A Way Out: Book One

Chapter Six: Schools In

I was in my office about mid-October when I got a frantic call from Carson. I had to tell him to take a deep breathe, calm and slow down. 

"He knows he said he is going to tell everyone I know. I'm not ready for anyone else to know yet."

Poor boy, I had never heard him so scared. "I don't understand what you're trying to tell me. Slow down and try to be calm."

"A guy from school found out about me. He said that he was going to tell everyone."  

"Okay, what did you tell him?"  I said calmly.

"Said I didn't know what he was talking about I wasn't gay."

Oh, fuck he doesn't need this right now or ever. 

"Carson I want you to try to forget about this ok.  We will work this out this tonight.  Go for a bike ride around campus to get your mind off it."  

"I can't, I'm so scared I can't even think straight."

Damn, I wish he was closer. I wanted to be there with him. 

"Want me to go down there?"      

"No don't come down here it is too far."  

"You know I will go down there if you need my support."  

"I think I'll be fine but I'm scared of what would happen if he really did tell."  

"I know you're scared but what is there for him to know anyway?  You keep it that part of your life secret." 

"Yeah, I do.  No one knows about us."

I thought he would continue but he fell quiet. We have talked about him coming out. It's had been a few weeks since he told me he has accepted himself a lot. But he was still scared of what people would think or how they would treat him. We talked for a bit so he would relax some.  I told him we could talk all about it tonight. I think that helped him feel better knowing I'll be there to help him. 

About four months had passed since we met.  We hadn't made anything official about us but in our hearts, we knew we were a couple.  The only one that actually knew what was going on was Debbie. She still watched me for signs of relapse. She also started asking about Carson when he went back to school. As I was getting better others, of course, noticed how well I was doing and the sudden change about me, as Carson and I got closer. They asked what brought me out of the rut so quickly but I just told them I realized it was time for a change. Those who knew me well like a few volunteers a couple of the regulars at the after-school program center and my family knew there was more to it than that but I didn't let on. 

However, on Labor Day weekend Mom cornered me and got some of it out of me.  I told her there was someone new in my life but I wasn't ready to reveille anymore about him. She was content with that for the time being anyway. I knew she would try to get more out of me about him at another time.  I knew I loved Carson very much and he felt the same however I love you wasn't said since he told me he thought he loved me before he took me home and when Debbie figured us out when I finally got home.

After I got home from my busy day at the center, I showered and got something to eat then I called my boy back but there was no answer.  I kept calling him throughout the rest of the evening but still no word from him. I got worried about 11 pm because he usually contacts me by that time. There wasn't much I could do from here so at one I went to bed knowing I wouldn't sleep much without hearing from him.

I was so tired that I was able to doze off but since I was worried about him, it didn't take much to wake me. When I woke, I was aware someone was in the apartment.  They made enough noise they woke me up. I lay there listening thinking I knew I had locked the deadbolt but didn't put on the chain.  A light came on from in the kitchen. It was the light above the stove, I knew because I leave it on when I'm expecting Carson on the night I know he won't until late. Had to be him then, what kind of burglars turn lights on?  

I grab my phone and texted him 'Where are you?' even with the fan on in my room I could still hear the text ring from his phone in the other room.  I get up and hurry into the kitchen before he replied. 

"What the hell? You don't answer your phone for hours then show up here in the dead of night?"  I was more frustrated than anything.

He jumped, I guess I was louder and sounded madder then I was.  He looked like he hadn't slept in a week and was still scared.

I slowly walk up to him and wrap my arms around him. We held each other for a long time in silence.  Just this contact said more than any words could have said. I took his hand lead him to the bedroom and stripped off his clothes then we got into bed all without saying a word.  I held him to me while he had his fingers laced with mine all night.  Throughout the night, I felt him kiss my hand as I softly kissed his neck and shoulders until we fell into a restless sleep.  

