Chapter 3: The Joy
“The Walls we build around us keep out sadness, but also keeps out the joy.”
A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE MURDER
We had to reschedule. Troy is in my passenger seat. He can tend to get really sensitive when things don’t work out for him. I see him pouting, in the same way, he used to pout back in high school when those kids would mess with him. They were horrible. Kids can be the fuckin’ devil, yo. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Seeing him like that in the past, I ignored it. I pretended it didn’t bother me. It did bother me though. Even back then. Now it was on another level. Now, however, I had the ability to protect him. I had the ability to help someone in need.
My phone rings. I look down. I grab the phone and realize the number next to it is a Lauren. Troy doesn’t see it.
“You can pick up if you want.”
“This conversation is more important than the call,” I state putting the call on mute, “I want to be here for you.”
“You are. Just I freaked out…”
“Yo it’ll be alright,” I let him know, “People reschedule all the time.”
“It’s not rescheduling. It’s why. I had a full blown panic attack.”
“What caused it?”
“Just thoughts about my family,” Troy tells me.
Troy looks down. We’d never talked about it but I knew there was something bothering him about his family dynamic. I just wished he trusted me enough to tell me. We’d been homeboys forever. Always a weird pair. Here I was, a drug dealer who hung out with the most thorough niggas in the city but somehow I also had another friend. A little feminine gay boy who required way too much attention and brought a ton of drama in my life. But for some reason, I know that I want to be there for him. And here I’ve been, this entire time.
He is suffering. Even when he drops his head and closes his eyes acting as though he’s in peace. I know the difference. That face wasn’t the face of peace. This face was the face of someone who was giving up. Someone who didn’t know where to go.
“Nevermind, everything’s fine.”
He had walled up. Walls that kept everything out including me. I know that now.
He turns to me. He’s trying to show me that he’s serious. His serious face looks like a joke and I try not to laugh because I don’t want him to think I’m laughing at the situation he was in. So instead of laughing or pretending not to laugh, I focus on the road and just leave it alone. No point in getting the kid upset tonight. It wouldn’t have made this any easier.
“Everything is going to work out. How about this? Friday night I’ll come over and we’ll rehearse your strut.”
“I don’t know what you people call it.”
You people? Shit. I hope he doesn’t take it as me calling him gay or anything like that. I turn to him wondering if he took offense to it but surprisingly he doesn’t even seem to have noticed the verbiage I was using.
He smiles at me.
“Practice my walk. And yes. I would love you to come over and practice my walk. It’s a date.”
I turn to him wondering if possibly he means it the way that I think he does. A date? I get nervous all of a sudden. I don’t know why.
But it makes me really nervous and when I drop him off he reaches over to hug me but I pretend to be on my phone so we don’t have to hug. Hugging him would make this even weirder than it already was. We hugged more than we should have as it was. I didn’t plan on adding to that.
“You want me to come to the house on Friday?”
He came over sometimes. More than he should. More times than my wife was aware of. I don’t know why I snuck him around. I didn’t sneak around my other friends. I feel bad about it but at the same time, I know how Deja would act if gay ass Troy Roussand showed up at our door.
“Nah I’ll come to you.”
“You sure? I wanted to see Jr.”
“He’s busy with school work.”
I watch as Troy gets upset. I’m lying. It’s an obvious lie and I suspect he knows that I’m not telling the truth. I suspect he knows that I’m trying to limit how much exposure he has with my kids. It’s not that it would complicate things. That’s the opposite actually. The kids love Troy. They love him more than I actually thought they would. It came to the point the oldest, Jr. and the oldest girl Iriana were starting to call him Uncle Troy.
And I needed to stop that. He wasn’t their uncle. Actually, I wasn’t sure what he was to them, because I wasn’t quite sure what Troy was to me. Sure he was a friend but does a friend do all the things that I do?
“Well can you give him this?” he asks handing me a toy.
That was the thing about Troy. That was the thing that I loved about him. Randomly, for no reason, he would bring something for Troy. It happened out of the blue. The kids needed it. They needed that person who brought this spark of light in their eyes. And they knew if their Uncle Troy was around he’d always do what he could to look out. They had me. They had their mother. But they also had Troy. And I feel like their simple minds were able to make sense of it even more than I could.
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to.”
“And I want to give you this,” I state.
I pull out a wad of cash. He looks down at it and just thinks it’s a lot of money. It’s 500 dollars. I’d put it aside for him.
“What’s this for?”
“You canceled the meeting you had with B&R today because you were afraid. Maybe you can go out and buy a new outfit. Maybe that’ll give you a little bit of confidence. So go ahead. Buy a suit or sneakers or whatever you want to wear. It’s for you.”
He doesn’t want to take the money. I know it. Maybe that’s why I lean over to him and shove it directly into his pants. I knew Troy. He was hardheaded. I knew even though he was frowning up that he liked it. He liked having a man taking care of him and the weird thing is I liked being that man.
The only problem was that I was married.
I had a family.
And so when he leans in to get the hug that I didn’t want to give him, I have no choice but to push him away.
“Sorry,” he states, “I didn’t mean to…”
“No, it’s just…” I pause, “Nevermind. I’ll talk to you later.”
I let him leave the car without a hug or anything close to it. I want to. I want to hug him but I don’t want him thinking something that I shouldn’t. The truth was I never grew up with a father. Like so many men like me, it would have been easy for me to not be a good parent. But I had to be. I had to raise my family the best way that I could. I had to provide for them. And no matter what I liked or who I liked being around it didn’t matter.
It wasn’t about me. It was about my kids.
‘This woman been reaching out to you. Lauren?”
My wife is talking to me.
“Leave a message…”
“She’s been reaching out to you for a while. Calling the house all the time. Who is she? Should I be concerned?”
“Lauren is old enough to be my mother woman. I ain’t cheating Besides if she keeps reaching out then clearly I’m not with her right? Damn.”
“Oh yeah, so where you been?”
Hearing Deja’s voice is like listening to nails hitting a chalkboard. Deja was attractive, in a normal way. Phat ass, big titties and she sucked dick like a hoover. But then it came to her bitching. I’d done the right thing. I’d married the girl I had kids with her. And honestly, as I walk towards the fridge for a beer I know when I look at my son Jr. that they are the only reason I’m around.
“I had to take my friend somewhere, girl, why you always tripping?”
“I’m not tripping.”
She’s tripping. I knew Deja. Even before she stands next to me in front of the fridge I knew she was on some shit. She’s always on some shit when she calls me back to back leaving a million voicemails.
“What did you need anyway?”
“I was hoping on us going on a date this Friday.”
“Can’t got plans.”
There is a pause. I turn and see her staring at her with this serious face on. She has this knowing look on her face but that’s impossible. She couldn’t know anything. Not really. She had been giving me shit forever on why I’m hanging with a gay boy. She didn’t get it. A lot of people didn’t but my relationship with Troy had always been an issue for her.
I’m not going to lie to her. Even if we didn’t always get along, Deja was a good mother and I couldn’t have been happier that my kids had her in their lives. Deja was, however, a spitfire when it came to a relationship. And right now that girl around the block was straight up turning into a fuckin dragon.
“Should I know something?”
“He needs help.”
“He always needs help. That’s not what I’m talking about. Should you be telling me about something else?”
I knew my wife. She was asking me this because she suspected something. She was telling me this because she heard something. I can see it written all over her face.
“Spit it out.”
That’s all I had the energy to say at this point. This happened almost daily with Deja. I never understood how it was possible that we could elevate an individual so much. We argued about Troy every single day. Sure it would have been easier to cut him off. It would have been easier to just stop being friends with him. But until this moment I thought there was no point to. It was almost clear that things were going to change.
“Nia hit me up,” she explains, “So did Elaine and Shawnna. They were saying that Troy’s grandfather is going around telling everyone you two are fucking.”
She’s pacing back and forth.
“You know damn well we ain’t fucking.”
“How? How do I know Malone?”
