Disclaimer: This story is purely a product of my imagination; in other words, fiction. It may not be reproduced in any form or be posted in any site without the writer's permission. This story might contain stuffs that are adult in nature and illegal to some of you. If this offends you, please discontinue reading.

Fixing a Broken Heart 4
© 2007 by Rad Steven

It hurt. A lot. It hurt to know how much pain I put my best friend through, the only boy I loved. I had become selfish, maybe even obsessive. I had forgotten about him and focused only on what I want. I didn't care what he wanted as long as I was happy. But right now, I was far from being happy. Looking at him... looking in his eyes, I knew I was the cause of his misery. I realized I didn't love him as much as I thought I did because I loved myself too much. It felt... shameful.

My eyes fell to the floor. They stung with unshed tears which fell when I started sobbing. At that moment, I realized there was only one way to love the only boy I have loved in my whole life. And that is to let him go... to give him away. I slid down the floor in misery, crying. How am I supposed to do that? How do I let him go? I felt so torn, so... distraught. I have lived my life wanting to gain his love for me and now I find out I loved myself more, and the only way I can prove my love for him was to let him go. I didn't want to.

But I had to.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and noticed that the light had been turned on and they shone bright behind Arvin's head. Tear-streaked, his face still showed concern. Let go...Why is it so damn hard? "Are you alright?" he asked.

"I don't hate you," I pleaded. He had to believe me. I only loved him. There was nothing that he could do to make me hate him. All I wanted was to have him. But to love him means to give him away. Why did it have to be so difficult? I couldn't even describe the anguish I am going through right now. It's too much... too painful... too unbearable. "It's just too much for me... I mean... do you really love Max?" I asked vaguely, but I couldn't help the desperation that crept in my voice. He doesn't know I'm gay. He doesn't know I'm asking because I want to be sure that I... that I don't have any chance with him anymore.

"Zack, let's talk on the bed." He helped me stand up and I followed him to his bed. We sat side by side. There was this air of confusion in the room. I'm sure neither of us knew what to do right now. We knew each other like the palms of our hands but right now, we were more like strangers. I hate this feeling so much. Why did we have to be awkward to one another? "What's that?" he asked, pointing at my hand. I looked down and realized I have forgotten all about the graham cake.

I handed it to him and said looking down at my lap, "I came here to apologize for the way I acted, and as your dad calls it, it's bribery. Grahams. You like it as much as I do."

"Thanks... does this mean we're... alright? I mean..." He sighed and looked helplessly at me. I was as helpless as he was at the moment. I didn't know what to do and what to say. There was this slow burning of agony going on inside me. Looking at him, the realization of having to let him go is killing me. But for our own goods, I should.

Something dawned on me. It was a memory, and I unintentionally spoke it outloud. "Love isn't love until you give it away."

"What?" Arvin asked, confused.

"Remember that Michael W. Smith cassette tape I found?" He nodded. "I listened to it. That was one of the songs there." This is it. I have to tell him now or I wouldn't ever be able to. "I love you, man," I said with all emotion that my heart could come up with, but it sounded so sad in my ears... so apologetic and desperate.

Over time, I had conjured up scenarios in my mind of Arvin's reactions if ever I come out to him. I've always thought that he would either love me back or hate me, then think of a dozen ways he would express either emotions. I guess one thing I've never thought of was him thinking of it as something between us as best friends. He threw his arms around me and hugged me like he hadn't seen me in years. "I love you too, Zack."

"You don't get it, Arvin," I said wistfully under my breath. I would have left things at that. I would have let myself to be under the illusion of having a chance to be with Arvin someday. But love isn't love until you give it away. I got to give it away... even if it is more than any pain I could ever stand. I would heal one day. I would be stronger one day. "Do you know why I ran off?" I said into his ear.

We were still hugging each other. I have always dreamed of spending my life in this... place, this heaven, this... dream. That's what it is now—a dream, a dream that I'll be saying goodbye to now. When Arvin broke the hug, I knew it was going to be the last. It wasn't the last hug that we would be sharing, but it was the last hug with any fantasy of him being my lover that I would get from him. I wipe a lone tear from my face and looked into Arvin's eyes. "Do you know why I ran off?" I repeated.

"You hated the fact that I'm gay. After all those sleepovers that we had, I know you were probably disgusted of me," he muttered bitterly, then added looking back at me with a smile, "But everything's alright now, isn't it?"

He doesn't get it. "No. Nothing's alright!" I sobbed. Tears began pouring down my face again. It felt so hard to do this. I'm not even breaking up with him. I'm only trying to admit my love to him, and the only way to prove so is to let him go. But somehow, it felt like... a sudden death. It was like having to grow up with a person your whole life, and then one day somebody tells you he's gone. Everything stops, and the only way you could deal with it is to break down. There was this part of me that was suddenly ripped from me. I didn't even have time to gradually accept that I have to part with it. It just... left.

"What do you mean?" he asked, his face showing bewilderment and concern.

What do I mean? I tried to say something. I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out. My brain was in such an overload that I couldn't make up something. What do I mean? I know what I mean. I love him. Looking at his face, there was only one thing to do that I could think of to make him understand. I grabbed his face, cupping it in my hands, and planted my lips on his.

