The Smile is a story about gay teenagers who are discovering their sexuality. If sex between male teenagers is offensive to you, illegal for you to read or if you are underage then you should move on to something else.
The Smile is a work of pure fiction -- the characters and the events do not represent any person or situation. Copyright © 2003-2004 by Reader of Tales, all rights reserved. You may contact me by firstname.lastname@example.org. Note this is a new email address once again.
~Reader of Tales, Jan 16, 2006
The Smile - Chapter 10 - How strong is the foundation of our love?
Thanksgiving was fast approaching and with it the cold weather. Midterms were over and everyone was looking forward to the long weekend coming up.
Kyle was talking to Andy online as usual. Ever since their talk when each discovered the other was gay, they had made it a point to talk on the phone frequently and to chat online everyday.
IBlowWoodwinds: Aww, what's wrong? *gives you a hug*
GayFish15: Dan is so depressed lately. He won't even talk to me about it.
GayFish15: *cries* and he barely even lets me hold him or comfort him.
GayFish15: I think he's giving up, either on life or perhaps just on us.
IBlowWoodwinds: I'm sorry. That sucks so much.
GayFish15: Not your fault but I know what you mean.
GayFish15: I just wish he'd talk to me. This isn't JUST his problem.
IBlowWoodwinds: I know what you mean. Ian and I talk about everything ever since his mom was so open and caring with us. I can't imagine how I would react if he kept everything in.
There was a pause of a couple of minutes which made Kyle worry.
GayFish15: Sorry, I'm here. Some jerk was getting on my case about my swim performance last week.
GayFish15: Without Dan on the team at the moment, we aren't doing as well.
IBlowWoodwinds: Is this jerk someone from school?
GayFish15: Actually, no. I don't know who he is but he said he was at the meet.
GayFish15: He says we should just give up without "my buddy" being able to compete.
IBlowWoodwinds: Don't worry about him. I'm sure you'll be ok. Dan won't be out forever. And I'm sure Dan just needs more time. It's not like he expected this from his Dad.
Rick stared at the ceiling, something he did a lot of when Sarah visited.
"Tell me what you're thinking about, hun," Sarah asked him.
There was a pause before he replied, but not as long as they had been only a couple of days ago. "Seely Hall."
Sarah smiled. She knew exactly what he was thinking. They'd met only a couple of weeks before final exams her freshman year and both of them had been too busy studying to really do much other than talk at meals.
The night before her last exam she was going out of her mind trying to memorize human anatomy. Rick had finished his exams that day and was only hanging around because Sarah was still there.
He'd found her in the library, her hands knitted into her hair, looking like she was about to cry or scream or something that would not have been allowed in the quietness of the library.
She took one look at him across the table as he approached and suddenly the internal organs were forgotten, and were replaced with a smile on her face.
Fifteen minutes later, they were in an alcove, in a deserted and rarely travelled part of Seely hall, making out like there was no tomorrow. Oh, she still studied anatomy for the next hour and a half, but not the kind that helped her on her exam.
At this thought she blushed just a bit, even though no one but her would have understood the reference.
"Stress relief 101. If I remember correctly, I never did get a grade for that class," she giggled at the code name they'd made up for their secluded, nighttime activities.
"We couldn't wait for graduation when life would become easier, more simple," he said.
Truth was, Rick couldn't remember a time when he'd ever found life simple and Sarah knew this. He was always saying things like, "I can't wait until I'm finish with school." or "When we own our home things will be easier." or "Once we have kids..." or "Once Dan is gone away to college."
She sighed. If only she'd have known what she did now. That afternoon she'd talked to the doctor about what her mom had told her about Rick's childhood. The doctor agreed that this was probably the source of Rick's problem with Dan and was going to start to explore this particular set of childhood experiences starting tomorrow.
"Life is always more complicated than we thought but that's why we have each other."
With that a tear escaped Rick's left eye.
Gale walked in the door, so glad to actually have a Saturday off. It had been weeks since that had happened. As a result, she hadn't really had much time to talk to her son since the school year had begun. They would share a meal or two a week but never really have time to hang out anymore.
