By: Jonathan Unruh
Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction any similarities to real people alive or dead and any events are coincidental only. This story is the creation of the author and is written from the author's point of view of the organization spoken of there-in and is not to be taken as a typical representation of that organization. This work may contain topics or events that some readers may find offensive by continuing beyond this point you accept responsibly for any offense that you may take and will not hold the author responsible for such offense. Do not continue if the reading of this material is an offense in your locality. You have been warned. This work is the sole property of the author and should not be reproduced in any way, shape, or form without written consent of the author.
Not many things can shake me right to the core, giving me that feeling people can get, that sudden rush of fear and anxiety that reduces them to being a kid again. I've done things that would make most people I know turn to puddles of gooey fear on the floor. Such as giving a speech in front of a room of five hundred people, or doing a flip off a mogul on the snowboard hill. I even did them without a second thought to boot. In fact as far back as I can remember I have never ever felt anything like this before. How could these three men hold such power in me that they could elicit such feelings?
I sat across these three wolves and watched as their eyes beamed at the thought of their latest kill. I could almost see their fangs coming to bare, dripping with anticipation at sinking their teeth into the flesh of their latest sinner sitting in front of them. Their eyes clearly told me that they were looking forward to ripping their victim to shreds. Even though they were shrouding that glee in the guise of "loving help" I knew these particular wolves too well not to know that they were enjoying this. I had been in this position before but I'd always had the upper hand, always been prepared, but not for this. This time I had no well-planned thoughts, no smart remarks ready to go, this time I was defeated and I knew it. I had not been careful, and had given all they needed to "deal" with me once for all.
I guess that I'm getting ahead of myself and should take a step back, and tell you what the heck is going on. My name is Grayson Bond, and the reason that I'm sitting here is because I'm stupid and made a foolish mistake. I was born and raised one of Jehovah's Witnesses, which I guess would not have been a real problem except I was also born gay. Those two worlds don't exactly fit together unless you're prepared to remain celibate all your life, and believe me I'm not willing. Well I guess I was, that is, till the day that I met Dustin.
Dustin Kullman is my best friend, or I guess was till last week. We met 8 years ago when I was 12 and just new to town. He took an interest in me that first meeting at the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses after moving to Calgary and we became instant friends. For me though it was much more than just friendship: it was love at first sight. Dustin isn't what most people would call a perfect man, but to me he is. He stands at about just below average height with brown eyes and hair and he always seems to have just the slight hint of stubble on his chin no matter how often he shaves. It bothers him that it's still that he can't remove it but to me it makes him look even that much sexier. Then there are his lips. They are so perfect, rosy red, and just the right shape that you want to kiss them at first sight. That's pretty much what got me into trouble in the first place; since day one all I could think about was kissing those lips. I would wake up in cold sweats, dreaming about planting a kiss on him at the front of the hall in front of everyone. Of course in my dreams we would leave the hall together and end up in bed, but life and dreams never seem to match up.
Dustin and I shared many passions but we both loved snowboarding the most . So when we had some free time I suggested we'd go. Normally, Dustin would have said that we should use our time off and go out in the door-to-door preaching work, but this time he agreed that we needed the break. The mountains were not that far away so we decided that a day trip would be better than trying to find a place to stay.
"I can't believe that you got me out of bed at 6am. I mean who really is crazy enough to be up at this time other than us?" I asked as I threw my back pack into the back seat of Dustin's Jeep. "We could have left at 9am and still have gotten there with plenty of time to spare."
"Quit complaining, I get up at this time every day; besides we both know that you're going to sleep the whole way up there," he said with a slight chuckle in his voice from the driver's seat of his Jeep. "Now get in here, so we get going before city traffic picks up."
"I always knew you were a freak," I said hopping into the passenger seat. "This just confirms it!"
"Shut up, you smart aleck!" Dustin said lightly punching me in the arm. "You're the freak!"
"Hey that's smart ass to you buddy" I said before jokingly without thinking.
"Grayson, watch your language," Dustin scolded me as we pulled out of the driveway. We had had this discussion many times about my so called "worldly" choice of words. I know what you're all thinking `ass' is no big deal, right, but to the JW's it was "ungodly" conduct. Of course I always have a smart and quick response whenever this comes up.
"Hey dude, it's in the bible so I can say it; besides it was just a joke" I said sitting back waiting for the usual lecture.
"Maybe so, but you really need to think about your choice of words," he said reaching for the radio dial. "So what are you in the mood for? Rock, Alternative, or you want Country?" he asked with a slight snicker in his voice.
Wait; that was way too easy! Normally I have to listen to him go on and on but today he didn't seem to care, I guess he really was relaxing, and I wasn't about to miss the opening to skip the lecture. "Clean your mouth out, dude, you know better than to use the `C' word in front of me. Rock all the way" I smiled at him as he hit the second preset on his radio which was designated `my station' about a week after we installed it. It really was my favorite station: it played a good combination of old and modern rock and unlike other radio stations the announcers were not irritating. Well ok, not as irritating as most anyway.
"Now freak, do you want breakfast now or in two hours when you wake up at the hill?" He asked sticking his tongue out at me. "Or are you just going to snake on the chair lift again?"
Now, at this point my instincts told me to call him an `ass hole' and punch him in the arm, but you've learned that wouldn't go over well. "Jerk." I said sarcastically. I know stupid but you try to think of something on the spot. "I was planning on staying awake to keep you company, but now I'm not so sure."
"Like you could if you tried," he said laughing slightly. "Now where do you want breakfast?"
"Let's just stop at McD's and pick up something quick, and you're buying for that comment." I folded my arms and stuck out my lower lip trying to look hurt. He wasn't buying it, though probably because I wasn't doing a good job holding back the laughter that was building up inside of me.
"Like you weren't going to try and make me pay any way," he said as he started to snicker. "It's all good anyway; I was going to pay for breakfast since you're paying for the lift tickets."
"And the gas," I said quickly as I calmed down.
"I thought we were going to share the gas," he asked.
"Nope, we both know I'm making more money than you and it was my idea to go snowboarding." I loved being able to pay for things when we went out. Besides, Dustin was living the life of a "pioneer" which basically meant he worked as little as possible so he could devote himself almost full time to his door-to-door work. I don't know how he did it putting 70 hours every month, going door-to-door preaching. I mean, I put in 10 hours a month and that almost killed me. I never did enjoy it like they say you're supposed to. Even when I did follow the counsel, it always seemed like a colossal waste of time to me. I only really do it because Dustin does and keeps inviting me to go with him. I know it's sad but I really will do anything to spend time with him.
In no time at all, we had our breakfast and were off on our way to the mountain. Traffic was still light so we made it out of the city rather quickly. Despite my best efforts to prove Dustin wrong, once I was done eating the desire to sleep hit me hard. He knows me too well. He didn't make it easy on me either; he turned the radio up so that it was loud enough to make it hard to talk. He did that on purpose, I'll have to get him back for that. He knows darn well that the combination of food, the motion of the vehicle, some good loud music, will put me to sleep. It has always been that way. When I was younger, my parents learned quickly that if they wanted me to sleep they just had to turn the radio on in my room or take me for a drive and I was out for the night in no time flat. He was using that small weakness against me I swear he was.
"Hey Butt Head, wake up," said Dustin's loud voice as he began to shake me from my very good dream. It involved me and Dustin on the beach, alone, naked, well you get the idea. Suffice to say the dream had had an effect on me while I was asleep. Thank god for tight jeans, or I would have had some quick explaining to do.
"We're there already?" I asked clearing the sleep from my eyes.
"What do you expect when you sleep the whole way?" he asked with a slight smirk in his voice.
"Hey! You didn't play fair in that department; you know damn well that if you turn the music up I'll fall asleep," I shot back. As the words came out of my mouth I realized what I had said. I had used `damn' and usually, like `ass', it would have triggered another lecture, but this time he didn't seem to notice yet again. This is getting weird because he likes to tell me about my choice in language, to keep me on the straight and narrow as it were, but today he was letting it go. I'll have to wait and see where this goes. Either way, I was happy that he was relaxing, maybe today would be better than planned. "There's a good parking space," I said pointing to an open spot not that far from the chalet.
The line was surprisingly short to get lift tickets and the guy behind the counter was especially hot. Since Dustin was distracted trying to get his boots on, I took the opportunity to do a little flirting with him to see where it went. I may be lusting after my best friend but that didn't stop me from looking at other prospects.
"I would like two tickets please," I said with a bright full smile on my face. I was letting my smile flirt for me till I was sure that he was interested or not. I have been told by many people, both male and female, that I have a great smile that can melt hearts. From the look on this guy's face, he seemed to be in that group. As he handed me the tickets, he allowed his hand to make contact with mine and stay much longer than normal. He was definitely interested; looking over my shoulder checking to make sure Dustin was still busy I decided to keep it going. "Maybe you can help me out, what are the best runs around here, it's been awhile."
You could tell by the way that his eyes lit up that he was happy that I was sticking around to talk. "Well they are all really good, but personally I prefer the hardest runs, the ones with the black diamonds on them. They are the best maintained and the quietest so if you have the skills you can really have some fun on them."
"Well my skills are a little rusty I could definitely use some help getting them sharpened them up, do you have any suggestions?" I asked extending my hand out toward him. "The name is Grayson by the way."
"Chad, I could help you out. I get off here in 4 hours so if you're still around and want to meet up on run number twelve, at say one, I could give you some pointers" he said as he took my hand and firmly shook it. The smile on his face grew bigger and bigger with each passing second of the contact of the handshake. The hand shake lasted way longer than was normal, but I don't think either of us really cared.
"That would be great, I'll see what I can do" I said releasing his hand and turning slightly to look at Dustin. "It would depend on my friend over there, but your help would be greatly appreciated." He looked almost disappointed at the introduction of Dustin to the equation, but he relaxed when I flashed him another smile. I wasn't so sure if meeting up with him would be a good idea, but it would definitely be fun if I could. "Maybe I'll catch you later then?"
