled and took my hand in his, gently pulling me towards the hallway and his bedroom. “Bye, Jeff.”
Jeff smirked back at us. “Hmm, night boys.”
We quietly went into Sam’s bedroom closing the door behind us. Sam was a half a step in front of me still holding my hand. I stood still for a moment and leaned back against the door my mind was racing. What the hell is happening to me, it’s like I can’t think straight. My mouth was all dry…my heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest, let alone what was swirling around in my mind.
Sam turned slightly toward me. “Jamie? Are you here or have you checked out already?”
“No, sorry Sam. I was just thinking.”
“What about, Jamie?”
“To be honest, everything! You, me, us. If there is an us or … “
I wiped my hand down my face, feeling like I was falling but standing still.
“My trip… what can I offer you… what are you looking for? You know, loads of stuff. Should I be–“
Sam cut me off. “Wow, Jamie. That’s a load of questions there.”
Turning back to face me, he walked over and stood in front of me. Taking both my hands in his, in a low and calm voice, he replied, “All of those questions, thoughts… they need two people involved in them to answer it, because it involves us both.” Sam whispered staring straight up into my eyes.
“I know, Sam, but I’m so confused as to what to do. If it had happened earlier, if I hadn’t already booked my trip, paid for the same night…” – my voice was rising and I wasn’t even aware of it – “I wouldn’t be going now and leaving you Sam, I just wouldn’t”
“Jamie, if you hadn’t been out that night, we wouldn’t have met, would we?”
I nodded, agreeing with him.
“And if you cancelled your holiday – although it would clearly make your Mom happy -” a perfect tension breaker at which we both laughed briefly – “you wouldn’t be happy. In fact, I would hold it against myself if I let you change your plans. And I’m not going to do that.”
“But…” I looked into those beautiful eyes of his. I could just get so lost in them, really lost.
“But what, Jamie. We have had an amazing time together. I’ve seen a side of you that I don’t think many people do. You are really a nice guy. Ok, you need to grow up a little at times, but your compassion for people, your selfless nature that you don’t publicly display, is one of the most amazing things I’ve learnt from you. And that you’ve successfully hidden the fact you have an engineering degree with honours… hmm… , not just a pretty face-body-butt, hmm…”
I pulled off one of my signature eyebrow wiggles – nicely played, Sam. Feeling somewhat uncomfortable with where this was going, I moved us over to Sam’s bed, first just sitting down, then lying back on Sam’s bed looking up at the ceiling, while resting my hand on his thigh.
“Jamie, what Mike told me tonight about his car and the pictures you saved, you let me think that you were at work that day when you weren’t – you were just driving past, going about your business like Joe Public – saw Mike’s car on fire and him trying to get to the car to get something. You stopped and next minute, you dived into his station wagon and pulled out his treasures. No special fire clothes, whatever you call them.
“Turnouts…” with a slight air of frustration in my voice. I knew where this was going. My friends should learn to zip-it sometimes.
“What? What are you turning out?” Sam answered with sheer confusion on his face.
“The clothes we wear to jobs… we call them turnouts.” I was trying to not let my frustration bubble through, but it was hard. Like a train wreck unfolding, I knew where this was stopping and it wasn’t happy town. It was kick Jamie’s buttsville.
“Ok. So, you ran back to the car without wearing your turnouts, nothing special – just a Tee and jeans I was told, right? Then you ended up in a hospital for a few days with burns and smoke inhalation. You kept that detail out of the story, and it wasn’t even Mike that told me that.”
“Jeez Mike, could you have kept your mouth shut?” I replied with an air of frustration creeping in.
“It wasn’t Mike, Jamie. Trav told me! In fact, Mike and your Dad came over and warned the guys that you would ‘pitch a fit’ or something weird like that your Dad said if you found out what they’d been telling me. It didn’t even slow them down. If anything, it spurred them on. The rest of the guys then jumped in. There were even more stories. You play the ‘it was nothing’ card with the public. When they, we, try and recognise what all you guys do is amazing, you play it off.”
I thought I was absolutely done, but there was no anger in Sam’s expressions or the way he spoke. It was like he was genuinely disappointed in bahis siteleri me for hiding this stuff.
