On My Way To You
“More and more I start to realize,
I can reach my tomorrow,
I can hold my head up high,
And it's all because you're by my side
When you look me in the eyes,
And tell me that you love me.
When you're right here by my side.
When you look me in the eyes,
I catch a glimpse of heaven.
I find my paradise,
When you look me in the eyes.”
- When You Look Me In The Eyes, JONAS BROTHERS
The cell had a slightly stale urine stench to it and Jonah could think of a lot of other things he’d rather have gracing his nostrils right now. Like the scent of Noble’s cologne when your face is pressed against his neck. He smiled and tucked his hands under his head and crossed his ankles, staring at the ceiling of the jail cell. Yes, exactly that.
His hands throbbed but it was a good pain and he cherished it. He wasn’t entirely sure if God was the one who orchestrated the events that led to Jonah’s opportunity to beat down Noble’s dad – but he liked to think so. Some lessons were necessary. And though Jonah had never thought of himself as a teacher…he rather enjoyed the role while it lasted.
He sighed and closed his eyes. Noble hadn’t looked none too happy when the police had handcuffed Jonah and took him away, but he’d assured the guy he would be all right – and reminded him again that he had promised to visit him every day. That put a smile on his beautiful face, if only for a moment. But every smile Noble gave him, he gathered up like wild flowers and stored them away for those times – like now – when he couldn’t be with him, couldn’t see his face with his own eyes. Though he had no regrets in the beating he’d administered, the thought of actually doing time and being kept from Noble filled his gut with heaviness. They had been so close to making love. Their plans had been for tonight.
God, please don’t make us have to wait years to be together again. I’ll go crazy.
But he couldn’t imagine Alan or Tessa Richman just letting this go. They would want retribution for the pain and humiliation, and as icing on their vengeance cake – Noble would suffer from having his faggot boyfriend thrown in prison for assault.
“God.” Jonah murmured and opened his eyes. “I know you can turn this around, if you choose. And if you don’t…then help me have enough integrity to face up to the responsibilities of my actions, without bitterness.”
“Only in jail a few hours and you’re already talking to yourself?”
Jonah flinched hard, his head snapping to the side. His dad stood outside the cell, a somewhat smart-ass smile on his face. “Dad.” Jonah hopped off the top bunk and walked to the door. His dad rested his arms through the bars and took hold of Jonah’s swollen hands.
“Do they hurt bad?” he asked with real concern.
“A little.” Jonah shrugged, then smiled. “But it was worth it.”
“I can’t totally disagree.”
Jonah chuckled softly then pressed his lips tight. “Thanks, dad.”
“For what?” Mason asked.
“For being there to keep me from going too far.” He squeezed his dad’s hands with affection and love, ignoring the throbbing pain in his own. “And for…never treating me like a disappointment. Or making me feel…unloved or unwanted in any way.” He licked his lips, eyes stinging. “For just being…a good dad.” He swallowed hard then cleared his throat. “You’re the reason I made it through after…Patrick. And I think that it was you, even more so than me, that helped Noble keep his head above water.” His vision blurred. “He needed a father to tell him…that there was nothing wrong with him, that it was okay to feel the way he did. And you…were there for him.”
Tears welled in his dad’s eyes. “You know,” Mason sniffed and cleared his throat. “I’m pretty sure there’s a scripture somewhere in the bible that says a son isn’t supposed to make his dad cry.”
Jonah laughed softly then rubbed his eyes. “I wouldn’t doubt it. God probably threw it in there once he had a son of his own.”
Mason nodded, chuckling low. “Entirely understandable.”
“Dad.” Jonah looked at him soberly. “If things…go bad for me. Look after Noble, okay? I know he’s getting stronger and learning to accept himself, but…I can still see so many insecurities in him. He needs someone he can turn to, who he trusts to have his best interest at heart.” He shook his head, his heart aching to be the one out there with him. “He’s come so far. I just don’t want him to lose ground, you know?”
“I know.” His dad murmured. “And you know I will always be there for him, no matter what. But…” He stepped back and glanced down the narrow corridor as an officer approached. “I think you’ll be able to look after him yourself just fine.”
The officer unlocked the cell door and slid it open. “You’re free to go.” He turned around and walked away without saying anymore.
Jonah stared at his dad. “I can just…go?” he asked uncertainly. “You paid my bail?”
“Well, not me.” Mason told him slowly.
