`THE RACES

By

RG

Prologue

He sat alone in the room.

He had said he wanted to study.

But how could he now?

After everything.

Everyone around him had a purpose.

Nico was a world famous photographer.

Coco was settled as a DJ in Goa

His cousin was traveling the world with the love of her life.

Gregor was now a prince, a loving husband and soon to be a father.

And

His Olli... a party hot spot owner.

No, he wasn't his Olli anymore he was now someone else's.

Andi had warned him.

But Christian hadn't listened.

Olli wasn't a forever guy.

He was a butterfly that flitted from one dazzling flower to the next.

Two years ago he had been Olli's dazzling flower.

An up and coming boxer who had the whole world at his feet.

But now he was a horse trainer.

Who was he kidding?

Rob was right he was just a stable boy.

Nothing more.

Why wouldn't Olli be attracted to Rob?

Rich, successful, suave Rob.

Olli had most probably had a nice lunch with Rob.

Andi had told him that Olli was always worried about his heart.

*Guess that's why he's finding it difficult to break up with me. He's scared I'll keel over dead.*

He picked up the 'Love Time Table' Olli had made for them. The last ditch effort on his part to recapture his waning love for Christian.

He felt around in his pocket and found the bank receipts.

He had done something for Olli.

He had hoped it would be for both of them.

But now it would be only for Olli.

He had tried his hand at his father's favourite pass-time and completely lucked out.

5 wins in a row and he had 175 thousand euros in his pocket.

Gregor had said that was enough to sell the shares to Christian.

All that was now needed to be done was get the paper work ready and then he would get out of the way.

He watched Olli come in and undress for bed.

He got up and went to the bathroom to have a shower and chart out the final steps of his life.

Chapter 1 - Montag C pov eins (Monday C pov 1)

Christian re-read the document one more time.

Everything was in order.

Gregor had agreed to not tell Olli anything.

His brother loved Christian's romantic surprise for his boyfriend.

Gregor had really turned into quite the romantic.

Love did that to people.

He looked around No Limits.

He had worked here.

He had fallen in love here; he'd fallen out of love here.

He had fought here. He had laughed here. He'd cried here.

He'd met the love of life here.

He'd had lost the love of his life here.

He sealed the envelope and handed it to Miriam

"It's a surprise for Olli" he told her and she gently smiled back at him.

Miriam the clumsy waitress who was now Olli's right hand.

He would have loved to watch No Limits grow, but that wasn't to be.

He swept a last glance around the beloved Bar and slowly walked out to merge into the swirling mist.

Chapter 2 - Montag Morgan C pov zwei (Monday morning C pov 2)

As he walked he looked around.

There was the boxing club.

The first kiss with Olli.

There was that corner of the street.

The first time Olli said 'Ich Liebe Dich'

The bridge.

He had told Olli he wanted to quit boxing.

Olli had within seconds made him change his mind.

Schneider's

Olli's collapse

The hospital

Olli in a coma.

Olli was everywhere he looked.

Olli was a part of his soul.

Olli was everything.

He thought of Coco, she must have felt exactly like this when he had broken up with her.

At least she had somewhere to go. Something to distract her.

He had nothing.

Even the damn stables reminded him of Olli.

They had made love in an empty stall after he has aced his dressage presentation.

He stood on the bridge and looked down into the water.

How long would it take him to drown? He wondered.

The deep dark gently flowing water beckoned to him.

The sparkling black colour of the water just like Olli's midnight hair.

He longed for peace.

Everybody at No Limits thought he was at Königsbrunn.

And everyone at the castle thought he had taken a personal day.

Nobody would miss him till the next morning.

Chapter 3 - Montag O pov eins (Monday O pov 1)

Olli woke up and stretched.

He looked at Christian's alarm clock and was happy to see that it was only 8.

It was Miriam's day to open up No Limits, so he could indulge in a leisurely shower and a nice wholesome breakfast before he headed down to No Limits.

*The shower felt nice* Olli thought as he came out of the bathroom wrapped in Christian's blue bath robe.

He liked the scent that was emitted by the robe.

It was very Christian - masculine and strong.

He liked the scent, though he wasn't very much liking his boyfriend's attitude this past couple of months.

The constant jealousy made Olli feel strangled.

Christian was behaving like such a child.

Not just a child he was being a spoilt brat.

A brat who didn't want to share his toys with anyone.

So he was spending time with Rob, big fucking deal.

It was only business, he wasn't going to jump Rob's bones.

Though maybe after that strip show Rob had given last week; the man might not be averse to that idea was blatantly clear to Olli.

Olli thought about that ridiculous afternoon and gagged in disgust.

Rob was swarmy that much Olli agreed but he was good for business and that was it.

Didn't Christian trust his boyfriend at all?

And to top it all Christian had made the ludicrous accusation that Rob was a drug dealer.

As if the man who thought with his dick would really have enough brains to be a drug peddler.

Rob infact was too much of a floozy to be a drug dealer.

Rob was loud, crass and stood out like a disco ball where ever he went.

Olli thought of the drug dealers he had crossed paths with in his younger, stupider days.

They were quiet men.

Who you wouldn't give a second glance.

Who would quickly disappear in the milling crowds if they spotted any trouble.

Rob was a dimwit when it came to being subtle and he would never merge into any kind of crowd easily.

Christian had been sulking for the past week ever since he had seen the messy kitchen left behind by Rob.

One week, one whole week had passed since the Thai curry incident.

Christian and he hadn't spoken at all about it.

Actually they hadn't spoken to each other at all.

They had been like two strangers sharing a bed. For exactly 3 hours every night.

He would get in bed at 2 and Christian would be up at 5.

Christian had stopped coming into No Limits altogether after the Thai Curry Fiasco.

As Olli dressed he thought about the bigger problem he was facing that of Gregor selling his shares to some outsider.

He would deal with Christian's temper tantrum later, first he had to straighten things out with Gregor.

He would ring up his partner and beg for a little more time to come up with the money.

Christian wasn't going anywhere so Christian could easily be relegated to the bottom of Olli's Things To Do list.

Chapter 4 - Montag O pov zwei und C pov drei (Monday O pov 2 and C pov 3)

Whistling a cheery melody Olli happily made his way downstairs his laptop in hand.

Last night's Space Party had been a blast and a tremendous success.

He couldn't wait to show Miriam the online reviews.

He was happy that at least someone beside himself was as enthusiastic about No Limits' success.

Andi had been acting like a constipated cat ever since he had caught Olli with a naked Rob.

David was pining away after Rebecca so he was mostly a zombie when he was home.

At this moment only Miriam was a friend he could depend on to enthuse over and share his happiness with at the success his bar was enjoying.

Miriam gave him a wide grin as soon as he entered.

"Your dearest love left you a surprise. Here you go."

She winked at him as she handed him the large brown envelope

Scrawled in large letters on the envelope were the words.

TO,

My Olli

Now what had his little horse trainer left for him.

It was a thick parcel so most probably another book on horses.

Olli took the parcel and grimaced.

Hadn't Christian ever heard of Quid Pro Quo?

If Olli could be enthusiastic about Christian's horses why couldn't Christian be enthusiastic about Olli's parties?

Well he wasn't going to open the packet.

That would serve Christian right.

Damn stubborn ass.

He ran up the stairs to his flat and flinging the large heavy envelope on their bed he came back down to share the reviews with Miriam.

They laughed and enjoyed the glowing write ups.

Rob soon arrived and joined in the celebratory toast before the first customers of the day arrived.

Christian slammed his fist on the rusted railing of the bridge.

He was so tired of waiting for his life to take a turn for the better.

After completing school he had hoped to go to college.

But his father went and held up a petrol station.

Result Christian went to prison.

He came to Düsseldorf to make a fresh start.

Met Nico and it seemed like his life was finally looking up.

Result he went to jail again for no fault of his.

When he came out he realized how fickle Nico was and how strong Coco was.

His life was finally looking up when he was swept into a whirlwind of true first love.

A huge whirlwind called Oliver Sabel.

Just one kiss and he was lost.

He had seen forever in those mischievously sparkling emerald eyes.

But then his heart gave out and he became a nobody.

The boxing champion replaced by a nobody.

He hated his weak body for betraying him.

He kicked the railing with all his might.

The water was so cold... but still so welcoming.

CHAPTER 5 - Montag O pov drei (Monday O pov 3)

Olli looked down at his coffee soaked t-shirt and jeans.

After years of being a reliable, accident-free waitress Miriam had chosen today of all days to show her klutzy side again.

She had been carrying over a tray of coffee to Rob and him when God alone knew what she tripped on, but the next second he found himself wearing both cups of coffee.

And the hot liquid burned.

He jumped up and the coffee that hadn't soaked his clothes dripped off of him.

Rob laughed with gusto at his predicament and so did many of the patrons.

Olli rolled his eyes, "Shit!"

Miriam looked close to tears, "I'm sorry" she whimpered in fear and bowed her head.

Olli patted Miriam's shoulder and soothed her, "Hey, hey. It's alright. Accidents happen, just clean up this mess while I go and change."

AS he headed up the stairs he heard footsteps behind him.

Olli stopped in his tracks.

Slowly turning around he encountered Rob's smirking face.

Letting out an exasperated breath Olli jabbed the man in the chest and ordered firmly.

"You stay downstairs and go over the estimates."

"Don't you need help?" Rob asked with a shameless suggestive grin.

"In what?" Olli understood very well what the man was asking but played dumb.

"Changing." Rob answered with a feline look

"Definitely not from you. Just go downstairs will you." Olli growled in irritation.

"Okay." Rob said and pranced down the stairs.

*That man didn't know the meaning of the word NO*

Unlocking the door Olli headed straight for the bathroom.

After a quick shower he went into their bedroom to put on fresh clothes.

He riffled through his clothes.

Suddenly his hand encountered a certain item.

He pulled out his grey T shirt which had blue and pink patterns on it.

He held it for a moment as memories linked with it flooded back.

He had worn this t-shirt a lot when Christian had been boxing.

He clearly remembered the afternoon when Constantine had stood at their door and told them that Christian and his story of gay bashing and discrimination would be printed.

Christian had picked him up and twirled him around in glee before dumping him on the couch.

They had celebrated on the couch after which Christian had put on this T shirt before they headed down.

Judith had teased him with, "Wasn't Olli wearing that when we left the flat?" making Christian blush.

He loved his silly, jealous Christian so much.

Olli's eyes fell on the thick package he had earlier flung on the bed.

Still hugging the t shirt he picked up the large envelope.

Carefully opening it he pulled out the contents.

The items puzzled him.

The thick wad of papers was a legal document and there was also a single sheet of ruled paper.

He unfolded the sheet and read the letter.

My Dear Olli,

I wonder if I even have the right to address you as 'My Dear' any longer.

No Limits is yours.

It's completely yours.

Gregor signed the shares over to me and now I've signed them over to you.

I wish you all the happiness in the world.

What else can I say?

The best man won.

I hope he makes you as happy as you have made me these past two years.

