Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chapter 5: A Shaky Start

Oliver finishes buttoning the shirt to his uniform in front of the mirror as Kyle sits on the bed watching him. Kyle is wearing the same clothes from the prior day. He had not planned on spending the night.  In hindsight, he is happy that he chose to stay the night. He didn’t realize how much he really missed being with Oliver.  He slept like a baby last night knowing his Oliver was at his side.

Oliver looks over his shoulder at Kyle, “What’re you thinking about? It looks like you’re in a daze.”

Kyle snaps out of his thoughts, smiles at Oliver and then stands. “I was just thinkin’ how hot ya’ look in that uniform.”

Oliver blushes.

Kyle walks over and stands behind Oliver. He places his hands on Oliver’s shoulders. “Are ya’ doin’ okay now? “

Oliver turns around and wraps his arms around Kyle, nodding his head yes as he turns. “Thanks for staying last night. It meant a lot.”

Kyle looks into Oliver’s eyes. “You’re welcome, but now the big world outside of these four walls awaits our return. I need to get home and change so I can get to the hospital for the start of my shift.”

Oliver flashes his little puppy dog smile. “We could just stay here all day and forget the rest of the world.”

“As much as I would like that, I can’t miss any classes or shifts at the hospital. It’s one of the conditions I agreed to when they accepted me back in the program.”

“I hear you, but it was a nice thought.” Oliver breaks his embrace and grabs Kyle’s hand leading them both out of the bedroom.

Kyle and Oliver enter the living area of Oliver’s apartment, smiling and holding hands.

“You know, Kyle. You snore a little when you sleep.”

Kyle smiles at Oliver, “I do not.”

“Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m only speaking the truth. Its very sexy by the way.”

Oliver looks over at Kyle with a mischievous smile on his face.

Cristian and Layla are sitting at the breakfast bar in the kitchen eating when they hear Oliver and Kyle’s voices behind them. They look over to the guys in unison.
Cris and Layla smile at the guys, then smile at each other with a I told you so look and then smile back at the guys.

“Well, Oliver. It appears you have company”, says Layla.

Kyle immediately wonders how Oliver will react to this situation. Kyle knows that Layla and Cris know their entire history, but Oliver admitting to his friends that they are now together would be a big step. It would also ease his concerns about Oliver panicking or freaking out again like what happened in college or any of the multiple times they had run into each other over the past few months.

Oliver continues to hold Kyle’s hand and leads him over to the other side of the breakfast bar in the kitchen. “Layla and Cris. I’m happy to report that Kyle and I are going to give it a go, finally. We’re going to see if we can make things work. Or if truth be told if I can handle being an out gay man in a relationship.”

Kyle realizes at this second that he had been holding his breath in anticipation of Oliver’s response. Kyle half expected Oliver to stop holding his hand and push him away. This was Oliver’s normal operandi. But to his surprise this did not happen. Oliver was smiling when telling Layla and Cris. In fact he is still smiling and Oliver’s grip on Kyle’s hand becomes stronger as if Oliver is telling him through their touching hands that he wants Kyle to be an active part of his life.

“So what happened guys? Give us the full story and all the details!”, says Cris.

Layla looks at Cris. “Be patient. Maybe they would like some breakfast or something first.”

“I wish I could stay for breakfast but I have to git goin’. I need to be to the hospital in an hour. Lets just say in terms of Oliver and me that I finally listened to my heart.  He can fill you guys in on the details. I do want to thank you guys for talkin’ with me yesterday.”

Oliver is perplexed and surprised. “You talked to Cris and Lalya yesterday?”

Cris stands and grabs his dishes from the counter and carries them over to the sink. After he places the dishes in the sink he turns around tapping Oliver on the back. “Yes, lets just say both Layla and I tried to convince your friend Kyle here to follow his heart. Looks like it helped.”

Oliver beams with pride and appreciation. “Thanks guys. That means a lot. You guys are the best! I really appreciate you being there for me and us.”

“What’re friends for Oliver? We’re glad we could help”, says Layla as she also walks her dishes over to the sink.

Both her and Cris then return to their seats at the breakfast bar.

“I really need to be off guys. But seriously, I’m thankful that ya’ helped knock some sense into me yesterday.” Kyle squeezes Oliver’s hand and smiles over at him.

“We just stood up for love. Its obvious how you guys feel about each other. Just looking at you now says volumes about how you feel”, says Layla.

Cris then says, “Do you guys want us to leave you alone for a few?”

Oliver instantly blurts out. “No!”

Kyle, Layla and Cris all look at him a bit puzzled. Each thinking that was a strong ‘no’ he just verbalized.

Oliver’s thought process, however, is that he wants Kyle to see how comfortable he is in their relationship, especially in front of other people. Right now those other people are Cris and Layla.

Oliver lets go of Kyle’s hand and turns to face him. “Will we talk later?”

Kyle smiles back at him, “We better. I git off at 3 from the hospital and then I’m goin’ to go back to my place and study. Give me a call when you get off work or stop by. Your choice.”

“Great. Have a good day.”

“You too.”

The two guys hesitate for a second as if they don’t know how they are supposed to say goodbye. Oliver realizes this and pulls Kyle in for a kiss. Kyle kisses him back.

Layla and Cris smile at each other as this happens.

Kyle breaks away from the kiss feeling extremely dizzy for second. “Ok then. Layla and Cris, thanks again. I hope we can hang out more in the future and get to know one another better. I know you guys mean a lot to Oliver. And you Oliver. I’ll catch up with you later.”

Oliver smiles and Kyle heads to the apartment door to leave. As he is about to open the door he looks back at Oliver who is still following him with his eyes. Kyle smiles back and leaves the apartment. As Kyle stands outside the apartment door he feels very proud of Oliver. He just kissed him in front of two other people. That moment in time was more public than any time in the past. In the past it was always them alone together. This new and ‘out’ Oliver is different and exciting. Its almost as if he is getting to know a complete new person, but a person who has all the charming qualities of his Oliver. Granted Layla and Cris are friends of Oliver’s and already know the situation, but it gives Kyle some hope that Oliver will not freak out and run again. Kyle leaves with this thought on his mind.

Back inside Oliver, Cris and Layla continue to talk.

Oliver speaks fast and is a little tense, “Ok guys please tell me what just happened is real.”

Cris laughs. “Fish, you were here. You know it did.”

“I know, but I keep thinking this is all a dream. Can someone feel so alive and happy inside? When Kyle showed up on our doorstep last night I had no idea I would wake up with him this morning.” Suddenly, Oliver gets  a little nervous. “Oh guys. I’m sorry. We should talk about if you guys were okay that Kyle spent the night here. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable in your own place.”

“Its fine, Oliver. This is your place also and if Kyle is going to be a part of your life, I imagine that we will be seeing him quite a bit in the future. Cris and I can handle it. Right, Cris?”

“Absolutely. Lets just keep the bedroom activities to a low roar.”

Oliver is embarrassed. Layla looks at Cris with a why did you say that look.

“Serious crowd today. I was joking. Everything is cool, Oliver. If he’s a part of your life then he will become a part of ours. Friends stick together.”

“You guys have been awesome through all of this. Layla, I can’t say enough how sorry I am for the way I treated you when I was pretending to be something I’m not.”

“Its ok, Oliver. Lets leave that in the past and work on moving things forward and continuing to grow our friendship.”

“You guys are the best”, says Oliver.

Cris and Layla smile and respond in unison. “We know”

The three chuckle.

“So where do you and Kyle go from here?” ask Layla to Oliver.

“The plan is just to get to know one another again. We know we love each other, but it’ s been years since college. We both have a changed since then. We need to see if the new Kyle and new Oliver mesh so to speak. College seems like a lifetime ago.”

“You seem so relaxed, Oliver. More at ease than I have seen you in months. Kyle is good for you”, says Layla.

“I echo that comment”, says Cris.

Oliver smiles. “Thanks guys. I feel so alive and so over the top excited.”

Oliver then loses his smile and drifts off into Oliver thought land. At times he felt his confidence slip when he thought about a future with Kyle. Would he mess it up again? His track record with Kyle was a little tainted to say the least and if anyone would screw it up it would be him.

Layla notices Oliver’s sudden mood change and walks over to him. “Hey, what’s with the sudden seriousness?”

“I sometimes get these thoughts in my head that I’m going to screw this up again. You have to admit my track record isn’t that great. What if I can’t be what Kyle wants me to be or I disappoint him again? What if I can’t be as ‘out’ as he wants me to be?”

“Oliver, you can’t think like that. Don’t let those thoughts interfere with you guys getting to know one another again. Lean on your love for Kyle, that will guide you through the process”, says Layla.

Cris interjects his thoughts. “Yea, rely on Kyle. He has a little more experience being out than you. Just tell him about your insecurities. I think honesty is the best way to go. He’ll understand and help.”

Oliver takes in the advice. “You guys are right. I’m being a nervous nelly boyfriend and Kyle has been back in my life for less than twenty-four hours. Thanks for listening and having my back with Kyle yesterday. “

“Anytime man”, says Cris.

“Well Oliver, we should get to the station. Are you ready?” asks Layla.

“Sure. Let me go grab my bag from the bedroom. I’ll be right back.”

Oliver leaves the room to grab his bag.

Layla to Cris, “It’s so cool to see him happy for a change. He was so miserable the last few months. You can really see the difference now.”

“Love can do miracles if those involved give it a chance.”

“So this is about you and me again? I told you I can’t because of Evangeline. I won’t change my mind Cris.”

Oliver walks back into the room with the familiar black bag over his shoulder. “Ready?”

Layla heads over to the door. ‘Absolutely.”

“Hey listen. I need to head out to. I told Mommy I would help her out at the café again. Oliver why don’t you ask Kyle if he would like to go out with us this weekend. We might as well start getting to know each other.”

“That would be great, Cris. Thanks!”

There is a knock at the door.

Layla opens the door and the three are shocked at who they see.

“Mr. Fish”, says Layla.

“I need to speak to Oliver.”

Cris and Layla look at each other and then Oliver to try and gauge what he is thinking.

“Dad. What are you doing here?”

“I thought I would see if you had come to your senses.”

“Listen Cris and Layla, why don’t you guys take off. I don’t want you to be late to work.”

Layla and Cris look back at Oliver as Mr. Fish continues to stand in the hall outside the door.

“Are you sure Oliver?” asks Layla.

“Yea, man. We can stay if you need us to”, says Cris.

“I appreciate that, but I can handle this.”

Cris and Layla give each other looks of doubt, but do as Oliver wishes.

‘Ok then. We’ll see you later.”

“Bye guys.”

Layla walks out the door, followed by Cris. Mr. Fish moves out of the way to let them pass. He then turns back to Oliver.

“Come in, Dad”, says Oliver as he motions him in with his hands. His Dad enters and Oliver closes the door.

Outside and down towards the end of the hallway, Layla stops and turns to face Cris. ‘Do you think we should stay? You know how Oliver’s Dad is. Oliver may need us.”

“You know. I think Oliver’s love for Kyle will get him through this. He can handle it.”

“Cris, it didn’t help him in the past. I’m really worried.”

“Layla, I think he needs to do this on his own. He needs to prove that he can stand up to his Dad whatever the issue. I really think he needs to do this for not only himself, but for his and Kyle’s relationship.”

“I guess your right. I just have a very uneasy feeling about his Dad. You remember our last encounter with him. It still makes me cringe to even think about it. How can someone be so hateful to their own flesh and blood.”

Cris turns Layla around and pushes her forward down the hall, “I know. Lets just keep our fingers crossed that the new and happier Oliver can handle his over bearing and judgmental father.

The two make their way out of the building.

Oliver is extremely nervous. This is the last thing he wanted to deal with after such an amazing night with the man he loves. Why was his Dad here now of all times?

