Chapter 16: All Because of an Accident.
Friday was a very strange day. Just before lunchtime, our building lost all power. We waited around for a half-hour or so, but the power didn't come back on. The only illumination was coming from the limited number of emergency lights scattered throughout the building and the sunshine that filtered in through the few windows that lined the exterior walls. One of the big bosses used his cell phone to call the electric company, to see if he could learn how much longer it would be until the power would be restored. While speaking with a supervisor at the electric company, our boss was informed about the cause of the problem.
He was told a tanker truck, which was hauling hazardous materials, and several other vehicles had been involved in a mishap. Due to the complications arising from it, such as people being trapped in the wreckage and the release of toxic fumes, the power company projected it would be several hours before the electricity could possibly be restored. Seeing we could do little without power, those in charge decided it would be best to send us home for the day. This tragedy for others would end up giving the rest of us an early start to our weekend.
After being told what areas to avoid, because the streets had been blocked off or traffic was backed up, I headed home. It took me slightly longer to get there than it normally would have, so I didn't arrive at my place until just about 2:30. I entered the house and looked and listened for Colt, because I knew he only had a test that morning and then he was through for the summer. However, he didn't seem to be anywhere around. I assumed he must be either working one of his lawn jobs or off playing basketball. Happily, I headed toward my bedroom, eager to strip out of my work clothes and don a pair of shorts. I was looking forward to getting some sun and unwinding. As I opened the door to my bedroom, I spotted Colt on my bed, sixty-nining with someone else. I was just about to slip back out and not say a word, but the other boy noticed me and pulled off of Colt's dick. It was Jason.
"Hey, what are you stopping for?" Colt began to protest, only to look up and notice me too. I can't describe the expression that spread across his face at that point. It was a mixture of horror, dread and shame. I felt I had to extricate myself from the situation gracefully.
"I didn't mean to intrude," I told them. "I just got out of work early and was going to change. Forgive me for barging in." I quickly shut the door and walked back down the hallway. I could hear the boys scrambling about inside, probably searching for their clothes, and whispering to each other. I was still somewhat in shock, but I did manage to stagger to the living room and sit down. It was only a moment later when Jason came out after me.
"I'm sorry, Leo," he began, barely able to look at me. "I know I'm probably not welcome here any more, so I'll just leave." He began to move toward the door.
"Jason, you don't have to go," I told him, although my heart was breaking. I was sure this meant I'd lost Colt. "I'm not upset," I lied
"But... but..." he stammered, but I cut him off.
"All guys do a little experimenting, so why should you boys be any different," I informed him. "It's okay." Even though my stomach was in knots and my heart felt like it was breaking, I couldn't be mad at either of them. Jason just did what came naturally and I've always had a feeling Colt would eventually find someone his own age to be with.
"You mean that?" Jason asked, still not believing his ears.
"If I didn't, then I wouldn't have said it," I lied again, to spare his feelings. Jason looked relieved.
"Thanks, Leo, but you should go talk to Colt," Jason told me. "He's really upset and thinks you hate him now." I knew he was probably right, so I had to do what was best for him, even if it killed me to do it.
"Okay, you stay here and don't go anywhere," I advised him, "and I'll go see Colt. He should be okay in a little while." Jason smiled weakly at me.
"Okay, I won't go anywhere," he informed me.
I walked down the hallway and stuck my head back into the room. Colt looked up immediately. "Leo, please don't hate me! Please," he whined, looking almost as bad as I felt. "Don't make me suffer forever for doing something stupid."
"Colt, it's all right," I responded, although probably not overly convincing. "I don't and won't ever hate you." He looked up at me, with his lips still quivering.
"But you don't love me any more, do you?" he wanted to know. His fright was clearly evident in his eyes.
"Colt, I do love you and always will," I told him, meaning every word of it.
"But you don't want me around now, do you?" Colt added, in a shaky voice. He let his head drop downward, almost as if he was afraid to hear my answer.
"Colt, I shouldn't have expected someone your age and with your lack of experience to actually commit to a long-term relationship," I countered, trying to take him off of the hook. However, he wasn't going to let me do that.
"Leo, it's not that," he insisted. "It's just that you're the only guy I've ever been with and I just wanted to see if it would be different with someone else..." I didn't let him finish.
"You don't need to explain," I interrupted. I just wanted to eliminate his guilt and make him feel better, so I could get away and deal with my own feelings. "It was unfair of me not to allow you the chance to experiment with anyone else and for me to think that you wanted to be with only me."
"Leo, don't talk like that," he sobbed. "It sounds like you don't think I love you any more, but I do, more than ever."
