I jumped and spun around to face the intruder. A dark figure was laying on the couch, legs hanging over the armrest and, from what I could tell, arms crossed under his head.
"Who are you and what the fuck are you doing in my house?" I exclaimed. The figure sat up.
"Don't you recognize me, Ash?" I had to admit that the voice did sound familiar.
"I'm just gonna turn on the lamp." I turned heel an moved towards the lamp.
"No! Okay, it's me, Jake." I heard him chuckle.
"Jake you ass! You scared me half to death, what are you doing here anyway?"
"Can't a guy visit his friend?" Jake said innocently.
"Not at like four in the morning he can't." I switched on the lamp, Jake squinted at the sudden brightness.
"So where's Jinxx?" He asked, casually changing the subject.
"He's up-- wait, why are you asking me?" I said nervously, feeling my legs start to shake.
"Oh you know, just because," He shrugged. "you guys have been pretty close lately huh."
I narrowed my eyes. "What are you implying Jake." Though my voice sounded menacing, my heart was beginning to speed up. Did he know!
Jake stood up and walked over to me so we were toe-to-toe. "I saw you, Ash. I saw you and Jinxx." He poked my chest.
"I, I don't know what you're talking about." I stammered. My heart was in my throat and it was a wonder I could stand with my legs shaking so bad.
"Oh come on!" Jake shouted. "You thought I wouldn't notice how Jinxx was always at your house? The fact that you called him instead of an ambulance practically gave it away. How about when you made pancakes, I saw you and him in the kitchen, and when we sat down to eat you thought I wouldn't notice your legs touching!"
"Shush!" I hissed, afraid that the commotion would wake Jinxx.
"Why? Because Jinxx is upstairs sleeping in your bed!"
I could see there was no hiding this from Jake, sighing, I motioned for him to follow me into the kitchen. I flicked on the lights and put some water for coffee.
"You want some coffee?" I asked, suddenly exhausted.
"Only if you're gonna tell me what's going on between you two, not that I don't know, but I want to hear your side of the story."
"Yeah, yeah" I waved an arm dismissively.
Once we both had steaming mugs of coffee in front of us, I sat myself down next to him and held my head in my left hand. "So what do you wanna know?"
Two hours and several cups of coffee later I was winding towards the end of my story. Jake had sat patiently, allowing me to explain what had happened between us. I told him about my depression, falling in love with Jinxx, my accident. Basically everything except what had happened to Jinxx, that wasn't for me to tell. When I had said everything I could, I leaned back and took a huge breath.
After remaining silent for several minutes, Jake finally spoke up.
"Jesus Ash, I don't know why you thought you couldn't tell us!"
I looked down at my lap. "I didn't think you'd accept me"
"Ash, we're all a family. I know we say shit about gays, but if we'd known you were gay, we wouldn't have." Jake stood up and placed a brotherly arm around my shoulders.
"Thanks Jake." I smiled, but still had one last question for him. "So how did you find out, like, for sure, for sure. All those other things you mentioned could have just been a coincidence."
"Well, ever since the day at the hospital when Jinxx started acting weird I kept close tabs on you."
"You stalked me!"
"No! Maybe...okay, yes." He grinned. "Anyways, I noticed Jinxx spending a lot of time over here. Then, at the party, I followed you and Jinxx into the garden. I saw the whole thing."
I recalled the prickling sensation in the back of my head, as if being watched. No wonder I had felt uncomfortable and asked to leave!
"Let me tell you Ash, that whole thing on the gazebo, that was beautiful. If there was ever two people meant to be together, it's you two." Jake looked at me seriously, his brown eyes didn't hold the same light that Jinxx's had.
"Thanks man." I patted his back and was surprised when he pulled me into a hug and mussed my hair. "So does this mean the rest of the guys know?"
"Naw man, if you don't want me to tell them, I won't, but just know that they'll accept you the way you are."
We talked for about thirty more minutes before the sun finally started to paint the sky a hazy purple. I walked Jake to the door and watched him drive away, then I walked back upstairs to Jinxx. He was still knocked out, his chest rising and falling rhythmically. I sat down on the foot of the bed and placed my head in my hands, just watching him. Where would we go from here?
Several months later...
We were just about ready to start The Church of The Wild Ones Tour. I was totally stoked, these last few months had honestly been the greatest months of my life. Everyday I got to be with Jinxx, those first few days after the encounter with Sammi, Jinxx was quiet and melancholy. He stayed in our room, sitting on the window-seat and looking at the California view. Sebastian and Chrome, sensing his sadness, spent most of their time sitting on his lap or napping by his legs. During the first few weeks, I was inseparable from Jinxx, I called the guys and told them I needed to be left alone for personal reasons, they respected my request and didn't bother us. After that though, I knew that Jinxx needed to work through it alone, I didn't abandon him, I was there when he needed me, but I knew he needed his space.
Slowly but surely, Jinxx started spending time out of the room, I remember one day he asked me to teach him how to surf. So we packed our things and drove out to Santa Monica beach. After going over the basics, we ran into the water and began our lesson. Jinxx sucked. He really did, but the smile on his face and the sound of his laughter as he resurfaced was enough to take my breath away. Then we laid down in the sand, I watched the salt crystalize on his skin as he watched puffy white clouds float above our heads. It was truly a magical day for us.
Then, one lazy Saturday, Jinxx and I were in our room playing UNO when there was a light knock on the door.
"I'll get it!" Jinxx jumped from the bed, eager to get away to avoid the shame of losing yet again.
"Okay, I'll reset the game." I said, and began to divide the cards for a new round.
Jinxx disappeared down the stairs, I hummed as I reset the deck of cards. I heard the door open, and then the murmur of voices. It wasn't until I heard a wail that I got up from the bed and walked to the top of the stairs. From the landing, I could see the unmistakable halo of golden curls. I looked over the banister and was shocked at what I saw. Sammi, looking as radiant and beautiful as ever, weeping at the feet of a paralyzed Jinxx.
I rushed down the stairs, taking them two at a time, and moved to stand beside Jinxx, placing a hand on his shoulder to let him know I was there. Now that I was closer, I got a good look at Sammi, and what I saw made me feel a mixture of empathy, disgust, and pity. Sammi's hair was still the color of sunlight, but it was thin and brittle, her once creamy white skin looked sallow and waxy. Her face was gaunt, with the skin pulled tight over her cheekbones, her tear-stained eyes looked huge on her thin face. Sammi was wearing a gauzy summer dress, mean to hide but failed, at covering her bulging belly.
"I'm so sorry!" She cried, and held onto his legs. "Jinxx, you don't know how sorry I am, please forgive me!" She sobbed. I clenched my fist.
"Forgive you! You want Jinxx to forgive you!" I shouted. "After what you did to him!"
She ignored my outburst. "I know I raped you Jinxx. I know I hurt you in the worst of ways." She buried her face in his jeans. "I don't know why I did it, sometimes I just get filled with so much hate, it comes in random waves that pull me under the surface and when I come back up, I don't know what the hell happened. I know I'm sick, Jinxx, I know. Please help me!" She broke into another bought of sobs, her pointy shoulders shaking with every heave.
Beside me, Jinxx thawed. Wordlessly, he took her by the shoulders and lifted her up. He carried her into the living-room and sat her on the couch, he took the farthest seat from her and just stared silently, waiting for her to get ahold of herself.
"Have you been eating?" He said at last. "You look very thin, Ash, bring some tea and food."
"What! Okay, okay." I agreed after his cold glare. I grumbled as I prepared the water and brought out some fruit and made sandwiches. At the time, I didn't understand why Jinxx wanted me to treat her nicely after the trauma she had caused him, but I was at the point where I would do anything for Jinxx. So I made some green tea and brought out the food. She took the steaming cup graciously, holding it with both spidery hands to avoid spilling. I took a seat to the right of Jinxx.
With a shuddery breath, Sammi drew herself up and looked at us. "I want you to have him."
"Why." Was Jinxx's response.
"Look at me. I'm a mess, I'm probably insane, even now I can feel the anger tugging at the back of my head. I don't know how much longer I can fight it. Just please accept, please, when he's born I want you to take him. I don't want him to grow up with an insane woman for a mother, who knows what I could do to him. It may be hard to believe, but I do love him. And he's yours." She placed both hands on her belly and smiled a sad smile, then looked up at us again. "Will you take him?"
Jinxx intertwined his hands and sighed. He tilted his head and looked up at me, his blue eyes questioning, asking me. I looked at Sammi, who looked at us with big hopeful eyes, then at her big swollen belly. I wondered what type of life the baby would have living with Sammi, if she didn't get help it would surely be a nightmare for the poor child. Then again, did I want kids? I had never thought about raising a kid, how would it affect Jinxx and I? How would it affect our career? Then again...I looked at Jinxx and gave him my answer.