London. Life.

“Jesus, it is cold out there tonight!” shivered Kellen, as he arrived at Tonkotsu near Haggerston station. “Am I the last here?”

“Clearly, you’re the last here…” confirmed Hamish, pointing to the one empty chair at their table.

“At least you’re reliable…” grinned Marc. “You can always be relied on to be late.”

“Tim and Mikael not coming?” asked Kellen, peeling off his coat, hat, and scarf as he sat down.

“I think they’re away for the weekend…” shrugged Marc.

“What about Charlie and Oliver?” asked Kellen. “Honestly, he can’t still be mad at me.”

“Have you honestly not talked to Charlie since New Year’s Eve?” asked Marc.

“I’ve texted him!” protested Kellen. “It’s just that he hasn’t texted me back. Clearly, the ball is in his court - he’s just taking his sweet time to serve it back, or however that metaphor goes. Anyway, let’s order - I’m starving!”

“How are we going, guys?” asked the waitress, arriving at their table.

“Ready!” decided Kellen. “I’ll have the Tonkotsu ramen, please.”

“And for me…” added Marc.

“And me, also…” confirmed Hamish.

“Any drinks?” asked the waitress.

“No, I’m good…” decided Kellen. “Dry January.”

“I’ll have a lager, thanks…” said Hamish.

“Yes, lager for me as well, thanks…” added Marc. “Just a pint of the draught is fine.”

“So, can you believe that I’m still going strong with Dry January?” asked Kellen, as the waitress headed off to place their order. “It hasn’t been easy, but I definitely feel like it’s been worth it.”

“No one is interested, Kellen…” sighed Hamish. “No one.”

“What are you talking about?” demanded Kellen.

“It’s just so boring!” exclaimed Marc. “You’re like a vegan who’s just discovered a new way to cook carrot. I’m more interested in the new series of Grace & Frankie, and trust me - I am not in the least bit interested in that.”

“I love that show!” exclaimed Kellen. “RuPaul’s in this new series!”

“Don’t make me punch you…” warned Marc.

“Anyway, how’s it going with Stephen?” asked Hamish.

“Wait, what?” asked Kellen. “Stephen? Stephen who?”

“Stephen. You know, Stephen…” repeated Hamish. “Marc’s Stephen, Stephen Yao.”

“I’m right here…” interjected Marc. “I can speak for myself. Yes, Stephen.”

“You’ve seen Stephen?” asked Kellen. “When did this happen?”

“You’re using the wrong tense…” corrected Hamish. “He’s seeing Stephen. It’s something that’s happening. Present tense."

“Wait, what?” exclaimed Kellen.

“There’s no need for the amateur dramatics…” sighed Marc. “Yes, I’ve been spending some time with Stephen. It’s no big deal.”

“Um… I think you’ll find that it’s a pretty fucking big fucking deal!” exclaimed Kellen. “After what he did to you?”

“No one’s perfect…” shrugged Marc. “We’re working through it.”

“What does that mean?” demanded Kellen. “What is there to work through? How are you working through whatever you’re working through?”

“They’re sleeping together, obviously…” explained Hamish.

“I think he might move in…” added Marc.

“Are you freakin’ kidding me with this?” laughed Kellen. “Have you lost your mind?”

“Nothing’s decided…” soothed Marc. “We’re just seeing how things go. Spending a bit of time together. Dating, and stuff.”

“This ramen is so good!” announced Hamish, slurping the noodles up with the help of his spoon and chopsticks.

“Stephen fucking Yao…” repeated Kellen, shaking his head. “I did not see that coming. Screw Dry January - I need a drink!”