I guess our journey together was only for so long.

You deserve all the happiness in the world.

May all your dreams come true.

I'm sorry for being such a brat.

Blame it on my youth.

You ARE the greatest love of my life.

You always will be.

SO till we meet again.

Forever Yours

Christian

P.S - Thank you for never shortening my name to something ridiculous like Chris or Chrissie, like so many other people.

'Till we meet again'

Had Christian walked out on him?

Olli looked around the room in panic.

But saw everything was exactly where it should be.

Christian's clothes were still in the closet.

So were all his books and other belongings.

It was just a break up letter.

But it wouldn't be for long once Olli spoke to him.

He cursed himself.

Christian must have been feeling so lost to resort to this?

It was time he reassured Christian that their relationship was still important to him.

He dug up the Love Time Table.

All they had got there were three measly dates. Only the first one of which they had been able to enjoy the other two he had broken due to Rob's demands.

No wonder Christian felt abandoned.

Christian was someone who never broke a promise.

And here was Olli who broke two dates.

He was going to fix this.

Rob would have to wait.

He pulled on jeans and a shirt planning how he would convince Christian that he was still the most important thing in Olli's life.

Just as he had picked up his jacket a strong gust of wind blew in through the window.

Erwin who had been sitting perched on Christian's table fell down and rolled next to the bed.

He bent to pick up Christian's stuffed chicken and his eyes fell on something sticking out from under the bed.

It was the strap of Christian's satchel.

Why would Christian go to the castle without his satchel?

That was just odd.

He picked up both Erwin and the satchel.

Placing both the items on their bed he pulled out his cell and called Christian.

A sweet recorded feminine voice informed him "The number you are trying to reach is currently switched off. Please try again later."

He decided to call the castle directly

David's cordial, 'Hello Königsbrunn' came down the line.

"David its Olli. Is Christian around?"

"Why would he be here?" David's confused voice asked.

"Because he works there." Olli said and chuckled *when will that boy get his head on straight*

"I know he works here. But he took a personal day he said he was going to spend the day with YOU. Why? Isn't he with you?"

"No," Olli answered his thoughts in a whirl.

"He must have gone to the bakery to pick up those raspberry pastries you like to eat."

"Maybe..." Olli whispered as he cut off the connection.

A shiver ran down his spine and he almost collapsed onto the bed.

As he re-read the letter.

The terrifying message Christian was trying to convey jumped out and grabbed him by the throat.

This wasn't a good bye letter or a break up letter.

This was a suicide letter.

CHAPTER 6 - Montag O pov vier (Monday O pov 4)

Olli ransacked the room and his worst fears were confirmed.

Christian had left behind his wallet and his cell phone carefully tucked away in his desk drawer.

Olli ran out of the bedroom and banged on Andi's door with both his fists making the whole thing shake in its frame.

A bleary eyed scowling Andi yanked open the door and screamed

"WHO DIED?"

"Christian" Olli whispered close to tears. He shoved the letter into Andi's hands.

Andi quickly read through the letter.

"He doesn't say anything about offing himself."

"Yah he doesn't." Olli said dejectedly.

"Maybe he just left"

"Without his cell phone and wallet?" Olli asked through gritted teeth as he held up the two items in question

"Have you called the castle?" Andi gently enquired

"He isn't there. Infact he's taken a personal day." Olli almost screamed in frustration.

Andi read the letter again.

"Is it really true that you never call him anything but Christian?"

"Yah!"

"He really loves you" Andi observed stating the obvious as he pulled on a pair of jeans closest to his hand.

He dug around in his closet and put on a random shirt and pulled on his jacket over it."

As they came out into the living cum dining room the doorbell buzzed.

Olli sprinted to the door and yanked it open with a

"Christian"

Only to be disappointed to find a smirking Rob standing outside.

"Lost your manure shoveling boyfriend Olli?" the man asked with a sickening grin.

"What is it Rob? I am sure I told you to stay downstairs." Olli spat at him

"I got bored of waiting." the man whined

"You better leave anyway." Olli ordered.

"Hey if you ain't in the mood to work I am all for just hanging out together." The annoyance said giving Olli a leer.

"Why don't you go hang yourself somewhere else? I have enough problems without you adding to the general confusion." Olli hissed at him.

"Ooooo so pony boy and you did have a fight, huh? I should've guessed when I saw him sulking at the bridge. You ask me, he looked like he was planning to jump off it."

"WHAT? Andi he..." Olli almost collapsed but Andi held him upright

"When did you see him?" Andi asked the man standing outside the door

"When I was on my way here maybe an hour or so back." Rob supplied self importantly.

"So what did you two fight about Olli? Me?" Rob asked a gleeful smile on his face.

"Andi...?" Olli turned pleading eyes to his friend.

"Rupert get the fuck outta here." Andi snarled at the man.

Scared by the murderous expression on the biker's face Rob quickly fled.

"Where are your car keys?" Andi gently probed.

"I don't know." Olli said then whimpered. "Andi ...Christian?"

"Okay ... I'll find the keys." Andi soothed his distraught friend.

Handing Olli his coat Andi instructed, "Olli go wait downstairs I'll be there in a sec."

Then Andi heard a jingle as Olli put on his coat.

"Olli what do you have in your pocket?" Andi questioned.

Feeling around in his pockets Olli took out his keys and handed them over with trembling fingers.

At any other time Andi would have made fun of Olli's absent mindedness but the situation was just too grave.

"Come on lets go downstairs." Andi coaxed giving the immobile man a gentle shove.

They slowly made their way down.

"Olli where are you going?" Miriam called out in alarm as she saw Olli leave the premises followed by Andi.

Olli turned to answer but Andi laid a hand on his arm and said, "I'll deal with her. You go wait by the car."

"Christian isn't feeling well we're going to the castle to pick him up. We'll be back soon." Andi effectively lied to the waitress and ran back out to Olli.

CHAPTER 7 - Montag O pov funf (Monday O pov 5)

Andi drove swiftly towards the bridge.

Beside him Olli sat with both his hands clasped together, eyes closed and lips moving in silent prayer.

As they neared the bridge Andi had to halt the car because of a traffic jam.

They could hear the wail of an Ambulance siren.

Olli quickly opened the car door and ran towards the gathered crowd.

"What happened?" Olli asked an elderly onlooker as calmly as he could.

The man made a regretful face and said sadly, "Some poor kid jumped in."

Andi who had by then caught up with Olli heard the elderly man's answer and said,

"Olli it could be anyone."

Hearing Andi's answer the gentleman asked carefully, "By chance did you know that boy."

Instead of answering Andi posed his own question "What did he look like?"

"Tall, blond, wearing a dark blue jacket with the Königsbrunn insignia on it. The jacket was the only thing they could fish out." The gentleman completed in a remorseful tone.

"No, it can't be Christian. I'm sure it's someone else's jacket." Olli slowly said trying to reassure himself

One of the emergency medics approached them.

"What name did you say?" he questioned.

Andi stared at the wet jacket the man held and choked out "Christian, Christian Mann."

"This jacket has the letters C and M embroidered on the collar."

Olli looked at the jacket then backed away.

"No, you're lying."

Turning to his friend he begged "Andi tell him not to lie"

"Christian wouldn't leave me. He promised me."

Olli grabbed the medic by the collar and shook him with all his might.

"You're lying." Olli screamed and flung him away.

Olli pushed thru the milling crowd and bolted to his car.

"Who was that man?" the medic demanded angrily.

"The boyfriend of the man whose jacket you're holding." Andi told him sternly

"Oh..." the man carefully handed over the garment and said softly, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for your loss. Please convey my condolences."

But Andi couldn't help saying, "But he could have survived, couldn't he?"

The medic looked at Andi with stricken eyes and said carefully "I'm sorry sir, but we have been combing the area for the last half hour. It's next to impossible he would have survived in the freezing water for more than a couple of minutes even if he had been a strong swimmer. I'm really sorry."

Andi gave his details to the cop at the scene so that they could contact him when there was some 'news'. Andi knew that was only the diplomatic way of the man to say that they would contact him once the body was recovered.

Holding the last artifact of one best friend, Andi made his way back to the car wondering how he would console his other best friend.

He found Olli standing by the car arms crossed at his chest tapping his foot in irritation.

"What took you so long?" Olli demanded.

"I got the jacket." Andi explained.

"I told you it's not his." Olli stated coldly

"Look at it Olli. It's his."

"It's not his!" Olli declared vehemently refusing to even glance at the jacket.

Then he ordered Andi, "Unlock the car."

Unlocking the vehicle Andi carefully laid the jacket on the back seat.

Olli strapped himself in and eyes firmly fixed on the road ahead again ordered.

"Drive. I'm sure he's already home, waiting for us."

Even before the car had stopped Olli was off like a shot.

He entered No Limits doors and ran up the stairs.

Olli flung open the door of the flat share and looked around intently

"Christian! I know you're home."

He ran to their bedroom.

"Christian! Enough of this hide and seek. Please! Where are you?"

Andi watched Olli run off and he finally let a tear escape.

He pulled out his phone and rang Helena.

As soon as she picked up he said "Helena I need you."

He heard the soft tinkle of her laughter.

"Cool down tiger I'm in the middle of work."

"No not like that..." he let out a controlled sob.

"Schatz! What's wrong?" He heard his girlfriend's alarmed voice

"Helena ...Christian..." his throat closed up with tears.

"Andi...Honey? What happened to Christian?" she gently pried.

"Helena ... Christian... he ...committed suicide. Please I need you. Olli has gone into denial. I don't know how to handle him."

"I'll be right there. Hang on baby. I'll be right there." Helena assured and cut the connection.

CHAPTER 8 - Montag Abend und Nacht (Monday evening and night)

Andi couldn't bring himself to even enter the building.

He stood by the front door and waited for Helena's arrival.

Miriam had watched in alarm as Olli had hurried in and gone straight up to the flat.

She wondered where Christian was.

Had he been admitted in hospital?

That was the only conclusion she could come to given Olli's behaviour.

As she served a couple sitting by one of the windows she spied Andi standing outside.

Seeing that the other 3 servers had everything under control she went outside hoping to learn Christian's condition.

Andi was startled by the hand that gently tapped his shoulder.

"Everything okay?" Miriam asked gently.

Not receiving an answer she further asked.

"I hope Christian is fine."

From Andi's stricken expression and tear filled eyes she gauged that Christian was most probably in critical condition.

Before she could ask anything else a taxi came and halted right in front of them.

Lydia and Helena quickly exited the vehicle.

While Lydia took care of the fare Helena ran over to Andi and hugged him,

"Where is he?"

"Upstairs."

"With the body?" Helena asked flabbergasted.

"There is no body. Christian jumped off the bridge near the boxing club." Andi told her

"OH MY DEAR LORD!" Miriam screamed startling the other three.

Briskly walking up to her Lydia grabbed the waitress by her shoulders and commanded very sternly

"Control yourself. This is no time to fall apart. You have to take care of No Limits while we handle Olli."

Miriam nodded her head vigorously gulping down her tears, her eyes wide in disbelief and shock.

Miriam blinked her eyes furiously taking in a deep breath she let it out with a whoosh and headed inside.

"How is he?" Lydia asked Andi.

"I haven't had the guts to go up to him."

"You mean he's all alone up there? God Andi! You are definitely stupid. This is no time to leave him all by himself." Lydia chided

"I'm sorry I didn't know what else to do." Andi said dejectedly

Helena gently rubbed his back.

"Shhhh ... we'll take care of him together," Helena said bravely through her own tears.

Lydia was the only one who stood dry eyed, planning which would be the best course of action to be utilized in this particular situation.

"Okay, let's just go up." She finally said once Helena and Andi had got some control over their emotions.

Andi opened the door slowly.

The flat was silent.

There were no sounds of sobbing. He entered as silently as possible with Helena and Lydia right behind him.

What he saw didn't register, as it definitely didn't align with the current situation.

Olli was sitting at the dining table an account book open in front of him. Pencil in hand the bar owner was busily making calculations.

"Olli what are you doing?" Andi asked confounded.

"Balancing our bar's account books." Olli answered matter of factly, "With Rob constantly bugging me I haven't been able to get round to this in quiet a while. And Andi you know how pissed Christian gets if I don't do the accounts on time."

"Olli Christian isn't..." Andi gently began

"I know he's at the castle. I have a lot of back log to catch up with before he comes home. Now don't bother me." Olli said and dismissed his friends.

All three looked at the man busily making calculations.

Adding digits.

Erasing digits.

Re-rewriting digits.

The account book updated Olli busied himself in cooking.

He looked at the clock.

It was close to 7; Christian would be home very soon.

He heard the door unlock and looked at it expectantly.

But was disappointed when he saw Andi open it and just as quickly shut it.

Olli wondered what Andi was up to. Andi had been constantly peeking into the flat at short intervals but the man never entered. This tiff with Helena was definitely messing with his friend's mind. He had never ever seen Andi behave this oddly before.

Andi had come running up the stairs, he had blocked David's path and prevented him from entering the flat.

"What's wrong Andi?" David asked in irritation.

David wanted nothing more than to take a shower and have dinner before crawling into bed.

He looked at Andi's face and said jovially "So the guys want to have a romantic evening alone. I should have guessed."

"No, David. There is no romantic evening. Christian is gone."

"What? He dumped Olli?" David asked in disbelief

"No, Christian left Olli his shares in No Limits and then ..."

"Then what Andi?" David stared at his flat mate intently as Andi's eyes teared up

"He took his own life." Andi finally choked out.

"How is that possible? Yesterday he was so happy he told us all at the castle about his plans to make Olli the happiest man on earth. We all thought he was going to propose."

"No, there was no proposal. Just a suicide letter."

"I have to go to Olli." David started to reach for the door.

Andi pushed him away

"No, Olli is in complete denial. We've been keeping an eye on him all day. He's cooked dinner for Christian and is now waiting for him to come home. If he sees you he'll want to know where Christian is."

"But I need to change," David said petulantly.

"Okay I'll call him down to No Limits to distract him and you get your clothes. Tonight you'll have to stay at Gregor's apartment. We can't risk taking any chances. Hopefully by morning he'll have registered ..." Andi stopped, even after so many hours he still couldn't bring himself to acknowledge it.

"I don't believe it." David started pacing the corridor. "Christian is a fighter he wouldn't just quit like that."

Andi opened Gregor's apartment and ushered the younger man in.

Miriam stared at the paper in her hand and then at the espresso machine.

She had to prepare an espresso for table 6. Yes, table 6.

Then she looked at the paper again No, the espresso was for table 9 the 2 daiquiris were for table 6.

*Dammit, how the hell am I supposed to concentrate.*

Christian dead that was unbelievable.

Lydia gently tapped her on her shoulder

"Go and take a break this is too much for all of us. I realize that. I'll handle everything here" The countess took over the manning of the bar.

Miriam looked towards Charley who sat silently in a corner booth. The lady held out her hand towards Miriam beckoning her.

Miriam sat down beside her.

"Charley..." Miriam whispered as tears started to course down her face

"I know..." Charley said hugging her.

Andi came running down.

He headed straight for Charley and Miriam.

"David is home." he told them.

Turning to Miriam he requested, "I need you to distract Olli so that David has time to go in and get his things."

"Jam the coffee machine." Miriam mumbled tonelessly.

She punched in Olli's cell number

She heard Olli's voice jokingly say

"Don't tell me we've run out of fruit. That can't be true."

"No, it's far worse. The espresso machine is on the fritz again." She said in her best panic stricken voice.

"The espresso machine? Don't panic. I'll be right there."

Miriam got up and walking around the counter pressed random buttons on the espresso machine and turned all the knobs on it before switching off the main power point.

Olli came hurrying down.

"Okay let's fix that espresso machine," he said and rubbed his hands together.

Miriam was a lot of things what she wasn't was a sabotage expert so it took Olli all of 2 minutes to have the machine back on its original settings and running busily.

"Miriam you did this on purpose didn't you?" Olli yelled at the girl.

Miriam looked towards Charley for help.

"Leave the girl alone Olli, I messed it up on purpose."

"Charley! Why would you do something like that?"

"Because I wanted to see my nephew in action. And now that you're here why don't you make your Auntie one of your famous Frozen Midnight cocktail."

"Charley I don't have time now, Christian will be home soon."

"Come on Olli just one cocktail it won't take you very long to make. And anyway the bar faces the door so you'll be able..." Charley stopped gave him a smile then continued as sweetly as possible, "you'll be able to see him when he... when he comes home."

CHAPTER 9 - Deinstag und Mittwoch O pov eins (Tuesday and Wednesday O pov 1)

Olli jerked awake.

He had fallen asleep on the couch while waiting for Christian to come home.

This fight with Christian had gone on for too long he realized.

Slowly getting up he headed to the kitchen to start up the coffee.

He switched on the coffee maker and turned around to head to the bedroom to wake up Christian.

That's when he saw it.

Christian's jacket draped over the back of a dining table chair.

One sleeve torn.

The events of the previous day hit him with the force of a hurtling train.

Christian was gone never to come back.

And it had been his fault entirely.

He carefully picked up the jacket and examined it.

He saw what Andi had seen the previous day.

The embroidered C and M on the collar.

Rebecca had done it for him so that Christian's this jacket wouldn't be misplaced by the dry cleaner like the previous one.

The previous day was a blur to him.

He blindly made his way to the bedroom with the hope that maybe it had all been just a nightmare and he would find Christian sprawled on their bed snoring.

With eyes closed he slowly pushed open the bedroom door.

But silence was all he heard.

There was no snoring.

He opened his eyes.

The bed was just as he had left it the previous day.

The grey t-shirt was still lying there, so were the property papers.

Beside these sat Erwin and Christian's satchel.

Then he remembered something

Where was the letter?

He had to find the letter.

Andi had the letter.

Where was Andi?

His friend's bedroom door was open but the biker was no where in sight.

He went back out into the living room wondering how he was supposed to go on after the center of his being had just disappeared.

He sat down at the dining table and stared at Christian's empty chair opposite him.

The coffee machine beeped informing him that its work was done.

But Olli's body refused to cooperate with him.

He heard the jingle of keys and the door opened

He looked up hoping against hope.

But Andi's entrance again confirmed that he was awake and all that he remembered of yesterday was the harsh cold truth.

He looked at his friend and simply said stoically

"He's really gone, isn't he?"

*So Olli remembered* Andi nodded in answer.

Then Olli asked

"Tell me you still have his letter."

Andi nodded again

Andi extracted the letter from his jacket pocket, where it had been the last almost 24 hours and handed it over to the man sitting at the table.

Olli carefully unfolded the paper.

Laying it on the table he smoothed out the edges so that he could read the words written on it by the beloved hand.

Andi stood watching him.

Wondering what Olli would do next.

Andi waited for the tears, the heart wrenching sobs.

But Olli sat as if carved in marble.

There wasn't a twitch.

Not even a blink of an eyelid.

His best friend just sat staring at the letter in front of him.

Andi almost startled when he saw Olli finally move.

Olli slowly caressed the writing with his finger tips as if it was Christian's body he was caressing.

Olli suddenly got up.

Clutching the letter in a death grip he headed to the bedroom.

Andi followed Olli through the hall door.

Andi wanted to comfort his friend in his time of grief.

But Andi soon realized that Olli had completely forgotten his presence when he had the bedroom door slammed in his face.

Andi stood outside the door hand poised to turn the handle when he heard the desperate wail.

Olli hurried into the bedroom all he wanted was to be close to Christian.

His eyes fell on the bed.

On Christian's side of the bed.

Christian's pillow

Christian's blanket.

He crawled into the bed and buried his face in the pillow breathing in deep lungful breaths of Christian's scent.

The realization that Christian's blond head would never touch this pillow again slowly crept into his mind and took a choking hold of him.

He couldn't help but bawl out his pain and misery.

Andi stood outside the door listening to the sobs.

Should he go in and comfort Olli? he wondered.

At that moment Helena came to stand beside him.

"So I guess it has sunk in." she whispered.

Andi just nodded still staring at the frosted glass.

"It's best that he cries and lets it out. Stemming the tears now maybe psychologically harmful to him. He needs this time of acceptance. We'll be here to catch him when he is ready." She told her boyfriend and led him to his room.

Time had no meaning anymore.

Olli stared out the window at the harsh blinding sunlight that told him it was definitely afternoon.

He watched a pair of pigeons come and sit at the window ledge and peck at the glass in displeasure.

Christian loved animals.

Every morning he would put out crumbs for the birds on their balcony and the on the window ledge.

"He's gone," Olli whispered to the birds.

But what do birds understand?

The pair continued pecking at the glass demanding their snack.

"He's gone," Olli yelled, "piss off and leave me alone."

The startled birds took off in a frenzy of loudly beating wings.

"I'm sorry," Olli whimpered before bursting into tears cursing himself for scaring away Christian's friends.

Olli's cell phone beeped informing him that he had a new text message.

He ignored the sound but after it beeped a dozen more times insisting he read the message he finally picked up the cell phone.

The message was from one of his friends in Ibiza who had just seen Olli's last vlog and hoped that Christian and Olli would clear up their misunderstanding soon.

A stupid misunderstanding over an even stupider man.

How was Olli supposed to know that a cretin named Rob would destroy the most precious gift that life had ever given him?

His eyes swept across the room and landed on the picture frames hanging on the wall by the closet.

Pictures of them together.

Pictures of them with their friends

Pictures of them with Gregor.

Gregor.

He had to tell Gregor.

He had to tell Gregor that...

How was he supposed to tell Gregor that his brother had...?

He lay staring at his cell phone.

Gregor had asked him to make one promise.

He had asked Olli to look out for Christian.

A simple request.

Even that Olli hadn't been able to keep.

He again buried his face in Christian's pillow to block out everything except Christian.

When he woke up again.

Darkness had surrounded him.

He crawled around until his hand touched the switch of Christian's reading lamp.

He flicked it on. Christian's alarm clock told him it was 9.

So he had slept right thru the day.

Maybe if he just stayed here he might be able to sleep right thru his life and then he'd be with Christian again.

He heard the click of the door handle and watched Andi enter.

"I saw the light on, so I ..."

"Came to take care of me." Olli said bluntly.

"Yes...No, I mean...Olli." Andi stammered searching for a suitable answer. There was none.

Finally Andi said, "You haven't eaten all day."

"I'm not hungry," the grief stricken man uttered before burying his face back in his lost love's pillow.

Approaching the bed Andi gently touched Olli's back and said, "You have to eat something."

Olli sprang up his eyes blazing; face twisted in fury and snarled through gritted teeth, "I said I. Am. Not. Hungry. Now get the fuck out of here and leave me the fuck. ALONE," his anger vented Olli slammed his face back into the pillow and blocked out the world again.

Andi wisely decided not to pursue the topic and crept out of the room shutting the door behind himself.

A broken heart does a lot of things to you.

It makes you depressed.

It makes you cry.

It makes you want to take your own life.

What it doesn't do is kill your hunger.

In the early dawn light Olli was forced to drag himself out of bed because of his growling stomach.

He rooted around in the fridge and found the bowl of pasta that he had cooked for Christian in anticipation of his return home.

Re-heating it, he served himself a portion and ate it slowly.

The pasta was cooked to perfection and the spices in the sauce were just right.

AND

It was the worst meal he'd ever had in his whole life.

At this moment he would give anything to taste that canned pasta Christian had cooked for all of them when Judith was still living with them.

Judith...

Sweet gentle Judith.

The girl who had nudged Christian to face up to his feelings.

If Christian in his time of denial hadn't chosen Judith to be their flat mate then maybe they wouldn't have ever become a couple and most probably Christian would still be alive today.

He hated Judith.

Why did she have to have such a strong gaydar?

No, he loved Judith.

If she hadn't been there he would have never known true love.

Even though they had, had only two short years. Those two years had been the best years of Olli's life.

Goal driven Christian had inspired him 'aimless Olli' to have a dream.

From that had emerged the 'New No Limits'.

The new night hot spot.

He had hoped to make No Limits Düsseldorf's number one lounge bar.

He had got so wrapped up in making No Limits a success he had jumped at the opportunity to work with Rob.

But the day Rob entered No Limits He had spelt the beginning of the end for Christian and him.

He had taken Rob for a fool but was it possible that the man was in actuality a real conniving bastard.

Things had started to go downhill from the day Rob had decided to make No Limits' grand success his pet project.

Olli stared intently at the pasta on his plate.

The person who truly appreciated it was now gone.

But maybe he wasn't.

They hadn't found his body.

Maybe he had managed to swim to safety.

But it had been almost two days.

So he should have been home by now.

Christian was like a homing pigeon.

Nothing could stop him from coming home.

Olli picked up his plate.

He hadn't been able to eat more than a few morsels of the pasta.

Dumping the rest down the garbage disposal, he washed his plate and kept it on the dish rack to dry.

The rest of the pasta still sat in the bowl.

He grimaced at it and was just about to throw the whole bowl in the garbage bin when Andi's strong hand stopped him.

"No," his friend firmly commanded.

"This won't solve anything Olli."

"Andi he's gone," Olli whispered as the tears started to fall again.

watch this video

.com/watch?v=8-wCDGWHnL4

only then read further

They were at the karaoke bar for Gregor's bachelor party.

Christian was singing to him.

*He has such a beautiful voice.*

Olli couldn't help but feel proud that this man was all his.

Christian knew that particular Peter Gabriel song always made him cry so he was purposely singing it to him.

Was the song a hint from Christian that he wanted to follow in Gregor's footsteps and make their relationship official?

Yes, Olli would fulfill Christian's this wish.

Yes, they would take the plunge.

He had even seen the perfect rings on display in a jewelers shop window at Koenigsalle.

Tomorrow he would go and buy the rings

He turned over to cuddle into Christian and his arm fell across the emptiness.

He woke up with Christian's voice still humming in his ears and realized that it was all too late.

Chapter End Notes:

The song that Christian sang

.com/watch?v=8-wCDGWHnL4

Please listen it's just too...

Once you've listened to it only then review.

CHAPTER 10 - Mittwoch O pov zwei (Wednesday O pov 2)

His cell phone rang constantly. He switched it to silent mode, end of problem.

He didn't want to talk to anyone.

He was on his way back to the bedroom after visiting the bathroom when the door bell rang.

He first thought of ignoring it but the constant buzzing got to him.

He finally opened it and found himself face to face with Rob.

"Hi there!" Rob said with one of his smirks.

"Rob please go away." Olli almost begged.

"So you and pony boy are still at each other's throats. How sad." Rob said making a mock weepy face.

Olli slammed the door in the man's face.

He turned to head back to the bedroom when the door bell started buzzing again.

He yanked it open and found Rob still standing at the very same spot.

"Come on Schatz we have business to conduct."

"Why don't you and your business take a hike to hell with all my compliments."

"Hey, that's no way to talk to the man who is going to make No Limits and you famous." Rob said his cool façade finally showing a crack.

"Rob, No Limits is going to be closed until further notice. So there isn't going to be any 'business' to conduct."

"It was your boyfriend's idea wasn't it?" Rob said drawing his own stupid conclusions making Olli feel like knocking the man's lights out.

"Can't you see he is detrimental to your career? Dump him as soon as you can baby." Rob advised him.

Olli reined in his rising anger and strong wish to inflict bodily harm on the man. Instead he said as calmly as possible.

"For your information closing No Limits is completely my idea. And Christian has already dumped me. So there. Now could you please just leave? I'll call you when we re-open. If I ever do re-open"

Realizing that any and all business that he could have conducted here had been brought to a grinding halt Rob quickly left without any further adieu.

Olli watched him leave with a sigh of relief and a whimper of realization that his this decision came a little too late.

CHAPTER 11 - Donnerstag (Thursday)

Olli lay wrapped up in the bedclothes with his head buried in the pillow.

It had been 72 hours since he had realized that Christian wouldn't be returning.

People came and went at regular intervals.

Coaxing him to eat.

He had tried everything crying, screaming, begging but they refused to leave him alone.

But this time instead of slowly, the door was opened forcefully.

Olli just buried himself further into the bed.

Then he heard the angry voice, "Olli what is this?"

It was him.

Who had called him?

He had the sheets yanked off of him and felt himself being bodily picked up by four strong arms.

"Phew ...you stink." Gregor commented once he and his bodyguard had placed Olli on his feet.

"Man! When was the last time you took a shower?"

*the day my world fell apart* Olli thought ready to collapse back onto the bed.

"Four days ago." Andi chimed in.

"Come on" Gregor said and dragged Olli out of the room and pushed him into the bathroom.

Olli stood in the middle of the bathroom. Wondering why he was there.

"Olli are you done?" Luise's voice asked before she peeked in and saw him standing with a blank look on his face staring into space.

He heard her talking to someone.

Next thing he knew Charley was undressing him.

She quickly unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it off his body.

"Charley what the heck are you doing," he demanded as the lady tugged at his jeans.

"Undressing you." She said bluntly as she unbuttoned his jeans and yanked it down then reached for his boxers.

He grabbed her hands.

"Olli, it's nothing I haven't seen before. I used to baby sit you all the time when your mother and I were still on talking terms."

"But I was a child then." Olli countered in embarrassment

"Oliver! You'll always be my child. Now do you want me give you a bath like I used to when you were 3."

"No, I can manage on my own."

But she refused to exit the bathroom.

He closed the shower curtains around him and turned the knob dousing himself in cold water.

He shivered; but who gave a damn if the water was hot or cold.

"Now isn't that better," Charley asked as she gently rubbed his hair dry.

"Whatever," Olli said dispassionately then he asked just as flatly

"Now may I go?"

She nodded and placed a kiss on his forehead before letting him get up.

As he entered the hall to head to the bedroom he saw Helena come out with the bedclothes in her hand.

"What are you doing?" he hissed at the girl.

"They have to be washed Olli."

"Leave them alone and get lost."

"But they're dirty."

"I don't care. Just give me the sheets and leave." He snarled at the girl visibly scaring her.

She dumped the sheets and ran out.

Olli picked them up and went into the bedroom.

This time he made sure the door was locked so that no one would disturb him.

He just wanted to be left alone with his memories.

He lay quietly for a few minutes when it suddenly occurred to him that he had seen Gregor and Luise.

*Who had called them?* he thought in a panic.

Jumping out of bed he rushed out of the room

He found Charley still sitting on the couch perusing through a magazine.

"Was Gregor here?" he asked her

"Yes, and he's still here. He's downstairs."

"Who called him?" Olli asked uncomfortably

"I did." Charley informed him

"Why?" he asked his eyes wild with fear.

"Because he is Christian's brother." Charley said as if talking to a child then she coaxed gently rubbing his shoulder "Go talk to him."

"What am I supposed to say to him Charley? Hey Gregor! Guess what? I drove your brother to suicide." Olli said sarcastically as tears blinded him again.

But he didn't have to go any where because the door opened and in came Gregor.

Olli stood stock-still trying to read Gregor's face wondering if he would console Olli or condemn him.

Gregor walked slowly towards him, his shoulder slumped in tiredness and grief marring his features.

Olli felt himself being enfolded into the solid frame.

So like Christian ...but still so different.

"Gregor I'm so sorry," Olli cried, "I'm so, so sorry, I couldn't keep my promise. I didn't take care of him."

Gregor pulled away a little so he could look into Olli's face

"Shhhh...shush...it was nobody's fault." Gregor said through his own tears wiping Olli's face.

"It was all my fault." Olli said vehemently dissolving into gut wrenching sobs.

Gregor held him close and gently rocked him rubbing a soothing hand on Olli's back.

The day passed slowly for the occupants of the flat share.

Every one huddled together in their grief but mostly sat together in concern for Olli.

They watched him like a hawk.

Though his grief hadn't dissipated his guilt had lightened after talking to Gregor.

Everyone turned to look at him when he came back out into the living room a large sheet of paper in hand.

"I'll stick this to the entrance door of No Limits." Olli told them.

"What is it?" Andi asked curiously

In answer Olli handed him the sheet

Reading it he passed it to Gregor.

Gregor and Luise read it and passed it to Charley, who handed it back to Olli.

Dear Patrons

Due to the untimely demise of a family member

No Limits will be closed until further notice

By order of

Proprietors

Christian Mann

Oliver Sabel

CHAPTER 12 - Samstag (Saturday)

Five days had gone by since Christian's ...disappearance.

But with each passing day the pain only got worse.

"Olli how long are you going to keep No Limits closed?" Gregor asked as he watched Olli potter around the bar and rearrange the furniture.

"Christian doesn't like these silly chairs. I think I'll change them." Olli said completely ignoring Gregor's question.

