This chapter might get a little heavy. Greyson gets to face some of his demons--again! Parts of this chapter might be troublesome for some of you. That's not my intention! Just enjoy the ride and get ready for a surprise!
GOODNIGHT & GODSPEED
Epic Life: Day 2
I gently woke Lucas up and told him we needed to get ready for the day. He ran down to his suite to shower and change. We decided to meet at the breakfast buffet in thirty minutes.
As he was walking out the door, he turned around and smiled. “I’m happy that we worked things out. I’m proud of you, Grey. You worked through some pretty big shit last night.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you, Lucas.” I pulled him into a hug and gave him a light kiss on the cheek. “See you in thirty.”
I hopped in the shower and began cleaning. I still couldn’t believe how nice it was to have Lucas hold on to me all night. Of course, I also couldn’t believe that I wasn’t freaked out, feeling his hard cock pressed against me.
Was my cock hard because it was morning? Or was it hard because I could still feel Lucas’ pressed into my back? Either way, I decided to stroke off a load in the shower.
Damn! I must be really horny—as soon as I started stroking with my soapy hand, my legs began to tremble. I threw my head back and thought of Lucas with his chiseled body, his amazing smile, his eyes—and what I imagined his hard cock would feel like in my hand. What? Where did that thought come from? I didn’t have much time to think about it because my cock let loose one of the most massive loads I’ve ever had.
Damn! What the fuck was that all about?
I woke up hard after spending the night holding Grey close to me. He must have been exhausted because we were in the same position this morning as we were when we fell asleep.
I was still hard as a rock when I got to my suite. I shed my clothes and made my way to my bed. I lubed my cock and began thinking about Grey’s smooth, hard muscles—his defined six-pack and the firm mounds of his pecs. I thought about his firm ass pressed up against me. I thought back to the beautiful kiss he gave me before we went to bed. I thought of feeling him rub against my cock while we were waking up.
I covered my chest and abs with hot cum and made my way to the shower. I needed to hurry! I guess I should have gotten myself off in the water, but my cock needed relief right away.
After drying off and brushing my teeth, I thought about Greyson. I’m so relieved that we worked things out to where we are still friends. I have a feeling Grey might want to explore more. One part of me is saying to run away—that I don’t want to guide someone through their sexual self-discovery. That makes sense, yes?
But then, the other part of me is saying—but it’s Greyson. Greyson Myers—he has no idea what he has done to me. No—what he has done for me. But then again, I know what is going to happen today at Epic Life. I have a feeling that both Greyson and I are going to learn a lot about ourselves—and each other.
Lucas and I had an excellent breakfast of eggs benedict, hash brown potatoes, melon, and coffee. I was afraid it was too much food, but Lucas assured me that we would definitely be hungry by the time lunch came around.
After breakfast, we made our way to the meeting room. The chairs had been organized into our small groups. We found Jack and made our way over. In less than five minutes, everyone had arrived, and Jack began.
“Good morning! I hope everyone had a good night’s sleep.”
We all nodded our heads and waited for what was coming.
“The first thing I want to do is have each of you tell us why you chose to participate in Epic Life. Is there something you want to change in your life? Are you looking for a new purpose? Is there something you feel you need to let go of so you can move on? All of us have our reasons for being here. Lucas? Why don’t you start us off?”
Lucas took a deep breath and began speaking. “About a month ago, I took part in the Epic Invitation. It was a life-changing experience for me, where I learned what I needed to do with my life. A few years ago, my boyfriend and I were skiing in Italy. He had a terrible accident and ended up paralyzed from the chest down. I was so grateful that he didn’t die in that accident—and I found myself falling deeper and deeper in love with him as I helped him recover.
“Sadly, when the doctors told Erik that he would be spending the rest of his life in the wheelchair, he fell into a deep depression. He began begging me to let him go and move on. He would say that he loved me too much to let himself hold me back. Unfortunately, the only way he felt he could give me my freedom was to kill himself.
“I have never stopped loving Erik—even to this day. But during the Epic Invitation weekend, I learned that I need to find a way to hold Erik in my heart and allow myself to move on with my life. That’s why I’m here—and I hope you all can help me find that place.”
