This story includes explicit depictions of sexual acts between consenting adult males. If you are underage or it is illegal to view this for any reason, consider yourself warned. If you find this material offensive, I have to wonder why you came here in the first place.
This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence.
As author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me. This work is copyright © Fitz, 2011.
This is my first attempt at writing a story, so I would love to hear any feedback, be it positive or negative. Send me an email with any comments or questions at email@example.com. I'll try to respond promptly to all emails, but any flames will be ignored.
I would like to thank Jay Gordon at www.jaygordanstories.com, for much of the inspiration to write this, in addition to the many amazing stories that I've read by a wide number of authors. Jay's stories may have given me the inspiration, but all the excellent writers have created a desire in me to write. Thank you all.
Finally, my wonderful husband gets a shout out for being so supportive, allowing me to bounce ideas off of him, and for taking the time to edit for me. He has now quit a total of three times, but I'm hoping that I can keep persuading him to continue. He has been amazing, and any errors that remain are mine alone.
My story is also hosted at fitz.thestorycloset.org, which will likely be updated more frequently than here. Later chapters may require you to register with the site, which is free. They also have discussion forums and a chat room where you can talk to me and other authors from the site.
I have several chapters finished, but I will be slowing down to posting about once a week here on nifty to allow myself to continue to stay ahead. If I start to fall behind in my posting, I'll be sure to let people know.
Enjoy the story! ~Fitz
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ON THE RUN
I caught the first flight out of town to my parents. I knew, even then, that I was simply running from my problems, but I was just too overwhelmed by everything that had happened.
Will had been the only person that I had felt that I could confide in. I was sure that he thought that I was sending signals that I didn't mean to send. At the same time, he had told me that he would make sure that I felt the same way before he ever acted on his feelings towards me. And at the time, I wasn't sure that I could ever forgive him for what happened that night, let alone for violating the sanctity of our bed in the morning.
He deserved an explanation, but I just felt like my trust had been exploited. I hoped that between the strained explanation that I had forced out and any explanation that Sarah provided would be enough to satisfy him.
If possible, I was worse while at my parents than I was at my house. I had reverted back to the way I was immediately after the funeral. Except that I didn't even have something like The Spot, where I could at least feel Steve's presence, even if only fleetingly. I barely ate, I barely slept. The little sleep I did get was filled with horrific nightmares.
To make matters worse, Steve hadn't come to me. Every time I went to close my eyes, I put all of my effort into hoping that this time I'd get to hear his voice and sense his presence, even though I knew that Steve's appearances had only left me confused, and any sense of comfort was gone by the time I woke up.
Still, the worst part of the stay at the Hudgins family household was Christmas. My first Christmas without him. My dad knew that the entire holiday season would be difficult for me, and tried to get my mom to go easy on the decorations to not overwhelm me. Mom doesn't know the meaning of the word discretion. Dad told me much later that there were three large boxes of Christmas stuff that Mom hadn't put up, out of concern for me, which I appreciate in hindsight. The only trouble is that neither of us ever remember seeing any decorations missing.
I got out of bed once on Christmas. I went downstairs and unplugged the stereo, and returned to bed. The music was so damn chipper that it made me sick. I couldn't be happy. I'm not sure that I would have wanted to be happy even if I could have been.
My parents really tried to help. They pushed me to see psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, support groups, anything. My mom even suggested a hypnotherapist at one point. I refused to see anyone.
Finally, shortly after New Years, my parents had had enough of me.
"Scott, honey, I don't know why you are even here. You know we love when you visit. But this isn't a visit. I interact more with the girls on the View than I do with you," Mom told me, when they sat me down.
"I really think that if you talked to someone, it would help, but I can't make you. Even if I could, I'm not sure forcing you to do something you are so adamantly opposed to would do any good."
"What are you saying, Mom? You guys are kicking me out?"
"You haven't been able to find whatever it is that you are searching for here," my Dad said. "Maybe with more time you'd be able to, but you've been here for two months, and you are in just as bad of shape as you were when you got here. Your mother and I feel that maybe it'd be best for you if you went somewhere else. I'd suggest back to your home, but I know there are issues with that. At least for you.
"Where ever you go, you know you have all of the love and support that we can provide. If you ever need anything at all, just let us know, and we'll find a way to help. Until then...well, I really hope you find whatever it is you are looking for."
