Halley’s Comet: A Covenant Short

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(Takes place during the months of October to December 1992)


18 December 1992

Jonathan woke up with a headache.

He made it out of bed, ran to the bathroom and emptied the contents of his stomach twice before his eyes opened fully. Throwing up made him feel better, and oddly, the pain in his skull wasn’t quite so piercing. He brushed his teeth and washed his face, shaving off the fuzz David never allowed himself to have.


Jonathan looked over to find Cody in the doorway, dressed in green corduroys and suspenders, long-sleeved white button down shirt, and a red bowtie. “Hey, buddy, what’s up?”

“Are you dressing up today?” Cody asked him, his expression one of hope. “I mean, in case you see David?”

Jonathan nodded. “Yeah, I’m going as High King Peter from the Battle of Aslan’s How.” He gave a small smile. “Remember?”

Abby smiled as she leaned around the door. “You’re still looking like my Jonathan. I thought you were supposed to be High King today?”

“Yeah, yeah… I’m getting there.” Jonathan pushed past them and moved to his room. Opening his closet door, he took down the costume he’d pulled together. It didn’t take him long to change out of his pyjamas into his faux Narnian battle dress. Slinging a silver shield emblazoned with a crimson lion in a defensive pose, to his back, he tightened his sword belt and stood. Moving over to his dresser, he inspected his reflection for flaws.

“High King Peter the Magnificent, I believe he was called,” his mother commented. “And you are indeed magnificent.”

“I’m doing my best to breathe. The irony of my choice in costume is not lost on me, Mama. Peter was a warrior… and I’m—”

“You are fighting the only way you know how, baby,” Abby interjected, crossing the room to his side. “And if I have to keep fighting to keep you breathing, then I will. Jonathan, baby, please—”

“Mama, it’s been forty-one days apart—minus three infractions that all but one lasted less than half an hour. I think we know by now that nothing is going to change Dad’s mind on this—”

A finger pressed to his lips, coupled with an arch of a slender eyebrow, stopped his words. “You will fight. You will be reunited.” Abby stepped close to him, holding his gaze captive with her stronger one. “I believe this. Now, get your butt in gear or we’re going to be late getting you to school.”

Christmas carols the accompaniment on the drive to drop off Cody at school and then himself, Jonathan remained lost in thought, never speaking a word outside of the “Thanks for the ride, Mama, I love you” as he got out of the car. He joined up with Chad and Travis, dressed as Rudolph and Hermie the Elf from the stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special. Bailey joined them, and Jonathan chuckled, seeing he’d dressed as Linus van Pelt from Peanuts, sporting the red and black striped shirt under a tan jacket, a green knit pom-pom beanie on his head, carrying a blue blanket.

“He here yet?” Jonathan watched Bailey’s face for the answer, but his friend’s headshake was honest. “Do you even know what to look for? He hasn’t given a single clue as to his costume.”

“Nova!” Travis hissed. “That’s Mrs. Wolff driving, man. That’s him!”

Jonathan pushed through them to watch the emergence of a slender beauty. He bore tight leggings, boots, and a vest the color of soot and ash. On his arms were shiny gossamer sleeves up to his elbows, and on his back were stunning gray and white faerie wings. To complete the look, a navy cloak trimmed with pitch attached to his shoulders with some kind of silver broaches. Henna ink dipped and swirled in Celtic patterns down his arms onto the backs of his hands, while he wore his hair loose around his shoulders, though warrior braids had been plaited in various places. Jonathan swallowed as he watched his boyfriend stride proudly up to the front doors and let himself in through the ones closest to the choir students dressed as Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby at the beginning of White Christmas when they lip synced “Sisters”. He took a deep breath, his voice low as he told his friends, “That man… that man is mine.”

Bailey took off after David, still watching after him to keep him safe. Travis and Chad flanked Jonathan, the latter asking, “Anything we can deliver?”

Jonathan handed him a card. “Please, get that to my babe.”

“You got it, man. And here’s your Christmas from us.” Travis offered a gaily wrapped package and card to him. “Oh, and we’re talking about going to the drive-in tonight. You are coming. Team requirement!”


First period was required because roll was taken during class. Second period, they watched The Charlie Brown Christmas Special. David had sent a letter via Chad and Travis, and he’d included a poem on the envelope, called “Wish” and written about the day they made love at Travis’ house. He read it three times, committing it to memory as he thought about spoken of day. During third period, Jonathan stared out the window at the snow flurries, daydreaming about that night and hoping they’d be able to finagle David to go with the team to the drive-in.

The bell rang, signaling the start of the school Christmas party in the cafeteria. He gathered his books and trudged to the boys’ bathroom at the opposite end of the third floor. It’s the closest one and I need to get this shield off my back… and I might actually need to pee, too. Slipping out of his shield, he set his bag down in front of it to hold it upright. Detaching the sword, he stuck it in the space between the wall and the shield. Crossing to the sinks, he splashed his face with cold water, staring at his slightly gaunt face and the circles under his eyes. I really do look terrible—

“Hey!” Travis snuck into the room with him. “Chad and I got you something awesome this Christmas. I just need you to get into the stall and wait there. Can you do that?”

“Is this a joke?” Jonathan furrowed his brow as he watched his friend crack the door and look out. “Cap?”

Travis whirled on his heel. “No! Get in there. Go!”

“Okay, okay!” Jonathan shook his head, but did as instructed, leaning against the wall and listening with intent for any clue as to what was happening. The door opened suddenly, a sorely missed voice filling his ears, “What’s going on?”

He stood up straight as the stall door flew open and a faerie was shoved inside with him. Chad and Travis left the room in a hurry, pulling the main door shut behind them, leaving Jonathan and David alone together. All Jonathan could do was stare as David shook his head before looking around him and jumping as he caught sight of Jonathan, whose lips spread in a happy smile.

David tossed himself into Jonathan’s arms, laughing with the joy they both felt. “I don’t know how they did this, but I’m not asking questions. I’m just—”

“I’m going to kiss you, so shut up!” Jonathan tried to wrap his whole body around David, his lips finding David’s as his boyfriend gasped out a “Yes!”

Their hearts pounded in time as Jonathan deepened the kiss, loving the way David melted against him. Only breaking the kiss to breathe, his fae-dressed love whispered, “I miss you so much! Not being able to touch you or kiss you—seeing you is a tease that is so hard to endure!”

Jonathan breathed in David, breathed his breath, his hands lighting on David’s chest, slipping up to his hair as he divulged between kisses, “My parents are talking about getting a divorce because they can’t agree on what to do with me. Cody doesn’t sleep in his own room anymore. He barely sleeps now. He’s afraid Dad will stop loving him if he turns out like us.”

“Dad’s kept me all cooped up—”

“But you made this kick-ass costume while you were!” Jonathan broke the kiss when David tossed his head back to blush, exposing the slender column of his neck. Unable to resist, Jonathan smothered it in kisses, his teeth nipping at the vein pulsing visibly beneath the skin. A light moan tumbled over David’s shiny lips when Jonathan bit him, his hands moving to Jonathan’s hair, and for a moment, Jonathan could only stare at the marvelous young man he loved. “You’re breath-taking, baby… and watching you from afar, all I’ve kept telling myself the whole morning is—” he smoothed one hand up David’s throat, sliding it back to cup his skull as he lifted that incredible blue gaze to his own “—that man is mine… he’s mine!”

David climbed Jonathan’s hips, holding his stare. “All yours, Jonathan!”

“And I’m yours!” Jonathan vowed, one arm bracing David, his other hand cupping David’s face, his thumb tracing David’s cheek. Time… it’s running out.

They heard the door crack open, Travis’ voice hissing, “Five minutes until we have to be down in the cafeteria!”

“Five minutes?” David’s eyes glossed over. “This isn’t fair!”

Jonathan leaned back against the bathroom wall, lifting his other hand to frame David’s face when David’s ankles locked at the small of Jonathan’s back. “No, it’s not. Not having you is killing me, and I don’t know how much longer I can do it. Go with me to a movie tonight.”

David brushed his lips over Jonathan’s. “How? How are we gonna do this? I’m still grounded!” He took another kiss from Jonathan’s mouth, pulling Jonathan closer to him as he deepened the kiss briefly. Jonathan followed, his fingers threading through David’s warm hair. I need him… I need him like this, every day. I need him every day, not just… not just once in a blue moon.

Jonathan broke the kiss, breathing David’s breath as he whispered, “Travis and Chad are going with the team and a bunch of their friends—the ones that keep Vince off of us—to the drive-in. They’ve offered to take us with if we wanna go, to give us time.”

“Two minutes!” Chad called this time.

“Yes!” David murmured. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get there!”

Their mouths crashed together, David deepening the kiss as far and as fast as he could. Both boys tasted salt when the kiss broke, Jonathan feeling a tremor shimmy up his spine as David let his legs down. “Jonathan—”

Jonathan nodded disjointedly. “I know.” He forced a smile to lift his lips. “You go out first, and I’ll follow in about five minutes.” Jonathan ran the pad of his thumb over David’s full lower lip. “Fix the lips, babe… and god, but you’re gorgeous.”

“Time, fellas!” Travis called, and Jonathan watched as David took a brightly wrapped gift and card out of his Santa bag, handing them to Jonathan. He stretched up Jonathan’s body to press a brief kiss to his mouth. “Know that you are the love of my heart, my whole world. I can’t live without you—you are everything.”

Jonathan followed David to the door of the stall, watching as his love ran to the sinks, removing and reapplying his lip color and gloss. David stopped at the bathroom door, turning a merry smile to him. Jonathan held the gift to his chest, unable to stop the smile as David mouthed, Tonight.


Jonathan got ready, slipping a thick blue, white and black plaid flannel shirt over a white turtleneck. His thick acid-washed denim jeans clung to his legs and he wondered again if David would really be able to make it. The doorbell rang and Jonathan looked at himself in the mirror, muttering to himself, “I’m so going to freeze my butt off tonight.”

“Not if you take your sleeping bag and these blankets, you won’t,” his mother answered, crossing the room to whisper next to his ear, “and not if you snuggle close to him in the bed of that truck, tonight.”

Jonathan met her gaze in the mirror, furrowing his brow. “Mama?”

“He’s in the truck, trying not to be seen. He’s watching for you.” She smiled brightly. “Have fun, baby boy.”

Jonathan kissed her cheek, grabbing the sleeping bag and blankets from her. “Thank you, Mama!”

Abby tossed his coat on top of the bedding, and he ran out to the living room, finding Travis waiting for him. His friend grabbed the blankets from him so Jonathan could put on his coat. Tugging his hair out of his collar, Jonathan grinned. “Ready to go?”

The two of them hurried out to Chad’s truck, tossing the bedding into a truck bed already boasting quite a bit of warm stuff. As Jonathan got into the back of the truck, he smiled at the beautiful man waiting there for him. Diving into his arms, Jonathan knew he’d never get enough of his beautiful man. As his mouth met David’s in a tender kiss, he recalled the dream he’d had during his nap after school. Nuzzling David’s nose, he murmured, “I took a nap so I’d be rested for tonight.”

“Me, too!” Stealing a kiss, David smiled at him. “Did you dream?”

Jonathan nodded. “I dreamed we’d just gotten married, and we’d had our ceremony under the tree at the creek. It was twilight, but you could see almost every star in the sky. We were holding each other and you pressed a kiss under my chin. Just as you did that, a meteor shower started and it was gorgeous. In the middle of it, we saw a comet traveling across the sky and you gasped. I asked what was wrong and you said it had just surprised you. I said what? You pointed then, and said, Look, it’s Halley’s Comet!

David smiled at him, running his fingers through Jonathan’s hair. “Next time that comet comes through, we’ll be almost ninety years old.”

“I know. I told you that, and you shrugged, saying, I don’t make up the rules. I just know the comets by name and they all come through so fast.

“Weird. I wonder what that means!” David grinned, pressing a kiss to Jonathan’s mouth. “Wish we could hit the library to figure it out.”

“Traditionally, comets in dreams mean change.” Jonathan smiled. “I took it as a sign that something big was about to happen… and then I remembered that we were going out on a date tonight. That’s big.”

David laughed. “I can’t believe you know that already!” Stealing a kiss, he met Jonathan’s eyes in the dim light of the truck. “I’m ready for it. I’m ready for the change that will bring me you.”

Another kiss took over Jonathan’s whole body and he tugged David close to him. “I’m ready to have you back in my life. I don’t want this once in a blue moon stuff… I want you. I want you back in my orbit—this time, forever.”

David smiled tenderly up at him. “I am in your orbit, forever. Aeternum.”



Halley’s Comet: A Covenant Short

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(Takes place during the months of October to December 1992)


The third time started during a fire drill. The school was almost completely evacuated when Travis jerked his arm, nodding towards the parking lot. Jonathan arched an eyebrow, asking, “You want to skip school?”

He glanced over at Chad, who stepped closer to them, saying quietly, “Tomorrow’s a teacher in-service day. Ain’t none of ’em gonna give us a test today. Let’s go hang out at Travis’ house, have a beer, watch some football.”

“I can’t. Who would be here to watch out for David?” Jonathan scanned the crowd, looking for a beloved gold head.

Travis laughed. “He’ll be watched out for, Shea. You got my word.”

“How?” Jonathan demanded to know, but his friends took hold of his arms and backed out of the crowd to join the others in the student parking lot. Once they got to his car, Travis grinned at him, calling over his shoulder, “Follow me to my house!”

Jonathan rolled his eyes, unlocking his door and opening it only to stop dead in his tracks. David laid stretched out across the seat, his head propped on the palm of one hand. Jonathan shook his head, unable to fight the pull of his heart. Getting into the car, Jonathan reached for his boyfriend, elated when strong fingers grabbed both sides of his jacket and yanked him down for a hard kiss. David’s hoarse words struck Jonathan’s heart as those incredible blue eyes found his amber ones and held them captive, “I feel so lost… so adrift… without you. I need you.”

A horn honking lifted Jonathan’s spirits, and his lips in a wicked grin. “Wanna be bad?”

David’s shiny lips curled in a lazy smile. “I only ever wanna be bad with you.”

Stealing another kiss, Jonathan sat up and nodded at Travis as he jammed the key into the ignition, turning over the engine. Glancing down at David, he whispered, “Stay down.”

David nodded, playing with his hair as he watched Jonathan. “I can’t believe we’re actually living a Romeo and Juliet kind of life, can you?”

“No,” Jonathan groused, following Travis and Chad. “I really can’t. We’ve never been parted like this before and I swear to you, babe, I will never let something like this happen to us again.”

“Remember the kisses at Wesleyan?” David shifted in his seat, carefully wriggling until he’d completely switched ends and leaned his gold head against Jonathan’s leg. “I’ve been thinking about that night with you so much these past few weeks.”

Jonathan slid his hand into David’s warm hair as his smile grew wider. “I keep thinking about falling asleep with you, our bodies still slick from lovemaking, and I can feel your heart pounding next to mine.”

David pressed a kiss to Jonathan’s leg, rubbing it with one hand. “I can’t wait until the day you never have to take me home.”

Jonathan sighed. “Me, either. Looks like we’re almost to Cap’s house.” He ran his fingers through David’s hair as they pulled into Travis’ driveway. The four of them exited the vehicles and hurried into the house. Minutes later, Jonathan laid David back on the couch in Travis’ media room and tugged a blanket over them as he fell into his arms. He knew he couldn’t stop kissing David if his life depended on it… and when it naturally progressed into a powerful lovemaking, Jonathan memorized the feel of their bodies sliding against each other, the taste of David’s tongue, the friction caused by David’s dick rocking against his own.


“I’m here—oh, please don’t stop!”

Jonathan pressed his face into the crook of David’s neck, biting down as he sped up his pace… and seconds later, lost in an ever-deepening kiss as David cried out in his mouth. His boyfriend’s nails dug into his hip and back as he arched, breaking the kiss to gasp as he hit hard. His tremors became Jonathan’s own as release neared and Jonathan clung to David as sacrosanctum crashed over them—


Day Before Thanksgiving

Jonathan tugged his knees up to his chest, holding close the precious gift given to him at school. He’d started to pour through it the second it had been transferred to his hands via the Mail Drop. Chad, like both their coach and Jonathan’s mother, had noticed Jonathan’s weight loss, and decided he and Travis had to help. They created a Mail Drop using Travis’ locker (he shared Chad’s on the second floor since most of his classes were on the second floor). After lunch, Chad spent much of his time on the third floor, so he’d check his locker for Jonathan’s morning love letters and put a book or two in there to cover the pick-up. He’d pass the letters to David in the halls and by the end of the day, Jonathan would have his replies.

David’s written words and poetry were all that really sustained him since Elisha had told Jonathan’s dad about the last time. Everything in his life had become affected since that trust had been severed: his grades were slipping, his guitar sat on its stand collecting dust, and his appetite left entirely. Disallowed the privilege of driving the Suburban, his mother now picked him up from school, but he made no conversation on the drive and from the moment he arrived home, Jonathan made a home in the silent dark. He showered by the light from the bathroom window, then went to his room and laid down on his bed, and he never joined them at the table. He didn’t sleep well, and oftentimes when he did find rest, his dreams centered on David and ended in a nightmare made up of his worst fear: David always died at the end.

Jonathan was never able to get to him in time, always reaching him as he took his last breath.

Closing his eyes, he focused on the words given him that day, unaware at first that his door opened. His mattress shook, and Jonathan lifted his head to see Cody crawling onto his bed. Reaching an arm out, Jonathan gathered his little brother close, kissing his blonde head.

“Mama and Daddy fighting?” Jonathan asked Cody, who nodded.

“I’m sorry, little brother. This is all my fault… all of it.” Jonathan sniffled, ruffling Cody’s hair. “I wish I could fix me, make me better, but—”

“You wouldn’t have David if you did that, and you know it. That’s not septical, Jonny.” Cody rolled onto his side to face his big brother. “You and David would be torture-ified. It’s not right and it’s not fair. You just love him like Mama loves Dad. How’s that bad?” Cody pushed his face into Jonathan’s chest, breaking down into tears. “What if Dad hates me because I end up liking a boy?” he whimpered.

Jonathan curled around Cody, tears for his brother mixing into the tears he cried for himself and David. Cody was right: it wasn’t acceptable to feel this way. Not for him, and definitely not for his little brother. He held Cody tightly, pushing his own face into the boy’s shoulder, whispering, “Dad could never hate you, Cody. Nobody could. It’s like Dave says all the time, you’re the stuff sunshine’s made of!”

“He also says that you’re the bee’s knees, baby boy,” their mother said from the door, a smile on her face. “It’s because my boys are the best and most wonderfulest people in the whole world.”

Cody launched himself from the bed into her arms and Abby caught him, rocking him as she shushed and reassured him. “Love my Cody-bug. Ain’t nobody ever going to be able to not love my Cody-bug.”

“Love you, too, Mama!” Cody tugged his head from her neck to say something, and Abby took the opportunity to cover his face in kisses, making him giggle, the familiar mirth his mother elicited from his little brother giving Jonathan’s heart a lift.

“Whyn’t you go get your shoes on and I’ll get your brother up and we’ll go get an early dinner and dessert from Stardust?” Abby suggested, both she and Jonathan startling at the squeal of excitement bursting from the wriggling boy in her arms. She laughed as he ran to his room a moment later and she moved across the room to sit down on the edge of Jonathan’s bed. “Baby boy… my heart hurts as I watch you stumble through each day, and I know your pain is raw, but Jonathan, you have to start eating. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. It’s not good for you and how does it benefit David if you weaken yourself?”

Jonathan shifted in his bed, putting his head in Abby’s lap. “Don’t we have church tonight?”

“Don’t change the subject on me. Your dad is going to a deacon’s meeting, but I have pies to make for Thanksgiving tomorrow. If you remember, your cousins and aunt and uncle are coming tomorrow afternoon.” She ran her fingers through his hair. “I want you to ponder on a message I came across during my daily devotion this morning, okay, baby?”

He nodded against her leg. “Yes, Mama.”

Her voice softened as she murmured words of hope from Paul the Apostle. “Second Corinthians 4:16-18 is its physical address for your reference later. Paul has this to say about hope in his letters to the Corinthians: Therefore we do not lose heart. Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly, we are renewed each day. For our light and momentary troubles achieve for us an eternal glory which far outweighs them all. We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what can be seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

“He’s not talking about love, Mama. He’s talking about Christ—”

“Jonathan Abraham Shea, he’s talking about struggle, about pain like you’ve never known—pain like yours—and he’s saying that it will get better. Don’t lose hope. This isn’t the end. This house arrest won’t last forever—”

Jonathan lifted his face, looking up at Abby. “Mama, he said ‘my son will never date another boy.’ I do believe he’s thinking about making it last forever.” He sighed heavily. “I didn’t even get to see David on my birthday. Heck, he wouldn’t even let me have a birthday party for my one and only eighteenth birthday.” Jonathan laughed, but the sound held no joy. “I didn’t even get a birthday card from him. I mean, I guess I should be grateful that he remembered to wish me happy birthday when he dropped me off at school that day.”

She cupped his face. “What do I always tell you, baby? What do I always say when things get rough?”

This, too, shall pass. You always say it’s from the Word, and I always tell you that Confucius said it,” Jonathan answered, blinking back tears.

“Whoever said it, baby boy, it’s true. It won’t always be like this. It won’t always hurt so bad that you think you won’t withstand it, because if you and David are meant like I think you are, like you think you are, like he thinks you are—if you are, then you’ll look back at this dark time and you’ll realize then how strong I know you to be now.” Her dark eyes searched his amber ones. “How strong he knows you’ve always been.” She smiled, pushing his hair over his ears. “Can I point something out to you?”

Jonathan nodded.

“Ever wonder why David wanted to change his eye color to the one you told me?” Abby smiled softly, tracing his ear with a fingertip.

“All the time. I can’t understand why he’d wanna change that gorgeous blue to anything else. It’s still my favorite color,” Jonathan answered, his voice hoarse.

“I’ll tell you why, baby, and it’s going to blow your mind.” Abby pressed a kiss to his temple as she pulled him into her arms. “Because your eyes—the ones you got from your grandpa—they’re his favorite color. He wanted to see the world through your eyes.”

Jonathan pushed his face into her soft chest as the pain became too much for him to contain, and he broke a little more. Abby held him tightly, whispering, “I know she’s not your favorite singer, baby boy, but the girls at work listen to her album all the time—Sheryl Crow? They played this song today, and it was called “I Shall Believe”. I bought the album on the way home from work just so you could listen to the words.” Pulling back to look at his face, tears slipped down her own cheeks. “Oh, baby… hold on for me. Just a bit longer. I have faith that He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I have faith that you are strong enough to weather this, and I have faith that David can weather this storm with you.”

Jonathan sniffled, dragging the heels of his hands over his eyes. “I will listen to it and Mama, I’ll do better. I promise.”

Tuesday Night Music Club would remain forever the only Sheryl Crow album Jonathan would ever own, and only two songs on the album would ever be played. “Strong Enough” would be David’s song for him later on, but “I Shall Believe” was Jonathan’s song for the remainder of the time they were kept apart.


On to Halley’s Comet: Orbit

Halley’s Comet: A Covenant Short

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(Takes place during the months of October to December 1992)


The second time it happened wasn’t even a week later. Coach Caruthers had facilitated it after Jonathan experienced a dizzy spell and had to be replaced during practice. Angry at his body’s betrayal, he threw himself onto the bench and put his head in his hands. The coach approached him quietly, knelt down, and put a hand on Jonathan’s shoulder, whispering, “Listen to me, boy. Listen good.”

Jonathan lifted his gaze, blinking at the uncharacteristic tenderness in the high strung coach’s tone. “Of course, Coach.”

“Remember what was said back in Kelley’s office? Remember? How you fellas loving other fellas didn’t have nothing to do with how you play ball?” Coach Caruthers murmured, his brown eyes holding Jonathan’s amber steady.

“Here, Coach. You called me?”

Jonathan looked up at the first baseman, Bailey Strittmatter, though they all called him Bay. He was a good friend of Chad and Travis, and ever since the meeting in Ms. Kelley’s office, he’d been instrumental in keeping an eye on David in the halls as many of his classes were in the same hallways. Jonathan smiled at Bailey, who returned it warmly, saying, “Don’t worry about it. We gotcha.”

“Bay, need you to do a 3-2-1. Now.” Coach Caruthers squeezed Jonathan’s shoulder as Bailey left them, returning to their conversation. “I know that, technically speaking, it don’t. I know that, technically speaking, what caused this was you not being able to eat… or sleep. I’m not askin’ you to be inhuman. I’m askin’ you to push through this, boy. You gotta. He’s countin’ on you to keep breathin’, and you are the only reason he keeps comin’ to school. I seen him in his P.E. classes. He keeps tryin’ to hide the evidence of some pretty serious anger, and ain’t none of it as bad as the one time, but Jonathan… you gotta…” Coach looked up at the sky and then out at the field, pausing for a long moment before he continued. “Jonathan, you just gotta find whatever it is that fires you up, keeps you runnin’, because you two got a hell of a time coming. A hell of a time.”

“Complete, and exactly as you said, Coach!” Bailey called as he ran back onto the field.

“Thanks, Bay! Jonathan, come with me.”

He’s right. He’s so very right. God, I am letting myself succumb to despair when David needs me most. I’m an idiot. I’m such a freaking idiot.

Jonathan followed the baseball coach back into the school, so lost in his mental chastising he didn’t notice Coach turned the lock on his office door after he let Jonathan into the room.

“I’ll give you some time, but you need to close the blinds. God forbid someone see the two of you together,” Coach Caruthers stated, a familiar edge to his words as he smiled tightly before shutting the door behind him.

Jonathan turned to see David sitting in the chair closest to the door, his blue eyes wide as he looked up at Jonathan. Jonathan closed the blinds, swallowing hard before he moved over to David, running a gentle hand over the gold curls he loved as he whispered, “I’ve been a bad boyfriend.”

David stood, wrapping his arms around Jonathan’s neck. “You don’t know how to be a bad boyfriend.”

“I see you all the time, and all I can think about is that it’s been forever since your voice has been in my ear, that I can’t remember the last time I was able to walk next to you, and that all I want is to be able to not leave marks on you—”

David shook his head with a grin. “Babe… you leave the deepest mark on me. Your mark on me is a tattoo on my soul. Your name is all over me and when I go to sleep at night, I pretend I’m in your arms, that your breath warms my neck—” David pressed a kiss to Jonathan’s jaw. “—because I know that one day those things will be commonplace.”

“How are you so optimistic?” Jonathan murmured, amazement clear in his words as he held his boyfriend tighter. “Jonah hurts you—”

“You’re a man of your word. If you say it, it will happen. I am well aware that should we leave today, it would be hard for either of us to make our dreams happen, that likely, should we run away together, we’d be living on the streets and that’s a nightmare, not a dream, even if we were together.” David set his chin on Jonathan’s chest. “So, we graduate and then we get the hell out of this town.”

Jonathan smiled at him, sliding his hands over David’s trusting face. “I wonder how it is we never got here until this year.”

“Because it wasn’t time. It took a kiss—” David stretched up on tiptoe to kiss the same corner of Jonathan’s mouth Veronica had kissed. “—from a girl to ignite in me a truth which can never be extinguished.”

“Say it to me… tell me again.” Jonathan didn’t mean for the words to carry the same perpetual tremor his whole being bore. “Please, David.”

David nodded. “I belong to you. I belong to you and you belong to me. Amor meus in aeternum.”

“Forever—mine, forever!” Jonathan’s lips found David’s in a greedy kiss, his heart pounding in his chest in time with David’s. Their stolen time together, spent breathing each other’s breath as their hearts beat as one, was over quickly. A quick rap on the door broke them apart into two beings once more, and David darted out of the office, the smile he threw over his shoulder at Jonathan giving balm to the wounds he knew Jonathan carried.

As he walked out of the locker room seven minutes later, Chad and Travis on one side, Bailey on his other, Elisha leaned against the wall across from the doors, backpack on his left shoulder, eating an apple. Jonathan didn’t miss the irony and he arched an eyebrow, asking, “Why are you here?”

“Why was he?” Elisha answered, waggling his eyebrows.

“I’m sorry?” Jonathan clipped, his heart pounding. No… no, no, no, Elisha… please!

“Not sorry enough.” Standing up straight, he tossed the apple, two bites taken out of it, to Jonathan. “Catch you later.”

That night, when he got home, his father was waiting for him in his room, holding his telephone in his lap. Jonathan hit his knees in front of Bill before he could say a single word. “Please—please, please, please… I haven’t called him. I’ve followed your instruction, Dad. I swear it! You can’t take that—what if he needs help? Dad, please! Don’t take away his only lifeline—please!”

Bill furrowed his brow. “I think you’re exaggerating the situation a bit, Jonathan. Lifeline? That’s a word you don’t use casually.”

Jonathan shot to his feet, growling. “He missed an entire week of school and Momma Claire had me and Eli drop by his classes each day to get his work! One of the bruises on his arm was worse than the one I got in Little League. I accidentally touched it before I knew it was there and he passed out from the pain… but please, tell me that I’m exaggerating the situation!”

Bill stood up as well, his eyes flashing. “You’re suggesting that Jonah did that to his son?”

“There were two people in the house when it happened—that would be the day that we waited and waited for David to get here and he never called or showed. You remember that day, don’t you? You kept badgering me to call him and then you had to go because you had that deacons’ meeting?” Jonathan watched his father’s face for a sign of recognition.

“I remember. What’s your point?”

“That was when Jonah was beating him.” Jonathan took a shaky breath. “Please, Dad. Remember that I’ve never lied to you about anything, that I never make a big deal about things unless they need a big deal made—”

Bill’s free hand curved up under Jonathan’s jaw. “And you have to learn that certain things in life are non-negotiable. My son dating another boy? Never going to happen. It’s against God’s laws and I will not allow it. The idea that Jonah would hurt his boy in the manner you described is also ludicrous and disrespectful and I expected more from you in regards to Jonah Wolff. If you ever expect to get telephone privileges back, do better at the not lying to me part. I knew almost the minute you and David decided to break the rules again today. That’s twice now.” He loosed his hold on Jonathan’s face before turning and crossing to the door. “Phone is gone until I see improvement.”


On to Halley’s Comet: Crash

Halley’s Comet: A Covenant Short

Promo with Quote SMALL

(Takes place during the months of October to December 1992)



I Corinthians 13:4-8

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.


Jonathan hugged his arms, still feeling David’s shaking body in his arms. His tongue passed over his lower lip as his dad pulled the truck into the garage. Cody hadn’t said a word since they’d turned onto their street, but his little hand had found Jonathan’s and held tightly to it. Jonathan knew it meant he didn’t merely feel discomfited, but terrified.

What if coming out results in exactly what he thinks will happen?

Bill looked up into the rearview mirror as he put the big vehicle in park, and Jonathan met his gaze as the older man asked, “How long have you known?”

Jonathan sighed, glancing over at Cody as his grip tightened on his older brother’s hand.

“Don’t heave and sigh at me, young man. You will answer my question and you will answer it now!” Bill clipped. “Jonathan—”

“I’ve known since forever, Dad.” He took a deep breath. “I don’t know why it’s such a big deal who loves who. I thought love was the point—”


“I thought being loved was—”

Bill turned to face him. “That’s enough!”

Jonathan surged forward, shaking his head. “But it’s not. There’s nothing wrong with David, Dad. Just like there’s nothing wrong with me.”

Bill Shea’s eyebrows almost hit his hairline as he stared hard at Jonathan. “I don’t follow?”

“Yes, you do, Dad.” He reached for the door handle, but a large hand covered his own, barring his exit, his father’s voice low as he growled, “Explain yourself, young man.”

You didn’t come out, Jonathan. Just me. You didn’t say—

“Of course I knew, Dad,” Jonathan managed, his throat dry. He shoved a hand through his hair as he lifted a defiant gaze to his father’s matching one. “Of course I knew. David’s my boyfriend and I love him.”


Jonathan sat in his room, his back to the door, still in his Sunday best. His eyes were closed as he relived the weekend prior to service that morning. His lips remembered the countless kisses shared with David. His arms recalled the strength of each embrace. Curling around him in the night, face pressed to long hair as warm and golden as sunlight—

God… God, what happens now?

His elbows met his knees as he buried his face in his hands. What if they do tell me I can’t see you anymore? Jonathan’s stomach clenched at the mere thought of not being able to see David. He ran his hands harshly over his face and hair, whispering, “We’ll get through this, you and me, babe. We’ll get through this and I’ll have you back in my arms in no time.”

“You tryin’ to give your dad a heart attack?”

Jonathan whirled around, finding his mother coming around the end of the bed to sit next to him, sliding her hand over his. He swallowed thickly, unprepared for the tears falling from his eyes and he turned his face away, lifting a shaking hand to his cheek to wipe away the wetness. “Hadn’t actually considered it, no. What do—what do you mean?”

Her soft fingers stroked the back of his hand as she laughed; the sound was comforting. “I think I always assumed that your closeness with David would just translate into a friendship that lasted a lifetime. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that it’d turn romantic. It didn’t surprise me. I meant what I said to David at the church when I told him I should have known.”

I don’t know if the tears are more for fear or for the fear that I’ll never get to see you again—but I promised you. I promised you! I won’t let them take us apart!

Jonathan looked at her, sniffling. “What do you think of me? Of me loving him? Of me loving David so much that the idea I’d live a life without him makes me not able to breathe, Mama? What do you think of that?”

“I think it sounds like you’re in love… like you’ve always been in love.” Abby Shea slid her hands over his cheeks, her thumbs drying the skin under his eyes, her own eyes shining with tears brought on by his pain. “Baby boy, you are my son, and nothing will ever take that from us. You are a beautiful young man, and you’re smart, and you’re fierce, and you’re honorable, and you love the Lord. Whatever you do, it all reflects on the One who loves us most. I don’t think that He’s ever been disappointed in you, not once.”

“But what Pastor—”

Abby took one hand from Jonathan’s cheek, placing a finger to his lips as she shook her head, her dark eyes sparkling with anger, her voice hard as steel. “Oh, Pastor Beals and I will have a conversation about what he did today, that’s for certain, but I want you to hear one thing, and Jonathan Abraham Shea, you will listen to your mother.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He took a deep breath.

“You will not just hear this with your ears, you will listen to it, and you will keep it in your heart, my beautiful boy. Am I perfectly, crystally clear?” Abby searched his eyes, and Jonathan understood then, with her utterance of a word he’d put into usage when a seven-year-old David mispronounced it. Not so long ago… but it seems forever ago we were that small.

“Crystally,” he echoed, swallowing a second time.

“You. Did. Nothing. Wrong.”

Jonathan started at her words. “But—”

“He might be a pastor, baby, but I read my Bible, too. I’ve read it cover to cover, and one thing that I know is this: Jesus’ words are the ones we follow. The message of hate in Leviticus is Old Testament. Old Testament isn’t supposed to be taught, baby; it’s like taking history and for me, it’s great poetry from David and Solomon, and it’s wonderful to read tales to children.” She smiled tenderly. “How many times did I read you Daniel and the Lions’ Den? And Esther and Boaz? And Shadrach—”

“Meshach and Abednego?” Jonathan finished. “Too many times to count… and don’t forget David and Goliath.”

“Quite pertinent to our conversation now.” Abby smoothed his hair. “Because what’s coming is going to be a Goliath. How you both choose to handle it will be a win or a lose for Team David.”

“How we handle it?” Jonathan echoed, furrowing his brow. “How are we supposed to handle it?”

“By knowing this: Jesus never spoke against homosexuality. His words were simple. His words, baby boy, endorsed love. Remember John 14:21?” Abby smiled at him, knowing Jonathan still had that particular verse committed to memory after helping a then twelve-year-old David memorize it for Bible School.

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them,” Jonathan quoted, his voice steadying a bit.

“And John 16:26-27? Do you remember that reference?” Abby asked him. When he shook his head in answer, she quoted the Word to him. “Jesus said in verse twenty-six, In that day, you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. Now verse twenty-seven is important, beautiful boy, so listen and hold it to your heart. Jesus said, No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and believed that I came from God. God loves you because you love Jesus and believe in Him. God loves you because you love His son and believe He came from God.”


They both looked up to see Bill filling the doorway. Behind him, further down the hallway, stood one of the deacons from church. His mother stood up, shoulders thrown back, keeping herself between Bill and Jonathan.

“May I talk to Jonathan?” Bill asked, and Abby looked over her shoulder, arching an eyebrow in silent question.

“Yeah… it’s okay, Mama.” Jonathan sniffled, reaching up to hug Abby when she bent down to wrap him up.

“You are perfect and exactly who you were made to be. Remember that.” She pressed a kiss to his hair. “I love you.”

Jonathan shut his eyes tight as he held close to her. “Love you, too, Mama.”

A moment later, as he watched her leave, his father stepped into the room and closed the door. Jonathan turned, tugging one knee to his chest as Bill moved over to sit down across from him. Facing him, he pushed Jonathan’s leg down. “We are not at war, son. You need not take a defensive stance.”

Jonathan nodded, bowing his head. “But you’re angry at me. You’re angry at what I said.”

Bill took a deep breath. “Son, I’m not angry. I’m worried and I’m a bit sad.”

What? Why? This cannot be good.

“I don’t understand. You’re not angry, but you’re sad? For what?” Jonathan wanted to pull both his knees up against his chest, because he was certain his heart was about to take another beating.

“As I am responsible for this family, both in this world and in Heaven, it saddens me that you would rip yourself from us. You are my son, and you are my heir, and to be parted from you would hurt my heart.” Bill’s chin quivered for a moment. “You need to think about this decision you have made very carefully, Jonathan—”

“It’s not a decision! I didn’t decide to fall in love with him, Dad!” Jonathan’s eyes widened. “I didn’t decide to need him to breathe! I didn’t decide—

“You decided to act on feelings that aren’t real! Jonathan, you’re seventeen! How could you possibly know—no, there’s no way you could—”

“Dad, with all due respect afforded you for your position, I’ve heard the stories you and Mama tell about your relationship, about how you were working three jobs to get up enough money to buy a small house for her, so that you could get her out of her parents’ house. You were nineteen and she was seventeen. You were married when you were still nineteen and the day after she turned eighteen. I was born not even two years later and you were still working three jobs to keep things easy for her and me. Mama’s always told us that you were also going to school so that you could get down to just the one job.” He shot to his feet. “How is that different from me and David? How? Two years from now, I’ll still be in love with him and he’ll still be in love with me! I’m gonna marry him—”

“That’s ridiculous. Men don’t marry other men, Jonathan.” Bill’s eyes glittered. “What you’re feeling—”

“Are you seriously about to tell me that what I feel isn’t love?” Jonathan laughed, but no mirth lived in the sound. Tears slid down his face. “What I’m feeling right now, Dad, is terror that love is going to—how did you put it? Oh, yeah! That’s right!” Another mirthless laugh ended in a half-sob. “I’m terrified that because I’m in love with my best friend, a person who just so happens to also possess a penis and not a vagina as genitalia, that my father will rip me from his side or worse—” Jonathan hugged his arms, meeting Bill’s eyes. “He’ll tell me that he forbids me to ever see him again.”

Bill stood up, shoving his hands into his trouser pockets. “You’re a responsible young man, then, as you already know how this ends.”

Jonathan didn’t move as his father moved over to press a kiss to his forehead. “I trust that you understand the ramifications of breaking the rules.”

So it’s like this now… oh, babe… this is going to be hard.


Two Weeks Later

Jonathan sat at the dinner table, pushing his food around his plate, but he wasn’t hungry. Cody reached out for a warm roll and tossed it onto Jonathan’s plate, gasping when it landed in his mashed potatoes and gravy, splattering gravy all over Jonathan’s tee-shirt.

“I’m sorry, Jonny!” he cried out, hopping down from his chair to hurry over with his napkin to try to clean his big brother off.

Jonathan smiled gently at his little brother, shushing him but allowing him to clean his shirt. “It’s okay. It was an accident.”

“I’m so sorry!” Cody wailed.

Jonathan wrapped him up in a hug, whispering, “I know. I know, and me, too.”

“Cody, you will sit down now.” Bill met Jonathan’s eyes. “Jonathan is comforted, and perhaps the roll will find its way into his belly.”

Reluctantly, Jonathan loosed his younger brother, watching as Cody climbed up onto his chair, and when he was seated, Jonathan nodded and took a bite of the roll. Usually, he loved his mother’s homemade rolls, but lately, nothing tasted good.

“How is David?”

He blinked, the note in his pocket feeling suddenly less than safe. “I’m sorry?” Jonathan asked. “What did you say?”

“I heard that the two of spoke today. I wanted to know how he was doing,” Bill replied, his voice almost amiable as he let Jonathan know he knew the rules had been broken.

He stood in the dark part of one of the theatre entrances, watching as David worked with Travis on stage. Jonathan purposely skipped Government to watch the progress on the scene with Chad. No, that was a lie. The real reason he’d skipped class was to see him and to hear his voice. Not being able to touch him was killing Jonathan.

The bell rang.

“Work on your scenes, people! Performances begin Friday!” Mrs. Sanchez called out over the din of voices. “If you need me, come see me in my office!”

Jonathan ducked farther into the shadows as students rushed past him out the doors of the theatre. He listened for David’s voice, finally hearing it as Chad and Travis walked him towards the doors, Chad asking, “You, uh… you doing okay, man? I mean—considering?”

“I’m…” David sighed heavily. “I’m as good as can be expected without the other half of me around. It’s… it’s really hard not… not having someone who’s always been around—I keep thinking that this must be what it’s like to lose someone. I mean, we’ve always been each other’s go-to person—”

“Shea’s not well, either.” Jonathan grimaced as Travis went on, nearing Jonathan’s hiding place. “He’s actually more like the definition of fucked without you.”

David gasped, his voice tenuous. “No! I never wanted that to—”

Jonathan waited until the three of them passed the brick wall he hid behind, before he stepped out and grabbed David by the hips, interrupting his sentence. Travis caught David’s bag as the boy turned to throw himself into Jonathan’s arms, Jonathan taking them back into the safety of shadow. “I miss you! I love you!” Jonathan hissed before losing himself in the beauty of David’s kiss.

David’s hands flew to Jonathan’s hair, slender fingers disappearing in the thick russet waves as Jonathan held him tighter to his chest. The kiss broke only for them to breathe, David whispering, “Love of my heart, strength of my soul… my everything.”

“I promised—”

David stole a brief kiss. “You’ll make good on it.”

“We need more than this—”

David smiled, kissing under Jonathan’s chin. “One day, we’ll have everything.” He tucked something thick into Jonathan’s front pocket. “Read it when you get home.”

Their mouths found one another’s in a hungry dance until Travis laughed, signaling someone’s approach. Seconds later, Jonathan watched as David disappeared in the throng of students heading upstairs.

“Jonathan? Did you hear me?” Bill repeated, jolting him from memory.

Jonathan lifted his gaze, nodding. “Yeah… I mean, yes, sir. I heard you. I just… I’ve had a headache all day. It’s made it hard to concentrate.”

“Baby boy, whyn’t you go ahead and go to bed? I know your homework’s done.” Abby smiled at him. “Cody and I’ll do the dishes. You go rest.”


Abby turned a glittering gaze to her husband. “Billy, let the boy go rest. We’ll talk rules later, when he can concentrate. Right now, his head cannot manage it, so it’d do no good to have that talk.”

Jonathan nodded. “Thanks, Mama.” Excusing himself from the table, he pushed his chair in and left the room for the bathroom. Washing his face and brushing his teeth, he escaped to his bedroom, crawling into bed in his jeans and tee-shirt. His face was wet a second time before he even got the coverlets pulled over his head.


On to Halley’s Comet: Burn