The Wrong Type of Redemption

16 Game Day


16: Game Day


Jerry slammed into the body in his way, plowing the opposing team’s QB into the astroturf. The whistle was blown. Jerry stared down at the ball the QB dropped. He smirked turning away knowing the guy couldn’t see him. There was a reason he was on a college football scholarship. Known as the Quarterback Eater in high school, Jerry had targeted the opposing team’s quarterbacks because Eric had been one. It made playing the game so much more satisfying tossing the QBs around like rag dolls. Sure, it was stupid, still holding on to that grudge, but…it helped get through some of his shit.

With the rest of the defense, Jerry scrambled back in formation. Yesterday, he barely slept thinking about those hands on his skin. And while Jerry should’ve been happy that his father was caving, he found he wasn’t. Knowing Philip hadn’t gotten hard, fucking frustrated him. Why the hell did he like that touch so much? And why the hell didn’t he take advantage of the situation?

Because my cousin is right, I’m not Gerald. No matter how much his dick wanted the pleasure, his heart and soul couldn’t trust–

No! He wasn’t going to dwell. He shifted his mind back to the game. Throwing his height and weight around was always a good way to clear the neurons.

After they lost the game because their team’s starting quarterback, Dave, got over confident as always, Jerry waited on the bench with the rest of the group and listened to the coach curse and lecture them all even though everyone knew whose fault it had been. Number thirty-two, Dave, was always pulling superman shit thinking he was some kind of invincible clown on the field. Its why they didn’t get to the championships last year. Yeah, the guy had a decent arm, but he had a nasty attitude.

Jerry couldn’t wait to see what Bailey brought to the game. Though the guy had been injured last year and was still taking it easy, Jerry could tell that the man was about the game, the team, the plays, and not his ego. Sure they all had an ego, but there was a fine line between confident and just being a jerk.

Bailey seemed to have the balance. And the other two quarterbacks hated him for it. Bailey, being a freshman, had just started on the team and already the team leaned toward him for leadership.

After most of the team had left for the night, Jerry showered, dressed, and was about to go when he saw Bailey sitting by himself staring at the floor. Jerry wasn’t going to pry, because it wasn’t his business what was going on with the guy, so he just said, “Night.” Then exited the locker room.

“Hey, Jerry,” Bailey called him before he escaped. Bailey was probably the only guy on the team that used Jerry’s name, instead of Sixty.

Jerry stuck his head back in the door but said nothing.

The guy opened his mouth to say something then just smiled. “Good game.”

Jerry walked back in the locker room and just stood there, one hand squeezing his shoulder strap. The guy had something to say. If nothing else, Jerry could listen.

“Nah, I don’t want to sound like a crybaby. Just thinking of someone I lost recently. You know…thinking of what could’ve been.” His curly hair swayed as he shook his head. “Regrets or…unanswered questions.” He shrugged. “My dad, you know the one that disowned us. Just…” He blew out a breath. “Goodnight.”

Jerry frowned not liking how those words affected him. Unanswered questions? Regrets? Jerry had been plagued with “what could’ve been” for years to the point he was tired of it. And yet he couldn’t get out of that damn loop of wondering, pain, and reliving memories just to hold on to something that was never coming back. “Do yourself a favor, Bailey, don’t regret. Don’t ask the questions. Don’t wonder what could’ve been or you’ll never more forward. You’ll get stuck in that cycle. And it’s a bitch. A damn bitch,” Jerry said before walking out hating that he was still stuck in that fucking cycle of self-loathing, wishing, wondering, not able to move away from it.

Deep in thought, Jerry strolled several long blocks to his apartment. There outside of his place, sat his father reading a magazine with bags of food sitting beside him.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, he walked up to the guy and looked down at him. “They don’t call the cops on you when you just sit out here?” Jerry asked.

Philip chuckled. “No, I told them I was your annoying father who worried about you. So now they just speak on their way by.”

Jerry blew out a breath. “I need paranoid neighbors.”

Philip laughed harder. 

After unlocking the door, Jerry walked inside and Philip followed closing the door behind him.

