Speak & Listen

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A BOOK THAT NEVER ENDS

A BOOK THAT NEVER ENDS

“I hear you, son. I’ll make arrangements for her to get to meet you.” David said over the phone.

“Are you really going to be gone for an entire week? If you have my car keys, then who’s taking me to school?” My eyes rolled.

“It’s business, you don’t wanna know.” He sighed. “And Gabriel will be driving you.”

“So Gabriel is my chauffeur now?”

“Your hand is damaged, son. You need to take it easy. Besides and technically, you can’t be alone. Driving alone, especially.”

“So you trust Gabriel for my safety? He can’t even guard the door!”

“Yes, I do. It’s high time you try and build that trust with him too. He’s changed a lot.”

“Alejandro, on the other hand...” My eyes rolled.

“What did he do?”

“He keeps on treating me like a patient. We had to convince and get a straight-jacket to prove that I won’t be doing anything stupid to mom. I just want to have a last talk with her before...” I trailed off.

“Before what, son?”

“Nothing dad. I just need to talk to her, give her closure and move on with my life mutually. But Alejandro doesn’t understand that. He doesn’t even let me roam around the house alone. He’s always behind me, LITERALLY, until I get to my room. When Craig slept over...”

“HE WHAT?!” Dad yelled.

“No, I can explain. He was having one of his episodes.”

“What episodes?”

“Craig...has had a gruesome childhood experience and...I’m the only one who can actually calm him down. He fails to control his anger, but unlike Jeremiah, his rage can lead to dangerous harm to himself and others so...as weird as it sounds, he has a soft spot. Literally.”

“His balls?” David chuckled afterwards.

“Eew, no dad! His head. If you caress his head, his vein that grows in the middle of his forehead when he’s enraged...he calms down and he always falls asleep. I understand it, but Alejandro doesn’t. I’ve known Craig for years and I know how to deal with him.”

“He falls asleep? Like a hypnosis?”

“Something like that. I too don’t know how it works.”

“You know what it sounds like to me?” He laughed softly.

“Please, don’t say it!” I reprimanded.

“YOU’RE CRUSHING ON HIM, AND HE’S IN IT TOOOOO!” He chuckled. “You’re the only one, in this world probably, who can calm him down. The same man who caught your enemy and brought them right to your feet. Unlike Benjamin, he still remained loyal to you. Son, you deserve better and I’ve studied Craig ever since the both of you have become friends since...I don’t know...freshman year? I noticed that the boy can’t help himself around you.” I could see his smile over the phone.

“Gabriel...I can’t just do all these...”

“Son, you need to let go of Gabriel and a one night stand. It was sex. Your life can’t pause because ‘it’s Gabriel’. Gabriel probably has a crush on someone else, seeing someone like Craig. But tell me, son...you’re into Craig and Alejandro? At the same time?”

“Okay, I have to admit...this conversation is getting weird but frankly...I see more chances of dating or getting to...know Craig better than I already do...”

“You mean date and fuck at some point.” He sighed. “Right! Carry on.”

“Uhm...yeah.” I was so awkwarded out having such a conversation with my father like this. “I see that with Craig more than I do with Alejandro.” I hung my legs upwards the wall, with my back on the bed.

“What’s wrong with Alejandro?”

“As much as you or anyone would think his protectiveness over me is...cute, but I don’t think he sees me in that way.” I shook my head. “I think he would be interested in a person less...fucked up than I am. Someone ideal. I think his type would be between Jason, William and Sebastian.”

“I’m sure he knows his boundaries, unlike your naive ass...”

“DAD!”

“Okay okay, sorry! But I trust that Alejandro would respect Jason being straight and William being...whatever he is and I highly doubt it would be Sebastian. They’re too different.”

“Craig and I are different too, dad. He’s this beautiful, matured-looking man that...you wish you could lick his skin and biceps but...”

“Fuck! Boy, you are nasty.” He laughed.

“You wanted transparency. This is it. Craig is perfect but I don’t think it’s safe to invite him in this maze I’m in.”

“Labyrinth.”

“What’s the difference?” My eyes rolled.

“A maze leads you out. A labyrinth leads you inwards. Maybe Craig is leading you there, maybe he’s just being a friend or maybe he’s just...trying to adjust to your character and problems. I think he can help you carry your burden til you reach a point of destination. Now son, if any happens between you and Craig or Alejandro...I know you well...you can be too anticipating.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot.” I sighed.

