Jackson had just heard Aaron order two lagers, and knew as soon as the drinks were served and paid for he'd be heading back to his table. If he was going to say anything he'd have to make it quick. "Aaron."
"Look it's none of my business I know but, that bloke you're sitting with..."
"What about him?" Aaron eyed Jackson suspiciously, why was he interested in who he was sitting with?
Jackson sighed, Aaron was already on the defensive, he was going to have to tread gently. "He's well into his thirty's..." No, that tack wasn't going to get him anywhere! An age difference wouldn't matter normally he supposed, but somehow where Davies was concerned it did. Explaining it though would be a problem.
"So what!" Aaron spat. He hadn't realised Chris was that old, he was almost as old as Paddy. Not that his age mattered to him. He liked him and Chris seemed to like him too.
"He's got a reputation..."
"For what?" Aaron demanded.
"For not being able to control his temper."
Aaron shook his head, "Like I have. Maybe you should be over there warning him about me!"
This was proving harder than he thought. "Aaron, he's a head case!" There, he couldn't make the problem any plainer than that. Hopefully Aaron would want to know more now and he'd happily fill him in on the details.
"People say that about me too." With that Aaron picked up his drinks and walked back over to the man they'd just been discussing.
'Well, that went well!'Jackson told himself. He should have chosen his words more carefully. Now what did he do? Maybe Aaron would see through him. See him for what he was, a violent control freak, before he learned about him the hard way. Jackson knew Aaron could take care of himself, he knew all too well how handy he was with his fists, but he wouldn't stand a chance against Davies. He'd reel him in like he'd done all the others with his act, and then at the first sign, real or imagined that Aaron was showing interest somewhere else, he'd fly into a rage. Aaron might be able to walk away the first time he did and not look back; then again he might find he couldn't.
Davies had obviously been on the prowl and had spotted Aaron, young and with an air of vulnerability surrounding him. That was something a man like him didn't miss. Aaron was just the sort he went for, newly out, impressionable and looking for a relationship. Whether that be casual or something more serious wouldn't matter to Chris Davies. He'd soon turn into what he wanted it to be.
Jackson knew he couldn't do much now except perhaps keep an eye on the situation. And why was he prepared to do that because he really didn't need the grief? The answer was quite simple. He liked Aaron, really liked him, and he didn't want to see him hurt in anyway.
Aaron was determined to forget what Jackson had just told him, he didn't know what his game was but he wasn't going to play along. Chris seemed pretty laid back to him; in fact he was a lot like Jackson was. He liked what he'd seen so far and until he saw something he didn't like he was happy to be in his company.
They'd had a few more drinks and he was well chilled out now, the fact Chris made him laugh had helped too. Chris had got the last round in and when he'd returned to their table he'd sidled up close to Aaron. They'd gone from sitting opposite each other to suddenly being side by side, nothing separating them except the fabric covering their flesh. It had unnerved the younger man at first, but not for long. There was something about the powerful physical presence of Chris Davies that he liked.
As they watched a noisy crowd disappear out the door, Chris asked, "How you getting home?"
"Bus." Which prompted Aaron to check the time, he glanced over at the clock behind the bar. He hadn't realised how late it was "I'll have to go."
"Is your bus due?"
"Yeah the last one goes in ten minutes."
"I'll come with you, my taxi's due soon too. The only thing is I asked them to pick me up at the town clock; I wasn't planning on staying here all night... not until I saw you."
Totally thrown by the comment Aaron froze, his eyes locked on the set of blue eyes staring so intently at him now. He was surprised but not in the least bit fazed when Chris then leaned in closer and kissed him, a quick but gentle caress of his lips. It didn't matter that they were surrounded by people. He didn't care who saw, although they were in a gay bar and not in the Woolpack, which made all the difference to him. He knew he wouldn't be anywhere near as comfortable there or any other public place. But here it didn't matter and he found himself smiling, eager now for there to be a next time with this man.
Paddy was still up when he got home, lounging on the sofa, watching an animal documentary on TV, Clyde curled up on his feet. Aaron plonked himself down beside the older man, not realizing he'd been smiling until Paddy pointed it out.
"Oooh! Someone's had a good night! Who is he and when you seeing him again?"
"Something's put a smile on your face and something tells me it's the male of the species!"
"Well it wouldn't be the female kind now would it?" Aaron shot back punching Paddy playfully in his arm.
"Friday? Is that his name or when you're seeing him again or both?"
Aaron grinned at his friend's good natured teasing, "His name's Chris."
"So is he in college, or does he work? Or..."
"He's an electrician."
"An electrician!" Paddy was impressed. First a builder, now an electrician Aaron certainly knew how to pick 'em. Hardworking and good earners, no layabouts or wasters for him.
"And that's all I can tell you so I'm off to bed. Night."
"Goodnight." 'All he wanted to tell me more like.' Paddy thought as Aaron disappeared through the doorway, 'Oh well it was more than he'd got out of Aaron when he'd first been seeing Jackson.'
As he lay in bed thinking over the nights events, Aaron realised the only downer had been Jackson. Why had he said those things about Chris? Was he jealous? Was he trying to muscle his way back into his life?
Yesterday he'd been wanting to see him, talk to him, now he resented him for what he'd said for whatever his reasons. Right now he wasn't bothered if he never saw Jackson again.