Three Roads: Chapter 45, On This Night Of A Thousand Stars


Writer's Note: A quick and very emphatic Thank You to "Brian" for helping me sort out my thoughts on this chapter. I appreciate the effort friend and hope you enjoy the final product. Now, on with the chapter.


Cooper raised his hands in the air as he twirled around in the busy parking lot on that mid December afternoon. This was his favorite time of year, despite the cold weather. No matter what was going on, he always made the effort to find the positive in his life and those around him during this time of year. His good mood was certainly helped by the fact that his finals were done and now he could concentrate on the Christmas party tomorrow night. When he walked into the Target store, he smiled widely as he looked at the large Christmas tree that had been placed at the entrance.

"Man, you look like such a fag." Joey said staring at Cooper.

"I would think you would know better than to use that word." Cooper smiled referring to the incident with Chase just a few weeks ago.

"Context is everything isn't it?"

"I guess so."

"You know if he had been pulling my hair and ramming my ass at the same time and called me a faggot it would have made me cum, but because it was in the middle of a heated discussion he's a homophobic pig."

"Watch your language, there are children around you skank ho." Cooper said, "You know you'll probably have to bring the car up when you're done."

"What's that mean?"

"I'm gonna have a lot of shit. It's the first time I'm gonna have a Christmas party in my house, I'm going all out."

"How are you gonna pay for all of that?"

"Uh, how about my J-O-B."

Joey scoffed, "Who knew being on your knees all day blowing bums on the corner could be lucrative."

"Well since me and you are the same height when I'm on my knees, you'd probably be good at it."

"Do you want to walk home?" Joey scowled.

"You love me too much to do something like that." Cooper said pulling Joey into a side hug.

"Damn, I know you want me, but do not jump my bones in the middle of a public place!"

"Been there done that. Are you coming to our Christmas party?"

"Of course," Joey started, "I wouldn't miss the uncomfortable look on Eric's face when he sees you and Mike getting close for anything in the world."

"You must want a roundhouse kick to the face."

Joey laughed, "I was half kidding."

"Can we be serious for a few minutes?" Cooper said changing his tone.

"Yeah, what's up?"

"I'm telling you all of this in confidence."

Joey felt special that Cooper was trusting him with something that seemed to be pretty important, "Ok, I won't say anything to anyone."

"You know how I came back last weekend and you guys were all there at the house?"

"Yeah." Joey shrugged trying to think back to that day.

"Well, when Eric helped me put my stuff away...we sort of kissed."

Joey's mouth dropped, "Kissed or made out?"

"I wouldn't call it making out, but it wasn't just one kiss."

"So what does this mean?" Joey asked excitedly.

"That's the thing, I don't know. We haven't talked about it." Cooper said as they walked through the aisles.

"Why not?"

"Part of it is because I can tell he doesn't want to talk about it."

"Of course he doesn't, it's Eric, he doesn't like to talk about anything uncomfortable."

"I guess, I just don't know what to do. Should I bring it up? Should I tell Mike?"

Joey's mouth fell open again, "I totally forgot about him. Have you still been seeing him since this happened?"

"Just twice...he is my boyfriend after all. I don't want to lead him on or anything so I've been telling him I'm super busy because of the work I need to catch up on that I missed when I went to Maine."

"Do you think Eric wants something to happen between you two?"

"I really don't know. The kiss was so unexpected, I don't know what to think."

"I can already tell you're going to ask him eventually. You're one of those people that can't handle things up in the air. You like to know one way or another."

Cooper nodded, "Yeah, I think you're right."

"If Eric wants to pursue something, what happens to you and Mike?" Joey asked.

"I like Mike a lot, but I'd drop him in a heartbeat."


"YAY!" Cooper yelled as he walked into the house with several bags.

Toby got off the couch and started going through the bags, "Wow, you found a lot of stuff, how much do we owe you?"

"A hundred dollars."

"Like thirty dollars each?"

"No, like a hundred dollars each."

Eric walked into the living room, "Did you just say we owe you a hundred dollars each for the stuff you bought?"

"Yeah. Why are you guys looking at me that way?"

"Because, you're smoking some good shit if you think I'm going to give you a hundred dollars." Toby said, "I was thinking twenty or thirty dollars max."

"On Christmas directions?!" Cooper screeched, "Where the hell is your spirit?"

"It ain't coming out of my damn pocket is all I know and we already have stuff up why did you go buy more?" Toby asked.

"And I guess you feel the same way?" Cooper asked angrily as he looked at Eric.

"It is a big house." Eric said looking at Toby.

"You're fuckin kidding me. You're agreeing with him?"

Eric shrugged his shoulders, "Well, if we want the whole house to look nice..."

Cooper smiled, "You're outvoted, now pay up biotch!"

"I'm only going to give it to you because we didn't come up with a pre-determined limit. I should have known you could not be left to your own devices without fucking up. You do something like this again and I'll kick your ass."

Cooper laughed, "Bitch, I'll take out your knees before you even knew what hit you."

Toby stuck up his middle finger as he walked into the hallway and then his room. Eric and Cooper were now left alone for what seemed like the first time since they had kissed. Eric cleared his throat, "Looks like you got a lot of good stuff."

"Yeah, I think so. There were a lot of good deals going on."

"I see."

"Umm...can I talk to you for a second."

"Actually...I have to go. I'm going home for the day...me and Michael are going to hang out."

"Oh. Tell him I said hi."

"I will...we can talk when I get back though." Eric said.

"Ok, I'll see you later."


"Wow, you're early." Michael said opening the door for his friend.


"Damn, don't act like it's a punishment that you are here right now."

"I'm sorry, I just...yeah."

"You motherfucker! You didn't call me this morning to hang out, you called me for a pity talk."

Eric smiled. He was embarrassed that the true reason for his calling Michael had been found out, "Yeah, ok. I admit it, but I'm still willing to buy you breakfast."

"We can do that later," Michael said hopping on his bed, "This story better be juicy so that I can forget my indignation."

"I don't even know where to start."

Michael propped up an elbow and rested his head on the palm of his hand, "Start with whatever the hopefully scandalous revelation is and then work backwards to give me the story surrounding it."

"Ok...I kissed Cooper last weekend."

"Oh. My. God."

"I know."

"I can't believe you're just now telling me! Now, I'm really pissed."

"Come on, I've been studying for finals and stuff and really not trying to think about, and besides you're the first person I've told."

"That makes me feel a little better, but ok so what happened?"

"He came in, I asked him if he wanted any help with his bags. We went to his room and he said that he needed a few minutes before going back out to everybody. We started talking and then we kissed."

"No one just kisses Eric, what caused it?"

"Uhhh," Eric shrugged thinking back, "We were sitting on the bed...just talking...I put my hand on like his leg..."

Michael giggled, "This is so exciting...who kissed who?"

"Uhh...doesn't it take two?"

"Well yeah, but somebody always pushes the issue and leans in first."

Eric closed his eyes, "I think I did."

"You dirty whore, you wanted that kiss didn't you?"

"I did, I admit that."

"It's about time. What changed?"

"What do you mean?"

"Two months ago you would have sat here in this very room and talked about how you didn't understand why people always talked about you and Cooper as a potential couple and now you're here wanting to talk about it."

Eric shook his head, "Needing to talk about it. I'd been thinking about it so much the past week that I finally just had to get it out."

"That's sort of my point," Michael started, "Before you would have never talked about it and you would have kept it bottled up inside, and now here you are talking about it."

"I guess things change."

"I guess so. So...what happens between you two?"

"Nothing, he has a boyfriend."

"That doesn't mean shit. I mean I'm not advocating that you make out with him and stuff, I'm just saying if you want him, go after him."

"But that's the thing, I don't know if I do."

Michael gave him a skeptical look, "Do not lie to me!"

"Ok, I wouldn't mind being with him, I just don't know if I'm ready for that."

"Ready for what? You're not ready to have a real relationship? You're not ready to be happy? You're not ready to be with a wonderful guy? I don't get what you're not ready for. You act like he just asked you to marry him or something."

At first, Eric stared ahead of him with no real emotion on his face, but as he let Michael's words wash over him, he couldn't find anything wrong with what Michael had said, "I think you might be right."

"Uh, I know."

"So what should I do?"

"Whatever will make you happy."


Joey unfolded the brochure in front of him and began to read. Dr. Taylor had asked that he read them over before putting them out for students to take. He wasn't all that excited about reading more on the effects that sexually transmitted diseases can have on sexual performance; especially because the images were particularly vomit inducing. Still, he knew that if a student or staff member came in and asked him a question and Richard or Dr. Taylor overheard that he didn't know enough information, he'd get ripped apart.


Joey looked up and saw Chase standing in the doorway. Joey jumprf stood up and grabbed the receiver of the phone, "Get out, or I'll call campus security."

"I just came to talk. Really." Chase turned out his pockets and Joey could see that he didn't appear to have anything else on him.

"Fine, but stay there."

"You really think I'm going to do something to you?"

Joey laughed bitterly, "Anybody who calls me a faggot to make me angry is not a friend of mine."

"I am very sorry I said that. I know that this doesn't excuse anything, but I was just so mad."


"I just...I knew it was wrong, but I guess I've been trained to react that way."


"Yeah. I mean I know it's weird or whatever for a Christian to be so queer friendly."

"I don't see how the two can mix to be frank." Joey said.

"Me either."

There was something in the way that Chase said it that really caught Joey's attention. It was the first time he ever considered the possibility that Chase might be gay. But as he looked at the guy in front of him, there didn't seem to be anything that would even suggest that Chase might be gay. Joey wasn't angry or afraid anymore as he looked at Chase, but he suddenly felt very sorry for him, "You can come in if you want."

"Are you sure?" Chase asked without moving.


Chase smiled widely and sat down in the chair that he had always sat in whenever he had come by to meet with Joey. Chase cleared his throat, "My whole family is pretty religious and they think homosexuals are the scum of the Earth. And I grew up with that all my life. It's kinda funny cause I think of my Dad and how he'd probably be ok with me going to hell as long as it wasn't because I was gay."

"See that's what I have a hard time understanding," Joey started, "There's so much talk about loving God and how God changes lives and is so wonderful, yet those very same people have so much hatred in their hearts."

"Don't get me wrong, it's not all Christians. Some Christians are totally cool with gay people and it's not an issue for them and I admire them. But I think it's also fear. People are afraid of what the don't know or understand and so instead of admitting that they lash out and say it`s wrong."

"What is there to be afraid of?"

"A lot." Chase said simply.

Joey was struggling with trying to follow what Chase was trying to say and the evident confusion on his face is what caused Chase to continue, "It's different for you because you don't believe in it. Going to hell or not isn't an issue for you so you don't understand how somebody can be ruled by that, but I really believe it. Imagine being gay and really believing in hell and then hearing so many people, who say they believe the same thing you do, yelling on t.v. that gay people go to hell."

"What does that have to do with you?"

Chase shifted uncomfortably in his chair, "I'm getting off track a bit," he said clearing his throat, "I just mean for a lot of people the two are polar opposites. So it's not always easy for me to manage being friends with someone gay and still feeling like I am honestly living up to my beliefs."

"I don't want this to come out in a mean way, but why even bother coming here and trying to put on the game and all this stuff if it's so hard?"

"Because...you're a cool person and I've met like some people before that were cool but once I found out they were gay I backed off. But I like our friendship and I hope that I haven't ruined that by being stupid."

"We're friends?" Joey asked surprised. He could tell that Chase was stung by the remark, but he quickly recovered, "I meant like I didn't know you considered me a friend."

"I do," Chase said, "I feel like you could open my mind to a lot of things and hell maybe I can give you a thing or two to consider."

Joey laughed, "I could definitely open your mind to a few things."

"So we're cool?" Chase asked extending his hand.

"We're cool."


"Hey roomie." Kevin said when he saw Chase enter their apartment, "What's up?"

"Just tired. Glad my finals are over." Chase said joining Kevin on the couch.

"Yeah me too, when you leaving to go home?"

"Probably sometime on Sunday."

"Really?" Kevin said surprised, "I thought you'd rush out of here and try and go home tonight."

"Not really. I'll just stay for Christmas and then probably head back. I don't want to stay home the entire month when we're still paying rent here."

"Makes sense."

"Plus, I'm thinking about going to the Christmas party tomorrow night; you know at Cooper's house...Joey invited me. Are you going?"

"Doubt it, I'm probably heading out tomorrow morning."

"Did Cooper invite you?'

"Yeah he called me a couple days ago."

Chase rubbed the palm of his hands together as he decided how to ask his next question, "So...we're cool right?"

"Yeah." Kevin said a little worried about where this conversation was headed.

"And we can talk about anything right? Cause we've been friends for so long."

"Dude, if you want to move out then just say so."

"No no, "Chase said, "It's not that...I'm just wondering if you've ever...thought about like doing something with another guy."

"You mean like sex with another guy?

"Yeah, like have you ever thought about it or done it?"

Kevin smiled, "Why are you asking me this?"

"I'm just curious."

"Sure, I've thought about it."


"Jesus, what's gotten into you," Kevin teased, "I'd do it if the circumstances were right."

"Have you ever found the circumstances to be right?"

Kevin who had been staring at the television while Chase had been talking to him, now turned to his roommate and friend, "Why don't you tell me what's gotten you so interested in my sex life all of a sudden, o saved one."

"You know Joey?"

Kevin laughed, "Who doesn't know Joey?"

"Well yeah...I mean we're friends and all and he's cool...and he's gay and I'm secure enough to admit he's attractive."

"Did he proposition you?"

"No, but I can tell he thinks about me...like in a sexual way."

Kevin couldn't help but laugh, "That's a funny way to say that. So what you're just wondering if you'd go for it if he ever was like oh I'd give you a blowjob or something?"

"Yeah. I mean...if you close your eyes it all would probably feel the same right?"

"You don't even have to do that."

"So you have been with a guy?" Chase asked again.

"I trust you so you better not ever tell anyone this, but I used to let Cooper blow me back when we lived in the dorms."

Chase was absolutely shocked, "Really?"

"Why are you surprised? You know all of them are gay in that circle, even Toby."

"Who's Toby?"

"He plays tennis for the school, tall athletic looking Black guy."

"I don't think I know who that is, but I wasn't shocked because I didn't know Cooper was gay, I'm just a little surprised you let him."

"More than once. It happened a bunch of times over like a six month period."

"Damn, it must have been good."

"I wouldn't have let him do it if it wasn't. The first couple of times I was still a little weirded out and I wasn't dating anyone, and he was more than willing," Kevin laughed, "Let's just say that not only was Cooper really good at it, but he did a complete job."

Chase was confused, "I don't get it."

"He would swallow most of the time or let me bust on his face or wherever I wanted."

"Wow... I can't believe you're comfortable talking about this."

"Well, first I trust you and two you know I'd kick your ass if you ever told anyone, but I don't know it's kinda hot telling someone that I did that to another guy. Like if you saw Cooper on the street, you'd never think he was gay. Like he's a big guy you know, taller than me, a little bit bigger than me weight wise and stuff, and to know that like a big strong guy like that wanted me...I don't know it's just kinda cool and hot in a weird way."

Chase nodded, "I can see that. Did you ever return the favor?"

"Once, only for like a few seconds," Kevin clarified as if that somehow changed the fact that he had done it, "but Cooper has a huge dick. Like seriously, I've watched a lot of porn and I don't know if I've ever seen a dick that big. And I guess I just got a bit carried away cause it was like right in my face so I just kind of jerked it off a little bit and then yeah, I did it."

Chase was getting turned on by Kevin's honesty, he wanted to know more, "Did he...you know?"

"Fuck no. That's fucking disgusting. I can't believe I put it in my mouth, I would never let a guy blow in my mouth. Sucking his dick was like a one time thing anyway. I can't see myself doing it again, but I don't really have an issue with a guy doing me."

"You didn't feel gay doing it?" Chase asked seriously.

"Like I said the first few times were a bit awkward, but it felt so good that I was like I need to get over that shit to really enjoy it. I did get a little freaked out towards the end though. Like it was happening pretty regularly and I think I just didn't know how to deal, so I did something pretty fucked up."

"What did you do?"

"I arranged for Cooper to walk in on me and a girl."

"That is pretty messed up."

"I know and the look on his face made me regret that I did it, but I didn't know what else to do. We're cool now, but needless to say we don't go there anymore."

"At least you guys can still be friends." Chase said.

"Yeah. So my friend, let Joey suck your dick if it ever goes there. I bet he's good at it too." Kevin laughed.

Chase laughed nervously, "We'll see."

"Fuck," Kevin said grabbing his crotch, "Now I'm all horny since I started talking about it...you want to help me out?"

Chase's throat went dry and he tried to laugh it off, "What the fuck ever man, that's what your right hand is for."

"No, seriously," Kevin said looking Chase directly in his eyes, "You were all curious and you're the reason I'm in this state so you should help out your roomie."

"Are you fucking with me?"

"Not at all. I can tell you're curious," Kevin's hands went to the top of his jeans. He unfastened them and slid down the zipper, "you know I'm cool with it and I'm not going to tell anyone, it'd be just between me and you." Kevin again looked Chase directly in his eyes as he left the flap of his pants as wide open as possible, exposing a generous portion of the while boxer briefs he had on. Kevin moved his hand from his side and raised it so that it was now behind Chase's head, "Come on bro, just help me out a little."

Chase's eyes darted between Kevin's face and the underwear that was now in his view. When he felt more pressure from Kevin's hand, he started to panic, "Kevin...I..."

But Kevin burst into laughter and removed his hand from his friend's head, "Dude, I'm just fucking with you. The look on your face was classic! if I didn't know any better, I would say that you were thinking about it."

Chase laughed along, "Then you need to get your eyes checked because I was debating whether I was going to punch you in the face or whether I was going to break your wrist first."

"Ah, good times." Kevin said as he got up to fasten his pants and walked out of the living room. Chase watched him as he walked away and closed his eyes tightly, "Get it together!" he whispered to himself.


"There he is!" Cooper said the following morning as he hung mistletoe around their house, "Did you decide to stay home?"

"No," Eric said, "I stayed at Michael's house."

"Are you gonna help me decorate?"

"Yeah, where's Toby?"

"He went out to buy all the food."

"I see...um, what are you doing tonight after the party?"

"Pack all my shit so I can go home, why?"

Eric took a deep breath, "I know you've been wanting to talk so I'm ready to talk."

"You don't want to talk now?"

Eric shook his head, "No, I want to wait until after the party."



Cooper heard the doorbell ring and smiled, "Are we ready for our guests?"

"Yes!" Eric yelled running out to meet Cooper.

"The jungle juice isn't ready!" Toby yelled from the kitchen.

"No one gives a shit you fuckin alchie!" Cooper yelled as he opened the door. It was Joey and he quickly jumped inside and moved past Cooper.

"Uh, bitch do not enter my kingdom like that."

"I'm sorry," Joey said, "but I had to get away from those two."

A few seconds later Richard and Brian had entered the house, "The only other time I've seen Joey run that fast is when he figured out the health center gives free condoms." Richard laughed.

"What's he need free condoms for, he's not having any sex." Brian teased.

"Fuck you both. Neither of you needs to talk to me tonight if the other is around. All they did was flirt in the car. Seriously, I needed a vomit bag."

"Oh shut up. This is just karma getting you back for all the times I had to watch you slobber over Toby." Richard said.

"I heard my name." Toby smiled as he entered the room.

"Yeah but Toby's hot." Joey said simply. Everybody turned to look at Toby and he smiled nervously, "Take a number."

"Ok, I'm closing the door now. Are Bliss and Melinda coming?" Eric asked Richard.

"No, they apologized profusely, but their sorority banquet was tonight."

"Richard, I'm going to say this in front of everybody," Toby started, "but when Tim gets here you better not cause any trouble or I'll never speak to you again."

"Hey, the semester's over and it's the holiday season, plus I plan to drink enough tonight to not even remember who Tim is."

"Does that mean I get to take care of you?" Brian smiled.

"Yeah and it's more than ok for you to take off my underwear when you get me out of my clothes tonight."

"I don't plan on drinking, but I decided to not wear underwear to make it easier on you if you have to take care of me." Brian said as he walked away. Cooper was standing near by turning on some music. Richard grabbed him and put his arm around his shoulder. Cooper had been surprised by the move, "What's up Richard?"

"Man, I want to fuck him so badly."

Cooper followed Richard's line of vision and saw Eric putting chips on a paper plate, "Eric?!"

"No, Brian crackhead. We all know Eric's taken."

The doorbell rang again and Joey opened it since he was the closest, he smiled maliciously when he saw it was Mike, "Hello there, come in."

"Hey Joey, how are you?"

"Just excited to be here." Joey said his grin growing bigger.

