W.A.R. Part Seven - Dustin's World

(2nd edition)

Chapter Nine - The Lie in the Hallway

by Jeff Wilson


Brett Reilly parked his car on the street outside of his brother's apartment and sighed. It had been two days since he'd talked to Joey. At first, Brett didn't think much of Joey not answering his calls, but two days was a long time to not get back to him. Brett worried he'd find out Joey had been thrown back in rehab or jail and hadn't had time to call him. But when Joey's mom called Brett and asked him to go check on Joey, Brett began to get nervous. It had been a long ride from Pittsburgh back to Donora, and Brett had tried to call several times. He hoped he'd find Joey had fallen asleep or something, but his dread was increasing as he approached the house where Joey lived.

Brett fumbled around with his keys and found the one for Joey's apartment. Joey had given it to him last year in case Brett needed to get into his place when Joey was in rehab. Brett went to turn the key, but the door was unlocked. He pushed the door open and walked inside.

"Joe!" Brett called. "Hey Joey! You here?"

Silence.

Brett looked around the place. It didn't look like Joey had gone anywhere. He peeked into the garage and found Joey's car was still there, and his brother's wallet was sitting on the kitchen counter. Now Brett was beginning to get a very bad feeling. He walked toward Joey's bedroom. Before he opened the door he prayed. He braced himself for what he knew he was going to find inside the room.

* * *

Dustin was glad to walk out of the cold and into the warmth of the computer science building. The days were only going to become more blustery and miserable as November crept along. He wished on days like this he'd invested in a car instead of a motorcycle. He was early for class, so he sat on the floor near the door as he waited for the previous class to exit the room. Dustin did some last minute studying for the test Dr. Thompson was going to give the class that day.

As he waited, Luke Cunningham came around the corner. The boys shared a moment of recognition when they saw each other. Their relationship had been irrevocably changed by the events of the previous Saturday night. Dustin had been inside Luke. Luke could still feel the way Dustin and Dr. Thompson had overstretched his poor asshole. Luke hadn't expected the rush of emotions which flooded his mind when he saw the tall redheaded young man again. The mix of love and hate which filled him almost made him have second thoughts about what he had planned to do. He felt his face flush red.

But Luke did his best to bury those emotions. He had a mission in mind. He sat next to Dustin on the floor.

"That was some party the other night, huh?" Luke said.

"Yeah," Dustin replied. He was always more confident and self-assured when he was naked. He found now that they were both clothed and back to ordinary life he was the nervous one. He was glad the hallway was empty. He felt a mix of pride and shame over what he'd done with Luke.

Luke leaned closer to Dustin and whispered, "I loved every second of it. I've wanted you to fuck my ass since the first day of class."

Dustin blushed. "Uh... Thanks. I'm glad you liked it."

"My ass still hurts. I can still feel those big dicks inside me. I've never been DP'd before. I loved it! Maybe we could get together sometime for another round, just you and me."

Dustin felt the guilt surging through him. This was wrong. "What about Nate?" Dustin asked.

Luke paused. This was turning out to be more difficult than he'd expected. He hadn't expected Dustin to be so noble. He pushed forward with his plan despite his misgivings. "Nate can't do what you can do. We always have to be so darn careful. I wouldn't dream of letting him fuck me bare like you did. And I wouldn't trust him not to stealth me and give it to me even if I let him use a condom. You know?"

"Give what to you?" Dustin asked.

"AIDS," Luke said seriously. "I mean, the guy was living on the street, doing meth, selling his ass to make it through. He was bound to get it. It's a shame really. I feel so bad for him. He's probably got another year or two, tops. I wish we could afford the stuff like Magic Johnson got, but we don't have that kind of money."

"You mean to tell me Nate has HIV?" Dustin asked.

"Oh yeah. You don't need to worry. I mean, it's not like you had sex with him or anything. Just shaking hands with him in the parking lot's not going to give you AIDS."

"Yeah..." Dustin said. "But, I mean, he looks pretty healthy."

"Dude, that's so wrong. Just because someone is poz doesn't mean they look sick. You could get it and not even know you have it until it's too late. Don't worry about what happened with us though. I'm clean and so is Mr. Thompson. You guys are the only ones I let fuck me that night. I don't have anything to worry about from you, do I?"

Dustin couldn't even answer.

"I just feel sorry for poor Nate though. Poor guy, having to sell his body and get AIDS like that. I wish I could have taken him with me to that party, but I couldn't obviously. Anybody who would have fucked him without protection would be totally fucked, that's for sure."

"Yeah..." Dustin said.

The doors to Dr. Thompson's class opened and the hallway filled with people. Luke hopped up from the floor and joined Dr. Thompson inside. Dustin sat there on the floor, still trying to figure out what in the world he'd gotten himself into. All he could feel was a sense of cold dread. But more than that, he felt betrayed.

"Why wouldn't he have told me?" Dustin asked himself.

He thought back to his conversation with Mr. Johnston. He'd been warned that he was going to let his dick get him into trouble. Now it was possible that his dick had gotten him killed! As he sat in class trying to concentrate on his test, he wondered if microscopic little viruses were destroying his immune system. Was there something inside of him trying to kill him? He held his head in his hands. He'd survived abuse. He'd survived rape. But now he'd allowed sex to destroy him, just like so many people had warned him about. He felt like all his hopes and dreams had been shattered. He certainly couldn't afford the kind of treatment he'd need to stay healthy and alive. Everything he'd planned for his life was never going to happen. And he'd done it to himself.

Luke finished his test and walked to the front of the classroom. He was free to leave, but he took a moment to look back at the redhead who had fucked his boyfriend. Dustin looked pale and ready to cry. He looked like he might even do something crazy. For a moment Luke thought about ending the torment and telling Dustin the truth. But then he thought better of it.

"Let him suffer," Luke thought to himself. "He deserves it for fucking my stupid boyfriend." Luke walked out the door with a smile on his face.

Dustin had only answered one question on the test when Dr. Thompson tapped him on the shoulder.

"Dustin."

Dustin was startled by the sudden intrusion of reality into his world. He looked around and saw the room was empty.

"Are you okay, son?" Dr. Thompson asked.

"I... I don't know," Dustin replied.

"Why don't you come to my office and finish this test there?" Dr. Thompson suggested.

Still in a daze, Dustin followed Dr. Thompson to his office and finished his test. After he handed his test in, Dr. Thompson asked him to sit down.

"You look like you have a lot on your mind," Dr. Thompson said, his voice full of concern.

"I guess so," Dustin replied, trying to hold back the tears that weren't allowing themselves to be stopped.

"You'd be surprised how often it's the ones who look the strongest on the outside who have the most pain on the inside. I don't know much about you, and I regret that. I know you're a good kid who's had a rough journey in life. I'm guessing you had a pretty rough upbringing."

"You could say that," Dustin replied.

"If it makes you feel better, you have a bright future. There's nothing you can do about your past, but you can do something about what you do with your life from here on out. You're one of the brightest students I've ever had and you're an amazing lover. When you learn to combine those elements together, you're going to go far in this world."

"Yeah, if I live that long," Dustin sighed.

"Unfortunately the brightest candles do sometimes burn the fastest."

"There's just... I've got too much going on right now. I feel like I'm being crushed. I just found out something that could ruin everything. On top of everything else, I got a girl pregnant and..." Dustin paused.

"And what?"

"Oh my god! I've got to go right now! Thanks Dr. Thompson..."

Dustin jumped out of the chair and practically ran out the door. He had to talk to Sarah right away! If there was a chance that Nate had given him a deadly disease, then there was also an even bigger chance that Dustin had given it to Sarah! Worse than that, his unborn child could become infected.

He ran through the cold November rain, past the bench where Luke and Nate would have met up and gone home. The rain would make it difficult to ride his bike, but he had to get to Sarah's house. He had to at least warn her to get tested. Doctors could do things that would spare their baby. It was no use trying to call Sarah. She'd been ignoring his calls since the day she'd told him about the pregnancy. He decided to just go directly to her house. She couldn't ignore him if he was standing at the door.

Dustin's life had been so messed up by his parents. He wanted to do so much better for his child. He wanted to give his son or daughter a brighter life than he'd had. If he had to, he would drop out of school and get a job somewhere to pay for the baby's things. He would find a way to get treatments to stay alive as long as he could with the disease. They were making new advancements all the time. All Dustin cared about was that his child was safe. He wanted to be a good father, even if he was a screw-up. Sarah's family had money. They would be able to provide for the things in life he'd never had.

Night was beginning to fall as he rode into Sarah's neighborhood. He wasn't looking forward to the coming conversation, but he knew he had to do it. He couldn't risk the baby's health. And even though they hadn't been prepared for a pregnancy, he knew he and Sarah could make this work. He pulled into the driveway and walked to the back door where he always met Sarah. He didn't care if Sarah didn't want to talk, this was too important. He knocked and rang the doorbell. He wasn't leaving until he could talk to Sarah. He saw movement and the light came on in the house. Then the door opened.

"What are you doing here?" Sarah's father asked as he scowled at Dustin.

