More than Just Friends Ch. 03

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It didn’t take his dad long to figure out he messed up his hand pretty bad. About as long as it took for him to try to take off the hoodie the officer had given him. He tried to hide the wince, but his dad was on it.

Danny’s dad did let him eat the Chinese that arrived ten minutes after they did, but mostly because he said the pain medication they’d give him at the hospital would make him sick if he had an empty stomach. He was starving, and still so thirsty, so he was grateful for the food. They were leaving as his mother came home from yoga, with just enough time for her to freak out and join them. They picked up food for her on the road, pretty much ruining the point of his mother’s workout, but she didn’t mind.

The urgent care they went to was packed, and it took them over five hours to declare he’d sprained his left wrist and hairline fractured his pointer and index fingers. The attending nurse did praise him on punching correctly with his thumb in the right place between her chastising him for punching the locker. Twice.

His mother fretted the whole time, trying to get the story out of him, but his dad helped steer her away from the topic every time it came up. He wasn’t ready to talk about it, and honestly, by the time they were splinting his fingers he was so tired he thought he’d collapse right there. The medicine they gave him for pain made him feel loopy, and he was half-asleep when he dragged himself to his room. He still itched, and he wanted a shower, but before he could figure out how to fully get himself undressed with his splints, he fell asleep in the bathroom.

He remembered snippits the next morning, his dad helping him to bed, helping him to change out of his sweat-crusted clothes and pulling him into bed. His mother checking on him in the morning, barely four hours after he’d been dumped into bed. He didn’t wake up for real until eleven in the morning, his parents both gone for work. His mother left him a note with directions for food and his medications, which he followed, his hand throbbing awfully.

The medicine dose on the first day was high, both the pain pills and antibiotics for the cuts he hadn’t even noticed he’d gotten, and it made him sleepy, so he slept again, music on softly to make the house feel less empty. It was weird being the only one at home, because even when his parents weren’t here, Tyler usually was.

Tyler. His heart hurt, his head hurt, his hand hurt, basically, everything hurt. He sighed, then rolled over, falling back into a lucid sleep. He heard his mom get home and forced himself to get up, his head foggy and thick. A few minutes later, it was minutes, right? A few minutes later he heard the bassy boom of… it sounded like Caress Me Down by Sublime.

He swallowed hard, hoping it would continue down the street, but he knew it wouldn’t. The song cut off, the silence strangely shattering the second. He rushed, as much as his thick head would let him, to the window, just to confirm his suspicions.

Tyler’s car was parked in the street in front of his house Tyler stepped out into the street. He looked up at Danny’s window. Danny jumped back to a distance he hoped was out of sight from outside, unsure if Tyler had seen him or not.

Tyler rang the doorbell. His mother answered it, and he heard their mumbled voices, unintelligible. Please, mom, don’t let him come in, don’t let him come in, don’t let him come in, he repeated in his head like a mantra. He wasn’t ready to see Tyler yet. He didn’t know if he ever would be, but right now, still groggy from meds, he was definitely not. He swallowed hard, trying to calm the beating of his heart as time stretched like taffy.

In what seemed like hours and only seconds, Tyler’s car started, then the bassline of Caress Me Down filled the neighborhood again. He sighed out a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding, relieved.

Wait, wait, wait. Didn’t Tyler come to see him? Why’d he leave so easily? Was he here to do… what? Explain himself? Friend break-up? Why had he come? Why hadn’t he come upstairs? Never before had he come over and rang the doorbell, not in years. Hell, he had a key to the house, he could’ve come after school and let himself in. He frowned, pissed at himself, pissed at Tyler.

He needed a shower. He itched, and he was miserable, and the only thing he could fix was the shower, so he took one, wrapping his left hand in a plastic shopping bag to keep it dry. He wasn’t sure how to take care of his splints, he’d been too tired last night to pay attention. He made due, at least until his hand throbbed enough to send him looking for pain meds.

His mother was reading something on her phone when he came down. She looked up when he stepped up to the kitchen island. “Hey,” she said, smiling softly, obviously worried about him.

“Hey,” he replied, feeling awkward.

“How ya feeling? I wasn’t sure if you were up yet.” She sipped coffee from her mug, the one that read ‘Sit with me and suggest changes while bahis firmaları I work, said no designer ever’. It had been a gift from his dad, and it was now her favorite mug.

“Fuzzy still. Hungry, and it still hurts,” he complained. He grabbed a stool with his other hand and awkwardly hefted himself on it. “How was your day?”

