This story is 100% mine. It speaks to relationships between two young men, so if stuff like that offends you (I can't imagine why it would if you're reading this on nifty), then leave. The situations are based on my experiences, but know that the names have all been changed and the situations have all been modified. If you like my work, I'd like to hear from you... Even if you don't like it, but please try not to be mean. Please respect my work. Don't try to pass it off as your own. Don't post it anywhere else without my written permission...That's about all I can think that I need to write. I hope you enjoy.
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"Love don't live here no more"...or does it?
"Yeah, it's me. What's up?"
"Nothin'. Just here chillin', and watchin' T.V. ... You?"
"Not too much, really."
It had taken almost twenty minutes before I had built up enough nerves to make this call. I had come home immediately after dropping Rick off, changed out of my uniform and picked up the phone. The first time I had dialled the number I had hung up almost immediately; before the phone even had a chance to ring. Finally, after going over the possible scenarios and outcomes for the third time, I dialled the number and stayed on the line enough for him to answer.
I didn't know where to start this conversation. There were so many things I wanted to say, but at the same time I wanted to just leave it all behind me and move on.
Somehow, meeting Mike this morning had changed me. It was like finally realizing that I was worth something; something more than what Riley was willing to give me. I doubted that I could now settle for the pseudo-relationship Riley was offering and seemed to be demanding of me. I wanted something more concrete, something more reciprocal at the very least.
Riley seemed cautious; almost nervous in a way. Knowing that he was walking on eggshells ripped my heart out. In that instant I realized that he was hopeful, and then immediately I began to consider how much I would probably hurt him. At the same time, I began to accept that my life could no longer be about Riley. I could no longer spare his feelings at the expense of my own. I needed to do what I needed to do...for ME!
"I guess we need to talk, don't we?"
My question was rhetorical, and I was thankful that he seemed to recognize that.
"Look, I know I hurt you, Chase, and I'm sorry. Really."
"Don't apologize, Riley."
"Because you did nothing wrong."
"Yeah I did...you know it and I know it."
I heard his voice crack and he audibly took in a breath of air.
"No, you didn't. You were honest with me, and that's all I asked for, right?"
"I'm still sorry though... You know I love you, right?"
I paused. I really didn't know how to answer this question. I used to think he loved me, I really did, but after two weeks of crying and waiting for him to come around, I wasn't so sure anymore.
"Yeah...I know." I decided to go for the easy answer.
"To be honest, not really..." I changed my mind.
He started to speak, but I was quick to cut him off.
"Look, let's not get into that, please. I need to say some stuff, and I need you to let me finish before you talk, k?"
"I love you, Riley. I really do. I'll always love you...but I'm not sure I'm in love with you anymore..."
He started to respond, but I was quick to cut him off.
"Please, let me finish. When you told me that you want to be straight, you ripped my heart out. I know you didn't mean to, but you did.
"I've been crying everyday for the past two weeks, Riley...waiting for you to call..."
The speed of his response shocked me.
"But you told me you needed space." His voice was almost demanding.
"Yeah, I did. You also told me that you need to be straight. Obviously things change, Riley..."
I knew what I had just said maybe construed as being cruel, but truly, I could have cared less.
"So what're you sayin'?"
"I'm saying I can't be with you."
"Because you're not ready for a relationship... at least not the kind I want."
"Yeah, I am, Chase. Just give me a chance...please?"
To hear the whine in his voice tugged at my heart in ways I didn't know possible, but I was resolved to end it. I needed to make a clean break.
I took a moment to think. Did me not wanting to be with Riley have anything to do with Mike?
Of course it did, but very little.
Was I saying no to Riley so that I could be with Mike?
I didn't think so. I mean...even if I wanted to be with him, I couldn't. Mike has a girlfriend.
I'll admit that when I thought of Mike something in me stirred, but what I felt had little to do with my decision to not be with Riley. Besides, I reminded myself, in this situation Riley had the advantage- he had my love, and I recognized that Mike was just an infatuation.
Had Riley sent me that letter just a day sooner, I honestly can't say if I'd be telling him "No"; but he didn't. I had made what I saw to be a smart decision, taking the time to rationally weigh all my options, so now to hell with my heart! I was going to stand my ground. I had spent two weeks dealing with my heart, and every time it dictated my emotions I crumbled. Now it was time to follow my head.
