Smoking Hot Ch. 03

Big Tits

Adrian’s back in the office after four days not smoking, with a promise of getting a blow-job from Dan on Saturday if he keeps it up.

***

I get up a bit later on the Thursday, to avoid the rush hour. It’s not that the crowds are much less after nine, but they’re sure a lot less stressed about it. I’m all suited and booted to meet these arsehole clients.

Izzy is delighted to see me. It is a crying shame, really, me being old enough to be her da, but I’m never letting her know that. Not beyond the odd dad-like compliment, that sort of thing.

“Morning! Nice tie, Ade! Your meeting’s not til one, so plenty of time to deal with these questions. And Sam wants you and Naz to decide how you want to deal with this new project, who’s going to lead. He’ll see you at eleven. Then the cladding firm what you told to get stuffed last year, they’re back, they want to show you something new, that’s at three. How’re you doing?”

Girl has her head to one side, all sympathetic. She means, how are my withdrawal symptoms.

“Better than the first three days, I guess? I’m on the patches and the gum.” I snap the gum I’m chewing with my tongue and work it into a wee bubble. It does rather show off my oral dexterity more than I’d choose to, normally, in the office. Ah, well. At least Izzy just laughs.

I get tea, switch my computer on. Naz comes in and pointedly asks if I want a cuppa, which he doesn’t, normally. The second time this happens, I realise – he’s sneaking back in from his fag break, but doesn’t want me to feel left out. Izzy’s clearly had words. I’m kinda charmed.

It’s coming up to eleven, and I could really do with a smoke before Naz and I meet Sam. Arse. I push off to the gents, instead. Which reminds me of Dan’s suggestion.

No-one’s in the other cubicle, so I have my slash, then sit down to distract myself. If only I could suck my own cock! I could, just about, when I was a teenager. Not well enough to enjoy it, just as a party piece. I remember Laura being impressed it wasn’t an urban myth… so I suppose she has seen my cock before.

I take myself in hand and start to rub one out. The images that form before my eyes are of gombeens in green – British Army lads, hanging around, bored… Bet Dan would have looked well fit in uniform, rifle hanging on his hip.

I choke the sounds of my coming into a cough, as someone opens the door. Right, time to sort out this new project…

It’s a fun meeting, actually – Naz is a good guy, and between us we’ve got more than enough capacity and experience, so we come up with plans and Sam chips in as and when. Come lunchtime, Gary and Kerry don’t quite frog-march me to the sarnie shop and back, but it’s a close thing, sitting together back in the office to eat. I wouldn’t have believed it, but even tuna mayo tastes better than usual.

Sam tells me, before the client meeting, that their head honcho is a chain smoker. So after a while, I’m fine to get the gum out and extract sympathy. Encouraged, even. This is why Sam’s the boss – he knows how to play people. Luckily, his idea of playing me is to tell me he’s seen my references dating back a decade, and if my performance is in any danger of becoming like the earlier rather than the latter ones, he wants to be the first to know. And then insist we have dinner, every couple months.

First time, I was scared it was a seduction thing. But he really is simply a people person. There’s ten of us in the firm, so that’s one night a week he’s devoting to us. His wife has some hobby, that night. He knows I’m queer – don’t know who told him, but he knew and told me he did at my final interview.

“Up to you if you tell the crew, son, but I would if I were you. It’ll make you more relaxed. Now, I do prefer my employees stay on the right side of the law – since 2003 that shouldn’t be too difficult as far as that’s concerned, but if you ever find yourself in a spot of bother, for any reason, I want to know. Even before your brief does.”

Me not having the sense I was born with, I told him, “Seeing as you only get one phone call when arrested, which kinda has to be to your solicitor if you don’t want to be fobbed off with their duty one, that could be a problem.”

He eyed me, like a hawk debating the potential taste of a rodent for dinner. That moment went on forever, keeping me in suspense. Finally, quietly, the big guy goes, “If you have a good brief of your own, they can call me. Most of my staff appreciate having an expert lawyer appointed for them.”

I’ve fair scunnered myself there, beetroot in the cheeks, when he laughed and said, “You’re hired, by the way.”

“You bastard.” Eejit that I am, I hadn’t even signed a contract yet.

He just grinned. “Yep, and don’t you forget it. The important thing is, I’m a rich bastard now on your side.”

He’s got no kids. I guess we’re like family to him.

While we’re waiting for the clients, I mention Izzy to him and how we don’t want to lose her. He’s on it already, course he is. She’s starting an Access course travesti porno this month; if that goes well, she’ll have to decide whether she wants to do Engineering full time or some other subject, but she’ll still be working for us a few hours a week, whatever. I’m glad.

Two years ago, I wouldn’t have given a shit about her or anyone else. Guess time is the grand healer, and all.

Hotshot CEO of the client is not a happy bunny. He goes over all my conclusions, and I quietly explain the reasoning behind all of them, until his chief engineer is nodding sadly in agreement by his side. The CEO’s starting to get tetchy. I recognise the signs – he needs a fag. At least I’d been used to managing a couple hours at a time – and now, on day five! Who’da thunk?

Sam kicks my ankle. I get out the gum, apologise for chewing, but I’m in the early days of quitting, and leave the packet visible on the table. Ah, that is better. Twitchy becomes even less happy, and Sam goes in for the kill.

Five minutes later, they’ll accept our recommendations for twenty percent increase in cost, and of course pay us extra for the work we’ll have to do refining the spec for the builders.

Result. Twitchy signs on the dotted line and seems relieved to be able to escape.

Sam gives me an ironic high-five. “Pub, later?”

“I can’t, this day – I’m going to friends for dinner. We’re pubbing tomorrow, though. Izzy’s organising. All part of the ‘chaperoning Adrian so he can’t smoke’ plan.”

“Good for you. Any particular reason you’re doing it now?”

“Not that I’d like to share, no.”

I can practically see his mind jumping to the conclusion I’m doing it for a new shag, or for someone I’m hoping to have a ride of.

Which is, I suppose, accurate.

I’m quite cheerful when I wander back to the Tube to head to Will and Lindsey’s. I picked up some presents for the wee’uns on my way to work, but now I add a couple bottles. Good guest, me.

“Uncle Aidy!” Small boy jumps on me at the door. “Lookee! There’s a tranner-saurus and a steggy-saurus and a dippy-docus!” He waves his colourful magazine in my face and I sit down to feign interest in whatever series these lurid dinosaur characters are from. Thankfully, Jack soon runs off to find some other item to show me. His wee sister is toddling round, shaking in disgust the baby-fence that’s preventing her from reaching Will in the kitchen.

Lindsey grins at me. “Pass us some teas, love,” she says to Will, who is doing complex multi-saucepan cooking. He likes showing off his skills, does our Will.

“I’ll get Rosie up to bed. Can you mind Jack a bit, Ade, while Will gets the food ready?”

“No problem, Linz.” Jack is happily poking his toy laptop. Good to start them young. He’s less happy about going to bed in his turn, but I read him a story – different dinosaurs, clearly that phase – and then he waves me goodnight.

Lindsey returns, her usual composure a bit frazzled. There’s a ceremonial opening of the gate into the kitchen, and I sit where I’m told. Water with the meal, then I’ll move to the spirits. Linz makes herself a G&T with the gin I brought her.

Will plonks a casserole dish in the middle of the table, then three more dishes. It looks great and smells better.

“More? Help yourself to the greens.” It’s all good. I’ve about cleared my plate when Will mentions, “Go out the back when you need to go out – the arse across the street complains about loiterers out front.”

Time to tell them. “No need. I’ve quit.”

Both drop their glasses to the table in surprise. “No!” Lindsey gasps.

“Get away!”

“I have, and all.”

“When did that happen?” Will asks. “Sure you were on the fegs when we last saw you?”

“Saturday night, aye, not had one since that meal.”

Lindsey’s thinking. She does that, the cute wee shrimp. “Laura went off for a drink at yours, didn’t she? What in the world did she say to you, man!”

“Eh, you know, been thinking of it for a while, she just persuaded me I could do it. So I’m all patched up, got me gum… The first three days were murder though, I’m telling ya!”

“Good on you!” Will’s clearly chuffed. “More power to your elbow. So otherwise, bout ye? What’s new?”

“Not much – not been a week, yet, has it! Signed a new supplier at work. Met some upstairs neighbours, sound lads though the one’s girlfriend’s a melter, played Lego on their Xbox…”

“Aye? I’m playing the new GTA, when the kids are in bed. It’s mega.”

We carry on blethering as we’ve done for years. They’re closer than my own family, for sure. Will was my best man. There’s a squawk from the baby monitor.

“My turn. In a bit,” Will assures us, as he runs upstairs.

“So,” Lindsey turns to me as women always do, “how’s your love life, then? Been on any hot dates recently?”

It’s a fiendish skill women have, guessing what’s gone on. I know I’m blushing or somehow giving myself away, even though I’m saying nothing.

“Oh, like that, is güzel porno it? Definitely a hot date! How many, so far? How’d you meet?”

“Too early to say. Online ad as usual.”

“Uh-huh. More than one date, though?”

I concede there has been, though how the fuck she defines date, or whether Dan counts as one, I don’t know.

“Good, good. You just seeing this one – what’s the name? Or others too, still?”

Here’s something I can give. “I did have another first date this week. Disaster, it was. Zero chemistry, boring, obviously married…”

“Whereas the other wasn’t? Good start! You didn’t say the name…”

I try to change the subject onto her gin. She’s not having it, piercing me with a stare as she pours herself a top-up. “Man or woman?”

There’s a real disadvantage in hanging out with intelligent women.

“All right. Man. Both of ’em. How do you know these things?”

She taps her nose. “That’d be telling. Eh, simple – you didn’t say, wouldn’t give me any name, and it’s not like you haven’t before. Ahem, Gareth…”

“Oh, god. Did he tell the whole world?”

“Mmm. Just me and Laura, I think. And Will. Maybe Ali, too… Now, this nice chap, what’s his name, what does he do, did you answer his ad or other way round? Tell Auntie Linz…”

I roll my eyes, but it’d be even more awkward with Will there. “Name’s Dan. Does CAD drawing and stuff. He lives upstairs, as luck would have it, so we popped in on each other a few times.”

“Aww… Sweet!”

“What?” Will’s back.

“Nothing,” I tell him. “I’ve had a second date, is all. And I’m not saying any more for a good long while. Don’t want to jinx it.”

“Sheesh! Who took your head and left a wise man?”

I extend a middle finger to him and swivel it.

“So, you’ll not be wanting any of my Malteser traybake this night?” he teases.

“Traybake?” I perk up at the mention of a fridge cake made of chocolate and biscuit, all mashed up and melted. “Proper Protestant traybake that’ll set me burning in hell just for touching it?”

“That’s the stuff. I made Fifteens as well. Had a wee craving for party food – you’re lucky not to get apple and Mars Bar sandwiches…”

I take the large proffered square of traybake and shove the corner in my gob. The Prods avoid so many vices, alcohol mostly, then produce the most amazing sinful easy cakes found anywhere. I feel the sudden need to say a Hail Mary after every bite and an urge to confess this Sunday. I won’t, of course.

“Did you not get traybakes growing up, Ade?” Lindsey is curious.

I shake my head, mouth full of biscuit, chocolate and malty crunch. “Traybakes is a purely Prod thing, even more than marching. Mostly the Presbyterians and Methodists, but the C of I ladies make them, sometimes. Don’t know about Paisley’s mob – all this sugar sounds too much like fun for them.”

Will agrees. “You won’t get any good catering from the Duppers. But themmuns, your side, it’s all about the buns.”

“The wee buns, aye. Can’t have a church event running out of wee buns.” I fake my gran’s voice. “Boys-a-dear, it’d be a national scandal!”

Lindsey sighs. “And what exactly is a wee bun, again?”

“Cupcake,” Will replies, just as I say it’s a fairy cake, the English word. Truly, the English language is divided more when it comes to baked goods than anything else.

“Prods don’t do them proper.”

Lindsey still isn’t sure if we’re just taking the piss, or if we’ve actually found yet another tribal difference she hadn’t known about. Of course, it’s both. “You’re telling me, ussuns – argh, his lot – don’t make cupcakes at all? Cos I know that’s bollocks!”

“Not like ussuns,” I assure her. “Catholic shindig, huge platters of wee buns all decorated beautiful. Those hipster cafes in Shoreditch have nothing on me ma and her friends, baking away for anything and everything at the Sacred Heart.”

Will confirms, “Catholic baptisms – they’re the best for wee buns… not for your soul, obviously, could never suggest it to my parents, but turning up after the ceremony to pay respects and stuff your face… grand way to spend an afternoon…”

“Oh, yeah.” Best church events, growing up. “Loads of buns, not all the bringing of meals and grief of a funeral nor the hassle of a wedding. Not that we’d ever say no to a gift of a traybake, mind, but not in church. Would be a sin, for sure.” I keep my face straight. “Idolatry.”

Will nods, equally deadpan. “Same for buns – can’t have ’em, nowhere near a church hall. Buns are idolatry and lead to worshipping the Anti-Christ.”

If he’s slagging off my cultural heritage, however jokingly, then I have to raise him one. “And traybakes are provocative. One step away from marching through disputed areas.”

He scoffs. “So touchy, themmuns know they don’t have a leg to stand on, preventing some wee boys havin a dander down the road!”

“Billy boys disturbing the peace of decent folk with their right racket, more like.” He was in one of anal porno the marching bands and proud of the music, even if nowadays he concedes the Orange march organisers are a bunch of dickheads.

“Just cos you can’t play a tune on anything. Pink flute, maybe.” Will manages to insult my musical ability and call me a poof in one go. Good one.

