Monster Behind The Mask
“There were endless winters and the dreams would freeze
Nowhere to hide and no leaves on the trees,
and my father's eyes were blank
as he hit me again and again and again
And though the nightmares should be over,
some of the terrors are still intact
I'll hear that ugly, coarse, and violent voice,
and then he grabs me from behind, and then he pulls me back.”
- Objects In The Rearview Mirror, MEAT LOAF
* * * *
“And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:
But bring them up in the nurture and admonition
Of the Lord.”
- Ephesians 6:4
It took an act of sheer will to keep the car moving forward, directed towards home. Home is where the heart is. If that were the case – then he was driving away from home. Noble didn’t just hold his heart, he clutched it – possessed it. And god, it felt so damn good in his hands. Not since Patrick had he felt anything even remotely close to this. He was sure if he stepped out of the car, he would just float home. Or rather fly. Soar.
Jonah groaned and rubbed a hand over his mouth. Why hadn’t he just brought Noble with him? He did want it to be extra special, but even so…the thought of going home to an empty house, crawling into an equally empty bed when he could still feel Noble’s body touching his, the urgency and eagerness in the man as a lifetime of chains broke and fell away…it was agonizing. Rather than fighting it, Noble was now embracing his freedom, craving it, admitting out loud that this is who he is.
Leaving Noble back at the apartment and driving away had incited mild anxiety, though. He knew Noble had a crossed a line he had no wish to uncross. But yet, there was still a tiny place inside that caused him to worry that something would arise to prevent tomorrow night from happening. It was irrational; Noble wanted it as much as he did.
“Just relax.” He murmured. “Everything is going to be fine.” He glanced into the passenger seat and could still see Noble sitting there, that teasing, sexy smile on his lips as he told Jonah that their date had been all right. Jonah smiled then chuckled low. “Something tells me you’re going to be more of a handful than you appear.” Another groan stuck in his throat when he recalled the handful he’d had tonight. Damn, his boy was packing.
A quick glance in the rearview mirror and he noticed Noble’s jacket laying in the backseat. Take it back to him. Come on, you know you want to. Jonah shook his head and smiled; if he went back, he wouldn’t leave till morning. And he knew he needed to give Noble a little time alone to absorb everything that was happening, to process everything that had happened between them tonight. A low throbbing ache settled in his crotch as he pictured Noble laying on his bed…possibly nude…replaying every detail of this night over and over in his head. Maybe he would even pleasure himself while thinking of it. Jonah smiled and knew he himself surely would before the night was through.
Tension and fear welled up so fast it caused a fierce nausea and he thought for sure he would puke right there on the kitchen floor. His eyes locked on his father, Noble barely registered the others in the room. His mom, Rebecca and Colleen. Where was Mason? If Mason were here, he would be okay. But he was nowhere to be seen.
Rebecca stood up from her chair and came over to him. “Where were you?” she asked, as if she had a right to question his whereabouts. She looked him over, frowning. “Why are your clothes damp?”
“I was…in the city.” He whispered, only answering her first question. What he did or who he did it with was no longer her concern. Why couldn’t she just accept it?
“The city…” She faltered, her brow pinching, voice lowering tightly. “Were you with…Jonah?”
Noble’s gut pinched harder and, on pure survival instinct, wanted to tell her to shut up before his dad heard. But he already knew. Wasn’t that why he was here? He forced his eyes to focus on Rebecca and asked quietly, tensely, “What’re you doing here? I told you…” His words faded dead away when his dad rose to his feet. Noble instinctively took a step back, his heart pounding. He won’t do anything in front of everyone. Still the fear coursed through him as surely as it had when he was in his teens.
“Noble.” Alan Richman was a formidable man with a solid build. And fists of steel. His eyes cut right through Noble, though he adopted a concerned tone to his voice. “Son, why did we have to hear from your fiancée that you were…struggling? Why didn’t you talk to us?”
Are you fucking kidding me? Noble shuddered, throat closing. The way the man moved slowly around the perimeter of the kitchen, he reminded Noble of a predator stalking its unwitting prey. He couldn’t speak.
“You’re our son, Noble.” His father said smoothly. “You know we love you. If you needed help, you should have just come to us-“
“I don’t.” Noble rasped, startled by the sound of his own voice, and even more so by his words.
“What?” Alan stopped moving and just stared at him. Hard.
Breath rushing in and out of his nostrils, heart racing in heightened fear, Noble whispered, “I don’t…need help.” He didn’t know where these words were coming from, perhaps seeping forth because he felt secure with others around. Or because they want you to give Jonah up – and that’s not something you’re willing to do.
“Noble, how can you say that?” Rebecca looked at him incredulously. “How can you not know you need serious help when you kissed a man right in church?”
The way she said it made it sound filthy, disgusting…abominable. At least that was surely how his dad was interpreting it. “You did what?” The exterior of the man’s façade quaked and cracked, face tightening to granite.
Noble squeezed his hands into tense, anxious fists, his nails cutting into his palms as he avoided his dad’s stare. “Please leave.” He whispered, shaking. Again feeling the need to vomit. “I…appreciate your concern, but…I don’t need your help.” His eye flicked across each of the faces in the room. All but his dad’s. “I’m…I’m fine.”
“You are not fine.” Alan said sternly and walked towards him. If the man hit him, right here in front of everyone – would Rebecca and her mom just look away as his own mother had done? Insisting his father was doing what he had to do to save him?
Noble flinched hard when his dad’s strong hand gripped the side of his neck. To the women it surely appeared to be a fatherly grasp, instigated by love and concern. But the stiff fingertips digging into the muscle convinced Noble otherwise as his eyes began to sting from the pressure. “Dad…please….” He whispered, tears welling, suddenly feeling fourteen again and terrified.
I won't let him hurt you ever again. He wants to get to you, he'll have to go through me first. Jonah’s words rose up in his mind. The man would fight to the death for him. But he didn’t know Noble’s dad was here, he had no way of knowing. He couldn’t save him now, like he’d promised he would. I should have went home with you. I should have made you take me with you. Please come back and get me, baby – I can’t do this alone. I’m too scared of him.
Alan continued to grip his neck hard as he glanced at the women. “I want to talk to Noble alone.” He said and Noble’s heart began to hammer his ribs. No. No, don’t leave me alone with him! “Father to son.” He nodded assurance to Rebecca. “We’ll get everything worked out.”
“Thank you.” She said softly, grateful. “Thank you for coming here so quickly.” She looked at Noble, then touched his arm. “Just listen to your father, sweetheart. He wants what’s best for you, as we all do.” But there was a dullness in her eyes, as if she knew nothing could ever be the way it was before. A staleness in her tone when she called him sweetheart.
Noble’s jaw clenched, eyes burning with hot tears as he choked on a sob and pulled his arm away. Get your fucking hands off me! He wanted to scream at her, but the words stuck in his throat. Colleen patted his arm as she walked past and offered the same advice – listen to your father. When his mom came towards him, he jerked his eyes away in hurt and anger. Moms were supposed to protect their children at all costs, but she had let him down. Betrayed his love and trust.
She squeezed his arm with affection and he yanked away from her. She withdrew and spoke soft, “I’m sorry you think we don’t care, Noble. But we do.”
Just get the fuck out! I don’t want to look at you!
“Go on, Tess.” Alan said. “We’ll be fine. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a father, son…chat.” The man released him and walked to the kitchen doorway, watching down the hall until the three women left the apartment.
Noble was shaking, heart beating too hard, too fast for him to breathe right. “Dad…” he trembled, and turned slowly towards the man. “Please don’t-“ Every ounce of air was suddenly knocked out of him as his dad’s fist nailed him in the stomach with the force of a battering ram. His strength abandoned him and he dropped to floor face down, hands flattened against the cool tile, sucking for air as black spots riddled his vision.
“Get up.” Alan hissed. When Noble remained on the floor, just trying to breathe, tears coursing down his face and dripping onto the tiles, his dad grabbed a fistful of his hair. “I said get the fuck up!” And he dragged Noble back to his feet then slammed him hard against the counter, clutching the front of his shirt, face twisted in rage. “How dare you flash your filth for all to see?”
Noble gripped his dad’s wrists, chest hitching. “Dad.” He choked. “I…I can’t…change what I am.” The words barely made it free before another fist caught him in the ribs and he cried out, knees buckling, swearing he felt a rib crack. The man’s fist were wrecking balls as he laid into him.
“No son of mine is gonna be a fucking faggot!”
“Stop!” Noble cried and grabbed at the counter to keep himself from landing on the floor again, turning away from his dad and fighting for a breath, even just one. Alan’s fist nailed him in the kidney and Noble went down. Then he was clutching his hair again, gripping with enough force to tear at the roots.
“You have a beautiful fiancée.” He snarled close to Noble’s ear. “A woman who loves you. And you want to be with a fucking man? You make me sick.” Noble’s eyes squeezed tight, tears pushing out, flooding his face as he choked on the pain and sobs. “I swear to God it would have been better if I’d dumped my cum on the floor rather than impregnating your mother with you – you filthy piece of shit.” He hauled Noble to his feet and shoved him against the counter again, eyes burning. “You are not going to call off the wedding. And you will damn well marry the girl, like a fucking normal man, do you hear me?”
You can’t take it back…now that you’ve said it out loud. The memory of his and Jonah’s professions of love for one another earlier that evening exploded through his head. I won’t ever take it back. “I’m not…in love with her.” Noble choked, crying, his arm curling around his stomach as he tried not to puke.
“I don’t fucking care.” Another gut punch and Noble doubled over the sink, vomiting. “You are not going to have some fucking affair with a fucking man!” A steel fist connected with his lower back, pain screaming down his tailbone and through his groin, and up his spine, dropping him to his knees, gasping hard.
He fell forward on one hand, arm shaking as it supported his weight, his other arm hugging tightly around his gut as he dry heaved until he was sure his stomach would turn inside out. Vile bits of vomit dripped off his trembling lips as the kitchen floor blurred and swayed. He could hear his dad’s heaving breath, feel his cutting glare. He hates me. My own father hates me. Before this moment, Noble had somehow convinced himself that his dad hated what he was, but somewhere inside still loved him. But that shred of belief was eradicated as Noble’s body throbbed in pain, every breath, every sob sending stabbing spears through his chest and ribs. He wishes I was never born. Maybe he’s right…maybe it would have been better that way.
The man shifted his feet and Noble half expected to be kicked in the face, but his dad wouldn’t mark any visible skin. “You will do as I say.” He spoke low, with a dangerous edge. “God’s word instructs children to honor their father and mother. And you damn well will honor my wishes.” He sank to his heels next to Noble and slid his fingers almost affectionately through his hair, but then gripped firmly, pulling Noble’s head back. “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. That is what the bible says. And it also states,” his fingers squeezed, pulling Noble’s hair, as his voice tightened with his clenched jaw. “It also states that it is an abomination for men to lay with men as with a woman.” He leaned closer, his breath quick and hot against Noble’s ear. “You will not see that bastard again, do you understand? And I don’t say this merely for your sake.” He shoved Noble’s head forward as he released him and stood. “But for his as well.”
Shaking, Noble twisted around and sat on the floor, shoulder pressing against the lower cupboards. Was he threatening Jonah? He winced when he tried to take a breath, unable to stand. His head ducked as his dad stood over him, hands clamped on his hips. He slid one arm over his head and pressed his face into the curve of his elbow, crying. Surely his dad wouldn’t actually try to do something to Jonah…would he?
“Clean up that mess then get yourself to bed.” Alan spoke low. “And tomorrow you will fix things with Rebecca. And you will never mention this man again. You will not be a faggot.” His tone turned brittle. “You’d be better off dead.”
Noble reached a trembling hand up to the edge of the counter then cried out as he hauled himself to his feet. He dragged the back of his hand across his eyes, but the tears refused to stop. The look on his dad’s face said if he fought back, resisted – he would take him out. Would he just start in and not stop until Noble was…
“I’ll stay here tonight.” Alan informed tightly, then with a shred of cynicism and disgust, “In case you get any bright ideas of calling your faggot boyfriend to come rescue you like some fucking damsel in distress. God, boy, you fucking disgust me.” He clutched the back of Noble’s neck suddenly, squeezing. “You put him out of your head right here and now. You are marrying Rebecca and you will be a real husband to her – in every sense of the word. And if I ever find out you’ve been cheating on her with another man…you’ll be lucky if you live to regret it.”
When he released him, Noble could still feel the indentions of his fingertips in the tendons of his neck. The man walked out of the kitchen and went to the living room. The kitchen doorway blurred as fresh tears rose up. He wanted to vomit again but there was nothing left. His hurting stomach pinched and twisted even more as he cleaned the sink, the stench only enhancing his nausea.
His body was stiff with pain when he tried to move away from the sink, his legs barely supporting him. Each breath caused a sharp stabbing pain in his ribs and he wondered if his dad had actually cracked one of the bones.
The kitchen wall phone grabbed his eyes as he half limped, half shuffled to the doorway. If he’d still had his cell, maybe he could’ve managed to…But you don’t. You smashed it. And there was no way he could make a call from the kitchen without his dad putting a stop to it right quick.
Tomorrow you will fix things with Rebecca. What was there to fix? Why was she pushing this when she had to know they could never have a real relationship? Did she hate Jonah that much – that she would marry Noble just to spite the man, so he couldn’t have the one he loved?
I know I did wrong by you, Becca…but I don’t care anymore. I asked you not to bring my dad here and you did it anyway. I don’t care if you didn’t know what he would do, it wasn’t your fucking place to call him. I’d rather be dead than marry you now.
© Copyright 2017 AMS1971. All rights reserved.
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian