I keep checking my phone.
I haven’t really slept. I kept waking up to check my phone just in case Alan Sebastian found his charger and had called me back and I missed it. I knew he wouldn’t call the landline because he wouldn’t want to risk waking Mani.
At school drop-off I ran into Anna, as I often do. She’s an acquaintance more than a friend but I think I’d like to get know her better because she’s the only person at school drop-off anywhere near my age. That’s because she’s a nanny rather than the kid’s mum. I think Alan Sebastian will like her a lot if he ever meets her. She calls herself a ‘disaster of a person’ and blurts out inappropriate things even more often than I do. Both of those things make me feel safe and comfortable around her. I wonder if that’s me too. Scott Maher – disaster.
Alan Sebastian says he’s always uncomfortable around people and wants to know why I am not but I’m not sure it’s that simple. I try not to show it but I think I’m just uncomfortable in a different way and cover it up by filling up the silence with whatever pops into my head.
Telling Alan Sebastian that I am in love with him made me feel invincible and I asked Anna if she wanted to grab a coffee so we walked back to Gillian’s shop.
I was suddenly very nervous.
“I’m suddenly very nervous,” I told her.
She looked taken aback. “Oh no.” she said “oh my god did you ask me out? Did you want this to be a date? Oh my gosh I thought you were gay…”
“I didn’t… you did? No… can we just start this conversation again?”
“Yes please,” she looked mortified
“…I think I have a boyfriend,” I said, “I was nervous because I was going to say that but you just sort of made coming out to you way easier so thank you.”
“Oh my god!” she’s was as delighted as I thought she’d be and went inside and sat down and she demanded that I tell her everything.
And I check my phone again but he hasn’t called or SMSed me. But I can’t stop smiling because I can’t help it because I’m in love with Alan Sebastian and I am 99.9% sure he loves me back and we’re going to be okay but thinking of it makes me dizzy and every hour or so I become very slightly less sure. Disaster.
“So you’re sure but you don’t know for sure for sure?”
“Yeah,” I say. “Is that extremely vain of me? Should I be more worried? Please ring,” I tell my phone. “Call me please Alan Sebastian…”
But he doesn’t call.
Because he’s outside.
It’s almost a nine hour drive from Melbourne and he must have left as soon as he got off the phone with me.
“What the fuck,” I breathe and I rub my face and I bite my knuckle and I blink and he’s standing beside me and I lean against him and he’s real and solid and he smells amazing, “Al…”
“Alan Sebastian. My phone ran out of battery,” he says.
“So you went to 24 hour k-mart and bought a new charger, obviously?”
“I didn’t think of that,” he admits.
He can’t stop smiling and I can’t stop smiling and.
“Oh my god.” I say.
“Hi,” he says to Anna, “I’m Alan Sebastian.”
“We were just talking about you,” she laughs.
“Okay,” he says. “I don’t want you to stop but Scott you are holding my hand very very tightly and it hurts a bit.”
“Sorry. I didn’t get much sleep and I’m like 90% adrenaline right now.”
“I did not sleep at all,” he says. “I was driving.”
“Well, you probably need coffee,” Anna stands up.
“Just ask for like… the biggest and most caffeine. With soy milk though. Also it’s for Alan Sebastian and they will probably not charge you for that because this is my mum’s shop.”
Anna goes up to the counter and Alan Sebastian looks at me. And I can hardly look at him because I really want to kiss him but I think that if I do I won’t be able to stop.
“I really want to kiss you,” he says, “But I think if I do I will not be able to stop.”
“Oh my god,” I say.
We walked back to Scott’s place hand-in-hand and when we got there I asked if I could borrow his phone charger. I am very glad we have the same kind of phone.
“I was supposed to go to work today,” I said. “I will probably need to call someone at some point and tell them… that I’m not there.”
“You’re here,” he said. It didn’t feel quite real.
I plugged my phone in by Scott’s bed and I couldn’t do anything except lie down. I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
Scott came in and he took off my belt.
“I really want to say yes to this,” I said, “but I am far too tired.”
“Me too,” he said and he took off his jeans and curled up next to me on the bed pulling the doona up over both of us.
I am here. And he is here. And now I’m almost asleep but there’s something I was supposed to do.
“Scott,” I say, “Scott. Wake up.”
“I’m awake,” he says.
“I love you too.”
I woke up because the phone was ringing. For a moment was excited that Alan Sebastian was finally calling me back but when I answered it the voice was unfamiliar.
“Who is this?” I asked.
“Who the fuck are you?” said the voice.
I woke up properly then and realised that Alan Sebastian couldn’t be calling me because he was right there in the bed beside me… and that I had answered Alan Sebastian’s phone.
I didn’t want to wake up Alan Sebastian so I unplugged his phone and snuck out of the bed and the room.
“Sorry. I answered the wrong phone. Can I take… a message or something?”
“Where the fuck is Alan Sebastian? What’s happened to him?”
“He’s asleep in my bed. He’s fine. Just tired.”
“What the fuck. Jesus. I can’t believe that guy. This is beyond even him fucking hell. He was supposed to work and his work called his house they haven’t seen him. So she calls me thinking I might know but… he’s what in the bed of some random guy?”
“I’m not a random guy. I’m his boyfriend.” I said grinning. Fuck, I am happy about that.
“The fuck you are. Give me your address I am coming over and taking Alan Sebastian. I am going to fucking kill him Jesus fucking hell.”
