|Far From Home|
Authors Note: Standard disclaimers apply here... If it illegal to read about homosexuals and any physical expression thereof, then go away (though there isn't any sex yet... so if that is what you are looking for, then it might be best to move on). This is my first time writing fiction, and I appreciate feedback.
from last time...
"You're doing drugs aren't you. Charlie, that just isn't you--"
"Isn't me? How do you know? You don't know who the fuck I am mom. You don't know anything about me." I was yelling so loud I think the neighbors could have heard me.
"No mom, you don't know anything about me. How's this: I'm GAY!"
Oh shit. Did I say that?
I looked at mom. Her mouth was hanging open and the colour had drained from her face.
I turned around and saw my dad.
There he was... just standing there, deliberately not saying anything. I wish I could describe the look on his face. I don't think I can do it justice, but it terrified me. It was a mixture of anger, revulsion, pity, disgust.
We stood there looking at each other for several minutes. I occasionally glanced over at my mom. She was still there with her mouth open, wanting to say something but not being able to.
I looked back at my father. "Dad--"
"Get out," he said calmly. He turned around and went back upstairs.
It was the most deadpan thing I've ever heard him say. I would have expected him to start yelling telling me how disgusting I am, how I am not his son... the stuff that you hear about all the time.
To tell you the truth, I think I would have preferred that reaction than the one I got. At least if he started screaming and telling me I wasn't his son, I could tell that he felt he had lost something.
My mother followed him, but she was crying by this time. I couldn't take it anymore. I collapsed on the living room floor and started crying too.
After several minutes I got up and went to the bathroom to get some tissues. I splashed some water on my face and willed myself into not crying anymore. I went back out to the living room, grabbed a warmer coat, and walked out the front door.
Luckily I hadn't unpacked my car yet from my trip, so my suitcase was still in the trunk. I retrieved it and my bookbag and started walking. I wasn't really aware what I was doing... I had kind of switched into autopilot. Half an hour later I found myself on the front porch of Sam's house.
I sat down on the top stair and leaned up against the railing. I was asleep in seconds.
"Charlie... come on and wake up. Charlie!"
I opened my eyes to find Sam staring at me. Why was she here? Why wasn't I in my bed? And why am I covered with a light dusting of snow?
"CHARLIE!" Suddenly I was brought back into reality. It all came back. The fight, my mom, my dad.... I broke down.
Sam led me into her house and sat me down in front of the fireplace. She took my coat off and told me to stay put. She left the room and I could hear her and her mom talking, but I couldn't make out what they were saying.
I had managed to pull myself back together a bit when she came back and sat down next to me. "So I'm guessing you told them. And I'm guessing it didn't go over well." I gave her a quizzical look. "Charlie, why else would you be on my sleeping on my doorstep? I was going out to warm up the car for our trip to Grandma's house and I nearly tripped over you."
"Oh, I forgot you were going. I should leave." I started to get up, but was immediately pulled back down.
"You aren't going anywhere Charlie. Now tell me what happened."
"I got home, my mom was waiting up for me. She started yelling, telling me how I was so reckless, how I should have called them if I was going to be late, and how this wasn't like me. She kept on and on and I finally snapped. I told her she didn't know anything about me and out it came... or should I say 'out I came.'" I managed a slight chuckle.
"I turned around and there was my dad. Sam, I've never seen that look on his face. We stared at each other for several minutes without saying anything. Then he just said, 'Get Out.' Sam, there was no expression in his voice. It was cold. He was cold."
I started crying again and Sam pulled me into her. She held onto me and stroked my head. "Shhh... Charlie it will be okay. What happened next. How did you get to my doorstep?"
"Sam, I don't remember much after my dad turned around and went back up to bed. I am not sure how I made it over here... though I don't think I drove."
"Your car isn't outside, so you must have walked. Charlie, aside from the obvious, are you okay? You were outside for so long you might have gotten frostbite."
"No, I'm fine. I just need to sit by the fire a little longer to warm up. Could I get some coffee though?"
