The Bartender

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Chapter Thirty-Four

Brian’s POV

Here she was, standing right in front of me. The woman I had longed to see for their past five years of my life. The only one who had stood up for me and stood by my side whenever I needed her to. She was right here, in front of me, staring at me which such love and kindness that I didn’t deserve.

“Oh,” she gasped, a tear falling from her eye. “My baby” she sobbed and without warning, she lunged at me with a hug that I didn’t know I craved for. My mother was here, and hugging me after so many years. God, I could cry right now. From the corner of my eye, I could see Aiden watching us in bewilderment. Yeah, who would have thought that the woman we sat next to was my mother. I had missed her so much, both she and my sister. They were my life, still were, only this time, they were not the only ones.

“I can’t believe it’s you, it’s really you” she cried and I could only hold her close. I didn’t even mind the uncomfortable position we were in since Aiden was sitting between us. I was just so happy to finally be with my mother. When she pulled back, she wiped her tears, “How? Why? How are you here? Where have you been?” she asked and I sensed there were more questions to come but I wouldn’t even know where to begin in answering them.

“That’s not important. Let’s go find your sister. Oh she will be so happy that you came. I’m so thankful. It’s been so long sweetheart” she said as she held my hand and turned to follow the crowd out of the auditorium.

I turned to see Aiden grinning at me, a mischievous glint in his eyes that screamed “I told you so” making me shake my head. I took his hand in mine and we both followed my mother out of the auditorium. I was excited at the thought of seeing my sister. Having been so nervous at first, thinking they would reject me and seeing how happy my mom was to see me, I felt renewed. It could only be great from here.

“She’ll be here in a few minutes” mom said as she turned to me. “Now, who is this young man?” she asked making me blush, but only lightly. Mostly because I was embarrassed for not having introduced them soon enough.

“I’m so sorry” I apologized immediately to both Aiden and my mom. I held his hand tightly and said, “mom, this is Aiden, my boyfriend, Aiden, this is my mother”.

My mom gasped, but not in disgust. “You’re so cute” she cooed as she embraced Aiden. “I should have guessed how close you two were” she said. “Has he been treating you well? I wonder, how did he get you to fall in love with him?” she asked, shooting me a look.

“oh for god sake”, I groaned.

“It wasn’t that difficult, honestly. He’s really just a very good listener” he said. I guess that’s where it all started from, even though for me, it started from the moment that I met him. I looked at him in the eye, smiling when I saw he was already looking at me and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

“That’s so sweet” mom smiled again. Really, the woman couldn’t frown even if she tried. She was simply just a happy person. “Oh, there she is” she said and we all turned to look towards my long awaited sister. She was walking towards us, her bag in hand but stopped in her tracks the moment she saw me. At that moment, it seemed there was no one else around, no parents, no students, no teachers, just us and her.

I thought she was angry, given how the smile on her face fell immediately she saw me. But, it only increased and she dropped her bag, going into a full sprint towards me and jumping to hug me. I caught her in my arms, turning around in the process as we hugged. Oh, it was so good to be here now, with the people I cared about.

“You came!” she cried, her tears soaking my shirt but I didn’t care.

“Of course I did” I whispered to her.

“I didn’t think I’d see you again big brother. You’re here, in the flesh”

“Yes, I am” I said and rubbed her back, hoping to soothe her.

I couldn’t believe it took my boyfriend to slit his wrists, and a man in a hospital to talk some sense into me to come see my family. I had missed them so much and this feeling of reuniting with them was the best yet.

“Oh, sorry” she apologized as I let her down.

“That’s okay” I chuckled. “You’ve gotten so big” I said.

“Look who’s talking. Your arm is like twice the size of mine and mom’s” she exclaimed. Seeing her so happy, as well as my mom made me so thankful.

“Sandy, there’s someone I want you to meet” I said as I took her hand.

“Is it him? Your boyfriend?” she said, pointing at Aiden.

“Yes, he is my boyfriend. How did you know?”

“I saw you kiss when you first got here, but I wasn’t sure it was you” she explained. “Hi, I’m Sandra. Oh my god! You followed me on Instagram” she exclaimed and I laughed. Of course.

“Yeah, I did” Aiden chuckled, scratching the back of his neck. “It’s really nice to meet you”.

“Omg, same!”

“Why don’t we all go and have some lunch, or an early dinner, seeing as its past 4” mom suggested.

***

We all went to McDonalds a while later surprising me since I knew my mom was all about healthy food. Apparently, this was a treat for Sandra for having done so well in the play. That made perfect sense because I couldn’t think of any other reason why my mom would come into such a place. Even while I lived with her, she never liked to cook with so much oil and cheese was something she hated. But it was good to have them once in a while, just not too much of it. I myself have never had a strong like for fast food or deep fried food anyway.

In my peripheral vision, I saw Aiden texting on his phone with a frown on his face. Thinking that it was from home, I asked but he said Kyle was running a bit late. I could understand that. Kyle and his father had a very strong bond and it hurt the man to see his son leave to a different country but we all knew it was for the best. So, seeing him today might have been such a pleasant surprise for him.

Through the course of our meal, I learnt how it hurt both mom and Sandra that I had left and I apologized for that, however, I didn’t regret it. It was inevitable and who knew what would have happened had I not made that decision. I explained that after I left college, I worked as a waiter for a while, just to be financially stable and it was difficult for a long while. I lived with all few friends but they all go tired of me easily since I was messy and mostly lived in the living room rather than my bedroom. She only nodded in understanding. I also explained that it was after I turned twenty-one that I got a stable job which paid version well as a bartender in a bar that another friend of mine owned and that allowed me to get my own place.

She was even more shocked when I told her that my apartment was just about five blocks away from home. At that time, I had wanted to be close to home because I missed he and Sandra so much.

That was when I met Kyle. We became friends instantly since I used to help him with his bike and all and after he mentioned to me that he was leaving to the United States, I thought it would be a fresh start for me. We moved there about three things four months ago and I was already offered a job and everything.

Mom easily understood my decision and forgave me but Sandra was a different story. Of course, she was happy that I was here but she made it known to me that she hated me a first few two years after I had left. I got tense immediately but thanks to my lovely Aiden, who kept rubbing thighs, I managed to calm down.

Aiden had also become quite comfortable around my mom and sister. I shouldn’t be surprised because he was someone who knew how to take control of a situation, even though it wasn’t that often. I guessed it was because of a similar situation he had at home. Maybe family was just his strong suit and I was so proud of him. I actually had a lot to be thankful to him for. Had it not been him, I might have never come here.

After we were done eating, mom decided that we should all go home to rest up for a bit. I protested because I didn’t want to encounter father and she assured me that he wouldn’t be there. Besides, Sandra said she had a lot of things to show both Aiden and I and who was I to refuse? So we got in a taxi and headed home.

Mom took off with Aiden immediately we entered the single storey building, shouting about how she had to show him all my pictures from when I was a kid. Talk about embarrassing. Sandra and I followed because I wanted to make sure that she didn’t tell him any lies, or half-truths. Damn, Aiden would tease me to no end.

I then told my mom and Sandra about how I met Aiden, although leaving out the homophobic details since I knew she didn’t like such people. But it made me wonder, after all she had said about no liking such people, she still hadn’t done anything about my father. So I dared to ask.

“Mom, where is father?” I asked softly.

My mom’s eyes blanked, all emotion had left them. “Still the same as ever” she replied.

“Are you still with him?”

She sighed and took my right hand in hers. She rubbed her thumb on the back of my hand and I immediately saw that as her way of comforting me. “You know there’s not much I can do in that situation” she said. “I’d have left him long ago but there’s still Sandra to take care of and bills to pay” she explained making me sigh.

I wished I could do more to help. If I had my way, I’d fly them over to St. Lawrence and have them stay with me. I didn’t have the means to do so and if I had no solution, I shouldn’t be condemning her, right? I could only hope he didn’t have any abusive tendencies. Although, verbal abuse was still abuse.

“Hey, can I use the bathroom?” Aiden asked mom and she nodded.

“Brian, why don’t you take him while I make some tea. You know where it is” she said, giving me a pointed look.

I sighed and took his hand, leading him out of the living room. I knew he didn’t want to pee or anything. He just wanted to leave that awkward conversation.

“Why don’t you show me your room?”

“Uh ... I don’t think so” I stated. There was no way I could let Aiden see that. Besides, I wasn’t even sure if they had left it as it was or moved my stuff.

“Come on, I just want to see. You’ve seen my room” he whined, pouting and I rolled my eyes.

Ugh! I could never say no when he looked at me like that. He looked so cute. Placing a chaste kiss on his lips, I led him through the corridor and stopped in front of the room I had slept in for the most part of my life. My hands became sweaty all of a sudden. I had no idea why I was feeling this way. Taking a few deep breaths, I turned the knob and opened the door.

It wasn’t anything like I had imagined. I thought there were would be cobwebs from lack of use, or that it had been changed to something else. No, it still looked to same as when I left it, except much cleaner. It was as though someone had been cleaning it each day.

All of my stuff where in place, my books where on the desk, which was actually the only piece of furniture in the room, as well the chair. My eyes moved to the corner of the room, where I slept. My bedspread was laid on the floor as it usually did, and my sheets were bundled up as a pillow of sorts.

I heard Aiden gasp as he took in the room, and I guess some truths had been revealed.

***

Aiden’s POV.

I could no longer contain the horror I felt when I looked into the room. So this was where Brian slept as a kid. I couldn’t find it in myself to believe it. There was no bed, where would he sleep? It was no wonder why he had trouble sleeping in his own bed back at home.

