Boy in the Rain -- Chapter 4
Hey guys. It's me and the possessed cat again. Now, before we begin, I think it would be prudent to have a little chat with you guys. You know, just to clear the air a little a bit of all the confusion and misunderstanding.
I truly never knew that the American culture adhered to so many stereotypes and misconceptions! I was actually shocked when a couple of people wrote to me, asking questions that I would never in a million years have thought possible.
Okay, so let me explain to you guys exactly what's going on. Many, if not most of you guessed that I come from South Africa from the little bit of Afrikaans that I have in my story: Unexpected. Brownies for you.
The people who are under no circumstances whatsoever going to receive brownies are the people who want to know thing like whether we have lions walking around freely in our streets or whether everybody in South Africa smokes. The latter question arose from the fact that all of my characters at the moment (except for Darren) smoke.
No, we have no lions in our streets, most of the people in SA don't smoke, and I definitely do NOT belong to any sort of old school apartheid racist group. Bitches. :-P
Despite the fact that my real name (Ruan) might sound a bit outlandish to you guys, I am not in any way or form black. I do not have an eleven inch cock (like many people presume black guys do) and I do not walk around in a leopard-skin loincloth. Neither do any black people in SA, for that matter.
I live in Johannesburg. Now Johannesburg could be compared to any number of cities all across the world: New York, London, Zurich, LA, Berlin, Sydney, etcetera, etcetera and so forth. We do have skyscrapers, and yes, we do also have toilets that can flush.
Guys, I am actually appalled at what you guys think of our country. Poverty might be huge here in some areas, but no more than it is in the US. We may be the country with one of the highest AIDS epidemics on Earth, but that doesn't mean we have more rapists than you guys. It also doesn't mean that we fuck like baboons.
Now that I am done with my rant, I would also like to thank you guys for writing me in the first place. It really means a lot to me to have you guys commenting constantly.
As for most of my characters smoking, keep reading the story and you will eventually find out what their reasons are.
When we last stopped, Toby and Jesse were sitting in Jesse's "calm room", with Toby about to tell Jesse his story. This is where we rejoin them again. Peace. Enjoy!
`Okay, I'll tell you.' Toby said. All sound seemed to leave the room, and Jesse felt himself tense up. Finally, he thought, finally I am going to hear his story. He gently took the remainder of the candle in his hands and put it in a little brass bowl on the altar. Toby took a couple of deep breaths.
He finally said, `It all started with porn.' Jesse nearly laughed out loud. Of all the things that Toby could have said, he said the one thing that Jesse didn't expect him to say. But the expression on the boy's face remained serious, and so did his sad, electric blue eyes from behind wisps of charcoal hair.
`I am serious. As you know, I am gay. People at school, again as you know, have known for a long time because I was overheard. I was making a phone call to the jerk that I called my boyfriend at the time and this guy, JP Anderson, heard me talking to him. After that the whole school knew. But my parents never did find out. Not till yesterday afternoon, that is. I fell in the same trap as thousands of other gay boys.' Ironically the boy smiled. But it wasn't a warm, friendly smile. It was a jaded, cynical smile that didn't suit him at all.
`My father browsed the net on my laptop. The permanent line we have at home was offline and he used my mobile connection card to do some work. Somehow, one of the sites he browsed started with the same letters as www.crvboy.com. When he saw what the site was all about, he went through my history and found all the gay porn sites I've been visiting.' The boy became quiet. His eyes became distant. `And then... And then my father did what I didn't think he'd ever do. He chased me out of the house with his gun. He... He even fired a couple of shots.
Tears formed in Toby's eyes and slowly, silently trickled down his face as he relived the previous day. Jesse could also see little beads of sweat on his hair-plastered forehead.
`I'm sorry.' Toby said. `I didn't mean to...' But he couldn't get the rest out. He started shaking with violent convulsions as he cried, but still not a sound escaped from him. Jess quickly moved over and took him into his arms. All thought of keeping his distance from Toby vanished in thin air and he started to console the boy.
They had been sitting on the floor for several minutes before Toby started to calm down and he stopped shaking.
After another couple of minutes of silence Jesse finally said, `Let's go get something warm for you to drink. They got up, and despite the fact that Jesse's legs were quite stiff from sitting in a cross-legged position for so long he had to support Toby all the way to the kitchen. Fifteen minutes later they were sitting by the kitchen counter drinking Chai tea from big mugs. Jesse was glad that Toby instantly seemed to like the taste of the beverage. Some people said that Chai tea was an acquired taste.
