Tear In My Heart

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XXIII. Intolerance

When I came to, my head was spinning and I felt a slight headache egging on. It took a moment for my vision to adjust and when it did, I realized where I was: the hospital.

No matter how many times I’ve woken up, I always hope that what happened to me didn’t. But it did.

My eyes landed on Madison who was sound asleep on the uncomfortable looking pull out bed, the sun’s light perfectly spilling through the window and making him look like the angel he was. My angel.

I slowly pushed myself into a sitting position and looked at the clock. It was only seven thirty-eight. I groaned and fell back into a lying position, pain instantly shooting through my head due to the sudden, jarring action. I winced. I needed to be more careful, especially after the CAT scan Emma gave me confirming that I had a mild concussion, though I was safe to sleep.

Madison stirred in his sleep before he slowly cracked his eyes open, the light hitting them in such a way that makes them look lighter and even more heavenly. But he quickly shut them again as he adjusted himself so that he was not longer in the direct light before he opened his eyes again. I couldn’t help but admire the way the sun hit his bare, sculpted chest since he’d taken off his shirt saying that he “prefers to sleep as naked as possible”. Simply remembering him saying that last night- or rather early this morning- was enough to bring a drunken smile to my face as he rubbing his tired eyes, his hair slightly sticking up where his head met the pillow.

As if he sensed my eyes on him, he looked at me and as soon as our eyes met, a smile spread across his face as he pushed himself up and walked over to me before he pressed a gentle kiss to my forehead. “Good morning, Noah,” he said, his voice scratchy with sleep.

I moved my head so that his lips were on mine. “Good morning, Madison.” He pulled a chair next to my bed and sat down, taking my hand in his.

“How do you feel? How’s your pain?”

“It’s inching up to an eight, but I’m surviving. I do need some more pain meds though.” I looked at the medicine schedule that was posted on the wall. I was due for another round in three minutes. Getting it a bit early wouldn’t hurt. I found myself pressing the “call nurse” button with my free hand before I let it fall to my side again. “I can’t wait to get back home,” I admitted. “I miss your bed already.”

“Is that so?” Madison asked, his thumb running over my knuckles as he leaned in a bit.

“Yep. We also need to finished TVD before we get into that awkward ‘I have a show I need to finish binging but I don’t have enough time to binge it, or I don’t want to get re-addicted’ phase, you know?”

“No, Noah. I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about,” Madison chuckled, causing me to roll my eyes.

“And you’re never going to because I refuse to have a boyfriend who quits in the middle of a series.”

“And if I do?” he playfully asked, raising an eyebrow.

I ran my fingers through his hair in order to give it some neatness. “I might have to break up with you.”

He wrinkled his nose in the most adorable way and I felt my heart melt. “I don’t want that. I guess I have to only watch shows that I’ll watch all the way through or never watch Netflix ever again.”

“Exactly,” I agreed, before I chuckled, resulting in him laughing as well. “But on a serious note, how are you feeling?”

“A bit sore, but nothing I can’t handle,” he shrugged.

“Taking it like a champ, I see. Well knock it off, you’re making the rest of us, aka me, look bad and I cannot except that.”

He opened his mouth to give me some smart comeback, when there was a quick knock on the door before it cracked open, revealing a young red-headed girl looking down at her clipboard. Madison gave me a silent look, asking me if I wanted him to go, but I gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. I was done hiding him. I was out to everyone who mattered, or who I thought mattered, and I wasn’t ashamed, so why would I be now?

“Hi, Noah. I’m Noelle, I saw that you pushed the button,” she stated with a friendly smile. “What can I do for you?”

“I need medicine,” I said. She nodded as she moved closer and looked over me.

“Okay, can you tell me exactly what-” she started, but her words quickly died on her lips as her eyes came into contact with Madison and I’s intertwined hands. Her eyes slowly moved to Madison then me. “And who is this.”

“Madison...he’s my boyfriend,” I carefully stated, trying to read her expression. It wasn’t quite neutral but it wasn’t quite upset either. More like confused.

“Hi, Noelle,” Madison politely greeted, offering her a smile as he extended his free hand but Noelle just looked at him, disgust quickly etching itself into her features.

I felt anger boil in me as well as this foreign fear as broken memories of what the boys had done to me flashed in my head. Noelle didn’t seem to have the physical strength to cause that much physical harm, but then again neither did Trey...

I swallowed and looked at her. “Is there a problem here?” When she didn’t respond, that made my anger boil even more as I sat up in a defensive position.

“Noah-” Madison warned, but I was too occupied with my disgust and anger. I didn’t just get the crap beat out of me just to have a homophobic nurse looking after me. I refused to.

“Are you homophobic, is that it?” I snapped.

“Man is not supposed to lie with man. It’s disgusting and un-natural,” she tightly said after a moment, causing my blood to boil as my jaw clenched.

“And women aren’t supposed to have dicks, but you seem to have one in your personality,” I retorted, causing Madison to squeeze my hand to tell me to calm down though I could see the annoyance in his features.

She shook her head. “God is frowning upon both of you. It is His will that you are here under the circumstances that you are. He is telling you that you need to give up your selfish, unnatural lives for a life of purity instead.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but Madison beat me to it. “Excuse me?” he seethed, anger evident in his voice. “God created each of us in his image and loves us all equally. My sexuality doesn’t change my relationship with God, which really isn’t any of your business anyway, and the same goes for Noah. And since you want to talk about how we’re ‘supposed to act’, why don’t you try remembering that we’re supposed to love one another like your neighbor, and if this is how you treat your neighbors, I feel sorry for them.” By now his grip on my hand was crushing, but I didn’t care. It felt good to see that he was standing up for me, for us. “As for what our circumstance means, that’s between us and Him, not for you to interpret and spin into what you think it is.”

She scuffed. “This is exactly what you sinners do, you twist the Bible to fit your own horrific lifestyle so you can try to feel better about disappointing Him. See how that works out for you when you get to the gates of Hell unless you turn your pathetic lives around.”

He let out a humorless laugh. “Oh really? Let’s see how pathetic I really am-” he started, but stopped when I gently cupped his face, turned him toward me, and gently kissed him. All tension instantly left his body as his hands found my face and he kissed me deeper in order to calm himself down. I smiled against his lips. We held it for a moment before I pulled away and looked into his intense eyes.

“Are you safe now?” I playfully asked, causing him to roll his eyes. “I’m playing. You’re actually kinda hot when you’re mad.”

“She’s a cunt,” he deadpanned. “Trying to say that you deserved to get beaten because she doesn’t agree with our relationship-”

“I know, I know,” I said, running my fingers through his her in an effort to calm him down knowing that if he kept talking about it he’d explode. “She is a cunt and I know that what she said is very hateful and mean, but she’s not worth it, okay? No matter how hurtful or angry it makes you,” I gently advised. He nodded before he pressed one last kiss to my lips. Luckily when I looked back to where the intolerant nurse had been, she was long gone.

“Do you think our gayness scared her off?” I asked.

“Definitely, she had to run and say some hail Mary’s just for being in the same room as us. Hopefully our gayness doesn’t turn her gay as well or cause hell to unleash itself on earth,” Madison said with a sarcastic gasp. “How tragic.”

I rolled my eyes. “I kinda like this sassy Madison.”

“This isn’t sassy Madison. I’m always sassy,” Madison corrected. “This is ‘disrespect my boyfriend and I’ll put you in a coma’ Madison. Sisters, but not twins.” I laughed as I laced my fingers with his, my ribs slightly hurting due to my laughter but I held my wince at bay.

“I love you,” I found myself saying.

“I love you too,” he instantly responded just as the door opened up, causing him to instantly tense as he stood up in a protective stance in front of me. He’s so hot. But all tension left his body when Emma was revealed. “Oh, hi Emma,” he said, sitting down once more.

“Hello, gentlemen. I was just informed about what Noelle did, and I’m so sorry. Her actions don’t reflect this hospital’s beliefs whatsoever and I’m sorry she treated you like that,” she genuinely apologized.

“It’s okay,” I said as I squeezed Madison’s hand.

“No it’s not,” Emma said shaking her head. “The proper disciplinary actions are being put in effect immediately.”

“Thank you, Emma. It means a lot,” Madison thanked, causing Emma to smile before she looked at the clipboard in her hand.

“Alright, Noah. So I’m going to give you your pain medicine and after that settles in, you should be ready for your MRI. Sound good?” I nodded before she inserted a syringe into an opening in my IV and injected my medicine. “I’m going to give it about twenty minutes to settle, but first, I’m going to need you to breathe into this for me,” she said as she one of those breathing instruments that measured how well you could breathe. “Do you know what to do?”

I nodded before I put the mouthpiece in a breathed, the small plastic bit on the inside slowly rising a bit before I stopped, the movement of my lungs hurting my ribs. “Can you try again?” Emma politely asked and I shook my head.

“It hurts my ribs too much,” I explained.

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Emma sighed before she walked behind my bed for a moment. “I’m going to put you on oxygen just to be safe, alright? After we get your MRI results, we can find a better solution, alright?”

“Okay,” I said as she handed me the nasal tube which I quickly wrapped around my head and stuck the nubbins in my nose, instantly feeling irritated due to how intensely they were tickling the inside of my nose.

“We’ll get you fixed in no time, Noah,” she smiled.

“Thank you,” Madison answered for me.

“My pleasure, you two seem like nice boys.”

