"Matt's out on bail." I thought I heard Jess say over the phone
"What? Say that again?" I replied, shocked.
"Matt's out on bail. After we left, his lawyer got him a bail
hearing and pushed it through immediately. He's out on bail." Jess
repeated, elaborating so I would understand.
"Oh my God, Jess, oh my God," was all I could think to say. "What
do I do now? What if he comes over here?"
"Are you there by yourself?"
"Yes. Alex and I just finished studying, but he went home." It was
around dinner-time Sunday evening. "Is it safe for me to stay here?"
"Well, if he does anything, he'll get worse punishment for sure,"
Jess mused out loud, "But we can't risk him doing anything. Is there
anyone who can stay there again tonight? Or whom you can stay with?"
"Could I get a restraining order? I really don't think he's stupid
enough to come by here. He does have some sense. He was drunk last night,
"What if he gets drunk again, though, Diana?"
"Well, I can't stay somewhere else forever, and I can't have
someone staying here all the time. The cats need me here, and we all have
classes and work to do."
"Yes, I know. Let me think on it for a while. For now, if you hear
anything suspicious, call the police first, then get the hell out of
"Yes, Mother dearest," I smiled back at Jess through the phone. We
said our goodbyes and hung up.
Just as I was setting the phone back into it's charging cradle, it
rang again. This time the caller-id said it was Julia. I answered. "Hey
there," I said by way of greeting.
"Hey. I just got your message. I ended up going out for a while, so
it worked out well. Are you busy now? I really want to show you my
'surprise.'" Julia responded.
"Actually, this is a good time. I need to get away for a little
bit. Want me to come over?"
"Do you even have to ask?" She laughed.
I quickly bundled up against the cold then drove the block to
Julia's. Yes, I know it is only a block, but when it is wind chill of -7,
I'm not walking that far, especially in the snow, if I can help it. It is a
block the other way to Jess's and I'm not walking there either. Drew lives
the opposite direction, and the twins live past him. So, I am surrounded
on all corners by friends, and the school covers the last corner, as it is
a block south. Julia to the north, Jess to the east, Drew and the boys to
the west, and the seminary to the south. How perfect, I'm right in the
I knocked and blustered in from the cold, bringing a slight chill
with me. It was a clear, sunny day, no longer snowing, but 12 degrees
Fahrenheit, and a slight enough breeze that drove the wind chill below
zero. My ears were cold, even under my earmuffs, and my nose was a little
drippy in the chill. I pulled out a tissue and cleared my sinuses as Julia
hung my coat up in her closet.
"So, whatcha got to show me?" I asked, curious as to what had her
bringing me out in the dusk on such a cold day.
"Listen. Can't you hear it, them?" So, I perked up my freed ears,
I'd just pulled off the earmuffs, and thought I heard a baby crying.
"NO! You didn't!" I smiled hugely and quickly followed the noise to
it's source. Just as I thought, in a tall metal crate, there were two
fruit-bat looking Siamese kittens, huge blue eyes, enormous ears, and the
longest legs and tails imaginable, staring up at me, crying for attention.
"Can we take them out?"
"Of course. I just didn't want them trying to escape, or hide, when
you came in. I wasn't sure what they would do with company." Julia opened
the door and pulled one out, handing him to me, and then the other, which
she cradled in her arms. The little boy immediately pawed my face with a
velvet touch, then licked my chin. The little girl had flipped herself
over in Julia's arms and was cradled there like a little baby. "This one
is a lilac point, like Lavender. And that one is a chocolate point. The
breeder said he will be a little lighter than the seal points, the color I
had in my head of a normal Siamese. Like Wimples, right?" I shook my head
in agreement, yes, Wimples is a seal point, and yes, people identify the
typical Siamese with that dark brown face and feet, and cream colored body.
"But she showed me their parents and the mom was a chocolate, she was
absolutely beautiful, and the dad was a lilac. I'd never seen a lilac
before Lavender, so of course he was my first boy lilac. He was
purplish-grey, just like her. And he had a purple nose and feet too!" I
smiled at Julia's excitement. "And the mom, she was brown, just like
chocolate, I had to laugh because the color name is so appropriate, and her
nose and toes were such a beautiful rose color. It was surprising."
"How old are they?" I asked.
"Twelve weeks. I found them when they were six weeks, but she
wouldn't let me bring them home until now. I thought most kittens were
given homes then?"
"Siamese need to grow up a little more. Remember how Lavender
likes to suck on things like a baby? When they leave Mom too early, that
happens. Good breeders won't give them homes until then. Where did you
We chatted on about the kittens, putting them down on the floor as
we played with them and petted them gently. I had forgotten what it was
like when Lavender was this small. The could fit one in each of Julia's
hands. When I got Lavender, she fit in my hand too, but my hand was half
the size of Julia's.
As the evening passed I told her about Matt being out on bail and we talked
about my options. I didn't like the idea of going somewhere else until the
trial, especially when we didn't know when that would be just yet, or the
idea of someone staying with me. We all had our separate lives to live and
I didn't want to interfere with that. Julia and I chatted about how
everyone would be available at a moment's notice, and she joked that
probably I would be sick of everyone checking up on me. I also mentioned
fears of Matt going back to Drew's, or seeking out Jess or Julia even. She
convinced me Drew was a big boy and could take care of himself, and she and
Jess were just as able to call the police as I was. Then, she smiled at
me, said she wished she could convince me to stay over, for my safety of
course, but she really did have work to do as she had an 8:30 class. I
hugged her goodbye, kissed the kittens on top of their little rounded white
kitten heads (the color in their ears and faces wouldn't get darker until
they were a little older, it was there, but not but a little on the edges),
and braved the cold again.
Instead of going straight home, I popped over to Drew's instead. I noted
that there were no extraneous cars outside, so Evan must not be visiting at
the moment. Good, I thought to myself. We can talk about boys for a little
I knocked on the door and it was opened shortly by Drew, who
ushered me in quickly, trying to keep as much of the cold outside, instead
of air-conditioning his nicely warmed house. As I pulled off my
outer-wear, boots, ear muffs, coat, gloves, hat, scarf, damn there's so
much to wear when it's cold out, I saw that Drew did have a guest after
all. It was Ms. Gwen! How fun. She was sitting back at his kitchen table,
reading something it looked like.
"Hey there Ms. Gwen!" I shouted back, smiling at her. "How are
"Oh hello there, Diana. I'm glad you're here. You can help me and
Drew maybe. Come on back and sit down here with me." She waved me back to
the table and Drew and I joined her. She had what looked like a copy of
"Reader's Digest (tm)" sitting open in front of her on the table. It was
opened to an article titled "Open Communication with Family and Loved
"Whatcha reading?" I pointed at the article.
"That's why I'm glad you came by. I found this article here in my
new December copy of Reader's Digest. I figure since families get together
at Christmas, and sometimes we have old junk between us, that's why they
put this here article in the magazine right now. So, anyway, it's about
talking to people so they know how you feel." Ms. Gwen began to grow
excited, describing this article to me.
"You mean, being honest with them?" I asked.
"Yes, that's one part of it," she tried to explain, "But it's more,
not so much honesty, which is an important part, but saying what you want
to say in a way that people understand what you mean. Here, let me try to
explain by giving you an example." I nodded, encouraging her. I had no
idea what she was going to say to me, but it would be interesting. It was
Ms. Gwen after all. "Hmm, how can I start. Drew, hon, you tried it, do you
have any ideas?"
"Why don't you begin with what you were talking to me about
earlier?" Drew suggested.
"Oh, um, well, I guess. . ." Ms. Gwen hesitated. "It would work I
think. Ok Diana, here, let me see, how's this article say we start . . ."
She pulled her reading glasses down her nose, skimming the article, tracing
her finger along the lines on the page.
"Isn't it right here," Drew pointed at a paragraph with a bullet
point. "Something like 'When you said to me,' or something similar?"
"Oh, right, good memory there hon. 'When I hear you say' is what
it has here, or 'When you . . .' Okay. So, Diana, let's see, um, 'When I
. . . see you . . . oh! I know, um When I see you visiting Drew so often,'"
I looked at her curiously, where was this going? "What's next Drew, hon,
hmm, lets see," she continued to skim down the page, Drew leaning over
towards her, skimming too. "Oh, here it is. 'I think.' So, when I see you
visiting Drew so often, I think . . . I think . . . oh got it, I think you
have a secret crush on him!" I blushed bright crimson. Ms. Gwen knew me
too well. Before he came out to me, I would have followed Drew anywhere.
He still had me under his spell.
"Okay . . ." I interjected. Ms. Gwen laughed.
"Alright, next part, hmm," she continued to skim down the page.
Drew was watching me now as I watched Ms. Gwen out of one eye, and kept him
in my other one. "I feel!" She shouted, making both of us jump. "Sorry,"
she chuckled. "Ok. So, when I see you visiting Drew so often, I think you
have a secret crush on him, one you won't admit to even yourself," she
smiled evilly at me.
"Wait, now, you added that part!" Both Drew and I said together.
It broke the slight tension and we all three giggled.
"I know, just wanted to see if you were paying attention. So,
anyway, when I see you visiting Drew so often, I think you have a secret
crush on him, and I feel, hmm, gotta use one of four 'core feelings,' joy,
sadness, anger, and fear. Lets try sadness. Yeah, I feel, sadness, and it
says to say why if you can, so I feel sadness because you are hanging on to
someone you cannot have in the way you want, a dream of sorts."
I frowned. Her silliness was hitting home more than she probably
realized. But then again, it being Ms. Gwen, she probably knew exactly
what she was doing, silliness and all.
"Ok, next part. 'I want.' Something like 'I want you to . . .'
Ok. What would I want you to do, hmm. Oh, got it!" She smiled. "When I
see you visiting Drew so often, I think you have a secret crush on him and
I feel sadness because you are still hoping for something like what you
hoped for from him before you knew he was gay, so I want you to take that
Alex boy, the one that's brothers with dear Evan, and treat him like you
would have treated Drew, had he been what you wanted."
"But, Ms. Gwen," I interrupted, "Drew is everything I could ever
"Wait, hon. You get to respond when I finish. Hold onto
it. You'll get your chance." Ms. Gwen chided. There must still be more to
this thing. Drew was looking at me curiously. That was kind of odd, him
looking at me in a sort of incredulous, learned-something-new-about you
kind of way. Damn, this was rough! I thought it was supposed to be fun.
Wait, Ms. Gwen was talking again, " . . .next part, and this is the end, is
'I will,' so, it's what I will do to help us fix this problem. Hmm, what
can I do . . ." I didn't want to imagine what Ms. Gwen might come up with
to "help" me get together with Alex. Kind of a scary thought. "Ok, got
it," she continued. "Last time through, so pay attention. Drew, follow
along here and tell me if I do it right." Drew nodded his assent and slid
over to read the magazine along with Ms. Gwen. "Ok, so Diana, when I see
you visiting Drew so often, I think you have a secret crush on him, and
you're not admitting it," she interjected quickly, throwing a 'Don't you
dare tell me not to do that' kind of look at Drew, "and I feel sadness
because you are still hoping for something like what you hoped for from him
before you knew he was gay. So, I want you to take Alex and treat him like
you would have treated Drew, and I will encourage him to do the same to
you!" She smiled triumphantly.
Drew suddenly spoke up, "Says here you can't do that, Ms. Gwen." He
pointed down at the magazine, probably at the spot where it said whatever
Ms. Gwen asked the question I had in my own mind, "What do you
mean, hon. I did it right, didn't I?" She looked at him questioningly.
"Yes, you did Ms. Gwen, I think so, at least. I mean, you can't do
the 'I will' part on someone else, like you said you would encourage
Alex. It has to be toward the person you are telling all this to."
"But that is . . .Oh I think I know what you mean. I do remember
that. Ok, so I will . . ."
"What, Mister?" Ms. Gwen shot him a half-annoyed, half-amused look.
"I will stay out of her business?" Drew smirked, ducking a swat
from Ms. Gwen. "Come on, what can you do that will actually help? Brew them
your famous love potion?"
"Oh, you mean 'Love Potion Number 9?'" Ms. Gwen smirked at him.
"I've been reading that story you've been writing. I'm not Engrid, no way
no how." Drew winked at me. She was more the nosey senior-citizen neighbor
that Drew was portraying in his newest project, a novel about the a
homosexual couple in the small town south, than she cared to admit.
Shucks, I wasn't admitting things, this woman had more skeletons in her
closet than a haunted house! Now I had that song in my head.
"Oh, I know," Drew smiled again, another idea brewing, "You could
stop trying to steal Alex from her!" He stuck his tongue out at Ms. Gwen.
"Well, shucks, hon, I ain't gonna get Evan cause he's smitten with
something I ain't got, so Alex is my only chance. Of course I'm not
offering that!" She winked at me.
"Aww, come one, Ms. Gwen. I really like this one." I smiled, but
blushed a little too. She patted me on the cheek.
"Alright, hon. For you," she mock-sighed as if it was the hardest
thing in the world to give up her dogged pursuit of a 24-year-old. "So,
let me try this once more. Dearest Diana," she began with mock
seriousness, but cracked a smile almost immediately, "When I see you
visiting Drew so often, I think you have a secret crush on him, and I feel
sadness because you are still hoping for something like what you hoped for
from him before you knew he was gay. So, I want you to take Alex and treat
him like you would have treated Drew, and I will stop trying to get him to
come home with me instead, so he'll be all yours!" She smiled triumphantly.
"Ok, now you can respond, Diana, hon. Tell me what you think. I can
handle it." She grinned, her smile seeming to spread from ear to
ear. Ms. Gwen was so proud of herself.
"Hmm, let me think," I began. "When you first started, I was kind
of hurt. There is some truth in what you say, that's why it hurt. But I
know you know that too, and at the same time, that you are having a little
fun with it. So, I guess, I really want to say that this is a kind of cool
way of telling people what you think. And, I like your suggestions very
much." I threw a huge grin a Ms. Gwen then reached over and hugged her.
She actually blushed and threw out an "Aw, shucks!" Ms. Gwen,
though she'd been in Salem since before both Drew and I were born, if you
combined our ages, so she pretty much belonged in the Northeastern town,
was actually originally from Clemson, South Carolina. So, there was still
quite a bit of Southern Belle buried deep down underneath her flowery
muumuus and curlers. "Well, I guess I should be getting home, Drew. My
son is supposed to call tonight and I don't want to miss him. Goodnight
you two. Behave, if you can," she grinned at us. Drew hugged her
goodnight and walked her to the door and I moved from the wooden seat at
the table to Drew's soft couch, pulling off my shoes and making myself
comfortable. I couldn't stay long, but I knew he'd want to talk a bit
about the subject I was about to suggest.
He came back in from the foyer and sat down beside me. "So," I
began, "Tell me about Evan . . ."
For the next hour Drew and I spoke about 500 words a second, it
seemed, both of us having to remind each other to breath at frequent
intervals, as we went on and on about the twins. Drew was just as
infatuated with Evan as I was with Alex, it seemed, so we had much to talk
about. We compared their personalities, finding that they seemed to have a
lot in common, as was to be expected, but they were definitely both
individuals as well. We joked a little about other things as well,
blushing now and then, trying to compare, but it wasn't very easy, so we
ended up just mainly talking about how we felt when we were with them. It
was so cute to see Drew get all mushy and gushy over a boy, and I know he
was laughing at me as I did the same. I'd never been able to do this with
girlfriends, really, for most things with boys hadn't worked out quite like
the way I had it arranged in my dreams. But now, here I was, suddenly
doing the "Awww!" thing with none other than my best friend, a boy himself,
well, okay. A man, a true, wonderful, full-of-emotion and feeling, man. I
couldn't have him, but some wonderful, just as fabulous, just as much of a
man, man, would, and he would be one of the luckiest people on earth. Now,
to find me one, or had I already found him, that was just that way too, but
straight! Was it possible? God, I hope so.