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Harlow
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Joined: May 18th, 2014, 9:09 pm

Starting Clean

Postby Harlow » September 15th, 2014, 6:23 pm

((Co-written with Betsie, who I thank deeply for her input on this. Article refered to can be found here viewtopic.php?f=28&t=776 ))

It was well into the afternoon. Dog days pretty much over, for tomorrow it was time to start the rigorous training and what he was on the island for on the first place. Even with all the great time and the friendly reception, something was plaguing the dog's mind; something that he felt was necessary to say to his now boss Wilmer Grehr. He did establish a open-door policy, so why not use it? He knocked said door.

Despite it being a Sunday, Wilmer was at his office going over some of the training plans the coaches and trainers had set forth, finding them pleasing to his eye. They had the makings of a great team here. He was startled by the knock on his office door, looking towards it briefly before back down to his papers. "Come in, it's open." He called.

"Salut" said Julian as he entered to the office. He had pretty much informal clothing, normal for a Sunday. Cargo Shorts, a intricately designed T-shirt and basic, matching slip-ons. "May I come in?" his tone neutral.

Wilmer put down his papers and looked up at his guest as the door opened, a little surprised to see Julian there. "Of course you may Julian. Please, come in. Have a seat." He motioned to a comfortable chair across from him at the desk. "Or would you prefer the sofa?"

"The seat's ok..." he said as he went in and sat down. The saluki looked a bit more serious than usual.

Wilmer nodded, warm eyes looking over the saluki in a calm way, but it was clear he was trying to read the young man's mood. "What can I do for you Julian?"

He sighed. "Just that...I feel I have to tell you something. Been plaguing me for a bit."

The silence turned long and tense for a while. He felt the ungulate started to get antsy for an answer. The Manager decided to not say a word, simply waiting for Julian to continue with what he had to say. After a long, drawn out silence...

"I don't trust you"

Wilmer felt himself shocked by what he was told, eyes widening and mouth even falling open slightly. Now THAT was something he couldn't remember hearing before...at least, not for years. Clearing his throat, he composed himself, sipping from his cup of coffee. "I believe I have the right to ask...why? I don't feel I've done anything to cause this distrust."

"I know..." he continued on the rocky subject that he felt must be tackled. "...You granted me what I've been working for, turned me into the surprise of the league, helped me fulfill my dream and then some...And yet, I don't feel I can trust you..."

"Hm...I appreciate your honesty Julian, but that still doesn't explain why you don't trust me. And, a bigger question, is this something you feel we can work on? Because I trust you, Julian. I trust you to do what's right by the team, I trust you to come to me if you have an issue...but if you cannot trust me...you see where we may have a problem...?"

Julian nodded, a bit hesitant. "Promise you won't snap at me..." Seemingly random request.

"Julian...I promise. I'm not really a snappy person to begin with anyway." Wilmer said with a chuckle and a reassuring smile.

Hoping his new boss kept that demeanor he said he had, he'll need it. "Because you're... you're... Because you're gay, alright?" he finally blurted.

Wilmer blinked in surprise at the answer he received before he gently shook his head, looking down at the desk calmly. "Ah...I had hoped that that part of that article was false...but I see that was wishful thinking on my part." Wilmer said with a sad smile, looking to Julian. "I can't make you accept that part of me Julian, that I know. But what does my being gay have to do with your distrust? Do you take me to be a dishonest person?"

"As I said, I'll explain. But this isn't any religious BS or the like. It's...professionally speaking..." he saw the ungulate didn't quite catch that. "Permission to be crass..." he replied to his confusion.

"You may speak your mind Julian. I'm sure it won't be the worst thing I've heard."

Well, brutal honestly ahead. "I don't have anything against the gays personally. I got along well with the likes of Barnaby Jazz and Kevin Malka, as well as Garza last night. Hell, right now on the other side of the world there's a guy taking it up the ass or a pair of girls sticking their fingers in each other and I'm ok with that. Do whatever you want in the bed...The issue starts with the professional relations..."

Wilmer motioned for Julian to continue, remaining silent and hearing him out.

"...The article you saw was a mix of fake and blown out of proportion. Yes I called my teammate a dyke, but on good reason..." Weirding out Wilmer a bit. A slur on good reason. Huh.

"I never feel there's a good reason for using such slurs, Julian, but please, continue."

Julian turned a bit more forward. "There is. Yes, I did call her that, but she was the one who sabotaged me and tampered with my water prior a game, she made the whole team hate me. She insulted my dying and dead relatives knowing I had a hard time. She berated me for no good reason...And then I say that word and SUDDENLY I'm the bad guy and suddenly she's the pity party. Bull-fucking-shit..."

"Ah. Well, in that case I can rather understand your reasoning, Julian. But that STILL doesn't explain this issue you seem to have with me."

"Basically, all working relationships with gays, whether were college assignemnts that they deserted and made me complete by myself, for the usual dumb group berating me for origin or ink, and that dy...bitch of Genesis "raising the bar", have been from terrible to worse. Here thinking the FBA was different and still keeping high hopes. And what does the benevolent camp organizer do the next day after coming out? Set me on a team with the biggest prick while everyone else was having their good time..." Obviously refering to Show Your Colors. "You didn't quite made the case better for the LGBT cause in the FBA for me..."

"Ah, we're back to this, are we?" Wilmer shook his head and sighed softly before leaning forward in his seat, hands folded on his desk as he looked closely at Julian. His expression was stern, his eyes stony; this wasn't the usual calm, smiling Wilmer that most knew. "First of all, Mr Cross-Kiraly, my sexual orientation has NOTHING to do with decisions I make as a general manager. I resent the fact that you would connect the two." He stated firmly, voice sharp. "Secondly, when I placed you on a team with Mr St. Croix it was not, as you seem to think, out of any form of spite or personal amusement. I did it to test you. And you passed. Lest I would never have selected you as my #8 pick."

"I didn't need that testing!" he spat out. "If it was about you wondering about me enduring Norwich or the other hardasses, you lost your time, because I bet he doesn't pull that shit on the team. Ask my coach at UCF, I've dealt with BS before! Dammit, just that everyone who I met that was gay was deserving of those slur words because they've been terrible furs to deal with. I won't say those words for you to side with them and put me in the wrong, ganging up just because same orientation like they always do..." he said, but not exactly out of anger or hatred, but frustration.

Wilmer was ready to leap to his own defense; the red deer had spent years with Ariel, hiding their relationship from his employers, had lost his family to it...and here, in the modern world, he was being questioned by a young pup? He didn't like this, not one bit. "Who you think you are judging my character when you can't even trust me for the worst reason?!" The heavy, stern response brewing on his mind and ready to lash out.

So much that was vented and the livid expression he saw on his new boss affected the dog so much, he changed from the seat to the couch, plopping on it. "...A Pavlovian reaction where gay coworkers meant terrible working enviroment... I'm thankful you selected me and fullfilled my dream like you can't even picture, but I'm awaiting for you or Ariel or Garza to backstab me and continue the cycle..." finally said, his voice growing tired and the day turning for the worse. "...Merde... I ruined this..."

Before he could response, he felt Julian's anger seemed to fade to exhaustion as the dog moved to the couch. Heaving a heavy sigh, Wilmer felt his anger immediately drain. He told Julian didn't feel direct hate towards him for his orientation, but rather that he was conflicted. Getting to his feet he moved to the mini fridge he kept in the office, fetching a bottle of water and handing it over to the canine calmly. "Julian...you may have a hard time trusting me, or Antonio, or Ariel...but you can't judge us like that. It's unfair to us." Wilmer moved to perch carefully on the edge of the coffee table in front of Julian, a concerned frown on his features, but his eyes had softened again. "I know I've perhaps given you reason to mistrust me...but Ariel? Antonio? They don't deserve it."

The saluki was on the verge, absolutely mentally exhausted. "Allez. Snap at me. You wanted to tell me how I'm in the wrong and that stuff. I saw you were mad. Snap at me..." he said, not looking up.

"I won't snap." Wilmer said softly with a shake of his head. "I get where you're coming from, I understand your situation...were I to snap, I'd be failing as a manager. As personal as this discussion is, it's also a professional one." He explained carefully, hands folded in his lap as he still sat on the coffee table across from Julian. "I cannot change your opinions or what you lived, Julian. Nor am I deluded enough to believe that I can earn your trust during a simple talk. But I hope that you will give me a chance to fix this and that you see that I mean good. I never meant you any harm at SYC. And I apologize for doing what I did."

Throrough the conversation, the canine was taking deep breaths whilst rubbing his legs uncessantly, sinking in the couch, hunched, with the head on his lap. He thought his honesty and this plan destroyed whatever chance he had at the FBA; all for starting clean to end up in this convoluted mess, it was overwhelming, his head clouding and his stomach in a knot. When Wilmer gestured him to reply, he looked up. "J'ai un attaque de panique...je ne peux parler..." he forced through between stifled gasps of air, the breathing louder than his actual voice, sounding out of breath.

"Attaque...panique...parl-shit!" Wilmer didn't know much French, but he managed to pick up enough of those words to understand what was going on. He got to his feet, grabbing the throw from the back of the sofa and wrapping it around Julian's shoulders before grabbing a wash cloth from his desk drawer, wetting it carefully. He sat down on the couch next to Julian, putting a warm arm around his shoulders while pressing the cool, damp cloth against the saluki's forehead. "Shh...it's alright Julian...relax...everything is fine..."

A while passed, the canine breathing on the slow rhythm the ungulate told him to. Once calmed down enough, he just looked down at his feet, Wilmer's next to them. "C'était une...ideé terrible..." he forced himself to say after drinking of the bottle of water he was handed prior.

Wilmer stayed with Julian even after he'd calmed down, continuing with the cool cloth, gentle words and breathing. "Julian, talking to me about your problems, about your feelings, is never a bad idea. I am here to help. Je... Aide vous... Aide vous..." He didn't know how to say it exactly, but at least a try on the saluki's language won't harm; at least it would be easier for him to process in this moment.

"Ugh..." the saluki rubbed his forehead. "...Yes it was... Now you hate me... and want to bench me or you know... Just... focus on Aurora or on another... guard I know you prefer over me...Because I know you prefer others...over me now... Betray me now instead of later..."

Wilmer frowned a little at those words. "Julian!" He barked sharply, forcing the canine to look at him; the deer's face was calm, a small smile on his features. "When did I ever say I hated you? You are one of my rising stars and a bloody hard worker. It takes a lot of pain and anger for me to hate somebody...you have never caused that."

"...But I flat out said... I don't trust you because you're... an even if it was with my...reasoning, no one will get...I only see good and bad, no species, no genders or shit..." Julian stablilized after a while, breathing now normal. "I just grew paranoid over gay coworkers, because they've been terrible to me. Genesis messed with my water, messed my team relationships and bullied me by my cancer-stricken aunt, the woman who I have to thank of being here, the only one who believed in me... So yeah... I'm waiting for that moment to defend myself, you can say. Had everyone against me at one point, so it's all guard, guard, guard."

"Julian...I'm going to share something with you that only Ariel and my children know..." Wilmer started; he didn't like to share facts of his personal life with anybody, especially having to do with his past. But he felt, in this case, it might help. "You know why I'm not bothered by what you said?" He paused a moment. "Because I've had far worse things said...I've had far worse things happen...because of my orientation. It nearly cost me my entrance into college...and it DID cost me my family..."

"And I feel sorry for that... It just bothers me how everyone will turn for the gay guy's or the lesbian's side just because of the fact. Genesis tried to sway you for it if you read into the article; to me that's worse for you than any discrimination word; supporting terrible furs won't help the cause of others' acceptance. I would never bring down someone for it. If you see me yelling 'fag' or any other word against Garza or anyone, you better believe he did something terrible to me..."

"I don't side with terrible people, Julian. Gay, lesbian, straight, or anywhere in between orientation or species." Wilmer said with a snort, but without any malice to his tone. "Be that as it may, I don't think such slurs will ever be required Julian. I doubt Antonio would do anything to hurt anybody. His fiancé however...that could be a different story." Wilmer said with a bit of hesitance. "Point is, I think you'll come to see that this image you have in your head of gays being terrible people...It'll change Julian. You're young. Give it time. I certainly changed mine." He said with a chuckle.

"Terrible people to work with..." he completed the sentence. "Give a ring to Barbie Jazz or Kevin Malka. They'll tell you it's all good between them and me, so tolerance or acceptance isn't an issue..." he shifted in his seat. "I see the world as LGBT gents and ladies and faggots and dykes, Respectable red foxes and slingers, good domestic guys and other who deserve to be leashed and left to rot and it goes on. World is good and bad to me. Will I say those words to someone? No, unless they jabbed at me long enough for them to deserve the hate, but never to intentionally hurt someone unless they're...scum..."

"I understand Julian. I just don't want to see fights breaking out. And I'll promise you'll be respected as long as I'm your GM and as long as you respect your teammates. You can trust me on it." He stated calmly, getting to his feet. "Are you okay now?"

"Yes. Thanks..." he stated. "You'll never see me fighting for any other reason that defeding myself. My love for the sport is much more than any feelings a petty tiff can cause..." he took the last sips of the water bottle. "You could say the overall kindness of now and the past stigmas clashed in my mind. Right now, my body feels it weird you not insulting me during the panic and instead opting to help me, even you being the boss and all that. I guess I'll get used to the feeling not all are meant to harm..."

"I am here to help Julian. I do not raise my voice unless I have a bloody good reason to do so." He stated with a chuckle, running a hand through his hair with a sigh. "Why don't you go back to your hotel...or are you at Scoonie's now?...and relax. Don't overthink this. And if you need to talk again, my door is always open."

"I'll be moving out with him later today. Just that I didn't want to be a chore to anyone. Immigrant guilt if you may; happened the same with my uncles at Canada..." the canine said as he stepped up. "Thanks Mr. Grehr. For now, for picking me and for the warm reception yesterday... even if I freaked out your husband a bit..." he chuckled.

"Ariel has never been fond of body modifications of any sort. He was even reluctant to allow Darby to get her ears pierced." He said with a grin. "But you're welcome Julian. My door is always open."

With a handshake, he went to the office's door. "Sorry for freaking out..." he turned towards the door. "And... Merci... for being understanding... et pour tout..." he smiled. Well, taht was a damn huge weight off his shoulders and he was perfetly ready for what went ahead.

Wilmer smiled. "All is forgiven, Julian." He stated before waving the saluki off and moving back to his desk to continue his work. Boy, he needed a drink, what a 'rendez-vous'...

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