Stefan finally tells his mum as the weight of everything gets too much
Love and Hate
Stefan spent the majority of the next few weeks in his bedroom, hiding away beneath his bunk bed, writing many songs about how he felt and crying himself to sleep every night. He had seen Ashley again and once again he acted as though nothing at all had happened. It really really hurt him knowing that he couldn't be with him. He could never describe the love he felt for him out loud but he had a pretty clear picture in his head.
It was just this feeling... And the pit of his stomach doesn't cover it. It's stretches everywhere. It's overwhelming, complete, and... immeasurable, in a way. Without bound or length, or depth. Absolute. Unchanging and ever-changing simultaneously. Fiery. And yet, safe. As though someone has given him a peace. Something nothing else could have quenched. For him, it was like... Stefan knew he'd rather be dead than lose Ashley. It's wanting to give him everything. He was the last thing he thought about at night, and the first thing he thought about in the morning. It's that notebook kind of love. It's a sickening feeling when he saw him cry, and a happy-go-lucky one when he saw him smile. It's feeling as though he'd won the lottery when he made him laugh, even barely chuckle. It's closing his eyes and seeing a future together, as one and as two. It's being in the middle of an all-out scream fest, but still knowing, in the back of his mind, that they would be happy together. Because a fight is only a minute pebble in the midst of your feelings. It's being able to kiss your best friend. Having butterflies and a constant elevated heartbeat with even a single graze of the hand. It's feeling completely and utterly unworthy of this kind of love. It's passion, yet comfort... an insane sort of sanity, calm yet completely unnerved... and a billion other feelings. And so much care. So much... he looked into his eyes and he saw happiness. He saw the best friend he may give his life for. It's caring too much to quit. And yet... it's caring about him enough to leave, if that's what he needed. He would break his own heart for Ashley, if Ashley hadn't already done so himself.
It felt like his heart was dancing around in his chest whenever he was with him, and like a hole he never knew was there has been filled. It felt like endless laughter, looking into his eyes and seeing oceans and cities and his future. Its a sunrise. Its just knowing, not having to ask or figure out. It feels like when you win a contest, or when you kiss somebody and there's a fiery explosion instead of a simple spark. It feels like so much care, so much love that he never thought he could give but he wanted to. He wanted to give everything he had to him, for him. He cried when Ashley cried and he wanted to just laugh while they kissed. He felt dependent, and selfish and unselfish at the same time. Falling in love is like jumping off a building with a blindfold, and then the relief of falling into a field of roses. Its trust and commitment and hunger for one another. He wanted to have a phone call with him followed by a silly argument about who should hang up first, or have that thing where they cant stop kissing each other goodbye, he wanted to get into a stupid fight and he wanted Ashley to just kiss him right in the middle of it. He just knew.
He sat all alone at his desk, wearing the over sized grey hoody and his pyjama bottoms his feet bare and kicking the wall behind the desk. His eyes were tear stained and these taunting thoughts just killed him. Ashley was secretly killing him inside. Tearing him apart from the inside out, giving him this unbearable pain. It wouldn't never get easier, the mountain would only get steeper and harder to climb and Stefan would never reach the top, where everything would be ok and he could see everything clearly.
His eyes were red and bloodshot and puffy from the tears he had been crying for the last 24 hours. He swung his legs aimlessley and glanced around, feeling sick. Again. He hadn't ate for a ridiculously long time and his whole family were getting worried about him. He just told them that he was feeling really ill and that it would pass soon. But they didn't know the half of it. He wanted to tell them so badly but he was scared that they'd disown him and be disgusted by him and his 'sins'. He still hadn't stopped thinking about the kiss that he and Ashley had shared but he hadn't heard one more word about it either. But, he had looked through facebook and saw him talking to Melissa about when they were next going to meet up or hang out. As he read the flirty messages, he felt himself break down completely. His stomach and throat closed up and he couldn't breath, he had began to panic for his life and had to just lie down and close his eyes until the pain slowley throbbed through him and eventually faded away. But it never really left him. Those words they said to eachother pierced a fresh knife into his chest and he couldn't control his sobs and the way his body shook.
A few days ago he had lost his temper when he saw them speaking over the internet and he had chucked a glass against his bedroom door, allowing it to smash into a million peices and scatter across the floor. He wasn't just angry at the fact Ashley didn't need him and had somebody else. He was angry at the fact he was different. He wanted to be like everybody else he knew. He wanted his family to be proud of him and he wanted to give them grandchildren. He wanted Ashley more than anything.
After he broke the glass, Stefan had immediately fell to the floor, screaming out his mental pain. It even became physical. Tears stained his clothes and the floor and his screams drowned out any other sound near by. Nobody was home so he could be in pain all alone, the way he wanted it to be for now. But soon enough he would tell somebody. It was too much of a burden to bare on his own. He wanted to break down to Ashley and tell him everything and maybe Ashley would realize what he had done by kissing him. It had made everything worse. Now and again, Stefan ran his fingers over his lips, trying to bring back the feeling of Ashley's. But it seemed too far away now, which saddened him even more.
Stupid Melissa. Ugly bitch. She didn't deserve Ashley. What had she done for Ashley that Stefan hadn't? He gritted his teeth as he thought about her, them, torturing himself. They were a couple now. They had kissed. Probably just like he and Stefan had done. It broke his heart. It broke him. He couldn't face it anymore. He had been ignoring Ashley's calls and texts just because he couldn't handle having contact with him at all at the moment. It was too much. Even that seemed to tease him, showing him what he couldn't have.
Before he could get even deeper into his thoughts, there was a gentle knock on the door and Sally walked in, a concerned look in her eyes. Stefan wiped his eyes hesitantly and smiled at her, although he knew it was unconvincing.
"Hello honey... I think we need to talk..." she walked in and closed the door gently behind her, giving him a small smile before kneeling down in front of him and placing a hand on his shoulder. Stefan sighed and looked down. He couldn't tell her now. She wouldn't understand, surely. He had a crush on his best friend. His male best friend. He wanted to be with him more than anything.
"Nah, I dont think we do..." he mumbled, desperately holding back the tears. Why was he so pathetic. His mum nodded and closed her eyes briefly.
"We do. So, what is it? Whats going on? Because something clearly isn't right..."she encouraged him, taking his hand in hers. Stefan had always gotten along with his mum much more than he did with his dad. Him and his father were still very close but he always spoke to his mum. It sounded weird but they had a lot more in common so he found it easier to talk to her. But this was much, much different. He shrugged, his lower lip trembling.
"Mum, i'm fine... really... its nothing... " Stefan could hear his voice shaking with the sobs that were finding their way out. He tried to hold them back but he choked and the first tear came out. He bought his hand up to his face and shook his head: "I'm fine, I just... I'm ill."
"Oh sweetie, you know I wont believe you. You're my son and I love you and I can see right through you," she said in her soft, comforting voice, "so talk. I can handle anything." He looked into her familiar eyes, the understanding eyes that he could usually look into and speak right from the heart. He didn't know whether he should tell her or not; he wanted to more than anything but he didn't even want to know how she would react. He was shaking with fear. What type of boy was he? The tears began to fall helplessley from his eyes and that same feeling of hopelessness washed over him. His mother wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a tight, reassuring hug. He sobbed now. The tears staining her top and his body violently shaking, uncontrollable. He wanted to die. Why did he deserve this?
"Mummy, i'm scared." He left her embrace and wiped his eyes with the back of his right hand. She looked at him with that same sympathetic look that he felt everybody gave him too much. He always felt patronised.
"Stefan... if theres something thats getting to you... this much, then I would appreciate it if you told me. So I can help." Sally said, holding his tear stained hand. Stefan looked but but nodded slowley in defeat. He couldn't go on like this. It was too much to handle by himself. He looked at their entwined hands and nodded, although he wasn't exactly sure why.
"Ok. Mum, er, ok... I'm gonna tell you something... but, i'm scared about what you'll think," Stefan sobbed quietly, his voice breaking, "I dont want you to disown me or hate me. I would hate me if I were you..."
"Well what is it? What have you done?" Sally said, gripping his hand tighter. Stefan couldn't make eye contact with her whilst he told her. He swallowed hard.
"Um, i'm so sorry... but i've been having these... feelings, for someone recently..." he mumbled, the tears falling onto his lap, "and they're really strong feelings..."
"You have a crush on somebody?"
Stefan shook his head: "Its not a crush. I'm in love with someone. But they're... it's a boy." he explained slowley, still unable to look into her eyes. Thankfully, the grip on his hand didn't loosen at all, he just heard a small gasp come from her. All he could do was bite his lip and keep his eyes on their hands.
"Oh well... thats ok," she sighed, a small smile appearing on her face, "if you think you're not straight then I will support you one hundred percent. There's nothing wrong with being who you are. And yes, its very scary, but you'll get through this now you have me to talk to, ok? You're not alone." Sally kissed him gently on the forehead and he weakly nodded.
"Its Ashley." he stated and finally looked up at her, his tears stained on his cheeks and his eyes still swimming with them, "i'm in love with Ashley..."
"Well," she sounded a little shocked but still kept the calm in her voice, "well, he doesn't have to know... it'll pass. If its your first male crush then its sure to be more... intense-"
"No but its not just that. I... want him. If you know what I mean? In a way I shouldn't and i'm... i'm disgusting." He dropped his head into his hands and screwed his eyes closed, the tears seeping out and spreading along his skin. He could feel his mother's concerned eyes on him as he bowed his head. He heard her sigh.
"Oh honey," she exhaled, placing her hand on his shoulder, "its ok. You cant help who you fall for. You're anything but disgusting and I would never disown you, you're perfect. And I know you're not ok now but you will be. You just wait." Stefan nodded weakley. He knew that she was right but it still wasn't an easy subject to approach with anyone. He needed to think about this and force himself to move on, because if he didn't soon then he never would. And he wanted anything but to be in love with Ashley.
"Thank you. I dont want to be... whatever I am though."
"I know, but you dont have a choice and you cant change it. It gets easier, trust me." She kissed him on the head again and Stefan tried a small smile, although he knew his smiles could never reach his eyes nowadays. He hoped they would again soon. He really did miss being happy.
"Yeah, you're right," he mumbled, "but I think i'm just gonna go to sleep now..." he stood up and smiled a little bit more at her, climbing up the ladder. He just needed to be alone again. Stefan had found that recently it made him feel ashamed when he was around his family, always afraid of what they'd think. But now that weight on his shoulders was lifted a little more. Maybe things would get easier.
"I love you Stefan. You can talk to me whenever you need to." she gave him a warm smile that made him feel a little better before leaving the room and closing the door quietly behind her. Stefan sighed. He was alone again. It was dark in his bedroom but nice and warm. He didn't want to lie down or sleep, he just wanted to sit down and talk to Ashley. He wanted to tell him everything. Everything. Boy what a mistake that would be. Ashley wouldn't understand and they would become more distant everyday until one day his name wouldn't be on Ashley's phone and they sat on different seats on the bus. He never wanted that to happen. There would be no point of living without Ashley, that he was sure of.
I love you Ashley, he thought aimlessley, knowing that he couldn't but hoping somehow Ashley would hear him, I love you so much and it kills me knowing I cant be with you, I hate being different because it makes me want you. You have no idea what you do to me. How much I want to sit with you and have moments like normal couples do. Because being with you is the only thing that could ever make me comfortable with who I am.
Once again, for the millionth time, Stefan tentatively bought his fingers to his lips and lightly brushed over them, closing his eyes as he remembered the feeling of Ashley's mouth against his. His mouth set in a straight line and he tried desperately to stop himself crying. He had had enough of tasting his salty tears on his lips and the sore throats that the sobbing gave him. He felt fustration pulsing through his veins and began biting down on his lip as hard as he could, taking all the pain he was feeling inside and giving it to himself physically. It would be more realistic and therefore easier to get rid of that way.
He found the pain was mounting inside of him as well as the pain he was bringing to himself. Soon enough he tasted blood on his tounge but it still wasn't enough. He loathed himself and everything about his life. He wanted to give himself the punishment he deserved and he needed to show himself how wrong this love he felt for Ashley was. His teeth cut into his lower lip and he could of screamed with the pain when he felt it split and blood came gushing from the cut, flowing onto his chin, making his mouth completely red. The metallic taste and the hot pain made Stefan feel sick but he couldn't stop there. He stopped biting his lip and squealed with the hurt he was feeling. The deep red blood kept coming out; he was unaware of how much damage he was causing himself but didn't care none the less. He wanted to feel pain. It was better than being numb like he had been for the past few months.
Suddenly, a conversation he had once had with Ashley popped into his mind. A conversation that left him thinking for hours on end, one that gave him an idea. They had been talking about Ashley's self harm addiction and Stefan had almost been in tears as he desperately asked him why he did it. Ashley's answer was quite simple; "I do it because... it gives me a sense of relief, its like another way to show my pain apart from crying..." Stefan licked his lip (regretting it when he tasted the strong blood) and glanced around the room, his eyes darting to the shelves and then to the wardrobe. Maybe there was something in here that would do the trick. He hopped off the bunk bed, ignoring the sting that shot through his shins as he landed roughly. He rushed over to his shelves and began chucking stuff off in an attempt to find something even the slightest bit sharp. If Ashley could do it then so could he. Stefan felt more tears coming and this time he didn't bother to try and hold them back. They fell freely and the only thing he stopped himself from doing was screaming out in anger and fustration. The objects on his shelf went crashing to the floor as he hands shook and threw them off, struggling to find something useful.
In a sudden fit of anger, Stefan kicked the wall as hard as he could, the pain shooting up his whole leg and throbbing harshly. He squealed again, sinking to the floor as his leg could no longer support him. His mind went black apart from the two words why me? They circled inside his head again and again, torturing him, confusing him, breaking him. When the pain subsided a little, he dragged his mind to Ashley, knowing he shouldn't tease himself like this but unable to help it. Oh God, he wanted him so badly. He held onto the radiator and pulled himself up, struggling a little to do so. Maybe seeing Ashley right now would be a good idea. Maybe he wouldn't mind if he came crying to him and fell into his arms, holding onto him like he had craved for so long.
It breathed in and out slowley, trying to calm himself down, trying to think straight, he had to calm down. Maybe get some sleep. Nothing here was working out. He wasn't this type of person. He took off his trousers and turned off the light, left in the near pitch black. He clambered up onto his bunk bed and lay down over the duvet. His mobile phone lay on the pillow next to him and he couldn't help but scroll through his contacts, stopping at Ashley's name. He needed to hear his voice now more than ever. He knew he coudln't resist phoning him. Just for a few seconds.
So he pressed the green dial button. And it only took Ashley a few seconds to answer, his sweet voice becoming all Stefan knew. He closed his eyes: "Hello?" his voice sounded a little sleepy but still had the same old quirkiness. Stefan lost his voice. The words caught in his throat and he was completely unable to speak. He faintly heard Ashley breathing and smiled to himself. A genuine smile. Although a sad smile.
"Hello?" Ashley repeated. Nope. Stefan couldn't answer. So he hung up. He grabbed his pillow and pulled it over his face, smothering himself in darkness. For the first time in months, he could feel himself falling asleep and knew it would last all night.