Steve Gavan and Daniël Borghart are professional soccer players for Kinbridge Town – and also secret lovers. All that changes, however, when Steve innocently wanders into a city park and falls victim to a vicious gang of queer-bashers who beat him within an inch of his life. After that there are no secrets any more – and it’s a very long road back, for both of them, from there…
If there’s anything happier than him and Daniël watching a footy match, he’d like to hear about it, so they could try it too. It’s a quiet sort of happiness, but it makes him think beyond the moment. He’s not ready yet to dismiss himself as ultimately irrelevant, a nice experience at best, in comparison with the much more important career that lies ahead for a player as talented and dedicated to the sport as Daniël Borghart. He thinks he can still manage a couple of good years with those legs of his. Although when it comes to staying with Kinbridge Town, he acknowledges some of it is likely wishful thinking on his part. By the end of the season, he’ll be thirty-two, with young guys like Miller and Borghart breathing down his neck. And there’s more on the way, with the owners allowing manager Degaré a very healthy budget.READ MORE
Still, every club, no matter how much in love they are with their new stars, need the dependable players; the older guys who can be overlooked all too easily and still make the difference between a team and eleven high earning guys who just happen to be on the same pitch at the same time. But it’s becoming less the alpha and omega of his existence. He wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s just a game, and things like privacy and what the papers would write or the songs the Kinbridge Kings would sing don’t matter, but something is shifting.
And whatever that something is, it makes him smile and swagger a bit like he’s drunk, although he’s almost never drunk, and think about his future in a way that’s new to him. He’s no longer young enough to have any grand illusions; the world is what it is and people are what they are, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s ever going to change. If one day Daniël looks him in the eye and tells him it’s all over, that he’s no longer as important as the beautiful game, he will bow his head and try to keep his dignity while walking away. Until that day, he will keep on searching for a solution to reconcile the irreconcilables. He’s not the one to start the revolution, but he’s willing to try and jump over his own shadow to prevent Daniël from being unhappy.
He walks and walks to get rid of the abundance of energy. Dan is getting his parents from the airport and as much as he understands that Mr and Mrs Borghart want to spend some time with their son, he almost wishes they could welcome them in their home together. But no matter how many hours of the day they’re spending with each other, there is no their home. Daniël had shown him pictures of his parents and his younger sister Naomi, and Steve in return had shown pictures of his mother and grandmother, or nan, as he would always remember her. He guesses Daniël’s parents wouldn’t be too bad about it, but something shared between a few is likely to become something shared between many. And they are not ready yet to share this with others.
So he keeps on walking, Daniël in his head, with a smile and a swagger and the knowledge that within a few days he’ll have his arms full of one sexy Dutchman starving for attention of the non-parental kind. He’s almost certain that by that time, he’ll be ready to invite Daniël to top him again. If not out of curiosity, he wants to know if the second time will be easier, then because much of the pleasure he had felt the first time came from the absolute joy Danny had radiated. He has to see that look in his lover’s eyes again. Perhaps they could try out another position and see how that works out for both of them. He loves it when Daniël straddles him, showing him that having a cock up your arse doesn’t mean you can’t be dominant, even aggressively so. Once or twice, things like that should be savoured like exclusive delicacies, he had been ordered to grip the headboard of his bed and let them stay there unless ordered otherwise. It had been an extremely educational way of learning that yes, you could be milked dry and still beg for more of the same.COLLAPSE
Rainbow Awards 6th in Best Gay Debut Novel/Book (2011)
Length: 98,500 words/344 pages