It began with such a dreamlike subtlety…my night time fantasy.
It was as delicate as walking through a cloud of fog and having it lift to give me the beautiful images that my mind wanted to see so badly. It was too good to be true. My body should have been able to alert me to the fact that I was dreaming. But the illusion was too crisp, too real…my desire was too strong. It was Jason, laying on the bed in front of me. The room was empty except for the two of us. He looked up at me with the fire of sex in his eyes, and I took notice of the fact that he was completely naked from the waist down. His shirt was gripping onto his strong sides so sensually, and it stopped right above a patch of silken pubic hairs. His legs spread wide, and I saw…everything. Right there. Open. Calling to me. His balls hung low between his creamy thighs, his member stiffening as I watched on from a corner of the room. Jason never took his eyes off of me, instead, he called me over to join him on the bed. I was nervous, TOO nervous, but in a sexual frenzy that my body didn’t know how to control. I took a few steps forward, lifting my shirt over my head, and standing bare chested in the room with Jason smiling in my direction. Suddenly, a quick flash of Trevor’s face entered my mind. It was the strangest thing…almost as if he was there…watching me. My mind began to dwell on the idea that Trevor might be somewhere in the room, but Jason moaned out loud and rolled over to display the round smoothness of his bubbled cheeks to my hungry eyes, as he turned them up to face me. My very breath was caught in my throat, and I began inching closer to him as he began to lustfully grind himself into the bed. His hips moved with such a slow and passionate motion, his ass becoming more delicious as his buns flexed tightly to push further into the mattress. He was calling me. He wanted me. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for all of my life.
I moved over to lay down next to him, and spent an eternity kissing his lips, seductively, hungrily, always wanting more. It was the kind of sexual pleasure that only a teenage boy’s dreams can hold. I tasted every inch of him from head to toe. I sucked him, I humped him, I licked him, I nibbled at him, I felt his weight press down on me as he drove into me again and again. The pressure in my loins was intense, fearing that the release would bring an end to this experience…my first…with the boy I loved more than anything. Then…another brief flash of Trevor. An unexplainable dash of his smile, for no reason whatsoever, had crossed my mind. But Jason kept me focused on him, and I heard him whisper to me quietly.
“I love you, Taryn. I love you soooo much. I always have.” Then he French kissed me deeply enough to snatch the breath right out of me. I could feel his hardness push into me over and over again, and my mouth became dry…thirsting for another taste of him. Everything was oh so real. His flavor, his aroma, his kiss…so very real. “Why didn’t you ever tell me you loved me?” He added.
“I…I…thought you didn’t like me..” I started, but he kissed me to stop me from talking.
“I love you. I’ve ALWAYS loved you. I got the girl to make you jealous, that’s all. I tried to talk to you the other day…but you said you were straight…remember?” He said between more kisses.
I was trying to understand, my mind was twisted with so many emotions at once, “You asked if I was a ‘faggot’…”
“And you said no. Oh how I wished you had said yes. I’ve been waiting for you forever, Taryn. I was just waiting you to ask me. Please, Taryn…make your move. Ask me…and I’ll be yours forever.” He whispered. “Ask me…”
They were the last words that I heard before waking up out of my sleep. I was still hard as a rock, still breathing hard, and laying on the floor with a thin sheen of sweat glistening off of my forehead. I opened my eyes to see Jason lying next to me…breathing quietly through his parted lips, and looking so divine with the minimal amount of moonlight coming in through the window. I was still close to him, close enough to touch the tip of my nose to his shoulder…and it was sooo beautiful for me to be in that position for the first time in my life. It was timeless. I felt as though I could lay right here in silence, and love him without having to worry about him running away or calling me names. I wouldn’t have to bother with anybody’s judgements or criticisms…I could just…release. Let it all go and love him the way I wanted to from the very first time he talked to me. That would be magic. Total magic.
Maybe…just maybe…he was waiting for me. Maybe I had that dream for a reason. What if he’s just waiting for me to say something? I could…I could love him so completely. If only…if only he’ll let me.
I leaned closer to him a little bit, and pressed my nose against his shoulder a bit harder, puckering my lips to kiss it gently. My body shivered with the idea of kissing any part of it, the very taboo of it was exhilarating. So I did it again, and again…now holding the kiss even longer. It was such an exciting sexual rush that shot through me at that moment. I got a little bolder, and scooted closer to his sleeping bag, letting my kisses land on his collar bone. I was scared to kiss him too hard, scared to even breathe, for fear of waking him up to my actions. But I kept going. I was now too far gone, to addicted to the possibility of going further to stop now. Jesus, he felt good against my lips. I could hear his rhythmic breathing and it sang a lullaby that kept me entranced the entire time. My eyes focused on those lips…as I became dizzy with the desire I had to kiss them. But I didn’t dare. I can’t. I…I…shouldn’t.
