Hey guys!! I'm going ahead and posting this tonight. I have no idea how busy things are going to be tomorrow, Most likely crazy, as I have to work all day with some holiday party madness afterward. Look forward to a few guest posts this week and more Read My Mind near the end of the week. To those of you asking about Telija, please be kind to me. My schedule at work is absolute insanity. I'm trying to push out Cade as hard as I can right now. So please forgive the delay.
There's a lot going on right now and I'm trying to make the next Telija post the final one. So for me, please put on a happy little face, and go with the flow. You'll get it when it's ready. I love you all and I'm missing comments from all my little stalkers. During this crazy season, I love hearing from you, even if I don't get time to respond to you all, know that I absolutely look forward to anything you send me. Well wishes and hoping your surviving this season, wherever you might be~
XOXO NIGHT TEMPEST
Some of you may have seen that I posted this elsewhere already, but this song inspired this week's post. Flames by VAST. Enjoy. P.S. The images in the video are from a movie called Summer Storm. It's a coming out story. A foreign film, which I LOVE, but it was beautiful and I cried, and you should all watch it.
HEART FOR TRADE: WEEK 12
His hand shot out, gripping the door to slam it shut. The echo competed with the sound of his heartbeat, thumping in his ears. Ryan was mortified, heartbroken, and ready to collapse. He pushed Sam away, pulling up his pants, not caring if they were stained anymore. The shame staining his first intimate moment with Sam was far worse. Trembling, breathing through his closed teeth, he flipped the faucet handle up, and splashed water on his face to hide the tears.
“Ryan?” Sam wiped his mouth before running his hand over his jeans. “It’s okay.”
The blonde turned red-rimmed eyes to him. “No! It’s not okay. None of this is okay. They saw! I’m a fuck up and they… I can’t do this!”
“Who saw? What are you talking about?”
“Jarum and Benny!”
Ryan shook his head, sliding down the wall. He pointed a finger to the door and sobbed, shutting his eyes so tight, they burned. Gathering himself into a ball, Ryan put his face between his knees, and held on for dear life. Why did his life suck so much? Why couldn’t he enjoy anything? Why!
“Stay here,” Sam growled. “I’ll take care of this.” He opened the door, facing two shocked men, who immediately backed away. Sam shut the door behind him, freezing as the lock clicked, and Ryan’s muffled cry started again.
“Sam, we heard a scream. We didn’t know.” Benny put his hands up. “We thought…”
“And when you gathered everything was fine, you just stood there and watched!” Sam stalked forward, every muscle in his body strained in anger. “First you lie to me, big time lied, and now you watch us together, knowing it will fuck him up for life! Just because you start fucking around with men, doesn’t make it okay to share!”
Jarum’s face fell. He tried to push past Sam to get to his friend, hearing Ryan’s sobs. A hand forcefully pushed into his chest. His eyes slowly looked into narrowed green ones. Sam was pissed, very, very pissed.
“You make one move for that door and I’ll take your head off.”
Benny shoved his Commander away. “Sam. That’s enough! That’s his friend.”
“Is that right?” Sam stepped back. “Because friends don’t do, what you both just did. You especially.” Sam pointed at Jarum. “You knew how fragile he was. Didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what was going on, to back out of the room like you never heard. But no, you ruined what could have been something beautiful, a starting point. Now, because of you both, I’ll be lucky to ever touch him again, or get him to speak to me.” He whirled to the bathroom door. “Both of you get out. Get the fuck out!”
“Sam,” Benny pleaded. “We need to talk about this.”
“I have nothing to say to you. Get out.”
“Ryan!” Jarum called out. No reply. Not a word, or a cry, just silence. “Ryan,” Jarum whispered.
“He doesn’t want to talk to you, either.” Sam motioned for the door. “Grab your shit and get out. You can stay with Benny, seeing as how you enjoy each other’s company so much.”
“I’m so sorry,” Jarum tried. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t know.”
Sam shrugged, not trusting himself to speak anymore. He gripped the door handle, waiting as Jarum’s shoulders slumped, retrieving his pack from his bed. He walked out of the room, defeated.
“You’re going to regret this, Sam. I may have not told you some stuff, which apparently, you figured out, but Jarum had nothing to do with any of it. And truthfully, there are just some things that are none of your business. When you figure that out, and feel like shit for the way you treated us, over a legit mistake, don’t come knocking on my door … because we’ll have nothing to say to you.
