Break Free Chapter 12

Posted on 6:59 PM | By Biki Honko | In

Morgan stood gazing at the dizzying amount of stuffed animals on the shelves, "Larger rather than small.  Soah needs something to hold and cuddle.  Color?  Does color matter?  What type of animal is best to cuddle?  Err!  This is so tough!"  He began picking up the animals at random, holding them at arms length, and then putting them back.  "How do you choose?  They have like a million or so of these things!"

Standing there lost in thought, he didn't notice that he was beginning to draw an audience.  One of the more bold watchers walked up to him and said, "Shopping for your little sister?"  Praying to herself it wasn't a gift for a girl friend.

"Oh, ah, no.  It's for a sick friend that is in the hospital.  She is going to be there quite a while and I thought a stuffed animal would be a nice gift.  Something to cuddle at night, when she will be all alone."  Morgan turned to ask her about the current animal being held at arms length, when he realized that this girl was standing way to close for comfort.

 As he took a step away, she took a step closer.  "So, not a girl friend, then?"

Morgan had dealt with to many girls not to know what was going on, "Not yet, but I want her to be."  And hearing that, she turned and walked away.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a little girl about 8 or so he would guess, with her mom.  'Hey!  That girl would be an expert on which one to choose!'  He waited until they were in the same aisle as him, "Excuse me!  I really need some help, shopping is not my best event, and girl shopping is a total fail for me.  I need a stuffed animal for a sick friend.  Something cuddly is what I am looking for, but I have no idea how to choose!  Would you mind helping me, please?"

"Sure, how old is your friend, and do you know her favorite color?"  Mara smiled at the obviously confused boy, well, young man really.

"Um, I have no idea about her favorite color, and she is 15.  She will be in the hospital for a long time, and needs something to keep her company.  Thanks for the help."

Feeling a tug at his shirt, Morgan looked down into the little girls face.  A smile split her pretty face, and she said, "Hi!  I'm Ivy, what ya gotta do, is hug them.  Pretty don't count.  It's gotta hug good.  And big is better for hugging."  She looked around and pointed to a large fluffy bear on the top shelf.  "Get that one down for me, pick a color you like.  White is super cool, but it gets sooo dirty."  Morgan looked at the bears and finally picked a dark purple one.  He handed it to Ivy for a hug test.  She grabbed it and hugged it softly and then hard.  "Oh, this one hugs nice!  Try that floppy moose there!"  There were only brown moose, so no decisions to be made on color, he pulled it from the shelf and handed it to Ivy.  After a hug test between the both of them she decided, "Well, they are both really good huggers.  I like both of them."  She handed them both to Morgan.  "Here, you try them.  Give them a hug and see."

Morgan took the bear and the moose, and gave them a hug each.  Looking from one to the other he finally decided that he couldn't decide and would just get both!  Smiling down at Ivy, "Thanks!  I can't decide either, so both are coming with me."

"If she is going to be in the hospital for a long time, a super soft pillow also makes a great gift.  Would you like to look at those?  You might choose a pillow and a animal for your friend.  If you don't mind me asking, why is your friend in the hospital?"

Morgan thought about how to answer her while they walked to the pillows.  "She was badly injured, and will take a while to heal."  He rocked his head toward Ivy, hoping she would understand he wouldn't say anything while Ivy was listening.  Mara's head went back, as she realized there was much more to his story, and it wasn't good.

"Here!  These pillows are super awesome!"  Ivy grabbed a petal pink pillow off of the shelf and shoved it at Morgan.

Catching it, he saw how soft it was.  Looking it over he couldn't understand how the cover came off.  "How do you get the cover clean?  I can't see where it opens."

"Oh, here there is a little zipper, see?"  Mara showed him the zipper.

Ivy came running back down the aisle, with something square and chocolate brown.  "Ya gotta get her one of these blankets!  They are sooo softy and sooo comfy!"  Ivy shoved it at Morgan, who lost the battle of the juggled items.  He did catch the blanket and agreed with Ivy 100%.  He had never felt anything like that blanket before in his life.  

"Ivy.  I want to tell you thank you!  I would have grown old in that aisle trying to decide what to buy.  But, now, I have some super awesome gifts for a really sweet person.  Should I wrap these gifts?  Or just give them to her in the store bags?"

"Gift bags are great.  It will help her control her belongings.  The hospitals never have any storage for your personal stuff.  And she can use your bags to organize all of the get well gifts her family and friends will bring her."  As she said family, and pained look shot across his face.  Leaning into Morgan and lowering her voice so that Ivy wouldn't overhear, "Abused by her family, huh?  It will take a while, but she will heal, inside and out, most of us do."  Mara smiled at Morgan, and patted his arm.  "Come on Ivy, back on task here, we need to get you a present for that birthday party tomorrow."  Taking Ivy's hand, they walked away.

