Just Hit 'Send' - The High School Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 13

Danny sat staring at the computer screen. He'd tried repeatedly to raise Jordy. There was something really wrong. He could feel it every time he took a breath. Something was wrong with Jordy. Reaching for his cell phone, he heard his mom tap on his bedroom door. The look in her eyes scared him. But he couldn't find his voice to ask the question.

"Danny, do you know where Jordan is?" his mom asked quietly. She watched her son's eyes, knowing he wasn't lying when he cried out, "What? Where IS Jordan? What's happened?"

He struggled to get out of the computer chair and up on his feet, his heart racing. "Where is he? Why.....what?" Tears started; he didn't even know why. "Mama......tell me!"

Fran Trainor hesitated, knowing what this was going to do to Danny. She didn't want any more pain in her child's life. Sighing, she spoke softly. "He ran away, Danny. Claire just called and asked if he was here. She is terrified. I would have already called her if he was; you know that."

Danny's mind was skittering in every direction. 'Jordy......Jordy !! Where are you? You didn't tell me.......why didn't you tell me?' He tried to reach out, find him through space and grab hold of him. 'JORDY!!' his mind screamed.


Slowly, Danny gripped his braces, straightened himself up and, as his father walked into the room, said calmly, "I have to go to Jordan's."

"But, Danny, it's the middle of the night. I'm sure Jordan will come home in the morning after he thinks things through. A boy his age can't be on the street," his dad answered.

For the first time in his life, Danny knew exactly what he had to do, what would help bring Jordy home. He knew what had happened....somehow Jordy's father had found out. He knew it as sure as he was standing there. Danny knew he had to talk to Mr. Lawrence, make him understand. 'If he wants to hit someone, take it out on someone, he can hit me, scream at me', Danny vowed, angrily. 'Not sweet Jordan.'

"No, Dad. Now. I need to go now," Danny said, the tone in his voice reaching for the understanding he had always found in his father's heart.

Quietly, locking the door behind them, the Trainors pulled out of the driveway and headed for the middle of the state. "I have something to tell you, Mom, Dad," Danny said quietly from the back seat. "It's about me. About me and about Jordy." Ben Trainor felt his wife reach over and slip her hand into his. "Here it comes," he thought quietly.

"What did he say?" Claire begged Griff for the thousandth time. "He just got up and walked out? You don't know where he went? You.......he......, Oh, God." She had given up trying to hold back the tears.

Griff felt so powerless. He had let his best friend just walk out of his life. He'd known something was wrong......felt it the whole time. And yet, he'd just let it happen. "We....Laney, Bren and me... we looked everywhere. As soon as I realized he wasn't coming back into the movie, we looked all over the mall, the parking lot........we had him paged, we told the security........we didn't know what else to do. We waited at the car for a long time, hoping he'd change his mind. I should have known. I should have known," his voice broke as he closed his eyes and remembered how Jordan had leaned over and whispered, "I love you, Griff" and then had disappeared from his life. Damn it all, he should have known way back in the car when he kept talking about the sun going down.....that was so unJordan.

"I'm........I'm so sorry," was all he could say brokenly, trying to keep the deep sobs from escaping. "I should have known."

David Lawrence stood staring out into the graying morning light; heavy guilt, anger, confusion all warring in his heart. He couldn't help what he had said.....it had been such a damn shock. He knew that Jordan had heard those horrible words, had heard his own father deny him love and a home. His chest rose and fell in unsteady gasps. He had driven his son to this.......to run away instead of being able to come to him and talk. David hated himself. He didn't know what to do, where to turn. 'Jordan,' he murmured, 'Be safe.'

"Did you know?" David heard Claire asking Griff.

"Know......um......know?" Griff avoided her eyes.

"No time for this now, Griffin," she said, her teacher voice forcing him to speak. "Did you know he was...........gay?"

Griff's eyes jerked upwards and he found not anger, only pain pooling in Jordan's mom's face. Whispering, he said, "Yes."

"It was that computer that made him think so," David spoke for the first time. "He was fine until he started talking on there." He knew he was grasping for straws but he had to blame someone, something.........his son can't just be............gay. Not without a reason.

"No sir," Griff stammered. "He just used the computer to find out why he was feeling so different, so alone. It didn't change him. It helped him. It's how he................," his voice trailed off.

"How he what?" David demanded. He knew he was being bullish but he couldn't help it.

"How he found me," a soft sweet voice said from the front doorway. Everyone turned to see Danny Trainor leaning heavily on his braces, hovering just inside the open door, his mom and dad behind him. "I'm sorry. I knocked but you didn't hear."

Claire walked quickly over to the family and ushered them into the living room. "You didn't need to drive over in the middle of the night," her voice said; her tear stained face saying 'Thank you."

"I have something to tell you, Mr. Lawrence," Danny tripped over the words, but his eyes never left Jordan's father's face. He wasn't ashamed that he loved Jordan. He felt his dad close by his side and his mom's hand on his arm.

