Hi everyone :-). I'm back. Sorry about the long break. School has been seriously stressful for me and has taken up a lot of my time, so I haven't been able to write as much as I would have liked. But I'm just glad the holidays are coming up soon so I can get a small break. To answer a question on some peoples minds, yes, my health is good. Thank you for your concern.
I'm going to be a little busy working through the last bit of my semester, so please don't be upset if you don't see a new chapter for a little while. I'm sorry it has to be this way, but I have my priorities and school is at the top of them. Hope you all understand. If you have any questions or concerns, don't be afraid to email me.
Thank you all for your outgoing and constant support. It really does mean a lot to me. I hope I can continue to write stories that you all can enjoy into the future. Thank you all again. I hope you enjoy Chapter 16 of 'Is It Possible...?'
The League can go fuck itself. Twenty thousand dollars for a single isolated offense? That's plain bullshit. Well, okay I broke another player's nose, but that's still a hell of a lot for it. I take my shot of vodka and toss it back, setting the shot glass back on the counter. "Okay, Tanner," A.J. says. "I think you've had enough."
I glance up from underneath the brim of my baseball cap and look at A.J. before sliding the shot glass over to him. "Give me another..." I quietly slur.
"Tanner, I know you're drunk. If I keep giving you alcohol and you drive home tonight and get hurt or even killed, Ulrich and I could lose our liquor license. I'm cutting you off."
He takes the shot glass and places it in a nearby sink, and I can feel myself pouting at the sight. A.J. comes back with a glass of water and he sets it in front of me. "Drink that. I'm going to have Ulrich cook you up something to help with all the alcohol in you."
With him gone, I'm left alone at the bar counter. Get the Puck Out is pretty close to closing for the night. I'm the only one left here besides A.J., Ulrich, and a few other workers who are helping clean up. I've been here for the past few hours, ever since I got back from Chicago earlier tonight.
The League called me soon after I landed back in L.A. and immediately suspended me from the next match and fined me for hurting Flores. I know it's policy, but I'm still fucking pissed. More at myself than anybody. I can't stop watching the playback from the game. Me knocking Flores from behind and into the boards. I can still hear his nose cracking.
I take a sip of my water and watch the condensed drops slide down the sides of the glass. A plate is suddenly set down next to my glass and the wonderful aroma of cooked meat fills my nose. Looking up, I see a plate piled high with wings and Ulrich behind the counter. A sit up slowly and stare at the wings.
Hell, you'd do the same if you knew what Ulrich could do to these things. "Relax," he says, crossing his arms over his chest. "They're my mildest wings. Specially made for you."
Taking another whiff, I see I can still breathe as I smell the wings. I take one and bite into it, welcoming the taste of the first thing I've eaten in hours. A.J. appears next to Ulrich and the two watch me as I devour whatever wing I see. By the time I finish a dozen, I decide to slow down a bit.
A loud belch erupts from my gut. "Feeling better?" A.J. asks.
"No..." I quietly say, taking another wing and nibbling it.
"Well, you did have about seven beers and four shots of vodka over the last few hours," A.J. continues. "You'd probably be feeling a bit drunk."
"I'm not feelin' bad because of my bein' drunk, okay?" I snap at him.
I grab my water and chug down the rest of it, making myself chock on some of it and hacking it up onto the floor. Ulrich quickly grabs a rag and walks around the bar, bending down and wiping up the water. "So what is going on with you then?" he asks, standing back up.
"None a' your fuckin' business..."
"Okay, you can't just come into our bar, get drunk off our alcohol, and mope at our counter without a reason," A.J. says, pressing his hands onto the bar counter. "We even let you drink here for free tonight because you're one of our closest friends and we saw what happened with the Blackhawks game."
I ball my hand into a fist, my fingernails digging into my palm. "A.J.'s right, Tanner," Ulrich says, walking back behind the bar. He glances over at A.J. "Maybe we should call Gregory and see if he can do anything."
I'm off my bar stool within a second. "If you call that fucker, I'll take the phone and snap it with my own bare hands!" I yell, jabbing my finger at the both of them.
Both of them take a step back from me, looking scared out of their minds. "Tanner...just calm down..." A.J. tries to reason.
"I'm warnin' ya both! You call that cocksucker you'll be looking for your wisdom teeth!"
"I got my wisdom teeth removed when I was 17," Ulrich whispers to A.J.
"Tanner, sit the fuck down!" A.J. yells. "I don't know what the fuck is going on with you, but it's really pissing me the fuck off! Ulrich! Get the phone and call Gregory! If he doesn't pick up, call the cops!"
Ulrich starts for the phone and I lunge over the bar counter, grabbing Ulrich in my drunken stupor and throwing him into the counter. A few glasses are knocked over and shatter when they hit the floor, Ulrich falling with them a second later. I'm about to try and grab A.J., but a sharp pain shoots through my body.
I lose all control and fall to the floor in a convulsing mess. The pain suddenly stops and I'm able to move my head to see what just happened. Sticking out of my back are two prongs with long wires connected to them, the wires leading to a Taser in A.J.'s hand. "Had to do it, Tanner," he says.
I'm about to move again, but A.J. presses a button on the Taser and every muscle in my body tightens. The intense pain causes me to black out for a bit. By the time I come to, I'm lying on the floor of the bar with A.J. and Ulrich standing over me. "Tanner," A.J. says, "the Taser prongs are still in your skin. Now you can either calm down or I can shock you again."
Well when he puts it like that, it doesn't give me much choice does it? I fall back on the floor as A.J. bends down and quickly pulls the prongs from my skin. He helps be back to my feet and helps me around the counter to a chair and sits me down. "I'm going to get you a new glass of water," he says. "Ulrich, sit down and keep pressure on your arm. I'll get the first aid kit in a sec."
First aid kit? I groggily look over at Ulrich as he sits down across from me, holding a towel to his right arm. Red stains are slowly seeping through the fabric. Ulrich gives me a small smile. "I fell on some of the broken glasses when you shoved me into the counter. It's no big deal."
I suddenly feel like the biggest piece of shit in the world. A.J. comes back with a glass of water and the first aid kit, taking a seat next to Ulrich. I take the glass of water and watch as A.J. tends to the several small cuts on my friend's arm. "You okay?" I quietly ask.
They both glance up at me. "I'm okay, Tanner," Ulrich says. "They don't even hurt too much."
"I don't think we need to get any of these stitched up," A.J. says. "They're all pretty small. We're just lucky this wasn't worse or the bar would be down one head chef."
And I feel even worse than I did a minute ago. I keep on sipping my water, trying to avoid looking at my friends. "Tanner, what's going on?" Ulrich asks. "We've never seen you react like that with anything. Don't worry about anyone else hearing. We let everyone head on home after your outburst."
I set my water down and look down at the table. I at least owe them an explanation. "Greg and I broke up," I blurt out.
My gaze finds the table and I make an effort not to look at either of them. If there's anything more awkward, it's talking with your straight guy friends that you and your boyfriend broke up. "Um...wow," A.J. says. ""Can I...?"
"He cheated on me. He fucking cheated on me with his ex-boyfriend and his ex-boyfriend's husband..."
My hand clenches around my glass of water in anger. I'm not going to cry in front of my best friends. I'm not...God damn it. Too late. I try to wipe my eyes before either of them notice, but a handkerchief is placed on the table in front of me. I quietly take it and dab my eyes. "I'm sorry, Tanner," Ulrich says.
I nod a bit. "I-It's really sucked. I walked into Greg's apartment after I woke up from my...you know, and found them all in bed together. I wanted to tell Greg that..."
I'm saying way too much but I can't stop myself from saying it now that I've started. "My God. You love the guy, don't you?" A.J. says.
I press my hand to my eye as I grit my teeth together and nod. "Do you still love him?" Ulrich asks.
"I...I don't know. I-I can't stop thinking about him and whenever I close my eyes I see him there. I miss him so fucking much, you guys. But I don't know if I can ever look at him the same after what happened."
The two glance at each other before looking back at me. "Do you want to be with him again?" Ulrich asks.
"Do you love him more than anything?" A.J. follows up.
