The door creaked as it opened. Michael woke up immediately; his heart was beading wildly against his rips as he lifted his gaze up to the door. It took him a moment to understand where he was. He saw no one in the room. ‘Then why was the door open?’ He wondered and rose to sit. He looked down on the floor, surprised of what he saw.
“Cleo? Is it you?” The cat looked up at him suspiciously; unmoving as if wondering; should she run or should she come to him. With the courage and the self-consciousness of a cat she decided to keep moving on in the direction that she was heading, and jumped smoothly on to his bedside. Michael smiled to the white grey, fluffy animal, and brought his hand slowly to meet her nose. “Cleo, old girl, do you still remember me?” The cat smelled his hand, lifted her yellowish eyes to look at him and then started to lick his hand with her happy tongue.
Michael smiled warmly to his old pet, and moved closer. He scratched her behind her ear, and under her chin. The cat bowed her head so that he could scratch her better. Then she started to purr smoothly, enjoying the attention she was getting. Michael was smiling, as he looked at the cat. Only then did he realized how much he had missed the animal; her presence, felt oddly relaxing.
The cat was quite old, about 14-years, but she looked very healthy. Her fur was shining and she still looked quite perky. Isabella had given the cat to him, when he had been ten. He had thought of her to be a very beautiful and noble animal, and so the name; ’Cleopatra’ was the perfect name for her. Okay, so he had always been a little obsessed with ancient Egypt.
Finally he rose up and walked over to his old wardrobe. It was still such an odd feeling being there, in his old room. He opened the door, and looked at his old clothes that were there, he felt the fabrics with his hands, wondering, touching; like they would have been something new and odd. Lots of clothes that he remembered wearing years ago; when it seemed that he had been a totally different person.
He took a tight black t-shirt and tried it on; it fit perfectly still, his mom had been right. Then he took his old light blue jeans and dressed, again they fit with ease. Then, finally he dressed in a grey college-jumper on top of his t-shirt.
“Did you sleep well?” Evelyn asked from her son, when he came into the kitchen. “Well, I did manage to get some sleep… I woke up when Cleo came in. So she can still open doors?” Michael asked smiling and sat in front of the table. “Yes, she must think that she owns your room now, she always sleeps in there. You can lock your door this night when you go to sleep, so that she won’t bother you.” “It’s okay, I just got scared a bit. Let Cleo sleep where she wants to, it wouldn’t be fair to deprive an old lady’s sleeping place.” Michael grinned. “Would you like me to boil you some tea?” Evelyn asked. “I would love some tea, thank you… Has dad gone off to work?” “Yes, he was very pleased when I told him, that you have come home… I thought I would make some spaghetti for supper, you still like that, right?” Evelyn asked, and gave him the tea mug. Michael smiled to her. “I do, I haven’t changed that much.”
Evelyn poured him the tea, and gave him a couple of sandwiches. “I’m not hungry.” Michael tried. Evelyn looked at him firmly. “You must eat, you have lost weight, you’re not leaving the table until you’re finished.” She said, making Michael laugh softly. “Mom …I’m 23-years old. I think I’m old enough to make up my own mind, whether I eat or not.” Evelyn turned around to face him. “I know that you’re grown up, but… Michael, please eat, you must eat… It would make me happy.” She begged, and he couldn’t refuse when he saw the look in her eyes. He took the other sandwich and started eating it slowly, with small bites. Evelyn smiled, and sat opposite from him.
“Sam called a couple of hours ago.” She said then, and looked at him closely. Michael placed his sandwich down on the table and stared at his tea mug. Why was it, that even hearing his name, made his heart ache from the mere longing of his lover? ‘Ex-lover’ His mind corrected him. “I told him that you were sleeping, and I asked him to call back later.” Evelyn still looked at him, and when he didn’t answer, she continued. “Honey, what happened? Why did you two break up? I don’t understand… Did Sam ?…” Evelyn started, with unsure voice. “Did Sam what?” Michael asked. His mother hesitated. “Did Samuel hurt you in any way?” She asked finally. In her heart she knew that Sam wouldn’t hurt her son, but still. So many bad things had happened to him, that from now on, she would always be suspicious and scared for him. “No.” Michael answered quickly. “Sam didn’t do any such thing, I just … It’s better this way, it is. If he calls, then tell him that I’m not home or something.” Michael said and took a sip of his tea, without looking at her. “You should have heard his voice … I think you should talk with him, clear up things between you two. It’s not fair to Sam, if you’re not even going to answer his calls.” Evelyn spoke firmly.
The phone began ringing. Evelyn rose up, and went to answer. “Evelyn Wills speaking… Just one moment, please.” She took the phone receiver between her hands. “This is for you, it’s Katherine.” Michael looked at his mother, little confused at first. “Katherine?… Oh, you mean Kitty.” Michael rose up and took the phone.
“Hi Kitty” “Hey, what happened between you and Sam? You weren’t serious when you left him, right?” She asked with worry. “Um… well, I think this is for the better.” Michael said hesitating. “Better? How can it be better? You love each other, Sam needs you, and he’s quite a big mess right now. He has tried calling you, hundreds of times, why won’t you answer?” Kitty asked, her voice tightening. “I was sleeping, my cell has been on silent…” Michael tried to explain. “Well, then you should call him back, soon.” “It would be of no use… I… it’s better for us both to go our separate ways, tell him that. Now I must go, bye!” Michael said quickly and hung up, he mustn’t give in, not now.
Kitty sighted deeply, and placed her cell down on the near table. She then came back in the living room, where Sam sat; in front of the TV, a gloomy _expression on his face. “You called him?” He asked, not looking at her. Kitty sat down next to him on the couch. “Yes, I did.” She admitted. Sam had decided, not ask more questions, but soon he found it too hard. The longing and curiosity, were too hard to bead. “What did he say?” He asked finally. “Uh, nothing much. He had just woken up.” Kitty said, burrowing her eyebrows, as she thought about the phone call and her conversation with Michael, at Sam’s birthday party.
“What did he say Kitty?” Sam asked again. Kitty turned to look at him. “He said … that it would be better this way.” She answered quietly. “Should have guessed as much… So I guess this was it then.” Sam sighted, trying to fight against the tears, he wrapped his arms around himself. “I don`t think that he really means it Sam. You should still try, give him some time, and try again to talk with him.” “What`s the use? If he doesn`t want me, then he doesn`t. I am not going to make a fool out of myself and beg for his love.” Sam snorted and nipped his bottom lip. Kitty shook her head. “Oh my God, you men are so clueless at times! This is so obvious; Michael loves you, and he has gotten the idea in his head that he`ll only make you unhappy. He talked to me about this earlier. I thought I got some sense into him, but I think something has happened, something that he’s not telling.” Sam looked at her, with suspicion clear on his eyes. On the other hand, the thing she said did make sense. “Alright, I`ll still keep on trying, I won`t give up.”
Michael sat on the floor of his room, going through his old stuff; old school notebooks, drawings and letters. He found an old letter from Tony; the day 7.20.1990 written on it.
How`re ye doing? I`m doing fine. We`re at Edinburgh again. Boring as hell! It would be more fun, if you would be here too. Grandma has gone loony. Can`t remember when she has drank her tea, so she keeps going on and on about it; “Is the tea ready? Should we boil us a coup of tea?” Yesterday, I hurt my leg, she said I should drink more tea! That woman is out of her mind I tell ye.
How was ye trip in Paris? Were there a lot of beret heads, carrying a French bread? Well, I have to go now, my uncle is giving a bagpipe performance. Lord help us! I`m wearing a kilt! I`m sure ya would laugh if ya could see me now!
See ya soon!
Pst: I like ya!
Yours truly: Tony
Michael smiled and placed the letter back to his drawer. He wondered should he finally give a call to his old friend? But for some reason, he was slightly scared of it. What would he say to his best friend after six long years?
He found an old notebook, where he and Tony had written some very odd war story, where they killed a bunch of Nazis. He read it for a while; the clumsy writing of two nine year olds. He laughed quietly, of how stupid and funny it was. And here they had thought to be a couple of great writers.
He found a black book, which had been his journal. He browsed it through, and finally stopped to one of the pages to read more carefully.
I can`t take this much longer, all I can think about is Tony. It`s so much more difficult now, when we`re here in Ireland, sharing the same room every night. I`m so aware of his presence, that I find it hard to fall a sleep. My heart and my body aches to be nearer to him, I would just want to go to him, and sleep next to his warm body. I`m sick, aren`t I? Tony is my best friend!
Last night, I had to get away from this room, away from him. I needed some time alone to think things through. I went riding, and I just didn`t care a damn, even if Rachel would yell at me later. Horseback riding, alone, in a warm summer night; nothing can beat that. It always relaxes me, I felt so much better afterward.
I had been right, thinking that Rachel would yell at me. The stable caretaker; Gerald, had told on me. The woman drives me mad, it sometimes amazes me, that we`re actually related. She doesn`t like Isabella, for some odd reason or another, and she blames her for my wildness, as she likes to call it. She says that it`s the Spanish blood that runs through my veins, or something as idiotic as that. I could see that Tony had a hard time not to laugh when he listened to this.
I asked Tony, does he think that I`m wild by nature. He said that sometimes yes, that it`s because of the way I act sometimes. He said that I often act before thinking, that when I`m mad I might run off head on to things. He thought that that`s why, Rachel calls me wild. I never saw myself that way, it kind of makes me wonder, what other things there is in myself, that others see, and I can not? Oh well …
Earlier today, I went riding with Tony. We stopped near the forest. I somehow managed to hurt my ankle, when I was getting down from the horse. Damn, I have no clue of why I always get so clumsy near Tony. He was worried, and insisted that he could take a look of my ankle. I let him do it.
His touch; so gentle, and the way he looked at me: oih… It was odd, really odd. I could hardly breath. I can`t understand why he looks at me so, I want him to stop it, and a part of me wants him to always look at me so. It`s as if he would feel the same as I feel for him. But I must be wrong, I could never be so lucky, could I?
Oh God, Tony is just so …I can`t even find the right words to describe him. He has the greenest eyes, I`ve ever seen. Green as the leaves of a forest, like green emeralds. His hazel hair, the freckles on his face; I would not change a single place of any of them. Every time I see him, my heart would want nothing more than to cry out; I love you, I love you, I love you! But how could I? How could I tell him? I fear loosing him, if I did tell him. And how could I go on without him in my life, when he has always been there? Always, from the first day, I opened my eyes to this world.
