Steve: Chapter Three
  Here's the warning. If you're not 18 or your parents are in the room, don't read this story. If you don't like the thought of two guys doing it until the windows shake, don't read this story. If you're a dumbass, don't read this story. If the bowling shoe fits, then you have to wear it on the other foot of the duck you mocked. Otherwise, go ahead and read the story.

This is the first story I've ever posted, so be gentle.

I woke up at around 7 and managed to get out of bed without waking Steve. My parents had already left for work. They had the most messed up schedules. My mom was a freelancer down at the bank (I didn't know bank people were even awake before 9) and didn't have any set hours. She just went in when they needed her and got paid pretty well for it. My father was a RN at a nursing home. Usually he worked second shift, but lately he had been doing double duty. He was trying to make up for the money he had lost during the month he was gone for his National Guard Reserve drill.

I don't know why, but I was suffering from a deep sense of melancholy. I just sat at the kitchen table in my underwear, staring into my glass of orange juice. Had Steve and I made a mistake by getting together so fast? We were friends for the longest time, but I didn't even know he was interested until two days ago. Most couples go through this dance before they even start going out. There had to be a purpose for it. Even after they started going out, it was usually a while before they started having sex. Steve and I didn't exactly have a normal relationship, though, and the four years had to take the place of something. I knew I was just running my mind in circles, waiting for some miraculous answer to tell me that everything was going to be fine, even though I knew that it would be anyway.

My trance was ended by the loud, annoying ring of the phone. "Who the hell set it on THAT?" I asked out loud to nobody. I'd have to remember to reset it. "Hello?"

"Yeah, hi Mike, this is Bill Waters at the Navy Recruitment Office." I rolled my eyes. "I was just calling to let you know that the ASFAB test that you took while you were a junior in high school is about to expire. I was wondering whether you were going to pursue a career in the armed forces, and if so, whether you'd like some information on the Navy."

"No, that's alright," I said in my monotone "I don't want to talk to you" voice, "I've already got a career plan mapped out for myself. Thanks though."

"Alright, if you have any questions please feel free to call me." I hung up, disgusted. Just then, Steve came down the hall, still naked. He had the most horrible case of bed-head, with his hair sticking up in some places and matted down flat in others. I almost burst out laughing when I saw him.

"Hey sexy, who was on the phone?" He asked as he grabbed me around the waist, turning me around and hugging me from behind. He started kissing my neck, letting me know that he really didn't care much.

"It was your hair stylist, she told me to bring you down immediately." He shot me a glare. "No, really it was some guy with the Navy or something wanting me to go be a sailor or whatever. Damn I hate them. Especially the fact that they call at fucking 7:30 in the morning."

"Well, I dunno, they did wake me up and we're gonna have some pretty hot sex right now," he said, still planting kisses all over my neck. I smiled and pulled away, sitting back down in my seat. Steve went to raid the fridge. "So what were you doing up so early?"

I stared at his ass as he bent over, looking for something to eat. "I was just having some orange juice and thinking."

"'Bout what?" he asked.

"'Bout us." I said. I returned to staring at my nearly full glass of juice.

"What about us?" He stopped raiding and sat down next to me. "'Cause I really can't see anything wrong."

"I was just wondering if we rushed things a little bit. I mean, I love it, but do you think it might have gone too fast?"

"What? Long, lonely nights of jacking off thinking about me just because you don't want to sleep with me on the first date?" He grabbed my hand. "I know that neither of us are going anywhere, so I don't think it was a bad idea. Besides, we've both been thinking about this, scoping each other out, trying to see if the other was interested for four years. That, and anything that feels this good can't be a bad thing."

I looked at him for a second. "When the hell did you get so eloquent? I'm supposed to be the smart one."

He laughed at me and got up to keep scrounging for food. "You are, but that doesn't mean I can't fix things once in a while." He looked in the cereal cabinet and turned away in disgust. "Don't you have anything coated in enough sugar to give an elephant a buzz for the next week? That's the only kind I eat."

"Nope, and we don't have any coffee, either." Actually, we didn't even own a coffeepot. "There's some juice in the fridge, though. I think there might be some bagels or English muffins or something, too."