"I don't know! I don't fucking know! All I do know is that I fucking miss him! I want him to be here with me! I want to hold him! Hug him! Kiss him! Tell I would do any goddamn thing if it would make him happy! I...I want him..."
My hands press against my eyes in an effort to try and stop the same tears I've been crying for the past month. But it's no fucking use. They just keep coming. If I weren't so focused on trying to control myself, I would be deathly embarrassed that I'm acting like this in front of my closest friends.
I wipe my nose before going back to quietly sobbing. "You really do love him," A.J. says. "Jesus H. Christ. Tanner White in love. Never thought I'd see this day."
I sniff a bit before looking up and finding A.J. leaning back in his seat, an accomplished smile on his face. "W-What...?" I say.
"Tanner, ever since we were kids, I've never seen you act this way about anyone. Not even us for that matter. Seeing you so passionate about a person shows me you're over the fucking moon and are leaping for joy on the planet Pluto's dwarf ass. Even if you don't see it, you love that son of a bitch more than anything."
Is...is A.J. right? Do I still love Greg? "B-But...he cheated on me..." I whisper.
"You're right," Ulrich says. "He did. But did he try to talk to you or anything like that when you found him? Or did he just let you leave?"
Thinking back to that morning, I run through what happened. I walked into Greg's bedroom and found him, Brody, and Clint in Greg's bed. But they didn't look like they were happy when they were waking up. They looked...terrified for some reason. And as I was storming out of the apartment, I think I saw at least fifteen bottles of beer sitting on the coffee table and a large, empty bottle of tequila.
And in the hallway, I felt Greg's arms wrap around my waist and...was he trying to stop me from leaving? But...why would he do that if he willingly...? Maybe...maybe he didn't. "D-Do ya think what he did...was a mistake?" I slowly ask.
"Couldn't say, Tanner," A.J. says. "It's something you'd need to talk to him about."
I stare at the water sliding down the sides of my glass. "I...I don't know if I want to talk to him. I'm afraid of finding out if he actually meant to sleep with them or not..."
The two look at each other again. "Tanner, I need your help finding something," Ulrich says.
Uh...? "What?" I say.
"I need some help finding where you lost your balls." The comment takes me aback. "The Tanner White I know wouldn't be this much of a fucking pussy. I know you're upset and you're scared about finding out the truth, but Jesus Christ you're acting like A.J. did when he found a rat in the dumpster out back."
"Hey, the thing was foaming at the mouth," A.J. defends.
"It got into a can of old whipped cream," Ulrich counters. "I'm just glad I had an extra pair of pants that day for you."
A.J. punches Ulrich in the shoulder. "Anyway," Ulrich continues, "The Tanner I see in front of me is not the Tanner I know. So tell me, Tanner: where did you lose your balls?"
I stare at the two of them for a second before taking my glass of water and dumping every drop of it on my head. I shake my head out, spraying water all over the table and some on A.J. and Ulrich. "My balls are right here," I say, standing up and cupping the front of my jeans. "You want proof they're there?"
"I'm good, dude," A.J. says, holding his hands up. "But it's good to see you starting to get your shit together. So what're you going to do now?"
I set the glass down and stare blankly at my friends. "I have no fucking idea."
They both smack their foreheads.
With a small headache from last night, I walk into Tyson's Café, a family-owned restaurant in the middle of the city. I've only come here a few times in the past, but the people here are nice and the food is pretty good. I take a seat by the window as a waitress comes up to me. "Welcome," she says. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Just a coffee, black."
She heads off to get my coffee and I'm left fidgeting in my seat. I'm starting to have second thoughts about meeting with Scott. The last time we saw each other it ended with me punching him a few times in the face and the last time we talked it ended with me hanging up on him.
The sound of the front door opening gets my attention and I see Scott walk into the café, a backpack on around his shoulder. He glances around before finding me, looking just as nervous as I feel. He walks over to the table and takes the seat across from me, setting his bag on the floor. His eyes try to focus on anything besides me, and I don't blame him.
The waitress comes back with my coffee and looks to Scott. "Something to drink, sir?" she asks.
The waitress leaves again and quickly comes back with a glass of water. "Would you both like something to eat?"
"Whatever the special is," Scott and I say at the same time.
The waitress smiles at us. "Always nice to see a father and son so similar."
Oh lady, you have no idea. She leaves and Scott and I continue to sit in silence, quietly sipping our drinks. I glance up at Scott and find him staring down at the table. As I look at him, I start to see the similarities between us: same hair color, same nose, same jaw, and the same eye color. It kind of hurts to say, but I can see how he's my father.
Scott takes a sip of his water before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a folded envelope and setting it on the table. "What's that?" I ask.
"It's a uh...a paternity test." I raise an eyebrow. "I have a friend who works at the doctor's office where you go and he owed me a small favor. I asked him to run this test for me."
"You had my DNA stolen?"
"Gregory, it's not like I stole your wallet or some shit like that. You still have your DNA on file at your doctor and...and I really needed to see if this was true."
I glance down at the envelope. "Have you looked at it yet?"
Scott shakes his head. "It's been sitting on my desk at home for the past two weeks. I couldn't bring myself to open it without you being there to see it too."
I let out a breath. "Well, might as well see if it's really true or not."
I take the envelope and slice it open with a knife on the table. Pulling out the contents, I set them on the table and leave them there for a second. Scott gives me a nod and I carefully unfold the paper. Scott and I immediately read the bottom line of the test. Possibility of paternity: 100%.
We both suck in a breath at the result. "It's a damn perfect match," Scott whispers. He slowly looks up and meets my eyes. "I really am your father..."
Nearly thirty years. It took nearly thirty fucking years for me to finally find my birth father. And knowing I've known him for half that time makes me want to punch something. But I'm too tired of being angry, so I just fall back in my seat. "Gregory..." Scott starts.
"Please," I say, sounding exhausted. "Just...please tell me everything. From the day you met her."
"Your mother?" I nod once. Scott looks at me for a second before taking a breath. "I met Cynthia thirty-one years ago in the early 1990's. She was a waitress at a bar all the way out in Atlanta. Place was a real shithole, but she was the life of the party. And boy did she love to party with everyone there.
"If there was a drug at that bar, she was always first in line to get a hit. I went to the bar with a few friends at the time and she came up to me when I took a seat at the counter. I ordered a beer and she came back with two and took a seat next to me. She immediately told me that she thought I was very attractive.
"I already knew I was gay when your mother and I started talking, but outing myself in the 90's right after the AIDS crisis would have been a death sentence. Plus the place I was in didn't seem very gay friendly, so I went along with her. We talked for a long time, about everything and nothing all at once.
"She really fascinated me with the stories she had. And the whole time we talked, she didn't get up at any of the offers for some sort of drug. Hell we even forgot about our beers. We talked until the bar closed and she told me she hadn't had an urge to drink or do any drug the whole time."
Hearing my mom was capable of going a while without putting some sort of poison into her body surprises me, but I let Scott continue. "We sort of developed this very close friendship and, for a while, she started to get on the right track. She started studying to get a GED and she quit her job at the bar and became a waitress at a diner. She even quit the drugs and alcohol.
"I was so damn proud of her for all of her accomplishments. About six months after we met, she moved in with me and we got even closer. But unfortunately, she thought of what we had together was a relationship while I saw it as a great friendship. I loved her to death, but I wasn't in love with her.
"We were together for a whole year and a half before we finally got married. I was so happy knowing I could make Cynthia smile like that the day we got married that I never regretted it one bit."
Scott reaches into his back pocket and pulls out his wallet. He digs inside and pulls out a photo and handing it to me. It's a picture of a much younger Scott and my mother. God, my mother looked so beautiful, so happy and full of life. The only times I remember with my mother was when she was drugged out or beating the living shit out of me.
I hand the picture back to him. "We decided to try and have a baby together after we got married," Scott says, setting his wallet on the table. "That step was the hardest for me because I would be having sex with someone I wasn't even physically attracted to. But the thought of having a baby made Cynthia so happy that I couldn't say no.
"It was very...uncomfortable for me the night we finally had sex. I kept my eyes closed the whole time and I was glad when it was over. All I hoped for was that Cynthia got pregnant so that I didn't have to go through that again, as cruel as that sounds. But a month later, we got the good news from the doctor: we were pregnant with you.
