Friday, October 26, 2012
Jared - Part 4
Mark woke up slowly. He was glad that every time Jared gave him X, he fell asleep before it wore off and things got awkward. It was uncomfortable enough waking up under Jared every morning.
I swear! It's like he thinks I'm his own personal pillow!
Jared had been living with them for six months now, and while Mark had come to accept that they were lovers with a unique relationship, he wasn't in love with Jared. Not like that anyway. He loved Jared more as a friend – or even a brother. It was something he kept secret from Jared, since Jared loved Mark and thought Mark felt the same.
Therefore, waking up each morning to memories of what had happened the night before continually made Mark cringe even as they made him smile. One good thing about Jared, he always made sharing a bed fun. Of course, that could be because of the drug...
Jared felt Mark wake up, which woke him up too. He immediately took advantage of the fact that Mark had a case of morning wood, stroking him as he prepared to shift positions and suck on him.
Mark tried to push him away. “Can't you think of anything else?”
Jared laughed. “Nope!”
Mark chuckled, still trying to stop Jared's hands and prevent him from doing anything else. “Well I can! Such as my mom who probably has breakfast almost ready. Or college...”
“College?!” Jared repeated incredulously. “First thing in the morning? This right here suggests that you were thinking about something else...”
Mark laughed, giving up on trying to get Jared to let go of him. “Okay, maybe I was thinking about something else, but now I want to talk about college.”
Jared sighed, then grinned. “Okay, so talk! I promise I'll listen.” Despite his words, Jared carried out his plan to shift until he was mouth to shaft with Mark.
“I was thinking, ah!” Mark gasped in pleasure, then moaned. “Um, thinking... um, that you should... should... Stop that! I can't think when you're doing that!”
Jared paused for one second to grin at Mark. “I'm listening.” He then resumed what he was doing.
“Uh, um, uh... College! I was thinking you should apply for college, oh god!” Mark wasn't quite ready to cum yet, but his legs were shaking and his body felt like molten lava.
Jared snorted but didn't stop what he was doing.
Mark gripped Jared's hair with both hands and held on as if his life depended on it. His eyes rolled into his head, and he moaned noisily. “P-p-plan for your future!”
“Hmm...” Jared hummed, actually thinking about the possibility for a second. The humming set Mark off and he gasped as he pumped Jared's mouth full.
Jared continued to nurse on him until he was completely drained, and then shifted so that he could kiss Mark. “College? You want me to go to college? I could never afford it!”
“I think you could if you applied for grants and maybe even loans. I'm almost certain that you'd qualify! Plus, you actually have a B average. I think it would be a complete waste of your brain to settle for some part time job making almost nothing.”
Jared sighed. “What would I do in college? What would I learn? I have no idea what I'd want to major in!”
“So take some generals and major in a generic degree,” Mark stated, still panting lightly. “That's why the Associate of Applied Science degree is so vague. It can be anything. It basically states that you've gone to college and taken a variety of classes. You can always change it to something more specific later once you decide what you want to do.”
Jared thought this over in silence for a few moments. A shiver of fear hit him, causing him to snuggle up to Mark once more. “I don't think I can go to college. I don't think I have what it takes...”
Mark stoked Jared's head comfortingly. “At least promise me you'll try. If you try and fail, then you know you were right, but if you try and succeed, then you'll have a degree and a future that doesn't involve drugs or selling your body.”
Jared didn't say anything for a long time. Finally, he sighed. “Yeah okay. I'll try.”
“Good,” Mark murmured, rewarding Jared with a willing and freely given kiss. The first one he had ever given Jared without being drug up or forced into it. Jared had no idea why, but this made his blood run cold with foreboding.
“Okay, I know that this is strange for me to be asking now – since Jared's been living here with us for a couple months shy of a year – but are he and Mark... like... together?” Rodney asked his wife.
His daughter, Jenna, heard the question and snorted. “You wouldn't have to ask if your room was right next to his like mine is! If they're not together, I'd love to know what they're doing at night.”
Ginger hid a smirk – she had long suspected this, but had decided to respect their privacy until Mark felt like talking about it. Rodney had a strange expression cross his face.
“Uh... What makes you think they're doing anything weird?” Rodney asked his 18-year-old daughter. The only thing that made any sense to him was that she had spied on them and seen something, or that she had simply walked in on them at the wrong time.
