Don't Look Back – Chapter 1
DISCLAIMER: I am not connected to Emmerdale and its characters, which belong to ITV
I thought I was finished writing about Aaron and Jackson, but Aarson-mania is hard to shake off! So, after a bit of a break, here is another story...
Bar West was heaving that night. Aaron and Jackson had decided to visit on the spur of the moment, but Aaron, for one, was regretting the decision. The music was loud and he and his boyfriend were having trouble trying to talk to each other above the din. To make matters worse, two of Jackson's friends, Sol and Joey, had muscled in on their get-together. Aaron had been annoyed, approximately two years previously; when Sol and Joey had gate-crashed Jackson's birthday bash and, consequently, he had stormed off in a huff that night. He did not particularly like Jackson's pals, but he tried to tolerate them for his boyfriend's sake.
"We're going to a private club later," Sol announced and as he smiled; being a black guy, his white teeth showed up prominently, "why don't you come?"
"A private club?" Jackson queried, "Isn't it just 'members only'?"
"Yeah," replied Sol, "but we can get you in as our guests...what do you say?"
"What do you think, Aaron?" Jackson looked at his boyfriend.
"I hope it's quieter than this place!" Aaron grimaced, "I can't hear myself think!"
The four of them headed off in the direction of the club, which was only a few streets away from Bar West. The July night was warm and clear and Aaron was relieved to be away from the noisy bar. As they approached an alleyway between two tall buildings, Sol and Joey turned into it and the other two followed them. Sol walked up to an unmarked door and knocked.
"This is a funny place!" Aaron said.
Before anyone could answer him, a tall, stocky man opened the door and, on recognising Sol, allowed them access. Inside, they found a small room with a counter and a till, manned by a young, attractive blond guy who was wearing a skimpy, tight t-shirt and even tighter shorts!
Sol and Joey produced cards and handed them to the young man, "There you go, Stewie, I've brought some friends with me as guests," Sol said.
"Twenty quid a piece for temporary membership!" Stewie announced.
"Oh, come off it, Stewie!" Sol looked annoyed, "You know as well as I do that you owe me a favour!"
Stewie looked at Aaron and Jackson, who were both a little bemused by what was going on, "All right! But they'll have to pay next time! Don't let the boss know I've let them in without paying!"
"What was all that about?" Jackson asked Sol as they left the counter.
"Stewie only got this job because I put in a good word for him with the boss; who's a mate of mine. He'd still be on the dole if it wasn't for me!"
"I see!" Jackson said, raising his eyebrows.
The four of them passed through another doorway into a large room with flashing lights and techno-music playing. A group of about thirty men, of all ages, were sitting around a central podium, where a young guy was gyrating to the music whilst hanging on to a pole. He was wearing nothing but a very brief thong which left little to the imagination. Jackson was almost lost for words; as the young man looked a lot like Aaron! He was not identical by any means, but the similarity was striking. Jackson could not take his eyes off this arresting sight!
"What the...?" Aaron obviously had no idea what to expect and was even more surprised when the dancer jumped off the podium and wandered around the audience, many of whom manhandled him as he did his rounds! At the climax of the music, the young performer whipped off his thong leaving him completely naked, to loud claps and cheers from his audience. He then disappeared to be replaced by a muscular, dark-haired hunk in a fireman's outfit.
Jackson, who had now recovered from seeing the young stripper, turned to Aaron, "We don't have to stay here if you don't want to!" He obviously felt that a strip-joint was probably not Aaron's cup of tea!
"I'm not fussed!" Aaron replied in a nonchalant manner, "Do you want to stay?"
"Nah! Not really. I'll tell Sol we're heading off!"
Later, in their bedroom at the Woolpack, Aaron was just stripping out of his clothes as Jackson reclined on the bed, watching him. Aaron noticed that he was being studied and spoke, "What are you looking at?"
"I was just thinking," Jackson smiled, "did you notice that young guy who was dancing when we went into that club? He looked a lot like you!"
"No, I'm serious! There was a definite resemblance! I was imagining you doing what he was doing while I was watching him!"
"Oh yeah; like I'm going to jump up on stage and start pole-dancing! Especially with all those pervy old men feeling me up! Yuk!"
"Yeah," Jackson looked pensive, "I wonder why lads take up that sort of profession?"
"Money, I suppose," Aaron turned serious, "There's so much unemployment around at the moment I guess some lads have to take what they can get!" Aaron climbed into bed beside Jackson and snuggled up to him, "Anyway, I'm, not that desperate that I've got to start doing that!"
"I'm not saying you would!" Jackson defended his statement, "it's just that boy reminded me of you and I had visions of seeing you stripping for me!"
"You've got the makings of a pervy old man yourself!" Aaron chuckled, "Anyway, I haven't got a pole with me!"
"I wouldn't say that!" Jackson wiggled his eyebrows as he fondled Aaron's swelling and impressive weapon, making Aaron gasp excitedly. They kissed, stirring the feelings that they always shared; relaxed and happy together.
