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The Move

Chapter 16

By Doug Smith

Two things struck me as I was driving home from Josh's house. One, how good I felt and two, how much of a selfish shit I had been the last year. I had let my sorrow consume me making everything about me. Yes, Aaron was special but now I realized that when he died I went into a 'woe is me' mentality and made everyone's life miserable, both my parents' and to some extent Scott's. I felt like a real shit.

I had an idea as I was driving by a strip mall. While it wouldn't make up for my behavior, it would show I had turned the corner and was sorry for how I had acted. It might sound stupid but I went into a grocery store and bought my mother some flowers along with a card. The flowers weren't anything special but they were pretty. She would like them. The card was simply a thank you card that said 'To My Parents'. I wrote a brief note apologizing for my behavior the last year and thanking them for standing by me. I put it in with the flowers and drove home.

My parents were watching TV when I walked in. They didn't hear me since I came in through the kitchen. I didn't want them to see me carrying the flowers. I watched them for a few seconds from the doorway. They were sitting on the couch and Scott was in a chair. He saw me as I walked quietly behind the couch but I put my finger to my lips telling him to be quiet. He watched as I put my arms around my mother and gave her a kiss on the cheek putting the flowers in her lap. Scott started laughing when she jumped.

"Sorry," I said. "I bought you something."

She looked at the flowers and then read the card before handing it to my father. There were tears in my eyes. I'm always kind of emotional but seeing them with tears in their eyes as well made it worse. It didn't take long before we were engaged in a family hug. Not wanting to be left out Scott jumped up into my arms so that he could join in as well. I couldn't remember the last time I hugged my parents on my own but it felt good.

"I'm sorry," I said as they held me. "I've been such a jerk."

"Dan, stop, it's okay. We just want you to be happy."

"I know but I've been so selfish. You've been telling me I need to leave what happened in the past but I couldn't. Now I realize I didn't want to, but I think I'm ready now."

"That's great Dan. I assume this has something to do with Josh. Did you have a good time?"

I sat down in the other chair and told them about my evening. Maybe not all of it. I left out some of the details, like about him cumming in his pants. I did say that I kissed him.

"He's a good guy Dad. He has to learn how to kiss better but he seems to be willing to practice," I smiled.

"So this boy is gay?" my father asked.

"Dad... this boy is named Josh and yes, he is... Just like me. I know you're disappointed but I've been trying to make you understand. Scott is going to have to be the one who gives you grandchildren."

"Ewwww, girls are yucky."

"Dan, it's okay. I didn't want to accept it but I can deal with it. I love you. As long as you're happy and doing well that's all that counts. Tell me about this... ah, Josh. Your mother said there was trouble at school and that he came home with you. Is everything okay? "

I smiled. "She didn't tell you?"

Scott started giggling.

"Tell me what? She just said you met a new friend." He looked at Scott. "What's so funny?"

I smiled. "You'll like him. He's a good guy, cute as well as smart. He's coming over tomorrow after I teach karate."

Scott kept giggling.

"Scott, what's so funny?"

"Nothing," he giggled.

"Dan, there's obviously something you're not telling me. What is it?"

"Okay Dad, just promise me you'll keep an open mind. Josh and I really are just friends. It may become more at some point but we're going slow. I only kissed him because he said he'd never been kissed. You may not believe me when you meet him but it's the truth."

"Why wouldn't I believe you? What aren't you telling me?"

"There is this one tiny little detail I should mention," I smiled.

"What is it?"

Scott was still giggling. My mother even started to laugh.

"Dan, stop teasing your father and tell him."

"Okay Mom. Dad, how about I show you a picture of him?"

He frowned. "You have one?"

"I'll be right back," I said and ran upstairs to get a picture of Aaron. I probably shouldn't be teasing my father but it was kind of fun. Hopefully he'd see the humor in it. When I got back downstairs I handed him the picture. It was a picture he took of Aaron and me on vacation six months before he died."

"He looks a little older now but that's him," I smiled.

"I don't understand. This is Aaron. I took this picture."