“Don’t judge him, Craig, if he does imperfect things. He’s human. If Alejandro, on the other hand, may be having a romantic crush on you, you should take time knowing him beyond both his walls and thobe.” He laughed again, hysterically. “Take time to understand him. He’s human too.”

“He sure does behave like a programmed robot to me. His formality with words makes my theory more implausible.”

“Implausible?”

“See my point?” I said sarcastically.

“It’s scary a bit, but I like him. He makes you sick, nervous yet weak. I like both of them for you. Menage a trois?” He chuckled.

“O-kay, we are ending this conversation. Goodnight, daddy!” I was wincing.

“Wait, we’re not done talking about boys...we...”

I cut him. The topic of boys excites him way beyond it should, for his age. A threesome, seriously?!

Gabriel knocked on my open door. It was night time, almost eleven. The phone conversation with dad was longer than I expected.

“Yeah.” I sat up properly on my bed as he entered and instantly sat on the bed, like he was feeling nervous.

“Hey. Can I talk to you? Like...with the door closed?” He looked very distorted. Perplexed, actually.

I nodded, now my senses evoked. He sat back on the bed after he almost checked thrice if he actually closed the door. “Do you think Mr Thesaurus here is into me?” He was referring to Alejandro.

“No? Why would you think so? Are you okay?”

“He...was in my room tonight. It was his second attempt after I blatantly rejected him twice. Tonight, a couple of minutes ago actually, he...kissed me.”

“And you...didn’t like it?” My eyebrow furrowed.

“No! God! I’m not into him, Adrian. I’m just afraid that he’s not getting that.”

So now, I was certain. Alejandro wasn’t into me, but into Gabriel. Despite his attractiveness, Alejandro can be a little bit too much and by that I mean controlling, territorial and many other characteristics I could think of. It was annoying, honestly. By persistently attempting to seduce a man that isn’t even into him is a sign of either control, as I’ve said, or a side I never knew...

Desperation?

“Have you at least said anything?” I looked at him sympathetically.

“Does ‘I want to be alone’ suffice?” He winced.

“No. Regardless, he has no right to corner you like this. But you can do the same to him too.”

“What do you mean? Seduce him back?” His jaws clenched. I could tell he was disapproving with that plan already.

“No. I mean...look at you. You’re not just a pretty face, but you have a huge, formidable body of an athlete. If you show him no smile, act mean, he wouldn’t even dare. Try aggressive tone too...and not ‘I want to be alone’. What the hell is that?” I grimaced.

“I just didn’t know what to say, man. But yeah, I think I can act mean around him. The first time he tried this was literally in my sleep. He apologized a lot afterwards and I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone, especially you and your father. I thought it wouldn’t happen again, until this time he held my crotch and...kissed me. I feel violated...” I then saw tears run down his cheeks.

“Yo, daddy...you’re crying?” I held his face in my hands.

“I never told you this but...” He played with his fingers. “My dad used to molest me a lot as a kid. He’d call me very pretty and would make me touch his crotch as he touched mine and...I’m scared, son. I’m scared and it feels like again I’m under Charles’ roof again.” He closed his eyes and now sobbed silently.

Without words, I brought him closer to me, making him rest on my bed with his head on my thighs. Memories came back, adding up to the years he would practically beg for me to stay when I visited him. The bruises in which he excused as ‘a fight’, the times he would just abruptly cry. He had always thought that going to the gym and making himself physically formidable at least would make him look powerful.

But even a man as big as him were afraid. Afraid of telling their stories, afraid of being called weak and ‘gay’. Afraid of an inevitable past that still haunts them to the present. And it took Alejandro to trigger everything back. I had never seen Gabriel so vulnerable. Was I now attracted to Alejandro, you ask? Of course not!

“No matter how big you can be, you can’t scare off a ghost.” He whispered absentmindedly as I caressed his hair.

“Yeah. But you need to establish it yourself that you’re not into him. You may be afraid of what he may try on you, and he may try it again, but he needs to know. But...only a desperate man would steal a kiss and try to seduce a man who clearly isn’t into him.”

“So what should I do? Should I tell your father about it?”

“Not necessarily. Let him throw the die for the third time. I will burn him in that furnace myself if I have to.” My teeth gritted.

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