She shrugged. “Meh. The usual.” She looked at his hand, particularly how he held it against his chest. “When’d you take meds last?”

“Lunch. Around noon.”

She shook her head. “Too soon to take more, it’s only five. You’ve gotta wait another hour. Sorry, Danny. My day was exhausting. I mean, I was already tired, and then the normal male dominated workplace bullshit for women in a male-dominated industry. So, you know, another great day, all in all.”

“Sorry,” he apologized, feeling bad.

She snorted. “For what? Hurting yourself? Or the hospital taking a million years? Either way, I’m not upset, it happens. You haven’t broken any bones before this, that gave me a scare. Dad said you’re fighting with Tyler? Did you punch him?”

He sighed, then got up and fumbled with a banana, unable to pull one off the bunch with only one hand. His mother gently took the bunch and broke one off, then peeled it for him. He flushed with embarrassment, his helplessness making him feel even more vulnerable. Hunger demanded he eat the whole banana before he answered, so he did. “Not that kinda fight, ma.”

There was a brief silence between them. “He stopped by about half an hour ago,” she mentioned, watching him closely over her cup.

“I heard.”

“You were awake?”

He shrugged, looking anywhere but at his mother. “Sorta, I just woke up. I was feeling weird, so I stayed in bed for a bit, then took a shower cause I was grody. What’d he…” He almost didn’t want to ask. “What’d he say?”

His mom gave him a look he didn’t understand, then took a phone out of her pocket. His phone. “He said you dropped this yesterday at school, he wanted to return it. Also, he asked me to have you call him when you were up.”

He reached for his phone hesitantly, relieved that he hadn’t lost it, but afraid to take it from his mother, afraid to call Tyler, afraid if he took it that he’d have to. Somehow it had survived his escape without even a crack in the glass. “Oh. Well, that’s good. I worried I lost it on my run. Dad’ll be happy.”

“He was a little upset you’d lost it, but I think, all things considered, it wasn’t the main topic on his mind last night,” his mother said. “Wanna talk about it?”

He shook his head. “Not really.”

She nodded, letting the subject drop, and he was incredibly appreciative. “What should we have for dinner?”

The night moved in a stranger stutter pace, time moving so slowly through the pain he could scream, then hours lost to the fog of his brain on pain meds. He didn’t call Tyler, though he thought about it constantly. He did receive three texts from him, and the minutes between getting them and opening them were painfully long and stressful. In order, they read: ‘Heard you broke your hand hope you’re feeling better.’ ‘Hey, are you okay, with your hand.’ ‘Are you coming to school tomorrow?’

He didn’t respond to any of them. How was Tyler acting like nothing had happened? Like nothing had changed. He couldn’t figure it out, couldn’t think clearly enough to make any sense of it, so he watched TV and laid around the house, time moving differently for him than the rest of the world.

His mom called him off school on Friday, too, with the threat and promise he was returning to school on Monday. Tyler came again on Friday afternoon, and again was intercepted by his mother. He dropped off Danny’s homework for the day’s he’d missed, then returned to his car. Danny caught him staring up at his window, and he was sure Tyler couldn’t see him. Tyler stood there for a little while, just staring at his window, then got in his car and drove away.

He got several more texts on Friday, asking about how he felt, if he got his homework, if he wanted to hang out this weekend, if he needed anything, and it tore him apart inside. He felt like the world was broken, as broken as his hand, worthless and painful. He didn’t respond to any of them, and he didn’t get any more over the weekend, though there were a few times he heard familiar basslines beat down his street. He’d rush to the window to see if it was Tyler, both needing to know and not wanting to know.

His parents took him to the movies on Sunday, to get him out of the house, they’d said, but he knew they were worried about him. Thankfully, neither of them pressed him for details on the fight with Tyler. He appreciated it more than he could say, and was thankful that his parents could be okay sometimes, for parents.

He dreaded going to school on Monday, but he shouldn’t have worried so much about it. It was surprisingly easy to avoid Tyler in school,. They didn’t have classes together this semester, and he’d packed so he kaçak iddaa could take his meds, which meant he was able to eat lunch in a study hall, using his make-up homework as an excuse, though he’d already completed all of it over the weekend.

He had track after school, but Coach Wellman, who usually pushed them hard, refused to let him practice. In fact, he told Danny that until his brace came off, he shouldn’t even come to track. He didn’t need hands to run, he argued. Coach Wellman, though, was stalwart.

Fine, if he wasn’t allowed to participate in club, he wouldn’t. That wouldn’t stop him from running on his own. He used his phone to pick a route that would get him about five miles before getting back to school.

His hand throbbed for the first half mile, then the pain receded and he ran, listening to his headphones as he jogged. It was peaceful on the wooded trail he’d picked, the trees just beginning to blossom, small green leaves pushing recently dormant stems.

Everything was going well until the pain came back twice as hard around mile four. It was nearly unbearable by the time he’d gotten back to the school, and he had to begrudgingly admit that Coach Wellman may have been right. Club was still in session, so he went into the empty locker room and showered, not worried about anyone coming in. He left before club was out and walked home, his hand feeling like a pain-filled boxing glove.

He continued this routine, or something close to it, for the whole week. He’d occasionally see Tyler in the halls, and he’d turn around and walk the other way, even the sight of him too much to bear. When would this pain fade? When would he be able to talk to Tyler again, like they used to? He was so lonely, so isolated. Their other friends seemed to sense the divide, or maybe Tyler had told them, and they gave him space, too.

He’d never felt so alone in his life.

He missed half a day on Friday as he got his wrist checked out, and the splint removed that supported his sprain. His fingers would be splinted for another week, but they were healing well. It was a good thing he was young, his doctor told him. He got to school a little after lunch, and finished his day in the same mindless, monotonous way as the rest of the week. When Tyler wasn’t around nothing seemed to have any color.

God, he missed Tyler. He nearly broke down, nearly texted him, but he didn’t know what to say, so he didn’t. It hurt so much, he missed Tyler so much. God, he was pathetic.

Tyler caught him after school, someone in track must had tattled his new, self-guided running schedule, apparently Tyler had been asking around.

He was only a few minutes away from school when Tyler’s car pulled up, slowing to roll beside him as he jogged down the street. The window rolled down and he did his best to swallowed his emotions so that he could ignore Tyler.

“Hey,” Tyler said.

He kept jogging, and Tyler slow rolled beside him. Tyler paced him for long enough that he broke down. Still, he wasn’t going to break in front of him. He’d keep it concise. “Hey.”

“How’re ya feeling? How’s the hand? It looks like it hurts,” Tyler said, the same old Tyler, and it hurt so much. He jogged faster.

“Fine. It’s fine,” he said, unable to trust any more words out of his mouth.

“You wanna ride?”

He shook his head. “I’m good.”

Tyler sighed, then drove ahead. Danny sighed, both depressed and relieved, until Tyler pulled over on the side of the road a little bit ahead, then parked his car and jumped out, intersecting him before he could turn the other way.

“Don’t avoid me,” Tyler said, jogging up to him, then pacing him. If Tyler had been in track he would’ve won all sorts of awards, Danny knew it. Tyler wasn’t interested in that kind of stuff, he never had been.

A block passed by before he answered. “I’m not,” he lied.

“Bull-fucking-shit,” Tyler snapped. “You’ve been ghosting me all week.” He didn’t even sound winded.

He said nothing. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know Tyler like he thought he did. He didn’t trust himself to say anything at all.

“Dude, talk to me, what’s, I mean, don’t cut me out. I…”

Still, he didn’t talk, fighting to keep his cool. Fighting not to cry. He took a deep breath, then forced himself to jog faster, as if he could outrun his troubles.

“It wasn’t what you’re thinking,” Tyler said, pacing him easily. He wasn’t even wearing good running shoes. Fuck him so much.

“Go away,” Danny said, his voice tighter than he’d like.

“I didn’t-“

“Just go away, Tyler,” he growled, opting for anger over depression. He wouldn’t cry, he wouldn’t feel sad or sorry for himself. He’d protect himself from further humiliation. He skidded to a halt and Tyler stopped, too.

“Why?”

“Because I said to.”

“No, why are you being like this? I thought, I mean, you said-“

“What the fuck does it matter what I said?” he snapped, cutting Tyler off. “Just, kaçak bahis go back to fucking Emma Johnson. I’m sure you’ve coached her on how to kiss better by now.” The words dripped from his mouth like acid, dripped from his mouth like the sweat down his back.

“Fuck. I knew it, I fucking knew it. It’s not like that, I tried to tell you,” Tyler argued. “Just, listen to me for a minute.”

“Why?” he asked, already exhausted. “I’m not stupid, Tyler. I obviously misinterpreted things, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cockblock you. Just, leave me alone, I’m sure Emma’s probably looking for you.”