His lips were so soft, so warm, so... heavenly. I wanted to stay that way forever. There was this massive wave of electricity that I felt traveled from his lips to mine and to the rest of my body and I felt myself shudder from the feelings it gave me. My heart was fluttering and going wild in my chest. I was... on a high, and I was soaring. I licked his lips and tasted his sweet flavor. It drove me even wilder. God, this is heaven! I just wanted to slurp him up, then and there. My senses were so filled of him that it was driving me crazy. It was like I was going to explode with ecstasy.

But remember what they say when you're at the top? Nowhere to go but down. Just when I have reached the pinnacle of all my fantasies, I realized something. It had always been there from the moment my lips touched his, but the euphoria his lips had driven me into made me ignore it. And now it was like the glaring sun in the afternoon. It broke my heart, but I understand. I am well contented with what I was able to get... even though he wasn't kissing back.

"Do you understand what I mean now?" I asked Arvin, smiling sadly at him.

"I'm sorry, Zack. I love you... a lot, but not that way." He chuckled, "I used to be so frustrated of you, you know. Nothing I did seemed to... appease you. You didn't want Max around, but what can I do? He's my boyfriend. That was why we decided to come out to you. I thought you would understand, but you looked so mad, and you ran away. I thought you hated me that day. But now I understand."

"I didn't want to cry in front of you... that was why I ran away." I wanted to say more. I wanted to tell him how much it hurt me in a confiding way more than a guilt laying kind of way, but I didn't want him to take it wrong or feel bad about it. I guess it's just going to be one of the things that I would be keeping from my best friend. "Arvin... how long have you and Max been together?"

"Um... a week before his birthday."

I did my math. Max's birthday was two months ago so... "Wow, man! That's... that's like two months ago. I'm hurt, Vin! You kept something like that from me," I said, punching him playfully on the chest. My arms fell to my sides and I chuckled sadly. "Who am I kidding? Of course, it really hurts. But you know, I don't want you to feel bad about it. I know how you are. I want you to be happy, Arvin. I love you. That's why I'm giving you away. That song, damn. Love isn't love until you give it away." I couldn't hold myself back anymore. I just started crying again. I felt Arvin's arms around me and I just bawled on his chest while he rubbed my back. I just wanted to love him, but why did it have to be this way? Why do I have to give him away? I clung to my best friend like a lifeline and let my heart out.

After what seemed like a really long time, I finally stopped crying. I was just this panting creature clinging to Arvin. I felt spent. His arms were still around me and I just wanted to stay that way. God knows what I would give to be this way forever. "I'm sorry, Arvin." I looked up at him and saw that he had been crying too. "We're a mess," I said looking at his wet tee shirt. "I feel so much better now. I'm glad you're with Max—he's a great guy. I'm glad that everything's all out now. At least, I'm not hiding anything from you now and I... I love you very much. I'll be happy just to be your best friend forever."

"You know, we never had any heart to heart talk before. I think I should thank you for that," Arvin said, smiling.

"Well, duh... I talked. You listened!" And it's true. Of the two of us, I'm sometimes ashamed to admit that I am the one who talked a lot. Sometimes, anyway. We smiled at each other. We're back. Zacky Boy and Vinny Boy are back. Hey! I take that back! "Thanks for listening, Arvin. I'm just glad we didn't... you know, drift apart. I was afraid we wouldn't be able to be with each other again."

"I don't know where I read this from, Z, but it said, 'What hurts us makes us all the more stronger.' I know our friendship is stronger now more than ever... and even as individuals, we're stronger now. But I want you to know that I'm always here if you ever feel weak. I'll be your strength. And if you won't be the same to me when I'm weak, I'll gather up all my strength to kick your ass."

"You know I'm always here," I said, smiling goofily at him as he smiled back the same way. Mushy... that was how I felt. I just felt like it was getting too much. There was way too much drama for my liking. "I have to get going. You know I have to leave early for school, right?" He nodded. "I just needed to ask you about something. Kuya wants to know what happened last Friday. Is it okay if I tell him? He knows about me and he's okay with it."

"It's alright with me. I know Max would be alright with it too."

"Well, if you're sure." I stood up to leave, but then remembered something. "Jen giving you a hard time again?" Jen was his younger sister. She's a bitch in all aspects and you just can't help but get pissed at her attitude. Of course, I always tried to remain neutral out of respect for their parents, but poor Arvin has to deal with it everyday and goes off the handle a lot of times. If there were someone who could wear Arvin's patience into nothingness, it would be her.

"Yeah, sorry about that," he said, wincing. He probably remembered his reaction when I closed the door earlier to get his attention. "You know how she is."

"Well, I got to go home now." He walked me outside their gate and we hugged one last time before I turned to walk towards my house. I felt so alone right then. I knew Arvin would always be there when I need him but he wouldn't be there in the way I would need him... the way I want him. I want him to wrap his arms around me. I want him to kiss me. I want him as my boyfriend. But I also know I need to be content with his friendship right now.

I touched my lips. I don't know why but I could still feel his lips on mine—its warmth, its softness... the way it was wet and felt smooth on mine... and its sweetness. My heart felt like bursting just remembering those fragment of heavenly memories. It made my head feel like it was swimming in the air. It was the most intimate that I was able to get to be with him and I will treasure it for the rest of my life. God, I miss it already.

My parents were on the couch watching TV when I arrived. I almost forgot that I had been crying for quite a while back then, but I was reminded when they both looked at me with concern. I almost panicked not knowing what to tell them. There were a million excuses running through my mind but none of them made it to my tongue. I stood tongue-tied before my parents while those excuses ricocheted in my head. "Is everything alright, Zack?" my mom asked.

"... I'm fine... I just fixed everything okay now," I answered, sighing in relief.

"If you say so," she said reluctantly.

They turned back to the TV and I continued my way to my room, just feeling numb if anything. I wanted to just get in bed and wrap myself in a blanket and think about the ways I could get over Arvin. But I guess thinking about that would only get me to think about him which would only deepen the love I feel for him. Just how cheesy is that? Maybe I should just leave things be and let time do all the work. I'm not called happy-go-lucky for nothing anyway.

I decided to take another shower before settling for the night. The mirror greeted me on my way and I would have laughed and teased the person in there had it not been me. My nose was red and looking kind of clogged... and my eyes, they looked like they cried up a storm, being more than red and puffy. I smiled at myself despite that, stripped, and took a shower. It was refreshing and it seemed to have taken the tension in my body away.

From the moment I decided to talk to Arvin tonight, I have made up my mind that I would be sleeping with my brother tonight. He is kind of like my sanctuary. I could count on him anytime, through both good and bad. He just makes me feel secured. I just hope everything would stay the same forever.

I went inside his room and found him in front of his computer, books scattered all around him. His nose was inches from the monitor and his forehead was scrunched up like he had the biggest problem but couldn't do anything to solve it. He'd been like this for two weeks now. Occasionally, a curse followed by a name—his professors, I assumed—would come out of his mouth. I suspect he's cramming for projects since school will be over in two weeks. He's a college freshman at UP Manila, but he decided to still live with us instead of boarding somewhere since he has a car. He drops me off at school which is only a few minutes of walk from the UP campus, and we go home together.

"Don't you ever knock?"

"Why do you keep asking that question when you know the answer?"

"So... everything went well between you and Arvin?" he asked turning to look at me for the first time.

"We're ok with each other now."

"Do I have to guess what happened last Friday?"

"Tell me what you think happened," I said, sitting on his bed. I was curious about what he thought happened to make me run away. He knows Arvin was involved, and he has probably been thinking what could have made me that upset. I didn't know if he knew that Max was involved in all this, and if he had connected the way I acted around Max earlier to what had happened last Friday.

He turned his back to the computer. "When you told me you were gay, I thought at first that you and Arvin were boyfriends and that you had a fight. But I drew the conclusion when I saw the way you looked at Max earlier, and the fact that he was so scared of you." He paused dramatically before saying what he thought happened and I couldn't help but roll my eyes. My brother, always for theatrics. "Arvin was cheating on you with Max."

I laughed, falling on the bed for effect. "You are just so wrong!"

"So, what's right?"

"Well, you're close enough actually," I said, "I haven't told you anything yet for the past few days because I don't want both of them to be mad at me for outing them. But now that I've talked to them...Arvin said it's okay to tell you. Actually, he and Max are boyfriends." I told him the rest of the story without tearing up. It was quite a recount really, because thinking back, it seemed to me that I overreacted and more. But I think that under the circumstances, everything was understandable. Brian just nodded his head after I told him everything then went back to his work. "Can I sleep with you tonight?" I asked him.

"Of course."

The day had finally caught up with me. I felt like I was going to fall asleep in any second so I stripped to my underwear and slid under the blanket.

I have a lot to tell Father Jim tomorrow. I have mended my friendship with Arvin, and from the way things have gone, there's a friendship budding between Max and me. I know I have a long way to go to get over my feelings for my best friend, but it helped that everything is all out in the open now. I was able to get it out of my system, and now I'm on my way to moving on.

I dozed off watching my brother furiously hacking away on the keyboard. I dreamed of angels flying all around me. In my dream, I was lying on a cloud. One of the angels flew down and laid beside me, wrapping his wings around me like a protective cocoon that nothing could ever weather through. I snuggled closer to him sighing in contentment. I looked at his face and smiled. It was... me?!

At that exact moment, I woke up confused at my surroundings. My brother was climbing in bed yawning silently. I must have made some noise because he told me to go back to sleep. He put an arm around me, so I snuggled to his chest and fell back to sleep as soon as I closed my eyes.

Here, at last! Thanks to those who wrote me. I appreciate the comments very much. Keep sending them! I love them. Tell me what you think of this story at nevetsdar@hotmail.com

Check out my other on-going serial at Nifty, Chronicles of a Kingdom (sf-fantasy 04/17/2007), and my short story, Option To Live (no-sex 05/08/2007).