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bruised love

Chapter Seven

January 20 2006

Cameron glared at his brother being held against the wall.

"What are you doing here?" He demanded. Troy looked at Cameron tiredly.

"I came to see how you are loving brother of mine." He said with a slight irony in his voice. Cameron relaxed his grip and his eyes softened.

"Let him go Cam, without his help God only knows where I would have ended up tonight." Andrew said speaking up. Mitch clung in closer to Andrew who wrapped his arms around Mitch tighter. Troy didn't fail to notice the actions.

"I take it you're Andy's new boyfriend." Troy said advancing hand outstretched. Mitch shook his head softly. Troy blinked in surprise, confused after seeing the previous interaction but said nothing. Andrew spoke up.

"Troy, this is Mitch, a very good friend of mine." A slight edge and warning in his voice. Mitch visibly relaxed in Andrew's arms. The four stood there not knowing what to say next. Andrew finally spoke up.

"Troy, go and get your bag from the car so you can clean up then you can tell us why you're really here." With that he turned and led Mitch from the room with Cameron watching his brother contemplatively. Lost, he then followed Mitch and Andrew.

Once Troy was washed up, he returned to join Andrew, Cameron and Mitch in the lounge. Mitch was sitting close to Andrew and Cameron sitting on the other side of Andrew. Troy took in the scene and sat down quietly in the opposite chair. Mitch lowered his eyes while Cameron and Andrew looked at him expectantly. Troy squirmed slightly in his chair under the gaze.

"Well?" Asked Cameron. Andrew nudged him slightly. Cameron turned and looked at Andrew confused.

"What? Go soft on him after the shit he caused and then the things he said. Disappearing for all these years and now reappearing thinking things will be ok?" Cameron demanded. Andrew blinked in surprise then stood up.

"I'm not fighting with you Cam." Andrew said. Cameron stood up and glared back at Andrew.

"Sit down and don't let him come between us again. Unless you're more worried about where your dick gets stuck again." Cameron shot back. Andrew stepped back as though he was slapped. Regaining his composure, Andrew put his hand on Cameron's chest and pushed him back into the couch.

"Your brother, you deal with it then." With that Andrew stalked past Cameron through to his room. Cameron looked at Mitch who shrank into the couch.

"It's ok Mitch, you want to go check on him?" Cameron asked. Mitch nodded timidly and stood up and quickly walked down after Andrew. Cameron glared at his brother.

"You happy now? Not back five minutes and causing problems already." He accused. Troy hung his head with a mixture of shame, fear and insult running through him.

In Andrew's room, Mitch cautiously opened the door and stepped inside. Andrew was half changed, sitting on the bed, head in his hands. Mitch walked in quietly and closed the door behind himself.

"Andrew?" He asked softly. Andrew looked up and saw Mitch standing there. Andrew smiled softly and patted the bed beside him.

"I'm sorry you had to sit through that Mitch." Andrew said quietly. Mitch leant in against Andrew.

"Are you ok?" Mitch asked. Andrew wrapped an arm around Mitch and pulled him in closer. They sat there for a while then Andrew looked at Mitch.

"Want to go out for dinner? I'll pay." Andrew offered. Mitch looked at Andrew questioning.

"No catch." Andrew said. Mitch nodded slowly and Andrew grinned, then reached for some clothes.

As Andrew and Mitch walked by Cameron and Troy sat there quietly watching each other.

"We're going out to dinner, see you guys later." Andrew said as he walked by picking up his keys. Cameron turned and looked at them.

"If you can wait five minutes I'll join you." He said. Andrew looked at Mitch who looked away, leaving the decision to Andrew entirely.

"Cameron, can I speak to you in the study?" He asked. Cameron stood up as Andrew quietly told Mitch to wait and he'd only be a moment.

In the study, Andrew faced Cameron.

"You need to sort out what you are doing with your brother." Andrew said. Cameron arched an eyebrow.

"What's that meant to mean?" Cameron demanded.

"It means you need to sort the shit out with him." Andrew said.

"Why are you suddenly so concerned about my brother? The ex-boyfriend who got you hooked and fucked up on any chemical he could, then, when you were fucking on the floor going over, he bailed, cleaned you out and left without a word. Came back to see if you had more money, found out you didn't AND BAILED AGAIN!!" Cameron finally exploded. Andrew looked him levelly.

"I owe your brother for tonight." Andrew said calmly.

"He stopped Jay from smacking your head in. Ok, let me thank him, then I'll show him the door. He's good at walking out it, he's good at that." Cameron snarled. Andrew shook his head.

"I'm not going to argue with you Cameron. Something is wrong, you need to sort it." Andrew said reaching for the door.

"It's only your word that says it is."

"Fine Cameron, though before you go on further, what is it you're really thinking? Why are you like this?"

"Why? Because I've stood by you. I'm standing here now. I've helped you out, I've always been here. Now you bring home the one thing that near tore our friendship apart. Why him?" Asked Cameron.

"Cameron what is this about? He's your brother. He's my ex-boyfriend, if he's coming back wanting another chance, he's not getting it. Why are you so angry at him?"

"Because it should have been me!" Cameron broke out. Andrew was confused.

"You what?"

"It should have been me you were with. Not him... ME!" Cameron yelled. Andrew stood there mute. Cameron looked away, tears brimming his eyes. Andrew took a step towards his friend and reached out a hand which Cameron just brushed aside.

"Just go for dinner with Mitch. I'll be here when you get back, don't worry." Cameron said not looking at Andrew. Watching his friend closely, Andrew reached for him again, this time taking hold of Cameron's shoulder pulling him close.

"I won't pretend to know what to do or say now. I wish you'd told me earlier. I love you Cam, always will." Andrew whispered. Cameron looked at his friend and smiled sadly, placing his own hand on top of Andrew's gently.

"I love you too. Now go with Mitch. We can talk later." Cameron said softly.

Walking out the door with Mitch following Andrew didn't pay attention until he walked straight into a wall in front of him.

"Are you ok?" Mitch asked immediately at Andrew's side. Dazed, Andrew shook his head slightly.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks Mitch." Andrew said. Mitch tilted his head to the side slightly.

"I know it's not my place, but what's wrong?" Mitch asked quietly.

"You didn't hear?" Asked Andrew quietly.

"Well, yes I did, but I didn't want to just say." Mitch admitted.

"Oh." Was all Andrew said.

"What are you thinking?" Asked Mitch.

"That I'm very confused." Andrew said. Mitch looked Andrew, quietly asking for more.

"Well, any decision I make regarding Cam also affects you." Andrew said looking away.

"How so?" Mitch probed, a little less fearfully.

"It's because I have feelings for you too." Andrew said quietly.

Arriving back at the house, both Andrew and Mitch were quiet, which didn't go unnoticed by the other two. Walking through the lounge, Andrew half waved at the others then walked straight to his room. Mitch stopped briefly and hugged Cameron then followed a few moments later into Andrew's room. Andrew was already in bed when Mitch walked in. Closing the door, Mitch also flicked off the light as he undressed and lay down beside Andrew. He was surprised when Andrew rolled over and cuddled up as close as he could to Mitch. Mitch was unprepared, but put his arms around Andrew holding him gently.

A short time later, the door cracked open and Mitch looked over to see Cameron standing there. Sliding out of Andrew's grasp he walked over to where Cameron stood.

"He needs time to think is all." He told Cameron quietly.

"Do you love him?" Cameron asked. Mitch shook his head.

"He loves you more than me." Mitch told him. Cameron looked away.

"It'll be you he loves tomorrow." Mitch reassured his friend. Cameron nodded and pulled the door close. Mitch went to crawl back into bed when he saw his journal, and for the first time in a long time, he felt the need to write.

The next morning Andrew woke up and saw Mitch sleeping peacefully beside him. Sliding quietly out of bed he glanced at Mitch's journal. He felt tears brimming as he read Mitch's gentle cursive.

"For my eyes were closed and are now open to the closedness of the heart that I saw being held in front of him, I saw it and was afraid it would be bruised. I wanted to take it and warm it with my own. I learnt to love because I cared, and now I burn because of the fact that I learnt to love. For love burns, when you offer it freely and it doesn't get handed back. For if love is a game, it's a game of broken rules and unfair cheats. You can never truly cheat love as it will always find you in the end. When it does, what goes around comes around and love may cheat you.

You can see an Angel from across the street and want nothing more than to love them. You cross and try to speak to your Angel but all it can do is smile, spread it's wings and fly to the arms of another. At times it will fly back to your arms and rest there while it hunts for another pair of arms to rest in. The return is what burns the brightest in anyones heart for the deception of love is there, then the pain and agony of the departure. The age old story of the unrequited love, lunging it's blade deep into the heart of the new generation.

Though to love and lost, is told be better than to have never loved at all. This is true for if you haven't loved before, how will you know it is love again you are feeling? Or is it some mild chemical reaction that floats inside your mind waiting for an avenue to vent itself. I wonder if my Angel shall return, holding it's wounded heart before him again, asking me to hold it while it heals. I wonder this time if I will say yes.

If I say yes, will I be allowing myself more time to hurt, or another chance at love. If I say no, will I be strong enough to let it go completely and try and start life again, rather than ensnared in a pit of shallow wanton desire to believe that I am loved to more than my capacity. For how can one love me, if I am afraid to love for myself. Without my inner-peace and heartfelt admonitions to myself, what am I letting myself in for? Am I building to happiness, or just another disappointment. So many thing that can go wrong and will go wrong, at the worse possible time. For love is a game of timing and mine seems usually off. Right person, wrong time. I could have perhaps love her, had I not been in love with him. No woman has ever touched my soul since her. No man has ever come close to the completeness I felt with him. Perhaps I am not to meet another. I have loved since both, though it has all faded to nothing? So how can I be calling this love? Shallow figments of a residue chemical imbalance in my mind? Surely not, but then, I don't know much any more than waking in the morning and sleeping at night. What happens in the between hours remains a secret even to myself.

I think I've come to realise, it's easier to fall in love, than to fall out of it. I am just wondering when Andrew will realise that he has never stopped being in love with Cam, and I will be left here to burn like a pyre from Salem. My Angel, who is so beautiful, loves another. I am happier than any that they love each other, but feel desolate inside that I am alone.

Standing on the brink of nothing and getting ready to tumble into the abyss that lies just beyond, one must wonder is this how Christ felt the night of the final supper? Knowing that the next day that one of his loved ones would betray him. I don't see others love as betrayal but I feel the same loss. Still, I know Andrew and Cam are right, now it's just making them see it."

Andrew sat the journal down gently and looked at Mitch. He felt a gentle stirring in his heart and felt it go out to the young man. Reaching into his draws, he pulled out a pair of pants and slid them on and yanked a shirt over his head. He then exited the room as quietly as he could. Walking into the lounge, he saw Cameron sleeping on the couch, a blanket pulled up over him. He padded quietly into the kitchen and made two coffees. Andrew walked out and set it down on the table and gently shook Cameron to wake him. After a few moments, Cameron's eyes drifted open.

"Couldn't you have had at least a pretty face for me to wake and see?" He jibed gently. Andrew half-grinned at his friend.

"I could have, but didn't want to upstage you after your beauty sleep, which you obviously didn't get enough of." Cameron reached out and pulled Andrew into him.

"Didn't get enough beauty sleep huh. I thought I would have gotten more than enough to satisfy your sorry arse." Cameron joked. Andrew put his hand to his forehead and did his best southern belle impersonation.

"Why, mah dear Mister Slater, why would you evah say such a thang? I'm nothing more than a sweet southern boy, I'm shure you are certainly man enough to satisfy all mah needs." Andrew joked. Cameron pushed him lightly.

"You dickhead." He laughed. They lay there regarding each other when Andrew lunged forward and kissed Cameron hungrily. They were bought back to reality as Andrew slipped off the couch and landed on his arse on the floor. Looking up from the floor at Cameron laughing Andrew spoke.

"Let's go out on the balcony and have coffee." Cameron grinned and sat up, offering a hand to Andrew who got up and looked Cameron in the eye and placed his hands on Cameron's hips and lowered his voice.

"I love you. I want you too." With that he placed his lips against Cameron's.

Sitting out on the balcony Andrew and Cameron sat side-by-side quietly.

"What brought on this morning Andy?" Cameron finally asked. Andrew looked away as he spoke.

"A wise young man wrote something that finally hit home and made me realise that you were right last night." Cameron cocked his head to the side.

"Oh?" He asked.

"I was with the wrong brother." Andrew said into his coffee. Cameron spat his coffee, spraying it out over the edge.

"What?" Cameron asked amazed.

"You heard me, don't play daft." Andrew said. Cameron could only nod dumbfounded.

"So, what's up with Troy?" Andrew asked changing the topic.

"He said he'd wait to talk about it." Cameron said. Andrew only nodded and moved closer to Cameron and leant on him.

"Guess you're with the right brother now." Came Troy's voice from behind them. Andrew leapt and nearly through his coffee over the edge. He wondered briefly if he jumped after the few spilt drops if he'd catch them before hitting the ground. Deciding coffee stains wouldn't be as bad, he sat back down.

"Troy, shut up unless you want to inspect the wall across by being thrown into it." Andrew said tiredly.

"I was wondering how long it would take you two to work out what you wanted." Troy kept on and Andrew stood up and turned to face Troy.

"You have five seconds to shut your face before I drag your arse out the door and leave you lying there. Would be kinda like poetic justice actually." Andrew growled.

"Dear dear me Andrew. We are getting testy in our old age." Troy kept going.

"Alright, I hate you now. I think you're a cunt. That's what you wanted isn't it? You wanted me to hate you so you'd be absolved of guilt? Fine, all sins forgiven... now what is it and how long do you have?" Andrew snarled. Troy and Cameron stopped dead. Troy's head dropped, then he turned and walked to the couch and started to sit down, stopping briefly, then sitting down fully. Watching the way Troy acted Andrew looked instinctively at Cameron concerned and found Cameron looking back at him. Together they walked in and sat down watching Troy.

"So what's going on?" Cameron asked his older brother. Troy didn't reply for a time.

"I'm sick and wanted to check on my little brother and his best friend and make sure they were okay I guess." Troy said to the coffee table in front of him. Andrew and Cameron traded glances again then back at Troy.

"What is it?" Andrew probed gently.

"Serious." Was all Troy could say. Cameron moved to Troy's side.

"Serious?" Cameron asked. Troy could feel the tears that hit his face and trailed down.

"I thought I was the smart one, the one nothing could touch." Troy said, his voice starting to crack. "Thought it could get anyone but me." He said. A realisation sunk in and Andrew sank back into his chair. Cameron noticed and was instantly at his side.

"When?" Andrew asked.

"We were over and done Andy it's all good. 12 months ago I would say." Troy said quietly. Cameron looked between the two confused.

"What is going on here?" Cameron asked. Andrew looked at Troy questioning.

"You tell him or will I?" He asked. Troy waved it off to Andrew and buried his face in his hands.

"Your brother is HIV positive Cam." Andrew said finally.

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