“I’m Oz. He’s D. And we’ll be back for another rundown of murder and mayhem next week. Stay tuned for Osian and Danny’s London Crime Podcast.” He checked his watch, counting down a few seconds before signalling to Dannel to pause the recording. “Another one bites the dust.”
“Oz and D?”
Osian grinned over the top of his laptop at his boyfriend of fourteen years. They’d been best friends practically from infancy and started dating in their teens. “We’re hip with the kids.”
“I am not hip. I have two.” Dannel swivelled in his chair before pushing himself across their living room floor. “And thirty isn’t old age. Besides, how many teenagers are listening to true crime podcasts?”
“Let me have my dream.” Osian followed him down the hall into their bedroom. He stretched out on the bed to watch Dannel prepare for his shift. “Ready to go for twelve hours?”
Dannel glared over his shoulder; his dark brown eyes always seemed to pierce into Osian. “What do you think?”
Truthfully, Osian didn’t know for sure what Dannel thought about being a firefighter. Dannel had followed in his father’s footstep, yet he didn’t quite fit the mould. Osian worried it might come crashing down eventually.
Am I borrowing trouble from the future? Maybe it’ll all work out on its own. Although, when does it ever?
Watching Dannel comb his short black curls trimmed into a high fade before spritzing his hair with argan oil, Osian couldn’t help dragging his fingers through his own untidy brown mane. Though they had much in common, they were polar opposites in other ways. Their differences made their relationship stronger, in Osian’s opinion.
Dannel always made him think of a buffer version of Richard Ayoade. Osian had a striking resemblance to the actor Matt Ryan. He’d even cosplayed as John Constantine and Edward Kenway because of it.
“Meeting me after shift for an early breakfast?”
“Go on, then.” Osian leaned up on his elbows for a kiss. He smiled when Dannel brushed his lips quickly, then bolted from the room. “Bye.”
Since they’d grown up together, Osian knew the ins and outs of Dannel’s personality probably better than his own family did. They’d been inseparable from the time they could toddle across the hall to each other’s homes. He’d been the first one Dannel told about his autism diagnosis.
With Dannel gone for his shift, Osian faced the silence in their two-bedroom flat with a sense of dread. He hated the quiet. It allowed his thoughts to stray to things better left forgotten.
Rolling off the bed, he headed into the en suite to stare glumly into his own blue eyes in the mirror. He shook his head. I’m not old enough to feel so bloody tired all the time. His thoughts seemed to drain every ounce of energy out of him.
Tired and drained.
Drained and tired.
Guilt weighed him down, as though the entire Tottenham Hotspur team had climbed on his shoulders. Time heals all wounds is such bollocks. A year hadn’t brought him much relief.