After much searching (and for me, much gazing at him), Steve sat down next to me with a bagel and some orange juice. We sat and talked about us. Throughout all the years I had known him, we had this incredible rapport between us. I went through periods of being completely infatuated with him, but there was never a time when I didn't love him. He told me almost exactly the same thing. I still didn't know how I could have gone four years with this amazing guy, not knowing that he felt the same way about me. Hell, now that I did know, I didn't see how he could be in love with a neurotic little wingnut like me.

He finished his breakfast and went to get a shower. I didn't feel like joining him. I finished my orange juice and logged on to check my email. How did all of these spamming people get my address? I deleted about 12 messages and found out that I had nothing. I lazily browsed around, reading all of the news and updates I had missed the previous day. Absolutely nothing of any interest was happening anywhere in the world. I didn't even bother turning on the TV. I just put in some music (Lords of Acid, a raunchy techno thing) and laid down on the couch.

Steve came out of the bathroom, his hair still wet but looking much better than it did before. He lifted my head up without much of a struggle from me, sat down, and rested it back in his lap. He was still naked, but I didn't think much about it. He reached down and started rubbing my shoulder. I could tell he was smiling at me. This was why I was so deeply in love with him: he always seemed to know exactly what I needed and how to give it to me. I closed my eyes and rested against him.

"You know I love you, right?" he asked. I smiled.

"Yeah, I know." I grabbed his hand and kissed it. "I love you too."

I didn't want to move. I knew I had to, though. I needed to get a shower. Steve had reached down and was softly stroking my chest. I sighed. There really wasn't anything sexual about it, I just enjoyed being so close to him. I forced myself to sit up.

"I'm gonna go take a shower. You can go ahead and join me if you're up for another one." I kissed him on the cheek. "Besides, you've got to get rid of that beard. It's getting a little messy."

"What, I thought you said it made me look rugged." He reached up and stroked his face. "Besides, I like not shaving. It's a hassle."

"Well, think about what girls have to do. They have to get rid of their moustaches if they have 'em, they have to shave their armpits, their legs, their bikini lines, and probably a lot of other places I'd rather not think about." I gave a mock shudder. "You just gotta do your face. And it looked rugged yesterday, today it looks like you should be writing a manifesto in your cabin in Montana."

I got up and grabbed a fresh towel from the laundry basket on top of the dryer. Steve had already gone into the bathroom, where he was grudgingly shaving. I slipped out of my underwear, turned the water on, and adjusted it to a reasonable temperature. Soon enough, the showerhead was spraying out water and I stepped in. Steve was just about to join me when we heard the phone ring again.

"Could you get that? And if it's any of the other armed forces, just tell them you're my boyfriend. That should stop them from calling." I smirked and went back to washing myself. I heard Steve yell out "What?!" and come running back into the bathroom. He turned off the water and handed me a towel.

"Come on, we have to get dressed and go NOW!" There was urgency in his voice that I really didn't want to question, so I dried myself off and went to my room to grab some clothes. He had already grabbed a shirt and pair of jeans for me (all of my clothes match all of my other clothes, so it didn't matter which) and was already wearing something of mine. He grabbed his car keys and ran out to the car without even putting on his shoes. I, always (well, mostly) the rational one, grabbed both his and mine and followed him to the car.

"What's going on?" I asked as I put on my shoes. I handed him his and he slipped them on, not even tying them.

"Rachel's over at Susan's house. She's been there all night, crying." He backed out of the driveway and drove way too fast down the street.

"Why?" I checked the speedometer. "And slow down, the cops watch this road."

"She got raped last night."

We were all sitting in Susan's living room, where she was in the chair. Rachel and I were on the couch, with her holding onto me for dear life and crying onto my shoulder. I had my arm around her and was being as comforting as I could. Steve was by himself on the loveseat, asking questions.

"Do you know who did this to you?" He was playing with the arm of the seat, dragging his fingernail across it. I could tell he was angry.

"Yeah," she said between sobs, "but if I told you, you'd just go and beat the shit out of him or something. I don't want you to do that."

"Why the hell not?" I asked. I was mad as hell, too. "The fucker deserves it."

