WARNING: Mentions of abuse and rape
Two weeks later, Rebecca's words played over and over in my head, as if set on a broken record player. “His story is a little strange though. Why would he just randomly move out during the last month or so of school? I think he’s hiding something.” Why would he move out so suddenly? The way he phrased it, it almost seemed as if he couldn’t wait to get out. Was he running from something; or, perhaps, to something? The three of us have hung out, talked, become closer over the days, I like him, a lot, but there is still that little itch there that tells us there is something that Caine is hiding from us. And that itch has brought up memories... bad memories and feelings of my past.
Sighing, I flip to my side, unable to sleep as those feelings warred within me; not because he’s keeping a secret, but because I am. No one knows my secret; not even Rebecca, nor mum. It hurts just thinking about it, let alone talking about. The thoughts of how mum and Rebecca would act towards it, they terrify me, even though it’s too late to fix the past.
Shuddering, I flip again, back onto my stomach. My alarm clock says four A.M. There’s no way I am getting any more sleep. I listen as thunder rumbles a bit outside of my window and to Rebecca snoring lightly beside me before I decide to get up. Two fuzzy socks and one cup of hot chocolate later, I find myself outside on our front steps for some fresh air. I take in the smell of fresh rain and wet grass and let it calm my nerves.
I don’t understand what’s gotten me so worked up. It’s stupid. What happened to me is three years behind. It’s over now and I let one mysterious guy completely shatter my secure walls; one guy who did one nice for me and may or may not have some secret which isn’t any of my business anyways so it should not even freaking matter. “Dammit what the hell is wrong with me?” I shout into the empty yard ahead of me.
Three years ago, my ex-boyfriend died; three years. I should be over it. Sighing, I pull a pack of cigarettes from behind the potted plant by the main door, along with a lighter. I haven’t smoked in almost four months, but I feel like I seriously need one now. I feel a buzz in my pajama’s pocket and lift my phone out curiously. A glance at the time says that I’ve been out here for about an hour. ‘Who would text me at four A.M?’ A look at the caller I.D says that it’s Caine.
Caine: "Hey, I’m sorry it’s so early, but, can we meet up and talk later; just me and you?" I read his text a little anxiously. It’s almost like he knew...no, quit being paranoid.
Me: "Well, I’ve been up for a while too, we can meet up now...?"
Caine: "Awesome, where??" I thought for a moment about it. We could meet up here, but I don’t want mum to wake up. I don’t have a car so I wouldn’t really have a way to get far. But then I remember the park just down the road.
Me: "Community Grounds park down the road from my house. That would be best.... What’s wrong?"
Caine: "Okay, I’ll be there in about five minutes. I’ll explain when I get there."
Nodding, I get up to dress, deciding to just throw on a t-shirt and tennis shoes before jogging to the park. It is still dark, but dawn slowly approaches as I wait. C.G park is not very big, but it has a small pond in the very center surrounded by a play area on the North end, a picnic table by the South end, with three long picnic tables spread out, on the East and West end was just park benches, trees, and restrooms. I sit on the East side underneath a lamppost. A few minutes later I hear the sound of footsteps approaching. Turning my head, I watch Caine make his way over to me.
“Hey.” He greets, sitting down. “You smell like cigarettes.” He adds.
“Hello. Uhm, it’s just been a stressful night.” I nod. “So, what’s going on?”
He stalls for a while, fidgeting his thumbs as he thinks. “Well, I’ve been...I mean, you guys aren’t comfortable with me, and I know this.” He sighs.
“What do you mean, man, we both enjoy your company, very much.” I state quickly.
“Maybe, but you know something is up, don’t you? The past few times we’ve hung out, I’ve seen you both eyeing me, like you know... and there is something... and I like you, a lot, and I know that it’s been bothering you, both of you... and I want you to know the truth; ease your worries. Rebecca mentioned earlier that you haven’t been sleeping well either; that something was bothering you but you wouldn’t talk to her about it. I was hoping that maybe, tonight, we can be more open with each other...talk? I don’t know; I’m not good with this...” Caine explains.
“We can talk. Yeah, I mean, we have kind of had suspicions that you were hiding something, but it’s none of our business.”
“Well, yeah, but, I think that before we get any closer, real friends have no secrets, right? So I should tell you what’s really going on. I don’t know how to start......” He sighs, wearily. “Ah; I got a call about my father last night...... he's dead.” Caine begins, trailing off. I nod encouragingly, and he continues. “The truth... huh, how do I begin? My dad and I, we, we didn't really get along. I came out to my family when I was fourteen. I always brought little boys home with me and I always talked about guys; how cute Channing Tatum or Johnny Depp looked, ever since I was around 7 or 8. I never mentioned girls I liked, and when someone mentioned how hot a girl looked I just shrugged it off, but agreed when it was about some guy. Never was interested in dating girls either. I knew from the beginning that I was gay. But I never told anyone because my parents are strongly against it.
“At around the age of fourteen, my parents found out. I was sleeping over at my then-boyfriend’s house, of course to them, he was just my best friend, but I made the mistake of leaving my phone there. My mom picked it up first, out of curiosity. There was nothing bad on it, not really. But there was enough in the text and the pictures to give me away......she showed my dad and he exploded. They drove to the house I was visiting and screamed at me right there; right in front of my boyfriend and his parents.........
