Chapter 3 - Are you one? Yes I am.

A few weeks had passed since meeting David; still in the feeling out process, if you will.

Whenever he and I talk about our friendship, which is often, we always pay special homage to the early days of it: the milestones, rites of passage, the markers, portals, and realizations. A few weekends ago, he, 18 years and mustached, told me how much he misses those times, but reassured me with, “But I’m excited about the future, too!”

He credits our friendship with being the one thing that turned his life around and opened up the world to him. Whenever he gets sappy, I rob a line from our favorite BL movie, in response,

“I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it, Bobby; not for all the world!”

But I almost did miss it. I took a chance that, only in hindsight, seems wise; one I don’t encourage without enormous amounts of time thinking on it.

I told him what a Boylover is. I told him that’s what I am.

“Mom wants me to come home for a little while.” David said, while hanging up the phone and getting up from his new computer chair, which sat behind his new computer desk and new computer…

“Why, what’s up?” I asked.

“Edward is there and he wants to see me.” He answered.

“Who’s Edward?” I looked out the window and asked.

“I’ll be back!” He yelled from the front of the house, as he was leaving.

I could see the man standing in the driveway. David didn’t run to him and instead seemed to be walking slower than he normally does. Edward stood there waiting. I didn’t know who Edward was – it could have been a relative for all I knew, at the time – but my heart raced inside my chest. I even got light-headed.

As David got to him, Edward reached out and pulled him in for a hug. The hug wasn’t returned. But that cue didn’t stop Edward from hugging him again – and again. It was disgusting and infuriated me. When a boy doesn’t want to hug you and his body language is clearly letting you know it, then, mother fucker, don’t hug him!

They walked towards David’s house, David running in, Edward slinking.

I decided then to busy myself with cooking him his favorite dinner (white bean and chicken chili, extra spicy) so I wouldn’t drive myself mad, thinking about what that front yard scene was all about and just who this Edward guy was.

A couple hours later, right around the time the cornbread topped chili was being pulled from the oven, David walked through the door. (He was long passed knocking, anymore)

“Hey champ! Are you hungry?” I asked, not feeling like I should immediately dive into a round of questions, like some desperate idiot.

“Yeah, I am. Edward wanted to take me out to dinner, but I told my mom I didn’t want to go and she said it was okay.” He replied, while setting up the table for us.

“Oh man, this is good!” He exclaimed, after his first hot bite.

“Well yeah! I made it!” I kidded, he smiled.

“So buddy, talk to me.” I said, shrugging my shoulders and making a head motion towards the direction of his house.

“He’s some guy my mom met in church. He comes over and takes me places sometimes. He’s weird and I don’t even like him.” He blurted out, all at once.

I didn’t really need to hear anything further to have a solid opinion form.

I got up during dinner and looked out my window towards David’s house and there was Edward. He held David’s little brother from behind, as he sat on the porch steps. He was pressing the boy’s ass into his crotch like a dry hump, every time he released his grip enough for the little guy to wiggle forward. At the time, I only thought of sniper rifles…but I managed to get back to the dinner table, without letting David know I was in a very bad way.

After dinner and heroic attempts to get his mind off of this Edward character, with Counter Strike battles, cartoons, foot rubs, and ice cream, I took advantage of his yawning and suggested he try to get some sleep. I wanted him asleep, while I went and had a chat with his mother on Edward.

“Okay, yeah, I’m really tired, night.” He told me with a hug and kiss, before landing on my bed, fully dressed.

“Take them off, buddy.” I instructed and turned off the light.

David slept in my bed but I quickly learned that it was best that he sleep with nothing on or at most, just undies, and not for my enjoyment. He was a bed wetter and I mean every night and lots of it. So, I normally would sleep in the living room on the couch unless he required me to sleep on the floor beside the bed because of some fright. Every morning, until he finally outgrew it at 14, I would wash the sheets and whatever he was wearing. I can’t recall ever complaining about it or making him feel ashamed, even by accident. I would describe a parent who can make that claim, heroic. The fact that a few of us can claim it, just as a matter of fact, says a lot about us. But anyway…back to Edward.

I left David there with my roommate who was in the living room watching television and I proceeded to cross the street and knock on his mother’s door. She invited me right in.

She told me about Edward without me even inquiring. She knew why I was there, already.

I heard a story about a guy who isn’t allowed to be around his 13 year old son because the boy accused him of raping him and I don’t mean that in a euphemistic way. I heard some rumors about why churches across the town have told him to leave and not return, after parents complained.

I sat there in amazement, staring in disbelief that this woman, who I held in such high regard for having the wisdom and selflessness to trust me and allow me so much time with her son. How could that woman allow David to spend one unsupervised moment with this guy, with rumors like that about him?

But then I got it.

“Well he needs a man around who will teach him how to be a man! I can’t do that for him! He knows he can tell me if anything wrong is going on.” She told me, in defense.

“Give me Edwards address, please.” I said to her. She complied and I drove off in my car.