“Sam… I don’t want to play it up. There are people that do way more than me- doctors, nurses and paramedics, the men and women in defense. If you want to pat people on the back, there you go Sam – they save lives with their bare hands and intelligence. We just squirt a bit of water about and it’s all good.” I tried to laugh it off but I could tell I wasn’t doing well with that.
“And then, Jamie, you act like a grown man-child to hide it all away. You know you’re not fooling anyone, right, Jamie? We all know what you really do. And don’t think I’m buying the whole ‘it’s nothing what we do – we just fluff about with some water.'”
A look of sincerity that swept across Sam. “I’ve seen the pictures of the kids you’ve helped or people that have been cut out of wrecks that have you guys to thank for their lives, let alone the EMT stuff you all do. I understand – you don’t like the limelight. I applaud you for trying to downplay it, but it ain’t just nothing – it’s pretty special, and you’re on par with the rest of those professions you pointed out.”
Sam’s lecture, come gentle rant, was drawing to a close. I felt like a total asshole. I’d been a shit to him, and he’s been nothing but great – someone I want to be more like. That first morning running out like that, it was a crappy thing to do. I took a deep breath. I was going to confess what really happened that morning. Sam deserved it. I deserved to have my ass handed to me in a hat and spend the night on the sidewalk. Sam brushed his hand against my inner thigh, snapping me out of my mind and back to us.
“I’ve worked you out, Jamie. You are an amazing guy.”
Sitting back up, I looked Sam in the eyes, slowly taking him in. This was the most amazing person I’ve ever met – there are so many aspects to him. Looking past the superficial sexiness that the guy radiates, he’s smart… super smart … not just educationally, and wow on that too! Civil Engineer on the back of a science degree majoring in biotech!
But he knows what he wants in the world, where he fits. He can see forward over the horizon, what his journey is.
“Sam, you’re the sort of person I want to be: you’re funny, smart and sexy, but you’re also so connected with your world and who you are. Me, I’m stuck in no man’s land. Ok, sure, I’ve got my engineering degree and a career in the fire service, but what about me the person? What do I want, Sam? I feel so lost at times with it.”
We just stared at each other, searching each other’s faces for some reaction. In Sam’s, I could see genuine compassion with a tinge of sadness. While I couldn’t see my own face, obviously, inside I was in turmoil. All these emotions were bubbling up. I wanted so badly to cry out in frustration, or shut down and say nothing more, but the people in my head holding the levers and dials must have just had a few espressos because I wasn’t shutting down anytime soon, I feared.
“I know at times I’m such a child, that I hide in the uncomplicated world and let the grown-ups around me do the heavy thinking, like you Sam.” I could feel tears threatening to spill from my eyes, where the hell did they come from. “But it’s how I deal with stuff at times, and my family has always, dived in and made the choices for me.”
Sam leaned in and placed his finger across my lips, looking deep into my soul. I could feel it in his eyes – they were soft and searching, forgiving but challenging, too. It is something I’ll never forget, that moment when Sam gave me my answer as to us.
“Sam, I think that… I know that if …” Sam stopped me saying anything more.
“Jamie, don’t finish that sentence until the morning, ok? Your bags are packed. Your dad is coming here to collect you at 7 am. Let’s just be us tonight and let tomorrow take care of itself.”
I wrapped my hand around Sam’s neck, pulling him ever closer and kissed him with every bit of my being, and he replied the same. No ripping off clothes tonight – we slowly, almost lovingly, undressed each other.
I woke a few hours later. We had put everything we felt for each other in that short passionate night. Lying next to him, his chest slowly rising and falling in the half-light coming from outside, I couldn’t wake him. He looked so peaceful when he was sleeping, and so goddamn sexy too. I knew the answer to the question, our question: it just wasn’t our time. Maybe if I wasn’t going away it would be different, more time to get to know each other.
Maybe, although I kept thinking, more likely, I was still too much of a man-child for someone like Sam. He deserves better. I was wracked with self-doubt – it was an uncomfortable feeling and I wasn’t enjoying it at all. We had agreed that he wouldn’t come to the airport. I was planning on just checking in and then slipping through customs and out, no fuss, no tears.
As a little going away gift, the other day I printed out and placed bahis şirketleri in a small simple black frame a selfie that we took that afternoon at Mikes Café. It was a beautiful shot of the two of us, happily smiling away, looking all ‘loved up’ as my sister’s put it. The photo was in my Facebook photos. Apparently Mom liked it so much that she printed a copy out and it was framed up and had been added to the living room wall at home. There must be sixty photos of the family, from baby photos to recent.
