”Michael…” Jean whispered. He felt extremely frustrated as he looked into glassed eyes of the young man, eyes that refused to look back at him. Jean took a moist towel which he used to wipe Michael’s forehead.
“Please say something mon amour.” He asked, but Michael still remained silent.
“Are you hurt?” He asked then, looking at the red marks on his neck, the bruises on his arms, knowing that he’d find more if he were to lower the blanket from him. Jean decided to do just that; he brought his hand up and started to move the coverlet. Michael gasped, took the blanket, pulling it back up. Their eyes met, brown ones filled with fear and intense hatred, fevered stare.
“Do not touch me!” He hissed.
“I just want to see if I caused you some harm.” Jean spoke calmly.
“Oh so now you care?! You just want to touch me again and I won’t have it! No more Jean, no more!”
“I just want to make sure that you’re okay.” Jean insisted and pulled the blanked down more forcefully.
“No! I said no!” Michael screamed, escaping to the far end to the bed, as far as he could.
“You’re not well and I want to help you.”
“You want to help? I do not need the help of a sick rapist.” Michael hissed, looking at him through his tears. Jean’s head started aching.
“Just let me help you.” Jean tried to remain calm. Michael looked at him, hesitating. “You’re ill, maybe a bit feverish, just let me help.”
“Yeah right…” Michal muttered. ”First, you try to strangle me, then you rape me and now you’re concerned about my health; not bloody likely.”
Jean snarled and stood up from the chair that he had been sitting on. He walked back and forth in the room, stopping and looking at the young, dark haired man on the bed, who looked back at him with suspicion.
“You haven’t eaten yet, eat now.” Jean ordered gesturing to the food on the table. Michael clenched his teeth’s and turned his face away.
“I’d rather starve.” Jean heard him saying and was really starting to lose his patience. He stepped closer to the bed, grasped a fistful of Michael’s hair and started pulling him closer. Michael cried out in agony, Jean brought some bread close to his mouth.
“Eat!” He yelled; Michael only gritted his teeth’s harder. His jaw tense, he turned his head away as much as he could. “You fucking eat, when I’m telling you to eat!” Jean squeezed his cheeks, forcing his mouth to open and made him eat the bread. Michael swallowed the food down with tears in his eyes.
“I hate you Jean, I truly hate you!!” He hissed. Jean took the tray, a cold, tired smile on his lips.
“Where did all the love go, chéri?” The man asked with amusement.
“Fuck you!” Michael screamed throwing a book at him, a book that had been lying on the bed’s side. Jean stopped as the book hit him on the back. He took a deep breath.
“Do try to act your age.” He said then and left the room, locking the door. He really needed a drink.
Jean had to admit; his great plan hadn’t been so great after all. Making Michael fall for him again, or even making him accept him, had proven to be hard. The way that he had been treading Michael in the last couple of days didn’t actually help, and the fact he had forced himself on him certainly hadn’t helped either, his better self reminded him.
He took a drink straight from the bottle. Patrick went on about the news; they were searching Michael, really searching and the other man feared that it would be only a matter of time before they were caught. Jean’s head was really aching, he wasn’t ready to go to the jail any more than what Patrick was. He didn’t deserve to go to prison, he had worked way too hard to get where he currently was, with Michael. He also didn’t deserve Michael’s rage, nor his immature behavior.
“What the fuck is he doing?” Patrick groaned annoyed, when he heard several thuds on the bedroom door.
“Sounds like books.” Jean answered tiredly. Nothing he ever did was enough? He had arranged a rather nice room, brought those goddamn books in, but was it enough? No, of course it wasn’t. Then the screaming started, screaming that sounded like: ‘Let me out you fuckheads!’
Jean would prefer the frightened act than this annoying raging, which did nothing to ease his headache.
“Dammit Jean, if you don’t shut him up soon, I swear to God that I’m going to do it myself!” Patrick snapped. “Besides, I should get something from all this trouble.” He reminded with a tone of voice that sounded like: ‘You know what I would want.’ And Jean did know. “You had your fun, where is mine? If I go to jail, then I sure as hell won’t be going there without a good reason.”
Jean understood this as well, but it didn’t fit in his plans.
“Quiet now, I’m trying to think.” He growled.
”It’s the only option… It must be done.” He muttered to himself and took another sip from the bottle that he loved. Patrick stared at him from a distance, wondering what he was talking about.
“Sam… We just have to get Sam away from his mind, show him, tell him how things are…Medicine…Drug him? No… yes…Yes, it must be done, it’s the only way.”
Jean was talking to himself and Patrick saw it fit to stay quiet. Everything was that whore’s fault, Patrick thought, Jean had been fine before him, well not completely fine… Patrick remembered dimly how Jean had raged about an American swine and British boy toy, who had ruined everything… But that had been normal, well more normal than this at least.
Daniel drove down the dark forest road and finally parked in front of an old wooden house. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do, what he should do, but he wanted to see the true situation before he decided to act.
The man stared at him with question in his eyes, a bottle of whiskey in his hands.
“What do you want?” He asked with rude voice.
“May I come in?” He asked.
“Did anyone follow you?” Jean asked with suspicion, looking at the yard.
“No one followed, I came alone.” Daniel answered, trying to keep his voice even.
“Well, alright then.” A lazy grin, a gesture of a hand; the man let him in.
“Whisky?” He offered.
“No thank you, I’m driving.” Daniel answered, suddenly feeling nervous under his amused stare. The look in his eyes was strange. “Where is he?” Daniel asked next, after taking his coat off. The man rolled his eyes. “He’s sulking in the bedroom…” he grinned. “Driving me nuts.” He laughed after.
“Why did you come?” He asked then.
“I… Is he alright?” The man looked at him for a long time, amused grin still quivering on his lips.
“You want to know if he’s alright?” He asked. “Alright, I’ll show you.” He said and stepped towards the bedroom.
“No, wait, I…” Daniel tried, but it was too late, the man had already opened up the door and stepped in. Daniel heard Michael’s cry.
The man returned soon, dragging a half naked, dark haired man after him by the arm. Michael fell on his knees in front of Daniel.
“Chéri, your friend here wants to see if you’re alright.” Jean smiled behind him. Michael raised his gaze, brown eyes sparkling with tears, his lips were slightly torn, his cheek a little reddish, a prominent cut visible on his cheekbone. They looked at each other with shock; one of the betrayed and the other of the accomplice being caught.
“You!” Michael screamed standing up clumsily. ”You bastard!” He yelled and was about to attack Daniel, who immediately backed away. Jean grasped Michael and pulled him close.
“Chéri, it’s not nice to attack our guests.” Jean smiled holding him in front of him, kissing his neck. Michael stared at Daniel through his tears, seeming to be ready to rip his head off if he only could. He struggled in Jean’s hold.
”I’m sorry my dear friend, mon amour is in a bad mood today, it seems.” He dragged Michael into the living room, took a few pills and forced them down Michael’s throat. He held Michael tightly, until his struggling finaly eased.
Michael blinked his eyes, feeling suddenly tired. It was somewhat difficult for him to focus his gaze. He rested on Jean’s lap and looked at Daniel.
“There, you can see that Michael is perfectly alright.” Jean smiled and stroked gently the dark locks of the young man. Daniel couldn’t find words, he was still shocked after seeing all the bruises on Michael’s body.
Michael had seen him now and nothing could get him out of this situation.
”Chéri, I think it’s best that you’ll go and rest now.” Jean’s voice was much gentler now. He rose, pulling Michael up with him and led him into the bedroom
He returned to Daniel.
“Why did you do that? We had agreed that he wouldn’t know about me being a part of this.” Daniel snapped.
“A change of plans.” Jean smiled, lighting up a cigarette. He blew out some smoke and looked at the young man with amusement. “What now?’ Are you wondering what you should do? Michael knows about you now and trust me, he will tell it if he gets free, so you’re pretty much screwed… That’s why you came here, wasn’t it? To play a hero? Who knows… Well, it’s too late now anyways.” Jean smiled feeling quite satisfied with himself. Daniel was quiet; he closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. He didn’t know what to do.
“Tell him that Sam doesn’t need him anymore and let me take care of him, this way you get to live your life in peace, you will never have to hear from us again.” Slowly, resigning, Daniel nodded his head.
”Daniel, please, you have to help me…” Michael’s voice was weak, his eyes still couldn’t focus, his forehead was glimmering with cold sweat, he looked much paler than normally. Daniel looked at him with uncertainty. “How is Sam? Is he alright? Please tell me…. I promise, if you help me now, I won’t tell a soul, Daniel, not a soul.” He begged.
“I’ve talked to Sam.” Daniel started. “He…” Daniel swallowed, shook his head and brought his chin up. ”He understands that life could never be normal with you. There would always be something… He’s tired, they… they all are.”
”What are you talking about?” Michael asked with confusion. “Sam loves me, he…”
“He could only see it clearly now. Now that he’s with me.” Daniel paused a little. “I make him happy. With me, he doesn’t have to be scared of the ghost of the past.” Michael tried to understand what Daniel was telling him, his thoughts however, were foggy, confused; a part of him realised that it must have been the pills that Jean had given him and a part of him started forgetting.
“You’re lying…” He muttered. ”You’re lying… Sam loves me.” He said trying to keep his eyes open. “He loves me, I know this. Sam told me, I talked with him..” he lifted his hand up to his forehead trying to collect his thoughts, trying to understand what was happening and what had happened. Everything was so foggy, so confusing… “He loves me.” He whispered now talking more to himself.
What day was it? He wondered. Sam had told him that he wanted to make their relationship official, told him that they would do it once he would get back home … It had happened, hadn’t it? It couldn’t have been just a dream… Sam had held him, kissed him, they had made love… bathroom, Sam’s office… Sam had told him that he had been the first who… He lifted his gaze up and saw the figure walking away.
”Wait…” He asked, kneeling on the floor, but the door closed, leaving him in the darkness. He brought his hands up and cried. It had to be a lie, it had to, or maybe it was the truth?
What day was this? How long had he been in this place?
The door opened
“Oh chéri.” Jean said with gentle voice, walking over to him and kneeling on the floor. Michael tried to push him off as Jean hugged him, but finally, feeling tired, he gave in and started crying. Why did he feel so odd? So weak?
“I tried to tell him that he shouldn’t tell you this yet, but perhaps this is for the best, perhaps it’s better that you know the truth now… Sam doesn’t love you, he can’t love a whore. I’ve tried to tell you this, many men couldn’t, but I can. We’re made for each other, chéri, you must see that.” Jean spoke gently.
“You’re lying, lying!”
“You know that I’m not… Sam cannot love a slut like you, he wants someone like… well someone like Daniel. All his friends can see it, they never liked you. They all thought that you were better off here with me chéri, that’s why you’re here…” Jean continued, stroking his hair. Michael trembled, he didn’t understand.
”It’s not true, it’s not…” he muttered but started to doubt himself. Perhaps Jean was right after all. What had he given to him? He knew something wasn’t right, but couldn’t grasp it. He couldn’t understand.
Michael wasn’t at all sure about the days anymore. He was constantly feeling somehow dizzy and Jean would continue on talking. Jean would tell him, that he loved him, making sure that he’d understand who had really saved him. Ricky would have killed him, Jean had said. Ricky had told him the plan; Michael would have been tortured to death, slowly, painfully, taken so many times until his body simply wouldn’t have been able to take the pain any longer and would have given up. And all that would have been filmed, and that was what Jean had saved him from. His life, Jean said, belonged to the saviour; to him. Michael should feel grateful.
