|The Man from Swift Current|
|© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved
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|Chapter 56: Making Up|
Rick and I were still cuddling on the couch in the aftermath of Felipe's departure and the argument that followed. I said, "I want to make love to you, Rick."
Rick said, "I can't right now. I'm still too upset about what I saw. I know you've told me nothing happened; but I can't get the image out of my head of Felipe straddling your naked body. It really looked like he was fucking you, Glenn!"
I turned to look him in the eyes. "I'm so sorry, Rick."
Rick returned my gaze. "I know you're sorry; but being sorry won't erase that image from mind. It keeps coming back to me, and it keeps on hurting." Rick stood up and said, "I need to get out of here for a while." Rick pulled his cell phone from his pocket and called Keith. "Hey Keith! Do you want to join me for a run around the neighborhood?"
"Sure, I'll meet you in the parking lot in a few minutes," Keith said.
Rick broke the connection and turned to me. Seeing my hurt expression, he said, "We can talk later. I need some fresh air to clear my head." He left me sitting alone on the couch. A few minutes later, he poked his head in and said, "I'll be back." He was dressed in his running shorts and t-shirt. It really hurt me that he didn't even ask if I wanted to join him and Keith. We normally did our running every morning. Of course, I didn't dare lodge a complaint; given what had just happened with Felipe.
I heard the front door open and close. I finally moved from the couch to the kitchen. I sat down and tried to finish my homework. My mind kept going over the recent events and I couldn't concentrate. I pulled out my phone and called Mom.
"Mom," I said.
"Hello, Glenn," Mom said.
"Can you talk now?" I asked.
"Yes. What's going on?" she asked.
I explained everything that had happened between me and Rick. Tears were streaming down my face as I finished. "Mom, what am I going to do?"
"Well, for starters, you need to be completely honest with yourself and with Rick. You can't hide anything. Glenn, you have violated the trust Rick had in you. Restoring that trust will take some time and effort on your part," Mom said.
"How do I do that?" I asked, plaintively.
She replied, "After you have come clean about all of your feelings, thoughts and actions, you can then establish a new contract between you and Rick. One that you both agree will reassure the other of your love for each other. It's not going to be easy, Glenn. I can't tell you how to regain Rick's trust; but I can tell you that if your love for him is strong enough, you will know what to do. The main thing is to learn to communicate with each other. What happened today was caused, in part, by a lack of communication and a willingness to understand and appreciate what was being communicated."
"What if Rick won't talk to me about it?" I asked.
"He might not. If he doesn't want to talk about it, that's not a good sign, Glenn. Wounds like the ones you have inflicted are slow to heal; however, they never heal if they are left to fester. Working through the hurt is the only way to cleanse the injury and begin the healing process. Part of that process is talking about it and getting everything out on the table."
"I feel so terrible, Mom," I said.
"That's a good sign," she said. "It means you really do care for Rick. I would be worried if you didn't feel remorse for hurting the one you love."
"I really do love him, Mom. I don't want to lose him," I said.
"Then you need to change your ways," Mom said. "You have to make sure Rick knows that he is the most important person in your life. I do have one more thing to say, Glenn. After you have made up with Rick and things are going smoothly, remember that you need to forgive yourself. You need to learn from your mistakes and then make changes. You don't want to repeat the same mistake. Your Dad and I love you and please give our love to Rick."
"I love you, too. Thanks for listening to me, Mom," I said.
I broke the connection and decided that I needed to take a walk. I left the condo and walked to a nearby park. I took a seat in the gazebo next to the playground and watched a group of small children playing tag. The children's happy noises cheered me up.
One of the children's dads came over and sat down on the bench next to me. He looked over at me and said, "Hi. I'm John Gotimer." He extended his hand.
I shook it and said, "I'm Glenn Nielsen."
John looked to be in his early thirties. He had the looks of a football player. He was tall and well-built. His piercing dark eyes met mine. He smiled, showing perfectly straight, white teeth. His short, dark brown hair was combed so it stood straight up. "I've seen you running through our neighborhood with your friend."
"We run most mornings," I said.
"I know," he responded. "I can almost tell what time it is because you always pass my house at about the same time every morning. I'm usually just getting ready to leave the house when I see you running past."
I nodded my head; but I didn't say anything more about it. He had reminded me that Rick had gone out running with Keith. John asked, "What's wrong? I hope I didn't offend you or something."
I looked over at John and said, "I just had a fight with my roommate."
"I'm sorry to hear that," John said. "Do you want to talk about it?"
I shook my head. "Not right now; but thank you for offering to listen to my troubles."
"Not a problem. You're not from around here," John said, changing the subject.
"No, I'm from Swift Current, Saskatchewan," I said.
"I thought you might be Canadian from your accent," John said. "I work with a computer software development company. We have several clients in Vancouver."
"Vancouver is one of my favorite cities," I said.
"Mine, too," John said. A couple of young boys ran over to John. John introduced them. "These are my boys. This is Rian. He's 8 and this is Jimmy and he's 6."
"Nice to meet you," the boys chorused.
Rian said, "Daddy, we're hungry."
John laughed, "You boys are always hungry. I guess it's time for us to go. It was nice to get to know you, Glenn."
I nodded my head and said, "I'll see you in the neighborhood."
John smiled and followed his boys. I watched them go. I thought about Rick and began to feel really down. I stood up and walked back to our condo. Instead of going home, I stopped and knocked on Keith and Kerry's door. Kerry opened the door. She looked surprised. "Glenn! I thought you went running with the guys." I passed her and she followed me into their kitchen. I sat down at the table and put my head in my hands. "What's wrong?" she asked.
I looked up at her and said, "I really messed up, Kerry."
She sat down and asked, "How did you do that?"
I narrated what had happened and how bad I felt about it. By the time I was finished, the tears were streaming down my face. Kerry handed me a box of tissues and she said, "I agree with your assessment, Glenn. You really blew it."
"What can I do?" I asked, mournfully.
"Didn't you just say your mother told you to make sure Rick knows how important he is to you?" Kerry asked.
"Yes; but I don't know what to do," I replied.
Before Kerry could say anything more, we heard the front door open and close. Keith walked into the kitchen. He looked from me to Kerry and back. He gave me a closer look and asked, "What's happened?"
"Didn't Rick tell you?" I asked.
Keith looked puzzled. "He didn't say anything out of the ordinary."
Kerry said, "The guys have had a big fight, Keith. I think Glenn needs to go back upstairs and try to patch things up the best he can."
Keith started to protest, "But…"
Kerry cut him off, "Keith, we need to stay out of this one and let the guys work things out between them." She looked at me and said, "I will fill Keith in on the details with your permission." I nodded and she continued, "Glenn, you really need to go back upstairs."
I stood up and said, "Thanks for listening."
Kerry smiled and said, "Glad to be able to help. Now, go up there and make sure Rick knows you love him."
I walked past Keith and left Kerry to tell him what had happened. I left their place and returned to ours. I opened the door and entered our condo. I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I could hear the shower running, letting me know that Rick was home. I began working on my homework, again. By the time Rick finished his shower; I had completed my assignments and cleared the table. I stuffed everything into my backpack and dropped it by the front door. I just about jumped out of my skin when I felt Rick's arms encircle my waist.
Rick laughed. "Why are you so jumpy?"
"I didn't know you were there," I said. I turned around in his arms and buried my face in his chest. He nuzzled my hair and tightened his embrace. I clung to him. Time seemed to come to a stop as we held each other. When he loosened his hold on me, I lifted my lips to meet his. It was a tender kiss.
"I love you," I said.
Rick raised his hands to my face and wiped away my tears. "I love you, too."
Later that night, I lay awake next to Rick thinking about what had happened between us and Felipe. How could I have been so stupid? I knew that Rick was very sensitive to my flirting with Felipe; but, yet, I let Felipe give me a massage and a back rub. Worse yet, Rick caught us in our bedroom! I could just kick myself!
It has been pure hell for me since Felipe left. Even though Rick said everything is okay, I knew it wasn't true. I knew Rick was still angry with me; and that he was still hurting pretty badly inside. I also knew that it was my fault. It was breaking my heart to see him hurt so much because of me. I have never seen him so depressed; not even when his parents disowned him. That thought really shook me up. What if he decided to leave me because I was so foolish? I don't want to lose him. I love him too much. Just the thought of losing him caused me to shiver.
I guess that small movement woke him up because he pulled me closer to him. Rick nibbled on my ear, "What's keeping you awake, Babe?"
I buried my face in his chest and took in his masculine scent before I answered, "I feel so bad for hurting you, today. I know that I promised not to let Felipe touch me and I broke that promise."
Rick lifted my chin so he could look in my eyes in the dim light of the moon shining through our bedroom window.
"Yes, you hurt me very much and I'm still hurting inside. But I know that you love me, and that's the only reason I'm still here, Babe. I was so angry at first; it was all I could do to keep from hurting you both. I've never felt that kind of anger toward anyone, and it scares me to think how close to losing control I came," Rick said.
"Can you forgive me for hurting you so badly?" I asked, with a tremor in my voice.
"Yes, I believe I can, Glenn; or I wouldn't have stayed with you tonight. But the kind of damage that has been done to my heart isn't going to disappear overnight. As much as I want it to, I know it won't. Glenn, I need to know that you'll listen to me when I say, ‘please don't play around with anyone,' and that means not even flirting with another guy. I know sometimes I'm overly possessive; but please believe me when I say I just can't deal with it right now."
"I promise to stop flirting with other guys. I've learned my lesson this time," I said.
"I hope so, Glenn. I think that we make a good team and that we can make this relationship work if we work together," Rick said.
"I agree with you, Rick. I'm so sorry I messed up today," I said.
"Okay, Glenn, you can stop apologizing now; but the proof will be in your actions. I love you, Glenn," Rick said. He gave me a quick kiss on the lips. "Let's get some sleep. We have a lot to do tomorrow."
For the following week, I felt like I was walking on egg shells with Rick. I did my best to make up for what I'd done by cooking all of his favorite meals, leaving notes in his notebooks and attending to his every need.
Finally, after about a week, Rick said, "Glenn, come here for a minute." I walked over to where he was sitting on the couch. Rick indicated that I was to sit on his lap, facing him. As soon as I was situated, Rick kissed me and said, "Glenn, you can stop worrying about what happened last week. I forgive you. Okay?"
"No, it's not okay; because I still feel so guilty for hurting you," I said, my eyes filling with tears.
Before they could spill down my cheeks, Rick lifted my chin so he could look into my eyes. "There is no need for tears, my love. It's okay. I need my cheerful, happy partner back; not this guy who thinks I'm going to bite his head off at any moment. You're making me feel like I'm a monster. I hate feeling like I'm the bad guy."
I tried to smile but didn't quite succeed. "I feel so bad for hurting you."
Rick pulled me to him so my head rested on his chest and held me tight. "Glenn, I'm okay and so are you. Let's put this behind us now and move on with making our relationship stronger. Okay?"
I mumbled into his shirt, "Okay." I felt so much better knowing that Rick was ready to move past what I'd done with Felipe. I love my guy. He knows me so well!
Rick held me close until I finally relaxed completely against him. He knew he'd gotten through to me. He stood up with me and carried me to our bedroom. I love it when he does that. I know that it means we're going to have a great night showing our love for each other. And we did.
A couple of weeks later, Rick came home from his reservist duty looking totally dejected and very upset. He dumped his duffle bag at the door. He went into the front room and collapsed on the couch. I joined him and put my arms around him.
"Okay, Rick, spill it! What's going on?" I asked.
"Our reserve unit has been called up for a one year tour. We'll be leaving the week after school gets out," Rick said, his voice betraying how upset he was about it.
I was completely stunned. I knew that there was a possibility Rick would have to go; but I thought the Marines would leave him in school. "I thought they would let you finish school first. Can't you get them to give you a waiver or something?"
"I've tried that already. They said I could finish when I return," Rick said looking like he was going to lose it.
I put my hands on either side of his face and looked him in the eyes, "Listen to me, Rick Lernier, we are going to make this work. We knew that your being in the Marines was going to present its challenges."
Rick said, "I love you, Glenn." His expression changed to one of worry. "How am I going to keep them from knowing that I'm in love with a guy?"
"I don't know, but we'll figure it out somehow. Do you remember our secret codes?" I asked.
Rick nodded his head, "Yeah, I do."
"We can use those secret codes when we talk over the phone or use Skype. We can figure out some other things to keep others from knowing that we are more than just roommates," I said.
Rick's expression changed to one of relief. "I think we can invent a secret language that we can use between us. What do you think?"
"I think that's the best idea you've ever had! Let's start working on it tonight. I think we can get everything ready by the time you leave," I said, hugging my guy.
"What are you going to do while I'm gone?" Rick asked.
I thought about it for a minute, "I think I'll go home for the summer then play it by ear as far as school goes. Let's call Grandpa and let him know what's happening."
We called Grandpa and told him what was going on with us.
"So, Glenn, are you going to stay in Atlanta while Rick is gone?" Grandpa asked.
"I don't know, Grandpa. Keith and Kerry are here so I wouldn't be alone; but I'm not sure I want to be here without Rick."
"Well, think about it and let me know what you want to do. You might consider studying abroad; like going to Israel, Europe, or Latin America since you're studying Spanish." Grandpa said.
"Okay, I'll give it some thought. I want to talk to Mom and Dad, too," I said.
"That's a good idea, Glenn. Call me after you've decided what you want to do," Grandpa said.
"Good-bye," I said.
"Good-bye, Glenn," Grandpa said.
After putting my cell back in my pocket, I turned to Rick. "What do you think I should do?" I asked.
Rick said, "I think you should do a year of study abroad. That really sounds exciting to me. At least I would be able to rest easy about you and Felipe since you wouldn't be here alone."
I smiled at his reference to Felipe, "You're right. I don't need that temptation. I know I wouldn't be able to resist him for an entire year. So where should I go?"
Rick laughed, "I don't know. Call your parents and ask them if they have some ideas."
I called Mom and Dad but they didn't have any suggestions. Dad thought I already was studying abroad, since I didn't stay in Canada to go to school!
Next, I called Uncle Dave. He answered, "Hello, Glenn."
"Hi, Uncle Dave, I need your advice." I said. I explained the situation and asked. "So what do you think?"
"Well, your cousin, Ben, is looking for another roommate. He and a couple of his buddies want to rent a house and are looking for another guy to share the rent. Plus, you could enroll at the University of Minnesota, and get another year of college in before returning to Georgia Tech when Rick finishes his year of active duty," Uncle Dave suggested.
I turned to Rick and explained what Uncle Dave had suggested.
"What do you think?" I asked.
"It's okay with me if that's what you want to do," Rick said, feeling relieved that we had found an alternative to staying in Atlanta.
Returning to Uncle Dave, "I think that sounds like a good idea. I'll call Ben and ask about the details."
Uncle Dave said, "Give me a call back and let me know what you decide to do."
"Okay, bye," I said.
Rick wrapped his arms around me and kissed me. "I think staying with your cousin would be just the right thing for you. You and Ben get along really well and I think you would have a great time being his roommate, again."
"Yeah, we did have a great time our senior year. It would be like old times!" I exclaimed starting to feel a little excited. "See, Rick, things are working out for us. I'm not happy you're going to be gone for a whole year but we'll make it."
I called Ben next.
"Hey, dude! What's up?" Ben asked.
"I'm calling to see if you still need a roommate?" I asked.
"Yeah, why?" Ben asked.
I explained what was happening with Rick and said, "So your Dad suggested that I do a year at the University of Minnesota with you."
"Rock on, dude! That would be fabulous. You need to get your admission papers in so you can attend classes with us. You'll love the guys. They are Takaaki Morita, he's from Japan, and Kyle Young, from Korea. They're a blast! The house we are looking at renting has four bedrooms; so we each can have our own room. It's a couple of blocks from campus, so you won't need a car."
"That sounds great, Ben! I'm looking forward to being roommates again!" I exclaimed.
"Yeah, so am I! It will be the best year you've ever had! Let me run it by my roommates though before you do anything. Let me give you a buzz back in a few minutes," Ben said.
"Okay, catch ya in a minute," I said.
I broke the connection and waited for him to call back. Ben called back to confirm that the guys were okay with our plans. We spent the next hour making plans. I was getting really hyped up about it. Ben is my best friend in the whole world, next to Rick, that is.
Rick laughed, "I would be jealous if I didn't know Ben was your cousin and that he's straight as an arrow."
"You don't have to worry about Ben. He has already assured me that he'll keep me out of trouble until you get back," I said, smiling up at my lover boy.
"I know. I've chatted with Ben about you; and you have no secrets from me anymore, Babe!"
"I know. He spilled the beans about everything! But that's okay since I know you love me anyway!" I exclaimed.
We called Grandpa to let him know our plans. He approved and suggested that Ben fly to Atlanta and drive with me cross country. Grandpa wants to buy me a car so I won't be without transportation. Grandpa is so cool! I called Ben who was so stoked about the prospect of taking a road trip with just the two of us.
Rick said, "I'm so jealous of you guys. You're going to have a lot of fun taking that road trip without me."
"Yeah, I do feel bad about that part, Rick. I'm going to miss you. Just thinking about it makes me sad," I said, putting my arms around his waist.
"Well, let's take away that sadness right now, Mr. Nielsen." Rick said with a wicked grin. Well, you can imagine what that meant!
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