The Sailor's Stories

2049 Chapter three – Book II

with 14 comments

Obviously Wednesday isn’t a Sunday…, but being the day after Christmas, it may as well have been. At least, that’s the way that Cam saw it anyway. Sundays had always meant big breakfasts, ones that usually stretched well into the morning. For that family Sundays were a time to reflect on the week that was and to spend as much time together as possible, before the rigors of a whole new week brought them all down to earth again. During the week the boys were often busy with school, sports, and whatever other mischief they got up to, while Cam was busy with his work. Saturdays meant, more sports and mall time with friends, while Cam did what he did…, which usually consisted of range time, or catching up on marking. Sundays hadn’t started out that way, it was one of those things that just kinda happened, it was after all, the only day they seemed to really have together.

On the way down they’d seen the doors to the boy’s rooms were still closed, so Cam knew there was at least some time to get things ready, and when they made it to the kitchen he deposited Danny on a chair at the table, but still in plain sight, and within minutes had put a mug of hot tea in front of him. With the niceties out of the way, and a singular precision born from years of training and a lot of experience, Cam got busy in the kitchen. All Danny could do at that point was watch, his help having been refused more than once. After a while he just sat there quietly displaying a sense of wonder, as it all unfolded before his eyes.

For his part Danny wasn’t used to this kind of atmosphere, where he lived was nice, but it was a small shoebox apartment, an open plan kitchen family and dining combination, with the only other rooms he had being a separate bedroom and bathroom. It wasn’t much, but it was all he could afford. He had nice neighbours and he knew them all personally, but sadly, they were little more than acquaintances. The bulk of them, well the ones that mattered anyway, all thought of him as a nice, quiet, and very sweet young man. The kind that would help you with your groceries, or get your cat out of a tree. They would always say hello, but had never invited him in for a meal or a drink. The neighbourhood he lived in was downtown, he had a good life there and plenty of entertainment…, but that was nothing compared to what he was seeing right now. In fact the last time he had spent any real time in a house, was when he was thirteen, having lived there for a very brief three months before being shipped off again.

Danny hadn’t had much of a life up until that point, growing up in the foster care system has some serious drawbacks, in fact the only real family he’d ever known was the Navy. The mere thought of having to leave that all behind, coupled with the love he could feel but wasn’t a part of, in Cam’s house, had him stifling several very sad tears. Luckily for him, his host was pretty busy so he may not have noticed anyway, but deciding that discretion was indeed the better part of valor, Danny stood and walked over to stare out of the window. Looking out across the solid white that made up the backyard, he couldn’t help but reflect on his sorry excuse for a life.

Danny knew his history, not that that made it any easier to stomach. His mom, he knew, had gotten pregnant at a very early age, and in small towns in the eighties, that was a very hard thing to hide or bare the shame of when it was discovered. When her parent’s did finally find out, they did what they thought any respectable parent would do, and sent her packing. During the last few months of the pregnancy, his mom had managed to find some work, doing odd jobs for people, and even managed to find a place to stay with a caring elderly lady in the neighborhood she grew up in. She was able to stay there after Danny was born, but that situation only lasted for a few years.

By the time Danny was a small boy, his mom had gotten desperate, she was still young, though had no real prospects with a child hanging around, so she took off never to be seen or heard from again. Not able to properly take care of an infant, the lady, who by then was well into her seventies, had approached the parents of the girl to take the child. They wouldn’t have a bar of it, even to the point of denying their own daughter’s existence. With no other options, she had no choice but to put him into the system. Even then, Danny was a pretty happy kid, not knowing any better really, but he never seemed to be right for adoption because of some reason or another.

