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  1. GA Staff

    Prologue

    mike test 1
  2. GA Staff

    Chapter 1

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna. Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci. Aenean nec lorem. In porttitor. Donec laoreet nonummy augue. Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretium mattis, nunc. Mauris eget neque at sem venenatis eleifend. Ut nonummy. Fusce aliquet pede non pede. Suspendisse dapibus lorem pellentesque magna. Integer nulla. Donec blandit feugiat ligula. Donec hendrerit, felis et imperdiet euismod, purus ipsum pretium metus, in lacinia nulla nisl eget sapien. Donec ut est in lectus consequat consequat. Etiam eget dui. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed at lorem in nunc porta tristique. Proin nec augue. Quisque aliquam tempor magna. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nunc ac magna. Maecenas odio dolor, vulputate vel, auctor ac, accumsan id, felis. Pellentesque cursus sagittis felis. Pellentesque porttitor, velit lacinia egestas auctor, diam eros tempus arcu, nec vulputate augue magna vel risus. Cras non magna vel ante adipiscing rhoncus. Vivamus a mi. Morbi neque. Aliquam erat volutpat. Integer ultrices lobortis eros. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin semper, ante vitae sollicitudin posuere, metus quam iaculis nibh, vitae scelerisque nunc massa eget pede. Sed velit urna, interdum vel, ultricies vel, faucibus at, quam. Donec elit est, consectetuer eget, consequat quis, tempus quis, wisi. In in nunc. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Donec ullamcorper fringilla eros. Fusce in sapien eu purus dapibus commodo. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Cras faucibus condimentum odio. Sed ac ligula. Aliquam at eros. Etiam at ligula et tellus ullamcorper ultrices. In fermentum, lorem non cursus porttitor, diam urna accumsan lacus, sed interdum wisi nibh nec nisl. Ut tincidunt volutpat urna. Mauris eleifend nulla eget mauris. Sed cursus quam id felis. Curabitur posuere quam vel nibh. Cras dapibus dapibus nisl. Vestibulum quis dolor a felis congue vehicula. Maecenas pede purus, tristique ac, tempus eget, egestas quis, mauris. Curabitur non eros. Nullam hendrerit bibendum justo. Fusce iaculis, est quis lacinia pretium, pede metus molestie lacus, at gravida wisi ante at libero. Quisque ornare placerat risus. Ut molestie magna at mi. Integer aliquet mauris et nibh. Ut mattis ligula posuere velit. Nunc sagittis. Curabitur varius fringilla nisl. Duis pretium mi euismod erat. Maecenas id augue. Nam vulputate. Duis a quam non neque lobortis malesuada. Praesent euismod. Donec nulla augue, venenatis scelerisque, dapibus a, consequat at, leo. Pellentesque libero lectus, tristique ac, consectetuer sit amet, imperdiet ut, justo. Sed aliquam odio vitae tortor. Proin hendrerit tempus arcu. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Suspendisse potenti. Vivamus vitae massa adipiscing est lacinia sodales. Donec metus massa, mollis vel, tempus placerat, vestibulum condimentum, ligula. Nunc lacus metus, posuere eget, lacinia eu, varius quis, libero. Aliquam nonummy adipiscing augue. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna. Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci. Aenean nec lorem. In porttitor. Donec laoreet nonummy augue. Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretium mattis, nunc. Mauris eget neque at sem venenatis eleifend. Ut nonummy. Fusce aliquet pede non pede. Suspendisse dapibus lorem pellentesque magna. Integer nulla. Donec blandit feugiat ligula. Donec hendrerit, felis et imperdiet euismod, purus ipsum pretium metus, in lacinia nulla nisl eget sapien. Donec ut est in lectus consequat consequat. Etiam eget dui. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed at lorem in nunc porta tristique. Proin nec augue. Quisque aliquam tempor magna. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nunc ac magna. Maecenas odio dolor, vulputate vel, auctor ac, accumsan id, felis. Pellentesque cursus sagittis felis. Pellentesque porttitor, velit lacinia egestas auctor, diam eros tempus arcu, nec vulputate augue magna vel risus. Cras non magna vel ante adipiscing rhoncus. Vivamus a mi. Morbi neque. Aliquam erat volutpat. Integer ultrices lobortis eros. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin semper, ante vitae sollicitudin posuere, metus quam iaculis nibh, vitae scelerisque nunc massa eget pede. Sed velit urna, interdum vel, ultricies vel, faucibus at, quam. Donec elit est, consectetuer eget, consequat quis, tempus quis, wisi. In in nunc. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Donec ullamcorper fringilla eros. Fusce in sapien eu purus dapibus commodo. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Cras faucibus condimentum odio. Sed ac ligula. Aliquam at eros. Etiam at ligula et tellus ullamcorper ultrices. In fermentum, lorem non cursus porttitor, diam urna accumsan lacus, sed interdum wisi nibh nec nisl. Ut tincidunt volutpat urna. Mauris eleifend nulla eget mauris. Sed cursus quam id felis. Curabitur posuere quam vel nibh. Cras dapibus dapibus nisl. Vestibulum quis dolor a felis congue vehicula. Maecenas pede purus, tristique ac, tempus eget, egestas quis, mauris. Curabitur non eros. Nullam hendrerit bibendum justo. Fusce iaculis, est quis lacinia pretium, pede metus molestie lacus, at gravida wisi ante at libero. Quisque ornare placerat risus. Ut molestie magna at mi. Integer aliquet mauris et nibh. Ut mattis ligula posuere velit. Nunc sagittis. Curabitur varius fringilla nisl. Duis pretium mi euismod erat. Maecenas id augue. Nam vulputate. Duis a quam non neque lobortis malesuada. Praesent euismod. Donec nulla augue, venenatis scelerisque, dapibus a, consequat at, leo. Pellentesque libero lectus, tristique ac, consectetuer sit amet, imperdiet ut, justo. Sed aliquam odio vitae tortor. Proin hendrerit tempus arcu. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Suspendisse potenti. Vivamus vitae massa adipiscing est lacinia sodales. Donec metus massa, mollis vel, tempus placerat, vestibulum condimentum, ligula. Nunc lacus metus, posuere eget, lacinia eu, varius quis, libero. Aliquam nonummy adipiscing augue. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna. Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci. Aenean nec lorem. In porttitor. Donec laoreet nonummy augue. Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretium mattis, nunc. Mauris eget neque at sem venenatis eleifend. Ut nonummy. Fusce aliquet pede non pede. Suspendisse dapibus lorem pellentesque magna. Integer nulla. Donec blandit feugiat ligula. Donec hendrerit, felis et imperdiet euismod, purus ipsum pretium metus, in lacinia nulla nisl eget sapien. Donec ut est in lectus consequat consequat. Etiam eget dui. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed at lorem in nunc porta tristique. Proin nec augue. Quisque aliquam tempor magna. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nunc ac magna. Maecenas odio dolor, vulputate vel, auctor ac, accumsan id, felis. Pellentesque cursus sagittis felis. Pellentesque porttitor, velit lacinia egestas auctor, diam eros tempus arcu, nec vulputate augue magna vel risus. Cras non magna vel ante adipiscing rhoncus. Vivamus a mi. Morbi neque. Aliquam erat volutpat. Integer ultrices lobortis eros. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin semper, ante vitae sollicitudin posuere, metus quam iaculis nibh, vitae scelerisque nunc massa eget pede.
  3. GA Staff

    Robert (Trebs)

    Pictures from the official 2008 Dallas meeting
  4. Ben’s parents were seated in the kitchen/family room area of their house when he came in the backdoor; he walked over and sat down in the big fluffy chair sitting to the right of his father who was seated on the couch. “Dad, what happened to that kid Tommy, I know something happened to him,” he asked his parents. Ben watched his parents share that look which they always had whenever they were trying to decide whether to answer their son or daughter’s questions, it did not seem to bother him when he was younger but now as he was getting older it bothered him that his parents didn’t think that he was old enough to hear certain things. As this thought left his brain, a memory of the hug he had given Tommy came back into his mind, if he had known hugs could be that rewarding he would have done it more often. “Tommy has had very rough life,” his father said. “Right,” Ben said, laced with sarcasm, hoping he delivered the message that he wanted more information concerning this whole Tommy thing. This time his mother in an exasperated tone spoke, “Tommy was beaten by his father for his entire life, then Tommy watched as his father killed his mother and then killed himself.” Meredith felt bad at once she could see her son’s face go ashen but sometimes her son and especially her daughter could really bug her. They gave you this look like you’re such an idiot. Sometimes it just drove her to show her kids that there were some things that aren’t easy to handle and that is why parents protect their children. “Why would his dad… What did he do to…,” Ben was having some problems processing this information. Ben could barely imagine his parents even raising a hand to their children. None of his friend’s parents even approached scary or violent. I mean some of them could yell, and that could make you feel real bad but not hurt you, in the same way as a fist. He just couldn’t imagine, how awful that would be. “I’m going upstairs,” Ben announced, as his parents looked at him with that that look that they made whenever they thought he might be hurt but they were not sure and didn’t want to overreact and scare him. It’s that look a parent or older sibling learns very fast when a kid falls down and scrapes his knee. He looks at you not really knowing whether or not to freak out, you freak out, the kid freaks out and its bad. Well after that you learn to put on the poker face and pretend its no big deal and then usually you get some sobs but not a full-blown freak out. Katie Morrow was sitting at her computer tooling around on FacebookTM; when She sees her brother pass by and go into his room. She can tell by his footfalls that he’s worried about something so she gets up and goes into his room. “You look like hell,” she said. “Go away Kate, I don’t need this right now,” Ben says as he lies on his bed looking up at the ceiling. “You know I saw that new kid looking at you at the church, he’s pretty cute,” she slipped the cute part in hoping to get a reaction. Katie had an inkling, that her brother was not completely straight. She had noticed it at the mall, one day. As they were sitting at the table she noticed that his eyes would focus on the cute boys and not really the girls, sometimes when a girl would talk he was still scanning, where as when a boy would come over, he would focus intently. It wasn’t that he was fawning so much as he was just more interested in looking at them. “Yeah I saw him, he looked pretty nice, considering,” Ben said he was smart enough not to take his sister’s bait. “Considering, what is that supposed to mean,” She asked. “His father was abusive and he watched his father kill his mother,” Ben said, absently. “Oh my god,” his sister. “Yeah, I think I want to be his friend,” Ben was kicking himself as alarms went off in his head, not only for what he had just said but also how he said it, with a bit too much desire. Katie did pick up on it and marked a check her mind, “Well I think you should. He is going to need a friend.” I was sitting upstairs thinking about the hug and I went and grabbed a book off my bedside table and walked back downstairs. I was almost to the kitchen when I dropped to the floor, the taste of a seizure entered my mouth and I knew what was happening and then I fell away from reality into the blackness of a seizure. Drew watched me drop and instantly was over me in one swift motion. He had me in his arms instantly cradling me. I climbed out of the blackness and back to reality about five minutes after the onset of the seizure. I looked up into Drew’s eyes. I immediately began sobbing and blubbering apologies. “I really…did…didn’t,” I could barely speak I was stuttering so much. Ordinary when I came out of seizure it was cause for abuse from my father, for my “weakness.” “It’s all right Tommy, your ok,” Drew said brushing my forehead, I was sweating, and was soaked in the sticky sweat. Unlike my father’s reaction to my seizure, which was unadulterated anger, in this case the look on Drew’s face was one of complete panic. I could tell he was on the verge of a panic attack himself. I immediately loosened up to some extent; I had been tense waiting for some kind of blow. It was few minutes after I had gone upstairs stairs for a shower that I was sitting on the couch and was watching television. Drew and I were watching Sports Center together, which I enjoyed, although I had never been much of an athlete for various reasons. Not the least of these was that my constant series injuries to which I was forced to attribute to my accident-prone nature. This led to my being considered a clutz and a wimp, which did not endear me to the athletes. “So Tommy we are going to need to take you to the doctor,” Drew said. I knew he had been waiting for me to calm down before discussing my seizures. “Ok,” I croaked. “Don’t worry, we need to get a fix on these seizures, it’s dangerous and I know it must have an impact on your interactions with other people,” he said looking at me and the concern was palpable. I just nodded. He looked at me and started speaking again, “I schedule the appointment with a pediatric neurologist, he’s a friend of mine and a very nice guy.” “Ok, I think I am going to go up and go to bed,” I said as I got up and for the first time, I just hugged him. The bright sun light poured in through the windows and French doors, which lined two sides of my room. It produced an enormous amount of light and it was a new lesson learned. Always close the curtains before you go to bed. A few minutes later I figured it was a losing battle the sun won this round, and I got out of bed. After putting on some clothes and going downstairs, I met Lisa in the kitchen. “Morning Tommy,” she said. “Thanks,” I said sitting at the counter, I looked at the clock on the oven and discovered it was only 10:00 AM. “I’m not sure what you like for breakfast, but we have cereal or Bertha can make your something, that when I noticed the very nice African American housekeeper in the laundry room off of the kitchen,” Lisa said as she made herself a glass of Ice Tea. “What kind of cereal do you have,” I asked, I had usually eaten a toaster strudel or a bagel but I wasn’t going to be picky. “Well,” and she opened a drawer, and signaled me to come over to her. I took one look in the cabinet and rethought my options. It was filled with nasty cereals. I looked at her and gave her pleading look, “what no interest Corn Flakes or Grape Nuts.” “No its all right,” I started pleading. I had burning fear she would get angry. “It is not all right, I should have known your 13 you don’t want old people cereal, tell you the truth, I hate both of them,” Lisa said smiling at me. I smiled, crisis avoided and she was actually funny. “How about pancakes,” Lisa asked. I nodded my head. Lisa went into the laundry room and then Bertha came out into the kitchen she was littlest lady in the world but the sweetest lady in the world. She went to work on my pancakes and she made up bacon and sausage as well. It was fabulous. I went upstairs and showered and then I came back downstairs and found Lisa waiting on me in the kitchen. “Drew called while you were in the shower, he was able to get you an appointment with his friend Doctor Boone. He’s going to meet us at the office.” “Ok,” I said a little disappointed that I was going to have to go to a doctor’s office. We arrived outside of the Baptist Memorial Hospital. We walked through the door and went to the North Tower. It must be nice to know the doctor personally, because we did not even have to wait, we went straight back. The nurse showed us into a small examination room. About 10 minutes passed and the door opened a very tall, thin and young guy walked through the door laughing with Drew following close behind him, “Tommy this is a very good friend of mine William Boone.” Doctor Boone extended his hand for me shake, which I obliged. “Tommy I understand that you are having seizures,” He said coming and taking a seat on the stool, as Drew took a seat against the wall next to Lisa. “Yes, sir, for about 6 years now,” I said. “Now I know that you’ve been to other doctors for this, I spoke with one of them earlier. Is there anything that you did not tell them about when they were examining you,” he asked. “Yes,” I said, tears now streaming down my face, “but he told I could say anything or I’d be in real trouble. That’s the only reason I lied, honest.” “Tommy don’t worry about that now, I am not angry, just concerned we need to know what you did not say because it may be the reason your having these seizures,” the doctor said. “He pushed me down the stairs and I hit my head really hard, it was after that the seizures started,” I was shaking remembering the event of falling down stair vividly in my mind. “All right well thank you Tommy, well I am going to get you into see a radiologist he’s really good, we’re going to looking at every inch of your skull and then do some other tests, but I think that the seizures are a result of something that came about from that fall. In the meantime I am going to proscribe some medication to reduce your seizures,” the doctor said rolling back and then looking at my stepparents. We went down the elevator three floors and arrived at the Radiologist’s office. It took nearly five hours before they were done with me. I had been through multiple machines. After the final machine, we were directed to a consultation room. It was a comfortable sitting room, with a large Plasma television hanging on the wall. Doctor Boone and Moore came into the room together. Doctor Boone stepped beside the plasma screen and pressed the button on the remote, an image of a brain came up on the screen, and then they placed another image over the MRI. “Based on the results we think we have isolated the portion of the brain where the seizure occurred. The damage seems to be relatively minor; I think we will try to treat it medically. That means we are not going to immediately follow a surgical path. If this doesn’t end the seizures we’ll go the surgical route.” “If we don’t go with surgery will he be able to live a normal life,” Drew asked. “Absolutely, if the seizures are controlled then he will be able to engage the whole range of normal activities,” Doctor Boone said. There was a little more discussion and then we were freed from the office not without an order follow up appointments every two weeks. Then we left, Drew gave me a hug and said he was going to go by the office. Lisa and I drove home together. After leaving the kitchen stuffed I found Lisa about to leave the house she had her keys in her hand. “Tommy what kind of cereals are your favorite,” she asked. “I really like Captain Crunch and Fruity Pebbles,” I said. She wrote this down in her planner and then she put into her purse. “I am going to go out for a few hours. Bertha will be here, if you need me, just call the house. Is that ok?” I nodded the affirmative. She was almost out the door and then she turned around came back through the door, “I almost forgot.” She walked toward her room and two minutes later she came back out into the foyer where I was waiting. She hand me a Black Motorola Razor. “I programmed in the numbers for Drew and I,” she said, “I don’t know if you had a cell phone before but every kid in this town has one, so we figured that you should have one as well.” She gave me a peck on the cheek and she was out the door. Now what am I supposed to do, I thought to myself. Then it hit me the memory of the hug that I had received. I had left after I had settled down without giving him my name, and more importantly without getting his name. The memory of him was enough to make me weak kneed. I decided if I walked around a little maybe I would find him. As I left the house I followed the path, which I had followed the previous day. I heard some kid running around as I cam to a clump of trees. I spotted him immediately and he was running. I knew they were playing football, but I had not idea who the people with him were. I crept closer to the trees and began to watch them run around the field. They were all good looking guys and they looked like they were having a lot of fun. The kid who I had seen earlier he was simply the most handsome boy I had ever seen, and he sure could run. He could also catch; I could tell he was really good at football. This started a series of thoughts in my mind, I shouldn’t be here this guy is never going to want to hang out with a loser like me. I mean I’m a wimp when I hear someone yell, I jump like a gun went off. I way a buck twenty when I’m dripping wet. Despite all of this I simply couldn’t take my eyes off of this kid. It was like being the moon, I had no choice but which has no choice but to remain in close proximity to the earth. Before I could duck out of view, Ben turned around and the end zone and for the briefest of seconds, his eyes met mine. I did somersaults in my stomach when I noticed a slight smile on his face and then in horror I noticed someone else saw me lurking in the bushes. He looked right at, “What are you some kind of freak, why are you hiding in the bushes,” the other kid yelled. I literally felt like I was going to die, I was completely petrified. I bolted. I just ran. I never looked over my shoulder. But I prayed that no one was coming after me. That tone reminded me distinctly of my father. Ben watched the entire moment unfold and knowing what knew about Tommy’s past he was on Zach in seconds. He shoved him so hard he went flying to the ground. “What the fuck is your problem? Why do you have to be such a fucking asshole all the fucking time,” Ben snarled. “Fuck you,” Zach said hurt in his eyes, “He was spying on us. That’s weird.” “He doesn’t fucking know us, he was probably just nervous,” Ben said taking more steps toward Zach. Ben was intensely frustrated, why in the hell couldn’t Zach understand this, why was he being so mean. Zach was being completely irrational. “Well I think its weird and I think your acting really strange,” Zach said getting up. “Go fuck yourself, I’m going to find him and see if I can fix this,” Ben just bolted before he lost it and slugged Zach. It was weird moment for all of the other guys. Ben was the easiest going guy any of them knew. Most of them had never heard Ben even cuss before, let alone see him physically attack someone. In fact Zach who had known Ben the longest had never seen this side of Ben, he was actually a little scared when he started running that he was going to kill him. Then while he was standing there staring at his best friend sprinting into the distance, a light bulb went off and just as fast as came to him, he dismissed the thought as impossible. I stopped running when the clump of trees was out of sight. Then I saw where I wanted to go, it was lake, I had no idea this was here. I walked over and sat right next to the water. It was pretty peaceful. Once again, I had tear streaming down my face. The tears were part of the fear I had felt, but they were also tears of sadness. Now the kid would never ever speak to me not after I had shown myself to be a complete freak. I mean why couldn’t I have the courage to just walk over and introduce myself to those guys. “Because you’re who you are and that just the way it is,” Ben said as he walked over to me. “I sorry, I was spying on you, I ju..ju..sst. G…g…get,” I was stuttering and whole new round of tears started flowing. He reached out and wiped the tears off my face with his hand and I stopped breathing and he moved to sit next to me. “You know your going to have to stop crying whenever I’m around or I am going to start to think you don’t like me.” We both laughed. “I’m sorry about Zach. Sometimes he can be a bit of a jerk.” Then we both looked at each other, “I like it here,” I said looking at him then nervously at the lake. I felt that moment that someone in very high male voice should, awkward. After few moments of looking, at the lake, I had almost let the cat out of the bag with that line and then it really would have been over. I felt something on my hand, I looked down quickly and saw his hand and then up he grinned at me and we just sat there for a while silently. “You know,” I said looking at him, “I don’t know your name.” Without turning his head from the lake he spoke, “It’s Ben. Ben Morrow.” “Wow, you live right across the street from me,” I said. “Yep, how do you think I saw you yesterday,” he said. After a few more minutes, we got up and started walking home, our arms on each other’s shoulders. I could feel the strength of his arms. It was making me weak kneed but I willed those thoughts out of fear. “Tommy, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” Ben said in a pretty accurate Bogart impression for a 13 year-old, as we walked along toward my home, with the sun setting on another day in my life. Behind us the sun was making a beautiful red nightfall.
  5. I had been speaking with Doctor Allen for over six hours about what happened the night that my parents died. I had cried and gradually I let flow all of the details the smells, feelings, sights and the sounds that I could remember. Doctor Allen was patient and he seemed completely focused on all that I told him. I was just happy to have someone to talk to after all of this someone who seemed completely concerned about me. I completely trusted Doctor Allen and I was happy to keep on talking to him. Even with the load, which was lifted off by letting out all that had happened, I was still raw and full of questions. Doctor Allen could tell I was holding something back and he continued to try and get me to explain it. “So is that all,” Dr. Allen asked. I nodded but I really didn’t mean it and once more Doctor Allen did not believe it, “I can tell that there is more.” I looked down, then my eyes started to mist I was scared, more scared than I had ever been in my life. Even more scared than when my dad pointed the gun at me, “What’s going to happen to me.” I completely broke down for the second time. “You’re going to move to Memphis, and you’re going to live with your God parents,” Doctor Allen said comforting me again and patting me on the back. “Do you want to know the best part,” he asked. I creaked out, “Yes.” “You get to meet with me once a week,” said Doctor Allen. I laughed and he laughed, he then looked at me, “do you want to see your god parents.” “Sure,” I said, “but I have one question.” “All right, make it easy,” Doctor Allen. “Why did this happen,” I asked. It had been bothering me. Now that I knew what was going to happen to me. I wanted to know why all of this was happening. “That Tommy is why we will be talking when we get to Memphis. Suffice it so say though whatever you’re feeling is normal. But I want you to remember something you are and were the child in that relationship. Your father was an adult, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that you could have done as a child to change your father’s behavior,” Doctor Allen said and it did put me a little at ease although I still felt like it might just be that he had to say it, “All right now, I am going to go and get your god parents and send them in to see you. And I will see you in Memphis, next week.” “Bye Doctor Allen, thank you very much,” I said as he turned to leave. As I waited for my godparents to come into the room, I pinched my arm in hopes that I would wake up from the nightmare that had become reality. I swear I would have paid a million dollars for my old life, even with the beatings. I would have accepted more beatings just to not have to see what had happened that night. Just to have my mother back. Drew is a tall and had a very youthful appearance; he could easily pass as being in his mid 20’s. He had his hair cut pretty short and was wearing a very nice suit, which was something I knew about from shopping with my mother for my suit when I turned 12. In fact if I was going to describe Drew I would have said that he was a walking Burberry advertisement, he could have probably been a model. Lisa was almost the same; she had style and a graceful presence, which exuded both confidence and warmth. I have always liked Drew and Lisa they were always fun to hang out with when we went to Memphis. Drew was funny and since he and Lisa had never been able to have children of their own, they had doted on me. I always got amazing gifts for Christmas and my birthday. They both came over and hugged me, I had little doubt that they loved me, but there was a nagging feeling that I might not live up to their expectations. Although I think this might have been partially an individual problem because I have always had exceptionally high expectations for myself and I don’t think that I will achieve those expectations. “We’re so happy that you are all right, we were so worried,” Lisa had tears in her eyes, it made me feel strange to know that they cared this much about me. I never felt like I mattered that much even to myself. I shared an ego problem with my peers, mine however was not a matter of size, it was a matter of not having one at all. I had exceedingly low self-confidence. As much as I tried to stop myself, I felt exceptionally safe and comforted at that moment, and I began to lose control over my emotions and started sobbing. I was wrapped tighter in a hug by Lisa on one side and then Drew on the other side. I fell asleep with my godparents on either side of me and I awoke with the two of them seated on the couch in my room. She was leaned against him reading People magazine with a cover story about Tom Cruise. They were watching television. The hospital room we were in right now was probably the nicest room in the hospital because it had rooms for the family to sleep in which adjoined the main room. We were in the living area. Drew looked down at me. “You ready to blow this joint, because I think we can go, if you’re ready,” he said I could sense the nervousness coming off of him as he said it. Like he cared about what I said. This was something completely new to me. And I was still a little uncomfortable especially around adults. Skittish is probably a more apt description of my approach to adults, you never quite knew when they were going to explode. So your best bet was to figure out what they wanted and go with that, of course that tended to be my position when dealing with most people. Let them have whatever they wanted, because otherwise they would hurt you. “Are you ready,” I squeaked out. I knew I was weak, because I hated hospitals and was ready to leave the moment I got here, but I wasn’t sure if they were ready to go and I know my opinion was the least important opinion in the matter. “Well I for one am not particularly partial to the hospital, and if you’re up to it, I think it would be good if we went directly to the airport,” Drew said. “That’s fine,” I said. I was actually pretty tired. The 767 came to a stop at the Wilson Air Terminal in Memphis, Tennessee. On the plane I fell asleep, it wasn’t until I felt myself being lifted off the sofa on the plane that I woke up. I looked up and saw, that Drew was carrying me, it was the best time of my life. I felt like for the first time he was going to be safe. Drew sat me on my feet when we reached the bottom of the stairs, which had been rolled up to the side of the plane. I reached up for my father’s left hand and for my step mother’s right hand we walked over to the Chevy suburban which was waiting for us. I turned around and looked as the two wooden caskets were removed from the plane and I wondered which one contained my mother’s remains. A tear rolled down my cheek as I thought about that, “Drew when is the funeral going to be,” I asked looking up at him. “We are going to the funeral today,” Drew said and something about the look on his face told me he was having a similar thought. I mulled that over and I was actually pretty great full that things seemed to be moving pretty fast, it seemed like a good thing. “How did you know my parents,” I just blurted out, in fact it had been killing me ever since I had learned I was going to be coming to live with them. I cringed when he looked down at me, and once again he had one of those looks of complete pity. I didn’t really understand why, my cringing would invoke pity. Typically, it would invoke a beating from my father. “Well your father and I were never really very close. However your mother and I were friends since we were very young. We went to college together and high school. She was my best friend in the entire world and even my girl friend for a while,” he said his attention divided between the caskets and me. It was like he was still looking out for my mom making sure that the handlers were taking good care of her. I felt really good because I knew that this man, who had only a few months before been a handwritten name on a gift and a funny guy I went hunting with when we came to Memphis, was going to make a great replacement for my father. “Why didn’t you marry her,” I asked and looked at him, once again my brain was getting ahead of itself. I was kicking myself. He turned a little red, which my father did before he got angry. Immediately the good feelings were gone and total panic came over my body and I could feel my body tense, I started stuttering. “I’m sorry, I really am, please don’t…” I just started sobbing. Which only made me more nervous that they weren’t going to want me because I was crazy and unstable. I could not stop crying. I felt him drop my hand, knew I was in trouble then, I felt a hand on either shoulder and I looked right into his eyes. “Tommy no matter what you ever did or you think you did. You never caused it. It was him. He was a very sick man, and he was a very hateful man. No one will ever hurt you in that way again, I promise you that. Never.” And then he hugged me. I sobbed into his shoulder, I mean I really cried more than all of my previous cries put together. Then he picked me up again and carried me over to the waiting surburban. One of the two men waiting at the car openned the door to the truck for us and we slid into the back seat. They closed the doors and then both men climbed into the front seats and before long we were moving away from the plane. We arrived at the Thornes’s home about 20 minutes later, it was beautiful house I had been there before when I came to visit with my parents. There were Tree that held out the noise of traffic, all of this made the home rather secluded. They had a pool, stables, a riding enclosure and tennis courts not to mention a wonderful yard. The house itself was white brick and it had columns in the front. It was probably my favorite house in the world, the colors were all light. The two men opened the doors my god parents stepped out first and then I followed having sat in the middle. I looked up at the house. “Come on Tommy I am going to show you your room, and then we need to get changed,” Drew said. I followed them a few steps behind. I was having mixed feelings. On the one hand I was happy with the knowledge that my life would be improving. On the other hand, I felt guilty about this because it meant that my parents were dead and that was the reason for my now happy condition. However I had to put on a happy face for my god parents, I did not want them to ever know that I was torn in whether or not I wanted to live here. I knew I did not deserve parents like them, especially from someone as ungrateful as me, a person happy when his parents were dead. A few minutes later I was looking at my room, it was huge, much bigger than my room at the old house. It was also a lot brighter and it had a balcony, which looked out of the front of the house, I really like that, it would be a great place to read. I immediately set about getting dressed into my blue blazer and grey flannels, put on my wing tips and then went down stairs to wait for my god parents. I was really beginning to regret my decision to attend this thing in the first place. I did not feel like I should go because I had betrayed them with my happiness. When we arrived at the church it was beginning to fill up with people. I didn’t spot many kids entering the church, I saw some though. One of them caught my eye, he was tall and more solidly built than I was and had dark brunette hair, and he it cut shorter than the typical prep. He was dressed in much the same way I was as well. His eyes were scanning and then they locked on mine, I immediately looked away. What I had not noted that day was the other set of eyes, which caught on to me, those eyes belonged to Ben’s sister. She had watched as my eyes had checked out all of the guys going into the service. She would later tell me that this was when she began to suspect. The funeral all went like clock work until we had the opportunity at the end to walk over to the casket and pay our respects. I went over to the casket and looked at the picture of my mother and cried and kissed the casket. Then I was next to his casket, I looked at his picture, and it all just exploded out. I screamed, “Why couldn’t you just once tell me that you were proud, that you loved me. Why,” I fell down sobbing. The next thing I remembered was sitting on a bench outside of the church, Lisa sobbing and Drew rubbing my back, “I’m really sorry,” started blubbering in between sobs. He just hugged me. I got back to the house and was silent I went up to my room and I just couldn’t sit in there my conscience was bugging me to death. I walked down the stairs and found both of my stepparents sitting in the den. “May I go for a walk,” I asked looking at them and hoping my eyes looked pleading enough. I walked down the drive way to the main street for the neighborhood, I did not notice that the same boy I had seen enter the church had seen me. I kept walking and glancing around I was looking for some place to stop and just sit down and think alone. I finally saw the perfect spot it looked like a huge box tree, I entered it, I could barely make out what was going on outside of the bush. I began to cry. I had no idea that Ben had been following from a distance, or that he liked to climb trees to think about things. I never heard him as he got closer and closer to me as I was sobbing. Ben never has been able to help himself when he sees I am having a problem. He scared me to death when I felt his body brush against me as he took a seat next to me. “I am so sorry if this is your yard,” I said. He looked at me and without warning he was hugging me. He didn’t have to say anything. I knew that he cared and for that moment that was all that mattered. With his arms wrapped around me, I had never felt that safe in my life, never that comfortable. It was like a narcotic and for those brief moments, all of the bad things in my life were gone.
  6. Preface: I remember as a child falling asleep as it snowed. Snow was always mysterious because it was silent, unlike rain, which made noise as it touched the earth and thus could signal its intensity through noise. Snow on the other hand was mysterious in that it could have been a blizzard through the night or just a slight dusting, no one would be the wiser until morning. All you could do is hope as you slept that in the morning you would find a winter wonderland. On the other end of the spectrum are tornadoes and the storms which bring them, I can also remember as a child one spring having to sleep in our basement because of particularly serious storm which was coming through and it was producing a number of tornadoes. In that instance, as I slept in the basement I knew when I woke up the mystery was only the degree of damage the storm caused, while I slept mercifully ignorant, of its destructive potential. In both instances the day after was the defining moment of the night. *********** In the moments that followed the explosions in my room, I can only say that there was an intense silence that was only broken by the ringing in my ears. Everything about the room was making me uncomfortable; it was cold very cold, and the smell reminded of going quail hunting with my godfather when we visited Memphis, a smell of death and gunpowder. I looked down on the floor where my parents lay. It seemed none of my senses were offering anything I wanted. I folded my knees to my chest and wrapped my arm around them and lay my forehead on my hands. I’m not sure how long I sat like that, I think I may have fallen a sleep a couple of times. All I know is that police would find me in that position a little less than 24 hours later. ************* He ran down the field, turned, jumped, came down with the ball and bolted for the end zone. No one really chased because everyone knew once Ben was gone he was gone. Will Thompson, Ben’s best friend and the kid who’d thrown the bobbling pass, started strutting around as Ben spiked the ball. All of this was becoming a little much for Daniel who glared at the two. “Hey stopping acting like a couple of ass holes, so we can finish the game,” Daniel said as he wiped his brow, it was hot. “Why, you think you’re coming back in game 21 to 0,” Will said, then turning to return the glare. “That’s rich coming from the worst passer I’ve ever seen, are you throwing a dead bird or football,” Daniel said frustrated that his team always got its ass kicked and taking it out on Will. Will chuckled and conceded the point. “Hey guys, lets go back over to my house and jump in the pool it’ll be nice after running around in this heat,” Ben said jogging over to the rest of the guys. “I don’t…” Will was about to say, Ben jumped on his back, “Gittie up.” “Get off me you freak,” Will said as he was bucking Ben off. “So you guys think we have a chance of getting on varsity,” Ben asked as he tossed the ball up in the air. The group of 12 kids was making their way toward Ben’s house. They had been playing football in the Dogwood field since they were 8. It was right down the street from his house. It was essentially two back-to-back lots, which the neighborhood association owned and had decided to turn into a park. It made the perfect football field by virtue of its rectangular shape. So the boys started playing there, and then as their knowledge became more sophisticated, they brought cones down to designate in bounds, end zones, and half field. “Oh sure we can, if we all grew a foot and put on 100 pounds of muscle,” Daniel said. Which was true because Daniel had perfectly described his dilemma physically. Although his negativity on this matter earned him a rebuke, “I think your not making the team will have less to do with my dog having a few inches on you and more to do with my grandmother being able to out run you with her walker.” Everyone except Daniel erupted in laughter, Ben walked over to Daniel and wrapped him in a big hug. “Fuck you,” Daniel erupted. “Calm down, you were right though we have about as much of chance of making the team as Hillary Duff has of getting an Oscar,” Ben said. “Whose Hillary Duff,” Travis asked. “Blond hair, bad voice, and even worse acting skills,” Ben said. Ben throws off his shirt, sprints jumps and cannon balls into the deep end of his pool. The other guys get into the swing of things. Everyone is in the water, and jostling around, and splashing each other, “hey where’s Will,” Ben asks. “Breaking News,” Will says and the other kids turn to face the diving board, “Can-non-ball!” Will makes a pretty big splash for such small guy. They’re all cracking up. “Your crazy,” Ben says as Will swims over to him. The boys turn and see the Lexus GS Hybrid pull into the garage and his father steps out and immediately sees the boys, “hey guys.” “Hey Mr. Morrow,” all the boys said. Ben benefited from having probably the most popular parents, mostly because they were generous and always willing to have huge numbers of teenagers at their house. “You guys staying over for dinner, I can have Leroy start up the grill and put out some burgers and stuff,” Mr. Morrow asked. Ben looked around his friends and saw their collective assent, “Sure that would be awesome.” ************* The Rockwell home was pretty much what you would expect from an old Virginian home. The house had what was clearly the original part of the home in the center, which looked exactly like it was ripped out of a textbook on Georgian architecture; it was a rectangular box with a triangle on top. What made it interesting was that over the years many additions had been made to it. As the arms now extending from either side testified, but the most apt description came from the County’s Home and Garden magazine, a home that says “old money.” Right now they’d say the occupants were either the chief of police or the victim of a crime. There were four police cars in front of the home and the 4 officers approached the house with guns drawn. The officers entered the home scanning and searching for danger, which seemed to radiate from the unknown disposition of the home. They climbed the stairs, seeking the source of the only artificial light in the entire house. “Police,” one of the officers yelled in hopes of getting a response. I heard them identify themselves but as much as I desired to move, it was impossible. The creaking of the floorboards as they made their way down the up stairs hallway let me know their progress as they approached my door. I lost the strength to hold my head up and put it into my arms. Without warning I felt to strong arms lifting me from the bed, the officer was huge and strong. He easily lifted me up and he was carrying me with his two hands my legs dangling to one side and I looked up. I thought his face looked very serious, but it was also very comforting. I knew no one was going to be able to hurt me with this guy around. The officer had a bar on either side of his collar. We moved into the darkness and without warning I just started crying. We emerged from the door as the ambulance was backing into the driveway, there looked to be a sea of police cars outside. The officer placed me in a sitting position on the back of the ambulance. A paramedic in coveralls walked over to me, he looked to be in his 30’s and he had a pretty sympathetic face. “Son, can you tell me whether or not anything hurts,” the paramedic asked. I just looked at him, I could see the words of an answer to the question in my head but I couldn’t make the muscles in my mouth work, and I ended up just looking off in the distance. I was having a hard time focusing. I knew why because every time I focused all that happened was a replay of what I had just witnessed on repeat. So in order to avoid this I just quit focusing my mind on anything. “Son will you raise your hands,” asked the paramedic. I complied. He lifted my shirt over my head, immediately I felt a rush of coolness and an audible gasp from the female paramedic. When the shirt was off I could see the look of disbelief on the paramedics’ face. Clearly they had recognized the numerous dark spots on my chest and torso, for what they were, bruises, the remnants of father’s special brand of parenting. I kept staring into space, then I heard Velcro and then I felt something going around my arm. It got tighter and tighter around my arm, and suddenly the memory of my father holding my hand over the flame came back to me, and in response I flinched wrenched for the strap. The paramedic says, “its all right, your safe, we’re just taking your blood pressure.” The paramedic wrote something down and then almost immediately I started shivering, suddenly I was beginning to get really cold. A woman with a badge hanging around her neck on a chain that looked like a number of tiny steal beads, approached me and she turned to the officer who from what the paramedic had said to him was a Lieutenant. “Lieutenant, I did not expect to see you here,” said the woman. “Well Detective, anything that happens in this district especially to the mayor and governor’s best friend is going to draw my attention, besides your captain and the Deputy Chief are on the way.” “Has he spoken,” she said nodding her head toward me. Then the Lieutenant turned and pulled the Detective away so that they were facing away from me, and I knew they were doing this so they could speak about me without me knowing. But apparently they thought I was deaf as well as mute, because they kept talking in their “outside” voices. “Look he hasn’t said anything and the paramedic thinks he is suffering from post traumatic stress and probably shock as well, they are about to take him to the hospital,” the Lieutenant said. “Ok, well his statement probably won’t be needed unless it was more than what it looks like inside,” said the Detective. “If you have any question about the father just take a look at his chest and torso, that son of bitch beat the shit out of him. I mean I have seen abused children but this kid looks like he went 11 rounds with Tyson and he’s got a burn on his hand that well it makes me wonder if the father was fucking human,” said the Lieutenant. “Ok, I’ll get the pictures from the hospital,” the detective said. ************* It’s the typical quasi-kitchen family room of the pool house, and the boys are enjoying their dinner. They have been watching the perennial favorite of any true Memphian, the University of Memphis Tigers football game, now they changed channels to await the beginning of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. In the meantime they’d left the station on the local NBC affiliate, the familiar theme of the “NBC Nightly News” can be heard and as an almost biological imperative people’s attention is turned to the television. This is especially true of the main house where Mr. and Mrs. Morrow are sitting in the couch both graduates of the University of Tennessee they are eagerly awaiting the beginning of the football game. “Our top story tonight, the invincibility of wealth was shattered tonight with the deaths of two of America’s most wealthy. Thomas Rockwell the third and Catherine Rockwell were found this evening by police, in an apparent murder, worst of all their young son Thomas Rockwell the fourth may have witnessed the entire affair. For more on this story and its implication for two of the nation’s larger businesses, we go to Victor Kramer.” “Thanks Brian, Police arrived at the Rockwell estate in, Mclean Virginian, shortly after neighbors reported the front door being open, and repeated calls to the house went unanswered. The police have not released any details of what they found inside the home, other than their discovery of the bodies and that they were shot. Thomas Rockwell was the chairman of Rockwell Pharmaceuticals, the second largest drug maker in the world. There is no evidence currently suggesting that this crime is related to Mr. Rockwell’s position. Catherine Rockwell was the sole surviving heir to a 70% stake in Farmer Financial Services, or FFS Bank which is the third largest bank in the nation; she held a position on the board of directors and was rumored to be considering an offer to take control of the enterprise. In the short term, neither of these two behemoths of capitalism will change, but what is clear is that there is a new owner in town. The Rockwell’s had one child known as Tommy, and he is the sole surviving member of both Farmer and Rockwell lines, which makes him the sole owner of 100% of Rockwell and 70% of FFS. Brian.” “Victor, do we have any word on the condition of the Rockwell Boy,” asked Brian Williams. “Well police sources tell us he understandably traumatized by the evenings events and will shortly be transported to a hospital for observation and treatment,” Victor replied. “Thank you, Victor. When we return, you might be surprised by this danger in your cupboard.” ************* For Ben the image that was burned in eyes was that small boy sitting on the back of the ambulance with a blanket wrapped around him. Ben asks if anyone needs anything from the main house, he knows his father works at Rockwell so he decides to go and ask his father a question. He sees his father and mother on the couch their faces are ashen and they have changed the channel to one of the all news networks. “Dad do you know those people,” Ben asks pointing at the television as he takes a seat on the chair to the right of the couch which his parents are sitting in which faces the television. “Your mom and I went to college with them and Catherine was one of my closest friends through high school,” his father said sadness evident and then leaning forward he continued. “They are very close friends but perhaps their closest friends are the Thornes, Drew was Catherine’s next door neighbor.” His father put his hands over his face. Then he stood and walked around Ben’s chair and made his way over to the counter top in the kitchen behind the couch. He grabbed the phone and dialed a number. ************* Andrew Thorne grabs the ringing phone from the coffee table; he’s watching the Vanderbilt football game on Pay per view. “Hey Robbie, what going on man.” Robert speaks in a far less excited voice, “Drew did Cathy ever mention to you about being surrogate parents for Tommy if something happened to them.” “Yeah we signed some documents when he was born, although we had to do it surreptitiously because of that prick that she was married to.” The truth of the matter was that no one that Cathy had known before Harvard Business school could understand why in the hell she married that “Yankee Prick,” as her friends had taken to calling him. Then Drew asked a question, “Hey what’s this about,” Drew asked leaning forward. His wife then turned to look at him. “Flip the channel to one of the 24 hours news channels.” Drew does this, reads the screen, and he drops the phone, “that son of a bitch killed her.” And then he sees the young boy sitting on the back of the ambulance, the camera zooms in and two matching sets of eyes are staring at each other, through the television. “I need to go,” Drew says picking up the phone and then pressing the off button. He hugs his wife. “I need to go pack.” “I’ll go handle the travel arrangements.” The two break a part, but what makes them such a great couple is their ability to subconsciously communicate. ************* I was seated on the hospital bed they had given me an IV for no apparent reason which really bugs me because I hate needles. Which is what I was thinking throughout the entire examination being conducted by this doctor. It kind of hurts when he pokes the bruises, which also bothers me, shouldn’t a doctor know that a bruised area is a little tender. He backs up from me and allows an orderly to take some pictures. He then returns to my side, “All right lets get a CT scan, X-rays and MRI. Redress that burn wound and see if we can figure out where he went to get that burn treated. Also lets get those taken care of tomorrow morning, let him sleep, give him 1 cc of Diazepam. Get a psych consult for about 8 hours from now. Somebody has called Child welfare?” A nurse nodded and the doctor continued, “Make sure you get him a private room, tell security to seal the corridor, and tell admission if they want to have jobs tomorrow to get him that private room if they argue.” When he turned to look me in the eyes, I noticed his white coat, indicated that he David McGelligot, M.D., PHD. Chief of Staff.” Then a nurse injected something into the tube connected to the saline solution. It began to feel like somebody had made me mentally numb and I drifted off into oblivion. ************* I awoke and within second I was in the throws of a full blow panic attack and mostly because I had no idea where I was and why I was here. Last night was completely gone. Then a figure in a white coat like all the other doctors, but which had to be some kind of joke because he looked like he might be a senior in high school. “Hello Tommy, I am a doctor, and my name is Peter Allen,” the young doctor said as he came closer. Something about this guy caused me focus and gain a level of comfort may be it was the pure green eyes. He sat on one of those doctor stools on wheels, and like a teenager might do he pushed himself over, rolling quickly to my side. “So, I have a question,” he asked, “and its pretty serious.” “What is it,” I asked speaking for the first time in like twelve hours. “Are you ready to get that thing out of your arm,” he asked his eyes indicating the IV. “Sure,” I said with some exuberance and giggling. He had a sense of humor. I need some humor. With his fingers, he motioned and nurse, she came over and in no time at all I had band-aid and a cotton ball covering the spot where a needle had earlier invaded my body. “Your not from here are you,” I said. “Nope. I’m from Memphis, Tennessee that’s where my hospital is located. Your God parents asked me to come along with them.” “Really Drew and Lisa are here right now,” I loved Drew and Lisa which must have been clear by the exuberance of my comment. “Yeah they are and they were worried about you,” Peter said looking at me. “Why,” I asked truly not understanding the fuss. “Well before we go and see them, you and I need to talk,” he said. I felt a sudden surge of unease, this guy was going to push it. “Tommy what happened last night,” he touched the bruise on my arm, where my father had held me while burning my hand. It all came flooding back into my mind. I burst into tears, and was sobbing when I felt two arms on my shoulders and I put my head on his shoulder. Then he pushed me up so I could look him in the face, he put his two hands on my shoulders. “We are going to get through this,” he said. Although I wasn’t so sure, we could live in the aftermath of this disaster.
  7. Seasons of My Life Episode 1: "A time to every purpose under heaven..." PG-13 for violence, and adult situations. By: A.T. Righter It was 3:30 in the afternoon and I could feel the onset of a seizure, an epileptic seizure ranges from really bad to deadly. As I started to feel the familiar numbness coming over my body, and knew that I would soon be in throws of a full blown seizure, I consoled myself by the thought; the day could not get any worse. If I had known what would happen later that night I would have knocked on wood following that thought. After thinking of the consolation prize my blue eyes rolled into the back of my head, and my 5' 9", 113 pound, body fell to the floor. I was underweight, a problem, I have had all my life, part of it is the epilepsy and the other part is I'm not really crazy about food. What is strange though (because most my friends with the other kind of weight problem, would agree with choice for favorite food) is that my favorite food above all else is bacon; crispy pig fat is the best thing in the entire world! Today, I still marvel at the fact that my affinity for bacon had such a huge impact on my life. Well at any rate because of my weight problem, I was bony and a bit awkward. One of my friends at school once told me I look like a foal. I was hoping at 13, would be the year that I grew into my body. My seizures had been occurring like this since I was 7 and had "fallen" down the stairs. I had gotten a concussion but my dad, had never taken me back for follow up or told my regular doctor about my injury when the seizures began. So needless to say most doctors were at a loss to explain my seizures. When I opened my eyes about an hour after the onset of the seizure and convulsions, as per usual I was covered in a sticky sweat, aka the sweat that is damp but feels more like a gel than the watery sweat you get exercising. As a consequence, I immediately made my way to the shower. I wanted to wash the smell of the sticky sweat off my body. I always took a shower after a seizure, it soothed my body, which seemed to have a lot of kinks in it, and I found the steady, repetitive noise of the water hitting the floor of the shower somewhat soothing. As I scrubbed every inch of my body with the Old Spice body wash, less because I liked the way it smelled and more because its smell was potent enough to overpower that sticky sweat smell, I thought about my seizures, they were getting worse. I also knew I could not say anything about it because it tended to provoke tension in the house when I did mention anything about it. Tension in my house is something to be avoided at all costs, because it resolution is anything but cathartic. After getting out of the shower and drying off, I was thirsty and I wanted something to drink, this was unfortunate because it meant I had to go downstairs. I always had concerns about going downstairs, and they were confirmed. I knew it was going to be bad when I entered the kitchen. I could smell his breath and I swear to god if you lit a match, his mouth would have been like a can of Sterno. He looked at me with that loathing that you might give a dog that shits in your yard. I think now that must have been what I was to him, a dog that shits in his yard. My father had no weight problems, he was the idealized man, and he also threw a left jab better than most boxers. Keep in mind, I was thirteen at the time that I was his punching bag, so it seemed like he was better than most boxers. That's the hit I usually took in the ribs, you see my father had gotten smart after my fall. He only hit me where clothing could cover the wounds. It was clear that he was looking in the refrigerator and not finding what he was looking for in there. I turned to leave, and he spotted the motion. "Did you eat my fucking bacon," he asked directly. I was like a deer caught in the head lights, I was also a 13 year-old with a choice, lie and hope he did not know anything which risked him be doubly pissed for the lying and he had no bacon, or tell the truth and take the punishment. My dad flew over to me while I was in my current state of indecision and he wrapped his powerful hand around my throat like a boa constrictor tightening its body around the prey approaching its demise. "I ate it this morning for breakfast," I managed to say through my partially closed air way. "Who said you could eat my bacon," he said directly into my face which was rapidly turning blue. "No, one," it was all I could think of my mind was becoming foggy with the lack of oxygen reaching my brain. I got a hard jab to my ribs which I knew would make me bruise, and it was becoming painful to breath, because my chest was immediately sore. Then he started dragging me by the throat I was in too much pain from the punch to fight effectively. I heard the familiar clicking noise the stovetop made when you were starting an eye on the stove, "I am going to teach you to put your hands on other people's things," my father said as the blue flame from the eye came alive I could feel the heat on face. With that he grabbed my right hand and held it over the burning eye, to this day I cannot tell you why it took so long for the pain to register. Perhaps it was because I was so stunned that something as insignificant as bacon would result in such an extraordinary overreaction. That's not say that it did not hurt, the pain began as a searing pain, and then throbbing, the smell was horrible it was acrid and nauseating. Finally, I started screaming and he let go, and looked down at me clutching my hand, "Don't touch things that are not yours or next time I will cut your hand off." As I think about it now, I wonder how he could say to his own son so matter of factly, "I'm going to cut your hand off, like he was saying if you don' take out the garbage I'm going to dock your allowance. Moreover, he'd just held his son's hand over an open flame on a stove long enough to cause a serious burn and he didn't even seem phased by it. For the first time in my life I realized that threats like this from my father were not idle but deadly serious. I think that now as an adult, the worst injury I suffered that day was not the burn. You see in the weeks that would follow the burn would heal; the scar on my hand would even dissolve over that next few months, but the damage to my self-worth would never really heal. Even today, knowing full well my father was sick; I still feel sometimes if I had only been a better son maybe he would have treated me differently. I was struggling to wrap by hand in gauze I knew I needed a doctor the skin on the bottom of my hand was charred it was dried, flaky, oozing and badly blistered. It was a deep burn. I could see what I now know are coagulated blood vessels in my hand. I looked at the wound and could not stop crying, it hurt so bad. I didn't know what to do. If I went downstairs, he might catch me before I got to the door. Even if I reached the outside, then where would I go, I could see it in my head, "Excuse me Mr. Neighbor, my dad was angry because I ate his bacon, so he burned the shit out of my hand would you mind driving me to the hospital." So I did what I normally did I jury-rigged my hand with gauze and non-adhesive pads and went to my room and locked the door. I watched the clock, and prayed for time to go faster, I knew if I could get to school, the infirmary would be able to do something with my hand. Then I heard the typical evening yelling match between my parents. "Where is Tommy," my mother asked directly. "He's pouting because I had to punish him," my father yelled back indignantly. "What did he do, that required your wrath, Tom," the latter emphasis on Tom was connoted to anyone listening that my mother was well aware of the dubious nature of the infractions my father punished me for regularly "He took something that wasn't his," this my father said as if, I had taken money from his wallet not eaten food out of our kitchen. "How the hell would you know he took something, your drunk," once again my mother emphasized the closing part of the sentence, that she was implying his drunken state made him unreasonable and irrational would have been obvious to anyone listening to my mother. "Oh shut up Kittie," he said, angry and knowing full well that my mother had zeroed in on the real root of today's exercise in child abuse. "If he's hurt, I swear to God," my mother hissed as she slammed the door and I could hear her coming up the stairs. I leapt from where I was sitting behind the bed. Clutching my arm, I went for the door, opened it, as the door opened she reached it. She immediately went for my hand, and sighed showing it to her. I could see tears in her eyes, for the first time in a long time I could see that she was as much a victim in this thing as I was, may be not to the extent that I was but she was nonetheless. It was something we both shared, for some unknown crime we had committed, life had condemned us to live in terror that my father would get angry. Her back stiffened and in her eyes you could see her resolve something in her mind, she looked me directly in the eyes and said, "Meet me down at the car." She leaned and kissed my head, it was better than all the advil I had taken for moment she had removed the pain from my body. When I got down to the car and was seated in the front seat of my mother's Audi station wagon. I looked as I heard close the front door, the outer solid wood French doors were not close so she only had to close one door. She approached the car, first descending the stairwell to level of the circular driveway. The stairwell was 8 steps, our house sat atop a pretty significant hill, which was surrounded by a retaining wall, which I thought was cool because I imagined it as a castle with a moat around it. I think she was cued in by the fear in my eyes as she stopped and turned to see my father who had been following her. "Don't, I am taking our son to the hospital. When I get back if you are not gone, I am going to call the police. So go to that apartment or get a hotel room, I really don't care but do not be here," she said point and in a tone which did not leave room for argument. "You can't do this, I won't let you," he said in a cold and harsh voice, although my father was temporarily silenced and taken aback. "I'm not asking you. I'm telling you to leave," she said, this time my mother approached my father she jabbed her finger into his chest. Clearly my mother had no fear he would hit her. After my mother had finished, my father seemed to transform into a child almost sniveling out, "You're choosing him over me, him," saying the last part with a squeak. "I never understood until now, why you hated him. Your jealous, you know I can't believe how stupid I am not to have recognized that you are the most immature and pathetic person I know. Get out of this house," from this line, I could tell my mother was about to lose it and throw a tantrum of her own. She turned and I observed the look on my father's face, the same look my father got when he was hurting me, the look I knew that meant trouble, and it was pointed directly at me. Mom pulled the car into the parking space outside of the hospital. On the way in I noted the name as Terrence Farmer Medical Center, the lawn surrounding the huge complex of buildings was well green and surrounded by Dogwood trees, I knew this because they were all over our yard as well. I also remembered although the pain was significant that she had called someone during the ride and had told them situation, omitting the part about my father causing the "accident" and she nodded her head. Before we had gotten to the door, a man in a medical jacket came over, "Hello Cathy. You two follow me, I have a doctor who specializes in burns waiting for us." The man had brown hair and receding hairline in the front although he looked like he was pretty young to be some kind of bigwig at the hospital. Once we got inside and he showed us to a room, where a similarly dressed albeit even younger doctor was standing. The doctor smiled and I immediately liked him. "Tommy hop up on the table," said the doctor. I complied and the doctor pulled out an attachment on the table, which allowed me to rest my arm and do so in such a position that he could the wound. The doctor worked the bandages off my hand. He looked at the wound, I saw his eyes widen momentarily and then he looked at me and gave a reassuring smiled. I winced when he grabbed the spot my father had gripped, he pulled back my shirt and he spied the bruise shaped like a hand mark. It must have dawned on him, what this meant and he gave me another reassuring smile. After completing a pretty lengthy and painful examination of my wound, including some questions about how I go it, the doctor said, "All right Tommy, this is a pretty serious burn. I am going to give you some painkillers, you're also going to have to take an antibiotic and have this wound dressed by a nurse, twice a day. Make sure not disturb the dressing and not to get this hand wet. The nurse will take care of all the cleaning and ointment application. If you have any increased discomfort tell your mother and she will contact me. Do you understand?" I nodded my head. "Mrs. Rockwell, does your son's school have a nurse," the doctor asked as he temporarily turned his attention to my mother. "Yes, actually they have a full service infirmary," surprising me she knew the answer although I had no idea if she'd ever been on campus. "Perfect, I will write the orders for the nurse, just have Tommy give them to the staff there, when he arrives at school. I want to see him Friday and then we will decide make arrangements for the weekend," the doctor said to my mother, who nodded through the entire explication. The young doctor must have been well aware that he was dealing with the heiress to the Farmer Financial Services, the third largest bank in the country, and privately held to boot. The doctor must have also known that the husband was the sole heir to Rockwell Pharmaceutical. In fact Rockwell was the manufacturer of two of the medications the doctor proscribed to Tommy. Either of who, if roused to anger could destroy his career before it began. So I suspect, he opted to tread lightly; he planned on giving me a thorough exam on Friday, if he found more bruises he would report the incident. After my mother got all my prescriptions from the Walgreen's drive-thru, we headed home. My father's car was gone, and I followed her into the house. She took me up to my room and told be to get ready for bed and that she we be up in just a minute with the pain medication and some water for me to take it with. I got into my pajamas. My mother returned to my room about five minutes later. I was lying in bed, she dropped the pills into my hand, then she passed me the glass of water and I swallowed the pills and passed the cup to her. She then got up kissed my head, "I'm sorry this happened, its going to be a lot different, he's not coming back." I nodded my head, and for the first time I felt truly safe in my own bed, "I love you mom." "I love you too Tommy," my mother said from the door to my room where she flicked the switch turning off the lights and she pulled the door closed. I did not fall immediately to sleep, my mind was replaying the events of the day and still could not get past the fact that my father might actually be gone. Besides my young mind attempting to work through the implications of the days events, there was throbbing of my hand to contend with as well. In fact it didn't seem to me the doctor did much more than look at my hand and prod it causing more discomfort than before we came to the hospital. Then again the pain killer were starting to kick in and they were awesome. I felt like I was flying right before I passed into a drug induced oblivion. I felt groggy when I awoke, and I was immediately looking into those ice-cold blue eyes again. Those eyes were filled with a hate and a loathing that was palpable as if the eyes were one of those jumbo-trons with flashing messages. The only difference about my father now was that, he was holding a gun, aimed directly at me. I gasped and imagine my death, which I began to think would have been really unfair. Nonetheless the look on my father's told me he was more than willing to exterminate me as a pest in his otherwise perfect life. My mother burst into the room, as if some magical force had alerted her that he was in the house and that I was in danger. "Tom what are you doing," she said as she grabbed for the gun. "Let go Kittie, if I do this it will all be over and we can go back to normal before he was here to take you from me," my dad said as he and my mom continued wrestling over the same issue. I was amazed that my mother was strong enough to fight with my father. Then, in a moment that has literally woken be a thousand times since in a cold sweat the gun went off and my mother slumped to the ground. The blood almost immediately began soaking the center of her shirt, which she was wearing with jeans. The look on my fathers face was sheer panic, pain, and incredibly remorse. He looked at me and there was no hatred, it was the look of someone completely broken. He put the barrel of the gun in his mouth, and he pulled the trigger. And I...
  8. Chapter 3: Repercussions Since I first realized I was gay, I always knew the day would come when I would need to tell my mom. I had spent hours imagining many different scenarios. They always seemed to take place at breakfast though. Weird, I know; just chalk it up to another one of my little quirks. Anyway, we would both be sitting at the table eating breakfast. Mom would be huddled over her second cup of coffee, giving the Java gods there due worship. My mother is a bit of a coffee addict, she claims to be ‘not human’ until she has her first cup. I actually agree with her on that. Her eyes have this zombie like quality and her hair is all over the place until that first cup; then it just seems like her hair slowly falls into place, and her eyes take on that loving quality I’m used to seeing. So of course in my imagination I have to wait till she has finished that first cup and is nursing the second -- there is always a second -- and I would just blurt out, "Mom I’m gay." At first she would be shocked. It’s only natural that she should be. I have had years to come to terms with it, but she would need some time to process it all. After this pronouncement she would give her typical parent speech that always seems to pop up when an unexpected bump occurs in my road. You know what I’m talking about; that whole son, I love you and all that matters to me is that you’re happy speech. In any case, all my scenarios end well. If I wasn't worry about coming out, then why haven’t I done so before, you ask. I’m not sure. Like I said, I’m not afraid of coming out. I guess it just never came up. Or it could be the fact that we never eat breakfast together. Anyway, right then I wished I had told her. I never wanted her to find out this way. No matter how easy going you are, walking in on your son kissing another boy when you didn’t know he was gay would be a major shock to her system. I was unprepared for the reaction that I got. The look on her face sent a shiver down my spine and into the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t anger or even shock really. I thought I know her well enough to know that she wasn’t shocked seeing me kissing someone. It was utter and complete disappointment. It was her eyes that really gave her away, it was the same look she gave my uncle Tom when she found out he had cheated on aunt Judy. She was clearly disappointed that her son was kissing a boy in her house -- that her son was gay. She didn’t need to say it, I just... knew. I had always assumed that my mom would be understanding. I knew it might take time, but in the end I was confident that she would support me. At some point, I would be able to bring my boyfriend home, and show my affection to him. She would gush like any all mothers do over a straight son’s girlfriend. For the first time, I actually doubted this future. I doubted that she was capable of ever accept me for who I am. I wondered if this was even going to be my home for much longer. “Mom, look...” I didn’t really know what I was going to say. Everything was changing so fast. They say as you grow up things change, but I didn’t think they meant all at once. I didn’t need to think of anything to say though because Jordan was apparently in far worse shape than I was. I don’t know when it happened but I was holding his hand. I could feel his fear, just through that simple contact. I never knew before how much emotion could be conveyed through such a small connection like that. “I’m... sorry” Jordan stammered. “I’m so sorry.” He ripped his hand from mine, and tearfully made his way past my mother and out the front door. “Wait Jordan, don’t go!” I called after him, hoping, praying he would stop. I know I had only known Jordan for less than twenty minutes, but in that brief time he had become extremely important to me. Seeing him in pain eclipsed the look in my mother’s eyes. As I moved to catch up with him, my mother blocked the door way. “Let him go Ryan.” Her voice was cold and utterly alien to me. I don’t remember the last time I heard that particular tone. I doubt it has ever been used toward me. No matter what I had done in the past, she had always been understanding and compassionate. We would talk things out together and find solutions to our problems. Something in her tone told me that wasn’t going to happen this time. “I have to go after him, he needs me,” I said stepping back. I realized in my excitement to chase after him that I didn’t even have my shoes on. When I moved to grab them, mom blocked me again. “Ryan we need to talk and you are NOT going after that.... that boy!” I was dismayed by the amount of anger in her voice. It all seemed to be directed at Jordan. She didn’t even know him, how could she have such strong feelings against him especially after she had just seen? Whatever she must be thinking right now, she must know that I care for him... she knew me well enough to know that I wouldn’t kiss someone like that unless they meant something to me. “He needs me and I’m going after him” I said with a great deal of finality, while I moved past her for my shoes. This was all going so wrong, everything had happened so fast and I needed time to think. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a luxury I seemed to have; especially with Jordan getting further and further away with each passing second. My mother’s temper flying high and she wasn’t about to let me go without a fight. “You are my son and you will do what I tell you to do young man. Let... him leave” I really don’t know what it was, but the way she said that made my stomach turn. The calm loving and understanding mother that I had always known seemed to have been nothing more than an illusion. This woman wasn’t the person I thought she was, and I was quickly losing all respect for her. She didn’t realize that the hate she was spewing forth toward Jordan was hurting me much more than it would him. “Now sit your butt down at that kitchen table and we are going to talk about this NOW!” My mother has never yelled at me in her life until now; well, not that I can remember anyway. She had always been so calm. The Kiss Jordanand i had shared had changed her more that it had changed me. Or was it just how I looked at her that had changed? Either way I didn’t have time for this. “No” My voice was quiet and broken as I pushed past her out the door. I didn’t know what walking out like that would mean for me, but I knew in the end, no matter what happened, it was the right thing to. Jordan needed me; I needed him, that’s all that mattered right now. I looked for him as I made my way out into the snow. I had hoped that I would catch sight of him. I wasn’t so lucky in that department. I realized I did not have the least idea which way he was going. Jordan was being driven by fear and grief; two things that I was becoming intimately familiar with. I should be breaking down right now -- sent back to my bed gripped by the tears that had had shown up so easily not that long ago -- but I wasn’t. Instead I was oddly calm. I don’t know what it was that was making me feel like this, was it the adrenalin or was it something else? I found Jordan’s tracks in the still fresh snow and I began to follow them. I was rather fortunate that others didn’t share my affinity for fresh snow. Only the most basic tracks marred the fresh powder. Footprints leading to car doors changed to tire marks or the occasional prints of kids following their dogs, the odd yellow calling card left on neighborhood trees. Jordan’s were easy to follow, their stance wide and sharp, in a hurry to escape. Oddly enough the tracks lead me back to the place where I had first met Jordan. The school yard looked different to me this time though. Before today, this it was a large and intimidating space, an adventure in itself just walking through the gate. It seemed smaller now somehow. I walked over to the swing set where Jordan sat. He was slumped on one of the swings. He looked like a marionette who’s strings had been cut. I wondered what had happened to the boy who brazenly walked into my house and kissed me. That furnace of passion felt like a million years ago to me now, I wanted to recapture it. When he looked up at me my heart sang, I saw a part of that fire was still in his eyes. “I am so fucked.” His voice trembled on the verge of tears again. “They are going to kill me. Never in a million years will they understand this. What I am I going to do?” “You don’t have to tell them” I offered. What else was I going to say? I had no other answer for him, no grand understanding of how to deal with these kinds of situations. Heck, I didn’t even know what was waiting for me at home, let alone who that person was now. My mother had changed so quickly and my world had been turned upside down. I needed comfort every bit of as much as he did. Somehow, as I watched him on that swing none of that mattered. “You don’t understand. By now they know. My Mom just got hired on at the hotel where your mom works. I met your mom yesterday when I stopped in to drop off my Mom’s lunch. The look on your Mom’s face when she saw us... she’s going to tell them.” The tears were welling up in his eyes. I moved closer and tried to wrap my arm around him. I wasn’t surprised when he pulled back from my embrace. He wanted to keep his distance. He would be blaming me. I had been the one to kiss him first. Technically, I had started the whole thing. I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he got up right then and told everyone it was just my fault. “What am I going to do?” he asked slumping down and resting his tired face in his palms. “I don’t know” I started to say, and then stopped. I did have an Idea, it just needed a little tweaking. It wouldn’t save me, but if everyone bought it, he would be fine and that’s all I cared about. “We could tell them it was my fault; that I kissed you, that you didn’t want to but I did it. I’ll even confess, tell them I forced the kiss on you and you tried to push me away. We are about the same strength, no one would question it.” “I couldn’t do that to you” he said meeting my eyes. “I wanted to kiss you just as much as you wanted to kiss me.” “I doesn’t matter. No one needs to know that. You would be out of trouble.” I was trying to reassure him that my plan would work. I knew it would. I’m the freak that walks for hours in the snow, the son of a widow. No one in town would even think twice about it. I had always been on the fringes anyway. I only had a few friends. I had to face my mother at home, so either way, what did it really matter? My reputation wasn’t worth him suffering if he didn’t have too. “No I couldn’t do that to you. We may have just met but that offer alone proves you’re a good person. Besides your plan makes it so we can’t get to know each other better. After that last kiss I really do want to get to know you better.” The look in his eyes, the way his lips moved, even the rosiness of his cheeks all screamed I want to love you. Watching him say that is a memory I hope I will carry with me to death. How could I turn him down? “I want to get to know you too, but are you sure? 'Cause if we don’t do this now no one is going to believe us later.” I really wasn’t sure which way I wanted him to go. On one hand, telling everyone what really happened would mean I get to know Jordan better, possibly even have my first boyfriend, but at what cost? “I’m sure” he said standing up. “Just don’t leave me.” I was relieved that he said that. It was what I wanted, but I was also willing to sacrifice almost anything for him at this point. I moved forward to offer him another hug. At first he seemed hesitant, which is understandable considering. It felt like forever while he decided, but in the end it was worth the wait when I felt him in my arms again. He held me, just as tight as I was holding him. “I won’t leave you... I guess we will have to figure this out together,” I replied rubbing his back through his warm fleece jacket, trying to comfort him somemore. I don’t know where I was getting this new found strength from, it really wasn’t like me. I guess meeting Jordan, kissing him, facing my mom like that, had forced me to grow up. Despite the problems, I liked the feeling. “I know right now it doesn’t look good. My mom didn’t take it so well that her son is gay and I guess yours are not going to either. We have each other though, and together we can do it.” I really did mean this. I knew what I was saying was true. With Jordan next to me, I could face a hurricane and win. I held Jordan close in my arms and the hug we were sharing became more intimate. Our foreheads touched and we took solace in each other’s embrace. I felt warm close to him. It was closer to anyone than I had ever been in my life. It had all happened so fast, and yet despite the huge problems we face, it felt... right! Our lips grew closer and closer and suddenly everything washed away again. Time rewound to those moments before there were any problems and it was just the two of us again getting to know each other. Not so much by words, but by touch, by look, and by feel. When we kissed this time, it wasn’t with the passion, or the newness that got to me before; but how right, how perfect it felt. “Jordan Daniels!” A woman’s voice I didn’t recognize broke the moment. “Where are you?” “Hold me,” Jordan whispered as the voice repeated itself and drew closer. I pulled him in closer into a tighter hug and I held on for dear life. “Don’t leave me,” he said as I looked up and saw a woman, who I assumed was Jordan’s mother, coming around the corner.
