They sat quietly for a while, looking in opposite directions; then Mike got up and walked into the gloom. Kate followed after a minute or two and stood close until they found a convenient boulder to share.
'I didn't mean to embarrass you Mike,' whispered Kate.
'That's all right. I mean... I wasn't... embarrassed that is. Well, maybe a little.' Mike looked at his - Jay's - trainers and rearranged the dirt under his feet. 'Are you saying Johnny's gay?' said Mike, tossing the question away as if it were of no real concern.
'No. He's had girlfriends. Just doesn't seem to depend on them. I mean, if he ever took up with another guy I wouldn't exactly fall through the floor with shock. He's pretty much self contained I suppose sums it up.'
'Self contained as in lonely?'
'Could be. Waiting for the right one I guess.'
'Maybe he thinks she'll up and walk out of that fire,' said Mike nodding towards Johnny's silhouette, maintaining his vigil. As Mike watched the watcher, thoughts of Scott came again, like a cool breeze over the mountains. They were so alike, Scott and Johnny. Maybe, Mike mused, Johnny would even get to quoting Shakespeare, and then the likeness would be sealed.
'So, eh. If Johnny's straight, why d'you ask about me an' him like that. Did you think I was... y' know. That way?'
Kate shrugged. 'Like I said, just curious. There's some nice looking girls here tonight, but you always seem to be looking at Johnny, so I just thought... It might have been possible.'
Minutes passed. Johnny surfaced from his trance and snapped them a salute before grabbing another Pepsi. He shuffled in front of the fire for a while, restless, then took off over the bluff.
'Mike. Can I get close? It's kinda chilly.'
Before Mike could answer, Kate's arm slid around his waist. Mike lowered his voice a few octaves and put on his best British accent: 'Dr Crusher. Isn't this a little irregular?'
'Yes Captain. But it's just what the doctor ordered,' said Kate, her head nestling into Mike's shoulder.
The scent of a perfumed shampoo flared Mike's nostrils as he swung an arm over her shoulder and, on impulse, pulled her close. Her hand dropped from his waist to the top of his thigh and sent a message which could mean only one thing.
Poor Mike! The tingle of arousal soon sublimated into that of an oncoming attack. Not now. Please, not now. How many times the same plea, and how many times ignored.
Sometimes Mike's attacks passed like a little death during which time his soul drifted in an empty, less than black nothingness. Sometimes he dreamed: dreams so vivid it was hard to tell in those moments of groggy awakening what was real.
As Kate lowered his head to the ground and his mild spasms gave way to slack submission, his dream was, even then, under way.