s t o r m


kazza2085, kazza2085, please report to Depository No. Winterbridge immediately. You have received one (1) m/m angst sketch to your name. Personal signature is unnecessary to confirm ownership. Thank you.

(Uhm—I have no idea what that was about.)
Hugs and smiles, Kazza, for wacky-delicious e-mails that keep my brain whirling and its fans whirring. I think I love you already. Here's to the beginning of a hopeful friendship.
I thought you might be able to understand this one.


Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. Ecclesiastes 7:29 (KJV).


"It's raining."

His pupils remind me of the anonymous Hershey's kisses I slipped inside his desk for Valentine's Day. Soft, melting—bittersweet in a way that leaves acidity festering on your tongue long after the sugar high has rushed past. A hardened ache tangles across my chest, familiar and sickening, making me cringe into my windbreaker before I can think to stop myself. But maybe I wouldn't think to stop myself even if I had the time. It wouldn't make much of a difference anyway. I'm beginning to wonder what does. I stare back into his soft brown gaze, and the ache sharpens.

Davis's eyes will tear you—tear you like paper-cuts down to the squirming strands of your dirty little heart. They tear me, anyway. I guess it's cruel. But to me, his eyes will always be heaven just the same. Heaven—with a thousand empty stars.

"Aren't you cold?" I ask. Maybe too softly. No, he heard. I catch sight of a half smile on his lips before he turns his face down to his lap. It's the smile of a seventeen-year-old misanthrope who still believes in Mommy and Daddy's dichromatic world.

I should hate him. I should hate this boy of the flawless skin and delicate face, hate this moonlit beauty whose body always clenches with careless tension underneath his black polo shirts and stonewashed jeans. Sometimes I almost do. But even then, it's things I hate. Not him. I hate myself for that. Not him.

I hate the sweet fascination that lingers in every curve of his fingers, the unconscious drug in every line of those dark lashes that curl softly against his cheekbones. I hate every Jackson High School day telling me again that I can't stay away from my human crack. I hate my eyes for watching his fingers tap out the seconds he would rather have spent reading The Lord of the Flies than in the library with me, talking about lab and next week's English paper that he'll ace before he types the first word. I hate the way he sees me but never looks. I hate the way he never lets me close and never lets me go. I hate how he makes the air crackle with tension, and how he's careful to keep it that way. It's me, that's why. It's always—me. God, I'm an egotist. And he's beautiful. So—fucking—beautiful.

" Davis."

He doesn't look up, but I can tell that he's smiling again. It's like a hook—jagged, clenching me tight. I think the ache might be flooding to my shins… But actually, I shouldn't think.

"Hello, McLelland."


Again the smile. I think he knows, knows how much it hurts me to always be goddamn McLelland to him instead of Christian. And he's not doing anything about it. He won't. Sometimes he makes me so—afraid, almost. Or am I just scared of the part of him that smiles?

"It's raining."

Christ, I must be getting dumb. The chocolate brown eyes meet my blue ones; cool, staring—confidently lost.

"I know."


Davis laughs quietly. "You're weirder than you were before, McLelland."

"I've been like this a while," I shrug, shoulders straining a bit underneath the windbreaker.



Now it's his turn to shrug. I can't tell whether the graceful way he pulls it off looks that way because it really is, or because love is a shitty bastard and I'm possessed. Probably both.

"Odd, I never noticed."

I feel a burn flushing across my lower face. That voice. That carefully blasé lilt. Satan fuck it. It's just like his handwriting; cramped and fluid. Beautiful, unreadable—slipping between my fingers into a world of its own. My molars hurt, but my jaw won't stop twisting closed tighter and tighter and tighter…

"Because you were never there." I might as well be talking with my enamel. With my fingernails. Between my teeth and my palms, I might be able to think for a moment that he's not worth all this. But I won't let myself jump that far. Mind's masochism is the friendship that I gave one and a half years to buy; I don't have time left over now. And this has been going on for so long now that I'm too exhausted to be tired. It's just him. It's just me. And all the other things in between. Fuck what I can or can't do.


Davis has a quizzical look on his face. He's good. So damn smart. And all thanks to the wonderful Jesus. That's the gist of how he'd put it, anyway.

"I'm always—here, McLelland. You see me every day."

"Fucking God, I do."

He closes his eyes. "You always have to say it like that."

Then what do you want me to say, Davis? "Fucking Satan"? "You're right"? "Jesus, I love you"? What do you want me to say? Damn this…

"I'm sorry."

His eyelids flutter, but they don't open.

"I said I'm sorry, Davis."

We're gazing at each other. His tightened lips look paler than I'm comfortable with, and my internal ache stabs. Last time, I heard a lecture on the Third Commandment from him. And a lecture on something from Psalms or Proverbs or whatever the time before that. And today…

" Davis? Williams?"

Davis's eyes are solemn. "I heard you."


"Stop saying that," he mutters. He's not looking at me.

" Davis?"

"Please don't say that."

Don't take God's name in vain, you mean. Don't use four-letter words in front of it. Don't blaspheme or you'll go to hell. But I'm already in hell, Davis. You're too late. So late.

I scuffle my foot against a loose rock and nod. "All right, I won't."


"I won't say it. I promise."

He arches an eyebrow at me. "You're easy today."

Something dry and sharp snags inside my throat. "I guess."

Davis doesn't say anything for a while. And when he does, his voice is quiet. Almost curious. "Why?"

"That's—that's what you want…isn't it?"


"That's what you want—from me."

He looks up. Something inside me twists and rushes to the top of my head. I want to fall down. The thousand and first star in his eyes is a shard of my own deadweight, and for the first time, I think that he might not be so different after all. Just afraid. And I'm scared too.

" Davis, come on, even I get it after a couple of t—"

"You don't get me, McLelland."

I've sworn enough and said enough of the wrong things to be used to his anger. But not this kind. Not this harsh, trembling sound-fist that plunges to my gut so hard I want to forget that I know who he is, what he is; just want to let go and hold him tight.

"Davis, I…"

"Shut up."

His eyes skirt away. He has his wrists loosely crossed across his knees, and my gaze drags toward the goose-bumps freckling his slender arms.

"You—you cold?"

He shivers, clenching his teeth into his lip. "No."

He's sitting in the rain wearing a fucking polo and he's not cold. Jesus.


"I'm fine."

Sure. We're always fine, the two of us. I crouch down in front of the bench and wrap my windbreaker around his shoulders. The jacket is already a bit soggy, but the lining inside should keep him warm. For a while, at least, since this rain feels like it's only going to get worse. God, he's even thinner than I thought. I'd think he was anorexic if I didn't know better. And he's still beautiful…

"Thanks," he says.

