As I felt a few tears roll down my cheeks, I rushed to wipe them away and straighten up before I made an even bigger clown out of myself for the evening. "I'm sorry. I just get myself all mixed up thinking about this stuff. If you think I do this without having a conscience about it, you'd be wrong."
He looked at me with a smirk. "This is the real deal, isn't it? You're really in love with the kid. Aren't ya?"
"I am. I've never felt this way about anybody before. As much as it hurts, I can't stop. Not now."
Jack gave me a hug and said, "Well, thank God for closed doors and kept secrets then." He ruffled the hair on my head before standing up from the couch. "I'm going to bed. I suggest you do the same. I'll get you up at seven. Deal?" I agreed, feeling my head swim as he tossed me a few pillows and a blanket from the hall closet. "And drink the rest of what's in that cup. I ain't got liquor to waste, bitch!"
"Yes, sir." I grinned.
"G'night." He said.
"Hey, Jack? Thanks for listening. I know this is weird for you." I said.
"Whatever. Just know that the second the bounty on your head gets high enough to cover my rent for a month, I'm giving you up in a heartbeat."
"Hehehe, if I go to jail, will you set me up with a conjugal visit?"
Jack scoffed. "Now how do you expect me to sneak a live SHEEP passed the prison guards? You've gotta think, man."
"So I'm having sex with sheep now?"
"You're having sex with little boys, aren't you? Slippery slope, dude!" He giggled, and waved me off as he went into his bedroom and shut the door.
I turned off the lights in the apartment, but there was enough illumination coming in through the window from the city streetlights for me to still see what I was doing. My cup was still pretty full and the alcohol was pretty strong, so I didn't want to try to rush it down for fear that it would make me sick. So I just sat over by the window and sipped it slowly while looking outside. Thinking. Always thinking.
I found myself smiling, even snickering to myself, as I thought about how infatuated I was with Dustin the first time he came walking into our store. The bright blond hair, those deliciously pink lips, those mesmerizing neon blue eyes. Even now, I could feel my heartbeat speeding up as if he were crossing my vision for the first time. I thought about us pawing at Smitty's gate while waiting for him to open up for us, and our lunch dates together. I thought about seeing his smile when some movie slasher cut up a victim when I took him to the movies, or when he tricked me into cooking spaghetti at his house when his parents were out of town. I took another sip, and giggled to myself as I thought about the way Dustin climbed into my lap in the front seat of my car and kissed me so passionately...and the way we jumped when that sweet ass of his hit the horn! Hahaha! I'm lucky I'm not locked up already. I thought about the way he always fidgeted slightly before getting the courage to say 'I love you', and the way he responded to even the most random touch. I thought about the first time we made love...and how we took our time to do it right. It was a moment that he'll remember favorably for the rest of his life. And so will I.
I spent the better part of an hour just thinking about the love in my heart, and how the threat of serious trouble didn't make Dustin any less desirable. Any less irresistible. If anything, it proved to me, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that my love for him was real. Who would risk their freedom for a random notch on their bedpost? I just wanted him to be ok. I needed him to be safe. I might be setting myself up for something terrible...but I'm going back to the hospital tomorrow and visiting his room. As soon as I get off of work. I won't stay long, I just need him to know that I'm there for him. That I care. And that I can't wait for him to come home.
My eyes were half closed and my last trip to the bathroom to pee was so wobbly that it might as well have been a circus tightrope act. Hehehe, but I finished my drink, and practically fell back on the couch, kicking my shoes off and pulling the blanket up to my neck as I tried to get in a few solid hours of sleep before morning. I knew that I was going to pay for being up so late tomorrow, but it was worth it. For the first time, I felt like less of a creep and a pervert about this paranoid fiasco. And the alcohol might be a definite factor in me passing out, but I'd like to think that talking openly about Dustin is what helped me to get the best night's sleep that I've had in months.
Waking up again, however...was not an easy task at all.
If my throat had been dry enough to nearly choke me to death, I might have just laid there on that couch with my eyes closed for another 12 hours at least. I can't really say that I had much of a headache, because my whole body was too drained of energy to even bother to throb and ache like a normal hangover is supposed to. Note to self...wine and whiskey do NOT make a cute couple!
Once I was able to squirm into an upright position and rub my eyes, I noticed the amount of sunlight coming in through the living room window, and suddenly began to panic! What time was it! Holy shit! I thought Jack was going to wake me up in time for work! What the fuck? I've got to get out of here! Where are my shoes? Shit...I need to wash up! Where are my keys? Do I still have my keys???
That's when I looked at the coffee table in front of me, and I saw a note taped to the empty wine bottle from last night. It was from Jack.
"I can tell from the way you were snoring this morning that you weren't going to be able to work this morning. So I'm taking your morning hours today. I'd say you owed me one, but I could honestly use the extra cash. Consider it a fair trade. Drink plenty of water, an extra house key is on the rack next to the front door, and if you take a shower (Prolly a good idea)...clean out the tub! I can't stand a dirty tub! Catch ya later, ya big ol' drunk!"
Hehehe, bastard. Still...it was a huge sigh of relief, seeing I was way too groggy to get up and get moving with any sort of purpose. My arms and legs fell limp at my sides, and I just leaned my head back to stare at the ceiling for a few minutes...hoping that I'd have the strength to get up and wash this grimy sweat and liquor film off of me.
So...what's the plan now? Should I just hang around Jack's apartment all day and wait for him to come home? Should I call him at work and thank him for covering my shift? Should I do what my body is telling me to do, and thank the stars that I can roll over and go right back to sleep? I really could have taken advantage of my much needed, totally unexpected, day off from work. But...as I sat there on that couch, I realized that a different plan needed to be put in motion. One where I didn't just sneak out of a hospital, leaving someone I loved with all my heart to fend for himself because I was too scared to face the consequences of putting him there in the first place. That wasn't fair to Dustin. What if he's scared? What if he's mad at me? Hell, what if he's just bored and needs me to bring him a smile? Isn't that what I signed up for with that first kiss? Isn't that what I promised him when I said 'I love you' for the first time? I know that we have to keep things quiet, and I know that secrets get heavier the longer you carry them...but I just can't be the guy who turns tail the second my feelings for him conflict with the problems and judgement that may come from me making things right.
Still a bit woozy, I stood up on my feet, and I walked towards the bathroom. Jack had already put out a towel and washcloth on the edge of the sink for me, and I caught myself smiling as I looked at myself in the mirror.
A quick shower, maybe a cup of coffee from the cafe down the street...and then I'm going to go see him. My Dustin.
God, I hope I'm doing this right...
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