"We started preparing for the baby and it looked like everything was going great. But I was still lying to your mother about who I really was, so I decided to tell her the truth. What I didn't know is how much me telling her I was gay would affect her. She was five months pregnant with you when I told her the truth, and she fell back to her old habits.
"I starting finding drug packets in her purse and bottles of alcohol littered around the house. I tried to get her to stop, begged her to quit so the baby wouldn't get hurt. But she always seemed so lifeless, like she didn't care about anything or anyone anymore. I did all I could to try and protect her and you, but it wasn't always enough.
"A divorce was coming and we both knew it. She didn't want to be married to a gay man knowing I wasn't in love with her. Our relationship deteriorated in a matter of months. I told her we could work it out, that we could raise the baby together. But she never wanted to go along with it. It was terrifying for me, seeing her go into such a depression and knowing our baby was getting hurt as a result.
"A little less than nine months after we got pregnant, Cynthia went into labor. God, what a nightmare that was. Sixty straight hours of screaming and her trying to give birth. Finally, you were born on September 28th at 3:03 in the morning. When I heard that first cry, it was the greatest thing I ever heard."
A ghost of a smile spreads on Scott's face. "When the doctor's finished cleaning you up, they handed you to Cynthia and I saw her look like her old self again. God, I thought everything was going to be the way it was again now that we had you. But it turned out to be the exact opposite of what I had hoped.
"Cynthia was in the hospital for two days recovering and I was making sure she and you were okay. On the day Cynthia was to be discharged from the hospital, everything...the shit hit the fucking fan..."
Scott takes a second to catch his breath and take a sip of his water. The waitress comes back with our food, but neither of us take notice of them. "I left Cynthia in her hospital room for a little while to get ready to leave. You were in a baby carrier in the room with her. I went to the hospital cafeteria to get something to eat and to relax a little.
"I was gone for no more than thirty minutes. Thirty goddamn minutes and my life came crashing all around me. I went back to the room to get Cynthia but...but she was gone. You both were..."
Scott teeth grind together as he presses against his eyes with his fingers. "I looked everywhere for you two," he quietly continues. "I got security to help me look. They checked the security camera footage and found Cynthia carrying you to our car and driving off. It felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest when I saw that."
My...my mom took me away? The hand I had clenched into a fist a few moments before slowly loosens. "A statewide manhunt went underway, looking for any sign of Cynthia or you," Scott says. "Days turned into weeks and there was still no sign of either of you. I was devastated. No one knew where either of you were. I hired as many private investigators as I could to look in all the neighboring states.
"After six months, I started to give up. I fell into a depression and tried to drink all of my problems away. It was terrible and I never want to be like that again. Two horrible years of me not remembering what I did the night before and losing all the friends I had."
"What changed it?" I ask.
A small smile spreads on Scott's face. "I met Clark." He looks out the window. "I was so fucking drunk at this club in 1997 that I could barely stand up straight. A group of four or five guys said they were going to help me get home, but Clark swooped in and saved me. God knows what those guys would have actually done to me.
"Clark took me to his house and I crashed in his bed. I woke up the next day with him making me breakfast and making sure I was okay. God he was so damn beautiful that I was infatuated with him the second I saw him. We started out as friends before we got together and he helped me get back on the right track.
"He helped me in my search of you and Cynthia, but even both of us together found nothing. We decided to move out to California after we got married and have stayed here ever since. Simon was born a few years later and we were a happy family together."
"Bet that must have distracted you for a while..."
Scott meets my eye head on. "Not even a little. Sure I was busy helping take care of Simon, but I never once stopped looking for you. Clark and I tried everything to get even the slightest hint about where you and your mother were, but nothing came up. I slowed down my search as time went on, but I kept looking, hoping that I would one day find you both. And I did in 2009 without me knowing it."
We both look down at the table, remembering the first time we met. "You were just this small kid," Scott says. "Eyes looking like they were scared of everything, hair going in every which direction, glasses that didn't fit your face, and a demeanor that screamed fear and a need for someone to care and help you.
"I felt connected to you in some way even before I knew your name. There was just something about you that I wanted to know about but couldn't put my finger on it. I'm just lucky I managed to see you were limping that day in class, otherwise you and I may have never talked."
This is all too much to handle. He actually looked for me? He actually cared about me even without being there? My hand balls into a fist and my teeth clamp down on my tongue. "For my entire life, I always hated you," I say. "Not you Scott, but the father I never had. I thought you gave me up, left me to live with my mom and didn't give two shits about me."
I quickly wipe the corner of my eye. "I always hoped that you would come back one day, that you'd walk through the door of that old crappy apartment I lived in and make everything better. That stopped when I hit middle school. I gave up on that. But a small part of me hoped that someone would come in and just...save me.
"I just find it hard to believe the person that would save me would actually be my dad. And...God dammit..."
I feel water sliding down my face and I make an effort to try and stop it. "I saw you every fucking day," I quietly say. "I went to your office every time I had lunch just so I could talk to you. And not once did I ever guess you were my dad..."
"And I didn't know you were my son..."
A tear falls from Scott's eye, but he doesn't try to stop it. A small, pathetic laugh escapes me. "What're the chances of us finding each other without us even knowing it? Neither of us guessed it. But even though we didn't know when we first met, I always felt like you were something close to my dad.
"I mean you helped me even when you didn't have to. You made sure I got all my homework and projects done, you took me out on some weekends just for the hell of it, helped me with my college applications, Jesus you even gave me gifts on my birthday and for Christmas. And the name 'kiddo'... God that name...
"I always really liked it whenever you called me by it. I mean it's the kind of name a dad gives his kid as a show of affection. It...it was like I actually had a dad..."
I sniff and do my best to dry my eyes, but there's no stopping them now. "Fucking shit..." I quietly say. "I spent so much of my life being angry with you, thinking that you didn't care about or love me. But you kept looking for me. You never fucking stopped..."
A hand rests itself on top of mine and I find Scott staring at me, his eyes pouring rivers. "I can't believe I finally found you. I've had nightmares for the past three decades of you being taken from me. But I finally have you back. A-At least I hope I do..."
The strain in his voice makes my chest tighten. I scoot my chair back and stand up. Scott stands up as well, probably fearing I'll leave. But that's the very last thing on my mind. I reach around Scott's back and pull him into a tight embrace, burying my face in his shoulder. His strong hands press into my back and he squeezes the life out of me.
The one thing I wanted my whole life was my father's touch. And now that I know I'm finally getting it, I can't hold in my emotions. I press my face into Scott's shoulder and just allow myself to cry. My dad. I'm actually hugging my dad... I've never felt anything so satisfying in my life. I have family again...
I don't know how long Scott and I hold each other, but when we finally separate a bit everyone in the café is staring at us. "Please don't mind us," Scott says, smiling a bit. "I haven't held my son in nearly thirty years..."
Everyone stares for another second before going back to their business, many giving us smiles. Scott stares down at me, smiling softly. "Kiddo, you have no idea how happy I am right now. I just hope this isn't a dream and I don't wake up from it in a minute."
I reach up and pinch Scott's ear. "There," I say. "Now you know this isn't a dream. And I do too."
Scott hugs me again. From behind him, I hear the door to the café open. "Dad?"
We separate and look to the door. Standing there is a man who looks to be around 20 years old with dark black hair, bright light brown eyes with thin frameless glasses sitting over them, a tight, lean body that's maybe an inch or two shorter than me covered by jeans and a form-fitting t-shirt.
Scott turns to face the man. "Simon, what're you doing here? You're supposed to be at school."
Yup, that's Scott's son. Simon walks over to his dad and gives him a hug. "I'm here for a swim meet at USC, so I'm here for a couple days." Simon looks behind Scott and sees me. "Oh, hey Gregory."
Simon and I have already been introduced, but we haven't spoken since Scott and I had our fight. He doesn't know a thing about why we've been fighting though. Scott wraps his arm around Simon's shoulders. "Champ, you remember me telling you all those times about how I was looking for my ex-wife and son?"
"Well, it's looks like I found my son."
Simon's eyebrows rise. "You're kidding. Who is he?"
Scott steps back and turns to me. "He's standing right here."
Simon's eyes widen to saucers as he stares at me. "Y-You?"
I smile a bit. "Guess so. Scott's...my dad..."
Simon looks between us for a minute, too shocked to even speak. He slowly walks over to me. To my surprise, he gives me a hard hug and I quickly return the favor. "I've always wanted a brother," he quietly says.
A brother. And a father. I have family. I have a real family. I pull away from Simon and find him grinning at me from ear to ear. "Me too," I say. "I always wanted family..."
A hand sits on my shoulder and I find Scott looking at me with a smile that matches his son's. Before he can say anything, I grab him and pull him into a hug as well. For minutes, we don't say a word and just embrace each other. As the hug ends, we silently sit back down at the table, Scott pulling up a chair for Simon.
As we sit, Simon reaches for one of the plates on the table, Scott's and my lunches, and helps himself to a French fry on the plate. He immediately makes a face as he chews it. "This thing is ice cold," he says.
"That's because those plates have been sitting there untouched for about half an hour," our waitress says as she's walking by. She picks up both plates. "I'll get these reheated for you."
She heads back to the kitchen. "Um...I'm really sorry about what I did back in January," I say. "I-I was just..."
"You don't need to apologize, kiddo," Scott says. "I would have done the same thing had I been in your shoes. You do have a hell of a punch though. I had a bruise on my cheek for three weeks after the fact."
I smile before I can keep myself from doing so. Scott's demeanor suddenly changes from uplifting to depressed. "Cynthia is dead..."
Oh. Scott's gaze finds the table and it lingers there. "Dad never stopped caring about her," Simon says to me. "Even after she left and he got married to Dad Number 2 (Simon's nickname for Clark)."
I look back at Scott and find him drying his eyes once again. "I know I never loved her like she wished I did, but I cared about her more than anything. She was my closest friend and I missed her like crazy when she left. But...at the same time I'm glad she's gone."
Excuse me? "Don't get me wrong," he quickly continues. "The fact that Cynthia is dead is gut-wrenching. But also knowing that she doesn't have to suffer and hurt anymore is a relief."
I nod a bit, knowing he's right in a sense. God knows how much my mother was hurting when she was still alive. I push back in my chair and stand up. "Could you two come with me for a bit? There's a place I think you both need to see."
Scott and Simon look at one another before standing up as well. There's a sudden low grumble from all of our stomachs and we all place a hand over them. "Um...it looks like we didn't eat, did we?" Scott asks.
"Yeah, we didn't and the food is probably cold now," I say.
"And I haven't eaten today," Simon says.
"Okay. We'll eat first, then head to where I want to take you."
Through lunch, the three of us keep talking. Well, Simon talks. Scott and I listen and give feedback very once in a while. Simon's a good kid, but he can really talk someone's ear off. When we're done eating, we all pile into Scott's car and head out. Scott follows my directions as Simon continues to talk from the backseat.
After a little while, we start to pull up to the place. "Take the next right," I say.
With a turn of the wheel, the car comes to a stop at the entrance of Eastern Cemetery. Scott parks the car and we all climb out. "Gregory, what are we doing here?" Scott asks, seeming nervous.
"Just follow me," I say.
I lead Scott and Simon through the cemetery, passing headstones and graves that are kept in very nice condition, not a weed or pebble in the grass. After a small walk, I come to a stop in front of a light grey headstone about two feet tall with a small bouquet of flowers sitting in front of it, the same bouquet I left a few days earlier.
Scott sucks in a breath at seeing the headstone.
'Here lies Cynthia Natick Kolmar. March 23rd 1971 - November 11th 2013.'
Mom's grave. It hurts every time I come here, but I always find myself visiting. I miss Mom every day, so coming here every so often is a nice way to maybe talk to her. Natick was actually Mom's middle name, but she changed it to her last name for a reason I never asked about. I never minded about it anyway.
I glance over at Scott and find him slowly stepping in front of Mom's grave and kneeling in front of it. "Cynthia..."
I see Scott's shoulders quivering as I look at him. "I think we should give him a little space," I say to Simon.
Nodding a bit, Simon and I walk back to the path that brought us here and stand underneath a tree. We both stand in silence for a while, quietly listening to the wind. "Brothers, huh?" Simon says.
I look over at him. "Yeah. Pretty weird, isn't it?"
"Not too much actually. I mean, yeah, finding out that you have a almost thirty year old brother isn't something that happens very often. But knowing you're my brother, Gregory? Pretty fucking awesome in my opinion."
This guy... I sling my arm around Simon's shoulder and bring him close to me. "I was thinking the exact same thing."
Simon returns my one arm hug before separating himself from me. "You know, Dad talked about you all the time while I was growing up."
"Yeah. Whenever he came home from work, he would always talk to Dad Number Two while they thought I wasn't nearby about you and how you were struggling with your home life and bullying. He always cared about you, Gregory. I don't think he ever stopped."
I let out a huff. "Bet it must've been pretty annoying hearing about me."
"Not even. It just made me want to know you and learn about the guy my dad worried about all the time. Hell, I wanted you to come over and visit sometime back then so I could show you my collection of trading cards I had. God, that makes me sound like such a dork, doesn't it?"
I laugh and give Simon's shoulder a pat. "You still have that collection?"
Simon blushes a bit. "Yeah, they're in the attic."
"Ten years late, but I think I'd like to see it at some point."
Simon turns to me and gives me a face-splitting grin. A pair of footsteps walks over the grass and stops in front of us. We find Scott looking down at us with puffy, red eyes. "Do you feel better?" I carefully ask.
Scott's lips press into a tight line and he doesn't answer, and that's good enough for me. What was between him and Mom is none of my business. "Thank you..." he quietly says.
I nod a bit. "If it's okay, I think I'm going to go and talk with Mom for a bit."
He nods and I walk over to Mom's grave. I take my usual place of sitting just a few feet away from the headstone. It's always so hard to say something to her, but when I finally do start, it's always hard to stop. "I'm not mad at you," I say. "You always said my dad was a good for nothing son of a bitch, but you only said it when you were high or drunk.
"Scott he's...he's a great man. He never stopping loving either of us, Mom. Maybe things could have been different, maybe you could still be alive today, maybe I could have grown up with a dad in my life. But with that said, I don't think I'd want to change the life I had growing up with you as my mom.
"I mean, yeah. There were times that were hard, and other times that were even worse. But there were the good moments. Like the time on my sixth birthday you made that cake from scratch. You couldn't cook for your life and the thing was burnt in some places and undercooked in others. But you and I ate that whole thing until we were both sick.
"And when I was 11 and I came home from school with my glasses destroyed after that jerk broke them. We went straight to the kid's house and you demanded his dad punish him. God, the rearing that kid got, it was fucking hilarious. You weren't a bad parent, Mom. You just had your bad moments."
I quickly wipe the corners of my eyes. "I really do miss you, Mom. I want you to know that. I just hope wherever you are, you're happy and doing okay. I love you, Mom."
I sigh a bit to myself and am about to get up when something taps me lightly in the back of the head. "Gregory, I know I've been gone for more than ten years but it doesn't mean you should be crying that I'm gone."
My heart drops to my stomach as I slowly turn around. Standing not even two feet behind me in a pair of jeans, black tank top, and small leather jacket with her dark brown hair cascading past her shoulders and face bright and smiling is...my mother. "Mom..." I feel myself breathe out.
"Hi, baby. Look at you all grown up. And what a handsome man you are. I wish I could have seen you finish growing up. But I guess that's my own fault."
I quickly scramble to my feet and look down at her. "H-How do I know you're real? How do I know you're really my mom?"
She raises an eyebrow. "Really? I wiped your ass when you were crapping yourself as a baby, I accidently gave you a used syringe needle for Christmas one year, and I found your first gay magazine when you were 13 and I was cleaning up around the house. That magazine was really crusty by the way."
Only my mother would be willing to talk to me in that matter-of-fact tone. I grab her by the shoulder and pull her into the tightest hug I've ever given someone. "It's really you. Mom..."
I feel her hands press into my back. They're warm and I feel a pulse in the tips. She's real. She's fucking real. I look down at her and she reaches up and wipes my eyes dry. "Don't cry, baby. I'm sorry I've been gone for so long."
"Oh your absolutely delicious friend Jason helped me get here. That boy has got one of the tightest asses I've ever seen on a man. And a man in uniform? If I weren't already dead and in Heaven, ooh boy."
My mother's crude mouth causes a laugh that's been hiding from me for the past month. And it feels good to let it out. "You're such a handsome man now," she continues. "Makes me sad I wasn't there to see it."
"It's okay, Mom."
"No, baby, it isn't. I was stupid when I was still with you. The drugs and alcohol, I'm surprised I didn't kill myself sooner." Mom makes a pained face. "Was it hard seeing me like that?"
I immediately know what she's talking about. "It was terrifying. You still had the needle in your arm when I came home. And when they put the sheet over you, I knew what it was."
Mom sighs to herself. "I never meant for it to happen."
"I know you didn't. I don't blame you for what happened. I never did and never will. What happened was a mistake."
Mom nods a bit. "Doesn't mean I don't feel terrible about it."
"Well stop feeling terrible about it. Yeah, I miss you every day and if I could bring you back I would in a heartbeat. But...do I have you back already?"
Mom smiles and pats my cheek. "Jason talked to the Big Man up there and convinced Him to give me the same privilege that he got. It took a hell of a lot of work to do it though and I don't have as much freedom as Jason does, but I can come back every once in a while to see you."
I smile at my mother. She's really back. And she looks so much better. When she was still alive, her skin was cracked and wrinkly and her hair was like straw. Now her skin is almost entirely smooth and her hair is shiny and her eyes are bright. "You look great, Mom."
She laughs and runs a hand through her hair. "Ten years without a drug in your body and a little help from the Big Man can do wonders. That and a new man in my life."
A what? "You met someone...up there?"
"Yup. His name's Tommy. He died in a car crash a few years ago and we've been together for about three years now. He's a very sweet man with a body to die for. And what we do together with his eight inch..."
"Stop!" I press my hands to my ears. "My mom doesn't have sex! My mom doesn't have sex!"
Mom laughs as I try to drown out her voice. I slowly lower my hands as she quiets down. "Jesus Christ, Gregory. Yes, your mother still has sex. And I know you have sex too, as visually disturbing it is for me to picture my only son having sex in general."
Well she's got a point there. "Cynthia?"
Mom turns around and comes face to face with Scott. Well this is a bit awkward. Mom clears her throat and readjusts her stance. "Hi Scott."
Scott shakes his head out a bit. "Y-You can't be here. You can't be real..."
"Do you want to try and see if it's real, you big lug?" Mom opens her arms. "C'mon. I know how much you love hugs."
Scott makes a strangled noise before quickly stepping up to Mom and lifting her up in a tight hug, spinning her around once. "I've missed you so much," Scott says into her shoulder.
Mom giggles lightly before being set back down by Scott. "You've still got that goofy smile of yours, Scott."
"H-How are you here? I mean aren't you...?"
Scott points down at the ground right underneath Mom's feet. "It's a long story," Mom says. "Gregory will be able to explain it to you sometime. But right now, you and I need to have a little talk."
Scott gulps at the words. "Relax. It's not about you, it's about me. I want to say how sorry I am for taking Gregory away from you. It was a horrible thing to do and I can't even imagine how you must've felt when it happened."
Wow. That's kind of noble for Mom. "I was angry at you for not telling me the truth and I felt like you lead me on for no reason."
"That's not true..."
"I know that now. I know it was never like that. Scott, you were a wonderful man that made me happy every time you looked at or smiled at me. You still are. You did a great job raising that son of yours over there with your husband. I made a stupid decision taking your first born away from you, but I guess I was lucky enough for you two to find each other again."
Scott glances over at me and smiles a bit. "You've already had the talk with him, right?" he asks Mom.
Oh my fucking God. I blush harshly while Mom giggles. "I sat him down when he was 13 and lectured him for a solid two hours about condoms, STD's, and masturbation and went out and bought him the largest bottle of lube I could find. He didn't say a word the whole time and looked like he was going to pass out when I was finished."
Scott laughs and wraps an arm around Mom's waist. "That's my girl."
Wow. These two have such good chemistry together. Scott's calm and quiet nature with Mom's over-the-top personality? It actually works. "So...where does this leave you two?" I ask. "Because the last time you two were together was before Mom..."
Oops. Touchy subject. Scott and Mom look at each other. "Will you be sticking around?" Scott asks.
"I can come and visit every once in a while. Not as often as I like, but probably once every few weeks."
Scott smiles softly before kissing the side of Mom's head. "As long as I get to spend time with one of my closest friends and my son, I'm happy."
Mom smiles. "Me too." She leans her head against Scott's side for a second before looking at me. "C'mon, baby. Your Mom and Dad want a hug."
Feeling a lump growing exponentially in my throat, I quickly step between the two and feel the first family hug I've ever felt in my life. And God if it wasn't everything I hoped it would be. Mom's nails and Scott's rough fingertips press into my back and I hold onto them just a little tighter than before.
I don't know how much time passes, and frankly I don't care. "Um...Dad? Gregory? Are you two okay?"
Looking up, I find Simon standing a few feet away from us, looking at us with a raised eyebrow. "Wait," Mom says. "Don't move. He can't see me right now."
With a sudden snap, Mom disappears from me and Scott's grasp. Confused for a second, I immediately catch on and wait for the punch line. "Hey, Simon. Sorry about this."
Before he can come up with a response, fingers snap and Mom reappears behind Simon. "I watch you while you sleep..." she loudly whispers.
Simon screams bloody murder falls to the ground in a heap. Scott, Mom, and I all roar with laughter at seeing my brother like that. He looks up and finds Mom standing over him. "W-Who the hell are you?!"
"Oh, I'm just the ghost of your lost dignity," Mom retorts. "And I'll haunt you for the rest of your life."
Simon pales while Scott and I laugh some more. "Simon, this is my mom," I say. "Mom, I think you already know who the quivering college kid is."
Simon gets up to his feet. "Your mom? But I thought...?"
"It's a long story," I say. "But I'll tell it to you sometime."
"If you say so." He turns to look at Mom. "So I guess that makes you my half-mother then. Sweet. Okay, my birthday is April 17th, and you've missed twenty of those, plus Christmas for twenty years, so...you have some explaining to do..."
Scott lightly smacks the back of Simon's head. "Watch it, bud. That woman's hotter than a firecracker thrown in molten lava. You give her incentive, she'll ride that horse until it's dead and in the ground. And then she'll ride it in the afterlife."
But Scott warns Simon a little too late. I recognize that sparkle in Mom's eye. It's a look that says she's a woman on a mission. She walks up to Simon and gives his cheek a pinch that would make Ivan Drago scream out in pain. "Oh you're just adorable! You're even cuter than your father! I can't wait for your birthday! Scott! He's going to be 21 right? Ooh! I can go all out!"
Okay who is this woman and who has she replaced my mother with? She never got this excited. Scott slides up next to me as Mom continues to dote Simon, who suddenly looks like he's in sensory overload. "Your mother was always like that when she was stone cold sober. Excited over the smallest thing. It's a shame you probably didn't see it growing up. She'd make any pessimist smile."
Mom finally runs out of breath and Simon is able to breathe again. Mom looks down at the watch on her wrist. "Looks like I'm running out of time." She walks back over to me and Scott. "Now, Gregory? Just because I'm not here all the time doesn't mean I don't love you and miss you.
"I know all about your little relationship with that Tanner boy and let me just say you let that end way too easily." Uh...what? "I know I shouldn't have been poking around but that boy is head over heels for you."
Tanner is what? "B-But..."
"No buts. If there's one thing I know I know it's relationships."
"Says the woman who tried to set up her twenty-something friend with a man old enough to be her grandfather..." Scott mumbles.
Mom proceeds to smack Scott in the shoulder, making him grunt in pain. "Anyway, you let him go too soon."
"Mom, he saw me naked in a bed with my ex-boyfriend and his husband. How could you forgive someone for something like that?"