And then Jean talked about the United States. What did Michael think would have happened if Jean hadn’t come? How did he think he would have been able to escape without Jean? –There wouldn’t have been any other way out, Jean reminded. No other man would have been crazy enough to go against Ricky, not smart enough, not man enough, but Jean had been. If Michael hadn’t started fooling around with Sam, then Ricky would never have found him again and even at this very moment, they could have been living in Paris, in their apartment, completely happy and normal life.
Michael had broken his heart, Jean repeated. Jean had seen him flirting, laughing and luring other men, but it was part of his nature, because deep down, he was the whore Ricky had created him to be and only Jean could save him from it. Sam had most definitely had enough of all the drama that he had caused.
Sam was sick and tired of the way that other men looked at him, how women looked at him, how everyone looked. How he was lusted after and how he himself added the water into the mill by acting the way he did. In the end, everything that happened, had been brought to him by himself.
“Think hard about your life and you’ll understand.” Jean had urged him. None of it was something that would normally happen, so he must have been the reason. Sam was happier without him, it was the truth, no one needed the burden that he was carrying. Jean, however, loved him, more than anyone and he was ready to accept all his faults. He needed discipline, he needed to be treated harshly and in the end, Jean knew that he enjoyed it, that he needed it.
Michael felt overwhelmingly dizzy with everything; he cried alone in the darkness of the room that they kept him in. Jean’s words repeated themselves in his mind, mixing with what Daniel had told him. A part of him knew that he wasn’t himself, knew that Jean was constantly giving him something that messed up with his reasoning, his thoughts and his sense of reality, but as the time went by, he slowly started to believe Jean, the man’s words started to make sense.
He blamed himself; it was he himself that had caused all of this. Jean had sank down to the rock bottom for him, Jean did what he did because he had broken the man’s heart. And Sam would be much happier, if he didn’t exist. Sam, like many others, had never really loved him for himself, but his beauty, the sex and now Sam’s eyes had opened. With that, he had also brought his family into danger, his own mother, even Kitty, Tony, Sam, everyone…Everyone.
Michael felt like he didn’t deserve Sam, or any of them. He had been a burden, he caused only worry, from early childhood; only worry. And Jean… He deserved Jean. No, he did not love the man, but felt as though he really didn’t deserve love either. He had caused Jean to fall, they deserved each other. Life with Sam had been like a beautiful dream, but lasted only for a short time and now Sam was better off without him.
Jean sat on the armchair, Michael on the bed; drowned deep in his wildly running thoughts. A part of him still wanted to keep on believing, a part still doubted, holding on desperately onto the memories of what it had been like with Sam, what it had felt like to be held by him, wondering if the love and all the sweet words had really been a lie after all. It felt crushing to think that it really was the case.
But then, the other day, Jean had shown him. He had felt so confused when the man had taken him outside, his hands tied behind his back, a jacket on his shoulders a hood on his head, hiding his face. Jean had ordered him to keep his face down and even then he had felt so dizzy, tired and weak, foggy even. He hadn’t fought back on this. They had driven for some time but he didn’t know how long, couldn’t quite grasp it in his odd state of mind. And during the drive Jean kept on assuring him that soon he would see with his own eyes what he had been trying to tell him for ages.
Evening, sunset. They had parked the car near a park where Michael remembered being once before with Sam. Then they had seen them; Daniel and Sam, standing beside a pond closely to one another. It had been too dim for Michael to see clearly the face of his most beloved, but he knew Sam well enough and could tell from afar that it was him. His heart had felt like bursting and more than anything he would have liked to rush into the familiar and safe embrace, but he wasn’t able to escape, not in the state that he was in, not under the threats that he got.
When Daniel hugged Sam, a part of him expected that the hug would be one sided so that Jean would see how wrong he was. When Sam hugged him back he told himself that it was only a friend’s hug. But when they stayed that way for long time and when he saw a smile appear on Daniel’s face and the way Sam held his body closer to him and when Daniel pressed his lips onto Sam’s and they kissed, he was forced to turn his eyes away and admit the truth; Sam loved him no longer, if he ever truly even had. Nothing was more painful than admitting it, nothing.
He cried, Jean comforted and finally the tears made him numb. Nothing mattered anymore, that was how he felt.
”I had two siblings.” Jean started and Michael stirred from his thoughts, shifting his tired gaze to the man. “Laurent, my older brother, he ran from home at the age of 15, I have not heard a word from him since.” Jean lit up a cigarette, inhaling deeply and blowing the smoke out. “My mother abandoned us, when I was 10.” Jean humphed. “And my father…”he took a pause, blowing some smoke out again, this time more nervously. Michael noticed his hands were trembling.
“Tell me Michael, your father… did he ever touch you? Did he admire your looks and whisper how beautiful you were at nights?” Jean looked at him and Michael felt his skin crawling.
“No, my father never touched me, not in that way.” He felt sick just thinking about it.
“My father…” Jean started as if tasting the words in his mouth. ”My father loved me.” He laughed dryly, quietly. Michael looked at him with a new kind of pity, with new kind of eyes. “Oh yes how he loved me.” Jean laughed still and took a sip from the bottle of wine in his hands. Michael looked at him sadly, with shock, their eyes met. Jean leaned forward, his arms resting on his knees, he continued smoking.
“Nicole, darling Nicole, she was only 5-years old when she died.” Jean continued. “And my beloved father.” Another ironic laughter. “He died when I was 11, only then did I move to Paris, Michael.” The man looked at him for a long time and took another sip.
Michael rose slowly and sank down to his knees in front of Jean, he placed his hand on top of the hand that held the bottle and slowly guided it to the floor. Jean looked into his eyes in confusion, with question, perhaps with a little bit of hope.
”I’m sorry Jean…” Michael whispered quietly and lowered his eyes; there was silence for a moment. Jean took his hand and brought it up to his lips, kissing the skin softly, moving it on his cheek. Jean closed his eyes, breathing in the scent that he loved more than anything.
”Do you see now, chéri? Do you understand now?” Jean asked with a whisper. Michael closed his eyes, a few tears falling down on his cheeks, glimmering on his skin for a moment before drying and slowly he nodded his head.
Jean rose, still holding his hand and with a silent plea he urged him to stand up with him. Jean led him towards the bed and, as if in a dream, Michael followed. Grey eyes looked up at him as the man sat on the edge of the bed, pulling him between his legs. Michael watched numbly how the hands opened the buttons of his shirt and he did not resist, he did not say a word. The piece of clothing falling softly onto the floor with the help of Jean’s hands. Lips on his chest, on his nipples, down on the stomach. Fingers moving on his spine, up and down, so softly. Michael breathed with his lips parting, looking down at the black haired man, almost bringing his hand to touch him, before pulling back. He wasn’t sure why he allowed this but on the other hand he didn’t know why he shouldn’t. It would happen anyway and he deserved Jean. Sam was a history, a beautiful dream, a beautiful fairytale. This was what he deserved. He stared at the wall in front of him with tear-filled eyes, Jean was pulling off his jeans, tasting his skin with hungry lips.
He stood naked in front of him, listening to his moans, saw how Jean opened his own pants, taking his hard cock out, massaging it with his hand as the fingers of the other hand touched Michael inside. Michael closed his eyes, lowered his hand on Jean’s shoulder and just kept it there. He didn’t fight, didn’t resist. When Jean wanted him to sit on his lap, he obeyed and when the man quided his cock inside him, he let it happen. Jean was what he deserved, he kept reminding himself; as the man rocked him on his lap and finaly turned him over to lie on the bed, so that he could set a quicker pace.
He lifted his pelvis up when Jean asked, changed his position when the man so wished and let it happen. Jean hadn’t changed much as a lover since the last time that they had been together. As a lover, Jean had been selfish and he still was. Over and over again Michael kept reminding himself: this was what he deserved. He felt empty and foggy the whole time it happened and even after.
When they were lying side by side and when Jean kissed him, feeling satisfied and happy, Michael remained silent, he let it happen.
”I love you Michael.” Jean whispered and smiled, wiping the moist hair from his forehead. Michael turned his face and stared at the wall quietly. “I’m so happy that you’re mine again.” Jean whispered again, and kissed his cheek. He let it happen.
The last light of the sun painted the sky with purple. Sam looked at the scenery quietly; the pond, surrounding trees and flowers. The park bench on which he and Michael had sat on one night in early spring: warming each others hands. Michael had rested his head on his shoulder. They had planned the up coming summer, future trips, future years; day dreamed. Michael had wanted to forget the past that night, wanted to be like any other couple that night; everyday plans, everyday worries.
He often felt jealous to other people; didn’t they know how valuable it was to be able to live a peaceful, everyday life? How valuable it was to live in peace with your partner? When you got the chance to get annoyed with their odd habits, when the only thing you had to complain about, was the unwashed dishes or the unwashed laundry. Those things didn’t really matter, what mattered was that you got to be together, what mattered was that you got to be happy.
He sensed the presence of another by his side and turned to look.
“Why did you ask me to come here?” He asked.
“Because I thought you might need some company, that it would do you some good to get out of the house for awhile.” Daniel replied. Sam nodded his head tiredly, his eyes were glimmering from tears, he was trembling, wrapping his arms around himself.
Daniel glanced around, farther towards the parking lot and then back at Samuel.
“Sam…” He whispered, touching his shoulder and making him meet with his eyes. “Everything will turnout okay.” He assured and wrapped his arms around the blond man. Slowly Sam answered to the hug that he hadn’t even realised that he needed.
“I don’t know how to move on if I loose him.” He whispered, Daniel squeezed him tightly and Sam squeezed him back. They held each others for a long time, until Daniel moved, looking into his eyes and pressings lips on his; kissing him, holding him. Sam blinked his eyes, feeling confused, until finally he drew back from him. He looked at Daniel.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“I just want to make you feel better Sam.” Daniel answered.
“I love Michael.” Sam started. ”I am engaged to him. If you want to make me feel better, then offer your friendship and nothing else.”
“Of course Sam, I’m sorry.”
“I want to go back home.” Sam said then and left towards the car.
Michael blinked his eyes, Jean held him; two small tablets in his hands that the man offered closer, forcing them in his mouth and finally down from his throat. The man offered some water, which Michael drank down without a fight.
“Happy birthday chéri,” Jean whispered with a smile, stroking his cheek, laying him back down on the bed. Michael stared at him, not really seeing. ‘Birthday?’ His mind repeated in confusion. “24, still so young.” Jean kissed his forehead, took his left hand in his and slipped a golden engagement ring on his ring finger. “Here’s my gift to you Michael; now everyone can see to whom you really belong to,” Jean said and kissed his palm. Michael breathed heavily, his eyes were glimmering as he looked at his hand in disbelieve and then at Jean. It didn’t feel right, it wasn’t right, something inside of him tried to fight against it, but his mind was much too fogy to be able to work right.
The man laid on top of him, squeezing, breathing in his scent, moving slowly. Moist kisses, the breathing on his skin, the clothes were taken of without a rush, naked skin touched the other.
The man penetrated him, whispering his love, worshiping his beauty, kissing, holding, wiping the silent tears from his face and finally giving in to his own pleasure.