Gregor grimaced at Olli's back.

Olli's unpredictable behaviour was annoying him completely.

Olli's moods kept swinging between denial and despair.

This was one of his denial hours.

And his denial was fueled more by Luise's claim that 'until his body is found Christian cannot be declared deceased'

Gregor loved his wife's optimistic streak but in this case the optimism wasn't helping.

His back still turned to Gregor Olli said, "I know you think I'm mad but can't I fantasize for just a few minutes that the next time that door opens it'll be Christian walking in. That he'll kiss me; ask if I need any help before he heads upstairs to study. And yes I will open No Limits again. I'll re-open on Monday."

"Olli I'm just worried about you. After all that's happened wouldn't it be better if you sell?"

Olli turned to face Gregor, "To sell you need the consent of both owners and Christian isn't here. So how can I sell?" he said with a sad smile

Gregor frowned "But didn't he transfer all rights to you after he bought my shares."

Still smiling Olli informed him, "The papers that say he has bought your shares are in the bank locker along with the papers that were drawn up when I became your partner. And the ones that said I was full owner have been torn into four neat pieces and then been run through the shredder."

Olli left a stunned Gregor standing in the middle of the bar.

Obligations to her people and her Kingdom meant that Luise and Gregor couldn't stay in Düsseldorf more than a day and a half.

So on Saturday afternoon they headed back

"Call us if you need anything," Gregor said sadly to Olli as he climbed into the limo. Knowing full well that he could do nothing further for his brother's boyfriend who he had hoped he would one day call his brother in law.

Luise hugged Olli tightly

"Officially he's still just missing," Luise said vehemently refusing to give up hope.

Olli hugged her tighter hoping that some of her optimism would rub off on him.

After the royal couple left.

Olli turned to the people standing around him.

"Can I have the flat all to myself just for tonight and tomorrow?"

They all started to speak at once

Olli raised his hand to silence them.

"I promise I won't do anything foolish. It's just that I always wanted one night and one whole day alone with Christian with no interruptions."

"But..." Charley began to argue

"Charley please I'll call you tomorrow night."

Giving him one last worrisome look one by one all his friends left.

Once everyone left him alone Olli went shopping.

He picked out all of Christian's favourite food and two bottles of champagne.

He bought a few knick knacks.

Then he walked to his last stop - the jewelry store.

He stood looking at the rings on display for the longest time; wishing that he had Christian's measurement.

He stared at his own fingers. They were thick, with knotted knuckles and rough with calluses due to their constant contact with water and acidic liquids.

Christian's finger's though longer than his were slender and they were soft.

He closed his eyes and remembered how they would skim his skin when they made love.

So his ring would definitely have to be a size smaller than Olli's.

He entered the store and pointed out the ones that he had chosen.

For the first time in his life Olli was thankful to have that piece of rectangular plastic called a credit card in his wallet.

He already knew what he wanted inscribed in Christian's ring.

He cooked at leisure; there was no one to hurry for.

He set the table for two.

Poured the champagne in two flutes.

Then sat down to eat.

He toasted the chair opposite him and took a sip of champagne.

But the empty chair mocked him.

So he just chugged down all the champagne at one go and refilled his glass.

After his third glass he realized that Champagne definitely wasn't the medicine he needed so he dug up the bottle of vodka that he had stashed away for emergency use in No Limits.

This definitely qualified as an emergency.

He took a few long gulps of the burning liquid and felt his head happily hum.

He was drunk and the pain had slightly numbed.

He took out the ring box from his pocket.

Flipping it open he stared at the two identical gold bands.

Taking out the larger one he slipped it onto his right hand ring finger.

His eyes focused on the vacant chair he spoke

"I, Oliver Sable, take you Christian Mann, to be my husband.
To share the good times and hard times side by side.
I humbly give you my hand and my heart
as a sanctuary of warmth and peace,
and pledge my faith and love to you.
Just as this circle is without end, my love for you is eternal.
Just as it is made of incorruptible substance, my commitment to you will never fail.

I take thee as mine in this life and every life henceforth. With this ring, I thee wed."

The food lay forgotten as Olli stumbled over to the couch in tears and collapsed onto it.

He soon fell into an alcohol induced fitful sleep.

It was their wedding reception.

Their first dance together as a married couple.

Christian looked at him, the clear sky blue eyes sparkling like gems.

Christian smiled at him before he gently captured Olli's lips.

Olli felt the lips touch his and let Christian's intoxicating scent surrounded him.

He knew it was a dream so he just savored the dream kiss.

Suddenly he felt a hand gently caress his cheek as the kiss continued and realized it was no dream.

He opened his eyes and stared at the person kissing him.

He scrambled away from the touch and the mischievously smiling face.

As his brain registered who had kissed him he let out a blood curdling scream.

Chapter 13 - Montag Mittag C pov vier (Monday Midday C pov 4)

When would the renovations get over?

He couldn't take the noise anymore.

He scrunched up his face *That damn stink.*

The sewage must be blocked again he could smell the disgusting odor right up to his second floor bedroom.

Who the hell had pulled back the curtains and turned off the heat?

He felt around for his pillow and pain shot through his arm.

He whimpered into consciousness.

Reality slowly seeped in.

He wasn't in his bedroom lying on his bed.

He was lying face down next to a swampy river covered in sludge.

Where was he?

How did he get here?

Where was Olli?

He slowly tried to get up.

Pain gripped his body but he fought through it to slowly turn over on to his back.

His eyes focused on the clear noon sky.

Then he heard a relieved yell

"He's alive. It's not a floater."

A man yelled to his companion.

A kind middle aged man's face came into his field of vision as he crouched beside him

"Olli?" He hoarsely whispered.

"Son who are you?"

"Olli?" He whispered weakly wondering where his boyfriend was.

"Hi Olli! I'm Sasha. Are you hurt?"

"I don't know." He whimpered

"Okay! it's all right." The man said gently caressing his hair.

"The ambulance will be here soon." He cooed.

"Don't fall asleep." Sasha said gently shaking him

"But I'm so tried."

"You can sleep once you're in the ambulance child. Okay."

"Okay." The boy said meekly and tried to keep his eyes open.

CHAPTER 14 - Deinstag Morgen (Tuesday Morning)

He jerked awake from the terrible nightmare.

The room was bright with sunlight.

He took in his sterile surrounding.

He wondered how he had managed to land up in a hospital of all places.

*I must have fallen out of the tree house again.

It was childish on my part to climb into that place anyway.

I am 17 and a senior in high school.

But there is no other place where I could sit and study in peace.

I hate my friends all they care about are girls and getting laid.

How dare they make fun of my ambition to become a teacher?

Screw them all*

He looked around and saw a strange old man dozing in a chair beside his bed.

*A male nurse in our small town hospital?*

He cleared his throat hoping to wake up the man and ask him to go get his Papa.

The old man startled awake.

He rubbed his eyes and looked at the young man lying on the hospital bed.

"Could you please go and get Papa?" the blond man requested meekly.

That was a strange request from a grown man.

*Definitely brain damage* the gentleman surmised.

"Yes, of course son we'll call him right now. But first let me check your vitals."

The kindly old man shone a torch in his eyes to check his pupils.

Then checked his pulse.

Finally he adjusted the bandages on his arm.

That's when the young man realized that his left arm was tightly bandaged and throbbing.

*My this fall has been worse than the previous two* he thought.

*Papa hates spending money. He must be so angry.*

*I wish Gregor hadn't left us to seek his fortune in the big city.

He would have definitely protected me from Papa's drunken wrath.*

*It would be best if I just got it over with while I'm still in hospital.

At least here Papa won't be able to beat me.*

So he again requested softly, "Sir, please call Papa. I want to see him."

The elderly man smiled. "Of course I'll get him right now. But why don't you take a nap while I go get him."

The kindly old gentleman adjusted the drip and injected something into it.

Then the gentleman quietly left.

The young man felt his eyes droop and sleep again overtook him.

CHAPTER 15 - Deinstag Abend (Tuesday Evening)

The next time he woke up the room was dark and his Papa was still nowhere to be seen.

He stretched and again realized that he had an injured arm.

*Oh Papa is definitely going to kill me*

He desperately needed to relieve himself.

He spotted the calling buzzer and pressed it.

Instantly a smartly dressed pretty young nurse came hurrying in.

"I need to go to the bathroom" he told her shyly.

The nurse smiled at him as she removed the drip from his hand.

Then said softly,

"There now you're free."

Unable to bear the pressure anymore he almost ran into the bathroom.

With a sigh of relief he emptied his bladder.

After flushing as he started to exit the bathroom he caught his image in the mirror hanging over the wash basin and was stunned.

He rubbed his right hand on his cheeks.

*Wow! That's some beard dude.*

He had started shaving only a couple of months back so it was shocking that he had grown such a heavy beard overnight.

And his hair - it was longer.

What was going on?

It was impossible that he had been in hospital only a day.

He must have lying in here for months.

Like they showed in the movies he must have been in a coma!

But in the movies when the person finally woke up he would also have lost his memory.

*Hmmm... let me check*

*Name: Christian Mann*

*Age: 17*

*Occupation: High School Student*

*Father's name: Wolfgang Mann*

*Brother's name: Gregor Mann

*Girlfriend's name: Nadja Schaller*

*Nope no memory loss*

He was just fine.

The kindly gentleman he had met earlier that morning entered the room

"It's good to see you awake Olli," the gentleman said smiling.

"Olli! Who is Olli?" Christian asked completely puzzled and a frown creased his forehead

"That's your name son, isn't it?"

"No, of course not. My name is Christian Mann."

"Okay," the man wrote it down on the patient's information clipboard hanging at the foot of the bed.

"Now can you call Papa? I want to see him."

"I'm sorry I have no idea where your father is."

"Come of it dude he was the one who brought me in right?"

"No, my wife and I found you lying by the side of the river."

"River? What river? This is some kind of a joke, right. There is no river for miles any where around Bremm" (sorry if this is untrue I have no idea about Germany's geography)

"Bremm? Son you're in Levenkusen and I found you by the side of the Rhine." (sorry if this is untrue I have no idea about Germany's geography)

*How did I get here?* Christian was completely confused.

Had he tried to run away to Düsseldorf to be with Gregor? For the life of him he couldn't remember.

"Who are you anyway?" Christian demanded rudely

"I'm Dr. Sascha Ehrlich" the gentleman answered

"And where did you say you found me?" Christian questioned shortly

"A few kilometers from here by the river side."

"Oh Man! Papa is going to be so mad." Christian said in fear.

The young man's obvious teenage behaviour told Sascha that the boy's location was the least of anyone's worries.

"Son how old are you?" he asked gently.

"17."

"And what year is it can you tell me." Sascha gently questioned.

"Why are you asking me such silly questions?" Christian demanded annoyed.

"Just checking that you don't have brain damage. So can you tell me what year is it?"

Christian rolled his eyes

"2002 of course."

