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    BDANR
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There is No Forever - 18. Chapter 17

The air was cool. Tranquil. The sky was at its clearest with the sun bearing down with great intensity. Stefan welcomed the coolness and sun that refused to be hidden behind clouds. It gave him some courage to proceed with his plan: he wanted to see Chris, one-on-one.

Stefan worried for his friend’s safety. He believed bringing Devan and Jesse along would agitate Chris. But Stefan pondered if he was trying to prove a point: He didn’t want to appear cowardly. He’s lived with this man for some time, the risk couldn’t be as great as he imagined. Wasn’t running away spineless enough? He wanted to show Chris that he didn’t get to control him any longer. He wanted to demonstrate that he was brave. If he could show Jesse and Devan that he was able to take care of this on his own, maybe they wouldn’t see him as this helpless victim.

He parked his car at the entrance of his old building. He stayed inside, trying not to psyche himself into leaving. He felt his mouth water and his throat tighten. What was he so worried about, he thought. He tried to overcome the signals within him that told him that he was rightfully fearful. Once he was as composed as he could get, he took himself out the car and headed into the apartment.

Stefan reached the hallway of his floor and stood at the front of his apartment. He could hear the TV playing loudly as usual. Chris was there. Stefan tried swallowing, then almost gagged. As he was about to unlock the door, he got a call. It was from Jesse. He thought to inform Jesse what was going on but hit ignore instead. He didn’t want to tell Jesse about what was happening just yet. He used his own keys, entered them in the keyhole, and unlocked the door.

 

Devan sped over to Jesse’s. He couldn’t calm his beating heart. The thought of Stefan being in danger made the hair on the back of his neck stand. He gripped the steering wheel tightly, almost getting himself into a few accidents as he rode through the streets. He arrived at Jesse’s ten minutes later. As Devan was approaching he saw Jesse, sunglasses, and hood on, sitting on the curb. Devan stopped along the street’s shoulder as Jesse opened the passenger door.

“Boy, you must’ve zipped through half the town,” Jesse commented as he put on his seatbelt. “Let’s go.” Devan hit the gas and they were on their way. While driving, Devan noticed an odor coming off Jesse that made his nose wrinkle.

Devan said, “Jes, you smell like the floor of a bar. Did you go out last night?”

Jesse sucked in his teeth. “You know I ain’t got the money to be going to the club… I just bought a bottle to drink at home.”

“No one who's had ‘a little drink’ smells like that. Jesus, you shouldn’t drink so much. You could be doing some serious damage to your body-” Jesse felt his head pound. The drums in his brain intensified the more Devan spoke. His hand grabbed at his head.

“Devan,” he interrupted him, “can we focus on Stefan right now?” Devan relented and put his mind back on the road. Jesse massaged his temples.

“Sorry, I’m just - Why would Stefan just leave without telling me? I’m freaking out, man. Anything could happen to him.” Jesse noticed Devan passing quickly through stop signs, swerving. His breathing was heavy and his eyes were wide with excitement.

“I know, I understand why you’re worried. This definitely isn’t like him. But, I need you to try and settle yourself down. You’re driving real crazy right now.”

Devan looked at Jesse as though he didn’t understand a word he said. “Jesse, he’s going over to that fucker’s house right now! How do you expect me to drive?!”

“We don’t know if he’s going there! And if you keep driving like this, you’re going to get us both killed!”

Devan gritted his teeth. “He could hurt him.”

“I’m aware of that-”

“Then how do you not feel scared as shit right now? I swear man if he even touches Stefan...I’ll kill him, Jesse.” Jesse furrowed his brows as he looked at Devan. He stopped focusing on the pain his head.

“Don’t be talking like that, Devan. You don’t mean that. Stefan wouldn’t want you to rot in prison no matter what Chris did. I don’t how else to get through to you. Unless he puts hands on Stefan, you cannot beat his ass.” Devan couldn’t understand Jesse’s logic. How could Jesse not be as eager as him to get his hands on Chris? To make him pay for what he’s done to their friend? His lips trembled.

“What if I convinced him to stay with that creep? Fuck, he thought staying with Chris was okay because of me! I should’ve never told him about Leroy and me.”

Jesse nodded. “Please don’t blame yourself for any of this. What could’ve given you the idea that this boy would stay with his abusive boyfriend because of anything you said? Stefan has been with Chris, on and off, for ten years. There’s nothing you could’ve said that would’ve changed that. None of this is your fault.” Devan shook his head. He steadily reduced his speed, attempting to drive reasonably quickly, though he felt the situation called for more urgency.

“I don’t want anything to happen to him, Jesse. I don’t know what I’d do if he got hurt…”

 

Stefan had his back to the door as he watched Chris lift himself from the couch. The apartment was filthier than it ever was without Stefan around to pick up after him. The floor was littered and had already collected a few stains. The top of the living room table was covered with mail and used cups. Pots and pans that had yet to be cleaned sat on the stovetop as if waiting for someone to come clean it up.

“You came,” Chris said with a grin on his face. Stefan stood still. As Chris walked toward him, Stefan could sense the sweat forming on his face and arms. He started breathing in short breaths. Chris opened his arms and pulled Stefan into him for a hug. “I missed you.” Stefan trembled, keeping his hands to his sides. Chris appeared to have noticed his hesitance but paid it no mind.

He continued, “I’d knew you’d come back, babe. You were making me a little crazy over here. But now that you’ve come home, we gotta make sure you don’t leave again.” Stefan studied Chris as he walked around the apartment. Stefan began to move away from the front door, not trying to appear guarded. Chris looked idly at the squalid state of the home Stefan and him had shared, and Stefan couldn’t help but wonder if Chris did expect him to return, as if nothing happened, cleaning Chris’ mess as he usually did. His blatant arrogance was infuriating. Stefan stopped at the couch. He vowed, at that very moment, that he’d never let Chris touch, or order him around, again.

“Chris,” Stefan said, “I’m not staying.” Chris frowned. Stefan thought he might act out, but instead, Chris let out a forced laugh. Stefan didn’t understand.

“What you mean?”

“I meant what I told you when I left you that voice message. I can’t stay with you.” Chris let out another laugh, much softer this time around, as he shook his head. Stefan could feel his skin crawl.

“Who you tryin’ to kid? We’ve been together since high school, Stefan. What, you forget? I know we all do some shit out of anger or spite. But I’ve forgiven you, babe! You don’t gotta be playing hard to get.” Stefan was offended that Chris would even think he was asking for forgiveness. He toyed with him so casually. He felt the knuckles on his hands tense. “Let’s just put this shit behind us and-”

“No. I’m telling you that I don’t want to be with you.” Chris’s grin left him. He had a grimaced look on his face, an expression Stefan had hardly ever seen Chris make. He was unsure how to react to it.

He stood firm and said, “I came back to grab the rest of my things. You’re welcome to help if you want. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. But, I’m leaving you.” Chris glared at Stefan with furrowed brows, his tongue poking into his cheek. He started pacing. Stefan knew his fuse would set off.

“Naw you-you can’t do that, Stefan. You don’t get to up and leave like this.” Chris' voice was low as he spoke, not even looking at him. “You thought you could come in here and tell me you’re gonna leave me? You think this is a game?”

“I’m not playing any games with you. You can’t make me stay with you-”

Chris eyes flew open as he screamed, “The hell I can’t!” Stefan shook. Chris seemed to notice that he’d been too loud as well. Chris walked towards Stefan, pointing his finger at him. “You belong to me. I told you that you were my first, and you’d be my last. I meant that, and I ain’t letting you go.” Stefan grew increasingly worried for his safety. This man had violated his bodily autonomy before. He could very well do it again.

His phone rang.

The two of them froze. Stefan reached for his phone in a hurried pace, and before he knew it, Chris was charging at him. He backed into the wall, checked the caller ID, and pulled the phone to his ear.

“JESSE-”

 

“Stefan? Stefan? Is that you?” Jesse’s panicked voice talked into the phone. Devan thought he would pass out from the anxiety. The two sweated bullets on their car ride to Stefan and Chris’ place, their fear for their friend’s safety overwhelming them greatly.

Devan said, “Wh-wh-what was that? Was that him?!”

Jesse’s mouth was agape. “I-I don’t know. But it sounded like him...” He found it hard to speak. Devan looked at Jesse, hoping he’d find some comfort in his demeanor. Hadn’t Jesse been in this scenario before to help a friend? But Devan saw Jesse was just as afraid as he was as he stared out the window.