My alarm went off at 7:30. I got up to turn it off then reluctantly went to get ready for my day.  I just wanted to get back to bed with my sweet boy. He needed me, I could tell or he wouldn't have driven for 3 hours in the night to be here. I was very grateful nothing happened to him do to the state he was in.

I did my morning routine then I leaned down to kiss Carson but he grabbed me and mumbled something that sounded like don't go. I sat on the bed next to him and told him I had to go but he should come down to the center after he got some more sleep. I told him it would be good for him to be there to get his mind off his worries.  Of course, the kids won't be in till after school anyway but at least he wouldn't be alone. I left him to his much-needed sleep to get to work. 

I get there at 9 am, every weekday morning to get my day started. No one is there in the mornings except for me and the cleaning crew that comes in for a couple hours each morning. I run any needed errands in the morning because that's the only time I can.

At Noon, a disheveled young man came into my office. He had brought a bag of greasy food with him. Placing it on my desk, he slumped into the chair in front of it.  I was hoping he would be feeling better after leaving him to sleep longer.  I got up and went to stand behind him then rubbed his neck and shoulders, which were very tight.  He moaned in response to my touch. 

"You didn't have to bring lunch," I told him as I continued the massage.  

"I was hungry but didn't feel like making anything just for me so while I was there I thought you needed to eat."  

"Thank you, sweetie I am hungry"  when he felt less tense we ate in silence not because we didn't have anything to say but because I knew he needed more time to work out what he needed to say. 

If it was possible, I would say he looked like I did when he first saw me.  He was a mess even though he clearly showered and dressed for the day he still looked terrible. It broke my heart seeing him like this but I can only do so much. He has to work this out on his own much like I had to work out my mess after James left.  

After we were done I put the do not disturb sign on my door and we sat on the couch I got just for this reason.  No, not to cuddle with Carson but so someone would feel more comfortable when they came in to talk when they had to work things out. For the more deep issues that arise I work with their parents or guardian for them to get some counseling fully funded when need. 

Since Carson showed up last night, we had barely spoken. Just being together is enough sometimes and I wasn't going to push him to say anything until he was ready. I learned that early in our relationship, it was best to let him come to me for the deep stuff.  Anything else I try to get him to talk.  I was laying on the armrest of the couch with him laying between my legs with his back against my chest. That became our cuddling position especially when we talked.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. I know I shouldn't be so scared of coming out and letting people know about us. But I can't help it.  I also don't want to hide anymore."   I kept quiet because sometimes he just talks things out when we are cuddled like this more than actually talking to me. 

"I also should not let some asshole control my life like this. We didn't really even know each other back in school  I knew him because some of my friends were his friends, so we hung out once in awhile. Fuck I still haven't figured out how he had any idea I could be gay." 

"Sweetheart a lot of the time the reason we come out is for our peace of mind more than anything.  I feel you need to, maybe not to the whole world but your family and those closest to you. If he does end up telling people like he claims at least they won't be hearing it through the grapevine. We are pretty sure your family will accept you for the most part. Let people know on your terms.

We spent the rest of my lunch break talking things out.  He had almost convinced himself he was ready to tell his parents at least.

I had to get back to what I did best, making this place run right. I got caught in my work for the next couple hours but when I looked over at him he was curled up on the couch sound asleep.  I put a blanket on him then went to stretch my legs and get a drink in the staff lounge.

Gram one of our retired volunteers was having a late lunch. When I walked in, she looked up

"You look so tired today, didn't get much sleep?" 

"Oh yeah, I had a rough night barely slept at all."  I was tired but I didn't think it was showing.

"Anything to do with that cutie in your office?"

I bet I looked confused, shocked, and a bit embarrassed all at the same time because she just laughed at me and winked.

"Uh well, I um…"  

"Don't worry your secret is safe with me. When you are ready, you will tell us. I admit we all here are grateful you are happy once again."  Another wink. 

"In time Gram we will tell all." 

"I have seen him around sometimes but not much lately. I think it was more before school started." 

"Yeah, he did come sometimes to visit me and hang out with the kids when he had time.  But he went back to school down south." 

"Huh, I see. He sure is a cutie how did you nab him?"    

"Kerry that is one long story that I will tell you one day but not today."  She got the hint not to ask for much more. 

"Well you take good care of that boy looks like he really needs that right now."   

"I am, he is just having a rough time at the moment." 

"His family doesn't know yet do they?"

I knew what she meant, over the years we have seen our share of teens struggling with figuring themselves out, and eventually telling those around them. I just looked at her without saying a word.

She nodded in return as to say she understood.

I told Debbie a lot about Carson and me, but they got to know each other over time and I told him I tell her a lot.  But she was the only one that I would tell things about him.

About 3 pm, some kids started coming in. They caused Carson to stir.  He sat up and rubbed his eyes then looked up at me.

"What time is it?" He asked, "Three, the kids are starting to trickle in. It's gonna get noisy out there pretty soon."

With a big yawn, he stood up and stretched.

I couldn't help but enjoy this site, as I don't get to see as much as I'd like too. His thin black treasure trail ran from his belly button down into his pants. That was the only hair he had on his torso. I went over to him and held him kissing him softly. Telling him everything was going to be okay I was there to support him no matter what he was to decide.

A knock on the door brought us back to reality.   "Yeah?"    

A quiet voice said, "Kirk you busy?"  I looked at my boy "Guess I have more work to do. Why don't you go find something to snack on in the lounge?"   

"Okay, that sounds good."  I opened the door and saw Matt one of our teens. I think he was about 15. Since he was one of the shiest kids, I talked to him when I saw him and encouraged him to do more. Sometimes he did but most of the time he spent his time here alone. He wasn't a big kid at all. Just a skinny boy. He had black hair, but I suspected it was colored. He had soft brown timid eyes. 

"Matt, come in and take a seat and I will be with you shortly."

Carson and I stepped out of my office and I closed the door. 

"There are lots in the lounge to snack on just don't eat anything with a name on it. The key to the staff restroom is just inside the door of the lounge not hard to miss in case you need it. Make your self-comfortable like you did when you here in the summer. Okay?" 

He just nodded; he was still drowsy from his nap.  I could tell he wanted to kiss me and I wanted to kiss him as well but it wasn't the best time. So he left to go find something to eat and keep him busy.

Back in my office, I sat on the couch next to Matt. He seemed more edgy than usual.  He was such a sweet kid but his shyness hid his true personality.  Once in a while I got to talking to him enough he came out of his shell.

"Did you want to talk about something?"  I spoke softly in hopes it would help him relax. 

"Who was that guy that was in here?" 

"He is a friend of mine."  

"He's cute and I think he likes you. I could see it in eyes."

Oh hell, I guess we aren't as secret as I thought. Some people can see right through us.  

"Matt I know you didn't come in here to talk about whoever is in here."  

"I'm sorry."  he looked down ashamed of what he said.

"Its ok Matt you were just wondering."

"Matt looked at me."  He lifted his head turned.

"I'm not mad that you asked or what you said I just wanted to get to what it was you came in here for. Alright?"

He nodded and I waited for him to say something. Sometimes when I push, they won't talk even when that is why they come to see me.

"I heard that if any of us needed help we could come to you."  His eyes were tearing up I turned around and grabbed the box of tissues I knew we would need them. I sat the box between us.

"Yes, that's true. You can tell me anything that is on your mind.  No one has to know. Unless it's bad. Somethings I have to report. Other than that nothing leaves this office."

He nodded and grabbed a tissue to wipe his eyes. 

"I I need help."  He seemed to breathe easier after he said that. Again, I didn't say anything I just waited for him. 

"I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go besides here. I am so tired all the time cause I can't sleep when he, he is there."  More tears,

"Who is he, Matt?"  I asked softly.

"My mom's boyfriend he looks at me like I'm just shit, he hits me all the time. Sometimes I hurt so bad where he hits me. That's why I come here to stay way as long as I can. Then I hang at the park until it's way late and I cant stay out longer"  He stopped to blow his nose and wipe his eyes again.  He was crying the whole time.

