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A Love to Last - 5. Chapter 5: They finally meet. What's the way forward?
Thanks guys for your patience. I had some work to do and that's why it took longer. Would love to hear from you on this chapter. Enjoy!
A love to Last Ch. 05
Comments, critiques and tips are welcome!
“Jim’s brother?” Claudia was confused. She looked at Elena and the woman smiled faintly. “How come? I thought you said you only had one child, Elena. Where did this one come from?”
“Well, err…” Elena was so mad that she knew she was gonna kill him afterwards. “…I only have one son like I told you, Jim. Ben is…”
“Ben is my son!” Jerome said proudly, rising from the chair.
He placed his hand on Ben, getting him out of his reverie. He stared at his father and tried his best to smile but he could feel the prying eyes of the man from the other side of the table. There were lots of questions that he had but he didn’t wanna give anything away.
“Ben is my son but not with Elena.” He said, not even losing a smile. “His mother died thirteen years ago. He only has me.”
Ben felt emotional and tears built in his eyes. He kept staring at his father, anything to try and disrupt his contact with the man.
“Together with Jim, Ben is my pride.” He added, making Ben even more emotional. “And when I said I have plans for my sons, I meant both my sons, Mrs. Paola.”
“Oh…” That was the only word that came out of Claudia’s mouth. She didn’t know what to say. “Errr… nice to meet you, young man.”
“Nice to meet you too, ma’am.” Ben said, slightly bowing his head. He mistakenly connected his eyes with the man that stared like he was frozen and felt his heart hammer in his chest. “But you’re all gonna have to excuse me, I really need to rest. I have had quite a long day.”
“No!” Jim finally rose, letting go of David’s hand. That was when David came back to reality. “Why don’t you have dinner with us.” He held his hands, rubbing on them sweetly. “I would love for you to be available. Mom just announced some big news. David and I are getting engaged in a few months.”
“Wow!” He caressed Jim’s cheek. “That’s good news. I am so happy for you and I would have loved to join you but I am really tired. Next time.”
Before Jim could respond, Ben was already heading out of the dining. He seemed to be in a bit of a hurry to Jim’s surprise. And here he had been hoping his brother was gonna be part of his happiness. He took a deep breath and went to sit by his soon to be fiancé’s side, holding his hand sweetly.
“I would love to go to the bathroom.” David said abruptly. “Can you give me directions?”
“Yeah! I could show you.”
“No!” David shook his head. “Just give me directions. I’ll find my way.”
Jim nodded and gave the man directions. He anxiously got up and rushed out of there, but no one seemed to notice.
Ben reached his room and he took a harsh breath, hitting his forehead. His heart was still racing and he felt like he had just escaped from a predator. So many questions that he needed answers to were dancing in his head as flashbacks of the passionate night he had with the man played back and forth.
“Oh my God!” He gripped his hair as he threw his bag on a chair. “The man I slept with is Jim’s boyfriend? How could this be?”
He was still in thought when he suddenly heard the door to his room opening and closing. He quickly turned and found a shocker, the man right behind him, staring at him again with the same look he had at the table. Panic bloomed as his chest constricted and his throat closed.
David on the other hand couldn’t describe what he felt. He was staring at the boy, getting closer to him but the boy seemed to be going away from him.
“Who are you?” Ben’s voice was filled with fear. “What do you want?”
“It is you.” David’s voice was barely above a whisper. “I have finally found you. Do you know how long I have been searching for you?” He chuckled nervously with tears in his eyes. “Ben! Such a beautiful name and I had no idea that you were so close to me. Please, can I hold you? I have yearned for this since the night we spent together.”
Ben drew a sharp breath. “What are you talking about? Who are you?”
“Ben, come on!” He tried to grab the boy’s hand but he quickly moved. “You can’t say you don’t remember me. That night…”
“Get out of here.” He said with alarm. “You’re my brother’s boyfriend and you’re gonna get me into trouble. Please, I don’t know who you are.”
David felt as if he couldn’t breathe. His face contorted as though he was struggling not to cry. Then he burst into laughter but his laughter was filled with lots of sadness.
“Three months ago, I almost ran over someone and I was very upset. But that day, I didn’t know that my entire world was about to change when I met this lovely boy. This boy…” He smiled brightly as he narrated the story. “…there was something about him. He instantly caught my attention when I set my eyes on him and I cannot explain what I felt. He was really nice, calm and very handsome. But I was a coward that day and didn’t say anything.”
He furiously rubbed the tear that went down his cheek.
“I saw this boy at my welcome party again but I missed my chance. Ever since, I had very little moments of seeing him but I never gave up. I always wanted to look for him, to talk to him and tell him what was in my heart, my feelings for him. Until that night…”
Ben’s heart missed a beat as the man told his story. He was so scared that he had to hide his shaky hands.
“I met him at the bar by coincidence, he was drunk and in so much pain. I took him home, one thing led to another and we made love. That was one of the happiest moments of my life and I knew that I had found him, finally. But little did I know that when I wake that morning, he’d be gone. Two months….” He showed with his fingers. “For two months, I searched and searched but luck was not on my side. I never stopped looking.”
Ben felt a wave of sadness.
“And after so long, I have finally found you. You left me in bed without saying a word, no trace and no name. Just wonderboy! Do you remember that?”
Ben slightly closed his eyes but a million tears decorated his face. He didn’t even realize it.
“You have me mistaken for someone else.” He said brokenly. “I don’t know you. This is the first time I am meeting you. Please, leave!”
He tried to walk past David but the man pulled him back and before his mind could process it, he was pinned to the wall with the man’s face so close to him he could feel his harsh breaths on his face. Ben got weak and scared but he couldn’t move.
“No!” He shook his head. “You expect me to believe that you’re not the one. This face has been on my mind since the very day I had set my eyes on you. It’s impossible to forget such a beautiful face, your voice, your beautiful gray eyes and your lovely skin. And after that night, you’ve been on my mind and you’ve refused to leave…” He paused and got closer, almost touching the boy’s lips. “…it was your first time, wasn’t it? You were a virgin but I don’t understand why you left. I thought we connected that night.”
“I don’t know you.”
“I don’t believe you.” He slowly raised his hand and caressed the boy’s cheek, yearning to just lean and kiss him. Ben couldn’t control his emotions. His tears came flowing involuntarily. “Because your eyes tell me a different thing, those tears and your fears. The shock on your face when your saw me at the table tonight. There’s just no way you can forget me, Ben, not after what happened between us. It was special.”
Ben felt layers of unsettling emotions. The man was so sweet to him but…
“Please, just go away.” He managed a word. “I beg of you to just go away.”
“Why? After searching for so long, I have finally found you.” He shook his head. “You think I will let this go just like that? No, I will hold your hand so tight that you won’t ever wanna let go. I believe that you are the one for me.”
Ben glanced urgently at the man, eyes wide, sweat beading on his lip. His heart was thundering as those words played at the back of his mind, ‘you are the one for me.’ He pushed the man away from him, staring at him like he’d said something abominable.
“What do you mean I am the one for you?” His mouth was shivering. “Last time I checked, you’re my brother’s soon to be fiancé and after that, husband. Everyone is waiting for you downstairs and you’re here chasing someone you don’t know? Is this the kind of man that you are.” He gasped, feeling a little angry.
“And what kind of man is that?” David asked.
“You were holding hands with my brother downstairs.” He took a hot, impatient breath. “The next moment, you’re following me and telling me things I don’t even understand. What do you want?”
“Responsibility!” David said, a little harshly which he regretted later. He took a sigh. “I want to take responsibility for what I did that night, for taking your virginity.”
“Well, you’ve got the wrong person.” He said, trying to make himself strong. “I don’t remember sleeping with you or anybody else. So I suggest you go back to your family and your fiancé downstairs. They’re waiting for you.”
