The Perks Of Loving You
by Camilo Mott


Chapter 9

I woke up just a little after 6 a.m.  I don’t know why, but ever since we arrived here I’ve been waking up earlier than usual; hehe, well at least I’m not oversleeping. I wake up just as the sun is rising and the animals are starting to venture out. Sigh, Luca’s the one who’s supposed to be outdoorsy, but here I am enjoying the morning. That reminds me, all this week I’ve been waking Luca up. It’s weird, but when I wake up, he is still sound asleep peacefully in his bed. I can’t help but stare at him for a moment and then wake him up with a gentle shove.

Argh! I’ve been meaning to wake him up by playing a prank on him but I just can’t make myself do it. Two days ago, I had this elaborate plan to get a whole bunch of ice cubes and shove them down his shirt. It would’ve been so great to see him jump out of bed in surprise. But dammit! How can I do something like that when I see him resting with such an expression of calm and content? So I drop whatever plans I have and just wake him up gently. He responds the same way every morning – he smiles and greets me.

This time was not different; I laid my hand on his shoulder and then pushed against it gently with just enough strength to shuffle him from his sleeping position.

“Hey, Casey,” he said groggily as he stood up from bed.

“Good morn…” I babble not really looking at him directly, but how could I? The only thing that I could focus was on his huge morning erection. He usually sleeps in sweatpants or shorts, but last night he said it was way too hot for anything but underwear. So right now…his cock is forcefully pushing against the fly of his boxers. He yawned and stretched, causing his cock to shift around and increase its resistance against the boxers, clearly outlined by the cloth that wrapped around it. Even though it was enclosed within the soft fabric, I could still see the rigidness of it and its grandness, and I couldn’t help but note that it was just as confident and proud as Luca.

“What?” he asked as he looked at me.

“Who were you dreaming about?” I smirked as I pointed at his erection.

“Oh shit!” he shouted and attempted to cover his erection.

I laughed and then teased him, “Someone’s got morning wood!”

He looked at me for a few seconds and then a grin grew on his face. He stood up straight, now removing his hands from his crotch. He posed just like a superhero and said, “Yep! I have a huge cock and I’m proud of it!”

“Suuuure you do Captain Boner,” I teased.

“Thank you for agreeing with me.”

“Well aren’t we cocky today.”

“Oh yeah, all 8 inches!” he said, grabbing his crotch in his hands.

“Whatever, I’m going to take a shower now.” I laughed and headed towards the bathroom, making sure that I didn’t strip until I was there.

The shower was long and peaceful–well, up to when Luca decided to rush me. He said we had to be on the water quickly. Sigh…and I was going to relieve myself right there and then. Hehe, I have such a huge hard-on and my balls can’t take it anymore! It’s been a week already! You know what, fuck it! I’m just gonna jerk off tonight, I don’t care if Luca is sleeping next to me. He can join me if he wants to! On himself, that is! I mean, he can play with his own cock if he wants to – not that he is going to help me with mine!

“Casey!” he shouted through the bathroom door.

“I’m done, I’m done!” I responded while I turned the water off.

Getting out of the shower and grabbing a nearby towel, I dried myself and tried to arrange my hair the way I wanted. I walked towards the bathroom door and just as I was placing my hand on its handle, it flew open with Luca yelling my name and crashing into me as he fell into the bathroom. I stumbled, slamming into a wall with my back against it as Luca crashed into me. Had I not been there, he would have smashed his face against the wall. Well, had I not been there opening the door, nothing would have happened…but, had I not happened to stand in that place I would have not been able to protect him from slamming face front against the wall!

“Sorry,” he said, his bare chest pressed against mine. Like me, he only had a towel wrapped around his waist. I guess he had been waiting for me to exit the shower.

“I don’t play hockey you know, so no random tackling; you have to warn me first,” I teased him.

I couldn’t see his reaction to my jest since his head was resting against my left shoulder and mine was resting on his right shoulder, but I felt his torso slightly contract, most likely from a small chuckle. I felt the moisture on my skin escape and transfer to his dry skin as we stood there, leaning against the bathroom wall.

