WHAT LIES WITHIN, Part II:
There is no remedy for love, but to love more.
- Henry David Thoreau
"W...What did you say...? Thank who...?" I muttered to myself, as I woke up from a deep sleep. I opened my eyes, and stared at the ceiling of my bedroom for a moment, waiting for my brain to finally become fully engaged in the present moment. Fuck! I felt like I had been asleep for a week, but I knew it had only been a few hours since we got home from the hospital. The last thing I remember was just collapsing facedown on top of my bed. I was so emotionally and physically exhausted at that point, it was just about the only thing I was capable of doing. Looking down at myself, I realized I was still wearing my now almost 3-day-old wardrobe.
It had been, without a doubt, the single hardest thing I've had to do in my whole life.
I had just barely managed to force myself (literally, with all the courage I could muster...or maybe it was just Mom's hand on my back, gently but firmly urging me forward...) to open the front door and step into the house. I almost passed out completely from the stress of it. My heart was pounding so hard in my ears, I thought my head was just gonna explode, or something. I was shaking so hard I could barely even stand up.
But, the look in both of their eyes...Dad's and Mark's...as they turned to look at me from where they sat in front of the TV, watching some stupid football game...that look in their eyes instantly reminded me why I had spent most of my teenage years hiding from them, and from myself. Thankfully, my own anger and outrage kicked in right away, giving me just enough strength to hold it together for a few seconds longer.
Thank god it did, because it felt like time totally stood still for a moment as we eyed each other across the room. My dad, seated in his throne (an old leather recliner) paused in mid-curl, as he was hoisting a can of his trademark cheap beer to his mouth. The cold grey of his eyes made part of me want to just run and hide every time they locked onto me, like some kind of evil laser beams. Mark just turned his head ever-so-slightly to give me his usual disgusted look from the couch, where he sat with his leg propped up on the coffee table...his left knee wrapped up in some space-age looking contraption full of bright blue nylon, black Velcro straps, and shiny metal aluminum braces, bolts, and hinges.
Mom had already explained it all to me in the car...how she had spent most of last night...discussing it with them. Ya, the big IT. I was now officially out to my family, whether I liked it or not. I was amazed to hear that she had laid down some strict ground rules for the two of them, and she was dead serious about it. She told them both that if they fucked up even once, she was gonna kick their asses right out of the house, and she wasn't gonna ask twice.
Rule number one: they weren't allowed to talk to me about anything unless I granted them permission...except for just the necessary minimum dialogue around the house, like "Excuse me, can you please pass the butter FAGGOT!" No, really they were on a very strict leash about what they could say. Fine by me...I had nothing to say to them, that's for sure.
Rule number two: nobody was allowed to physically lay a hand on me for any reason whatsoever without my permission. Mom promised to call the cops and have either one of them arrested for assault, or even a hate crime, if they so much as touched me. I'm sure she knew I would never set foot in that house again without some kind of safety net to protect me.
And she was abso-fuckin'-lutely right on that one!
But, in spite of the rules, it was still the single hardest thing I've ever done. I mean, they could still sit there and look at me...stare at me...glare at me...despise me...hate me...and murder me with their eyes all they wanted. And they did, of course. The venom in their eyes when I first stepped through the door took my breath away for a second. As soon as mom stepped in behind me, it was gone in an instant. But, it was clear what I had seen in that brief moment. They weren't too happy about the idea of having to just sit back and 'accept' the fact that I was gay, not to mention the fact that they were now under strict rules of behavior in 'their' own house.
I could never bring myself to ask her, but I honestly wonder at times why my mom stays married to my asshole dad. I guess it just sounds so disrespectful...like I'm accusing her of being stupid, or being a pushover or something...so, I never ask her. But, I really do wonder sometimes....
Besides, I really owe her everything now. Without her stepping in, I have to think I would be either living on the streets, or be lying in intensive care myself right about now. I still can't quite believe she actually managed to do it. It must have been a hell of a show. I'm sure the neighbors must know all about it by now as well, since I'm sure my dad was screamin' his ass off like he usually does when he's gettin' pissed about me. Man, my mom must have bigger balls than I ever imagined, if she tackled those two assholes in one night. I always knew she could take care of herself when the time came, but shit! I was truly impressed. Remind me never to fuck with her again LOL!