I shrug. “Eh, I’ve got talent and the looks to pull the boys; you’s got a face like me ma’s hole.”

“They’ve gone round yer ma’s hole’s as much as Piccadilly Circus.” Classic insult, relocated to London, implying one’s mother is a whore.

“Aye, and did your ma know your da?” Resorting to the playground, now.

“Your ma is your da!”

The only possible retort to that is ‘your ma!’, so instead I snap a Malteser ball off the chocolate cake and fire it at him.

He lobs one straight back at me. Followed by a sticky jammy blob off a Fifteen.

Being made of marshmallow, jam and coconut, it gets in my hair and sticks fast. I chuck a last Malteser at him before trying to get it out.

“Boys, boys – you Irish are fucking mental. Stop it!”

“Never denied it, sweetheart.” I apply my best teasing tongue-in-cheek tone. “So Will, it’s official – you’re Irish now. Your lady says.”

“Like fuck.”

“Will!” She’s serious now. “Shut it. Don’t start your banter again.”

“Oh love. You know us! Never serious,” Will assures her. Except for his actually being offended at being called Irish. It’s not easy, being a Unionist in Britain. I mean, what do the British think the UK is a union of?

“Aw, we’re all deadly,” I reassure her with sarcasm. “Like all the Sharpie-pen glasses and beards what get scrawled on the candidate posters, come election time.” Their ugly mugs on every lamp-post down main roads for weeks on end; gotta do something.

“‘Cept for Gerry Adams,” Will says. Lindsey and I stop.

“What? Why not him?”

Will grins. “Well, think on. You had to use Tippex on him…”

The picture of young Will and his mates spieling up lamp-posts so as to deface posters of Sinn Fein’s leader, using wee bottles of Tippex to white out his big black beard and glasses, tickles me – our pillar of society William has had a delinquent youth after all – and I’m killing myself laughing.

Then there’s a sound.

“Will you be quiet!” orders Jack, with all his smug authority of a four-year-old gleefully catching the grown-ups being naughty. He wags his wee finger and puts arms akimbo. “You’re keeping me awake!”

“Sorry, mate,” I say, as we control ourselves.

Will takes him back to bed, and Lindsey is shaking her head. It’s a reflex action any time Will and I get together. We can’t help ourselves. Still, if the Troubles has been reduced to schoolkid insults and fights over baked goods, that’s fine by me. Or me satisfying an Army boy. The Reconciliation Forum would be proud, for sure.

“So, Ade, what have you done on your dates?”

I stare at her in horror.

“I don’t mean what have you done to each other – though that look tells me more than I’d ever want to know! I meant, did you go to the cinema, a meal, what?”

I’m thinking ‘blow jobs on the sofa’ isn’t an answer I’m willing to give, but then I remember. “We went out and played pool and snooker, last night. And played on his Xbox on Sunday.”

“Aww! Proper dates! That’s adorable! Ah, well, good luck with him.”

With her, I feel able to voice it. “You know, I’m kinda hoping this one gets somewhere…” And terrified. I don’t mention that. It’s not like it’s going to, after all.

“Back in the saddle, eh?” Laura knows about my plentiful online hookups. Lindsey doesn’t, and I’m for sure not mentioning it. She continues, “Don’t suppose you know a nice chap who might go for Gareth? He’s getting all despondent about being practically forty and still single.”

“Fraid not. Though he might come across better if he didn’t come across so guilty all the time. Like he doesn’t feel worthy of anyone, just because so many guys died off in the Eighties and Nineties. Not that I’m one to talk. Right, it’s time for me to head home. But it’s been a good day, and thank ye for the hospitality. I’m not missing the fags so much.”

Will comes down. “No smoking as you walk to the Tube, mind.” He quit about fifteen years ago, finally. “Good on you, man.”

We do manly hugs. I chew another gum on my way.

Once home, I text Dan. ‘Five days down. Two to go.’ I even add a smiley.

Good communication, yeah?

I can’t believe I get hard from the reply, which is merely, ‘Well done. See you Saturday.’

I fall asleep, dreaming of Dan’s face over my cock.

Friday seems like a long day when you can’t wait for the weekend, but there’s a lot to do in the office, which helps. Izzy is great, insisting on nipping out and getting me more nicotine gum so I have enough for the weekend. I refuse any change from the twenty I give her – these patches and gum cost a terror, but I must be saving on the cash already.

Mike and Kerry have compulsions to ask me on a tea break every few minutes, which is sweet, though any work needing prolonged concentration isn’t going to get done this day. I support Gary’s plan to knock off at half four and get seats in this new done-up bar down the road that Izzy suggests we try.

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