“Shit! Sorry Casey, did I hurt you?” he asked as he pushed off the wall and separated from me. I hadn’t noticed until then, but I was in a really awkward position with my hands wide open and grabbing against the wall.

“It’s okay, shower and I’ll meet you by the dock,” I told him as I left the bathroom. I put on our rowing gear, which was basically spandex shorts and a spandex shirt. Hehe, I looked so hot in it!

After I was ready, I went outside to the dock, where it was already really hot! I mean, it’s only early summer, not even summer and it’s already hot and sunny. I went ahead getting the boat ready and bringing the oars down from the storage place to the dock. Luca arrived a few minutes after I was done.

“You have me doing all the work. I knew from the start that you were an abusive partner. Taking a long shower while I’m working in the heat to get the boat ready for us!” I teased him.

“Oh shut up,” he smiled and handed me a bottle of water, saying, “Here, for if you get thirsty.”

“Thanks,” I said as I took the water bottle and shoved it into my shorts until it was secure between my thigh and spandex. Hehe, it’s the only place I can store it so it doesn’t fall out! These shorts have no pockets plus both my hands are busy carrying the boat to the dock. Besides, Luca does the same thing!

We carried the boat over to the dock and then shoved off and started rowing down to Coach’s cabin. Once there, we waited in the boat awhile for him, but when he didn’t come, Luca got out and went over to knock on his door. I sat there, holding on to the dock so that I wouldn’t drift away. Luca came back with a note saying that Coach would not be here for practice today because he had to take care of some stuff back in town. And, of course, he left us a detailed practice schedule for the day.

“Yes! No practice today!” I shouted once Luca had finished reading the letter.

Luca sarcastically laughed and then said, “You wish! We still have practice even if Coach is not here.”

“But he’s not here!”

“So what?”

“So he’s not here, Lucas! We don’t have to row today! It’s not like he’s going to find out.”

“Casey, we’re rowing today!”


“Because we have to, Coach is expecting us to follow the schedule.”

“He’s not going to care if we skip one practice!”

“Casey! I want to row today!”

“Then you row!”

“Stop it, Casey! Stop acting like a little kid! You know I can’t row without you!”

“I’m not acting like a little kid! I just don’t fucking want to row today and I don’t have to!”

“And why the fuck not?”

“Fuck you, Lucas, I don’t have to explain myself to you!”

“Yeah you do! This affects the both of us, not just you!”

“Oh, stop it with the responsibility crap, Lucas! If you want to have practice then go get on an erg!”

“You’re being a selfish asshole!”

“So what! I have the right to be a selfish asshole whenever I want, just like you have the right to be a douchebag! So fuck you! I’m leaving,” I told him and then removed my feet from the foot stretcher and dove into the river.

The water was refreshing and it calmed my anger at Luca. As I swam away from the dock where Luca and the boat were, I thought I heard Luca shout “Fuck You, Casey!”

I swam slowly up the river to our cabin, swimming slowly to make sure it would take as long as possible. I really didn’t want to have to face Luca again. I felt bad after our confrontation, but he shouldn’t have been so stubborn. I get that I was being selfish, but I have a right to be selfish from time to time. I truly try to help other people, but what I have learned is that I also need sometimes to act and feel the way I want to. Sigh…I guess I shouldn’t have been so belligerent with Luca, after all he was only doing what Coach had told us.

I arrived several hours later at the cabin’s dock after several rest stops along the shore.  I got out of the water and headed towards the cabin, ready to face Luca. I really don’t want to go in there! Maybe I should stay here outside for a little longer. Then I noticed that Luca’s car was not there, so he must have gone somewhere. More relaxed, I entered the cabin and headed for the shower. After I washed the river water off, I dressed in shorts and a tee shirt.

While I waited for Luca to come home so that I could somewhat apologize or at least tell him there were no hard feelings between us, I tried to clean up the cabin…even if it wasn’t really that dirty. Finally I heard Luca’s car make its way down the road leading to the cabin.

I stood up from the couch I was sitting on when I saw the door open and Luca come in. I walked towards the door to greet him.

“Hey,” I bashfully said.

“Hey,” he returned.

We stood there, looking at each other, but not really saying anything at all. Sigh… I guess I’ll apologize later on. I walked back to the couch and lay there watching something on the small living room TV. I heard Luca rummage through something he had bought, but I really didn’t pay any attention to whatever he was doing.

He then returned to the living room area and sat at the other end of the couch. I didn’t turn around to look at him, but rather kept my gaze fixed on the stupid TV screen. Finally, I shifted my stare towards Luca and decided to say something.

“No hard feelings?” I asked him with a meek smile on my face.

He turned around and met my stare smiling and then said, “No hard feelings.”

“Good, I was feeling suckish today,” I sighed. “Plus I kind of regret that long swim up.”

“Then why did you jump into the river?” he smirked.

“Because someone was harassing me,” I grinned.

“Well someone was immature.”

“I guess I might have overdone it,” I smiled.

“Yeah, just a bit…maybe I was being a hard-ass too.”

“No more arguments?” I said as I extended my hand to him.

“No more arguments,” he said as he shook my hand.

“Hey, I have something planned, you wanna come along?” he added.

“Yeah, sure. What is it?”

“A camp-out in the middle of the woods. There are supposed to be shooting stars tonight and we’ll be able to see the planets clearly.”


“Yeah, one of the reasons I came here was because I would be able to see this.”

“So you had this planned out all along?”

“Well yeah, it was something that I had planned just before we got here.”

“And you planned on going alone?”

“Well yeah…I didn’t know if you would like to come or not.”

“Well…I do want to come, if that’s okay with you.”

“I’m inviting you, Casey,” he smiled.

“When do we leave?”

“In a few hours. We’ll drive to a mountain peak and then trek up to a clearing.”

“That sounds good,” I smiled.

“It will be. I was even planning on taking a lot of junk food up there and eating it all. We can even roast marshmallows.”

“That would be so great!” I laughed.

“Yeah, and after such a warm day it’ll be a nice night out, so it won’t be that cold.”

“Wait…we don’t have sleeping bags or even a tent,” I said a little confused about the camp-out part.

“Oh, I went to town and got sleeping bags and a tent, along with other camping gear.”

“So that’s where you went,” I said out loud.

“Where else would I’ve been?” he chuckled.

“I thought you were somewhere in the woods, angry at me or sulking.”

“Why would I be doing that?” he laughed.

“Never mind,” I murmured.

“I’m game then!” I quickly added.

“Me too!” he roared.

I helped Luca get everything ready for the camping trip, and we packed the sleeping bags, tent, food, and other gear into his car. We were done and left around 6 p.m. while the sun was still out.

A few minutes into the drive, I looked out the window and remembered our argument at Coach’s cabin. I started to laugh at the fact that Luca was so pissed when I jumped in the water. He had this “I’m going to kill you Casey” look on his face; it was so hilarious now that I think about it.

“What are you laughing at, now?” he asked.

“You should have seen your face when I told you to fuck off this morning. You looked like you were ready to kill someone right there and then.”

“Yeah, I was ready to,” he chuckled.

“I was surprised that you didn’t jump into the river and swim after me, although you would have never caught me, but still.”

“Yeah, I was thinking about doing that, but then I realized that you would just swim away…plus, I’m not that good of a swimmer,” he said meekly.

I started to laugh uncontrollably yet again. Hehe, Luca was never that great of swimmer, that’s the only thing we never did together when we were younger. I would always invite him on a swim but he would refuse and ask if we could play another game.

“Right, you’re aquatically challenged,” I teased.

“Well, I didn’t have anyone to teach me like you did.”

“Yeah, I had a pretty good teacher,” I said reminiscently.

“Wasn’t it your mom who taught you?”

“Nope, it was David,” I smiled. “He taught me when I was about 8.”

“I thought your brother wasn’t a swimmer.”

“No, he hated the water,” I laughed.

“So why did he teach you?”

“Because I asked him to. Plus who could resist my charm?” I grinned.

“Yeah, who could resist you?” he chuckled.

