This story is 100% fictional. The towns are real, but the people and locations are made up. Any action or resemblance to any person living or dead is pure coincidence.

Please enjoy.

*** Challenges Part VIII ***

*** Modern Day ***

Justin rolled over in bed. He felt drained, and the moon outside was glowing bright. For the next few nights it would be bright outside as the fool moon was the following night. Justin sighed as he felt his body resist the urge to sleep. He was too angry with Matt and Lori for not telling him that Nate had contacted him.  Angry, and hurt, that Matt had continued to communicate for the past year.

"Why do you hate Matt?" a male voice came from behind him. Justin rolled quickly over to the voice. He did not hear his door open. The figure was standing in the window proving the once familiar outline. This time Justin was not scared. The sight was familiar, like seeing an old friend.

"Why shouldn't I?" Justin rolled back over. "Go away."

Justin felt the bed shift as the entity lay next to him, putting his arms around Justin and pulling him tight against his body. Justin could feel the heat from the entities body. It calmed him, and he felt peace, and the anger he had melt.

"Who are you?" Justin asked in a calm voice. He had asked the same question hundreds of times, but the answer was always the same.

"You saved my life." The entity whispered in his ear. "Why do you hate Matt?"

"I don't hate him." Justin sighed a bit. He resisted the urge to cry, but with this entity he could never hold back his emotions.  They flooded him. "He betrayed me. He went behind my back and talked to someone that hurt me."

"Why do you suppose he did that?" The entity kissed the back of Justin's neck, causing the familiar arches of energy course through his body.

"He…" Justin started but he could not think about what he was truly mad about. "He…"

"Or are you angry with yourself?" The entity kissed the center of his neck. "Angry that you never found the closure you needed?"

"I don't…" Justin rolled over and found he was looking at a window with the first hints of light. Tears raced down his face. He had been crying in his sleep.

"I don't hate Matt." Justin said to himself feeling the tide of emotion wash over him as he broke down into his pillow.

*** 16 years ago ***

The next week of school had not gone any different for Justin. He was still in a depressed mood. His friends tried to get him to talk about it, but he just started to ignore them. He was even to the point of avoiding Nate every day at school. He went to class, and went home. This was the last week that Matt would be home, and it depressed him even more.

After school on Wednesday, Matt pulled up to pick Justin up. He was outside with his usual gloom self. Matt had no idea what to do, but knew he had to do something. The drive home was in silence, as it had been the week before. Justin looked out the window, with no emotion on his face.

When they arrived at home Justin got out and walked to the house with his bag draped over his shoulder. If the past had been any indication, Justin would go up to his room and work on his homework, come down and eat, and then head back up to sleep.

***

Justin finished his homework, which took a couple of hours. Math was the hardest subject as he was working on Geometry. He was good at Algebra, but Geometry was a different monster. He did just enough to make sure he passed, but didn't apply himself any further.  He put his pencil down and got up to go eat dinner.

As he approached the kitchen, he could hear Matt and his mother arguing. He figured his father was still outside, or the argument would be over quicker than it started.

"…death!" he could hear his brother saying with emphasis. He stopped outside the door to the kitchen in the dining room to listen in.

"Don't be silly." His mother responded without much concern. "He would never do that. He is just getting rid of the corrupt feelings. Like a person getting off drugs or something."

"Mom." Matt continued. "This is not a disease or addiction that can be taken care of with medicine, or treatment. He is not sick."

Justin heard the sound of metal hitting wood.

"He is sick." His mother replied with a fury in her voice. Matt hit a nerve. "He is sick. He needs help. He needs to know he choose that life style. There is no way a boy of mine is going to grow up and be a queer! Justin will not choose to be a dirty, filthy, sinful, disgusting queer!"

The moment she said the tirade that ended with `queer', Justin slumped against the wall. He clamed his eyes close as he felt tears form in his eye. He felt his knees weaken, and he had to use all his strength to keep himself from falling to the floor.

"Mom!" Justin screamed. "You may not like it that he has this life. You may not like it that he wants to find companionship. But you are going to lose him. Either by him running away…" his brother didn't finish the sentence for some reason. Justin decided he wasn't hungry and started back towards his room.

Justin knew that his kissing Nate at school would cause some backlash. But never did he think his mother would turn on him like she had. He opened his eyes and walked as best he could back to his room. He walked out of the dinning room, and towards the stairs but stopped short as he saw his dad leave the kitchen and head out the door. His dad must have come in and that is why Matt did not finish his sentence.

Justin stopped for a moment with his back against the hallway wall, looking at the front door. His dad left without saying a word, but must have been upset considering how fast he was moving. As he stood there his mother ran out of the kitchen and out the front door, attempting to catch his father.

"You okay?" Matt came into the hallway via the dinning room, and was chewing on a piece of bread.

Justin shrugged and sunk to the floor. Matt looked at him and continued to eat his bread.

"I am guessing you heard that?" Matt said wiping the crumbs off his hands and sliding next to Justin. Justin nodded his head but didn't say anything. He put his head to rest between his knees, trying to keep himself from crying. "So did dad. Well, that last little tired anyway. He stood there for just a moment, looking at mom, turned around and walked out."

Justin started to cry a bit. Matt patted his back and pulled him into a hug.

"I love you Justin." Matt whispered in his ear. They sat for ten minuets, Justin crying and Matt just holding him. It was the only thing Matt knew what to do. Eventually Matt moved a bit. "Hey I have an idea." He pushed Justin away just enough to stand up, grabbed his hands and pulled him to his feet. "Go up stairs, get cleaned up, put some nice clothes on, and some of that smelly stuff you like."

"Why?" Justin said as he wiped his tears off.

"I want to take you out. We need to do something fun, and get away from here. I only have three days before I leave, and lets make it count!" Matt smiled and walked off to the kitchen.

Justin shrugged and walked up the stairs to get ready.

***

 Several moments later, Justin sitting in the passenger seat, and Matt driving, left their house. His mom and dad had yet to return, but Matt said it was fine that they were going. Justin was wearing a dark blue button up shirt that he had tucked into a pair of khaki pants, and black shoes. Justin was not sure where they were going as there were not any fancy restaurants located in town. He had combed his hair with a part down the middle. His black hair was always hard to control, but he tried to make it decent. A bit of hair spray helped to manage it.

"Where we going?" Justin asked looking around as Justin turned down the frontage road to by pass the lights and traffic of the main strip.

"Surprise." Matt grinned.

Justin shrugged and sat silently as he looked out of the window. He figured that they were heading out of town.

As they approached the overpass to the interstate, Matt crossed, but did not head onto the interstate, he continued on to the other frontage road on the opposite side of the interstate. Justin looked around and realized where they were going.

"Mom will be furious." Justin said his voice sounding shaky.

"Oh well." Matt shrugged and grinned. "She will come around eventually. If she doesn't, then she doesn't."

"What if she kicks me out?" Justin was honestly scared. "You are leaving."

"Dad won't allow it." Matt said simply. Justin started to tap his fingers on his leg as he nervously thought about how mom would react. "Justin, it will be fine."

They pulled up to the a one story house. It was a nice sized house, with stucco walling. Justin had been here many times to spend the night and have dinner with Nate's parents. Now he understood why they told them to behave when they went to bed at night: They knew.

Matt climbed out of the car and told Justin to get out and stop fidgeting so much. He complied and pulled on his shirt and tucked the back in. He felt weird dressed up like he was. He felt overdressed for an occasion. But he also felt like he was on his first date.

Matt knocked on the front door and stood back. Justin walked up and stood next to him with his hand behind his back looking at the ground. Matt laughed at the sit.

"You look like this is the first time you are going to meet him." Matt grabbed him and gave him a hug. "You are adorable."

The door opened and Nate's mom was standing there.

"Sister McGraw." Matt smiled. "I am glad you could… accommodate us this evening."

"My pleasure." She looked at Justin who was still looking at the ground. "Hi Justin. Nate has been so grouchy for the past week. Says you have started to ignore him."

"I am sorry ma'am." Justin kicked a pebble on the sidewalk off. "I didn't mean to."

"He is in the living room watching TV." She stood back, and opened the door wide. "Why don't you go and see him."

Justin grinned, and ran into the house. It felt comfortable and familiar. Not expansive and large like his home. A shell of what this was. He envied Nate.

He stood in the archway to the living room, which sat down from the rest of the house by two feet. Nate was sitting in the recliner watching TV with his back to him. Justin felt his heart race. He had missed seeing any part of Nate, and now kicked himself for trying to distance himself. He grinned and started to walk softly to the recliner.

"Guess who?" He said as he reached his arms around the chair and covered Nate's eyes. Nate jumped up in surprise.

"Holy cow!" Nate said with surprise. "Don't do…" he paused as it dawned on him who it was. "Justin!"

Nate bolted around the chair and embraced Justin with a tight hug, swinging him around a bit. He then proceeded to kiss him deeply and hard.

"I thought you would be mad at me." Justin said, as he broke free. Nate was not about to let him go.

"I was hurt, but understood what you were going through." Nate held tighter and Justin grunted in return. "Sorry. I don't want you to leave again."

"I missed you too." Justin kissed Nate again and they separated but held hands.

"Well glad you too made up." Sister McGraw stood, leaning against the archway with Matt standing next to her. Justin jerked his hand away from Nate and turned bright red. "Oh don't worry." She stepped down into the living room. "I have a brother that is gay and I have seen it all." She paused and laughed at her thoughts. "Well not everything."

"Mom!" Nate said, as he turned red as Justin. Matt just laughed.

"If you don't mind Justin, we need to get going. One more stop too make." Matt looked at Sister McGraw. "Thank you so much. I think this will do wonders for both of them."

***

They all climbed back into Matt's car, with Justin and Nate sitting in the back holding hands.

"Okay." Matt started the car and backed out of the driveway. "Going to pick Lori up, and we are going on a double date."

Justin squeezed Nate's hand. He could not remember the last time he felt so happy. How could he have thought that ignoring Nate was the answer? Nate was the answer. It did not matter that he only saw him for a few moments during school. What mattered was that he was with Nate.

They arrived at Lori's house, who came running up to the car as the pulled in. Lori lived in a small house that was on the other side of town. It was simple, but Justin liked it. Much like Nate's house it was warm, inviting, and everything a home should be.

"Hey." Lori said getting in the car and leaning over to give Matt a kiss. She turned and looked at Justin and Nate in the back seat. "Hey you too. Behaving?"

Justin blushed red, but Nate just laughed.

"Of course." Nate said as he smiled and leaned against Justin. "Always."

Lori laughed and turned back around. "So where are we going on such short notice?"

"Where else, but for pizza." Matt grinned and started to head towards a pizza restaurant that was fairly new. It had wood oven pizzas that were the best Justin ever had.

"So how did you get your mom to agree to let Justin go see Nate?" Lori asked as they drove down the road.

"She doesn't know." Matt grinned. "She said some really horrible things, dad heard, and now I think they are having it out."

"Oh no." Lori frowned, looking at her feet. "That's not good."

They sat in silence for a few moments before Lori continued. "Do you think it will be okay?"

"Oh this happens now and then." Matt turned onto the main road. The traffic was light, which was not a surprise at this time. "Dad always wins, since he doesn't really say much about anything."

"I see." Lori turned and looked at Nate and Justin. "So this is your first official date?"

"Yea." Justin said grinning. "We never actually went on a date."

"And you're stuck with the two chaperons." Lori shook her head. "That has to bite."

"We like you." Nate said. "So its not THAT bad."

Matt pulled into the restaurants parking lot, and they all climbed out. Justin held back, leaning against the car. Matt saw him and walked back, telling Lori and Nate they would catch up.

"You okay champ?" Matt asked leaning against the car next to him.

"My first date." Justin was biting his lip. "I am in public with him, how do I behave?"

"You do just like you would if you were alone, just minus all the mushie stuff." Matt laughed. "I wish you could be more open about your relationship, but same-sex relationships are still a bit of a taboo area."

"Do you think anyone would actually hurt us?" Justin looked at Matt with a bit of fear in his eyes.

"I am not sure." Matt looked around with a frown on his face. Justin never saw him look so serious. "Be careful." He patted Justin on the back and smiled. "Lets go."

***

Inside they found Nate and Lori sitting at a table with drinks already ordered.

"We ordered you two drinks." Lori grinned. "We had to guess what you liked, so we got the worst tasting drinks in the world."

"Root beer?" Justin asked sitting down in the chair next to Nate.

"Of course." Nate said looking at the menu. "No idea how you two like that stuff so much."

They sat in silence as they looked at the menu. After five minuets, the waiter came over and took their orders and menus.

"Wasn't that Julian?" Lori asked Matt as the waiter walked away.

"I think so."

"Who is Julian?" Nate asked looking at the waiter. Justin punched his arm as he was watching way to hard.

"He graduated a year prior to us." Matt said absently. "He was a bright kid, but never went to college. Had some bad problems."

"Looks like he overcame most of them." Lori said shaking her head. "I think drugs were involved, and bad home life. I had hoped he escaped and left, but he didn't."

Lori turned her attention to the two boys on the other side of the table. Matt groaned as he saw that glint in her eye. She was on the prowl for some information.

"Leave them alone." Matt whispered into her ear as he put his arm on the back of Lori's chair.

"So Nate." She started. "Did you ever figure out how I knew you were gay when we first met?"

Nate coughed on his drink. "Um…" He coughed again. "No?"

"It was your eyes." She smiled. "Every time you looked at Justin they dilated. Justin's eyes dilated as well."

"Did not know that." Justin said with a bit of shock. "Why do they do that?" Both Justin and Nate looked at each other to see if it was true. They could not tell.

"Matt does it when he looks at me. I assume mine do it when I look him." Lori looked at Matt as she said it. "I have no idea why they do that. But it is a sign that you are attracted to each other."

They sat and talked while they waited for the meal. They talked about how school was going so far, and the various friends they had. Lori seemed to be interested in Neil, the one that Justin befriended due to his schedule change. Nate mentioned that Neil wanted to ask Kimberly out, but wanted to talk to Justin first, since he was Kimberly's best friend and would know more about what she thought.

After their food arrived, the conversation died down as they ate. Justin did not realize how hungry he was. From the looks of it, the other three were just as starved. They finished their meal and sat talking some more.

"So," Lori said as she put her napkin on the plate. "I have been wanting to ask you a question. It is a bit personal."

"Uh. Okay." Justin said with a bit of hesitation.

"How do you plan to move forward with your relationship?"

Nate and Justin looked at each other. "We will just have to see each other when we can. I am sure that we can manage."

"No." Lori said. "I mean sexually. How are you going to handle that?"

Justin turned beat red, and Nate just looked around.

"You embarrassed them." Matt said. "You guys are just starting out. You don't need to think about it just yet."

"We talked about it from the very start." Justin said. He had wanted to talk to Matt about it, but Lori might be just as helpful. He had told her things when Matt had not been around. He figured that when Matt went on his mission, he would have to confide in her anyway. She was as close to a sister as Kimberly was. "We decided we would hold off until we could feel that it was right. We know it is not part of Church doctrine, but we also know that we are emotionally connected. I think it will happen when it happens. If it ever happens."

Nate nodded in agreement. "We have plenty of time to get to that. We enjoy each other, and that is good enough for now. Like the two of you."

Lori blushed at the statement. "Um. Yea."

"Whoa!" Justin said with his eyes going bright. "You two have…?"

"Yea." Matt said looking down. "I know we were supposed to wait, but it got to the better of us. It was once."

"Wow." Justin leaned back in his chair. He never imagined his brother would be one to break the law of chastity. But he wasn't surprised. "At least I know its what I want. " He looked at Lori. "It was great. But I think we will wait till were married, to do it again."

"Wow." Justin said. He looked at Nate. "I think we will still wait and just let it happen when it happens. We are still both wanting to stay worthy to do all the things that we can in Church." He grabbed Nate's hand under the table and squeezed it. "I love you."

"I love you too." Nate squeezed his hand back. "I will love you no matter what."

"So cute." Lori said.

*** Modern Day ***

Justin stood up out of bed, having finished crying. He knew what he had to do. He knew he was not mad at Matt for talking to Nate, but he was mad at himself for never having any closure to Nate leaving him. The big question was always "why?"

He reached over to grab his cell phone. He knew Nate would be at church, the ever-dutiful boy.

He typed in the text message: `I will be over at 2:00 this afternoon'. He held the phone waiting for a response, which was quick to come. `Great! I can't wait to see you'.

"It's time." Justin said as he laid the phone on his bed.

***

I have been overwhelmed with the response for this story. I am shocked at the wide range of people that have read this story, and I am glad you contacted me to let me know your thoughts. If you enjoyed this story, please let me know. I love all comments, questions, or complaints (if something does not make sense please let me know!). Email me at sockingsaw@hotmail.com.

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