I almost wince at the dullness in his voice. It's not him, that sound. Davis Williams can be ruthless and bitter and detached, but he's always had a cool vibrancy about him that somehow gripped you tighter than brightness. If I could love him more for that, I swear to God I would.

"Stop staring at me."

I shake myself. "Right. Sorry about that."

"Don't you have anything better to do than be sorry all the time?"

He sounds amused. But I know his undertones by now.

"You're tired."

"I'm fine, McLelland." There was a hint of that strange anger coming back on the f word, but after my name, he laughs. "Darn you."

'Darn you.' I think that's as close as Davis will ever get to swearing. 'Darn you.' My God. He won't say 'damn.' Not to mention 'holy shit,' since God alone is holy to him while love isn't even close. He just won't swear. He's got another Biblical explanation for it, too. Something to do with clean lips and praising the Lord, I think. But there are so many Biblical explanations that I can't remember them all. Not even for Davis's sake.


He laughs again, shaking his head. "Bother, I'll have to relearn you."

I smile back at him. It's an empty smile, empty like the red in the autumn leaves that's only a promise for three months of frost and washed white. I don't think he expects anything better. I wouldn't be able to give it to him even if he did.

"You already know, anyway."

Davis tilts his head to one side. "Hm?"

"You know."

"Know what?"


"What's 'everything'?"

" Davis, please."

"What's 'everything,' McLelland?"

I'm staring at that distant, perfectly diagramed curve of his lips. And something snaps before I can reach my hand out to grab it back and throttle it like I've always done. It just—breaks.

"Well, I can think up a couple of things." I grip the sides of my damp Depeche Mode T-shirt tightly. My fingernails are digging into my hands again. Sometimes, I can't understand this boy no matter how hard I try. He's too much like the God he's dedicated everything to. Too much… "I swear, I listen to Linkin Park, I drink, I smoke, I have a druggie brother, I don't go to church—the stuff you don't like about me, for one. And then—there's what you hate about me, too, isn't there?" God, why can't I stop my tongue? What is wrong with me? "You know, that thing I told you in January? Yeah, that."

He has his palms pressed into his eyes before I'm halfway done. I think he shudders a bit on the last sentence, but I don't care.

"Your problem with me isn't not knowing, Williams. It's because you don't care. You just don't fucking—care, you…"

Davis clears his throat, stares at me. "You're acting like a kindergartner, McLelland."

"Oh yeah? Well, it's a hell of a lot better than being a fucking android."

"Stop it."

"'Stop it,' 'stop it,' 'stop it.'" My eyes are smarting. I'd like to think it's from the rain. Or from too much drama club. "Is that all you'll ever say to me? 'Stop it,' 'that's wrong,' 'it's a sin'? Like what am I, a huge stupid blob of shit? Huh? Come on, Davis, answer me. Say yes. Come on, say it. You can, right? You'll look at me like I'm some kind of twisted sicko and you'll tell me what your godly shepherd taught you last week, right? Go on, Davis, do it. Come on—"

"Shut up!"

He screams it so loud that I think it upsets him more than it does me. And then he's whispering, whispering softly against his knotted hands.

"Please, stop."

I close my eyes. Rain flutters down cold yellow through the light of the park lamps. We say nothing for a while. The silence is like the smell of cracked ice.

"Why'd you call me tonight?"

He starts, eyes wide. "W-what?"

I sigh and run a hand through my wet hair. "It's okay. You can tell me. I'm sorry for shouting at you, Davis. Really, I… Why'd you call?"

Davis presses his lips together as if he's thinking. "I had—I had something to tell you."





" Davis," I sigh. "Get it over with, come on. Please?"


" Davis."

"Come to church with me tomorrow."

I stare at him, stare into those deep dark eyes that gaze so unflinchingly back at me. I know I never hated them more in the two and a half odd years I have known this boy. But I also know that I have never seen him this softened before. He looks almost—vulnerable. God, what is happening here?

"Come to church with me tomorrow," he repeats. "McLelland?"

"Don't shit me."

He shakes his head. "I'm not."

" Davis, what the fuck?"

"I want you to come with me to church tomorrow."

He's holding onto my arm. He looks beautiful, even more beautiful than he did in the library last week. Jesus Christ… He's not joking. And I laugh. Because he's serious, because he's cruel, because he's gorgeous, because I still love him—because I'm such a goddamn fool


"What w—"

"Why do you want me to… Why… You keep coming back, keep calling… Shit."

Davis is hanging back. "Because…"



"Just stop stopping, will you?"

"You're—you're my project."

"I'm your what?"

He looks away. "My project. For Sunday school."

"Well, that's—that's nice."


"I guess I—owe your religion one, then, huh?"

"Don't be like… We were supposed to bring someone to church and help them get save—what?"

My breath sounds hollow. "Does—does God have to make you—sadistic?"


"I don't like being told I'm wrong, Davis. But that's all I am to your damn church. It's all I am to you. And that'll save me, right?"


His face is pale and blurred as I smile and pull out of his touch.

"Fuck you, Williams."

"Hey, don't—"

I step back farther from Davis's outstretched hand.


"Don't touch me."

"It wasn't—I didn't—"

"Fuck you."

The hand drops into his lap. His lips are parted as he looks at me, confused.

"What do you want to hear from me, then?"

I breathe out. "Nothing. Just shut up. Stop it. Shut up."

"All right."

My eyes close. There's something wrong with my lower lip. It won't keep still. "I love you."


"I—love—you, Davis Williams."


I hear his breath catch in his throat. It makes him sound like a kid. God, I want to kiss him so badly. I know what I said will fuck him up. It did last time, and this time won't be any different. It's never different. We might as well both be fucked up together. Just fucked up.


"I what, Davis?"


"Well, say it!"

"You promised we wouldn't talk about that, you promised it was—I told you I couldn't—that way…you…"

I grab the hood of the windbreaker in both hands and pull his face close to mine. "Why, Davis? Fucking why? Why can't we just—forget… Fuck you. You just don't want anything, do you? Do you?"

"What I want…"

I jerk away from the warmth of his breath on my face. I know my face is flushing again. I'm almost panting.

"What I want is what I dream. Not what I believe."

My stomach coils. "Stop talking like a fucking book. Just… You think that's gunna make things better, huh? You think that's gunna make me love you more? It's too late for that, Davis. It's just too fucking late for everything…"

His eyes are pieces of glass flashing in the dark. My voice dips suddenly, quiet and ragged.

"I've lost control with you."

"McLelland, I—"

"Don't—fucking—call me that!"