  9. Chapter 2: Surprise I’m Gay Okay, at this point you are most likely thinking one of two things; one why the hell did you run, or two, go back and kiss him again. Trust me, as I ran from him both thoughts were going through my head. The only problem was that I was afraid. I mean I had just done one of the most important things in my entire life. I had just kissed another human being, and not that whole your grandma kisses you on the cheek at Christmas kind of kiss, but a lip to lip, passion filled kiss. I don’t care what anyone says, that is a major event in anyone’s life. What was I afraid of though? It wasn’t what others would think about me. I have never cared about that stuff. People can think what they want. They will no matter what I say or do anyways, so I could care less. However; now there was one person’s opinion that I did care about and I had just kissed him. If he rejected me because of it, if he looked me in the face and told me what I did was wrong... I don’t think I would recovered. So instead of facing him with all the possibilities that would have brought, I did the only thing I could do: I ran. I ran so hard and so fast that I amazed myself at how quickly I managed to make it home. Actually, I didn’t even realize where I was going until I opened my front door. It wasn’t really my destination when I started to run, in fact I didn’t care where I ended up. All I was thinking about was getting away. “Mom are you home” I called out stepping inside, shaking off the cold. I love my house. It may be small, and not look like all that much to anyone else, but to me it’s perfect. Everything inside just screams of a loving and close family, and that is exactly how mom wants it. She says that since a piece of our family is missing we need to fill every space of our home with love. So that’s what she did. Everywhere you looked in our living room there were pictures of our little family. Gifts are proudly displayed. Some of them are tacky and ugly, but they came to us out of love and so we think them beautiful. I guess when everything flipped into automatic the flood of emotions is what naturally took me home, to where I feel safe. I moved back toward the kitchen. The kitchen is the best room of all. Despite working full time and then some, my mom always managed to make the kitchen smell like fresh baked bread. If you have never smelled my mom’s bread, then you are missing out on one of the best smells in the world. If love and home had a smell that is what it would smell like. No matter where I go, when I catch a whiff of fresh baked bread it always takes me home. My only hope is that when I have a place of my own my kitchen will always smell like that. "Mom?" I repeated. It was a relief when she didn’t respond, not that I was expecting her to, being a single parent with a teenage son meant that she needed to work all year round. She loved her job at the elementary school, she even called all the children in her third grade class her kids, but it didn’t pay enough for her not to work when school was out. A few years back she had made a deal with a local hotel to work as the front desk person on all holidays so that their regular staff could have days off. In exchange, they kept her on the payroll and she worked when school was out. It was an okay deal. It usually meant that we had our holidays the next day. That didn’t matter to me. My mom always said that the actual day wasn’t what was important but the spirit behind it, so it was an easy sacrifice to make. We got to live here and have food on the table all year round. I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror as I made my way to my room. I stopped in amazement. I was really glad that mom wasn’t home. My face was stained with slightly frozen tears. I wiped them away and they were replaced with new fresh tears. I was crying! Okay, you might be wondering why that was such a big deal, well, I’ll tell you. I never cry; not since I was five years old and my dad died. I didn’t even cry last year when grandpa died, I just can’t cry. I have tried to make myself cry; watched sad movies, read books that were ‘guaranteed tear jerker’s', but nothing happens. It’s not that I don’t feel the emotions. When grandpa died I was sad, I even wanted to cry, the tears just wouldn’t flow, so standing here in my hallway crying was a major deal. His kiss, his eyes, his compassion, even the way he talked to me revived something inside of me that I thought was long dead. It sounds insane to be saying this, the whole thing lasted five minutes but I can’t help it, that was how it felt. I was never one to believe in love at first sight, but opening my eyes to his concerned face changed that. I realized that from the moment that I wanted to kiss him, I was in love. Breaking away from the mirror I went to my bed and just allowed the feelings that I had bottle up all these years to flood out. Everything came out in one big burst. I don’t know if you have ever had one of these moments but they are rather draining. A minute of crying can feel like an hour of jogging. So when the door bell rang I didn’t want to get up to answer it. Whoever it was at the door was both patient and persistent. I finally got up to answer the door and stopped. I had just been crying and must look like a mess. Since the person at the door had waited this long anyway, I made a quick stop in the bathroom to clean up some. Now like I said I’m not used to crying, and so I have forgotten how much of a mess your face can be just from crying. I assessed the damage; eyes big and puffy, face wet with fresh tears, and my nose was red. All in all I looked like a mess. I sighed and almost went back to bed; however, the person at the door was very persistent. I doubted they were going to leave until I went to the door and got rid of them. When I opened the door to get rid of this pesky person I froze. Not from the cold, but from who was standing at my door. Not in a million years, not in any of my wildest dreams would I have guessed when I got up that morning that any of this would happen to me; let alone that I would meet this person standing before me. I forgot my puffy eyes. He was perfect. “Are you ok?” were the first words that came out of his mouth. Despite everything, he still cared enough to ask. “I... I’m sorry, I didn’t...” I was stammering. His presence was having that same unmistakeable effect on me. My body was betraying me. The instinct to run was coming back, but luckily for me I had nowhere to go. “I was worried about you when you ran off like that” he said stepping up another step so he was very close to me. When I say close I mean close, only a few centimeters more and our noses would be touching. “That and I figured I should introduce myself. The name's Jordan.” “That was nice of you considering what...” my voice trailed off. He was very close. I tried not to look at his eyes or lips. “This isn’t the part where you get shy” he replied with a rather cocky grin on his face. “This is where you tell me your name.” “Why would you want to know my name after what happened? Wait! Why are you here?” I was suddenly nervous and I took a step back. He might be angry. I estimated the distance between us. Now that I think about it, if he was here to kick my ass stepping back like that wasn’t a wise idea. At this angle he could make a perfect punch to my nose. “You know for someone who kisses when you first meet someone you are shy.” He seemed almost exasperated, like my lack of response was delaying something. This only made me more nervous. At this point I wished I had listened to my mom when she wanted to sign me up for karate. “I just want to know your name please, I’m not asking much considering...” He did have a point, so I did the only thing I could: I gave in. “Fine my name is Ryan. What are you going to do now? Beat the shit out of me?” “No” he said stepping closer again. “I had something much better in mind. I just like to know the name of the person who I’m kissing.” With that the distance between us was closed, and we were kissing again. My brain was in total overload. Not only was I having the second kiss in my life, but I wasn’t the one that had started it. Now remember when I told you that the first kiss was perfect? Well I was wrong. Our second kiss was so much better. Our lips were moving in time with each other. Unlike the first kiss there was no apprehension. Well that is after the first few seconds wore off and I relaxed into the kiss. What really made it special was the knowledge that not only did I want this kiss, but so did he. I didn’t know what he felt or what he wanted, but with that kiss I was looking forward to learning everything about him. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, his hand began to slowly glide up my chest over my shirt. The feeling was intense; even more so when he stopped and caressed my cheek. Whenever I saw two people kissing on TV, I always wondered why they did that. Now I knew. His kiss was passionate and conveyed love, and that simple gesture added so much more love into the kiss that I felt weak in the knees. Anyone who has been kissed like that knows you get lost in it. Nothing around you matters but the person that you are kissing. The world just seems to fall away. So it was no big surprise that I didn’t hear the car drive up or her calling for me to help with the groceries. All I heard was the gasp coming from her mouth that broke our kiss. “Mom?”
  10. Chapter 1: Concussions and Kisses Winter is the best time of year. I know most of you think I’m nuts for saying that but it’s totally true. Just think about it for a moment with me. Yes it’s cold but what better excuse can you get to light a fire and cuddle with someone you love for warmth? The snow though that’s the best part of all. I love it when it first snows with the moon just peaking over the horizon, and the land is completely untouched. There is nothing more beautiful than that first perfect snow. Fall comes and turns the world into this brown and dirty looking world, but that first perfect snow makes everything so beautiful. More than that though winter is special time for me because it was in winter just after that first perfect snow that I met Jordan. Remember when I said I wanted to cuddle with someone in front of the fire, its Jordan that I want to do that with more than anything, but I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. First off I guess I should tell you about me. My name is Ryan Matthews, and I’m probably the most unremarkable person you will ever meet. I’m not the captain of the football team; I don’t even play football or any sports for that matter. I’m not the smartest person in my class, I have never won any awards, and I’m certainly not the best looking person in my school. I grew up in Cider Woods, your typical small town where everyone knows you by your first name. Everyone knows who I am, but since I have never done anything of note I’m rarely ever talked about. Which is saying a lot, because in a town as small as ours everyone talks about everyone, and don’t let them tell you otherwise, because even if they deny it gossip is a small town's favorite activity. The only thing exciting to ever happen to me is meeting Jordan Daniels. It had just snowed the first perfect snow of the year and I was doing my favorite thing. I went for a walk and made those first tracks in the snow, leaving my prints behind for all to see. I love the sound that snow makes when it’s still crisp and fresh. If you’ve never heard it before, there are just no words to describe it. I get so lost in my own thoughts when I go for my walks after a snow fall. I walk for hours and hours just thinking and enjoying the snow. I don’t even notice anything around me, and that day was no different. I had just finished crossing the field just outside my house and was entering the school football field when.... SMACK... and then I was out like a light. I know that’s a weird saying ‘out like a light’ but if you have ever been knocked out that’s exactly how it feel, like someone flicked a switch in your head and poof you’re dead to the world. It’s weird the things that go through your head when your are unconscious and laying in the snow. You would think there would be the obvious thoughts like, What the hell happened? Where am I? That sort of thing. Not me though, in the blackness of my unconsciousness I was thinking about when I would have my first kiss. You would think that by the age of seventeen I would have kissed someone, but when you grow up in a small town and you are most likely the only gay guy for miles the options are... rather limited. As I was coming too, however; it seemed like God had heard my prayer and sent me an angel. He was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. It was like he came straight out of a magazine and was now standing over me. His bright blue eyes shone brighter than any reflection of the winter sun in the untouched snow. They showed so much depth that you just wanted to get lost in them. His dirty blond hair was cut in that perfect messy look that just makes guys look so sexy, and while I think it looks good on other guys, on him it was flawless. Maybe it was the knock to the head, but as I looked into his perfect face, I was completely at a loss for words. My body just would not move, all I could do was stare. I know that I have used the word perfect a lot, but there just isn’t another word in the English language to describe what I was seeing; heck, even his freckles were perfect. I wanted to do nothing more in that moment than burn his image in my mind and carry it with me for all time. Even if I had died in that moment, I would have gone happily because I had just seen my Angel. “Are you ok dude?” His voice is so perfect. Ok, ok I’ll stop using that word but really, I can’t think of a better word so if it slips out again, I’m sorry. If you met him you would know where I’m coming from. He knelt down next to me and his face got close to mine. My head began to spin as he got closer. Despite the cold I could smell his skin and it was intoxicating -- so much so that I thought I was going to pass out again from pleasure. I mean how can one person be so... well you know what I’m going to say. “Can you hear me? Are you ok, do you need help?” Apparently my lack of a response was truly worrying this god of a boy because his face began to scrunch up. It was a face that only made him cuter, and it also showed me how truely caring and compassion he was. Mustering up every ounce of self-control and strength that I could, I open my mouth to try to speak; but nothing came out. I mean what do you say to a wet dream come to life as he kneels over you? All I could think about was kissing his red lips. Wait did I just say that? I guess I did, but honestly as I moved my mouth to speak it had other ideas in mind. It wanted that kiss. Luckily the knock on my head had sapped my energy or I would have snogged him right there and then. I could just imagine the talk in the coffee shop after that. I would be the talk of the town for the next ten years -- or at least until Suzie Holland gets her head stuck in the duct at the school outside the boy’s bathroom again. She’s never going to live that story down and while it’s a funny story, believe me, it’s not half as interesting as the cute boy that was in front of me at that moment. “Hold on I’m going to go and find you some help” he said breaking eye contact. He looked around trying to decide where he could find me the help that he apparently thought I needed. While he was looking for a rescue party I was losing my mind. There was no way I wanted him to leave my side. Heck it broke my heart when we lost eye contact for that moment. “No” I said in near panic fearing that he was going to disappear and this would turn out to be a dream. I wanted him to stay. No, I needed him to stay even if it was only for a moment longer. I wanted to freeze this moment in time and live a life time in that second. I feared that if he left I might lose that feeling forever. There are some feelings that you just never want to miss out on. “I’m ok, I just need a moment” I managed to say this more calmly, but still revealed more worry than I wanted to. “Are you sure?” he asked, his voice filled with compassion and concern. “You took quiet the knock to the head. You might even have a concussion. I think I should find help.” As he tried to move to leave my entire body went into panic mode. I reached up and grabbed his jacket to stop him. “No really, it’s ok. I just need a moment and I’ll be fine.” “Ok, but I’m staying with you just in case.” It took all the self control I had left to stop from sighing in relief as I lay my head back down onto the cold snow. He was going to stay and those few words suddenly made me happier than anything anyone had ever said before. All I wanted to do was lay here in the cold snow and watch him as he sat beside me, but I knew all that was going to do was make him uncomfortable and he would eventually leave. As a preventive measure, I decided that talking was going to be my best option. So far that hadn’t been my strong suit with him, but it was the best I could do, and we did have something to talk about. “So what happened to me anyway, I was just walking around when, boom.” The look on his face was priceless. He had this sheepish look, that sparked my desire to kiss him again. It was all I could think about, even as he began to explain what had happened. I didn’t hear what he was saying at first. All I saw was hip lips moving and I imagined what they would feel like, taste like. My mind was on anything but the words that were coming out. “... So with school out for Christmas break I really haven’t made any friends yet.” Made any friends yet? I was having a hard time imagining this Greek god ever had trouble in that area, when it dawned on me that he must be new to town. This made sense. I knew everyone in town, and there was no way I could ever miss meeting him unless he had just moved here. “I was getting the lay of the land here at the school. I started batting a few rocks out into the football field when I hit you in the head. I’m so sorry for all this, I really didn’t see you.” He looked so concerned, so worried that he had ruined something. I, on the other hand, was grateful it had happened despite the discomfort in the back of my head where a goose egg had surely begun to form. If he hadn’t hit me I know for a fact that I would have never gotten the courage to talk to him. Even if by some miracle I had managed to get the courage to talk to him I would have messed it up. As it was I was doing pretty well despite my overwhelming desire to kiss him. If I managed to keep that under control I might actually be making a new friend here. “It’s really ok, I’m fine and besides I should have been watching where I was going. You see I love the snow and I tend to lose myself in thought when it first snows, and...” I froze realizing that I had begun to ramble. I think I even began to blush, but as I turned away in shame I swear I caught him blushing too, although that could have just been the cold. “I know what you mean I love the snow too” I turned to him again in utter shock. Not many people agree with me on this point, most around here think that I’m nuts for my long walks in the fresh snow, no matter how cold it is. “We didn’t get much snow back in Vancouver, even when it did snow it never stayed long, or it turned to slush in the sun. Here though, it stays so crisp and pristine, I thinks that’s why I had to come out to explore.” I almost died when he said that. Was there really another person in the world who thought like me? I sat up and looked into his eyes. The need to kiss him became overwhelming. The closer I got to his face the less control I had, and then it was too late. Something inside took over; throwing better reason out the window and without a second thought, I leaned in and kissed his perfect lips. I have never tasted anything like his lips in my life. They were so soft, and had this sweet taste almost like honey. It was the most perfect feeling in every way. All my dreams about this moment were nothing compared to the real thing. In a million years, I could never ever have another perfect moment like that -- kissing someone in the snow. That one kiss made everything fall into place and make sense. I have always known I was gay, ever since I was eight years old and I had a crush on the box boy Eric at the grocery store. Man was I pissed when he married that Tammy bitch from up the road. Even with that realisation back then, things still didn’t always make sense. There were always a few pieces missing. Now, however; everything was clear. All the feelings that I had been having, which left me confused, suddenly made sense. With this simple and precious kiss it was clear. I knew who I was, and what I wanted and I wanted this. While dreams are beautiful and this moment was a dream come true, reality always comes in the next second. With a sharp realisation I remembered where I was, and what I was doing. I couldn’t face him, couldn’t stand the certain rejection that I had just brought upon myself. Any moment now he was going to push me back, give me a black eye and make me the talk of the town. It’s not like I was hiding the fact that I was gay, but in a small town like this it’s also not something you advertise. Breaking away from the kiss I did the only thing that I could do. I ran. I ran all the way home, without looking back, without letting my ears hear anything he might have or did say, all I wanted to do was escape, and so that s what I did.