"Hey." Cooper said walking over to Mike and giving him a quick kiss on the lips.

"Hey. I just wanted to say that I don't know how long I'll stay, I'm completely beat."

"Why, it's Saturday, you didn't have work today."

"I still went in though. Reports to the boss are due Monday and I'm not even halfway done with everything that I have to have analyzed and typed up, I should still be there now."

"Well at least sit and relax for an hour and get something to eat. There's tons of food."

"You want to accompany me to the kitchen?"

"Will do." Cooper smiled.

Eric had watched Cooper and Mike's exchange from across the room and he tried to stop replaying the welcoming kiss that Cooper had given Mike.

"I don't think they go together at all." Brian said startling Eric, "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

"It's fine and that's not very nice to say."

"I'm just saying outloud what you think."

"Why does everybody say things like that about me and Cooper. It's kind of annoying really."

"We're just making fun, plus you guys would go really good together. You should have been rubbing up against him instead of me at that party last semester."

Eric blushed a very bright red, "I had hoped you would have been drunk and not remembered that."

"I don't drink, but I've actually been worried all this time that you were mad at me or something."

"Really, why?"

"I don't know. We haven't exactly talked much since I got back."

Eric tried to smile as friendly as possible, "That has nothing to do with anything other than we've both been busy and preoccupied with other things...like you and Richard."

It was Brian's turn to blush, "There is nothing going on between me and Richard. We're just friends...who flirt a lot."

"Well a friendly warning, I wouldn't get in the middle of Richard and Toby. Lots of people think there's still some unfinished business there...let's go say hi to Tim. He just walked in."

"Brian, Eric hey." Tim smiled.

"You seem like you're in a good mood."

"I am. Things are really good at home. My mom and I actually went out for lunch today and I'm really starting to enjoy my job and things are just great."

"You and Jon getting along?" Eric asked mischievously.

"We are actually, the apocalypse must be nigh."

"See this is why I love the holidays," Cooper said as he joined their conversation, "Even people like Tim can be happy."

"What does that mean?" Tim said a little offended.

"Come on Tim, you have a tendency to mope around a bit."

"And you have a tendency to be an asshole."

Cooper nodded, "This is true."

"You should probably make a quick toast and thank everyone for coming." Eric suggested to Cooper.


"Yeah, I think everyone who is going to be here is here."

"Good point...hey everybody shut the fuck up for a second!" Cooper yelled as he turned down the music. Eric shook his head and Brian and Tim couldn't help but laugh, "Uh, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you guys for coming over and spending some holiday cheer with us. And that even though none of you cheap bastards decided to buy me anything, I appreciate your gift of friendship."

Everyone except Joey muttered a collective, "awwww." but Joey just rolled his eyes, "That was exceptionally corny."

"Don't be bitter because no one loves you." Cooper said.

"Your mom loved me last night."

"Psssh...you're gayer than Christmas, what did my mom love? Doing your nails?"


Everyone suddenly turned their attention to the front door as a loud thump followed by a loud scream came from the other side of the door.

"Should we answer it?" Brian whispered looking around.

"Hell the fuck no," Cooper said, "It's dark outside."

"Are you alright?" Toby said loudly as everyone waited to hear the response.

"I think I just broke my hand." A voice whimpered from the other side.

"Bliss?" Richard said as he raced to the door. He opened it to find Bliss sitting on the front porch of the house nursing her right hand, "What the fuck happened to you?" Richard said in horror as Bliss' make up had run all over her face as if she had been crying. Her dress was wrinkled and dirty and her hair, that had once been in a perfect ponytail, was now a mess, "I got into a fight at the party, and it's all your fault!" She said standing up suddenly.

"Woah!" Richard said moving back quickly, "Is that how you hurt your hand?"

"No, I hurt my hand trying to karate chop the door down so that I could kick your ass!"

"Why didn't she just knock?" Tim whispered to Brian.

Bliss turned her head quickly to the direction of the voice, "I didn't knock Timothy because I was going for the element of surprise."

"So you were going to bust our door down to get to him when he doesn`t even live here?" Toby asked pointing at Richard.

"I sure was."

"You break it, you buy it." Cooper said.

Eric grabbed Cooper's hand, "This isn't the time for jokes." He realized what he had done and quickly dropped Cooper's hand. Cooper just stared at Eric in surprise.