At least my head wouldn't allow me to get hurt again.
I took a deep breath.
"Riley, are you gay?"
I decided to wait him out. I wanted to give him the opportunity to make up his own mind. We both knew that whatever answer he gave me now, I would hold him to it.
"I don' know." His voice was almost inaudible.
That's it? What the hell kind of answer was that!?! He was playing it safe. He couldn't think me that stupid to not have seen through that.
I wasn't prepared to let him off the hook; no, not this time.
"You don't know?"
The question was heavily laced with sarcasm and I couldn't control the huff that escaped with it.
Again, it was so inaudible I was straining to hear him.
"I DON'T KNOW, ALRIGHT!"
I rose from the bed, crooked the phone between my left shoulder and my head, and walked over to window. I took a moment to calm myself. Riley's answer had infuriated and for a moment I considered hanging up the phone. I couldn't.
I needed to get through this conversation. I needed a resolution.
I was determined to maintain a calm façade.
"So where does that leave me?"
He was silent for a moment too long, and I guessed that he was considering how to answer the question. Then softly, he asked "What do you mean?"
I was getting frustrated. I'm sure he knew exactly what I meant, but he seemed to be deliberately evading my questions. If there was anything I was certain of, it was the fact that Riley was a very smart young man and very perceptive. I couldn't help but think that he was trying to play me; trying to manipulate my emotions in a way that benefited him.
I closed my eyes, trying desperately to bring everything to a point of focus. I refused to lose my patience and become all emotions at this point. I was determined to keep a level head and discuss this civilly.
"What about next month?"
"Are you going to know for sure next month?"
"Why? What difference does it make when I know? I know I wanna be witchu now."
Ok, that was a fair enough answer, but he still avoided the question. The one thing that would break us.
"But what about next month, Riley? Will you still want to be with me, then?"
"Yeah, of course I will."
"You realize that that makes you to some extent gay, right? When we were together, it was you and me; no one else. Two men; together."
Even as I said this, I knew I was pushing him, but I felt it was needed. I understood that sexuality was a very complex issue for us, but my heart was too important to me now to just let Riley off the hook and take him back.
"No, it doesn't."
"No, it doesn't... look..."
He was the one getting frustrated now, and his frustration was telling me more than I'm sure he wanted me to know. He wasn't ready for a real relationship with me. I had a feeling him coming back had little to do with me at all. He just wanted to stop his own pain, and being with me would probably do just that. Don't get me wrong, I'd never doubted that he'd developed intense feelings for me, and now I was almost certain that in his own way, he probably did love me. Obviously not enough to commit to me the ways I needed him a relationship.
I resigned myself to showing him the simplicity of my point. "Riley...look." I sighed. "I'm a guy and you're a guy. What would you call two guys who want to be together?"
I heard him mumble something that distinctly sounded like `what the fuck!' but I couldn't be too sure. When he did respond, his voice was very calm and controlled.
"Why you gettin' all philosophical on me? You trying to tell me somethin'?"
I sighed again. I seemed to be doing that a lot during this conversation.
"Just answer my question, please?" I was almost resigned to the fact that I wasn't going to get any straight answers from him.
" I'd call them two guys who wanna be wit' each other." He said in a tone that made it seem like it should be obvious.
My frustration grew. I annoyed to no end to realize that I wasn't getting anywhere with him. I resigned myself to accept that, but I was determined to get my point across.
"Look, Riley, I can't be with you. Not right now."
"Because I don't think you know what you want."
Again, he mumbled something under his breath. This time, it was a clear and distinct `fuck!'. I decided to ignore it.
"I want you, playa." I could hear the earnestness in his voice.
His confusion was evident.
Again with the games, I thought...
"Why do you want to be with me?"
I knew the question seemed ridiculous, but I figured that by him answering it he would be able to sort through some of his thoughts and tell me plainly what he wanted.
"What kinda question is that?" The pause seemed too long, but then came the answer I wanted to hear. Although indirect, it was at least a partial admission of what I wanted him to see. "I want you because I love you."
"I love you too, Riley, ... but ...no."
"I'm not going to be with you."