I dragged myself into the shower. It was a little after 5PM now, and I needed to eat something and get back to the hospital. I couldn't stand just sitting here at home knowing he was there. Sleeping, eating...even a quick shower were fine; but I wasn't gonna just sit here and do nothing.
Simply not an option.
Since it was the first shower I'd taken in a few days, I took my time and did it right. I was, however, careful not to let myself look down at the stupid drain. I still get the shivers when I think about that image in my dream...of the drain...and the blood...uuuggghhh!
I carefully washed and conditioned my hair (kind of a big job, but what can I say? I love my hair long, so I put up with it...). I hopped out of the shower, and opened my bathroom door to let it air out and de-fog the mirrors.
For some reason, I felt like I should dress a little nicer than normal to go back to the hospital. I mean, he might be awake tonight...and I just want everything to be perfect. It's like I feel more like I'm goin' on a date or something. God, I'm trying so hard not to have any expectations...I'm just gonna accept whatever the situation is, and deal with it, right?
Fuck...I just hope I can!
I pulled out my newest pair of olive-green cargo pants, a fairly new black Henley, and a short-sleeved print shirt with olive and navy-blue in the pattern to wear open over the Henley. I added my shark-tooth necklace (which I wear almost every day, anyway) and my newest black Van's. By the time I finished dressing, the bathroom mirror was clear. I started idly brushing out my hair, while my mind was on autopilot for a few moments. After a while, I found myself just standing there staring at my reflection in the mirror. The scowling skate punk I was used to seeing wasn't there anymore. Weird.
Who is this GAY dude looking back at me, anyway?
Sometimes, it really strikes me how different it feels looking at myself in the mirror, than how it normally feels to just be on the inside looking out, you know? I don't spend too much time actually looking at ME in the mirror, and it totally freaks me out at times. I mean; when I'm brushing my hair, I'm looking at my hair, and when I'm brushing my teeth or shaving, I'm looking at...etc. You know what I mean? When I'm just doin' everyday stuff, I'm not really looking at ME. And, the few times when I kinda accidentally step back and just look at the guy standing there in the mirror it blows my mind. It just doesn't feel like me.
What do they call it? Cognitive dissonance, I think. What you're thinking or feeling, and what you're actually seeing just don't seem to match up. Call me strange, but there have been times when I just couldn't convince myself 100% that the guy in the mirror looking back at me really was ME.
Now, I had to get used to the idea that the totally straight-looking and acting skater/surfer punk looking back at me was GAY! It just didn't seem to fit. All my life I had taken a little satisfaction in the fact that despite my inner demons, at least I didn't look gay, or act gay. You know...the look? The one we've all been trained to expect from watching movies and TV shows with gay characters?
This whole business lately has really made me re-think just who the hell I am, more than anything. I think the problem is that we're stuck with all these bullshit ideas that are planted inside our impressionable little heads when we're growing up about the way things are supposed to be, ya know? No matter how I slice it, I'm just me...and it doesn't fit with any of those images we've been given. I mean, in my own mind, I am sooo not gay. Yes, I'm in love with a boy (and, I hope like crazy to be in love with this boy for the rest of my life!). No, I never really enjoyed having sex with a girl (in fact, the more I think about it, the more nauseous I get...). But, I don't like Broadway Musicals, interior decorating, or beefcake models. Yet, I think I have my own pretty distinctive sense of design and personal fashion, I'm a pretty good dancer (I even like to disco...and when my dad heard about that, it almost cost me a stay in the ER...!), and I've had a very secret lifelong crush on Jonathon Taylor Thomas (and my Mom always thought I was such a big fan of Home Improvement...not! I just suffered through all the idiotic comedy for the precious few glimpses of Jon...sigh...in every episode...). Other than that, I'm just a pretty average teen-age skater dude, right?
But don't get me wrong-I'm really happy I have him in my life now-but, this little picture that we all carry around inside our heads that kinda defines who we are to ourselves still seems a little out of focus to me right now. I'm still trying to understand who I really am, and what it all means, I guess.
As I continued to stare at the mirror, my attention followed my fingers to the ever-more-noticeable patch of black stubble on my chin. I guess I should shave too, I decided. Not that there's all that much to shave...a little off the sideburns (or what would be covering almost down to my jaw bone, if I didn't shave it...), almost enough above my lips to be called a 'stache, and my little black chin patch. Maybe one of these days I might even have enough for a goatee...I think it might look pretty cool. I bet it would make me look a lot older, I though to myself idly...hmmmm.
I better check with my dude first...make sure it's ok with him, though...I guess it would be kinda different to kiss someone like that...and what if he didn't like that stubbly hairy feeling?
SHIT! I dropped the razor in the sink, as it struck me hard...like a brick to the back of my head. I leaned heavily against the sink, barely supporting my weight with both arms, as I stared down into the sink full of water swirling with shaving cream and freshly-shaved little black hairs. Suddenly, I was having a little trouble breathing.
Oh god! What if he...
What if he never even wakes up again...? What if I never get to kiss him again? What if....NO GODAMMIT! Just don't go there, Rusty! It's just a matter of time until everything will be alright. OK? Got it?
God, I hope so. I just don't know what I would do if...
Mom had prepared a separate little dinner for me to eat, before she drove me back to the hospital. At least for the short run, I think she felt it would be easier if I didn't have to eat with Dad and Mark at the same table.
That point was made more than clear for me while I sat there eating quietly by myself. Just as I was shoveling in another mouthful of pasta, I could literally feel an evil presence entering the room. I looked up just as my dad came strolling into the kitchen to grab a fresh beer from the 'fridge. He stopped, and gave me a cold stare as he stood in front of the 'fridge. With as much determination as I could manage, I matched him glare for icy glare. After he turned and left the room, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My stomach began making some pretty strange sounds, and all of a sudden I just didn't feel like taking another bite. I think I'm lucky I didn't lose my whole dinner right then and there....
After that heartwarming little episode, I was finally ready to go. As mom and I hopped into her car, I sighed deeply to myself. I just couldn't push this overwhelming sense of dread completely out of my head. I really was trying...I really did want to do it...but, my brain just wasn't cooperating. I looked over at my Mom, and she gave me a sympathetic look.
I leaned my head back against the seat, and closed my eyes. "Come on Mom...can we please just get this over with?" I asked quietly.
I felt a little helpless about still having to be driven all over the place by my mommy. I mean, fuck...I was seventeen! But, I don't see a car in my immediate future. Mom is totally against me getting a job or anything too. She says that I don't need to make money right now...that my parents are supposed to pay for my shit until I graduate from high school, and that's what she intends to do. My parents aren't rich, but they seem to have enough for the basics. My mom would buy me just about anything I could convince her I needed...except a car.
"Just hang in there Rusty," she said eventually, after we were under way. "You're doin' ok. You've had a lot to deal with lately, and I'm proud of the way you've handled it so far. Just don't let it wear you down...try to keep your strength and determination... especially your determination. That's always been one of your strongest suits," she noted.
I thought about that for a moment as I sat there with my head tilted back, eyes closed. I guess I was pretty stubborn about some things once I made up my mind about it. I can say one thing for sure: without a little bit of determination last week, I'm not sure if he'd even still be in my life...such as it is.
I feel so stupid every time I think about it.
Somehow, I had managed to convince myself that we could just pretend to be straight in public (i.e. at school...), and nobody would ever know the difference. It was only just the beginning of our third week together when the rumors had finally begun getting louder and more serious. Our schedules didn't really allow us to spend a whole lot of time together during the day, but suddenly I was beginning to feel a little awkward any time I was around him during school hours. It seemed like I could feel every single eye boring into me...slowly sapping me off all my strength and self-worth. With each little disgusted look I noticed, I could feel myself shrinking a little bit on the inside. The first night after that, I even had a nightmare about it. I had to do something, because I just couldn't bear the thought of anything happening to him...
So, the next day, I did something incredibly stupid. I still can't believe he forgave me in the end...again. But, it was only because I was just suddenly feeling so strange at school...so uncomfortable...so haunted...so totally weirded out...that I even suggested it.
I had no idea anyone could turn that bright a shade of red when they were upset.
We hadn't walked to school together that morning, because I had come up with some lame excuse to get out of it. It was the first time we hadn't done that since...you know...the day. Most mornings we would meet at the park (which was equal distance between our houses), and walk together. As soon as he found me that morning before class, he rushed up to me with his (now) usual big grin plastered across his face.
"Hey," he said, in that cute, husky, kinda shy voice of his, as his eyes smiled at me from behind his long bangs.
I gave him a nervous glance, but I didn't say anything. Immediately, he knew something was up.
"Rusty, what's wrong?" he asked quietly, with concern in his voice.
I glanced around to see if we had enough privacy for this conversation. Seeing we were pretty much still alone, I began just barely above a whisper.
"Have you heard what they've been saying? People are starting to talk about us, dude...they know..." I said, with resignation. "Maybe we shouldn't...you know...um, spend so much time together...like this...during school, for a while," I offered weakly.
As soon as I said that, his face dropped in disappointment...Hell, his whole body sagged noticeably. He looked at the ground for a moment; something he always does when he's thinking hard.
I shuffled my feet nervously, as I stood there watching him...waiting uncomfortably for his response.
When his face turned back upwards to look at me, I could already see the unfamiliar shade of red spreading across his cheeks, and I could see the sparks flashing in his pale-blue eyes...which seemed to be growing darker by the second. A single tear was forming in the corner of each eye.
"After all this, you're ashamed of our relationship...You're embarrassed to be with me, aren't you?" he asked incredulously.
He took a deep breath, and stared at me. The intensity of his feelings was scaring the hell out of me...suddenly I didn't quite know what to say. He shook his head at me sadly.
"Ian, dude...please...you just don't understand what I'm trying to say..." I begged, reaching out my hands for him.
He just waved me off, and continued his tirade. "I can't believe you!" he whispered tersely. "I mean, I thought you loved me, Rusty ...really loved me. Even after what you did before, I still trusted you not to break my heart! And now you don't even want to be seen with me? I...I...maybe you are still just a coward," he stuttered, "Well, fine then. Just, um....fuck! JUST FINE! I hope you enjoy your safe little life, Rusty. ALONE!" he spat out at me through his tears, then turned and walked away quickly. I could practically see the steam coming out of his head at that point, as I slumped backwards against the wall in defeat.
You handled that really well Rusty, you asshole!
I spent the rest of the morning moping around school between homeroom and first period feeling sorry for myself. Fuck. How could things get this screwed up so quickly? Shit, I was only trying to protect him! I honestly didn't expect him to take it that way. I mean, I could see if I was dumping him or something...but that wasn't it at all. God, how did I manage to fuck things up again?
By the time first period was over, I was getting desperate. By the time our morning break period came around, I was in full panic. I could only think of one person who might be able to help me with this right now.
"Uh, hey...Tim? Can I talk to you for a minute?" I asked humbly, feeling suddenly more awkward around him than I can remember in a long time.
He took one look at me, and immediately stopped pulling stuff out of his locker.
"Russ...dude! What's wrong? You look like your dog just died or something..." he asked quietly, giving me a concerned look. "And you don't even have a dog..."
"Can you...well, I mean...if you see him around, you know...will you let me know? People have started sayin' a lot of shit about us, you know...you've probably already heard it, I'm sure...and I just need to make sure he's doing ok and stuff, ya know? I think I managed to really piss him off again this morning...but it was totally a misunderstanding dude...and I'm not sure how he's takin' it. I just need to get another chance talk to him, ok?" I asked him, with my words just tumbling out of my mouth like a rockslide.
It took Tim a second to digest all the information I had just deluged him with, then he looked at me for a second in comprehension. "Him? You mean Sully, of course. Right?" he asked, not really expecting a reply.
I nodded meekly anyway.
"Ok...ya, sure...I'll keep an eye out for him, dude. Don't worry. He'll be ok. One of us will find him, and we'll get things uh...straightened out...between you guys," he said, instantly giving me an apologetic look for his bad choice of words. Shit! Of course he would know by now. The whole fucking school must know by now!
By the time fifth period came around I was a complete basket case. Neither Tim nor I could find Ian all day long, nor had anyone else seen or heard from him. This definitely wasn't looking too good.
As soon as I walked into the room for 5th period, Mr. B took one look at me and said, "Mr. Thompson? My office, please."
He shut the door behind us, and sat on the edge of his desk.
"Ok, Rusty...what's the matter? I can see something is very wrong...it's all over your face. I've never seen you like this...well; except one time, that is..." he asked with concern.
"Shit, Mr. B...I think I really screwed up again. The last two days people have been starting to talk about us...I think the whole damn school knows about us, Mr. B...and it's really freaking me out. I'm worried that something might happen to him...to us...I dunno, maybe I am just being a fucking coward," I muttered to myself.
"Well, Rusty...you had to figure that this day was gonna come sooner or later. So, what happened? What did you do?" he asked.
"This morning before class I told him that people were talking about us, and that I was gettin' kinda worried...so, I suggested that we cool it together while we're at school." I replied. "Shit, he got so upset and hurt when I said that, I though he was gonna just...Man, he just wouldn't listen to me! He said I was just ashamed to be seen with him, but I'm not! I wasn't trying to dump him or anything, I was just trying to look out for us...I mean, if anything happened to him, I would just..." I sobbed.
"I don't know what I'm gonna do, Mr. B. How can I get him to just listen to me for a second?" I asked glumly.
"Hmmm. Sounds like a communication thing to me. You guys don't really seem to be hearing what the other one is saying, and sometimes it's difficult. We all tend to hear what we want to hear, and we're also not always so good at getting others to really hear us," he observed.
"But think about it, Rusty. Ian is an only child, and he was adopted. He's never really had a close friend before, let alone a relationship. I think he's feeling very threatened...I'm sure on some level he's afraid of being abandoned...again. You're it, Rusty. You're his whole life right now. If he feels like anything is threatening that, somehow...it would be devastating to him," he said thoughtfully.
"And, I think you're right...you guys do need to talk this out as soon as possible, so there are no lingering doubts about who feels what, and no chance for things to grow out of proportion. But, I also think it should be someplace where you both feel comfortable, not like you feel here at school right now...somewhere you guys can relax and be calmer about it. But, I guess the first thing you need to do is find him..." he said. "And, somehow, I don't think he'll be coming in here this afternoon. I'm not sure he could deal with all this in here just yet."
"Thanks, Mr. B. I'm gonna find him, somehow..."
Think, Rusty! What am I gonna do? How am I gonna find him?
I sat down at the picnic table, laid my head down on my arms, and cried silently to myself in frustration. It was well after school now, and I still hadn't been able to find him anywhere. I had looked frantically for him all afternoon. I had searched everywhere I could possibly think of, with no luck. I had searched at his house, the library, and here at the park...fucking everywhere!
Where is he?
I was beginning to get that sick feeling in my stomach again. How could things get so fucked up this quickly?
God, I must really suck at this whole relationship thing. I mean; I should have realized how much that would have upset him...made him feel threatened like Mr. B said...right? I am so STUPID sometimes. At the worst possible moment, I always manage to miss the important little clues about how someone is feeling, or how they might misinterpret something I said, or stuff like that. Sometimes I can't understand why the world always seems to get it wrong!
Why do I always have such a hard time getting people to understand me?
I slammed my fist against the table in frustration. I have just got to figure out how to fix this mess! I'm getting worried about him...he may already be in trouble, or worse...he may already be hurt...
DAMMIT! THINK RUSTY! Where would he go? Who would he turn to when he was feeling down? Shit, he just didn't have any other friends...except Tim or Mr. B, kinda...and I would have already heard about it if they had seen him. I mean; the only other 'person' I've ever seen him really relate to on anything close to an emotional level was....
THAT'S IT! I bet I know exactly where he is!
Silently, I crept up to the wooden gate that led into the back yard. I stood on my toes and peeked over the top of the gate and peered across the yard.
I knew it! There he was...sitting cross-legged on the grass with his back to me...stroking his hand gently across her back, running his fingers through her thick golden-blond hair as he spoke to her softly, but clearly.
I stood there quietly, and listened for a moment.
"Lucy, I just don't know what to do! I don't even know how I should feel...part of me was really, really hurt by what he said...like he was rejecting me in some way. I just can't lose him, Lucy! He's like...my whole life now. I can see my whole future sometimes in my head like it's right there in front of me...and he's there. He's always there...until the end, you know? I can't picture my life without him in it, but now I'm not totally sure if he can really handle that."
Lucy gave him a sympathetic look, and licked his hand briefly.
"I mean; I know he loves me. I just have to look into his eyes, and I know that without even having to ask. But it's not just about that. We can't be together for the rest of our lives, afraid of people 'knowing' about us. That's just not right...like it diminishes our feelings about each other somehow...like it makes our love less significant than other people's. Why do we have to worry what anyone else thinks? What could it possibly matter to them, anyway?" he sighed to himself.
