Paradise Lost and Found, Part 4
Posted on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 @ 2:40am by Unawakened Devon Spencer
Edited on on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 @ 7:23am
Location: Newport News, Virginia
Timeline: Monday, 15 March 2010
Tags: Devon, Dev, Deo, Spencer, Liv, Jones
Previous: Crash and Burnout
Devon ached to vault the hood of his car and launch into Bobbie’s arms but he could only bring himself to stand still and quiet as Bobbie made his peace offering. “Yeah, I’d like that” He smiled with relief.
Bobbie turned his attention to Liv and held up his bags. “I brought plenty for everybody if you want to join us.”
“Given the amount of food Deo has been putting away, I highly doubt that. Besides, I have a lab to prepare for as well as a Human Sexuality class assignment to do. I’ll get something inside, but thanks. Bye, boys!” She smiled and made her way inside, leaving the boys in awkward silence.
“Do you want to go inside?” Bobbie gestured.
“NO!” Devon stiffened, remembering his claustrophobic reaction of only a short while ago. He caught his outburst with an awkward smile and gestured for Bobbie to follow. “I know a place we can go, come on.”
They walked just under a hundred yards to the end of the street and from there along an overgrown path into the nearby woods. “This is my family’s property,” Devon called back over his shoulder as they walked. “Follow this path about a half mile to a fallen log over Crystal Spring. Cross that and then take the path straight on for another half mile. My house is on the other side of the woods. It’s a big ranch house on a hill, you can’t miss it. Anyway, this is the way I take to get back and forth between my house and Liv’s.”
“Sweet,” Bobbie ducked under low-hanging branches and passed as Devon pushed thick bushes from their path. They trudged a short distance farther before stepping into sheltered woods.
The sounds of the civilization gave way to the chirping of birds enjoying the springtime weather. The scent of earth and green growing things leant an air of peacefulness to the surroundings. The leafy canopy overhead cast the land in cool shadow with points of sunlight shining through. Dry leaves crunched underfoot as they walked until they pushed through a stand of tall scrub. Bobbie stepped through into a clearing before an enormous oak tree.
It had to have been the largest and oldest tree in the neighborhood with a massive trunk and thick branches towering high above. Quite to Bobbie’s surprise, he saw a tree fort in the branches of that colossal tree. The base of the fort rested on the sturdiest branches, supporting a central structure with a deck that ringed the trunk.
The central structure was a split-level design with ropes and ladders leading to observation platforms that faced in the cardinal directions, providing a full view of the surrounding woods. Bobbie imagined children swinging between the branches like Tarzan, battling with toy lightsabers like Luke Skywalker and pretending to confront the Emperor and Darth Vader in the throne room of the infamous Death Star.
The planks of the fort looked weathered but sturdy with a rope guard rail around the edge of the platform. The fort stood in full view now but once spring leaves grew in Bobbie felt certain that the fort would be concealed from view save from directly below. He watched with pleasure as Devon climbed the trunk with the skill of a wilderness adventurer, pushing through a trap door in the floor of the deck overhead. A moment later he tossed down a knotted rope and reached for the bags.
“Here, let me take that.”
Bobbie gave over his burden and demonstrated his navy SEAL athleticism by climbing the rope with ease. Soon he stood on the deck admiring the little wooden fortress. “This is amazing!” He voiced his excitement. “I grew up on bases and always wanted a treehouse.”
“I built it,” Devon ducked modestly, “Well, with Liv’s help. We used to come here all the time when we were little. I haven’t been here in years. Here, let me get the door.”
Devon pushed inside to open shutters and let in light and fresh air. An old leather couch rested against one wall while a single mattress and box spring rested in a box on the floor. Devon pulled a folding table down from the wall and behind it was a shelf stacked with old books, toys, hand crank lanterns, and flashlights. He brushed off a thick coat of dust and sat the bags on the table, “Sorry, the place is a little dirty.”
“I don’t care,” Bobbie fell back on the couch and hooked his ankles, resting his head in his hands. His shirt rode up his belly, giving Devon a tantalizing view. He lidded his eyes with a come-hither smile and reached, “come here.”
The artist settled on the floor next to the couch, still uneasy after what happened earlier. He leaned into Bobbie’s touch with a shiver of deep longing. He peered from under his lashes, opened his mouth. Words spilled out from both of them at once.
“I was a dick–”
They laughed, “Me first,” Devon insisted. “Bobbie, I pushed way too hard earlier. I just–I needed to think about anything else but what happened this past week. The more you pushed for me to take it easy, the more it reminded me of how sick I was and I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t think about how that scared you. You were just trying to help, I snapped at you, and I’m sorry.”
“I acted like your doctor, not your boyfriend. I put getting you better ahead of being there for you. I treated you like a child, not as a friend or my lover. I’m so sorry, Deo. I didn’t mean to treat you with such disrespect.” He squeezed Devon’s hand.
“I pushed you into it, Bobbie.” Devon shushed him. “You were right, I needed to slow down. I was out of control.”
“I could’ve handled it better, Deo.” Bobbie shook his head. “I lost my temper when I couldn’t reach you. I panicked, I was afraid you might–” he choked on his emotion on his next words. “I was terrified you might kill yourself, like Matt.”
“Oh, god,” Devon climbed onto his knees to hug Bobbie. “I’m so sorry, Bobbie. I can’t promise that I’ll always catch when I’m doing something stupid in the future but I can promise to try. I can also promise this.” He raised Bobbie’s chin and looked deeply into his eyes. “I promise you with all my heart that I will never, ever, willfully and intentionally commit suicide. I’ve been there. There was a time when I hurt so badly inside that I wanted to die but eventually, I got sick of feeling it and pushed away from it. I know how much you love your brother. I know how much he hurt you but Bobbie, I’m not Matt. I could never do that to you.”
Bobbie swept up and hugged Devon with desperate love. “God, how I love you!”
“I love you too!” Devon rocked with him.
“I have a promise to make to you.” Bobbie drew back and caressed Deo’s cheek with loving tenderness. “I promise to be your lover, not your doctor.”
“Don’t hate me but what does that mean?” Deo ducked sheepishly.
“A doctor can’t become emotionally involved with his patient without compromising his objectivity. It means I can’t be objective where you’re concerned anymore. It means no more holding back. It means that I’ll be the overwrought idiot the doctor sends out of the room so he can concentrate. It means I love you wholly and completely.”
Devon smiled, “I kind of like that. I can’t be objective about you either. When I thought you left me….” He averted his gaze and his voice softened with vulnerability. “Let’s just say I gave Liv good reason to think I was an idiot.”
“Deo, I won’t abandon you.” Bobbie lifted his chin. “I promise you, no matter how pissed I might get, I will always come back to sit down and work things out.”
“I make that same promise to you.” They touched foreheads. “God, but we are a pair, aren’t we?”
“Yeah,” Bobbie smiled. “Harvey said that we were like watching a plane crash in slow motion, chairs flying, kind of beautiful in a way.”
Devon laughed, “That’s where you went? I should be worried that you turned to Harvey for relationship advice.”
“He has his moments.” Bobbie nuzzled him sweetly.
“I have Liv but yeah, she doesn’t know any more than I do. I think the best she could do was roll her eyes and help me stop my nose from bleeding.”
“We need better advisors.” Bobbie chuckled.
“Nah, as weird as they are, I can’t imagine having better friends. Don’t tell Harvey I said that. I’m still pissed about what he did to Mom.” Devon ventured meekly. “Are we good now?”
“Yeah, I think we are.” Bobbie smelled his lover’s hair and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Good,” Devon admitted. “‘Cause I’m really, really hungry.”
Bobbie laughed. “We should’ve eaten first.”
-To be continued-