Michael felt himself empty, emptier than ever before. The pain in his chest that did not yield. His heart was broken, he could not will himself to forget. Foggy memories, happier times. He felt as though he would crush under Jean’s love, part of him knew that the mans love would kill him in the end if he would stay, but he felt much too weak. Sam loved him no longer, so why should anything matter anymore? No one would be able to love him, none but Jean.
Later that night they sat on the porch, Jean holding Michael in his arms in front of him, the sun was setting. Michael stared at the scenery, listened to the surrounding noises.
“Beautiful.” Jean whispered, caressing his skin with his lips. ”But not nearly as beautiful as you are.” Michael trembled.
“All I can say, is that I love you today, tomorrow and forever, you and no other,” He heard Sam’s voice inside his mind and longed. ‘It was not a lie…’ The voice inside him whispered. ‘Why would Sam love you? Daniel is better…Whore, disgusting whore, dirty, pathetic,” Other voice whispered after.
“Nothing is better than to be together with you like this,” Jean whispered, his fingers moving on his collarbone. “Why are you crying?” Jean asked with confusion. Michael trembled, unable to answer, he looked at their surroundings in desperation; so peaceful, so beautiful and still he felt like he could break down, fall apart, he wasn’t sure how long he’d be able to continue.
Jean embraced him more warmly, comforted with whispers and finally took him back inside. They sat in the living room, on the couch, in front of the tv. Had someone looked inside, they would have seen an ordinary looking couple in love with each others ,but sometimes you can not see clearly through a glass, some times the glass distorts things.
Jean was happy then, Michael more miserable than before and he felt like he was falling even deeper, he was tired, couldn’t think straight, he was confused. He glanced towards the other man, who sat on an armchair looking back at him and grinning, lust, he recognized the sick, twisted lust. Michael turned his eyes quickly back to the tv screen, looking at it without really seeing.
There was buzzing sound in his head, his skin felt hot. He took his glass, filling it up with more wine and drank. But the drinking did not end the thirst, nothing did. Nothing brought him the long desired oblivion, nothing removed the pain of longing. He left his friends in the living room, he wanted to be alone for awhile, just a little while.
He climbed upstairs, walked into the bedroom and close the door after him. He leaned against the door, looking around; Michael’s t-shirt on his side of the bed, his jeans folded neatly on the chair in front of the desk, photographs, life. Michael’s touch in the room, the work of his hands. They should have been celebrating Michael’s 24th birthday, laying in each others arms, and not like this… It had been over a month and it was Michael’s birthday. Sam had wanted, he had wished, that he would have been able to make it better than the last, now he couldn’t.
“I didn`t know where to go and I thought that if…” He remembered the image of the broken young man in front of him, standing in the hall, wet clothes dropping down water onto the floor, cry filled eyes, swollen lips.
”Mi corazón es tuyo.“ A whisper in a dim room. Sam drank some more, walked towards the bed and laid down on his back, he stared at the ceiling.
The door opened, but Sam didn’t even bother to look up, it wouldn’t be the person who he longed to see the most, so what did it matter?
Daniel close the door behind him softly and looked at Sam quietly. Sam seemed so miserable and he wanted to do something to make him feel better. Daniel had seen nightmares many nights, almost every night. In these nightmares Michael begged for his help, the body of the dark haired man was covered with bruises, his wrists sliced open and he begged for his help, crying in despair.
“You’re evil, you’re like them.” He always said in the end.
Daniel felt sudden chills on his back. He often woke to his own screams and Julius pulled him in his arms and comforted. The quilt did not ease and he wondered would it ever ease. He however, did not found enough strength, nor did he find himself a man enough to confess the crime that he had committed. He wanted to forget, wanted to wash his hands and continue his life. Daniel knew that he wouldn’t be able to survive if he would be thrown in jail.
Confused and lost; he cared for Julius, but loved Sam, he wanted Sam. Daniel missed the years already lost, time when life had so much more care free; time that Sam had become to represent. Daniel wanted to continue believing blindly, that it would be possible for him to someday forget what he had done, that all of them would forget. Deep down he knew how impossible that was.
“Sam?” Daniel whispered as he neared the bed, the older man did not respond, so quietly he sat on the bed edge. Sam’s eyes were closed, Daniel touched his shoulder lightly.
“I know that it’s terribly worn out for me to say this; but with time it will get easier, the grief you feel, will get easier. Sam opened his eyes, but looked away. Unable to resist himself, Daniel leaned on top of him and kissed him.
“Hey, I think I’ll go and see how Sam is doing, he’s been drinking quite heavily tonight, hasn’t he?” Tony said to the woman sitting next to him. Kitty looked up.
“This day brings his mood down; Michael’s birthday. Maybe it really is for the best that you go to him.” They smiled to one another, Tony placed his hand on her shoulder before he stood up.
He knocked on the door before he opened it softly. “Sam, are you-?” He was cut off by the scene in front of him; Sam laid on the bed, Daniel on top of him and they were kissing. Daniel looked up in fright, Sam’s hand on his shoulder.
“Oh so this is how deep your love is Sam? A month and you’re seeking comfort from your ex?” Tony asked with despise, squeezing his hands into fists. Sam looked at Tony and then at Daniel in confusion.
“Tony-“ He started, bringing his hand up to his forehead; his head was aching.
“What ever you’re about so say; safe it. Michael trusted you Sam, he loves you and this is what you do? Michael is suffering out there and you saw it fit to fool around with your ex. You disgust me, you both disgust me!” He yelled and left the room, banging the door. He marched downstairs, took his coat, ignoring Kitty’s questions and worry, he left.
Tony was furious of what he had seen. His beloved friend had been betrayed and it was something that Tony just couldn’t forgive. Everything that he had ever done, people that he had ever met; only Michael woke this fire in him, the strong emotions. Nothing was simple when it came to Michael.
Jean had left them on their own, to get more supplies. Michael was boiling himself a cup of tea in the kitchen when Patrick stepped in. Michael looked at him warily.
“Alone at last.” Patrick smiled, squeezing his crotch, rubbing himself. He stepped closer, Michael backed away. “Come here, I have something for you.” Patrick grinned, closing the distance between them, grasping him forcefully he threw him against the table on his back. The man started tearing off his shirt. Michael screamed, struggling fiercely; Patrick slammed his face hard.
“This is what you’re here for you whore, so shut up and take it!”
In that moment he understood, saw his life as it would have been already lived; this was what it would going to be like. Jean would leave and then Patrick would take advantage of the situation. Endless suffering. He would be nothing more than toy for these men, and sooner or later he would be broken so badly that no one would be able to fix him back together. He had escaped from it once, twice, he could not, would not submit to it any longer. Tired of being the victim.
Struggling, Patrick was ripping his clothes, a click of the belt, rustle of fabric, a slap on the face. Michael used his nails, scratching him, kicking, fighting; No more, he was done, no more.
The struggling was short, but it felt so much longer. In panic Michael grasped the nearest object that he could find; a glass vase. He struck it against the man’s face, following the animal instinct that urged him to get away. The man cried out, the vase broke onto the floor, blood… The man held his hand over his face and cursed, between his fingers a dark red fluid dropped. Michael looked at the sight in shock, until he realised his chance and ran, ran as fast as he could, towards the door. He flew it open, ran, did not look back.
Into the safety of the forest, ran, almost tripping on the stones, the branches scratched him, blood tasted in his mouth, his breathing was tense. Finally he fell down on his knees crying, he brought his hands on his face and cried. He looked up towards the sky; he had no idea where he was, where he should go. It felt tempting to just give up.
Michael laid down on the ground, pain in his heart. Alone, so alone. He turned on his back, staring at the sky, listening to the voices of the nature. He looked at the ring on his finger, grasped it and pulled it out, throwing it away. He felt as though he couldn’t move on muscle. Sam didn’t love him anymore, where would he go? Why should he continue?
“Give me a reason…” He whispered, his body trembling from coldness. He did not know how long he laid there. ‘Get up, get up now…’ A voice inside of his mind whispered. ‘One more time, get up and try again, you must get up.’ He pulled himself into a sitting position, willed the tears away, tried to will the pain away. He stood up with shaking legs, continued, not knowing where, just thinking that he needed to continue. He could not give up now, it was not the time to give up, it had been such a long journey, just few more miles. Even the roughest journey must have an end, he thought and so he walked, willed his abused body to continue. It had to end sometime, it just had to. Finally he reached the road.
Few cars passed him by, but none of them stopped. His shirt was torn, his jeans missed two top buttons. His face carried the bruises of hits he had gotten from Patrick. The weather was chill, rainy, he shivered from coldness, none of them stopped. He continued, not knowing where.
Michael didn’t know how long he had walked, finally he reached a gas station with cafeteria. People stared at him, but none of them asked anything, or offered help. He stepped in, walking almost as if in a dream. He asked to use the phone, surprised of how harsh his own voice sounded. The man looked at him with wide eyes, clearly wondering what had happened to him, but finally gave him the phone without questions. He was already about to choose Sam’s number, but then changed his mind after remembering, and with tears in his eyes he chose the first person to come to his mind.
Tony sat on the couch watching some tv, but without being able to really concentrate on the series that he usually followed with keen interest. Lost in his own thoughts, he was startled when his phone rang.
”Tony… Can you come to pick me up?” Michael’s weak voice asked. Tony’s heart beat turned faster.
“Michael…Where are you?” It was quiet for a moment and Tony heard Michael asking the address from someone. He soon repeated it to him, Tony wrote it down quickly.
”Alright, stay there, I come as quickly as I can.”
The gas station where Michael was, was located in Hertfordshire.
Tony parked his car and walked in with hurried steps. He looked around and finally spotted Michael sitting in front of a corner table, as far from the others as he could.
“Michael.” Tony called. Michael brought his head up to face him, his eyes were filled with tears and such sadness. Tony stopped in front of the table, looking at him with worry and at the same time he felt so relieved that he had been found and that he was… Well, he could have been better.
Michael stood up and hugged him.
“Thank God you’re alright,” Tony breathed out as he held him.
“I couldn’t stay there Tony, I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried, but I couldn’t, I ran…” Michael muttered. “I couldn’t take it.” Tony stroked his hair gently.
“Are you alright?” Tony asked, Michael shook his head against his chest.
“Come now, lets go then.” Tony whispered and led his friend out, towards his car. He opened the passenger side door letting Michael in, before he circled the car to the drivers side.
They sat in silent at first. Tony glanced at him with worry, wanting to ask several questions, but holding himself down; there would be time for questions later.
“Lets drive to the hospital first, we will also have to call your parents that you’re alright.” Tony told him. Michael merely nodded his head, staring out from the window.
Michael laid on the hard, cold examination bed, staring at the ceiling as the woman examined his body, pressing, investigating; inquiring if he felt pain. He either shook his head or nodded.
The woman tried asking him some questions about his kidnap, but only got some ambiguous answers back.
“Alright, I’m going to take a blood test from you and then we’re ready.” The woman spoke with gentle, soothing voice
“You can tress your clothes back on, I’ll come right back.” The woman said then with a smile.
Tony waited outside the room when she stepped out and close the door softly after her.
“How is he?” Tony asked.
