"You sure, you wanna do this?"
Holden just nodded excitedly, blue eyes wide open and sparkling.
"You wanna go back to school? By choice?"
"Sean, I will be on the other side of the desk. And by the way, I loved going to high school and college."
"Wha-", he threw a mischievous grin at Sean. The other man smirked and stepped back a bit, teasing him with his blue eyes, all muscles tensed... ready to jump. And the hunt began. Around the kitchen table, out on the terrace, round the wooden sculpture at the pool – Holden almost slipped and fell into the water here – and back into the house. The quarterback had no chance. He was quick, yes. But Holden was way more agile. He finally pinned Sean on the couch in the living area, both were panting for air.
"See... the geek got ya, football pro!"
Sean forced him into a breathless kiss. "Yeah, you got me."
A few days later Holden sat in the back seat of the office's limousine and tried to fight the nervousness down. It was his 'first school day'. He chuckled at that thought but still bit his lower lip at the same time.
"You will do great sir, I'm sure."
He smiled at Redmond. He loved his driver, always calm, always in a good mood, one heck of a reliable man.
"When shall I pick you up later, sir? Or will you call me then?"
"No Redmond, you don't need to. I'll take a cab. Go home after dropping me off."
"Alright sir. Thank you."
Holden looked out of the window. He really would do this. Would go back to high school, as a tutor. He had applied for leading this elective course in Architecture... wanted to try something new – beside his work. And it would be new. A junior class, 11th grade, 14 teenagers.. he was so nervous!
Arriving at the school he found a note in his tray to have a talk with the principle before the lesson. He checked his gray three-piece suit on the way to her office. One last deep breath and he knocked at her door.
"Ah Mr. Wilson, have a seat. Again, welcome to our school." Mrs. Brown was about 50 years old, an elegant appearance, some gray strands in her otherwise brunette hair made her look very distinguished. She shook his hand with a warm smile.
"Thank you ma'am, I'm very happy to be here. Ehm... I hope everything's ok?"
She looked at him with questioning eyes.
"Because of the note... you wanted to talk to me."
"Ohhh, don't worry. I just wanted to introduce you to your new class myself... always do that with new staff."
Holden chuckled and looked down on his knees. He was staff now... 'Now that is different!'
She smiled at him. "According to your résumé it's been a while since you've been 'staff', right?"
"Yes. I'm fine with it though, don't worry."
"Ok then, let's go. Class is waiting."
He followed his new boss through the hallway. Pupils pointed at him here and there... "Oh look, must be the new one." ... "Yeah, cute." But he was too nervous to hear it, walked through what felt like a tunnel. Until they finally arrived at the classroom.
"Kids, this is your new tutor Mr. Wilson. I think you're lucky to have him for this course. He's a renowned architect and leads the number one estate agency in town."
Holden fought against the blushing and for once he won. 'We'll see, if they're lucky!' He slightly smiled at his new class. One girl was tilting her head... then her eyes – and mouth – opened wide.
"Wait, you wouldn't be... guys guys... this is Sean Jackson's boyfriend!"
Everybody in the classroom – including Mrs. Brown – stared at him. For a short moment he felt a bit like the latest attraction at the L.A. Zoo. Awkward. He sighed deeply and set up one of his disarming wide grins. That should do it. It always does.
"Yeah, that's right."
"You are..." Mrs. Brown seemed surprised, but then smiled. "Hm... Good luck with your class, Mr. Wilson." One final nod and she left the room.
When the door closed behind her, Holden turned back to the class... his class.
"Soooo... here we are, huh? I ehm... I think we should do a round of introductions first. Well... it seems you know me pretty well already...", he chuckled. "So I want to get to know you now."
He lifted himself up on the desk and looked at the attendance list he got from Mrs. Brown. The kids started giggling.
"What?" Holden looked up and tried to sense what he had done to amuse them.
"Oh, your teachers usually don't sit on the desk?"
"Okay. I think, I'm not an usual teacher then." He had a look around. Nothing but smiling faces – they were fine with it.
Holden had them to introduce themselves and tell why they had chosen this course in particular. He was eager to hear what interested them in architecture. He wanted to plan his lessons around their wishes.
Pretty soon he had a good feeling for the group. Some of the girls seemed to fall for him, even though they knew he was gay. He felt flattered, though he couldn't quite understand it. The boys looked like they would like him too... no problem with the 'gay thing'.
"Good, let's start then. Ladies and gentlemen, planning a house is a very exciting thing..."
When the lesson was over, the class was leaving pretty fast. Holden smiled. 'So this hasn't changed from my days at school. Well, it's almost 6.30, they wanna get home.' He yawned and stretched. 'So do I.'
When he stepped out of the classroom Mrs. Brown was waiting for him. She wanted to know how it went. When he told her, that he loved this class and that they got along very well, she was satisfied. "I wouldn't have expected anything else."
Holden said her goodbye and grabbed for his phone to call a cab, when he heard some squeals outside... turning into laughter and busy chatting. Being curious he followed the noises and stopped by what he saw outside. What... what was Sean doing here? A quick second of confusion... but then he glanced at his partner, sighing at the fact that he was so lucky to have that amazing guy by his side. Sean stood there in front of their black Escalade wearing this jeans Holden loved so much on him. A simple T-shirt and a leather jacket completed the outfit. And he patiently wrote autographs and posed for photos with the kids. Holden came closer.
The class finally recognized him and got quiet. They grinned at him and Sean with a great level of excitement. Holden snorted and rubbed his neck. 'Are they waiting for ... oh man...' He hesitantly went over to Sean and placed a small peck on his mouth, trying to ignore the giggling around them.
"Hey. What are you doing here?"
Sean reached for his waist and pulled him closer, smiling at him. "I'm here to pick you up for dinner. I thought of some steaks at 'The Palm'... what do you think?"
"Sean, not in front of the kids." Holden blushed, half-heartedly trying to get out of Sean's firm grip.
"Come on, bear! They're all about 16, right?" He had a look around. Noises of agreement. "I'm sure they've seen far worse stuff than a guy hugging another guy."
Holden now joined the giggling of his class and winked at Sean.
"'Palm' sounds perfect!"
Once they were in the car, Holden immediately started chatting about how great the kids are and how thirsty for knowledge. He didn't stop until they arrived at the restaurant. Sean was amused by his partner's enthusiasm, nodded here and there, "mhm", "aha", "well"...
"This is gonna be great!"
When Holden arrived in the office the next day there was a huge bouquet of flowers on his secretary's desk.
"Those were delivered this morning, sir."
"Gosh Kathy, did I forget your birthday or something? I'm so sorry!"
Why was she looking at him like that?
"They are for you... sir."
Holden raised his eyebrows. "What?" He never had gotten flowers, ever. So, who...
"There is a card within. Not that I'm curious, sir. But..." Kathy smiled at him.
Holden shook his head, but grinned back at her. "Alright Kathy, let's see who wants us to have some flowers."
He opened the little envelope. On the cover of the card were two little hearts, which brought out some 'awwwws' around him. Gosh, he had nosy staff. He giggled. Inside the card was just one sentence: 'You are always on my mind, your secret admirer', typed.
Holden didn't really know how to react. He was blushing a bit, this was kind of sweet. But strange at the same time, because... well... he had Sean and everything...
'Wait', he grinned at the card.
He took the flowers, rushed into his office and flopped into his chair. Dialing 'home' on his blackberry he sniffed in a full dose of the bouquet.
"Hello...", the man's voice on the other end sounded sleepy.
"Hey honey, it's me. You're a jerk, you really are! Never buy me flowers and now this... they are beautiful! Is it because that school thing went so well? So cute, my secret admirer!" Holden was chuckling.
Three seconds of silence.
"What are you talking about? Flowers? I didn't..."
Holden got up in his chair. "Wait, they're not from you? Ehm... but..." He was confused now.
"Bear, is there something I should know? You get flowers?"
"Sean! What? No! I... I gotta go. Talk to you at home. Love ya." And he ended the call.
'Ok, it's not Sean. But who the hell would send me flowers then? Everybody knows that we're together. We've been on the cover of every freaking tabloid!' Holden suspiciously looked at the card again. He thought about calling the flower service to ask if they can tell him the orderer's name, but decided against it. "Dammit, you got some flowers, that's so bad? Enjoy them!"
Right before lunchtime Kathy called him over the intercom, told him he had a guest. Something was strange in her voice. Was she cooing that announcement? A short knock at the door and she brought Sean in. Holden fell back into his chair. Kathy blinked at him, then at Sean, smiled one of her knowing smiles and left.
"What are you... what is it these days, Sean? Yesterday you picked me up from school. Today you come into my office?"
"Hey, can't a man visit his partner at work?" Sean reacted, a bit too grumpy.
Holden got up and took him in his arms for an extensive cuddle and kissed his neck. "Of course you can. But you never did that. Not after, and definitely not before your coming-out. So, what is it?"
Sean still held Holden tight in his arms and panned the office, searching for something. And his eyes stopped at the desk. "Sooo, you got flowers?"
Holden held Sean an arm's length away now and grinned at his partner, batting his lashes. "Are you jealous?"
"Nooo.. I'm... I'm not! I just don't think someone should send flowers to a guy that is in a relationship with someone... with me. That's all."
"Sean, that is being jealous. Come on. You know I would never cheat on you. And that won't change just because of a couple of flowers!"
"Yes, they are. But they're still just flowers... from a stranger. And you know what, we'll have lunch now and won't think about it anymore, ok?"
"Okay." Sean pouted like a little boy who's mom just told him that she still loves him, though there's a new baby in the house.
"I just have to make one phone call." Holden returned to his desk and dialed a number. Sean started wandering around and had a look at the miniature houses in the room.
"Hey wow... this is our house." Holden nodded and gestured, that he can take off the roof. "Cool! There's even the bed and stuff." He smirked at Holden and his partner rolled his eyes.
He went to the next house when Holden hung up the phone with a sigh and dialed another number. Sean grabbed the roof and lifted it up. It cracked a bit.
"Uhh, can you take off the roof from every model?"
Holden dropped his head. "Sean, do me a favor. Sit down on the couch and put your hands under your sweet ass, please!"
During lunch Holden could convince Sean, that he still loved him, even though he never bought him flowers. "I thought, that's just a 'women thing'!", was his excuse. "Stop apologizing Sean! I love you!" - "Okay!"
For the rest of the day Holden had a smile on his face. Sean was so cute in showing this manly alpha male behavior to the the rest of the world... but if one knew him, he revealed his softer side. A bit insecure. Then again coltish. And serious if needed. That was one of the things Holden loved most. Sean was about everything he could wish for.
A boy to joke around with, a friend to talk to, a partner to love.
One last viewing, then he would have his second lesson at high school and after that he would go home... and make Sean believe that he really loved him.
He arrived a bit later at school. This viewing lasted longer than planned. The class was already waiting or him when he rushed in.
"Sorry guys. That's the thing in this job. You never know when the day ends when you have a viewing."
The teenagers said it was ok and Claire, a sweet Thai, asked what had happened. "I mean, in the broadest sense it has something to do with our course. You were in a house, weren't you?"
Holden laughed. "Yeah, really in the broadest sense. Let's try to compare, I'm in a house too when I'm at home and I wouldn't tell you what happens there..." The kids smirked. "Ehm… anyway."
'Not too much private stuff, they're just your pupils, Holden!'
He just felt so comfortable with those kids. But a story about his jobs would be fine.
"Ok then, just to make it clear... I've never met this client before. She recently had been left by her husband and looked for a new home for herself and her two little boys. So we had a look at the house and suddenly she burst into tears and threw herself into my arms. You can imagine, that was different!" Class was laughing and agreeing. "Well, she told me everything a cheated woman would say about her ex-husband... including a bunch of x-rated words in different languages!" Class was laughing even more.
