This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
My name is Thomas and my life is lie. I am a big fraud and I am atoning every single day. I am not what I look like. I am not but the real me will not come out and face the world. I am a coward trying to be strong. So what do I look like? I am Thomas, the golden boy, chased by women because of my looks, my sporting prowess, my charm, my loaded parents who happen to have a title and a house in the country, not a fucking castle but close.
I never swear, I am the perfect old-fashioned Brit gent, they don’t make them like you any more, an old fart told me, friend of my dad, rich like Croesus but dead inside, he even tried some dirty tricks on me, the pervert, but I politely moved the hand away and said: “No go, old chap” or something like that. He said sorry and it was like it had never happened.
I was always a precocious child wonder, the joy of dumb parents. Rich but dumb, loving but dumb, right-wing and dumb. Unlike my sister, she is from bad stock, no doubt an ancestor with bad genes. She is beautiful, bad and dangerous to know, a la Byron.
People my age either like me or hate me. The latters think I have it all. It’s all a fucking lie, a travesty and I am stuck in it. I am a cunt, yes I am. I need to use the swear words, sorry about that, it’s my own fucking diary anyway and if you are reading this, you are the biggest cunt. I have not given you permission to read it, you nosey bastard! It’s nicely locked up anyway, so how dare you, employee of this sodding bank prowling in private boxes?
Anyway, I have slept around in my teenage years with loads of girls, my public school was near a girls’ school and one has to keep up his reputation of being top athlete, top student, prefect, the works. I was never mean, I never abused my power on younger pupils, grant me that. I longed to if they were particularly beautiful, but I refrained. On my away days I was in London, in Soho, if you must know, doing what I really wanted to do, seedy and hellish to you but heaven to me. I do like a bit of rough. Again, I digress…
When I was 24 my parents started to make noises about me not having a proper girlfriend, my reputation as a playboy was a disgrace… bla, bla, what’s wrong with me, I am such a caring son… bla, bla… they obviously did not know I was sleeping around to hide this other thing I enjoy to do. I do not want to be gay, but I am. I do and do not relish seeking the pleasure of my flesh in some seedy joint but I do. It has to be seedy for another reason; the posh ones would be dangerous for me, ex public school boys on the prowl and all that. Nobody must know, I can’t do it to my family, I must not, I am in line to inherit the lot and my sister is already making some unpleasant headlines with her activities.
I have to let this stuff out or I will go mad. I can’t tell anyone, the press loves my kind of story… drunk people blab, even friends. I have experienced that before but it was a minor thing, luckily. That’s why I came up with this idea of the diary locked into a bank’s safe box. I come here, they give me a room for an hour and I write my stuff, lock it back and they put the box away. So I am pretty confident I am not going to be busted (no sex pun intended). Well, 99%, there is always the rogue, nosey employee… but let’s not be paranoid.
So I was at G. college, you might wonder why… you reader who does not exist… well I wanted to escape my old school friends, they were all having it large at King’s, Trinity and St John’s in Cambridge, although many were in Oxford, our future politicians, god save us! If you think having it with a pig is bad, that’s the top of the fucking iceberg for some of these people.
So I was at a formal dinner and this younger student caught my eye. She was not a head stopper, she was ordinary looking but with amazing, intense blue eyes and a sharp mind, like a surgeon’s scalpel. Well I wanted to become a surgeon initially, like my uncle Sebastian, but then I decided I must atone for the sins of my flesh by finding a cure for cancer. No fancy front role for me, obscure lab work all the way. I managed to get a postdoc place with a Nobel-prize PI, out of merit, my family money had nothing to do with it. I am paid a salary but give the money to charity, mostly to AIDS and LGBT ones. I need to clean my soul somehow. I am not even sure if I am ashamed to be gay or ashamed I cannot live as a gay man. I don’t really know.
Anyway, her name was Elizabeth and she kind of looked like good old Queen Bess, the first one, of course. Her hair was strawberry blond, long, she was skinny, not the curvy type. I thought, “I could work with this.” When her hair was tied back and she wore her huge glasses and her little boy clothes, I truly fancied her. She bought a lot of clothes and shoes in the children’s department of John Lewis. She was quite small and thin. She was perfect for me. Her family was not rich but presentable enough. I had an investigator working on them to make sure. She was going to be my wife and I did not want any nasty surprises down the line or perhaps down the web I was spinning like some demented fucking spider. To my delight, she was not too interested in sex. She was happy for me to be like a cuddly teddy bear, she did not expect me to perform much, we had sex now and then, but she did not ask for more I could give. She needed a lot of emotional support and I was happy to provide it. You must notice I am writing in the past tense. Well some fucking shit happened. I am trying to make sense of it in this airless room.
I should have known something was afoot when she started to talk about her boss on a daily basis. She is a bit of an obsessive, a bit of an OCDer. I thought it was hero worship and let it go after my investigator assured me he was as clean as a whistle, a family man, well regarded, no sordid liaisons with students. She was in sensible, capable hands. He would handle her. What a fool! A big fucking fool considering how well I know the power of the obsession of the flesh. Yes, I do still visit Soho and other places when I go to conferences, you won’t find me in the hotel bar doing small talk with other academics when the talks are over.
Besides we had our plans, we had talked about it, we would get married when she had finished, she would start pupillage and have children at a convenient time so she could finish her training and then our first child would be old enough to be in a nursery – or we could hire a nanny - and she could continue with her career. She is a bright star, very sharp, I did say that already. Her tutor told me she could be top barrister in no time. Other children would come but her star would still shine bright, she would be supported all the way: nursery help, home help, what is needed. We also discussed moving to London and I would commute to Cambridge.
God dammit, my parents really liked her. She was like a daughter to them. Mind you my sister is just a pain in the butt, so she was what they wanted a daughter to be: respectful, with morals and manners, intelligent and appreciative. Even her family did not dim their opinion of her, they are the money-grabbing kind, although not too vulgar, I have seen worse. Still it was funny to see them going around my parents’ humble abode pricing everything with their eager eyes, their little brains whirring like old-fashioned calculators.
For her I even became a soppy romantic, for God’s sake. I did all that crap women expect from their lover and they drool over in those chick movies. I did my research and was the perfect boyfriend. I let her into my head, shared my thoughts (obviously not all of them) and let her see I was driven to do something with my life, not just loaf around surrounded by my money like armour. I even told her she was my oracle and sought her opinion as often as I could. Every day I bolstered her confidence and she blossomed. She did. Like a beautiful rose, she opened her petals and she smelled divine like that rose my mum likes. She is a keen gardener and I followed her caring tips on my English rose.
It was going so well, my parents kept inviting her in the country, at their pied-a-terre in Chelsea, they showed her off to their friends, the ones who count, not the sycophants they are surrounded with. I thought she was all set and happy. What a cunt! Obviously I should have tried harder in the bedroom department, give a bit more oomph there, be a better actor and performer. Close the laptop she kept open to check her emails and make violent love to her, satisfy her needs. I was too basic and obviously not enough for her.
Lab work clouded my thinking. I was doing a lot of overtime, she was left on her own devices too much. Too much thinking will be your ruination, I read that in a book and thought, what a jealous bastard, what’s wrong with thinking too much… a wise bastard really. And that’s the saddest thing, my ice queen thought too much of another man and melted.
She was so wrapped up into her imagination she became removed from the real world. The shit happened but for once my family’s money and connections came in handy. Our lawyers kept it out of the papers and the University got a big fat donation. After all, not much harm was done, superficial wounds and two shaken people. Two innocent shaken people. I am not sure what she imagined they were doing. I had nothing to do with him, my lawyer was the go between, but I did seek the woman out. And I am glad I did. In all this awful business there is a silver lining.
She is an impressive woman, so strong despite her personal tragedies. She tried to help Elizabeth because she saw how troubled she was, but Elizabeth gave her a hard time. After the shit happened, Solange realised why. She was shocked to be thought of as a love rival. Shocked that a comforting hug from the man she considers a sort of Pygmalion was construed as a sexual act. Her mother had just died of cancer and she was miles away and feeling hurt, guilty and broken. Sex was the last thing on her mind and on Umberto’s mind, she told me. He has been helping her to overcome family tragedies. Her family has been ravaged by cancer, her mother died of breast cancer after a long fight, her sister got it now but under control, her dad had testicular cancer and barely survived, her mother’s aunt had throat cancer and died two years before because she couldn’t and wouldn’t give up smoking. I told her about the work we do and she was so interested. She offered to help me because she wants to do something about it. She studied biology at some point and does a lot of computation in her current job, wouldn’t she be able to move to my department? Bioinformatics are sought after, aren’t they. Yes they are. I am looking into it, I think the Stem Cells Institute would be great for her. They are advertising a paid PhD and I think she would easily get it. Move over Umberto, here I come. This is my redemption and she is fucking gorgeous to boot, dark, tall and intense.