Disclaimer: I do not know any of the celebrities mentioned within this story. As such, this is not a reflection on their true lives, it's totally fictional. If you are offended by gay fiction or it is illegal to read such material where you are please leave now. Any one else, I hope you enjoy it.
Special thanks go firstly to Chris, you're amazing, you keep me sane and you're the reason I'm doing this. Viv thank you so much, you've made this readable and already provided feedback to boost my confidence.
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Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally California. I was running. I had crossed the eighteen-hundred miles from my home city Memphis, and was headed into the bright lights of LA. Now you may think that's no major feat, loads of people cross the country all the time. I had done it on my own; again nothing all that big. I'm sixteen and gay, and I have no family anymore. See, that's the reason I'm running; I guess I should tell you my reasons for my little trip. I made a mistake. A major mistake. I trusted some one.
My best friend Trace, we'd been friends since kindergarten. Our families lived two doors away from each other. His mom was my mom's best friend, his dad my dad's. It was fate I guess that we should end up best friends. Trace and I used to spend almost every second with each other. I'd get up in the morning, shower then eat breakfast, brush my teeth then I'd be off to Trace's. Weekdays we would walk to school three blocks away and on weekends we'd shoot hoops, play video games, or maybe head to the mall. Regardless of what we did, we'd do it together.
I don't remember the exact moment I realised I had deeper feelings than just friendship for Trace. I remember being about fifteen and noticing how much more defined he was getting, the small trail of hair that showed when he was shirtless. I didn't put much thought into it at the time though, I was too busy trying to understand the changes in myself to pay much attention to anyone else. Soon though, I was stealing quick glances in his direction, trying to catch just a little glimpse of his lightly toned upper body. I was always quick, averting my eyes before I could be noticed. It was around this time I realised I was gay.
Personally my sexuality was never a big issue for me. I never had a massive conflict inside, the only trouble I had was keeping it to myself. My parents were strong followers in the local Baptist Church. I attended but never felt as though I belonged. I was a member of the church choir; my dad was the choir leader. He always pushed me to perform as best I could. I loved it, it was the best feeling I'd ever had, performing that is. People would come from miles around to watch us perform, and on occasion, we would perform outside the church building. Almost every local event was attended by the Baptist choir and people would comment to my parents that I had talent. Some would whisper to each other that Justin Timberlake had a gift but Trace made a joke that I was gay instead. I never denied it.
The day after Trace's joke, I made my biggest ever mistake. We were sitting in my room; my laptop was open and connected to the net. Trace was surfing around, threatening to look up porn and then tell my Mom he'd seen my history. I laughed at that. I decided I wanted to ask about his joke the day before.
"Trace, see yesterday, at the fate?"
"Yeah?" he asked, looking extremely curious.
"Why did you make that joke calling me gay?"
"J man, I was only kidding. Don't worry about it."
"I'm not; I just wanna know why you said it."
"Look, don't take offence here, but you do kinda have a bit of a girly voice." He smirked at me, trying to raise a reaction.
"Hey, fuck off! I don't have a girly voice!" I replied, purposely taking his bait.
"Oh! Fuck man, you so do!"
"I don't!" I replied with a smirk on my face.
"Don't get you panties in a twist dude. I know you're not gay. Your one hundred percent hetero, just like me," he said laughing.
"Yeh, maybe not quite one hundred percent," I whispered.
"Umm, what did you say there J?" he asked, his eyebrows were raised slightly, he looked like he doubted him self.
"I ahh, said umm maybe I'm not quite one hundred percent," I again whispered back.
"What the fuck?" I jumped at the sharp, disgusted tone in his voice. "You're a fucking fag?"
He stood up and started pacing across the room, from my desk to the door and back again. Every few seconds he'd look up at me with a look in his eyes I still can't quite explain, hate, disgust, even distrust, like he expected me to jump him at any second. Finally stopping close to the door, putting as much space as possible between us, he said.