"You see, that's another perspective of my job. We're kinda psychologists and ministers too. I assured her of how strong she is starting a new life... and that this beautiful house would of course help her with that..." He winked at the kids. "To hell with that guy."
"I think you are great in making people feel or do certain things."
Holden thought about that for a second and decided that the blond boy in the first row was talking about his work. "Well, I sell houses. I would be in the wrong line of business if I couldn't."
He smiled at him and they switched to today's schedule.
Holden opened the door and instantly smelled a delicious mixture of dinner and…
Sean rushed around the corner and welcomed him with a peck on the cheek. "You're late."
Holden looked down on him and grinned. Sean looked so cute wearing that stupid 'Kiss the Chef'-apron he gave him last Christmas. 'Funny that he loves it so much, this thing was nothing but a gag… the real present was a… wait a minute!'
"Sean, where's the leather jacket you got from me last Christmas? Never seen you in it…"
"What? I don't know. You have to close your eyes now!", he replied excitedly.
Holden now sensed that he would ruin some kind of planned moment here with arguing about the jacket and obediently closed his eyes. Sean guided him into the living area and to the dining table.
"Open your eyes!"
"Oh my God, Sean." Holden stared at the table. "I told you it was ok that you never..."
"You were so happy this morning when you thought that the flowers were my idea and…. well… I want you to be happy."
The table was lovingly set with white cloth and their best dishes. And there was a beautiful bouquet of lilies. He smiled at Sean.
"They said they couldn't make them bigger, lilies need their space."
"Them?" Holden turned around and recognized that there were bunches of lilies everywhere. He looked back to Sean with the most adorable smile his partner had ever seen.
"Why so many? I mean, they're beautiful, ehm…"
"One lily for every official day of our relationship. Which means 214… since Valentine's Day."
Holden didn't say anything. He cupped Sean's face with his hands and kissed him. Sean pulled him closer and wrapped his arms around his waist. They melted into a deep and passionate kiss. Until Holden's hungry stomach mumbled for attention.
"Sorry," he put a hand on his tummy, "I ruined it."
They were both giggling and Sean made his way back into the kitchen… but not before stealing another kiss from his partner.
"Naahhh, I'm hungry too. By the time you've changed your clothes dinner's ready."
After enjoying Sean's latest pasta creation they cleaned up the mess in the kitchen together.
Sean headed for the couch and TV, but Holden stopped him and took his hands, entwining his fingers with his own and snuggling against Sean.
"I love you so much, Mr. Sean Jackson!" Bringing out that sentence took some time. He interrupted himself with placing a dozen tiny kisses on Sean's neck, who closed his eyes with a hushed moan.
"Yeah. Let me show you," Holden said with a promising smile and they slowly went upstairs.
The days went by and every morning Holden felt a bit more uncomfortable going to work. This 'flower thing' had assumed odd dimensions. He got a bouquet with a card every day... sometimes with a box of chocolate.
At first Holden tried to tell himself that this would eventually stop all by itself. But he wasn't so sure about that anymore. Stacy, one of the new assistants, brought in the daily bouquet. With milk chocolate this time. He gave the sweets back to her with a weary smile.
"Thank you sir. But, don't you wanna keep it? It's your gift anyway..."
"Well Stacy... I'm more into steaks I guess."
She giggled, murmured another shy 'thank you' and left.
He held the new card in his hand. What will it tell him this time? The notes have become more and more 'direct' over the days. In fact the whole situation was beyond sweet by now... it was creepy. Of course he had called the flower service to get a name, but they told him something about data privacy. Great. Who cared for his privacy? Sean suggested to make a report to the police, but what were they supposed to do. Some freak was sending him flowers and sweets – yeah, what a threat. But to him it was a threat. 'This has to end! Dammit!' He sighed and opened the envelope.
He pulled out a card with two guys in an obvious situation and there was again a typed sentence below.
'I can't wait for the day we finally meet face-to-face and I get my chance to make you feel at home. Love you so much.'
"God!" – Holden shuddered.
He shook the goosebumps off and left his office, of course not before locking that 'thing' away. "I'm off for lunch Kathy." His secretary, earphone between head and shoulder and typing at the same time, looked up and nodded. He was always amazed by her ability to multitask, doing up to five things at the same time and still have an ear for him. 'Sheesh!'
Out of the building he took a deep breath to blank this last hideous card out of his mind and headed to his favorite restaurant for lunch. He was alone today, but that didn't bother him, he would watch the people stroll by... loved doing that.
Miguel, one of the waiters, guided him to his table, it was always the same one, like if they reserved it for him. He never asked for it though, just said one day that he had the best view from here. He ordered a water and had a look at the menu... not that he would need it, he knew every meal inside out.
"Mr. Wilson? Hi!"
Holden looked up, right into a pair of friendly brown eyes. His brain started working immediately. He knew this face. But he met so many people day by day, it was hard to keep up with the names. Then the fog lifted. It was this one boy from his class.
"Nick! Hey... what are you doing here? Why aren't you in school?"
The boy blushed, just a little. "We have the day off and just have your course this afternoon. I came here to finish my homework. Would you... ehm... would you mind if I have a seat?"
Holden smiled politely at the tall blond. "No, feel free."
When the kid had organized all his stuff and sat opposite to Holden, he shyly smiled at his tutor. There was a certain glance in his eyes though. Holden didn't recognize it, some squeaking brakes on the street had caught his attention. "This is a funny coincidence... that we meet here."
Holden turned his head back to him. "Indeed, it is."
Miguel returned with the water and Holden ordered Manicotti filled with Ricotta and Mozzarella.
"You want something too?" the waiter asked Nick.
"Ehm... I... I would take the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. If that's ok for you." He threw a self-conscious look at Holden.
"Well, you have to know if you're hungry or not." the older man laughed.
When their food arrived they were in the middle of a conversation. It was nice but also a bit halting because Holden kept it as trivial and formal as possible. This was no chat with a friend, that boy was one of his pupils after all.
Having finished they paid for the food – separate bills.
"Ok, office is waiting. I see you in the class." Holden got up.
"Yeah, see you. Thanks for the lunch Mr. Wilson."
Later in school Holden nodded at Nick, but didn't pay much more attention to him. For him this was a normal lesson. What he didn't notice was that the boy stared at him the whole time.
'God, I love those huge blue eyes. The lashes. The smile. The movement of those beautiful hands when he describes something. Long elegant fingers, must feel so amazing to have them running over my skin.'
He started giggling at this thought but immediately found back to the adoring seriousness, didn't want to miss any of his tutors words... since he couldn't get enough of that deep husky voice, no matter what Holden was saying.
'He acts like nothing happened today in that restaurant, must be hard for him not to show his feelings. Well of course, the others would be jealous. Especially those stupid girls chasing after him. As if he was into them, tzzz... We had lunch, I'm one step ahead of you bitches. He...'
The beloved voice was calling his name. He slowly returned into the real world.
"Nick, you wanna answer this question?"
He stared at Holden but nothing came out of his mouth.
"Pay attention, Nick. Stop dreaming."
Nick made a rebuke wasn't necessary. But probably well planned for the show they put up for the others. Nobody would think that they love each other.
He conspirativly smiled at Holden...
... who already had forgotten about this while listening to Robert, who obviously knew the right answer.
Of course Holden took the latest card home - to keep Sean up to date.
"Ewww... what the heck! That's disgusting! Man, this 'flower-card-thing' has to come to an end!"
Holden sighed. "Yeah. If I only knew who that guy is, you know? It's freaking me out man."
Sean ran his hand over his partner's back. He knew Holden long enough to see that this was a great strain on him. He tried to hide it at work but couldn't conceal his feelings from Sean. He became more and more sensitive these days and it was hard to distract him from thinking about it too much.
Of course Sean did his best to lighten everything up, but he had to admit that deep in his heart he was really worried about all this.
He thought about one of his former team-mates, who also had to deal with a stalker some years ago. Dan almost went mental because of this woman. She was really sick. Observed him in his house over months, showed up in a wedding gown at the games and even threatened him and his family.
Sean shuddered. He certainly wouldn't tell Holden about this. It wouldn't help at all.
"Come on, let's get some sleep."
Up in the bed he captured Holden in his arms and held him tight. "We'll figure something out, ok?" He kissed the other man. God, he loved those soft lips, could kiss them forever. But for now he just wanted to support his partner. And according to the mild gaze he was throwing at Sean, that was the only thing Holden needed. He ran his fingers through Sean's hair. Another thing the football player adored, his lover's gentle hands... especially when he did this thing with... Sean cleared his throat.
'Wow, wrong timing for thoughts like this, Sean! He needs you now, needs a friend.'
"I love you." Holden drew Sean even closer to his body and placed a long goodnight kiss on his mouth.
"Love ya too."
Some weeks and endless flowers and cards later the class was parted into small groups. They worked in separate rooms. Holden had a look around to see their progress and help if the kids needed him. He happened to be with Claire and Nick, when the girl excused herself and left the room. Holden continued to explain the floor plan, Nick would tell her later. Today the boy seemed very interested in the subject. He was leaning on the table, writing some notes on the plan here and there.
At some point Holden's fingers brushed Nick's hand. It was a normal, obviously unintended movement. Holden didn't even notice that something had 'happened' right now. But Nick completely misinterpreted the short contact.
The boy stared at his tutor with glowing cheeks and stepped up to him. He caught Holden completely off-guard. With a quick move he pressed his body against his tutor and pinned him to the wall. Strong hands grabbed his wrists. The young face came closer, too close. There was a strange glance in his eyes, slightly mental. But Holden couldn't move, his mind still tried to find out what was going on. Suddenly desperate lips kissed him, the pressure almost hurt. Then he felt the boy's tongue trying to force him open. With that his instincts started working again and he managed to sneak out of the tight grip.
All this happened within seconds, but for Holden it felt like an eternity. He completely freaked out and rushed away from the boy.
"Get off me! What...!" His eyes were wide in shock and he was still gasping for air.
Nick made a step towards him and tried to grab Holden's hand again. But the older man stormed out of the room with a bewildered "We need to talk... after the lesson."
"What the fuck was that?" Holden could sense that the boy was confused and close to burst into tears. But he had to say this straight and clear.
"Nick, come on, you're 16 years old! I could be your dad for God's sake! What were you thinking, man! Never do that again! I mean, even... even if I wanted... and be sure, I don't... it's illegal... I would go into jail... you want that?"
Nick stared at him with pleading eyes. "No, of course not. But, I love you, can't think about anything else since I saw you for the first time... you're so handsome and sexy and... I would do you so good..."
"Nick, Nick! Stop it." Holden was almost yelling it... He wanted this awkward conversation to end now... and added in a more quiet voice: "I.. I have someone, you know that. It's not gonna happen... ever!" He sighed and tried to catch the boy's eyes, but he now stared down at his shoes. Holden slightly patted Nick's shoulder. "Sorry man." He had nothing more to say and finally left the boy and his broken heart alone.
Nick sat at home and cried.
'Why is he doing that? Saying... that... that we can't be together. I want him, I only want him. I'm not wrong, know it. Can't have gotten that wrong. The way he smiled at me the first day... every day. That meant something! Meant everything! The soft caress today... his warm hand...'
Someone knocked at his door. "Nick, honey... you're ok?"
"Yeah mom, just tired."
"Ok. Dinner's ready soon."
'Yeah, he just doesn't know how to react because there's this Sean. Dumb football player. Holden needs an intelligent man. Needs me. I want those amazing eyes look at me like they looked at that guy. I deserve it. Deserve to hug and kiss him. All the flowers. He loved getting them, I'm sure. And the date! We had a date for lunch. Eating together and laughing.. And the kiss today. It felt so incredibly good. He loves me! Yeah!'
At the same time Holden and Sean were laying on the couch. The football player fondled his partner's neck. Holden had wrapped his arms around Sean's body and clung to him as tight as possible. He needed his closeness after that incident. Plus the scent and warmth of the other man made him so wonderfully sleepy. Sean has always been the rock in his life since they've become a couple. Whether it was the stress at work or other things like that awkward meeting with his parents the other day. Hadn't talked to them for like 20 years and now they... however... Sean was there, always there.
And he needed him more than ever now. First this flower-card-thing and today... that boy was completely out of it.
Holden closed his eyes and tried to relax. But suddenly his eyes shot open again. He scooted away from his partner and sat down opposite him.
"Oh my God, Sean... it's the kid!"
The football player looked like he had dozed off as well for a moment and didn't get it at all. "What do you mean?"
"The flowers! It's him!" Holden smacked his partner's thigh. "Of course, it started after my first day at school."
"Holden, he's a teenager, how could he afford such expensive flowers every day?"
Holden rolled his eyes. "Sean! I don't know! May be he has rich parents or does a fucking paper route in the morning to buy his tutor fucking flowers! Dammit – I know it's him!"
"Ok bear, calm down. If it's really him, it will end now. You talked to him. And by what you've told me about your discussion, he just has to understand that there is no place for his freaky ass in your life... our life."
"Yeah, you're probably right. I was very clear, he'll come down and all this will stop."
Holden had a wary look around the corner. There was Kathy's desk. No flowers. Good.
"Morning Mr. Wilson!"
He jumped back, almost dropped dead. "Holy! Kathy, don't sneak up on me like that!"
His secretary raised an eyebrow. "I didn't. Was just walking down the corridor. You're ok, sir?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Sooo... there haven't been any flowers delivered this morning?" Holden asked while escorting Kathy to her desk.
"No," she was pouting. "They were always so beautiful. I'm sorry."
Holden sighed in relief. 'Thank God.'
"But there is a small package in your office."
'Dammit! Ok Holden, calm down... that can be anything!'
He left her and sat down at his desk having a look at the little delivery in front of him. This was so ridiculous, he couldn't even open his incoming mail without thinking about that guy, damn.
Inside the package was a note. 'That kiss was awesome!' Holden closed his eyes and buried his face in his hands. What could be wrong with that boy, that all he remembered was that awkward kiss and not his 'don't you ever do that again' speech after that.
Then he saw the present, a book. The latest novel of one of his favorite authors. How could this kid – Sean couldn't dissuade Holden, that it was Nick, and he was right after all, wasn't he – how could he know his taste in books? It won't stop, he knew it now.
Nick had even raised this to a more personal level. Holden couldn't stand it anymore. After this day's lesson he would talk to him again.
Nick was always the last leaving the classroom. Since that 'kiss-incident' Holden left together with the other kids to avoid being alone with him. Today he waited until everyone had gone and stepped up to Nick. He tossed the book on his desk.
"Nick, this has to stop. I don't want any flowers or sweets or... fucking books. I don't want this, you get it kid?"
He could tell by the boy's look that he knew exactly what he was talking about. No more evidence needed.
"But you love these kind of books. You always have one in your ba-..." Nick's eyes glinted a bit.
Holden snapped at him "You sniff around in my bag? What's wrong with you! Do that ever again and I'll call the cops. Leave me alone, you hear me?"
"But I can't. I love you. And I know that you love me... we just have to wait 'til I'm old enough."
Holden took a deep breath. He couldn't believe, that the boy actually meant what he was saying there. He rubbed his face. "God. Nick. Ok... you don't leave me another choice."
Holden sat in Mrs. Brown's office. She wasn't there yet, but her secretary offered him to wait. This wouldn't be easy for him. But he needed as much distance from Nick as possible. And quitting his job as tutor for this course was essential for that. He felt guilty because of the other kids though, he was about to abandon them.
"Mr. Wilson, you wanted to talk to me?"
Holden instantly got up and took the principle's hand. When they sat down he couldn't stop squirming in his seat. "Yeah... ehm... Mrs. Brown, I can't have that class any longer. I'm sorry."
The woman looked distressed. "Mr. Wilson... the kids love you and you told me you love them. Everything is fine. Why do you wanna quit?"
Holden felt uncomfortable. He avoided the eye contact. "You know... ehm... there is this boy in the class. He... he has some kinda crush on me. And this isn't working. It's an awkward tension, you know... every day." He sighed, it was out. At least some of it. He wouldn't tell her any detail about the stalking parts. Looking back up again he could see her thinking.
"We need to talk to him then."
"Mrs. Brown, I already talked to him. It's not... I don't know."
"Mr. Wilson. Holden. I will talk to him. May be as an uninvolved party I get through to him. Of course he won't listen to you. He just sees your eyes 'n' everything and forgets the world around him... at least that's what I assume."
Holden looked at her with an insecure smile.
"Oh and – there's another reason why you should rethink your decision. When you quit, the whole class won't pass the course."
"What? Why? Someone else can finish it with them..."
"Holden, where do you think I could find a substitute teacher? This course is tailor-made for you."
Holden resignedly shook his head and started biting his lower lip. "Ok then, I'll stay. For the other kids. But you really have to talk to him."
"I will, don't worry."
Holden wouldn't have another lesson until next week. Through the following three days no flowers or presents of any sort were delivered.
'Wow, Mrs. Brown's talk with Nick really did it.'
He was preparing the documents for today's viewings when Kathy knocked at the door and came in.
"Mr. Wilson. There is someone from the flower service, I think. But he didn't want to hand out the flowers to anyone but you."
"Oh no! Ehm, ok... Send him in."
At first Holden saw nothing but a huge bouquet of roses, dahlias and marguerites. He already started to convince that guy to take the flowers back, when the supplier took the bouquet down and revealed his face.
"Nick? What the hell are you doing here?"
The boy smiled at him and couldn't wait to show him the card in the flowers. "Hi! See the card here? It says 'I'm sorry'. And I really am. I... I just..."
"Nick, what do you want?"
"I wanted to see you... couldn't wait until Tuesday."
"What? You write on this card that you're sorry and tell me at the same time you wanted to see me? So what are you sorry for? Obviously not for stalking me!"
The boy looked confused. He really didn't understand his behavior as stalking. Unbelievable.
"I wanted to say sorry for that kiss the other day. I know now that may be it was a bit too early for that. We should have a romantic dinner before or something. And we have to get to know each other better. I don't know much about you... Holden."
Nick's eyes sparkled, he obviously enjoyed making plans for them. But Holden's jaw dropped down and he had a hard time to continue breathing.
"First of all, you won't call me by my first name ever again! And beside of that you know more than enough about me. You know that I'm your tutor. You know that I have a partner. And now you get the fuck out of here or I'll have the security take you out. Your choice."
Nick frowned and seemed to calculate his chances... and decided to leave on his own feet. He put the flowers on the couch and looked back to Holden.
"They need water soon... to stay as beautiful as y-... as they are now."
Sean landed on his back and literally saw stars.
John, the team-mate who had tackled him, bent over him and clicked his fingers in front of Sean's face.
"Sean, are you there bro? Hey man, I'm sorry. I thought you saw me coming." He helped Sean up. "What's the matter? You're so vacantly these days. Everything ok with Holden?"
"Yeah, yeah we're fine. Thanks. It's... I'm ok."
"You can tell me, you know that. We're a family."
"I know John."
They continued with the practice routine. But John was right. Sean could hardly concentrate on the training these days. How could a 16 year old boy mess up their life like this? And the police couldn't do anything, since 'nothing bad has happened until now'. Yeah. Thank you.
The ball hit him right in the face. Damn, almost knocked out some of his teeth. He checked if it started bleeding... nope. Good!
"Sorry Sean! You're good? Where's your focus, bro?"
"It left with your last tackle, John. I think, it's the best I cancel the training. The field is obviously too dangerous for me today."
"Ok. But as I said – call me when you wanna talk."
"I will, see ya."
There were always fans around when the team had a practice. So they were today. And even though Sean couldn't finish his training without suffering further injuries he still took his time to write autographs and have a quick chat with the kids. He knew he owed his life as a 'star' only to them. After all things were signed and all pics were taken, he said good-bye. He already was a few yards away when one girl asked him to greet Holden. Sean turned around and smiled. "I will!" He couldn't tell how happy he was that the fans and all the people around him were totally fine with him having a relationship with another guy – he smiled even more.
As he was making his way to the locker room, he saw a blond boy, leaning at the wall right beside the door to the locker room.
"Hey. You're not with the other kids over there...?"
"No, I wanted to talk to you."
Sean tilted his head a bit and smiled. "Okayyy. So..."
"Holden belongs to me. We love each other."
It took the football player a few seconds to realize who was standing in front of him and his smile froze.
"So, you are the freak making our lives miserable with sending him flowers and all that shit? And you dare to show up here? To tell me, that there is no room for me in your life with my boyfriend?"
"Yeah, you know that he wanted to quit his job as tutor... just for me, so the teacher-pupil-thing is out of the way. That's a sign. You just don't wanna accept that."
"No punk. He wanted to quit because he couldn't stand you anymore. He just stayed because of the other kids."
Sean found it hard to stay halfway calm, deep down inside he felt different.
'He's a kid, a very weird kid. Don't let yourself be carried away to do something stupid! It will all come back to you, if you hurt him.'
Then he smiled, 'But it would feel so good right now!'
Sean could literally see the little angel on his right and the devil on his left shoulder.
He decided to go with the angel's advice, but made it very clear to Nick, that there is not a snowball's chance in hell that he would come together with Holden, ever.
"Leave us alone! I promise, I won't be so kind next time I see ya."
Having said that he stormed off to the locker room.
Nick's eyes followed him with a scowling look. This was apparently not what he had wanted to hear.
Nick stepped out of the bus and smelled the ocean. What a nice place to live. He headed for one house without hesitation. He'd been here before… so many times. Getting to know the address was easy. He just followed Holden after the lesson one day.
Due to the class schedule he hadn't seen Holden for over a week now, way too long. Sneaking around the house he had a look through the windows. No one inside… but he knew they were at home. Holden normally didn't work for so long and the Cadillac was parked in front of the house… not that he was eager to see Sean. But they obviously hadn't gone out for dinner or something.
He heard something. Ah, the terrace. He had to be careful now. They mustn't see him slipping into the high grass in front of the glass panes that covered the terrace. Didn't see him, yes. Were still laughing and chatting. But the noise of the ocean, the glass and the distance made it impossible to hear what exactly they were talking about. Plus he could only vaguely see them through the reflective glass. But that was more than enough to boost his imagination.
'I'm sure they lit a fire in the fireplace and are snuggling and kissing... yeah, no talking anymore, they must kiss. It should be me. All the effort I put into making him happy. Sean doesn't do anything for him. He doesn't deserve him… Was that a moan? Fucking glass… can't see a thing. I should be there with him, would kiss his delicious neck until it's red. And then we'd fu… are they going in? Dammit.'
So he still hadn't seen him. He frowned. May be if he would be quick enough, he'd caught a glimpse of him through the window before they went upstairs. He hurried back and his heart froze by what he saw. Sean had pinned Holden against the wall and kissed him wildly… just like he did that day in that classroom. But different from his own experience, right now Holden looked so enamored, so aroused. He even dragged Sean upstairs with this incomparable wide grin on his face.
Nick stood there for a while. It drove him mad. He was breathing heavily. They were gone. Were upstairs. Were fucking. He cried, but hectically wiped the tears away. He didn't want to be weak now. He still could win. All he needed was a plan. And he had a plan.
The initial feeling of sad jealousy turned into concentrated hate.
The next morning Sean started his daily routine with a run at the beach. Holden already had left for work. He had an appointment out of town and since Redmond was sick with a bad cold he decided to drive by himself. They had been joking around if Holden could handle the big Escalade, because he never took it.
Sean grinned, thinking about it. When he returned to their house he had a quick shower. He was about to leave for today's practice when the telephone rang.
He chuckled. 'Sweetie, you don't know where the button for the tank is?' He took the telephone.
"Hey Holden, come on... you're probably 80 miles away and already miss me?"
"Mr. Jackson? This is Dr. Rhodes from the Mission Community Hospital in San Fernando. I'm sorry, but..."
"Mr. Wilson is your partner, right? He had an accident on the Golden State freeway about 45 minutes ago."
Sean's heart felt like being crushed. Holden? Accident? He couldn't breathe… started shivering. The words in his head wouldn't form an appropriate answer.
"Is… is he ok? What happened?" Sean finally asked with a shaking voice.
"Mr. Wilson lost control of the car and it overturned. He has several injuries and we're a bit worried about the fracture in his left arm, but he is ok according to the circumstances. He was lucky that it was a really safe car."
Sean couldn't avoid a deep-drawn sigh. "What about his arm?"
"He's being prepared for surgery right now. So, if you wanna come over…"
"Ok, but you can take your time. He won't be out of the operating room until 11 a.m.. Oh… would you please bring some clothes for him? We had to cut his suit up. Oh and…toiletries, the normal stuff."
After he hung up the phone Sean couldn't think straight at all. All kinds of thoughts rushed through his head. This couldn't be real. Not Holden. The car had been checked last month.
After 5 minutes of sitting on the couch and just trying to breathe he called Kathy to inform her. He had to, so she could take care of his appointments and stuff, but he also knew that she really liked Holden. He had accompanied his partner to his office's annual barbecue last month and had a nice talk with the secretary. She told him that she almost loved Holden like a son. But since he was her boss, Sean had to promise to keep that confidential.
When he called her, Sean could hear that she was shocked, though she tried to control her voice. She asked, if he wants her to call the school to cancel Holden's lesson today or call them himself. Sean hadn't even thought of that.
"Would be nice if you could do that, I'll pack a few things and head to the hospital to be there when he wakes up."
"Ok. Ehm… would you… would you give him my regards? I mean… the regards of his team…"
"Of course I will."
When he had packed Holden's bag, he noticed that he actually had put in some weird stuff. He was way out of his mind right now and obviously couldn't focus.
'A suit, Sean? Come on.' Ok, suits belonged to Holden like heat belongs to Hell, but what was he supposed to do with it in a hospital. So Sean checked the bag again… and decided to leave the coat at home as well.
When the cab arrived that he had ordered before, he had calmed down a bit. Ignoring what the doctor said, he told the driver to hurry up. He just didn't want Holden to be alone any more minute than necessary.
Nick sat in the classroom. He didn't take notice of his classmates, was just thinking about what he did last night. It wasn't quite right, he knew that. But he had to do something. He wanted Holden for himself and there was only one thing between them and their luck – Sean!
'Not any longer...' Nick put on a satisfied smile and thought about the future with his sexy tutor.
'We will avoid showing up in public until I'm old enough, so he is safe. I'm fine with being together with him in that house… a really beautiful home it will be. From what I could see, it's so pretty inside. Well, of course. I'm sure Holden furnished it, so it is pretty. He's just so good in everything. Great teacher, architect…" he chuckled, "… partner, kisser… oh, the sex will be amazing! Sure, he will be a bit sad at the beginning, but I will make him forget Sean in an instant.'
It was Mrs. Brown's voice that ripped him out of his thoughts about the great life that Holden and he would have.
"Kids, you can go home. And this course is canceled until further notice. Ehm... Mr. Wilson... is in hospital."
The class was shocked. They bombarded Mrs. Brown with questions all at once.
"His secretary just told me that he had a car accident and is having surgery right now. She wasn't sure about his condition, but he'll probably stay away for quite some time."
They looked at her with wide eyes. The principal had to smile, just a bit. 'These kids are so concerned. They really like him a lot.'
"Do you know which hospital it is? We could send him a get-well message or something." Nick suggested, seemingly casual. All of them agreed. They didn't know that he was asking for another reason.
"Sorry, I don't know."
The thoughts in Nick's head were racing. He would figure out where Holden was anyway. But what went wrong? Why did he take the car? He only saw Sean driving it, just Sean. Where was Holden's fucking driver? He had spent so much time investigating their daily routine… everything was planned so well…
'What have I done? It shouldn't be him!'
Holden opened his eyes. Where was he? What happened? It felt like his head was about to explode any second. He couldn't breathe. His arm burned like hell... Damn...
The only source of light was a little lamp on his side table. He had a look around. 'Hospital? I'm in a hospital?' Why was it so dark? Another look out of the window confirmed that it was night.
Then he noticed a movement opposite his bed. He couldn't see someone, but he wasn't alone. He turned around to may be find some light switch. God, his arm was screaming.
"Sean? Are you..."
He flopped back into the pillow and looked into... brown eyes.
"Oh no!" He was too tired to freak out, just turned away and closed his eyes again. 'As if the pain is not enough.'
"Mr. Wil- ... Holden... Mr. Wilson... I didn't want something happen to you. I mean..."
Holden looked at him again and squinted his eyes, trying to decipher what the boys just had said with that.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" It was Sean. He just came in with a coffee in his hand. Probably had been sitting at his bed all day. Holden sighed in relief when he saw him.
Nick had no time to turn around, the football player dragged him away from Holden and pressed him against the wall. The impact took all the air off his lungs. He was shaking and stared into Sean's furious eyes.
"What do you mean by saying 'you didn't want'? Answer!" He was yelling.
"I... I thought... I mean... I know that he never takes the Cadillac..."
"You fucking bastard. You manipulated the car? So I would have... You could have killed him!" Sean breathed heavily and tried to get his voice back under control.. and not only that. 'Control yourself Sean, control!' Then he hissed at the kid "Never touch him again, freak! Or any of our property!"
Nick seemed completely absent now. He looked at Holden. "I love you!"
"That's it!" Sean knocked him out with a massive punch.
Holden was shaking. Every bone in his body hurt even more because of that, but he couldn't control it.
"He tried to kill you."
"He almost did kill you! I'll call the cops." Sean rushed out of the room.
Holden looked at Nick, who was still lying on the ground. He was bleeding and the left side of his face would turn into green soon. But Holden felt no pity. 'That sick guy deserves more than that.' He was almost frightened of his own thought, but Sean was right.. that kid could have killed him. For some reason he calmed down. It was over now. A bitter smile appeared on his face – the police finally got what they needed, something happened. So now they would take care of him.
Sean returned with two attendants and had them take Nick into another room until the police would arrive.
Then he carefully sat on the bed and took Holden's hand. "You're ok? Sorry that the first thing you saw was that freak. I shouldn't have left you alone. But the doc told me, that you would sleep at least until…"
"Shh… It's ok honey. You're here now. So tell me… where am I? And what happened? I know I was driving…"
Sean leaned down and kissed him. It was a bit uneasy in the beginning, but then Holden could feel that the rage about that boy slowly fell off of Sean. He put his healthy arm on the football player's back and drew him closer. They stayed like that for a while, just tenderly kissing each other. 'This is better than any medicine,' Holden thought.
A woman shyly cleared her throat. They unwillingly parted and she stepped into the room. It was too dim to really see it, but Holden was sure the young nurse was blushing.
"I'm sorry, didn't want to… ehm… interrupt. But I have to check your vital signs, Mr. Wilson."
"Sure, no problem."
Sean got up to be out of the way. "I'm getting another coffee. You want something too?"
"Yeah, bring me some chocolate. Need sugar now." He looked at the nurse, "I'm allowed to eat it, right?"
She didn't feel addressed at first but then he caught her gaze and raised his eyebrows. "Right?"
"What? Oh. Sure."
Sean left and she started measuring Holden's blood pressure.
"Sorry for making you feel uncomfortable earlier…" Holden looked at the tag on her shirt. "Francesca."
She tilted her head, but then understood what he was talking about. "Oh, the kiss. No, it's absolutely fine with me. I just… you know… where I'm from you don't see that very often… guys kissing and stuff… well you never see it. I guess it's still a difference if you're living in a small town in the countryside or in the city. I think, you're a cute… ehm… a cute couple." She giggled nervously.
"Umm, thank you." Holden smiled. Her shy innocence was kind of sweet.
"You think it's ok, if I ask him for an autograph for my dad? He's a huge fan!"
"It is ok!" said a voice behind them. Sean was back and grinned at her.
"Oh cool!" She sprinted out of the room. The two men looked at each other half astonished, half amused. When she came back she had a sport magazine with Sean on the cover in her hands.
"From the waiting area," she said with a sheepish look. "We usually aren't allowed to take them, but I think, this is an exception and it's ok."
Sean signed it and she left.
"Sooo, the normal life is back, I suppose." Holden tried to laugh, but it turned into a sigh. He looked down on his arm. Several metal rods "grew" out of it and were connected to stabilize whatever was broken in there. He looked like a cyborg. And it hurt. He should have asked Francesca for some painkillers.
Sean sat down on the bed and took his hand.
"Well, first you have to recover and get out of here. And that boy… I'm sure he will be confined to a psychiatric ward or something. We will see. I'll be there, always."
Holden nodded… and fell asleep again with a smile.
The doorbell rang. Holden got up as quick as possible. His bruised ribs gave him a hard time. So did his arm. It was still in plaster, but thank God the cyborg parts had been taken out last week. According to his doc he would have to stay at home for at least another two weeks… and he went up the wall already. Couldn't read any more book or 'sleep a bit'. When he told Sean to get some paperwork from his office so he had something to do, he had to listen to another speech about how important recovery is and that he would do anything to keep Holden away from working.
He actually loved his partner's care, but he had developed into a mother hen.
Holden opened. A woman was halfway down the doorway, but came back now. He didn't know her. She seemed pretty nervous, almost frightened.
"You are Mr. Wilson, right?" She looked on his arm.
"Yes ma'am. Should I know you?"
"I'm…" she sighed deeply. "I'm Nick's mother."
Holden didn't want to give her a reproachful look but couldn't hold it back.
"I know, you have all the right to be angry. But I'm here to apologize on behalf of my son. You know, he was found unfit to plead and is in a psychiatric ward now. I'm so sorry for what happened to you. And his mental illness is no excuse. If I had known what was going on in his mind… but I didn't. He was a normal teenager.. I couldn't…"
Holden looked down and listened to her words.
"Would you… like to join me for a cup of tea?"
She stared at him with a mixture of sadness and relief. "I'd like to, yeah."
He guided her through the house onto the terrace.
"Wow, that is a really beautiful home."
"Thank you." Holden still fought against the discomfort. But she was Nick's mother, not the boy himself. And she obviously was shocked about this whole thing. It wouldn't hurt to talk to her. Maybe it would help him too to get over it.
She left three hours later. Somehow Holden really had found closure after this conversation, but he was exhausted, mentally and physically. It was just about 5p.m., he went upstairs and to bed.
He didn't even wake up when Sean came home and carefully drew him over to have him sleep in his arms. This was the healthiest and deepest sleep since weeks. He felt good in the morning. Sean certainly wouldn't allow him to do anything for work, but he could do something else.
Holden smiled and kissed Sean goodbye. "Have fun at the practice."
When he was sure that Sean was gone, he started planning the schedule for his next lesson at high school.
"You sure, you wanna do this?"
"Yeah Sean, I am going back into that class. I like the job. I love the kids."
"I know you do." Sean smiled at him.
"This is gonna be great!"
~~ The End ~~