Chapter 1: Desolation

Chapter 1: Desolation

A home is supposed to be where one can find love, acceptance, and happiness. A family is supposed to protect you, guide you, and teach you about the world. But no, I haven't lived in a home since I was 11 years old. I haven't had a family since my mom died and left me with my father and brother, two men who are related to me by blood, but nothing more. See here's the story; my mom and I were walking back from the corner gas station, we were low on milk and she didn't want to drive the grocery store. She was very conservative with her money. That's not saying she didn't buy us nice things, but I digress. Anyways, we were crossing the street and I didn't see the speeding car heading straight for me. Mom did and she--she leapt in front and pushed me back to the sidewalk. I laid there, stunned at what just happened. I heard the squeal of tires, the 'thump', and I saw the milk carton my mom had break, the pure white liquid mixing with the blood of my mom. She died, saving me. But in doing so, she condemned me to my father and brother, the last of our 'family'.

Chris laid down his pen across the pages of his journal. The high school guidance counselor said that writing down his thoughts when no one was around to talk to was a 'healthy way to express his problems without causing more personal problems'. Basically that translated to, 'I don't want you to become anorexic, bulimic, or start wrist-cutting to escape from your problems. Or worse, I don't want you to become another suicide statistic…' Chris's guidance counselor, Ms. Swan, was one of the greatest women he had ever met. She was second only to his mom. She was his middle school's counselor when his mom died, and she transferred to his high school when he went into his freshman year. She was like a big sister to him. She was perfect to him, and if he were straight, he would have fantasized about her plenty of times.

That was another problem that Chris had to 'deal' with, according to Ms. Swan. She had laughed when he told her about his 'fantasies if he were straight', but responded on a more serious note that his homosexuality wasn't a problem, but how he was dealing with it was. Not many people weren't aware of Chris's orientation, but it was never a problem. His school wasn't conservative, nor was it liberal. Sure there were bullies, but that went with the territory of being a high schooler. Now a junior, not many people messed with him anymore, except maybe a senior every now and then. But that hadn't happened for a while, and Chris would suspect his brother in helping keep off the bullies from him, that is if his brother actually acknowledged his existence anymore. Same could be said for his father.

When Chris's mom died, he grieved. He felt as though he were being ripped in two, that a part of him had died as well. Worse yet, he felt guilty because he thought then that it was his fault that his mom died. If only he had looked longer up the street, maybe he could have seen the car coming and stopped himself, so his mom wouldn't have had to sacrifice herself for him. But the truly wicked part, other than seeing her casket lowered into the cold, hard earth was when he turned to his dad at the time, seeking comfort in his remaining parent. Instead, his dad, his last remaining parent, remained impassive to his youngest son's grief. Chris had been left to cry himself to sleep in his own room, away from the rest of the mourners. His father never said it, but Chris could see it.

His dad blamed Chris for his wife's death.

It would be how he would sometimes stare at Chris. Out of the two sons that Rick produced with his wife Lindsey, Chris definitely took after his mom. She was average height for a woman, which was short for a man. Thus Chris was short when compared to his brother Jake. Plus Chris had her looks and her gentle ways. Jake however was practically their father's twin. Both were tall, impressive males that were nothing short of eyecandy for every woman and gay man. The history behind this was that Chris's mom had gotten pregnant with Jake when she was only 16. Their dad didn't leave her when he found out; instead he dropped out of high school, got a full-time job, and supported her until they could marry. Jake was born and Lindsey was pregnant again at age 17. Thus she was only 34 at the time of her death. Rick was the same age as his wife, and currently worked as a construction foreman in the city. Thus his body was at top physical condition; a constant tan, solid muscles that were a result of hard work – not a gym membership – and a presence that brooked no argument. Jake followed after their father, both in looks and in attitude, with the body of a state-ranked football player and wrestler. When one looked at the three of them, it looked as if Rick and Jake were brothers, and Chris the oddball of the family – the unwanted stepchild.

It was hard for Chris, his father's cold shoulder. The police told them that it wasn't Chris's fault; the driver of the car had fallen asleep behind the wheel and thus had lost control. There was nothing anybody could have done. But that didn't stop Rick from silently judging Chris for this sin. Jake seemed to be of the same mind. No longer was he the fun older brother that Chris admired and looked up and went to for advice. No, he was just a clone of their father -- silently judging and looking at him with images of their wife and mom being remembered.

Chris had been angry at first, as any 11 year old would be. But other than Ms. Swan, there was no one else to talk to. That's why Chris believed his guidance counselor to be a godsend; she was there for his tears, she would cry with him, wipe away his tears, and smile at him. He would do anything for Ms. Swan, no matter what she asked. She once wanted to confront Rick and Jake about their behavior, but Chris would hear nothing of it. He wanted his father and brother left alone, because he didn't know how they would react to such a drastic confrontation. It wasn't as if his father was physically abusive, nor was his brother. They never hit him, never starved him, nothing. But that was exactly it; they did nothing.

Anything that had to do with Chris was studiously ignored; birthdays, Christmases, band performance, any good grades. It was if Chris no longer existed to his father or brother. So when Chris woke up in the morning, he made himself breakfast, ignoring and being ignored by his 'family', grabbed the school bus, went to class, grabbed a city bus to his work at a local bookstore, and then walked home to shower, eat, study, and then sleep. The whole process would repeat itself the entire week, with Chris and Jake ignoring each other in the hallways at school. The weekends were more tolerable, with Chris working all morning, then spending his afternoon and evening at the library studying to stay ahead of his classes.