“He seems a bit disoriented. I will get more answers once I’ve ran the blood test on him, but I do think that it’s likely that he’s been drugged with something.” She answered looking at him. “I think it’s best for him to stay at the hospital, until we find out whether or not he’s been drugged, it’s important to keep a close eye on him. The police are on their way here, I’m not sure if they manage to get some answers out of him yet,” She sighed and continued. “Your fiancé has been through a lot lately and he will need a lot of rest and support.” Tony felt the color of red creeping on his skin, she thought that he was Michael’s fiancé? Should he correct her mistake? He wondered, but then decided against it.
“Of course, I’ll take good care of him. May I go in now?” She nodded her head.
“We can soon move him into a private room to rest, has his parents been noted?”
“Yes, I just called them, they’re on their way”.
” Good, I’ll return to you soon, you can keep company to him.”
Tony stepped in after she was gone. Michael sat on a chair near the desk and stared outside.
“Hey,” Tony said softly, Michael looked up.
“Can we go now?” He asked.
“They think that it’s better that you’ll stay here for few days.” Tony told him, Michael shook his head.
“I don’t want to stay, I want to go. Take me away Tony, to your place?” He asked.
“The police are on their way here, you’ve been through a lot, this is the best place for you to be right now.”
“I don’t want to stay here Tony!” Michael shouted. Tony sighed, knelt down in front of him and took his hand in his, Michael’s lower lip was trembling, is eyes glimmered.
“I know you don’t want to, but it’s only for few days, you get to go home after that. Your parents are on their way here too and… And I assume that they’ve called to Samuel. You’ll see them soon.”
“Sam doesn’t care, he’s better off without me… I can’t face him right now, I don’t want to face anyone. Take me away Tony, please, I want to go with you.” Michael begged, Tony looked at him in confusion.
“You’re just a little confused about everything, it’s understandable, but…”
Michael stood up.
“No Tony! I want to go! Why are you being like this? I do not want to stay, don’t you get it? I want to make up my own mind, I’m tired of hospitals and I’m tired of cops! You’re my friend, I thought you were and even you want to keep me locked up here.”
“Michael…” Tony said quietly, Michael looked at him, trembling, crying. Tony stepped closer and hugged him.
“Take me away Tony, please, I’m begging you; take me with you.” Brown eyes looked into his, Tony touched his hair gently, the look in Michael’s eyes melted all his reasoning.
“Alright, I’ll take you with me.” He consented.
Evelyn rushed to the reception counter.
“I got a call that my son has been brought here. His name is Michael Harris.” She said, the woman typed something on the computer, looking for information.
“Yes, Michael Benjamin Harris?” Evelyn nodded her head and smiled with relief.
“Just one moment madam,” The woman behind the counter said and took the phone. Evelyn turned to look at her husband and the fiancé of her son.
“He’s here.” She told them and both of the smiled with anticipation. Sam played nervously with the ring that hung on his neck. He couldn’t wait to slip the ring back onto the finger that it belonged to. He could only wish that Michael would be alright after everything that he had been forced to go through.
”Mr. and Mrs. Wills, we’re sorry, but it seems there has been some misunderstanding, your son has left the hospital.” The doctor explained.
“Misunderstanding? How can it be possible?!” Evelyn shrieked.
”He… I’m not sure, I only left him for a while alone with his fiancé and when I came back he…”
“His fiancé? I am Michael’s fiancé!” Sam snapped at her. The woman opened her mouth in surprise, unsure what to answer.
“I am sorry, I understood that he…”
“Tony McDonnell is Michael’s best friend and he’s the one who called us here. I find it hard to believe that they would have left without a word.” Evelyn said, glanced at Sam and then back again at the doctor.
“What kind of hospital is this? Can’t you take better care of your patients?” Sam grunted, feeling nervous and agitated about not knowing where Michael was. Surely Michael wouldn’t just leave like that? Surely he would have waited for him and his parents? And where the hell was Tony? The whole thing didn’t make any sense.
“Sir, I am really sorry, of course we will make every effort in order to reach them. I didn’t expect that they would leave like that.”
“How was our son when he was brought here?” Henry asked in return.
”He seemed a bit confused, upset. Evidence of sexual abuse. I suspect that he could have been kept drugged, but I have to run his blood test in order to tell it for sure. We try to reach them, it would be better to keep your son under watch for couple of days, the police has yet to talk with him as well.”
Henri nodded his head faintly.
”I’ll go out to try and reach Tony’s cell-” Evelyn said and rushed towards the entrance.
Tony let Michael enter the apartment before him.
“My brother and his wife are on a vacation in Thailand.” He told him and closed the door after them. Michael stood in the middle of the hall looking around, not saying a word. Tony took his coat off, looking at his friend quietly. “Michael…” his voice was almost a whisper, quietly he walked behind him and touched his shoulder. Michael startled slightly, turned his head to the side, but did not meet with his eyes. “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Tony admitted. “I should have… You should be in the hospital. I think I just broke some law by bringing you here.”
Michael turned so that their eyes met.
“I asked for this, you broke nothing Tony.” He whispered.
Tony’s cell began to ring
“It’s your mother.” He sighed and prepared himself to hear some shouting. “Hello.”
“Michael’s with me.” Tony said trying to stay calm, Michael watched him. “I understand but…” Michael reached out to take the phone.
“Hi mom.” His voice was tired.
“I- I’m fine.” His voice was trembling and he was forced to swallow some tears. “Don’t blame Tony for this, I asked him… I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now… I’ll see you later, I promise.” He hung up the phone and gave it back to Tony.
“Would you like to take a bath?” Tony asked and Michael gave him a faint nod.
“Wait in the living room while I fix it for you.”
Michael lay down on the couch, trembling, tears falling down on his cheeks. Tony returned, looked at him with worry and knelled before him. He touched his cheek gently.
“Oh Mikey…” He whispered quietly.
“I shouldn’t have left him, what did I do Tony? Oh dear God what did I do??” Michael asked as sudden panic swept over him.
“What are you talking about?”
“Jean, oh God… He’s going to be so mad at me for leaving and I’ve already hurt him enough!” Michael sat up, hiding his face in his hands. Not exactly sure what to do, Tony moved to sit beside him and pulled him full against his chest, offering him his comfort.
“You did the right thing by running away. I’m so relieved that you did. I don’t know what Jean did to you, or what he made you believe, but you couldn’t have stayed there. That man is insane, he kidnapped you Michael. Kidnapped, you understand that?” Tony stroked his hair, Michael stayed quiet in his embrace.
“Come, I think your bath is ready.” Tony said finally and led him into the bathroom.
Tony turned on the TV and sat down to wait. He flicked through some channels, feeling slightly nervous about everything, had he done the right thing? He had just felt that Michael had suffered enough of other people controlling him, by not being able to choose for himself. So how could he have refused him of this request? And maybe, maybe he could convince Michael of returning to the hospital the next day? He wondered, also trying to think of reasons for why Michael hadn’t called Sam instead? Though there wasn’t a single part in him, to complain about the matter, for once Michael choose him first, just like he would have years back.
Michael returned after being in the bath for almost an hour. Dressed in a white, big bathrobe, wearing slippers, Michael walked in to the door way. Wrapping his arms around himself. He looked so sad ans so lost that it nearly broke Tony’s heart.
“Sam is with Daniel.” He said so quietly, that Tony barely heard him. Michael’s lower lip was trembling, he played with the belt of his bathrobe.
Tony stood up and walked to him, their eyes met.
“It’s true, isn’t it?” Michael asked. Tony parted his lips, not sure what to answer.
“Michael, I-” He sighed. “I saw them kissing.” He admitted finally. Michael nodded slowly, drawing a deep breath, his gaze was unfocused. He brought his hand over his mouth, squeezed his eyes shot, trembling. Tony stepped closer, touching his shoulder and finally he hugged him. Michael felt as though he was breaking, he cried, trembling even more.
“I’m sorry Michael, you deserve so much better than this.”
“Please save me, I can’t pull back up on my own, I can’t.”
“You don’t have to, I would never let you fall, never.” Tony promised.
He took Michael into the bedroom and stayed by his side until he fell asleep. If Michael really was drugged somehow, then maybe sleep was the best medicine for him? Tony wondered while boiling himself a cup of tea. He wasn’t sure if he had done the right thing when telling about the kiss Sam and Daniel had shared. How had Michael guessed that there was something between those two? He wondered. He checked his cell phone, which he had silenced; Sam had tried calling several times, few calls from Jack. After thinking about it for a while he decided to call back to Jack, he could talk to him; he was still too angry to talk to Sam.
The conversation with Jack was short. Tony told him that Michael was alright, he also told him where they were and asked him not to tell it to Sam. He told Jack what he had seen in the bedroom; of the kiss between Daniel and Sam. Jack had been silent, but finally said that he understood.
It was already late, Tony walked into the bedroom to check upon Michael. He sat on the edge of the bed, touching his face gently. Michael startled awake, opening his eyes he looked at him, calming down instantly when realising that it was Tony that had touched him.
“I’m sorry, I did not mean to wake you up.” Tony whispered. “Go on, you can continue your sleep.” Tony added and was already about to stand up. Michael took his hand,
“I wouldn’t want to be alone, couldn’t you hold my hand like you did when we were children?” Michael asked, looking at him.
Tony lay down next to him on his side and took his hand in his. They looked into each others eyes and Tony felt his heart beat quicken. He looked at their joined hands, not wanting to let go and at the same time fearing to hold on.
Michael closed his eyes.
“I really wish that we could be children again, I was so happy then, though I hardly remember what it felt like to be so completely happy.” He whispered; Tony listened to him.
“I remember, being sick once, I was 7 maybe 8 and mother stayed home with me. I lay on the couch in front of the TV, mother tucked me in, brought me some tea and sandwiches, some candy later. You came by to see me after school, you brought me that black radioactive car of yours that I loved to play with. I think I might have been jealous of it and then you said that I could have it because I was sick and you hoped that it would make me feel better.” There was a faint smile on his lips as he spoke. “It’s one of the happiest memories I have, I don’t remember how sick I was, just that I felt happy… funny, isn’t it?” Michael sighed deeply and finally opened his eyes. Tony smiled sadly to him, brought his hand on his cheek; a gentle caress.
“I wish I would have something that could make you feel as happy as you felt then. I’d pay anything for such thing.”
“I am not worthy of your friendship Tony.” Michael whispered, looking away from him.
“Don’t say such silly things Michael. You are worth a lot more than I or anyone can ever give to you. One of these days I’ll make you remember,” Tony whispered. With tears in his eyes Michael snuggled closer to his warmth.
”Hold me.” He asked. Insecurely Tony wrapped his arm around him. His heart was beating madly in his chest, he hardly dared to move. Michael’s familiar scent filling his nostrils, the warmth of his body, body that was covered only by the easily disposable bathrobe. When Michael moved even closer, his body more firmly against his, Tony felt the state of arousal rising. It was wrong, the whole situation was wrong, but this was the man who he had loved all his live, perhaps not realising it at first, fighting with forbidden thoughts and feelings. He had lost him, the love of his life, before he had had the chance to accept these feelings and now… Michael was so close, clinging onto him, needing him.