"I hope so," his smile was back at full force as I turned and started over to catch up with Dustin. As I was walking away, I could definitely tell that he was looking at my ass, it was just a feeling, but it really felt to me that he was undressing me with his eyes. This day had some great potential.
"Wait up, Dustin," I broke into a slight jog to catch up with him. "Here's your ticket."
"Thanks, what took so long?" he asked as he attached his ticket to the zipper of his coat.
"I was finding out what the best runs to go on are, get the inside track you know," I said finding a place to sit and put on my boots. "Apparently the black diamond runs are kept up the best."
"Good to know, but I don't think I'm that good yet. So I think I'll stick to the easier ones, but if you want to go off and try them out you can," Dustin said whipping down his board.
"Maybe later in the afternoon, but for now I'll stick with you." As I stood and looked into his eyes I almost completely forgot about Chad. I really would give up anything just to spend a few extra minutes with him.
Once we hit the mountain, it was apparent that I wasn't as rusty as I thought I was going to be. I guess I didn't lose as much as I thought I would over the summer. Dustin however was having a much harder time. He must have fallen like fifteen times on his first try. He was definitely going to be sore later tonight but for now it looked like he didn't mind at all. I was keeping a close eye on him to make sure he didn't kill himself but as the day wore on he was getting better. So I didn't feel guilty leaving him to try out some of the harder runs. I didn't stay away long though, before I was back to check on Dustin.
"How are you doing?" I asked when I found him sitting on a bench at the lead to a medium difficulty run.
"I'm doing good, starting to get my balance back. I'm just sitting here working up the nerve to try out this hill. Want to come with me?" He asked as he stood up and took a good long look down the edge.
"I'd love to; this one has a few good jumps on it, that you can get a good amount of air off of." He looked at me with a major look of terror. I just laughed. "Don't worry, dude, there are signs along the way to warn you. You can easily avoid them if you want to." It was obvious that this piece of information had made him less nervous. "Now, come on, let's hit the mountain hard!" He didn't say anything just pushed off the edge and headed down the hill. I almost laughed when he almost fell, but he did manage to keep his balance. He really was getting better.
We ended up having a great time and I completely lost track of all time. I forgot about meeting up with Chad. When I realized the time, it was too late. I didn't want to leave Dustin right now anyway, but I still wondered what I was missing out on. As it happened, I didn't have to wonder: as I was getting ready to go down a hill that was particularly windy, Chad came up behind me.
"Hey Grayson, I missed you at one" I couldn't miss the hint of disappointment in his voice.
"Yeah, sorry about that, I lost complete track of time. I figured you wouldn't wait so I just stayed with Dustin" I really was sorry that I hurt his feelings. "I did figure out though that I'm not that rusty after all."
"Really? Do you want to put that to the test?" Chad gave me a sexy yet evil grin.
"Sure what did you have in mind?" I asked returning his grin.
"First one to the bottom buys coffee." He moved up to the line and steadied himself ready to go.
"You're on," I said moving beside him and getting ready to go as fast as I could. I had been down this particular run a few times today and was confident I knew the turns well enough to go full speed. This is one bet that I figured would end good, no matter which way it went.
"On three then," he said sliding his board back and forth. "One... Two... Three!" he shouted, pushing off and gaining the lead. I followed, keeping as close to him as I could. He was good, way better than I am, so it was a miracle I was keeping pace with him. I'm pretty sure that he was letting me win, the way he was boarding he could have pulled away at any time. I guess he didn't want to lose sight of me this time. I decided to use this opportunity. There was a sharp turn coming and I knew that he would take it wide so that he didn't pull too far ahead. So if I took the turn really tight I would be able to pull in front. He would take the lead back easily but it would afford me some bragging rights later.
We both entered the turn; as I expected, Chad took it wide, so I made my move. What I wasn't counting on was someone to be standing near the tree line around that particular corner. When I finally saw him standing, it was too late for me to do anything. I just slammed into him hard at full speed, sending us both flying, with me landing on top of him.
As soon as we stopped sliding, I did a quick mental check to see if I could feel anything that might have been seriously hurt. I didn't feel any major pain, so I figured I was pretty lucky. The guy under me, from the groaning noise he was making, didn't fare so well. It wasn't till I pulled myself off of him that I realized who it was that I had run into. It was Dustin. "Oh man, Dustin, are you ok?" I asked completely worried at how bad the damage might be.
"Actually, I think I'm not that bad, all things considered," he said gripping at his chest rubbing his left side. "Other than this nasty pain in the ribs I think I'm ok."
"Oh man, I'm so sorry, Dustin! I didn't see you when I came around the corner," I said coming over to help him up.
"It's not your fault, Grayson; I shouldn't have been standing so close to the turn." As I helped him up he groaned loudly in pain. "Oh man! Help me back down! That hurts too much." I helped him down and he groaned grabbing his ribs.
"Are you guys alright?" Chad asked as he came running up to us. "I called the ski patrol, they're sending help."
"Thanks Chad I'm ok but I think Dustin here is in bad shape, his ribs hurt a lot," I said sitting down beside Dustin and helping him to sit in a steady position. "How's that?" I asked as his face seemed to relax a little.
"Yeah that is better, it only hurts when I move" Dustin said as he closed his eyes. "How long till they get here?"
"It shouldn't be long, we're not far from the patrol station," Chad said sitting down across from us. He was right: it only took them two or three minutes to find us. Chad and I went over and explained what happened. They began to check out Dustin carefully before moving him. "Are you sure you're ok?" Chad asked as they were working on Dustin.
"Yeah I'm fine, nothing even hurts. I think Dustin took the brunt of the impact." The look on Chad's face was hard to read.
"I'm sorry that your boyfriend has been hurt, these guys are really good and will take good care of him," he said with a comforting tone. I almost laughed at his assumption of my relationship with Dustin. While I may want it to be true it wasn't going to happen.
"He's not my boyfriend, we are just best friends." I replied with a slight chuckle.
"I'm sorry I just assumed that you were gay and that you two were a couple from the way you were acting with him earlier," he said with a sudden look of concern on his face.
"No I'm am gay, he doesn't know it, he wouldn't take it well," I said feeling a little down now.
"I'm sorry dude, it's not easy," he said giving me a knowing nod. "Here, take my e-mail address, we can talk any time that you want to" he said taking out a small piece of paper and handed it to me. "I'd be happy to help you out if you ever need it."
"Thanks a lot, it means a great deal to me" I said as I shook his hand. "I'd give you a hug but with Dustin so close..." He cut me off from finishing my sentence.
"You don't need to explain dude I totally understand." He gave me a small knowing nod. "I'm going to head down the hill, please e-mail me any time dude."
"Thanks, I will." I gave him a smile as he turned to head down the hill. Just before he headed down he looked back and gave me a small wink. It gave me a good feeling and couldn't help but wonder where this new friendship might lead. It didn't matter though right now Dustin needed me and I could explore this idea later.
"Do you want to come down with us to the chalet or are you good to make it on your own?" one of the patrol men asked as he was putting Dustin in the small sled attached to his snowmobile.
"I think I can make it down on my own thanks. Is he going to be ok?" I asked.
"Yeah it looks like he only has a bruised rib, you might want to take him for some x-rays but I doubt it's serious," he replied checking to make sure that Dustin was secured in place. "We're going to take him down but he's done snowboarding for a few days."
"Ok, well then, I'll take him to a clinic back in the city before I take him home."
"I'm fine we can just go home" Dustin said in a whining voice. I knew he hated going to the doctor but he needed to make sure that he didn't have a cracked rib. He wasn't going to have a choice this time: he was going.
"I'll meet you at the bottom then I take you to see the doctor," I said firmly. He knew that there wasn't any point in arguing with me. I wasn't going to let up till he went to the doctor. He didn't say anything as they pulled away and started down the mountain to the chalet below. I took a moment to regain a level of composure before starting down to meet up with Dustin.
When I got down the hill and found Dustin he was sitting on a bench outside the chalet near the parking lot access. He had already managed to pack up his snowboarding stuff and was simply waiting for me. The look on his face told me that the pain had subsided a great deal. Maybe they had given him a pain killer or something but he really did look a whole lot better or at least more relaxed.
"Hey dude, I see you're ready to go," I sat on the bench next to him and started taking my board boots off. "Did they give you something for the pain?"
"No I took a few pain killers that I had in my bag," he replied helping me pack my stuff in my bag.
"Thanks for getting my stuff together. You should have waited for me to do it though," I said looking at him not being able to hide my concern for him.
"Don't worry so much. I'm not in that much pain and since we got down here so quick, I figured why not make things easier. You can carry all the stuff though, if it will make you feel better." I could hear his playful side in his voice as he teased me which was a good sign.
"I was going to carry them anyway, but for that comment you can help a little. Here carry this" I said handing him a small bag. "Don't think that this means you're getting out of going to the Doctor though."
"Come on! It's not that bad really I'm fine! We can just go home and watch some TV," he whined trying to look pathetic.
"Yeah, and have your mother on me for bringing you home damaged, no way!" I could tell by the look on his face that he was trying to decide which would be worse: going to the doctor or facing his mother. Even though he was 24, the fear of his mother must still be strong because he didn't argue anymore. "Here let me help you to the Jeep" I said standing and reaching out to help him up. It didn't look like he minded the help as he allowed me to help him to his feet.
