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    Comicality
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
2018 - Fall - Good Intentions Entry

Wounded - 1. Wounded

"Wounded"

Jace's tears were like a corrosive acid to my current emotional state of mind.

They bled from his eyes in ways that looked as though the heat of despair and heartbreak should have scalded his fair skin beyond repair. True tears. The kind of tears that can only be produced when your entire life has been ripped apart and left to die and rot in the dirt below. Had Jace not been my best friend, the discomfort of seeing him like this would have chased me away an hour ago.

Something told me to warn him when I saw him falling soooo hard for Chad the way he was. Not that Chad wasn't a good guy. He was actually pretty nice. But it was also easy for me to see that he saw a lot of good times and some hearty laughs in being Jace's boyfriend...while Jace was starry eyed and dreaming about 'forever'. We were all 17 years old...it's sort of hard to promise forever when we don't have enough years behind us to process such a concept. But...they seemed to get along great, Chad was a gentleman whenever it was needed, and hey...my best friend was getting laid regularly. He was doing better than I was, so who am I to tell him to pump the breaks on such a blessing. Chad was hot, too. Like, magazine model hot. If they were happy together...then it was my duty as Jace's best bud to be happy forthem.

Unfortunately...it didn't turn out to be the sweeping eternal romance that Jace was hoping for. Chad eventually got 'used to' their situation...the phone calls got to be few and far in between, and then came the we should talk discussion. That was the end of it. They went from not being able to wake up in the morning without writing to say, "Have a nice day, and I love you!" to not talking at all. Things began to get progressively awkward between them, distance took the place of emotional bonding...and eventually, Chad just went looking for someone else to re-ignite that blinding spark of new love again. I think that hurt Jace more than anything. The idea that Chad's smile, his bright green eyes, and kissable lips, were now being flashed in someone else's direction. All of the sweet and romantic words that were once being whispered into his ear after they kissed...were now being whispered into the ear of someone that Jace was sure would never ever love Chad as much as he did.

But...that's just how 'love' works sometimes, I suppose. Or ceases to work, as the case may be.

It's been four long days since their break up...and Jace hasn't stopped crying since it happened. I wouldn't be surprised if he even cried in his sleep. Looking at him now, sitting there on my basement sofa...he appeared so weak. So broken. His eyes were red with heartbreak and agony, his voice hoarse from strain. At his feet was an empty tub of butter pecan ice cream, and a plastic shopping bag full of wadded up tissues. He tried to stop crying multiple times tonight...but he just couldn't. Chad had truly destroyed something within him by walking away from their six month long relationship, and I told him he could crash at my place tonight if he didn't want to be alone. To be honest, after talking to him for the past hour and a half...I don't think I could handle him being alone. I've never seen him this low before. It can be a bit scary to bear witness to the total breakdown of someone you truly care about.

I just wish I knew what to say to him.

"It's like he just woke up one morning and stopped caring..." He sobbed. "I don't know what to do, Gary. I'm sorry to drop all of this at your feet over and over again, it just...it hurts so much! I never felt pain like this before. It feels like somebody took a sledgehammer to my chest, and every minute of the day I find it hard to come up with reasons as to why I should keep breathing at all."

I sat on the sofa next to him and put a hand on his shoulder. "C'mon, dude...don't talk like that."

"I don't understand. How can he just get tired of me? How can he just...move on with somebody else? Did he ever really love me at all? Or was it all bullshit?" He said, more tears crawling down the surface of his heated blush. "I thought we were happy. I thought I was doing everything right. What went wrong?"

Attempting to ease some of his misery, I said, "It doesn't mean that something went wrong, Jace. Sometimes people grow apart. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be." I felt like a fraud saying that. I felt like one of those romantic comedy douchebags, reciting every cliched line from every heartache story that has ever been popular enough to get regurgitated, time and time again. Still...it was better than complete silence, I suppose.