"Just, please tell me this is some sick joke you pulling here?"
"I don't know what to say Trace," my eyes had teared up. "I don't want to be like this, I want to be normal!"
For a second he looked like he wanted to tell me it would be okay. His eyes looked a little softer momentarily, and I guess then it hit him what I'd just told him.
"Wow, wow, wow! You're a fag! Fuck, keep away from me. Don't talk to me again, don't fucking even look at me again." With that he ran out of my room, down the stairs and out of my life.
I only wish now that he really had gone out of my life. The next morning I dragged my ass out of bed, I really had no desire at all to go into school. I showered, dressed, and then went down to the kitchen. Mom never really said much to me, but I guessed that she had spoken to Trace's mom and knew something wasn't right between us. She placed a bowl of cereal in front of me and told me to eat up. I managed about two spoonfuls, my stomach jumping from nerves at the prospect of seeing Trace today.
Without any other words, I grabbed my backpack and darted out the door. I never really expected to see Trace waiting for me, but deep down inside, a little part of me was praying he'd be there like always, arms open, willing to forgive me for ruining our friendship. I really wished I'd just kept my mouth shut; there was no need for me to tell him. I walked out onto the street, looking towards Trace's door, silently hoping he'd walk out at any second, passing his driveway I resigned myself to the fact that, either he was waiting until I had gone past, or he had left already.
The usual ten minutes it took to walk to school had stretched into fifteen, I knew Trace wasn't going to leave me alone. I prayed if he had anything to say to me, he would make it quick and do it in private. Rounding the street corner I came face to face with the school gates; never before had those gates seemed so unnerving. I knew something was seriously up already when I noticed that there was usually at least twenty kids hanging around, stretching the last few minutes of freedom before class started but today, there was nobody. The area had an eerie silence to it that now, looking back, I can call an impending doom. I walked through the gates, resisting the urge to turn and run for home, tell Mom I was sick and stay in bed all day crying.
The school had a large grass area in front of the main, three story building. Right down the centre of the grass ran a wide flagstone path, lined on each side by tall beech trees, the branches almost met in the middle giving the path almost full coverage. The path ended at the main doors into the school, crowded around the door were about fifty people, all looking in my direction. Stupidly, I again resisted the urge to turn and run for home. I continued right towards the entrance.
It was like a scene from a movie; the crowd slowly parted as I approached, one by one people moved to the side giving me gradual access to the doors. I was almost home free, into the building where the security of the staff lay. I had kept my eyes as low as possible the entire time as I walked through the whispering crowd, I slowly raised them to look to the doors, there in my line of vision stood Trace, with a scowling look on his face. That didn't worry me so much, it was the five football team members behind him that did. Surprisingly Trace wasn't the first to talk.
"Ayala, is this the fag you warned me about?" Billy, the team captain asked.
Yeah, man that's the little fag right there," Trace replied, a small grin crossing his lips. He was enjoying this.
Finally I had the instinct to turn and run, the only problem was, now the crowd had closed around behind me, leaving me no point of escape.
"Billy, Trace, come on guys, I don't want any trouble here, just let me go and I'll keep well outta both your ways." I pleaded.
"Shut up Timberlake. Fags like you don't deserve the right to breath let alone talk!" Billy had a satanic smirk covering his face; I knew I was in deep shit.
"Well boys, what do ya think? Should be teach the fag boy a little lesson?" Trace asked. My fucking best friend wanted this as much as anyone. The first blow came from Trace's fist; it connected with my jaw before I even had the chance to flinch.
"Fuck!" I yelled, blood pouring from my bust lip.
"Kill the fucker!" Billy yelled.
