STORM FRONT
By SF Writer
Copyright 2000  Stormnation, All rights reserved.

Chapter 12 - Truths and Injustices...

* * * * * * *

Brad grabbed Josh by the collar and spat in his face, the gob of saliva hitting Josh in the eye and dribbling down his cheek. "You don’t cross me ever. You did it once and I let you off. Now you’re on your own."

"Fine."

"Do you hear that guys? Nobody talks to Josh, ever. From now on he’s a nobody."

"You’re the nobody." Dade snickered. "Stupid piece of shit."

"Ok Josh. You want to save Dade a beating do you?"

Josh nodded in response, trying to do his best to keep a proud face. Dade watched Josh inquisitively, puzzled by Josh’s sudden growth of a spine. Dade knew the eyes of everyone had drifted off him and onto Josh. He took the opportunity to take a few steps back until he felt that he was standing on Roberts’s hockey stick that he had left behind. He watched on waiting for the moment he could seize the advantage.

"You’re scared Josh. You’re weak Josh. You’re nothing Josh. Get down on your knees and beg for mercy and maybe I won’t beat you like the bitch you are."

Josh gulped, his sudden impulsive moment of standing up for himself swiftly dissipating. He knew Brad was right, Josh was scared and he felt weak. He was tempted to just get on his knees and go back to the safe comfort zone of being Brad’s fool. He tried his best to hide that he was scared from Brad, still wanting to stand up to him.

"Josh, do you want everyone in the school to know what a pansy fag you are?"

Dade’s ears perked up at Brad’s last statement. Unsure of whether Brad was just fucking with Josh or whether Josh was really gay and Brad knew about it. Dade’s interest perked even more as Josh flinched and became observantly shaky.

"Think what you like Brad. I don’t care. I don’t care what you say or do anymore. But you’re not touching Dade just to get back at Storm. Face it Brad, you’re the loser. And Storm knows it. Now I know it too."

Brad’s face became blank at Josh’s sudden speaking out of his opinion of him. And the fact he knew Storm thought the same. He tried to rebuff the statement the only way he knew how…with his fist. He lashed out and smacked Josh over, hitting him in the cheek. Josh fell back caught suddenly off guard by Brad’s hit. Brad threw himself on top of Josh and unleashed a wicked combo of punches on Josh’s head. Josh didn’t even have time to react because Brad’s sudden attack had surprised him so much. When Josh went to lift his head up Brad smashed his own head at Josh’s knocking him back down.

Dade used this ruckus to his advantage, he slipped his foot under the hockey stick and kicked it up in the air. He grabbed the handle and spun around, swinging the stick at full speed down at Brad’s head and freezing just as it touched Brad’s nose. "Yo dipshit. If you like your thick head attached to your shoulders you’ll get the fuck off him. Right now." Dade said determined.

Brad got up and Josh held his hand to his nose, wiping away the blood running from it. Dade stepped back slowly, not taking his eyes off any of the three thugs. He didn’t usually resort to weapons but when you’re outnumbered you gotta do what you gotta do. He glared at Brad menacingly. Brad gloating smugly to himself with a cruel smile as he looked down at Josh, spitting again in Josh’s face.

"There’s a good bitch." Brad said smugly to Josh. "Lucky your little girlfriend was here to protect you Joshy."

Dade glared at Brad unflinchingly, his eyes fixed on Brad as Brad moved backwards to his two sidekicks. Dade was really starting to dislike Brad more and more. "What happened to you Brad? You used to be an ok guy? Now you’re like the biggest fuck up on the planet."

"That’s what your brother thought. So I beat him stupid last week. I don’t think I beat him enough. I’m surprised you didn’t notice the scars little man. We did a really good job of working him over, didn’t we Joshy? Made him scream., made him bleed. Couldn’t quite make him beg. I’ll save that for next time."

Dade’s eyes flared with anger at what Brad had said. Had he really made Storm scream? Made his brother bleed? Why didn’t he notice anything? "You’re lying!" Dade yelled.

"Tell him Josh. Tell him how we made a fool of that freak. I held your brothers head by the hair and spat in his face and he didn’t even know it was me. He was that far gone. I broke the mighty Storm. I’m the man."

Dade’s eyebrows furrowed in disbelief and his mouth ran agape as Brad turned and walked away, smiling that cruel sadistic smile of his as he went. He was clearly proud of himself right now. Dade fell to his knees in shock, he couldn’t believe what Brad had told him. Now he knew exactly why Storm was acting like a jerk the past week. Brad really had broken him. Dade’s anger came flooding back and he stood in rage. "BRAD!!!! YOU’RE GOING TO PAY!!" he yelled.

Brad kept walking away and waved teasingly at Dade as they turned the corner and left sight of Dade. Dade’s eyes were still filled with rage and anger and his head slowly turned to Josh who had risen to his feet and stood looking at where Brad had once been.

