Live for Me by Andy Deats

Live for Me
Part Two
I'd like to send a big thank you to Ronyx and Grant Bentley, who helped me to get to the point that I'm at now. Also, to my friends Eli, Ashley, Tiffany, Tasha, and George: Thanks for supporting me through everything and inspiring me to write more. I love you guys so much! And, last but not least, I'd like to thank you for reading this and e-mailing me your thoughts on my first-ever story.


Life is like a game of Russian Roulette. The more bullets you put into the gun, the more chances you have of blowing your brains out. Apparently being gay is a lot of bullets, because my life had been blown to pieces ever since I came out. My parents hated me, my boyfriend was murdered, and I was kicked out of my house. Now it seems half the school hates me and the rest view me as a charity case to throw a pity party for. Sure, Rusty seemed nice enough, but I couldn't help but feel that when he dropped me off at Michael's house on Tuesday he was only being so nice because he felt sorry for me.

I didn't want people to feel bad for me. I'd gone through three and a half years of high school relatively unnoticed. Sure, I had made a few friends here and there, but nobody that I really felt close to or open with. I had kept my grades remarkably average in an attempt to stay anonymous to both teachers and the other students, and it had worked. Until now.

According to Rusty, the entire school now knew who I was, and what had happened to Gabe. And what made it worse was that it didn't sound like many of them were on my side. It was safe to say that I wasn't looking forward to going back on Monday.

It was a Thursday afternoon and I was alone in the guest room as usual when the doorbell rang. Curious, I trotted down the stairs and opened the front door. Standing before me I saw a very tall and slightly odd-looking woman.

I couldn't quite place it, but something about her seemed off. She had slightly stringy blonde hair and stood about six-foot-seven, partially due to her high heels. Not even her shape was quite right. “Jerry?” she asked in an unmistakable voice.

“Rusty!?” I asked, starting to laugh hysterically.

“That's Miss Use to you,” he responded as he gently pushed his way inside.

“You are one very strong 'woman,'” I remarked. He struck a dramatic pose, and I fell against the wall laughing. “Why are you dressed like that?” I managed to ask him between breaths.

“Psh, you know I look good,” he responded with a giggle. “We got a show tonight. And you're coming.”

“What? No way! There's no way I could that.”

“You don't have to, silly. We need an audience to perform for.”

“What do you mean by 'perform?'” I asked.

“All kinds of things. It's quite a show; you'll see when we get there. Now go make yourself presentable.”

I'm sure I turned a deep shade of crimson when I realized I was wearing only a pair of flannel green pajama pants and nothing else. Embarrassed, I turned and quickly climbed up the stairs. I stepped into the shower after stripping down and realized that I had left a relatively unknown man alone in a house that not even I belonged in. After a quick shower, I got out and wrapped a towel around myself before stepping out into the guest bedroom and finding Rusty sitting on my bed. “Hi,” he said nonchalantly. “Pretty simple room ya got here.”

“I told you, it's not my room. I'm just staying here until college.” I blushed slightly as I felt myself rising under the towel from the sight of Rusty on my bed; even if he was dressed as a woman. “What are you doing in here anyways?”

“I was going to help you get ready. But apparently I need to donate some of my art to you so you can decorate in here.”

“It's fine the way it is,” I defended. “And I can get dressed by myself. Been doing it since I was six.”

“I've seen the way you dress,” he kidded me. “You need my help.”

I walked over to my dresser and pulled out a pair of boxers, earning a disapproving looks from Rusty. “What?” I asked.

“Don't you have anything...sexier?”

“Who's gonna see em?” I questioned.

“You'd be surprised,” was all he said as he walked over and picked up a small pair of light blue boxer-briefs from years ago that I had almost outgrown. “These are much better,” he remarked.

“Um...ok, I guess.” I was completely embarrassed having Rusty go through my underwear. Did he picture me in them? I watched as he walked over to my closet and opened it up. After minutes of analyzing my clothes, he pulled out some khaki pants and a green polo shirt.

“Here, wear these.”

“But you could totally see my boxer-briefs through those pants,” I informed him, pointing to the thin pants. He smirked.

“I know.” When he saw my stern look, he replaced them in the closet and pulled out a pair of black jeans. “There you go, if you wanna stay a virgin forever.”

“I'm not a virgin,” I corrected him quickly. I don't know why, but something made me want to tell him that vital piece of information.

“Well ooh-la-la,” he responded playfully. “Neither am I.”

I waited for him to leave the room, but he just walked over and sat on the side of the bed. I cleared my throat, and he just looked at me innocently. “What?” he asked innocently.

“Uh, I gotta change.”

“Yeah, so? Oh! You want me to leave?” He started laughing, but I failed to see the humor. “Honey, I've seen it all. More times than you can imagine.”

“Fine.” I sighed as I turned around and dropped my towel. I pulled on my boxer-briefs and when I looked over my shoulder, I saw Rusty turn his head away quickly. I blushed but didn't call him out on it as I pulled my jeans on.

“You got a white t-shirt?” he asked looking me over.

“Yeah, why?”

“Throw it on underneath the green one. The layered look is hot,” He advised me.

I slid a plain white shirt over my fairly thin torso before pulling the green polo over top of it. “Let's go,” Rusty said as he rose from the bed.

“What about my hair?” I asked. He looked me over quickly, and smiled.

“You're alright.”

He led me out to his car and I was suddenly hit by the strangeness of the situation. I had just gotten into the car with a cross-dresser that I hardly knew to go to some mystery event that he would tell me nothing about. He didn't drive very long, however, before I got my answers. He pulled into the rather full parking lot for a large building simply noted by a neon sign as “Over the Rainbow.” I knew what it was; I had heard my father talking about it on many occasions. It was the gay club in our town, the center of controversy among many of the church-goers in Riverton. “No,” I protested. “I can't go to a gay club.”

“C'mon,” he replied. “I need a fan there.”

“I can't,” I insisted. “Not without Gabe.”

“Honey,” he said, rubbing my shoulder gently. “Gabe isn't around anymore. He can't go to a club with you.”

“I know, but...I'm just not ready yet.” He certainly didn't make it seem like it was an issue that would bar me from entering. But, the main problem I had was Gabe. He had died before he got to go to a club. Why should I cheat his memory? How was it fair that he got this opportunity taken away from him, and I got to experience it? Rusty seemed to think that I was over-reacting, and he said that he needed a fan in there. Even though I barely knew Rusty, I oddly felt a certain loyalty to him. I don't know why, but the thought of disappointing him made me extremely sad.

It was about a half hour after Rusty left before I finally got out of the car and walked nervously towards the club. Nobody was at the door to card me, so I just walked inside. The first thing I noticed was how dark it was inside. Aside from the flashing strobe lights around the dance floor and the ones lighting the stage where two drag queens were singing a song which I didn't recognize, there were only a few dim lights spaced around the club. I couldn't find Rusty, so I made my way through the crowd to the bar and took possession of a stool there.

From what I could see of the crowd, many of the men and women at the club that night were around my age. I guessed it to be some kind of teen or young adult-themed night. From what I had learned in school, they were likely trying to reach a new demographic. I had heard that the club drew mostly older men and women, so they were probably trying to get a younger crowd in with a night that catered to them.

“Hey, baby. What's your drink?” I looked in the direction of the voice and saw a rather handsome man in a tight shirt. I noticed his pants hugged tightly to his crotch and blushed.

“I don't drink, thanks.” I stood up with the plan to get away, but he kept talking to me.

“Come on, what's a cute little twink like you doing all alone in a club like this?” he asked, reaching around and grabbing a handful of my ass.

“I'm not a twink,” I replied as I pushed his hand away angrily. I wasn't entirely sure what a twink was, but the stranger seemed to like them, so I was determined that I wasn't one. I pushed his hand away from me, but he responded by moving closer.

“You look like a twink,” he whispered in my ear. I shuddered as I felt his tongue run slowly along the skin under my ear. “You taste like one too,” he purred.

“Not interested,” I snapped. I pushed him away from me and saw Rusty walk over between us.

“Step off from my boyfriend,” he snarled. The other guy stepped back, putting his hands up in defense.

“Sorry, bro. I didn't know he was yours.”

I turned around and ran from the club. I didn't know what Rusty was thinking. Hell, I barely knew what I was thinking anymore. I certainly didn't want to give him that impression until I was sure for myself. I did like him, to an extent. But Gabe passed away just days ago and there was no way I was ready to even consider moving on.

