Fist to the Heart – Epilogue



The man had his back turned, watching something intently across the vast expanse of water. The waves crashed against the stony shore, but it didn’t look like he minded. He was wearing warm clothes, and the weather, cloudy and bent on nothing good, didn’t seem to faze him.

Johnny was holding Ruslan’s hand in his, and he could feel a small tremble in the long elegant fingers as they marched through the pebbles that made little crunching sounds underneath their feet.

The cold fingers coiled inside his palm, and then released him. Johnny stood back on purpose, letting Ruslan break into a sprint, making pebbles rise as he ran toward the man on the shore. The man didn’t seem to notice, and Ruslan stopped at a fair distance from him.

Only then, Johnny quickened his pace. He took Ruslan by the hand, making his lover half turn and look at him with grateful eyes. Together, they walked toward the final point of their current destination.

“Papa?” Ruslan said hesitantly.

This time, when Johnny let him go, Ruslan didn’t stop. Instead, as the man turned, he lunged forward, landing into his grandfather’s arms.

“Russy,” Douglas said gently.

Ruslan pushed his head into Douglas’s shoulder and began crying. Douglas caressed his head with a slightly trembling hand. “Oh, Russy.” His voice was filled with love and Johnny felt, for an instant, like an intruder.

But Douglas’s eyes landed on him, and they were warm, letting him know it was his right to be there.

“Why did you leave me?” Ruslan asked between sobs.

“I thought I did it for you. Forgive an old fool,” Douglas continued while still caressing Ruslan’s head. “I had your love and thought that was the only way I could still have it. I was an egoist, after all, and nothing more.”

“You were,” Ruslan replied petulantly. “You left me all alone.”

He sniffed and let Douglas wipe his cheeks with a handkerchief as if he was a little kid. Johnny could tell Ruslan enjoyed it, the care and love his grandfather showed him.

“I didn’t leave you alone, Russy. You have Johnny. And your real father.”

“Were you afraid of him? My real father?” Ruslan asked, looking up, into Douglas’s eyes.

“It wasn’t fear.” Douglas shook his head. “But guilt. I knew I couldn’t protect you. These young beasts,” he added with a sigh. “I heard of Nigel. I know it must be against everything I taught you, but I feel relieved that he’s no longer among us. I knew your real father could offer you the protection I couldn’t.”

“It wasn’t your fault,” Ruslan said. “And I don’t care about anything else. But why didn’t you tell me you were my grandfather?”

“For the same reason,” Douglas replied. “I thought, in my foolishness, that I was protecting you when I was doing nothing else but protecting myself. Maybe I feared you would hold me accountable for your mother’s disappearance, and all your suffering during those years I couldn’t find you.”

“But you looked for me,” Ruslan said.

“Always. Never stopped. I looked for your mother, too, but she’s nowhere to be found. For years, I feared the worst.”

“Do you still Gaziosmanpaşa Escort fear?”

Douglas caressed Ruslan’s hair slowly. “I have you here. It is a good time to let go of some of the hurt. Not all of it. It will be with me forever, how I didn’t hurry to stop her the moment rushed through that door, thinking that I didn’t love her. You’re here to ease my burden, and for that, I am grateful.”

“Will you come back?” Ruslan asked.

Douglas looked around. “It’s quiet here. I left you everything. Is it too much if I want to enjoy the quiet?”

Ruslan shook his head slowly. “I won’t tell a soul.”

“You can tell your father. He’ll understand. I know he isn’t the man I ever wanted for my daughter or the father I wanted for my grandchild, but I know he loves you. That’s enough for me.”

Martin approached solemnly, and Johnny turned toward him. “I have tea and cookies ready. They’re getting colder.”

Johnny could understand a thing or two from what Martin wasn’t saying. Here, in this remote place, Douglas and Martin could be themselves. They did deserve it.

Douglas took Ruslan by the shoulders, and they began walking. With a smile, he touched Johnny’s arm.

They all fell into the same pace and walked toward the house. Johnny felt the quiet all around them, as they moved through the misty air now burdened with the humidity brought from the ocean. “We’ll come to visit,” he found himself talking.

Douglas turned toward him with a warm smile. “I hope you do. Johnny, I’m thankful you’re here, and that you were by Ruslan’s side, during hard times.”

“I will always be, sir,” Johnny said with determination.

His words were met with a small laugh. “You know you can call me Douglas, Johnny. We’re family, after all.”


Ruslan pitter-pattered to the bed, his feet naked, and stopped in front of it.

“What is it, pretty?” Johnny straightened up and pushed himself up on his elbows.

“I can’t believe it. I have everything now.”

“You do?” Johnny smiled and threw his lover a look full of meaning. “I can bet you have way too many clothes on.”

Ruslan laughed, throwing his head back, and exposing his neck. Johnny moved fast and grabbed him, sinking his teeth into the flawless skin.

“Ouch,” Ruslan protested. “There’s not long until the wedding. It would be a shame to wear a large scarf to hide love marks. Especially since the suit I chose for the ceremony wouldn’t work with one.”

“So don’t wear a scarf,” Johnny said. “I’m thinking about giving you more love marks, as you call them. Then everyone will know I own you.”

“So possessive.” Ruslan giggled, as Johnny pulled him to the bed and began pushing up his t-shirt, which was the only thing he was wearing. “You don’t have to rub it in, you know? It is clear as day that I’ll be the kept husband.”

Johnny threw his lover a questioning look.

Ruslan rolled his eyes. “I’m practically broke. I don’t have a job and, as for money –“

Johnny bit the soft lips spouting all those crazy words. “Well, that’s good. ‘Cause now I know you can’t Gaziosmanpaşa Escort Bayan leave me. And you know,” he joked, “everything I have is yours. For real.”

Ruslan glared, but his lips were twitching. “I can see how you’re enjoying this.”

“It was your move to leave me everything. Don’t worry; I’ll take good care of you. You know, right?”

“I do,” Ruslan replied, and this time he was no longer joking.

Johnny knew Ruslan wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe this was real. The way his lover, soon-to-be husband, was looking at him, was making his heart ache. It wasn’t from some imagined pain, though; it was from feeling too happy.

“Do you think it’s possible to die from too much happiness?” he asked. Ruslan smiled fondly and then burst into laughter. Johnny frowned. “What?”

“Are you getting a bit soft, Snake? Should I let you in the ring, once in a while, just to make sure you keep in shape?”

“You don’t have to say it twice. I can get Yanis to schedule some bouts. He won’t say ‘no’. The fucker loves the money I could make him.”

Ruslan made a sour face. “There is no way I’d let you.”

“So, were you just teasing me? Don’t say you don’t feel the same. Aren’t you as happy as me?”

Ruslan brought him close and kissed him hard, leaving him breathless. “I am happy, Johnny. And you’re right to ask if one could die from too much happiness.”

“Forget about stupid questions. There’s much living to do. And many things I want to do with you.”

“Like what? I thought we tried all the positions possible,” Ruslan said with a laugh.

“All my life, pretty, I thought the ring would be all for me. And maybe some fucking on the side. I had no dreams beyond surviving. That until I met you. Then I knew what my biggest dream would be.”

“Really?” Ruslan teased. “I can’t imagine what could be.”

“To be with you, for as long as I could. You see, I couldn’t let you leave me. I would have gone to the end of the earth to find you.”

Ruslan touched his cheeks gently. “It is forever, Johnny. This, what’s going on with us. You give my life sense, with your love and care, and understanding. I know now what they say about love, and how it is all true: I know you, and you know me, and it is so much that it’s like we’re both the same. Damn, I suck at this confession thing.”

“You could use some practice,” Johnny teased in turn, now.

He silenced his lover with a long, lingering kiss. Ruslan spread his legs wide, trapping him between them, and hooking them together at the small of his back. Johnny had lost count how many times they had done it through the night.

It was easy to find his way inside Ruslan’s pliant body. His lover welcomed him with a shiver and a barely audible sigh, an expression of how satisfied he was.

“I want you, Ruslan. I want you to be with me forever,” he said.

“Forever,” Ruslan echoed his last word and pulled him closer.

They were moving slowly now, their bodies fitting so well. Ruslan’s breath was captured into his mouth, and he was breathing, too, only through his lover’s Escort Gaziosmanpaşa lips.

It took them until the first rays of sun began sneaking through the curtains for them to reach completion.

They lay in pleasant silence, as they tried to regain their breath.

“I think I know how to confess, Johnny. It’s simple, really,” Ruslan began talking, and it was like he was laughing breathlessly at each of his own words. “I love you.”

Johnny laughed, too, and turned to face his lover. Ruslan would always be his life, and now he knew he would be happy forever. “You’re right, pretty. Nothing else beats these words.”

“So,” Ruslan glared at him through his eyelids, “why aren’t you saying them back?”

“I am more of a man of action than of words,” Johnny said with pretended self-importance. “How many times did I prove myself to you last night? With my cock in you?”

“You pig!” Ruslan grabbed the pillow from under his head and smacked Johnny in the face with it.

Johnny grabbed the pillow and threw it over his shoulder, making something fall and break with a loud, frightening sound. Startled, he tried to get up, but Ruslan grabbed him and pulled him back to bed. “Where do you think you’re going? You still haven’t replied properly.”

“Aren’t you worried that I might have broken some expensive vase or some shit?” Johnny questioned.

“It’s all yours. Why should I worry?” Ruslan pointed out.

“That’s right. Now, where were we? Ah, I think you wanted my cock in you again.”

“Hey, my ass will be in stitches,” Ruslan protested.

“Then how could I prove myself to you?” Johnny asked.

“Just say it,” Ruslan asked.

Johnny kissed him hard. “I love you, Ruslan. Will you be my husband?”

Ruslan giggled. “So formal, I like it.”

“You didn’t answer,” Johnny said impatiently.

“Seriously? Do you need an answer to that? All the invitations have been sent.”

“Still,” Johnny insisted.

“All right,” Ruslan said with a sigh. “Yes, I will be your husband. And don’t forget that I’ll, sort of, say it three times. Here, with friends,” he counted on his fingers, “then, with papa and Martin and your mom, and then with my dad and all the family in Russia.”

“I doubt they would all want to hear us say it,” Johnny replied to that with a smile. “The way I see it, there will only be parties and lots of booze.”

“Well, it comes with the territory, I guess.”

“And a lot of people. And that’s why I want to hear you say it all now.”

Ruslan smiled and caressed his face. “My husband, Johnny ‘Snake’ Bryne. Let me introduce myself. I’m Mr. Bryne. Don’t you know my husband? He used to be a hell of a fighter. He’s more of an entrepreneur these days.”

“What are you doing, pretty?” Johnny laughed.

“I’m practicing. Seeing how I’ll be your husband forever, I need to make sure I slip into the role as fast as possible.”

“Do that,” Johnny agreed and kissed him again. “Now let me practice my part of the deal.”

“But my ass –” Ruslan whined, too theatrically to mean it.

“You have other delicious bits about you,” Johnny replied and sank lower.

“No, come here.” Ruslan urged him to stay where he was. “This is where you belong.”

As he fit his body over his lover’s lithe form, Johnny could think that was a fantastic confession, too. He belonged now, and he belonged where he wanted more than anything else in the world.