He shook his head, confused. “Then who?”
His dad gazed at him. “Rebecca.” he said quietly. “She used the money she’d saved for the wedding.”
When Mason returned and entered his room, Noble had been hovering between wake and sleep. The nurses had ushered everyone out, insisting he needed his rest. He couldn’t say they were wrong. But he found it difficult to rest properly as he’d begun to worry about the repercussions of Jonah’s actions. The thought of him being put away for very long made him feel sick, both emotionally and physically. He knew Jonah felt the consequences were worth what he did to put Noble’s dad in his place, but Noble wasn’t entirely sure he felt the same. He wanted Jonah with him. And though the beat down had been quite satisfying, having Jonah by his side was more important than seeing his dad pay for his crimes against Noble.
“Why the long face?” Mason smiled as he slipped inside and came to the bed.
“Did you go talk to Jonah?” Noble asked, brow tight. “Is he…all right?”
“He’s fine.” Mason assured, then lifted an eyebrow. “And waiting to welcome you home.”
“What?” His heart shuddered. “He’s…”
Mason nodded. “He’s out on bail.”
Sighing, Noble relaxed against the pillows. “Thank you.” He whispered. “For getting him out of there.”
“Uh huh.” Mason chewed his lip thoughtfully, then told him softly, “I wasn’t the one who got him out.”
Noble shook his head. “I don’t understand.”
“Rebecca paid his bail.” Mason murmured. “With her wedding money.”
Rebecca? He frowned, uncertain. “Why?”
Mason shrugged. “She has yet to expound upon that. But…” he sighed. “I think maybe she’s had a…rude awakening as to the reality of all this. Most of all…I think she is suffering unmeasurable guilt and remorse for bringing your dad here…when this was the result.”
Staring at the man, Noble asked quietly, “Do you think she’s actually had a change of heart where Jonah is concerned…or she’s just doing this out of guilt because of what my dad did to me?”
“I don’t know.” Mason admitted. “Like I said, she hasn’t explained why.”
Noble nodded slowly, eyes distant. For purposes of guilt or not – she’d gotten Jonah out of jail. For that, she received a few points in his book. He looked at Mason. “Where is Jonah now?”
“Well, where he wants to be is right here with you.” He said. “But because of what happened, he can’t come back here right now. But you’ll be able to go home tomorrow, you just have to take it easy and continue to rest up and heal.” He chuckled. “But no worries, Jonah will wait on you hand and foot. No doubt fuss over you until you plead with him to just leave you alone for a while.”
Noble laughed softly and shook his head, smiling. “No, I won’t.”
“We’ll see.” Mason shrugged, grinning. “That boy of mine can be quite the pest when he so chooses.”
“Well,” Noble smirked. “I have to agree there.” It was true; Jonah had been a pest since the moment Noble had met him.
Mason squeezed his hand and smiled. “Anyway, I thought maybe you could rest easier knowing Jonah was out of jail. So…rest now.”
“Okay.” Noble nodded, smiling. “And…tell Jonah I miss him already.”
Chuckling low, Mason nodded and leaned down, planting a kiss on Noble’s head. “I’ll tell him. And you can be sure he’s going to be like a squirrel in a cage until you get home.” Mason looked at him warmly. “And fair warning…by home, I mean Jonah’s place. He is already insisting you stay with him until you heal.” He smiled. “But don’t count on him letting you leave even after that.”
Noble pursed his lips and smiled; I won’t be trying to get away. His elation of learning Jonah was out of jail wavered a bit when he began to consider the long term reality of the situation. He was only out on bail. He still had to go to court, facing charges of assault. And his dad would do his best to get them to throw the book at Jonah, get him locked up with a maximum sentence.
“You okay, son?” Mason as ked softly.
Swallowing thickly, he looked at the man. “What is my dad going to do to him? Will he…get him thrown in prison?” Noble’s eyes burned. “He shouldn’t have to pay for what he did when my dad just gets to walk away.”
Mason shook his head slowly. “Who says he’s going to walk away?” he murmured. “He assaulted you, Noble. And he abused you. He can still be charged for that as well. Crimes against minors have no statute of limitation. The question is…are you willing to stand toe to toe with him and make him face the consequences of his actions?” Mason squeezed his hand. “Will you testify against him? And in turn back up Jonah, in that he was protecting you?”
