Chapter Five: Back to Pittsburg.
“Could you grab that phone charger and that purple book as well?” Andy asked flimsily pointing in their direction while he continued to pack.
He was just about done, all he needed to do was grab his toiletries and he could leave. The cab would be there at any minute. Without waiting for an answer Andy raced to the bathroom and hastily started packing things into a toiletries bag. He paused as he caught a look at his own reflection and wondered what would happen if the worse came to worse.
Micah, though technically his cousin, had stepped in more than anyone else when his mother had passed away and with his dad having died before Andy had turned 7 there was no family left for him and so he was more than grateful for the support. Especially considering he was 16 at the time and if not for Micah he would have been placed into foster care and then what would have happened?
Subsequently to his mother’s death Micah had taken Andy under his wing and the pair raced back to New Haven for the funeral. They had learned through his mother’s will that he had inherited the home he now lived in. Micah was smart enough to suggest that Andy rent out the place for the next two years so that he would have some extra money waiting for him later. They had then packed-up the essentials and moved back to Pittsburg to finish off his final two years of high-school. It was hard losing his mother but Micah and Andy’s Aunt Deb had become a very positive influence on him and despite the fact that he chose to move back into his house a month after he turned 18, it had nothing to do with anything Micah had done as he had never felt so warm and loved by a parental figure. Which was why this news was driving him crazier then he felt anything had before.
Presently Andy felt a hand lightly touch his shoulder and as he looked through the reflection he saw Jay behind him.
“I don’t know what I’d do if I lost him Jay,” Andy said.
“Hey…” Jay sighed comfortingly turning Andy around to face him. What Jay didn’t expect however, was for Andy to fling himself into Jay’s arms and start crying.
It had been amazing how Andy had gone from being so pissed off with Jay, to suddenly being so intimate with him. Yes Micah was partly to do with it, but the kiss… the kiss had happened before that. Andy definitely seemed to be changing his tune. Not only changing it, but changing it dramatically.
“We don’t know if that’s going to happen,” Jay eventually replied.
Andy just mumbled an incomprehensible response.
“And besides, he’s a fighter that father-figure of yours.”
As though hit from behind Andy jumped slightly and looked up at Jay.
“I’m sorry.” Jay said quickly “Bad wording?”
Andy thought about it for a moment. Despite the fact that Andy had viewed Micah as a father-figure he had never told anyone this, let alone Jay. Micah was always labeled as his cousin or simply Micah. But hearing these words come out of Jay’s mouth actually sounded… right. There in that moment, it seemed more comforting, more consoling than any hug ever could.
“No,” Andy finally replied. “I think that’s exactly that sort of thing I needed to hear right now. Every last word.”
Jay smiled and grabbed the toiletries bag from the bathroom sink. Looking at Andy and receiving a nod of reassurance he finished packing the bag and zipped it up.
“Hey,” Andy said, following Jay out of the bathroom and back to his bedroom. “I was thinking, no pressure and all, but…if you want to stay here while I’m gone then I’ll know the house is being looked after and you could move out of the Dètendez-Vouz and then I can call you a-a-and…” but Andy’s voice broke and he started to cry uncontrollably.
Jay brought him in for a hug, this time not knowing what to say. The pair just stood there in each other’s arms Andy crying and Jay consoling and even though he couldn’t say it right now Andy appreciated Jay’s presence here in New Haven more than he ever had before.
“Andy!” came the unmistakable cry of a woman.
It had been a long delay getting here, especially considering some minor issues before take-off, but Andy had finally arrived in Pittsburg. He whirled around and noticed a brown-haired woman in a pinstripe suit and couldn’t help but smile seeing her.
“Mel!” he walked over to her and the pair only quickly embraced. But that was just Mel for you. In fact one of the things that Andy loved most about Mel, was her ‘no fuss, no muss’ attitude to things.
“Has it been a year already?” Mel cracked, making a bad joke of the fact that Andy had only just left, to come straight back.
“Oh ha-ha!” Andy retorted.
“Hey at least I get to see you first this time,” she smiled reminiscing on the fact that she and her partner Linds had been the last of the group to see him last time. Well, second last if you counted Linds walking in about an hour after he’d showed up to their house.
At the time Andy had appreciated that she wasn’t there as he wanted Mel’s advice on the Jay situation and Mel had been only too happy to offer what help she could. Of course unbeknownst to Andy, Mel and Linds had had a big argument afterwards all because Mel almost let slip what Andy had confided and then refused to say any more.
“Ok so you’re going to need an update obviously so Ill fill you in on the way to the car.” Mel said.