Jesse looked across the table at Toby. The boy was quiet, almost withdrawn. His eyes were glazed over and he only blinked every now and then. It was obvious that he was thinking about his dad. Jesse slowly raised his own hand. Dare he? He inched it across the table at a snail's pace before settling it on top of Toby's.
The boy looked up in surprise, and then fleetingly looked back down at their hands. Jesse gave Toby's hand a small squeeze and smiled. The boy smiled back. It wasn't a big smile, but it wasn't a cynical one like earlier either. Finally: progress, Jesse thought.
`Want to go to bed? You look tired.' Jesse asked. He could barely keep his voice from shaking. This boy had an effect on him that he still wasn't sure he liked.
`Yeah, sure.' Toby sleepily replied. They got up and Toby went to the room while Jesse did the washing up and smoked his first cigarette for the day. A while later Jesse joined him. Neither of them had any trouble falling asleep that night.
Darren and Dave were also getting ready for bed. Darren decided to stay over for as long as the business with Toby went on, and Dave wholeheartedly agreed. Not only would Darren be able to sort through this case more easily, he will also be spending a lot of extra time with Dave, and he looked forward to the next couple of days.
He almost wished that Toby would take his time in letting them help him just so that he could spend some more time with Dave. Their relationship had really grown in the six months that they had been lovers, and Darren was beginning to think of Dave as his life partner.
They met at work. Dave, being a full-time writer, had come to Darren's office to do some research for a book he was working on. Darren had instantly fallen for Dave, but never thought that he might be gay. What are the chances, right? But after countless hours spent together working on Dave's book, things just happened.
They both fell asleep on Dave's couch after a day of particularly hard work and woke up in each other's arms. Both were, of course, mortified at the situation, never thinking that the other was gay. But after a long evening of talking it out, each confessed their feelings for the other.
Darren smiled as Dave came out of the en suite bathroom with just a towel on. His hairless chest was sparkling with droplets of water from his shower. To Darren it looked like a scene from a fantasy novel: the image of his boyfriend looking like a Greek God with steam billowing out of the door around him.
`Hey.' Darren said, his voice husky with love. Dave walked over to him and gave him a soft, sensual kiss. His lips were firm, but so soft at the same time.
`We... We need to talk.' Darren said. Dave looked at him worriedly. `Don't stress! It's about Toby.'
`Oh,' Dave said. `Hold on a minute so that I can get into bed.'
Darren waited patiently for his lover the take off his towel, dry himself and slip naked under the sheets before saying, `What do you think of playing foster parent?' Dave looked a little shocked at first, but soon his expression shifted to a thoughtful one.
`I've never really thought about it, you know.' He said. `Do you think you're going to need one for Toby?'
`Yes,' Darren replied. `And they are in short supply.'
`You know what we are going to have to do for us to be Toby's foster parents, don't you?' Dave asked. Darren felt a strange, rebellious excitement inside himself.
`Yes... Yes I do. I think we are ready, don't you?'
`It depends. Are you sure you are going to be okay with this?'
There was a couple of seconds of awkward silence before they both suddenly said `yes' at the same time. Grins lit up both of their faces.
`In that case, my fiancée, I'll be moving in tomorrow.' Darren said before engaging Dave in an adoring kiss.
The first rays of the sun fell across Jesse's face as he was standing on the small patio of the cottage. The sun was a bright disk on the dark horizon. It was a flaming ball of orange and red, and the contrast against the black, purple and blue early morning sky was magnificent. The invigorating, crisp morning air smelled sharp and fresh as Jesse inhaled. It cleared his mind from the last tendrils of sleep and he felt energy well up in his body.
Smiling, he opened his box of Marlboro Reds and lit one. He inhaled the smoke deeply and, as he was blowing it out, felt a deep sense of contentment. His whole life was usually filled with hustle and bustle and constant change, but here in the early morning on his own patio he was in his own little world - a world of peace and calm and relaxation. A world in which nobody else was allowed and, in fact, of which nobody else knew about.
The birds had been chattering away since five that morning -- that's what woke him up. He had felt refreshed after the good night's sleep he had had, so he'd grabbed a shower and came out onto the patio. It was forty five minutes since he had woken up and still the birds were making beautiful noises. It came from every direction.