He worked hard and studied hard; he saved up his money and earned his high marks in his advanced classes because Chris had a plan. He needed to get away from this silent prison, away from the mockery that his family had become. He needed money for college and he knew his father wasn't going to cough it up. No, any money Rick would spend would be on his 'only' son Jake. Unless Jake got a football or wrestling scholarship, but then Rick would just splurge on him and continue ignoring Chris. But Chris was quickly approaching his limit. He had started cry himself to sleep at night again, and he was back to thinking about suicide. That is why he needed to graduate high school early with top grades; so he could get a full-ride scholarship to some college far far away from his life here. Away from memories, away from death, and away from his father and brother.

I had that dream again.

I am laying down in the grass…there's a tree nearby with a tire swing. I see Jake walking towards me. I look away, knowing that once he sees me he'll turn around and go somewhere else. I look up at the clouds; they can't hurt me like he does. Suddenly my vision is blocked by something….or someone. I glance up and focus on the face in front of me.


He stands there, his face is impassive at first. Then he slowly kneels down and I can see a multitude of emotions dance across his face. I catch a brief glance of anger and grief, but then curiosity and slowly a smile appears on his lips. By now he is next to me, his knees planted to my left side, his hands firmly resting on both sides of my face. I just stare at him, wondering what he is going to do. Will he finally snap and choke me, scream at me and blame me for mom's death? I won't deny I once had nightmares like that of him and father, when the pain was still fresh and I was confused and shocked.

Jake's face is now inches from mine, his body completely dwarfs me. I'm barely 5'9", while he is a solid 6'4" like father. Now he moves. His right hand moves under my neck and I flinch.

He pauses, a look of sadness crosses his face. "Please" he whispers. I do nothing. Slowly I relax and his hand is now firmly under my neck. It is large enough that his forefinger and thumb could wrap around my neck, and the calluses speak of hidden strength under the skin. I remain lax in my position. Now his left hand moves across my chest, barely grazing my suddenly shirtless body. My skin releases a horde of goosebumps and I shiver uncontrollably. Jake's smile widens a bit and his hand finally moves under my shoulder blade. He lifts me up effortlessly and into his now shirtless body. My shivering has gotten worse, but it's not from the unperceived cold. It's from the suddenly high sexual tension that is permeating the air.

Jake does nothing at first. He just holds my light body to him, his face is bent in towards my neck and I can feel him slowly kissing the flesh there. Ever so gently, the kisses move further up until the two of us are staring eye to eye. Jake's face is flushed; he's sweating slightly and there is a carnal hunger in his eye. Yet behind that I can see love and happiness. I can only imagine what I look like.

He moves in slowly, giving me time to object if I so wish. I make no movement to stop him and our lips connect. It's like stepping into a warm cabin after playing out in the snow. My whole body reacts. My arms, once immobile, now reach up for the body above me. Jake's kiss becomes hungrier, more insistent. I gladly give in. My hands roam over his hot flesh, teasing, scratching at him and further inciting his lust.

He shifts his weight and begins to pull away. I whimper slightly, unwilling to break contact with my brother. He smiles in our kiss and pulls me with him. We're now on our sides, him slightly spooning around me. Our lips haven't broken contact yet.

One of Jake's arms is under me side, clutching me closely to him – it rubs across my back, pressing here and there, like a masseuse would do. His other hand is now tracing down my chest and across my abdomen. Slowly, it moves underneath my jeans and into my crotch. I feel him cup my cock and he slowly begins to stroke it, as if it wasn't already hard enough.

One my hands is wrapped around him, holding him close, afraid to let him go. The other is alternating between clenching and unclenching his hair behind his head. We grind together in the field, completely unaware of our surroundings. I don't care that this is Jake, my brother. This is the first interaction we've hade in the past 6 years and I'm sad to admit that I'm desperate for any source of attention from my once childhood hero. I unwind my arm from wound his large chest and slowly I copy his actions on him. I slither my hand down towards his workout shorts, desperate to feel the hidden treasure that I know is there. Needless to say I am surprised when I can feel it already poking out from the top already. His cock is a beast; it reaches a few inches past his belly button, and it presses unforgivingly against his shorts. It too is as desperate as I am for any source of comfort.

So intense is our lovemaking that I don't sense the person behind me, nor do I hear the result of a shirt coming off, or the hitch in that person's breathing. Suddenly there is contact against my back and I jump in surprise. I twist out of Jake's grasp, him now the one whimpering. I look, and to my utmost horror, it is my father.

"Dad?" is the word I speak in a hushed tone. He smiles at me, moving closer. I look at him more closely now. He is built just like Jake; or rather I should say Jake is built similarly to him. His muscles contract, and there isn't a trace of grey yet in his hair on his head nor on the few hairs that grace his unyielding chest. And of course, he is the same size as Jake, if not a bit thicker.

He smiles at me, his face being what it once was before mom's funeral. "Shhhh Chris. Just relax…" I am unable to respond as he brings our lips together in a quick dance of tongue and saliva. Our eyes remain open and, like Jake, I can see the love and joy in my dad's eyes. His hands start to move as well. While Jake is back to rubbing my back and stroking my cock, dad moves one his hands to my front and begins to rub and pinch my nipples. I gasp in our kiss, startled at how sensitive I am there. Dad's other hand moves past Jake's on my back and slowly moves under my jeans, slightly rubbing my cheeks there with his rough yet gently hand. Slowly, ever so slowly dad moves in between my checks and goes for the prize. I can feel his fingers tracing at my entrance, neither penetrating harshly, but not letting up on his ministrations.

I am moaning now. I can't control myself anymore. The two men I have admired to most, my dad and big brother, are not only paying attention to me, but making love to me. Jake is kissing at my throat, leaving hickies I'm sure, while he continuously strokes me and I him. Dad has left my lips and is kissing the back of my neck, that secret erogenous zone of my body. I can feel both pairs of hands all over me, bringing me to the edge of my limit over and over again. I can feel one of my dad's fingers slowly probe into me. It is dry, but somehow, it's as if my body has lubricated itself for him. There is no pain and I desperately grind into his hand, trying to get him deeper into me. I hear him chuckle deeply, like he would when I did something silly as a child. It reassures me.

Jake is not to be outdone. Suddenly, our shorts and jeans disappear like our shirts and we are completely naked. Jake pulls me towards him and encloses his hand both around mine and his cocks. He slowly starts to pump them together and it takes every fiber of restraint from spilling right there. Dad's finger is still in me, slowly moving deeper, searching for something it seems. Gently, he adds another finger and pauses, waiting for my reaction. All I do is gasp and twist between them, unable to control the sensations they are sending throughout my body.

Jake starts to pick up speed, so does dad. Jake's stroke are becoming more desperate, his kisses on my neck more feral. Dad begins pushing in another finger. Soon there are three fingers embedded in me, twisting, searching, delving for something I cannot say. His kisses on my neck are as feverous as Jake's. Eventually all three of us are moaning, dad is grinding his cock in between my ass cheeks behind his hand, Jake is pumping my shaft with his like a man drilling for oil, and all I can do lay there, trapped between two sex-crazed muscle gods who are family.

There's a shift. Jake is reaching both of our peaks, dad seems to now know where to look. He pushes deeper, humps harder, kisses more passionately as does Jake. Both are moving towards my mouth, desperate for that one last spot of intimacy. Briefly I stop, unsure on how to compromise. I love both of them so much, I cannot choose. They make the decision for me.

They kiss me together, threeways. It's sloppy and unrefined, but I wouldn't have it any other way. They each fight to dominate me, they work together to bring me pleasure, and I finally succumb.

I'm aware of an explosion between me and Jake, and behind me with dad as well. We reach our climaxes simultaneously. And it feels like what dad was searching for has been found. I feel like I'm dying and being reborn at the same time. I gasp crying out, reaching for my lovers, my dad and brother…

only to wake up. My sheets are a mess and I'm sweating and panting heavily. This dream is recurring, and I don't know what to do.

"So Chris how was your weekend?" Ms. Swan asks. Chris sits in her office in the early school hours, before classes start. It's more out of habit than necessity. They haven't had a real counseling session in a while, but that doesn't stop friends from meeting up. Chris came and knocked on her door, and they sat and just talked; him about whatever there was – school, teachers, and sometimes his family. The big topic that dominated their recent conversations was Chris's planned early graduation and his college letters. Having sent out several applications, it would be soon when he would hear back from universities. He had applied to multiple scholarship groups as well, asking for money, but he had yet to hear back from any. He tried to hide his uneasiness, but Ms. Swan helped him to remain positive.

"It was good. Went to work and chilled there. Afterwards studied at the library. Same old same old." Chris replied, sipping his coffee. There was never any change in his schedule. Really if he were to ever lose his cell phone, one would have to check either his work or the library, and he would be there like clockwork. Except on days when Jake had a football game or a wrestling meet. Even though the two hadn't spoken in 6 years, despite living in the same house, he still quietly supported his brother in his sports. He never went with his dad, he found other ways to get there. The bus system was pretty reliable.

The dream had happened Saturday night, and Chris did everything in his power to not see or be seen by either of his relatives Sunday morning as he left for work. It was already difficult not imagining them naked; he didn't want to actually see them half-dressed! By the end of the day, he had calmed down enough that when he came back he could wear a mask of indifference and not have it crack under lust and want.

Ms. Swan looked at him with a critical eye. Chris sat there with ease in her office chair, the coffee mug held with one hand and the other hand gently tapping his side. It was hard to believe that this was the same boy who lost his mother and blamed himself for almost a year for it. And then there was the problem with his family. She unconsciously gritted her teeth when she thought of Chris's father and brother. She had half a mind to smack Mr. Resen, Chris's father, despite her friend's wishes. How could a father do that to a child for over 6 years? And several times she had been tempted to call in Jake and talk to him. But Chris was adamant in his views on how this was handled. He assured her that he wasn't physically abused, even going as far as to take off his shirt and lift up his shorts to show the lack of bruises and cuts that would decorate a normal abuse victim. Ms. Swan may not agree with Chris's decision on his family, but she respected him and loved him like a brother, and she promised to always be there.

Chris shifted in his seat. He set the coffee down and leaned forward. "Actually Ms. Swan, I do have something I want to talk about." She couldn't help but smile, "Chris how many times have I told you to call me Jennifer? We're practically family for Heaven's sake!" Chris smiled at her. "Sorry Ms. Swan, but you're my counselor. Until I graduate and am not one of your students, I'll respect your authority figure. It was how mom raised me, to be respectful of my elders. Not that you're old of course – 35 is a respectable age for a young woman such as yourself." He finished with a little grin.

"Cheeky bugger" she snapped with a grin. "Is it about your applications?"

Chris laughed a bit. "I'm not nervous about all my applications, I know I'll get into probably most of the college I applied to based on my high grades and school activities. And I'm sure I'll get some money from a scholarship as well." Here Chris paused in his voice. "The big concern is how my father and brother will react, if at all to the news." Chris had applied strictly to all out of state universities, some as far as the other side of the country. He wanted to leave his hometown of Richmond, Virginia very badly. "I mean, it would be one thing if I just up and left without them knowing. You'd be surprised how easy it would be." Here Chris faltered. "But they'll find out, since all graduating students are listed in the main hallway along with what school they are attending. Not to mention the principal always announces if any juniors are graduating early with the seniors. If that doesn't get my family's attention, then the letters about the graduation ceremony most certainly will."

"You see this as their last chance to talk to you before you finally step out of their lives." Ms. Swan said with a sympathetic tone.

Chris nodded. "I don't hate them, despite what they have done to me. Mom wouldn't want me to become hateful and bitter. But I won't be chained to them, to this loveless relationship. I look at them sometimes and I see how easy they get along together. Jake and father are so close, practically best friends, and I'm off to the side, in the shadows." Chris's voice hitched here, he could feel his emotions getting the best of him. "I love them. I would do anything for them, but sometimes I just wish I never been born or had died instead of mom so I didn't have to deal with them and their coldness!"

Chris burst into tears and Ms. Swan moved in to hug him. He clung to her, desperate to find an anchor in his tumultuous life. He missed his mom, he missed how simple life was before her death, but what he missed the most was his dad and big brother, whom he saw almost everyday but never knew them anymore.

The tears continued to fall, both Chris's and Ms. Swan's.

Jake rolled over from the body next to him in his bed. He could hear the front door close as Chris left early for school. Probably to meet with the guidance counselor Ms. Swan again. He sighed. So much had happened 6 years ago, what with mom being killed and his and his dad's silent ostracism of Chris for the better part of a decade. Jake could feel the overwhelming sense of guilt and regret welling up in him every time he thought about Chris. At first he had been angry that his mom had died, and he unjustifiably directed his anger at Chris for the first year or so. But after a while, with the two of them growing up, Jake realized that it was wrong for Chris to bear a sin he wasn't guilty of. He looked at his brother then and saw their mom, both then and now, and it always amazed him at how different they looked. He was truly his father's son, and Chris was their mom's. That's why, even now, when Jake would look at Chris, he would see his mom, and he knew deep down inside that she would be disappointed in her oldest child and husband for what they have done to Chris.

He had tried to make amends at first. When Chris was about 13, he worked up the nerve to talk to him finally after 2 years of silence. But when he approached his younger brother, Chris just turned and stared at him with those large dark eyes that were so reminiscent of their mother's. Jake could feel the judgment and scrutiny that Chris was putting him through within those orbs of vision. There wasn't any hate. Hell, Jake had wished there was so he could start understanding how to talk to his brother. But there had been only sadness and a silent accusation against both him and their dad.

Speaking of their dad…

Jake felt a large paw of a hand reach over for him, pulling him gently closer. He looked down at his dad Rick. They had started sleeping together, having more than just a father and son relationship about 4 years ago. It had started out innocently enough. Jake wanted to start training for high school wrestling and Rick was willing to help. They practiced together for hours one day, slowly working up a sweat and releasing their frustrations on one another in a variety of wrestling slams, pins, and holds. By the end of their workout, a sort of tension filled the air. Jake later realized it to be sexual frustration, but then all he could see was his dad panting, staring at his oldest son with a feral, lust filled look. Jake moved first, his lips connecting with Rick's, and from there the two started their young relationship.

It was nothing serious at first. They would kiss and hold hands when no one was around. After all, incest is taboo, and Jake didn't want anymore trouble for his family. Rick didn't claim his son's virginity until Jake's sophomore year after a football victory against their state rivals. Jake didn't claim Rick's until his dad was promoted to construction foreman at his work a few months later. They loved each other very much, looking at each other with nothing but love shining in their eyes. They slept together most nights, after Chris went to bed, and Chris usually woke and left before either would leave their bed. They had sex during the day, when Chris was either studying at the library or at work. But just to be safe, the two lovers locked all doors around the house. Jake wasn't sure how Chris would react to seeing the last of his family in a forbidden love.

Jake could feel his dad stir further, and his eyes opened up blearily. "Hey babe, what's up?" Rick looked at son and felt his loins begin to stir. They were obviously family, anyone could see that. Hell they could pass off as twins, if not brothers at least. His oldest son was drop dead sexy, having a body that had been conditioned for years due to lifting weights, playing football, and competing in wrestling tournaments. Rick felt proud to have a son like Jake – the boy knew what had to be done, he did his work well, and there was also the happy fact that he was a sex maniac. The two of them got hot and heavy several times a day, each shooting his respective load into the other 4 or 5 times in one love session.

Jake sighed again and sat up. "Nothing, I was just thinking about Chris. I heard him leave already for school." Rick sat up as well, a frown turning his lips. His youngest son was a paradox to him. A part of Rick just wanted to grab Chris and hug him, cry and beg forgiveness from his youngest. He was aware of how Chris looked at them. Regret, longing, and a slight look of coldness. Chris had been pushed away, when the boy needed him the most. Rick knew what he did was wrong, but like Jake he had tried to make amends. But Chris would just look at him, with his judging eyes, and Rick would freeze up. He could see both his son and his wife looking him with shame and disgust, not wanting to have anything to do with him. "We're nothing but cowards and hypocrites." He whispered to his son and lover.

