Author: Subconscious-Flirt PM
When BigBreakAndLargynitis and I go to church, the Bible isn't exactly the first thing on our minds. Meet Adam and Riley, who have the same problem with distraction - Adam loves any entertainment he gets out of Sundays, and Riley just loves Adam. Slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 6 - Words: 14,070 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 08-06-11 - Published: 06-30-10 - id: 2823307
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It's always been easy for me to pay attention in church. I love the atmosphere, the rituals, the weekly sermon, singing and listening.
Sure, when Adam and I first got together, there were times when he would discreetly trace patters on my thighs during the sermon and short-circuit my brain, distracting me so much that when my mom wanted to discuss the mass later I had absolutely nothing to say. I always pretended to get mad at Adam for it, and he smiled.
Of course, our relationship eventually reached the point where the fingers on my thighs no longer made me temporarily disabled - not that our relationship was deteriorating, just that the initial lust had worn off. I was okay with that, because while his touch wasn't exhilarating, it was still pleasing. I could enjoy his presence while still listening and loving church at the same time. It was sort of great, because I could feel like God loved me at the same time that Adam loved me, even if it was ridiculous.
It was a good system, but today I can absolutely not pay attention. Because he's not touching me. At all.
And while I've told him for the past year and a half that that's exactly what I want him to do, we both know I'm lying. I don't know why he's not touching me and it's driving me crazy.
Well, I know exactly what he would say if I asked him. Ever since I came out to my parents a few weeks ago he thinks that his mom knows he's gay, which apparently means he can't go out with me after school or on any weeknight and can't touch me in church. If I want to call him, it has to be past eleven and on his cell phone, at which point I'm usually asleep anyway.
Let's face it - actually seeing or talking to each other at some point is kind of the basis of a relationship. I understand that he doesn't want his mother to find out, but lately I've sort of felt like thinks he has to choose between me and his mother and he's choosing his mother.
Which maybe I would understand if he'd actually had a coversation with his mother, or if that assumption had some sort of basis in reality. Maybe I don't know Adam's mother as well as Adam does, but I, unlike him, don't think she's going to disown him or kick him out or send him to boarding school. She won't be the coolest mom ever, but she won't be totally evil.
That is, if he ever decides to come out to her.
I know he doesn't want to. He's told me multiple times that he doesn't want to, which was fine when it didn't mean our relationship was on hiatus. But he's gotten paranoid, which is incredibly unlike him.
I'm supposed to be the paranoid one in this relationship. If he starts out-paranoiding my paranoid, we're completely and utterly doomed. I don't know how to take control. He's always the calm, funny, outgoing one, and I'm the one who tells him to save it for later, to not be so obvious, to stop it right now or he'll pay for it tomorrow. That's just how we work, and I thought we both liked that.
It's also not as though I can really say anything about it. As displeased as I am with the situation, I guess it's technically my fault - Adam thinks it's because I came out to my mom that his is suspicious. And I guess it kind of is. Besides, it might not just be the mother thing. I don't know, maybe it's just an excuse. Maybe it's unintentional, but he's pulling away, and it's not unlikely that there's another reason for it.
Of course, I can't bring that up either. Then I'll just sound like an insecure girl, and that's one of the most unattractice qualities that I can think of. Besides, if I'm right, what does that lead to? Just the inevitable break up - and I love him.
But I also don't want to just watch our relationship dissolve. I know he loves his mother - his father died of cancer and she's really all he has parent-wise, and while it's usually tense between them it's not a distant frigidity, just the typical annoyance between a teenage boy and a single mother, much as he may deny it. And I don't think him being gay - which she probably already knows or at least suspects - is going to change their relationship all that much.
I guess I really just want him to come out to her. Not just for my sake, but for his too. He's obviously not getting over his paranoia anytime soon, and if nothing else happens, we're doomed.
Or maybe we already are, if I'm right and he's just using this as an excuse to distance himself. Ugh. I don't know what to do.
"Riley?" I hear Adam's whispered voice - I guess the sermon is over. "We gotta sing now."
I force myself out of my thoughts and nod, following him over to the microphones. "You okay?" he asks me quietly as his mom plays the intro to the song. "You seem out of it."
I force a smile. At least we can still talk, I tell myself. "I'm good."
He looks skeptical, but doesn't say anything, probably because his mother would see.
When we start singing, he doesn't even look at me. And when we're supposed to hold hands, because everyone in church is holding hands, he barely touches mine. Doesn't even squeeze it. Even on my most paranoid and cautious of days, I will always at least squeeze his hand.
