All my life
Waited for a song to sing
All my life
Always something missing
No matter how much he'd told himself that it was fine and it didn't matter that much since he didn't live at home the relief was huge. It wasn't something he'd been thinking about constantly over the past months, but of course his father's thoughts mattered. Apparently more than he'd let himself think.
"Thank your dad, he decided it for himself."
At that one of his sisters had commented that "since Jimi is so good at writing songs that shouldn't be a problem". Jimi had become red as a beet and all three sisters had laughed. Robin still had no idea what it was all about, but neither did his parents it seemed. Maybe it was just as fine.
The album was coming along smoothly and he'd be releasing one single before going on a tour later in the summer. Jimi was considering a role in another movie that would be filmed later in the autumn so there was never too little to do. He still had a couple of weeks to decide though, as the auditions would be at the beginning of July, right before Robin's tour.
It was all quite the puzzle, but they wanted to share as much as possible of each other's time and tried to match their schedules as well as possible. A lot of Robin's work included Jimi again, as he'd decided to produce the whole album. By now it was impossible to avoid Maki, but Maki never said a thing. Either he didn't care or he had really missed the kiss. And Robin really didn't feel like brining it up.
And Jimi did love making music the most of all and making songs for Robin again made it even better. But he'd enjoyed acting too, more than he'd remembered. When he'd talked about it with Jare his best friend had agreed.
He'd also pointed out that doing everything with Robin could be a serious risk. If they were seen together too much things would become quite obvious. And Jare was of course right. The longer this stayed secret, the better.
So that's why he flew off to Los Angeles one day in July. It was only for a few days again, but he even took time to see a fellow actor from Iron Sky 2. They hadn't hung out much until closer to the end of the filming, but when they did it had helped Jimi a lot. He had never told this Richard what was wrong with him back then, and Riku (as Jimi liked to call him) had never asked.
This time, however, Riku was interested.
"You seem a lot happier now, Jimmy. What's up?"
Jimi tried hiding his goofy smile with his pint but it probably failed.
"No really, I'm interested. A girl?"
"No, not exactly. But yeah, I'm happier. Happy, in fact."
"So what, a guy then?"
He choked on his beer a little.
"Smartass. Yeah, a guy. Keeping it secret though."
"Figured. In the closet, are we?"
"Not exactly... It's complicated."
"Don't worry, no press will hear from me."
"I know, haha."
Yes, some good things really did come out of those four years.
They were in Pori when Jimi got the phone call that the role was his. Robin wanted nothing more than to congratulate him with a kiss but they were surrounded by people the whole day. And sleeping together in hotels was still mostly impossible. It was just too risky. It hurt sometimes, and this was one of those times. Robin wanted nothing more than to tell the whole world he loved Jimi, but he was well aware how the public would most likely take it. And he'd already hurt Jimi enough.
The whole team toasted for him later after the gig and a slightly drunken Samppa decided making up a song in Jimi's honour was necessary. When the noise around them got loud enough Robin took the chance to lean in and whisper in Jimi's ear.
"I'm proud of you, twat."
Robin was gone on different interviews all day, but Jimi had managed to prolong anything they needed him for until the following day. In all the chaos with the new album and the last tour they had completely forgotten about Robin's birthday (Well, Jimi had remembered on the day, but they hadn't celebrated). Now was definitely a good time to celebrate.
The present he'd found for Robin in America felt both perfect and way too silly, but maybe it was okay to be a bit silly when in love. Because no matter how frustrating it was to hide this, to never be able to show anything outside of their four walls, he was still so thankful that Robin hadn't given up. Even as time passed he still didn't feel like there was seventeen years separating them. It felt more like Robin was keeping him younger, making him live his life fully.
He'd secretly invited Samppa, Sara and Jare, all three friends who knew about their relationship, to a little party in their house. Sara had promised to come over earlier and help with the preparations right away and it wasn't until the doorbell rang that Jimi realised he'd never met her before.
