STORM FRONT
By SF Writer
Copyright 2003  Stormnation, All rights reserved.

Chapter 19a: Last Call for Lucas Sheridan

* * * * * * *

I sat eating breakfast or at least I sat. I wasn’t really doing much of the eating part. Mom sat opposite me doing her best to look like she was reading the paper but I could feel her eyes flicking back and forth to me as if she had something on the tip of her tongue.

"Son, are you ok?"

"If I said I was would it make you feel better?" I said nonchalantly as I played with my breakfast, not having half the heart to actually eat any of it. "No, I’m not ok."

"I’m sorry, Son. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better."

"It’s ok, Mom. I’ll be fine. Has Dade left already?"

"Yeah he has training this morning remember."

"I wanted to talk to him. He’s like my only close friend right now. With both Lucas and Marcel gone and Mike and Sarah both wrapped up in each other, I don’t really have anyone I can count on to be there for me as a friend. Except for Dade. He’s the only other one of my friends I really trust. Sometimes I even feel like he’s my older brother instead of the other way around."

"He’s very protective of you. I’m glad you two are so close in age because you ended up being more like friends than brothers. And then when you do need to be brothers either one of you takes on the role of big brother. I like that about you two. Dade worships the ground you walk on, you’re his hero. I used to worry about that actually." Mom said with a knowing smile on her face. "Don’t lead your brother astray, Son. Water is for drinking, not a place to party. Are we clear?"

"Yes, Mom." I gulped. "Sorry. It was just that once I promise. It was a bad idea I know, I just wasn’t in a good frame of mind. It won’t happen again I promise."

"It’s ok. Your father and I did…well maybe we shouldn’t go there." Mom said smiling again. "Needless to say that I don’t mind that you went just that once. But if you feel that you absolutely must go back to that place, don’t take your brother. He has a good head on his shoulders but if you told him to do something, he’d do it. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Mom. Mom can I ask you something?"

"Sure, Son."

"Is Dade a virgin?"

"What?"

"Is Dade a virgin? I’ve never really paid attention to who he’s gone out with but I know that he’s always been a ladies man. I know he hasn’t slept with anyone in the last three months. But I was just wondering. He seems so sure of himself, so confident. Do you know?"

"Even if I did, I think that’s a question you should ask him yourself. I think he is…I’m pretty sure he is. But I guess you won’t know until you ask him. If he has…or even if he hasn’t…can I depend on you to handle the situation? I’ll talk to him if the subject comes up but you’re his brother and he respects you a lot."

"I’ll take care of it, Mom. Dade and I look after each other. I’ll make sure he’s looking after himself. Although take it from me that’s not really something you have to worry about. Dade knows how to say no. Trust me, he had a real test last night and he passed top marks."

"And what exactly was involved in this test?" Mom said raising her eyebrow at me.

"Oh you’re doing that eyebrow thing Dade does. He always did take more after you. For fear of incriminating myself I take the fifth."

"There is no fifth in this house, Daniel Marcus. Now what exactly happened to your brother last night?"

"Two girls tried to seduce him and slip him a trip. He knocked them both back. I had no idea that was going to happen. We left right after he told me what had happened."

"And where were you during this?"

"Uhh almost getting laid…"

"Almost?"

"I turned her down. Couldn’t do it. Well I could’ve done it, she was really hot. I just didn’t feel right about it. Dade and I came home after that. I swear I won’t take him out anywhere like that again."

"It would be foolish of me to ignore there are those sorts of temptations out there. I think I’m pretty fortunate when it comes to you and your brother though. And Mike. You both detest drugs vehemently. I know you used to drink small amounts now and then. I just tried to trust your judgment, I knew you were never a big drinker. Now you don’t drink at all for the last three months. And you remember when Dade drank a bottle of my wine and we both know what happened then. But that was experimenting. I’m just glad he did it here rather than out on the street. Now he stays away from it. And Mike…well he absolutely detests alcohol."

"We can thank Bill for that. But I don’t think thank is the right word. That old shit can go to hell."

"Storm. No matter what he is still Mike’s father. Soon Mike is going to be trying to re-establish a relationship with him. We have to be supportive."

"Mike doesn’t want it. Why should we make him have to see his father again? After all he’s done?! Mike’s been through hell because of that fuckwit. He doesn’t deserve Mike! Mike’s too good for him!" I said rather powerfully with a lot of emotion. Hearing about his father always hits a nerve with me. Mike still bears the scars inside for what his father beat into him for so long. "He can go to hell! Fucking sick bastard."

"Son, calm down."

"There are very few people I wanna hurt in this world." I said with watery eyes that seemed to brim with fire beneath them. "He’s at the top of the list. I hate him."

I began to let a few tears escape me as all my anger and frustration and regret got the better of me. I can’t forgive myself for letting someone hurt Mike for so long. Someone who I love as my brother. I hurt inside when I think about Mike and the past. It makes me angry and sad all at the same time to think of what happened to Mike but mostly for how long we all let it go on thinking it wouldn’t happen again. "You shouldn’t have waited so long." I said coldly.

"Don’t you think I know that?!" Mom snapped back sharply as she slammed her fist down on the table.

"He’s sixteen, Mom. Sixteen! We should have taken him years ago. Why’d you wait so long? He should’ve been with us from the start. You shouldn’t have let this happen." I said shooting to my feet as pain filled tears left me. "I shouldn’t have let it happen."

"Don’t you think I kick myself inside every time I see Mike and remind myself of everything he’s been through? I can’t change the past. I did what I thought was right at the time, hoping Bill would change so that he wouldn’t lose his only child. I was wrong. I was wrong. I can’t change the past but I’m busting my ass day in and day out to make sure all three of you have what you need for the future."

"I’m sorry, Mom." I said realizing how hurtful and selfish I’d just been. "I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that."

"They were very hurtful things you said. I already blame myself enough, I don’t need you blaming me even more." Mom said trying to hide the fact her eyes were watering.

"It was my fault too. I was his best friend. But regardless of any of that, I don’t think Mike would like to see us arguing over him. I’m sorry, Mom."

Before Mom had a chance to answer there was a knock at the door. For an instant my heart jumped thinking it might just be Lucas but I realized I hadn’t heard the jeep and then remembered Brad was coming over this morning. I headed out of the kitchen and towards the door, rubbing my face and trying to raise a smile as I opened it.

"Hi, Brad."

"Hi, Storm."

Brad smiled at me and I just stifled a smile back. He was the last person in the world I wanted to see right now but there was no one else to blame for him being here except me and my bright ideas. "Hey, Brad can you just wait here while I grab my gear? I’ll be two ticks."

"Ok, Storm."

I walked back into the kitchen and quickly cleared away my dishes and the table. Mom had already gone upstairs to get ready for work. I think even if I had of gone up there to apologize some more it wouldn’t have helped the situation. Best to leave her alone. But not without leaving some attempt at fixing things. I pulled off a post it note from the fridge and a pen from my back and stuck the note right on the front door so Mom would have to see it before she went to work.

I love you,

I’m sorry.’

Short and to the point. I threw my bag over my shoulder and closed the door behind me as Brad and I headed on our way to school. My mind seemed to be everywhere else but here with Brad and I. There was still that slight tiny problem with Lucas and now with Mom. What’s next?

Brad walked beside me on the pavement, his awkward hand movements showing the slight nervousness he had. "So, Storm how’s your Mom?"

"She’s ok." I said faking a small smile. "Still works too hard."

"Your Mom’s always been a workaholic. Everybody loves your Mom."

"Including you?"

"Oh yeah. Your Mom’s hot."

"Not quite what I meant and something I did not need to hear thank you VERY much."

"Your Mom was always nice to me."

"Too bad you weren’t nice to me, you coulda hung out with her more aye."

"Yeah…"

"Relax, that’s in the past. You’re not an asshole anymore like that are you? I hope not."

"I don’t know, Storm. Besides we all know you can kick my ass any day of the week one on one."

"Yeah but you’re pretty strong you know. You weren’t VC for nothing. You got the hell bod. You’re buff as hell. If you weren’t such a prick." I said letting a small laugh escape me. "You’d have more luck with the ladies."

"I guess…I don’t think so. I’ve never really had any luck with the ladies."

"That’s because you never hung out with me. I could teach you a few things. Just make sure you don’t turn into an asshole again."

"You know what’s scary?"

"What?"

"I didn’t even realize I was being an asshole. I thought I was cool."

"Haha that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. Beating people up and stealing their lunch money. Oh you are sooooo cool." I said still laughing. Brad was proving to be good entertainment.

"I know. I know it seems stupid now. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have any real friends to keep me in check."

"You had Josh. You fucked that up. He’s awesome. Now Dade’s taken your spot and let me tell you, you aint got no chance…no chance in hell of getting Josh back."

"Josh was my only real friend. I just didn’t know it…I guess. And then before him it was only you, but that was a long time ago."

"You and I were never that great a friend, Brad."

"We weren’t? You were my best friend. But you had so many friends I’m not surprised I wasn’t your best."

"You know why you were an asshole so long?"

"Why?"

"Because you lack confidence. You don’t really believe in yourself. Maybe except for football. But apart from that you were all false bravado."

"You’re probably right. Nobody’s ever said that to me before."

"Well maybe because your other friends were too stupid, Josh was too timid and everyone else didn’t give a fuck. Myself included."

"So why are we here?"

"Because that was then, this is now. Plus you have to take my library books back." I said taking my books out of my bag as I handed them to Brad. "Here you go."

"The Joy of Sex. I wish I knew that joy!" Brad grinned for the first time today. "You trying to enhance your technique or something? Who’s the lucky lady?"

"I don’t know what you’re talking about."

"Come on, Storm. Spill the beans. There are people like you and there are people like me. People like me love hearing from people like you about their sex life because people like me don’t have one."

"How do you know I have one?"

"There are ripe apples and peeled bananas. You’re a banana."

I stopped walking and gave Brad a strange look while an amused smile broke out on my face. "Weirdo."

"Are you telling me you’re a virgin?"

"Even if I wasn’t, would I tell you?"

"Do you want to know who I’m crazy about?" Brad blushed, walking in front of me backwards so we were still looking at each other when we spoke. "I’ll tell you who if you tell me what I already know. You’re not a virgin."

"No, I’m not a virgin."

"I knew!" Brad said grinning. "I knew it. See I’m a virgin. JOSH is a virgin. But YOU. You’re a stud. Mike’s a stud. I can just tell it by the way you guys walk, talk, act. You’re just so…"

"You’re just so full of shit." I said laughing again.

"No I’m not. I can tell. You wouldn’t believe it but I’m a very perceptive guy."

"And for the next joke!" I said still laughing, unable to quell the amusement Brad was probably unintentionally providing.

"Asshole." Brad grinned.

"So I told you about me. Now tell me about you. Who are you crazy about?"

"Ok well…you know her. Everybody knows her. And she makes people drool just being around her." Brad gulped, his eyes glazing over as a stupid grin came over his face thinking about the girl he fantasized over.

"Whoa there." I said holding Brad up just as he trip backwards on the sidewalk curb. "Maybe you should face forwards and watch where you’re walking, Loverboy."

"Yeah." Brad blushed. "Whoops."

"You’re obviously crazy about this girl. Who is she? I want two words to come out of your mouth. First name and last name of this girl. That’s it."

"Sarah…Leo…" Brad sighed

"Sarah? My Sarah? The one that kicked your ass?"

"She can kick my ass any day of the week. Oh my god she is sooo dreamy…ooohhh." Brad sighed again, still with his eyes glazed over and a stupid smile on his face.

"Holy hell you’ve got it bad."

"I know. She’s so confident. She’s so in control of her life. And she’s so beautiful. She’s so beautiful." Brad sighed.

"Keep your eyes off her, Boy. She’s taken."

"I know, I know. And it’s not like I have a chance or I’m going to do anything."

"Well good."

"Why did you break up? Don’t you love her?"

"Are you kidding? I’m crazy about her. Why do you think I keep her so close to me? She’s the girl of my dreams. She always has been. But…"

"You just wanna be friends now?"

"Yeah, something like that. She’s my best friend. One of them anyway."

"You’re nuts. I would have never let her get away from me. Now Mike’s got her pegged. Those two will never break up."

"You never know. Things don’t always work out how you hope they would." I sighed. Lucas, Lucas, Lucas. Always thinking about Lucas. Somebody shoot me.

"You’re a really interesting guy you know that, Storm?"

"Gee thanks." I said sarcastically. "Now I can die happy. Hey I thought you like Claire though?"

"Nah everybody likes Claire. I’d have no chance in hell with her anyway. She hates my guts. And she already has enough guys falling for her. Just look at Josh."

"What?"

"Josh. He’s in love with her, can’t you see? He follows her around like a lovesick puppy."

"Nah. Not Josh. He doesn’t like her."

"He probably tells himself that too. Just friends. But next time you see them together just watch him. Watch his eyes when she walks away. They follow her. See the way he stands next to her. He’s just like me around Sarah except he probably doesn’t even realize it because they’re friends. But I bet if she started dating someone else, he would…notice."

"I’m going to have a talk to Josh today just to see if you’re right."

"He’s in the best position out of anyone to make a move on her. I don’t know why he hasn’t already." Brad said with a puzzled look on his face.

"Oh I can think of a few reasons." I said smiling knowingly to myself.

Brad and I continued on our conversation with time fleeting by and before we knew it we were in front of the school gates. I’d actually enjoyed my time with Brad so much I didn’t even notice the time pass away. Anyone would think we were old friends. And in some twisted way we actually were. When we reached the gate I could feel Brad’s tenseness increase and I could understand how he was feeling. I’d only asked him to walk to school with me and he knew that time was nearly up. I think he liked acting like we were friends for that short time knowing that when we got inside those gates we’d go our separate ways and he’d go back to having no friends again. I think I felt comfortable enough with Brad to take the next step even though there was still a part of me that was weary of trusting him.

"Well, Storm I’ll take these books back to the library for you. Thanks for the walk." Brad smiled as he began walking away.

"Hey, Brad. Thanks for the walk." I said smiling back at him.

"No sweat. See you later, Dude."

Brad and I just smiled and nodded at each other as we went our separate ways. Nothing great had happened except we got along really well. I don’t mind taking things slowly. I have a feeling they’ll work out just fine. Good things take time.

Out of habit I slid my fingers along my neck where I usually played with my necklace. My eyes downcast in remorse as I realized the only necklace I had was a phantom one. I still felt like I was wearing it. How strange it was that an inanimate object can become such an important part of your life. The necklace. My necklace…

Lucas sat down next to me and opened his bag, he pulled out a ring and a necklace. They were both silver, and were matching, each with a dolphin etched into them. "Choose. Ring or Necklace." He asked.

"I…I can’t decide, they’re both so cool. Where did you get them from?" I asked.

Lucas paused for a moment, not taking his eyes off the ring and the necklace. His face gave away that he was in deep thought, remembering something maybe. I knew that these were important to him though, I could tell by his body language, perhaps of some sentimental value. His eyes became watery and he looked like he was trying to hold himself back from crying.

"I’ve had them since I was little, my grandmother gave them to me and told me to give one to the first person I fell in love with and it would mean we would always be connected." He paused again and let one tear slip away. "You’re my first Storm. You’re my first love. I want you to have one. Then it’ll always be me and you…"

"Storm? Storm?"

"Oh, Carl." I said unenthusiastically.

"You ok, Buddy?"

"Not really." I admitted, having probably already given away the pained look on my face. "Just some things on my mind. I’ll be fine."

"Can I help?"

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, trying to wipe any thoughts of Lucas away that I could. They weren’t proving to be helpful at all. I had to distract myself. "No. I’m ok. Hey…didn’t you go out with Claire last night?"

"Yeah." Carl said nodding his head with a smile on his face.

"I need something to take my mind off things." I smiled as I put my arm around Carl’s shoulder and we headed to class. "Well why don’t you tell me all about your date with that beautiful girl you had last night?"

 

* * * * * * *

 

"Storm? June? Dade? Mike? Anyone home?" Lucas asked as he entered the front door to the Marcus household. "Hello!?"

"I must have just missed everybody." Lucas cursed as he looked at his watch. "I’ll just grab some of my clean clothes from my baby’s room. Get changed, go to school, get down on my knees and hope my baby takes me back. Here’s hoping, Lucas."

Lucas ran upstairs with a broad smile on his face; happy to be back where he now knew he belonged. Lucas walked right into Storm’s room and fell down on his bed, letting a yawn out as he hugged the duvet. Driving all night had taken its toll on Lucas but he figured it was a small price to pay to get back where he so anxiously wanted to be. A content sigh escaped Lucas as he lay on Storm’s bed. Finally he could close a chapter of his life that had eaten at him inside ever since he first lost Ashley. Now he could truly call Merlow his home and have Storm be the person he shared his home with.

Lucas could tell Storm had had one of those mornings by the way his bed was barely made properly and some of his clothes still lay on the floor. Storm usually kept his room well so Lucas knew that he’d either had a rough night or a rough morning. Or maybe both. Lucas had a habit of picking Storm’s clothes up after him when Storm didn’t pick them up himself simply for the reason it made him feel domestic by doing it. So naturally Lucas tidied up Storm’s bed and then picked up Storm’s shirt and pants that lay on the floor.

"Oh, I missed you." Lucas sighed happily as he held Storm’s shirt to his face and inhaled.

"What the hell?" Lucas said in surprise as he put Storm’s shirt to his face again and inhaled the smell.

Lucas could smell the familiar scent of his love laced with cool water but there was also another smell. One he didn’t recognize. He also noticed Storm’s top button had been ripped off. It didn’t take long for Lucas to put two and two together. Images flashed through Lucas’ mind of someone else being intimate with Storm. His Storm. It was then that Lucas realized that none of his own clothes or gear were in the room now. Everything that belonged to him was no longer here.

"It’s all gone…" Lucas gasped in disbelief, a look of hurt and despair coming over him. "I don’t believe it."

A sense of panic began rising within Lucas as his mind raced with the overload of thoughts and emotions. "I always believed you’d take me back." Lucas said with a strained voice, his eyes beginning to water as he felt his dreams fall apart around him. "This can’t be happening…I won’t believe it."

Lucas threw the shirt to the ground and ran out of the room and downstairs. Before Lucas could even reach the door he was already in tears and trying to control the pain and confusion he felt inside. He didn’t know what to do. His heart wasn’t letting his mind think straight but all he knew is he had to get out of there. He had to think. And he couldn’t do that here…

 

* * * * * * *

 

Sarah’s left foot arched up before she charged her leg forward and struck the punching bag at full force. Before it swung back, Sarah spun on her feet and brought her right fist in from the left and hit the bag again. In one fluid movement she flew right into a side kick with her left leg to finish off her basic three step combo. Sarah bounced on her feet, sucking in the air and trying to get the oxygen moving around in her body. Sweat beaded on her skin and her chest heaved, this was one of Sarah’s favorite times of her workouts. The time when she could feel the exertion pushing on her and she had crossed over from working up a sweat to busting one.

Sarah was about to start another combo on the bag when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around to see Claire standing before her in her gym gear and Sarah remembered she was supposed to help Claire work a light routine. Sarah took off her tiny cordless headphones that she always wore to help accompany her workouts with music. "Hi, Claire." Sarah smiled.

"Hi, Sarah. Sorry I’m late. They kept me in the student council meeting longer than I thought we would be."

"That’s ok. You all ready?"

"Sure am."

"Let’s go then." Sarah said patting Claire on the back.

"Sarah, are you ok?"

"Huh?" Sarah said bewildered.

"Well it’s like you’ve got a big smile plastered on your face."

"Can’t a girl be happy?"

"Yeah. I was just wondering. It’s not one of those obvious smiles. It’s one of those I’m happy from the inside out smiles." Claire said trying to study Sarah’s body language to see what could possibly have her so happy. "It wouldn’t have anything to do with that ring I’ve never seen before that you have hanging around your neck?"

"Oh, that ring." Sarah blushed with a proud smile.

"Nah…you can’t be…" Claire said shaking her head in disbelief, her smile growing even wider.

"We are." Sarah beamed proudly.

"Oh my go…"

"It’s not what you think though." Sarah said trying to quell the wide eyed surprised look Claire was giving her. "He gave me this ring last night and asked me to marry him…in two years. I told Mike a long time ago that he was the one I wanted to marry. And we thought like maybe five or so years from now we would. But well…things have happened that have made us…depend on each other more and it just makes me even surer about him being the one for me. He’s the guy for me." Sarah sighed happily.

"Oh wow. I think I’m gonna cry." Claire said putting her hands to her mouth, still in disbelief. "That is so…beautiful. Congratulations!"

Claire wrapped her arms around Sarah and hugged her tight. Claire gave Sarah a kiss on the cheek and then squeezed her again for another hug. Claire pulled back rubbed her watery eyes and beamed back at Sarah happily. "Oh man, I think I’m almost as happy as you are, Sarah. I’m so happy for you. I just think it’s so beautiful that you and Mike have what you have. He’s such a great guy. I am really happy for you, Sarah. I really am."

"Thanks." Sarah said still unable to shake off her overwhelming smile. "I’m still trying to absorb it too."

"We have got to celebrate. This has party written all over it. Just for your closest friends."

"I dunno. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to tell anyone. And I mean we’re not getting married for a few years yet. This ring is just sorta like to say Mike’s got dibs on me."

"I wish I had a love like yours. Yours seems so stable and solid. You just seem to fit."

"I know people will probably think we’re getting married young but I don’t really care. Some people marry late, some early. And with Mike I’m the only girl he’s ever loved and Mike’s a one girl kinda guy. For him, I’m it. He’s loyal and faithful. Caring and thoughtful. Plus I think he’s beautiful. He’s gentle. And he’s crazy about me. He truly genuinely loves me. He’ll never be with anyone else but me."

"Aaahhh." Claire sighed with a blissful smile on her face before a small laugh escaped her. "Man. It’s like they say. Opposites attract. You and I as friends. You’re loves success and I’m loves disaster."

"Hmm a disaster and a Stor…tell me how did your date go last night?"

"We were just like old friends…and that’s it." Claire laughed.

"In that case, I have the perfect next date for you…"

 

* * * * * * *

 

Lucas slammed on the brakes to the jeep before he jumped out and walked up the pathway to his front door. He swung the door open with a vengeance and didn’t even blink when the glass smashed as he walked straight through to his bedroom. He didn’t even notice or care if anyone else was in the house.

"Lucas!" Mira yelled as she ran in and saw the broken glass strewn across the floor.

Lucas didn’t give her a second look as he stormed into his bedroom and found exactly what he didn’t want to find. All the clothes and gear he had kept in Storm’s room now lay on his own bed awaiting him. Lucas’ insides burned with a rage he didn’t even know he had and wasn’t even sure why he had it.

"Son, you’re back!" Mira said as she stepped up behind Lucas and put her hand on his shoulder.

"Get your fucking hands off me." Lucas said defiantly, his eyes burning into the pile on his bed.

"Lucas…"

"What do you know about this!?" Lucas demanded as he pointed to his bed.

"I don’t know what you’re talking about, Son."

"WHEN WAS HE HERE!"

"Yesterday. He brought your things back yesterday. It’s for the best son."

"What did you say to him? What the hell did you say to him!?"

"What he needed to hear. That he would be ok. The sooner he met someone else the better. His life can get back to normal now. You’ve ruined enough of his life, Lucas. Let him go."

"I lost Ashley because of you. And it’s taken me all this time to finally make peace with her and bring her back into my life. I won’t lose Storm because of you too. You’ve interfered with my life enough. And the life of the people I care most about. No more." Lucas said walking straight past his mother.

"I have done nothing wrong."

"You told Marty Lee about Storm!" Lucas yelled in rage as he spun on his feet to face his mother. "You had no right! You had no right to tell anybody else about Storm’s sexuality or the fact that he was my boyfriend. Only Storm has that right."

"Marty Lee is a good boy. He came over to see you last weekend and you weren’t here. So we talked. I did not mean to breach Storm’s privacy. It was an error on my part."

"Was it an error when you gave birth to me? You seem to care about everyone else but me. Marty Lee’s a good boy. Ashley’s a victim. Storm’s badly influenced. What about me?" Lucas said, his face full of anguish and hurt. "Why don’t you ever care about me?"

"Son, of course I care about you. I love you. You’re my son."

"Then why do you do this to me?" Lucas asked in bewilderment as his eyes streamed with tears. "Why do you have to hurt me? Why do you have to take my happiness away? None of this would have happened if you just let me be. I would have taken care of Ashley. I would have been there for her. But you took her away from me. You and her stupid parents. And then I found Storm and suddenly hating you didn’t seem to matter anymore. But you had to interfere again and now…I’ve lost him too. Would you even care if I was dead?"

"Of course I would, Son." Mira said as she put her hand to Lucas’ face and stroked it gently. "I…I’m trying to protect you too."

"Protect me from what? From being happy?"

"From making mistakes that could ruin the rest of your life. If you and Ashley stayed together and she had the baby, what would you have done?"

"Everything I had to. I would have sweated blood for my baby. My baby!" Lucas cried. "You had no right to take it away from us! I know that it’s not the way it was supposed to happen but it happened. You should have let us do what we had to do. We’re not the first people in the world this would have happened to. Look at June. She had Abby at the same age as Ashley was. And look where she is now? She’s a doctor with three beautiful children and she’s one of the most wonderful women I’ve ever met. She didn’t let anyone condemn or control her. And those times were even harder and more condemning and judgmental and bigoted than they are now."

"And what about Storm? What about him? Even if you did have a chance with him, what kind of future do you seriously expect with someone of the same sex?"

"You’ve always had a problem with me being bisexual. I didn’t care then. And I don’t care now. I love Ashley. But I ‘love’ Storm. We would have gone the distance. I’m not na´ve. I know it’s going to be hard for us to try and make it in a world that doesn’t accept or want us but I’m prepared to do whatever I have to. I would die for Storm, do you know what that means? That means I sure as hell don’t give a fuck what small minded interfering people like you think. And I don’t give a damn what the world thinks either. Nothing, and I mean nothing will stop me from getting Storm back. Not you and not anyone else."