Tony swallowed, breathing trough his mouth. He tried to think of something that would make his erection disappear. Michael moved, brought his head up, their eyes meeting. Tony wasn’t sure which of them had made the first move, but their lips brushed against each others; a slow, gentle kiss, one of searching. Tony was trembling, he wanted to touch Michael so much and at the same time it scared him, not knowing where it would lead to if he did. He lay on top of Michael, his hands on both side of his face, looking at him, almost as if asking for a permission. Michael opened his bathrobe revealing his chest to him, he opened his legs, letting Tony settle himself between his thighs. Tony moved his hand on Michael’s warm olive skin. He was so warm, Tony thought and just as beautiful as he had remembered, but he had never before gotten this close.
He wasn’t sure what he was doing, wasn’t sure if Michael knew what he was doing. He knew that he shouldn’t, knew that he should stop, but it was beginning to get harder for him to pull away now, he couldn’t pull away now. The time that had separated them seemed to vanish. He kissed Michael’s full lips and felt him respond to the kiss. He wanted to tell him how beautiful he was, but knew that it was not what Michael needed to hear, so he stayed silent and worshiped the beauty under him with silent kisses, with tender touches. The body that was so familiar and at the same time so new to him. A body he had often dreamed of touching and only now got to do so. It really was true, this really was happening, it was not just a sweet dream, Tony thought. He looked into the chocolate eyes, warm and kind, so gentle and sad eyes. He loved him, the deep love he felt just then, warmed his entire soul. It was the most powerful feeling he had ever experienced. A new kiss filled with want, fear and lost chances.
Slowly Michael helped him to undress, running his hands on his body with such gentle curiosity, his eyes seeing everything. They rose to sit, Michael moved on his lap, both without any clothes. It felt exciting and at the same time safe to be so, natural to be so close. They did not speak, words were unnecessary between them now. They saw what they needed from the eyes, felt it from the touches of each other’s hands and if they were to speak out loud maybe it would have woken them to what was now and what would be tomorrow? In that moment, time had no meaning, it didn’t exist it was just them, two grown up friends.
Michael reached towards the nightstand, searched until he found. Still no words as he took the condom and wrapped it on Tony’s erect organ. He caressed it, lovingly, gently. He lubed him and himself, lay down. No words.
Tony’s body on his, slowly, ever so slowly Tony moved inside him. Michael gasped, Tony kissed him, looked into his eyes and knew that he had drowned. He knew then that his heart would break, that this wasn’t going to be forever, like he hoped it could be.
He moved, making love to his friend. Only now did the words, make love, make true sense to him. So close, he couldn’t get any closer. He didn’t want the moment to end, but end it had to. There wouldn’t be a second time, he idly thought as he kept moving, wasn’t sure how he knew it but he knew it just the same.
Later they lay in each others arms. Tony held Michael until he fell asleep.
“I love you Mikey.” He whispered quietly and kissed his forehead. How could he ever love another?
Michael sat on the window sill, staring out to the mist and the rain, drawing his knees close to his chest. Down on the street, people were hurrying for work, life continued on; just like it always did. He touched the glass, letting his hand fall down on it slowly, wondering how cold the glass felt under his fingers. He close his eyes and listened to the stillness of the room, Tony’s breathing, the soft rain hitting on the glass. His heart felt pained, he felt cold.
Tony stretched his arms and yawned deeply when he woke. He looked around, until his eyes found what they seek.
Tony looked at his friend quietly.
”Michael.” He called finally, the other turned his eyes on him, smiling faintly.
“Good morning.” He said, they looked at each others .
“How are you feeling?” Tony asked. Silence that lasted for a moment. Michael looked down at his hands, then back outside. His lips parted as to reply, but he couldn’t find the right answer straight away.
“I don’t know.” He answered truthful. Tony sat up on the bed and sighed, he rested his head against his arms.
“I’m sorry Mike, about last night… I shouldn’t have…” He started. Michael turned, looking at him.
“You did nothing wrong Tony, I-… What happened last night was something… it was, it was just as I once dreamed that it would be. Don’t apologise for that. For that moment, I managed to forget about everything and I was that teen again; who was hopelessly in love with you once.”
“Once.” Tony repeated slowly and smiled sadly at him. Michael lowered his gaze.
“You’re thinking about Samuel.” Tony took note then. Michael was quiet for a while.
“I can’t forget Tony… A part of me refuses to believe that he would have…” Michael bit his bottom nip. “I’m sorry. Do you see it now? I’m no use to anything, but bringing grief to those who I love and who love me back.”
“It’s not true.” Tony replied, Michael looked at him.
“I’m not even sure what’s true anymore… Everything is somehow so fuzzy in my head. Maybe I should hear it from his lips so that I could believe it and that I could let go.”
It was then that the door bell rang. Tony was startled, they looked at each others in surprise.
“Are you waiting for someone?” Michael asked.
“No,” Tony replied, stood up and got dressed in his boxers and t-shirt. He glanced once more at his friend before leaving to see who was at the door, door that was now being knocked on fiercely.
Tony looked at the blond haired man in confusion.
“Where is he?” Sam asked as he stepped in. Tony had no time to answer.
“Michael!” Sam called, searching the rooms that he passed, until he finally reached to the bedroom. Jack had called him that morning and told everything that he knew.
Michael looked at him with surprise. Tony stepped in after Sam.
“What gives you the right to charge in here like this?” Tony snapped. Sam glanced at him and the at the room; Tony’s clothes on the floor, the sheets that laid mixed, Michael that had only a white bathrobe on and who looked both surprised and embraced at the same time.
“I came to fetch my fiancé home.” Sam said calmly, trying to hide the tensity inside him.
“Fiancé whom you cheated on while he was being kidnapped?!” Tony did not manage the same as Sam. The blond man shot an angry glare at him and then he looked more softly at Michael who still hadn’t gotten a word from his mouth.
“Is that what Tony told you? Do you believe it?” His voice revealed the disappointment that he felt, their eyes met. Michael’s eyes were glimmering with tears and uncertainty.
“I saw it Sam; I saw you and Daniel when you kissed, you laid together on the bed and-!” Tony shouted, Sam sighed before interrupting him.
“You saw what you wanted to see, had you bothered to listen, bothered to look, you would have seen, that I was pushing Daniel away from me, not closer. That kiss was completely one sided!” He said through gritted teeth’s: Michael was surprised by his words, he lowered his gaze before turning it back towards him.
“Come home.” Sam asked with much more softer voice. Michael glanced towards Tony, who leaned against the wall, arms wrapped around himself. Tony nodded, trying to smile, unable to hide his sorrow completely. ‘Go on.’ He mouthed the words without sound. Michael rose, dizzy with his head, unsure. “I brought you some clean clothes from home, I thought, that you might need them.” Sam said and handed him the bag that he carried with him.
“I’ll go and change.” Michael spoke quietly. Sam touched his arm tenderly and was about to say something, but in the end he let the subject go.
“I’ll wait.” He said instead.
Sam looked at Tony once Michael had left the room, pure anger and despise in his eyes.
”I thought that we were friends Tony.” He said, Tony glanced at him.
”I was, but you hurt my friend. Michael will always come first to me.” He replied. Sam close his eyes to control his anger.
”I’ve been nothing but faithful to Michael, whether you believe it or not, you on the other hand…” Sam looked at the other man and then a the bed with meaningful stare. ”I have to wonder about your friendship.” He said then. No more words were changed between them.
Michael returned into the room.
”Shall we go?” Sam asked. Once more Michael glanced at Tony, who stood silently on his foot, a frown on his face. Their eyes met and Tony’s expression softened.
”I’ll talk to you later Mikey.” He said, Michael nodded his head and with confusing thoughts, he followed Sam outside. Were they really heading home? Would there be one, or was everything already ruined?
Silence. There was so much to say, that it was hard to know where to start.
Sam drove, staring at the road and at times he glanced at Michael, who in return stared at his hands quietly. Had they ever been as quiet as they were now? Sam felt tears in his eyes, he looked at Michael again; his left cheek was of purple color and he could see the sucking marks on his neck and chin.
”Why didn’t you call me?” Sam asked finally. Michael looked at him sadly.
”I-, I didn’t know… I did not want to disturb you.” His voice trembled. Sam frowned with worry.
”What on earth are you talking about?” Sam asked.
”You owe nothing to me Sam. I am grateful of everything you’ve done for me. I understand and there for; you don’t need to worry, I ask for nothing, you’re free.” Sam slowed down, finally parking the car on the side of the road and collected his thoughts. He bit his teeth’s together.
”I owe you nothing? You don’t ask for anything? I’m free?” He repeated, slightly upset. ”Michael,” he breathed out and looked at the other. Michael trembled. ”I do not wish to be free, not from you.” Michael looked at him in confusion. ”I love you, what do I need to do to prove it to you?!” Sam looked at him firmly.
”You shouldn’t Sam, you deserve so much better than me.” Michael looked at him back. A deep sigh from Sam’s lips.
”No Michael. It’s you that I love. Have I not stood by your side? Have I not shown my love enough? Tell me what I need to do? What have I left to tell you? Do you want me to go to the center of London and shout my love for you to every one that will listen? Do you want me to sing? Stand on my head? Run naked and sing? You know that I can’t sing, so it would be a hell of a lot for me to do, but one word from you and I’ll do it.” Michael looked at his serious face and after a moment of silence, he laughed, couldn’t help but to laugh, but the laughter died soon and turned into tears. Sam pulled him in his arms, felt as Michael wrapped his arms around him and heard his desperate sobbing. ”I love you, I love you, I love you.” Sam whispered stroking his hair.
”I thought that… Jean said… I saw…” He stuttered.
”What did you see? What did he say?”
”I didn’t want to believe it… But Daniel, he said that you were happy, that no one would want me back and Jean… Jean told me, he showed me.” Sam felt agonising pain in his chest.
”What does Daniel have to do with this? You mean that fight that…?” Their eyes met. Michael drew himself back and leaned against the car seat.
”I saw him.” He said quietly.
”Saw him where?” Michael close his eyes and took a deep breath.
”He came to see me, us.” He squeezed his eyes close even more tightly trying to remember. ”I was angry. I didn’t understand at first and Jean…” He opened his eyes and glanced outside.”Everything was so confusing, it was as if I would have seen a dream from which I couldn’t wake up from, nothing worked… I prayed for his help, maybe it really was only a dream? Jean said that everything was true, they both said that… I didn’t want to believe… And then I saw you, Jean showed me, in the park, that park, you kissed. It broke my heart.” Michael didn’t dare to look at him. Sam felt himself trembling from the sudden rage that filled him.
”You were there?… More than two weeks ago.” He squeezed his hands into a fists. ”I should have listened to Jack. Why didn’t I listen to him!”
”It’s not Daniel that I want Michael, what ever it is that they have told you, the truth however is completely different.” Sam told him. ”Look at me Micha, love, look at me.” Michael turned his eyes. ”I love you, you and no other.” Michael cried,
”How can you still love me after everything that I am and what I’ve done?” He trembled. ”I let him took me, I was so tired of fighting, for awhile I was this pathetic creature without a will of my own and Jean…” He almost laughed, but only almost. He looked up and then at his ring finger. ”He gave me his ring, a golden engagement ring; a mockery of love, his twisted love. I threw it away and still I feel like I would have done the worst crime, I hear his voice in my mind, voice that says that we’re meant for each others, that only he can love the whore that I am… When you hear it often enough, you start to believe it.” He sighed.
”Finally I just couldn’t stay.” He touched the bruise on his face lightly. ”Patrick did this when Jean was away and he tried…” He glanced at Sam in away that told him everything. ” I don’t know how badly I wounded him… It bothers me, beside everything else and… I called to Tony… Sam, even if you could forgive me for everything else, can you ever forgive me for that?” Sam was quiet only for a small moment, then he looked at him.
”I just lived a month in the fear of not being able to see you ever again, that I could never touch you again.” He reached forward and touched his hand, until he close it inside his own.
”I’ve had a lot of time to think. I’m 27-years old and during these two years that I’ve known you I’ve lived and felt more than during those 25 years that I knew nothing about you… Alright, the two of us have had a hell of a journey, and at times it feels so… so hard to walk it, it’s often hard to walk, but those good moments that I’ve shared with you, make up for everything that feels difficult. If I can hold your hand, I can walk it through. I choose you, not because it would be easy, but because I love you. I’d be lying if I said that your friendship with Tony didn’t bother me at all, or what happened or didn’t happen between you two. I have a feeling about it, maybe I’m right?”
Michael lowered his gaze and finally nodded.
”I’m sorry Sam, you’re so good to me and I keep disappointing you.”
”If you tell me that you love Tony, if you say you’ll choose him, then I’ll let you go. I want first and for most that you’ll be happy Michael. You make that choice, you must make that choice. You don’t know how hard it is for me to speak like this, but you must choose. It will not end my love for you, even if you were to choose him, I’d still be your friend, I’d love you from afar, but not too far. I don’t think that I could cut all connection to you, because you’ve become such an essential part of my life that I hardly remember the time when I didn’t know you… There, I’ve spoken, the rest is in your hands.” Michael had tears in his eyes as he reached towards him and once again wrapped his arms around him.
“I love you Sam, I choose you, I always choose you. You have my heart, remember?” Michael whispered. They held each others for the longest times. Sam let Michael cry in his embrace, he had been through a lot and though Sam knew what had happened between Tony and Michael, he did not find the strength in his heart to judge him. It was not important now, maybe would return to haunt him later, but now he could not be nothing but grateful of the chance to hold Michael in his arms, of the fact that he was alive. Everything else felt meaningless. Tony; he would worry about him later. It was more important to end things with Jean and Daniel, it was not over yet.
”Well then, lets go home, when we get there, we will call to your parents and the cops.” Sam said and smiled tenderly, Michael nodded.
“Thank you Sam,” he whispered then. Sam took of his necklace, took the ring in his other hand and Michael’s left hand in his other. “Your hand looks naked without this.” Sam whispered as he slipped the ring on.
“It felt naked.” Michael whispered and leaned to press his lips gently on his. A brief kiss.
Sam started the car and they continued towards home, holding each others hands when ever possible.
Sam let Michael enter first into the quiet house. They kissed in the hall and undressed their coats.
“Maybe you should go and rest, You look so tired.” Sam suggested.
“I feel tired, I just… I don’t want to be alone… I’m afraid. Can we go and spend the night at my parents, or yours?” Michael asked, staying close, holding his arm. He looked fearfully around the house from where he had been kidnapped from.
“Of course, I just make a few calls, pack some clothes, we can leave after that.” Sam promised. “Everything is alright my love, I will not leave you alone, not anymore.” He assured, but it did not ease Michael’s restlessness, the unnerving feeling that said it was mistake to come back to the house. He followed Sam, not daring to let go of him. He wanted to ask Sam if they could just leave everything behind and leave immediately, but he did not want to seem so weak.
They entered to the kitchen. Sam urged him to sit down, offered him a glass of water, smiled, stroked his hair. Michael followed his movements. Sam took the phone, was about to dial the number, when he stopped abruptly.
“It’s mute” He said. “Wait, I’ll just get my cell, I think I left it in my pocket.” Micheal looked after him little nervously, but before Sam had gotten out of the room, a dark figure emerged to the doorway.
“Sam.” The man said, as he loaded his gun, pointing at him with it. “What if you would just back up.” Jean’s voice was cold, his gaze was cold. Sam brought his hands up slightly in defending position and backed up slowly. The water glass broke on the floor as Michael in his fright dropped it; He saw Patrick enter through the other doorway. His face was torn by the glass that he had hit him with and his eyes held pure hate in them. He struggled up and hurried to Sam’s side.
“You ran Michael.” Jean accused. “Did I not give you my all? Why did you ran? Because my friend got little carried away? I’ve already scolded him, but you shouldn’t have run from me.”
“Jean,” Michael breathed out.
“Maybe the only way, is to get rid of the only obstacle standing in my way to get you, perhaps I should have done it right at the beginning.” The gun pointed towards Sam’s chest. Michael quickly pulled him back sheltering him with his own body.
“Leave Sam out of this Jean!”
“If there was no Sam, you’d still be mine.” Jean said. Michael shook his head.
“If you touch him, if you harm him in anyway, you’ll only get my anger, I’d hate you forever, even if you were to take my body, you would never have my mind, I would not speak one word for you, I’d be like dead even though I would breath, nothing that you would do would have no affect on me. You’re angry at me, take it out on me, because I was the one to cause it, not Sam. I’m the one to betray you, I seduced Sam. Let him go and have me. But only if you let him go.” Michael breathed tensely. Sam tried to say something, but he did not listen. His bravery sprung from love; stronger that the fear to die.
“Alright chéri,” Jean smiled, the gun was pointing now at him. He grasped Michael’s arm forcefully and pulled close. “We’ll go upstairs.”
“Jean you fucking shit, let him go! Michael; do not sacrifice yourself for me.” Sam screamed.
“Patrick, stay with Samuel while I’m gone” Jean said, turned to look at them and grinned. “Have fun.”
Sam moved nervously looking at the older man, who stared right back at him; his eyes held something… Something that Sam surely didn’t like. His heart was beating madly, a soft humming sound in his ears. The man loaded his gun, lowering his gaze only for one small moment to the gun that he was holding. Smirk played on Patrick’s lips and Sam knew that he couldn’t hide his fear. He glanced nervously towards the entrance that Jean had used when he had dragged Michael with him and as he stood there, threatened and in danger he was more worried for the fate of his beloved than his own fate.
He woke from his frightened thoughts when he heard Patrick taking a step closer, he turned to look at him. The man was smiling, or… no, it wasn’t a smile, only something that disturbingly resembled a smile. He heard Michael’s scream and turned instantly to the voice. Tears filled his eyes as he thought of Michael, his pain, his suffering and he was forced to hear it, forced to acknowledge it without the ability to help him.
He wanted to run upstairs, he wanted… The cold steel caressed his cheek, Sam felt the urge to step back, a sick feeling in the bottom of his stomach. Patrick stood in front of him, eye level to him. Had there been no gun, Sam was pretty sure he could overpower the man, but no matter what his own strength was compared to him; it was useless in front of the loaded piece of weapon.
”You don’t look half bad Sam.” Patrick broke the silence between them, smiling with that odd way of his. Sam swallowed, it was like something got caught in his throat and refused to go down. “As a matter of fact, I’ve always found you rather…” The gun moved down on his neck, on his chest, the man got the upper button of his shirt to break. “…pleasing to the eyes.” Sam reacted by grasping the arm that hold the gun and Patrick answered as quickly; the gun pointed against his chest, on his heart.
”The gun is loaded and ready, I wouldn’t try anything stupid Sam.” Patrick hissed and smiled with satisfaction as Sam loosened his hold. “Good. See; I knew you weren’t stupid Samuel.”
Sam looked away, Patrick grasped his chin, forcing him to look at him.
“Look what that whore of yours did to my face!” Patrick shouted, eyes glistening with anger, and Sam did look, biting his teeth’s together.
“I’m proud of him. You deserve worse, you both do.” Sam spat at him. Patrick slapped his face hard, Sam stumbled backwards slightly, but managed to keep himself quiet. He straightened up, brought his chin up. I’m not afraid; was what the look in his eyes told the man. Maybe you should. Patrick thought, narrowing his eyes.
“Undress.” He said finally and looked at him with amused cruelty. Sam shook his head and tried to laugh to show how stupid it was for the man to even think that he’d do it.
Patrick was quiet for awhile, and glanced towards the staircase.
“Do you know how long it has been since my last time?” He asked.
“Do you think I care?” Sam snarled.
”You still don’t understand, do you?” Patrick smiled. Sam glanced at him nervously.
“Your beloved is upstairs with my friend. Jean is pretty mad and can’t resist his temptation. Most likely…” Patrick took a small pause, bending his neck. “Jean has him on the bed, fucks him for one last time and… You can either do what I tell you to do, play nicely or I can end your life and take my pleasure from him after Jean… So how will it be Sam? Will you undress for me or not?”
Sam stood there silently, it was hard to believe that this really was happening, and he could see no other choice. He gritted his teeth, drawing a deep breath. It could not end this way, could it?
He brought his arms up, pulling his shirt over his head and threw it onto the floor. He shivered from cold, turned his eyes towards the man who couldn’t hide his satisfaction and who looked at his naked upper body with lust. His fingers on his lips, forcing their way in the warmth of his mouth.
Sam felt sick, he felt dizzy, his head was aching. He couldn’t go through with it, there was no way, it was too horrible to even think about it. Cold shivers ran down his skin as he thought about what was to follow, as he felt his breathing on his skin, the cold steel, listening to the heavy breathing, lust filled sounds. It was sick, just sick, there was no other word for it.
He prayed for Michael to be alright.
The man pushed him into the room forcefully, so forcefully that Michael lost his balance and fell right in front of the bed on his knees, a pained cry escaped from his lips.
Jean closed and locked the door behind them. He then looked at the young man; still kneeling on the floor, his hands against the surface of it.
Slowly Michael turned his face; brown eyes filled with tears, looking back at the grey ones.
“What can I do Michael?” Jean asked walking before him.
Michael’s head was throbbing, his breathing shook and he feared; feared for Sam. He didn’t care much of how pitiful he would sound or how he would look as he squeezed Jean’s pants inside his fists, as he laid his forehead against his legs, before he finally looked up to Jean again.
“Jean… Please let Sam go, it’s the only thing I ask, please.” Jean looked at him gritting his teeth, the cold look remaining in his eyes. “I’ll do anything Jean, anything you ask; I’ll do it. Both of you… Ask Patrick here, I’ll give everything I can for the both of you, I won’t fight anymore, please Jean, let me do that? If only you let Sam go… Do anything you want to do with me, just… please let Sam free.”
Michael was crying, Jean watched him silently, without revealing what he was feeling. Finally he stepped back, sat down on the bed and looked at him. Michael listened, looking desperately towards the door and feared for what was happening downstairs to Sam.
“Jean…” His miserable voice whispered. ”Sam couldn’t take it… Please, he doesn’t deserve that. Take me. I am a whore, I deserve your anger, not Sam, please let him go, please.” And quietly Michael looked as the mask of cold in Jean’s eyes grumbled. Gathering up his courage Michael approached him, staying on his knees in front of Jean.
“Where is the man I once knew?” He asked laying his hands on the knees of the man. “Jean; where are you?”
“That man was broken, you broke him.” Jean answered. Michael squeezed his eyes shut, desperation sweeping past him, he himself didn’t matter at that moment, only Sam did. He sighed with frustration and finally guided the gun that Jean was holding to point under his own chin.