Sascha was stunned, *the boy has lost 8 years. That's definitely a massive chunk*

While Sascha stood thinking Christian gave a loud sneeze

"Gesundheit" the doctor said automatically and headed out of the room hoping to consult the brain specialist. Then he would have to contact his psychiatrist colleague as she would be better qualified to inform Christian that he had lost 8 years of his life.

Christian sneezed for maybe the hundredth time and blew his nose in the tissue but it still tickled causing him to sneeze again.

These dry sneezes were driving him crazy.

The nurse who had brought him his dinner had jovially said with a wide grin

"Someone is definitely missing you terribly that's the only thing that would make you sneeze like that."

Chapter 16 - Mittwoch Morgen (Wednesday Morning)

Christian suddenly awoke at dawn with a terrible craving for pasta.

The craving was so strong that he could almost smell the aroma that it would emit.

Another smell that was intermingled with the aroma of the pasta was of cologne which completely puzzled his drowsy mind.

He drank some water, visited the bathroom and then fell into a peaceful slumber though he still craved pasta.

"Ma'am you're yankin' my chain, right? It can't be 2010" Christian said scowling at the lady sitting across the desk.

"I'm sorry Herr Mann. But it's true," the lady said apologetically.

"I got old." Christian sneered in disgust.

He was completely pissed off with his current situation.

"25 isn't old! You're quite young." Sascha soothed him

"What do you know? You're ancient." Christian said rudely.

Sascha laughed the boy had taken in his predicament quite calmly.

Like any other teenager the fear of old age outweighed the problem that he had lost a major chunk of his memory.

Sascha escorted Christian back to his hospital room.

As he sat watching the boy climb into the bed Sascha sent up a silent prayer of thanks that luckily there had been no injury to the boy's brain.

So the elderly physician was sure it was only a matter of time before the boy remembered something. All the boy needed was a trigger.

But what was Christian supposed to do until the time he regained his memory.

An injured arm ruled out any kind of physical work maybe he could read to elderly patients.

"Can you read?" Sascha asked the young man once Christian had settled down in the bed.

"Of course I can read. My ambition is to become a teacher."

Christian's mood instantly brightened and he chirped "Hey if I'm 25 then I must have completed college and become a teacher by now right."

"I guess so." Sascha answered slowly.

"Wow! A teacher! I wonder which classes I teach."

"We found you wearing a riding habit." Sascha supplied hoping that would trigger something.

Christian got very excited. Giving the doctor a wide grin he said

"Oh! Really! That means I must be rich if I can afford horses or I must be living with Gregor."

"Who is Gregor?" Sascha got excited as well this was finally going somewhere.

"My elder brother. He went to Düsseldorf to seek his fortune and become a rich man."

"Okay we finally have a clue as to where you belong. The thought had crossed my mind you might have some link to Düsseldorf when I saw the No Limits key chain."

"What's No Limits?" Christian questioned curiously.

"A bar in Düsseldorf. Here, you had this set of keys in your pocket." Sascha said extracting Christian's key ring from the coat pocket and handed them to the younger man.

"You must definitely be a regular customer there because these were handed out to the invitations only guests at their DJ Pepper Punk Jazz Party. I know because my son got an identical one."

Christian stared at the key ring intently it definitely looked familiar

"DJ Pepper Punk?" the name tickled Christian's brain bringing to mind a man with buzz cut hair.

When did he ever notice men let alone their hair cut?

*Christian you're going cuckoo* Christian mentally chided himself.

At that same moment Sascha was mentally congratulating himself.

He was helping a patient.

It was something he hadn't done since had been forced to retire due to his failing health.

He remembered how his wife Myrna had almost dragged him to go strolling with her on the river side.

To rescue a boy and then have him turn out to be from Düsseldorf.

It definitely wasn't a coincidence.

God had definitely sent this boy to him on purpose.

Myrna was the religious one.

So obviously God was testing him to see if he was really worth his Myrna.

He would have to cut short this vacation.

They would be returning home tomorrow and this boy would be going along with them.

Helping this boy get back home was Sascha's mission now.

Chapter 17 - Donnerstag (Thursday)

Christian looked out the taxi window and watched the passing scenery with rapt attention.

He couldn't wait to get to Düsseldorf and find Gregor.

He wondered what he had done all these years.

But if he owned a riding habit and was invited to exclusive parties then he definitely must be rich or at least Gregor must have struck it rich.

He looked around the simple room that the kind doctor and his wife had let him stay in.

They said it had belonged to their son who was now working in Munich.

He looked at the clothes he was wearing.

*Sascha's son must be quiet tall* Christian thought as he cuffed the bottom of the jeans.

The kind couple had said they would take him round Düsseldorf later in the evening hoping to jog his memory or at least elicit some information about his brother.

Sascha and Myrna had been so tired by the journey from Levenkusen to Düsseldorf that they had both fallen asleep after lunch.

Christian hated not knowing if he really belonged in Düsseldorf or not.

Sascha had called his father's number in Bremm but the phone had been disconnected.

Christian wanted to punch something the wall was not an option so he punched the mattress.

The action sent a jolt coursing through his body.

Suddenly the face of a nasty looking hefty bald man emerged in his mind.

Then the mocking face said "Hit me you little faggot" making Christian growl.

Then instantly a second image rose it was of a man with a plaster on his left eyebrow and he was smiling at him.

That latter image of that smiling, gentle, trusting face somehow made Christian feel calmer.

He felt like a homing pigeon that had to fly just another few miles before it reached home.

It was a little after six when the Ehrlichs finally set out for a walk with Christian in tow.

Nothing in particular stood out or even looked familiar to Christian.

They had just crossed through a jogging park when Christian's eyes fell on a burnt building.

Beside the charred entryway lay a blackened sign which read 'Blue Eyes Café'

The image of a girl with messy curly blond hair came to his mind and made him think of "Coconuts and incense sticks."

"Was? Did you say something?" Sascha asked staring at him intently.

"Yes," Christian answered but knew if he said either coconut or incense sticks they'd definitely think he was mad.

So instead he said, "This building." and pointed at the abandoned structure, "I've been here."

Sascha felt slightly elated.

*So the boy's brain is slowly rewiring itself. It's good sign*

But he didn't want to get Christian's hopes up so he said in a neutral physician's tone that he had perfected over many decades

"That's good, Son. That means you either live around here or have friends in this area."

Sascha looked at his watch.

"It's 8 already. Time we headed back home."

"Okay" Christian mumbled dejectedly.

Myrna saw Christian's downcast look and gently patted his cheek, "Child tomorrow is a new day. You can continue your hunt tomorrow."

Christian meekly nodded.

The couple watched Christian eat.

"He sure has a very healthy appetite," Myrna remarked to her husband in a whisper as they stood together washing the dishes. "I just hope he isn't conning us."

"Myrna all we can do is trust our instincts. But just to be on the safe side put away your jewelry in the strong box and make sure it's properly locked." Sascha whispered back and threw a secret glance at Christian. He was relieved when he saw that the blond man was lost in savoring his food.

Taking a last look around the room he was to stay in Christian switched off the lights.

He lay down on the bed and instantly fell into a restful sleep.

He saw a man in a fire engine red jacket and dark blue jeans dancing around in a familiar kitchen to the cheery beats of a Lily Allen song.

*Why do I know pop music* Christian couldn't help but wonder.

The man was now waving a box of yogurt at Christian and approached him,

"I even bought your favourite yogurt," the stranger said.

For some reason this comment made Christian feel like giggling.

Then the man said, "Yeah! At least I was thinking of you while you had fun with sexy sports students," Christian knew he answered the man but he couldn't make out his own words. Then suddenly he was kissing the man.

Christian jolted awake but he could still feel the warmth of those dreams lips on his own.

CHAPTER 18 - Freitag eins (Friday one)

Christian's sleep was disturbed by the strong beam of sunlight falling right across his face.

He yawned but as he patted his open mouth to stem the yawn he remembered the dream he had.

He carefully rubbed his lips with two fingers wondering what that dream could have meant.

Did that mean Christian was gay? could be.

It also explained why he had always felt sweaty and out of breath around Hans Mierkel the hockey team captain.

But whatever he felt when he was with the man in the red jacket felt real as if they belonged together, if only he could remember.

Only thing that Christian was certain of was whoever that man may be he definitely had the most beautiful green eyes Christian had ever seen.

As he sat trying to remember every detail of that dream two names suddenly popped up in his head - Judith and Miriam.

He enunciated each name out loud.

When he said the name Judith the image of a cherubic brunette girl floated before his mind's eyes "Yours is young love isn't it?" he heard the girl asking him.

Then he said the name Miriam and what came to his mind made him chuckle.

It was like a looped video clip playing in his head.

He saw a blond waitress dropping a tray of hot coffee onto a man's lap making the poor man scream.

"Oh! Good Morning." Myrna cheerfully greeted him when he entered the kitchen.

"What would you like to eat?" she enquired.

"I don't know. All I know is that I'm hungry." Christian said and slightly stuck out his lower lip as he took a seat at the table.

"Boys! You never grow up." Myrna said as she opened the fridge to take out some eggs and a bowl of batter.

As she was closing the door Christian spied something in there.

"Yogurt," he shouted.

"So you want yogurt, hmmm." Myrna asked as she took out the sealed cup opened it and gave it to him handing him a spoon along with it.

"I love yogurt, especially blue berry yogurt." Christian said as he spooned a large helping into his mouth.

Christian was startled by his own answer.

He didn't eat yogurt when he had been in Bremm. Papa didn't like frivolous expenditure.

"I think I started eating yogurt after I found Gregor and started living with him." he said out loud but his declaration was addressed to nobody in particular.

Myrna's doubts of the previous night dissipated just a little. The boy truly seemed to be ailing from amnesia.

She sat looking at him as he finished the yogurt and then proceeded to chow down the pancakes, sausages, 2 hard boiled eggs and 6 jam sandwiches.

"For a person who eats so much it's a wonder you aren't the size of a sperm whale." the lady said and chuckled

Christian stopped in mid bite.

"Say that again,"

"For a person who eats so much it's a wonder you aren't the size of a sperm whale." Myrna repeated.

Her words drew up the image of a blond girl busily snapping pictures of him riding a horse.

"Horses," Christian said out loud.

"Did you remember something?" Myrna asked unable to control her enthusiasm.

"Yes, I am not a teacher. I think I work with horses."

"You're too tall to be a jockey." She said thoughtfully, "Maybe you became a vet." he finished enthusiastically.

"It's possible. Man! This is so frustrating." Christian snapped angrily and slammed his fist on the counter.

Myrna gently kissed his forehead and hugged him, "Shhh... have patience it's coming back. It'll all come back to you soon enough."

He liked Myrna's perfume and took in a deep breath of it.

It reminded him of meadows covered in flowers and ... a prancing cow wearing a frilly purple blouse.

He sat reading the newspaper as he waited for Sascha and Myrna.

They had said they would take him to a brain specialist and then take him around Düsseldorf.

Restarting with Blue Eyes Café which he had recognized the previous evening they would walk around a bit and then head to No Limits as that was the only solid lead they had of his missing years.

He read the front page headlines - nothing special.

He read the crime watch column - other than a fat thief who got stuck in a vent while trying to escape nothing else caught his attention.

He turned the page to the entertainment and society columns.

There he saw something that grabbed his attention and held it firm.

It was a picture of a dark ash blond man. The fact that he knew exactly what colour the man's hair was caught him off guard but his puzzlement was soon replaced by anger when the words "I just want to get into his pants," rang in his ears clear as a bell, followed by a mocking laugh and a nickname that he despised "Chrissie baby."

Christian didn't know the man in the picture but he was sure he hated him.

The visit to the brain specialist had been cheering; Christian wanted to kiss the man when he had said that his memory loss was hopefully only temporary as there had been no injury to the brain.

On the other hand their walk had been a disappointment. Just as the previous evening nothing other than the burnt building looked remotely familiar.

As they continued walking they passed by an industrial parking lot which was cordoned off with large thick iron barred fencing.

Christian came to a grinding halt by the parking lot and stared through the bars at the vehicles, something about those bars which were painted a dull grey made Christian shiver in fright he grabbed Myrna's arm.

"What is it sweetheart?" she asked in concern.

Christian felt dizzy and his head was throbbing.

He slapped a hand to his mouth, running over to the nearest garbage can he threw up and sank to the ground. As his head ached he could clearly see his father run out of a petrol station and hand him a gun and a black ski mask.

Christian started sobbing uncontrollably as his memories of the public humiliation he had faced in Bremm and his hardships of prison slowly clawed their way out oblivion and took root again.

Sascha and Myrna had watched in alarmed concern as their young charge had regurgitated his food and then burst into heart wrenching sobs.

The couple carefully helped the young man to his feet and hailed a taxi.

As Christian's tears finally seized he realized that they were on their way back to the Ehrlich's home and he finally spoke, "Please take me to No Limits my brother owns it."

Chapter 19 - Freitag zwei (Friday 2)

Sascha could have jumped with joy; he couldn't believe that in two days flat they had helped this young man find his way back home.

But his elation dimmed when they reached the bar.

The establishment was closed.

Sascha got out of the taxi and spoke to a kindly passerby.

Christian watched Sascha approach the man and strained his ears to hear the man's answers to Sascha's enquiries.

"Sir, this place," Sascha asked pointing at No Limits, "it's owned by a certain Gregor Mann isn't it?"

The man answered politely but regretfully, "Not any longer. He sold it to Herr Sabel before he left the country in March."

Christian's elation evaporated like the morning mist when he heard these words and he sank back into the taxi seat.

Gregor had left him alone - again.

Sascha then asked, "Can you tell me what time they open for business?"

"They most probably won't open for sometime. There has been a death in Herr Sabel's family so they'll most probably open again only after an appropriate time of mourning."

Even though Christian was weighed down by his own dejection and disappointment he couldn't help but feel sorry for the unknown Herr Sabel.

Losing a family member was always painful Christian knew this from personal experience.

After some more small talk with the stranger Sascha dejectedly climbed back into the taxi.

"Christian I'm sorry," he apologized to the young man.

"That's my family," Christian retorted with a bitter smile, "I could never count on them, they always abandon me the first chance they get."

"Can we go back to your place now please? I'm feeling so tired." Christian begged the older couple.

"Of course," Myrna said as Sascha gave the taxi driver their address.

Christian popped a couple of painkillers and lay in bed waiting for the throbbing in his head to cease.

His thoughts were in a whirl.

He couldn't believe that he had become convicted felon.

Worse his father was a thief.

Gregor had become a prostitute? His brother's dreams of riches had lead him to trade his own body for money.

Was this really his family?

Christian realized that with the return of his memory maturity had also found him and made him realize that life was definitely not as easy as he had chalked it up to be.

Being screwed over by your own father though was beyond his comprehension.

Thankfully he soon sank into oblivion as the painkillers took effect and he fell into a dreamless sleep.

After he woke up and joined the couple in their dining room he watched Myrna set the table and knew it was appropriate to tell these kind people that his memories were returning.

How much ever distasteful they may be, Sascha and Myrna deserved to know that his memory banks were refilling.

After Myrna served everyone and took a seat Christian decided to start speaking.

He stared at the food laid out before him for a few seconds, the aromatic delicious ambrosial nourishment beckoned him, but Christian hardened himself. Putting his spoon back down beside his plate he spoke,

"I remembered what happened in my life until I came to Düsseldorf in search of my brother."

He paused a second then continued before either of the couple could say anything he declared

"I went to prison for my father," Sascha's and Myrna's faces which had lit up when he had said the first statement now darkened.

Christian stared unblinking at his hands lying in his lap; he couldn't bring himself to look at the lined faces of the kind people who had taken him in.

"I know you won't believe me if I told you I didn't do anything. But I'd understand if you want to throw me out into the street now."

Christian waited desolately for the couple's furious, disgusted reaction and knew he wouldn't be able to block out the words of condemnation that were sure to follow.

CHAPTER 20 Freitag Drei (Friday 3)

Sascha ran his fingers through his thinning grey hair then patted them.

Myrna and he exchanged a worrisome glance.

His wife grasped his hand and the couple looked at the young man who sat in front of them.

The poor boy was the image of despair and the words he said to them broke their aging hearts.

Christian truly needed them.

The older gentleman finally broke the silence

"So you were in jail?"

His head still bent Christian nodded his head.

"Hmmm... for what exactly?" Myrna asked.

"For holding up a petrol station," Christian mumbled.

"But you were framed?" she asked again.

"No, I took the rap for my father's sake." He finally looked up at the couple again and finished his explanation, "he has a bad heart, so I went to prison in his place."

"That was really noble of you. I don't think Lukas would have done the same for me had I been in your father shoes and my son in yours."

"I don't know whether it was noble or plain stupid. What I do know is that once I had a police record my ambition of becoming a teacher went up in a puff of smoke."

"You said you remembered something to do with horses?" Myrna suddenly reminded him.

"Yes, I did but it has kind of got a bit more clearer, I now remember mucking out stables. Guess that means I do menial jobs at some stud farm or a riding school or something like that. So I'm a stable boy or a horse groom. Bottom line is I am exactly what I was in Bremm - a complete nobody. And as always I have nobody who cares whether I live or die."

"Oh sweetie please don't say that. You have us now. And we care." Myrna said vehemently as she got up and came round the table to embrace him to her bosom.

Christian looked up at the lined kind face and pleaded, "Can I stay here a few days at least until my arm heals and my memories clear up."

"Of course. You are welcome to stay with us as long as you want."

"Thank you." Christian said in relief and hugged back Myrna with his uninjured arm.

"I hate my family. I could never trust them. Look they abandoned me again." Christian declared with bitterness as Sascha and he sat watching the evening news.

"Don't stop trusting people just because you think that they let you down. You have to know their side of the story before you pass any judgment." Sascha adviced

"You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about." Christian scoffed

"Sadly I know exactly what I'm talking about. I know from experience" The old man informed him

"Really?" Christian was taken aback.

"Yes, I once passed judgment without getting all the facts and that led me to almost lose Myrna." Sascha told him regretfully.

"You're lying. I don't think that's ever possible. I have known you guys only for a couple of days but it's obvious that you love her very much."

"Yes, I do love her more than life itself. But I also get jealous very easily." Sascha told him

"That's normal," Christian said basing his comment on his limited knowledge of life.

"No, it isn't. Jealousy can spell the end of a relationship I can tell you this from experience." Sascha told him forcefully

"Why what happened?" Christian asked with curiosity when he got such a volatile reaction.

Sascha took a deep breath and started speaking - -

"When I met Myrna she was studying to become an architect. We had a whirlwind romance and two months later we were married. She was the valedictorian of her class so was quickly snatched up by a prestigious construction company as an assistant to their star architect, who was a number one skirt chaser. He flirted with Myrna all the time. She had to bear it because she wanted the job but fool that I was I thought she welcomed his attentions even though she told me a million times over that I was the only one for her. My gut told me to trust her but my jealousy blinded me and I ignored everything else. After one of our blow ups I left her alone at our apartment and decided to spend the night at a motel to clear my head. A couple of hours later I felt so bad that I headed back home. Till this day I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't got home on time." Sascha paused and let out a shuddered breath his eyes moist.

Christian sat staring at Sascha a deep frown creasing his brow hoping it wasn't what he was thinking.

A few silent moments passed as Sascha composed himself and then he spoke again

"I came back and found her fighting off that sleazebag."

"Oh that's fucking horrible." It had been exactly what Christian had being dreading

"It was the hardest time we faced but that taught me a lesson to trust people and really listen to what they have to say instead of taking everything at face value and drawing my own stupid conclusions." Sascha told him honestly.

"Do you think that I should wait to be face to face with Gregor and my dad before passing judgement on them."

"Yes, of course. You had your accident on Monday which means that you most probably knew that your brother had sold his bar and had left the country."

Christian nodded

"But isn't it odd that no one has reported me as missing, don't I have any friends?" Christian said in exasperation.

"I really can't answer that question Christian, there are just too many 'maybes' Maybe you were off on vacation, maybe you were headed out of town for some work, maybe you were permanently moving out of Dusseldorf. All you can do is have patience and wait for your memories to return then everything will be cleared up on it's own."

Christian nodded his head again in complete resignation.

They sat silently watching the television as the news caster informed them of the changes to be implemented in hospitals pertaining to the care of cancer and all terminal patients.

"So what does your gut tell you about me. Am I trust worthy?" Christian suddenly wondered out loud

"Yah I think you're trust worthy. And the fact that you have an injured arm is insurance that should you try some shit I can easily whoop your ass." They both laughed, sharing in the easy companionship they had developed.

*Trust is definitely the most important thing in any relationship,* Christian thought as he headed to the bedroom

But he also got a gnawing feeling inside that Sascha's advice applied a lot in his life and not just only when it came to his relation with his family.

AS he dozed he saw the man with the emerald eyes accuse him angrily "You're just jealous of Rob," to which he answered just as forcefully "No, I'm not. That's just rubbish."

He jolted awake and saw Myrna standing at the bed room door calling him for dinner.

As he slowly sat up he couldn't help but feel frustrated. Who was that man with the green eyes and why was he haunting his dreams?

CHAPTER 21 Frietag Mittnacht (Friday midnight)

Christian woke up sobbing and tangled up in the sheets.

Many pieces of the puzzle that was his memory had suddenly clicked into place.

The barrage of information had not only overloaded his brain but also made his heart ache with grief.

The first memory that hit him was that - his father was dead and in his last days Christian hadn't been able to be by his side.

Christian could clearly remember the dark morning when he had stood by the sad grave of his parent dressed in the prison uniform with his hands restrained in handcuffs.

Many of the mourners had discretely pointed in his direction and snorted in disapproval as they sympathized with the deceased man's lot.

One whispered comment which stood out among all the others was made by a distant cousin of his father's -

"Wolfgang was dogged by bad luck all his life. First his wife died leaving him with two children to raise single handedly. Then to add insult to injury the elder one becomes a prostitute and the younger one first becomes a thief and then a murderer. Ever since his wife passed away Wolfgang never saw happiness even for a day in his life. Having these kind of horrendous disappointments as sons would send anyone to an early grave." she ended her speech with a disapproving sniff then shot Gregor and him a venomous look.

The shattered pieces of his memory were joining back together refilling his head with memories and experiences; but none of them were pleasant.

He was a convicted felon who had been to prison twice and was now out on parole.

He was a complete nobody and he had no family or friends to speak of.

He was all alone.

But suddenly ray of hope pierced his despair.

Something clicked in his mind and uplifted his spirits.

No...he wasn't alone!

He had a girlfriend!

His second one since he had been in Düsseldorf, he had a girlfriend - Coco.

Christian soundlessly crept to the living room and brought the cordless phone back with himself to the bedroom.

He dialed Coco's number and waited - patiently and full of hope until a recorded voice informed him curtly "The number you're trying to reach is no longer in service."

As he about to fling the phone away two more numbers popped up in his brain one was a fixed line number which he hazily remembered Gregor telling him was No Limits' contact number and the other was Gregor's cell phone number.

The No Limit's number was of no consequence as Gregor had sold it but the cell phone number was a solid lead He hurriedly punched it in. But unfortunately he crashed into disappointment once same recorded voice again curtly informed him,"The number you're trying to reach is no longer in service."

SO everyone had abandoned him.

He was truly all alone.

Nobody cared.

If he died right now his body would lie unclaimed in a morgue before been shipped off to some medical school for the student to cut up into tiny bits during their practical lectures of medicine.

Just another John Doe no one cared about.

He cried himself back to sleep as he cursed the world in general and his very existence in particular.

CHAPTER 22 Samstag Morgen eins (Saturday Morning 1)

This morning again the bright sunlight disturbed Christian's sleep causing him to bury his head under the pillow.

He didn't want to wake up.

He didn't want to spend another day searching for clues to a life which was probably aimless and most definitely friendless.

Myrna's soft singing pierced the thick dark clouds of his heartbroken thoughts.

But it wasn't her voice that had attracted his attention it was the song . He had heard that song many times before, but the singer hadn't been a woman.

Please listen

.com/watch?v=djRsFffHUGU&feature=related

Now read furthur

Is it okay if I call you mine?
Just for a time
And I will be just fine
If I know that you know that I'm
Wanting , needing your love
Oh

If I ask of you is it all right
If I ask you to hold me tight
Through a cold, dark night
'Cause there may be a cloudy day in sight
And I need to let you know that I might
Be needing your love
Oh

And what I'm trying to say isn't really new
It's just the things that happen to me
When I'm reminded of you

Like when I hear your name,
Or see a place that you've been
Or see a picture of your grin,
Or pass a house that you've been in
At one time or another.

It sets off something in me I can't explain.
And I can't wait to see you again.
Oh, babe, I love your love
Oh
And what I'm trying to say isn't really new
It's just the things that happen to me
When I'm reminded of you

He could recall a soft baritone voice singing these words to him as he lay in a hospital bed.

He was sure that it wasn't his father's voice.

Neither was it Gregor's, his brother's voice was higher pitched while this voice that played in his head was baser and was very soothing. Frustration overwhelmed him when nothing else other than the softly singing voice came to him.

Dragging himself out of bed he went into the bathroom. As he picked up his toothbrush he stared at his reflection in the mirror and wondered what had happened in his life the previous two years.

He had been able to gauge from the memories that had come back to him that firstly he definitely belonged in Düsseldorf. Secondly that he had a girlfriend or at least he used to have a girlfriend two years ago, a frizzy haired girl named Coco who at the moment was M.I.A.

They had most probably broken up he ratioalized because his track record with women had always been horribly dismal. None of his relationships had ever crossed the ten month mark as he always got restless by the eighth month and would be looking for a way out.

So as he hooked up with her in the June of 2007 they had most probably not made it beyond April 2008.

As he stood lazily brushing his teeth he wondered in despair:

* Will I EVER find anyone who'll be my one true love? Someone in whose arms I'll find my home and the promise of forever.*

As he took a shower his despair slightly evaporated and he started thinking logically. His mind went back to the conversation he had with Sascha the previous evening. There definitely were a lot of maybes in his case. Sascha had definitely hit the nail on the head when he had logically told him that most probably no one missed Christian because maybe he had actually been on his way out of Düsseldorf on vacation or business. But they were all conjectures, the truth could be anything.

As he dried himself he calmly decided to take it easy and let his brain heal itself at it's own pace.

He helped Myrna in the kitchen as well as he possibly could with his one uninjured hand and let slip that he remembered quiet a lot of what he had been up to since his release from prison the first time he had been there.

He told her about Gregor and how wonderful his brother was.

He told her about Nico who had been only a fair weather girlfriend and had abandoned him as soon as there had been trouble looming around him.

About Lars his lawyer who had got him off the bogus murder charges.

He cried as he told her about his father's death and the funeral he attended handcuffed and accompanied by two officers from the prison.

He finally told her about sweet Coco who had been the one writing beautiful letters to him in lieu of Nico so that he didn't feel lonely while he was in prison.

Myrna was overjoyed for him. He was healing very well and at a quick pace.

"But there is still a two year blank in my head." Christian said sadly.

"You have got back 8 years in a matter of 4 days maybe by this time tomorrow morning you'll have the last two back in there as well" Myrna told him giving him a encouraging smile and gently tapping his temple with her fore finger.

"I hope you're right."

"I always am. You can ask Sascha my words are never proved wrong. I have a gut feeling that tomorrow at this time you'll be home all snuggly and comfortable in your own bed."

"Snuggly!" Christian repeated giving an incredulous laugh.

"Yup! All snuggly - wuggly cuddled up with your favourite teddy bear under your soft blankie." Myrna said and pinched his cheek making him giggle in embarrassment.

"Myrna I'm 23... No ...25 and not a toddler so it's a bit impossible that as a grown man I'd sleep cuddled up with a teddy bear under a 'blankie'.

"It's quiet possible. You don't remember the past two years do you."

"Please I'm definitely not a cuddler." Christian quickly contradicted her statement.

"Have you ever seen yourself sleep? I'm sure you haven't. The way you hug your pillow it's obvious you are definitely a cuddler." Myrna teased him relentlessly.

Christian harrumphed, it was obvious that this was an argument that he would never win.

CHAPTER 23 Samstag Morgen zwei (Saturday morning 2)

Christian sat bored in front of the TV, remote in hand listlessly flipping through channels...

"Today we will learn the recipe for... ...fresh cakes of elephant dung ... shot on location in Cologne starring ... ...the President of Afghanistan ... ...and the new world chess champion ...went to the premier dressed to the nines ... garnished with a slice of lemon. ... and kids your new bedazzled cowboy hat is ready to be worn."

Nothing interested him so Christian finally switched it off.

He wandered the apartment peeped into the kitchen and saw that Myrna was busy in preparing Lunch.

He peeped into the study and found Sascha buried in the latest issue of National Geographic.

He didn't want to disturb either so he went back to the den and switched on the TV again. A boxing match being aired on ESPN caught his attention and he halted his channel surfing. The two men aggressively going at each other with their gloved fists struck a cord with Christian. He loved boxing, before he had gone to jail he had been a member of the boxing club that was near his home back in Bremm.

After he had settled himself in Düsseldorf he had even found out about the nearest Boxing Club and had been planning to join there to re-start his training.

Coco hadn't been very supportive about his this decision but Andi had encouraged him.

He missed Andi.

He knew had Andi been here right now he would have helped him definitely.

But that would be difficult now as Andi was on a Pan American bike trip to get over the broken heart that was Olivia's special gift to him.

That girl was a complete bitch she had very coolly burned down the Blue Eyes Café to the ground destroying Coco's record collection. It was impossible that someone as conniving and backstabber as her could even be related to someone as loyal and honest as Olli.

Woah... where had all that come from?

He giggled in triumph, the boxing match forgotten he sat back on the couch and let his mind wander.

He remembered the day he had first met that guy - Olli.

Coco had gone to visit Jana and Gregor was with Sarah at her doctor's appointment. His brother was going to become a father that was just so awesome.

He had being manning the bar when Andi's old best friend Olli had come in to have a cup of coffee. They had easily struck up a conversation.

That man was just so easy to talk to.

Olli ... Oliver Sabel... Gregor had sold No Limits to Olli?

Why had Gregor sold the bar to a waiter of all people?

Olli definitely wouldn't have had the cash to pay him.

Of course Charlie... his aunt she must have financed him.

Christian felt only relief. So the bar had been sold to a friend. He would go in tomorrow and meet Olli.

Olli would definitely help him locate Gregor and Coco.

Finally his life made sense again.

Myrna had been right he would be home soon.

He hoped Olli would help him.

He was sure that Olli would help him, that man had a soft heart and was a born helper.

More details of their first meeting slowly seeped out of the blankness and trickled to the fore front of his consciousness.

Olli had definitely looked cute as he had sat at the bar telling Christian of the time he had worked as a bartender at No Limits when it had been owned by someone named Nina.

Those beautiful green eyes had looked up at Christian with a warm friendly glow in them and they had seemed greener when paired with Olli's jet black hair which shone in the bright bar lights.

Olli had porcelain fair skin which looked so soft and smooth that Christian's hands had itched to touch it and ...

Why the fuck was he thinking of touching a man?

But the thought of Olli's face made him want to grin like a fool. He liked Olli, he wanted Olli and not just as a friend but as some thing much more, something completely different.

He frowned and squirmed with guilt.

How long would it be before Coco found out the truth? She would then leave him for sure.

And Gregor! How would Gregor react ...his brother would disown him ...

The cheers of the crowd on the television broke into his reverie jolting him back to reality.

*It has been two years since I met Olli. Had Coco and Gregor already found out?*

Was that why he couldn't contact either of them?

Had he chased Olli? He wished he could remember.

What he did remember clearly was :

Olli ...was a complete Adonis.

Olli had moved into the flat share above No Limits with Lars and him.

Olli was unlike any other man he knew.

Olli was always well dressed, neither a single crease on his clothes nor a single strand of that gleaming head of hair out of place.

Though Olli was a guy he never gave off an odor; actually he was always surrounded in a mist of the most intoxicating cologne that Christian had ever inhaled.

And he had such a beautiful voice ... Olli's voice was just so soothing.

That voice... Those eyes ... It was Olli ... Olli had been the one haunting him.

But Olli had kissed Coco.

Then the dreams he had of Olli kissing him must have been his own wishful thinking.

But Olli was gay.

Christian had found Olli wrapped around that all brawn no brain Timo.

Christian felt confused and again fell into depression.

Finally he came to a decision.

Maybe Olli was his only chance to contact Gregor but visiting Olli was out of question.