Jenna laughed, holding her sides because she was laughing so hard it hurt. “I know that your room is on the complete opposite side of the house, but you seriously never hear them? From like 10 to midnight, all I ever hear is 'Oh God!' shouted over and over as the headboard bangs into the wall! I'm actually kind of jealous...”
Rodney opened his mouth to reply, but nothing would come out. He sort of licked the roof of his mouth a couple of times to stimulate speech, but that didn't help. He was literally speechless!
Jenna laughed at him again, and then patted him on the back. “It's okay dad. You don't have to freak out.” She kissed him on the cheek, grabbed her purse off the counter, and then waved to her mom as she left for work. She was working part time at a gas station to help pay her way through college.
Ginger chuckled softly. “They're teenagers. Of course they do it like rabbits!”
“I'm not freaked out, I'm just trying to remember the last time I had such vigorous sex like that!”
“We could go have some right now,” Ginger purred the suggestion.
Rodney groaned, which turned into a whine. “I can't! I have to go to work.”
“You are their best employee! You never call in sick, so you have plenty of sick time you can take...” Ginger reminded him. She reinforced her suggestion with several small kisses. One of her hands found its way down his pants.
“Uhhhh...” Rodney tried to weigh the pros and cons of the suggestion in his mind, but found his phone in his hand instead. His hand had already dialed his boss. A minute later, he was officially staying home sick. He scooped his wife up and carried her to their bedroom.
Mark and Jared emerged from their room a minute later in search of breakfast before going to school.
“I can't believe you're going to graduate next week!” Mark blurted out randomly.
“I can't believe I got accepted into a college!” Jared countered, feeling almost nauseous at the prospect. It was a small community college, but still...
“I wish it wasn't two hours away...” Mark stated sadly. Despite letting Jared think he was in love with him when all he felt was something closer to brotherhood, Mark was going to miss Jared.
“Don't worry, I'll come back every chance I get! If I buy an old junker, I'll be able to drive back every weekend at the very least,” Jared promised enthusiastically.
“I'd rather you save your money and focus completely on college. We'll be able to talk to each other on the phone all the time,” Mark pointed out.
Jared shrugged, not wanting to start an argument.
They went to school together, and then came home afterwards to do their homework. Mark did most of his hanging out with Cory at school these days, which was easy since they now had most of the same classes. They also played games online, but Cory didn't come over very often anymore.
To Mark's surprise, Cory's girlfriend had decided to stay with him and remain faithful! Considering that Rani was naturally a cheater and known as easy, this was actually a big accomplishment for her. It made Mark smile to think about it because Cory deserved a good girl.
When Mark and Jared arrived home, they were surprised to find both of Mark's parents waiting for them. Mark set his backpack down with a confused frown. Then he accepted apple slices and cheese off the plate his mom held out.
“What's going on?” Mark asked warily as he ate his snack.
“Son, we just thought it was time we let you know that it's okay,” Rodney stated with a reassuring smile.
Mark cast a look of confusion to Jared, who shrugged.
“What's okay?” Mark asked.
His mother smiled. “We know that you two are together. Your sister described it to us quite graphically this morning, and we just want to let you know that we are okay with it.”
Mark felt like he couldn't breathe. He started panting rapidly. “What?! What do you mean Jenna described it to you? What are you talking about?!” He clenched his fists as he suddenly felt like running, or perhaps starting a fight.
“What's wrong?” Ginger asked. “We said we're okay with it, so why are you freaking out?”
Mark really was freaking out. He slumped the nearest chair and held his head in his hands as he muttered to himself.
“Maybe he wasn't ready to tell us?” Rodney whispered to his wife.
Jared sighed. “I, uh, I think I'll leave you alone for a bit...” He quickly retreated to Mark's room.
Ginger put her arms around Mark, hugging him and stroking his hair. “What's wrong?”
“I didn't want anyone to know! I don't want you to think I'm gay!” Mark cried into his mom's shoulder.
“Well... aren't you?” Rodney asked, utterly confused now.
“No!” Mark wailed. “I'm only with him because it seemed like the only way to convince him to leave his parents and stay with us! I wanted to save him, but he didn't want my pity... He wanted me, so that's what I gave him...”
Ginger and Rodney were both quiet for a long moment. They looked at each other in concern.