I didn’t move for a few minutes, not an inch. I was paralyzed by what I was thinking of doing. It may be my only shot, my only chance to do this. I figure, even if he kills me, I’ll know I at least gave it a try. And if he doesn’t…if he had been waiting for this moment for as long as I have…then it could be the beginning of something that I would never have the words to describe. Something beyond anything I’ve ever known. Oh please love me, Jason. Love me. I need you so bad in my life right now. You make me real, you make me…sane. You make everything in my whole fucked up life make ‘sense’ somehow, and if I could just…just share this one kiss with you. I know everything will be alright. Everything.
I made up my mind, and with a shaky hand placed almost non-existently on the softness of his belly, I leaned further forward to kiss him gently on his neck. I heard Jason’s breathing speed up a little bit, but he didn’t move…so I took it a bit further and kissed him on the cheek. At this point, I was trembling out of control and felt as though I was about to fall to pieces if I didn’t stop the anxiety and get this overwith. So I moved closer…
And closer still…
His breath delicately landed on my lips as I bent down, and at long last…
I felt Jason’s lips touch mine. I held my mouth there for a while, and then lifted up to see if he was awake. Still, he didn’t move. I was almost ready to smile to myself and think “YAY! I did it!” and try to go back to sleep. But I didn’t. I was thirsty for so much more. And I couldn’t stop myself from leaning down and trying again. I held the kiss for longer this time, now getting more involved in it and moving my lips around a bit more. My whole body was shaking with joy, and my tongue began to very shyly explore the inside of Jason’s mouth. I remember it touching the tip of his teeth, and they were so smooth. God, I can’t believe that I’m doing this! But I couldn’t STOP! I had waited for this moment for so long, there’s no WAY that I could stop now! I got greedy, and felt my hand move further down to feel a lump from underneath the sleeping bag. Running my fingers across that bulge of flesh, even though it was under the thick mass of his blankets and the like, became an aphrodisiac that I couldn’t resist. It almost cast the illusion that this was all real. All of it. The connection. The love. The shared affection, now expressed in the most intimate way.
This…was NOT real!
“Mmphh!!!” Came a muffled cry from beneath me, and I felt Jason’s hands struggling to get out from underneath the comfort of his covers. They pushed me off of him harshly, and he rolled over to get away from me! The fear that filled my heart at that moment was almost enough to murder me right then and there. If Jason didn’t first, that is.
“SORRY? What the fuck did you think you were doing???” He said out loud, now waking up a few of the other people in the room. They were still pretty much lost in sleep, but Jason’s voice was bringing them back to a waking reality awfully fast. “Were you…Were you just fucking KISSING me???” He shouted.
“Jay…man…what the hell, dude? What’s going on?” Bobby asked, rubbing his eyes to see what the heck he was screaming about.
“Jason…let me explain…” I tried, but he was already wiping my kiss from his lips with the back of his hand, a sickening frown on his face. He stood almost a whole room’s length away from me, and looked back at me with both shock and disgust.
“There’s nothing to explain, Taryn! You were kissing me in my sleep!”
Bobby’s ears perked up. “What the hell are you talking about? I think you were just having a bad dream dude.”
“This was NO bad dream! I just woke up and this little fucking fairy was groping my woodie and kissing me on the fucking MOUTH! I know what I’m talking about!” And that’s when Jason finished off every hope and prayer I could have ever had for being with him by saying, “Hey, this kid is a God damned FAGGOT!!!”
There it was. The word that had once cut me so deeply before in passing, was now being shouted at me without mercy. Without restraint. Piercing through my romantic illusion and practically GUTTING me right there in front of everybody! The only thing is, this time I had been caught red handed. And there would be no lies, no hidden feelings, and no denials. This time, he knew…and he hated me for it.
If only you could have seen the loathing in his eyes. If only you could have felt the heat from his anger as he forced it out at me in the most awful way possible. You would have frozen too.
“Jason, I’m…I’m sorry. Ok?” I sobbed, feeling my cheeks become wet with tears.
“YOU’RE SORRY?!?!?!” He shouted back.
“I’m sorry, so so so so so sorry! PLEASE! Believe me…I never meant to…look…I…” I tried to say something, tried to find some way to throw myself on the mercy of his compassion so that he would be able to at least understand. Oh PLEASE understand! “Jason…I’ve just…I’ve loved you for so long…and you were so nice to me…”
This sudden flood of horror rushed into his system, and he swiftly moved towards me to push me hard back against the bedroom wall! “SHUT UP!!! OH GOD!!! SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” He screamed, pushing me again. Alec had been woken up by all the commotion, and was scared out of his wits. Naturally, he began to cry on instinct, fearing something that he wasn’t built to understand yet. All he knew was that his big brother, his hero, was up against a force that was way too strong for him to protect himself against. “I NEVER would have pegged you for a fucking SISSY! I can’t believe I actually let you IN here!!!” He said, as more and more of my dreams faded away. Torn out out of my realm of possibility as Jason’s love was snatched away from me. It was as harsh as being in the deepest level of sleep, and having a shower of cold water thrown over you. Either way…the dream was now officially over. And only the ice remained.
“Please…Jason, listen to me…”
“I SAID SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!” He rammed me hard up against the wall and his hands curled themselves around my shirt collar. Hardly the touch I wanted to get from him someday. Everyone was awake in the room now, witnessing the ‘real me’ as I was displayed, emotionally naked, to the whole world. “Do you have any IDEA what we do to faggots? HUH??? Didn’t I tell you what would happen if I found out you were a cocksucker? DIDN’T I?”
“Jason…don’t! I’ll leave! I’ll pack my bags and take Alec and just..” But my sentence was savagely cut short by a breath snatching punch that Jason delivered right to my bread basket. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t even scream. He let me fall to my knees, and rest there for a moment before grabbing a handful of my hair and forcing me to look him in the eye. “Oh no you don’t, sweet thing! We’re not finished yet!” No one stuck up for me, not a single one of them. These people, my new friends. Instead, with a simple shouted command from their ringleader…they rose to their feet to assist in beating the living shit out of me. Every blow that they connected to my young and vulnerable frame was followed by another one so fast that it was pointless to even think that I’d have a chance to defend myself. My only glory came when Alec tried to help me, and I saw Bobby push him backwards into the dresser. I fought with all the rage that my tortured body could create, but what was I gonna do? I couldn’t fight them all. “DON’T YOU TOUCH HIM!!!!!” I screamed, kicking Bobby square in the balls before I was pulled back down to the floor by three more pair of hands! I struggled, I fought, I shouted, I cried…but the beating was going to happen whether I was able to handle it or not. I was helpless…so very helpless.
When Bobby got over his soreness, he jumped back into the fray with even more hatred, and more disgust than ever! And I found myself being tossed out of the house! It had begun to rain as the night had passed by us, and the streets were already drenched in deep puddles of ice cold water. I was carried to the front door, dragged against my will, being called a faggot and a homo the entire way…and any resistance was met with more hard shots to my ribs, or my stomach, or my sides, or my back. They pulled me out to the front steps, and threw me down the concrete descent, my body rolling out of control and landing in what must have been the deepest puddle on the whole block! “If you ever, and I mean EVER, show your face around the school again, you’re gonna get more of the same, ASS JAMMER!!! You’re a dead man from now on! You GOT ME???” The physical pain…I could have taken. It hurt more than anything I had ever known before, but I could bare it if I had to. But…to hear those foul words come from the lips of the boy that I would have given my LIFE to kiss…just ONCE…that’s what killed me. THAT’S what stopped my heart from ever wanting to beat on it’s own ever again. It crushed me to know that my love was stolen away with such anger.
I lay face down in the mud and the cold rain water, crying at the sudden crumbling of my situation. I didn’t even have any shoes on, no jacket…just some clothes to sleep in and the frigid weather tat rained down over my back, washing away my tears but doing nothing for the pain that caused them.
I heard the door slam shut behind me, and Alec’s cries as they pushed him around for even being of the same bloodline as this disgusting creature they called ‘faggot’. Bleeding, hurt, sore, emotionally dismembered, and left to rot…it was my brother that needed my strength now. And he could have it…even if I had none left for myself. So I pressed my hands down into the gritty concrete beneath me, the water almost up to my wrist in its depth…and I pushed down to force my abused body to rise out of the puddle and stand on my feet. I limped my broken body over to the door, Alec’s sobbing heard clearly from the other side, and I banged on the door with all the strength I had left in me.
“DON’T HURT HIM!!! PLEASE, JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!!” I shouted, the words burning my throat as they tried to reach a volume that could be heard from miles around. The teasing continued inside, the shoving, the curse words…Alec was crying his eyes out! I could hear him. Just on the other side of that door. That BLASTED door! “YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!!! LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!! DON’T DO THIS!!! LET ME IN!!! DAMMIT…LET ME IN!!!”
“TARYN!!!!” Alec shouted, and I began to kick and scratch at that door as though I could actually break through it on will alone! I punched it with my fists until my knuckles began to bleed! I couldn’t get in!!! No matter WHAT I did…I couldn’t get in!!!
“I’M RIGHT HERE, BABY!!! BIG BROTHER IS HERE!!!” I shouted, and finally, I heard the door unlock, and my baby brother was tossed out of it! Hard enough to knock us both back down the steps and onto the sidewalk below. Alec held onto me as tightly as he could, his cries almost deafening me as he released the burden of the fear and pain that he had just encountered. Thankfully, they didn’t hurt him too badly. Nothin more than some shoves and a bruise or two from falling down the steps. The last thing I saw, was Jason’s look of utter ‘satisfaction’ as he closed the door and locked me out of his life forever. And you want to know what the sad part is? What the sickest, most vile, most FUCKED UP part of the whole thing was??? That even laying there, beaten to a pulp, bleeding, scarred, with my baby brother crying in my arms…I still loved him. And a piece of me….even missed him. And I don’t know if that would ever go away. I’m laying here almost nauseous from the beating I took…and a majority of my tears came from losing the love of the boy that DID it! That boy that I shared the most intimate part of myself with. That boy that I took to see the sunrise, and wished on every ray of sunshine that he would accept the feelings that dwelled so deeply inside me. It’s funny…
It was such a quick walk to get from the glory of the sunrise…to the infinite cold of this night. The rain. The silence. The…darkness.
Alec didn’t want to move. In fact he wanted me to sit there in the puddle and cradle him in my arms like Mom would have when he was this terrified. But I knew that we couldn’t stay out in this rain. We had to get under some kind of shelter, and fast. Since it was pointless to even consider asking Jason and the rest of those assholes to give us our duffel bag full of clothes and blankets back…we were already going to have to sleep in the wet clothes that we were wearng now. If we got too soaked, it would be a sure case of hypothermia by morning. So, with some struggle and a few comforting words to my brother, I was able to get him to follow me as I led him away from that place. That awful, awful, place…where I left my last feeling of humanity behind. Even if I didn’t know it yet.
Both Alec and I got tired of walking and stood underneath the Fullerton exit off of Lake Shore Drive. There was an overpass that we were able to hide under as the storm raged above us in the blackened sky. Alec jumped with every crack of thunder, and all I could do to protect him was to hold him even closer to me. This was it…THIS was the position that I had put us in. He TRUSTED me…Alec put his faith and his life in my hands…and now we’re out here in th cold and the rain and I couldn’t make it any better. Why couldn’t I make it any better???
No matter how late it was at night, the traffic never stopped. And with the water collecting around the already flooded sewer drainage manholes underneath the bridge…the cars and trucks continued to splash us with an icy spray of water wth almost every pass. I tried turning towards the wall, with Alec in front of me so I could take the water on my backside instead of having it fired up into my face. But it wasn’t more than a half hour before Alec began to cry out loud again. “I’m cold!” He whined, his bottom lip shaking like a humming bird’s wing as his whole body began to shiver. I wrapped my arms around him tighter, hoping that some of my body heat would keep him warm. But it simply wasn’t enough. “Taryn…I’m COOOOOLD!” He cried, his tears now turning into sobs as he held on to me for dear life.
“Shhhhhh…I’ve got you, Alec. I’ve got you.” My every muscle was fatigued beyond belief, and my whole body ached from the bitter cold that was setting in, targeting every frozen joint of my body. My stomach fluttered with a battered misery as it trembled furiously to keep me from freezing to death, and I slinked to sit down on the ground as my legs began to sting from the pain of even being out in this weather. Alec sat between my legs, and I tried soooo hard to keep him warm, to keep him safe. Then…another car swished by us, sending yet another wave of dirty water cascading down upon us.
“Taryn…” Alec whined.
“Shhhhh…you’re ok. We’re ok. Be strong for me, Alec. Be strong. Who’s my little soldier tonight? Huh?”
“I don’t wanna be on vacation any more…”
“Only a few more days, ok?”
I was trying to keep him calm. The rain was making things a lot worse. The cars were making things a lot worse. But I had to keep him on my side. Please Alec…big brother is trying his best. “Alec, we’re going to be alright. I’ll figure out something. I will.”
But Alec began to cry even louder, begging me to give in. “I wanna go home!” He sobbed. “I wanna go hooooome….”
It was then, that tears of my own began to drip from my eyes…and I held him in silence. Knowing that I had no answers to give him. Not a single one. I’m surprised that I got any sleep at all.
