- The Fourteenth Encounter -
The weather has decided to take the turn for the worst
this past week, pelting down cold rain and blowing
winds from the arctic. It is late November, but I
cannot help but feel that the weather is cheating me
out of something wonderful, like clear blue skies that
reach out into forever and tart temperatures that make
me want to roast chestnuts.
Usually, the weather would not effect me in such a
negative way, but I am feeling less than charitable
towards anything at all these days. It is a wonder
for Heero and I seem to have made up and are now on
speaking terms, if not kissing terms, once again and
the stack of problems I have are crunched into a ball
in the corner of my mind. Why should I be in such a
horrible mood this week?
I just have this feeling that something unpleasant is
going to occur soon. Maybe it has to do with the fact
that Thanksgiving is coming up and I have to go home.
I know for a fact that many people appreciate the
holidays and love going home for their mother’s home
cooked meals and their father’s advices, and in the
past, I loved it too. But this year, the thought of
my mother grilling me about who I was dating and when
they could meet her.. makes me want to run for the
And the closest thing to hills around here is quite a
distance away, so I have a lot of running to do.
My malaise must have rubbed off on my friends, I
think, for they have become rather snappish lately as
well. Trowa and Quatre had a little lover’s tiff and
it ended with Trowa spending a night at my place,
grousing about the inability of his lover to
understand his way of looking at the world. Wufei
called in the middle of the work day on Wednesday to
whine about the injustice that was women, especially
I am not the only one in the middle of a bad week.
That made me feel marginally better since I do hate
being the only one hating life.
Funny thing is, I don’t really hate my life. In fact,
I like the various aspects of my life quite a bit. My
work is going splendidly, my family is wonderful, my
friends are out of this world and my boyfriend..
well, what can I say about him that is not positive?
I just wish that some aspects of my life did not have
to intersect with the other aspects.
I realize that I wish for the oddest things, but I
still have not figured out how to fit Heero, my work
and my family into a working unit. I am not even sure
if there is a way that I can. What would I say about
Heero to my firm, anyway? I mean, it is a private
issue so they should not have to know about it, but
let’s talk reality for a moment. What work place does
not want to know everything about you? I mean, there
is a reason why employers can track and read your
email without legal repercussions. They want to know
your personal business.
More scary than that, what about my parents? I can’t
even come up with an excuse for keeping Heero private
from them. He is an important part of my life, he
takes up a lot of room in my mind and my heart, so why
shouldn’t my parents know about him?
Massive coronary comes to mind, but never mind that.
Yes, I guess I have not yet put my problems aside as I
wished and I seem to be getting a case of ulcers from
my stress. However, since there is no solution in
sight, I must suffer in peace.
Heero noticed that something was definitely off with
me. My friends would have noticed too if they had not
been so preoccupied with their respective problems, it
was that bad. I wonder, does Heero ever not have
problems or what? He seemed to be leading a fairly
hassle free existence and it irked me.
Today was a gloomy Saturday, much like the week that
had preceded it, but I was in better spirits. Heero
and I went out for some coffee which we both drank
with an obsessive need, saw a mindless movie about a
mindless person who followed an equally mindless plot
and then came back to my place to kick up our feet and
That was when it truly hit me, why I was so damned
touchy. It was not the parent problem or even the
work problem, I have known about them for some time
now and was beginning to get my bearings on them.
No, the thing that bothered me more, the thing that I
had not even recognized as bothering me, was the fact
that Heero was so damned secretive. Oh yes, sure, I
knew his favorite color to be purple, his favorite
food to be anything with rice and his favorite lazy
activity to be walking the park. But really, he had
kept some vital shit from me that I had not kept from
“Heero,” I begin, finally coming to terms with the
feeling in my head, “I know almost nothing about you
He had the gall to smile at me and I had the nerve to
melt in the warmth of it.
“I don’t know many things about you either, Duo, but
that’s why we keep trying to figure each other out,
“That’s not what I mean,” I say with a hint of
frustration in my voice, “you know, I have never been
to your place.”
“True.” Heero says without a hint of emotion or even
regret. Does he not realize that we’ve been dating
for nearly three months and I did not even know where
he lived? That cannot be normal.
“I have never met any of your friends.” I continue,
unwilling to let his short answer stop me in my
headlong ride into confrontation.
What was he trying to do, frustrate me to the point
where I had to throttle him?
“Your friends probably don’t even know about me.”
I sound a bit childish and petulant, but I really
can’t help it. How important could I be to him if his
friends had not even heard of me, if he had not even
taken the time to mention me?
Heero enunciated his answer carefully, looking into my
eyes as he did so. His eyes blazed blue fire, as if
daring me to contradict him. I felt relieved. He had
mentioned me to his friends, so I could not be that
unimportant. But what if he mentioned me only in
passing as a friend or some guy he was kind of sort of
Can I get any more juvenile?
“So,” I say quickly to hide my thought processes, “why
haven’t I met any of them? Why don’t I even know
their names? Are you hiding me from them?”
He has the sense to look abashed at my line of
questioning. I have a very valid set of points here,
you know. Three months we’ve been dating.. Three
months longer than any other relationship I have ever
had.. hell, I told my mother about him in my own way
and my friends know about him. My friends consider
Heero as a friend of theirs, too. He was in my life
in a very deep sense and had been from the beginning.
So, why shouldn’t I be in his life as well? After
all, I should not be the only one trying to fit our
relationship into my life. He should really try to
fit me into his as well.
“I didn’t even realize,” Heero begins, still looking a
bit pained, “that I had not let you in.. I wanted to
keep you to myself. My friends would only have
Ouch. That, my friends, is cold. Why do I say this?
Because as I said before, you do not ditch your
friends for your new interest. Friends should not and
would not intrude into a relationship, they would only
Isn’t that right?
“I’m sorry I have not been as open with my life as you
have been with yours. I will make plans so that you
can meet them.”
Could it be this goddamned simple? I say it, I
unearth the problem buried deeply within my head and
he just solves it with an apology and some words?
I feel let down somehow. I was looking for a fight,
the kind that has twitchy eyes, evil glares and ‘I
can’t believe you said that’ kind of phrases. Why
would I look for a fight when in the past every time
we had a slight disagreement I felt miserable? I’m a
fucking masochist, I think. I do love confrontations.
“Right.. I can meet your friends. At least, you can
start by telling me who they are.”
Is it just my imagination or does Heero look vaguely
I quirk my eyebrow in slight surprise for Heero has
been reduced to incoherent mumblings. For as long as
I have known him, which isn’t long but who cares
really, Heero has not been verbal but has never been
at a loss for words. Were his friends.. strange or
He said it like he was confessing to a terrible crime.
“And she is your friend.”
“Yes.” He says with faint traces of guilt in his
voice. I can feel the nervous bunnies nibbling at my
“And.. she’s important to you.”
Gah, this is like pulling a perfectly healthy tooth
with tiny forceps from a giant’s mouth!
I resist the urge to roll my eyes and decide that more
outward showing of curiosity was needed. I shoved him
on his shoulders not too gently and gave him a look
that bordered on murderous.
“Tell me about her. I told you about Quatre, Trowa
and Wufei, didn’t I? Fair trade, isn’t it?”
“Before I tell you about her.. is it truly imperative
that you meet her?”
Heero sounded completely desperate there. As if my
meeting her would end life as we knew it on this
planet. What was it about her that made him nervous?
“Look Heero, if you don’t want me to meet her, why did
you even tell me about her? You could’ve started with
friends I had a hope of meeting.”
Anger and dread coat my voice, letting Heero know that
I am most unhappy about this outcome. What is going
on, anyway? I told him what was wrong, he said he’d
fix it, and now he wants to find a way to back out
Even if I were not a criminal lawyer, I’d get
“Look, Duo,” he replies, “I know this is coming across
completely wrong. I mean, I have no objections for
you meeting Zechs, or Noin or even Dorothy. But
Relena.. well.. she’s..”
“She is..” I say in encouragement, “what.. scary?
Disfigured? Too good for me?”
Heero has his eyes closed, practically clenched shut.
He is really, truly nervous about telling me about her
and most likely frightened out of his mind about me
meeting her. I feel the anger and dread leave my
system, leaving only concern behind. What could be so
damned bad that he had been reduced to this? Where
was my confident, slightly cool but generously warm
“Not any of that,” he says, “not at all. No one is
too good for you, if anything, no one is good enough
I’m feeling flattered, but I don’t show it since I
have this nagging feeling he is buttering me up for
“The thing is, she’s ill.”
“Oh?” I say very intelligently.
“She has a very delicate physical and mental
So Relena is not the healthiest of individuals, but
would our meeting really tip her over the edge or
something? I mean, I’m not all that unpleasant.
“She thinks we’re engaged.”
Hold the train, stop the presses, let me off this
strange and nauseous ride. I rewind what Heero said
just now and replay it over and over to make sure I
had not imagined it.
Heero looks chagrined and I know I look like someone
had just punched me in the gut with brass knuckles.
“She.. thinks we’re engaged.. and has thought so for
the past few years.”
“But you are gay!”
Okay, I know how to state the obvious. But what a
fucking shocker! Heero has a friend who thinks that
they are engaged? What the hell?
“I know,” he says as he gets up to pace up and down my
living room, “everyone knows, except her. We dated in
college before I came out.. and she announced to the
whole damned world that we were getting married. Then
she became so damned sick and she kept saying that the
only reason she could hold on was because I was there
for her. She still says it. None of us could shatter
that for her.”
At this point, I pinch myself to make sure that I’m
still rooted in reality. I feel like I just leapt
into a soap opera, cheesy plot lines and all.
“And..” he continues in a low voice, “she lives with
A short intermission must be inserted here for my
brain has run away screaming to Tijuana. Can there be
a shock so great that it superceded the shock I had
when I found out I liked Heero? I had not thought so,
but obviously, I was dead wrong.
Just to clarify my current situation: I’m in love
with Heero who has a pretend fiancée that happens to
live with him.
I’m surprised that my voice functions at all.
“Please,” I hear myself say very pleasantly, “if you
would, get out.”
All said with a smile and a blank stare.
“Duo, I have to explain this.. I meant to tell you,
but.. it sounded so utterly ridiculous. It still
“I repeat, get out please.”
If I have to say it one more time.. the smile is
plastered frozen onto my face and my teeth are
gritting so hard that I know I’m tearing off enamel.
Heero is damned lucky that I’m in too much shock to be
“I’m leaving, but promise me you’ll hear me out.
Please. I can’t let you go, not like this, not in any
I nod stiffly, still smiling. I watch as Heero leaves
and I stare at the space Heero occupied for another
hour or so more.
What had just happened? I just wanted to meet his
friends and become a part of his life. I wanted to be
integrated into his space just as much as he was into
mine. But no, I could not leave things alone as
usual. I had to go looking for a fight and the end
results.. just had to be devastating.
So what if he is not really engaged? So what if he
let his friend think that for the sake of keeping her
alive or whatever?
The fact was, he kept it from me. This huge,
completely integral part of his life, had been kept
secret from me.
Now I know why I have not met his friends or been to
his place. It was not that he did not think that I
was not important, because he has let me know on
several occasions that I was a big part of his life.
No, it was because there were more important and
pressing things in his life than me and I would have
gotten in the way.
Just like he got in my way for work.. with my
family.. with my life plan.
What can I do now that Heero has dropped this huge
bombshell on me? Well, there is only one thing to do,
only one thing I can do.
It is time for me to go out and get absolutely,
completely and utterly shitfaced.
Thank god for bars.