Wow. Even with knowing the story, I was still moved to tears. Even Jack had to dab his eyes before he could speak. “Lucas, first off—I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I am so very sorry for your loss. We have learned a lot about suicide in the past several years. One of the first things that come to mind is that those left behind are often burdened with the thoughts of ‘what could I have done to prevent this?’ Survivors of suicide often make themselves victims.
“Lucas, what I hope we can do for you is help you understand that what Erik did was actually from a place of profound love. In his mind, he saw you putting your life on hold to care for him. No matter what you would say, he would never see that you didn’t feel like you were sacrificing a part of your life for him. I think we will all be able to help you see your way through this and move one with a sense of happiness and joy you haven’t felt for a long time.”
I put my hand on Lucas’s shoulder and told him I was here for him. Soon, everyone in our group got out of their seats and did the same. It was a beautiful thing.
Jack made his way through the group. I would say that most of us just felt like they were in a deep, deep rut in our lives. They were here to find their way out of that rut and open themselves to whatever might lie ahead. Jack had words of encouragement for each person, and we all promised to be there for them before moving on to the next person.
“And finally, we come to Greyson. What brought you here to Epic Life?”
“Well, I’m sure most of you have read about the end of my marriage. Well—what you read was my team’s version of what happened. Yes, Elizabeth and I had indeed drifted apart. But what no one knows is that Elizabeth had moved on long before we agreed to end our marriage.
“The strangest thing was that I was more upset that I wasn’t upset about the end of our marriage. It took every ounce of energy I had not to let my state of mind show while I was on-the-air. Off-the-air was a different story.
“I was pretty miserable to be around, and pissed people off left and right. I was utterly not being myself.
“My manager set me up with Epic Life and made arrangements for me to take a few weeks off. To be perfectly honest, I came to Epic Life because I needed a vacation. But then—something happened that I was not expecting. That ‘something’ was Lucas.
“Lucas helped me see what my real issue is. I have never lived my life for myself. Everything I do—every choice I make—it’s either for the image my team insists I present. Or, even more important, I make choices that I know will not upset my family. I have always needed them to be happy with the choices I make, whether they were the right ones or not.
“The biggest ‘bad choice’ I made was agreeing to marry my best friend. Elizabeth and I loved each other—but we were not in love with each other. Our manager insisted on the wedding, convincing both of us how it would help our careers soar. The one thing that convinced me to go ahead with it was knowing that it would thrill my mother.
“Even though I came here for a change of pace, I know now that I’m here so I can learn to live my life for myself—not for everyone around me so I can meet their expectations for me.”
Jack looked at me and smiled. “Thank you, Greyson. I want to say right off that we have had several celebrities participate in our program, and all of them chose to find the same thing—a way to live their lives for themselves and not for the people who ‘control’ them. One way to look at it is that to many people, you are nothing more than a commodity—a product—that needs to be presented to the public in a certain way.
“Eventually, all of that control catches up with us. When we realize that we lost control over the essential things in our life, that very life seems to fall apart around us. You hope to regain control of your life. Most certainly, we can do that here. I can promise you that it will take an incredible amount of strength and courage to achieve that. I can also promise you that I am here to help you find exactly what you need.”
Lucas put his hand on my shoulder and looked into my eyes. “You know you have me for your journey, Grey. I’m here for you.”
The others came up to me and pledged their support. Damn! That was pretty overwhelming. I had this feeling that I was at the beginning of something big—no—huge.
And then, we were let go for 90 minutes to enjoy lunch with our partner. I was looking forward to some more time with Lucas. We ate sandwiches at the pool again. While we were waiting for our food, Lucas looked at me and smiled. “You were amazing this morning, Grey. You opened up and let everyone see a different side of you.”
“Well, I was inspired by everyone who went before me. I have a feeling that the last thing you want to do here is bullshit your way through one of these exercises. I think they’ll call you out on it pretty fast.”
“Yeah, you were thinking the right way there. It can be pretty brutal when Francesca lets you know you’re full of shit.”
“Do you have any idea what they have planned for the afternoon?”