Morgan just stood there, stunned.  Abused?  That really nice lady had been abused as a kid too?  Heaving a sigh of hope for Soah's future, he juggled things around and went looking for gift bags.  As he rounded the corner he heard a voice float to him, "Gift wrapping, they are in gift wrapping."  Nodding his head to Mara, to show he had heard her, he went looking for the bags.

Kevin had a basket on his arm, while Dave was smelling every bottle on the shelf.  "What are you looking for, don't they all smell good?  How can you smell anything now, after sniffing from like 50 bottles?"

"Temper, temper, unhappy shopper.  And yes, they all seem to smell good, but some are stronger than others.  I don't want something stinky!"  Undoing the lid on yet another bottle, he took a little sniff, and a look of happiness lit his face.  "Here, smell this one, is seems to be what Soah should smell like to me." Dave held the bottle out to Kevin, for him to take a whiff.  Kevin carefully inhaled from the bottle, and nodded yes.  "See?  That is a good one.  It just took me a bit.  He started putting various bottles into the basket, "Lotion, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, there!  Now on to combs and such."  Dave walked away from Kevin, knowing he would follow.

"Ya know, I don't think I am that kind of gay guy.  I don't get all of this girly stuff.  Can I just go sit at the food court, while you finish up."  Kevin used his best puppy dog face on Dave, hoping it would work like it  usually did.

"Oh, and I am that kind?  You forget I have sisters.  I have grown up with this stuff my whole life.  I would have to be brain dead if none of this sank in.  And, no.  You are staying with me.  And no whining."  Turning into a different aisle, he started putting combs, clippers, nail files, tweezers, a puffy scrubby, and a small makeup bag into the basket.  "There, we have everything I can think of to keep her clean and smelling nice.  Now, how about you use your years of eating junk food to use, and help me get her some snacks?"

Happier with the buying of snacks, Kevin set off to the candy aisle.  "Jelly beans, hard candy, chocolate covered raisins, gummy bears, humm, what else?  Cookies!  We need cookies!  Oh, these German cookies are the best!"  Dropping several different boxes of cookies into their basket, Kevin looked around trying to think what else would be good to snack on.  "Hey, do girls eat jerky?  No!  Better idea, potato chips!!"  And off he went to the chip aisle.  "Oh, look at this Dave!  Chocolate covered potato chips!  She will love these!  Remember her dipping her fries into the chocolate milk shake?"  Several cans of these fell into the basket.  "And a few small bags of plain chips.  There!  I think that is good for now.  Agreed?"

Laughing at Kevin's change of attitude about shopping, Dave nodded.  "Now we need to get some wrapping paper, and we are done!"

Coming around the corner into the gift wrap aisle, there stood Morgan looking at different bags.  "Hey guys!  Welcome to hell!  Way, way to many choices.  How do we choose?  Well, size of course, but plain bags?  Bags with flowers?  Bags with a pattern, but which pattern?"

"Here, snacks are fun, right?  So, how about this silly one with monkeys on bikes for the snacks?  And the bathroom stuff, flowers?  Yeah, that seems right somehow.....  Pillow and blanket, humm, here this one has little cute beds on it...... Oh!  Look!  This big bag has a cute face of a teddy bear.  That would be perfect for your stuffed animals.  Now we need that crinkly paper to match... here, and here and here, oh and this one."  Dave happily picked what he wanted from the display.

"Morgan, have you met my wife?  Ow!  No hitting, wife!  Bad wife, bad!"  Kevin laughed and cuffed Dave back.  "When I get you home, you had better get in that kitchen and make me a pie!"

"When we do get home, pie is not what I have been thinking about making!"  Dave waggled his eyebrows at Kevin.

"Way, way to much info guys.  Let's get this this paid for and track down your dad Kevin."

Laughing, Morgan play punched Dave, causing Kevin to say, "Hey! If anyone is going to punch my wife it will be me!"

"Wife!  When did I get to be the girl?  Just because I can shop?  And, there will be no hitting!  Ever!"

Kevin wrapped his free arm around Dave's neck and whispered into his ear, "Baby, I am just teasing with you.  You are not a girl.  Love you."  Pulling back a bit to look Dave in the eyes,  "I would never hit you.  You already knew that right?"

Glancing quickly around, Dave quickly kissed Kevin, and whispered back, "I know you could never hit me.  Love you too.  And, yes, I knew you were playing about the girl thing."  Heaving a large sigh, Morgan looked down, and seemed rather sad.  "Morgan?  What is wrong?"

