Talking about his death still hurts, but it’s not as intense as those first few years. Even knowing it was inevitable to lose him, I still fucking blamed myself for not seeing before it was too late. I should have told him how much I loved him every moment I had the chance, drawn him more, made more memories. All those things were not meant to be, I had to be happy with the memories I had with him. So every year on his birthday I go to him, tell him about anything and everything. I only go once a year now, I can’t bring myself to go anymore. Dane always asks me if I want him to go with me, but I don’t want to burden him. I’ve already asked so fucking much of Dane.
October 10th, 2016
I stood in Seth’s parents living room staring at the family photos on the walls as everyone around me chatted in low voices. Seth’s funeral had been a celebration of his life, at least that’s what his family had called it. It had been nothing but a veiled form of torture for not only me but his parents. Staring at his lifeless form in a pressed suit with his hands folded demurely over his chest, I’d wondered why anyone subjected themselves to this. I’d been crippled by the weight of my pain as I stared down at his lifeless form. I’d gone to his funeral expecting some moment of relief, hoping that I could have a sudden epiphany and I could let him go willingly and the weight inside of me go too — but there was no euphoric moment where I could easily release the regret and yearning inside of me. There was only a mind-numbing moment when I stood there staring at his corpse, wishing I could scrub the sight from my brain. His funeral had done nothing to heal my broken heart. All it had done was force me to accept that Seth was gone and that it was my fault.
“Ty,” Dane put a gentle hand on my lower back grounding me as I stared blankly at the picture hanging on the wall. It was of me and Seth from last year when we’d gone to a football game and I’d come to pick Seth up. His parents had taken the picture of us with our arms wrapped around each other standing beside my jeep.
“It was my fault,” I said as I trailed my fingers over the glass.
Dane’s hand dug into my back as he grabbed my face forcing me to look at him. “Don’t,” he growled, “it wasn’t your fault. Life throws curve balls, Ty. You can’t catch them all.” He pulled me down by the back of my neck to lean our heads together like he did whenever I needed him most. I always needed him, but I needed him now more than ever. I breathed in his scent as our mingled breathes ghosted across our cheeks, our noses brushing gently as my heart beat in time with his. It was as if the organ remembered it still had someone to beat for.
“Um, excuse me, Ty?” A soft timid voice broke the silent moment between me and Dane, and we pulled away to look at the petite blonde woman with brown eyes standing a few feet away. She looked just like her son, with a rounder face and long blonde hair. I’d only met Jessica Fields a few times, but she had always been as soft-spoken and accepting of her son and me. She and Seth’s father never tried to change Seth, and they never judged him for his sexual orientation. They loved him, as much as any parent should love their child. Her eyes, that had been so full of joy the last few times I’d seen her were worn and dull, but she still smiled gently up at me.
“Mrs. Fields, I-” I didn’t know what to say to her. How could I say anything to this woman after I’d killed her son? “I-I’m sorry.”
She shook her head, her smile turning more sorrowful as she averted her glassy eyes. “It wasn’t your fault, Ty,” she said gently as she dashed at her red-rimmed eyes. “I don’t blame you for Seth’s death, I’m grateful it didn’t take you both from this world.” She swallowed as she took a deep breath. Her eyes looked back up at me, a new determination filling them. “I want to give you something. Follow me.”
I didn’t question her as she walked towards the back of the house away from the people gathered in the kitchen and living room. Dane followed behind me as she led me down the hallway I knew would take us to Seth’s room. My heart fluttered painfully in my chest as she walked in leaving me in the hallway as I tried to gather my nerves. I’d never been in Seth’s room without him. I’d spent so many days with him in there just being us, learning who we were to each other.
A steady hand settled on my lower back, Dane’s strength pouring into my weak muscles. He didn’t say anything, and maybe I didn’t need him to, not then. His silent strength was enough to propel me forward through the doorway and into the familiar space. The first thing I noticed was the drawings I’d give Seth hanging from various places around the room in frames Seth had handmade. I’d seen them before, but without him here it was so much more devastating to see the gifts hanging on the walls waiting for their owner to come home.
