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bruised love

Chapter Two

By - February 21 2005

After a quiet care ride home, the trio walked back into the apartment, Mitch set his bag down at the entrance and looked at Cameron and Andrew.

"I'm still not sure why you are doing this for me, but I want to thank you so much." He said to them. Andrew smiled back.

"We did it because you're a good guy. Despite what Jay has said, I think you're ok as you are." Mitch got a doubtful look across his face.

"How can you say that? There's so many things wrong with me. I'm not perfect. Even Cameron said that I'm broken when you were arguing with Jay." Mitch said sadly. Cameron looked at Andrew in horror at the impact of his words on Mitch. Andrew decided to step in.

"Mitch, Cameron never said that to hurt you. He was angry with Jay for what Jay has done to you. He's hurt you badly, even you have to admit that. Cameron was just saying that it's left you broken hearted and a little scared. Cameron would never mean to hurt you ever." Andrew smoothed over. Mitch looked unsure at Cameron and Andrew followed his gaze. Cameron was standing there, looking miserable with tears in his eyes. Mitch looked surprised.

"I'm so sorry that I hurt you Mitch. I was so angry with Jay for all the horrors he's put you through under the guise of love and helping you. What he did to you was so cruel. I'm not as strong as you Mitch. I would've broken a long time ago if I were in your shoes." Cameron said. Mitch's eyes began to cloud up.

"I'm sure you could've. I'm not that special, and I'm not that strong." Mitch moved into Cameron's arms and hugged him tight. Mitch buried his face into Cameron's chest as Cameron leant down to whisper in his ear.

"Well I think you're really bloody strong and I think you have something very special inside. You have this light that shines when nothing else will glow and it shows from your eyes. You have some inner strength tucked away in there and you don't even realize it's there."

After that Cameron let his arms slip from around Mitch to his sides. Mitch did the same and then looked at Andrew who was leafing through the mail then stepped up and cuddled him from behind. Andrew lifted his hand to rest on Mitch's arms which wrapped around his chest. Mitch leant into Andrew's ear and spoke softly.

"Thank you too. If it hadn't been for you, I would have been so bored that night, and it's good to have someone as a friend who has a good heart. It means a lot to me." Andrew leant back to speak to Mitch.

"You're welcome. Thank you for your company." Mitch smiled and then let go of Andrew.

"Now we've had the touchy feely moment, let's watch a movie or something." Cameron said dryly. Andrew glanced at Mitch.

"As you can see, Cameron here is going for a job at hallmark." Cameron poked his tongue at Andrew who considered grabbing it and tying it to a passing truck and sending him halfway across the state. Mitch said something that snapped Andrew out of his trance.

"Sorry, what did you say? I missed it." Andrew asked. Cameron snorted back a laugh and Mitch raised a curious eyebrow.

"I asked what movie you wanted to watch? We're going to the local video store and hiring something."

"Anything but romance and action." Andrew shrugged.

"Aww, not in a soppy movie mood tonight?" Jeered Cameron.

"No, it just doesn't take my interest tonight. I don't want to watch two people fall 'madly in love' on the television thank you." Andrew said.

"Aww, the puritan you locked away wants out again." Cameron pushed.

"Tell me, did you cry when the house landed on your sister in Oz?" Sneered Andrew at Cameron as he pictured the ceiling about Cameron falling in and flattening him.

"Only as much as you did when you sacrificed that small child to your pagan gods the other day." Cameron threw back.

"I so did not. I keep telling you my powers can only be used for good." Andrew retorted.

"Does Elvis still live in your world?" Cameron asked sarcasticaly.

"Any similarities between your reality and mine are purely conincidental." Andrew argued.

"And you're just jealous the voices only talk to me."

"Yeh, I want the same mental disease you have so that I have voices in my head talking to me." Andrew retorted.

"I thought you did or did you finally get that medication?"

"Oh look, men in white jackets for you."

"And you are both batman and can fly. Can we get on with this?" Mitch interjected. Both of the other two stopped and looked at Mitch in amazment. Mitch got a startled look on his face and started to back away.

