Fandom: Men of the World
Word Count: 1140 words.
Notes: space_oddity_75 encouraged me and gets sent the appropriate blame. Kendle/Lenny slash of an unrequited nature. (The Wikipedia entry on this show has this as the plot: Thirtysomething Lenny attempts, with the help of old friend Gilby, to turn sensitive 23-year-old Kendle into a "real man" = HAHAHAHAHA. That is so much more saucy than this story.)
Kendle supposes his best friend in the whole wide world shouldn’t be a nearing-middle-age bloke with stupid hair and ten year old mentality, but he can’t help it, he likes Lenny, he makes him laugh. He doesn’t need to feel self-conscious around him. Well, okay, maybe a little, but that’s only ‘cause Lenny doesn’t know to leave well enough alone. It’s not the same kind of self-consciousness he feels around anyone else – like, say, the customers who come in every day, or that Marion down the pub with the massive knockers, or Becky. He knows that he could commit sin of sins and Lenny’d still be there, probably cheering him on.
It’s not easy being a twenty-something man, especially when you still feel like a twelve year old boy. And he guesses that’s why he likes Lenny so much, because he actually feels more mature than him.
Not that he spends all his waking hours thinking about this, or thinking about Lenny – oh no. That’d be mad. When you start to think about someone all the time, it’s a sure sign your affection is less affected and more unmistakeable. But, like, it’s not like he’s ever thought of Lenny in those terms anyway, because Lenny is not what you’d call Rock Hudson material.
Maybe once. In the shower. Lenny was knocking on the door, begging to be allowed to come take a piss. And Kendle thought, “just bloody come in, will you?” but didn’t say it, because his next thought was, “you could soap me up”, and that kind of put a dampener on the entire day.
And the next time was in the Laundromat. Kendle’d just scored three rolled socks and a t-shirt in the great dryer shoot off --- Lenny was lagging behind, only having managed to get one sock and a pair of boxers into it from the two yard mark. Gary, the owner, had put a full packet of polo mints and half a packet of monster munch on Lenny against Gilby’s Rowntree’s winegums and a pound and was slagging him off something rotten. At first it was alright, just two blokes having a joke, but then he got really personal – began talking about Lenny’s life as if he were some kind of failed sculpture, cracked down the middle, with an arm missing, for everyone to gawk at. And the next thing Kendle knew, he was in the middle of the street outside, one black eye and a split lip --- and Gary was missing a tooth.
Lenny had tried to make Kendle explain exactly what had made him go off his head, but he couldn’t, because he didn’t know himself. He was flailing in the dark, just like with anything in his life. He sat down on the kerb and tried to figure it out.
“Didn’t like the way he was talking to you,” Kendle mumbled, Lenny’s arm around his shoulders and his head dipping down towards the pavement.
“Alright, Kendle, but you could’ve just said that. You could’ve paid him back in kind. You’ve got a right shiner there, won’t look good for those wanting to go to the Caribbean. I bet they’ll take one look at your eye, it’ll remind ‘em how much they love it here in Manchester, and they’ll decide to stay home – subliminal advertisement, that.”
Kendle felt a smile tugging at the corners of his lips and he glanced at Lenny, who was obviously trying to do his ‘big brother’ act, all concerned expression and worldly experience.
“I’ll put a bastard big pair of sunglasses on over it then.”
“Then you’ll just make ‘em buy tickets for the Elton John concert. Or maybe, no, wait on – Dame Edna Everage.”
Kendle stuck his tongue out and Lenny stared at it, eyes going slightly cross-eyed in concentration. Then they’d stood up and walked home together.
From then on, it’d been small moments inbetween daydreaming about the Flying Trapinos. Instead of a young, buxom blonde, or Claudia Schiffer, or the girl from the Nescafé advert, or Kylie Minogue, it’d be Lenny in his head. He’d listen to the occasional thump from his bedroom and think about going in there, talking to him. But it was never just talking. He wished it was, that’d make life considerably easier. In these fantasies, he’d see Lenny sat up in bed with a book and he’d go and sit on the edge, and the covers would be pulled up under his armpits, but Kendle’d gently, carefully, pull them down. Lenny’d have no idea what was going on, but Kendle would move ever so closer and take the book from his hand.
He’d put his hand where he’d think Lenny’s thigh would be, staring at him all intense, and say, “d’you ever get lonely, Lenny?” then he’d lick his lips and stare at Lenny’s mouth and wait for the next move.
Depending on how masochistic his brain was being that night, the scene would either end in Lenny nodding, dragging his pillow from behind his head and whacking Kendle one repeatedly... or in Lenny nodding his head, dragging Kendle forward into a kiss and... whacking Kendle one repeatedly with a steady hand and some KY Jelly.
Once, he’d had a dream that Lenny was one of the Flying Trapinos. That’d been bloody terrifying.
But there’s nothing Kendle can say about this. He doesn’t think Lenny’d ever feel anything but entirely innocent friendliness towards him, and he doesn’t blame him, because it isn’t like he’s the world’s greatest catch. He’s awkward and inept and he tries hard, but fails a lot. So even if Lenny were that way inclined, why’d he go for Kendle? He could go for Mark down the betting shop who likes wearing waistcoats, or Terry, that interior decorator who spends half his time ogling him anyway. There’d be no need for Kendle at all, with his goofy grin and his big ears and his sticking up hair that never goes the way he wants it to.
Then again, Kendle reminds himself, Lenny goes for him anyway – just as good mates - and for now, that’s good enough. That’s what makes everything fine, why the confusion isn’t exactly unbearable, because things don’t have to change, they can stay the same for as long as they want. They’re relatively happy and pretty much settled, just as they are.
And if, one day, Kendle were to lean over on the couch and press his lips to Lenny’s, just to see what it’s like, he supposes things wouldn’t get too complicated, because Lenny’s thick as two short planks and would believe him when he’d say it was a dare from Vic and that he just won them a tenner they could split for a lager each. And maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t have to go like that at all.