Jake looked at him in question. Rick continued, "We have this beautiful love for each other Jake, but what does Chris have? When was the last time either one of us spoke to him, or he to us?" The guilt was building, and Rick suddenly felt like an old man for what he did. "He's a complete stranger to us, and it's my entire fault." Jake started "Dad, it's not just your fault; I'm as much to blame. I--" "No" Rick cut off his son. He needed to say this. "I blamed Chris for your mom's death. And he could see that through his tears and sorrow. So he left me alone. But then he looked to you for support and comfort. But you saw what I was doing and copied me, shunning your brother and my son." Rick felt a tear drop down his face. "If I had acted like a real father, instead of a selfish jerk, then we wouldn't be in this situation."

Jake saw his father's tear, and wiped it away with a finger. He looked at his dad. "We can't change the past. But we can start changing the future by acting in the present." Jake felt a sense of hope welling up in him. "Let's start today with changing our relationship with Chris. He doesn't know that I keep the bullies off him at school, he thinks I don't care about him. But I do know he still cares about us. Why else would he come to my games and meets? Why would he make dinner for us and put it in the fridge for us later? Dad, he loves us, but is afraid. Yes it's our fault he has that fear, but it must go." Jake moved out of the bed and started to get dressed.

Rick looked at his oldest. "And what about this?" He gestured between him and Jake. "How do you think Chris will react when he discovers our relationship? Hell, how would your mother react? Sometimes I look at that boy and I see Lindsey, and I wonder; would she be disgusted, would she hate me like Chris seems to?"

Jake moved back the bed and kissed his dad and lover. "Chris doesn't hate us. He loves us, I know he does. Mom wouldn't be sickened by what we have with each other, but I know she is upset at how we have treated Chris." Jake hugged Rick now. "Besides, Chris is gay like us. I don't know if he would want to be a part of what we have, but we owe to him to be a family again, if not lovers."

Rick smiled, and the two of them plotted on how to get Chris back.

Arriving at school, Jake walked down the main hallway. The list of colleges and the names of seniors attending them were slowly being posted. A few of his friends were staying at home and attending the local community college, and a few others were leaving the state and pursuing their academic goals elsewhere. Jake hadn't decided yet if he wanted to leave Virginia or not. He knew that his dad would stand by whatever decision he made, but if he left for college and Rick followed, where would that leave Chris? Forgotten, abandoned, left behind…

Shaking his head free of the melancholy, Jake walked further down the hallway. He had information to gather. Heading into the administration office, he asked for his younger brother's class schedule. Looking at it, Jake was surprised to see him in several advanced classes, several of which his senior friends were in. Why was Chris taking such difficult classes? Calculus, Medieval Literature, Ancient History, and Organic Chemistry, plus the Band class. This was way more than any student should be allowed to take. Checking the grades next to them however made Jake pause. For the last semester, he had been getting extremely high marks in all courses. It seemed like all of his little brother's studying at the library was paying off. Looking at the bottom of Chris's profile, Jake made a startling discovery.

Chris was among the top 3 of Jake's class…

Questions swirled in Jake's mind. Why was Chris listed in Jake's class? Was he that advanced in his courses that he was graduating early? Then why hadn't he seen any college letters meant for Chris in the mail? Why hadn't Chris mentioned anything to anyone? Well he wouldn't tell his 'family' that was for sure. Jake frowned. They hadn't been a real family in sometime. But that was going to change. Chris would have told Ms. Swan though, but she was sworn to secrecy as a school counselor. Unless Chris expressed a desire to hurt himself or anyone else, she wouldn't tell anyone what was said within her office.

Suddenly a thought came to his mind. Rushing back out into the hallway, he quickly scanned the senior list again. There! Next to his name was a blank as to what college he had picked. But below that…

Chris Resen (Junior) – College: unknown

So Chris was graduating with him! That was amazing! But it didn't say what college he would be attending. How would that happen anyways? Chris had a job at a coffee shop, but that wasn't going to pay for a college tuition. Jake wasn't even sure if their dad had money set aside for Chris's education. Jake knew he did, if he didn't get an athletic scholarship that is. He needed more information. He took out his phone and dialed his lover with the news.

Hello? Rick answered on the other line.

Hey dad, what's up? Jake responded. He and his dad exchanged quick pleasantries, and then Jake got down to business. Dad, Chris is graduating with me. He's taking a ton of advanced courses and he's going to a college. Jake paused, letting Rick digest this sudden burst of information. Dad, have you gotten any college brochures meant for Chris in the mail?

Rick murmured, No son, they have all been for you. I would have noticed if they were addressed to Chris. I can't believe he is graduating early. There was a pause on the other line, Jake strained to hear what his father was saying. Do you think it's because of us Jake?

Jake looked at his phone in surprise. What do you mean dad? His dad replied, Do you think Chris is graduating earlier than his classmates and leaving for college because of us and our treatment of him? Jake frowned, it would make sense actually. He knew that if their roles had been switched, he would have left Chris and Rick at the first opportunity. And what better opportunity than a university far away? But Jake didn't know where Chris planned on going at all. He could confront his brother about it, but Jake didn't want the first conversation they had in six years to be over Chris's future, something Jake felt he didn't have much right to be concerned with anymore.

