W.A.R. Part Six - Commencement
Chapter Fourteen - Blame It on the Rain
by Jeff Wilson
I was so happy to have Brett back home. I was able to stop in and see him every day after school to bring him his schoolwork. He spent the first week home in the hospital bed his mom got him. But after the second week he was able to move to the couch. He wore nothing but a pair of boxers and the giant cast on his leg most of the time. When visitors were coming, he'd pull on a t-shirt and maybe a pair of gym shorts. He couldn't take a shower or a bath, so he had to have a sponge bath every couple of days. He freely admitted that he was spending most of the time watching porn and jerking off. The small trash can near him quickly filled with used tissues. He hadn't shaved since the accident and his face was beginning to disappear behind a new beard. Because he was sitting on his ass all day and was eating nothing but junk food, he was starting to gain weight. He'd easily put on ten pounds in the three weeks since the accident. He was up over a hundred eighty pounds and was beginning to get a bit of a belly. He didn't seem to care though. In fact, he didn't seem to care about much of anything. It seemed that every day that I came over he seemed a little more grumpy and distant.
His eighteenth birthday came and went just like any other day. It sucked for him. His mom was planning a big party for him when he was able to be back on his feet, but it didn't help his mood that his birthday had come at such an inopportune time.
"I can't believe I had to spend my birthday like this," he complained as I visited him the following Sunday. It was Palm Sunday, the week before Easter. It was a dreary day outside, and an even more dreary day in his house. His mom had gone to work, leaving him alone and bored on the couch with nothing but his computer and the television. He was halfway through his confinement to either bed or the couch and he was becoming restless.
"It's not all bad," I suggested. "You don't have to go to school."
"At this point I'd rather go to school," Brett snapped. "I'm so fucking bored. I smell like ass. I have to piss in a fucking bucket. My mom has to fucking put me on that fucking thing so I can take a goddamn shit!" Brett pointed to the portable toilet seat beside him. "I'm sick of living like a fucking cripple!"
"Hey, at least you'll eventually be able to walk again. You could have been paralyzed."
"Is that your way of cheering me up?" Brett sneered. "Be happy that you're not going to spend the rest of your life in a fucking wheelchair? I'd like to see how happy you'd be if you almost had your leg ripped off!"
"Are you just going to bitch all day?" I asked.
"Fuck you. Why don't you go bother Dustin and leave me alone?" Brett replied.
"Dustin's too busy with Emily to have any time for me lately. Do you really want me to leave?" I asked.
"Yeah," Brett answered. "I just want to be alone for a while so I can feel sorry for myself without some asshole making me feel like a douche for being upset that I'm miserable! Is that too much to ask?"
"Okay, I'll see you later then," I said.
I tried not to be mad at Brett for being so grouchy. I couldn't imagine how frustrated he was having been being stuck in bed for three weeks having to look ahead to at least three more weeks in bed.
If he were available, I might have gone to Dustin's house and vented my frustrations to him, but chances were he was with Emily. Ever since they'd started going out Dustin didn't have much time available for anybody else. He even started going to school with her instead of me. He was still a few weeks away from turning eighteen himself, and he'd finally be able to get his driver's license. The most time I was able to be with him was when the baseball season began. It was nice to ride with him on the bus to away games again. It was good to just talk with him for a while and enjoy his company. I'd missed him when he had to leave the team and then when he went to another school for a year. I'd thought about quitting doing the statistics for the team when Dustin had stopped playing, but the coach had practically begged me to stay. I'd been keeping stats for the baseball team for so long I wondered what the team was going to do when I graduated.
I drove to my house and finished my homework. Things had been going about as well as they ever had at my house in the weeks since Brett's accident. Mom hadn't suddenly become accepting or anything, but she hadn't mentioned her church or her disapproval of my relationship much at all. I wondered what kind of conversations she was having with David. I sat on the couch next to her and watched 60 Minutes with her when my cell phone began to buzz in my pocket. I picked it up and saw that it was Brett calling. I put the phone on the coffee table and went back to watching the show with mom.
"Not going to answer that?" mom asked.
"It's just Brett. I'll call back during a commercial," I said.
"That's not like you. Everything okay?"
"Well he's being a dick, so he can wait until I feel like talking to him."
"You know, he has been through a rough ordeal in the last few weeks. The accident, and the surgery, and then being stuck in a bed for almost a month now. I'll bet you wouldn't be very chipper if all of those things happened to you. I'm sure he doesn't mean to be grumpy," mom said.
I looked at her suspiciously. "Who are you and what have you done with my mother?"
"I just know how you are. Sometimes you don't think about how other people are feeling. Brett's used to being a big ball of energy and always around people. I'm sure he's depressed being stuck at his house."
"Hey, he's the one who told me to leave," I defended myself.
"And now he's reaching out to you and you're more concerned with watching a tv show."
"Okay, fine," I said. I grabbed my phone off the table and went to my room. I quickly called Brett back.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Hey, I'm sorry about earlier. I'm just so tired of my life right now. Can you come back over tonight? Please?"
"Sure. I'll be there in a few." I turned off my phone and found my shoes. I went back to the living room to grab my coat.
"Hey, he wants me to come over for a while," I told mom.
"Be careful driving over there in this rain storm," she said. "Try to be back by eleven. I don't want to be up all night worrying about you."
It didn't take long to get to Brett's place. I parked in the driveway like usual and ran to the front door, trying to avoid the raindrops. I found Brett on the couch of course.
"I'm sorry I was a dick to you," Brett said. "God this is so fucking frustrating. I hate living like this!"
"I know it is. I'm sorry I haven't been more understanding."
"No, you've been great. You've had to put up with my shit." Brett pulled himself up to a seated position, making room for me to sit next to him on the couch. I sat beside him and he leaned against me. "I've missed being with you. I just want to feel you beside me for a little while."
I put my arm around him and drew him closer to me. We kissed. It didn't take long once the kissing started for it to become a passionate make out session. It didn't take long after that for our shirts to end up on the floor.
"None of this is hurting your leg is it?" I asked.
"Fuck my leg," Brett replied. "Better yet, fuck me! I need to feel you inside me."
"How?" I asked.
"Jesus, I have to think of everything! It's my leg that's broke, not my ass. Although it is split down the middle... Here, help me get onto my belly."
I managed to get Brett turned over and pulled his boxers off. I admired his beautiful ass for a moment, and then my pants, underwear, and insulin pump followed his boxers to the pile on the floor. Brett didn't have any lube available, but he did have some hand lotion that he'd been using for his marathon jerking sessions. After a bit of maneuvering, I was inside him, and gently rocking my hips against his ass. He ended up with about a week's worth of pent-up love in his ass in short order. We got him rolled over onto his back, and I gave him about the best blow job he'd ever received from me until he filled my mouth and I swallowed his offering. Then we managed to get ourselves into a good snuggling position. I laid behind him and he rested his bare ass against my hips. I pulled him against me so that his back was against my chest. I kissed his neck and his shoulder, and for a while I just held his naked body against mine. It felt so perfect. The sound of the rain falling outside caused us both to drift off into slumber together.
"Billy wake up."
I gently stirred. I didn't want to pull myself away from Brett's warm naked body. But then I realized that it wasn't Brett's voice which had roused me from my sleep. My eyes popped open.
"Shhhhh... Let him sleep," Dr. Reilly whispered. "He hasn't been sleeping well lately." She offered me her hand and carefully pulled me out from under Brett. Somehow, he had slept through me pulling my arm out from under him. For the second time, I stood naked before my boyfriend's mom. She grabbed a blanket and covered her son and then asked me to join her in the kitchen after I'd dressed. I found my clothes on the floor and put myself back together then met Jen in the kitchen. It was almost ten o'clock.
"Sorry you had to see that," I said.
"Why?" Jen asked. She offered me a cup of tea which I accepted and then sat at the kitchen table across from her.
"Well, who wants to see their son's boyfriend naked and..."
"Billy, do you know how miserable my son has been this week? He had to miss his birthday. Yes we'll be having a little party for him in a few weeks, but when has Brett ever been someone who liked waiting for anything fun? He would never admit it, but I've heard him some nights in tears. Fixing his leg was the easy part. One piece of the puzzle that has been missing has been you. Brett doesn't function well when he doesn't have his Billy fix. So seeing you with him the way you were meant to be means that something good happened here tonight. Don't apologize for loving my son."
"Well can I at least apologize for you having to see my junk again?"
"Sure," Dr. Reilly replied. "I can certainly see why Brett finds you so attractive though. You're not the little boy who used to hang out around here anymore."
I blushed. I wasn't quite sure how to take that compliment after she had just seen me naked.
"Billy, I do want to talk to you about one thing before you go. I know we haven't had the opportunity to discuss what Jack said at the hospital."
"You mean the bribe he offered me?"
"No, that's not what... Billy, I've always been willing to help you out financially. There's a chance that you will be my son's partner for a very long time. If there is a way I can help you financially, then I want to do it. Jack's offer was completely legitimate. If you want it, you could have an internship with one of the sharpest legal minds in the area. Jack's influence could help you go a long way toward your goals."
"Yeah, and all of that will evaporate if people find out what you guys did, right?"
"It would certainly damage his reputation, and destroy his marriage."
"Just how did you two end up together anyway?" I asked.
"It's complicated. See, Jack had a younger brother. He was an absolutely beautiful soul. Everyone loved him. I might have married him myself, but he was gay. He was a precious young man, but I guess he went through a lot of bullying. The 80's weren't the greatest time to be a young gay man in this country, especially with the AIDS crisis running wild. Unfortunately, he got HIV. Oh, Jack was devastated! We all were. That was back when HIV was a death sentence. It was just too much for him. He shot himself right in front of us. We were all crushed. Brett was such a sweet boy."
"Wait, Jack's brother's name was Brett?"
"Yes. What I thought was going to simply be Brett's middle name was the name of Jack's brother. I wanted to honor Brett McKenzie's life. I never thought the boy I named Anthony would end up going by his middle name, but that's how life goes."
"So how did you end up sleeping with Jack?"
"I think we were looking for solace in each other's arms. Heather wasn't as close to Brett as I was. Like I said, I'd have married him if he had been straight. I don't need to get into the specifics. Just that our efforts to comfort each other obviously went further than either of us expected. Jack was never someone who I associated with much. Brett was our connection, and I guess Brett has continued to keep us connected. I guess somewhere in my subconscious mind, Jack was as close as I was ever going to get to Brett."
"I'd say you got pretty close all right."
"Well remember, Heather was and is my best friend. I knew Heather for years before I ever met Jack or Brett. Jack was always my best friend's boyfriend and then husband. I never thought of him as any kind of love interest. I still don't. We both realize we made a big mistake. You'd be surprised how easily things can escalate when your passions are aroused. I never dreamed I would end up sleeping with my best friend's husband. But I did. It happened so quickly, and I kept telling myself that I wasn't doing what I was doing. I kept trying to convince myself that things hadn't gone too far until it was too late. It was a huge mistake. And no matter how smart you are, or how dedicated to someone, you can fall so easily when your passions are aroused. But something unbelievably good came out of that mistake. I can't imagine a world without Brett. Once I found out I was pregnant, Jack wanted to be involved, but there was no way. Heather was already pregnant with Joey by the time I found out. Jack had to choose his wife and son. So we decided to lie. It might have worked if I had been able to convince my boyfriend Charlie that Brett was his. But he knew. I don't know how, but he knew. If he'd have stuck around to see just how much Brett looked like Jack... And so we lied. I told Heather that Brett was Charlie's. The only other person I've ever told besides you was my sister. I know now that Jack manipulated me. He didn't want his reputation ruined before he even got started in his career."
"So why do you keep telling him things? Why tell him that I know? Why tell him about Brett's accident?"
"Because whether we like it or not Jack is Brett's father. Jack does care very much for Brett. You can see that from the way he reacted after the accident. I had to let him know. I know Jack wants to tell Brett the truth some day. I do too. I just don't know where to start."
"I think you've kept up the lie for so long you've lost sight of the truth. I think Brett is mature enough to keep the secret from Heather. To be honest, I think deep down he knows the truth that Jack is his father, even if he doesn't know the details."
"Billy, I know you want me to tell him. You've made that abundantly clear. I understand why you feel the way you do. I just can't stab my best friend in the back again. This all took place before you were even born. You must understand, I haven't just been keeping the truth from Brett all these years, but from Heather, and my co-workers, my publishers and community, even from my parents, God bless them. How could I ever show my face again after having lied to so many people?"
"How can you show your face now? You're convinced that the woman whose picture is on the back of those teenage psychology books has to be perfect or no one will respect her. I think people will respect you more if you tell the truth. We all fuck up and hurt people we love. It's what we do after we fuck up that defines us. Until you tell the world the truth, you're always going to see yourself as a fraud."
"It must be nice to be young and full of hope," Dr. Reilly said. "I envy you, Billy. You really believe what you're saying is true. I used to be like you. You've never made the kind of mistake that can't be forgiven with an apology. I hope you never do. But if you do, I hope you're courageous enough to be the person that you want me to be."
From the living room, we heard Brett's voice calling for me.
"Go tell him goodbye, Billy," Jen said. "Please try to understand I really want what's best for everyone, including Brett. And you."
I joined Brett in the living room. He was still laying on the couch covered with a blanket.
"Guess we overslept, huh?" he said.
"Yeah, your mom is the one who woke me up," I told him.
"Oh!" Brett exclaimed. "She saw us? Wow, talk about awkward! You okay?"
"I don't have anything she hasn't seen already," I replied. "I'm running out of people to show my dick."
"Well as long as you're okay. I don't really care. Mom's seen enough of my ass this week to last a lifetime. Anyway, before you go I want to ask you for a favor. It's a big one."
"What is it?" I asked.
"Can I borrow your dad's coin collection?" Brett asked.
"Oh wow... That is a big one."
"I promise I'll be real careful with it. I just need something to do. I'm so bored sitting here all day. I won't mess it up, I swear. I know this is a big deal. You don't have to say yes. I know what it means to you."
"If anything happens to it..."
"Nothing will happen, I swear to God."
"Well, I guess it's okay," I said, knowing that I was leaving my most prized possession in the hands of a young man who had once lost his wallet for two weeks before finding it buried in his locker at school.
"Cool. Can I ask you for one more thing?" Brett asked. "Can you help me get my boxers back on? To be honest, I'm not even sure where they ended up."
"Why don't I just get you a clean pair?" I ran up to his room and got a new pair of boxers for Brett out of his underwear drawer. Brett's room looked so strange without his computer and with the bed made and no clothes laying around on the floor. Brett's snake Sneaker looked at me expectantly, but I'd just fed him yesterday and he wouldn't need another snack until tomorrow. When I returned to Brett, I helped him slip his boxers over his cast and up his legs. Then I gave him a kiss and headed out into the rainy night.
My dad's coin collection had been stored safely in my closet since my birthday. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what else to do with it. I knew Brett would take good care of it. He had always been more interested in it than me.
When I made it home, I walked around the house to the back door, which was the way I usually went into the house. I slipped off my wet shoes and hoped they'd be dry by the time I had to go to school in the morning. I opened the refrigerator and grabbed the milk jug. I gulped it down right out of the jug as I stood there with the door open. I was ready to go to bed, but I was surprised to see mom was sitting in the living room going through a big photo album.
"Come here and look at this," she asked. It was an album full of pictures of me when I was a little kid. I sat on the couch beside her. The younger, blonder me smiled at us from the past.
"Thank god for braces," I said, noticing the gap between my front teeth.
"I thought you looked adorable," mom said.
"All mothers think their child is cute, mom. It's nature's way of keeping you from killing us when we're bad."
"I still think you're adorable. You must be the most handsome boy at school," mom said. "Especially since you cut your hair."
Mom turned the page and we found a picture of me and dad working on some project together. "Your father was so proud of you. I know he would have been proud of the way you've worked at school. Your father could have been valedictorian if he'd have finished school. He was so intelligent. I know he would have been proud of what you've accomplished. I know I am. I miss him so much, Billy."
"Me too," I said. "But you have Dave."
"I don't know how many times I can explain it to you. I love David, but your father will always be my first love. I'll never stop loving him and I'll never stop missing him. I am glad that you and David seem to be getting along better now. Your father understood you so much better than I do. I know my stance on your relationship with Brett has put a strain on our connection. You must understand, I really do want what's best for you."
"I know, mom. It's just that you and I disagree on what's best for me. I didn't want to be gay, you know. I didn't ask for it. It's not what I would have chosen. But I love Brett. I always have and I always will."
Mom flipped through a few pages of the photo album and began showing me the pictures of a slightly older me, around nine or ten years old. "Notice anything?" she asked.
"I see a lot more Brett," I said.
"Try to find a picture of yourself without him," mom said. "Once that boy came into the picture you never left his side. That's what I saw up there on that hill when he was hurt. That's what I've seen the last few weeks. I may never understand how or why you ended up gay, but it's no secret how you ended up with him. You two loved each other before you knew what that meant. Look at the way he looks at you in these pictures. The only reason I never saw it before is because I didn't want to see it."
"If you had known that we would end up together, would you have kept him away from me?" I asked.
"I know we disagree on a lot of things. But one thing we absolutely agree on is that Brett is the best thing that ever happened to you. If it hadn't been Brett, you would have eventually acted on your feelings with someone else, and they wouldn't have loved you like Brett does."
"Do you still think I'm sinning?"
"Of course. But I'm not God. I'm your mother. It's my job to love you, no matter what."
"I just don't want to live my life with you being ashamed to have a gay son," I said. My eyes started to burn as I said the words.
Mom took my hands and held them in hers. "You listen to me, William Aaron Roberts. I don't care whether you are my gay son or my straight son. All that matters is that you are my son. I could never be ashamed of that. I'm proud of you."
"But you're not proud that I'm gay," I said.
"I'm proud of you, just the way you are," mom said firmly.
"So all Brett had to do was snap his leg in half for us to finally work things out?" I asked.
"We all have to make sacrifices sometimes," mom replied.
We continued to sit together and look through the story of my life in pictures for a while after that. Eventually, we each went to our bedrooms. Not surprisingly, I slept really well that night. The steady soft pattering of raindrops was always a guaranteed way to put me to sleep. But it was something more than that. I finally felt like mom and I could understand each other, even though we disagreed on things. To be honest, I'd never been more proud to call her my mother.
A tale of two mothers. What did you think?
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Next time: April Fool