Oliver sits on the sofa with his hands together resting them in between his legs. He wrings his hands together in  a nervous fashion. Mr. Fish senior remains standing right inside the apartment door.

“Where’s Mom?”

“I didn’t tell her I was coming. I thought we could have a man-to-man talk.”

“A man-to-man talk. Really? What exactly is a man-to-man talk in your eyes, Dad?”

“You know what I mean, Oliver. I just want to talk like we used to.”

“I was a different person then. I was ashamed and hiding my true self. Trying to be what you and Mom wanted me to be instead of being me.”

“All kids go through spells or periods of confusion. Your extended confusion seems to have ran right over into your adulthood.”

“I’m not confused anymore. I know who I am. I told you that a few months ago.”

“Oliver, its okay. I know it’s a difficult time for you.”

Oliver looks up with a hopeful expression. “So your okay with the fact that I’m gay now?”

George’s face cringes at the word gay. “Son. You’re not that way. You’re just confused. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I understand that now.”

Oliver gets frustrated. “So you still don’t want accept me for who I am? You still want me to be something I’m not. What if I can’t do that.”

“We don’t need to discuss that what if scenario. You can stop these feelings. Our church can help. We, your Mom and I, can help you.”

Oliver stands now and his anger grows. “Dad, I don’t need anyone’s help. There’s nothing wrong with me. Why can’t you accept that?”

“Its not right, Oliver. Its a sin.”

“Stop saying ‘it’, Dad. The word is gay or homosexual.”

George’s face cringes again.

“Oliver, please. I’m trying to reach out here and make an effort to repair our relationship. You’re my only son. I can’t lose you.”

“I don’t want to lose you guys either, but I’m not going to be miserable. I’m not going to live a lie. I’ve wasted so much time. I almost lost Kyle forever because of my fear of how you and Mom would take this.”

“I’m not here to talk about Kyle Lewis. I don’t ever want to hear that name again.”

“Well then I guess you’ll not be talking to me ever again, then.”

“What do you mean?”

“Kyle and I are back together.”

“Oliver, you don’t know what you’re saying or what you’re doing. You’ll go to hell for this.”

“I know damn well what I’m saying, Dad. I love Kyle. I have since the first time I met him. And I hurt him in such a way that it’s a miracle he’s even willing to give me a chance again. But you know what? He is. I’ll be forever grateful that I have an opportunity to make things up to him. Its not going to be easy, but I’m going to claw and fight my way back into his life. I’m going to prove to him that I want him and love him. All the crap in the past is over. I’m not going to let you and your small-minded issues keep me from him ever again. And if I have to go to hell to be with the man I love and to be happy, then so be it.”

George’s anger builds as he takes in Oliver’s words.

“Oliver. You can’t do this. You’re a cop, you’re my son. You can’t be this way.”

“Yes, Dad. I’m a cop. A good cop at that. I love my job and what I do. And second yes, I’m your son. The one thing you still refuse to say and accept is that I’m gay. Being gay doesn’t change the fact that I’m a cop and your son.”

“If you continue down this path then you will no longer be my son.”

Oliver throws his hands into the air as the anger continues to build and tears form in his eyes. “Fine, Dad. As of this moment you can forget that I ever existed. I’m not going to pretend anymore. I’m gay and Kyle’s my boyfriend. These things are not going to change.”

“Your willing to give up your mother and me for a life of sin?”

“No, Dad. I am willing to give up a relationship with you because I need to be happy.“

“If I leave this apartment you’ll never see me again.”

Oliver walks to the door and opens it still angry and fighting back some tears. “So be it. Get out.”

“Don’t do this son.”

“As of this moment I’m no longer your son. I appreciate all you’ve done for me. Tell Mom I love her, but I really need you to leave now.”

“So that’s it. Your going to choose that freak of a boy over your parents.”

Oliver moves over to his Dad, staring him directly in the face. “You’ll never talk about Kyle like that again. If I ever hear you say anything about him again I’ll knock you into the next state. “

“So, this is what you’re becoming? An angry young man. An angry man who has to use his fists to lash out at his own father. All for sex with some guy.”