We'll have to take things slow. We'll talk to him when he gets home from studying and if I see him in the hallways, I'll smile at him and start acting like a real big brother again. Maybe you could pick him up from the café too? Jake suggested. Starting out with little things and then gradually building up to the big conversation would be good.

Okay, I'll check the mail. Maybe something came in today for him. We'll figure this out Jake, I don't want him to leave us. It sounds selfish and unbelievable, but I don't want Chris to abandon us like we've abandoned him. I want us to be a family again.

Me too dad, me too

It had been a weird day for Chris, needless to say. After getting over his crying in Ms. Swan's office, he left for his first lesson. His eyes were still a little red from the tears, but his face wasn't splotchy anymore. So when his brother Jake had smiled and waved at him as they passed in the hallway, Chris initially thought that there was something in his eyes still. Either that or he was in the Twilight Zone. He stopped and stared at Jake until the other had walked into his classroom, leaving Chris in the hallway, alone. But that wasn't the only time. If it had happened once, then Chris would have assumed that Jake was waving at someone else and characteristically ignoring him still. But no, it seemed that every time Jake and Chris passed in the hallways, Jake would make direct eye contact and wave or give a smile to him.

It was now the end of classes and Chris was on his was to work. The coffee shop was tucked away between two other bigger stores, and it offered the perfect environment for those who wished to be secluded away from the world. Walking down the sidewalk outside of the school, Chris frowned as he saw a familiar car pull up beside him. Stopping, he looked with uncertainty at the driver.

It was Jake.

"Hey bro you on your way to work?" questioned Jake. This was the first sentence in over 6 years of silence. Chris just stared at Jake in shock. Now he was certain that there was something wrong. How could Jake just sit there and act like nothing was wrong with this picture? Did that last 6 years have no meaning for him, or was this some cruel trick? "Chris, did you hear me?" Jake inquired again. Chris drew his eyebrows together and stood up straighter. Jake tried a third time, "Would you like me to drive you to your work?" Chris felt anger at that innocent question. How dare he, how dare Jake just sit there, acting all concerned and brotherly when Chris knew him better than that?

Stepping away from the vehicle, Chris responded with a simple "No." Jake frowned a bit at that, not sure what the problem was. "Chris man, I wanna drive you to your work. Hop in!" Chris's anger was giving way to fury at his brother. No, this man was not his brother. His brother died the same day his mom did. Same with his dad. The two men he lived with for the past 6 years were strangers to him, and he would have nothing to do with them anymore. He felt anger, betrayal, and an overwhelming sense of loss. So this was how his so-called 'brother' was going to finish off their relationship, by acting as if there had never been anything wrong in the first place?

Chris remembered all those lonely days in the house when he wasn't at school. Jake and their father would be outside doing yard work and he would be stuck in his room, exiled within those four walls. He remembered his birthdays, forgotten. He remembered Christmas, where he was discarded. He remembered pain, isolation, and despair. Chris stared at Jake one last time, and said "No." With that, he walked off down a side street, a shortcut to his work, one he took many times before.

Jake sat there, dumbfounded in his car. That didn't go quite as planned. He thought Chris would have been overjoyed to hear his brother speak to him, and offer a ride to work. Apparently all those smiles and waves during school didn't amount to much in the end. Chris was bitter and upset; Jake could tell. He saw how the shock on his little brother's face melted away into anger, hostility, and resentment. But why? It didn't make sense to Jake. He drove off, left to contemplate what the issue was. Maybe his dad would have a clue.

Chris glanced back and saw that Jake was driving away. Their brief conversation was still echoing within his mind, seemingly innocent, yet haunting in its message. What was Jake playing at, acting like the concerned big brother that Chris knew he wasn't? How could Jake look at him and not see the result of his silence on his little brother? Had he not heard on the many nights where Chris had cried himself to sleep?

Entering the café, Chris went behind the counter and started to take orders. Customers usually ranged from middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college age, and it looked to be a decent sized crowd this afternoon. He saw a few of his brother's team mates from both the football and wrestling squad come in and would neither personally greet or ignore them. He would just give them the standard "Hi welcome to Common Coffee Grounds, what would you like today!" Most of them knew him as Jake's brother and would greet him in a friendly manner. Nobody knew why Jake acted the way he did towards Chris. The younger brother was nice, he served everyone quickly and with a smile, and customers felt comfortable around him. Chris had overheard Jake's friends a few times arguing amongst themselves on the reasons why Jake never spoke to or of Chris. They never came close to the real reason. That Jake also blamed their mom's death on Chris.

The anger that Chris felt from his and Jake's conversation earlier simmered in him all night. He just couldn't get it out of his mind! What were Jake's motives?

The hours passed by relatively quickly. As the last customer left, Chris hung up his apron and counted the cash. Saying goodbye to his co-workers, he began the short, yet lonely walk from work back to his house. Cars passed by, the setting sun leaving a quiet, sad light on the world. Chris felt like his life had been stuck in twilight for far too long.

A construction truck pulled up, and Chris felt like he should have a sense of déjà vu. The driver's side window rolled down and Chris was left staring at his father. Rick gave a smile to his youngest child. He saw Lindsey in those eyes, in that face, and he knew he owed it not only to her, but to Chris, to bring his family back together. "Hey there champ. Get in. I'll drive you home."

