Never Saw Blue Like That Ch. 02byvelvetpie©
Cal balked at first when Neal had invited him into the old house but just seeing the back stairs reminded him of the past and he found himself wondering where the jars were. Before he could speak, Neal walked over to a tallboy and pulled the door open, showing him a wealth of mayonnaise, jelly and olive jars, along with clay pots and chipped porcelain plates.
"Is this what you were looking for?"
Cal nodded, silently swallowing past the lump in his throat and Neal turned away, sensing the man's pain. He closed the door and came back to the hallway, holding the screen door open as they entered the kitchen. Everything was the same and Cal paused, swearing that he could see Garrett's mother, Madeline, at the stove, stirring a pot of chicken-broccoli soup while her husband, Peter, sat at the table, nibbling on garlic bread and tomato-garlic salsa.
"Hey, Calvin!" Peter always looked up when the kid came in. "Have some bread."
"No, thanks." He would always answer, ignoring the rumbling of his stomach. He was embarrassed for Mr. Whitley to know that he hadn't eaten since the day before but he was well-aware that the Whitley's knew all about Jodie Butler. After all, a small town only had room for one prostitute.
"Nonsense! Get your ass over here and dig in. Maddy always makes too much."
That was a lie and both child and adult knew it. Still, Calvin obediently washed his hands in the sink and took the loaded slice of bread, savoring the delicious treat as he pounded up the stairs to Garrett's room.
"Bring back memories?"
"Uh, yes." Cal took a deep breath and let his hands travel over the worn countertops and the cold top of the oven. "Lots."
"Dad said you'd come back one day."
Cal turned, his heart heavy and stared into the eyes of the child of his beloved. "How did he die?"
"Heart attack." Neal pulled out a chair at the table and sat down heavily. "We just got him through a bad bout of pneumonia, then ... " Silence hung in the room as Neal lowered his head. "It was very quick." The young man's voice threatened to break. "He would have wanted you to know that he was in no pain."
Cal swallowed, tracing errant circles on the table. "That's good to know."
Neal nodded, then raised his head, examining the older man that sat across the table from him. "He ... he loved you, you know." Cal nodded in response, his throat aching with unshed tears. "I've been trying to reach you because you're named in the will."
"You expected that, didn't you?"
"No. How the hell could I have expected that? I hadn't seen Garrett since he moved!"
"He never forgot you."
Cal stood abruptly. "I didn't come here expecting anything from him."
"I know." Neal whispered, taking a shiny Macintosh apple from the wooden bowl of fruit and polishing it against the flannel of his shirt. "He said as much."
"He told you about me?"
"Yes. He ... " Cal watched the young man chew for a few seconds. "Why don't I let you hear it from him?" Neal arose, heading into a different part of the house and Cal reluctantly stood, following him into the living room. Neal walked over to an entertainment center, activated a VCR, pressed a tape in and thumbed the remote into operation as he took a seat on the couch opposite Cal.
The screen awoke to static, then blackness, then the aged features of Garrett Whitley filled the screen. Cal's breath caught in his throat and he covered his suddenly dry mouth with his hands. Garrett was in a wheelchair, smiling at his son who had come into the shot to fix his hair. Neal gave him a playful punch and disappeared behind the camera again. Those hauntingly beautiful eyes faced the camera and they bore into Cal's soul, clear with purpose.
"Hi, Calvin." Garrett laughed. "Or should I call you Cal?" He laughed again, rubbing his face and letting his joviality erode into a more serious nature. "I've missed you."
The words came unbidden from Cal's lips. "I missed you, too."
"I'm kind of at a loss of where to begin. I suppose the most appropriate would be to begin where we left off." Garrett's voice grew soft. "At the airport, hugging each other goodbye." He took a deep breath. "Did you feel how hard my dick was? Did you even know?" Garrett shook his head, giving another of his trademark smiles. "My greatest regret was that we never had enough time to truly get to know each other. We were so young when I left ... I don't think you ever knew just how much I loved you."
Again, Cal spoke without his mind truly knowing what he was saying. "And I loved you, too, Garrett."
Another smile that harkened back to misty mornings, fishing at the lake. "Calvin Butler, I'm gay and I'm in love with you."
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