Kyle was forced to be independent, and he did it well. She never had to worry about him when he was on his own.
"Kyle, are you home?"
"Yeah, mom, " he replied, as he came to greet her with a big hug.
"Can you help me with the groceries?" She passed him the bags she had in her hands. "Take these to the kitchen and I'll get the rest from the car."
While they were putting the groceries away, they always talked about school and his friends. Gale knew Kyle had a new best friend. After Andy had left, she feared that Kyle would become a loner. He'd had no other friends for years other than Andy.
Today she went on a different tangent. Kyle was going to be 16 this year and as far as she knew he didn't have a girlfriend, nor had he talked about girls recently.
"Son, I've been so busy with work lately that I feel like I'm losing touch with what's going on in your life."
"Mom, we talk at dinner sometimes."
"I know but there are some things we just never have time to talk about like what you're watching on TV these days, or what you're playing in band this year, of perhaps what girls have caught your eye this year at school."
Kyle's thoughts shifted into high gear suddenly. He knew he wanted to have this talk but he wasn't ready now. And HE wanted to be the one to bring it up.
"Well, I'm watching random shows these days. There's not a lot on that I like anymore. Lots of reality shows. I like some of them. But I've been busy with school work this year and Ian and I are doing a lot of practicing, too."
"I miss when we would sit down and just watch TV together," she replied to this. They had a couple of shows that they used to always watch together. "So, band is keeping you busy this year?"
"Yeah, but Ian and I are doing a couple of duets, too, so there's more to practice. But it's a lot of fun too so it's not so bad."
"When is your christmas concert this year?"
"I think it's on December 12th. It's a Friday night."
"Well, I will be there for that. I haven't missed a concert yet. It's going to be different sitting by myself though. Andy always used to go with me. By the way, have you heard from him?"
"Yeah, he's doing really well. He joined the swim team and is being mentored by the lead swimmer."
"That's so good to hear. I'm glad you two are still able to be long distance friends. I worried about you back in September because you seemed depressed and I wondered how you would handle losing your best friend. And then you met Ian and it seemed like Andy was forgotten.
"Has he made any friends in his new school?"
"Yeah, that lead swimmer. His name is Dan." He wanted to tell her about everything, Dan, Dan's dad, Dan living with Andy, and all that but this was a subject he had to avoid. However, perhaps this was the way to bring up the subject without telling her about himself.
"That's so good to hear. I know he was really upset when you two had to say goodbye back in August."
At that moment the phone rang and Kyle was spared from talking about girls. He knew he had to tell her soon but it was a lot harder to bring up than he'd thought it would be. And, fortunately for him, his mother forgot about girls for the rest of the evening.
Sunday afternoon at the mall is always busy. It was almost like being at school. Kids from every imaginable social clique were there hanging out.
Ian had never been part of a clique before. The closest thing to that was band but he never hung out with anyone before Kyle and he couldn't count that because Kyle was his boyfriend.
He was glad to be out walking around the mall again. He'd just spent the last 3 hours waiting to get his haircut. Gawd, how he hated to wait. Good thing he had his new gaming magazine with him at the time. He read it through twice in that time but it was better than Car and Driver or Popular Mechanics. Ugh!
Ian was so lost in thought about the last 3 hours that he didn't even see the guy approach who stuck out a foot and tripped him. Ian went tumbling across the floor of the mall.
When he finally figured out that he wasn't standing and that the pain in his leg had come from someone who was now standing over him, he looked up and began to curse at himself once he saw who it was. Miles Bastiani.
Miles was one of his worst nightmares from 8th grade. Everyday in gym class Miles would make sure that he and his friends cornered someone in the change rooms. Ian had been the target more times than anyone else in the class.
"Hey fag! Why don't you watch where you're goin'! Just like in gym last year, you can't even walk in the mall."
Ian had changed a bit since last spring. For one thing he'd started to grow and was now the same height as Miles. For another, he was more confident about himself now that he understood his feelings for boys - not that that was helping in certain situations.
"I wasn't the one who stuck out my foot to trip someone on purpose, you idiot!", Ian blurted out as he stood up.