“Anyway, it was during that summer when I was eight that I learned how to swim. Every day I would ask David to teach me to swim and he would just say no. He told me that I didn’t need to learn to swim because no one swam. I would ask him, `Then why is it that we have a pool?’ and he would simply tell me that my mom wanted one to make the yard look pretty.”

“Really?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I laughed. “So one day, David finally gave up and told me to put on my swim trunks. I was so excited that I was finally getting to learn how to swim, but he just had this miserable look on his face. So my mom came out to the yard to watch David teach me how to swim.  I remember that my mom teased him telling him, `Oh I’m so proud of you David, using your superb swimming abilities to teach little Casey how to swim’, and David would just shoot her a dirty stare that made her laugh.”

“We started our lesson in the shallow end of the pool, with David supporting me…even though I could stand up and the water would not even reach my shoulders. He would hold on to me by my chest and I would pretend to be swimming on my own. Let’s just say that it took me a while to get the hang of it.”

“Wait, I thought you were born a fish?” Luca teased.

“Nah, I was born extremely sexy, the rest I’ve gained,” I grinned.

“Oh yeah, stupid of me to forget that,” he laughed.

“So that first lesson was basically me splashing and hitting David as I tried to swim, but David didn’t complain at all. He just held me there and with lots of deep breaths turned away while my legs and arms wildly thrashed. He told me over and over that I was supposed to hit the water, not him. “Casey, let’s try this again,” he would tell me and lift me up again. At one time I was ready to quit learning this whole thing and told him, `Dave, this sucks! I hate the stupid water! I don’t want to do this anymore!’  He then looked at me with a face I can never forget; it was full of encouragement and support. He smirked and said, `Oh really Casey, so you’re giving up?’ and I responded, `No, not giving up. I’m just never going to do this again, which is different.’ He laughed and then told me, `Nope, I’m not letting you quit. We’re gonna do this together and maybe you’ll become a great swimmer; definitely better than me.’ I remembered that those sentences changed my whole attitude; I got excited at the fact that I would be even better than David. `I’ll be better than you?’ I asked him with such enthusiasm that it caused him to laugh. `Well, yeah, but only if you keep on trying. Now let’s try again and stroke against the water this time, K.C.”

“Wow, so how long did it take you to learn?”

“It took me…well…a month.”

“So your brother gave you lessons for a month?”

“Yeah, and after that he never went in the pool ever again,” I laughed.

“I guess he was right about you becoming a great swimmer.”

“I guess so… Do you know during every meet I think of what he told me?”

“You do, Casey?”

“Yeah, right when I dive off the block I think of what he told me, `You’ll become a great swimmer’, as I plunge into the water and start to swim.”

“It’s right over there,” Luca told me a few minutes later as he pointed at the beginnings of a trail.

“Okay, let’s do this!” I exclaimed.

Luca parked as close to the trail as he could so that we didn’t have to walk far, and we started the trek up to a camp clearing. The trail was narrow, but big enough for us to pass through with our gear. It was a nice hike up since the trees were full of green and lush foliage. Even though dusk was quickly approaching, I could hear the squirrels still climbing up the trees.

“We’re here!” Luca exclaimed once we reached the clearing.

Wow! The clearing gave us a great view! It sits atop a medium hill that allowed us to see down towards the river and all the cabins that dot its banks. The clearing itself is amazing. It’s a patch of land floored with soft grass. It’s like everything I see in this place, small but just the right size.

“Let’s start to set up the tent before it becomes pitch black,” Luca announced.

“Sure,” I said and we started to unload our backpacks.

“Luca, are we having a camp fire?”

“Yeah, I hope so.”

“Okay, I’m going to go fetch us some wood so that we can make it.”

“That sounds good, Case. Let me just finish unwrapping this tent and I’ll go with you.”

“Don’t worry. You stay here and get the tent set up, I won’t take long.”

“Are you sure?” he asked a little worried.

“Yeah, I’ll take a flashlight and the GPS just to make sure.”

“‘K, I’ll wait for you here then.”

“Be back in a few minutes,” I told him and then headed off to find firewood.

The woods surrounding the clearing were not that scary or so large that I would get lost in them. Even several feet away I could spot the clearing and the light from Luca’s flashlight as he put the tent up.

I collected enough wood to make sure that it would last us all night, headed back to the clearing and dumped the wood on the ground. Luca had already finished setting up the tent and was waiting for me.

“I thought you got eaten by a bear,” he teased

“Nope, I just had to fight off some angry deer,” I smirked.

I got the fire started, and arranged a sort of sitting area next to it. I even made sure that the place where we would sit was comfortable.

“You can make a fire?” Luca joked as we sat in front of the fire.

“Of course I can make a fire! I happen to be good with outdoors skills. Just because I’m not into nature, doesn’t mean that nature is not into me.”

“Nature into you?” he laughed.

“Yeah, it thinks I’m a wonderful person and loves me.”

“So it loves you because you’re funny, caring, energetic, lighthearted, loyal, cute, and you make everyone’s life so much brighter?”

“Yeah, that too,” I said meekly as I put out the fire so that we could see the night sky more clearly.

“Hey, look up!” he told me and I looked up at the sky. It was amazing what I saw. The sky was completely muted black with only shards of glowing glass creating light every so often. Then I saw what we had come here for – shooting stars.

“Make a wish,” he told me.

I laughed a bit at the thought of it because it made me feel like a little kid, but I agreed to do it. The star lustered the night sky, as I sat there and tried to think of a wish. The thing is, I couldn’t come up with even one. At this moment, I feel really happy without needing to improve anything, just sitting here. Sigh, I do wish my brother could be back…but I don’t know what that would be like, or I could wish that my relationship with my dad would fix itself…but how would I ever know it was fixed if I’ve never had the experience of it fixed?

“Did you make a wish, Casey?” Luca asked, and I was brought back to the camp-out. I looked at him, his eyes glistening and emulating the bright shades of starfish blues, and smiled.

“Yeah, I did.”

“Great, so did I,” he added.

“So what did you wish for?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you – then it won’t come true.”

“Well, can I have a clue?”

“A clue?”

“Yeah, did you wish about a person?”

“Yeah…I did,” he sighed and then looked up at the sky.

“Do you care a lot about this someone?” I asked, also looking up at the sky.

He breathed in and then said, “Yeah, I can’t get them out of my mind.”

Sigh, I guess he must be thinking about Linda; now it’s starting to make sense. He’s in love with Linda, that’s why he puts up with her. I guess he must really love her to stand that skank.

“I’m happy for you and Linda. I’m glad that you have someone to love, I wish I could have the same thing.”

Luca turned around, then looked at me, and asked, “I thought you had Kate.”

I laughed at that, too, and then told him, “No, I’m not in love with Kate. She’s really nice and I care for both her and her brother, but I don’t love her.”

“So you are not in love with anyone?”

“Nope, I haven’t fallen in love yet.”


“Nope, never. Why, is it that shocking?” I laughed.

“No, I just thought that you would have fallen in love with someone already, I mean all the girls you’ve dated say you treat them as if your heart belongs to them.”

“Luca, there’s a difference between liking someone and actually loving them. Yes, I’ve cared for them, but I’ve never loved them.”

“So what is love to you then?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then how can you say that you haven’t experienced it. It might have been all around you without you even noticing it.”

“Because I want someone who can make me feel satisfied when I’m with them, to feel like I don’t need anything or anyone else to make me feel better. I want someone who can bring laughter and happiness into our life and not just rely on me to do it. I want someone who can make me feel…” I stopped as I felt rain droplets hit my face.

“Hey, it’s starting to rain,” I said, turning to look at Luca. His eyes were fixed on me. They were observing me intensely and seemed so deep.

“Fuck! Why now?” he exclaimed, making me laugh.

“Because unlike me, nature hates you,” I teased him.

“Then why are you also getting wet?” he grinned.

“Hated by association, what else can I say. You hang out with the wrong crowd and you get rained on.”

“Oh shut up and help me cover our gear,” he laughed.

We covered up everything so that it wouldn’t get wet. After we were done, we made our way into the tent, where we started to unpack the sleeping bags and pillows. I noticed that the sleeping bags were brand new; in fact everything we were using was brand new.