My stomach turns, and I drop his hand quickly.
We need to talk, because I can't take this anymore.
I avoid his gaze (which used to be difficult, but really isn't anymore) for the rest of the service, but give him distinct "we need to talk" body language, so he isn't all that surprised when I say so afterwards.
I do give him a way out first, though. "You want to go for frozen yogurt?" I ask as everyone leaves. It's difficult not to sound desperate.
Adam looks like he sort of wants to but shakes his head quickly anyway. "Sorry, it's just with everything..."
I clench my jaw, looking away. His mother is very involved in her search for the microphone cords, so I grab his hand and drag him through the small door into the back room.
It's cluttered in here, but also pretty soundproofed. I take a firm stance next to some music stands and Adam leans on an old podium. "We need to talk," I tell him, trying to be firm. Even though there's a high probability that we're breaking up right now. Breathe, Riley.
Adam rolls his eyes, looking a little nervous. Glad I'm not the only one. "Yeah, I kinda got that. What's up?"
I fold my arms and think about myself staring directly into his eyes. Instead I look at one of the dingy-things, as Adam calls the bell during the Season of Lent, in the corner. "I can't do this anymore," I say. Like a boss.
He raises his eyebrows, like the fact that I'm potentially ending this relationship does not phase him. I mean, I'm not, but he doesn't know that. I think I'm not, anyway. Am I? I might be. I hope not. "Can't do what?" he asks.
I bite my lip. "This whole... not seeing each other, paranoid thing. I can't do it, so we need to figure it out."
His posture relaxes and he takes his hands out of his jean pockets. "Oh. Riley, I told you - my mom can't find out. She just can't. So..."
"So... what?" I interrupt. "Things are going to stay the way they are forever? Because..." I take a deep breath. "That's not an option. I'm sorry."
His mouth drops open. "Really?" he asks, rather rudely. "Really, Riley?"
I'm offended that he's offended. "What? You've been practically ignoring me these past few weeks! I have a right to be tired of it!"
He is not persuaded by this logic. "Dude, I can't help it. What's going to happen if she finds out?"
I hold back my nothing, because that is not the point I'm making right now.
"Adam, you're out cautious-ing my cautiousness. This relationship cannot handle any more cautious than I already bring to it. So... you need to get less cautious, or something, because I really don't see how anything's going to get any better otherwise. That's all. I don't - Adam, I don't want to... but... let's just figure it out, okay?"
He presses his lips together, still looking angry. "You're going to break up with me?"
"That's not what I'm saying!" I practically yell, except not. I sound too desperate. "It's just that we're already headed that way, don't you get it? We barely talk anymore. And it sucks, Adam. I can't take it. Don't be mad."
He crosses his arms. Oh, jeez. I've brought out pissy Adam. And that is really not a good idea.
"But you're threatening to break up with me. I can't believe you! You barely used to touch me - you didn't! Remember when you thought God hated you and everything, and you freaked out? For weeks? I didn't threaten to break up with you."
I back away from him, but end up clanging something behind me loudly. It's probably okay, because nobody should be in the church right now, but the tension in the room increases.
"That was completely different, and you know it. Besides, you knew what you were getting into, in the beginning."
He walks out of the room into an adjoining hallway like he's oh-so-frustrated, then storms back in front of me a few seconds later. "It was so not completely different!" he yells, forgetting where we are. "You're being a total hypocrite!"
I want to tell him that he, in fact, is the hypocrite, but I don't feel that would help our discussion. Even though it's true. If he didn't like me being distant, he must realize he's putting me through the same thing. Instead I just try to let him finish.
"I waited for you while you worked out how to admit to God that you're gay! And now you're going to break up with me when I can't tell my mom? Riley, don't -"
"Adam, your mom is not God."
That stops him in his tracks for a second. "Yeah," he says eventually, bitingly, "'cuz she actually exists."
I'm past being offended by his lack of faith, but I don't like the way he's throwing mine in my face. He's never done that before, and I blink hard to keep myself focused.
"I can wait," I tell him quietly, changing the topic quickly. "But... I need to know that it's going to end. You don't have to come out to your mother, I just... you have to tell me things will change. We can work it out."
He rolls his eyes, disregarding my words. "So basically I have to tell my mom I'm gay or you dump me. Great, thanks. I love you too," he adds sarcastically.