“Wait, what?” Rodney finally blurted out.
Mark pushed out of his mother's arms and studied his hands that were clenched in his lap. “I want a girlfriend. Someday I want to get married and have kids. I'm not gay and I'm not planning to stay with Jared forever. I just wanted to prove to him that he was better than his parents.”
“Wait, so, uh... What you are saying,” Rodney cleared his throat before continuing. “Is that you gave your virginity to him – someone you don't love and aren't attracted to – simply so that he would accept your help?”
Mark blushed in embarrassment, and bobbed his head around as he tried to figure out how to tell them the rest of the truth. “Uh...”
“No...” Jared stated softly, surprising all of them because they hadn't heard him come back into the hall. He leaned up against the wall with his arms crossed, tears streaming silently down his cheeks. “I sort of took that without asking...”
“Jared...” Mark murmured unhappily. He hadn't wanted Jared to find out the truth, especially since he was so close to graduating and going to college.
“You lied to me... You are the only person I've ever been completely honest with, and you lied to me...” Jared mumbled numbly.
Mark couldn't think of anything to say. It was true, so he couldn't deny it, but he didn't want to admit it either. He stared at the floor in shame.
“I should have known!” Jared exclaimed, getting angry now. “I was stupid to think that anyone could actually love me!”
“I do love you, just not the way you want me to!” Mark cried out.
“Yeah, whatever! How am I supposed to believe you now?!” Jared shouted. “I'm outta here!”
Mark leapt to his feet. “Don't go!”
But Jared was already out the door. The house echoed from the slamming of the door for a full minute before anyone spoke.
Mark was obviously miserable, so his mother pulled him into her arms again.
“He was so close!” Mark wailed in anguish. “Just a couple months more and he would have been in college and he would have had his entire future ahead of him!”
Rodney sighed and placed a hand on Mark's back. “Son, are you absolutely certain that you're not lying to yourself about how you feel about him? You are awfully concerned for someone you claim not to love.”
Mark took a few calming breaths, sniffing to clear his nose. “I do love him, but in the way that I love you or Jenna. I feel like I would do anything for him, but not because I want to be with him, because I would do anything for Jenna if she asked me to. Because I would do anything for you guys if you needed me to. Or Cory... I love him like a best friend or a brother...”
Ginger laughed so softly that Mark wasn't sure that she'd laughed. She kissed him on the cheek, then took a moment to squeeze him tight.
“I feel the same,” she admitted. “I've suspected that you two were together for a while now, and the thought made me happy because he's such a good boy and I've come to think of him as my own son. I also want to help him be the best person he can be, although I have to tell you that I think you went too far. No matter your intentions, it wasn't right to lie to him and let him use your body like that.”
“I know,” Mark muttered. Then he blushed and buried his face in his mother's shoulder again.
“What?” She asked curiously.
Mark shook his head, not wanting to admit it out loud.
“What?” His dad pressed, dying of curiosity himself now too.
Mark couldn't look at them while he admitted this, so he pulled free of his mom's arms and turned his back on them. “It wasn't all bad. In fact, I had a lot of fun with Jared. Sometimes, it didn't feel like a lie.” He sighed in depression. “And then sometimes the lie felt like it would crush me under it's weight...”
They talked about Mark's reasoning for a bit, which helped him feel like a weight was being lifted from his chest.
The door slammed again, startling them all.
“I don't want to go back to my parents, but I have nowhere else to go, so I'm just going to grab my things and leave,” Jared announced as he reentered the kitchen. His eye was black, and he was bleeding a little from his lip.
“Oh my God!” Ginger gasped in dismay. She rushed to hug him. “What happened?!”
Jared pushed her away as gently as he could while still getting the point across that he didn't want her pity.
“I biked home and caught my parents in the middle of another fight. My dad got mad at me for staying away so long and gave me this little love tap to prove how much he missed me,” Jared explained with a shrug.
“You can't go back to them!” Ginger cried out insistently, grabbing onto his arms and giving him a little shake. “You don't deserve to live in a place like that!”
“What choice do I have?!” Jared shouted, beyond furious. His eyes were on fire with anger and pain.
“Stay here!” Ginger exclaimed urgently.
“Yeah, son, stay here,” Rodney added in agreement.
