July 1 2006
Andrew settled into bed beside Cameron who glanced up from his book.
"How's Mitch?" Andrew asked. Cameron shrugged, causing Andrew to arch an eyebrow.
"Can you vague that up for me?" Andrew asked. Sighing, Cameron closed the book on his lap and looked at his lover.
"He's searching his soul and he started asking questions and it made me really stop and think." Cameron said.
"Which is why you're reading my human psyche text?" Asked Andrew with a gentle smile on his face. Cameron poked his tongue at Andrew causing him to giggle more.
"I think if you look in chapter six, it explains why the Beta Male can't mentally mature beyond six years old." Andrew had a dig. Cameron's eyebrow arched and Andrew wondered if he could move out of the way fast enough if Cameron decided to clobber him with the thick text.
"Beta male?" Asked Cameron.
"Better than the Delta Male isn't it?" Asked Andrew weakly before Cameron dropped the book on the floor and rolled onto Andrew making his lover laugh happily.
Mitch was sitting out on the balcony when Andrew emerged from the bedroom. He glanced at Mitch, then looked at the kitchen, torn between his urge to say hello and his urge to intake of the life giving brew, better known at coffee. Sighing, his addiction lost to friendship. Slowly, he made his way out onto the balcony to find a second mug and plunger full of coffee.
"Morning." Said Andrew softly. Mitch looked up briefly then back down at his book.
"Hi. Your mug already has sugar in it." He mummbled. Andrew kissed the top of Mitch's head as he walked by and sat down in the chair next to Mitch.
"Well you're cheerful this morning. Didn't you sleep well?" Asked Andrew carefully. Mitch turned to Andrew, lifted the plunger and then banged his fist on the table going,
"Uh Andrew, uh Cameron, uh uh uh, yes oh God yes." After finishing his skit of the previous night, he clamly replaced the plunger and went back to staring at the ground. Andrew could feel his face turning bright red.
"We aren't that loud." Andrew said quietly.
"Compared to a heavy metal concert, no you're as quiet as mice." Mitch said sarcastically. Andrew got a look of shock on his face, then started to laugh. Mitch looked up irritably.
"What's so funny?" He demanded.
"That's the first smart arse comment you've made in a while and you didn't cringe afterwards." Mitch's eyes widened as realisation crept through them like the first light of dawn and he started to grin broadly.
"Are you picking on my boyfriend again?" Came Cameron's voice from behind, startling Mitch and sending him to the ground in the foetal position.
"Fuck." Swore Andrew lightly and shot a look at Cameron who looked ashamed of himself. Andrew got out of his chair and walked over to Mitch, who shrank at Andrew's touch. Eventually Andrew pulled Mitch back against him. Mitch wrapped his arms around Andrew's neck and buried his head in Andrew's shoulder. Andrew glanced at Cameron who sat down next to them and apologised to Mitch with a contrite look on his face. Mitch slowly pulled his head out of Andrew's shoulder and looked at Cameron and nodded accepting the apology. Slowly, the trio stood up and Mitch excused himself looking at the ground and hurried off to the bathroom. Andrew looked at Cameron who was watching Mitch move away and smacked him across the back of the head.
"See, beta male!" Cameron just glared at Andrew who settled down and poured his coffee.
Andrew was standing behind the counter at work again, counting down the minutes until his shift ended.
"Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo." Wailed from the other end of the counter.
"Robbing 7eleven while taking drugs and shagging some piece of jail bait." Andrew replied without lifting his eyes from what he was doing. Vanessa leant over the counter and kissed him lightly.
"Why does Cameron put up with you? There is not one romantic bone in your body, and that's not a bone before you even say it." Vanessa said cheekily.
"It's because of my and sparkling wit and irresistable personality." Andrew grinned back.
"Sparkling Wit? I've seen stone with more sparkle and Michael Jaskson, there was a man with irresistable personality."
"And he had all these really cute signs that said 'you must be this high to ride Michael'." Andrew said motioning to chest height.
"You're just jealous that he's popular and you're not." Vanessa argued back gleefully.
"Yes, his biggest fans are the day care centres." Andrew threw back.
"What about all the people he helps. Talking out against racial segregation." Vanessa shot back.
"Honey, he's got to chose a race first." Andrew threw back. Vanessa slumped her head in defeat.
"I hate you at times, I really do." She said.
"So Nessa, why are you haunting me today?" Andrew asked.
"Just thought I'd see how you're goin." She said casually.
"Heard I came out huh?" Asked Andrew. Vanessa grinned sheepishly.
"Ok, so I ran into Cam earlier, he told me."
"All is good, Mom and Dad haven't been in touch, but that's to be expected." Andrew said. Vanessa's jaw dropped open.
"No reprimand about Cam having a big mouth?"
"Of course not, having a big mouth on your lover has definite advantages." Andrew grinned. Vanessa held up her hand.
"Nuh uh white boy, this girl no hear that. This girl don't want to hear that." She said like a day time talk show hooker that just hadn't made it. Andrew just grinned in reply.
"You've been awfully quiet of late, what's the deal?" Andrew asked.
"I've just been busy with work." She told him. Andrew arched an eyebrow.
"Nessa, I've never known you to do more work than diabollically necessary. What's the truth?"
"What's a girl to do when her boys hook-up?" She asked. Andrew hung his head and Vanessa laughed.
"Oh fuck off. You think that my world stops because you finally got laid? His name is Marcus. You remember that trade I picked up when you met Mitch? Well he's been around a bit and has kept me, shall we say... amused?" Vanessa said winking. Andrew grinned at her.
"So, how much are you paying his guide dog?"
"Three back rubs and two behind the ear scratches per visit." Vanessa shot back. Andrew opened his mouth to reply but Vanessa cut him off.
"How is Mitch anyways?" She asked. Andrew blinked looking past her.
"Here." He said surprisedly. Vanessa arched her eyebrow and looked back over her shoulder. Mitch stood there looking at them, smiling unsuredly. Andrew felt his hackles instantly rise as hairs raised on the back of his neck. Vanessa moved quickly to their friend.
"You alright Mitchy?" She asked. Mitch looked at her and nodded slowly. She gently guided him up to the counter where Andrew looked at Mitch.
"What's up? Why you here on your own?" He asked. Mitch looked about then at Andrew.
"A girl turned up at the unit to study and I didn't want to stay there. Didn't feel right staying there." He said quietly. Andrew nodded and reached out and rested his hand on Mitch's shoulder and smiled. Mitch looked up questioningly to be met by a warm smile and smiled back. Andrew's manager came out and barked at him about wasting time. Andrew smiled sheepishly and shrugged.
After stopping by the pick up some food for dinner, Mitch and Andrew turned back towards the apartment.
"So why didn't you feel comfortable staying at home?" Asked Andrew.
"Don't know." Mitch said simply. "I just didn't feel right being there. She kinda looked at me strange when she walked in." Andrew nodded and said no more, choosing instead to turn up the CD that was thumping quietly away in the background.
Walking in the front door, they were surprised to be greeted by the sight of dinner cooked and on the table. Andrew walked into the kitchen and saw Cameron standing at the sink stacking saucepans. Andrew walked up behind him and slipped his arms around his waist.
"Mitch, you know we can't. Andrew'll be home soon." Cameron whined. Andrew slapped his boyfriend across the back of the head. Andrew rested his head on Cameron's shoulder.
"So what'd you do wrong that you're cooking?" Asked Andrew playfully. Cameron cocked his head to the side and looked at Andrew in wonderment.
"What makes you say I've done anything wrong? I just thought it'd be a nice change from you having to do it all the time." Cameron said. Cameron's quick defense caused Andrew to look closely at his friend..
"What have you done?" Andrew asked. Cameron looked at him confused.
"The only time you have ever defended anything you've done to me is when it's something that you know I won't like. Every other time you just tell me to fuck off." Andrew demanded. Cameron wore a wounded look which gradually changed to a very tired look under Andrew's steady gaze, Cameron's eyes dropping to the floor.
"Anna came by earlier." Cameron told him. Andrew's expression became confused and then recognition glimmered in his eyes.
"She was the one you were... with... before... oh." Andrew said as his arms dropped to his sides, defeat pushing his shoulders down. Cameron looked away then down, finding some interesting patters on the floor beneath their feet.
"I'll never win against a woman will I Cam?" Asked Andrew. Cameron looked up quickly.
"It's not like that, I didn't plan or intend to..." Cameron began.
"You still did. You still did, despite what we have, had." Andrew felt his voice rise and he grasped desperately to bring it back down and level it out.
"It's not that Andy. I never did this to hurt anything between us." Cameron battled desperately to keep his presence of mind. He reached out to gently grasp Andrew's shoulder. Andrew yanked his shoulder back from Cameron's grasp lest it burnt him. Cameron's face fell even harder.
"So'd you get off fucking her in the bed we held each other in last night. Did it make you blow harder knowing that you can control both sexes like that?" Andrew spat, his pain and spite mixing into distraught hate. Cameron looked up at Andrew, tears slipping down over his warmed cheeks.
"I never wanted her to touch me Andy. It was only once... once she told me she was pregnant." Cameron gasped out. Andrew yelped softly as though stung then stepped back for fear that he may be fall apart purely from Cameron's presence. Cameron stepped forwards to take Andrew's weight fearing he would fall and Andrew staggered back violently away from Cameron. Andrew righted himself, and stared woundedly at Cameron.
"Then I guess you better fuck her again and make doubly sure it is yours." Andrew spat venomously.
"Andy..." Cameron cried painfully.
"Don't call me that, don't call me... don't even talk to me. I don't even want to see you right now." Andrew fired. With that, Andrew lurched out and down to his room.
"Andy?" Came a voice softly as Andrew threw clothes feverishly into an overnight bag.
"Andy, slow down please." Came the voice a little louder, causing Andrew to register it. Andrew looked up and saw Mitch standing there contritely looking for an excuse or reason.
"That's why you came to work isn't it?" Andrew asked mournfully.
"I came because I knew who she was and didn't want to stay." Mitch said looking down. Andrew sniffled lightly and went back to his mad packing of objects. Mitch looked at his friend and then spoke again.
"Would you like a hand?" He asked, causing Andrew to stop and look up.
"I'll be ok Mitch, I'm just going to stay in a hotel tonight." Andrew said.
"I don't want you to go." Mitch said softly. Andrew looked at his friend.
"So come with me." Andrew said easily. Mitch looked at Andrew surprised.
"Won't that be wrong?" Asked Mitch, Andrew shrugged.
"So what if it does, who's going to care anymore? Cameron? I hardly think he's in a position to say anything." Andrew accused lightly.
"Yes, but it'll still hurt in the morning ... you're talking in anger Andrew. You're normally so calm and collected." Mitch said quietly.
"Yes, normally I'm calm and collected. Normally, I haven't been stung by the cheating or pain of finding out that my partner, my lover, my best friend has turned around and fucked some woman behind my back and got her knocked up am I?" Andrew hurled all of his pain out. Mitch took a step back then walked back towards Andrew again.
"Yes, but you wouldn't be like this if you didn't care."
"Obviously he doesn't, otherwise it wouldn't have happened that he stuck his fucking dick in her again this afternoon would it." Andrew spat, breathing in the vemon and exhaling all the hate. Mitch stood looking at his friend unabashed.
"You're only human, no one expects you not to hurt. This will be hurting him just as much as it's hurting you." Mitch said evenly, trying to weather his friends violent mood.
"Well he's doing a fucking ace job of showing it isn't he. He's hiding down the other end of the unit. Not game enough to bringing his lying, cheating fucking arse in front of me." Andrew exploded.
"Would you welcome him if he did?" Asked Mitch quietly.
"Would you feel alone standing on that limb if he did?" Andrew spat. Mitch looked down and away then back at his friend.
"Where I stand makes no difference when it's trying to help those that I care about." Andrew looked up at Mitch.
"Who do you care about Mitch? Tell me, who is it... is it me? Is it Cam? Is it Jay? Time to stand where you want to, take the side that you want. It's time for you to show who you really are." Andrew hurled his hurt directly at Mitch who stood there taking the brunt of it.
"I stand by those who I care about." Said Mitch definantly.
"That doesn't answer the question any." Andrew pushed. Mitch stood there glaring back at Andrew.
"It means I stand by both of you."
"Not that easy Mitch. THe neutral not taking sides stance doesn't work at this point." Pushed Andrew.
"Andrew, that's not fair. I love you both, you both helped me, you both reached for my hand and grabbed my heart and kept it warm until the bruising and scarring had healed. I owe you both so much. I can't choose between you." Mitch cried plaintively. Andrew few a last few objects in the bag before zipping it up.
"Are you coming or staying?" Andrew asked. Mitch put his hand out.
"Let me drive. You're not in a state." Mitch said evenly. Andrew looked at Mitch evenly then threw the keys at him. Lifting the bag, Andrew stalked out of the room.
Turning the corner to leave, they found Cameron on the floor, sitting with his knees to his chest, sobbing lightly. As they approached he looked up and Andrew averted his eyes to meet the gaze.
"And..." Cameron began before Andrew cut him off.
"I don't want to hear your voice at the moment Cameron." Seethed Andrew. "The rent is paid until the end of the month. You have until then to decide which one of us is leaving." Andrew informed him without looking.
"Neither of us do." Tried Cameron. Andrew turned his gaze to view his broken lover.
"One of us does, because I can't even stand the sight of you at the moment. End of the month is in 20 days. Let me know in 14. Cry all you like Cam, because at the moment I don't care. Go on cry, because at the moment my pain is greater than yours and I curse you with sharing it." Andrew said calm and evenly. He then started down and walked out the door. Mitch knelt beside his friend and rested his hand on Cameron's shoulder who turned his gaze to look at Mitch. After a few moments, Andrew impatient of waiting, stormed up snatched the keys from Mitch and walked out the door.
"Stay here and see if he'll fuck you too." Andrew snarled, slamming the door behind him.
Inside, Cameron leant against Mitch's shoulder and started to cry. Mitch wrapped him arms around Cameron's shaking shoulders and rubbed his back gently. Wondering if this was how he looked with Jay.
In the car Andrew fumbled with his keys into the ignition, eventually leaning his head against the steering wheel and crying gently. A few seconds later, he lifted his head off the wheel and turned the key and put the truck into gear. He slowly reversed out of the space with tears rolling out of the corners of his eyes.
Cameron clasped at Mitch's back, trying to pull himself inside of Mitch to hide from the pain that licked at his insides like a fire claiming kindling and newspaper as it roared into life. Mitch looked at the door wishing he knew what the next step was and how to help his friend. Slowly, Cameron's tears faded as Mitch lifted him and guided him to the bedroom, grabbing the phone and dialling Vanessa's number on the way.
Andrew drove down the street aimlessly. Cars ran by in the other direction. He could feel the tears gliding over his cheeks leaving a wet line down his face. He looked at his cell phone as it chirped to life. Checking the caller ID he picked it up and spoke.
"Leave me alone Ness." Then wound down the window and dropped the tiny bit of electronics onto the road below. Andrew felt the tears form faster and build in his eyes and he started to sob, the impact finally filling him. A car blew it's horn causing him to look up and swerve to the right to avoid it. Andrew hit his breaks and pulled the wheel hard and started to skid.
The phone rang at the apartment and Mitch grabbed it quickly.
"Vanessa?" He asked anxiously.
"No Son, this is Constable Patterson. I need a word with a Mr Cameron Slater." Came a voice over the phone. Mitch looked at Cameron and handed him the phone shaking.
Around him Andrew could see red and blue lights and hear car horns blaring. He thought it useless noise and wondered why he wasn't just left in his own private pain, why others had to intrude on it. He started to close his eyes as his door was flung open and a young guy lifted Andrew's head and shone a light into his eyes.
"Stay with us now ok. C'mon Andrew. You were with me a few seconds a go, come back and talk. It's Constable Patterson here, your friends are on their way."
"Anyone but Cameron." Mumbled Andrew feeling sleepy. Patterson looked over and called something out to others, only Andrew couldn't really understand it as he started to drift off.
Vanessa ran into the crowded waiting room her eyes wide and frantic. She went straight to the nurse's station.
"I'm here from Andrew Martin." She breathed.
"Family member?" Asked the nurse eyeing Vanessa suspiciously.
"I'm here for his partner." She said annoyed. The nurse looked at her sheet then pointed.
"Down the hall then left, they're waiting in the corridor." Vanessa nodded and ran down the hall as fast as she could. Rounding the corner she saw Cameron huddled against Mitch, crying lightly. Mitch looked up as she approached.
"News?" She asked simply.
"Operating." Mitch said simply. Vanessa lowered herself into a chair beside Mitch and leant down and kissed Cameron on the top of the forehead.
"It's ok Baby, he'll pull through and will still love you as much as he ever did." All her gentle words did were cause Cameron to cry harder.
A few hours later when Cameron had cried himself to sleep, a doctor wearing green scrubs approached the trio.
"One of you Cameron Slater?" Asked the doctor. Mitch nudged Cameron lightly who woke with a start. The doctor looked at Cameron and confirmed who he was.
"Well Mr Slater, your partner is alive. He's as close to stable as he can be." Cameron sagged in his seat. Mitch watched the doctor.
"The upside is he's woken up a bit. He's still very groggy and makes fragments of sense. You're welcome to come and also someone Nick was asked for. Well we think it's Nick anyways."
"Mitch maybe?" Asked Vanessa. The doctor nodded that it was a possibility. Cameron and Mitch both stood and followed the doctor to the room which contained Andrew.
"He's disorientated and groggy, so this is only a brief visit ok." The doctor warned. The pair nodded and were led into the room. Mitch went straight to Andrew's side and took his hand gently. Andrew looked at him and smiled slightly.
"Mitch. I'm sorry." Andrew said attempting to squeeze Mitch's hand. Mitch leant down and kissed Andrew's forehead.
"Don't be sorry, just get better for me." Mitch said quietly. Cameron slowly shuffled forwards and came into Andrew's view. Andrew dropped Mitch's hand and turned his head.
"Please leave." He whispered and closed his eyes. Mitch kissed Andrew's temple and spoke softly.
"We both love you more than you know." He then gently ushered Cameron from the room and back out into the hall.