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Edited By: Tangent Joker
I’m sure you all hate me now. I promise, I never intended to become the villain. I just got a little lost, you see. I was in love with Mark Jameson from the moment I saw him. Of course, even though I was four years younger, I knew I was gay long before Mark or Noah did. They were both just so beautiful. I used to watch them from my bedroom across the street.
They never noticed me, though. To them, I was just the weird sickly boy across the street. I don’t even think they knew my name. I killed myself because I couldn’t bring myself to hurt Mark. Not even in the end. Maddox made him happy in ways I never could and I couldn’t live without him. So, why haven’t I moved on?
If you can answer that, I would be happy to know so maybe I can rectify this horrible turn of events. Instead of just stopping and becoming worm food, I end up in this stupid tacky bar every fucking night. No one hears me or sees me but somehow there is always a glass of bourbon. I drink for hours never getting intoxicated; never having anything change. I should have just killed him. Mark would have gotten over it.
“Losing the love of his life for a second time?” A cocky man chuckled, sitting next to me. How the hell could he see me? “Come on, Justin, you are smarter than that.”
I looked the man over. There was something oddly familiar about him. His blond hair with hints of copper shown in the dim lights of the bar. His big brown eyes looking through me as if he had all the answers to questions I hadn’t even thought to ask.
“Who are you?”
He smiled, what would have been a heartwarming smile if I had a heart to warm. “Come on now, Justin. You have a heart. A very good one actually.” His smile only brightened as he rested a yellow rose with red edging in front of me. One of the same roses I had put against the headstone of a childhood crush. I had loved them both the same, but Mark had been the only survivor. This couldn’t be Noah. He was too big, too strong.
“Noah?” I questioned, jumping a bit as he covered my hand with his. It was the first time I had felt warmth in years.
“Yes, and I’ve come to rescue you.”
“I’m not worth rescuing, Noah. You are just wasting your time.” I went to go drink another sip of the useless bourbon only to find out it was gone.
“I had to do a lot of bargaining to get here, Justin, and I wouldn’t have done that if I thought it wasn’t worth my time. I can’t do it alone, Justin. Help me save you. You have been drinking in purgatory long enough.”
I laughed a little at the thought, so this tacky bar with people draped in gold was purgatory. I didn’t want to be saved. I didn’t want Noah to see all the evil things I had done.
“I’ve already seen them, Justin. I’ve always been watching. I’ve watched you and Mark. I saw everything. I saw you abuse Jin. Watched as you plotted with Cassie to rip Maddox away from Mark. Then, at the end, I watched you be selfless. I saw you save the world from yourself. Suicide is a sin, Justin, but you were such a troubled soul. There was no other way off the path of evil for you. That split second decision to take your own life is what I used to convince them that you deserved to be given a chance.”
I didn’t want his help. I wanted to be left to my misery. My fingers reached out, touching the rose. I couldn’t help myself. I had missed Noah. If he had been the one to survive he would have recognized me. Noah, sweet loving Noah. He would have held me and made everything better. I would have been happy if he had been the one to survive.
“So, let me take care of you now.”
I looked at him realizing some of his comments had been to my private thoughts. “Get out of my head.”
“Sorry. It’s habit.” He took my hand again. “I’m sorry I didn’t notice you when we were younger. I didn’t know how much you needed a friend. I’m here now. I’m sorry it is years too late. Forgive me, Justin, and let me be there for you now.”
I nodded and took his hand. “How are you going to help me?”
When Noah smiled, his whole face glowed. He had been cute as a kid, but as this older being he was stunning. Mark was lucky to have had him, even if it was only once. I found myself once again wishing Noah had been the one to live. I started to imagine his gentle hands on my body, and my hands on those muscles that I was now drooling over. I watched him blush, and cursed myself for not remembering he was in my thoughts.
“Well, if you are going to insist on mind reading you are going to have to get used to the fact that my mind is dirty.”
Noah’s blush only deepened when he realized he had been caught seeing something he shouldn’t have. “Sorry,” he coughed and stood up. His body seemed to emit a soft gold glow, a gold that only made the bar look tackier in comparison.
I smiled a little. It was as though my face had forgotten the expression like one might forget a native tongue after years of assimilation. “So?” I asked again.
“So…” He repeated, tilting his head. canlı bahis
“So how do you plan to help me?”
He shifted, laughing a little at himself, and ran his fingers through his hair. I watched the movement of those beautiful hands and it was then that I noticed the small golden hoop just above his head. Of course Noah was an angel. What else could the boy who was too kind to even crush an ant be in death?
“You did some very bad things, Justin, but if you can honestly say you are sorry for them then I can take you with me to Heaven.”
I sucked on the spider bites in my bottom lip. I wasn’t sorry for the things I had done. I had every right to do them.
“And if I can’t?” I asked wanting to know my options.
“Then you will slip through my fingers into Hell.”
I gulped and looked at the bartender who would never see me. The patrons that changed every night and the glass of bourbon I never really got to enjoy. It was boring and dull, but it was safe. This I could handle, but Hell… Hell seemed like a very scary place. I touched the soft yellow petals, noticing how it looked as though blood had marred the once beautiful hue. I knew Noah wouldn’t let me fall. I reached out my hand to him.
Noah took my hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
“I’ll be here the whole time, but we have to see some pretty painful things. You can’t feel remorse until you see the damage you have done.”
I held my breath as we were swept off to another place. The sun was so bright on my eyes that were only used to the dim lighting of Gold. It made a little black swirl in my vision, and my feet felt as though they were resting on a moving surface. When my blindness was cured, I noticed we were on the street where the three of us had grown up.
Noah walked me to my large house, and through the walls. My mom was in her office working on something and my dad was on yet another international business trip. I couldn’t tell you which one, but I’m sure it was important.
“You were a sickly child, weren’t you, Justin?”
I didn’t want to answer. Being sick meant I had been weak. Our house was the only one that had a live in nanny.
“I wasn’t sick,” I whispered. The familiar hum of the humidifier could be heard in the upstairs hall.
“No, I suppose you weren’t,” Noah replied as we walked literally through the door to my bedroom. “You were such a small child,” he commented.
I was going to snap some witty comeback but I realized Noah hadn’t meant to be cruel. He was merely observing that even in the small twin bed I looked tiny.
“I was premature. My mom smoked and worked a lot when she was pregnant with me. She still smokes.”
“When you were born she got so much attention.”
I looked at Noah. “How did you know that?”
“I’m an angel now, Justin. I know everything,” He looked me over again. “Your mother got so much attention from that that she convinced you that you were sick all the time.”
I looked away, unable to look at the small thing on the bed that had once been me.
“You were such a gentle boy. Always reading your books and playing mind games for fun. You didn’t have any friends, really.”
“I didn’t. Not even the nannies were nice. My mom liked the pity but it didn’t mean she liked to care for me.” I bit my tongue in bitterness. I was smart because I had to be, not because I had a thirst for knowledge. Books and games were my only friends. I watched the small boy I had once been get up from the bed and look out the window.
Noah and I walked behind him. Noah and Mark were running around outside in swimsuits. They were jumping through the sprinkler and sliding through the puddles. Their houses weren’t as big as mine, but neither family was hurting for money. I watched the younger me smile and I knew what was coming. He ran down the steps, and coughed from the asthma and over exertion. “Mom, can I go outside?”
“I don’t want to see this,” I said.
My mother shooed me away and shook her head no. Sure, it might not seem bad to you. Something as innocent as a spoiled little rich boy being told by his mom no. What you don’t see is my life was full of nos. She hadn’t cared when I was inside of her but once I was on the outside, she suddenly only wanted me eating the best food, staying inside where I was safe, and of course made me study in bed because to her I was always sick.
“This was the first time, wasn’t it?” Noah asked, resting a hand on my shoulder.
I nodded. I wanted to scream at myself not to do anything stupid. Instead, I went upstairs and did something incredibly stupid. I didn’t have friends and I was determined after that no, to find some. Of course, what I found was a bunch of older men looking to exploit my innocence. I would have done anything to keep their friendship. I sent pictures, made movies, and when I was a bit older I started to go outside to meet my “friends.”
I didn’t realize I was crying until one of Noah’s fingers caught a tear on my bahis siteleri cheek. “You never had a real friend before did you?”
I laughed, “Unless you count that deranged bitch, Cassie, then no.”
“It started out as you wanting to be our friend, but then when Mark and I started kissing you wanted more, too.”
I nodded again, unable to really say anything.
“So, when your parents gave you your trust fund you looked for us.”
I nodded again, affirming what Noah already knew. He pulled me against his warm body and off we went again. When we stopped this time the heady smell of coffee took over my sense of smell. Mark had been smart, and he got into GWU on his own. He could only take out so many loans and so many scholarships… There were still things that wouldn’t be paid for.
I smiled with Mark. He didn’t care. He was fine with sleeping in that god awful SUV of his. I had hired a lady to offer him a fake scholarship, as long as he stayed on campus.
“You also paid off the secretary in Residence Life to put you two together.”
“I couldn’t lose him again,” I tried to justify. Noah didn’t need me to tell him. He seemed to understand. We walked silently across campus. We didn’t need to speak, and I wasn’t sure how any of this was helping me to feel remorse. So far, everything I had done I was justified in doing. I was thinking about how badly I had wanted Mark to love me the way I loved him. This is perhaps why our next destination wasn’t what I was expecting.
“These are the apartments. My dorm is the other way.”
“We aren’t here for you, Justin. You know what was going on in your life. We are trying to get you to feel remorse.”
We seemed to materialize in a large apartment. There was a familiar figure, arranging all of his little trinkets.
Noah nodded. “The only person you ever really hurt. Sure, you complicated things for Mark, but he healed quickly. He was a little confused, and missed you, but he moved on.”
I watched Jin silently unpack his clothing. He made sure it was all perfectly in place.
“Where are his parents?”
“You thought your parents were bad about not being there. You never bothered to notice how much you and Jin had in common.”
It was the first time I really looked at Jin. He had that same empty look I always seemed to have. Poor, sweet, stupid Jin. I had used him and manipulated him.
“And all he ever did was love you in return for your abuse. He thought he had finally found a friend and someone to love.”
I snorted at Noah interjecting his own speculation.
“Jin didn’t love me. He was too weak to leave me.” What I said must have angered Noah as the earth was suddenly jerked out from under my feet. He didn’t set me down gently this time. It was months later, Christmas, if Jin was keeping proper score on the calendar. Noah used his angel powers and forced me to my knees beside Jin. He was crying, and praying. I couldn’t hear him. The sounds were so foreign to my ears, but they sunk into my heart and imbedded there. Without speaking the same language he was speaking, I understood what he was saying. “He’s praying for me,” I stated suddenly, feeling all the love Jin had tried to give. I felt as though my heart were swelling in a too tight bag. I remembered all the cruel things I had done. All the evil things I had said. Jin was my only regret.
Seeming satisfied that the emotional feelings had had the desired impact, we moved again. This time it was the night I killed myself. I had planned to kill Maddox. I had left it to poetic chance that it would be a single bullet. “Only that night you made a different choice.”
“I loaded all the chambers. I had planned to give him a chance, and if the chamber was empty I would let him go.”
“But you knew you wanted the gun to fire.”
“Yes.” I swallowed. “I realized taking Maddox from Mark would hurt him. It was more hurt than I was willing to cause and I knew I was too selfish to let him go. I was tired Noah. I didn’t want to live anymore.”
I watched the scene happen. Mark still not recognizing I was the young boy across the street. The boy who had desperately tried to gain his attention as well as Noah’s when we were in school. They just saw the young boy from across the street. I had thought for sure he would recognize me when he first entered our shared dorm.
“I just wanted someone to love me and hold me. He held me in the end.”
I felt the shot go through me. The loud sound momentarily disoriented me. It was then that I saw a different man run to me.
“Jin?” I questioned.
“Yes. He loved you after all. He wasn’t going to let you die alone.”
I watched my blood saturate Jin’s shirt as he held my dying body. The thoughts of everything I had done to him. I had humiliated him, broken him, and destroyed any chance at happiness he could have hoped to have had.
“He’ll be ok, won’t he?”
“Probably not,” Noah said softly. “If he is as fragile as you bahis şirketleri say he is then I imagine he will likely be joining us soon. Only there won’t be anyone there to hold him the way he held you. Poor thing won’t be as lucky as you to find someone who loves him despite his flaws.”
Regret washed over me. I watched Jin cry over my lifeless body. Mark, too shocked to move, was still holding Maddox’s hand. I didn’t love Jin. Even at that moment I knew I would never be in love with him.
“Please, don’t make him turn out like me. There was this guy, a guy he really liked and I ruined that for him. Instead of helping me, help him and that guy.” I didn’t really care what happened to me. Honestly, I never have. In that last moment, in that last act of faithfulness by Jin, I regretted being another person to add to the world of hurt that Noah said mirrored mine. “Don’t let him die alone.”
Noah wrapped his arms around me and I felt a prickling warmth travel through my being. His warm lips were on my cheek. It wasn’t a romantic kiss. Not that I would have minded some romance from my other life-long crush, but Noah’s kiss signified that everything would be alright for Jin.
I watched the blood pouring out of Justin’s body. It was as though in that last second Justin had redeemed himself from all the hurt he had caused during the year. I don’t know why I did it, but I leaned forward and whispered into his ear, “I forgive you.”
I looked up seeing the whirling blue lights. So the police had finally decided to take me seriously. You would think with all the school shootings that if someone said gun on a school campus people would jump into action. They had the snake with them, and I glared at her.
I looked at the stunned couple. Mark was now on his knees in tears. He was confused and lost, wondering why his roommate would suddenly turn suicidal. I couldn’t offer him any comfort. To be honest, I was only guessing that the self-destruction had been a selfless act.
I knew I would hate myself for what I was about to do, but sadly this is real life. The bad guy doesn’t always lose in the end. In order to protect the couple that I was just now putting faces to, I would have to protect her as well. There were going to be a lot of questions.
“What the hell happened?” The one cop panted.
I know “cop” is an insulting phrase but honestly that term was too good for a person who had failed to protect the students he was paid to protect.
The boy I’m guessing is Mark was sobbing now, and while he was trying to talk nothing understandable was coming out of his mouth. The man I’m guessing is the teacher wasn’t doing much better. His mouth was gold fishing as he tried to formulate a coherent though.
“Justin was my boyfriend. He… He threatened to kill himself and I knew his roommate, Mark, could help talk him out of it. When I went to go find Mark he was talking to this, umm, professor and I said an adult might help, too. Justin told me he was going into the woods…” I made a gesture and let loose a couple of the tears I had been holding back.
“Weren’t you the kid trying to say something like he was gonna kill a teacher?” The other cop said.
I glared at him “No! I said my boyfriend was suicidal and you said it was just ‘faggot drama’. Well, now your homosexism has caused his suicide threat to not be taken seriously.”
The cops both scratched their head as if trying to remember what had been said. When neither could remember anything to make what I was currently saying false, they looked at the teacher one more time.
“Didn’t you say a student was dating a teacher?” He tried one more time.
I shook my head “No, I didn’t. I said he had a gun and was planning to either kill himself or take it out on a teacher. I didn’t know which one. Either way, you didn’t take me seriously then so I suggest you take me seriously now and write what I am telling you. Call for backup and a bus,” I snarled, unsure where the strength was coming from.
I could almost feel Justin whispering in my ear the way I had done for him.
“That’s my boy.”
I wanted to hate it, but inwardly I smiled. Justin hadn’t killed me. He had made me stronger.
I know I always said she was a bitch. I used to think that was the truth because Maddox was my best friend and she was his ex-wife. Guy code dictates that I should hate her. Of course, if Maddox gave a rat’s ass about guy code I wouldn’t still have my best friend.
You see, Trissta and I have started dating. When I went to Madd’s parents’ house, I was sort of fixed up with one of Maddox’s students, Cassie. She was the same girl I usually go for. Hot and younger than me.
I was the hot guy in high school. I had an endless amount of girls who wanted a piece of me. Well, when high school ended my well dried up. I wasn’t mature enough, or going somewhere, which meant girls my age weren’t interested. Now girls younger than me are starting to think I’m too old.
Cassie didn’t think I was too old. She was all over me in ways that no girl had been in a long time. I won’t bore you with details but, man, that girl can deep throat hella good. She kept coming into my bed and I never complained.
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