"I don't…"

"My name is Christian, Davis, Christian. I'm not, but that's my name. It's my name. Why can't you—"


He said it. He finally said it. My name. My name… Only as a peace offering, I know, but he said it.

" Davis?"


The rain is falling faster. It almost stings to keep my eyes open all the way, but I force my eyelids somehow. The way I will never be able to force Davis…

"D'you—d'you hate me?"

His body tenses as if he's trying not to start. He tenses even more when I reach out and take his hand into mine, stroking my thumb around his smooth palm. Circles. That's what I'm drawing. What we do all the time. Circles. God damn these circles, but they're all I have. All I have with him.

"We're…friends, Mc—Christian."

"That's not an answer."

The paleness of his lips is helpless. "Can't you just—let it go?"

"No. Come on, Davis. Why do you hate me?"

"I don't—hate you."

"Something wrong with my face?"


"You promise?"

Davis hesitates. "Of—of course."

I trace the delicate lines in his palm and make my voice a whisper. "Could you like me?"

He doesn't answer.

"If it was different, I mean. Could you—just a little?"

We stare at each other again, blue against soft brown. We're so close…


That one whisper from him bleeds pain, pain, pain, more pain. My chest tears. I clench his hand. Something comes crashing down in my stomach. Falling…



"Then—then why?"


"I love you, Davis. I—I love you, and…"

His slender frame spasms, and he pushes me away.

" Davis?"

"This is wrong. Wrong, wrong, just so wrong. Please…wrong…"

He'll be shrieking again in a few minutes if I don't stop him. But I can't stop him. This is who he is. This is the wall between us; not his God, but his faith in Him. His faith.

"It's wrong, Christian. Don't you… It's—wrong."

My throat hurts so badly. Hurts.

"Prove it," I croak. I want to shake him, but I won't. "I said prove it."

Davis's hands are shaking. So is his voice as he recites what I've heard from him once before. Those hateful words that make Satan my step-dad and me a monster of the fire.

"If—if a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman—both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Leviticus Chapter Twenty, verse thirteen."

My face warps into a sneer. "Tell me something new, Williams. We did that last time. In January."

Again the hurt in his eyes that makes me feel so dizzy. Again that nakedness. And despite everything, I think I love him even more.

"Don't—stop making this harder for me, Christian."

"Like I even can."


"I told you to prove it, Williams. Make Pastor Greene proud for chastising the godless sinner, why don't you? Huh? You—"

His hand is slick with rain against my mouth, his next words a hiss. He's desperate; I can feel it. But so am I.

"In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Romans Chapter One, verse twenty-seven."

"Nice italics, Davis."


My voice cracks. "I think—we did that last time, too."

" Sodom—"

"Don't give up easily, do you?"

"You asked for this."

I laugh. "Then shoot me."

" Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. Jude Chapter One, verse seven."

"Oh wow, a Bible book I've never heard of. D'you know them all, Dave?"

"Just—stop it."

"Back to that again."

I think I learned this coldness from him. Once, Rob used to say I laughed too much. Damned funny, too much. I don't laugh now. Not really, anyway. I just smile—like him. I was never this way before tenth grade. I was never in love with a boy who had my name running in his blood, who was against everything my heart wanted and always made me ache inside. It was all before I drowned in a friendship that didn't hurt because it was nothing, but because it was so not but so damn close to being something. All that was before now. Before this chipped old bench in the park and the questions, questions, questions.

"Done already, Davis?"


He's the old Davis, the one who defied me over the edge of Shakespeare's sonnets and parroted sermons that damned me forever like they were his own. In a way, they actually were. The knuckles of my fingers are numbing.

"Go on, then. You know you want to. Spit it."

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." His expression is earnest, searching. "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

I watch white glitter burn in his dark gaze. I wish for his sake that I could make those words mean something instead of just leaving behind a hollow me and an aching brain. I wish that I could touch every one of those empty, beautiful stars in his eyes and fill them so that they'll never be lonely again. But all I can do is stroke his cheek, ignore his flinch, and try to tell him that I've tried. Not that it means anything to his God.

"First Corinthians Chapter Six, verses nine through eleven."

Davis jerks back. "What…"

He's staring at me so wide-eyed that I want to grin and tell him he looks like the white plush seal Rob gave me for my fourth birthday. I could almost tell him he's cute. That would be disastrous. Just like everything I want to do these days.

"First Corinthians Chapter Six, verses nine through eleven."

"You—how did—how did you…"

"Pastor Greene's text for morning worship on January fifteenth. I guess I heard it from him."

Davis steps closer to me, forehead creased. "You were there?"


"You listened to the whole sermon?"

"Yeah. I thought it was legal."

"But you said you weren't coming!"

"That's what I said."

I feel pretty stupid. Actually, it's not bad. Just more than weird, I guess.

"I don't drink any more, Davis. It's been like six months since I had a cigarette. I'm really—really trying not to swear so much—at least not in front of you. I'm not sure you noticed, I messed up tonight, but yeah. I was doing fine before you, you know." A strangled laugh comes out of my throat. "And last Thursday, I went to the strip mall and I—I bought every damn CD Kutless ever recorded, and—I forget, I…"


He's sitting with his legs drawn into his chest, half of his face shadowed behind his knees. There's something so strange and sad about the way his thin fingers knot together on the jean front of his calves, something I'm not used to seeing in him at all.

"You okay?"

Davis looks up with a smile that matches his fingers. "No."

" Davis?"

"You were right." His voice is getting thicker. "I'm not fine. I just won't be fine."

"Did I say that?"

Davis shakes his head. "Your face did, though."

"I hate my face?"

"Please don't goof with this."


He makes a small noise from the back of his throat. "Sorry again. What is your… Why do you…"

"Really, I'm sorry. Sorry for this shit, sorry for…"

Davis clenches his teeth into his lip. "I—I want—I want too much. It's wrong, but I… I always—and I don't want—I don't—I don't understand…"

For a moment he almost looks as if he's going to break into tears. But Davis Williams doesn't cry. And it's still Davis Williams sitting in front of me on the edge of the park bench, no matter what weird things he's said out of nowhere. Even if I almost don't recognize him anymore. It's Davis Williams.

The rain is trickling a little from Davis's face, and his hair is starting to stick to his head. I can't see anything else besides those chocolate brown eyes watching me… I reach for the hood of the windbreaker and bring it over his head, and I honestly can't tell myself why.

"Too wet," I explain, even though the rain isn't really that bad yet, shrugging off his quiet thanks. And then I somehow bring myself to say, "What…"


"What—don't you…"

"Nothing. It's nothing."

"You don't talk about nothing, Davis."

"It's hypothetically possible, you know."

"For the rest of the world, yeah. Not for you."

