Keely O’Reilly and Roger Greyson are happily engaged and performing with their respective bands. Keely with Alienated and Roger with the Bohemian Knights. Keely also makes appearances onstage with the Bohemian Knights on Saturday nights when her band has the night off and Roger makes occasional appeareances with Keely on Thursday nights. Roger has moved in with Keely and Wendy and they’re in no rush to start planning their wedding. Her parents know that she and Roger are engaged and living together, but are unaware of her alcoholism or her HIV status. Oliver has been pushing her to tell them, but she has not been able to get away long enough to travel to Minnesota to tell them and is in no hurry to make the time. Oliver has convinced his aunt and uncle to come for a visit to New York City. In time for the holidays. Forcing Keely to make her move. Keely, Roger and Oliver are at Keely and Roger’s apartment arguing.
“Are you two out of your minds?” Keely asked pacing around the living room.
“Keel, I’m sick of keeping your secrets. You gotta tell them everything.” Oliver argued looking up at her from the couch.
“He’s right, Baby. You need to tell them. They’re your parents. They’ll support you no matter what.” Roger looked over at her from the kitchen.
“And remind me again how your parents reacted?” she yelled at him putting her hand on her hip.
“Keel, you can’t go by them. Everyone reacts differently.” he walked over to her.
“I know, I’m… I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me that they won’t react the same way, can you? Neither one of you can.” she asked looking up at him.
“Baby, they love you.” he looked down at her.
“Yeah, until they find out their only child is an alcoholic and she’s HIV positive. They’re gonna give me that look like I’m a disappointment and they’ll either disown me or drag me back to Minnesota because obviously I can’t take care of myself and then we’ll never see each other again.” she ranted as tears filled her eyes.
“Keel, calm down. It’s not gonna be like that.” Roger took her in his arms.
“Oh no? You don’t know them.” she looked up at him.
“I do and they’re not gonna do any of that. You made a mistake, but you’re sober and you’re healthy. They’re gonna see that. It’s gonna be OK, cuz. I’ll be right there if you want me to be.” he got up from his seat and walked over to them.
“Oli, what if they react like Roger’s parents did? I... I don’t think I can handle that. Not from them.” she cried looking up at him.
“They won’t, Keel. You have to have more faith in your parents than that. I do.” Roger wrapped his arms around her shoulders leaning down to kiss her head.
“How can you possibly know that? You didn’t know that your parents were gonna react that way and they did.”
“Because you never left me. Even when it would have been so easy for you to just cut your losses and never look back. You never even considered it. You chose to stay and you fought for me. You were strong enough for both of us until I was strong enough for myself. Anyone who would raise such an amazingly supportive woman like that, would never turn their backs on their own daughter. That’s how I know. Give them a chance, Keel. They may surprise you.” he looked down at her.
“I’m so scared of disappointing them. I… I never disappointed them before.” she stared up at him as she blinked the tears from her blue eyes.
“Stop making excuses, Keel. You need to tell them. That’s it. I can’t be a part of keeping your secrets anymore.” Oliver looked over at her.
“Oliver, can’t you give her a break? You see this is tough for her.” Roger looked over at him.
“This is tough on all of us, but she has to suck it up. I can’t do this anymore.” he looked at him.
“Oli, I’m scared. How can you be so mean about this?” she argued.
“I’m sorry Keely, I really am. But I don’t think you’re giving your parents enough credit.” Oliver looked over at her and Roger.
“You’re giving them too much credit, Oli. How can they possibly be able to wrap their heads around their only child being diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS? I can barely even understand it and I’ve spoken to the doctors and nurses about what all of it means.” she yelled at him as Roger wrapped his loving arms around her.
“They love you, Keel.” Oliver stood next to her and Roger.
“I just hope that’s enough.” she looked up at him.
“Trust me, Keel. It will be.” Oliver smiled down at her.
“You won’t be alone. Oliver and I will make sure of it. We will never leave you.” he smiled, leaning down to kiss her temple.
“When are they coming?” Keely exhaled looking up at Oliver.
“Next week.” he looked at her as her eyes got wider.
“Next week? That’s too soon.” she asked looking up at Roger.
“But it’s necessary. You can’t expect Oliver to keep holding on to your secrets. It’s not fair to him.” he told her quietly.
“I know, I’m just terrified.” she looked up at him.