"I know why I want to kick his ass," Joey started, "but why do you want to kick his ass?"

"Because," Bliss said frustrated as if it should have been obvious to everyone, "he ate that slut Melinda's pussy!"

"Dear God!" Cooper yelled, "Somebody turn the music back on!"

Everyone was once again jolted as another loud sound caused them to look towards the door. They heard the unmistakable sound of a car that had been traveling very fast come to a screeching halt. They heard a door slam and then they heard high heels running up their drive way.

"Where the bitch at?!" Melinda yelled as she appeared in the doorway. Everyone audibly gasped as they got a good look at her. She looked even worse than Bliss did as most of her dress had been ripped off her body. Once Richard had realized that it was Melinda that had been running up the driveway, he had pulled Bliss behind him for her safety.

"Get out of here skank!" Bliss yelled.

"Oh, I ain't leaving to somebody catches an ass whoopin or hands me a check for $385 to pay for this dress that you ruined!"

"I swear these two are hardly ever over." Eric said looking at Mike with a worried expression.

"You're not getting anything from me! You violated the most sacred rule of friendship...bros before hoes!"

"Their friendship is over," Cooper whispered to Eric, "that is a rule that should never be broken."

"What the hell does bros before hoes mean? We don't have that saying in Norway." Brian asked Joey.

"It's the same as saying dicks before chicks."

Even though there wasn't a saying like that in Norway either, Brian understood the gist of it.

"How dare you go after him when you knew I liked him!" Bliss yelled.

"Bitch, you should be thanking me for saving you, cause trust me he wasn't that good." Melinda said.

Richard, who had been silent as of late as he watched the train wreck unfold in front of him spoke up, "Oh please you were moaning and groaning and moving around like it was the best thing ever."

"I was faking it, cause you definitely need to stick with dick."

Joey laughed, "This is like the best party ever."

"I can't take this. I hate you both." Bliss cried as she shoved past both Richard and Melinda and ran outside. Richard immediately followed her and everyone was left standing wondering what they should do.

"Is that velveeta cheese I smell?" Melinda said to no one in particular.


"Bliss hold up!" Richard yelled as he grabbed her from behind.

"Get your hands off of me or I'll scream bloody murder I swear."

"Ok ok, I just want to talk ok? Come on...I'm sorry I really am."

"I don't want to hear it. I am so humiliated right now, I can't believe you would do that to me."

"Bliss, I didn't meant to hurt you, actually I did what I did to try and keep that from happening."

"I just have to know, what does she have that I don't?"

"Nothing! Absolutely nothing. I chose her because I was unsure about if I would like being with a girl or not. I know that you sometimes think of me as more than a friend, so if this was going to only be a one time thing...I didn't want to drag you into that and get your hopes up if I decided that it just wasn't for me."

"Is it for you?"

"After tonight, I think I'm definitely going to stick with dick."

Bliss laughed as she wiped some tears from her face, "You're so dumb."

"Do you want to go back inside and get something to eat?"

"No, I would be too mortified to do that. I can never show my face to any of them again."

"They won't care Bliss."

"No, really I'm ok. I just want to go home, take a shower, and sleep for like a year."

"Do you want me to take you home?"

She shook her head, "I'll be ok."

"Will you call me tomorrow?" Richard asked hopefully.

"Probably." She said as she climbed into the car.

A few seconds later, Melinda came walking out of the house with a plastic cup full of velveeta cheese and a small bag of chips, "Mmmm this is the shit right here!"

"Are you ok?" Richard asked a little annoyed.

"I'm fine. Melinda has survived much worse than this." She said, crunching on some chips.

"Do you need me to take you home or anything?"

"No, it's all good."

"Ok, then I'll see you around."

"Mmhmm." Melinda said as she got back in her car.


Richard walked back in the house to find everyone pretty much in the same spots they were in when he ran after Bliss.

"I just have to say that's what you get for messing with females." Cooper said.

"I've learned my lesson. Alcohol in the kitchen?" Richard asked.

"Yeah." Toby said.

"That's where I'll be if I'm needed." Richard said.

"I'm gonna go talk to him." Brian said to Eric and Tim and he too went into the kitchen.