"Because..." I thought about how to phrase what I really wanted to say. I figured the direct approach was best. "If I were to be with you again, I'd only get hurt."
"Chase, I'm not gonna hurt you...I promise."
I shook my head even though he couldn't see it. "Don't make promises you can't keep, Riley."
"I know I could keep this one."
"And I know you can't."
"Look dawg. I'm not gonna argue with you over something as simple as a promise. I want you, and you're mine!."
"No, I'm not." I deadpanned.
I tried my best to keep my voice level and at the same time strong. I needed him to understand that I was serious.
"Why you actin' like this, Chase?"
"Look, Riley, I have to go ok? I'm sorry."
Riley's voice softened. I could almost see the bravado as it left him. Knowing him as I knew him, I could see his body deflate.
"Please, Chase. Just give me a chance. I promise, I aint ga hurtchu this time."
"I'm sorry. I'm going to go now, Ok?"
"Take care of yourself. I love you."
I started to hang up but heard a soft and distinct, "No, you don't." I almost responded; but, no. The talking was done. His confusion was for him to sort out on his own.
To me, he was just buying time; hoping to change my mind, but it wasn't going to happen. For once, my head dictated to my heart.
We were done.
I toed off my shoes, and gently rested myself back on the bed. I felt my eyes welling up and the tears spilling over. I couldn't help myself.
We were done.
I heard a sob in the room and was about to open my eyes and look around, but then I remembered that I was home alone.
We were done?
I couldn't believe that I had said `no'. For two weeks, I cried myself to sleep every night, hoping and praying that he would come back to me. Now that he'd finally changed his mind... I had said "No".
It was just simply over.
I couldn't believe it. I got up and shut the blinds. It was going on six o'clock and the sun was setting, placing my window right in its path. I craved the solidarity and peace darkness affords. Even with the blinds closed, it still wasn't dark enough, but for now it would do.
I got up and walked over to the stereo and queued the Evolution CD. As the calming sounds of "Never" reverberated throughout my room I went back to my bed, not even caring about the uniform.
Never let a broken heart
Take your chance for love away
Never let it make you fall apart.
Never ever let the pain
Take your need for love away...
As I walked the hallway towards my locker the next morning, I was deep in thought. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular, but I choose not to focus on the ruckus going on around me.
My thoughts were everywhere, briefly perusing each topic my subconscious told me I needed to consider.
I pushed it all out of my head.
Turning towards my locker, I saw Rick leaning against it; poised and collected. Well put together as always! He looked serious.
I figured that I'd get this out of the way as quickly as possible. I was almost certain that he'd already heard from Riley.
His eyes were particularly intense this morning. It was almost as if he were trying to read me, and I guess he was.
I was shocked at this question. I don't know why, but a very big part of me expected that he'd take Riley's side. He just seemed so excited when he gave me Riley's letter I assumed he was rooting for us to get back together.
I couldn't help but sigh. I really wasn't sure how to answer that question.
"I guess I am...but I've definitely had better days... How `bout you?"
"I'm better than you are."
He moved out of the way allowing me access to my locker. I spun the combination and dumped the books I didn't need. Through all of this, Rick was uncharacteristically quiet. Come to think of it, he was also unusually serious.
I stopped and looked back at him.
"What's going on?....You alright?"
I guess I surprised him with that question. His eyes narrowed and he tilted the top of his head left.
"Yeah...I'm good...why you ask?"
"I don't know. You just seem uncharacteristically quiet...I guess you heard?"
"Yeah, I did..."
He left his sentence in the air, but I could tell that there was more he wanted to say. I wondered if he was censoring himself on my account.
"Say it." I pushed.
"Speak your mind."
"Ok. Can I ask you something?"
"You know you can ask me anything, Rick."
"OK. Why'd you say no to Riley?"
I had finished putting my books away and closed the locker trying to buy a few precious moments. Rick stared me down expectantly. I started to walk forward and he quickly fell into step beside me. I took a moment to think about what he was asking me and how I wanted to answer him.
I hadn't spent enough time thinking about this last night. I didn't want to deal with it then, and I wasn't so sure I wanted to deal with it now; but I knew I had to.
Rick asked me another question while I was thinking about the first.
"Where we heading?"
"To the caf."
