Truth Behind The Lie
“When they said I was a sinner
I was struggling with my youth
And with the hope that God could change me
I believed it was the truth
And I spent my whole life trying
To be what they said I should
But on the inside I was dying
Because I never really could.”
- God Knows I Tried, RAY BOLTZ
The mattress depressed quietly beneath Jonah's weight as he sank down on the end of the bed. His head dropped into his hands and the tears were coursing down his face long before he truly became aware of them. His chest and stomach hurt, his head pounded, his body ached. And his heart screamed.
What happened to you? Who did that to you?
Jonah's fingers slowly curled and squeezed his hair tighter and tighter.
It doesn't matter...it was a necessary lesson.
“Noble.” he trembled and clamped his eyes tight, pushing more tears out. “Baby, what did they do to you?” He raised head and pressed both hands over his mouth and nose, eyes refilling as he stared blankly at the bedroom door. It seemed hours had passed since Noble had stood there, confessed that he wished they had made love...but it couldn't have been more than maybe fifteen minutes.
Go after him, his heart cried. Don't let him leave like this. Stop him, make him understand there's nothing wrong with him. Just do – something!
Jonah laid back on the bed and raked his fingers through his hair slowly, over and over, staring at the ceiling, tears draining down his temples.
Some lessons can't be unlearned.
Was it too late for Noble? He wasn't broken in the way he thought he was...but he was still broken. In a way that Jonah wasn't certain could be fixed. Maybe Noble was right; maybe some lessons couldn't be unlearned, no matter how hard one tried to unlearn them.
Sitting forward, Jonah leaned on his knees. He couldn't make the tears stop, they ran freely, streaking his face, dripping off his jaw and chin. So you're just going to give up on him? Let him go? Let all the bastards win, who hurt and damaged him? You don't love him enough to fight for him, save him?
Love him. Jonah tasted the words, let them melt in his mouth and pour down into his heart. He was in love with Noble Richman. Until this moment, he hadn't admitted it aloud or even silently to himself.
The scars on Noble's back rose behind his eyes. Not all fathers love their sons so unconditionally. Jonah stood up slowly and wiped his face, a simmering rage sizzling in his veins.
“You better hope to hell we never cross paths, you motherfucker.” Jonah muttered, his jaw tight, squeezing, inciting more tears to burn his eyes and race down his cheeks. “I swear to God I'll rip your fucking head off.”
Jonah found his cell phone and punched out Noble's number without having to think about it; he'd memorized it last night in about two seconds. The guy's phone must have been turned off because Jonah's call went straight to voice mail.
“Noble.” his voice tightened with emotion. “Please call me...talk to me. You didn't have to leave.” His words faltered as he swallowed hard and his voice softened to an uneven whisper. “You didn't do anything wrong.”
I love you...please come home. The words rested on his tongue then fell back down his throat. “Please just...call me, Noble. Please.”
He closed the phone slowly, his chest feeling like it would implode at any moment. He sucked in a shaky breath and left the bedroom, returning to the living room. The album lay on the carpet in front of the sofa. It must've been kicked to the floor inadvertently while he and Noble were...
The images rushed in with no shred of mercy for Jonah's hurting heart. He stared at the sofa and saw it play out all over again as if watching it on a movie screen. In that moment...Noble had been his. Really his. He had let go and surrendered himself to Jonah without reservation.
He shoved his hands into his hair again and dropped onto the edge of the sofa cushions, choking on a sob. By all rights, they should be in bed right now, making love. Had he taken Noble that far...he would have stayed with Jonah. Still frightened...but willing to fight it.
But now...everything was fucked up. All because...
Jonah's face hardened. “Fucking Jehovah's Witnesses.”
The numbing sensation had begun the moment Noble had walked out of the bedroom, and slowly spread the further he drove away from Jonah's home. By the time he arrived back at his apartment, he could feel nothing. Almost nothing. The deep, pulsing ache in his heart never really succumbed to the numbness, though that was what he needed gone the most.
Though the apartment was comfortably warm inside, it felt cold, tomb-like. And the numbing in his body and mind made him feel empty, hollowed out. And sick. He knew what he had to do, that step he had to take if he hoped to ever beat this thing. But the thought of it caused nausea to well up so fiercely he was sure he would have to run for the bathroom. Somehow, he managed to hold it at bay.
He went to his bedroom and paused just inside the door, staring at the bed. But it wasn't his bed he was seeing. The images rose up on their own, without his permission; Jonah laying him down, stripping away...the lies. And that's how it had felt when the man had stripped him of his clothes...like peeling away all the lies and leaving only the bare truth of who he was.
Warm wetness slid down his cheeks. That isn't who you are. It can't be. You're not gay.
Noble closed his eyes, struggling to vanquish the images, but they only grew stronger, more vivid and he again felt Jonah's hands on his body, his intense, satisfying kisses...and the encompassing heat within the deep caverns of his warm mouth. His body responded to the memory instantly, and profoundly – as did his heart as it began to thump harder against his ribs.
A sob swelled up and stuck beneath the knot in his throat. Noble's jaw tightened, teeth gritting hard as a rush of tears forced out. “No.” he choked. “I'm not gay.” His eyes grabbed the Styrofoam cup still sitting on his night stand. A strangled cry tore up his throat and he lunged forward, grabbing the cup, crushing it in his fist, ripping it apart. “I'm not!” he cried. “I'm not a fucking faggot!”
The pieces of cup drifted lightly to the floor, scattered on the carpet. Noble stood motionless, chest heaving, hands clenched as he stared through his tears at the destroyed cup. Another, deeper sob hit him and he sank hard to his knees, his hands shaking as he gathered the pieces, attempting to fit them back together – and failing.
“No.” he choked and pulled back, sitting against the edge of the bed. His dropped his head into his hands and he stared at the torn pieces of cup, crying – and hating himself for it. It was just a stupid fucking cup!
But in truth, it was so much more than that, wasn't it? It was the first real sign that Jonah cared.
And he had just ripped it to shreds.
It doesn't matter! You have no business messing with Jonah. There's nothing there for you. Nothing!
So why did it feel as if he'd left everything behind when he'd walked out? If it was so wrong, and not at all what he really wanted...why did it hurt so fucking bad?
He raised his head and laid it back on the bed, closing his eyes as he hugged his gut. You have to get help. You can't do this alone. You know you can't. You're not strong enough to stay away from him. If you don't get help...you will go back. And if you do – you know you'll never leave again.
Noble sat unmoving, eyes closed, heart aching. He didn't know he'd slipped into an exhausted slumber until the front door opened then closed with just enough force to jolt him awake.
“Noble?” Rebecca. “You here, hun?”
His heart racing, Noble quickly wiped his face and hurriedly gathered up the torn shreds of cup and dumped them in the night stand drawer then scrambled to his feet. He stepped into the adjoining bathroom and closed the door, locking it behind him. Grabbing a wash cloth, he ran it under cold water and pressed it to his face, but when he looked at his reflection, the evidence of his tears was still visible and his eyes retained a glossy wetness he couldn't blink away. He sat down on the toilet lid and pressed a soft towel to his face then lowered it and sat motionless, staring at the door until a light rap echoed through the small bathroom.
“Noble, honey?” The door handle twisted, catching against the lock. “Baby, you in there?”
“Yeah.” Noble rasped, his voice thick, wet. “I'll...be out in a minute.”
“I've been trying to call you.” Rebecca said through the door. “Is your phone turned off? Why would you turn it off?”
Noble didn't answer as he stood and gripped the edge of the sink, staring into the mirror. Why had he turned it off? To deflect calls from Rebecca while you were with Jonah. He squeezed his eyes shut and hung his head, guilt hitting him so hard it nearly buckled his knees. Should he start with Rebecca? Tell her the truth about himself? But not about Jonah – he could never tell her about him and Jonah. Even if she could understand about the other...she would never understand that. Never forgive him for what he'd done...how he feels. Why should she? You cheated on her first in your thoughts – and now in the flesh.
It made no difference that he and Jonah hadn't went all the way – they had went far enough. And would have gone so much further if not for the interruption. The sudden stab of disappointment and regret disturbed Noble deeply; he had confessed to Jonah he wished they had made love. And though he fought to deny it now...it was the truth. He had wanted Jonah to take him, possess him...own him. Love him.
Shhh, baby, just let me love you.
Noble gripped the sink tighter. Jonah hadn't said – just let me fuck you...but let me love you.
His eyes filled again and he didn't know how to stop the tears. He didn't know how to stop the feelings and emotions Jonah stirred in him. He could scream it out loud till he lost his voice that he wasn't gay, but the truth still remained – he had went to Jonah's that morning wanting the man to make love to him.
He stared at his bleary image. “Just say it.” he choked quietly, trembling. “You will never get better until you say it out loud. The first step...is admitting to yourself that you have a problem.” His eyes glossed with a thicker sheen that broke and ran down his cheeks in rivulets. His heart thumped in his chest and his head. “I am...gay.”
His body tensed as he steeled himself for the rush of self loathing that was sure to hit him in admitting such a sickening truth. To his shock, the trembling in his body eased and the tension receded somewhat. What felt strangely like relief seeped through him and for the first time in a very long time – he could breathe.
“Sorry for standing you up.” Mason entered the kitchen. “Something came up.”
His dad showed up barely thirty minutes after Noble left. If the guy had stayed...they surely would have been caught in the act. Regardless, Jonah would have gladly taken the risk over Noble walking out.
“No problem.” Jonah went about fixing a fresh pot of coffee as his dad sat at the counter where Noble had sat earlier and eaten breakfast with Jonah. The package Noble had brought him was still on the counter top.
“I see you got your delivery.” Mason smiled. “It was nice of Noble to bring it all the way out here.”
“Yeah, it was.” Jonah murmured. The pressure in his chest had started the moment Noble left, and remained even now. He wondered if it would ever really go away as long as Noble kept his distance.
“Did you two...have a nice visit?”
The question felt loaded, as if his dad were getting at something. Jonah's gut twisted a little. “Uh, yeah. I guess so.” Nice didn't begin to describe it.
Silence dropped over the kitchen and it filled Jonah with unease as he felt his dad's eyes heavy on his back. Could the man just look in his eyes and see the truth of what he'd done with Noble? The reality of his feelings for the guy? His dad wasn't naïve by any stretch – it wouldn't take him long to figure out Jonah was keeping something from him.
“Do you like Noble?”
Jonah's hairline fizzled, his entire scalp prickling. His pulse staggered. “What?”
“What do you think of him?” Mason asked. “Do you like the guy?”
“Uh...yeah.” Jonah's voice rasped a bit. His dad wouldn't miss that. “He seems like a decent enough guy.”
“Mm.” Mason nodded slowly. “A bit high strung lately, but...” Again, he sensed his dad watching him. What the hell do you know? He wondered anxiously. “But a good guy.”
“Yeah.” Jonah poured his dad some coffee and set it before him, then made himself a cup and leaned against the counter.
“Are you okay, Jonah?” Mason asked. “You seem...a bit on edge yourself these last few days.”
Sipping his coffee, Jonah nodded. “I'm good, dad.”
“Yeah.” Jonah chuckled low. “You worry too much, old man.” In truth, maybe the man should worry more. Nothing wrong here, pops. Just falling crazy in love with my step-sister's fiance. But, nah, nothing to be concerned about. Just almost fucked the guy today, but no worries – he isn't gay.
Mason gazed at him and Jonah knew the man was seeing more than he was voicing. What was he trying to get Jonah to admit to? What all did he really see when he looked in his son's eyes?
They will understand. They'll help you. You don't have to be scared.
Noble grasped at the silent assurances as he stepped out of the bathroom. They cared about him, they would do everything in their power to help him heal. Rebecca was going to be his wife, she would-
He stopped short, his thoughts slicing off. Rebecca stood by his bed, phone to her ear. His phone. Fear gripped him; he hadn't yet deleted Jonah's message from last night off his phone. What was she doing?
Turning to face him, her brow pinched and she lowered the phone. “When you went out to Jonah's today.” She started and Noble's stomach twisted painfully. “Did you...just give him the package and leave?”
“Yeah.” Noble lied, a rasp to his voice. “Why?”
She held up his phone. “Then do you want to explain what this message from Jonah is all about?”
An invisible fist punch him hard in the chest, making it difficult to breathe. “What...message?” Had Jonah called him while his phone was turned off? After he left? Nausea coiled in his gut. What if he'd made mention of...
“Noble?” Rebecca stared at him, expecting an answer.
“I don't...know what you're talking about.” he said thickly. “And why...are you listening to my messages?”
The woman seemed taken aback. “I told you, I had called multiple times and left numerous messages. I just went into your phone to erase them.”
Noble started to ask how she knew his PIN, but remembered he had given it to her once when she needed to check a message that had come to his phone instead of hers. He'd had no reason to keep her out at that time.
“What is Jonah talking about in his message?”
“What message?” Noble asked tightly, suddenly defensive. “My phone has been off. I haven't listened to any messages.”
Rebecca walked over and shoved the phone into his hand. “Well then listen.” She said stiffly. “And then tell me why you just lied to me about your trip out to Jonah's.”
What had Jonah said in his message? His heart thumped so hard at the base of his throat it began to choke him. Hands shaking a little, he went to his voice mail. Jonah's message was the most recent.
“Noble...Please call me...talk to me. You didn't have to leave...you didn't do anything wrong. Please just...call me, Noble. Please.”
The depth of emotion and hurt in the man's voice caused Noble's eyes to sting. He closed the phone quick. What the hell was he supposed to tell her? Jonah hadn't made any direct references. She wouldn't know just by the message what had happened between them. Yet...she couldn't have missed the tone of Jonah's voice...the emotion...the depth of pleading.
“It was...nothing.” His voice was thick, throat tight as Jonah's message played over and over in his head, his words embedding in Noble's heart.
“It didn't sound like nothing.”
Just mind your own fucking business! The words leaped onto his tongue and nearly burst out when he snatched them back and swallowed them at the last second. This was her business when less than an hour ago, her fiance had been laying naked on her step-brother's bed while the man sucked him off. How was that not her fucking business?
“Look, Rebecca.” he spoke low. “It was just...a misunderstanding. No big deal.” No big deal. Noble's body still burned with the memory of Jonah's warm mouth, his hands. His jaw tightened and he struggled to keep the tears out of his eyes. He needed help and he needed it fast. But once Rebecca knew about him...would she recall this message and start putting the pieces together about him and Jonah?
There is no you and Jonah. Today was a mistake. It won't happen again. It won't.
“Why is Jonah's number even in your contact list?” Rebecca asked. “Why would it be there? You barely know him and, I thought, didn't even care for him that much.”
Is that true? That you don't care for him?
Noble's face pinched as he shoved his hand through his hair. He wanted to scream at her to just stop pushing this at him, stop asking these questions that he didn't know the answers to.
“He is bad news, Noble.” Rebecca said, her tone taking on that rim of bitterness always present when she spoke of Jonah. “I know he can fool people into thinking he's charming and pleasant. But he isn't.”
It startled Noble when his blood simmered and he found himself on the edge of coming to Jonah's defense as his time at Jonah's played through his head. At which point had Jonah not been charming and pleasant?
Noble stared at the woman he would be spending the rest of his life with, disturbed by the sour thought – No, Rebecca, you're the one who is neither charming nor pleasant.
“I have some stuff to do.” Noble whispered. He rubbed the back of his neck irritably, needing to be alone right now. “Could we talk about this later?” He stepped past her and threw the phone on the bed, his chest tightening. The events taken place at Jonah's were still too fresh, he needed to get a grip, regain some control. His mind felt like it was being ripped apart, torn in two directions. He fought to push Jonah out, knowing he couldn't let him in there, couldn't...feel that way about him. But a part of him clung to the man, held on for dear life.
Noble dropped onto the edge of the bed, his head in his hands. The tears burned and threatened to break. His father rose up in the back of his mind, belt in hand, forcing him to scream out the lie that he wasn't gay, he wasn't a fucking faggot. But he was. And how was he supposed to live with that? If God didn't heal him – how was he supposed to deal?
“Noble.” Rebecca stepped towards him, the edge still on her voice. “What is going on? Has Jonah...done something?”
Done something. The implication behind her words were like shards of glass grinding through his head. What did she think – that Jonah had tried to force himself on Noble? Force Noble to do something with him?
She didn't mean it that way. You're just feeling guilty because of what you have done. She isn't implying anything of the sort.
Still, it felt like that was exactly what she was implying. Did she really believe Jonah would do something like that? He raised his head, feeling the anger bubbling up again. “What do you mean?” he asked tightly. “Has he done something.”
Rebecca sighed. “You know what Jonah is. Those...kind of people, they have no morals, Noble. They're...”
“Sick?” Noble offered bitterly. “Sick in the head? Perverts? Is that what you mean?”
Rebecca stared at him, mildly stunned by his coldness. But still she nodded slowly. “Yes, I suppose that is what I mean.” she admitted. “It isn't that I think Jonah would be violent, but his tendencies might well cause him to...push someone to-”
“Shut up.” Noble hissed.
“What?” Shock widened Rebecca's eyes.
Noble stood slowly, pulse quickening, anger rising up too fast. “I said shut up, Rebecca.” He raked a trembling hand through his hair, his eyes burning. “Leave.”
“What?” Rebecca stared at him, her face tightening. “Noble, don't talk to me that way-”
“Get out!” he yelled. His throat closed. Tears blurred his vision.
“What is wrong with you?”
Noble laughed bitterly, his tears breaking. “What is wrong with me? What is wrong?!” And it was right there – his confession. Balancing on the tip of his tongue, ready to burst out and slap her in the face with the reality that she was about to marry a sick, perverted faggot.
He stepped back and turned away from her before the poisonous words could escape. “Just go.” he said thickly. “Please just...get out of my sight.”
Moments later, the front door slammed. He hadn't even heard her move from the bedroom.
The young man's demeanor seemed that of a prey animal moving carefully in the presence of a predator. Mason watched his son closely. He told himself it was all in his head, that Jonah didn't tense or grow anxious whenever Noble's name was mentioned. But he couldn't deny the look in his son's eyes yesterday when he had stood across the back lawn of the church and stared at the younger man. He didn't like this game of evasion Jonah was playing with him. They had always been up front with each other. So Jonah's sudden aversion to tell him what was going on only caused Mason more anxiety. If the boy wasn't talking...it wasn't good.
“Jonah.” Mason spoke slow, careful. “Can we speak frankly with each other?”
His son tensed, but nodded. “Yes, of course. When have we not?”
“Well, it's a rare thing for us not to.” He rubbed his mouth and stared at the young man. “But it seems that recently something is bothering you...and you don't seem willing to talk to me about it.”
Fear flickered behind Jonah's violet eyes but he remained silent.
Mason considered leaving it alone. Maybe he didn't want to know. But he was fairly sure he already knew, at least a portion of it. Though it seemed some pieces were missing, and it was those pieces that disturbed him.
“Jonah-” A sudden, hard knock on the front door silenced Mason as both he and Jonah looked to the door. A frown pinched Jonah's brow and walked out of the kitchen.
A sudden rush of heated voices swept back into the kitchen. “What in the world?” Mason murmured and went quickly to the front door, then halted, a hard, puzzled frown cutting across his brow.
Rebecca stood in the doorway, face twisted in rage, a wall of tears glossing her eyes. Her fury was directed at Jonah. “What did you do?” she cried. “What did you do to Noble?”
“What're you-” Jonah stared at her, shocked.
“Don't play dumb with me, Jonah!” she nearly screamed. “I heard the message you left him.”
Mason stepped forward. “Rebecca...what's going on?”
The young woman ignored him, her full attention on his son who was suddenly rigid with tension. “What did you mean, Jonah?” she demanded. “What did you mean when you said he didn't have to leave? That he'd done nothing wrong? What did you make him do!”
Mason watched his son's fists clench anxiously at his sides, his eyes wide with a whole new level and dimension of fear. What the hell was going on?
“Jonah...” Mason frowned, his voice low, uncertain. “What is she talking about, son?”
The young man caught his eye with a tense, fearful stare and Mason's guts twisted into tight, cramping knots. Oh god, Jonah – what happened today?
© Copyright 2017 AMS1971. All rights reserved.
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian