Chapter Six: The Moonlight-Freeze.
After receiving the all-good from Lauren, Jay hung-up the phone. He knew Andy would be fine with him placing the boys in his hotel room, especially considering he had told Lauren to take Andy’s card off the account and put his on there instead. Lauren was admittedly disappointed hearing that Jay was moving out of the hotel as she had quite come to like him, but was thrilled when he had explained that it was just because he was house-sitting for Andy.
Jay walked back and opened the door to find Rick and John smoking some cigarettes.
“Hey guys,” he smiled, appreciating the casualness of these two ‘suits’ as he had called them in his head.
“Oh! Sorry man!” Rick responded referring to the smoke and immediately put it on the ground and stomped it out.
“It’s all good,” Jay replied. “I smoke too,” he said simply.
This earned a smile from John who had not butted his out just yet and so he continued to smoke.
“Ok so it’s all set up, you’ll have my room at the hotel. I’ll come with you guys so that I can get my stuff.”
“This is very generous of you,” Rick replied.
“Look, ah, Rick was it?” The black haired boy just nodded. “I appreciate the politeness, I really, really do, but seriously, one more time and I might just say no,” Jay teased.
“Told you man, too polite for your own good, now shut up before we wind up on the street,” John said now butting out his smoke. “Lead the way man.”
Jay had decided to take the scenic route rather than catch a cab. For one thing, he could do with the walk and for another he wanted these guys to know just how close the place was, just in case they needed anything.
When they arrived at the hotel Lauren, unsurprisingly, stood there with the same smile she had worn the first time Jay had walked in.
“Hi, I’m Lauren and welcome to the Dètendez-Vouz!”
“Hi I’m Rick,” Rick said, extending his hand for Lauren to shake, which she did. “And this is John.”
John simply waved.
“Please to meet you both. Can Taylor help you with your bags?” she asked, taking Jay back to his first night here at the hotel.
“Oh, should I get my-…?” Jay started.
“Already taken care of,” Lauren replied dismissively before turning back to the two men who had turned to follow Taylor. “If you need anything just ask, remember at the Dètendez-Vouz we’re not happy unless you are!”
The two men smiled and disappeared with Taylor. The moment they were out of sight Lauren’s smile dropped into a sigh.
“And how long did it take you to change modes after I’d gone?” Jay teased.
“Much less time buddy and believe me I was more worried with you,” she smiled.
“So Jay,” Rein started from behind the desk. She was so tiny Jay couldn’t help but think that no one could be mistaken for not even noticing she was there. Not that she was short, but she was so skinny!
“You staying for tea? The foyer opens in 20 minutes.”
Jay liked Rein. Whilst he didn’t know too much about her she just seemed like such a sweet young lady.
“I will on one condition,” he responded reflecting her smile.
“A condition?” she asked. “Hmmm ok proceed.”
“That you and your mum accompany me tonight to some singer-thing.”
“Singer-thing?” Lauren questioned half snorting. “I don’t sing. And I certainly don’t go to something that’s labeled a ‘thing.’”
Jay chuckled lightly.
“It’s this lady I met this afternoon sh-…”
“Lady?! What lady?” Lauren inquired nosily.
“Oh some friend of Andy’s, Carmita I think her name is. Anyway she’s in town tonight performing some songs from her album and she personally invited Andy and me to go, but since he’s not here I figured I’d take you guys, my treat.”
Lauren smiled. Generally when a man asked her to go somewhere it was because they had other intentions. But with Jay being gay, she knew that would hardly be the case this time.
“Where is it?” she asked.
“Moonlight Freeze?” Jay questioned, having never heard of it before.
“Oh I LOVE that place!” Lauren squealed. “They have all these great artists come in every night. It’s a great place to kick back, have a few drinks and listen to some real up and coming talent! Count me in!”
“Great!” Jay smiled “Rein?”
“I would so love to,” Rein said. “But seriously I have this huge exam to study for and if I don’t get to it tonight, I never will.”
“Study-shmuddy girl! Take off that study hat and put on some dancin’ shoes!” Lauren replied.
“Thank you Jay, really. I’ll go next time I promise.”