He closed his eyes. The sounds around him seemed to be amplified. He could even hear the soft rustling of leaves in the wind. He stood there for a while enjoying everything around him. When he eventually opened his eyes he was surprised to see a dark figure walking up towards him.
It was Darren.
It was around that time that Toby woke up. This time he knew exactly where he was, and he didn't freak out again. He looked at the ever present alarm clock on Jesse's side of the bed; the time was 5:56 and looking at the window he realized that the sun was just starting to rise.
He walked over to the kitchen and saw the Chai tea powder container sitting on the counter. A small smile played over his face as he remembered the previous evening when Jesse touched his hand. He could still remember how infinitely better it instantly made him feel. Not that he felt tip-top in any way, though.
It was as if somebody took a large piece of cling film and wrapped his emotions in it, effectively segregating them from the rest of his psyche. He felt... well, he didn't really feel anymore, he realized. He was just going to ride this out, he thought, and see where it took him. Maybe, just maybe things will get better.
He walked over to the front door and opened it, before stepping outside into the cool morning air. He started to look at his surroundings when, all of a sudden, his whole body seemed to freeze. It was the first sharp, non-dull feeling he had had in the past two days: amazement. None other than Jesse was standing out in the garden in nothing but a pair of black Jockeys and pajama slippers.
The elastic of the Jockeys were a dark red, matching with Jesse's burgundy slippers. Toby was sure that it wasn't intentional from Jesse's part, but the matching colors just completed an already almost perfect picture: Jesse was standing at an angle, so Toby could see both his front and his backside. Where the red elastic of the Jockeys stopped, a thin trail of hair led up to his bellybutton and disappeared, almost as if his bellybutton had swallowed it. Jesse's stomach was otherwise smooth and flat, but looked to be nice and soft.
Looking a little higher up, he could see short, sparse chest hair shining a radiant gold in the brightening sunlight. He then looked at Jesse's face. His eyes were closed as if he was in rapture and his straight, blonde hair flopped over his forehead. Toby knew that if Jesse were to open his eyes he would see the most beautiful round rainbows in the world. He had never seen eyes the likes of Jesse's and he immediately fell in love with them.
Get a grip on yourself, he thought, soon you'll bone up and then what? But he couldn't take his eyes off of the beautiful figure in front of him. He started again where he left off: Jesse's hair. It amazed Toby how it was never messy and always just seemed to fall straight into place. Or maybe Jesse combed it every chance he gets? He doubted that though. Jesse wasn't the type to be conceited, and he definitely was not the pretty-boy type.
His eyes moved down the smooth curves of Jesse's neck and back and hovered for a moment over his round butt before traveling down his legs until they disappeared into the biggish slippers.
He finally was able to tear his eyes away when he saw Jesse look down towards the main house. Toby could see someone approaching and, for no reason that he understood himself, he slipped behind the huge earthenware pot that stood on Jesse's patio. It contained a good-sized palm and hid him completely.
The figure approached steadily and before long Toby could see it was Darren.
`Morning,' Darren said with a smile. `It's beautiful out here this early isn't it?' Jesse shrugged off the mild irritation he experienced at being forced to share his world with somebody else and smiled back at Darren.
`Yeah. This the only time of the day when I can actually get my head clear enough to think about some things.'
`Oh?' Said Darren. `What would you have to think about?'
`Well, things haven't been exactly normal around here you know.' Jesse said. He had no idea why he was about to open his heart to Darren, and he didn't care either. `Toby being here tipped my whole world on its head.'
`In what way?' asked Darren, sounding cautious.
In retrospect, blurting out his feelings to his uncle's best friend was a very risqué thing to do, but Jesse couldn't help himself. Somebody needed to know, and Darren was just as good of a `somebody' as anyone.
The words just spilled from his lips, `I'm going to be honest with you, Darren. I need to get this out and if I don't do it immediately I'm going to explode. Come what may, this needs to be said. Darren, I'm gay, and I can't get that damn boy out of head.'
Jesse had said the one thing that Darren hadn't expected. Of course, from what Dave had told him, he already knew that Jesse was gay, but he honestly did not think that the boy would admit it so freely. Before he could react to Jesse's confession Jesse turned around and fled towards his cottage.
`Jesse, wait!' Darren yelled, but either the boy didn't hear him or he was just ignoring him. Jesse ran into the cottage and Darren thought that he heard a bedroom door slam. He quickly hastened back to the main house.
