Bescreen’d in Night: A Covenant Short

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(Takes place from 18-December 1992-21 December 1992)

Three

 

20 December 1992

Jonathan’s eyes were sore, but he kept them on Claire as she spoke to the Fort Worth police officer. When the clock had finally hit the forty-eight-hour mark, David’s mother had reported him missing. Almost two hours later, a car had arrived at their home, bringing two detectives to ask questions of all of them. Jonathan found it strange the police spoke very little to him, since he’d been the last one to see David. Stranger still, they spoke the longest with his own parents, who’d not seen David in forty-three days, while the person who knew him the best—no, the people who knew him the best—stood by, information completely untapped.

Growling, Jonathan whirled on his heel and stomped back to his bedroom. Trailed by Amy, Chad, Travis, and Bailey, he flung himself onto the edge of the bed, rubbing his face harshly. Amy was first to speak. “I can’t believe they won’t even really look at you—”

“I swear it’s like they think I did it or something. Every minute they let tick by is a minute he won’t get back. Should we start calling hospitals?” Jonathan glanced over at the bare nightstand, his eyes burning.

“I can do that with Mama Claire and Mama Abby, you boys and Bill need to be the boots on the ground, okay?” Amy slanted a glance in the direction of the police officers. “It’s kind of obvious they’re not talking to us because who wants to help the gay boy?”

“It’s true about their views on us homos,” Bailey commented. “I mean, this is Texas, not someplace like San Francisco where gay people are far more commonplace.” He lowered his voice to finish, “They’d be more likely to help anyone but a homo.”

“Jonathan?”

His friends parted like the Red Sea when Claire peered around the hallway and called his name. Jonathan sniffled, answered, “Momma Claire?”

“I told the detectives they needed to speak with you since you were the last person to be with David, other than his “alleged” attacker.” She sniffled. “They also confirmed Jonah was on base at Fort Hood when the “attack” happened, so it couldn’t have been him.”

Jonathan shook his head. “Nothing else makes sense, and I’m not trying to—”

“I know.” She nodded in the direction of the living room. “They want to speak to you.”

Almost an hour later and they’d spoken with all five of them, making it clear they were not to return to the crime scene nor disturb it again, and they confiscated the flannel shirt for evidence. When the detectives left, Amy looked over at Jonathan, saying, “Fuck what they said. They won’t look for him, we will. You boys go out and look for him. Mamas and I will start a freaking telephone tree. Papa Bill, can we get Jonny’s phone hooked back up before you leave with the fellas?”

They searched for hours.

It was almost ten o’clock when Bill pulled the Suburban into the drive, Chad and Travis behind him. Bailey squeezed Jonathan’s shoulder, murmuring, “We’ll find him. I promise, Shea. We will find him.”

Jonathan nodded miserably. “I know, Bay.”

“He’s right, Jonathan. We will find David. You have my word,” Bill vowed. “We will find him and bring him home.”

 

The boys had dog-piled in the living room, surrounding Jonathan in effort to keep the nightmares back, and the search resumed immediately the next morning, dragging in the parents of Jonathan’s friends. Amy’s mom, and Chad’s and Travis’ parents, and Bailey’s dad all joined in the search for David Blackthorn. A little past five o’clock, they hit a stroke of luck with calls again to the hospitals in the area. Abby was told a patient had been brought in late Friday night, that he’d not woken, and that he bore tattoos all up and down his arms. When Abby asked his age and color of his hair, all the nurse would tell her was that the police had installed two guards around the clock outside his door and that until he woke, they would let no-one in the room.

For over an hour, they tried to devise a feasible way to get into the room to see if it was David. They attempted to talk to the police to see if the detectives had even looked at the patient in the hospital, and ended up leaving a message on their answering machine. Abby cooked dinner as the group of them continued to try to get onto the floor with the possible David, and as they were eating, one of the detectives called back and reprimanded them for trying to glean confidential information from a charge nurse. He told them to let them handle it, that if they wanted to put his photo on milk cartons and fliers, they could, but to stay away from that hospital room. They would be notified as soon as the patient awoke.

As Bill hung up the phone, Jonathan left the table, not waiting for anyone as he threw his bedroom door shut behind him. Stripping out of his clothes, he crawled under the sheets and pulled his pillow over his head, willingly succumbing to sleep in hopes he’d hear David’s voice. Torment with David present was better than torment without him, because at least Jonathan would get a chance to save him. In reality, every avenue was thwarted by the people tasked with finding David.

But I will find you. I promise… and come what may, I will make a way for us to be together, side by side, forever.

Sleep swept over him in heavy waves, dreamless when he needed to see David’s face, and the shadows holding him under were faceless, a terrific undertow holding him under when he tried so hard to surface. Jonathan’s hand caught on something, jolting him up from sleep, but not rousing fully until his mother swatted his rear. Her words reached him—“Jonny, scoot over and sit up! I need your help getting David into bed.”—and he snapped to full awareness in a split second.

“I’m—I’m okay—”

Jonathan’s voice, muffled by the pillow, formed a hallowed name. “David…?” His eyes flew wide as he turned to see a silhouette he’d know anywhere… and then as Abby helped David to perch carefully on the edge of Jonathan’s bed, he finished, “Oh, David… oh, God… oh, babe!