“I saw the game.” His father went to the counter and began opening what looked like packages of sub sandwiches. “You did great even if the team lost.”

“Fucking quarterback.”

Philip hummed agreement tossing a footlong sub at Jerry who caught it. “Yeah, he wasn’t on his best game.”

“That was his best game.” Jerry grumbled dropping his duffel and kicked off his shoes. He went to the dresser and clicked on the television before he took a seat on the floor beside his father. They watched silently — Philip rolling and unrolling his magazine and Jerry chomping down on his sandwichs.

“You ate already?” Jerry finally broke the silence during a commercial break.

“Yeah, while I waited for you. Didn’t know if you’d show up or go to some after party or something.”

Jerry snorted. He didn’t do parties. Staring at the guy, who stared back, Jerry felt heat mounting in him. Those blue eyes studied him curiously, compelling Jerry to lean in close and taste skin. To tamp down the urge, he asked a question he hoped would douse the fire and bring him back to his senses. “Have you…Have you ever visited mom?”

“I tried. That was over two years ago.”

“Eric and Gerald?” He asked turning his head away.

“Yes, I visited their graves around the same time. Then I visited your grandmother…to find out where you were.”

That shocked Jerry. His grandmother never mentioned it. The only time he knew of his father trying to find him was a year ago when he got the first email. His father had tried to contact him before? He looked over to find a deep frown on the guy’s brow, jaw clenching.

Philip rolled the magazine tight in his fists and kept a hard grip around it, his whole body tense.

When he didn’t continued Jerry, asked, “What did grandma say?”

“Say?” Philip laughed bitterly. “She called the cops on me. But that’s better than when your grandfather tried to shoot me six months prior.” 

Over two and a half years… How many times had his father tried to get in contact with Jerry? Did his father not know he was living with his grandparents at the time? Jerry recalled a conversation from long ago. He had walked into the kitchen after school and his grandparents were discussing restraining orders… At the time, he didn’t know why? But he wondered now if it was about his father.

Philip blew out a breath. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…I deserted their daughter and grandchild so I’m shit to them.”

Jerry just studied that defeated look. “You tried to offer peace, didn’t you?” He saw it then, the need to do something other than regret his actions. And Jerry loathed the sympathy he felt for Philip. He shouldn’t feel sorry, he should feel angry. He should hate the man…because Gerald would want him to.

“I know that’s impossible. I know I screwed up. I should’ve…should… Fuck I don’t know.” He whispered leaning forward elbows propped on his knees. “I know you are probably pitying me by allowing me to hang around, but I’ll take it. I’ll take anything you can give me. I’ll touch you however you want, if it makes things better.”

That remembered caress made Jerry grunt, his cock thickening. No, no, no… “Philip, I could care less what you do. I told you before, I’m already dead inside.”

“That’s not true.” His father scowled at him tilting his head to the side. “A dead man doesn’t play like he played today. A dead man doesn’t eat like you eat. And a dead man doesn’t go to school on a full scholarship. Or get hard all the damn time.” His father smirked.

“Ok,” Jerry said not wanting to hear those comforting words. He couldn’t grow anymore attached than he was becoming. Gerald would hate Jerry wasn’t fighting back and was moving on without him. What would his brother do to him if he found out? Fear licked up his spine.

“Glitch, please think more of yourself. Don’t let what I did make your life less. I’m trying even though I know I’ll always carry this guilt. I’ll always know what I did ruined-“

“Shut the fuck up, old man. I don’t care.” Jerry stood to his feet feeling things he didn’t like. The emotions kept building and he wanted them gone. He wanted Gerald to stop being in his head trying to change him…or did he? Fuck if I know! “You want me to blame you, fine. Yeah, you fucking ruined everything. Happy?”

Philip blinked as if trying to comprehend how to respond.

“Not good enough?” Jerry asked as his throat strained and his eyes stung. Gerald’s haunting words played in his head…that practiced sickeningly sweet smile his twin used flashed in his mind. “What do you want, old man? Because you can’t have your family back. That will never happen. So, what do you want?”

