Just Hit 'Send' - The High School Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 11

"Sleep?" Jordy asked, not wanting to let Danny go but feeling his eyes burning.

"Yeah, I guess," Danny answered. "I just don't want tonight to end."

"Me either, but if we go to sleep like this in the chair, and Mama walks in, life as we know it will end, so.............," Jordy sighed and ran his hand gently over Danny's naked body.

Danny sucked in his breath as Jordan's hand lingered here, touched there, caressed, smoothed, fingers light, hands tender.

"You do know you drive me crazy?" he mumbled, his breath coming in short jerks.

"Oh Yeah," Jordy laughed. "Wouldn't waste my time otherwise." Slapping Danny's cute butt, Jordan climbed out of the recliner, stood over Danny, looked him over thoroughly, making him blush, and rolled his eyes.

"Oh nothin'."
"You don't wanna know."
"Yes I do!"

"Jordy laughed, his dimples creasing, his slim body totally aroused. "You are SO hot, Daniel Trainor. I could just eat you with a spoon."

Danny's face shot from white to red in one second flat. "Jordy," he managed to gasp, as they both collapsed into a fit of giggles.

As if it was the most natural thing in the world, Jordan reached down and scooped Danny up in his arms. "Time to get a little sleep," he said, as he walked the short distance to the bottom bunk. Danny wanted to be ashamed, wanted to be embarrassed that Jordy carried him like a baby, but somehow, it just made him feel loved.

"I'll be right up there if you need me," Jordy gestured to the top bunk, an odd look flickering in his eyes.

"Do you always sleep up there?" Danny asked.

"I will tonight," Jordan answered quickly.

"Well then," Danny whispered softly, "afraid to ask, yet somehow knowing that Jordan needed to say, "Who slept in the other bunk?"

Silent for a minute, Jordan exhaled and answered quietly, "Not tonight, Dan. Another time, K?"

"Sure, Jordy," Danny smiled sadly. He felt his heart aching for what he knew was pain Jordy was feeling. Danny knew all about pain.

Jordy leaned in and kissed Danny gently on the lips and then on the forehead. "Sleep good. I'm right here." His hand ruffled Danny's hair and he climbed the rungs to the top bunk, his hand gently touching the faded red bow that drooped from the top rung. Danny heard the bed creaking as Jordy's weight settled into the mattress.

Impossible Situation:

Danny, wide-eyed, wanting to help - not shut out; just not able to ask again.

Jordan, for the very first time, trusting enough, wanting to turn off the sunshine and let the pain go.

5 minutes - 10 minutes - Danny could hear a clock ticking somewhere in the room, could hear Jerimiah chasing rabbits in his dreams. Then, he heard another sound, the soft muffled sound of tears. Danny had never hated his legs as much as he did at that moment.

"Damn, Jordy!" he whispered. "I can't come up there. Get down here...NOW!"

He heard a sniffle and then Jordy's long tanned legs appeared over the edge of the top rail. Swinging down, he thrust himself into the bottom bunk, just melted into Danny, his wet face crushed to Danny's chest.

"I'm sorry."
"So sorry."
"For what? I can cry but you can't?"
"But, I'm the strong one."
"Let me be strong for you now."

Minutes went by. Danny stroked and soothed, his voice soft, the words unimportant. Jordan slowly calmed down, his face wet with tears, his breath coming out in uneven shuttering waves.

"Who slept in this bunk, Jordy?" Danny finally asked quietly.

No answer, then in a tiny voice, Jordan whispered, "My brother."

"Tell me, Jordy. Let it go, baby," Danny said gently.

For a second, Jordan's body went rigid, tight and tense, then as if he knew the waiting was over, he let out a deep breath and the words came out in a flood of pain. "He was only 6. His name was - IS - Adam. He was perfect, never cried, always laughing - he was beautiful. Like an angel, everyone always called him their angel. He looked just like my daddy. My daddy used to laugh all the time too. He followed me everywhere and I loved it. He was 6 and I was 9. I heard my daddy once tell my mama that he wished he'd named Adam after him and he'd been junior. Mama told him 'No, what about Jordan?' Daddy told her that I was hers; that Adam was his. It didn't hurt, really it didn't. I understood. Who would want me when they could have an angel?"

Danny just held on tight. All this crushed inside Jordan's heart? Jordan, the boy made of sunshine and light? Did he not have any idea who he was? "Shhh," he soothed. "What happened to Adam, Jordy?"

"You don't understand......He was perfect. I............was not," Jordan choked out.

"He was only 6," Danny murmured, "He didn't have much time to be anything except perfect, Jordy."

"But see -but see, I have to try. I have to be. I have to be there for people, help, they have to care. One day, maybe, I'll be perfect too," Jordan mumbled into Danny's chest.

Danny couldn't answer. He held on tight. All this inside his golden boy. Danny's problems seemed nothing. Danny's were physical - He found himself, for the first time since the accident, fully realizing that he wasn't the only hurt boy in the world. A barrier fell away. A wall crumbled that had held his heart captive. His heart ached and all he could do was hold on. "What happened to Adam?" he asked again. He felt Jordy's body tremble as he worked hard for control.

"One day, we were out in the treehouse. Daddy had built it for us and we had all our junk out there; books he loved me to read to him, all about dragons and monsters, old metal soldiers that Grandpa gave us, sleeping bags, all our junk." Jordan's voice took on a soft tone as if he was back in that treehouse. "We slept out there when Mama let us. The best was if it started raining and there was lightning, but Mama'd always make us come in."

Danny just let him talk on about Adam, the treehouse, times he remembered, his arms feeling the tension bowed tight in Jordan's body. 'God, what had happened?' He was almost afraid to find out. Then Jordy's voice started up again, almost unrecognizable from the light, teasing tones he usually used.

"We were playing, Dan, just messing around like we always did. I didn't push him. I swear I didn't push him. I was always - I was always so careful with the angel. Oh, Danny, I was always so careful." The sobs started again, this time the anguish was so heavy Danny could breathe it in.

"Shhhh. Stop now, Jordy," he begged.

"NO! You wanted to know. Well, I'm telling you," Jordan's words were harsh but his arms clung to Danny, his hands gripping hard.

"Okay, baby. Finish now," Danny whispered. "Let it all out." He kissed Jordan's hot face, his cheeks, his forehead, his mouth. With his lips on Jordan's he repeated, "Finish it."

Jordan felt Danny's lips, his breath. As if the words were going directly into Danny's heart, Jordan sighed, "He fell. He was playing like he was Batman. He tripped over my leg. He fell. I reached for him and I had hold of his leg, then his sneaker, but he was just gone. By the time I got down there, I couldn't do anything. He just lay there, his leg crooked, his brown eyes wide."

"Oh God, Jordan," Danny gasped.

"His leg was broken, Dan. By the time I got Mama and Daddy, he was crying and I couldn't do anything. It was the beginning of me not being able to do anything for him ever again," Jordan breathed.

"What? He didn't................?" Danny asked, confused.

Jordan curled closer. "You thought........? Oh, no. It wasn't that easy. When they took him to the hospital, the doctors x-rayed and they found more than a broken bone. They found bad stuff......really bad stuff." He laid his face on Danny's heart as if that would bring him closer. Danny just held him and waited for him to go on. "He had leukemia, Dan."

"You didn't cause that, Jordy," Danny whispered. "You know that!" The moments of silence that followed made Danny suck in his breath. "You DO know that, don't you Jordan?"

"If he hadn't fallen, if I'd been more careful, they wouldn't have found it," Jordan cried brokenly. "If I could have just caught him." His voice took on the tones of a very small frightened child.

"Jordy. Jordy," Danny soothed, his mind spinning. What words could ever fix this? Did his parents even know how he felt? Had he held this in for 5 years? "What do your parents tell you?" he asked quietly.

"My parents? Tell me about what?" Jordan questioned. "We never talk about it. As Adam got sick, and then sicker, no one talked to me at all. It was okay. I understood. It was my fault. There was nothing to say. My dad never said anything."

Danny thought back to yesterday and last night - the pictures of his mom, his dad, Jordan, other people - no Adam. The table with 4 chairs, nothing unusual about that except that now Danny knew that they were all just waiting - holding their breath - for that 4th chair to be filled by a laughing, perfect angel.

"Oh Jordy," he murmured and he turned, his legs scissoring around Jordy's closest one, his top leg nestled tightly to Jordy's crotch, feeling his warmth. The other leg pulling Jordy into an almost breathless hug. "Baby," he started, not sure where to go, treading carefully, "Adam never blamed you. You know that, don't you?"

Quiet, thinking, Jordy finally said, "No, that's the thing see. He wouldn't have. I blame myself. I was supposed to be watching him. Daddy told me to always watch Adam. Never let him get hurt. But......I did. Do you know? The last thing he ever said to me, 'Can you go with me, Jordy? I'm not so scared when you're with me.' God, Dan. I wanted to go instead of him. He had so much to do, so much left to give. He was - he was gold. If I'd just held on tighter." His voice quivered, as he tried to control himself.

Danny was so out of his depth. He knew Jordan wasn't really looking for answers tonight; just the telling; saying it out loud was enough.

So Danny kissed him - it wasn't a passionate kiss, more an 'I love you-shut up now' sealing of lips. Humming softly, the way his mom used to do for him, he felt Jordan shutter then slowly, his body relaxed and began to go limp. His breathing eased off and exhaustion took over. As much as Danny longed to stay just like this - curled around Jordan's body, protecting him from the pain, he knew someone had to move. He'd never make it to the top bunk, so he eased out over the edge and hit the floor softly. He covered Jordan with the sheet, tucking it gently around his body. "I love you," he whispered. Jerking on his shorts and t-shirt, he crawled up into the recliner and closed his eyes.

Sleep never came to Danny in those early hours of the morning, his mind replaying Jordan's words. He thought back over yesterday as Mr. Lawrence had helped them with the horses, had ruffled Jordan's hair and laughed with them when Jolene snuffled in Danny's shirt for more treats. There was no way that man didn't love the boy he still had. Maybe Adam had been Mr. Lawrence spit out, but he had another son and damn! He had to love him.

Early morning sunlight filtered through the window, as Danny lay half-in, half-out of sleep. He waited for Jordy to wake up as the sunbeams played across his sleeping face. He watched, love giving a sheen of tears to his eyes, as Jordan's mind woke up, his hand rubbing at his nose, sniffling away the night. Green eyes blinked, then opened.

"Hey you," Jordan said softly. "What are you doing over there?"

Just as Danny started to answer, there was a tap on the door. "Jordan! Boys! You still want to go with Dad to the feed store? Rise and shine!" and then the sound of Jordan's mom's feet down the stairs.

Jordan stretched and realized he was naked. Grinning, he rolled his eyes. "Oops," he laughed. Then his eyes clouded over, "Dan?"

"We WILL talk about that later," Danny said quietly.

"Yeah, I know," Jordan sighed. "Sorry I dumped it on you."

"I'm not," Danny answered. "I've been sitting here thinking that maybe that's why we found each other. Kicker41 and theRedPill both needed a little help. I love you, Jordan and I'll help you any way I can."

"You help me just by being you," Jordan smiled.

Jordan climbed out of the bottom bunk, his long legs catching the sun tangled in the golden hair. As he stretched again and Danny saw how beautiful he was, their eyes caught. Regret and mischief shone from Jordan's - Love and nonsense sparkled in Danny's.

The mood suddenly broken by the loud bellow of a hungry bull out in the barnyard, Jordan giggled, "Man, I gotta pee like a racehorse." As they pulled on jeans and nudged each other to get to the bathroom first, Jordan cheating, grabbing Danny's brace, Danny asked, "How much does a racehorse pee, Jordy?"

Claire Lawrence stopped at the sound of the giggling coming from the loft, her hands holding the French toast dripping over the skillet. Whatever it was her son felt for that boy, she prayed it would be enough for Jordan to say what he needed to say, do what he needed to do, to let go of the past, of whatever made him try so hard.

He had never been the same since Adam died. Everyone else thought so but Claire knew better. If Adam had been David's, then Jordan was hers. She saw the flickering pain in his eyes, the shadows that fell when his dad went silent. She remembered the times, years ago, when Jordan had tried to lift those shadows and then, over the years, he'd just stopped trying. She had tried to fill the gap but there was just something between a boy and his dad. She could love him completely and it would never be enough. Why couldn't David see that? She had long since realized she couldn't mend it and had begun to think that no one ever could.

But,,,,,,now here was Daniel Trainor, a sweet innocent hurt child. He was giving something to Jordan, something that apparently no one else could, not his mom, his friends, even Griffin. Maybe Danny was the catalyst - the key to Jordan's release. As the boys clammered down the stairs, noisy and starving, Claire watched.

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