“We’re the Griswold’s?” Chase grinned.
“Well, you remember when we got back to the Springs and Alec made us watch Vacation, European Vacation, Christmas Vacation and Vegas Vacation all in one night?” asked Kale.
“How could I forget,” said Chase. “To hear my mom tell it, Cousin Eddie embodies her entire side of the family.”
“That’s why she’s so uptight,” Alec exclaimed. “Her shitter’s full!”
“That is so…yeah, probably true.” Chase laughed.
“Anyway,” Kale giggled, “The next day I was talking to the organizers of the Run and they said we needed a team name. Well, the Griswold’s just popped into my head.”
“I think it’s great.” Alec grinned.
“Wait until you see the karts.” Kale winked at his best friend.
“Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Greaseball,” said the cabby in his heavily accented English. “I am being your driver, Jalad.”
“Of course, sorry,” said Kale. “We always seem to get side tracked.”
“Is long drive to Schillong, cab is double parked, we leave now?”
“Yeap, lead the way, Jalad,” said Kale.
Kale stepped out of the airport and into photographer heaven as Jalad led the boys to his cab, a Toyota mini-van. Kale claimed the shotgun seat and while Jalad pulled out of the airport, he brought out his Nikon and snapped pictures of everything he saw. The city forced him into sensory overload as he took in the bright colors of the architecture and the clothing, the exotic smells and the oppressive heat.
Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, was established as a trading post in 1690 by the English East India Company, roughly eighty years after New York City was established by the rival Dutch East India Company. A metropolis of over four million people, Kolkata was the crossroads between east and west. Shimmering towers of steel rose out of squalid pre-colonial slums. The city was a microcosm of India, it represented the old and the new, the wealth and power of an increasingly affluent nation and the abject poverty of those who progress left behind.
When they got out of the city and onto the road to Schillong, Kale took advantage of India’s relative lack of traffic laws. He unbuckled his seatbelt and slipped out of the window, resting his bottom on the door frame while he shot the glorious countryside rife with ancient temples and sprawling tea plantations.
“Kale, I wish you wouldn’t do that,” said Chase.
They were traveling at over sixty miles an hour on some of the bumpiest roads Chase had ever seen. He held his breath every time they hit a pot hole and Kale’s butt bounced off the door frame.
“Its fine,” Kale shouted over the roar of the wind. “My feet are planted and…”
He didn’t get to finish his sentence. Chase saw an oncoming truck approaching from the opposite direction, it passed so close that if he hadn’t grabbed Kale’s belt and yanked him down in his seat, his husband would have been a splatter on the freeway.
“Holy shit,” Kale exclaimed.
“Now will you keep your butt in that seat?” Chase demanded.
“Yeah, s-sorry,” Kale stuttered. He’d been reckless and if it hadn’t been for Chase…
“It’s alright,” said Chase, leaning forward and patting him on the back. “You can play photographer later, for now let’s just get there in one piece. You’re not going to make me a widower at nineteen, right?”
“No, Dear, I’ll be good.” Kale smiled.
After Kales little brush with death, things in the van settled down. Jalad turned out to be a rather well informed tour guide and Kale continued to take pictures, though he didn’t even get close to the window let alone hang out of it. They reached Schillong at sunset where Jalad deposited them at the Marriot and wished them luck on their journey.
The Schillong Marriot was like any four star hotel back home, the only difference was the price. The four boys were sharing a room to keep costs down on the trip but for a hundred bucks they got two queen beds, a large bathroom, flat screen TV and the most coveted luxury in India, air conditioning. The same room at the Manhattan Marriot would have been triple the price.
By the time the boys reached their room they were exhausted. The time change coupled with the effects of international travel, the long drive and the heat wore them out and they wanted to be well rested for the next day when they would meet the rickshaw’s they’d drive across India’s northern spine.
“So, before we bed down for the night, do you guys wanna…” Alec started. He’d come out of the bathroom to find that, like himself, his fellow travelers had stripped down to their underwear.
“No,” Kale exclaimed.
“Man, you guys are no fun. First no one wants to join the Mile High Club and now here we are, our first night in a strange and exotic land and I’m the only one who wants to make a memory?” Alec pouted.
“Kale and Chase are exhausted, Love,” said Sasha. “Aren’t you tired?”
“Yeah but, well…” Alec started. Sasha followed his eyes as Alec looked down, a clear bulge in his underpants.
“Oh, I see.” Sasha giggled.
“What is it with you anyway?” Kale asked. “You’re not normally such a… hormone.”
“I’m telling you, since getting out of that hospital, I seem to want it all the time,” said Alec. “It’s a bit frustrating really.”
“When I got out of the hospital I was afraid to let Chase touch me let alone have sex with him,” said Kale.
“Yeah but didn’t he already know how tiny your pecker was? What was to be afraid of?” Alec teased.
“I’ve never heard you complain,” Kale retorted.
“Hey, I never said you didn’t know how to use the little fella…”
“Don’t even try it, Kutsenko,” said Kale narrowing his eyes at Alec.
“Try what?” Alec asked innocently.
“You’re not going to bait me into sex, I’m tired.”
“Alright, alright, geez, can’t blame a guy for trying, right?” Alec grinned.
Kale rolled his eyes and got under the covers next to Chase.
“I think we’ll all get to sleep faster if I…tend to him,” said Sasha.
“You wanna do it in front of Kale and Chase?” asked Alec, pretending to be scandalized.
“Nothing we haven’t seen before.” Chase snickered.
“Just turn the lights out.” Kale yawned.
“Sash, this is so kinky,” said Alec.
“Well, if you’d rather not, Love…”
“Kinky sounds fun!” Alec grinned from ear to ear as he jumped on the bed.
Sasha rolled his eyes and smiled, then turned out the lights. Kale and Chase snuggled close as their friends started to make love. They didn’t know how Alec could be horny when they were so tired but they would have been lying if they said Alec’s gentle moans as Sasha sucked him weren’t stimulating. Eventually Sasha mounted Alec and began to ride him, their bed squeaking ever so slightly in the dark.
“Wow, this is like a ride,” Alec called out.
Kale and Chase both roared with laughter.
“Yeah, I knew you guys were still awake,” said Alec, his voice breathy as Sasha made love to him.
When Alec reached his climax he moaned into his pillow to minimize the noise. With that done, the boys were finally able to get some sleep.
The next morning the boys woke refreshed and ready to begin their adventure. After a round of quick showers and breakfast in the hotel lobby, they took a taxi to the polo grounds where the rickshaws were stored in advance of the run.
“If these rickshaws are so shitty,” asked Alec, “Why are they storing them at the polo grounds? Isn’t that the kind of fancy club Kale’s parents would belong too?”
“Maybe back home,” Kale admitted. “But polo is really popular here, kind of like baseball back in the states.”
“Where did you pick that up?” Alec replied.
“Read a book, Kutsenko.” Kale grinned.
The polo ground was a sea of three wheeled rickshaws in a variety of colors. They found the registration tent, gave the attendant their team name and he issued them keys and a map of the grounds with their parking space marked in red.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Sasha laughed when he saw their karts.
“Taking this Griswold’s thing a bit far, aren’t we?” Chase giggled.
“What can I say; it’s a good fit for our motley crew.” Kale grinned.
When Kale shared his team name with the organizers of the run he didn’t even get a chance to explain it, they knew exactly who the Griswold’s were and had to stop laughing before taking down the rest of his information. After registering the team name they asked Kale if he had any special requests for their rickshaws. The organizers would arrange basic paintjobs for all the rickshaws used in the run but “pimping” them was part of the fun and would be up to the team. Kale told the organizers he’d like to stick with the theme his team name created and thus he and his friends found their rickshaws in metallic pea just like the iconic Griswold family station wagon.
“They look fantastic,” said Alec as he hopped aboard the first rickshaw and ran his hands over its moped style handlebars.
“These seats leave something to the imagination though,” said Chase as he and Sasha jumped in the back.
“Well, keep in mind we’re supposed to pimp them out,” said Kale. He produced his camera as if from thin air and shot a few frames of his friends. “We’ll have to make a list of everything we need and make them more comfortable.”
The boys examined the rickshaws closely. They needed foam padding and material for seat cushions, plus a few decorative elements. Most of the rickshaw’s they’d seen the natives driving were garishly decked out with flowers so that went on the list too. Lastly it was decided they should pick up a pair of walkie-talkies since cellphone service along the route would be intermittent at best.
“I saw some paint back by the registration tent,” said Sasha. “Why don’t you and Alec head to the market while Chase and I add a few finishing touches to the paintjobs?”
“Alright,” said Kale. “When we get back I’d like to take the roof rack off our rig and see if we can create some kind of sunroof.”
“Going to work on your tan?” Alec teased. “With this sun and your skin tone you might disintegrate.”
“No, smart ass,” Kale slapped his shoulder. “I want to be able to stand up and shoot along the road.”
“Oh, not going to just hang your ass out the side?” asked Chase.
“No, I should have listened to you yesterday, that scared the shit out of me,” Kale admitted.
“See that, Alec? Take note,” said Sasha.
“Note of what?”
“Kale’s spouse, like your future spouse, is always right when it comes to keeping him out of trouble.” Sasha grinned.
“Whatever.” Alec laughed.
Kale snapped his camera onto a clip he’d rigged on his backpack strap for easy access, then he and Alec headed for the market just outside the polo grounds. They found themselves in a swarm of people and as the crowd swept them to the center of the market Kale started taking pictures again.
“Hey, you wanna focus so we can find the stuff we need?” asked Alec. “Wow, I can’t believe I said that.”
“No kidding, since when are you the responsible one?” Kale teased. “Why don’t we split up here, you go north, I’ll go south, see what we can find and meet back here in say, twenty minutes?”
“Yeah, sounds good,” Alec agreed.
Twenty minutes later the only thing Kale had found was a fedora to keep the sun out of his eyes. Of all the things he’d put on his checklist he’d neglected to include a baseball cap. As the sun beat down on his forehead he lamented leaving his well-worn Boston Red Sox cap sitting on a shelf in his old bedroom.
“Nice hat,” Alec giggled when they met up.
“Does the job,” Kale grinned. “I didn’t find anything in the way of supplies though, you?”
“Yeah, I found pretty much everything we need and I got these,” Alec smiled slyly when he pulled a pair of handcuffs out of his pocket and twirled them on his finger.
“What the hell are you going to do with those?”
“You know, freaks come out at night…”
“Oh…Oh, you think Sash will go for that?”
“Sure, we’ve never tried handcuffs before but he’s tied me up a few times. Should be fun.”
“Wait, really, you guys do that?”
“I’m a lucky man, Leafy. Sash is very experimental. The tying up thing, it was weird at first but once you get into it, surrender yourself to your partner, its’ pretty mind blowing,” said Alec.
“Yeah, I got you and Chase a pair too,” said Alec producing a second pair.
“Oh lord, my hubby gets enough tips from Sasha as it is.”
“You say it like it’s a bad thing.”
“Yeah, on second thought that was poor wording, gimme the cuffs.” Kale smiled as he yanked the cuffs out of Alec’s hand and stuffed them in the pocket of his cargo shorts.
“My man,” Alec grinned. He put his arm around Kale’s shoulders and led him in the direction of the supplies.
“So can I ask you something personal?” asked Kale as they shopped for fabric.
“Always, but in front of all these people?” Alec replied with a raised eyebrow.
“Alec, they don’t understand a word we say.”
“Hmmmm,” said Alec, then he turned to the woman who ran the fabric booth and smiled. “Testicle shitting butt-fuck taco.”
“Ok.” She smiled back.
“That wasn’t an invitation to take it for a test drive.” Kale laughed.
“Well, now we know.” Alec winked. “So what did you want to ask?”
“This obsession with sex, it’s not you…” Kale started.
“I’m not obsessed.”
“Alec, you pestered everyone about it on the flight over here and then when we got to the hotel Sash had to fuck you in front of us just to get you to sleep.”
“I thought you guys liked the show.”
“We did, but still, not like you. What’s up?”
Alec was quiet for a moment as he contemplated his answer.
“It’s ok, you can tell me,” said Kale, gently.
“The hospital, man, Leafy, that scared the shit out of me.” Alec sighed.
“I know it did. Believe me, it scared us to death. Sash was beside himself, I was almost as bad, and Chase had to hold us together even though he was hurting too. Poor Lucien, Alec, you don’t know…”
“I know you guys love me but…”
“I don’t think you know how much,” Kale interrupted. “Sasha kept saying if you left us he was going with you. That scared me to death because I understood how he felt. If we’d lost you, it would have hurt like hell but I would have gotten over it because I have no choice. I have a husband and a little boy who need me almost as much as I need them. But thinking about it, Alec, a substantial part of the joy in my life comes from being your friend.”
“Wow.” Alec sighed.
“But what’s all this have to do with sex?”
“Ok, well, when I got out, it’s like I said, I feel like I have a new lease on life. I want to do everything, try everything. Didn’t you feel like that after your heart surgery? I mean you came out and everything afterwards.”
“That was for Chase. If I didn’t do it I would have lost him and I could not allow that to happen. I was happy I did it after the fact but I was scared shitless right up until I kissed him in that cafeteria. I still don’t get it though.”
“Maybe it’s some lingering post-op euphoria or something, I don’t know, but I look at you guys and holy fuck! Kale, you, Chase, Sash, you guys are so fucking beautiful. And I’m not just talking on the outside, the way we love each other…why wouldn’t I take every opportunity to make love to you guys?”
“Thanks, and I get that. I feel the same way about you but, well, our relationship has never been about sex. Sex has always been the icing on a pretty awesome cake. I don’t want our relationship to ever devolve to just something sexual.”
“Hey, look at me,” said Alec. He tuned Kale to face him and held him by the shoulders. “That is never going to happen, got it?”
“I mean it, Kale. You and Chase mean more to me and Sasha then you could possibly fathom. Nothing is going to change that.”
“I’m glad to know that.”
“Hug it out bitch,” said Alec, throwing his arms open.
