'You're in here,' Tequila said as he pushed open a door.
Kevin looked into the room. Small, white and bare but it had a bed and felt cool. It would do.
'I'm next door, if you need anything during the night.' The short guy gave him a wink but must have seen the worried look cross Kevin's face because he added, 'only joking. I don't finish work tonight until two so I'll come in quietly. Here, I'll show you where everything is.'
The flat was small, similar to the apartment that Kevin should have been staying in. Open plan, it had probably been built at the time when the coast of Canaria had given its ancient landscape up to concrete and the promise of mass tourism. Plastered white walls and glossed white woodwork, flimsy hardboard doors and archways between kitchen and living room. The imitation marble tiles on the floor were cracked in places and Kevin sensed that soundproofing had not been a major concern to the property developers. He could hear someone's television playing late night Spanish comedy and canned laughter.
Tequila stood leaning against the kitchen work surface, his arms and ankles folded, while Kevin gave a cursory look around the living room. Kevin was offered a can of beer as he came back into the kitchen.
'Everything ok?' Tequila asked as Kevin took the can.
'Still wondering what's going on?'
'What is going on?'
'Nothing babe, nothing to worry about. There's a TV in that cabinet, no satellite I'm afraid so it's all in Spanish, and there's some more beers in the fridge. Come back to bar if you want, we're there for a few more hours yet.'
'Why you doing this mate?'
'You need looking after.'
'No I don't.'
'Can I ask you something?'
Tequila pushed himself from the work surface and crossed to the bin. He pressed the pedal, flipped the lid and dropped his empty beer can into it before turning back and looking Kevin up and down.
'Are you one of us or one of them?' he asked.
It took Kevin a while to work out what he meant. One of us would mean was he queer, one of them... That meant the same thing didn't it? One of them from Tequila's point of view would have meant straight.
'I dunno,' he answered. And in all honesty, at that point, he really didn't. 'Can't you be half and half?'
'You can be whatever percentage you want babe...'
'Can't you call me something else?'
'Like Kevin, it's me name.'
'Very well Kevin if we are to be formal. And you can, if it makes you feel better, call me Tom. It's my name.'
'So how come they call you Tequila?'
'Lick, swallow and bite.'
'Doris named me Tequila when we first met because that was all I drank. Lick the salt, swallow the drink, bite the lemon. I was in such a state when she found me that that was all I was doing, twenty-four seven. Getting slammed on slammers.'
'And she takes in lots of blokes like you does she?'
'Like us you mean?' Tequila gave him a wink. 'As I said, it's almost a habit. But enough, I have to get back to the bar. You remember your way across the Umbro if you want to come back?'
'I won't be going out.'
'Whatever. I'll wake you in the morning around seven, we've got an early start.'
'Yeah, I was going to ask...'
'It's a laugh. Honest, you'll love it.'
'What is it?'
'Driving, that's all.'
'I aint driven abroad before.'
'Simple. Just remember to stay on the right.' Tequila was searching his pockets, checking that he had his keys. He found them and held them up, shook them.
'But driving what?'
Kevin followed the other guy as he went out into the living room and picked something up from the coffee table. A brochure of some sort.
'It's all in here,' Tequila said passing it over. 'Doris' gay jeep safari. We set off from here at eight, pick up the guests and drive them up into the mountains. A swim in the reservoir, visit to the caves, lunch at a mountain restaurant, a bit of off road and back down for five. You'll love it.'
Kevin wasn't so sure.
'Gay jeep safari?' His face had turned slightly pale. 'She wants me to drive a jeep off the road?'
'You wanted to pay her back for the room. Tomorrow will be easy. We've only got ten guests, two jeeps. I'll drive in front, you follow. Just don't go over any cliffs. Got to run, see you in the morning.'
Tequila turned and hurried down the corridor, a few seconds later Kevin heard the door slam and suddenly he was alone. Alone in a strange flat. A flat he was going to share with a queer bloke. He'd been taken in by a lesbian, given a room and a job to do.
He looked at his watch; ten to midnight. Suddenly he felt exhausted.
Exhausted from everything that had happened. The late night last night had caught up with him, the drinking, the business in the toilet with Trevor, he had had little sleep. The afternoon on the beach, the things he had seen and the things he had done. It was all happening impossibly fast. He needed to sleep.
The bed was firm but it was a bed. He stripped to his boxers and lay down, staring at the streetlight that glowed up from below and lit the Artexed ceiling.
What was Trevor doing now? Was he out looking for Kevin? Was he bothered about where he was? Kevin didn't care. He was too tired to even think about Trevor and their fight and what the consequences would be. He just needed to sleep.
He looked across at the door. There was a key in the lock but he hadn't locked it. Who were these people who had helped him? Why had they helped him? He was drifting off, his mind was shutting down.
What was he going to do? He'd agreed to drive for them the next day. Well, it would be something to do and only for a day. Maybe he should find an early flight home. Maybe he should find Trevor and sort things out with him. Fuck, what would happen when he got home and the entire soccer team found out? His eyes were closing against his will.
He'd told Trevor that he had been the innocent party, that Matt had come on to him, trapped him. Trevor had not believed him. Quite right. Kevin could have fought Matt off if he had wanted to. The room was turning from dull orange to dim grey.
He had protected himself, made up the lie to save face. It hadn't worked. Trevor had seen them. Trevor knew. And Kevin knew too, didn't he? Really, inside, honestly, he knew that he had wanted to do what he had done with Matt. Why? The dim grey was fading to black, images from the day flashed through his mind, disjointed, out of sequence. Sleep was coming.
Yes, he had wanted to do those things. And it wasn't just curiosity, or being drunk, or the after affects of the drugs they had taken. Honestly? He'd been turned on by Trevor in the bath, Trevor in the club, the men fucking in the dunes... He saw the bright sunlight, saw their action in the hollow of the sand dune, images flickered across his mind. He had wanted to try it. The images slowed and faded.
He had always wanted to try it since that time with his school mate. The images wound down, the film running through the projector was slowing, the power was running out, slowing, fading.
He had always known that he would try it. One day.
Blackness crept from the edge of his vision, lulling him, tempting him, drawing him down into sleep where everything would be sorted. His mind would clean itself. He would be fine in the morning.
He had always known that he was gay.
Fade to black.
At sometime during his dreams of crashing waves and wind swept beaches he knew he was no longer alone.
The figure in the doorway was silhouetted by the light from the hall, shining around the outline, making the legs thinner, the neck almost nonexistent. But he could see enough. He could see the torso as the figure moved towards him through the distorting orange light of man made night. He could see the glow reflecting off the short, naked body and he could feel the presence as it approached.
But he could not move. Awake or asleep, it made no difference. There was nothing he could do as the figure approached the bed, knelt down beside it.
He instinctively moved his hands to cover his genitals. He could feel the material of his boxer shorts. He could feel his erection inside them. He was aware of the dull ache of his arse from where it had been pounded hours before. He knew that he was vulnerable.
He felt breath on his chest as the figure leaned over him. He knew what was coming and wanted to be awake for it. He wanted it, but not now, he was too tired. Emotionally tired, physically exhausted. Yes, go ahead, do what you want. No, not now, I want to be awake for it.
He was only vaguely aware of the figure reaching over him before he felt the light touch of a cotton sheet pulled across his body. A soft skinned hand brushed his shoulder as it pulled the protective sheet up around his throat. The same hand rested on his forehead a moment, slid to his cheek, held it tenderly and then withdrew.
The figure walked back out into the light of the hallway, looked back once, left the room and closed the door silently.
Kevin sighed, pulled the sheet tighter around him, rolled onto his side and slipped back into darkness.