He stares. "Just let it go, Christian."

I don't say anything.

"You can, right?"


Davis almost smiles. He's not laughing, though. Just skeptic. "Anybody can."


"Why not?"

"I—I suck at it."

"Well, I don't know that."

"You should."

He frowns. "How?"

"I'm—I'm still not over you—idiot."

Funny how one harsh word can save your voice from breaking. So funny—and so damn pathetic. Davis has the lower half of his face buried in his hands. His eyes are closed. I'm dancing on the edge of hysteric laughter. Even more pathetic.

"Craptastic, huh? I'm standing here in the rain looking like I'm wearing some stupid spandex telling a Christian I think he's the most gorgeous boy on the planet and I want to marry him and have his babies. I'm going crazy, Davis. And it's your fault. All your fucking fault…"

He huddles up on the bench, facing the trees to his right and my left, sneakered feet tucked beneath him. "I—I know. I know."

Oh damn, Davis, no. Don't give in to me. Please don't…


"I know it's my fault, McLelland! Shut up!"

He shivers and pulls the windbreaker closer around himself. He's cold. Shit. Awkwardly, I shuffle over and sit down. He doesn't turn. My arms slowly reach out and wrap around his quivering waist, my fingers locking over his stomach when he jumps and tries to move away.

"McLelland, what are you doing? McLelland! Christian, stop, what—"

"Shhh. I'm not—I'm not trying anything, Davis. I swear to God. It's just—shhh. Trust me."

His body stays stiff for a few seconds more, then slackens against mine. None of all this would have happened if both of us were really seventeen like we supposedly are. He wouldn't have been so cruel. I wouldn't have lasted as long. He might have given it a try. I wouldn't have loved him as much. But we're not seventeen. We're just—not. We've both turned into something else, something alien that I don't really get. His T.S. Eliot getting to us, I guess. I close my eyes and press my forehead to his back, breathing in the scent of his aqua shampoo through the rain and my own smell in the windbreaker.

" Davis?"

He's listening. I can feel it.

"You said I was weird, didn't you?"


I smile. "You were right."

I think he knows that's not what I'm trying to say. He waits. Something is wrong with my throat again.


I close my eyes tighter. "Y-yeah?"

"You're getting even weirder."


"Come on, you made me talk."

"This is so not…not… I used to be so normal—before I met you." The words suddenly come spilling. "I played Halo. I watched TV half the day, I smoked when Rob got into sh—trouble, and I never stopped in the middle of a cuss word for anybody, you know, I… I… And now everything is just so totally—fucked up, I read—I read that goddamned T.S. Eliot you're obsessed with every single day and I almost don't go out. I'm just—stuck at home thinking about what you're never going to give me. I can't play video games anymore because my hands feel so dumb with the paddle, and I write—poetry shit that I know you'll laugh at, but it's just for you anyway. I hate going to school but I can't stay away because of you, and I know what you're going to say in English when you glow and get so fucking beautiful I wish I didn't have any blood at all, and…and when I think, it's like—like someone else talking in my head, it's—the words—the words're…" My laugh mists for a second against the nylon back of my windbreaker, sounding as acrid as the smell of a burnt forest. "You're turning me into a stupid damned zombie and I can't do anything about it. I grew up, I guess."

I instinctively tighten my grip around his waist as his body shudders against my cheek. We just sit there for a while.

"Davis, you—you remember tenth grade?"


I smile. "I thought you were stupid shit the first day. 'My name is Davis Williams, I am a Christian, and I would like to write books for the glory of God.' And I was just thinking, 'Oh my God. What the fuck is that?'"

"I thought you were a dirty pagan."

We laugh.

"Guess it took me like two months to knock my head clean and admit I had a crush on you. And then I was watching you all the time. It was so bad, Davis, you know? I always wanted to kiss you but you never looked at me."

"What are you—"

"You never really look at me, Davis. You know that too, right? You never looked at me then, either. But I remember thinking you had the prettiest smile I'd ever seen. Then I watched you play with Hannah in your backyard once, and—and your eyes were just—sunlight. You had to be my boyfriend, and I actually—might've asked you, you know, if Greg Lannon hadn't showed up and told me you sat behind him at church. Th-thank God for Greg Lannon, huh?"

He's looking at me too intently.

"I saw you on the sidewalk."

"Tenth grade."

He nods.

"And you just kept getting beautiful." I clutch desperately at the front of the windbreaker. "Every day. Every week. Every month. You—you wouldn't stop and I couldn't either. God, Davis, I tried. I tried so hard and every time I thought I'd got there you'd be across the hallway from me looking—Christ, like heaven, and I couldn't. It was so hard to get to be your friend even and I loved you so damn fucking much, it was just… I just loved you more and more. And you—you sent me to hell before that Judgment of yours, Davis." My hands begin to tremble. "You still wouldn't look at me. You just wouldn't, and I—I don't know what I hoped, I… And I told you. I fucking told you, just grabbed you and spilled it all out, and God, you looked at me like I was an animal. You said you could never, ever love me back, and I—"


"But you know what?"


"I still loved you. I loved you. Always did. Still do. Still. Still love you, love you, love you, love you."

I'm sobbing and laughing into his back, and from the way his body shakes in my arms as if he can't breathe, some distant part of my head somehow knows that he's crying too. God…

"I love you, Davis Williams. I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you. I love you like all the stupid love songs ever made, and you're still—you haven't changed. So what'll I do? What am I supposed to do, Davis? Claw myself out? Oh God, I love you. I love you. I love you."

For a while, sounds are only the rain and my incoherent mumbles. I wish I could go to sleep here and not wake up again. But Davis cringes, and in two rasping words we're flying backwards in time.


I grit my teeth against the fierce stab in my stomach. "It doesn't work like that."

"Please don't."

"Don't fucking make me, then."

He laughs. There's water dripping from the sound. "I'm not—I'm not worth dying for, Chris."

My fingers curl tightly into the windbreaker. Chris. I could almost hate him for doing this to me.

"I'll die once whatever I believe, Davis. Might as well go all the way."

Again the laugh. "Stop—stop saying things like that."

"Why?" I whisper. "Why, Davis?"

He shudders.

" Davis?"

"Just—just listen to me, okay?"


The silence warms a little. And this time, I wait for him.

"Did you know, I actually used to hate church when I was little?"

I shake my head. "Kind of hard to imagine."