"Sure thing kiddo." She left to get me coffee and was back in under a minute. I think she was afraid to leave me alone. "There you go kiddo. Black with enough sugar to kill a horse, just like you like it."
We sat in front of the fire for an hour. We didn't say anything. Just sat there staring at the flames.
"Sam, what am I going to do? My parents kicked me out. I don't have anything. I have no where to go. What am I going to do?"
"I'll tell you what you're going to do Mr. Ashby." We turned around to see Sam's mother standing in the doorway. "You are going to go take a long hot bath. I'm going to cook you some breakfast, and then you are getting in the car with us and going to Tennessee. Sam, go and get a bath running for Charlie."
Sam jumped up and ran upstairs. "Come here young man," her mom said. I got up and walked over to Sam's mom. She gave me a hug. "You'll always have a place in this family. Don't you worry about that."
I went upstairs where Sam had drawn me a bath. "Oh I get the deluxe tub do I?"
"Of course... you get to bathe in my parent's bathroom. Don't turn on the jets in the tub though because we're getting the pump fixed."
"I think I'll be okay Sam." She started to walk out of the bathroom when I grabbed her arm. "Thanks Sam." She looked me in the eyes and gave me a "don't worry about it" look.
I climbed into the tub and was surrounded by warmth... warmth and bubbles. Lots of bubbles. I finally felt like I was warming up. It was so relaxing that... I again fell asleep.
"Hey! Narcoleptic Boy! Hello? Charlie!"
I nearly jumped out of the tub. And there was Sam, waking me up for the second time today. I also became aware that I was very naked. I turned bright red and tried to cover myself up.
"Oh whatever dork. You don't have anything that I've not seen before," she said.
"Ok smartass, would you be so kind as to hand me a towel?"
"Here you go. And I went through your suitcase and picked out an outfit for you to wear. It's over here on the counter. Hurry up and get cleaned up... mom has ham and cheese eggs waiting for you."
I immediately perked up. "And she made you hash browns too." My stomach started grumbling. I know I've said this before, but Sam's mom can cook.
"Sam, how am I supposed to maintain my delicate figure--" I was interrupted by a hand towel that beamed me in the head.
"Will you get ready for Pete's sake!"
I was downstairs a few minutes later, and sure enough Sam's mom had a plate waiting for me. I've always been a quick eater, but I think I set a personal record this time. My plate was cleaned in less than two minutes.
"Charlie, do you want seconds?" Sam's mom asked. I've learned another thing about Sam's mom. You will eat until she is satisfied. When she asks if you want seconds, she is actually telling you that you do. It is best not to offend her in these situations.
I finished my second plate of food. Luckily there was no more food left for me to eat or I'm sure I'd have been given another plate. I offered to do the dishes when Sam's mother shooed me out of the kitchen. "Charlie, run up and tell Sam that we've got to be leaving for Tennessee in 15 minutes."
I bolted upstairs in search of Sam. I found her in her room on her computer. "I'm just checking my email before we leave."
"Your mom wants to let you know that we are leaving in a few minutes."
"Yeah. I already put our stuff in the back of the car. It looks like I get some company on the trip after all!"
"Sam, I have a question for you. How do you stay so thin when you mother practically forces food on you?"
She started laughing. "I never have a problem. I have the metabolism of God. However to survive here, you must remember one thing: No matter how hungry you are, never ever finish your first plate. If you finish your first plate, mom takes it as a sign that you want a second plate. Then she takes it as a personal insult if you try to refuse more. Just remember that there are always leftovers in the fridge."
"Come on... your parents are waiting."
We piled into a big Suburban and took off for Tennessee. I looked at my watch--it was almost one in the afternoon. I had put them behind by four hours.
From what Sam had told me, her grandparents lived in what can only be called "Middle of Nowhere, Tennessee." They had a farm that they raised horses on... They had long since retired, but they still kept a few horses around.