"You have each other, and are so happy.  I want someone too.  But, not just anyone.  Love.  I want love.  Real love."  Morgan turned to walk to the check-out counters, and very quietly asked, "What is it that draws me to Soah?  I am so confused.  I have never felt like this before."

Kev and Dave watched Morgan walk away.  They hurried to catch up, and moved to walk on either side of him.  Kevin thought about what Morgan had asked, while they went thru the check-out lines.  Together again at the front of the store, "Maybe she is your soul mate.  I dated several guys before Dave.  Remember when we all went to play paint ball war?  I ran around one of the barriers, and there stood Dave.  How many times had we all hung out together?  Millions!  And yet, for some reason that day, when our eyes met, it was like the whole world fell away.  My heart found it's true home."

"I thought my heart was going to explode, it was pounding so hard.  I got my first kiss that day.  And my heart woke up.  It felt just like it had been asleep, and was jolted awake.  Ya know, like with those paddle things?  Suddenly, my whole life was forever changed, I was loved.  Me, someone loved me.  And, I loved back just as much.  It just happens if it is going to.  Kev and I were made for each other.  Maybe you and Soah are made for each other.  You will just have to see."

"Wait!  You hadn't dated before you dated Kev?  No one had kissed you before?"

"Well yeah, I had dated before, a lot actually.  And I had been kissed but, Kevin was the first to kiss me with love.   The other kisses just didn't seem like anything after he kissed me."  Dave reached over and took Kevin's hand in his own, looking closely to make sure it was fine with Kev.  "If people have an issue with us holding hands, then fuck'em!"  Dave chuckled quietly, "Man, I don't know what has gotten into me lately.  But, I'm like all brave."

"Hey!  There's Dad, man lookit all the bags he has.  He bought out the whole store!"  Kev trotted over to his dad, "Good grief Dad!  What did you buy?"

"A personal DVD player, and a bunch of videos.  Umm, I got her an ipod, and gift cards to buy music.  Some small speakers for the ipod, and headphones, and a wall charger, because only when you bring your laptop to the hospital would she be able to charge it up, and that just won't work.  A gameboy, with games the clerk told me girls seem to like."

"Wow!  You went all out!  Makes my gift of snacks seem kinda weak."  Kevin looked truly sad about the smallness of his gifts.

"Kev, your gift will be used up in a few days.  Every couple of visits you can bring her new fun snacks.  So, when you show up, there will always be the wonder and suspense of if there will be gifts.  Me, well, it will be like christmas, just a one day blow out."

"Dad?  How about only giving her a set of gifts at a time?  I don't think she is well enough to play the gameboy yet.  And the music thing will be good while she is getting a lot of therapy.  Why don't you give her just the DVD player and a few of the movies?  Don't give her all of the movies at once."  Kevin thought some more, and then said, "I don't believe that Soah has ever gotten a gift in her life.  This will overwhelm her, each of us getting her gifts.  Maybe we should space it out a bit.  Dave's gifts and the ladies gifts of pajamas and slippers and such should go first, with Morgan's stuffed animals.  Then my snacks with your movies, and Morgan's pillow and blanket.  Whatcha think?"

"Yeah, the pajamas, and toiletries, and the stuffed animals totally go together!  The movies, snacks and cuddly pillow and blanket do too.  The music to help her fill those long hours of thinking things over, and the gameboy then too, when her brain needs to play.  Great idea!"  Morgan was really excited about how the gifts would work together, and as he was looking around, he saw confused faces watching him.  "What?  Now what stupid thing did I do or say?"

"You know the word toiletries?  Really?  Anyway, I don't think any of us has ever seen you so excited about anything ever.  You pretty much just go with the flow of what is going on around you.  Soah has lit you up.  Which is a good thing, a great thing, but an unusual for Morgan thing.  I don't know about you Dave, but I like this new Morgan."  Kevin was amazed at the transformation of his friend.

"Yes, I like the new and much improved Morgan." Dave hoped he had not hurt his friends feelings, but wanted to be honest with him.  "Now, maybe with this new fire burning, you will be able to get excited about college and actually be able to choose a major for more than 24 hours."

Morgan had a faraway look to his eyes.  After being quiet for a few moments, he suddenly snapped back saying, "Focus, it feels like life is in focus for the first time.  Tomorrow seems important.  Shit!  What am I saying?  Today is important!  Let's go!  You need to drop me back at the park, so I can pick up my car, and the last I heard there was some ring shopping in your future for Cami.  Time to roll guys!"  Morgan picked up his bags and set off for the car.  George, Kevin and Dave exchanged shocked looks, and followed a very excited Morgan.

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