  11. GA Staff

    Chapter 1

    Love and Angels By Jonny “Where were you?” came the soft yet commanding voice of Demetrius as he approached from behind. I knew he was there he was always there especially when I didn’t want him to be. He was after all my keeper, my shadow in the darkness that came when I wanted to be alone. His voice a reminder of what it was that I was here to do, the penance I had to pay for my crimes. Still even with the reminder it carried in a way I found his voice to be a comfort, a constant that never left me when everything else had turned to ash. “Why do you ask questions you already know the answer too?” I asked trying to sound annoyed rather than then the deep sense of sorrow that I was truly feeling. I knew he wouldn’t answer, he rarely ever answered my questions, I think he liked to be mysterious. Taking a long drag from my cigarette I sighed as I released the smoke from my lungs and readied myself to answer his question. I after all needed to answer it was my role, not his. “I needed a walk, to clear my head. You can’t tell me that I’m not allowed.” “It’s allowed, but don’t think it will delay anything.” Sometimes he could be so cold in how dealt with things, especially my brooding moods. Of course I knew I couldn’t hold back time, that what I was here to do could not be avoided. I had tried many times and he always seemed to find me. Still all things considered he could be a little nicer about it, a little less calculating, less official in his demeanour especially today. Turning to meet his steal blue eyes I tried to act intimidating, tried to get him to back down first. “Do you always have to be so fucking cold? You had to have had a heart once. Can’t you use it and not constantly remind me what I have to do? I know I have no choice, you don’t need to remind me all the time.” I’m not sure it was wise to show much anger, after all Demetrius was just doing his job, but he could have been more sensitive. He didn’t deserve my rage, he was trapped like I was in this, still it felt good to let it all out even if it was only for a moment. “Are you done?” he asked oddly calm and unfazed. I’m not sure I would have been able to keep a cool demeanor like that if I had had someone shout in my face. In fact I know I wouldn’t. Butting out my cigarette I just nodded, there was no point in using words, like always he knew the answer and was just asking for my benefit not his. “Good, follow me.” He said simply turning and heading down the street. I followed taking one last look at the water where I had been lost in thought only a moment ago. The sun had just peeked up above the horizon signaling a new day. To anyone else this would have been a signal of hope, a fresh day to start a new, for me it was just a reminder of what I had lost. Reaching into my coat pocket I swore to under my breath. Today of all days I had to smoke my last cigarette, and knowing Demetrius he wasn’t going to stop and let my buy more, things really were looking bleak. Boarding a city bus I followed my keeper to the back of the bus. He hated it when I called him that, he preferred the term mentor, or guide, to me though he was my keeper. “So what are we doing here? Crossing town?” I asked sitting beside him taking in the passenger who looked more dead than alive at this time of hour. “No we are here to ride the bus, you’ll know why when its time.” I really hated it when he was in a mood to give me back my snotty nature in spades. He seemed to take pleasure in torturing me with my own sense of sarcasm. What was even more annoying was knowing him we were probably going to be riding this bus all day long. “Just sit there and relax.” Relax he says, how was I supposed to do that. Crammed in a sardine can with a bunch of grumpy people on their way to crappy jobs they hated. Yeah that sounded like a really relaxing situation. I think I would rather be hit by the bus, than pretend to relax here... and why does it smell like piss? Still I knew I had no choice, I was going to have to just sit here and make the best of things till it was “time” so I did what I had to. Thinking was out of the question, that only brought up emotions and thoughts I needed to avoid today, so that left people watching. Most on board were not that interesting, the typical mix of students, business men, laborers on their way to various jobs and classes. None wanting to be up this early but having no other means of transportation to allow them to get up at a more descent time. Some were taking advantage to the time to read, some eat breakfast, and the odd person braved the threat of theft or missing there stop by taking a nap. Most people just sat and looked out the window, staring blankly into the streets of the city, watching as life went by at twenty miles an hour, wishing they were living life instead of watching it. If only they knew what that really felt like, maybe they would enjoy the moments they had. After an hour of sitting on this bus I was about to give up hope on something to keep me distracted when we stopped and he boarded. I don’t even know what made me pay attention to him at first. At first glance he wasn’t that much different from everyone else, well other than the fact that he was stunningly gorgeous. Even while lugging around a well used backpack filled to the max with book and other supplies, looking like your typical college student that shouldn’t have managed to catch my attention not only caught it, he became to me the only one on this bus. What really caught me off guard was when our eyes met for only a second and I felt lost in them. Those silver blue eyes that seemed to be filled with such passion and lust for life. Two qualities I had given up on long ago, on him though it looked good. I watched as he pushed past people trying to find a seat and I decided I wanted to know more, no needed to more if I wanted to avoid trying to step out into traffic. Moving over a little to make room I made it clear he could sit beside me. It was almost with a sigh of relief for both of us when he finally accepted the gesture and sat down beside me. I tried to give him his space, to let him settle in, that and after checking him out for five straight minutes, I didn’t want to seem to overly interested and scare him off, he was after all the only interesting distraction I had found in the last hour. “Hi” I finally managed to say after a few awkward moments of painful silence. I was never good at being the one that started up the conversation. I preferred to it when people approached me, but then that was rare, especially lately. I liked to put up this brooding wall to scare people off, it was easier that way. Why I felt the need to break that habit now was beyond me, was this guys spell really that strong? “The name is Taylor” I finally managed to add realizing I was staring again. Reaching out with my hand I tried to cover my new found stalkerish tendencies with a friendly handshake. “Scotty” he said shifting his backpack around in a attempt to keep everything balanced to take my hand. Obviously he was too polite to leave anyone hanging in mid air, and I started to feel guilty for making him work so hard just so I could look less like a douche bag. “Sorry” he said finally just setting his bag on the floor, even though he looked like he hated that idea. “This stupid thing is my life line you know, it’s got everything in it.” “I understand man” finally feeling the soft touch of his skin. His hand was amazing, the strength he possessed and yet the gentle nature it conveyed. “So you on your way to class?” Even after saying it felt like an idiot, of course he was. What was it about this guy that made me lose all sense of security and confidence I had? Why was his presence turning me into a complete idiot? “Yeah” he replied slightly blushing, which by the way seemed to only make him more attractive. “Third year engineering student, thus the library of books I’m lugging around.” I’m not sure what it was but as he spoke he didn’t seem to be meeting my eyes again. Was I freaking him out? Maybe I should just back off, this day was going to be bad enough with having to carry the guilt that I was making someone else uncomfortable. “That’s cool, I guess having to lug all those books has the added advantage of being a good work out.” I remarked deciding that it was best to just turn my attention back to the rest of the bus. “Yeah” he chuckled sounding almost sad when he did that he was no longer the center of my attention. Now I was confused. Could he be as intrigued by me as I was by him? “So what brings you on this bus today?” Ok that wasn’t an easy question to answer, especially when I wasn’t sure of the answer. I couldn’t just say I was here for the ride, I’d look like a nut job. No one in their right mind would want to be on this bus at this time of day unless they had to be. Still he needed me to say something if I was going to keep this conversation from dying right here and now. “Just crossing town” I said deciding vague was the way to go. “Cool” he replied seeming to be now unsure of what else to say. I couldn’t really blame him, I wasn’t exactly the easiest person to talk to. I wouldn’t want to talk to me. What we were left with then was awkward silence. I don’t know about him, but I was finding it torturous. I wanted to talk to him, to get to know him, but we were both lost for words. So we just sat there watching as block after block went by in silence. “Thanks by the way” he finally said breaking the silence. “For what?” I wasn’t the brightest person some times, and had no idea what he was thanking me for. Could he read my mind and was thanking me for the myriad of compliments that had been running in my head since he stepped foot on this bus. Or was it something else? “For making room for me here with you, I hate standing and I don’t have time to wait for the next bus. You kinda saved my skin.” “Hey no worries” I blushes slightly at his newfound attention. “Couldn’t leave you hanging there, especially” I almost said with eyes like yours, but figured a different direction would be better “with all those books.” I know I’m a chicken shit, the eye comment might have scored me more points, but I wasn’t even sure if he was interested in me. All I needed was a homophobic reaction to turn this already slightly awkwardness into a totally shitty and painful ride. “So what’s across town?” he asked with new found confidence. I couldn’t exactly continue my vague aloof attitude after that display of confidence, so I guess part of the truth wouldn’t hurt. “I actually have no idea, my friend here” I gestured toward Demetrius without actually turning to look at him. “He is dragging me across town, he isn’t telling me why.” Scotty looked slightly confused as he leaned over to look in Demetrius’ direction, but seemed to brush it off quickly. Demetrius was a pretty good looking guy, so I wasn’t sure what the look was for. Did he think we were “together” together? Or was it the fact that I allowed my friends drag me to undisclosed locations that warranted the look. Then again I liked to over analyze things, maybe it was just the fact that Demetrius was ignoring us that was getting to him. “I always did like a little adventure” I decided to interject to keep things going, even if it wasn’t true. I didn’t want this to end too quickly. I never made new friends, in fact I usually went out of my way to keep people at a distance, there was no point in getting to know anyone. Demetrius would just drag me away from them in the end, or worse. Scotty though, was, well he was different. My initial reaction of avoidance had been overridden by my need to entertain myself, but it was more than that after he spoke. His voice, his touch, and god damn it his eyes all drew me in and now I found myself desperate for human contact that I had always ran from before. “Already this one is turning out pretty good” I caught myself saying before I could really stop the words from escaping my mouth. I was rewarded though for my slip of the tongue as Scotty blushed when the meaning of my words reached his brain. When I say he blushed, I mean beat red. It was like he had never had a compliment before. That I found hard to believe. I could just see all his classmates both female and male drooling over him. Maybe he was one of those rare people that were beautiful and didn’t know it. That idea alone only made me want to know him better. It was rare I found someone that humble. “Well” he paused as he began to stumble on his words trying to recover. I also found that very attractive, this guy only got better with each passing moment. “I’m glad I could make your adventure worthwhile. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a bus ride to school.” Now it was my turn to blush, which was odd for me. I never blushed, well not since meeting Demetrius. No one was ever to get to me like that in a long time. Then again no one was able to get my heart racing the way Scotty was just be sitting next to me. It was starting to feel like back when I was a teenager and my hormones were running wild, unchecked and uncontrollable. My mysterious standoffish armor being chipped away slowly by this shy, cute, Adonis who didn’t even know how much of an effect he had on those around him. I wanted to know more, no needed to know more. Anyone who could do this to me needed to be explored. Unfortunately for me my luck never was really that good. The Universe tended to tease me and today was no better. It had given me a taste of Scotty, a taste of... life. Now it was about to rip it away as the bus stopped and Scotty looked around almost as sad I started to feel when I realised what the look in his eyes meant. “This is my stop” he sighed as he stood up picking his backpack up. “Here” he said opening his bag and ripping out a piece of paper and a pen and jotting something down on it quickly. “I have a long lunch break and if your adventure gets boring maybe we can entertain each other over lunch.” “Absolutely” I smiled at him widely. I think that was the first truly pure smile I had had in a very long time. There was no reservations, no holding back at all, for a moment the old me that I had assumed was long gone took a peak out and smiled at Scotty. What really got me though was what I got in return. Scotty smiled back, not once but several times as he went down the aisle trying to leave before he missed his class. I never understood that say ‘warming the heart’ the idea was ridiculous to me. There was no way a person could ever make you feel so good inside that it would feel like you were warming up inside. Not even in my pre-Demetrius existence had I ever felt that, and until now I never believed I would. I had given up. With good reason, but still I had given up on people, on myself. Yet here I was sitting on a bus having met some random stranger who I really only had a short conversation with and boom, I was beginning to get it. All those poems I was forced to read in school about moments of awakening, all those crappy mussy songs on the radio that made me change stations, all of them were making sense. Maybe it was foolish to think that way. I mean I had only met Scotty for what twenty minutes and even then only managed to stretch out a two minute conversation to five, yet there it was. That warm feeling deep inside, one that I never knew was there. I felt, excited to be here. That of course wasn’t allowed to happen, and lucky for me Demetrius made sure it didn’t last. Tapping me on the shoulder he got up and made his way off the bus at the next stop. I knew I was expected to follow, like I had much of a choice. Even if I let him leave and I rode off in the bus he’d find me. His time table couldn’t be upset no matter how hard I worked at it. I had learned that the hard way a long time ago. So I did what I had to do, I followed. ----- Sitting on a bench bored out of my skull I looked up into the clouds as they drifted by. Right now I wish I was on one of those clouds, it had to be better than sitting here alone, abandoned. Ok maybe that was being overly dramatic on my part, I had only been alone for maybe an hour. When it comes to my life an hour can feel like forever. I know I’m always going on about being left alone, pushing people away, but not today. I was feeling clingy since my encounter with Scotty this morning and even more so after meeting him for lunch. I wanted company, any company even Demetrius’s. After I got off the bus Demetrius was, gone. He did that often, but never in the middle of an assignment. I didn’t really know where he had gone, nor had I cared as I fumbled with the piece of paper in my pocket that Scotty had given me. Still now that I think about it, it would have been better if he had hung around for at least a little while, or at least told me where he was going. He never told me where he went. He was gone one second and back the next and if I asked where he had been he never answered. At least though when he had pulled his disappearing act he had left me close enough to Scotty that I wouldn’t need to get back on that damned bus, which by the way needed so major TLC just to get the smell to go away let alone the sticky seats. Looking at the note Scotty had left me I had smiled when I realised he had left me his number, and what I guess was the name of a restaurant with a time to meet him beside it. Simple to him probably but not to me, I had no idea where this George’s Place was. So with four hours to kill before meeting up with Scotty again and no Demetrius in sight all I could do was try and find this place. I thought the best answer to my dilemma was to find a phone booth. This place had to be close by after all, so it should be easy to find. The problem was first to find a damn phone booth. The purification of cell phones seemed to be killing off pay phones. When I finally did find one I almost screamed when I got there. Some inconsiderate buffoon had decided to rip several pages from the already mangled and uncared for phone book. Some people were incapable of thinking of anything other than themselves. Maybe information was going to be helpful, I doubted it with my luck but it was worth a try. Reaching into my pocket I again was forced to curse. No change. Now I was forced to deal with in my case the absolute last resort, human interaction. Its actually funny when you think about it. I was avoiding talking to people in my quest to find a place to talk to someone. Trust me as I watching into the dingy convenience store the irony was not lost on me. “Can I help you sir” a nice slightly overweight middle aged woman asked me as I approached the front counter. I cringed at the cheerful nature in her voice and the way she seemed to take way to much pleasure in her job. It also seemed I wasn’t the only one who found her cheerful nature to be annoying as the teenage boy trying to mop the floor also noticeably flinched at the way she addressed me as ‘sir’ obviously feeling my pain. “Yes” I replied regaining my cool calm exterior. I couldn’t let this woman see that she had cracked my air of mystery. People like her were like sugar coated sharks, but instead of killing you outright they killed you slowly with false kindness. “Could i get some directions to a restaurant called George’s Place?” “Absolutely” she chimed making me feel like puking with her grossly over joyed nature. I was starting to lose that content buzz Scotty had given me as she spelled out how simple it was to find my way to the Dinner. She was defiantly bring back my brooding nature as well as my need for nicotine. “Could I also get a pack of the blue cigarettes” I said pointing to the pack I wanted after she was done drowning me in extra useless information about how ‘awesome’ the burgers were. “Oh you don’t want those.” She replied sternly, changing her tone to a motherly one. “They will lead you to an early grave you know.” I couldn’t help but glare at her for that one. If she only knew how useless it was to tell me dying young. What really annoyed me was who did she think she was to lecture me anyway, especially in a tone that reminded me so much of my own mother. Se had always nagged me like this complete stranger was about smoking, it had annoyed me back then, and i found myself even more annoyed now. Not only because this woman had no right to be telling me what to do, but how dare she make me remember. I was about to inform her of this when I was caught off by a voice behind me. “Will you lay off the guy Margret.” I turned to meet the gaze of the teenage boy as he placed his mop back in his bucket. “Just give the poor man his smokes.” In the past I would have found this guy intriguing. He was attractive, a little on the thin side, defiantly no Scotty, but still hot in his own way. He had also earned major points with me as Margret huffed off grabbed my cigarettes’ and rang me in without a further word. For that alone i wanted to kiss the guy, I don’t know how he could stand working with miss sugar, but then I had no patience for people like her. Maybe it was bad memories. With a nod in the younger man’s direction I headed out back into the sun lit up and felt my nerves begin to calm at the nicotine hit my blood stream. I didn’t even know how bad I needed one until i was blowing the smoke out allowing the ghosts of my past that annoying woman had resurrected to go with it. At least her directions were good, after only a few wrong turns on my part i found myself sitting in the dinner with a cup of coffee. It didn’t even surprise me that the coffee was the best i had had in forever. This place may not have looked like much from the outside, but inside it was comfortable, almost pleasant. Then again I doubted that Scotty would send me to a dump, I’m not sure why I so sure I didn’t know his tastes, i just had this feeling. I may have been sitting here for more than three hours waiting for Scotty to join me, but I wasn’t bored. The waitress, a much older lady who’s name tag read Rose, left me be just keeping my coffee cup filled. She didn’t even seemed to care one bit that I was sitting there doing nothing for hours on end but drinking coffee watching people as they came and went. It almost seemed like it was a normal occurrence to her, either that or she was amused by the reactions I was giving to the diverse crowd that came and went. I had figured when I sat down that this place was going to be the college student hang out being that it was so close to the campus. I thought I was going to be bored as crowds of carbon copy preppy types came and went between classes, I was only partially right, and yet completely wrong.There were a few nerdy preppy types that came and went, but for the most part the people that I could only imagine frequented this place by how familiar they seemed with it were anything but boring. They were unexpected and amusing. The first people that really caught me off guard was an older couple that took a booth not far from mine, well within my view. There silver hair, and wrinkled skin telling a