Archer and Jason are never apart – part 2

Archer and Jason are never apart – part 2 continues….

Gus met me back at the ravine that ran through the back of Archer’s grandmother’s street. It was how his uncle irrigated all of the lawns on the street. No one had sprinklers, so once a week his uncle would go into the back near the ravine and flood all of the lawns to keep them green and healthy.

They had a big garden back there with raspberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, apple trees, and more. I was standing not far from the water, throwing pebbles into it as the water rushed by, when I heard footsteps behind me.

I turned to see Gus coming through the garden, looking around the area like he thought it was quaint and a little below him. I looked up at the house from the back yard, seeing the window to Archer’s room and sighed.

“This isn’t exactly a great place to make out,” Gus told me.

“Yeah, I was kind of hoping we could talk,” I said to him.

“Talk?” He gave me an incredulous look.

I put my hands in my pockets, nervously. “I think we should break up.”

“Break up?” Gus demanded. “Why?”

“I just don’t think we have the same goals here,” I said quietly. “You want everything now, right now, and I don’t feel ready to give it. On top of that, you want a full out relationship and I can’t do that right now, and my friends and you don’t really get along.”

“Your friends? Those losers from your band? That’s why you’re breaking up with me?” he groaned.

I felt myself starting to get angry. “They aren’t losers. They’re some of the best people I’ve ever met, and they’re some of my best friends. And if they are losers, then so am I.”

“Is there someone else?” he demanded. “Is that why you’re just going to throw the whole relationship away?”

There was, but that wasn’t why I was doing it, so there wasn’t a reason to mention it. “No, Gus. I’m just tired of being pressured. Sometimes relationships just don’t work, and it’s fine.”

“You’ll regret breaking up with me,” he yelled at me before storming off.

I bit my lip as I watched him stomp back to his car, wincing a little as I heard him slam his car door before peeling out of the driveway. I came walking back into the backyard, away from the ravine, and stopped to look up at the house, seeing Archer and his sisters watching me. Nothing that could happen on this property would ever be secret, and I felt a little uneasy now knowing that Archer had seen the whole thing.

I picked up a rock from the ground, turned around and threw it back toward the garden with a loud shout of frustration before turning to grab my backpack and walking home. I didn’t want to talk to any of the Prince kids about this altercation. I was too annoyed and upset. I did homework as soon as I got home and then went in to have dinner before washing the dishes like I was supposed to. We didn’t have a dishwasher, so it was up to me and my sister, who was a year younger than me, to do the dishes.

I was just finishing up drying the dishes when I heard my dad call for me. I put the last dish away and then came out to the living room. Both of my parents were sitting rigidly in their chairs, turning their eyes to me as I came into the room. My mom asked my sister Eliza, the second oldest of all of us, to take the other girls into their rooms, and I saw Eliza give me a wide eyed expression before she ushered them down the hallway.

“What’s going on?” I asked, noting the angry look on my father’s face.

He held up his phone, which showed a picture of Gus and me kissing, and I felt like I had just been punched in the gut. I felt like I couldn’t pull any air into my lungs. He demanded that I explain myself, but I had no good way to. None. It wasn’t just that photo either. He had included ones of us making out, and one he had taken that I didn’t know he had taken, when my mouth was around him. There was no explaining this away.

My mom was looking at me with disappointment as my father stood up, crossing his arms and waiting for my response.

“Dad, I…” I tried to start, but I knew I didn’t have any good excuse, so I sighed. “The photos are real. That’s my ex-boyfriend. I’m gay.”

That was all my father needed to hear as he handed his phone to my mother and I felt his fist hit my face. This wasn’t the first time my father had put his hands on me. I constantly went to school covering up bruises, but this felt like an entire new level of pain.

He hit me hard in the jaw, sending me toppling over onto the ground before he came over and grabbed my shirt, making me look at him again before he hit me again and again and again. Eventually I ended up in a ball on the floor, covering my face from any more hits while he kicked me hard in the ribs. I could hear my mom screaming at him to stop, reminding him that if he killed me he’d go to prison.

My father seemed to relent to that, grabbing me by my hoodie and pulling me up and out the front door. I rolled along the grass and came to a stop near the sidewalk, and I heard my sister more than saw her come running outside to tell my dad to go inside the house.

He grumbled but did as she asked and then she pulled me up to a standing position. When I was able to get my eyes to focus, I looked down to see that she had packed up my clothes and school items, as well as most of my sentimental items and had carried them outside.

We walked down the road toward Archer’s, her carrying my bags for me. We were silent the entire way down to the next street, where Archer lived, and then she turned to me, tears in her eyes.

“I knew,” Eliza said to me. “That you were gay. I saw you with one of your boyfriends kissing last year. I don’t agree with them. You can’t just choose who you are attracted to.”

“Thanks, Eliza,” I told her quietly. “Really, thank you. Are you going to pretend you don’t know me at school?”

She shook her head. “No, never. You’re my brother and I love you. I’m sorry dad’s such a…”

“Abusive asshole?” I asked.

Eliza nodded. “Yeah. Will you be safe?”

“Yeah,” I said and then motioned toward Dorothy’s house.

She helped me bring all of my bags down into the basement. She put them down in the bedroom down there before hugging me gently, trying not to hurt me. She gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and then left to go back home; her home, now, because it was no longer mine.

I slowly went and sat down at the keyboard. I could play every single instrument we used. From the guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard. I even added violin to some of our songs. Right now, I just wanted the piano. I made sure the keyboard was on the right setting and then began to play a ballad.

It was one by Harry Styles that I had liked a lot, called “Falling.” I had related to parts of it quite a bit, so that was what I sang now, wanting to play one last time here before I went to Salt Lake to look for a LGBTQ+ shelter for kids my age.

I was so into the song that I didn’t hear the footsteps on the steps until I heard Archer’s voice. “Can we cool it on the belting, Jason? I have a headache that I just got under…” He stopped when he took in my face, his eyes going wide. “What the fuck happened??”

I let my hands drop from the keyboard and onto my lap, looking away from him. “Gus made good on his promise. He sent photos to my father’s phone of us together, kissing, and me…me sucking…”

Archer came over and shook his head. “You don’t have to say more. Your father did this to you?”

I nodded my head and got up, to walk around the keyboard, suddenly feeling dizzy and out of it. I stumbled and Archer caught me in his arms. If I wasn’t so hurt, I likely would have been thinking about how good it felt to be in his strong arms, but I just felt out of it. The feel of his arms tightening around my ribs sent a wave of nausea through me, and I ran to the bathroom down here and started throwing up.

“We have to call the police,” Archer said to me once my heaving had stopped.

I shook my head. “They won’t do anything, Archer. No cop here in Utah is going to arrest a man for ‘disciplining’ his gay son.”

“Discipline my ass, Jason!” Archer yelled. “That’s not discipline, that’s assault! He assaulted you!”

“And it’s not the first time!” I cried, and Archer looked at me with a pained expression. “CPS got involved a while ago, back when I was around thirteen I think. They basically told him that I am my father’s property and he could do what he liked to us.”

“That’s bullshit,” Archer grumbled.

“But it was their stance,” I said, and wiped my mouth off before I came back into the room where he was standing. “I’ll be f…”

A wave of dizziness hit me again, and I could feel myself falling. He grabbed onto me again, slowly lowering me to the ground, and the world around me went dark as he screamed my name.

Archer and Jason are never apart – part 2 will continue in the next page.

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