Disclaimer: B&S doesn’t belong to me. Written with love, not for money.
Summary: Jason has some serious soul-searching to do.
Lying on his back, in this big bed, Jason finally allows himself to feel tired. It’s been a strange couple of days and he has not yet had the time to really understand everything. It had started so innocently with Kitty’s phone-call if he, please, wanted to join the campaign, because Robert needed him. Jason called Courtney and asked her if he could take the kids to see Robert… It all seemed so easy.
Then the kids got sick and Jason spent some time helping Kitty with the Jack and Sophie, but he quickly returned to Robert and there he found out from Travis that Isaac was the man who outed him. And he remembers feeling like someone just punched his the stomach. Isaac is the man who ruined his life 10 years ago! And Robert knows! And Robert lets him stay!
He sighs, he doesn’t want to be reminded of that horrible time 10 years ago. He had been so careful. He had so much to lose, and nothing to gain from someone finding out. But he had fallen in love and eventually, caught between hope, desire, fear and despair, knowing what he could lose, he had asked the boy out on a date. A magical little night…. And then his name, face and sexual orientation had been all over the newspapers.
He remembers his mother’s anger and disappointment. What hurt him most was that she was angry with him, not because he was gay, but because of the damage this inconvenient truth (pardon the pun) had caused to his brother’s campaign, just when poor Robert was getting a bit successful…
As if he had waited purposely to see his life shattered, to be exposed to ridicule, to suddenly be shunned by his family, to lose the respect of the people around him, just to piss off Robert!
Thinking about his mother’s words still makes his blood boil. He angrily turns to his side. He shouldn’t think about all this, if he needs to sleep, but the tidal-wave in him is unleashed and he can’t control it.
He’s shivering with the barely contained anger he feels. He tries to soothe himself, remember words from the bible. It usually helps him to cool off, but not this time. He closes his eyes and in his mind he returns to this night, when, after he left Robert’s room, he walked into Isaac, the man who had made his best kept secret known to the entire world.
It was just coincidence. He just realized that he shouldn’t be in this corridor, but the next, when he sees Isaac step out of the elevator, with some files under his arm.
“Jason!” Isaac seems surprised to see him here… “Did you speak to your brother?” He knows Robert’s room is down the hall. Jason shakes his head.
“I just got some newspaper to read and I took a wrong turn….” Jason replies, a bit annoyed that he had made this mistake.
“Happens to me all the time. All those hotels are different and yet they are all the same… Sometimes it’s confusing….” Isaac soft voice bothers Jason a bit. It’s too friendly or maybe he’s too agitated.
“Why did you do it?” Jason asks without further explanation and when he sees the look on Isaac’s face, he understands that Isaac needs to know what Jason knows. “I found out that you’re the one who outed me ten years ago.” Jason’s voice is stressed. Isaac nods. He takes a long look at Jason, wondering how much he should say to Jason, but then he decides on the truth.
“Because it was a way to undermine Robert during that campaign. I couldn’t find anything on him, he was squeaky-clean, everyone loved him, no affairs, no issues. He was absolutely perfect. I tried your parents, but nothing but honors for them too. And I was about to give up and you came into the picture. A Catholic minister… who was sleeping with men… I hate to say this but your love-life was a God-send.”
“I somehow doubt that God send you that bit of information to hurt me with.” Jason speaks bitterly. Isaac looks at him. Long and intense.
“I’m sorry.” He then says with the right amount of sensitivity. “I guess, that when you’re used to this political fencing, to the thrill of the ability to bring your opponent down, it is sometimes hard to remember that you’re dealing with human beings here….”
Jason smirks, that is the worst excuse HE has ever heard, but Isaac continues:
“I saw nothing else but my own objective. Stop Robert from getting his foot in the door. And, yes, I used you to do that. That is my job. I cannot stop and worry about the people who might get hurt. If I start to do that, I might as well quit. And don’t get me wrong. I would do exactly the same for Robert if that same situation occurred…..”
And THAT is what bothers Jason. Oh, he knows that Robert told him he wanted a clean campaign, but will it stay that way, if Robert gets closer to where he wants to be? What if one of Robert’s opponents has a gay, still in the closet, brother? Will Robert use this? Jason would love to say that he is sure Robert won’t, but cannot say that. Not in all honesty.
And Jason has to wonder, if he can stand by and let someone else get hurt the way he got hurt… For Robert doesn’t know all that happened. He never told anyone how deep he had sunk, how depressed he had become. How could he ever tell Robert about how hard he had fought to not be gay? That he really tried to be as straight as Robert? That he had hated himself for being a failure?
Robert would be the first one to tell he wasn’t a failure, like Robert had been the first one to accept him as he was, once the initial shock had died down. But he was angry at Jason for not telling him. Had he known…. He could have protected the family, Jason, the campaign… but to Jason it had felt as if the campaign had been more important than him…
He sighs and gets out of bed. There is no use in staying in bed. He’s too angry. The world outside his window seems cold and icy. Everything is covered under a thin layer of snow. That is how he feels as well. A cold anger. He knows that Robert has worked all his life to get as high in politics as he could. He knows that Isaac is just doing his job, just like he did 10 years ago. He knows that Isaac is what Robert needs right now.
But there is this little voice nagging in his head: “What about me? What about my feelings? What about my life?” His entire life had evolved around Robert. He was very little when his father died and Robert became ‘the man of the house’. Robert was a brother, but also a father. His mother had always stimulated Robert’s career. For as long as he can remember, he always had to adjust his life to Robert’s, because that is what his mother did too.
She had to be there for Robert and Jason was just tagging along. He loved his mother, he loves his brother, but would it have killed her or Robert if she would just once have gone to see him play soccer, and not to see Robert give a speech? And now he feels guilty, because it almost seems as if he’s begrudging Robert their mother’s attention, which he doesn’t… It’s all so complicated…
But what about him? What about Jason McCallister? Why is he even here? Yes, he votes for Robert, because he trusts his brother, but he doesn’t agree with Robert’s party politics at all. He would not go as far as to say that he’s a Democrat, but he sure isn’t that much of a Republican either. He doesn’t agree with Isaac, or Robert, or Kitty anymore.
He lets his head rest against the cold window. The cold hard truth is, he doesn’t want to be here. He wants to be at his church and be with the people who really need him. Robert has enough people around him. At this stage, would Robert even notice even he left quietly? Probably not. He loves Robert dearly, but he has a stronger and stronger feeling that they are no longer on the same page.
Jason’s time in Malaysia has changed him. He has seen the worst and the best in people and it has changed his view on life. The problem is he can’t really talk about it to Robert. He cannot convey to Robert how fundamentally his opinions have changed, because Robert lives in a different world from him.
Robert sees people. Successful, dedicated, ambitious people who want things from people equally successful, dedicated and ambitious, but Jason too often sees those who don’t make it to ‘success’, those who are not wealthy, those who are on drugs, in prostitution, those who saw ‘the American dream’ turn into their worst nightmare…
And Jason has always known about this difference between their views, but he is only now becoming aware of how big the gap between them really is. It is as if his stay in Malaysia has removed certain filters in his head and he sees things in a different light.
Jason looks around and sees a degree of wealth that shames him. He thinks of what he could do with the money that is spent on a daily basis here…. He sighs again and returns to his bed feeling disappointed. He no longer wants to be here. He no longer wants to be in a campaign he doesn’t believe in, just so he pleases his brother, but is dissatisfied with himself.
He thinks of the many chores that await him back at the church, chores now handled by another priest, because he, Jason McCallister, has agreed to do something he doesn’t fully commit to anymore, for someone he is no longer sure will lead a ‘clean’ race, if the final goal is coming in sight. He hates to doubt his brother, but he does.
He knows that it will not serve purpose to discuss this with Robert. Robert will be all upset and talk Jason into staying. Jason switches off the light, pulls the blanket up and tries to relax a bit. Tomorrow he will explain to Robert that he is needed more somewhere else and that he will return to Los Angeles. Tomorrow, he will….