"I didn’t touch your brother." Josh said knowing Dade was thinking he helped Brad to beat Storm. "I tried to stop them. But they wouldn’t listen."

"Then you obviously didn’t try hard enough. You’re just as bad as them. You hurt my brother and I’m going to make you pay. And I’m going to make Brad and those other two pay as well."

"Then beat me. Go ahead. I’m good at taking it these days. Why don’t you just join the club?"

"You’re not worth it. Brad was right, you’re weak. I should have let him finish you off." Dade snickered turning to walk away.

"Why am I paying for what he did? I didn’t touch Storm, I helped him get home and yet I’m the one who’s paying for what he did. I’m the one who’s been smacked around by everyone, I’m the one everyone’s blaming. Why me?"

"Because you didn’t do enough. If you really wanted to stop them you would have stopped them. You were weak. You’re a coward and a weak fool. You hide behind principles but you don’t have the spine to stand up for them."

"Then why did I stick my ass out for you today?! I’m busting my ass trying to do the right thing and all I’m getting for it is static!"

"I didn’t ask you to do that? If I needed you so bad why the hell was I the one saving your ass huh?"

"Fuck!" Josh screamed frustrated falling to the ground in a slump. "I can’t win. I’m born to be a loser."

"And with an attitude like that, that’s all you’ll ever be." Dade said pulling Josh back to his feet. "Tell me what you want Josh."

"I want to be able to look in the mirror in the morning and not be repulsed by what I see."

"That’ll never happen coz ure so fucken ugly." Dade replied sharply. "That’s a joke. Loosen up. Josh you need to grow a spine for starters. You’re on the right track. Don’t get me wrong I do appreciate you standing up for me today. I really do. I know it must have been hard and you did a damn sight better than my so called friend Robert."

"Well Brad was wrong, he shouldn’t have come after you."

"Brad is a jerk and if you hang with him you’re a jerk too. But you’re not going to hang with him anymore are you Josh?"

"I don’t think I have a choice."

"Be my friend. I’ll help you Josh. I want you to be my new best friend. Call me stupid but I think you got potential. What do you say?"

"Your best friend? You hardly know me. You’ve got lots of friends already, why me?"

"I know enough about you. You always were the quiet kid though. Like I said, I think you got potential. Anyway, I’ve made the offer. You decide what you want." Dade said packing up his gear.

"Do you mean it? You really wanna be friends?"

"One thing you’ll learn about me is I only ever say what I mean."

"You remind me of your brother, he’s so intimidating. But he’s straight up and I like that."

"Runs in the genes I guess. Anyway I better go. Thanks for helping me today Josh. Think about what I said."

"I thought about it already…do you need some help with that stuff?" Josh asked.

"I thought you’d never ask." Dade said throwing Robert’s gear to Josh. "Thanks a lot buddy, I really appreciate it. We’ll get you cleaned up when we get home."

"Oh shit. Your brother will be there won’t he? Your brother hates me."

"My brother hates the world, don’t worry about it. But if you’re going to be my friend, a word of warning…don’t ever piss my Mom off."

"Ok I got ya. Don’t piss Mom off."

"I think you and I are going to get along just fine. Let’s go Ace."

"Ok then Dade."

Josh walked next to Dade and waited for Dade to do something. Dade raised his eyebrow at Josh’s overly obedient nature. "Walk with me, not behind me." Dade said motioning Josh to walk.

Dade rested his hand on Josh’s shoulder as they walked along the footpath together towards Dade’s house. "I’m gonna teach you a few things Josh. First of all, I’m going to teach you the difference between a real friend and people like Brad and Robert who don’t actually give a real shit about you. Lesson One…Dade is master, never forget that and we’ll be fine."

"Ok." Josh replied.

"Geez. You’re as gullible as Lucas. I’m going to have to control myself from taking advantage of you. Anyway lesson one, friends are people you can depend on and trust. You don’t screw them over or leave them hanging. Lesson two…"

 

* * * * * * *

 

"Is he ok Mike? What’s wrong?" Lucas yelled bursting into the waiting room of the Merlow district hospital.

"What are you doing here? How did you know?" Mike asked.

"Sarah called me. What’s wrong with him Mike? Where is he?" Lucas asked anxiously.

"He’s being seen now by a doctor. Mom’s in there with him. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, he just started coughing up blood and vomiting blood."

"Why?"

"I don’t know Lucas."

"Is it serious?"

"I haven’t been allowed in to see him. Mom’s the only one allowed in."

"Oh man. This can’t be happening. He has to be ok. He has to."

"He’ll be ok. He’ll be ok. He’s my bro and he’s strong, he’ll be ok." Mike said trying to keep a grip on things. He was more worried than he cared to show.

"You as scared as I am?"

"And then some."

They looked at each other worryingly, Mike keeping a constant watch on the door waiting for June Marcus to walk through and tell them everything was going to be ok. Lucas sat down next to Marcel and they looked at each other silently, neither person saying anything. Mike stayed vigilant in his watch on the door, becoming more anxious as the time passed on.

