tagGay MaleThe Vacation House Ch. 25

The Vacation House Ch. 25

by1Puck1©

Recent years have been the most bizarre times for me, ever since leaving home in Rhode Island and moving into the vacation house with dad. Beside the fact that lots of my friends I grew up with are either getting married, getting divorced or simply living complete adult lives blows my mind.

I've been stuck in no mans land, somewhere between being a kid and knocking on the door of adulthood. Graduation from University is just around the corner and to be honest with you, I still don't have a fucking clue what the hell I'm going to do with my life.

Dad and Lee have been sitting down with me lately, having heart to heart discussions as to where I am heading. Shit, I realize they are doing their best to offer advice, to lend support in what ever direction I decide to go.

Lee came up with a suggestion that has been sitting heavy on my mind. He think I can take my degree and somehow work it into the construction company that he's built up over the years and had recently brought my dad into as a partner.

See, Lee has my best interests right up front, he has no problems with the sort of sheltered life I have created up here in Vermont. Yeah, once a happy go lucky kid with all sorts of friends that seemed to be just like me, into sports, not the sharpest tools in the shed but not as dumb as a post either. He's really been great for dad too, helped him get over the divorce and my sister deciding to stay and live on with mom and her new boyfriend. Well, he's not really new any longer, they've been together long enough that he's moved in with her. Even my sister has gotten in on the growing up thing, her boyfriend and she are sharing her bedroom on again, off again. Damn, things sure have changed a lot since we were kids. I would never have imagined our parents would ever allow her to be shacking up under their roof before she was married. Then there was me coming out to dad and, well, all the shit that's gone down between us since.

The one person I just can't get a grip on is Tag. He's my BFF. I'm closer to him and shared things that I can't imagine having shared with any one else. Like he says, he's Tonto to my Lone Ranger. At least I thought he was, he's been kinda distant lately, moody, out of sorts. Even when we're on the ice together he just isn't the same guy. I've been having this sick feeling that things just are never going to be the same between us, you know, since that shit went down between dad, myself and him. Lee's never been the wiser and I pray that he stays ignorant to what happened between us.

The hum of the tires against asphalt pavement is interrupted by a loud "Thump, thump, thump." The steering becomes difficult, the pick up swerves to the right. Sand, gravel and all sorts of road debris kicks up under the wheel wells of the bed. I'm doing everything I can just to keep control of the truck, hits the brakes gently, she still swerves off the road, hits the grass along side a protruding granite embankment moments before I am able to bring the truck to a halt.

Jams the gear shift, pushes down on the emergency brake pedal as hard as I can. Pulls the lever to open up the drivers door, mindlessly swings it wide only to be met by the blaring horn of a car approaching from behind me, it barely misses ripping the door right off the hinges.

Shaken to my core, turns my head left then right, carefully steps out of the cab taking care to not meet up with another motorists. Walks out, slams the door shut, walks around the front end. It's leaning pretty heavily to one side, there's the culprit, a flat front tire! No wonder I had so much trouble getting it off the shoulder, the tire had pretty much torn away from the rim, ran itself right into the soft grassy embankment.

Looks over my surroundings, takes in the fact that I wound up only a few feet from disaster in several directions. To the right of the truck a small gully and a brook, several feet further down the road and I would have plowed head on into an exposed granite formation, nearly 10 feet high!

OK, calm down, just go back in the truck, get out the crank bar puts it into the hole above the rear bumper, cranks down the spare tire, jacks her up and switch out the flat for the good one; simple, right? WRONG. Man, this is just one of those days where everything I touch turns to shit.

It had rained for a few days and the ground is soft. All I had to do was put the jack under the frame and give it a few cranks and the whole think sank deep into the softened earth. Where the heck is all the granite ledge when you need it. To make matters worse, the gully seems to make it more difficult to get any kind of leverage to work with. There's a small piece of plywood in the back of the pick up, tries to use that as a base under the jack but with the listing of the pick up and the slope, the truck simply slipped off the jack and made it's way closer toward the brook.

Now what?

Seems like forever since any cars have passed by. Why was it that there was someone there just as I ran off the road, ready to scare the crap out of me by blaring their horn yet not a single living sole since?