It was the Jake situation all over again. Chris initially stared, and then he felt that simmering anger begin to boil again. Were his family members on drugs or something? How dare they ignore their actions for the last 6 years! "No. I will walk." Chris glared at his father. "Sir." And with that, he continued to walk down the sidewalk. He saw out of his peripheral vision that his father's truck was keeping pace with him. He kept ignoring him.

"Son. Please get in the truck." Rick pleaded with his youngest. He could see the negative emotions playing across Chris's face and hoped things would go smoothly. Apparently Chris was still feeling hostile towards Rick and Jake, and he could guess why. Earlier, when Jake came home and explained what happened between him and Chris, Rick made the observation that Chris was probably confused and upset at the sudden change in his brother and father. The years had not been kind to him, and his anger was more than justifiable. Rick knew that they had their work cut out for them, but they had no one to blame other than themselves. "Chris, I'm not going to ask again. Get in this truck now."

Chris stopped walking and stared at his father. "Why? I've been walking home from work for the past 3 years without your or Jake's help." He wanted to snarl at the man, but he kept his voice as neutral as possible. Despite having never been struck by his father, he was still wary. In a match between Chris and Rick, there was no hope on Chris's part of winning. But that didn't mean he had to make things easy for his father.

Rick sighed, he didn't want to do this. "We have things to discuss at home. Now either you get in this truck willingly or I get out and force you in." His son glared at him a little bit longer, then moved around the front of the vehicle and opened the passenger door. Slamming the truck door Chris buckled up and placed his backpack on his lap. His posture was stiff, and the vehicle was filled with an awkward silence. If there had been any crickets in the car, they definitely would have been chirping by now.

Rick cleared his throat, hoping to dispel the tension. "How was your day? Have any homework?" The questions seemed innocent enough, but that just seemed to add fuel to the fire inside Chris. His son's posture became stiffer, and Rick could see the jaw muscles clenching and unclenching on Chris's face. He kept staring ahead and did not respond. Rick swallowed and tried again. "Your brother and I have been talking and we have something to tell you when we get home. He told me about how you and he talked earlier today…wanna talk about it?" He moved to place his hand on Chris's, but frowned when his son drew his own hand away. Chris shifted in his seat, adding a few more inches in the distance between father and son. It may have been a few feet, but to Rick it was as vast as the Grand Canyon.

Chris was speechless, and he was furious. The nerve of this man, his father, acting as though there is nothing wrong with this picture! He needed to get out of this truck, he needed to get to his room and write in his journal and do homework. His texts couldn't hurt him, plus they gave him the knowledge he needed to get out of the house quicker.

Finally they pulled up to their house. Not a word had passed between the two men. Rick was not showing it, but he was beginning to get frustrated. Chris was practically running to the front door, desperate to lock himself away inside his room. That was his sanctuary, his safety zone. As he reached for the doorknob, it twisted before he touched it and the door began to open. Jake stood there, wearing a tight shirt and a ratty pair of shorts. "Hey Chris. We gotta talk." Taking his brother by the shoulder, he led him into the living room, their father close behind.

The three of them sat in the living room, Chris by himself in a chair, Rick and Jake together on the couch. Chris refused to look at them, making it painfully obvious he wanted nothing to do with the two of them for the way they recently been acting. Rick looked at his son and wore a sad look. The suffering he had inflicted upon his youngest child was devastating, but hopefully Chris could forgive him and Jake for it. Jake looked miserable. He wanted to take up the role of big brother again, but by the way Chris was acting earlier, it looked as if it were too late for him. Jake shook his head; he refused to believe that until it was too late.

He cleared his throat. "Chris. I don't know where to start, so I'm gonna be upfront about it. I'm sorry." Jake gestured between him and their dad, "We're sorry for the way we've treated you all these years. You didn't deserve it, any of it." Chris dropped his scowl and looked down at his feet, unsure on how to react to this. He almost couldn't believe his ears.

Rick picked up where his lover left off. "Son, I'm disappointed in myself. When your mother died, I didn't act like a dad was supposed to act. I pushed you away when you needed love and support, and now I see where that has gotten us. You're miserable and I have no excuse as to why it has taken this long for your brother and me to see this. I'm not asking for you to forgive us right this second, but can you give this family one more chance?"

Chris, in the act of accepting his brother's and father apology, froze. Can he give the family one more chance? As in he, him? Were they seriously blaming him for this mess? The tears of happiness and joy quickly dried away. They were pinning this whole situation on him?! Before he could voice this, Jake opened his mouth, "I looked into your records today at school and saw how well you're doing little bro. All of those advanced classes, you're graduating early, and you're going to college. I couldn't believe what I saw." Jake stopped himself. He really was proud of his little brother. Chris had worked so hard, and now he was going to graduate not only early, but near the top of the class as well. "So where are you planning on attending university? Somewhere close I hope. Dad and I would want to visit you and you could always come home on weekends as well." Rick and Jake were now smiling, hoping this would be the start of their family's renewal.

Chris couldn't hold himself in. "Why would I visit you?" He asked in a calm voice. His father and brother looked at him in confusion and Chris laughed. It wasn't pleasant, it held a note of sadness and incredulity to it. "Why would I want to return to this hellhole? Where I was practically ignored for the last 6 years of my life?" There was no response from either of his family. Chris continued, "I plan on leaving you, abandoning you just like you abandoned me when mom died. All of the colleges I applied to are at least 5 states away, the furthest on the west coast. I won't subject myself to your cruel and selfish natures anymore."