story of a long eventful life. Other than my initial analyzes of them I didn’t pay much attention. I thought they were nothing more than an old married couple married for a long time, yet still very much in love as they were still holding hands. What caught my attention was the way they kept kissing each other. At first it was just a peck here and there, but they were becoming more frequent, and lasting much longer. As time went on they were downright making out like two teenagers trying to crawl into each others mouths. I was shocked, almost all elderly people I encountered seemed so distant from that part of their lives. They had done it and now were too tired or uninterested to keep up with teenagers, not this couple, the way he was all over her made most horny teenagers look tame. I’m not sure when I went from people watching to geriatric pervert, but I couldn’t look away. Especially after another older lady came into the dinner looking pissed off as all hell. “Oh dear” Rose said catching me off guard as she came up behind me to refill my coffee. “Estelle found them and she looks pissed.” I was about to comment when she walked away and the real show started. Who would have thought I was going to find the Nursing home version of The L Word in a college dinner, but that's what was playing out before my eyes. My initial reaction was that Estelle was going to go up to the man and yell at him for cheating on her. That was the typical story wasn’t it? Instead she went up to the woman and started hitting her with her purse. “I can’t believe you are cheating on me with him” that when my ears really perked up, I even had to sit up straight in my chair to make sure i was hearing everything. “Fifty years together and you leave me for a wrinkly old cock? I know you’re bisexual but come on you should have better taste than that wrinkly old ass. Sorry Anthony” she said turning to the old man like she just realized she had insulted him. I had to hold back my laughter. An elderly lesbian couple arguing not about the fact one was cheating, but that her taste in men she cheated on her with wasn’t good enough. The scary part was they were just the beginning. Next came the couple arguing over whether or not eggs were vegetarian, only for both of them to order hamburgers. Then the very flamboyant gay man behind me complaining that his ass was too small, isn’t the stereotype the other way around? I did have to stop him on the way out though and tell him his ass was perfect. I was rewarded with an “aren’t you to cute” before his friend nudged him saying I told you so as they walked out. I was so busy watching as some of the most interesting people came and went that I didn’t even notice the time fly by, and I almost missed it when Scotty walked through the door. This was a sight to behold in of itself. I don’t think anyone else noticed but I did as he walked through the door and the light illuminates his perfect features in every way. His blond hair seeming to fall in all the right places and glow under the light, almost like an angel had taken it upon themselves to bath him in divine light. I wouldn’t be surprised if one did. Those pesky buggers liked to show up and mess with people’s perceptions all the time, they got a kick out of the emotional reactions they got. Sure they would say they were just doing their job, making sure people noticed the important people in there lives, fueling love and romance. I knew better though, especially if they were playing with me, I wasn’t supposed to have love anymore after all. Yet here i was looking at this man and feeling those old feeling I thought were left behind in my old life. “Taylor” he called to me finally meeting my eyes and rewarding me with one of his smiles. When he did, my mind emptied and all that was left was that perfect smile, and of course this overwhelming sense of... WOW! “Hey Scotty” I managed to say finally rebooting the speech center of my brain as he throw his backpack in the booth and claimed the seat across from me. “How was class?” “Boring as hell” he sighed seeming much more tired than he was this morning. Yet he still had this sparkle in his eye when he finally looked up to meet my gaze. “I have never had classes last that long before, I mean they seemed to take forever. I guess it was anticipation” he blushed after that. Almost like his mouth had escaped him and spoke before he realized what he was saying and who he was saying it too. “So what about you” he said looking like he was trying to cover over his eagerness to see me with a change in subject. Normally I would have pressed the subject to see the reactions I could evoke. To say I got a kick out of physiological torment would be an understatement. With Scotty I wanted to see his natural reactions, the way he blushed when he caught me looking, diverting his eyes trying to calm himself. He was such a barrel of nonverbal discovery I didn’t want to risk breaking him by push him in the wrong direction. “What happened to your friend and your bus adventure this morning?” That was an interesting question. I had been so focused on Scotty and the plethora of interesting people in this dinner I had completely forgotten about Demetrius. It was odd how he was leaving me alone to get to know Scotty, and in the middle of a job. It had never, never happened before. Then again angels had never bothered to pay attention to me before. People had never been so engaging, I had never been so content in the presence of another person like this before. This was a day of firsts for me so maybe Demetrius disappearance was only par for the course. How to explain that to Scotty though? “He decided to blow me off” I replied trying to fain disappointment, which I wasn’t. Still he was supposed to be a friend showing me a good time in Scotty’s eyes. Not my keeper making sure I was on short leash, even if at the moment it was feeling pretty long. “I wanted to stay and check out this dinner, he wanted to go his way. So he left.” That wasn’t a complete lie, it was actually what was happening just not in the way I was implying. “His loss” Scotty smiled this time not turning away yet still blushing. He was actually opening up to me, and he was flirting. “So what’s good here? I’m starving.” Rose seemed to perk up at that comment, obviously ease dropping from a distance. She was apparently intrigued by me and Scotty, but I couldn’t hold that against her she had to be curious after having me sit there for three hours doing nothing but drink coffee. “What do you like?” Scotty asked not even looking at the menus that had suddenly appeared before us as Rose started hovering close by antsy to do something other than fill my cup. “Anything really” I stated. “If the coffee is any indication the food here must be good.” “Oh it’s amazing, they do that old fashion home cooking thing perfectly. It will make you think you are having a perfect home cooked meal.” That particular image was disturbing to me. I didn’t really want to be thinking about home, or my mother’s cooking. She could kill with her food, and I’m pretty sure she has. Still I trusted Scotty opinion, even if I had no reason to. “If you don’t mind I’ll just order for us, I know the perfect thing.” “Sure” I smiled putting my menu down and watched amused as Rose snatched it up almost before it hit the table. “Two blue plate specials Rosy, and hold the pickles on mine.” “Sure thing dear” Rose said tussling Scotty’s hair. Which I’m sure how exactly only made his hair that much more sexier. “No pickles for me either” I called after her as she was already walking away. I had no idea what a blue plate special was, but I knew I didn’t like pickles, and I was both intrigued and amused that Scotty didn’t either. “So you don’t like pickles either?” “I hate the things” he said scrunching his nose up in disgust. “They make my teeth feel funny.” “They do the same thing to me too. My mom used to make me eat them all the time. I always tried my damnedest to avoid them, but she seemed to think I needed to learn to like them. I never have.” I surprised myself how easily I could talk to Scotty. Especially about my family, I never talked about them, they were apart of my past life. After first meeting Demetrius he was always trying to get me to talk about them, but I flatly refused. Instead I shut down and barely talked at all. He learned early on it was easier to get me to comply with his instructions if he just avoided the subject. Besides it wasn’t like either of us were really that big on conversation anyway. With Scotty I wanted to open up. I wanted to tell him everything about me, well almost everything. There was the one subject I couldn’t talk about with anyone other than Demetrius and even then we didn’t talk about it. For Scotty though I wanted to seem like a normal guy. I wanted to share my old life with him, even some part of my new one. So that’s exactly what I did. I told him about growing up on a farm, my mom’s terrible cooking. I shared with him about coming out in high school, having my first boyfriend graduating year and the nasty break up we had on grad night. I told him about my older brother and I always fighting but still closer than anyone else, and even about my dad dying before I was born. I shocked myself about how open I was, about how much i was willing to pour out. Yet here I was pouring my life out and Scotty accepting it all like it was normal to learn everything about a person on the first date. Maybe for Scotty it was, he seemed to make me so at ease I imagine everyone poured their hearts out to him. It wasn’t just me sharing though, Scotty told me all about himself over the blue plate special, which turned out to be the best burger and fries I have ever tasted in my life. No wonder the vegetarians ordered them. He shared with me everything from growing up with a single father who was never really around. His best friend dying on the same day he was kicked out of the house when he told his Dad he was gay. Moving in with his Grandmother, and working while going to school to afford college. While I had my issues one big one in particular, it seemed my life wasn’t as bad as Scotty’s had been. He had been through hell and walked out the better for it. He was amazing. Sitting here on my bench I couldn’t help but give up the bored feeling I was carrying with me and smile. Just the memory of sitting in that dinner with him was enough to make me feel different. Even if fate turned its ugly head and made sure i never saw him again just that one encounter had changed me forever. I had a happy perfect memory to carry with me. No one could claim that from me. After our meal I was sad when Scotty said he had to go back to class, but then he made my day when he asked if i would meet him back at the dinner after. He wanted to hang out. Normally I would have said no knowing that Demetrius could show up at any time and pull me away. I couldn’t though, no one could expect me to, not with those piercing eyes and perfect smile looking at me with such contentment and joy. Who was I to burst that bubble? I was just starting to enjoy the sun and the wait to see Scotty again when a chill went up mu spine alerting me to that familiar prescience. I shouldn’t have been surprised to have him here and especially now. There was only a few minutes left before I was going to meet Scotty so of course he was going to be here to ruin it all. “I see you have made a friend.” His voice still keeping that cold expressionless manner I found both comforting and chilling. “Keeping tabs on me?” I replied sulking in my misery of his inscrutably bad timing. “I always know what you are doing, it is my job after all.” I had to sit up and look at him. His voice had softened almost seeming sad in his own duties. I almost thought I was imagining it. Never had he had regret in his voice, it was unexpected, it was frightening. What was about to happen that he was going to regret. “It’s almost time” he said still keeping his new found sad tone, which was scaring me more than anything. I needed to ignore it though, maybe his new found regret would allow me to delay this one for a bit, at least until after i met with Scotty. I wasn’t confident though especially with that tone, and this new found unsettling feeling I was having with it. “Can we just wait a little longer? I don’t want Scotty to think i have skipped out on him.” I was pleading, almost begging. I knew it wouldn’t work, it never had before but maybe this time. “He won’t” he simply stated not meeting my eyes. Ok now I was freaking out. What the hell did he mean by that? I knew that he knew things that I never could, but still he had never sounded so certain and sad. Why had he allowed me this time with Scotty only to deny me more now? Was he playing with me? How did he know Scotty wasn’t going to miss me, unless... “No!” I screamed at him as loud as possible filling my voice with as much anger as was humanly possible as the realization of what he meant hit me. “You can’t do this! You can’t play with me like this, especially with him. He doesn’t deserve this, he is a good man.” I was breaking down, and tears were starting to fall down my cheeks as i screamed pleaded and begged. This was hell and i was in it. I knew I had to pay my penance, but what had I done to deserve this? Why would he be so cruel to do this to Scotty. “Taylor you know I don’t make these decisions.” His voice was calm despite my yelling and tears, yet the coldness was gone. There was a tender hint in the way he said that, he was just as sad as I was over this. He was just more professionally detached than I was, bu he still saw and felt the pain I was in. “Please” I pleaded. Tell them to take me instead. Throw me into hell, destroy me, anything just don’t do this to him. He doesn’t deserve this. He is so good, so pure, how could they choose him to die.” I really would do anything at this point to save him. He was special to me, he was a light in the world that shouldn’t be blown out. I wish I could trade places with him, take what was to come away. I would gladly go into nothingness for him. I loved him. I had never loved anyone before. Oh I said the words and even felt strong attachment to people but not like this, no I loved Scotty more than anything and would give the only thing I had to give, myself, to save him from this. “I’m sorry Taylor you know it doesn’t work like that. You are already dead, and you were chosen to be a reaper. It’s your job to be there when he dies to take his soul with you. We can’t change events here on earth. It isn’t our job.” “Then why? Why did you let me get to know him? Why did you let me fall in love with him only to take him away? Is this to make me pay for killing my family?” I couldn’t believe i had said it, but that’s what was in my head. I had killed them, and now it was my job as a reaper to pay for it. Wasn’t taking souls enough though, wasn’t seeing death all the time enough to make up for that, did they have to make it so much worse? And why him? He didn’t deserve this, he was good, he was pure, unlike me. “You didn’t kill your family Taylor. The car accident where you all died wasn’t your fault just because you were driving. The other driver was drunk and hit you, not the other way around. Being a reaper isn’t a punishment, it’s a gift. You get to help people in the worst possible time to find peace and joy.” I hated it! I didn’t see the peace and joy in dying. Now to take someone like Scotty from the world I hated it even more. If they made me do this, if they didn’t change this I wasn’t going to do it anymore. I would rather be in oblivion. I didn’t even have to say it, they knew, Demetrius knew. The way he looked at me told me that. “It’s not fair” I said looking up at him with tears streaming down my cheeks expecting to meet his blue eyes. Instead though he wasn’t looking at me, he was looking across the street at someone, his expression sad. Turning to look where he was looking, I hoping against hope that the fears running in my head where wrong. That it wasn’t now, that I had more time. If I had more time maybe I could convince them not to take him. Maybe i could change fate. What I saw though broke my heart. Scotty was standing across the street looking around, obviously for me. His smile wider than when he had left me earlier, his eyes filled with hope and joyful expectations. That’s when he saw me, our eyes meeting. His expression dropping from the joy he was feeling to utter concern seeing the state that I was in. He didn’t even break eye contact as he stepped out trying to come to me. He wanted to help, he wanted to comfort me. Even as his foot moved forward to cross the street to join me I was up and moving. My mind racing as the reaper instincts I had been given showing me the bus barrelling toward him. The driver sleepy from being over worked and not even seeing Scotty stepping out in front of him. I surprised myself at how fast i was moving, I had never moved this fast before, it was almost like I was being helped. Still I didn’t even think, instead all I was doing was feeling. I was feeling the love that had grown in such a short time for Scotty, the love that was now making me do the only thing I could. I was going to trade places with Scotty. It was reaper rule number one. Do not mess with fate. We were there to walk over those about to die and then guide them their souls to the rest of their families. We were protectors and guiders nothing more. If we tried to tempt fate, if we tried to do what I was doing right now there was only one punishment. If a reaper changed the course of events to save a mortals life, messing with their damned grand design, that reaper was sent to oblivion. Their souls were not sent back to heaven, not recycled into life again, they were just gone. It had happened in the past and that was why reapers were assigned to guardians like Demetrius. He was to be my guide and to keep me from doing just what I was now. Changing someone’s fate. I even expect him to stop me, to feel his powerful wings reaching out and grabbing me. I had felt them before, in fact it was the last time I had tried to change fate. Unlike this time though I wasn’t doing it for pure reasons, i wasn’t doing it for love. I tried to change fate because I felt guilty, I felt like I deserved to be sent into oblivion, I had killed my family after all. I should have seen that truck coming. This time though he didn’t stop me, no one was, no one could. And as I reached Scotty pushing him back on his butt safely out of the path of the bus I knew why, I loved Scotty and nothing in the universe could stop that. Closing my eyes I didn’t want to see the look of horror on Scotty’s face as the bus hit me. I didn’t want to carry that into oblivion, instead I wanted to carry that smile with me into forever. As the bus struck my reaper body sending me into the back, for once in my life I was truly happy, I knew what love was. Is there anything better in life than that? Is there anything more powerful? ----- Blackness, then pain. Was it supposed to hurt? I thought oblivion was, well nothingness. Why the hell was I hurting? I tried to move but everything in my body screamed pain. Reapers didn’t feel pain. Heck I hadn’t even felt pain since the truck that had killed me hit. It was that initial jolt of pain then nothing since then. Believe me I have tested that rule. The day after being returned to earth I took a knife and stabbed myself in the heart. I was after all feeling the weight of the guilt of knowing I had killed the people I cared about. Still the knife went in, and when I pulled it out, no blood, no cut, no pain. Now though there was pain. Everything hurt even my eye lids as I tried to open my eyes. Wait am I supposed to have eyelids? I was very confused, this was all wrong. Had I failed, had they stepped in at the last second and stopped me and now I was feeling the punishment? I had to find out, I had to know. So pushing past the pain I forced my eyes open. The first thing i saw made tears fall from my eyes. He was there sleeping, alive and healthy. Scotty was safe, and now nothing else really mattered. Still if Scotty was safe why the hell was I here? What was going on? “You are alright Taylor” a familiar voice said from a shadow in the distance. Demetrius was here with me, he would have the answers for me, he always did. Yet he looked different, almost like a shadow in the distance. “You did it, you changed fate’s mind. Scotty will be safe for a very long time. No reaper will be called for him till he is very old and has lived a long happy life.” I was relieved, he was safe, I had done it. Still the lingering question remained. What the hell was going to happen to me? Honestly I didn’t care that much, I had done what I felt was right, and I had done it for the right reasons. Scotty was safe, he was going to live a long life, what happened to me next didn’t matter. “It does matter Taylor” Demetrius said jerking me from my thoughts knowing he had read them. I always knew he had the ability to know what I was thinking, but never like that. It was almost like he was reading my feelings and intentions not my actual thought. He only did that to humans. “You sacrificed yourself for love. Not out of guilt, not for selfish reason, because you wanted to avoid taking a soul. It was a selfless act of pure love. That is something very rare in the world, even amongst us. It was an act that needed to be rewarded.” Rewarded? I had defied them. Had screamed, had broken the rules. I rebelled against their precious grand design. It may have been for the right reasons as he put it, but I still broke the rules. I shouldn’t be rewarded, I should be punished. That may have been my guilt talking but it was still valid. “It wasn’t just you either. Scotty was willing to risk everything for the same reason. He saw your pain, he felt it because he loves you just a much as you love him. He stepped out to reach you out of love. Granted it was foolish that he didn’t look before he leapt but it was still an act of true love. That and you were right before, Scotty is a pure light, one that will enrich the world. You better take care of him.” That caught me off guard. Take care of him? How was i supposed to do that if I was dead? Were they making me a guardian angel, was i to suffer watching his life instead of being in it? I could live with that though, i knew i could because I loved him and i wanted to see it all. “Time has been rewritten and in a few moments the rewrites will catch up to us. You have been given your life back, your family back. At the last second you swerved to avoid that truck, and the drunk driver hit a pole instead of you. You won’t remember being a reaper, because you will have never have died. You too will have a very long happy life in Scotty arms. I’m so proud of you Taylor.” That was the last thing I heard Demetrius say before his voice and image faded away, taking with him the pain and guilt I had felt. Replacing it with such happiness, joy, and especially love.
