“Why are we going there?” asked Kyle when he saw the hospital in the distance.
Donnie responded, “It’s the right thing to do.”
“What do you mean, it’s the right thing to do?”
Donnie looked over at the puzzled look on Kyle’s face. “Let me park first, okay?
Then we’ll talk about it.” He parked the car in the parking garage, and Kyle walked
quietly beside him toward the entrance. He couldn’t understand why Donnie was
insistent on seeing Buddy. To his knowledge, Donnie had never met him, and Kyle,
himself, had only talked to Buddy on a couple of occasions. Besides, he might
resent seeing the son of the man who hit him with his car.
When they entered the lobby, Kyle grabbed Donnie’s arm. “Hold on,” he said as he
stepped around in front of him. “Why do you want to do this?”
“Because you do,” he replied.
Kyle gave him a puzzled look and exclaimed, “What?”
Donnie looked around, and then led Kyle to a cushioned bench against the wall.
After sitting, he turned to Kyle and said, “You’ve got this Buddy guy on your mind.
You told me you haven’t been able to sleep well for two nights.” Kyle nodded his
head. “Besides, he’s one of us. Right now, he probably feels he’s all alone in this
world. Maybe he needs our support.”
Kyle replied, “He has Andre.”
Donnie said, “That’s an army of one. Maybe he needs to know more people are on
his side. You said his own mother has deserted him.”
“I don’t know,” replied Kyle skeptically. “We can’t just walk in there and start
talking to him.”
“Why not?” asked Donnie. “I came up to you in the cafeteria the other day and
started talking to you. Now we’re friends.”
Kyle responded, “What if he doesn’t want friends?”
“Too bad,” said Donnie as he rose and grabbed Kyle’s hand. “What did you say his
room number was?”
Kyle kept staring at Donnie as they rode the elevator to Buddy’s floor. He seemed
so sure that they were doing the right thing. He, however, was worried that Buddy
might tell them to get out of his room when they got there. He knew that if he
were in a similar situation, he wouldn’t want strangers visiting him.
When they exited the elevator, they passed the waiting room. Andre was curled up
on one of the small leather sofas. His coat was balled into a pillow, and his head
was resting on it. He opened his eyes and jumped to his feet when he saw Kyle.
“Hey,” he smiled as he approached. He glanced skeptically at Donnie. “What are
you doing here?”
Kyle looked over at Donnie. “This is his big idea,” he replied. He introduced Donnie
to Andre, and Andre reluctantly shook Donnie’s extended hand.
“Kyle told me about you,” remarked Donnie. Andre quickly glanced over at Kyle.
Donnie laughed and added, “It was all good. Buddy’s lucky to have a friend like
A saddened expression appeared on Andre’s face. “I don’t feel so lucky,” he replied.
“Right now Buddy isn’t even talking to me.” He walked over and sat down on the
sofa. Kyle sat beside him while Donnie pulled up a chair.
Kyle asked worried, “What’s wrong?”
Andre sighed deeply before speaking. “You gotta understand Buddy. He’s had a
rough life. Nothing has ever gone right for him.” He looked at Kyle and blinked
tears from his eyes. “I’m been trying to make him dance, you know, make him
“What?” asked Kyle.
Andre laughed nervously. “Never mind,” he said. “That’s something between me
and Buddy.” He looked sadly at Kyle and tears started to fall onto his cheeks. “This
time I think he’s really given up.” He started to cry and said, “He won’t even talk to
me. He told me last night to get out of his room. I’ve been laying out here all
night.” His head feel onto Kyle’s shoulder as he continued to sob. Kyle looked over
at Donnie. He was surprised to see tears in Donnie’s eyes. Hesitantly, Kyle put his
arms around Andre and held him.
After a minute, Donnie suggested, “Maybe he’ll feel better if Kyle and I visit him.”
Andre wiped his face, gave Donnie a puzzled look and asked, “Are you a friend of
his from school? I don’t remember him telling me about you.”
Donnie smiled nervously and replied, “I’ve never met Buddy.”
“Then why are you here?”
Donnie looked around and then leaned forward. “Okay,” he replied, “This is going
to sound a little crazy, but we’re all gay here, right?” Andre and Kyle nodded their
heads. “And Buddy is gay, too. Right?”