“If it’s anything like the Invitation weekend, Francesca is going to start working with people one-on-one.”
“What will we do when she does that?”
“Watch—observe—learn. Francesca does her thing in front of everyone.”
“Oh, God—part of me hopes she’ll work with me first so I can get it over with. The other part of me hopes she’ll wait and pick me towards the end so I can prepare myself.”
“It seems like there’s no method in the way she picks people to work with, but you’ll see that she has a plan in mind. You’ll find that you’ll learn a lot about yourself as she works with the other. Even though it can be intense, don’t be afraid of the process. I promise you’ll come out with some pretty major breakthroughs on the other side.”
“Okay. That’s what I’m here for. But—do we need to talk about the elephant in the room?”
“It was probably the best night of sleep I’ve had since Erik died. You?”
“Best sleep I can remember ever having. When you put your arms around me, all of the bullshit just went away. I didn’t know I could fall asleep so easily—and so soundly.”
“And when you felt my hard-on pressed against you—it didn’t bother you?”
“Surprisingly, no. Now that I understand that I’m one of those questioning people, it seems there are a lot of things I want to question and learn about. I think that I might be wanting to learn some things tonight—that is, if you wouldn’t mind helping me along?”
“When I told you I was here for you, I meant it. I’m here for you, Grey—whenever, wherever, and for whatever you need. But you should know—you’ve already done so much more for me than I thought possible.”
“What could I have done for you?”
“You’ve opened my heart. For the first time in years, I can feel possibility in the air. I actually have hope in my heart—and you did that for me, Grey. You’re a remarkable man.”
We finished our sandwiches and didn’t say much of anything for the rest of our meal. We did spend a lot of time looking into each other’s eyes. The feeling I get when I look into Lucas’ eyes has become a drug to me—a drug I’m happily becoming addicted to.
Walking back into the meeting space, we found the chairs paired off and scattered throughout the room. We were told to sit anywhere we wanted, but we were to sit with our partner. We waited for about five minutes before Francesca made her way to the stage area in the front of the room.
“Good afternoon. I hope that each of you had a nice lunch. Now, it’s time for us to get to work. Some of you already know that we are about to embark on the journey known as One-on-One. We have arranged the seating so you will spend this time with your partner—except when you are with me, of course.
“I will not lead you on or lie to you—this experience can be extremely intense. I will help you explore things you may not have even considered exploring before. I may ask you questions that may seem overly personal—perhaps even offensive. I need you to understand that those are the questions that quite possibly will lead to the life-changing breakthroughs you are all here to experience.
“One-on-Ones can be highly emotional experiences—not just for those up here with me, but many of you will find yourselves with observations that could affect your lives as profoundly as the person up here with me.
“Everyone participating in this program will have a One-on-One experience over the next several days. Before we begin, I must review some of the ground rules you agreed to when you signed your NDA—non-disclosure agreement.
“First, there will be no judgment of your fellow participants. You will always keep in mind that each and every one of you are here for your own individual reason. I promise you that the respect you receive from your fellow participants will match or most likely exceed the respect you give others.
“Secondly, you are most likely aware that there are people with us who are from every walk of life, every level of economic status, and some are quite well known to other parts of the world. What is said in this room—and to whom it is said—will not be shared with those on the (air-quotes) outside. We have this rule so that every person in this room is comfortable with the knowledge that what is said will not be shared.
“This is the only time I will say this. Epic Life is passionately committed to the confidentiality of these proceedings. Should privileged information be leaked to the general public, we will not only encourage the victim to seek legal reparations, but Epic Life will also assist in the prosecution of the case. Are there any questions?”
I was glad to hear Francesca reiterate all the legal stuff. It really did make me feel better. What didn’t make me feel better was as she was looking around the room, Francesca’s eyes stopped at mine a few times. Fuck. Me. I just know she’s going to call on me first! Fuck. Me.
“Greyson Myers? Would you like to come up, please?”
Fuck. Me. Lucas smiled at me and squeezed my shoulder. He leaned in and whispered, “You got this, Grey. It will be over with before you know it, too.”
Fuck. Me. I stood and made my way to the front of the room. I climbed the stage, and Francesca shook my hand. She leaned in to me and quietly said, “I was either going to have you be the first or the very last. But since you are paired with Lucas, I wanted to have you go first. He can help you through the process better than anyone in this room.”
I smiled and half-chuckled, “Be gentle with me?”
“No fucking way, Greyson Myers. Not a chance in Hell.” I think the smile on her face when she said those words frightened me more than the words alone!
Francesca pointed to the tall director’s chair on the left side of the stage, indicating for me to sit. She sat in the other chair as a technician attached a microphone to the collar of my shirt.
“Good afternoon, Greyson. Thank you for being the first to participate in our One-on-One.”
“Good afternoon—and it’s my pleasure.”
“Well—so far, so good.”
“Before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?”
I looked out in the crowd and smiled. Everyone was smiling back at me. This felt like one of those meet-and-greets the network would throw every now and again. “Hi—I’m Greyson Myers. I anchor the evening news for a national cable network and feel quite fortunate with the successful ratings we’ve been having. I’m recently divorced—but I’m guessing most of you might already know that.”
There were some chuckles in the audience, but after just a few seconds, Francesca broke in with, “Well, that’s lovely, Greyson. But we haven’t learned a thing about you. All you did was spew off a couple of sentences from your online bio.”
I looked at Francesca, and I could see the transformation in her—right before my eyes. “That’s enough of the television personality, Mr. Myers. Cut the bullshit and tell us something about the real Greyson Myers—the Greyson Myers you take home every evening after you’re off the air. The Greyson Myers who is staying in what I would presume to be a very nice suite in this lovely resort.”
Fuck. Well, Lucas said Francesca was no-nonsense, and she’s diving right in. Before I could let the panic completely set in, I looked down and caught Lucas’ eyes. He smiled, nodded, and gave me a discreet thumbs-up. That helped—until I looked at Francesca again.
“Greyson? Who are you? Tell us something we don’t know from your press releases.”
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and made the conscious decision to go for broke. I remembered Lucas saying that I needed to give Francesca what she wanted, or she would chew me up and spit me out in a million pieces. Last night, I thought he was a bit dramatic. Now? I think maybe a million pieces might be a low-end estimate.
“Hi. You might know me as Greyson Myers—as does a large portion of the general public. What you don’t know—and what only a handful of people do know—is that I was born Gary Mackolvich. I think the most I ever upset my mother was when I turned eighteen and marched my ass to the courthouse and legally changed my name to Greyson Myers. I mean, come on—if you had to live eighteen years with a name like Gary Mackolvich, you’d be doing the same thing.
“Let’s see—I’m Jewish—you probably guessed that with a name like Mackolvich. I have a stereotypical Jewish mother—and let me just say—all those stereotypes we laugh at in the sitcoms? I can tell you from personal experience—stereotypes are born from truth. And when you live with those truths day in and day out—there’s nothing funny about it.
“I have a brother who’s five years older than me, and we have pretty opposite personalities. Quite honestly, that’s all there is to the so-called real Greyson Myers. You see, I haven’t made a decision or a choice for this real Greyson in—I don’t even know. My management team runs my entire life. Every decision that needs to be made is made through my team—for the betterment of my image and career.
“There’s a stylist who tells me what to wear and how to style my hair. There are people who feed stories to different publications so that my image remains intact. Even this trip to Hawaii was decided on by my manager.”
That’s when it hit me—hard. I just sat in that fucking chair. I looked at Lucas, who was dabbing his eyes. I looked at Francesca. It was as if she knew what was happening with me.
“Go ahead, Greyson. Say what you are thinking. I can tell you just had a fairly big revelation about yourself, yes?”
“Yeah. It just hit me that for all intents and purposes, I’m nothing more than a product. The people around me work their asses off to make me appear just how they want me to appear. And for the life of me, I have no idea who the real Greyson Myers is. He’s gone.”
Francesca handed me a tissue and spoke. “Greyson, I don’t believe he’s gone. In fact, I would say the door he’s been hidden behind cracked open just a little bit—about three minutes ago.”
“What do you mean? And how would you know that?”