“Everything you told me about your parents, I don’t know why you’d be terrified. They sound pretty awesome and open minded.” he looked down into her blue eyes.
“I’m sure this is not what they want for their only child.” the tears welled back up in her eyes.
“Baby, I love you and I won’t let you deal with this alone.” he reached up to hold her face in his strong, but gentle hands.
“I know that, Roger. I just don’t see how all of this is gonna be OK.” she looked into his green eyes.
“Do you trust me?” he asked looking down at her.
“You know I do.” she answered quietly.
“So trust that I see it. Everything is gonna be OK. Some how, some way, it’s all gonna be OK.” he reassured her, kissing her forehead before bringing her to him. He looked over at Oliver, hoping that he was right. It would kill Keely if her parents responded the way his parents did when he delivered similar news to them.
Oliver looked back at him and gave him a confident smile. He had seen how good Roger and Keely were for each other over the last 9 months. When Keely started performing with the Bohemian Knights and began dating Roger, he was fearful at first. The day Keely told him of her HIV diagnosis, he wasn’t sure that them being involved with one another was a good idea, but those fears were quickly put to rest when he saw that they needed each other. They were meant to be together and as much as he wanted to be the one to be there for his cousin, he realized how important if was that Roger be the one to be there for her helped her deal with her diagnosis and learn to live HIV positive. She and Roger were each other’s stability and they had their life together. It wasn’t your typical description of normal, but it was their normal and they were making the most of their time together in this life.
“I gotta go, Keel. I’ll see you at rehearsal?” Oliver asked, trying to change the subject.
“Yeah, I’ll... I’ll be there.” she looked over at him as Roger held her in his arms.
“It’s gonna be OK, Keel. You’ll see.” he walked over to them to kiss her head.
“I hope you’re right.” she looked up at him as he turned to leave the apartment.
“You’re not alone. We would never make you go in there alone.” Roger looked down at her.
“I don’t think I can handle Oliver being there when I tell them. He hasn’t come to terms with it himself, I don’t see him being much help telling my parents. I think it should just be you and me.” she looked up at him.
“If that’s what you want, it’ll just be you and me. I’ll do anything for you, Keel.” he smiled down at her.
“I know, Baby. I have never doubted that.” she smiled, holding him tighter.
Later that night, she and Roger are in bed. Roger is sound asleep next to her and Keely’s lying on her side, staring at him. His chest is rising and falling with every breath he breathes. She can’t help but allow her thoughts to wander. She’s remembering the day that Roger told his parents about what he had been through and it broke her heart.
“What happened?” Keely called out, dropping her dance bag by the door, before rushing over to where Jason was holding a weeping Roger in his arms.
“He called his parents and told them everything. They… didn’t take it well.” Jason explained quietly as Roger’s shoulders shook with emotion.
“They hung up on me. They pretty much told me to have a nice life and cut me off.” he cried turning his head towards Keely. She wrapped her arms around him as Jason transferred him into Keely’s arms.
“Oh honey. I’m... I’m so sorry.” she whispered, kissing his head. Tears falling from her eyes.
“Why Keel? Why can’t they love me enough to accept me the way you do?” he asked looking up at her.
“I... I don’t know, Baby.” she cried, running her fingers through his hair.
“They think I’m a loser.” he cried.
“You are not a loser, Roger Michael Greyson. Do you hear me? They are. If they can’t see past your mistakes, they’re the losers. You’re a good man. Look how far you’ve come. You’re facing your addiction and you’re dealing with your HIV. Don’t let them change any of that.” Keely regained her composure and put her hands on Roger’s face. She stared into his green eyes to reiterate her point.
“I won’t, Keel. I’ve worked too hard to let anything change that.” he looked up at her, wiping his face.
“The sooner you’re better, the sooner we can be together and then it’ll be their loss because they’re never gonna get to know the man you’re becoming. We’ll be OK without them. They’re not worth your tears.” she said looking down at him.
“They’re not good enough to know you, Keel. I’m lucky to have you in my life.” he smiled looking up at her.
“I’m pretty lucky too.” she smiled as Jason smiled down at them.
Keely thought about that day and feared that her parents would react the same way. She couldn’t handle losing their love and support. Being an only child, her parents centered their lives around her. She shoved her anxiety down and closed her eyes. Attempting to get some sleep.