Good Morning, Heartache (Part 4)

9 04 2012

Good Morning, Heartache (part 4)

Things go well for a few months.  The couple spend good time together.  He won’t realize it until much later, but Jake falls for Heath more and more every day, and misses his terribly on days when they aren’t able to see each other. Then one day, things change.

It’s during a bus ride home.  Since Jake and Heath both live east, they take the same bus home to family.  On the trip home one day, Heath tells Jake there’s something important he needs to tell him.

“I don’t want you to freak out or make a big deal out of this, alright?  It doesn’t mean anything.”

Jake tries his best to remain calm.  Had Heath cheated on him?  Does he want to break up?

“Okay.  What is it?”

Heath takes a breath.  “I have this thing where I kind of get… tired?  Sick?  Those are both bad words to use, but I can only hang out with people for a certain amount of time before I want to not be around them.  It’s like filling my quota of time with them; anything more is too much, and I need some time away, and then I’m good after a while.

“I’m… I’m starting to feel that way about you.  Please, don’t panic.  It happens to everyone I know.  There are only two people I’ve ever met who are immune to this, one of them being Chihiro, and please don’t think that I don’t like being around you.  I just don’t want to not like you, you know?”

Well, what could Jake say after that?  “Alright,” he manages.  “If you feel like that, then I guess I’m okay with that.  I mean, it makes me sad, but I can’t make you hang out with me.  I understand.”

Heath takes Jake’s hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze.  “Like I said, I’m just starting to feel it, and I don’t know if it’s actually there or not, or if it will develop.  I just thought you should know.”

“Okay.  Thanks for letting me know.”

From then on, their weekly hang outs decrease.  They still see each other at school, but their actual time together goes down.  Jake, who was used to seeing Dorian once or twice a week, now feels as if he is with Dorian (or rather, Dorian’s schedule) again.  His insecurity floats around in his head, telling him he’s not worth Heath’s time, and that Heath just doesn’t want to be around Jake much.  Jake figures the best thing to do is to be honest, as he considers their relationship to be an honest one.

Jake invites Heath over to his house one night.  He tells Heath he has something he wants to talk to him about.  The two sit down on the leather couch in Jake’s living room.  Heath looks concerned.

“I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just tell you about Dorian.”

Jake explains his complicated relationship with Dorian, and how dating him made him feel distanced and not like a boyfriend, and how he really didn’t want that to happen with Heath, whom he considered to be so wonderful.

Heath nods every now and then.  When Jake is finished, Heath says, “I had no idea.  I’m sorry I did that to you.”  And he leans in to hug Jake tightly and give him a kiss.

“I’ll make it right.”

Jake believes him.  Or he really hopes Heath means it.

Things do sort of get better, if not, they at least they don’t get worse.  Heath invites Jake to have a sleepover at the botanical garden where he volunteers, which is nice.  Jake and Heath still do see each other, but like his relationship with Dorian, Heath is super into his schoolwork and many days, he goes straight home to work on things or to be with family.  Jake, an understanding and patient guy, figures that it’s good for Heath to concentrate on his schoolwork.  After all, they’d get lots of time together after the semester was over.

It’s December, and school is out for the winter.  It’s also the month of Jake’s birthday.  For the past few Decembers, Jake has been working at a concession stand in a large park in the city.  He, along with several others, prepares and sells hot dogs, hot chocolate, cider, and other goodies to guests who come to see the park all dressed up in lights.  It makes for a nice (but chilly) date, since the light show is only open at night.

Remember Heath’s friend Mozilla?  Well, she happens to work inside the park’s restaurant, and for the winter light show, she also works outside with Jake.  Mozilla and Jake were never super close, but he confides in her about something he’s planning.

“Heath and I are going to come by the park this weekend, just after my birthday.”

“That’s so nice!  You guys are gonna really like it.”

“I think so too.”

After walking around for about an hour in the multi-colored, light-filled park and weaving through loud groups of families (and hence, loud children), Jake suggests they find a quiet place to sit down.  The two find a sign that leads them up a small hill and to a bench.  The bench overlooks most of the park, and is out of the way enough to actually be quiet.

Heath and Jake sit down on the frozen bench.

“Thanks for bringing me here,” Heath says.

“You’re welcome.  I really wanted to come here with you.  Heath, there’s something I want to tell you.”

Heath is silent as Jake struggles to cough up the words.  They are stuck in his throat.

“I… um, I…”

Jake looks down at all the people milling around the park, at the randomness of life, and how, for two people to be together on a winter night like him and Heath, there must be some sort of organization, something more than mere luck or chance.  There had to be a reason Jake is with someone as good as Heath.  Good things just don’t happen to Jake like this.  And in that moment, Jake decides that he will be thankful every day for having such a person in his life by telling him how much he means.

“I love you, Heath.”

Heath takes Jake’s hand.  “Aww.  I love you, too.”

Heath then starts talking about something funny that happened to Mozilla in the restaurant last week, when he suddenly stops.  There are tears in Jake’s eyes.

“Are you crying?”

“Yes… but they’re happy tears!  It’s okay.  I’m just… I’m just really happy that you said it back to me because I was honestly not sure.  I’m never sure about this like this.  And I’ve never said it to anyone out loud before.  Now that I hear you say it back… I know I can be sure, because you love me too.”

Heath and Jake kiss among the thousands of lights in the park.

To be continued!


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