It is the end of a perfect Summer full of music and surfing and the kind of love that makes people want to right sonnets. Luz de la Huerta has be a sweet, but mostly absent figure. There have been pleasant Sunday dinners with the three of them, and she seems happy that her son is happy. She has been sick often, and on those days hector stays home to make soup and look after her when she's awake, but they can watch movies or make music or make love as long as they are quiet about it. When she's not sick, she often at work or other places. Out with friends, going to appointments. Whenever Cash sees he she's wearing a wig or a kerchief. She is distracted, but she is trying so hard to pretend everything is alright and Hector is trying just as hard. They don't talk about it. Ever.
Except this morning she was collapsed in the bathroom and Hector called an ambulance and it's near midnight a week before senior year starts and Hector is just getting out of the cab at the apartment alone, his face a neutral mask.
Cash would have been hiding on the fire escape, but this morning he left before the alarm to surf. He returned in time to see Hector and his mother loading up. He kept his distance and continued to keep it. He wanted to go to the hospital but he didn't feel like it was his place. Not when they never spoke of the growing elephant in the room. He simply followed the lead.
Hector will find Cash sitting at the kitchen table, reading one of his library books. A book he tosses aside to meet Hector as soon as he opens the door. "How is she?" He asks, tense and worried.
Hector looks like he wants to just fling himself at Cash and weep for about thirty heart breaking seconds, and then it's like the slamming of the door of a vault. His expression goes hard and flat and dead. It a voice like all the sun has been sucked from it forever he says, "I think you should go home."
Cash is nothing if not a empathic sponge of emotions. He isn't stupid either. "You are upset about your mom but that's what I'm here for. To help you and love you and be strong for you." He steps closer and tries to take Hector into his arms.
A few days ago, Cash called home. He needed paperwork to start school and needed his sister to get it. Both she and, later, his music teacher implored him to come home. Cash said no. He was going to make a life in San Francisco. Beside the book on the table is paperwork to start public school in the area and he has a whole damn audition for a performing arts school. Cash is in it for the long haul.
Hector takes a step back, something like fear in his eyes. "I can't. We can't. You should go home. Try to patch it up with your ex. See your family. I can't do this anymore."
That last sentence is what give Cash total pause. "No." He shakes his head. "We can do this together, Hector. I'm here now and I'm not going anywhere. I love you, remember?" There is panic creeping into his voice. "If this is about staying here, I have other options. I can give you some s-space." He pauses and takes a shaky breath. "Please..."
It's the rising panic in his lover's voice that nearly breaks his resolve, but he thinks about how she looked when he left her, looking shrunken and suddenly old on the hospital bed and he lifts his chin, "I can't. We can't. I need to... to look after my family and so do you. You belong there with them, and I need to be.... This is over. I'm sorry."
Cash goes very still, blinking rapidly at a spot of floor near Hector's feet. "My family doesn't need me. You do. This isn't over. We aren't over. Your mom is sick and you are stressed and upset." He says the last sentence is an oddly clinical way, as if he is guessing more than knowing for sure. "We aren't over. We are supposed to be together forever, Hector. Better or worse. You k-know if you talked to me about it, it might help. Let's talk!" He rushes to the kitchen table and begins to clear it, then he changes his mind and move to the couch and begins fussing with pillows. "I'll make you comfy...you can talk to me. I'm good at listening."
Hector whispers, "We were. It was supposed to be forever, but she needs me." He watches Cash with rising panic. He blurts out, "We're leaving. We're going to try some new treatment and I can't.... I need to be where she is, Cash. She has no one else to take care of her. I'll be gone in a week. You need to go home, Cash. Please. Forget me."
Cash goes still again. This has happened before, just once, not long after they really became an couple. Some idle snark from tourists on the street upset him and he went still, just like this, before flipping out at the group. Cash screamed at them and cursed and scared them away. It took a while to calm him. And Cash explained that he does that sometimes, loses all control and bad things can happen but usually, he just embarrasses himself. Fortunately, he said then, it's not a regular occurrence, just certain triggers and stress. 'You've eventually know what does it better than I do. My sister and my parents and my music teacher can tell way before I can', He'd explained.
There is stands at the couch, still to the point of eerie discomfort. "I can go with you." He blurts out, desperation in his voice. "I can help you. You need someone right now and I-I-I can help with her. This doesn't have to be the..." He won't say it. "I'm not going anywhere to just forget you. How on earth could I forget you?" And he's coming back to Hector to hold him if he can.
Hector won't look at him, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. It's the other side of the country. I... Oh God, I'm sorry, but I don't know how long I'll be gone and I can't... I can't take you with us." He looks at him then, pleading, "She's my Mother. she's all the family i have."
Cash stammers out. "I h-have money saved. I can go. I c-can be there for you. Your mom would want you to have support and...I don't have a life without you now, Hector. I broke up with my ex by letter for you. I haven't spoken to my parents for fear of arrest. I ha-have gladly given up everything in Arizona for us. You. No. I won't abandon you in your time of need." There a tone, an edge to his voice. Not desperation but almost madness. Control is slipping again from him but he is trying to hang on to it with both hands. He then just grabs Hector in a hug, too sudden to avoid contact completely. His heart is pounding so hard, it has to be in his ears.
Hector was just starting to lift his hand when he's suddenly grabbed. He buries his face in his shoulder, "I can't. I just... Please, please don't make this any harder. I can't bear it." For the last time, he presses his face to his lover's shoulder. This time not in joy, but in mourning. his control breaks and he begins to weep, "I never deserved you. I'm going to go to hell for leaving you, but it's over. It's over, Cash."
The weeping changes Cash's whole demeanor. "Oh, my love. My heart. Shut up and just let me stay with you. You don't even want me to go so--so it's fine. It's fine. Not over, no. No no. Fine. You take care of your mom and I will take care of you! It'll work just like that. Like a daisy chain of love and devotion." His long arms wrap around Hector, one hand in his hair. "I'll take care of you, amor. So cry and cry and we'll make the new plan." He sounds so sure now. So positive and happy. Like a bullet has been dodged.
Except of course, it hasn't Hector says through his tears, "Except I called them. I told them where you are. They're likely coming for you if they haven't already called the cops." He gazes up at him, tear streaked and devastated, "I'm sorry, Angel. you need to go home and forget me."
Cash lets go of Hector and takes a few steps back. That scary stillness is back. And it's not the rage from the tourists. Cash is hurt. Wounded no differently than if a knife had slashed him. Or, rather, stabbed him in the heart. He tries to make words but nothing comes out. He turns to pace away and the calm flicker of red and blue lights can be seen from the window. He looks at Hector and still, there is no anger. Only complete and utter shock. And pain. He hyperventilates and then Cash screams. The poor neighbors. The primal, ragged scream comes of fear and from the way he grabs his chest, pain. Heartbreak.
Cash goes directly into a meltdown. It looks like a tantrum to the naked eye. A little boy not getting his way. But if this is a tantrum, it is on steroids. He screams again as drops to the floor, right there. He hugs himself, his nails press into his skin, breaking it. Then he begins to rock, back and forth as the tears begin to flow, hot and fast. He's muttering something but it turns into a tuneless humming
Now the cops are at the door. If anyone heard that screaming, it was them.
Hector curls inward, hugging himself, devastated in his own way, "I'm sorry. I know you won't believe me and the why's won't matter. I know you can never forgive me. I know I cn never forgive me, but it's done. His instinct is to go to him. he takes two steps, hand out, but then he steels himself and goes to answer the door, least the police break it down."
The police are THE wrong answer to this current problem. Cash is gone. His brain is overwhelmed, his heart is breaking, his life feels as if it's come to an end and nothing else around him registers. The police, a male and female in uniform, ID him from a missing poster. A smiling school photo of Cash beams up from the color poster. After the ID, the woman reaches for him. Cash recoils, pleading for them to stop in a barely coherent rush of sobbing. He crawls a few feet away, back up to a wall. That's when he starts to pull his hair out. Not massive handfuls, fortunately but he will wind up leaving a ball of red hair where he sits. The male is less patient and hauls the teen to his feet. Cash just fights to get away. Twists, scrabbles, anything to get loose. He hits himself in the head to pull out more hair and then the cop have no choice. They push him down on his belly and Cash screams out in dire agony as they handcuff him on Hector's floor. It's for his own safety at this point because Cash has lost all control. And if Hector peeks at the Missing Poster, there is a warning about this. A special child in danger sort of warning.
And just like Cash appeared in Hector's life, suddenly. He is removed in the same way. Only screaming and crying and fighting every second. His wrists are already bleeding by the time they get him out.
Hector keeps trying to deescalate. He begs, "Don't hurt him! Let me talk to him! Let him have his jacket!" But of course he's just some teenager. He weeps in frustration as they drag the love of his live way. He is still weeping as he starts boxing up his ex-lover's life to mail home to him. It is at this point, he realizes that h is a monster and he will never deserve anyone's love after this.