My Gothic Boyfriend: An accompaniment to “The House of the Seventh Minuet”
Notw: This is a M/M gothic love story that has detailed descriptions of a character’s suffering in addition to sexual content. Please check check the story’s introductory page to read all the trigger warnings. Thank you, and happy reading!
It was a long drive to Cody, Wyoming from Portland. A lot longer than the drive to Sacramento I was originally planning to take. But plans change, and this change was important; I was needed.
I had my most important belongings packed into my Outlander and the trailer attached to it; clothes, bedding, a few books– things that I would need every day. I wasn’t towing any furniture, and most of my books and décor were still at my parents’ house, waiting for me to settle in somewhere long-term. As I said before, that was going to be Sacramento, but that could wait a few more months. Until then, I could make do with renting a place that was already furnished for the short-term.
My friends from high school would never have guessed that I’d end up in Cody. Neither would I. Still, that was where Justin had moved to with his mother, so that was where I needed to go. I wish I could say that the reason for the journey was to explore Yellowstone National Park together. Sadly, this was more of a rescue mission than a vacation.
When they’d moved and I’d spent my last day with Justin, I made sure he had my address– written down, not just stored in his phone. His device was old, and I was surprised that it hadn’t broken already. He seemed to think that having everyone’s contact information in one place was a good idea, and I had to spends several minutes convincing him otherwise. I also got the address where they were moving to from his mother, just in case.
My going-away present to Justin was an old-fashioned stationery set, complete with pens and a set of stamps. I’d written my address on some of the envelopes for him, just to make sure he had it. He promised to write to me. Even if he texted me along the way, or when he arrived at his aunt’s house in Cody, he would write. Letters are one of life’s simple pleasures, and I didn’t care what his handwriting looked like; I just wanted something more than a text.
It was such a relief to me when I got his first letter. He talked about his aunt’s big house and how the yard in the back had plenty of room for him to play with his cousins and their dog. It was a big change from living in a cramped two-bedroom apartment; that place had hardly been as big as some of the nicer one-bedroom apartments I’d seen in the area. I was happy for him. His aunt had even taken some pictures and printed them out at one of the local kiosks, so I could see him in his new room, and another of him in the backyard under a tree; there was just enough sunlight shining through that I could see his rich brown eyes.
A few weeks later, he stopped texting. He used to at least send a ‘good night,’ but then even those stopped. He didn’t reply to anything I sent. He didn’t pick up when I called. I’d been planning to send him a letter, so I mentioned how his lack of messages worried me. I wrote down my phone number for him again, just in case. And my address, in case the envelope tore when he opened it. The relief I felt when I got another letter from him was immense. That is, until I read it.
Things had stopped going well in Cody. He was absolutely miserable. He had no friends there, only family, and his cousins were all younger than him by at least three years. He didn’t write much outside of hating it there. Thank goodness he gave me his aunt’s home phone number! When I called him, he explained everything: the bullies, the suspension, his phone being in pieces, his hopelessness…
I had to go there. The only thing I could do was be there for him, especially since nobody else was. To be fair, his mother wasn’t punishing him, but she also couldn’t protect him every minute of the day. Some might say that neither could I, but I hoped that having a friend around would mean something. On the phone, he agreed that it would be nice to see a familiar face.
My parents were less excited to see me leaving home early, but with me being nineteen and having proven to them time and again that I was careful and responsible, they couldn’t do anything besides wish me well. They understood me; they knew that being there for a friend was important to me. I’d often wished Justin had parents like mine; open-minded, thoughtful, supportive. I don’t mean to make it sound like Justin’s mother wasn’t supportive; she tried, but it was a struggle for her. Moving to Cody to live with her sister was a great step for her, but it didn’t benefit her son in the same way.
I’d continued living with my parents even after finishing high school the year before. Although I didn’t start college right away, I had a job, and I had things I wanted to do. The proverbial ‘gap year’ was a wonderful decision. I could earn– and save– more money, get more books checked off of my reading list, spend time drawing, and even do some independent study in between exploring the state.
Eventually, I’d settled on a college I wanted to attend, applied, and got into an engineering program that would help me enhance my computer and electronics skills. I had scholarships and grants lined up, and my grandfather would be taking care of the rest. I also had money saved up for expenses outside of tuition.
Going to Cody that spring wouldn’t be getting in the way of my college plans. As long as I was in Sacramento in time for the fall semester to start, I could see Justin through what he was dealing with. He was a year behind me. He was supposed to graduate high school that May, but the bullies had gotten in the way of that. His mother wasn’t wealthy, and his father wasn’t around, but he’d always done a decent job in school. He wasn’t an honors student, but not everyone has to be. The point is, his grades weren’t an issue.
I pulled into Cody in the evening around the middle of March. I got a hotel room for the night– long-term lodging could wait– and called Justin. He wanted to see me right away. For anyone else, I would have been too exhausted to socialize. For him, I made the extra effort, and was soon in the shower. I didn’t have to dress quite as fancy as I normally did, so I pulled on a long-sleeved black shirt with dark blue stitching. Once that was buttoned up, I chose some black slacks and a matching leather belt with a wolf’s-head buckle, then slipped into one of my simpler pairs of boots. After putting on a couple of my favorite rings, I headed out to the car.
Justin’s aunt’s house was one of the nicer ones for its neighborhood; modestly middle-class and mostly well-maintained. As Justin had said, it was a lot nicer than the apartment he used to live in. His aunt wasn’t charging them rent, but did have her sister helping with other bills and typical household stuff; I could see why Justin’s mom was so set on the idea of moving there.
I parked along the curb in front of the house and took the path up to the door. My parents had taught me that a gentleman always offers to bring the host something– and to bring a small gift even if they insisted that they didn’t need anything– so being empty-handed that evening felt strange. The house sounded excited inside even before I rang the doorbell. It took a couple minutes for the door to open, but when it did, Justin’s mother was smiling brightly.
“Oh, Emory, I’m so glad you made it!”
She held her arms open wide for me, and I accepted a brief hug from her. She had always insisted on calling me by my given name, rather than my preferred one, but since she was otherwise accepting of my gothic nature, I didn’t complain.
“Thank you for inviting me over, Ms. Anderson,” I replied as I stepped into the house. The entryway was a short hallway with places for coats and backpacks, which opened to a wide, bright living room where a couple young children were coloring at a coffee table.
“It’s you I’m thankful for,” she said in her familiar, work-weary voice. She was a thin woman, not so much from working out or dieting, but from simply having less to eat. Justin was the same way. Neither were very tall; I was a little over six feet, and they had to look up to meet my eyes. Justin might be able to grow a couple more inches if his nutrition improved– well, continued improving. “Justin’s been in a slump ever since we moved.”
If I’d thought it appropriate to speak my mind, I might have told her that she should have waited until the school year was over before moving. Even if she’d been too proud to accept help from the Riordan family, she could have skated by in that apartment; the eviction process takes months, and she might have found another job in that time. Most importantly, Justin could have graduated instead of being bullied. Again, my parents had taught me better, and being devoted to a gothic lifestyle didn’t excuse me from being a gentleman. After all, they didn’t have to let me see Justin or invite me into their house, and criticizing Ms. Anderson wasn’t going to help the situation.
“Blackthorne!” Justin’s voice came from another part of the house. Then he came running out. “Blackthorne, you’re here!”
“That I am,” I replied. I tried to sound stoic, but I couldn’t help but smile.
In an instant, Justin’s arms were clamped around me. He might have wrapped his legs around me if he’d thought he could get away with it in front of everyone else. I held him back just as tightly.
“It’s so good to see you again, Little Moon,” I murmured into his ear. I called him that because he’d had a hard time choosing a goth name. He’d considered Shadow Moon, Blood Moon, Moonshadow, and a few others, all of which were too cliché, and since he was so much smaller than me, I just called him Little Moon. It sort of stuck, though I was the only one he didn’t complain about using the ‘little’ part; everyone else just called him Moon.