My Gothic Boyfriend XXII

We ended up not making love the next night after all. Justin’s dad leaving town hit him a lot harder than he’d expected it to, even with them spending the day together. It didn’t help that Ms. Anderson seemed glad that he was going, or that she didn’t understand why her son cared so much about his father. I helped make sure that I had Raymond’s phone number so that it wasn’t only in Justin’s phone. Raymond promised to stay in contact; now that Ms. Anderson wasn’t the one controlling the phone, he wanted Justin to text him any time he wanted to.

Raymond knew that he couldn’t make up for hardly being there over the past eighteen years, but he still wanted to be there for his son, to get to know him better. He really was trying to do better, to take responsibility. Couldn’t a person be commended for that? Even after past mistakes, a person’s goodness can shine through; for some, effort alone is enough, but there is no shame in accepting help, either.

Justin spent the evening snuggled up on my lap. He tried getting away with not eating, but I kept feeding him blueberries and avocado slices until I felt that I could believe his claims that he was full. He clung tightly to me in his sleep, but I didn’t mind; that’s just part of being there for him. It was a relief to see the text Raymond sent the next morning to say that he’d arrived safely in Seattle. He’d be working that evening and would reply to Justin’s texts on his breaks.

On Wednesday, Justin came to the electronics store with me so that he wouldn’t be lonely. He played on his switch for a while– he even had a carrying case to keep it safe– then went over to Cadence’s shop to say hello. I didn’t realize how long he’d been gone until David had me break for lunch. It had been over an hour. I called him immediately.

“Justin, are you okay?” I asked the instant he picked up. “Where are you?”

“I’m fine. I’m at Cadence’s store, like I told you. What’s wrong? You sound upset.”

“You’ve been over there for an hour and a half!” I pointed out as I left the electronics store and headed down the street.

“Wow, really?” He paused, and I assumed he was checking the time. “That went by really fast. I’ve just been talking with Cadence and Rainbow.” There was some chatter in the background, and then he added, “Oh hey, can you come down here on your break? I have good news!”

“I’m on lunch now,” I told him. “I’ll be right there.”

Justin practically leaped into my arms when I entered the store. “Blackthorne that was quick!”

“Sorry I distracted him for so long,” Cadence told me. “But I had a good reason, I promise!”

I looked between her and Justin. He was grinning, and I couldn’t help but smile, too. “Okay, Little Moon, what is it? Did you find that really rare Type O Negative album?”

He laughed and shook his head. “No, but maybe you can help me find it online so we can celebrate getting my very first job!”

“Of course I’ll he– wait, did you say–“

“I got a job, Blackthorne!” he cheered. “I get to work here!”

Now I was grinning, too. “Wow, congratulations, Little Moon. I’m proud of you.” Then I looked to Cadence. “Thank you.”

“Oh, thank him,” she said. “I’ve been trying to hire him for weeks now, and he finally said ‘yes.’ Actually, Rainbow was the one who really convinced him.”

I chuckled and hugged him again. “Look at you, having people begging you to work for them. See how awesome you are?”

He was all smiles the entire time I took him down to the sandwich shop to pick up lunch. We caught up with Rainbow there as she was getting food for her and Cadence, then sat together in the tiny break room in the back of the shop. It doubled as a back-stock area, which was more materials for pricing and packaging than any actual merchandise.

“I really appreciate you giving him a job,” I told the young women as we ate. “He’s been wanting to earn money for a while now”

“Oh, I appreciate him agreeing to work way more!” Rainbow told me; she was actually excited about it. “We’ve been needing help around the shop so that we can focus on all the paperwork and other stuff we need to get done.”

“Paperwork?”

“They’re getting ready to move their business!” Justin exclaimed.

I look between him and Cadence and Rainbow, worried that he’d blurted out something that was theirs to tell.

“It’s okay,” Cadence assured me. “It’s true, though. We’re finally making some headway in moving out of the state.”

“That’s great! Have you decided on a location, then? Last I heard, you were focused on the west coast.”

Justin could hardly contain himself.

“We have,” Rainbow said. “I’m going to finish my business degree at CSU.”

