Never Give Up
I washed the dishes and we all chilled out in front of the TV. I then helped Mrs L to pack. She was going home with two extra suitcases. We took them down to their car, ready for tomorrow morning. I noticed the bottom apartment's balcony door was opened, I could see the occupant looking through the windows at us.
I waved and said welcome. He just waved back, but I got the sneaky suspicion he wasn't looking at me, he was looking at Dan. Good looking kid around nineteen or twenty, nice body about six foot, and short blonde hair flipped style, nicely tanned body, I thought to myself "Cody pull yourself together, Dan loves you". My self doubts were surfacing again.
"Did you see the new tenant in the bottom apartment Dan?"
"No Codes" he said.
"He must have just moved in"
"Do you know who owns it Dan?"
"No Codes, most of the apartments are owned by companies or rich cow cockies, they are used for corporate lodgings and holiday units mostly.The other two at the top I know are owned by the Newman family but I'm guessing they are a tax write off".
I decided to make it my mission to find out. I started looking through some of Dan's paperwork on the Body Corporate meetings, ah there it is. Apartment one owners Mr and Mrs A Lawson apologise for not attending. It was written into the minutes of the last meeting. 'Cow cockies' I thought.
It turned out his name was Stewart Lawson when he introduced himself to me in the car park some days later. He was from the hinterland; his parents ran angora goats and horses on the farm. His mum had a shop in High street selling angora products and they had bought the apartment a few years ago so she could have somewhere to stay when she was in town.
"Was that Daniel Lawrence I saw with you the other day?"
I said "Yes it was, and the others were his mum and dad and two brothers. He's got the two penthouse apartments upstairs, his younger brother is moving into the one above you in a couple of weeks, he's going to start university soon. If you want to meet Dan just say hi, but don't talk too much footy, he's over meeting people that just want to do that."
"Okay" he said.
Anyway, Mr and Mrs L, Luke and Mike said their goodbyes and left it was a bit quiet without them around but we will see them again in three weeks.They didn't have a long trip only an hour. I packed sandwiches and drinks in an Esky for them, I'm sure Mike will have it all sorted by the time they have left the city. I went to work and now the season is looming, Dan went off to training down at the beach. There was a lot happening this week and I threw myself into it with gusto.
Annie and I got everything done the first two days, we had two weddings, one Saturday and one Sunday, another meeting of sixty ladies, the Hazel Club. A small convention about one hundred guests, and a school reunion, on the Friday night, so we are going to be pretty busy this week.
The Hazel Club was first on the Wednesday, sixty women called Hazel, they meet once a year they had crazy hats and scarves on, told dirty jokes and generally had a great day. We had decked out the smaller convention room for them; we will also use this room for the convention, reunion and one wedding. We started decorations on the bigger room, the other wedding was bigger. Dan and I just passed in the night where our lovemaking was as hot as ever. We did meet at the Players Bar most nights but drove home in separate cars, have to keep the image up I suppose. Dan wasn't happy to let the others know his status. So we took some tips from John and Matty and left separately. All the other guys knew was Dan and I lived in the same apartment block, they didn't have to know the fine details.
I did run into Jamie and he asked if I had given Luke his message, I just said.
"He knows James, he's gone home for now but will be back in a couple to start university"
He asked what he was studying, I told him.
"It's years of grueling training but I thought Luke had the stamina to make the cut"
He was a little in awe of Luke I think by now.
The magazine was coming out next week and the billboards were appearing the week after so I was excited to see the photos. No! The ones of Dan of course.
I got to the bar and got a beer, no Dan so I just talked to the boys about nothing really. Johnno was excited about the magazine coming out, he said Dan was a bit miffed he wasn't first choice for the bikini shots but he knew he wouldn't do them anyway, so did I.
I said my goodbyes and started for home, locked my car and walked up the driveway.
I heard Dan calling my name.
"Squirt in here"
I looked through Stewart's windows and there was Dan and Stewart, beers in hand, I waved hi and went to the lift.
Dan came up a few minutes later and said
"You should have come in Squirt, Stews a great kid we have been talking for two hours now"
"Oh what about Dan?"
"Oh nothing really, he's a fan and he's in Brisbane to go to uni, he's doing something to do with vetinary stuff"
"Oh that's nice Dan, want some dinner?"
"No thanks Squirt we rang for a pizza earlier"
"Good I'll just have a salad then"
"How was work?" he said
"Oh pretty full on, the wedding was good, they looked happy but by the way the bride looked at one of the groomsmen I don't think it will last more than a year"
"I thought it was a reunion?"
"No that was last night Dan, it was good. Everyone having a wank over their achievements kinda thing but it went well"
"Stew was telling me about his mum's shop in High street, do you think we could go have a look and maybe pick out a nice cardigan for mum?"
"Sure Dan I love angora wool, I think that's a nice idea"
He said "Just mention we live upstairs and he sent us and the lady behind the counter will give us a discount"
"Great Dan, we can go tomorrow morning if you like"
"Okay" he replied.
We made love that night and as always we had a great time, Dan was being overly attentive, not unusual for him and I lapped it up.
In the morning it was showers, blow jobs then off to High street. There were some beautiful pullovers, cardigans, hats and scarves. Stew's mum was very arty, I could see she had put a lot of thought into each piece, it wasn't cheap but that made it all the more interesting. We bought a sleeveless pullover for Dan's dad and a cardigan for his mum, we also got a big discount, Dan was happy with it. We went for coffee at our breakfast cafe on the way home, Stew was there so we joined him.
He said "Cody you should have come in yesterday and had a drink".
"Oh I'm sorry Stew I had other things on my mind, work stuff, I am an organizer so my brain really doesn't switch off when I leave work"
"That's okay maybe next time mate".
I really couldn't read Stew but I'm thinking straight at the moment.
We had a good time that spewed over to Dan's apartment. I had to leave not long after so I went into the spare room and had a shower, I felt like shit in my own home, lucky I left some clothes in the other bedroom.
"I'll see you later Stew" I said and I glared at Dan, who was a little more than drunk
"Later" they both replied.
The big wedding was awesome, no ogling from the bride, she had eyes only for her groom.
I looked in at the bar and no sign of Dan so just went home. Stew was still there, they were both drunk, I said my hellos, showered and went to bed. I left them to, it I was buggered so I crawled into the spare bed. I woke around seven, no Dan, that's odd I thought so I went to the kitchen and put the coffee on. I looked around the room there was a pile of empty bottles on the coffee table so I picked them up and wiped it down, then sprayed the room it smelt like a brewery. I walked into our bedroom, Thwack! It hit me, there was Dan and Stew on the bed asleep they had their clothes on but Stewart had thrown his leg over Dan's.
I went and showered, I dressed and drank my coffee, it was Monday morning. I went to work, organised the diary for the coming week and rang a few hopeful clients. I was thinking I might just do a bit of shopping so I went home to change and I noticed I was running out of clothes in the spare room. No sign of Dan, so I went to the bedroom and took a stack of my favourite clothes into the spare room. I changed to my hipsters and put a nice polo on, I redid my hair, flipped and walked out the door.
Dan and Stew were just coming up the drive; Stew had a crate of beer on his shoulders.
"Hi Squirt." Dan said.
"Dan, Stew" I nodded.
"Geez Cody you are looking a bit like a fairy today mate"
"Yeah, a bit I said, gotta go see the president of a big gay organisation, they want to book seven hundred for an annual ball at the club. I gotta look the part, the club wants the business. Maybe I'll see you later but I'm thinking of going to the farm for a few days," looking daggers at Dan.
"Fucking poofters they're everywhere"
I stopped in my tracks and turned around.
I said. "Stew can I say something? The footy club will make over a hundred thousand dollars out of this deal. Poofters are more than welcome to contribute to the players fund, it's good business mate"
"Okay" he said "Don't get your frilly knickers in a knot".
As he went to his front door, I was fuming and just stood there and stared at him. I shook my head in disgust at Dan and said
"You sure can fucking pick em Dan, haven't you had enough of these losers you pick up?"
He said "Squirt I'll come with you".
I said. "Your new buddy is waiting for you Dan; maybe you can talk him into spending the night with you again.You need to sober up and look at what's happening around you Dan before it's too late".
I didn't wait for an answer and walked to my car. Maybe that was the moment I lost my confidence but I was so pissed at Dan.
I did my shopping and took my time, I called back to work did some more jobs then up to the bar. Dan was there with Stew, they both were drunk, Dan was staring at me, I couldn't read his face, I just shook my head and mouthed.
"Fuck you Dan".
I didn't go over, I just sat with John and Matt.
"What's happening Squirt?"
"Not much John Dan's got a new drinking buddy, so I haven't seen much of him the last few days. Stew crashed on our bed with Dan last night so I slept in the spare room and by the looks of it, again tonight".
"Fuck Squirt what's Dan doing, he doesn't drink that much. I've never seen him so drunk; they crawled in here about twenty minutes ago. I hope they're not driving".
Not much later I said my goodnights and walked past Dan and Stew.
I offered an olive branch "Do you need a lift home Dan?"
Stew said "No thanks we can find our own way home Mary"
I lifted my eyebrows at Dan and said "Lost your voice Dan? Okay, see you around sometime".
He didn't come home that night; they apparently went on to some girly bars with some of the other guys.
I did my own thing again the next day; I had three days off, and was seething with anger most of the night. I missed Dan terribly and he wasn't around that morning. I did ring John and he filled me in on what he thought they did. So I guessed Dan had crashed at Stewart's place. He came in around noon, he looked at me red eyed and said "Sorry Codes"
I just said "Too fucking late, you didn't even bother to look around to see what was happening so apology not accepted. Dan this has got to stop." I shouted at him."You have to stop this, I can't take anymore, I don't care how you do it, but it has to stop"
I was shaking with rage. He said "I know Codes, it was fun the other day but a bloody nightmare yesterday, I couldn't get rid of him".
I looked him in the eyes "Shades of fucking Susan Dan" I replied.
He tried to hug me.
I said "Dan you need a shower and a change of clothes"
Then I added I was starting to really feel unwelcome in his apartment.
He said "Our apartment".
"No Dan your fucking apartment, I'm just someone for your new boyfriend to insult and walk over with. I might add, obviously your blessing" I said with all the venom I could call on.
"At the moment I'm feeling very fucking beaten up Dan, you both did a great job on me, I want to get a garbage bag and just take the things I came with and fuck off out of your miserable life, I've had my fill of druggies and drunks and I won't hang around and put myself in that kind of danger again."
"Codes don't leave I'll fix it, please don't leave," he sobbed.
"Dan, deep down I love you but at the moment I dislike you so fucking much, I can't stand being around you," with hate in my tone.
"It's driving me insane, cant you fucking see what he's trying to do to us, are you that fucking stupid Dan?"
He didn't have time to answer; the doorbell rang.
"I think you will find that's your new drinking and bed buddy Dan"
I grabbed my car keys and went to the bedroom to get a jacket, he said "Where are you going Cody?"
I said."Anywhere but here Dan, I don't need to stay here to be abused again," then I opened the door.
I said "Hi Stewart."
He came in with his grog; he ignored me and said "Hi" to Dan while I stuffed my wallet in my back pocket. He said, "Dude did we have some fun last night?"
I heard Dan mutter, "Not really Stew, it was a absolute fucking nightmare"
I could see Dan was frozen, it wasn't because of what Stewart was saying, it was what I had said and how I had said it. I had given him no choice. Stewart looked at me and said
"Mary shouldn't you be at an orgy or something?"
I said "And what's that suppose to mean Stewart?"
He just rolled his eyes and smiled at me and said he had heard all about my orgies I used to have in the flat below.
"I hope my man Dan hasn't been corrupted." he headed for the kitchen with his carton of beer.
My jaw dropped, I looked at him then I looked at Dan, I waited then said, "Nothing to add Dan? well if you feel the need to abuse me some more, there's a nice big fucking plate glass window over there, maybe you and Stew can have some best buddy fun with my body"
Dan gasped, his tears started to flow.
Then I lowered my tone and my eyes to Dan, "Take a good fucking look mate, this is the last time you will ever fucking degrade abuse, and insult me Daniel Lawrence, I handed my ring to him, goodbye Daniel I'll maybe see you around"
My tears were forming in the pit of my stomach. He was thunderstruck at my words. I opened the door and said looking Dan in the eye, "You all have a good time now you old rednecks".
I headed for the lift, I heard Dan shouting, I didn't see a beautiful boy go through a car windscreen. I went to the ground floor and drove for the beach area, parked my car then broke down; I gripped my locket and whispered, "Never give up Cody".
My phone was ringing, I knew it was Dan.
I picked up.
"What do you fucking want?" I said.
"He's gone" Dan replied.
I said, "Well Dan I really don't care anymore, it's too late, you better go get him because you will be sleeping alone from now on, you might just get a little bit lonely".
"But I want to sleep with you Codes, only you, he's gone Cody".
"But he should have gone two days ago. Don't fucking ring me again Dan lose this fucking number. Enjoy your fucking miserable fucking life".
"But Codes", he was crying.
I screamed down the phone.
"Don't fucking ring me again you fucking asshole".
"Codes I fixed it, he's gone".
"Too fucking late Daniel, I can't do this just leave me alone you've done enough damage; you were suppose to love and protect me"
I started crying.
"But the message I'm getting is I'm absolutely fucking worthless to you, well this fag is now out of your life forever".
And I hung up, It started ringing again, John rang, Matt rang, Mike rang, Annie rang, Luke rang, I answered, we talked till the battery ran out.
I was too emotional to do anything. I climbed out of the car and sat under a tree, I shook with fear, anger, and heartbreak. Then I fitted and blacked out.
When I woke I sat in deadly silence, I had gone deaf and couldn't hear the surf. I understood the first day but I didn't understand the second and third, I'm not feminine far from it, I'm just trendy. Why the fuck did that asshole think I was having an orgy in my apartment? Why the fuck didn't Dan defend me?
I had a lot to think about, I couldn't deal with Dan, he caused this shit he can fix it. I'm out of already sorted's. As for Stewart, if I never see him again it would be too soon. I jumped in my car and went to the nearest supermarket; I bought a cheap phone then drove south. I eventually came to a hotel and booked in, I cried myself to sleep. Dan kept ringing, but I ignored him, finally switching the phone off. Why would anyone think I was having orgies in my apartment? If they thought that, why didn't they hear my screams? The other three apartments were rented out, I really didn't know who lived there, except for the occasional nod.
The next morning I showered and went down for breakfast. When I finished I looked around the shopping centre. I found some jeans and a surf shirt I loved and treated myself to a new hairstyle; they highlighted my blonde hair and added a very dark burgundy strip. I felt a lot better as the stylist just messed it all up and gave it an untouched messy windblown look. I went back to my room and changed my clothes. Well, it's the best I've looked in months, then I rang Dan.
"Cody, Cody!! Where are you? Fuck Codes we've been out looking for you all night, fuck Codes why did you piss off like that and why didn't you answer your fucking phone, I'm going insane here", he wept down the phone at me.
I was glad Luke hadn't rung him.
"I'm afraid we have to talk sometime within the next few days but I'm not coming back to your apartment. I just want my clothes, just the ones I own you can give your new boyfriend the rest".
"Please don't do this to me, I need you here" he replied.
"No you don't Dan, you don't need me there, your lack of loving and caring for me forever proves that".
I added, "You need to fix this problem, I can't fix this for you without your strength. Susan killed a beautiful boy I once knew for a minute. Stewart has killed my heart, my trust, my strength, I will never ever trust or love anyone ever again".
"Squirt I've fixed the problem, please don't leave me I couldn't bear it, I'll do anything please" he begged and sobbed down the phone.
"I hear what you're saying, you may have fixed this one problem Dan, but what about the next time and the one after, are you going to spend the rest of your life fixing up the same problem, which is bringing home stray rednecks that hate me, only you can fix this".
"Goodbye Dan," then I hung up.
I sat in silence thinking about the past three days, I cried because I missed Dan terribly. My heart was numb but I at least had to try to put an end this, I rang back.
"Dan I'm at the President hotel at the Gold Coast, room 201 and please I beg you come alone".
Within a half hour he was at my door.
"Cody I love you don't leave me please" he took me in his arms and he was weeping loudly.
"I do need you, I have fixed the problem and I'll tell everybody we are together".
"I can't do this anymore Dan", I cried.
"I could have helped you Codes, you know that, why did you go?".
"Dan you couldn't and you didn't even try to help me, that hurt me more than the insults. I have to do this on my own, I have to know I can exist without you".
He then noticed my hair and ran his lips over it.
He said "I love it and I love you, Cody only you always you".
"Dan sit down".
He sat, I spoke.
"Dan, you saved my life three times and for that I will be forever grateful".
"Oh no! Cody don't dump me, please don't dump me," he wailed. He was rocking back and forward with his hands on his forehead. I moved to the sofa and put my arms around him,
"Dan I'll never stop loving you, you saved me Dan, Luke healed me, how could I ever forget you?" I added.
"People like Susan Phillips and Stewart, they don't want to be saved Dan, I could see that the first day I saw you in his apartment, you shouldn't have even been in there. These sort of people are rednecks, homophobes, bogans, whatever the label, they just don't want to be saved. They go on causing destruction and chaos all their lives. Yesterday, I had to leave before I said something more to you that I couldn't take back."
"Dan I have to learn to take care of myself so if anything does happen I don't fall down again. I was fucking livid with you, I nearly grabbed the garbage bag there and then to put my things in to leave, I was so fucking full of rage, I could have killed Stewart. You! Dan have the knack of bringing into our lives fucking homophobic fuckwits that only try to drag you down. It doesn't seem to matter to you how I'm feeling, does it Dan? I don't count anymore, when you meet these people I seem to get pushed into a corner."
"Your better than that Dan, you are so much better than them." I wept.
"Dan you can't keep bringing into our lives people that hate what I am. I will also add, what you are also. I never have had a problem at the Players Bar but I have it where I live, my happy place has been destroyed by my saviour, and by that fuckwit, Stewart. So until you fix the problem, I won't be coming back any time soon and then I would have to have a fucking good reason to."
"No, no ,no Squirt don't say that, I know what you are saying, I agree with you, he just kept pushing me on, I got drunk when I didn't want to, I'm weak like that Codes, after you left I told him to get out and not to come back. He was trying to get me to have a drink. I told him very firmly you are my best friend, and if he ever treated you like that again, I would kill him. Then I told him to take his butt down to his own apartment, ring AA and get some treatment. I also asked where did he hear that rumour about you? He said he made it up."
"So I punched him hard, threw him in the lift and sent him down. I haven't seen him since. But if there's any more trouble, I will write a letter of complaint to the body corporate. Hopefully his parents will deal with it. He's here to go to university, all he wants to do is party but he wanted me as the star attraction. Codes it's our apartment, I felt like a full on fucking piece of shit when you left."
"Well Dan it's never going to happen again. Dan I don't want shit like that in my house, I won't tolerate it you hear?"
I screamed at him. "I won't fucking tolerate it Dan, if it ever happens again you will never set eyes on me, ever."
I caved in and wept into his neck. He was also crying and I know feeling like shit. I relented but the episode stayed with me making me feel like I was lower than dirt.
After about half hour of stroking and kissing, trying to calm each other down, I went and turned the spa on and lit some candles. I undressed and then went out and undressed Dan. I took his hand and said, "Hop in Dan."
We both got in with him behind me and we started to relax in the bubbles. He started singing our song, "The smile on your face lets me know that you need me" as he slipped my ring back on my finger.
I just wept as he rubbed me all over with his large hands, the strength of his arms was slowly bringing me back to him, and his song made me fall in love all over again. We didn't make love that night; we were too emotionally exhausted.
The next day I followed Dan home, I was still pissed off. We parked and walked to the lift. Stewart poked his head out the door and said, "Hey Dan, Hi Mary."
Dan took a step towards him made a players fist and said in a deep controlled voice, "Just one more insult directed at my family Stewart may god help you, because I'll be coming after you with a baseball bat."
The lift opened and we got in, Dan leaned into me and kissed me hard in full view of this redneck. He stuck his middle finger up at Stewart. Somewhere inside I still hated Dan for what he did, it has put me on alert, waiting for the next time, but for now my love for him was even stronger.
That's the last time we saw Stewart, two weeks later his parents came and got him. I suspect Dan wrote that letter of complaint to the body corporate. Stewart had taken to abusing anyone that came to the flats and he played continual, loud music and he was drunk all the time.
"Codes I'm so sorry for being so weak."
"Let's put it behind us Dan" I added.
"I was a bit worried that Luke when he arrives next weekend, he might get picked on by Stew but thank you for fixing the problem for me and Luke."
Even though it was nearly too late, I thought to myself.