Soldier was very much interested in what was going on in his house. He’d never lived there, but it was part of his vast holdings. He was a badly scarred, heart sore, loner who was rambling from place to place, as he put it, scaring little children and making grownups nervous. He was especially interested in the very pretty man he saw coming and going occasionally. He stayed hidden and watched to see what was up.
All of a sudden he was in the middle of chaos. Seven boys, who’d been shit on by life in general, were being cared for by Dillon Kramer. But what was he going to do about it? Before long, he was part of them. He was helping them, supporting them, fighting for them, and loving them every one. Especially the big one, Dillon.
This scene happens after Soldier meets the first of the guys, Gom, who asks if he can touch Soldier’s scarred face--
“It’s okay…Gom, is it?” Soldier wanted to ease him for some reason.
“Yeah. Gom or Gommy. I’m too little for Mont …gom…ery. I would like to touch you once, just for a little…to see how it feels. Are you sure I can?”
“Gom…” Dillon started to say, but Soldier broke in.
“It’s okay. Come here, little one. Here,” Soldier took Gom’s little hand and pressed the palm against the rough scars on his face. He moved it a little so the boy could feel how rough it was and then he dropped his hand and let the kid touch him. Gom’s eyes were huge as he moved his hand over his face. He patted it softly and said,
“Does it hurt when I touch it? I don’t want to hurt you.” There were tears gathering in his eyes and he dropped his hand.
“Here, what’s the matter…uh, Gom? It’s okay. It didn’t hurt me.” Oh shit, what should he do now? He was so out of his element here. “I’m a tough old bird, anyway, but there is very little feeling in that side of my face because of the scars. Don’t cry.” He felt awful as tears fell down the little boy’s face. He didn’t make a sound, though.
Dillon closed his arms around Gom and sat him down on his leg, saying,
“Shhhhh, now, Gom. You heard what he said. You didn’t hurt him. Come on now, don’t cry or you’ll get all worked up. I hate when you cry for so long.” Dillon patted Gom on the back and looked over at Soldier who looked like he was ready to bolt.
They both sat stunned when Gom said, through his tears, “But someone hurted him bad and it makes me sad.” He sniffed and rubbed his eyes. “I can’t help crying. I’m sorry. Don’t be mad.”
“Honey, you’ve got to quit thinking we’re gonna be mad when you cry. It never makes me mad. I just hate to see you sad enough to cry.” Dillon hugged him close to his chest. “Come on, now, dry up and tell Soldier it’s okay. I think he thinks he did something wrong.”
“Oh no. You was nice and let me touch. I wish they didn’t hurt you, though.” He did the strangest thing then. He stepped away from Dill and went to stand between Soldier’s legs and put both arms up to his shoulders and laid his head on his chest.
Soldier was literally stunned. He couldn’t move. He’d never…he didn’t know what to do. He looked over at Dillon who was smiling gently at Gom. Finally, he put a hand up and patted the kid on the back. He heard him sigh and relax against him. This was too weird.
He looked down and saw that the kid had actually gone to sleep. He looked at Dillon again with surprise in his face. He handed the sack back to Dillon and gently picked Gom up and settled him against his shoulder like a baby. There was such a difference in size between them it was almost like he was one. Gom turned his face into Soldier’s neck and sighed again.
Soldier could feel Gom breathing against his neck. There were places in between some of the worst scars where he still had feeling. Those small little bursts of air against him were almost unbearably sweet. He sat there, unable to believe he was holding a child in his arms.
“Soldier?” Dillon whispered, “That is the first time Gom has ever touched another person as far as I know. He lets me touch him, he wants to cuddle with me even, but no one else ever even tries.” He shook his head, not believing what he was seeing. He went on to explain, “He goes off on the worst tears. He cries and cries. It’s enough to break your heart. You must have something really special. He trusts you like he does me. Do you mind holding him?”
“He gets so little sleep. I even let him sleep with me when he asks hoping he will sleep better.” His worry and fondness for the child was evident in his voice. “He doesn’t eat enough and I worry about him. I still don’t know all that happened to him.”
“You know any?” Soldier didn’t know if he could stand hearing about it if it was something really bad. But he felt compelled to ask. He started rubbing softly against the boy’s back and felt him relax deeper into him.
“Some. Just from nightmares. He was…I can’t believe I’m telling you this. I can’t believe any of this. This is the first time I’ve…but I guess I feel as safe with you as Gom does. If you get tired of holding him, or don’t want to, I’ll take him.”
“He’s okay, doesn’t weigh anything. He’s comfortable. What’s he like to eat?”
“Right now he’s really fond of pancakes and syrup. I got some the other day and there was enough left over and he was so happy. He likes chicken, fried chicken.” He smiled as if remembering something. “Once I got some leftover from…something or other and he ate that, too. He nibbles a little. Eats a little cereal. Likes Cheerios, the honey kind, but I can’t get that very often.”
They sat silently for a while, neither of them wanting to wake Gom from the deep sleep he was in. Dillon shivered as a breeze blew through the trees back by the fence. In a gesture that he didn’t plan at all, Soldier opened his arm for Dillon to slide over against his side. Without hesitation Dillon slipped over and fit himself to Soldier’s side.
***love is love***