“Before I answer that, I just want to say I’m glad you’re a journalist. You see, journalists are trained to ask questions as they come to their minds. That helps make this process more give-and-take, rather than a lecture.
“Now—I’ve spent years and years studying human body language and emotion. Before we continue, I would like to share a few of my initial observations. Two significant things happened that I don’t even know you are aware of. The first thing I noticed was the moment you decided to be open and honest with us. That was a decision you made—for yourself.
“The second thing I noticed was the moment that door—which, by the way, is a large and heavy door—the moment that door cracked open when we all heard the name Gary Mackolvich.
“Another thing that keeps coming back to me was the comment you shared about your mother being upset with your name change. How important to you is your mother’s reaction to things you do or say?”
“She’s a Jewish mother. She demands that she be thought of and considered—at all times.”
“Ah, I have one of those mothers as well—only mine is Catholic. They are cut from the same cloth—they just read different books.”
“Okay.” I huffed a bit—that was kind of funny.
“So—how did it feel when your mother showed her displeasure with your name change?”
“It hurt me—it bothered me that a decision I made upset my mother so much. My mother cried because she saw what I did was a dishonor to the memory of my father.”
“And the result of that hurt was…?”
“I swore that I would never hurt my mother like that again—and I haven’t—well, except for the divorce. She was pretty upset about that, too.”
“You said you have a brother? Does he go out of his way to make your mother happy?”
“No—just the opposite. Sam lives his life without regard to how it might affect the people around him. He has a daughter from a previous girlfriend. Sam pays child support, and that’s it—he’s entirely not a part of her life. He’s always finding himself in some kind of trouble. It drives my mother crazy with worry—and embarrassment.”
“So he’s the bad son, and you’re the good--?”
“I wouldn’t call him bad.”
“But you said you were virtual opposites—and you are certainly creating a life for yourself where you are the good son.”
“Yeah, but he’s not bad.”
“So, other than yourself, you’ve told us of two people in your story—and you’ve placed a label on both of them. Can we just let your mother be “Mom” and your brother be “Sam?”
“Yeah, that works.”
“Now, Greyson—you said that you hadn’t made decisions for yourself in quite a long time. Can you explain that?”
“Okay.” I had to be careful here. I don’t want people to think poorly of the people I love. “After my father died, Mom was left grieving while having to raise Sam—who was seventeen—and me—I was thirteen. Mom was anxious about Sam. He had always been the kind of kid who would push the boundaries—sometimes just to see what he could get away with.
“He would never admit it, but Sam took Dad’s dying harder than anyone. He went so far beyond pushing the boundaries. He would stay out past curfew—sometimes not come home at all. Sam got a tattoo—which you’re really not supposed to do if you’re Jewish. He had to get money from Mom to pay for a girl’s abortion—and he lied about her name because he didn’t remember her or their night together.
“I watched Mom get sadder and sadder the more she worried about Sam. That was when I made the conscious decision to do whatever I had to do to make Mom smile again.”
“What kind of things did you do?”
“I was only thirteen, and my imagination—and wallet—was somewhat limited. But I would do things like study extra hard and make sure I always came home with straight A’s. I worked extra hard on my Bar Mitzvah classes so that she would be nothing but proud. If I saw that she was having a particularly tough day because of Sam, I would bring home some flowers—if I had the cash—or just be super affectionate. You know—hug her, tell her I loved her, compliment on anything I could.
“After a couple of years, the way I dealt with my mother became so ingrained into my persona—I didn’t even have to think about making decisions and choices that would keep Mom happy.”
“Were there any of those decisions you ended up regretting?”
“Wow. We’re going there, aren’t we?”
“Yes, Greyson. You’re doing great. You’re letting us see who the real man is behind the celebrity.”
I heard Lucas’ words in my mind—don’t hold back, Greyson. Whatever you do, don’t hold back. I got you. Don’t worry.
“Raphael Miller—my best friend since pre-school—he’s my biggest regret.”
“Are you ready to tell us about Raphael?”
“Not yet. I will, I promise—I just need to finish talking about decisions and choices—if that’s okay.”
