The following is a work of fiction. The story may contain profanity and references to gay sex. Any relation to similar events or persons, fiction or real, is completely fortuitous. If such content offends you please leave now. The author retains all rights to the story. Do not copy or use without written authority from the author. Write Bobby at email@example.com with your comments.
Have you forgotten all I know, and all we had?
You saw me mourning my love for you
And touched my hand
I knew you loved me then
I believe in you
I'll give up everything just to find you
I have to be with you, to live, to breathe
You're taking over me
Taking Over Me © by Evanescence, 2003
Control. It's extraordinary the tactics people employ to obtain it. Some rely on deception while others engage in outright trickery. Then there are those who resort to extortion. Why do we fight so hard for control? Because we know to lose it is to put our fate in the hands of others. And what could be more dangerous?
© by Marc Cherry, 2005
The universe must find my misery highly amusing. Out of all the Starbucks in town, all the other coffee shops, he just happens to choose this one.
"You guys have good tea,"
I wanted to cuss him out so badly. He's so fortunate I can't lose this job. "I hate you," I said under my breath.
"No you don't. I can see it in your eyes, babe."
Chills went down my spine as he called me that. I'm certainly no longer his babe nor do I want to be. That ship sunk, remember? No survivors. The disaster was the worst nautical accident in history.
I rolled my tender loving eyes. "What do you want?"
"Quit messing around, Trevor!" I just wanted to die. Why does he have to torture me like this?
"I'm not," he smiled. "Let's go out tonight once you're off and grab something to eat."
"Come on. I know you'll be hungry after work. Everyone is."
A line of customers was beginning to form behind him. They didn't seem too pleased that Trevor and I were having a conversation not related to coffee.
"You need to order or leave." I said. Ben was busy making drinks, but I saw him glance at us out of the corner of his eye. Probably sizing up the situation, debating on whether or not to get involved.
"Well, I'm not leaving until you agree to go to dinner with me tonight." Trevor was quite firm in his tone. I knew he meant it. He didn't ever not do anything he said he would. This would certainly be no different.
I sure as hell don't want to go out with him. I just want him to leave. The last thing I need is for a customer to call later and complain about the cashier who wouldn't stop talking with a customer, making everyone else wait. Bernice gave me more hours. Surely she wouldn't hesitate in taking them away if I ceased good performance. Ugh!
Having no other choice, I relented. "Fine! Now go!"
Trevor grinned approvingly. "Excellent. What time are you off?"
"Nine," I sighed. I felt miserable.
"See you then," he said, then turned away and walked out.
Ben gave me a comforting smile, but I had to forget about Trevor. Customers needed attention. The next few hours were awful. I messed up every single drink I tried to make. Either there was too much sweetener or not enough. A latte was too milky. I burnt a muffin. Two teas were dropped. It was a bloody crime scene behind the counter. Ben didn't ever complain, but I could see he was beginning to fatigue from my mistakes. I kept apologizing, which probably started to become less sincere and more annoying as time went on. And time seemed to be crawling by at an agonizing pace. At one point, the shop was empty so I decided to do some light cleaning. The floor definitely needed to be mopped, and if I do it now I won't have to do it at closing. I went into the back for the mop and water cart.
"So who was that guy?" Ben asked. He was cleaning behind the counter.
"My ex," I said, dropping the mop on the ground. The lemon scented cleaner smelt awfully industrial, but it did its job perfectly.
"He didn't used to be," I thought about that for a second. Trevor sure has changed since we broke up. He's thinning out, gaining muscle. His attitude definitely needs a check. One day he's all nice to me and the next he's a cocky bastard.
"Once you break up you start to realize who the person really is. They might've been sweet and genuine when you were together, but that was probably just your infatuation shadowing their true nature."
"Whatever it is I don't like it. I don't want anything to do with him."
"What're you gonna do when he comes back then?"
"Just ignore him. Go home."
"Well," he began, "how about you and I go get something to eat? As arrogant as he seemed, he did have a point. I'm always starving after I clock out, especially when closing."
I smiled, feeling that warm sensation I get whenever Ben is kind to me. Although, I have to push the romantic thoughts from my head. He only wants to be friends. Fine by me.
"Yeah, that'd be nice. I'd much rather go out with you than him, anyway." I meant that in every possible sense.
"Good," he grinned. "Hopefully no one else really comes in." Ben looked up at the clock on the wall. "Only about an hour and a half left. Perfect."
Luckily for us, only a few customers came in. Who actually wants coffee after eight? Since the two of us did so much cleaning earlier, there wasn't much to do at closing. The bathrooms needed cleaning, which I volunteered to do while Ben wiped all the tables down and took stock of the supplies. Bathroom duty isn't so bad. They are single occupant style and relatively small. Wiping the toilet with bleach, mopping the floor, resupplying the toilet paper, cleaning the sink, refilling the hand soap, and emptying the trash only takes about twenty minutes for both the bathrooms. As soon as I finished I went back into the dining area where Ben was still wiping the tables down. I jokingly said he was slower than old people having sex. He shot back that he took inventory first and that if I didn't keep my mouth shut I'd find out what my hand blended with mocha syrup tastes like.
Instead of standing around, I grabbed a rag and a spray bottle filled with sanitizer and went to work. We finished in no time. We did our final walkthrough and locked up. It wasn't my first time closing, but I wasn't exactly experienced yet either. Ben is technically my closing trainer. Bernice told me that it won't be long before I'm closing on my own. On our way to the parking lot I saw Trevor's truck next to my car. He was leaning against his hood, tapping his foot on the ground like an impatient child. My heart began to race.
"Finally," he groaned. "How long does it take to close up?"
"Funny," I said.
"Seriously. It's just a coffee shop. You said you'd be off at nine and it's almost ten." Trevor was glaring at me with such contempt. So I was a little late. Big deal.
"I had to make sure everything was right. Get over it. You're the one who is twisting my arm to go out. Don't blame me!"
Ben spoke up, sensing the escalating situation. "I'll be at your place as soon as I shower and change."
That caught Trevor's attention. "Wait, what? You and I are going out."
I bit my lip. "Here's the thing." My heart was threatening to explode. "I decided not to go tonight."
"Why?" he demanded. His face contorted into anger.
I hesitated. I've never deceived him before. This is entirely new territory for me and it's making me incredibly nervous. Especially given how hateful he's looking at me.
"Because, uh, I . . . just don't feel like it. You pressured me into it earlier and—"
Trevor's hands flew up in bewilderment. "Are you fucking kidding me? Too fucking bad! I'm here and you already agreed to go with me. This little prick can see you at work." And with that his attention turned to the prick. "You don't mind, do you, string bean?"
"Hey, back off," I firmly said to him. He has no right treating Ben that way.
"What's your problem?" Ben said for himself, taking a step closer to Trevor. There is an easy thirty pound difference between the two, if not more. "He said he doesn't want to go with you so that's that. Why don't you back off, butch?"
"Fuck you!" Out of nowhere, Trevor shoved Ben down hard. He crumpled to the ground, eyes wide.
I jumped in front of King Kong before he could do anything more.
"Are you fucking crazy?" I kept trying to push him away, to little effect. He didn't want to be moved. "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Get out of my way, Travers!"
"Fuck you!" I shouted with one good shove. That final push sent him over the edge, and he shoved me so hard I lost my breath as I careened down to the pavement.
Ben immediately came to my side. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, I'm fine," I waved him off.
With Trevor momentarily distracted, Ben bolted up and tackled him to the ground. Arms were flailing about, fists were being driven into each other. I could only stare on in amazement. I've never seen such a violent side to Trevor. It was terrifying. He's changed so much since we broke up. He's gone completely mad. And then reality sank in. I had to break the fight up before they killed each other.
"You son of a bitch!" Ben screamed.
"I'll kill you!" Trevor yelled with bloodlust.
I ran over and grabbed Ben, removing him from the entanglement of limbs. He didn't want to come easily, though. He tried very hard to jump back into the fray. I had to forcibly drag him towards his car. Trevor was left behind, screaming and yelling. At the car I could see the extent of the fight. Blood dripped from Ben's nose, staining his shirt. His left eye was swollen and there was a small cut on his bottom lip and a larger one above his right eyebrow. Some minor scrapes here and there, but none worth fretting about.
"Oh, my God, are you okay?" I was beginning to have a mini panic attack.
"That son of a bitch!" he shouted.
I turned around to see Trevor jump into his truck and speed off. At least he's gone. He hopefully won't decide to come back really quick and do any more damage. Ben groaned in pain, clutching his stomach.
"I'm so sorry," I cried. "This is all my fault."
He spit out a large amount of blood. "No, it's not. You didn't want to go, so you didn't have to go. That guy needs to accept rejection."
"Wait here. I'm going to the backroom for some stuff."
With tears clouding my vision, I ran back to the shop. I wanted to grab some first aid supplies so I could patch Ben up as best I could. His family is sure to freak out seeing him all banged up. Bernice kept a fully stocked first aid kit in the back. I grabbed some alcohol wipes, ibuprofen, and a couple of bandages. On the way out I also grabbed a clean, wet rag. As I came out, I saw Ben sitting on the ground, leaning against the driver's door. I felt so damn bad. No matter what he says this is my fault. I should've just gone with Trevor. It probably wouldn't have been so bad. Besides, I would've made him pay for everything.
Ben grunted in response.
"Look at me. I'm going to clean you up." He did so and it was a sad sight. First I took the wet rag and gently wiped around his face, particularly his nose. Wincing in pain, he kept trying to turn away from me. "I'm sure it hurts, but I have to do this." Once the blood was mostly cleared away, I opened up an alcohol swab. I warned him it might sting at first. Right when I touched the cut above his eyebrow he recoiled.
I gave him a second to adjust, then continued dapping his wounds. Once all the cuts and scrapes were wiped I bandaged the worst ones. He took the three ibuprofen from me and got a half empty bottle of water from his car. A silence fell over us. Not one of those romantic silences, either. It was difficult to decipher how he felt towards me. Anger? Resentment? Distrust?
"Thank you for defending me. It was pretty sweet." I softly said, hoping to warm things up between us.
"Yeah, well, he deserved it. You didn't."
"No one's ever done that for me before." Chuckling, I continued. "It was actually kind of hot."
Ben laughed, but that caused him to double over in pain. "I wouldn't know,"
"Well, I really appreciate what you did. We can skip dinner tonight. You should probably just go home and rest."
"Mind if I stay the night with you?"
Wow, that took me by surprise. I wonder what Dan would think if I brought this incredibly hot, beat up guy to the apartment. When he explained the rules he said that I could have a friend over. Did that include having them spend the night? I'm sure he won't mind, especially given the circumstance. Hopefully this doesn't somehow blow up in my face.
"Sure, that's fine. I have class at eight, though."
I smiled. "I'll follow you home and pick you up, yeah?"
"Sounds like a plan,"
The trip to his place took about fifteen minutes, and the entire way there my nerves were bouncing around like crazy. What are his parents going to say? Given that this is my first time actually meeting them, I'd say bringing home their beaten up son isn't going to win any brownie points.
Ben parked next to his dad's truck. He slowly climbed out from the driver's seat, wincing all the way. I pulled next to him and helped him inside. A blast of cinnamon woke my senses up and eased my frayed nerves. It smelt like a home.
"That you, Ben?" a loud voice called from somewhere in the house. The southern drawl was very noticeable.
He winced again. "Yeah, mom."
I heard the clear sound of metal being set down on a countertop. A short woman, plump and bright with modern styled white hair, walked out of the kitchen and over towards us.
One look at Ben's wounds and her eyes went wide.
"What happened to you?" She rushed forward and began inspecting him.
Ben wasn't having it. He kept pushing her hands away and ducking.
"Mom, it's nothing. Just got into a little fight."
"With who?" she questioned, glancing at me.
"Some guy," he lied. "Started messing with us in the parking lot and I had to do something. Couldn't let him just take me out." I was starting to feel nervous again. The cinnamon air was having no effect anymore. "Mom, this is Travers. Is it okay if I stay the night at his house?"
"This is Travers?" She almost didn't believe him it sounded like. Was she expecting someone . . . better?
"Yes." He rolled his eyes.
"Hi!" she said in a piercingly loud voice. "Come here and give me a big wet one!" Before I even had a chance to understand what she meant, she wrapped me in her arms and gave me two big—and wet—kisses on each of my cheeks. Releasing me, she said, "I'm Florence, but you can call me Flo or Momma Flo."
"Nice to meet you," I was trying not to laugh. I've never been handled by a woman like she just did to me.
"You are gorgeous!" Florence gushed.
"Mom!" Ben's face turned a light shade of red. "Can I stay the night or not?"
I was eating the attention up, and seeing him so embarrassed is kind of hot. Ben doesn't seem the type to be easily embarrassed.
"What? Oh, sure!" Florence then locked eyes with me. "You gonna take care of my boy?"
"Uh, that's the plan." I grinned. If she only knew what I had in store for him.
"Good! He hardly ever gets into fights." She grabbed my arm and started leading me elsewhere. "Ben, go get your stuff. I'll take care of Travers."
No objections could be spoken. Florence had me in the kitchen before she was even done talking to him. The cinnamon was more potent in the kitchen. She led me to a small table and sat me down.
"So, where do you go to school?" she asked, attending to a big glob of dough on the counter. Cinnamon bread?
"Sand Canyon," I replied. My eyes were darting around everywhere, taking in the decorations. There were a lot of antique styled items. And a lot of rooster items as well. Is this what a country kitchen looks like? Count me out, but it suits Florence perfectly. A warm kitchen for a warm woman.
"Ben's starting there next semester. Finally managed to talk him into it. My older boys don't want to go until they have money saved up." She rolled the dough up into a ball and wrapped it in cellophane. "That's a load of bull. They just don't wanna go." She cackled.
"Well, as long as—"
"You hungry? You look like you're hungry. How about I fix you somethin' to eat? I'll heat you up some of the stew we had for dinner." The words were coming out so fast I had no time to protest. "What're you majoring in? I bet you're a law boy, or a medical boy, huh? You seem smart like that."
It was taking every ounce of strength I had not to giggle. Here it is past ten o'clock and this woman has an insane amount of energy. And who bakes this late? I think I might move in here next. Florence took a large Dutch oven out of the refrigerator and set it next to the stove. She reached up to grab a small pot from a hook hanging on the wall. Spooning a ton of stew into the smaller pot, I noticed how at peace she seemed. She didn't seem frazzled at all, like cooking and serving people food is her forte. Whatever makes her happy, I suppose.
"Actually I'm undeclared," I muttered, holding in the laughter. "But I'm leaning towards biology or botany. Something like that."
"Ohh, so you are a smart thing." She smiled at me, stirring the stew. "Maybe you could rub some of that off on my older boys. Lord help them."
"I'm sure they'll end up comfortable,"
"I hope so. My Ben will turn out to be a hot shot. I just know it. He's got my brains." Ben came into the kitchen with a small bag of, I'm guessing, clothes. The heating stew was producing a tantalizing aroma that was mixing with the cinnamon surprisingly well. "Well, there's my darlin'!"
"Mom," he groaned in embarrassment.
"Travers and I were just talking about you. I'm fixin' you a bowl of granny's beef stew. Maybe I should make you a second serving. You could use some meat on those bones of yours."
Ben rolled his eyes again. I found their dynamic quite entertaining. Makes me think of my mom. I wonder what she's doing, what her life is like. Did she marry and replace me and Keegan? I've always toyed around with the idea of meeting her and my dad but always wimped out on the idea. Talk about nerve wracking. I wouldn't know what to say to either of them. They gave us up. How can anyone do that to their kids?
The stew finished heating and Florence poured an even amount into two bowls. They looked more like mixing bowls to be honest, or bowls for a Saint Bernard. But the smell was overwhelmingly delicious and I hadn't eaten anything since before lab this afternoon. So, yeah, I'm pretty much starving at this point. She set the bowls in front of us and I dove right in. The first spoonful was equivalent to my first orgasm. The second was bliss. The third was magical.
"You were hungry," Flo noted. A big smile was strewn across her face showing off her teeth. "Don't your parents feed you?"
I grinned. "Yeah, but I recently moved in with a roommate so feeding myself is now my responsibility."
"Well you can come over any time you'd like for a good home cooked meal. You best be back, too."
"I'll definitely be back. This stew is amazing."
"Glad you like it," she gushed. "Oh! I didn't even offer you anything to drink! How about a nice glass of iced tea?"
"Yeah, that'd be great."
I finished the stew in no time at all. There was more in the pot and Flo gladly poured me the rest. Ben barely made a dent in his serving. Being the first one to have seconds is incredibly rare for me. I'm usually the one left alone at the table because I have so much food left. It was a nice change. I ate the second serving slower than the first. Fullness was setting in.
"Thank you so much, Florence. That was the best stew I've ever had." I leaned back in my chair to dramatize the compliment.
"Thank you, darlin'! Like I said you can come back any time you want for some grub."
Ben had been particularly quiet while eating. Could he have been that embarrassed? Florence and I weren't really talking about him at all. Perhaps he's just nervous about having me in his home. Ew, horrible insecure thought: he probably doesn't want me to become too attached. Nah, that can't be it. I know the boundaries between us and I won't push those boundaries. The relationship the two of us share is beneficial to us both and with no strings attached it leaves a window of opportunity open for anything else. The possibilities are endless.
With a small burp, Ben said, "Thanks, mom. We're gonna head out now."
"Already? Gosh, okay. What're y'all gonna do?" His mom grabbed our dishes and put them in the sink.
She probably doesn't want to hear what we're really going to do, so I made up a decent story to hold her over.
"Probably just watch a movie and pass out. I'm exhausted from everything today. I'm sure Ben could use the rest, too."
Flo inspected his wounds one final time and reminded us to keep them clean. Being injured here must not be too big a deal. Her lax attitude towards his cuts and scrapes, including the fight, could almost be considered uncaring. But that's probably just farm life. Accidents happen and living with two older brothers, I'm sure fights are a commonplace as well.
With his bag in hand, Ben gave Flo a hug and a kiss once we made it to the door. Again, she told me to come back any time and that she loved finally meeting me. She also gave me a hug and a big, wet kiss. Ben and I went out to my car and drove off. I'm still wondering how Dan will react to, not only Ben staying the night, but also the fact that I'm gay. He knows about Tyler and Jared, but it never seemed necessary to inform him of my orientation. It was also a tactical decision. He might not have let me move in had he known, not that that's too much of a problem nowadays.
Two chapters in two weeks? What the heck? I spoil you guys! Lol I'm just playing. I purchased a new desktop about a month ago. I realize that the formatting changed and have fixed it accordingly. Hope you all enjoyed this installment. Don't forget to add my new Twitter account: thedelfinoplaza. I post updates, teasers, and whatever else. By the way, when e-mailing me be sure to create a good subject, as it could be directed to my spam folder, which I hardly ever check before deleting. So, put in "Stories" or the title of one of my stories, something like that, okay? Thanks ahead of time.