As I helped him to the Jeep, I could feel his weight on me with each step. I had never spent this expended amount of time in contact with him before. It was having an effect on me. My mind was slowly becoming clouded and I knew it; I was enjoying it nonetheless. As we got close to the Jeep Dustin lost his footing and fell forward some. The way that I had a grip him caused him to turn around to face me while he fell, bring his face close to mine as his back hit the side of the Jeep with me pinning him in place. As I looked into his eyes time seemed to stop for me. It was like looking into a pool of perfect shimmering water. There was such depth of feeling behind those eyes that I felt myself lost in them. Without any thought or hesitation at all I moved my face closer to his. I could feel the warmth of his breath as it washed over my lips sending a tingling sensation down my spine.
In that moment, I made the decision to kiss him. I had held back for so long and finally I was going to do it. Our lips met ever so slightly at first. I could feel the softness of his lips as I brushed mine our over his before slowly pressing them together. A subtle salty flavor entered my mouth as I allowed my tongue to make contact with his lower lip. I wanted it to last forever but was expecting him to push me away and yell at me any second. It didn't happen though instead I felt him kiss me back. Wait he's kissing me back! He is actually kissing me back! Never in a million years did I actually believe that he would kiss me back; and with the same passion that I was kissing him. A great sensation of excitement came over me as we kissed which seem like forever in my mind. I reached up and touched his face which I guess was a mistake because it seemed to bring him to reality.
I was still looking in his eyes when I saw it. That sudden realization of what he was doing and who he was doing it with. Then, the worst thing I have ever seen in my life: a sudden look of total disgust and hatred. My heart broke even before he pushed me to the ground, spitting out the taste of our kiss. I could hear him yelling at me all kinds of hateful things but all I could think to do was cry.
"Please Dustin I'm sorry I don't know what I was thinking" I pleaded as he kicked snow in my face.
"You're sick, Grayson!" He yelled as he opened the Jeep door getting in. "I don't want anything to do with you ever again" I just sat there in the cold snow as he drove away leaving me behind. My heart was breaking under the harsh weight of his hateful words. All I could do was watch his Jeep leave until I couldn't see it anymore. That's when the tears really began to flow and I was lost in them, not aware of anything else but the pain.
I wasn't aware of the crowd of people that had gathered around me, didn't feel them as they helped me to my feet and took me back toward the chalet. I couldn't hear their questions of concerns or anything else they were asking me. All I could see and hear was the look on Dustin's face and his last words to me. I had lost him forever over a kiss, one that I had wanted since the day I met him, but it was still just a kiss and for that I had lost my best friend.
"Grayson please come back to us, I'm worried about you" at first I thought it was Dustin speaking and my mind jump with hope as I pulled myself back to reality. However it wasn't Dustin who was speaking to me with such concern and affection. It wasn't Dustin that had his hand on my knee bringing me comfort. As I realized that it was Chad that was with me I did my best to mask my disappointment when I eyes met but from the look on his face I must not have been doing a good job. "Grayson what happened?"
"He's gone!" I sobbed as he reached out and hugged me. "I kissed him and now he hates me and is gone."
"It will be ok, Grayson, really it will be," he said rubbing my back trying to comfort me.
"You don't understand. He is going to tell everyone what I am and then it will be over. All my friends and family will hate me too and I'll never see them again," the tears followed freely as I heard myself say that last part. It was true, it was Dustin's duty as a Jehovah's Witness to report this to the leaders of the congregation, the Elders, and they would discipline me for what I've done.
They would try to counsel me, try to change me, but that wasn't going to happen. It took me a long time to understand and know who I was and to stop hating myself for it. I knew that I was born who I was, created to be exactly who I am, and no amount of counsel and pray was going to change that. Nor did I want it to change; I was happy as I was, but because of that everything else around me was going to change though. There was only one punishment for a gay person who didn't want to change or conform to their standards: that was removal from the organization also called disfellowshipping. The relationships that I had with the people that I loved the most were all going to change in an instant. They would never look at me the same way, if they looked at me at all. All but my family would never talk to me again and even my family would only talk to me when it was necessary.
Deep down inside, I had always known that this might happen someday, that they would find out and it would all be over. The loneliness of that thought always frightened me. I wasn't prepared though for the sheer scope of feelings that this moment of realization would bring me. That and in only a few hours from now when Dustin got home all hell was going to break loose. I felt like running, escaping and never going back, but I knew that no matter how bad things were going to get, running was only going to hurt me worse in the long run.
"I have to get home but I don't know how though. Dustin was my ride here" I said into Chad's shoulder still holding on tight for dear life.
"Well if you don't mind sticking around for a bit, I could give you a ride home," said Chad as he squeezed tight on my back. "Is your family really going to kick you out for being gay?"
"I don't know if they are going to kick me out of the house; but after today I'm pretty sure I'm not going to want to stay there anymore. Things are going to get really tough there" the tears in my eyes began to slowly stop as I released Chad from our hug.
"How do you know for sure? I mean I know lots of people that don't like gays and I know a good number whose parents made their lives living hells when they came out; but you can't know how they will react till the time come," he said trying to comfort me.
"Trust me I know," I preceded to explain as much as I could, about being a Jehovah's Witness, being gay, and what that all meant. It took some time but in the end I could tell that he understood the situation as good as possible. As I told him what was going on, the look on his face didn't turn to disgust as it did on Dustin's after our kiss. Instead it turned to one of even more concern and affection. He was nothing like I had been lead to believe that non-Jehovah's Witnesses were like. He was understanding, compassionate, kind, and truly caring. He was concerned for me and my well-being and was willing to help me without asking for anything in return.
We sat and talked for almost an hour before he said that he needed to leave and finish up the last few hours of a shift that he was covering. He promised that he would be back and that if I needed anything I could just ask, that he would be right outside the door at the counter. I watched him as he left and felt such a warm feeling in my heart, knowing that at the very least I had one friend that wasn't going to go away.
When he left and I was alone, I took a look at my surroundings. This must be the employee lounge, there were two couches a table and chair set and a TV in the corner. It was nice and the couch that I was sitting on was very comfortable. I lay down and closed my eyes replaying in my head the event of the day, trying to see where I had gone wrong, what I had done to let my guard down so far that I made such a huge mistake. It was pointless to torture myself though, I hadn't done anything wrong, and trying to blame myself was a pointless exercise at best. As I lay there I could feel how tired I had become, so many emotions had taken their toll on me, and so I allowed myself to fall asleep.
"Hey there sleepy head, wake up!" Chad's words pulled me from the deep sleep that I had fallen into. As my mind slowly began to restart I felt a soft kiss on my forehead. It felt so good after this day's events to have a smile finally spread across my face.
"Hey you done already?" I asked as I tried to focus on his smiling face.
"Yeah I am you must have slept the whole time," he said as I sat up and he joined me on the couch putting his arm around me.
"I guess I really needed it." I rubbed my eyes, wiping the sleep out of the corners.
"Are you ready to go?" As the words came out of his mouth the smile on mine quickly died.
"No but I know that I have too," I said as I could feel the tears welling up behind my eyes. Dustin had a good few hours head start; by now he was home and making phone calls. I reached into my pocket and looked at my cell phone. It was only a matter of time before it rang with my parents on the other side. I didn't want to have this conversation on the phone with them. If I had a choice, I never wanted to have this conversation at all; but that wouldn't happen now. So I turned my cell phone off and turned to Chad. "I might have to take you up on that offer of help tonight."
That worried and concerned look from earlier replaced the smile that was on his face when he said, "Of course dude anything you need. I have a small apartment, but a nice couch, so if you need a place to sleep you can definitely stay with me."
"Thanks, it means a lot," I said allowing my smile to return. "Let's get going I want to get this over as fast as possible."
The ride home was interesting to say the least; Chad had lots of questions for me. He must have been thinking about them the whole time he was working. He wanted to know about being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, about my family, about Dustin, and almost everything there was to know about me. I did my best to answer all of his questions and to help him understand. It was the first time that I really didn't feel that talking about the Jehovah's Witnesses was a complete waste of my time. I also learned a great deal about him.
He's an only child and his Mom left home when he was very young so it was just him and his Dad. He came out early in high school to everyone, his Dad, friends, and the entire school all in one big shot. According to him, almost everyone reacted well. His dad said that he already had a feeling that he was gay. He friends were cool with it; after asking a bunk of questions they treated him no different than before, well, except that they wanted to hook him up with guys. The people at school for the most part didn't care; he said there were a few bullies that picked on him, but that was stopped pretty quickly by his friends. Hearing him talk about coming out and how well it went for him warmed my heart. It gave me hope that even if my family couldn't accept me for who I am, there were people out there that would.
It was the moment that I was dreading the whole trip home. Chad had done his best to keep the conversation going but he couldn't stop the enviable from happening. I stood looking at the door to my parent's house. I had lived here for a long time and it wasn't an easy thing to think that in a moment that might end. I knew that Dustin's first call when he got home was going to be to them, so I was going to make a preemptive strike and just come out and tell them everything. I already knew from years of going to Jehovah's Witness meetings the results of what I had done, and what I was about to do. I knew that sooner or later, things were going to come to this moment; despite my best efforts to prepare myself I still wasn't ready to do this. Thoughts of running filled my mind again, but instead I took a deep breath. This was going to be painful and rip at the very fabric of who I was but it was still the right choice. I opened the door with my key and entered the landing.
Right away I could hear my mother's soft sobs coming from the kitchen. I could hear my father's voice filled with grief and pain as he attempted to console her with little success. They knew and they were taking it exactly as I had expected them too. There wasn't going to be understanding, no `we still love you' speech, all there was going to be was counsel and condemnation for a supposed choice that I had made. It wasn't going to matter what I said to them, I couldn't explain that I was born like this, that the only choice I made was to now be honest with them and tell the truth about one part of me. They were not going to hear it; they were not going to see past their beliefs to see their hurting son. As I listened to them talk in the kitchen I could almost play out the sequence of events in my head; the thought only made that desire to run even stronger. I gathered all my strength, took another deep breath, and entered the room.
My mother became aware of my presence in the room first, looking up at me; her eyes were red and puffy from the crying and filled with grief. "Is it true Grayson?" she asked without even saying hello. "Tell me it isn't true, that it was some mistake, an accident, anything just tell me that it's not true, that you're not gay!"
"It's true Mom, I kissed him. I kissed him and I liked it." The now shocked look on her face turned to disgust as my words sunk in. "I'm gay, I always have been, and I always will be."
"We can deal with this Son, we'll go to the elders, you can confess, and then they can give you counsel on how to deal with these wrong feelings. Jehovah is a forgiving God son, he'll help you overcome these feelings, you just need to put your trust and faith in him" my Dad said attempting to reason with me. "You have to believe that this is wrong thinking, that it is what you have been feeding your mind that is making you have these feelings. Not that you were born gay son, but that it is a thorn of the flesh a result of imperfection that makes you think you're gay."
"No Dad you're wrong; I was created this way. It is a part of who I am, and something that I can't change. Even if I could change, I wouldn't, because if I did I wouldn't be me." I could tell that they both where hurt by my words. They could only see rebellion in what I was telling them not a plea for understanding. "I'm not like you, I don't share your beliefs, and I don't think I ever really did. Being gay isn't a sin, and it isn't a result of imperfection. What it is, is me, I was born and created to be who I am and I think that is the way Jehovah wanted it."
"I can't deal with this I've lost my son, I can't sit here and watch as he kills himself" said my mother as she got up and headed to the door as more tears flowed down her face. "Where did I go wrong?" were her last words to me as she left the room.
"You have to decide, son, what you want. You can't be a slave for two Master's Son, you have to choose between a life of service to Jehovah with the promise of life forever in paradise, or a sinful course that will lead to only death. You need to choose," dad said getting up, heading toward me. "You may think that your choice isn't a choice, and you may believe that Jehovah approves of you, but that is not what the bible says, Son. If you choose to follow the world you are not welcome in this house. You can come back when you have proven that you are following Jehovah; until then you need to leave. I'll pack up your stuff and you can pick them up tomorrow."
I felt sick to my stomach as the door to my parents' house was closed and locked by my dad behind me. His words were a quick and painful stab to the heart, but the sound of that lock being turned was the twist of the knife. It made me feel like I was barred from my home and family. I felt like they were locking me out of their life forever. Like I was some local criminal that had hurt them, took away their precious view of the world and smashed it. They had chosen their faith over their own son like I had expected.
What I didn't expect was how quick this conversation happened, how fast they had pushed me out. To be thrown out on the street without even being allowed to pack up my own stuff was just heart retching. How quickly they could change from the people that just last night had told me how proud they were of me, and how much they loved me, to throwing their only child out on the street without a second thought. I mean the least they could have done was let me go and collect a few things from my room. No, they just told me to leave, that I could pick up my stuff tomorrow. My knees grew weak and I allowed myself to slump to the ground in defeat on the front door as the tears began to flow. Then a sudden blackness clouded my mind as my emotions became overwhelming. They blocked up my heart and I went emotionally numb.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a piece of paper that Chad had handed me with his cell phone number on it. I figured that he hadn't gotten far in the short time that I was in my house. I guess it wasn't my house anymore. I had nowhere to go, normally that would have gotten some emotional reaction out of me but I couldn't feel anything; I was cold inside. I turned my cell phone back on and called him to see if I could take him up on his offer for a place to sleep. After my call, I dried my face and just sat there on the cold icy steps and waited.
Chad's apartment was exactly as he had described it, small, modest, and sparsely decorated. He was very right about his couch being comfortable, in fact he might have been selling it short. It wasn't long after I sat down that I again felt the weight of the day hit me hard and that I fell asleep.
I felt the warmth of the sun on my face, the light on my closed eye lids creating dancing lights in my vision. It was warm and refreshing and felt good as it slowly and gently caressed my cheek waking me up from my deep sleep. I knew where I was, knew what had happened the day before, yet I still allowed myself that moment, that moment of delusion where I thought I was home in my bed and nothing had changed. I knew it wasn't true, and that I would soon have to face the cold reality of my new existence, but I still allowed myself to feel the warmth and comfort of that short moment.
"Morning, how did you sleep?" came a voice from the distance. From the sounds of things Chad was either in the kitchen or heading to it.
"I slept well, your couch is very comfortable. How did you know I was awake?" I asked opening my eyes and turning away from the warmth of the sun to look at him. "I still had my eyes closed."
"You sounded calm again. Last night your breathing and motions while you slept were all over the place. Like you were having nightmares," he said reaching up to grab a pan from the shelf above him. He was right I had had nightmares. I kept seeing the look on Dustin's face, the same look that my parents got when I came out to them, and the same look that I imagined would be on all the faces of the people that I know and love.
"I'm sorry if I disturbed you" I said.
"No you didn't I was just worried about you" he said looking in the fridge. "So how do you like your eggs?"
"You don't have to make me breakfast dude. After everything you have done for me, I should be making breakfast for you. Heck I should be taking you out to a huge breakfast," I said.