Mom sighs to herself and walks over to me, giving my shoulder a soft smack. "I swear. Even though you two didn't really grow up with each other, you and Scott can both be such big babies. I mean what's the worst that could happen?"
"Well he could tell me he hates my guts and never wants to be around me again. Like he did a couple days ago."
Jesus, I don't think I've ever seen Tanner that furious. I doubt I could handle that a second time. "Sometimes it's best to take a risk, kiddo," Scott says, sliding up next to Mom. "I mean after Cynthia left, I was afraid to ask out another person because I was too scared that they would leave too."
Mom makes an apologetic face. "When I was first getting to know Clark, I was deathly afraid of asking him out on a date," he continues. "But I took a risk and look where we are now. A happy family with a new son and my best friend back."
He pull Mom close to him and she immediately rests her head on his shoulder. They must have done that a lot when they were still together for it to be such a natural instinct. "And I think your mother's right, Gregory. If I were you I would try and at least apologize to Tanner. God knows you two can't go on fighting."
"And from that throw and lecture you gave him in the locker room, I'd say you should try to talk to him as soon as possible," Mom says.
Huh. Nearly thirty years old and I'm getting a life lesson from my parents. I like it. "I'm scared though," I confess. "What if he isn't willing to talk? What if he really does hates my guts?"
"A mother knows, baby," Mom says. "Just trust me on this. I know I don't have the best track record as a mother, but I know I'm right with this one. Just trust me."
I sigh to myself. As much as I don't want to go through with it, I know that I need to. Tanner and I have to at least come to an understanding so we can at least work together in a civil environment. But if we can't...I don't even know. "Okay," I say. "I'll talk to him. I'm not sure what will happen, but I'll risk it."
Mom and Scott smile a bit. Mom glances down at her watch again. "I need to get back. I'm out of time."
Before she can say anything else, I grab her and give her a hard hug. "I love you, Mom. Hope I get to see you again, soon."
"You will, baby," she says, hugging me just as tightly. "I'll be back in a few weeks and we'll get to spend a lot more time together. Maybe with Scott and his family."
"You two are my family," Scott says, joining in the group hug. "You're always welcome to visit and I'll keep an eye on Gregory, Cynthia. Make sure he doesn't do anything stupid that I wouldn't do."
"You do that, Scott. But be sure to do the things you couldn't do with him when he was growing up."
"I'll be sure to give just as graphic a talk as you did."
"Don't you dare!" I yell at both of them.
Mom and Scott laugh before we all squeeze each other one more time and separate. "Bye, baby," Mom says. "I'll see you soon."
She wipes her eyes before snapping her fingers, disappearing into thin air. The second she's gone, I sigh to myself and quickly dry my eyes. "I miss her already too, kiddo," Scott says, wiping his eyes himself. "But we'll see her soon."
He wraps his arm around my shoulder, pulling me to his side. "She was really cool," Simon says, stepping up to Scott's other side. "I wish she was my mom."
Scott does the same thing to Simon and pulls him to his other side. "Careful, bud," he says, laughing a bit. "She'll easily take you up on that offer." Scott sighs to himself. "My boys. My two boys..."
Scott looks and sounds so content, more relaxed than I've ever seen him. "Thanks, Dad," Simon says.
"Yeah. Thank you...Dad..." Scott stiffens and looks down at me. "Um...too weird too soon?"
Scott pulls me in a little tighter. "Not in the least. I love it, kiddo."
Smiling, Scott, Simon, and I gaze down at Mom's grave in silence. But the silence is broken by Scott yelping and jumping a foot in the air. He spins around, rubbing his left butt cheek. "Cynthia! I know that was you!"
Mom's giggle echoes through the air before slowly fading away. Simon and I laugh at Scott, who quickly joins in. I can push aside the worry about Tanner for now. Right now, I just want to enjoy this moment with my family.
Thank God this headache is slowly going away. I really did drink too much last night. I need to thank A.J. and Ulrich for making sure I got home okay last night. The couch has been home for most of the day, the TV on mute the whole time as I stare blankly at the screen. "Is hothead okay, Uncle Machine?"
Glancing over, I find Adam sitting on a nearby chair with Cole in his lap, bouncing him on his knee. Ryan and Nate are a little busy today, so Adam's babysitting Cole on his day off. "He's just a little upset, Cole," Adam says. "He kind of wants to be left alone for a while."
But Cole, being the kid that he is, let's what Adam says go in one ear and out the other. He hops off Adam's knee and walks over to where I'm sitting and looks up at me. "You're sad, hothead?"
I look down at Cole and my eyes glance to the small scar near his hairline. A pang of regret fills my chest at seeing it. "I'm okay, Cole," I say. "I'm just disappointed that I can't play in the next game tonight."
Cole stares at me for a second before going back to Adam's knee. I hate lying to the kid, but I just don't want to talk about why I'm really upset. I've been thinking about Greg ever since last night. God how could I say something like that? I mean I know I was angry, but I was more angry toward myself than him and I took it out on him as a result.
I mean shoving my skate blades into my ears? That sounds ridiculous. And saying I feel nauseous whenever he's near me? If that wasn't the biggest fucking lie... Greg's probably furious with me. And I don't blame him. I've been a complete dick to him the past month. I mean I know he cheated on me, but treating him like dirt isn't what he deserves.
From what I've seen from Greg, it looks like he regrets what happened with him, Brody, and Clint. But I don't know for sure. Hell I don't even know how to even talk to him about it. And how can I even talk to him about it? I can't just walk up to him and say 'Hey, Greg. I want to know what went on when you got fucked by Brody and Clint.'
Jesus, that will make me seem like an even bigger asshole than I've already been to him. Sighing to myself, I push out of my chair and walk to the kitchen, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. As I start to walk back to the living room, there's a knock at the door. "Could you get that, Tanner?" Adam asks. "I've got a little monster on my leg."
Cole giggles at being called a little monster. I walk to the door and don't even bother looking through the peephole. Opening the door, I almost drop the bottle of water at seeing Greg standing there. "Greg..." I quietly breathe out.
He glances at me for a second before casting his eyes toward the floor. The air is silent and thick as all hell. I almost want to scream an obscenity to try and clear the air a bit. "Um...what're you doing here?" is all I come up with.
"We...we really need to talk," he says, still not looking up. "We need to talk about what happened."
Well it was bound to happen at some point. "Come in then," I say, gesturing him in.
He stays still for a moment before slowly walking into the apartment. Adam hears Greg walk in and turns around. Immediately, his eyes turn to a hard glare. He sets Cole down on the chair and stands up. "What're you doing here?" he says through his teeth.
Greg seems to shrink into himself at seeing Adam so angry. "I...I..." he tries to start.
Jesus. Greg looks just like he did back in high school. Nervous, couldn't look anyone in the eye, too scared to even speak. "Adam, lay off," I say. "He's here to talk and I wanted to talk to him too." I reach into my back pocket and pull out my wallet, taking out a twenty and handing it to Adam. "Take Cole and go get some pizza from Mickey's. And take your time with it. Greg and I need to have a long talk."
"Yay! Pizza!" Cole jumps off the chair and grabs his jacket from the kitchen table before scurrying to the front door. "Uncle Machine! Pizza!"
I already know that Adam can't say no to Cole no matter how hard he tries. Sighing, he grabs his own jacket and walks after Cole. "If I come back and find Tanner even worse than he is now, I'll mess you up," he says as he walks by Greg.
Geez, even I got goose bumps from that. Adam and Cole head out, shutting the door behind them and leaving the same awkward silence between me and Greg. "Um...do you want something to drink?" I ask, trying to crack the ice even a little bit.
"I-I'm okay, thanks. I just had lunch. But could we maybe sit down?"
Nodding, I lead him to the couch and we take a seat, a large space between us. I try to look over at him, but something is keeping me from even turning my head a little. And it's probably the same for him. Finally deciding to suck it up, I manage to look over at Greg and find him turning his head toward me.
He and I stare, neither of us blinking, the room completely silent. "I want an explanation," I say, straining to say it. "You at least owe me that much."
He nods his head a bit before looking down at his hands. "I never meant for it to happen," he says. "I don't remember any of it. And even if I did remember any of it, I wouldn't want to. I was terrified when I woke up in bed that morning and I never wanted to change anything more in my life."
"I want to know why." Anger stairs to boil in me, but I manage to push most of it aside. "I was in a fucking coma, Greg. Do you know what it feels like to see a guy you're...were in love with in bed with two people you trusted to look out for him?"
Fucking shit. That just slipped out. But I doubt it matters right now. "I needing to drink," he says, gritting his teeth together. "I was so upset and angry with the world. The crap with Scott, the constant press and paparazzi haggling me for answers, you being in your coma, I just needed to stop feeling for just a little while.
"I drank myself stupid. I couldn't even stand up by the time I stopped. I had to be carried to my bed so I wouldn't hurt myself. The last thing I remember is Brody and Clint getting me ready for bed. There's no way their intentions were malicious. They were nearly as drunk as I was. I think they were having sex and I unconsciously joined in. I doubt any of us could have stopped with how drunk we all were."
"I went straight to your place as soon as I was discharged from the hospital," I say. "I used the key YOU gave me to let myself in. I wanted to surprise you by showing up here with that bouquet of flowers and telling you I loved you. But seeing that...bullshit...it felt like you reached inside my chest and ripped my heart out, as cliché as it sounds. It actually felt like my chest had exploded..."
Damn it. I can feel the tears coming. "I can't even imagine how hurt you must've been when you saw me in my bed," he says, his voice barely reaching my ears. "And the amount of 'I'm sorry's can't even begin to make up for what I did. But if that's what it'll take for you to even start to forgive me, I'll say it until your ears fall off. And I'll mean it every time I say it."
Greg takes his hand and quickly wipes his eyes. "I just want there be an understanding between us, Tanner. We can't go on like we have, being angry and feeling guilty for things we've said and done. We're supposed to work together every day. If we keep going on like this, you'll keep hating me and I won't stop feeling as terrible as I have."
He reaches up and wipes his eyes again and I notice something on his wrist. A bandage. Reacting out of instinct and fear, I quickly reach out and grab Greg by the forearm and pull him toward me so I can get a closer look. "You did not," I say, staring at the bandage. "You fucking did not!"
I shoot off the couch, angry beyond belief, and start pacing aimlessly. "For God's sake, Greg! You can't fucking do that again! Do you know how I would feel if I heard you were sent to the hospital or even fucking died?! I wouldn't be able to live with myself! God, why did you fucking even do it?!"
The anger is quickly replaced by fear. "My God, did what I said make you do that?" A knot immediately forms in my throat. "Greg, I-I didn't mean it. I...I was angry and I was just talking. I never wanted you to do that to yourself. Jesus Christ..."
I don't even care that I'm soaking my own face. I manage to stop moving and kneel down in front of Greg, not being able to see his face through the tears. "Greg, please never do that again. I'm fucking begging you. I can't even deal when you aren't with me for more than an hour. If you were gone forever, I...I..."
My throat clenches up and I press my eyes shut. Quiet cries escape me as I fail to try and compose myself. My hands grip Greg's shirt. I never want him to get away from me again. Two hands tentatively rest on my arms. "Tanner..." the softest voice says.
Slowly managing to open my eyes, I find Greg's face gazing at me, just as wet as mine feels. "Do you really mean all that?" he whispers.
Swallowing a bit, I nod once. "I...I love you, Greg. I'm so fucking in love with you. I never stopped loving you even after we broke up. I love you. I love you. I love you..."
The hands on my arms transfer to my face and I'm pulled into the most wonderful kiss of my life. I've missed those wonderful soft lips so much. I never want to let them go again. I quickly reach around that tight body whose touch I've yearned for the past month and squeeze for all it's worth.
Greg pulls me up and I collapse on top of him, feeling him fall onto the couch underneath me. He's a perfect fit, just like before. I grind my mouth against Greg's and I relish in the wonderful pleasure that it gives me. My hands touch and feel every bit of Greg that I can find. His silky hair, his wide shoulders, his slender hips, his hard chest, and his beautiful face.
Two hands grab my face and pull me away from Greg's mouth. Looking down, I find Greg's flushed face gazing up at me. "You have no idea how much it means to me to actually hear you say that, Tanner. God I love you too..."
A warm feeling quickly starts filling my chest, replacing the cold empty hole that has been there for the longest time. Needing to know this isn't a dream, I take Greg's face and pull it to mine, kissing him once again. Only this time it's much gentler and tentative. I can feel myself trembling at his touch. What this man does to me is something I never want to give up.
I don't know how long it's been, but I know that by the time I push myself up, my legs are asleep. Greg smiles and reaches up to wipe away the leftover tears on his face. My eyes glance at the bandage on his wrist. "Please never do that again," I quietly say. "If you ever think about it, please come to me."
Greg smiles at me and reaches up to the bandage. He quickly unravels it to reveal, not a jagged scarred over line, but a small round scab. "I had a bug bite on my wrist. I scratched it too much and accidently opened it."
I stare silently at the small scab. All that worry and fear over a bug bite. A hand reaches up and rests against the side of my face. "I'll never do something like that again, Tanner. I promise you that. I can't imagine leaving you. You're more than enough to keep me here."
Feeling tears pushing against the back of my eyes again, I cover my mouth with Greg's. A month without this man was an eternity. And now that I have him back, we need to make up for lost time. The kiss quickly gets hotter, replacing soft lips with tongue and teeth. My hands dig into that wonderful, silky hair, pulling Greg's mouth as close to mine as possible.
Greg's hands press into my shoulder blades, digging in and refusing to let go. Slipping my arms underneath his, I grip him tightly and lift him off the couch. "Bedroom," I breathe out. "Need you..."
He nods once and I quickly carry him through the apartment and into my bedroom. Kicking open the door, I find the bed and toss Greg onto the mattress. I reach for the base of my shirt and quickly pull it off and fall back on Greg just before he finishes pulling off his own shirt. Peeling it off for him, I plunge into another intensifying kiss.
How I've missed the wonderful taste of this man. He's more intoxicating than any drink, more euphoric than any high. I'm addicted to Gregory Natick. And I need more of him. My hands roam over every inch of his hot skin, feeling every hair and drop of sweat. His fingers send a jolt through my body with each and every touch.
I manage to pull away from his sweet mouth for just a second. "Say it," I beg "Please say it again for me."
Greg looks up at me with lust in his eyes, a look that goes straight to my crotch. "I love you," he breathes out. "I'm so fucking in love with you..."
Those words go straight to my chest and that amazingly warm feeling returns again. "I love you too," I say, giving him a light kiss. "I love you so fucking much, Greg..."
His lips turn upward against mine and he kisses me again. My hands reach down and I touch the large bulge in his jeans, straining to get out. And it's the same with mine. "I need this," I say. "Need it bad..."
Greg nods and I slowly slide down his body. Halfway down, I stop to give his nipples a small taste. Greg squirms underneath me as I lick, suck, and bite. "Please keep going," he says.
But I'm too focused on these perfect pink nubs on his hard chest. Plus the feeling of Greg squirm and writhe underneath me is a bit of a turn on. Maybe too much of one because my dick is really starting to hurt being trapped in my pants. Willing myself to keep going down, I leave his nipples behind and trail down his abs, finally finding my target.
Greg's hard dick is snaking down the side of his leg, begging to be let out. And I fully intend to. Ripping them open, I reach in and find what I'm looking for. I pull down his pants a bit and I come face to face with the hard cock, my hand firmly grasping the base. Without warning, I open my mouth and let the thick length slide down my throat.
God I've missed this feeling, having a cock in my mouth and throat. And it looks like Greg has too. His face is locked in a look of pure ecstasy as I let his dick sit in my mouth. Let's see if we can change that. I really hope I still remember how to do this. Taking hold of the base of his cock again, I slowly let it start to slide out of my mouth.
Just as I start to feel the head touch the back of my lips, I shove the whole shaft back in, burying myself at the root. Greg lets out a soft yell and I smile around his cock. Getting back to business, I repeat the process over and over again, letting Greg in and out of my mouth. "Fucking shit, Tanner," Greg moans.
I hum in response, making him squirm even more. But before I can continue, a hand grabs my head and pulls me off Greg's cock. Looking up, I find Greg's sweaty and panting face gazing at me. "I couldn't take anymore," he says. "I want your cock, Tanner..."
Without even a response from me, Greg grabs me and flips me over. I fall onto the bed and Greg straddles my waist, his hard cock throbbing above my stomach. "This is what I need," he says, reaching behind him and cupping my bulge.
Sucking in a sharp breathe, I nod and let him do his thing. Greg rises off me and finishes getting out of his jeans. I stare at the gorgeous man in front of me, taking in every inch of him. His beautiful face, his perfectly proportioned hard body, the bright amber eyes staring at me, and the mouth-watering hard cock.
Through my daze, I don't notice Greg climbing back onto the bed and pulling off the rest of my clothes, leaving me completely naked. The awesome sensation of my cock sliding into that tight, warm mouth of his shocks me out of it. My hands dig into the bed sheets, every bit of me slowly losing control.
The feeling of his wet tongue wrapping itself around my cock makes every muscle in my body contract, every hair stand on end. And I love it. My teeth bite into my hand to keep myself from screaming from the pleasure. His smooth and soft hand plays with my balls, giving each a small squeeze making me scream even more.
Through the pleasure, a small voice escapes past my teeth. "Fuck me..."
Greg immediately stops. He slides off my cock and stares up at me, surprise on his face. "What?"
"I want you to fuck me, Greg. I want it..."
"Are you sure, Tanner? The first time always hurts."
"I bought a few toys a few weeks back. I've used them every night since then. I want the real thing from the man I love. Please, Greg. Give it to me..."
Greg stares at me for a moment before shaking sighing. "Condom and lube," he quickly says.
I crawl to my night stand and pull out a small bottle of lube and a condom, tossing them both to Greg. He rips open the condom package and rolls it onto his hard length and pops open the bottle of lube. Turning it over, he pours a copious amount of lube into his hand and lets some drip from his fingers onto my ass.
He slicks up his fingers and I feel his cool hand slide into my ass. "We'll go slow," he says.
I nod and feel the tip of a finger press itself against my hole. With a breath, Greg slowly slips his finger into me, making me moan at the sensation. The second his finger is fully in, the edge of his finger scrapes along that spot I've come to discover. My back arches off the bed and I don't even try to hold back my yell.
Managing to get my breath back, I fall back onto the bed. "More!" I say. "Give me more!"
Greg starts to slide his first finger out and a second fingers finds it's way inside me. I see why Greg loves bottoming so much. Just the feeling of someone's fingers inside me is unexplainable. Greg finger fucks me for what feels like an eternity. "C'mon! Fuck me!" I yell. "I'm not going to last..."
On that note, Greg pulls his fingers out of me and I feel the heat of the head of his cock lining itself up with my hole. "You have no idea how long I've dreamed of doing this," he says. "Fucking THE Tanner White has been a dream of mine since freshman year of high school."
I smile up at him. "But this is a dream you won't ever wake up from. And I won't either. And that's perfect for me."
Greg returns my smile and slowly starts to push himself into me. The toys I've used on myself have been small and maybe a few inches at most. This is something entirely new. Greg was right. This really stings. But I bite my tongue and suck down the pain. "How're you doing?" he asks me.
"Kind of hurts..." I admit.
"That's expected. Don't worry. I'll take my time. We have some more to go."
I nod and let Greg take control once again. With the head in, the rest slowly begins to slide in. The pain slowly begins to subside as my ass gets used to the feeling of Greg's cock inside me. And the feeling isn't what I expected it to be. It's even better. "Done," Greg says with a sigh.
"Done? What does that mean?"
He lets out a small chuckle. "It means you've got all of me inside you, Tanner. When you're ready, I can start moving."
Letting out a long breath, I reach around Greg's neck and pull him close to me. My tongue slides into his warm mouth and feel him hum in return. "Make love to me," I quietly say against his sweet mouth.
He smiles against my lips and I feel him slowly pulling himself out of me. After a brief pause, I feel him push back inside, the head of his cock running over my prostate. I moan loudly against his face and hold him even tighter. I've never felt this amazing in my life. And we've only just started with it.
Greg eases into a good rhythm, sliding himself in and out of me. And with every thrust, the heat in my body only gets hotter and hotter. He kisses me again, moaning into my mouth as his tongue swirls with mine. "Oh my fucking God," I breathe out.
"I never want it to stop. Harder. Fuck me harder..."
He immediately complies, thrusting his cock deeper and deeper inside me. The pressure in my balls and cock quickly starts to build as the fucking continues. "You feel so good," he says. "I'm not going to last much longer..."
"I'm not either. Cum with me. Please cum with me..."
I reach down and grab my rock hard cock, using the leftover spit from Greg sucking me as lube. The sound of skin slapping fills the room, mixing with the moans. "Oh fuck, I'm going to cum," Greg says.
"Me too! I'm cumming!"
Greg pulls out of me and rips off the condom, quickly jerking his cock over mine. With one last look, he and I shoot our loads. Jet after jet of hot cum flies over our chests and stomachs, several hitting our faces and getting all over the bed. The cum flies for the longest time before slowly easing and stopping.
Greg collapses on top of me, both of us breathing hard and covered in sweat. After a minute, he slowly picks his head up off my shoulder and looks down at me. His dark hair is cascading past his face and sweat slides down his temples. "I love you so fucking much," he says.
Finally managing to get some strength back, I reach up and lights graze his cheek. "I was thinking the exact same thing."
The smile he gives me closes up the small hole that's been in my chest. "Can we take a shower together?" he asks.
"I'd love to. But right after we rest like this for a bit."
Greg settles back down and rests his head on my shoulder. My fingers find their way into his hair, playing with the soft curls as he breathes onto my neck. I've missed this man so much. I've never been happier to have him with me than right now.
After a long and close shower, Greg and I are sitting next to each other on the couch, my arm wrapped around his shoulder and him resting his head on my chest. "So is that it?" he asks. "Is everything good?"
I smile down at him and kiss the top of his head. "Between you and me, everything is. But with Brody and Clint, I have a bit of a bone to pick with them."
"Tanner, it wasn't their fault that..."
"I know it isn't. But I think it's only fair that I get to have a night with them too."
Greg snaps his head up toward me, eyes wide with shock. "Are you serious?"
"Hey, even I can admit that those guys are hot. You can watch if you like. That would make it a lot sexier."
Greg shakes his head out. "Uh...I uh...Jesus, I never expected that."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
His mouth turns to a smile. "It's a very good thing. I'm a bit of a voyeur, so watching my boyfriend fucking with two other hot guys is a bit of a turn on. Maybe we can arrange it the next time Brody and Clint visit."
I laugh and rest my head on top of Greg's. The sound of keys sliding into the door grabs my attention and I turn and find Adam walking in with Cole riding on his shoulders. He ducks as he walks in and sets the three pizza boxes he has on the kitchen table. Looking into the living room, he finds me and Greg sitting with each other.
He looks at both of us in silence for a minute. "I'm guessing I missed something," he says.
I look down at Greg before looking back at Adam. "Greg and I are back together," I say. Adam's eyebrows rise up. "He and I made up after he explained what happened. And I made sure that if he ever does something like that again behind my back, I'll leave him for good."
"And I promise to never do something like that again," Greg says, rising up off the couch and walking over to where Adam is. "What I did was the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life and I'll never regret anything more than that. But I promise to you, as Tanner's friend, that if I ever do something even remotely close to that, you can beat the living crap out of me."
Adam stands in silence for a solid minute before the corner of his mouth turns up. "I plan on making sure you keep that promise." He gives Greg's shoulder a clap. "And it's about damn time you two got back together. Now, c'mon. I brought some pizza and the veggie one has your name on it, Gregory."
Greg laughs and looks over at me. "Better hurry before Adam eats the other two pizzas."
"Pizza, hothead!" Cole says from the kitchen table.
Smiling, I push myself off the couch and walk into the kitchen, giving Greg a kiss as I pass him. For the first time in a while, I'm incredibly happy. And now that I have Greg back, I plan on staying this happy.