“Then end this Jean! End it! Kill me, just shoot! That is why you came, isn’t it?!” He shouted, anger, desperation and sorrow in his eyes. A tear from Michael’s eyes fell upon Jean’s hand. The man shivered when feeling it, the desperation in Michael’s voice and on his features, the tension of his words made the last of his mask disappear, leaving a broken man, with heart full of sorrow behind. He lowered the gun and took Michael’s face between his hands, leaned forward so that their foreheads were touching. Jean’s shoulders sank, he was trembling and Michael stayed in his hold fearing to move, feeling the wetness of Jean’s tears on his skin.
”Do you love him this much?” Jean asked quietly. “So much as to sacrifice yourself for him?” Michael closed his eyes.
“Yes, I do.” He answered with equally quiet voice.
Silence, Jean moved his hands on Michael’s hair, his neck and his face, wanting to hold him, not letting go and still he knew it was over, he knew that the time was running out.
“Michael…” Jean sighed, repeating his name over and over again the name that had become to mean so much to him. “I love you, I love you.” He urged the young man to rise up on his lap, and finally laid him down on the bed under him. He kissed Michael’s skin; his forehead, his cheeks. “You are so beautiful, too beautiful… too good.” Jean was whispering. “How could I let you go?” Michael swallowed, there wasn’t much time, not enough to waste.
“Jean, let Sam go…” He whispered, taking Jean’s face between his trembling hands and he forced himself to look at him, to kiss his lips lightly. “Let Sam go and you can have everything I have to offer. My body; you may have it completely, but just let Sam go.”
Jean laid his forehead down on his.
“Your body chéri,” Jean smiled sadly and Michael saw him; the man that had meant so much to him once, new tears rose to his eyes, when Jean took is hand and kissed his skin smoothly. “Your body I do love, but…” He breathed out, looking deep into his eyes. “But I never truly had your heart, nor will I ever have it, will I?” Jean’s eyes squeezed shut, Michael didn’t know what to expect.
“I can’t let you go Michael, I can’t let you go to him, I can’t live with the thought that you are lying in his arms. It drives me crazy, torments and blackens my mind like a cancer. I cannot let you go, I can’t never let you go mon amour. I’m hurting you, I do not want to hurt you, but as long as I’m near you I’m always going to hurt you. Because my want… My want for you is much too strong for me to handle it.” Michael trembled under him, he did not want to die.
When Patrick started to open his pants, Sam drew back in fear; the mere thought that the man would take him in a way that he had only let Michael take before, was too much to take and he made a desperate move to avoid what was about to happen. He failed, his temple was struck with the gun and in one quick moment Sam found himself on the floor, the man’s hand on his throat, the gun pointed against the side of his head.
Rough hand forced its way under his pants to feel his organs in such a way that brought tears in his eyes. Sam moaned in pain, moaned from the humiliation of the horrid experience.
“You like this…” The smug voice sneered above him.
“You’re sick Patrick!” Sam spat, hating how weak he felt himself. If he couldn’t even save himself, how could he ever safe Michael?
In an hour, maybe even earlier, they both could be dead and the thought chilled his heart; it couldn’t end like this, they couldn’t end like this.
Daniel was trembling. “They’ve found Michael, he’s alive! I’m going to go and fetch him home from the hospital” Sam had told him on the phone just the day before and Daniel had been horrified, scared out of his mind. This was it, the beginning of an end for him.
And then Sam called him, told that Michael had left the hospital with Tony. Daniel had felt slightly relieved; if only he would stay away, if only the ground would just swallow Michael, make him vanish without a trace. Sam had promised to call him later, but no such call was ever made and it left him sleepless, haunted with the dark scenarios of what the future would hold for him. It was only the matter of time before everyone find out. There had to be something to make it right.
Julius, he would lose Julius, he would lose Sam, everyone would surely hate him, even his parents. Finally he couldn’t stand it anymore; maybe he could explain himself? Find Michael, find Sam; beg for forgiveness? Explain somehow.
Jail? Would he end up there? The mere thought made him throw up everything that he had eaten that day.
“Are you alright?” Julius asked him concerned, watching him as he knelt on the bathroom floor. With shaky legs Daniel got up and tried to smile.
“Just something bad I ate…” He lied and walked over to the sink to wash his mouth.
“Something is bothering you, I wish you would tell me what it is already.” Julius insisted.
“Nothing is wrong, I’ve just been feeling a bit stressed out; work stuff, you know how it can get.” He lied. “I’m sure it gets better soon,” he assured. Julius wasn’t that convinced, he had never seen Daniel like this before, so pale, so shaky.
“I have a few things to take care of.” Daniel said then almost walking past him, but then he stopped and touched the older man’s arm, kissed his cheek softly. “I know that sometimes you doubt, but I do love you.”
Julius looked at him with surprise.
“I love you too, Daniel, you know that.”
And Julius watched as Daniel took his jacket and left with a softly spoken bye and see you later. The door closed after him.
Daniel parked his car in front of the quiet looking house, but Sam’s car was there, so it meant that he was home? Gathering up some courage, taking in a deep breath, he got out of his car. He tried to think of what to say, to find the right words. If Michael was there, what would happen then? He walked to the door, looking around; so quiet, no lights on, nothing that he could see at least.
He rang the doorbell, waited. He thought he heard a noise from inside the house, he listened, rang the doorbell again, but when no one came to answer and when he was sure that he had in fact heard something that was caused by people, he reached out for the key that he had taken secretly from Sam, he had never actually thought about using it, but now, sensing that something might be wrong he took it.
“Sam?” He called when he entered, his voice sounding weak, almost disappearing altogether. Then he heard it, a thud, a shout, fighting. Sam’s voice… And Sam was in trouble!
With his heart beating madly, Daniel rushed towards the kitchen to find the man, who had been the first to steal his heart, laying on the floor with no shirt on, his pants undone and with him; fighting, was one of those men, one of those French. He gasped in shock and it all happened so fast, realising his mistake until it was too late, realising that Sam had all the time shouted for him to get out, to get help, urged him not to enter the room, but he hadn’t heard, not until now; when the gun was already pointed at him, when it was fired.
Tears filled his eyes, the sound and the immediate pain. He fell on his knees, gasping for breath, it all happened so fast. Sam used the situation to knock Patrick off of him, to snatch the gun away, beating the man with it until he fell onto the floor unconscious.
Daniel brought his hands on his stomach, winced when feeling the warm, sticky liquid. He cried out pitifully, dizzy, he felt dizzy, he was falling back.
“Daniel? Daniel?” Sam was calling his name. “Stay awake.” He looked around, Sam held a cellphone on his ear, calling for help, calling the cops.
“I don’t want to go to jail,” Daniel muttered. Sam knelt down, anger, sorrow, worry passing through his eyes.
“Why did you… Daniel, why? You’re so stupid. Why did you have to be so stupid!” Sam was crying when he said it, crying when he touched his face.
“Forgive me Sam, forgive me.”
Sam looked at him, closing his eyes, not sure what to do. There was no time for this, there was no time to stay at Daniel’s side when Michael was still upstairs with Jean. And Daniel was part of this madness.
“I’m dying, Sam… will I die?” Daniel cried. “I’m sorry.” His voice so pitiful, so weak and Sam couldn’t help but feel sorry for him even when he felt anger with his actions, but he had cared for Daniel, at one time Daniel had been important to him and now he was hurt, severely hurt. But at the same time, partly because of Daniel’s doing, Michael might be hurt as well.
“Michael might very well die because of what you did.” He spat at him then, “they’ll come to help you soon, stay awake.” Sam said and stood up, it was a choice, choice he had to make and a choice that in the end was easy; Michael mattered more to him than anything or anyone else.
Sam rushed upstairs.
“Michael?” he called, hearing the approaching sirens from the street; the help would soon reach them.
It had been the ringing of the doorbell that stopped Jean, that made him sit up on the bed. Daniel’s voice calling for Sam. Michael had heard Sam’s shouting, sighed with what was a relief to hear him alive. But then there was the gun fire; almost stopping Michael’s heart completely. “Sam,” he had whispered tears welling in his eyes. But it had been Daniel’s cry of pain, not Sam’s, and they both knew what had happened then.
Jean walked nervously to the door to check that it was properly locked. Running steps of the stairs, Sam’s voice calling for Michael, the approaching sirens; the hands of the law.
Jean looked at Michael; still sitting on the bed, his eyes on him and Jean knew, it was over, he would not leave this room alive, he would not get to live his dream with his beloved. How had it come to this?
“Michael?” Sam was banging on the door. Michael looked at Jean, wondering what the man would do.
“Sam, I’m alright.” He called back with the weak voice, watching Jean, who held the gun tightly. “Jean has a gun,” He reminded then, closing his eyes.
“Jean please,” Michael pleaded then, opening his eyes and looking at the man. Jean trotted in the room back and forth, nervous, fighting with himself, fighting with what to do. “Please Jean, please let me go.” Michael begged, crying.
“This is the police,” They heard then. “Please step out of the room whit your hands the way we can see them.”
Jean wiped his face, his breathing tense.
“We can still solve this Mr. Parouxe, just let the young man go.”
Jean sighed, he walked over to where Michael sat, laid him down, lay on top of him kissing him like there was no tomorrow and this time it was true. Drinking in the last taste, holding him tightly, holding on to their last moment. “I love you Michael, I’m sorry…” He whispered.
The time had never gone by so slowly every second was of pure agony to Sam. He could not lose him, if he would lose Michael, he would loose everything; how could he live another day if he would not be in the world?
It was crazy, the whole situation was mad, they had urged him back; said he could do more harm than good by forcing himself into the room. So Sam had nothing to do but to wait downstairs and watch as they tried to save Daniel’s life and Daniel, with his last strength, asked for him and as Sam finally knelt down by his side, Daniel begged him. “Forgive me, I’m so sorry, so sorry… Jul… tell him… Jul… I love Jul…” Sam’s lips were trembling, and with torn emotions he watched as his former lover got paler and paler, as it got clearer that he could not be saved. But Sam couldn’t find the words; I forgive you, he couldn’t find the strength to comfort, not when there was too much fear for Michael in him, too much to fully understand that this was the last time that Daniel would speak, the last chance to forgive and let him go in peace.
Finally he couldn’t take it and stood up, refusing to accept that Daniel was dying for real. He turned his back on him.
“Michael… I’m sorry. T-tell him…” Sam closed his eyes tightly and walked away to keep himself from hearing. Daniel died before they even got him into the ambulance.
It wasn’t true, all of this just had to be a bad dream, he told himself. And then; a gun shot from upstairs broke it all, a gun shot that broke his world, his heart, his everything. And Sam rushed back upstairs, ignoring everything else.
It was Michael who opened the door before anyone had had the time to break in. Pale and trembling, tears in his eyes and without a word he threw himself in Samuel’s arms and cried heavily, holding on in fear of letting go. They had both made it. They were alive.
They could not stay in the house, they would never go back there again; the house held too much pain now, after everything. That night, they wanted to be by themselves, feeling too weary, too shocked to speak to anyone else, for no one could understand it, no matter how much they would try.
A long sorrowful night followed the long agonising day. They lay side by side on the bed of a hotel room, holding onto each others tightly, quiet, there seemed to be no words for that moment.
