He doesn’t realize he’s the first to wake up. He just stares at the bed above him. Feeling disorientated. And his head can explode at any moment. Now he remembers why he hates to drink. It is not so much the drinking, it is the waking up next morning.
He slowly rolls over to tumble out of bed. On his knees, on the floor, he has to wait until his eyes are agreeing with the ever-moving horizon again. He controls his nausea and slowly gets up.
His focus shifts to his brother, sleeping, right there before him. Robert’s face is all serious and he drools a bit on the pillow. Jason recognizes that that last fact is something he shouldn’t dwell on, not with his stomach being so easily upset. He staggers out of the small room he shares with Robert and is granted a look into the bed-room where Kevin and Scotty are in a deep sleep.
He cannot help but notice how Kevin is on his stomach, his hand covering Scotty’s, as if he fell asleep holding Scotty’s hand. Scotty is on his back, but more diagonally on the bed so his feet are against Kevin’s. Jason shakes his head. He shouldn’t be watching. The door happens to be open, but that doesn’t give him the right to be nosy.
He is about to continue when Scotty makes a small noise and turns to his side, his back turned to Kevin. With the touch between them broken, there is an annoyed grunt coming from Kevin, who groggily lifts his head, seeks Scotty and crawls closer to him, wrapping an arm around Scotty’s waist and after kissing the back of Scotty’s neck he falls asleep again. For one moment Jason feels something of an amused jealousy. He cannot remember Kevin doing that to him, but then… he could have been asleep when that happened. Scotty is probably not aware of it either.
The Walker-brothers obviously have an issue with closing the door, for also the door to Justin and Tommy’s cabin is open. Tommy lies on his back, in the centre of the bed, in the middle of his still closed sleeping bag. He looks like a mummy. Justin, on the other hand, is on his side pressed up against the wall. His pillow and sleeping-bag are a mess. Jason shakes his head, which he shouldn’t have done, because that hurts. He wonders if there are aspirins on board, somewhere.
Justin opens his eyes. Somebody just passed their cabin. Looking over the edge of the bed he sees it is not Tommy, Tommy is still in a coma in the bed underneath his. Looking up he peeks into Kevin and Scotty’s cabin, but sees them sleeping together, pressed closed to each other. So it has to be either Robert or Jason. He stretches himself and considers getting out of bed, but after another peek down on Tommy, a little sadistic smile curls around his lips.
Grabbing his sock, he hangs over the edge and he lets in dangle on Tommy’s nose. Tommy
subconsciously hits for it, but Justin pulls back in time and Tommy doesn’t wake up. Grinning to himself Justin tries again and again.
“Stop that!” Tommy orders annoyed, but not really awake.
“Come on, bro, if you want to be a man at night and get drunk, you should also be a man in the morning when you wake up with a hangover.”
“Drop dead.” Growls Tommy, trying to catch his sleep again.
“What? You don’t like my words of wisdom?” Justin nearly sings, this is so much fun. Then Justin sees the bottle of water he took with him, before he went to bed. The bottle is filled to a quarter with water and he remembers all the times that Tommy woke him up, when he was in a drug- or alcohol haze.
“Payback can be such a bitch!” Justin whispers, while he pours the remaining water over Tommy’s head and Tommy is suddenly wide awake! Trying to sit up, he bumps his head against the bed above him. Justin slides off his own bed and before Tommy can grab him, he is out of Tommy’s reach. With a challenging smile he looks at Tommy fighting to open up his sleeping bag.
“Justin Walker! You are so dead!” Tommy yells loud enough to wake some of the others.
Kevin turns in his bed and opens his eyes just in time to see Justin run out of the door of the cabin and jump into their cabin and on their bed, yelling:
“Kevin! Tommy wants to kill me!”
“Yeah? So why should that bother me?” he asks grumpily, while Scotty sits up, trying to cover his body with the sheet.
“It shouldn’t!” comes Tommy’s voice from the door and without much further delay he throws himself on Justin. He is heavier then Justin and Justin quickly gives up, Tommy straddles him and starts to tickle the squirming him.
“Say you’re sorry.” Tommy grins, but Justin shakes his head, laughing and Tommy starts to laugh too. “Say you’re sorry.” Tommy says again after another round of poking in Justin’s ribs, unaware that their fighting nearly pushes Kevin and Scotty out of their bed.