“I’d like to think so,” Madison playfully responded, causing Emma to chuckle, before her eyebrows furrowed as she looked at him.

“Did those boys rough you up too?” She questioned as she observed his bruises that decorated his now viable bruises due to his shirt being off.

He followed her gaze to his bruises and shook his head. “I wish.” Emma looked at him, silently urging him to continue, causing him to sigh. “Family issues,” he said in a tone that said that he no longer wanted to talk about it.

“Well, I hope you work things out. I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries, but I’d press charges. That looks serious.”

“I am,” he said, giving my hand a slight squeeze which I returned, letting him know I was in it with him.

“I’m glad to hear,” she said before she turned to me. “Now, Noah this medicine will make you drowsy, but try your best not to fall asleep until we’re done with your MRI, okay?”

“Alright,” I said, though I felt my eyelids becoming heavier and heavier with every passing second. She offered us one final smile before she left.

“I don’t like how much she smiles at you,” Madison said after a moment. “I think she likes you, and I don’t think I like that.”

I softly chuckled, the simple action causing pain to move through me. “Don’t worry, Madison. I am all yours.”

“You better be or I’d be heart broken,” he softly said as he raked his fingers through my hair and looked down at me with eyes filled with adoration as he took in my every detail as if he was studying a piece in the louvre.

“What?” I asked after a few moments of him studying me.

“What’s your name?” He asked as an adorable smile appeared on his face.

My eyebrows knit together. “Madison what are you-”

“No, I’ve waited too long for this moment and you will not ruin it. Just go with it, please,” he begged, the look in his eye telling me that whatever he was doing meant a lot to him for some reason. So I reluctantly nodded, playing along.

“What’s your name?” He repeated, his stupidly adorable grin taking over his face yet again.

“Noah..?” I said, still confused as to what he was poking at.

“No, what’s your full name?” He pressed.

“Noah Lorenzo Bruno...” He just looked at me with that same grin and I felt like I’d said something wrong. “What?”

“I didn’t say anything,” he said.

“Madison, what did I-”

“You’re beautiful.”

Then it clicked.

I smiled before I dramatically rolled my eyes. “Oh my gosh-”

“I enjoy looking at beautiful people. See I decided a while back not to deny myself the simple pleasures of existing, particularly as you so astutely pointed out, we’re all gonna die pretty soon.”

I looked at him and he looked at me before we both burst into laughter, and not that shallow laughter either, but that deep belly laughter that left you with sore sides. “I can’t believe you, Madison Williams,” I said once we’d calmed down.

“Hey, I’m a simple man: I see a Fault In Our Stars opportunity and I take it. Now let’s skip to that ‘quirky’ sex scene where your tube gets caught in your shirt and we do that whole circle thing.”

I rolled my eyes and punched him. “I can’t believe you memorized all that.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t. I’m honestly offended,” he laughed before he kissed me, cupping my face with his rough hand. After a few moments, he pulled back and looked at me. “But really, Noah. I love you.”

“I really love you too,” I smiled before I leaned in for another kiss just as my door flew open, causing us to immediately pull away from each other just to see Connor stumbling through the door with a comedic amount of balloons in his hand along with a teddy bear.

“Warning, semi-innocent little boy coming through, I’m giving you three seconds to get your clothes on and your hands to yourselves.”

“We might need more time than that, Con. Both of us are extremely naked,” Madison joked, causing me to blush due to the very mention of that with Connor in the room.

“I’m scared,” Connor said, stopping in his tracks.

“Don’t listen to him, you can look.” This caused Connor to put down the hoard of balloons that was blocking his vision, a sigh of relief escaping his lips once he saw that we were both actually clothed.

“Hey Noah, hey Madison,” he greeted as he approached my bed, offering me the white cuddly bear that said “get well soon” across its tummy. “Sorry I couldn’t get here sooner, but Abby’s grandpa passed and I needed to be with her. But man, I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you from Trey and those idiots. I swear when I see them next they’re gonna wish their dad had worn an extra protective condom-”

“You’re fine, Connor,” I chuckled. “You needed to be with Abby, and neither one of us blame you for what happened.”

“I know, but-” he started, but Madison interrupted him by putting a hand on his shoulder.

“There’s nothing for you to be sorry about, man. All that matters is that you’re Noah’s real friend and you’re here now, alright?”

Connor sighed before nodding. “Alright. But will you at least take this bear? It’s super cute and I spent like ten bucks on it.”

I rolled my eyes and smiled before I took the beat from his outreached hand, causing him to smile.

“Alright, Connor,” Madison said. “We have about twenty-five more minutes until Noah’s getting scanned and passing out, and I’m curious. Tell me how you two met.”

Connor looked at me with an evil grin causing me to groan. “Connor don’t-”

“We meet in middle school when I hit him in the face with a kick ball so hard he broke his nose...”

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