Scarred Souls Book One
On a cold, wet afternoon Damian stumbled across a young man huddled beneath a tree crying his eyes out. He’s got more than enough problems of his own, but is compelled to give the bloke a place to crash for at least the night.
Josh is used to being alone, and most days it’s easier than trying to deal with people who can’t, or won’t, understand him. When Damian takes him in for the night, Josh assumes it’s gong to be one more go round of sex and get out in the morning.
Neither of them expects the friendship that develops, and they’re far from prepared when friendship starts to turn into more.
(c) TT Kove
Our meeting was, in hindsight, rather disturbing.
Rain was pouring down, and I had cut across Soho Square Garden to get home quicker when I saw him sitting on the grass. His knees were drawn up and his face was buried in the palm of his hands. He was soaked all the way through, and I could see, even from a distance, that he was trembling.
He was sitting under a tree, but it didn’t give him much shelter from the rain. The streetlight next to him was flickering on and off, making the entire setting eerie. I glanced around, but I was the only person around besides him. I guess that was to be expected when it was past eleven at night and the weather was shit. Even in the middle of London.
I looked back at him. I couldn’t leave him there. Not when he was so distressed he was voluntarily sitting outside in the rain clad only in jeans and a thin, long-sleeved jumper. I walked over, slow and hesitant. He didn’t move as I approached, even though he had to hear my squishy steps in the wet grass. Only when I stopped at his side and held the umbrella out to cover him did he react.
He lifted his head and peered up at me. Blond hair, darkened by the rain, was plastered to his skin and his eyes, such a brilliant green they startled me, were red and swollen. I realised with a start that he’d been crying. Probably still was. I didn’t believe for a second that all the drops on his face were from the rain.
“If you stay like this you’ll get sick.” It wasn’t the best thing to say, for sure, but then I’d never been good when it came to other people.
He sniffled and ran a hand over his face. Not that it helped much, as his hand was just as wet as the rest of him. “I c-can’t go h-home.” His teeth were chattering so badly I had a hard time understanding—but eventually I caught what he’d said, and his words made me fidget uncomfortably.
I couldn’t leave him out there. He’d end up with pneumonia or do something do endanger himself. He seemed distraught enough to be capable of it. I couldn’t, in good conscience, walk away and leave him to his own fate.
“Why not?” I looked around again. There was still no one else around. “You should go home.”
He shook his head fiercely. “I can’t.”
I looked around for the third time, more anxious now. It was getting late, it was cold, and it didn’t look like the rain was about to ease up anytime soon. “Don’t you have any friends you can go to?”
“No.” His voice was only a murmur. “I don’t have any friends.”
I pursed my lips uncertainly. “You can’t stay out here. You’ll get pneumonia.” I’d had that once, and it had not been fun. “I guess you could—” I cut myself off to swallow, hard. “You could come with me. I live right across the street.”
He looked up at me, a strange gleam in his eyes. “You sure?”
“Yeah.” I wasn’t, not at all. But if I left him out here, and he had nowhere else to go… I couldn’t do that. I didn’t much like people, but I wasn’t heartless. “Yeah, come on.”
He planted his palms on the wet ground and pushed himself up. He stumbled a little as he straightened up, and I grabbed his arm on impulse to keep him from losing his balance. He hissed and jerked away, holding his arm tight to his chest.
I stared at him, taken aback. Not just by him so suddenly pulling away, but because I’d grabbed onto him to begin with. I wasn’t fond of touching or being touched; and I neverinitiated it.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered.
“No, I’m sorry.” He brought his other hand up to cover the one still pressed against his chest. “I’ve hurt my hand, that’s all. So it hurts to touch it. You wouldn’t have known that.”
“Okay.” I didn’t know what else to say. I wasn’t sure I believed him. He was standing outside the range of the umbrella now, so the rain was pelting down on him. “Come on.” I inched the umbrella closer to him.
He looked at me, a strange gleam in his eyes, then he gave a slow nod.
I walked as far away from his as was possible underneath the umbrella. It was beyond awkward, but it was only a few minutes till my flat. The door was locked and all the lights seemed to be out, which meant that Silver wasn’t home. I didn’t know if I should be disappointed about that or not. Silver was good at talking to people, whereas I was not. It wouldn’t have been so awkward if he’d been home. Then again, how was I going to explain the current situation to him?
“Bathroom’s there.” I pointed to the closed door next to my own bedroom, across the room from us. “I’ll find you something dry to wear.”
“Thank you.” He didn’t meet my eyes as he shuffled past me towards the bathroom.
I watched his back, but when I realised what I was doing I shook my head and hurried into my bedroom. I found a pair of grey joggers and a thin, white jumper that I hoped wouldn’t be too big on him. From what I could see he was a slighter build than me.
I hesitated for a moment outside the bathroom door, then told myself off and knocked on it. He cracked it open, and I handed over the neatly folded clothes.
“Thanks.” He took them with a small smile.
I scratched the back of my neck as I headed over to the sofa. What was I doing? I’d just brought a stranger into my home. I didn’t know anything about him. He could be deranged or a thief or a murderer. Any of those were just as likely. But he could also just be a sad bloke who didn’t have anywhere else to go.
The bathroom door opened, and I tilted my head to the side so I could watch him emerge. My clothes were too big on him, but that only served to make him look adorable. I couldn’t believe I was thinking that, but it was true. He was adorable. His hair was still wet, but he’d run his fingers through it to ruffle it up.
I resolutely turned my focus on the black television when he sat down next to me. I could feel his eyes on me though, and it made me twitch uncomfortably. It was nerve-wracking and I couldn’t stand it. “What?” I turned my head to look at him.
“Nothing.” He turned his head turned quickly away from me. His hands were in his lap, folded tightly around a dripping wet notebook. Or maybe it was a journal. He glanced at me again, caught me staring at the journal. “It’s ruined.” His voice shook. It was almost like he’d lost his best friend. “I forgot I had it on me and now it’s ruined.” He squeezed his eyes shut, and I watched as a few tears trickled down his pale skin.
“It’s just a book.”
That was entirely the wrong thing to say, but I didn’t realise it until I saw him tense up.