Dustin's World

Chapter Fourteen - No Rest for the Weary

by Jeff Wilson


"You're negative."

"That's good." Dustin said. He was relieved to finally know what the answer was. It had been a long few days of waiting. He got up and left the nurse's office. He found Brett waiting in the waiting area.

"Well?" Brett asked.

"Negative." Dustin said.

"That's awesome!" Brett replied.

Just then, Dustin's father walked into the waiting room.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" He asked.

"What's it to you?" Brett asked.

"YOU!!" Mr. Smith shouted furiously. "You're the son of a bitch who put me in prison!!"

"You did that to yourself." Brett replied.

"I'll kill you!" Mr. Smith roared. He approached Brett angrily, but stopped short as the bullet struck him in the chest. He turned to see the cold steel blue eyes of his son, emotionless and hardened. He reached to his chest, feeling the blood pour from him. Dustin's aim went lower, and with a twitch of his finger he obliterated the very organs that had caused his conception, and had turned him into the cold blooded murderer he had become. Frank Smith's last moment saw his son's emotionless smile behind a cold steel barrel as one last twitch of his finger shattered his father's skull.

"Dustin..." Brett gasped. "What have you done?"

"I feel much better..." Dustin said. He held the gun to his temple.

"Dustin! No! Noooo!!!"

Once more Dustin's finger twitched.

"Noooooo!!!" He screamed as he awoke with a start.

"Whoah..." Dustin exclaimed. He felt the side of his head, and while it was soaked with sweat, it was at least all in one piece.

"Jesus Christ, what a nightmare!" He looked at his alarm clock. It was only three o'clock. He swung his feet out of bed and stood up. He scratched his stubbly chest as he walked out into his living room. He pulled open his desk drawer and pulled Craig's gun out. He held it in his hands.

"It seemed so real..." Dustin said, rubbing the rough skin of his cheek. Since the last time he'd shaved, his face had become covered by an auburn beard. He'd never had a beard before, but he just hadn't been interested in shaving it off. The result was a dark rusty look that hadn't taken long to fully cover up most of his face. He rubbed his chin and felt the coarseness of his hairy jaw. It was a feeling he wasn't accustomed to. He was used to feeling awkward in his own skin, but he wasn't used to his skin feeling awkward itself.

"What am I doing with this thing?" Dustin asked, feeling the heaviness of the weapon. "Would I really shoot myself?"

He looked at the scar on his wrist as he held the gun. Try as he might, he couldn't remember the night he'd given himself that scar, the only time in his life that he ever drank alcohol. He stood up and walked to his bathroom, gun still in hand. The bright light blinded him for a second as his eyes adapted to the change from darkness. He stood there for a few moments, clothed only in his boxers. He stared into the eyes looking back at him from the mirror. He watched as the man in the mirror held the gun up to his temple.

"I should do it. But I shouldn't. I want to get it over with. But I don't want to die, really. I like being alive. But I hate it at the same time. I hate life. Nobody would miss me."

But the words Brett had spoken still echoed in his ears. His mother had spent her life trying to save his. He loved her. She was even closer than his own mother to him.

"I'm not selfish." Dustin said to himself. "I'm not! Brett's stupid."

He put the gun down. "He doesn't know what it's like to be me. He doesn't know what it's like to be all alone. He's never been hurt like I have. He's got Billy. Who have I got? Nobody! That's who. He's the one who's selfish!"

Dustin picked up the gun and carried it back out to the living room. But this time, instead of putting it in his desk drawer, he put it in the inside pocket of his winter jacket. Then he sat at his computer. He turned it on and began typing. He wrote and re-wrote a letter to his mother. After about the fifth attempt, he deleted everything he'd wrote.

"This might be the last day of my life, and I'm here writing a stupid letter that no one will care about anyway." He said.

"Hey Big Red."

Dustin blinked at his screen. There was no way...

"Hey Cal U Boy." Dustin typed back, not believing that he would be contacting him.

"It's me, Nate." Nate typed.

"I know." Dustin replied.

"How are you?" Nate typed.

"I'm ok." Dustin typed. "You?"

"I've been better."

"I'm sorry. It's all my fault."

There was a long pause. Then these words appeared on his screen: "No, it's not your fault."

"I really messed up big time. I shouldn't have fucked Luke."

"Everybody's fucked Luke, I hear."

"But I shouldn't have."

"Well, you did, and you can't change that now. But it's all in the past. I know that you didn't do it to hurt me, Luke did."

"It doesn't make me feel any better. I still feel like a dick."

"You have some cool friends."

"Who?"

"Will. The blond guy. And Dr. Reilly's son."

"Billy and Brett?" Dustin asked.

"Yeah."

"Why are they cool?"

"Well, I moved out of Luke's place. I had all my stuff in the car at the funeral. I saw you in the back. I was going to say something, but you left. But when I was about to leave, Will stopped me and we talked. He wouldn't let me leave."

"He's like that." Dustin typed.

"Well, they invited me to stay here."

"Where?"

"At their place."

"You mean you're at Brett's house?" Dustin asked.

"It beats sleeping in the car." Nate replied.

"Wow." Dustin said. Why hadn't Brett said anything?

"I'm getting my test results later on." Dustin typed.

"I heard."

"I don't know what to think anymore. I know Luke was lying when he said you had AIDS."

"But it wouldn't have surprised you if I had it."

"It wouldn't surprise me if I have it either." Dustin replied.

"I hope you're negative." Nate replied.

"I'm scared. I've had so much bareback sex."

"You'll be okay, Dustin. I know you will."

"I'm sorry I fucked Luke." Dustin typed.

"Why?" Nate typed.

"Because it hurt you." Dustin replied.

There was a very long pause. Dustin watched the screen intently, waiting for Nate to say something. Anything. Finally, some words appeared.

"So are you still afraid of love?"

"I'm not afraid of anything. I just don't believe in relationships."

"Then why do you feel bad about sleeping with Luke?" Nate asked.

"Because it hurt you. I never meant to hurt you."

"Well, you did hurt me. But not as much as Luke did. You never lied to me like he did. You told me flat out that it was just sex. Luke pretended that he was so much better than me. He'd make me feel bad about sex. You made sex fun again for a night."

"All I did was fuck you."

"No. You treated me like a person. You've treated me like I'm normal, even after you slept with me. Heck, you were proud that you had sex with me. You even told your boss right in front of everybody. You aren't ashamed like Luke always was. You've never tried to hold it against me."

"Why would I?" Dustin asked.

"Because everybody else in my life has treated me like dirt because of sex. My parents kicked me out. Luke treated me like a slut. All of the guys who paid me treated me like a piece of meat. Everybody who knows that I used to get paid to get fucked treat me like shit. Everybody but you."

"I know what it's like to get used." Dustin typed.

"You were molested weren't you?" Nate asked.

"Did they tell you that?" Dustin asked.

"No. I can just tell. It's why you're so screwed up."

"Oh thanks! How am I screwed up?" "Well, you're afraid of relationships because you don't want to get hurt again. You tried to kill yourself. You're afraid to bottom."

"I'm not afraid. I just don't like it."

"It's not a crime to be afraid, you know."

"I know." Dustin typed. "lol"

"Well, you have a busy day tomorrow. I'll let you go."

"Wait!" Dustin typed quickly.

"What?" Nate replied.

"You don't have to stay there. You could stay here, with me."

Once again, there was a long pause. Dustin had to sit up straight when he realized that he was inches away from the monitor. He wondered what Nate was thinking about. Finally, there was an answer.

"I need some time to think about it." Nate replied.

"That's cool." Dustin replied. "Well, I'll see you later."

"Good night, Big Red."

Dustin sat for a moment, staring at the screen. Nate hadn't been offline for ten seconds, but Dustin missed him already. Talking with Nate, even if it was just online, had made Dustin happier than he'd felt in weeks. He wasn't sure exactly what he was feeling when he talked to Nate, but it sure felt good. It made him feel warm. Inside his chest, it made his heart feel light instead of heavy and dark.

Dustin felt muscles working in his face that hadn't done what they were doing in a long time. He was smiling. He wasn't even having sex, but he was smiling. He couldn't help it. It just felt good.

"Why am I so fucking happy?" He asked himself. "Just because Nate doesn't hate me?"

But it was something more than that, and Dustin knew it. Even though he'd never really experienced it before, he knew what it was. He just never expected it to happen to him. At least not with another guy. But deep down his heart was telling him what his mind refused to believe was ever possible.

"It can't be." Dustin heard in his head. "I don't believe in love."

"He's just a friend." He said aloud. But the smile on his face wouldn't go away. "Just a friend. I like him and all..."

He turned off the computer.

"I wonder what he's doing now." He said to himself.

He stood up and walked back to his bedroom.

"I hope he decides to stay here." He thought.

Dustin rested his head on his pillow. He hadn't slept so easily in months.




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