London. Life.

“Hey hey. What are you drinking?” asked Niall, as Kellen met him at the Bunch of Grapes near London Bridge.

“Guinness for me, please…” decided Kellen. “So glad you’ve got a table upstairs! It would have been freezing outside tonight. What’s news?”

“I’ve booked two weeks in Sri Lanka…” said Niall.

“That sounds amazing!” exclaimed Kellen. “You’re going by yourself?”

“Yes…” nodded Niall. “Would you be up for house-sitting and looking after Harry?”

“Totally!” agreed Kellen. “You know I love that dog. When are you going?”

“Last week of July and first week of August…” said Niall. “I think it’s pretty much 15 days. Well, it’s precisely 15 days. I’ve booked for 15 days. Is that okay?”

“Of course!” confirmed Kellen. “That’s perfect. What’s the weather like in Sri Lanka at that time?”

“It’s pretty much monsoon season, but that’s okay…” shrugged Niall. “I’m staying in some gorgeous hotels, and I really just want to cuddle a baby elephant.”

“I would love to cuddle a baby elephant!” exclaimed Kellen, slapping his hand onto the table to emphasise his excitement. “Baby elephants love to be cuddled! I’ve spent hours watching YouTube videos of baby elephants being cuddled. Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?”

“As much as I love you - no…” said Niall. “I don’t want you to come with me.”

“Fair enough…” grinned Kellen. “Have you been watching the Six Nations?”

“Obviously…” nodded Niall. “There’s something about big men slamming their bodies into each other that I find very compelling.”

“Do you think Wales have a chance this year?” asked Kellen.

“Well, it's been a good start…” shrugged Niall. “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One game at a time, or whatever people say.”

“If we were going on penis size, Italy should be favourites…” said Kellen.

“What?” laughed Niall. “What are you talking about?”

“Oh, it’s just some research I did for this thing at work…” explained Kellen. “I was looking at the teams that are going to be in the Rugby World Cup. I took the national average penis size for each team and correlated that against their world rankings in rugby.”

“Fascinating…” smiled Niall. “What did the results of that exercise tell you?”

“Not much, to be honest…” grinned Kellen. “New Zealand are currently top-ranked when it comes to rugby, but by penis-size they only came in eighth. In terms of Six Nations, I think the penis-size rankings went something like - Italy, Scotland, Wales, England, France, Ireland.”

“Sounds like you need to do some more research…” grinned Niall. “I’m not quite sure that your penis-size rankings are giving you any particularly useful insights.”

“Can I ask you a personal question?” said Kellen.

“Of course…” smiled Niall. “But, I may not answer it.”

“Fair enough…” acknowledged Kellen. “Why do you always do these trips by yourself? Like this Sri Lanka trip - why are you doing it solo? Don’t you sometimes feel like you want to share your life with anyone?”

“I’m old enough to know what works for me…” shrugged Niall. “I’m not really a relationship kind of guy.”

“Who hurt you?” asked Kellen.

“This is such a boring conversation…” sighed Niall.

“Is it?” laughed Kellen. “I feel like you never really open up to me. Sometimes I feel like you don’t let me in. Who hurt you?”

“It wasn’t any particular guy. There’s not some dramatic moment…” explained Niall. “I’ve been in relationships. Things change. People change. At some point, it’s time to move on.”

“So, you’re saying that you’re open to meeting someone?” suggested Kellen. “That a new relationship isn’t out of the question?”

“Don’t be ridiculous…” dismissed Niall. “I’m a middle-aged gay man with a nice house and a dog. The only guys interested in having a relationship with me are Brazilian rent-boys looking for a visa. Not that there’s anything wrong with that - I have a lot of time for Brazilian rent-boys, I just don’t want to be in a relationship with any of them. Anyway, enough about me. What’s news with you?”

“We got second place in the pub quiz last night!” said Kellen.

“Good for you!” grinned Niall. “How about another pint of Guinness to celebrate?”