#I still don't have the reason#
#And you don't have the time#
#And it really makes me wonder#
#If I ever gave a thought about you#
My phone rang. "Speak up, it's your dime!" I lamely greeted as I fumbled with the key.
"Where are you now?" a gruff voice answered.
It's been exactly 2 weeks, 5 days, 8 hours and approximately 11 minutes since Mrs. Elmers, our English Literature instructor, gave us the well-deserved mark of a perfect "A" for submitting an "above expectations" project.
It's been a while. . . and as far as I can remember, Bruce has been kinder to me since! YES! Let the gods strike my horny cock dead, but believe it or not, he's gone SOFT towards me! [No pun intended.]
No more regular games of Push-the-nerdy-Danny-onto-the-lockers. . . or perhaps the occasional yet more creative Get-all-of-nerdy-Danny's-undergears-and-flush-them-into-the-toilet (though they only happen during PE classes.)
These day-to-day High School activites were no more! They were as bone dead as the tyrannosaurus rex and as null as the people worshipping rocks, trees and spirits deep in the mountains of the Philippines. They were gone! History!
And like a miracle, all of my prayers were heard! [Well, at least the part where it concerns my bully.]
And this! During lunch he would invite me to sit at their table - where all the school's top jocks are seated. I know what you're going to ask! And the answer is YES! Definitely YES! Who, never mind if he's straight or gay, in their bloody right minds would say no to such a tempting offer? Sitting with the school's most popular guys?! That's a gay guy's secret heaven!
"Oi! You still there?"
Shit! I forgot that I was on the phone. "Yeah. And I'm still at my locker. Why?"
He cleared his throat. "Well. . . Um. . . Any plans for tonight?"
I was leaning down for my locker [which was on the lower row, by the way] but immediately straightened up as soon as he asked of my plans. I thought for awhile. Hmmm. . . Let's see. . . Well. . . I was definitely free for the night.
But why the hell is he suddenly asking? Yes, I know we've been practically hanging out for almost three weeks now, but it was always in-campus; we would chat along the hallways, we would walk to each other's lockers during breaks, and he would sit beside me during classes. It's weird to admit, but, you wouldn't find the one without the other. . . most of the times, anyway. That's how creepy our "relationship" has become.
I took a deep breath as I reminisced the past few week's happenings. HOO! I was getting to know the guy better. . . And the guy that he's showing me is actually a very likeable guy.
"Helloooooow! Honestly, Daniel, how long does it take for you to answer a very simple question?" he asked impatiently.
"Sorry. I was just thinking." and I paused, "Well. . . It's Friday. I'm free, I guess."
"Great!" he immediately replied, quite excitedly. As if he was really pleased with my response.
But I still am quite confused.
"Um. . . Dude, I don't want to be rude and make this conversation awkward for the both of us, but. . . why are you suddenly asking?" I wondered, "Don't get me wrong! It's just that. . . you've never asked before."
A pause. It was quite a long one.
"Yeah, still here." he muttered.
Another gap of dead silence.
"D'ya wanna. . . um. . ." he hesitated.
"Come on, out with it!"
"Um. . ."
"Let's not wait for the grass to grow, shall we? You're wasting a lot of precious time here."
"Um. . . do you wanna grab something. . . um. . . do you wanna grab something to eat?" he stammered.
That's it? That's what he is calling for? I scoffed. "Sure! Let's! I'll meet you at the cafeteria."
"No!" he said, "I meant. . . like eat, you know, outside?" he whispered, but it was clear enough to hear. [That actually rhymed! Bravo me!]
And whoa! Didn't see THAT one coming! I thought he just wanted to. . . well. . . when it comes to him, I just don't know what to think of anymore. Urgh! What the hell is happening to me?
"Y-yeah?" It was my turn to stutter.
"Well. . . Do you?"
Danny, wait! I think this is one of those turning points that people say would change the course of one's life. You know, like in movies, when the protagonist would be presented with a situation and he would decide what he would do to assess the situation. You should think about it. Hard. Consider all the possibilities - the consequences that may result from a wrong choice.
What would happen if you say Yes? Or, what if you say No? What if you get hurt? What if this is just his way for getting back at you for blackmailing him? What if -?
Alright, alright, Mr. Danny Conscience, just relax. I get it! But how should I know what'll happen if I just stay here and think about the possibilities? I should be heading out and venture for. . . for whatever's out there, shouldn't I? Right?
Hmmm. . .
But I do think he's serious enough. He was stumbling over his own words, wasn't he?
But he's straight! Why would he be asking you out?
Well. . . We've been around each other for the past few. . . months. We've gotten to know each other quite a bit - a lot, really. I guess he just wants to show his appreciation for the project.
That's bullcrap! Bruce? I don't think so!
Well, he's been good to me for the past few weeks, hasn't he? I think he's serious about this.
HA! If he's really serious about this, then he definitely is scared shit right now!
And an idea suddenly sprang out of my innocent, little mind. . . I decided to tease him. Heehee.
"Oh, how sweet of you! Are you asking me out to be your Valentines date, Brucey?" I pouted and said through the most childlike voice that I could muster. The few people around me gave me varied looks of shock and disgust. I just ignored them. . . Fuck 'em!
"This most definitely is not a date, Danny!" he giggled, "And Valentines' Day is tomorrow. Not today."
"Hmmm. . . Are you sure about that?" I goaded, while putting my things in the locker, "Coz I seem to remember I was going out with my mom and sis tonight."
"Fine!" he snapped, "I'll just go alone, then."
I laughed at his temper. "No! Bruce, wait, wait, wait!" I laughed more, "You need to watch that temper of yours, man! Haha. . . I'll meet you at the flagpole in five minutes. And, yes, I'll go out with you." and I slammed my locker shut.
"Danny, please remember that this is not a da-" I shut my phone off and trudged through the crowd of staring faces.
"What are you looking at?!" I snapped at them, "Mind your own business, you eavesdroppers!"
I still received a few disgusted looks from people, but it just doesn't matter right now. . . I was going out on a 'not-a-date' with a boy! And what's more, it's with my Bully. HA! How crazy is that!
I was walking down the few steps towards the courtyard. My head was still quite confused with the startling turn of events, and my stomach was rumbling, when I bumped onto something hard, sweaty and musky.
"Whoa, Danny! Where'd your eyes go off?" Keith laughed.
I looked up and mumbled, "Sorry, man. I'm just thinking about something." and I took a whiff of his luscious aroma, "Man, you reek like a locker room!"
And I feigned disgust, but secretly, I LOVED it! I was so fucking turned on by his sweaty presence. His shirt was sticking onto his torso that his muscular chest and ridged abs were almost see-through! FUCK! I hope he wouldn't notice my boner!
"Fuck you! We just had a game with the Sophomores, of course I'd reek like a fucking jockstrap!" he retorted, "So. . . Is it a girl you were thinking of?"
"WHAT? NO!" I replied, quite defensively. Come to think of it, it was kind of too much. He looked confused. So I added, "It's girls, man! PLURAL!"
I wouldn't want my Buddy to think I was repulsed with girls,now, would I?
He laughed. "Man, that's fucking awesome! Who are the lucky ladies?"
"I'm not telling." and I started walking towards the flagpole.
"Danny, wait! Where are you going? It's Friday. It's Valentine's Eve. Let's watch a movie. . . Um. . . I mean, the gang's going out tonight. Please come."
FUUUUUUUUUUCK! Why now? Why do you have to be two minutes too late? WHY?
"Shit, man. I'm so sorry. I can't." I said slowly, cursing myself for saying No.
"Why? What're ya up to tonight?" he replied with a toothy grin. "Does it involve a word with G in it and rhymes with curl but 'plural' in form?"
"Fuck you." and I punched his rock hard chest. He just stood there unmoved. Damn! What a stud!
He giggled. "Really, what are you doing tonight?" and he draped a sweaty arm over my shoulder and walked with me.
"Well. . ." Shit! I can't tell him about my appointment with Bruce. Think, Danny, think! "Uhmmm. . . I'm. . . I'm on babysitter duty tonight." I rushed the words out, "Yeah, that's right! Babysitting. Mom's going to Granny's tonight." I managed. Fingers crossed behind my butt.
Fuck, Danny! Now you're lying to your best buddy? Just great!
"Oh. . . Really?" I looked into his dark-green eyes and I can tell that he wasn't that convinced.
"Yeah." I gave a sorry smile.
"But isn't Stephanie old enough to change her own diapers by now?" he joked.
CRAP! I forgot my sister was already thirteen years old!
THINK! THINK! THINK!
"Well. . . I don't want to leave her for a few hours and return to find our house burning like hell!" I replied and tried to make a joke of it, too.
But it didn't work.
He just sighed, his smile now gone. "Well. . . Okay. . . But make sure you're good for next time, alright?" he squeezed me into him, "I want to spend more time with you, Danny. Especially on your birthday! It's not everyday your best friend turns sixteen!" He gave me a genuine smile. My heart was melting with love.
"Oh, Keith. . ." I smiled at him.
I must have had that misty-eyed and happy look on my face, because he immediately added, "Hey, I just miss ya, buddy! There's no need to be all queer about it!" and laughed.
I almost doubled-over. But I retorted with a throaty chuckle, gave him the finger, mouthed 'Fuck You!', then freed myself and left.
I heard him shout, "Clear the 21st on your calendar, okay? That day is scheduled for us. You'll be a year older than me by then."
Without looking back, I gave him the OK hand gesture.
He wants to spend more time with you, Danny! He fucking misses you! And that fucking elephant chooses this time to hang out with you! Just fucking great! URGH!
What the hell is happening to me? Are fifteen-almost-sixteen-year olds supposed to experience this kind of stage during their lives?
I thought my life would be normal.
"Hey." he beamed at me as I neared the flagpole.
"Hi." I breathed.
"This is not a date." he stated.
"Yeah. I know." I replied.
We stood there for a few more seconds; him beaming down at me, showing off those pearly whities, and me, infected by his grin, smiling just as enthusiastically. We must have looked like stupid clowns that time, smiling like fools for nothing.
"If you're going to kiss, I'm going to puke!" Huh? Who said that?
I looked around. "Stacey! Oh, God, no. We were just -"
"Smiling at each other like you're fucking crazy. HAHA." she laughed. Her two sidekicks, Tessa and Diane, automatically laughed, too.
"Yeah. That." I, too, gave a nervous chuckle.
Stacey Moore was in my English class. She was really pretty, intelligent, friendly and sweet enough to be the President of the Freshman Student Council. We're good friends, I guess. Not like some of my 'friends' from Keith's circle.
Well. . . what more can I say?
Hmmm. . . she's hot, too! I think! At least, I'll go out with her. [If I was into girls.]
"What are you two doing here?" she chimed. "It's Valentines' Eve! Where are your dates?"
"Um. . . Bruce -"
"I borrowed his pen and we decided to meet here so I can return it." Bruce interjected. "Here, Danny." and he handed me HIS pen.
I took it and slipped it in my pocket. Why the hell did he have to do that?
"Let's go?" Bruce tugged at my shirt.
"Where are you going?" Stacey asked.
"Um. . . I told Danny to -"
"Bruce told me he has a. . . he told me he has a G.I. Joe Collection and asked me if I wanted to see them." I interjected this time. "Right, Bruce?" and I eyed him.
"Y-yeah. That's right." and he eyed me back.
"Really?" she asked plainly, unconvinced, "A G.I. Joe Collection?"
We both nodded.
"That's. . . that's nice."
"Yeah, thanks. Now, Danny, can we go now?" Bruce tugged at my shirt again, pulling me away from the trio.
"Um. . . guys, I'll see you later, okay?"
"Come on!" Another tug.
"Yeah, sure. . . But. . . Um. . . Didn't Keith -" But Bruce was already pushing me towards the gate. Stacey never got to finish her sentence. What did she want to tell me? I'm sure I heard her say 'Keith'.
"Bruce! That was mighty rude of you! Fuck, man! We were still talking!" I growled as we got out of campus.
"Sorry. . . It's just. . ." and he gave me a sly grin, "She's wasting a lot of precious time."
"HA-HA. . . Touche!" and I started walking again - to hide my blushing face.
"And G.I. Joe Collection?!" he mocked.
"What? That was all that I can think of!"
"That's just fucking childish!" he laughed. "I haven't thought of my G.I. Joe dolls since fifth grade!"
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Einstein!" I countered, "I'm sorry I can't think of other 'greater' ideas like borrowing-then-meeting-by-the-fucking-flagpole-to-return-my-pen like you did. That was 'really' convincing, by the way!"
And we glared at each other. Both looking majorly pissed off. And the image of what we were doing finally sank in - and we laughed, all the way to the bus stop.
"Wait, Danny. I think we should go home first. You know, get changed and stuff." he timidly said as we waited for the bus.
"Just go home and get dressed. Wear something casual. Nothing too formal." he said, "I'll come by your house maybe 30 minutes before 6. Okay?"
"You know where I live?" I sort-of-shrieked before realizing how stupid my question was.
"Uh. . . Yeah. . . I spoke with your mom a few months ago, remember?" he giggled.
"Here's your ride." he declared as the bus approached, and the doors opened for me to get in.
"I'll see you at nightfall, then?"
He just smiled, nodded and called a cab. I guess he's going to his mom first.
Back at home, my mom was preparing dinner when I kissed her cheeks and nervously told her, "Mom! I'm going out tonight, okay?"
It was really seldom that I got out of the house. So, upon hearing it, my mom was all a go for it. She turned around and gasped.
"Oh, nothing, honey. You just look. . . you look really handsome." she smiled at me. "You know. . . you remind me of your dad."
"Thanks, mom. I guess." I blushed. I think because she compared me to my dad. She seldom talks about him. "So, you're okay with it? You're gonna live through dinner without me?"
"Of course, honey. You have a good night." she returned to preparing dinner, "Send my regards to Keith, okay?"
"Um. . . I'm not going out with Keith. Not tonight." I breathed.
"Well, who then?" she turned to look at me again. A grin pasted on her face.
I didn't have to answer the question. My sister was already screaming for all the people of the nation to hear.
"Mom! There's the boy! The boy! Mom! MOM! He's walking towards our house! MOM! COME HERE! The boy! THE BOY!"
"Stephanie, shut up! You're gonna wake up the other side of the world! Mom, tell her to shut up! MOM!"
She was just laughing, then ran for the windows beside my sister. "Oh, my God! Don't he look dashing! He looks bigger since last time!" she noted, "Wait! Has he lost his belly? I think he's lost his man-boobs, too! Oh, my God! Stephanie, this'll be good!" they both giggled.
What the hell!
Bigger? Yes, he's gained a few pounds, but he also lost some of his fattiness and replaced it with pure, buff muscles. Thus, buffer, I think.
But dashing? I don't think so! [Well, maybe a teensy, tiny bit.]
"Urgh. . . I'm leaving! Goodbye!" and I slammed the door shut just as Bruce arrived at our steps. "Turn around. Stop talking. And start walking." I commanded.
"What's happening?" I can still see my mom and sister waving at us through the windows.
"If you wanna live, Bruce Adams, just do as I say!" I snapped menacingly.
And so we walked towards the bus stop. And waited.
Waited for someone to break the silence.
I took a deep breath and decided I should start it. After all, I was the one who silenced him. "You can speak now, Brucey." and I giggled at his puppy-like obedience.
"Thank goodness! I thought we were not talking for the rest of the night." he beamed brightly, then added confidently, "You look great, by the way."
I blushed. Thank God it was dark enough to not be noticed.
"Oh. . . Thank you? I guess." I glanced at him. Yep! Cute as hell! "You're not so bad yourself." I told him. It was an understatement - up close, he really was dashing! Then I laughed. . . or sort of giggled.
"What?" he quipped, "What's funny?"
"Nothing." How ironic is it to describe Bruce as cute, right? Seeing that he's humongously massive and all. HAHA!
"Come on! Spill it!"
But the bus arrived. I pushed him in and he led the way towards the very end - where the only vacant seats were located.
"Come on, spill." he nudged as we settled.
"Nuh-uh!" and I looked outside the window as we passed my neighbors' houses.
"Fockins!" he threatened under his breath.
I turned to face him, "Don't you 'Fockins' me, mister! It's personal and I ain't telling you!" I pointed out, "Now. . . where are you taking me tonight?"
"It's a secret."
"WHAT! No, really, where?" I asked again.
"Nuh-uh. It's a secret. You aren't telling yours, I ain't telling mine." and he stuck out his tongue at me. Childish, yes. But adorably cute!
"Fine." I snapped.
The bus ride was. . . I don't know. . . Unnerving? I was fucking hard for the whole time! As the bus moves, our legs [Which were in a very close proximity from each other, by the way. Thanks to Bruce's size] would rub against each other and I can't help but feel aroused by the heated, muscular contact. The bus has an AC system, but the warm-blooded animal sitting beside me was emitting too much heat enough to boil ice-cold Antarctican water. I would shift closer to the window so I can avoid the contact, but it was no use, the seat was just too small for the both of us. [Translation: Bruce is too fucking big for the poor, little seat.]
That felt like the longest bus ride that I ever had. But actually, it was just about ten minutes. More or less.
After we got out of the bus, Bruce led the way and we walked for a few blocks before arriving at an Italian-ish restaurant called Antonio Gustav's Place.
"Hmmm. . ." I thought, "Not a date, eh?"
It was just a small place, but once you get in, you get the feeling that this is where Hollywood Stars eat. The place was really grandiose and elegant. The kind of place where the rich and famous would like to dine in. I wonder how Bruce could afford the services?
After declaring of his reservation, an usher guided us to our table. Thank God Bruce got the one that was located on the dimmed, secluded part of the restaurant. This is the first time that I have been in a restaurant that was as sophisticated as the place that we were in now. And I don't want anyone to recognize me if I make a total fool of my ignorant self.
After a few minutes of waiting, dinner was then served. We didn't have to order or wait long, Bruce had already picked the food to eat and had them ready to serve. I wonder how long Bruce has planned for this.
As soon as the food was laid, I didn't have any complaints! EVERYTHING looks and smells really good!
We started eating.
"I never thought you had a sophisticated side, Bruce" I remarked.
"There are still a lot of things that you do not know of me, Mr Mockins." he retorted with a British accent, then whispered "I have secrets that would haunt your head forever."
"Oh, is that so?" I went along with his antics. "And what might those secrets be, Monsieur Adams? Please. . . do tell!"
"Well. . . they wouldn't be called secrets if I indulge them with you, now, would they?"
I just raised my glass of soda. He raised his and we toasted. We can't be served with any kind of liquor because we were underage, so, soda, it is.
We continued eating. And, occasionally, I would notice him stealing glances at me - a warm smile on his chubby face. I tried to ignore him. But, God, it was so hard to comply! He was just so - dashing - tonight!
We were almost done with the meal, when Bruce stopped eating and just freely looked at me as I ate. I think he now knows that I can see him looking at me, but that never seemed to faze him.
"What? Do I have something on my face?" I asked, instinctively wiping my mouth with a napkin.
"Oh. . . Sorry. . . I just don't understand how I could. . . I don't get how I could be so stupid to. . . to be so. . ." he mumbled, his eyes now wandering everywhere but my face.
"Bruce? What is it?" I asked, "Hey. . . Look at me. . . Look at me. . ."
He slowly did. Then he took a very deep breath.
"There's something that I have to tell you, Danny."
My mind went into auto-pilot and my mouth went into overdrive.
"If it's about the project, you don't have to thank me,
Bruce. It was a group effort. We made that together." I nervously chuckled. "Don't be ridiculous! Don't thank me for that!"
"No. . . It's not that. . ."
It's not that? Then what? I was starting to get really nervous now. SHIT!
"Okay. If you're still worried about the whole blackmailing stuff, please, don't. I'm really sorry about that, I do - but at that time I needed. . . a leverage. . . or something to get your complete attention. I wasn't really planning on exposing your history. I respect people's privacy. And actually, I couldn't have done it anyway. I wasn't born to be a blackmailer. Promise!"
"Dan, it's not that either." he impatiently replied.
"Or maybe it is because I keep visiting your mom and -"
"Danny, just shut up!" he barked. Everyone in the restaurant looked our way. Even an old lady's chihuahua stopped chewing and looked at the odd pair that we were making. He cleared his throat [Bruce, not the chihuahua.] "Just listen. Okay?"
"First of all, I want to thank you." he started, "Not only because of that stupid project, but also because. . . because you stayed by me, Danny. Even though I've been mean - harsh - to you, you still believed that I can do better. That I can be a better person: someone who can do fucking research," he chuckled, "someone who can make friends, someone who can care and understand. . . someone who is human. Though you showed it to me the hard way, I still am grateful for you. I know that I can do better. Truly, I know. But, as you have known, I've been bullied at my former school, and because of that terrible experience, I made it my life's priority to build a new reputation; the kind in which, just by looking at me, people would know that it would be better if they do not mess with me."
He paused to take a sip from his glass.
"I now know that what I did was wrong. Terribly wrong. All of those. So, the next thing I want to say to you is that I'm sorry, Danny. Since day one, I've made your life a living hell. No one deserves the hell that I've brought down on you. Not even the baddest of the bad don't deserve the things that I have done to you. And everyday I always ask God for forgiveness for the things that I have done. But I know that that isn't enough. If God would reply, I know that he'd say, "Say that to Danny's face, you dumbass!" or something."
That made me giggle.
"So, Danny, I hope you would forgive me. I'm really sorry. For everything."
I nodded repeatedly, but I kept silent. I had a feeling that he hasn't finished speaking yet.
He looked squarely at my face. The dim lights glinting on his now dark blue eyes, creating the impression that he was teary eyed. Or maybe he was?
"Bruce. . ." I calmly stated.
"Danny, there's one more thing. I need to get this out before I explode." he cut in. He was sitting accross from me, but he stood and sat at the chair located beside me. He looked at me, "Do you remember the first time we met?"
HA! What. A. Question!
"Of course I do! I would never forget it." I replied and smiled as I remembered that specific moment.
"Well. . . what do you recall of it?" he timidly asked.
"Hmmm. . . let's see. I think the highlight of that encounter was when I splashed your shirt with the orange juice and hamburger that you were bringing. Then I looked at you -"
"No, you were gaping." he interjected and laughed, "I remember how wide your eyes and mouth were, Danny."
"Really? I was?" He nodded amusedly. "Fine, I was gaping at you, then! But who wouldn't? Have you seen yourself in the mirror lately? You're incredibly humongous!"
He laughed for a bit, then he took another heavy breath and his expression changed into something that says 'I'm serious now'.
He started speaking. "Well, Danny. . . that was the time - the moment - that I realized one thing. . . one simple thing. . ."
"Aaaaaand what is that?" I queried.
He looked into my eyes. His icy-blue orbs penetrating my deep-brown ones. My heart was now going over 80 miles an hour. Under the table, I was squeezing the life out of my napkin. "Everytime I remember that very first time that we met - that specific encounter - I can't help but feel happy."
I felt my heart drop to the ground.
"Danny, I gradually realized. . . that before I met you. . . before I met you, I never knew what it was like. . . to look at someone and smile for no reason at all."
Danny: (stops moving, mouth agape, looks squarely at Bruce)
Bruce: (smiles warmly and reaches his right hand to one of Danny's)
Danny: (hands tremble and drops napkin onto the floor)
It took me about a minute and a half to fully grasp what he had just said. OH MY GOD!
OH MY GOD!
OH MY GOD!
OH MY GODDDDDD!
"Bruce. . ." I croaked, "What're you. . ." I had to drink the whole glass to clear my thoughts - and also my throat. I took a deep breath to keep my emotions from overwhelming me.
All this time Bruce was looking at me expectantly. Holding my hand. And Smiling that gentle smile of his that I deeply adored.
"Bruce, what are you trying to say?" I finally mustered. I was so close to crying by now. "If this is your idea of a sick joke, then you better stop!"
"Danny - "
I pulled my hand free and slammed my palms onto the table, "Bruce, I swear to God, if this is some kind of a prank. . ." I trailed off. Tears were now rolling down my cheeks. I was feeling really confused right at the moment. "What are you doing to me, Bruce?"
He took my hand again.
"Danny, this isn't a joke. The thing that I've always wanted to tell you. . . ever since you redecorated my white shirt with ketchup and orange juice. . . is that I - "
We were both startled by his phone sudenly ringing. He rejected the call and looked at me again.
"Danny, ever since that day I have always been in - "
"FUCK!" he growled.
"Just take that call, Bruce." I said in between sobs. God, why am I acting this way? "We'll talk about this at school, okay?" I said shakily and stood up.
"No, Danny, wait!" he pulled me down.
"Take the call!" I snapped.
After letting a tear roll down his chubby cheeks, he released my hand, stood up and took the call. I got up and started to leave when,
"WHAT?!" Bruce exclaimed and I turned to look at his terrified expression. He started shaking, clearly he was on the edge of breaking down, "Oh, my God! No. . . No, no, no, no. . ."
Seconds passed. Bruce got his wallet out and paid the bill with shaking hands, leaving a generous amount of tip.
"But first I have to go to the -" he was cut by the caller. He kept shaking his head.
"Wait, Daniel? It reads Daniel Mockins?" he asked, surprised. "What has Danny got to do with this?"
"Bruce, what's happening?" I asked him. I was getting nervous just by looking at his tear-streaked face. He was shaking so badly, I grabbed his arm to steady him.
"Fine. Alright. OK. I'll be there in. . ." he choked, "I'll be there in 15 minutes." and as soon as he shut his phone, he broke down. It was heartbreaking to notice. I felt bad looking at the massive guy crying before me. He fell onto his chair, and drooped his massive shoulders, crying into the palms of his hands.
I squatted down and hugged him. I hugged him to me tight. His tears streaming onto the sleeve of my shirt. I hugged him, still. Let the people stare!
"Bruce, what's happening?" I breathed onto his neck with no comprehensive reply.
For minutes, he continued sobbing on my shoulders, muttering 'No' over and over and over again. Then, slowly, he looked at me - his face filled with pain and heartache - and spoke the words that, not once, have I expectected.
"Danny. . . she's gone, Danny. . . she's gone. . ."
*End of Chapter 7, Part Two*