I think maybe an hour had passed, maybe two, when I opened my frozen eyes to see that the night sky had gotten a little brighter, and that the rain had reverted back to a light drizzle. I was guessing that it was maybe around 4 or 5 AM. I looked down to see Alec’s lips had almost turned blue, and I gave him a tight squeeze to make sure that he was still with me. The little boy stirred a bit from my embrace, and shifted slightly in his sleep. His bare hand fell on my arm, and it felt like a block of ice. So cold. So very cold. I kissed him on his forehead, somehow hoping that my love for my brother would keep him safe, and I committed myself to staying awake until the sun came up. I had to. Not only to make sure that Alec was still okay. But rather because…when the sun rose up…and the light broke over the waves of the lake…I knew that my daddy was coming home, and that he loved me. I know that because he told me so. He told me. And, God, how I needed him now. I needed his guidance soooo much right now. Please dad…please come home. For me? Please? I need you. Alec needs you. I felt tears drop down my cheeks, bringing a little heat to the frosted skin that the tears slid across. And I prayed that I’d be able to find a way to survive this. Or to at least die quickly, so I’d never have to live with this pain ever again.
For the next hour, I made sure to shake Alec gently to keep him from going too far into the deep sleep. Making sure that he was JUST asleep, and nothing else. But even I was beginning to feel the exhaustion take a hold of me. My lips were numb. Even my eyes felt cold, getting colder with every blink. I had to keep touching my nose to make sure it was still there, not that I could feel it all that well anyway. I don’t think that I had dozed off really, but my attention must have been lost in another world, because it was the honking of a loud truck horn passing by us that alerted me to the fact that it was morning. Full morning. We must have been sitting on that hard concrete pallet of ours for hours. I had to work a little to focus, and then I gave Alec a few nudges to wake him up. “Come on, kiddo. It’s morning.”
“Mmmmmm…” He whined boyishly, snuggling himself even deeper into my chest, clinging tightly to me for whatever warmth I could provide him as his body suddenly became aware of how cold it was when he was conscious again. “Mmmm-hmmm hmmm…” He moaned inaudibly into my shoulder.
“Mmm…coooold…” He was almost crying now, and it seemed wrong to make him get up and walk at this point, but if I didn’t ge our blood pumping soon, things could get a lot worse. Thank goodness I didn’t think of this brilliant plan in DECEMBER!
“I know, bud. I know. But you’re my little soldier, right?” He didn’t answer, and I knew that he had gone beyond any playful games at this point. “Ok…let’s go. Come on. We’ll get some breakfast.” I said, and tried to ignore the cramp in my neck and the ache in my legs from sitting in such an uncomfortable position all last night. I got up first and stretched long and hard, holding it involuntarily as my muscles attempted to figure out what there purpose was all over again. And then I helped Alec up to join me. I ran my tongue over my bottom lip, feeling the split from one of the punches in the face that Jason had given me just the night before.
The night before…my mind dwelled on it for only a second, feeling that swelling pain build up inside me all over again, before Alec dragged me back to the present. “Can we eat?” He said, tugging at my shirt.
“Yeah, we can eat. What do you want? Pancakes again?”
“I want hamburgers. And Ice cream.”
“ICE CREAM?” Was this kid serious. “Hehehe, I don’t know about the ice cream, but we can get some hamburgers though. Ok?”
“Ok…” Alec agreed happily, and the both of us hobbled off towards a local fast food place. Halfway through the week…not so bad, right? Even if I did get kicked out of a parking lot, lose my brother, get approached by one of the weirdest blond-haired city-kids alive, lose the love of my life, get the shit kicked out of me, and almost freeze to death on the streets of Chicago. All in all, it was probably the most eventful few days of my whole life. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
“Excuse me? Do you mind if we use your bathroom?” I asked the lady behind the counter. She could already take one look at the both of us…cold, dirty, disheveled from head to toe, and I’m sure displaying a hefty amount of cuts, scrapes, and bruises…and she knew times were rough. There was a pause as she examined us, and I thought for a second that she might say no. “Um…we ARE gonna buy something. I mean, we’ve got money. Look…” I said, and started digging in my pockets to bring out the last few wads of soaking wet cash that I had left. The crumpled up balls landed on the counter as I counted it out, “Let’s see…I’ve got…one…two…seven…uh…twelve…”
“That’s alright hon. I believe you. Bathroom’s back around the corner to your left, ok?” She replied, and she must have seen the gratitude in my face because she gave us the sweetest smile.
“Thanks. Just…thanks.” I said, and pulled Alec along. But not before he looked up from down beneath the counter to say…
“Thanks, lady.” Which she thought was adorable.
We went into the bathroom, and I stood Alec underneath the air dryer to make sure that he’d get his clothes dry enough to wear them until I found out how to get some more. I went over to the sink, looking at myself in the mirror for the first time since the night before. I had some dried blood in the corners of my mouth, and dirt had been splashed all over my face during the storm last night. My lip was split, but not as badly as I had thought, and my hair looked as though it would never be tidy again. So I grabbed some paper towels and wet them in the sink to start cleaning myself up a bit. Alec was going to need the same, but that was a battle and a half before even suggesting it to him. Besides, he was having too much fun playing around with the air dryer, pointing it in every direction except on his clothes where it should be. “Alec…don’t play with the machine. You need to get dry, ok?”
“I’m not.” He said, shamelessly doing it right in front of me. Hehehe, it was the first smile I’d had in a while. It took me about twenty minutes to get myself back together, and straighten my hair to look somewhat presentable for the outside world. And then….it was Alec’s turn. Might as well get this over with.
A bit later, the lady behind the counter turned around to see a very different look on the face of my little brother. A pouty one, an angry one…but a CLEAN one. It was amusing to see him internally throw a bratty tantrum after the struggle we just had in the bathroom to get him washed up. I looked over and smiled at him with satisfaction. I didn’t care WHAT kind of fight he put up, I was going to get him clean even if I had to dunk his head in the toilet! So he can pout all he wants, but I won. Hehehe! “Aww…don’t hate me.” I giggled.
“You got soap in my eye.”
“I did not!”
“Uh huh! And you pulled my hair too.” He whimpered. He’d make up a billion excuses, but he’d never admit to just being one of those boys that just doesn’t want to be clean.
“Did you pull his hair?” The lady at the counter said, trying to keep from snickering herself.
“He says I did.” I replied.
“Well that’s not fair at all, now is it.” She looked over at Alec, who got even more adorable as he tried to look mad. But no matter how he frowned up his face, or crossed his arms, he wasn’t any more frightening than the cutest cupie doll at the local fair. It didn’t keep him from trying. She came back with two double cheeseburgers and set them down in front of us. “I’ll tell you what…if you can get this little puppy of yours to smile before he finishes his cheese burger, you can consider your breakfast here paid for. Deal?”
My eyes brightened instantly, THANKFUL that she was giving us the chance to hold onto our money for a little bit longer. “Yeah!” I said out loud. “YES! Thank you!”
“Dig in, kids.” She walked away, and I started ravishing that piece of meat like a wild animal. My stomach had remained pretty empty for most of the time we were out here. I gave most of the food to Alec, because he didn’t really understand words like ‘rations’ and ‘skipping a meal to save money’. All he knows is ‘tummy full’ and ‘tummy empty’. ‘Tummy empty’ is NEVER a pretty thing to deal with.
Alec was still pouting a bit, but he was hungry, the food smelled damn good, and this was one of the FEW chances he’d ever have in his childhood to have cheeseburgers for breakfast. So all it took was a few tasty moans and comments on how good it was to force him to give up the act and start eating. His defenses broke slowly as his pouting fit began to weaken, and he took a single french fry from his plate, eating it slow. Then another, then a handful, and soon he was eating just as hungrily as I was. I grinned at him and ruffled his hair playfully…getting a smile out of him at last. Good, at least he was on my side again.
I decided that I didn’t want to push him too far that day by walking him all over town. Besides, I was wearing down a bit myself, and it’s not like we had any big destination to reach. This was a lot harder than I thought, a BILLION TIMES harder, but it beat being at home. I couldn’t live with that. I couldn’t bare to let him touch me…or Alec…I’d kill him first. I’d kill MYSELF first! So we had to stay low, and pretty much out of sight. Chuck could legally send the cops out looking for us now, the missing persons time period of 48 hours had passed. The thing is…I wonder if he would. Especially now that he knew that I had reached my limit of what I would take from him. He could tell the cops anything he wanted, and they’d probably believe most of it. But he also knew that if I raised enough of a fuss about it in front of any ‘well meaning’ cop, they’d at least look into it a little deeper than Chuck wanted them to. Any evidence at all would toss him behind bars so fast it’d make his head spin. So whether or not he was going to get any help in finding us was a bit in the air as far as I could see. However, where Mom was concerned…I might have a problem. She’d be pissed for sure this time if she knew I was gone. So I’d have to be back before she got home from her business trip, but not early enough for Chuck to get a shot at me before she walked through that front door. Timing was going to be everything.
We spent most of the day back out by the lake, happy to soak up some sunshine as the day warmed up from the arctic cold of the early morning hours. At best, it might have gotten up to 70* but it was comfortable. As the sun began to set, I spent some time teaching Alec how to skip rocks on the waves. Let me rephrase that…I gave Alec an opportunity to throw rocks as hard as he could and make explosion noises as they hit the water with a ker-plunk. Hehehe, but that was enough to keep him happy. You’d be surprised how long skipping rocks can entertain you sometimes. And it was the perfect activity because it didn’t cost us any money. Money that I was quickly running out of. With twenty one dollars left, and days still left to go, I knew that we wouldn’t make it. The only thing keeping me sane was concentrating on the present and praying that I’d have enough faith to keep getting lucky once our cash flow ran out. I guess it’s a problem that I’d have to deal with later. How? I don’t know. But I’ll think of something. I’ve been pretty blessed so far.
As the sky got dark, and my arm got sore from skipping an entire quarry’s worth of rocks into the lake, I took Alec closer to downtown to keep him occupied with whatever flashy lights and traffic that the city could provide us. But while walking amidst a crowd of people with their shopping bags and separate conversations going on all at once, I happened to notice a small group of friends ahead of us, crossing the street. All guys, all laughing. Having a great time just being alive it seemed. A sight like that used to make me feel good, but now…it only reminded me of what I’d never have again. Even if I survived the week, and went back home when Mom got back. Even if she got a divorce from Chuck and he was forced to leave the house forever. Even if we won the lottery the very next day by mistake and could rest easy for the rest our days. There’s no way Jason and the others would ever let me live down my despicable act. They’d tease me, hunt me, beat me up, and spread the word about me for as long as they had the breath to do so. School was the only social outlet that I had, with that ruined, I’d have to remain an outcast until college. Maladjusted and broken, I probably won’t even be able to fit in THERE either. They’d be in the position to take EVERYTHING from me, and all because I loved the son of a bitch! All because I indulged in the one moment…that one golden, perfect, moment…where my lips touched his without shame. And I still fall in love with the memory of his taste and texture…even if it WAS all a stupid fucking LIE! I gave up my life for that one ridiculous kiss…and you know what? I’m too much of a pathetic loser to tell myself that it wasn’t worth it.
“TOYS!!!” Alec’s excited scream was enough to jolt me out of my depression and grab a tighter hold onto his arm to make sure that he didn’t go bolting out into traffic.
“Alec! Stop!” I said sternly, not that he cared.
“Toys!!! Taryn, can we go? PLEASE???” I looked up to see F.A.O. Schwartz across the street, it’s playful ‘toy store’ vibe beaming at us from a short distance away…beckoning every youngster within sight of its magnificence.
“Yeah…yeah, we’ll go. Just stay with me, here. Ok? Hold my hand.” I said, and we crossed the busy street to check it out. It was already night time, I guess that there wasn’t much else for us to do around here to keep him happy. A toy store seemed perfect. There was a man dressed as a toy soldier outside, drawing in kids by the hundreds, dragging their defenseless parents and grandparents behind them. This place was the Mecca for any child under the age of 10. Inside there were the complex inner workings of a boy’s mind in motion. Trains, planes, stuffed animals, action figures, video games…it really was heaven. I hate to admit it, but I was a bit drawn in myself. And I liked it.
Alec ran from one end of the store to the other, an emotional sugar high keeping him pumped up for the entire time that we were there. Up and down the escalator we went, to the back of the store, to the front of the store, he just wanted to touch everything. It was beautiful to see him so damn happy. It alleviated a little of that pain that I was harboring just moments ago. Keep it together, Taryn. You’re halfway there. With a little faith, everything will turn out just fine. After all, what was it my dad use to say? He made me memorize it once…
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for…” I thought to myself, and then heard a clearly audible voice finish my sentence from behind me!
“…the evidence of things not seen.” It said, and I turned around quickly to see who was talking to me. I saw only a boy that looked my age, holding a plastic Dracula mask on a stick up in front of his face. “Hebrews…a very cool passage, if I do say so myself.” He said.
He took the vampire mask down from his face, and I saw his features come into my vision. The perfect blond hair, the smooth skin, the pretty brown eyes, those moist red lips…it was the same boy from the Pier that night. It was Trevor. “You…” I whispered.
“The one and only. You know, we have GOT to stop running into each other like this.” He said with a smirk.
“Yeah, I think so.” I answered.
“There are much more creative ways that we could be running into each other if you’re interested.” A joke, I’m sure. An unwelcome one considering what I had just been through. But he didn’t know that, so I guess I couldn’t really hold it against him.
“Hi, Trevor!” Alec said, walking back over to join me, now with some weird goggles on his head that were flashing lights and making some brand of annoying mechanical noise.
“Hey there, baby bear.” Trevor squatted down to talk to Alec eye to eye. “Say, have you seen the big piano that you can dance on?”
He gasped out loud. “NO!!! WHERE IS THAT?!?!?! WHERE???” Alec was already so anxious that he could hardly stand still.
“It’s right over there. Right in the corner. Go check it out!”
“CAN I, Taryn??? PLEASE, Taryn?!?! Can I? CAN I???” He pleaded.
“Sure. I’ll come with you…” I started, but Trevor didn’t even let me get the words out of my mouth before he jumped in.
“We’ll join you in a sec, sweetheart. Me and your big brother, Taryn, are talking, ok? Don’t break anything.” Trevor’s smile sent Alec running over to the corner at top speed, and I was left there alone with him…wondering what he was up to THIS time! “So…what happened?” He asked.
“I don’t…I don’t know what you’re talking about…” He pointed to his own bottom lip, hinting at the split that I had acquired since the last time I had seen him. “OH! That…” I was hoping he didn’t see any of the other scrapes on my face, but I guess it was kinda hard to hide it now. “…I just had a little accident. That’s all.”
“An ‘accident’, huh? Does this accident have a name?” He asked, not fooled for a second by my cover.
“I just fell. That’s it.”
He paused momentarily, looking over to see if Alec was busy enough to not be paying us any attention. Naturally…he was jumping around on those giant piano keys and having a ball with all the noise he was making. Trevor then looked back over at me and said, “Let me guess…things didn’t go so great with you and your friends last night. Am I right?”
I backed up a step or two…looking at him dead in the eye, and a strange feeling swept over me all at once. An eerie sensation that set off every internal alarm that I had inside. “What do you mean?” I said defensively.
“I think you know exactly what I mean, Taryn.” His eyes stared so deeply into mine that I felt intimidated on a level that I don’t think anyone else had ever reached before. Was this kid…READING MY THOUGHTS???
“Why are you following me?”
“Following you? No, my friend. This is merely another chance encounter between two very cool people. Maybe fate is trying to tell you something. Hmm?”
“Maybe it’s telling me to stay the hell away from you. You’re seriously freaking me out, you know that?” I said, still backing away from this weirdo.
“If I wanted to hurt you, I’d like to think that I’d be a little better at tricking you into following me to a place a little less public. Wouldn’t you think?” He grinned. Then quoted, “‘The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.’ Billy Shakespeare.”
“It means that I can be a lot more sneaky and, what you would probably call, ‘normal’…if I wanted to surprise you with any foul intentions. Instead I chose an honest approach. I thought someone of your character might appreciate it.”
I looked at him sideways for a moment, still not sure what to make of him, but still somehow drawn to him in the strangest way. “So…you’re saying that you don’t want anything from me?”
“Well…I didn’t necessarily make THAT announcement, now did I?” He allowed his smile to shine a bit wider, and he extended his hand. “I still would be honored to share your company for a little while. Just for tonight.” He saw my hesitation, but he didn’t give me a chance to think this time. “C’mon…what have you got to lose? Huh? You come with me, we talk, you get to make whatever judgements you want about me, they stick without any chance of me removing them from your mind, and then I leave you alone.” He spread his arms out, “How bad could it be? What am I gonna do…”
“…kill you?” He grinned.
“What if I don’t like you?” I said. Jokingly..but not entirely.
“What if I don’t like you back?” He giggled. “I’m taking just as big a chance as you are, ya know? Don’t think that I’m the only enigma in this equation here.” His eyes sparkled with a glimpse of hope, maybe even excitement, despite his calm exterior. “Soooo? Are we gonna give this a try?” He asked.
I have to admit, my options are limited. I didn’t have much going for me at this point, and I didn’t have much of a plan hen it came to making things any better. So…I considered it. I considered learning a little bit more about this mysterious blond in front of me. He seemed nice enough, insightful, intelligent…and Alec liked him well enough. I shrugged my shoulders, and figured ‘why not’? What could it hurt. It’s not like I was making some great decision that was going to affect the rest of my life here. I was just hanging out with a friend. And I could walk away from him any time that I wanted to. Besides…he was cute! REALLY cute! And I wasn’t about to give up a hot guy and a possible place to stay for the night because of my inner voice…
Which, by the way, was telling me that something was severely wrong in all this. It’s what caused me to hesitate. It’s what warned me to stay away from Trevor in the very beginning. But maybe…just maybe…I can ignore it.
Just this once.