A week later, Chas was sitting at the table in the back room of the Woolpack, enjoying a cup of tea. Diane entered the room with a bundle of letters and handed one to Chas, "This one's for you," Diane smiled, "Neat handwriting, whoever it is."
"Thanks, Diane! You don't see many handwritten letters these days! I wonder who it's from."
"I should open it, if you want to find out!" Diane said, sarcastically. She crossed the room to the kitchen counter to pour herself a cuppa.
Chas opened the envelope and extracted the letter. She studied it quietly and, as she read it, her face turned pale. Diane noticed the look on her face, "Bad news?" she asked.
"Er...no. not really; just a bit of a surprise, that's all!" Chas was obviously staying tight-lipped.
Diane could sense that Chas did not want to talk about the contents of the letter, so she changed the subject, "The leccy bill's arrived. That's enough to wipe the smile off anyone's face!"
After Diane had left the room to start getting the bar ready for opening time, Chas looked at the letter again. Long forgotten feelings welled up inside her and she looked at the name at the foot of the letter for the umpteenth time, "Kindest regards, Eden." That was a name she had not expected to see again!
Just then, Aaron came bounding into the room.
"Hello love, fancy a brew?" Chas asked.
"No ta! I haven't got time! Cain's had to go into town so I've got to go and open up the garage, I'll have a drink when I get there!" Aaron noticed that his mother looked preoccupied, "You OK?"
Chas smiled, thinking about how caring her boy had become; Jackson's influence had done wonders for her lad and she loved the bones of both of them, "Yeah, I'm fine! You'd better get off; you don't want Cain on your back!"
"Tell me about it!" Aaron rolled his eyes and grimaced.
A few days later, Aaron started to become concerned about Chas. She seemed unusually quiet and pensive and he guessed that something was on her mind. She had also become a little furtive, talking to someone on the phone and then saying that it was nobody! He had an idea that she was up to something, but knew that she would only open up to him if she wanted to. He was in no position to criticize; as he had so often kept secrets from his mother in the past and had shut her out on so many occasions. In any case, she did not appear to be ill so he was not unduly worried. However, he was sure that something was bothering her.
Aaron decided to confide in his lover. He knew that he could tell Jackson anything and it would go no further. So, later on in their room, he let Jackson know about his concerns for his mother's welfare.
"I'm sure she'd tell you if she's in trouble," Jackson sought to soothe Aaron's nerves, "It's probably something and nothing! I know my Mum can sometimes make a mountain out of a molehill; it's what mothers do!"
"Yeah, you're probably right," Aaron took comfort in Jackson's wise words as he always did. He concluded that his mother would, indeed, tell him everything in her own good time. He gave Jackson a peck on the lips; his boyfriend was his rock, as always.
The days passed; Aaron was busy at the garage and Jackson was busy with his building work. As time went on, Aaron almost forgot about his mother's behaviour and put it down to 'women's trouble'. He had often heard that expression, but his knowledge of women could be written on the back of a postage stamp! But then, he concluded, that was nothing to do with him being gay; as most of the straight men he knew did not understand women either!
One afternoon, Aaron was on the forecourt of the garage, when he happened to notice a young man enter the Woolpack. He did not pay much attention to him as there were people coming and going all the time; it was a public house after all! However, the next day, he saw the same lad visit the pub again. Emmerdale was a small village and he knew most of the locals and regulars of the Woolpack, so he concluded that this new face must be either a holidaymaker or a visitor from outside the village.
On the third day after he had first seen the young man, his curiosity was roused when he saw him again. This time, he noticed the visitor heading from the pub towards the bus stop. He was busy and did not keep an eye on the young man and, when he emerged from under the bonnet of the car he was working on, the lad had gone; obviously catching the bus that had arrived a few minutes earlier. This confirmed to him that the stranger was from either Hotten or further afield; and he was intrigued to know why the lad was regularly visiting the Woolpack when he obviously lived elsewhere. He also wondered why the young man was never in the pub in the evening when he arrived home from work. However, he dismissed it, as the stranger's business was his own and nothing to do with him!
A couple of days later, when Aaron had almost forgotten about the mysterious stranger, he arrived home from work to hear voices in the back room; his mother was obviously entertaining someone. He walked through the door and saw Chas sitting next to a young man; the same young man that he had seen coming and going! They both rose to their feet as Aaron entered. Chas looked a little sheepish, as if she had something to hide. Aaron immediately had the impression that he had interrupted something; surely the young man was not his mother's 'toy-boy'? He could not have been any more than eighteen years of age!
"Aaron!" Chas said; the surprise on her face was clear to see, "You haven't met Eden, have you?"
Eden extended his hand to shake Aaron's. As he gripped Eden's hand in his, Aaron looked into Eden's blue eyes and felt as if he was staring into a mirror of his own. It unnerved him a little.
"I'm glad you've finally met," Chas said, "I was going to introduce you before, but I wasn't sure how you'd take it!"
"How do you mean?" Aaron was confused; his mother's words did not make much sense.
Chas swallowed hard, she was almost backing out of making her next announcement, but she decided that it was now or never, "Aaron...Eden is your brother!"