Someone kicked from behind my knees, I dropped fast. I have no idea who it was but I was on the floor now and boots were flying into my ribcage fast and furiously. I heard and felt one crack, the pain shot through me like a bullet, I screamed out, causing laughter from my attackers. The pain was unbearable they were yelling things like `die bitch' and `burn in hell fag'. The crowd was actually cheering them on. I don't doubt for a second if I wasn't surrounded on all sides that most of them would have got a kick in as well. They were kicking my back, right on my spine and I was slowly going numb. I think my nerves were overloaded from the pain.
Some one kicked my groin, I instantly felt sick to my stomach. Boots were hitting me from all sides and angles; my face was getting the treatment from Trace, his size tens were pounding into my forehead, face and neck. My nose cracked next, Trace's boot kept hitting the same mark ensuring that his job was well done. I could already feel the swelling start. I just wanted to die right then. Then the pain would go away, and I knew I'd never have to see his hate filled face again.
Our principal was a short stocky man, with a round face with big rosy, red cheeks. He always seemed to be running somewhere, always in a hurry to get to a meeting or stop a fight. Today, it was the latter. His rosy cheeks rushing out of the doors are the last thing I remember seeing before I blacked out.
I started to wake up. I felt like I'd had the worst dream ever. I dreamt that Trace had gathered the football team to beat the crap outta me. When I tried to open my eyes I realised it wasn't a dream. My face felt like it was swollen like a balloon, my eyelids wouldn't open fully. I managed to force them to open just a little but I immediately closed them again as the bright fluorescent light blinded me. Slowly I parted my eyelids again, this time expecting the explosion of light that the overly bright lights caused. I tried to lift my head slightly, wanting to look around the room, to see my surroundings until I realised I couldn't move it.
I started to panic, I could hear a beeping noise in the background, the beeps quickened and this unsettled me more. I was breathing faster and faster, my chest was heaving up and down. The pain was immense and I heard a door fly open followed by hurried footsteps rushing towards me. I was in full blown panic mode now; I thought it was Trace or someone on the team coming to finish the job.
"Mr. Timberlake, calm down, please, your body can't take this stress just now." Well duh! I was fucking feeling the stress the voice was talking about.
"Please calm down, your safe here," the voice said in a more soothing tone.
Again, I tried to lift my head up and look around. I wanted to see who was talking to me. I could feel the muscles in my neck contract, so I knew something was working there, I just couldn't understand why I couldn't lift my head up.
"Mr. Timberlake please, don't try and move. Your body's gone through a lot of trauma and needs time to heal," the voice was much closer now.
I tried to move my eyes in the direction the voice was coming from. She had stepped closer now and if I was straight, I think I would have popped a bone right then. This woman was beautiful. She had light brown hair that was tied up towards the back of her head, strands falling forward, laying gently near her mouth. Her face looked perfect, her skin lightly tanned. Gay or not, I wouldn't mind looking at this face for a while.
The beeps had slowed down and the thumping in my chest had calmed as well, so I guessed it was the heart monitor I had been hearing. I decided to take a minute to take stock of myself. I tried moving my head before so I knew that wasn't happening but I could feel the muscles so that had to be good. Next, I tried to lift my right arm, I felt it move, but the pain was horrendous. I lifted my left arm, again, severe pain, but no movement. I wiggled my fingers, only then did I feel the cast that was on it. I could feel my stomach muscles, movement hurt so I guessed I had some pretty crappy bruising there. Next on my list was my groin. The person who had kicked it had really done a number on me at the time, and now, I couldn't feel anything. I didn't know whether that was a good or bad thing either. My legs wouldn't move, but I could feel them and I could feel my toes when I wiggled them, so at least I knew they still worked.
I needed to find out just how bad things really were. I looked up at the concerned face again, realising I still didn't have a name for this lady. I went to open my mouth to speak but it wouldn't move. Fuck, my jaw was wired shut, even trying to move it hurt like fuck, and this lady, who I presumed was a nurse, moved closer still.
"Mr Timberlake, your jaw was wired when you came in as a precaution. There were some signs of bone damage on your jaw line. The doctor will explain more when he comes into see you shortly."
I wanted to nod, to show her my understanding, of course, I couldn't though. I was getting severely pissed at my situation and I think she noticed how frustrated I was getting, because she placed her hand softly on my shoulder and smiled a soft, comforting smile down at me.
I had to wait about ten minutes, at least, I guessed it to be about ten minutes, since I couldn't see a clock, and telling how much time has passed proved to be pretty hard with no point of reference. I heard the door open again, this time, a lot more carefully and softly. I saw the nurse turn from where she was working on machines behind me; she smiled and greeted the approaching doctor.
"Dr. Williams, how are you this afternoon?" she asked and she moved so I lost sight of her.
"Good thanks, Mary. I see our patient seems to be awake now."
"Yes, he woke up about fifteen minutes ago and gave me quite the fright when he did."
The doctor, who I now knew was called Dr. Williams moved near me, reading some kind of chart. I couldn't see him though, because the board he was reading from blocked my line of vision.
"I see Mary, looks like a small minor panic attack. That's to be expected waking up in his condition, I'd say." What was I invisible now? Couldn't he fucking talk to me instead of about me? I was getting pissed again.
He lowered the board to look me over. Fuck! What was with this hospital? Did they only hire young, hot looking staff? He looked down at me and smiled. Oh shit, I was in trouble now. This guy was seriously hot!
He had really light blond hair, cut short but still kind of shaggy looking. He had the most perfect smile I'd ever seen, and as for the rest of his face, if this guy ever got bored of medicine, he would make a mint as a model. God he looked like he had walked right out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue. My earlier thought when Mary, my nurse, had looked over me was now more like a major worry. I could feel myself developing some serious wood down below. Shit, this is all I need. I get my ass beaten down by my homophobic best friend, and now, here I was boning over a doctor who no doubt was the same.
"Good afternoon Justin." He said.
I swear, I had turned to jelly all over, just hearing him say my name. Any effort I had made before to move was now impossible, and all my mind could process was his face.
"I won't ask you how you are, since you can't answer me," he smiled at that. Anyone else who had made that joke, I'd have wanted to beat their ass, but for some reason, I didn't mind so much from him. "I need to check some of your vitals, test for muscle reactions before I remove the restraints you're in."
Oh! I was restrained, that would explain why I couldn't move. Wait, why was I restrained? Did they expect me to jump up and attack them? Not likely. He obviously saw the confusion in my eyes.
"Justin you were restrained to prevent further injury to you. Your body was acting pretty crazy when you were brought in."
Okay then, I thought, that sounds fair. I don't mind, just stay in my line of vision and everything will be fine. Oh God, I had it bad already! I was poked and prodded, not that I minded one bit. The pain was bearable, and it was the God they call Dr. Williams was doing the prodding.
Shortly after, he started freeing my limbs from the restraints they were placed under. Trying to move was a strange experience. My legs felt like jelly and while I could move them, they really hurt. I didn't even try and move my left arm knowing the cast was on it, but my right arm, although tight feeling, did move pretty easily.
Mary had moved back over to me, and she placed a pillow under my head, which I managed to lift slightly to assist her. Then she raised the top half of the bed so I was almost sitting upright. I was delighted, finally I could see more than the cracks in the ceiling above me.
I studied the room around me. It was pretty small really; there was about five feet from the end of my bed to the door, and four feet on either side of the bed. Above the door was a small portable TV sitting on a shelf. On the left, was the only window in the room, the blinds were down so I couldn't see out of it. The rest of the space I could see was taken up with various machines, the purpose of which I had no idea. Mary was standing next to me, looking even more radiant now that I could see her whole form, and Dr. Williams was standing at the foot of the bed, looking hot as hell! I studied him closer now that I could see his full form too.
