Arlo Ch. 02

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Babes

Arlo sighed as he set down the clipboard. He rolled his neck lazily. The bruises from Donovan’s last beatings had begun to fade, but he still had to wear make up. In a few days they would be gone and he would be back to normal. But right now, his neck still hurt. He would kill someone for a massage and a glass of wine. Arlo shook his head. He knew he had to keep thoughts like that away.

He had met Donovan when he was in med school. Donovan had been studying to be a doctor too, but ended up dropping out and opened up his own hardware store. The pay wasn’t great, but it took care of a bill or two. They had been in love at first sight, and started dating. The first year was great. They were happy and in love. But when Donovan started drinking to cope with the stress of running his own business, Arlo followed. Soon they lost their apartment, Donovan almost lost the store, and Arlo was about to be kicked out of school, all because of their drinking. Arlo finally admitted he needed help, and joined a twelve step program. It was hard, but eventually he was sober. Donovan followed close behind, after Arlo threatened to leave him. It was hard enough to quit drinking, it was even harder when your lover brought home bottle after bottle, reeking of the stuff.

They were both sober for three months, before Donovan began slipping back into his old ways. He became violent when Arlo would get upset. Or even when Arlo was just in the room. That was when the abuse started. Arlo was forced to choose between his health, and his boyfriend. After telling Donovan he had to choose between Arlo and the booze, Donovan caved again. It was an ongoing circle. Donovan would be sober for a few months, and then everything would go back to the way it was. Arlo hated it, but how could he bring himself to leave someone he loved so much? With another sigh, he returned to the front desk of the E.R. to see what else had popped up.

“Ronda, anything new come in?” he asked, looking at a clipboard.

“Something new, alright,” the nurse seemed distracted.

“What are you…Officer Hud- erm…Jake,” Arlo quickly corrected himself.

“Hey, Doc,” the man winked. “Ronda,” he nodded at the older woman, who fanned herself and walked away.

“What are you doing here?” Arlo asked, trying to hide the smile that begged to cross his face. Their date had gone wonderfully, whenever Arlo could keep from thinking about what he was doing to Donovan.

“I thought I would bring you some lunch. You’re looking a little pale,” Jake laughed.

“Am I? Ugh, I didn’t get a lot of sleep,” Arlo blushed, embarrassed about his disheveled state.

“It’s okay, everyone has those days. Can you take a break and come eat?” Jake asked, holding up a generic brown paper bag.

“Uh…well…” Arlo began looking through the clipboard filled with patients that had just come in. “I-“

“Yes, he can,” Ronda said, snatching the board from Arlo’s hands with a raised eyebrow.

“I think that’s a yes,” Arlo laughed. Jake smiled, and Arlo walked around the counter to meet him.

“Know anywhere good to sit?” Jake asked.

“There’s a beautiful park across the street, let’s go over there,” Arlo smiled.

“Sounds good,” Jake said. They picked a nice clean picnic table and sat down in the bright sun.

“So, what’s on the menu?” Arlo tried to peek inside the bag, but Jake moved it out of his view.

“For the main course, we have tuna sandwiches, with a side of doritos. For dessert, a chocolate ghirardelli square. And for your beverage tonight, a nice cold Budweiser,” Jake said, in a bad french accent. Arlo smiled as Jake pulled out each item, until he got to the last. He bit his lip, and silently grabbed his own share of food. He began eating silently, trying to keep his eyes off of the glistening beer.

“This is good,” he nodded. He didn’t usually like tuna, but Jake made them taste different.

“Something the matter, Doc?” Jake raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it,” Arlo shook his head, not wanting to make Jake feel like he did something wrong.

“Come on, tell me Doc,” Jake pouted.

“…Uh…well…it’s just that I’m a recovering alcoholic,” Arlo admitted, blushing. He had never gotten used to saying the words.

“Oh, shit. I’m so sorry, I didn’t know,” Jake said, looking like a puppy who had peed in the corner.

“No, no. It’s fine,” Arlo shook his head.

“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable or anything. I just didn’t think about it,” Jake said, apologizing.

“I said it’s fine. It was just a simple mistake, no harm done,” Arlo smiled, putting his hand on Jakes.

“Okay… sorry… again,” Jake blushed. It was strange seeing the big man so awkward. Arlo smiled, and they went back to eating in silence. The silence wasn’t as awkward as Arlo thought it would be. It was kind of peaceful. “If you don’t mind my asking… how long have you been sober?” Jake asked. Arlo swallowed his bite and smiled.

“I don’t mind. It will be five years in a few weeks,” Arlo said, proud of how long he had gone without a drink.

“Wow. That’s impressive,” Jake smiled.

“Yeah… I started drinking when I güvenilir bahis first started med school, with… a boyfriend.” Arlo said, thinking of Donovan made him feel guilty. “It was just so hard to stop and, before I knew it, I really had a problem. I guess the thing that really made me pull my head out of my ass was when I was almost kicked out of med school. I didn’t want to end up one of those losers you see on “Cops”, passed out in some abandoned building with no clothes on,” Arlo laughed.

“Yeah, I don’t want to be the asshole cop who has to arrest you and find you some pants,” Jake laughed. They shared the laugh together, and Arlo couldn’t help but smile when the big man smiled. He was so much bigger than Arlo, but so sweet. Arlo felt a twinge of something in his heart. Something he hadn’t felt from Donovan in a long time.

“Lunch was fun yesterday, by the way. I don’t think I ever thanked you,” Arlo smiled, smoothing his pants out nervously.

“Yeah, I had a good time. Just like I am right now. Maybe… maybe we can make this a regular thing…” Jake hinted.

“Way to slide that in there,” Arlo rolled his eyes. Jake blushed and took a small bite out of his chocolate square. “I…” Arlo was about to accept, when he thought of Donovan again. Could he really do this? Cheat on his boyfriend? When he accepted the first date, that was different. It could have been just a lunch date between friends, a way for a patient to say thank you to the Doctor. It was only a test, to see what it felt like to be cared for. To be treated sweetly. But now… accepting Jake’s offer for a long term boyfriend… that was different. Arlo would be going into this knowing he was lying to both of them. He would be a cheater.

As all of this crossed his mind, he stared into the deep eyes of Jake. The man looked at him so sweetly, and with a soft smile. He was a nice man, and a cop at that. All he wanted to do was help people, just like Arlo. He had treated him to lunch, and came to check in at him at work with another lunch date. Donovan never took him out, or made him lunch. When Jake touched him, it was gently, with light strokes and small squeezes. When Jake laughed, it was with him and not at him.

“I would love that,” Arlo said. His mouth spoke the words while his brain still thought it through. He hated himself, and loved himself all at the same time. How could he do this to Donovan? Cheat on him. But how could he not do this? He deserved someone who treated him well, and he knew it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Arlo got home late. His phone had died at work, and he had tried the house phone but received no answer. He stepped inside the door nervously, and was relieved when he saw Donovan was asleep. He stripped down, and crawled into bed. Donovan stirred.

“Work keep you?” He mumbled through the deep sleep he had awoken from.

“Yeah, I’m sorry. Did you eat?” Arlo asked.

“Yeah, I ordered in,” Donovan said. He rolled over, and pulled Arlo close to him. Arlo smiled and buried his head in his chest. Donovan was sweet when he wanted to be. It felt good to be cuddled by the bigger man. Arlo kissed Donovan’s chin gently and shut his eyes, falling asleep in minutes.

The next morning Arlo made breakfast. Donovan woke up about half an hour after Arlo. He sat down at the table, and Arlo set a big plate of pancakes before him.

“Thank you, baby.” Donovan grabbed his chin and pulled him down for a kiss. Arlo smiled and moved to grab him a cup of juice.

“What are your plans today?” Donovan asked.

“I think I’m just going to stay at home, clean up a little bit,” Arlo said. He swallowed a bite of pancakes and was pleased when his throat didn’t throb with pain.

“Alright, maybe we can go see a movie or something when I get off work,” Donovan said.

“That would be nice,” Arlo smiled. A date with Donovan sounded perfect. After breakfast, Donovan left for work. Arlo had just finished the dishes when the phone rang. He rushed to find the cordless phone, and picked it up on the fourth ring.

“Hello?” He answered.

“Hey, Doc.” Jake greeted him on the other end.

“Hi!” Arlo cleared his throat, trying to hide his excitement. Jake chuckled.

“I was wondering if you wanted to do lunch today?” Jake asked.

“Yeah! I would love to!” Arlo smiled, he thought for a moment. “What about if you come over here. I could make something,” he offered.

“Sounds great.” He could practically hear his smile over the phone. “I’ll be there in a few hours,” Jake said.