I pause. I’d been ridiculously loyal to her—-outside of our first year of dating—-for all she knows. That’s saying a lot for a guy like me. I wasn’t saying I was some Idris Elba or something but I was good looking and girls…and guys for that matter threw themselves at me on a daily basis. The fact that I had to qualify my relationship with her was a lot.
“You should trust me. I always tell you the truth.”
“OK you didn’t fuck him,” she realizes sighing but pausing, “But did you want to.”
“Girl—why the hell you asking me all these hypothetical ass questions.”
“That’s not an answer, Malone. Most straight guys would say hell no.”
“I didn’t fuck him,” I state, “Period.”
Perhaps my answer wasn’t good enough for her. Maybe I should have had something better. It’s tough though. It’s really tough because honestly I don’t want to lie to her and I haven’t thought enough about my relationship with Troy to know what it is that I want to do with him. What the fuck do I see in this kid? Why the fuck am I tripping?
“Should I be worried, Malone?”
She looks at me. I look over at her and notice tears are in her eyes. Deja was emotional but she didn’t cry much. It had to be serious for her to break down like this. It had to be a reason she was like this. A reason that was definitely making her want to break down and cry.
“I don’t know…”
“I’m going to tell my brother…”
“This is not that kind of issue, Deja,” I state, “Trust me. I know you feel weird that homie is gay but that’s all we are. We’re homies. You know that I love you right? C`mon. Look at me. Come here. You know that I love you—–right?”
I grab her pulling her close and pressing my muscles against her. She likes it. I like how she fits in my arms. She’ so small and tender. My big arms are able to hold her. Deja was strong though. She was too strong. The kind of woman that didn’t want to be held. Maybe that’s why she pushes me off.
“This can’t keep going on, Malone. You need to end it with that faggot—-before I do.”
Her calling Troy a faggot was definitely new. She was on a new level of mad. And honestly, the fucked up thing was I didn’t blame her. How would I feel like if my wife was strolling around with a lesbian that she was oddly close to and then a rumor was going around saying that they were sleeping around? I wouldn’t feel right either.
I had to figure out this Troy thing and fast.
It’s Friday before I know it. Friday evening.
I get a text from Troy. A simple text: HEY I NEED YOU.
Normally I would have called back. Normally I would have been there, but there has been so much heat with Troy. The rumors that had been going around were real. It wasn’t just Deja. People really were talking about me sleeping with the kid.
So I needed time.
I hit ignore. Right next to another call that I got from Lauren.
Lauren really wasn’t giving up huh?
I’m trying to get Troy out of my head. I was a man and at the end of the day, my job was to get to this bag. The streets were brutal. You had to work them consistently. This was the life of a plug. In my streets, a plug was someone who got you what you needed when it came to drugs. And I was just one of many plugs throughout the city. You slip up even a little bit and there will be someone to take your place in these streets.
That’s why I carry my Glock.. I reach down and secure it to my waist. It was Deja’s brother Jermaine who gave me one. Jermaine was like my big brother in the streets. He showed me the ropes. Deja was big on making sure that I always carried. She made it clear that she needed me to grind in these streets to support our family. Strangely, enough, Troy hated the fact that I carried a gun. I don’t know why it mattered. Why the hell was I thinking about Troy?
There was money to be made.
It’s 3:00 pm. The normal posting spots were all taken up. Now I had to actually ride around and find customers. This was the life of a Plug in Cali. With the legalization of weed, it wasn’t a lot of money being made for selling weed. I knew I had to be creative. The Cali sun is up and I’m riding in my topless Camaro down Mulholland Drive.
“Yo Malone, nigga where the hell you been?”
It’s Jermaine. I pull over and him and bunch of niggas from the streets are posted. Jermaine was a dark guy who was a little bit shorter but doesn’t let the height get you wrong. He was definitely thorough. I’d seen Jermaine run up on this one guy who called him a bitch online and beat his ass so hard the guy had to go to the ER. And there were only two things he cared about. One was his money and the other was his sister. Luckily for me, I was associated with that sister he loved so much. So he looked out for me.
“Just chillin’ man. Getting my shit together.”
“Cool, I been meaning to talk to you man. Kaori Sims been trying to meet up with you. He’s been asking about you.”
I’m not surprised Kaori Sims has been asking about me. Remember how I mentioned niggas will come up on your block when you’re not looking. Well, that was Kaori Sims. He was some big shot. All the guys were scared of him. He worked for some really sinister people and they needed new street guys for their movement.
“Man I just sell weed.”
“You can be making so much more money though,” Jermaine says, “You got to take care of my nephew and nieces. Bra—Deja isn’t gonna play that broke shit, bro.”
He does that from time to time. He reminds me where his loyalty lies. He had been down for me but Jermaine was Deja’s big brother. And I was smart enough to know that all this “Help” I was getting was because I was providing for his sister.
“I’ll think about it.”
“Cool,” he states, “I need you back focused with this money. I removed all other distractions from you, my nigga.”
“What are you talking about?”
He says it so matter-of-factly that I don’t get what he means. I give him a real hard look. A look that I can’t understand.
“Rumors have been floating around between you and this faggot named Troy. I went and met up with the nigga earlier today. Checked his ass real good.”
“You did WHAT!”
I’m pissed. I’m pissed because I’d seen what happened with Jermaine “checked” people. All of a sudden I’m heated. I knew that he heard it from Deja. She had a big mouth and she was pissed when she heard the rumors. She called her brother asking him to do something and knowing the kind of pop off that Jermaine was it didn’t take much.
“Yo—you cool?” he asks, “It’s just some faggot.”
“WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO!?”
I press him. Harder than I expect I was going to do. I press him harder than I should. I grab him up by the collar. The other guys around get real tense. Not a lot of guys in the hood went at Jermaine like this. But I’m not scared of him and right now I’m seeing red. Somewhere between grabbing up on his collar and making a fist I realize that I have a gun at my side.
I look down at it, not because I’m ready to use it but because I’m angry enough to pull it out. He sees me looking down. He knows that I’m loaded. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t snap at me as fully as he would any other time.
“You might want to think real long and fuckin hard before you grab that gun.”
“I asked you a question, little nigga.”
“Little Nigga? Are you feeling yourself that much, huh? All good. I’ll give you a pass,” he states, “What you want to know? What did we do to the little sissy? We beat his ass bloody. You know that. We beat his fucking ass bloody and left him on the side of the street.”
I look over at him. He must have felt big and story beating on a guy too weak to protect himself. I knew how I looked at him and I knew that things were definitely not right.
“I should fuck you up.”
“You won’t though.”
That’s when Jermaine gives me a look. It’s a defiant look. A look that tells me maybe we have too much history for me to turn on him. Or maybe he thinks I’m scared of him.
By the time I swing my fist, he comes to a hard rude awakening that both of his assumptions were wrong. My fist SMASHES into his face. I hear a loud clattering sound. He swings back and manages to get me on the side of my chin. He’s tough. I’d give him that. Even with all my adrenaline, the punch hurts like fuck. But I’m stronger and I’m faster. And he learns it really quickly when I pick him up and slam him on the side of the concrete.
I bust his face in the sidewalk.
Blood spurts out. A slow hard whine follows.
I don’t stick around. I walk off because I know his homies were unsure of whether or not to jump me or not. I could tell they were looking for a reason. Probably never liked me. I was the pretty ball who all their girls liked anyway. They wanted to write to me but I knew the only thing that stopped me was because they knew I was married to Deja and assumed it might just be a family quarrel.
Maybe it is a family quarrel but when I look back at Jermaine, I knew things would never be the same…
“Where is he?”
“We don’t need people like you in here! You are not welcome,” one of Troy’s Aunts says.
His family is a bunch of idiots. The thing is they knew me and they always made this big scene every time I came to visit.
“Whose going to fuckin stop me, old lady?”
I don’t mean to be a gangster, but that’s what I was. I was a fucking gangster and if it saved some time to show that intimidating side of me I wasn’t opposed. I can see the way poor Aunt Natalie eases up that she didn’t want these problems. Besides I was in his Grandfather’s house and I turn and see his Grandfather sitting not too far away.
“You hear to lick his wounds?” the Grandfather asks with a mocking laugh.
“You think it’s a funny old man?” I ask, “You starting a rumor about your own grandson that gets him jumped and you think it’s funny?”
“He learned his lesson.”
“What’s his lesson? Don’t be the person he was born to be?”
“He is gay and hanging around gang-bangers all the damn time. He’s a mistake. A mistake that won’t amount to shit. Did he tell you about how he wanted to be a model now? Imagine. His ugly deformed ass being a model?”
Just at that moment I turn and see that he’s standing there. Troy. He’s heard every single thing that his grandfather has said about him. His Aunt is standing there but she doesn’t stick up for him. None of his other family members would ever stick up for him. That was always may the main problem with them. And looking back at Troy I’d never seen anyone look so small. It’s as though he shrinks just standing there. He’s a 6’1” guy who doesn’t speak up for himself. He has no confidence. And I can get it. If my family always told me that I was some sort of mistake I wouldn’t think I was worth it either.
“Malone we can talk upstairs.”
“No. I’m not going anywhere before addressing this. Hey, grandpa. He’s not ugly. He’s amazing. He’s beautiful,” I state, “And he’s going to be famous. And he’s going to move out of here.”
Even if it meant by my dead body.
“No, he won’t. He’s just like his pitiful ass mother.”
“Get a bag,” I tell him.
“Get a fuckin bag. You’re coming with me,” I state.
“Where? You didn’t get the apartment yet,” he states.
“You’re coming with me to my house.”
I stand there as he walks upstairs to grab his shit. At this point, his Aunt is cursing him out. At this point, his grandfather has called the rest of the family including Landry who has decided to come and stare me down in the living room as though it was going to intimidate me. If it wasn’t for Troy I would have beat Landry’s ass the long way.
“You’re making things worse for him,” Landry states, “You know that right.”
“Mind your fuckin business.”
“Just like a thug. Can’t believe Deja left me for you,” he states.
I’m not surprised Landry can’t believe it. I’m not surprised he’s here. All the grandfather had to do was mention my name and I knew he would come running. He didn’t want me around Troy. My friendship with Troy killed him. I could see it. But Landry knew what his grandfather did was wrong.
“As long as your grandfather is alive, he’ll keep thinking he’s not worth anything,” I explain to Landry, “I know you don’t like me. That’s all good and cool. But you love your cousin. And he doesn’t need to be in this environment. His life can change with this meeting with Bautista and Rose.”
“Have you heard of Diamonte Rose?” he asks.
“Exactly. Diamonte Rose will chew into Troy and spit him out. If you care about him, like you swear you do, then stop him from doing this. Let him rebuild the clothing shop.”
He was basically asking me to convince his cousin to give up on his dreams and do whatever the family wanted. But the family never cared about Troy, not the way that they should. They allowed this ridiculous grandfather to keep pressing his foot on Troy’s neck.
And I wasn’t going to take it any longer.
“Fuck that. He’s going to be great. I’ll make sure of it.”
I take him back to my house. The way that the kids gather around him, you would think he’s Santa Claus. We didn’t have a guest room.
“Is it OK?”
He’s always so damn polite. That was unique as well. Most guys in the hood didn’t know the first thing about manners. The fact that he’ll look over and ask me if he could play with my kids who were basically clawing at his feet when we walk through the door meant everything to me.
Before I can answer I hear a voice.
“Really?” Deja asks.
I give Deja a look.
“He’s going to be spending the night here with us,” I tell Deja.
“You’re not asking.”
I give Deja a look. Sure Troy’s grandfather started all the shit but Deja was the one who escalated it. I look at Deja and then I look at Troy. Troy’s right eye is swollen shut. His lip is busted. He’s bruised all over. He’s supposed to be a model. His face was supposed to be everything. His friendship with me was what got him beat up like this.
And for the first time in forever, I realize that my relationship with Troy wasn’t the problem.
My marriage was.
“Troy take the kids in the room,” I state.
Troy does what I say. The kids are so excited by him being there that they don’t realize that me and their mother are arguing. I do though.
And she does.
She confirms this by walking up to me and slapping me squarely across the face. She whimpers a bit seeming confused on whether she wanted to be angry or sad. She has settled somewhere in the middle clearly.
“You would do this to me?”
“You have your brother—-or whoever—-hurt Troy again and I’m going to ask you for a divorce. Do you understand.”
She doesn’t answer. Not with words. I’d never threatened divorce before. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about it before. I thought about it more times than I liked to admit. But I never actually said it. Now that I finally propose it I realize the words are not as heavy as I thought they would be. They actually feel freeing. I see her face straighten up. She doesn’t expect me to say it. We are both confused at the words that I’ve managed to force out of my mouth.
And she nods.
That’s all she does. It’s as though she realizes how close I am and right now she wasn’t going to risk pushing it. So all she does it nod and I walk away.
It’s the middle of the night later on and I go to the kitchen. The kids are asleep at this point. Their Uncle Troy has worn them completely out. Deja is asleep as well. She hasn’t talked to me but at this point, I don’t give a fuck if she’s mad after the shit she pulled earlier by getting Jermaine to confront Troy. Troy himself is in the living room. I expect him to be asleep but as I walk into the kitchen I see the light click on.
“Can’t sleep either?” he asks.
“Sorry I thought you were out.”
“You would have worn more clothes huh?”
Sure enough, I notice him staring at me here in the kitchen. I have nothing on but some boxers. No shirt, hell not even any socks. At this point, the boxers are barely there. If he looked hard enough I’m sure he could see my dick. My man meat is literally almost peeking through the hole and for the first time in the world possibly I wished it wasn’t as big as it was. I find myself shuffling away but realize I’d rather a gay guy look at me from the front vs the back if he had to.
And so I’m facing him, awkward and feeling a little weird. I’d been around a lot of my homies before and never felt this way. For some reason, he’s making me nervous. Nervous like a chick would.
“Nah, we’re homies,” I state, “I don’t care.”
All lies. Troy was my first gay friend. I wasn’t sure if the rules were the same around gay guys as they were with normal guys. Did it matter that I was in my underwear?
He leans up against the sink and he’s not looking at me now. It makes me calm down a little bit. Just for a second thought. I should have known that Troy would have found a way to make this weird again.
“I’m sorry I’m putting you through this. I know Deja hates my guts. I don’t want to bring this sort of drama into your relationship.”
I had to admit he was drama but for some reason, I feel like I’m doing the right thing.
“It was her fault. Not yours.”
“It is my fault,” he explains, “My family has issues. There are things you don’t know…”
He shakes his head, “I don’t want you to look at me differently.”
“I would never look at you any different from how I do now.”
“How is it that you look at me now?”
That’s when I see him make a step towards me. I know Deja is asleep. She could wake up any minute. She could see this attractive, gay man walking towards me with a sparkle in his eye. She could see the way that he smiles at me. She could hear the awkwardness in my stomach from clear butterflies that I’ve never had with her. He’s not like Deja. He’s not strong. He wanted someone to protect him and I wanted to be that protector.
And maybe that’s why I take a step closer to him.
“You know how I look at you.”
“No, I don’t. That’s the problem.”
“Why do you have to make things so difficult Troy?”
“Nothing easy is worth having,” he responds.
I don’t think he realizes those few words almost change my life. He’s right. It was so easy for me to get Deja pregnant. It was so easy for me to marry her. It was so easy for me to be loyal if I wanted to. But I wasn’t. My mind was wandering all over the place. And for some reason, it wandered a lot to Troy Roussand. So I look at Troy. I look at him hard because I’m trying to figure shit out. I’m trying to address my strangeness around him. I press my fingers up against his elbows until he decides to fold them in so that I can finally give him that hug he’s been wanting all week.
And here I am hugging him in this kitchen and for the first time in forever everything felt right. I look at his lips. Did he know that I wanted to kiss him right now?
Did he know that I was longing for him?
“What are you doing?” he asks me.
I don’t realize until I’m doing it. My hands climbing up his thighs.
“I don’t know,” is my response.
That was the truth. I was touching him. I was really touching him. My hand up to his thighs to his ass. It isn’t until I find my way past his pants onto his asscheeks that he moans slowly. I don’t expect it to turn me on as it does. He moans deeply. I lean into him pressing my nose up against his neck. I’m smelling him. He leans his head back and opens his mouth. He exhales completely.
“Your dick is hard,” he tells me.
“Yeah, yeah it is.”
I am surprised by it. More surprised than him. He seems to be more comfortable leaning forward and touching it. He grabs it and slowly strokes it while we’re standing there in the kitchen. A car seems to drive by and we both jump unsure if we’re being caught. It causes us to take a step away, but by now it’s also clear that my dick is swollen in my pants.
And this time he’s staring…because it’s found it’s way out of the hole.
There he was standing across the kitchen looking back at a hard dick that was peaking out from underneath my shorts. My dick is so hard that veins are popping out. Precum oozes onto the kitchen floor freely. His mouth is open. I’m assuming he’s impressed. There were so many people that were impressed by the size of my dick before but none of it seemed to matter until now. Now I was finally proud of my manhood. I was proud that he was clearly liked it.
“Do you want to come over here?”
“Yeah, I do.”
This time I try not to grab his ass again. It’s hard. He was so soft. It was so smooth. But I was afraid. I was afraid I was liking this more than I should.
For so long I wondered how those lips of his taste and for the first time I was willing to find out. Maybe I was angry at my wife. Maybe I was just emotional. I don’t know what it is but I’m leaning in. I can’t believe it until I’m doing it. I’m going to kiss A GUY and I knew nothing would be the same.
But just as I’m going to kiss him I get a call.
My phone was on the table. It vibrates. He reaches for it but I grab it before he can.
“Sorry,” I state, “This is personal.”
“Oh…” he states, “Well go ahead and handle your business. We can finish off this conversation a little later.”
Finish off a little later?
As he walks away I snap back into the real world. What the fuck were you think Malone? You’re in a kitchen with a wife and kids asleep and you’re ready to kiss a man. What the FUCK was wrong with me? Sure there was the one time in the 4th grade when this young boy grabbed my dick. That was the only gay experience I had.
But that didn’t mean I never thought about it. But what the fuck was I thinking about acting on it?
A thought and an act are two different things.
I pick up the phone.
I don’t respond. I know exactly who it is. And for some reason, it’s pissing me off even more. I walk over to the couch and see him laying there. He’s so beautiful. Damn, if only he knew how beautiful he was. The problem was that family of his.
I’m outside and I get into a car.
“Is he with you?”
“You heard that he was beaten up?” I ask.
Laura nods, “Yeah I did. Sucks that I had to hear it through the grapevine and not from you. What did I spend all that money for.”
“You told me to protect him and I will,” I state, “I keep my promises.”
“You need to guide him.”
“He has a meeting with Diamonte & Rose. I suggested it as you told me to.”
“Good. Make sure he’s successful.”
“They want him to walk, not sew.”
“Make sure he’s successful regardless of what he wants to do.”
She seemed like she was dedicated. I’ll give her that. And it confuses me.
“You left because you wanted to start another life. Then why do you keep coming back? Why do you keep checking on him.”
“The family wants to hide him. They know he’s special, just like you know he’s special. But if he comes to light their dirty laundry comes to the light as well. They can’t have him becoming too big. They can’t let the world know about their dirty little secret. He needs to find his strength even if he learns to find it the hard way.”
She seems concerned. Too concerned.
That’s when I realize something.
“You didn’t leave because you wanted a better life for yourself,” I realize, “You left for him. You faked your death for him.”
I look back at Laura.
A lot of people asked why I felt like I had to look out for Troy. A lot of people, including Troy questioned why I stayed in his life.
The truth was that I was paid.
Troy’s mother was alive, even though he thought she was dead. I was paid by his mother to take care of him.