He was at least six feet tall and I could make out his well defined chest through the dark blue shirt he wore. My eyes followed the shirt down, his stomach couldn't be seen since the shirt was loose over it but he obviously didn't have a belly since there wasn't anything showing through the shirt. He wore black trousers, a little fancy for a hospital doctor in my opinion, but they were tight and well, I could tell this guy was packing something serious down there, so I had no complaints!
"Justin, I'm going to book you in this evening to get the wire removed from your jaw. I want you get try and get as much rest as possible between now and then."
I was delighted. I'd be able to talk pretty soon. I'd never realised how frustrating it was, not being able to talk, until I couldn't. The doctor smiled at me and then talked to Mary quietly before leaving the room, I guessed to visit more of his patients.
Mary asked me if I wanted to remain upright, she told me to nod my head yes or shake it no, since I couldn't talk. I nodded since I'd only just managed to get into this semi sitting position and didn't want to be restricted to only seeing the ceiling again. She told me to try and sleep since I needed all the rest I could get before she left the room.
I closed my eyes willing myself to sleep, I wanted to roll over to get more comfortable, but the cast on my arm soon put stop to that idea. So I just lay there and waited for sleep to take over or Mary to come back in. Sleep won out in the end.
Trace was there. He was standing over my bed, his fist raised ready to strike. I panicked; I tried to scream for help, but I couldn't. I was frozen to the spot at his mercy. He had the most evil smile on his face; he knew he was in control. He could do anything he wanted to me. I managed to make the smallest noise, not a scream really, but more like a squeak.
"Look the poor faggot can't talk," he snarled at me. "I think it's time I finished you off Justy boy."
I saw his fist curl up. He stood right over my face, his hand drawn up in the air, poised to strike. The last thing I saw, it hurtled down with amazing force, towards my already damaged face.
I was squealing, sweat running all over my body. I shot straight up in bed, the pain was agonizing. The beeping was off the wall this time. The door flew open as both Mary and Dr. Williams racing into the room. The doctor had a syringe in his hand and when he reached me, he put the needle into my trembling arm. It was a sedative, and soon my heart rate slowed and I calmed down.
He turned to Mary and told her to prep me for surgery as he picked up the wall phone I hadn't even noticed before. Mary did what was necessary to me, attaching another line into my IV. Soon everything started to turn blurry and the last thing I saw was Mary, standing over me, gently wiping the hair from my terrified face.
I woke again, back in my room, my jaw was tingling. I tried to move it. Success! It moved, I guess the good doctor had removed the wire and I tried to speak. Nothing but a hoarse whisper came out, so I waited. I noticed there was a call button next to the bed; the only problem was it was on the left. I doubted I could stretch over to reach it with my good arm. Next to the bed there was a small metal trolley with a few metal items on it. I had no idea what they were; my guess was tools of torture. I pushed my leg out of the bed, deciding if I pushed the trolley a little, it might bash against the wall making enough noise for someone to come in and check on me.
My leg was stronger than I expected as I kicked the little trolley, it wobbled on its insecure wheels and toppled over, making a loud crash. The door opened with Mary once again running in, expecting God only knows what. I looked up at her, feeling rather sheepish and when she saw the trolley laying on its side, I could feel the blush rising in my cheeks.
"Oh, looks like I have a trouble maker on my hands here," she said with a grin.
She picked up the trolley and torture instruments wheeling it out of the way before she walked over to me as I pointed to my throat, trying to indicate I needed water. She picked up a jug and poured water into a small polystyrene cup. Gently she raised it to my lips as a trickle of water slowly made its way into my mouth.
"Hi," I managed to hoarsely squeak out.
"Well I must say, it's great to finally hear you talk Mr. Timberlake," she said with a big grin on her face.
"Justin, call me Justin," I squeaked out.
She held the cup up again and gladly I took a few more sips, trying to ease my throat.
"Okay, Justin it is. So now I can finally ask you, how are you feeling? Any pain?"
My throat felt a lot clearer now.