"But this was special, Gary. I felt it. Chad was in my heart, in my blood, in my BONES! We used to just text each other for hours on end. We used to laugh until our bellies hurt. I couldn't go a day without thinking about him...or wondering if he was thinking about me. This isn't just some kiddie experiment like it was with me and you, this was real." Jace realized what he said, and sniffled, "No offense. Well...you know what I mean..."

"None taken." I said. I did know what he meant. I've always been a bit bi-curious. I think I like girls more, and that's the direction my sexuality seems to be headed in...but I do appreciate a cute boy when I see one. I can see the fascination. Jace and I sort of fooled around a few times during the Summer before staring high school, and I liked it a lot. We sort of referred to each other as boyfriends, but it wasn't much more than a need to feel good and figure out what this naughty 'sex' thing was all about. We tried a few things, got off more times than I can count, and then we just decided that it wasn't as much fun anymore. We were both looking for a true 'connection' with someone, and we already had our buddy relationship laid out for us without the sex...so why do it? We didn't need it to stay close. We weren't in love. It was merely a shared activity that we enjoyed...like going to the movies or playing video games. Except we had to get naked to do it and clean up afterwards. Heh...not really worth the effort, if you ask me.

Blowing his nose into another tissue, Jace whimpered, "I can't believe he just forgot about me. I feel so empty inside." Adding, "It's because I'm ugly, isn't it? I was too ugly to be with a cute boy like Chad. He was probably grossed out by me, that's what it was."

"Jesus, Jace...are you listening to yourself? You are NOT ugly!"

"What else is it, then? Am I stupid? Am I too boring? What is it that's so horrible about me that he'd just cut me off and not want to be boyfriends anymore?" Then he whimpered, "God...I feel so alone, right now."

I hugged him close, letting him rest his head on my shoulder. "Listen...I know this hurts. I'd be lying if I said that it shouldn't. It would probably be insulting to try to cheer you up right now, so if you want to take some time and hurt over this...I totally get it. I do." That only made him cry a bit harder, but I kept him as warm and comfortable as I could with my friendly embrace. "But...in time, and I know it doesn't feel like it now, but it's true...your heart will start to mend. The pain will hurt a little bit less. And you'll try to hold onto it for a while longer, because you get used to having it be such a big part of your day. But...after a while it'll be harder to hold on to the ache than it will be to just let it go. And when that time comes, that's exactly what you'll do. You'll let it go. Hopefully, once you're done with it all...you'll be able to go out and find yourself the kind of boyfriend that Chad could never be. Someone who matters. Someone who makes YOU feel like you matter. Ok?"

Jace was quiet for a moment. The tears hadn't stopped. The sniffles were still coming on strong. But I could tell that he wanted to believe me. If only for a few minutes.

"You know what hurts the most, Gary...?" He asked. "The idea that I'm going to have to start all over again. I mean, I came out to my parents for him. My whole life is different now, and I did it because I was convinced that he was the one. My soul mate. The boy that I'd spend the rest of my life with...good times and bad. I wanted that more than anything."

"I know, bud. I know."

"And now, in order to keep from spending the rest of my life alone, I've got to start all over from scratch. I have to scour the planet looking for another boy that I'm interested in...that I have things in common with..." He sobbed some more, and I didn't try to stop him. I just rubbed his shoulder and gave him a chance to let it all out. "...Then I've got to spend time wondering, 'is he gay?' Is he straight? Am I imagining this? Is he flirting? Then I have to come out to him, and it'll be awkward and weird...then, if I'm lucky, we'll start the clumsy dating process and find out how we're going to compromise with all the little quirks that we don't like about each other...and find out if we're compatible, and then there's finding out if we're going to be public or private about it, and sex, and jealousy, and...oh God...I feel like I wasted so much time. And now I have to start over, and I don't know if I have the heart to do it, Gary. After feeling this excruciating pain in my heart...I don't know if I even want to."

Jace really was taking this hard. He was literally trembling in my arms, and it was hard to tell if my presence here was doing him any good at all. I began to worry that this emotional cavity in his stomach would end up consuming him alive if he kept thinking this way. "You'll find somebody new. I promise. People find love every single day. You're bound to get another turn at this eventually. You just have to struggle through this part of it for a little while. That's all."