“His parents knew of course, and they tried to calm mine down, but, it ended up in a fight, with me being forcefully dragged home. I, I left this year because...” Caine stops, his breathing deep and uneven. I place a hand on his shoulder, a comforting gesture. Unsure if he is finished, I open my mouth to speak, but he continues. “Uhm, my dad, since he found out, he had been very...abusive.” He finally chokes out. “He hit me every day, trying to ‘beat the sin out of me’ or some shit like that. I have scars on my back, my stomach; I went to the hospital once with a concussion. This year, I turned 18 and I decided I had enough, so I left. I made up some stupid story to hide the truth, and I knew from the beginning that Rebecca, and maybe you, had caught the lie, but you were respectable enough not to mention it. So, that’s the truth I’ve been hiding... and my family isn't poor. They are actually very rich and my mother has been wiring me money behind my father's back since I left. I've been invited to the funeral but I'm not going...”
“Caine, I’m so sorry. Dammit man, I know what that’s like, abuse I mean. I, I really do......” I sigh, pulling him into a tight hug. He pushes back gently, looking down with sorrow filled eyes.
“You do?” He asks softly.
“I...fuck...yeah, I do. I, I was abused by my dad, and my ex......Michael.” I mutter quietly, almost unsure that he hears me. But his shaking arms tighten around me immediately, taking over the comforting position and pulls me to his chest.
“You wanna talk about it? You don’t have to.” He mumbles into my hair.
“Not really, but...it’s only fair, because you did; I did promise that we could talk..... Heh, I’ve never talked about this to anyone before.” I answer. My eyes begin to sting at the horrible memories but I fight the tears. I feel like Caine is about to object again so I quickly continue, ready to just get this out. “When my dad discovered I was gay, he, like yours, kind of exploded. I told you about the dance, right? So, I got home from that and my mum told him with a bright smile, believing that he would be as okay with it as she was, but he, he grabbed my arm and started shouting obscenities at me. He slapped me but then my mum came to my rescue and shouted at him. After that, whenever mum was out of sight, he would hit me, or say something vulgar. It went on for a year before my mum finally caught on, and she cornered him. He left us. Fast forward to eighth grade, I met Michael. We got along fairly quickly. He was sweet, cute, funny; protective...we started dating almost immediately. For the first two months it was perfect. He’d kiss me in the halls, scare away all the homophobes, and be an all over, amazing boyfriend.” I stop as a sob threatens to erupt and inhale deeply to start again.
“Two months into our relationship, he became more aggressive. It started out small. He got overly jealous if I was talking to another person; guy or girl. He would get angry and fuss at me. I thought it was kind of endearing at first, him being all jealous and clingy, but after a while it got old. Month three, he got physical. Again, jealousy, he’d get mad and roughly pull me to his side, he would tell the person I was talking to basically to ‘fuck off’. Or he’d grab my wrist painfully and pull me away. The first time he hit me, it was because I complained after school. I asked him not to be so clingy and rough, and he slapped me; told me that I was his, and he’d treat me that way. I was shocked and ran home (in tears). The next day he apologized, promising that he’d never do it again. He kissed me gently and said he loved me; didn’t wanna lose me. Naturally, I forgave him.
“O-over the next few months he gradually got worse. He hit me whenever I disagreed with him, or angered him. After a while he stopped apologizing and instead told me that I deserved it; ‘I am worthless, stupid’ but he said he could fix me. I was young, stupid, I believed him, and so I stayed, swallowing every word. It was that way almost every day until our second or third month of our ninth grade year... I told you we hit a deer; that we flipped in a tiny car and shit like that, right? That was a lie... we, we were at some park a few miles from here, making out. He was drunk and handsy, I went along with it because I didn’t wanna be hit. He-” I stop, unable to go on as I sob against Cain’s chest. He holds tight, rubbing a soothing hand up and down my arm.
“It is okay, Jared. You don’t have to finish.” He whispers.
“No, I-I need to get this out. No one else knows and, someone should know.” I sigh, pushing my hands against him to sit up. “We, I, I lost my virginity that day.” I sob, clutching his shirt in my fist.
“Fuck” he gasps, getting the point immediately.
“I-I begged him n-not to, but, he, I had no choice. He pinned me and-and, shit...he...when it was over, he told me that I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone...he said that people would see me as weak, unable to help myself, and that no one would believe me anyways. And then he tells me to drive, so I do. I drive...I see a deer beside the road so...so I swerve, hitting it, and flipping the car, I was so angry...I was in pain and I just wanted it to end, so I did it...not caring about the monster beside me. But I didn’t die, he did. I felt so guilty, so ashamed, that......” Full on sobbing now, I stop. Caine holds me against him and I feel his breathing ragged and quick; angry. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I sob, not even sure why I am apologizing. Caine instantly pulls me back into his arms, resting his chin atop my head.
“Shit, don’t apologize, Jared. I’m so sorry. Damn” Caine murmurs in my hair when my sobbing finally ceases.
“I am probably a mess now, aren’t I?” I sit back and chuckle humorlessly. “It’s funny, really.”
Caine’s eyes narrow in confusion. “What is?”
“No one knows about that. Not mum, not Becca, you’re the only one, besides me of course.” I sigh. “Thank you.” I say honestly, looking up into his bright eyes.
“You haven’t run off turning me into the cops for one, you don’t look at me like a murderer, although you should, you listened...so thank you.” I answer sniffling.
“No, you are not a murderer. What that monster did; you did the world a favor. I’m so glad you told me.” Caine replies, cupping my left cheek in his hand. I tilt my head up and his lips are right there. I can’t help myself as I gently push forward, pressing my own against his; nothing deep, or forceful, just a small, chaste, brushing of lips, but it felt amazing.
“Thank you, Caine.”