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    W_L
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True As It Can Be - 6. Chapter 6

Waking up in a dark room with the sounds of a crying man near me isn’t exactly how I imagined things would be like in college. As I sit watching him convulse and sob, Brad’s pride and his arrogance is nowhere to be seen. It feels wrong somehow to see this lion of a man so vulnerable. I want to hold him, want to hug him, and hell, I would give him an inexperienced blowjob if it stops those sobs. He admitted to me last night he wants me and I know I want him. Yet, I know neither of us would be happy if something starts from pity sex.

I’ve met a few closeted guys in Minnesota, who promised me the moon if we had sex. It was mostly jerk-off sessions, but there was Jeremy, a big muscled 19-year-old farm boy with wild blond hair like Brad, who wanted me to suck him off and fuck me in a shed. He treated me like shit after sex, he denied he was gay or bi, then threatened me with bodily harm if I ever revealed what we did together. We had sex 4 times like that, each with the same result. Sadly, I was desperate enough each time to believe he meant the stuff leading up to it, like “I want you” or even “I love you” before we went into the shed in the back of his farmhouse. He never even reciprocated, except with a few quick tugs at my big dick that offered no release. I learned from those experiences that sex is just what others want from me, they don’t care what I want.

Still, I want Brad to know I care about his pain. I touch his brow in the middle of his crying. He seems to calm down slightly with my touch.

His voice hoarsely responds to the touch, “I fucked up, guys. I shouldn’t have pushed you that far. Gary, he told me we could be kings together, ride life to the top,” he stares at an empty corner of the room, “Francis, I pushed you hardest of all, because I knew…I know how you feel about me. I don’t feel that way towards you, bro, but I needed your strength and body. I needed to win to prove to everyone who doubted me that I could be just as good as my parents. Forgive me...”

I want to tell Brad he’s forgiven, but I can’t do that. Francis and him have a history that they have to resolve on their own, but I could be here for him now as I am. He talks to a few more people, who did not exist in the room. Several former teammates, a few teachers, a coach, his parents, and even his pet Labrador retriever, Cam. Then, his skin starts heating up. He starts to sweat a lot. His tears subside, but something else is growing in him.

Brad spoke with fury and anger unlike anything I’ve ever seen or heard from him so far, I retract my hand from his forehead as he speaks.

“Gary, you bastard, I loved you. I made you. Why did you betray me! Why!”, he pauses for several minutes, “That’s not how it went, I never taught you to be a cunt. I just showed you how to win, how to be on top. You did this to me for your own benefit,” another pause, Brad’s voice begins to quake “Fuck you, I…loved you, you were supposed to love me back. We grew up together. We had sex. I shared everything with you, wasn’t that enough.”

The door to the room opens and Cook stands at the doorway, he motions me to leave Brad’s side. We walk out of the dark gloomy room. I turn my head before the door is shut to glance at Brad, he’s beginning to cry again.

Cook asks me, “Do you care about him?”

I stare at Cook and nod, “I think it’s just a friend thing, I don’t like seeing him in pain.”

He considers me, “You are very mature, Beau. I watched you handling his words with care and saw you reading to him tonight. I think you know he’s not in the right mind or condition to be more than he is. It did surprise me that he left his room to protect you, the other night. I had a feeling of attraction being at work on some base level. Your actions last night showed you do reciprocate his feelings on some level. I want you to know there’s nothing wrong if you and him get to a level of intimacy, but you shouldn’t expect him to be a normal partner. Emotionally, he doesn’t know how to feel with all his experiences.”

I frown, “I don’t think I love him. I think it’s limerence rather than romantic feelings.”

He smiles, “I see you’ve been reading some psychology studies for your introductory courses. Yes, fascination and obsession over a person or object is a real phenomenon. Brad’s interest in Gary maybe a good example. Additionally, a deepening interest can lead to unrequited romantic feelings, such as Francis’ interest toward Brad of which you have heard about.”

My mouth drops at his candor, “I thought psychiatrists don’t discuss their patients’ personal lives with others.”

Cook chuckles softly, “If information was provided by the patients to a third party publicly, then it is no longer privileged information. I prefer open discussion rather than secrecy among all of you; though it is hard to stop self-insulation,” he clears his voice, “As to your point about limerence, there’s a line that you need to recognize. The limerence’s emotions go unreciprocated, if they are returned back from the person of interest, then it is no longer limerence.”

My sleep addled brain realizes the implication, but I retreat, “It’s too early Cook, I just want to be there for him.”

He squeezes my shoulder, “You should get some sleep. It’s 3 AM on a Saturday, I usually don’t start brunch until around 11 AM, so you have a few hours for actual sleep.”

Cook enters Brad’s room and I begin walking to my room, passing a corridor of other rooms as I near the stairs. One of the doors open behind me and I am struck by the sight of Paki coming out. His makeup, hair, and eye shadow are all messed up. He is also completely naked, revealing a compressed black muscular frame with an average sized uncut dick. He notices me and freezes in place. Despite the darkness of the corridor, I know he recognizes me.

I wave at him sheepishly, saying “Hi Paki”

He replies without any doubt or hesitation, “Hi Beau,” he looks back speaking softly to someone in the room, “Intanda, we should probably tell him about us.”

I hear a groan; I knew it came from Francis. Things begin to click between the small gestures of affection they shared and the little exchange of words. It’s not surprising that people become boyfriends living nearby. Paki is attractive and Francis is gorgeous if you like tall redheaded muscular boys. It is an interesting contrast to have a compact framed 5 feet 4-inch Paki, alongside a muscular 6 feet 3-inch Francis. It makes perfect sense though, their personalities appear to be conflicting, but also very supportive.

Paki makes a gesture with his only hand to go into the room, which I accept with a little reservation. I enter Francis’ room, which has full dumbbells set, a rowing machine, a treadmill, and other equipment along with a very intricate sound system. Brad’s room had exercise equipment, but Francis was a level beyond that. He must be very interested in physical fitness.

Francis pushes his blanket to cover his dick. As I stare at him and Paki, Francis notices my quizzical look and answers defensively, while grabbing hold of Paki in a loving hug.

“Yes, I’m fucking Paki. You have a problem with that?”

Paki laughs at his lover's behavior, “We’re doing more than that, we’re taking turns, too.”

Francis blushes, but Paki kisses him on the cheek.

I respond to the scene of them, “Uh, I’m sorry if I’m not supposed to know what you guys are doing or…”

Paki cuts me off, “No, everyone in the house know about us. No one cares if we do stuff with each other.”

I ask, my mind not filtering the questions, about the relationship dynamics in the house, “Are Warren and Min boyfriends, too? Is this like a gay romance therapy to cope with your disabilities?”

As the words leave my mouth, I realize how stupid and childish it must sound. My brain isn’t working properly after dreaming about Wizards and flavored beans.

Francis burst out in a guttural laugh, “Hell no, Warren has a boyfriend named Noah back in his home in Florida, and Min…well, he’s got issues with a guy he feels responsible for.”

Paki giggles and shakes his head, “No, but we should let them tell you their stories when they feel it is proper,” He pauses and stares at me, “Since we are asking deep questions tonight, how was your time with the Beast?”

I respond quickly to the question, “Nothing happened between me and Brad, he was just hurting and I thought I could do something nice for him.”

Francis snorts, “We know you were reading to him. These walls don’t hide anything especially in the hallway. I don’t get why you want to help that asshole, though.”

Maybe I can’t change what happened in the past or make Francis forgive Brad, but I could try to help a little.

“He’s not as bad as you think. He’s really sad about what he did to you Francis, he knows what you felt for him and he knows how he used your trust and devotion for him. It’s eating at him inside. He really wants you to forgive him.”

