Live for Me by Andy Deats

Live for Me
Part Five
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.


“What are you talking about?” I asked sitting up in bed surprised. “Who did he murder?”

“They don't know if he actually murdered anybody,” Tasha told me. “But they think he was the one who killed Carter Nash.”

“Good,” was the first thing I said. “I don't mean that,” I corrected myself quickly. “It's not good that he's dead, or that Rusty killed him. But...I'm glad that he got what was coming to him.”

Tasha made a disappointed face at me. “Oh, come on. Didn't you hate him too, Tasha?”

“I did. But I don't wish murder on anybody. Do you really want his family feeling the way that you felt about Gabe?”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “What about Gabe? He was just my friend.”

“No, he was your best friend,” she told me. “The two of you were like brothers. And once he died, you didn't know what to do with yourself.”

“Why are you saying it like it's past tense?” I asked her. “I hardly know what to do with myself now! I live in someone else's house because my parents hate me. I have amnesia and can't remember half of my past, and God only knows if I have a future at all. And now you're telling me that one of the few people who pretend to give a fuck about me is going to go to jail for murdering a guy who I hated, and I can't be happy about that?”

“Look, I just thought you'd like to know about what happened to Rusty. Now you know, and I'll leave you alone.” She turned and walked out of the room. I walked over to the door and slammed it shut behind her.

I heard the sounds of dinner downstairs about an hour later, and was surprised when nobody came to ask me if I'd like to eat. I just lied there on my stomach, staring out the window at the head of my bed. Rusty really murdered somebody? I couldn't even imagine him doing that. He got mad at times, but it never seemed to be to the point of murder. I saw a bird sit on the window sill and stare inside at me. I stared back until he flew away.

There had to be a reason behind Rusty killing Carter, if he even did. I stood up off the bed and changed out of my school clothes into something more relaxing and walked downstairs. I saw Michael and Tasha laying together on the couch, her leaning against him as he lied back on the arm of the couch. I sat in one of the lounge chairs and looked at whatever TV program they were watching.

“So why do they think that Rusty did it?” I asked.

Tasha looked at me a bit surprised. “Well, he's pretty much the only person that they could put any kinda motive on. I mean, it's not exactly a secret that he and Nash hated each other.”

“So is he just a scapegoat?” I asked surprised.

“No, not really. He didn't have an alibi for the time that Carter was murdered,” she told me.

“So Carter's really dead?” I asked softly. I still could hardly believe it.

“Yeah,” Michael spoke up. “They found him outside Over The Rainbow laying in a pool of his own blood. They didn't find a weapon, but they think that he was shot.”

“How did you two find all this out?”

“Rusty called me from the jail,” Tasha said. “His arraignment is tomorrow afternoon. He asked that you and I both show up.”

I nodded solemnly. “Did he do it?” I asked her softly.

She looked down at the floor. “He didn't deny it. The only thing that he's going to argue tomorrow is that it was self-defense. He's going to try to get a low sentence and see what he can do from there. He doesn't have the money to pay bail, so that's not really an option.”

I nodded solemnly. Rusty really did kill Carter Nash. But he told Tasha it was in self-defense, and I believed him. I could see Carter going to attack Rusty and being shot. I just hoped that Rusty would be able to get a low sentence.

Michael's parents let me stay home from school the next day, and I spent much of it reading through Rusty's journal. I figured that maybe if I got to know him a little bit better, I could talk to the judge and convince him that it was actually self-defense.

Tasha came to Michael's house at three o'clock and helped me pick out some clothes to wear. I dressed up, trying to look nice so that I would look better for Rusty's character, and we left in Michael's car at 4.

We arrived at the court house, and were let inside. A lady at a desk told us to go into the waiting chamber and pointed us into a large, empty room. “This is eerie,” I whispered to Tasha. “I've never been involved in the legal process before.”

“It's not my first time,” she shrugged. “It's really not as scary as they make it seem. I mean, as long as you're telling the truth, you really don't have anything to be scared of.”

I nodded. “But what if I say something to get Rusty into even more trouble?”

“We don't have to speak at all,” she told me. “The judge will probably just ask if we have anything to say to attribute to Rusty's testimony, and we can decide whether to talk or not. If you think what you say will hurt, I'd suggest not talking.”

I just nodded and put my hands in my pockets as I looked around the large room. Within seconds I realized that there was nothing to see, and just stood there. A few long minutes later, a door opened up and a man in a police uniform waved us to follow him. We stepped into the courtroom and I instantly felt my stomach fill with butterflies.

There was a small table set up in the middle of the cavernous room, with a briefcase on top of it and some papers strewn about around it. Rusty was standing behind it, looking nervous in what I am assuming are the nicest clothes that he had, with a stone-faced man in a suit standing next to him that I assumed was his lawyer. Tasha and I walked over to Rusty and he hugged both of us in turn. “You ok?” he whispered in my ear.

“Are you?” I asked back.

He pulled back from me and forced a smile. “Always living for other people,” he said.

I jumped slightly as I heard the judge bang the gavel on his stand, and turned quickly to face him. He was an older man, in his early sixties, I'd say, and he had a stern look on his face. “Rusty Delmore, you have been charged with murder in the first degree. Do you understand your legal rights as they have been presented to you?”

Rusty nodded. “Yes, your honor.”

“Would you like to submit a plea at this time?” He nodded again. “And your plea?”

“Guilty.” Tasha and I both looked at the floor, and the judge shifted slightly in his seat. Rusty said it so confidently that it must have taken him off guard. “However, your honor, this was not murder. Yes, I killed Carter Nash. I am not going to deny that. But, I have to tell you that I did so in self-defense.”

“On what grounds do you claim that it was self-defense?”

“If you look back into Mr. Nash's criminal history, of which I assure you he does indeed have one, you will see that he is a brazen and unabashed anti-homosexual. Now, your honor, I believe that nobody in this town would argue that I am quite obviously a homosexual. The place where Carter's body was found was a homosexual-friendly club.”

The judge nodded. “But what proof do you have that Nash was threatening any harm against you?”

Rusty bit his lower lip. It was the first time I had seen him show anything but the utmost of confidence. “I know that there was no weapon found on Nash's body, but he has threatened me a number of times over the years in which we have known each other. In fact, he and his friends were a large part of my reasoning behind dropping out of school. On that particular day, I was with a...friend of mine. We were leaving the club to go out to his car, and that is when Carter approached us and started using anti-gay slurs and threatening to injure both of us. He also threatened Jerry, as he has been seen doing before.”

“I assume that you are Jerry?” the judge asked looking at me. I nodded. “And do you have anything to say about this?”

“I don't know the exact situation surrounding what happened between Rusty and Carter, but I do know Rusty very well personally. He is a good person that would never hurt a fly unless provoked, and I believe him when he says that the death of Carter was self-defense. Your honor, a lot of bad things have happened to me lately. My world has fallen apart. I have been kicked out of my house for being gay, and my parents have abandoned me. But through everything that has happened, Rusty Delmore has been one person that I have been able to depend on through everything.” I started tearing up, and Rusty put his arm around my shoulders. I sniffled, and continued.

“Your honor, Rusty is a good person. Carter Nash, however, I have a much lower opinion of. His brother, Nick Nash, murdered my boyfriend, Gabriel Lorenze, in cold blood right in front of my eyes.” I heard Rusty and Tasha both gasp as I said that, but I continued. “I have no trouble believing that his brother could and in fact could do the same to Rusty.”

Rusty whispered in my ear, his arm still around my shoulders. “You know?” he asked. I just nodded.

“Does your other witness have anything to say regarding this arraignment?” Tasha shook her head, still looking over at me occasionally. I could tell she was surprised about me knowing.

“You understand that by pleading guilty you will face up to 25 years in prison?”

Rusty looked at the ground and nodded. “Yes, your honor.”

“However, I do believe that it was in self-defense. We’ll leave it to the court, though, whether to rule this as a justifiable homicide or not.”

Rusty looked up and smiled. “Thank you, your honor,” he said graciously.

“I’m going to rule that you have to stay in police custody until the date of your trial.”

“I understand.”

We were allowed to go, and the three of us left together with Rusty’s lawyer. The stone-faced man said a few words to Rusty outside of the building, then left to go to his own car. Rusty looked at me and forced a smile.

“So you know, huh?” I nodded, looking back in his eyes. “How did you find out?”

I pulled his journal out of my back pocket, and handed the small book to him. “This is yours.”

He took it and forced a smile. “You know a lot about me, then, huh?” he asked. I noticed that Tasha had walked off, leaving us to ourselves.

“Well, I know that you’re in love with me. I know that you are a drug user, and that you have sold your body. I also know that you lied to me, in order to make me fall in love with you.”

“That’s not it at all, Jerry,” he protested. Two police officers came out of the court house, and placed him in handcuffs.

“Time to go, Delmore.” They said to him and led him to their cruiser. I watched as he was placed in the back, and they drove off. Tasha reappeared from around the corner.

“You ready to go?” she asked. I nodded. “Are you mad at me?” she asked. I shook my head.

“You didn’t know me as well back then. You were just looking out for Rusty. It’s him and Michael that are really to blame for it.”

“Jerry, that’s not what happened.”

“I’d really rather not talk about it,” I told her.

“Ok, well, Michael’s going to pick us up as soon as I call him. You ready?”

“You go on ahead,” I told her. “I have somewhere else that I need to go first.

“You sure?” she asked. I just turned around and started to walk.

I made my way to the cemetery, and found my way back to Gabe’s grave. I sat in the soft dirt, and traced his name on the headstone with my finger. “”Hey, Pooh bear,” I said, using my pet name for him. I pictured him blushing like he always did when I called him that. “Things aren’t going so well…” I looked up at the sky and trailed off. I really wanted him to be there just to give me a hug.

“I’ve been attacked, I’ve been kicked out of my house, I’ve been lied to, and I’ve been hurt in so many ways. I wish you were here to make it better.” I sighed softly as I looked back at his headstone. “Gabe, I love you. I always will. That’s why I haven’t been able to move on. I miss you so so much, and I am extremely sorry that I forgot you. I hope you forgive me.” I felt tears form in my eyes, and start to fall into the dirt that marked the spot where my boyfriend was laid to rest.

“Gabe, I don’t know what to do. Rusty says he loves me. But I can’t feel that way about him anymore. Gabe, I can’t promise you that I’m going to stay single forever. I know you wouldn’t want that. But I also know you wouldn’t want me to be hurting as much as I am right now. So I’m going to do some things that you probably wouldn’t like very much. But please forgive me, I promise that it’s just to make me happy. I know you’d want that.”

I stood up and left the cemetery, walking back to Michael’s house. By the time I arrived, it was well after dark and I didn’t know who would be awake. I saw Michael and Tasha sitting on the porch together, a glass in each of their hands.

“You ok?” Michael asked. I just nodded.

“I’ll be fine,” I told him.

“Where were you at?”

“I went to go see Gabe.”

“I figured as much, but I wanted to give you your space.”

“Thanks,” I told him. I walked past them and inside.

“Jerry,” Michael said as he followed me inside. “Can we talk?”

“I don’t wanna talk to you,” I said coldly. “I don’t want anything to do with either of you liars anymore.”

“Jerry, don’t talk like that.”

“Why? You don’t want me to be upset? Well it’s too fucking late for all of that now! I found out about Gabe, and I found out about how you and Rusty really are!”

“So what? You don’t want any help anymore? You don’t want me in your life?”

“Not if I can help it,” I spat.

“Fine. If that’s how you want it, that’s how it’s going to be.”

“Good. Fuck you.”

I didn’t say a word to either of his parents before going upstairs and lying down in bed, where I quickly fell asleep.

I didn’t talk to Michael much over the next week. I stayed to myself as much as possible in order to disconnect myself from him and Rusty. I didn’t even go to the trial, partially due to Rusty asking Tasha to tell me not to. He said something about not wanting to put me through anything else. According to him, the murder of Gabe was going to be a large part of the evidence.

I remembered Gabe as soon as I read about him in Rusty’s journal. “I felt really bad for not telling him the truth,” it said. “But it’s for his own good. He doesn’t need to remember all that pain. Sometimes I wish I could get amnesia, myself."

“Jay,” Michael said to me one afternoon.

“Yeah?” I asked looking at him over my shoulder. I was lying on the bed as usual, just doing a lot of thinking.

“You have a visitor.”

I stood up and walked out onto the stairs. As I walked down them I saw Rusty standing nervously at the front door. “Rusty,” I said awkwardly.

“Jerry.” He grinned when he saw me and opened his arms for a hug, which I denied.

“I take it you're not in jail.”

“Nope, I'm not. But Jerry, why are you being this way?”

“Can we take this outside?” I asked him, and stepped out onto the deck without waiting for his reply.

“Ok, we're outside now. Now you owe me some answers,” he demanded.

“I owe you answers?” I asked him, turning to look into his eyes. “I think it's you who owes me some answers. Do you know what you've done to me?”

“Jerry, I'm sorry. You weren't supposed to find out.”

“And that makes it better?” I asked incredulously.

“No, it doesn't. But that's...Jerry, we did it to protect you. I didn't want you hurting anymore. Michael didn't want you hurting anymore. If you didn't have to remember the shit you've been through, what is the point in it?”

“Maybe because that shit was the love of my life!” I yelled at him. “Maybe I want to remember the good times that Gabe and I had! Maybe I loved him, and still do!” Rusty looked at the ground, and I almost felt bad for yelling at him. “Rusty, I do love Gabe. I can't forget him. I never will.”

He nodded sadly. “I understand. And that's why I came over here. I wanted to tell you goodbye.”

“Goodbye?” I asked.

“Jerry, I can't be just your friend. But I know that we'll never be able to be together. I love you too much to see you happy with somebody else. And I also know that I am never going to be good enough for you.”

“Rusty, don't-”

“Please, Jerry,” he cut me off. “I'm all kinds of fucked up. I know that we can't be together. I don't deserve a boy like you. You're kind and sweet and funny and...everything that I need. But you're everything that I can never have. I wouldn't want to hurt you, and that's all that I ever seem to do to anybody. Jerry, just remember that I do and always will love you. I respect you so much for everything that you have gone through. But I have to leave.”

“Rusty, you’re being too hard on yourself.”

“Maybe I am, but I do love you way too much to be able to stay anymore. Can I just have one last kiss before I go?”

I nodded silently and he took a step towards me. I made the move this time, and our lips pressed together for only the second time. This kiss was just as gentle as the last, but I felt more passion inside it. We held the kiss for what felt like a long time, but couldn’t have been more than a minute. He broke the kiss when I tried to push my tongue towards his.

“Thanks, Jerry. I will remember you forever.” I opened my mouth to say something, but felt the words catch in my throat. Rusty turned around, got into his car, and drove off.

I graduated in May, my grades still remarkably average. Michael and I had made peace with each other before the ceremony, and both he and Tasha, who I found out was a year below me, attended the ceremony. I marched down the aisle with the rest of my class to Pomp and Circumstance, feeling proud of myself, but a little bit numb. My parents didn’t care to come to the ceremony, even though I had sent them invitations. I looked into the crowd for them, but didn’t see them. I did, however, see a surprising face sitting next to Tasha. Rusty had attended my graduation. I smiled at him, and he forced a sad smile back.

Afterwards, I rushed outside to find my friends. “Michael! Tasha! Where’s Rusty?”

“He left, Jerry,” Tasha told me. I nodded silently. I expected as much.

“Cheer up, Jay,” Michael said to me. I looked at him and forced a smile. He handed me a small envelope.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Read it, smart one.”

I looked on the envelope, and read. “To Jerry, From the Lorenzes.” Opening it up, I found a one-way plane ticket to California, where the college I had been accepted to was located. “Happy Graduation, Jerry,” Michael said and gave me a big hug.

I looked forward to getting out of Riverton. I looked forward to leaving my old life behind. There was too much drama and pain in that town for me to be able to go to college there. I looked forward to getting to start my new life. Maybe Rusty was right, and I needed to leave all my old pain behind. But Rusty was certainly right that I needed to stop living for myself, and start to live for me.


I wanted to thank all of you who have read my first-ever story and provided me valuable feedback. You have no idea how much it means to me. I love all of you who have e-mailed me, and I would appreciate nothing more than your continued feedback and support (or displeasure, even.) I’d like to hear what you thought of the story as a whole.

The next story in the Riverton Rebels series is  Chords and Discord.