I lean over the toilet and am grateful that nothing comes out. I go over to the sink and drink a couple of handfuls of water. I take a deep breath and wonder when everything got so fucked up. "God, we are so pathetic. I wonder why he even lets us come around," I hear myself say. I shift my eyes to the right and I see myself in the mirror. I am standing here, watching myself watch me and I wonder if I have crossed the line from troubled to insanity.
I am having that moment. That crucial moment when you snap and suddenly you are standing outside of yourself. I wonder when I started to swallow everything; every feeling, every emotion any and every sense of myself. I try to think of the moment in time, of the exact moment but I can't remember one.
"The moment doesn't matter," I say to myself. "What matters is that you are no longer you. You don't exist. You are a haze of the person you want to be and a shadow of the person you were and you can't go back," I finish.
"I can't go back," I echo into the air around me and I realize that I can't change everything, but, I can take a step forward. One small step and I can leave part of myself behind, but, do I want to? Do I want to step away from everything?
I feel a tap on my shoulder and I shift my eyes to the other side of the mirror. Shaun is standing there, blood soaking his jeans and he is pissed. I feel the terror race through me and then all of a sudden I break. I can feel it rise from deep inside and I start to laugh. I laugh until I can't breathe. I can taste the tears as they roll into my mouth and when I look down and realize that I am not wearing any clothes I laugh harder.
I walk over to the bathroom door and I listen as his tear soaked laughter floats through the blockade. I know the door is not really an obstacle. I know it is unlocked and that I can slide it open and invade his privacy but I don't. I drum my fingers nervously against the frame and wonder what my next move should be.
I don't have to think too long. I see the door slide open and he is standing before me. I feel a shift in him. "Justin, are you " I start to say but he reaches up and presses my lips to his.
"Don't say anything," he says to me as he kisses me again. I want to ask him so many things but I don't. I can see the redness and the remnants of tears around his eyes and still I say nothing. I lace my fingers with his and as I kiss him I guide him toward the bed. I ease him down onto the mattress and trail kisses from his mouth to his chest, his nipples, his stomach, his belly button, his thighs, ignoring his hardening cock.
I can feel his body move under mine, shifting, urging me on. I take the leaking member into my mouth and his body leaves the bed, arching up violently before settling back into the rhythm. He is running his fingers through my hair. Pulling and twisting and memorizing it all.
I feel his hand on my shoulder and I release him. I place another kiss on his lips and suck on the sensitive flesh of his neck as he guides me over onto my back. I feel him straddle me and when the warmth of his mouth engulfs my cock I can feel all of him.
I can feel his hesitation, his fear, his pain, his need, his want his everything. I stop him before I fall over the edge and when he sits up, his ass resting over my cock, I take in a deep breath. The light from outside hits him and I can see him for the first time all of him. I move a hand away from his thigh.
I trace my fingers along the small scars I see on his stomach, his arms and his legs. I watch the tears seep into his eyes and I know. I know his secret and he knows that I know. Relief. Release.
I reach over and take a condom from the nightstand. I hand it to him and watch as he rolls it onto my dick. The heat of his fingers and the silence between us makes every sense feel like its on fire, burning and ready to combust. I watch him as he reaches for the lube before I can give it to him.
He readies himself quickly and lifts himself up. I hold my dick in place as he impales himself, allowing no time for adjusting. I feel the tightness of him and the heat and I know he is real. I hold onto his thighs as he rides me. He moves his hips in ways that until this moment were unknown to me.
I reach a hand up to his face and pull him down close to me. I crash my lips onto his and snake my tongue into his mouth, tasting him, tasting me. I kiss down his neck as I arch into him. We are silent, the buzz of the refrigerator and the tick of the clock is all that keeps us from floating away. I can feel the moisture coming from him as he cries. It hits the side of my face as I kiss along his jaw.
I can feel him tightening around me as he moves with more determination. I meet him every step of the way, telling him without speaking that he doesn't have to worry about me walking away I am a constant.
A strangled cry and moan are all that come from him as he erupts, spraying his seed onto both of us. I thrust upwards a few more times before slipping into euphoria. I wrap my arms around him and hold onto him. I can feel him shaking almost violently as his body wants for more. His hips start to move again, searching for something.
He is holding onto me, his arms and hands gripping me so tightly that I know I will be bruised but I let him hold on. He is pushing himself down onto me again and my body is starting to respond.
I tighten my hold on him and stop his movements. "Pain management," I say as I hold onto him. I watch his blond hair move slightly as I speak into his ear. He lifts up and I feel myself leave from inside the comforts of him. I remove the condom, tie it off, and place it on the edge of the bed. He sits up high on my thighs, pressing himself into me. I hold him tightly as he cries.
The tears are hot and they burn as they seep through my skin and into me. He is shaking in my arms and all I can do is hold on.
I hold onto Brian and let go of everything. I know he knows my secrets. He is not stupid and I am surprised it took him this long. "I can't breathe," I say into his neck as the sobs come out of me and the tears spill down my face. I can feel my body shaking.
"Yes you can," he says to me. For what seems like forever we sit there, the fog of alcohol long ago lifted. I can feel myself slipping under the blankets of my mind and then I see nothing.
I feel his grip loosen on me and I hear his breathing even out and I know that he is asleep, passed out and exhausted from everything. I smooth my hand over his hair and lean back. I trace my fingers along the scars on his body and I wonder why. I wonder why he does it but deep down I know. He needs to do it; he needs to feel it, needs to feel something, anything and everything. I do the same thing. I drink, fuck, forget and smother the pain away. We are each other's copy.
"Wow Brian, are you sure that someone else isn't doing it to him?" Lindsay asks me as she goes back into the kitchen to get a cookie for Gus. I watch him as he stands between my legs and I smile.
"He said that he did it to himself. I asked him about the busted lip but he wouldn't say anything about that and when I asked him about what happened when he was sitting on the bench when you picked Gus up he changed the subject, so I am pretty sure that he has a lot more shit running through his head then just the cutting," I tell her.
She comes back into the room, gives Gus the cookie and sits on the sofa. I watch her thinking from my spot in the chair in the corner and I wait for her to say something.
"What are you going to do?" she asks me. I have been asking myself the same thing.
"I have no idea. I have talked to him about it and he says that he is not going to do it anymore but I have never been stupid and I know that he is probably going to do it again," I say. I sit Gus down on the floor and lean back in the chair, my eyes trained on my son.
"Well, you can't just not say anything; maybe you should go over to his house and talk to his mother," Lindsay says.
"I thought about calling her but he said that he would tell her," I say.
"And has he told her yet?" Lindsay asks. I cross my arms over my chest and look at her.
"No," I say. Lindsay lets out a breath of air and tucks her legs under her body.
"And it's been how long?" She asks me. I take my eyes off of her and look over at the clock on the wall.
"Four weeks," I say as I reach into my pocket and pull out a piece of gum. I pop a piece in my mouth and offer some to Lindsay. She says no thank you and pushes the hair out of her face.
"That's a fucking month Brian. Maybe you should talk to him again and see if he's told her," she says to me and I know that she is right. I should talk to him and his mother should know but he has been better in the last couple of weeks and I don't want to shake him too much.
"I know," I say. "I know I need to talk to him."
"I know I need to talk to her," I tell Daphne as we walk along the edge of the field. The rest of the gym class is running or jogging and has passed us more than once.
"Taylor and Chanders, lets move it out there. We are not staying on the field all day," the gym teacher yells to us. We both stop to look at him as he rants and then continue walking at the same pace.
"Justin, she needs to know. How are you going to get help if you don't tell her?" Daphne asks me. I look up at the sun and I feel the cool air as it nips at my arms through the material of my shirt and I am glad that I slipped sweats under my shorts. I tug at my sleeves until they are covering my hands.
"Help for what?" I ask. I see Daphne stop out of the corner of my eye and I stop walking too. I look at the puzzled look on her face. "I don't need any help Daphne. I stopped doing it. It's not an issue anymore," I tell her.
"Justin, I really don't think that it's something you can just stop doing," she says as we start walking again. "I looked up some information on the internet and I really think " she starts to say. I cut her off before she can finish.
"I really think that you should mind your own fucking business," I tell her as we continue to walk. Daphne crosses her arms over her chest and walks faster.
"Pay attention Peters, I am not going to repeat myself fifteen different times," Coach Johnson says as we sit on the bench inside the dugout. I look back at him but my brain won't let go of the blond that is walking around the field just behind his shoulder.
"Why in the fuck are you walking like that?" Brad asks me as I come out of my house. I tighten my grip on my book bag and close the door behind me.
"None of your fucking business," I say as I move to walk past him and get into his car.
"Dude, don't be such an asshole," Brad says as he gets into the driver's seat. I look over at him and shut my door.
I look over at the metal bat that fell over and ripped me from my memory. I watch the blond and his best friend and I smirk when I see Daphne cross her arms and start to walk faster, leaving him in her shadow. I have always liked Daphne, maybe I should get to know her a little more. I watch Justin as he grabs onto her shoulder and stops her from walking.
"Make sure you bring your gloves and your own bats if you have a special one that you like to use," I hear the coach say. I silently curse him for getting in my way. He shifts on his feet and moves a little to the left. Justin and Daphne come back into view and I train my eyes on them again.
I grab Daphne's shoulder and stop her from walking. "Look, I'm sorry, ok?" I say. She nods her head a little at me. "I didn't mean it to come out like that Daph; it's just that it's hard enough to know that I have to tell her. I don't need everyone breathing down my neck telling me what they think I should do or how they think I should do it," I say.
"I know," is all she says before walking away from me. I want to make her feel better but I don't have the energy. I watch her for a few more minutes and then I turn in the opposite direction and walk back across the field and into the building.
The coach finishes talking and I watch as Daphne and Justin walk away from each other. "You're my best player Shaun. I hope that you pay more attention at the game than you did at practice today," he says to me.
"You're my best player, I need you to play today," he says to me. I take the note back from him and put it in my pocket.
"I know coach and I am really sorry," I tell him and I mean it. I can hardly walk. Playing baseball is not even an option. "The doctor said I should be okay in about a week or so," I say.
"Well, I guess that's good news," he says to me as he marks my name as benched on the player's roster and ushers me to sit down.
"Sorry Coach Johnson," I say as I watch the blond head disappear into the building.
"Sorry doesn't win games Shaun," he tells me. I watch him shake his head in frustration before walking away from me to talk to the pitcher. I watch the mocha skinned girl make her way from the field and over to the water fountain on the side of the building. I watch her as she sits in the grass while the rest of the class plays some sort of game.
"How come you aren't playing?" I ask as I sit down in the grass next to her. I can feel the anger and bitterness rising from her as I lean back on my arms.
"What the fuck do you want?" She spits at me.
"Damn, rude aren't you," I say. "I just wanted to come over and say hi," I tell her. She scoffs and pulls at the blades of grass around her.
"I highly doubt that you came all the way over here to say hi and ask me why I am not playing whatever it is that they are playing," she says as she pulls the individual pieces of grass apart and lets them blow in the soft breeze. It's going to be cold soon.
"You're wrong, I did come over here to ask you that, and, to say hi," I tell her. I can tell what she is thinking. She wears her feelings on her face. "Just because your best friend and I can't fucking stand each other doesn't mean that we have to be complete assholes to each other," I tell her. She looks at me and her eyes seem to travel up and down my body. I wonder if I am breaking her down.
"That's fucking bullshit," I scream as I sit across from Jennifer. My lawyer grabs my arm to tell me to stay calm.
