Five

Thomas

While I'm sitting in the Rec. Room on my second day in the hospital, my situation really starts to sink in. I'm finally starting to realize what's happened to me and what I've done and what my life has become. Of course, I've consciously known all of that for a while. But now, my heart understands it.

Oh God... he's really gone.

Before last night, I never really cried about David. I just let it out through anger. I yelled at people who had done nothing wrong, I threw things, I screamed. But ever since last night the anger has reformed itself. I'm now feeling the emotion that I'm probably supposed to feel at a time like this: sadness. Last night was the first time I ever cried about David. And now I can't stop crying.

As I'm sitting on the couch in the Rec. Room, cartoons are playing on the TV screen again. I guess the doctors and nurses don't really want us to watch anything else. Any other show could be a potential trigger. Cartoons seem to be the most innocent thing on television. The cartoon I'm watching is funny. I remember it from my childhood. But I'm not laughing. I stare at the screen but I'm not really watching. I'm crying.

I'm not sobbing exactly. Tears are just gracefully flowing out of my eyes and down my face. I am calm, but miserable. I don't know how to let out my emotions correctly, so I just let tears drip down my face. It feels good to know that I'm crying. This is what I'm supposed to be doing.

Right?

No. I barely knew him.

His friends should be crying. His parents should be crying. His sister should be crying. Why the hell am I crying? I shouldn't be. I don't deserve to cry. I barely knew him.

A nurse comes over to me. She sits down on the couch next to me and places her hand on my back, rubbing it in gentle circles.

"What's the matter, Thomas?" She asks nicely.

I don't answer. Just leave me the fuck alone.

"Are you feeling okay, buddy?" She asks.

I don't even look at her. I never avert my eyes from the TV screen.

She doesn't ask anymore questions and I'm grateful for that. She sits with me for a while and we both watch cartoons. Now, I'm consciously watching the show. It's funny, but I don't laugh. She does.

I turn my head and look at her name tag. Her name is Sylvia. Her face is a bit familiar. I probably saw her around yesterday. She's probably in her early thirties. She has silky dark brown hair that's tied up. She has full, dark lips and dimples. Her light brown skin is clear and flawless. She looks friendly and even though I don't know her very well at all, I decide that I like her. She's my favorite nurse so far. She doesn't have to ask me questions constantly. She knows that just sitting with me and rubbing my back and watching cartoons with me and laughing at the appropriate times is enough to make me feel not so alone. Thank you, Sylvia.

When I look at her, she turns and looks at me. She smiles encouragingly.

"I'm okay." I tell her, "Thank you."

She smiles bigger and nods. She squeezes my shoulder. "I'm always here if you need me."

I nod back. She stands and walks away to tend to other patients.

I'm not thinking about David that much now. Now I'm thinking about the cartoon. I'm thinking about my childhood, when things were perfect and happy and the world hadn't come crashing down on me yet. They are good memories, and although they make me want to cry, I smile instead.

While a new episode of the cartoon starts, I turn and notice Aaron standing a few feet away from the couch. He's staring at me. I don't know how long he's been standing there. He smiles when I look at him. I smile back and wave.

He comes over and sits next to me on the couch. It makes me happy.

"Hey!" I greet.

"Hi." He says, smiling nervously.

We sit silently for a second. His hands are folded between his knees and he keeps looking up at me anxiously, as if he's afraid of me. I wonder what this kid's issues are. I'm so curious about him.

"It's your second day, huh?" He asks.

"Yeah." I reply.

"How do you feel?"

I think about how to respond. I'm not entirely sure how I feel. But I know I'm not feeling good.

"Not great." I reply.

Aaron nods in understanding. I can see it deep inside his gray eyes. He's been there before. He's felt that feeling. He knows, and he understands.

"You look like you've been crying." He comments.

I feel myself blush. As a man, it's embarrassing to be so sensitive. But then I remember that I'm in a mental hospital and I'm talking to a guy with scars covering his forearms. Maybe crying isn't such an embarrassing thing here.

I nod.

"Don't worry, I think you'll be okay." Aaron assures me, "After you kinda get used to being here, it's really not so bad."

That sounds like bullshit to me. "What do you mean it's not so bad? We're in a mental hospital!" I smile as I say it, to let him know I'm still being friendly.

"I know..." He says quietly, looking down, "And that part of it sucks. But I actually like it here."

I'm completely appalled. Why would anyone in their right mind actually enjoy being in a psychiatric hospital? But then I remember that no one in here is truly in their right mind. I'm really not used to being surrounded by people have been through hell just like me.

"Why?" I ask him.

"I'd rather be here working on getting better, than be at home getting worse." He says, as if it should be obvious.

And that makes sense. Sure it sucks to be in the nut house. But at least it's better than not taking care of yourself. Here there are doctors and nurses and people just like you that can help you when you're upset. At home, there's pretty much no one. I mean, at home I have my parents and my brother but they don't really understand. In fact, they don't understand at all.

"Wanna play cards?" Aaron asks, smiling excitedly.

There's really nothing better to do. "Okay." I respond.

He simply beams. His smile is cute. I know I should probably be excited that I'm about to hang out with this cute boy, but I'm still a bit sad at the moment.

The two of us stand from the couch and walk over to one of the empty tables. There's already a deck of cards sitting there.

I used to play cards with my brother all the time when we were little. He's a few years younger than me, so I had to teach him all the fun card games I knew. Although we got in regular arguments over the rules of all the games, we still always had fun. I miss my brother. I miss my childhood.

I introduce Aaron to one of the card games I played with my brother. I teach him all the rules just like I taught my brother. Aaron seems excited. After a few practice rounds, we both agree that it's a fun game and we keep playing. Soon we are able to play almost without thinking. So we talk while we play.

"Do you have any siblings?" I ask.

"Nope, I'm an only child." He says, "What about you?"

"Yeah, I've got a little brother."

"What's his name?" Aaron asks.

"Jason."

"How old is he?"

"Fourteen." I answer, "He just started high school."

"Poor kid." Aaron comments. I can't tell if he's kidding or not, but it sure doesn't look like it at all.

I curse as Aaron wins a round of the game. He laughs triumphantly and collects the cards greedily. But it's all in good fun.

"So, what? You don't like high school?" I ask, hoping it's not a sensitive subject for him.

"Definitely not." He replies.

"Why's that?" I ask.

He shrugs. He's silent for a moment, focusing on the game. He wins another round and I'm impressed, since he just learned how to play. Finally he answers my question while he's collecting the cards.

"People at my school don't like me very much." He says.

I immediately feel terrible for him. In my over-emotional state, I feel almost like crying again. He seems like such a nice guy. Why would anyone dislike him? I gather that there's probably more to it than he's letting on. Perhaps he was bullied or something. Maybe he was just a loner who didn't have many friends. I want to cry for him.

I honestly start to wonder about his sexuality. He does seem a bit feminine, just in the way he carries himself. And he's led me to believe that he was bullied in school. It would be awesome to have another gay kid to hang out with in this place. If he is gay, he and I would probably get along well, since we've probably been through similar situations. Of course, I've never been bullied or anything like that. But something I've noticed is that gay boys tend to have a strong connection even after they've just met. It's not always a romantic connection, but it's more of an understanding. Gays in general have all been through similar situations. I find myself actually hoping that he is gay.

I mean... he's just so damn cute.

I feel like I might want to ask him. But if he's straight, my question would just come off as rude. I save my question for later and decide to respond to him instead.

"That's terrible. I'm sorry." I say, pausing the game and looking at him.

His eyes shine with gratefulness. "It's okay." He shrugs, looking back down at the table, "Do you like school?"

"It's not too bad." I respond. And for the most part, that's true. I have a couple really good friends from school. They've always stuck by me no matter what. However, not all of them know that I'm gay. In fact, my two very best friends are the only people in the world that know my sexuality. When I told them, they were pretty accepting but mostly just shocked. I'm too scared to tell any of my other friends. And no one knows why I'm here in this mental hospital.

Aaron and I continue playing our card game.

"What kinds of hobbies do you have?" He asks me.

I smile, liking the fact that we're getting to know each other. "Well, I like baseball a lot. I played on my school's team. But I quit after my sophomore year." I reply.

"Why's that?"

"Just because we only need two years of PE credits." I shrug, "And it was too time consuming. What about you?"

"I like art." He says immediately.

"Really?" I ask, "What kind of art?"

"Just painting and drawing and stuff like that." He smiles. I can see his face light up when he talks about it. Art must mean a lot to him, and I admire him for that.

"That's awesome." I say, "You'll have to show me one of your paintings sometime."

He looks up from our game and stares straight into my eyes. His dark brown hair is covering one of his eyes, but the other is shining brightly with this lighting. He smiles.

"I'd like that." He says, very sincerely.

He has to be gay, I think, there's no way he's not.

I really want to ask but I don't want to offend him. So instead, I decide to find out in kind of a backwards way. My stomach immediately clenches with nerves. I bite my lip.

"Can I tell you something?" I ask. We've stopped our game and now we're simply staring at each other. He's so goddamn cute.

He nods curiously.

I take a deep breath and look down. My heart rate has jumped to double it's normal speed in about five seconds. The same thing happened when I came out to my two best friends. I remember the feeling so well.

I glance around to make sure no one's listening in. The nurses are all distracted by other patients and there's no one within earshot, as long as I whisper.

I lean into Aaron from across the table, looking him dead in the eye, smile embarrassedly, and whisper, "I'm gay."

I look at him nervously, waiting for a reaction. His eyes widen and he stares at me, almost in wonder. We're silent for a moment, and then suddenly I notice his eyes starting to water. As he exhales, a heartbreakingly beautiful smile spreads on his face.

"Me too." He whispers.

I sigh with relief and close my eyes for a moment. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah, aren't you?" He says, his smile fading. He looks scared now.

"Of course I'm serious." I say quickly, "I wouldn't lie about that."

"You're not just making fun of me?" He asks. His eyes are shining.

"No! Of course not!" I assure him.

He smiles again. "Thank God there's someone in here who's like me."

I agree completely.


A/N: OMG sorry guys I've been like MIA lately on this story (and on Unexpected actually). But just to remind you again, I'm not gonna update this story very much. I usually update my stories every 3 or 4 days, but this one might be 10 or 11 days in between updates. Just to warn you. The reason for it is because Unexpected is my priority right now, and I really have no idea what I'm doing with this story at the moment. So just bear with me. (I think I said almost the exact same thing in my last update. Nvm!)

Raaawr Ima Dinosaur: Yeah, and now that you've read this chapter maybe you understand a bit more about his paranoia. Poor kid :[

foreveran: Thank you for being patient ;]

IdleMinds: I adore nervous & shy gay guys too! I don't know what it is, but they're just so cute! Thanks for reading!

Fumiki: Hopefully this chapter gives you at least a little bit more insight into Aaron's past.

DawnSister: OMG there are so many people reading this story who have worked with mental health patients before! WTF! But that's definitely not a bad thing! I need advice when it comes to stuff like that because I've never been in a mental hospital or anything even close to that. So thank you for the advice! Also, never apologize for long reviews! I love them! :D

prostock69: I agree :[ Poor kid.

mypoortoaster: D'awww I just pictured Jamsey and Ryan getting all snuggly tight. ;ASDKSLKDJ they're so cute! I'm glad you're enjoying both stories! :D

JHeartbreak: I know exactly what you mean. I definitely suffer from major anxiety problems. Not that I've been diagnosed or anything like that. But I've been through that kind of stuff and it's easy for me to write about it.

Limiear22: Thanks for reading and keep reviewing!

PS, I have a song recommendation for any of you music lovers out there. It has nothing to do with the story but I'm obsessed with it at the moment. It's called Rivers and Roads by The Head and The Heart. Best song ever! Look it up! Love you guys so much.