He looked a bit puzzled. It was unusual for me not to have breakfast at home, so he knew I wasn't going there to eat.
I answered him with one word.
Rick stopped walking. Two steps ahead of him, I also stopped and turned around. I didn't say anything.
"Is that why you told Riley no?"
"Is what why?"
"Chase, don't play games with me."
Again, I couldn't help but notice how serious Rick was being, and in a way it angered me. I felt that he had finally declared himself a Riley supporter.
"I'm not playing games."
It came out much colder than I would have liked.
"Ok... Is Mike the reason you're not getting back together with Riley?"
He said Mike's name with particular emphasis that I couldn't help but associate with contempt.
I turned around and started walking again; all the while bobbing through groups of students either walking towards lockers or congregating in circles chatting amongst themselves. For the first time I began to consider the fact that we were having the conversation we were having when anyone could have heard what we were discussing.
Interestingly enough, I didn't care. Let them hear me. It was my life, and I'd suffer the consequences, whatever they were.
I didn't care about popularity. I didn't care about any of them, besides Rick, and he already knew me and accepted me for who and what I am.
He cut me off before I could respond.
"Look Chase, I'm not judging you. It was your decision to make. I just wanna know...Did Mike have anything to do with your decision?"
I turned my head and looked at him. Again, I wasn't sure how to answer his question. I decided for the truth.
"Yes and no. `Yes' because he helped me realize that there were other people out there I could be with, or fall for, and `no' because well...let's just say I'm not getting my hopes up about him."
Again his question caught me off guard. That seemed to be happening often this morning.
"Yeah, I'm sure."
"So why are we going to the caf?"
I was relieved. I hoped that it would be the end of discussing Riley; at least for this morning. I knew it would come up again, but I wasn't prepared to spend any more time on it.
I still needed to get my thoughts in order. I still needed to figure out exactly why I had declined Riley's offer for whatever it was he was offering; especially after waiting so long and praying that he'd take me back. On the surface, the answers were obvious. I knew that I could never settle for his terms and be truly happy; but, I was sure this all went much deeper than that.
For a year I'd never had a complaint about my relationship with Riley; I was content with his selfishness and the apparent one-sidedness of it all; so why now?
What if he had offered a full fledged relationship? Would I have still said no?
That was my problem, I think I would have. The true question, though, was would I have said no to Riley had he asked me before I met Mike?
Was I allowing my infatuation with Mike to get the best of me?
"I told Mike yesterday that we'd hang out with him, his girlfriend and some of their friends."
"Yes... we." I stated, placing the same inflection on the "we" as he had.
We entered the cafeteria. I stopped at the main doors, Rick beside me. I looked around and quickly spotted the smaller gathering in a corner to the left of the room under a large picture window. We walked over.
I stopped a few feet away from the table, almost too nervous to intrude. Rick just stood besides me, letting me know that it was my show.
Mike was seated beside a stunningly attractive blond. Her skin was milky in complexion and spotless. Her eyes, from where I stood looked a deep shade of blue and her lips dark pink and pouted.
She was very slim, to the point that I could easily see her collar bone. The very long neck only accentuated her model like features. She was a very attractive sight to behold; the baby blue blouse beautifully highlighting her already striking eyes. She was very attractive.
Mike was sitting at her right, his arm loosely draped over her chair. His slouched posture spoke of comfort as he smiled with a natural ease that told me tons about this group. They chatted among each other in pairs, occasionally switching conversations with practiced ease. It was evident that they were all friends; comfortable around each other with no need for pretentions. I wasn't sure I wanted to intrude.
Mike looked up from his conversation with the girl. His eyes locked onto mine, and again I had the sensation that I was falling.
He smiled, his teeth perfectly straight and a nice shade of off white. For a moment I forgot about everyone else there but him. He didn't say anything for a few seconds, but movement to his left drew me back to reality. The girl was looking at me; puzzled, her head slightly tilted and her eyes narrowed.
Mike's voice held so much enthusiasm and life; it was very difficult for me not to smile. Rick still stood to my right, silent. I looked at him. He didn't look at me, but was surveying the group in front of him.
