- The Fifteenth Encounter -
The world was a blurry mesh of lights and sounds when
Quatre found me swigging down some serious amounts of
scotch. I suppose I called him some time during my
drinking binge and said something or other because he
was there, paying my tab and dragging my sorry ass out
before I could even comprehend what was happening.
I was shoved into Quatre’s car head first and nearly
bashed my forehead against the dash. Jesus, hasn’t he
heard of treating someone of my condition a bit more
gently? I could have died from a fatal wound to the
head just now.
We were silent as he drove, but when we stopped at our
final destination, I had to speak.
“Not my place.”
Oh my.. I am so damned drunk that I can’t even let
out a complete sentence. That is never a good sign.
“No,” Quatre says with a bit of forced humor, “my
place. You don’t think I’d just drop you off at your
house in your condition, did you?”
“Well, why not?” I know I sound belligerent, but so
what? I am not some kid who needs a babysitter.
“Why not? Because you called me and told me you were
going to kill Heero, that’s why!”
I roll my eyes as I climb out of the car and lurch
towards Quatre’s front door. Did I really threaten
Heero’s life and limb? I think I have just cause, but
I’m not in the habit of making death threats. Well,
not that often, anyway.
Somehow, I make it to Quatre’s living room without
falling down and Trowa is there to immediately sit me
down on my drunk ass. I can feel Quatre struggling to
get my coat off while Trowa works rather patiently on
my shoes. If I wasn’t so depressed and drunk, I might
have been amused.
“So, what set you off tonight?”
It was such a casual question that I think Trowa just
said it to keep me distracted while they got me
comfortable. I was not talking and that is an odd
thing when I’m drunk.
“Set me off? What am I, a ticking bomb?”
I know my friends don’t mean any harm, but I could not
help but sound pissed at them. The whole evening had
been a total shocker and I have not quite coped with
“No,” Trowa answers easily, “not a bomb. You are
“And I damn well have the right to be fucking drunk!”
I blare out, raising my right arm in a pumping motion
to punctuate my ire. “How dare he live with her!”
By now, my friends have finished undressing me down to
my pants and shirt and they are both looking at me
with the puzzled frown on their faces. They exchange
looks with each other and then they both cock their
heads in the exact same angle at the exact same time.
I guess they just don’t understand my situation.
“You know,” I say to no one in particular, “I’m in
love with Heero. Is that just stupid or what?”
“You’re in love,” Quatre responds with an
understanding smile, “and you’re scared, right?”
My voice definitely had a steep climb in decibel
“Then what the hell is wrong with you?”
Well, if I can get Trowa to lose patience with me, I
must not be doing a good job of showing them just how
unhappy I was at the moment. I try to gather my
scattered thoughts and begin again.
“Heero has an engaged person type thing.”
They are still giving me that look of confusion
coupled with concern. How am I not making myself
clear? It’s so damned picture perfect in my head.
“Heero is living with her.”
A moment of silence follows and I am sure that they
“He has a roommate?”
Gah, these guys are so dense! What must I do to make
them understand just what the hell is going on, draw
it on paper and act it out?
“Jesus,” I say, losing what little patience I thought
I had, “can’t you understand a damn thing I’m saying?”
With that, I go into full rant mode. I dare anyone to
find a place within my rant where I could have taken a
“Heero has some girl living with him and she thinks
they’re engaged and she’s all sick or something or
other so no one has had the decency or the time to let
her know that the boy is fucking gay and of course
Heero has to be the goddamned knight on a white horse
and save her so he can’t invite me over or tell her
about me or anything like that because oh no, she’s
gonna keel over and die or something and I have to
feel bad that I can’t tell my co-workers or my parents
about him when he’s got a closet fiancée all locked up
in his fricking apartment!”
When my rant finished, I just slumped forward in
exhaustion, my head swimming in alcohol and the
strange set of circumstances I found out earlier. I
still cannot believe what I had said, but apparently,
I have the truth of it.
“I mean,” I continue when I hear no responses to my
tumultuous rant, “why couldn’t Heero have a deep dark
secret that I could deal with? Why wasn’t it a dead
body in his basement or a stalker keeping him awake at
night? I can deal with those.. but..”
I feel a hand on my shoulder then there is a darkness.
I must have passed out.
When I woke up, there was intense sunlight shining
into my eyes and I was not comfortable in the least.
First of all, I was cold, as in shivering in my damned
pants and my left arm had fallen asleep sometime
during the night. The pain in my head coupled with
the needles running havoc on my arm made me moan like
a pitiful kitten and that brought out a very concerned
Quatre out to the living room.
“Duo, are you okay?”
I try to answer, but unfortunately, my mouth seems to
be shut like a steel trap. I roll my tongue around in
an effort to jump start my conversational skills when
I have a sharp gag reflex. Oh, yeck, my mouth tastes
I made it to Quatre’s bathroom in two point four
seconds, a new record.
I suppose it is rather sad that every time something
terrible or surprising happens in my life, I have the
irresistible urge to go and drink it away. However,
it is the way I deal with certain things. Some people
run until their heart stops beating, some eat until
their stomachs bloat to the size of Montana, and I
hear that some people even bury themselves in work
until they suffer a mini-stroke. Not I, though. I
escape my strange life by drinking. I believe it is
much healthier than my other choices out there despite
whatever the surgeon general is spewing out these
I drag my ass out of the bathroom and back into
Quatre’s living room to find him and Trowa waiting for
me with some coffee. They definitely are great
friends for they know exactly what it is that I need
at any given time.
They wait patiently as I sit, drink some coffee and
get some color back into my cheeks. After a few
moments, I feel marginally alive and almost ready to
face reality sober.
“So,” I begin sheepishly, “how much of my psycho
babble did you guys understand?”
“Let’s see,” Trowa answers with a straight face,
“Heero has a fiancée, the fiancée is a woman and not
his fiancée, she is sick, he is a hero, they live
together and you hate him?”
Well, if that wasn’t my dilemma in a nutshell. Trowa,
being a freelance writer and all, has that gift of
words where he can make any tragic situation sound
somewhat normal and simple.
“I can’t believe it, Duo. How could he have kept that
Good old Quatre, he can always be indignant and
furious for me. Plus, with his golden hair and aqua
eyes radiating sincerity, it comes across much more
clearly if not more brutally than what I can do.
“It’s like I’m in the middle of a fucking made for
T.V. movie of the week, Quat. One minute I’m looking
forward to meeting his friends, next minute, the shit
hits the fan at light speed.”
Quatre puts a comforting arm around my shoulders and
squeezes to let me know that he is there for me. What
would I do without these guys?
“What are you going to do about this?”
I shrug my shoulders helplessly at Trowa’s query. I
am truly clueless as to how to proceed from this
point. Do I forgive? Do I forget? Do I hold a
grudge and plan out where to hide the body?
“I wish I knew,” I say honestly, “because I have never
imagined this kind of scenario before. Heero asked
for a chance to explain himself, but a big part of me
doesn’t want him to say anything. I don’t want to
“Duo,” Trowa ventures, “I know you must be very angry
with Heero, but I don’t think he kept it from you to
hurt you. Imagine if you were in his shoes.”
“Are you suggesting Duo forgive him?”
As I said, Quatre can do indignant much better than
me. In fact, he is looking at Trowa like his lover
had sprouted a new head.
“No, not that. Just that perhaps Duo should let Heero
“Guys,” I break in before Quatre and Trowa manage to
begin a fight, “thanks for being here for me. The
truth is, if I were in Heero’s shoes, I would’ve told
her a long time ago that we weren’t engaged. I don’t
think it’s very fair to her, you know?”
“And not fair to you either!” Quatre huffs.
“They say nothing’s fair in love and war, my love.”
Trowa throws in rather smugly.
“Yeah,” I say, “and if this was war, at least I could
have heavy artillery and a license to kill.”
Thankfully, my friends catch on to my need to stop
talking about Heero and the woman and we drift our
conversation towards safer things. Underneath the
mundane chatter, I am still angry, shocked and hurt,
but I will not let it get to me.
When I finally get home, I am tired, kind of dirty and
most definitely wrinkly. I should just keep a spare
set of sleepwear at Quatre’s or something, because I
hate it when my nice clothes get disgusting from my
As I step in, I see that the phone is blinking,
relaying to me that I have voice mail messages just
awaiting my attention. I have a feeling that some of
those messages are from Heero, but am I ready to hear
what he has to say? Frowning, I dig through my jacket
and find my cell. It was turned off, but I had an
inkling that when I pushed the on button, the display
will tell me that I have messages there as well.
Might as well bite the damned bullet.
As predicted, my cell phone announces to me that I
have three messages waiting for me and the caller I.D.
shows that they are all from Heero. Then I dial the
mail service on my land line and find that I have four
messages on that one, and that the caller I.D.
dutifully recorded all the numbers as Heero’s.
Either he was really in a deep need to talk to me or
he has stalking issues.
Sighing, I run through all the messages. Seven
messages and they all sound the same. Heero’s voice
is strained and nervous, he needs to talk to me,
please say I will call him as soon as I get the
messages, just let him fix what he did wrong.
And he is so damned sorry in each message.
I erase all the messages and I sit on my couch
contemplating my next move. I wonder if I should call
or if I should even acknowledge that I received these
messages. The decision, however, gets taken from me
when my land line rings and technology informs me that
it is Heero.
I pick up on the fourth ring.
“Duo,” Heero begins hastily, “you’re home.”
“No, I’m in Hawaii answering my landline.”
I can literally feel Heero flinch at my sarcasm.
“I was hoping you would give me a chance to explain..”
To my utter disbelief, I feel my heart lurch in
sympathy at the pain present in Heero’s voice. How
dare my own heart betray me when I’m so damned sure
that I was still angry with him? How dare I feel
anything but bitter rage towards Heero when he had
kept something so vital from me?
“Look, Heero,” I clip out, knowing that my voice
sounds harsh, “words just won’t make this right, okay?
There is no way anything you say to me right now is
going to make anything better.”
“I.. know, Duo, but I want to try.”
“But I don’t want you to try, damn it!” I yell into
the phone, “you want to explain shit to me so you feel
better, so you can make yourself feel less guilt!
Jesus, Heero, if I hadn’t pried, were you ever going
to tell me at all?”
“I.. I’m so sorry, Duo” He falls silent after the
apology, but I’m not finished with him just yet. I’m
on a roll, don’t you see?
“Don’t bother apologizing either, you already said it
too many times! I need time to deal with this. I
need for you to give me time. No words, no apologies,
no explanations. I need time.”
“Anything, Duo.. as long as I can make this right
He sounds so damned sincere.. so much so that I want
to believe him. That makes me angrier.
“Stop agreeing with me so damned easily,” I fume,
knowing that I am now unreasonable, “and stop trying
to make it right. I know I’m a damned hypocrite, you
know? I’m keeping you a secret from my family and my
work, I know! But not once did I lie to you, keep
something from you.”
Only silent breathing answers across the line and I
can almost see Heero trying to say something. But he
can’t say anything.. what is there to say?
“So.. give me time. Don’t call. Don’t.. do
I am exhausted. The rage and anger have slipped
through my system and all I have left is this intense
need to lie down and forget. And still, Heero says
I only have one more thing to say.
Then there is nothing but a soft click as I place my
phone back in its cradle.
Maybe I did it wrong, maybe I said some bad things,
but this is the way it has to be. It has to be. I
need time to think.
I need time away. I don’t need Heero hovering over
me. I don’t want to hear it.
So tell me then, why am I, the tough and relentless
criminal attorney out of his teens by many years,
having the urge to cry?