Oh God, why are You tormenting me so? I do not want to feel, what I feel, yet I can`t stop wanting! I do not know what to do, I do not know what lies ahead, but I fear for it. If only someone would come, and sway me to the right path. If only…
The doorbell rang. Evelyn wiped her wet hands on to her apron , and went to open. “Tony!” She smiled, when looking at the young man, who was almost like an own son to her. “Come in.” Tony smiled exited, and glanced upstairs, where he heard some Spanish music playing. “Is he home?” He asked, taking his coat off. “Yes, he’s in his room.” Evelyn answered and smiled. “Michael!” She called, but the music was too loud for him to hear. “I’ll go tell him that you’re here.” Evelyn said and was about to walk upstairs, when Tony stopped her. “Wait, let me go up there?” Tony asked. Evelyn nodded her head and smiled. “Yes, of course you can go.” She said then.
Tony walked up the stairs, each step taken slowly, his heart was beating wildly in his chest. He couldn’t stop smiling, when thought that he would soon see his best friend, who he had missed deeply all those years. He stopped in front of the door, taking a deep breath, he wondered should he knock, or just enter. He decided to knock. “The door is open.” The voice answered, and Tony reached for the doorknob, pressing it down, and opening the door. He looked at his friend, who sat on the floor, going through some papers in front of him, his back was turned against the door. Tony`s smile grew, as did the beating of his heart. It was him, it really was him. For a moment Tony was at a loss for words, he just stood there, looking at him.
“I`m not hungry yet.” Michael said finally, looking at some black book. “No? Although that`s not really what I came here to ask.” Tony answered, feeling ecstatic as his best friend finally turned his eyes to meet him. “Tony?!” Michael`s mouth dropped open. Tony just kept on smiling to him like a madman. ”Aye” He grinned, trying his best to control his urge to jump on his friend to give him a great big hug. Michael stood up, with slightly shaking legs, he looked at Tony from head to toe, not really knowing what to do, or what to think. His mind kept repeating his friend’s name over and over again. “You’ve grown Tony.” The words slipped out of his mouth. Tony had indeed grown taller, he had been tall at the age of 17, but now, he was at least 10cm taller than back then, reaching the height of 190cm. Tony laughed softly. “Aye, I guess I have.”
Tony couldn’t take it any longer, and closed the distance between them, he took his smaller friend into a tight, but yet a gentle hug. “Oh God, how I missed you.” Tony whispered. Michael wrapped his arms around him, tears falling down. He remembered the scent of his friend, and it made him feel safe. He was safe with Tony. “I missed you too, you have no idea how much.” He whispered, with a smile on his lips.
They sat down on the floor, and Tony looked at the papers on the floor with interest. “What are ya doing?” He asked then. “Going through my old stuff, mom hasn`t thrown anything away. I even found some six year old toffee, from my drawer.” Michael grinned in disgust. “Oh, that’s disgusting.” Tony admitted, and took one of Michael`s old notebook for a closer look. Michael tossed some old papers in to the litter bin. “What were those?” “My old school schedules.” Michael told him, and turned to look at him, he smiled. It was odd to see Tony sitting next to him. He wasn’t really sure what to say to him, even when there was so many things left to say, things he wanted to say. He turned his attention back to his papers, all the while very aware of his friends presence.
“I found this by the way, do you still remember this?” He handed the war story to Tony. “The destruction of the Nazis?” Tony read out loud, with amused tone. “Oh God, I had already forgotten.” He laughed.
Tony looked at Michael`s profile from the side. Michael was even more beautiful than he had remembered. He looked at nape of his neck; there was three small birthmarks that formed a small triangle. He remembered clearly; all the times, that he had sat behind his friend during classes and stared at his beautiful neck. He wanted to touch him so badly that it hurt. He wanted to wrap himself around him, to kiss those perfect lips. He still remembered what it felt like to kiss him; it was like tasting a small piece of heaven. He had only kissed him once, and he could still remember the feel of his lips. It had haunted him; the best kiss of his life, his best friend, those lips. But he had ruined it all, he had been too afraid, and that’s why he had lost him. It might be too late to correct the past mistake now.
His hand acted, before he had time to think straight; he leaned forward and grazed gently at the smooth skin of his friends neck. He smiled to the feeling, he felt pleasurable tingling going through him. His skin was warm and real, oh how he had missed it. Michael looked at him, smiled with confusion, and touched the place that his hand had touched just seconds before. “What is it? Was there something on my neck?” The soft, innocent voice asked. Tony smiled, trying to hide his embarrassment.
“Aye… It was just some dirt, I took it off.” He lied, and looked at the chocolate brown eyes of his friends. He gulped. Those eyes were so beautiful, so capturing. Michael smiled to him, before turning his eyes away. Something had changed, Tony noticed. Something in his eyes, something in his friend. The boy he had once known, would have teased him about what had just happened. He would have laughed, and he would have seen the lie, hidden behind his words, noticed his embarrassment. His eyes, even yet so beautiful, held something inside that had not been there before. Pain? sadness? Tony wondered. What was the secret that he tried to hide? Tony wanted to know. He wanted for the other to grin at him with confidence, he wanted him to tease him, the way he had, when they had been younger. Challenge him to touch him, challenge him to kiss him. Tony closed his eyes, and remembered the situation six years ago, still regretting, that he hadn`t done it differently.
“I heard… I mean your mother told me, that you were at the hospital, because someone shot you.” Tony said finally. Michael stopped what he was doing, and gazed far into the emptiness. “Yes.” He admitted quietly. ”Who shot you? What happened?” ”Um…it was this one guy …” Michael started. “Who was he? Did you know him?” Tony asked, and Michael nodded his head. “The man, who I left with, back then … I really wouldn`t want to talk about this now. Okay?” Michael turned to look at him. Tony would have wanted to know more, but didn`t want to push it. “Alright, I understand. If you ever want to talk about it, then …” Tony started. “Some other time, I promise.” He said, and smiled weakly.
“When is your boyfriend coming? I heard from your parents, that you were with someone.” “He`s not coming, we broke up …Um …So how`s things going with you Tony?” Michael wanted to change the subject, it hurt too much to talk about Sam. “Well, after senior high school, I worked on a couple of ships, as a sailor, then I worked at the harbor. Now I`m studying in a business school, not really my thing, but I just don`t know what I would like to do with my life, so…” “That makes two of us.” Michael smiled with sympathy.
“What was it like, to be a sailor? How did you end up doing that?” He asked then, with curiosity. “It was okay. Got to see lots of different places, different country`s. I guess I just always hoped, that I would end up finding you. There were a lot times when I thought that I saw you some where in the crowd, but it was never you, I never could find you for real.” Michael looked at him with surprise on his features. “Oh Michael, I was such a big oaf back then, when you told me, can you ever forgive me?” Tony asked, looking at him with hope in his eyes. “Of course Tony, I forgave you a long time ago… I was kind of stupid myself. And you were right; I was childish. Lets just forget about the past mistakes, okay?” “Okay.”
There was a knock on the door. “The supper is ready, your dad is home too. Will you stay for supper Tony?” Evelyn asked. Tony and Michael rose up from the floor. ”Thanks for the invite, but I really must go. I promised to have supper with my family this evening.” Tony said and turned to look at Michael. “I`ll talk with you later, I`ll call you.” Michael nodded his head, and smiled. “See you Eve, see you Mikey.” Tony said smiling, when he was walking away from the room. Evelyn approached her son. “It`s nice to see you smile.” She said, touching his cheek gently.
They sat in front of the table. Henry had a wide smile on his lips, as he looked at his small reunited family. “Your grandparents are coming here for christmas’s” Evelyn told him, when finishing her supper. Michael dropped his fork, when he heard this. “What? Oh no…” He sighted. “Do they know that I`m here?” He asked. “Yes, and they look forward to seeing you after such a long time.” His father spoke. “I’ll probably end up hearing how sinful I am, and that all gay`s are bad people and… uh… I just really wouldn`t need to deal with that right now.” “Relax darling, I told them to act proper, and we promise to throw them out, if they won`t.” Evelyn spoke, and shot a sharp look towards her husband. “Right Henry?” The man felt slightly uncomfortable. “They’ll know how to act. They`re old people, just try not to pay any attention to them, even if they were to say something stupid.” He said, and tried to smile soothingly to his son. “If it makes you feel any better; your cousin Tara, and her husband are coming too, with their small daughter.” Evelyn said next. “Tara has a daughter? How old is she?” “She`s one and a half years old.” His mother answered. “So much has changed.” Michael noted quietly, staring at his still half full plate, moving the food around with his fork.
Late at night, he laid on his bed, unable to fall asleep. He thought about Sam, no matter how much he tried not to think of him; was always there, on his mind.
It was as if Sam had been able to read his thoughts, because at that moment his cell began to ring. He wanted to hear his voice so badly, to hear that Sam would be okay.
”Hey.” He answered finally. “Hey.” Sam`s voice sounded tired, but relieved at the same time. “I though you wouldn`t answer to my calls anymore.” Sam said, after being quiet for awhile. Michael didn`t know what to say, he sighted quietly and bite down on his lip. “Are you still there?” Sam asked carefully. “Yes… I just… You shouldn`t call me anymore.” Michael said, feeling the pain coming with his words. “Why? Please tell me whats happened.” “Nothing has happened. I just don`t want to be with you anymore. This is for the best Sam, you`ll see.” “But this is not for the best! I`m miserable here, without you… I love you. I don`t know what I could do to make you believe that. Tell me what I can do?” Sam asked. Michael felt the tears in his eyes. ”Don`t call me anymore. Good bye Sam.” Michael said and finished the call. He cried silently against his pillow, trying to convince himself, that he had done the right thing.
It was two am, the next time he looked at his clock. He had twirled on his bed, slept only brief moments, and now he rose up feeling tired and frustrated. He dressed in his robe and slippers, and skulked downstairs. He was surprised seeing his mother sitting in front of the kitchen table, filling a crossword puzzle.
“What are you doing up mom?” He asked, and sat down on the opposite chair. “It`s sometimes hard to fall asleep, all I see is nightmares. This time someone broke in here, and …” Evelyn started, but decided not to continue. The truth was, that in her bad dream, the men who broke in, were about to hurt her son, and she hadn`t been able to help him. She was afraid for him constantly, especially when she knew that one of his rapist were still out there, and no one knew where. “You can`t sleep either?” She asked then. “No, I have the same problem; nightmares.” Michael smiled weakly. “Would you like some hot chocolate?” She suggested and rose up. “Thanks, I would love some.” “How about, if I add some chili in it, like my own mother used to do?” She asked smiling. “I would love that even more.”
She handed him the hot cup of cacao and sat down with her own. “Have you talked with Samuel?” She asked. “Yes.” ”And? What did he say? What did you say?” Evelyn watched her son closely. “We`re not together any more, I told him that.” “I just don`t understand sweetheart, why did you leave him? That man loves you, you can see it through miles. What happened?” Evelyn really did like Sam, and she hoped that the two of them would return back together. He wanted her son to be with someone, who truly loved him, and she knew that Sam was just that person. She had seen the pain that Sam had gone through, during Michael`s kidnapping.
“Nothing happened. I just want to be on my own. Is it really that hard to understand?” Michael snorted, with frustration. “Of course I understand. I won`t ask anymore questions, if you don`t want me to.” Evelyn said, and stroked his hand soothingly. “I love you.” She whispered smiling. Michael lifted his eyes to meet with hers. “I love you too mom.” “Listen, I have to go christmas`s shopping tomorrow, would you like to join me?” She suggested then. Michael hesitated for a moment, wondering could he handle going out in a crowd. On the other hand, it would be nice to see some old, familiar surroundings. “Alright, I do need to buy some presents too.” He said.
Michael took his medicine, which was supposed to prevent him of having panic-attacks. He got dressed and walked downstairs, where his mother was waiting for him. “Are you ready hon?” She asked smiling. Michael nodded his head and smiled, he dressed his coat on, and they walked outside, over to the car.
Michael watched the scenery in silent, it still felt so odd being there. The oddest part was when he saw his old school. “Are you alright sweetheart?” Evelyn asked, when Michael hadn’t said a word in a long time. “I’m fine.” Michael said, turning his head to look at her, he smiled little sadly. “You know, you could finish your school by studying at home? I’m sure that it could be arranged.” Evelyn suggested, like reading his thoughts. “I’ll have to look into it after Christmas.” Was his reply, he then turned to face the car window.
The shopping mall was quite full with people, who were walking around in a hurry, carrying big shopping packs with presents in them. Michael stayed close to his mother, feeling somewhat nervous. He looked all the people that came to close to him, with suspicion. “Hm…now what on earth should I buy to your father.” Evelyn wondered out loud, stopping, and looking around herself. “Lets go to the bookshop first?” She asked. ”Alright, it’s fine with me.”
Evelyn kept her eyes on her son, as he walked little farther away from her, to look at some books. She wanted constantly to know where he was. She was afraid that if she would loose him even for one small moment, something terrible could happen. Evelyn suddenly noticed looking warningly at any one, who came too near to him for her liking, or looked at him little longer than they would need to. In her eyes, every male was now a possible threat.
“Evelyn! My, my, it has been along time.” A male voice said behind her. Evelyn turned around, and tried to force a smile. She glanced over at her son, making sure that he was still where he was suppose to be. Then she looked back at the man; Gary Harte. “Hello Gary.” She greeted him, with slightly tense voice. She really wasn’t in the mood to have a conversation with this man. “So Christmas shopping, eh?” He said, and winked at her. Evelyn shivered slightly from disgust.
Gary Harte, was a biology teacher, at the same school where she had used to work , before Michael had disappeared. The man had been the most annoying of her fellow teachers. The man had developed a huge crush on her; bringing her gifts, done everything in his power to get her to go out with him, and been too thick headed to understand, when she had tried to tell him that she was quite happily married. “Yes.” She answered, and kept looking at where her son was. “I’m in a slight hurry, I…” Evelyn tried. “So how’s things going with you beautiful?” Gary asked quickly, ignoring her attempts to leave.
Michael glanced over at her mother, and saw the man with her. He could see clearly how uncomfortable she felt with him. “Mom, should we get on going, we’ll be late soon?” Michael said coming next to her. He looked at the man with suspicion. “Oh, let me guess, this is Michael? You come back home then.” The man said smiling. Michael rolled his eyes. “Oh my, indeed look at the time, we really need to get going.” Evelyn said looking at her watch. She was feeling grateful that Michael had come to her rescue. “It was a pleasure of seeing you Evelyn, I sure hope that we meet again soon, with a better time.” Gary smiled, resting his eyes on her slim figure. Michael would have wanted to hit him hard, for the way he had looked at his mother. “Bye Gary.” Evelyn said quickly.
“Who was that?” Michael asked, when they walked away from the store. “Gary Harte, a biology teacher from the school I used to work at.” Evelyn answered, and smiled weakly. “So this man seems to have a serious crush on you, I saw the way he looked at you.” Michael said and looked at her closely. “Yes, I really wouldn’t need his admiring though. And please don’t tell your father, you know how he can get, if some other man, tries to make a move on me. You remember that Loure thing?” Evelyn asked. “Oh yes… And don’t worry, I won’t tell.” Michael smiled. He knew exactly how his mother felt. How many times some jerk had tried to hit on him? He didn’t even remember. So he and his mother had more in common that he could have ever imagined.
They had already bought few presents when they came into one clothing store. His mother knew exactly where she was going. She stopped to look at one red evening dress. She touched the fabric, looking at it somehow longingly. “That’s a beautiful dress, I’m sure it would look great on you.” Michael said, coming behind her. “Mm…it’s just so expensive.” Evelyn said, still looking at the dress. “Alright, go try it on, it’s an order.” Michael said, took the dress, and a hold of his mother’s hand, guiding her towards the dressing cubicles. He opened a door to one and gently pushed her in, giving the dress to the hands of the very surprised woman. “I’ll wait out here, while you try it.” Michael said, closing the door in front of her face.
Finally she stepped out, the dress fitted on her body perfectly, like it was made for her figure. She looked absolutely radiant. “Oh mom, you look so beautiful.” Michael said smiling. “Really?” Evelyn asked and looked at herself from the mirror. ”Really, dad couldn’t keep his hands away, if he saw you in that.” Michael said then. Evelyn smiled, looking at her own figure very closely. She had never felt herself as beautiful, as she did now. She looked at her son through the mirror. “I just don’t know. It’s Christmas, one shouldn’t buy expensive things for oneself.” She said then. “How about if I buy it for you.” Michael said. “You shouldn’t spend your money on me dear. I have plenty of dresses back home and…” “No buts, I insist. Now go, and change your clothes … And just think how much you have spent of your money on my clothes once, and I did have quite an expensive taste back then. And besides it would make me happy if I could buy it for you.” Michael told her. Evelyn looked at him and smiled. “Well, only if it makes you happy?” “Yes it will.” Michael smiled back.
Michael sat on one of the bench at the shopping centre. He waited for his mother who was at the pharmacy. He kept his gaze cast down. It somehow felt as of everyone was looking at him, whispering about him. He knew that he was probably just imagining, but couldn’t convince himself well enough.
He heard someone approaching and his head immediately snapped up. He looked at the dark haired young woman, with blue grey eyes. The woman looked at him, little insecurely. “Michael?” She asked finally and stepped closer to him. Michael looked at her more carefully, only now recognizing her. “Jenny?” He asked in surprise, wondering how he could not have recognized her right from the start. “Oh my God, it is you. This is so odd, oh my god.” She let out a soft laugh, looking at him from head to toe. “Can I sit here?” She asked. “Of course Jen.”
“I still can’t believe that it’s you. It’s been so long.” She said, smiling. She looked at her one time boyfriend’s face closely; he was still as beautiful as he had been back then, maybe even more so now. “It is strange seeing you as well Jen, strange, but nice.” “When did you come back?” She asked then. “Yesterday morning.” Michael replied. “So, where were you anyway?” ”In New York, and Paris.” “Oh, that sounds interesting. I’ve always wanted to see the world, to travel more, but somehow I just seem to have gotten stuck in my place here.” Michael smiled to her. “So how’s life treating you Jen?” “Oh, just fine. I’m engaged, and living with my fiancé.” Jenny told him. “Oh, that’s good to hear. Congratulations.” “Thanks, so how about you? Do you have a boyfriend or…?” “No, it’s good to be on my own for awhile.”
Evelyn walked over to her son, and greeted his old friend. Michael stood up, followed by Jenny. “It was great seeing you and I would love to see you some other time too. We have a class reunion coming up, some where in February or March, it would be nice if you could come?” Jenny asked. “Um, well I… I’ll think about it. It was nice seeing you too Jenny.” He answered. They said their goodbyes to each other. The class reunion didn`t interest him that much though. Endless questions, and peoples, who probably still hated him.
They went to a couple of more stores, until the shopping center became ever more full with people. Evelyn could see that Michael was starting to get more nervous. “Lets go home honey, we’ve been here quite long enough.” Evelyn said and looked at him. Michael smiled and nodded his head, looking relieved.
When Michael came back to his room, he locked his door, turned the music on and laid on his bed. He was tired, so very tired. He tried his best, he wanted to be a good sport and forget. He had succeeded in his task quite well, up until now; he smiled, and pretended to be fine. He had pretended so many years, and now, he was just so tired. He lift his hands up to hide his face, and wept. It felt like some big painful lump would have been growing inside him, a lump that refused to leave, and he had no idea how to get it out. His mother had looked so happy today, and he wanted her to be happy, and not to worry about him. He didn’t want to be a burden, he didn’t want to be in the way. It just hurt so bad, and he just didn’t know what he should do, or to whom he could talk to. It was too awful to speak about, it made him feel so dirty. He would have to spend his remaining years alone. No man would ever want him, if they knew, Michael thought. And the only man he wanted anymore was Sam, so it really didn’t matter.
The voices still haunted him at times. When he closed his eyes, he could still see their faces. In his dreams, it was even worse; distorted, and just plain horrible. Red all over; blood, the horrible laugh. He bit his bottom lip, praying for a miracle that would allow him to just forget.
He heard a knock on his door. “Michael, supper is ready.” The voice of his mother told him. Michael cleared his throat. “I’m coming!” He told her, trying to make his voice sound as even as possible. He rose up from the bed, and came to the mirror. He wiped the tears away, making sure that his parents couldn’t see that he had cried. “Just breath, everything is alright, breath.” He told himself, and took few deep calming breaths. When he reached downstairs, and saw his parents sitting in front of the table; he lift his chin up, and forced a smile on his lips. Surely he could just force himself to be happy again?
“Welcome, how was your flight here?” Evelyn greeted her parents-in-law, her husbands niece; her husband and their small daughter. “It was okay, there was quite a big jam, especially at Heathrow.” Rachel answered, while taking her coat off. Henry followed them inside carrying their luggage.
Michael looked at his grandparents from upstairs. He took a deep breath, preparing himself for what was coming, before walking downthe stairs slowly. He had really feared this moment. ”Hey” He greeted them little shyly. His grandparents gave him a funny look. “Michael!” Tara called out, she gave her daughter quickly to the arms of her husband, and rushed to give her younger cousin a hug. “It`s so good to see you! Really nice, oh my god… You have grown up! Let me look at you; wow… You look so good!” Tara shrieked, smiling wildly, as she looked at him from head to toe, and pulled him into another tight hug. Michael felt slightly uncomfortable of her excitement. Sure he was happy to see her, but he didn’t like this much attention.
Tara`s husband walked closer. “This is my husband; Ryan O’Connor, and our daughter Katie.” Tara introduced them. Michael shook his hand and they exchanged few words. He looked at the little girl in his arms; she had a black hair, like her parents, and she had inherited her mothers bright blue eyes. “Hello little one.” Michael smiled and stroked her cheek smoothly. The girl smiled, and looked at him with her curious, big eyes. “She is beautiful, just like her mother.” Michael said and gave a smile to his cousin.
“Alright, would you like a coup of tea then? Henry can take your luggage to upstairs.” Evelyn suggested, after admiring the beautiful child for a second. She still sometimes dreamed that she could be a grandmother herself one day, she loved children.
“Well Michael, it has been awhile.” Rachael said, and looked at her grandson, while they were sitting in the living room, drinking tea. “Yes, it has.” Michael replied, with slightly unsure voice, squeezing his tea cup in his hand, tighter than it would have been necessary. “You caused a lot of worry to your parents, disappearing like that.” She kept going. “I know.” “Well you were always very careless boy. Always doing what pleased you, not caring about the rules, or others.” She continued. Michael’s eyes widened, he could feel the blood boiling inside his veins. She didn’t know him at all, if this was what she truly thought of him. “I know why it so; you…” Rachel was already starting. “Rachel! I`m warning you. You will not talk to my son this way!” Evelyn said, with clear anger on her usually so calm features. The woman looked coldly at her daughter-in-law, but didn’t say another word.
His grandfather hadn`t spoken a word to him, and barely even looked at him. They sat in front of the dining table, the conversation seemed very forced, overly polite. Michael looked at Tara, who sat opposite from him. He rolled his eyes, to his grandfathers dry conversation, made funny faces and played with his food, earning a small giggle from Tara. She tried hard not to laugh. Then Evelyn saw what he was doing, and he immediately stopped, smiled, and tried to act correctly. Evelyn smiled back to him gently, she was just happy seeing him playing around, like he had years ago. She knew she should be strict with table manners, but she just couldn`t, not when it came to him.
Evelyn cleared the table when they had finished eating. “Henry, Ryan, what if us men move to the living room, for a glass of brandy.” Peter Wills suggested rising up. Michael looked at him, and sighted. Apparently he wasn`t included to this group. His grandfather, despised gay-people, to him gay men, weren’t even men, they were nothing to him.
“Michael would you like to join us?” His father asked, when rising up. Peter`s expression darkened. “No thank you dad.” Michael smiled to his father, and then turned to look at the older man, his smile fading.”You men can go, my place is here with the lady’s, right grandfather?” Michael said, raising one of his eyebrows to him. Peter cleared his throat, and looked at him, not able to hide his disgust for him. And once there had been a time, when this same man, had looked at him with pride, going on and on about how intelligent and bright his grandson was. “I don’t think you would be interested of the things we talk about, it’s indeed better for you to stay here.” The old man said finally, turning around and leaving the room. His father and Ryan followed him, looking little helpless, and giving apologetic looks behind.
Michael sat on his bed, Tara next to him and Katie, in Michael`s arms. Michael lift the girl up and the child laughed. He soon noticed being in a better mood himself than in ages. It must have been because of the child. Tara looked at them smiling. “Katie likes you.” She said. Michael looked at his cousin, and smiled. “It`s so weird that you’re a mother already. I mean, you`re a great mother, don`t get me wrong. It`s just that I remember you being this teen-age girl, who was angry at the whole world, and here you are now, all grown up, so motherly… Katie is a wonderful child”
Michael brought the girl closer to him, and made funny faces to her, the girl laughed even more. “I think you could make an excellent father, have you ever thought about having children of your own?” She asked. “Children?… I could find some messed up lesbian, and together we could raise a bunch of equally messed up children… No, I wouldn’t be a great father, I think I would be terrible. I probably wouldn’t dare to let them out. I would be suspicious of everyone trying to be their friends, we would always stay inside. And maybe, just maybe, if they had been behaving really, really good, we could go as far as our fenced back yard, to have a picnic…. And what kind of life would that be?” Michael looked at Tara and grinned. He turned back to look at the girl. “Doesn’t that sound exiting Katie? You would just jump at the chance to go visit uncle Michael, wouldn’t you? Oh I know you would.” Katie seemed to think that what ever he said was funny, so she laughed again.
“Your mother told me what happened to you..” Tara said finally. Michael`s expression became more serious. “She thought that it would be good for me to know. … I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say… I just want you to know, that you can talk to me about anything.” Tara spoke a little insecurely, and nipped her bottom lip. She really didn’t know how to talk about something like this, what should she say, and how could she help him the best? ”She told you everything? About what they did?” Michael’s voice was trembling. He was afraid to look at her, afraid of what could be seen from her eyes. He felt ashamed. “Yes…” She admitted quietly. “Do you want to talk about it?” She asked carefully. Michael looked at the girl sitting on his lap. “I just want to forget about it.” He answered quietly. Tara didn`t know what to say, so she gently wrapped her arms around him, and kissed his cheek. “I love you Michael, you have been like a little brother to me. I`m always going to be there for you, if you need me. Like you were always there for me when I needed you.” She whispered. “I love you too Tara. I just don’t want to talk about it, not yet anyway.” Michael whispered back. They sat in silent for a long time, the only sounds in the room; were the quiet giggles of the small girl, still sitting on his lap.
“Merry christmas!” Evelyn wished happily, when he came to the kitchen that morning. “Merry christmas to you too mom.” Michael smiled, and gave her a kiss on the cheek. The whole house smelled so nice, so like christmas. He had missed this. He took a cup hot chocolate, and walked into the living room, where Tara and Katie, already were. Katie sat by the tree, and looked at the big pile of gifts with curiosity. She then tried to eat the corner of one larger gift. She looked absolutely adorable. “Merry christmas Tara.” The woman stood up and walked over to him, to give him a hug. “Merry christmas my dear cousin.” She said and kissed his cheek. Michael smiled, and went to pick the little girl up to his arms. ”And merry christmas for you too little one.”
The others soon woke up, and gathered into the living room. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, the radio played christmas songs, they all chatted happily and Tara handed out the gifts to everyone. To Michael`s surprise, he noticed that his grandmother was looking at him and smiling, he never remembered seeing such a warm smile on her face before. A little insecurely, he smiled back at her.
Michael couldn’t remember, a time that he had ever recieved so many gifts at once. He got a few new books, two new shirts, three cd’s, chocolate,a dvd-player, and couple of DVDs. “You have spend way too much money on my presents… Thank you so much for all of them.” He said to his parents with a smile. “I would have wanted to buy you more gifts, but your father held me down.” Evelyn admitted, and placed her hand on her husbands thigh. “Well, I wouldn’t have stopped her if we were very rich, but after all, there is life after christmas too.” Henry laughed softly.
Once everyone had opened their presents, Michael went back to his own room to change his clothes. Soon he heard a knock on his door. “Come in, it’s open.” Michael answered, and turned to look at his mother, who had just walked in. “There is one more present, it came with the mail this week.” Evelyn said and gave him a large envelope, containing a present inside. Michael opened it, there was a oblong case inside, and a letter. He sat on his bed, and started to read the letter;
I know you asked me to distance myself from your life, and not to contact you anymore. I just find it very hard to believe, that this indeed is what you really want. Maybe my heart is just too stubborn to believe it, because it brings so much pain to me. I love you now, and I always will, it will never change. I want you to be happy, and if it’s not me, to make you so, then I’ll understand, and will not stand in your way.
In my heart though, I feel that there is something, that you’re not telling me? If it really is true, then please, my love, please tell me? Do you not know, that I would stand by your side what ever may come? There isn’t anything that you could not tell me.
Kitty told me, that she had a talk with you. She told me everything that you were afraid of, and I’m sorry, that I haven’t been able to express myself about; just how happy you make me. Yes, this has been difficult as hell, I won’t try to denney it. It hurts, and I have been depressed, and I have been sad. But I’m only sad when you are, and only happy when you’re happy.
You’re still blaming yourself for what happened, but you should not do that. You did nothing wrong! You could not help to prevent what happened, remember that. To me, you are and always will be, the same person that I fell in love with from the start, always as pure, always as beautiful. That person might be hidden underneath the pain, but I know that inside you are, who you always were. I love you, I never get bored of telling you that.
I have thought about us a lot, and about you. I think you might fear, that my love for you is only superficial, that I would only love your beauty. But I can assure you, that it’s not so. My love for you goes so much deeper than that. You are wise, funny, you have a warm heart, and so many other things that I could not help but to love. I love the way you always leave your tea cups laying around every where, I even love the annoying little habit of yours, to but cd’s in different cases, so I can never find the right ones. My cd’s might be in their right cases now, but it’s boring, and I miss you mixing them up again, and… Oh, I just miss you, okay?
You are a survivor, words are not enough to tell you how much I admire and respect you. You are the bravest person, I’ve ever known. You have never given up before, so do not give up now. You deserve happiness, you deserve the best, and I hope that some day, you`ll have it. I do hope that it would be with me, but if your heart does not feel the same, then I`ll understand.
I think I`m just starting to repeat myself? At times like this, I wish that I could be a great poet, that I could form my feelings in perfect lines, but I`m afraid that I can not write so well. All I ask, is one word from you; so that I could at least know that you’ll be alright. After that I promise to leave you alone, if that is what you wish me to do… Merry christmas, I’ll send you a gift with my letter.
With love: Sam”
Michael felt the tears in his eyes, his heart urged him to find his cell, and call to Sam immediately, but the other voice still argued, telling him that by doing that, he would risk Sam`s life and he could never forgive himself for that.
He then opened the present and looked at the necklace inside; and Irish celtic necklace; ’the eye of a druid’. It was being said, that it would help you to see things the way they are, and not the way they look like.
”May I ask, who wrote to you?” Evelyn asked, although she had a pretty good idea. “Sam.” Michael answered, and looked at the necklace more carefully. Evelyn looked at it too, and recognized it. “The eye of a druid” She said out loud. “What did Sam write?” She asked then. Michael looked at the letter once more. “He loves me.” He said still staring at the piece of paper. “Well, of course he does.” Evelyn laughed softly and hugged him. “Maybe you should call him, and thank him for the gift.” She suggested. Michael looked at her. ”Maybe…” He said quietly, still lost in his own thoughts of the letter. “Alright, I’ll go now, to prepare the supper.” Evelyn smiled, and pressed a gentle kiss on his forehead.
After supper they sat in the living room, drinking some wine, and listening to music. Evelyn had the red dress on, that Michael had bought for her earlier. Michael smiled as he looked at his parents, dancing in the middle of the living room floor, looking very much in love, just like some young couple. The look on his fathers face, had been worth seeing, as his wife was coming down the stairs wearing her new, beautiful dress. The man had stood still for several minutes, until he had been able to form the right words to describe his wife; “You look amazing.” He had told her, and kissed her deeply. Michael twiddled the necklace, and finally stood up to find his cell.
”Hello” Sam’s soft, and slightly surprised voice answered. “Hi Sam, I called to wish you a merry christmas and… um… to say thanks for your gift.” Michael started. “Merry christmas. Did you like the gift?” Sam asked. “Yes, I`m wearing it right now.” “Good.” Sam`s voice sounded like he would have been smiling. “Did you read the letter?” Sam asked then, with little nervous voice. ”Yes. It was…” Michael tried to find the right words, and his heart tried desperately to make him say the three little words, that he truly felt, but the fear inside him, managed to stop him. “It was a beautiful letter, I…I still need time to think about things. It`s not that simple.” “Why?” Sam asked. ”Because, I can’t explain this… please Sam, give me some time to think things over?” “Of course, take your time, I can wait… I`m glad that you called.” Sam told him. “How could I not call, after such a letter?” Michael smiled, closed his eyes, and wished that he could have been next to Sam, instead of just talking with him on the phone. “Well, I have to go now, I`ll talk to you later Sam.” “Alright, later. Hope you you have a nice evening.” “You too, bye now.” ”Bye.”
“Michael, a call for you!” His mother shouted. “I’m coming!” Michael shouted back, and walked down the stairs, into the kitchen. “Who is it?” He asked, and took the phone receiver, he held his hand so that the caller couldn’t hear his question. “I guess it’s one of your friend from Paris, didn’t catch his name.” Evelyn answered. Michael guessed that it might be Erick.
“Hello.” “Merry christmas Michael.” The voice on the other end replied, the voice, that he did not recognize. “Sorry, who is this?” He asked little insecurely. “Don’t you recognize my voice?” The man asked. “Um, I’m sorry, but I don’t.” He answered, and glanced at his mother, who looked back at him, with question in her eyes. “Well, I can understand, it’s been awhile, so don’t you worry your pretty little head with it… So aren’t you going to wish me merry christmas back? It would be rude not to.” Michael’s heart was starting to bead wildly, he tried desperately to connect the voice with the right face and name, but no matter how much he tried, he still could not recognize it.
“Merry christmas.” He answered finally. ”I knew you would be polite.” “Who are you?” Michael insisted to know. The man laughed to his tightened voice. “You’re so cute, when you get upset. You’re really sexy, but you already know that, don’t you?” Michael was trembling, his hold of the receiver tightened. “Who the fuck are you?” Michael asked again quietly, but firmly at the same time. “Oh, you really want to know, don’t you?…Do you know how hot it makes me, to hear the fear in your voice? Mmmh…I’m so hard already, just thinking about you, and all the things you and I could do….” Michael was shaking all over now, the tears fell down on his face. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak. Evelyn took the phone from his hand, and for a second she listened what was being said on the other line. “You sick perverse! I’ll call the cops, don’t you ever call here again, or it will be the end of you!” Evelyn screamed, her voice trembling from fury. She hung up the phone, and pulled her crying son in to a tight hug.
Henry and the others came into the kitchen, when they had heard Evelyn’s shout. “What happened, who were you screaming at?” Henry asked, with clear concern in his voice, as he looked at his wife, and then at his son. “Some nut case called here, and said some things, that…I can’t repeat what that man said.” Evelyn sighted. She looked up top her mother-in-law, and for the first time during their visit, Evelyn could see a true concern and love on her features, as she looked at her grandson. Peter, however, had nothing but disgust on his cold face. A crying man, was a weak man. That was what his own father had taught to him, that was what he believed in.
Michael felt dizzy, he felt ill. Everybody were looking at him. ‘stupid whore…’ The voice inside his head whispered: Michael gasped for air, and lift his hands up to his temples. It was hard to breath, the room seemed to sift. The child began to cry somewhere. His mother spoke to him, but he could not understand the words. “I… I have to go.” He was somehow able to say. He left the kitchen, ran upstairs to his room, and locked the door after him. He breathed fast, and leaned his back against the door. He couldn’t see clearly, he couldn’t get enough air. He walked over to his desk, took his medicine and sat on the floor. He took one pill, and drank some watter, from the bottle beside his bead. He tried to concentrate on breathing, and closed his eyes.
Only then he heard the knocking on his door. “Michael…sweetheart, open the door!” His mother begged with worry. “Michael!” He stood up with slightly shaking legs, and walked over to the door, opening it. The mother looked at her son closely; he looked very pale, and shocked. She wrapped her arms around him, and walked him over to the bed. “I’m sorry mom, I’m so sorry.” The weak voice asked. She held him tighter against her chest, and stroked his hair. “There is nothing that you should say you’re sorry for.” She spoke. “I’m so tired…I can’t… I’m scared.” Michael cried. The agony and weakness in his voice, made her heart ache. “Shh..I’m here honey, you’re safe.” She comforted. “I think I need help mom, I thought that I could handle this on my own, but now I don’t think I can.” He finally admitted. She kissed his forehead. “We’ll get help for you, and we will be here for you, you’re never alone. I love you sweetheart.” “I love you too mom.”
Evelyn was happy that he had finally asked for help, he needed to take that step to heal. But she was also scared for him, things she had heard on the phone, were too awful to even think about.
Michael was quite sure that who ever had called; had something to do with Ricky. Maybe it was one of those men from his past, that he had slept with; most of them he had already forgotten. The faceless men, just haze in his mind, he did not care to remember them. The mind has it’s way to block unwanted memory’s away, for self protection, that was what had happened with some memory’s of his years with Ricky. Michael was afraid of some of these memories, he did not want them back.
Evelyn stayed by his side, until he finally fell a sleep. She walked over to her husband, who stood at the doorway. “How is he doing?” Henry asked. Evelyn closed the door. ”Well, he’s pretty shaken up… It was horrible Henry, the things that the man said. I`m scared.” Henry pulled his crying wife into a gentle hug. “I won’t let anything happen to him, or to you. We’ll inform the police, just in case.” The man said. He felt enormous rage inside. He would do anything to protect his family, anything that would be necessary.
Evelyn sat in the kitchen, she held a warm cup of tea between her hands, and stared outside. Rachel walked in, and sat down, opposite from her. The old woman looked at her, a thoughtful _expression on her face. “What’s happened to my grandson? He’s obviously not well, and I know, that there’s more behind this, then what you have told.” She asked then. Evelyn turned to look at her, a tired look on her face. “You wouldn’t understand.” Evelyn said and looked back outside. “Wouldn’t I? He’s my grandchild, my own flesh and blood. All past put to a side, I do not want to see him hurt, and I want to know the truth.” “I don’t think you could handle the truth.” Evelyn said. “I can handle a lot more than people give me credit for.” Rachel assured. Evelyn thought about this. Did she even have the right to talk about something so personal, and painful matter?
She sighted deeply. “I told you earlier, that Michael called us from Paris, but that’s not true. It was his boyfriend who called us…” Evelyn started, and looked at her mother-in-law, to see her reaction. She noticed that she slightly tensed, as she heard the word; boyfriend, but she didn’t say anything about it. “…He called, because Michael had disappeared, he had been kidnapped… I told you about the shooting? Well, in any case, it happened during his kidnapping, but that wasn’t all that happened…” Evelyn had to stop for a second, unsure could she continue. “Tell me, please Evelyn? I need to know.” Rachel asked. “They…the men who had him…they raped him.” Evelyn was finally able to say. She looked at the elder woman, all color had vanished from her face. They were both silent. Rachael was too shocked to say anything, to form words out of her confused thoughts. They sat in silence for a long time.
Michael sat in front of his desk writing, when he heard a knock on his door. “Come in.” He said, and was surprised, when he saw Rachel. “May I speak with you?” His grandmother asked, and Michael nodded his head carefully. Rachel closed the door after her, and sat on her grandsons bed. Michael was slightly afraid of what she would say. Would she preach to him about God and salvation? Rachel noticed his insecure look. “I know we haven’t always gotten along. We’re very different you and I… Don’t fear, I am not here to preach on you.. You are my grandson and despite all what I have said before, you are dear to me.” The Irish woman spoke. Michael looked surprised, and didn’t quite know how to reply.
“I know what you’re going through, I know how hard it is.” She spoke with serious tone of voice. “Many, many years ago, when I was just 15-years old, my uncle did a bad thing to me, while my parents were away.” She said. Michael was opening his mouth. “You must know what I mean?” She asked. Michael nodded his head in shock. ”Your own uncle?” He asked, and it was her turn to nod. “I was too afraid, and too a shamed to talk to anyone about it, but in the end my mother found out, and my uncle never got near me again. Those times, the religious environment of my country, it was a big shame. Not even your grandfather knows about this. To this day, he still believes that I was a virgin when we married. I believe that he would never have married me, had he known the truth. Our marriage has never been one out of love. I married a man, who had money enough to take care of me… You are the first person, inyears, who I have told this. I visited the church daily, after that instance. I was afraid, I thought that it had been my fault, and that God would punish me for loosing my virginity outside marriage. I did everything to compensate a sin, that I never wanted to make. I despised myself,I was worried for my soul… What happened then, is what has hardened me so. I wasn’t always like this, this cold I mean. I see it now, but it’s very difficult to try to change the person you have grown into after so many years… It has taken me several years to understand, that what happened then, is not my fault. The sinner was my uncle, not I.”
Rachel stood up from the bed, and walked over to him. She placed her hands on his shoulders. “It was not your fault, do not feel a shamed for something you had no control of.” Rachel said, and smiled gently to him. Michael was still too stunned to say anything. And then she did something that surprised him even more; she leaned down, and kissed his forehead. “I do love you, I always have.” She said the words, that he had never heard her say before. “I-I love you too grandma.” He heard himself reply. Rachael smiled once more, then she turned , and left the room, leaving the still very surprised young man behind.
Tony sat on the couch, feeling bored. He stared at some football game from the TV, although he wasn’t really paying that much attention to it. He was too tired to join to the conversation that his friends were having, it all just seemed so idle and pointless. He found that he missed his best friend, and he wondered what Michael was doing, right at that moment. Nothing felt the same anymore, when Michael wasn’t with them. They had always been so close together, where you saw one, you would see the other, but now everything had changed.
The conversation turned to girls, as the evening passed. Tom was bragging about his sexual experiences, which Tony knew, were quite non-existing. There was only that slightly plump sophomore girl, with glasses, who Tom had managed to get in his bed, he had promised her the moon and the stars; lies of course, but the poor girl had believed him, and was now the laughing stock of the whole school.
Tony often wondered why he even spent his time with these morons. That night, he wondered about it even more. The others bragged about their conquests, mentioning names, and telling what they had done with these girls, and were they good enough in bed. “That bitch lay in bed, like a dead fish! The worst fuck ever!” Mark told them, and the others laughed. Tony had a strange urge to slap Mark, and well, he pretty much wanted to slap each and every one of them. He wanted to laugh at how stupid they were, and their non-existing sexual skills. He wished that Michael could be there with him, so that there would be at least one person, who would be capable of intelligent conversation. They would roll their eyes at each other. Michael would taunt them eventually, and that would make them shut up. Tony sighed, and drank his beer, hoping that it would get him drunk quickly. The conversation only became more perverse, the more everybody drank.
“…Jane doesn’t even know how to suck cock, the bitch is useless. I should just brake up with that stupid cow… I tried to get some ass from her, but she didn’t give any, she doesn’t do anything fun. We even have to shut the lights off when we fuck.” Colin was talking about his girlfriend. Tony listened to this with disgust, as the others laughed. No one should talk about his or her girlfriend that way.
“I wonder would Michael Wills give some arse, if someone should ask him.” Sean wondered, and Tony started slightly, when hearing his best friend’s name mentioned. “I bet he would, I bet he’s just waiting to get fucked by someone. A horny slut he is.” Tom laughed. “Well he does have a great arse, I can tell you that. I think I wouldn’t mind giving him a ride, if I was in a really bad heat. I mean if there weren’t any girls around…Just push him against the wall, pants down and stick it in.” Sean continued. The others laughed, and started to wonder whether he would be a good fuck or not. “…I mean only if there weren’t any girls.” Sean remembered to add again, as he was telling his twisted fantasies.
Tony started to get mad, with each passing second. The blood in his veins was boiling, as he heard the way they were talking about his beloved friend. He knew that Sean had his little fantasies about him, long before everyone had found out that Michael was gay. “Shut the fuck up! Or are you all gay’s as well, considering the way you so eagerly talk about him!?” Tony shouted finally. The others looked at him, a little scared, knowing his temperament. All except Tom; who grinned at him. “Are you getting a soft spot Tony? Rising to defend your boyfriend’s honor; how sweet.” Tom spoke. Tony grabbed the other boy by his shirt collar, and now Tom was slightly shaking. “You do not know what you’re talking about. If I were you Tom, I would keep my mouth shut, if you want to keep your face.” Tony threatened him. “Well fuck Tony, we were just messing around, don’t take it too seriously.” Tom laughed nervously, and Tony released his hold on him. He returned to his seat, and looked at everyone so threateningly, that no one dared to continue the topic that they had talked about earlier. The conversation turned back to sports.
it was a late evening; Michael was lying on his bed, reading a book. Soon he heard a small thud on his window, then a second, and then a third. He wondered about the source of this strange sound, and rose to sit. When he heard it for the fourth time, he stood up, and walked over by the window. He opened the curtains, just in time to see a small rock, flying against the glass. He started backwards slightly and then looked outside more carefully; He saw Tony, standing there, beneath his window, in a heavy fall of snow. Michael smiled, and opened the window.
“What on earth are you doing out there?” He shouted to his friend, who looked at him and grinned. “Well, I came here to ask, would you like to go for a walk with me, on this fine evening?” Tony shouted back. “Fine evening, do you call it? The weather is terrible, and it’s bloody cold out there.” Michael laughed. “Well, don’t be such a lady! You didn’t used to mind a small fall of snow. To remember correctly; you loved it!” Tony reminded him, smirking. “Well, do you remember Tony, that there are such things as cell phones these days? You could have called, but instead you decide to scratch my window with those rocks!” Michael shouted, still smiling. “Well of course I remember, but it’s more fun this way. Just like when we were kids, remember?” “ How could I forget? Alright, I’ll come out soon, just wait a sec.” Michael told him, and closed his window.
“I’m going for a walk with Tony.” Michael told his parents, when coming downstairs. “In this weather?” Evelyn asked, in surprise. “Yes.” Michael laughed, and went to dress in his coat. “Alright, but be careful.” Evelyn said, after following her son into the hall. “I will, we will just go for a short walk, nothing to worry about.” Michael said and smiled to his worried mother. “I’ll see you later!” He shouted, while stepping outside.
Tony’s clothes were already covered with snow. “Aren’t you cold?” Michael asked, coming to him. “Well, a little, but we’re not made from sugar, now are we?” They started to walk down the familiar street. “So, you’re visiting your parents again?” Michael asked, as they continued walking. “Aye. And my little brother is again driving me to the edge of sanity, so I had to come to find salvation in your company, just like…” “…old times.” Michael finished his sentence, and they smiled to each other.
“Some things never change, like Jamie, and how annoying he is. I can’t believe he’s already 15-years old. He is such a big whiny, well he has always been so, but now he has started to swear, and talk back to my parents. One time, he ran away from home, and the next day he came home; face covered with bruises. My mom almost had a heart attack when she saw him. He acts so stupid….hm… I wonder, were we as annoying at that age?” Tony turned to look at him. “I think we might have been even worse.” Michael grinned. “Oh speak for yourself Mikey, you were annoying, and I, I was completely charming all the time.” Tony smirked, and lifted his head up proudly. “Of course, you were your mothers own sweetheart back then. You never did anything terrible: never got too drunk, never fought with your parents, never ran away from home, never got in to any fights. No, not you, never you.” Michael teased. “Yes, that’s right, I never did anything of the sort.” Tony laughed.
“By the way; where do you live nowadays?” Michael asked. “At the town center of Plymouth.” “And are you seeing anyone?” “No.” Tony answered with a smile. Michael smiled back to him, but soon he had to turn his eyes away from his friend. It felt so odd, and yet so natural to be with Tony; to walk with him, down the familiar streets. It almost felt as though the time would have slowly melted from between them, like they would have been 17 again. But at the same time, they both knew, that nothing was the same anymore, something very big had changed.
They walked over to their old school, to the sports ground. Michael looked at the snow covered scenery, and remembered the countless times he played football on the field. He remembered the sounds, and the feelings. The way the ground had looked at the summer time. He smiled to his memories a little sadly. Tony noticed his sad _expression. “It seems like forever ago. I came here often, looking at the others play… Those kids don’t even know how lucky they are.” Tony spoke. Michael looked at him and smiled. “It would be great to be able to move back in time. Even for a one small moment, if I could just fix one thing, then everything would be better now.” Michael said, staring now at the field. “Or if I could change one thing, one moment.” Tony whispered, and they looked at each others. Tony had a serious _expression on his face, and it confused Michael.
“Why did you tell it to everyone Tony?… Then, that night…” Michael noticed himself asking, it had always bothered him. Tony sighed, looked at the ground and then back to him. “Mary found me that night, after you and I had talked, and she asked me what was wrong. I was really confused about everything. I told her, what you had told me, that you kissed me… I know, I know…It was I who kissed you, but…As I said, I was really confused about everything…Tom heard our conversation with Mary, and it was he who told it to the others.” Tony explained. “I always did feel like Tom would have hated me or something, even when we pretended to be friends.” Michael sighed.
“He just envied you, just like many others. Envy of the fact that you could have gotten just about anyone you would have wanted, that so many liked you… I’ll always regret it, I should have been stronger. I failed your trust when you needed me the most, and I’ll never forgive myself for that.” Tony looked at him closely, his green eyes glimmering in the dark evening. “You can’t blame yourself for that Tony. I could have handled things differently myself too.. You remember how I was; always acting too fast, making stupid decisions. I was always too impatient to think about the consequences of my actions. I dug my own grave, and without you, I would have gotten into trouble much sooner. You always protected me.” Michael smiled gently to him.
Tony smiled back, and looked at the warm brown eyes of his friend. He was happy to be near him again, and he wanted to feel Michael even closer to himself. To feel that he really was there. He wrapped his arms around his friend, and pulled him into a gentle hug. “From now on, I’ll never fail your trust again. I’m here, always by your side when ever you need me, remember that. I would so much want to be your best friend again.” Tony told him and wondered, would he perhaps want to be something more to him too. “And you are. You’re always going to be my best friend, nothing can ever change that.”
“Would you like to come to my place tomorrow evening, to celebrate the new year? I think I’m getting too old or something, I just don’t feel up to go outside among the overly drunk people.” Tony laughed and continued. “I would much rather stay at home, but some company would be nice. Or are you perhaps going somewhere?” Tony looked at him with hope. “Well, my plan was to stay at home reading a book and watching some tv, and go to sleep before the midnight, but your offer sounds much more fun. I would love to come.” Michael smiled. “Good, lets get totally waisted, eat something terribly unhealthy and watch some movies. Hm..I’m thinking of some pizza, and some beer and perhaps tequila?” Tony grinned. “And then we`ll have the worst hang over for the first day of the year, sounds good to me.” Michael laughed
The new years eve-
“Hello Evelyn, I came to pick Michael up.” Tony greeted Evelyn as she opened the front door. “Hi Tony, please come in.” Evelyn smiled. “So what are your plans for this evening?” She asked. “Nothing special really, I think we’ll stay at my place for the whole evening.” Tony replied. “Alright, just don’t get my son too drunk.” Evelyn asked him, with a smile. “But Mrs. Wills, I would never. I mean…We will behave nicely, drinking some tea and talking about politics, very civilized, just like always.” Tony grinned.
Just then, Michael walked downstairs. ”So, are you ready to leave?” Tony asked. “I am.” He replied, with a smile, and took his coat. “Well, have a nice evening you two! And Tony, I would like my son back tomorrow; in one piece…” Evelyn said smiling; Michael rolled his eyes to his mother. “Of course he’ll be in one piece.” Tony grinned. “Nice evening to you too!” Tony wished, as he opened door. “See you tomorrow then, bye!” Michael said, and followed Tony to his car.
Tony was speeding. “God, now I understand why my mother asked you to return me home in one piece.” Michael commented, as Tony almost drove off the road, for the second time. “Would you mind slowing down?” He asked, and smiled to his friend. “Slow down? Are you serious?” Tony asked with a grin. “Well yes!…I didn’t survive from the shooting, just so that you could later kill us both by this crazy driving style of yours.” Michael laughed. “Alright, alright. What Michael wants, Michael gets.” Tony said and kindly slowed down. “Thank you.” Michael said. Tony’s words were left to repeat in his mind; ‘What Michael wants Michael gets.’ He sighed deeply to the irony of it, if only it could be so…
They arrived to Tony’s place, and Tony let him in first. “Don’t expect any luxury, and it might be somewhat messy in there, I did try to clean up a little this morning.” Tony had warned him, before letting him in. Michael undressed his coat, and looked around himself. The furnishing was quite dark with colours, but in looked very cosy to him. ”It’s not so messy in here. It’s surprisingly clean for your place.” Michael said, when stepping in. Tony noticed that there were some of his clothes on the living room floor, and hurried to clean them up. Why on earth, did he feel so nervous? He felt almost the same like when he brought some girl up to his place for the first time. Tony looked at his friend, who seemed slightly amused by his sudden urge to tidy up. “Tony, honestly, you don’t need to clean up on my account.” Michael smiled.
Michael walked around in the living room, looking at the paintings and the pictures on the wall, the bookshelf, Tony’s collection of DVDs and videos. “Wow, you have a lot of these.” Michael said. “Titanic?” He grinned. ”It was a good movie, I haven’t seen it since the time you and I saw it at the movie theatre.” Michael continued. “Oh, oh! You have Brave Heart! Can we watch it today?” Michael asked with exited voice, he looked at Tony with hope. The look on his face reminded Tony of the little boy, he had once been. “Of course, if you like.” He smiled. Michael placed the DVD back on the shelf, and walked towards the bedroom. Tony wondered in slight panic, had he remembered to clean up from there, and the answer would be; no. “Um, Michael, wait…” Tony tried, but Michael had already stepped inside.
Michael looked at the unmade bed with black satin sheets. “Uuh, sexy sheets Tony, did you have some company here?” Michael looked at him, and grinned. Realizing then that he was teasing Tony, just the way he had when they had been teen-aged. He got slightly confused by the knowledge that he hadn’t lost his former self completely. Tony had a slight blush on his face.
Michael walked further in, looking at the drawings on the wall. “Have you drawn these?” He asked. “Aye.” Tony admitted. “It’s good that you haven’t given it up. You were always so good at drawing.” Michael smiled. “Could I see more of these?” Michael asked. “Alright…” Tony replied and went to get his sketches. “Here are some, they are pretty old though.” Tony told him.
Michael sat on the bed, to look at them. “This is Jenny, isn’t it?” He asked, as he stopped to look at the picture more closely. The girl in it, was sitting on the bed, dressed only in a large t-shirt, her hair was a little bit messy, like just woken up. Tony came to look at it closer. “Um, yes it is…” Michael raised a questioning eyebrow. “Well, you see, I dated her when we were 18, it lasted six months.” Tony told him. “Oh? so you and Jenny?” Michael said and started to laugh slightly.
“What are you laughing about, is there something funny?” Tony asked confused. “No… I mean yes, just a little… The only girl, I ever…um…went a little further with, is Jenny, and then you dated her…” Michael started to explain. “Oh, just forget it.” He said then shaking his head. “So how far did you go with Jenny? You never told me back then. I remember when ever I tried to ask your reply always was; ‘Tony, a gentleman never tells. ” Tony asked with curiosity. “Oh, well, touching under clothes, touching, um, private parts. I always told her, that we should slow things down, that I didn’t want to rush things. I just never could take it to that level, no matter how much I tried to want her. One time she guided my hand under her panties, and I had a hard time not to laugh, you can imagine what would have come out of it, had we tried…well, you know?” Michael looked at him, smiling little shyly, and then looked back at the picture. “Jenny is beautiful though, she has always been so.” “Yes, and hopelessly in love with you.” Tony commented. Michael lifted his gaze up, and looked at him in confusion. “In love with me? Yes, back when we were in teen-age.” Michael said. “No, I think she is still. And I think that the only reason, she started to date me back then, was because I had been your best friend, and we both missed you. It was a pretty messed up relationship, when we both…” Tony started, but as he realized, what he had almost said out loud, he stopped. “You both what?” “Oh, nothing, just forget it. It just didn’t work out with her. We’re still friends though, that’s all.”
“Would you like a beer?” Tony asked, when they came into the kitchen. “Thank you, I would love one.” Michael answered. He looked around himself, walked over by the window, and looked outside. “The weather is even worse, than what it was yesterday, I hate wet snow.” Michael said. Tony walked behind him and handed him the beer. “Me too, but the sea air, what else can you expect?” Tony said. “Hey, why the fuck are we talking about weather?” Tony laughed then. Michael looked at him, and then laughed too. “I have no idea, lets watch the movie now?” Michael suggested. “Alright, lets do that.” Tony smiled.
They sat on the couch, Michael looked at the movie with concentrated _expression on his face. As Tony’s gaze, and thoughts were centred to him. They were both drinking. “It’s funny how much old feelings and thoughts, one movie can wake from you. I remember exactly how I felt when I saw this for the first time.” Michael said, after a long moment of silence. “Mmmh.” Tony was only able to reply, when looking at him. Tony noticed how much he wanted to pull the other one close, just hold him in his arms and… Tony shook his head. “I’ll make a drink for myself, you want one?” He asked. Michael muttered something that sounded like a yes, as his attention was back on the screen.
“I wonder, do you perhaps have some Mel Gibson fantasy? Considering the way you look at this movie.“ Tony laughed, when he returned with the drinks. Michael blushed slightly, and Tony couldn’t remember ever seeing him blushing before. “Well no!” Michael laughed. ”I mean this is just my favourite movie, and Mel is okay, but I don’t have any…um… fantasies about him.” Michael grinned, and took his drink. Tony sat back down next to him, a little closer than before.
“Do you think that we should perhaps talk about what happened all those years ago? The time when you told me that…” Tony started little insecurely, as the movie had ended. Michael turned to look at him, waiting for him to finish. “I mean what happened between us back then, before you left.” Michael placed his glass on the near by table, and pulled his knees close to his chest. “It might be good…” Michael said, after being quiet for a while. “I… I should have told you differently, I had just thought about it for so long, loved you for so long and then… I could have told it more carefully…” Michael continued, not really sure what he should say. Tony moved closer to him. “I could have not kissed you back then.” He started. Michael looked at him carefully, the beating of his heart escalated, as Tony lift his hand up to touch his cheek. “I could have… But if I am honest, you were right back then; I wanted it, just as much…Oh gods Michael, that kiss, it was forever ago, and I still haven’t been able to forget it.”
Michael was too stunned to say a word, so Tony continued. “I don’t even know when it started; when I started to look at you differently, and I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. You have been my friend for so long, I mean we have lain on the same nursery table, where our diapers have been changed. So yes, it was freaking confusing to start feeling something um, sexual towards you.” Tony laughed, and Michael laughed now too. “Well it’s a bit twisted I guess, when you put it like that.” He admitted. “There were times when you were like a brother to me, and then we kissed, and I realized; that you are not my brother, that you are you; my friend and…and so amazingly beautiful, and just amazing in every way… So I’m not totally straight, I think I swing to both ways… So there, this is the truth.” Tony took a deep breath, and then looked at the eyes of his friend, waiting for some kind of reaction. He then decided, that he couldn’t wait any longer, and pulled his friend as close to himself as he could, he kissed his lips eagerly, his hands trying to feel his body as much as they could.
Michael felt the tightening grasp around himself, he didn’t know how exactly, he ended up lying on his back, underneath the stronger body. He felt panic gathering inside, he couldn’t move, couldn’t get free. “Don’t!” He cried out, and struggled himself free. He stood up quickly.
Tony rose too, and looked at his friend with confusion. Michael looked like a frightened dear caught in the headlights. He tried to approach him. “Michael what is it?” He asked calmly, and reached out to touch his shoulder. Michael took few steps back. “Don’t come any closer! Do not touch me!” He cried, and looked even more frightened. He had an odd look in his eyes, it was as if he wouldn’t have understood where he really was anymore. “Michael…what is it? It’s me; Tony. Don’t be scared.” He spoke, not really knowing what he should do. “Everything is alright, I won’t touch you, if you do not want me to. I won’t hurt you, okay? Everything is alright.” He continued, approaching the other, who had now buried his face into his hands, and was crying. Tony thought that it would be all right now, to touch him. He placed his hand on his shoulder, and touched his chin gently. Michael looked at him feeling a shamed. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me…” He muttered, and let Tony hold him.
Tony held him close for a long time. “What’s happened to you?” He asked finally, when Michael had calmed down a bit. Michael swallowed hard, glanced at him, and then at his hands, like there would have been something really interesting about them. “Please tell me, talk to me.” Tony asked, with restful voice. He stroked his friend’s shoulder, and then guided him back to sit on the couch. He himself sat down on the armchair, next to the couch.
“It’s too disgusting, too horrible….” Michael tried, and was still staring at his hands. “You know you can tell me, what ever it is.” Michael looked at him, his eyes glimmering with tears. “I don’t know where to start…” “How about from the beginning?” Tony suggested, and tried to smile encouragingly.
“So much has happened… That man I left with back then; Ricky…” Michael started, trying to think the best way to tell it. He was afraid, that once he would have told everything, Tony would look at him, with disgust. “Go on.” Tony encouraged. “It was so afoul Tony, that time…Almost four years with him. Still, if I look back that time; it feels so unreal, so hazy and… There’s weeks and months during those years, that I have no recollection of, what so ever. I think it’s for the best though, not to remember, and I wish I could forget those years all together.” Michael said, shaking his head, Tony looked at him, in confusion. “I was a whore Tony, he made a whore out of me!” He cried out, and laughed darkly. “What? Did you say? Do you mean…?” Tony asked in disbelieve. “It is true, as crazy as it sounds. It sounds weird to my own ears too, but still a truth it is, and that’s not even all of it.”
Michael looked at him, slightly nervous, before he continued. “I thought, that I would be dammed in to living that life forever, but then I met Jean, a French man, who ’saved’ me from it.” Michael laughed dryly again. “We moved to Paris. Jean knew, what I had been. He assaulted me several times, saying that I was flirting too much, and constantly planning to cheat on him… Almost a year and a half ago, I met Sam.” Michael smiled weakly, when mentioning his name. “Gods, I don’t even know how long that distortion of a relationship with Jean, would have continued, had there not been Sam. We fell in love, we were friends. I was afraid to admit my true feelings to him, because of Jean. On my birthday, Jean found out that there was something more between Sam and I, then just friendship. We fought, I tried to leave, but it was too late, he…Jean, and his friend, they…they raped me that night.” Michael told him, and Tony gasped in shock. “They did what?!” “You heard right…But even that wasn’t all… I moved to live with Sam, and those four short moths spent with him, were the happiest times of my life, despite all the past pain. How stupid I was to think that it could last, that I could actually be given some happiness… I think I must have been something really afoul in my past life, to be punished so cruelly now… It turned out that Jean and Ricky had shared a past together, and Jean couldn’t handle my breaking up with him. He told Ricky where I was, and they kidnapped me in October, with four other men…They held me there, against my will, for five days, they raped me. In all that has ever happened to me, that was surely the worst…When I finally was able to I ran from there, helped by Jean, Ricky shot me…So here, my whole pathetic story. My life is just such a big joke, you see?” Michael said darkly, not able to look at Tony. He wondered how he had been able to tell it all so quickly. He felt a shamed, and at the same time he felt like he could just laugh. It all just sounded so ridiculous, when you said it out loud.
Suddenly, he felt Tony’s gentle arms around himself, pulling him into a gentle hug. “Oh, my God…I’m so sorry Michael…I was always scared for you…who could do something like that to you? To hurt you like that.” Tony looked at him. His eyes had the same fire, that had been there for all those times, that Tony had ran to his rescue when they had been younger. “Who were these people?! I’ll kill them, I swear.” Tony shouted then, rising up, passing back and forth: clearly wanting to beat these men up badly. “Join the line Tony. My father, Sam, they swear the same…Those men are in prison or now. All except Jean and his friend, they haven’t been able to catch them yet.” Michael said quietly. Feeling silent relief, that Tony did not look at him with disgust, only with the want to protect him, nothing had changed that.
“This boyfriend of yours; Sam…You said that you broke up with him?” Tony asked, looking at him. “Yes…” Was the weak reply. “Why? You said that you loved each other? Did he leave you? What happened?” Tony came closer, and knelled down in front of him. ”I left him…” Michael answered quietly. Tony’s eyes seemed to dig deep into his soul, like seeing everything in him. “Why? Tell me, do you not love him anymore?” Tony asked, and a part of him hoped that his answer would be yes, but he didn’t have to hear his answer to know what it would be. He saw the truth in his eyes, when he had spoken his name. Michael had tears in the corners of his eyes. “I do love him…I love him with all that I am.” He admitted. Tony took his hands in his. He sighted deeply. “Then why are you not with him? I want the truth, you have told it so far, now tell me the rest of it.” Tony insisted. And Michael had never been able to hide things from him, not when there was that look in his eyes, not when he spoke with that tone of voice.
“Jean…I fear that Jean would kill Sam. He is not safe, if he is with me.” Michael told him, for the first time saying it out loud to someone. “Has this Jean threatened you?” Tony asked. “He sent a letter to me… He wants a revenge, because I lied to him.” Michael said. “Have you told to the police about this letter?” Tony asked, and Michael shook his head. “Well, tomorrow you’re going to do it, I’ll drive you to the station myself. You still have that letter, do you?” Michael nodded. “And I think you should tell Sam the truth, doesn’t he deserve to know? If…if I were your lover, I would want to know the truth. Do not make decisions for him, let him do it himself. If he loves you, he will stand by you.” Tony said, and smiled sadly. It was the hardest thing for him to say, when he did love his friend, when he had hoped to be with him. But life is not fair that way, and sometimes you have to let go of someone you love, if you really do love them.
“And Michael…I do love you, the way you once said you loved me. But sadly, I feel that I’m too late to tell you this.” Michael looked at him with surprise. He squeezed his hands in his little tighter. Tony’s green eyes were shining as bright as they always had. And Michael remembered, it all returned clearly to him; how many nights had he dreamed of him, how familiar his face was to him, the touch of his hands, and the sound of his voice. Tony was his first love, and it would never change. The old feelings were returned so clearly, so powerfully. New tears rise to his eyes. For that small moment, the time between them, vanished. He leaned forward, his lips finding his, his hands, touching his face. They kissed, longing, with love, for the one last time. “I do love you Tony, I will never stop loving you.” Michael whispered, and then continued. “But so much has changed, and Sam…” Tony cut him off. ”Sam is your present…And I had my chance… But, as you said, we’ll always be friends, right?” Tony smiled.
“Um…Could I ask a small favour from you Tony?” Michael asked slightly nervous, and took few big gulps of his beer. “Of course, what kind of favour?” “Well…I wouldn’t dare to ask this from anyone else, but I trust you like I would trust my own brother…and… this is quite embarrassing, but…” Michael hesitated, and drank some more. “Tell me…anything at all.” Tony urged him, and smiled gently to him. “There’s a scar on my lower back, that I want to get rid of.” Michael said quickly. “A scar? What kind of scar?” “He marked me…his initials…Ricky’s initials.” Michael whispered with shame. Tony looked at him with surprise, then his _expression became more serious. “I would so much want to help you, but… I can’t make scars disappear.” “I know, that it can’t be removed completely, but it can be replaced with a new one.” Michael said, and looked at him with hope. “What do you want me to do?” Tony asked, hoping, that it wouldn’t be what he thought it would. Michael stood up, went into the kitchen, and soon returned with a knife on his hand. “Help me Tony..Fix it, I want it gone, I do not want to carry those letters on my skin, and I can’t do this on my own.” Michael begged, and handed him the knife, which the other took, slightly hesitating.
“Michael…” Tony started, looking at the knife in his hand, and then at his friend with slight horror. “I’ll show it to you.” Michael said, opened his belt, and the buttons of his jeans. He lay on the couch, leaning slightly against the armrest, he lowered his jeans, and boxers so that the scar came to view. “Please Tony?” Michael asked, and Tony looked at the scar, on his lower back, just above the curve of his buttocks. “I can’t…I don’t want to hurt you.” Tony said, when realizing just what it was that he would need to do. “Tony please? Would you like to carry a scar for the rest of your live, made by a person, who you hate and fear the most in this world?” Michael had turned his face to look at him, he had that look in his eyes; that puppy dog look, which Tony had never been able to resist. “I don’t know what to do?” Tony said then. “Anything at all; just slash some lines over it, anything at all to make it something else.” ”But, I just hate the idea of hurting you.” Tony said. “Trust me Tony, I’ve suffered a much greater pain in my life, and it will hurt me more if I have to continue living with that scar. If I only could, I would do this myself, but…” Michael looked at him, and finally Tony nodded his head. “Alright, alright…Just wait a sec.” Tony said, stood up, and walked into the kitchen. He disinfected the knife carefully, and shook his head while doing this. ‘I can’t believe, that I agreed to this.’ He thought, but at the same time he understood perfectly why Michael wanted him to do this. If he had been in his situation, he would probably have asked the same.
“Alright there; drink some more.” Tony said, and handed him the whiskey bottle. Michael hated whiskey, and grinned to the taste of it, but it would help him to feel less pain. Tony sat behind him on the couch. He sighed deeply as he looked at the scar, and then at the knife in his hand. He placed his left hand on his skin, and the knife held on his right was placed over the scar. “Are you ready?” He asked. “Yes.” Michael assured, slightly nervous, and tried to calm down his breathing. Tony pressed the blade on his skin, and cut through it. He felt ill, when feeling how the blade was plunged into the skin, and then he saw the blood dripping out. Michael bite his teeth’s together tightly, trying hard to make no sound out of pain, he didn’t want to scare Tony. The blade plunged in for the second time, it was a more fast slash than the previous, fast was better, they both found out. Tony had to be careful; not to cut it to deep, and not too light. This scar would have to cover the previous one and a mere superficial scratch, wouldn’t be enough.
When he had done what was necessary he cleaned the wound, and tried to staunch the blood leaking with a towel. He had to press it against the wound, quite a long time. Finally he covered it with a large band-aid. “Are you alright?” He asked. “I-I am, thanks Tony.” Michael rose and buttoned his jeans, and fastened his belt. He felt slightly dizzy, but was happy that the scar had now been changed. “Luckily it wasn’t that big.” Tony said, with a comforting smile. “Yes.” Michael replied, with a weak smile.
They talked late in to the night, and finally Michael fell a sleep on his bed. Tony covered him up with a blanket, and sat by his side. He looked at him closely; as he slept there, looking so peaceful and beautiful, like an angel. Tony thought. He had always had the urge to protect him, even when they were little. How many nights, had they spent sleeping in the same room as children’s? There were many. Usually always spending the summers together, either in Ireland with Michael’s grandparents, or in Scotland with his. He remembered how his friend had been scared of the dark as a child, and so he had often slept next to him, holding his friend’s hand in his, making him feel safe. It had been so much simpler back then, when they had been children. Then came the teen-age, and suddenly it didn’t feel right to sleep so close to the other, like there would have been something wrong in that. But oh, how he had missed the warmness of his body next to him.
There had always been something in his friend that gave him the feeling that he should be protected. Something in Michael lured trouble towards him. Tony had not always understood what it was, but later he had. It was the way he looked like, there was something so tempting and rare about him. There were people who were jealous of him, and people who wanted him: And Michael had often played with the fire, annoying people even more with the way he was acting, and lured them by flirting, in a way, that Tony believed, the other boy had no awareness of doing.
Michael had never seen the danger himself, not the way Tony had. It had only been a game to him, something fun and exciting, testing his own limits. Only once had Tony let his guard down, that fall, and he would always regret it. But from now on, he would do what ever it took to protect his friend, who at that moment, needed all the help he could get. Tony pondered about everything that they had talked about that evening. Michael had talked about Sam a lot, but had refused to call him, when Tony had tried to make him do so. He guessed that Michael was still too afraid, and he could be so stubborn about these things.
Tony sighed deeply. He wanted Michael to be happy, Lord knew he would deserve to be so. So if Michael really loved this other man, he should be with him. And if this Sam person really loved his friend as much? Tony decided that he would have to take the matter into his own hands, other wise, it could take ages before he could convince Michael to call him. He searched his friends cell phone, and scanned through the numbers on it. He soon found what he was looking for, and wrote the number down. He would call Sam later, Michael needed him, he was sure of it.