Rick was also a people watcher, or more specifically, a boy watcher. When ever he was around a crowd of guys, he never said much. Instead, he would quietly observe each one, noting mannerisms, and voice inflections; studying laughs and quietly calculating the possibility of who might be gay. I gathered that this time was no different.
He took his arm from around the girl and I noticed a very quick and subtle frown quickly cross her face. He stood up and began making his way towards where Rick and I were standing. The others in the group stopped talking and looked to see where he was going.
He walked up to me putting his right hand around my shoulder, making me shiver from his touch alone.
"Let me introduce you to everyone...This beautiful lady there is my girlfriend, Melissa. To her...left is it...god, I'm bad at left and right..."
He gave a cute little chuckle that helped even more in relaxing me.
"...is Justin. The ogre sitting next to him is Matt, and the genius next to him is John and that's his twin Nick" pointing to each in turn.
"Everyone, this is Chase and..."
He looked at Rick, a light blush beginning to color his face. I was so caught up in looking at him that I didn't realize he was waiting on me to introduce Rick. Thankfully, Rick was paying attention.
"Rick." He subtly tilted his chin upwards and gave a slight smile. "Sup guys."
Mike started ushering me towards the table, Rick following a step behind. My eyes locked with Melissa's and I noticed an almost unnoticeable smirk.
"Isn't that the guy from yesterday?"
Mike nodded his head, "Yup, this is him."
I was confused. The guy from yesterday? Melissa noticed my confusion.
"You were sitting over there crying." She pointed to the table that I was sitting at yesterday when I read Riley's letter. I realized that everyone at the table was still quiet.
Mike indicated that I should sit in the chair next to his. There was another empty chair beside it, leading me to suspect that he was expecting us.
"Oh. Ok." So eloquent.
Everyone was looking at me, as if expecting me to answer. I began to get nervous. I really didn't do well in new social settings. Thankfully, Rick came to my rescue.
"Are you sure? This here dude doesn't cry. Him? Nahhhhh." His voice was light and very comical; shaking his head as he elongated the last word.
Melissa was about to say something else, but Rick was quick to cut her off.
"What grade are you in, Melissa?"
She looked almost shocked, but that look quickly passed.
I listened as Rick began to work his charm. After a about a minute, he and Melissa were talking as if they were old friends. Everyone else at the table also went back to their conversations.
Mike and Rick changed positions, putting Rick closer to Melissa. This suited me just fine.
Mike and I had yet to say anything. Mike was more focused on what Melissa and Rick were talking about, something about their teacher and English assignments. From what they were saying I gathered that they shared the same tutor.
Mike turned to me... "He's not going to steal my girl, is he?"
He chuckled softly, but I could still sense a certain level of discomfort in his tone. Did Mike feel threatened by Rick?
I smiled, more to myself than to Mike. If only he knew that Matt, Justin, John, and Nick had more to worry about. Rick was their worry.
"Nah. Your girl's safe...I promise!"
He relaxed notably. From there our conversation began to flow with ease. Perusing more topics in that half hour time span than I even thought possible. When the bell rang, I was almost sad to leave. A collective groan sounded, and noticing that everyone's reaction was identical, we all began to laugh at exactly the same time.
We began our goodbyes, Mike and I opting for the popular "slap-and-slide, finger- grip" handshake. I watched amazed as Rick hugged Melissa.
Mike seemed amused. He looked at me.
"You sure?" His right eyebrow slightly cocked.
So that's the end of Chapter 5. I hope you enjoy what I'm writing. If you do, hit me up and let me know. I would love to hear from you, and any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to take this moment and thank Stuart for going over this chapter for me. Because of his work, I think it reads better. Also, you probably would have noticed that I don't really end with cliff hangers. Well, I'm trying to write this story as if it were a novel and not an online posting. I hope you can come to appreciate that. Also, I know that this story is starting off kind of slow, but things are about to pick up. This really isn't a jerk off piece. Like everyone else, I can appreciate sex, but life really isn't that way. Not everyone has the opportunity to have great, raunchy sex as frequently as in some stories that I've read. I'm not going to make apologies for the lack of sex. Like I said before, this is about a story – a story that will lead to love. There will be sex (two chapters away), but the sex will be integral to the story. I hope you can come to appreciate that. Let me know your thoughts, and join my yahoo group also. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/haven00/