“So you’ll owe me?” he half joked.
“I’ll owe you,” she smiled. “But you to go, Have fun! You know, there’s no better party-gal in town then this one,” she said referring to her mother.
“Aww you’re so sweet!” Lauren smiled at her daughter.
“Always here to help,” Rein replied.
“I still can’t believe he just flew right down,” Mel said as she pulled the car into the hospital parking lot. “I mean I get why he’d be upset, but… I don’t know… I just don’t get it.”
“Believe me, you’re not the only one,” Andy replied.
As the pair moved through the automatic-doors at the entrance to the hospital however, Andy’s thoughts were ripped away from Jay and became 100% focused on his Papa.
Despite the fact that Micah was technically his cousin, before Andy had left Pittsburg he had told him and Ben that they were like father-figures to him. They had not only been so glad to hear it but had also informed him the feeling was mutual and they thought of him as a son. Micah had instantly become Papa and Ben, Dad.
Andy, forgetting about Mel momentarily rushed up to the reception desk.
“I’m looking for my father,” then stopped remembering. “I-I’m sorry, I mean my cousin.”
The lady behind the desk gave Andy a skeptical look. “Mmm-hmm,” she simply replied. “Name?”
“Micah, Micah Bruckner.”
“Hmmmm” the receptionist replied, typing the name into her computer.
“Bruckner, Bruckner, Bruckner…Oh yes here he is. Ok so he’s in ICU at the moment; take the elevator to the 4th floor. You’re after the west-side. Oh, and we only allow next of kin into the rooms in ICU and only two at a time.”
Andy smiled and quickly thanked the lady before bolting to the elevator.
“Andy!” Mel screamed out after him “Damn man, heels!”
“Sorry Mel,” Andy replied. “I totally forgot.”
Mel waved it off as the pair entered the elevator.
On the ride up to the fourth floor Andy continued to worry about his Papa. Despite the fact that he had left Pittsburg because of Justin, he had regretted leaving Micah and Ben behind and hearing how bad Micah seemed made Andy feel so much worse. Especially considering that jay had flown down to him anyway.
Ding! The elevator door sounded and opened meaning they had arrived on the fourth floor.
“Which way?” Mel asked, looking around.
“The lady said the west side,” Andy replied. However neither of them could see any directions. All they could see were different colored lines on the floor which seemed to lead off into differing directions.
“What is this? The god-damned fricken hospital of oz?!?” Andy screamed out in anger.
“Andy, calm down.” Mel replied softly.
“Calm down? CALM DOWN?!?” Andy was now screaming at the top of his lungs.
“My Papa is in the hospital, ICU no less and you’re telling me to calm the fuck down?!?”
But just then the sound of a very familiar voice was heard coming around the corner.
“Andy? Andy is that you?”
Once in plain-sight Andy could tell it was Ben.
“Dad!” he screamed, bolting towards him and into his arms.
“Papa…Dad?” Mel mouthed, not having the foggiest what Andy was on about. Last she heard Micah was Andy’s cousin and Ben, well his cousin’s husband. What was all this about ‘Papa’ and ‘Dad’ stuff? Where was that coming from?
“It’s ok son,” Ben replied embracing his now sobbing child. “Come on, he’s this way.”
Ben led Andy around the corner. Mel was a tad confused on whether to follow them or leave. But then realizing she was most likely Andy’s ride home, she followed them around the corner keeping her distance so as not to invade the family moment.
As they turned the corner a nurse at the desk looked up at them, but Ben simply smiled.
“This is Andy,” he said.
“Oh” the nurse mouthed. “Andy, sweetheart? My name is nurse Michaels, I just need you to sign this and then you can go and see your Papa.”
Hearing the nurse refer to Micah as his Papa surprised Andy, but in a good way and so he popped his head up from Ben’s chest and took then pen from nurse Michaels.
“You’ll be pleased to know your Papa is doing very well for what he’s been through. He’s been asking for you, you know.” She smiled.
Andy finished signing and mumbled a thanks.
“Sure.” She smiled. “This way.”
Ben informed Andy that he was going to talk with Mel for a bit to give him some time to see his cousin and as much as Andy really would have preferred to hold onto his dad and not let go, he appreciated the sentiment none the less.
Despite what she had said earlier, as Andy made his way down to where his Papa was he couldn’t help but fear what would be on the other side of the door.
“Oh my god you were such a rebel!” Jay squeaked.
“You had to know my mother.” Lauren replied smiling.
They had made it to the Moonlight-Freeze but hadn’t expected the car park to be so packed. Fortunately Lauren, who was always up for a chat, had wasted no time in telling Andy some fun time stories of her past which Jay had lapped up.
“Trust me I get it,” he grinned.
“Whatever you have, I bet I can top it,” Lauren grinned, before checking herself out in one of the club’s reflecting windows. She had chosen this gorgeous black halter-neck dress and adorned herself with some silver diamond earrings and a necklace to match.
“Ok, I’ll open,” Jay replied checking himself out at the same time. “How about religious and having a gay son!”
“Oooh good open,” Lauren responded, appreciating the fact that she had taken Jay out and brought him a gorgeous suit for the event. He had shown up to the hotel in nothing but sweats and a T and to Lauren, when it came to this place that was just totally unacceptable.
“But I raise you rich snob of a mother, who was never satisfied regardless of what I did.”
“Good…good…” Jay acknowledged “But my mother caught me with an older guy and then rather than deal with it, went and told my abusive father.”
“Kid,” Lauren smiled. “You’ll never win this game, so I’ll just play my match-point card. I, who was raised to be a proper upstanding young lady, fell pregnant at 16 and my mother has never once forgiven me for it. Some people say they love their parents. I barely tolerate mine. Game, set and match Lauren!”
Jay just smiled, defeated as Lauren held open the door to walk through.
“Welcome to the Moonlight-Freeze!” she said happily.
“You’re not at work, you don’t have to do that anymore,” Jay laughed, earning a slight slap on his back from her.
The pair walked inside the club and it was by far and away the most beautiful club Jay had ever seen. Set up to be what looked more like a dinner theatre restaurant than a club, this place was outlined by a sea of purple curtains running the entire perimeter topped off with golden ropes at the end. Unlike a formal theatre dinner setting however, the tables were scattered everywhere adorned with white table clothes and candle lamps, each table also topped with a small bunch of roses.
“Classy!” Jay smiled, talking a little louder to be heard over the music playing in the background.
“I told you, you’d love it!” Lauren smiled back.
To top of how perfect this place had seemed, no sooner had they sat down and an adorable waiter came right over to them.
“Welcome, welcome!” he said flapping his hands around in excitement and pulling back a chair for Lauren. “I’m Dayle and I’ll be you’re server. Can I get you any drinks?”
Lauren looked over at Jay and made a quick suggestive glance to towards the waiter. Jay smiled. Despite the fact that Andy was not here to enjoy it, it looked like tonight might be a fun night after all.
“Moonlight and us dancing, amore!”
The crowd applauded, Jay and Lauren joined them. Turned out Carmita had been a huge hit with the Moonlight-Freeze club and Jay was beginning to realize just how much talent the Latina had.
“God she’s so good!” Lauren screamed out over the cheering club.
“I know right!” Jay confirmed.
Lauren then bit her lip. Despite the fact that it had been a good night, she had actually come here with a few intentions in mind and one of them had been to have a frank chat with Jay about his intentions towards Andy. After Andy had told her everything about what had happened up in Pittsburg it had been no wonder that he had flown straight down. But now that he had moved into Andy’s place for god only knew how long, she wanted to set things straight with this boy and ensure that Andy’s feelings wouldn’t get hurt.
“Feel like a smoke?” she asked causally.
“You don’t smoke!” Jay replied, not knowing full well if that was true or not, but from what he had come to know about this woman, nothing about her screamed smoker. Hadn’t Rein said something about caffeine being her only addiction?
“No, I don’t,” Lauren confessed. “But I heard you do.”
“You don’t mind?” Jay asked, knowing that most people who didn’t smoke were quite offended when around those who lit up.
“Please! My father smoked Cubans every day. It was either get used to the smell or… well, or nothing, just get used to it.”
That was good enough for Jay and so the pair stood up and made their way to the smoking area, which thankfully for Lauren was completely free of anyone else.
“Cold night,” Jay mentioned lighting up as the pair took their seats.
“Yeah, it is a little nippy,” Lauren responded again biting her lip. She knew she had to do this now; otherwise she wouldn’t have the strength. Taking a breath, she decided to just go for it.
“Ok kid, so you and I have only known each other for a few days. But, well, I guess I feel like we can kind of talk person to person you know.”
“Yeah,” Jay smiled. “I feel the same way. So, checking out some guy in there?” he asked.
“No, no.” Lauren replied “And you can wipe that smile off your face. This is not about me. This is about you and my dear friend who has for some reason left the state yet again.”
“Oh,” Jay simply replied.
He had decided not told her any more other than that Andy had needed to go to New Haven for some family thing. He figured it was not his place to tell Lauren, she was Andy’s friend and despite what had seemed to be a great effort at this moment he was still not going to tell her any more than that.
“I know just as much as you do,” he said, flicking his cigarette and taking another drag. “He left this afternoon to deal with some family thing.”
But Lauren frowned and then simply glared at Jay, who was taken a little aback as he recalled the saying if looks could kill.
“No, I mean about you and him.” She corrected. “Now let’s save ourselves the two hour round about game and get to the point. I know what happened in Pittsburg and so I get why after you decided to come down and that he put you up in one of my rooms. But now, moving in with him? He’s my dearest friend Jay! What’s going on?”
Jay took the final drag of his cigarette and took his time butting it out, thinking about how to fully address this situation. Especially considering he had no idea himself.
“No, I want you to lie,” Lauren mocked.
“Honestly, I have no idea. We actually had planned on discussing the situation ourselves when he got the call to fly up to Pittsburg. He then practically packed and fled asking me to stay and house-sit.”
Oh, Lauren thought to herself. So Andy hadn’t asked Jay to move in, so much as to just look after the house while he was away. She considered dropping the conversation there, but figured since Jay was opening up that she may as well continue.
“So Jay, what do you want to come out of this?”
Jay thought about it. He was happy he had made the decision to come down and see Andy and even more happy that he had gotten to meet Lauren and Rein. But for some reason he felt like he still hadn’t worked out where he stood with this whole issue. Did he want to remain friends with Andy? Did he want something more? Could something more even be worked out? Was it worth risking the shaky friendship that they had seemingly only just started to get back on track?
“Truth?” he asked and seeing Lauren nod, continued. “Edward-…”
“Yeah. Edward has really broken my heart and it’s tough to move past that.”
He could feel tears that he had apparently suppressed from the moment he’d found out about Edward and B start to slowly form. But Lauren took the reins.
“It’s not easy when the one we love betrays us,” she empathized.
“Yeah,” Jay said nodding the tears now clearly evident falling down his cheek. “And I did. For the first time since finally dealing with the fact that B didn’t love me the way I wanted, no deserved to be loved, I was actually happy and deeply, deeply in love with him.”
Lauren pulled a tissue out of her purse and handed it to Jay.
“And now?” she tentatively asked.
“Well,” Jay begun. “I don’t know. I mean, in truth, Andy would be the perfect guy for me. Let’s be honest I already know that.”
“But, with feeling the way I do right now and hurting s-s-so much. It’s j-just too painful to even consider falling into another relationship. Whether he wants to or not.”
Lauren soothingly rubbed Jay’s back as he slowly started to wipe away the tears in vein.
“So why did you come up here to New Haven?” she asked softly.
“Honestly? To get away from everyone at home, I knew they’d be too distracting and I just couldn’t deal with that just yet. All the…drama.”
Lauren laughed ever so softly.
“What?” Jay questioned.
“Nothing,” she replied.
“No, seriously?” Jay now smiled.
“Ever wonder why Andy left Pittsburg 2 days ago?” she asked the golden haired boy.
Jay sat there and thought about it for a moment and then suddenly it hit him.
“To get away from me?” he asked smiling, already knowing the answer.
“Uh-huh” Lauren replied and the pair burst into laughter.