"Thanks, Dad. I really do appreciate what you guys have done for me, even though I haven't been able to show it at all. Let me pack up my things, and make a few calls. I won't be in your hair any longer than I have to."
"Scott, we don't mean you need to leave this instant. I really hope you know that."
"I do. I just didn't realize how badly I had overstayed my welcome. I love you both, and I'm sorry for bringing extra hurt and pain into your lives since I came."
I stood up and walked up to my room and started packing. I wasn't angry in the slightest. I knew that it wasn't doing me any good to stay here, but I just couldn't bring myself to leave. Realizing the extent that I had been burdening them was all the incentive I needed.
Once I had finished packing, I called Michelle and Dustin, and asked if I could stay with them. I warned Dustin on the phone that it might be stay of indefinite length. He understood and said that it was fine. He asked when I would arrive, and I asked if tonight would be too early. He said it wasn't, so I told him that I would be there in a little bit. After hanging up, I brought my bags downstairs.
"Dad, I just realized something."
I don't blame my dad for being confused. It had dawned on me after getting off the phone that I had no mode of transportation.
"Can you drive me to Baltimore? I told Dustin that I'd be there this evening, but I completely forgot that I don't have a car." I offered a weak sheepish half-smile, which seemed to remove any concern about my well-being for the moment.
"Sure, bud. Not a problem. Let me grab your bags."
The drive was silent. Dad was probably worried about how calm I had acted when they had practically thrown me out of the house. I was always quiet during that period of my life. It was almost a calm silence, but I knew that my dad was beating himself up for doing this. He did know that it was in my best interest. I knew it, too.
When he pulled the car to a stop in front of Dustin and Michelle's house, my dad helped me get the bags out of his car before gently hugging me and reminding me to call if I needed anything.
To say that my stay with the Smithson's was more adventurous than at my parents would be a wild understatement. Instead of any traditional form of therapy, Michelle's solution was to set me up on dates.
On the first several dates she dragged me to against my will, she sat there as the date started bad, and got worse very quickly. On more than one occasion, the date was officially over before the entrées had arrived. Eventually, I gave in, and agreed to at least behave myself. The dates were typically still miserable for all involved, but I tried to not be blatantly rude.
I had no idea where Michelle was finding so many guys readily available, many of whom were exactly the types of guys I would normally go for: Tall, in excellent shape, a great personality, and a razor-sharp wit. I wondered at the time if she had talked people into going on sympathy dates with me regardless of their sexual orientation -- I clearly wasn't going to make any first moves, paid people to take me out, or just had a handful of guys slightly modify their appearances just enough to fool me, which wouldn't have been hard to do.
After I'd been there about two months, I actually had a guy ask me for a second date. He seemed nice enough, and was somehow still interested in seeing me again, even though I'd made little effort to open up about myself past the most basic information, and had made no effort to learn a thing about him.
For our second date, the guy made dinner at his house for me. After we ate, we sat on the couch. He slowly started inching his way closer to me. Before I knew it, he was kissing me. It felt nice. For a moment I felt better. Unlike when Will made his move on me, I didn't have any expectations that this guy would keep his hands to himself. Not that I had been hoping that he would make a move on me.
While we were kissing, I didn't feel any guilt, so I just decided to go with it. Next thing I knew, I was naked on his bed and he was in his boxers, swallowing my load. As soon as I came, the guilt hit like a thunderclap. I was dressed and out the door before he even knew what happened.
That night, I thought long and hard about how I felt about the events. I had actually felt something during the act. Granted, sex feels great no matter what, but I had been so numb for so long, that the fact that I was feeling anything felt pretty good in its own right.
For the next month, I would have sex with any guy I could. The guilt was as painful as the act was pleasurable, but both were feelings, so I figured that I was making progress. Michelle still tried to set me up on dates, but she stopped quickly because the first words out of my mouth were usually asking for a quick fuck. It turns out that most of them were straight. My curiosity as to the source of the seemingly endless stream of eligible bachelors was satisfied.
Nearly every night of the week I would go out and cruise various locations. I had no preferences. Anyone who was interested was fair game. I did have limitations. I would not allow myself to be penetrated in anyway. I was familiar with and could cope with the guilt associated with what I was doing. I wasn't sure I could do the same if I allowed more to happen.
Finally Dustin had enough. One night in early April, he confronted me as soon as I had walked in the door from one of my excursions.
"Do you have any idea how stupid you're being? How dangerous what you're doing is? You do know that if you caught HIV Steve would never forgive you. Or me for that matter."
"Why wouldn't he forgive you?"
I understood why Steve wouldn't forgive me. That was a regular part of my post-coitus guilt routine.
"Because I allowed you to do it."
"Look. I hate to send you out this way, but you have Michelle and I really worried. Your stuff is already packed, and Ethan will be here in about an hour. You know that we are here for you, and we know that you're hurting, but this is just not the way to deal. I don't know what is, but it's not this."
"Besides, Scott, you need to move on. That's why I was trying to get you on dates. I figured that maybe getting out there again might help you to move on." Michelle added, trying to be helpful.
"You know that I can't do that, 'Chelly. I can't move on. Even if I could, I know that I don't want to. I can't allow myself to forget even the smallest thing about Steve. He deserves better than that. I will never forget him, and I really don't understand why no one understands where I am coming from."
"We do. It's just you aren't listening to us. No one is telling you to forget anything about Steve. All..."
I wasn't about to let her finish that sentence. I didn't want to know what she had to say. It was perfectly clear to me that what everyone thought I needed to do was to forget about Steve and just move on. Well, that wasn't going to happen.
I grabbed my luggage and walked outside to wait for Ethan to arrive.
Dustin and Michelle waited inside for Ethan to arrive. When he showed up, they came out and hugged me, just like my dad had done when he dropped me off three months prior. Also like my dad, they told me that if I needed anything they would be there for me.
With that, I got in the car and headed to Ethan and Emma's house. I hoped that I would fare better there than I did with my parents or with Dustin and Michelle.
When we arrived, Emma sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms would they allow me to continue the same self-destructive behaviors that I put myself through at Dustin and Michelle's. They wouldn't push me for therapy, but she had plans of her own to help me.
Even by the next week I was doing better. Part of the reason was that both of them refused to let me be alone with my thoughts as long as they were at home. I was still very depressed, and the pain was almost unbearable at times, but almost as soon as one of them returned home from work each day, they would drag me out of the house. We would go to restaurants, stores, parks, museums, anything.
Most of the time, there wasn't much conversation between the three of us. Simply their constant presence was helping to provide me some comfort. We never talked about my feelings or how I was coping, and for that I was thankful.
One day, early on, I was looking for a snack. I found a gallon of triple chocolate ice cream in the freezer while they were both at work. By the time they came home, I had eaten the entire thing. The rich dessert made me feel better and didn't have the same guilt attached to it as the random sexual encounters had had. I began to eat excessively.
Ethan quickly got fed up with my new coping mechanism. He was convinced that it was just as self-destructive as the wanton sexual escapades had been. A few times, he tried to get me to leave but Emma always stopped him. I was doing better overall, and she had some success in getting me to replace junk food with healthier alternatives in my binges.
"Dear, you know we can't just kick him out," Emma started one night after they went to bed. "He's actually trying. Maybe not as much as we'd hoped, but think about it from his perspective. If I died suddenly tomorrow, do you really think that you'd be handling this much better?
"Besides, I really don't think he's emotionally ready yet to return to his home. We're pretty much the last line of defense. You've seen the change in him in the last six weeks or so."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. I don't like it, but I don't think there's much we can do. He's my big bro, and I'll do anything I can to help him, but he just seems beyond help. Anyways, we really need to prepare ourselves, because I think the shit will hit the fan soon and he'll need us more than ever. The anniversary's coming up soon. By the way, if something were to happen to you, I think Scott would look like the poster-boy for coping with grief compared to me."
"Don't worry about that, I'm not planning on going anywhere for quite a while. I don't know what to do about the anniversary, though. I forgot that it's almost been a year since Steve was killed. Right now, I'll just hope that Scott is so far into his own world that he hasn't even noticed."
For the next six weeks, life continued much as it had, although Emma had been successful in curbing my binge eating. Considering that whenever we went shopping she never left my side, I have no idea how she managed it, but she bought a scale. Learning that I had put on 20 pounds over a two-month span was enough to force me to get things under control. I still wasn't doing anything to take care of myself, but I did stop gaining weight.
One day, I got a call from Tom.
"Hey, Scott. I'm not sure how you feel about hearing my voice, but I need a favor."
I knew what he meant. Tom's voice sounded almost identical to Steve's. Of course that's not surprising, seeing as they are identical twins. Despite my own feelings regarding Tom, which I knew were completely groundless, I decided to give him a chance.
"I'll be honest, it's hard. But I think you expected that. I appreciate the call. What's up?"
"It's about him. I haven't been able to bring myself to visit him since...well, you know."
"I haven't either, but I'm not sure how I can help with that."
"It's just that I don't want to go by myself. The anniversary is coming up, and I'd really like it if you were beside me. You were the only person closer to my brother than I was. I just really need you with me. Please, I can't do it alone."
"Please don't take this the wrong way, but I don't know if I can. I feel like my body is being ripped apart just thinking about him."
"You don't think I'm hurting too? You're not the only person who's feeling like they lost their other half. Identical twins, remember. We shared everything except love interests. That includes DNA. So I have a pretty damn good idea how you're feeling. Trust me, I feel the same way."
In all the years that I had known Tom, this was the first time that I ever heard him curse. It was very jarring to hear something like that coming from him. I also had never considered that there was still at least one person that really knew how I felt. I really hadn't given Tom much thought since he died. I had purposefully avoided it because they were so identical.
"I guess you're right. I know I've been unfair to you, but it's just hard."
"No. I've thought about it a lot. If I was in your position, I'd feel the same way about me. I can't really blame you for that. Some days, I can't even look in the mirror because it's not me I see staring back at me."
"Look, let me talk to Emma and Ethan. I know you need me, and rationally, I know I need to see him. It's just hard. I'll get back to you in the next few days. Does that work for you?"
"That's fine. I wasn't necessarily looking for an answer today, anyways. Just give me a call."
"Is it alright if I just send you text? Talking to you is...hard. No offense."
"That'd be fine. I know you're probably sick of hearing it, but I'm here for you."
With that, we hung up.
At dinner that night, I brought up Tom's phone call to Emma and Ethan.
"Scott, I'm glad you talked to him. So what is it you want to do?" Emma asked me.
"I want to drop off the face of the earth and disappear."
Emma tried to cut in, but I wouldn't let her.
"However, deep down, I know it's something that I need to do. I've been spending all my effort to avoid my pain, but running away hasn't really helped. I think I'm going to go. Besides, I'm not sure I will be able to live with myself if I don't go."
"That's great, bro. I'll call the airline after dinner and make reservations for us," Ethan said.
"No!" I said a little too loudly. Both of them jumped a little, and looked at me, bewildered.
"It's just that I think it's something that I have to do myself. You guys have been amazing, but I think maybe it's time to go home."
"Here's a thought: take all your stuff with you, but purchase an open-ended return ticket. Stay down there if you feel you can, but if you need to come back, you'll already have a ticket. Plus, even the irrational side of your brain will remember that you are welcome back."
"Who are you, and what did you do with my little brother? That's possibly the most insightful piece of advice I've ever gotten from my little surfer."
"You know I've never even been surfing, bro. It's just the way I talk. Besides, it lowers people's expectations. That way, when I have something deep to say, people will actually listen to me. Dude."
Even I couldn't help but chuckle as he threw that last part in.
"It's been hard on you. I can't imagine how hard it's been. But you've been slowly getting better since you came here. Part of me wishes that you'd come here first, but I think if you had then we wouldn't have been able to help you. You just weren't ready," Emma said, as we finished eating.
I called the airline and did exactly what Ethan had suggested. Even though I thought I was ready to go home, I wanted to wait until the last possible moment, so I bought a ticket on the anniversary.
I texted Tom after I had booked the flight so that he knew when I was scheduled to arrive.
Before I knew it, it was the day. The anniversary of the day that Steve died. I was withdrawn as Emma and Ethan drove me to the airport. I didn't want to think too much, because I was worried that I would break down and cry.
And just like that, I was on my way back home. I was dreading what awaited me. Had I known how quickly my life would change for the better, I probably would have been more excited.
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I'd like to thank my readers for all the wonderful comments I have received. A special thanks to Geoff, Mike, David, RC2, Laurie, Jimmy, Ernie, Trab, Clayton, Ken, Martze, and Dan!!!!
Don't worry, there's a lot more to come!
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