"I'm sorry, I said the wrong thing didn't I? I'll leave now, I'm sorry to bother you." Mitch said reaching for his bag. Andrew bounced forwards and put his hand out, causing Mitch to cower. Andrew kicked himself quietly for his actions, realizing that of course it would have such an effect on Mitch.

"Mitch wait, stop. No, you never did anything wrong. I'm sorry, you'd just been quiet, we didn't expect you to come in with a comment. I'm sorry, no you said nothing wrong. Don't ever think that. We don't want you to leave either." Mitch looked at Andrew unsure. Andrew leant over and wrapped his arms around Mitch. Mitch relaxed instantly Cameron noticed and wondered if Mitch was already warming closer to Andrew.

"Go throw your stuff in my room and we'll work out what we're going to do with it tomorrow." Mitch smiled and lifted his bag and carried it to Andrew's room.

As soon as he was walking down the hall Cameron turned to Andrew

"He's warming to you already. See I was right." Cameron grinned triumphantly.

"It's called Nightingale Syndrome. Which means they develop lust like or even love like emotions for someone who they perceive to be a savior." Andrew countered.

"This isn't a text book 'they' Andrew. This is a guy who you know. It's someone who you feel for."

"How do you know I feel for him?" Andrew asked.

"How long have I known you. I saw the same look when you started seeing Troy." Cameron said.

"And look how that ended." Andrew replied. Cameron shook his head.

"Who said it's all going to go like that? You never know, this one could be different."

"What could be different?" Asked Mitch

"Nothing important." Andrew said quickly.

"Ok, I know that's crap. I'm trying to be good here, but please don't crap to me." Mitch said and cringed.

"Don't cringe because you spoke your mind, you're safe here and you're not going to be hit." Andrew said.

"Alright, you want to know what's going on. You know how Vanessa had cupid in her eyes when she introduced us? Well Cameron here has the same thoughts." Andrew explained.

"I'm sorry Andrew, but I can't. I don't even know if Jay and I are over."

"Yes, you are." Cameron said forcefully. Mitch stepped back daunted. Andrew stepped in front of Mitch and glared at Cameron.

"Don't you dare raise your voice at him." Andrew's voice was low and dangerous. Cameron's eyes blinked open in surprise. Mitch put his hand on Andrew's shoulder.

"It's ok, he's only looking out for me. I think." Mitch said softly.

"I agree with his sentiments, but he could have said it a lot nicer. I don't believe you should go back to him. That's only what I believe. It is up to you. Just think about it before you call him or go back to him, please." Andrew said. Mitch nodded. Cameron shook his head and stalked out of the room. Andrew just sighed and Mitch looked down.

"I'm sorry I didn't mean to make you two argue." He said mournfully.

"It's ok, like I said yesterday, we have these fights, but we apologize and it's all good again. I meant what I said to both of you. Please, for me, think about things before calling him or going back to him." Mitch nodded in agreeance and smiled at Mitch then pulled him into a hug.

"Now, what movie did you want?" Andrew asked smiling softly.

The credits of the final movie of the night slid across the screen as Cameron stood up to hit the power button on the DVD player. He looked over at Andrew who was sitting in the recliner staring into space a contemplative look crossing his face. Following Andrew's gaze he saw a photo of Andrew and Troy which was partially covered. Sighing to himself he glanced at Mitch who'd dozed off on the couch. It brought a look of relief across Cameron's face to Mitch appearing peaceful as he lay there. Cameron padded over gently and touched Andrew on the shoulder. Andrew looked up and smiled at his long time friend.

"Enjoy the movie?" Asked Cameron with a grin.

"Yeah it was great. The whole I didn't really see any part was fantastic." Andrew grinned back. Cameron squatted down on his haunches in front of Andrew.

"You need to let Troy go, because you've got a guy here who's asleep on the couch who needs you to be strong and have it all together." Andrew glared at his friend and contemplated lifting his foot sharply and destroying something that Cameron held precious.

"I've let go of Troy. I just refuse to get in that position again. I can't give Mitch any quick fixes. This is all stuff that he has to deal with on his own." Andrew said calmly.

"Don't get grumpy with me." Cameron said calmly. Andrew hung his head.

"I just don't know that I'm really right to be helping him. I don't want to end up making him more hurt nor confused than he already is." Offered Andrew. Cameron shrugged.

"I don't think he can be more messed up than he is now. Now wake him and take him to bed. You both need sleep." Cameron stood and patted Andrew on the shoulder before turning towards his room. Andrew sat for a moment thinking quietly before standing and moving to wake Mitch. Shaking Mitch's shoulder slightly Andrew called his name gently. Mitch awoke with a start and try to scratch himself away from Andrew's hand. Andrew leant back on his haunches so Mitch could see it was him. Mitch quietened after a moment and burst into tears.

"I'm sorry, I thought you were..." Mitch didn't finish. His voiced dropped away and his eyes lowered to the ground. Mitch felt his heart break for the damaged soul that lay on the couch shivering before him. Andrew reached out tentatively for Mitch's hand. Mitch gingerly took it as Andrew laid his other hand on Mitch's knee.

"I was just going to say that I'm going to bed." Mitch nodded his head and swung his legs off the side of the couch. He looked back at Andrew then leant over and kissed Andrew's forehead.

"Thanks for taking this slowly with me. I guess I'm a little fucked up." Mitch said with sadness echoing in his eyes. Andrew shook his head and pulled Mitch to him for a gentle hug.

"It's all good my friend. Now let's go get some sleep." Andrew said and stood up. Mitch nodded and followed behind.

Andrew heard the shrill call of Mitch's cell phone as he lay in a half-awake daze the following morning. He felt Mitch move off the bed and walk out the door to speak on the phone. Lying there, he tried to wait for Mitch to come back, but the desire to sleep overwhelmed him and he dropped back off.

A few hours later he awoke again to a gentle knock on the bedroom door and Cameron calling out to him softly. Andrew groaned into his pillow, then rolled over and grunted for Cameron to come in. Cameron cautiously opened the door and looked at Andrew.

"You're still dressed in bed. No Mitch either. Guess you didn't get laid last night." Cursing softly Andrew struggled to sit up.

"What makes you think I'm going to fuck Mitch?" Andrew asked groggily. He could feel himself reaching for the bedside lamp and in his mind saw it sailing through the air, collecting the straight boy and landing in fragments on the floor.

"I don't think you'll fuck Mitch." Cameron said. Andrew breathed a sigh of relief.

"You'll make love to him." Cameron finished, grinning. Andrew contemplated getting out of bed and kicking Cameron so hard in the ass that his head would appear through the floor of the people in the unit above them. Instead, Andrew shot him a look that would cause the most hardy of flowers to wither in fear.

"Where is Mitch anyways?" Asked Cameron.

"No idea. His phone rang earlier and I didn't hear him come back to bed." Andrew told him. The pair looked at each other in horror of who could have been on the other end of the phone.

"He wouldn't have gone to see Jay? Surely not." Cameron said mortified.

"There's a reason why people are called creatures of habit. Unfortunately, that is also true of Jay. For all I know, Jay's promised to change and Mitch's believed him." Andrew sprang from bed and grabbed at his cell and hit dial on Mitch's number. After a few rings Andrew heard someone pick up the phone.

"I think you need to bring Mitch's stuff back to his dorm. He's home there again. He doesn't need you." Came Jay's voice over the ear piece.

"Put Mitch on." Andrew seethed.

"He's busy. Look bring it by, just leave it at the door, we're busy at the moment." With that Jay terminated the call.

"Fucking god dammit." Andrew yelled as he hurled the helpless phone against the wall. Cameron was at Andrew's side in a moment.

"He's with Jay." Sobbed Andrew into Cameron's chest.

"Get dressed." Cameron said. His voice was low and had an edge that scared Andrew. Andrew looked at Cameron and saw an unbridled hate and anger in his eyes that scared even him. Pulling some clothes on Andrew met Cameron in the kitchen then they both headed out the door.

Arriving at Mitch's dorms, Andrew bashed on the supervisor's door. A mid-twenties looking guy came to the door.