“California, huh? Which campus?” Calstate had quite a few locations.

Now Justin looked ready to burst with excitement.

“Business is moving too Sacramento,” Cadence announced with a wide grin. “We’re giving it a new name, and we can finally be ourselves instead of toeing the line in this small town.”

“Isn’t that awesome, Blackthorne?!” Justin was out of his seat and nearly bouncing off the walls. “And they want me to keep working for them!”

“Wow, that’s– that’s wonderful news.” The day was just getting better and better. “Do you know when that’ll happen?”

“Well, now that Justin has agreed to help, we can probably be ready to go by the end of summer,” Rainbow said.

“We could drive out there together!” Justin cheered.

I looked to Cadence. “In one, big, happy caravan?”

“We’re game if you are,” she said. “Justin can even drive my car while I drive the moving truck, if he wants.”

“Actually…”

Cadence looked to Justin. “It’s okay, you don’t have to.”

Rainbow must have noticed the look of worry on his face, because she asked him, “It’s probably been a long time since you’ve driven, right? But her car is really easy to drive; you can even take it to do errands for us to try it out.”

“That’s probably not a good idea…”

“What? Why not?”

“He doesn’t have his license,” I told her. He didn’t mind people knowing that, but he did have a hard time putting words to it.

“Oh, well that’s an easy fix,” Cadence said. “Any of us can take you driving so you can practice and get ready for the road test.”

“Well…”

“Wait, do you mean you don’t have a learner’s permit either?”

Justin shook his head.

“Some friends and I offered to help him out back in high school,” I explained, “but he wouldn’t have had a car to drive anyway, so he turned us down.”

“Oh… Well, okay then,” Cadence said. “But hey, if you ever decide you want to learn, we’ll help you out.”

“Thanks,” Justin said. His cheeks were a little flushed with embarrassment, but at least they were being accepting. “It might be a long time, though, because of my health.”

We talked a little about Justin’s schedule and the tasks he’d be doing. He wouldn’t work on days he had to visit the hospital, and they would let him relax with me on the weekends. His days wouldn’t even be eight hours long, and they agreed to simply have him come to the shop around the time I drove to the area for my own job. He’d have plenty of breaks, and if he needed a day off, all he had to do was let them know– and to that end, the four of us exchanged phone numbers.

Justin would mostly be tidying up for now: putting away shirts and other clothes, keeping the CDs organized, dusting, vacuuming, and so on. He could help customers but didn’t need to worry about the cash register. If they weren’t getting ready to move, they’d have him help put out new merchandise, but for now they were only ordering if a customer needed something they didn’t have in stock. When they had more things taken care of for the move, he could help pack boxes, but otherwise he could do some cleaning here and there.

Normally, employers didn’t let employees text during work or pick their own hours, but Cadence already saw him as a friend and wanted to help ease him into working. Part of that was allowing him to keep in touch with me so that I knew he was safe. She also wanted to be able to pay him more than $7.50 an hour, but with their budget and the work being so light anyway, Justin didn’t mind. A lot would be different once they got to California, but this was great for now.

Justin stayed there after lunch to keep helping around the shop, and I headed back to work. He met me there a few hours later, all smiles and ready to tell me how it went. He was also very hungry, so we got some food to bring home, and he talked the whole drive. It was amazing to see him so happy– more than amazing, really. I didn’t even mind that he was too tired to make love; seeing him smiling in his sleep as we cuddled was worth it.

Thursday was another hospital day, and Justin decided to rest at my place after his appointments while I was at work. We ended up playing video games until bed time that night. Justin went to work on Friday, and we went out to dinner to celebrate; this time his mother was also invited along, and she was happy to hear all the great news.

Justin and I agreed to save doing anything more intimate than kissing for Saturday night. We could sleep in, catch a matinee at the cinema, then relax under the tree on the hill until dinner time. We talked about taking a three-day weekend before leaving Wyoming; we both wanted to see Yellowstone while we had the chance, and I might even be able to rent a cabin for a night if we were lucky. Until then, we were content with reading, playing games, and watching movies together in between shifts at work.

About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a distant planet watched over by four deities: good, evil, elemental, and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the realm whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future.
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