"Mike Mike!! What’s going on? Where is he?" Dade yelled rushing to Mike followed along by Sarah.

Mike composed himself and tried to be as calm as he could, not wanting to upset Dade more. "Don’t worry Dade. Mom’s in there now and she’s going to come out and tell us everything will be ok. Don’t worry Dade he’ll be ok."

"Don’t sugarcoat everything for me Mike. I want to know what happened."

"Ok he started vomiting and he got really sick, then he began coughing up blood and vomiting again but with blood. And he started to lose consciousness and he passed out. We think it might be internal bleeding."

"Fucking hell. Is this because of what Brad did to him? Is it Mike?"

"I don’t think so. I don’t know. I don’t know Dade. We’ll have to wait and see."

"I should have fucked him up while I had the chance."

"What are you talking about?"

"’Yeah what are you talking about Dade?" Marcel asked approaching from behind.

Marcel, Lucas, Mike and Sarah all stood around Dade wondering what he was talking about. Dade tried to find a way to backtrack out of his statement because he knew the last thing they needed to hear was that Brad went after him. "Uuh nothing."

"What happened Dade? Tell us." Lucas asked.

"Brad came after me today."

"That fucker is gonna die, I swear." Marcel said fuming. "Did he hit you Dade?"

"Yeah he did but Josh stepped in and helped me. I’m ok honestly. I can take care of myself."

"Josh stepped in?" Mike asked in surprise.

"Yeah he really stood up to Brad today. Brad smacked him up big time for it too. So when you see Josh with his shiner on Monday at school you’ll know where it’s from. He did real good. I ended up saving Josh from Brad when I swung my hockey stick at him. I should have let the damn stick hit him. But I didn’t know what he did to Storm then."

"I never thought Josh had it in him. Brad hit my little bro. Fucker is going to pay."

"OoOOoh I HATE THAT GUY!" Marcel screamed in frustration.

"That fucker is going to suffer."

"I’m going to finish what I started and make him feel what it’s like to be hurt the way he hurt my guy."

"I’m going to make him pay for what he did to my brother. And I swear if Storm dies, so does Brad." Dade said with his eyes getting narrow.

"Hey! Storm is not going to die! Don’t even say that!" Lucas stammered.

"He won’t die, he won’t. Will he Mike?" Marcel said shaking his head.

"He’s not going to die, he can’t die. It’s not that serious is it Mike?" Sarah said frightened.

"No! He’s not gonna die. Stop thinking like this, it’ll only make things worse. We have to be strong for Storm. We can’t let him see how worried we are or he’ll get scared." Mike said urging everyone to calm down.

"He can’t die." Lucas said shaking his head.

"He won’t die Lucas. I’m sorry for saying that, I didn’t mean it the way you thought. I’m sorry." Dade said hugging Lucas.

"I’m sorry Dude. I’m just so scared. I love your brother so much. And if he died without me getting to tell him that… see the last time we saw each other he stormed out the door. We had a fight. I don’t want it to end like that."

Dade pulled Lucas' face up and looked him in the eyes "He won’t die! He’s going to walk through that door and tell us we all look like idiots and shouldn’t worry."

"Let’s not talk about that. Everybody get a grip. Let’s just stay here and wait for any word. And if anyone says die I’m gonna kick their fucking ass. So everyone just chill." Sarah said wiping her eyes.

"Sarah’s right. Let’s just try not to worry too much because it won’t help. Everybody’s just a bit caught up in the moment." Marcel sighed. "Everything will be ok."

Nobody said anything to each other as they formed an uneasy silence. Mike sat down and Sarah sat down next to him, holding his hand and leaning her head on his shoulder with a few subtle tears slipping down her cheek. Mike tried to keep himself focussed and be the pillar of strength that everyone had suddenly expected him to be. He rested his head back and wrapped his arm around Sarah as she leant into him. They sat there silently, their eyes ever vigilant in their watch on the door.

Marcel sat down next to the window, staring out it blankly. His thoughts raced with every possible scenario that could happen. He tried to keep positive but he couldn’t help thinking about if Storm didn’t make it. He didn’t think it was that bad but Mrs. Marcus hadn’t come out yet so he thought it must have been pretty serious.

Dade sat down next to Marcel and pulled Marcels arm around him as if it were a natural thing to do. He buried his head in Marcel’s shoulder not wanting to face the world. Marcel held him tightly, not saying anything. Marcel had a great respect for Dade, who had always treated Marcel in turn with great respect. Marcel loved him like the little brother he never had and they were also great friends. He was comforted by the fact that Dade was so comfortable with Marcel that it seemed natural to turn to Marcel for support and comfort. And Marcel would grant it whenever he was given the chance to.

Lucas paced up and down the hall endlessly waiting for a sign, any sign. And when he’d walked every inch of that hallway, he walked it again and again. The white sterile walls of the hospital not distracting Lucas from his thoughts at all. Lucas was torn up inside worrying about Storm and if he’d be ok. Worrying if Storm realized how much he loved him. Wondering if the love he yearned for so much would be taken away from him. Lucas had to do his best to keep from bursting into tears right now. He wanted to make Storm ok, he wanted to switch places with Storm. He wanted to be able to hold Storm right now and tell him everything would be ok. He felt so helpless.

The five of the group waited anxiously, barely saying anything to each other the whole time. They were all too worried to start up some idle chitchat. They had been in the waiting room for over three hours now and it was nearly 8pm. The air was cold and sterile with that hospital smell that made them feel even worse.

Dade had fallen off to sleep on Marcel and Marcel had also drifted off. Sarah had begun to fall off to sleep also and Mike gently ran his fingers through her hair, soothing her to sleep. Mike and Lucas were the only ones still awake. Lucas paced nervously and then returning to his seat for a while, before he returned to his pacing. Mike had not moved once, save to heed natures call.

At last their patience was rewarded. June Marcus stepped through the waiting room door softly and noticed most of the group asleep. Mike rested Sarah’s head down gently and approached June. Lucas ran down the hallway towards June and he and Mike stood anxiously awaiting answers.

"Everything is going to be ok. He’s got an aggravated stomach ulcer. It’s basically a hole in the stomach. We believe it’s due to the extreme stress Storm has been under lately. I know he’s been under a lot. It’s also been aggravated by more than likely a few blows to the stomach area most likely done in a sparring session with someone at training most likely. Which is why the ulcer is aggravated."

Mike and Lucas both know it was no training session that aggravated Storm’s ulcer but his beating by Brad. Mike didn’t think it wise to worry June with it so he kept his mouth shut, he could handle Brad. Lucas was just following Mikes lead.

"Is he going to be ok Mrs. Marcus?" Lucas asked nervously.

"It’s too soon to tell. I’m so angry with him. Waiting till he was practically dead to tell me something was wrong. That’s just not on. As soon as he’s able to I’m going to give him a big piece of my mind. Stupid proud shit. He’s too much like his mother." June said frustrated. She herself was trying to keep a brave front but was not doing too good a job of it. "He’ll be ok Lucas. He just needs time to recover. They’re operating on him now with athroscopic surgery. If all goes well they’ll keep him in for about 3 days to let him recover and for observation then he should be back on his feet. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed."

"Oh my god." Lucas said shaking his head in disbelief.

"Mom. Don’t be mad at Storm. He’s been through a lot this last week."

"I’m not angry at him. I wish I could have been there for him. I’ve been so worried about him lately. He always tries to be so strong. And I haven’t been around to notice my own son in pain. What kind of a mother is that?"

"A mother who works her ass off. Don’t beat yourself up about this. Everyone else already has enough. We all love him or we wouldn’t be here. If you weren’t the best mother in the whole world Marcel and I wouldn’t adore you the way we do. Dade loves you, Abby loves you, Storm loves you, we all love you."

"Oh Abby. I have to call her. And I’ll have to call his father." June said wiping the tears out of her eyes. Her job was to be the pillar of strength all her kids depended on and she didn’t want them to worry about her.

"I called them already. I figured you’d want them to know."

"Thank you Mike. You’re so dependable you know that?"

"Thanks Mom. Are you ok?" Mike asked worriedly.

"I’ll be fine son. I just got a hell of a scare that’s all. How’s Dade doing? He looks sound asleep now."

"Yeah he fell off to sleep a while ago, Marcel not long after and then Sarah dozed off. But nobody wanted to go home until we knew if Storm would be ok."

"I think he’s going to be fine so I want you all to go home. There’s nothing more you can do here. There’s no point in everyone staying here. Mike do you think you could look after Dade tonight?"

"You know I will. I’ll keep the house standing till you get back."

"Well then you all go home now. Here’s some money to catch a taxi and for dinner. You can call me down here if anything happens. And don’t forget to call your father to let him know you're ok."

"Ok Mom."

"I just wanna have a talk to this lot." June said walking next to Marcel and Dade’s slumping forms.

June leant down and kissed Marcel gently on the forehead. "Marcel, it’s time to go home sweetheart."

"Is Storm ok?" Marcel mumbled.

"He’ll be fine. You go on home with Mike and I’ll call you if anything else happens."

"Yes Mom."

Marcel gently slipped out of his chair, easing Dade’s head up as June took his place. She sat there stroking her son’s hair and watching him sleep soundly. She kissed his forehead gently "Dade honey, it’s time to go home."

"Mom…" Dade mumbled snuggling up closer.

"Yes it’s me honey."

"How’s Storm?"

"He’ll be fine. He just has to stay here a few days. He’ll be fine."

"Are you coming home too?"

"No honey. I’m going to stay here with your brother."

"I wanna stay too." Dade mumbled half asleep.

"It’s warmer at home honey. I’ll be back in the morning."

"I don’t want to go." Dade sulked, a few streams of tears slipping gently. "I wanna stay."

"You can’t Dade. There’s nowhere for you to sleep. Will you please go home for Mommy?"

"Ok then Mom. I will." Dade resigned grudgingly, wiping his eyes and fully awake now. He stood up obviously not the happiest person in the world.

June stood up and gave her son a hug "Don’t worry honey. Everything’s going to be ok. Mike will look after you tonight."

"I’m ok Mom. I’m just being a baby."

"I know what you’re feeling son. But I don’t want your brother to wake up and nobody be there."

"I know. I just wish I could stay too. Don’t worry Mom I’ll be fine."

"That’s my boy." June smiled.

"Yeah. Besides Mike’s going to spoil me tonight aren’t ya Mike?"

"You bet bro, come on home with me." Mike said extending his arm out to Dade.

"Ok bro." Dade said giving Mike a quick hug before the two of them began walking away slowly.

"Are you sure he’s going to be ok?" Sarah asked June.

"He’ll be fine. Just give him a few days."

"Ok then, bye Mrs. M. I love you." Sarah said kissing June on the cheek before she ran after Mike, Dade and Marcel.

They waved back at Lucas and June, who in turn waved back at them. Lucas turned and looked at June nervously. She didn’t seem too eager for his company. June tried not to look at Lucas, she didn’t want to be around him right now. She wanted someone to blame and that person seemed like Lucas.

"What is it?" Lucas asked nervously.

"Nothing Lucas." June replied.

"Do you blame me?" Lucas asked bluntly. "Do you think it’s my fault Storm’s in here?"

"No. Of course it’s not your fault. It’s nobody’s fault."

"I love your son more than anything in the world and I would never do anything to hurt him I swear it."

"You don’t know the meaning of the word. My son is lying on a hospital bed…I don’t know what’s been going on with him lately. Ever since you two started seeing each other he hasn’t been the same. You changed him, you changed my son. It’s your fault he’s like you, it’s your fault he’s so stressed out and tense. It’s your fault he’s lying in that bed. It’s your fault. I wish you’d never met my son." June said tensely as she walked away from Lucas.

She walked outside and did something she hadn’t done for a long time; lit up a cigarette. She put it to her mouth, her hand shaking and her face wet from all the crying she’d done tonight. She felt a hand take the cigarette slowly from her hand. She looked to see it was Lucas, who now stood there holding the cigarette in his hand as the wind blew his hair. It was cold and dark outside, it had been raining and it looked as though the rain would return soon. The wind remained and June held her arms tightly as the cold got to her.

Lucas held the cigarette in front of his eyes "You don’t really want this do you? If you smoke it then I’m smoking it with you."

"I don’t really need it. I only smoke when I’m really worried. And right now I’m really worried."

Lucas threw the cigarette to the ground and stomped it with his shoe. "I’m sorry you feel that way. I knew somewhere deep inside that you resented me. Hell my own parents resent me. They think I made Storm bi. But I didn’t. You should know as well as I do that you can’t make Storm something he isn’t. And the only reason I’m happy is that I know your son loves me just as much as I love him. That’s all I need, that’s all I’ll ever need."

June wiped her anguish filled tears from her eyes, she resented the fact that Lucas was right. She resented even more that she had let her deep buried feelings surface. "A mother only ever wants what’s best for her son. I don’t want any of my children to hurt or feel pain or to have to suffer. And the life you two have chosen for yourselves is just…it’s going to tear my son apart. I don’t want him to have to go through all the pain that I know will come."

"You still don’t get it, we didn’t choose anything. We were born like this. This is who we are. Do you think anyone in their right mind would actually choose to like someone of the same sex? It’s crazy. Do you think Marcel chose to be gay? I beat myself up all the time, wondering if it was me who made Storm like me. Our hearts are connected and that’s all there is to it. Surely you can see that."

"I can see it. I can see it in my son’s eyes. I can see it in your eyes. I’m just so worried about him. He’s my baby. Daniel’s always had a weak spot for his Mom, even more then Dade. When his father and Abby left, he went through a really rough time. But he stayed with me and helped me look after his little brother and helped his mother cope. He’s such a special person. I’m so proud that he’s my son."

"I know you are. You know that’s owed to you as well. You have great kids. All of your kids are just some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. I mean Abby even though I’ve only been with her a few times is I know a wonderful person. And Dade well he’s just the coolest dude on the planet. Except for his brother of course. And well you know how much I love Storm."

"Storm…you don’t know the real reason he likes to be called Storm do you?"

"The real reason? He told me it was because of the way he fought and his whole attitude."

"That’s partly it. His nickname has been Storm for a long time but well…it wasn’t till his father left that he actually started using it as his first name. Daniel Marcus the second just didn’t agree with him anymore. He didn’t want to be associated so obviously with his father who he thought of as a deserter. That’s why he’s called Storm now. The real reason."

"Oh wow, that’s amazing. You know I just don’t think I could get used to calling him Daniel. I’m so used to Storm. It is such a cool name though, suits him so well. But I never would have guessed that that’s why he uses it. He doesn’t talk about that much. His Dad I mean."

"Yeah, his Dad and him just don’t get along. Storm won’t give him any chance. I try to tell Storm that his father is a good man. That we just grew apart. But Storm won’t hear it. He’s so driven against his father. He still hurts that his father left him."

"Do you think they’ll sort it out?"

"It’s been a long time. I had hoped they would years ago but I don’t think they will. Daniel, his father Daniel that is, well he’s tried his best but Storm isn’t the most forgiving person."

"So his Dad just up and left?"

"Not really. We came to that decision mutually. And he had to move for work anyway. The hardest decision we ever had to make was splitting the kids. Abby went with her father and the boys stayed with me. Abby was always closer to her father anyway. Her and I have the same relationship as Storm and his father, except we at least can get along. Dade has an excellent relationship with his father and me. He was young enough at the time to adapt I think. It hit Storm and Abby a lot harder."

"I know when Storm has talked to me about times when you and Mr. Marcus were still together that he gets a bit tense. He doesn’t like to show it, which is probably why he doesn’t like talking about it. I think deep down he misses his Dad. I can tell he still hurts. He’s a lot more vulnerable than he makes out to be isn’t he?"

"He sure is. He’s such a proud person, I think he gets it from me. His father is actually a lot more laid back than I am. You haven’t met his Dad have you?"

"I did once. That was back when Storm and I were just best friends. He seemed nice enough to me."

"It’s getting cold Lucas, let’s go back inside."

"Ok." Lucas replied walking back in.

Lucas held the door open for June as she walked back into the hospital and they made their way back to the waiting room. June sat down and sighed, holding her head in her hands. She sat back up and leant her head back against the wall, looking at Lucas who was still standing.

"Sit down Lucas." June said motioning Lucas to sit next to her.

Lucas bit his bottom lip and hesitated before he sat down finally. Still a bit uncomfortable now with being near Mrs. Marcus knowing her true feelings. June took one of Lucas hands and held it in both of her own, rubbing it gently.

"I’m sorry for saying those horrible things before Lucas. You know I love you and I don’t regret Storm choosing you. I only wish that you and Storm were just best friends because it would be easier but…I know that it wouldn’t be true to yourselves. I guess my maternal instincts were on overdrive and I was being over protective of my son. I just want what’s best for him. But I realize that’s you. You have a gentle heart, you calm my son. You help him grow. You have added something to his smile. And I thank you for that. Please forgive me."

Lucas managed a weak smile and gulped, trying to quell the tears that threatened to leave him. "I forgive you, I understand. Thanks for being honest with me." Lucas smiled half-heartedly.

"What’s wrong honey?" June asked concerned.

"It just gets to me. I mean I know you’re sorry and everything but it still hurts. To hear you say those things, that somewhere deep down you resent me. Just like my parents. I really feel like I’m a lesser person. Like I’m not good enough. The only thing keeping me going is the fact that Storm loves me. I don’t know what I’d do without that. I really don’t think I could make it. He doesn’t realize how much I depend on him and need him."

June’s eyes had welled up as she witnessed Lucas pouring his pain out. She had picked up in that one statement what made Lucas hurt, and what made him smile. She felt so bad that she was one of the reasons he hurt. She tried so hard to be a positive role model and tonight she felt as if she had failed miserably, she could see it in the hurt and worn look on Lucas face tonight. His face was so dejected and sad, the hurt and pain making it’s way through his usual happy go lucky demeanor. Lucas was such a warm, friendly and happy person that when he was down you could really notice.

"You poor thing." June said hugging Lucas. "I am so sorry. I understand why you hurt so bad and it makes me feel even worse. Do you really feel like you’re not good enough?"

Lucas agreed, nodding meekly. His eyes speaking volumes to the way he was feeling. Sadness filled them, deep pools of sorrow and resentment. Lucas' face was wet from all the tears he’d cried that night and still even now the trail of tears was so evident. One solitary tear escaping his left eye and streaming down his cheek before it dropped to the fabric of the seat.

"When my son wakes up and you look in his eyes you’ll see how much of a person you really are. You are a beautiful person. I love you because you love my son and because he loves you. And because of the person you are…"

"Excuse me…Mom." A voice said, interrupting June’s heart to heart with Lucas.

"Abby!" June said in surprise as she looked up and saw her daughter standing before her.

It had been a while since June had seen her daughter face to face, the majority of their correspondence over the phone because of the distance between their towns. June noticed Abby had trimmed her hair and it was now of medium length blonde. Her eyes were a deep piercing blue and she had the same smile as her two younger brothers, which they had all inherited from their father. The oldest of the Marcus children at 22, the fruit of her parents young love.

Abby smiled warmly at her mother and embraced her as she stood to greet Abby. "It’s so good to see you Mom. How are you?"

"I’m ok. I knew you’d come as soon as Mike contacted you."

"How’s Storm?"

"He should be in recovery now. It was an aggravated Stomach Ulcer. They had to perform athroscopic surgery on him. You know what your brother is like, waits till he’s nearly dead before he tells someone he’s not feeling good. They’re going to keep him in at least a few days to assess how bad he is."

"When he came up to see me he said he didn’t feel good but he said it was probably just something he ate. I should have known something else was wrong." Abby said shaking her head.

"I think your brother has too much of my stubborn pride. I think he has too much of me in him, I wish he had a bit more of your father."

"Uuuhh speaking of Dad." Abby said stepping to the side.

June looked down the corridor and saw a man standing smiling at her. "How the hell did he get here so fast?" June mumbled to herself.

"He was visiting me when we got the call. I hope you don’t mind."

"Of course not. He’s the father. He has every right to be here. I just wouldn’t have expected him till tomorrow normally. I better go and say hello." June said motioning Abby down towards her father. "Lucas honey. Wait here, I’ll be right back."

Lucas nodded in response half-heartedly. He watched as June and Abby walked down the corridor towards Daniel Marcus senior. Lucas put his head in his hands and closed his eyes. He had never felt so lonely in his life.

 

* * * * * * *

 

"Hello Daniel." June said managing a small smile as she looked at the father of her children standing before her. A spitting image of his oldest son, distinguished and relaxed all at the same time. He smiled back at his former partner, slight tension still remaining even after their long period of separation.

"Hello June. How is he?"

"He’s being operated on now. An aggravated stomach ulcer. He’ll be fine. He waited till he nearly fell over dead before we noticed but he should be out in a few days."

"That’s great news. It’s a good thing I was at Abby’s when Mike called. Where is Mike anyway? And Dade?"

"They just left, I sent them home. You can both stay at the house tonight if you like. I’m going to stay here with Storm."

"Who’s looking after Dade?"

"Mike is. He’s more than capable and reliable enough. I didn’t want them all sleeping here cold."

"In that case I’d like to stay here with you. I know Mike’s a good lad. They’ll be fine."

"I’ll go back soon and stay there Mom. I’m not going back upstate until I know Storm’s ok." Abby interrupted.

"Thank you Abby. You and I will stay here then Daniel."

"Should I take Lucas back with me Mom?" Abby asked.

June turned and looked at Lucas down the corridor sitting in a chair, looking as lonely and miserable as anyone could. She turned back to Abby and frowned. "No. I don’t think you could take him if you wanted to. He can stay with me."

"Ok Mom. I’m going to go home so I can see Dade. You’ll call me if anything happens won’t you?"

"I will sweetheart." June replied.

"Ok bye Mom. I love you." Abby said kissing June on the cheek and giving her a warm hug. "Don’t worry Mom he’ll be fine."

"Bye Dad." Abby said kissing her father on the cheek. She smiled at her parents and walked out the door, waving as she went.

"Daniel sure has some good friends doesn’t he? Is that Lucas kid his best friend now, what happened to Mike?" Daniel said looking down the corridor towards Lucas.

"Well you know Storm and Mike. They’ve grown up more like brothers than friends. Mike’s turned into the son I had ready made without the nine months of labor."

"Mike’s always been a great kid. How’s his father treating him these days, any better?"

June frowned, Daniel Senior knew just as much about Mike’s father Bill as she did. Daniel was the one who always went over to sort Bill out when Mike turned up on the doorstep after being on the receiving end of his father’s abusive behavior. "Well…I thought he was. I’m not sure. Mike’s not happy though. I really wish he were my son so I could take him off Bill sometimes. I keep hoping Bill will get his act together. He doesn’t realize what a great son he has. Mike deserves a lot better. He says he wants to live with me and the boys."

"He’s always wanted that. I’ll warn you June. Don’t wait till it’s too late. You know what I mean." Daniel said bluntly.

"I know. I know. But what can I do? All I can do is hope that Bill will sort his shit out. He’s had more than enough time. I gave him some leeway before because I knew how hard it was for him to lose Amanda. But she’s been gone 13 years now. I’ve tried to help him but I’m getting sick of telling Mike to forgive his father. I’m just worried that one day…"

"I know. I’m going to catch up with Mike and Dade tomorrow and see how they’re doing. I want to make sure Mike is ok too. Dade always seems to be fine for some reason. I sometimes worry that he never gives me anything to worry about."

"You know, I hate to say it but he gets the least attention out of my…our kids. Including Mike and Marcel. He’s not a high maintenance kid. I know what you mean about Dade not giving us anything to worry about. I need to spend more time with him."

"I think we both need to. But definitely I need to spend a hell of a lot more time with Daniel. I can count the days we’ve been together in the last year on one hand."

"I try to make him come around to spending more time with you but…"

"I know. He just doesn’t like me anymore. We use to be so close. I just don’t know how to get through to him. He hates me."

"He doesn’t hate you. He just doesn’t like you a whole lot. He still thinks you abandoned him. No matter how many times I try to explain it to him he still feels like you abandoned him."

"I guess I did in a way. He’s a lot like you, you know? Proud and stubborn. Flawlessly loyal to his mother. I’m the enemy. He didn’t even tell me he wasn’t seeing Sarah anymore. I always thought those two would be together forever."

"You thought the same thing about us too." June said coldly. "Sarah’s with Mike now. And I hate to say it but they’re more suited than Storm and Sarah. I think those two definitely have a future."

"Young love huh. I bet Marcel is the only one that woos all the ladies aye? Probably has a different girl under his arm every weekend. Better watch out for Dade, he might end up like that."

"How wrong you are. Young love there definitely is. But a lot of things have changed. I think you and your son need to be having a long talk."

"Oh boy. That doesn’t sound too good. Oh no. Oh no. You’ve got to be kidding. Not my son. How could you let this happen?"

"Let what happen?"

"Come on I wasn’t born yesterday. Look at that Lucas kid down there. That’s not an ‘I’m worried about my best friend’ look on his face. It’s so obvious. Why else would you have let him stay here when you sent Mike and Dade home? My son’s a faggot."

June slapped Daniel across the face before she even realized what she was doing. "Don’t you ever call him that again. Do you understand me?"

"I didn’t mean it like that. I mean what else do you call them?"

"What do you mean ‘them’? ‘Them’ is your son. ‘Them’ is the person you helped bring into this world." June said angrily.

"Look! I didn’t mean for it to sound derogatory. It’s just a hell of a shock to me. I mean, my son? Is this my fault? Is this because he didn’t have a father figure."

"Listen to yourself. You sound like some of those damn redneck know-it-alls. Your son is in love with someone who just happens to be of the same sex. DEAL WITH IT. You can’t change it, so just deal with it. Or you may as well just walk back through that door you came in."

Daniel took a few deep breaths "I don’t like it. I don’t like it. But I’ll deal with it. I still don’t like it though. He never did like doing it the easy way did he? Just tell me you’re ok with it."

"I’m ok with it. I was like you. I still wish he were so called normal only because it would be easier but you see those two together and you can feel the love they have for each other. It’s like this invisible bond. Why do you think Lucas is so distressed over there?"

"I trust your judgement. If you’re ok with it, I’m ok with it. Just give me a bit of time ok?"

"I’ll give you till your son opens his eyes. Then you better have yourself together Daniel. I won’t have you going in there and upsetting my son."

"Our son."

"And don’t call him Daniel. You know how much he hates that. I only call him that when I’m angry with him and he knows it, but otherwise stick to Storm."

"Okay June. I take it I’m the last one to know about this as usual."

"Are you surprised? I mean seriously Daniel, you don’t exactly make a hell of an effort do you? You could try a bit harder at least."

"June, you and Abby had the same problems Daniel and I have."

"Emphasis on the word ‘had’. And how many YEARS has it been since you and your son have had a good relationship or even a civilized conversation. Abby and I were never this bad. It’s pathetic Daniel. He’s your son. You should know what’s going on with him. He shouldn’t be repelled by the thought of being in the same room as you. Get your fucking act together before you lose him forever."

"Don’t start with me June, I didn’t come here to argue with you. But I promise you, I’ll sort things out with Daniel before I leave."

"I just want you to have a good relationship with your son. Yeah he’s stubborn and proud but he’s just as vulnerable and so easily hurt. He’s still hurting after all these years. If he didn’t care he wouldn’t hurt."

Daniel stood in silence contemplating what June had said. He felt a pang in his heart that made him realize the depth of the hurt he felt and that he knew his son felt.

"June! June!" A nurse yelled running towards June. Her face anxious and distressed.

"What is it Casey?"

"It’s your son. You better hurry."

"Come on Daniel." June said hurriedly.

 

 * * * * * * *

Lucas mind swayed from thought to thought. He felt empty inside, something didn’t feel right. Something wasn’t there. His dreams were filled with uncertainty and pain.

"Lucas, wake up."

"Huh? Storm?" Lucas said opening his eyes groggily.

"No, it’s me Dade. It’s time to go home."

"What about Storm?"

"He’s gone…"

  

* * * * * * *

  This chapter was followed by two chapters.  One chapter was the What If chapter 'Final Rites' which was the original version of Storm Front 13.  You can read it here.

Storm Front: Final Rites

Stay Tuned for Chapter 13: Paths Not Taken and send me a note to let me know what you thought of Chapter 12
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