I think he had been holding this in for a long while.

"Tell me more."  I encouraged him to keep going.

"He won't let me eat anything good just leftovers they don't want.  I eat as much as I can at school and take little things from the pantry here. Things I can hide in my backpack."

How did I not see what was going on with him?  I talked to him a lot but I had no clue. I suddenly felt guilty. "Who all lives there?"

"Me and mom but he is there a lot.  My little brother lives with his Dad which I'm glad so he doesn't get treated like this too."  He started bawling at that moment.

I slid over to him and held him to me as he cried away this built up pain from the horror, which his life has become. It was really hard on me. Most of the kids that come in to talk are just lonely and want someone to talk to that maybe will understand what's going on in their life. 

"Matt, I know it's hard but you need to keep telling me everything. Get it out of your system."  He looked towards me but not at me like I wasn't really there.    

"He touches me when he thinks I'm asleep I don't dare move cause I don't know what he would do if he knew I was awake."  He said it so quietly that if I weren't as close to him as I was I would have missed it.  He cried, even more, this time, I held him tighter and wiped his tears with tissue until there were no more tears. He dozed off so I stepped out to find Gram.  I had her sit with him while I made some calls. 

The next two hours were spent with an on-call counselor, a social worker, and a detective.  We had Matt go over everything again while the kids played games and laughed just having fun. He refused to talk unless I was there next to him. He retold everything and even added a few things.

Carson kept himself busy because he knew something was up just by the look on my face when I was making the needed phone calls. Gram went back out with the kids when the counselor arrived.

Around 6 pm, I was sitting at my desk when Carson came in to be with me. I would have cried but I was too exhausted. We held each other for a long time. I just didn't want to let go of him. He didn't know what was going on exactly but I could tell he had a pretty good idea.

His worries from the night before and today were forgotten for at least a little while. By 7 o'clock, Matt was in protective custody and the monster that was abusing him was in jail. Knowing that I sighed with relief. We left my office, it was dark in the center I guess Carson turned off all the light before he came in to be with me. The two of us walked to his truck hand in hand.  He got in with reluctance but I told him to head to my place I would be there shortly. 

I went back to locked up for the night then I drove home.  When I got home, there was no Carson.  I looked and saw his stuff was still there.  I bet he was getting some things at the store for dinner.  I wasn't hungry but I know he would insist that I eat something. 

I was right he went shopping though I didn't know that until the smell of something cooking woke me. I had dozed off on the couch waiting for him.

We ate talking about anything but what was bothering us. Having something to eat helped me feel better. Once everything was cleaned up we closed up for the night and got ready for bed.

After we stripped and crawled into bed I said," I think there's something I need to tell you,"   I said reluctantly not knowing how he would react. 

"What?"  he asked surprised.  

"Well, we aren't really a secret couple anymore."  

"Huh, what are you talking about.?"  

"Carson people know about us just like Debbie did when you brought me home.  Some people can tell something is going on with us.  Gram knows hell even Matt knew."  

He took a moment then said, "I guess its time to just be out with it. I did a lot of thinking when I was waiting for you. I want people to know I am in a relationship with the one I love. I want to tell my parents for sure. I will take my time telling anyone else who by the sound of it doesn't already know. I thought long and hard about all that I don't want to hide anymore.

"I hugged him and kissed him deeply when we released I looked into his eyes and said, "Carson I love you very much and all I want is for you to be happy."

His beautiful green eyes started to water "I love you too Kirk, you are what makes me happy."

We kissed deeply again longer this time. Then we made passionate love for the second time.  Yes, that's right we only did it that one time in his bed then again the night we shared I love yous.

We fell asleep with him snugly up against me with an arm draped over him and his fingers laced with mine. 

Author's Notes:

A big thank you to Max and Mason.


Comments always appreciated at C. J. Gibb