"Okay, so do you have everything you need up here?" says Steve in his calming American accent, putting an arm around Jon’s shoulders in the DJ booth. "You want me to get you a beer?"
"Already got one," says Jon with a nervous smile. He’s on in one minute. He stares down at his decks and his setlist, looks up over the buzzed, hipstery crowd. Steve got him an hour’s time, from 10 to 11, at this medium-sized Pride afterparty, before bigger names take over the booth.
"Are you nervous?" asks Steve.
The parade rolls down Oxford Street, beats pumping through the pavement, the sun beating down from a cloudless sky. The Terrence Higgins Foundation walks by, smiling and holding signs soberly, followed by a more hedonistic wagon from a Vauxhall club. Kevin shouts into his phone above the strains of I Feel Love. “I can’t see you anywhere! Are you sure you’re at H&M?”
"No, I’m at Bond Street Station!" shouts Jon. "I thought we said Bond Street!"
No New Year
The Moth gazes out over the ruins of New Hong Kong. Already people are emerging from their shelters, gathering, preparing to rebuild. The horizon brightens red-gold. Vasil walks up behind her and puts a warm hand on her waist. “We did it. It’s over.”
“Do you think people will ever realize the Net was killing them?” the Moth asks, still pensive.
“Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’ll remain a crackpot theory forever. But that doesn’t matter. The truth doesn’t matter. Only our survival does.”
“Yes.” The Moth turns to him, a twinkle of something approaching affection visible in her usually so cold and pragmatic eyes. The sunrise plays on their skin. “You’re right.”
She kisses him, and he kisses back hard.
The sun rises on a new year, the first of countless to come.
Jon stares at this final sentence. He saves the document and leans back in his chair. It always feels anticlimactic, finishing a story. A feeling like you’d originally meant to put something more in, but forgot it along the way. And now it’s done. In a way the first draft is final. The story can’t grow any bigger. It is the raw footage from which you construct your movie. Maybe one day he will write something that feels immediately perfect. And maybe this story will satisfy someone out there. If he can get it published.
But he doesn’t know how hard he’s going to try. He just wanted to finish it. He didn’t want it to be a fragment left by the wayside. He wanted to finish it because he feels like his life is moving into a new phase, and everything from the old one must go. It’s done now. He can start something new.
He opens his DJ’ing software to practise mixing.
The most cake
They kiss on the Tube. They kiss as Jon fumbles with the keys on the front step of the house in Pimlico. They kiss and pull each other’s clothes off as soon as they’re inside Jon’s sad, tiny room. Sun seeps from the skylight, dust dancing above their naked skin on the single bed. Jon blows him, then turns him around and buries his face between his buttocks. He didn’t do that last time. Kevin gasps as Jon’s tongue flits inside, his hands grabbing the cheeks hard, hungrily.
"Do you want to -" Kevin props himself up on his elbows and looks over his shoulder.
Jon looks up, nodding, his wet lips parted. “Fuck you. Yeah. Can I?”
"Yeah." Kevin nods, smiling. "Yeah yeah yeah."
"I can’t believe I haven’t been here till now," says Kevin, switching on his digital camera as he walks with Jon down the path. The tentative sunlight of early June filters through the greenery. A Celtic gravestone casts a long shadow across the gravel. "It’s amazing."
"Yeah, it’s cool."
Jon had forgotten how easy it is. He ponders this as he kisses the 40-something, well-built guy who’s rammed him into a corner of the club. It’s so easy. Going out, not looking and then finding. That’s life in a nutshell. Things come to you when you’re not looking for them. Whether sex or romance. This is sex. He’s not sure what he was looking for from Kevin earlier, in the other club. But he didn’t get it.
No New Year is almost finished.