"What the fuck do you want?" He half growled at them.

"We need you to let us into room 316." Andrew said ignoring the contempt.

"Why? Neither of you live in there." The young guy asked.

"Because you either open it or I kick it in." Cameron said with venom dripping from his voice, pooling at his feet eating it's way through the floor. The young guy opened his eyes properly and took a step back.

"Why the fuck would you want to do that?"

"Because if we don't the cops will and we're prayin that it ain't to find a dead body." Andrew said. This grabbed the young guys attention.

"Room 316, that's Mitch and Charlie's room. Let me guess, Mitch and Jay are back together." The young guy's words stunned Andrew and Cameron.

"Say all you want to Mitch. We've been trying for ages to get him away from Jay but he always goes back. I'm David by the way." The other two nodded dumbly. He stood back and waved them in.

"Wait in here while I get dressed and I'll go up with you." Andrew and Cameron looked at each other and shrugged. Walking into the room they waited for David to get ready.

After David had gotten ready, the three headed up to Mitch's room. Opening the door, David stepped aside and let the other two enter. Andrew walked in first and saw Mitch sprawled, naked, save for a sheet covering his groin. Andrew started to run to Mitch's side when he felt something blunt and heavy connect with the back of his head with a loud cracking sound. As he sank to the ground, he saw Mitch sit up in shock and start screaming. He tried to blink but blackness was closing in to closely. He though he heard something hit the floor but he wasn't sure.

Andrew opened his eyes carefully and looked around. All he could see was white. At first he saw so much white he assumed this was the pearly gates. Then he heard Cameron's voice and cursed silently. He must've been in a hospital, because there was no way his friend would make it within a hundred yards of the light. Unless of course, it was a bug zapper. Andrew grinned to himself with the thoughts that ran freely through his mind. Cameron's face appeared in front of his eyes.

"God the angels are ugly here in heaven." Moaned Andrew. Cameron grinned and threw a glance over his shoulder.

"He'll live, he's being bitchy." Cameron giggled. Andrew slowly turned his head to the side to see who Cameron had spoken to. There stood Mitch with a contrite look on his face. Andrew closed his eyes and rolled his head back so he was looking up. He reached out and tried to pull himself into a sitting position. When he was finally sitting he looked at Mitch, who looked back at him, timid and scared. His normal look of a deer in headlights chiseled into his features.

"Why?" Was all Andrew asked

"He said he would change for me. Said that he loved me." Mitch said starting to sob.

"Do you understand now he won't? Do you understand he's willing to hurt more people other than you?" Asked Andrew sharply which earned his a reproving look from Cameron. Andrew dug his heels in.

"Either of you two louts want to tell me how long I've been in here?"

"Two days." Mitch said quietly.

"And he is yet to leave your side. He's argued with the nurses and doctors. He's slept and showered here. I don't think he's eaten." Cameron said quietly in Andrew's ear. Andrew turned and looked at Mitch then waved him over. Mitch stood and walked over cautiously as though afraid of punishment. Andrew rolled his head back and sighed causing Mitch to start to back up. Looking at Mitch, Andrew shook his head.

"Come here, I'm not going to hurt you." Mitch ambled slowly over to Andrew, who reached out and pulled him into a hug. Mitch stiffened for a moment then relaxed into the hug.

"Just promise me you will always take either Cameron or I with you if you go near Jay." Andrew said. Mitch just nodded, his tears running over his cheeks onto Andrew's shoulder. Andrew turned his head and kissed him lightly.

"Now stop crying and find me a doctor so I can get out of this place." He grumbled.

Walking into the apartment, Mitch was overeager to help and please Andrew. Eventually Andrew grabbed Mitch and dragged him down onto the couch.

"Mitch, I got a bump on the head, I'm not an invalid. You don't have anything to make up to me, or prove to me. I already think of you as a close friend so you have nothing to prove or make better. Just be you. That's the guy I like ok." Mitch nodded slowly. Andrew lifted his arm and Mitch snuggled in against his chest and rested there while Cameron slipped a movie into the DVD player. The three sat there, content within the safety of the walls.

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