The next Saturday morning Cameron woke up even earlier then normal. He smiled remembering where he was and who he was with. Feeling Cole’s slow steady breathing there beside him, Cole’s arm stretched over across his chest, and their heads shared the same pillow. He put his hand up on Cole’s arm and gently squeezed it, thinking back on their incredible night. As usual the movies were hardly paid attention to as they spent more time making out and having fun with each other’s bodies. He couldn’t figure out why he was awake so early, though as last time he’d looked at the clock before sleep was nearly 2am, which meant he’d only gotten about four hours sleep.
He’d always functioned well on little sleep though, and he wasn’t too worried about not being able to hold up his end of the work that day.
He looked around the room and smiled even more at the stuff that filled Cole’s room, the stuff that made it Cole’s room. Aside from the hunky guys on the walls there were a few awards for scholastic achievement. He hadn’t really been surprised two weeks earlier when he had seen them and questioned Cole about them, that Cole was very smart. He always got straight A’s, and had been involved in most of the academic clubs back at his old school in Virginia.
If he had only seen Cole from a distance he never would have pegged him as the academic or maybe even nerdy the type, but after having had many long conversations with him, Cameron had realized that he wasn’t dealing with someone of average intelligence. Not only was he wise when it came to books and dates and numbers, he was wise when it came to understanding people. Something Cameron considered being very rare as usually people were one or the other.
One thing that had surprised him about Cole was his complete lack of interest in sports. He had the body of an athlete, of maybe a runner or a swimmer, but had never had any interest, or participated in any sports other than what was required of him in gym. He didn’t even like watching them, which was okay with Cameron since he couldn’t think of anything that was more boring than watching a game where a 15 minute quarter could take an hour to play out on T.V.
His smiled faded some as he looked over on the wall past Cole and saw the pictures he had hanging there of his family. The family that was no longer there, happy and smiling and looking very much like the perfect happy family posing in all the photographs, some professionally done, some looking like they were taken on holidays and vacations.
Cole looked very much like his father. He saw a little of his mother in him, like the eyes, but his hair and facial shape, nose and lips all obviously came from his father. His sister who had been a couple years younger had the same hair color as Cole and their father, but everything else was all just like her mother. As he looked at the pictures of her he realized had he not been told that he never would have picked her out as his sister. Really they looked very little alike. From the dozens of pictures hanging there though he could tell they had been very close. In every picture they were together Cole had his arm on her or around her in some way. And they always both had big smiles on their faces.
From the looks of the pictures the family had gone on lots of vacations. Cameron himself had never been on a vacation and it made him happy to see Cole would be an expert on it for whenever he was able to go on his first one, because of course he planned on his first vacation to be with Cole.
He wasn’t sure if he was in Cole’s position that he would like seeing pictures of his family every morning first thing when he woke up. He thought maybe it would hurt him too bad to see something he couldn’t have anymore. Especially if they were all as close as the pictures showed. Though Cole’s mom was still alive he imagined the pictures of his mother must be the most painful. Now she barely resembled the person she once was in the pictures.
Now her hair was short, not the flowing curly and shiny auburn it had once been. The green eyes that once shined with life and vitality were now cold and lifeless. Her once beautiful face was now broken up by a large scar that ran from just below her hairline down the side of her face to her chin. He couldn’t imagine the frustration Cole must feel every day at having his mother still there, but yet so completely different than what she once was.
He squeezed Cole’s arm a little tighter as he turned his head and looked at his sleeping boyfriend. He looked happy when he slept; most of the time he even had a small smile on his face. Seeing him looking so peaceful and content only made Cameron feel worse for him. He wanted to make him happy, to give him back the happiness that had been in his life before it was so cruelly ripped away from him. He wanted to do for Cole what Cole was doing for him. To fill in every gap that had been in his life, filling him up with a feeling of being wanted, needed, the feeling of being loved.
He wanted to make sure Cole knew how much he loved him, make sure he never had any doubts about how wonderful he was. He wanted Cole to always be happy, and he wanted to be the main reason for his happiness. He had no idea if he could pull any of that off. In fact his past experiences made him very doubtful that he could. But that was not going to stop him from trying. He would do everything in his power to assure he would never lose Cole and Cole would be happy, they would be happy together.
Not wanting to wake Cole up that early, and not wanting to lie in bed for at least another hour, he decided to get up and make a nice big surprise breakfast for the two of them. One way, he figured, of showing just how much he cared.
Not daring to take a shower and wake Cole up he went downstairs in only his T-shirt and boxers figuring no one was going to show up that time of the morning anyways, and he certainly didn’t mind if Cole caught him in his underwear.
Once he got to the kitchen he washed his hands, then opened the fridge looking over the food. He wished he knew what Cole’s favorite breakfast foods were. He knew basically what he liked, but he didn’t have any idea about his favorites. Seeing a pint of blueberries on the second shelf he figured he couldn’t go wrong with a batch of blueberry pancakes. He knew he could make them from the week before, after all, all you had to add to the box mix was water, who could mess that up? And he knew enough from working at the restaurant that you didn’t add the berries until the batter was already spread out into the pan.
As he took the blueberries out of the fridge another thought hit him. He had at least an hour before Cole got up. It would take 15 minutes at the most to make pancakes. Maybe, just maybe he could think of something a little harder to do. And maybe just maybe he could pull off making it.
He set the blueberries on the counter and walked over to a cupboard he remembered seeing cook books in. He pulled out the thickest one then went over and sat down at the table opening it up in front of him. He fanned through it his eyes lighting up seeing muffin recipes. He quickly found one for blueberry muffins and read it over. It didn’t look too hard; all he had to do was follow the directions. And if they did come out crappy he’d still have time to hide the evidence and make something he knew he couldn’t mess up, like pancakes, course they wouldn’t be blueberry anymore, but it would still work in a pinch.
He spent 10 minutes getting all the ingredients together for the muffins and then carefully measured everything out and mixed it up according to the directions. Lastly he added the blueberries and greased up a muffin tin and poured the batter in half filling the tins just like the recipe called for.
Next he opened the preheated oven, took a deep hopeful breath and slid the muffin tin inside. By the time the muffins were done there was still no sign of Cole. So he left the muffins that looked like they might actually be good, on the sideboard and headed back up the stairs.
Cole was still in bed and still appeared to be sound asleep so he crawled back in bed and gently snuggled up to him. Soon as he touched him he realized Cole’s eyes were open.
“Hey where were you?” he asked putting his hand on Cameron’s shoulder.
Cameron moved his head so he was looking Cole in the face and smiled. “I made breakfast.”
Cole took in a deep breath through his nostrils. “Wow so that’s what smells so good?”
“I hope so; I’ve never made them before so I don’t know how they’re gonna be.”
“What did you make?”
Cole’s face lit up. “Ohhh, I love muffins!” he rolled onto his side and enveloped Cameron into his arms. “I guess that’s a valid reason for making me wake up alone in my bed on a Saturday morning!”
Cameron’s heart twitched, he felt a little angry at himself for choosing the wrong thing that morning. He’d wanted to show Cole how much he cared but apparently the better plan would have just been to stay in bed with him until he woke up.
He felt Cole’s grip tighten around him and realized his dismay must be obvious.
Cameron shook his head and put on a happy smile. “Nothing.” He had to be happy anyways. What Cole had said about waking up alone sure indicated Cole wanted him around. He LOVED that Cole wanted him around, because he sure wanted to be around Cole.
“Are you sure?”
He nodded again not really wanting to voice his worries out loud. “You think we got time to have a little fun before you gotta get your mom up?” he asked as a great and convenient way to change the subject.
He laughed at the flurry of blankets and clothes that Cole created as he gave his answer by becoming completely naked in less than five seconds.
After taking a shower together Cole went to get his mom up while Cameron made some oatmeal in the kitchen. After Cole fed his mom, then they sat down over the muffins. Cameron’s gut was nearly turning over with worry that the muffins would totally suck. He hadn’t considered before, but he should have at least tasted one before now and not just gone on how they looked.
He held his breath as Cole took a muffin, pulled it apart, spread some butter on it then popped a piece into his mouth. His stomach calmed down and he released his breath as Cole’s face lit up with what could only be satisfaction.
“Oh God, they’re good!” he said soon as he swallowed. “You are definitely gonna have to be the cook in this relationship!”
Cameron smiled, he was filled with so much happiness he could not form any words.
“You know today when Mr. Harris gets here, we should go to the farm store. I want to get plants. You know, like flowers, and recreate my gram’s flower garden.”
Cameron only nodded his mouth too full of muffin to speak. He figured it would be fun to go to the farm store. He didn’t ever recall having been there before, his father wasn’t exactly Mr. Agriculture, and he knew he sure wasn’t.
As always Mr. Harris showed up perfectly on time at precisely 11am. Cole made quick work of telling him they were leaving and they got into Cole’s car and headed out. They turned down several streets one of them being the one Cameron had grown up on. As they passed what used to be his childhood home he reached out and put his hand on Cole’s arm. “Can you stop a minute.”
Cole slowly applied his foot to the break and pulled to the curb in front of the house. “What is it?”
Cameron looked over the house, the front yard’s grass nearly knee high. Even though the house held no happy memories he still found it sad that it looked so terrible at the moment. He knew a happy family once lived there, even if it wasn’t his family. He really didn’t want his father to come home and see it like that, he knew his father had enough to make him sad without seeing the house looking run over by weeds and grass.
“Is this your Dad’s place?” Cole asked when Cameron didn’t answer. The grip Cameron had on his arm tightened before Cameron turned to look at him.
“Yeah, hey do you think we got time to maybe mow the lawn? Before we go do the store? Or after, it doesn’t really matter.”
Though he didn’t quite understand why Cameron would care at all he nodded figuring if it’s what Cameron wanted there had to be some good reasoning behind it. “Does he have two mowers? So I can help?”
Cameron shook his head. “But one or the other of us can use the weed whacker, you know trim up the edges and around the shrubs and stuff?”
“Okay sure.” Cole shut the car off and they both got out. They walked to the garage, which was never kept locked, and went inside. Cameron took the mower while Cole took the weed whacker and they set to work. A little less than half an hour later with both of them working hard at it, the front lawn looked back to normal. Knowing they still had to get to the store Cameron figured he’d go the next day and do the back yard. No one could really see that anyways and he didn’t expect his father would be home from the hospital over the weekend.
After putting the stuff back in the garage they got back in the car and continued on their way to the farm store. Not having as much time as they had anticipated they didn’t spend much time looking around once they got there. Cole picked out about a dozen different flowers, two of each kind that they both figured would all go very nicely together in a small flowerbed.
By the time they got back to Cole’s they were fifteen minutes past the time Mr. Harris was supposed to leave. As soon as they walked in the door Mr. Harris was there looking rather impatient.
“I’m sorry we’re late sir.” Cole spoke up obviously seeing he didn’t look too happy. “We stopped and mowed the lawn at Cameron’s father’s house.” He figured that would cool the man’s temper.
Cameron cringed, for some reason he hadn’t really wanted Mr. Harris to know he was doing that. He didn’t want to appear to be a dumb kid that kept trying to win his father’s love. He wasn’t trying to do that, only trying to be nice, but he figured it may come across that way. The surprised look on the man’s face didn’t rule out his concerns.
“Did you see your dad?”
He shook his head wondering why Mr. Harris thought he’d gone to the hospital. “No, we just went to the house.”
Mr. Harris narrowed his eyes in confusion then nodded, a little like recognition had dawned on him. “You’re dad is home now. He got home two days ago. I’m sorry I guess I forgot to tell you.”
Cameron nodded his heart beating a little faster in his chest. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t have done what he did had he known his dad was home. He hoped his father hadn’t seen him, but figured he may be pretty safe since nothing had come flying out of the house at his head. “How is he?” he figured maybe he was bed ridden and couldn’t get up to look out the window anyways.
“I don’t know for sure, I just found out he was released from the hospital. Some of the nurses from the church are making sure his needs are met.”
Cameron nodded feeling kind of pissed that someone from the almighty church was doing something he figured he should be doing himself. He didn’t know why he felt like he should be doing it. I mean it was obvious his father didn’t want him around. Somehow though, he still felt mad that the church was taking care of things and not him. “Well we’re sorry we’re late.” To his relief and surprise Mr. Harris half smiled as he nodded.
“Well it was for a good reason, just let me know next time okay? I’m late to my next visit.”
“Yes sir, sorry.”
Mr. Harris left and they sat down at the table over a couple of tuna fish sandwiches. Tuna wasn’t Cameron’s favorite, but he could tolerate it, and he didn’t want to say no when Cole had asked him if Tuna was okay. After they ate which only took about ten minutes Cole wheeled his mother out onto the back lawn and set her under the eaves of the shed so she was out of the sun. It still amazed Cameron how much he watched out for her.
Cameron brought all the flowers from the car out to the back and set them around the flowerbed that definitely needed some work before they could even be planted. Though summer hadn’t even officially started yet the beds were overgrown with weeds. They spent a while raking out until the soil was loose and turned.
Cole went into the shed and came out with a bucket filled with pink, white and graying pebbles.
“Fertilizer, I figure a little won’t hurt.” He spread it sparingly over the entire patched of freshly turned soil, then raked it over again blending it in with the dirt. When he was done he returned the bucket to the shed and came out with two small trowels, he handed one to Cameron before they both got down on their knees in among the scattered still potted flowers.
“How do you want to put them?” Cameron asked sitting back on his calves.
Cole spent a minute looking at the dirt then at the floors and back to the dirt then shrugged. “Why don’t we just put them where ever, don’t even look at what each other is doing. Just go along where we feel like putting them?”
Cameron shrugged as well. “Okay!” He was never one for symmetry or things being uniform so it sounded like a great idea to him. They worked in silence for a little bit before Cole started to make conversation.
“You know my mom is going into the hospital next weekend. They have to run some tests and redo a few things, do you suppose you would get to stay the whole weekend? It’s a long weekend anyways ‘cause of Memorial Day. I thought maybe since Mr. Harris has unclenched a little, you might dare to ask?”
Cameron’s mind raced at just the thought of a long weekend at Cole’s house. Waking up together for three whole mornings, spending three whole nights snuggled in his comfy and cozy bed. Cole was right Mr. Harris had eased up an awful lot. It was a downright possibility that he may even say yes. “I’ll ask.” He said nodding. “You never know he might just say yes.”
“Do you suppose Reverend butt face would let Jesse come over at least during the day?”
Cameron almost laughed at the very thought, not imagining any such thing would be allowed even if hell did freeze over.
“You know.” Cole said sitting back and looking over at Cameron a flower in one hand and the trowel in the other. “Maybe Mr. Harris could talk him into it! Like obviously Mr. Harris is a high mucky muck in the church and since you live with him, maybe just maybe the reverend will let it happen.”
Cameron sighed, slumping his shoulders but before he could speak Cole did.
“Oh yeah. Guilt by association huh?”
Tilting his head to one side Cameron smiled guiltily. “I’m sorry Cole I just need to stay there. I don’t want to get kicked out. I also am not brave enough to tell Kyle yet.”
Cole nodded as he put his flower into the hole he’d dug. “I understand, it sucks but I understand. I couldn’t imagine having to hide it, having to be so scared of anyone finding out. It really sucks you have to be put in that position.”
Cameron focused on planting his next flower wishing he could be braver. Wishing he could have confidence that he wouldn’t get kicked out on his ass if Mr. Harris found out he was gay. Problem was the man was so damn vocal about his disgust of the ‘gay community’ he was pretty darn sure he would get kicked out. Strict as he was, he liked living with Mr. Harris. Liked the whole Harris family, especially Kyle. He didn’t want to lose his best friend as much as he didn’t want to lose his home.
“Hey, I was gonna ask. Did you not want me to tell him that we mowed your dad’s lawn today? You looked like you didn’t want him to know.”
Cameron shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter I guess. I probably wouldn’t have told him, but I guess it worked out for the best. At least we didn’t get in trouble.”
Cole nodded. “Yeah that’s why I told him. I figured something like that would be up high in his books of saintly things.”
They both laughed and Cameron shook his head. “I don’t know, I guess I just still feel bad for my father. I may not like him too well, but I know he must be feeling real awful about now. I really wouldn’t wish what happened to him on anyone.” He shuddered for a minute then looked up at Cole. Someone who had, had that same thing happen to them. “Oh I’m sorry.”
Cole raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“Well” Cameron stuttered. “Cause you…”
Cole waved his hand dismissively. “Nothing to be sorry for Cameron. I understand what you’re saying and I agree I wouldn’t wish it on anyone either. If it helps, you sure make me a lot happier!” he said grinning, which got Cameron grinning right back. Cole’s grin was so damned cute.
“You make me a lot happier too. I don’t ever remember being so happy.”
Cole’s face lit up. “I’d kiss ya but I guess we better wait ‘til we get inside and no nosey neighbor’s could be peeking at us.” He gestured over to the next house where they both knew a couple that went to the Harris’s church lived.
Cameron shook his head “I’m sorry.”
Laughing Cole looked at him sideways. “Why now? Gosh you’re apologetic today!”
Laughing a little Cameron realized he was being rather apologetic. “Well… just cause you gotta keep it a secret too. I know it must drive you nuts. You seem so confident about it.”
“I’m not that confident, I just don’t have anyone I have to hide it from. Like I said I totally understand your situation.”
After they’d planted the last flowers they stood up and brushed off their knees and then stepped back and looked over their creation. After a moment Cole clapped his hands together once. “I LOVE IT! I think gram would be proud!”
Impressed with how well it looked himself Cameron nodded. “I think she would be too!”
They put their supplies away then Cole wheeled his mother back into the house while Cameron held the door open. He wheeled her into the living room and turned on the TV setting her in front of it. He set the channel to some nature show and then walked up to Cameron who was standing in the doorway to the living room and wrapped his arms around him giving him a tight strong hug. Their lips met and Cameron relished in the taste of Cole’s warm inviting mouth as their tongues caressed each other inside each other’s mouths.
They pulled apart just in time to miss the fact that two eyes had been peering at them through the front door. “Oh look,” Cameron said pointing over to the table by the door. “Mr. Harris left his bible here.”