“Alec, not in front of the Indians.” Kale blushed.
“Donkey raping ass-waffle,” Alec smiled at the shop owner.
“Ok,” she smiled in return.
Alec returned his gaze to Kale and wiggled his eyebrows.
“Alright, alright.” Kale laughed as he hugged his best friend.
“That’s better,” said Alec.
“Yeah, and just because I’m asking you about it, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to have fun on this trip. I mean geez, Chase and I didn’t pack our bikini underwear for nothing.”
“Nothing,” Kale replied coyly.
“What was that about bikini underwear?”
“Nothing.” Kale grinned as he paid for a bolt of hideous yellow and brown tartan fabric.
“Are you wearing them now? Can I see?” Alec whined.
“Shut up and help me carry this crap or you’ll never find out.” Kale laughed.
When they returned to the polo grounds Alec and Kale found Chase and Sasha sitting on the ground with their shirts off. They’d worked hard on the paintjob’s and when they finished they decided to get some sun while waiting for their men to return. Kale didn’t even think to look at the rickshaw; he was too distracted by his beautiful blond husband and his lean swimmers body.
“Check it out,” said Chase when Alec and Kale returned, “Indiana Kirkwood and the Kutsenko of Doom.”
“Nice hat, Kale.” Sasha giggled.
“Laugh it up guys, but at least I won’t get sunburned,” said Kale before turning to examine the rickshaws. “Anyway, these look awesome!”
Chase and Sasha thought the vehicles paintwork was incomplete, they’d added faux wood paneling and painted a cartoon moose on the back of each with the slogan, “Wally World or Bust.”
“We named them while you guys were gone too,” said Sasha.
“Alec and Sash have The Wagon Queen Family Truckster.” Chase giggled.
“And you guys have Holiday Road,” Sasha added.
“Taking this Griswold’s thing a bit far, aren’t we?” Kale grinned.
“What can I say; it’s a good fit for our motley crew,” said Chase, echoing his husband.
The boys spent the rest of the afternoon making cushion’s for their rickshaw’s, strewing ropes of plastic flowers around the window frames and turning Chase and Kale’s ride into a mobile photography platform. At the end of the day they were worn out and sat back to admire their handy work until the shrill, gnat like beep of a horn drew their attention.
Their British friends, the Brewer Brother’s, Jim, Liam and Marcus pulled up in a blue rickshaw with the Union Jack emblazoned across the front.
“We’ve been looking all over for you guys,” said Jim as he hopped out of the rickshaw. His smile ran from ear to ear as he gestured at their ride. “What do you think of Queen and Country?”
“It looks great,” said Alec as Kale whipped out his camera and shot a few frames.
“Meet the Family Truckster and Holiday Road,” said Sasha, thumbing over his shoulder at their rickshaws.
“Brilliant,” Marcus laughed.
“We were thinking,” said Jim, “It’s a long road to Cochin; maybe we could team up a bit, watch each other’s backs?”
“Like you said at the airport,” Liam continued, “The US and the UK together against the world.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Kale, shaking Jim’s hand.
“Right then, we’ve gotta celebrate our alliance, why don’t you lot come round our hotel for dinner tonight?” asked Jim.
“We’ll be there,” Alec replied, putting his arms around his teammates.
Kale got the address for the Brits hotel and promised they’d be there for dinner after stopping by their hotel to take showers. As they walked out of the polo grounds to catch a cab, Chase put his hand in Kale’s pocket. He wanted to pull Kale’s hand out so he could hold it but found a weird metallic shape instead.
“Um, what are these?” Chase raised an eyebrow.
“Belated wedding gift.” Alec grinned.
“Alec got them for you.” Kale rolled his eyes and fought to suppress a smile.
“Um Alec?” asked Sasha.
“Don’t worry, he got you a pair too,” said Kale.
“Uh huh,” Alec grinned wickedly then wiggled his eyebrows seductively at his fiancé.
“We like to drink with Alec, cause Alec is our mate! And when we drink with Alec, he gets it down in 8-7-6-5-4…” the Brits sang as Alec downed his latest beer.
After a quick stop by their hotel to shower, and for Kale to upload the day’s pictures and email them back to New York, the guys joined their new friends for dinner. After the meal they stuck around for a drink which turned into two drinks which turned into three and so on and so forth. None of the boys were heavy drinkers but the triplets saw to it that everyone took advantage of the liberal drinking age. Chase and Sasha were already passed out and snoring, Kale didn’t know how he and Alec were still standing.
“Alright, Kale, you’re up,” said Jim.
“I don’t know if I should, I’m already seeing three of you,” Kale slurred to the raucous laughter of the triplets.
“Do it for your country mate,” said Liam.
“Yeah, the good old USA,” Marcus added.
“Come on, Leafy. Our national prides at stake,” said Alec.