“Okay!” They said goodbye, and hung up. Arlo cursed himself for sounding so excited. He felt like a little schoolgirl who had a crush. He quickly jumped in the shower, coming out smelling fresh and clean. He threw on a pair of nice black jeans, and a blue top. He left his hair disheveled from the towel drying. He looked at his watch, and realized it had only been half an hour. He needed to think of what to do for lunch. He smiled, and grabbed the keys to his car.

~~~~~~~~~~~

He decided not to make lunch, but to wait for Jake. He had bought everything they would need to make pizza, and had spread it out on the counter. The dough türkçe bahis was made and was resting, just waiting for someone to stretch and roll it into the flat piece that would be used for their pizzas. He had just finished admiring the fixings, when there was a knock on the door. He brushed the flour off his hands, and couldn’t help but jog to go answer it.

“Hey, Doc,” Jake winked.

“Hey, hope you’re hungry,” Arlo smiled.

“Starved.” Jake followed him into the kitchen.

“Thought we would do homemade pizzas,” Arlo laughed and walked over to the counter.

“Man, I just made a tuna sandwich…” Jake laughed nervously.

“It was good. I’m no five star chef, I just like to cook,” Arlo shrugged.

“This looks awesome,” Jake said. “Can we get started?” He asked, eagerly. Arlo nodded, and pulled out the dough. In a few minutes, they had two perfect pepperoni pizzas ready to bake. Jake had added sausage and peppers, while Arlo added mushrooms and canadian bacon. They put them in the oven, and sat down.

“You know, these are great. But, there is one thing they need,” Jake said.

“And what’s that?” Arlo asked, thinking he had bought everything in the store already. Jake smiled.

~~~~~~~~~~

After the pizzas had baked, Jake had Arlo carry them in the car, until they got to their destination.

“You still haven’t told me where we’re going. We just passed the store,” Arlo frowned.

“No, no, no. For this special ingredient, you can’t just buy it at a store, it’s not the same.” Jake shook his head.

“Okay… where are we going then?” Arlo asked.

“You’ll see.” Jake kept his eyes on the road. Arlo rolled his eyes and looked out the window for the rest of the short drive. “We’re here,” Jake said, and stopped the car.

“Seriously?” Arlo frowned. They were parked in front of a small gas station.

“Seriously,” Jake confirmed, and stepped out of the car. “Stay here, I’ll be right back,” Jake said, after Arlo climbed out of the truck. Arlo sat on the curb, pizzas close by. Jake disappeared into the gas station for a minute, before coming back out with a small plastic bag. He sat down on the curb next to Arlo, and opened the bag.

“On your pizza? You’re disgusting!” Arlo laughed at the two bags of gummy worms.

“It’s good! Don’t knock it ’til you try it.” He sprinkled a heavy handful of worms onto his pizza. He put the one empty bag down, and picked up a slice of the pizza they had cut at home. He groaned with satisfaction and took another bite. He raised an eyebrow at Arlo with a smile. Arlo rolled his eyes and grabbed the other bag of gummy worms on the other side of Jake. He opened it and hesitated, before emptying the bag on his pizza. “Now we’re talkin, Doc!” Jake cheered. Arlo grabbed a slice, and took a bite. He chewed for a moment, before nodding and swallowing.

“Alright. It’s probably going to give me heart problems, but it’s delicious,” Arlo laughed, trying to keep a gummy worm from falling out of his mouth.

“See! Come on, Doc. It’s fun,” Jake chuckled. “Not everything has to be so… boring,” Jake laughed. Arlo laughed with him, and after a few moments, they finally began to settle down.

“So tell me about your job, Jake. Do you like being a cop?” Arlo asked, picking up his second piece of pizza.

“I love it. I love helping people. Honestly though, this is the first time I’ve gotten hurt,” Jake waved his arm.

“Really? We get cops in the hospital all the time,” Arlo said.

“Yeah, I guess I’ve just got a guardian angel looking out for me.” Jake smiled. Arlo couldn’t help but laugh a little. “What? You don’t believe in angels, Doc?”

“No, I don’t,” Arlo said. They both teased, not really caring about the conversation, just talking for the sake of getting to know each other.

“Why not?” Jake asked.

“I don’t know. I’ve got no reason to,” Arlo shrugged.

“You’ve got no reason not to,” Jake pointed out. Arlo thought for a second.

“People use God and religion and angels and the like to give them a reason to be a good person, and to have something to believe in. They use it for comfort,” Arlo began, thoughtfully. “I don’t need a group of people and an all powerful being to make me a good person. It’s like saying you didn’t steal a car because a cop was watching. You’re still a bad person for wanting to steal it,” Arlo said. “I’m capable of being a good person on my own, and I don’t need some fairy tale to make me feel better at night,” Arlo said.

“I suppose you’re right… but how do you know for sure there isn’t a God?” Jake asked.

“I don’t. But if I’m wrong, he’ll still love me anyways right? If god is really all loving and all powerful, then why do people have to worship him? Last time I checked, you don’t worship somebody who’s all loving, and if he is all powerful than why is there so much suffering in the world?” Arlo asked.

“Haven’t you ever heard that god works in mysterious ways?” Jake asked.

“Have you ever dealt with a murderer? Couldn’t he just say he works in mysterious ways?” Arlo raised an eyebrow. Jake stared at him thoughtfully for a moment.