At first Toby was so overcome by emotion that he couldn't move from his spot behind the plant. Jesse couldn't get me off his mind, he thought. It was like a bubble swelling up inside of him, filling him with warmth and exhilaration.
And then the bubble burst.
Toby's thoughts shifted to the shocked expression on Darren's face and the way Jesse ran into the house as if the Devil himself was behind him. Slowly, the warmth that he had felt just seconds before was being replaced by a numbing, cold fear. Memories of what happened after his own coming out just days ago screeched around in his mind, tearing away at any positive feeling it could find.
His last thought before returning to the black pit again was, `Fuck, not again.'
Dave was at the bathroom mirror, busy with his ever-messy hair. After washing it he rubbed some leave-on conditioner onto it, clicking his tongue at every stray grey hair that he saw. It wasn't like Dave was old. On the contrary, he was quite young, recently celebrating his entry to the tender thirties.
`Prematurely grey, just like my old man...' he said aloud.
He was just preparing to put some styling gel into his shoulder-length dark blonde locks when a white-faced Darren burst in, panting heavily.
`I think I just fucked up.' He wheezed. Although he gave up smoking a couple of months ago, he hadn't regained the ability to run fast without breathing hard afterwards.
`What? What happened?' Dave asked, confused.
`It's Jesse. I spoke to him this morning, and for some reason he came out to me. But I didn't react fast enough, and he probably took that as a form of rejection. He ran into the cottage and I could hear his room door slam.' He somehow managed to get it all out while trying to catch his breath.
It was not to be, though, as Dave grabbed his arm and said, `Come, let's go speak to him before he does something stupid.'
`Stupid? What do you mean stupid?' Darren asked, keeping Dave from dragging him with. `He wouldn't...?' The possibility caused strangely cold chills to skittle up the back of his neck.
`No,' Dave said, `he wouldn't. But when I was his age I came out to my parents, too. They didn't take it all that well, and I ran from home. They found me two weeks later next to a dumpster, half-starved and dehydrated.'
Darren carefully considered this revelation. What would make Dave think that Jesse would have the same reaction, he wondered. Unless... Shocking realization hit Darren head-on like a steam locomotive. He decided, however, to confront Dave at a later stage. Getting to Jesse as soon as possible was more important.
`Then let's go.'
Jesse was frantic. He wasn't really the type to lose control, but at that moment he couldn't bring himself to calm down. He saw how shocked Darren was. He saw Darren's lip quiver lightly. Was it rage? Was it fear? Was it disappointment? He sank down on his bed in despair.
Then another chilling thought occurred to him: did Darren tell Dave? He shot up from his bed like a bolt of lightning and immediately started to pace around his room. He needed to think. What was he going to do? If Dave found out... Jesse never really witnessed his uncle exhibit bigotry towards gays, but he was sure that Dave would be furious when he found out.
Think-think-fuckin'-think! He would run away from home. That way he wouldn't have to face up to seeing the anger and disappointment in Dave's eyes. But just as he got his leather travel bag from his cupboard, the bedroom door burst open, revealing a perspiring Darren and a pale Dave.
Toby regained consciousness just as two pairs of boots rushed past him, not even glancing in his direction. He was still riddled with fear, but it was quickly being replaced by that strange sense of absence that he has been experiencing so much lately.
`Not only did I ruin my life, but I ruined Jesse's as well...' he whispered out loud. He painfully got up off the terracotta patio and opened the front door to the house. As he entered, his shoulders straightened and his face set in an expression of hard determination. He had a purpose now. He hadn't gotten anything right before, but now he WILL get this right. There isn't any way that he could allow himself to fuck this up, too. He slowly, but determinately walked to the bathroom, where he opened one of the clean, white cupboards, and grabbed the bottle of Myprodol that he saw there earlier that morning.
He then went to the kitchen, where he found a bottle of industrial strength cleaning fluid underneath the sink. This should do it, he thought. In groups of five, he swallowed the Myprodol down with the fiery fluid. All in all he counted fifty eight pills -- two less than should be in a new bottle. But that shouldn't make a difference, he thought. I'm pretty fucked now.
Sighing, he walked over to the couch and laid down on it, thinking of how much he despised dying in the house of the one person who took pity on him.
So that's it. The chapter ends on a glum note, but I promise not to keep you guys waiting for the next one. Tell me what you thought of it at firstname.lastname@example.org.