The entire trip to Terry's apartment I smiled, holding the keys in my hand. It was such a surprise when he gave them to me. Not once had we spoke of moving in together. Living with Jude was great and Terry really liked having his own place, his own spotless and organized place. It crossed my mind to bring a toothbrush but didn't want to push him. Being allowed into his life would have to be by invitation.
The wind was brutal, it was in the single digits and I was freezing. Inside I felt warm and happy. It was less than a year into my new life, one free of fear, being out and doing what felt natural and right. I had a safe place to live with the best roommate I could imagine. I had good friends and I had a boyfriend. I was also freezing!
Pulling out the key and placing it into the lock to the front entrance my heart stopped for a moment. The sound of the click as the lock released was amazing. Nearly running up the stairs I felt the cold fall off with each bound. At his door I wondered if I should knock or just unlock the door. It took a few seconds to decide. I knocked and slide the key in. That sound was music.
Opening the door I could hear some music playing. "Terry? Hello? I'm here. The keys worked perfectly!" Stepping in I closed the door and kicked off my boots. "Where are you hiding? Naked and waiting? I hope!" I walking into the living room and could see he was on the sofa.
Taking a step closer my heart was in my throat. He was naked. "Terry! Terry!" I tripped as I went towards him. "Terry! No Terry! NO! No no no no no no no!" Tears filled my eyes I couldn't see. I reached out to him. He was cold. "God no! Terry! NO!"
I reached for my phone but couldn't find it. What fucking pocket was it in! I put my hand on his chest. Stone cold. He didn't move. He wasn't sleeping. He didn't look like he was sleeping. He didn't look real. I couldn't think. Tears fell, no they streamed down my face. My nose was running. Breathe. I couldn't breathe. I was hyperventilating. Where was my fucking phone! Trying to find it I spot Terry's on the table. I grab it. Code! What the fuck was the code! Help! Dropping his phone I dug through my pockets until I finally found mine. Typing my code in I fumbled and had to try again. Wrong password. Try again. Dial 911. It's ringing. "911"
I couldn't speak. How I managed to speak the words dead and the address I don't remember. They said not to hang up. I did. I called Jude.
"Hey Sam. What's up?"
I was sobbing.
"Sam? Sam? What's wrong? Sam!" His voice instantly grew frantic. "Sam!"
"Jude. Terry's. Come." Between sobs I blurted out the three words.
"I am grabbing my coat now! Sam, what is it? What happened?" I could hear fear in his voice.
"Dea...de...dea...oh Jude." I dropped the phone and rolled onto the floor. Curling up I waited. I sobbed. My eyes hurt. My throat hurt. My body hurt. My head hurt. I could hear sirens approaching. I tried to stand up but couldn't. Crawling on my hands and knees to the door I waited for the buzzer. Would they buzz? Did they have a key? Would the door just be open for them?
I pulled myself up to hit the button and let the police in. Falling to the floor I grabbed the handle and pulled myself up and opened the door. I tripped over my boot and stood in the doorway. The first officer arrived. I didn't need to say anything. Immediately behind him was a second who stopped and asked me if I was ok. I nodded and burst into tears. He helped me inside and we walked into the tiny kitchen area. A moment later another officer entered and went to the sofa. I couldn't hear as they spoke. It was noisy. My head hurt.
The questions kept coming and I struggled to answer but couldn't understand anything.
Another person entered the apartment followed by yet another. Noise. The officer who was with me was trying to help me. I was all but worthless.
"SAM! SAM!" Jude! Thank God he was here.
He embraced me; pulling me in so tight I couldn't breathe. As he held me I could hear him talking with the officer.
"Sam. Sam. How long were you here before you called? Come on Sam, please." Jude was speaking softly.
"A minute, two." I whispered.
Jude continued to speak with the officer. Noise came from the other room, walkie-talkies or phones or something.
"Gonna puke." I pushed Jude off me and leaned into sink and puked. Jude held my head and spoke kindly, I didn't hear a word of what he said, just his soothing voice. He ran some water and washed my face. Helping me out of my coat he sat me down after turning the chair away from the living room. Kneeling beside me he had one arm around me and was hold my hand with the other.
My head was pounding. Jude left me. I turned my head and saw several bodies around the sofa. The tables had been pushed away. There were cases and people everywhere. Terry's spotless apartment was in chaos. Jude returned with a glass of water, he held it as I drank as my hands shook too much for me to hold the glass. Pulling the other chair over he sat in the way, preventing me from seeing what was happening. A gurney is brought into the room. "No! Jude." And I lost it all again.
It felt like hours had passed. They removed Terry's body and most of the people left. The officer who had been with me the entire time said he really needed me to help answer his questions. I did my best.
All I remember about the ride home was it was in a squad. Jude nearly carried me in. Craig was waiting for us. The two of them helped me in, took off my coat and boots and sat me down. They tried to comfort me and I am sure they did. But the pain and numbness, the sadness and fear and sorry prevented me from knowing it.
"Sam? What would you like? Food? Water? A hot shower?" Craig asked with more love in his voice than I had ever expected to hear.
Craig brought me water and I drank the entire glass down in gulps. They helped me up and into the bathroom. Turning on the shower the two of them undressed me and then undressed themselves. It was crowded but they stood in the shower with me and bathed me. It was so touching and tender and loving and nonsexual I broke down.
Back on the sofa in sweats they settle on each side of me and cuddled. "What do you want Sam? Anything?" Jude asked.
I could feel Craig's body move as he laughed silently. Jude held me in his arms as we waited.
"First take these, drink the water and then you can have the Manhattan." Craig was thinking. My head was already throbbing and I hadn't even held the drink in my hand.
The aroma, taste and warmth of the drink filled me. I didn't even put the glass down. Once it hit my lips I drank the entire thing. Craig took the glass from me and handed me his. As he mixed a new drink I downed his. Returning he took that empty glass, handed me the fresh one. Jude took it from me and set it on the ottoman. "Take a moment Sam."
Craig came back, sat and put his arm around me. "Sam. We will be here as long as you need."
I tried to smile, as much as I could considering I was broken.
"Talk all you want. Or don't. But I won't leave until you are sleeping." Tenderly Craig stroked my face with two fingers.
"Music? Please?" I spoke after a long period of silence. Jude stood up and turned on some soft classical music. He also went to mix another round.
We listened to the two tracks in silence. The warmth of their bodies next to mine was comforting. The alcohol was also comforting. The third track began.
"Why? It... hurts...so...much. I feel like my heart has been shredded." Dry tears fell. "We just...the trip...I loved him. God it HURTS!"
"We don't know Sam. Tonight we don't know. And it does hurt. I can't imagine your hurt. I wish I could take some of it for you." Jude was kind, soft and trying.
The pain in my body was matched only by the numb feeling of emptiness. I did appreciate the two of them sitting with me, holding me, stroking me arm or neck or shoulder. The Manhattans were also helping. After my third I felt a little better. No, not really. I didn't feel at all. I rambled about the why's and how come's. The guys didn't have answers. Even if they did I wasn't in any condition to hear them.
The music continued and I felt the warmth of the alcohol fill every pore of my pained and broken body. I asked for another Manhattan. Jude began to say something but Craig stopped him and mixed it for me. I don't remember falling asleep.
When I woke up I was in Jude's bed. He was beside me cradling me. I felt safe. The smell of coffee was in the air.
"Morning." He said as he carefully tussled my hair. How are you feeling?" He leaned in and kissed my forehead.
"Sad." I reached my arm across his body and pulled myself on to him. Resting my head on his chest I listened to his heart beating. He was warm and solid. It was very comforting.
"When you are ready we can get up. Craig will make some breakfast." His voice was rich and almost fatherly.
"Can we just lie here for a bit?"
"Of course Sam. As long as you want." I closed my eyes and felt ok.
As comfortable as it was I realized I needed to piss, badly. Telling Jude I got up and walked into the bathroom. I was too beat up to stand so I sat on the toilet. It felt weird to sit to take a piss. It hit me I was naked. All night it Jude's bed, naked and nothing happened. That was a first.
Walking to the kitchen Craig stood up and walked over. Embracing me I hugged him in return. "You are chilled. Let me get you something to wear." Before he could let me go Jude walked up with sweats for me. As I got dressed Craig began to fry up bacon and make some omelets. Jude slid a glass of water and two aspirin in front of me. I didn't feel hung over. I did feel like a bus had hit me.
Sipping coffee until the food was ready we ate with little conversation. At least I didn't talk. They did. It was mindless talk about weather, cold, staying inside. We finished breakfast. Craig cleaned up and made another pot of coffee. Jude and I went into the living room and sat down.
"Sam. Anything you need, or want just say it. I am staying with you today..."
"I am too Sam. All day. All night too." Craig interrupted.
Then it happened. I smiled. It was an honest smile.
"Really? Thanks." I took a sip of coffee and felt ok.
Craig joined us, turning on some music before he sat down.
"I don't get it. Things were so good. The trip was great. You know what he said? That night after the gifts, he said he had never had a Christmas. He asked if this was what a family was like." I felt tears begin to roll down my cheeks. Jude reached around my shoulders and drew me close to him.
"What happened? I can't remember anything?" The truth was I couldn't recall anything other than knowing I walked in and saw him and obviously called someone.
"Sam? Are you ready, I mean ok to hear?" Jude asked. Unsure I nodded yes.
Jude slowly and carefully told me what happened. He told me about the call to him, his arrival, what the EMT and police did. The coroner's arrival, they would have to do an autopsy but they believe it was an overdose. He answered my questions about what happened. The pain of hearing the story was terrible but I needed to know. We finished the coffee and Craig brewed another pot.
"Sam? There was a letter." Jude's words hit me hard. "It's sealed. Your name is on it."
Sitting while the words sank in I wondered if I wanted to see it.
"Where is it?"
Once again Craig got up and returned with the letter. A standard envelope, sealed, my name written on it. Looking at it as he held it out I struggled with the desire to know what it said yet the fear of the same information. Finally I reached up for it. Holding it in my hands I looked at my name in his writing. I had never seen his writing.
Craig set a letter opener on sofa beside me and sat down.
My hands shaking I slid the opener under the flap and dragged it across the top. The sound was like Terry's last breath. Jude took the opener from me. The sound as I removed the folded papers was deafening. Tri-folded I saw very neat printing in ink on lined paper, the kind he had for his schoolwork.
Taking a very deep breath I looked at the first word,
Sitting here is terrible. It's been a couple hours already and I have managed to write only your name. Where do I start? What I have done is cruel. You don't deserve it. I know it. Hate me if you need to. I am sorry. Hurting you is the worst thing I have ever done. I have done a lot of bad things.
When I first saw you walk in Michael's door I was so happy and so sad. You were beautiful and nice. I knew what was going to happen. It bothered me to help. Then you went and liked me. I couldn't stop falling for you. It hurt. When you told me you loved me I wanted to cry. Because I had never had anyone love me before and because I didn't deserve it.
I am not a good person. But you said I was. I felt like I was lying to you. But you still said you loved me. I felt it and it hurt because I am not good for anyone.
Going to Christmas was the best thing that ever happened to me. After meeting you. It was so nice to be happy and for people to be so nice to me and not want to fuck me. Your Mom was so mom-like. I didn't know what that was except for movies.
When we got back I was done. I could never live a nice life.
People looked at me and said I was beautiful. Hot body, great ass, great cock, great fucktoy. I guess on the outside I was pretty nice looking. Inside I was really really ugly. So ugly I couldn't look at me. I didn't want you to see it Sam. I am so ugly inside I can't let you see it. I can't let it make you ugly.
I know you love me. I hate me. I don't want you to be ugly because of me.
Hate me now but you will be happy and good and have a nice life because you aren't ruined like I am.
When I read my name I felt tears in my eyes. As I continued to read I became angry. Standing up I threw the letter at Jude. "What a fucker! What a bunch of fucking bullshit! What a shit! Fuck!" Storming into the kitchen I yelled. I was pissed off. Grabbing a coke form the refrigerator and the rum I mixed a drink. The guys sat silently.
"Did you read that shit? Read it. What a bunch of shit. Fuck him. And don't you dare tell me to settle down. Just read that crock of shit."
The drink was half rum and burned but I drank a third of the glass anyway. I was seething with anger.
Pacing around the room I demanded they both read the letter. Without speaking Jude read it and then handed it to Craig. When he set the letter on the ottoman I poured another drink and walked back to them.