Scott was still giggling. "Daddy, Josh looks just like Aaron."

He gave me a funny look and then looked at my mother.

"Is this true Diane?"

"Kevin, I know it's strange but yes, he looks exactly like Aaron. When he came upstairs I wanted to run over and gave him a hug. I thought for sure it was Aaron when I saw him. Dan was standing next to him and it was just like he and Aaron looked together. If we weren't there when Aaron was born I'd swear they were twins but we know that's impossible... Right?"

"I hugged him, Daddy. He was standing in the kitchen when I got home. I ran over and hugged him."

"I fainted the first time I saw him," I laughed.

My father frowned for a minute and then looked at my mother. It was like they were doing that silent talking thing. I assumed it was an "are you okay with this" look.

"And he knows about you and Aaron?"

"Yeah, he does. He didn't when Scott hugged him. That was kind of funny. He had no clue why Scott did that. I had brought him home to tell him. I've been a real jerk towards him and wanted to explain what was going on."

"But you've known him since we moved here and you didn't tell us?"

"I'm sorry Dad. Maybe I should have but I guess I wanted to figure things out on my own. Maybe I should have told him right away too but if I did then things might not have ended up like they have. Maybe we still could have been friends but I wouldn't have been able to deal with him on my own. Other people would know and that might have meant things would have gone totally different, maybe better, maybe worse. It hasn't been easy but I like where things are now. Like I told Josh, tonight was the best time I've had in over a year."

My mother looked at me and smiled.

"You're growing up Dan. We're your parents and by nature we want to do what we can to make you happy. It's difficult for us to not want to protect you and make your life as perfect as we can. As parents it's also hard not knowing what is going on in your life. We love you and we want the best for you but I also know it's important for you to make your own decisions. That shouldn't just start when you're eighteen and go off to college. You've just had to deal with so much that most kids your age never have to think about. You're growing up too fast."

I smiled. My parents are really great parents.

"It's too bad all parents can't be like you."

They both laughed. "We have our faults too you know."

"Maybe but I can't imagine how things would be if you were like Josh's father. I met him tonight. Seeing how Josh has to live and knowing the type of kid he is really makes me think. I can't imagine how I'd be if he was my father. Josh has every reason to be bitter but he's a great guy. You'll like him Dad."

"Just take your time son. Be careful."

"I will Dad. We've talked and we aren't going to rush into anything. Kissing him might have been rushing things but I just felt the urge to do it. I don't know, something just told me it was the right thing to do."

"Do you want to tell us what's been going on?"

"How late do you want to stay up? I have to teach karate in the morning."

"Just give us the condensed version."

I sat down and explained what had been going on the last month, how I fainted, how I acted like a jerk, how I really hurt Josh, why Jason showed up, about Becky, how Mom was right about Chris and Ryan, about some of the problems with Phil Clayton and me not wanting to see Josh get hurt. I also told them about Josh's father, how he's a drunk, how he treats Josh, how Josh doesn't have many friends because of him.

"Maybe he's how I'd be if I had him as a father. I'm really amazed at how good a guy Josh is, having to live like that. I wish there was something we could do."

"It sounds like you took a big step in that direction today."

"He's a good guy Dad. I want to be his friend."

"Diane, you're the psychiatrist, are you okay with this?"

"Kevin, I know it's strange but I also know I haven't seen Dan this happy in a long time. Dan is growing up. He says they're going to take things slow. I'm a little surprised he kissed him but we both know they could have done a lot more."

I blushed when my mother looked at me. Good thing I had left out the part about Josh cumming in his pants.

"Hopefully he has more sense than that Diane, especially in a public park," he said looking at me.

My father definitely had a way of getting his point across. Maybe that's why he's such a good lawyer.

"And you can look me in the eye and tell me that when you kissed him you weren't thinking of Aaron? That wouldn't be fair to him you know."

"We talked about that. There is no doubt in my mind. Can I say that about every time I look at him? Probably not, but those times are becoming less and less frequent."

"Just take it slow Dan. You've been through a lot. Finding another boy is one thing. Finding someone who resembles Aaron is something else. I don't know if it's a good idea or not but given the obvious change in your mood I can't say it's not a good idea either. Just be careful. You know we don't want to see you hurt. We also don't want to see anyone else get hurt either. It sounds like he has a lot to deal with too."

"I won't hurt him."

"I know you wouldn't plan on hurting him but sometimes things don't go as planned. I'm just saying to be careful."

"I will Dad."

"Good. I can't wait to meet him. It should be interesting."

"Thanks Dad, you'll like him. I'm going to tell Aaron tonight. I know he knows anyway. He's watching me. He told me that but I need to tell him anyway."

I smiled when they both looked at me like I had two heads.

"Don't worry, I'm not crazy. I just believe he's keeping an eye on me. I can't explain it. Maybe it was a dream but something happened when I fainted. He came to me. He couldn't tell me how but he did tell me everything will work out like it's supposed to. He just wouldn't say what that is. He also wanted me to be nice to Josh. I don't know why Josh. Probably because they look alike or he knew I'd like him. I wish I had listened to him. I should have. I just couldn't."

"Does grampa watch us too? He went to heaven too, right?" asked Scott.

I smiled at my mother. "Yes dear, I'm sure he does," she said looking at me.

We spent the next hour talking as a family. Scott sat on my lap while I filled them in on more things that had happened at school since the first day. I told them about how Becky figured out I was gay, more about Phil Clayton and what he did to Mike. They weren't too happy I went out at night without telling them but didn't get too mad. I pretty much told them everything that had happened since the first day including about punching out the partition in the restroom at school. They weren't too pleased with that.

I think the biggest thing that disappointed them was I had never said a word. My mother asked how I expected Dr. Medford to help if I didn't talk to him.

"Jason helped me. He was there when I needed him. I want to go see him over Christmas break. I want to watch him play basketball. Do you think I can?"

I was surprised when my mother said it sounded like a good idea and that maybe we could all go and visit friends. She said Thanksgiving was coming up too.

It was after one when we decided to go to bed. Scott had fallen asleep in my lap. We suggested he go to bed but every time we did he'd wake up and say he wanted to stay up. My parents didn't mind since it was Friday and we were having a good family moment. I didn't mind either although he kept moving around and hit me in the balls a couple of times. It did feel good with him lying against me. I had my arm on him while I talked with my parents. Talking felt good too since we hadn't done it for so long and I had been keeping so much to myself.

Finally I said good night to my parents. I took Aaron's picture and carried Scott upstairs. He started to wake up but just moaned and put his head on my shoulder. About halfway up the stairs there was a flash of light behind me. When I turned I saw my father standing at the bottom of the stairs with his camera. As soon as I turned he took another picture. He just smiled and said he couldn't resist.

"Good night Dad," I smiled.

"Good night son. I love you."

I smiled and carried Scott to his room putting him on his bed.

"Come on buddy. Let's get you ready for bed."

He woke up but was pretty out of it. He's such a cute kid. I had to help him get into his pajamas. I saw my mother in the doorway watching us, smiling.

"It's nice to see you care about your brother."

I smiled. "He's great. I really love him. You and Dad do good work," I smiled.

"You know what they say, practice makes perfect," she smiled looking at me.

"I know I asked for it but that's not an image I want to think about. I agree with you though, Aaron used to say the same thing," I laughed.

"Alright, I asked for that but that's more than I need to know. I'm really happy you're feeling better. I hope things work out with Josh."

"Me too Mom, me too, but I'll be okay even if they don't."

We tucked Scott into bed without having him brush his teeth. He wouldn't have been awake enough anyway. I just covered him with his blanket and gave him a kiss on the forehead. At some point he wouldn't want me kissing him but for now I was going to enjoy it. He smiled when I told him I loved him and he mumbled he loved me too.

After using the bathroom and getting undressed I laid in bed looking at Aaron's picture. I knew I had to talk to him and couldn't put it off any longer. How do you say good-bye to the person you love the most in the world? I rubbed my fingers over his picture as I thought about what to say.

"Hi Aaron, I hope you can hear me. I need to talk to you. You don't have to say anything, just listen... You know I love you more than anything, I know that. You were my best friend. You still are. I hoped that we could have spent our entire lives together. There isn't anything I wouldn't have done for you. You know that.

"You're gone though and you're not coming back. I haven't been able to admit that but I know I have to. I've been selfish. I've let my feelings over something I can't control affect people I love. I've hurt my family parents ...Scott. They've tried to understand but I know it's been hard for them. I can't keep hurting them.

"There's something else too. ...I've met someone. I don't know how it will work out but I need to find out. He's a great guy. Please don't think I'm betraying you. I'd never do that. You know how I feel about you. That hasn't changed. You're gone though. I hope you understand.

"You'd like Josh. He's the kid you told me was cute the day I fainted so I know you know he looks like you. That has been really hard for me. I was a real jerk. I know you told me to be nice to him but I couldn't. I'm sorry. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't mean or anything, I just wasn't very nice. It was hard. Every time I looked at him all I saw was you.

"That's all changed especially in the last few days. I've learned he's really a good guy. He may look like you but I don't look at him and just see you any more. He's different, at least on the inside. I kissed him Aaron. I don't know if it'll work out with him but I want to try. He seems to like me too but he's scared. I haven't felt this good in a long time.

"I needed to tell you Aaron. I hope you understand. This is hard. I need to move on. Please don't be mad at me. I still love you and I'll keep you posted on what happens if you want but I need to try to be happy. I hope you understand. Good Bye Aaron. I'll always remember you. I hope you are happy wherever you are."

I ran my fingers over his picture one more time. There were tears in my eyes. They were sad tears but also happy tears. I felt like I had turned a corner. There was purpose again. I didn't want to just let each day happen any more. I wanted to enjoy life. I wanted to think about the future. I didn't know if Josh would be part of that future or not but I wanted to find out. I put Aaron's picture back on my desk and climbed back into bed. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I woke up early Saturday morning. Well, I woke up before 7.00 a.m. but that is early for a teenager on a Saturday morning. I was looking forward to seeing Josh but that wouldn't be for a while since I had to help Jack with his karate course first. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, I did. It was just that I wanted to see Josh.

There was another thing that was different this morning too. I actually had morning wood. That hadn't happened very often the last year. It felt good. Unfortunately, I also had to take a piss so I walked across the hall to the bathroom. Most mornings I didn't need to take care of things. Today I was looking forward to a hot shower.

It took me a minute to get a stream going to take a piss. It did feel good when I was finally able to. I watched as the stream splashed into the toilet with my hand around my cock.

I stepped out of my boxer briefs and turned on the shower. It didn't take long before I was under the hot water soaping my body. I used a shower gel and soaped my entire body paying particular attention to my midsection. I soaped my balls and ran my fingers between my ass cheeks before soaping my cock. Fuck, it felt good. My hand slowly went back and forth as I thought back to yesterday. I remembered Josh humping my leg. I shouldn't laugh but it was funny. All I could think about was Aaron's dog.

What a change in twenty-four hours. Yesterday�s events went through my mind: Phys Ed, Phil taking Josh's phone, Scott's reaction, my mother's reaction, Chris and Ryan's reactions, meeting Josh's father, the park. Thinking of Phil made me tense. I had wanted to kill him and probably would have if he had actually hurt Josh. Then I remembered holding and kissing Josh in the park. I could almost feel his lips against me, his body shaking. That's when my body began to shake. My legs shook uncontrollably and I had to lean against the wall so I wouldn't fall over.

"Oh yeah," I moaned shooting several streams of cum on the shower door. I just leaned against the wall and caught my breath when I was done. 'Wow,' I thought. 'I missed that too'.

I washed my cum off the shower door, turned off the shower and dried off before walking back to my room with a towel wrapped around my waist. I had a little over an hour before I had to get Danny for karate. I tossed the towel on my bed and stood looking at my naked body in the mirror. I smiled at what I saw and opened the closet, pulling out a box of clothes I hadn't unpacked. I hadn't worn these clothes in almost a year.

I pulled out a sleeveless muscle shirt I had ordered on-line and put it on. It fit tight against my skin giving me a lean muscular look. I then pulled on a pair of Andrew Christian training shorts. They looked good as well. Maybe not quite as good as the models on the website but I liked what I saw in the mirror when I looked. I dried my hair and spent the next fifteen minutes styling it. It took me a few times since I was out of practice. I used to be able to fix it quickly but I wanted it to be perfect. I'd probably redo it after karate but took the time now anyway.

I was excited when I ran downstairs. I was bursting with energy as I walked into the kitchen to sit down. Scott was still asleep but my mother and father were there. They both smiled when they saw me.

"Dan, are you okay?"

"I'm great Mom. ...couldn't be better. What's for breakfast?"

"Your hair and your clothes. You haven't dressed like that for a while. What are you doing today?"

"I'm going to teach Josh how to defend himself. I think it'll take more than a day though. He's pretty bad," I laughed.

"You're sure you're okay with him?"

"Yup," I smiled. "Not a problem."

I sat down to have breakfast. All I had was a bowl of cereal and some OJ. Maybe after we worked out Josh and I would go out to get something to eat. My parents asked me all kinds of questions about him as I ate. Even though we had talked they were still concerned I had been going to school with him for a month and hadn't mentioned him. I told them I didn't know how to handle it but now I did. I was going to be his friend.

Scott came down as I ate. He was still excited about karate, maybe not as excited as last week but definitely excited. He had to hurry to be ready to leave.

I finished a second bowl of cereal and went up to brush my teeth.

"I've got to get going," I said when I came back downstairs. "Come on munch, you're going to be late. I waved at Mike as he was getting the newspaper from the tube at the end of his driveway. He just stared at me and I smiled. 'Well, at least I'm not wearing a rainbow tee,' I thought laughing as I backed into the street and drove off.

First, Scott and I drove to Danny's to pick him up. His mother had told me she would drop him off but I said it wasn't a problem since it was right on my way. It was really difficult simply driving by Josh's house. I wondered even more than usual what he was doing, probably sleeping.

Danny ran out to the jeep as soon as I pulled in the driveway. He just stared at me when he got in.

"You look different," he said with a questioning look.

"Different in a good way or a bad way?" I smiled. He was obviously checking me out.

"Depends I guess. You seem different too. Does it have anything to do with your jeep being in Josh's driveway last night?"

"Yeah, I dropped him off."

"Is that where Josh lives?" asked Scott. "Can we go see him?"

"Not now Scott. We need to get to karate. Besides, he's probably asleep."

Danny just looked at us questioningly. "It's complicated. I'll explain later."

Jack gave me a strange look as well when I walked in. "You seem to be in a good mood today. You look... different."

"That's what Danny said."

"You're okay aren't you? I heard what happened Thursday. John said you really lost it. From what I heard your friend was brave. John was afraid to go near you."

"Sorry about that. ...bad day I guess."

"You're okay now though, right? I mean you're not going to go psycho on these kids are you?"

I laughed. "Couldn't be better. I haven't felt this good in over a year," I smiled. Jack knew exactly what I meant and smiled. "You ready? It looks like your class wants to start. You don't want them practicing on each other."

Class went well. I got to work with Scott, Tom, Nick and Danny along with four other boys about the same ages in a smaller group. It was fun. I had them practice some kicks on the bag and then work through some katas. I added a couple new moves for them to practice during the week if they wanted. I knew Scott would.

Chris was waiting for his brother when we walked out to the hallway. When he saw me he smirked but didn't say a word.

"What?" I asked.

"Nothing," he smiled.

"How was the movie?"

"It was okay. Sometimes we feel weird going together like that. I want to put my arm around Ryan just like everyone else but can't. We don't want to confirm suspicions. How was your alone time with Josh? You didn't take advantage of him did you?" he smiled.

Good thing nobody was paying attention. "No, I didn't take advantage of him. It's hard enough. We just talked and I worked on seeing him as Josh and not Aaron."

"I wish you had told me. I would have helped."

"Thanks, I should have. I was a jerk."

"It looks like you're doing okay now. You look good."

I smiled. "I'm giving Josh a private self-defense lesson later."

"Don't hurt him Dan."

"That's the point, teach him how to defend himself so he won't get hurt."

"No, I mean in here," he said pointing to my heart. "He's never been with anyone and I know how he feels about you. He never hated you. You know that, right?"

"I know. He knows I never hated him too. Don't worry, I'll be careful."

"Let's go Dan," said Scott coming down the hall. "I'm hungry."

"You're always hungry. Let's drop Danny off and then I'll take you home. I want to clean up before I pick up Josh." I knew I could pick him up when I dropped off Danny but didn't want Scott coming anywhere near Josh's father. He doesn't need that.

Chris had parked next to my jeep. "Don't worry," I said one more time before I got into the jeep. "I know I hurt him by the way I acted. I meant it when I said he's a good guy. I'm not going to play with his feelings. I don't want to see him hurt any more. He has enough problems. I know you know about his father. Just promise me you'll tell me if you see something. I don't want some little thing to become some huge problem and not realize it. I don't see that happening and I really think things are going to be okay though."

"Okay," said Chris. "I'd say I'd kick your ass if you hurt him but I don't think I'd have a chance."

"If I hurt him then I'll let you kick my ass."

I dropped Danny off first. I'm sure he had more questions but didn't want to ask in front of Scott. He had a big smile when he got out of the jeep. All he said was that Josh is a good guy. I definitely agreed with him.

Scott wanted to pick Josh up before going home but I said it wasn't time. He wasn't expecting me until later and I wanted to clean up first. Scott ran into the kitchen as soon as we got home. I went to my room to change. I took a quick shower just to rinse off. Then I put on clean clothes and fixed my hair. I liked what I saw in the mirror, from my head to my feet.

I got to Josh's house and knocked on the door. Instead of Josh, his father opened the door. He already had a can of beer in his hand and it was obvious it wasn't his first one of the day. I glanced at it and tried not to look too disgusted.

"Who are you and what do you want?" he asked abruptly.

If he thought he was intimidating me he was wrong. "Hi Mr. Sullivan. I'm Dan. I met you last night. I'm here to pick up Josh. He's coming over to my house this morning."

"He's not going anywhere," he said. "Josh, get your ass down here. Some pansy is here. He thinks you're going somewhere. You're not going anywhere. You're going to do what I say and I say you're cleaning the garage."

Josh came running downstairs. He saw me and did a double take. I smiled but his father started yelling at him.

"Dad... Dan and I have plans. You never said anything about cleaning the garage."

"Well, I'm saying it now. Get your ass out there and clean it --- NOW," he screamed.

Josh just stared at his father. I knew he wanted to say something but was holding back. The guy was being a total shithead. It was obvious he just made that up to keep Josh home. I was getting pissed. I felt like showing him I wasn't any pansy but knew that wouldn't do any good. He looked at me and smirked.

"You can leave," he said.

I looked at Josh. I thought he was going to cry. What made it worse was that his father was looking at him with the same smirk on his face. It was like he enjoyed tormenting him. I gave him a sympathetic smile when we made eye contact.

"I don't think so. If Josh has to clean the garage then I'll help."

Josh gave me a surprised look. His father got angrier. I don't think he expected something like that from one of Josh's friends.

"Look at you in your tight shirt and styled hair," he sneered. "You must be one of those fags. Is that why you want to help out my boy? You two do things? That must be it. I always thought he was one of them. I haven't had anything in a while. Maybe I'll show him what a real man can do," he smiled holding his crotch. "I think he needs to start pulling his weight around here."

I don't know if he was serious or not. Josh said he never physically abused him but he said he was getting worse too. He was also drunk and it was only eleven o'clock in the morning. I didn't know what to do. If I left then Josh would think his father drove me away too. I had told him I'd be there for him. On the other hand if I didn't leave then it would only antagonize him more. I really didn't want to get into any more of a confrontation with him.

Josh just looked at me.

"It's okay Dan. I should stay here. I'm sorry but this is how things are. I warned you. You should probably leave. I'll be okay. I'll see you in school."

His father just laughed. I didn't understand how a father could take such delight in tormenting his son. Josh's life was so different from mine. My father would never do anything like this. He might want me to clean the garage but he'd never spring it on me like this. Josh's father just seemed to take perverse pleasure in trying to control him.

He just mocked him. "Yeah Dan, you should leave. I'll be okay. .........Pansy, I can't believe you're my son. You're just like your mother. It should have been you."

I stood there in disbelief. His father just told him he should have been killed rather than his mother. What kind of father would say something like that? I don't know if this was typical behavior or not. I can't imagine putting up with it for eight minutes let alone eight years.

I looked at Josh. I couldn't just walk away. I would feel like I was betraying him. All the things I said wouldn't have meant a thing. He'd think I was just like everyone else and he'd never trust me again. I also couldn't imagine how I'd feel just driving away and leaving him here.

"Josh, why don't we go clean the garage? I'll help."

"He doesn't need your help. He can do it by himself. Now why don't you leave."

"Josh? Please come with me. We'll figure something out."

"He's not going anywhere," said his father grabbing his arm. He twisted it and pushed him towards the couch. He had over 100 pounds on Josh but it was mostly in his gut. It gave him the advantage though and Josh fell backwards tipping over an end table and landing against the couch.

"Don't touch him."

"And just what are you going to do about it?" he laughed.

"You really don't want to know."

Josh's father just laughed harder. There was no way I was leaving now. Maybe I should have called the cops but I didn't think of that at the time. Josh didn't look like he was hurt but his father had threatened to rape him. I didn't know if he was serious or not and I wasn't going to find out. I also didn't want Josh to find out.

"Josh, let's go. Get in the jeep."

"I said he's not going anywhere. He's going to do what I say, just like he always does. Now get out of here before I decide to fuck your faggot ass too."

I laughed. "That's not going to happen and you're not touching him either. Josh, let's go."

"I told you, he isn't going anywhere. Now get your ass out of here," said his father moving to push me down the steps.

It wasn't hard to grab his wrist and twist it causing him to drop to his knees.

"Let me go you fucker."

"I'll let you go when Josh is out of this house. Either that or we call the cops and you can leave. Your choice."

"If he leaves he better not come back if he knows what's good for him."

"There's no way he's staying here. Not with you," I said twisting his arm more causing him to scream.

"DAN!!! ... DON'T ... Let's go," yelled Josh as he moved by me out the door.

I pushed Josh's father onto the floor. "We're leaving."

Josh was already in the jeep when I got outside. "Geez, Dan --- What are you doing? I know you were just trying to help but he just kicked me out. Now what am I going to do? I don't know what he'll do if I go back."

"Josh, he threatened you. I couldn't just leave you there. He needs help. We'll figure something out, I promise. You shouldn't have to live like that."

"Where else can I go? I'm sixteen. I don't have any money. What choice do I have?"

"I don't know. How about your aunt? She loves you. Wouldn't she let you stay with her?"

"I don't know. Maybe, but she doesn't have much room. Besides, she said my grandmother is sick and might come stay with her. I don't think it would work."

"How about some other relative?"

"Not really. Nobody around here at least. My mother and aunt were sisters but they didn't have any other family. My father has a brother but we haven't seen him in years. I have no idea where he lives. Last I knew he was in Ohio."

"Okay, we'll figure something out. Has he ever done anything like that before?"

