Well That Was Unexpected
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
A week later, we were back on campus. Cal had survived his bout of flu, but Dale was still at home, recovering. The Dean had arranged for his work to be e-mailed to him, and he would be back in a few more days, once his parents were happy.
"I saw Dave this morning" Cal said, as we walked toward the coffee shop.
"How is he?" I asked, as we walked through the doorway.
"He looked okay, but he was forcing a smile; you could tell" he replied.
"Did you speak to him about the service?" I asked.
"He said it was short, Nicks Dad and aunt argued most of the day; he would have hated it" Cal replied.
"Latte, please, large. Cal?" I said, talking to the barista "Same" he replied.
We took our seats and continued our conversation.
"He asked if he could help with the truck" he added.
"And" I replied, taking a sip.
"He said he needed to do it; you know, for Nick. I said yeah, so, he's helping me over the weekend" he replied, before taking a sip.
"Good. I need to do some revising" I replied.
"Yeah, me too, but I can do most of that over Sunday. Besides, I want to have this done before we head off for Chicago" he replied with a smile.
"Hey guys" Kyle and Aaron said, coming into the coffee shop.
"Thought you were with Todd?" Cal said.
"Laura grabbed his attention, if you know what I mean" Aaron smirked.
"When's Dale coming back? Lisa looks a little lost" Kyle asked. He and Lisa have become very good friends, as of late.
"He's coming down over the weekend. He's still a little pissed we left without him, though" I added.
"He'll be fine. Once he kisses Lisa, all will be forgiven" Cal replies and smiles. He knows Dale wouldn't be mad for long.
"Oh, I spoke to Grandpa this morning, and yes, he has one" Cal said, and Aaron was looking a little confused.
"One what?" Kyle asked, before Aaron had the chance.
"A Kilt" I replied.
"A Kilt... for what?" Aaron asked.
"The wedding. Cal will be in full Highland dress, as will his grandpa" I replied.
"You wearing white, then?" Kyle smirked.
"Ass" was my only reply to that.
"He could wear a beach towel and I'd still be stunned when he says yes" Cal added, with his hand on my knee, boning me up instantly...the dick.
"Don't you two have lectures this morning?" Kyle looks at his watch and nods slightly.
"Yeah, in 10 minutes. Aaron, we need to move" he adds.
"Why? I don't have a lecture till 11" he replies, and the look that Kyle gave him could have frozen water... instantly.
"Kidding, I'm kidding" he stood up kissed his cheek.
"Later, guys" he adds, and they leave.
"You gonna try it on for me when we get there?" I ask.
"Yeah, traditionally" he responds with a smirk.
"What, no shorts?" I ask.
"Nothing" he replies, as we stand up to get to our engineering lecture.
"You do realize, that, me knowing that, will have me hard right through the ceremony, don't you?" I say, as we're crossing the quad.
"Yep" he yells, running to his locker to get his stuff.
"Ass" I yell back, passing the oak tree, flowers still present; but not just for Connor. I look at his bench, and I began to remember some events from the past year, and how so much worse they could have been. Fuck... Dale could be dead.. I am so grateful he's not; as that would have destroyed me.
"Hey, Josh" I turn around, and Dave is standing near the tree.
"Hey, Dave. Cal said he saw you this morning" I replied, squeezing his shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm helping with his truck, Saturday" he replied.
"How's Dale? I meant to ask this morning" he asked.
"He's coming back over the weekend; he's bored out of his skull" I add.
"I bet" he adds.
"Okay, Josh, I need to get going. Chat later, okay?" he asked.
"Anytime, dude, you know where we are" I say, and I walked toward the lecture halls. Cal was standing just inside, talking to Laura and Todd, both looking a little flushed.
"See you at Lunch, guys" I say to Todd, as we are running a little behind.
Over the following few days, it was pretty much work, work, work. We crammed for finals, and drank more coffee than the American Medical Association would approve of. Dale came back on Saturday, much to the delight of myself, and more so, Lisa. He was not as pissed as I thought he would have been.