By the time he was in school, he just got lost, slipped through the cracks if you will. The system was where he stayed, and that’s all he knew until he was old enough to go out on his own. Life is hard when you’re in that system, always moving around, with new…, and for a young kid, mostly scary…, people on a regular basis. It’s been said that home is where you lay your hat, well that couldn’t be more true for Danny. What’s worse was that it just got harder the older he became, always having to dodge or fight the older boys, and even sometimes the girls, for the attention of whatever caregiver was around, for the food that was never enough, and for other things that are to horrible to mention. Most of the places he found himself in were full of other kids already, and the foster parents he always seemed to end up with, were only concerned with the government money they got for each kid. During that time, the money was reasonable, but never seemed to be enough. Or at least, that’s what Danny was told when he asked for a toy, or something new to wear.

Consequently, just like his mother, when Danny turned eighteen he had few real prospects. He was very bright, having studied hard and got good grades, in spite of his upbringing, he was also physically healthy, but seeing no other fruitful options he enlisted straight out of school. He knew full well that he was gay and had been from an early age, so he knew the risks…, but really…, when you’re eighteen, with only a few bucks to your name, a highschool diploma, and no where to go…, what else is there. College was definitely out, so to Danny the Navy was the next best thing, and he had hoped that he would be able to learn at least a trade there. For an unattached guy, the Navy really isn’t a bad life, and besides, Danny really liked the idea of being on the water. If he was forced to admit it, that was where he truly blossomed…, and it was the only place he ever found the easy camaraderie that comes with what he always thought a family should be.

He was still standing at the window, but he couldn’t even see the snow anymore when he finally mastered his emotions, turning to face inwards he leaned up against the sill and watched Cam at work. He was still pulling all manner of  things out of the cupboards, fridge and freezer and the ingredients weren’t all totally apparent to him, but he couldn’t deny the artistry taking place…, kinda like all those cooking shows he loved to watch. But before long he saw the tapestry unfold, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, oatmeal pancakes…, and the smells…, the smells were enough to make him feel faint with hunger. By the time the boys made it down, the table was already laid out with one of the biggest spreads Danny had ever seen outside of a mess hall servery. Seeing it all come together, including the boys in their flannel pj’s and cloth bathrobes, he found that he was inexpressibly pining for something that he’d never had.

Even though to Danny it seemed pretty simple fair, it was the sheer volume and the love with which it was prepared that had him so in awe. Being a product of the system seemed to always leave you hungry, but here there was plenty…, even after three growing boys had had their way with it. His interest, luckily didn’t catch any attention, but he found that he couldn’t keep his eyes off of the boys the whole way through breakfast that morning. He knew Carl wasn’t blood, but Cam treated him no differently than he did with the twins. It was so obvious that they were all equally loved, they were as well fed as three active boys could be, they were even clothed appropriately, most of which looked almost brand new. But it was the little looks, smiles and words of appreciation, gratitude and love that they were all giving and receiving that was the most telling.

The whole thing was such a foreign concept to what he knew from his own experience,  that it was barely in his understanding, to the point that it almost hurt him to look at it. Over and over again, his own childhood flashed through his mind and little by little he started to crack. In the end, the only explanation he could come up with, was love…, if the one taking care of you truly loved you…, then you never went hungry for anything. That realization crept up on him slowly and quietly, he wasn’t used to it, so he didn’t see it at first, but when he did…, that was what finally pushed him over the edge.

His head fell to his arms, tears leaking uncontrollably, sobs forceful enough to shake the table. He wasn’t exactly thinking clearly right then, but he knew he had found what he had been desperately searching for the night before. That’s not to say that he thought it was going to work out the way he wanted, but he had finally been able to see what a family should be like. Even if Cam threw him out of his life, or he never got to see it again…, for that at least he was grateful. The pain just wouldn’t go away though, and this time he couldn’t master his feelings.

*          *          *

Danny never liked being the center of attention and often tried to shy away from it, but that’s exactly where he was right now. Seeing this and acting on pure instinct, Cam leapt from his seat and was at Danny’s side before anyone even knew what was happening. He didn’t know what was wrong with the guy, but he was not a man to stand by when someone he cared for was in pain. Pulling him up onto his feet, Cam wrapped him in his arms, and Danny just melted into him. The boys were all giving him concerned stares, but Cam silenced them with a small gesture of his hand, as he took Danny from the room.

There definitely was something not right here, Cam knew…, he also knew that Danny had always been sensitive, but he’d never seen the guy have a meltdown like that before. Thinking quickly he took him back up stairs and sat him down on the bed. Danny was still a mess so he slipped into the bathroom to retrieve a washcloth, and having warmed it under the hot tap he went back to sit with the young man. Danny’s face was still in his hands, so Cam sat there patiently, one arm wrapped around his shoulder as he waited him out.

It was almost a whole fifteen minutes, before Danny had calmed enough to look up at Cam, and when their eyes met, his already raw sense threatened to overtake him again. Cam had plenty of experience with this though however, and took the washcloth, that had cooled but was still reasonably warm, and started to gently clean his tears away. That act alone was enough to give Danny some hope, and Cam saw it in his still red puffy eyes. He was more than just lost at this point, a scraped knee or a childish broken heart he could handle…, but he realized far too late that this was something totally beyond his level of experience.

The hope in Danny’s eyes had been supplanted by his ever broadening sense of desperation while Cam had ministered to his tears. While Cam was wiping them away, Danny had just sat there, content to revel in the uncommon affection he was receiving. He’d had several boyfriends in the past, though he had kept them all hidden, but none of them had shown him even close to what Cam was doing right now. Consequently, Danny was mere putty in his hands, and what’s worse, he could see it. Could see the adoration, even a little hero worship. It was rather daunting, but Cam couldn’t see any easy ways out.

The next few moments were critical for Cam, and some of the hardest he’d ever had to go through. He knew he had to make a decision and damn quickly. But as the seconds ticked past, looking into those beautiful brown eyes that could melt a glacier, he was struck by just how much he had come to care for the guy. Did he actually love him though…, could he love him….

“Danny…, what is it exactly that you’re looking for here…?”

As he waited for the answer, Cam was searching those eyes for any sign that he might have been wrong, but all he could see was that he wasn’t. Danny however, wasn’t being very quick to answer, and it was several more minutes of searching each others faces before he finally muttered, almost as if it was an afterthought…

“I…, I don’t really know…”

“I kinda need a little more to go on there pal…”

“I’m sorry sir…, that’s all I have…, I knew why I came here last night…, and I meant what I said…, but now I just feel like a fool…”

“Danny…, please stop calling me sir…, you’re a guest in my home…, besides…, neither of us are really dressed for it.”

A small timid smile had started to break out on Danny’s face when he heard that, but that’s not why Cam said it. The simple fact of the matter was that, Cam just needed more time to think, and humor seemed the right way to go just then. What he really needed to do was tell him everything, but he knew that that could spell disaster if it all backfired. But would it…, he thought…, would it backfire? Danny didn’t stand to loose as much, but any way you cut it, he did stand to loose something. Through those brown eyes, Cam could see the loneliness, could almost feel the desperation for something more than a dinner for one, and late night TV shows. That was Danny’s life…, he could see it there, but it wasn’t his, well, not exactly…, was pretty close though.

“Danny…, there’s some…, I dunno if I should…, but there is some things that I should tell you…, but before I do…, I need to know that I can trust you…, can I?”

“I think so si…, Cam…, but only if you want to…”

“I guess that’ll have to do then…, what I’m about to tell you can’t leave this house…, you understand? … It could mean the end to my career…, I could live without it, but I really do kinda like what I do…”

He looked into Danny’s eyes, and could see the understanding there, without even a word needing to be said. So with not a small sense of trepidation he forged on…

“Alright…, here it is Danny…, this is my life story…, you see…, you and I aren’t all that different…, let me tell you why…”

It was well into the afternoon when Cam finished telling his tale. He told Danny everything, not leaving a single thing out, from the time he was a kid to that awful day his world ended. All the way through Danny was enthralled by it, he cried when Cam cried, laughed when Cam laughed, sometimes before even. When Cam told him how he felt for Mark, and then what happened, Danny broke down time and time again. When he started, Cam was still holding onto Danny, but by the end, the roles had reversed. At the last Cam broke down himself, but somehow managed to hold himself somewhat together enough to say…

“I think I know what you want Danny…, but what I don’t know is…, if I can be that guy…, you’re a beautiful person…, in more ways than one…, I just don’t know if I can be what you want me to be…”

He sighed, with exasperation, “Cam, look at me…, that’s good…, I can see your eyes…, can you see mine?”

He was puzzled, but responded, “Yeah…, of course…, why?”

“Are they open?”

“Ah…, yeah…?”

“Alright, then give me some credit…, I know  you’re hurtin’ and confused right now…, but I really like you a lot…, and I think…, well…, hope…, I guess…, that you like me too.”

He was searching Cam’s eyes now, and though they too were a little red and puffy, he could caught a glimpse of recognition and he thought, agreement there, so he continued…

“After everything you’ve told me, I know it would be hard…, but if we like each other…, isn’t that good enough?”

“I don’t know Danny…, maybe…, I just don’t know…, it’s not just me here…, I gotta think about the boys too…”

“I know you do, and trust me, I wouldn’t even think of getting in the way of that…, I’m happy to start as friends…, or even just a date…, if we do happen to get involved…, then we can go from there.”

While he spoke, Danny’s confidence grew…, so much so that he lifted his hand to gently caress Cam’s face. Nothing like that had happened to Cam in a long while, and he found that he really enjoyed it. What he also found was maybe some hope that he could make whatever they might get going to work. Maybe Danny caught that from a look in his eye, because he became a little bolder when he continued…

“I know it hurts Cam…, trust me…, I know hurt…, but don’t believe for one second that you’re the only one that’s ever been heartbroken…., I’ve lived a life of it…, I’m not a small town boy with nothing to show for it either…, I’ve gone with other guys and we broke up…, I’m still okay…, you just can’t get over that heartbreak…, it’s the only thing that’s in the way right now…, you’re assuming that you’re gonna hurt me…, or that I’m gonna get hurt if we fall for each other…, and that only comes from a big head.”

He pushed himself closer and gently touched Cam’s cheeks with the palm of each hand. For him it was a show of the love that he had for Cam…, but for Cam it was simple electricity…, a feeling he hadn’t felt for years.

“You’re okay, Cam…, I promise…, you have been for years, from the way you tell it…, you just don’t realize it yet…, and I’m ok now too…, now that I know you’re not going to have me shot…” He smiled, somewhat mischievously, “Just please don’t think you have some inner demon that’s gonna break this boy beyond repair…, Ok?”

The really scary part, was that he was starting to make an awful lot of sense, and Cam really wasn’t prepared for that eventuality. In fact, he almost felt put down in a way, but he had to grin. Danny was exactly right. From the little he was able to make out, from what he’d already said, all Cam’s inner conflicts amounted to, was selfishness in his eyes. In the end though, he’d put up those walls of his for a very good reason…, how was it that with such little effort Danny was able to break through them, and do it so easily. Was he finally ready to move on…, was that it…, was it selfish to think so much of himself to believe that he could break him in some horrible way. He’d said it himself…, his eyes were open…, all Cam could think of right then was that…, he just had to open his.

While Cam was thinking, Danny’s hand had slipped from his face, but he was startled to see that it had landed in one of his own…, even more startling, was that he had twisted his own hand to interlock fingers with him. That was something that he and Mark had always done. He wasn’t naïve enough to think that they were the only two people in the world to have ever held hands, but other than his parents when he was little, he’d never done it with anyone but Mark. He could feel the warmth, the burgeoning strength of the connection, he could even feel the slight clamminess of the sweat coming from both of them…, but what he couldn’t figure, was how he felt about it.

Danny scooched round, and Cam found himself following, so that they were now facing each other, their hands in between them on the covers. He looked at those hands for what seemed an eternity, marveling in the simple pleasure that that small act was giving him. When he finally raised his eyes, he found Danny’s had locked onto them. At first it was a little unnerving, but the warmth he saw there soon calmed him.

“Cam, listen to me carefully…, you’ve been hurt…, and you’ve suffered for a long time…, I don’t want to replace Mark…, I really don’t think I could anyway…, but I can love you…, the problem is…, you have to be able to love yourself first.”

Cam couldn’t find any words, it wasn’t that he was shocked…, just that he suddenly wasn’t so sure of himself anymore. He’d held onto his pain…, held onto Mark, for so long that was pretty much all he knew anymore. When it first happened, he’d gone into a fit of depression, so much so that he started to look for that “Reunion Round”, it took the love of his teammates to pull him back from the brink he was getting dangerously close to. Now he was looking deeply into the eyes of a man he did care about, a man that sounded seriously like he understood him…, but still he said nothing, just listened.

“I’m not talking about being conceited here or anything…, but if you don’t love yourself…, if you’re not the center of your own world…,  you’ll end up without a center…, nobody else can do that job for you…, if you can’t love yourself…, how can you love anyone else?” He let go of one hand, and reached over to place it gently on Cam’s knee. “From here on in…, if you only ever learn one more lesson…, learn that one.”

Emboldened by Cam’s silence, and the strength he’d garnered from his little speech, Danny put his hands gently on Cam’s shoulders, bringing his nose within striking distance. What he did next, shocked both parties, but he would never regret it. Inching ever closer, Danny brought his lips to softly brush against Cam’s. As soon as he sat back, he looked for any kind of sign that he’d gone to far, but finding none, he simply said…

“I do love you sir…, I have since the first moment I saw you…, and I will wait for you…, forever if I have to…, please say something…?”

He didn’t, but he didn’t get up to leave either. What he did do, was to reach out and take hold of Danny’s hands again, in a desperate attempt to rekindle what he’d just found there. He stared at them intently for a moment, then without letting go, he moved to stretch out fully on the bed. For his part, not wanting to deal with a broken wrist that day, Danny followed. They ended up lying there face to face, scant inches separating the gap, staring intently into each others eyes.

“Danny…, I loved Mark…, all my life I’ve loved him…, you must know that by now…, we did everything together…, he was my whole world…, it takes everything I have just to deal with that so I can hold it together for the boys…, I don’t know if I can let you in…, I want too…, I so want too…, I just don’t know if I can…”

Danny suddenly got tears in his eyes again, and without thinking pulled him into a hug.

“Oh God Cam, your heart must have broken right in two when … it must have been so horrible for you.” He sniffled a little, “I know you loved him…, love him…, I’m ok with that…, really…, it doesn’t bother me…, I just feel so bad for you, thinking how awful it must have been…, God! … I’m sorry…, I’m such a sap sometimes.”

Danny tried a smile on to see how it fit right then, but he failed miserably, with the tears still cutting soft tracks across his face. Cam had tears in his own eyes at that point as well, so far it had been a very emotional day. He’d always thought of Mark’s death as a loss, a horrific loss, that he’d thought he would never be able to come back from…, but Danny had called it a broken heart and Cam couldn’t help but think that he was very much closer to the truth right then.

All Cam could do, as all his own emotions threatened to spill over again, was to return Danny’s hug and hold on for dear life. He was thinking about all the time that had passed since Mark died, the loneliness he felt, the dreams, the crazy thoughts that had gone through his head. To him there wasn’t any easy way to fix it though, and the part of him that knew that…, was the part that wanted Danny so very badly. He’d lived on an empty tank for so long, sometimes thinking it had to be a bad dream and other times facing the very real reality, of what happened to Mark.

Since Mark died, He’d always had the feeling that he was somewhere near, somewhere just beyond his grasp. And even now he felt that, holding onto Danny, he was paying him the most grievous of insults. He almost felt dirty…, he definitely felt unfaithful to his very memory. But would Mark actually see it that way…, he just wasn’t sure any more. Mark had told him once, that if he couldn’t be honest with him, then at least he should be honest with himself…, and if he was to be honest right then…, he wanted the guy in his arms…, so much so, that he was almost positive it was true.

Written by bigct/Octavius

June 18, 2010 at 05:20

14 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. OK. Now, I’m speechless. Beautifully done. Nothing more to say that I have’nt said already. As much as I love Driver’s work, you put him to shame with this one.

    Dawngreeter

    June 18, 2010 at 13:10

  2. Another super chapter. Maybe now, Cam can fill the hole in his heart from Marks death. Danny seems much older when he is talking to Cam. I await the changes to come.

    Dave Floyd

    June 19, 2010 at 03:59

  3. Well, what I can tell. It was very strong and emotional chapter. Danny may not look like it at first look, but he is very strong person. Of course he must be, since he was in navy, but it has something to do with what he came through in his childhood as well. But right now, he knows exactly what he wants and what he wants is Cam. And the most important point here is, Danny is prepared to suffer for Cam. And that’s exactly what Cam needs now, someone strong who will love him just like he is, very complicated person with some scars deep in his soul. Danny is strong enough to heal Cam’s soul if Cam will accept that. And it’s clear now, Cam is willing to accept Danny’s love. Only other question here is, how the boys will react to this. I have no doubt Dale and Carl will accept this, but what about Corey? Will he accept the fact his uncle Cam is like his brother? I can imagine this may not be easy for him, being the only straight in the family :/
    Oh, and Octavius, I love this new look. It’s great.

    Horn

    June 19, 2010 at 10:10

  4. Sometimes a story can really touch a nerve, open a memory so deep it hurts. This story did that tonight.

    Take care all
    Lauklin

    Lauklin

    June 19, 2010 at 22:23

  5. Well CT sounds like a great start. Beautifly written – enjoyable to read.
    I’m def comming for one of those Sunday morning breakfasts.
    Regards Stef

    Stef

    June 19, 2010 at 22:26

  6. Wonderful chapter Octavius! It was really good to get some internal insight on Danny. And then the roller coaster ride of emotions that followed. First with Danny, then with Cam, and then together. Simply beautiful.

    I’m diggin the new layout too.

    Be well.

    -Kevin

    Kevin

    June 21, 2010 at 21:19

  7. Wonderful so far. Awaiting the rest.

    Brian

    June 22, 2010 at 10:49

  8. That was really nice. I am really going be happy when puberty is over and I stop crying so much. Hugs JJ

    JJ

    June 24, 2010 at 02:35

    • As long as you never stop with the happy tears Kiddo. Crying is good for you…, it cleanses the soul.

      Don’t try to grow up to fast mate.

      O.

      bigct

      June 24, 2010 at 02:38

    • JJ,

      If that’s what it takes to stop crying, then I’ve been going through puberty of over 30 years (HA-HA)! Don’t feel bad, I can’t stop crying either! Which reminds me, I need to buy another case of Kleenex!

      Rick

      June 24, 2010 at 23:06

  9. What thu…..puberty has a end ???

    Lauklin

    June 25, 2010 at 12:29

  10. Peolpe told me I’d grow up once I hit puberty. They lied.

    John

    October 6, 2010 at 15:46

  11. “I’m not talking about being conceited here or anything…, but if you don’t love yourself…, if you’re not the center of your own world…, you’ll end up without a center…, nobody else can do that job for you…, if you can’t love yourself…, how can you love anyone else?” He let go of one hand, and reached over to place it gently on Cam’s knee. “From here on in…, if you only ever learn one more lesson…, learn that one.”

    Thank you Octo

    dj

    March 17, 2011 at 15:46


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: