Iona Woodward

Maybe tomorrow

Ngaire’s high-pitched barking almost drowned out the knock on the door. Jay dropped his paperback on the couch and went to answer it.

It was Scott. ‘Hey!’

‘It’s not the sixteenth yet, is it?’ Jay let him in, and Ngaire snuffled around their legs and wagged her tail so hard her whole rear end wobbled.

‘Changed my flight.’ Scott dropped his duffel bag at the foot of the stairs. Ngaire curled up against it and closed her eyes. ‘You got plans?’

‘Nope.’ That wasn’t strictly true, but there was nothing that couldn’t wait.

Scott looked tired beneath his smile, and bundled up – not just against the cold, Jay guessed, but the flights and Customs and airports. His hair was spiky and his sunglasses sat on his forehead like bug eyes. He dug in his pocket for his cigarettes. ‘Got a light?’

Jay’s hand went automatically to his own pocket, but instead of offering his lighter, he wrapped his arms around Scott, pulling him close, coat and cigarettes and all. ‘Good to see you, man.’

The chill from the early spring air lingered in the folds of Scott’s coat, in his hair. Scott wrestled his arms free and returned the hug, turned his head and pressed cold lips to Jay’s cheek, his mouth. Scott smelled of tobacco smoke, as always, but he tasted of gum.

Jay pulled back and clapped him on the shoulder. ‘Take a load off. You look like shit.’



Jay leaned on the kitchen bench and folded his arms. Scott’s coat hung heavy from his shoulders, shifting and steaming slightly in the weak afternoon sunlight as he buttered toast and tapped cigarette ash into the sink.

‘Been writing?’ Jay asked.

‘Got a couple new songs. Johnny’s being a bitch, so we haven’t nailed them yet.’

‘What’s up?’

Scott’s shoulders twitched. ‘He’s got some bug up his ass about cleaning up our sound. Refining it.’

Jay didn’t say anything. Band politics were intricate, and sticking his nose in never paid off. Ngaire trundled into the room and lapped at her water dish, and Scott interrupted himself to mock the size of her arse.

‘Whereas yours is svelte and firm,’ said Jay. ‘Leave her alone, she’s got issues.’

She looked up at them, her muzzle dripping, and both men snorted in unison.

‘Dainty,’ said Scott.

‘Fuck off.’ Jay pushed off the bench. ‘Should take her to the dog park, anyway. You want to?’



They pulled into the nearly empty car park and Jay whistled Ngaire out of the car. Scott echoed the sound, eked it out into a tune, making Ngaire bark and jump in circles.

‘Stop messing with her.’ Jay bumped his shoulder against Scott’s through all the bundled layers, and felt a buzz start, anticipation.

A girl in a knitted hat and army surplus gear was calling to her golden retriever. ‘Hey, Sonny. Come on, it’s time to go.’ She grinned as they passed. ‘You’d think she’d want to get back inside, into the warm, but as soon as I get her out here, she’s like Party Time.’

Jay nodded without connecting.

Scott said, ‘I know how she feels,’ with enough of a leer that the girl laughed and blushed, stepping away into the dark.

Jay elbowed him. ‘Nice.’

‘Just being polite,’ said Scott, like hitting on anything that moved was a matter of etiquette. ‘What’s the matter? Jealous?’

It galled, as if Jay had no claim on him, which in the greater scheme of things was the truth. Jay was way down the totem pole, below the band, even Debs. He knew it was stupid to want more, but sometimes that didn’t stop him.

‘Hey.’ Scott blocked his path. ‘I’m here, aren’t I?’


They reached the shadow of the trees, and Scott backed Jay against frosty-rough bark and leaned into him, kissed him lazily, a kiss that said take me for granted. Jay relaxed into it.

Ngaire wandered up and barked: it was time to go home.

‘She’s got more smarts than Sonny,’ Scott said, stepping back. ‘I can’t feel my toes.’

Jay eyed him. ‘She’s got more smarts than a lot of people.’



They stumbled in the front door in a confusion of dog and scarves and sweet-and-sour scented takeaways. Scott sat on the bottom stair to take his boots off, lined them up next to Jay’s sneakers.

Jay fed Ngaire, and then led Scott upstairs to the bedroom, where they came together in a rush, half-dressed and urgent, grasping for each other and groaning. Jay wrapped his hand around Scott’s dick in the open V of his jeans and thought now is enough, and jerked him off hard and fast, knowing there’d be a slow-motion replay after they’d eaten.

By the time they stirred, the food was barely warm. They swapped plastic trays of chow mein and fried rice back and forth, their legs nudging.

Scott spoke with his mouth full. ‘Sounds like the wind’s picking up.’

‘I wasn’t planning on going anywhere.’ Jay put the empty takeaway container on the nightstand, rummaged in the drawer for lube and lay back, running his hand down his chest and waiting as coolly as he could for Scott to be done eating.

‘Come here.’



Afterwards, they kissed until Jay’s face felt raw from stubble-burn, until they both kept dropping off. Scott’s snore was the line in the sand, and Jay stumbled out of bed to brush his teeth, blinked at himself in the harsh bathroom light.

Scott appeared at his shoulder with a scrunched-up supermarket bag. He shook it open with a rustle and took out his toothbrush.

‘You staying long?’ Jay squeezed toothpaste onto his own brush, then did the same for Scott.

‘Couple of days. That okay?’

‘Sure.’ Jay spat into the basin. ‘Does Debs know?’

Scott squinted at himself in the mirror. ‘We have an agreement that doesn’t –’ He rubbed his fingers over the stubble on his jaw.

Jay rinsed and leaned on the wall, ignoring the sinking feeling in his gut. ‘If you made a vow of fidelity, I think you broke it.’

‘She doesn’t care about this shit.’ Scott put his toothbrush in the holder next to Jay’s. ‘That’s sort of the problem.’

Jay raised his eyebrows, willing to listen even though he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear it.

Scott looked away. ‘Don’t you think it ought to bug her? I mean, this – you and me – it’s not small potatoes.’

It was the last thing Jay had expected from this conversation, but it was there in his palm like a gift. ‘Maybe it just means she knows you,’ he said. ‘She knows you don’t do monogamy. If she’s okay with it…’ He shoved Scott towards the bedroom. ‘Don’t go looking for trouble, you know?’

‘Yeah, you’re right.’ Scott went to the window and peered into the gloom. Raindrops scattered across the glass. ‘I’ve got it made.’

Ngaire lumbered into the room and jumped up. Jay sent her to her basket in the corner and slid into bed, tugged at the covers. His skin goose-pimpled against the cooled sheets. ‘Come here,’ he said, letting it be a demand, trying that out.

Scott turned away from the window and lay down, pulling him close. ‘Maybe tomorrow,’ he muttered into Jay’s shoulder. ‘I’m all comed out for now.’

‘Idiot.’ Jay stretched to turn off the lamp and smiled into the dark.





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