I like to think that I’ve grown up enough to handle this situation better, if I was facing it tonight. But back then, at near the start of the best friendship I’ve ever known, I was raging. I didn’t allow myself to think, ‘this is just another BL who probably fucked up a few times – cut him some slack, hypocrite’.

I arrived at the address, walked up to the door and banged on it, demanding, “Edward, come out, now.”

A few moments later, the door opened and we were staring at one another.

“You’re BLues. I see you outside playing with David when I’m on my way home from work.” He broke the silence.

“That’s right, we’re friends. And you know who his friend isn’t anymore? You’re not.” I told him.

He looked like he was about to cry and after a long pause said, “You can’t stop me from going over there.”

“Edward, I can stop you from doing all kinds of things, like standing. If you know my name, than I’m sure you’ve talked to David’s mother about me. I’m sure you know more than just my name. You won’t spend time with him again, without paying dearly for it, right?” I asked, rhetorically.

“Right,” He replied and shut the door.

I was shaking a little from the encounter. I was glad that, while finding plenty of faults with the whole shitty situation and how I handled it, I was able to drive away without it getting any uglier.

It was late, but I had to pull BL rank one more time on his mother and talk to her, so I pulled into her driveway.

The door was open and I found her inside, smoking something, sitting in the dark.

“Listen to me – if Edward calls you or tries to come by, you tell him you don’t want him to come over or call, okay?” I instructed her.

“I will be that guy you want for your son. You can even think of him as my son now. I love him like he was mine, and while you’re incapable of giving him what he needs, you at least aren’t dumb enough to keep what he needs from him.” I said. “David is mine and you can count on me to protect him always, but you need to end his friendship with Edward.” I added.

She nodded and I walked over and hugged her. She meant no wrong. She loves that boy. I don’t fault her at all for letting a known creep (I use that term, lovingly) spend time with her son. On the contrary, she sees things pertaining to us clearer than most, just not clearly enough.

I left her there with her thoughts and smoke and drove back across the street. I was dying to hug David, seriously. I remember the feeling. I didn’t know what liberties Edward had taken with him yet, and it made me ache to think about it. I just wanted to hug him and assure him that with me, he was in the driver’s seat. I wanted to tell him I would protect him from harm and from myself.

“Buddy, you awake?” I quietly asked, standing in the doorway to my bedroom.

“Yeah, I am. Where’d you go?” He asked, sleepily.

“I went to Edward’s house.” I told him.

“Huh?” He asked.

I went and sat beside him on the bed, which was luckily still dry and hugged him. He hugged back and threw his body weight into it, toppling me onto my back. He lied on top, gazing at me, smiling.

“Let’s go to sleeeeeep!” He demanded, then asked, “No wait, why did you go to Edward’s house?”

“Well buddy, I don’t want Edward being around you anymore, after what I’ve heard about him.” I told him.

His eyebrows raised and he reached for his glasses and put them on, and replied, “Yeah, people say he likes little boys, you know, like that,” he said while miming sex with his hand cupped around his finger.

“He held hands with me one time when he took me for a walk in the woods and he kissed me. It was weird. I just don’t feel right when I’m around him anymore.” He admitted.

“But that’s it? He never did anything more than that?” I pressed.

“Yeah, nothing else happened; he’s just weird.” He finished.

“Buddy, listen, you like girls, right?” I asked.

“Ah hell no! I mean, yeah…I do, a little. But I like you more!” He reassured me, pointing out to me, in his polite assurance, he was fairly aware that not saying that could upset me, though he was wrong, but still…he knew more than I thought.

“Well, in the same way that you like girls, there are guys who like boys – in the exact same way. They care about them and yes, they would enjoy having sex with them. Edward is probably one of those guys.” I explained.

“Now, there’s not a damn thing wrong with that – it’s perfectly natural, even though I know you probably have been told that it’s wrong. I know you can see that loving someone is not wrong. But what can be wrong is how it is expressed. Edward is probably someone who can’t express his love in a way that a boy can appreciate.” I tried my best to explain it to him.

“But you can do it the right way!” He joked. I think he just wanted to sleep!

“David,” I said, “We’re called Boylovers.”

“Are you one?” He bravely asked.

“Yes, I am. And I love you. I always will, even when you’re not a boy anymore – and I’ll never do anything to hurt you. I promise, buddy. If I ever hug you too much, you tell me. If you don’t want to spend time with me, you tell me. You are in control.” I said, and had to add, “But if anyone knows about me, they would think I was a bad person, you know that.”

“Don’t worry, I understand. It’ll be our secret.” He returned.

“Can we go to sleep, now?” He said, pulling me down with him and tucking his fuzzy head beneath my arm.

“Sure buddy, we can.” I said and turned out the light.

I laid there with him for a few hours before ending up on the couch, stroking his fuzzy head and wondering if I had just made the worst decision of my life, by confessing. He reached for me several times, holding me close, tugging at my shirt the way an infant does. He was so precious when asleep; so peaceful looking and innocent.

I eventually got up to get some rest in the living room. I kissed his head before leaving and afterwards noticed his mouth silently form the words,

“I love you, too.”