“Fuck that bitch,” Tyler snapped. “Who the fuck cares about Emma Johnson! I tried to tell you, just listen to me. It wasn’t like that, I-“

“Wasn’t like what, Tyler?” he cut in. “Wasn’t like you were inspecting her tonsils with your tongue in the hall after school while I waited for you at your car? Wasn’t it exactly like that?”

“No!”

“Fuck you, dude. It was. I saw it. I heard it. Emma thinks I’m weird, and you know what? I am. Leave me alone, Tyler. Emma said, it, I’m weird, and I-“

“You’re not weird! Fuck Emma Johnson,” Tyler said, grabbing his good arm, stopping him from walking away. He pulled, forcing Danny to face him. “Get over that, it wasn’t anything.”

“No?” Danny asked, pulling his arm back. “Go away, Tyler. I don’t wanna talk about it.”

“It’s been over a week, Danny, get over it! Why are you acting like this? Why are you being a bitch about it? You’re acting like a girl or some shit.”

Too much, it was too much. “Fuck you, Tyler. You wanna be right? Sure, you can be fucking right. You’re always fucking right. I’m a little bitch. I’m so glad you finally figured that out. Just, leave me alone, Tyler. Obviously it’s all me, all my fault, and just drop it. I don’t wanna talk about it. I don’t wanna talk to you.” He started jogging again.

Tyler didn’t follow him this time. “Wait, Danny, stop! Just, stop, fucking talk to me! Danny!” Danny didn’t stop, he kept running. “Jesus Christ, you bitch! Fine. Fuck you,” Tyler yelled at him as he jogged faster.

He couldn’t stop the frustrated tears as they ripped their way from his eyes, trailing hot fire down his cheeks. His hand throbbed, perhaps remembering the last time he’d felt this way. As it was, the urge to hit something was intense. He ran harder.

Tyler’s car started up, then Tyler flew by him, going way too fast for the neighborhood they were in. He raised his hand out the window, flicking him off before he ran a stop sign and turned the corner, disappearing from sight.

It was better this way, he told himself. He’d made a terrible mistake, and he wasn’t sure why Tyler was even bothering with him anymore. No one was home when he got there, he knew no one would be, his mother didn’t get home for another hour and a half. He was glad, he couldn’t bear it if anyone saw him like this. This broken. His hand throbbed and he realized he was clenching his fists, well as much of a fist as he could make with two splinted fingers, and forced himself to relax.

He showered, realizing in the shower that he’d left his stuff at school, Tyler had thrown him off his routine. He’d go back later, it wasn’t a big deal. He could get his dad to drive him.

He was the only one home, so he didn’t bother bringing his clothes into the bathroom, instead opting to wear his towel to his room. The door to his room was shut, and he didn’t remember shutting it.

“Fucking hell,” he exclaimed as he cracked the door open. He stormed in, nearly dropping the towel as hurried to the closet, startled by Tyler sitting at the desk in his room. “What the fuck?”

“You wouldn’t listen to me. I need to talk to you, to explain it. What do I have to do to make you listen to me?” Tyler demanded, scowling.

“Nothing,” he said, turning his back to Tyler as he dug for underwear in his dresser. “Just leave.”

“I’m not leaving, not til you let me explain, not until you listen to me! This week has been hell.” The pain in Tyler’s voice was a stab in his gut.

He turned around, so pissed and frustrated and hurt and broken that he didn’t have a filter anymore. “This week has been hell for you? Blow me, Tyler. Suck me off, then I’ll listen to you,” he said, so sure it would make Tyler leave.

Tyler didn’t even hesitate. He stood up, then fell to his knees before him. Danny was too stunned to move as Tyler tugged his towel away and those perfect lips closed over his limp dick. He sucked him in all the way, cupping his balls gently, then pulled away, stretching him out until he fell from Tyler’s mouth.

“Stop!” he exclaimed. “I didn’t think you’d actually do it!”

“Why not? It’s not like we haven’t done this before. If this is what it takes to get you to listen to me, then that’s easy. I shoulda done this a week ago,” Tyler said, sucking him back in.

Danny pushed him away. “I can’t, I don’t understand,” he whined, on the verge of tears again.

“Then let me explain!” Tyler nearly shouted, hands holding his hips so that he couldn’t escape. “Stop running away from me! Stop ghosting me! You said, you promised! You promised, Danny, that you wouldn’t keep anything from me.”

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