Chapter Eighteen: Doll Parts:

-November 16th, 2011-

Lenard was stuck. He felt awkward around Tai. He couldn’t pretend that everything was fine. Tai looked over at him.

“Something wrong?” he asked. Lenard forced himself to smile.

“No,” he lied. Tai gave him a sympathetic look. He lowered his toothbrush.

“Lenny,” Tai said. Lenard shook his head.

“We haven’t talked about that night,” he admitted. The American man lowered his head. Tai patted him on the shoulder.

“What did you want to talk about?” he asked. Lenard pressed his lips together. What could he say?

“Uh, well…” Lenard began. He started trembling.

“Want to sit down?” Tai asked. His roommate nodded.

“Okay,” Tai said. He walked Lenard over to their bed. The American man finally broke down.

“How do you feel about me?” he asked. Tai paused as first.

“What do you mean?” he asked. Lenard lifted his head.

“What are we?” he asked. “Friends? Roommates? Lovers?” That last word almost made him choke. “Just… What are we?”

“What do you want us to be?” Tai asked. Lenard stared at him. His roommate smiled.

“I’ll be what you want us to be,” he said. “If you want us to be friends, we’ll be friends. If you want more, we can be more. What do you want?”

“I…” Lenard’s eyes shifted away. Why did he have to make this harder? But he couldn’t tun back now.

“How do you feel about me?” Lenard asked. “Tell me the truth.” He started shaking. Tai grabbed his arms.

“I think you are beautiful,” he said. “You are much stronger than you think. You have grown since we moved to Japan.”

“Do you love me?” Lenard asked. Tai stared into his eyes.

“When did you decide that?” Lenard asked.

“When you lost your breasts,” Tai admitted. “Where is all of this coming from?” A tear rolled down Lenard’s cheek.

“I don’t understand you,” he said. Tai took him by the cheeks.

“Understand what?” he asked. Lenard choked back a sob.

“I just have to know,” he said. Tai pulled him into his arms.

“Shhh,” he whispered. “Shhh.” His roommate sniffled.

“I love you,” he whispered. Tai rested his chin atop his head.

“Yes,” he said. “I love you too.” Lenard cried against his chest. This would have to do for now.