I'm trying not to escalate things, to get my point across, but... it's obviously not working. Maybe I need new tactics.
"Do you, Adam?" I challenge him. "Honestly, coming into this conversation I half-thought that you would say 'okay, it's over,' and leave. Are you okay with that? Because I wouldn't be, if I were you. I'm just saying, that's where we are right now."'
"Ugh," he groans, clenching his hands into his fists and tilting his head up to the ceiling like he's being forced to listen to someone talking about lesbian sex. "I knew you were being insecure. If that's what this is about -"
"It's not!" I assure him, backtracking. "I don't want reassurance from you, and I don't want to break up. But I'm telling you that this is hurting me and I don't know how much more I can take."
Adam deflates a little, bringing a hand up to rub at his eyes. "I know. God, I know. It's just... how am I supposed to tell her? What if she hates me? What if she sends me away? Then we'll really never talk, because I'll be in fucking Siberia."
I wonder at how Adam, the most confident person I know, can be so afraid of something like telling his mother that he's homosexual. It wasn't easy for me to come out to my parents, but at least I did it.
"Maybe she'd handle it better than you think," I suggest hopefully. "You never know."
"Yeah," he snorts, "And then my dad will rise from his grave and tell me that he understands perfectly too."
"Okay," I amend, my eyes leaving his, awkward at the mention of his dad. "You don't have to tell her. You never wanted her to find out, Adam, and we've been together for a long time. And you definitely were not acting like this. Can't we go back to that? What happened to you not giving a shit what anyone thinks?"
He looks at me pleadingly. "It's my mother."
"Yeah, but she's always been your mother, and you were't this paranoid before. Do you really think that my parents knowing I'm gay makes that much of a difference?"
He presses his hands to his eyes.
"She just can't find out, Riley."
I blink my tears back. This wasn't meant to be an ultimatum, but it seems like it's turning out that way. "Okay," I say. "So you're saying..."
He's exasperated. "Are you deaf? That she can't find out."
I shrug. "So we throw our whole relationship away because you're scared of your mom. Fine." I look to the door, because it is absolutely not fine. I don't know why I'm shocked - this was the chance I took coming into the conversation.
Really, what did I expect to happen? Adam to see my point of view and feel bad for me and agree with me and start acting differently? Right.
I wanted things to change, and I guess now they have.
"We're not throwing our relationship away," he tells me, scowling. "You are."
I work my mouth so as to not start crying. That is so not manly. "What relationship?" I shoot back. "We don't see each other anyway. And no matter what you say, that's not my fault."
He swallows, his Adam's Apple bobbing. "Fine."
"Fine," I retort, my voice cracking.
We stare each other down for a minute, him angry, me mostly uncertain, before he storms out of the room, into the church, slamming the tiny door behind him.
And then I burst into tears.
"That's it, Adam," my mom says, placing her fork down on her plate. "I've had it. What's wrong with you?"
I look up at her - I haven't really been eating my dinner, just sort of poking it around. I'm sure it tastes very good, especially with all the effort she put into this "family dinner", but I'm just not in the mood.
And judging by her face, I guess I'm not as ninja about my depression as I thought.
"What do you mean?" I reply, very convincingly (because, after all, I am an actor).
"Oh, you know," she says, not fooled even in the face of my skill. "You've been moping around all week. What happened?"
I shrug. I do not want to talk about this to her, of all people. I can't exactly tell her that I've been pretty much dumped by the guy I've been dating for a year, when the reason that we broke up was because I couldn't tell her.
I'm still in the closet, but now I'm sitting heartbroken in the closet. Ugh.
"Fine," she says, after waiting for a futile minute for me to respond. "I guess boys don't talk about their problems to their mother - but you should let some friends cheer you up. Maybe you could invite Bobby or Riley over this weekend."
I must really be putting out distraught vibes if she's suggesting I have Riley over. She usually does not like me associating with Riley, not since he came out. But I wouldn't invite him anyway. Obviously. Even though he's probably the only one who could cheer me up. Bobby would just bug me about Riley.
"Yeah, maybe," I say listlessly. "I'm uh... I'm gonna go finish some homework."
"Adam - " she looks down at her own folded hands, resting in front of her plate on the table.
"Look, mom, I've got a lot of - yeah." I leave her sitting there, still staring at her hands, to sit in my room staring at the pages of my calculus textbook, not seeing anything.
This sucks. While in the beginning I was angry, now I'm just... it was hard enough, keeping away from Riley in fear of my mother - now I guess... I guess it's over.
Over. The word resonates in my head, and I sort of can't actually process it. There's no way that Riley and I can be over. I can't picture my life without him in it. I can't imagine being his friend. I can't imagine never kissing him again, or holding him, or watching his face as I...
I was angry, but now that I'm thinking about never being with him I sort of understand how he felt. I get that all this is my fault. He was faced with losing me and tried to fix it, and I threw it in his face.
Maybe if I just apologized.
I am sorry, but the problem is still there. I can't tell my mom.
I can't have her hate me. I don't exactly like her, but she's my only family.
So does that mean I wait until college to date any more men? I just don't want her to know. That's my choice.
But now I've lost Riley.
And I know that he loves me - he'll come crawling back if I tell her. I think. I was pretty mean.
I do admit that I've gotten more paranoid lately - when Riley told his mom, I just sort of got a glimpse of what mine would be like if she knew. Along with a week-long breast cancer scare, I was starting to, for the first time in my life, actually appreciate my relationship with my mother. A8nd somehow I let myself alienate my boyfriend.
I realize that he's (probably, Riley doesn't have the greatest willpower I've ever seen) lost forever if I don't do something. I know that I probably won't see him until Sunday at church, and if things stay as they are I'll sit in the back and he'll sit in the front and ignore me, and he'll shoot glances at me the entire time and we'll both be too upset to pay any attention (because I obviously pay attention every day. Ha).
And we'd do it every week, ignore each other, have short awkward conversations, until time will pass and we'll get less upset and it'll be less tense and less awkward and one day he'll (it'll definitely be him) pull me aside and say that now we've calmed down we should be friends, and he'll be nice and sweet and polite. I'll have to agree and then he'll probably find another boyfriend, one who won't be such a spaz about his parents and I'll probably never meet him but I'll know just from Riley's face...
No. I slam my book shut.
I don't want to lose my mother. And I don't want to lose Riley.
Ugh. I shove my stupid frigging textbook onto the floor.
I guess I have a decision to make.
This is probably the first time in a long time that I have dreaded going to church.
I think my legs are actually trembling as I walk through the doors. Because I am dreading it, this is also the first time in a long time that I haven't arrived early.
Adam's already here. So is his mother.
I never hated her before, but I hate her now. For making Adam feel like she'll disown him if he tells her who he is. It's all I can do to sit down in the front and not glare at anyone or start crying again.
This is also the first time I've seen Adam since we broke up.
Coming here I assumed that most of the awkwardness could be avoided because he would sit in the back and I'd stick to the front (like happens whenever I'm too weak and let him get away with it), but he's sitting right near the piano. Not in the seat next to mine, but not in the back either.
I guess I don't know what that means.
I take my seat and Adam's mom glares at me (what does that mean? Because I'm late?). Of course, looking at Adam is something that must be avoided at all costs, unless he's not looking. It's probably a bad idea until I decide whether I want to get down on my knees and beg for him or slap him across the face.
Right now it's leaning toward begging but I still haven't decided.
Church starts and he's one empty seat away from me. I guess the other choir girls assumed we would sit next to each other, mistakenly, and left it there for me. Somehow, when everyone gets quiet the horrible awkwardness worsens. I can feel him not looking at me just like I'm not looking at him and God is definitely staring at me.
We have to stand up to sing the gathering song. Apparently nobody noticed my intense emotional distress and thought it would be nice to leave me a place at their microphone, so Adam and I have to share one as usual.
Walking slowly and avoiding each other's eyes, we approach the microphone and stand as far apart as possible while still being heard by the church. I glance at him out of the corner of my eyes when the music starts.
Adam begins to sing, and at the sound of his voice, I can't help but regret our fight - our break-up. Maybe if I apologize he'll forgive me.
But I guess the problem is still there. I still can't stand him ignoring me. It was the only thing I could do - but who cares? It still sucks, and this is worse.
Maybe it was just our time, though. Maybe we just grew apart - I don't feel like I've grown apart from him, but maybe I have.
My voice falters. Adam glances at me weirdly, so I clear my throat and stop thinking about it. Mostly.
We sit back down - this time, Adam sits next to me. Good sign? I think so. But I also don't know what I want.
Father Rob starts talking, but Adam doesn't slump in his seat like usual. Instead his whole body sort of tilts toward me.
He looks nervous. "I came out to my mom," he whispers.
Oh my God. Thank God. I love God. I have to bite my lip at first to keep from smiling, because I'm not sure that's the proper reaction.
He did it, though. I'm so proud of him.
"Oh," I manage to get out through my irrational glee.
He doesn't say anything, so I get worried. Checking if anyone is looking, I fidget and ask, "What happened? How did she react?"
God, if he came out and she hated him or kicked him out it would be all my fault. Because I gave him an ultimatum. Then I calm down because he definitely wouldn't be in church if he didn't have to be, which means his mom still cares. Besides, he would probably be too angry to talk to me if that was the case.
He shrugs. "She'll get over it."
Now I let myself grin. "That's... great," I say, meaning it, glancing over at Mrs. Hughes. That does explain why she was glaring at me earlier. But she obviously didn't beat him to death.
His face is serious when I look back at him, not sure what this means for us. Is he glad that he got it over with? Does he resent me because I made him do it? Did he even do it for me? Is he still mad?
We definitely need to talk - again - and we can't do it all in whispers.
This is the second week in a row that I haven't paid any attention at all to the service. I think I'm going to hell. But on the upside, if I'm going, maybe I'll go without Adam hating me.
It's over, and, like every week - even though it is absolutely not every week - we lounge casually in the church. Adam's mom doesn't say anything to him as she leaves, which is actually a good thing because I think if she had taken it worse she would have forced him to leave with her.
There are some old people refusing to leave, talking to Father Rob, so Adam and I slip outside into the garden.
I sit down on the bench, hoping that the pretty tiles and flowers will make this conversation go better than our last one. I stare at him and he stares at me but neither of us say anything for a minute. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward.
"So I came out to her," he finally blurts out.
"Yeah," I say. "What did she say?"
He shrugs. "A bunch of shit. She said she was disappointed. I think she sort of got that it's who I am, she's just kinda pissed about it. She was pleased when I said I wanted to go to church, though. I guess she thinks I'm trying to redeem myself or something. Hah. I guess I am."
"So it's not... too bad?" I question, hopeful. If I've ruined everything for him, he's not going to want me back.
He snorts. "Not really. She's being bitchy, but I mean, when is she not being bitchy?"
I laugh. "So..." Does that mean we're okay again? I stand up, making it more awkward.
"I'm sorry," we both rush out at the same time, then start laughing nervously.
This is ridiculous. I shouldn't be nervous about him.
"I didn't mean to give you an ultimatum, I'm so sorry. I was upset, and I just, I just thought I was going to lose you and I freaked out - I'm glad things worked out out, but, if they didn't..."
He laughs. "Yeah, but they did, so... whatever, I'm actually kind of glad. If you hadn't sort of woken me up, I would have spent my whole life in the closet. And that would've sucked, so..."
I want to hug him, but he continues talking.
"And I'm sorry I got so pissed at you. I know what it feels like to... I don't know, feel like someone's slipping away..." He looks at me shyly, sort of. Because it's Adam, and usually he only acts shy when it's part of some strategic maneuver to get sex.
I look down, thinking about the awful week I've had, thinking Adam and I were over forever. "I didn't really like being broken up," I tell him.
I glance at his face, and he looks the same way I feel. Like he hasn't gotten enough sleep this past week either. "Me either. Obviously. I mean, I feel kind of stupid now. Like if I had just come out to her a long time ago, I could have spared all the tears and stuff. And you could have been with me."
"You could've called me," I mumble.
His eyes widen, searching, but then he sort of realizes that I would have come, broken up or not, and smiles. "Yeah, you definitely love me too much to stay away."
I feel like he's implying that I'm his bitch, so I cross my arms. "You're the one who just said you were crying."
He shrugs. "Whatever. So were you, probably."
"How do you figure that?" Obviously, I was, but I hate how Adam thinks I'm secretly a girl.
He rolls his eyes. "Dude, you didn't even wait until I was out of the building."
I go to smack him in the arm, but he grabs my hand, tugging me closer, and all of a sudden we're embracing. I close my eyes and press my nose into his neck, trying not to seem too desperate and failing. But he's clutching the back of my polo in his hands, so I guess it's mutual.
"I missed you," he whispers, kissing my hair, and after a minute I pull back to mock him but end up kissing him, which is better anyway. I bite at his bottom lip a little, and then his tongue is in my mouth and I can't imagine ever losing this. We should not repeat this breaking up thing. It doesn't work for me.
"So let's be officially not broken up anymore," I say when we pull apart.
He smirks. "Okay."