Andre gave Donnie a puzzled look and asked, “What does that have to do with
“We got to stick together,” replied Donnie. “When one of us hurts, we all hurt.”
Andre giggled and said, “You sound like me now. Buddy’s always telling me that
I’m always too optimistic.” Tears welled up in his eyes. “But sometimes you just
got to dance, even when you don’t feel like it.”
“Yeah,” replied Donnie excitedly. Kyle gave them a puzzled look. It was if they
were speaking a language he didn’t understand. “Sometimes you gotta dance.” He
looked worriedly at Andre. “Do you think he’d want to see me and Kyle?”
Andre replied, “He was in a pretty nasty mood last night. I really doubt it.”
“Too bad,” responded Donnie as he stood. “He’s going to.” He held his hand out to
Kyle and helped him to his feet. “Come on.”
Kyle grabbed Donnie’s arm when he started for the door. “Maybe this isn’t a good
“Why?” asked Donnie. “One of our brothers is lying hurt in a hospital bed. He thinks
the world has turned on him. Maybe, just maybe, he needs us.” He grabbed Kyle’s
hand and said, “Let’s go.”
They stopped when they came to Buddy’s hospital room. It was dark inside. Only a
small light over the sink was on. Buddy was lying in a fetal position with his back to
Donnie nodded toward Andre, indicating that he wanted him to go into the room
first. They followed him as Andre lightly tapped Buddy on the shoulder. “Buddy?” he
asked softly. “Are you awake?”
Buddy muttered into this pillow, “Go away, Andre. I told you last night not to come
Tears appeared in Andre’s eyes as he said gently, “I brought some friends to see
Buddy sat up, looked at Kyle and Donnie and screamed, “Get out! All of you, get
out!” Kyle was surprised by his appearance. His eyes were bruised, and he had
lacerations on his forehead and chin.
Andre turned and ran from the room. Kyle hurried from the room to find Andre
weeping in the hallway. “See, I told you,” he cried. “I told you he didn’t want
Kyle took his hand and led him to the waiting area. He sat beside him on the sofa
as Andre wept. Reluctantly, he put his arm around Andre’s back. Andre’s head fell
onto Kyle’s shoulder as he continued to cry.
Meanwhile, in Buddy’s room, Donnie and Buddy stared at each other. Finally,
Buddy asked, “Who the fuck are you? I don’t even know you.”
“I’m your worse nightmare,” responded Donnie angrily, “if you don’t quit acting like
some pissy little drama queen.”
Buddy’s eyes widened, “What? Who the fuck are you? I’m going to call for a nurse,
and have her take you out of here.” Donnie reached down and grabbed the remote
before Buddy could get it.
“Listen,” Donnie responded as he walked over and pulled open the curtains to the
room. “It’s like a dungeon in here.” Buddy squinted his eyes as the sun blinded
him. Donnie walked over and stood before his bed. “Okay, maybe this wasn’t a
good idea, and this whole thing has started badly.”
“Got that right,” muttered Buddy as he tried to sit up in bed. Donnie pulled the
pillow from behind him and fluffed it up before replacing it. Buddy lay back and
stared at Donnie. “Why are you here?”
“Fair question,” replied Donnie. He looked down, smiled and said, “I don’t have a
fucking clue why I’m here. It’s just something I thought I should do.”
Buddy asked, “Are you Kyle’s boyfriend?” From the time he had entered the room
with Kyle, he had assumed that they were perhaps boyfriends. He didn’t
understand why Kyle would have the nerve to bring him to his hospital room.
“No,” laughed Donnie. “We’re just friends. In fact, I only met him a couple of days
ago at school.”
Buddy asked, “You go to our school?” He couldn’t remember ever seeing him in the
“Yeah,” replied Donnie. “You know, it’s funny but I don’t think I’ve ever seen you
“Yeah, well,” responded Buddy. “I keep a low profile. I ain’t got too many friends
there.” He turned his head and pretended to be falling asleep. “Maybe you should
go now. You’ve done what you came here to do.”
“No, I didn’t” replied Donnie adamantly. “I came here to be your friend.”
Buddy looked at Donnie angrily and stated, “I don’t need no friends. Now, why
don’t you leave?”
Donnie laughed and said, “There you go- being a pissy little drama queen again.”
Buddy balled his fists and pointed them at Donnie. “If I wasn’t laying up in this bed,
I’d knock the shit out of you.”
Donnie laughed again. “Just like you did Brad?”
“You mother fucker,” spat Buddy as he tried to pull himself up. “I’ll kill you.”
Donnie put his hand on Buddy’s chest and pushed him back onto the bed. “You
aren’t going to do anything,” he said as he pulled the cover over Buddy’s chest.
“You already said you don’t have too many friends. You can’t go killing off the few
Buddy turned his head away from Donnie. “You’re an annoying mother fucker, you
“Yeah,” laughed Donnie. “But I’m your annoying mother fucker. Get used to it.”
“Fuck you,” muttered Buddy.
Donnie laughed again and replied, “Maybe later.”
* * * * *
After Andre regained his composure, he left and went to the restroom to dry his
face. Kyle considered going to see what was happening inside Buddy’s room. It had
been about ten minutes, and Donnie still hadn’t come out.
He couldn’t figure out why Donnie was so adamant about visiting Buddy. Maybe
Donnie did have the right idea. Do you really have to know someone closely to visit
them when they are hurt? After all, Buddy was a classmate. They had sat beside
each other in class. Even though they weren’t friends, they still shared a same
bond. Donnie was reaching out to Buddy, and he didn’t even know him.
Andre also appeared in need of support. In fact, he seemed much more fragile than
Buddy. Buddy seemed like the person who could take care of himself. What little
Kyle knew of him, he already appeared to be doing that. Andre, on the other hand,
seemed to need someone. He felt that Buddy was probably all that Andre had, and
he could tell there was a strong, brotherly affection between them.
He looked up and smiled when Andre walked back into the room. He appeared
vulnerable as he sat down next to Kyle. Kyle couldn’t resist grabbing his hand and
asking him, “Are you alright?” Andre smiled slightly and nodded his head.
“I’m glad you came today,” he said as he squeezed Kyle’s hand tightly. “I’m so
worried about Buddy, I think I’m going to lose my mind.”
“He’ll be okay,” assured Kyle as he gripped Andre’s hand. He looked at the clock on
the wall. It was almost five o’clock. He needed to call home and inform his parents
where he was. After excusing himself, he walked out into the hall to call his mother.
As he talked to her, he walked past Buddy’s room and peered inside. He was
surprised to see that Donnie had pulled a chair to the side of Buddy’s bed, and they
seemed to be talking. He watched for a few seconds before going back to the
Andre smiled when he entered the room. “Everything okay at home?”
“Yeah,” replied Kyle as he sat down beside him. “I told them where I was. They
said it was okay.” He looked at Andre and asked, “Are you hungry? I told Mom I
was going to eat in the hospital cafeteria.”
Andre shook his head and replied, “I don’t have any money. If you and Donnie
want to go eat, I’ll just wait here.”
“Nonsense,” said Kyle as he stood and grabbed Andre’s hand. “I’ve got enough
money for both of us.” Andre tried to pull away, but Kyle kept a tight grip on his
hand. “Let’s go see if Donnie wants to join us.”
When they entered, Buddy was lying on his bed laughing at something Donnie had
said. Donnie looked at Andre and laughed. “Buddy told me about this freakish little
dance you do,” he said laughingly.
Andre started to say something, but Buddy spoke first. “I told him it’s something
me and you do. I didn’t say it was freakish.”
“Sounds freakish,” laughed Donnie. “Madonna is someone my mother would dance
Kyle looked over at Andre. He could tell he was extremely embarrassed. He
walked over and stood protectively beside Andre. “We’re going downstairs to get
something to eat,” he informed Donnie. “You want to join us?”
Donnie looked at the clock on the wall and asked, “Is it that late already?”
“I called home and Mom said I could stay as late as I want,” replied Kyle. “Do you
want to get something to eat with us?”
“Naw,” replied Donnie. He looked at Buddy and laughed. “They’ll be bringing this
sorry fucker’s dinner soon. I’ll just eat some of his.” Andre’s eyes widened. He
thought for sure that Buddy would say something because Donnie had called him a
He was surprised when Buddy said, “I ordered a hamburger and fries. The fries are
always cold, so you can have them.” He shrugged his shoulders when Donnie
insisted that he’d eat the hamburger instead.
“Come on,” said Kyle as he grabbed Andre’s hand and pulled him from the room.
Buddy and Donnie seemed to be getting along, and he didn’t want to ruin it by
insisting that Donnie join them.
At the cafeteria, Andre insisted he didn’t want anything to eat. He walked over to a
table and sat down while he waited for Kyle. The special of the day was a
barbeque pulled pork sandwich and potato wedges. Kyle ordered two. As he
headed to the cashier, he saw slices of dutch apple pie in a dessert stand. He
placed two on the tray, and then he paid for the meal.
Andre frowned when Kyle placed the plate in front of him. “I told you I didn’t want
“Well, I didn’t want to eat alone,” replied Kyle as he took a bite of the sandwich. He
held it up and remarked, “This isn’t half bad. Try it.” Hesitantly, Andre took a bite.
Soon, he was eating as if it were his last meal.
“Slow down,” laughed Kyle as Andre licked the barbeque sauce from his fingers. He
had a small drop of sauce on the corner of his lips. Kyle quickly looked away when
he felt an urge to lean over and lick it off.
As they ate the apple pie, Kyle asked Andre, “So what is it with you and Buddy?”
Andre spent several minutes telling him about the close relationship they shared.
“I’m all he’s got,” he said. He left out the part about him and Buddy being former
boyfriends. He wanted Kyle to know that Buddy was free to date someone. He
hoped that someone would be Kyle.
“He really likes you, you know,” said Andre as he wiped his mouth with a napkin.
Kyle gave him a puzzled look. “You told me that once before. We hardly know each
“Buddy’s had a crush on you since he saw you in school the first day,” he confessed.
He looked down at the table, and then he looked up timidly and added, “I can see
“This is really insane,” said Kyle. “Why would he have a crush on me?”
“God!” remarked Andre excitedly. “What’s not to like about you?”
Kyle lamented, “Some people don’t think I’m all that great.” He was thinking about
his sister, Brad and other students at school. Kyle took a final bite of his sandwich
and asked Andre, “So, what about you? You have a boyfriend?”
Andre frowned and replied, “I thought I did, but he doesn’t want to be tied down to
just one guy.”
Kyle said, “Sorry.”
“No, it’s okay,” replied Andre. “I’ll just wait for the right guy to come along.” He
looked over sadly at Kyle and thought how lucky Buddy was.
A few minutes later, Andre put his plate on the tray and suggested that they should
return to Buddy’s room. They didn’t say anything on the elevator back. Kyle
seemed deep in thought, and Andre enjoyed just enjoyed looking at him. He
wondered if he had made a mistake by telling Kyle that Buddy liked him.
Donnie and Buddy were arguing when they walked into the room. “Hey!” shouted
Buddy. “You took too big a bite of the hamburger.” Donnie laughed and took
another nibble before handing it to Buddy. Buddy placed the remainder in his
mouth. “Now you can’t have anymore.” They then started to fight over the
remaining French fry. Andre looked over at Kyle and raised an eyebrow.
They sat for another hour talking like old friends. Andre tried to get Buddy to talk
more to Kyle, but he seemed more interested in talking to Donnie. He laughed
uproariously when Kyle described the lettering on Donnie’s car. “It has huge red
letters on the side that say, ‘Buy at Dillon Ford.’
“At least he has a car,” remarked Buddy as he attempted to defend Donnie.
“Yeah,” laughed Donnie. “That’s what I told his ass.”
At seven thirty-five, Donnie looked at his watch and announced that he had to get
home and finish his homework assignments. He asked Andre if he’d like a ride, but
Andre insisted he could walk. After some prodding by Buddy, he finally consented
into letting Donnie drive him home.
“I can’t wait until you return to school,” remarked Donnie as he looked down at
Buddy. “We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Kyle glanced quickly over at Andre. He had told him over dinner that Buddy
planned to drop out of school. “We’ll see,” he replied. After saying goodbye, the
three boys headed out to the parking garage. Andre doubled over with laughter
when he saw Donnie’s car.
He looked over at Kyle and said, “You weren’t lying.”
“Shut up,” laughed Donnie, “or I’ll make you walk home.” Andre climbed into the
back seat. After giving Donnie directions to his house, they pulled away. Andre
looked at the back of Kyle’s head and sighed.
Go to Chapter 13