In a pokey flat with one bedroom – well, in reality, more like one room and a bathroom – it was inevitable that someone walked in on something that he did not want to see. Certainly, Anwar had complained loudly at some of the things he had walked in on. However, Maxxie didn't expect to walk in on Anwar being quite so obvious with his masturbation.
"Whoa," Maxxie said, eyes widening. "That's practically doing in public, Anwar."
"Max!" Anwar yelped.
Maxxie laughed and shielded his eyes. He backed into the wall and groped around for the handle to the bathroom and pushed the door open. There was a rustling sound and then Maxxie heard a zip being done up. Anwar pushed past him and went into the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind him.
After that, Maxxie started to laugh again. He flopped down on his bed and pulled his phone out of his pocket to see a missed call and a text from James. It was queries about milk – nothing important – and it made Maxxie wonder how domestic his life had become.
These thoughts were forgotten when Anwar attempted to slip inconspicuously from the bathroom as if nothing had happened. This was ruined by his hunched over shoulders that made him look skulking and shady, and his darkening cheeks. It was difficult to tell there was a blush, but Maxxie knew it was there. He couldn't help it. Anwar just had to be teased.
"So, who was it made you so desperate this time, big boy?" he taunted. "Hopefully not a stalker and small time criminal like your last girlfriend, yeah?"
Sketch had been a sore subject for a long time but Maxxie now felt comfortable enough to mock his friend for his taste in women. He wasn't quite sure what Anwar had been thinking. She'd been all right, he supposed, apart from the fact that she had been completely and utterly psychotic. She'd almost ruined his chances with James and he couldn't forgive her for that. Ever.
"Shut up!" Anwar hissed.
"So this is where all the hand cream has been going then?" Maxxie continued, a grin on his face.
"Hand cream – what hand cream? – we don't even have hand cream," Anwar babbled.
"Sure we do," Maxxie said seriously. "James and I use it as a cheap alternative to–"
"Don't say it!" Anwar interrupted, waving his finger at Maxxie. "Don't you dare say it."
"–massage oil," Maxxie finished, still grinning wildly. "I mean, after all that dancing my feet can get pretty sore. James is good for that."
"Shut up," Anwar repeated. "For fuck's sake," he groused. "You just live to gross me out."
Previously, Maxxie might have been offended by Anwar's apparent disgust of anything relating to gay sex, but he had got over it. Anwar was uncomfortable with it, of course, but he'd accepted it. Yeah, he'd accepted it, even if he did complain frequently and yell about how his innocent eyes were scarred for life.
"It's not my fault anyway," Anwar said. "I thought there would be loads of babes in London. I'm telling you, we're living in the wrong place! We should move."
"In case you hadn't noticed, Anwar," Maxxie said, "we can only just afford this place. Let's not push it, all right? We'll have to stick with this, er, what did you call it yesterday? This dump? Yeah, we'll have to stick with this dump for now."
Anwar muttered something indistinguishable.
"But then, you don't really have to live with us," Maxxie said, teasing tone returning. "You've got a lovely bedroom waiting for you at home with your mother…"
Anwar grimaced. "Don't mention that woman to me. She's going to slaughter me when I come back. I can imagine it now." He shuddered theatrically.
Maxxie reached over and cuffed Anwar around the head. "She's great."
"To you," Anwar mumbled.
Maxine sighed and pushed himself to his feet. "Come on then. Get up. We need to get you a girl."
Anwar looked a little puzzled, but it didn't take him long to agree, with much enthusiasm to the plan.
"Only, you probably shouldn't help me this time," Anwar said as they left the flat. "Maybe James…"
"Do you want my help or not?"
"All right! Just kidding!" Anwar pumped his arms in the air. "Yeah, baby! Let's go."
Maxxie rolled his eyes but his mouth curled into a grin.
The summer holidays were over a few short weeks after exam results. Reluctantly, Anwar packed up what little belongings he had accumulated in London and went to the train station. Maxxie stood on the platform, with James's arm around his waist, and waved goodbye. Anwar shrugged in defeat before boarding the train that would eventually take him back to Bristol.
"Hey," James said, rubbing his spare hand up Maxxie's arm. "Are you all right?"
Maxxie leaned his head on his boyfriend's shoulder and nodded. "Yeah. Just, y'know, my best mate. But suppose he had to go eventually."
James kissed Maxxie on the forehead. "He said that he might be back."
Maxxie raised his eyebrows. "Are you joking? With a mother like his, he'll be lucky to leave the house again before he's twenty-five."
James snickered into Maxxie's hair and kissed him again.
"At least," James said, as they walked out of the train station, "we can now do whatever we want without Anwar walking in and screaming about his poor innocent eyes."
He managed to raise a smile out of Maxxie, who ducked his head to hide his grin.
"Come on," James said. "Admit it. It was funny."
"Yeah," Maxxie said, laughing. "I supposed it was. He deserved it."