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Extra Time by C.F. White

 

Overview: When it's time, it's time.
Jay Ruttman and Sebastian Saunders are back.
Used to the press, used to the public interest, and used to being just the two of them, they’ve forged a life juggling their high-profile careers with their low-key relationship. And it’s working. Mostly.

There's only two things left hanging that could elevate their contentment to perfection—marriage and a child.
Six years since bridge-gate, and Jay’s spectacular proposal on the Millennium Bridge, the bill has now passed for legal same-sex marriage. It looks like they might be able to finally tie the knot, and the pitter patter of tiny feet isn’t as far flung an idea as it might have first seemed.
Until Jay has his first call up to play for the national team and must, once again, decide what’s more important—family or football.
This is an add-on novella to wrap up The District Line series.

 

Extra Time by C.F. White Book Chapter One

 

Penguin Suit

September 2009—two years since bridgegate.

 
“Did you know there are gay penguins in New York zoo?”

“And that’s important to ask me at one in the mornin’, is it?” Jay Ruttman yawned, rubbing his eyes and leaned back in the single bed, phone to ear, allowing— no, hoping—for his boyfriend’s voice to soothe his irate temper.

“I would say so. Why? Are you busy?”

Jay glanced over to the man currently occupying the other bed. Chainsaw-like snores emanated from an open mouth and Jay clenched his jaw. No, he hadn’t been busy. Nor had he been asleep. As he was meant to be. As his schedule required him to be. Instead, he’d been lying awake listening to vibrating snorts that rattled the curtains and his nerves for the past few hours. Seb’s phone call had been a welcome relief from his irritation. Not to mention had prevented Jay from committing murder.

Or would it be manslaughter?

Self-defence?

We’d have no defence if I did that.

“No,” he sighed into the phone. “Go on.”

“Good.” Seb sounded far too chipper for this time of night. Or early morning as it were. The bloke was a night owl though and tended to stay up far too late even after the gigs that ran into the a.m. Jay often woke to alcohol breath and slurred sweet nothings. Still, it was darn sight better than animalistic grunts.

On cue, Davies snored.

Seb, oblivious, continued, “Two male Emperor penguins rescued a discarded egg from some bitch whore of a bird who clearly had a one night stand with Percy, the head honcho of the penguin posse, and decided that would admit shame on her already married status with Pepe, so she kicked it away. Can you believe that?”

“That their real names?”

“I would imagine so. Anyway, luckily, Peter and Paul found the egg, sat on it and they’ve just had their first chick. Little Pingu. He’s a beautiful, fluffy grey sweetheart and the family are a happy, contented unit that have been accepted into the penguin pool. Not a ruffled feather. They’re the star attraction. Visitors can have their picture taken with the happy family too.”

“Is this your way of askin’ if we can go to New York and do a PR phota with a family of gay penguins?” Jay peered over to the other bed checking that West Ham’s wing defence wasn’t listening in on his phone call. He was met with a growling snort that tore through Jay’s gums.

“Can we?” Seb asked in the pleading voice he tended to use when begging Jay for Häagan Dazs.

“I got next weekend off. It’s internationals.” Jay caved in just as quick then as he usually did with the ice cream.

“Still can’t believe you didn’t get picked for England. Did that shun feel like back at school when you were the last to be chosen in PE?”

“I was usually the first back then.”

“Course you were.” Jay could hear the eye roll. “Before they knew you were a Nancy Boy.”

“Yeah.” Jay tried not to sound defeated. He understood why he hadn’t been, as of yet, chosen to represent his country at international level. He’d come to terms with that. Club football was fine for him. It was.

There was a tap tap tap the other end of the phone, followed by a click, then a hum and a sprightly, “Flight booked.”

“We ain’t gonna stay with your mum though, are we?” Jay’s skin prickled at the thought.

“God, no. I’ll book the Plaza,” Seb said and Jay breathed a sigh of relief. “We might have to do dinner with her though.”

Banging his head against the plush headboard, Jay groaned. Sylvia was way too touchy-feely. Juxtapose that against the stiff upper lip of Seb’s upper-middle class father who made Jay feel like he wasn’t good enough or should be wearing a suit with a silver spoon poking out of his arsehole. Thank fuck Seb’s family gatherings were rare. Non-existent, really. Unlike his own over-the-top east end relatives who used his and Seb’s gaff as though it was an extension of their own property.

“Sorry, Champ. She’s been pissing and moaning about not having seen me since last year. I did mention that I didn’t see her through my most impressionable teenage years, and it hadn’t been a problem for her then. Her reply, it’s why she needs to mother me now.” Seb tsked.

A droning, vibrating rumble from the next bed along caused Jay to drop the phone onto his pillow and he scrambled to pick it back up just in time to hear Seb’s irked, “What the fuck was that?”

“Davies,” Jay said, glaring at the culprit. “He snores.”

“You’re sharing a room?” Seb’s lilt suggested he wasn’t aware of away game arrangements. Seb was quite possibly unaware of anything to do with Jay’s career. Jay knew Seb feigned his interest in football. And Jay loved to pretend that he didn’t realise.

“We always share at away games,” Jay said.

“Oh.” Seb paused, his deep breaths rivalling the throat rips from West Ham’s main defender. “I was not aware that my boyfriend—my fiancé—sleeps with other men when he leaves my bed cold for a weekend.”

A fond smile broke free from Jay’s lips. He hadn’t yet discovered if Seb’s jealousy over Jay spending most of his time with eleven other men was feigned or not. But he liked it. It made him feel loved. And a bit gooey inside.

Davies snored again and that warmth was ripped away quick smart.

“You share with Martin and Noah when you tour,” Jay retaliated.

“That is entirely different. And not always.”

“How is it different?”

“They’re my friends. My band mates! I’ve known them forever.”

“Davies is my teammate. And married. With kids. Straight.” Jay glanced over to the figure sprawled on the next bed along and the man grunted, lips flapping. “Although I ain’t got no clue how she puts up with that noise every night.”

“Maybe she knows my fool proof method to get him to stop.”

“What is it? ‘Cause I been up hours. I got an early kick-off.”

“I don’t think you should attempt it.”

“Will he slap me?”

“Probably. Or he’ll rediscover a side of him he was blissfully unaware of.” Seb chuckled. “And I’ll slap you if you do.”

“Why, what is it?”

“Suck him off.”

Jay pinched the bridge of his nose. “That why I wake up in the night mid blowjob?”

“Did you think I was just horny at two a.m.?”

“You’re always horny. Especially after gig.”

“True. It’s why I was watching the docu about the penguins.”

“You get off on birds now?”

“L.O.L.” Seb spelled out in sarcasm. “I’d exhausted the porn site. Seriously, there’s only so much of those muscle-bound meat heads pounding into each other with over the top grunts while rolling around on the floor that I can take.”

“Daily life, babe.”

“Ha, ha. It is for you. Lucky bastard.”

“I meant the rolling around on the grass faking an injury to get a free kick.”

“You only tell your boyfriend that so I don’t go to bed crying into my pillow.” Seb did fake his mocking sobs.

“Why were you watching the penguin doc?”

“Oh.” Seb settled himself out. “Because masturbation loses its fun eventually. I thought I’d be highbrow this evening. Watch an Attenborough. Turns out, penguins are now my favourite animal. Bollocks to the lions. All they do is lay around looking down on everyone until they get hungry and pounce.”

“Sounds like you.”

“Go fuck yourself, Champ. I’m a penguin. A fucking Emperor penguin. Suave, sophisticated. I could pull off that rockhopper look too. Have you seen that hair? But mainly, I’m a penguin because I look good in black, mate for life, and flap a bit when I’m antsy.”

Jay snorted. “Sounds about right. What am I then?”

“You? You’re a horse. Most of the time you’re silent and stable. A forlorn presence, watching over others. But you’ll lash out and trample a fellow should they get on the wrong side of you. Horses are sporty too, aren’t they? Fast runners? Aaaaand, well, let’s not forget that you’re always ready to be mounted.” Seb chuckled a deep and suggestive tone that meshed horrendously with the snores gurgling across the room.

“Cheers,” Jay said, unimpressed. Well, it was hard to get on board with that when he was next to a bloke who sounded like a dying sea lion.

“Anyway, the real reason for my call.” Seb’s sudden seriousness piqued Jay’s interest. “The penguins got me thinking.”

“About how there must be a fuck ton of other gay animals? Search the Discovery Channel. There’s bound to be some doc on that.”

“No, not that. Although, hang on.” Rustling filtered down the phone, a few clicks and a final flump indicating Seb had set himself up in bed to watch whatever it was he’d found. “Wow. There is. My Gay Dog and Other Animals. Thank you, Auntie beeb.”

“Enjoy.”