He tried to move but David blocked him.
“I am still taking responsibility for what happened. I am not giving up.”
“Leave my way.”
“No, not until you listen to me.”
“What do you want me to listen to?” He snapped, suddenly being overtaken by anger. “I have told you I am not the one.”
“You are the one. I remember your face clearly, your voice, the feel of your naked body on mine.” Dread crawled up Ben’s spine. “The feel of your lips as we kissed and the passionate lovemaking we had. In case you don’t remember, let me remind you. That night…”
“Forget about that night! It was only a one-night stand!” He barked.
He only realized what he had done after he had said it. He stood there, staring at the guy with sweat dripping down his face which was now pale as if blood had been drained from it. He didn’t even dare to move.
“Gotcha!” David smiled. “You cannot hide from me, Ben. Your destiny and mine are already intertwined. You and I are already one. That night, you and I became one. Listen, I am not a man that runs away from responsibilities.”
“What do you want from me?” Ben sighed, furiously rubbing his eyes.
“I wanna be with you.”
David moved and held his hands, rubbing on them. “No one has ever made me feel the way you make me feel, Ben. All I am asking for is an opportunity to get to know you and for you to know me. I swear, you’re not gonna regret it and if you’re scared of being hurt, I will never do that.”
“Hurt?” He chuckled nervously. “You’re someone’s boyfriend, my brother. And you’re asking me to be with you? I can never do that to my brother because he’s been through a lot. He doesn’t deserve this.” He furiously released his hand. “So, I am telling you for the last time, what we had was just a one-night stand and it was in my vulnerable state. I have never even thought of it.” He lied. “Whatever impression I gave you that night, forget about it. You have a very handsome boyfriend who loves you so much. What more do you want?”
David lost the smile on his face. He wasn’t gonna lose this fight.
“My relationship with Jim is very complicated and I made it clear with him.” He sighed. “My mother has a huge part to play in this. And you’re right, Jim is a very good guy. He doesn’t deserve this and that’s why, I am gonna come clean to him. I am gonna tell him the truth before this goes anywhere far.”
Fear crawled over Ben’s body, prickling his skin. He looked at the man that immediately held his hand and started moving towards the door. Ben resisted and pulled the man away.
“What do you think you want to do?”
“I will show you that I am not playing games.” He said with a stern face. “I will tell everyone that you’re the one I have been looking for and they will understand.”
“You don’t know what you want to do. Do you want to cause trouble for me?”
“Then what do you want me to do?”
“Do the right thing. Don’t ruin your relationship with Jim because of a stranger. What…”
But before Ben could finish his sentence, he heard the door knob moving and his heart dropped to the floor. His knees became so weak that he almost fell if not for the handsome man that quickly held him. His breaths came out harsher than before and he felt like there was poison running through his veins. Luckily, he realized that the door was locked.
“Ben!” Elena said impatiently from the outside, trying to force the door open. “What are you doing in there? Why the hell have you locked the door?”
“My step-mother!” He didn’t even realize how scared he was. He looked at the man that equally looked at him. “You’ve got to hide.”
“I am doing no such thing.” David argued, shaking his head. “Let them find out. I will tell them our history.”
“Please!” He took his hand and let him into the bathroom. “Stay here until she leaves. If what you say is true, you’ll do as I say. Let me handle this.”
Ben closed the door before David could say anything. He fixed himself up, calmed his nerves and opened the door. Elena came rushing in like a mad woman, looking around.
“Why were you delaying to open the door? Do you have to make me wait in my own house?”
“I am sorry. I was in the bathroom.”
Elena crossed her arms on her chest, staring at him like he was trash. “What games are you playing?”
“I… I don’t understand.” He stuttered, trying to look confident.
“Don’t play coy with me, boy.” She raised her finger. Her voice was thick with anger. “What did I tell you this morning? Didn’t I specifically tell you to meet a client tonight? Why the fuck are you back?”
“I did what you asked me to do. I called the client and he told me he was already here for some important work.” He said with confidence. “I scheduled a meeting with him and we met. As we talk right now, he already chose his designs. You can call him to confirm.”
“You think you’re so smart, huh?” She chuckled bitterly and started circling him. “But I can assure you that I am smarter. I know what you were up to. You wanted to come for the dinner and ruin everything as usual. When will you learn that on such important events, your face is not needed because society does not accept you as a true Henandez.”
Ben slightly closed his eyes. “I didn’t wanna be part of it. I already got what you said this morning and what you’ve been saying every other day.”
“Well, I am glad you do.” She caressed his cheek, wearing an evil grin. “You’re learning just like a dog obeys its master. Perhaps, one day I might give you a treat. And let me warn you….” She chuckled maniacally. “…let what you’re telling me about the deal be true. Otherwise, I will kill you with my bear hands.”
He simply nodded.
“You have a good night, son of a whore!”
She turned and cat-walked out of there. He could hear her voice even outside his door. Ben looked away as his face turned red. He told himself he wasn’t gonna cry but every time she said something, she made him so weak. He sat on the bed with his arms wrapped around himself. He just wanted to be shielded from her.
“Why would she talk to you like that?”
He heard a man’s voice near him and it was filled with a lot of anger. He had forgotten that David had been in the bathroom. He didn’t wanna look at him so he hid his eyes from him so that he didn’t see how vulnerable he was.
“Is this what you’ve been going through?” He slowly moved towards the boy. “Could she be the trouble you were talking about the night we met?”
Ben finally looked at the man. “I don’t know what happened that night or what I said to you, but I don’t wanna do anything with you, Mr. Paola. I have so many problems as it is. Please, don’t add to them because I don’t know if I can handle anymore.”
“Go back to the dinning room. People are waiting for you.” He pleaded. “I don’t want any trouble. Forget about what happened or whatever you think we have. Jim is a very good person, please, don’t hurt him for something that’s impossible.”
David nodded. “Okay.” His voice was barely above a whisper. “I will grant your wish, but I will not give up on us, Ben. Now that I have found you, letting you go again is out of question.”
With one look at the boy, he rushed out of the room. God knows how much he was yearning for him, how much he wanted to hold and kiss him, how much he wanted to hold his hand and tell him it was okay. But he was being pushed away.
On the other hand, tears raced down Ben’s cheeks and he began crying. His lips trembled as he cried. He didn’t know where the pain came from. He hadn’t planned on seeing the man ever again, but now that he had seen him, he realized that there was a connection with him that he couldn’t understand. But why did it have to be his brother’s boyfriend. It was painful.
“David!” Claudia called angrily. “David, hold it right there.”
David stopped in his tracks without turning. She came in front of him with a stern look on her face.
“What was the meaning of what you just did back there?” She seethed, trying to bring her breathing under control. “Do you know how embarrassing that was?”
David shrugged. “I wasn’t feeling well. I had to excuse myself and come back home.”
“You don’t look sick to me.” She argued. “That was very rude of you.”
David had said he wanted to go back home as soon as he’d returned from Ben’s room. He knew he was bound to make a mistake. Against the wishes of Elena and insistence of Claudia, he had still left. Now Claudia was annoyed because she knew her son very well.
“What do you want from me, mom?” He sighed in frustration. “Honestly, what do you want?”
“Your happiness.” She answered rudely. “Isn’t that the wish of every mother?”
“Apparently not.” He shook his head, making Claudia gasp in shock. “Because I don’t see how you can set my engagement without consulting me. You know very well that I didn’t wanna get into this relationship in the first place. I told you that…”
“Oh, so this is what that nonsense you did was all about.” She chuckled bitterly. “You should be thanking me for fixing an engagement with someone as good as Jim.”
“Mom, sometimes you surprise me.” He said, hitting his head in frustration. “You’re not the one to decide that and you don’t have any right. I don’t need to remind you that I am an adult and I can make my own decisions. But it seems like you and Jim’s mother have had all this thing figured out that I am starting to think you planned my relationship with her. 2 weeks I have known this boy and yet I am getting engaged to him. Do you know how crazy that is?”
“I am not going to have this conversation with you again, David.” She warned. “What’s there for me to discuss with you? Don’t you like Jim?”
“I am sorry, mom…” Amber chimed in, standing by her brother’s side. “I think you’re taking this a little too far. Don’t you think the decision of when they want to get engaged rests on them? I love Jim but I don’t think I like the pace this is going at.”
Claudia laughed. “And what pace is that? You’re not a mother so I don’t expect you to understand. You’ll understand when you have kids.”
“I don’t think I will.” She shook her head. “What you’re doing is wrong and….”
“Look I don’t need both your opinions on this.” She snapped, stamping her foot on the ground. “I have said what I said and it will go as planned. I am your mother and you’re gonna do as I say.”
With those words, she stormed out of there, leaving the two of them.
“Are you okay?” Amber placed her hand on her brother’s shoulder. “You don’t seem to be yourself. You know you can tell me anything, right?”
David nodded although his emotions were going crazy. “I will be fine. Maybe I just need to rest.”
“I know you, David.” She said with concern. “You’re my brother and I can tell something is on your mind. You know you can tell me anything and I can help.”
David gave a gloomy sigh. “It’s just that while at Jim’s place…”
‘I have so much trouble as it is, please, don’t add to them.’
“No!” He thought. “I cannot tell Amber that Ben is the boy I have been searching for, not now. I promised Ben that I wouldn’t tell anyone and until I know his feelings, I am gonna have to keep it to myself. The fact that she’s friends with both of them may breed trouble for Ben.”
“David!” Amber snapped her fingers in his face, getting him out of his thoughts. “You were about to say something.”
David smiled. “Never mind! I will be fine. You go and get some rest as well. You must be tired.”
She kissed his cheek and left him there alone. David was so lost that he wanted to just talk to the boy once again but he couldn’t just sneak back into the house to go and talk to him. All he knew was that he needed to find a way to talk to the boy. Now that he had seen him, he felt so attached to him.
“What do I do?”
Ben was seated in his room, reliving yesterday with David. There was a sadness, a pain that was rising deep inside of him that he couldn’t get rid of. He didn’t understand how he was thinking about a guy that he barely knew and worse of it was that it was his brother’s boyfriend. He felt like a terrible person for even sleeping with him.
Ben was gotten out of his thoughts when he heard his voice being screamed. He raised his face and found his brother rushing to him with a beautiful smile. Ben put up a shy smile as his brother wrapped his arms around him. He was so excited.
“Oh my God!” Jim screamed, jumping like a child. His happiness felt like a newly bloomed flower. “Can you tell how excited I am? I am the happiest person on this earth and it is all because of my David.” He gasped, placing his hand on his chest. “Can you imagine that I will be getting engaged to him in a few months?”
Ben’s mouth twitched with a smile. “This is very good news. I didn’t expect that you’d be taking the relationship to another level so soon.”
“I know, right!” He giggled, getting lost in his day dream. “But when you’re in love, there’s no need to delay. I can’t wait for him to be my husband. Ben…” He took his hands and held them lovingly. “…my dreams are coming to reality step by step. David is becoming my life and I can’t even imagine what I’d do without him. I love him so much that I sometimes feel like I am going crazy. I think of him when I wake up. I think of him during the day and even dream of him when I sleep.”
Ben was genuinely happy for his brother, but what was that pain he was feeling inside of him.
“What do you think of David?”
“Huh?” He gasped, his eyes widening.
“David.” Jim shrugged. “You saw him yesterday so what do you think of him?”
“Errr… I think he’s handsome.” He tried to sound confident. “He looks like a good man but that’s all I can say since I didn’t spend any time with you guys. But if he makes you happy, then I am more than sure that he’s a good man.”
“Thanks a lot, you’re an amazing brother.” He said happily. “Very soon, you’re gonna find your Prince Charming and I will help you. There’s no way I am gonna be getting engaged without you being in love.”
“But this isn’t even about me.” Ben sighed. “I am happy the way I am. Love isn’t something that you can find overnight. When love comes my way, it will find me. But for now, let’s concentrate on your happiness. You shouldn’t worry about me.”
“How can I not?” Jim shook his head. “You need a man in your life. Everyone needs love, isn’t it?”
“You’re right, Jim!” A voice chimed in before Ben could answer.
It was Elena and she was in a very happy mood that morning. She walked to the two boys with a smile but her primary focus was on Ben who couldn’t even keep eye contact with her. She knew how to trigger his buttons and cause him pain.
“Everyone needs love but not everyone is blessed with it.” She said lovingly. “There are us who are blessed with so much love that our loved can’t even spend a minute without us. Then there’s the unfortunate who will never know what love is no matter what they do.”
Jim was confused. He stared at his mother, wondering what she meant. She looked at him and caressed his cheek.
“I know you don’t understand but one day, you will. Right now, the most important thing is that your engagement is set in a few months.” She laughed. “I will make sure that your engagement party will be the biggest this city has ever seen. Your union will be powerful and trust me, you’ll be the richest and most influential couple this city has ever seen.”
Jim felt tears building in his eyes. He got up from the bed and hugged his mother tightly.
“I don’t know what I would do without you, mom.” He sobbed softly. “When I think I am about to give up, you always come with a solution. The engagement was a surprise that I won’t ever get over. Thank you so much!”
“You don’t need to thank me.” She held him closely, her eyes lingering on Ben. “As long as I am alive, I will give you the best because you’re the son of a tigress. Why should you get inferior things like some people.”
She pulled away from the hug and kissed him.
“You still have to meet up with your fiancé. Why don’t you get ready? We wouldn’t want to keep the young man waiting?”
“Yes, mother!” Jim said excitedly and left the room singing ‘Havana.’
Ben got up from the bed and started heading for the bathroom.
“Why are you leaving? Are you feeling jealous?” Elena mocked. “Well, it’s understandable. After all, you’ll never experience love like my son does.”
Ben slowly turned and looked at her. His face was filled with so much pain.
“Jim is my brother and I want nothing more than happiness for him so why should I be jealous?” He replied. “As for love, I don’t think it’s for me because I know that no matter what I do, you’ll always find ways of destroying it. You’ve done it before and in the process hurt the person that I loved.”
“Oh, moi!” Elena gasped in mock astonishment. “How can you accuse me of such a thing?” She pretended to cry, rubbing off her fake tears. Then seconds later, she was burst into laughter. “You’re right about one thing, Ben, you’ll never know what it means to be in love or experience it.
Your stupid mother once stole love from me but now that she’s not here, I am gonna make sure you pay for it.” She vowed. “You think I am gonna be standing here while you’re happy? No ways, Ben, you’ll feel what I felt when my husband stopped coming home to me because he was with that whore. Every love that you feel you have in your life, I’ll destroy it and you’ll remain with no one to support you or even pity you.”
Ben frowned. “Haven’t you done enough already? What else do you think you can do to me? You completely took everything that I had to remember my mother by and burned them.” He shook his head, getting closer. “Nothing you’ll do will ever hurt me more than that. So, if you think I actually care whether someone loves me or not then you’re wasting your time.”
He walked out of the room and into the bathroom.
“You think you’ve experienced pain, Ben? Just wait until I drive both my son and my husband away from you. I’ll make them stop supporting you and that time, I’ll give my final blow that will leave you without strength. Wait and watch. It’s coming soon.”
“Hi baby!” Jim hollered as he rushed to the table where his boyfriend was seated.
He looked so good, so sexy and so yummy. He wrapped his arms tightly around him and connected their lips, kissing him right there. It felt so good, so electrifying. And when he broke their kiss, he wiped on those lips, staring into those eyes.
“I missed you so much, baby.” Jim moaned.
“I missed you too, although we just saw each other yesterday.”
“It must be the connection.” Jim was so happy saying that. “Even the universe wants us to be together sooner than soon. I can’t wait to be married to you.”
David felt a shiver go down his spine. He was about to respond when…
“Ben!” Amber hollered. “Come and sit with me. Why are you just standing there?”
David’s eyes quickly moved past Jim and saw the boy hugging Amber tightly. He felt a tightening in his chest, some pain but it was mixed with excitement. The boy looked amazing and so sexy. He wore a black t-shirt with a blue skinny jean that showed off his curves with his hair tied in a ponytail as usual. He couldn’t believe he’d just kissed Jim in front of him.
He watched as the boy sat on the other side of the table and when their eyes met, he couldn’t help but yearn for him. Why was life being so cruel to him? He needed to be with the boy but how could he when he had gotten himself in such a tough situation.
“Baby!” Jim called, bringing back to reality. “I know I introduced him to you the other day but I’d still love to introduce him to you. This is my brother, Ben, my shadow, my everything. Ben knows all my secrets but that doesn’t mean you need to go and ask him.”
Amber burst into laughter and Ben followed although his laugh was not genuine. He couldn’t remember the last time he was that nervous.
“And Ben, this is my baby, my soulmate, my everything and my future husband, David Paola.”
David extended his hand. “Nice to meet you again, Ben. It is my pleasure.”
Ben extended his shaky hand and greeted David. “Nice to meet you too, David. It’s finally nice to meet the man that has finally pinned my brother down. Treat him right and we’re gonna be good friends.”
David chuckled nervously, staring at that handsome face. Why was he feeling the way he did? When Ben finally let go of his hand, he felt so lonely and alone. He couldn’t stop staring at the boy no matter what he did.
“Why didn’t you guys order something?” Jim asked as he took a sit next to David.
“Because we were waiting for you.” Amber answered. “But now we can order something. I’ll call the waiter.”
The waiter came and they made their order. In no time, their food arrived and they began having their lunch. Ben was so nervous, especially since whenever he raised his face, he just met with the eyes of the handsome man on the other side of the table.
“Baby, I was thinking that maybe we should go on a vacation one of these days.” Jim said happily. “Just the two of us, where we’re gonna be very happy. I wanna get to know you on a deeper level, especially since we’re gonna be getting engaged soon.”
David glanced at Jim, wondering why he was bringing that up. “Err… I don’t think that’s possible, especially since I just started working. I can’t move away because I am in the process of learning. Mom is not coming for work so it’s just me managing everything.”
“You guys are so sweet.” Amber teased, winking at Jim. “It seems like Jim doesn’t wanna wait anymore until you guys get married. Why don’t you buy a house and stay together if you wanna be together so bad.”
“That wouldn’t be a bad idea, at all.” Jim’s face brightened up. “I wouldn’t mind waking up to this face every morning. Wouldn’t that be great, baby?”
David looked at Ben again although the boy was just busy having his lunch. He wanted to talk to him so badly but he couldn’t do it.
“Err… soon, Jim.” David chuckled nervously. “Besides, we haven’t even gotten engaged. We still have a long way to go.”
“I know but it feels like forever. Why don’t we elope and get married?”
“Ha ha ha…” Amber burst into laughter. “Remind me again what Ben and I are doing here? It seems like you guys need some privacy. Ben…” She squeezed his hand. “…I think you and I should also find our own boyfriends so we won’t be feeling left out.”
Ben smiled but never said anything.
Jim chuckled. “The chances of finding a boyfriend are very high for you, Amber.” Jim commented. “But as for my dear brother, it’s gonna take a miracle. It’s like he’s waiting for someone that has doesn’t exist yet.” He laughed. “But now that I have found my Prince Charming, my next goal is to find my brother’s soulmate. That way, he won’t be too lonely when I get married.”
David didn’t know what entered him but he got really curious. He wore a smile and cleared his throat.
“So, Ben, what do you look for in a guy?” He asked confidently. “What does a guy have to do in order to win you over?”
Ben froze, staring at David like he’d just grown another head. He was trying to process what he’d been asked. He opened his mouth but no word came out of it. A prickling sensation shot up his spine and he felt a huge lump in his throat.
“Have you always been single or you have been in a relationship before?” He continued with his chin resting on his hands. “Do you have any moment that you have shared with anyone that you’d want to seize again.”
A sickening wave of terror welled up in his belly. His mind started showing him flashbacks of the night he’d spent with David and his body just went limp. His face became pale and his hands sweaty. He couldn’t believe that David had asked him in front of everyone. He was both scared and pissed.
“David?” Amber called, shaking her head. “I think that’s too many questions you are asking him. Besides, I don’t think Ben is…”
“Yes!” Ben answered abruptly, surprising both Amber and Jim. “I have been in a relationship before, things were going perfectly and I thought he was the one. But life had something else in store for me. We broke up and it was the hardest thing to get over at the moment. Seeing the person, you love suddenly grow so far away from you and watching your heart being ripped to shreds”
Ben took a deep breath as he tried to contain the memories and his emotions.
“So, I haven’t really been… quiet lucky when it comes to love.” He stuttered. “Maybe I gave up a long time ago when he left and I don’t know what the future holds for me.”
David sighed. “I am sorry to hear that.”
“It happens.” Ben shrugged.
“That is so sad.” Amber wrapped her arms around him. “I didn’t know that was what happened. No wonder you’ve been so scared of falling in love.”
“Yeah!” Jim answered. “That shouldn’t stop you. I mean, look at me. Despite everything I have been through, I never gave up and I found my prince charming. He makes me so happy.”
He held David’s hand and kissed it. “I love you so much, baby.”
David just smiled and diverted his eyes to the boy.
“Sometimes, we don’t have to give up.” David said softly. “What we deserve might just be in front of our eyes and if we don’t open them to see, then we’ll be blind to the truth. Love comes in so many forms and if we don’t open our hearts to it, we’ll never experience it.”
Ben felt his heart racing and he knew that if he stayed there, things were gonna get bad. He nodded and then excused himself. He rushed to the bathroom and stood in a mirror, staring at his reflection. There was no one else there.
His eyes were prickling with tears but he promised not to cry. He washed his face and started wiping it but something happened, something that scared him.
“What’s wrong with you?” A deep manly voice asked. “Is it something I said?”
When looked in the direction of the voice, he saw the handsome hunk staring at him with so much passion. His face was blank but he could tell that he was gonna be in trouble.
“What are you doing here?” He quickly wiped his face. “Did you follow me?”
David got closer. “Not every guy that you’re gonna meet is bad. Not every guy that you’re gonna meet is gonna break your heart. There are lots of guys that are willing to guard your heart like theirs. All you gotta do is listen.”
“What are you talking about?” His voice was heavy with emotion. “Stop this nonsense and get back to your boyfriend. He’s waiting for you.”
“I only follow what my heart is telling me.” He got closer but the boy took a step back. “I didn’t sleep last night. I kept on thinking about you. I wanted to come back to you, to talk to you.”
He kept on getting closer and Ben kept getting away until he hit a wall. He couldn’t move any further.
“God knows I have waited for a moment when I was gonna see you again.” David’s eyes were dull with sadness. His heart was weeping. “But life keeps playing tricks on me. I wanna hold you so bad, kiss you and…”
“Please, stop!” Ben closed his eyes. “Please, don’t say anything anymore. Just go away from me and get back to Jim.”
“My father once told me that when I find the one person that my heart desires, I was gonna be restless.” He chuckled in pain. “He was right because I have never felt anything like this for anyone.”
“Are you not ashamed of yourself?” He snapped, furiously opening his eyes. “Your boyfriend is right there and… I warned you yesterday to stop this madness. What we had was a one-night stand. It didn’t mean anything to me.” He felt a stab in his heart when he said that. “I needed to forget my troubles and you helped me forget them. Now you’re in a relationship with the most loving guy…”
“I don’t love him the way I do you!” He said harshly. “I love you, Ben!”
Ben blocked his ears with his hands. He didn’t wanna hear it.
“I have never loved anyone the way I love you.” He gripped his arm, pulling him closer. “Ben…”
“Stop!” Ben furiously released himself. “When will you stop this madness? I have lived in peace with my brother so don’t destroy my relationship with him. And I wasn’t joking with what I said at the table. He’s a nice guy so treat him right.”
David nodded. “You’re right about that. Jim is a nice guy and that’s why he deserves someone better. My heart belongs to you.”
Ben laughed, shaking his head. “You’re more insane than I actually thought. Don’t waste your one chance of being happy with someone who loves you because of a one-night stand. You might just be disappointed. Now if you’ll excuse, I have better things to do.”
He put the wipes back into his bag, furiously zipped it and left. But as he was leaving, something dropped from his bag, a piece of folded paper. David watched as the boy he yearned for left together with his heart. He wanted to follow him but he couldn’t. He just picked up the paper and stood there.
“I am so sorry.” Ben apologized when he got back to the table. “I have to get going.”
“What?” Jim gasped. “Why? I thought we were supposed to spend the entire day together.”
“I know.” Ben leaned and kissed his cheek. “But I just realized that I have somewhere else to be. I have met your prince charming and that’s good enough for me. Besides, I don’t wanna ruin your moment together. I promise I’ll make it up to you.”
Jim nodded although he was sad. Ben kissed Amber and rushed out of there like the hounds of hell were after him. By the time David was coming back, Ben had already left. He spent the whole day with Amber and Jim although he was quiet for most of the time.
‘What?’ Isaac yelled, staring at his friend wide-eyed. ‘Tell me that this is a joke.’
“It’s not a joke.” David sighed, combing his hair with his fingers. “Does my face look like anything I have said is a joke.”
“But how? This is more complicated now that you’re dating his brother.”
“You’re one to say. After all, you’re also to be blamed for this. All of you talked me into accepting Jim and the moment I did, the boy suddenly appeared in my life. Do you know how messed up this is? The boy is so close to me and yet I can’t even get close to him.”
Isaac was so quiet that his screen looked frozen for a while. David was on a video call with his friend that had gone out of town for some important work. He had explained everything to him and the man wasn’t helping him in any way.
“What did he say?”
David laughed. “That I should stay away from him. He insists that it was nothing but a one-night stand and it meant nothing. To me, that night meant everything because I am in love with this boy. I want to talk to him once again so we can sort this out. I wanna be with him so bad.”
“I understand.” Isaac sighed. “But we’re talking about one of the most complicated love triangles. From what I see, Jim…”
“I don’t care right now. I feel like shit already and I don’t know for how long I can keep with this.” He was being truthful. “Jim is a good person and I have been trying my best to love him, but I can’t just bring myself to doing certain things with him. He wants us to have sex but… it feels so wrong, not when he’s always on my mind. Aside from loving this boy, I feel some responsibility for what I did, for taking his virginity.”
“Maybe it’s the guilt talking and…”
“No, it’s not!” He snapped. He apologized and took a deep breath to calm his nerves. “I know what I feel and these feelings are so deep that they make me wanna go crazy. That is why I want to talk to the boy and come clean to Jim and everyone else. Ben is the boy I wanna be with.”
“I understand. But hearts will break. Jim has been pursuing you for a very long time and I don’t think he will let you go that easily.”
“He just has to.” He nodded. “Otherwise, if I continue lying to him then it will be harder in future.”
“You may be right. Have you told Amber.”
“Not yet!” He shook his head. “She’s friends with both and I promised Ben I wasn’t gonna tell anyone. And you have to promise me that you won’t tell her anything. Otherwise, I’ll never forgive you if you do.”
Isaac raised his hands as if he was surrendering.
“I love my life, thank you very much.”
The two friends burst into laughter.
“But whatever you do, know that you’ve got my support.” Isaac said with a serious face. “I just want you to be happy.”
“Thank you so much.” David smiled. “I just wish you were here with me. When are you supposed to return?”
“Not sure, man!” He sighed. “There’s still a lot of work to do. And I know your birthday is coming in a few days. I hope I can make it for your party.”
“Not sure there’s going to be one.” He laughed. “The only birthday gift I need is Ben.”
“Sure! I’ll wrap him up and deliver him to you.”
The two of them were laughing again. In no time, they were talking about something else and David’s mood got lifted. They were laughing, joking and gossiping about Isaac’s time where he was working. But as no good things last, they had to say goodbye to each other and David found himself thinking about the boy again. His emotions were so strong that he felt like he was going crazy.
He began pacing about the room, trying to think of what next, he was gonna do.
“God, please help me make a decision.” He sighed. “I am going crazy. How do I know if this boy loves me or not? I need an answer. If you exist, show me a sign so that I may follow it to my destination.”
He was still pacing when a strong wind came through the window and he covered his face to shield himself. But it didn’t take long and it died down. He was about to move when he saw a paper on the floor which he recognized.
It was the paper that the boy had dropped during their encounter in the bathroom. He quickly picked it up and unfolded it to reveal the greatest surprise of his life. The corners of his mouth turned up and his whole mood brightened up.
“Thank you so much. I know what to do.”
Ben was staring at the stars, letting them take his worries as he tried his best to forget his troubles. Jim was inside with Elena and they were planning on his big day which was coming in a few months as usual. He had left the house as usual because it made him feel like an outsider. He just wanted to go back to school so he could concentrate on his studies but it seemed the days were passing so slowly and Elena wasn’t making things any easier for him.
As he was thinking, he heard his phone vibrate and he almost jumped. He took a deep breath as he looked at his phone, an unknown number. Who could have been calling him, he thought as he hesitantly pressed the answer button.
Ben felt a shiver go down his spine when he heard that voice. His heart began thumping and sweat began dripping down his back.
“You!” He gasped, taking a glance behind him. “What do you want from me and how did you get my line?”
“Calm down!” David said on the other end of the line. “It’s good to hear your voice. I missed you.”
“That didn’t answer my question.” He said rudely. “You shouldn’t…”
“I got it from Amber because I wanted to talk to you.” He said with a chuckle. “I miss you, Ben.”
“Stop this nonsense!” Ben snapped, breathing harshly. “How many times must I tell you? Is it when you’ve put me in trouble when you’ll stop. I’m blocking your call so…”
“You need to meet me tomorrow morning.” David said abruptly.
“Are you kidding me?” Ben chuckled bitterly. “You’re going crazy and maybe you need some therapy. Why in the hell would I meet you?”
“I have something I need to talk to you about.”
“Whatever I have wanted to say to you, I have said it already. Stop pestering me…”
“Okay.” David chuckled. “Is that how you wanna play it? Alright, tomorrow morning I’ll come to your house so we can come and talk from there. Is that more convenient for you? Maybe we can even tell everyone about the truth and…”
“Fine!” Ben answered abruptly, clenching on the phone angrily. “I will meet you but after this, please leave me alone. I just need peace.”
He angrily cut the phone and began breathing like he was in labor. He didn’t even care when he received a text, probably from David. He stood there for a long time before he finally calmed himself down. Everything had been going so wrong since David entered his life and he had no idea what to do anymore.
He sat down on a step near the door with his arms wrapped around himself. It was a cold night and it reminded him of how he was feeling. He thought he already had many problems but David continued adding to them and it made him feel guilty because he was hiding something from Jim. But what could he do? He couldn’t just tell him the truth.
As he was lost deep in thought, he felt a cloth covering him and he quickly shifted his eyes to his side. He found his father smiling at him and he couldn’t help but smile. The man had put a jacket on him.
“Are you okay? You seem so quiet.” Jerome asked as his arms found themselves around his son. “Why aren’t you inside?”
“I just needed some air, dad.” He didn’t lose that smile on his face. He moved near his father and enjoyed the warmth of his touch. “Besides, Jim is busy with aunt Elena and I didn’t wanna disturb them. And you also know how she acts around me. This gives her a chance to bond with Jim.”
Jerome nodded as his face became blank. He was feeling very sad.
“I am so sorry, Ben. Lately, I feel like you’re not as happy as I used to make you feel.” He apologized, squeezing his shoulder. “I have been so busy with work and now your brother’s boyfriend and the unexpected engagement…” He sighed. “…I feel like such a useless father, especially to you.”
“Dad, come on!” Ben laughed. “I would beg to differ because you’re the best dad any boy can ask for. I understand that with the expansion of your empire, there’s more demand. As for Jim, I am happy that you’re sharing in his happiness. This is the first time I have seen him fall for someone like that and it calls for a celebration as a family. I am happy but you know the reason why I can’t celebrate with you as a complete family.”
“Yeah!” Jerome nodded, feeling a lump in his throat. “And I wish I could change that, honestly. I know that I am the only one you’ve got. I promise that once all this passes, I’ll take you on a trip, just the two of us. How does Hawaii sound like?”
Ben laughed. “I would go anywhere as long as I am with you.”
Jerome felt like the light in his life had shone brighter than ever. Seeing his Ben smile made him so much happier.
“You know, I wish to capture that smile on your face.” He teased, gesturing with his hands. “If only you I had brought my phone with me. I would have made it my profile picture so that the world could see how beautiful my son is, just like his mother.”
Ben burst into laughter again. “There will be lots of moments like this. And as long as I have my handsome dad with me, I know he’ll always find ways of making me smile.”
Jerome pinched his son’s cheeks and kissed his forehead. Ben rested his head on his father’s shoulder and Jerome wrapped his arms tightly around him. He felt so warm, so trouble free and so contented. He didn’t know what he would do without his father. He was literally his whole life.
“You know, I have something for you.”
“What is it dad?” Ben asked, raising his head.
He watched as his father went into his pocket and came out with a small box. When he opened it, Ben’s heart missed a beat. His eyes grew with excitement.
“Yes, my family bracelet!” Jerome nodded as he got out a beautiful golden bracelet and took Ben’s hand. “It was given to me by my father who got it from my grandfather.” He put it on Ben’s hand nicely. “He told me to give it to my child and now I am giving it to you. It is a very precious thing to me and I wat you to take very good care of it.”
“It’s beautiful!” Ben could not take his eyes off it. “But I probably shouldn’t.” He looked at his father, shaking his head. “My grandfather told you to give it to your son. I think Jim should have it, dad. He’s the…”
“I don’t care what anyone else says about what kind of son you are to me.” Jerome said with a smile. “All I know is that you’re my flesh and blood. That’s why I have given you this because I love you so much. Jim is a very reasonable person and he will understand. I love you so much son.”
“I love you too, dad.”
He wrapped his arms around his son. As his arms wrapped around him, Ben felt tears rolling down his face freely. In that moment, there in his arms, he felt safe. It was all he needed. He rubbed his face before he broke the hug and wore a smile when he looked at his father.
“Can you keep me company for a while, dad?”
Jerome chuckled and brought his son’s head to his shoulder. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Father and son stayed like that but unknown to them, Elena was behind them with a sullen look on her face and her trembling hands clenched. Her gaze remained focused on the two, her mind spun, jealousy tearing at her whole being. She wanted to snap Ben’s neck and finally end him after what she had witnessed her husband do.
In despair, she furiously turned and went back inside. She wasn’t gonna let it go.
Ben was seated in the living room, browsing through a catalogue to see if he could find anything lovely for his beloved. There were lots of good choices and he had no idea which one he wanted to go for. When he raised his head, he saw his mother coming towards him.
“Hey mom, it’s a good thing you’ve come.” He rose from the couch and showed her the tablet. “Which of these do you think David will like, something that will give an everlasting impression?”
“I think that boy is trying by all means to shift the attention to himself.” She sneered. “He can’t take the fact that you’re happy and now all the attention is on you.”
“What?” Jim frowned. “Who are you talking about?”
“Who else but that good for nothing bastard.” She snarled, her fists clenching. “He can’t wait to jump on any opportunity that he sees.”
“Mom?” Jim couldn’t mask the surprise in his voice. “What did Ben do this time?”
“Didn’t you hear anything I said? Well,” She crossed her arms on her chest. “While you and I are in here planning, your father has given that illegitimate son of his a family treasure. He’s given him a bracelet that was specifically meant to be for you. That was given to him by his father and he knew very well that I wanted you to have it.”
“Mom?” Jim lost the smile on his face. “Is that why you’re upset? I know of the bracelet dad has been keeping. He’s got two sons and there was no way to share it. I am not upset that Ben got it. After all, he didn’t get anything when we finished high school. I think it’s only fair…”
“This isn’t about being fair, it’s about being right.” She said angrily. “That bastard doesn’t deserve to get anything from him, do you understand? He sees that you’re happy and he cannot bear that so he find other ways of shifting attention to himself. He convinced your father to give him that bracelet and guess what…” she chuckled bitterly. “…now your father wants to take him on a trip, just the two of them. This is supposed to be a moment for you and your father.”
Jim lost the smile on his face.
“Why do you hate Ben so much, mom? And until when will you start treating him like an equal member of this family?” He shrugged. “Ben deserves that bracelet as much as I do and personally, I am happy that he got it instead of me. Because had dad given it to me, it would have probably made him feel like an outsider.”
“Isn’t that what he is?” She asked with an evil face. “Whether you accept it or not, Ben will and can never be part of this family. Don’t my feelings matter to you? I love you so much, Jim and I want you to be happy. But Ben is not part of this family. He is an illegitimate son and he shouldn’t be getting any privileges that are supposed to be yours.”
“This will continue until he finally convinces your father to give him a larger percentage of all the wealth.” She groaned. “Is that what you want?”
“Ben is not as selfish as you make him seem, mom.” He shook his head. “I know that he is not your son but I love him as my brother.” He placed his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it lovingly. “Don’t worry, I will get just as much as Ben will because we’re brothers. Excuse me, mom, I will be in my room.”
He left her feeling she was on fire. She couldn’t believe how he had acted stupid. She suddenly heard someone clapping and she didn’t need to guess that it was her husband. When she turned, she found him with Ben.
“Wow! I am so proud of my son. He is truly the son of his father.” Jerome teased, getting closer. “Till now, he refuses to be poisoned by your venom and I am so happy that no matter what you say to him, he can never ever change. Isn’t he wonderful?”
Elena smiled maliciously as her eyes landed on the boy. “You must be happy, Ben, aren’t you? Your plan to see Jerome and I fighting is working.” Her face flushed in rage. “You have vowed never to see me or Jim happy.”
“No!” He shook his head. “You’ve got me wrong and…”
“You don’t have to explain anything to her.” Jerome chimed in. “If you have anything to say to my son, say it to me. Ben, you may go to your room.”
Ben slightly bowed his head and started rushing towards the stairs but…
“Don’t you dare move an inch, you son of a whore!” Elena snarled. “I am not through with you.”
Ben stood but never turned to face Elena.
“It must feel good to be so manipulative, getting whatever you want whenever no one is looking, right.” She chuckled bitterly. “But it will take more than a bracelet to make you a part of this family. I have told you that a pig is a pig.”
Ben closed his eyes, suppressing his tears.
“You may put cologne on a pig. You may put designer clothes on a pig but a pig will always be a pig. Nothing will change that.”
“I said go to your room, Ben!” Jerome snapped. “Now!”
Ben didn’t need to be told twice. He rushed upstairs like the hounds of hell were after him. But he was in so much pain.
Elena was about to follow him when she was painfully gripped and brought back. Her arm burned and she couldn’t help but wince. When she looked into her husband’s eyes, she couldn’t recognize him. He was like a stranger.
“I have tolerated enough of you trying to hurt my son, Elena.” He said between clenched teeth. “What do you get from that? It seems there’s no reasoning with you, like I am talking to a wall. You can hurt me all you want but I am warning you for the last time, stay away from my son. Do I make myself clear?”
“You’re warning your wife because of your illegitimate…”
“Yes!” He snapped, adding pressure on his hands. Elena groaned in pain. “I am a father after all, it’s about time I started acting like one. Whatever anger that you have, project it on me, I will take it. But don’t take it on my son, Elena. Otherwise, you might just push me away like you did all those years ago and the results will be worse. I will take my sons with me and I will never allow you to come close to them again. Do I make myself clear?”
Elena’s mouth opened in silent scream. Her entire body became impossibly still.
“Hurt me all you want. But leave him alone.”
Her let go and she stood there staring at him, her eyes red as blood. She was so pissed that she promised she was gonna kill Ben. She watched as her husband stormed out of the living room. A single tear went down her cheek.
She angrily rubbed it, her eyes glittering with hostility. She gripped her shirt, pulling on it as she felt herself being possessed by the greatest anger she’d ever felt.
“You’ll pay for these tears, Ben and you won’t even see it coming.” She said under her breath. “Today my husband shouted at me because of you. And Jerome, you lie…” She chuckled. “…you can never leave me even if you wanted to because I am the brains behind your very success. You cannot survive without me. Ben…” She chirped, an evil grin appearing on her face.
“…I will create a big rift between you and my husband that it will be impossible to recover from it. You’re gonna wish I had burned you together with that bitch’s ashes. I promise!”
David was pacing, glancing around and not focusing on anything. He was grinding his teeth anxiously, hoping, praying and praying some more that Ben showed up. He was so nervous that he could feel the adrenaline coursing through his veins. He had been waiting for Ben in the park where he knew they wouldn’t be disturbed for over an hour. Whatever had made him think the boy would show, he thought as he hit his head.
Just as he was about to curse, he saw the boy coming slowly towards him and his heart skipped a beat. He was so handsome, in that ponytail long hair that seemed to show his entire handsome face. Those precious lips inviting him to kiss them and that marvelous body begging to be hugged.
David nervously moistened his dry lips and smiled spastically as the boy approached. He threw his arms around him and hugged him tightly. Ben just stood there with hugging him back, acting surprised. But he should have known that David was gonna do that.
“Thank you so much for meeting me, Ben.”
Ben sighed. “It’s not like you left me with any choice when you were threatening me last night.”
“Oh!” David chuckled nervously, scratching his head. “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like that either. I just didn’t know of any way to bring you to come see me.”
“And I am here.” Ben said harshly. “Say what you called me here for because I have to be on my way.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” David shrugged. “I am here to talk about us. I want to convince you for once to give us a chance to be happy.”
“And when will you get this?” Ben was frustrated. “There’s no us. What we had was a one-night stand. It meant nothing to me. People have one-night stands all the time and I don’t think they’re pursued like you’ve been doing to me. The purpose of a one-night stand is to just do it once and forget about it. I barely remember what happened that night and I don’t wanna remember. So, Mr. Paola, I don’t feel anything for you and neither do I want to have anything to do with you. The only thing you can do is forget about me and focus on your relationship. That is the only way you and I are gonna stay friends.”
“I don’t wanna be your friend!” David seethed, clenching his hands.
“Then we’re done!” Ben shrugged, shaking his head. “You and I cannot have any other relationship apart from friendship. When will you get it into your head that you’re dating my brother? He loves you and you’re going behind his back to try and get with his brother. I don’t think that’s fair.”
“What’s not fair is us trying to deny what we feel? What’s not fair is you denying me. Do you know how painful that is for me?”
Ben felt tears building in his eyes. “I don’t feel anything for you, David. And I’ll appreciate it if this is the last time you’ll call me to meet me. Because next time I won’t come.”
With a groan, he furiously turned and started rushing out of there but…
“Then explain this!” David hollered, making Ben stop.
Ben made a quick turn but just froze there with his mouth gaped, uncertain whether to scream or breathe. His mouth opened and closed without making a sound. His skin lost all color, becoming chalk-white. His hands twitched spastically and his stomach contracted in a tight ball.
“My life changed when I spent a passionate with this handsome stranger. I don’t understand how I grew so connected despite not knowing anything about him, don’t even know if I want to. But I am afraid to admit that one passionate night made me fall in love with a stranger.”
David extended his hand and showed the paper he held in his hand. Ben didn’t need to look at it to know what he had. It was his own words. He had written that on the sketch he had made of the man he had spent his passionate night with. He just didn’t understand how David got ahold of it.
“Those are your words.” David said excitedly, getting closer. “This confirmed to me that I am not the only one that felt something that night. You’re in love with me too and I don’t understand why you keep denying, why you left that day and why you’re hurting me.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He gasped.
“This is yours, isn’t it? It fell from your bag the other day in the bathroom once again proving that the universe wants us to be together.” David got closer and looked in the boy’s eyes. “Why are you doing this to me?”
“That’s not mine.” Ben lied.
“Then why do you look so shocked?” David asked. “Why are you pale? Why are you shaking?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about?”
“This sketch is from the portrait in my room. The one you were looking at that night.” His face was so serious. “I remember what you said that night. You loved the portrait and you got every detail quite right.”
“I have to go.”
Ben was walking so fast David had to increase his pace following him.
“Why are you running from me?” He asked anxiously. “Why did you leave that night?”
Ben tried to shield his ears but he could still hear the man talking. He tried to increase his pace but David was right behind him.
“Is it that you’re scared of love? Are you afraid of love?”
Ben shook his head. “Please stop!”
“Tell me? What are you scared of? Why is it that you left that night? If you love me then why did you leave?”
There was a scream from deep within that forced its way from Ben’s mouth. It was as if his terrified soul had unleashed a demon. He turned and almost bumped into the man. He didn’t know where the anger came from.
“Okay, I love you. I haven’t stopped thinking about you. Are you happy now?”
The thin like of David’s brow jumped in surprise and his eyes bulged from their sockets. His lips pulled back in a wide, beaming grin. His hands flailed before he dove in for a hug. He was so excited that he felt like he was about to explode from all the adrenaline.
“I knew it.” He said excitedly. “I knew I wasn’t the only one that felt this way, Ben. I…”
“Now that you know, does it change anything?” Ben’s voice was barely above a whisper, filled with so much pain.
David pulled away from the hug, staring at the boy like he’d grown another head.
“I don’t understand.”
“Does you knowing about my feelings change anything? Does it change the fact that you have someone in your life who in this case is my brother?”
“It doesn’t.” David took his hands and held them sweetly. “But we can change that. You’re the one I love. I want us to come to everyone and tell them the truth before it’s too late. Please…” He kissed his hands. “…you and I can be together. We can happy.”
“No!” Ben shook his head and withdrew his hands. “It is too late for that. Have you ever wondered why I left that day and never showed myself to you again?”
David was confused. “Why?” His voice was so low.
“Because I was scared.” He chuckled bitterly. “When I woke up that morning in your arms, I felt so horrible because that was against my principles. I lost my virginity to a stranger and I panicked. I was devastated and I wanted to forget but every night, I had the same dream and slowly I realized that I was in love with you.”
He slowly turned his back to David and fought his tears.
“The portrait was in my head and I… slowly but with time drew it to the finish. It was the only thing that I had to remind me of the wonderful time I spent with you.”
David felt so much pain. “Why didn’t you come back? Did you think I would have not accepted you?”
“No!” He felt a tear going down his cheek. “On the contrary, I could remember every word that you said to me that night. I knew exactly where you lived but I had no idea who you were. I could have come back but I decided to bury whatever feelings I had.”
By then, his face was wet. He didn’t know how to explain it to David but he felt he owed it to him to tell him the truth.
“I’ve only been in love once and it was the most beautiful thing that happened to me in a long time.” He chuckled in pain. “Brandon showed me that despite my being an illegitimate son, someone looked beyond that and saw me for who I really am.
I thought he was the one and for a short while, we were very happy. But then I discovered that the boy I loved was hurt because of me and he had almost lost his life in the process. He hated me so much and never wanted to do anything with me. Before I had a chance to talk to him again, he was gone and left my heart in pieces.”
He sniveled. “I never thought I’d be in love again until that night when I met you. I was once again heartbroken. The only things I had to remember my mother by got destroyed and in such circumstances, I met you. I didn’t think I’d fall in love again but I did, with a stranger.”
He turned and faced the man again.
“I love you, David, I am not gonna deny that.” He tried rubbing his tears but his face got wet in a second again. “But I believe is not for me.”
“Why?” David asked with tears in his eyes. “Because you’re still in love with your first love?”
“No!” He shook his head. “Because I cannot bear to see someone I love suffer because of me again. It will kill me. Once was enough and I don’t want trouble. That’s why I packaged my feelings and focused on my feelings. I never thought I’d meet you again until that day at your introduction dinner.”
“But we’re both here, we’ve found each other.” His voice was rough with pain. “We can fight for our love. I love you and you just confessed that you love me too. It’s not too late.”
Ben managed to grin through the pain. “You’re a good guy, David, and I can see your love for me in your eyes. But I am sorry for doing this. I am sorry if my decision is going to break your heart.”
“What are you saying?” David cried softly, grabbing Ben’s hand. “You and can be together.”
“No, we can’t. Not even if I wanted to. My brother…” He sobbed uncontrollably. “…he loves you so much. He is happy with you. I’ve never seen him so much in love with anyone before. I have never seen him invest in someone like he does with you. That’s not the love I’d want to destroy even if I wanted to, David.”
“No!” David wailed, kissing Ben’s hands. “Please, don’t say that.”
“I love you, David, and I don’t know when or how it happened. Believe me when I say that this is not going to be easy for me.” He moaned in pain. “I love you and I never thought that I’d love someone again. But I can’t be happy if I know that there is one person who is going to suffer. There is one person who will get hurt. My brothers love you and he needs you more.”
Complete hopelessness converted into tears that rain down David’s face at lightning speed. His lips trembled as he cried, making Ben feel like a horrible person.
“I love you.” He said in between sobs.
“I know, this isn’t easy for me too.” Ben cupped David’s cheeks and looked into his eyes. He couldn’t imagine that someone like him could cry so much. “But you know this is the right thing to do. You and I had our moment and now you’ve got someone in your life.”
“I can’t!” He shook his head, trying hide his tears. “Please!”
“You can and you will.” He tried to smile but failed horribly. “You’re a strong guy and I thank you so much for loving someone like me. I highly appreciate it. But you’ve got an amazing guy in your life already, someone whom I know is gonna love you more than I ever will.”
He stood on his toes and kissed the man’s cheeks before he turned started rushing out of there. The wind whipped his hair back from his face as he rushed out of the beautiful park. Luckily for him, there were few people and they didn’t even pay attention to him.
“Ben!” David screamed at the top of his voice.
He dropped to his knees and cried like a baby as great sobs escaped him, and he covered his face with shaking hands. Tears spilt over and flowed down his face like a river escaping a dam. He was in so much pain that he felt like something was eating him, some sharp-toothed monster.
Meanwhile, Ben was already in a taxi on his way home and he couldn’t help but cry. Moans escaped his lips through suppressed sound of hiccups. His vision was blurry, it was difficult for him to see. He was heartbroken and he didn’t even think it would hurt that bad.
Was there any way for them to be together?
David opened the door to his room and closed the door behind him. He walked slowly towards his bed wishing his head would stop pounding the way it was. The world was spinning and he wanted to vomit, but yeah, he was okay. His head pounded, sharp and heavy.
He sat on his bed and rested his head in his hands and began to rub his temples, trying to massage away the headache. But how could it go? Ben’s words were ringing in his head like they were on repeat and his head worsened with each word that he heard. He loved the boy but only got his heartbroken and the worst headache he’d ever experienced.
Suddenly, he felt arms wrapping around him and he jumped from the bed like a cat. That was when he realized that his room wasn’t as bright as it always was. It was lit by several scented candles. He could smell the vanilla and there were rose petals all over his bed.
“Are you okay, baby?”
Jim was on his bed, wearing the sexiest nightwear he’d ever seen on a guy. It was see-through and he could see his tight brief inside. What the fuck, he thought as his eyes scanned the room. His headache got worse as he tried to figure out what the fuck was going on.
“You startled me.” He said in a hoarse voice. “What’s all this?”
Jim smiled as he rose and walked towards the handsome man. Reaching there, he wrapped his arms tightly around him and brought him closer. His breath smelt of Vanilla and his hair was loose and a bit wet.
“You can’t tell, baby?” He asked as his lips got closer but David moved away. “This marks the beginning of our passionate night. Tonight, I get to feel that big, beautiful cock inside me. Tonight, I get to moan your name and be one with you.”
His hands traced David’s chest to his groin until he touched his crotch. But David jumped back to Jim’s disappointment.
“Not tonight.” David shook his head. “I am not feeling well. I have a terrible headache and I am not in the mood for sex.”
“But that’s why I am here.” Jim rushed to him and gripped his waist, pulling him closer. “I promise your headache will be gone by the time I am done with you. I will take away your troubles and…”
“Not tonight.” David shook his head. “Go home!”
“No!” Jim wasn’t gonna give up. “I had prepared this for us and we’re gonna do this.”
“No, please, understand.”
He tried to move but Jim pulled him back. “What the hell is wrong with you?” He seethed. “You’re pulling away and I don’t like it. There’s no way I am gonna waste all this so that you can reject me.” He moved sexily with a horny face. “Am I not attractive? Come…” He moved his hand to David’s buckle and began undoing it. “…I’ll take care of you.”
“Please!” David gripped his hand and stopped him. “Understand!”
“No!” Jim shook his head. “We’re doing this.” He continued unbuckling him despite his rejection.
“Jim!” David sighed in frustration.
“No, David!” He unbuckled the belt. “We’re doing this and that’s final.”
He unbuckled him and just when he began undoing the zip….
“Stop it!” David snapped, slapping his hand away. He felt a colossal rage surging in his chest.
To say Jim was surprised would be an understatement. He stared at the man that he no longer recognized, his breathing shallow and tears welling in his eyes.
To be continued…
Thanks a lot to everyone that took the time to read my work. I love you guys a lot. Don't forget to drop your comments about what you think about my work. Ciao!
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