"Have you asked Storm whether he wants you back? You’ve hurt enough already, I don’t think he’ll come back for seconds. He told me he’s moving on. He told me himself in his own words that it is over between you. You have no one to blame for losing him except yourself. You can’t blame me for this one, Lucas."

"You talked to Marty Lee. You could have found out where Ashley was for me if you even cared about me. But you didn’t. Storm got it for me even though it could have cost him bodily harm. That’s love."

"So why did you leave him?"

"He was the one who told me to go."

"You would have gone anyway. It’s bad enough you confused him, you had to break his heart too. You say you love Storm. I don’t believe you." Mira said straight faced. "Did you sleep with Ashley again? Did you!?!"

"It’s none of your business."

"You know nothing about love. You know nothing about raising a child. You know nothing about responsibility. If you slept with that girl I’m warning you. Stay away from Storm."

"You’re warning ME to stay away from Storm?" Lucas said in disbelief. "You’re absolutely crazy. And for your information I did not sleep with Ashley while I was gone."

"Lucas if you love that boy at all you’ll never go near him again. You’ve hurt him enough. If you care about him at all just leave him to get on with his life and put you and his whole confusion behind him. Let him go before you hurt him as much as you hurt Ashley."

"Do you know something?"

"What?"

"I…hate…you."

"You don’t mean that. I’m your mother."

"No you’re not. I don’t even think I’ll call you mother anymore. I will never ever forgive you for what you’ve done to me."

"I have put a roof over your head. Fed you. Looked after you when you’ve been sick. Given you everything your father and I could provide. We haven’t let you lack for anything. And this is how you treat me?"

"I can’t take this anymore. I can’t believe you’re my mother. You used to be so good to me. I don’t know when you turned. Was it when you found out Ashley was pregnant or when I told you I was bisexual? Somewhere you seemed to turn on me. I can’t take it anymore. It’s not supposed to be like this. I’m not supposed to hate you. I think it’s time I left."

"What?" Mira said in disbelief putting her hands to her mouth.

"I can’t be here anymore. I’ll find somewhere to stay. Do what you like with my things, I won’t be back for them." Lucas said calmly and surprisingly without any hint of anger or bitterness.

"No, Son. We can get through this! You don’t have to leave. Let’s talk this over."

"There’s nothing to talk about. Goodbye, Mother." Lucas said as he stepped over the broken glass and headed out to the jeep. "There’s money in my room. There’s more than enough there to pay for the window."

Mira ran out after her son as he hopped into the jeep and turned on the ignition. Lucas was surprised by how much clarity he seemed to have on his own home situation right now. He didn’t have one. All he wanted to do right now was get away from here.

"Son, please don’t do this." Mira cried, completely caught off guard by her son’s actions. "I love you. Don’t go. I’ll change. This is your home. You’re all we have. Please, Son."

"You think you’d treat me a little better then since I’m all you have left. It’s too little, too late. I’ve had enough. I won’t let you hurt me anymore. You say I hurt Ashley. You say I hurt Storm. What about you hurting me?" Lucas asked becoming a little overwhelmed. "You’re not supposed to hurt your children. Bye, Mother."

"Lucas!" Mira screamed as Lucas pulled out of the drive and drove away.

Lucas didn’t look back once even though he could hear his mother breaking down. He felt terrible inside but if he didn’t make some kind of stand he knew she’d just keep hurting him. Lucas’ face was wet with tears and he wiped his nose as he tried to figure out just what he was going to do now. It seemed he’d done a boomerang back to Storm’s house. He knew he was heading back there for now but he had no idea where he was going to sleep tonight.

Lucas pulled into the drive and jumped out of the jeep before he ran inside and headed straight to the phone. Picking it up and dialing the first number that popped into his head. "Anna? Can I speak to Anna Sheridan please?"

"I vedy soddy. Anna sreeping. Vedy rate."

"Look I know it’s 3am there but it’s her brother. I need to talk to her."

"Soddy. Goodbye."

"Stupid friggen Bi…" Lucas began to say before he caught his tongue. "That won’t help, Lucas. Ok who else?"

Lucas began dialing in a new number and waited anxiously for a reply. "Hello?"

"Hello?" Responded a softly spoken sweet sounding voice.

"Ashley?"

"Lucas?"

"Ashley I’m sorry I rang you on your cellphone at school but I didn’t know what else to do."

"What’s wrong, Lukey?"

"I don’t know what to do. I came back and Storm’s already started moving on without me. He moved all my stuff out. I think he might be with someone else now trying to get over me. I hurt him really bad, Ashley. I don’t think he’s going to take me back." Lucas said sobbing softly. "I don’t know what I’m going to do. I tried to call Anna in Japan but she’s asleep. Everyone else around here is at school and you’re the only person I could think of. I hope I’m not interrupting anything."

"It’s fine, Lucas. Where are you now?"

"I’m at Storm’s."

"Ok, I’ve got your number up here on caller ID. Hang up and I’ll call you back. I don’t want you racking up a phone bill on his account to call me. Hang up."

Lucas hung up the phone and waited for the ring which came almost instantaneously. "That was quick. I’m sorry to be such a hassle, Ashley. You didn’t have to hang up and call here you know. I’m going to leave some money next to the phone before I leave anyway."

"Lucas. You’re calling a cell phone, long distance. My account gets paid for anyway. It’s ok. I know how much that family means to you and I don’t want you to get in trouble for calling me."

"I’ll still leave some money. I’d feel bad otherwise. Ashley, I got into a big fight with my Mom. I told her I’d had enough of her and that I wasn’t coming back. Now I not only don’t have Storm but I’m homeless. I don’t know what to do."

"Lucas take a deep breath. Now you told me a lot about your friends there including Storm. And if what you tell me is true, I refuse to believe any of them would let you sleep on the streets. I doubt your mother would either."

"I’m not going back there. She’s hurt me enough and she’s hurt people I care about. Maybe I should ask Claire for a ride down to the City Mission." Lucas said letting out a sarcastic little laugh as he contemplated his lack of a home situation.

"What about Storm? Have you spoken to him yet?"

"No. I haven’t seen him."

"So how do you know he’s moved on? How do you know he doesn’t still want you?"

"Ashley, I really hurt him. Even though my mother and I were fighting she said something that made me think. She said if I cared about him at all I’d leave him be before I could hurt him again. I’m not sure he’d take me back anyway. But all I know is…I think…he might be better off without me."

"Not true. Lucas…I heard you mumbling his name in your sleep while you were up here. Has he ever complained of you mumbling my name in your sleep before?"

"No."

"Exactly. The whole time you were up here you were pining for him. You were talking about him. Talking about ‘your’ Storm. I could see the way you blushed when you talked about him or when I asked you about him. I didn’t even have a chance to make a move on you. And even if I had a chance I wouldn’t have bothered. I know a lost cause when I see one." Ashley said with a small laugh. "How can you say he’s better off without you? Can you honestly tell me that anyone will love him as much as you do?"

"No. But at least he might not hurt as much if he doesn’t care about them as much as he did me."

"Weak. Weak. You’ll have to do better than that."

"Ashley…if he’s moved on…I don’t want to pull him back." Lucas said with calm certainty. "This is the right thing to do for him. He’ll find a girl and he’ll be able to have a proper relationship with them without having to worry about hiding. I’m doing him a favor. And if he’s already started moving on without me…I won’t stop him. I’ve made up my mind."

"Come back to me then, Lucas. You can stay here until you decide what you want to do next. You can come to school with me. There’s plenty of room here. My Aunt will be fine. Besides, she likes you. If you catch a plane back up here you’ll be here in time for dinner. Do you have enough money to get here?"

"Yeah I’ve got enough in the bank to cover an airfare. Are you sure it’s ok?"

"Lucas. After all we’ve been through you’re asking me that?"

"Ok. I don’t know what to say, Ashley. Thank you."

"Ok, I’ve got to go. Call me from the airport before you leave. Lucas…"

"Yeah?"

"I’m sorry things didn’t work out. Bye."

"Bye…"

 

* * * * * * *

 

Ever since this morning I’d been feeling really…emotional about Mike. You know how sometimes you just feel like you really need to be close to someone you care about? Like your family, a friend or someone important. Sometimes you see a movie or something on TV, read an article or just having something happen to you that makes you realize how important someone is to you and you just want to spend some time with them or just make sure they know how you feel about them. That’s what I was feeling right now. I still felt really bad about everything Mike had been through and guilty that we’d taken so long to bring him into our home permanently.

So now I was looking for Mike but he didn’t seem to be in any of our usual spots. And that usually meant that he was at the back of the school where all of us went when we just wanted to be out of the hustle and bustle of school life or when we needed to think…or make out. Sure enough, I found Mike sitting by himself eating a sandwich and reading some textbook that I didn’t recognize.

"Hi." I said softly as I sat behind Mike and wrapped my arms around the front of him and leant my head on his shoulder.

"Hey, Storm. What’s wrong?" Mike asked as he put down his sandwich.

"What? A guy can’t hug his bro?" I said making my head more comfortable on his shoulder as I looked at Mike’s eyes, which still remained fixed to his textbook.

"Of course he can. I just wondered what was wrong. Is it still Lucas?"

"I guess. Partly. But I just I wanted to spend some time with you. By ourselves. I don’t know."

Mike stopped what he was doing and for the first time since I arrived, he actually looked at me and then furrowed his brow in wonder. "You look so sad, Storm. Is there anything I can do?"

"No. You could hold me or give me a hug I guess." I said struggling to choke the words out. "But I don’t want anybody to call you a fag or something. I don’t care if they call me one but…"

"Nobody will call you that while I’m still here. And I’m not going anywhere."

"Promise? You won’t leave? I like having you around. I don’t know what I’d do if you left our house. I want you to stay forever. Well not forever…but you know what I mean. I…I don’t want you to go back to your fathers. I want you to stay with us."

"I…I don’t plan on leaving. But…Mom really wants me to try and give Bill another chance. She says he’s been sober for a couple months now."

"I know you have to make amends with him. But you don’t have to go back." I said desperately. "You don’t have to. Stay with us. Stay by me. I love you so much, Bro. I don’t want you to go back. Please? Promise me?"

"I don’t know, Storm. I don’t know."

"Do you want to go back?"

"I’m not sure."

"I love you, Mike. So much. It hurts me to think of you going back there. I…I don’t want you to go but I know it’s your choice if one day that’s what you decide to do. You’ve been around as long as I can remember. I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you. Just remember that I love you ok? And don’t forget that I am here for you. For anything. I don’t care what. Anything you need. I’m here."

"Thank you." Mike stuttered as he turned and kissed my forehead. "For everything. Get outta here before you make me a crybaby like you."

"But we didn’t even get to the kiss and make up bit yet." I whined.

"Get outta here." Mike smiled, shoving me off.

"So it’s like that." I said standing up and brushing myself off. "I know when I’m not wanted. Just don’t expect any good stuff when you get home tonight, Mister."

"Bye, Storm." Mike said waving at me with a smartass smile on his face.

Now I felt much better just from that little bit of quality bonding time. You know I feel really lucky that most of the people close to me know how much I love them whether it’s Mike, Mom, Abby, Dade or Sarah. I would hate for any of them not to know how I feel. Just knowing Mike now knew how I felt made me okay to do whatever else I needed to do today. But you know I just couldn’t let him get away with that get outta here statement…I have feelings you know…really I do.

"Oh, Mike…you remember that time you did your washing and they came out pink and you had to spend all the time bleaching them?"

"No…" Mike said shaking his head in wide eyed disbelief before he got that look in his eye that said my number was up.

"Yeah, that was me." I grinned. "See ya!"

 

* * * * * * *

 

"Last call for Flight 108 to Hamilton Domestic. Now boarding at Gate 3."

Lucas stood up and threw his bag over his shoulder. He took one more look out the large glass wall that welcomed new arrivals to Merlow, providing them with a breathtaking view of the city center and Lake Herren beyond with the snow capped mountains way in the back. Lucas felt like he was leaving heaven behind him as he psyched himself to get on the plane out. "This is it, Lucas. Don’t cry. Don’t cry."

Too late. Lucas cursed himself as he closed his eyes and felt the tears begin to fall. Lucas rushed through the arrivals/departure column to his gate and took his place at the back of the line. He tried to block out all the thoughts and memories running through his head as he realized what he was leaving behind. He pulled out the one item he had taken from Storm’s room before he left, an old photo of himself and Storm when they were still friends. It reminded Lucas of how close they were even before they took the step up to a relationship and it showcased Storm’s trademark smile. He was pulled from his reverie by the attendant who had made Lucas realize he was now at the head of the line. Lucas stared at the photo one more time, running his fingers along Storm’s face. "Bye, Storm…"

And with that Lucas handed his ticket over and prepared to board the plane that would take him to where the rest of his life would start again.

"Lucas?"

Lucas turned around having sworn he could have heard someone call out to him. He turned his head from side to side but could not see who had called out to him. Inside Lucas hoped somehow Storm would turn up and stop Lucas from leaving the way he had stopped Storm from leaving at the train station on the night that sealed their relationship. But he knew Storm didn’t even know he was in Merlow let alone at the airport. "Must be hearing things." Lucas mumbled to himself with a strained voice as he headed down the corridor.

"Lucas? Dude Boy? Sheridan is that you?"

This time Lucas knew he heard something. He turned around again to see who was calling out to him, hoping that someone was there. He needed someone to be there. Lucas looked through the crowd of faces standing before him until his eyes went wide finally recognizing who had been standing there all along. "Oh my go…"

"Lucas! I knew it was you."

"Marcel!" Lucas cried as he ran up to his long distant friend and wrapped his arms around him. "I didn’t’ even recognize you!"

"It is really good to see you, Lucas." Marcel smiled as he held on to Lucas tightly.

"I knew someone would come." Lucas said sobbing and shivering on Marcel’s shoulder as he held on as if for dear life.

"Hey, hey. What’s wrong?" Marcel asked concerned as Lucas continued to sob onto his shoulder and refused to let Marcel go. "Lucas? Talk to me, Guy. You’re scaring me. What’s wrong?"

"I really needed someone to be here. You have no idea how…I can’t describe."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I was about to walk through that boarding passage and leave Merlow forever. You’re the last person I ever expected to see here but words can’t describe how I feel. I’m crying because…I can’t explain it. I was almost about to leave. Thank you, Marcel. Thank you." Lucas sighed resting his head on Marcel’s shoulder.

"For what?"

"For being here. I’m sorry I’m such a wreck I’ve just had such a terrible week and today has been really bad. I was just like so relieved that I saw you and it gave me a reason to stay that I had to cry and let out all the pressure on me. Plus I’m so happy to see you. I can’t describe why I’m so overwhelmed."

"I’m really worried about you, Bud. Why are you so cut up?"

"Just don’t let me go. Not yet. Just hold me and tell me everything’s going to be ok now. Then I’ll let you go and I’ll have a good look at how much you’ve changed. But just anchor me a little longer first."

"Everything’s going to be ok now." Marcel said with a smile. "I’ll make sure of it."

"I believe you."

"If anyone can make whatever’s bothering you go away I can. I mean, you know what they say. Forget the rest…"

 * * * * * * *

 

Well Marcel's back for reasons we'll find out in Chapter 19b.  And for how long we'll find out in the next chapter also.  This chapter was more about Lucas as an individual rather than the whole Storm/Lucas situation.  And also for Storm's development and dealing with his guilt over Mike and budding friendship with Brad.   No Dade or Josh in this chapter but expect to see them in the next chapter for sure, as well as Marty Lee.  Until next time...

Stay Tuned for SF19b: Redefining Faith and send me a note** to let me know what you thought of Chapter 19: Last Call for Lucas Sheridan.  Or add your comments to the SN Board

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