"No, I told you it's all been verbal. That was the first time he touched me and it was definitely the first time he's threatened to do anything else. I doubt he'd do that but I'm not sure. He's threatened to hit me but never has. The only thing that has ever happened is once I woke up and he was in bed naked next to me. Nothing had happened. I wasn't naked, he was. It was just gross. I think he was just drunk and came into my room by mistake. I don't think he would have done anything."

"He wouldn't or he hasn't yet? You said he's been getting worse. He pushed you down. You can't be alone with him. What would you do if he decided to come into your room some night and carry out his threat?"

Josh put his face in his hands. "I don't know. He is getting worse but what can I do? He's my father. I don't have anywhere else to go. If I tell someone he'll just deny it. Even if you say what he just did he'll say we're making it up and even if they did believe me I'd just end up in a foster home or something. That would be worse. Face it; I'm screwed until I'm old enough to get out of here. See why I told you that you wouldn't want anything to do with me once you learned more about me?"

I reached over and took his hand. "Josh, get that thought out of your head. I'm not going anywhere. It's going to be okay. We'll think of something. My father is a lawyer. He can help. This may not be his specialty but he has to know something, doesn't he? If he can't then my mother can help. She's a shrink. She's dealt with all kinds of fucked up situations. Your father needs help. There's no way I'm letting you go back there alone even if I have to tie you to my bed."

He had tears in his eyes but he turned and tried to grin. "I'm not really into kinky stuff."

I broke up laughing. "Did you really just say that?"

"I was picturing myself tied naked to your bed."

"And you called me a perve? I wasn't even thinking that but now that you mention it I can picture that too. I could have my way with you," I smiled giving him a mischievous grin.

"Don't worry, if we ever get that far you won't have to tie me to the bed to have your way with me. I'll be a willing participant."

"Jeez Josh! ...I have to drive here."

"Then pay attention to the road and stop looking at me like that. Are you sure your father will help? He doesn't even know me."

"We had a long talk last night. He knows all about you. Trust me, he'll help."

"I hope so... What's with the clothes and the hair anyway?"

"What? Don't you like them? I haven't dressed like this since Aaron died. He kind of liked it when I showed off a little."

He looked at me. "I like the necklace. Just how many personalities do you have?"

"Well, let's see. There's the one from before and then there's the asshole that's been going to your school for the past month. I think this one is kind of a transition back to the old one. I'm beginning to realize I like the older one better. I hope you do too."

"If this one is a transition and you look as hot as you do, then I can't wait to see the old one," he smiled.

I smiled. It was good seeing him start to relax. I know he was really worried. Even though he was smiling I could tell that just beneath the surface he was worried and scared. Hopefully my father could help. Fortunately both my parent's cars were in the driveway when we got to my house. I told Josh about the talk I had with my parents and that my father knew he looked like Aaron. I smiled and told him to brace himself nonetheless.

"I hope you're right that he'll help. He doesn't even know me."

"Trust me Josh. You're my friend. Friends help each other. My parents know what friends mean to me. They'll help."

My mother was reading one of her journals in the living room when we walked in. One year for Christmas I was going to get her a copy of "Psychiatry For Dummies" as a joke but couldn't find it. I don't even know if there is such a book but there seems to be a 'For Dummies' book for everything else. It was probably better I couldn't find it anyway. I'm not sure she would have appreciated the humor.

"Mom, where's Dad? He needs to meet Josh and then we need to talk to him."

"He's downstairs playing Nintendo with Scott. There has to be an article somewhere on why grown men like that game."

"It's fun Mom. You should try it... Come on Josh, let's go find him. You may want to come too Mom."

She gave me a puzzled look as Josh and I walked towards the stairs. When we got downstairs I saw my father with his back turned playing Wii Baseball with Scott. Scott saw us and started smiling.

"Dad, this is Josh."

Scott giggled when my father just stared. "See Daddy... we told you."

"Wow, you said he looks like Aaron."

"Dad, we need your help. At least Josh does. Can we talk?"

He looked at Josh. It was obvious something was wrong.

"Alright... Scott, we'll have to finish this later." He looked at me and said to go to his study, he'd be right up.

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