“He, hey, it’s okay. It’s all in the past now” Brian whispered in my ears. I hadn’t even realized I was having difficulty breathing. I should be the one comforting him for having been through something as awful as this, but here he was, whispering sweet words to me.

“I’m so sorry” I apologized.

“It’s okay baby, you have nothing to be sorry for. It wasn’t even that bad”.

“How can you say that?”

“Because it wasn’t. Sure, I slept on the floor but at least it was carpeted and I had a roof over my head. My dad didn’t disown me when I came out as a kid, he just took away some things from my life. But you know what, that only made me a better man. So really, I’m over it” he explained and I sobbed.

“Still. I guess I can now understand why you refused to sleep in your bed” I chuckled. “It doesn’t matter now though, because you’ve overcome it” I stated and kissed him deeply, not only because I needed to feel his lips against mine, but also because I felt like defying the homophobic man this house belonged to. “Let’s go back to the living room” I suggested when our kids starting heating up.

When we got downstairs, Brian’s mom had made some tea and hot cocoa which I was grateful for because it was freezing outside. We talked a bit more about anything and everything, just enjoying what little time we still had here. It was sad that we couldn’t stay for long and I could tell that Brian had missed them greatly. Maybe I could plan another trip, during Christmas or afterwards, but after talking to Brian of course. I had learned my lesson.

We were still hanging out in the living room when the door opened to reveal a balding man who matched Brian in height, but not in weight. He had a nasty scowl on his face as he entered the house, as if he hated any source of happiness.

“Sandy, go to your room” Brian’s mom ordered her daughter as the man walked towards us.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the faggot king of fairies”.

Excuse me?

I felt Brian tense against me, obviously not expecting the man to have arrived so soon.

I looked him up and down with a frown on my face. He looked so wretched, like his life was stuck in a dead end with no hope. He had wrinkles on his rather handsome face, I’d say, but that scowl was anything but handsome. How could someone harbour so much hatred in them.

“You’re a fucking piece of shit!” I sneered as he got closer.

“And who might you be?” he questioned. “Is he your boy toy? You had the audacity to bring this ... this fairy into my house?”

“Oh wow. Fairy? What are you going to say next? Fag? Faggot? That we should drop dead? Or that we’d go to hell? Go ahead. I’ve heard and said much worse asshole”. I couldn’t believe this man was talking to me like that. I couldn’t believe he just felt the need to insult me just because I was dating his son. Above all, I couldn’t believe I saw a fraction of myself - my old self - in him. I was disgusted. Was this how I sounded each time I went off on gay people?

“You should learn to respect your elders boy!”

“Oh but you are no elder. You’re just a douche who gets off on intimidating and belittling people for being who they are. And it is fucking sick. I don’t know what goes on in that head of yours but it must not pretty, given how fucking sad you are. A man who could let his own sleep on the floor unit because he’s gay, a man who abandoned his kid. You’re no fucking elder and you deserve no respect, at least not from me. And you know what? You thought you had ruined him but he just came out a better man, and I love him. I love him so much, someone like you wouldn’t understand”.

The man just glared at me, fuming in anger. I could tell his distaste for me, and honestly, I didn’t give a flying fuck what he cared.

“Are you going to let him talk to me like this?” he asked, looking at Brian and his mom who had come to stand behind me. They said nothing and before I could blink, the man lunged at me. I closed my eyes in anticipation for the impact of his fist but all I heard was he cracking of bone, which wasn’t mine.

I opened my eyes to see the man writhing on the floor in pain.

“If you dare, so much as to come near him ever again, I’d beat you so bad you wouldn’t recognize your fucking face!” Brian seethed.

At that, I threw myself in his arms and planted a deep kiss on his lips. “I love you so much” I said against his lips.

“I love you too baby” he whispered. “I’m sorry I let him speak to you like that”.

“That’s okay. And I’m sorry too.” I apologized. I couldn’t say more because the door of the house opened again revealing the two men my dad had sent as our bodyguards, who came to drag Brian’s father out of the house with him screaming, “you’ll pay for this”.

I laughed at his antics. I didn’t know where they were taking him and to be honest, I didn’t care. At this moment, I just wanted to have some alone time with my strong man. We bid farewell to his mom who made us promise to come back soon.

Throughout the drive there, I thought about how much Brian had changed me as person. I went from a hateful person to a much better and loving boy who bow had a boyfriend, but also knew all humans were the same. It didn’t matter our gender, race, sexuality or whatever, we were one people. I realized that I had fallen deeply in love with him and I couldn’t see myself with any other person. It only hurt me that I was so hateful in the beginning and if I could go back and change things, I would.

But then, I wouldn’t have met the man who made my life so better in the end.

As we were nearing the bed and breakfast, I turned to the man I loved, leaned up and kissed him. With my head resting against his, and looking into his eyes, I said;

“I’m ready”.

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