Home is Where the Heart Is
The characters and locales in this story are entirely fictional. All characters engaging in acts of a sexual nature are above the age of eighteen. Political and medical conditions mentioned in this story are not meant to represent actual scenarios. Harrison will continue to narrate the major part of the story, but once again there will be more than one narrator, continuing the multi-thread format of Part I.
~ Chapter 8 ~
From the Narrative of Harrison Ridgeway IV:
My elder sister, Phoebe, was waiting for me outside the prison, to take me home.
Home was a strange word to me now. I’d spent my university years across the country, returning home for holidays only when I couldn’t avoid it, and even then just for Mom’s sake. Now after two months in a prison cell, the opulence of the mansion in which I’d grown up seemed alien to me.
I replayed images of my final moments in the prison.
“You’re sure you’ll be okay without me?” I asked.
Caleb grinned. “I’ve spent almost nine years in here without you; you think I can’t handle myself?”
“It’s not that. I was just … worried, you know, that …”
He cut me off. “My next cellmate won’t be as accommodating as you?”
I blushed, eliciting another cheeky grin from Caleb. Then more seriously, he said, “You don’t need to worry about me, Harry. What you need to do now is concentrate on getting your life back together. You still need to have relationships with guys your own age.”
“I’m not sure I’m ready for that. In here, I could be myself, but out there … it’s a different story.”
Caleb looked sad and understanding. “Promise me that you’ll at least try? That you’ll go and see Joshua?”
I hugged him, burying my face in his chest, feeling his strong arms encircle me.
Until today I’m not sure I can define the relationship I had with Caleb. It started out as hero-worship, it turned into something sexual and ended up being quite paternal.
“Harrison, we’re here.” I was brought out of my reverie by my sister’s voice.
“Oh, right. Are you coming in?” I asked.
“Yes, Mom’s taking care of Alan today.” She nudged me. “Why are you stalling? Mom’s been waiting for you all morning.”
It wasn’t Mom I was afraid of. I didn’t know how Dad would react. The people who voted for Dad weren’t too happy with a father who didn’t believe his own son and hurriedly disowned him for a crime he didn’t commit.
Feeling dejected, I got out of the car and walked to the front door. It swung open as soon as I reached it. Mom enveloped me in a hug, with tears streaming down her cheeks. But I hardly heard what she was saying. I was busy looking over her shoulder. My face fell. I thought he’d at least be here to see me, after not visiting me in prison for the two months of my incarceration. I wasn’t expecting an apology; that would be too much to hope for.
“Mom … where’s Dad?”
Mom looked upset. She tried to ignore my question and spoke to Phoebe instead. “Phoebe, the baby’s in the nursery. Don’t forget to feed …”
I cut in. “Mom, where’s Dad?” I repeated my question, more insistent this time.
Mom tried to avoid direct eye contact, a sure sign that she was lying. “He said he’ll see you at dinner. He’s just not free now, busy with …”
I didn’t want to hear Mom making excuses for Dad’s unwillingness to face me, his only son, whom he hadn’t seen for two months. Whom he’d left to rot in a prison cell.
I interrupted her. “I’m going out. I’ll take my car.”
Mom stared at me in shock. “But you just got in.”
I was aware that I was hurting Mom's feelings by leaving as soon as I got home, but I just couldn't stay right then. I grabbed the keys from the table in the hall and told Mom, “I’ll see you for dinner … I hope.”
I sat in my parked car, in silent contemplation. I was reminded how much easier it was to say something, than to actually do it. I know I’d promised Caleb, but this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Damn it, the last memory I have of Josh is the hurt look on his face when I lashed out at him for coming onto me.
I looked out the window, at the house I’d spent so much time in during my high school years. Josh’s parents had been alive then. I had had a perfect life. I took a deep breath and stepped out of the car.
I walked slowly, as if to delay the inevitable, but I soon found myself on Josh’s doorstep. Taking another deep breath, I pressed the doorbell and waited. Nothing happened. I pressed it again, holding it down for a longer time.
“I’m coming!” I heard a male voice yell. My heart skipped a beat. I could still recognize Josh’s voice. The door flew open.
I started to say “hi” but the greeting died in my throat as I stared at Josh. Four years since I’d last seen him, and he’d changed quite a bit. Or rather, I was noticing things about him which I hadn’t before. Josh is quite attractive, and, I’m afraid to admit it, in a more masculine sense than me. He was tanned and had a light sprinkling of hair on his chest. He wasn’t overly muscular, and didn’t have a six-pack or anything, but his pecs were well-defined and his stomach flat. I had the chance to see all this because he was holding his t-shirt in his hand, not wearing it. My eyes followed his treasure trail to the waistband of his boxers, which peeked out above the cargo shorts he had on.
I averted my eyes from his crotch and looked at his face instead. He looked uncomfortable, at a loss for words. So was I.
He was the first to speak. “Harry … um … I wasn’t expecting you so soon. Er, come in.”
I nodded silently and followed him into the house. I didn’t trust myself to speak. I watched his back as he pulled on the t-shirt, observing how his muscles flexed as he did so. I knew there were guys who would kill to be the object of Josh’s affections. And I’d had that privilege but said “no” to him instead. I couldn’t believe it.
“Um … sit down,” said Josh, gesturing to the couch. I obeyed and he sat down next to me. I got a good look at his handsome face – he looked as nervous as I felt.
I gathered my courage to speak. “Josh … I know it’s been a long time and I didn’t exactly treat you well …”
Josh put up his hands to stop me. “Hey, forget about that. The past is past. I should have known better than to come on to my straight best friend.”
I swallowed. I had to tell him the truth, but it was just so hard. “Josh, Caleb told me about everything. How you’re still … well, in love with me.” Josh blushed.
I continued. “I wanted to thank you, for all that you did for me. Especially after all that I did to you … I know I was a terrible friend. I didn’t come when you needed me, when your parents died. Yet you helped me when I was in need of it most.”
“Harry.” When he said my name so tenderly, my heart melted. “I know you can’t return my feelings for you. I just wanted to do something, to help you, to keep you safe. It doesn’t matter if you’re destined to marry some girl and have kids with her. I’ll always love you.”
I knew this was the moment of truth. With difficulty I got the words past my throat. When I did, it just bubbled past, like an incessant stream.
“Josh, that’s the thing. I was scared. I couldn’t face it. I abandoned you because I was afraid what feelings it might awaken in me. Oh God, I’m so sorry, Josh. Please forgive me.”
Josh looked at me with a curious expression. “Harry, what are you saying?”
“I like guys, too,” I managed to blurt out. I looked at his reaction; there was absolute shock on his face. I opened my mouth to apologize further, but he reached out and put his finger against my lips.
“Shh … Don’t say anything,” he told me. But I had to.
Tearfully, I asked him, “Will you forgive me?”
He didn’t reply. At least not verbally. Instead, he pressed his lips against mine. All the pent-up longing and desire came to the fore. I guess I should take that to mean my apology was accepted.
His gray eyes were closed, an expression of pure pleasure etched on his tanned face. I knew this passionate kiss was the culmination of years of his unreciprocated love for me. I returned it with a vigour that told him that the feelings were mutual. In no time, I was sprawled out on the couch. Our liplock didn’t let up, but his hands were eagerly exploring my upper body. I felt them move under my shirt, their touch cool against the warm, bare skin of my torso.
This was going too fast, I thought. But then, I didn’t want it to stop, either. I gave in to wild abandon, my own hands running under his shirt, feeling his back muscles which I’d admired earlier.
Then I heard a voice drawl, “Well, well, what have we here?”
To be continued …
I’m afraid this chapter was rather short, due to the need for a 'cliffhanger' at the end. Rest assured, longer chapters (and new characters) will be coming soon, in weekly or twice-weekly updates (I’m quite busy this month, sorry!) As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your continued support.