“Luca, I thought you rented this stuff?” I asked him as I unrolled my sleeping bag.

“No, I bought it all,” he said nonchalantly as he flattened his.

“So you bought all of these?” I asked him.

“Yeah, why?” he asked me as he sat down atop his sleeping bag.

“Because I would have helped you pay for it.”

“Don’t worry about it, Casey, it wasn’t that much. Besides my dad told me to buy them.”

“Your dad?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he laughed. “You should have heard him on the phone when I told him that I was thinking about going camping. He said, `Lucas, you have to take the opportunity to go camping, you’re in a beautiful place, make sure you take advantage of it.’ He even told me to buy everything new.”

“Your dad is great,” I smiled.

“I know!”

“Well, I guess there’s nothing to do but sleep,” I said as I got inside my sleeping bag.

“Night, Case.”

“Night, Luca.”

I lay there, hearing the rain droplets trickle against the fabric of the tent. The rain wasn’t strong, just a small drizzle that seemed to last forever. I couldn’t fall asleep because it was too early and I just didn’t feel like sleeping. The tent was dark but not cold, it felt as if I was completely covered in a thick cozy blanket, devoid of light yet protected from the outside world. I placed my arms underneath my head and crossed them to support it. I looked up at the ceiling of the tent and inhaled deeply.

“You awake, Luca?” I asked out loud.

“Yeah,” he responded. He didn’t sound groggy or sleepy at all; I guess he also hadn’t been able to sleep.

I stayed quiet for a few minutes and then finally I spoke up, “I miss him.”

“Who?” he asked as I heard him shuffle around in his sleeping bag. Thankfully the tent was so dark he wouldn’t be able see me cry.

“My brother, I miss him so much right now,” I said and Luca remained quiet.

“Why the fuck did he have to kill himself?”

“Casey, it was an accident,” Luca gently replied.

“No Luca, that’s not what happened. David didn’t die in a car accident…he died because of a drug overdose,” I said quietly, and turned to look up at the tent’s roof once more.

“It all began when David started to hang out with some jerks at his high school. I don’t know, but from the start I didn’t like his new friends. They were the kind of kids who would betray you in a heartbeat and then laugh at you. I couldn’t understand why David out of all people would hang out with those assholes, but the more and more he hung out with them, the more he changed. Before this, he was always happy and cheerful; he would talk to me and take me wherever I needed to go.  He used to drive me to school every day so that I didn’t have to wait for the school bus, even though my middle school was on the opposite side of town. He was so good to both my parents, always helping my mom out with whatever she needed. My dad was so proud of him, especially because he played soccer and baseball. We would always sit in the front-row stands for every one of his games. Every Friday during soccer season, my parents and I would gather in the stands and cheer him on; to us it was a tradition – Fridays during fall were spent as a family at David’s games!”

“But just as soon as those assholes entered his life, the brother I knew started to crumble away. I remember that as soon as he became friends with them, he stopped driving me to school. Supposedly I wasn’t allowed to follow him around anymore or even call him. He ordered me to `Stay the fuck away from me and we won’t have any problems.’ I was only in middle school at that time and I had no idea what he meant by it. So one day I followed him to hang out with his friends at this shady diner. Once inside, I hid behind one of the walls of the diner to see what he and his friends were doing. They were sitting at one of the tables and some of his friends were harassing the waiter. Although he wasn’t the one harassing the waiter, he just sat there laughing. He was one of those kids who stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves, why was he laughing with them? When he recognized me, he called me out and told all his friends in a mocking tone that I was his brother. The guys shifted their attention towards me and began to shout names at me while my brother just sat there with a smirk on his face. After they were done, he shoved me out of the diner and told me to never follow him again.”

“It was bad enough that he was treating me like shit, but he also began to fuck things up at home. I remember he and my dad had a huge argument when he decided to quit soccer. My dad was so mad that David was going to give up on soccer, something he was really good at, to hang out with a bunch of fuckers. And it wasn’t just about that, Luca, my dad was maybe even more pissed that David was ending our family Fridays. Dad usually wasn’t home that much, but every single Friday he would do whatever he could to make sure he was able to attend David’s games. Dad even threatened David, telling him he would take away his car and his allowance. David didn’t give a fuck; he said he would just get rides from his friends.”

I stopped for a while to wipe some of the tears falling down my face, but I had to continue. This was the first time I had ever told anyone about David. I took another deep breath and braced myself.

“But what hurt me the most was the way he treated my mom. She loves us to death and she would do anything just to see us smile. When David first started to change, my mom made it her goal to figure out what was wrong with him. She would sit in his room waiting for him to come home, ask him how his day was and smile, but David would just ignore her. When she got serious and demanded to know what was happening, David would just tell her to shut up and go away. Once I was with my mom when she confronted him, asking him why he reeked of alcohol. David told us to go away and let him sleep, but my mom didn’t want to. She kept on asking him why and demanding an answer.  And at last David shouted, “Get the fuck out, stupid bitch!” at my mom and I stepped in and told him to never call her that again, but he was so drunk and heated that he grabbed me by my collar and slammed me against the wall. I think that was one of the worst days in my mom’s life; Luca, I could see it in her face, she was so brokenhearted.”

“Casey, you don’t have to tell me all of this,” Luca added, sensing my hesitation.

“I know I don’t, but I want to. I’ve never told anyone else what happened,” I whispered.

“I didn’t get it and I still don’t, Luca. Something happened to David that changed him. I wish we could have blamed his change on hanging out with the wrong crowd and drinking too much, but that wasn’t it. There was something seriously wrong with David, Luca…and we had no idea what it was. He was so mad, all the time. I tried so hard to get it out of him, but he never allowed me to help. One day I decided to confront him so I went up to his room and locked us both inside. We were home alone so there was no way of someone interrupting us. `What’s wrong with you?’ I asked him. He looked at me and then told me, `Get the fuck out!’ I nodded my head and told him that I wasn’t going to leave until he told me why he was acting this way. He got really angry and once more told me to leave, but I refused. So he came up to me and slammed his hands against the wall, my head in between and looked at me, `I’ll say this one last time, get the fuck out, Casey!’ I refused and told him, ‘I don’t care if you beat me up; I’m not leaving until you tell me what’s wrong!’ He groaned and then screamed, `There’s nothing wrong, can’t you people understand that!’ I sighed and then told him, `Yes, there is! Don’t lie to me, you were never like this! Every time I look at you, you seem angry, sad and lost! I don’t care if you never speak to me again, just tell me!!! David looked at me and I could see the pain in his face. `Just tell me,’ I pleaded but he only lowered his head and croaked, `No, Casey.’  He seemed so broken, Luca, I couldn’t stand it anymore and I had to hug him. I know he didn’t want me to, but I did it anyway. He didn’t hug me back, but he didn’t push me away either, he just stood still. `I’m not good with stuff like this, but I love you David and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you,’ I told him as I let him go. For the first time in a long while, he actually smiled and told me, `Don’t worry about me Casey, I’ll be fine.’ He said he would be fine, Luca, he said he would be fine!”

I couldn’t continue anymore and started to sob. I felt Luca’s arm wrap around me and he pulled me closer to him. I leaned against his shoulder and allowed myself to cry. I rested my head on his shoulder and continued – my voice raspy and broken.

“Then one day David decided to go on a trip to California with some of his friends. My parents were worried and happy at the same time. David had been so antisocial these past months that my parents thought that this was a step toward recovery or something. I don’t know, Luca, but even I was happy about his trip. I foolishly thought that when he returned, he would be back to his old self – that he would be the brother I knew and loved. But…but…”

I stopped and took a deep breath and tried to continue, but I couldn’t. I attempted to remove myself from Luca but he didn’t let go of me and instead held me tighter.

“Casey, you can do it, just take a deep breath,” he whispered on my ear. I did as he said and continued.

“I was at school when my mom received the news: David is in a hospital’s emergency room due to a drug overdose. I later found out my dad had to take the phone away from my mom and talk to the nurse because my mom couldn’t even respond – she was standing there, frozen. When my dad picked me up from school, I could immediately tell that he had been crying because his eyes were swollen red. He told me to get in the car and then said, `Casey, your brother’s in a hospital and we have to fly out right away to see him.’ I panicked and asked him what was wrong, was David okay, where was he, and when had this all happened, but my dad didn’t answer me. Instead he took a deep breath and said, “Casey! Your brother is in trouble and he needs all of us.” I was surprised at my dad’s tone, because it seemed so desperate; I had never seen him like this, Luca. You know my dad, he never gets emotional.”

“We picked up my mom, who was still in a state of shock, and drove straight to the airport, taking the first flight to L.A. My parents didn’t say anything during the flight; my mom just looked out the window and tears rolled down her cheeks. She didn’t talk, she didn’t answer, she didn’t move, she didn’t respond to anything – she just sat there. My dad tried to entertain himself with whatever he could, but he fidgeted and couldn’t focus on anything. When the flight attendant came by, he ordered a drink of hard liquor and drank it in one sip.”

“We arrived at the hospital and my dad rushed to the counter asking frantically for `David Lock’. We ran up to his room to see how he was doing. From my mom and dad’s behavior, I was starting to panic. I didn’t know what to think since no one had told me anything. I wanted to cry, fearing that something wrong could have happened to my brother. When I entered the room and saw my brother, lying in a hospital bed with tubes protruding from every part of his body, I couldn’t hold it in and started to cry. My body grew numb from the sight and the only thing I could do was cry as I approached my brother’s bed and stood next to my mother.”

“My mother had rested her face on top of my brother’s chest as she cried and sobbed. When she first saw my brother, something broke loose in her and she was brought out of her state of shock. She immediately ran toward him and wrapped her arms around him sobbing, `my baby, my poor baby.’ Dad was also crying as he stood leaning against the door frame. He wiped his eyes as soon as the nurses came to remove us from David. They told us we had to let him rest and that he was in critical condition.”

“Soon the doctor came and told us that there was no hope for him. He said that David’s lungs and kidneys were shot and that he only had a few hours to live. When my mom heard this, she went into another shock. I couldn’t really understand what was happening, but I knew that it was bad and that my brother was dying. One of the nurses announced that David was conscious, drowsy but conscious. We rushed into the room to see my brother. His breathing was raspy and he couldn’t move, but he did recognize us. In a very weak voice he said our names, `…m,, K..Kay…C’. I remember that I came to his bed and asked him if he was okay. He didn’t respond and instead said, `I’m…so..rry…for…ev..very…thin…I…lov…you…all.’ He tried so hard to say those few words and it tore me up inside to see him in so much pain just to say that he loved us. I knelt down next to his bed and my mom did the same on the other side. She stroked his hair and told him she loved him so much. Then he…he…he just…”

I hugged Luca even tighter as I cried on his shoulder and then sobbed, “He died Luca, my brother died…He started to have trouble breathing a few minutes after he told us he loved us, began to shake uncontrollably and then he just stopped…he stopped moving, Luca.”

By now I was so far gone that I didn’t care if I was crying on Luca’s shoulder. My heart felt heavy and my body felt limp. I rested completely on Luca and he supported both of us. I felt as if I was a jellyfish resting on a rock – weak and defenseless. Luca hugged me tighter with one hand and with the other he supported both of us.

“It’s okay Casey, let it out, let it out,” he whispered. After a few minutes, he guided me down to my sleeping bag and tucked me in. I lay face down and moved my hand underneath my pillow, propping the pillow close to my face. Luca moved his sleeping bag closer to me and then asked, “Are you going to be okay?”

I took a deep breath and then let out a muffled response, “Yeah, thanks.”

He then patted me on the back and told me that everything would be okay, yet he didn’t remove his hand. His arm rested on my back and the weird thing is that it didn’t feel strange or heavy; it felt good. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone, that someone was there to help me through. It somehow made it easier for me to sleep, even though my head was spinning with so many memories and thoughts about the aftermath of David’s death.

“Thank you, Luca,” I whispered.

“It’s what best friends are for,” he answered, a little groggy.

“Yeah, you are my best friend Luca,” I murmured right before I fell asleep.


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