“Ok shoot,” Andy said following her lead.
“So first things first Linds and I are sort of taking a break at the moment a-…” she went to continue but Andy stopped her.
“What?!” he asked quite concerned. “Why?”
“Well…” Mel started and then stopped not knowing how to address the situation.
“Oh no, You DIDN’T?!” Andy half-screamed forgetting for a moment where he was.
“You told Linds what I said?!”
“No,” Mel replied quickly. “No, it was more that I refused to tell her.”
Now Andy was completely confused. He would understand if Linds had gotten upset with the situation had she known, after all she would have raced off to tell B and then all hell would have broken loose.
Though considering all hell had broken loose anyway it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. But the fact remained that if she had no idea, then she shouldn’t have been so mad as to take a break from Mel.
“Wait,” Andy suddenly said. “What don’t I know?”
Mel bit her lip, wondering how to put this. There was so much he needed to know and so little time to fill him in. Especially if he wanted to get to Micah as soon as possible, which she knew he would. As they exited the airport and headed for Mel’s car, she took a breath.
“Well, after you left Linds and I were just talking and…well… I sorta told her you came over to talk to me…”
“You WHAT?!?” Andy demanded, not believing the lawyer could be so stupid.
“I know, I know, believe me I kicked myself so hard the moment I said it.”
“So what happened then?”
“Well of course she wanted to know what we’d said…”
“And you went into client/attorney mode.” Yep, now he knew exactly how it had happened.
“Yeah. So anyway she’s been sleeping at Brian’s and well he’s probably told her what’s happened by now…”
Beep-beep. Mel unlocked her car and Andy threw his things in the back before jumping into the passenger seat.
“Don’t worry,” he said as he strapped himself in. “Jay beat him to the punch, only that was because of me!”
“WHAT?!” now it was Mel’s turn to be surprised.
Andy recalled getting the letter from Jay, what was it he had said exactly?
I rounded off telling him how happy I was that he loved me and that we could now truly be together. But B turned around and told me he had no idea what I was talking about. He apologized about fooling around with Edward and admitted to every last detail, but also said that he had never told anyone that he loved me and to this day apparently still doesn’t.
“Yeah,” Andy started coming back to reality. “So after I left yours Jay met up with me at the diner and well… he sorta dragged me out and started this screaming match with me…” Andy sighed once again, recalling that moment hurt his heart more and more each time.
“Why did you do this Andy? Why???”
“Because I thought you had the right to know.”
“You knew all this time and you didn’t tell me?”
“It wasn’t my place to say!”
“So, so-so, you just told him to tell me, flat-out?!”
“Yes. Because I knew you wouldn’t…”
“So that gives you the right to destroy my life?!”
“Destroy your life? Can’t you see I’m trying to help you??”
“Why? Why do you want to help me?!? Oh, that’s right, we don’t talk about ‘why you do, what you do.’ But thanks. Thanks for ruining the best chance I had in life!”
Like being woken up by an alarm clock Andy’s vision of that night disappeared almost as quickly as it had come and as he looked at his reflection through the passenger mirror he realized tears were sliding down his face.
“He said that to you?!” Mel enquired and Andy realized he must have been saying it out loud.
“So then what happened?” Mel enquired tentatively.
“Well then I fucked it all up by stupidly telling him that I did it because he still loved B.”
“WHAT?!” Mel shrieked.
“Oh that’s not even the best part,” Andy sighed. “No the Oscar-winning moment was when I then told him that B loves him too and that…”
Andy raised his voice as though imitating himself being an idiot.
“He really does, trust me, he doesn’t shut up about you!... Urgh, I’m such an idiot!”
Mel simply smiled. It may have been one of the biggest things Andy had done, but to her it seemed like something anyone in that state may have done, whether meaning to or not.
“It’s understandable,” she said at last. “So I guess Linds is shacked up with the both of them,” she wondered out-loud.
“And I thought you were the one who needed to tell me stuff?” Andy snorted. “How far behind are you?”
And he quickly filled Mel in on what had happened since he returned home to New Haven.
Meanwhile back at Andy’s house Jay, who had come up with the idea of cleaning for Andy had almost finished when there was a knock at the door.
Jay stopped wiping down the kitchen bench instantly pondering what to do. When Andy had left the house to him to basically look after, he had never considered what to do if someone dropped by. What if someone had phoned? Did he pick it up or let it go to the answering machine? The knocking sound came again, this time louder.