“Of course, Greyson. Continue, please.”
“Thanks. So, when I was in high school, I wasn’t like the other kids I knew.” There were some giggles in the audience, and I looked out and smiled. “Trust me. It’s not what you’re thinking.
“You see, while the other kids were finding their escape in music, movies, drugs, sex—whatever—I discovered television news and became addicted to the different programs that were on the air 24/7. When I told Mom that I wanted to go to college for broadcast journalism—well, I’ll never forget the way she looked at me when she asked if I wouldn’t rather be a doctor or an attorney.
“You see, from the time I was fifteen, I knew I wanted to be a news anchor. I wanted to be that person people trusted to tell them what was happening in the world—good or bad. I decided to go to the University of Texas at Austin for several reasons. The main reason was it was one of the top three schools in the country for my chosen field. The second reason was my idol—Dan Rather—went to school there. Another reason, which I realized after the fact--it got me away from Rafe.
“I graduated and got a gig as a reporter in Syracuse. I eventually worked my way through the system and became a substitute anchor after a year-and-a-half. I was doing pretty well—moving to larger stations and more significant opportunities—until my manager got me the interview with NNN.”
“And your manager—this is the first time you’ve mentioned this person since the very beginning of our One-on-One. Can you tell me about your manager?”
“Beverly, my manager, is 100% responsible for any success I’ve had in my career. She spotted me subbing for the anchor at a station in Albany. She called me once we were off the air. I agreed to meet her for lunch the next day.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who knows the news business better than Beverly. Once I signed on with her, she guided my career through the politics and bullshit that is rampant in television news. Part of the bullshit Beverly helped me get through was all the public appearances. The more visible I became, the more public appearances would appear on my calendar.
“One of those appearances was at a party Beverly hosted at Tavern On the Green. I hated those parties, but I knew that Beverly created the guest list so that her clients’ careers would move in the right direction. At this particular event, Beverly dragged me around and introduced me to an amazing array of people in the news business. When she finished, I went to the bar, got a drink, and found a corner of the room—away from most of the crowd.
“That’s where I met Elizabeth. Apparently, Beverly knew her way around the modeling business as well. Anyway, Elizabeth and I started talking, and by the end of the evening, we literally became best friends.
“Elizabeth and I soon became each other’s support system. We shared everything—including advice, support, a shoulder to cry on.
“Elizabeth and I began to be photographed by the paparazzi as our names and faces became more well-known. The more we became known, the more the rumors would show up every time our pictures would wind up in one of the gossip rags.
“Elizabeth and I both put up with the paparazzi and the gossip because it was helping our careers—which we were both completely focused on. But then Beverly called us in to her office one afternoon. She knew how close Elizabeth and I were, and she said for our careers to move to the next level, we needed to give the public what they wanted.
“Beverly suggested that we get married. Elizabeth and I both agreed that it would help our careers, and we ended up getting married.
It was insane. We got married out on Long Island. Helicopters were flying over the tents. Our guests were followed by paparazzi and peppered with questions about the happy couple.
“Things calmed down after a few weeks, and we found that Beverly knew what she was talking about. Elizabeth got the cover of the famous Swimsuit Edition while Fox News and NNN were publicly battling over me to become their prime time news anchor.
“The longer we were married, the less time we found ourselves spending time together. The last year we were married, Elizabeth had met and fell in love with a photographer she had been working with. Of course, Beverly worked her magic and made sure the press was told that we had simply grown apart and would remain friends.”
“Not at this time. The end was not pleasant. Things were said that will take time—a long time—to move past the hurt.”
“Does Beverly still run your career?”
“Yes. She’s the one who signed me up for Epic Life. She said I need to take a few weeks away from my current situation. I do have to admit that not talking to Beverly every day has been so—I don’t know—freeing, perhaps?”
“Sounds like you might need someone else to represent you.”
“Yeah, you’re not the first person to mention that.” I looked at Lucas and half-smiled—which he returned.
“Greyson, I am delighted with how you were able to open up to this conversation. But before we wrap things up, I feel it’s time for us to hear about that thing you regret—losing Raphael.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” I looked at Francesca and gave her a pleading look. “This is going to be hard, you know.”
