"The young lad makes better chips ‘n you do" old Eric grumbled as he let the limp piece of potato fall back onto the plate in front of him. Tony bit back a sharp retort as the old man buried the offending chips and the meat pie and peas served with them under a barrage of tomato sauce. Having a good old fashioned Italian mother Tony had never had to cook before, in fact he was rather domestically useless, so the pub’s basic meal menu was an on-going adventure for him into the culinary unknown.
Mastering the microwave and the pie warmer had been easy enough, that is if you overlooked the occasional serve of peas that could do duty in the NSW Police Service’s weaponry, but the deep fryer the pub used to cook chips, chicko rolls and the like in, Tony was finding to have a life all its own. Heating the oil to the right temperature to get the chips the expected golden colour and crisply crunchy required an advanced science degree in Tony’s opinion. Too hot and the deep fryer would spit the burning liquid back at him when the wire basket was dropped in, feeling like a mild pin prick at best, scalding at worst.
Tony’d had both and liked neither. He’d tried standing as far back from the small vat as he could, dropping the basket in and getting the hell away from the thing but he’d managed somehow to up-end the basket a couple of times and made a big enough mess to give that up.
But if the oil wasn’t hot enough, then everything came out limp and pale, even if cooked. Given the options, Tony usually went with limp and pale but most of the patrons, old Eric included, didn’t feel the same way. Regulars in the know had taken to avoiding ordering anything much at all food wise if Tony was behind the bar, but old Eric was a persistent exception. Everyone knew he rowed regularly with his wife and when they did Mavis simply refused to cook for him, so it was the pub or starve. Heading up the road to the RSL Club or one of the new cafes never entered Eric’s mind; the pub was his second home and he wasn’t up to breaking the habits of a lifetime.
Whenever Johnny was around he’d take pity on Tony and spare him from having to confront the oily beast although this evening Tony was noticing that Johnny was suspiciously busy elsewhere. Not that he had much time to think about this, or about anything else for that matter aside from keeping the patrons fed and watered.
Rugby was on at the football stadium and the televised game on the pub’s medium big screen attracted a lively crowd. It mystified Tony what made rugby union such a social game, almost compelling people into venues and gatherings to catch the action when other sports had them happily at home watching the TV on the lounge with all the comforts at hand.
Midway through the night a couple of the local constabulary poked their noses into the public bar, just to keep an eye on things. Tony didn’t recognise either one and he only half heard some comment passing between Johnny and the female senior constable which seemed to be about Darcy seeing another constable. He presumed they were referring to that incident a couple of weeks back and, being busy with another drinks order, flicked it aside.
"So when’ya goin’ swimming then? The weather’s still nice but it’ll be getting cool soon in the mornings" Johnny challenged as they hustled the last of the patrons out, mildly disgruntled at the outcome of the rugby match. A good game is a close game but Australia is supposed to win major sporting events especially when playing at home.
Tony shrugged his meaty shoulders, trying to let dodge the question. Johnny was, as usual, having none of it. "Well?" he demanded.
"Dunno. Maybe tomorrow" Tony evaded.
"Best see as that ya do" Johnny snapped back. "You’re running outta time and if yer interested in the boy ya’ll pull yer finger out and do sum’thin’ soon, yer hear me?" Surprised and stung by the heat of the older man’s words, Tony merely nodded, abashed. "Good! Now lets get cleaned up so as I can get to bed. I’m stuffed."
Not much more passed between these two and Tony stayed only long enough to be sure Johnny made it upstairs to his room when they’d finished up.
The short walk home was pleasant but Tony’s mind was elsewhere, wondering just what on earth he was going to do about Darcy. He’d started out well enough with the bike and working in the pub but he knew he was no closer to his objective than he’d ever been. It all suddenly seemed to overwhelm him and he just wanted to sit down on the brick lined gutter and cry his heart out. As his eyes misted over, Tony reached his home, gulped down a large chunk of cool night air, opened the front door and headed for his own bed, very grateful that his mother was already asleep and he needn’t deal with her. Right then Tony wasn’t sure if he could cope with that.
Sleep came quickly but it wasn’t restful.
This time it was different being with Paul, better, most definitely better, thought Darcy as he twirled a lock of Paul’s hair idly about his fingers and smiled happily at the blank ceiling. Paul’s head wasn’t heavy on his chest but it was a weight nonetheless, comfortable, his breathing occasionally tickling the little hair in Darcy’s armpit. He could feel his dick thickening and rising along his hard belly as he remembered their gentle and then torrid lovemaking of the night before. Maybe he was being petty but he hoped that Paul would have a bit of trouble sitting comfortably for a day or so. Kinda like a reminder of how good Darcy’d been; after all he’d managed to get Paul off four times in total.
Not quite how I’d intended things to turn out, Darcy’s mental voice continued and he registered somewhere in the background the persistent hum of early morning traffic on the elevated roadway outside Paul’s bedroom window. I’d rather hoped it would be me on the receiving end but you my man were good to have. My man. Now I like the sound of that. But do you want to be my man and do I want you to be?
Darcy continued his musings in like vein as he slipped his hand from Paul’s twisted locks down the trim firm body that wriggled closer into him at his touch. He was actually so preoccupied that the warm moistness closing over his dickhead caught him totally unawares. Gasping loudly as Paul’s tongue hit a sensitive spot just underneath the edge of his knob, a nerve spasm making his left leg kick out, his hands grabbing at Paul’s head trying to pull him in, Darcy’s reverie suddenly took an intensely different course. Arching his back up off the bed with his shoulders, Darcy tried to shove more of his length down Paul’s throat as he rapidly succumbed to the waves of pleasure crashing over him.
Feeling like he was being choked by Darcy’s dick poking awkwardly down his throat was not how Paul had hoped to surprise his lover. He had to work hard to stifle his gag reflex and regain control of the action he had initiated. From the noise Darcy was making and his thrashing about Paul knew he was doing something right, but he did want to be able to enjoy the experience too not to mention remember how he was provoking it so that he could try to repeat it at some future time. Well he would if he could figure out how to keep from turning this into a snuff encounter.
Before Paul could get much further along with this unsettling line of thought, his mouth was suddenly full of the salty sweetness he recognised as being uniquely Darcy’s. He gulped a few times in response and got hard himself.
Sweating and gasping hard Darcy fell back into the pillows feeling totally drained by his orgasm. It’d taken almost no time at all for him to blow and the quickness of his response and the intensity had caught him by surprise. Damn! No man had ever made him cum so quickly, well, not so as he could recall.
Sighing heavily he ran his fingers through Paul’s hair again as his face turned up to meet his, the cheeky grin and sparkling eyes captivating him again.
"Thankyou lover" Darcy whispered thickly "great way to start the day"
"Your pleasure entirely" was the grinning cheeky reply. Scrambling up the bed along and over Darcy, Paul felt like bursting at the epithet ‘lover’. In leaning forwards and kissing him deeply Paul’s legs forced Darcy’s back and his steely hard dick slid down the other’s perineum almost bumping into his hole. Grabbing at Paul’s waist with his legs and pulling him in swiftly Darcy mashed Paul’s dick into his skin, so missing the target entirely.
"Hmmm baby wants to play huh?" teased Paul triumphantly wiggling his hips round in irregular circles, making Darcy moan in frustration.
"Just shut up and do me" Darcy growled softly, grabbing at Paul’s dick with one hand and pushing him in whilst with the other free hand hard around his neck, pulling him in for a long wet kiss.
Paul wouldn’t be hurried though and when they were done, both men were hot and sweaty with differing sets of sore muscles but entirely satisfied. The long time they spent in the shower was tender, affectionate and playful.
As they headed off in Paul’s car to breakfast on Glebe Point Road, time made possible by Paul’s late starting, Darcy couldn’t help but feel that this mid-week indulgence was wickedly sinful. He laced the fingers of his right hand and though Paul’s left ones, gripping firmly and smiled his sunniest smile at a face that beamed back at him equally happy. Momentarily he wondered where all this was heading.
Morning dawned rather differently in the Petrucci household. Mrs Petrucci in her floral dressing gown was in the kitchen making coffee in the traditional Italian way when the radio started blaring in Tony’s room, bringing him to groggy consciousness. Reluctantly he hauled himself downstairs, mumbling a good morning to his mother as she slid a mug of thick black coffee onto the table in front of him before sliding herself onto a chair opposite.
"You’re up early Tony" Mrs Petrucci observed quietly if none too originally. The days her younger son looked as wrecked as he now did she’d learned to tread lightly.
"Its alright Mum. I’m going swimming this morning" Tony announced through a loud yawn and childlike rubbing of his eyes.
"Huh?" she exclaimed.
"I know" Tony yawned again "I need to get into shape so I am trying swimming."
"But Tony aren’t you already in.. in ‘shape’?" Mrs Petrucci was startled by her son’s comment. She was secretly rather proud of how good Tony looked particularly in comparison to her elder son whose wife she suspected of not looking after him properly.
"Mama, I’ll have breakfast when I get back" Tony dodged the question as he sipped his mother’s black brew, strong enough to startle his body into full wakefulness. Proper coffee was never far from ready in the Petrucci household, the type being served changing with the time of day. Reaching the thick mud at the bottom of his mug, Tony sighed, rubbed his eyes again in his little-boy manner, pushed himself up from the table, slipped his mother now sitting silently opposite staring into her own coffee a kiss and headed back upstairs to work out his swimming gear.
Rustling through his drawers Tony dragged out a green pair of Speedos that had undoubtedly seen better days. Holding them up to face level by his index finger, he considered if they were up to par, waved them to and fro a couple of times indecisively, then twirled them into space. They landed unnoticed with a soft fabric whisper on the carpet, joining yesterday’s work shirt. A white pair of footie shorts Tony thought would look good, then he remembered their propensity to go sheer when wet. Umm, maybe not this time, was the decision as they joined the green Speedos on the floor.
Bloody hell, he thought, I am going to have to go shopping for some proper togs.
Finally it was another pair of footie shorts Tony decided would have to do. Maroon with white piping, evoking the popular Manly rugby league team Tony did not actually follow, they fitted snugly. He glanced unthinkingly at his reflection in the mirror before pulling on a plain white t-shirt and joggers, grabbed his keys and a towel from the ironing pile in the small third bedroom, thumped down the stairs, slammed the front door shut and broke into a slow run down the street.
In the kitchen Mrs Petrucci jumped in her chair, startled at the crashing noise of the door, sloshing hot coffee onto her hand and the table. Normally the thumping of feet heavy on the stairs would’ve alerted her to expect somesuch, but this morning her mind was elsewhere. The recent changes in her younger son’s habits were puzzling her. One or two would’ve passed unnoticed but there were so many; working in the pub, the motorbike and now swimming. And he seemed happier but also distracted and not distracted like he was when his mind was on a problem at work. With her other children Mrs Petrucci would’ve suspected romance, but with Tony ....... she sighed deeply and drank her coffee.
Rounding the corner a couple of short blocks before the pool, Tony slowed to a halt, half crouched forwards with his hands on his knees, gulping in huge lungfulls of air. He’d ended up running harder than he’d intended and his left shin was aching from his foot’s impacting with the asphalt.
Standing up to his full height, stretching a bit, he started to stroll towards the pool sort of down and around the corner. Through the larger trees glimpses of the harbour could be seen although Tony was so used to the sight that he rarely bothered anymore.
Harbourside public pools had been neglected by the municipal councils responsible for them for a long time now. The few that remained had however developed a strong local support base oddly it seemed from residents who did not actually use them. As a kid Tony with his brother and sister and their friends had spent many long hot summer days in and around the pool. They’d all learnt to swim at school and no-one considered it to be anything other than a safe place to let the kids go to on their own without parental supervision. Musing on how the times had changed, and not for the better, Tony shook his head as he passed though the familiar gates, wondering just how long ago it’d been since he was last here.
As he stripped down to his footie shorts, dumping everything in a pile on a bench close to the pool’s shallow end, he allowed his police eyes to scan the few other people here at this early hour. Mainly oldies as he’d expected but a surprising number of young guys too with just a couple of women he judged to be in their mid-thirties. No Darcy either Tony noticed with some relief, although considering that he hadn’t got back to the pub before Tony left that wasn’t surprising. Any thoughts of where Dary may’ve ended up spending the night, or with whom, Tony neatly surpressed by the interesting technique of immersing himself fully in the still chilly water.
Coming up for air and repressing chattering teeth Tony was irritated to hear close behind him a hearty male laugh. Fearing that it was Darcy he angrily swung around still semi crouched in the shallow water to confront the perpetrator.
"Sorry man but its really .."
"..not that cold once you get used to it." Chimed in Tony. " I know, I know, but its been a while and I’ve forgotten, okay?"
"Well I wasn’t going to say that you’re not a regular. I’m James by the way" said the laugher, holding out his hand just above the water.
"Tony. Pleased to meet you, I think" Tony briefly shook hands, smiling a bit at the other man’s renewed laughter. It was a nice sound and Tony took a moment to look at James properly. A nice face, sun tanned and slightly sun bleached hair, thin eyebrows arching over expressive soft brown eyes, the kind of eyes Tony had trouble not referring to as cow’s eyes in official reports, good looking in an unremarkable way. Mid-twenties probably, decent shoulders and biceps, more he couldn’t tell from James’ immersed position.