"Pass the wrench" Dave said to Cal, as they worked on his truck.
"Okay, fire her up" Dave said to Cal, and he crossed his fingers; as this was a new-ish engine, and it cost enough to keep us fed for a few months.
He turned the key and smiled, as the engine came to life. "Woo hooo, listen to that" Cal proclaimed, pulling me close.
For the next few hours they worked to get it tuned; and, by the end, it was purring.
"Nick would have loved that sound" Cal said, with his hand on Dave's shoulder.
"Yeah, yeah he would have. Thanks guys, you know, for letting me help" Dave said, with a little emotion squeezing through.
"Dude, the pleasure was all ours" Cal replied, again squeezing his shoulder.
"Just the paint to do now" Cal added.
"I am not an artist" Dave smiled.
"It's okay, I know a guy who is" Cal replied.
We walked back toward campus and said our goodbye's to Dave, and entered the gate. "Who?" I asked.
"Who, what?" he replied.
"The artist, who?" I replied.
"Oh, before all this shit happened, I spotted Kyle, drawing, next to the oak tree. Josh, they were amazing. He was using a ball point pen, and it looked like he had just taken a photograph" he replied.
"Yeah, he was doing art in high school. It's just, I have never seen any of his work" I replied, walking toward our dorms.
"You should, he is good. So, if he can come up with something, and I can get the artwork to a paint shop, and let them do the bodywork, we should be good to go" he said with a smile.
"Okay, back to the books" I say, and we head to the library to study; but, coffee first.
Later on, we were sitting in the dorm, watching Kyle sketch an idea, as Cal watched the pen move over his pad. Cal just looked on, in total awe, as did Aaron.
"Shit, that is beyond awesome" Cal said, pointing at the claws of the eagle, with a Chicago Bears flag flying from it.
"Kyle, can you do one thing for me, though?" Cal asked.
"Yeah, what?" he asked.
"Under the eagle, can you write 'In dedication to Nick, my friend' " he said, and I could see a tear rolling down his face.
"Yeah man, I can do that; just make sure you tell the paint shop it is to be included in the design" Kyle informed him, and he nodded.
When he finished the final drawing, I had to admit the guy had talent. His composition was one of the best pieces of artwork I had ever seen.
"Kyle, how come I have never seen any of your stuff before?" I enquired.
"Dude, we were 17, going on 18; what was the only thing going through our minds when we got together? Sorry man, art was not even in the top ten" he smirked, and yeah, we dated for a very short period, and it was just about sex. I think the longest conversation we had was "You or me?" topping, that is.
"You are talented, man, that is some work" I added.
"Tattoo's" he said, and I looked all confused.
"Sorry, what?" I asked.
"He wants to design tattoos; take some training and become an ink guy" Aaron added. "Really" I replied, looking at the skill that Kyle had shown.
"Yeah, I want my work to last a lifetime" Kyle replied, winking at Aaron.
"Have you not tried exhibiting your work?" Cal asked.
"Nah, I need to work on getting the light and dark right, first. The contrast doesn't flow like I want it to" Kyle replied.
"You are joking, Kyle, these are amazing" I replied, flipping through one of his art pads.
"This will look fantastic on my truck, Kyle. Thanks" Cal added, looking at the design that Kyle had completed.
"Just have to get the thing copied at the paint shop. Dave's friend, Del, works wonders with car art" Cal added.
"I'll make sure he adds your signature to it" He informed Kyle, and again he winked at Aaron.
"Whoa, whoa whoa, what the heck is this?" I said, in a raised voice. It was a totally naked picture, done again in ball point pen, of Aaron, lying on a bed, smiling at Kyle.
"Fuck, I thought I took that one out. Sorry, Aaron" Kyle said, a bit apologetically.
"Why, it's a great piece of work. I'm not ashamed, and neither should you be" Aaron said, squeezing his lovers knee.
A few days later, the weekend was here; and, exams completed, we picked up the truck, and I was in awe of it. The finish was out of this world. Kyle's design was stunning, and Del had transferred the stunning art work to the truck with style... Totally pimped.
We packed the truck, ready for our trip to Chicago, and left Todd to clear out the dorm room. He and Dale and the girls would be off to Europe in a week or so, and Kyle and Aaron were heading back to Boston for the summer.
"Ready?" Cal asked, as I said my goodbye's to Dale and Todd. It was hard to think I would not see them for almost six weeks. Since we met, we had seen and / or talked, every day. Well, except when Dale flipped out last year. But six weeks would seem like a lifetime without my two biggest influences in my life.
"Yeah" I replied, after hugging it out with them.
"Enjoy Chicago, guys" Todd said, as I opened the door and climbed in.
"Yeah, we will. Enjoy Italy" I replied, as we began to pull away.
"You okay?" Cal asked.
"Yeah, I'll miss them, is all" I replied, and smiled. He looked a little concerned, as I did have a bit of moisture in my eyes.
"We will see them before we get wed; and, well, after the summer, we will see them almost all the time. It's a big house, but we will be in the same place. Just think of that, babe" he replied.
"Yeah, I still cannot believe we have a home in the Hamptons" I smiled.
"Chicago, here we come" he yelled, and hit play on the CD mp3 player, and blasted out some tracks to shout and sing along to.
We stopped after several hours on the road, and booked into a motel, before heading off again the following day. We pulled outside Cal's grandparents house, just after four in the afternoon.
"Come here, child" his Grandma said, as she engulfed Cal into a hug, before descending on me with the same emotion.
"Where's Gramps?" Cal asked.
"On his way home. There was a problem at the office" she replied, as we entered the kitchen.
"Oh, anything serious?" Cal asked.
"I doubt it, you know how he is" she replied.
We sat at the kitchen table, talking about our recent experiences, and how one of our friends had been killed, and one wounded, and a former girlfriend of Todd's also a victim. She showed genuine emotion and shock.
"Oh, my boys, sorry I'm late" Gramps said, as he placed his briefcase down, and, like his wife, pulled us both into a hug.
"You look well, Grandpa" Cal said, and I agreed.
"Grandma said something about problems at the office?" Cal got straight to the crux.
"Sorry, what?" he asked.
"Grandma said you had trouble at the office. Anything serious?" Cal asked.
Silence for a short time.
"We have a mole" he replied.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Josh, when you have worked in the business I work in, you develop contacts and some good friends. Favors given and some owed, and... well ... I received some information from one of those contacts that shocked me some" he started.
"We bid for a project in Malaysia last year, and lost out to one of our competitors. I have since learned that we probably lost it because our design and costs were leaked" he added.
"Do you know who?" I asked, and he shook his head.
"Guys, I need you to keep your ears and eyes open. I now like the idea of you going in anonymously, with no connection to me. You might hear something that I would not" he replied.
"Do you have any suspicions though, Gramps?" Cal asked.
"None. I have a good relationship with all my staff; that is why this has shocked me. My contact couldn't give me a name, either" he replied.
"Okay Gramps, we will do what we can" Cal replied.
"Don't be obvious, Calumn, okay?" he added.
"Gramps, we will just keep an eye open and our ears tuned, and be discreet" he adds.
"Okay, dinner is almost done. Go get washed up and be back in fifteen minutes" grandma instructed, and we did just that.
"You okay with this?" Cal asks.
"With what, the James Bond shit?" I replied with a snicker.
"Yeah. I mean, we won't go snooping; but this is our company, Josh" he replied.
"Cal, we will do what's needed, whatever that is, okay?" I reply, and kiss him softly, and we touch foreheads with each other.
"Come on, I'm starved" Cal eventually said.
To be continued...
Sorry for the delay guys, I had to take some time away from writing as it was beginning to hurt... honest.
Okay guys, summer is here and the internship is upon us, with a few twists along the way. Enjoy, and, as always, let me know what you think. firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet @DavidSpowart