When we got home from the Brewster’s, my father received a phone call from Bernie. He explained that he had been in meetings all day with the city attorney’s office concerning my case. The internal affair’s investigation had been very critical of Lieutenant Shay’s behavior towards me. He said that they also went back and reviewed previous cases and determined that he exhibited a history of discrimination against gay and lesbian offenders.
As a result, he was demoted to sergeant and ordered to undergo sensitivity classes. Bernie said he stormed out of the meeting, cursing loudly. The police chief immediately suspended him for ten days.
He asked my father if I wanted to pursue a lawsuit that had been filed. My father and I discussed it, and I decided that I just wanted the matter to go away. My life was beginning to return to normal, and I didn’t want to go through years of court procedures. My father called Bernie, and he agreed with our decision.
It was a week later when I headed downstairs to breakfast. Jason was sitting at the counter grinning. “Hey Ass..” He stopped when my mother shot him an angry look. She placed a plate in front of him, and he began to eat hungrily.
“I swear,” my mother commented. “I’m going to have to call your mother and tell her to feed you more often.”
“No. Mrs. White,” he said with a mouthful of food. “I’ve already eaten breakfast, but this is good, too.” My mother walked away, shaking her head.
After eating, we got in his car and headed over to Chris’s. Even though I now had my car back, Jason still insisted on driving. He said it was more fun for all of us to ride together. We were quickly becoming the Three Musketeers.
When we entered the building, Jason said he had to go speak to a teacher about an assignment. After he scurried down the hallway, Chris grabbed my arm and led me into a boy’s restroom. After checking to make sure we were alone, he pushed me against the wall and kissed me.
“I’ve been wanting to do this all morning,” he said.
“Mmmmmmmm,” I moaned into his mouth.
Suddenly the door opened, and we jumped apart. Two younger boys entered and saw us facing each other very closely.
“It’s all right,” one of the boys whispered. He then kissed his friend. They looked over at us and blushed. After a quick wave, they disappeared out the door, leaving us amazed at what we had just witnessed.
“I guess we’re not the only gay couple in school,” laughed Chris. “Did you know them?”
“Nope,” I replied. “I’ve never seen them before.” We kissed again and then headed for our first period classes.
First and second period went well. Students were beginning to talk to me again. A girl even scooted her chair over and asked me to help her with a literature assignment. Before the end of the period, two more students, a boy and a girl, joined us.
When I went to third period, Sly and Ernest were talking outside the door to Stephanie. It was her first day back after being suspended. They were huddled together and whispering so no one could hear them. They glared at me when I entered, but said nothing because Charles was behind me. Stephanie looked back and sneered when she took her seat.
About ten minutes before the end of class, Sly came to the door and asked to speak to his sister. The teacher gave her permission to see him. About thirty seconds later, Stephanie returned to her desk, retrieved her books and left the class without saying a word. The teacher called out and asked her where she was going, but Stephanie ignored her.
When the bell rang, I headed to the cafeteria to eat lunch with Chris, Jason and Cynthia. When I approached, I noticed a large crowd gathered in the hallway. I assumed that there was probably a fight, and they were trying to watch. As I got closer, I was able to make out some of their conversations.
“Someone got stabbed.”
“I heard there was blood everywhere.”
“Sammy went in and found him.”
“Someone said it was Jason Miller.”
I pushed my way past the horde of students. Several tried to push me back, but I was determined to get to the front. Everyone was trying to peer into the boys’ restroom, the one where Chris and I had kissed earlier in the morning.
After I made my way to the front, a security guard had his arms out, blocking anyone from going in. I tried to peer around him, but I couldn’t see anything that was going on.
“Let me in, please!” I pleaded. “My friend is in there. I have to see him.”
“Sorry, Kid,” he said sternly. “No one is allowed in.”
I saw students behind me begin to move and make a path for paramedics to enter with a stretcher. When the guard stepped aside, I rushed in before he could stop me.
When I entered the small room, there were a number of people bending down and attending to someone lying on the floor. A pool of red, thick blood covered the floor. The school nurse stood when the paramedics walked in. She had blood all over her white uniform.
When people stepped aside, I looked down and saw Jason lying on the floor. Someone had a towel pressed to his stomach. It was soaked with blood.
