His phone rang. It was Jason.
“Where are you, gayboy?”
“I’m having brekker. And you?”
“Keith’s just finding a parking place and then we’re going to come and sit with you. What’s happening with Cody?”
“They’re operating now.”
Jason was silent for a moment, and then he said, awkwardly, and tenderly, “He’ll be OK, Lou.”
When Luigi didn’t answer, Jason said, “We’ll see you in a few minutes, my dear.” He disconnected.
Luigi felt a little better. It wasn’t logical, because after all, what did Jason know about Cody’s state of health? But—he wasn’t alone. He had friends. People who loved him. People who cared. People who stood by him. People who would share his burden, whatever it was—the death of Cody or his becoming angry and depressed and withdrawn. And suddenly the immense weight that was dragging him to the floor was not so heavy, and the numb greyness in his heart began to lift. His friends were on their way.
He hadn’t really had friends before. Not true friends. At school, he’d been too queeny for the other guys to befriend him. His family—pah! His father had beaten him up, pretty seriously. After he’d left school, he’d had Richard, and Richard’s friends had become his acquaintances. And after Richard had died, he’d had pickups. Lots and lots of pickups. Until Cody. And then Jason. And impossibly, wonderfully, inexplicably, Jason—macho, manly, straight-acting Jason—had folded him into the arms of his love and affection, had made him part of his life. And had brought in Keith and Esmé and Eleanor Cumberledge and Lucasta Ellesmere (or whatever her real name was!) and had made him part of a family. Not a conventional family, no. But his own conventional family had rejected him, apart from his nonna. This was his new family. These were the people he knew he could rely on, who would be with him through thick and thin, who cared, who loved him for him, who didn’t give a flying fuck that he was a flaming gay with issues.
Tears pricked his eyes, and his smile was wry. But he felt better.