"Hi Sara… come on in. It's uhh, nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too, boyfriend thief", she said with a huge grin and stepped inside.
If it hadn't been for the huge grin Jimi would probably have taken her seriously.
"So what are we making?"
"Good plan! Let's get started!"
One by one the sushi pieces started filling the plate and their conversation flowed easily. Sara told Jimi how she'd known for quite a while, since just a couple of months after she broke up with Robin, something Robin had never mentioned to Jimi. She told him that she'd found his shirt in Robin's wardrobe and Robin had gone hysterical. And how a little after that she'd seen their old music video. In which his shirt was apparently "all over the place" and how that "made it more than obvious".
It was easy too see what Robin liked in the girl. A tiny sliver of guilt settled in his stomach again and he put down another finished sushi roll with a sigh.
"Don't even think it."
"What, I-- what?"
"Your sigh just screamed 'so it's my fault they broke up'. It's not."
"Well technically it is."
"Whatever. We had some great times and Robin's definitely one of my best friends ever. So I know he's head over heels in love with you and well, to be honest it's quite inspiring."
Another couple of sushi pieces were put down on the large plate.
"I'm really happy for both of you actually."
Jimi looked up then, and smiled at her. Sara grinned back.
He was amazed by how maturely she handled the whole thing. But then again, just like his Robin she was already an adult. Suddenly he felt like Maki was right, that Jimi had never truly become an adult. These kids who were so much younger than him dealt with things this maturely and he just ran away. For four whole years at that. Maybe the whole time it had been Jimi who needed to grow up.
Before long Samppa and Jare arrived and preparations were done. There hadn't been much else to prepare than the sushi, just making the table and finding the right bottle of champagne. When Robin finally arrived they timed opening the bottle right as he walked in, welcoming him with a loud "pow" and a "congratulations" shouted in unison.
Robin just stared at them for a little while before grinning and saying "you asshats, what's this about?".
Jimi walked over to meet him with a glass of champagne in each hand, handing one of them to Robin.
"Well other than your album release, we did happen to miss your birthday last month."
"Exactly, so get in here and get drunk", Samppa said from somewhere behind them. Jimi ignored him and leaned up to give Robin a quick kiss. "Let's have fun," he whispered and Robin nodded, taking the glass from Jimi's hand.
Despite having made what felt like hundreds of sushi pieces they disappeared surprisingly quickly. Well, Jimi was aware of Robin's tendency to swallow them whole, but he hadn't been aware of Samppa's tendency to try to compete with Robin's speed. Nor had he expected Jare deciding to challenge them. At some point he just decided to let them have the sushi and retrieved two quark cans from the fridge, handing Sara one as he sat back down.
With a laugh she took it and they ate them together while watching the last few sushi pieces disappear deep into the mouths of their friends.
Once all the plates were empty Jimi got up, grabbed a bottle of wine and gestured for the others to follow him back to the living room.
"If you can move that is."
Moving wasn't a problem and soon all five of them were sitting in the living room sharing a bottle of wine. Jokes were flying in every direction and Jimi was honestly not sure when he'd had this genuinely fun the last time. And between all the laughs nothing stopped him from squeezing Robin's hand, or leaning his head on Robin's shoulder when laughing so hard he'd almost fall over. Nothing stopped Robin from leaning in an giving him a spontanous kiss every now and then.
Because these were all their best friends. They knew. It was amazing how much easier it felt to exist to be able to just be in front of other people. Even though they were their closest friends it still mattered.
At some point someone turned on Robin's new album and when Robin was being forced to sing along with pretzel sticks up his nose Jimi took the chance to go and get his present. It was packed in a small, blue gift box and now suddenl a small wave of self consciousness hit Jimi. Thinking back on how good it felt to just hang out with everybody he forced those ideas away, figuring that they wouldn't judge him.
When he came back Robin was in the middle of removing the pretzels and Jare came back from the kitchen with two more wine bottles. With a small sigh Jimi decided this was as good as any other time, they'd only get more drunk after all.
He sat down next to Robin, so that he was mostly facing the now 19 year old man and held out the box.
Robin looked surprised but took the box with a "thank you", turning it over before starting to open it in a neater way than Jimi had ever opened a present. One at a time the small tape pieces were removed and Jimi could feel his heart beating a bit faster than what was acceptable at his age.
When Robin pulled out the silver puzzle piece on a chain he stared at it for a while, eyes taking in the present. His eyebrows furrowed just a little bit, maybe not really getting it just yet. So when he looked up at Jimi, ready to both thank him and maybe ask, Jimi lifted out his necklace from inside his shirt.
On his chain there was a heart missing that exact puzzle piece.
Robin's eyes widened and then he suddenly grabbed Jimi where he was still holding his chain and pulled him closer, kissing him roughly. The kiss went on for a while, Jimi leaning in closer on his own initiative, moving his hand from his necklace to Robin's neck. It went on until someone made a coughing sound right next to them.
"Time to get a room?" It was Jare.
They pulled back and leaned their foreheads against each other, both breaking out into laughter.
"No, it's fine", Robin answered. "I just-- Jimi you, where the heck did you find these?"
"LA." He smiled at Robin. "So you like it?"
"Stupid question, put it on me already."
As Jimi was closing the chain around Robin's neck Jare suddenly started rapping Puuttuva palanen and the whole group literally found themselves in a laughing pile on the floor.
Well, there were 5 empty wine bottles on the table.
Jimi decided to make the most of those two months, hanging out with “Riku” and his friends more than he’d ever thought would happen. Every single time his phone beeped Riku would wink at him in an “I know exactly what sort of texts you are getting” way. It made him smile every time.
Robin spent October in countless interviews and TV-shows, a never ending PR merry-go-round. His album ended up being a bigger success than they’d even dared to hope and he was on top lists all over Europe. As he had no school or other work, or even Jimi, to concentrate on at the moment he took all the offers he got.
More and more he noticed cameras around him. He had never been of much interest to the paparazzi before, he was always such a good kid. But now when international media suddenly started getting interested he found himself noticing cameras flashing in street corners every now and then. That if something felt weird.
Robin had been properly famous since he was 13 years old and he was used to people looking at him and recognizing him. He was used to having to think of what he was wearing in public. He was used to having screeching masses of teenage girls hanging outside the backstage window. But nothing of that had ever imposed on his personal life. But now when camera's followed him much more actively he realised they would have to be so much more careful than before.
The harsh reality hit him one day when he got off the bus in Pakila and someone snapped a picture of him right there on the spot. What if they took pictures of him entering Jimi's house? Especially together with Jimi.
It wasn't exactly public knowledge where they lived but it would be easy enough to find out who owns that specific house. Now when he was alone it shouldn't be a problem, but when Jimi gets back...
That night he ate three cans of Jimi's favourite quark while watching the first gay romantic comedy he came across online. The only thing he'd ever admit to anyone from that night was the countless messages to Jimi. Everything else would forever stay a secret.
As the weeks passed since the album release the whole circus slowly calmed down a bit. Christmas was spent with Jimi's parents, causing a slight disappointed tone in Robin's mother's voice. "Well, you are both welcome here next year then", she said and Robin promised her that. It was his first christmas ever away from his parents, but it was still spent with family.
"Happy Birthday and a Happy New Year" Robin whispered into Jimi's ear right before midnight that last day of December, standing next to each other in their backyard watching the fireworks. Again Jimi was one year older, but so was Robin. The distance never got bigger nor smaller, but it felt just perfect to them.
One morning when Robin was making them omelettes, something that now always brought up memories of Jimi beet red, Jimi was staring at the newspaper with a very serious look.
"Haavisto better win this time."
"Oh, the… president election?"
