.. | angel eyes | chapter 4
Isaac laid his head back against edge of the tub. He hoped he hadn't made too much of a mess stumbling about trying to find things. But it just felt too good to relax here. He was so tired.
He opened his eyes. He would have been lying to himself if he said he was sad. He couldn't go back now, no matter if he really wanted to or not. The only thing he was concerned for now was his cat... and his piano. He hoped Alex would be able to find it. He'd forgotten to tell him that it was hidden away in the closet buried under old clothes.
He sighed and then breathed in the warm moist air rising from the water. The back of his subconscious was in quiet shock, but he figured out that if he didn't think about it too hard, it wouldn't hurt so much. He shut his eyes again, swishing his hands under the warm water's surface, wondering at the fact that this seemed to be more of a swimming pool than a bathtub. This was Alex's home?
What to do now? Where was he supposed to go? His wet fingers came up to his face and he wiped his eyes hastily. It'd been a long time since he'd suddenly felt so helpless, even with Noah. There was always that security; that someone did care about him, no matter how demented it was. At least someone had been there.
Alex was unprepared for the scene that met him when he'd come back, Obie tucked safely in his arm. The blond sat against the side of the tub, leaning his head back on the edge as steam rose up about him. His hair was still dry except for the short strands at the base of his neck.
He let the cat down to the floor and quietly pushed the bathroom door open a bit further, not wishing to disturb the scene before him. A part of him scolded himself for doing so. The heat rising from the water, coupled with his growing affection towards the boy and his pity as well, combined simply with the picture of him there- nude and completely unaware of his surroundings... it had Alex's body reacting faster than his mind could register it.
Alex took a deep silent breath. This... this wasn't right. He had no right to do this. But still...
The cat had trotted in, mewing to the boy it to recognize in the tub. Isaac splashed as he struggled to sit upright, quite aware that if his cat was here, so was his host. "Alex?"
"Here," he answered quietly, coming completely into the room and sweeping down to sit by the edge of the tub. Isaac turned his face towards him, but didn't say anything. He hardly even seemed to remember that he was naked underneath the jetting water. Alex stopped in the motion of reaching out to touch the wet strands of damp hair that clung to his cheeks and forehead.
"Are you okay?" he asked softy. Isaac visibly relaxed.
"No," he answered under his breath. "But I'll make it. I'll find somewhere to go-"
Alex cocked an eyebrow. "Stay here," he chirped without even thinking. "Here with me."
The blond backed away a bit, his eyes, which had until now been lazily half-open, shut tight, and he turned his face away. "I couldn't do that," he whispered with some gravity. "Not after all that's happened-"
Alex on impulse reached out to grab his wrist before he could retreat to the other end of the tub away from him. He felt that if Isaac made it all the way over there, he would be lost forever. His mind wasn't governing his actions anymore and he was beginning to wonder if that was such a bad thing, by the way Isaac tensed, but didn't struggle against his touch as he normally did.
"For a little while at least," he said. "It's the least I can do for you..." he pulled Isaac's arm gently, rewarded by only slight resistance before the space between them was closed. He was kneeling down on the edge, reaching out slightly over the water and he pulled Isaac up close, but nothing else.
The blind boy sensed his proximity and raised two wet hands to push slightly against Alex's chest as if he were testing his strength. "You've done enough for me," he confessed, though not in an unkind manner. His head was still bowed, his hands pressed flat to Alex's chest.
"Isaac..." Alex's other hand came up under the boy's chin and tilted it up so that he may have access to see those green eyes. They were closed. Alexander sighed; it was so easy to read Isaac sometimes, just by whether his eyes were open or closed. He held the boy's chin up, waiting, even though one of the hands had left his chest to grope for Alex's wrist apprehensively. Finally, the green eyes opened a bit, confused at the other's silence.
Alex smiled and dipped his head to Isaac's lips, gentle and undemanding. His mind was screaming at him to stop, that this wasn't the time, but his body was completely opposed to that argument. Isaac's lips were unresponsive, and Alex had to tease his mouth open in hopes of a reaction.
Isaac's hand slid up Alex's arm and over his shoulder into his hair. The blind boy's lips softened as he gripped a handful of the thick locks of Alex's hair in a sudden display of some urgency, backed up by his tugging a fistful of Alex's shirt. Then, quite suddenly, he was gone, having shoved himself across to the other side of the pool.
"Alex-" he breathed. His brought the back of his hand to his lips, but didn't wipe his mouth. He just looked very thoroughly confused, if even a little hurt. His hand dropped and he shut his eyes tight. "Why...?"
That damned eternal question. Didn't it always come down to that? Alex remained where he was, tasting a bit of the kiss in his mouth and trying to savor it for as long as possible. Gaining the courage to speak again, he answered less firmly than he would have wished. "Because I wanted to. I wanted to show you-"
"Show me what?" Isaac's voice was dripping with uneasiness.
Show him what? That a kiss could be different from that...that animal Isaac had been living with? A kiss? 'And then what?' Isaac would ask. But the reticence fell over them again.
Alex heeded the silence and stood up to grab a towel from the linen closet. He went around the pool and pulled Isaac's hand from the water and put the towel in it. "Come on," he said, "I think we need to talk."
As Isaac dressed, Alex wandered into the kitchen to make something warm for them to drink. He was debating between coffee and tea when he heard a crash from the extensive room across the flat that was his bedroom. He reached the door to find Isaac stumbling up from his knees using the night table by the bed for support. Alex bent down and took his arm to help him up.
After the bath, Alex had fished through his closets to find something for his guest to wear besides ripped jeans and a dirty shirt. He'd settled on loose cotton pants and a white tanktop, but Isaac had only made it into the sweatpants that hung off his narrow hips. The tanktop lay on the floor where he'd fallen.
"I'm sorry," the boy mumbled as he gained his feet, tugging at the loose waistband of the gray pants. His brows were drawn together as he felt around on the bed for his shirt, his other hand clutching the pants.
Alex watched him for a moment quietly before pulling Isaac's hand from its searching and turning the boy to face him. "Here," he said. He pulled the drawstring of the pants tighter and tied it to a comfortable snug fit before bending down to snatch up the shirt and put it in Isaac's hand.
The boy was still for a moment, his eyes turned to the floor before he fiddled with the tanktop and got it over his head. "Thank you," he said quietly. Alex stopped in the motion of reaching out to raise his chin again. Not now. This boy... He cleared his throat.
"You want coffee or tea?"
"Tea," the boy answered.
"Come on, let's sit in here." He led Isaac back into the main room and set him down on the comfortable couch and went to make the tea. It was some time before he settled across from the blond in his own chair, clutching his warm mug.
"So," he began, taking measured sips. "Talk to me now."
Isaac's head snapped up. "About what? What do you want to know?" His tone held the old tinge of defense. Alexander half-expected him to get up in a moment and seek the solitude of some other room.
Alex leaned forward in his chair. "You know very well. Why are you with him? Had you nowhere else to go? What about your family?"
"What right have you to ask these questions? It's none of your business."
"Well, I made it mine," Alex answered calmly. "I couldn't stand there and let him do that to you."
"I didn't ask you to come upstairs-"
"And I know why now." Alex's tone was harsher than he'd meant it to be. Isaac shut his mouth for a moment before bringing the steaming mug to his lips.
"Why, Isaac? For some reason I get the feeling you're aching to talk." He left his chair and slid into the soft cushions next to Isaac. "And yet, you don't. Talk to me. Please." His voice dropped to a whisper in Isaac's ear. "I want to know."
Isaac shied a bit away from him, his knuckles white as he clutched the white mug in both of them. "I couldn't win," he said finally.
"The contest. I didn't get the money." He sniffed. "It was the only way I could have gone on to lessons in school. Dad was-" Through the pause, Alex remained quiet, listening and waiting.
"He was angry," Isaac finally got out. "He..." His eyes began to moisten and he squeezed them shut, turning his face away. "It hurt..." Alex took the mug gently from his hands and set it on the table. Isaac covered his face with his hands, then pushed them back through his hair to hold the back of his own head.
Alex felt his heart-wrenching pain. Beaten for losing...? He wanted to put his arms around the boy, to pull Isaac's head to his chest and whisper words in his ear to soothe him. But he could not. Not right now. Isaac had to speak first.
After a few moments, Isaac slowly lowered his hands from his teary face. "Mom couldn't do anything, she never did. I don't know if she even knew how-" He took a deep breath. "I woke up in the hospital. They told me I'd never see again. They told me Dad wasn't there. That he hadn't come."
He paused again, regaining himself. His eyes were fixed in front of him, as if reliving that time in his head. "Mom was there by me. She told me that a friend of my Dad's had promised to take care of me while Dad cooled off." He sniffed again, and his eyes remained open. "She was crying, I know. She kissed me, then she left me alone."
"Noah," Alex said quietly.
Isaac nodded silently. He closed his eyes slowly and sat stock still. "They never came for me after that. I guess...Dad never did cool down."
Alex let his arms come up finally around Isaac and pull him into a tight embrace. The blond shuddered and submitted to quiet tears again. "They left me there. Where else was I supposed to go?" he choked. "Since that day I've never known anything but Noah." His chest heaved with his sobs and his hands came up to clutch Alex's sleeve. His head was heavy on Alex's arm. "And I'm scared..."
"Why?" he asked quietly. "Why are you afraid? That someone can care for you?"
Isaac didn't answer. Alex pulled away and framed his face with his hands, looking down on closed eyes.
"Open your eyes," he said, his thumb tracing the wet streaks down Isaac's cheek. "Please?"
Isaac blinked and few times and then kept his eyes open, tears still standing in them. His fingers flexed on Alex's arm. "Why?" he whispered so softly that Alex barely heard him. "Why do you care?"
Alex smiled gently and drew his face close. "I don't know," he answered to match Isaac's tone. "I'm not very used to it myself, but... I want to show you. I want to show you that there is more than what you've known. And more than what I've known."
In a moment Isaac shifted away from him. He disentangled himself and stood up. "I'm a little tired," he said softly.
The moment was gone. Isaac had refused to see it, to accept it. Alexander sighed and heaved himself up. "You can sleep in the guest bedroom." He needed time to think about this. Think about how he could make this boy, this half-broken boy whole again.
As he lay in his own bed, having helped Isaac to his and peaceably left, Alex stared up at the ceiling. He was a bit numb, but not so much that he deigned from reviewing the night's events. Isaac had been abandoned to that... that ape. How could parents do that to their son? But if Isaac's condition had resulted from his father's own beatings, then it wasn't that hard to believe actually. He had one of the worst, and most bizarre case of abused wife syndrome that Alex had ever heard of. He shifted, uncomfortable.
So now what was he supposed to do? He wanted Isaac here; he couldn't stand the thought of sending him anywhere else. So ironic, he thought, that he would be searching for someone to know him for himself and not for his looks. Here was someone who couldn't see him, and who needed help. His help. So the question was, How?
A small weight landed at his feet and he yelped, sitting up to glare down into the two large orange eyes of that damn cat. Obie crept amid the folds of the bedspread and burrowed under his chin as if it had always known him. Idly stroking the white fur as the cat made itself comfortable, he mused aloud. "What can I do?" to his displeasure, no answer came, not even from the purring cat. What can I do to show him that I....I what? Like him? Love him?
He tossed that thread of thought aside. It made him squirm under the covers in discomfort.
The piano. Something about that piano contest made him so glad he never told Isaac of the smashed instrument he'd found when returning to the apartment for the cat.
Then he suddenly smiled widely and tweaked the cat's ears gently. "I know what to do," he said to it. Obie looked up at him with a look that said, 'Well, duh.'
part 5 | back to part 3 | back to main