Tyler thought he should try to say something reassuring to Abby about her son and grandson possibly managing to reconcile their differences. She had been so sweet to him, he thought it was the least he could do. After all, he had managed to make up with his parents after he'd screwed up so badly. Surely there was hope for her family to mend their fences...
So Tyler told her about making up with his parents, skimming over some of the details, but the important part was that they had made up and it had lasted. There had been some minor and occasional disagreements after he'd returned home of course, but that was only natural. There hadn't been any major fights, and for a boy in his teens and his parents, that was quite a feat to have managed. Abby smiled at Tyler and squeezed his hand.
"I'm afraid that just isn't likely for Mitchell and Jayson," she told him. "My son is quite set in his ways, and he just feels that homosexuality is so wrong, abhorrent to God... I didn't raise him to be intolerant about that or anything else, but the way he views things "well, I'm afraid he just can't accept that Jayson is gay, and never will."
Tyler thought about the evening he'd come out to his parents. It wasn't long after he'd returned home. Neither his mother nor father had made him feel uncomfortable during nor after the conversations he'd had with them he'd come out to his mother first, then that evening when his father came home from work, he told him as well. They had accepted him for who he was and reassured him that they loved him just the same as they always had. Because of this it was difficult for Tyler to understand how someone's parents could condemn them just for being who they were, and he told Abby this.
"It isn't that simple to my son," she explained. "He views sexual orientation as a matter of choice. I know he's wrong about that, but I'm afraid there's just no convincing him otherwise. He doesn't understand that some people are just born... well, that way." Abby paused for a moment, considering what she'd said. "I'm sorry sweetheart. That must have sounded, well... a bit harsh I suppose."
"It sounded just right to me, Abby," Tyler told her as he patted her hand gently. What she had said was exactly the way Tyler felt about it. He didn't choose to be gay, he just was. And there wasn't anything wrong with that. And that is exactly what he told her.
It was about the midpoint of the flight and the flight attendant came through the cabin to ask the first class passengers their choice of meals. Tyler had given up the vegetarian diet, but still stuck mainly to poultry and fish, so he chose the chicken dish. Abby asked for the roast beef, and a bottle of both red and white wine.
"Two different wines?" Tyler asked her.
"Yes, I just thought we should have a toast," she told him. "And I'll confess that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to drinking the correct sort of wine with a meal."
Tyler chuckled. "Okay then. I don't suppose I'll argue. Will you tell me more about your family after we've eaten?" he asked.
Abby agreed, then passed Tyler the Chardonnay she'd ordered to go with his meal. They toasted one another and ate their meals.
It was about three weeks after Tyler came home when he sat down across the table from his mother at lunch time. It was spring break from school, so Tyler was around the house. "Mom, I have something I need to tell you."
She sensed something in his voice that told her this was going to be a conversation about a serious matter of some sort. "What is it, honey?" she asked.
That was when he told her, "Mom, I'm gay."
She didn't say anything at first, but neither did she seem particularly surprised. Tyler thought she might be stunned, or possibly in shock. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"Oh yes, baby, I'm fine. I'm just so relieved that you finally told me."
"Huh? You mean you knew?"
"Of course I did, a mother just knows these things. I was just wondering when, or if you were going to tell me." She smiled at him. His mother's warm gaze gave him a comforting feeling and he grinned back at her.
They sat and talked for a while, his mother sipping coffee, Tyler having a glass of chocolate milk. She had to ask him some questions, and gave him the obligatory warnings about staying safe. Naturally he assured her that he had been and would to be, but still he didn't open up so completely as to tell her everything about his living arrangements while he'd been staying with Drake. He certainly didn't tell her about the rape " he knew that would be a lot more than she would be able to handle just then. Perhaps someday he would tell her, but just now.
When she asked if he'd had a boyfriend, he went quiet for a moment, and his expression clouded so that she could tell he was upset. She took his hand in hers and encouraged him to tell her about whatever was troubling him. He told her about Oliver. He told her almost everything, but left out the juicier bits about the sex that he didn't really think he wanted to talk about with his mother. All in all it was a good conversation, and it did make both of them feel at lot better.
She did ask if he had been seeing anyone since Oliver, and he didn't think Corey really counted " they weren't really seeing each other like that again, so he told her no. He wasn't really sure that relationship was going to rekindle or not, and did not only did he suspect that it would not " he also didn't want it to. It was nice just to have Corey back as a friend, and that's the way Tyler wanted things to stay.
Later that evening, when his father got home from work, Tyler sat down in the family room with him and had a very similar conversation with him to the one he'd had with his mother earlier in the day. His father was also supportive and accepting " reassuring Tyler that he would always love him no matter what. He too cautioned Tyler about being safe, and of course Tyler agreed that he would. The conversation with his father did not delve into any of Tyler's relationships, past or present.