“I…I want to earn something… Friendship or… I want some kind of bond with you again.” Philip swallowed hard looking up confused and pleading.

Jerry laughed then, bitterly, hysterically. And it sounded cruel. His body wound tight as his mind screamed trying to reject the things he was thinking and doing. “You want to bond? Then drop your pants and bend over, because I need an outlet. Be my cock sleeve then we can bond all day.”

Philip’s face paled muscles stiffening as if preparing to defend against an attack. “Glitch…are you okay…you don’t look well-“

“Why? Because I’m gay? Because I have a kink for my dead brother? And as you can see that particular kink extends to you. And if you think you can cure it fuck off. I don’t need your damn cure.” Jerry’s mind no longer controlled his mouth as the room spun. I belong to Gerald…I belong to Gerald…

Standing, his father nodded as if resigned. He began unbuckling the belt on his jeans. “If being Gerald’s replacement helps you, I’ll-“

Jerry snapped. He hit Philip, clean across the jaw. “Get the fuck out.”

Holding his jaw, Philip shook his head no. Then asked, “Isn’t that what this is?”

“No one can replace Gerald. The fuck? No one. No one can replace him?”

“Then why me? Why the fuck do you…get like that for me? Shouldn’t you hate me?” Philip yelled back.

“I should. But I hate me more.” When the words tumbled out, Jerry blinked back the shock and tears. It was true. He hated himself and that he looked like Gerald… his tormentor. His jailor. I was weak. Scared all the damn time…and he knew it. He knew it and used it… He protected me from everything, but no one protected me from him… “I depended on him… I needed him to protect me, and he needed me to need him. If I didn’t need him…” More shivers racked his body. “I wasn’t strong enough to stop it. Or strong enough to tell him no. I never wanted you to know I was scared or you’d say I was a sissy. And I knew how you all hated gays. I knew how much a zealot mom was. She told us time and time again it was improper to sleep in the same bed together. But I couldn’t sleep without him because…because I was scared of the dark.” Jerry felt like he was back there, young, vulnerable, where his brother was his only ally, and yet… “We needed each other, he always said. We had to be together…he demanded it. And I believed him because he’s my other half, my soul. And that idiot is the one who left me. Why didn’t that asshole wait?” Jerry sucked in a breath as he dropped to the floor realizing how much he hated Gerald. “The fucker couldn’t even wait. He just selfishly demanded and demanded more, and more… Then left me behind…to face all the scary stuff alone… The asshole was always so damn selfish. Always about him! Always! Jerry you love me, right? Glitch, you’ll never love another, right? Look at no one but me. I am your world…” Jerry ran his hands through his bushy hair over and over as the words Gerald drummed into his head echoed over and over. It was always about Gerald. Always…always! “Shit! He left me like this…” His hands shook. “He left me not knowing who I am. I should’ve died.” Shivering, he closed his eyes. “I should’ve died…”

Philip got on the floor with Jerry and got in his face. “Don’t say that. I’m glad you’re here.” When Jerry turned his head away trying to move, his father grabbed his jaw painfully hard and forced him to face him, “I’m glad you didn’t go with Gerald. I’m glad I didn’t succeed in making you like Eric or me.” His hands came up and cupped Jerry’s face. “You are the best of us. You survived and faced the bitterness alone, unlike me, your mom, and Gerald. You didn’t run from the pain like we did. And yes, Gerald ran.”

Jerry struggled to get away, not wanting to hear him talk about Gerald like that.

“Oh no you don’t.” His father grabbed him in a punishing hug that shocked Jerry. “No matter how scared you were before, you didn’t run so you’re not going to now. You’re too tough and too smart not to already know Gerald was a coward. You said it yourself, he was selfish. And he was too afraid to be without you. He was as much a coward as me and your mother, so accept it.”

“I know but-“

“It hurts to hear doesn’t it?” His father’s gruff voice was strong even as it held so much pain. “It hurts to say. It hurts like hell to admit. Gerald was more like me than I wish he had been: arrogant, selfish, and controlling. Unable to handle when our neat little world fell apart, we both escaped. Both of us chicken. If you two weren’t identical twins, I’d swear you, Glitch, weren’t mine or your mother’s. You’re nothing like the rest of us. You’re made of steel to have survived everything, including Gerald. Death and loss can’t and won’t stop you. Being around people who hated what they didn’t understand…I can’t imagine… But you endured. So damn tough. Brilliant too!” His father sniffed then chuckled. “Hell, you were smarter than us even before I got you that damn machine. You are the best of us, Glitch. The man I wish I was.” His father’s arms held him tighter. “So don’t you dare say you want to die. Don’t leave. Please…don’t leave…” His father’s arms crushed him. “Knowing you still lived…you still push forward makes me ashamed as shit.” His father groaned dropping his head on Jerry’s shoulder. “But I’m so damn proud of you.”

Absorbing the words, Jerry sat quietly letting his father hold him and letting the tear dry on his cheeks. Those arms were hard, strong, and made Jerry feel oddly calm and protected. He’d never admitted to anyone how fearful he was of Gerald even though he loved him. And often he questioned if that love was born from fear of what Gerald would do to him next, or if it was genuine.

Shaking the thoughts from his head he finally broke the silence, “So, I’m the better man.”

“That goes without saying.” His father’s rasp softened into a whisper that tickled Jerry’s neck. “I’m not going to ask for forgiveness anymore. Because its pointless since I’ll never be able to forgive myself. But I will ask…Will you let me cook for you? Or just provide you meals? As often as you’ll allow?”

Jerry laughed then leaning into that embrace, soaking it all in. “Free food is the only reason you got this far, old man.”

“I figured.” His father chuckled, the sound shot heat to his groin.

Hell, he wanted this man. “You can let go now.”

His father did. “I should’ve hugged you guys more growing up,” he said looking into Jerry’s face curiously, eyes red and swollen. His jaw was growing puffy from where Jerry hit him.

“I thought hugs make a man weak.” Jerry parroted his father’s words from the past.

His father groaned. “That’s what I learned…And that’s why me and my brother are…horrible people.”

Pulling away and standing up, Jerry walked around Philip to the freezer. He grabbed a pack of frozen peas and turned to hold it out. “Put this on your jaw. It will keep the swelling down.”

Philip approached him and took it. “So, about the meals…”

“I’ll never say no to free food.” Jerry agreed.

His father looked relieved.

“I still don’t like you,” Jerry said, defensively, not wanting the guy to think he was a permanent fixture in his life. He didn’t trust his father to stick around and he didn’t trust himself to not drive the man away with the lust humming through him.

“But you want to screw me… Can’t hate me too much.” His father looked amused and too damn cocky.

“Fuck, old man, you are arrogant.” Jerry curled his upper lip in disgust at how much more attractive that arrogance made him look.

His father just laughed, then winced from the pain. He pressed the cold bag to his face while he watched Jerry. “Do you want to talk about…Gerald?”

Jerry shook his head, turning away in shame.

“Okay.” A hand gripped the back of his neck, holding him secure. Jerry’s eyes met his father’s. There was something in that blue gaze that Jerry couldn’t read. It was oddly soft, concerned, and yet penetrating, making him want to tell all his dirty little secrets. “Do you want me to leave?”

Jerry just shrugged not wanting to admit he like the feeling of warmth against his skin. Fuck if the man didn’t leave… “I’m tired so-“

“Right…you just played a full game.” That grip gentled, a thumb stroked once, twice, over his sensitive skin, making Jerry lean his head unconsciously toward the feel, wanting more. Slowly, the hand slide across his skin in a damn near sensual gesture. “Sleep well.” With peas pressed to his jaw, his father left.

Jerry stood there for a moment, eyes closed. Replaying the stroke of that hand over his nerves, he sucked in his bottom lip and groaned. It was all he could do to steel himself and not run to the door, fling it open, and beg the man to stay the night… Fuck.

Instead, he collapsed on the bed and curled into himself, replaying the embrace, the touches, memorizing those hands like the starved man Jerry was.


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