“I thought I’d never see the day that you’d turn your back on me, after all the times I’ve been there for you. Through everything, but none of it matters now, does it? You don’t care about Ryan, Sam. You care about finally getting off and you don’t care who you hurt to get there. Desperate enough to throw over two decades of friendship in the trash for a man you’ve known all of two days.” Sam slapped him so hard, his left eye lost vision for a few seconds.
Cradling his burning cheek, Benny left without another word, flinching as the door almost slammed into his back. Jarum’s shoulders shook. His nose running and his eyes puffy, he allowed Benny to embrace him. It was no longer him and Ryan against the world, friends until the end. He was alone with a man he barely knew. Now, it was every man for his self. His heart broke.
Sam tried to get Ryan to open the door. Offers of food, coffee, books even, but none of it worked. Finally, he gave up, and sat on the floor against the door. He knew how it felt now. To be alienated from everything you knew, from those you loved. He had no idea what to expect next. Nothing would ever be the same from here on out. Just like Ryan had felt, the minute he’d given himself up for the ad, Sam now knew what it meant to feel hopeless.
Sam did the one thing he always did when he was nervous, and scared. He talked. “My dad was so much better at being commander than I am. It’s like he was born to lead. Just like your dad, Ryan. Bart’s got that way about him too. Almost as if he can see everything mapped out in his head, knows he’s going to have to deal with the hard stuff, but doesn’t let it show. But your dad actually did show it, was man enough to admit he was hurting. My dad? I knew he loved me, but the mission was equally, if not more important.
“Since I was born, my life’s been pretty straight forward. I was being groomed to take over, to lead the next generation. Everything fell on my shoulders, all the mistakes in the past, the mission, saving the world. All of it, Ryan. The one thing that was all me, my dream that no one else could relate to, was to have to a boy love me back. My father wouldn’t talk about it, but he never made fun of me or shunned me. So I threw myself into the mission, to make up for my need somehow. To please him, I guess. My mother tried to understand, but when I was twelve, she died giving birth to my little brother. Dominic only lived for ten hours before his heart stopped. They couldn’t bring him back. My father shut down after that, and I didn’t have anyone to comfort me, or to make sense of the way I felt.”
On the other side of the door, Ryan lifted his head from the floor, and put a hand to the door quietly. He couldn’t say anything. His voice was didn’t seem to work and his eyes were too puffy to keep open. He lay back down on the tile, keeping his palm at the bottom of the door.
Sam cleared his throat, pulling his knees to his chest. “But there was always Benny. Two years younger than me, and he understood the way I felt, or cared enough to try, even really young. He didn’t have anyone either. A pair of soldiers found him in the woods one night on a routine security check. Just a baby, he was freezing, crying. They brought him to the base, and Yvonne took care of him for the most part. After we got a little older, we were inseparable. We told each other everything, played, slept, and eventually went into training. We we’re gonna save the world together.
“Like Jarum is to you, Benny is to me. If the world was going down again, he’d be right there holding my hand. He let me cry when it got too hard. He was man enough to give a shit. When everyone else acted like my little problem didn’t exist. I knew they cared about me as a person, but they just didn’t know how to deal with what seemed impossible to fix. There was no one else like me, Ryan, no other gay man on the base. Trust me, I’d tried. Sometimes lost friends over it too, but now it’s different. I’m their Commander. They have to care now.
“When I was younger, I’d been so tempted to visit the pond. Just like Jarum. I’d heard the stories, but I couldn’t risk it. I’d worked too hard to take over for my father. And when he died of a heart attack, I gave up hoping for another man. I’d never had one, so what I was honestly missing? But it was Benny who found out about the ads. He was the one who promised he’d find me someone to … I give up.” Sam put his head down.
“I’m fucking crazy, Ry. I can’t make someone love me. No matter how much I want that. No matter how hard he tried. No matter what he did to get me here, I can’t do it anymore. We’re just desperate people, in a fucked up world, with so many risks that love doesn’t even exist anymore. It’s all about needs and fulfillment. I can’t even give you that, because I want more than just sex. I can’t even find a fucking password to get us out of this mess. How am I supposed to take care of you?”
He wiped his face, utterly devastated because it was all true. “Just pack your things and be ready to go in twenty. No catch. Keep the supplies we gave your father. You can go home.” He stood, walking to Ryan’s bed. The little dog figurine on the floor, he bent and picked it up. “I’m so sorry that I hurt you. I can’t seem to catch a break. Though, I suppose I knew none of this would be easy. But I hoped that it would work out. I just needed you so badly. I’m not even scared to admit that. And even though we’ve only known each other for a little while, I’ll miss you, Ryan.” He put the carving in his pocket, going to leave, just as the bathroom door clicked opened.