“Just remember, Greyson. To make it to your breakthrough, you often have to move through some difficulty.”
I stared off into space as I recalled Rafe. Even after all these years, I think about and miss that little shit. When I lost Rafe, I lost a part of my soul.
“Rafe—that’s what I called him—was like a third son to my parents and even more than a brother to me. We were so close, people always expected to see us together. For Rafe’s sixteenth birthday, I took him for a weekend at our cabin in Jersey.
“After dinner, we were watching a movie that he had brought along with him. It was a collection of gay-themed love stories. I was cool with it because whoever had a birthday got to pick the movie we watched.”
“Did you enjoy the movie?”
“What do you mean?”
“Exactly what I asked—did you enjoy the movie?”
“I remember thinking that a couple of the stories were actually pretty good.”
“And the sexual portions of the film didn’t bother you?”
“They didn’t bother me. I found it more fascinating than I expected it to be. I mean, I was sixteen years old and had never seen attractive boys kissing each other before.”
“What happened when the film ended?”
I swallowed and took another deep breath. “Rafe checked to make sure I was okay with the movie. When I told him I was cool with it, he told me that he was afraid to tell me what he wanted to say to me. He had picked that film to make sure I was okay with the gay thing.
“When he realized I was okay with it, Rafe confessed that he was in love with me and kissed me. It was a pretty intense kiss—just like the kisses we had seen in the movie.”
“Did you enjoy the kiss?”
“That’s not important. After a while, I started to think about what was happening and, rather abruptly, broke off the kiss. I told Rafe—my life-long best friend—that I wasn’t gay and that I couldn’t keep kissing him.”
Fuck! The tears were starting. “We didn’t speak the rest of the time we were together. We left the cabin a day early and drove home.”
“Why didn’t you speak to each other?”
“I couldn’t. I was afraid I would say something stupid and make things worse.”
“You couldn’t think of anything to say that would make things better?”
“At the moment, no?”
“You couldn’t tell your best friend of all time that you loved him and accepted him just the way he was?”
“I thought it, but I couldn’t say the words.”
“Why not, Greyson? Why would you sacrifice the most important relationship in your life?”
“Because I was sixteen and I thought the most important relationship in my life was the one I had with my mother. She needed me. She needed me to make her proud and happy.” The tears were flowing now, but I couldn’t stop. “I couldn’t talk to Rafe because I wanted to kiss him again. I wanted to do everything we saw in that movie. I wanted to love Rafe. But—I couldn’t let myself become gay. It would have destroyed everything. It would have destroyed my mother.”
“Instead, Greyson—the events of that weekend may have destroyed the true Gary Mackolvich .”
Francesca was right. I nodded my head, and my heart was breaking. I could hear people in the audience sniffling and crying. At least I wasn’t alone.
“The choices and decisions we arrive at when we are merely teenagers can have a profound impact on our lives. Like it or not, many aspects of our personalities come about in those developmental years. So many of us find things about ourselves that we don’t necessarily like very much. Most of us don’t have the tools to fix those things. We’re not able to repair the broken parts. That’s why you’re here. We’re going to develop those tools so you can move forward with your lives.
“Greyson, thank you for your openness and candidness with us this afternoon. You can have a seat with your partner. Sylvia Baker, would you come up and sit with me?”
I was fucking drained. I made my way back to my seat and Lucas—big, strong, beautiful Lucas. He put his arm around my shoulder and pulled me in. “You did great. I got you, Grey. I got you.”
I slowly nodded my head and looked forward—focusing on nothing. Softly, I heard the words from my heart slip out of my mouth. “I have to find Rafe.”
The One-on-One experience is based on a very similar thing I experienced several years ago. Personally, it was terrifying while it was happening. But it was life-changing at the same time. I'm basing a lot of Grey's experience (but not ALL of it) on my own experience. It's strange, this chapter was hard to write--it was like I was going through the entire One-on-One thing again.
Well, we got through it and there are probably going to be a lot more questions coming up before we can get to the answers. And yes, in the next chapter we get to experience Lucas' One-on-One.