Picture Perfect 128
Dan shook his head as he looked at the wall calendar in his office at the Depot. It just over a year ago since he had first seen the Cold Canada episode that turned him life upside down. The Cold East success had other networks texting down his door to get him to sign on to do shows for them. He wasn’t interested.
Janis Hadley’s trial was to begin soon. She had refused all legal advice as her actions were the Lord’s intention. She accepted full responsibility for those actions & would accept her Saviour’s judgment as pronounced by the courts.
In her statement to the investigators she claimed Cora Murchison was responsible for abducting & liberating the spirits of the children. She was an accomplice not a killer. There were no witnesses to to refute that claim. DNA testing established that Troy was not her son but did indicate that the was a Chamberlain but wasn’t definitive as to whether was the father of son that had fathered him.
Troy AuCoin statement was that his mother had killed Winston Chamberlain as he had been blackmailing her about Troy’s parentage & had threatened to go the police with his information about Cora Murchison. He also admitted his was idea to abduct Dan to protect the sacredness of the Convergence conjuration that Janis claimed was threatened.
In the silence of his office Dan ticked off the events in his head. What was he checking his calendar? Oh yes – to make sure this wasn’t his FairVista Lifend demo day. It wasn’t. Part of the business separation deal was that he continue with demos even though there was now a three year waiting list for their custom-made products. The company resisted increasing production to keep up with the demand that resulted from the Cold East exposure.
Dan lounged to himself at the number of knock-off that had surfaced on the market with names like Lifriend, Lifrind, Lifer, even Life End. One of the Lifrind cameras had been brought in to FairVista by an irate man who demanded it be replaced. When it pointed out to him that it wasn’t Lifend he was enraged. At the time Dan resisted telling the man he had paid $11,000 for a knock off probably worth about $11.00.
Before going down to the shop floor he couldn’t resist checking the numbers for Cold East, again. The show had debuted in Japan on the weekend, where it already had the largest share. What more could he ask for? Yet, the more attention the show got, the more attention he got, the more isolated he felt. His life had been subsumed by this unexpected success. No one wanted to talk about anything else. Even at the Lifend demos the questions invariably came to – is the type of camera you were using when those snakes attacked?
The only relief he had was Jeremy Moxham, who had proved to be a sympathetic ear & diversion. When they met up for dinner they talked about things other than work. The first ‘date’ had been when Dan had called to tell him about Sanjay’s marriage to Sylvan Papoulias. Sylvan had called out of the blue to tell him. From what Dan gathered in that conversation Sanjay began ‘romancing’ hime that first week-end in Bobcaygeon.
Home after work Dan was naked by the time he started up the stairs to take a shower. He looked around the house thinking, once again, perhaps it was time to sell it. The memories had seeped into the walls. IOf he wanted to move on that would be a good step to take. He’d considered remodelling but that wasn’t a fresh enough start.
He was half-way up the stairs when the doorbell rang. He stopped his undies off the floor & pulled them back on before answering. It was Jeremy.
“Sorry if I’m a bit early.”
“No problem. I was on my way to the shower.” Dan shut the door once Jeremy was inside.
“Aw, you didn’t have to dress down for me.” Jeremey laughed. “When did you get this done?” Jeremy asked looking at the tattoo on Dan’s arm.
“The Friday that Cold East debuted. I had to do something to honour what I’ve survived & this is what I chose to do.” Dan gently brushed the shoulder to wrist sleeve tattoo on his left arm. It tingled under his fingertips. “I was waiting for it to fully healed before showing it to anyone.”
“A tattoo is forever. At least one that size is. This is all of it I hope.”
“Why? You aren’t the one who has to live with it.” He put his shirt on. “You’re the first one to see it.”
“Let me show you something.” Jeremy undid his pants and pushed them below his knees.
“Whoa!” Dan said. “This is rather sudden.” It was the first time he’d seen Jeremy this close to naked.
“Look here, not there.” He held his bulge back and tugged up the right leg of his boxers.
There was a tattoo of a buxom woman in lacy undergarments. “Ashley’s mother, whose name shall go unmentioned. You think I enjoy … washing her boobs every time I take a shower.”
“I’ve seen swimsuit pics of you but that was never in them.”