Ryan continued to lie there, scooting over a bit for the door. He was tired of running away, emotionally and physically. He too was tired of being alone, just like Sam. Yes, Jarum had ruined his moment. Yes, it hurt to show how weak he was to a man like Sam. But if the Commander could open up like that, reveal so many heartbreaking things in a matter of minutes, so could he. He had agreed to this. He had done this for his family, but truthfully, he had wanted to go with Sam. It was time to grow up now.
“My mom died too,” he rasped, slowly propping up on his elbow. “She was the one who taught me to read ... the books.” He put his face against his arm. “She tried her best to help me when things got really hard. She always prayed that I would find…” Could he admit this to Sam? Could he bridge the gap that had crumbled between them?
Slowly, Sam approached the open door, desperately wanting to comfort Ryan. “That you would find what?”
“Someone like you.” Ryan hid his face.
Sam slid to his knees, grazing his fingers over Ryan’s back. “And what did you pray for?”
Taking a deep breath, Ryan sat up. “You.”
“Then there must be a God,” Sam whispered, leaning in. “Because I prayed for you too.”
Ryan’s small gasp was sucked away with Sam’s lips. He closed his eyes. His body stiff at first, but slowly, he gave way to the arms wrapping him up. No tongue this time. No grabbing out of desperation. Slow. Lips opening and closing to heal the wounds created so suddenly, and to begin to mend the ones that had been there for far too long. Ryan’s legs slid over Sam’s thighs. His arms went around the Commander’s neck, fingers teasing the long braid down his back. The kiss, so sweet and innocent, lasted for only a moment more before they pulled away. Foreheads touching, they held onto each other.
“I thought you’d been with others.” Ryan licked his lips. “You seemed more…”
“No. I’ve just had a lot of time to fantasize, Ryan. I got carried away, and I’m sorry if I scared you.”
Ryan shook his head. “You didn’t scare me. I was scared you would find out about my problem. I wanted my first time to be perfect. I’m the one who should be sorry.”
“We’ll get through that when you’re ready. I don’t want to talk about sex. I just want it to happen when the time is right, when we both feel it. Right now, I’m more concerned with how you feel with what I did. I may have done something really bad. I freaked about Jarum and Benny. I’m mad, but I’m not. I shouldn’t be pissed, Ryan. He had every right to keep it from me. It’s his life, but I feel betrayed. I don’t know how to even fix it. I keep ruining things for you, not helping you like I promised. Jarum was just worried about you.” He sighed.
“Me and Jarum have been through a lot, Sam. But this is different. In the back of my head, I know we’re still friends. I know nothing can break us apart, not even words.” Ryan put a hand to Sam’s chest. “This is going to sound hateful, but I think we need some time apart. We’ve always been at each other’s side. We’ve never had the chance to find ourselves because we we’re always stuck. I want him to see what’s out there, without me because he always thinks about me first. I want him to grow up and make his own decisions, not ones based on survival or because of me. If Benny is what he wants, he needs to choose that for himself. He needs time to figure it out, and grow up. And … so do I.”
“I don’t want you to break apart, Ryan. I said some shit that I didn’t mean. I was angry. You shouldn’t take it out on them. I need to go and apologize.”
“No. You don’t. You said what you felt, Sam. Maybe not the correct way, but you meant those words. You weren’t trying to get in my pants. You were angry and you were trying to protect me. Benny should have told you about Jarum. I agree with you, but I think we all need some time to cool down first, alone time. I freaked out. They were probably just as shocked as I was. But maybe this happened for a reason.”
“You don’t know Benny. He’s never going to speak to me again.”
“Yes, he will, because he’s just like Jarum, resilient to the core, a survivor that will always need his brother.” Ryan studied Sam’s face. He saw a man that didn’t know what to do. A man that wanted to make everyone happy and put his own needs aside. Just like him. “My mom used to say, we all need to walk our own path before we meet up at the end.”
Sam smiled a little, thinking on it for a second. “Then will you walk with me?” He held out his hand.
Ryan untangled his legs, putting his hand in Sam’s without hesitation. Hauled to his feet, he nodded silently. They spent the next few minutes gathering Ryan’s things. His pack settled on his back, and Sam’s arms full as he held open the door, Ryan turned to the empty room before shutting off the lights.
“Thank you, mom,” he whispered to the dark. The door eased shut behind him, as he and Sam went to walk their new path together.
TO BE CONTINUED…