Heads back to the cab, reaches in to get my keys out of the ignitions, heads back to the tailgate, opens it, retrieves my hockey gear. I fumble through the bag, finally locates my cell phone, looks at it and can't believe my luck, no bars, the damned thing is down to 12% and I know that I don't have an adapter with me. Shoves it in the back pocket of my jeans, slams the tailgate shut, pulls down the back window of the cap, locks it.

I'm just going to have to wait here until someone comes by and I can flag them down. Walks back to the cab, moves the drivers seat forward, reaches in to get the Mobile emergency kit. Pop's the lid off the red plastic case, pulls out two flares and a couple of small orange triangles to place on the street.

Sets up and lights the flares, stands with hands on my hips, stares down the deserted road. It's getting dark. Heads back to the tailgate of the pick up, unlocks the cap, pulls down the gate, backs myself up to it and hikes my big right bubble butt cheek up onto the shiny diamond point liner.

Holy crap, this damned stuff hurts like hell to sit on! The protruding metal pattern digs into my cheeks, the well worn denim fabric leaves little protection from it's assault on my butt. I just have to tough this one out, know that you are never supposed to sit in a broken down vehicle, just in case someone swerves and hits you. Just figured that I would be able to see anyone coming toward me and would have time to jump the hell out of the way.

All right, that's enough morose worry, no one is going to just come by, see the flare and ram the hell out of a pick up this big,, or will they? Come on Robbie, get this out of your head, some one will be by in no time, they will stop and surely they will have a cell phone that works.

It's really starting to get dark, hops off the tailgate, the pain in my ass is matched by the stiffness in my lower back. I must have strained it when I was trying to jack the truck up. Yep, it's gonna be one of those days, and now, one of those nights too!

Approaches the drivers door, pulls it open, reaches in, feels all over the column for the steering wheel, nothing. Where the heck did they put the hazard light switch? Realizes I'm never going to find it just by leaning in, I hop in, puts on the interior light. There it is, right on the top of the column. Why could I not have found it before?

Light floods the mirrors, high beams for sure, blinding me for a moment. I open the door and hop out only to be again met by the blare of a horn. This time the vehicle was a whole lot bigger, it comes to a stop right next to me, damn near causing me to shit my pants from fear!

"Hey there kiddo, looks like you've gotten yourself into a whole lot of trouble!"

Dads voice booms out of the passenger side window of the large Ram along side my stricken truck.

Lee's gonna back up behind you, let's see if we can't get ole Silver here out of this situation.

My heart's beating a mile a minute, how on god's green earth did dad know I was out here in need of rescuing?

The deep throaty groan of Lee's diesel engine roars as it powers the behemoth backward and then forward to align directly behind my truck. The bright white lights from the top of the cab and the additional package that is mounted on the front make it almost as clear as daylight yet the surrounding area now is pitch black. I get the feeling of being in a tunnel, sort of an uneasy feeling of time and space being out of sync.

The blackened silhouette of Lee's formidable form moves toward me, sends shivers down my spine in the eerie manner which it reminds me of one of those slasher horror movies. Yeah, I know it's him but it just has that weird vibe to it, that along with the rumble of his trucks diesels in the distance. Man, I can't imagine this being any more scary.

Then, it happens, it all gets as weird as it can.

"BOO!"

Forceful hands grab me from behind, instinctively I turn, slamming my fist into the face of who or what ever it is that just spooked me. Pain shoots through my knuckles to my shoulder as they connect to flesh covered jaw bone. The loud sound of a crack echoes in my ears.

"SHIT!"

The word shoots out of my mouth the second I recognize Tag's face, partially covered by his right hand, blood starts to seep between his fingers. I look at his tightly squinting eyes, tears beginning to well up in their corners, then runs down his cheeks.

"Holy shit, why the hell did you hit him?"

Lee's body brushes along side my raised arm. He's on Tag in seconds, pulls him away from me, to the side of safety.

"You damned idiot! We're here to help you, not to get the crap beat out of us! What the hell were you thinking?"

Thinking? Nothing, I was not thinking, that's for damned sure. If there is one person in this world I would never want to sucker punch, it's Tag.

"I, I, he, Tag, why the hell did you come up on me like that?"

"Hell, if I had known you were gonna cold cock me in the jaw, I would have stayed far away from you."

"Jeez-us man, I'm sorry, it was just that I was spooked by the lights and the blackness and the sounds. I didn't expect you to come up on me from behind like that. Really, I'm sorry, are you OK?"

"Don't know, think you might have broken my jaw, you animal you!!"

Oh, that's all I need today, after everything that has happened, after all this time with him becoming sort of distant, here I had to go and maybe break his jaw! He's gonna hate me for sure now. How much worse can this day get?

I hear dad mumbling from the passenger side of my truck, "BAM!," he just slammed his fist into the fender of the truck.

"Son of a bitch, you mother fuckin son of a bitch!"

Oh Christ, now what? I'm in deep shit, I know it.

"Robbie, do you have any idea how lucky you are? There is no way we are going to be able to jack this thing up. Lee and I are going to have to use the tow winch in his truck and if we're lucky, the chains will hold and we can pull this bitch out of the hole. How the hell did you manage to get it out of one hole and into a deeper one anyway?"

His words bounce off my ear drums leaving me stunned, what? what the heck is he talking about? What second hole, then it dawns on me, when the jack collapsed it must have lifted up enough that the rim came out of the original resting place and then buried in another place. From the angle that the pick up now appears to be resting, it must have sunk down another 10 inches.

"Yeah, well, I tried to jack it up, I was gonna just replace the tire with the spare, no harm done, thought I would have been home in time for dinner."

"Well, nice going kiddo, you did one hell of a job, she's buried right up to the axle. We'll be lucky if we can get up and out of this soft ground without tearing the rear axle out. Hey Lee, do you have hooks with those tow chains in the storage box?"

"Yep, they're already on the chains, just have to hook them up to the winch. I had to pull one of our bobcats out of a sink hole at the new site just a few days ago. Everything in the back, want me to start hooking it all up?"

"No, you've done enough already, thanks, just see if that boy needs some medical attention. I'm telling you this, if his jaw is broken, someone is grounded for the rest of their life, and we know exactly who that someone might be, right?"

Silence falls upon us all like a deadly plague. No one answers dad, it was a rhetorical question.

Seconds turn into minutes, the sound of dragging heavy chains from the back of Lee's truck cause me to spring into action. I run to the back, grabs hold of the heavy steel links that dad had tossed out onto the ground behind the tailgate. Picks them up, holy crap these things weigh a ton! Staggers to the front of the huge Ram pick up, waits for dad to come around with the second set of chains. I lean down, looks into the mechanics of the winch assembly, realizes I have not a clue how to hook these up. Looks up at the figure that approaches me. Dirty work boots, heavily worn tan denim fabric pants, a huge bulge, worn leather belt, a small waist line covered in red and black plaid fabric. The broad shoulders covered in the shining metal linked chain, a huge hook dangling to the figures side banging against the pecs that are pushing the fabric out and forward from the huge chest. The smooth underside of the chin, stained with a bit of running wet, red blood. Realizes that it's Tag, not dad that has brought the second set of chains.

Leans forward, I place my palm on the wet ground, pushes myself up to face him, looks him right in his eyes. They are dark yet reflect the brilliant white of the new trucks headlights. They are not stern, not tearing any longer either, just looking back into me as if looking deep into my soul, trying to say something, but what?

Dad walks up along side us, squats down in front of the winch, grabs the end of the chain I had placed on the ground near our feet. Not a word, not a peep from him as he goes about hooking the chain up to the drivers side clips.

Tag continues to stare deep into me, I melt inside into a child. I feel helpless, weak, as if I am a puppy who had just peed on the new carpet and was being scolded for the very first time.

Instinctively, I break his stare, lowers my head, I see a bit of reflection from the top of dad's head as the light from the pick up bounces off his scalp, making his hair almost appear to have disappeared.

Dad stands up, bumping into both of us, he reaches forward, grabs both ends of the chain that Tag has draped over his shoulders. He lowers his head, dad carefully lifts the chain making sure not to allow them to injure him any more than I already had.

With the chains now attached, dad directs me to crawl on my back under the bed of the truck, instructs me as to exactly where to place the hooks. Slithers my way back out from under the truck, my entire back side soaking wet from the moisture on the ground. The grass has been stripped away causing me to simply slide along the muddy soil. Stands up, goes to brush off my butt only to find that the mud has gone clear through to my skin, I'm a filthy mess!

"Ready R.J.?"

Lee's voice splits the damp evening air.

"Go for it!"

The diesel engine revs, very slowly, the chains wind around the spool of the winch system. The lengths of steel rise from the ground, tightening, the engine revs again, the winch system groans under the strain caused by the weight of my disabled pick up.

It's a slow process but success is had. Dad stands with is back to us, I see him raising his arm, wipes his brow with the back of his hand. He turns toward us, looks right at me and simply shakes his head side to side.

"We got lucky, you got lucky. I know, it was not your fault, could have happened to anyone. I'm sorry for yelling at you before, it was just the frustration of the situation coming out of me. Had nothing to do with you, and hell, if someone had snuck up behind me in the dark, I would have knocked their teeth down their throat. No offense Tag, but that was a stupid thing to do."

Raising my arm, I drape it over Tags broad shoulders, pulling him close to me. I can't help but feel sorry for hitting him but now I have the added guilt from his having just being called out by my dad.

"All right ladies, let's get that tire changed, I'm hungry and there is a chicken waiting for us back at the house. It's already been in the oven long enough to have become blackened chicken, so hop to, my belly has a date with it."

The three of us outside the truck laugh at Lee's weak attempt at a joke. We get into action, gets the tire changed in no time. Tag opts to ride back with me, just in case I have another break down.

Lee and dad wait until I have my truck back on the road and safely heading toward home. They pull a U-turn, following several car lengths behind.

My old Silver hums along, no more thumping tires, she handles like a well breed steed once again. Tag sits in silence, I glance over at him, see's him staring out the passenger window, his hand holding his jaw.

"Hey, does it hurt a lot?"

"Naw, I've taken harder hits being checked into the boards by an eighth grader."

Wow, that was a really nasty thing to say, well maybe I deserve it a little.

"No really, are you OK? I mean, you've barely spoken to me in weeks, you know, since."

I just decide to not say anything more about what went down in my bedroom between us. If Tag is tripping over guilt from what we did, I'm not going to force him into talking about it. I'm not going to rub his nose in it if he now has second thoughts over what we did.

I take my eyes off the road again, just for a second, see's him turn his head toward me. He's still holding his jaw, maybe I actually did do more damage than he is admitting to. I reach up and press the two buttons on the ceiling light. He closes his eyes briefly, then slowly opens them up again.

Tag raises his left arm, shuts the lights off again, turns his head toward the passenger window, goes silent.

The tires hit the gravel of our driveway, spraying it up and out in all directions. I bring silver to a halt, hit the parking brake and place her in gear, shuts down the headlights. We sit in the dark, in silence for what seems like an eternity.

Tag makes the first move, he undoes his seat belt, pulls the handle and opens the passenger door. The interior light comes on, without any acknowledgement of anger or hurt, he simply steps out of the truck and heads into the open bay of the garage. I follow him into the house through the screen door that separates the garage and the kitchen.

"I'm gonna clean up a bit if you don't mind, be back in a bit."

Tag speaks to dad and Lee who are standing in the kitchen behind the island counter as they prepare the meal for our dinner. Dad raises his hand, waives it at me to follow him, Lee lifts his head to signal his approval of the gesture.

Dad wipes his hands on a towel, places it on the counter top, heads down the hallway toward the master bedroom. His huge bear like paw grabs the shiny brass nob, turns it, with a click, the door is pushed open, reveals the neatly made bed. He walks over to it, turns and sits down facing me, he pats the bed cover next to him. I walk in, stand next to his outstretched hand, fear runs through me, my hairs stand on end not knowing the whats or why's of this invitation. He simply pats the bedding again, this time I comply, sits down next to him.

"Listen Robbie, you have to listen to me, this is serious. We've been trying to get you to commit to what you are going to be doing once you graduate. Your there, only a few more weeks left and that's it. I never had this opportunity, I want to make sure that you make the best of your situation. Look kiddo, you, me, things that have happened, it's all in the past. What was done is done. I'm moving on with my life, you have to do the same, we just can't pretend that things could possibly go on the way it has been for the past few years. You know me, I know you, we both know that I love Lee and he loves me. I intend on spending the rest of my life with him. It's not that I love you any less, I just know that it's time for us to put an end to all that, now, here, tonight, for good, know what I mean?"

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