“We’re getting there, Jesse. We’re getting there...”

Devan had reached the front of Stefan’s apartment. Cars were blocking any close parking spots he could find. That’s when Devan noticed that one of them had been Stefan’s.

He got as close as he could to the building’s entrance. “Jesse, run up to Stefan’s apartment. I’m gonna try to find parking. Go, quick!” Jesse nodded and ran out. “Call me if anything goes wrong, okay?!” And Devan drove off.

 

Stefan stared at his phone in Chris’ hands. His shoes were stuck to the floor like glue.

“That was a close one” he said. “You think I’m gonna hurt you? Are you afraid of me?” Stefan wouldn’t dare answer either question. It disturbed him that Chris would even ask them. “I’m not gonna hurt you, Stefan. I love you. I’m just trying to do what I can to make you stay.”

“Chris,” Stefan spoke up, hearing his voice fluctuate, “give me back my phone-”

“Let’s make a deal.” Chris tossed Stefan’s phone in the air like he was playing with a ball. “If you stay, this could all be over. You bring back your stuff, we can go back to the way things were. I’ll even act like none of this happened.” That wasn’t an option for Stefan. He couldn’t let Chris force him back here like he was some correctional officer putting him back in his cage.

“If you leave though,” he continued. “I’ll tell everyone what you are.”

Stefan’s face twisted. Was he being serious? When it dawned on him what Chris was planning, Stefan thought he’d throw up.

“I’ll call up your job. I’ll tell your cousins. Everybody in this fucking town and back home will know you're a faggot.”

Stefan’s mouth fell. “You-you wouldn’t-”

“Tell me I wouldn’t. I got your phone. Shouldn’t be too hard.” Stefan became lightheaded. He never thought Chris would go this far. Stefan was trapped. This man would use any means to dominate him.

“Why are you doing this?”

“I said you were mine, Stefan. You try to go, you’ll regret it.” Chris’ gall, the threats, Stefan was beside himself. He couldn’t let Chris get away with this. He lunged for his phone, but Chris pulled it away. Stefan then grappled with Chris, pulling at his arms and sleeves. Chris jerked back, having never seen Stefan react physically towards him. He shoved Stefan onto the wooden floor. Stefan’s shoulder and hips were smarting from the impact. He heard his phone hit the ground as well. He turned to it, grabbed for it, and was about to try and call Jesse again. He stopped midway when Chris stood over him. His fist was raised above Stefan’s head.

He said, “Don’t make me hurt you, Stefan. Drop the phone.”

Stefan’s arms were raised in a defensive pose. Chris bore down on him with the same eyes he had when he pinned him to their bed. He knew Chris would hit him. And just as Stefan had sent out a phone call and Chris was pulling back his fist, someone yelled, “Get the fuck away from Stefan.” Chris froze. Stefan looked over towards the door.

Chris said to the person, “What the hell are you doing here-”

“Did you hear me? I said get the fuck away from Stefan, or I will call the police.” Jesse stood by the doorway, his phone in his hand. Chris looked menacingly at Jesse like he could strike him, making quick glances at Jesse’s hand.

Stefan struggled to speak. “J-Jesse. Don’t call the police.”

Chris interrupted, “You ain’t calling no police. Whaddya going to say? Two faggots fighting in an apartment room? The police ain’t gonna give a shit-”

“Don’t try me, Chris,” Jesse said. “Now, I need you to get away from Stefan or my ass is dialing 911.”

“Jesse,” Stefan said. “Please, please don’t call them.”

Jesse ignored Stefan. “I’m waiting, Chris.” Chris watched Jesse some more. He put down his fist. He backed away slowly towards the bedroom, glaring down at Stefan as he did so. He started smoothing out the wrinkles Stefan made when he pulled at his arm as if he were wiping dirt off his sleeves. Jesse never took his eyes off Chris.

Devan came right after, standing behind Jesse. He saw Stefan on the floor, then looked at Chris. He charged forward, but an arm stopped him.

“It’s okay,” Jesse said, speaking softly so Chris wouldn't hear him. “Be cool.” Jesse walked more into the apartment, Devan following close behind. Stefan’s legs and arms shook as he tried lifting himself from the ground. He swayed as he got up and Jesse steadied him. Devan’s thoughts of harming Chris returned again. When it seemed to become overbearing, he looked at Stefan. Stefan was shaken up but didn’t look injured. He was grateful he was okay. That was all that mattered. He put his thoughts of revenge behind him.

Stefan's voice was low but determined. “I just have a box of my personal files, my clothes, and my computer that I need to grab. He can keep everything else…”

Jesse asked. “Okay. Are you sure?”

Stefan nodded. “I don’t need anything else.”

Jesse understood. “Devan and I can grab whatever you need.” He looked at Chris as he said, “Will that be an issue?”

Chris glanced down at the floor, then made a shrug. “Do what you need to do.”

And Chris made sure to have Stefan’s full attention when he said, “He’ll be back.”

 

Devan took Jesse back home and Stefan and he rode back to his place. Stefan barely spoke. Devan wanted to ask what he was thinking going to Chris’ without informing anyone. Did he understand the danger he was putting himself in? Did he realize what Jesse and he went through, fearing for Stefan’s wellbeing? But Stefan wasn’t going to avoid admitting any of his mistakes. He was his own worst critic, and anything Devan said to reinforce his negative self-talk would only make him feel worse.

“You really scared us, Stefan,” Devan said. “We thought we’d be too late. Chris looked like he-” Devan stopped in mid-sentence, seeing Stefan appear still in shock.

He continued, “I’m glad you’re okay. I love you, and the last thing I want is for you to be hurt.” Stefan looked at Devan. He heard that word “love” used by someone who couldn’t have meant it, not after all that he put him through. What the hell was it anyway? Stefan couldn’t imagine what it did to his mind to hear “I love you” from a man that would threaten to physically hurt him. Or leave him at a gas station with nothing but the clothes on his back. Or attempt to rape him. Love should mean nothing to him. And just when he thought he’d lost faith in the word itself, he heard it from someone who never hurt him, who would even go as far as to risk himself just to protect him. Chandra was right, what Chris and he had was not the kind of love he deserved. The bond he had with Chandra, Devan, and Jesse, that was sacred. Though the saga wasn’t over, Stefan was thankful. He didn’t have to do this alone.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 BDANR; All Rights Reserved.
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Excellent chapter BDANR. Jesse and Devan really came through for their friend. It seems that no matter how many times the three young men have a fallingout, when it comes to their friendship, they are always there for one another. I love how much Jesse has changed. I commend his efforts for trying to become a responsible adult. The only negative thing I've noticed is his heavy drinking. I hope he can come to terms with it, and continue to move forward.

 

Once again you have lit the keyboard on fire, and tapped out another good one. ;)

 

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Great chapter B. Happy to see Stefan out of there. Guys can come and go, friends to the end.

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I loved this chapter. You wrote the action with such intensity and my gut tightened as Chris pulled back that fist. But Stefan heard 'love' from someone who could really mean it, and that might make all the difference. Beautifully done. 

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On 10/4/2017 at 1:33 PM, R J Drew said:

Excellent chapter BDANR. Jesse and Devan really came through for their friend. It seems that no matter how many times the three young men have a fallingout, when it comes to their friendship, they are always there for one another. I love how much Jesse has changed. I commend his efforts for trying to become a responsible adult. The only negative thing I've noticed is his heavy drinking. I hope he can come to terms with it, and continue to move forward.

 

Once again you have lit the keyboard on fire, and tapped out another good one. ;)

 

Thank you!! And I'm so glad you're noticing this shift in Jesse. He's fortunately changing things around and being the friend Stefan and Devan need him to be. Hopefully his drinking doesn't  bite him in the back later. He has a bit of healing to do :/.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed :D!

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On 10/4/2017 at 3:49 PM, BlindAmbition said:

Great chapter B. Happy to see Stefan out of there. Guys can come and go, friends to the end.

That's right :hug: !!!!! And thank you for commenting on this chapter :).

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On 10/5/2017 at 1:44 PM, Parker Owens said:

I loved this chapter. You wrote the action with such intensity and my gut tightened as Chris pulled back that fist. But Stefan heard 'love' from someone who could really mean it, and that might make all the difference. Beautifully done. 

Thank you, Parker! I'm glad you enjoyed the action scenes. That is not something I imagined I'd be very good at, but it's good to hear I did it well! It'd be nice to create more "action scenes" in future writing :yes: . Thank you for your comment!!

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