Book 1 : FRESHMAN YEAR
Chapter 8 : A FRIEND'S REQUEST
"DANIEL CHRISTOPHER MOCKINS!" I heard my mom scream as soon as she heard the door slamming behind me. [Urgh. Wrong move, Daniel! You should've been in Stealth Mode! Well . . . it's too late for that now.] I saw my mom emerge from the kitchen with an apron around her waist, a butcher's knife in her hand and a crazy look twisting her already enraged features. "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?!"
"Mom-" I started.
"NO REPLIES! NO CALLS! NOTHING!" She continued, "FOR ALL I KNOW, YOU COULD'VE BEEN KIDNAPPED! YOU COULD'VE BEEN ROBBED! YOU COULD'VE BEEN RAPED! YOU COULD'VE BEEN KILLED! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?"
"MOM!" I barked. "I'm all right! I was with Bruce the whole night!"
"WHAT?!" A more enraged look washed over her face. "YOU WENT OUT ON A DATE WITH HIM 'ONCE' AND NOW YOU'RE TELLING ME YOU'RE ALREADY HAVING SEX WITH HIM?!"
"MOM! NO!" I retorted, "Bruce is straight! And how could you think of me like that?"
"THEN WHAT? WHAT SHOULD I THINK OF YOU, THEN, YOUNG MAN? I WAS UP TILL THREE IN THE MORNING . . . WAITING FOR THE DOOR TO OPEN! I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE MORE RESPONSIBLE THAN THAT! BUT YOU NEVER EVEN TRIED TO-"
"BRUCE'S MOM DIED!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. Word for word.
She stood there - her breathing heavy, her mouth gaping, her eyes wide with shock. Silence passed as we stared at each other. I can her my heart beating as she opened her mouth, as if to speak, and closed it again.
"Bruce's mom died." I slowly repeated. "That was why I haven't managed to return your calls."
"Oh, my God . . . Lilybeth?" She gasped, backing down onto the nearest couch. She used a palm to cover her trembling lips, and the other to grip her shaking knees.
I sat beside her. "Yes, mom. Just last night. That was why I couldn't come home. Bruce, with his dad working somewhere on the east coast . . . and with no other relatives around . . . well, he needed someone . . . and I was there . . . so . . ."
"Oh, my God . . . Lilybeth," she muttered again. And then, as I wipe a tear streaking my face, my mind cleared a bit and I realized one thing.
"Wait . . . Mom?" I tentatively asked.
She didn't respond, she was now crouching on the couch, her face hidden in her hands.
"Mom?" I asked, "How did you know her name was Lilybeth?"
She instantly looked up, her face still filled with the shock that the news brought.
"Mom, how did you know her name was Lilybeth?" I demanded.
She laughed. "Oh . . . you know . . . um . . . I met Lily once . . . at the . . . uh . . . at your school . . ." She shakily replied. A single tear fell from her eye.
"Mom, why are you even crying?" I demanded. I have a feeling that there was something she wasn't telling me. "Why are you so disturbed by this news? You barely know the woman."
She suddenly looked up at me, her face filled with a pained expression. "Oh, Danny!" That's what she said before she rapidly walked towards me and hugged me to her tight, finally breaking down, and never answering my question.
Oookaaay . . . too emotional to reply. So, I just let it slip.
For now, at least.
After going through my mother's unexpected duh-ramah, I went up to my room - carrying the chest and the envelope in my hands - wondering about my mom's mind-boggling reaction.
I wonder what the story is behind all those tears. She can't have just 'met' Lily once at school and bawl upon hearing that she's dead. There's got to be more. You can't just cry for someone you barely know. Which reminds me . . .
"Keith . . ." I hesitated before continuing, "I know that you're angry at me right now . . . but I really wish that you'd try to listen and understand. We need to talk . . . you and me. You don't know the whole story . . . and . . . and I really want to fix this . . ." my voice trembled as tears threatened to fall, "I don't want a simple misunderstanding to destroy years and years of friendship . . . You're my best friend and . . . I can't afford to lose you, buddy . . . Please, Keith . . ." and I ended the voice message before I started to cry.
