I smiled at Zach as I walked over to him, neither one of us saying anything.It seemed to take forever for me to actually reach him, and when I did, I just embraced him like he was my refuge, and I felt him hugging me back just as strongly.We remained like that, gripped together, for what seemed like a blissful eternity, like we were letting our souls reconnect before the rest of us followed.
“I missed you,” he said, as he nuzzled his mouth in my ear.
“I missed you too,” I said, moaning as I did.
“Show me how much,” he said, almost an order.It was surreal, almost like we needed to connect physically before we could connect mentally.We ripped our clothes off, and without a whole lot of foreplay, I plunged my dick back into that hole I knew so well, and that wrapped itself so perfectly around my dick.I lost myself in our fuck, so much that I lost control of my body and came way too soon.I looked down at Zach, feeling incredibly guilty for having such a short fuse, but he just smiled at me and gave me a sly wink.I left my cock jammed in his ass, moving it ever so slightly, while he jerked himself off in less than a minute.
“Fuck,” I said almost as a moan, as I collapsed next to him, feeling euphoric after finding him here and fucking him.“Fuck,” I repeated, only this time it was filled with alarm.I’d barebacked him.
“It’s good,” his deep melodic voice said as it wafted into my ear.I looked at him, questioning that assertion, which annoyed him, since he must have assumed that I didn’t trust him.
“Dude, I barebacked you.I obviously trust you.It’s not whack for me to ask you about it,” I said firmly.
He sighed.“I got tested.I’m negative.”
“Why’d you get tested?” I asked.
“Don’t you get tested?” he challenged.I did, but probably not as often as I should.
“So this was just a normal, routine thing, and not something you did because you had a reason?” I challenged back.He looked at me, as if he was planning to argue, then sighed.
“Remember that dude who busted us in the closet?” he asked. I could tell by his tone that this was a pretty big deal, so I calmed myself down.
“Yeah, that assistant coach,” I said gently.
He nodded.“Couple of the guys on the team were talking about how they fucked the shit out of his wife.Bitch is a total ho.”
“Fuck,” I said sympathetically.It briefly astounded me how versatile that word was.I’d used it three times in less than five minutes with entirely different meanings each time.
“I talked to him about it, thinking he’d be all upset to find that his wife was doing half the fucking team,” he said.
Zach shook his head.“Guess she does her thing, and he does his.”
“What a bunch of shit, especially after he told you she wasn’t,” I said sympathetically.I didn’t have to say that I’d told him so, because we both knew it, and besides, I was too happy to see him to be that big of a dick.
“Yeah,” he said glumly.“I guess it’s a good lesson to learn, or relearn, that people suck and you can’t trust them.”
“Well, I suck, but you can still trust me,” I teased, getting a snaugh from him.
“So I found out and got tested,” he said.
“When did you find out?”
“Week ago, Sunday,” he said.It bothered me that all this had happened over a week ago and he hadn’t told me, but I ignored that.
“You kicked ass in your game on Saturday,” I said.“You did that without a beef injection?” He laughed at how I described it.
“I did it without a beef injection,” he agreed.I gave him a nice kiss, then backed away so we were both laying on our sides, looking at each other.
“Why are you here?”
“You don’t want me here?” he asked, trying to flirt and dodge the issue.
“All this shit happened, and you didn’t tell me,” I said, letting some of my pent-up frustration with him surface.“Both of us had these massive issues and events to deal with, and I guess I would have thought you’d call me or something, but instead you just blew me off.”
“That’s why I’m here,” he said.That was really sweet, but I wasn’t done venting at him yet.
“And then when you do call me, you bitch at me for having a new boyfriend, which, by the way, I’m totally allowed to do,” I said in a testy way, sounding an awful lot like JJ.
“That’s why I’m here,” he said again.“I’m sorry.”I looked at him and grimaced, then smiled as the anger faded away.
“You think that’s good enough?” I asked, pretending like it wasn’t.
“You know I’m legit, and I’m being real with you,” he said.“I think it’s good enough.”
“You’re probably right,” I said, smiling at him.“So you skipped class?”
“I have classes in the mornings on Monday, so I went to those then blew off practice this afternoon, and I’ll blow off my classes tomorrow afternoon if I don’t get back in time,” he said.
“You did that just to come up here and tell me you were sorry for being such an asshole?” I prompted, poking him a bit.
“I did it just for that reason,” he said.“And to give you your birthday present.”
“Present?” I asked, and instinctively put my hand on the necklace he’d given me last year.
“Don’t think I can beat that one,” he said.
“I wear it all the time,” I said, and opened up the compass.I looked at the “W” on the face of it, where he’d had them engrave a “Z” over it as well.“So I can always find my way back to you.”
“Worked,” he said.He got out of bed and went over to his backpack, while I admired his amazing body, the one that was so ripped it made his ass look little, which it wasn’t.He took out a package that was wrapped nicely and walked back toward me, and smirked at me when he saw me staring at his big cock that flopped back and forth, slapping into his cum gutters.“Here.Happy belated birthday.”
“Cool,” I said, and took the package.I opened it up and pulled out a box that said “Oakley” on it, then opened it up to find some amazing sunglasses.“Holy shit!These are the bomb!”
“They’re the only pair out there,” he said proudly.“You can get the style, but you can’t get that color.”
“These are yellow, to match the Ferrari,” I said, smiling.
“You’re still smart,” he said.
“Dude, this is an amazing present,” I said, as I put them on and looked around in a slightly confused way.I took them off and looked at the lenses.“This is different.”
“Most glasses have yellowish tints, but these are rose-tinted,” he said.
“You got me rose colored glasses?” I asked, even as I laughed.
“You are so optimistic, and you can usually see the good even in a bad situation, it seemed appropriate,” he said casually, like he hadn’t planned this all out.
“Thank you,” I said sincerely, even as I gave him another big hug.
“You’re welcome,” he said simply.
“So what have you been doing?” I asked.
He shrugged.“I go to class, study, do homework, practice, and play games on Saturday.”
“That sounds pretty boring,” I said.
“I go out on the weekends, and sometimes during the week,” he said.“Usually with the juniors and seniors.” I felt bad for him, because as he was describing things, he sounded so hollow.
“That’s probably fun,” I lied.Those parties would be uber heterosexual, where everyone was drinking and talking about pussy.If I was with him, I’d probably end up hanging out with the hos, only they’d be just as bad as the dudes.
“Spices things up,” he said.“It would be so much better if you were there.You decide where you’re going to college?” I’d been dreading this question, and I hadn’t told him what I was planning because I’d sworn that I wanted to have this conversation with him in person, but in reality, I’d just been a coward, and I’d been putting it off.
“I think I’m going to Harvard,” I said.He got this crestfallen expression on his face that cut me to the core; I felt so bad for hurting him, even though I knew it was the right thing for both of us.
“Think you’ll get in?” he joked feebly.
“Right,” I said, rolling my eyes, since we both knew it was a done deal.
“I guess I can see why you’d go there instead of UCLA,” he said, acknowledging which was better for me academically.While that was a big consideration, our issues had factored into my decision, and I needed to deal with that.
“I think it would be really hard on both of us if we went to the same college,” I said.
“You don’t want to be with me?” he snapped.He’d been holding back his thoughts and feelings, but me being candid had sparked them to start to come out.
“If I was there now, what would it be like?” I demanded.He said nothing, and neither did I, because I wanted him to think about it.After a decent period of time elapsed, I explained why.“You’d be out doing football shit all the time, and you’d be running with that crowd.There’s no way I’d end up hanging around with them.”
“The guys on the team who met you thought you were cool,” he said.
“I liked them too, but do you really see me hanging out at the parties you go to?” I challenged.He said nothing.“So you’d go do your thing, and I’d go do mine.”
“So that’s it?You don’t want to go to school with me because then you won’t be able to hook up with other guys?” It annoyed the shit out of me that he took things and immediately concluded this was about sex.
“No, that’s not why,” I said through gritted teeth, somehow managing to keep my cool.“You telling me you haven’t fucked anyone since you’ve been down there?”
“That’s not the point,” he said, which told me he’d had at least a few hookups, and they were probably with chicks.
“That’s exactly the point,” I said. “I’m not going to sit at home, waiting to be your cum dump.”
“If you were there, things would be different,” he objected.
“Yeah, they would, but you have your life, and it’s all built around football, and I don’t fit real well into that world,” I said logically.“You make it sound like it would just be a job to you, like you’d go to work and then come home, and it wouldn’t matter anymore.”
“That’s not what I think!” he said, almost yelled.
“Then what do you think?” I challenged back, just as loudly.
“So what if it’s like that?” he asked, which was hilarious, because he’d basically just admitted I had been reading his mind.“What’s the difference between that and how it is for other people in college?People who are dating don’t always take the same classes, or major in the same things.It’s not like they have to do everything together.”
“No, they don’t,” I said.“But football’s not like that for you.”
“You are always going to hold that over my head, and you’re always going to be jealous of any time I spend on the game,” he said bitterly.
“I’m being realistic,” I said a little too assertively.“When you’re on campus, it consumes you.Tell me I’m wrong about that?”He said nothing.“It’s not like a job, or normal classes.That’s what I’m trying to explain to you.”
“What do you want me to do?” he demanded, now totally frustrated. He was pissed off, and he’d meant that almost rhetorically, but I chose to treat it like a legitimate question.
“You’re supposed to go play football and get your degree.You’re supposed to remember that I’m really important to you, and that you love me, and you’re supposed to call and check on me a couple of times a week or so.You’re supposed to tell me what’s going on in your life, and you’re supposed to give a shit about what’s happening in mine.And you’re supposed to remember that no one loves you more than I do, and that I’ll always be there for you.”I said that last sentence lovingly, and leaned in to kiss him after I was done.I briefly remembered the conflicts we’d had in the past when I’d told him what to do, and in this case, I’d done just that.I knew, though, that we needed some sort of path to try and make it through these next few years, and I figured if I laid out some expectations, we’d both do better.
“I love you too,” he said.He kissed me again, and we made love, and this time it was so much better, not only because we lasted longer, but because we’d gotten rid of some of the shit that was sitting in the middle of our relationship.“You forgot something.”
“We’re supposed to fuck whenever we can,” he said.
“I can do that,” I said, smiling at him.
“It’s almost seven.”
“You’d give up hanging out in bed with me for food?” I joked.
“Soon as dinner is over, I’m meeting you right back here,” he said authoritatively.And he did.
September 23, 2003
New York, NY
“I appreciate that you’re going to these appointments,” my father said pleasantly as we got into the car.
“You’re welcome,” I said stiffly, as I relaxed into the soft leather seat of the Maybach.The thought of doing without the amenities that made my life here in New York so pleasant, like the Maybach, and giving up shopping, which was one of my passions, was enough to finally convince me to cave to his demands and go to see these three fucking doctors.That didn’t mean I had to be nice about it. I was even more annoyed that we’d had to stop at a lab this morning for them to draw blood.I had a Band-Aid on my arm to show for that, kind of like a battle scar.
“Are you comfortable living alone?” he asked me.
I looked at him and blinked in shock at that question, because it pretty much came from out of the blue.“Yes,” I said, although it sounded more like I’d said ‘duh’.“I don’t even like people all that much, why would I want someone living with me?”
“You say that, but I worry you’ll get lonely,” he said.He was almost more annoying at times like this, when he was in his mother-hen mode, than when he was in his dictator mode.
“I’ll be fine,” I said dismissively, and that got me a brief look of concern which was almost enough to set me free.I gritted my teeth and resolved to get through the next two days with him, knowing that after that I could go back to being rich and independent again.
“Try to keep a positive attitude,” he said to me as we pulled up to the doctor’s office.“These people are professionals, and they’re here to help you.”
I glared at him.“I’m going to be myself, and if that’s too bitchy for them, they can tell me why the fuck I’m like that,” I said in a nasty way, and I was so irritated I opened my own door and hopped out of the Maybach.I stormed up to the door but had to stop, since I didn’t know where we were going, and having my dramatic exit foiled made my bad mood even worse.I stood there in place, until my father breezed past me.
“This way,” he said casually.I stomped after him, then stopped myself, realizing that I’d probably look like an idiot when I did that.We got to the doctor’s office and I sat in a chair, while he went and checked us in.He came over and sat next to me with some forms.“You want me to ask you these questions, or do you want to fill out the form?”
“What happens if I don’t fill out the form?” I challenged petulantly.
“I sell your Maybach,” he said succinctly.He conveniently reminded me what was at stake in this thing, and that mellowed me out.I held out my hand, and he handed me the forms attached to a clipboard.
“Thanks,” I said.I looked at the disposable pen they’d given us.“Do we have a better pen than this?”
“Here,” he said, handing me one of his Mont Blanc ballpoints.It felt so much better in the hand, and it just flowed across the paper smoothly, unlike the discount model the doctor’s office handed out.What kind of cheap place was this, that they couldn’t afford decent writing instruments for their clients?This is what I got for not picking out my own psychiatrist.I was surprised that my father hadn’t tracked down some guy who worked in the Bronx.The forms were tedious and annoying, but I decided that if I was going to do this, I may as well do this right, so I tried to fill them out as fully as possible.
I finished the forms then handed the pen back to my father.“Thanks,” I said grudgingly.
“No problem,” he said.I took the forms up and gave them to the nurse, or whatever she was, then walked back to where we were sitting.I’d noticed that my father had staked out a corner and set up his laptop and had his briefcase out with some papers stacked on the seat next to him.I sat on the other side of those.“You don’t have to stay here the whole time.I’m here. It’s not like I’m going to run away.”
“I’ll be here with you,” he said, uttering it like it was an oath.I stared at him briefly then looked away, and for the first time in a long time, I stopped to ponder his good qualities and not his annoying ones.He was like a bulldozer, and absolutely ruthless, when someone threatened his family.When we had a problem, like I did now, or like he thought I did, he was just as relentless in trying to fix it.I thought about how this guy was a billionaire, with hundreds of people clamoring for five minutes of his time, yet he’d blocked out a week to be here with me, and he was willing to sit in this uncomfortable and public waiting room for what would probably be hours until I was done.I sat there in kind of a daze, my mind wandering off on several tangents, for about 20 minutes until the nurse called my name.
I stood up.“I’ll see you in a bit,” I said to my father.
“I’ll be here,” he reiterated.I walked up to the nurse and she led me back to the doctor’s office.I was greeted by an older man who looked Jewish, which was pretty much confirmed when he introduced himself.
“Welcome, Mr. Schluter.I’m Dr. Feingold.Please have a seat,” he said, gesturing to a chair that was in front of a coffee table.The chair was at about a 120-degree angle from the one he obviously intended to sit in.
“Nice to meet you,” I said cautiously, as I shook his hand, then sat in the indicated chair.I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about working with some old guy, and hoped he wasn’t still working with the tools he’d learned when he’d started practicing medicine.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, but I wanted a chance to review the forms you just filled out,” he said nicely, and I felt myself relaxing a bit.I noticed the diplomas on his wall and recognized all the institutions, most of them Ivy League.
“That’s fine,” I said.It felt like as soon as I said that, the pleasantries were over, and he dove into my brain.He asked me all kinds of questions, mostly about my moods and what was happening when I got really upset.I was kind of surprised when he asked me about the times I was really happy, because I didn’t need help with those, but I answered him as candidly as I could.I’d been through this sort of thing before, when I’d had my cutting incident, which we talked a lot about, but with this guy, things were much more direct, and his questions were incisive.I smiled internally when I realized that he was a New Yorker, acting just like the rest of the people in this city.It was just too crowded and too busy to dick around; it was important to get to the point.
After a grueling 90 minutes, he looked up at the clock on his wall, then glanced at me.“I’m an old man.I need to go to the bathroom.When I come back, I’ll tell you what I think is causing your mood swings.”
“That’s fine,” I said, smiling weakly.“I could use a break.”
“If you want your father here with you, you can get him.It’s up to you,” he said.I thought about that, and part of me wanted to not deal with him, but on the other hand, he’d want to know, and I was so brain numb after my meeting I’d probably forget everything.Besides, he could then tell everyone else in my nosy family what was wrong with me so I’d be able to avoid talking to them.I walked out into the waiting room to find him much as I’d left him.
“He’s going to tell me what’s wrong with me,” I said.“I’d like you to be there.”
“Sure,” he said, smiling slightly, then hurriedly put all his papers and his laptop away and followed me back to the doctor’s office.The doctor introduced himself and we all sat around the table, with my father’s chair a little closer to mine than to the doctor’s.
“Jeremy, I think that you may be struggling with cyclothymia,” the doctor told me.I just stared at him and blinked in surprise, since I had no idea what that was.
My father stepped in for me and asked just that question. “What is that?”
“Are you familiar with bipolar disorder?” the doctor asked me.It was funny to watch my father get irritated since the doctor had ignored him and focused on me.
“Yes,” I said, even as I slowly started to come apart inside.“My mother had that.”Would I turn into someone like her, who completely lost rationality?Was I already like that, and I was so fucked up that I didn’t even know it?
“JJ doesn’t seem like he has those symptoms,” my father objected.
“Cyclothymia is like a mild version of bipolar,” the doctor explained.“You’ll get mood swings, but not as bad as if you were bipolar.”
“I have bipolar-lite?” I asked.I was like Diet Coke; I couldn’t even get the real disease, I had to get some weird other version.
“It is,” the doctor said gently.“There is one other possibility.You could have borderline personality disorder.”
“What’s the difference?” my father asked.
“That’s a subject of much debate,” the doctor said, which got him an annoyed look from me. I didn’t need to know the latest discussion topics among psychiatrists, I needed to know how this affected me.“People with BPD and people with cyclothymia both experience mood swings, they have relationship problems where they are intensely attached to someone and then fully reject that person, they are usually impulsive and angry.”
“I don’t think I’m impulsive,” I said, even as I thought about it.I wondered if that comment meant that internally, I’d admitted to those other issues.
“People usually don’t experience all the symptoms, so we try to match them up as closely as we can,” he said.“Those with BPD tend to be much more likely to harm themselves or threaten to do that.”
“I don’t do that, except for that one time,” I said, remembering when I cut myself and how horrible that whole thing had been.
“I saw nothing to suggest you did or would, which is the primary reason why I think you have cyclothymia and not BPD,” he explained.
“How do we treat this?” my father asked, going into problem-solving mode.
“The treatments are very similar, so even if my diagnosis is off, medication should ameliorate the symptoms,” he said.
“What medication?” I asked.
“A lithium-based compound,” he said.That was the same shit they gave to my mother when she had her attacks.I guess that made sense, since this was the same thing only a less intense version. “We’ll use a very small dose, and you’ll need to work with me to make sure we find the right drug, and the right dosage.”
“I can do that,” I mumbled, even as I sat there, stunned at this latest revelation.
“I understand you’re lining up a psychologist to work with?” the doctor asked.
“We’re working on that,” my father said, then turned his attention to me.“The doctor we were meeting with today had to reschedule for next week.We still have our appointment tomorrow.” It was funny to note how irritated he was that this doctor had cancelled my appointment; that probably happened to normal people all the time.
“I think you need to find a therapist and work this out with him or her, but in the meantime, you should consider sharing this with your family and close friends,” he said.
“Why?” I challenged.
“Because they will have been watching these changes you’ve been going through with your moods, and they’ve probably been worried about you,” he said.
“It gives you a way to explain your behavior,” my father augmented.
“That makes sense,” I agreed, and the more I thought about that, the more my mood improved.I’d had to grovel to Stef and Will, even though they’d both been dicks to me.I’d chased Carullo out of the city, and I hadn’t been very supportive of Alex.Now I had an excuse for my behavior.Now I could give them a reason to forgive me, and to write off my weirdness.And best of all, if they didn’t, they’d look like total douches for treating someone with a disability like crap.We walked out of the office, with my father looking resolved, and me smiling.