Blue Ch. 02byDanae72©
Blue stood in the living room and shivered as he kept his eyes trained on the floor. He was going to be in so much trouble. All he wanted to do was play with his brother's new baseball. Blue knew that playing ball inside the house was against the rules for everyone, but he just had to try it out now. It was raining outside and he couldn't go into the yard. If only he'd been more patient. Instead, he came into the living room to toss the ball up and down, thinking as he did so that he could surely manage to catch it five times before bringing it back upstairs to Daniel's room.
Now Great-Grandpa's clock was broken on the floor, smashed to pieces because the ball hit it and then it fell to the floor. Blue had no idea how he'd managed that. Everything was going so well, too, but on the fifth throw, he somehow not only missed catching the ball, but it flew out of reach and into the clock.
Maybe if he found some place to hide, his mother and father would find Daniel's ball and think Daniel was responsible. No, it was useless. If there was something broken in the house, he was blamed, even if it wasn't his fault. Accidents usually were his fault, so it wasn't a surprise.
"Oh, Blue." He turned tear-filled eyes to his mother, who had just arrived in the living room. "Grandpa's clock. He bought that for Grandma when they got married. Just look at it."
She covered her mouth and bowed her head to cry. Blue couldn't move, couldn't think of anything to say that would show his mother how sorry he was. His father came in then, with the rest of the kids behind. He saw what the problem was and gave a deep, long-suffering sigh as he held Alice Evans in his arms. "Go on up to your room, Blue. We'll talk about this later."
The first inkling Blue got that something was wrong were the looks on the faces of his brothers and sisters. They looked angry and disgusted by him. That was wrong. He expected that from Daniel, because he'd taken Daniel's ball, but the others always looked at him with pity and exasperation. Whenever something happened, they tried to help him and make him feel better.
Discomfort caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand up as he walked up the stairs. Everything looked kind of wavy, but he dismissed it. His eyes were full of tears about the pain he caused his mother, which would explain why things didn't look quite right. With a sigh, Blue opened his bedroom door and stopped with a gasp.
This wasn't his room.
Instead of the blue and white room he shared with Franklin, who was only 15 months older than he was, this place was dark and smelled funny. It smelled like the basement but the walls were wood rather than gray cement.
Between one blink and the next, Blue found himself tied down. He whimpered and moaned when he realized that he was going to be punished. They were going to whip him, just like that night. This isn't right, he tried to scream out around the gag in his mouth. The beating didn't happen because he broke the clock! The clock incident happened almost four years before the beating.
Blue sat up with a gasp when the first strike of the leather belt fell across the small of his back in the dream. He looked around and felt like he was still in the dream when nothing looked familiar. This wasn't his tiny apartment and it certainly wasn't an alley or the park. It wasn't a motel room, either. Slowly Blue remembered meeting up with Harley again the previous night, when that guy tried to force him into a blowjob.
Twice he was accosted against his will for sexual services, and twice the same man appeared to rescue him. What were the chances of that? It had to be a coincidence, though. If the man were stalking him, he wouldn't act so nice. Or would he? Christ, Blue though, pushing a hand through his hair. He could be so dense sometimes. Harley had just reversed things on him and he was too stupid to realize it. Instead of doing like most people, demand a blowjob in exchange for a place to stay, Harley simply offered the place to stay first and would ask for payment afterwards.
There were worse offers. Blue thought Harley very handsome and was sure that he was a pretty decent guy. He closed his eyes and brought the image to mind. Harley's hair was black, his eyes were blue, but a lighter shade than Blue's. All those muscles were attractive, even if they were a little scary from a defensive position. If Harley wanted to force something, it wouldn't be easy fighting him off. He could handle the price of this place to crash, especially if during the week they were on alternating schedules.
Happy with his decision, Blue got up and looked around until he found the bathroom. Only one door was closed in the hallway, so that was probably Harley's bedroom. Just past the bathroom was another room, and it was crowded with a bed, a desk, a treadmill and a pile of boxes. That was probably where he would sleep while staying here, so Blue went in and looked through his backpack for a clean change of clothes. He needed to do laundry soon.