“Fuck it,” Kale sighed as he took the drink Jim pushed into his hand.
“We like to drink with Kale, cause Kale is our mate! And when we drink with Kale he gets it down in 8-7-6-5-4…”
Kale hated beer, he thought it tasted like drinking a piece of toast, but somehow he managed to get it down without throwing up.
“Well done, well done.” Jim clapped him on the back.
“I don’t know how you guys do it,” said Kale. The triplets didn’t seem remotely intoxicated.
“Experience,” said Liam.
“Can’t have a name like Brewer and be a lite-weight.” Marcus smiled.
“So, all you lads are bent?” asked Jim.
Kale and the guys felt if they were going to team up with the Brits they should be upfront about their sexuality. They’d only been keeping it a secret because Kale had read it was a taboo subject with the locals but they assumed they wouldn’t get any flak from fellow westerners. The Brits had been surprised when Sasha laid things out for them at dinner but as expected they were accepting.
“Bent as a U-turn.” Kale giggled.
“But you lot are so…normal,” said Liam.
“Not that normal,” said Alec. “We’re all wearing panties.”
“Seriously?” Jim’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull.
“No,” said Kale, slapping Alec’s shoulder.
“I can’t believe I fell for that,” Jim shook his head.
“I take it you don’t know a lot of gay guys?” asked Kale.
“Not really,” Marcus admitted. “There was this bloke in school, Kevin, but you could see him coming from a mile away.”
“Yeah, we’re undercover,” said Alec. “It’s our job to convert sexy Englishmen.”
After everyone stopped laughing, Kale turned serious. Well, as serious as he could be with all that alcohol in his system. “You said we were normal and that’s just the thing. We are normal; we just prefer hot dogs to tacos.”
“It’s been an education. You lot are the fucking boys,” said Jim as he and his brothers raised their drinks to their new friends.
“Fuck nugget douche nozzle,” Alec smiled at a passing waitress.
“What the bloody hell was that?” Jim laughed.
“Relax, they don’t understand a word we say,” Alec slurred.
“Alec, mate, she spoke English when she took our order.” Liam giggled.
“Oh yeah,” said Alec, scratching his head.
“Haven’t you noticed all the billboards and advertisements are in English?” asked Marcus.
“Yeah, you’re right, they are. But Leafy said…” Alec looked to Kale and found him struggling to keep a straight face. “You shifty bastard, you set me up!”
“I saw an opportunity and I thought, hmmm, what would Alec do?” said Kale as he finally lost it and started laughing.
“What’s this?” asked Jim.
“He told me the locals didn’t understand us, I’ve been swearing at random people all day,” Alec exclaimed.
“Brilliant,” Liam laughed.
Kale started to say something but the last drink finally hit him and everything went black.
When Kale woke the next morning he found it difficult to open his eyes. He’d never been drunk enough to have a hangover before but he was making up for it now. His head felt like it was going to explode, his joints ached and his eyes were so dried out that when he opened them the lids scrapped his corneas like sandpaper.
He blinked his eyes a couple of times to bring them into focus and found himself snuggled up to Alec. He saw Sasha on the other side and could feel Chase spooned in behind him. One of Kale’s arms was pinned under him and felt numb but his free hand rested on something warm and spongy. It took him a second to figure out his hand was on Alec’s package. He started to pet his friend absentmindedly when he closed his eyes to ease the throbbing in his head. When that didn’t work he tried to get up so he could take some Aspirin but found his arm dragging something heavy.
Kale sat up and blinked his eyes again, his head was swimming. It took a conscious effort for him to focus and look down where he found his left wrist cuffed to Alec’s right.
“What the fuck?” Kale groaned. He leaned in close and whispered, “Alec, wake up.”
“Shut up, mom,” Alec grumped and abruptly rolled over on his side. He put so much effort into the move that he dragged Kale with him, effectively flopping him on Sasha.
“Ahh, what the hell?” Sasha exclaimed when Kale’s shoulder slammed into his stomach.
“Damn it,” Kale swore. He tried to get up but Alec sat up and stretched which again dragged Kale along with him. He accidently kicked Chase in the thigh and suddenly the four boys were a tangle of very grumpy arms and legs.
“Ugh, my head,” Chase groaned once they separated themselves and found he too was suffering from the world’s worst hangover. As shitty as he felt he still started laughing when he saw Kale next to Alec, their wrists chained together. “What the hell?”
“I have no idea,” said Kale. “All I know is my head feels like it’s going to pop like a damn zit. Alec, do you have any memory of how this happened?”
“Man, last night is a blur,” said Alec. “I remember the guys helping me get you three into the room and then…I just don’t know.”
“Did we have sex last night?” asked Sasha.
“I don’t think so,” said Kale. “We’re all still in our underwear and in our condition I don’t know how we’d have gotten them back on.”
“Yeah,” Chase agreed. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
Chase rapidly turned a vivid shade of green. He started to heave and made a mad dash for the bathroom. The guys heard him wretch and their stomachs turned, each wondering who would be next.
“Fuck,” Kale swore, “The run starts today at noon.”
“It’ll be alright, we’ll shower, get some breakfast and be on our way,” said Alec.
“Ugh, how can you think of breakfast?” asked Kale as they heard Chase purge the remaining contents of his stomach.
“It really will make you feel better,” said Sasha.
“Alright, Alec, where’s the key?” asked Kale, holding up his wrist.
“How should I know?”
“Why wouldn’t you? You put these things on us,” said Kale.
“I did not, at least I don’t think I did,” said Alec, running his free hand through his hair.
“Well if you didn’t then who did?” asked Kale testily.
“I don’t know, maybe you did it,” Alec retorted.
“Ok, ok, let’s not argue, my head is killing me. Sash, can you check our pockets for the key?” asked Kale.
Sasha found everyone’s clothes in a pile on the floor. He searched through all the pockets, found the second pair of handcuffs, and their key, but not the key to the pair that secured Alec and Kale.
“It’s not here,” said Sasha.
“Shit, ok, it has to be here somewhere, let’s just keep looking. Fuck,” Kale swore after a few minutes and the key was still missing. “Now what do we do?”
“What’s the matter?” asked Chase when he stumbled out of the bathroom.
“We can’t find the key,” said Alec.
“Oh that’s just classic,” Chase laughed.
“Babe, it’s not funny,” Kale pouted.
“Don’t stress about it,” said Chase as he kissed Kale on the cheek. He wasn’t about to kiss him on the mouth after what happened in the bathroom. “We’ll get cleaned up and head over to the polo grounds, I’m sure someone will have a hacksaw.”
Kale wasn’t happy about it but he didn’t really have much of a choice. While Chase and Sasha showered, Alec and Kale continued to cuddle on the bed wishing their hangovers would go away. Finally it was their turn in the shower, fortunately they were staying at a nice hotel and there was room for both of them.
“Are you alright?” asked Alec when Kale slumped against him in the shower.
“Sure, no problem, my brain’s just trying to squeeze out of my ears,” Kale grumbled.
“You’ll feel better after you get some food, promise,” said Alec, putting his free arm around Kale’s waist.
Kale took comfort in his friend’s embrace and absentmindedly rubbed Alec’s chest and abs, then ran his fingers over his stab wound.
“It’s just a scar,” Alec sighed.
“I know, it’s, well, kind of sexy.”
“What?” Alec snickered.
“Well, it is.”
“So is yours.”
“Please, mine came from having a bum ticker, yours came from being heroic,” Kale scoffed.
“I’ll have to get a cape to go with my handcuffs,” Alec laughed.
“Hmmm, you in a cape, that would be kind of sexy,” Kale grinned.
“You naked and wet is sexy,” said Alec, then he leaned in and kissed Kale softly on the lips.
“Mmm, no,” said Kale, pushing him gently back.
“It’s ok, just not without Chase and Sasha.”
“I know, rules are rules.”
“They’re good rules,” said Kale. “But if Sasha and Chase are up for it you can kiss me later.”
“Yeah?” Alec asked hopefully.
“Sure, I told you I wanted to have fun on this trip, but even if Chase and Sasha were in this shower with us, making out with you while I’m this fucked up would still suck,” Kale laughed then groaned.
“Good point,” Alec sighed, suddenly very aware of the throbbing in his head.
The first thing Kale did when he got out of the shower was tell Chase and Sasha that he and Alec had kissed. He loved Alec, loved having sex with him, but not at the expense of hurting Chase. They had rules, Kale intended to follow them and in doing so he learned that Sasha and Chase weren’t even upset about it, in fact they’d laughed. That was the reaction Kale had expected and everyone agreed that celebrating their first day on the road with a little sex at the end of the day, when they were feeling better, was a great idea.
As they started dressing, Alec and Kale encountered another problem. They were able to put on shorts and underwear but there was no way they could put on shirts. With a heavy sigh, Kale resolved he would have to go down to the lobby and eat breakfast topless. They weren’t sitting there long when the other guests started staring at them and then their savior arrived in the form of a maintenance man. He used a pair of bolt cutters and had them free in a matter of seconds.
“Why the hell didn’t any of us think to call maintenance?” asked Kale, dumbfounded.
“Because we’re hung over?” asked Sasha.
“That or Kale secretly did this on purpose so he could show off that sexy body,” Chase grinned.
“I don’t think so,” Kale groaned. “I sure as hell don’t feel sexy right now.”
“Typical Leafy, always showing off.” Alec snickered.
“Hey, I’m not the one who…” Kale started.
“Excuse me,” a young lady interrupted. She had an accent like their British friends but it was slightly more pronounced. When Kale looked up he found her standing there in a t-shirt and shorts, a backpack over her shoulder and an Australian flag stitched to the strap. “My friends and I were just wondering, well, this sounds so stupid, I can’t believe I’m doing this…”
“Uh, can I help you?” asked Kale, confused. He looked past her at her two friends who were giggling at a table in the corner.
“Are you famous, you look so familiar,” she replied.
“Oh, no, I…” Kale began.
“Yes he’s Kale Kirkwood, super model” said Alec with a bright smile. “We’re his entourage.”
“I’m not, really…” Kale blushed.
“He’s been in GQ, Esquire, Vogue, you name it.” Chase grinned. “He’s done several ads now.”
“Yeah, you’re the model from the jeans ad,” she exclaimed then pointed over her shoulder. “Millie tore your add out of Vogue and put it on her wall back at uni.”
“Oh God.” Kale blushed deeper.
“Awww, you’re shy,” the girl smiled as her friends joined her. “Can we take a picture with you?”
“Look, I’m just here with my friends for the Rickshaw Run, I’m not…” Kale started.
“So are we,” the girl exclaimed. “I’m Alice. Millie, Sara and I, we’re making the run too.”
“Take a picture with them, Kale, it’ll be cute,” said Chase.
“Yeah, Kale, don’t be an ungrateful celebrity,” Sasha added.
“Please, Kale?” Alice pleaded.
“Alright.” Kale sighed.
He stood up and Alice handed her phone to Chase. Millie and Sara kissed Kale on his cheeks while Alice gave the camera a thumb’s up. Kale’s eyes popped open in surprise and that’s when Chase snapped the picture.
“Awww, it’s so cute, thank you, Kale,” said Alice as she checked out the shot on her screen, then she kissed his cheek too.
“You’re welcome,” said Kale shyly.
“Good luck on the run, maybe we’ll run into you guys on the road,” said Alice. She and her friends waved good bye to the boys and ran off giggling as they went.
“Not one fucking word,” said Kale, turning to his friends.
That of course caused his friends to break out in a fit of giggles which turned into thunderous laughter.
“Damn it,” Kale swore.
“Awww, don’t be a grump.” Chase soothed him with a kiss. “Your fans love you.”
“Can we just go?” asked Kale, giving Chase’s hand a squeeze.
“Yeah, let’s go get shirts on before more of your fans turn up and want to milk you or something,” said Alec.
Once Kale and Alec were fully dressed the guys packed up their belongings and trucked everything down to the lobby. Kale checked out of the hotel while Alec hailed a cab. They loaded their luggage and equipment into the cab and Chase snuggled up to Kale for the ride to the polo grounds.
“Feeling better?” asked Kale.
“I’m not going to throw up on you if that’s what you’re getting at,” said Chase.
Kale smiled down at his husband, kissed the top of his head and began stroking his hair. Not only did that relax their son it also had the desired effect on Chase.
“Are you nervous?” asked Chase.
“A little, I mean, this is crazy isn’t it?”
“Driving across the rugged terrain of a strange country in the golf kart’s step-brother? Nah, what could be crazy about that.” Chase giggled.
“Good point, I’m sure things will go off without a hitch.” Kale laughed with his husband.
“What about you, Love?” Sasha asked Alec.
“I’m disappointed.” Alec sighed.
“What?” The group exclaimed in unison.
“This might be the most insane thing we’ll ever do and Leafy thought of it. That’s my job.” Alec grinned.
“Whatever, if you’d suggested this I’d still be in New York,” Kale retorted.
“Bullshit,” Alec laughed. “You’d be right here beside us bitching all the way.”
“He’s got you there babe,” said Chase.
“Well at least this way you don’t have to listen to me bitch,” said Kale.
“I don’t know, it’s still early,” Alec teased.
“Yes, the day isn’t over yet,” Sasha added.
“Haven’t even left yet and already breaking my balls,” Kale sighed.
“Relax, they’re still in one piece,” said Chase as he copped a feel.
“Ha,” Kale jumped at the unexpected touch.
When they reached the polo grounds the guys set about loading their luggage and equipment into the rickshaws, topping off their fuel tanks and doing whatever final checks they could think of. It was hard work considering everyone was still dealing with a hangover.
“Let’s make a vow here and now not to drink like that again,” Kale groaned as he finished tying down the bag that held his laptop. “I don’t want to be dragging ass all across India.”
“I’d say you’ve got a few years before it starts to drag,” said Alec, reaching over to pinch Kale’s ass.
“You know what I mean.” Kale jumped and rolled his eyes.
“Count me in,” said Sasha as he massaged his temples. “I may never drink again.”
“Aww, it’s not that bad,” said Alec.
“You’re only saying that because you didn’t see me in the bathroom,” said Chase. “It was like that scene from The Exorcist.”
“Awwwww, poor baby,” said Kale, putting his arms around his husband and resting his head on Chase’s shoulder.
“I’ll start looking for an old priest and a young priest,” Sasha grinned.
“I’d settle for a witch doctor at this point.” Chase giggled.
Just then the boys were interrupted by the beeping of Queen and Country’s horn. The Brewer triplets rolled up on the scene looking like the picture of health. They were bright and cheerful as always when they greeted their American contemporaries.
“Morning lads,” Jim exclaimed when he hopped off the rickshaw.
“Ugh,” the American’s groaned collectively.
“Bit of a rough start today?” asked Liam.
“That’s one way of putting it,” said Kale.
“I was afraid of that. We brought you something,” said Jim. His brother, Marcus, fished a bottle of clear liquid out of his bag and passed it to Alec who was closest.
“Hair of the dog?” asked Alec.
“Nah mate, we’re trying to help you lot, not kill you,” said Marcus.
“What is it?” asked Kale.
“The Queen’s own hangover cure,” said Jim. “Go ahead, give it a try.”
Kale took the bottle from Alec, took off the lid and sniffed at the contents. He couldn’t smell anything foul so he took a swig.
“Water?” asked Kale.
“With lime and honey,” said Marcus.
“Limes from the limey’s,” Liam chuckled.
“Does that really work?” asked Chase.
“You don’t see us walking around like death warmed over, do you?” asked Jim.
“Gimme that,” Chase exclaimed. He yanked the bottle from Kale’s hands and drained half the contents in a single gulp.
“Hey, save some for us,” said Sasha.
“Not to worry, we brought more,” said Marcus, producing a second bottle.
The boys thanked their British friends and after a few minutes they actually started to feel better. Water, lime juice and honey, who knew?
“Alright people, let’s start moving those rickshaw’s to the starting line,” shouted one of the event organizers as he roamed up and down the lanes. “Everyone to the starting point.”
“That’s our cue,” said Jim as he mounted Queen and Country. “Let’s do it boys!”
The guys boarded their rickshaws, Family Truckster and Holiday Road fired up without a second’s hesitation. Chase and Alec were doing the driving and Kale was standing up in Holiday Road’s makeshift sunroof so he could photograph the chaos erupting around him. There were over eighty teams, two-hundred rickshaws, taking part in the run and as they made their way to the starting blocks it was utter pandemonium.
Chase lined Holiday Road up with Family Truckster and Queen and Country. You could barely hear yourself think over the sputtering of two-hundred 7 horsepower engines, and the excited hoots and hollers of the participants. Someone was speaking over a loud speaker but the only thing Kale could make out was “…and they’re off!” followed by the blast of an air horn.
The sea of rickshaws began to move en masse. Chase popped Holiday Road into gear and…nothing happened.
“What’s the matter?” Kale shouted down from his perch.
“I don’t know,” Chase shouted in reply. “It won’t start.”
Family Truckster was right next to Holiday Road but Queen and Country got swept up in the throng and was forced to move out.
“What happened?” asked Alec, shouting over the speeding rickshaws leaving them in the dust as he ran up to Kale.
“No idea,” said Kale as he jumped off the kart and ran around to the back to open the engine hatch.
“Do you know anything about small engines?” asked Alec.
“Are you kidding? I only opened the hatch as a formality,” said Kale.
“Rich kids, I swear,” Alec Rolled his eyes.
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
Alec ran back to Family Truckster and returned a second later with a hammer.
“What the hell are you going to do with that?” asked Kale.
“The problem with you rich kids is you’ve never driven a piece of shit. You never really fix it, you will it to keep going and when that doesn’t work, there’s always blunt force,” said Alec as he knelt down and whacked the engine with his hammer.
“I hardly think that’s going to…” Kale started but stopped short when the little engine sputtered to life.
Alec smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Kale threw his arms around his buddy and gave him a bone crushing hug, holding it until Sasha honked his horn. Alec ran back to Family Truckster, Kale jumped in the seat next to Chase, kissed him hastily on the cheek and shouted, “Floor it baby!”
Chase put the rickshaw in gear and they were off like a shot. Kale took a moment to reflect as they blasted through the starting gate. Never in a million years would he have thought he’d be doing something so crazy but as they sped to catch up to the rest of the pack he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so…alive!
“Queen and Country to Holiday Road, over,” Marcus Brewer’s voice crackled over the radio.
“Go ahead QC,” Kale replied.
“You lad’s alright? Should we turn round?”
“No way man, keep going and we’ll meet you at the first overnight. We’re on our way now!”
“Having fun?” Chase shouted over the roar of the wind and the engine.