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bruised love

Bruised Love

By - February 21 2005

"Vanessa, remind me again why I am going to the damned club again?" Andrew moaned tiredly. Vanessa looked at him.

"It's been eighteen months since you and Troy broke up. You've been a total recluse since. It's time to come out of your shell."

"I go out." Andrew argued.

"Only to work and classes." Vanessa countered. Andrew slumped back in his seat, defeated and watching the lights of the other cars as the cab shot by them. Vanessa looked over and reached out to put her hand on Andrew's shoulder.

"Come on, you're barely 21. You didn't even go out for your birthday. No one knew about it until a week later. What is so wrong with going out and having some fun?"

"Because I have finals to study for!"

"Finals are still a month and a half away. Stress less sweetheart." Vanessa cooed, which only seemed to add fuel to Andrew's fire.

"I'm also working, that takes up time and I have to study. A month and a half isn't going to be long enough." Vanessa just shook her head and gave up the argument.

The pair were in the club and after a couple of drinks, even Andrew started to open up and admit he was having fun. As Britney or some other teen scene queen started to filter over the speakers, they both groaned and walked off the dance floor and made their way towards the bar. There was an attractive guy standing next to Vanessa who she instantly struck up a conversation with asking him for a drink. The guy smiled shyly and asked what she'd like. Andrew looked him over and appraised him with a careful eye. An eyebrow piercing and when he spoke, it looked like he had a tongue piercing as well. He was slim built and averaging about 6 feet in height. His short brown hair was spiked and messy. An overall good package. Vanessa grinned to herself knowing that this young guy was exactly Andrew's taste in men. She turned and introduced them.

"Oh yeh, this is my friend Andrew, I've managed to finally convince him to come out with me after eighteen months of hiding away in his flat. He was like total hermit. Sorry, I didn't get your name?" The poor guy looked like a deer caught in headlights with Vanessa's dancing cherubs smacking him in the side of the head as they danced before her eyes. The guy smiled shyly and extended his hand.

"My name's Mitch." Vanessa took his hand and shook it.

"Well, my name is Vanessa and as you know, this is Andrew oh and I love this song, I so have to go and dance. You boys just talk all nice like now." Vanessa turned grinning at Andrew. Andrew looked down and blushed then up at Mitch who was grinning at him. Andrew stood beside Mitch and started chatting freely to him.

The pair were inseparable for the greater part of the night after. In the morning's earlier hours, Andrew was getting tired he looked at Mitch.

"I'm getting tired and was thinking of heading home and doing a movie. Want to join? No strings, just a movie." Mitch was quiet for a moment. Then shook his head.

"I think I'll pass for now. Maybe next time, swap numbers though." The boys swapped numbers. Looking at each other, Andrew leant in and kissed Mitch carefully on the lips to which Mitch started to return then pulled back sharply leaving Andrew with a confused look and Mitch looked down at the floor. Confused Andrew spoke up.

"Umm, ok, well I have your number; I'll give you a call tomorrow to see ya got home ok." Mitch looked up and smiled brightly.

"Yeh ok, that'd be great." Mitch's smile gave Andrew a feeling of warmth that spread throughout his stomach. Andrew smiled and kissed Mitch on the cheek quickly and disappeared out of the club.

The phone rang bright and early the next day. Cursing, Andrew heard his flat mate answer the phone. A few moments later there was a light knock on the door as Cameron stuck his head in the door.

"Andrew, Nessa is on the phone wanting you." Andrew groaned and pulled his covers up over his head. Cameron laughed lightly to himself.

"If you don't get out of bed, I'll go and tell her that you slept in my bed last night..." Andrew reached out and gave the one finger salute.

"I'll tell her you even gave me head." Andrew turned to look at his antagonist just envisioning a heavy saucepan smacking him in the side of the head, sending him spinning face first into the wall.

"Ok, I take it that's not even getting you out of bed. What if I tell her I looked in your room to find you incredibly hung over and with a woman in your bed?" Cameron grinned. Andrew's scowl answered for him.

"If I say go for your life, will you kindly fuck off?" Cameron grinned back at him.

"Not a chance, this is to get you back for all the noise you made at two this morning as you fell in the door." Cameron grinned at Andrew.

"Please, you were wide awake with your latest conquest. What's her name again? Stacey?" Andrew asked.

"It's Anna and she's not a conquest..." Replied Cameron to which Andrew arched an eyebrow.

"She's a tissue." Cameron finished. Andrew just arched his eyebrow further to which Cameron sighed and started to explain.

"A tissue is something you blow on and throw away right. Follow the logic." Andrew shook his head and realized it was a bad idea to do such a thing as his brain bounced around inside his skull. He could hear it bouncing off the scoring hubs and hitting jackpot with the pinball machine in his head. Throwing back the covers Andrew slipped his legs over the side and waited a moment then stood up. Cameron crowed in victory.

"The dead arises." Andrew shot him a withering glance.

"Tell me El-Jocko, why you didn't join a frat when you had the chance? What did I do to deserve this follow on torture from the eighth grade? Drive a car through a shop full of mirrors?" Cameron just shrugged in reply.

"No, more like a truck." Andrew sighed and slumped his shoulders and pushed past his deranged friend towards the phone. As he was heading down the hall he heard Cameron call out.

"Sweetheart, you should know something. You naked does nothing for me." Looking down at his naked body, Andrew sighed and trudged back into his room in search of boxer shorts and started dreaming up cocktails that included blenders and Cameron.

After enduring a thirty minute listening to Vanessa's rant on her spectacular trade from the night before, she finally asked.

"So what was with that Mitch guy last night?" Andrew clicked back into reality.

"Nothing. Invited him back for a movie and he said no. Kissed him, he kissed back then pulled back away. Maybe he's a newbie, in which case I am not going near him. Someone else can do the whole break in thing." Andrew said dryly. Vanessa sighed on the other end.

"Well, that's a shame. He was cute too."

"I know." Andrew sighed and looked at the time.

"Anyways, I have to go get ready for work. I'll catch you later." Andrew said. Vanessa said her goodbye and they hung up the phone. Andrew slumped back slightly against the wall and decided he'd call Mitch later. Pushing himself off the wall, he headed towards his room and shower to prepare for work.

Standing behind the counter, Andrew wished for his shift to be over. The noisy table of teens partying away the end of their exams grated on his already frayed nerves. He dreamed of a sudden shock earthquake opening up beneath their table and swallowing them whole. It brought a faint smile to his lips. His daydream was disturbed, however, by the sound of the front door opening and he saw a few new customers entering. Grimacing he looked down then back up smiling.

"Welcome to Big Jo..." The words caught in his mouth as he saw Mitch standing in front of him. Mitch had the same startled expression on his face.

"Uh hi, how are you?" Andrew asked. Mitch swallowed.

"Good thanks and yourself?" Mitch asked. The guy standing beside Mitch looked between them.

"Take it you two know each other."

"Uh yeh, met last night at the club." Said Andrew, focusing on the other guy trying to think if he had seen him the previous night and coming up blank.

"Oh, well I'm Jay, Mitch's boyfriend." He said offering his hand. The penny dropped and all pieces of the puzzle clicked together. That's why Mitch had backed right off. He had a boyfriend. Of course he did. Then why did he play those games and lead him on? Andrew's shock began to mutate into a monster of annoyance. He leapt over the counter and began to smack the hell out of Mitch as his boyfriend looked on in amazement, not understand what was going on and only coming to Mitch's rescue as Andrew placed his best punch on Mitch's jaw.

"Anyways, we'd like to order..." Jay's voice snapped Andrew out of his daydream.