“You can sleep in the spare bedroom,” Ginger informed him. “You are still part of this family, even if you aren't going out with our son.”
Jared closed his eyes to hide the fact that his emotions were having a war inside him. Part of him really wanted to stay, but the rest of him wanted to beat Mark within an inch of his life. Finally, he decided to simply think about it and decide later. Without a word, he stomped all the way to the spare bedroom, and then slammed the door shut.
Mark sighed in relief that Jared hadn't just thrown everything away, and quietly went to his room to listen to music and try to play a video game. The more time that passed, the moodier he got. He declined dinner since he was not hungry, and his parents left him alone, intuitively understanding that he was essentially dealing with a bad break up.
Jared also kept to his room and didn't eat dinner. Ginger left a plate for each of them in their rooms in case they got hungry. She and her husband went to their room earlier than usual to snuggle up and talk about everything that had happened.
Mark couldn't sleep and felt jittery. He felt like he was overflowing with energy and began to pace his room. Around 2 AM, he would swear that he had an animal growling at him from his closet. He retreated to the kitchen to get away from the angry beast.
Pacing the kitchen convinced him that he simply had to scrub it from ceiling to floor to avoid upsetting the tiny trolls that lived under the cabinets. He thoroughly cleaned the kitchen, praying that he would get tired soon so that he could go to bed and get some sleep.
Drowsiness did hit him, but the energy wouldn't stop. He reorganized all of the supplies kept under the sink, and scrubbed the cupboard they were kept in until it shined.
“Mark? Honey, what are you doing?” Ginger asked when she got up to make breakfast.
“I gotta clean,” Mark muttered insistently. His eyes looked far away, like he was half asleep and running on fumes. His mom didn't know what to do, so she simply stayed out of his way as he shouted “the toilet!” and ran to clean the bathroom.
She couldn't help but worry as she realized that the entire kitchen had been cleaned like never before. Rodney eventually joined his wife so that he could eat breakfast before getting ready to go to work. Even Jared emerged from his room, his stomach growling hungrily. Jenna wasn't even home – having stayed at her boyfriend's.
Mark rushed into the kitchen just as they sat at the table to eat, and immediately attacked the couple of dirty dishes Ginger had created while cooking the bacon and eggs.
“Gotta clean! Can't piss off the trolls...” he muttered.
“What?” Rodney asked, baffled.
“The trolls!” Mark exclaimed urgently. “They live under the cupboards and they'll scratch our ankles if we don't keep the kitchen clean!”
Rodney and Ginger exchanged mystified and concerned looks. “Are you serious?”
Jared swore loudly and at length, startling Mark's parents because they couldn't recall hearing him swear in their presence before. “This is my fault!” He jumped up and rushed to grab Mark by the shoulders. “Mark! There are no trolls!”
“Yes there are! Can't you see them? They're watching us as we speak...”
“No,” Jared insisted, shaking Mark slightly. “No. Think! What makes more sense? That there are trolls under the cupboards or that you are going through withdrawals?”
“Trolls, man!” Mark screeched.
“No Mark, listen, there are no trolls! You're suffering because I got you addicted to X!”
“WHAT?!” Mark's parents roared.
“X?” Mark asked, his eyes still looking far away and confused.
“Yeah,” Jared confirmed. “Remember? What did I do every night before we went to bed?”
Mark furrowed his brows and bit his lip in concentration. “You, um... you crushed half a pill into powder and put it into a cola for me to drink.”
“Right, well I didn't do that last night,” Jared explained. “So now you're going through withdrawals. The trolls aren't real.”
“Oh...” Mark murmured as understanding hit him.
“I'm so sorry Mark, I didn't mean to get you addicted,” Jared apologized profusely. “But it will be okay. You'll go through a couple of days of paranoia and insomnia as the drug leaves your body. You'll even experience OCD and probably depression, but I'll be right there holding your hand through it all.”
Mark was able to think clearly for just about one minute, which was long enough to gasp: “But what about my finals! I can't fall apart now!”
Jared sighed heavily. He didn't know what to do. This was simply bad timing no matter how he looked at it. “I'm so sorry!”
Rodney narrowed his eyes, not quite glaring at Jared, but definitely looking at him sternly. “Can you please explain to me how Mark is addicted to a drug? Also, what about you?”
Jared nodded, knowing that it was in everyone's best interest to be completely honest right now. “I have used X before, but not very often. I always had some on me though, because I actually needed it from time to time. Whenever I needed to sell my body so that I could afford to buy food or something else I needed – like clothes – I'd take some. I gave some to Mark without him knowing it the first time, but he realized it the next morning, and chewed me out! I was honestly surprised when he let me give it to him again...”
Jared looked at Mark, noticed that he was shaking but not prone to scrubbing anything at the moment. He let go of Mark's arms and took a step away.
“I didn't know it at the time, but apparently he had decided to let me drug him up so that I would stay here. I should have realized that something was wrong when he resisted me until I drugged him, and then later on started asking for it at exactly 10 o'clock each night.”
Jarred sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “I really am sorry! I knew how easy it was to get addicted to X, but I thought that since I only gave him half a dose each time, that he wouldn't be affected like this!”
As grateful as Rodney was that Jared didn't go into excruciating detail, the thought of anyone drugging his son in order to have sex made Rodney want to punch something. Preferably Jared... But he knew that would just make the situation 100 times worse.
Ginger cleared her throat. Almost timidly, she voiced her opinion. “Mark has been drugged up for months and we never even noticed, right?” She sighed. “I think that now is the worst possible time to take him off it.”
She held up her hand to stop her husband from protesting. “Just hear me out! If he was on Ritalin, and we decided that he needed to stop it, NOW would not be the right time. Think about it, he was able to function normally, and his grades didn't suffer in the slightest. I think they may have even gotten better! I think we should let him continue taking the drug until his finals are over, and then we can check him into rehab if we have to.”
Rodney growled in frustration, utterly hating the idea, but he couldn't argue with the logic. He sighed in defeat. “You're right.”
Ginger put a hand on Jared's arm. “Go ahead... give him some...”
Jared stared at her in shock for a moment before realizing that she was completely serious. He nodded as if suddenly burdened by the weight of the world. He went to the room he was staying in to retrieve his backpack, and then returned to the kitchen. He grabbed a baggie of pills, searching through the identical pills until he found the one he was looking for.
Placing half a pill on the counter – it was left over from two nights ago – Jared crushed it into powder using a pestle he kept in the baggie for this purpose. Grabbing a can of cola out of his bag, he poured some in a small glass that Ginger handed to him. Finally, he swept the powder into the pop and handed the glass to Mark.
Mark downed it in one gulp. Even in powder form, it would take a few minutes to kick in, but just knowing that the drug was inside him was enough to calm Mark down. He took a few deep breaths as he waited.
“Better?” Jared asked when he intuitively understood that the drug was starting to work. It was like Mark returned; like he kicked out the weirdo that had inhabited him and reclaimed his body.
“Yep,” Mark stated. He started bouncing as if he was so excited that he couldn't contain it. “I feel like dancing!” He was happy and bubbly as his body recognized and welcomed the drug. “Come on!”
Mark dragged Jared towards his room by the hand. Jared dug in his heels and resisted just long enough to call over his shoulder.
“If you've got somewhere else to be, you'll probably want to go there for a couple of hours. He'll be back to normal by then!”
“Aha...” Rodney murmured in understanding. He was not comfortable knowing what was about to happen, and rightly guessed that he was so worried about his son that he would probably listen in at the door. “Yeah... I should go to work...”
Rodney did exactly that, and Ginger decided to go shopping. She returned a couple hours later and was on hand to greet her husband when he came home from work early. He hugged her because he needed to be reassured that everything was going to be alright.
“How is he?” Rodney asked.
“Sleeping. Jared thinks that he might even sleep until tomorrow because he was up all night.”
Rodney nodded in acceptance, relieved that his son wasn't terribly sick because of the drug. “What about Jared?”
“He went to school a while ago,” Ginger replied.
“Then... shouldn't he be home by now?”
In answer, the door opened and then closed. Jared came into the kitchen to get something to drink.
“Still sleeping?” He asked Ginger, who nodded.
Rodney waited just long enough for Jared to drink the water he'd gotten, and then set the glass aside. He grabbed Jared by the shirt.
“How did you get that drug? Enough to give him, what did you say? Half a dose? Every night for months! That must have been expensive! How did you afford it?” Rodney demanded.
Jared purposely erased all emotion from his face before answering. “I'd wait until I knew my dad was probably passed out or gone and then I'd sneak into my trailer and take some. He deals out so much that he never misses a few pills here and there, or else he's simply too drunk to care...”
Rodney forced himself to let Jared go. The urge to punch him out was still too strong to ignore, and Rodney didn't want to turn into Jared's dad. He took a few steps back.
“If you're going to kick me out, just wait until after Mark's finals. I promised I'd be there holding his hand as he goes through withdrawals, but I completely understand if you never want to see me again,” Jared stated as calmly as he could considering that he felt like he was dying inside.
Ginger took one of his hands in hers, squeezing it as she held it to her heart. “You have been the politest, most respectful boy I have ever met. I knew that you had a terrible childhood and could easily have turned out like your parents, but you're trying your hardest to be better than they are. I'm so proud of you! I've grown to love you like my own son... I wouldn't turn my back on Mark if your situations were reversed. If he had been the one drugging you... I'd get him help if he needed it, and support him. I'm not going to turn my back on you either!”
Jared started crying. “The sad thing is that Mark was helping me! I only managed to become a better person because of him! And this is how I repay him! By drugging him! I'm a damn bastard and I deserve to be shot!”
Ginger hugged him, humming soothingly. “It's alright... it's all going to be alright...”
The rest of the week passed normally, and Mark passed all of his exams. When the last day of school was over, he went straight home and started fighting with his parents.
“You can't make me stop now! I feel better when I'm on it!”
They hated seeing him like this, but they insisted that he get clean. True to his word, Jared was there for him every step of the way. When it was finally over, Mark felt better, more like who he was before he met Jared.
Cory had come over on and off to lend his support and give Jared a break when needed. He now left the two of them alone to talk.
“We're never going to have sex again, are we?” Jared asked, bracing himself for the truth.
“No,” Mark stated as gently yet firmly as possible.
Jared wanted to cry, but accepted this without a fuss. It was exactly what he expected Mark to say. “I love you... I wish that you loved me too...”
“I do, but not like that,” Mark repeated what he had been telling everyone all along – except Jared.
Jared sighed. “I know.” He left Mark's room so that he could rest. He was exhausted from staying up with Mark for nearly 4 days straight. He hadn't had more than a couple hours of sleep here and there, even when Cory was around to give him a break. Not even Mark's parents could make him go to bed and get some decent sleep.
Ginger and Rodney sighed in relief now that their son was officially free from the drug in his system. They'd done some research and knew that it could still be months before he was fully over his addiction, but the immediate withdrawal symptoms were done.
Close to three months later, Jared was packing everything he owned so that he could move into his dorm. It was the place where he would be living while he went to college and he was inexplicably terrified to be completely on his own in a couple of days. He got lost in his thoughts and stared at nothing for a long time.
Ginger startled him by putting a hand on his back some time later.
“Will you come out to the kitchen for a few minutes?” She asked.
Jared nodded and followed her. He felt a sense of dread, expecting her to tell him that he wasn't welcome to come back again when college let out for the summer. He already had plans to take classes during the summer too so that they would let him stay in the dorms. That way, he wouldn't have to worry about going anywhere.
In the kitchen, Mark and his dad sat at the table waiting for him. Even Jenna was there, sitting at the other end of the table as if she had been dragged there against her will. Ginger gestured for Jared to take a seat.
“What's going on?” He asked curiously.
Ginger spread out a couple of papers on the table. “You said that now that you're 18, you were thinking about changing your name so that your parents could never find you. You are officially too old to be adopted, but if you still want to change your name, you can always use our name. Sort of unofficially become part of our family.”
“What?” Jared asked, confused.
“I had our lawyer draw up all the necessary papers. All you have to do is write in the name you want to change yours to, and then file them through the court and appear before a judge when the time comes,” Ginger explained.
“What do you say?” Mark asked with subdued excitement. “Do you want to become a Stein?”
Jared was quiet for a moment, and then he grinned. “Yeah, I do! But I want to change my first name too. I don't want my parents to ever be able to find me.”
“Okay,” Ginger stated with an encouraging nod. “What do you want your new name to be?”
Jared picked up a pen and wrote his preferred name on the paperwork. With a satisfied grin, he looked around at his new family. “Cameron... Cameron Stein.”