~*~ Eleven Years Later ~*~(As told by Devon)
The old ugly P.T. Cruiser that Dad let us borrow was whining as we drove over the highway to the reunion. Ben was always glad to let me drive. He did it in the bedroom, and if I wanted to take the reigns on the road and let his old fart ass sleep, that was fine with him. Ever since my eye operation, I was glad to do anything visual. Yes, sight. I finally understood the glory of our Hawaiian condo. It's on the island of Kawaii, by the way. Simply gorgeous sea. But no sight was more beautiful than seeing Ben's adoring face for the first time leaning over me as my eyes fluttered open. Tears had dripped profusively down my face. I couldn't help it.
My cell phone rang. Not wanting to wake my sweet (and old - ha!) lover, I pressed the SEND button. "Dr. Garley speaking, how may I help you?"
"They gave a doctorate to YOU?" an incredulous voice called. It was, of course, Tommy.
"Tommy! Good grief, how long has it been, you old nelly?"
"Uh oh, here comes the Irish temper," he teased. I laughed at his pathetic comment. "So you ARE coming to the reunion, right? I won't be the only princess there, eh?"
"God damn boy, you've been in Canada too long!" I retorted. "Of course I am. And so is the ancient 28-year old. I have a good four months left before I start decomposing before your eyes."
"Good. Ben's there.. I just wish.." Tommy broke off. "I wish he was here with us, too, ya' know?" Tommy was still very emotional over Jamie's death. Jamie had slept with the wrong people before meeting Tommy. He had become HIV+. That fate could have easily fallen onto Ben or I.. luckily, we were virgins when we met, and have remained 100% faithful to each other. Few can say that of anyone. Jamie died just six months ago. Tommy was with him until the last. He held his hand as he slipped away. His last words were: Tommy, I will always love you. But continue on. Life's not over; in fact, it has just begun. Never forget me, but don't dwell on me. I love you. Funny, how things begin and end so quickly. You never know if one moment will last into the next.
Ben yawned rudely, eyes fluttering and held onto my hand. "Hey sweetie," he said lovingly, "how are you doing?"
"I'm talking to this football fairy. Her wings are about to fall off," I replied. BITCH! was replied over the phone.
"Hi Tommy," Ben said sleepily.
"HI BEN!" he screamed over the phone.
"Girl," I exclaimed, "Those were my ears! Here, let me put you on speakerphone." I pushed a button, and we could hear Tommy's voice in stereo throughout the car.
"Ben, how ya doin', man?" Tommy asked happily.
"Hey, babe. We're doing ok. Ben just opened another office. Training some young pup. Probably out to get some young dick," Ben teased. "But seriously, things are going well. But I'm doing ok, too. With Jack's money, we bought out my father's company. Ah, the look on his face was priceless. It was truly terrible when he quit for moral obligations."
"But was it worth it, dude?" Tommy asked, concerned. He still had his nineties slang.
"Some people are worth the effort. Some aren't," I responded. "In his case, he wasn't. Which is a shame. A damn shame."
"Anyway," I said, breaking what had been prolonged silence, "we should meet old Glenville Shaw in about fifteen minutes." I suddenly turned to see a truck pickup honking loudly behind us. It was Tommy. "You know what they say. You can take the hillbilly out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the hillbilly!" I saw Tommy flick me off in the rear view mirror.
"Oh, I wish I was driving one of them sexy P.T.'s," Tommy retorted, with a full southern accent. "They only died as fast as they went out. Gotta love them novelties!"
"Ah, but at least we're not following the latest fashion trend- the 80s. Lawd have mercy!"
"Bitch," Tommy retorted.
Ben chimed in: "I'm sure Tommy looks hot as hell in tight pants." I gave him a dirty look. "Honey, your ass is nice, trust me. But Tommy's got that ex-football star butt."
"Dude," Tommy said laughing, "shut up."
"Well how about we talk more when we actually ARRIVE?" Ben said, laughing. Tommy agreed, and I ended the phone call.
Thirteen minutes later, we reached our destination.
It was frightening arriving at the Academy again. So many memories. So many adventures. I had forgiven all those who had wronged me. It was silly not to. The green renaissance gates passed by us as we approached our ten year reunion. I was beginning to have second thoughts: did I really want to face all these people? Would they blame me for what had transpired? Would they become violent? Devon leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. "Let's go, love. It's time." He squeezed my hand and unlocked the doors. We exited the car and locked it again. We followed fellow latecomers slowing entering our alma mater.
After we had registered, we sat down at a dinner table, lined with silk coverings. Those idiots! Imagine trying to clean this! A waiter walked up and took my order. I noticed that there were two empty seats. I turned to see Tommy running at us. He was grinning broadly. "Hi guys!" he yelled loudly. The dining room murmured at his rude entrance. Tommy had learned not to care what others thought of him, though. Jamie had taken him far. Tommy happily joined us.
"So who's the missing person?" I wondered aloud. The waiter sighed in annoyance; couldn't these irritating people get here on time? I turned my head to see... no, it couldn't be. He read his guest card and saw the number on our table. Tommy grimaced as he looked at the place card: Daniel Perry Vishosone. Dan sat down next to Tommy, head bowed. The waiter, glad that our table was finally filled, walked over to Tommy and Dan and took their respective orders.
Tommy decided to ignore Dan. "So what have you guys been up to?" he forced out. Then he looked at Devon's glasses. "Damn, Poindexter!" Devon smacked his arm.
"You've known about these. You should get yours checked as well," responded Devon. And Tommy did know about then. He, Jamie, Devon and I had vacationed at our old condo in Kawaii. Dan was wiping his eyes for some reason.
"D- Devon.. you got your eyes fixed?" It was the first time he had spoken in eleven years. To us, at least. "May I?" Dan's hand extended to Devon's face. He was about to flich, but stopped. Dan's forefinger ran under Devon's eyelid, over his nose, and under the other eyelid. He pulled his hand back. "Ben, you are right. He is beautiful. I'm so glad that you two are still together. And Thomas.. I'm glad-" Dan stopped. Jamie wasn't there. Dan looked up at Tom's eyes squinching shut, tears dropping from them.
"He died," Tommy responded quietly. "Six months ago. It's been.. difficult." Dan closed his eyes and began to wince. He moved his hand on top of Tommy's and kept it there.
"I'm so sorry," he said.
"Yeah, well life sucks, doesn't it?" Tommy angrily said through the tears. "We can't all go around shooting people because of our problems, now can we?" Dan sobbed in response. "I'm sure you had your reasons, Dan.. but why?" He finally made eye contact.
"Why. I wish I could answer you. I was so fucked up. I was so angry.. angry at the world for making me this way, angry at my father for hating what I didn't want to be but was.. I was just.. weak. And I was in love."
"You were?" Tommy asked, befuddled.
"Yeah, with a really great guy that I didn't deserve." Dan wiped his eyes. "Damn, I wish my sponsor was here now. Tommy, shit. I went through a lot. I was lucky.. they tried me as a minor, and held me until I was 21. Five years to grow up. And I needed it. Then I turned to drinking. God, was that a mistake. That lasted only four months, but it was enough to make me an alcoholic. But I joined AA.. and now I'm much better. My life is back together now. Five and a half years sober. I've been waiting for just one thing.. someone to love me."
"You're a guy tough guy to love, kiddo," Tommy responded, finally smiling.
"Not anymore. I'm a different person. Our other prisoner didn't last too well.."
"Mordrin," I said coldly.
"Yeah.. well, his mates found out he was a child molester.. and decided to molest him. He was raped almost to death.. and murdered in a later incident. The attackers were never found, though."
"Lord," I replied, "that's terrible."
"As terrible as what he was about to do to you?" Dan asked. "Anyway," he continued, wiping tears away, "I wish that there was some way that I could make up to all of you for everything that I have done. None of you deserved what I gave you. If you'd let me, I'd like to make it up to you in any way possible." He turned to Tommy and clutched his hand. "Especially you."
"I was the one, wasn't I?" Tommy said, the tears beginning to dry. "I was the one you loved."
"Yes," Daniel answered. "I know I can't replace Jamie.. No one can. But can we at least be friends?"
"We can be whatever comes.. but let it come naturally, and don't force it," Tommy replied.
Daniel smiled with tears dripping down his face again. He stood up and leant over Tommy's head, placing a kiss on his forehead. "I promise to be whatever you need. I've been without you for eleven years. I don't want another day to pass without you again."
Devon tapped Daniel on the shoulder and said, "My dear, you need someone to look at those eyes. They're far too swollen." Then he handed Dan a card. Dan grinned and pocketed it.
The evening progressed uneventfully. Those not worth our time avoided us. Those who remembered us joined and spoke.
As Devon and I prepared to leave, we overheard Tommy and Dan making plans to have coffee. Devon looked at me and smiled.
Just then, Dan began to laugh hysterically. Apparently, he loves irony. He must have read Devon's card.
GARLEY AND ASSOCIATES
Devon and I smiled. We hoped that Tommy and Dan did have a future. They certainly needed each other. I looked at my sweet redhead and hugged him tight. "I love you, Devon," I said.
He smiled in return, kissing me passionately. "I love you too, babe. Let's go home and make love."
And that is exactly what we did.
t h e e n d .
Thank you for reading my story. I hope you enjoyed it. As always, feel free to e-mail me with any questions, comments or concerns you may have. I'd really like to know what you think!