by JWSmith

Chapter 8

Jim and Nathan enjoyed taking Bobby shopping for furnishings for his new room. Neither one had ever been to Ikea before. And even though they were both into old furniture to match the period of their houses, they found the store fascinating. They let Bobby choose the style that he wanted, and ended up buying a chest of drawers, a dresser with a matching mirror, a desk and chair and a twin-size bed.

Next they went to the new El Paseo Mall in Pasadena clothes shopping for Bobby. Jim firmly refused to buy the baggy over-sized clothes that many kids were into wearing. He did allow them big enough for Bobby to have some growing room. Bobby didn't really care. He was getting attention like he had never really had from adults. He was really basking in it.

They made one last stop in a record shop where they sold posters and Bobby picked out several to cover the was in his bed room.

The thing that he really liked about being with Jim and Nathan, was that they treated him like an adult. Both his mother and father had always talked down to him. He had naturally reacted as a kid, being rebellious and childish. Being treated like an adult he found himself feeling and acting more grown-up. It made him feel good about himself.

They drove back to Burbank to the Ikea store in Nathan's pickup. Once all the boxes were loaded and they were heading home it dawned on Jim that they were going to have to put all of the furniture together.

Jim looked a Nathan. " Do you realize what we've gotten ourselves into?"

"What do you mean?"

"I hope you're mechanical and can understand instructions, 'cause we have to assemble the whole bedroom."

"Nah, we'll just let Bobby do it. That should keep him occupied for at least a month." He looked around Jim and grinned. Bobby saw that he was only kidding and dished it right back.

"You don't think I can do it all by myself?"

"Well, Jim can't." Nathan said.

"I can too. Hey, Bobby, let's make Nathan do it all."

"Yeah, we can just go shopping while he does."

"No. I want to watch. I'll bet he tries to make a bed out of the dresser."

"Or attach the mirror to the mattress." Bobby laughed, really getting into picking on Nathan.

"Time out. We big guys are suppose to be picking on the little guy. Boy! Are you two mixed up, or what?" Nathan said.

"It's more fun to pick on the driver. You have to pay attention to where we're going.

"No fair. Just wait 'til we get home. I'll show you to how to put things together."

Jim and Bobby grinned at Nathan.

"He fell for it, Jim. I told you he would."

Nathan looked back at them. Disbelief on his face.

"Have I just been manipulated?"

"Call it what you want, sucka." Bobby said grinning.

"I don't believe you two. Just wait until we get home."

"You'll show us? How?" Bobby egged him more.

"Just wait and see. Payback can be a joy."

Nathan was frustrated, but he was still grinning while he planned his revenge. He pulled the pickup into Jim's driveway and parked in front of the door. They lugged the heavy boxes up the stairs and down to the end of the hall.

"Thank god that there aren't more bedrooms beyond here. He'd pick the one farthest away." Nathan grumbled as he let the last big box, he and Jim were carrying between them, slide to the floor. They had removed the double bed that had been the only piece of furniture in the room.

"You know guys," Bobby said, trying to look like he meant what he was saying, "maybe that room at the other end of the hall would be better. Grab those boxes and take them back to the room closest to the stairs.."

"No way, Buster, you made your choice." Jim said. He advanced toward the kid, grinning wickedly. Nathan saw the amusement in Bobby's eyes.

"I'm gonna get you good. Pick on poor over-worked me, Buster, I'll show you."

He lunged at Bobby and barely managed to grasp the back of his shirt as Bobby dodged away. He ran right into Jim's waiting arms. Jim grabbed him pinning his arms to his sides. Bobby was laughing so hard he couldn't put up much of a fight. Nathan wrapped them both in a bear hug. He was face to face with Jim with Bobby scrunched between them. They stared into each others's eyes. Bobby knew the struggle was over and stopped squirming. He looked up just as the two men's lips met above him.

"Ugh! Do you have to do that with me caught in the middle?" He tried to duck down and away. Nathan grabbed him up and planted a big kiss on his forehead, and dropped him on the plastic covered mattress that had been pushed over in the skirmish.

"There. Now we're even." He turned back to Jim and wrapped him in an embrace again.

They kissed, ignoring Bobby for the moment. Bobby lay propped up on his elbows where he was dumped watching, fascinated. As Nathan released Jim, Bobby said, "Cool." Jim turned a dark scarlet. Nathan grinned at them both.

"I love you guys."

Jim turned away from them, tore open a box and started removing its contents. Nathan's grin slid off his face. He knew what was happening with Jim's emotions. It was still painful not to be able to do anything about it until Jim was ready to be helped. He stood frozen, staring at Jim's back. Bobby could see the hurt in Nathan's eye's, but didn't know what to do about it, so he rolled over and got up. He went into his bathroom to relieve himself and to give the two men some privacy.


"Leave me alone."

Nathan moved over and laid a hand on his shoulder.

"Please don't do this, Jim. Please talk to me."

"I don't want to talk. Go away and leave me alone."

"Alright, Jim. If and when you want to, you know where I am."

When Bobby came back in Nathan had gone.

"I thought he was going to help put all of this together."

"He had other things to do." Jim said not looking up. Bobby studied Jm's back for a moment..

"Oh." He sat down and watched Jim toying with one of the weird little connectors that would hold the side to the top.

"Nathan loves you." Bobby said. His voice so low it was nearly a whisper. Jim went on with his struggle. "You know that don't you, Jim?"

"What would you know about love?" There was a bitterness in his voice that Bobby hadn't heard before. Jim still had his face to his work.

"I'm only fifteen and I haven't had much love in my life, Jim, but I know it when I see it. I wish some one would love me like that." The wistfulness in his voice made Jim feel more ashamed of himself than he already was for treating Nathan so coldly. He turned toward Bobby.

"Come here." He said. Bobby stood up, hesitating. Jim held his arms toward him. Bobby stepped up to Jim, who wrapped him in a hug. Bobby hugged him back.

"I love you, Bobby. And I know Nathan does, too. But, God, it is so hard to just let go and accept it."

"But don't you love him?"

Jim released the embrace. "I love Nathan. It's just--- I don't know."

"You've still got hang-ups, Jim. Nathan is a psychiatrist. He has helped me a lot. Let him help you. Talk to him." He hugged Jim and moved away.

"Your pretty smart for kid."

"Yeah. So? Go talk to him. He's hurting as much as you are. Besides I need his help to get my new bedroom put together. Your not much help."

"Smart ass teenager. I can't believe a fifteen year old is giving me advice on my love life."

"So go find him. Geez, What are you waiting for?" Jim got up, repeating, "Smart ass teenager." He grinned at Bobby and went looking for Nathan.


Jim knock on the door. There was no answer. He turned the knob and opened it, calling out for Nathan. There was no answer. He walked through to the kitchen and saw the back door standing open. He stepped out into the back yard and looked around. At first he didn't see him sitting on a little stone bench in the corner. Nathan was leaning forward with his elbows no his knees, his chin resting on his fists. His eyes were unfocused.

Jim walked over and kneeled beside him. He put his hand on Nathan's thigh. Nathan turned and looked at him. Jim didn't say anything. Nathan took Jim's hand and pressed it between both of his. He sighed.

"You'd think that as a goddamned psychiatrist, I would know how to deal with you."

"Nathe, I---"

"Shh." he paused in thought. "I've always had a strong sex drive which I have always sublimated into my work. I meet you and it all goes to hell. I'm obsessed. I want to be with you constantly. I'm so happy when I am. But then, you turn-off, like you did awhile ago and I crash and burn. I've realized I am a mere human. I used to be this--- "super headshrinker" that could fix anyone's mind. Ha!, I can't even fix my own." He shook his head as though to sling the thoughts out of it.

"Bobby suggested that maybe you could help me. But then you may be too involved. Maybe I should find help elsewhere."

Nathan stood up and lifted Jim up. He embraced him, resting his chin on Jim's shoulder.

"Let's go in the house." Nathan led him into the living room and sat down on the sofa.

"Sit here." He patted the cushion next to him. Jim sat down and Nathan put an arm around him and pulled him close. Jim relaxed against him, nestling his head on Nathan's chest.

"Okay, Jim, can you tell me why you turned off today?"

Nathan held him and waited. Jim didn't respond. Nathan could feel him getting uptight again. After a couple of minutes Jim drew in a ragged sigh and started to sit up. Nathan held him in place.

"Please let me go. You don't need me. I'm used, second-hand merchandise.

"Stop the bullshit, Jim, you know that is not true. Now tell me what's going on. One minute you're a grownup happy adult and then you're suddenly a sulking child. So lie back and get it out."

Jim relaxed and rested his head back Nathan's chest. Tears leaked from his eyes. He quietly sobbed. Nathan caressed him with his free hand.

"Bobby's coming into our lives has brought all this to the surface hasn't it.?"

Jim nodded.

"You want to tell me about it.?"

Jim nodded again.

"When you're ready."

Jim let out a ragged sigh. He started talking, quietly, in an unemotional voice.


Bobby sat down on the mattress that Nathan had earlier dropped him on to when they were horsing around. He looked around at the boxes and let out a happy sigh. His life was for sure getting better. What were the chances of his cousin, that he had heard whispers about but never met, suddenly appearing to turn his miserable life around. In just two days his life had turned around. He had his shrink, who had become his hero, living right next door and his grown-up cousin and this big house. He was even looking forward to going to school here.

After awhile of daydreaming, waiting for the two men to come back and put the furniture together Bobby got impatient and went looking for them. As he started to knock on Nathan's opened door he heard Jim talking in a quiet voice. He could barely make out what he was saying. As he listened to Jim describing how Robert had used and abused him as a child, Bobby's own experiences with his father over powered him. He sank down on the doorstep weeping. He curled into a fetal ball, covering his ears to shut out Jim's empty hollow voice. Tears ran out of his eyes. His nose was leaking snot; he sniffed and furiously wiped at it with the back of his hand.

Nathan heard the sniffle and sat forward. Jim stopped talking.

"What?" He asked.

"I think Bobby's outside the door."

Jim jumped up and rushed to the door. Nathan was right behind him. Jim knelt beside Bobby and laid his hand on his head.

"Let me have him, Jim." Nathan said, moving in and picking him up. He sat down in the leather cushioned Stickley rocking chair. Jim stood beside the chair as Nathan rocked and soothed the boy, his own emotion trauma forgotten in his concern for Bobby. Bobby started to relax. Nathan looked up at Jim.

"Would you get us a glass of water?"

Jim went to the kitchen and filled a glass from the faucet. He drank the whole glass full without stopping. He rinsed the glass and refilled. He paused and then got another glass, filled it and took both back to the living room. Bobby was sitting on the sofa with Nathan sitting beside him. Jim handed them both a glass. They both drank some. Nathan rubbed Bobby's back.

"Are you feeling better now?" He asked.

"Yeah." He released a big gulping sigh. "That was the worst in a while. Listening to Jim was like reliving what the bastard did to me."

Nathan looked up at Jim. Jim could see the silent question of concern in his eyes.

"I'm okay. I want to talk more. Maybe this evening?"

Nathan nodded.

"What do you guys say to getting Bobby's bedroom put together?"

Jim and Bobby both agreed.


A few hours later Jim closed the lid on the empty Pizza box. Bobby was absorbed in an action movie on TV. Jim got up, looking at Nathan he motioned with his head toward the kitchen. Nathan followed him out of the den.

"Would you like a cup of hot tea?" Jim asked as he folded the box and put it into the trash.

"That sounds good. Betcha thought we wouldn't get it all put together right, didn't ya?" Nathan propped his butt against the counter while he watched Jim fill the kettle with water and place it on a burner.

"Oh, I had no doubt we'd get it, but I didn't think that soon." Jim turned around and saw Nathan watching him. Nathan smiled.

"What?"Jim asked.

"I love watching you. You're so beautiful."

"Oh stop." He started toward the dish cupboard. Nathan grabbed his arm as he passed and pulled him to his chest. He wrapped his arms around him. He loved the way Jim just relaxed against him, and hugged him back. He took Jim's chin in his hand and raised his face. He brushed his lips over Jim's. Jim gasped.

"I love you, Jim. You've become the most important person in my life."

Jim laid his head against Nathan"s chest and sighed.

"You were wrong this afternoon." Nathan continued. "I need you. I've always been so self sufficient, but I don't think I could make it, now without you in my life. I need you, Jim. I need you to love me."

Jim looked up at Nathan.

"I do love you, Nathe. With all my heart I love you."

"So what is the problem?"

"I'm just so fucked up. My heart says I love you. And my brain keeps saying I'm not worthy of your love."

"No one in the world is more worthy of my love than you, Jim. The way you make me feel when you look at me with those big blue eyes, makes me feel so special."

They stared into each others eyes. Jim's brimmed with tears.

"Tell me that often, Nathe. Keep telling me that until I can totally believe you."

With Nathan's butt propped against the counter and Jim laying against him, they continued kissing, caressing and fondling each other until Bobby erupted into the room .

"Oh, excuse me. I was just going to get another soda and something to munch on. I didn't know you guys were making out in the kitchen." Bobby said as he moved to the refrigerator.

"That's okay, Bobby, the kitchen is public domain. You don't have to knock." Jim laughed. He struggled to move away from Nathan, but Nathan just held him tight. He pulled Jim into another kiss while Bobby had his head buried in the fridge.

When he released him, he said, "I better go. It's Bobby bed time anyway."

He turned and left the room before Bobby could see his state of excitement. Jim quickly sat down to hide his. He was bewildered. One minute Nathan was saying and doing wonderful things to him and the next he was abandoned.

"I'm just going to have a glass of milk and a cookie and go to bed." Bobby was saying as he reached his hand into the old ceramic pig cookie jar sitting on the counter. Typical of a teenager, he inhaled the drink and cookie.

"I'm going to bed now." He walked over to Jim and hugged him. "Thanks for all you're doing for me Jim. I love my new bedroom. It's so cool"

Jim absentmindedly hugged him back. " You welcome, Bobby. You know I love you. Goodnight."

Bobby left. Jim stood up and wandered aimlessly around the room and then scooted into the booth that wrapped around the table. He pulled his knees up to his chest and rested his chin on them as he stared into the black night.