"I don't know. I feel sorta sore all over. Is the doctor about, I want to go home."
"Dr. Williams will be around pretty soon to check on you. We need to make sure you're back to full health before we even think of letting you go anywhere," she smiled trying to make me feel better I guessed.
The door opened again, with the God of a doctor entering the room.
"Ahhh, my favourite patient is awake I see," he said smiling. Oh! He called me his favourite.
"Hi, I'm Justin, but you already know that of course," I was blabbering now, oh man, maybe he should put the wire back in.
"Indeed, Justin. My name is Craig. No need for all this Dr. Williams crap. Mary just says that to make me feel important," he said grinning at Mary, who was trying to hide the smile on her face.
"When can I go home?" I asked. As much as I loved looking at him, I really wanted to go back to my own bed, with my mom to look after me.
"Ah, well Justin, we uh... need to make sure all your breaks are healed first, you were pretty shaky when you arrived. I don't want to let you leave just yet." I noticed he glanced at Mary, something was wrong here.
The phone on the wall rang and Mary went to pick it up; I saw her talking in a hushed voice. Now my curiosity was really peaked, I wanted to know what the hell was going on. She looked over at Craig and he walked towards her. She handed him the phone and he started talking in a hushed voice. I was getting pissed again, I'm not stupid. I could tell they were talking about me. Craig hung the phone up and then spoke quietly to Mary before excusing himself.
"What's going on?" I half demanded, half whined.
"Oh, don't worry yourself Justin, Dr. Williams is just sorting some stuff out."
The door opened again, Craig walked in followed by two people I didn't know.
"Justin, this is Anne," he said pointing to a small woman. "She's a therapist who specialises in cases of abuse and attack, and this is Jamie," he said motioning to a short guy who looked like he was in his thirties. He looked like he was stressed and tired, and I felt kinda sorry for him. "Jamie is from social services. They would like to have a talk with you." Hold up. I thought, did he just say the second guy was from social services?
"Hi, um what do I need to talk to you for?" I asked the man introduced as Jamie.
"Well Justin, after your attack, the police were involved, and when they approached your mother with the news of your attack she asked them what happened. They told her it was a sexual discrimination case," Anne explained. I'll admit she did have soothing voice.
"Justin I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but when she found out about your sexuality, she signed you into the states care." Jamie looked like he felt guilty relaying the news to me.
I just felt numb.
"Momma?" I squeaked out. Tears built in my eyes and Mary was at my side in a flash, grabbing my good hand and giving me a sort of half hug.
"Justin, I know it's difficult for you, but we need to make some decisions as to your care. You'll be eighteen in two months. I suggest temporary foster care until then. After that you can decide how you want things to go. The department will support you until you reach eighteen." Jamie looked down at the bed as he finished, obviously not very happy at having to convey this news to me.
Mary was scowling at him. I think she thought it as too soon to tell me all this. I just sat and stared at the wall. My mom didn't want me. I was alone. I noticed nobody had mentioned my dad and I could only guess his reaction to the news. It wouldn't be good. I suddenly realised I didn't have anything, no money, no clothes, nothing.
"My stuff, what's happened to all my stuff?" I asked looking at Jamie.
"The police accompanied a member of my staff to your parent's property. He removed all the possessions from the room your mother indicated as being yours. I believe they collected all your personal belongings," he said, happy to convey at least some good news to me.
"Did they get my laptop?" I asked. I know it seems insignificant, but I had loads of songs I'd written on there and I didn't want to lose them.
Jamie opened his briefcase and dug around, removing a file.
"Here is the list of items he currently have in our care," he said handing a sheet over to me. Listed near the top was indeed my laptop, my journal was there too, along with everything else I held close to me.
"Thank you. Could I get it soon?" I asked.
He smiled at me saying, "I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem at all Justin."
A small smile graced my face, mainly for their benefit, so they wouldn't worry over me to much.
I had a lot to think over.