I wasn't able to avoid him for long and when I saw him, my confidence had plummeted even after all the jokes Jamie had done as we were walking back to the port. He looked very tired and irritated, not talking to anyone else and we were all about to head over to bed. I knew that it wouldn't take long until I would be able to go back to Jamie's and just continue the soft conversations or maybe something rough, but he had spoken enough of Miles and if more would be said it would've been plain rehashing than something else. We just made eye contact and Miles looked away. I knew how hard everything had been and the kiss we shared seemed something that the man didn't even want to entertain the possibility of.
I wondered what the hell was going through his mind, as Jonny turned off the light for all of us, nodding for Carlos to stop recruiting for the drag show, which plenty had agreed to do already. I even ended up watching his back turned to me, as I waited for the lights to turn off. He was the last thing I saw. As usual I just waited until the breathing would even and some snores would be heard. I gave it another few minutes and I stood up, just as quietly as usual and I heard some moves from Miles' bed.
I kept on going, before I heard footsteps behind me. He was surely not asleep as I turned around, but still went out, figuring that I could simply go to the bathroom and back. Miles followed me into the light as I opened the door, looking down.
I didn't know what to expect or rather if to expect much, as I stopped and turned around to face the Chief Petty Officer. Miles gave out a small cough and just stared at me. His emotions were not shown on his face, he seemed to be thinking what would his move even be.
“You going to Hince's then? As every fucking night? Don't you get bored?” He asks in a rather loud voice, so I just look around to see no one even close to us. We're alone for this stupid showdown, where I have no energy and at this point I even feel like I'd just sleep besides Jamie. Then something flashes through his mind. “Did you even tell him that we kissed?”
“What about all the other men you send off?” He continues. “Doesn't he ever get jealous or do you get a pass for everything, Turner?”
I wish it were dark and I could just avoid him, as if he were some ghost or a minor nuisance, but the problem is once you're haunted, you're fucked for good. And he's surely not one to let go of grudges from his life. As I listen to him, I am pissed off, but I try to put myself in his shoes. What the fuck is pissing him off so much? I can't come up with an answer and I know that it was my turn to speak to his insults, which are just going on and on.
“Miles.” I pause and look at him. I'm a whore. I've made out with this man, just because and I've briefly had a love affair with him. I destroyed it with my own hands and took his former lover. “Is it because you found out about Jamie's divorce?”
I shoot in the dark and I maybe can possibly hear a wounded animal?
Miles looks taken back. Maybe he did finally notice the lack of a ring on Jamie's finger during an inspection. That would explain Miles' rudeness and it was something that poor Miles only dreamed off as an adolescent and here I was, getting it in a few months after dating. I didn't know if I actually felt sorry for him, all I knew was that I just wanted his pettiness to stop.
“What do you mean Hince is divorced?” I don't know if he's faking it or maybe he didn't notice, but I doubt, I'd be looking in his place. Maybe he thought they separated or something, maybe he thought that the ring was just lost or gone. Maybe he never noticed at all.
I decide to look confused.
“Hince is divorced.” I just shrug my shoulders, as if it's no big deal and I'm still not too comfortable from the fact that I have to talk to him in the corridor for everyone to hear and spy on, well, if someone is interested in the Captain's personal life that is. I never actually asked if he has some fake girl's photo just to say that he's dating someone new or maybe he just pretends to be single and heartbroken, while taking it up the ass. I keep looking around to make sure that no one is indeed listening to us.
Miles looks up, probably thinking if he should cause another turmoil to the Captain. I'm guessing he decides that he should, as he starts walking out of the corridor and up the stairs to get into the bridge. I just follow him, silently for a second, as I try to even ponder what the fuck can I even say.
“Miles, what exactly are you up to?” He turns around right after I ask it, but doesn't stop going up the stairs. I really thought I'd always be the only one to disturb poor Jamie from his sleep. “Don't you think that he's not particularly thrilled to see you?”
