Danny skipped classes the next day, he could barely get himself out of bed. How Tyler had treated him after they had sex made him feel emotionally broken, and physically sick to his stomach. He’d started shaking about halfway back to his dorm, and he hadn’t stopped until he fell asleep much, much later.
When his phone rang it sent his stomach into his throat, waking him in a bad part of his sleep cycle. He answered it by reflex alone, still half asleep “Um, hi?”
“Hey Danny, how are… Are you still in bed? Are you sick?”
He sighed and sat up, regretting answering it, but it was too late now. “Yeah, ma, I guess. I’m not feeling good today, I think I mighta caught something going around.”
“Do you need… I hate this distance, I can’t pick up meds and drop them off for you.” His mother sounded frustrated. “Is there anything you need? I can mail stuff, if you need it, or your dad and I can come down there next weekend, this one is shot, your dad has a work thing.”
“I mean, I have medicine, it’s okay. But, I’m never gonna say no to snacks and stuff like that, if you’re sending.”
“Anything on your list in particular?”
“Oatmeal creme pies? Flamin cheetos? Or maybe a bunch of little bags of assorted chips? The stuff at the canteen is so expensive here.”
“I’m writing it down, but it sounds like the usual. What am I getting for Tyler?”
His mother’s words felt like a physical kick to his gut. “Nothing.”
There was a brief pause. “Nothing? Did something happen?”
“Tyler… No, nothing. It’s fine. He said…”
His mother sighed. “Danny, I know it’s hard on you both, the distance and the new environment, but don’t forget he’s lost everything else, we’re all he has now.”
Danny sighed. “I know,” he growled, trying not to break down into tears again. “I know, but he’s the one who…” He choked up a bit, then swallowed it down. “We got into a fight last night, he said he doesn’t want my handouts.”
Another pause on his mom’s side, then a long, slow exhale. “Tell me about it?”
“Mom, what can you do there that I can’t do here? I don’t know how you could help with this.”
She clicked her tongue. “I’m a mother, Danny. I’ve known Tyler since forever now, right? Maybe he needs to talk to someone who isn’t you? Maybe he needs a mother right now? I can’t imagine how isolated and alone he feels.”
“He did it himself!” Danny snapped. “He, we, like, it was good, it was really good, then he turned nasty, like, for no reason. I mean, his roommate is a jerk, and that was happening in the background, but… I love him so much, mom. I feel like…” He stopped talking, holding his breath again to keep back tears.
“Danny,” his mother said, her tone soothing his frazzled nerves a little. “I know you do. I know how much he loves you, too. Honestly, your dad and I should’ve seen this coming, you and Tyler together, a long before you two came out to us, but it makes sense. You’ve always been thick as thieves. I know he loves you, Danny.”
“What if he doesn’t, what if he’s realized-“
“Danny,” his mother cut him off. “He does. You said you were good, right? And that you two got into a fight?”
She waited for him to answer. “Yeah, but-“
“No, just listen, okay?”
He inhaled slowly and blew it out his nose. “Yeah,” he relented, feeling surly.
“We don’t know how it feels, to lose everything you’ve ever had, then to be thrown into an environment that is foreign, and apparently his roommate is kind of a loser? And, he’s there on scholarship, right? So his grades need to be good. You don’t know what he’s going through.”
“I want to! And obviously I can’t if he won’t talk to me!” he growled.
“You know it’s not always that easy to talk about the stuff that’s hard.”
It knocked the air out of his sails, memories of him and Tyler awkwardly trying to come out to his parents for a whole week springing to mind. “Sorry ma, I’m just so, he was so, he was such a dick last night.”
“Language, Daniel,” his mother chastised. “Give him some time to cool off. In the meantime, take some medicine and get back to sleep, I’ll get working on a care package. It’ll work out between the two of you, it always does.”
“I hope so, I really do, but this feels different, everything is different. I miss him so much, we never see each other. Nevermind, I’m just feeling it a lot right now.” He sighed again. “Thanks ma, I, ah… I miss you and dad, too. Kinda more than I thought I would.”
“We miss you, too. It’s so weird here, too quiet without you and Tyler underfoot.” She chuckled. “It’s so weird, to be empty nesters now. Your dad and I feel too young to be this old.” She snorted.
“Well, we’ll come home on breaks and stuff,” he assured, then soured. “Or, at least I will. I don’t know if Tyler will wanna…”
“Oh hush. You know this is just a kink in the hose. You’ll get it straightened out and it’ll be good again.”
He huffed. “If you say so.”
“You’re not feeling well, so get some rest, Pendik escort it’ll seem less dramatic when you’re feeling better. Can I order food to be delivered to you at least?”
“Nah, I’m good. I’m not hungry anyway, and I do have some cans of soup in here, so if I’m feeling better I’ll have one of those. Love you, mom.”
“Love you, too, Danny. Get some sleep, let me know how you’re feeling later.” He hung up and curled back into bed, but now he was feeling restless. He hadn’t lied, he did feel sick to his stomach still, but he hadn’t been telling the truth exactly, either.
He pulled out his physics text and started working on the stuff the syllabus told him he missed by not going to class, but his mind kept wandering back to Tyler, thinking about what it must feel like to him, the complete isolation and uncertainty. At first it pissed him off, but the more he thought about it, the more worried for Tyler he grew.
He checked the clock and frowned, Tyler wouldn’t get a break between classes for another hour and a half, and then it was only half an hour between classes. Still, he couldn’t relax, so he sent Tyler a text.
And then neurotically checked his phone for the next hour, each time disappointed to find his message still on ‘delivered’. He tried to get out of bed, but his stomach felt both angry and empty at the same time.
He spent the afternoon watching random horror movies on Netflix, jumping in and out, nothing interesting enough to be distracting. His message was still left on ‘delivered’ when he finally gave into the hollowness of his stomach, dressing just enough to go to the canteen for some quick dinner supplies.
He came back with a bag of jerky, a bag of cheetos, a two liter of sprite, a huge bag of sour patch kids, and a bag of powdered donuts. Back in his room he laid them all out on his desk and stared at the food, suddenly not hungry for any of it.
A knock on his door had him jumping up off his bed, his heart jumping into his throat again. He couldn’t understand why he was so skittish today, it wasn’t like him, but he wasn’t feeling much like himself at all anyway, so he shouldn’t have been too surprised by this, but he was.
“One second,” he said, holding his breath for half a second to calm his elevated pulse. Maybe he was actually sick. He made his way to the door, not bothering to check the peephole, figuring it was his overly attentive RA again. He pulled it open, only half paying attention. “Did I forget to…”
Tyler stood on the other side, shocking the hell out of him so bad that he nearly slammed the door shut. “Um…” Tyler was staring at the floor between Danny’s feet, and he looked like hell.
“Tyler? Um, what are you doing here?”
Danny’s words seemed to hit him like a physical blow. “Oh. Sorry. I can-“
Danny grabbed his arm and yanked him in the room, slamming the door as soon as they were both inside. “What the, like, how’d you get past the RA? Why are you here, don’t you have class?”
“Danny, it’s seven thirty,” Tyler said, standing aloofly by the door. “I’m sorry, I can leave, I just wanted-“
“No, you can’t leave. Sit your ass down on the bed,” Danny demanded, allowing his hurt to turn into anger. “How’d you get past my RA?”
“I told him that we had a study date,” Tyler said, staring at his feet, his voice quiet. “Actually, I gave him Bob’s name, and said I was going to study with Andy McNeely, who apparently lives four doors down from yours.”
“And Alex let you in?”
Tyler shrugged. “I guess I looked desperate enough.”
Tyler looked bad, like he hadn’t slept. “Come here and sit down at least.” He patted the bed next to him, but Tyler shook his head. “Now you won’t even sit next to me?”
Tyler flinched, then ran a hand through his hair, leaving it sticking up strangely in places. “I’ll sit over here for now, I wanna… I need… We need to talk.”
Danny balled his hands up and pursed his lips, stupid angry at Tyler, but also hurt, and deeper than that, insanely worried about him. “Fine.” His anger was driving, there was nothing he could do about it right now.
Tyler sat down at his desk with a tired sigh. “Your mom called me today.”
He shrugged. “So?”
Tyler shook his head. “Sorry.”
“What are you sorry for?” It came out a lot more harshly than he’d intended.
“Everything. Nothing. Nevermind, I should go.”
Danny leapt to his feet and blocked the door with his body. “Sit down, Tyler.” To his surprise, Tyler sat back down. “Oh. Okay. Um. What the fuck is wrong with you, dude?”
Tyler looked down between his legs, bracing his hands on his knees. He looked like he was going to be sick. “Everything is too much,” he finally said. “Everything, like, it weighs so much. I can’t breathe, Danny. I feel like it’s so much, everything is so much, so many spinning plates in the air, and not enough hands, but if I let any of them fall they will all crash down and I’ll have nothing left. It makes Beykoz escort bayan me…”
Tyler paused and Danny thought about what to say, but he was still too angry. “You don’t have to be alone, you don’t have to do this alone! Why don’t you trust me! I’m here for you, but you spit in my face and refuse my help!”
“I’m not a charity case,” Tyler snapped. “I don’t want your pity.”
“I don’t pity you, you little bitch. I fucking love you, and I wanna be here for you. Then, you’re an asshole, like, you fuck me, then immediately kick me out like I’m some fucking booty call. I will never be your fucking booty call, Tyler. And, for the record, wanting to help you doesn’t mean I pity you.”
“You aren’t a booty call, that’s not what this is, I thought you knew that!”
Danny scoffed. “Coulda fooled me last night. Sure as hell felt like it when you pushed me out of your room with your cum still draining from where you fucked me. Hard.”
“That’s not, it wasn’t, that’s not fair!” Tyler went to stand up, but then sank even lower in his chair. “You seemed into it, too, like, I wasn’t using you.”
“It didn’t feel like I’d been used until you kicked me out like a dirty little secret.”
“No, that’s not, I didn’t mean it like that, for it to be like that. It’s just, you’re not a secret, I will never, like.” He sighed, then ran his hands through his hair, pulling on it before his hands fell back between his legs. “I will never be ashamed of what we have, what you are to me.” He said it so passionately that it stole a bit of Danny’s anger away.
“Then what the fuck was that about? You messed me up hard, Ty. I still feel it.” He was exhausted, it was too emotionally draining. He couldn’t keep his anger stoked anymore, it was fizzling out quickly. “Like, I still feel fucked up, like our activities, it kinda broke me, somehow, like, mentally.”
“I can’t keep my head above water. I have so much, so many fires burning, and I thought you understood.”
“How would I understand if you never talk to me about shit?!”
Tyler cringed. “I don’t fucking know! Okay? You happy? I can’t balance everything right now, can’t keep my shit together. I just wanna…” Tyler sighed, the fight dropping out of him as quickly as it had ignited. “I can’t do it all, it’s too much.”
“Let me help you then! You don’t have to do it all-“
“I try, but I’m not equal to you, Danny,” Tyler growled. “I wanna be on level footing with you, and I’m not. I want to be your equal, not your burden! I wanna be able to do shit on my own, but I’m a disappointment to everyone, even you.”
“No, no, no, you don’t get to have a pity party for yourself, Tyler.”
Tyler snorted. “Well, fuck you, too.”
Danny frowned, hurt and angry, but tired of fighting already. “Go fuck yourself twice, Ty. Yesterday I, we, like, I trusted you and you used me. You threw it in my face, like I was treating you like a charity case when alls I was doing was trying to help my boyfriend through a rough time. Then, you fuck me and toss me outta your bed immediately like that’s all I’m good for.”
Tyler choked on his response. “I didn’t use you! I would never, ever use you.”
“No? It feels like it. It fucked me up. I still feel sick, like, something we did, it literally fucked me up, Tyler. I’m shaky, and my stomach hurts-“
“Cause I came inside?”
Danny rolled his eyes. “No, not cause you came inside, idiot, because you rejected me.”
“I didn’t…” Tyler trailed off. “Oh. Shit. Subdrop. Danny, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize-“
He was leaning against the door, but his stomach hurt, so he threw himself back on the bed, then rolled onto his side, his back facing Tyler. “You didn’t realize you rejecting me would fuck me up, Tyler?”
“I didn’t reject you!”
Danny shot a look at Tyler over his shoulder. “No? You didn’t reject me by kicking me to the curb? Didn’t tell me to just go away? Cause you did, asshole.” He rolled away again.
“Fine, you’re right, is that what you wanna hear? That I’m worthless? Fine, you win.”
Danny rolled his eyes, his back still to Tyler. “You know that’s not what I’m saying. You’re not worthless. Stop feeling sad for yourself and fucking talk to me about shit!”
The sound Tyler made had his heart in his throat. “I can’t! Like, there’s so much to lose, Danny. And, you have your own shit, like, school and shit, and you don’t need my shit, too. I’m trying so hard to just keep it all up in the air, all of these plates, and you’re all that matters to me, and I can’t, like, if I get kicked out of school it feels like I’ll never see you again, I don’t have anything, anywhere else to go, and all I wanna do is be with you, and my classes are hard and I…” He sighed. “I’m sorry. I came here to tell you that I’m sorry, I didn’t, like, I’m an asshole. I guess that’s all I, ah, I wanted to apologize in person. I can go.”
“If you leave,” Danny threatened, so cold he felt it down to his core, “I will never talk to you Escort Cevizli again.” It was a hollow threat, he wouldn’t lose Tyler over this, he couldn’t. But, even so, he was too upset to do anything else, either, other than pray Tyler didn’t leave.
The silence between them was a physical thing, felt like a wall, and he almost believed if he reached out he’d be able to touch it. He heard Tyler get up, but he didn’t move, so afraid to watch the one person he loved more than life itself walk out his door, and out of his life.
The sound of the door opening never happened. Instead, he felt the bed shift as Tyler lay down behind him. He flinched as Tyler’s arm draped over his body and pulled him back so they were spooning. “I’m sorry that I didn’t take care of you after what we did yesterday. I’m sorry for how I treated you, and for how much it messed you up.” Tyler nuzzled into his neck and Danny wanted to push him away, wanted to scream in his face that he couldn’t just use physical contact to placate him, but he couldn’t do anything. “I really am sorry, I hate myself for hurting you like this.”
Tyler’s touch soothed him, felt like cool water on his fevered body. Tyler threw his leg over Danny’s, hooking them and pulling their bodies even closer together. “Don’t hate yourself, you’re the most awesome person I know, and last night didn’t change my opinion on that one iota.”
“Still, I’m an asshole. We did some real intense shit last night, and it, ah, I didn’t take care of you like I should’ve. No wonder you’re feeling sick, you’re still in subdrop. I’m such a fuck-up, Danny.”
“Subdrop? What are you talking about?” Despite his anger, he shifted into Tyler’s body, the feel of him exactly what he’d been missing all day.
Tyler kissed Danny’s neck, holding him tight. “You, like. You got real submissive when we, ah, did stuff last night. I got, like, we both got into a weird headspace, not weird bad, just, you know, different?”
He waited for Danny to say something. “It felt…” He swallowed hard before continuing. “I’ve never felt quite like that. I wanted, like, I woulda done anything you asked me to, and I wanted to do it, whatever you wanted. It felt really good, but then you made me leave, and like, now it feels like a terrible stomachache, like I’m sick. Shaky. I feel vulnerable. Exposed.”
Tyler shuddered, hugging him tight. “I’m so sorry, this’s all my fault.”
“It is,” Danny agreed.
The sound Tyler made stabbed him deep, the pain Tyler felt shared by both of them. “I wanna help you now, feel better. After something like what we did, something that intense and intimate, we needed, I needed to give you aftercare, I shoulda… I’m sorry, I shoulda stopped us from getting to that point last night, but I wanted you so much, I miss you so much that I just wanna…”
“I fucking miss you, too, nard,” Danny said, pulling Tyler’s hand closer, snuggling deeper into his embrace. “I’ve never felt anything like I did with you, and never anything like what I went through after you were a complete dickwad to me afterwards. I’m not some fucking booty call, Tyler.”
Tyler squeezed him hard. “I fucking know, Danny. I know. I just, there’s so many plates, so many ways for me to lose everything, for everything to come crashing down. Lately everything I do is wrong, I’m not right when I’m not with you. You’ll never be a booty call to me, you’re my reason for living.”
“Don’t put that pressure on me,” Danny growled. “It feels like a threat, and I don’t like you using your life as a threat.”
Tyler went to pull away and Danny held him close, refused to let him go. “Danny, I’m messed up. I know I am, but I don’t know what to do.”
“Stop acting like I’m treating you like a charity case, that’s the first step. No man’s an island, Tyler. You’re my family, so start acting like it. Family helps family. You don’t owe me shit if I do something nice for you. You don’t owe me a goddamn cent when I want to help you, want to take care of you. I fucking love you so much it hurts, and I hate it when you shut me out and treat my love like a fucking burden.”
“I don’t, you’re not a burden!”
Danny rolled in Tyler’s arms so they were facing each other. “Never, ever, ever say I’m treating you like a charity case ever again, Ty. I fucking mean it. If I wanna buy you a goddamn hamburger, I’m buying you a goddamn hamburger. If I wanna do something nice for you, shut your fucking mouth and accept it, because I’m doing it because I want to, not for charity or for whatever. I’m not adding it all up as some stupid imaginary debt tally in my head. I do it because I wanna do it, because I love you, and i worry about you. I want you to be happy, you being happy makes me happy, too.”
Tyler was crying, tears streaming down his cheeks as he held his breath, looking fragile. Danny leaned in and licked a tear from his cheek, then did the same thing on the other side before Tyler could react.
“Woof.” Danny licked his face again. “Woof!”
Tyler looked confused for a second, then crushed Danny to his chest. “Fuck, Danny.” He was crying freely now, his whole body shaking with the force of it as he hugged Danny hard. Danny rubbed his back, hugging him back, tears pricking his eyes as well.