I sat against the wall. Pulling my knees to my chest, I hid my head in my hands and cried. It felt like I was doing that way too much lately. I wanted to stop, but I couldn't do it. My life had spiraled out of control, all because of one note. I'd gotten my boyfriend of two years murdered, been kicked out of my house, and didn't have a clue where my life was headed. At one point I had wanted to be a psychiatrist. Now I felt more like I needed one.

I don't know how long I sat alone crying before I felt an arm wrap around my shoulders. I jerked my head up in alarm, but it was only Rusty. He didn't say anything, just held me comfortingly as I cried.

“Why?” I eventually was able to ask him.

“Why what?” he responded.

“Why is my life like this? Where did I fuck up to make God hate me this much?” I asked as he kissed the top of my head paternally.

“You didn't fuck up,” he said sternly. “Bad things happen to good people.”

“I must be a really good person then,” I replied with a solemn laugh, as I turned to look at him.

“You are a good person.” His eyes held my gaze as he said this, and I saw his head move towards mine slightly. I leaned towards him slowly, and I felt our lips connect.

His lips were soft, yet the kiss was firm. Our lips held together for a few seconds as we sat on the ground, his arm wrapped around my shoulders, before I felt his tongue press to my lips. I pulled away immediately after that and, seeing the want in his eyes, I felt tears appear in mine. “I'm sorry, Rusty,” I said as I stood up. “I can't do this.”

“Do you want a ride home?” his voice was blank, but I could see disappointment obviously in his eyes.

“No. I'll be fine alone.” I put my hands in my pockets and walked away, leaving him sitting on the ground by himself.

It was very dark when I left, and I couldn't even see the names on street signs until I was inches away from them. Even if I did have a destination in mind, I would have quickly gotten lost in the black night. As it was, I simply wandered aimlessly through the streets, eventually coming to a park and settling on a bench there. I had no way of knowing what time it was, but I felt like it would have to be well past midnight by how long I had been walking and how dark it was still.

The darkness wasn't just physical, but felt like it encircled my mind as well and prevented me from thinking clearly. I could see backwards thanks to one light, and I saw Gabe. As I tried to walk towards him, he only got further and further away. The harder I tried, the more distance was put between us. I ran for hours upon hours, until my muscles quivered like Jell-O and I couldn't run anymore. And still I was no closer to getting to Gabe. Giving up, I turned around and walked into the darkness alone.

I suddenly awoke from my dreams and was completely disoriented. I remembered the events of the night, and what led to me waking up on a park bench in the middle of the night. I must have slept for no more than an hour, I figured, because it was as dark now as it was before. I stood up and decided to try to find my way back to Michael's house. He must have been worried about me.

There are very few cars out driving in the early hours of the morning, so when I was walking down Elm and some high-beam headlights hit me in the eyes, it stunned me for a few seconds. When they were turned off, I saw a white Buick. I gulped and broke out in a cold sweat as I saw Carter Nash climb out of the driver seat, backed up by two of the largest men I can ever remember seeing. “Whatcha doin' out so late, fag?” Carter drawled as he staggered ominously towards me. He was obviously drunk.

“Prob'ly out whorin',” the stupider-looking of his friends responded, equally as drunk as his leader.

“Fags can't get enough dick,” the other, who sounded remarkably sober, chimed in. I turned around and started to run as fast as I could, but didn't make it very far before I felt somebody hit me from behind, knocking me face-first into the pavement. I tasted blood in my mouth as Carter ordered his friends around.

“Get the bat,” he said to the one who wasn't on top of me. “Pick it up,” he commanded the other coldly.

I was yanked roughly to my feet by the guy who was on top of me. I thrashed around trying to escape, but my struggles did nothing but make them laugh. “You cost my brother his friend,” Carter announced, accompanied by a punch to my stomach. I realized in sickening horror that he was referring to Gabe as Nick's friend as I doubled over in pain. I felt his knee fly into my face as he continued his drunken monologue. “And then you got him arrested!” I started to fall over, but his goon held me up. “Why did you make Gabe a faggot?” He sounded far away as he pulled my face to look at him. I could see in his eyes that he honestly believed that I had converted Gabe. My arms were pinned behind my back, so I did the only thing I could do. I spit right into Carter's face. I watched in terror as he took the metal baseball bat from his friend's hand, and connected it hard into my head.

I was standing in the darkness again, unable to see anything except for Gabe behind me. This time I didn't try to reach him. I knew what would happen. I walked forward scared, still unable to see. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and looked up to see Rusty's smiling face. He took my hand as we walked forward into the darkness. I didn't know what lay ahead, but Rusty and I would face it together.

The next thing I knew, I heard Rusty's voice from my side. “I don't know what happened. We were at the club and then he left. I came over as soon as I read about it in the paper.”

“He hasn't woken up yet?” That was Michael.

“He's been out like a lot.” I didn't recognize that raspy voice, but it sounded like a girl's.

 “They say he could have a lot of damage to his brain.” That was Rusty again.

“Yeah, the doctors said his vision may be impaired or...lost,” the girl added. I gulped when I heard this, and their conversation stopped.

“Jerry?” Rusty asked surprised. I nodded slowly, and felt an excruciating amount of pain in my neck. “Can you open your eyes?”

I started opening my eyes, but stopped as soon as I saw the light. “ hurts,” I choked out. My throat was extremely dry and I didn't want to talk. I felt a hand grab mine on the right, and I squeezed it softly.

“I'll go get a doctor,” Michael said and I heard his footsteps leaving the room.

“Rusty, I'm scared,” I whimpered. I felt his lips press against my cheek as he stroked my hand.

“It's ok,” he said softly in my ear. “I can't say what's going to happen. But whatever happens, I'm here for you.”

“I don't wanna be blind.” I said sadly.

“Don't worry, you'll be ok.” I actually almost believed him.

 “Wh...what happened?” My head was throbbing and I could hardly remember a thing.

“You were attacked on Elm on Thursday. There's blunt force trauma to your left temple and you've been out ever since,” Rusty explained.

“What day is it?”

“It's Sunday. School starts back tomorrow,” Rusty replied.

“Great.” I rolled my closed eyes and I heard him giggle. “What's so funny?”

“You look cute like that.”

 “Oh, well I'll make a note to get attacked more often then.” He laughed again.

“But seriously, do you remember who did this?” As soon as he asked, the door opened and I heard two sets of feet enter the room.

“I'm Doctor Young, and this is Officer Washington.”

“If you'll excuse us,” spoke a gruff voice that I could only assume belonged to Officer Washington. “We need to speak to Jerry in private.” I felt Rusty stand up and heard him leave, along with feet that I assumed to belong to Michael and the mystery girl.

“Now, Jerry.” That was the Doctor's voice. “I need you to try to open your eyes.”

“It hurts,” I told him bluntly.

“I know, but you have to try. I don't think you should have any problems. Just try for me.” I opened my eyes a fraction of an inch, and saw that the lights had been turned off. I slowly opened them a little bit more, and could start to make out some of the signs that I was in a hospital room.

“Can you see ok?” he asked.

“Everything's a bit blurry,” I said. “But I can see.”

“A little blurriness is normal. I suspect your eyesight will be back to normal soon.” The young Asian doctor spent the next while talking to me about the damage to my brain. It had swelled up considerably, and part of my cerebrum had pressed into my skull, affecting my memory. He also said a dime-sized piece of my skull had been pushed into my brain and could hamper my motor abilities. Instinctively, I raised my right and left arms. Feeling a strain in my left arm, I looked over there and saw an IV dripping liquid into my body. Doctor Young informed me it was painkillers. He then asked me if I felt up to talking to Officer Washington. I nodded.

I watched as Officer Washington took a seat next to my bed. He was a large man in a police uniform with a bushy red mustache. He reminded me of a walrus. He was trying to put himself on my level to make me more comfortable. It wasn't working. “Jerry, do you know who did this to you?” I strained my mind, but came up with nothing.

“I...I can't remember.”

“Jerry, I need you to try as hard as you can,” he replied with a disappointed look on his face. “Without your testimonies, we can't do anything to help you or anybody else. Your friends had theories, but we can't arrest people off of theories.”

“Well who did they suggest?” I asked, hoping it could jog my memory.

“I can't tell you,” he replied with a frown. “It may plant false memories and corrupt the investigation.”

“Can I have a glass of water?” My throat still felt extremely dry, and all this talking was not helping. He filled a paper cup with tap water and handed it to me. I drank it quickly, and he continued the investigation.

“Can you think of anybody who may have a motive to attack you?” I closed my eyes again as I thought. I couldn't remember that night at all. I could only remember one person hating me. Nick Nash detested me, but I couldn't remember why.

“I remember a guy named Nick Nash. But I can't remember why he hates me,” I told him.

“Nash has been in jail ever since the murder of Gabriel Lorenze,” he said.

“Oh,” I said softly. “Why was he murdered?”

“He was gay,” he informed me. “It was a hate crime.” I realized then why Nick hated me. I sighed softly as I wondered if Gabriel and I would have gotten along. Probably not.

“I'm sorry I couldn't help more, Officer,” I said regretfully.

“It's alright. That's the biggest lead we've had yet.” I smiled as he handed me a card. “Call me if you happen to remember anything.”

He left and my room was almost immediately filled with people again. Michael walked in first, followed by Rusty and a short white-blonde girl who had her arm linked in his. “So Doctor Young says you may not remember much,” Michael said.

“Do you remember us?” Rusty asked hopefully.

“I remember you and you,” I said, pointing at Rusty and Michael. “But, um...not you.” The girl turned bright red. She had a familiar face, but I couldn't quite place it.

“I'm Tasha,” she said kindly.

“Rusty's friend?”

“That's right.” Rusty seemed genuinely proud of me for remembering that bit of information. I realized that I had seen her around school on a few different occasions, but had never spoken with her before. I looked between the three of them for a few minutes before asking the question that had been playing at my mind for quite a while.

“Are you, like, the only three who care about me?”

“ didn't exactly go out of your way to make many friends,” Michael told me bluntly. “My parents care about you, but they didn't come yet because they didn't want to overload you with visitors.”

“What about my parents? And the rest of my family?”

“About that,” Michael said somberly. “They kinda don't approve of you being gay.”

“So they know?” I asked. “And you know?”

“Yeah,” Rusty responded. “We all know.”

“The whole school knows now,” Tasha commented.

“What? How do they know?” I asked surprised.

“Well, after what happened with Gabe....”

“Tasha,” Rusty interrupted her. “Can you come with me to the cafeteria? I need to get a drink.”

“Me too,” Michael said suddenly.

“You're all just gonna leave me here?” I asked.

“We'll be right back,” Rusty said as the three of them hurriedly left my room.

I may have just come out of a coma, but I wasn't stupid. I knew that the three of them were keeping something from me. Officer Washington mentioned a Gabriel being murdered, then Rusty stopped Tasha from talking about a Gabe who somehow made the entire school know that I was gay. I couldn't figure out why some kid dying made everyone think I was gay.

Michael walked back into the room a little while later and handed me a roast beef sandwich which I quickly started to devour. “Slow down,” he said chuckling and causing me to turn a bright shade of red.

“I'm hungry,” I said defensively.

“It would be a shame for you to die that way after everything you've been through,” he said. “So, who did it?”

“I dunno,” I replied with a shrug. “Why does everyone keep talking about Gabe?”

Michael's face showed his discomfort as he shifted in his seat. “Gabe was my cousin.”

“How does your cousin being murdered make people assume I'm gay?” I asked.

“He was one of your closest friends.” I watched him fiddle with the leg of his pants as he talked. “Once people found out about him, they started questioning you. Eventually you just came out.”

Rusty and Tasha walked into the room and our conversation ended. Tasha sat on the empty chair as Rusty took a seat on the edge of my bed.

“You look like shit,” he remarked to Michael.

“Gee, thanks,” the older boy responded sarcastically. I could tell he wasn't offended.

“Well you said you haven't been sleeping much since Thursday. Maybe you should go home and get some rest.”

“Would you mind, Jay?” Michael asked. “Rusty will stay with you.” He said it almost like a command to Rusty, so I shook my head to indicate that it was fine.

“You too, Tasha,” Rusty said.

“Oh, I get it,” she said.

“Get what?” Rusty asked, blushing like crazy. I got it too. Rusty wanted to be alone with me.