Without needing a moment to think about it, Noble nodded, “Yes.”
Smiling, Mason leaned down and kissed his head again. “That’s my boy.”
Warmth rushed through Noble’s heart. That’s my boy. Jonah’s words – You belong to us now. We’re your family – knotted his throat with emotion; for the first time in his life he felt like he really belonged, that he was wanted and loved. Until now, he’d felt as if he had no parents, abandoned and alone.
I’m not an orphan anymore, he thought as he gazed up at Mason. I have a new family now…and ‘they’ chose ‘me’.
The wait was already killing him. Tomorrow felt like years away. He had to force himself not to rush to the hospital despite the fact he wasn’t allowed there at the moment. Noble was an addiction he didn’t wish to break. He craved his presence. Had things not gone to hell, Noble would have been with him tonight, in his arms, in his bed. And though he knew he would still have that, the fact that is was now delayed was tough to handle. When it came to this – he had no patience. He wanted his man – now.
The amount of caffeine he consumed through multiple cups of coffee did nothing to help him sleep when night finally crept in. He didn’t bother going to bed, knowing he would only lay there and fantasize about Noble…and stress about future events that might well land his ass in prison. He remembered his dad telling him once, when he was younger and had pulled some dumb ass stunt, that he needed to get his act together because he was way too pretty to go to prison. He’d thought it was funny then. But now…he wasn’t so sure how amused he was by the images that statement now invoked.
Kicked back in his plush recliner, he stared at the television screen, the only light in the room. He was barely aware of what show was actually playing, his thoughts refusing to shift from Noble. Though he knew the guy was safe, he still hated the idea of him even being in the same hospital as his dad.
Jonah glanced at his bruised knuckles, and smiled. He wouldn’t hesitate to lay into the prick a second time if he so much as looked like he was going to come anywhere near Noble again.
Dawn had barely broke before he was on the phone with his dad, telling him to go get Noble and bring him home. Though his dad was clearly amused by his eagerness, he detected a faint stress to his voice. It was easy to get caught up in his and Noble’s own little world – and forget that his dad still had issues to deal with. Primarily – his marriage. A great strain had been put on his and Colleen’s relationship during this little fiasco. Were they okay or…
“How are things…at home?” Jonah asked quietly, concerned. He didn’t have to expound for his dad to understand his meaning.
Mason sighed. “It’s hard to tell.” He admitted. “We haven’t yet just sat down and talked about it.” A slow breath pushed out of him. “I love Colleen. But…if what she displayed recently is how she really feels…how can I be with a woman who rejects my own son? And Noble as well?”
“Dad.” Jonah said softly. “Don’t let me be the reason your marriage breaks up. I’m okay. And you and I…we’re okay. If you really love her, don’t be quick to let it go. I know it hurts that she can’t accept me for who I am, but…for the most part, she hasn’t treated me bad. And at times it almost seemed as if she liked me.” He smiled. “So maybe somewhere deep down…she does. Just don’t make any hasty decisions that you may later regret, okay?”
Chuckling low, Mason murmured thickly, “Since when did the son surpass the father in advice giving?”
“Hey.” Jonah grinned. “I learned from the best.”
“Well, I suppose I can live with that.” His dad laughed softly, then cleared his throat. “So…you say you want me to go get Noble?”
Jonah groaned. “Yes!”
It hurt to move and Noble didn’t object when the nurse strongly suggested he allow her to escort him to the entrance in a wheelchair. Mason took over and did the actually driving while the nurse walked beside them. The man had come to the hospital alone. Noble wasn’t surprised that Rebecca didn’t show up with him. Maybe not so surprised that Colleen hadn’t either. Was she disapproving of Noble staying with Jonah while he recovered?
Once they were in the car and driving away from the hospital, Noble offered quietly, “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry?” Mason frowned and smiled. “Sorry for what, son?”
“My…inability to accept who I am.” He said. “I feel like it’s messed up everything, for everyone.” He looked at Mason. “I love your family. All of it. I never meant to cause you so much trouble.”
“Listen, Noble. I’m going to tell you this once, and then we’re going to close the book on this.” Mason cleared his throat. “Life…happens. We can’t control it. And your inability to accept yourself, that isn’t on you. You were taught to reject who you are, it isn’t your fault that it took you till now to come to terms with it. So don’t even try to rack up guilt there.” He smiled. “And as far as my family goes…we’ll work it out. And if we don’t, then that’s on us – not you. You can’t control what others believe or accept, you just have to take care of your life and they’ll either come around or they won’t, but that choice is theirs and they’re making it. It has nothing to do with you. All right?”
Nodding, Noble murmured, “Okay.”
Mason reached over and rubbed his hand down the back of Noble’s head. “So, put on your happy face.” He smiled. “I’ve got one nut-so boy to deal with already, you’ve been elected to be my sane son.”
Laughing softly, Noble grinned, “I’ll do my best.” It felt good when Mason called him his son. All his life he’d prayed for his own father to be like this man right here. Maybe God figured it would just be easier to give him a new father – than try and change the old one. Noble was good with that.
The closer they got to Jonah’s place, the more his stomach began to flutter. Would he always feel this nervous excitement whenever he was about to see the man after being away from him for even a day or so? He hoped so.
Mason chuckled when he turned the car up the long drive that would lead them to Jonah’s house.
“What?” Noble smiled.
“You.” He chuckled again. “You’re almost as bad as Jonah. Almost. All nervous and anxious.”
Noble groaned and turned his face to the window, but couldn’t keep from grinning. “Stop it, you’re embarrassing me.”
“That’s a father’s right.” Mason informed. “Might as well get used to it now. Although I’m really not the one you have to worry about.”
“That’s encouraging.” Noble mumbled, smiling.
Mason clucked his tongue. “You may be trying to escape this family before too long, you never know.”
Noble shook his head, laughing lightly. Oh no, not ever.
The large house appeared when they emerged from the trees, and before they had even come to a full stop, Jonah was descending the porch steps. Noble just stared at him in his white button down shirt and navy slacks, ebony hair glistening from a recent shower – and the look on his face that of a kid on Christmas morning. “He’s so beautiful.” Noble whispered, his cheeks warming when he realized he’d said it aloud. And that glow on his face…is because of me. Me. It took his breath away just knowing that this beautiful man was in love with him.
“Indeed.” Mason smiled, then winked, “But don’t tell him that. At least not too often. Don’t want his ego to over-inflate.”
Noble laughed softly. “I’ll try and remember that.” He assured as Jonah pulled open his door and leaned in, kissing him deeply.
“Try to remember what?” he murmured when he drew back from the kiss.
Noble licked his lips, heartbeat in a sudden frenzy. “Nothing.” He bit his lip and smiled.
Groaning, Jonah cast a suspicious glance at his dad. “You two already keeping secrets from me?”
“No secrets.” Mason assured, then winked again at Noble. “Just giving my boy some…fatherly advice on how to handle you.”
Jonah chuckled. “Oh trust me.” He smiled darkly. “This guy can handle me just fine.”
A surge of heat rushed through Noble’s face and he would have socked the man if it didn’t hurt to move so much. Jonah laughed and Mason held up his hand. “Please – no overshares.” He looked at Noble and cocked an eyebrow, “Told you he was the one you had to worry about.”
“Meaning what?” Jonah asked, eyes narrowing.
Mason shrugged. “Nothing.”
The heat still lingered in Noble’s cheeks – mainly because the thought of handling Jonah was now stuck firmly in his head.
“Uh huh.” Jonah looked at his dad doubtfully then slid his arm around behind Noble’s back. “Come on, my little cripple boy, let’s get you inside.”
“Be careful with him now.” Mason smiled as Jonah carefully helped Noble out of the car.
“I got him, dad.” Jonah said. “Don’t fuss.”
Mason chuckled. “Okay, okay. I guess my services as delivery boy is done.” He leaned over and looked at Noble through the passenger door. “You’re in his hands now. Good luck, my boy.”
Rolling his eyes, Jonah closed to the door. “Goodbye, dad.”
Mason laughed from inside the car then backed around and pulled away. Noble watched him for a moment. “Maybe we should have asked him to stay.”
“He wouldn’t have stayed.” Jonah held him secure and walked him up the path towards the house. “He knew I was craving some alone time with you.” He smiled and kissed his cheek.
Noble shook his head. “Well, all you can do is look at me. In case you haven’t noticed…I’m kind of broken right now.”
Halting them at the foot of the porch steps, Jonah kissed him until Noble’s knees began to tremble, then panted softly against his mouth, “I know how to play careful with broken toys.”
© Copyright 2017 AMS1971. All rights reserved.
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian