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    Parker Owens
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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.

A to Z - 45. Chapter 45 Flashbacks

Flashbacks

No special warnings for this chapter.

Questions and issues raised in this chapter or any other chapter can be discussed at the A to Z story thread here: http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/40860-a-to-z/

February 13

If the weekend was a roller coaster, the past two days have been a whirl. It has been incredibly busy so far, and the week isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.

We had to scramble out of bed Monday morning and hurry to meet Kaz, who was surprised and happy to see both of us for running. Zander was in a surprisingly good mood for someone who had swum in a big meet less than forty eight hours earlier.

We walked the familiar road from the house to the high school in the starry darkness.

Zander had a question for me. “You know that Kaz and Terry know about me, don’t you?”

“Know what?” So I’m slow in the morning.

“They know I’m gay. I told them last fall,” he clarified.

“I didn’t know they knew. They never said.”

“Why should they? They didn’t know about you, either.” He pointed out. He continued after a moment. “I want to tell them about you and me. About us.”

That got my attention. My stomach clenched at the thought. But then, I thought about it. Kaz and Terry were Zander’s best friends. They were my best friends, after Zander. They had faithfully kept his secret from me, and apparently from everyone else, too.

“I’m scared, Zander. I know Kaz and Terry haven’t said anything about you to anyone else, but…besides your family, nobody knows about me. And that was hard enough.”

“Yeah, I understand that, but, well, I’m not sure I can keep you and me…us…a secret. It’s just too good a thing not to tell them - and besides, Terry will figure it out, anyways.”

I recognized the truth in that. Being with Zander made me too happy to hide it. She’d know for sure. “Okay. So when do we tell them?”

“Not at lunch,” Zander said, “I'd like to do it somewhere more private.”

“How about in the library right after school? It’s pretty quiet there.”

Zander nodded in agreement.

Kaz greeted us enthusiastically when we arrived at school.

“Zander! You’ve finally decided to give up on trying to be a fish? Ready to call the whole swimming thing off and join the dark side?” he joked.

“No, Andy convinced me to come along.” Zander winked at me.

We stretched and ran through the cold, silent streets. Running with Zander and Kaz was really different from just running with Kaz alone. Zander kept up the conversational end of things far better than I ever did. And for Kaz, when it was time to sprint, Zander gave him much more of a contest than I could, though I kept up with them for a little while. In fact, I was ahead for a few seconds.

Afterwards, in the showers, I headed to my stall at the far end, away from Kaz. I didn’t mind that Zander took the one next to mine. While we ate school breakfast in the cafeteria, Zander’s phone vibrated. He smirked and sent a return text.

“Who was that?” Kaz inquired.

“Someone who wanted to know if Andy made it to breakfast OK.”

That got a puzzled look from Kaz, but there wasn’t any time to linger for questions. Classes were about to start.

Zander caught me at lunch before Kaz and Terry arrived at the table.

“Mom texted me. She wants to pick you up for an appointment at four o’clock. And she says to bring all of your stuff home from school.”

Appointment? Maybe I was supposed to go back and see the judge.

“Okay,” I shrugged.

It was hard putting on a neutral face at lunch – harder still getting through the day, with Zander – my boyfriend – smiling at me during our last two classes. Fortunately, he had to concentrate on an art project, so he wasn’t as much of a distraction, then.

But after classes, we grabbed our packs and hurried down to the library. Old Mr. Donaldson, the librarian, was already back in his office, not to be seen again until tomorrow. It took only a few minutes for me to sidle over to the closet door at the back of the room, slip in and flip on the light. When the door closed, I realized I wasn’t alone. Zander had crowded in behind me.

“So this is your room? You slept in here?” he whispered in disbelief.

“Shh. I don’t want to…oh…I’m not going to have to live here anymore, am I?” I blushed at my own stupidity. I decided to show him my hidey hole. I slid out a few boxes from the end and turned to Zander.

“Look behind there,” I said, pointing.

He got down on his hands and knees and looked into the long, narrow place on the floor where I’d bedded down for the past five months. He pulled back, with a puzzled expression on his face.

“That’s my bed. Back there. If anyone came in while I was asleep, they’d never suspect. My stuff is in here,” I told him, pulling out my box from the stack.

Zander shook his head in amazement. “I can’t believe this.”

“Come on, we’ve got to go meet Terry and Kaz,” I said, not wanting to stay in the closet any longer than necessary.

We emerged and sat down at a table, side by side. I set my box down by my feet with my pack. We didn’t have more than a moment to wait before Kaz and Terry sat across from us.

“So what’s the big deal that we have to meet so officially?” Kaz asked directly.

Zander looked at me. I looked back at him. I hadn’t really thought about how we would go about telling them. Finally, I just reached over and grabbed Zander’s hand; I intertwined my fingers with his and held it there on the table. Kaz and Terry stared for a second, realization dawning.

“I knew it! I knew it!” Terry shouted. She almost danced.

It was a good thing nobody else was in the library, but the noise brought Mr. Donaldson out of his office.

Terry had the good sense to apologize quickly. “Sorry sir, I just got some really good news. I couldn’t keep it in. Sorry,” she smiled prettily.

Mr. Donaldson harrumphed and warned her not to do it again, but left us alone.

Kaz beamed at us. “I’m really happy for you two. It’s really good to see you smile, Andy. You’re gonna be great for him,” he said, nodding at Zander.

“I so knew this was going to happen,” Terry enthused. “It’s about time, Zander.”

“What do you mean, ‘about time?’” he responded indignantly.

“Oh come on, I could tell you were in love with Andy the first day I made you two sit together at lunch," she practically cackled. “And you two look so good together.”

Zander blushed. It was so cute. Then again, I was blushing, too. “That obvious, huh?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah,” she returned, “the way your eyes followed Andy around when you thought no one was looking? Obvious. Seriously, though, this is the best news. Did you know, Andy, that until you came along, Zander was basically a zombie? All mopey and sad, when he wasn't out in space. He was like that most of last spring – and all last summer, too.”

I looked over at Zander, who shrugged and nodded. “Guilty as charged,” he admitted.

She went on, talking to me, “And you – look at you – you never smile – never – but he’s got you grinning like a maniac. Tell me this isn’t a great day.”

She was right. The sun was out on my soul, and I couldn’t help smiling. Zander was so right in wanting to tell her and Kaz.

“So, Andy,” she went on with a sly grin, “did you give Zander your super-secret mystery address, so he knows where to find you?”

That brought me up short. I could have wormed out of it with a half-truth, the kind I’m so good at. But no. Today was a day for honesty. I looked at Zander, who seemed to know what I was thinking about. He nodded.

“I, um…I’m actually... living at Zander’s house, now.”

Terry's mouth dropped open. “You’ve been living at Zander’s all this time, and you…” she started in on what might have been a long rant. I stopped her.

“No. I started living there…yesterday.” It seemed so long ago. “Before that, I lived somewhere else.”

“So, you broke away from your dad?” Kaz asked.

I shook my head. This was going to get confusing. It was time to tell the truth. Again. I could trust Kaz and Terry. I knew I could. Thank god I’d had some practice in telling my story. I told them where I’d come from, about my Dad – my real Dad – about getting outed, and how I came to leave Carlsberg. I told them about how I found my way here to Blackburn, how I’d stopped to go to school just by chance and stayed. And I made sure to thank them for being great friends and told them how much they had meant to me. This was my third time outlining my journey, and Zander held my hand the whole time. I managed not to cry, but Terry and Kaz both had tears in their eyes by the time I finished.

“I’m so sorry, Andy. I had no idea.” Terry shook her head.

“I have a question,” said Kaz, a look of concentration on his face, “if you just walked away from home and had no place to go, where were you living for the past six months?”

“Back there,” I said, pointing in the direction of the closet.

“Where?” Terry asked, peering.

I got up and motioned for them to follow. With Zander watching out for trouble, I showed off my modest closet quarters to Terry and Kaz. They came out looking very thoughtful.

“I can’t believe you lived in that tiny room for all that time,” Kaz shook his head.

“And all alone,” Terry added, softly.

“Hey, it’s why I was always on time to go running, right?” I tried to lighten things up a little. “It’s going to take me longer to get here from Zander’s house.”

That made Kaz laugh.

We were about to sit down again at the table when I saw Zander’s mom walk in the door. She smiled at Kaz and Terry and greeted them. But almost immediately, she smiled at me and said, “Sorry that we have to go, but we have an appointment. Andy, it’s time we were on our way,” she gestured with her head at the door.

I shouldered my pack and picked up the box with all my things in it. Zander stepped up to me and gave me a quick kiss, right there in front of everyone.

“Awwwww,” sighed Terry. Kaz smirked.

“Good luck,” Zander smiled, speaking quietly, “see you tonight after practice.”

“Thanks. Do you know where I’m going?”

He shook his head.

“I love you.” I spoke very softly, so only Zander would hear. But I had to say it before I left.

In the car, I learned we were going to a doctor’s office.

“But why?” I asked, genuinely puzzled. “I’m not sick or anything.”

“We just want to have you checked out as completely as we can,” Mrs. Stevenson explained as we drove. “I want to make sure everything is working all right. You’ve led a pretty tough existence for the past year – past eight years – and it’s time somebody made sure you’re physically okay.”

I stewed over that for a few minutes. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but it all sounded vaguely ominous.

“Besides, it’s something Judge Harrison would require of you sooner or later, so we thought it would be smarter to get it done now.”

I nodded. If it was something I had to do in order to stay with Zander, I could handle it. Or so I thought.

The doctor’s office was in a large, low building on the north side of town, in an area I hadn’t seen. I was handed a long set of forms on a clipboard asking me all kinds of health questions. I knew hardly any of the answers. I had no idea whether Dad had diabetes or high blood pressure; no clue about whether Mom had heart trouble or kidney problems. There wasn’t any blank where I could fill in that my father was a complete bastard. Not a health problem. For him.

We sat in a wide waiting area, which was mostly empty. A television mounted on the wall droned on about some news flash or other. Mrs. Stevenson sensed I was increasingly anxious and smiled at me. Eventually, a pleasant young woman in a light blue lab coat called my name and motioned me through a door where she stood. When I got up, Mrs. Stevenson followed.

“Normally, I’d let you do this on your own,” she said as we crossed the waiting area, “but I think I should go along with you for moral support this once.”

I didn’t have much time to reply. In the corridor on the other side of the doorway, I was weighed, had my height measured, and was questioned about the forms I’d filled out. The bright young assistant handed me a little plastic container and explained that I should go to the washroom – she pointed me in that direction – and urinate into it. I looked at Mrs. Stevenson, who just smiled and nodded encouragingly. I was getting more and more embarrassed and nervous. It took me a while, but I managed to pee into the sample cup and put on the lid. When I emerged, I handed off the cup, and we were led to a little examining room, where I was told to take off all my clothes and put on this unbelievably flimsy little gown thing. Immediately, my anxiety ratcheted up a dozen notches.

“Don’t worry, Andy, it’s okay. I’ll just step outside,” Mrs. Stevenson murmured. “Just let me know when you’re done.”

Alone in the room, I glanced around. White walls, bright fluorescent light, high padded table, cabinets. No window. Did someone know I’d want to flee? And what about that gown? When I got around to being naked, I tried to put the damn thing on, but there wasn’t any telling what was front and what was back. And the ties that were supposed to hold it closed were next to useless. I felt incredibly exposed. No way was I letting Mrs. Stevenson – or anyone else – see me like this. I was about to start putting my clothes back on when there was a quick knock on the door, and a different nurse – this one in a pink kind of uniform - bustled in, followed by Mrs. Stevenson.

Now I was in a fix. I tried to sit down in the one and only chair in the room, so my ass would be out of sight, but the nurse insisted I sit up on the examination table. I shuddered, hoping nobody would notice.

“You cold, honey?” Mrs. Stevenson asked.

I just shook my head. Cold, no. Scared and uncomfortable, yes.

The pink nurse spoke up briskly, “Now just let me have your arm; we’re going to take your vitals, okay?”

And with that, she proceeded to wrap some sort of cuff around my arm that she inflated with a pump. The cuff suddenly seemed very tight. I noticed that the cuff had a gauge on it, and this distracted me for a moment, as I watched the needle on the gauge fall quickly. Then I noticed the nurse was listening to my arm with a stethoscope. What was so vital about that? I watched, mystified, while pinkie wrote some numbers down on a piece of paper.

“Blood pressure and pulse are great,” she smiled up at me. “Okay, now I need you to give me one of your fingers. We’re going to check your iron levels.”

I held out my hand, and she proceeded to poke the pad of my middle finger with a sharp needle – I was surprised more than hurt - then she squeezed it to make it bleed into a little vial of blue liquid that materialized out of her pocket. A blob of my blood slowly sank to the bottom.

“That’s great. In a second, we’re going to give you some shots. You won’t mind that, will you?”

I looked at Mrs. Stevenson, and then back at the nurse warily. I shrugged. “I guess not.”

In a few moments, pink nurse was back with a little tray filled with hypodermic needles. I tried to count them, but lost track when I was asked which arm I wanted to get the first one in. I pointed to my right arm, and she got started. It turned out there were nine in all – tetanus, mumps, measles, flu, and god knows what else. My arms – both of them – were sore afterwards.

Then it was time to go down the hall. We made a small procession – pink nurse, Mrs. Stevenson, and then me, struggling to keep my gown together – as we marched over to the x-ray room; I was supposed to have several x-rays taken. Mrs. Stevenson and pink nurse had to wait outside the room, while the technician came and went. I was made to lie on a very cold, uncomfortable table, and the machine was positioned over various parts of my anatomy for the x-rays to be taken.

Then it was back to the examining room.

Finally, after waiting for about ten minutes, the doctor himself arrived. After another quick knock on the door, a shortish man walked in. He had grey hair, cut short, and a neatly trimmed mustache and beard, and a professional air. He wore glasses and looked over some papers in a folder, some of which I recognized as the lists from my time in the waiting room.

“Andrew, I’m Dr. Wagner. Your guardian has brought you here for a complete physical and to bring your immunizations and health history up to date. I also have some notes from Judge Harrison here, too. I’m going have to ask some questions and examine you pretty carefully. Some of this might be uncomfortable, but I’ll try to be as gentle as I can, you understand?”

I nodded. I wasn’t afraid of him – Dr. Wagner seemed safe enough – but I did not want to be examined. Not at all. I didn’t want anyone to see me, touch me or anything like that. But I didn’t think I had a choice.

He began by going over all of the sheets I’d filled out, and then questioning me about various kinds of illnesses I might have had when I was little. I really couldn’t answer much. When he asked me if I’d had any major health issues when I was growing up, I replied, “my father.”

That made him pause a bit.

He questioned me quietly and efficiently, without emotion. He asked about injuries I’d had – beatings I’d endured – the pain I’d experienced. He inquired about my eating and drinking habits. He frowned when I told him about that. I disclosed that I didn’t smoke, didn’t like beer.

“Are you sexually active?”

I froze. This was not a question I wanted to talk about, especially in front of Mrs. Stevenson, who was still hovering in the room.

“That means, are you, or have you engaged in any kind of sexual activity in the past year?” the doctor clarified.

I stared straight ahead.

“Andrew, it’s really important for you to tell us,” Mrs. Stevenson coaxed.

“Maybe it would be easier for Andrew to talk about this just with me,” suggested Dr. Wagner.

“Oh. Oh, of course. I’ll just step outside. Andrew, I’m right outside the door, all right?”

I nodded and failed at an attempt to smile.

When the door closed, the doctor tried again. He was right. It was a little easier with him alone in the room.

“I understand you were the victim of parental abuse.”

I looked at him fearfully. I nodded.

“Did that include sexual abuse? Did your father molest you in any way?”

I shook my head. “No. He just beat on me. But the last time it happened…,” I paused to shudder, “Last May. He…he had me chained to this workbench, and he…” I just shook my head. My eyes filled with tears. I struggled to finish. “…he forced something…something up inside me.”

“He assaulted you?” the doctor asked quietly.

I nodded. My face was wet now.

“Did he use his penis, or did he use something else?”

“Something else,” I managed to whisper.

“I’m sorry, Andrew, really. It’s helpful for me to know. Can you tell me what it was he used?” Doctor Wagner asked.

“A hammer. The handle of a big hammer.”

The doctor winced, involuntarily. “Was there any bleeding?”

I nodded. “I guess. I didn’t really get a good idea of the damage until sometime later.”

“Can you tell me now about your sexual activity?”

“Last summer, I got hungry. Really hungry. I – I traded a guy for a blowjob. He bought me dinner, and I blew him.” I said in a low voice.

“How many times did you do this?

“Just that one time. I hated it. He was rough and…and he tried to…sell me to another guy….” My stomach churned at the memory of it.

The doctor nodded. “Anything else?”

I stared straight ahead. There was more, much more, but there was absolutely no way I was going to talk about it. Not with anyone. Not ever. There wasn’t anything more I could bring myself to say.

The doctor waited for me to collect myself.

“All right, Andrew. I’m going to check you out, now. Let me know if anything I do is uncomfortable or causes you pain, okay?”

I nodded, sniffling. God I was so ashamed of myself. My weakness and dirtiness.

The doctor proceeded, shining a little light in my eyes and checking into my ears and nose. I allowed him to look in my mouth and check out my tongue and throat. No problems there. My pulse went up when he began touching me around my jaw and throat, checking for swelling or pain. He checked my reflexes with a little hammer on my knees and elbows, but I didn’t like his hands on my legs and feet. I had no idea what he was looking for.

He stood up and leaned over, reaching behind me. I felt his fingers unfasten one of the ties on the gown. I went rigid. Fear. My heart beat even faster. He would see my scars. He'd know. I willed myself to stay where I was.

“Just slide the gown down for a few seconds, please. I need to listen to your breathing and your heart,” he stated, not unkindly.

Slowly, I complied, hating every second of feeling exposed to his view. I felt the cold stethoscope on my chest.

“Take a deep breath, please, Andrew.”

I tried to do ask he asked, drawing in a breath, shakily.

“Again, please.”

He listened to me intently for a while, then stood up straight again.

“All right, Andrew. Pull up your gown for a second.”

He made some notes for the folder.

“Andrew, I’m going to need you to lie down on the table now, facing the wall. I’m going to make an examination. It shouldn’t take too long. Again, let me know if anything I do is painful or uncomfortable, okay?”

I lay down, but I didn’t like it. It wasn’t that the table was uncomfortable. I just hated being looked at. Examined. Touched. Having someone know just how truly awful I am underneath all my clothes. He would know how horrible, how dirty I feel inside. Still.

I felt him untie the other ties and open up the gown to expose my backside from head to toe.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard the voice of my uncle Ray, snickering at me. “Look at you,” I heard the growl, “all nice and ready.”

I felt the doctor’s fingers running down my spine, testing the vertebrae, looking over my scars. I trembled. I could feel the doctor’s breath on my shoulder blades as he looked over a bad mark there. Or was it Uncle Ray?

“Gonna give me a nice little ride today, boy?” a deep, raspy voice murmured into my ear, the weight of the man pinning me down by the same shoulder. It wasn’t the doctor.

I tried so hard not to lose it. My conscious mind kept trying to tell me that the doctor was just doing his job. He just had to look at everything. But I couldn’t help shaking.

“It’s okay, Andrew. You’re doing fine,” the doctor said gently.

“Ooooh, you’re so fine,” Uncle Ray echoed in the back of my mind.

I heard the doctor stand and open a drawer. I heard the snap of a rubber glove, and the rip of a package being torn open.

“Andrew, this may hurt a little bit. Try to relax, and I’ll be as quick as I can.”

I didn’t have time to wonder what he was going to do. I felt him part the cheeks of my ass, and then came the quick, businesslike intrusion of his finger probing inside, checking, examining. It didn’t hurt like I might have expected, he must have actually used some lube. Still, I couldn’t help trying to shrink away from it, or from letting out a little whimper. My heart raced. The finger was gone as quick as it had come. Again, the hands parting my ass.

I scrunched my eyes shut, not against the pain – there wasn’t any – nor against the humiliation and exposure I felt – but against the specter of my uncle, against the expected smack on the ass before the moment…before that terrible instant when he would…I just shook my head, trying vainly to banish the thought.

And then the hands were gone.

The doctor was speaking again. “Okay, Andrew, you did great. All done. There’s a little scarring there, but I think it will heal with time. I don’t think you need to worry about it. You can get dressed now and let your guardian back in as soon as you’re ready. We’ll talk in a few minutes.”

And then I was alone. I hadn’t moved. I didn’t want to move. I just wanted to curl up in a little ball and let it all go away. Slowly, I forced myself upright and got dressed, mechanically. Mrs. Stevenson was back in the room with the doctor the moment I opened the door. Apparently, they had been speaking in the hallway already.

“Well, Andrew, you seem surprisingly healthy to me,” Dr. Wagner smiled. He was addressing me, not Mrs. Stevenson. “Your back is scarred, but there is a good chance that some of the scars will diminish over time. I think you ought to see a dentist, but the major things look good. I think a general multivitamin will be helpful for you for a while, too. I’ll want you to go get some blood work done at the lab on Main Street. You’ll need to fast for twelve hours first, so maybe you want to do that early one morning. If that looks good and your x-rays come out fine, you’ll have a clean bill of health.”

I nodded at everything, barely taking it all in. I hardly registered shouldering into my coat and getting into the car. Mrs. Stevenson talked all the way through the ride back. I don’t know if she expected me to respond; I just stared out the window.

When we got back to the house, Mrs. Stevenson insisted on taking my box up to the bedroom.

“Andy, are you all right?” she asked, looking at me worriedly.

“I’m fine. Just tired,” I said robotically.

“Did you want to eat, or do you want to put off that blood work for another morning?” she inquired.

“I don’t want anything. I can do it tomorrow.”

“Okay,” she nodded, and withdrew.

I lay down on the bed and curled up in a ball and stared off vacantly toward the window, hoping the bad thoughts would just go away. If the doctor’s visit was over, why was I still so scared? Why couldn’t I just be normal? Why was it that I couldn’t go for two days without freaking out? Exhaustion must have taken over because the next thing I felt was someone’s weight on the bed, and in the next instant, being enveloped by Zander. His arms, his body wrapped around mine, his scent in my nose, his breath on my neck.

“Hey. It’s me.”

For the first time in hours, I could let go of the terror. It was safe to be alive again. I could begin to release the tension that had me tightly strung since being in the doctor’s office.

“Mom said you weren’t feeling well. Sorry if I woke you.”

I turned to face Zander, and for the second time in forty eight hours, I just grabbed him and hung on tight. I cried. I shook like a leaf. Again. Damn. I thought being allowed to stay with Zander would make things easier, not harder. Zander just held me, full of gentle reassurance, whispering love and hope to replace all the fear and pain I was trying to let go of.

“Andy. Andy, I’ve got you. Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” he said, over and over.

I didn’t deserve such love, such compassion. Eventually, I got myself back under control.

“I’m sorry. You must be getting sick of me,” I snuffled.

“Nope. No chance of that. But I’m worried about you. What happened?”

“The doctor,” I nearly whimpered into Zander’s chest, “He wasn’t bad or anything. He just…touched me…touched me in places where I…I get really bad thoughts from.”

“And you didn’t tell him?” he asked quietly.

I shook my head. “I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. If I did, I knew I was going to freak out, you know, like I just did. I tried so hard to hold it together. That’s all I could do – curl up in a little ball and try to hold it all in. I’m sorry to dump it all on you like that. When you…held me, I finally felt like I could let it go, you know?”

Zander nodded. “Good. I’m glad if I helped.” He kissed the top of my head, and I looked up at him. I saw his beautiful brown eyes, full of concern, full of compassion. For me. It made me want to cry again.

Instead, I kissed him.

I wanted to show him that I knew how much he was doing for me, and how much I loved him. He responded to me, tenderly, lovingly, carefully parting my lips with his tongue, caressing my tongue with his, allowing me to explore him, too.

When we had to breathe again, I actually managed a smile. It felt so good to be wrapped up in Zander’s arms.

“So how about dinner?" he asked. “Mom saved us some.”

I shook my head. “The doctor wants me to get some blood tests tomorrow, early. I can’t eat until that’s done first thing tomorrow morning.”

I felt Zander shudder. “Ugh. I hate blood tests.”

I looked at him quizzically.

“A couple of years ago, I got really sick,” he explained, “The doctor sent me over for some blood tests to be sure I didn’t have a crazy tropical disease. I didn’t have one, but drawing the blood out was the worst. They poked at the vein with this big needle, and…I just don’t want to think about it.” He made a face.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to go tomorrow, either. We were quiet for a moment. I reached over, and grabbed my backpack. I still needed to do homework. And I had a ton to write about.

“Andy? If you go to the lab tomorrow, I’ll go with you,” Zander said simply.

“You don’t have to do that,” I replied, but he stopped me.

“I want to. We’re boyfriends now. We do stuff for each other.”

Being part of a family is not easy. I’m discovering this. I don’t always understand the routine or the habits that everyone in the Stevenson household takes for granted. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to.

And they’re getting used to me, too: my screw-ups, my bad nightmares, my dark past. I wonder what will happen when they try to clear up my identity. I really, really hope that the Carlsberg Police Department will have found Dad’s real killer, or that they’ve forgotten about me completely. I’m scared that I’ll come home from school one day to find a police cruiser in the driveway.

Home. What a wonderful idea. What a terrible thing to contemplate running away from. Again.

I remain immensely grateful to Craftingmom for editing this and every chapter.

Please leave reviews. Your thoughts and comments mean a great deal, and all you say is welcome.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; 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.
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Another great chapter Parker. With his new life, Andy has to face his past again. Hopefully with Zanders help he will be able to get it all out. Of course a lot of it will be painful to relive, once he starts getting rid of it, he will be able to move on in his new life and relationship with Zander. I think the hardest part of his physical was having Zanders mom there.

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It seems like Andy has post traumatic stress. Let's hope Zander has the understanding to pass along about the pain/fear the doctor brought out unwittingly. That's Andy's greatest damage, by far, and he needs help with that ASAP.

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Poor Andy carrying so much inside and only now starting to be able to let it out. I think he needs to talk to a professional eventually, but right now that's too soon.

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Andy could definitely use some professional counseling. He is going to have a lot to deal with in the future and will need the help. I think the possibility should be mentioned to him so he can come to terms with it.

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Another well-written and fairly heartbreaking chapter. I'm glad Andy is feeling like he can trust people to share what he's gone through. These relationships are going to be so important to him trying to heal. Kaz and Terry continue to be great friends to him. I'll echo what everyone else has said that Andy definitely needs some professional counseling to help him work through all this horrible stuff that's happened to him. Great writing as always Parker. Looking forward to the next part as always.

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Well written and compelling. Andy did remarkably well with the exam, it was traumatic, he needs help. I'm surprised it wasn't ordered as part of his placement but perhaps the judge is trusting that the Stevenson's will do it without his order.

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Great chapter Parker and so well written. As the Doc said, the physical scars may disapear over time but I'm afraid the emotional scars will not. I know that everyone's said it, but he will have to confront his past and talk to a professional. I'm hoping that once this happens and the right people know the truth then the police will go looking for that evil uncle of his and put his sorry ass behind bars for a long time.

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Great chapter Parker!

 

A neat way to break the relationship to their friends ...hold hands ;)

 

In a way it's good the emotional scars are surfacing because Andy has kept them repressed because he was 'in transit' and their appearance means he's arrived. I'm no shrink but...

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Nice double meaning "“Come on, we’ve got to go meet Terry and Kaz,” I said, not wanting to stay in the closet any longer than necessary."

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Thank you again Parker; a2z continues to be a joy to read.

 

Hee hee, the slight disappointment I have been expecting arrived. I am not being critical per se, as the last chapters have resolved long standing dramatic tension. The transition toward the more mundane was expected and inevitable. Great fun!

 

Best aspect of this chapter IMHO:

 

From the beginning of the story, we have been treated to Andy's inner strength and courage. Now we see these traits being employed for a higher purpose than mere survival. I think Andy did GREAT with the doctor, in spite of his feelings. He is being pragmatic. It is not an easy or graceful pragmatism, but it is successful. And he is effectively communicating, not always gracefully, but successfully none the less. Given that until a few days past he has been living in almost complete isolation, he is doing GREAT!

 

I was both surprised and a little disappointed to learn that Terry and Kaz were already aware of Zander's sexual orientation. I was surprised because I genuinely did not think he had told them. (Perhaps I missed something.) I was disappointed only in that whatever conversation(s) occurred between Zander, Terry, and Kaz could have provided interesting insight into each of the characters.

 

Finally, I think Andy needs to stay as far away from "mental health" "professionals" as humanly possible. If thier treatment modalities had to garner FDA approval through clinical trials as is the case with a new drug ... there would not be any mental health professionals aside from psychiatrists prescribing proven drugs for easily diagnosed disorders ;) . I have no faith in the secular priesthood.

 

Thanks again Parker!

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I'm a little concerned that Andy hasn't mentioned Uncle Ray to anyone. Yes, I know it's in his journal, but without explicitly calling it out, I'm afraid it's going to bite him in the ass later on. Also, Nahrung, in his Chapter 44 review, asked who set off the smoke bomb, but that was answered in Chapter 6. When Andy (then Stefan) was called to the principal's office, he spotted James Ackerman putting "something" into what he thought was his locker, but he blew it off, not wanting to confront him. Later, in the same chapter, while eating at the McDonald's, he overhears one kid saying to another "They said there was some sophomore kid who went off his nut and killed his father. He set off the bombs and was going to start shooting, but there was a cop in the building who stopped him." So, Andy's probably wanted (at least as a material witness) for both his father's murder and the act of "terrorism" at the school. On top of that, he may be wanted in East Akron for what Ambrose called "a whole string of local burglaries from New Salem to Akron and on south that my colleagues around here have questions about". If Andy doesn't come clean to Mr. Stevenson about all of this, it's going to make his job as ad litem much harder.
That said, I think Andy's reticence is completely believable - he's told people the bare minimum they need to be satisfied that they know his story. Blocking out everything related to Uncle Ray makes sense too. For me, even though the main reveal has happened, there's still plenty of dramatic tension left in this story. I get the feeling that the next couple of "happy" chapters will be the calm before the storm. At least this time, Andy will have some people out there to support him when it comes.

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On 01/02/2016 01:44 AM, slapshot said:

Another great chapter Parker. With his new life, Andy has to face his past again. Hopefully with Zanders help he will be able to get it all out. Of course a lot of it will be painful to relive, once he starts getting rid of it, he will be able to move on in his new life and relationship with Zander. I think the hardest part of his physical was having Zanders mom there.

The past for Andy is still there, like the clouds that have always loomed on his horizon. However, maybe he has smoke shelter now from the storm that always seems to want to break over his head. His physical is something so hard because he's never had anyone know him, see him, examine him so closely, and it sure made him very uncomfortable. Getting on with a new life may be a challenge. Thanks for your patience and for your reading of Andy's story,

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On 01/02/2016 02:14 AM, Bart said:

It seems like Andy has post traumatic stress. Let's hope Zander has the understanding to pass along about the pain/fear the doctor brought out unwittingly. That's Andy's greatest damage, by far, and he needs help with that ASAP.

Andy has certainly has some letdown stress - the kind of stress you get when you realize you can let go a little. Zander and his parents will have to be very understanding and patient as Andy joins their family. Certainly Zander will be as loving as he knows how to be. Thanks for your reading and patience.

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On 01/02/2016 02:43 AM, Puppilull said:

Poor Andy carrying so much inside and only now starting to be able to let it out. I think he needs to talk to a professional eventually, but right now that's too soon.

Andy has so much to carry. He's begun to unload his burden, which is good, but there is still a heavy load in his emotional backpack. Thank you for your review and for reading...and for uFor patience!

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On 01/02/2016 04:16 AM, avidreadr said:

Andy could definitely use some professional counseling. He is going to have a lot to deal with in the future and will need the help. I think the possibility should be mentioned to him so he can come to terms with it.

Andy has tons of stuff still to carry, and it will take time to unpack it all. That he survived his exam with the doc is good, that Zander unhesitatingly stepped up to hold him after was more important. No second thoughts for him.

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Kid probably has PTSD, like I do. He needs a psychiatrist. But he'll get there. That exam made me remember things, I'd rather not. I can't wear shorts or short sleeves, except with family. Defo no bathing suit, too many scars, too many people staring. I still just can't.

 

Thanks Parker.

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Completely understand Andy's ambivalence. None of these feelings are going to disappear soon, if ever. He will have to learn to deal with them and hopefully with a good psychologist he will. It must be hard existing in that space where you want to feel good but can't really accept that you deserve it. However hard it is, he is showing that inner strength again. Making it through the Doctor's visit was tough. Thankfully he had Zander whom he could totally break down with.. It's a long road to recovery, but he is not alone.

 

I didn't think Terry and Kaz knew about Zander, but that puts their whispered conversation earlier into perspective. Nice how Zander and Andy came out as boyfriends.

 

An exceptional chapter Parker.. Well done!

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On 01/02/2016 04:26 AM, spikey582 said:

Another well-written and fairly heartbreaking chapter. I'm glad Andy is feeling like he can trust people to share what he's gone through. These relationships are going to be so important to him trying to heal. Kaz and Terry continue to be great friends to him. I'll echo what everyone else has said that Andy definitely needs some professional counseling to help him work through all this horrible stuff that's happened to him. Great writing as always Parker. Looking forward to the next part as always.

As Andy said himself, these days are emotional whirls and full of activity and stress. He trusts Zander, and Zander his proving to be worthy of that by being a rock for Andy to hold onto. Kaz and Terry are happy for their friends, but probably don't have a full picture of Andy's life. I really appreciate your perceptive reviews and comments on the story thread. Many thanks for reading Andy's story.

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On 01/02/2016 06:14 AM, dughlas said:

Well written and compelling. Andy did remarkably well with the exam, it was traumatic, he needs help. I'm surprised it wasn't ordered as part of his placement but perhaps the judge is trusting that the Stevenson's will do it without his order.

I am humbled by your kind comments. Considering the emotions the exam triggered, Andy survived as well as he could. That Zander was a rock for him to hang onto afterwards was also very important. I really appreciate your many comments and for including Andy's story in your reading.

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On 01/02/2016 06:56 AM, Dodger said:

Great chapter Parker and so well written. As the Doc said, the physical scars may disapear over time but I'm afraid the emotional scars will not. I know that everyone's said it, but he will have to confront his past and talk to a professional. I'm hoping that once this happens and the right people know the truth then the police will go looking for that evil uncle of his and put his sorry ass behind bars for a long time.

Thanks for your remarks; I really appreciate those who take the time to respond to Andy's story. Andy made it through the physical, just. He knew about the scars on his back; but now he's becoming aware of other, deeper scars.

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On 01/02/2016 07:07 AM, skinnydragon said:

Great chapter Parker!

 

A neat way to break the relationship to their friends ...hold hands ;)

 

In a way it's good the emotional scars are surfacing because Andy has kept them repressed because he was 'in transit' and their appearance means he's arrived. I'm no shrink but...

Sometimes the best way to tell your friends something is to show them. :) I love your comment about Andy having 'arrived' because he appears to be unpacking some of his emotional baggage. Zander seemed to help by letting Andy let some of it go.

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On 01/02/2016 07:50 AM, Paqman said:

Nice double meaning "“Come on, we’ve got to go meet Terry and Kaz,” I said, not wanting to stay in the closet any longer than necessary."

Oh, you picked up on that one :). I almost edited it out as being too obvious, so I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for reading, and for your review.

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On 01/03/2016 12:13 AM, Zenith said:

A truly captivating story. Thanks Parker Owens!

You are most kind. Thank you for reading Andy's story. I hope it continues to hold your interest.

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On 01/03/2016 02:51 AM, said:

Thank you again Parker; a2z continues to be a joy to read.

 

Hee hee, the slight disappointment I have been expecting arrived. I am not being critical per se, as the last chapters have resolved long standing dramatic tension. The transition toward the more mundane was expected and inevitable. Great fun!

 

Best aspect of this chapter IMHO:

 

From the beginning of the story, we have been treated to Andy's inner strength and courage. Now we see these traits being employed for a higher purpose than mere survival. I think Andy did GREAT with the doctor, in spite of his feelings. He is being pragmatic. It is not an easy or graceful pragmatism, but it is successful. And he is effectively communicating, not always gracefully, but successfully none the less. Given that until a few days past he has been living in almost complete isolation, he is doing GREAT!

 

I was both surprised and a little disappointed to learn that Terry and Kaz were already aware of Zander's sexual orientation. I was surprised because I genuinely did not think he had told them. (Perhaps I missed something.) I was disappointed only in that whatever conversation(s) occurred between Zander, Terry, and Kaz could have provided interesting insight into each of the characters.

 

Finally, I think Andy needs to stay as far away from "mental health" "professionals" as humanly possible. If thier treatment modalities had to garner FDA approval through clinical trials as is the case with a new drug ... there would not be any mental health professionals aside from psychiatrists prescribing proven drugs for easily diagnosed disorders ;) . I have no faith in the secular priesthood.

 

Thanks again Parker!

I really appreciate your perceptive comments and review. Andy hasn't had a lot of practice with communicating beyond shrugs and monosyllables. Given his discomfort and tension, I agree that his exam at the doctor's office went reasonably well. Kaz and Terry clearly knew about Zander. He probably swore them to utter secrecy, being himself unsure of what to do next. If I ever get time enough to update the text, I'll want to think again about your remarks. As for Andy at this moment, the best prescription would be a big dose of Zander. :)

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