Standard warnings apply. Actually, the site already has warnings. Just to make sure, here're more. ^_^ Most of this is actually fiction but some situations have been taken from real life. The names of the characters are made up/fictional - if there are people with the same names somewhere out there, that is purely coincidental.

As with most stories, the author retains all rights to this story. Without the permission of the author, no reproductions or links to other sites are allowed.

This deals with male homosexual love. If you are not of legal age (18 or 21, it depends actually where), or if you live/are in a place where material such as this is illegal, or if you are simply offended by homosexuality and/or homosexual themes, please leave.

This story has no sex scenes in it. ^_^

“I don’t know if I can make him happy, Ossie.”

Sara looked down at her plate, playing with the last few bits of cheesecake, running a few crumbs around with some syrup. It was strange, sitting there, with this girl - this virtually perfect girl - and seeing her seem so unsure of herself. And what made it stranger was the fact that she was the fiancee of someone I still cared too much about. Ok. Fine. Someone I was still in love with. I guess I have to admit that to myself at least.

If anyone asked me if it were possible to still be in love with someone after 4 years of separation 4 years ago, I would've laughed at his face.

Tentatively, I asked, "How come?"

She looked back up at me then looked over at the fish tank. "I don't know." In the fish tanks, large groupers were swimming around peacefully, blissfully unaware that soon they may end up on bright white serving plates. And ultimately, in the bellies of the kids who were gaping at them. It seemed downright cruel to just think that.

After letting out a sigh, she continued, "Ossie, do you know what he's been doing? I mean, after you left?" This was one of the main reasons why Sara wanted to have lunch. She wanted to have a talk about Kyle.

I shook my head. "We wrote to each other, but eventually..." I trailed off, finishing quietly, "it stopped."

Her brow knotted a bit, producing a rather curious, questioning look. It made her look like one of those inquisitive kids who'd just discovered an anthill and wondered how all the ants could fit into a hole in the ground.

But she didn't pursue the "why" just the same. Yes, she was that considerate.

"He changed, Ossie." She started. "He was one of the more popular guys back when you were still at school. You know that. He was always at parties, or events or whatever. Just to show up. He'd meet all these different people." Then she stopped again. "But then, after a while, he got into different things. Well, actually, 'different' is putting it mildly."

Since I didn't know how to react, I just sat quietly, trying to listen everything that she said. Different?

"He started behaving weirdly, Ossie. He started drinking more often. His dad even thought he was into some form of substance abuse." I could tell she was having a difficult time saying each sentence. She had to pause and take deep breaths once in a while. Still she carried on. "He got wilder. He tried many different things. How different, I couldn't really tell. But whatever it was, whatever lifestyle he was leading got to his dad. It wasn't pretty."

She looked up at me then tried to smile.

"When his dad died, Kyle was a wreck. All of a sudden, he resolved to change himself. Then he asked me to marry him."

At that, I swallowed hard. What was going on here? I didn't understand anything. And part of me felt shaken. What was Kyle doing? Was it that bad that it affected his father's already precarious condition?

"Through it all," she continued, "I tried to be there for him. But it was like he was there but he wasn't there. He seemed so far away. Even now, he still does."

Looking at Sara across the table, I couldn't help but think that time really made so many things different. It wasn't her youthful bubbly self talking. She didn't smile. She just looked tired. Exhausted.

I didn't know what to feel when she said what she said next.

"I couldn't make him happy. But I know that he was happiest with you."

I should've felt glad that he was. But somehow it just made me feel bad.

"What made you say that?" My voice was shaky.

She reached over and took my hand and squeezed it gently, giving me a soft smile. The type you see on the images of saints.

"Whenever he'd talk about you, how you two got along before... I mean, he always talks about you. And whenever he would, it's like he'd have this glow. I can't describe it, really." At that point, she looked like an angel. Like she didn't belong here. "It's like, he's really happy."

This time, I was the one playing with my dessert. The last few bits of bittersweet chocolate cake rolled around with my fork.

"Kyle can't do things for himself. When he tries, he tends to exaggerate things." Remembering how we had dinner on his helipad that first night we worked on our psych project together... just because he wanted to apologize. I had to smile in spite of myself. A small smile. One that can easily be suppressed.

Sara continued, "He has a hard time expressing himself," taking a deep breath once more, she added, pleadingly, "Ossie, would you please talk to him?"

I looked up at her. Her face registered deperation and anxiety. It made me feel compelled to just go out, find him and try to talk - no matter how scared I was of what he might say.

Slowly, I answered, "Sara... I don't know if I can." I stopped. Realizing that she might suspect anything, I continued, "I don't know why... but he doesn't want to talk to me." It's true. It's like he moved to another planet and put up some wall around it to keep me out.

It was one of those long pauses where time seems to stop. Or at least, where everything feels like slow motion. Soon she broke the silence.

"We're supposed to get married in December, Ossie," she added, uncertain, "Am I doing the right thing?"

I wanted to tell her not to push through. Part of me simply said you can't get married if you aren't sure about things. This is a lifetime of being together. But seeing her like that, I knew that she really loved him. If it took her so much just to put the pieces of the puzzle together for me - just to give me a picture of how things were, no matter how hazy. And to practically beg me to help him.

"He needs a girl like you, Sara."

As a teacher's assistant, I had a rather wide repertoire of duties. Of course, "repertoire" isn't the right term, but I want to sound sophisticated, so... "repertoire." Among these, I had to check some tests, give lectures in the absence of Dr. Vergara, I even had to do some cleaning work at the department. Well, no, I don't have to weild a mop and pail or anything like that. Cleaning duty for TAs has to do with looking at old submissions and tossing some of them out.

In the makeshift warehouse of the department, I switched a small electric fan on to give me some ventilation. It was a rather small area - just about the size that'd make me claustrophobic enough to leave the door open.

Somehow, as I sifted through the old papers and some old projects, I felt guilty at having to choose some to throw out. It couldn't be helped. File space was limited. And with the growing number of students at the university every year, some things have to be sent away. But then, these are things that students worked on. They put their effort into them, no matter how low a grade they got. Well, ok, maybe not all. I just saw a term paper that was two pages long.

Still, it somehow made me feel guilty at having to throw them, even sending them to a recycling station - and being the one responsible for choosing who goes where. I felt like I was giving out death sentences.

Many projects dated back a few years. One from last sem, one from a year ago, one from two years ago. Digging deeper and deeper into the archive, making a pile under "to throw out" and "to keep" was difficult to say the least. Of course, I had to choose which ones to keep based on grades. But since teachers had different standards on what separates an A from a B+, I had to read some.

Then one project caught my eye.

"In partial fulfillment of the requirements of General Psychology, submitted by Chan and Lopez."

For some reason, I caught myself smiling.

"Mr. Chan." Dr. Vergara's voice suddenly popped my reverie-bubble. Realizing that she probably saw me smiling into space, I felt my face get warm. Good thing she didn't seem to notice. At least, I hoped she didn't.

"Though that's one of the better projects," she grinned, "you may take that with you." I just mumbled my thanks as she disappeared from the doorway.

Sitting down, I found myself flipping through the pages. It was just like yesterday. Me driving through the Weeping Willows, the Fire Trees all in bloom. Kyle waiting for me in his room.

I miss that summer.

The stages of development were all there. Just the way I remembered them.

Trust vs. Mistrust... Kyle as a baby. His time with his mom; being fed by maids.

Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt... Kyle painting on the walls of his room, mimicking cave paintings.

Initiative vs. Guilt... Kyle trying to be independent but missing his potty and being scolded for it.

Industry vs. Inferiority... Kyle as a talkative student, always sent to stand at the back of the classroom after being caught chatting with a seatmate.

Identity vs. Identity Confusion... Kyle the party animal, Kyle Mr. Popular... but also Kyle, the guy who snuggled with me.

Then, the last one - at least for this project. Intimacy vs. Isolation.

I never did get to read this part. At least, Kyle's Intimacy vs. Isolation part. The last part of the project was supposed to be an individual pass - a reflection of how the project went. And how the partners were able to relate with each other. This developmental stage was about seeing how well young adults form social relationships with each other. It wasn't necessarily about romance or falling in love. Although... well... part of that sort of happened between us.

Carefully turning the page, as if it were a page from the Bible, I started to read.

When I first met Osmond, I thought he only cared about books and studying and working

Heh. Typical. Stereotypical, in fact.

But then, as we were working together, I found out that he's not only about that. And I feel like a jerk treating him the way I did...

... I can be anyone with him. I don't need to be someone. Just anyone and he's okay with that...

I guess those were our different similarities. We both wanted to please people. We just did it differently. While I was busy with work to get people to like me, he was busy being someone everyone else envied. Sometime ago Dr. Vergara said something about him being somewhat like me. She said that it seemed like he was lonely.

I guess it does get lonely, always trying to be someone "more."

...I don't know why. But I guess I was afraid. There's something about Ossie that draws me to him...

I was surprised to find that his essay was actually long. Longer than mine, in fact. And they used to say I write novels for short essay questions.

... and that scares me. I don't know why, but I feel like I've started to feel things for him that I'm not supposed to feel...

... I thought that maybe, if I treated him like dirt, I'd see him as dirt. Maybe he'd look ugly to me but he never did. I guess I really am a jerk...

All of a sudden, I wanted to put the paper down. But I couldn't. I just kept reading, line by line, on and on. I didn't know what was happening to me. Somehow I know it was better for me to just stop.

... he's been nothing but patient with me while doing the paper. I hope - or rather, I know - that even after we'll be really good friends...

... I feel different when I'm with him. He makes me feel happy and safe. I hope I could make him happy too. But I'm afraid don't know how to...

... And I guess at this point, I know I love him. But I'm afraid of loving him.

I hadn't realized that I started crying.

It was a Saturday and I was busy being... not busy at home. Trying to find new things to do is a good way to keep yourself busy. As soon as I started cleaning up in the kitchen, I heard three knocks on the front door. Well, not knocks, but, three... bangs.

I thought that maybe kids from the street were throwing stones at our front door, or that a gang of bandits would raid our house - at any rate, when I slowly opened the door, I was surprised to find the guy who seemed to pop out a lot whenever I wouldn't expect him to.


But I didn't know if I was happy to see him. He... to put it mildly, he seemed agitated.

He quickly pushed the door aside, charged at me, shouting, "You think you can just come back all of a sudden?! Pretend that everything's okay?! Well you can't! You can't expect everything to be the same as before!" His eyes were misting up. But before a single tear could fall, he turned, stormed out, leaving me with the aftertaste of a one-sided fight.

To think Sara wanted me to talk with him. I guess he really does overdo things sometimes.

I just stood there, facing our entrance. I couldn't tell him that I wasn't pretending everything was okay. Pretending's different from hoping.

In my reverie, before I fell asleep, I thought of what happened that afternoon. If nothing mattered... why did he even bother to come?

The conclusion will come in the next chapter. Again, I'd be happy to hear your comments and suggestions at