"I don't doubt your love, but I need to let you spread your wings a bit," I informed him.
"What do you mean?" he asked, confused. "Are you throwing me out?"
"No, I'm not throwing you out," I quickly told him, but I had to think for a second about how I was going to explain this to him, without hurting him more. Suddenly, I came up with an idea.
"Colt, let me try to give you an example," I began. "I love butterflies. I think they are one of God's most beautiful creations. The thing is, I don't want my butterflies dead and pinned onto a board. I want to observe them while they are alive and flying freely about, as God intended."
"I don't understand," Colt told me, after trying to grasp my meaning.
"Colt, I don't want you as a trophy, something to be ogled and kept in private," I advised him, trying to explain my analogy. "Young boys should be allowed to enjoy their youth and the freedoms it offers. You need to be around others your own age, so you can experiment and learn things for yourself. I don't want you to just be some pretty specimen I keep under glass. One of the most difficult things people ever learn in life is that if you love something deeply enough, then you have to be willing to let it go and see if it returns. If it doesn't, it was never meant to be. If it does, well, then you can share the deepest love anyone could ever experience. That's where many people fail as parents, because they are either unable to let go or they don't love deeply enough."
"Leo, don't talk like this, you're scaring me," he pleaded. "Don't let me go. I don't want you to. By doing that with Jason, I learned it wasn't quite the same. We only did it a couple of times, but with Jason it was just sex. It was fun, but I realized I didn't want to be with him all of the time, like I do with you. With you, even after we have sex, I don't want to let you go. I need to hold you and feel you beside me. I just needed to realize there was a difference. I needed to find that out for myself." He began to move toward me.
"I understand," I assured him, "and you don't know how happy I am to hear you say that, but just trying it a few times might not be enough. I think it would be best if you spent more time with others your own age, trying different things with them. Then, in a few years, if you still think you love me, we can try this again."
At that point, Colt burst into tears. It was like a dam had crumbled and released the reservoir it had been containing. He leaped upon me and clung to my body for all he was worth, squeezing me tightly and dampening my shoulder from his crying. "Leo, no. I've learned my lesson. I only want you," he begged.
I can't say that he didn't get to me with his outburst, because now I was in tears too. "Colt, you just need more time to grow up," I explained. "I just wasn't wise enough to see it and give you that chance."
"Leo, you've given me more chances than I deserve and then I went and hurt you," he countered. "I know now I don't want anyone else. I HAVE grown up and learned my lesson. Please, don't leave me, don't throw me out, and most of all, please don't hate me."
I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed. "I've told you before I could never hate you, Colt. I will always love you and you will always own a very big piece of my heart..."
"Then just forgive me," he pleaded, cutting me off this time. "I know now that we were meant for each other and I always want to be with you." He was almost suffocating me, as he pressed against my body and tried to smother me in kisses. I knew I had to let him down gently.
"Look, I'll agree to this much," I offered. "We'll take it slowly from now on. If sometimes you want to do things with me, we can, but if you want to try thing with other guys, I won't stop you or hold it against you. I just don't want you to ever have any doubts you did the right thing, if we end up staying together."
"Okay," he quickly agreed, "but you don't have to worry. I've tried everything I ever want to try without you."
"Colt, let's just wait and see. I'm going out in the back yard and sun myself," I told him, as I broke free of his grasp and went to change into my shorts. "Jason is out in the living room waiting for you." Colt looked surprised.
"But... but... I thought he left," he commented, still not sure he had heard me correctly.
"I told him he didn't have to go and everything was fine," I explained. "He promised me he'd wait in the living room until we were done talking. Now, go spend time with him and I'm going to go out and enjoy the sunshine." Colt was still hesitant about doing this, but I think he finally decided he owed Jason some kind of an explanation. We left the bedroom together, but he went to the living room, while I slipped outside through the utility room.
I sat in the lounge chair and stretched out, to take advantage of the golden rays of the sun. However, my mind was racing over everything that had happened since I arrived home. I just couldn't undo the knot in my stomach. As much as I wanted to believe every word Colt had said, I still wondered if he had told me those things because he was afraid I'd throw him out on his own. Even though I would never do it, maybe it was his fear of having to live on the streets that made him make those comments. Or did he really mean them? I was so confused and so scared, I didn't know what to think.
I had meant what I told him, though, about loving something enough to let it go, but it didn't mean I wasn't afraid he wasn't going to come back. No, I had to give him his wings and let him fly. I had to let him have time with others, without me hovering over him, and if eventually he returned, then I'd know for sure.
I sat alone thinking for a couple of hours, rehashing everything over and over again in my mind. How could I have been so blind? Why didn't I recognize the signs when Jason suddenly started sleeping in Colt's room? Not only that, but there was more. There were all the times they were alone in Colt's room studying, the nights Colt slept alone, instead of with me, and his sudden lack of interest in doing anything sexual with me. Sometimes, I can be soooo dumb.
About this time my stomach growled and I realized I should probably go in and fix dinner. Jason was spending the weekend again, so I had two growing boys to feed yet. I went inside and started to throw something together. I didn't see the boys when I first entered, but I knew better than to go looking for them. I'd fix dinner and then they could come around and eat when they were ready.
I was just finishing up when the boys came in from outside. It was apparent they had been playing basketball and just returned. They weren't joking around nor doing any verbal sparring with each other, as they normally would have done. It made me wonder if something else had happened during their game or if they were still a bit upset about what had happened earlier? I guess I'd have to wait and see if they gave me any indication about what was bothering them.
"Dinner's ready, are you two hungry?" I asked.
"Yeah!" they both replied and started moving toward the table.
"Hold it right there!" I announced, bringing them to a sudden halt. "I could smell you the minute you walked through the door, so why don't you clean up first, while I set the table and put out the food." They looked at me and made a face.
"Okay," Colt responded. "Jason, you can use my shower and I'll use Leo's, but hurry up. I'm starved."
"Don't worry," Jason told him, as they went racing down the hallway. "I'm hungry too."
The boys showered and were back at the table in about ten minutes. They definitely looked and smelled better. We sat down to eat and the boys started shoveling the food away. About halfway through the meal, they started to ease up and Colt spoke. "I'm sure the camping trip is off now," he began, "but will Jason still be able to spend the week here, while his parents are away?"
"Who said anything about the camping trip being off?" I asked, feigning ignorance, while knowing full well why he believed that.
"I just thought..." he answered, before I cut him off.
"Then you thought wrong," I told him. "I told you boys I wasn't upset with you, so nothing has changed. I've made the reservation for the campsite and everything is set." They glanced at each other and then looked back at me.
"Are you sure?" Colt asked again.
"I'm positive," I replied. We went back to eating.
"By the way," I added a few minutes later, "did you get things resolved with Albert?"
"I think so," Jason replied. "I told Bert that I could either be friends with both him and Colt or I could just be Colt's buddy. The choice was up to him, because he wasn't going to tell me who I could pick as my friend."
"I'm sure that went over big," I commented. "And I'm sure Albert was even more pissed at Colt for telling you what happened."
"I had that covered too," Jason explained. "Since he told Colt out in front of the school, I just told him someone overheard what he said and told me. He doesn't know Colt told me."
"Very clever," I agreed, thinking that might have been a wise move on his part. Even though Albert might still suspect that Colt had told Jason, he could never be totally certain. That way, Albert would be forced to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"In that case, maybe you'd like to ask Albert to join us on the camping trip," I told them. The boys looked at each other in disbelief.
"Are you crazy?" Colt challenged.
"No, I'm not," I quickly replied. "That way Albert will know he's not being cut out completely and it might give him a chance to get to know you better too."
"You know, that might work," Jason agreed. "Bert's not a bad guy, but he doesn't make friends easily. I think that's why he was so afraid that he'd lose me. If he had a chance to get to know you better," he told Colt, "then maybe we could all be friends and not have any more problems."
"Or he could continue to use me as a punching bag when we're all alone in the woods," Colt countered.
"Nah, Leo and I will be there to make sure that doesn't happen," Jason assured him. "Besides, I don't think Bert's ready to take you on alone. He saw that you weren't afraid of him and he's had a lot of time to think about it since your run-in on the basketball court."
"But how's that going to work out, with all of us sleeping in the same tent and all?" Colt wondered.
"I'll get two tents," I replied. "That way we can split you and Bert up."
"Yeah, I'll share a tent with Albert," Jason offered, "and you can share with Leo," he told Colt.
"Okay, I guess I can do that, if it will put an end to Bert's taking pot shots at me," Colt announced. Jason and I were both happy to hear him agree to the idea, but now we had to await Albert's reply to the invitation. Jason informed us that he would ask Bert the next time he saw him.
After our discussion, we all spent a quiet evening together. Everyone was still a little uncertain as to how to act or what to do, so there were more than a few awkward moments. I did notice that Jason slept in the spare bedroom that evening and Colt slept in his. I wasn't sure whose choice it was, but I hoped they didn't feel they had to split up, just to spare my feelings.
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