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    Drew Payne
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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. 

His Story - 5. Dinner Date

“Welcome to Hell!” Kay said as she opened her front door to me.

“What’s the matter?” I said as I followed her inside the flat.

“Nina’s in the kitchen, and she’s turned into Gordon-Fucking-Ramsey all over some stupid pudding. I told her we won’t want pudding with the amount of stuff she’s already cooked, but she has to be Ms-Fucking-Perfectionist-Lesbian,” Kay said.

“Is it going to be all right?”

“There’s only the four of us—you, me, Nina and Ryan—so it should be okay.”

I followed her into their sitting room. She and Nina were having a dinner party in their new flat, the one I’d helped them move into less than a month ago, and Kay had insisted that I come. She’d promised me that there would only be a few people there: just her and Nina and her brother Ryan. I’d never met Ryan, though I’d heard a lot about him from Kay, so the chance of meeting him was attractive. Kay was always talking about him, her gay brother who was also a journalist and at this time was between boyfriends, she’d said. If it had been a party, I’d have said no. I hate parties because they are always full of people I don’t know, and I always seem to end up hiding away in the kitchen.

The moment we got into the sitting room, Nina’s voice called from the kitchen, which was really just an alcove off the big room:

“It’s burnt; it’s fucking burnt!”

“Then we’ll all go on a diet. God knows, you’ve cooked enough!” Kay shouted back as she rushed into the kitchen.

I looked around the sitting room, Kay and Nina had unpacked a lot since I was last here, and I saw a guy sitting on the sofa. He was certainly Kay’s brother; he had the same strawberry-blond hair, though his was all shaggy and a bit too long, not the very short and neat style Kay kept her hair in, but he had the same round face dominated by the same dark-blue eyes. He was wearing a dark-green shirt over a pair of very pale jeans. He looked so good, and he smiled at me as he stood up from the sofa, I could feel that adolescent hope jump up into my throat again.

“Hi, I’m Ryan,” he said.

“I know. I’m Chris.”

“I sort of know that, too, Kay talks a lot about you.”

“Okay, we won’t have a dessert; we’ll all get pissed instead,” Nina said as she stormed into the sitting room, a large strand of her hair escaping out of her ponytail. “Hi, Chris, welcome to our first dinner party.” She came up to me and kissed me on the check.

The dinner part of the evening went enjoyably well. We sat together around Kay and Nina’s new flat-packed dining table, and the food was mouth-wateringly good. Besides her personality, Nina has many different sides to her, one of them being a good cook, a skill she says she was given by her mother.

Ryan didn’t simply take after Kay in his looks, their personalities were so very alike. They laughed at the same things, chatted in the same way; they even talked about the same things. I felt Kay and Ryan could have just talked away together all evening, but it also felt nice and comfortable. I felt as if I was wrapped up in their conversation without having to work at it; I could just sit and enjoy it. Nina chatted away in the same way; it seemed she was just as comfortable with Ryan and got on just as well with him as Kay did. It was nice sitting there, just listening and enjoying their conversation.

We didn’t have any dessert, by then even Nina agreed it was burnt and ruined. Instead, we drank some of the orange liqueur Ryan had brought.

“Your mother didn’t say anything to you about the card?” Nina asked.

“I didn’t even see the card,” Ryan said.

“I told you, you shouldn’t have sent it,” Nina said.

“It was only a bit of fun. Mum’s got a sense of humour, and she always said she hated Mother’s Day. I thought it would cheer her up,” Kay said.

“What did the card say?” Ryan asked.

“Happy Mother’s Day, Thanks for the Genes,” Kay said, with a smile.

“God, you didn’t. Grandmother has been giving her grief over us lately,” Ryan said.

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

“Our parents have four children, and three of us are gay. Our grandmother, our mother’s mother, is a right Mackerel Snapper of a Catholic and doesn’t approve of all this homosexuality in the family,” Ryan said.

“Scott isn’t gay, he says he’s bisexual,” Nina said.

“Scott isn’t bisexual, he only says that to be different. I’ve had more men than he’s had women,” Kay said.

“How many men have you had?” I asked.

“One. Once when I was at university. His name was Steven Jacks,” Kay said.

“Steven Jacks is queer,” Ryan said. “I had a rather hot affair with him when you went to Germany your first summer at Uni.”

“I know. We both wanted to know if we were really queer, and we were both drunk,” Kay said.

“So, were you both full queers?” Nina asked.

“God, yes. We both weren’t that keen on it. We weren’t grossed out, but it wasn’t anything wonderful,” Kay said.

“Well, I’m a hundred percent lesbian. The idea of straight sex really grosses me out,” Nina said.

We laughed at that.

“Tell Chris about your book,” Kay said.

“Are you sure?” Nina asked.

“Chris could help,” Kay said.

“You’re writing a novel?” I asked.

“No, I’m writing a non-fiction book. I’m shit at writing fiction. When I tried to before, it always came out as flat and patronising,” Ryan said.

“I liked some of the short stories you wrote at university,” Kay said.

“I didn’t write them, I plagiarised their plots, though my lecturers were too lazy to notice.”

“What’s your book about?” I asked.

“I’m writing about The Release Trust; it’s a sort of exposure of what they get up to.”

“The Release Trust?” I asked. It wasn’t the subject I’d have thought he’d say.

“Yes, they’re this ex-gay organisation, the main one in Britain. They’re this Evangelical Christian organisation that believes they can turn gay men straight with prayers and emotional blackmail,” he said.

“What made you choose them?” I asked. I could feel Kay watching me.

“There’s been two big scandals about them recently. I covered them both for Gay News magazine. The first was when one of their leaders and head counsellors, Henry Webb, was caught cottaging. He got a suspended sentence; it wasn’t the first time he’d got caught, but this time they couldn’t keep it secret. He was forced to resign.

“But the second one was the worst. It happened just over six months ago. There was a young man called Richard Gamblin who got involved with The Release Trust after the vicar of his church sent him to them. He was only seventeen when The Release Trust got their claws into him. They poured all their crap and emotional blackmail upon him, and he could only take it for six months. They actually blamed him for being gay. Then he killed himself. He left a long suicide letter that outlined all that The Release Trust did to him. He was already depressed. He told The Release Trust ‘counsellor’ how he was feeling suicidal, and that bastard told him he didn’t have the right to be depressed and to stop complaining. When Richard Gamblin killed himself and The Release Trust washed their hands of him, at first tried to deny he’d even been involved with them. Maureen Ashman, the Christian ‘Commentator’ and bigot, is one of their trustees, and she said that Richard Gamblin is better off dead than gay,” Ryan said.

“I always want to slap that bitch whenever I hear her,” Nina said.

“That’s why I’m writing it. Too often The Trust Release have gone under the radar as harmless. I want to show how dangerous they are and how much harm they have done over the years. I’ve been talking to a lot of people who’ve been involved with them, and they all talked about the damage done to them. They all seem to have the same problems. They all had such low self-esteem or emotional problems before they got involved. The Release Trust seems to prey on that type of gay man.

“They all were involved with The Release Trust for about two years; that’s how long it usually takes for the disillusionment to set in. At first, they believe what they’re told; for many of them it comes as a relief. The problems come when they can’t live up to The Release Trust’s impossible goals; their sexuality doesn’t change. That’s when the depression and the feelings of failure start, and The Release Trust actually blames them for feeling that way, which only makes things worse. Things don’t get better when these men leave. They’re still depressed and feeling a failure, they all had problems making relationships, friendships and lovers, and many had nightmares about it. Their self-esteem and self-worth were completely destroyed by The Release Trust. It abused these men, and it has the fucking nerve to claim that it only does good. I want to show them up for the liars they are…

“Sorry, I get a bit carried away when I talk about it. Before I started to investigate, I didn’t realise what damage The Release Trust has done, its emotional abuse of the worst type; I just thought they were some stupid crap Christian group that would fade away.”

