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bruised love

Chapter Eight

By Daniel M

February 13 2006

Cameron blinked a few times at what Andrew had said. He turned his head curiously to Troy, then back to Andrew. Cameron stood up and walked quietly out of the room. Troy looked at Andrew.

"Well that went well." Troy said sarcastically putting his head in his hands.

"What did you expect? A big song of sorrow? You walked out of our lives. We didn't hear shit from you and now you walk back in, drop a bombshell like that and expect a GOOD reaction?" Andrew snapped. Troy's head sunk further into his hands. Andrew ignored it and stood up.

"Think about what you want to happen over the next few days, and think very closely about it." With that Andrew went after Cameron.

He knocked lightly on Cam's bedroom door. Not hearing a reply, Andrew turned the handle gently. As the door started to open Cameron pushed it shut again.

"I don't want to talk Troy."

"It's not Troy." Said Andrew. Cameron started to open the door but stopped.

"I don't want to talk about it Andy." Cameron said again.

"You don't have to. I'm just seein how you are." Andrew tried. Cameron opened the door and let Andrew in before closing it again.

Cameron sat in the corner and looked out. Andrew stood there watching him, not sure how to do. With the revelations of the past few days clouding his eyes. There was a slight smile on Cameron's lips and Andrew saw the flicker of emotions in Cameron's eyes. Andrew walked over and pulled Cameron to him.

"Thank you." Was all Cameron said. Andrew turned and kissed the side of Cameron's head.

"It's fine Cam. You're my best friend, I'll always be here for you." Andrew said. Cameron moved his head, so that his forehead leant against Andrew's.

"I know, and I'm grateful for that." He whispered. Andrew pushed his forehead up until his lips met Cameron's and he kissed Cameron gently.

"This time, I'm with the right brother." Andrew said and kissed Cameron again, cupping his face gently.

When Cameron had sufficiently calmed enough, they walked out of the bedroom.

"Glad your boy is here to keep you calm Cam." Troy said belligerently. Cameron reefed Troy's head back by his hair.

"What the fuck is your problem? You fucked Andy over, you left him near dead on a club dancefloor, and now you wander back in here, sleep here and give us problems about our personal lives. Where do you get off?"

"Not in the same hole you obviously do." Came Troy's snapped reply. Cameron's fist collided with Troy's chin sending him backwards into the couch. Troy sat up again slowly holding his chin, glaring at his younger brother. Cameron leaned in close to Cameron's face.

"Don't bring mine and Andy's personal life into this or you'll find yourself out that door faster than you know what to deal with." Cameron said dangerously.

"You'd like to do that.. that way you don't have to fight me for precious little Andrew's attentions will you." Spat Troy. Andrew looked at the pair.

"When you're finishing discussing me and what I do with people while I'm in the room, let me know." He snapped. With that Andrew walked out of the room and down to his own room.

Closing the door behind him, Mitch looked up at him from his book.

"Are you ok?" He asked timidly seeing the rage that was engrained into Andrew's face.

"I'm fine." Snapped Andrew at Mitch as he listened to the arguement rage outside in the other room. Mitch pushed himself back against the wall and pulled his legs up closer to him. Andrew failed to notice and instead yanked open his draw to look for clothes. Mitch flinched at the sudden sharp noise. Andrew shuffled through the draw then slammed it shut loudly swearing. Mitch yelped and curled up into a ball to protect himself if need be. Andrew's head snapped around and saw Mitch and felt his heart break and his anger abate. Walking over, he gently sat down next to Mitch and reached out for him gently. As his hand came in contact with Mitch's body, his body shook and tried to close itself off more.

"Mitch." Andrew tried soothingly. Mitch continued to lie there, shaking lightly.

"Mitch, I'm sorry." Andrew tried again. There was little response from the other man who lay on the bed shaking. Andrew stretched out beside Mitch and gently pulled him back into himself until he was spooning behind Mitch. With his arms wrapped around Mitch, Andrew gently kissed Mitch's neck and held his friend. Mitch eventually calmed down and started to uncurl slowly.

"Hey." Andrew said softly. Mitch almost pulled himself back up into a ball but visibly fought the urge. He pushed himself back into Andrew who held him close.

After a while, the pair seperated and Mitch looked at Andrew carefully.

"Are you ok?" He asked.

"I am, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have snapped at you when it's the other two I'm pissed off with." Andrew said looking down. Mitch smiled faintly.