Jake and Rick started in with their interjections, but Chris cut them off. "I have already applied to my universities, and to several scholarship foundations. I don't need you anymore, and I know you don't need me. You've proven that all these years."

"Son, that's not true, we--" Rick interrupted.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Chris leapt out his chair, towering over his sitting relatives. He pointed at them with an accusing finger. "You have NO right call me that anymore! And it is true! It's true that you haven't spoken to me in 6 years! It's true that you have ignored my birthdays and me at Christmas! It's true that you have never shown any interest in me or my accomplishments at all!" Chris didn't have any more control over himself, words were just spilling out of his mouth. It was like he was having an out-of-body experience. He felt as though he were taking a back seat and witnessing this self-righteous tirade against those that hurt him. "Tell me, dear father, when is my birthday? You haven't wished me a happy one since I was 11! And big brother, have you come to any of my band performances? Cuz I've been to every single one of your competitions!"

Neither Jake nor Rick had felt so small in their entire life. Physically they towered over Chris, but right now they felt like a 4 year old being scolded for stealing a cookie. Only this cookie had broken, and there was very little hope of putting it back together. Jake tried to throw in a counter argument, trying to make Chris see their side of the story. "Chris, bro. We know. Dad and I had just lost mom and we were upset and angry. You…"

Chris was livid. He never felt so angry in his entire life. "You weren't the only one who lost someone Jake! I was there! I saw her body, her blood! I saw her last moments! What you experienced was NOTHING compared to me! How dare you say 'you know'! You think that justifies the treatment you put me under since then?!" Tears began trailing down Chris's cheeks, and he made no motion to wipe them away. "Do you have any idea what it was like, seeing that happen to her? And then coming to you for comfort and love but not getting any?!" Dear Lord he felt as though he was foaming at the mouth.

Rick had enough. He needed to get their message across to Chris, or else they would lose him, and there would only be regret and guilt. Standing up, he reached for Chris to try and calm him, but Chris jumped back as if struck. "Chris, champ, please calm down. We want to make amends. We realized this morning what we did was wrong and--"

"Was that before or after you realized I was leaving you?" Chris wasn't thinking clearly, his rage had taken over and any sense of rationality was out the window. "I bet you saw that your little victim was about to make a break for it, and you realized that your favorite pastime of 'Torture Chris' was about to end." Jake flinched. He hadn't thought about that at all. He stood as well and tried to approach Chris, only to have the smaller male back up further into the wall. "Chris, baby bro, please don't be scared. We would never hurt you…" Too late did Jake realize the implication of his statement.

Chris laughed. He laughed and laughed and laughed. The sound had a touch now of insanity, worrying Jake and Rick. Jake moved to hug Chris to him, to calm him and bring control to this situation. Chris reacted when he felt the body press up against his own; his knee shot up and his hands pushed out. Jake collapsed backwards, gasping in pain, cupping his groin in pain. Neither he nor Rick had expected anything violent from Chris. Gone was the sweet little boy they knew – before them now was a teenager, almost a man, who had lashed out against his older sibling.

Rick quickly knelt down and held Jake's head in his left hand and intertwined one of his son's hands with his other one. "Babe, are you okay?" Jake had tears in his eyes, but was otherwise unharmed. Who knew Chris could knee someone that hard?

Chris stood there, dumbfounded. He had seen people act like that, both in real life and in cheesy romance movies. It was written all over the two; how they held each other, how they looked at each other, how they spoke to each other. "Oh my God…" he whispered. "Babe? Did you just call him Babe?!" Rick and Jake looked at him in shock and fear, their faces equally pale. Chris felt something inside of him break. It felt like his heart.

Jake rasped out, "Chris wait, listen before you jump to conclusions…"

"No, I see it now." Chris wasn't laughing anymore. He stared at them, with a face full of sorrow and hurt. It was like 6 years never happened between the three of them. Chris was by himself, in pain and Jake and their dad were together. "You love each other don't you? I can see it now. So I'm really just an unwanted third wheel then." Chris moved to the stairs. "I'm leaving you for college. That's final. Save us both the trouble and heartache and just keep ignoring me. Because that's all I know how to react to with you." He felt the tears start to fall.

Rick stepped closer to Chris. "Son, please, we want to talk, we want to share our love with you, we want you to be happy." He looked into Chris's eyes, so similar to Lindsey's, and he put his hands on his son's shoulders. "Don't walk away. What would your mom want you to do?" Rick felt the sudden chill enter the room after he spoke those words. Chris's posture shifted from being brow-beaten to rigid anger, just like back in the truck.

"I think," Chris hissed out, "that mom would be disgusted with the two of you." Rick now flinched. "Not for your love of each other, but for how you treated me, your own flesh and blood." Chris narrowed his eyes at his father. "As far as I'm concerned, you are no father of mine." He looked at Jake then. "Nor are you any brother of mine." He stepped the stairs, two at a time with his backpack. "Leave me alone. I don't want to speak to you ever again. You have each other, so we don't need each other."

Rick and Jake heard Chris's bedroom door close. They stayed in the living room in silence far into the night.

Both heard the sobs of pain and agony echo out of the youngest Resen's bedroom.

A/N: Yeah yeah, I know, I know! I shouldn't start another story when I already have 2 in the works still!

But no worries! I plan on this being a 3-parter, hence the long chapters. Hopefully the plot bunnies will stay with me the rest of the week and I finish this off by next Sunday if all goes according to plan!

R&R please!