All the air seemed to go out of him and those incredible eyes looked past Jonathan for a long moment before David gasped, and tears spilled down his cheeks. Bruises seemed to be everywhere, he wore a cast on his left arm, and when he stumbled as he tried to stand, his stiff movements spoke volumes to Jonathan of the marks he couldn’t see. Jonathan and Abby caught David and steadied him before he could fall, and as Jonathan helped David into the bed, propping pillows up behind himself and tentatively curling his arm low around David’s belly, his love reached for Abby’s hand, whispering, “Can you call my mom? I don’t want her to worry… and… and thank you.”

Abby smiled, shaking her head. “Oh, honey, you are like a third son to us. I’m just sorry we got hung up on silly details. What should matter is you.” Pressing a kiss to his golden hair, she glanced up at Jonathan before smiling gently at David. “Now relax. I’ll call your momma and get her and your brothers over here. For once, Christmas will fill the house.”

As she disappeared out the door, Jonathan could not stop the silent tears, and he nuzzled David’s hair, breathing him in as his boyfriend hissed, “My apologies for leaving you—”

“No, no…” Jonathan shook his head vehemently, “Baby, you don’t need to apologize. We all looked for you when you didn’t come back. The guy at the popcorn stand said he saw you arguing with an older guy in a green army jacket and that he dragged you away by the wrist. It was all he had to say for me to know what happened, but I still wasn’t able to find you afterwards and then your phone rang off the hook. Momma Claire called me the next day asking after you and that’s when I got worried. I told her you’d left during the movie and that I’d tried calling that morning. She said she’d not heard your phone ring, but that you’d never come home. I called up Travis and Chad and we all went looking for you, but we couldn’t find you.”

David gently pressed his cheek to Jonathan’s when Jonathan leaned in to kiss David’s shoulder, his voice again a whisper when he spoke. “According to the lady that brought me here, some guy called 911 after finding me. I was taken to a hospital and apparently had hypothermia enough they needed to put one of those Quantum Leap-looking blankets on me to get me warm enough to take blood. Also this—” David held up his broken arm. “—broke the skin in two places and three ribs are fractured.”

“Oh, babe—”

“Are you going to be okay, David?”

Jonathan smiled gently at his little brother, Cody, poking his head through the door. His eyes were so wide and shiny, Jonathan knew he was as worried about David as Jonathan. David patted the bed in front of him. “You can come in, Cod.”

In seconds, Cody was carefully crawling across the mattress and then inching backwards to curl into the line of David’s body, ever-so-slowly laying his head on David’s belly so as not to hurt him. Sound asleep moments later, David’s lithe fingers threaded through the wispy gold locks as he lifted his face up, meeting Jonathan’s gaze as he said aloud, “I know I look a mess—”

Jonathan blinked, exclaiming, “Don’t use your voice! I know it hurts!” One hand tenderly cupped David’s jaw, tears slipping down Jonathan’s face.

“I want you to hear me. I want you to know that I love you, that I’d never leave you, that you’re my world, Jonathan Shea.” David pressed a kiss to Jonathan’s lips, allowing his voice to drop back down to a hiss. “I didn’t think… I didn’t think his anger at me would last so long! Why can’t he be like your dad? Why does he think I’m bad? Am I bad? Jonny, am I?”

“Oh, babe… no, we’re not bad! We’re not doing anything wrong! We’re not… we’re just being who God made us to be! He made us this way!” Jonathan kissed David thoroughly, deepening the kiss this time. “God made us to love one another and He does not make mistakes!”

I am so glad he’s here. I’m so glad he’s in my arms and I’m not letting him go. I’m not ever letting him go. Jonathan kissed David’s mouth again, saying against his lips, “I will never ever let this happen to you again, love of my heart. Never ever again. I’m going to ask my parents if you, Momma Claire, Josh and Lij can stay with us after the holidays.”

“You think they’ll—”

Jonathan nodded. “Oh, I’m pretty certain Mama will make Dad agree.”

David sighed, the corners of his lips lifting. “Told you.”

“Yeah, you did.” Jonathan chuckled. “Sleep, babe. I will make certain no-one touches you while you rest.”

As David succumbed to his fatigue, Jonathan watched over him, making a mental vow to the one he loved. I will never let any unkind hand touch you again. You will only know joy and love so long as I’m around, beautiful man. Tears slid down his cheeks. If we taste salt when we kiss, like Mama’s cross-stitch says, it will be because you are so happy, you can’t contain it. I promise.

Pressing a kiss to David’s golden hair, Jonathan closed his eyes and breathed. “Oh, you’re home!”

 

–FINIS–

Bescreen’d in Night: A Covenant Short

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(Takes place from 18 December 1992-21 December 1992)

Two

 

19 December 1992

Jonathan stalked through the house, his eyes open wide to keep the emotion swelling in his throat and sending tremors through his body, from raining down his cheeks. Crawling up the ladder and into the treehouse he and his father had built when he was eight, Jonathan flopped backwards.

The last time I was up in here, David, you were with me and we made out. We nearly got caught, but we managed to convince my mom we were just playing around. That was before forty-two days of hell.

Pulling the moleskin journal out of his back pocket, Jonathan hiccupped and grabbed the pen from the inside pocket of his coat. Bending over the journal as he opened it, he scribed the song exploding in his head. He knew the Bowie influences would be obvious, but he made a mental note to put it only in his journal.

Night bleeds into day
I am spun out of orbit
Day blazes into night
It’s been so long
Well, it’s been so long

My eyes scan the stars
Cold on earth and broken too
The stars blaze bright for me
It’s been so long
Well, it’s been so long

Forty-two days I waited
Forty-two nights I died
Forty-two days I froze
Forty-two nights I lied

And it’s been so long
You’ve been gone so long
I’m so afraid of losing you

Stuffing the pen in the journal, Jonathan shoved it back into the pocket as he heard someone on the ladder. Scooting over into the corner, he wrapped his arms around his shins and pushed his face into his knees. The tears were so close he wasn’t certain he could keep them back much longer, but the time ticked by relentlessly and still they had no lead on David. They were still under the forty-eight-hour mark, which meant the police could do nothing.

Even if he’s been hurt before and it’s likely he’s been hurt again. It doesn’t matter, right? Not at all!

“Dammit!” Jonathan shouted, slamming his fist into the wall. “Dammit! Dammit!”

“Hey, man! Hey, hey, Shea, chill out! This ain’t gonna help shit!” Travis wound around Jonathan, pulling his head down to his chest and rubbing Jonathan’s side. “We’ll find him. Promise. We’ll find him. Just calm down.”

“He’s been gone, Cap, he’s been gone for—” The image of his watch flashed through his brain. “9:32. That was when he left for the bathroom last night. He left at 9:32.” His mind worked the calculations and he lifted his face to look up into Travis’ eyes. “He’s been gone sixteen hours and forty-three minutes, Cap. It only took eight minutes for him to be taken. I didn’t even know he was gone because I thought it was just a really long line for freakin’ popcorn!”

“Jonathan! Stop torturing yourself!” Travis hissed. “Just stop. This won’t help you to focus. There is nothing on this earth could keep the two of you apart. He will come home.” Tears shone in his friend’s eyes, and Jonathan knew they reflected the pain he felt at trying to empathize with him. “He will.”

Jonathan nodded, allowing himself a moment of weakness, and he broke down for a moment. Travis held him, rubbing his back in long slow strokes.

As they descended the ladder a few minutes later, Amy and Chad walked across the patio, the former asking, “Why don’t we go back to the drive-in?”

“For what?” Jonathan answered, sniffling as he tugged his toboggan onto his head. “You don’t think he’d go back there, do you?”

“Maybe there’s something there that could tell us something about where he went?” she suggested. “Retrace our steps, and without people there, we can see more of what is there. Maybe see what he could see?”

Jonathan nodded. “I have to do something. I can’t just sit here and wait. Let’s go.”

The ride over to the drive-in passed in sporadic conversation, and they picked up Bailey on the way. Jonathan loved his friends, all of which made a point to hold onto him on the drive, and he knew he was not alone.

But you are, babe. I don’t know how or why, but I know that somewhere out there, you are alone. I pray you aren’t—

The truck came to a stop, rousing Jonathan from thought and he looked up to see the empty drive-in in the daytime, stripped of the magic it bathed in at night, standing forlorn before the truck.

—but I know you are, and I’m coming for you. I will find you, love of my heart.

They unloaded from the truck, and Jonathan followed his friends at a dead run through the ticket booth’s arch and down the dirt road to the field. Orienting himself a little, he ran over to the stall they’d parked in, faced the screen, then slowly turned his eyes to the closed concession stand. Squinting at the bright sunlight, Jonathan murmured to himself, “Watched you turn and look at me as you were heading over to the bathrooms. You smiled, told me you loved me.”

“Came from there, Opie said,” Travis said, coming to stand on his right, pointing one gloved hand toward the bathrooms at the rear of the concession stand. “Over there.”

Jonathan nodded. “So many people were here last night. Between here and there, and if Jonah showed up, no-one would’ve noticed.”

“It’s a family-oriented place. There were a lot of kids here last night, so between the movie and the kids—”

“Fellas!”

Jonathan and Travis looked over at where Bailey and Amy stood by the bathrooms. They ran over to their friends, Amy leading them around the back of the building to the dumpster just beyond the propane tank. “Check it out, Shea. I’m pretty damn sure that’s your shirt.”

Jonathan knelt down, reaching for the flannel sleeve poking out from behind the dumpster. “It is. It’s my shirt. David—” His hands shook as he tugged on the fabric and the rest of it pulled free. As he took in a stiff brown stain discoloring some of the side and much of the left arm, his eyes widened to keep the tears from falling. All the air went out of him as he took his gaze to each of their faces. “He’s hurt. He’s not here, and he’s hurt.”

Amy knelt to wrap him up in a tight embrace. “Shea, we’re gonna find him. I give you my word.”

 

He was running.

He was always running, but this time, it was night, and the shadows were thick… deep. They enveloped any light Jonathan drew near, consuming it entirely until he ran by touch and by need. His breath came in heavy puffs, the chill freezing the back of his throat to an almost painful state, and the stitch in his side nearly felled him.

HELP ME! PLEASE, HELP ME!

Jonathan tripped and sprawled on his belly, skidding for a good four feet before he came to a stop. Spitting out dirt, he rose to all fours, a stinging in his elbows and knees telling of the scrapes he’d taken in the fall.

Another scream, but this one was his name. His heart pounded hard in his chest, and he vaulted into a run once more.

David… David, I’m coming! I’m so close! Hold on, babe!

Jonathan careened around a corner, light blinding him temporarily even as he threw one arm up to shield his eyes, sending him to the ground again. He heard the bone snap as pain lanced through his right arm. Jonathan bit back a shout as he cradled it to his chest, launching himself forward on unsteady legs, and every single movement sent his jaw tensing to get through the pain.

David… have to get to you. I’m coming, baby. I’m coming to save you!

Jonathan blinked as black spots appeared in the edges of his vision, still he pushed forward, finally catching sight of that golden hair. Crimson seemed to be everywhere, and he slipped, curling up to protect his injured arm. He tasted copper, but on the air, the faint scent of David’s soap touched his nose. Jonathan’s eyes flew open, and for a moment, he forgot about his own pain and pushed up onto his hands. Fire shot through his ruined arm, sending a shriek tearing from his throat, the noise rousing the broken butterfly beneath him to lucidity.

“Jon-ny…?”

Jonathan sat back on his haunches, gathering David close to him, but blood seemed to be coming from everywhere, and as precious words tumbled from his lips—“David, I love you! Please…!”—those beautiful blue eyes lost their sight—

NO!”

Jonathan jerked awake so quickly, he tumbled from the couch, banging his elbow on the corner of the coffee table. Gentle hands lit on his shoulders, a calming voice murmuring, “Baby boy! Hey, hey, hey! It’s Mama. Jonathan! Wake up, honey!”

He jolted upright, rubbing his elbow as his face creased with pain, but then strong arms caught him up, a large hand threading fingers through his hair as his father’s scratchy chin brushed his own, Bill whispering, “I gotcha, son. I got ya… and I’m sorry I made you feel—”

Jonathan didn’t wait to hear the whole apology, he lost the tenuous hold he had on his fear and crumbled in his father’s arms, allowing the man who’d always protected him to be the stronger.

Those beautiful blue eyes lost their sight—

 

 On to Bescreen’d in Night: THREE

Bescreen’d in Night: A Covenant Short

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(Takes place from 18 December 1992-21 December 1992)

One

 

Jonathan shivered, hugging his arms. He glanced down at his watch, tears burning in his eyes, but he didn’t let them fall. A hand fell to his shoulder, and he jerked, sniffling. Chad wrapped around him, hugging him tightly, and as he pulled back, Bailey did the same, apologizing.

“Man, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lose sight of him. I didn’t think—” He broke off, pushing his face against Jonathan’s shoulder in an uncharacteristic move. “God, I’m so, so sorry!”

“Not your fault, Bay,” Jonathan told him, his voice hoarse from their initial search for David. “We thought we were safe here, the whole big group of us.”

Travis jogged over to them. “Okay, just talked to Opie over at the popcorn stand. He said he saw David arguing with a guy in a green army jacket. The guy was older, Opie said, and grabbed David by the wrist and dragged him out towards the entrance.”

Jonathan let go of Bailey and ran over to the concession stand. The door was closed, but he could see the kid Travis had spoken to inside, wiping down the counter. He banged the flat of his hand against the window to get his attention, and when the red-headed pimply kid unlocked the door and opened it, Jonathan let out a breath he was unaware he’d been holding. “My boyfriend. You said you saw a guy in a green army jacket drag him away? What time was it then? Do you remember?”

The kid smiled softly, nodding. “It was right after I put the dogs on, so 9:40. The guy was older, kinda dad-like, it seemed. They began arguing loudly as the young man came from the direction of the bathroom. The young man was beautiful. Glowed, almost, like an angel. He reached up a hand to push his hair from his face and that’s when the older guy grabbed hold of him and dragged him towards the entrance, towards a white truck, I think it was.”

Jonathan nodded. “Thank you… Opie, Travis said your name was?”

“No, it’s Chris, but everyone calls me Opie. They say I look like the guy on The Andy Griffith Show.” Chris smiled. “I don’t mind. Hope you find your boyfriend.”

“Yeah, me, too. Thanks, Chris.” Jonathan turned away, rubbing his face with his hands, and welcoming the comfort Travis’ arm falling onto his shoulders brought. “When is this nightmare going to be over with?” he asked no-one.

“You have the power to change it, y’know.” Travis’ voice was low. “I’ve told you before you fellas could come stay with me.”

“I know.” Jonathan sniffled. “We may have to do that. I’ll let you know, man.”

Chad’s arm fell over Travis’ and he ruffled Jonathan’s hair. “Babe, why don’t I drive him home, and Bay can take you back to my house? I’ll meet you there, but I need to make sure Jonny gets home okay and I’ll be there to help him tell Abby what happened, too.”

“All right.” Travis pressed his forehead to Chad’s for a long minute before whirling to call out to Bailey, “Bay! Gimme a ride to Chad’s place?”

Jonathan watched his friend run over to Bailey’s truck and he asked Chad, “Do his or your parents know about you two yet?”

“Only people that know are you fellas, Amy and Bay.” Chad smiled tightly as they climbed into the truck. “And that’s ’cause you’re all the same as us.”

“Bay is gay?” Jonathan blinked. “I didn’t know that.”

“Yep. He’s got his eye on someone, but I ain’t got a clue who.” Chad turned over the engine, and paused to back safely out of the stall. “But he likes dudes.” Flashing a comforting smile at Jonathan, Chad murmured, “I think it’s normal for us all to be super-cautious about coming out. Watching what’s happened with you two, it’s taught us we ain’t always right about who to trust with our lovers’ identities.”

Who to trust indeed.

For most of the ride back from the drive-in, they listened to KSCS, a local country station, and most of what played was Garth Brooks and George Strait, with just a dash of Reba and Brooks & Dunn. Jonathan heard the music playing and his friend singing along, but other than the hand that moved between the gear shift and his own shoulder, Jonathan stayed lost in thought.

David, I hope you’re okay. God, please don’t have given him to me just to take him away. Please, please… I beg you. I beg you!

Before he knew it, they were walking up to his door, and Jonathan let himself inside, pulling the door shut after Chad. Turning the light on in the kitchen, he motioned for his friend to stay put and he let himself into his parents’ bedroom. Moving over to his mom’s side of the bed, he knelt down and lightly ran his fingers over her hand, whispering, “Mama?”

Lifting her head, she blinked sleepily. “Baby boy?”

“Mama, I gotta talk to you. It can’t wait.” Jonathan’s voice broke, though he tried hard to keep it steady.

“Okay, baby. Give me a minute to get my robe and I’ll come out to talk to you.” Abby reached back to pat Bill’s arm. “Billy, lemme up. Back in a minute, love.”

Jonathan hurried out of the room and whirled on his heel to lean against the kitchen counter. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he lifted a worried gaze to Chad. What if he kills him?

“Try calling him,” Chad suggested.

“At this hour? His phone ringing would cause a murder, and it’s likely been pulled from his room like mine was,” Jonathan answered, but he moved over to punch in the number. Putting the receiver to his ear, he sat down at the table and listened to it ring.

And ring.

And ring.

And ring.

His parents’ bedroom door opened, and both his parents came out in their robes. Abby reached for Jonathan as he tried to call David a second time, and when he hung up after the fifth ring, he pushed his face into her shoulder and shook for a moment. Calm would not come, and when Jonathan lifted his face it was wet, his eyes glittering as he took them to his father’s worried set.

“I figured you already knew, ’cause you always do, but in the slim chance you don’t—” Sniffle. “—I went out with the team tonight and David went with us.” Sniffle. Bill blanched, shock clear in his features. Jonathan continued. “Jonah showed up. He grabbed Dave and they fought. No-one saw them leave and no-one can find Dave.”

“Perhaps the reason you can’t raise him on the phone is because Jonah did the same thing I did to affect the same conclusion—” Bill took a step towards Jonathan, who stepped back, steadied by Chad.

“Or perhaps the bruises he’s sported, sir, for the last six weeks, are soon to be worse. It ain’t fair or right, the way you two fathers are treatin’ your sons. Jesus always preached love and tolerance, not fear and anger. Even His rage in the temple was righteous, and he loved everyone, even the thief on the cross at the end.” Chad wrapped an arm around Jonathan’s shoulder. “But you know that, I know, because you’re a student of The Word. So check it out, and love your son, and when you get the chance to earn his forgiveness, I’d take it, were I you.” Pressing a kiss to Jonathan’s temple, he cupped his face, taking his gaze captive. “I’ma call you in the morning, and we’ll start looking at David’s house. Maybe your dad’s right and he’s just had his phone privileges revoked. Okay? Nothing else we can do tonight.”

“What if—?“ Jonathan started, his hands hooking on Chad’s forearms.

“Don’t bend your mind on it. You have to focus on the positive, Shea. Got it?” Chad smiled. “The other’ll drive you mad.”

 

Jonathan did not find an easy sleep. He dreamt the same dream sleep had given him for the last forty-one nights. He woke with the sharp lurch of his belly and he ran to the bathroom, losing the few contents he’d put in there the night before. He gave himself sixty seconds to lose his mind before he forcibly took hold of his emotions and shoved them down.

Tonight, in my mind, I became your husband and you became mine.

Amor meus in aeternum.

Babe, I’m going to marry you someday. I promise you. One day, I’m going to give you Shea.

Amor meus in aeternum.

I love you.

Jonathan washed his face and shaved, brushed his teeth and straightened the rat’s nest a disturbed sleep had made of his hair. Putting on clothes, he made his way out to the kitchen to find his father cooking breakfast. Jonathan glanced over at Cody, who gave a one-shouldered shrug in reply. Jonathan smiled at his little brother before turning to their dad and asking, “Would it be all right if I called David?”

“I still think you’ll meet the same—”

The phone rang, and Jonathan ran to it, checking the Caller ID to see Jonah Wolff above the Wolff home number. Grabbing it up, he answered breathlessly, “Hello?”

“Jonny?” Claire, David’s mother, and their champion, sounded worried. “Is he with you?”

Jonathan hit his knees. “No. I was just about—” He broke off, his heart pounding so hard in his chest, it hurt. “I was just about to call his phone, but when I did last night, it just rang off the hook.”

“That’s odd.” He heard Claire moving around, heard a door open, and then the sound of her forehead hitting the doorjamb. Her sigh had a hitch in it, and then she spoke again. “Jonny, his phone is gone. That’s why he didn’t answer, apart from never coming home last night.”

“He left during the movie to go to the restroom and the popcorn stand. He never came back and all of us looked everywhere.” His voice broke. “The guy at the concession stand said he argued and left with a guy in an army jacket, so I assumed Jonah came to get him when Eli told on us.”

“Eli?” Claire echoed. “That little shit!”

“Eli’s been keeping my dad informed, so I assumed he was telling Jonah, too,” Jonathan divulged. He didn’t come home. He didn’t come home! God, please, please let him be okay!

“All right. I’m grabbing my jacket and heading over to you—”

“And I’ll call the guys and get them here, too. We’ll start a search party,” Jonathan finished. “See you soon.”

Jonathan didn’t unleash his panic until the calls to their friends had been made. As soon as he hung up the phone, he ran to the bathroom and splashed water on his face. His insides roiled, but he kept himself in check, allowing himself only the time it took to slide down the door to the tile floor to freak out. Lifting his eyes to the sky he could see out the high window, he murmured, “All he’s ever done is love, Father. He loves and he sparkles and he holds to hope even when everything seems so hopeless! He’s a star in the night sky and the sun during the day. He’s warm and loving and, God, he’s wonderful! Please, please, send someone to keep him safe! Please, please, I beg of you!”

Knock on the door.

Getting to his feet, he shut off the light as he left the room, nodding as his mother told him Claire had arrived. Crossing the living room carpet, he threw himself bodily into her hug. Pulling back just as quickly, he nodded curtly. “We got work to do.”

 

On to Bescreen’d in Night: TWO

Bescreen’d in Night: A Covenant Short

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(Takes place from 18 December 1992-21 December 1992)

Proem

 

18 December 1992

Jonathan felt his lips upturn in a lazy smile as he watched David tug his own flannel up his arms, covering the mystical Celtic henna patterns traversing his skin. Jonathan reached out one hand to slide up his boyfriend’s chest, murmuring, “I hope I didn’t—”

David blushed, shaking his head. “You didn’t.” Leaning down, he slanted his mouth over Jonathan’s in a reverent kiss. “But I can—” He cheeks flushed a deeper red.

“You can what?” Jonathan pressed, tucking David’s halo blonde hair behind his ears. “Tell me.”

David leaned in to whisper, “I can still feel you inside.”

Jonathan bit his lip to still the tremor those six words sent thrumming throughout his whole body. When David straddled Jonathan’s legs, stealing another longer kiss, Jonathan wrapped around him, holding tighter to him as they sat up. “Tonight needed to be special. Tonight reflected the strength of our bond.”

“Tonight, we tied ourselves together in the oldest way possible.” David’s hands fell to Jonathan’s chest, he leaning in to hold Jonathan’s gaze captive, amber to blue, as he pressed a kiss to Jonathan’s lips. “Tonight, in my mind—”

“I became your husband and you became mine?” Jonathan finished, quirking an amused eyebrow.

Tears of joy sparkled in David’s eyes, his smile shining like a sun as he answered, “Yes!”

“Babe…” I love you so much. “I’m going to marry you someday. I promise you. One day, I will give you Shea.” I am so blessed. You have blessed me, Lord, by giving to me this man as my soul’s mate. I will do nothing to mar such a wonderful gift, and I will work to serve you each day of my life for the gift of him!

A hand waved in front of his eyes, a thumb passing across his lower lip only to be replaced by a full pair he’d never be able to stop kissing. Jonathan opened his mouth to deepen the kiss, one hand burying in the back of that warm golden hair. “Bathroom, right?” he asked as they came up for air.

“Then concession stand, then back to you.” David stole another kiss. “Amor meus in aeternum.” With a wink, David climbed out of the back of the truck and whirled around to mouth I love you at him before turning on his heel and jogging towards the bathrooms.

Jonathan collapsed backwards onto the pillows as he snuggled down in the sleeping bag and blanket pallet, pulling his clothes on and together. Joy filled him, tumbling out of his mouth in peals of quiet laughter. We made love. We made love. We didn’t just frot, or go down on one another. We made love and we didn’t hurt one another. We did it right—we made love! Running his hands through his hair to straighten it, he closed his eyes, replaying all of the words and the day itself, over in his mind.

High King Peter the Magnificent… and his Faerie King David.

Kisses in the back bathroom.

The dream at naptime.

Holding and kissing David.

I love you! So much… I’m in love with you… and one day… one day, I want to marry you, Jonathan.

Lovemaking.

Laughing lightly, Jonathan rubbed his face with both hands, opening his eyes on a clear night sky as he whispered, glancing at his watch so as to note the time later in his journal, “9:32… Babe, come back to me! I miss you already.”

 

On to Bescreen’d in Night: ONE

 

Rainbow Snippets #15

NASA Cygnus Loop

My snippet today comes from a flash fiction I submitted to the QSF anthology, and it was rejected, so I’ll use it for something else. It’s called “Falling Into You” and I hope you like it! It’s from Sirius’ memory.

Quick Note: Mars are a human-like species not of this world, but they have power over creation. They worship the wind and they can transform into owls. They can cross into our world, but most choose not to do so. In this case, Salazar chose to cross over… and hopefully, soon, I will tell you why!:)

The tawny feathers of his cloak rippled as Sirius stalked through the Hall of Pillars in the Temple of Zephyros. His gaze locked on Salazar, communing at an altar fashioned in the shape of an owl in flight, the pure white feathers of his cloak spread around him. Head bowed, the tousled raven waves of his hair cascaded over his shoulders. Sirius whirled to a stop behind his love, his expressive face pale, generous mouth forming a thin double line.

“Why?”

The superb Mar faced him, violet eyes wide, “How can you ask me that, Sirius?”

Rainbow Snippets #14

NASA Veil Nebula

I am so late for this (and I apologize!)… but here’s my last minute addition!😦 Please forgive me!

My snippet is from AETERNUM, the next book in the Covenant Series. It’s Christmastime 1993 (two days before Christmas), and David and Jonathan have adjourned to the Wolffs home. They’ve been making candy with their moms and little brothers all afternoon, and David’s just spent a little time with his stepfather in the living room with the tree. Jonah (stepdad) had his car broken into, so he’s replaced David’s Walkman and CD, and David is listening to his reclaimed music when Jonathan happens upon him.

David blushed, ducking his head to hide behind the curtain of gold hair as he grimaced, asking, “Was I singing very loud?”

Jonathan pressed a kiss to his lips, answering, “Not loud enough for me to hear that beautiful voice of yours, no, but loud enough for me to know you were singing Born to Be My Baby, and babe, I gotta say that I really was born to be your man.”

David giggled, blushing as he agreed, “Yeah, I know, and I love that.”

“I could get my guitar and we could sing together—”

“I don’t know…”

Jonathan lifted David’s chin with one finger, his face open and his expressive eyes wide and clear as he pleaded, “Baby, I have wanted to sing with you again since Halloween. Please… my guitar or the machine, you choose, but allow me one song?”

Rainbow Snippets #13

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My snippet today is from Bescreen’d in Night again.:) This time, it’s from the beginning. It’s sweet, and it gives hope… and a sentence-ish over the six.

“Tonight, we tied ourselves together in the oldest way possible.” David’s hands fell to Jonathan’s chest, he leaning in to hold Jonathan’s gaze captive, amber to blue, as he pressed a kiss to Jonathan’s lips. “Tonight, in my mind—”

“I became your husband and you became mine?” Jonathan finished, quirking an amused eyebrow.

Tears of joy sparkled in David’s eyes, his smile shining like a sun as he answered, “Yes!”

“Babe…” I love you so much. “I’m going to marry you someday, I promise you. One day, I will give you Shea.”

Rainbow Snippets #12

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Hey, I’m back… crazy RL work is a bit of a pain in me arse, but yeah. So my snippet today comes from a little short story I’ve been working hard on in-between trying to sleep and trying to pay bills. Please be aware, the story has not seen the eyes of an editor at all. The working title is Bescreen’d in Night, and it’s a short story that rounds up the end Halley’s Comet… and it was meant to be writ, but never happened for whatever reason.

Like Halley’s Comet, it’s written from Jonathan Shea’s POV, and it takes place directly after David goes missing. I kind of bent the rules, considering my poems don’t have any real punctuation. I counted the three sentences before and the three sentences after to make my six.

Pulling the moleskin journal out of his back pocket, Jonathan hiccupped and grabbed the pen from the inside pocket of his coat. Bending over the journal as he opened it, he scribed the song exploding in his head. He knew the Bowie influences would be obvious, but he made a mental note to put it only in his journal.

Night bleeds into day
I am spun out of orbit
Day blazes into night
It’s been so long
Well, it’s been so long

My eyes scan the stars
Cold on earth and broken too
The stars blaze bright for me
It’s been so long
Well, it’s been so long

Forty-two days I waited
Forty-two nights I died
Forty-two days I froze
Forty-two nights I lied

And it’s been so long
You’ve been gone so long
I’m so afraid of losing you

Stuffing the pen in the journal, Jonathan shoved it back into the pocket as he heard someone on the ladder. Scooting over into the corner, he wrapped his arms around his shins and pushed his face into his knees. The tears were so close he wasn’t certain he could keep them back much longer, but the time ticked by relentlessly and still they had no lead on David.

Rainbow Snippets #11

HUBBLE Westerlund 2

 

My Snippet today is from Pale Jewel again, this time from part of the rewritten beginning. Once again, it’s my obsession with Hephaistion Amyntoros raising its head. Hope you like!

“You were there, man! You were there, but you did nothing!” Jensen balled his fist, his jeweled eyes glittering as he raised it, but Hephaistion caught it and spun him about before it could land a blow.

Arms wrapped tight around Jensen, Hephaistion pressed a kiss to the man’s shoulder. “I slept through Alexander’s death, Jen, but I mourned his passing and the pain was so very keen. When I panicked and made you after Ptolemy, the fear of losing you was just as keen as my pain had been with Alexander.” His voice remained calm, though his heart felt as though Jensen’s hand squeezed it without mercy, “And when you need me, I will be around.”

Ground Control to Major Tom…

Today was special. It was meant to be special, as it’s a day I have had in the works for quite some time, but it’s only been planned for about three weeks. In fact, on the sixteenth of May, I finally set the ball in motion by contacting my friend, Steve Rivas and asking if he was still in Vegas doing tattoos?

The reply I received within the hour was, “Yes, I am and how are you?”

The conversation was easy between us, and soon I had myself booked to get a tattoo on Memorial Day. I’d made a sketch, and I’d given him my references as well:

20160516_013909     Aladdin Bolt     spaceman     moon

I’d decided to finally get the second of what I termed “anti-depressant” tattoos. This piece celebrated many things. For one, it would be my semi-colon tattoo, and in my design, I had created the face mask and shoulder from the semi-colon. I wanted to memorialize David Bowie’s presence in my life, and how much the man and his music had shaped and freed me, so I chose the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt to easily represent him. I chose the spaceman to represent both myself and my depression. I chose the lyric “Living on the breath of a hope” from “We are the Dead” off of Diamond Dogs to remind me to keep fighting, that sometimes, all I had to do was open my eyes in the morning and take that first breath. I chose the lyric “I think my spaceship knows which way to go” from “Space Oddity” off of his 1969 David Bowie album, to represent the vow I made to myself to always keep fighting. I wanted the moon and the night sky to be a part of the piece because of how in love I am with the stars and space, and because when I look up at the stars, I don’t feel so small and insignificant. No, we all share the stars, and to me, they’re a lifeline. We are all made of stardust and when I’m far away from those I love, I look up at the sky and know they’re seeing the same stars, the same moon.

Plans made, we discuss pricing, and then the incredible wait of three weeks commences…!

I know from our conversation Steve’s very much looking forward to working on this with me, and some of the days in-between, it is all I can do to make it through, knowing that this tattoo is coming. Last night, I shoot him a text confirming we’re still on for our appointment and to tell him how excited I am about it!

He replies back with, “Yes, I actually started on it yesterday. Be done with the line drawing later tonight. Send you a pic by 7ish. It’s gonna be a good one.”

It had been a crappy week, so the sketch was well worth it!

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It didn’t have the top or the lyrics, and I didn’t see the semi-colon, but I thought of a place to put it. I reminded him of the words, which lyric went where, and then I was off to the races again with the real life job.

Today, I wake up and look at my bare right arm, and I smile as I get out of bed. Today is the last day it will be bare. Tonight, a spaceman would be born there, and he’d forever reach for the stars. Tonight, my love affair with music would be celebrated. Tonight… tonight, would bring Aladdin and his lightning. Tonight would birth a reminder of LIFE!

Of course, I have to earn the right to wear that badge, or so the real life job claims when the day is rough around the edges. I manage to get through with work and get home, changed, and washed up. I grab my bag and my best bud, and we head over to the Strip, making our way to the Stratosphere. Inside, we manage to find the Ship and Anchor Tattoo and Steve’s working on shrinking down the size a bit. We touch base and he asks me if I’ve eaten yet. When I say no, he tells me that I should, since we’re going to be here awhile!

Nik and I walk around the shopping area while he finishes up, and we decide on McDonald’s at the end. We eat, and when Steve approaches us and shows me the final design, I’m more than ready to go. We finish up, and head over to the shop. I finalize everything with payment and by sevenish, I am in the chair!

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This is the first of many photo texts I send my little brother, Matthew, who I’d kept in the loop about the tattoo, and my friend, Derek. All throughout the process, the man on the bed behind me getting his entire calf tattooed, his girl, and the tattoo artist working on him, the apprentice in the shop, and another artist (called Dobby!) compliment the work Steve does on my art. (He free-handed the semi-colon on the spaceman’s jetpack!) All during the process, I am wishing I could play some Bowie to commemorate the beautiful tattoo. When he gets to the color on the outside of the bolt–the red and blue–Steve looks up at me and says, “Wait a minute… the reference you have doesn’t show the top, which is why I drew it the way I did. Is there red at the top? WAIT! The spaceman and the moon are in the RED bolt, aren’t they? This part’s supposed to be all blue!”

I make a split-second decision and say, “What if we made suggestions of red here at the top, and at the top edges of the middle and bottom shadows?”

Steve ran with it. I think I was pretty good until we played with the blue shading! OUCH, I say! Lemme raise that to an OWWWWWIE!:)

Soon, Steve is shading the spaceman and touching up the stars… and every second that passes, I’m sitting there thinking, “How the hell does he interpret my needs in this tattoo so marvelously?” I know I told him at one point I needed to find a new word to use for his work, because amazing didn’t cover it anymore and was becoming repetitive, but ye gods, I wanted him to know how much I appreciated it, his time and him!

And then… we are here!

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I’m so jazzed… so jazzed! Steve cleans off and puts a balm of some sort on my arm, and he tells me to let it dry for a few minutes, and when it’s dry, he wants to take a few pictures. The other artist who’s been working on the calf tattoo behind me, chats me and Nik up for a few minutes, and then Steve returns. When he does, the other artist goes over to the computer controlling the Pandora radio station we’re all listening to… and I hear David’s wonderful voice start to come over the speakers.

Except, the artist has not only pulled up the song… he’s pulled up on YouTube the video for “Space Oddity.”

 

 

I think I lost any attention span I had left… and I was so touched! I kept my eyes on David, somewhat paying attention to Steve and the other artist, the latter of which said, “It’s a great backdrop, man! Make a video of the tat! This song in the background–”

That’s really all I heard as I watched David sing, my heart so full, my night complete. My dream for the tattoo completely realized, the backdrop (and the perfect song!) played without me even having to ask! It was all I could do to not cry for joy.

As an aside… Momma, please don’t be mad it’s bigger than I said it would be!:)