I didn’t say anything; I didn’t know what to say. I thought he’d be writing a book about some gay celebrity. I couldn’t have imagined that it would be about The Release Trust and that Ryan would be so fired up about it, that he’d hate The Release Trust the way he does. He’d not given any sign of this as we’d eaten dinner.

“For God’s sake tell him, Chris,” Kay said.

“There’s nothing to tell,” I said.

I turned to her and saw that she was staring at me; there was almost anger in her face.

“Yes, there fucking is!” Kay said.

“It was just a short time, and I was only a kid.”

“You were really upset at Pride by that kid and his shitty leaflets,” Nina said.

“He caught me off guard, it was years ago, and I’m over it now.”

“No, you’re not. Your relationships are really fucked up, Chris. As long as I’ve known you, you haven’t had a boyfriend that lasts more than a few weeks. I’m fucking worried about you,” Kay said.

“What happened?” Ryan said.

“I was a teenager; I got involved with them, I saw how shit they are, and I left. That’s all.”

“No, it isn’t,” Kay said.

“What really happened?” Ryan said.

I looked down at my feet on the carpet, the dark-green carpet under them. I couldn’t face them, the concern and worry in their faces that I was causing, but I had to tell them.

“I was sixteen, Christian and gay when I got involved with them. I thought I was going to Hell for being gay. They told me there was a way out; all I had to do was stay a virgin, because if I had sex with another guy, I was damned. I believed them; I was afraid of Hell. They said if I was faithful, God would turn me straight and I would be normal and saved. I believed everything they said, but I didn’t turn straight; I stayed gay. I was a teenager and horny. All I could think about was sex with other guys. Then I fell in love with another guy at church, a straight guy. He didn’t know how I felt, and I felt so lonely that there wasn’t anyone to talk to. I tried to talk to Henry Webb; I saw him for counselling, but he said feelings like that was the devil tempting me. I got too depressed. I tried to kill myself,” I said.

I stopped there; I didn’t know how to carry on.

“You never told me about this,” Kay said.

“I couldn’t. I feel stupid and guilty about it all. It’s such a stereotype: the sad queer boy trying to kill himself.”

“No, it’s not. It’s a fucking tragedy you were driven to that,” Kay said.

“Did you tell anyone at The Release Trust how depressed you were?” Ryan asked.

“I tried to tell Henry Webb one time, but he said the devil tempts us with depression to make us weak and that it’s a sin to give in to depression. No Christian should be depressed because God’s given us full life, he said.”

“Fuck, that’s obscene,” Nina said.

“What happened when you tried to kill yourself?” Kay asked.

“I took an overdose, but I didn’t know anything and got the dosage wrong. I woke up in hospital. The thing was, I left a note saying that I was doing it because I’m gay. My parents read it; they threw me out of their home while I was in hospital, I had been admitted to a psychiatric ward. I haven’t seen my parents since I was admitted to that ward.”

“Did anyone from The Release Trust come to see you in hospital or when you were discharged?” Ryan asked.

“No, I haven’t had any contact with them, either.”

“That’s horrible, they abused you, The Release Trust abused you,” Ryan said.

I looked up and saw Ryan staring at me, his eyes were glossing over with tears.

“I wasn’t abused. It was my fault. I got involved with The Release Trust, I went to them, and I agreed with what they said. They didn’t do anything really bad,” I said.

“They set you up to fail. They gave you impossible goals, and when you couldn’t reach them, they made it your fault. They emotionally abused you; they didn’t help you to accept your sexuality; they told you to deny being gay. They poured all this emotional, negative shit onto you for being gay and claimed it was from God. They taught you to hate yourself for being gay. If they’d cared about you, they’d have visited you in hospital, but they just washed their hands of you because you were yet another one of their failures,” Ryan said.

