It's been a while. So here's a reminder:
Previously on Three Roads:
"So why did we all have to be back at the table?" Joey said, "what lame speech are you about to make?"
"Can you even see me over the top of the table?" Cooper asked.
"Your head can be seen from space."
"Yeah the head of my dick."
"You're getting distracted." Toby said.
"Yes, ok I have a surprise for Eric."
"Oh no." Eric said immediately hiding his face in his forehead.
"Yes, a stripper!" Michael yelled.
"There's gonna be a stripper up in here!!" Melinda said excitedly.
"No!" Cooper said loudly.
"Then there better be an after party." Melinda said.
Eric saw Cooper motion behind him and he turned around to see who Cooper was calling forward. It took him a few moments to see his mother and Jamie walking towards the table with smiles on their face.
"Hi mom!" Eric said standing up to give her a hug. He rubbed Jamie on the top of his head. Angela broke into a wide smile since she knew what was coming next.
"Cooper, why didn't you invite them for the whole meal?" Eric asked. When he didn't respond, he turned around to see Cooper had disappeared. As soon as his friends began to gasp, the restaurant became completely quiet and Eric looked down to see Cooper was on one knee.
"Cooper, what are..."
Jon shushed him from the table, "This would probably be a good time to let Cooper do the talking mate."
"Eric, my life is damn near perfect. I'm about to graduate, I have a great family, a sister who would fly across the country just to be here for this moment, friends who love and care about me. I've always had those things, but you are the missing piece; the thing I've been looking for to make my life complete. My life is infinitely better because you're in it and now that I've found you, I don't ever want to let go. I ask, in front of all our friends and family, that you do me the honor of allowing me to be your husband cause there's no one else in the world that I'd rather take that walk down the aisle with. Eric, will you marry me?"
"No," Chris said walking towards Jack. The taller boy stood in front of him and looked down upon Jack with satisfaction, "it's my word against yours. And who do you think people are going to believe? The star of the basketball team or some faggot who doesn't get along with daddy?"
Jack had the self control to walk away or to continue to argue with Chris, but he decided to do neither of those things, he wanted revenge instead. With all his might he pushed Chris and watched in slow motion as the basketball player lost his balance. There eyes connected for a brief moment and Jack saw the recognition on Chris' face that he was going to go over the balcony. The last thing Chris saw before his momentum carried him over the balcony and several floors below was the look of satisfaction on Jack's face.
Chapter 66: And Don't You Come Back No More
It was the blood curdling scream that echoed in the night that brought Jack back to the present. He looked around and realized he was still on the balcony, his brain slowly fed what had happened to him as if the sudden rush of the truth would overwhelm him. His mind kept flashing back to when his eyes met Chris' right before he tumbled over the balcony. This time it was the scream inside his own head that moved him into action. He knew he had to get out of Chris' house as quickly and quietly as possible. Without even thinking, he grabbed his shirt and put it around his fingers just enough so that when he slid the glass door back he hoped that his fingerprints would not be left on the handle. He listened at the door and the party had continued as if nothing had happened. He figured the apartment was too high up for anyone to have caught wind of what happened....yet. He again walked through the house, seemingly unnoticed before catching a jolt of adrenal and running as fast as he could down the hallway.
Again without thinking, he ran the opposite way to where he came in. He assumed there had to be a back exit or alleyway behind the apartment that he could use to get back to his car. He found one easily and crept around the building to where he knew his car was. He could see that a small crowd had formed where he was sure Chris' body had landed. A few people seemed to be crying and he could hear someone on the phone yelling that he needed an ambulance immediately. Jack opened the door of his car and glanced back to the increasingly chaotic scene behind him. Securely in the car, he placed both hands on the steering wheel and took a deep breath. He was surprisingly calm for someone that had just...he couldn't allow himself to think murder. He was sure Chris was dead; he at least hoped he was, no one would want to survive that fall. He calmly started his car, checked his rearview and side mirrors before pulling away from the curb. The only concern in his mind was not to get caught.
