Tear In My Heart

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XXVII. Meeting Boyfriend Madison

“Babe, this is…” Madison trailed as he gripped my phone in his hands.

I bit my bottom lip as anxiety pumped through me. “Is that a good silence or a bad one?”

Madison’s eyes left my screen and before I knew it, his arms were around me in a tight hug and we fell so that I was trapped between him and the bed. I was laughing as his grip on me tightened, though he was careful not to hurt me.

“Noah, è bellissimo (it’s beautiful),” Madison whispered into my chest before he looked up at me. “It’s our story.”

I smiled. “Sono felice che ti piaccia (I’m glad you like it). I just...I can’t finish this story until this chapter of our lives is complete.”

Madison ran his fingers through my hair. “I have a feeling that we’ll be just fine.” He readjusted his body so that he wasn’t completely on me before he rested his head on the good side of my chest. He closed his eyes as I gently started running my fingers over the sides of his bare ribs. He must’ve been exhausted. Not only had he endured so much but then after everything that had happened to me, he’d stayed up all those nights and slept in that uncomfortable pull out bed for me.

I smiled down at his resting figure. He was healing nicely, but even with the traces of pain still etched into his otherwise perfect skin, he looked like an angel. My angel.

If I could draw like him, this would be the perfect image.

Unfortunately, the serenity didn’t last long when there was loud, frantic knocking at the door. Madison groaned. “Turn it off.”

“Babe, I can’t.” I chuckled, causing him to groan as he buried his face further into my chest.

“Well maybe if we ignore them then-”

“Noah! Madison! Come on, my arm’s getting tired,” Connor whined from outside the apartment door, causing me to roll my eyes.

“A guy finally has time alone with his boyfriend and now everyone wants to visit.”

Madison chuckled as he pulled himself off of me and stretched. “You stay here, I’ll bring him to you.”

“No, Mads, you need to rest. I’ll take care of-”

“Sorry, I can’t hear you, I’m too busy walking away,” Madison said in a sing-song voice as he disappeared out of the door. I sighed. Sometimes he’s as infuriating as he is attractive.

After a few moments I heard the sound of the door opening followed by muffled voices. Within a few moments, Connor was standing in the door with Madison right behind him. “Hey Noah,” he gently said.

“Hey, Con. Come in.”

He did with Madison close behind him. “How are you feeling?” He asked as Madison climbed into bed and resumed his position on me with his head in my chest.

“As good as I can in this condition,” I said with a chuckle as I wrapped my arms around Madison. “Are you okay?”

“I’ve decided to take your advice and I’m taking a nap, but don’t let me stop you. You two have some catching up to do.” And with that, he closed his eyes and buried his face into my chest. His bare stomach felt good against mine. I started running my fingers through his soft hair as I looked up at Connor who was awkwardly standing at the edge of the bed.

“Come on, Con, sit down and stop treating me like a flower. You know me too well to do that.” I grinned, causing him to chuckle.

“I do,” he admitted before he sat on the edge of the bed. “I’m sorry, it’s just...I’ve been so worried and I just don’t know how to make sure you’re okay and-”

“Con, it’s fine. Thanks but...I don’t want to focus on me anymore. Tell me what you’ve been doing. How’s Abbi?”

“She’s doing okay,” he honestly said. “I met her grandfather a few times since he lived with her and her family and he...he was a really good guy.” I saw tears gathering in Connor’s eyes and I instantly felt for him.

“Okay, then let’s change the subject,” I gently suggested. “How about you tell me exactly what you like about this girl. More importantly, how you met.”

He gave me a genuine smile. “Noah, you’re the best,” he gently said, causing me to smile back.

“I try.”

“Well, I first met her when I ran into her while I almost walked into the girl’s bathroom…”

***

“Are you sure you want to do this, Noah?” Madison hesitantly asked as he killed the engine.

“No,” I said with a humorless chuckle before I unbuckled my seatbelt. “But if she’s willing to try, then so am I.”

Madison looked at me for a moment before he sighed and reluctantly nodded. “Do you want me to go in with you?”

I shook my head. “Thanks, babe, but I need to work this out with her before I drag you into it, okay?”

He nodded again before he reached over and gently cupped my face. “I love you.”

I smiled as I put my hand on top of his and kissed his palm. “I love you too. Now go home and rest. I’ll call you when I’m ready.”

“Okay, I’m trusting your judgment, Noah.”

I offered him a small reassuring smile before I opened the door to his car and made my way to the front door of my Nona’s house. I found myself stopping right in front of the door. The last time I was here was that day when everything turned to crap, and now I’m here trying to mend a broken relationship with my grandmother. The women who’d been there for me through almost every major event of my life. Almost.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before I rang the doorbell. As soon as the familiar sound filled my ears, I felt a bout of anxiety spread through me like food dye in water. She’d said that she was willing to try, but what if it was a trap? What if she just wanted me to come home? What if she was just guilt tripping me? What if-

Thankfully, my hypothetical “what if” train of thought was interrupted by the low sound of the door unlocking before it opened revealing my small Nona. As soon as she saw me she smiled. “Noah, miele, come in! I was afraid that you forgot!” she happily said, causing me to smile as well.

“Hi, Nona,” I greeted as I walked in and followed her into the living room where I sat on the couch and she sat in her rocking chair.

“How are you healing, Noah? I know you’ve only been out of the hospital for a day, but I need to know if I need to throw my needles at the doctors because they didn’t treat my grandson right.” Her words made me laugh, especially because I knew she was telling the truth. I forgot how funny she was.

“No, Nona, there’s no need for that,” I chuckled. “I’ve been resting and Madison is making sure that I’m taking my meds and doing my exercises. Trust me, I’m in good hands.” The mention of Madison kind of made me feel weird and uneasy, but I said it to gauge her reaction to see if she’d been genuine about wanting to learn or if she’d just wanted me back. Her reaction didn’t change.

“Speaking of, where is he? I want to meet him. I was expecting him to be with you.”

My eyebrows pulled together in confusion. “Nona, you’ve already met him before, remember? He even came to the house.”

Nona reached over and hit me, causing me to wince. “Boy, I know that, I’m not senile yet. I know I’ve met him before, but back then I only knew him as a friend’s son, not as my grandson’s boyfriend. Now, call him over here.”

Her words caused another smile to present itself on my face as I pulled out my phone. “Alright, Nona.” I dialed Madison’s number and he picked up after the second tone.

“What’s wrong?” he instantly asked.

I chuckled. “Nothing. Nothing at all. Hey, um, listen, I know you’re probably already home by now, but Nona wants to meet you.”

“What do you mean? She’s already met me,” Madison said, confusion evident in his voice.

“That’s what I said, but she says that she wants to meet boyfriend Madison,” I elaborated, causing her to nod.

I could practically hear Madison smile. “Luckily for you, I’m already here. I didn’t leave.”

My eyebrows furrowed. “Why not?”

“Just in case something bad happened, I didn’t want to leave you stranded there,” he explained, causing me to smile.

“I appreciate it, Mads.”

“I know,” he cockily said. “Now can you please open the door? It’s getting chilly out here.”

I found myself rolling my eyes before I hung up and walked to the door. Low and behold, Madison was standing there like he said he would be. “Hi, babe,” he said as he walked in.

“Hi,” I said as I closed the door behind him. “Listen, I know my Nona wants to meet you and get to know us but can you not be so...inappropriately flirty? I mean, we just need to ease her into it and that’d be hard to do with you talking about wanting to make out every six seconds.”

Madison put his hand on his chest in mock offense. “You said that she wanted to meet boyfriend Madison and as said boyfriend, it’s my job to make inappropriate jokes and want to kiss you all the time. I mean have you seen yourself? If you were in my shoes you’d understand.”

I chuckled as I slung my arms over his shoulders and interlocked my fingers behind his neck. “I know, I know, but just think about it this way: behave yourself now and when we get home we can do whatever you want,” I softly said.

“Whatever I want?” Madison playfully asked as he raised his eyebrow.

I looked in mock thought. “Almost whatever you want.”

Madison winced. “You drive a hard bargain, but fine,” he agreed before placing a soft kiss on my lips which we held for a moment before I pulled away and laced my fingers with his before I started leading him back toward the living room.

“Nona, meet boyfriend Madison. Boyfriend Madison, meet Nona,” I said as I took a seat on the couch.

“It’s nice to see you again, ma’am,” Madison respectfully stated as he gave her a wave and sat down beside me.

“You too,” she said, glancing at our interlocked hands before her focus returned to me. “Look boys, I’m sorry for how I came across in the past. I really want to understand this part of your life Noah, I hope you believe that.” I nodded in response and she took a deep breath. “Now, I want you to tell me everything from the moment you two first met to now. I want to know when you knew you actually cared for each other, I want to know why you like each other, and I definitely want to know where you two got all those bruises from. I mean, if you’re comfortable telling me of course.”

I glanced at Madison, silently asking him if he was comfortable and ready to relieve everything one more time. He gave my hand a slight squeeze telling me he was ready and I gave him a small squeeze back telling him that we were in this together. I took a deep breath before I faced my Nona. “Promise you won’t be mad?”

“I promise,” she instantly said and I nodded before I started.

“I don’t actually remember meeting Madison, but I remember the morning after…”

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