"No. I won't." He sulked. "You don't get it...Chad was my everything. He was blond and super cute and he'd buy me candy on my birthday. He was never afraid to hold my hand in public. He was never afraid to say, 'I love you'. Do you know how hard it is in this day and age to find a boy like Chad who's willing to tell you he loves you, simply because he loves to see the smile on your face when you hear it? Someone who...who just enjoys making you happy?" With a few more sniffles, Jace said, "I'm not that random boyfriend type of guy. I never will be. I have to really be in love. I have to feel something special."

"Random boyfriend? What does that mean?"

Wiping his eyes, he said, "Let's be honest, Gary...I'm not the guy who goes up to a beautiful stranger on the street and has the charm or the courage to ask him for his phone number. Ok?" He blew his nose again. "I'm never going to be that sought after hottie in the corner of a gay bar. I'm never going to be the guy flashing a grin and walking around with my shirt off at the pride parade. I'm not the 'right swipe' guy on Grindr who hooks up with whatever boy is horny enough to meet me in a private place within the next hour or two on a Friday night. That's just not me. Meeting Chad was something...beautiful, you know? It was by 'accident'. Almost like...fate, you know? Neither one of us planned to fall in love or start dating, it just sprung up out of nowhere. Chad just happened to turn out to be everything that I ever wanted. Everything that I ever could have hoped for. And for a while...he made me believe that I could be one of those lucky people who magically run into the love of their lives and hold onto it for as long as they draw breath." That's when Jace lowered his head, and mumbled, "I guess I was wrong." Soon adding, "I've never felt so empty, Gary. I swear...this void inside is killing me...and I barely have the strength to complain anymore. I know you say it'll get better...but I'm starting to doubt that I can wait that long. I'm collapsing in on myself, and I don't know how to fix it. All I do is CRY! My parents think I'm crazy. I'm scared to go to school, or go shopping...yesterday I was driving past the rec center, and I started crying so hard that I had to pull over because I couldn't see the street anymore. I don't know what's happening to me."

Scooting closer to him, I now hugged Jace with both arms and lightly kissed the top of his forehead. "You just need to be patient with this, ok? I'm right here. And I'm going to listen to every word until you get the poison out of your system. You have my word on that."

"I feel like I'm finished. I feel like I'm never going to find a love like that ever again. My ONE shot at happiness...and I blew it. I totally threw it in the trash and I have nothing to show for it."

"Shhhh...it's ok." I whispered. "You're going to be fine. Someone will come along, and they'll love you the way you deserve to be loved. I promise."

"There's nothing about me worth loving. Nothing at all." He sniffled.

"There's a LOT to love about you, Jace. And if Chad can't see that...then screw him. It's his loss, not yours."

Jace began to rub my arm, holding me tight, and I mimicked his movements to make him as comfortable as possible. I leaned my head on his...and we held each other for a few brief moments, before he said...in a soft voice, "...Gary?"

I looked into his eyes as he raised his head. There was some hesitation, but seeing the utter agony reflected in his watery stare was so moving that I would have done anything to spare him another moment of despair. And maybe that's why I did it. Why he did it.

I began to shed a few tears myself as I watched Jace lean closer. Should I do it? Is this right? And what happens...after? Is this going to turn out to be another exploitation of shared activity between us? All of these questions and hundreds more raced through my mind...but I didn't have much time to contemplate a rational answer.

Our lips connected.

I wasn't sure how I felt about it...but I didn't dare reject him. Not now. Not while he's like this. So I gave myself over to the moment, and I kissed him back. I wanted to heal him. I wanted to be the salve that cured his misery. The tourniquet that temporarily stopped the bleeding. And that added more emotion into my kiss than I would have normally expected.

Jace and I don't kiss anymore. We were more like brothers than boyfriends. But...in that one moment...something about it felt right. Maybe it was my selfish need too help and his selfish need to be helped that made the kiss work...but it fit. Two pieces of the puzzle. The yin and the yang. And as we made out on that couch for the next few minutes, our tongues now sliding past one another as my hands began to run up under his shirt...the discomfort of a major heartbreak seemed to melt away as if put on hold. Almost as if it was never there to begin with.

Then...I felt Jace's hand slide up my thigh, his fingers reaching, and eventually grabbing the sizeable lump in my jeans. It was at that moment that I decided to take a break from this and truly think it through before I did something that I was certainly going to regret later.

Our kiss was interrupted, and I leaned back from him...trying to put on my most convincing poker face to hide the fact that anything was wrong. With a shudder of discomfort, I told him, "I'll be right back, ok? Just...just give me a minute."

Jace bashfully looked away from me, and I adjusted myself before standing up and walking into the downstairs bathroom.

Minutes pass.

With me looking myself in the mirror. Trying to come up with a plan of action that wouldn't end up hurting Jace even worse than before and tear our friendship to pieces in the process. Should I go back? Will I be compounding the heartache...the loneliness...the idea that he'll never find love again...if I tell him to stop? Or...should I maybe give this a try? And at least keep Jace's heart occupied until this Chad situation blows over and he's ready to give romance another shot?

Or maybe...we could just talk about it? One on one? Find out what 'this' is and where we're expecting it to go? That's probably the best plan, isn't it?

Ok. That's it. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go out there, and I'm going to let Jace know that I love him dearly, and I cherish every moment that we spend together...but if this is going to happen between us tonight...we need to define what it is we're looking for ahead of time. Because the LAST thing I want to do is hurt him. That should go without saying, right?

How long have I been in here? Geez...let me get back to the sofa before Jace thinks I bailed on him.

I walked back out into the basement to see the couch empty, the bag of used tissues gone, and Jace was nowhere in sight. "Hello?" No answer. "Jace?"

A few seconds later, I heard a text alert on my phone, and picked it up. I got a note from Jace saying, quite simply...

"Thank you for listening to me cry about my problems tonight, Gary. Thank you for everything.

I know what just happened on your sofa was a bit weird, and I appreciate you trying to make me feel...'pretty' again. But you and I both know that we'd just be using each other for the wrong reasons. I don't think either one of us would want that.

But I LOVE you, Gary! I always will. And, if I thought for one second that you and I could have the kind of long lasting connection that we were looking for, I'd go for it in a heartbeat. But for now...I think you had the right idea. It's time I got some right ideas of my own to match.

Take care, bud. And thanks for being a friend."

Was it a sigh of relief that I heard escaping my lips? Thankful for having to avoid that conversation entirely? Who knows? Right now, it's just good to know that Jace and I are more alike than we ever could have known. Perhaps we dodged a bullet tonight. We all know what the golden road to Hell is paved with...and I'd rather we not test that theory with a few teen impulses and a wounded heart.

Jace will be ok. I'm sure of it. I can do more good as a true friend than I ever could as a substitute lover. Thank goodness he figured that out the same time that I did.

Copyright © 2018 Comicality; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
2018 - Fall - Good Intentions Entry

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A terrific and thoughtful exploration of friendship in the face of romantic heartbreak.  I know it was meant to be a brief one-off, but I’d love to see the story develop further.

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Loved this wee story. Was kinda routing for them to get together but I prefer how it ended up. True friendship right there.

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Friendship... true friendship... is often underrated. These two are lucky to have that. Jace has to get over this breakup before he has a chance of building a relationship with anyone else... I'm glad he and Gary were smart enough to realize that. Good story highlighting what they have is special, and lasting, just as it is. :)  Cheers... Gary....

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This is a lovely story about real friends; friends we need when we hurt, or when we  have something to celebrate. Thank you. 

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Nothing like having a true friend when you need it. Great story. Glad they were there for each other and didn't push it.

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Friendships like this will last forever. Both knew they would lose something more precious than a relationship by acting "on the spur of the moment". 

 

As soon as I saw your name, I knew I had to read it. 

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Young love... So bright it eclipses all else and you can't see the real world anymore. Having true friends is a life saver. 

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