The urge for pain killers had not completely left him, but he was resisting well. He hadn't smoked any marijuana since he'd come home either. He didn't miss the pot, but the pills had always had a stronger hold on him. He had been tempted several times, but he had managed so far successfully to resist.
There came a night when Tyler felt a need to talk to someone about the temptation he was feeling. He went online hoping to encounter Thomas. He wasn't sure if Thomas would be there or not since it was a weeknight, but fortunately, he was online. He had already admitted to Thomas that he'd gotten hooked on the pain pills and been smoking pot, and Thomas had provided encouragement to help him decide to stop. Thomas had been quite happy to have found out that Tyler had finally made amends with his parents and gone home. Not only did it mean that he had removed himself from a bad situation, it also meant more regular contact.
Tyler too was glad that they were able to have more regular contact once again. He'd missed their online conversations during what Thomas had begun to refer to as 'the dark period' when he'd run away from home. When they had first 'met' they saw each other online nearly every day, now though, between Tyler's school " now that he was home " and Thomas having taken a new job, they usually saw each other online only on the weekends now. Tyler was glad to see Thomas online during the week
Ty1600: Hey! How you doing?
Thomas: Okay I suppose, taxes suck. The IRS is the spawn of Hell. How are you?
Ty1600: :P That sounds a little bitter, but OK. Just sort of craving a couple percs so I thought I'd see if you were on...
Thomas: I have a right to be bitter, the blood-sucking leeches made me write them a rather substantial check this morning. I fucking hate tax time.
Thomas: About the craving you're having though " that's more important. Want to talk about it some?
Ty1600: Yeah, I do...
Their chat session lasted quite a while, and at the end Tyler felt a lot better. He no longer felt the urge for chemical relaxation " at least for that night. Thomas warned him that this was probably not the last time he would have the urge to take the drugs again, and told him that if necessary to call or text and he would do what he could to help him through. Tyler was able to go to bed that evening with a clear head and a clear conscience. He slept very well.
Drake woke the next morning on a metal cot attached to the wall in his jail cell. His head was pounding, and the thin, worn mattress he'd slept on provided little comfort. He had only the foggiest of recollection how he had arrived there. The entire evening before was a blur, at best, in his memory. And when he woke, it certainly wasn't of his own choice, but of his jailers. First, the lights came on, and though fluorescent, they still hurt his hung-over eyes very badly. He knew that the flickering from bulbs that didn't completely light properly would cause his headache to intensify in a very short time. Next came one of the jailers, beating on a metal trashcan lid with his baton, shouting for the inmates to wake up. It wouldn't do to have any of the prisoners miss their morning shower or meal, such as it was. The breakfast was some sort of mush that Drake couldn't quite place.
Drake thought he recognized the man sitting at the table across from him during what passed for breakfast at the jail. The man had two black eyes, and several other obvious bruises. One side of his head was swollen badly, making him look similar " at least on one side of his head " to Stewie from the Family Guy cartoon. Drake wasn't quite able to place him " but that may have been due to his injuries, or the state of Drake's mind, or perhaps a combination of the two. They ate in silence, for the most part. The inmates weren't encouraged by the jail staff to converse amongst one another at meals.
Drake didn't realize he was staring at the man across from him until he said something about it. "Whatchu looking at?" he asked. The man's thick New York accent triggered Drake's hangover fogged memory. He shook his head, but didn't answer. He returned his attention to the unidentified mush occupying the bowl in front of him. The man across from him asked the question again. "I said; what are you looking at?" But this time it was more forceful and aggressive in nature. Drake's memory of the previous evening was hazy at best, but things were slowly starting to come back to him.
Drake felt a sharp kick impact his shin. "I asked you a question!" This time the man was nearly shouting, and it had drawn the attention of the guards. Two of them stepped up behind him as he started to rise from his seat, leaning over the table toward Drake. They picked up immediately on the threatening manner in which he was acting, and both placed a hand on one of his shoulders to push him back into his seat. Once seated again, he looked back and forth over each shoulder into the stern faces of the two large corrections officers.
"Shut up and eat your breakfast," he was told. "You're due in arraignment court in an hour and a half."
He took the guard's advice and returned his attention to the bowl of gruel in front of him. He did look up every so often to cast a dirty look in Drake's direction.
Drake had so much to drink the night before that he wasn't even sure what he was being charged with until he was in front of the magistrate to be arraigned later that morning. He and his new 'friend' had been transported together along with several others on a bus to the courthouse. They were being kept separated now, considering the episode at breakfast. The man from New York was brought in front of the magistrate before it was Drake's turn. Thus, Drake found out what the other man was charged with before he even knew the charges against himself. It was also now that Drake learned the man's name " Howard Lawson, a resident of Brooklyn, NY.
He was charged with assault and battery, possession of a date rape drug with intent to commit sexual assault and the police were asking that he be held in connection with an investigation they were conducting into multiple deaths that he had been implicated in by witnesses the night before. The magistrate granted their request, and the man was ordered held in jail while the police conducted their investigation.
He was none too happy about this, and protested loudly that he was a U.S. citizen and this was a violation of his rights.
The magistrate, a cranky, older woman, banged her gavel and looked sternly at the man before replying. "That sir is exactly why I am ordering you held. You are not a citizen of this country, and the gravity of the charges against you makes me consider you a considerable flight risk. I will not have you flee the jurisdiction of this court." Once again, the magistrate banged her gavel and ordered the bailiff to remove the man from her courtroom and return him to jail.
Drake took note that the prosecutor had breathed a sigh of relief. He had no way of know that this was because he needed the time to connect him with the murders of more than one boy in the vicinity of The Cavern, something he was very intent on doing. He had even been in touch with the authorities in New York to see if any similar crimes had been committed in their jurisdiction. It was far too soon to have received an answer yet, but he was fairly confident what he was going to hear back from them.
There were three other prisoners in the queue before Drake's name was called. Drake had quickly gotten the impression that this particular magistrate would have been the type to have been called a 'hanging judge' in the old west of the United States. Each and every one of the others who had been called before her had been remanded into custody or ordered held under the harshest of all possible bonds for their offenses. Drake was worried. He had precious little savings, and though he owned his car, it was an older model that would be worth little collateral for a bail bond agency. He rented an apartment, so there was no home equity to offer for his bailment. It looked like he would be facing jail time before he came to trial " and thus would lose his job and not be able to pay a decent attorney's fees for his defense. As he saw it, he was royally screwed.
Finally, his name was called. Drake stepped up to answer the charges against him. He was charged with assault and battery and public drunkenness. To his surprise, the prosecuting attorney recommended dropping all charges against him. The magistrate looked even more surprised than Drake at this recommendation, and clearly was not pleased. "Why would you suggest something of that sort?"
"Well your honor," the prosecuting attorney replied, "it seems that Mr Dramall, while quite guilty of the public intoxication charge, only assaulted one of the previously accused. His actions were actually quite instrumental to bringing the serious nature of the offenses Mr Lawson, who appeared before as well just this morning to light. He alerted the bar staff about what Mr Lawson was attempting to do, and tried to prevent it " according to our witnesses."
"And this Lawson is the only person whom this defendant committed an assault against?"
"Yes Ma'am, he was."
"And you say he was... instrumental in bringing this Lawson to our attention?"
"That is exactly the case your honor."
"In that case I find that it does not offend this court to release this defendant on the lesser offense with time served. The more serious charge is dropped at the recommendation of the prosecuting attorney." She banged her gavel to make her pronouncement that much more official.
She turned her attention now to Drake. "And you young man, it will behoove you never to appear in my courtroom again."
Drake nodded his understanding and thanked the magistrate for releasing him. He was pleasantly surprised at his good luck. He wondered about the statements that he had assaulted the man " Lawson " at the bar though. He didn't recall having done it, and there were no bruises on his hands in indicate that this had been the case. He was confused about how he could have assaulted anyone without leaving any traces on his own person. It was enough of a relief for him to be released with no charges pending that he chose not to question this any further.
Tyler woke well rested. It was the first time he'd felt this way in the morning for quite some time. He strolled into the kitchen to greet his mother, who was making breakfast. The smell of bacon and eggs being cooked filled his nostrils. It was a familiar and pleasant odor that reminded him of his life at home before he'd started arguing so much with his parents all those months before.
Tyler had also managed to regain some of the trust his parents had lost in him since he'd come home. At first, when he would want to go out, they were overly inquisitive about where he was going and who he was going to be with. They had finally begun to ease off with the questions when he wanted to leave the house " at least if it was someone they knew and trusted that he was going to be with. If he told them he was going out by himself, or someone they weren't very familiar with, there were a myriad of questions to be answered. Tyler understood their concern, considering all his family had been through in the recent months " trials and tribulations that he knew he had been the cause of.
Tyler had plans to get together with Corey that day. Their friendship had mended since the night in the park when Tyler had told him he wanted to come home. So when Tyler told his parents on his way out that he was going to Corey's house, and then the two of them were going to spend the day together, there were no questions.
Corey had been making overtures toward Tyler which seemed to indicate that he wanted their relationship to return to one of a more intimate nature. This was not something Tyler was ready for " nor something he wanted either. He valued his renewed friendship with Corey, but he still didn't want things to progress any farther than that.
Tyler went to Corey's house, and after hanging out for a while there, playing some video games, Corey suggested they go out for a while. Tyler was fine with that idea " it was a nice day out and he would rather spend some time outdoors anyway. Corey led him to the park where they had met the night Tyler had told him that he wanted to return home. In the daylight it was a lot different than it had been that night. There were families present and lots of kids playing. Corey took Tyler's hand and led him through some bushes to a secluded area Tyler had not been to before.
He was surprised to see the little clearing Corey had taken him to. It was in the middle of a stand of pine trees, and a thick coating of pine needles blanketed the ground " it seemed strangely familiar to him, but he couldn't quite place it " it was as if it were from a dream he'd had perhaps. The needles provided a sweet, resinous, pleasant scent to the surroundings. They settled in the middle of the clearing and talked for a few minutes. It was just small talk " nothing of any consequence. But it helped put Tyler at ease. Then Corey did something that Tyler never would have expected. He pulled a small baggie from his pocket, and along with a small pipe. It was marijuana. Corey wanted them to get high " even knowing about all the problems drugs had caused for Tyler. Tyler thought this was an unfair trick, and told Corey as much.
"But Ty, I thought we could maybe just smoke one out here, get in the mood... And it's such a beautiful day... We could, you know..."
"We could what?" Tyler asked, shocked actually at what Corey seemed to be suggesting.
"Well, you know... Um, fuck?" Corey answered. His reply did not meet with the expected response.
Tyler grabbed the little bag of weed from his friend and emptied it onto the ground. Then he ground the herb into the pine straw with the heel of his foot. He was having none of this. "Don't you realize that this shit is what caused all my problems to begin with?!" he shouted, not concerned whether anyone else could hear them or not.
Tyler continued, "I can't believe you would try to do this to me!" Tyler kicked at the place where he had dumped Corey's pot, then turned to leave. The crudity of the word 'fuck' the way Corey had just used it was equally offensive to Tyler. It wasn't suggested as a loving act between the two so much as Corey's desire for a more animalistic sexual act.
"Wait!" Corey called after him, but it was too late. Tyler was nearly as mad as he had ever been before, second probably only to when Ollie had been killed. This was worse even than when Drake had raped him " Corey was supposed to be his friend, while he knew now that Drake had never really done anything but use him. He started thinking again about Oliver as he stormed out of the clearing and back into the proper part of the park where the families were.
Tyler looked back as he walked across the grass and noted that Corey had not elected to follow him. In a way he was disappointed, but in another he was relieved. Corey had finally come out and said that he wanted the two of them to begin having sex again, and Tyler had been brave enough to resist. He had even rebuked him about the method he'd tried to use.
Tyler felt a lot better about himself than he had in a long time as he walked home. He didn't think about the questions his parents would ask about his returning home so early. In fact he didn't even consider that that would " but they did, both of them.
"Why are you home so early?" his parents asked, nearly in unison. "I thought you were spending the day with Corey," his mother continued.
"Um, well, I was," Tyler started. "But we... We had a difference of opinion, so I thought it would be better to come home." He really didn't want to get into the details of what had happened with his parents.
His mother didn't cooperate though. "So what was the disagreement about?" she asked, keeping Tyler from just walking past and making his way to his room.
"Mom, I really prefer not to say if you don't mind."
"Tyler, your mother asked you a question. Please give her an answer," his father responded. Tyler really didn't want to lie to his parents again " he'd made a promise to himself that he wouldn't do it again, but he didn't want to portray Corey in a bad light, despite what had just happened. It seemed he didn't have a choice.
"He wanted me to get high with him," Tyler admitted. He didn't want to expand any further on what had transpired between them, and hoped this explanation would suffice. His parents knew he was gay by now of course, but he hadn't told them about the relationship he and Corey had once shared. For all they knew, he and Corey were just good friends,
"We didn't think Corey used drugs," his mother observed.
"It was just pot," Tyler started, then he realized how that must have sounded to his parents. "I mean, I'm not going to do that either " but it's not like hard drugs or anything, but you don't have to worry, I'm staying clean."
Tyler's father spoke up " "I know, and I believe you. I'm sure your mother does as well. The fact that you would tell us about what happened like you just did says a lot. Honestly, son, I'm proud of you."
Tyler beamed. It made him feel good for his father to have said this to him. Both his parents took note of the new, bright expression. It was a lot better than the clouded countenance that showed on his face when he had come in.
"You just be careful and responsible Tyler " like you were today. We trust you," his father added.
Again, Tyler smiled. "Thanks Dad, I really appreciate that!" And he did indeed. He felt he had regained a major amount of trust from his parents, and rightly so. And as fate would seem to conspire against him, it was just in time.
Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.
[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]
* Some browsers may require a right click instead