Mom liked to get shots of us when we were happy. Apparently, I hadn’t looked happy in photos for a long time. I wasn’t sure if I should be happy or a little creeped out that my Mom was ripping my photos off and printing them. I settled for happy – Mom wasn’t creepy, not in the slightest.
I wrote on the back of the photo frame, ‘To Sam, the most amazing person I know. Why? Because you are. Thank you for everything — Jamie.’ Slipping out of bed like a clumsy ninja, I tripped on my chucks that had been discarded at some point during the night. I took the photo out and silently placed it on his bedside table facing him, so when he woke, it would be there for him to see, a small parting gift. I know it was a bit cocky of me to give him a photo of us, but what the hell – if you can’t love yourself who can you love, right!?!
I quietly gathered my things and got dressed in silence, checking regularly that I hadn’t woken him. I’m sure my idea of silent dressing was not the same as most others. The habits of work set you up to quickly grab your stuff and slam them on in under forty seconds, but at home, no matter how hard I tried to be quiet, it was something I was just not good at. Then once I was all set, I did my clumsy ninja thing again, this time not tripping on anything or kicking the bed foot like usual – damn that hurts! I leaned down gently kissing those soft warm lips while he slept, taking in the beautiful sight before me. It was time to go. I slowly backed away and slipped out of his room, pulling the bedroom door closed behind me, quietly walking down the hallway. Apparently Peter had stayed, as there were some sounds coming from Jeff’s bedroom. I slipped out the front door and across the lawn.
The rush of cold air outside was like a slap to my face. The crunching sound of the frost under my feet was almost deafening in the quietness of the morning. With my carry-on backpack over my shoulder, my thoughts were full of leaving Sam. I felt like stopping, turning around and going back inside. But I knew I couldn’t – I was too far down this path to turn back now.
With my mind and feelings in overdrive, I needed to clear my head, so I started to jog. Surprisingly I didn’t even realize how far I’d run. I covered the first few miles quickly, I guess to burn off the emotions that were flooding me as a few painfully shed tears ran down my face, leaving ice strips in the cold pre-dawn air.
‘A good run helps clear the mind’ our various sports coaches would say. Well, for me it seemed to work. I was feeling somewhat calmer now, slowing to a walk, as I didn’t want to work up too much of a sweat and have to change at the folks’ place or stink up the plane on the flight. It was only a 20 minute walk now back to my parents’ place. I slipped my earbuds in and turned up some music to distract me as the miles zipped past quickly.
Rounding the corner of our block, I could see Dad was coming out to the truck, clearing the windscreen and side mirrors. He’d just finished hosing off the truck when I walked up the drive.
“Morning, Son,” he greeted me with a bright smile, but a tinge of sadness in his voice, not a lot, but to the trained ear it was a standout. No matter what his face said, you learn how to read your parents. I was always pretty good at that. I kept my superpower a secret too – it worked to my advantage at times.
“Where’s Sam, Jamie?”
“He’s not coming to the airport Dad,” I said, not making direct eye contact and taking a slow quiet deep breath. Those pesky tears had reformed again – this time they would stay in place, hopefully.
“What happened son? Are you ok?”
Dad closed the gap between us, placing his hand on my shoulder, while all the time trying to make eye contact with me. There was no way I was looking up at the moment, else I’d be done for.
“I’m ok Dad, kind of. We agreed that it’s just not our time. Maybe if things were different, then …”
Dad pulled me into a warm strong hug, something I needed. “It’ll be ok, Jamie. If it’s meant to work out, you will find yourselves. If not, it’s tough, son, but you’ve been through worse, and I’m sure you and Sam will be happy in what life brings your way. Come on, let’s get you into this truck of yours and away before your Mom comes out. Last night’s send-off was enough to last me years, son.”
We both laughed at that. Mom put on a show for the world last night – thought I was going to have to perform CPR on her. Jeez, tears were flowing. The most telling part was when she went all quiet and just stood there, looking at me. I could feel her eyes still. I couldn’t not go back and give her a last hug when Sam and I were leaving. I wouldn’t have ever forgiven myself. You know that look, right?
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