  12. GA Staff

    Chapter 2 (up)

    Aren't you guys thrilled!!! New moon is coming out: 20 november 2009!!! I so love Taylor! He is like adorable don't you think! I just love movies and books and story's! I am so glad I even found this site! It is such a good site! I know cheary huh! :D (I like making emoticons get used to it!) Don't you just wanna sing and dance and watch the bird fly around, the wind through your hair the soft feeling of it on your skin! I love life! Thinking about life, did you see him Friday, god... I feel like I am falling in love again and again! He is so handsome and smart and sweet en caring and every positive word known to man kind! "hums to himself" An apple a day, keeps the doctor, the doctor, the doctor away.. hmmmm Did you guys see Moonacre? The people who have know what I am talking about. It is such a cool movie! (If you know me better you'll know I am a fantasy freak!) And I mean the guy with the feathers in his neck... DROOL! The idea behind the movie: don't be greedy or you'll get doomed!, just a great movie, you must rent it sometime! (My apologies to the author of Carrots and Celery.. (a story that you must read!) for pushing people to rent a movie other than princess bride... wich I also love!) Just a few hours ago I was singing... I like to sing... My parents, nor my sister were home and I was singing this song... you might know it... Every time we touch by Cascade... Well there is a slow version of it and it is beautiful!!! Listen to it if you find a chance... What else to tell! I feel so full of energy! :D I am typing 200 a minute! Just messing with you! :p Let's get more serious for a sec. I feel kind of bad for not talking to my best friend in a while, but I just get caught up in your story's and I just love them! Currently I am reading a story between Jacob and Edward (twilight) (it's on a diffrent website) And OMG! They make such a cute couple... I wish Stephanie had made a love story between them! Kijk rood, oranje, geel en groen, blauw, indigo, violet, ja elke kleur ja elk seizoen staat op gods kleur palet. Sorry, Skipped to Dutch there for a second... My "official" language is Dutch... And sometimes I start to think Dutch... (I mostly think in English :D) I like English more... It's a world language! Dutch I a stupid language.. A language with no sense to it! I get F's for the subject in class. O BTW! I have this friend and he is just plain right dumb! But so funny sometimes! Like a few weeks ago he had only 1 class, so did I. I went to that class, sat all by myself wondering where he was, he was an hour to late because he didn't read the clock right. I laughed my ass of that day! Sorry I left you hanging I had to go eat for a second, you still there? Good :D *sees his stuffed animal and goes crazy* Hey little cutie pie how are you doing! *gives him an eskimo kiss* Him? This is my first stuffed animal ever.. (not true he was my second, the first one "after" I was born) He looks old and he's almost falling apart but I still snuggle with him every night! Speeking of night.. Last night I had this really cool and weird and so funny dream! I dreamt about... well me ;p I was in front of some kind of Hanna Montana house... And there was Ice on the road. I touched the Ice with my fouth and it broke. A guy came up to me and told me I had to be careful because it was slypery. Than I saw a woman and a man acros the street.. The woman looked like my ex-german teacher and the man like my ex-(trantslats the word)(something like)social studies teacher. The woman was holding a plate with an arrow on it. She gave it a spin and it landed on a place. She said O crap, now I am the target! (of snowballs) The next thing I remember, I am in a car, next to my "dream"mother in the backseat where my "dream"sisters and we were racing through some kind of gate, over a small "road-hill thingy" and we fly like two meters. Than we land again. I hear a car horn but don't look around. She is driving me to a fight I am atanding. We almost hit a "bus thingy"full of little children *flash forward* I am suddly standing in some kind of arena with a handsome guy standing in front of me. We start to wrestle but we are making dance moves in between. Than I start licking his face and telling him I love him!!! He looks at me. I hear people yelling, Change, Change, Change. So we switch positions and he pulls my head under water (where the water came from I don't know) and once back up I am blind! I can't see a damm thing! Than I move the mask and look threw the holes and see the guy smile. He says he loves me and leaves the arena, people are staring at him and one guy (the guy I actually know from high school) yells YEAH!!! and I yell with him. But the guy next to the guy pulls him down and shuts him up.. And that's when I awoke! I told you weird! I wonder if it means something. Afterwards I was thinking: Licking his face! Really!!! * Cuddles with some stuff animals * God I love you little fellows!
  13. As I close my door I am alone again. My family doesn’t love me, not like they used to. Back when I was a child, I was happy, I didn’t care about anything. Such A fool I was back then. Everything came around and hit me in the face. My mother and father are probably the best most caring parents in the world, unless there is one topic in the room that cannot be discussed. It hurts, it hurts so bad living like this, living in a world I am not accepted. Everybody is judging me. I can feel their eyes locked on my back when I pass by. My sister thinks I am a freak, but not cause of the same reasons my parents don’t talk to me. She thinks I am weird, an idiot, a pervert. I never did anything to hurt her… Liar! I am crazy if you hadn’t noticed yet…. I live two individual lives. In one I am an average teenager, in the other I am a werewolf searching for Lust, passion and most of all love. The weird thing is, it is all in my head. I dream I sing I love I die The pain is unbearable, not being loved back by the one I am in love with, his beauty; it stuns me every time I lay my eyes on him Then I look away A chill is running through my spine. I know I am not supposed to tell you, big change that I am never going to even upload this. Am I talking to myself again? Or am I just talking to another person tied to a computer on the other side of the world? My friends, they are my enemies. They disgust me, I hate them, they call me names and make me feel numb inside. My best friend I can’t trust. I love her like a sister but I can never trust her to much. Why? I know I let her down by telling her all my secrets, I know I am pushing her away with them. But by not telling her, we are drifting apart. You wonder how this all got this way? Well, so do I. I went through a lot of mental abuse. Now I am a crazy person, doomed to never be loved… SHUT UP!... a double personality. One saying I can’t, one saying I can. You can stop reading now if you don’t get this story and what it is about, I don’t mind. It is not going to be less weird along the path… But you might understand me better if you stick with me… I never do anything fun in people’s eyes. I am just a loner who doesn’t know what fun is… That’s what I can hear them think. It all started 16 year ago, the day I was born, something that probably never should have happened… Wait a sec while I close my window, somebody fell and is screaming his lungs out. I am not depressed, I never wanted to kill myself, I am not Emo, not goth.. I don’t know what I am anymore The only “things” I can trust is my stuffed animals… “stuffed animals? ” you wonder, he’s sixteen and still has them??? You should see my room, 13 on my shelf, 7 in my closet, 20 on my closet, 11 on my chair, 27 on my bed. I can trust them, why? They won’t ever judge me, because they can’t speak or let alone think. They will never leave me, because they can’t move, they will never stop listing to me, because they are always here. When I am in school I long for them, I want to cuddle with them and dream away. Dream about a place where I am handsome and smart and popular… Of course being popular is overrated… but most off all I dream of being loved. Back into the past, I grew up in a small town, a town I now hate and what to leave because of its stupid people who know each other to well. We lived next door a family, they had a son as well, we grew up together, we swung on his swing set and bathed in my little pool, we played with our dogs, they are both dead now. Then the end of my second year of kindergarten came, and he failed it! How the hell can you fail kindergarten! I went to primary school, he didn’t. We lost contact for a year because we didn’t see each other in school anymore; back then I didn’t care much. No I do care. When he entered primary school, I hardly knew him. Over the years of primary school we got closer again, perhaps a bit to close, we went to “boy scouts” together… than my life really started sucking… There were a few boys who bullied me to the dead; they liked teasing me and my friend. We got through it together. I started growing a mustache, stupid early hormones, they teased me even more. My friend and I drifted apart because he didn’t want to be bullied. Than our final break-up. I went to secondary school. After that we saw each other 3 times. We had fun those times. I haven’t had a real conversation with him for over 3 years now. Secondary school… * laughs hysterically while he cries his eyes out* God I wish I failed a year so at least I had a friend I could relay on. Of course back then I didn’t care back then, now I do. I thought secondary school was going to be exiting; I could make new friends and forget about my primary school and my bullies. What I didn’t realize… the bullies had to go to school as well. They teased me every time they saw me. They tried to make me fall when I was riding home or to school. They called me names. My new class didn’t really speak to me; they probably thought I was ugly. At the begging of the year we had a school camp to get to know each other. I was so nervous. For what? Meeting more bullies? Meeting people I hate? Meeting people who seemed nice, but who turned their back on me as soon as they could? Sometimes I really wonder why? Wonder why I can’t stand up for myself, thinking it is so easy! While it absolutely isn’t easy.
  14. GA Staff

    Sincerely Me

    It's the end of June and I have to go. I don't want to, but I have to go. To where you wonder? To Cancun, Mexico for a trip with my former classmates. We're not in even in high school anymore, why are we still calling ourselves seniors? Shouldn't a senior trip be taken while we were actual seniors? Well, at least it's only a week. Not a week, four days. Not much at all. Still wasteful, though. Last time I'd seen these people was in my rear view mirror -- why'd I come? The reason was snoring in the seat next to me, Jeff. Oh, he'd been excited. With me arriving at the airport in Atlanta, he was... jovial. He'd been waiting for me. SO very excited. Maybe it grated on my nerves a bit that he still acted like a kid on his birthday and I was like the parent with the strained smile, tired and worn. Yet here I was, on a plane en route to Mexico, to the resort our dearest principle picked. The cheapskate. We even got to bring our own drinking water. Yay, dysentery! The first night went by smoothly. I slept in while the others partied. As I recounted to Jeff earlier, I was a bit wary of drinking then. I'd been shunning alcohol since the party at my house. Two weeks passed and the smell of alcohol still made my stomach groan. The next day was spent at the beach and I'll admit it was a good day. Beachgoers were mostly college age too, so I spent my time avoiding my school troupe and talking to people I didn't know and probably never see again. It was a little invigorating dissing my former classmates in lieu of these strangers. Yet, I made some good friends, temporary as they may have been. I found Cancun with its load of strange people, the best place to relax and be myself for a while. Not just another role playing gig as I'd gotten used to through life. When you only have a few days with someone, you become best of friends. no inhibitions, no expectations. You live in the moment. I had a solid group of friends by day 2 and only saw Jeff or the others at night when I showered and slept. I even went out partying with them.They were refreshing fun, without the strings tied in that dictated the behavior I'd come to know with the school troupe. Just 3 people, Liam, Sacha and Pierce, made all the difference to me, at that moment. It was a decent trip when I didn't have to think of the people I came and bunked with. And all was fine until the last day came and sucker punched me in the gut. Jeff was kinda of upset that I'd pretty much ditched him for some strangers. I was supposed to be his back up, not that he needed it. Those were his friends, not mine from high school. Maybe I should've gone with the group to see the concert on the other side of the beach. 'Cause here he was, bitching. And here I was, alone. Then again, one can only escape so much; some things screamed to be dealt with between Jeff and me. With college approaching so fast,I.. I knew he wanted to talk. May that was very reason I didn't want to come here in the first place. "How can you come to Cancun and not drink? Or even go out? What the hell is wrong with you, Jos? You're disappearing in the day and get back only the sleep. Weren't we supposed to have some fun here? Together." "You're blocking my view." Well he was. I'd been laying in the sand, enjoying the sun and the cooling breezing. I sounded old. "You were supposed to be my backup." "How the fuck am I supposed to be your backup? Those people in there... those are your friends. In school, you were the popular one. They liked you, not me remember." Exasperation clouded my mind like car stopping fog. There was a shining beckon in the distance guiding me. Independence. My Lady Liberty, calling for a break. "Look, I don't need you to be my crutch anymore. You don't need to pretend to need me at parties and the like to get me to be more social. I've got it." "You've got it?" Jeff's face was a work of contemptuous restraint. "Ungrateful Bastard's got it? All that time I spent helping you make friends. Helping you fit in and now, you're too good for everybody. Davidson and me. Maybe 'towering' was too melodramatic but he was a bit intimidating standing over me, black lit the my sun he was blocking. I almost felt remorseful for those comments. "You leave without a good bye. Shit, you leave without a care for the one friend you had growing up. What's with you dude? Well, almost. "Nothing is with me. I moved the fuck on. You know I HATE those people. The only reason I came here with those people, was for you." "And you spend 3 of the 4 days with strangers! Avoiding them and me!" I stood up to get away from him. Pissed at him, at the situation, I just wanted the trip to be over. For me to be at University and for Jeff to be gone. I was sick of the little guilt trips he'd become so good at over the years. The puppy dog eyes dogging me. Him getting me to do things I never wanted to do, like coming to Cancun with a bunch of people who hated me. This wasn't the first time I'd done something so stupid because of him. It'd be the last, I hope. "Fuck off dude." I started off on the beach to find the friends I'd made here. Unfortunately, Jeff wasn't done. He had an annoying habit of hanging on to things he wanted and he wanted me feel guilty, to give in, one more score in the end. "Aren't I supposed to be your friend or is that only because you had no other options?" "Whatever Jeff." I turned and walked past a couple of people tanning in the white sands. I made it a couple more feet before Jeff did something stupid. Incredibly stupid. "I know you care, Josten!" He was pissed. A reaction natural to being ignored, well, to Jeff. "For fuck's sake!" He kissed me. In the middle of a crowded beach. On our senior trip. And on my not so receptive lips. My immediate response was a hard shove, sending him back a couple of steps, wobbly trying to keep for falling. My first thought was: that was desperate. Wiping my mouth with the back of my hand, I was walking quickly off the beach to find my new friends. For all I know, he was still standing there. Maybe I didn't care.
  15. GA Staff

    Summertime Pie

    They named it The Star Bar. Kind of lame yet it still maintained a coolness other bars wished for. Philip "Not fucking Phil" Hilson created it 3 years prior during his sophomore year at the University. It was an extra credit project he stumbled on when the former owner became fed up with the fights and wanted out. Three years later Philip had a great bar where the students started and ended their nights, picking up coffee drinks before stumbling to class. He'd picked a couple of good employees only the way. Somehow he decided I was a good employee. Maybe it was the promise of 4 years servitude. Maybe it was the cocky attitude I was trying on that day. Or maybe it was the way I hopped around the bar and made my own drink after the barkeep got it horribly, horribly wrong. He liked me and I needed the money, match. "He's a fucking menace, that's what!" After only two weeks I found my place as the fuck up. I'd only gotten close to 2 people at the bar, Tiffany my fellow tender, and Addison, a bouncer. One of the other barkeeps hated me, our dear ass -- Ross McCollum. I was a fuck up to him; in his defense it was usually on him. As in sticky mess on his shirt, or his pants. I apologetically distanced myself from him, but there's only so many feet behind the bar and accidents were great. Though this I still had Tiff. Far from her Cali home, she loved it here. We got along great, her mellow attitude giving me room for mistakes. She was the first person a met in the shop being the bartender screwing up my infamous drink order. It was her challenging me to make it right that led to me hopping over bar and fixing myself a drink. One week in I got her kicked out her sorority house and she didn't mind. We were relaxing in her room, as had become routine when a couple girls showed up and asked me to leave. She showed up on my doorstep the next day with her bags saying something about "skanky bitches" and "they steal shit anyway." Then she walked inside leaving the bags for me. So, with a new roommate and job my summer was looking good. "So Senior trip's coming up, you still coming?" "Could I not" "No" "Then, why do I keep asking! I'll be there, even if I don't want to be." And I didn't want to be there. My sole reason for going: Jeff's bitching. The guy couldn't shut up about it. Of course there wasn't much else to do in Davidson, but come on! In a search for a another topic I landed on a reliable distraction. "So still no word from PSU? I would thought the verdict be in by now." "Well...yeah." "Well yeah what?" "Well, I didn't want to break it to you over the phone." "The fuck? How'd you not get in? I'm like the biggest loser of our class and got in." "And I never said I didn't get in, did I? ...I got wait-listed. There's still a chance." "A small chance." Silence filled the phone. "Why does it feel like you gave up months ago. I'm not a kid here; you don't have to pretend to be hopeful like I'm terminally ill or something. You can be honest." "AND I'm being honest. There's still a chance. But before that... let's just have fun on the trip first huh?" "Yeah, whatever dude." Funny, the thought of not having Jeff around for college didn't sadden me. Maybe I really wanted him to go his first choice. Life was changing and I didn't need him as a crutch anymore. I felt guilty for it through high school and this was my new start. Three weeks in and Addison surprised me. "Dude!" "What." "Hairy butt crack, that's what!" I'd found Addison bent over the kegs, checking the taps. His shirt was riding up and it looked like a wookie. He straightened up, laughing. The bastard. "Maybe you shouldn't be looking then? What's up? "A party at my house. I think." "You think? I'm assuming this isn't your party." "Tiff's throwing a party. Expect lots of her sisters and some fratards" School hadn't started and I'd already adopted some bad sentiments towards the frats in our neighborhood. Maybe they weren't justified, I really hadn't given them much of a chance. Then and maybe it was justified, I thought as I peered out at some guys from Tau Kappa something take dives off the 1st floor roof into the pool. A 6 feet deep at most pool. Yeah. The night had been good for me. Got my mind away from Jeff and the trip and onto something more immediate: alcohol and partying. It got me loose that night. First party of the season and I literally was smashed. I'd have a lot to clean up in the morning. For now at least, I was happy chilling with my roommate and Addison. After watching the guys dive off the roof, I went back inside and found Addison and Tiff at the kitchen bar with the hard stuff. I was at my limit and didn't know it. Something I'd learn more of later that night, but for now I was good. Shaky, but good. "Dude, you look like you need a shot." Like a rollercoaster cocked and ready to roll over a huge fucking hill, those words were the chains letting go. And I went. One. Two. Three. Six shots later. Stumbling around the house my eyes were shaky and hard to focus. I wasn't use to this. I panicked. Out the door I stumbled, hoping to walk it off. I saw people leaving, I didn't know what time it was but it seemed early still. So walked more. Exploring a more and more blurry scene. In the park I landed; the grass felt good -- cool and crisp. The out of control feelings I had made me feel jittery and confused. Confused and uncomfortable until I felt a rise in my stomach and tasted nastiness in my mouth. And then nothing. The sting of sunlight and the gritty crunch of dirt and puke on my body while I tried to find out why I was on my neighbor's lawn with vomit all over my clothes. Shots suck. The house was quiet when I walked in, trashed, but quiet. Crunching beneath my feet wasn't a good sign of the cleaning to come. My head was a menagerie of feelings. A light headed wobbliness was strongest. I found myself sitting down in the couch for temporary relief. Disrupted shortly by a voice. "DUDE, where were you?" It was Addison's voice. I wasn't really feeling like hearing anything at the moment. "Neighbors yard." "Tiff and I checked the neighbors yards, we checked a lot of places. I was worried dude." "Sorry." He sat down next to me. "You need a shower... I guess you know that already. Just, cool you're safe." "Sorry." "Yeah. Me too." I got the feeling he meant something else. That feeling was clear even in my state of mind. Yet, what he meant, I really didn't know.
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