"I don't see why it's bullshit. I stopped working for over fifteen years to help you start up your business. I took care of your kids and your house and managed all of your business affairs. I don't think its bullshit to ask for half of everything," Jennifer tells me. "And spousal and child support," she adds. I turn to my lawyer for some sort of help.
"Mrs. Taylor, your oldest son turned eighteen two and a half weeks ago," my lawyer tells her. I sit back in the chair and grin at her.
"I am very aware of that fact and I am also aware that I have a ten year old daughter. Surely he doesn't expect for me to take care of her all by myself," she says to my lawyer before turning her eyes to me and smiling. I almost hear it inside me. It is barely a whisper. The voice inside that regulates stupidity and reasoning. I almost hear it and I almost listen.
"Fuck you, I am not paying you for some bitch that I never wanted to have and I sure as hell am not going to pay you half of my fucking money so that you can use it to feed and clothe that fucking faggot son of mine," I scream at her. I am on my feet now, looking down at her. I want her to be scared, I want her to flinch with the strength of my tone but she says nothing.
"Fine, if that's the way you feel we can go to court and we can drag it out. It really doesn't matter to me but you are going to pay," she says. I watch her as she stands. We are looking at each other face to face across the expansive oak table.
"You always get to do whatever you want but not this time. This time I get things my way. You fucked around on me. You went against all your promises and I am not going to stand in the ashes of your mess and just smile and dust myself off while you get to enjoy yourself, fuck that," she says as she grabs her purse and leaves the room.
I watch her as she stops just outside the door. "And don't forget, I know things, a lot more things than you know I know. Many things detailed things," she says before she shuts the door behind her. I feel my face flush and I sit down in my chair, defeated and shrunken.
"I'll call my accountant. I want a check cleared out to her and the order for the spousal and child support drawn up as quickly as possible. I want to know how much I have to pay before the end of next week," I tell my lawyer.
"How cheap can you get the supplies for the MacMillian job?" I ask the contractor as I look over the drafts for the new downtown office complex.
"Real cheap boss," he tells me. I look over at him and smile. "Jimmy even said he was willing to drop the price since we use him every time," he tells me.
"That's a good thing. Tell him to try and get the stuff here in the next three days, I want to start as soon as possible," I say.
"I'll see what I can do. It's not so easy ordering 'borrowed' supplies," he says with a laugh as he leaves the office. I see Jennifer standing right outside the door, obviously about to come in and I cringe. She steps into the door and closes it behind her.
"Care to explain what that was about?" She asks me.
I get up and walk out of Jennifer's lawyer's office. The two hired guns can work out the details amongst themselves.
I knock on the loft door and smile when Brian slides it open. "Hey," I say as I hook my arms around his neck and pull him into me for a kiss.
"Mmm, hey," he says as we break the kiss. I feel his hands running down my back and I smile into his neck. "I thought you were coming over later," he tells me. I move away from him and toss my bag onto the floor.
"I missed you," I say as I walk into the kitchen and grab an apple off the counter. I walk over and flop down on the futon cushion that is on the floor in front of the television.
"I bet you did," he says as he comes and sits next to me. "We need to talk," he says and I can feel my heart skip three beats and then stop completely.
"Talk about what?" I ask. I bite into the apple and chew very slowly.
"Did you tell your mother Justin?" He asks me. I swallow and turn to him sweetly.
"Tell her what? That I am gay or that I have a boyfriend," I say as I run a hand over his face. I love to watch him cringe at the word boyfriend and I use it as much as I can. He grabs my hand gently and pulls the sleeve of my shirt up.
"You know what I am talking about," he says as he lets his thumb trace over a not so old scar. I pull my arm away before he has time to register that the scar is not healed over completely. That it is new, and permanent.
"Not yet, soon, ok?" I say. He looks over at me and smiles a little. He gets to his feet and walks over to the bedroom. I watch him as he grabs a shirt to go on top of his tee and slides his shoes on. "Where are you going?"
" We are going talk to your mother."
Return to Rose Water