The following is a work of fiction. Any similarities are entirely fortuitous. The story may contain profanity and references to gay sex. If such content offends you please leave now. The author retains all rights to the story. Do not copy or use without written authority from the author. Write Bobby at this address with your comments.

A Promise Well Kept 16

Jared:

Tyler was leaning over the island with a rag in one hand and a bottle of cleaner in the other. His head was laid flat on the counter and a soft snoring could be heard from his nose.

"What's going on?" Travers asked.

"He fell asleep," I shrugged.

"Um, why has he been so tired lately?"

I sighed. "He had the dream Sunday night."

"Dream? What dream?" Travers inquired.

"Tyler will have to answer that one."

"Well, aren't you worried about him? I mean, my dreams don't affect me for two days."

"This was no ordinary dream," I stated. "This was a nightmare."

* * * *

Tyler:

I scrubbed and scrubbed with all my might, but the damn stain just would not budge from the fabric. I've tried a countless number of chemicals and solvents, but still the stain remains elusive.

"Damn it," I mumbled.

For the past hour, I have tried my damndest to get the stain out. I threw the shirt at the door then walked into the kitchen. The clock on the window sill above the sink showed 3:24 in the morning. A giant sigh escaped from my lips. Just then, Travers's bedroom door slowly opened and out walked my half-naked son.

"Tyler, what are you doing up?" Travers asked, rubbing sleep out of his eyes.

"I'm just cleaning," I replied.

"Can I ask you a question?" he asked as he opened the refrigerator and retrieved a juice box.

"Ask away," I said, continuing my previous work on the floor. The shine just wasn't bright enough to be clean.

"Jared said that you had a nightmare Sunday night."

"Yeah, so?"

"So, it's Wednesday morning. My nightmares usually keep me guessing the same morning I have them, not three days after."

I stopped scrubbing and looked up at him. "This nightmare was one that I have been having since I was fourteen." Travers sat next to me. He crossed his legs and stared intently at me. "My parents died when I was twelve."

"But I thought Lynette and Mike were your parents." Travers confusedly said.

"They are," I sadly said. "My adoptive parents."

"Oh, Tyler, I'm so sorry." Travers said softly.

"It was Christmas Eve and my mom was driving us home after a family party. I told her that I needed toothpaste. She said she needed some things for dinner the next night anyways so she pulled into the store. Mom and dad went in followed by a man dressed in all black and wielding a gun. I heard several shots fired then the gunman ran out of the store. The cops said..." My crying took over my words. Travers threw an arm over my shoulders and pulled me in close.

"I'm really sorry, Tyler. So that was the nightmare you had?" Travers said warmly. Even though it was my son, I needed someone at that moment. I locked my arms around him and sobbed violently.

"Y-yes," I cried. "B-b-but the nightmare w-was different. Before they got shot, I got out of the car and tried to save them, but by the time I was at the door the gunman was running out. I kept walking forward until I saw pools of blood covering the tile floor. That's when I woke up screaming." I sobbed even harder after relaying the memory to Travers. My son never faltered though. He kept his arms around me as I continued to cry my cuts out. It wasn't until four that I realized Travers should be asleep in bed. "Travers, you should be in bed. I'm sorry for waking you up."

"I don't want to leave you." He stood up, though, and went into the laundry room. He emerged a few seconds later with a second scrub brush. "I'll help you clean. I'm not tired anyways." And so he did. For the next three hours, the two of us talked about what's been going on in our lives. I learned that him and Trevor were getting a little bit more serious since their date last Friday, but still aren't official. He plans on trying out for the swim team come February.

"What are you two doing?" Jared asked us.

Travers and I looked at each other then busted up laughing. "Nothing," I said.

"Okay," Jared said sarcastically. "Well, I don't have work until Monday so I'll be home doing 'nothing' as well." He poured himself some orange juice then just rolled his eyes at us.

"We should go get in the shower. School starts in roughly an hour." I thought, but managed to say aloud.

"Yeah," Travers said plainly. "I really enjoyed cleaning with you, Tyler. I never thought it could be so much fun." He then walked into his room and gently closed his door.

I went upstairs to mine and Jared's bathroom. When I looked in the mirror, I only saw one thing: uselessness. The dark circles around my eyes only seemed to have gotten darker since Sunday night. Sleep would make them disappear, but to be honest I haven't gotten more than a combined total of an hour of sleep since Sunday.

* * * *

Travers:

"Trevor, I need to tell you something." I softly spoke.

"Okay, what's up?" he happily said.

"I want to talk to you about our, um, relationship." I weakly got out. "Trevor, I have really strong feelings for you."

"You do?" Trevor asked, surprised.

"Of course I do," I giggled. "Did you think the past few days have just been an act?"

"Honestly," Trevor started, "I didn't know what to think. I mean, I could tell you liked me, but before we first broke up I thought you liked me, turned out I was wrong. I'm sort of keeping my heart locked up until I know for sure I can trust you." His words stung me like a thousand bees. Even though he was right, it still hurt to hear what a bastard I was before. "You know what, I'm sorry. That was rude of me."

"No, you're right," I sighed. "I just wish I knew how to earn your trust back."

"Well, you're doing a great job of it so far." Trevor grinned. He leaned in for a kiss, but I back away.

"Hey, I'm not ready to be out at school, Trev."

He gave me a weird look. "Um, okay,"

"It has nothing to do with you, but I just don't want to have to go through the trouble of being out in high school."

"Like me?"

"Yeah," I said before I had a chance to think about it. "No, I mean, no."

"You know what? I had a feeling this was all too good to be true. You will never be able to make a commitment to me because you are afraid." he heatedly said. "Later, Travers."

"Trevor, come on. Trevor!" I said, but he ignored me and kept walking.

* * * *

Jared:

"Baby, the body shop called and said that your Murano will be done on Friday." I said.

"Really? So soon?" Tyler asked.

"Well, the guy said he hasn't been busy lately so he's had a lot of extra spare time to work on your car."

"Sweet!" Tyler exclaimed.

"Excited are we?" I laughed.

"Oh, God, yes! I am so sick of driving that damn beat up Corolla."

"So, can we talk?"

"Sure,"

"I talked to your mom about the nightmare. She told me that you haven't visited your parent's gravesite since you were fourteen. Why?" I inquired him.

Tyler groaned then turned away from me. "I'm scared to go up there."

"Why?"

"Because I don't want to freak out when I see the tombstones. I know as soon as I even glance at them I'll start bawling my eyes out!" Tyler emotionally said.

I placed a hand on his shoulder. "Tyler, what makes you think that would be a bad thing? I'd cry my eyes out if my parents died. There's nothing to be ashamed of."

He sobbed. "But I don't want you to see me like that. Look at you; you're always so strong and manly. Me? I'm the woman who cleans the house and cooks and cries a lot. How do you think it makes me feel to see you be masculine while I'm stuck as prissy fem jackass?!"

"Tyler..."

"Don't 'Tyler' me," Tyler shouted. "You know damn well I'm right!" He ripped himself away from me then stormed into the garage. I heard the garage door open and then his car speed out.

I went out back for some peace and quiet to think about some things, but Travers was outside lying on the grass staring up at the sky.

"What're you doing?" I asked him.

"Thinking," he said blandly.

"Mind if I think with you?"

He scooted over a little bit. "Sure,"

"Thanks," I laid my body next to his and stared up into the sky. "So, what're you thinking about?"

"Trevor," he sighed.

"What's up?"

"He misinterpreted something I said and now he's mad at me."

"Well, just explain to him what you really meant. You guys have been doing so good."

"What about you?"

"Tyler and I got in a fight. He doesn't want to visit his parent's gravesite even though I want him to." I let out my own sigh.

"Oh,"

"Yeah,"

After a while of just lying there, the two of us went inside for some water. Keegan came down and got a drink before running back up the stairs. Travers and I looked at each other and shrugged. Both the boys have been acting kind of weird lately.

Seeing as how Tyler was still out of the house, I decided to make dinner. Frozen foods are literally a gift from the Gods. I cooked us up some delicious chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Keegan was excited that we got to eat a little more laid back than usual. Tyler always cooks excellent and healthier types of dinners. I on the other hand just like to pop things in the over and be done with it.

Hours passed by before Tyler was back at the house. He didn't say a word to anyone when he passed through the kitchen and up the stairs. I followed him up there, but was surprised when our bedroom door was locked. The couch isn't all that uncomfortable you know?

* * * *

Travers:

I saw Trevor at lunch, but he was avoiding me completely. He kept hiding behind his friends so that I wouldn't go up to him-he knows that there is a hate/hate relationship between his friends and me. The end of the day finally came. I rushed out of my sixth period to try and find Trevor. I figured he'd be at the same curb he's always at after school. Sure enough he was sitting by himself waiting for his dad to pick him up. His dad came speeding up then came to a fast stop. He got out of the car and immediately got in Trevor's face. The man was yelling at him and from what I could tell it was for no reason. Just when I thought Trevor couldn't take anymore, his dad slapped him right across the face. I couldn't believe he just did that in broad daylight. I was stunned. Trevor solemnly got into the car and gently closed the door.

Jared said we'd all go out to dinner tomorrow night after Tyler got his Murano back. I was anxious to see Trevor tomorrow so I could talk to him about what I saw. And talk to him about his misinterpretation. Sure, I could've called him, but I think my words need to be spoken in-person rather than through a phone.

The next day went by quickly. Another week of school has come and gone and there are several more to go. I rushed out of my sixth period to the curb were Trevor meets his dad. He was already sitting when I walked up.

"Hi, Trevor," I happily said. He just gave me a cold look. "I want to explain what happened a couple days ago. I didn't mean to offend you. All I meant was that I don't want to be harassed. I don't want to be hurt. It's selfish of me, I know, but I can't help it. Abuse is something I'm not good with." Trevor grimaced when I said abuse.

"I know," he said. "I'm sorry I overreacted. I guess I just wasn't really thinking."

I placed an arm over his shoulders and gave him a squeeze. "There is something more important I want to talk to you about. I saw what happened after school yesterday." Trevor seemed afraid all of a sudden. His eyes glazed over and I could tell tears were soon to follow. I scooted closer to him so that our bodies were practically conjoined.

"H-he doesn't do it often," he sadly said.

"Are you sure? Because I remember the first time we went out, Trevor. I would caress your back and then you would flinch away. You never flinched away from me except when I would do that. I think he does do it often. Am I right?"

Trevor nodded slowly. "Yeah,"

"Oh, baby," I cooed. I wrapped my other arm around him to form a big hug. He started to cry quietly. My moment was now. I could prove to him I wanted a commitment to him. This could damage me forever, but I don't care. I love him. I turned his head so he'd look at me. Ever so slowly, I leaned in and placed my lips atop his. We shared an incredibly soft kiss right there out in the open.

"What a-are you doing?" he whispered.

"I'm supporting my man," I grinned broadly.

"Does this m-mean you're gonna be out at school?"

"No," I sternly said. His entire demeanor suddenly changed. "But if someone asks then I will tell. So let's give them something to ask about." I pulled him back into me, kissing him with a wild passion. His tongue was moving in and out of my mouth. I was having feelings that I've never felt before. Even with all the guys that I've been with none of them could make me feel the way I was feeling at that moment.

"I love you, Travers." he cried out.

"I love you too, Trevor." I said. A warm sensation coursed throughout my body, spending extra time at my heart.

* * * *

Jared:

"You know, you could've been a little nicer to the kids last night. They were only trying to cheer you up." I said to Tyler.

"Well, maybe I don't want to be cheered up." Tyler shot back.

"What the hell is wrong with you? I really hope that after we're done at the cemetery you pull your act together. You know you made Keegan cry last night?" I loudly said.

Tyler paused, seeming shocked at what I said. "I did?"

"Yes, you did. He slept with Travers because he didn't want to make you angrier than you already were."

"Damn it," he grumbled to himself.

He fell silent the rest of the trip with the exception of telling me how to get to the cemetery. It's supposedly only an hour out of town, but it felt like four personally. Maybe it was just because of the horrible silence.

The cemetery was really nice. That's probably the wrong word to describe a place of the departed, but I'm not gonna lie. The grass is green and the flowers bright with color. The only odd thing was the trees. They were sort of dying.

Tyler pointed out two large tombstones; his parents'. We got out and walked up to them. Tyler fell on his knees and gently touched his mother's stone then his father's stone. I could hear him quietly sniffle so I sat down next to him and rubbed his back.

"You know, I don't mind when you cry, Tyler. In fact, I kind of like it when you do. It gives me a chance to help you and comfort you. I enjoy the closeness the tears bring us. So don't you ever assume yourself less of a man if you cry. Your sons don't think of you any less if you do either. You are a great husband and father."

"Thank you," he cried. "I'm sorry."

"Shh, it's okay. We're up here for you so I'll be in the car whenever you're ready." I stood up to leave, but Tyler tugged on my shorts before I had a chance to walk away.

"Wait, I want you here." he stated.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Absolutely,"

The world is filled with good fathers. How do we recognize them? They're the ones who are missed so terribly that everything falls apart in their absence. They're the ones who love us long before we've even arrived. They're the ones who come looking for us when we can't find our way home. Yes, the world is filled with good fathers. And the best are the ones who make the women in their lives feel like good mothers.*

* * * * * * * * * * * *

* by Marc Cherry, 2005

I hope you enjoyed chapter sixteen. As always feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions. Also feel free to join my group at this address. Thanks!

And don't forget to purchase A Life So Changed. You may purchase it here: Bobby's Storefront. If you liked the story online, wait until you see it in print! It would mean the world to me if you bought a copy! Thanks again!