"Yeh sure, sorry, just got lost in thought. Scary place that." Andrew said, smiling and trying to make light of the situation. As he looked down to put the order into the register he shot Mitch a semi-scathing look to which Mitch gave another startled look. Andrew rang up the order and handed the change to Jay. As the pair walked away to be seated he heard Jay speak.

"I thought you were going to Amanda's place last night." Mitch got another startled look on his face as he began to speak. The deer in headlights things was really starting to get old to Andrew's mind. Even if it did look kind of cute. Andrew scolded himself for the thought as he reminded himself that Mitch was spoken for.

Towards the end of the shift, his ever beloved Vanessa walked through the door.

"Relax, you're saving angel is here." She grinned at him.

"The only type of angel you are is a fallen one. Get over it." Vanessa took a step back.

"Oh, I know that tone. That's an "I've just been kicked in the teeth, don't smile at me or I'll claw your eyes out" tone. What happened and who did what to who and where are the dead bodies?"

"The bodies aren't dead. They're sitting at booth four." Andrew replied. Vanessa looked over and then back excitedly.

"That's the Mitch guy from last night isn't it?" Andrew nodded his head.

"Ok, so why is this a bad thing?" She asked not understanding.

"See the guy he's with? That's his boyfriend." Vanessa's eyes widened then narrowed.

"Well at least we know now why he knocked back your movies and kiss, but wouldn't it have been nicer to stop and let you know rather than lead you on."

"Yeh it would have. What would be better if he stopped looking like someone just shot a heap of speed up his arm and making him look like a surprised chipmunk. If I see it one more time, there will be a body to hide." Vanessa shook her head and sighed.

"Next time you go to set me up with someone, make sure they're single." Andrew said sarcastically. Vanessa narrowed her eyes then grinned.

"Can I be a fallen angel?" Andrew shrugged.

"Since when have you let my permission or denial ever stop you?" Vanessa grinned evilly, and then made her way over to Mitch's booth. Again he affected a look like he was a deer in a hunter's sights. He saw Vanessa slip into the booth beside Mitch and let her arm fall around his shoulders and dragged her other hand down over his chest. Leaning in she whispered something in his ear then kissed him on the cheek. Standing up she started to walk away then looked over her shoulder and waved her fingers at him coyly.

Coming back to the counter she sat down and pretended to study the menu above his head. Andrew arched an eyebrow at her actions then looked at a rather heated conversation in Mitch's booth, with Mitch slipping down in his seat, Jay fuming and making lots of hand gestures. His voice low so Andrew couldn't hear. Andrew leant on the counter on his forearms and looked at Vanessa.

"What did you do there?"

"Let assumption resume its title as the mother of all fuck ups." She grinned. Andrew arched an eyebrow.

"Well, I told Jay, the boyfriend, that I had met Mitch in the club and had gotten along ever so well, just as I was stroking his chest then I leant and whispered revenge is a bitch in Mitch's ear, kissed him and walked away." Andrew snorted with a vague hint of amusement. He looked over at the booth again with Jay standing up and glaring at Mitch who slowly stood as well. Jay looked over and saw Andrew watching. Furious, he walked over.

"So was it just one or both of you last night?" He asked heatedly then walked out of the restaurant. Mitch trailing timidly behind him. He shot one final sad smile and a small wave back at Andrew only to be barked at again by Jay. Andrew felt a brief moment of guilt for what had happened. Just a brief moment.

Later that night Andrew was relaxing on the couch watching some inane reality television program when his cell rang beside him. Picking it up, it showed the number as being with-held.

"Hello, Andrew speaking."

"Uh, hi it's Mitch." Andrew was suddenly curious about the call. Surely Jay wouldn't be impressed.

"Hey, look about the diner..." Andrew started.

"It's ok, I deserved it. I led you on and I wanted to apologize. Look, I was wondering if that movie offer is still good.

I don't want to be alone tonight. My room-mate has left and most of my floor has finished their finals. I don't like being in the dorm on my own..."

"Stop explaining. Yeh sure you can. Lucky I live off-campus then isn't it?"

"Thank you so much." Mitch said, and Andrew could literally hear the smile in his voice. Andrew gave him directions then hung up the phone. Cameron walked into the room and opened his mouth.

"Not a word from you either." Andrew said glaringly at Cameron.

"What? Who said I was going to say anything?" Cameron asked innocently.

"Because you have a smarter mouth than most poofters I know." Andrew replied steadily. Cameron instantly started to camp it up.

"Oh sweetie, it just means I've been around you all just too long. It just can't be doing anything good for that dose of testosterone that I need to be surrounded by every day." Cameron said with his wrist limp and with that turned, and minced out of the room. Looking around him, Andrew picked up the few dirty glasses that sat on the coffee table and then went to shower and ready himself for Mitch's arrival.

An hour later there was a subdued knock on the door. Cameron bounced to get it grinning at Andrew knowing that it would be Andrew's company. Andrew heard the door open.

"Hel... oh Jesus... ANDREW!" Shocked, Andrew leapt to his feet and raced to the door. When he got there, Mitch was trying to calm down Cameron down. It was then that Andrew got to see Mitch's face. His eye was almost swollen shut and his lips had dried blood sitting on them. Andrew came to Mitch and put his arm around Mitch's back to guide him in, only to have Mitch jolt in pain. Andrew released his grip on Mitch and led him further inside. Cameron stepped out the front looking either way to see if anyone was around and only saw empty space. Coming back inside, Cameron made sure the door was locked.

Sitting down Andrew looked at Mitch.

"This afternoon?" Was all he asked. Mitch nodded slowly.

"It's nothing. He loves me, he doesn't mean to hurt me. He just can't control himself sometimes." Andrew's eyes opened in horror.

"He's done this before?" Mitch nodded.

"He doesn't mean to hurt me, it's just an accident. He does it because he loves me and doesn't want me hurt. He wants me to improve." Mitch said quietly. Andrew moved to sit beside him and reached his arm up to put it around Mitch's shoulders then reconsidered as Mitch flinched away. Cameron walked into the room.

"Do you know who attacked you? Have you called the pol...?" Cameron asked and stopped as he saw Andrew shaking his head.

Cameron looked at Andrew questioningly but Andrew just shook his head. Andrew got up and went to the kitchen to get something to drink and Cameron followed him.

As they entered the kitchen Cameron turned and looked at Andrew.

"Ok, well I take it you are some way tied up with all of this."

"That's Mitch who I met last night at the club that Vanessa dragged me off to. He came into work today with his boyfriend. He kinda led me on last night so Vanessa got her own back at him for me. Obviously his boyfriend is abusive. This isn't the first time it's happened. Mitch is currently in advanced stages of denial. He says that Jay, his boyfriend, doesn't mean to hurt him when he does it. He still loves Mitch which is why he does it. It's always an accident. I'm just not sure how long it's been going on. How long the honeymoon period is, how long the build-up period is and how long the explosion lasts. I would also hazard a guess that it extends beyond physical abuse. Psychological abuse is showing. I went to put my arm around him before and he flinched away. Emotional, I don't know nor financial. I would hazard a guess that there is emotional abuse, but I just can't be sure at the moment." Cameron raised an eyebrow.

"And you aren't sure whether or not you'll pass your last finals." Andrew shrugged.

"It's fairly standard, and that's freshman stuff, not sophomore." Cameron shook his head. Standing in front of the fridge

Andrew reached for the handle as Cameron spoke up.

"Guess this means you aren't getting lucky tonight." At which Andrew glared and contemplated swinging the fridge door open so hard that it collected Cameron and flew into the next room, removing him from sight and implanting him in the wall. Andrew opened the fridge and pulled out two cokes and left the room with a final glare at Cameron.

Walking back into the lounge, he found Mitch looking at the photos on display and all the trophies in the cabinet.