"Yeah. He's running again."
"Oh the other dude who didn't win last time?"
Their breakfast discussion ended up being Jimi educating Robin in this matter, quite shocked that Robin didn't know anything about it all. But Robin had been only thirteen the last time there was a presidential election and there had been other things on his mind. Like getting one million views in less than a week.
Now he could see what Jimi meant though. If so many people had supported an openly gay, green candidate already six years ago, maybe now was the time? When Jimi told him the man was in a relationship with a 22 years younger man Robin understood more than well.
When a few weeks later, just a few days before they'd fly off to start the tour in Sweden, Pekka Haavisto became the new president of Finland they once again opened a bottle of champagne. To a brighter future, they said, laughing.
Maybe it wasn't the right reason to support Haavisto, maybe they did for other reasons too, but somehow it was all on a much more personal level for Jimi and Robin. That night they shared looks filled with so much hope. It would all be worth the struggles one day. Already was.
They didn't get much time just the two of them so sometimes they sneaked out to have lunch or a late dinner together. No one ever questioned it, they'd shared meals like that already back before Jimi left. And if someone tried suggesting they'd all go together Samppa was quick to cover for them. They'd thank him by text right after and he'd always guarantee it was nothing. They deserved some time alone, he'd say.
But showing affection was of course out of the question.
Now this new sensation from Finland seemed like the perfect challenge. The boy seemed to have a perfect clean past, nothing scandalous what so ever in his books. The boy barely even partied, it seemed. But as everyone was going completely crazy over him (like they did over Justin Bieber back when this boy must've been what -- 14?) any dirt on him would pay very, very well.
Which was why Steven was now following the boy around London. He had left their hotel by the back door, together with a man a bit shorter than him. He seemed to be part of the singer's staff as Steven had seen him in photos before. Maybe even a bodyguard?
Well, they seemed awfully familiar for that, he thought to himself as the singer held open the door to a small pizzeria for the shorter man. He was sure he'd seen the man somewhere else before, not only in photos related to this Robin. He would have to do some research later at home. Steven had a good face memory and used to be good with these things.
They smiled an awful lot at each other, in that weirdly genuine way that showed all the way to their eyes. Like they truly cared that the other was laughing along. Ordering a coffee Steven watched them from a few tables away, noticing every detail in their interactions, trying to figure out what the story could be. The shorter man seemed quite a few years older than the singer and he was probably staff. There was probably no scandal there.
That was when Robin's hand reached over the table, as if wanting to touch, before retreating back to his own side.
Maybe it would be worth following these two after all.
Everyone cheered in agreement, instantly discussing where to go, Robin included. It was a nice evening in early March and they were all high on adrenaline from another successful live, this time in Rome. Jimi however had been sporting a headache since a few hours earlier and when Robin looked at him in that youthful excitement he still so often showed Jimi shook his head.
"I'll go back to the hotel, you guys party for me too."
"Haha, sure, if you want to, we'll have the party of the century though", commented Niko, but it was clear they understood. Jimi feared it was due to his age that they were so easily accepting of this. He was really only thirtysix, and far from a grown up mentally. Was what he still liked to tell himself.
"Aww well, you guys decide on a place, I'll make sure this lameass gets a taxi", Robin said and pushed Jimi in front of him towards the door. The staff quickly organized a taxi and they headed out the back door to wait for it in the back alley.
"You sure I shouldn't come with you?"
"I can take care of myself, I thought I was supposed to be the older one here?"
"Maybe that's why you need help." Robin grinned.
"Oh, shut up you!"
Jimi pretend slapped Robin on the shoulder. From a few metres away the sound of a car stopping could be heard. "Your taxi's here", Robin said. "Mhm, good night. Have fun", Jimi mumbled and leaned in for a quick good night kiss.
That was when the flash of a camera went off several times in a row.
To all the time I've lost
I'm raising up this glass
It's all been worth the cost
But the candle's burning fast