“Jean’s dead.” Michael said for the first time out loud and he close his eyes as tears forced themselves in his eyes. In his heart he mourned and he wept. The man that had at one time meant so much to him, was gone. The man who had saved him from his half life in New York, would soon be laid in a cold grave, deep in the cold ground.
Jean sighed, he walked over to where Michael sat, laid him down, lay on top of him kissing him like there was no tomorrow and this time it was true. Drinking in the last taste, holding him tightly, holding on to their last moment. “I love you Michael, I’m sorry…” He whispered.
Jean sat up again and took the gun, Michael looked at him with fear.
“Jean please don’t.” He begged and it was with sorrow that Jean looked back at him, with sorrow when he touched his face.
“There’s only one way to end this cherí, and we both know it. I am tired of fighting against the devil inside of me, the devil that feeds itself on your tears. I see it now, I understand now what I need to do to let you go. This is the way.” Jean checked the gun one more time to see it was properly loaded.
“Go Michael, leave before I have the chance to change my mind, before the devil takes control of me. This truly is the only way Michael.” And Michael cried when he got up from the bed, as he staggered towards the door and he looked back one last time; Jean had the gun pipe pointed to his temple, one last smile and Michael cried without comfort, different emotions tearing him up inside, remembering so much, remembering everything, the good times, the bad, it had been such a long journey. Part of him wanted to stop Jean and inside he knew that Jean was right; it was the only way to ever be free. He turned, his hand on the door knob.
The gun shot; hard, loud, tearing his ears. Michael closed his eyes, laid his forehead against the door that he had had no time to open. The gun dropped on the floor with a thud.
And he turned his face to see the man dead on the bed, seeing the blood on the sheets. Michael could harly breathe, tears caught up in his throat, his head was throbbing. Jean was dead and he felt everything so strongly, remembered everething; from the moment he had first laid his eyes on Jean, his last words and the ones spoken years ago. But he had to go on, had to find Sam. He would think about it later.
”Jean is dead.” He repeated and Sam held him, not letting go, kissing his forehead, understanding, and when he had cried enough for that day, when the last tears dried on his skin, when he felt odd calmness setting inside him; the last smile that Jean had given him. ‘The only way of setting you free.’ And with calmness and sadness he smiled, after all the tears; still making his eyes puffy and hard to see, Sam’s warmth next to him.
“But now we are free.” He whispered quietly, Sam soft lips on his skin.
Sam stood in front of the mirror, fixing his tie slowly. The weather was gloomy, grey, it was raining quietly. Perfect weather for such a day.
“I don’t understand why we need to go.” He said when Michael stepped into the room. He looked at his lover in the mirror; he was dressed in black suit like him and Sam couldn’t help but admire how handsome he looked. Their eyes met and Sam saw the sorrow in Michael’s, the sorrow always present, more so now than before.
“Because you would regret it later if we didn’t.” Michael answered and walked before him, to fix his tie for him.
“Daniel did wrong to you, you could be…”
“But I am not,” Michael said calmly, again meeting with his eyes.
“They are mourning a man that Daniel never was, don’t you think that they should know what he did?”
“Why?” Michael asked, looking at him closely. “Daniel did wrong, but he paid a higher price than he had deserved. What use is it for his family to know? What good would it give to them? Anger and hate are not the answer Sam, it’s over. Let them mourn him the way they knew him, it’s for the better. It’s easier.”
Michael gave him a tired smile seeing the look that his lover was giving him.
“Daniel made a mistake, it was a big mistake, but I doubt that he knew what he was getting himself into, it was… it’s more than many can understand. Forgive him Sam. Forgive that he didn’t know any better.”
“I can’t understand how you… How can you forgive so easily after everything that happened to you? How do you have so much love left in you?” Sam wondered out loud, his hand reaching to touch his cheek. Michael didn’t reply, he merely smiled in that sad way of his and placed his hand on top of Sam’s.
People were crying, talking quietly, all dressed in black. Daniel’s father stood next to his wife, with his arm around her shoulders. The woman trembled from her tears.
“I’m sorry for your loss, “ Sam whispered as he shook both of their hands. Both of them, lost for words only nodded their heads, trying to offer him some sort of smile.
Julius; the man stood little farther away, looking lost, overwhelmed with his grief. Sam felt his pain, the pain that could have easily been his own. Michael walked towards the man, Sam following closely behind. Michael didn’t hesitate, he hugged the man tightly, the man hugged him back, breaking down in tears. Sam, once again, was amazed by his lover, of how pure his heart was. After everything Michael had been through, he still had such a strong will to survive and forgive. Sam loved him more and more each day.
”I can’t believe that he’s gone, really gone, it doesn’t feel real.” Julius wept. Michael squeezed his hands.
”Daniel loved you, he knew that you loved him.” Sam heard Michael telling him. Julius nodded, his lips trembled.
“Good to see that you’re alright.” Julius said then, trying to smile.
“I’ll survive though it won’t be easy, but with time …” Michael whispered. Julius nodded again.
”I haven’t slept, his things are everywhere, I can’t move them, I keep expecting him to come home. Every time that I hear steps in the hall, I expect it to be Daniel. I wait, at night I hear voices, I imagine, but at times I hear his voice so clearly that I don’t know if I’m asleep or awake. I fear I’ll lose my mind. ‘See you later,’ he said.” The man looked in Michael’s eyes shaking his head helplessly. “He said; see you later, I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye.” And when the man broke to another wave of tears, Michael hugged him again.
“Daniel knows; he knows what you feel.” He assured. Sam stepped closer and placed his hand on Julius shoulder once Michael had let go.
”I’m sorry Julius, for your loss.” He said; the man looked into his eyes.
“Did he suffer?” He asked wiping the tears from his eyes.
”It happened quite fast. He said… Daniel asked me to tell you that he loved you. Those were his last words, that he loves you.” Again the man nodded.
They walked into the church hall, the white coffin laid at the altar. Seeing it made it more real and even more people had tears in their eyes. Daniel, at the age of 26, had been too young to die. Sam took Michael’s hand in his own and squeezed, earning Michael’s attention. Sam leaned over to kiss his cheek, thankful of the fact that he wasn’t made to face the same sorrow as Julius and still he did grief. He grieved for the young man that Daniel once had been. And he understood that Michael was right, Daniel had paid much higher price than what he would have deserved. Had Daniel even realised what he was getting himself into? It was truly useless to break the image that the ones close to Daniel had of him. Hearing the truth would only make it worse. In his heart, Sam forgave his former lover, by silencing from the truth he gave his forgiveness.
Jean was buried in a quiet ceremony in Paris, where his body was transported to, as the request of his remaining relatives. There weren’t many to participate, those closest to him, that couldn’t completely understand how the man that they had thought to know, had been capable to something as horrid as kidnapping and rape. They remembered Jean the way he once had been, the man that once had a chance to be much more. Had it been the alcohol, had it been his childhood or the even greater evil in a man’s body that had changed him? Maybe all of that put together. But whatever it had been, finally Jean got the peace that he had spent his whole life searching.
The flowers were placed on the top of the modest grave. And when the others left, a man that had watched the whole ceremony farther away, standing in the shadows of the tall trees, finally dared to move closer. He looked at the stone, to which Jean’s name had been engraved. Born: 8.3.1969, Died; 6.15.2004. He knelt down, placing the flowers on the grave. Quietly he shook his head, touching the cold stone.
“I should have come earlier little brother,” He murmured. ”I am sorry Jean, for everything.” And after a quiet moment spend in the honor of the last family member he had had, he sighed deeply and stood up. He pushed his hands in his pockets, shoulders down, he turned. If only he had found his brother earlier, if only…
The day after Daniel’s funeral, Sam and Michael got married. The ceremony was simple, quiet, just how they both had wanted it. They were together, it was enough. They traveled to Ireland after that, to a quiet, peaceful countryside, where Sam had rented a small house for the summer and long into the fall.
For a long while they were alone together, taking long walks, horse riding. Slowly, supporting each other, listening, talking, later even laughing. But the journey to recovery was a long one and Sam never expected that Michael would someday by some strange miracle simply forget everything bad that he had been through, he knew, that both of them would carry the scars forever. They would get better, the scars would become lighter, but still they would be there.
The nightmares came back strongly at the beginning; Sam often woke to the sound of Michael’s screams. And Sam himself couldn’t escape the nightmares either. Coming to terms with Daniel’s death took him some time, along with everything else; of how close he had been to lose Michael completely and how near death he himself had been.
Michael felt the need to talk about Jean and Sam was ready to listen whatever it was that Michael wanted to tell him. He held Michael in his arms in front of the fire and listened quietly as he told him what he felt and what he was thinking. It was hard at first to understand Michael’s grief for Jean; why would he grief after the man that had hurt him so badly? But the more Michael talked to him, the more he revealed the hidden truths of his past with Ricky, going through everything that had eaten him up inside for so long. He talked about his fears and his wishes and dreams that he had kept, how unreal it had felt to live a life that was like in some other person’s nightmare. There, in the middle of his despair, Jean had walked into his life. Whatever Jean’s intentions had been, Michael couldn’t say that he would regret meeting him, that he would regret moving to a better life with Jean. Next to Ricky, Jean had been the light itself. What were possession and jealousy next to a man who treated you as a slave, denying the chance to decide what was being done to your own body?
Ricky was the dark side of Jean, the evil that Jean had learned and Michael believed, and wanted to hold on to his believe that the true Jean had been a good man. The love Michael had once felt for Jean, had never been even close to what he felt for Sam, Michael told him. He added that he himself couldn’t completely understand or explain what he had felt and what he felt now for Jean. The man had done too much evil and hurt him in a way that he could probably never forgive, but what he could do, was to forgive the man that Jean had been when making the decision to let him go, with the only way that he had thought of.
And carefully, trying, they also talked about Tony and what had happened between them.
“Tony’s been my friend for my whole life Sam, he was my first love and the person that was in my dreams before the time I knew you, the time with Ricky. Tony was the one I hoped to save me. Everything familiar, safe and former, I just wanted to turn back in time where I knew nothing of true pain. I can’t explain it better than that.” And Sam wanted to understand, he wanted to forgive Tony, because he knew he couldn’t deny Michael the right of seeing his friend. Michael deserved the freedom, freedom denied from him for far too long, freedom to make his own decisions. Sam wanted to give Michael everything he possibly could ask him.
They walked hand by hand, the sun was setting; painting the sky with gold and purple, the waves hit gently against the rocks. Sam looked at the smile on Michael’s face as he looked towards the sky, closing his eyes as the soft wind blew past them.
Sam pulled Michael close and he held him, they shared a gentle, loving kiss.
“I think we’ll make it, my dear husband, I think I’ll make it.” Michael whispered and Sam closed his eyes, smile on his lips, he nodded his head then, brought his hand on Michael’s face and looked deep into the brown eyes that he had grown to love more than words could ever explain.
“I love you, oh God how much I love you. Always, forever, only you.” Sam whispered his thoughts.
“I love you too Sam, always.”
The bond between them was stronger than ever, stronger than what many could ever share with their partners. And they knew they’d make it together, carrying each other, equally as partners. Michael knew that he had now what he had always dreamt of, Sam was the love he had searched for. And finally he could stop being silent, because Sam would never stop listening.
Surviving was possible, love could be real. Michael knew it now.
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Web published: My Secret Shore