“That would explain why Alison isn't replying to me. She's probably bawling her eyes out that he ditched her for some young queer.” He mutters angrily. I feel taken back, he really does know nothing and Alison just decided to avoid him all together, which even without knowing her seems to be in character, since she hid Lana so well. “He was married with children, Alex. Did your cock have no decency?”
“Did your cock ever have any decency, Kane?” I shoot it right back at him and he just remains quiet. We're out on the deck for a brief while, some sailors smoking in the distance. Probably post-coital and I try to make out their faces to catch them later, but I can't see. So I just drop it as we get into the bridge anyway. Miles glared at me, as if showing that he's talked plenty and so have I. Miles walks quietly into the corridor with Jamie's room and I hope that Jamie isn't naked or anything, but usually he's just dressed and reading. I wonder if I should make a run and be the one to open the door, but as soon as I speed up Miles just yanks the door open without any courtesy. Jamie just blinks in pure surprise seeing his very old lover.
“He just went mad.” I confess, as Jamie just slams the book shut and motions for both of us to head inside. I feel guilty. I don't know what could I have even done. I don't even know when was the last time Jamie invited Miles over. And the last time we had all spoken in three was before me and Jamie confessed our love to each other. That's how long ago it was.
“I don't need to come in.” Miles confesses. But he does so, quickly looking around before landing his gaze on Jamie, who still sits in his chair, frozen and keeps looking at me lost. “Why did you divorce Alison?”
His voice shakes.
“You never did that for me and we were together for years.” Love never fades. We just grow used to hiding it until we can convince ourselves that the person was wrong for us and then we can call it anything else we'd like, because saying we had love would be admitting a problem and frankly what human likes to acknowledge their flaws or mistakes? None. That's why we lie, besides last glimpses of consciousness before sleep.
Jamie doesn't speak up, instead he just fiddles with the book in his hands.
“So what... I meant nothing?” Jamie doesn't mention that Alison had cheated as well. Instead he looks at me, standing behind Miles. It's hard to talk to a former lover with your current in the room. Jamie takes too much of a pause, that Miles just turns around and looks down, I see his glossy eyes and he leaves. Jamie then stands up, which I think would be to fetch Miles, but instead he just closes the door as soon as he leaves.
“Well, at least he's gone.” He snaps at nobody in particular now, trying to avoid my gaze as I just try to get the right words to tell him. But as soon as I open my mouth he looks at me, sighing. “Alex, there's no use rehashing old love. It's long gone and we've hurt each other enough to throw the other off the deck.”
“I know, but...” I start trailing. “I see where he's coming from.”
My mouth becomes foreign.
“You wouldn't have done that for me if Alison wasn't cheating.”
Jamie's eyes widen and he looks up at me.
“Excuse me?” He looks terribly shaken and I have no control over my mouth anymore.
“I never said I wouldn't like being the lover on the side. But... You would have never divorced her.”
“You would never keep your mouth off Miles' either, Turner. But somehow, I'm not really saying that aloud much, am I?” He snaps, raising his voice lightly. His gaze is piercing me. “Or how you raise your concerns whether you still have feelings for him.”
Jamie makes a step towards me.
“We never properly discussed whether we should be exclusive or not. Neither did you ever voice that it concerned you that I was married.” He keeps snapping.
I can't back now.
“Fine. We're not exclusive.” I cross my arms. My mind is blank, my body rushing as if I had jumped into a pool of adrenaline.
“Great.” He closes his eyes and sighs. He starts biting his lower lip and looking at me. Neither of us wants to step down. It's just a useless staring contest. I keep staring at his green eyes.
“Do you want me to leave?” I snap, a bit too annoyed and feeling like a kid who doesn't want to lose an argument under any circumstance with whomever it may be, parents or just another fellow snotty kid.
