Holiday with your family - what a great idea in theory, but the reality was something totally different for Richard. On the verge of a divorce and not being able to escape his wife, Richard was constantly on his toes. You are doing this for the kids, he repeated in his mind. Their happiness is the main thing. He felt like a character from a satire: bored of his life, but still trying to act it was fun to be here, in one of the worst tourist places possible: Majorca.
“Daddy, look!” Marie, Richard’s dear 6-year-old, exclaimed while she was swimming in the pool of their hotel. “I can stay on the surface!” She swam around, showing her best moves to her dad. A child’s enthusiasm was so genuine.
Richard flashed a smile. Although how miserable his life was, at least his two princesses made it tolerable. “My big girl, so talented. Well done!”
Marie smiled with infantile pride while her mother appeared behind them. “Good Heavens Marie, you are not allowed to be there without my permission. You can get sick or drown! Get here!”
“But daddy said I can--”
“Out there, now!” Eleanor, Richard’s wife, and the mother of their children shouted while Richard rolled his eyes. Seemed like everything he did or allowed his kids to do was wrong. How typical.
Every day this was only getting worse - no matter what Richard did or said, Eleanor had always something against it. She almost considered her husband a retarded ape, unable to be a caretaker on his own.
Pouting hard, Marie rose from the pool and wrapped a towel around her tiny body.
Richard put a reassuring hand on his daughter’s shoulder and whispered: “When mommy is not seeing, we can come back to swim again, okay?” With a wink, he added: “But it’s our little secret.”
The kid’s mood changed and smiling, she went to get a soda from her mother. There was also their 2-year-old, Daniela. Sadly, Richard hadn’t even had spent so much time with their youngest daughter - truth be told their marital troubles started right after Daniela was born.
That was also when Eleanor had decided she didn’t need sex anymore - just like that she had thrown their intimate life away. Since then, Richard had felt totally useless as a man, father, and husband.
One could ask why in the hell they were still married despite all the difficulties and squalor this woman only brought nowadays to Richard’s life. Truth to be told, that was a question he pondered every single day until he had a headache. Every time after a fight, his luggage ready and his hand on the door handle, the genuine sadness of his kids had always made Richard stay in the end.
Last time two weeks ago after another fight when Richard had decided he had to leave, Marie had squeezed her dad hard and sobbed. “Daddy, don’t… don’t leave me. I can’t… can’t stay with mom. I need you.”
Immediately, his heart had melted for this honesty so of course, Richard had stayed. For his kids, he was willing to do anything; even to endure a horrible marriage so their children could have two parents; an illusion of a complete family Richard never had in his childhood.
As he didn’t want to be near to his wife who was seemingly agitated, Richard stepped back and saw his best friend Till sunbathing on a deck chair. Amongst many things, he was a swimmer and a bachelor - to both of the facts he dealt with indifference. Richard had to admit he was occasionally jealous when his friend could do whatever he wanted without someone nagging all the time. The man was an excellent singer and a songwriter and sometimes when Eleanor had given her permission - which rarely happened - they had even practiced a couple of songs with Till in his parents’ basement. Richard played guitar and enjoyed it a lot - though, at home practicing was out of the question. Eleanor thought his husband’s playing was such a terrible cacophony. Every single time when Richard had sneaked into their little band practice, he literally felt how the invisible chains on him were removed - even for a while.
Holy hell how much Richard would have wanted the sweet freedom his best friend had. The content grin on Till’s face was almost unbearable when he was sunbathing, not afraid to show his athletic body the moms by the pool secretly admired.
Till took his sunglasses off and glanced at Richard who sat down to a chair next to him. “Alles gut?”
Richard barely nodded, but his face told something completely different. Once again he had been rejected from his family and it was difficult to hide the disappointment. “Yeah, everything’s perfectly fine.”
Leaning closer, Till whispered: “You should get rid of that bitch, she’s making you only miserable.”
“Hey, mind your language. That bitch is still my wife!” Richard exclaimed a bit too loud and felt how his cheeks got hot when all the families gathered around the pool area glared at him murderously. “I… I mean… she’s still the mother of my children. I’m responsible for all of them so I need to respect her as well.”
Till just shook his head. “How many times I have heard that,” he said and let his eyes drift to Eleanor, “and how much I disagree with you. How are you supposed to respect someone who clearly doesn’t respect you?”
When Richard didn’t say anything, Till took his hand and looked at his friend with sad eyes. “You are just a shadow of what you were six years ago.” He averted his gaze and with a voice barely audible, added: “I miss you. The real you.”
