I did what I could. No, I did what I had to do, what any person in love would do. I ran after him, or at least I tried to. I could see him running away from me at first, his wails echoing throughout the neighborhood, but when my mind got back into reality my legs sprinted off after him. I could see his figure getting larger in my perspective; I was gaining on him. When I called to his name he just went faster, matching speed with me so I was neither catching up to him or losing him.
Danny rounded the block, and seconds later I followed the same route, but as my legs twisted to make the turn, all of the pain that I had since my fall rush back to me. I had to stop; or else I would have toppled forward and hurt myself even further, possibly to the point of breaking some bones. I collapsed on someone's lawn, watching Danny slow down about 30 feet in front of me. His face was bloodshot red and I could tell he was still crying. He just stood there while I stared back at him, my hands clutching my leg but I wasn't paying any attention to the pain. Danny didn't budge and inch, like a deer in headlights.
What was he thinking right now? He could be forgiving me, or thinking about coming back to help me, or maybe wanting to laugh at me in pain, or possibly just wanting to walk away from me. Don't walk away from me Danny, please. I couldn't make out his expression though; it was hard enough to see him with the sun glaring down on me behind Danny, making a dark silhouette. He was like looking at a solar eclipse all of a sudden. The front of him was dark as night and the sides of him were outlined with a red glow. He was a phoenix, no; he was more like an omen. There was something very disturbing about that picture. It was like he was a demon of some sort, or the devil's son.
Suddenly I no longer wanted to be there anymore, he was filling me with fear, infusing me with terror, decimating all hope for the time being. If we were to make reparations, it wouldn't be now. It was becoming an incubus to stay any longer; I had to leave. I sat upright, then tried standing up on my good leg. I got up and then slowly balanced myself out by putting pressure on the bad leg. It only hurt a little bit, just some stinging pain. When I tried to turn my leg accidentally gave way and I fell back down on the grass. I must have had a loose joint. I looked to see if Danny was still there, but he disappeared, out of my life. I sighed quietly and stood back up again. I didn't know where Danny lived so I couldn't track him down and there no was way I could run after him to see where he went. All I could do was limp back home and wallow in my own stupidity. And so I did.
With my head down low, I slowly walked back home. No tears left me the entire time, not when I turned the corner, or walked down my street, or went back into my house. I was in shock, and too depressed to cry. My body was insensate, not being able to feel any extraordinary emotions whatsoever. Who cared about anything anymore? My leg, what people though of me, what did it matter if I didn't have Danny? It didn't matter, that's the point. It didn't matter one fucking bit!
I sank down on my couch and all of my emotions suddenly sprang back to life. How could I have slapped Danny? I'm such a moron! I need him or I'm nothing, I'd just wither up and die. I buried my head into a pillow and cried my eyes out for God knows how long, but when I heard my mom's footsteps near me I saw that it was dark outside. She sat down on the couch next to me patted me on the back. For a second there I really thought I was going to get help from her, but it was only for a second.
"It was worth a shot I guess." She said to me, sighing. I looked up at her slowly. She handed me a tissue.
"W…what did you just say?" I said while wiping my eyes and comporting myself in a regular fashion. A dear, compassionate expression was strewed about her face.
"I meant that I'm sorry things didn't work out between you two. I guess you weren't her type." I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't fucking believe it. I though my mom was sympathizing me about Danny and actually getting something into her thick head for once, but instead I get the same old bullshit. I tried so hard not to yell at her. Not to say `fuck you bitch' or `you're such a fucking moron' or any one of a hundred phrases with a swear in them.
My intellect kicked in and I deterred from my original plans. My new plan was to make things right with Danny again while getting back at my parents at the same time. I quit sobbing and turned away from my mother and put the tissue to my eyes, pretending to wipe them, when in reality I was grinning widely. Yeah, I've gotten Danny back before, I can do it again. It will be easy as pie. It'll be so easy, my this time tomorrow he'll be laying in my arms again on my bed, kissing my neck, and grinding into me. My mom was waiting for a response, so I put on my sad face again and turned around to face her again.
"Mom…." I said in a sad and innocent voice, sniffing every once in a while. "I really like her, and maybe if I bought her some things then she would like me more, but I don't have any money right now." My mom thought for a second, then left the room and came back with a credit card in her hand.
"Here, buy her whatever she wants, my treat." I took the card from her, put it in my pocket, and smiled.
"Thanks momsie." I said, trying to hide my joy in her gift, then ran up to my room. Wow, a credit card! I was hoping for a couple bucks, but not this. I felt like a boy in a cotton candy factory, the possibilities with this piece of plastic. Well, if I wanted Danny back, I'd just have to buy nice things for him, and if I wanted quick results, I'd have to work right away.
First things first though, I needed to find out his address. I got out my phone book and looked for, umm, shit. What's Danny's last name? It started with a T, I know that much. Trinity, no. Trumpet, no. Crap, I can't think for shit today! Ok, think Richie. You're back on the cruise ship; the first day there, it's dinnertime. You and your father sit down at your table with Danny's parents, Danny not arriving until moments later. Sigh, I remember that night so well, we kept brushing up against each other's leg and thighs, and it was so spectacular. He loved me from the very beginning, the VERY beginning, and now I love him at the end. No, this isn't the end, but it will be unless you remember his last name! Ok, you sit down with Danny's parents, and they say, `Hi, we're the Tru…' or something like that. Come on, they say `Hi, we're the Truman.' Yes! No! Not Truman, Trumans! Argh! That means his last name is Truman! Yes! I quickly went to the T section and find…eleven Trumans! I gotta narrow this down somehow. Ok, well the first two are too far away, because Danny IS within walking distance. I know who the fifth one is. That's a little bit better. The seventh and ninth ones aren't even in the direction Danny was even walking in. The tenth one sounds African or something, I doubt that would be him, and the eleventh one is also too far away. Hmm, that narrows it down quit a bit to…four! Four is much better than eleven.
Ok, next, since I know that Danny will be living with his aunt, that I can call up the four houses and it will be possible to narrow the list down even more by hearing the voice on the phone. I wrote down the four telephone numbers then went right to the phone. I dialed the first two numbers and got no answer there, doesn't mean anything really, some people just don't put on answering machines when they are out or don't like picking up the phone or something like that. When I called the 3rd number, I heard an old man's voice that sounded like he was dying or something; I never heard about a sick grandpa. When I called the last number some kid picked up the phone, but it wasn't Danny's, I knew his voice too well to mistake it with someone else's. I couldn't eliminate that number though; maybe he had cousins. Or maybe it was another boyfriend. Oh, don't think that way, he couldn't find a boyfriend that fast. In fact, it's almost impossible to find a gay teen these days; quite a shame.
So there were three addresses left. The best thing to do was to go to each house individually and see who answers, if anyone, and base on who answers whether it is the right house or not. But what if Danny answers? I'd be standing there like a moron with nothing to give him. A light bulb illuminated over my head suddenly. I'll buy the gift first and THEN go house hunting so in case I do come upon Danny's house and he answers, I'll be there with his nice gift and he'll wrap his arms around me and kiss me and tell me that he forgives me. Ingenious Richie, and ingenuous.
Now, what to give Danny that will ensure a 100% success rate in the rebirth of our relationship. I laid down on my bed, my arms under my head, and stared up at the ceiling, just thinking about what I could get him. Well, I have my mom's credit card, I'm sure I can buy lots of things for Danny with that. I did want to get back at my parents too, so why not spend a couple…hundred dollars.
A mischievous grin appeared on my face. This was no longer about getting Danny back, because I knew I would. Heck, I totally forgot that he was mad at me. So what if he's mad at me anyhow? Worse things have happened between the two of us. Now, this was about getting back at my parents. Payback if you will, just like that Mel Gibson movie, whatever the title was. Oh yeah, Mad Max! He sure got his payback in the movie.
I'm getting side tracked though; I still need to think of things to get Danny. I quickly got out my piece of paper and pencil to take notes on, then went back on my bed, using my leg to write on. Ok, let's start with the obvious first, which is candy. A box of assorted candies would do nicely, and who doesn't enjoy getting those? I wrote that down on the paper.
Next, since I got him something sweet, the candy, I'll have to get him something to show him that I love him. Well, nothing better for that than flowers, roses to be exact. Ahh yes, a wonderful bouquet of roses for my little flower boy, or something like that. I know my heart would melt if I got flowers. I wrote that down.
Hmm, I have something sweet and something that says I love him, now what else do I need? Oh right, I will need something nice. Nothing expendable really, something in terms of a prized possession. My eyes wandered down to my necklace. It seemed like a good idea to get something like that for Danny, but more expensive, and with a different phrase on it. `R & D 4 Ever', it didn't seem like forever though, but Danny wanted it to be. He bought this with his own money after knowing me for two days, showing me that he already planned to spend all of eternity with me. I tear rolled down my face. My feelings got the better of me and I wanted to scream out loud `Fuck! I want Danny back, please God! Please!' but I managed to whisper it to myself.
What was I doing here anyway? I was selfishly making a list of things to give Danny instead of actually getting things for him and trying to win him back. This isn't a game or some cheapo love story, or is it? I began to get dizzy. I broke the pencil in half and tossed both pieces in my trash basket, then crumpled up the piece of paper and chucked it out the window. Fuck, I'm going insane here, I need Danny back! I need him back now! That's all I though about now, that's what echoed through my mind. I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't take not being without Danny, I couldn't take being alone, and I couldn't take being in that damn room, like some mental patient, except there's no rubber padding. I bolted out of my room and down the stairs, then headed for the front door. I passed the living room on my way out. I was about to reach the doorknob when my mom stopped me.
"Hey Romeo, you need her address to go look for her?" She said suggestively, like she knew what I was thinking and doing. I don't need this, not now. Maybe later, but definitely not now.
"No." I said, turning to her, undiscernibly inches towards the door.
"Well, where ARE you going then at eight o'clock at night." Wow, earlier than I thought it was
"Out where?" For the love of God, just let me go! Maybe if I screwed with her mind a bit she'd let me be on my way.
"Drinking." I said, she rolled her eyes at me. "Gambling." She shook her head. "Bye." I lowered my head and turned to the door.
"Hold it." She put her hand in the way. She's no ordinary mother is she? "Where are you going?"
"A friend's house."
"Friend? You don't have any friends." She said bluntly. Boy, that was crude if there ever was a definition of it.
"Sure I do."
"Oh yeah? Who?"
"Dan? Dan as in Danny? Danny as in Danny Truman? Danny Truman as in what the D on that necklace stands for?" Her voice rose to almost yelling. I quickly covered up my necklace with my shirt collar. Oh, this wasn't fun anymore. I was getting afraid to be truthful. Afraid of my own mother, what kind of fucked up universe is this? But I was still too scared to stand up for myself.
"Well, umm, he is my friend, and his parents did just die you know. Kids need someone in times of turmoil, wouldn't you agree?" She got this perplexed look on her face, like I had a point for once in my life. She did not respond right away. I waited for one but it never came. She just stood there, speechless. Something so simple as that indisputable fact, it's like, wow. Who would have guessed? Not me, that's for sure. After what seems like minutes, though probably only seconds, she spoke.
"Yes, I suppose you are right, Richard. Good for you for helping someone else like a friend should. And after that, then you could go to the girl Brenda's house and possible get a second date with her." She had hope in her face again, I just turned and opened the door and stepped through it, but not without adding one last thing before I closed it behind me.
"I'm gay mom, and I love Danny Truman, end of story." Then I just walked off. Actually I didn't walk off right away, because I, being the idiot I am, tossed three of Danny's potential addresses out the window. I swiftly and quietly ran to the side of the house to look for the white ball of paper. It's easy and hard at the same time to find something white in the dark, no pun intended. On one hand, it's easy to find white in darkness cause of your rods and cones; on the other hand, you have to take time to get used to the dark first. I looked and looked once my eyes got adjusted enough, until I finally saw it right on the edge of our chain link fence that divided our yard with our neighbor's. A couple more inches and that ball of paper would have been a goner, unless I developed good climbing skills. I picked up the paper, put it in my pocket, and headed off to the candy store, still intent on buying Danny all those nice things.
When I got to the candy store, I picked out the biggest and most expensive box of chocolates I could find. When I had to pay, I just slammed the credit card on the table. I love how teens can use credit cards to buy small things without needing to be asked for ID or getting questioned about it. I mean, it's not like I robbed some old lady and am now going on a shopping spree for nice things. Wait a second, I kinda am, but it's my mom and I'm getting back at her, so it's all good. I just signed the receipt when the cashier lady told me to and that was all. I could have bought the whole store if I wanted to and no one would have been suspicious. If asked I could have said that my mom sent me out so buy things for a party, an assorted candy party, and that would be all. How could you question something like that, too? If she didn't believe me, would she call my mom or the cops or something? Nope!
I asked her for a large bag to put the candy into. My plan was to use the bag to carry the candy and flowers for three reasons. The first one being that I didn't want to use two hands to carry two things and holding a bag was much easier and safer, for I felt clumsy at night and didn't want to trip and ruin everything. Second, I would feel awkward and embarrassed to be holding flowers and a box of candy, don't ask, I just would. And third, if I chose the wrong house I didn't wanna be looking like a loser with a box of candy in one hand and a bunch of flower in the other hand. That would be just craziness!
My next stop was the flower shop. Since most of these shops for buying nice things were in the same area, I only had to walk a couple yards. Actually it was an entire plaza with that kinda crap. The plaza had flower shops, candy shops, wedding gown shops, jewelry shops, and all things like them. It was a nice place for people who buy lots of those things at the same time for a person, like me. That place was literally a bonanza on Valentine's Day. Lots of cheapo relationship things for no money. Yeah, bring on the super saving ladies with coupons coming out of their ears!
I entered the flower shop and waited on line behind two people. It was one of those flower shops in which you would tell the people behind the counters which kinds of flower you want and how many, then they would go and pick them out and assort them the way you wanted. I felt kind of silly being in a place like this, me being only fifteen, because this was adult stuff. I mean, I was fully competent in myself, but from other people's point of view, I must have looked like a baby trying to do a tax return. Well, I shouldn't be one to talk about how people think of me doing things like this when I'm the type of person who should be more concerned about what people think of who I date.
I shook it off and tried to forget everything, I was getting back together with Danny now. As I waited in line I daydreamed about him, it was hard not to while not doing anything at all. I pictured his adorable face, his golden blond hair, his rosy cheeks, and his perfect chin, and smooth neck. Then I pictured more of him, further down his body. I envisioned his naked torso. The illusion went all the way from his dark nipples, to his smooth abs, nice 6-pack stomach, to his cute bellybutton. I didn't want to go any further down his body, because I didn't have tight pants on which would have kept me from getting an erection right in the store. So instead I kept that image, and dream what will happen when I appear at Danny's house with the things I bought for him. He'll open the door looking sad, but when he sees me with my flowers and candy, his hazel eyes will light up and he will wrap his arms around my neck tightly, almost choking me but I won't care one bit, I'll have Danny back. He'll bring me into the house, take the flowers from me, give them a quick whiff, then place both gifts on a table and hug me tighter and kiss me deeply on the lips and we'll never let each other go. Yeah, it'll be great. Danny and I have been through so much, how could he just forget about me. That slap, and seeing me in bed with a GIRL! It would have done a number on me as well, but I didn't know it would have such a great effect on Danny, he was stronger than that. It doesn't matter now, what's done is done.
I snapped back into reality and found myself still in line. I was kinda expecting to see the lady behind the counter staring at me because I was next, but actually the person who was in front of me was talking to the lady, and almost done, too. At last the person finished and it was my turn.
"Hi kiddo, how may I help you?" The lady said as I approached the counter. Geez, who calls a fifteen-year-old that anymore? Well, I suppose when 99% of the people who buy flower are adults, seeing a teen alone in there may cause you to say those kinda of things.
"Hi, I want flowers, please." I said in my nicest voice. I hated being nice. She looked at me cockeyed.
"Well, you've come to the right place, young man. What kind of flower do you need?" Crap, I never even thought about that.
"Umm, roses I guess."
"What other kinds are there?"
"Well, there are red roses, and we also have white roses."
"Oh, both then, please."
"How many of each?"
"Three, and put them all in the same bouquet."
"You got it!" She said, then disappeared in the back and reappeared quickly with the roses in a nice bouquet. She placed it on the counter and tied a bow to it to keep it together. "Would you like something written on a small card to go with it?"
"Yeah, sure." She got out a tiny card thingy, the kind that opens up and you'd find on flowers, of all things, and got out a red pen.
"What would you like it to say?" I thought for a moment, then answered.
"Umm, I love you with all my heart Danielle. Without the umm, and it's also spelled like Daniel is spelled, don't ask me why, it just is." Pretty clever, Richie. "Oh, and I'm Richard, so put that at the end, wherever it goes."
"I got it, very sweet. Your girlfriend must be very lucky."
"Yeah, really." I said, letting out a slight sigh. God, I hope this works. The lady slipped the card behind the bow then went to the cashier. She charged me, I gave her the credit card to pay for it of course, picked up the bouquet, and left. When I carried the flowers out the door, planning on putting them in the bag once I exited the store, the card fell off of the bouquet. I picket it up carefully off of the ground and put it in my pocket for safe keeping so it wouldn't get away from me again. Then I put the flowers very carefully in the bag, making sure they weren't truffled or bent.
As I walked off, planning on going to the first stop on my `Danny address list', I noticed I was walking past a jewelry story, one of the many in this plaza, but this one specialized in bracelets. I walked in and decided to take a gander, just a quick look to see if it interested me. Well, I was hooked once I saw the wonderful kinds I could be getting for Danny. I did not waste any time at all and got a gold one, pure gold, with an inscription of `I love you by sweet thing', already engraved on it. Hey, I didn't ask why it was already on it, but it was, and I jumped at it immediately. It was perfect in every possible way; he'd love it! They gave me a petite, little bag for the bracelet case. I was about to refuse, but it was so cute and perfect, just like Danny was, how could I refuse? What's one more thing to carry anyhow?
Finally, I was on my way to Danny's house. The bright lights of the city gave me more than enough illumination to make out what I had written down on the piece of paper. The first house I went to was only a couple blocks away. When I arrived and approached the house I noticed that there was loud music coming from it. I got closer and peeked into a window to see a bunch of guys dancing with a girl who was no doubt a stripper. I ducked before anyone saw me, even though they were probably all too drunk to notice and were paying more attention to the whore. You just gotta love straight men! I checked the address and it was confirmed when I heard all of the guys chanting `Go Truman'. I didn't care to see what Mr. Truman was doing to arouse all of that, and left to the next house, which was about a fifteen-minute walk.
I wondered how late it was as I walked. Was it, ten o'clock already? I know I had spent a good amount of time in the flower shop, and having to walk every where took time as well. There was not a soul to be found on the streets, but since Fresno is such a bright city with many lights, you'd never feel danger there. The tough cops were one large factor of the low crime in this city. Cops would arrest you for the stupidest things. If you looked at one cop the wrong way, or you were just plain suspicious, you could go to jail, just like that. Or, if you were on the highway and going a little bit over the speed limit, a cop car would come from out of nowhere, pull along side you, then pull you over. He'd appear so fast, you wouldn't have a chance of slowing down in time, that's why I fear driving sometimes. Of course, when I could drive, I'd take Danny to wherever he wanted, and we'd hold hands while driving, and all that good stuff.
I was daydreaming again, not watching where I was going, because I almost passed the house on my next stop. I turned to it slowly, checked the address, and walked towards the door. As I got closer, I felt that this wasn't the house for some reason, my intuition was saying so. Through the window I saw dimly lit lighting, romantic lighting, then voices. Well, I'd rather eavesdrop than be embarrassed. I went to a window that was opened, put my bag down, and listened. There were two voices, a man and a woman's, the man sounding much older though. I couldn't make out everything, but I did make out a lot of that was said.
"The kids are asleep." The man asked.
"Yeah, so it's just us now?" The woman replied.
"Yep, and it's only nine forty-five, that gives us, well, a lot of time for ourselves." He said in a smooth talking way. Hey this was getting interesting, and I know what time it is, too. I heard a rustling of clothes or fabric, then it stopped.
"Wait, something's not right here." The woman said.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, maybe it's paranoia or something, but I have the feeling that we're being watched, or being eavesdropped upon." Fuck! She's onto me; I'd better make it out of there quick before he beats the shit out of me.
"Come on baby, you're just frightened because you think Rebecca will be home from her business trip a week early, now when has that happened? She's probably off fucking my best friend right now." He let out a laugh. So did I. Not because of the joke but because she wasn't talking about me, she was talking about the man's wife.
"Yeah, I suppose so. Alright, I'll stay for a little bit longer, because my daughter Brenda needs me home to tell me about something, and I have to get to the firm early tomorrow." Daughter Brenda? A firm? Bingo! The mom of the slut who tried to rape me is having an affair with a married man. Well actually, he's having the affair with her. Oh, it doesn't matter, what's important is that she's a home wrecker! The word `bargaining chip' was tattooed in my mind. Next thing I know, I heard moaning sounds, and then the television turned on rather loud to drown out those sounds, and the sounds of my escape. I slipped away undetected, like a spy on a mission. Boy is that redundant or what? What kind of town am I living in anyhow? Oh well, every town has an underbelly I guess.
I made my way to the final house, about five blocks away. Third times a charm. If this wasn't the right one, I don't know what I'd do. As I got to the house, checking the address. I had a feeling this was the right one, it looked nice, but not too nice, because Danny only lived with his aunt now. At first, I thought that no one was at home, but I still had hope. I marched right up to the door and rang the doorbell. I heard stirring in the house and a woman opened the door. She couldn't have been more than thirty-five. She could have been his aunt, no doubt about that. She did have this auntie look.
"Umm, is this…is this Danny Truman's h…h…house? P…possibly your nephew?" I asked. I was more nervous than I thought. I would have been so humiliated if she said `no' with a confused look on her face, but she just smiled and said that it was and that she was his aunt. All of my fears were washed away, this was his house, I had found it at last! "May I come see him n…now?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, he's out at a friend's house right now, he'll be back either late tonight or tomorrow morning. I could take a message if you'd like." My heart sank. All this work for nothing, he wasn't even home. There was only one thing I could do now.
"Well, umm, could you give this bag to him, please?" I handed her the bag, taking my trust in her. Well, his aunt did know about Danny and was perfectly ok with that. "Just tell him that Richie gave it to him." He knows where I live.
"Of course I will, Richie. You're a very sweet boy you know." She said softly. I had to keep from blushing from her nice comment. Then, I had an idea.
"You know what." I took the petite back with the bracelet in it out of the big bag. "I think I'll give this to him personally." It was true, too. I wanted to see his reaction to it myself, and I wanted to be the one to put it on him. With that, we said our good-byes, I thanked her again, and left for home excitedly, skipping along the way. Well, I didn't get to see him now, but at least my mission was completed. By this time tomorrow, Richie and Danny will be back in business!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I woke up the next morning at around nine thirty. I must have been so exhausted, I didn't even remember falling asleep. The last thing I remember was lying back on my bed, daydreaming about Danny more. I wasn't paying attention to how long I had been daydreaming; it could have been hours, or weeks for all I cared. Well, I was awake now no less, and in the same clothes I had been in last night. Luckily, I didn't run into my parents last night at all, but I'm sure my message had gotten across to them.
I went downstairs to fix myself some breakfast, but I had a better idea. I would go over to Danny's house right now. If he was still asleep then I'd be there to wake him up. Yeah, that would be a sweet idea. Then he would kiss me all over and pull me into bed with him for a nice long cuddle. My heart melted at that thought.
I immediately ran to the front door, opened it wide, and planned to leave the house, but something stopped me. On my doorstep was a bag, my bag! I picked it up and brought it into the house. Was this a message of some sort? Did Danny send me something back? I looked inside and found…the exact contents of the bag as last night! What the hell was going on here? He didn't forgive me, even after I gave him all that stuff? The flowers were in there, the candy box was in there, and the picture was in there. Picture? I never put a picture in there.
I took out the photograph. It was of two boys. The
one on the left was unmistakably Danny, who had his arm around the one
on the right. The boy on the right was about our age, our height. He had
the features and physical traits that Zack had. He even had the same evil
grin on his face, which disturbed me. What was the meaning of this photo?
Actually, it was a Polaroid picture, and on the bottom where the white
area is, it said yesterday's date. Something fishy was going on here, and
I was going to find out soon. I flipped the picture over to the back, and
my deepest fears were in fact revealed to be the truth. Written in blue
ink, it simply said, "Your ship has sailed."
Mu haha! Last cliffhanger, I swear, I SWEAR! Don't worry though, the conclusion of this will be posted by the end of the weekend, cyah soon! Feedback strongly appreciated:
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