"Besides, I know in my heart that it's not that he doesn't want to be with me. I know what he's had to go through all his life, and that this is a really big step for him. I know he's still terrified of coming out; and it is a pretty scary thing, girl. It's like; in my heart I just know this is a defining moment in our relationship. This is about whether his fear will win out again, or me. I'm just not sure if I can handle being with him if he's always gonna be afraid of 'us'. It would totally break my heart, but I just can't let myself do that. I can't live that way. Being me is hard enough as it is..."
He lay back on the grass, his head next to Lucy's. She licked his ear softly.
"I know girl...I love you too. You're a really good listener, you know that?" he asked.
They both lay there silently for a moment.
"So, what am I gonna do, Lucy?" he asked, staring up into the sky. "I feel kinda bad, because I can just tell Rusty's gotta be going crazy worrying about me. He's probably been looking for me all day long. But, this was really the best thing for me to do...I was just too confused by all of my feelings this morning. I think taking that long walk and talking to you has really helped me to understand where I'm at with all this. I'm not really even mad at him anymore. Mostly, I'm just worried. I really want us to be together forever, but I can't live pretending to be somebody else...pretending not to love him."
God, how could you possibly not love that boy to death? That was the sweetest thing I've ever heard. Up to that point I had done a pretty good job of not bursting into tears; but when he got to the last part, I totally lost it.
"Me too," I said with a sob, flinging open the gate. "I want us to be together forever, dude. Please, don't give up on me yet...please..." I blubbered. "I'm really sorry...I was so stupid...I should have known it was the wrong thing to say...I was just so worried about you...and I didn't want anything to happen to you, and..."
At exactly the same time, both Ian's and Lucy's heads swiveled quickly back towards the gate behind them, as I shot through the opening, and dove down to grab him in my arms.
"Ian, dude...I love you so much," I said, as I buried my head against his neck, "Don't you ever doubt that. I promise you I'll do whatever it takes for us to be together. I'll deal with my stupid hang-ups, I promise. Please, just don't give up on me! I can't live without you, dude...I just can't!" I cried.
"Oh god Rusty..." he cried softly into my ear. "I know...I know. Me too..."
I pulled him down to the grass with me, and started kissing him furiously. We kissed passionately on the lawn until it began to get dark. Even Lucy managed to get in a few good doggy kisses.
"Hey you two...get a room, for cryin' out loud!"
Ian and I quickly disentangled ourselves, and sat up on the grass, trying to look as innocent as possible.
"I don't remember giving permission for anyone to shoot Boy Meets Boy in my backyard," Mr. B said with a grin.
Mom dropped me off in front of the hospital, and said a quick goodbye. I stuck my hands in my pocket, and slowly walked alone into the hospital.
God, I hate this...that ambivalent feeling...being totally torn in half about wanting something, but being totally afraid at the same time. More than anything, I wanted to just rush in and find him sitting there happily waiting for me to smother him with hugs and kisses of joy and relief. But, what if he isn't awake yet? I mean; I desperately need to know how he's doing...but I'm still afraid it might be bad news. Half of me is dying to find out, and the other half is scared to death.
Hesitantly, I approached the reception desk.
"Um...excuse me...I'm here to see someone...a friend...and I need to know if he's been moved yet...because, uh...well, he was in ICU yesterday and this morning...but they said he should be moving out this afternoon, and I just need to know..." I rambled on.
"Hold on there..." the receptionist said, interrupting me with a slight smile of appreciation over my obvious concern. "What's his name?"
"Yes. Ian...um, Ian Finestra...well, or Ian Sullivan Finestra, or maybe Ian Sullivan-Finestra..."
"I get the idea," she said, as she scrolled through the computer screen. "Says here that he has been moved out of the main ICU, but he is still in critical care. They don't really allow visitors there...just immediate family. Maybe you could come back another time...and perhaps it would be a good idea to call first, you know...I wouldn't want you to come all the way down here for nothing..."
"But you don't understand..." I gasped, already starting to hyperventilate. "He wants to see me...he needs to see me, I'm sure...if he's awake yet. Talk to the nurse in ICU...she'll remember me from this morning."
"Well, if she was working this morning then she's off shift by now," she said, obviously trying her best to stay patient with me.
"Well, just tell me where he is, and I'll talk to the nurses up there," I suggested.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not really supposed to do that," she said with an almost sympathetic glance.
"Now look..." I said, feeling my anger beginning to boil just below the surface, "this is really important. I have to see him!" I said as calmly as I could, but probably not totally succeeding in hiding my growing frustration. "Are his parents here? I'm sure they would allow me in to see him. Can you call the nurses station and ask if they're here?"
She took a deep breath and plastered a fake smile on her face. "I'm sorry. I think you should call in tomorrow. If he's out of critical care, I'm sure you can see him then."
"God Dammit! My boyfriend is laying up there, and he's hurt pretty bad. If you don't tell me where the fuck he is, I'm gonna fuckin'..."
I felt a hand firmly grasp my shoulder, and I spun around to see who it was.
"Maybe you should just calm down for a sec, bud...and let me handle this, ok?"
"Mr. B! Shit, I'm glad to see you!" I said, giving him a big hug around the waist. "Maybe you can help them pull their heads out of their..."
"Ok...Ok, Rusty...I get the picture. Take a little walk, and give me a second here, ok?" he asked, giving me his patented 'don't push your luck, asshole!' expression.
I wandered over to the soda machines, and grabbed a cold one. I stood there with one hand on my hip, slowly sipping my coke, while staring intently across the room at the two of them. It looked like Mr. B was using all his persuasive powers, but I could see that even he was beginning to get frustrated. Finally, another person came out of the office behind the reception desk and talked to the two of them. I bet he asked for the supervisor.
Finally, he turned and walked my way with a frustrated expression...and a big sigh of relief.
"Ok...I got us permission to go to the nurse's station in his unit. It'll be up to them if we can see him. Or, you can wait down here to see if his parents come back later. I'm sure you could get in with them."
"That's cool, Mr. B." I said gratefully. "Thanks."
"Fucking bureaucratic idiots..." he grumbled to himself under his breath, shaking his head sadly.
"You know what finally did it?" Mr. B asked, stopping and turning to look at me.
"You told her that he was your boyfriend, Rusty. You outed yourself to her, and she was impressed by that. She fought for you with her supervisor, and convinced him to make an exception because you were his 'significant other' so to speak. The hospital recently adopted a sort of 'gay rights' policy to allow gay couples the same privileges and visitation rights in the hospital as everyone else. In spite of your temper and your questionable use of language, you did impress her Rusty. She could see right away how much you cared about him," he said, giving me his little 'gosh, I'm so proud of you, son...' smile.
"I'm sorry Mr. B...I just kinda lost it there for a minute when I thought they were really gonna try and keep me out..." I apologized.
"Don't you get it, Rusty? You weren't afraid to come out to her in the slightest, when it really came down to what was important to you. Isn't that what you two were fighting about the other day?" he asked, with a sly smile.
"Ya...you're right," I said thoughtfully.
Maybe there is hope for me after all.
I sat there, just staring at his still form. It made my heart ache to see him like this...he looked so pale...so fragile. If I couldn't see his chest moving subtly up and down, and if I couldn't see the obvious signs of life in the array of monitors and medical gadgets next to his bed, I'm not sure I could even convince myself he really was still alive.
It was after 8pm now. Mr. B and Ian's parents had just left for the evening, with disappointment and concern etched on their faces. But, it seemed kinda pointless for anyone to hang around too long, because he still hasn't woken up. The doctor says everything is fine with his brain and all...the swelling and stuff they needed to do surgery for was ok now. All he has to do is just wake up...
Please, dude...just wake up!
The nurse had been really cool. She said that since it was looking pretty quiet so far in the unit that night, and since he didn't have a roommate, I could stay for a while in the room alone with him, as long as I promised not to touch anything and stayed in the chair. So, here I sit...just staring at him, and thinking about...stuff.
I thought about a lot of things...but mostly, I thought about how almost exactly one month ago my life had been so completely different. What if I had never met him that day in the skate park? What if he had decided not to do photography for the yearbook/school paper?
One thing that struck me right away was the thought that I had absolutely no regrets. The things I have experienced with him...because of him...over the last few weeks have redefined my life. He taught me how to love...and what it felt like to truly be loved.
And, we got a pretty good start at teaching each other how to make love...wow!
I was reaching the point of emotional exhaustion again. So, risking being removed for breaking the rules, I inched my chair closer to the bed. Gently, I took his left hand in mine, and held it close to my cheek. It felt kinda cold, so I took it in both hands to warm it up, then lay my head down on the bed beside them.
I could feel myself begin to stiffen, as I closed my eyes and savored once again my favorite memory...
"You are sooooo gonna pay for that, dude!" I sputtered as I climbed out of the pool to chase after him...laughing so hard I could barely talk. I can't believe he actually did that...he pushed me in, the little shit! I have to admit, he surprised the heck out of me. But then again, he has a habit of doing that.
Realizing that he had only one other option, he looked at the water with a grin, and jumped in feet first. I dove back into the water, zooming right up underneath him, and stood up...picking him up in my arms like an overgrown child.
"That was totally whack, boyfriend," I said with a fake frown, looking into his big, pale-blue apprehensive eyes. "I have to admit though, it was funnier than shit. You really bust me up sometimes, dude..." I said with a chuckle. "But, payback is a bitch...remember that."
"Rusty! I'm sorry...I just couldn't resist...don't get crazy on me...I'm not a real good swimmer, you know...please...you're making me nervous..." he begged, with a little half-smile.
I gave him a sexy little smirk, and then leaned down and gave him the longest, sexiest kiss I could manage. As he floated there in my arms, I kissed my way down to his neck, his shoulders, and his chest...lifting him slowly out of the water to expose more of his skin for me to savor. It was so sexy to me...tasting him all over, mixed in with the occasional droplets of pool water that clung to him.
By that point, I was so hard I thought I was gonna rip a hole in my board shorts. My hormones finally succeeded in overcoming my will power. With one hand, I managed to get my shorts off under water, and I made it a point to show them to him before I tossed them on the pool deck with a loud, wet splat. My other hand inched slowly towards the waistband of his trunks, as my tongue began to tease his left nipple. He just closed his eyes, and leaned his head back into the water as far as it would go.
"Oh god Rusty...that's so good...oh god...please don't stop..." he groaned.
I moved slowly towards the steps, and gently lifted him out of the water...carrying him over to the closest lounge chair, with the muscles in my arms and shoulders straining obviously from the effort.
I looked in his eyes, and absorbed every bit of the love I found overflowing in them.
Giving him a reassuring grin, I proceeded to remove his trunks as well. Slowly, I lowered myself on top of him, and kissed him passionately again. Then, I began to rub my considerably longer dick back and forth across his shorter but thicker model...causing us both to gasp out loud. Within a few more seconds, we had both made our sticky contributions to the growing bond that held us together...
I startled awake again, and looked warily around the room through my tear-filled eyes. My heart was still aching...with happiness and appreciation of the time together I had just been daydreaming about, and with a profound sense of sadness from the desperate, longing, loneliness I still felt without him. I know he was there in the room with me...but I mean; he wasn't really there. He's still not awake....until I can see the love in his eyes again; he won't really be here, as far as my heart is concerned.
Seeing that nothing seemed any different, I wiped my tears aside and looked at my watch; it was after 9:30 now. Reluctantly, I glanced at him again...still, just laying there so quietly...almost peacefully. Could he possibly miss me as much as I'm missing him right now? I wondered to myself, as I stared at his hand once again, wrapped tightly inside my own. I stroked it gently with one hand, as I started to cry again. I just ignored my tears, as they fell on the back of his hand while I kept stroking it softly.
I was sure I was imagining things when I thought I saw his fingers move slightly. But, when I thought I felt the very faint pressure of him squeezing my hand back, I just looked up at his face in wonder...please let this be the moment...please god, let him wake up!
I stared at him intently...silently begging for another sign. I almost jumped right out of the chair, when his eyes flickered gently...and then I realized he was looking at me through his partially open eyelids. The barest little smile came to his lips
I closed my eyes tightly again...afraid to look anymore in case it wasn't really happening, and held his hand firmly to my chest. I thought my heart was gonna burst for a second. Then, I could feel all of my pent up emotions just draining out of my like a flood...as a sense of calm and happiness washed over me. At that point, I just knew in my heart that everything really was gonna be ok.
"Oh God...thank you...thank you...thank you," I sighed to myself with a shudder, as I began to feel the tears of relief running down my face. "Thank you for bringing him back to me."
"No, thank Billy," he whispered hoarsely...just barely loud enough to be heard. His eyes closed again, as his head turned slightly against the pillow as he drifted off to sleep. I laid my head back down on the edge of the bed in total exhaustion, with his hand still in mine.
As I have said before, I love to hear from all of you readers...it let's me know that I'm not just wasting my time with this, etc. The more responses I get back from you guys, the more energy and motivation I have to get the next chapter(s) posted. As always, I can be reached at Rickdog36@gay.com. Drop me a line.