JESS AND DEREK’S JOURNEY - PLOTTING

POSTED:   4/2/12... Written by Andy

DEREK’S POV

I'm walking down the street in this out of the way town. It had been about a month since Samuel said no to my proposal. I couldn’t believe he would say that. When I asked, I was almost certain he would agree to be my husband.

His excuse was, because it is not legal in this state, and he wanted to be right with the law. I couldn’t believe he cares more about how society sees our relationship, than making me feel better. I had to leave him there. He understood and drove back home. I meandered throughout the month thinking and trying to collect myself. I found people who may need my help, but thoughts about my future stopped me from approaching these people. I just stayed in the hotels and motels and kept to myself.
Now, I found myself in a quaint restaurant called Bob’s. I noticed the booths were full, so I went and sat at the bar. Two guys in their twenties were making a drink for another patron.

“Howdy partner,” one called over to me. He looked to his companion, who looked back at him.

“Well…” the first one said.

“Well, what?” the other one responded.

“Take his order.”

“Why should I? You were the one who said, ‘Howdy, Partner.’”

“Because all you were doing was standing around whistling that annoying song.”

“Excuse me for being annoying.”

“I didn’t call you annoying. I said that song was annoying.”

“What’s wrong with the song?”

“Forget the song; just take the man’s order.”

“Who says he wants to order something.”

“I don’t know? Have you asked him?”

“Fine, I am going to ask him.”  The companion comes over and welcomes me. I couldn’t help but smile at their little banter. From time to time Samuel and I have had those little squabbles”

“Howdy, partner. I am Bobby, and that guy pretending to work is my partner, Rob.”

“Who said I was pretending.” Rob commented to his brother.

“I did. Just now. Is there something wrong with your hearing? Can we get you something to drink or eat?”

“Yeah, can I get a cheeseburger, a coke and fries?”  I answered politely. Bobby went to fill the order as Rob went to handle some customers in the main dining room.

“Are they always bickering like a married couple?” I asked the patron across the bar.

“Yep, they have been fighting like that since the day I started coming here, about 10 years ago. It’s one of the reasons I stay here. They make me laugh. Every Friday night, Bobby starts to tell a story when he was younger, and Rob will always interrupting him.”

“I see. It does sound like an interesting establishment.” I made sure to stick around for a bit.

Bobby came back with my order and asked if I would like anything else.  Rob comes back from checking on his guests, and says,“Stop waiting on him.”

“I am the waiter, it is what I do.”

“Wait on the others…”

“Why? You are doing a great job on your own.”

I spoke up, “So can you tell me who the place is named after? I am rather curious.”

“Robert was Bobby’s dad. He passed away about 10 years ago, and in his will he left the restaurant to me and him.”

“I am sorry for your loss.”

“Don’t be, the guy was an ass. He hated my guts.” Rob spoke very seriously, “because I was gay, and he hated that Bobby was gay too.”
“I would give anything to know my father some more. I left my family and he died looking for me,” I commented. “He must have loved Bobby enough to leave him the restaurant.”

“That was more his mother’s doing.”  This talk about family made me think about to how I ran away from Kris all those years ago and how I ran away from Samuel a month ago.

My mood changed and the brothers noticed it and decided to cheer me up as much as possible by telling me some jokes. It allowed me to laugh out loud. Still in the back of my head I was making the same mistakes again.
A few hours later, two college kids entered the establishment, they look tired, hungry and exhausted. I knew I should help them out, but I didn’t move a muscle. I sat there silently thinking over my life and the mistakes I made; by now Rob and Bobby gave up and on me.

XXXXX
JESS’S POV
I was racing down the highway going back to the city I left last year. I left on sad circumstances, now I return to this college town, on sadder circumstances. I received the call a few days after Preston left my house from Scott informing me that Larry Raymond, Matt’s dad, had passed away. Without much thinking I packed some clothes and drove.

I didn’t call Matt, because I knew he would be a wreck. I called Kris and he gave me the lowdown on the situation. I could tell from the sound of his voice that the death had an impact on Kris. I knew a little bit about his brother’s passing. I had a feeling that he would need some extra support also. I had an idea and called Jenny Stanton; she agreed with the suggestion and brought it with her on her way to town.

It was an hour into the drive, and although a lot of things were shooting throw my head, the one thing that was coming back was my conversation with Preston. He practically invited himself into my house and begged for my forgiveness. However, I denied him the opportunity to talk and tried to kick him out.

“No, I am not leaving. You need hear me out.”

“No, I do not. You put me through hell, and I am not even talking about the fucking attack.”

“An attack where you were the pawn.” He said in defense.

“Excuse me.”

“Lee, remember him. He was the guy who orchestrated the whole thing. He wanted to send a message to your friends Kris, Matt and Corey.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“I didn’t know he would go that far. I heard the attack he had planned for you, and it wasn’t even close to what they did. They just were going to make fun of you, and beat you up a little. Nothing….Nothing to extent on which they did.”

“You expect me to believe that? How do I know you weren’t the one behind it? How do you even know Lee?”

“He is my brother, and I had this conversation where he told me the entire plan.” He took out a tape recorder, and played the conversation where Preston and Lee discussed the plan; they were going to take me in a car and bring me to some field and strip me naked and leave me there with a few black eyes and some bruises. It looked like after the conversation; Preston was telling the truth.

Thinking about that conversation and the fact that Preston wanted my help to get back at his brother for doing this to me was hard to believe. Preston told me why he is doing this, and I couldn’t believe it. However, having him as an ally in this piece of revenge would be an interesting feature. I decided, as I arrived, I wouldn’t mention anything to them about this yet.

Getting out of car wasn’t fun with my bummed leg. I had to walk a little slower. However, I limped to the ceremony. People were gathering, and sitting in the chairs waiting for the funeral service to begin. The person missing from the events was Kris. I looked around and by a tree 10 feet away from the service, with his back turned, was Kris holding something in his hand.

I limped over and gently touched him on his back. As he turned, a small smile began on his face, with tears in his eyes. I glanced down at the thing in his hand; it was the gift I suggested Jenny bring: a picture of Nathan and Kris, with Nathan having his giant arms wrapped around his younger brother.

“Are you okay, bro? Should you be walking?” he asked me.

“Kris, don’t worry about it, I came because I was concerned about you being here.”

I sat down next to him in silence as the priest conducted the funeral service. Kris continued to cry. He finally turned to me, “Thanks. Mom told me that it was your idea.”

“Well, I knew Matt had all the support right now, but you needed your brother.”

We sat some more, “Are you sure you’re okay?” I asked him.

“Yeah, I will be. Ever since he died, I could never look death in the eye. I could never do it.”

“I can’t imagine what you are going throw. We have helped each other so many times over the last year. I knew I needed to sit with you now. Matt cannot be by your side; so I am.”

“Thank you. Matt and I talked a lot. We actually spent all night talking about Nathan, and we pretty much said that we’re brothers forever.”

I started to respond, but he shushed me, and we sat quietly while the service continued. I was just thinking about what would happen to me if I lost my family, heaven forbid Katie or Joe going through what I went through over Christmas. He motioned for me to go over and make my presence known to Matt.

As the service was ending, Matt was walking away crying. I stood there; we hugged for a minute. The other guys and girls found me and we all embraced. I turned and Kris had moved away from the tree and was with his parents putting dirt in Matt’s dad’s grave. It takes great bravery and courage to face one’s past with open arms.

“Matt, would you and the rest of your group want something to eat?” Linda asked.  We all went to this restaurant; there were about 20 of us going. Scott and I caught up.

“I loved your scar on your chin, it’s sexy as hell.” He winked at me. I really don’t know what to make of Scott these days. We have a certain love for each other; I’m just not sure what kind of love it is.

It was decided that we go to some deli that was around. During the meal, Matt told the group some very nice stories about his father. I could see Matt loved him in the end. I knew of Matt’s history with his father, but it seems to be behind him. After Matt’s last story, I hit my glass with a spoon.

“Friends, I know it must be hard to lose people. Some of us know that feeling.”  I looked to Kris. Some looked to Shawn. “Losing family, no matter how it happens is a devastating event. Although we mourn for those lose, we also need to address their strengths. Matt has done a great thing by remembering the best of his father.  So, let us not look at their death as a bad event; let us celebrate the great life Larry Raymond had lived. Let us think of those who passed and the great moments that they gave us. We may lose people, but in the end they have not left. They stayed with us in here.” I pointed to my heart.

“Let us raise our glasses.” They all followed suit. “Let us toast to the moments that we have come to cherish from those who passed on, let us toast to their contribution to our lives, and let us celebrate their lives.”  I raised my glass and tapped it with Rick who sat next to me. The rest did the same.

After that I discreetly went to use the facilities. While taking care of my business, I heard Matt and Kris enter.

“Kris, I am sorry for putting you through this.” Matt said.

“Brother, fuck that. I am here for you. You are the only thing that matters to me in this world. I told you that during our long chat,” Kris acknowledged. Kris was deadly serious about his commitment to Matt, the tone and sound of his voice spoke volumes.

“This must remind you of Nathan too much. Your father was crying. I never saw Walt get that emotional ever.  I really understand what you are going through.”  I felt weird listening in on their private moment, but there was nothing I could do.

“Matt, seriously, I am fine. I am fine, really.”  Kris’s voice indicated that he was trying to convince himself as much as Matt. After that I heard the two embrace in a hug, and I knew Kris and Matt were putting on brave faces for each other. They both were hurting so much.

Eventually, they left the restroom, and I was allowed to return to my table. Rick got up and told me he got a call from Samuel saying that he coming home.  As things were wrapping up, Kris found me in the parking lot.
“Listen to me, Jess. You were there for me today. I will be there for you. The guys and I are behind you 100 percent.”

“Thanks, Kris. I will be fine.”

“You are a friend, you better call me.” I knew he was talking about the assholes that beat the hell out of me. He wanted to help me. I shook his hand, and we both spoke no more about it. I said some quick goodbyes. I limped back into my car and phoned Brad on my way back home. He told me Preston and he had some new information.

It was two days later, I hadn’t returned Preston’s called, and didn’t even think about Lee. I needed to pass these two midterm exams. With Brad’s help, I was able to pass the one on Monday pretty well. I missed just one question. Tuesday’s exam was extremely easy. I had just arrived home from school with Clinton and Hank, when I saw Preston waiting on the porch for me.

“What?” I said more rudely then I intended.

“You didn’t return my call.” He snapped back at me.

“You better watch your tone little boy.” Clinton threatened, “We know all about what you did to Jess. So back the fuck off.”

“Get inside.” I said to everybody before we went into the kitchen.

“What did you want, Preston?”

“I want to help you get your revenge.”

“Preston….I want to kill Lee for doing this. Okay sure I do….I just doesn’t want to deal with this, and no offence, this could all be some ruse cooked up by you and him.”

“You don’t trust me anymore?”

“Of course not, I thought you actually cared for me. You and your friends ruined my life.”

“Get past yourself, Asshole.”  At that moment Clinton swung his arm and Preston was knocked off his chair.

“That’s your last warning.”

“Listen to me, Jess. I told you already, I didn’t know my brother would go that far. I told you already that I was doing it because he was brother. When I heard what he did to you, I couldn’t believe it. Then he showed me the FUCKING VIDEOTAPE.”

“What!” I said. “What videotape?”  At that moment Brad came in to listen to conversation. He came over and held my hand to show his support. I noticed Preston didn’t flinch at our touch.

“Jess, he filmed your entire attack. His voice and picture are on it. I saw it with my own eyes.”

“Why did he tape it?”  I asked. “Let me guess he wanted a good laugh at my expense.”

“Pretty much, I could give you all the names of the people who attacked you. Dirk, Quinn and Vin did the actual assault, with Lee standing back giving the orders. While we viewed the tape in our man cave, Dirk was laughing along with him. I felt so much guilt for the actions I did to you. I need to see them hurt.”

“So get the tape, and turn him over the police.” Clinton said. “What do you need Jess for?”

“I assumed that he would want to help.”

Brad looked at me, and he could see in my eyes that I did deep down want to help. I wanted done to Lee what he did to me.

“I cannot hurt him.” I said to room. “It isn’t in me to hurt someone; I don’t care what he did to me.”

“What about Matt?”

“What about him?” Not sure where he was going with this.

“Lee knows Matt’s stalker, and orchestrated the fight that caused Matt to throw a beer at the guy’s head, and has been giving him advice on how to stalk him.”

“YOU FUCKING PRICK!” I heard myself say. I got up and threw a punch to Preston’s stomach, and another one at his head. Preston got up and didn’t defend himself.

“I deserve that,” he said with a little blood coming out of his nose.

“Yes, you do. Guys, may I have the room for a minute,” I said, and everybody, except Brad left to the basement. Brad came over and whispered. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” I kissed him back, and noticed Preston not caring that much about the physical kiss. Brad left too.

“I need to know, Preston. Why?”

He told me his reason, and I could feel for him just a little. At that moment I forgave him for his part in this. He then laid out his plan. I loved it and agreed to it.  Preston and I may not ever be friends, but at this point in time, he is an ally that I can trust.

He left through the back way, and I placed a call to a friend.
“Kris, do you have minute to talk?”
“Yeah, what’s wrong?”  He could tell by the sound of my voice that something was up.

“I need your help, can you and the guys come down tomorrow?”

“Of course, Colt, Corey, Matt and I are here for you.”

“Not Matt, he would just worry too much. Just you guys. I need some muscle.”

“What’s this about?”

“I know who have attacked me, and we need help to set it up.”

“Okay, we are there.”

“Come to my house at 3 o’clock tomorrow.”

Kris agreed and hung up. I went down to the basement, and let the guys know that I needed all their help.

“What’s up?” Alastair poked his head in. They filled him in, and I let them know about the plan that Preston and I created. Brad volunteered to play bait, but Preston agreed to do the actual thing.

I went to bed early, and was lucky that Mom and Dad had left town on some business retreat that Dad was required to do. I just pictured what was about to occur, and had to admire Preston’s brain for coming with such a detailed plan.

The next morning, while Clinton and I went to school, the guys stayed home and started to put the pieces in place. I had to sit through a boring class, while counting down the minutes. At two o’clock, I was done for the day and I called Kris.

“Bro, I will be there in an hour, Scott doesn’t know how to drive.”

“We used your fucking directions.” I heard Scott say.

“Corey took the phone, what is this about, Jess?”

I told him to put me on speaker. “Guys, I need some man power to help destroy Lee and his band for good.”

“Lee is behind your attack? I will kill the motherfucking queer.”

“Actually, you would be the queer, bro.” Colt commented as Scott laughed at his humor.

I told them all the details I learned from Preston, and told about the plan to get Lee back. I omitted the connection to Matt’s stalker for now.

“How’s Matt doing with his dad?” I asked conversationally.

“Great, actually; he had some bad moments, but he is focused on getting back to studying for the tests this week. If only I could be as strong as he was when Nathan died.”

“Bro, there is a difference between losing a father you barely knew, and losing your brother whom you were close to.

“Maybe, but Matt is being a real trooper, and is ready to go on spring break.”

“Yeah, I, too, am glad my break happens at the same time.” We continued to chat like old times. Kris and Scott kept me laughing. Scott kept following Kris’s direction, and Scott yelled at him every time Kris told him to turn into a dead end.

I hung up when they were 10 minutes away. Clinton and Hank had just told me the trap was set, and Preston called agreeing to begin the operation at 7 o’clock. Kris, Scott, Corey and Colt arrived and I introduced them to my new college friends. Before Kris could learn their family histories, I put them all to work setting the stage.

It was about 30 minutes to 7pm when Alastair put the final camera in place. All that we had to do was waiting for Preston’s call. In the meantime, Kris and Colt were having a blast with my friends. Brad wanted to be there, he really did, but he reluctantly agreed to stay with Joe and Darren to make sure they didn’t come over to check on me tonight.
At 7pm on the dot, Preston called and told the group, they are on the way. We all looked at the TV monitors that Hank set up, 10 minutes later the guys with Preston drove up to my house. I told everybody to get in positions. The operation had begun.

XXXXXX

“You assholes….give me back the fucking tape right now. Or we will come and take it from you.” Lee shouted from the front yard.

“Come and get it.” Lee heard from somewhere. Before he could respond, a rock was pelted at his head. He looked around and couldn’t see Scott smiling with a slingshot. Dirk, Vin, Quinn and Preston got out of the car to check on Lee.

“Okay, Dirk you go in the backdoor; Quinn you take the side entrance, and Vin goes in through the garage door. Preston you stay here and make sure they don’t escape.”

The guys separated, Lee was thinking about what he would do with them when he gets his mitts on that tape. He will punish Preston for letting it get stolen. He was thinking about what he was going to do to Jess and didn’t even notice the water on the front steps. He slipped, falling on his back. He got up. Now he was pissed. He ran and jumped over the steps onto the marbles that were on the Welcome mat, propelling him forward and slamming his face into the front door.

Lee puts his hand on the door knob ready to break it open. A second later, his brain registers that the doorknob is extremely burning hot. He pulls his steaming hand back and falls backwards on the marbles and down the steps. He quickly finds nearby an inflatable pool and puts his hand in ice cold water. Kris and Clinton high fived each other taking off the hot poker from the inside of front door.

Meanwhile Dirk encounters the gate to the backyard and puts his hand over the door to open the gate only to stick his hand in some adhesive. He finally pulls his hand back and kicks the door with enough force to cause a rope to be pulled and a huge rock to be slingshoted into his stomach. The impact throws him back two feet. Dirk gets up and walks through the gate door and to find the backdoor entrance. He tries to open the door, but it won’t budge. At that very moment six bricks fall on his head and shoulders. From the second story Alastair and Colt smile at the damage, texting Corey to get ready.

Dirk stands up and lunges into the door hoping to break it down, but trips over a hole in the ground and lands head first on a rake. “FUCK!”  Not wanting to mess around, he runs to door and tries to force it open. While this is happening, a BB gun is seen through the cat door opening and shoots right at Dirk’s groin. Corey laughs.

Lee had enough of this while nursing his burned hand, finds an open window, and goes through it only to step on large pieces of glass.  At that moment, the lights turn off in the house and he is punched and kicked and carried to the attic. He is strapped to a chair and a bag put over his head. Jess glances at the gagged Lee.

“Hello, Lee. Thanks for stopping by. We will get to you in a minute. I am curious to see how your friends fair. “Jess says. Preston arrives, shocking Lee, and holding a baseball bat.  To Preston, Jess commands.

“Watch him.”   Jess goes back to watching the monitors.

XXXX

DEREK’S POV

Back in the restaurant, I was just paying the bill listening to Bobby tell an amusing story to one of the new patrons. Bobby really has some comedic timing with his partner.  After hearing the amusing punch line, I got up to leave with a slight smile on my face.

“Hey, mister?” I heard someone call; I turned to see that I was from one of guys who came in with his friend a while ago.  His friend beckoned me over. Curious, I walked over and sat at their table.

“Can, I help you?” I said politely, not sure what to make of these two college kids.

“We were going to ask the same thing. I am Fred, and this my buddy Trent.

“They both extended their hands. I took them and introduced myself as Derek.

“We were looking over at the bar wishing we could have beer, and you seemed down. Nursing your drink like it was your last one.”

I am surprised by this, most notably because. I made it my life’s work to see these qualities in other people.  “I am fine, really. I just received some bad news recently.”

“Do you want to talk about?” Trent asked interestedly. “My life has been given some good fortune recently, and I would love to truly help you if I can.”

“I appreciate the thought, boys. I just don’t know where to begin.”
 
“Start at the beginning?”

“Okay, I was born on Saturday, July 23, 1983. It was a beautiful morning, as my mother used to tell me.”  Trent chuckled at the comment.

Fred said, “I think we mean the beginning of the issue.”

“That is easy; I have fallen in love with a guy, Samuel. I met him about 6 years ago. We haven’t had an easy relationship. On the eve of our first anniversary, I left because I couldn’t commit to him. After time apart, I realized what an asshole I was and came back to him. After some convincing, we made up and since then haven’t been apart.”

“That doesn’t seem to be so bad.” Fred commented. “Where were you when you were away?”

“Travelling is the term I use. I went back to what I know, and walked around the state looking for people whom I could help. Kind of like what you two are currently doing with me.”

“Wait. Are you saying we are helping?” Trent asked me. Before I could respond, Fred told him to shut up.

“This ‘travelling’, this was your way of escaping your pain you had by leaving him?”

“I never thought of it like that. But, yes. That sounds right” I conceded.

“So, you are a coward.” Trent spoke out, and Fred gave him a hard stare.
“Yeah, I have been a coward all my life. I ran away after my first boyfriend died in an accident I caused. Then, I ran away from the guy I fell in love with, and ….”

“And now you ran away because, he broke you heart, somehow?” Fred connected the dates.

“Yeah, I asked him to marry me, and he said no. He said it was something about how it isn’t legal here. However, I have a worried feeling it is about my commitment. Or when the going gets tough, I will leave.”

“Why?” Trent asked. I didn’t know how to explain it.

“Simply put, when I caused Nathan’s accident, I left and abandoned his brother when he needed me the most. Nathan’s my first love. He probably believes that is what is going to happen to him.”

I continued to explain Nathan’s activities leading up the crash, how for months on end, he would drink, party and take drugs. I told them how I didn’t make a huge effort to stop him, and that it was his drinking that caused the accident that killed him. A tear fell from my eye.

Trent spoke “Derek. You didn’t cause Nathan’s death. Ever since then, you seem to have been caring that guilt, that unbelievable guilt. It is that guilt which is stopping you from being the husband Samuel wants you to be.”

Fred continued. “He is right that it isn’t legal to have gay marriage here, but more to the point, he probably senses these emotions inside of you, and is waiting until you know you are ready.”

“You could be right, but what if I leave and abandon him, I did it once already.”

“Twice, if you count this time.” Trent said. “He wouldn’t care, you came back and he forgave you. True love is about forgiving. He knows you will come back.”

He is right. Samuel loves me unconditionally; I know that to be true. I got up and went outside to make a call to him. I told him about the conversation I just had. He forgave me instantly. He said he loved me and wants me to come home when I’m ready. I walked back inside to thank the boys for their help.

“Okay, your turn.” I said after I thanked them. “Spill it.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

We hoped you enjoyed this chapter of Jess as written by Andy. 

You can email him, which he would enjoy, at: andywasputz@hotmail.ca  or comment as always in the area provided below.

PART 2