"So you doing laps? I could use someone to pace myself against" James went on merrily.
"Yeh but I’m rusty. Why not one of these others?" Tony waved a hand in the general direction of the other swimmers.
"Only just got here and everyone’s into their thing already. C’mon givit a go"
"Okay" Tony was reluctant but didn’t see how he could politely refuse. "But I am warning you its been a while since I’ve done laps."
"No worries. Ooops. Best we get going then" James glided over towards Tony to allow another swimmer to pass, an older woman who seemed determined to carry on regardless of obstacles. Her yellow cap was brilliant against the pale blue of the water.
"Four laps to start okay with you Tony?"
"Four?" Protested Tony. James shot him a withering look so he conceded. "Oh orright."
"On your mark" The two men assumed positions side by side in the wake of the yellow cap. "Ready .... and GO!"
James shot off fast, arms and legs moving furiously, a wild splashing almost hiding him.
Tony though took a couple of minutes to remember how everything was supposed to work but by the time he was halfway down the length of the pool it’d all seemed to come back to him. The rhythm of the Australian Crawl was easy to fall into; the water cool now rather than chilling, flowing over and around him, as he slid with some small degree of grace through the turbulance he was helping to create. A passing swimmer in an adjoining lane shot a filthy looked in his general directon but Tony was so pleased with himself that he couldn’t be bothered feeling offended.
Before he realised it the wall of the deep end was within reach. A quick if clumsy roll twisting his feet over his head and remembering to put his all into the push off the wall with his feet and Tony was making up some of his lost ground on James by torpedoeing his way underwater for a good three body lengths. Even as a kid he’d been good at using his legs this way; strong legs seemed to be a family trait he’d inherited from his dad.
Breaking the surface he found himself in someone’s wake, hopefully James’. Tony laughed silently to himself at the irony of how he’d always found it hard to swim straight. Like the pool as in life.
Whacking at the water a couple of times before he was right into it again made Tony lose some the distance he’d made up. Trying to ignore the protests from his shoulders, unused to this type of movement, he took off again in pursuit. James glided by him on the third lap putting him ahead by about half a lap. The playful spray of water he’d sent Tony’s way stirred up happy memories at the same time as a vow of revenge.
Redoubling his efforts, this time the turn went better, more like it should, but the shallowness of the water almost caught him grazing his stomach on the bottom. He remembered it being deeper. Longer, more assured strokes, better co-ordination and by the end of this lap Tony’d narrowed the distance to less than half of what it had been. He was gratifed by the surprised look he caught on James’ face as they passed each other this time.
This fourth lap would be his last Tony knew. He was tiring quickly as he stubbornly tried to find more to narrow the gaps.
James was sitting on the edge of the pool dangling his legs in the water as Tony slid into the wall beside him. For a moment Tony’d been tempted to surface between James’ legs but thought that would’ve been pushing things a little too far.
That Tony wasn’t shocked at all by this very notion and didn’t even register that maybe he should be was an unmarked milestone passing.
The deluge of water Tony dumped on James for the earlier splashing with the expected roar of rage and consequent tumbling around in the water was juvenile, irresponsible and great fun.
Hauling themselves out of the pool, totally sodden and laughing they made their way to where Tony’d left his things. He noticed that James’ were there too.
As they dried themselves off, chattering about this and that, Tony took the opportunity to check out James more closely. Taller than he’d expected, and hairier too. Still nice though. Good arse, now thats a plus, he thought.
James’ flick of his towel wasn’t a good shot and neither was Tony’s retaliation. Their ineffectual clowning earning them a scowl of disapproval from one of the old men and a cheery laugh and a ‘good on yer lads’ from an old wrinkled nut brown woman in a loose but brightly patterned sun dress as she made her way to the exit.
That gave Tony his cue.
"Thanks for the swim. I havta get going or else I’m going to be really late."
"Yeh me too" James sighed. "Shall we do it again tomorrow?" he asked hopefully.
Tony considered for a moment. "Yeh I’d like that"
"Great. I’ll see you here about the same time then" James grinned, showing a good set of straight white teeth. Had work done, Tony automatically noted.
A quick handshake and Tony was going out the gates heading uphill this time towards home.
Maybe it was going to be a good day after all.
Tony didn’t look back so he didn’t see James watching him all the way until he disappeared behind a parked four wheel drive.