"I need to talk to Sarah," Dustin replied.

"You've got a lot of nerve showing up here after everything you've done," Mr. Taylor sneered.

"I know, but I need to talk to Sarah right away. It's important!"

"Oh! Well if it's important!" Mr. Taylor mocked. "I brought my daughter back here to get her away from boys like you! I know who your father was a drunk and a loser. I've been around long enough to know the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. If I'd have known my daughter was seeing a dirty river rat like you behind my back, I'd have warned her you were trouble. Not that she'd have listened to me."

"Mr. Taylor, I know you're angry. But I need to talk to Sarah right away. It's a matter of life and death."

"Daddy, let him in," Sarah said, walking slowly into the room behind her father.

"Sarah, I've made my feelings about this boy quite clear."

"I know daddy. He has a right to know what's going on."

"He has a right to nothing! If anything, he should pay me for your medical bills."

"I'll pay anything you need!" Dustin insisted. "Sarah, I want to make this right! I want to do the right thing."

"What do you know about what's right?" Mr. Taylor snapped. "Boys like you are all the same! You've been taking advantage of my daughter all her life! You've violated her sweet and trusting nature all these years! My daughter deserves better than a dirty river rat from the slums! You're worthless!"

"I'm not debating any of what you said," Dustin replied. "You're right. I'm a worthless bum and my parents were worthless bums. But I want a better life for my child. Sarah, I can be a better man than my father was. I can take care of our baby! I just want to do what's right."

Sarah sighed. "Dustin... There is no baby."

Dustin was confused. "What? What are you talking about? Were you lying to me?"

"No. Dustin, we took care of it," Sarah explained.

"Took care of it? What do you mean?"

"She means we got rid of it," Mr. Taylor snarled.

"Daddy, please! Dustin, you have to understand. I never meant to hurt you. I felt sorry for you. You came here so messed up and at your wits end, and one thing led to another... I was confused. You're a nice boy..."

"Nice boy, my ass!"

"Daddy, he is! But you have to understand Dustin, I can't go through a pregnancy and care for a baby. I still need to finish school."

"You felt sorry for me?" Dustin seethed. "I didn't need a pity fuck! I needed someone to talk to! I thought you understood, but you just used me!"

"And you used me too! We both got what we wanted from each other."

"So let me get this straight... You had an abortion? You killed my child without even talking to me about it?"

"It was all a big mistake, Dustin! I'm sorry!"

Mr. Taylor scowled. "You have nothing to be sorry for, sweetheart. This boy has no right to tell you what to do with your body. He would have ruined your life. He's a worthless piece of garbage. The world would be better off without him. He would have been no better than his father."

Dustin felt as if his heart had been ripped from his chest. All of his will to fight seemed to have been sucked out of him. "I am worthless," he said flatly. "You're right. I don't deserve to be a father. I'd just end up fucking up my kid like my parents fucked me up."

"Enough of this!" Mr. Taylor snapped. "Why don't you get your pathetic ass off my property and leave my daughter alone? I don't ever want to see your sorry behind around here again."

"Daddy..."

"Sarah, my word is final. Get your ass off my property before I call the police. You're nothing but a waste of food stamps and welfare checks. You'll never amount to anything. You're a worthless piece of shit. My daughter has a future to think about, a future with a real man to take care of her to start a real family. I only wish your parents had had the resources to abort you before you were born. It would have saved the world a whole lot of trouble."

Dustin wished he could reply with some kind of answer, but he couldn't. Deep down, he knew Mr. Taylor was right. He'd heard it all his life. He did his best to hold back the tears.

"It's not like you would have had any part of that child's life, so what are you so upset about? No grandchild of mine would have anything to do with a pathetic piece of shit like you."

Dustin couldn't take any more abuse. He turned to leave. There was nothing about that world that he could ever be part of. His rejection was complete. It wasn't until he was sitting on his bike that he realized he'd never even told Sarah about the whole reason he'd come to her house. He didn't even have his cell phone to send her a text. So, he pulled a piece of paper from his book bag and wrote a note on it:

"Get an AIDS test you bitch!"
Then he tied it to a rock and hurled it through Sarah's bedroom window, a perfect strike. He jumped on the bike and rode off into the night. Dustin's heart was broken. He'd conceived a child, given life to a new person. But that new life had been snuffed out before it even had a chance, and it was all because of Dustin.

The thought of dying didn't seem so bad anymore.


Comments? Thoughts? Let me know what's on your mind! You can reach me at jkwsquirrel@yahoo.com

Next time - The Revelation in the Rain