“Make up or photo erase. Usually baggy shorts that go to my knees to keep it out of sight.” He pulled his pants back up.
“This isn’t the same. I needed some way to honour all him. Without those children I wouldn’t be here.” He hadn’t told Jeremey everything that happened in the confrontation with Janis. Only the RCMP knew. He hadn’t even given Cold East all the details.
“I get that but …”
“Why the snake?” The outline of Peter’s head & torso were partially filled in. Around him the tail of a snake was coiled across his stomach with the head of the white cobra on his biceps. The white popped off the indigo background. The red eyes were piercing and the tongue was shadowed to create a 3D effect. “It’s Silas. They both saved my life.”
“There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you for months now.” Jeremy said after doing his pants up. He stood to face Dan. “Since I heard how you almost got killed by that mad woman.”
“I can’t tell you any more about that I have. It’s all Cold property now. Until I write a book about it.”
“I’ve heard all I need to know.”
“I’m listening.” Dan buttoned his shirt. “I’ve been blogging the progress. I’m amazed at the number of new followers I’ve gotten for it. I guess you weren’t one of them.”
“Dan shut up for a minute.”
“I was just thinking ….”
“I was just thinking we should get married!” Jeremy blurted. “I have …” he took a small, red velvet bag out his back pocket, “been carrying this around for too long.” He shook a ring out of it. “The thought you you dying … I love you.” He slipped the ring on Dan’s finger. The red gem sparkled in the light. It was surrounded with smaller white ones that reflected some of red. The band was a twined silver,
“Jeremy!” Dan turned his hand in the light. “I don’t know what to say. It’s just …”
“You don’t like it!”
“It’s not that.”
“What? You don’t love me? Don’t desire me? Dan, I can make you very comfortable.”
“You don’t have to sell yourself to me Jeremy. I’ve been though a lot and …. I’m not the marrying type. You know that. It was difficult enough getting out of my non-marriage with Sanjay.”
“You are afraid of commitment.” Jeremy said. “Plain and simple. That’s because the men you’ve met have disappointed you. I won’t.”
“If by commitment you mean sexual fidelity then you are asking for the unlikely, if not the impossible. I’m the one that disappointed them. If you are asking me to marry you to make your coming out, which you would have to do, legitimate in the eyes of the public then its not love but p.r. ”
“Like … Elton John and David Furnish … the high-power, idealized, married, queer couple. You want another trophy partner like your ex-wife.”
“That’s not true.”
“You cared for Elizabeth, whose name should go unmentioned? Her, the top fashion model and you, sport celebrity of the decade.”
“I did love her, at first. After all she’s the mother of my child.”
“And what happened?”
“She was unfaithful to me.”
“My point exactly. You want an idealized picture to present the world. I’m not knocking that. It works for many but as I said – fidelity isn’t how I want to have my love in a relationship defined.”
“Then how do you want it defined?” Jeremy asked. “I want to know. Trust is crucial, that’s what relationships are built on. Isn’t it? What is it that you want? What would make you happy?”
“Who said I was unhappy as I am. Yes, I’m sad about Peter. I realized how much I cared for him when he died. I didn’t have to be committed to him to feel my heart breaking.”
“That’s exactly how I would have felt if you had died then.”
“So you want to get married to avoid feeling like that?” Dan asked. “I like you a lot Jeremy. For a rich dickhead you’re not such a dickhead. But you have that head buried in the sand.”
“And not up your ass like Peter’s was.”
“Good one but that was no secret. If he hadn’t died, if I said yes to marriage, that would still be no secret. Fuck this is so much like the argument Sanjay and I used to have. Marry me. Marry me. Turns out he wanted a marriage partnership to …. secure his business partnership. Now he’s marrying that business partner.”
“So there are some areas of trust that mean something to you.”
“If he had been sleeping around I wouldn’t have cared as much. But my Dad was always clear about business honesty.” What was he saying? His Dad lead two lives, how much of his own past could he trust. “Turns out he wasn’t so good about emotional honesty.”
“Say you’ll think about it.” Jeremy asked.
“I doubt if I’ll change my mind or mend ways that I don’t think to be mended.” Dan slipped the ring off. “Thank you for asking me though.” He gave it back to Jeremy.
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