"Danny. . ." he gushed out, "She's gone, Danny. . . she's gone. . ."
His words echoed in my throbbing head as we made our way out of the restaurant, into the night, and down to the bus stop. I watched as his massive back shook from every tremor that elicits from his sobs. The boy that i've laughed and joked with for the last three hours was gone. The boy that took me on my very first date was nowhere to be seen. And I felt really bad for the boy that replaced him - the boy trudging before me. Really, really bad.
"Hmmm?" he softly answered, trying to cover the sorrow and despair in his voice.
"Do you want to talk about it?" I whispered tentatively as I neared his slumping form.
I saw him slowly shake his head.
"You know that you don't have to go through this all by yourself, don't you?" I rushed, "Bruce, I'm here if you want to -"
"MY MOM IS DEAD!" he turned to face me, "MY MOM IS FUCKING DEAD, DANIEL! WHAT do you want me to fucking do about it? WHAT do you want me to fucking say to that?!" he growled at me, his face mere inches from mine, and as he saw the fear in my eyes, he screamed into the night and pulled on the locks of his caramel-blond hair before he took a deep breath and calmed himself down, "I just lost my mother, Danny. I know you're just trying to make me feel better. But, right now, I don't want to talk about it. So, please. . ."
I looked up to his eyes and saw the tears streaming down his rosy cheeks. I slowly nodded. I can understand if he would scream and hit and curse at me right now. For the few weeks that we've sat and talked and laughed together, Lily has been a great addition to my life. She was like the sun that shined on me during my rainy days. She was warm, and friendly, and kind, and I almost called her "Mom" one time when Bruce locked me inside our classroom so he could skip oe of our drafting and editing sessions. Lily is a great part of my life.
So, I completely understand what Bruce is feeling. I, too, feel his pain. Bruce lost a mother, I lost a friend.
I walked beside him and, without hesitation, held his trembling hand. I tried to drape my other arm over his broad shoulders and tried to somehow sever him from his pain.
"Thank you, Danny." he whispered back at me a while later, leaning his head to mine, "Thank you for going out with me tonight. You really made me happy tonight."
I hugged him to me tighter as we reached the bus stop; the streetlights shining over our mourning figures.
I kept chanting "It's going to be okay, Bruce." as we waited for the bus and Bruce kept at his silent sobs while I patted and squeezed his massive back. We were sitting down on a bench now, so the task was easier, now that I can reach his muscular back better. He slumped his body onto mine and continued weeping on my delicate shoulders, his face hidden on the soft curvature of my neck. His lips slightly touching the sensitive skin just below my jawline. I ignored my libido and just kept on comforting him.
"Well, well, well. . . I'm guessing babysitter duty is over, then?" someone, from somewhere, coldly spoke. My mind went suddenly blank. "Or was there really someone to babysit with in the first place?"
I nervously surveyed my surroundings, looking for the source of the anger-ingested remark. And as my eyes got used to the darkness, I saw him - emerging from the shadows of a nearby tree - and my heart thumped harder and faster like there was no tomorrow. How did he. . .? SHIT!
"Keith!" I gasped, "It's not what you think!"
He just glared at me and stopped five meters from our intimately entwined limbs.
"Keith, what are you doing here? I thought you and the others. . . Keith, were you following us?" I demanded.
"Oh! Me? Following you? NO! That's just absurd!" he laughed, but the anger was still lurking in his voice, "We just got out of the cinema and decided to call it a night. I told you we were going out, didn't I?" he suddenly snapped, "I even remember asking if you wanted to come! But I see you've already booked your entire weekend with your new bestfriend!"
I stood up and practically pushed Bruce off of me.
"Keith, don't you fucking say that! We're not. . . I didn't want to -"
"Shut up, Danny!" that was the very first time that Keith growled at me, he looked so angry my tears were threatening to leak out of my eyes again. "You know, you could've just told me! You know that I would understand! How hard can it be to tell your bestfriend?!"
"Keith, I didn't want to hurt your feelings." I pleaded. "I thought you'd get angry if I'd tell you I was already in an appointment with Bruce."
"And, what?" he barked, "Do you think I'm NOT ANGRY RIGHT NOW, DANIEL?! You fucking lied to me!"
"Dude, I don't think Danny meant anything wrong with his actions." Bruce interrupted. "I was the one who asked him out, I should be the one who -"
"Stay out of this, Adams!" Keith pushed him and coldly retorted, "If you know what's good for you, you fucking stay out of this!"
Keith's anger blinded him of the fact that, though he was at least two inches taller, Bruce was still twice his size. But, still, Bruce backed off. He was in an emotional wreck right now and Keith is being a fucking prick!
"Keith, I'm really sorry," I started, "I didn't want to lie to you, but right now, you're really getting out of line here! I'm really sorry. I'm really -"
"Your sorry's not going to change anything, Danny! I'm getting out of line? Fuck you! The fact that you lied to me. . ." he choked, "it fucking hurts, man! And then, just as I started to go home from a great night with my friends, I see MY best buddy kissing HIS fucking bully - HIS sworn enemy!"
"WHAT?! We were not kissing!"
"SHUT UP!" he roared.
I was terrified of the ferocity in his eyes. I've never seen Keith like this before. Never have I seen someone get so angry like he did.
"I wanted to leave and just act like I never saw the two of you. . . but then I realized - what then? It's not like I would just forget what I witnessed." he hastily wiped a tear from his cheek, "You don't know how it fucking hurts, Daniel!"
"But, Keith, we were not -"
"FUCKING STAY OUT OF THIS, BRUCE!" he spat.
He was crying steadily now. His attempts to wipe the wetness from his handsome face were futile. Tears were falling like a stream from his deep green eyes.
I stepped towards him, but he backed away. That simple gesture hurt me like hell!
"Keith. . ." I breathed hopelessly. "You don't understand what's happening here. I was just comforting Bruce because he -"
"No, Danny!" he shook his head, "I know what I saw! Alright? Enough! It's over. I don't want to listen to your lame excuses now! I don't want to listen to your made-up stories again! Fuck, I don't want to hear you talk anymore! It's over!"
My eyes gaped wide open. "No. Keith, what are you saying? What you saw isn't what you're thinking!" I, too, now, was crying.
"No. . . We're over, Danny." he blanky stated, "I can't have a liar for a friend. . . and I can't afford a friend who can't even trust me." he sobbed, "I'm sorry, Danny. This friendship is over."
And he turned and vanished into the night.
Breathing heavily, I slumped to the ground; wailing for Keith to come back. Wishing this was all just a bad dream. Cursing my entire being for fucking things up!
The last thing I remember was Bruce sitting beside me - hugging me to his warm, soft body - calling my name and telling me it's going to be okay over and over and over again. And everyhing went black.
"Danny?" a voice woke me from my slumber. "Danny?"
I suddenly felt like I was a computer that has just been turned on. My mind did a quick process of booting my system up and loading the memories from my latest session right before I unexpectedly crashed. And it made my head throb like crazy. It was like I was the catcher at home base and the batter just fucking swung too much and hit me with his bat in the fucking head.
"Ugh. . ." I groaned as I made myself into a sitting position.
"Easy, now, cupcake. Easy." the voice spoke to me again.
I looked around and realized that I was somewhere that I've never been before. I turned my head and saw an unfamiliar face looking down at me, assisting me as I sat up, and holding out what I assumed was some kind of pain-reliever and a glass of water.
"Here. Take this. Drink up. It'll make you feel better." he spoke.
I studied him and - from what he was wearing - I concluded that he was a doctor. A stereotypical one at that.
I took the medicine.
I tried standing up, but my legs were feeling kinda wobbly. So, I sat back down.
"Who are you?" I rasped, "Where am I? What happened to me? How did I get here? Why am I -"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down, cowboy!" he chuckled and wiped my forehead of perspiration, "You're starting to sound like you're having an amnesia, or something. Just relax."
I laughed at my silliness and mumbled, "Sorry. . . Just kind of panicking."
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Um. . . I feel okay. My head is throbbing and I'm a little lightheaded, but I'm okay."
"Good! Now, you just need to rest for a few more hours and you'll be good as new." he said. "And, to answer your questions, I am Dr. Charles Griffith - I am the Adams' family doctor. You're in Master Adams' apartment right now. He called me over an hour ago and told me about what happened. And so, here I am."
Master Adams, huh? That's weird. I can't imagine adressing Bruce as master. I don't see him as master material. HAHA
"What, exactly, happened to me, Doctor?" I asked.
"Well, from what Master Bruce told me, you sort of blacked out. It seems you're under quite a lot of stress right now."
You don't know half of it, I thought.
"And that is why I'll leave you to rest now." he stood up.
"Wait. Where's Bruce? He needs me - I mean - he needs someone to talk to right now. He's just lost his mom and he's all alone right now and -"
"Oh, he's at the living room. He's just discussing a few things with Judge Robertson right now."
"Judge? Like "Department of Justice Judge" Judge?" He nodded. "Why is he talking to a judge? Is he in some kind of trouble?" I asked. It scared me, though - how I was feeling so concerned about Bruce right now - it fucking scares me. Why am I feeling. . . whatever this is for him?
"No. He's not in trouble, silly." the doctor laughed, "But you are going to be if you don't close your eyes and rest." he stated with a genuine smile, "Just rest, Daniel. You'll talk with Bruce once you're stable on your own feet. Okay?"
And he left.
Taking his advice, I tried to relax then laid back in bed and rested.
"Why am I here?" I impatiently asked as I looked at Judge Robertson's pudgy face. Bruce told me that he was the one who called last night. Funny how the Judge knew first before Bruce did.
Bruce and I sat side by side on the couch while Judge Robertson placed the chair that he procured from the dining table before us. He began to speak, "Well. . . While you were sleeping, Mr. Mockins, Bruce and I have been discussing the matter about Mrs. Adams' funeral. . ." he paused, "And more recently. . . her last will and testament."
He took out a small chest, a couple of envelopes and some legal documents, then laid them on the coffee table between us.
"That doesn't answer my question. . . Sir. I still don't get why you would need me here." I replied.
The somewhere-in-his-late-50s judge cleared his throat and looked at me.
"To cut the story short, Daniel. . . Lily left you something. That is why you are required here." he started, "I still don't know what it is, or what's in it, but Mrs. Adams definitely meant for you to have it. It was one of the recent additions that she made in her will."
I took a deep breath. Why would Lily leave me something?
"Okay. But are you okay with this, Bruce?" I turned to him, "Because... I mean... I don't want to get something that isn't rightfully mine."
He smiled and turned to me. "You don't have to get what's mine, Danny. I completely trust my mom. I'm sure that she wanted this. Whatever my mom left you, it's yours. Not mine. Okay?"
He squeezed my thigh for reassurance. I just nodded.
The next half hour was spent on the reading and the discussion of Lily's will and testament. It was a good thing she's leaving Bruce enough to get on with High School - College, if he wants to - and more for what he plans after graduation.
"So, now comes Daniel's part." the Judge stated, "There's nothing to it, really. She just states here that. . . she's leaving you that chest." he pointed to the small chest on the coffee table.
He handed me the chest and I took it. It was quite heavy, didn't expect it from an 8" by 12" box. On top of it was written my name: Daniel Christopher Mockins. Then Judge Robertson passed me a key. Just like the chest, it looked ancient and has quite an intricate design to it and I began to question how old these things were. I was fumbling with the lock, when Judge Robertson stopped me.
"Wait, Daniel. Lily had specific instructions written in her will." he said, "She states here that 'Daniel can only open the box once he is sure he is alone, and only after he has read his letter.'"
I looked at him, then at the envelopes lying on the table. "And by letter, you mean those?"
He nodded. "Yes and no. You only get to read one of the three. Bruce gets to read the other, and the last one is for her husband." he noted.
"Okay, then." and I took the envelope with D.C.M. written on it. "But, Bruce... I haven't asked you this before, but... does your Dad know? Where is he now?"
But before he could respond,
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!!!!!
My phone rang. I took it and checked my inbox.
"FUCK! My mom's going apeshit! 15 missed calls! 27 messages!" I looked at Bruce, trying to convey a message.
"It's okay, Dan. Your mom's. . ." he choked, "Your mom's probably worried about you now. Come on, get your things. I'll take you home."
"No, Bruce. You should stay. I can get home myself. You have far more important things to deal with here." I reasoned, looking at his tired face, "And you need a rest, too! Did you even sleep last night? You look like a wreck!"
He smiled. "I'm okay. But... well... Okay. I'll let you know when the. . . when she's. . . I'll let you know about the preparation." he faltered.
I stepped before him and hugged him tight. "It's going to be okay, Bruce. You're strong. You'll get over this."
"Thank you, Danny." he said as he hugged me back. I can feel his heart beating against my cheek. "Listen. . . about Keith and our little talk over dinner. . ."
I shushed him, "I've been meaning to... to tell you this last night. . . You're getting deeper than my nerves, you know that?" I looked at him in arm's length, and he immediately blushed. "We'll talk about that soon, okay? But, in the mean time, I need to get home and face my mom's wrath and you need to rest."
"You'll be fine, Bruce." and I kissed his cheek - just centimeters from his trembling lips - three seconds longer than the normal.
I left his apartment with an envelope that contains Lily's letter for me, an antique chest filled with who-knows-waht, and a wide grin pasted on my blushing face.
*End of Chapter 7, Part Three*
Author's Note: THE RUMOUR-FILLED TOTALLY FALSE ACCOUNT OF HOW I RUINED MY USED-TO-BE STRAIGHT AND FLAWLESS REPUTATION... COMING SOON!!!