Another loud, ear deafening snort thundered across the room. Jay flinched, then couldn’t hold his annoyance anymore and threw his pillow across to the other bed. It landed shy of Davies’ head. Jay tutted. He should’ve kicked it. He never missed an open target with his left foot.

“That noise is worse than the band who opened for us last month,” Seb said. “Some punk outfit the venue made us go with. It was dire. Noise. Ear-splitting noise.”

“You’re gettin’ old.”

“I’m only as old as the man I feel.”

“I’m younger than you.”

“Exactly. Means I will always feel younger than I am. But speaking of getting old… it’s sort of why I was calling.”

“Thought it was about gay penguins?”

“That too. But there’s something on my mind and you know how you said I should talk to you before doing anything rash?”

“Yeah, ’cause that last tatt you got, I would’ve appreciated knowing you were gonna go there.”

“Noted. No more ink in places reserved only for the Rutters.”

“Golden. So what is it this time?”

“Babies.”

Jay baulked, widening his eyes and he peeked over to Davies. He snored. “Babies?” he clarified. “You wanna get a tattoo of babies?”

“No. Well, I would tattoo my own baby’s darling little cherub face on my calf.”

“Calf?”

“Only space left.”

“Stomach? Right chest?”

“All good options but the leg tatt is proving quite the fashion accessory right now. Plus, calf is the name of a baby cow. So it’s quite fitting.”

“Only if you’re going to fuck a cow.”

“Which I hope to never do.”

“Just horses and penguins that do it for ya, is it?”

“I don’t want to shag a penguin, Jay!”

“All right, all right. So what’s this baby and penguin call about, ‘cause, babe, I need some shut-eye double lively.”

There was a pause. An inhale. A shaky breath.

Then a snore.

Jay threw his last pillow and it whacked Davies slap bang on the face. The man didn’t move. He didn’t snore either.

Result.

The short-lived peace broke when Seb announced through a wistful exhalation, “I want to have your babies.”

Jay slammed back against the wall, his head hitting hard, solid plaster. He’d feel that in the morning. “You what?”

“Let’s have babies, Champ. Let’s have little Jays running after their little footballs and little me’s rocking out on the guitar. Well, I’ll start him on the ukulele because, little hands. But by three I’ll expect to upgrade.”

“Babe—”

“I know what you’re going to say. No womb. But, penguins, baby, look at the fucking penguins! We could do that. We could so do that.”

“Steal an egg?” Jay ran a hand over his brow.

Davies wriggled onto his side, the pillow sliding to the floor and an elongated grunt grazed his throat. Jay ignored him to await what Seb was going to declare next.

“We get given one.” Seb’s grin could be felt two hundred miles away and down the telecom system, only mildly preventing the need for Jay to kick the bloke in the next bed to him. “And we know our very own bitch whore!”

“We do?”

“Ann. Let’s steal her eggs and borrow her oven to cook them in.”

“I don’t—”

“She’s agreed. I already rang her.”

“So much for talking to me first before doing anything rash.”

“I didn’t impregnate her,” Seb declared in a mockingly accusatory tone. “That would be considered brash. Anyway, think on it. We’ll talk tomorrow. My programmes just started.”

“Enjoy the gay dogs.”

“Oh no, not that. I went back to porn. Although, I could probably search that on this site. Puppy play.”

“Night, Seb.”

“Night, Daddy. I love you.” Seb cut off the phone before Jay could retaliate with anything.

He wouldn’t have known what to say anyway. That was some head fuck. Babies. Seb wanted babies. With him. And plural. Yes, he’d mentioned it before, but he’d thought the bloke was flapping his lips like he always did. This was serious.

And if he’d already spoken to Ann…

He then noticed there was an unseen text that had come through during that conversation. He clicked on it.

Yes, you can have my eggs and borrow my oven. Love you. A

“Fuckin’ ‘ell!” Jay threw his phone on the bedside table and it landed with a loud thud.

Davies flung his eyes open. “Oi, Rutters,” he growled and tossed one of the pillows across the room. It slapped Jay in the face, waking him up from his momentary paralysis. “Some of us are tryin’ a sleep ‘ere, yeah? Keep the fucking noise down.”

Jay didn’t retaliate. He was too gobsmacked. Seb’s out of left field tackle had kicked him right in the gut and that was an illegal move. Little Sebs? Could he handle little Sebs? He couldn’t handle the big one most of the time.

Still, the thought tugged a smile from his lips as he slunk under the covers, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep to the sound of snoring.

 
 

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