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CHAPTER 2: BACK TO LIFE
It was late Sunday night. The next day Colin would be returning to school and Aileen to work. They were in bed together curled up in each other’s arms. With the coming morning close at hand, they were discussing how they were going to handle reentering the real world.
“Are we going to be all right, Colin?” Aileen asked with her arms wrapped around her son’s torso, her head resting on his chest.
Colin was still getting used to seeing this side of his mother. While she had always been warm and tenderhearted with him, she also always used to put up a brave front. During any crisis she would mask her most grave concerns from him. He supposed that, as his mother, she felt she needed to be strong for both of them. As her son he was subordinate to her, but as her lover she accepted him as her equal and didn’t hide any of her thoughts or feelings from him. She now allowed him to see her vulnerabilities. This was just another in a myriad of ways she made him feel special.
“We’re going to be all right, Mom,” Colin said matter-of-factly, “Because no matter what happens we are in this together. We can draw strength from each other.”
“I just can’t help feeling that I may be short changing you. You have your whole life ahead of you. You’re going to graduate high school in just a few months. You’ll be going to college soon. What are we going to do then? You know I love you more than life itself, baby, and I have no doubt at all in my heart that you love me the way you say you do. It’s just that sometimes I get so scared that we’re at different points in our lives and we need different things. This is the time of your life where you are supposed to be free, to find out who you are. How can you do that if you feel obligated to me and this relationship?”
“First of all, I haven’t decided if I’m going to college. I enjoyed working at Uncle Pat’s and I talked to him on the phone today and he said I could come back. When I was working as a server I had been getting some good tips and making good money, but whatever I end up doing we will decide together.
“Secondly, I know who I am. I am a man who is madly in love with his woman. I don’t need anything but you. I don’t want to do anything without you in my life. I would be miserable wherever I was and whatever I was doing if I couldn’t come home and be with you every day.
“You told me that this was the first relationship where you ever felt truly in love, you thought you were in love before, but thinking and knowing are two different things and now you know it. I understand that completely. I thought I was in love with Sheryl but I know I’m in love with you. There’s no way to describe it except this feeling of rightness when we are together that I’ve never felt with anyone else. Tell me you don’t feel that too?”
“I do feel it, just like you said,” Aileen said, her voice a little choked up.
“We are at the same point in life,” Colin continued, “our ages don’t mean a thing, it’s that we both found exactly who we needed at the same time. This is going to be our time Mom, whatever we do, wherever we go, we’re going to be together.”
Aileen looked up at Colin, her eyes brimming with moisture. “Oh Colin, I think it’s going to be me drawing more strength from you than you will from me. Whenever I have doubts, your words erase them. I love you so much!”
“I love you too Mom,” Colin said softly, “But don’t kid yourself, where do you think I get the strength to be so sure of my convictions?” With his thumb, Colin wiped away a tear that had just escaped from the corner of her eye. “You have the kindest, most loving eyes I have ever seen. When I see you looking at me with them my heart just melts and all I want to do is hold you. Knowing that look of love in them is meant for me gives me all the strength I need to know we are doing the right thing.”
“It is meant for you baby, and it always will be,” Aileen said.
“I know,” Colin replied, “and my love is yours forever.”
Aileen reached up to place her lips on his and they shared an impassioned kiss. When they separated Aileen said, “So we stick with the plan. You go to school and I go to work and pretend everything is normal.”
“For now…yes. Believe me, if I could I would show my affection for you every moment of every day whether we were in public or not. Remember when we stopped at that restaurant in Allentown? They thought we were a couple there and it felt great to be that way with you!”
“I agree. It was wonderful to be out in the world and having everyone see that you are my man.” Aileen said with a smile
“But for here and now that’s not possible. Maybe someday we could live somewhere where people didn’t know us and we could be seen in public as a married couple and not a mother and son.”
Aileen’s breath caught. “Does that mean you would marry me if you could?” She asked.
“Mom…Aileen,” Colin said testing the name out on his tongue. Even after all that happened it still illegal bahis felt strange calling her anything but “Mom”, but now when he called her that his feelings were anything but sonly. “I’ve felt like we’ve been married since Christmas morning,” he said.
“Oh Colin, I love you so much!”
“I love you too.”
The two lovers fell into another kiss and embrace. This time it didn’t end until Colin had come deep inside of Aileen. They fell asleep, their bodies entwined together as well as their hearts. Tomorrow they may have to separate physically to go back to the real world, but emotionally they would stay connected and thus their own private world would endure.
* * *
Colin started out on his way to school the next morning. Liberty High was close enough to the apartment complex that he could walk, but it wasn’t much fun on days like this. The sky was overcast, there were piles of dirty snow on all the sidewalks and street curbs, there were puddles of slush to watch out for every time you crossed a street, and a harsh wind was blowing hard enough to chill the spine. However, with the memory of Aileen’s taste, touch and smell still fresh in his mind and the thought of returning to her tonight, Colin couldn’t have been happier if it had been a bright sunny day and seventy degrees out.
“Yo Colin! Wait up!” Colin turned to see the Rosini brothers running to catch up with him. He usually ran into them on the way to school and he considered them friends. He had what you would call an average guy relationship with the Rosini brothers. In other words, whenever they got together they reverted to twelve year old boys.
“Hey Matt, Hey Moe,” Colin said as they came up along side him. The older brother, Matteo or “Matt”, was a senior like Colin and they had some classes together. He was a big stocky guy, he weighed at least two hundred twenty pounds and all of it muscle. He was a star wrestler at their school. Massimo or “Moe” was a year younger than both Colin and Matt and a junior in high school. Despite his name he was kind of a runt. He was short and wiry with long black hair sloppily tied back in a pony tail and he probably weighed only a hundred pounds.
“Hey Matt, look who’s returned from the living dead!” said Moe.
“Heh,” said Matt. Matt wasn’t the most talkative guy around, he was actually kind of shy, whereas Moe would talk your ear off and would say anything that came into his mind. It had gotten him into trouble more times than Colin could remember. If he ever got in too deep Matt was always there to bail him out, but otherwise Matt took a sadistic pleasure in seeing his little brother talk himself into a bind. Colin supposed that if he had to live every day with that mouth going nonstop he’d feel the same way.
“What are you talking about?” asked Colin.
“You, with that shit-eating grin on your face,” said Moe with a quirky smile. “All last month you barely said two words to us most days and you were always in this grim daze. We thought we was walking to school with a zombie or something, I thought any day you were gonna turn around and eat my brains.”
“Woulda been a light meal,” said Colin.
“Heh,” said Matt.
“Fuck you!” said Moe jovially, “I gave you that set up on purpose just to see if you were really back.”
“I’m back, better than ever,” Colin said.
“So what happened?” asked Moe.
“Uh…nothing really,”Just the most wonderful thing that could ever possibly happen to me!
“Oh shit! Now I recognize that look, Col got laid!” Moe said gleefully. Colin blushed. “Fuck! You did get laid! Who was it? Don’t tell me it was Sheryl.”
“It wasn’t Sheryl,” Colin said immediately without thinking.
“Then who was it?” Moe asked.
“Like I’m gonna tell you!”
“Fuck! I always tell you guys when I get to dip my pen in the inkwell”
“Your hand don’t count as an inkwell,” Matt said. Colin burst out laughing.
“Fuck you, you muscle headed pimple popping crotch sniffing Neanderthal! When was the last time you got laid?” Moe shot back.
“Like Col said, I ain’t gonna tell you!”
“Cause you ain’t got nothing to tell, but Colin, he definitely got some. C’mon man, just tell me she at least had big tits. Give me something.” Colin just kept his mouth shut. “This is fuckin’ weak man,” Moe said.
“Yeah, just like your so called physique.” Colin retorted.
“Heh,” said Matt.
“Fuck both of you! I ain’t setting you jagoff’s up no more!” Moe said and walked ahead of Colin and Matt in mock indignation.
“So…” said Matt, “can you at least say if this girl is special or was she just a one time thing?”
“Matteo, she’s the most special girl in the world, but that’s all I’m gonna say on the matter,” Colin said grinning.
“Heh,” Matt said.
* * *
Colin and the Rosinis arrived at Liberty High at about a quarter to eight, they had to be in home room by eight. They arrived just in time to see Seth’s shiny red Mustang pull into the illegal bahis siteleri parking lot.
“Must be nice to be rich,” Moe said looking at the flawless car.
“Not if it turns you into spoiled punk with a superiority complex,” Colin said in disgust. His Uncle Patrick wasn’t exactly rich, but he was well off financially. However, Patrick got to where he was in life by hard work and a savvy mind for business, Seth just sponged off his father’s wealth.
“Am I detecting some hostility here…” Moe said in a high falsetto voice, “Still holding a grudge for what he did to you and Sheryl?”
“I have no feelings for Sheryl one way or another anymore,” Colin said stoically, then he thought about it and said, “Well, I guess I have one feeling for her…I feel sorry for her that she has to put up with one hundred seventy-five pounds of pure ego.” Colin glowered at Seth as he and Sheryl got out of his car.
Seth and Sheryl approached the entrance of the school. Sheryl held her gaze downcast, but Seth stared straight at Colin. It was as if Colin could feel the animosity radiating off his cousin. Seth had rust red hair and a muscular build similar to Colin’s. Colin could see the contempt in his icy blue eyes, Seth seemed to resent everything about his cousin, even the things he had no control over like the fact that Colin was two months older and one inch taller.
“Colin!” Seth said with a huge malevolent grin, “We missed you at Christmas. It wasn’t the same without you and your mother.”
“I bet,” Colin said brusquely.
“So how was your Christmas?” Seth asked with obvious amusement in his voice.
Colin couldn’t help it, especially with Seth standing there with that smug look on his face, so he said plainly, “It was the best Christmas I ever had.” While Colin’s mouth was upturned in a smile, his eyes held no mirth. He matched Seth’s stare with a piercing glare of his own. A cold wind blew over them. Seth flinched and seemed taken aback by the cool confident look of Colin.
Seth recovered and said, “Well what made it so great? Having to dig a ton of snow just to move five inches?” Then he laughed.
“No, it was the first Christmas I didn’t have to see your pompous face.” Colin said.
“Ooooh! Burn!” Moe said.
Seth looked ready to take a swing at someone but he seemed to be deciding on whether it should be Colin or Moe. Before he could do anything however, Sheryl finally spoke up. “Colin! That’s no way to talk about your cousin!” she said. “Listen, we need to talk, will you be free at lunch?”
Colin shrugged then said, “I guess so.”
Seth stared at Sheryl in askance but she ignored him for the moment and said, “Ok, we’ll talk then, right now we have to get to class.” Sheryl tugged on the arm of a still slightly bewildered Seth and they headed into the building.
“She wants you back man,” Moe said.
“I don’t think so,” Colin replied.
“Sure she does! Think about it, you could be fucking two girls at once now.”
The idea of getting back together with Sheryl, even if she did want him back, seemed repugnant to him now. Aileen was all he wanted. I can’t believe I ever thought I loved her, Colin thought.
“I don’t want anything to do with her,” Colin said. “Seth is welcome to her, but I don’t know how she will feel when she finds out that the only person Seth is really capable of loving is himself.”
“Fuckin’ Eh, man!” Moe said laughing, “It’s about time you showed some backbone with that prick!” Moe had been bitter towards Seth ever since the time last year when he had duct taped his mouth shut…using a whole roll of tape.
“I never used to let him get the better of me when we were kids, but I guess I had just gotten tired of fighting with him all the time. But now I’ve found new strength. That guy can’t touch me anymore.” Colin said.
A strange look passed over Moe’s face for a moment, but then his expression quickly returned to his normal simple grin and all he said was “Fuckin’ Eh!” again. Colin and the Rosini brothers headed to class.
* * *
It had been a strange morning. Colin couldn’t believe how many people remarked on how much happier he looked or just stared at him in surprise. It happened in each class and even in the hallways. He had been so self consumed in his own depression last month he hadn’t realized how he must have looked to others. The contrast between himself from last month and himself today must have been huge.
The other thing was he couldn’t stop thinking about Aileen. Her emerald eyes, her tender ear lobes, her soft skin, her whole gorgeous body, but most of all he couldn’t stop thinking about how much he loved her and how she made him feel. He was in a constant battle with himself that morning to keep his, as Moe called it, “shit-eating grin” from popping up on his face, as well as another part of his body from popping up. But it was a battle he was losing because his mind kept returning to thoughts of Aileen.
When lunch canlı bahis siteleri rolled around he went to the cafeteria and bought his meal. It was typical school fare, you could either have pizza, a hamburger, or the mystery dish. Colin went with the hamburger.
Colin made his way to the empty table he had been eating at all last month. All throughout his high school years he had usually sat with Seth and his friends, who he thought were his friends too, until the break up with Sheryl. After that Colin had refused to sit with Seth so he ended up eating alone, apparently most of his friends weren’t really his friends at all. Not that it mattered, last month he was too depressed to care and now Aileen was the only person that it mattered to him was on his side. She was his best friend as much as she was his mother and his lover. He missed her. They had only been apart a few hours now, but it was the first time they had been apart this long since they became lovers. Her company was all that he longed for, but at least he had his thoughts of her.
“Yo Colin!” Colin looked up and saw Moe Rosini standing up and motioning him over to his table. Colin debated this with himself for a minute. Moe and his buddies were an interesting group, well they were stoners (among other things), which really wasn’t Colin’s scene. What the hell, Colin thought to himself and made his way over to their table and took a seat.
Most of the students at the table were juniors, but there were some seniors there as well. They were an odd group, like any group of teenagers isn’t odd, but they made him feel welcome at their table. Colin looked over to Seth’s table while he ate his burger. He saw that Matt still sat with them. Colin couldn’t blame him, Matt was part of the group and he considered those people his friends. On the mornings they walked to school together last month, Matt made it clear that he was still his friend as well and Colin had appreciated that. However, when it came to choosing between sitting with a reticent friend consumed by his own depression and his regular group of fun loving pals, Colin could understand it wasn’t a hard choice to make.
The one person Colin didn’t see sitting at Seth’s table was Sheryl. Colin wondered about that for a moment until he remembered that Sheryl had asked to talk to him at lunch. He was just about to scan the cafeteria looking for her when he heard her voice behind him.
“Colin? Are you free for a moment?” Sheryl asked.
“Uh, sure,” Colin said, then to Moe he said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Moe acknowledged him with a nod and a prurient look on his face.
Colin and Sheryl found an empty table and sat down. “You look different,” was the first thing she said.
“I feel different,” said Colin.
“You seem better than you have been in a while,” said Sheryl.
“If you’re asking if I’m over you, then the answer is ‘yes’,” Colin said.
“Good,” she said with a sigh, “I’ve wanted to have this talk with you for a while, but didn’t think it was a good idea while you were feeling so low.”
“I don’t think there’s anything we need to talk about. What happened happened. It’s over and done with,” Colin said. He was starting to feel a little disgusted with himself that he let this girl get to him so bad, she was nothing compared to Aileen.
“But I want to explain why it happened,” Sheryl said.
“There’s no need to explain…”
“Please?” Sheryl interrupted.
Colin exhaled slowly. “All right,” he said.
“You remember how for a while I was working the closing shift at Plus Video on Friday nights?” Sheryl asked.
“Well one night a couple months ago I closed up the store and started heading home. I noticed there were two guys walking behind me and they gave me a creepy feeling. I started walking faster and they started walking faster. I started to run and they started to run. They caught up to me in no time. They were wearing bandanas around their faces. I saw one of them had a knife. I just knew they were going to rape me. I tried to scream but I couldn’t get my voice to work.
“Then, all of a sudden, this figure jumped out of the shadows. He tackled the guy with the knife making him lose it. Before the other guy could get close enough to do anything, the new guy swept his foot around and knocked the other attacker off his feet. Both of those would be rapists then ran off.”
“Wow,” was all Colin could say.
“Yeah,” Sheryl agreed. “When I finally got control over my trembling body I got a good look at who had saved me…it was Seth. I had been so scared, so shook up; I just ran into his arms and started to cry. He just held me for the longest time comforting me. I never felt so safe in anyone’s arms as I did in Seth’s that night.”
Colin was speechless for a minute, and then managed to get out, “I’m so sorry that happened.”
“It’s ok, nothing bad really happened to me and Seth was there to rescue me. He walked me home and I asked him what he had been doing there in the first place. That’s when he confessed that he had fallen in love with me, had been in love with me for a while, and he regularly watched me work at the video store then followed me home just so he could be close to me.
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