Mrs. Fields sat down on the edge of Seth’s bed, her head bowed as she tried to get her emotions under control. “Seth, he loved you. I thought he would keep himself closed off from the world, but when he brought you home that first time—” She laughed softly, the sound wet with her tears. “You gave him so much joy when he thought there wasn’t any left in his world.” She stood up, her brown eyes tracking me as she went to Seth’s desk and grabbed an envelope from the surface. Walking over to me she handed me the white parcel. “He wrote this, I don’t know if he was finished. He wrote them for everyone he loved, but I don’t know if these were the ones he was going to use in the end, but he’d want you to have it regardless.”
Confused I took the envelope from her trembling hand. There was nothing written on the white cover as if it hadn’t been finished. “I don’t understand, why would he write anything?”
Mrs. Fields sighed, “he didn’t tell you, that’s so like Seth, to keep his troubles to himself.”
“His troubles?” My hand began to shake as I clenched the paper in tight fingers. What was she trying to say to me?
Seth’s mother walked back to the bed where she sat on the edge again, her hands rubbing the wrinkles out of her black dress in an anxious gesture. “Seth had leukemia, he’s been fighting it since he was a boy. We’d had times where we thought he’d beat it but it came back this past year—” She trailed off as her voice became more choked. “The doctors weren’t hopeful but wanted to try chemo again, but Seth… he couldn’t do it again. He wanted to live to the fullest in the time he had left.” A broken sound escaped the woman as she curled her body into herself. “He didn’t want to miss making memories with you.”
Hot liquid spilled down my cheeks as I watched the woman crumble in on herself, the pain overwhelming her as she grieved her lost son. Seth had cancer. He hadn’t told me he was going to die. All if the little things over the past six months started to connect, his bruises, his fatigue, the bloody noses, and the pain he’d felt through his body. I’d thought it was nothing, I hadn’t— I ground my teeth together as so many things start to make sense. How had I not noticed? Why did he give up? My stomach roiled with anger and pain, clenching like a fist when I thought about everything he hadn’t told me. Mrs. Fields sobbed breathlessly from the bed pulling me out of the darkness of my own thoughts, my tears blurring the room around me. I didn’t hesitate to walk over to where she was and wrap my arms around her frail body. She sobbed into my chest while my own tears burned silently down my face. I could feel Dane’s warmth close behind me, he was the only thing keeping me from falling apart like the woman I held.
November 1st, 2016
“I don’t want to leave you,” he said as he looked at the bright headlights coming right at us.
“Seth!” I shouted from where I sat in the driver seat, gripping the steering wheel.
He looked at me just as the light blotted him out. “Read it, Ty, for me,” and then he was swallowed by the light.
“SETH!” I screamed as I sat up in bed, my heart racing in my chest as I stared into the darkness of my room. Moaning I gripped my head as I curled in on myself. It had been a month since the accident and yet, I was trapped reliving it in my dreams every night. The floorboards creaked and I looked up to see Dane walk into my room, his eyes searching as he approached. I swallowed through the lump in my throat as I watched him. “Dane,” I didn’t know what I was asking for, but I needed him. I’d always needed him, since the day he’d picked me up from the youth center I’d needed him.
“I’m here, Ty,” he said as he sat down next to me on the bed, his large body solid against my larger one. “Lay down,” he demanded, pushing me back to lay against the pillows. I didn’t resist the hand against my chest, and Dane followed so we lay facing each other side by side on my large bed. He put his hand over my heart grounding himself to me like he had so many times before. It wasn’t enough, not now I needed— I wrapped my arm around his waist and pulled him close till our bodies were flush together, our bare chests aligned as I clung to him. He didn’t say anything as he settled his face on the pillow beside mine.
“What did you dream?” His breath ghosts across my cheek as he spoke.
“The accident… and Seth,” but he knew that it had been the same thing I’d been dreaming about for weeks now. It was getting worse though and I hadn’t told him that. I wanted to bear this burden on my own, I didn’t want to drag Dane down with me.
Dane ran his hand up and down my back soothing the tense muscles with each pass. “Tell me what happened in the dream?”
I sighed as I buried my face against his scruffy jawline, his scent flowing into my lungs calming more of my anxieties. “We’re in the jeep, right before the truck hits it. Seth told me he didn’t want to leave me, but this time— ” this time had been different. He’d told me to ‘read it’. My gut cramped as I thought about the letter I hadn’t opened. It sat on my bedside table where I’d left it since the day I’d come home from the funeral. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to open it. A part of me was angry at Seth, angry that he’d refused treatment, angry that he hadn’t told me, and angry that he’d fucking died. I’d fallen in love with him, and he’d died. Anger and pain mixed together inside of me poisoning my soul every day, but there was also an intense loneliness. I missed holding him, feeling him hold me. Freely showing how much I loved him with little kisses or pets.
Dane’s hand stopped caressing and settled over my bare side. “Have you read it yet?” His voice was knowing like always as if he could see into my soul and past all the bullshit I hid behind.
“No, not yet.”
“Why?” He asked trying to pull away.
I shivered my hand drifting down to grab his lower back to keep him flush against me. I needed to feel him against me, his hot skin alive, his breaths, and the steady beat of his heart. I wanted to hold onto every piece of him that I could afraid I might never get the chance. “I don’t know,” and that was the truth, I didn’t know why I didn’t read the letter. Every time I tried I thought about all the things Seth hadn’t told me, maybe there would be more things in that letter that he hadn’t told me.
Dane reached over me without warning and grabbed the letter from off the bedside table behind me. He settled back down against me the letter in his hand. “Sit up,” he said.
“What?” I didn’t want to sit up, I wanted to keep laying here with him until I could go back to sleep. I would always fall back asleep when he was with me.
“Sit up, Ty.” He said again as he started to sit up. I didn’t hold him down like I wanted to, instead, I sat up in bed curious what he was going to ask next. “Scoot forward,” he said without explanation. I didn’t know what he was going to do, so I scooted forward till I sat near the middle of the bed. I looked at him waiting for him to tell me what the hell he was doing, but he didn’t say anything. My heart jackknifed as Dane slide in behind me, his legs on either side of my body as he leaned back against the headboard. “Go ahead and lay back.”
My body vibrated with energy as I leaned back against his warm body, laying my head against his muscular shoulder. Dane pressed his cheeks against my own, his hand settled against my lower belly, right above my erection that had started to form. A moan built in my throat as he rubbed slow circles against my lower navel making the burning excited sensation spike. “Dane?” My voice was low as I croaked out his name. Did he realize what he was doing to me?
“Close your eyes,” He demanded as he skimmed his hand up my chest, rubbing my abdomen in soothing circles. I shivered as my skin pebbled under his hand and I forgot for a second what was going on, why he was in my room. My eyes drifted shut as I let myself accept his strong hand as he ran it over the curves of my chest and belly.
“I’m going to read it to you,” he said knowing I would understand that he was referring to the letter. I swallowed as my stomach jolted for a completely different reason. Somehow Dane knew that I couldn’t read it on my own— that I was too fucking weak to read Seth’s formal goodbye without shattering, no different than a glass vase hitting the tile floor. Being held like this, in a way I’ve never been held before I felt safe from falling. He surrounded me keeping me safe from my own pain. So, I nodded against his shoulder.
I heard the shuffle of him opening the envelope and pulling the letter out. There was silence for a few moments, only the sound of our steady breathing in the room. “Ty, there’s so much I should say to you, that I can’t seem to say now and I’m afraid I won’t ever be able to. I’m writing it down for you so that if I never get the chance to tell you you’ll still hear it from me.” Dane paused as he settled his cheek against my own, keeping close as my body became tense.
“Keep reading,” I said softly, covering his hand that had stopped over my stomach.
“I should have told you that I was sick, maybe I should have warned you in the very beginning that I could get sick again, but when you kissed me it was like everything else faded away and I thought maybe it would be ok. That’s what makes you special, Ty. When you love me it’s an all-consuming thing that takes me away from reality. For a while I dreamed about living with you till I died of old age, I dreamed about all the amazing memories we would make together—” Dane stopped when I sucked in a pained breath. “Ty?”
“Don’t stop, keep reading,” I needed him to be the one to read it, but hearing it made a part of Seth come to life behind my closed eyes.
The soft brush of Dane’s nose against my cheek slowed the flow of my broken heart. “You’re not alone, Ty. I’m here,” he whispered, his breath ghosting across my face as he spoke. I didn’t say anything, but I needed to hear him say that. He was all I fucking had, and I needed to know he wasn’t going anywhere. That’s the thing though, there were no guarantees.
“But the cancer came back,” Dane continued, his voice close to my ear. “I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid I would miss making the memories I wanted to make with you. I love you, Ty, so much sometimes I’m afraid that I’ll feel the heartache even when I die. I haven’t told you, and I’ve made so many memories with you, so many good moments where I thought that I was so lucky to have you, even when I wouldn’t get the time I dreamed of.”
Seth. I thought as I listened to his words. All that time, he’d known, he’d known that he was going to die. How scared had he been? How much had he had to hide from me?
“I don’t want you to regret anything, Ty.” Dane continued reading, “I want you to love me every time you remember me, and I want you to forgive me for being selfish. I know my death will hurt you, just like your parent's death did, but I don’t want you to close yourself off from the world. I’m gone, but I still want you to find happiness, so find it, don’t hide it under your bed because stupid people won’t understand. Your love is worth more than that; like our love that was unexpected and everything I needed. Find what you love Ty Huntsman, hold onto it for as long as you can, and when I see you again I’ll love you and anyone you bring with you. Your bunny, Seth.”
Dane stopped, his voice hoarse as he held my body close. He didn’t ask questions, he just held me as fresh tears ran down my cheeks. I opened my eyes as he pressed gentle kisses to my cheeks, chasing my tears with his love and reassurance. “I’m sorry, baby.” He whispered as he cradled me against his chest. His endearment burned, hitting the raw nerve left bare by the note. I moaned as a sob stuck in my throat.
Seth’s note had been more than a goodbye, it had been his pardon. Permission for me to love, and a demand that I don't give up. No matter how fucking much I wanted to.
December 5th, 2016
“Wake up, Ty.” Dane gently patted me on my bare back. I moaned discontentedly and pulled him closer to me, caging his warmth against my chest. He sighed loudly, “Ty we’re gonna be late,” he said as he started to divest himself from my hold. I growled deep in my chest as he pulled out from under my arm, jostling my morning wood. Moaning I pulled his pillow against my chest, as I tried to drift off to the incredible dream I’d been having only moments before. It was the first good dream I’d had in a long time and I wanted to enjoy it.
“Ty you’re going to be late for school,” Dane sighed, again. “I know you don’t want to go back, but you need to go to school. It’s only a few weeks until winter break.” His hand drifted over my bare flanks, soothing some of the nausea roiling in my stomach at the mention of school. I didn’t want to go back, not without Seth. There would be nothing there but memories for me to face, alone.
“Don’t make me go,” not without him, not back where I have so many memories with him. That was the exact reason I was sleeping in Dane’s bed every night, the nightmares I had in my room chasing me into his bed like a scared child. At first, my screams had brought him to my room, but it didn’t take long before I didn’t bother going back to my room and just went to his. I found comfort holding onto him, knowing that the other half of my nightmares, where he was dead, weren’t true. Dane never turned me down. Every time I get into bed beside him and pull him close while I bury my face in the stubble of his cheek, he doesn’t say anything just accepts me.
“Ty,” Dane touched my head softly, his calloused hands gentle. “Get up,” his voice was demanding now, the marine in him expecting no less than my conformity. Maybe I needed that from him because I did as he told me and sat up in his large bed. His grey eyes watched me closely as I avoided looking at him. In regular Dane fashion, he didn’t show any outward reaction, but I could see the warm light in his eyes that I knew was pride.
It was that look in his eyes that got me out of bed and into the shower where I jerked off while thinking about the warm look in his grey eyes, and his hard body pressed against mine. It was a distraction, a way I could avoid thinking about school and Seth, but it didn’t take long before I finished in my hand. Getting out I got and followed Dane downstairs, the smell of food that filled the house making my mouth water.
I smiled because he always knew how to make me feel just a little bit better. Jane would make me pancakes before she died, but Dane had done it for me ever since. He knew how much I craved it. How much I’d missed it and he’d given it back to me. I leaned against the breakfast bar and watched as, in his fatigues, Dane cooked us pancakes and eggs.
“I love you,” I said, the feelings inside me spilling out like they so rarely did for anyone but him.
Dane looked over his shoulder at me a small smirk at the corner of his lips, “I love you more.”
My heart lurched in my chest, pounding blood furiously through my limbs and back into my dick. Without hesitation, I walked up behind him, wrapped my arms around his waist and laid my chin on his shoulder. My erection rubbed against the top of his ass as I held him, I bit back a groan that was building up in my chest. I wanted to thrust against him, to mark him so that everyone would know he was mine. If I did maybe even fate would not be able to take him away from me. Dane didn’t say anything, which was normal for him, but this time I think it was because he was contemplating something more than him just being quiet. After a few moments, he turned off the stove forcing me to let him go as he plated our food.
Once our food was on the table we sat down next to each other. We didn’t say anything while we ate, which wasn’t out of the ordinary either. Dane’s fork snuck across to my plate as he stabbed the last bit of sausage from it. I barked out a laugh as he quickly put the morsel in his mouth, grinning around his fork. I wouldn’t let anyone else steal from my plate and although I liked sausage, I’d give up just about anything to see him smile.
After breakfast, Dane drove me to school. I didn’t have a car anymore and I wasn’t ready to even talk about getting one anytime soon. I figured we’d drive in silence, my stomach was cramping the closer we got to the school so I didn’t want or needed to talk, but Dane spoke up. “Ty,” his hand reached out to grab mine, “I don’t know what you have going on inside your head. I’ve never been good at reading people, what they want, what they need,” his eyes shifted to me briefly before going back on the road. “Tell me what you need, Ty.”
His words made my stomach clench harder as I thought about all the things I wanted and needed. I wanted Seth back, but I’d always needed Dane to love me the way I loved him. How could I say that to him? He saw me as his child, not his lover, and I didn’t want to give up being his kid anyways. I wanted both, I wanted to love him in every way possible, for him to be mine. He was the man who was raising me, but he was also the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I’d thought I’d have Seth, to cripple the blow of not being able to have Dane, but now I didn’t have him anymore. All I had was Dane, all I wanted was him.
I didn’t say anything as we pulled up in front of the school, teenagers milled around the entrance as they waited for classes to start. I pulled out interlaced hands up and squeezed before letting him go and opening the truck door.
“Ty,” Dane said, stopping me as I got out of the passenger seat. I looked at him, his eyes searching for something in my own. “You’re mine, Ty. Don’t ever doubt that.”
My nostrils flared as my heart stuttered in my chest. I forgot where I was for a second as I stared into his hard gaze, conviction written in his features. A car horn honked behind us breaking the moment. “I-I love you I’ll see you later,” I rasped before I got out of the truck and closed the door. He drove off leaving me standing at the front of the school, confused. Mine. He’s said I was his. Did that mean—
“Is that—” one of the girls, a cheerleader I knew as Amanda said, her eyes watching Dane’s truck drive away.
“I think it’s— ” Stacey, one of the other cheerleaders closest to Amanda said.
“Oh shit, it’s Ty,” one of the other girls I didn’t know said interrupting the other two.
“Didn’t he date that dead boy?” They started to whisper while others took notice of me. I ground my teeth as I looked at all the people staring at me. I lifted my head narrowing my eyes at the girls. “Shut your—”
“Fuck off plastic bitches,” a familiar unexpected voice said behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see Leo Jackson, one of Chris Mcalister's football friends glaring at the girls. Leo was shorter than me, and not nearly as bulky, but he stood strong as he looked at the bitches with hard eyes.
The girls scoffed, their faces flushed and angry. “What the fuck Leo!?” Amanda hissed before all of the girls walked off unable to take any confrontation.
“What was that?” I asked, looking at the boy who I’d always perceived as a mindless jock drone. He sure as fuck hadn’t stood up for Seth back when he was alive. What made him say shit now? I narrowed my eyes just as the first class bell went off, making everyone move into the school and forget about me instantly. Leo didn’t move, he watched me for a second before he shrugged. “It’s shit talking about the dead like that. If anyone talked about my sister that way I deck them.” Leo shook his head, his brown hair tousling. “I’m sorry for your loss man,” he said before he walked off into the school as if he hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary.
I swallowed past the thick lump in my throat as I watched him walk away. Fuck, but this was going to be hard.