"It's ok. I've seen worse." Mitch told him. Andrew nodded gently reached out of Mitch's cheek. Mitch glowed as Andrew's hand caressed his skin.

When both had showered and dressed they ventured out to survey the damage. Cameron was sitting on the couch, his head in his hands. Troy's bag was gone. Andrew walked up behind his friend and gently laid a hand on Cameron's shoulder. Cameron didn't look up but spoke quietly.

"He's gone before you ask. He said I was playing with you. That you were just an experiment. I lost it, I was so angry. I grabbed his bag and threw it out the door. I told him to get out. He screamed that it was because I didn't want to deal with my terminally ill brother. I told him it was like he took care of you. He left after that." Cameron looked up with puffy, red, bloodshot eyes. Andrew was instantly at Cameron's side holding him close. Cameron started to sob into Andrew's shoulder and put his arms around his friend tightly. Mitch stood there unsure what to do.

"Just come and hold him." Andrew said gently. Mitch did his best, which was arkward given the position the three were in. Slowly, Cameron stopped sobbing. He sat there with his face buried in Andrew's shoulder who held him close. Mitch slowly slipped away to another couch where he sat watching the other two.

Eventually Andrew slid out from beside Cameron and wandered down to his room to change. As he reached into his clothes he felt two strong arms encircle his waist and soft lips on the nape of his neck.

"Mitch, we really can't, Cameron will catch us." Laughed Andrew as he turned in the arms surrounding him. Andrew's eyes widened as he bounced back into the draws. He slid down slightly his back crying in pain.

"Ca..." Andrew started to call as Troy put his hand over Andrew's mouth. Andrew thrashed against the draws trying to get away. Fear overtook Andrew's eyes as he didn't know what to do. Troy's eyes were narrowed in hate. He kept pushing Andrew back against the draws, as though trying to push his head into wood. Andrew's eyes were wide in terror and widened even further as Troy's head crashed forward then snapped around. Mitch stood there holding his bag in his hand. Troy stood up and advanced towards him. Andrew pulled himself up and leapt at Troy driving him face first into the floor. Putting his knee in the back of Troy's head Andrew leant to and snarled in Troy's ear.

"You ever come near Mitch or I again, I'll fucking kill you." With that he sharply pushed Troy's head into the floor then stood up. Mitch stood there slightly shaken, Andrew placed a hand on Mitch's shoulder. He was pulled back with Troy's arm around his throat as Mitch bolted down the hall. Seconds later Cameron and Mitch came back into the room. Troy grinned sadistically.

"How sweet, the entire family of misfits in one room." With that he grabbed Andrew's head and slammed it into the wall. Andrew slumped down, out cold. Cameron leapt for Troy and knocked him to the ground and slammed his fist into Troy's jaw. Mitch grabbed Andrew shaking, calling his name frantically. The calls distracted Cameron who turned his attention and Troy slammed his fist into Cameron's jaw throwing him off balance. Troy jerked up throwing Cameron off him and tried to sit up as Cameron brought his foot around collecting Troy in the temple, who fell to the ground not moving. Cameron then raced to Andrew's side with Mitch then hurtled down the hall and got the phone dialling emergency.

When Andrew opened his eyes there was blinding white light and he grimaced and remembered last time he was in there. He looked to his right and saw Mitch sitting there watching him intently. Mitch raced to his side and took his hand.

"What do you want?" He asked. Andrew reached for his head and mumbled.

"Asprin, my kingdom for some asprin." Mitch grinned then got a serious face.

"Oh, before I forget. The police came by to see if you were awake. They said to tell you the tests came back negative for anything. It was clean?" Mitch said questioningly. Andrew sagged back into the pillow, relieved.

"When I got in the fight with Jay at work, he stuck me with a needle." Andrew explained as Mitch went deathly pale.

"Where is Cam?" Asked Andrew suddenly, feeling very insecure.

"Cam's at the police station." Andrew jerked up off the bed.

"What? Why?" Mitch shrank back a bit.

"He's been going there daily to talk to Troy."

"Daily? What? How long have I been..."

"Three days." Came Cameron's voice from the doorway. The next thing he knew he had Cameron holding him close and could feel a wetness on his shoulder.

"You wouldn't wake up. I thought he must have damaged you in some way." Cameron sobbed. Andrew wrapped his arms around Cam and held him close.

"I love you, I'll always come back for you." Andrew said softly into Cameron's ear. Mitch stood at the side looking lost and uncertain. Andrew lifted his arm to invite Mitch to join them. Mitch came over and rest his head on Andrew's shoulder.

As Cameron pushed the door open and stood aside for Andrew to walk into the apartment, he was surprised to see his mother bundling down to him and grabbing him.

"Mom, ummm, hi. Why are you here?" He asked, his voice curious, but expression tender. She looked at him.

"I got in this morning, had to make sure my boy was ok."

"Oh Joanne, stop smothering the boy." Came a hard male voice from behind her. Andrew stood up straight.

"Pa, you came too." He said, displeasure discolouring slightly at the edge of his voice. Andrew's father came up and shook his hand.

"Well young Mitchell, Andrew's back now. There's no need for you to be staying here to help Cameron anymore. Time for you to go isn't it." Andrew's father spoke commandingly.

"Keith!" Admonished Joanne.

"Well it's true." Keith replied.

"He lives here with us." Andrew replied quietly.

"The apartment is only two bedrooms." Keith said confused.

"Yes Pa, he normally sleeps in with me."

"That's a bit queer isn't it." Said Keith.

"Get out." Andrew said angerily.

"Excuse me?" Asked Keith.

"Sorry, let me say it louder so you don't have to go find your hearing aid. Get the fuck out!" Andrew yelled pointing at the door. Keith shook his head.

"Don't talk to me like that boy. You're not too old to be thumped."

"Touch me you sonofabitch and you'll regret it. Don't you dare come into MY home and speak to MY friends like that. Now, get... the fuck... OUT!" Andrew yelled at the older man.

"Now now boys, settle down please. Andy love, you've just gotten back from hospital. You don't need to be arguing. Keith this isn't the time or..."

"Oh shut up Joanne." Said Keith pushing her out of the way. Andrew, furious, grabbed his father's throat and pushed him back against the wall.

"Don't you ever speak to my mother like that again. Nor touch her in such fashion."

"You're going soft boy." He father sneered. Andrew spat in the man's face.

"Must be the queer in me coming out. By the way Pa, I fuck blokes." Andrew snarled. Andrew's mother covered her mouth and looked at Andrew in shock. Keith glared back at Andrew.

"Figures. Look at the snivelling faggots you associate with. That queer, he can't even be looked out without shaking." Keith said nodding at Mitch. Andrew's hand tightened around the older man's neck.

"I said DON'T talk to my friends like that." Andrew snarled again. Cameron stepped in and pulled Andrew's hand off his father's neck. Keith rubbed his neck and looked at Cameron.

"Good friend you are. You were meant to look after him and keep him safe from all this."

"I've done a good job at keeping him safe." Cameron said calmly.

"Oh that's plainly evident isn't it Cameron. Can't even stop him from turning queer." Said Keith contemptuously.

"I've kept him away from you haven't I?" Asked Cameron.

"Would've been safer around me. Might have gotten a few thrashings, but least he'd be normal. They'll be after you next, make no mistake." Keith snapped.

"For you information SIR. I've been in love with your son since we were fifteen and I realised I prefered guys." Cameron spat. Andrew, Mitch and Joanne all looked at Cameron amazed.

"Yes, but, all those girls." Joanne said, pointing out the past.

"Trying to prove to myself I wasn't the shameful side that my heart said I was." Cameron said without taking his eyes off Keith.

"Now Sir, if you don't like it. Please remove yourself from our home." Cameron said pointedly. Keith looked at the others standing watching then turned to Joanne.

"Pack our bags dear. I have no son." Keith said clearly. Keith went to walk down to the rest of the house until Cameron put his hand infront of Keith's face. Mitch glanced at Andrew and saw his face fall in emotional pain.

"Seeing as you have no son, you won't mind waiting outside for your lovely wife will you." Cameron snapped. Keith looked at the other two young men standing there watching him intently, then lifted his head and walked out the door. Mitch, being the closest, leaned over and slammed it after him. Cameron and Andrew looked at Mitch in surprise then grinned.

"You did good kid." Andrew smiled. Mitched beamed at the praise. Andrew then remembered his mother and hurried down to her side. Walking into his room he found his mother sitting down, head in her hands. Mitch and Cameron looked at each other and Cameron shook his head.

"How much melodrama can we go through in such a short time?" He asked throwing his head in the air.

"Yeh, it's like a cheaply written story you find on those trashy internet sites." Mitch said smiling shyly. Cameron walked over to Mitch.

"I want to know something. Are you in love with Andy?" Mitch took a step back with Cameron moving into his personal space. cameron reached out for Mitch who yelped at backed up again.

"Mitch, it's ok. I'm just going to give you a hug." Cameron said. Mitch reached forwards slowly. Cameron grasped Mitch's hand and pulled him close into a hug. Mitch pushed his face into Cameron's shoulder and whispered so softly Cameron almost missed it.

"No, I still love Jay."

In his room, Andrew found his mother sitting on the bed holding a picture of the three of them. It had been taken as Andrew was getting ready to leave for his prom. Andrew sat beside her slowly. She looked up at him, tears still glistening in her eyes.

"I was wondering when you'd tell us this." She said softly. Andrew blinked a few times.

"What do you mean mom?" He asked.

"Andy love, I'm not stupid. I may be quiet and shy, I may not be a smart woman with money. I am, however, good at loving and watching my son. I saw your world shatter when Troy disappeared. It didn't take much to put two and two together my lovely son." She smiled at him as he ducked his head slightly and looked back at her.

"I'm proud of you no matter what." She told him caressing his face. He looked at her.

"Do you think Pa will come around?" Andrew asked. She shook her head.

"I can't tell you that yet Andy love. He'll let you know in his own time." She said gently. With that She gathered up their bags and Andrew stopped her.

"Let me help you Mom." He said lifting them for her. She nodded and led the way out of the room.

As they walked by Cameron and Mitch sitting in the lounge, Joanne stopped by and kissed Cameron on the top of the head and then Mitch as well.

"Take care boys, I need you to make sure my son stays safe." She said gently. With that she headed towards the door, Andrew trailing behind her. Stepping outside, they were greeted by an impatient Keith.

"You took your time." He snipped at her.

"Oh Keith, shut up." Joanne snapped back. He looked at her in surprise.

"Don't speak to me like that woman." He said, regaining his footing.

"Why not Keith, you just blasted my family to pieces. You contemptuous old fool." She snipped again, before walking down towards the car. Keith rounded on Andrew and glared at him.

"This is all your fault. You were raised better than this life of depravity you're leading." He said pointing the finger.

"Oh fuck off old man. Carry your own fucking bags." With that Andrew threw the luggage at his father, turned around and walked into the apartment, slamming the door behind him.

Walking into the lounge Andrew crawled into the spot beside Cameron and curled up beside him. Cameron put his arm around Andrew he buried himself deeper into his friends warmth. Mitch looked at Cameron who looked back. Cameron pulled Andrew onto his lap where Andrew crumpled against him. Cameron held him there and kissed his neck lightly. Mitch stood slowly and quietly left the room, leaving the other two to their peace.

They sat there until there was a knock on the door. Mitch bustled by to the door then came back with two pizza boxes in his hand.

"I thought you could use something to eat that isn't hospital food." Mitch said quietly to Andrew. Andrew looked at Mitch in surprise.

"Thank you Mitch. You so didn't have to." Andrew said earnestly. Mitch beamed proudly at having done something right. The three sat down and enjoyed the food with a movie playing quietly.

When Mitch went to bed, Andrew looked at Cameron.

"Since we were fifteen? You shit! Why didn't you say anything?" Andrew asked.

"Pot calling the kettle black Andy." Cameron said smiling back. Andrew reached for Cameron's hand.

"So what do we do now?" He asked as Cameron took his hand, lacing their fingers together. Cameron shrugged.

"If I knew, I would have done it by now."

"What do you want?" Andrew asked.

"That's obvious isn't it?" Cameron replied dryly.

"Well then, ground rules." Andrew said and Cameron nodded.

"Rule one, no one else." Cameron said. Andrew kissed the back of Cameron's hand.

"Rule two, we always talk." Andrew put forwards.

"Rule three, no more drugs." Cameron said as Andrew looked down.

"Rule four, we are not spending every night in the same bed." Andrew said.

"Why not? We've been living together for 2 years now." Cameron countered.

"As friends not as... as..." Andrew trailed off.

"Partners." Cameron finished. Andrew's head looked over.

"I didn't know what you wanted to call each other." Andrew said.

"Exactly what we are in every aspects, partners. Partners are equal, so we'll be equal." Cameron said and leant over to kiss Andrew. Slowly, they made their way from the lounge to Cameron's room, where they shut the door.

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