Chad turned and flashed a smile at me, "Well I might take you up on that offer. This morning, though, I want to make you breakfast, so how do you like your eggs?"
"Scrambled, thank you," I replied getting up and stretching. "Did you want any help?"
"Nope I have it all under control in here. I put out some fresh clothes in the bathroom for you so you can have a shower and change out of those clothes," he said mixing a few different things in with the eggs.
"Thanks I really am sick of these clothes, I would have brought my own if I were allowed," I said, remembering what my Dad had done. I went into the bathroom and found a pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt as well as another pair of blue Calvin Kline boxers. It was going to be really nice to wear something different I had been in the same clothes all day and night. I got into the shower and allowed it to wash away all the grim and pain of the last day. I allowed it to relax me and push my worries away for a few minutes, giving me some much needed peace.
After my shower and breakfast, Chad helped me go over to my parents' house to get my stuff. He insisted that I stay with him at least until I found a place to live, he was even hinting at maybe longer. My parents were not home when we got to the house. There was just a short note that read `we are going to be gone for a few hours to give you time to get your things' and that was it. They didn't even say `we love you' or `we'll call you' nothing at all. I could feel my heart breaking as I read each word.
This past week since I moved out has been quiet. I went back to work without taking any time off. I have been staying with Chad and over the course of the week we have become great friends, he has helped me so much in dealing with all of this. In fact he has given me the strength to sit here where I am now in front of these Elders. I wish that he was here beside me holding my hand and giving me the strength that I needed.
As the Elders were talking about the biblical counsel on homosexuality and all the ways that the bible said it was wrong, I turned to look at Dustin who was sitting in the room. He was here to tell the Elders what I had done and I wasn't sure that I was ready to see him again. I wouldn't have come at all, but deep down I felt that I needed to be here to make sure that the decision that I had made to leave was the right one. As I looked into his eyes, I still saw the same disgust and hatred as before; nothing had changed. He didn't love me; he couldn't even look at me.
As I watched him listening to the Elders drone on, a sudden realization washed over me. I don't love Dustin anymore. All those feelings that I had for him were gone with that realization all the fear that I was feeling left me. There was nothing that the Elders could do to hurt me anymore than had already been done. My family had made it clear that I wasn't a part of their lives anymore. Dustin had kissed me back, yes, but there wasn't love for me in him; every time he looked at me showed that. What else could they do?
I looked away from Dustin and took a deep breath and stood. As I did the Elder that was speaking stopped looking confused at me. "We don't need to continue" I said simply. "I have made my decision: I no longer want to be known as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I know what that means but it is what I want and believe is right." I wasn't going to wait for them to reply or give me some long-winded speech about my salvation; so I turned and left.
On the ride back to Chad's apartment, another one of those realizations washed over me. I have feelings for Chad, no, more than that: I'm in love with him. My heart suddenly skipped a beat, my palms became sweaty, and my face flushed. I couldn't wait to get home to see him. Home, I have a home, I couldn't remember when I start to think of Chad's apartment as home. It didn't matter anymore though I had to see him.
I pulled up to the apartment building and ran to the front door almost forgetting to lock my car. The damned elevator was taking too long, so I decided to run up the stair. Anything was better than standing here and going out of my mind. It was only three flights of stairs anyway. I got to the front door and fiddled with the keys, having a hard time slowing myself down enough to use them. Chad must have heard my predicament because he opened the door.
He looked confused when he saw me standing there with a huge grin on my face. "How did it go?" he asked.
"Just as bad as I thought it would" I said still smiling as I walked through the door. "Worse actually because Dustin was there" his face looked even more confused than before because of my smile.
"So why do you look so happy then?" he asked.
"Because they don't matter anymore and I have something to tell you" I said stepping closer to him.
"What would that be?" he asked obviously thinking I had gone insane.
"Well maybe it would be better if I just showed you instead." I stepped even closer so that my face was only an inch from his. "I think you're going to like too, well at least I hope you do."
Without anymore thought or words I kissed him. I tasted and felt his velvety soft lips. I could feel the change in him as he smiled into my kiss and began to kiss me back. Suddenly the thought of what had happened with Dustin came into my mind bring along with it some fear and doubt. So I broke the kiss so I could better look at his eyes. I was expecting to see that same look of disgust and hatred but instead it was something else.
He had this look of pure contentment on his face. I could almost feel the love as it poured out of his eyes and into my soul. He loved me, I knew it without him having to tell me and it made me heart soar. All the things that I had suffered in the last week and a half, all the things that I had lost all seemed to be an acceptable price pay for being able to see the look on this man's face.
"I love you," I said meaning every word as I spoke them.
"I love you too," he said as he leaned forward and started kissing me again.
Authors Notes: Thank you very much for reading my story, I hope that you enjoyed it. I would like to thank Bondwriter for all his hard work in editing this story, without his efforts it would be unreadable. Please e-mail me if you liked the story at firstname.lastname@example.org.