A million thoughts swirled in Richard’s mind: deep down he knew his friend was right. He was always right. Actually, Till had been the one who was warning him about Eleanor straight after they had met.
“I don’t trust that woman,” Till had said after a bar night together. “She is just so... cold and I don’t like it.”
“What are you talking about?” Richard had asked. “She’s adorable.” And yes, that night he had been rather tipsy. “And remarkably talented in the bedroom. You are just jealous, Tillie.”
For that foolish comment of a man desperately in the spell of a wicked woman, Till sighed. “I just have an instinct. Leave when you still can.”
After that, Marie happened and Till had just seen how his best friend was dragged into hell - worst of all, he couldn’t have done anything than to be a witness for this tragedy.
For Richard, it was much easier to act arrogant than to admit Till was right and caring about him. “Sorry that my decisions are shitty in your opinion, but I still try to be a responsible adult,” Richard answered bitterly and stood up.
Till grabbed his friend's arm. “Please, I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just worried about you.”
With a sigh, Richard sat back. He was unable to say no to his best friend who had such a charismatic aura around him. One could only wonder why the hell he was still single.
“What am I supposed to do then, huh?” Richard asked. “Leave them all in the middle of a family holiday? I’m not that kind of a man.”
“I didn’t mean that,” Till replied and couldn’t help a wide grin forming on his face. “I might have an idea. When was the last time you did anything fun?”
Richard raised an eyebrow. “We are on holiday now, this is supposed to be fun.”
After an exaggerated eyeroll Till cleared out: “I mean, when have you gone out without Eleanor or the kids? Just to have time for yourself?”
Putting a hand under his chin Richard pondered for a second. “Well…” Did that one time count when he went for a weekend trip to Düsseldorf? But that was for work - besides, Eleanor had called him every hour. “I… I don’t know, to be honest.”
Till sat down on the chair and clasped his hands together. “Well, that is going to change today!” he announced proudly. “Because I will take you out tonight. And we’ll have a good time, just like in the old days.”
“No ‘buts’. Make sure the bitch lets you out with me tonight or otherwise, I’ll drag you from the hotel.”
“And why do you have to go with Till tonight?” Eleanor asked when she looked at her husband who was grooming himself in front of a mirror. “I thought this was going to be a family night.”
“Honey, it’s been ages since I did anything with my best friend,” Richard said while he put gel to his hair. “And since we both are here, why not.” Then, he turned around and flashed a smile Eleanor didn’t mirror though. Trying to lighten the situation, he overdramatically put a hand on his chest and announced: “I, Richard Zven Kruspe, promise that I won’t be late and will do the laundry and dishes for the rest of the year when we are back home. A deal?”
Before the grumpy woman answered anything a knock on the door startled them both. “Reesh, you ready?” a muffled familiar voice asked.
Richard tried to give a small peck to his wife who just turned her back. “Just don’t wake up Daniela when you come back drunk. You know how badly she sleeps nowadays and I can’t stand waking up at night for her cry.”
As his good mood was gone Richard didn’t bother to sound satisfied when he said: “I wasn’t planning to be drunk, maybe a couple of drinks but that’s enough. It would be nice if you’d trust me.”
Eleanor didn’t say anything: just opened the door for Till who enthusiastically stepped in. He just nodded to Eleanor but kept his distance when the woman looked at his husband’s best friend like a cheap sausage. They didn’t share a word.
When he noticed his best friend Till’s sour expression changed. “Hey man, you look great!” he exclaimed and took Richard to his bear embrace. Two curious little girls came to see what was going on with the hassle.
When they realized who it was they both ran towards the big man and hugged him. “Uncle Tillie!”
Till crouched and gave them both a huge bear hug as well. “May you lend your dear daddy for me tonight?” he asked officially and winked. “I promise I will bring him back in one piece.”
Marie pouted. “I wanted a bedtime story. Daddy is much better at telling them than mommy.” Eleanor tried to hide her surprise, but her wide terrified eyes revealed everything. Richard had to hide his amusement - Marie had always been his girl.
“He will tell you ten thousand bedtime stories when he comes back,” Till joked before Richard could say anything.
“Hey, I didn’t promise that!” Richard shouted and poked at his friend with his elbow. Boy, how he had forgotten how much he missed this stupid bantering with Till.
The kids cheered and then Till quickly said: “Tschüss, girls!” On purpose, he didn’t wish good night for Eleanor - may the haughty woman pout in her own peace tonight, he thought.
The busy touristy area was full of everyone else besides the locals: Germans, Brits, Swedes, and Finns. A couple of drunken Finnish guys stopped them just after they had stepped out of Richard’s hotel and mumbled something vague. Luckily, Till was quick in his moves.
“You’ll never know of those Finns. They seem reserved, but boy, give them booze and they turn into wild fucking animals.” He chuckled and quickened his pace, making sure the two men didn’t catch them. “We Germans are always mocked being assholes abroad, but no one ever talks about Finns! They’d deserve an award.”
Richard laughed out loud at that comment - he felt like a teenage boy on a field trip while he had a chance to taste this exotic freedom.
The boys’ night started in the hotel’s bar where Till was staying. They took a couple of drinks and chatted with a bunch of women from Austria. Richard felt immediately how his frantic nerves were calming down when he was away from his wife. He even laughed a bit too loud at Till’s stupid jokes when he tried to flirt with the women with his best Austrian accent.
One by one, their female companion disappeared leaving the two cheerful Germans alone.
“Okay, okay, that’s enough for that story about what happened in Tallinn when we were there with Flake…” Till wiped his eyes - he had been laughing so much he was crying. “He even won the third prize…”
“But how the hell were you able to persuade Flake to participate in a BDSM themed costume contest?” Richard asked and chuckled. “I can’t imagine it.” Flake was their friend from childhood - a lanky man who had an aspiring career back home as a concert pianist. Richard could never imagine him doing anything crazy.
“Oh trust me, the most normal and quiet ones tend to be the weirdest. He is an absolute lunatic,” Till said and emptied his beer glass. Then, he looked Richard straight in the eyes and grinned. Richard swallowed hard - he knew that this expression from his friend didn’t promise any good.
“But enough of old stories, I know where we should go next.”
Without even realizing it, Richard was dragged from his arm from the safety of the tourist bar back to the humid night of Majorca.
They walked a good while, through small allies, further and further away from the safety of the tourist hot spot.
“Ummm, Till, where are we going?” Richard asked and tried at the same time to catch up with his friend who was walking like a maniac with his long legs. “Are you sure we aren’t lost already?”
“You’ll see soon,” was the cryptic answer. “And I’m 100% sure we aren’t lost.”
Eventually, they reached the door of a colorful building where they finally stopped. Till bowed. “You first, my special guest.”
Richard raised an eyebrow and glanced around. The whole neighborhood was eerily silent. “There must be something in this.”
“Absolutely not. Don’t you trust me?” Till was almost pouting.
As tonight Richard decided it was time to let go, he just mouthed a “whatever” and stepped through the door. Before they even realized it they were already sitting by a table.
Their arrival had been noticed. “Ahh, good evening lovely little lads!” a bartender, dressed as a peacock, exclaimed way too enthusiastically with a voice full of pure honey. “And what for you, gentlemen?”
“Two mojitos, please,” Till said and the colorful bartender was away as quickly as he had arrived.
Richard looked around him: it was a bar obviously, but one he had never seen before. First of all, all the customers were either very well dressed or looked like from a cosplay event - like the bartender. Secondly, it was surprisingly colorful and bright. A moderately loud pop music was coming from the speakers as Richard looked at all the stylized pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the wall. It definitely wasn’t a typical bar where German guys went to drink beer and watch football.
Through a poppy cheerful music, Richard asked: “Till… what is this place?”
Till turned to look at him, popping his head along with the catchy tunes. “What?”
“I asked what the hell is this place?” Richard repeated, now louder to make sure Till heard him.
Till grinned widely. “Oh, relax. It had a good score on TripAdvisor. ‘A hidden gem’ the reviews claimed.” He laughed by himself a bit too loud. “All I can say is that it was called an ‘art club’. In the photos there were drag shows, naked pole dancers, and fire eaters, so of course, it caught my interest.”
Shaking his head, Richard let out a burst of laughter. “Oh man, I didn’t expect this. Where the hell will I end up with you?”
“Is it too much? We can go somewhere else if you want. I just thought it would be fun to try something new.” Till shifted in his chair and added: “Besides, I’m pretty freaking tired of those German tourists everywhere. I wanted to see something different.”
“This doesn’t bother me, just that… I don’t know what to expect.”
Just after Richard had said that the peacock bartender came back with two drinks. “Two mojitos for the gorgeous gentlemen. Enjoy!”
“Thanks,” Till said and immediately took a sip of the strong liquid. The song in the playlist had changed into a darker dubstep one. Seemed like the owner wasn’t sure what kind of a musical vibe he wanted here.
Before the bartender left he asked: “Sorry, I heard you speaking German so I just can’t resist asking, are you two little lovebirds here for the dance show?”
Both Till and Richard looked at each other with question marks above their heads. Richard wanted to clear out they weren’t lovebirds, but Till was faster.
“What dance show?” he asked and leaned closer to the peacock man to hear him properly.
“Two absolutely gorgeous German guys are dancing here for us tonight. If I remember correctly they were called ‘Duo Engel’ or something like that. I truly recommend you to stay!”
Till shrugged. “If fellow Germans are dancing for us, of course, we’ll support them.”
The bartender clapped his hands together with genuine enthusiasm. “Wunderbär or how do you say it?”
“Wunderbar,” Richard corrected dryly and the bartender giggled like a teenage girl.
“Ohh, my oral skills were never so good,” he said and winked before he turned his back. “Byebye!”
Richard leaned closer to his friend and flashed a mischievous grin. “I thought you wanted to get as far as possible from Germans.”
Looking at the stage that was prepared for the dancers, Till said: “Well, they aren’t just drunken annoying tourists, so why not. Besides, I’m curious. How the hell does someone from our country end up dancing in an ‘art club’ in Majorca?”
Both men sat in silence for a while before the peacock man came to the stage. Everyone went quiet when he announced: “My lovely friends, good evening! How are we doing tonight?”
After a modest cheering he continued: “I’m proud to announce that tonight, we will witness an amazing dancing performance straight from Germany.
Get ready for Duo Engel!”
With whistling and applause, the lights dimmed. Richard noticed there were now more people getting closer to the stage - the place was full. Eccentric, exotic music started playing and behind a thick velvet curtain two men came out: a tall and slim man with dark curly hair and another one, smaller, with a weird bowl cut. In its own way, Richard had to admit it suited the guy. He is kinda cute, he noticed himself thinking and blushed immediately in the darkness.
On the stage, there were two poles where the dancers went. The lyrics of the song started:
Recollect me darling, raise me to your lips
Two undernourished egos, four rotating hips
Hold on to me tightly, I'm a sliding scale
Can't endure, then you can't inhale clearly
Out of body experience interferes
And dreams of flying, I fit nearly
Surrounds me, though I get lonely slowly...
Like two talented gymnastics, the two men moved their hips and legs on the pole: they truly were born to perform this art. At these moves, Richard had to admit the small one, no matter how cute he had seemed at first sight, looked dangerously sexy.
All Richard could do was to keep his mouth open and hold his freaking mojito like it was his last lifeline - but that was just the start.
After the artful pole dancing, the two guys came to the audience. Richard could now see the smaller man clearly who was close to them. He was probably somewhere around Richard’s age. Around his blue eyes - since when he had started to pay attention to some random guy's eye color, Richard could only wonder - was a thick layer of eyeliner. He had never thought about guys having make-up but for this man, it suited beautifully. An earring glimmered in the dark when the dancer made his next move.
Just when he was deep in his own thoughts, admiring the dancer, Richard gasped when their eyes locked to each other. The small man flashed a grin and proudly, raised his chin - and if Richard saw correctly, licked his lips.
Moving up slowly
Moving up slowly
Moving up slowly
Moving his hips in a flirty way along with the melody the dancer approached their table. Richard averted his gaze and pretended to be busy with drinking. It was too late to ask from Till to leave - the place was packed and his buddy was clearly enjoying himself so Richard didn’t want to ruin his fun. Maybe the dancer was seeking a hot lonely woman to tease or something.
When Richard dared to raise his head from the glass the dancer was right in front of him and without hesitation, just sat on Richard’s lap. Till next to them guffawed and slammed his fist on the table in his enthusiasm. Cheering and whistles echoed in Richard’s ears when the dancer put his arms over his shoulders and looked at him straight in the eyes. As much as he wanted to just tell the man to go away, Richard couldn’t. He just kept staring at the surreal sight on his lap.
In my home no chrome as clear as
See me now with my nearest, dearest
Been there when I'm over careering
Room shifting is endearing
Between us is our kitchen
Which you found my irritant's itching
Been here before, been here forever
Moving up slowly
To Richard’s horror, when the chorus of the song began, the dancer licked a trail from his ear to his neck. Without noticing it, Richard closed his eyes and tilted his head back, giving the incognito artist more space.
Dear God, Richard gasped mentally - or maybe also out loud he couldn’t comprehend now - in ecstasy . He knew very well there was something illegal, something way too dirty in this, but he couldn’t help it. Maybe this was just a normal form of art around here?
Truth to be told, Richard didn’t remember when the last time when someone had touched him this intimately had been. After his younger daughter was born, even though how nice it had been, it had also meant the end of any form of physical or sexual intercourse. Richard’s and Eleanor’s marriage had gone down, the woman only using the poor children as a weapon against her husband who was on her tight leash.
Now when someone had shown him at least some form of attention, Richard couldn’t resist it - he was melting. All those lonely nights in the shower, desperately jerking himself off to release the permanent tension, were nothing compared to this.
Because this was more real than anything Richard had experienced for a while. As a devoted family man, he had forgotten he had also selfish needs.
His sleeping groin had awoken from its eternal sleep as well and Richard hoped the man on his lap didn’t notice the bulk.
“What’s your name, gorgeous?” the dancer spoke the first time with a husky voice right next to Richard’s ear. He dug his long fingers to Richard’s hair and stroked it - surprisingly gently.
Snapped out of his bliss, Richard blinked his eyes and realized where he was. A gorgeous smiling face in front of him was waiting for an answer. “R-Richard.”
The dancer beamed and moved his hand to Richard’s nape. “My name is Paul. Pleased to meet you.” He pressed a tiny peck on Richard’s forehead and squeezed his thigh, uncomfortably close to the groin. With a wink, the dancer was gone.
Till whistled. “Man!” Even he, a talented poet, was out of words.
Richard was catching his breath. He just kept staring at the dancers who were back on the stage moving along the last lyrics of the song.
Moving up slowly
Moving up slowly
Moving up slowly
Moving up slowly
A flock of black stray cats supervised them closely on the way when Till escorted his friend back to his hotel. All the streets were empty - the bars had just closed. “Wow, what a night. That guy was so fond of you!”
“I don’t know, maybe it’s just his job to act like that every night,” Richard answered nonchalantly even though he felt quite funny at the bottom of his belly. He repeated, like to ensure himself: “Yeah, I bet he does it every night. Just playing along with foolish customers and trying to get some extra tips.”
“You should have seen yourself, you just kept staring at him for the rest of the show with your mouth wide open,” Till said. “I think someone is crushing h--”
“Shut up,” Richard interrupted and stopped. He crossed his arms in front of Till and refused to move. “He was just a fucking sexy dancer. It’s his job to tease people, okay?”
Richard didn’t have a chance to explain the emphasis on the s word when Till already whistled: “Sexy dancer, well, why not… Pity we had to leave earlier. I bet the guy would have asked you out otherwise. Seriously, did you see the look he gave you constantly? Like a hungry lion. Damn man, I don’t even want to think what he would have done with you if you would have let him!”
Behind gritted teeth, Richard muttered: “He. Was. Just. An. Actor. Period.”
“But man, seriously, you deserve his admiration after what the bitch has done to you. He looked like he was interested in you! Maybe we’ll go back there tomorrow and ask for his phone number.”
Richard sighed and turned his back. He started taking quicker and quicker steps to get rid of his too eager friend. “How many times do I have to tell you that this so-called ‘bitch’ is still the mother of my children.”
“But it still doesn’t justify her to treat you like a fucking dog and ban nice things from you.” Till was getting agitated and being more than tipsy, he didn’t care when his voice echoed in the empty streets. “You deserve a better life!”
“At least my wife was willing to let me out with you tonight,” Richard answered when he was already far away from Till. “Good night.”
“Stop defending her! She is a cruel, manipulative witch who only wants to benefit from you!”
Richard could hear the words, but without answering anything, he just turned to the street where his hotel was. The last thing he wanted was to start an argument about his lousy partner choices he knew way too well already.
The old door of their set of rooms let out a faint squeak when Richard stepped in. He went to the small kitchenette and poured himself a glass of water. Sitting down he looked out of the window, still feeling the heat of the night on his cheeks.
Who was this Paul? What did he want? Was he interested in Richard or was that just some sick bantering, just a way to express his bodily art?
Richard shook his head: he was pretty sure that after the show this Paul and his dancing companion were laughing at the stupid customers in the bar. Did you see that man whose lap I sat on? How pathetic he looked! Yeah, that must have been the case - there was no way Paul was interested in him. End of story.
But why did Richard still feel funny when he thought about those gorgeous eyes, the lithe body, and most of all, the ruthless intrusion of Richard’s personal space? No one normally did that - especially not Germans.
The man had been full of self-confidence that made Richard’s whole body tickle in excitement. And that squeeze to his groin... Damn it. Some things were much easier for women - at least they didn’t have to be constantly scared of way too eager genitals showing under their pants.
When Richard was done and too tired to ponder the night he stood up and put his hands into the pockets of his jeans. Surprisingly, he noticed there was something. A napkin? How the hell did it get there?
He pulled the folded paper out and all the blood in his body froze when he saw what it was: a message - and there was no doubt from whom.
Would it be possible to see you again? :) Yours, P.L.