"Ah so you found my stash of memories." Andrew said warmly. Mitch nodded and then looked down.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry." He took a step back almost as though he was afraid of a blow. When it didn't come he looked up curiously. Andrew placed the drinks down on the table.

"How long has this been going on Mitch?" Andrew asked. A confused look came across Mitch's face.

"How long?"

"How long has Jay been beating you?" Andrew pushed.

"He doesn't beat me; he just guides me to better myself."

"Ok, well how long has he been guiding you?" Andrew tried again. Mitch just shrugged.

"I don't know, we've been together about two years now, he only started to help me about eight months after we got together. He kept saying he was trying to help and if I didn't improve he just couldn't stay with me." Mitch explained. A snort of disgust snapped Andrew's head around to see Cameron standing there shaking his head. Mitch looked down.

"I'm just tired of being improved. I know I'm not perfect, but I want to be loved for me as me." Mitch put his head in his hands and started to cry gently. Andrew looked at Cameron for guidance. Cameron walked around and sat down beside Mitch.

"Well, I think what you need is a safe-haven when things get rough. You're always welcome here if you need to get away. It's not the palace, but it's a home where you won't be hurt." Cameron said kindly. Mitch looked at Cameron.

"What do you want from me in return?" A confused look crossed Cameron's face.

"I don't want anything. I'm just offering a place where you're safe."

"Everyone wants something in return. Jay's told me that so many times. That's why I don't go out much. Apart from I can't afford it. We only have about fifty dollars spare a week. I've been saving for three months to go out last night. I had a little bit left over, so Jay told me I could take him out for lunch. Then I ran into you and he started to question me on how far last night had gone and stuff. Then Vanessa came over and it all just went down hill. I'm sorry for leading you on last night, but I was afraid if you knew I was with Jay that you wouldn't want to dance with me or be seen with me." Mitch hung his head. Andrew reached over and placed his hand under Mitch's chin forcing him to look up.

"Last night was last night. Look, I would have danced with you anyways. You were really good company. I would have preferred you'd been honest with me though." Mitch cowered. Andrew closed his eyes and shook his head then opened them again.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to hit you though. I happen to think you are a worthwhile guy, and yes, Cameron is correct you are always welcome here." Mitch looked from Andrew to Cameron and back again.

"Are you guys..." Cameron almost fell of the couch laughing. Andrew considered toppling the coffee table onto his head, but then figured against it because of the stains he'd later have to clean.

"No, Cameron here is your typical straight as jock boy. I've been cursed with his company since we were in eighth grade. Though I must say we have a distinct marriage like relationship. We're best friends, argue and bicker, talk freely and don't have sex." Andrew said.

"Don't lie, we have sex." Said Cameron from the floor to which a confused look came across Mitch's face.

"Yeah hallway sex." Said Andrew looking down at the fallen on the floor. Mitch's confused look didn't abate so Andrew felt compelled to explain.

"Telling each other to get fucked as we pass in the hallway." Mitch grinned at the concept. It was the first time since he had arrived he looked slightly relaxed, Andrew noted.

"That's about the only sex that goes on here, seeing as Mr. Puritan there lives such a hermit lifestyle and doesn't even try to meet anyone anymore.

"You mean, that's the only sex I have. You usually have some piece of fluff causing another DNA sample on your sheets." Andrew countered. Mitch laughed at the friendly banter between the two. His reaction caused both Andrew and Cameron to smile.

The three sat around the living room as the sounds of a movie echoed around the lounge. Cameron sat in a recliner on his own. Mitch rested against Andrew who had his arm wrapped protectively around Mitch's shoulders. Cameron looked over the pair and smiled. Andrew caught the glance and smiled back. Mitch watched the movie oblivious to the exchanged glances.

After the end of the second movie, Cameron stood up and yawned.

"Well, I don't know about you two, but I'm bushed. I'll see you both later." Andrew nodded with a small wave good night.

Mitch stood up and approached Cameron cautiously. Cameron stood there, watching what was about to happen. Mitch leant over and gave Cameron a hug. Cameron wrapped his arms around Mitch and held him gently. Mitch let go, as did Cameron.

"Thank you for tonight." Mitch said quietly. Cameron got his wry smile across his face.

"No worries. You just be careful and remember to come to us if you ever need." Mitch nodded then stood back and smiled shyly. Cameron waved cheerfully and walked off to his room. As Mitch sat down beside Andrew, he looked over.

"Are you two always like this?" He asked.

"Like what?" Asked Andrew confused.

"Just open your home and hearts to anyone?" Mitch asked.

"Not usually. I don't meet that many people to do it, but for some reason Cameron has taken a shine to you. He's usually a lot more guarded than that with everyone except for his trade." Andrew said with the last part slightly louder.

"I heard that." Cameron's voice called from his room. Mitch and Andrew both dissolved into giggles afterwards.

The pair watched a final movie and as the credits were rolling Andrew hit the stop button on the remote.

"I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted." Andrew said. Mitch nodded and looked up.

"Do you have a blanket or something that I can use? That is if you don't mind that I crash here tonight." Mitch asked.

"Well, I was half-expecting that you were going to stay the night and as for a blanket. You are more then welcome to crash in with me." Andrew said. A doubtful look came across Mitch's face.

"I don't expect anything so don't stress." Andrew said. Mitch smiled softly.

"Every time Jay gets into bed, he just expects me to be ready. I try and stay up after he's gone to bed sometimes, but he always wakes up when I come to bed. Or if I go to bed before he does, he wakes me up." Mitch said sadly.

"Basically, he forces you to have sex." Andrew said bluntly. Mitch shrugged.

"We're in a relationship; it's just expected of me." Mitch said. Andrew shook his head.

"No, it's not. You have a basic human right to say no to such things. If he doesn't listen it's called rape." Andrew said softly. Mitch started to object.

"Don't speak, just think about it. Now, you are welcome to stay in my bed, and just sleep. No sex." Andrew offered again.

Mitch looked down, then back up.

"Is it ok if I cuddle up to you? That's not cheating is it?" Andrew suppressed a smile at the innocence of which Mitch asked the question.

"No, that's fine. It's not cheating." Mitch smiled brightly as Andrew led him down to his bedroom.

The next morning, Andrew awoke the find a body pressed against him and his arms wrapped protectively around it. Opening his eyes, he found Mitch curled up in a ball against him. He then realized he was spooning Mitch back. Smiling at the realization, he closed his eyes again, glad that Mitch was safe and comfortable.

When Andrew awoke again, he opened his eyes and found Mitch lying there just watching him.

"Good morning." Andrew smiled.

"The same can be said to you." Mitch smiled.

"Look I just wanted to thank you for last night. It meant the world to me. I don't think I can quite explain what you have done for me properly. You've done more in one night for me than anyone has really done for me in a life time." Mitch smiled. Andrew smiled back.

"It's my pleasure Mitch, just relax and enjoy it. Like Cameron and I said last night, you're welcome here anytime." Andrew smiled and opened his arms. Mitch, unsure, moved into them, and Andrew cuddled him close.

Mitch's cell phone started ring in his bag that was sitting at the foot of the bed. Mitch slipped out of Andrew's embrace and fetched his phone from the bag. He looked at the caller ID, paled then answered the phone.

"Jay, hi." Mitch said. "Yes, I'm safe. I'm just at Cameron and Andrew's. Yes Andrew the guy from Big Joe's yesterday. No I didn't fuck him. We watched movies and then it was too late to get home, so I stayed the night. Alright, I'll see you then. Bye." Mitch hung up the phone. He looked at Andrew then looked down.

"He's already been by my dorm room and wanted to know where I was. He isn't happy that I've come around here. It was the wrong thing to do, to come and burden you with my problems. That's why I don't have friends, or at least many friends I guess." Andrew cocked his head.

"Who said that you burdened people with your problems?" Andrew asked.

"Jay." They both said together. Andrew shook his head.

"Mitch, I'll be honest, I really don't like this guy."

"He's not all bad. He's helping me better myself."

"Who are you trying to convince of that, me or yourself?" Andrew pushed. Mitch looked down and paused.

"I don't know anymore." He admitted quietly. Andrew pulled Mitch to himself and held him there while Mitch gripped onto Andrew's arm, confused within himself.

A time later, Cameron knocked on the door and walked in, finding Mitch sleeping against Andrew's chest. Andrew gently untangled himself from Mitch's sleeping form and slid out from under the covers and nodded his head to Cameron to walk out of the room.

Once they were down in the kitchen, Andrew set about making some breakfast.

"How is he?" Cameron asked.

"Far from good. He's been emotionally blackmailed. He's been made to think of himself as a burden on his friends so he doesn't see them much. Jay controls his finances. He keeps trying to convince me that Jay only does it to help him. It's all amounting to all forms of domestic abuse." Andrew sighed.

"I was looking at your psych texts earlier, it said that it usually includes rape as well. Has he been..." Cameron couldn't bring himself to finish the question. It was all Andrew could do just to nodd his head.

"Well, what are we going to do to help him?" Cameron asked. Andrew looked at Cameron with surprise in his eyes.

"What's he done that you're letting him in? I've never seen you open up to someone to let them in so easily." Andrew asked.

"He means something to you. That's enough for me. You don't know what he means to you yet, but it's something. I nearly lost our friendship over Troy, I'll be damned if I'll let it happen again. I also think the guy is something special in his own right. Something will happen between you two, I can feel it. Just don't push it." Andrew nodded and then went back to his preparation of breakfast.

An hour later, he walked into his room to find Mitch awake and on the phone shaking.

"I'm still here because I fell asleep again. I'm sorry, please don't be angry." Mitch said timidly. Andrew could hear the blistering tone of the reply from the doorway, just not the words. Mitch was shaking harder with fear etched into his face. Andrew sat down and placed his hand on Mitch's shoulder. Mitch, who hadn't seen him enter, jumped and shrank as though in fear of being hit. Seeing it was Andrew, he looked away and everywhere else. The blistering rage from Jay's end continued.

When it all finally ended, Mitch was shaking badly where he sat. Andrew moved closer to him only to have Mitch pull straight back away from him.

"Please, don't hurt me." Mitch cried, tears pooling in his eyes. Andrew pulled Mitch to him and held him close.

"I won't hurt you Mitch. You have to stop hurting yourself though and going back to him for the punishment. You aren't a bad person and you can do better." Andrew cooed. Mitch tried to pull himself in closer than possible to Andrew. Andrew could feel his heart break for the broken soul leaning into him.

"You'll get through this. It'll be okay." Andrew cooed as though a mantra.

Finally the tears subsided and Andrew looked at Mitch.

"How about some breakfast?"

"You're not angry that I started to cry?" Mitch asked incredulously.

"No, I'm not. You've been holding a lot of fear and pain inside, and it was about time it all came out. I'm just glad I could help." Andrew smiled sadly at him. Mitch grinned from ear to ear.

"Thank you so much."

"By the way, Cameron and I are coming back to your dorm with you. We want to make sure you get there safe. Are you going home over break?" Mitch shook his head.

"My family haven't spoken to me since I told them I was gay." Mitch said. Andrew's mind clicked over as to if he was with Jay or not at the time and if he had used Mitch's vulnerability to his advantage.

"Well, I'll talk to Cameron. See if you can't bunk down here with us." Mitch's head shot up, a quiet delight shining in his eyes.

"Really?" He asked. Andrew nodded and smiled at Mitch. Mitch bounced up at him and threw his arms around Andrew's neck and chugged him.

"Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you." Mitch said jumping. Andrew smiled that he had made Mitch so happy.

While Mitch was in the bathroom, Andrew told Cameron that they were taking Mitch back to his dorm to which Cameron fully agreed. Cameron surprised Andrew by asking.

"I was thinking before, do you think he'd want to crash here with us until the end of break?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing." Andrew said with a smile.

"Great mind thinks alike." Cameron laughed.

"Now, we just got to find the fuckers." Andrew said dryly.

Mitch reappeared, freshly showered and ready.

"Come on, let's go get you to your dorm and sort out what you'll be needing to bring here over break." Cameron said wrapping his arm around Mitch's shoulders. Mitch looked from Andrew to Cameron and back and beamed smiling.

Walking up the hallway to Mitch's dorm room, there was a figure leaning against the doorway. As they came closer, the figure pushed off to the doorway and turned to face them. Andrew instantly recognized the person to be Jay as Mitch shrank back slightly. Cameron stepped slightly in front of Mitch and Andrew braced himself for a fight.

"Hi, I see you brought the wayward one home. Thanks for that." Jay smiled at them.

"Don't do the cheery with me mate, I saw the state Mitch arrive at our place in last night. I've seen the way you've left him. You've left him completely broken inside." Cameron said hotly. Jay took a step back in shock then hunched and narrowed his eyes.

"You don't know shit about me. You don't know what happens behind our closed doors." Jay fired up. Andrew nudged Mitch.

"Go get inside and don't open it until Cameron or I tell you to." Andrew instructed.

"Don't you dare move Mitchell." Jay commanded. Mitch looked between Andrew and Jay, not sure who to listen to. Cameron nudged Mitch.

"Go inside, please." Mitch nodded his head and got his keys out of his pocket and made his way carefully for the door, his eyes always on Jay. Jay stood there glaring at him. As soon as he turned his back to put the key in the door, Jay lunged for him, only to be caught in the side by Cameron's boot, which sent him sprawling to the floor. Mitch flew inside and slammed the door shut. The three outside could hear locks snapping closed and a chain sliding across, securing the door.

Jay looked up at them from the floor.

"What have you done to my boyfriend?" He snarled.

"Your boyfriend? Don't you mean your victim?" Andrew snarled back.

"He loves me."

"You abuse him, you rape him, you degrade him and you humiliate him. I believe he loves you, but where's the emotional return?" Andrew asked. Jay sat there shaking with rage.

"Come on, get up off the floor and fight someone who isn't afraid to hit you back." Taunted Cameron. Jay launched himself at Cameron who sidestepped and grabbed him by the collar of the shirt and launched him into the wall. Jay recoiled stunned. He came at Andrew this time, swinging, Andrew dropped then came back up and landed a closed fist hard on Jay's jaw. Jay dropped to his knees. He struggled back to his feet and swayed in front of the other two. Andrew snorted in disgust.

"I suggest you go away and not come back now." Said Cameron quietly his tone dangerous. Jay snorted and spat on the ground at their feet. Cameron took a step forwards, fist raised forcing Jay to take a step back. Jay back pedaled fast and then made a hasty exit. Andrew looked at Cameron and breathed a sigh of relief.

Cameron knocked lightly on Mitch's door.

"Who is it?" Came a nervous voice through the door.

"It's just Andrew and I." Cameron said. They heard the locks snap and chain being drawn and the door flew open and Mitch flew straight into Cameron's arms. Cameron, taken completely by surprise, wrapped his arms around Mitch who began to sob into Cameron's chest. Cameron who had little to no idea how to deal with it, looked at Andrew blankly, as if begging for help. Andrew stepped forwards.

"Come on, let's go inside and get your things." He said quietly to Mitch who stopped sobbing long enough to let go of Cameron so tightly and led them inside.

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