Talk about persistent. Jay thought to himself. Eventually figuring he would not be able to finish until he dealt with the situation, Jay walked to the door and was surprised to see 2 boys there dressed in suits.
“Oh,” Jay said surprised. “Sorry I’m not looking to join a religion at this stage, but thank you for dropping by…”
However as he made to close the door one of the boys who Jay noticed had jet-black hair stood forward.
“Well that’s good considering we’re not either,” he smiled.
“Or to buy cookies or sign petitions or anything of that nature,” Jay replied. “Honestly I’m in the middle of something, so if you don’t mind…”
But the other boy who looked more like a jock and seemingly out of his comfort zone in a suit turned to the other guy.
“Is this guy for real?” he asked simply.
“Yeah, sorry I don’t have any money on me…” Jay stared, really wanting these guys to just go away.
“Hey, we’re not here for any door to door stuff you may be thinking of,” the jock said.
“Yeah,” the other guy agreed. “We’re here to see Andy, is he home?”
“Oh.” Jay said simply.
Great he thought to himself. Probably some friends of Andy’s.
“I’m Rick,” said the guy with the jet-black hair and he held his hand out for Jay to shake, which he did.
“And I’m John,” the jock said. “We’re friends of Andy’s, but thanks for the compliment. Who knew we could pass as salesmen?” he smiled turning to his friend.
“I work in sales dingus,” Rick replied.
“You work in a butcher shop,” John responded.
“Yeah, I sell meat,” Rick point out as though it was obvious.
Jay couldn’t help but smile. Despite the fact that their arrival couldn’t be at a worse time, he actually appreciated the back and forth banters. It quite reminded him of how he and Andy were prior to the whole argument in Pittsburg.
“So is he here?” Rick responded. “It’s not really important, but we are on a schedule, I don’t know how long we can stay actually.”
“Oh,” Jay again replied simply, wondering how in the world he was going to deal with this proverbial hot-potato. In the end he decided to tell the truth or at least a part-truth.
“No he’s actually not. He flew out to Pittsburg this morning.”
“Oh Man! I knew we should have called,” Rick said.
“Sorry,” he apologized turning to Jay. “We actually flew out from California to see him while we’re on break from school.”
“Suits and all!” Jay replied without thinking and immediately regretted it.
“Oh these?” the jock inquired. Jay nodded. “Oh no, this is just because we took the opportunity to attend a seminar in the area. College credit, don’t ask dude.”
“Wasn’t gonna,” Jay laughed.
“Well I’d invite you in but…”
“No, no, we totally get it,” Rick said. “Believe me if I left someone at my house I wouldn’t want them just inviting people in. It’s all good.”
“So how do you know Andy? He your boyfriend?” John blurted out suddenly.
“John!” Rick snapped back.
For the second time, Jay couldn’t help but smile at these two. They seriously seemed like well meaning guys.
“No, it’s okay,” Jay said. “We’re friends from Pittsburg.”
“Pittsburg?” the boys questioned in unison.
“Yeah…where his cousin…lives?” though it was meant to be a statement, Jay couldn’t help but phrase it as a question. How well did these guys know Andy anyway if they didn’t know his only living relatives lived interstate?
“Oh.” Rick eventually said as John stood there like a stunned-mullet.
“Well, um, do you know when he’ll be back? We’re really not gonna be here much longer at all.”
“No actually,” Jay replied. “He went to see his family. Said it was some sort of emergency and just asked if I could look after the house.”
“Ok, um, crap,” John said realizing their plans had been spoiled.
“What?” Jay asked.
“Well we were kind of hoping to stay here for a few days, but with Andy gone and our flight not leaving till Friday…”
But this time Jay came up with an idea.
“You know what? Technically speaking I’m only moving in today and I was staying at a hotel down the block. If you want, I was gonna clear my stuff out today anyway, so you can take over the room till you leave. I’m cool with that.”
He was careful not to say that Andy had paid for the room incase these guys thought something of it. After all, how often do you hear male friends paying to put a friend up in a hotel down the road?
“But what about money?” John said.
“I got it covered,” Jay replied. “I’m paid up until Saturday morning anyway so you may as well just take my place.”
“Are you sure man?” Rick asked.
“Totally,” Jay replied shaking his head as if to say no worries. “I just need to make a quick call to the hotel. I know someone there; could you guys give me a sec?”
“Sure,” Rick replied. “As long as you’re sure…we don’t wanna put you out or anything.”
“Guys its non refundable. Really. Someone should take it while it’s there and why not friends of Andy’s?”
This seemed to convince the guys who smiled as Jay closed the door and went to phone Lauren.