Eric stared at the ring in front of him. Had it not been for the silence surrounding him, he would have thought that he had heard Cooper wrong and that he was simply hallucinating.
"What's he doing? Bliss whispered as she leaned over to Joey, "Why isn't he saying anything?"
"Maybe he's hypnotized by the shininess of the ring."
Cooper was trying to hold his outstretched hand as steady as possible to keep the ring just below Eric's eye line. He was surprised that the knee he was kneeling on was beginning to hurt. His favorite position to blow Eric in was him on his knees with Eric standing over him. He made a mental note to search the web for "knee exercises" once he got home. He was beginning to wonder if he should say something when Eric gave his first sign of an answer; tears began to fall down his cheeks.
Cooper was uncertain, "Eric?"
The first time he said it, Eric realized that no sound came out, but the second time, he made sure it came out emphatically and with no doubt in his voice, "Yes."
In one quick move, Cooper leapt up and almost knocked Eric over with the force of his hug, "Thank you thank you thank you." Cooper whispered into Eric's ear. Eric didn't respond but the shuddering of his body from his sobbing said more than enough.
Back at the table, there wasn't a face that didn't have a smile on it, and Toby, who would never consider himself a crier, had tears forming as he watched his two best friends celebrate their moment.
"Let me get in there." Carol laughed as she tapped her son on the shoulder.
Eric was crying heavily now and his mother opened his arms wide and embraced him with a huge hug, "I'm so happy for you." she whispered into his ear. It only made Eric cry harder. After several long moments, Eric broke the hug and looked back towards his friends, many of who were congratulating Cooper, "I have to go to the bathroom," Eric said wiping his eyes. He had already turned to leave before anyone could respond.
"You're getting married!" Toby said in disbelief.
"I know I know," Cooper smiled, running his hands over his shaved head, "I can't fuckin believe it either."
"I bet you were scared shitless." Richard said.
"Fuck yeah! I think there are poop stains on my underwear."
A groan of disapproval echoed from around the table, except from Jamie who laughed.
"So uncivilized," Joey scoffed, "Did anyone check Eric's drink for drugs. What in God's name would possess him to say yes?"
"Awww," Cooper said pretending to be hurt, "you're not happy for me Joey? I got on one knee just so that you could see what was happening."
"Ha Ha. Maybe this means you'll stop making passes at me now."
"Do you want to sit down Carol?" Bliss asked as she saw a pained look across her face.
"Yes, thank you." Carol smiled. She was glad not to be standing anymore as she was starting to feel a little lightheaded.
"Could you imagine if Eric had said no!" Brian said to his friends.
"I would probably want to hide under the table." Tim said, "That'd be embarrassing."
"Yeah, I think I'd just run out and leave." Toby said.
"Lucky he didn't," Cooper started, "or I'd be whoopin some ass in this place!"
Bliss giggled, "Thankfully, us girls don't have to worry about that, would you ever propose to a guy Melinda?"
"Hell no! The proposal is going to be all about me. I already have my wedding dress picked out."
Nick laughed, "You're not even engaged are you?'
"Nope, but when I am, my man can just take me straight to the altar because I've got a chapel on lockdown for when it happens."
"When are you going to buy your dress?" Joey snickered.
Cooper laughed with him, "No dress."
"Where's Eric?" Tim asked.
Eric had locked himself in the cleanest stall he could find. He had run the formerly full roll of toilet paper almost to its end but his nose wouldn't stop running and tears continued to fall from his eyes. Eric heard the door open and he immediately put his right hand tight over his mouth to keep any sound from coming out.
"Eric? Jon asked softly as he looked under each stall to find his friend, "let me in."
Eric unlocked the stall and smiled sheepishly through the tears and bits of toilet paper on his face.
"What are you doing in here?"
"I just need some time," Eric started, "it's embarrassing to be crying like an idiot in front of everyone, especially my mother."
"No one cares man. It's your moment do whatever the fuck you want." Jon said sympathetically.
"I am that's why I'm hiding."
Jon moved closer to Eric in the stall and put his hand softly under Eric's chin. Eric looked confused and Jon smiled, "I'm not hitting on you mate, I'm just picking the bits of toilet paper off your face."
"You're not going to do anything stupid are you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Like go off the deep end and experience some oh my God I don't really want to be happy bullshit."
"No, I'm not."
"Good, because you deserve it and more importantly lots of people would love to be in your position."
Eric smiled, "Does that mean you too?"
"It's just me and you in here, so I can tell you the truth and say yes."
"You don't seem like the type who'd want to get married."
"I'd definitely be the one doing the proposing, but yeah I'd love to find that guy."
"But they'd better get it right the first time."
Jon laughed, "The right one will. You ready to go back out there?"
Eric sighed, "In a few minutes I will be."
"Alright," Jon smiled, "I'm heading back out there. Don't make me come get you."
Tim had stepped outside momentarily after checking his cell phone to see that Jack's dad had not called him
"Hey it's Tim," he said to Dr. Brown's voicemail, "just was seeing if there was any news. Call me." He hoped that no news was good news.
"Everything alright?" Toby asked from behind him.
"Oh yeah," Tim said stuffing his phone back into his pocket, "just seeing if anyone loves me."
Tim laughed, "No."
"I thought you and Jon had something going on."
"Eh. It's complicated."
"Ok maybe not so much. There's just not anything going on now."
"Are you sure? He's been looking at you all night."
"Probably out of contempt."
"Stop it. You're a nice guy. I'm sure he sees that."
"Oh, I'm sure. And apparently you and Nick are having a good time. What`s going on there?"
Toby smiled, "We are and nothing. He's leaving in a few months."
"And that means nothing will happen."
"You deserve to be happy Toby."
"As do you." Toby smiled.
"I can't believe we know someone who's getting married."
"I know it's a bit of a mind fuck." Toby said.
"Yeah, sort of makes me think about my life."
"A moment like that...can't be helped." Toby agreed.
"Yeah." Tim said absentmindedly.
"There he is!" Bliss yelled upon seeing Eric come back to the table.
"Are you alright?" Cooper whispered.
"Yeah, I'm fine...I just don't know what to do really."
"We can leave if you want."
Eric sighed, "But everyone is here."
"It's our night," Cooper said, "We can do whatever the fuck we want."
Eric nodded, "ok."
"Guys, I think we're going to head off." Cooper said to the table.
Every memner of the table voiced their disgareement with that decision, but Cooper put his hand up in defiance, "My fiance and I are tired and we'd like to go home and be alone."
"They are so going to fuck tonight." Joey whispered to Brian.
Brian giggled, "Wouldn't you if the love of your life had just proposed?"
"Well if they're leaving maybe we should all go." Bliss said looking around the table.
Melinda huffed, "I guess that means no dessert."
As everyone stood up , stretched, and found their belongings, Toby put his arm around Cooper's back, "Hey I can stay somewhere else tonight if you guys want to be alone."
"Naw, I don't want to put you out."
"It's not putting me out, I'll ask Richard or something."
"You can stay at my place. Ian is visiting his parents." Nick offered.
Toby smiled, "Problem solved." as he opened his arms to give Cooper a hug. He then moved to hug Eric, "Congratulations man." He hesitated for a second, not sure if he should say it, but decided to go with the moment, "I love you."
He could feel Eric smile, "I love you too."
Toby let go and motioned to Nick and they soon walked away from the table.
Eric looked at Cooper, "Can you take Jamie and I'll meet you at the car?"
"Yeah sure, is everything all right?"
"I just want to talk to my mother real fast."
More hugs and kisses were traded around the table with promises to catch up again soon so it was a few mintues before Eric actually was able to get to his mother.
He just smiled when he stood in front of her, he could tell she had been waiting to speak to him too.
"How long were you here before..."
"Only a few minutes. I called him when I got here."
"I'm very glad I was here to see it."