Back in the bathroom, Blue started the shower and nearly moaned at the thought of getting completely clean, in hot water no less, rather than doing the basics while standing at a sink somewhere. He used his own stuff, the only items he splurged on. His body wash smelled like vanilla and his shampoo smelled like, well, the bottle said 'Tropical Forest', but who knew what a tropical forest smelled like.
"Blue, you mind if I come in?"
"Suit yourself; it's your place after all." Blue turned so he faced the wall and wouldn't see anything, even a shadow, through the curtain. "Guess I was more tired than I thought last night."
"No problem. Coffee's on and I'm getting ready to make some eggs and bacon. How do you like your eggs?"
Harley laughed and then left the bathroom. This place had great plumbing, Blue thought idly as he finished in the shower. The water stayed hot even when Harley flushed. In his apartment, he got doused with cold if Jack ran the tap downstairs. Heck, it almost seemed his water turned cold if the neighbours used the water.
Blue frowned as he brushed his teeth. There were two toothbrushes sitting in a cup on the counter. Decorative soap stood in a small basket on the tank of the toilet. That was a woman's touch. Nothing else he'd seen so far hinted at another person, male or female, staying here. Maybe he should ask Harley, so he wouldn't be surprised if someone came in while he was here.
Damn. If someone else did stay here, even only sometimes, there was no way in hell he was going to stay too. Sharing with Harley was one thing, but another person? No way, no how. Even sharing with Harley was going to push his limits of civility.
"Hey, you're just in time. Sit down anywhere and I'll dish these up. Milk and sugar are on the table for the coffee."
Blue took the chair that faced the entryway, which put Harley at this back. The man was cooking in nothing more than boxer-briefs and a muscle shirt. The sight made Blue's pulse pound and not in a good way.
He took in the kitchen while waiting for the food, and saw there was a washer and dryer in a small alcove beside a door to the backyard. Later he'd see about doing his laundry, since he was down to his last clean pair of jeans and semi-clean shirt.
"I want to thank you again for helping me out. I know I didn't sound too appreciative, but I've learned to be careful of people." Blue wondered if this was the time to bring up the subject of payment. Best to wait until after he finished eating, that way he would have at least one good meal in him.
"I'm just glad I was there to help you. Eat up, and don't be shy if you want more. My sister moved out a couple of months ago and I'm still shopping and cooking for two people."
A sister. That would explain the second toothbrush and the decorative soap. Relief filled Blue, which in turn made him feel uncomfortable again. Why should it matter? Because he didn't want to stay here if anyone other than Harley was there. And why should that matter? Because...because he wanted to stay here. Damn. He wanted to stay here with Harley. That couldn't be good.
"So, is your sister older or younger than you are?" The eggs were done just right, and the bacon was crispy. He loved crispy bacon. Of course, he was so hungry that he thought he might just eat raw bacon and love it.
"Um, younger. She's twenty-seven to my twenty-nine. Do you have any siblings?"
"Five. Daniel, Jake, Rose, and Franklin are older, while Lily is younger. Let me think for a minute. I'm nineteen, so Lily is seventeen, Franklin is just twenty-one, Jake and Rose are twenty-three, and Daniel is twenty-four."
"Wow. Do they all live here in the city? Do you see them often?" Harley didn't think they lived in the city, or Blue would have somewhere to stay rather than on the street while his place was off-limits.
"No, they probably all still live at home, unless they're off to college. I haven't seen them in four years." Blue smiled at Harley, although as usual the expression didn't reach his eyes. "I'm sure Daniel stayed at home and Lily is still too young for college, but the rest of them might be gone by now."
"You left at fifteen? Did you run away?"
Blue stayed quiet a long time, trying to decide if he would answer. Once he decided he would answer, he needed to decide just how much to tell. If Harley was nice enough to open up his home to someone he didn't know, then he deserved honesty. The truth might make Harley change his mind, but that was a chance Blue was willing to take. A good night's sleep, a hot shower and a big breakfast were more than he expected to have at this point.
"I left at fifteen, but I didn't run away. My father told me not to come home and not to call or in any way contact the family. I had permission to call once, to tell my mother where I was. He said after that it would be up to her to get in touch with me if she wanted to. My mother said she wouldn't call and I was to stay away from the family. I stayed a year with a foster family, and then I left to come here. Hmm, I guess I did run away, just not from home."
Harley had an expression of shocked disbelief on his face. "How could anyone do that to their child? My God, you were only fifteen!"
"I deserved it! If I know anything, it's that I deserved everything I got. As a child, I couldn't go more than a day or two without either breaking something or injuring myself. Through it all, my parents were kind and understanding and they never raised their voices. In the end, my actions became too much."
"There is nothing to make a kid deserve being kicked out of his home and abandoned!" Blue leaned back as Harley leaned forward, feeling threatened even though there was the whole table between them.
Anger coursed through him. Harley knew nothing and there he sat, condemning his parents for their behaviour. He stood up, knocking his chair back in the process. Turning around, Blue removed his shirt to show Harley his bare back, then pushed down his pants so part of his ass cheeks showed. He knew that the scars from the whipping were plain to see. At times like this, Blue could almost feel the bite of leather and hear his father's angry accusations in the hospital. Without bothering to look back, he stalked off towards the guest room and slammed the door.
He could scrounge up some change for the laundromat. Blue could not stay here and see Harley being either disapproving his parents or disapproving of Blue's actions that long-ago night. There was no question is Blue's mind, however, that Harley would side with his parents, because Harley was a good man. He would see how sick and truly horrible Blue was and ask him to leave.
The door opened behind him as he shrugged into his backpack. "Did your father do that to you Blue?" Harley's voice was soft, but Blue heard him clearly and turned around in shock.
"No! God, no, of course he didn't! I can tell you what I told the police, because I read the report after, and I can tell you what the doctor told me, but I don't remember what happened. I also know what my father told me and he would never lie to me."
"Please tell me what happened. Come into the living room and talk to me. I don't want you to leave because of this. You need a place to stay and you're already here."
Blue hesitated. All he seemed to do lately was hesitate and second-guess himself. In the end, Blue brought the backpack with him, in case he had to leave after he was done. Two cups of coffee sat on the table in front of the couch and Blue gratefully reached out for one, needing something to occupy his hands and eyes.
"It's not much of a story. One night, four guys grabbed me and dragged me into the old barn at the back of the farm. They wore masks, so I don't know who they were. They tied me up and two of them used belts to hit me. One of the belts was studded, which is why there are so many scars. I don't know how long I was there for, but it felt like hours. The other two sprayed stuff on the walls, stuff that said I was gay and needed to be punished for it. One of the guys with a belt said they knew I was gay because I turned down Terri-Lynn for a date.
"My father, though, he says that I probably invited them onto the property for some perverted reason and I couldn't take what they dished out. I can't say one way or the other because that night is gone from my memory. I'm sure I would have said anything not to get into trouble. Like I said, when I was a kid, I always broke things and caused trouble. If I didn't go to the hospital for some reason at least once a month, it wasn't for lack of trying. My father never got angry during all those years, so I figure I must have been really, really bad that night.
"When they were done, they left the lights on and my father found me. He was out looking for me because I didn't come home and saw the lights. I passed out again from the pain when my father cut the ropes loose and the next thing I remember is being in the hospital. The police asked me what happened and when my father came back into the room, he started yelling at everyone that I got what I deserved for being the way I was. The doctor tried to calm him down, but he just kept on, saying I couldn't come home again. He had never yelled at me before, not even when I broke something really expensive or important."
Harley reached out and grasped Blue's forearm with his hand. "No matter if you did invite those guys over for some reason, you did NOT deserve what happened. I don't want to upset you by saying this, but your father was wrong."
"Then why would he say that? Why would he send me away?" Blue couldn't look at Harley, his confusion too big to share. "Maybe it's because I wasn't strong enough, or smart enough, to get away."
"Some people can't take that their child is gay, Blue. It might be more, but I think that's what the problem was. Maybe after they had a chance to cool down, your parents tried to look you up and maybe they didn't. The fact remains, you didn't do anything wrong."
Blue bit at his lip. Harley had been wonderful about the past, even tried to make him feel better. Would he be as understanding about the present? With a deep breath, Blue began talking about the things he'd done since then. About paying for services with blowjobs, as if he was some kind of hustler, even though he didn't want to be.
Harley listened to everything, showing only understanding even while telling Blue that it hurt him that he needed to do such things. The man had known him for less than a day and he brought so much comfort into Blue's life. It was a scary thought.
The next day, even if they were both home, wasn't too bad for Blue. He slept most of the day after getting up for a few hours in the morning. The guest bedroom, the entire apartment really, made him feel safe. It confused him, because it was a strange place, with a man who was more a stranger than a friend, and should make him feel uncomfortable.
A good movie was playing on the television that evening, and the two of them laughed through the whole thing. Blue felt strange at first, with both of them sitting on the couch, but in a 'this feels right' sort of way. That's why it was so strange. Nothing had felt right in his life since leaving home.
"You have a great laugh," Harley said after one of their shared laughs at the antics of the lead character.
"I-I don't remember laughing much in the last few years. When I did laugh, with Jack or V, it wasn't real, you know? Never had a reason to be happy."
Blue got a smile for that. "This is a great movie. Maybe we'll work on finding other things that will make you happy enough to smile and laugh. I'm going to make it my mission for the time you stay here."
That was a wonderful thing for Harley to do for him. It made him wonder about motives and hidden agendas. It then made him realize that he didn't care about the motives. Blue made his decision and moved over to kneel on the floor in front of Harley. He smoothed his hands over jeans-clad thighs, heading for the treat hiding behind the zipper. His eyes flicked up for a moment, but he quickly returned them to his hands.
Just when he got the button undone, Harley grabbed hold of his wrists and pulled them away. "What are you doing?"
"I, well, I want to make you feel good. You've done so much for me. You saved me twice, gave me a place to stay, and didn't look appalled when I told you what happened to me." Blue paused, trying to find the words to express how unusual that level of kindness was to him.
"I did all that because I wanted to. Because I want to, I should say. There's no reason for you to feel you have to do, um, that. I didn't invite you to stay here because I expect anything from you, Blue."
"Harley, I don't offer to people that I don't want to pleasure. There would be pleasure, I promise you that." Blue looked up and saw sadness, as well as resolve, in the pale blue eyes. He pulled his hands free and sat back on his heels. "Do you want me to leave? It's fine if you do, Harley, really it is."
"No, I don't want you to leave. I want you to feel at home and to be yourself while you stay here. That's all. I have to start getting ready for work. Will you already be gone to work at eight?"
"Yeah, I start at eight-thirty tomorrow morning. I'll see you...whenever, I guess."
Two weeks later...
Blue walked into Harley's apartment and looked down the hallway. The bedroom door was closed, which meant Harley was still sleeping. He sighed and moved to the kitchen, checking the fridge and cupboards for an idea on what to make for supper. His stomach rebelled at the thought of food, so he decided to go for a shower and try again later. Even if his hunger didn't come back, the least he could do was get something ready for Harley.
The first week he stayed here, Blue waited until Harley was awake before going for his shower, afraid of waking his host up. Harley then insisted that the sound of the shower wouldn't wake him, that his sister used to turn the volume on the television or stereo way up and he slept through. Slowly, Blue was become used to the place and to Harley.
Blue had a new job and it was going well. It was thanks to Harley, who mentioned he heard about an opening in the office of a parcel delivery service, that he got the job. They were willing to train him and he found that he learned fast. Even better was the salary. It was so much more than the fifty bucks a week he made at the bookstore.
Jack wouldn't let him stay above the store if he didn't work there, so Blue knew he had a decision to make. Soon he needed to sit down and figure out if he could afford a place of his own on his new salary, or if he had to go back to the bookstore with an assured home. There were advantages and disadvantages to both options.