“I guess you’ve got a point güvenilir bahis siteleri there,” he laughed. Arlo chuckled and looked down at the pizza that sat in his lap. “Hey, what happened?” Jake frowned, and moved Arlo’s collar down. In his rush to get ready, Arlo had forgotten to put on make up.

“Oh, it’s nothing…” Arlo blushed, and pulled his collar back up. “Uh… just a patient got a little out of hand the other day,” he said, when Jake gave him a look.

“Really? Wow, I didn’t realize being a doctor was so dangerous. Are you okay?” Jake asked.

“Yeah, just a little sore,” Arlo dismissed it and stood. “Come on, it’s getting cold out here.” Arlo smiled as they headed back to the truck. Jake wrapped his arm around his shoulders during the short walk, before being forced to separate by the truck’s hood. Once they got back in, he let his hand rest on Arlo’s leg.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Arlo waved out the window as Jake drove off. Once the man left, he hugged his arms to his chest and began giggling. The date had been more fun than anything in his entire life. Jake was so nice, and warm. They joked and laughed, even about serious subjects. They were always having fun. Jake had looked like he wanted to kiss him so bad, and Arlo was going to let him, but then he thought about Donovan. At the thought of Donovan, he dug into his pocket for his phone.

Donovan: Hey what u up to?

Donovan: Too busy to answer me?

Donovan: Babe, want to go out for lunch?

Donovan: Helloooo?

Donovan: I’ll take that as a no…

Donovan: Wtf Arlo

Donovan: Well fuck you too.

Arlo sighed and put the phone back in his pocket. He had muted the damn thing during his lunch date with Jake. He didn’t want to be interrupted. Now that he had thought about it, that probably wasn’t the greatest idea…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Arlo was lying silently in bed, listening to the quiet sound of rain and thunder. His head was turned towards their bedroom window. The rain was hitting the glass softly, and he found the sound oddly comforting. The comfort was shattered when he heard the front door open. He hadn’t heard Donovan’s car pull up through the rain. The heavy footsteps were a dead giveaway that he had been drinking. Arlo sighed, and turned his head to the doorway. He watched the distorted shadow of Donovan in the kitchen. It wasn’t until he saw the bottle in his hand that he finally moved. Arlo swung his legs over the bed, and grabbed his jeans, slipping them on quickly.

“Where da fuck you goin’?” Donovan slurred.

“Somewhere not here. You know I won’t be around alcohol,” Arlo said.

“Come on. Just fucking sit down and have a drink,” Donovan slurred again, as Arlo pulled on a hoodie.

“No, Donovan. I can’t stand the fact that you’re drinking again, and I won’t let you pull me back into that.” Arlo shook his head.

“Fuck you, Arlo. Like you’re better than me?” Donovan stood up, pointed and waving with the hand that held the bottle.

“Well, right now I am. Maybe if you would come home sober that would be different,” Arlo spat, and stood, forgetting about shoes. He grabbed his keys and headed for the door.

“Fuck you! You’re not going anywhere,” Donovan said, pushing Arlo back.

“Let me go, Donovan,” Arlo snapped.

“Fuck you!” Donovan said, as if those two were the only words in his dictionary. He snatched the keys from Arlo’s hand. “Have a drink.” He held forward the bottle. Arlo eyed the mystery bottle, before pushing it away.

“Just stop,” he said, and left Donovan with the keys. He headed out the door, and began walking down the street.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jake drove around the slick streets slowly. He hated working nights, he loved sleep too much. But someone had to do it, right? The downtown area was usually busy at this time of night, but because of the rain it was mostly clear. A few clubs seemed busy, but there was nobody outside waiting in line. Instead, they were either crammed inside or they just gave up and went home, not wanting to stand in the rain. A few restaurants were still open, but mostly just small diners and dives. The most lights he saw were from bars. They were filled up, with rows of people sitting in booths and at the counters, eagerly awaiting their drink to wash away their troubles.

A few liquor stores were open, and a gas station here and there, but for the most part everything was dark. It was too cold and too late to be out on the streets.

‘So why the fuck am I out here?’ Jake thought to himself. He knew there wouldn’t really be anything going on out here. It was too small of a town for any serious crimes. Suddenly, the radio crackled to life.

“55, we got a 415 at 1679 Blake,” the dispatcher came over the radio.

“Check, dispatch. On my way,” Jake responded. 415 was a simple disturbance complaint, probably made by a citizen. He turned the corner and began cruising down Blake street. The street was as empty as all of the others, and for a while Jake thought about calling dispatch back to double check the address. But then he saw the man standing in the middle of the sidewalk. He wasn’t really doing anything, but sitting in the rain. He was staring at the one open bar on the street. He was wearing soaked jeans and a maroon sweatshirt. His hair had been matted to his forehead and he didn’t have any shoes on. Jake cruised up to the man and stopped.

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