"Oooo, the little gay boy's trying to get tough on us now boys." With that, Miles gave Ian a shove backward.
Fortunately, Ian had regained his balance just in time and was able to stay standing, while he glared back at his old nemesis. "Why don't you go pick on someone else you asshole."
Miles wasn't one to back down and Ian knew it. But he was not prepared for what happened next.
"Because I want to pick on a gay boy who likes to kiss his boyfriend in the woods on Royal Oak Drive."
Ian flushed. How could anyone know about that? They had been so careful - checked around to see if anyone was watching. Panic was setting in and he didn't know how to react.
Finally, a bit too late and a bit too timidly, he said, "I don't know what you're talking about, Bastiani." And then he added, in an attempt to turn it back on Miles, "But I find it interesting that you would go around looking for two guys kissing. Did you enjoy watching whoever it was?"
Miles reacted so fast to that with a fist to Ian's jaw that Ian didn't even have time to flinch.
Fortunately for Ian, before Miles could place the kick he was preparing for, two security guards had restrained him.
He knew Andy had been there. He'd heard him walk in, quietly, move something around as quietly as possible and then leave, barely making a noise with the door. Part of him was grateful that Andy was so considerate but part of him wanted Andy to just make noise and stop tiptoeing around him all the time.
And, all the while, he'd sat looking out the window, staring at nothing in particular. The neighborhood children were playing up and down the street. Some had even tried to get him to play ball with them this afternoon but he just walked on by, zombie like. It had been that way all week.
His mom had told him about what grandma had said about his dad. He couldn't help but wonder what could have happened. He tried to put himself in his fathers shoes and he kept coming to the same conclusion over and over again. But how could it be?
His mom also told him that grandma wanted to meet Andy. Part of him was shocked by her acceptance but part of him always knew she'd be this way. Right now, though, he wasn't ready to go see her.
He knew he was hurting Andy and this brought tears to his eyes. He worked very hard to keep Andy from seeing him cry though. He didn't want Andy to know why.
He also wanted to go to Andy, open up about what he was feeling and let Andy inside his shield once again but something kept stopping him. He wasn't sure why but he was starting to think perhaps it wasn't fair to Andy for him to stick around. But, where would he go?
For now, he decided to stay put. He let Andy hold him but they never shared any words. However, he just wished Andy would say something. He knew if Andy said anything to him, he'd break down, right then and there. Probably would have been a good thing but he wasn't really ready for that.
He considered sleeping down in the basement tonight and cry himself to sleep.
How the hell do I help him? Andy thought to himself. He'd tried just being there but that wasn't working. His mom just kept saying that Dan needed time.
He was afraid to leave Dan alone but deep down he knew Dan wouldn't do anything stupid. It hurt to see him just sitting there, day after day.
They walked to the bus stop together, sit on the bus, sit together at lunch, and sit on the bus together on the way home, then Dan would go to Andy's room and just sit there looking out the window.
And today, he didn't even turn around when I entered the room, his thoughs continued.
Perhaps I'll just let him have the bed to himself tonight and I'll sleep downstairs to give him some time to be alone and perhaps me some time to cry.
He had looked forward to times when he and Dan could sleep over at each other's houses and when this all happened, as distressing as it was, it seemed bittersweet at the same time for at least this meant they'd be spending every night together - at least for a little while.
But night after night, Dan just sat there, more still and silent with each passing day. Was there going to be a breaking point for him? Or was he just going to continue to sink deeper and deeper into despair?
He didn't have a clue what to do now. He'd thought his mom was right, just give him time, be there for him, and when Dan was ready, he'd open up or cry or whatever. Time was the factor and that required patience and patience was something that Andy never had enough of.
When he'd gone to the room a few minutes earlier, he'd gotten a change of clothes for tomorrow so he could just leave Dan be for the night. He'd probably take dinner to him at some point but after that he intended to leave Dan be for the rest of the night.
For now, he went to his computer and tried to look for Kyle or someone else to talk to, but he couldn't connect there, either. "Stupid computers," he mumbled. He really needed someone to talk to.
"You're lucky those guards were near by. Bastiani coulda really hurt you. I heard a couple of rumors about him last year and some of the kids he's hurt real bad but he never gets caught."
Kyle was sitting on Ian's bed looking at the nasty bruise on the side of Ian's chin. "You're lucky nothing is broken either."
"I'm more worried that we were seen, Kyle. Gawd, if this gets around school we're dead. I'm scared."
"Not much we can do about it, is there?"
Ian was quiet for a moment before answering which worried Kyle. "Well, the only thing I can think of is to not hang out anymore or break up."
Kyle was silent and a bit scared that Ian was actually thinking of doing just that. "But if we do that, won't that confirm to everyone that Bastiani did see us kissing?"
Ian smiled, "Yeah, it would. So, let's not do that." He sighed before he continued, "I was so scared we'd have to break up either because we couldn't think of a way to get around it or because my mom would make us."
"No way! Your mom already told me when I came in she was behind us 100%. She made me promise we wouldn't break up for that reason."
Ian smiled and a tear fell from his cheek.
"What's wrong, baby?", Kyle asked, alarmed that he'd said something wrong. He moved closer to Ian and wrapped his arms around his boyfriend.
"Nothing's wrong. My mom just continues to surprise me. I really thought she'd freak out and yet she was so nice to me and angry that someone would do this and then her comment to you... well, it just took me by surprise."
"I love your mom," Kyle said as he held Ian. After a pause he added, "of course, I love you more."
"I'm glad we're in this together. No matter what happens at school, I'm with you."
"And I'm with you, baby, no matter what."
And with that Kyle pushed Ian back on the bed, straddled him with his legs, held his arms above his head and looked into his boyfriend's eyes saying, "You're mine, Ian Canten."
Next thing Ian knew, Kyle was attacking his tongue with his own, kissing him with renewed energy.
Ian's mom worked away in the kitchen. She was worried of course but she'd seen how others had handled it before. Dating Bill in highschool had exposed her to his uncles and they had befriended a number of kids who were teased because they were different. Some of them turned out to be gay but hadn't dared to say anything while still in highschool.
Since confirming that Ian was gay, she'd done some research and talked to Uncle Tom and Uncle Rich a couple of times. She was thinking about getting involved with PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays, which helped to promote tollerance in the community. There was a chapter not far from here.
Bill's uncles had moved to California years ago but promised to spend some time with Ian and Kyle on their next visit. That was coming up soon with Thanksgiving. The big dinner was planned to be at Bill's parent's house.
She just hoped that Bill would be home for it. He'd been away on business since the end of September with a big contract - probably the biggest of his career. Ian hadn't even had a chance to tell him about Kyle yet. He was due home a week and a half before Thanksgiving. Of course, that was already 2 weeks past the original date of his return.
Anne had contacted PFLAG and was planning to go to a meeting soon. She just didn't want her involvement to cause a problem for Ian at school so she was being careful. If all went well, she was hoping Ian and Kyle would come to a few meetings with her.
Pausing in her thoughts she thought she'd heard crying coming from Ian's room. I hope they aren't fighting over the idea of breaking up. They need each other now more than ever, she thought to herself.
She got up and moved quietly down the hall, not wanting to disturb them. When she got to the room, Kyle was kissing Ian quite passionately. Embarrassed just a bit, she backed away from the door and moved quietly back to the kitchen.
Well, she thought to herself, I guess they aren't fighting. At least not the way I'd thought.
Clara found Andy staring at the TV. He didn't even like that show so she knew he wasn't really watching it.
She turned it off and went over to sit with him on the couch. They were in the basement so she knew Dan wouldn't overhear them. She'd just taken food up to him before bringing food down to her son as well.
"Missed you at dinner, honey," she said, handing him a plate with a hamburger and fries.
He took the plate and sat it on the couch beside him and started picking at the fries but didn't say anything.
"Andy, he's going to be ok. You getting all depressed isn't going to help him."
"I know, but I can't help it. I hate seeing him this way. I thought I could help him more but I don't even know what to say. And he doesn't tell me what he's thinking either."
"I think he will, honey. He's still trying to understand what's going on. And Sarah said the doctors have talked to him about how this isn't his fault but I think he's having a hard time with that because it all happened when his dad found out about the two of you.
"And, I think he has a right to think that too, even if it's not completely true."
"What do you think happened, mom?"
"Well, I'm not sure anyone can answer that but whatever it is, it probably has something to do with being gay, something that happened to Dan's dad or that he did to someone else. We can guess but I'm not sure that will help anyone.
"Somehow we have to help Dan see that this is not his fault. But, honestly, I don't know how we can do that."
They sat there in silence for a bit before Andy said, "I'm going to sleep down here tonight. I want to give Dan some space incase he needs it and I think I need it anyways."
"Ok, honey. I'll get you a blanket and pillow..." but she trailed off because there on the end of the couch was everything Andy needed.
She smiled at him, "When did you grow up to be so independant?"
He looked up sadly, "Last week when Dan stumbled threw the door."
He looked into his mom's eyes and a tear escaped from his.
"You know, he saved me. On the first day of school. He saved me from...," he trailed off, unsure of what to tell his mother.
"From what honey?"
"From the despair I felt after leaving Kyle," he half lied.
She sat in thoughtful silence for a moment before asking, "Andy, is Kyle gay too?"
"Yeah. But I only found out a couple of weeks ago. All this time we both were but we were afraid to say anything to each other."
"Well, that explains a few things. I have to say I was really worried about you the first couple of weeks we were here. My guess was, after we found out about you, that what that church had to say about homosexuality was the reason but now I see it was more than that."
Andy didn't respond. He didn't want her to know he was ready to kill himself that first day at school.
"I'm going upstairs now, honey. Please, try to eat something."
Kyle stayed for dinner with Ian and his mom, as he often did. His mom was working again but she was going to have time off during Thanksgiving so that was ok.
Ian's mom always had good food, and a lot of it. She seemed to think that both Ian and Kyle were too skinny. She'd often try to get them to have seconds or even thirds. There were times he would go home so stuffed that he would fall asleep while watching a little TV or while finishing the last of his homework.
"What are you and your mom doing for Thanksgiving, Kyle?"
"I think it's just the two of us this year."
"You don't have any other family in town?"
"No. They all live in the south. Mom moved up here to be with dad before I was born."
Anne had an idea. And it would lead into the boys meeting Bill's uncles. But she also knew that Kyle's mom didn't know about Kyle yet and she wasn't sure how it would work out.
"Do you think your mom would be interested in joining us at Ian's grandparents' home for dinner?"
Ian's face lit up with this suggestion. Any extra time he got with Kyle, especially on a holiday like thanksgiving was a bonus.
At first Kyle loved the idea but almost immediately he was scared. "I'd like that but I'm not sure that would be a good idea. Mom doesn't know about us yet. And didn't you say Ian's uncles would be there?"
"Yes, and that was part of my plan but I also knew it would be an awkward situation for you since your mom doesn't know yet. I'll leave it to you. I know Bill's family won't mind. We often have an extra family or two at this time of year who are left on their own."
"Ok, I'll think about it. I want to tell her soon, anyway. Maybe this is the motivation I need."
Kyle looked at Ian and smiled. This could be the best thanksgiving ever.
Dan descended down the stairs, heading for the basement. Andy's parents were in bed and Dan was concerned that Andy was going to be around somewhere and would try to stop him from going to the basement to sleep.
But Andy wasn't around. So he continued to the basement, moving quietly down the carpetted stairs and into the darkness. He didn't bother with the light because he only intended to lay down on the couch and fall asleep anyway.
But as he approached the couch, he stepped on something. He bent down and picked up Andy's shirt. Not thinking much of it, he moved to the couch, feeling around for it in the darkness. However there was someone there.
It was then he knew where Andy was.
Silently, tears fell from his face and he knew, more than anything else, he wanted to fall asleep there on the couch with Andy.
So, taking off his shirt, he laid next to his boyfriend, and wrapped his arms around him and fell asleep.
He ALWAYS hated hospitals. And this one was worse because of his father being here. But there was some relief at being here too.
He was about to talk to Doctor Orland. He'd seen him once since their first meeting but only to answer a few questions about the night his dad attacked him.
Today, the doctor said he wanted to talk some more about how he was doing.
"Tell me, Dan, how are you and Andy doing."
"Fine," Dan lied.
Doctor Orland just looked at him for a moment and then continued, "So, you two are talking? Are you getting along?"
Dan didn't reply this time or move. He just stared at a sculpture on a cabinet next to Doctor Orland's desk.
"So, you aren't fine then."
"I guess not," Dan conceided.
"That's to be expected"
This time Dan looked at Doctor Orland questioningly.
"You and Andy are going to have a tough time. He isn't going to understand and he might become insensitive at times but..."
Dan interrupted, "He's been wonderful. He has been so understanding and I have been the asshole."
Dan proceeded to tell him everything that Andy had been doing for him and how he'd even tried to give Dan some space last night.
"I think I've been too much of a burden on him though. I wonder if I should move out and go stay with mom and grandma."
Doctor Orland looked at his young patient for a moment.
"Whose fault do you think it is that you and Andy are having a hard time?"
Not expecting this question, since to him it was obvious, he faultered for a moment then replied, "Mine."
Doctor Orland then asked, "And whose fault do you think it is that your dad attacked you?"
Again, he had to pause but not because he didn't know the answer but because it was a bit out in left field. "Mine, of course."
Doctor Orland stood up, walked around his desk and sat next to Dan in the other chair he had for patients.
"Dan, you need to understand that none of this is your fault. You dad is suffering, I believe, from memories of something that happened to him when he was younger than you are now."
He continued, "And, you are not at fault for what is happening with Andy. You need him now, and he needs you. I can't tell you what to do but in my oppinion, I think you need someone, other than me, to talk to. And, I think Andy sounds like the perfect person. The way you describe how he as been there for you, I'd say you have lucked out and found the perfect partner."
Dan sat there staring down at the floor now. Hearing the doctor talk about how this wasn't his fault, he wanted to believe him but he couldn't help but think that if he hadn't been gay perhaps his dad wouldn't be in the hospital now.
And if this hadn't have happened, Andy wouldn't be suffering now, but he had to admit, that part wasn't exactly his fault.
"I don't know what to think about my dad but I can see what you're saying about Andy."
Doctor Orland sat there quietly.
"You think I should talk to Andy?"
"Yes, I do. And I think he will continue to be understanding. Also, don't be afraid to tell him what to do and not to do to help you. If something's bothering you, let him know. Be honest with him."
For the first time in days, Dan felt better, happier. It was then that he realized that he never wanted to leave Andy but was very close to doing so because he thought that's what Andy needed.
**** Please read this ****
In The Smile, both Andy and Kyle think about ending their own lives to solve the loneliness and despair that they feel. Fortunately for these two boys they are both still very much alive.
Although at times life may seem tough or even unbearable, please talk to somebody first before taking the irreversible step of taking your own life. There are many others around the world who are going through or have gone through the same things you are and they would be happy listen.
The two links below may offer you some help online. I know that for many of us this is our only contact with anyone in the gay community. The thought of actually talking to someone in person or even on the phone is intimidating. Please do the next best thing. Contact someone online.
The second link has many resources for those who are hurting inside. Don't keep it to yourself. Talk to someone.
If you want to know what Robert found about religion and homosexuality, there are a couple of books that I found at the library that have been quite useful:
The Church and the Homosexual by John J. McNeill
Now That You Know by Betty Fairchild and Nancy Hayward
Here is a website that you may also find of interested:
I found the first book the most helpful.
Thank you for the opportunity to write this story for you, the reader. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed it.
If you like The Smile and would like to see it continue, please send comments to:email@example.com. Note this is a new email address once again.
I am always interested in hearing what others have to say about my story. I also find it interesting to hear who your favorite character is and why, and perhaps even who you relate with the most. Are there things in my story that touch you in a specific or special way or that you can relate to most?
My goal for this story is to provide experiences from mine and other's pasts to help you, the readers, with situations in your own lives. Please let me know if I have done that for you.
All flames will be ignored.