A Dash Of Him

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DASH Chapter 29

It's been a couple of days. I sat a couple of rows back from where Aiden was sitting. He sat in the first row with his head down. Memories came crashing down like a tidal wave. My chest tighten and my heart ached from seeing the open casket of Aiden's mother. I remembered sitting where Aiden was as tears poured down my eyes. I closed my eyes and a warm tear came down my cheek.

Duke squeezed my hand as I glanced over to him. His eyes were red but his blue eyes gleamed like diamonds. He forced his handsome smile but I know he's reliving Emilio's funeral just like I was with my mother. I gave him a faint smirk and gripped his hand into mine. Duke is much stronger now but I know deep inside his pain still lingers.

My guilt is eating me alive and I haven't heard from Kieran. I need to talk to him again. I need his guidance but I know the answer. I know the day will come where I have to be honest with Duke and tell him what really happened.

Matthew is staying for a couple of months at his old house. His father left the house in his name. I need to catch up with him and see what happened all these years. Maybe I can confess to him and see what he says about all this.

I saw Aiden stand up and walk towards his mother's casket. The room was not so big so I could hear his family members talking. Then I heard him speak. "Mom, I'm a mess without you. You guided me and were my number one fan. Why did you leave me!" He yelled and hugged his mom's lifeless body. A man stood up which I'm assuming it's his father.

"Aiden let her go!"

"No!" He cried out loud while his dad tried to pull him away. "No, she needs me! She needs me!" He finally let her go and fell to the floor. I glanced at Duke who's put his hands over his mouth and let his tears pour down his cheeks. I stood up and walked towards Aiden.

I kneeled next to Aiden. I looked up at his dad who just stared at his son. Why the fuck isn't he consoling him? Fucken prick. He walked away. He knew I was there to console Aiden, something he should be doing. "Hey, I know what you're going through," I put my hand on his shoulder.

"Dash, it fucken hurts. It feels like my heart is not beating. I can't feel my hands or feet," he glanced up at me as his eyes were bloodshot and his green eyes were soulless. I know that face so well, that was me a year and a half ago.

"I know it hurts, man. But I know you'll be ok. I survived this pain and I know you can. Trust me." he hurtled his arms around my neck and cried. His painful weeps made my lips tremble. I remember the last words my mom told me. My eyes filled with tears as if it were yesterday.

******

*A YEAR AND A HALF AGO*

My mom wasn't getting any better. She had difficulty breathing and slowly her body was shutting down. I sat close to her as she rested her head on the soft pillow. Cancer had spread throughout her body. Her face was skeletal and her lips were dry. The dark circles around her eyes were more pronounced. I glanced at her hands and they were emaciated. I grabbed her wrist as my whole hand wrapped around it. My lips trembled and my eyes got blurry from seeing how my mom was dying in front of me. I swallowed the know knot inside my throat and cleared it.

She slowly fluttered her eyes open. Her eyes smiled when she saw me. I could hear the air from her breathing tube and the monitor beeping. Her crystal blue eyes were the only part of her that was shining bright. "My beautiful Dash," her voice raspy. I felt her fingers move as she tried to squeeze my hand.

"Hey, mom," my lips trembled more as tears came down my cheeks.

"Dashiell, take care of your brother. He will need you after I...," I stopped her.

"No, you're not leaving us. You can't leave us," I choked on my own words. "Please, you are strong. I don't know what I'll do without my number one fan," I saw a tiny curve on the corner of her lips.

I heard a groan. It must be Kieran waking up, he quickly got up and sat on the edge of her bed. "Mom, you're awake," he grabbed her hand and squeezed tightly. I glanced up at my brother as his eyes filled with tears. His gray metal eyes were now a dark molten tone.

"Where is your father?" she asked lowly.

"He went downstairs to get some coffee," I squeezed her hand.

"I'm tired boys," she opened and closed her eyes. She opened them and glanced at me. Her eyes smiled as she swallowed hard. I saw a tear come down the side of her cheek. "My beautiful Dash. I'll always be inside that huge heart of yours. Keep playing hockey and find someone that makes you happy. I want you to be happy after I'm gone. Please make me that promise," I couldn't swallow the huge knot in my throat.

"Mom, you're going to live and see that happen," she finally squeezed my hand.

"Promise me."

I leaned towards her and buried my head into her neck. "I promise."

"And you. My rebellious gem," her face now looking at Kai. "I'm so proud of you. You enrolled in college. You've always been book smart," Kieran was getting his life together. He enrolled in college not sure what he was going to do but I'm so damn proud he was finally out of his rebellion. "I want you to graduate with honors, promise me."

Kai's eyes watered down as his lips trembled just like mine. "I'm not that smart but I'll try," I could barely understand his words. "You'll see me graduate. You can't leave me, us. We need you. You're the glue that holds us together. Please don't leave me momma bear," he called her momma bear because she always gave him a bear hug.

"I love both of you and your father but I'm so tired. I just want to...," my mom's eyes closed. The monitor went flat and my heart stopped. I glanced at Kieran and his face went pale white.

"No, no, no, no! Mom!" I gently shook her. "Mom, no please!"

My dad walked in as he placed the coffee holder on a table. "Get Kieran out of here," he was in shock. He wasn't moving.

"Son, she's gone," I heard my dad grab him but then he reacted.

He hurtled and hug our mother. "No! Mom! You can't leave us! I need you!" He yelled. The nurses ran in and so did the doctor.

"Son, wait outside," the doctor told me. I stood up as the nurse did her job. I was numb. It's like everything went slow motion. My dad pulling Kieran off my mom went so slow. Everything was heavy. It's like time paused and so did my heart. Did I have a heart? No, it was shattered into a million pieces. Our mom died in front of us and that was the most painful event in my life.

******

*PRESENT DAY*

The funeral was over as Duke had his arms around my waist. We were one of the last people there. Caleb and Mason stood right next to me. Aiden's dad left him by himself. What a fucken dick. Aiden stood over his mother's grave, the dirt was moist but Aiden was broken. Aiden cried but just seeing his broken face was more than enough to set a fountain of tears run down my cheeks. Duke let me go as I walked towards him. The sun was setting as the orange purple horizon was slowly changing into a deep purple.

"You ok?" I placed my hand on his shoulder.

"What do you think?" his voice rigid and soulless.

I took a deep breath. "If you need anyone to talk to we are here, man. Especially me. We are family," his eyes averted to mine. His eyes were a deep murky green.

"Thanks but I'm going to take some time away from hockey. I asked Coach Garr and he agreed. My poor performance is why we lost. You trusted me and I failed. I have some money saved up so I'm going to take a vacation in Europe. Who knows what will the future bring but it's not here right now," my guilt grew further. It's my performance why we lost. My head isn't in the game. It's going back to Emilio's accident. Fuck I need to talk to someone.

Mason and Caleb left. Aiden wanted to stay longer so we left him in the dark. He didn't want to leave. I felt bad but Duke was starving and so was I. We passed through a drive-in got some burgers. We came back to Duke's house and devoured our late dinner within seconds. We took a shower and laid in his cozy bed. I had my head on the headboard while Duke laid on my abs and snored quietly. I gently kissed the top of his head and grabbed my phone on the nightstand.

I looked up Matthew's number and texted him.

"I need to tell you something. Let's me for lunch tomorrow."

He quickly replied. "Sure, let me know where."

******

Duke had gone to work so I met Matthew at a bar and grill not so far from me. We sat in a booth. He ordered a beer but I ordered some wings with fries on the side. "You don't drink?" he asked.

"Not as much like I use to," his crystal blue eyes narrowed at me, and then a curve formed on his lips.

"I heard. Listen I'm sorry for not coming down for your mom's funeral. She was like a mother to me but I had family problems of my own," he smoothed his beard and took a deep breath.

Matt told me he moved because his father went ballistic about him being gay. They got physical and his mother wasn't going to have it. His parents divorced. He left up north with his mother to the farmhouse they had. They make a living from dairy products. He explained to me why he couldn't come down when my mom passed away. I understand now. But his face was full of guilt. "I'm so sorry I wasn't there when you needed a friend," he told me.

"Hey don't worry about it. You're here and I'm glad," he took his hat off. He looks good with long hair. His beard is well trimmed and his features have matured. He didn't have the babyface from high school.

"Thanks, man. I appreciate that. So what's going in that head of yours. I know you don't play like that," he was talking about our loss from a couple of days.

"That's what I want to talk to you about," I took a deep breath as he sipped his beer. He ordered some wings and fries as well. "I'm pretty sure you know about the car accident."

He nodded and bit on a wing. "Yeah, how's your brother by the way?"

"He's good. He'll be out in like two months," his eyes opened wide but he had his sexy smirk on his face.

"Damn that's great."

"Yeah but I feel guilty as hell man," I grabbed his beer and chugged it down. "We can get an Uber."

"Ok, what's going on?" Matt asked.

"Duke's husband was the guy Kieran killed," I waited for his reaction. His mouth parted as he put down the fry he was about to eat.

"What?! Does Duke know?"

I shook my head. "No. And that's what's killing me inside. I don't know what to do. I can't lose him, Matt. I won't."

"I love you, man but you have to tell Duke. The truth comes out sooner or later," he lifted his arm and signaled the waiter for another beer.

"Yes, I know. I was thinking of telling him when Kieran come out," he took a deep breath at what I said.

"Dash, the more you wait the more it's going to be harder for both of you and the more the guilt will consume you. But it's your relationship, not mine but I suggest you do it soon," he was right I need to tell Duke but how?

I changed the subject and we talked about hockey. He still loves it. "Yeah, I was thinking of sinking my feet into hockey again," but that's when I saw something on the flatscreen. It was Donovan. Matt averted to where my eyes went.

The caption on the bottom of the screen is was what caught my eyes.

*DONOVAN GRAYSTONE, QUARTERBACK FOR THE LOS ANGELES ROYALS, HAS COME OUT AS GAY.*
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