“Alright, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Justin laughs, totally out of breath. Tommy ruffles Justin’s hair like he used to do when Justin was a kid, a signal that the ‘fight’ is over.
When Justin sits up, he sees a disgruntled Kevin and a smiling Scotty. Tommy is breathing heavily from their fight and at the door, at either sides, like bookcases, are Robert and Jason looking in. Jason looks quite awake, but Robert doesn’t, his eyes barely open and his usual impeccable hair sticking in 7 different directions.
“Now that we are all awake…. Breakfast anyone?” Justin suggests with a smile.
After an extensive breakfast and an equal devision of the aspirins Jason found, they all agree that the sun quickly heats up the place. And it is time to work of the calories. So Kevin suggests they do some swimming. And most agree with that plan, except Scotty.
“Come on, Scotty.”
“Kevin, I didn’t bring that many clothes. If this gets wet…”
“… it will dry up in no time with this weather.” Robert says.
“Exactly, most of us will be swimming in our shorts anyway. Who cares if they get wet?” Justin replies.
“You could of course take everything off as well, we are all men.” Robert suggests with a grin. But this immediately gets veto’d by Kevin.
“No way! This is for my eyes only.” He says possessively, standing behind Scotty and wrapping his arms around Scotty’s waist.
“Kevin, honestly, do you really think that Tommy, Justin or I would be interested in whatever Scotty’s got?....” And Robert quickly adds: “With all respect, Scotty.”
“Is there any reason why I would be interested?” Jason asks, thumbing through his book.
“…. Neither would Jason be….” Robert adds.
“Oh, thanks, I am not entirely sure this makes me feel better.” Scotty jokes.
But eventually Jason, Kevin and Robert take the first dive. Tommy doesn’t feel like swimming yet, he ate too much and Justin and Scotty are still in doubt. Justin finds a beach-ball that ends up in the water. It doesn’t take long before the three men are having fun. Justin undresses further, the water is too tempting, but also very cold. Scotty has the same problem. Sitting on the railing his lets his feet dangle a bit. He cannot make up his mind… Should he go into the water or not. A mischievous smile spreads across his face and he yells:
“Hey, Justin!” Justin looks up and Scotty winks. “Think we should them about the approaching shark?!”
Justin grins back at Scotty, turns to pretend he’s looking in the distance, then yells back:
“Nah, if the shark changes his mind, we would have made a fuss for no reason at all...”
“Good point!” Scotty agrees.
The men in the water laugh, but cannot help a quick glance around them….
But Scotty takes away their fear by diving into the water himself. Scotty feels as if he’s sinking very deep only to slowly some up again, where he feels arms around him, keeping him afloat while he regains his senses. When he finally rubs the salty water from his cheeks, he opens his eyes to look straight at his husband’s laughing face.
“Hi, there.” Kevin smiles. “Look what a beautiful treasure I found.”
“And what will you do with me, pirate?”
“Ravage you.” Kevin says hungrily, then he kisses Scotty’s lips.
“Hey! Come on! Kevin! He is not been that long under water, that he needs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!” Justin yells. He’s swimming a bit further away from Kevin and Scotty, but Scotty can clearly see the fun in his eyes, so he yells back:
“I am feeling a little faint. So, if Kevin won’t do it, you’ll have to….” Justin’s face splits in grin, before he turns it to a fake-shocked face, as if the idea would really horrify him and he orders:
“Kevin, you do it!” And Kevin is more than happy to oblige.
Jason watches them kiss. He figures he should feel something of regret, but he doesn’t. He notices that Tommy is standing next to him, only when Tommy asks:
“Watching Kevin and Scotty?”
“Try not to, but I was standing here, before they started kissing.”
“Does it bother you to see Kevin with another?”
“No… Well, maybe a little. But I think he’s happy with Scotty and that is the most important thing.”
“So, you don’t plan to come between them?”
“No, why should I? Kevin wouldn’t want me to either.” Jason smiles.
“Good. I like Scotty.” Tommy states, but there is something about the way he says it, that irks Jason.
“Is there something on your mind, Tommy?” Jason asks.
“No. You and Kevin are through. Let’s leave things in the past.” Tommy replies defiantly.
“Yes. Let’s.” replies Jason, equally defiant.
“Oh, Kevin, are you going to stop swimming?” Tommy says and Jason turns to see Kevin climb back on board.
“No, just getting something to drink and then dive back. Really Tommy you ought to join us.”