“Sure.” He bites his lip again and nods, waving his arms. “Go. Sleep in your own God damn bunk bed or if you're lucky, suck off Miles while you're at it.”
I don't have a comeback, but I do open the door again. I stare at him, hoping that he would simply say anything at all. But he doesn't, instead he just picks up the book and even starts reading it standing. I can't fucking apologize. Neither can he. I hold the door knob tight in my hand. I don't have the option of just leave him either for tonight or ever. I wouldn't be able to sleep and neither would he. Jamie keeps glancing at me every few lines, I guess. If he is reading that is.
“Look...” I start. He instantly shuts the book and looks at me. He leans a bit, to show that he's listening. “You would've never really divorced Alison if it wasn't for her cheating.”
I shut the door and I see tension get off his face, at least a small particle of it.
“You never asked.” We both stand firm on our stances. Both like fucking bulls.
“You never divorced Alison for Miles.” I don't even know what kind of answer I am actually expecting, like some consolation that I am somehow better than someone who I frequently wonder if I still love?
“Alex, I was fucked up. I didn't know what I wanted and I certainly couldn't go and live with a kid, who happened to be my wife's brother. That was out of the question.” He pauses and frowns over the next sentence. “I'm over my thirties, I consider myself to be a bit wiser now, as well.”
“And you'd live now with another man.”
“Yeah. Why not. Hide as friends who bonded.” He shrugs. “Brian does that with his lover. I'm not saying times are better, but at least something is happening. Maybe I just met brave guys, who knows.”
It finally clicks what I'm actually asking him.
With all the arguing I didn't even realize that I was asking him to actually sort of somehow try and move in together.
“You never did that with Miles.” I just repeat that like a fucking broken record and shake my head. “Sorry... I'm just taken back.”
“You thought I would never do it?” He asks me and puts the book down, I notice that it's the Russian poetry collection I had bought him. He seems a bit hurt when he says that, but not much, probably expecting the same if he were in my place as well.
I just nod. Jamie scratches his neck, looking past me, thinking.
“I... never thought I would do it, either.” He pauses and picks it up, confessing. “I mean, I knew that I'd do it somewhere... deep down. But we never discussed it.”
“I know.” I just say, sighing. I shake my head. “I'm sorry... I panicked that Miles headed behind me. I just felt bad that I didn't stop him and I guess all that frustration had to go somewhere. I'm sorry for-”
“It's alright.” Jamie interrupts me. “He's been terribly cranky lately, maybe he broke up with someone or something.”
He takes out the cigarette holder from his pocket and stretches it for me.
“He's always been like this, frankly. It's not the first year I know him, unlike you.” He realizes how bitter the last part sounds and picks it up regardless. “I mean, not that it's not enough to get fucked over. It's more about... I guess, no, even then. You can find out a person in a day or a few months if they are just willing to open up.”
Jamie smiles at me as I take the cigarette and he follows. He lights both of them, the flame quickly licking both.
I've been writing very slowly, but hey, I'm keeping up with the updates, since I got so much written with Nanowrimo!
I know, this is pretty much just storytelling and I've been storytelling when I write again, I like that balance, because I really forgot how it's hard to write something else other than the emotions which are firing up, so there's not much space for anything else.
I really like Miles, even if he's frankly not the most positive character at this point. I like how him and Jamie traded places because I had broken up with my ex at the time and I just wanted to throw my anger somewhere and Jamie was getting close with Alex. I'm babbling and doing throwbacks, I see.
Miles is such an ode to all the people you can't forget and which still linger. I don't think I have anyone lingering, but he's quite a ghost at this point which seems to want to break free and become real again. And I'll keep my lips sealed.
I really beat myself over sometimes for being polyamorous, so I really enjoy exploring general polyamory topics and the morality of it, even if it's clear that it's okay. I just like thinking about it and applying it to Jamie and Alex's relationship.
I hope you enjoyed it and really sorry for the short backstories.
If you liked it, please tell me so.