“Please don’t kill him,” I said, “I like him a lot.”
“Give me your fucking address. I’m getting in the car.”
“I don’t think you should do that.”
“What the fuck why not. Are you a fucking serial killer. Put Alan Sebastian on the phone.”
“I’m not a serial killer. You’re the one saying you’re going to kill him. He’s asleep. I don’t want to wake him up.”
“I’m coming over right now or I’m calling the police. Give me your fucking address.”
“I mean I can do that but it’s like an nine hour drive. So…”
“… wait what. Oh my god. Oh my god. Are you Scott?”
“Holy fuck. He did it. The bastard fucking did it. Oh my god. You’re his boyfriend. You’re his boyfriend now oh my god.”
“Yeah there has been a lot of that today. Anyway I am going to hang up now because right now I am standing in the hallway and Alan Sebastian is in my bed and I think I will just like… go back there.”
“Oh my god! Okay well let him know that someone from work called and…” he listed names of people I didn’t know and I didn’t care enough to pay attention.
“I am not going to remember any of that,” I said, “maybe like… SMS him or something and I’ll tell him to look at his phone when he wakes up.”
“Yeah okay he should probably call his work as soon as possible though.”
Alan Sebastian is awake when I get back into bed. My face hurts from smiling too hard and I hand him his phone.
“I thought it was mine ringing when I answered it. You have to call your work and also some other stuff which I forgot.”
He takes his phone which had already buzzed from an SMS.
“Did you tell Jeremy you were my boyfriend?” he asks. He isn’t looking at me. But he is smiling.
“Yeah,” I say, “is that… okay?”
“That is definitely very okay yes. Yes.”
“He knew about me already.”
“Wait. Is that the guy from…” I try to calculate how long ago that was but time doesn’t seem to make any sense.
“Yesterday.” says Alan Sebastian.
“That does not feel like yesterday,” I say. “It’s like the entire world has changed since then.”
“Just us,” he says.
“The entire world. Just like I said.”
And we hold each other and go back to sleep.
Alan Sebastian is with Pa when I finish school and I am SO excited to see him I run right up to him and he lifts me up and hugs me and puts me on his back and carries me all the way home.
Pa never carries me home.
After dinner I have a bath. After I have a bath I am supposed to brush my teeth but I can’t find my toothpaste and when I go and find Pa to ask him where my toothpaste is I see him standing very close to Alan Sebastian and it makes me so so cross with them.
“I am so so cross with both of you!” I tell them and I throw my toothbrush at them and I run to my room and slam the door.
“Mani!” says Pa. He doesn’t sound angry even though I am angry. Other kids parents get angry at them but Pa doesn’t ever yell at me.
He says that it’s okay to be angry but please don’t slam the door.
He asks me if I want to tell him what is wrong I say no.
They should already know why I am angry. Because they are lying to me even though lying is not nice.
“Are you going to brush your teeth?” he asks me.
“I’m not going to do anything EVER AGAIN until you stop lying to me.” I say.
“Um. Okay,” he says “But you will have to tell me what you think I have lied about because I do try not to lie to you, Mani. That’s important to me.”
“About you and Alan Sebastian being boyfriends!” I say, “I know you are and you keep saying you aren’t and it’s not nice.”
“So… if I tell you Alan Sebastian is my boyfriend will you brush your teeth?”
“Alan Sebastian is my boyfriend,” he says. But I know he only said it so I would brush my teeth so it doesn’t count.
“You only said that so I would brush my teeth so it doesn’t count,” I say.
“Yeah okay I don’t know how to win this one,” he says. “I told you and now you don’t believe me. What can I do? Do I need to kiss him in your doorway and tell him that I love him?”
“Yes.” I say. I know he won’t do it.
He does though. They kiss quite a lot and it makes my face feel hot and I put my head under the pillow.
“Okay! I say, “I will brush my teeth now. You can stop!”
I brush my teeth. My toothpaste was in my sock drawer and I don’t know how it got there.
“I knew you were boyfriends,” I tell them, “can you please say that you are sorry for lying and promise not to do it again?”
They look at each other and Pa says, “I am sorry, Mani.”
Alan Sebastian is trying not to laugh and I don’t really know why and I ask him if he is laughing at me.
“I am not laughing at you,” he says, “I am just very very happy.”
“I’m very very happy too,” says Pa.
“I’m happy too!” I say.
They kiss again but it is okay because it is only a little bit and knowing that they really truly love each other and they love me too makes me feel so happy inside.
“Alan Sebastian!” I say “You can come to my school play on Friday!” I have told him about my school play.
“I’m sorry, Mani,” says Alan Sebastian, “I have to go home tomorrow in the morning. I can’t stay that long.”
“Tomorrow?” That’s only Wednesday. He was only here for one day. “Why do you have to go back to Melbourne? Why can’t you stay here with us?”
“I have to go back to my home where I live. And I have to go to work so that I can pay my rent and my bills and buy food and presents for you.”
“You should live here.” I tell him. “We have food already and you should get a different job that is here. You can be my other dad.”
All the other kids at school have two parents and I think I would like to have two parents as well.
“…oookay let’s not talk about that right now,” says Pa.
I feel like my heart has been thundering all day long. I can’t stop smiling. I can’t stop laughing. I didn’t even know it was possible to feel like this and I don’t even know how to think about anything that isn’t him. And me. And us.
Scott Maher. Absolute Disaster.