I sat on my bed and opened the envelope with trembling hands. As expected, a letter was inside. I took it out and held it in front of me. The scribbled handwriting on the paper, I assumed, was of Lilybeth Adams.
I took a deep breath and started reading.
Let me just tell you that I've started writing this letter since the night after you first visited me here at the hospital. I remember the exact moment when you came into my room, I didn't tell you then, but you reminded me of someone very special in my life. Not only in physique, but in how you relate and express yourself to others - especially to me.
You truly are a remarkable boy, Daniel! A remarkable young man. And I am glad that Bruce found a friend in you. Yes, Daniel, I know that neither of you would admit it, but believe me or not, you are both good for each other. Trust me when I say that.
I am writing this letter because I have a couple of favors to ask, Daniel. And I hope that they're not too much.
First, as you may have already known, a chest is to be passed on to you. This chest contains very precious items that I have acquired over the years - precious, for they represent both great monetary and sentimental values. As you open the chest, the very first thing that you will see is a band of envelopes. Please make sure that there are 15 of them. No more, no less. I trust that these letters would be delivered to Mary as soon as you take hold of them.'
WHAT? MARY? Is she talking about MY mom?
'And I also trust that you would not read nor even glance at its contents. It is very important that only she would read them. Though, let it be known that it is her own choice if she would convey with you or not the details in those letters.'
"What the fuck!" I muttered. My mom knew that Bruce's mom's name was Lily. And now, Lily tells me to give my mom her letters; which only concludes that, "They knew each other! They fucking knew each other and neither one told anyone about it! Fuck!"
And I continued reading.
'Under the letters are some of my jewelries. Do as you please with them, Daniel. They are all yours now. Well . . . except for ONE special item.
Within the jewelries, I want you to find a silver necklace. This necklace has a heart shaped locket with it. Like the letters, it should be handed to Mary. Please make sure that she accepts it. Please see to it that she takes it back.'
Takes it back? Hmmm . . . Interesting . . .
'The second favor that I ask of you is a very personal request. This request comes from a mother for her son.
Please take care of him, Daniel. Please be there for him. Bruce means so much to me and I don't want to see him led astray by his anger and sense of revenge towards the people that hurt him. I've seen him waste his time and energy trying to bully his way through school these months, and I ache for him - for there is nothing that we can prove nor accomplish with hatred and revenge. And I know that you can change his view on things. You're like that, Daniel. You change people.
I just want to see him happy, Daniel, and I know that only you can make it happen. I've seen him when he's with you and I am glad that he had the luck to meet you; because when you're with him, he is who he was years ago - the jolly, fun, and happy-go-lucky son that I so longed to return back to me.
And though, sometimes, you may bring out the worst in him, Danny, it is very evident now that he is also at his very best when he's with you. You have this . . . effect on him.
Most of all, I want him to learn how to love. I want him to be loved - because there is only one word that frees us of all the weight, the hatred, the pain and the anger that we have in life. That word is LOVE, Daniel. And I want you to teach him that.
Remember, Danny, you are both good for each other. Great, even. Keep each other safe. And tell him that I love him. I love the both of you.
I had fun, Daniel!
Always and forever,
P.S. That punch you gave him made a great change. And as horrible as it may sound, I want to thank you for that.'
Curiosity and, yes, I admit, a huge deal of temptation, were creeping along my fingertips as I sat on my bed and fumbled with the key to open the antique-looking chest. It looked as if it was made during the age where no woman wore dresses with hemlines higher than their kneecaps, and I can't think of anything but wonder how the men during that age could find their vaginas with this crazy mantelpiece covering them all up.
"This thing's fucking ancient." I muttered as the lock clicked. I slowly opened and saw that what Lily wrote was true - the very first things that caught my attention were the envelopes. They were tied together by a silky, red ribbon. I took them into my hands and noticed that the first one on top had a year written on its upper-right corner. I inspected the others. All fifteen of them had years written on them - starting from the year 1995 to the year 2009. This'll take a lot of time to read, I thought - especially that my mom would be the one reading them. The most that she has read lately, I think, were the recipe books that she bought from the local bookstore.
As much as I was tempted to open just one, I didn't want to break the trust that Lily has indisputably given me. This thought made me tear up again. "Shit, Lily! If you can hear me, I just want to say that I'm fucking pissed with you . . . making me cry and shit like a freaking two-year old!" I chuckled at myself. "Shit!"
I placed the letters on top of my pillow and moved on to the next task - finding the silver necklace.
Lily specifically mentioned that everything inside the chest was mine (which I still find very hard to believe). Well, everything except for the letters and for the necklace. They were supposed to be handed over to my mom. Which is really, really weird. I didn't even know that they knew each other. And now Lily's handing her over letters and a silver necklace like they're old pals or something.
Hmmm . . . maybe . . . Whatever! It's their business, not mine. But I promise to know as much as I can. I'll be bugging my mom for the rest of her life if I had to.
Now that I was looking more closely into the chest, reality finally sunk in and my eyes gaped with shock! FUCK!
"Shit! These can't be all mine! What am I going to do with these?!" my voice went two octaves higher as I saw various jewels and accessories filling the space that the envelopes haven't occupied. There were necklaces, bracelets, anklets, rings, earrings, trinkets, crowns, all of which fashionably embedded with different stones like rubies, jades, diamonds, sapphires, amethysts, obsidians, and fuck, you name it! There were even golden coins in it! "This is a fucking treasure chest! Fuck! If I had this kind of wealth, I'd buy a mansion and I'd send my son to the best school in town. Hell, I'd send him to the best school in the world!"
I tried to look for the necklace that Lily wanted my mom to have.
"Heart shaped locket. Heart shaped locket. Heart shaped locket." I mumbled repeatedly as I searched for it. I tried shoving the other items to one side but it was pointless, they just fell over and mixed with the other yet-to-be-inspected jewels. So, I changed my strategy. Every time I inspected an object and concluded that it wasn't what I was looking for, I would lay it on my bed and move on to the next one. So, in the end, my room looked like a queen's treasure chamber. Which I thought was kinda sexy. Heehee . . .
And then, I saw it.
It was a very stylish silver necklace. But it was the locket that caught my attention. It was a heart, alright. I took it into my hands and felt the coolness of the object. It was light, almost featherlike. And it glimmered as the light shines on its smooth, slick, lustrous surface.
I opened it and I got the greatest shock of my life. Well, not really, but I was still shocked.
Anyways . . . Placed on one side of the locket was MY mom's photo. Well, I guess it was her when she was younger - Senior Year, perhaps. She was really beautiful. Quite the stunner. A real breath taker.
But when I looked at the other half - BAM! My eyes practically shot out of their sockets. My mom was in the photo, yes. But in this one, she was all wrapped up in the arms of a man. Whilst absorbed in each other's arms, they were staring at each other - you know, just like how couples in cheesy romantic movies looked at each other during the 'Happy Ending' scenes. God, was I jealous.
Then, as I looked at him more, I realized something. The guy smiling at her in the photo looked exactly like ME! Though he looked a bit more athletic, muscular, and a bit taller, his face, that angelic face, that smile - he was me!
"Dad," I breathed as it hit me. I examined the photo more closely, "Wow."
It was really sweet and, at the same time, creepy looking at my mom and dad in their youths. Especially that it was in a locket. A heart shaped locket. They looked really happy. And now I wonder why they didn't marry? We would've become a one, big happy family then if they did. I'd have to ask mom. And, if possible, I'd have to ask dad.
But the question that bugged me more right now was something entirely different.
Why was this locket in Lilybeth Adams' possession?
FUCK! My head is a mass of mush! What the hell am I missing here? What are they not telling me? What's with all these secrets? FUCK!
"MOM!" I shouted as I sprinted down the stairs, carrying the envelopes in one hand and the silver necklace in the other.
"I'm in the kitchen, honey." She weakly replied. "What is it?"
"WE. NEED. TO. TALK!"
"Are we playing Cop-and-Suspect here? Because I got a lot of more important things to do in the kitchen. What's with all the questions, Daniel?" my mom asked, irritated.
"Here are the ground rules, mom." I seriously replied, "A) I ask the questions here and you answer, 2) There are a few special items that someone wants me to pass on to you, but if you don't answer my questions honestly, they'd go bye-bye before you even say Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism."
"And D) Don't even try not answering my questions, cause I know and you know and even Stephanie knows that I would just bug you with them for the rest of your mere mortal life. So, you better answer them here and now." I paused for dramatic effect, "Now, are we clear on that?"
She rolled her eyes, muttered, "Sir, yes, Sir!" and did a hand salute.
"Good!" I smiled at myself, "And we're not role playing here . . . this is serious drama, Mom."
"Fine, whatever you say." She rolled her eyes again.
"Let's get back to business, shall we?" I said, "Now . . . question one: How did you know Lilybeth Adams?" I sounded, felt, and acted like a lawyer in a court trial and it excited my 15-almost-16-year old guts! "And don't tell me that you met her in my school or in the grocery or in the mall, 'cause I ain't gonna buy it."
She took a deep breath and started.
"Lilybeth Stewart," she sighed. "That was her maiden name. We went to High School together. Back when my family was still in New York. I spent almost four years of my life with Lily." and then she broke down in tears, "She was my best friend, Daniel . . . God, why does it have to be Lily?!"
Best friend? Whoa! That's news! And 'Why does it have to be Lily?' What does she mean by that? Is she talking about her sickness? About her death? What?
She continued with her sobs while I, upon hearing the news and put one and one together, managed my breathing. FUCK! They were best friends? Lily never mentioned anything about my mom . . . she didn't mention anything about her High School years, either. I wonder what had happened.
"Lily was a silent type of girl," I heard my mom's rasping voice continue, "She was almost called a loner, you know. But I knew her better. She is the greatest person that I have ever met. She's so bubbly and energetic, she's so charming and full of wonderful ideas, she's kind and she's got this smile that makes her look like she has no worries or something. She's the smartest girl I know, too!" She laughed for a bit, "While I was the Head Cheerleader, she was the President of almost every organization in school." she laughed again and had this faraway look on her face, "I really am amazed of the fact that we - opposites that we were - became best of friends! Lily . . . Oh, Lily . . ."
And she bent her head and cried.
"God, Danny, why does it have to be her?!" she screamed her agony.
There goes that question again. Hmmm . . .
"Mom, it's alright," I approached her and held her hand. I caressed her trembling shoulders and repeated the mantra "It's going to be alright."
What the hell is happening? I seem to be comforting quite a lot of people nowadays - hugs here, hugs there, hugs everywhere - it's driving me crazy!
"Mom. Here," I handed her the envelopes. "She meant for me to give these to you."
"She? Lily? What are these for?" she asked as she saw the envelopes.
I just shrugged. "Beats me. She didn't want me to read them. Says they're for your eyes only."
"Really?" she sounded out of breath. And she took the envelopes and twirled it around her trembling hands.
"And there's one more thing," I added, "She's giving you this, too. Or returning it. Or whatever." I held the necklace out for her.
And as she saw the object, her eyes bulged out of their sockets. It was like she was seeing a ghost or something. But instead of fear, happiness sparkled in her deep brown eyes.
"My necklace!" she happily gasped.
My hunch was right. It was hers.
"I knew it." I sounded my thoughts, "Which leads me to my next question. Why was it in Lily's possession, mom?"
She took the locket, stood up, and gawked at me.
"That is for me to know and for you to not mind."
"But, mom-" I whined.
"Enough with the questions, Daniel." she sternly interrupted. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have lot of reading to do."
And as she sauntered across the living room and closed her bedroom door, she turned to smile at me.
At least someone's happy.
SHIT! Now what?
Wednesday, 18th of February, 2010
A chilly breeze was blowing, bringing with it a slight downpour of rain. We were all dressed in black. I was amazed at the number of people who attended. I guess I didn't expect Lily to have met so many.
My eyes swept the place, looking across the crowd of individuals, realizing that there were familiar faces amongst it. There was Mr. Simmons, the Adams' 60-ish-year old neighbor to whom I had a conversation once. There was Principal Harks and a few members of the faculty - including Mrs. Elmers, of course. Some of our classmates were there. I was real glad that they found the time. Even a handful of the people that Bruce used to bully were there, too. Unbelievable! And there, too, were a few of Bruce's mates from the Football team. The other faces were alien. And, oh, I almost forgot. My sister and my mom were present, too. So were Luke Princeton and the twins Jake and Blake Collins.
Moments later, the place, though filled, was masked with an eerie silence. It was so quiet I could've sworn I'd gone deaf. A leaf would have fallen and all of us would have heard it.
After a few minutes of constant silence, the priest started the memorial service. I don't remember much about what the priest was saying. But I guess it was the usual stuff that they say in the movies.
I was more concerned with another thing. If it was my mom lying in there, I would've been bawling and howling and screaming and thrashing and cursing God and everybody else by now. But, not Bruce. I was sitting beside him, unconsciously holding his right hand. He was physically here with me, but the blank look in his face suggested that he'd gone off someplace else. Someplace rather than reality. I squeezed his hand. A small gesture to tell him to come back. He slightly turned to look at me and I saw the pain draining the life from his icy-blue eyes. I squeezed his hand harder. Physically telling him that I was there and he was not alone. He squeezed back and a hint of a smile momentarily crossed his face. But it was only temporary as the pain settled back again.
The service continued.
I know I shouldn't gape and stare during a funeral, but as this really tall, hot-looking, hunk of a guy stood on the podium, I forgot where I was and the pain and devastation that I felt was instantly replaced with raw lust and admiration. He was one of the many people who gave a speech about Lily and I loved listening to his warm, rich and, almost, seductive voice as he delivered.
You're in a funeral, Daniel. Behave! I scolded myself. I repressed my feelings and reminded myself of why I was there.
"Funeral. Funeral. Funeral. Sexy, hot stud - NO! Funeral. Funeral. Funeral." I kept repeating the word in my mind.
As Lily's casket was lowered into the ground, Bruce stood up and hurriedly left. Just like that.
"Bruce," I tried to minimize my voice as I called him, but a fair few people still heard me. Whatever! I stood up and followed. He made his way out of the gathering and went on to a tree at the very far end of the cemetery then sat and leant onto it.
"Please, Danny, I don't want to talk right now."
Words were not a good enough choice right now, so I sat beside him and watched the crowd slowly disperse.
We sat there for a long time - neither knowing what words to say. I didn't know if I should cheer him up, comfort him, stay with him, leave him be, converse with him. I was a bit lost. I don't even know why I followed him here.
"Hey," someone softly spoke.
I looked to my right and inadvertently gasped. There stood the very hot-looking guy who gave the speech awhile ago. From afar he was incredibly huge and definitely appealing, but now that he's standing only a few yards from where I was, I can't help but notice how ripped and muscled he really was. And fuck as hell, he was ruggedly handsome, for lack of better words to use. Think 'Chris Evans' and you'll know what I'm talking about. Sexy, fucking Chris Evans!
"Uh. . ." was my very intelligent reply. Shit! I hope I wasn't blushing! Why is he here? My loins was starting to tingle with anticipation.
"I was wondering where you and Bruce went to," He said with a warm smile. Then he saw Bruce's tear-streaked face, "Come here, big guy."
Bruce stood up and threw himself into the man's waiting arms and started bawling, "Oh, Uncle Bill. Mom's gone. She's gone, Uncle Bill. . ."
I know I should be concerned with Bruce right now, but I can't help but gape at how ripped and godlike the guy was. His biceps were straining the black shirt he was wearing. The muscles in his arms were greatly defined and his veins were popping here and there. His substantial neck was as thick as his head! And Fuck! I also thought about how comfortable it would be to lay your head on those thick slabs of meat settling on his rib cage. And to hold that muscular back. And to stroke those rippled abs. And to squeeze that firm bubble butt. Even though I couldn't see them, I know that they're there. Just waiting to be licked and worshipped by someone like me.
To say the least, I was a bit jealous of Bruce. I wanted Uncle Bill, I mean, I wanted an uncle, too!
"It's okay, Bruce," the guy cooed. "It's okay."
I just stood there taking the scene like I was watching a drama series or something. Then, Chris Evans' startlingly electric blue eyes looked at me, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm William McClane, by the way," He said over Bruce's shoulder and extended his hand to mine. "I'm his uncle." We shook and for a few seconds I relished the moment when our fingers touched. Fuck, his were really thick and huge! He completely engulfed mine! I wondered how they would feel like touching my body, kneading my butt, stroking my . . . OH, SHIT! I can feel my cock leaking pre-cum!
"Oh, God, I thought I told you to contain yourself!" In my mind, I scolded my raging hard-on.
"Um . . . I'm Daniel . . . Um . . . Daniel Mockins." I managed as I discreetly tried to reposition my unbelievably hard dick through my jeans.
"Nice to meet you, Daniel-Um-Daniel-Mockins," he joked and gave me a warm smile. I giggled. SHIT! What is it with Bruce, his relatives, and that dick-hardening smile of theirs? Are they genetically modified to have perfect smiles to boost up little gay boys' fantasies? FUCK!
"I never thought you could come," I heard Bruce mutter. "I thought you were busy moving in with Uncle Doug."
WHOA! WHAT. THE. FUCK? Moving in? With 'Uncle Doug'? Did I hear that right? Does that mean what I think it means? Is he-?
"Daniel, breathe." I saw William looking at my awed, but nonetheless, puzzled expression. He looked amused. And I breathed. "And to answer your un-asked-yet-obviously-lurking-in-your-eyes questions, yes, Daniel, I am gay. I have a wonderful partner named Douglas and we have a son named Richard."
I was sure my mouth formed a perfect circle. William just laughed at my expression.
Then he turned to Bruce, "And speaking of moving - we're moving here. In California. With you." He paused for Bruce's reaction, "Though Doug will have to wait till Rickie finishes this term, then they'll move in here with us, too."
"What? You're moving in? With me? Now?" Bruce was surprised.
"But . . . Why didn't you tell me sooner? Don't I have a say in this?" Bruce exclaimed, and then his expression changed. He got an angry scowl on his face, "Did Dad ask you to do this, Uncle Bill? Did he set this up?" He plainly asked.
William took a deep breath then held both of Bruce's shoulders. "I don't have to lie. Yes. He asked. But it'll be for your own good, Bruce. And, anyway, we liked the idea. Doug wants a new working environment. Rickie wants a new school to worship his 'beauty'," he made air-quotes.
I guess they're a very 'gay' family, then.
"And I want to be able to take care of you." He finished.
Bruce slumped his shoulders and nodded, obviously thinking.
A few minutes of silence later, he replied, "Fine. But you better tell him that I hate him. I know you're here to look after me, Uncle Bill, and I really appreciate that, but tell him that this should have been a perfect chance for him to prove himself as my dad - and not just my father!" And, again, he started crying. Then he stomped towards the cemetery's parking lot.
I looked apologetically at William. "I'm so sorry for that, Sir. It's just that . . . he's so stressed right now . . . and . . ."
"Oh, no need for apologies, Daniel. I understand what he's going through." He said, "And please call me William, or Bill. 'Sir' makes me feel old." He smiled and gave me a wink.
I smiled back and nodded, "Okay, William."
As I neared the parking lot, my heart hammered as I saw a VERY unexpected scenario.
There, stood Bruce talking to another boy. The boy was explaining something incomprehensible and Bruce was nodding. And then they hugged.
I gapped the distance.
"What are you doing here?" I sourly asked the boy as I stopped behind him. William was following behind.
The boy turned around and approached me, "Daniel," he gasped. "I'm a fucking prick and I deserve to be kicked on the balls." He said.
"You know what? I just might take you on that offer!" I heatedly answered.
He looked at his feet and mumbled.
"What?" I asked.
"I said [gibberish]. . ." he continued.
"KEITH! Spit that out or I'll fucking cut your balls off and bury them in the concrete! Right here! Right now!"
"I SAID I'M SORRY, OKAY?" he shouted.
"Then, why are you shouting?" I retorted.
"I AM NOT SHOUTING . . ." I raised an eyebrow, "I'm just . . . expressing a point. Look, Danny, I'm so sorry. I wasn't thinking clear that night. And I regret the things that I said. Please . . . I'm really sorry."
"You're sorry?" I looked at him, all cute and pouting and shuffling on his feet like a little child waiting for his Christmas gift. Then I launched at him, wrapped an arm around his neck and repeatedly punched his head. "FIRST, YOU ACCUSE ME OF SOMETHING I WOULDN'T DO . . . THEN, YOU THREATENED TO BREAK OUR FRIENDSHIP . . . AND NOT TO MENTION LAST FRIDAY YOU LEFT ME SHOUTING AND SCREAMING AFTER YOU LIKE I WAS A FUCKING MADMAN . . ." He was spinning around as he tried to push me off and shouted for me to stop, but I clung like a fucking ninja. I went on, "THEN, YOU IGNORE ALL OF MY MESSAGES, ALL OF MY EMAILS, AND ALL OF MY CALLS . . . AND NOW YOU'RE SAYING YOU'RE SORRY? NOW YOU'RE ASKING FOR MY FORGIVENESS?" I continued pounding his head. "WHAT MAKES YOU FUCKING THINK THAT I WOULD FUCKING FORGIVE YOU, KEITH? HUH?"
"BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME, DANNY! THAT'S WHY!" He shouted, and that made me stop.
We were both breathing hard.
"What?" I exhaled. I was still clinging onto his back so I couldn't see his face. I, on the other hand, was undoubtedly a very deep shade of scarlet. I saw Bruce looking at me. His expression was impassive. Almost robot-like. Then he motioned for William to follow him to the car.
"What do you mean?" I gasped.
"I meant . . . we're best friends and . . . well, best friends love each other, right?" He stuttered. "And would you get off my back, please? You're heavier than you think." He slightly chuckled.
I looked at Bruce's departing figure and I shook my head. URGH! Why am I even thinking of him when I have Keith to deal with?
Oh, ignore him, Danny. Like you said, you've got Keith to deal with now.
I got off and Keith slowly turned to look at me.
"You love me, right?" He asked me again, a hint of a smile playing on his lips, "'Cause I know damn well that I love you, buddy!"
I melted deep inside. All of my hatred, all of my anger, all of my fury just suddenly disappeared. All that I can see now is the boy standing before me, asking for my forgiveness, taking all the courage that he can find to admit to his faults and ask for forgiveness. I admire him more now than ever. And a dominant part of my subconscious was screaming for me to kiss my best friend right here in the middle of a cemetery! Oh, those lips! Those luscious, red lips! Oh, the temptation! Heaven help me!
"Right?" He asked again.
And then he smiled. And I knew then that my tough-guy act was bested.
"Oh, you fucking prick!" I spat at him, "This is unfair. You're unfair! You're impossible to hate, and you know that!" I shouted at him and he just smiled, "You know I love you, too . . . buddy!" I hastily added.
He broke into a shit-eating grin, and before I knew it, he swept me off my feet, and took me into his muscular arms, spinning us in the almost empty parking lot, both laughing like old fools, as the rain drizzled on us.
And at that moment, I don't know how I could have been more happier.
I got my buddy back!
*End of Chapter 8*
AUTHOR'S NOTE: "THE RUMOUR-FILLED TOTALLY FALSE ACCOUNT OF HOW I RUINED MY USED-TO-BE STRAIGHT AND FLAWLESS REPUTATION" . . . COMING SOON!