“No, thanks. Beer?” But Kevin shakes his head.
“Lemonade or water, please. We don’t want accidents on the middle of the ocean.” Tommy goes down below to get drinks.
“What was that all about?” Kevin asks Jason.
“Your brother is a jerk!” was Jason’s heart-felt reply.
“In general? Or for a particular reason?”
“I think, he has an issue with me about something that happened a year ago.”
“A year ago? You were in Malaysia a year ago. What could you possibly have done ….?” Then realization kicks in. “… We broke up.”
“I think that was what his problem was, can’t think of anything else. Kevin? Is it still a problem between us?”
“No. Not for me. … Do you want me to talk to Tommy?”
“Please don’t. Maybe it was just something he had to get out of his system. We had a pleasant weekend and I’m not going to let this influence me.”
“Good plan. Why don’t you get into the water. Justin, Scotty and Robert are still swimming….”
“That is a good idea.”
Jason smiles and as he dives into the cold water, he feels as if it cleanses him. Not just the sweat and the heat, but also the negative vibe Tommy had sent his way. As he comes up he sees Scotty and Justin playing in the water, while Robert watches with an almost paternal look on his face. He joins his brother.
Kevin looks at the men swimming, diving and splashing. He hears Scotty's laughter and he can’t help, but feel very happy to see Scotty so carefree with Justin, Robert and Jason. Maybe this weekend had been the best idea Robert ever had. He feels something cold against his shoulder and sees Tommy placing the bottle of cold water on his shoulder.
“ Thanks…. It is nice to see Jason and Scotty together.” He says,with a look to Tommy to see if he has Tommy’s attention. “I like that they get along, I am glad that things are alright between us. I’d like to keep it that way.” He emphasizes.
Tommy takes a sip from his own bottle.
“Sure. I get that. I just wanted to make sure that Jason would get that I don’t want him to interfere.”
“Thanks for looking out for me, big brother. But Scotty and I are alright. You have nothing to worry about. So please, back off.” And although Kevin is smiling, Tommy knows that Kevin is very serious. “Thanks for the drink.” Kevin handles the bottle back to Tommy and jumps back in the water and swims straight for Scotty.
Scotty dries himself a bit, letting the sun take care of the rest. Tommy hands him a beer.
“Yeah, had my share for today.” Scotty laughs. “The water is nice though.”
“Too bad you guys are scaring the fish away….”
“Right.” Scotty replies, not too convinced that it is their fault.
“Sorry about the rude awakening you got this morning.” Tommy apologizes.
“It’s alright, it was funny.”
“Justin can be so irresponsible sometimes. Acting like a child. Doing stupid things. The trouble dad had in trying to teach him how to behave.” Tommy shakes his head. Looking down on Justin and Kevin still playing around in the water, Scotty plays with his beer and comes to a decision.
“You know, Tommy, your brother came a long way. He’s trying very hard and, I know, it’s probably not my place to say this, but ….” Scotty smiles mischievously.”… that has never stopped me from speaking my mind anyway… I think you would accomplish more if you would pay him an occasional compliment. You keep dredging up all those wrong things Justin did, when he’s trying to make a new start. Every time he feels a bit better about himself, you drag him down. You might find Justin more accessible to constructive remarks….”
Tommy opens his mouth to say something, but Scotty raises his hands: “I don’t want to fight about it. I just wanted to tell you how I felt. And all I hope is that you will think about it…. I’m going to have a look at what Kevin wants.” He says and now Tommy sees Kevin waves at them. Scotty helps Justin and Kevin back on board. And Justin is laughing and teasing, then he pushes Kevin and Scotty into the water. Justin looks carefree, young and so alive.
Tommy sighs. When was the last time he had felt like that? Between Ojai, Walker Landing, Julia, Lizzie and the family…. He is a husband, a father and has two businesses to run. It is a lot of responsibility. He cannot afford to be careless. If he slips up it hurts his marriage or his daughter. Or it hurts his companies and the people that work there and their families… He cannot remember the last time he really had a good laugh like he did this morning. Carelessly ‘fighting’ with Justin had been so much fun.
He sighs again. Maybe he is too negative, too serious, perhaps he should try and relax a bit more, enjoy himself like the others. Even Robert, who is a few years older then him, is playing around like a child. Why should he always have to be the grown up? The one in charge? He smiles and undresses.
“Hey, guys! How’s the water?” he asks Kevin and Justin. They seem surprised to see him ready to dive in, but Kevin replies:
“Bubbling hot! Can’t you see?” Tommy laughs and dives in.
Eventually all good things come to an end. It is late in the afternoon when the yacht returns to its place in the harbor and 6 men, tired, sunburned here and there, but in extremely good spirit leave the boat. They quickly clean up. Nothing suggest that 6 men invaded the place. And, at last, they all have to say their goodbyes. Jason will sleep at Robert’s house, Tommy will drop off Justin at their mother's house and Kevin and Scotty long for their own little loft.
Robert thanks Scotty for the wonderful food he had made during those two days and when the others chime in, Scotty cannot not help blush under all those compliments. And it seems to Kevin he cannot love Scotty more than he’s doing now. The goodbye between Jason, Scotty and Kevin is warm. But then it is really time to return to their own cars and their own places..
“You know, I’m glad you came with me. This was one of the best weekends I’ve had in years.”
“Me too.” Admits Jason. “I was glad I finally got to spend some time with you. Without political consultants, family and, as much as I love them, without Kitty or the kids. Just you and me. As brothers.”
“We should do this more often… Remember how used to go out hunting with cousin Michael and his brother. The only thing we ever caught were ticks, but we had fun…. We haven’t gone hunting in….” Robert tries to remember and Jason replies softly:
“A little over 11 years. It was the summer before I came out. Michael and George don’t like queers.”
“Ah, yes.” Robert remembers that too. Some heavy conversation they had about gay people and some radical ideas his cousins had… “That must have hurt you… To hear them talk like that.”
“No, I was safely “in denial” then. Any feeling of discomfort I had, I threw on the fact that I preach that we should respect our fellow-men… and women.” Jason shrugs.
“I think, that we should go hunting again.” Robert suggests.
“I’m not in the mood to get bitten by ticks again...”
“No, how about we hunt Michael and George….?”
“You think we could?” Jason jokes back.
“Sure, I’m a Senator, I can get away with murder.” Robert laughs.
“If you are going to stay this quiet all the way home, I will throw you out now.” Tommy says.
“W… What?” Justin’s thoughts are interrupted.
“You’ve hardly said a word.”
“Sorry I was miles away.” Justin replies. “I… I was thinking about Scotty…” Tommy raises an
“If you’re going to tell me that you have feelings for him, I’m going to scream… I mean, first Rebecca, now Scotty?” he jokes. And Justin smiles as well.
“Oh, yeah, totally crazy about him… No, that’s not it. It’s just…. He’s about my age, yet, he seems to have done far more with his life. He’s more focused, driven. I never thought I’d say this, but I envy Scotty. Because he has a clear idea of who and what he is, what his capacities are…. And I… I have no idea where I’m going. No real ambition. I just don’t know…” Tommy listens to Justin’s hesitating words and remembers Scotty’s words of this afternoon.
“You know. You’ve come a long way. You kicked your addiction. You got back on your feet. You are trying to make a living for yourself. You are trying to bring some structure to your life. Stop putting yourself down like that. It’s your turn to snap out of this negative vibe you have been in. You can only do this one step at a time. You are on the right way. Just keep that up.”
“You think so?”
“Yeah… I’m proud of you.”
“Are you sure you are not too tired?” Scotty asks. But Kevin shakes his head. Scotty leans back in the seat and tries to relax his muscles a bit. “It’s been a strange weekend.” He summarizes.
“You can say that again. Are you glad you came along?”
“Yes. I’ve gotten to know everyone a little better and it was nice.” Scotty replies in a neutral voice. He’s getting very tired.
Kevin takes Scotty’s hand, brings it to his lips to kiss Scotty’s fingers.
“Thank you… It would not have been the same without you…”
Scotty enjoys Kevin’s tenderness. Kevin can see Scotty has trouble keeping his eyes open.
“Sleep a bit, love. You deserve it.” Scotty smiles at Kevin’s words. He was so concerned about Kevin and now he’s the one nearly falling asleep.
Kevin looks at his husband, proud of all that Scotty has done this weekend. His hand slides over Scotty’s thigh. Just a gentle caress, just the desire to touch the man he loves.
“I love you, Scotty Wandell.” He says softly, believing Scotty to be asleep. Scotty smiles:
“I heard that.... And it is Scotty Walker-Wandell.”
“Shhh, that is our little secret, remember?”
END of Boat-trip.