“JASON!” I screamed. I rushed forward, but several people stopped me from approaching him. Mrs. Cox grabbed me and led me to the side.
“Let them work on him, Taylor!” she shouted. “You’re in the way!” She held me as I watched them rip open his shirt. When they removed the towel, I saw a deep gash with blood pouring from his chest. My legs weakened from under me, and I slowly fell to the ground. Mrs. Cox continued to hold on to me.
Medics were yelling to one another, attempting to slow the bleeding. I looked into Jason’s face and he looked pale. His eyes were closed, and his body was listless. After several minutes, they placed him on the stretcher and rushed him out of the room. I looked around at the horrific site in front of me. There was a large pool of blood. The bloody towel and Jason’s cut shirt were still lying on the floor.
“Come on, Taylor.” Mrs. Cox was trying to pull me to my feet. She held me tightly as we walked out of the restroom. Most of the students had dispersed, but I looked across the hall and saw Leon, Jamie and Charles standing against the wall. They looked at me and nodded before walking away. A teacher approached, grabbed my other arm and helped Mrs. Cox take me to her office.
“Let me try and contact your father,” she said. “You can go with me to the hospital.” I sat numbly in the chair listening to their conversation. She kept trying to assure my father that I was not hurt.
“Taylor!” Chris came running in and knelt down in front of me. “God, are you all right?” I buried my head into his shoulder and started crying.
“They killed him, Chris!” I sobbed. “They killed him! Why? He never hurt anyone.”
Chris continued to hold me. I became aware of another pair of arms around me. I looked up and saw the tear-stained face of Cynthia. All three of us were clutching desperately at one another.
“I’ve got to be strong,” I said, pushing Chris back. “Jason needs me and I have to be strong for him.” I wiped away my tears and pulled myself together.
The police arrived and questioned Mrs. Cox. They then interviewed me. I told them what I witnessed during third period when Sly came into the room and got Stephanie. I told them how she later grabbed her books and rushed from the room.
“We already have warrants out for their arrest,” said one of the officers. “Jason was able to tell the nurse who did it.”
I can’t explain the rush of anger that swept over me. It soon was replaced by guilt. I knew that I was the reason for Jason being hurt. If I had not tried to have sex with him, then he would never have broken up with Stephanie. Sly and Ernest would not have sought revenge on him. His life was now in danger because of me.
After the police finished questioning us, they told us we could follow them to the hospital. Mrs. Cox had contacted Chris and Cynthia’s parents and explained what happened. She got their approval to go with me to the hospital.
When we arrived, my father was pacing back and forth outside the emergency entrance. He rushed up and hugged me. We then entered the hospital emergency ward. A nurse escorted us to a private room off from the main waiting room. We were the first to arrive. We sat quietly waiting for word of Jason’s condition.
A half hour later, Jason’s mother and father entered. I got up and rushed into Mrs. Miller’s arms. “I’m sorry,” I cried. She pulled me back and looked into my eyes.
“This is not your fault, Taylor,” she assured me. “This is the act of two very hateful boys. Don’t you blame yourself. It’s not what Jason would want.” I nodded, but it was hard for me not to find fault with what had happened.
Within an hour, the room was filled to capacity. Many of Jason’s family had arrived and were trying to comfort each other. Bernie, Thomas, Mrs. Mason and her husband arrived. Cynthia’s father arrived and led everyone in prayer. He sat beside Jason’s mother, and I saw them quietly praying together several times.
Students started to arrive after school, but the hospital personnel would not let them into the room where we were. I looked out the door once and the emergency waiting room was filled. Several of our teachers were walking around trying to console students.
Two hours after we arrived, a doctor came into the room and asked to speak to Jason’s parents. He led them away while the rest of us waited anxiously for their return. They came back in about thirty minutes later with both their faces stained with tears. I stopped breathing as I waited for them to announce bad news.
“He’s going to be all right.” Jason’s father said. You could hear a collective sigh as everyone breathed with relief. Chris grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly.
“He just got out of surgery,” he continued. “The knife entered his large intestine, but it didn’t damage any major organs. The doctor said he was very lucky. It missed his liver by a quarter of an inch.”
Everyone began hugging one another. Chris leaned in and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. I looked over and saw my father and Bernie smiling at us. Mrs. Miller walked over and stood before me.
“The first thing Jason asked,” she announced, “was if you were hurt.” I stood up and hugged her. “He was worried about you.”
“Is he really going to be all right?” I asked. I knew what they had told everyone; however, I still wasn’t able to convince myself after what I had witnessed earlier.
“It will take some time,” she assured me, “but he’ll be good as new in a few months.”
She reached down and took my hands. “The doctors say he’s restless because he’s worried about you. They think he will rest better if he sees for himself that you aren‘t hurt. Come with me.”
She took my hand and led me out of the room to another door. When we entered, she walked over to a doctor and pointed me out to him. He escorted us to a recovery room. The room was dark, but I saw Jason lying on a bed. He had tubes running into his body, and machines were monitoring his vital signs.
“Go on, Dear.” Mrs. Miller pushed me over to the side of the bed. I reached down, took Jason’s hand, and squeezed it. He weakly squeezed back before slowly opening his eyes.
“Hey, Asswipe,” he mumbled. “You’re safe.” He squeezed my hand again. I pushed back the hair from his forehead and then kissed him.
“I love you,” I said softly into his ear.
“I know,” he replied weakly. He looked into my eyes and then drifted peacefully off to sleep.
When I went back out to the waiting room, many of the students had left. After being told that Jason’s condition was stable, they started to drift out. Jason’s parents, my father, Bernie, Thomas, Chris, Cynthia and I went out to get a bite to eat. It had been a long day and we were beginning to get hungry.
Bernie suggested a Chinese restaurant where he and Thomas knew the owner. He called ahead, and they had a table prepared for us when we arrived. Chris sat beside me and held my hand the whole time. Cynthia sat on my other side with a worried look on her face.
“He’s going to be all right,” I said after a while.
“I know,” she said tearfully. “I was so worried. I was afraid we were going to lose him.”
I looked at her and grinned. “You like him, don’t you?”
“What are you talking about?” She replied as her face began to turn red.
“You do!” I squealed.
“Shut up,” she said sadly. “What would he ever see in me?”
“He hasn’t said anything yet?”
“About what?” She looked up at me questioningly.
“He wants to ask you out,” I told her. “He asked me last week if he thought you’d go out with him.”
I watched as her went from sadness to utter joy. She started smiling widely. “Are you serious?”
“He acted like I was your father,” I replied. “He wanted my permission.” I held her hand and started laughing. “I told him to go for it. I’m surprised he hasn’t asked you out by now.”
Cynthia’s mood changed after that. She became livelier and joined in our conversations. When Mrs. Miller went to the bathroom, she asked her to accompany her. They returned chatting like old friends. I was happy that Cynthia had found the right guy. No one was more perfect than my Jason. I guess I should have been jealous, but I wasn’t.
When we returned to the hospital, the waiting room was a chaotic scene. There were a number of police swarming about. We didn’t know what could have happened in the short hour we were gone.
When we entered, I immediately saw Mr. Shays. He was stomping around the waiting room, cursing loudly. Everyone was trying to avoid him.
“Mother Fuckers!” I heard him shout. “If I find out who did this, I’m going to shoot their asses.” Stephanie walked up to calm him, but he just pushed her aside.
“Where are the detectives?” he shouted. “Where’s Murphy?” He paced around the room, shoving people aside. Suddenly, his eyes focused on me and he stormed over angrily.
“You son of a bitch!” He grabbed me around the neck and started strangling me. “It’s all your fucking fault, you faggot!”
Suddenly, I saw a flash of white before my eyes. Shays dropped his hands and stood staring at me. It was like watching a building implode. The dynamite detonates and it takes seconds before the building begins to collapse.
That is what happened when my father hit Shays in the face with his cast. He stood for a second staring blankly, and then he fell straight back. He was knocked out cold.
Several officers emerged and rolled Shays over on his stomach. They handcuffed him and sat him up. He looked around dumbfounded. He still hadn’t realized what had happened to him.
The police took him outside and put him in a patrol car. Stephanie and her mother followed them out. Before leaving, Stephanie stopped and looked angrily at me.
The police chief walked over and asked if I was all right. I assured him I wasn’t hurt. He apologized for Shays behavior, and told us that Shays would be terminated from the force. His assault on me had violated the terms of his probation. He also said he was looking at some jail time.
I looked around the room for my father. He was sitting alone on a sofa. I walked over and sat down beside him. “Thanks,” I said appreciatively.
“No one is going to touch my son,” he said angrily. He became puzzled when I started laughing. I stood up and reenacted Shays dropping to the ground. Everyone in the room started laughing at my antics. Chris walked up and pretended he was my father. After doing it several times, we sat down. Chris nestled into my side and held my hand. I was surprised when my mother sat down beside Chris and put her arm around him.
Bernie came in a few minutes later and explained why Shays had been so upset. Someone had beaten Sly and Ernest earlier in the evening. They were driving home when another car pulled up and blocked them. Four masked guys jumped out of the car. They broke the windows on the Sly’s car and pulled the two out. They then proceeded to ‘beat the shit out of them,’ as the police chief said. According to Sly and Ernest’s statements, they were assaulted by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Snow White.
They had numerous injuries. Sly’s face was beaten almost beyond recognition. Even Mr. Shays had trouble identifying him. Ernest received a broken arm, two fractured ribs and a punctured kidney. They were still running tests, but their injuries were substantial.
I wish I could feel sorry for them, but I can‘t. I felt they deserved what had happened to them. I don’t know who did it, but they had my appreciation. Their brutal attack on Jason merited any punishment they received.
I was also happy that their father was fired from the force. No police department should have brutes like him violating the rights of its citizens. He had bullied his way to a position of power. It was that bullying attitude that finally cost him his job.
Many of our group began to go home. Bernie and Thomas left. Chris reluctantly agreed to let them take him home. I told him it would do no good for him to remain. We snuck off and kissed in the restroom before he left. My father left a short time later. He volunteered to take Cynthia home. I remained behind with Jason’s mother and father.
I dozed off on the couch for a while until someone touching my shoulder awakened me. I looked up to see Leon towering over me. He asked if he could speak to me outside. He put his arm around my shoulder and led me out. We walked into the parking lot where I was met by Jamie, Charles and Jeff.
“Is Jason going to be all right?” Leon asked when we had stopped beside his car. They gathered round as I told them the extent of his injuries, and that he would heal in a few months.
“Sounds good,” responded Leon. “I don’t think the Shays boys can say the same thing.” I started to say something, but I looked down into the backseat and noticed a Mickey Mouse mask. Without saying anything, I bumped fists with Leon, and then Charles, Jamie and Jeff. They then got into their car and pulled off.
Around two o’clock in the morning the doctors came and got us. They said that Jason had a terrible nightmare and was frightened. When we entered the room, he was sitting up and looking around the room wildly.
“No!” he screamed. “Don’t kill me! Oh, God!”
We rushed over to the bed and tried to quiet him down. He was screaming hysterically. His mother and father tried to hold him down so he wouldn’t pull out the tubes that were running into his body. The doctor order a sedative, but he kept trying to fight it. He continued to relive the incident in the bathroom.
Unable to get him to settle down, I climbed into bed and lay down beside him. He struggled at first; but when he realized it was me, he calmed down. I wrapped my arm around him and held him, whispering in his ear that everything would be all right.
His mother and father continued to rub his arms and talk soothingly to him. After several minutes, he became calmer and his breathing slowed. I could feel his body relax into mine as he fell asleep.
Nurses came in during the night to check on Jason. They kept asking if I wanted to get up, but I told them I would rather stay with him. His mother and father had returned to the waiting area so they could get some sleep. Jason never stirred again the rest of the night.
When I awoke in the morning, I was in a lot of pain. I hadn‘t moved all night for fear of waking Jason. A doctor and nurse helped me out of the bed, and they watched as I limped out of the room.
When I entered the waiting room, I saw Mrs. Shays sitting quietly by herself in a corner. I felt sorry for her. She appeared to be a very timid woman. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her to live with a bullish husband and two sons. I wanted to go over and talk to her, but I decided that it would be best that I didn’t. For all I knew, she may have hated me as much as the rest of her family.
I looked around and saw my father sitting with Jason’s parents. They asked me how he had slept. I told them that he didn’t have any more nightmares. After thanking me for staying with Jason, my father decided that I should go home and get some sleep.
I didn’t refuse. It had been a very harrowing night, and I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.