“None of this is about sex. This is about love. But I doubt that your mind can comprehend the concept of love.”

“I know what love is, Oliver. I love you and your mother with all my heart.”

“Sadly, I know you believe that. But your type of love is toxic and not in my best interest. Please just get out and never come back.”

Oliver walks to the kitchen with his back to his Dad. “Just go. I don’t want you here.”

“I don’t even know who you are anymore, Oliver.”

Oliver remains facing the kitchen wall. “You never did, Dad. I see that now. Goodbye.”

George heads to the door. He turns to face Oliver, standing right outside the apartment door. Oliver walks to the door holding the door with his left hand,

“This isn’t what I wanted to happen today. I love you, Oliver, but I can’t be a part of this disgusting and wrong situation.”

“No one is asking you to.” Oliver slams the door in George’s face.

Oliver puts his back against the door and lets out a sigh as a single tear falls from his right eye. Oliver can feel the doubt start to swell inside of him again. Could he let his parents go? Did he really just stand up to his father? Would he never see them again?  Was he doing the right thing? He wanted to be ‘out’ and he wanted Kyle more than anything, but the rejection of his parents was stinging him deep down inside.  

Later that afternoon, after the end of shift at the hospital, Kyle returns to his room at the Angel Square hotel. As he rounds the corner to head down the hall to his room he spots Nick outside the door.  He instantly feels a pit in the bottom of his stomach.  He had been on a such an euphoric high from his night with Oliver that he totally forgot about talking with Nick. He feels torn up about the upcoming conversation with Nick. He does care about him. That will not change just because he is back with Oliver. Will Nick understand? Will Nick be able to forgive him? Why had he agreed to marry him? Why did he let himself get into this situation in the first place? If only……

Kyle slowly makes his way down the hall. “Hey, Nick.”

“Hey. I’ve been worried. I left probably like ten messages on your cell. Are you okay? Where have you been? I even came by here looking for you last night.”

Kyle unlocks the room door. “I’m fine. Come on in.”

Kyle opens the door and enters the room. Nick follows, closing the door behind him.

Nick and Kyle both appear visibly nervous. Several minutes pass as neither guy seems ready to start the conversation.

Finally, Nick speaks up thinking about what he interrupted yesterday morning. “So what happened here yesterday morning, Kyle? Were you with Oliver?”

Kyle sits on the edge of the bed.  “Oliver came by to ask me to give him another chance. He said he was ready to try and make things work. I had just taken a shower and was getting ready when he came by. Nothing happened I swear.” Kyle wasn’t sure what to say, but he knows that what he just said may possibly give Nick some false hope. But he still feels like he has to justify his actions from yesterday morning.

Nick sits down next to Kyle. “Kyle, when is this going to stop? How many times do you have to tell him that you’ve moved on? I’m tired of always second guessing us because of your past with Oliver.”

When Nick says these words, Kyle immediately feels like he has been punched in the gut. Why was this so hard?

“Ya’ have every right to feel that way.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“You’ve been right this entire time. I still have feelins for Oliver. Very strong feelins.”

Now it is Nick’s turn to feel as if he has been punched in the gut.  Kyle finally is confirming what Nick has known all along.

Nick looks away from Kyle. “So you’ve been feeding me lies this entire time?”

“It wasn’t like that.”

Nick stands. “Then, how was it Kyle? Because that’s what it seems like to me.”

“Look, Nick. I wanted to move on. I wanted to be with you more than anything. I love your confidence, your passion for what you believe in, your openness and you’re a very hot guy. Your everything I need in a guy.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“You’re not, Oliver..”

“Kyle, I asked you early on if you were still hung up on him. Time and time again. Each time you said he was the past. Then I ask you to marry me as a sign that my feelings have grown. You say yes and then the next day your old college boyfriend comes running back and we’re finished just like that? I knew better than to believe what you were telling me when you said you and Oliver were in the past. But I let my feelings get the better of me once again. Again I’m left out in the cold. This seems to be my pattern with guys. I invest to quick, they get frightened or are still attached to the ex. This is just great.”

Kyle walks over to Nick and places his hand on Nick’s back. Nick quickly jerks away.
“I’m sorry, Nick. It wasn’t my intention to hurt you.”

“Forget it, Kyle. I can’t believe this. Oliver has treated you like crap under his shoe for years and you’re actually considering giving him a second chance.”

Kyle thinks to himself, ‘be truthful Kyle’. “There’s no more consideration. I’m back with Oliver.”

“Wow. So when did you make that decision?”

“Last night, after my shift at the hospital.”

Nick feels his anger rise. “So you were with him last night? That’s why when I came by here no one was here. Did it ever occur to you that maybe you should have a conversation with the person you agreed to marry prior to sleeping with your ex again.”

“I wasn’t thinking clearly. All I could think about was Oliver. My entire day yesterday was consumed with Oliver’s morning visit, Roxy telling me Oliver was the one, Oliver’s friends Layla and Cris telling me I needed to give him another chance and ultimately my heart telling me where I belong.”

“Amazing. This hurts, Kyle. I know we’ve only dated for a few months, but I have very real feelings for you.”

“I know, Nick. That’s what makes this conversation so hard. I care for you, also.”

“Don’t say that to me, Kyle.”

“Its true, Nick. You’ve supported me and helped in the last few months more than you know. I owe you a lot for stickin’ with me and helpin’ me improve my life. I do care what happens to you and I want you to be happy. I’m just not the guy for you.”

Kyle sits down on the bed again in frustration. “I hate that I am hurtin’ you, Nick. I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t met Oliver, but I did meet him. And even with all his faults and all the hurt he’s caused me, I can’t shake him. He’s a part of who I am.”

Nick shakes his head. “He’s going to hurt you again, Kyle.  Why can’t you see that? This doesn’t make any sense. You’ve worked so hard to overcome the pain he caused you with his continual rejections and denials. Do you really want to open yourself up to that again?”

“Its different now. Oliver is out now.”

“He just came out, Kyle. He’s not ready for you. He needs time to find himself as a ‘gay’  and ‘out’ man.”

“I know all that, Nick.”

“I think this is a mistake. I don’t want to see you get hurt again.”

“I appreciate that, but I need to see if this has a chance of goin’ anywhere. I hope in time you can forgive me for hurtin’ you. I still want ya’ to be a part of my life.”

“So you want to be friends?”

“I hope we can. It’s not a very big town. We’re bound to run into each other. I don’t want things to be uncomfortable.”

Nick stands facing the bed. “I can’t believe this. In ten minutes I go from being engaged to be dumped and single again. New record for me. I can’t make any promises about the friendship request right now, Kyle. Even though I’ve always known deep down that Oliver was not out of your system it still hurts. And to think I came over here to tell you that Amelia and Dorian were planning a mass gay commitment ceremony in the hopes of pushing the state to legalize gay marriage, I wanted us to be a part of that. I wanted us to be a part of history. I knew your feelings were not as strong as mine, but I just kept telling myself that with time this would change. Of course every time I would turn around there was Oliver Fish. Its like he was attached to you at the hip.”

“It wasn’t like that, Nick.”

“Please don’t defend Oliver to me. I should have known better, We even talked about Oliver on the first date we had.”

“You asked me to talk about him, Nick.”

“It doesn’t matter, Kyle. The point is I should have known then that this day would happen. I should just go.”

Kyle stands. “Will ya’ be okay?.”

“You don’t have the right to ask me that right now.”

Just then Kyle’s cell phone rings.

He looks at the phone and notes Roxy’s number.

Kyle looks at Nick. “Just a second, its Roxy.”

Kyle lifts the phone to his ear. “Roxy. What’s going on?”

Kyle’s face turns stark white and he drops the phone.

Nick goes over to him. “What’s wrong?”

Kyle is barely able to breath. “There’s been an accident. Burglary. Officer shot. Oliver.”

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