"Are you really?" Eric asked not sure if he wanted to hear the answer.
Carol smiled, "Yes. Especially with...yes I'm glad I was here to see it."
Eric didn't say anything for fear that he might cry again.
"Cooper's probably out there waiting for you."
Eric took a big sigh, "Yeah, we should go."
They walked arm and arm out of the restaurant, both pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the other felt.
Jamie's laughter could be heard down the block as Cooper was swinging him by the arms. Cooper saw Eric and his mother walk out of the restaurant and put Jamie back down on solid ground.
"That was fun!" Jamie said in between giggles.
"Jamie!" Carol called from a few feet away.
"Can I have a high five before you go?" Cooper asked.
"No!" Jamie said before running in the direction of his aunt.
"I'll get you back for that!" Cooper laughed.
"No you won't!"
"Bye Carol." Cooper waved. She returned the wave before taking Jamie's hand and turning towards her car.
"I love how kids run everywhere." Cooper said getting in the driver's seat.
"I bet you ran everywhere as a kid," Eric laughed, "hell, you run everywhere now."
"I wish I had the energy."
Eric was just about to roll down the window when he saw someone quickly approach the car.
"You were going to leave without even saying goodbye!" Michael said feigning being upset.
"Sorry," Eric said sheepishly, "I'm not a very good friend am I?"
"No you're not."
"Wait, aren't you staying at our place tonight?"
Cooper cleared his throat, "he's got a friend who lives up here."
Eric rolled his eyes, "A friend?"
Michael smiled, "Let's just say I won't be getting married anytime soon."
"Well you have fun." Eric said.
"We should do breakfast or something before I have to go back."
"Yeah, call me."
"Will do, goodnite lovebirds."
"Nothing?" Tim asked as he saw Dr. Brown pacing around his very small apartment.
"Well maybe that's a good thing." Tim said trying to sound encouraging.
"I'm starting to get very worried now."
"Well Jack's a smart kid I'm sure he's fine."
"Do you know where this kid lives?"
"Who Chris? No." Tim confirmed.
"Are you lying to me?"
"I'm not! Even if I did, it's probably not a good idea for us to go running over there. We don't have any proof."
"Doesn't matter. His address would be registered with the school."
"I really think we should think about this. As much as I hate to say this..."
"It's Jack." Dr. Brown finished, knowing full well what Tim was getting at.
"I think we should wait for him to show up," Tim continued.
"Fine," Dr. Brown said running his hands through his thinning hair, "Look, I'll wait until the morning, if he doesn't show up I'm calling the police. If he shows up tonight, call me."
Dr. Brown walked to the door and with his hand on the doorknob he turned back to Tim and looked him in his eyes, "You sure you're telling me everything?"
Tim could see this was was clearly an accusation, "I only know what Jack told me."
"If I find out that you guys were in this together..."
"There's nothing to tell."
"There better not be."
"Crazy night huh?" Toby asked as he pulled out of the driveway of Dorothy's.
"It is," Nick smiled, "it was cool to see though."
"Yeah, you don't see that everyday."
"You must be happy for them."
"Super happy for them. It's crazy to think that 2 years ago they were doing the whole just friends thing. They weren't even friends really when we all first met."
"So it's a proper love story."
Toby chuckled, "You could say that."
"Do you want to get married?"
Toby shrugged his shoulders. Nick laughed, "That's not an answer."
"Not really. I'm all for gay marriage and everything, but yeah, I don't think it's for me."
"So you would never get married?!"
"You sound shocked." Toby said as he glanced over at the Australian.
"I guess I am. Isn't it everyone's dream to get married?"
Toby looked at him with amusement on his face, "No."
"Ok ok, maybe not everyone's dream, but...I don't know I guess I just thought everyone wanted to get married if they met that special person. So you're saying you never would?"
"I don't see myself in that position, but I guess you never know. I'm trying to be a more go with the flow kind of guy these days."
"Fair enough." Nick nodded.
"Is that what we're doing?"
"Going with the flow?" Nick asked catching on immediately to what Toby was talking about.
"I'd say so."
There was an awkward silence now in the car as both boys listened to the random bits of noise that was filtering in through the window. Even though it wasn't necessary, Nick felt compelled to clarify, "I'm not here forever you know."
"Why don't we just go with the flow and not take things too seriously." Toby smiled.
Nick returned the smile, "Sounds like a plan."
"What I don't get," Joey said trying to keep the frustration out of his voice, "is where are they going to have this wedding? It can't be in a church because Cooper's skin would melt off if he goes within a one mile radius of one."
"I know," Melinda agreed from the back seat of Richard's car, "they can't even get married and they plan on doing it before someone even proposes to me? There is something wrong with this picture."
"But it's so cute. They are perfect together!" Bliss squealed from the backseat, "gay love is awesome."
"That means that I can't get proposed to or married for at least a year." Melinda frowned.
Joey turned around in his seat to look at Melinda, "How do you figure?"
"I don't want none of their residual shit taking up the spotlight from me. So I'm waiting a year to be clear of their engagement and then my man can come and scoop me up."
"You don't even have a man yet." Bliss reminded her.
"But I got a year to find one!"
"Love sucks." Joey muttered, "Im never going to get married."
Bliss rubbed his shoulder "Awww don't say that, I'm sure some boy will knock you off your feet."
"Or some Christian boy will be put on Earth to torture me." He muttered.
"I want a Mormon." Melinda said matter of factly.
Bliss began to fan herself, "That outfit is so hot!"
"Ya know!" Melinda agreed, "plus they're freaks. All the religious ones are."
"You don't have to be religious to be a freak." Joey smiled.
"I know," Melinda skulked as she rolled her eyes, "there are freaks who are not religious, but there is no one religious who isn't a freak. It's like how a rectangle is a square, but a square isn't a rectangle."
Bliss chuckled, "Yeah exactly like that."
"You're very quiet." Joey shot at Richard.
Richard glanced at him innocently, "Who needs to talk? The three of you are doing fine on your own."
Bliss whispered as if Richard wouldn't be able to hear her, "This probably has to do with his talk with Toby."
"You guys had another talk?" Melinda exclaimed.
"It's like their thing." Joey snickered before warily glancing over at Richard, "don't try and punch me, keep both hands on the steering wheel."
"Fuck all of that. You guys need to do less talking and more doing...each other." Melinda said.
"Bliss do you have something to say on the subject? Richard asked, his tone heavy with annoyance.
"Would you get married?"
"I'd definitely think about it."
"That means if Toby wanted to." Joey laughed
"I'd marry Toby." Richard said nonchalantly.
"I'd marry Toby. Just for the honeymoon sex." Joey agreed.
Bliss shook her head, "I'd do Cooper. Does he really have a 9 inch dick?"
"I don't know. I've never seen it hard." Richard said, "but let's not forget our buddy Joey here has given it a go.
"I don't kiss and tell." Joey smiled.
Richard smirked, "That's a first."
"I think it's cool that y'all can stay friends after that. I know I couldn't with someone I fooled around with." Melinda said.
"Ummm...." Joey said waiting for it to sink in.
"Let's not talk about that." Bliss said quickly.
"Fine, let's go back to talking about Toby and Richard," Joey teased.
"There's nothing to talk about!."
Dr. Brown was sitting at his glass kitchen table; his hands folded in front of him. His keys were just out of reach and as he stared at them, he was waiting for some voice, some rush of adrenaline, to push him into action. He weighed all of his options, but neither seemed any better than the others.
He could sit here and wait until Tim called him, but that could be several more hours and that was if Jack came back. He could call the police, but he wasn't sure his son was missing. Besides, what would he tell them? The last option he considered was going back to his office and search for this Chris' kids name and address. But once he had that information, what would he do with it? Barging into one of his student's apartments and demanding answers wasn't exactly professional. He was then reminded that all of this hinged on what Tim had told him. What if he was lying? He quickly thought about it and figured that Tim was probably telling him the truth or at least what he thought the truth was. It was his son that was the likely liar.
The second he finished that thought, his head darted quickly towards the back of the house. He'd heard a noise; he was sure of it. It sounded like a window closing. He quickly hurried to the back of the house and hesitated only a second before opening the door to what used to be his son's room.
It took his eyes a minute to focus in the darkness, but there was no mistaking that it was Jack standing in the middle of the room.
"Jack!" Dr. Brown said relieved, he moved forward, but then hesitated not sure if Jack would welcome the hug.
"I killed someone."
His father shook his head, "What are you saying?"
"I killed someone." Jack repeated.
His father closed the distance between him and was comforted, but also alarmed that his son not only seemed to welcome the hug, but needed it.
"Are you hurt?"
"No... I pushed him off a balcony."
"No," Jack interrupted, "I saw the body...or the people standing around it."
Dr. Brown moved his son away from him so that he could look into his eyes, "Did anyone see you?"
"I don't think so."
"Did anyone see you?!"
"Don't you want to know why I did it?"
Dr. Brown cleared his throat, "I know."
"Tim told you?!"
"Do you have anything with you?" Dr. Brown asked ignoring his son's outburst.
"You don't need it. I've got enough cash in the house to get you on a plane and some money at least for a few weeks."
"I can't leave."
"You can't stay here. I need you to really think. Did anyone see you at all...were you at his house?"
"Yeah we were just talking and..."
"He went over the balcony."
"He went over or you pushed him?"
"Well I pushed him, but..."
"And no one saw you leave the house?" Dr. Brown interrupted.
Jack shook his head, "I don't really remember leaving... no, I'm pretty sure no one stopped me or anything. It was really crowded or there was loud music."
"Where's your car?"
"Doesn't matter. We'll take mine."
"I can't leave without saying goodbye to Tim."
"It's better for him not to know."
"You can't incriminate anyone else in this."
Jack winced, but nodded, "I won't tell him, I promise, but I need two minutes with him. Please?
Cooper sat on the bed, rubbing his palms together, as he anxiously debated whether he should say anything. The silence was killing him and he wasn't sure if this was one of those moments where silence was golden.
Eric was a few feet away, his back towards Cooper, trying to take off his dress shoes without untying them. He felt more tired than he had in a while, but was thankful to be home. He didn't want to answer any awkward questions or be congratulated anymore, he just wanted peace and quiet. However, he knew that he had been quiet for most of the car ride and quiet since they had arrived home. He knew he should probably let Cooper off the hook. He could feel his boyfriend staring at his back, but he wasn't sure how.
"Are you ok?" Cooper asked when the silence became unbearable.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"You don't seem fine.You're so quiet."
"It's ok. I just want to make sure you're ok."
Eric sat down on the bed next to his fiance, "Trust me. I'm fine."
"Good." Cooper smiled as he leaned in for a quick kiss.
"I think I'm just in shock." Eric said staring into the floor.
"Well it's supposed to be a surprise."
Eric shook his head, "Not that. It's hard to explain."
"Try. I really want to know what you're thinking."
"I think," Eric paused, "I just can't believe it's happened. I've always wanted to get married..."
"You've never..." Cooper started to interrupt, but Eric stopped him.
"Let me finish. Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to get married. I thought it would be the best feeling in the world to make a girl happy. I'm not even sure where that came from, but I always wanted it. Even when I realised I was gay, way before I ever thought of coming out, I still thought that even if it wasn't going to be the same for me, I could still make a girl happy. My mom would be happy, and as silly as it sounds, I imagined my dad being happy too. When I came out, I'd let go of that dream. I was sure it was never going to happen. So tonight...I think you made me the happiest I've ever been. You gave me back a dream I thought was long gone."
Cooper smiled, "I'm glad I could do that for you."
They started kissing and soon found themselves lying on the bed. Eric was feeling much the way he did when he and Cooper had sex after a big argument. He felt all those similar emotions: relief the fight was over, the warmth of Cooper's body, but this was somehow stronger.
Cooper was on top and was unbuttoning Eric's shirt. He moved his hands slowly down the center of Eric's chest and the shiver that followed told him he was doing the right thing. Eric reached up and quickly took off Cooper's shirt and tossed it aside. Cooper's tounge picked up where his hand left off as he kissed down Eric's stomach. He removed the pants that had blocked his way and the underwear soon followed. The sigh that came when Cooper took Eric's hard dick into his mouth invigorated him and he quickly kicked off his pants and underwear. He had assumed this was going to be a quick session, they were both tired, but something had changed and they could both feel it.
"I want you." Eric said simply.
"Are you sure?"
Cooper moved to his bedside table, but Eric grabbed his wrist, "I'm ok."
Cooper paused. In all their time together they had never had unprotected sex, "I love you so much, you know that."
Cooper bent down for a long kiss and again reached for his bedside table, "You'll need lube."
Eric nodded and had a quick thought of this being the last barrier to break and smiled.
"What?" Cooper asked.
Cooper opened the cap and applied a copious amount to Eric's ass.
"Ah! It's cold."
"I always thought that was a myth." Eric smiled.
"I've told you it's cold."
And before Eric knew it Cooper was easing his way in. Cooper looked into Eric's eyes for any hint of pain or doubt, but he didn't see any.
"Are you ok?"
Eric let out a long breath, "Yeah, actually." He was surprised.
"Don't lie to me. You have to tell me if it's hurting you."
"It's not. That was easier than I thought."
"I'm not even half way in."
"Fuck me!" Eric said in exasperation.
"That's what I'm trying to do."
They both laughed and that's when Eric truly relaxed. In all the seriousness that had been tonight, and as great as it had been, he was glad that there was still laughter.
"Is it ok if I go in a little more."
"Yes." Eric said surer than he had ever been. Nothing and everything had changed.
"Jack! Your dad's been looking for you! Where have you been?!"
"I killed him."
Tim could feel and then hear his breath catch in his throat. He couldn't speak, but he didn't need to. He only wanted to know that it wasn't true, but he could see the look on Jack's face and knew that it was.
"Don't look at me that way. It wasn't like that!"
"You killed him?"
"I didn't go there with the intention of killing him." Jack said somewhat casually.
"Oh cause that's the point." Tim said sitting down. He was starting to feel dizzy, "you killed someone."
The silence between them was broken by Jack's cell phone ringing. Tim immediately looked up, alarmed.
"It's just dad. I have to leave."
"Where are you going?"
"It's probably not safe for me here."
"Wait, you're going away?"
"You've helped me so much...I'm not asking for your help again." Jack said.
Tim had the feeling that it was exactly what Jack was asking for, "So this is it? What if someone comes looking for you?
"Why are you crying?"
"Why aren't you?!" Tim shot back.
Jack's phone went off again and he quickly silenced it, "I have to go."
"What about all of your stuff? Where are you gonna go?"
"I'm not even sure. Dad's got an idea."
"Will I see you again? Are you gonna be contactable at all?"
Jack shrugged, "I don't know. I do know I'm gonna miss you."
Tim nodded, "I'll miss you too."
"No you won't."
"I will. This isn't right you should stay." Tim said getting up and quickly moving to Jack. They embraced and it was Tim who wanted the hug to last longer. Jack pulled back just a little and Tim was confused for a moment, "What are you doing?"
Jack's leaned forward and kissed him, gently at first and then with more passion as the kiss went on. They would have kept kissing had Jack's phone not sounded again, "I can't ignore it this time or Dad will be beating down your door. I'll find a way to let you know how I'm doing. I promise."
Jack headed for the door and Tim followed closely behind him. Jack walked into the long hallway and for a second Tim thought he wasn't going to turn around.
"Bye." Jack said smiling.
Tim waved, the thought of never seeing Jack again still sinking in.
"Chase! Chase! Open the fucking door!"
Chase was wildly looking around when he opened the door, "What's wr..."
"You are what's wrong!" Joey screamed, "I've wasted two years of my life waiting for you and I'm not doing it anymore!"
"Joey are you drunk?"
The way Joey shook his head would have made any innocent bystander believe he was drunk, but he was quite sober, "No! I'm just fed up with you and your shit."
Chase lightly pushed Joey further away from the door and followed him outside, "Can you keep your voice down, Kevin's in his room."
"I'm leaving, you don't ever have to worry about me again."
"Hey!" Chase said grabbing Joey''s wrist, that Joey quickly yanked away, "Don't go...I don't mean to jerk you around...I just need..."
"More time, I know. I don't have anymore time for you."
Joey saw movement behind Chase and a few seconds later Kevin was at the door looking concerned, "Who the fuck is yelling?"
"Sorry," Joey said calmly, "that was me."
"Is everything alright?" Kevin asked looking between Joey and Chase.
Chase nodded, "Yeah man, it's cool."
"Are you drunk Joey? It looks like you just came from a party." Kevin asked.
"No, I'm sober unfortunately. I just came from Cooper's engagement party."
Kevin was sure he hadn't heard correctly, "Whose?"
"Cooper. You know like the only Asian guy with a big dick."
Kevin turned red and wondered if Joey knew about his history with Cooper , but Chase glared at Joey, "How do you know he has a big dick?"
"How do you think?"
"He's getting married?" Kevin asked.
"Yes," Joey said realising it was a mistake that he had come here, "to Eric."
"That's nice." Kevin mummered.
"Please..." Chase pleaded.
"No. Leave me alone and don't come by the Pride Centre anymore." And with that Joey walked out of Chase's life.
Jon wasn't sure who could be knocking at his door at ten past midnight, but he was sure whoever it was had some problem they needed to talk about and Jon was going to get rid of them as quickly and rudely as possible so that he could get back to sleep. He yanked open the door, "What the hell do you want?" he said before his brain processed who it was standing in front of him. "Tim?"
Tim stood in front of him staring face down at the floor.
"Tim, come in," Jon said pulling him inside, "what's wrong?"
"Please don't make me sleep alone tonight."
"Jon, please." Tim begged looking up, "I couldn't handle it if you told me to go away."
"Alright, you can stay here. Can I do anything?"
"Just hold me."
"Ok, I can do that."
Tim placed a soft kiss on Jon's lips, "Thanks, you're a sweet guy."
Jon looked on confused as he watched Tim walk to his bed and make himself comfortable.
"The trash is collected and the bed is made every morning at 11...unless you give instructions otherwise." The bellboy said as he inspected the room to make sure everything was in order.
"That's fine." Jack said.
"Can I ask how long you'll be staying sir? Perhaps you might like to set up a credit card for..."
"No credit card," Jack said immediately, "I'll pay for everything by cash."
The bell boy smiled, but picked up on the fact that the gentleman didn't plan to be found for quite a long time, "That's fine sir. If you need anything at all..."
"I'll call reception. Thanks."
Once the bell boy realised he wasn't getting a tip he graciously let himself out of the room and closed the door behind him. He casually wondered what the boy had done or who he was hiding from.
Jack rummaged through his bag for his iPod and after a few seconds of looking he realised he had probably left it behind. He shrugged it off knowing he had enough money to last for quite a while so there was surely money in there to purchase a new one. Despite the amount of money he had, he'd eventually run out and would have to find a job. Maybe when things died down, he'd be able to go back to school or even return to Sunnydale some day. He couldn't pronounce, let alone spell, the city he'd flown to and that made him depressed.
He was under strict instructions from his father. The last thing his dad said to him before he got out of the car at the airport was, "I'm putting a lot on the line to protect you. Do not, under any circumstances contact anyone from Sunnydale unless I tell you to. Be safe. I love you."
As the white empty walls around him began to feel as though they were caving in and the magnitude of what he had done set in. He had another thought that brought him to tears...he was once again friendless.