© Clare London 2012
Frank looked at Vince and bit his lip. “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Vince sounded belligerent. It was a difficult tone to carry off when clad neck to knee in yellow Lycra.
“I’m not sure.” Frank tilted his head and frowned. “You know I’ve always supported you.”
“But … what?”
“I didn’t say but.”
“Every damned mote of your being said but, Francis.”
Frank’s gaze ran over Vince’s form-fitting jersey, the slogan on his back from the local gay outreach scheme, the thigh-clinging leggings, the tight black fingerless gloves, then back up to his burly sideburns.
Vince pressed one of them against his cheek, a little defensively. “The sweat loosens the glue. All the fans are wearing them.”
“I know,” Frank said gently.
“The right gear makes all the difference, you know.”
“I know,” Frank said again.
“I reckon twice around the park each morning and I’ll soon be fighting fit.”
“You’re pretty fit already.”
Vince scowled. “Finish it, Francis. Finish what you really want to say.”
“Oh for God’s sake… you mean pretty fit for my age.”
Frank frowned. “Ever think that’s what you think, Vince, not me? You seem to go on about it a lot. We’re the same age, remember. But I don’t feel the need to wear Lycra and cycle with my arse off the seat and my head so far down on the handlebars I can barely see what I’m doing…”
“Just once,” Vince said, quickly. “Just once, I hit that lamppost. The bike was new, remember?”
Frank moved across the room to stand in front of Vince. He ran a hand almost aimlessly across Vince’s hip. Vince sucked in a breath.
“You must realise that Lycra is never going to be flattering,” Frank said softly.
“You mean my bum does look big?” A smile was tweaking the edge of Vince’s mouth. He’d turned his head so his temple rested on Frank’s forehead.
“Big and yellow, like a ripe quince.”
Slowly, a flush rose up Vince’s neck, peeking over the yellow turtle neck of his jersey. “Pervert.”
Frank chuckled. “Thank God.”
Vince sighed. His hand trailed over Frank’s as if considering whether to push it away or fold his fingers around it. “I should get going.”
“You should. If that’s your plan.”
Vince swallowed. “Is that bacon I can smell cooking?”
“And the new Italian coffee?”
Frank nodded again.
“I suppose I could delay this morning’s session–put in double work this afternoon.”
“Or not,” Frank said.
“Get thee behind me–”
“You want ketchup on your bacon bap?” Frank interrupted, apparently innocently.
Vince growled and started to peel off his gloves. Frank turned and walked slowly towards the kitchen. His hips sashayed very slightly, though he didn’t have the flexibility he used to.
Vince gave a little yelp. “Help.”
Frank turned, surprised. “What?”
“I can’t do this, Frank.”
Frank’s face twisted into a momentary expression of guilt. “I’m sorry. If you really want to exercise…”
“No, not that!”
Vince grimaced, and tugged at the Lycra crotch of his leggings. “It took me 45 minutes to get this outfit on in the first place. Are you going to help me take it off again?”
*MAMIL = Middle-Aged Man in Lycra