“Chris, you’re my friend, and I really care about you, but you’re really fucked up” Kay said, taking over from Ryan. “Look how upset you got over that Lenny you met at Pride. Okay, that little shit shouldn’t have been there, but he really got to you. Look at your relationships. I know you want a boyfriend, but your relationships are a mess. Sorry, but I care about you.”

“I never meet the right guys. It’s either they don’t want me, or if they want me, I don’t want them. I try.”

“Do you have nightmares?” Nina asked.

“Yes,” I said.

There was no way I wanted to tell what my dreams were about.

“Do you have problems sleeping?” Nina said.

“Yes. Often. Yes.”

“And you have problems forming relationships. Also, you don’t have the greatest self-esteem. Chris, you’ve almost a walking example of someone who’s been abused and can’t come to terms with it. For God’s sake, I’m a Psychiatric Nurse and I see it enough times at work,” Nina said.

“But abuse is where you’re beaten or raped or such. None of that happened to me.”

“You were given a mind-fuck of religious guilt and crap just because you’re gay. They fucked your mind over just because you’re gay. That’s emotional abuse,” Ryan said.

“But I went to them,” I said.

“And they fucked you up,” Kay said.

“And I hate them, and I don’t want to go to Hell, but I will because I’m gay!” I almost shouted at her.

Then I started to cry. I was crying like some little baby. Thick, hot tears were running down my face, and my body was shaking with each loud sob. I was sobbing, and I couldn’t stop myself. I closed my eyes, trying to close them against the grief, but the tears pushed through.

I felt someone’s arms taking hold of me and pulling me into a tight hug. It was Ryan, and my chest was pressed up against his. I clung onto him as I sobbed. It was all I could do.

Finally, my eyes ran dry, and I stopped crying. Then I felt shame flush up through me, that deep embarrassment of allowing my deepest emotions out on display and in public. I wanted the sofa to swallow me up, the whole evening to be forgotten about and gone.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.” I said it to the room in general rather than to just one particular person. I was looking down at my lap as I said it.

“Don’t be sorry, don’t ever be sorry,” Kay said.

“What?”

I looked up at her and saw the deep expression of hurt and concern drawn across her face.

“I’ve never seen you let go like that before. I’ve never seen you let out any of the hurt or pain you feel before,” Kay said.

“Oh… I… Oh…” I said.

Ryan took hold of my hand and squeezed it.

“Chris, you’ve got to get yourself some help. Don’t let The Release Trust bastards keep fucking you up,” Ryan said.

“Yes,” I said.

I more mumbled it out in that half-hearted way, but I now knew he was right.

“I’ll help you find it, too. I know where you can get good, professional gay therapy” Nina said.

“Thanks,” I said. I meant it.

We sat up talking well into the early hours that night. We talked a lot about The Release Trust, about what they did, how they operated, how they damaged others and why they did it.

In the end, it was too late for me to get the Tube home, the same for Ryan, and Kay just said we should stay the night. So Ryan and I slept that night on Kay and Nina’s sofa bed. When Kay and Nina went to bed, Ryan and I stripped down to our underwear and got under the duvet together. We didn’t have sex that night, though I wish we had, I’d have agreed to anything he wanted to do. Instead, there in the dark, Ryan held me. He pressed his chest into my back and slipped his arms around me. I felt so suddenly safe in Ryan’s arms, and that night I slept soundly. I didn’t dream or have nightmares; I didn’t have any problems getting off to sleep, and I didn’t wake up during the night. I slept restfully for once.

The next morning, over Nina’s large cooked breakfast, I couldn’t stop looking at Ryan, at how attractive he was, but he didn’t seem to notice.

Copyright © 2019 Drew Payne; 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. 
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Chapter Comments

Finally the dam breaks. But Chris should focus on Ryan as someone who can help him expose the evil and cruelty of his tormentors, rather than as a potential boyfriend. That may come later, but first he needs to heal.

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2 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

Finally the dam breaks. But Chris should focus on Ryan as someone who can help him expose the evil and cruelty of his tormentors, rather than as a potential boyfriend. That may come later, but first he needs to heal.

Wait until you read the next/final part.

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lomax61

Posted (edited)

Hooray. Baby steps, but a move in the right direction. Chris finally feeling safe enough to open up his heart is a good starting point. Ryan and the girls are very supportive, so hopefully Chris will continue to try and fix himself.

Edited by lomax61
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Thanks for this chapter. It’s a critically important step for Chris. Ryan was such a serendipitous dinner guest.

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13 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

Thanks for this chapter. It’s a critically important step for Chris. Ryan was such a serendipitous dinner guest.

Thank you.

This part is a very important part of the story. I had to give Chris a way out of his mess. Just to leave the story as a list of how screwed up Chris was would be so unsatisfying, and for me, untruthful. I had to give him an escape-ladder, and someone to push him up it.

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13 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

Thanks for this chapter. It’s a critically important step for Chris. Ryan was such a serendipitous dinner guest.

Any long journey always starts with small steps.

But Ryan as a "serendipitous dinner guest"? Kay and Nina set the dinner up for Chris to meet Ryan. Kay saw Chris's reaction to meeting the (Very screwed up) Ex-gay Lenny at Pride. She saw the effect that had on Chris. This was all set up to help Chris, as good friends do.

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What a cathartic experience that dinner date turned out to be for Chris. He finally told someone else about what really happened to him during his time with The Release Trust and about his attempted suicide; and only found love and concern, not the ridicule he was perhaps expecting. This could well turn out to be the turning point that will help him to leave the past where it belongs, and move forward in his life.

I'm not sure that he and Ryan will end up becoming partners, but I'm sure they will become good friends. I reckon Ryan may well use Chris' story in his planned book exposing The Release Trust. I think I have suggested in some of my comments to earlier chapters that Kay could well be the friend that might be able to help Chris. And so she did - if only by the fact that she introduced him to her brother. :)

One final chapter to read...

It's late at night now. I'll read it tomorrow :) 

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21 hours ago, Marty said:

What a cathartic experience that dinner date turned out to be for Chris. He finally told someone else about what really happened to him during his time with The Release Trust and about his attempted suicide; and only found love and concern, not the ridicule he was perhaps expecting. This could well turn out to be the turning point that will help him to leave the past where it belongs, and move forward in his life.

I'm not sure that he and Ryan will end up becoming partners, but I'm sure they will become good friends. I reckon Ryan may well use Chris' story in his planned book exposing The Release Trust. I think I have suggested in some of my comments to earlier chapters that Kay could well be the friend that might be able to help Chris. And so she did - if only by the fact that she introduced him to her brother. :)

One final chapter to read...

It's late at night now. I'll read it tomorrow :) 

This chapter just flowed when I first wrote it and every time I've gone back to it I've enjoyed reading and re-writing it, especially Kay's sense of humor. Since I created her I knew she was going to be important, and it can't be understated that the effect the Pride chapter had on her. Kay saw first hand how The Release Trust had effected Chris, so she is behind this meeting. She knows meeting her brother will help Chris, and her girlfriend is a mental health nurse. I do like Kay, and she will be back.

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but the ending is very typical of my writing.

But I'm already working ideas for a sequel and a prequel to this story, I now just need to find the time to write them.

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Oh.. This chapter made me happier for Chris. I’m glad he was able to unburden himself and find support. 

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18 hours ago, Defiance19 said:

Oh.. This chapter made me happier for Chris. I’m glad he was able to unburden himself and find support. 

Thank you, that's what I wanted for this chapter.

This story, so far, has been so down and depressing, I couldn't carry on like that, I had to show that there is a way out of this screwed up life.

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