She sobbed into my shoulder again. "I-I'm going to press charges against him. If you guys go play vigilante, he's going to have a counter-suit." She rubbed her face against me. I could tell she was wiping her nose on my sleeve. "I just don't want you guys getting in trouble over me."

"Rach, I called them over so you'd have someone else to talk to." She looked directly at Steve and said slowly, "I'm sure they're not going to do anything stupid."

"It was Ryan." She was more composed than before. "He saw me in the park last night and came over to apologize for the way he acted earlier. He took me into his car to talk. He started making advances again. I said no, but he didn't stop." I felt her choke back a sob. "I couldn't make him stop." She burst out crying again, burying her head in my chest.

"He's still in school, right?" Steve asked, not to anybody in particular. Susan nodded. "Then I'm going to pay him a little visit once school is out."

"Steve-" I started. He cut me off.

"Relax, I'm not going to kill the little punk." He paused for a second. "I should, but I'm not going to."

"I was going to say that if she presses charges, he'll probably be in a holding cell before you can get to him."

Susan got up from her chair. "If you're going to press charges, we need to report him to the police as soon as possible. Do you feel up to it?"

Rachel looked up and nodded. Since I seemed to be doing the most good as a sympathetic shoulder, I rode in the back with her. She was clinging to me like I was her most cherished possession, and at the moment, I think I was. There weren't any jokes on the way there. The radio wasn't even on. There was just a steely silence. It wasn't a long drive to the police station, but it felt like it.

We all walked up to the front desk. Susan took charge, like she always did when she needed to, and did all of the talking. "We need to report a rape."

The man on duty saw Rachel clinging to me, still crying, and came out from behind the desk after signaling for someone else to cover for him. He was very sweet and took Rachel over to another desk where he had her tell him what happened. I stayed with her, mostly because she never let go of me, while Steve and Susan went to the waiting area and sat down.

She described what had happened the other day, then what had happened the previous night. She had to fill out several forms, but the police officer was very supportive about it. After about an hour and a half or so, we were finished.

"You will most likely need to appear in court." The officer looked at her sympathetically for a minute. "If you want to file a lawsuit against him yourself, for personal damages or whatever, you'll need to hire a lawyer. I can give you the names of a few good ones."

Rachel took the list he gave her. "Oh, before you go, can I talk to you?" He looked at me. "In private?"

I took the hint and got up to tell Steve and Susan that we were about to leave. We all looked over in time to notice the officer scribbling something down on a business card and handing it to Rachel. She smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek, then joined us.

"So what'd Officer Cutie give you?" I said in a gossipy voice. We all needed some joking around by that time.

"The silver lining to this stupid cloud." She smiled for the first time that day. "I got to meet a cute cop who wants to have dinner with me."

Steve looked at her incredulously. "You mean the cop who handled your rape report asked you out? How weird is that?" He looked at the police officer for a second, who quickly looked away from Rachel. "Besides, can we say 'jail bait?'"

Rachel punched Steve in the arm. "I'm 19, he's 24. It's only 5 years. Besides, he was really sweet, and I need that right now." She looked over at me. "Not that you're not sweet, you're just not my type."

I gave her my overly exaggerated hurt face. "You think I'm hideous, don't you?"

Steve came over and hugged me. "I'll always love you!"

"Ugh, you damn gay boys. Always making out in public." Susan had caught on to the joke.

"What?" He pushed himself away from me. "You mean you're not a woman?"

We all had a good laugh, which was something we needed. Then we all went off to find something to eat. Rachel had given the police officer her cell phone number so he could call her when Ryan was picked up to come in and identify him.

It was around 9:45 or so, and none of us had really had much of a breakfast. We all went to Steak 'n' Shake, which had some pretty good (and pretty fast) breakfast stuff. Steve sat next to me on the booth side of the table and Susan sat next to Rachel on the side with chairs. We were just starting to get into breakfast, with me cracking jokes and breaking all of the lingering tension when I noticed a blonde, high-school age kid walk in. It was Ryan.

I nudged Steve with my arm and he saw where I was looking. He excused himself to the bathroom and I followed him, just to make sure he didn't do anything stupid. He was a sweet, intelligent, sensitive guy, but if someone messed with one of his friends, they would be very sorry. Instead of going over to Ryan, he walked over to the phone and calmly called the police station.

"Hello, this is Steve Wallace. My friend came in this morning and reported that she was raped. We actually only left a few minutes ago." There was a pause. I looked at Steve with admiration. He was under complete control of himself, which was odd for this type of situation. "Yeah, I'm at the Steak 'n' Shake over on Belmont and the guy who did it just walked in. I just thought you'd like to know." There was another pause. "I don't know, I guess he skipped school or something." Another pause. "No, thank you." He hung up and looked at me, smiling. "So how'd I do? It's not exactly breaking his jaw, but I think it'll work." I gave him a broad smile and checked around to see if anyone was looking. Nobody was. I gave him a quick kiss.

"You are amazing." We walked back to the table where Susan and Rachel were still sitting. It seemed that they didn't notice Ryan come in, and he hadn't noticed them. About three or four minutes passed before I saw a police car pull into the parking lot. I looked at Rachel and motioned for her to turn around. She gasped in shock when she saw Ryan, but looked relieved when the police officer came in and arrested him.

"You guys knew, didn't you?" She looked at Steve for a second. He broke down and nodded. "Damn, I'm surprised that you didn't go shove his fork down his throat." She was smiling, though, happy that he had been caught.

"Yeah," I said, "but we didn't want to tell you until the cops were here. What's the penalty for rape? I know it's a while." None of us knew, but we all agreed that it probably wouldn't be long enough. Just as we were finishing breakfast, Rachel's cell phone rang.

"Hi, George," she said without even hearing the other person. There was a pause. "We were in the restaurant where they picked him up. It was my friend who called you, actually." There was another pause. "Yeah, we'll be down there in a little bit. We're just finishing up breakfast." She laughed. "Oh, no, we're not. I really don't want to see him, but I guess I have to." She smiled into the phone. "Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing you, too. I wish it was on better circumstances." Another pause. "Alright, thanks. Bye."

We finished up, paid, and left. Steve insisted on picking up the check. I tried to at least get him to split it with me, as did everyone else, but he wouldn't. I wondered where he was getting all this money all of a sudden. He was just as jobless as I was. It didn't matter much.

On the way back to the police station, we were in much better moods. Even Rachel seemed to be better. I hoped the trial wouldn't be too long. She needed to just put this past her as fast as possible. I could tell she was putting up a brave face and that underneath she was still crying. She would be for a while. I moved over to hug her.

Steve and Susan walked into the police station ahead of us. Rachel stopped me outside and kissed me, full on the lips. I pulled off, sputtering and startled.

"Rachel, I'm not-" I started. She cut me off.

"I know. It's obvious from the way you two look at each other." She paused and looked at me. "He's a lucky guy. I just wanted to thank you."

I smiled and shook my head. "So we're really that obvious?" She laughed a little and nodded. "Then I guess we'll just have to be more careful." She grinned and walked into the station with me not far behind.

I sat next to Steve and Susan while Rachel went to the front desk. George, the officer, led her into another room where she was to identify Ryan. She was done quickly and then led over to George's desk to fill out more forms. That time we were only there for about 30 minutes, though.

While she was gone, I told Steve that she knew about us. He rolled his eyes. "So, is there anyone who doesn't know?" I patted him on the chest, perhaps leaving my hand there a little long, assuring him that it was just the people who knew us best.

"So, you think our parents know? I mean, I'd be willing to bet that they know us pretty well." He grabbed my hand off of his chest, but didn't release it. There weren't any other people around, but it still made me a little uncomfortable. I pulled it away.

"I dunno," I said, nervously folding my hands in my lap. "If they do, they haven't told us." Susan was oddly silent.

"What do you think?" Steve asked her. "I mean, are we that obvious?"

She looked at us for a second. "Anybody who knows you would know that you guys are in love. It wouldn't be apparent to someone who didn't, though. I dunno about your parents, though - they do strike me as kind of oblivious."

"Well, yeah," I agreed, "and they actually haven't seen us together. I'm going to assume they don't know." I took a pause. "We're going to have to tell them. Soon, too."

Steve looked at me. "Why so soon?" He gave me that grin of his. "I mean, if they knew, they wouldn't let us sleep together so often."

"Yeah, but that doesn't matter, because in three or four months, we're going to be going to college and sharing a room." I looked at him. "And I don't want to hear any arguing about it."

He smiled. "I really can't think of a better plan."

We were obviously making Susan uncomfortable with all of this talk about our private lives, and being the type of people we were, we stepped it up a notch.

"Yeah, it'll be hot sex all day and all night. Except for classes. Then I'll just have to settle for groping you while nobody's looking," I said, noticing Susan shift in her seat and roll her eyes at us.

"Like this?" he asked as he reached over and grabbed my ass.

"Not quite, I meant more like this," I grabbed his crotch. Susan put her hand over her eyes and shook her head.

"Damn, I wish I never hooked you guys up." We laughed at her. "Shut up, it's not funny. And now even Rachel's got a cute cop guy all over her."

I sat and thought about that for a second. It didn't really seem right, but he seemed like a nice guy. He was cute, too, for someone wearing such an ugly color. I had always liked military men better than police officers, but that was probably just from growing up on a series of military bases. I still find surplus green to be a very sexy color. I'm horribly weird.

"You'll find someone," Steve said, taking his hand away from my leg. Right around then, Rachel walked back into the room with George, obviously having made a date. He kissed her on the cheek before getting self conscious in front of us and waving as we left.

"So, you're sweet on George, eh?" I asked teasingly. She just smiled and got into the car. I got in next to her.

"You know what? I figured that if I break down and stop living for any amount of time, Ryan wins. And I'm not going to let him. I'm better than that." She reached over and hugged me. "Thanks for caring, though." She gave me another kiss on the cheek. "I do love you."

"Hands off my man!" Steve yelled from the front seat. We were all in a far, far better mood than this morning. Steve and I didn't have to hide how we felt about each other (though we did tone it down), Rachel was trying to put such an ugly part of her life behind her (it would take her more time than she let on, though), and Susan was glad to see one of her best friends getting better. We dropped Rachel and Susan off at Susan's house, then continued on our way.

Once back at my house, we had several hours until my mother came home, and my father wouldn't be in until well past midnight. Steve sat down on the ugly couch my parents had bought earlier that summer and held his arms open. I sat down next to him, cuddling up against his warm body. He hugged me tightly and didn't seem to want to let go.

"You know, the entire time I was sitting there with Susan and you were up with Rachel, I kept thinking, 'What if that happened to Mike?'" He started rubbing my shoulder like he always did when we were close.

"I'm not as helpless as everyone seems to think," I said. "I've been known to kick an ass or two." Steve kissed me on the top of my head.

"No offense, babe, but you couldn't hurt someone with a crowbar." He laughed. "Yeah, I know you're not completely defenseless, but you know how overprotective I am. I just didn't like the thought."

I just sat there, cuddled up against this gorgeous, overprotective, sweet guy I was madly in love with. Soon, I heard his breathing get steady and slow, and I knew he was asleep. I followed suit, relaxed by his strong arms around me.

I woke up about an hour and a half later, startled by the sound of my dog barking. She always went completely nuts whenever someone not in the family came anywhere near the house. The only person she didn't bark at was Steve, and that was only because he was there so often. I looked up, noticing that Steve was awake, too. We both stood and went over to the window, trying to see who it was. There was a car that neither of us recognized, but we did see the siren in the window. It wasn't turned on, but it was very noticeable. This was an undercover police car.

Rachel got out of the passenger side, followed by George from the driver's. I opened the door and let them in before they even had a chance to knock. Rachel came in and immediately sat down on the couch while George tried to placate the dog. He didn't have much success.

"Isis, come here girl!" I called. I put her food in the garage, and she soon followed, but not without a few more warning barks at our visitors. I closed the garage door and sat down next to Rachel. Steve was on her other side and George was in the chair.

"Why are you guys here?" Steve asked before I had a chance. Rachel looked like she had been crying.

"We went out on my lunch break," George said, "and there was a group of kids that started harassing us. I don't know what the hell they were thinking; I had my uniform on, for god's sake. I had the little bastards taken in, but they'll be out again soon." He paused for a minute, looking at Rachel. "I'm pretty sure they were a group of Ryan Brooks' friends. I'd just feel better if I knew that Rachel was here with you guys, not home alone. Would you mind letting her stay here until I get off work? It's just until 5."

Steve and I looked at each other, then at Rachel. "Yeah, we don't mind if she wants to stay," I said, looking at her. She nodded. "It's no problem."

"Thanks guys, we owe you one." He looked at us both again. "You sure we're not interrupting something?" Steve and I looked at each other and burst out laughing, even though it was very inappropriate.

"No, it's fine." Steve stood up to see George to his car. "We can do that anytime." George grinned and left. I turned to Rachel.

"So what did he mean by that?" I asked, already knowing.

She glanced at me and smiled. She was actually very pretty when she smiled. "He saw you guys on the couch and asked. He'd already seen you, so I just told him. You're not mad, are you?"

I sighed and shook my head at her. "No, not really. I'd just appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone else, ok?" She looked at me for a second and then kissed me on the cheek again. I just smiled at her.

Steve came back in, also having figured out that George knew. "Damn, seems like everyone and their mother knows about us." He stopped for a minute. "Hmm, I always thought Mike was the one with a gift for irony."

I smiled weakly at him. Steve and I made sure that Rachel was okay, and then he went and got us all a soda. Rachel seemed to be genuinely broken up about this.

"I thought that if I went on with things like it never happened it would just go away." She started to cry softly again, so I scooted over and hugged her. She did the same thing she had done before, sobbing into my chest.

"Honey, wouldn't you rather be comforted by Steve?" I looked over at him. "I mean, he's so much bigger and he's got a lot more sleeve for you to rub your nose on." That brought a chuckle between her sobs.

"Yeah, I can see why you love him." She sniffed and rested her head on my shoulder, no longer crying. "But you're able to make me laugh and forget that I'm supposed to be crying."

"He does have the uncanny ability to do that," Steve said from his seat on the chair. "Besides, I may be bigger and cuddlier, but he's better at being supportive. I'd like to go and beat the shit out of those little fuckers, but I won't. Hell, I probably can't, seeing as how they're at the police station." He paused for a second. "I guess it's kinda good that George is a little bit hung up on you."

That made her smile, too. "Yeah, George is a great guy. It's really ironic, too, having to have that happen to me so I can meet a gorgeous policeman." She looked at me for a second. "Damn, his irony is rubbing off on me, too."

I made a face. "Come on guys, I'm not that bad with it." They both stared at me for a second. "Alright, but not quite as bad as you make me out to be."

They looked at each other. "Yes you are," they said in perfect unison.

"Hell, you could be a writer on Frasier!" Steve said. I glared and muttered something even I didn't understand. That was pretty much how the rest of the afternoon went, too. We talked and laughed and listened to music, and eventually I think Rachel even forgot why she was there. At least for the moment. At about 3:30, my mother walked in through the garage, the dog behind her.

"Oh, hi honey," Mom said. "You too, Mike." She smiled at Steve and then at me.

"Oh, yeah, ha ha, that was funny." I said in an overly sarcastic tone. Isis was sniffing around Rachel, making sure she was ok to be here. "Mom, you've met Rachel, right?"

Rachel stood up and shook her hand. Mom made polite introductions then went to get changed from her work clothes. About thirty seconds after she left, she called me into her room.

"Mike, why is that nice girl here?" She was digging around in her closet for a pair of jeans.

I stammered a bit. Should I tell her? "Oh, you might want to ask her about that." I started to walk off. "I can't tell you unless she wants me to."

"Alright, I'll ask her then. I just figured it might be a little rude to say, 'Hey, what the hell are you doing in my house?'"

I chuckled a little bit, then went out to warn Rachel. She didn't mind. When Mom came out and asked, she got the whole story, minus the few bits of Steve and me making out. When Rachel was done, she had a look of shock on her face.

"Oh, my," she said in that way mothers have. "I had no idea." She moved over to give Rachel a hug. "Well, you and that nice police officer are staying for dinner, and that's it. I'll go out and get something to fix." Before we could protest, she had her keys and was out the door.

"Well, that's typical mom logic." Steve reached down and picked Isis up, petting her behind the ears. "'Stay for dinner, that'll fix everything!'"

"I suppose I should call my parents and tell them that I'll be staying here for dinner, then." Rachel looked up at me. "You know, I just realized that I haven't even told them what happened."

I halfway smiled and shook my head. "Welcome to the keeping secrets from your parents club. Steve and I are already members. We'll show you around and tell you how to get to meetings."

I handed her the phone. "You and George can tell them tonight, after dinner. I'm sure they have enough to worry about."

Rachel went into the kitchen to make the call. Steve scooted next to me on the couch and cuddled up against me. We had a little bit before my mother came home. I sighed happily, feeling this warm, loving guy pressed against me. My hand involuntarily started stroking his chest. I didn't want to get him too turned on, since we had visitors and my mother would be back shortly, but I needed to touch him.

I could tell he was still angry about what happened to Rachel. His chest was tight, he kept shifting his position, and I could hear him grinding his teeth. I felt the same, but there was nothing we could do about it. We'd let the law handle it. Rachel came out and sat on the chair, noticing that we had taken up most of the couch.

"I've got to be home by 10. I'll probably be there earlier, though, since I need to talk to them." She rested her head on her hand, looking at us. We didn't move. "So, which one of you is which?"

"Huh?" I turned my head to talk to her. "Which one of us is which what?"

"You know, which one's the woman?" She wasn't smiling. She was being serious.

Steve looked up at her now. "You've got a pretty skewed idea of this relationship," he said. "Neither one of us are women. That's why it's a violation of a societal norm." I stared at him with an eyebrow raised. "What, I took sociology, too. Of course, I spent most of the time in that class staring at you."

"Aww, how sweet." I turned back to Rachel. "If you mean the whole top and bottom thing, there isn't one. He sucks me, I suck him, he fucks me, I fuck him. At least I will." Steve grinned up at me. "We're not like that."

"Ok then, I was just curious." She kept looking at us. "I never thought I'd say this to a couple of guys, but you two go really well together."

I squeezed Steve's arm. "Everyone says that now. Where the hell was all the encouragement when we were secretly in love with each other for four years without knowing it?" I said with mock bitterness in my voice. I may not have liked it, but I wouldn't have traded those four years for anything. We continued talking for a while, mostly about nothing.

We heard my mom's car pull into the driveway, so Steve and I separated. It was around 4:15 or so. Rachel and Mom went into the kitchen to work on dinner. Even though Mom tried to protest, Rachel insisted. She eventually caved in and let her fix a side dish or two. Steve and I stole a kiss or two while they were busy in the kitchen.

Soon, the house was filled with the smell of a home-cooked meal: something I hadn't had in several weeks. Steve and I joined the women-folk in the kitchen and had a nice little conversation. Rachel almost let a few things slip, but we covered for her between glares. She seemed a little distracted, but happier than she had been for a while. Before we knew it, an hour had passed and George showed up to get Rachel. He attempted to refuse my mother's offer of dinner, but she wouldn't hear it and made him sit down with us. Soon after he arrived, there was food on the table and we were all chatting happily.

Through dinner, we found out that George came from a long line of law enforcement officers, and that his great-grandfather had been a prominent member of the FBI. There was little talk of Steve or me, mainly because we were still figuring out how to tell my mother about us. Luckily, George caught on that she didn't know and avoided the subject. After dinner, Rachel and George declined my mother's offer of coffee (which was good, because of the aforementioned lack of a coffeepot), saying that they had to be going. They left at around 8.

I was suddenly incredibly tired. I asked Mom if Steve could stay the night, and she, of course, agreed. We both headed up to my room. As soon as we were behind closed and locked doors, I fell into his arms and kissed him. It wasn't so much out of passion as it was support. I had started to feel very shaky and needed to grab onto him. He laid me down on the bed and started taking off my shoes. Before he even had the first one undone, I was out.

Many of you may have noticed that there is no sex in this story. This story is also shorter than the others. This story is also way more serious than the others. I decided to take a break from long sex scenes and develop the characters a little bit more. I also couldn't find a place where it wouldn't seem gratuitous or vulgar. Not to worry: the next story will be highly frivolous and loaded with hot, steamy sex.

Send constructive feedback on this story to Flamers will be forced to eat at Hacienda's Mexican Restaurant in Columbus. Believe me, it's a fate worse than death.