"Yeah. Well, I did. I hated the sermons. They were boring, just forty-five stuffy minutes of waiting and waiting for something to finally over. Seriously, my butt hurt. I think I told my parents that once or twice at breakfast. I was in fourth grade and I made Mom really worried about me. Dad too, but he let me take my time. I didn't do anything in church except draw pictures. I even drew one once of Pastor Greene with a key coming out of his back so I could wind him up and make him go faster. It wasn't in fourth grade, but…" Davis's hands keep pinching his jeans. "And then something changed in fifth grade. It just—I still don't know what it was, but I remember sitting in our pew one Sunday watching the sunlight floating around, and I just—just realized this was where I belonged. It was like coming home after getting caught in the rain, only just—just so much more than that. Like no matter where I'd been I'd always belong in that pew. I just knew God wouldn't ever leave me out. I loved everyone in the building so much it almost scared me. Funny, isn't it? I don't think I ever hated church again after that." He turns out of my hold.

"So that's it? You don't love me, you love church, and that's it."

Davis shakes his head. "I'm—I'm scared of church now."


He looks straight at me. "I was in seventh grade when I saw Will & Grace for the first time. We don't have television at home, but we were visiting Aunt Ruthie's house at spring break. They don't go to church and Kat was watching it. And I saw Jack waving his hands around and talking, and it was so—so—I don't know… I mean, he was just weird and I didn't want to act like him at all but he—he looked cute. And he kind of—kind of looked like he belonged, just like I felt. I remember that. But I remembered how tight Mom's lips got, too, and then that—that word she said. Homo. It sounded so—so crude, you know? Almost—almost dumb. I didn't really understand what it meant, but I guessed I was supposed to frown whenever someone who acted that way came on TV like I knew what was so terribly wrong." His eyes drop briefly to his lap. "It took me until ninth grade to realize that I was too cool about girls. All the other guys at church were talking about crushes when they came over but I didn't have anything to say about it. Jeff Mitchells…" He laughs. "Jeff Mitchells told me I was going to be sterile or something. I was pretty slow. It was already summer break when I had my first wet dream, and then—it wasn't about a girl."

I can hear the tears choking in his voice again.

"I felt so—so dirty in the morning. I'd have felt dirty enough if it was the other way around, but I just didn't know what to think. It was different, I thought there was something I should have figured out by myself but couldn't, and—Mom and Dad were really vague about—that, and they'd somehow gotten me out of Phys Ed when we were learning about it. When Mom found out about my underwear, they just made me sit down at the dinner table and listen to a lot about how it was natural and how I should keep myself chaste for the wonderful woman I'd marry someday. I was—I was scared because—it didn't mean anything to me, what they said. I didn't dream about a wonderful woman, I dreamed about a man. And it just kept going on. I… I thought I was okay. It'd be okay. Nobody told me it was wrong after all—then. And I—I thought I knew God wouldn't… But Pastor Greene preached against homosexuality the last day of summer break. Leviticus Chapter Twenty, verse thirteen. I'd never read my Bible cover to cover and I—I felt like—felt like the world was coming down. Everything… And I couldn't—say anything because Mom and Dad and everybody I loved so much was just—just sitting there. Just nodding, nodding, and nodding. And I finally knew, I knew what homo was. It was me. And—I wouldn't ever—I wouldn't—I was going to go to hell. I never—I never thought that before then, Christian, I… Things like lying I thought I could stop. But I had no idea how—how… I'd grown up thinking I loved God all my life, but the Bible was telling me that I was actually defying Him and God would never, ever love me for what I was. I cried so hard that night. Prayed for it to go away. I don't even remember what I… And then you happened. I told myself I hated you. Over and over and over again. I told myself it was wrong, I pushed you away. But nothing worked. Nothing. Then you told me you were gay. You said you loved me. That was the first time I came so close to hating God." He breathes out shakily. "I broke down on the phone to my grandmother the next day and she told me I'd be okay if I didn't act on what I wanted. I could still go to church and pray to God and He wouldn't hate me. It was going to be okay. And I honestly thought it would be. But you wouldn't leave me alone. And it just—it just… It wasn't okay. It wasn't okay, and… It still isn't—it still isn't okay. It won't be… Just…"

"You haven't—told me why it's wrong…yet."

He breathes out deeply. "God didn't make people to be gay, Christian. It's wrong because it's an invention of sin. It goes against God's laws of creation. We're here to be fruitful and multiply so that we can take care of the world the way He meant it to be, not to—not to fall in love for something that—won't ever be anything. And you know Adam loved Eve. Just Eve."

"He didn't have you."


"How can you—how can you just believe something that tells you you're a one-way ticket to hell, Davis? You're smart, so why? Why can't you—why can't you believe something else? Why does it have to be that? Why… I thought you said you believe God made everything."


"Then He made you."


"And everything in you."


"And He gets to just turn around and throw you in fire because of the way He made you? What kind of—what kind of fucking logic is that?"

"I told you. God didn't make me to be gay. I'm gay because I have sin in me. And sin is our fault, Chris. It's my fault. God never causes sin."

I shake my head. "He's in charge of everything in the universe, and sin is not His fault. It's really convenient. Really—cool."


"And how do you know that? How can you know He's not responsible? I mean, how is that even possible?"

"The Bible doesn't—doesn't tell us that."

"Oh, and you just believe it because it's cool. Davis, you think you're going to hell for this shit. What's wrong with you? Just… Fuck."

"It's not in the Bible because—because it's not—necessary for our salvation."

"And you believe that."


"How can you—"

"I do believe in it, Chris, so what're you gunna do about me? Religion isn't logic, it's faith. It's in me, it's the only place left I have to turn, so what're you gunna do? What?"

His nose bumps against mine. We both stare.

"I believe it, like—like—"

And we're entangled in a frantic kiss, passion and hurt and desperation gripping our open mouths. God, I want this to be for always and I know he's afraid and his fear is what I will never, ever want… It ends in a gasp of wind.

"Like you believe in that."

The words are a soft whisper against my chin. I try to pull him closer again, but his body twists gently away from mine and crashes off the bench into fallen rain. It's cold. So cold.

"Oh my God."

Davis is rocking himself back and forth, hands knotted over his mouth as he says those three words over and over.

"Oh my God."

And that worries me, because it's something I've never heard him say before. It's something he wouldn't say for his life. And now…

" Davis?"

"We should never have met."

Everything we say is in raw whispers. I look away.


"It shouldn't be this way. Oh God, forgive me. Forgive me."

There's pain in his lips as he starts repeating himself again.

Forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive me.

Forgive me, Davis. Forgive me for doing this to you. Forgive me for loving you. Forgive me for being me. You're right. It wasn't meant to be like this. But I can't change it. It's—it's—I guess it's like my bellybutton. Gross, I know. But it's like my bellybutton. Useless, maybe, but always a part of me. God, I am so fucked up.

" Davis?"

I get down on my knees in front of him. He looks up and then we're both scrambling to our feet. Looking. Breathing.

"I'm sorry, Davis. It's my fault. I did it, I—"


" Davis, I—"

He closes his eyes. "Chris."


"I—I want you to do something for me."


The rain sharpens in the silence.

"Let it go, Chris. Let me go."

One blink of my eyelids and I'll be crying again. One blink…


"You—you have any idea how I'm supposed to do that?"


"Thought you had ideas for everything."

He stares.

"Can you see me letting this go? Can you?"

Davis hesitates. "Of—of course. Thiswon't—go on, Chris. You'll get over it and it'll be like it never happened. And—and one day you'll meet a pretty girl who's absolutely wonderful and you'll love her forever and get married and have—I don't know—ten children or something." He smiles up at me. But he might as well be crying. "Maybe you could even name one of your sons after me, you know?"

I don't know, Davis. I want that name for you. Only for you, not for some imaginary son. I'll admit, it's just another one of my stupid, stupid dreams. You wouldn't marry me if the world legalized it. Because even if the world did, your Heavenly Father wouldn't. You'd still go to church and sing those hymns you're always humming. You'd sit there and take down nearly everything the pastor preached. And you'd say I'm all wrong to want what I do. That I have to get "clean" like you. You'd just go on being Mr. and Mrs. Williams's son. Davis, I wish to God I could hate your parents. I wish to God they could have been unholy alcoholics, even. But you're an idiot and you love them for giving you your religion. You love them for putting that thing in your heart that makes your eyes come alive like the night. Faith. Davis, would you believe me if I told you that I fell in love with you because of your eyes? Because of the thing that keeps you from me. Fuck, this doesn't make any sense.

"Kids, huh?"

"Don't you—want them?"


"Right." His shoulders relax visibly. "So do I, you know. Don't you think babies are beautiful?"

"Yeah." My calves strain as I look at him. "And so are you."

Davis winces. "Christian, please—"

"It's the truth."


"What do you want, Williams? Huh? What do you really want? Kids? A home? Your college degree? Money? Jesus? Or just going to heaven, maybe. That's all you ever think about, isn't it? Going off to live someplace by yourself forever telling your project he'll rot in—"

"Don't you fucking talk about it."

There is a shattering silence. Oh God, he swore. He swore. Davis Williams swore.


"Fuck you, Christian. You think this is easy for me? You think I want it to be like this? You… Just—fuck you."

He won't look at me. He's shaking under my jacket over again. Only this time, it's not from the cold.

" Davis?"

"Fuck you," he whispers.

" Davis, please."

"Please what? Tell you I lied? That I watched you too? That I want you so badly I can't pray anymore? I can't pray, Christian. I don't remember the last time I really did. I can't sit there like a hypocrite and ask God to help me live to please Him when all I want is something He hates, I can't! I can't do that to Him when He's kept me safe and happy all my life so I could always come home. You don't—you don't get this, do you? Christian, I'm scared. I'm scared.It's so black when I close my eyes, and all the words I have are 'thank you, thank you, thank you' for all the things He's given me and because of you I can't even promise Him to try to be a better person. I'm scared it's too late already. I'm scared to die and find myself where I can't ever follow Him again. That means—that means I can't have been saved, Christian, because if I were I couldn't be scared to die. I can't think, I can't sing the hymns—I—I—I'm going just as crazy as you. Fuck, Christian, you think we're different? We're not—and—I have to—I have to be. I just—I don't… Oh God, I'm such a lie. I'm such a damn lie. Do you have any idea what a good kid the church people think I am? They're always telling Danny Owens to be like me, and you know what? He's better than me. Stop shaking your head. He is! So much better, even if he smokes pot and forgets to come to service. At least he's not a liar like me. He's not—like me. He won't—he won't dream about Harris Allan or be scared to watch Troy. And someday he'll change. He'll forget about the pot, and come to church. He'll fall in love with Jessica Laurence and have a beautiful family. He'll be a wonderful dad and make Jess happy. And it'll be him people point to and tell me to be like."


He grips my arm tightly. "Yes. And I want that for you too. I want you to know about God. I want you to understand. Not for me. For God. And I want you to be happy—the way He meant you to be. I want to see your kids."

There are tears in his eyes again. I look away.

"A-and—you? You, Davis?"

He doesn't say anything for a long time. "There're a lot of nice girls at church, Chris."

And the coward in me nods once and lets it go with that. What difference would it make if I asked whether he could ever love one of those "nice girls"? I'm just afraid that he'll say yes. Afraid that it won't be a lie when he says it. Or maybe I'm more afraid of what I'll do if he says—no.

"You should stop thinking, Chris."


"Never mind."

My voice rasps on a laugh. "You won't give that thing up, will you?"

"I've never lived without God, Chris." His eyes have that church glow again. "And I don't plan on ever trying it."

It only makes things harder, but I know that he really means everything he's says. I don't even remember when I knew for the first time now. Davis isn't some gay martyr off an Internet romance where Jesus Boy groans under spiteful, pietistic parents and has his hypocritical religion slipping through his fingers. He's different from Mandy, too, the Catholic girl who lives next door to me and doesn't have to go to church every week. He's not like anybody I know. He goes to church twice every Sunday and once every Friday because that's the way he's lived since he was born. He has all the catechisms and at least half of the Bible memorized because that's what his parents taught him instead of dumb jokes at the dinner table. He volunteers in Sunday school, earns his own offerings, and stays away from every kind of contemporary music that isn't Christian because that's what his church would like him to do. He also does it because he loves God. He loves the invisible Creator of the earth so much that he'll throw away all his feelings and promise Him the forever he won't give to me. He'll do it without making a sound. And what can I say about it? Fucking what? That faith isn't some retarded tradition on him; it is him. And I don't know what to do. It's him I'm in love with, for Christ's sakes. Not his face; him.

"Does your family know?"


"That you're—you know."

He bites his lip. "N-no."

"But I thought you said—"

"Grandma won't tell. That's why I told her."



I close my eyes, trying to cool the wave of heat scorching into my head. "Are—are you ever going to tell them?"

I think he's trying to laugh.

"I was—kind of hoping I'd never—have to."



"You won't have to."


"You won't have to. As long as you don't fall in love with someone—a guy, that is. But you're not—stupid like me. You won't have to tell them."

Davis flinches. "You—you think I'm a coward, don't you?"

I smile and shake my head. "No."


"I don't think you're a coward."


We look at each other. I don't know what it is that made me love this boy so much. Hell, I know I shouldn't love him. I could come up with a hundred reasons not to. But I know I do. I know I will. I will love this boy for all the things in him that I've come to see. I know that whatever his faults, he will never be a coward. He knows what he loves. And he knows what he loves the most. Like me. Only I didn't have to choose. I didn't have to have the strength to turn away.

Davis looks down, rubs his right sneaker against the ground, and smiles a little. "I should—I should get going. It's late. Mom will be worried, and—"


"—and tomorrow's Sunday…"

We're both ghostly. The rain trembles silver on his eyelashes and down the sides of his face; he looks dead; I probably look somewhere on the lines of dead shit. He's so white that I almost can't see his lips, and I want to kiss him so desperately I know I won't.

"I'll see you around, Davis."


But he lingers. And I don't leave, either.


There's the faintest hint of a question mark in his voice. I want to scream and tear myself in two. But it's him, and I can't. I can't. What he's asking is the only thing I can do for him now. If I ever learn to love his God, I know at least it won't be for that.

"I—I'll think about it. I'll…"


" Davis—"

His arms are tight around me, lips warm on my cheek as he whispers two words into my skin.

"Thank you."

Then he's gone, too fast for the tears to come in the cold and the freedom left behind. But too slow for my idiotic heart not to reach out. I don't watch him leave.

And then I finally realize. Between my heart and his God, neither of us stands a chance. Maybe there never was a shred of one. There's only this thing, I guess, this psychopathic being apart together. And then the bruises inside that we both punch again and again for what we believe. I'll always hurt for what I can't have. He'll always hurt for what he can't say. Honestly, I'm tired of trying to figure out whose fault this whole shit is.

Maybe…maybe he'll come to me someday. Maybe I'll go on loving the boy I fell in love with in tenth grade, go on loving him even when he's forty, drunk, and stoned in the guilt of a heart that Veron Hill Presbyterian Church stuffed with Bible verses about a God who hates abominable lusts. Maybe there'll be some crazy time when he says he loves me back like I love him, when I can wake up next to him every morning and know that at least half of him is mine. But someday isn't a promise. It's an idea. Just a dream.

So I don't know. What I do know is that we'll always go back, back to that war zone on the wall between my heart and his God. We'll always wind up back at this bench. And then maybe it might be better just to have stayed at home. Just to have stayed in the quiet and gone on living for things that wouldn't ever come true. At least we wouldn't have had to see them break.

There's a storm swelling in the sky. Everything looks streaked with blue and ashen gray, swirling in a feverish wind. And the rain is pouring so hard now that it slips beneath the waistband of my jeans and down my legs. The smell of wet earth comes fresh through my fingertips. If I close my eyes and look up, I could see a star in that sky that's always above me, soaking me but never mine. It's like Davis. And as bare as tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I'll be up by five to run the block. Tomorrow, he'll climb into a spotless blue minivan with his family and drive to church. He'll ask for God's forgiveness in his prayers, and I will be his sins. Tomorrow, we'll both go back to yesterday, or this morning, even. And the day after tomorrow, we'll be lab partners who might as well not be partners for all we do together. We'll act awkward in the library and trick everyone into believing that we don't really know each other that well—just a bit, and only when we absolutely have to. He'll be the English genius; I'll be the brooding art geek. We'll pretend it's all right, pretend we never talked, pretend everything that never happened is us, is true, is what we feel. Like some weird kind of movie where the story off set has more angst than the screenplay. We'll pretend so well that we're both three quarters fooled. And we'll go on until finals and prom and graduation day, until full scholarship at Harvard for him and some college for me, until fake girlfriends and fake wives and half-real kids in a concrete gray world. When we meet later on, partly because his stupid publishers decided I had to do the cover artwork for his latest bestseller but really because I couldn't say no and let some dumbass mess up anything of his, we'll both be pleased in the way that spills business cards and chitchat on description styles and shading techniques. We'll discover the things about each other's art that we somehow already know, be delighted over those little details that already burn in our memories. And it won't mean a thing. I'll probably fuck up somewhere in the middle, or maybe he will, and then one of us will go to work some day with bloodshot eyes and a postcard with "Love, " cramped in a corner at the end tucked in his back pocket. Or maybe it'll be an accidental phone call at twelve o'clock at night because we forgot to change the speed dial for 1. I know that I'll never be able to get away with eating cheesecake at Starbucks again. Who knows? Maybe he'll be the same way with caramel frappuchino. Maybe he'll visit my exhibits and study every one of my pictures for a boy with dark hair and a delicate face when I comb every page of his stories for a blond, blue-eyed blunderer who watches in the shadows and reaches out at all the wrong times, each of us hoping not to see what he's looking for and aching when there really isn't. But in the end, we'll just hope to God that memories need to be heard to cut you through. We'll say they're impotent when denied, and our brains will believe it because it's easy—because denial doesn't hurt half as much as a reality that ties you down and fucks you up. We'll be strong in ways that we're not. We'll both go back to pretending, always good and never feeling used to it. We'll always keep that promise we never said.

But not until tomorrow and the day after that. Not tonight. Not now. Now, it's nothing more than my lightning and his thunder. And this rain of his and mine. I take off my sneakers and sit down on the seeping pavement.

The storm whirls. And somewhere beyond the farthest window in my mind, I see a boy—dark-haired, brown-eyed, perfect in his flaws. I see a boy with a face like a white rose petal and a dusky smile that makes my body sing. I see a boy who loves Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot, who will write a galaxy into his books, and who should be cherished until he dies. He's beautiful.

Davis, without you I would have missed so much. You gave me heaven and hell to cry about. You made me as jaded and as much of thirty as you were. You made me get lost. Lost in love, lost in anger, lost in questions… But not just that. You gave me dreams. You taught me to listen when there wasn't a sound, taught me to watch the darkness outside my midnight door. If it hadn't been for you, I'd have been too deaf in the sound of Halo to hear the story of the leaves on the pavement and the snow coming down. And too blind to see the thousand and first star in your eyes. Too blind to see the real you. I would have missed a world—a world to cry our storm even beneath the tired dust of tomorrow and in all the sunny days of our lies to come.

I'm still sitting in tonight, Davis. Still sitting in our storm. I guess I'll never be able to tell you I love you again. I guess a lot of things. But the rain comes down. Down on the pavement, down on me, down the bench where we asked and we cried and broke and became real and went on. It comes down.

And whatever happens someday, Davis, I know.

I will never be dry from this rain again.


w r i t i n g
m u s i c

Davis Williams — No Evolution (Orenda Fink) / Whispers and Pain of Mother Nature (Aquaria) / Blood On My Hands (32 Leaves) / I Lift My Eyes (Kutless)
Christian McLelland— The Hollows (Matt Pond PA) / The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (The Postal Service) / Creep (Radiohead) / Limelight (Cheswick)

One Autumn Day (Catherine Duc) / Hide and Seek (Imogen Heap) / Hanging On (Everyday Sunday) / All Alone (Kutless) / The Postman (The American Analog Set) / Billy (James Blunt) / Talk (Coldplay) / Teeth in the Grass (Iron and Wine) / driving at night (arco) / Slow Motion (David Gray) / Everything About You (Sanctus Real) / Dead On Arrival (Fall Out Boy) / Galaxies (Laura Veirs) / Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day) / Smile (Kutless) / Boston (Augustana) / Welcome to My Life (Simple Plan) / Everything (Lifehouse) / Arsenic (The Loved Ones) / Stand Up (Everyday Sunday) / Easier to Run (Linkin Park) / Mistakes and Regrets (…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) / Season of Mists (Penny Century) / Precious (Depeche Mode) / Talk (Coldplay) / Passion (Kutless) / Rotten Love (LEVY) / For All the Marbles (Amandine) / Things Like You (Sanctus Real) / You're Beautiful (James Blunt) / I'll Fly Away (Jars of Clay) / Winds of Change (Kutless) / Who I Am Hates Who I've Been (Relient K) / Hanging by a Moment (Lifehouse) / You Are My Hope (Skillet) / Passenger Seat (Death Cab for Cutie) / Back Home (Yellowcard) / Stars (Switchfoot) / Because of You (Kelly Clarkson) / Promise of a Lifetime (Kutless) / Sugar, We're Goin' Down (Fall Out Boy) / She Will Be Loved (Maroon 5) / Letter to You (Finch) / The One (Everyday Sunday) / Flood (Jars of Clay) / Mistakes (Kutless) / No Son of Mine (Genesis) / We Believe (Good Charlotte) / Awake (Love.45) / We Fall Down (Kutless) / Sunday Best (Augustana) / My December (Linkin Park) / The Diver (Gravenhurst) / Breathing (Lifehouse) / Say Hello (Stars of Track and Field) / On My Mind (Romantica) / Dead (goldrush) / Yellow (Coldplay) / Smaointe (Enya) / Soul Meets Body (Death Cab for Cutie) / Until You Fall Away (Liqwid) / Saying Sorry (Hawthorne Heights) / Youth of the Nation (P.O.D.) / Jesus Lord of Heaven (Kutless) / Unsatisfied (Nine Black Alps) / Stars and Boulevards (Augustana) / Unwell (Matchbox Twenty) / Waiting for the Night (Depeche Mode) / Savin' Me (Nickelback) / My Immortal (Evanescence) / Arcus (Amethystium) / Jerusalem's Cry (black ether) / I Will Follow You into the Dark (Death Cab for Cutie) / Cannonball (Damien Rice) / Coldlight (ashengrace) / Cinder and Smoke (Iron and Wine) / Honey (Romantica) / Run (Kutless) / Acquiesce (Oasis) / Name (Goo Goo Dolls) / Problem Girl (Rob Thomas) / Wounded Feet (Telecast) / Be My Escape (Relient K) / Shine (Clay Aiken) / Draw Me Close (Kutless) / Goodnight and Go (Imogen Heap) / Wonderwall (Oasis) / Always Love (Nada Surf) / Finding Who We Are (Kutless)


a u t h o r ' s
n o t e

Oka—ay. It came out to be much less than I'd hoped for. Stiff, artificial, ah, something—although some of the flaws were an intentional if feeble stab at realistic teenage portrayal. All right, maybe it wasn't too realistic to make Christian and Davis talk in the rain for twenty odd pages, but I once had a very long rain shower conversation with one of my friends, so… And there's a pitiful lack of description. But I'm a lazy dialogue person. Agh. I tried my darnedest, but there seems to be nothing I can do now except cross my fingers and hope that no one got violently insulted by this, either by the writing style or the sentiments of the narrator.
I chose to write this in Christian McLelland's voice, mainly because the overall atmosphere got more natural that way. I guess you could call him an agnostic? Since I have the same religion as Davis, many of Christian's thoughts (especially those concerning God) do not correspond with mine. However, this, as well as being my sappiest work to date, is also one of the most personal things I have ever written (despite the literary zeroness of it), inspired by a few of the many questions I have been struggling with since January of this year. I'll elaborate on that only if you ask.
For those of you who disapprove of Davis's refusal to accept his feelings, I'm sorry. But I can't change it for you. I'm tired of m/m stories where everything is the fault of Christianity. And I am sick of m/m stories where every Christian except for the protagonist is self-righteous, bitchy, unfeeling, and hypocritical (although my parents are the perfect embodiment of self-righteous, bitchy, unfeeling, and hypocritical when it comes to homosexuality). There are a number of reasons for this. There are Christian gays who choose to deny their orientation, not because their entire church community and/or parents hate them and persecute them, but because they truly believe what they want to be wrong. Also, it is my opinion that no religion deserves to be treated as an unrealistic excuse for torturing main characters. Besides, it's not necessarily fear of something external that breaks you. It's what you believe. Because that is a part of you, and to be rid of it, you'll have to dig your fingernails in and scrape it out. You can't run. It's different from slapping away a slap. I am not in any way suggesting that gays who suffer homophobic reactions from others have it easy. My best friend died in a car crash, unable to control his car after some damn teenage gangsters beat him for being gay. The discrimination that homosexual people have to suffer is brutal, senseless, and wrong. And it's hard.But I also know that that isn't the only kind of hard situation out there. It's also hard to feel hypocritical for what you want, repressing what your emotions because that's what you believe you have to do and at the same time feeling like a liar when everyone calls you a "good Christian kid." Believe me, I have friends enough to know about this.
You can have whatever opinion you like about this story. Maybe it doesn't mean anything to you, maybe it offends you, maybe you understand what I was trying to say. I'd love it if you could tell me what you think and why (only if you want to, though). Whoever I become in the future, I pray that I will never be what my parents are now. I want to be someone who can listen.
Thanks for reading. Please note that Storm is now the exclusive property of kazza2085 through dedication (if she wants it, that is). No touchy.

P.S. 1. I'm sorry this wasn't very good, Kazza, especially when you deserve something a lot better. It's a very special story for me, though, and I couldn't dedicate to just anyone. I hope it was at least okay. Maybe we could talk about it sometime if you're not too busy? (By the way, you probably shouldn't listen to the writing music. There's pop it in, as I'm sure you've noticed. Ahem, Kelly Clarkson, ahem. The main musical influence for this story was Kutless, though. Definitely not pop.)
P.S. 2. Only the Ecclesiastes verse at the beginning of the story was taken from the King James Version. All other Bible quotations were taken from the New International Version.