It started snowing part way down, but it wasn't sticking to the roads. "Charlie, I hope you brought warm clothes with you," Mrs. Tillman said. "We are driving into a snow storm. Don't worry, it won't really get bad until tomorrow... we'll be safe."
"Yes ma'am. I brought my coat with me from school. It made it through a Pennsylvania winter, so I'll be fine. Is Seth going to be able to make it?" I asked. Seth was Sam's older brother. I'd only gotten to see him on a few occasions, but he was always very nice to me.
"Seth is flying into Nashville tonight and driving down to Jones Valley in a rental car," said Sam's dad.
That was all that anyone said for the rest of the trip. There was this uncomfortable silence, and I could tell I was the source of it. I kind of understood the position they were in... I mean, what do you say to someone whose parents threw them out of their house? "Oh, sorry about that... I'm sure everything will turn out okay."
I dug around in my bookbag for my portable CD player and put my headphones on and listened to music. I didn't feel like talking.
I actually ended up sleeping for most of the trip (they don't call me Narcoleptic Boy for nothing). I woke up when I heard Samantha's mother call ahead and let our hosts know that we were running late. She also mentioned something about a late night snack--which I was happy to hear since we had neglected to stop for dinner.
We made it to Jones Valley by 10:00 p.m., and as expected, Sam's grandparents had a late night snack waiting for us. Though I think it might best be described as a late night feast.
"Grandma, how do you expect to maintain my petite figure if you're going to be feeding us like this?" Sam whined.
"Oh get off it Sam. You could pull up to a 50 gallon drum of Ben and Jerry's and not come away any different." I said.
"Well it is good to see that my favorite smartass is feeling a little better." I blushed a little at this comment. To make it worse, she leaned over and pinched my cheeks, "Such a cute smartass too."
"And Sam, who said this food was for you anyway?" Sam's Grandma looked over at me and winked. "Grandpa and I put out this spread just for Charlie. You'll have to fend for yourself."
"Well then, Charlie, can I have some of your food?"
Before I could answer, she had already filled her plate. I followed her lead and was full in no time.
"Charlie, you're sleeping upstairs in the green room. Sam, you're next door in the blue room. Seth is across the hall in the orange room."
I didn't know exactly what Sam's grandma was talking about until I got upstairs. As much as I love Sam's grandparents, they didn't exactly have an eye for colour. Each bedroom in their house had its own colour. And everything in the room was that colour. Blue carpet. Blue walls. Blue ceiling. Blue bedsheets. Blue comforter. It was hideous, but comical at the same time.
I unpacked my suitcase and brushed my teeth. I guess I didn't realize how tired I was, because I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
I woke up far too early the next morning. The alarm clock on the night stand said 7:15 and the sun was pouring through the window. The green room was even more frightening when viewed under natural light.
I pulled on a shirt and made my way downstairs. Of course, Sam's Grandma was already up and in the kitchen cooking breakfast.
"Charlie, do you have any special requests?"
"Grandma, you've made every type of breakfast food possible. I think you've got the bases covered."
"I just want to make sure everyone is happy. Coffee? We just roasted a batch last week."
"Sure. I think I'll get the others up. It looks like you're almost done."
I left the kitchen and headed back upstairs to wake up Sam. On the way I ran into Seth.
His response was not to say hi, but to pull me into a bear hug. "Hey kiddo. I'm so sorry about what happened. Sam woke me up last night and told me all about it. Are you gonna be okay?"
He hadn't let go of me just yet. "Seth, I haven't really thought about it. I don't know."
"Well, if you need someone to talk to, let me know." He released me from the bear hug and patted me on the head. "I didn't have to go through the same thing when I told mom and dad, but I can be a sympathetic ear."
"You? You mean? You're...?"
Thanks to everyone for the kind emails... I was quite taken aback by the response from the first chapter. I also apologize for not getting this out sooner, but this one didn't wasn't as easy to write, and work has been absolutely crazy this week.
By the way, I changed the format of this chapter to make it easier to read for people who have older browsers. I'm going to try and reformat the first chapter and resubmit it.