Monday, August 6, 2012

Take it Slow by AKM Miles


When Daniel Webster returns to Nashville after two years of hell, he doesn’t go back to his dad’s house. After an amazing rescue he ends up at Mama Sasy’s diner and finds out that it’s a safe place for young gay guys in trouble. He certainly fits that bill.
Daniel has problems mentally and physically after all he’s been through and it’s going to take a lot to get him back to any form of normal. He finds a great ally in Benny Adams and they begin a relationship. He’s so thankful for Benny, but why can’t he embrace Mama Sasy and her group of happy helpers who throw love at him left and right? Maybe because she’s so close to his dad, the one Daniel ran away from two years ago because he was so cruel upon hearing that Daniel thought he was gay. Benny makes him believe in love, and the broad spectrum of characters at Mama Sasy’s eventually make their way into his heart. As time moves forward, Daniel gets an idea about what he wants to do with his life. Benny helps him and they set forth a bold plan.  It’s gonna get better, but he’s got to get them all to understand that he needs to take it slow.
It had been three days since the battery of tests that told Daniel his problem was exactly what he had imagined it to be: bleeding ulcers. Stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep and rest had all contributed to the problem. Now he had pills to take, and his diet would be lacking a lot of things that had acid or caffeine. Right now, Daniel was fine with a steady diet of pancakes, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy (Boddy's was great), and macaroni and cheese. Comfort food was what he'd craved for a long time and been unable to get.

He hadn't seen his dad in all that time. It was Easy who had taken him for the day at the hospital. Daniel was beginning to really enjoy spending time with Easy and Mano. Benny was right: they were solid in their relationship. They weren't overt, as Benny said, but it was so evident if you were looking. It just made Daniel feel good inside to see a positive, healthy gay couple.

Mano was all excited because his mother was coming up to live at Mama Sasy's. Now there were going to be two Mamas: Mama Sasy, Easy's mom, and Mama Rosa, Mano's mom. Lots of mamas around, when Daniel had not had one for a long, long time. Mama Rosa was going to live in the apartment with Mama Sasy, between the diner and the dorm, which was in front of the apartment where Mano and Easy lived. It was a pretty nice setup they had here, and Daniel was happy to be part of it, except for the part where he knew his dad was going to be showing up all the time. He still wasn't ready to deal with the swirl of feelings in his head that occurred with just thinking of him, much less seeing him.

His health was getting a little better. His hair, washed daily, which he considered a treat these days, was beginning to get its color back. Who knew that being unhealthy would change your hair color? Daniel hadn't thought he was vain before, but he did hate that he didn't have the almost white/blond hair he used to. He shook his head, thinking that the color of his hair was the least of his problems.

The nights were the strangest. He dreaded them because they always brought nightmares and anxiety, which usually brought on the pain in his stomach. But, it also brought Benny to his bed. The young man who shared the dorm with him had proven to be the best thing in his life right now. Every night, as soon as the awful pictures in his head got the better of him and he cried out, Benny was right there. The last two nights, he'd even made Daniel move over and had stretched out beside him. Daniel woke with his head on Benny's shoulder and Benny's arm around him.

The first time it had happened, he'd almost freaked out, but since Benny was sound asleep, Daniel calmed down and enjoyed the feeling of being held, even if it was just pity or compassion or friendship. It was nice. And the good Lord knew he wasn't ready for anything more. Both times, Benny had been gone when Daniel woke up in the morning.

Mama Sasy had insisted that Daniel take it easy until he felt better, but he was getting tired of having nothing to do. He went in search of her, wanting to know what he could do to earn his way.

"Honey, are you sure you feel up to working? You can take all the time you need," Mama Sasy said, looking intently at him, as if she could tell if he was better or not.

"I feel better, and I don't want to mooch, ya know?" Daniel felt funny eating and sleeping and wearing things that he hadn't worked for.

"Of course, but..." Mama paused and smiled, nodding her head. "Okay, I should have known any son of Nick's would not want to--"

"Could I not be Nick's son here? Could I just be Daniel?" Daniel felt like he was being rude with the question, but he really did want to make his own way. He didn't want things just because he was Nick Webster's son.

"Come here, hon. Sit down with me for a minute," Mama Sasy pulled him toward the family booth.

He followed. He had to, he owed her, but he dreaded the talk he knew as coming.
"I understand you have mixed, even bad, feelings about your dad, and I don't blame you. Eventually, I think you will find your way back to each other, but I'm not going to push it. You're entitled to your feelings. You should know I made him pay, in your name, for what he did to you. I've spent years here helping young men in your situation. All the stories are different, but also the same, if that makes sense. Some more heartbreaking, some less so. Benny is a good example. The same thing happened to him, but he didn't go through all you have. He came to us before he had to go through some of the terrible things the others have had to endure." Mama sighed heavily, letting her eyes move around the diner before she went on.

"I'm so sorry for the heartache you've been through, the hard times you've lived through, the fear, loneliness, and the feeling that you'd been abandoned. I know that takes a toll on you, Daniel. I know because I've seen it over and over. But never before have I known a situation where a parent has come to me begging for my help in finding the son that he admitted that he'd wronged."

Daniel wanted so badly to duck his head and not hear this. He wasn't ready to hear this. He firmed his lips and told himself to grow up. He listened.

  ~AKM Miles~
***love is love***

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