It all clicked into place. David saw. He didn't understand but he saw the truth. All the little things; the way Jordan gentled himself around Danny, the touching, the late nights on the computer, the phone calls, the closed door............oh God, the closed door. Sucking in a deep breath, David walked toward Danny and stood, towering over him.

Danny's eyes widened as his chin had to raise further up, but his terrified saucer blue eyes held a glint of steel. This was Jordan he was defending. Gripping his braces, he said boldly, "I love Jordan, Mr. Lawrence."

David stared down at this brave frightened child...........no, this brave frightened young man and began to realize that he was fighting a losing battle here and he was the only one who was fighting it. He turned to Claire. "You knew?"

"I suspected, yes. Then, the other night I asked Jordan. We talked. He loves Danny, David," Claire answered.

"And you knew?" he wheeled on Griff.

"About Danny? Yes," Griff said, giving Danny a half-smile.

His last question he aimed at the Trainors. One last time, he asked, "And you knew?"

Ben Trainor answered calmly and serenely, "Danny just told us tonight in the car on the way over but we have known he was special for a long time." Danny felt his dad's hand on his shoulder. He had never been prouder of his father than right now.

"And it doesn't bother you?" David asked, his voice questioning and harsh.

"Of course it bothers us in that his life will be a bit more difficult but the way Jordan is with Danny, the happiness your son brings into his life more than makes up for it. We had almost lost Danny when he met Jordan. Have you watched them together? Have you seen how they care for each other?"

"But, but...........," David searched for reasons. "Jordan had dates. He went out with girls. He loves girls."

Griffin's answer startled Jordan's dad. "No sir, he doesn't. Not the way you mean. He did that for you, Mr. Lawrence. He'd do anything to make you proud of him. Anything. All the good grades, all the dates, all the tennis trophies, everything is for you."

David Lawrence sunk heavily onto the sofa, his head in his hands. The boy he thought he had known had become a stranger. He had lost one son, and now he was losing the other. He felt tears well up behind his eyes. A gentle hand touched his arm as a boy struggled to sit gracefully beside him. "May I tell you something about me?" Danny whispered. David nodded his head.

"I was molested when I was little. I told Jordan and it didn't matter. It didn't matter to him. Do you see what I'm saying? He didn't even want to know what the man did. He just said it didn't matter to him, that I was too young to understand. He listened to me. He understood. He loved me in spite of my ......... scars. I hadn't ever told anyone, not even Mama and Daddy." Danny raised his eyes to their strickened faces. "I was hurt and I ran out into the street. That's why I can't walk without these braces. But, Mr. Lawrence, I have scars on the outside, out where everyone can see them. Some people aren't so lucky. Their scars are all on the inside. Those are the scars that never heal. Jordy has scars like that."

Danny pulled himself up and steadied himself. "Mama, Daddy, let's go home now. Mrs. Lawrence, I'll watch my computer and hold my phone. I know he's all right cause.........well, I'd just know if he wasn't. If he......when he calls me, I'll tell you right away. And you too, please." His voice was steady but everyone in the room could tell that Danny Trainor was scared, scared to death that he was losing Jordan.

Claire walked them to their car. "Thank you, Danny. My husband is a good man. He just needs time to think it through, to adjust. We've called the police. They said we have to wait 48 hours. Just pray that he stays safe and that he comes home. If you hear anything.......anything............."

Fran hugged Claire tightly, two mothers whose love for their sons far outweighed any other emotion. Fran, thanking God that she had Danny right here in front of her but praying for Jordan's safety.

Danny settled into the backseat, his cell phone clutched in his hand. "I'll just wait for Jordy to call," he mumbled. "I'll wait by the computer. It's all I have."

"48 hours," David made it sound like a curse. "He could be hell and gone in 48 hours. I don't even know where to begin to look." He strode toward the backdoor. "C'mon Griffin. We'll call your mom from the truck. Claire, I'm going to that mall. I have to do something. If he calls........................"

She watched as her husband's long strides covered the ground and as the big Dodge truck screamed off into the morning light. 'He's been missing for 7 hours,' she thought. 'Not a lot of time but all the time in the world. Jordan, where are you?'

Jordan sat huddled in corner booth of the Wendy's where the bus had dropped him off. No particular reason he had gotten off here. He didn't want to be here. He didn't know where to go. He had no father, no home. He missed his Mama. He couldn't go to Danny. He wasn't hungry but he got a bowl of chili and a frosty all the same. He checked his wallet. $143.........that wouldn't get him too far but he didn't know where to go anyway. If he was a Goddamn queer like his daddy said then he guessed maybe all he was good for was that.

"You can't stay here all night, son."

Jordan's sleepy eyes jerked up and he saw one of the Wendy's workers looking at him. "Yes, oh, okay," he mumbled, gathered his backpack and his jacket and wandered out the door, into the night. The man in the blue and white striped uniform watched sadly. 'Another lost kid,' he said to himself.

Jordan stumbled as he walked down the sidewalk. Usually so confident, so sure of himself, all alone wasn't the same. If he could just talk to Danny....... His hand tightened around the cell phone in his pocket....his lifeline. He needed a place to lie down.......a place to sleep. Everything would make sense in the morning light.

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