Well That Was Unexpected
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
I woke up alone and Cal had already left my side. I felt some form of panic, but then I heard voices, familiar voices. I heard my Mom laugh and Cal joining in the merriment; I got out of bed, slipped on my sweats and T, and went down stairs.
"Morning, sleepy head," my Mom announced. "Yeah, morning, Mom," I replied, grabbing a cup of coffee, and a piece of bacon from Cal's plate. "Morning, babe," I said, kissing his cheek. "Bad dreams last night?" Cal asked. "Yeah, but not a long one," I said. "Meeting Dr Benet on Friday. Hope she can help me," I continued. Cal stood up, wrapped his arms around me from behind, and whispered in my ear.
"Have faith. She will help you. Just have faith," he said, kissing the back of my neck. "Yeah, I know. Thanks, babe," I replied in a small voice, just above a whisper. I just felt, I don't know…low. I guess.
"So, boys, all packed?" Mom asked. "Yeah, just about," I replied. "Just some shirts that need ironed and then I am done," I continued, hoping mom picked up on the hint about the ironing. "So, what are you boys doing this morning?" Mom asked, as Dad walked into the dining room. "Morning, honey," he said, kissing Mom on the cheek. "Boys," he said to us. "Morning, Dad," we said in unison. "We are meeting the gang at Jitneys at about eleven, Mom," I eventually answered. "Just to say our farewells, is all," I finished. "So what time is your flight?" Dad asked, and I replied, "2 o'clock, Dad. We're so pleased we are not driving back, to be honest. That's a long drive," I responded. "We are back in three weeks for Thanksgiving, and it just seems pointless driving the cars back, and Dale agreed, so," I said, and yes we will miss the freedom a car/truck gives us. But, the cost of gas getting there and then driving back for Thanksgiving just seemed stupid since the flights were inexpensive. So, we are flying back.
"Aaron is driving us to the airport in his truck, so we are sorted. Thanks, Dad," I explained further. Soon after breakfast I went into the living room and Cal went to finish packing his stuff for the flight back to New York. I sat as my dad entered the room.
"You okay, kiddo?" he asked. "I will be, Dad. I hope so, anyway," I replied.
"Care to explain what you mean, son?" he asked, with a touch of concern when he spoke. "I am having nightmares, Dad. Horrific ones. And…well…they hurt…Dad. I cannot really…explain it. But, I feel pain in them…and I feel terror," I told him. "Cal seems to be the only thing that brings me calm, Dad," I carried on. "Dad, I keep seeing Cal stabbed and dying at the hands of my attacker. And it feels real, it feels so real to me," I said, with some tears beginning to fall. "It feels like I am re-living it, but with Cal on the receiving end of the pain. It's like I am being forced to witness it," I went on. "He's in jail, so I know, rationally, he cannot hurt me, or us. But, mentally, he still is torturing me," I said, as he wrapped his arms around me, and like Cal, my dad's strong hold brought me comfort, made me feel safe.
"I don't know what to say to you, son. I don't know what I can do, apart from support you all I can, all that your mom can do. I am sure Cal will be with you every step of the way, and, yes, perhaps your therapist will bring some light into the dark and help you," Dad went on. "Joshua, you have been through so much for someone so young, but, hey, you are still here. You survived it, and you will be stronger for it. Trust me. You will get through this," he concluded, and kissed my forehead.
"I wanted to die, Dad," I said, and a shocked look appeared on my dad's face. "You wanted to kill yourself? Why?" he asked, with worry and concern. "No, Dad. When they were hurting me, I was in so much pain—you have seen the things they did to me—I was in so much pain, Dad, I begged them to kill me," I said with tears falling freely, as I cried into my dad's shoulder. This was the first time I had opened up to one of my parents. I hadn't realised that my Mom was standing in the doorway, listening to what I had been telling Dad. "I said goodbye to Cal in my head so many times," I wept out.
Lucas had joined Mom in the doorway, and I still had no idea at that moment they were witnessing me breakdown. Mom walked over, knelt down, and also wrapped her arms around me. "Be strong, son, just fight. Don't let them take your spirit," my mom said, kissing my tear-covered face. "You have a family that loves and adores you, and a man who dotes on your every movement and loves you more than life itself. So fight, sweetheart, fight," she said. I honestly felt better for her words. I was loved. And with Cal I felt desired and loved. So I will fight. I won't let the bastards win.
Cal walked back into the room. "Everything okay?" he asked, looking over at this Hallmark moment, and wondered if he was intruding on something. I stood up and went over to him and just said, "I love you so much. And this thing I am going through, I will fight it babe. With your help, I will fight it." He just smiled and planted a soft but loving kiss that I needed at that moment. I turned and looked at my brother, and he was crying. He was crying for me, as he had always seen me as invincible. But lately, he had seen me battered and bruised, and, well…vulnerable, and that made him sad. "Hey, bro, I will be me again," I said, holding him tight. "Promise?" Lucas sobbed out. "Yeah, Bro, I promise," I said, kissing his cheek. "I am just going through some shit…sorry, Mom. But, I will be back, I promise you, okay?" I said, staring into my brother's eyes.
Mom and Dad looked over at me, and from what I could make out they looked proud of how I was talking and comforting my brother. I must admit, I am fortunate for how my family still loves me, and I actually felt for Cal, as he would soon come face to face with the person who rejected him. Rejected by his own mother because he was gay.
"I am fine, okay? Just let me get cleaned up and we will go meet the guys. You can come as well, bro," I said to Cal and Luc. I went to my room and grabbed some clean clothes and made my way to the bathroom. I looked into the mirror and could see what my family saw: a sad face, a very troubled, sad face looking back at me. I jumped into the shower and made quick work of it. I determined I could do without a shave and proceeded to dry, then dress myself, before heading back downstairs readying myself for today's events. Despite the strong desire to curl up and cry, I went downstairs.
"Okay, guys, ready," I shouted. "Your ironing will be done for when you get back, sweetie!" my mom yelled, and I smiled and kissed her. "Thanks, Mom," I said as we headed out of the door.
Cal drove over to Jitneys and we parked and went inside. Tom and Lacy were already sitting, smiling at each other, not noticing us come in…yet. "Hey, guys," I said as we approached their booth, and Lacy stood up, giving me a hug. "You look like you have been crying," she said to me. "Nah, just tired is all," I lied. "Hey, Tom, you look happy. Something up?" I asked as we took our seats. "Nope, just happy," he said, looking over at Lacy. "Hello, fucktards!" yelled Mark, as he, Dale and Todd walked into the coffee shop. "Use brain, retard," yelled Dale at his jock-brained brother. "Is Aaron still taking us to the airport?" I asked. "Yeah, he will pick us up at twelve from your house," Todd informed us. "So, about forty minutes from now," he went on.
"Dale, Tuesday and Wednesday, if Cal and I give you a list, will you go round to our classes and collect any work assignments that have been set for us, please?" I asked, already knowing his answer, as for the most part he has never let me down. "We will split the list," Todd interjected. "So, you going with Cal to Chicago then?" Dale asked. "Yeah, I am," I answered. "Got a feeling he needs me there," I said, looking at my boyfriend's expression.
We talked about what was going on over the next few weeks, and what was planned for Thanksgiving for when we get back. I explained that after all we had to do next week I had to re-sit my mid-term papers that had been postponed due to my attack and kidnapping. Hopefully all the information was still in my head somewhere, but some study time with Cal wouldn't go amiss. I mean, this exam only accounted for twenty-five percent of my overall grade, and we scored A+ with distinction on the 1947 engineering project that connected me with Cal, or sex-on-legs, as I knew him then…okay, still do.
But I wanted to pass this part of my degree highly, as I wanted a career out of this. I want to develop things. When I am older and with kids, I want to point out to them, "Look, son, I designed that," so yeah, I need to do well, and hopefully build my own company much like Cal's great-grandpa did.
"Okay, guys, we should be off," Dale announced, as it was almost eleven fifty. "Shame Liam couldn't say goodbye," I said, hugging Lacy. "Kidding, right," Lacy laughed out. "Right now his parents have him trapped in my dad's church, being lectured about the sins of the flesh. Hypocrite," she said. I wondered what she meant by that last statement, but we didn't have time to delve.
We left and jumped into Cal's truck, with Lucas and Cal chatting away about bloody Harry Potter and me being bored out of my skull. I'm just pleased that the series is now over. Now, if the discussion was about The Lord of the Rings, well that's a great series of movies, and very close to Tolkien's vision, and, in my humble opinion, a world of difference from the Potter crap. We arrived back home with Aaron already waiting and looking happier than he was yesterday. "Why the shit-faced grin?" Todd asked. "Kyle's coming to New York!" he said excitedly. "His mom told him he had to move on. She's going to move in with her sister," he said. Todd couldn't be happier for him. "Fantastic, Bro," Todd said, embracing his best friend.
I went into my home with Cal and Lucas and kissed my parents. I told them that both Cal and I would be back in three weeks, and not to worry about me, even though that was an impossible task on their part.
I stood for a while, reflecting on my visit home, happy in the knowledge that I still have great parents. And, despite all that's happened to me over the past year, I have some amazing friends. Even though this place has its fair share of drama, I love it, and look forward to Thanksgiving, as despite the bad things that have happened to me, and there has been a lot of that, I also have a lot to be thankful for, nothing more so than Mr Calumn Kenner, my lover, my future, my life.
Soon after we left for the airport, heading down the motorway, we started chatting about when Aaron and Kyle would enter college, and the smile that spread across Aaron's face could have powered the truck all the way to New York. Todd teased him about it. "Aaron, I am pleased you have sorted it out, and that brings me some joy, I can tell you," I informed him. "Oh, why is that, pray tell?" he joked out. "Oh, nothing. Just Todd will now have someone else to tease the shit out of," I pissed myself laughing. No kidding, I actually pissed myself. "Fuck, yeah," Todd exclaimed, also pissing himself laughing.
Some fifty minutes later, we boarded the plane bound for JFK and back to the real life of freshman year. That made me slightly apprehensive. How would people treat me now? I am the boy who was kidnapped and tortured, and my name is now known on campus. Me being known as gay did not really bother me now. I had faced evil head on in the guise of Ben Kips, or Derrick Reynolds, or whatever he wanted to be known as. I will just refer to him as that sadistic bastard from now on. And I know I am not a vindictive person, but if what Dale told me was right, with the passing comment Todd sent in Terry Reynolds direction when Cal, aka 'Bruce fucking Lee,' took him down, I hope Derrick and Duke have a 'Bubba' in their respective cells, and that Bubba is hung like a stallion! Hurt much? I laughed at that last point.
"What you laughing at?" Cal asked. "Oh nothing, just thinking about some stuff is all," I smiled back at him with that goofy smile he always induced in me.
"LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR SEATS, AND PLACE THE TRAY IN THE UPRIGHT POSITION, AND FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS AS WE WILL BE SOON DESCENDING INTO JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. WE WILL BE LANDING IN TEN MINUTES. THANK YOU FOR FLYING AMERICAN AIRLINES. HAVE A SAFE TRIP."
Sure enough, ten minutes later we pulled up to the gate, ready to leave the aircraft, and soon were collecting our luggage and heading out of the airport. The cold that hit us was harsh; winter was coming and coming fast. The strangest thing came to mind when the cold first hit me, and I announced it to my friends, "I bet the fucking air conditioning is working now," I laughed out, and they all followed suit. "We hailed a cab and we were soon bearing down on our campus, getting ready for what life threw at us. I had a class first thing, as did Cal, in applied mathematics, and then my interview with assistant D. A., Sarah Watson, at eleven. But, before we got on the plane, I was happy to find out that Scott, the guy who asked me to help him with his course work for engineering, had done quite well in his exam and e-mailed me to thank me for my assistance. He said he would thank me personally when I got back. I sent him a message back telling him it wasn't necessary. I was pleased to help and if he needed it in the future he should feel free to ask.
It was late when we got back on campus, and I suggested, "Dale, use my bed for tonight, dude. I am going to crash with Cal, okay?" and he nodded, embraced me, as did Todd. "Love you, man," Todd said, whilst pulling away from me, and I shared his sentiment I did for both my friends. It had been a long day. It had been an emotional day in many respects.
"Okay, guys, see you later, tomorrow, okay?" I said, whilst walking away and heading towards Cal's dorm. When we got close I looked over to my tree that held so many memories for me: the day I was outed by Dale; the time Cal waved at me, as I am sure it wasn't the girl behind me; and, of course, Connor Brian. So many feelings surround this tree. I also noticed a few bunches of flowers placed on one side of the tree, some old and some looking like they had just been placed. It brought a lump to my throat and I said, whilst holding Cal, "I feel guilty. I feel so damn guilty. This was supposed to have been me," I said, with my voice trembling. "Yes, my love, but it wasn't though, was it?" he said, holding me. He pulled me away and we headed back to his dorm complex. As I said, it was an emotional day, very emotional.
I walked into Cal's dorm room and sat on his bed and he sat beside me and I just started to cry from all the emotion that had built up inside me. This is everything that had built up over the past weeks, the past few days. This morning's little break down released some of the pressure, but now the rest came flooding out. Here I sat, with the knowledge that I survived, but a kid I never met nor knew was dead. That beating was meant to be me, which was confirmed by Terry when they held me captive. So I knew with certainty that it should be me six feet down. Also, if it had been me, they wouldn't have stopped, as they would have targeted Cal for similar treatment. That is what hurts. Is it the statement that the sadistic bastard made…that Cal would be next…the reason for my nightmares?
I sadly stripped down, climbed into bed, and Cal did the same. I don't think my own personal sleep aid would help me tonight, but Cal's scent and his arms holding me would. That's what he did, he lay down and I lay my head on his chest and snuggled into him as he wrapped his arms around me. I felt safe. I always had felt this way with him. At the moment I am an emotional wreck. There were times when at home I had a good mask I hid behind, but over the past couple of days that mask had fallen away and my family saw how I was feeling. My mask never fooled Cal though. He knew I was hurting and he always gave me comfort, either by just being there for me, or with love and desire and lust. Whatever I needed, he provided. At this moment, being held by him was just what I needed. It had been, as I have said over and over, an emotional day.
To be continued…
Yeah, thanks again for the comments. These keep me writing Josh's emotional, but loving journey. So, keep the comments coming as always at firstname.lastname@example.org