Paki, still naked, fishes out 3 shot glasses and a bottle of Captain Morgan from Francis’ closet, “If we’re going to do this right now, we each need to take a few shots to loosen our tongues more than the lack of sleep has.”

The rum is sweet and easy to go down, but the fire that comes afterward is intense.

Francis is on his 2nd shot, when he speaks, “He didn’t need to play with my feelings, you know I didn’t expect him to ever feel like that to me. I knew the rumors; he’s been with Gary longer. I’m just a nobody, the son of a music teacher and a furniture store owner, while Brad has always been the star. I was always big and clumsy, but Brad motivated me to be better, to work out, and join the football team. I had never been acknowledged like he did with me, then when it came to the sex…” he pauses and Paki kissed his bare biceps, accepting his past, “I knew I was gay, I knew I liked Brad and I wanted to do it all for him. Gary joined in from time to time, he made me feel dirty, but knowing Brad was having fun with me, it was enough. On game day, Brad told me to protect him as Gary laterals back to him. I faced down 3 linemen and broke through them for Brad, losing my helmet in the process. When a 4th lineman was in front of Brad, I barreled my head towards the guy, because it was the job Brad gave me and I wanted to protect him. My retinas detached. He never acknowledges my sacrifice for him throughout the year after our win, he never asked about me, or cared what happened. I got the courage to approach him and Gary pushed me away, saying I was worthless, now. Brad was there and he said nothing. How can I forgive him for that?”

Knowing his full story now, I feel horrible for Francis and Brad knows he bears a responsibility for his inaction, “I don’t know if you can ever forgive him for what happened or what that felt like. Do you still care about him?”

Francis laughs after drinking what might be his 3rd shot, “The fucking truth is yes, I still care about him. It’s sick isn’t it, I’m having drinks with you, the new guy in his life, and my too good to be real boyfriend. I signed up for this thing, because I wanted to see if he’ll give me an iota of love in response. I know he never loved me, but I still want something from him.”

Paki finishing his 4th shot, replies, “I am not that good, Intanda. I used to rob people, among other things, to survive life in Pretoria. Life was hard, money was scarce and my family couldn’t afford to care for all of my brothers and sisters. I went to school for the free food, not the education. The city provided opportunities, but at a cost, few can afford. Many were in the city merely to serve the wealthy like my parents and older siblings, while we pooled our earnings to keep an apartment in a city. Being as I am, small and feminine, but still a boy in all the other aspects, I had few ways to make money, except theft or my body. I chose the former as the latter was not my desire. Since I had to do a lot of climbing, jumping, and work with my hand, I became quite limber and gymnastic came as second nature. I received a scholarship to the University of South Africa in my city from the South African Gymnastic Federation, but it wasn’t enough to pay for everything. I accepted one last job near my 18th birthday to steal from a rich man’s house, but his men caught me. They beat and raped me, then cut off my right hand. After they were done, they kicked me out on the street. They didn’t kill me, because they wanted others to see me as an example. I walked for hours aimlessly until I fell in front of a restaurant. Dr. Hooker…Cook saved me and offered me help, when others would have ignored a beaten boy from the streets. My scholarship was gone without my hand, I had no future except as some ihenyukazi on the street corner offering a broken body. That is how I came to be here. I am not too good Francis. I am the way I am, because of the conditions that made me. I seek beauty and warmth now, even if it is fleeting, because all I’ve known were hard choices.”

I don’t know how to respond to their bitter stories of unrequited love and a failed robbery attempt. I had no idea Francis signed up for this, because he wanted acknowledgement from Brad. It makes a bit of sense. It’s why he was so bitter towards Brad and why he was warning me off him. I think they both can find peace, if they just let their guards down and just confront the reality of their pasts. They both want an acknowledgment from the other, basically. Brad wants Francis to forgive him and Francis wants Brad to acknowledge Francis’ feeling towards him. There’s no fairy tale ending for them, even without Paki or me somewhere in the mix. That’s just how life works.

Paki is always surprising me with his background, he’s unlike anyone I have ever met. He’s caring and loving, honorable and noble, but there is an edge to him created from a hard life that will never go away. There are places in the world that offer no hope, no future for people like me. Paki is only a few inches taller than me; I wonder where I’d be if I were kicked out of my home with no support system. People can’t judge Paki’s choices, made out of poverty and deprivation that even in my own limited suffering, I can’t truly understand.

With my 4th shot, I tell them about my life, reiterating things that I had told Morris and others before. In truth, I feel shallow for telling them of my own rough living, when they’ve suffered far worse. They didn’t judge me. I recount my parents lack of love and neglect of me after revealing my sexuality. We talked about our birthdays, I turned 18 in early July, used most of my savings to stay at Airbnb over the summer nearby. I learned Paki had just turned 19 and Francis turned 18 in September. After a few more drinks, we told each other about our first times having sex, we laughed at our uncomfortable revelations. Francis told us he lost his virginity to Brad; he began to laugh describing how inexperienced he was as a 14-year-old. I told them about Jeremy and the shed. Paki notified us it was the failed robbery and rape that lost his virginity, we all cried. After we had laughed, cried, and drank our fair share of rum, we began to get tired. We shared a moment of uninhibited friendship together as I fell asleep next to them, not worrying about their nudity.

When I am awake again, I am curled to one side of the large bed, while Paki and Francis are cuddled together. Being a Queen size bed with both Paki and I being smaller guys, there is plenty of space for separation between me and the lovers. It feels relaxing as the sunlight begins touching my face, knowing that I am with friends. We bared our souls to each other last night and I can see a future with us in each other’s lives. I don’t know how much time we spent drinking or sleeping, but my hangover headache is in full swing, when the door of the room opens and a familiar voice makes another morning announcement to rouse me up.

“So, here’s where you are, Beau,” Chip chirps at me, “It’s almost 11 AM, Cook is going to start brunch soon. You don’t want to miss out on chicken fried steak and beignet doughnuts,” he eyes Paki and Francis snuggled together next to me, “Come Paki, Francis, you guys should wake up, too. Did you all have a threesome last night? Was it fun? I don’t know if I can ever have a threesome, I don’t like to share. Like Robby was sharing his cookie with this cute guy named Greg yesterday, but I got super jealous at him. Robby said he only liked me though and I said “show it”, so he kissed me in the boy’s bathroom. I told you guys’ part of that story last night. It was so cool, but I made him promise me he wouldn’t do that with Greg, unless he didn’t want to do that with me again. I told him I won’t do that with any other boys too. Some stuff like kissing and hugging, you can’t share without problems. Like homework, we’re not supposed to share answers for Mr. Lawrence’s class, but…”

Feeling groggy, I answer Chip, “No threesome, my head hurts.”

Chip races out the room and comes back what seem like seconds later with a trolley cart, 3 glasses of water and a bottle of Tylenol extra strength tablets. He leaves without another word. I do not know if this is normal for Chip, or if Paki and Francis had prior hangover episodes, but they instinctively get up and takes 4 tablets and a glass of water each. I follow suit and do the same. It takes about 10 minutes before the headache begins to clear. I get off Francis’ bed, the only fully clothed person in the room.

Francis has ceased being nervous around me, he greets me with a clear image of his red pubic hair and erect morning hard on, “Good morning, Beau. If you don’t mind, Paki and I have to take care of something before brunch, we’ll meet up later.”

Noticing their erections, I nod, “I need to get changed and shower, too. Thanks, guys, for sharing stuff with me last night and letting me vent, too.”

We part ways and I head up to my room. There’s no resolution to any emotional issues that were stated last night, but at least, there’s some benchmark to it. I might be meddling, but I can’t help feeling like Francis and Brad’s impasse could be resolved easily if they just spoke openly. Maybe, I can get Paki to help on that.

On my way back to my room, I notice Warren walking back to his room with a large towel, shower caddy, and cotton robe. His burned skin is very apparent without his makeup, but it also seems like his feminine features are more pronounced. His chest is flat, but his exposed nipple appears larger and have a dark brown tint surrounding it. At the sight of me, he tightens the waistband of his robes, obscuring any view of his private areas.

I try to offer greetings to him, “Morning Warren”

He grunts, “Morning” and walks away quickly. After being welcomed in bed by Francis and Paki, I wasn’t ready for the sudden cold shoulder from Warren. Among all the boys I’ve met, he’s the most reserved of all. I have wild thoughts about how he got his burns, but all I know about him is that he’s from Florida and used to be a wrestler. I want to be his friend and know his story, too.

Thank you for all the great reader reactions and comments :)

Copyright © 2021 W_L; All Rights Reserved.
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Story Discussion Topic

Well, you guys know my taste in reading is eclectic, so what about my actual writing. True As It Can Be is a story set in the modern world without any magic or fantasy. It's characters are lost, tragic, and very human. I also wanted to add some personal reflection, knowledge, and experience into my writing about things I haven't seen many authors comment on. As I noted in my story's summary page, I was inspired by Beauty and the Beast, heavily on its Disney animated version, but I inve

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Chapter Comments

So we learn alot more about Brad as he's talking in his sleep, how he's sorry and Cook explained alot to Beau. The drinking session with Beau, Francis and Paki helped clear up alot of things between the guys. We need to learn more about Warren and why he's so reserved.

I love Chip, he's such a character, the way he new to take painkillers and water to three guys was amusing. He's not ashamed to ask questions either.

I'm loving this story and your modern take on the story of Beauty and the Beast.

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4 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

So we learn alot more about Brad as he's talking in his sleep, how he's sorry and Cook explained alot to Beau. The drinking session with Beau, Francis and Paki helped clear up alot of things between the guys. We need to learn more about Warren and why he's so reserved.

I love Chip, he's such a character, the way he new to take painkillers and water to three guys was amusing. He's not ashamed to ask questions either.

I'm loving this story and your modern take on the story of Beauty and the Beast.

Thanks Chris,

Brad actually isn't sleep talking, it's full on hallucination. One of the side effects of Methadone withdrawal is hallucinations. Brad has a lot of demons, stuff he regrets, and stuff he still wants.

Beau knows there's something between them, I wanted to show folks with the opening paragraphs he's not a blushing virgin either. His only interactions with gay sex has been one sided.

Francis and Paki are good for each other, I like the idea of a late night drinking and conversation session. I've had that with friends in college and I know it's been one of the lesser portrayed aspects of College life. It's one of the reasons to live in dorms, you grab your drink of choice (Rum, Whiskey, Tequila, Vodka, or beer and just talk. As an adult, I drink wine and coffee liquers, but as a college guy, it wasn't my preferred drink of choice.

Chip is awesome, he needs to be protected like a delicate teacup (Even if that's the character I based him off :P )

Warren's story is interesting and so is Min's for that matter.

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A very powerful chapter where we learn much and find out there's a larger dark side to the A-hole Gary,. I wonder if he fits the classic definition of a narcissist?

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48 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

A very powerful chapter where we learn much and find out there's a larger dark side to the A-hole Gary,. I wonder if he fits the classic definition of a narcissist?

Glad you notice the little hints about Gary's actions in respect to Brad.

It's true, Gary isolated and sweet talked Brad into ignoring Francis. Brad out of guilt didn't know what to say or do for his friend/sometimes lover. It's a complicated relationship.

Gary is selfish to the extreme, while Brad's selfishness can probably be attributed to desire, an unrequited love that he thought was being returned through the sweet talk and sex. Francis was a toy for Gary's amusement, while Brad saw him as a sexual outlet and brother in some respects.

 

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