Cooper clapped his hands together, "Well, I hope that didn't ruin the party for anyone."

"Are you kidding me? That was the best part so far." Joey said still excited over what he saw.


Over the next two hours, the friend's laughed and talked together. Richard only left the kitchen twice the rest of the night, both times to go to the bathroom before he passed out on the kitchen table.

"I think we should go," Brian yawned as he nudged Joey, "I'm tired and I think we should get Richard home."

"Yeah, you're probably right. Cooper, I think we're going to leave, it's pretty late."

"Ok, buddy, when are you going to David's house?"

"Early tomorrow morning. We all got permission to stay in the dorms an extra night, but we all have to be out by noon tomorrow."

"Yeah, I need to go to sleep soon too," Toby said, "I got a long ass drive ahead of me tomorrow."

"Are you and Richard still going home together?" Brian asked.

"As far as I know."

"Will you help me get him to the car?" Brian asked.

"Yeah." They went off to the kitchen to retrieve Richard.

"So, I'll see you in a couple weeks." Joey said as he extended his arms to give Cooper a hug.

"I love you kiddo, have a safe drive home tomorrow." Cooper said as he squeezed the smaller boy one more time before letting go.

Toby and Brian each had an arm under Richard. Richard was muttering unintelligibly and Cooper and Eric laughed as he exited the doorway.

"Oh, say bye to Mike for me." Joey said.

"Oh he's long gone, he left right after pussygate." Cooper said.

"I'm telling you that was the highlight of the party." Joey smiled as he left.

Cooper sighed, "Tonight was fun."

"It really was despite all the drama...did you still want to talk?"

"Oh, I thought you would think it was too late."

"No, I want to...if you do."

"Yeah we can."

"You want to go outside?"

Cooper thought he would freeze his ass if they talked outside, but since that's what Eric wanted, he agreed. They walked outside and waved goodbye to their friends as the car started off down the street. Toby walked up the driveway, "You guys staying out here?"

"Yeah, we'll just be a minute." Eric said.

"It's cold as hell out here, but look at all the stars, it's beautiful." Toby said as he walked into the house. He closed the door quietly behind him and smiled to himself. He knew what was about to happen and knew that once and for all Cooper and Eric were going to settle the largely unspoken feelings between them. He hoped that whatever they decided, it would be for the best.

"So what's up?" Cooper asked, already a little cold.

"I wanted to have an honest talk. Just like a no holds barred, completely honest talk with you about our feelings for each other."

"Our feelings?"

"Yeah, well...I guess I should speak for myself...my feelings for you."


"When you told me you loved me last Spring, I was completely shocked and I honestly didn't know you felt that way. And then you turned around and asked me if I felt the same way about you."

Cooper smiled, despite the lump in his throat and the insanely fast beating of his heart, "Yeah, I remember that."

"I didn't know how to answer that before, I couldn't have answered that question up until about yesterday afternoon. I need to make it clear that I'm not in love with you and I never have been."

There it was. It was final and there was nothing Cooper could do to change that. He didn't trust his voice at that moment, but he knew he had to say something, "Ok."

"But, I know that I am attracted to you and I really want to see where it goes...with you."

Cooper looked at Eric with a wide eyed expression, "You want to give us a try?"

"I do, but I'm scared to death Cooper."

"Why? I would never ever do anything to purposefully hurt you or make you uncomfortable."

"I know," Eric said, "but I'm mostly afraid that you don't have the patience I will need you to have with me. I'm not perfect and even though I've matured and grown and I can now look pretty much anyone in the eye and admit that I'm gay, I'm still not as comfortable as you are with my sexuality.

"Eric, I'm not perfect either. It's funny cause I was just wondering if you had the patience to deal with me. I know I can be a handful and sometimes I'm immature and stupid, but I promise you that if you're patient with me, I'll be whatever you want me to be."

Eric laughed, "I can't believe that the guy that would rip off his towel in the dorms just to annoy me, I'm now standing next to and talking about how I would regret it if I didn't give him a chance."

"I can't believe the boy that used to be so emotionally constipated it wasn't even funny, is standing next to me and saying, in no uncertain terms, that he wants to give me a chance."

"I have to ask this, but what about Mike? As much as I want us to do this, I don't want to be the sole reason you break up with him.

"Mike is a great guy and I like him a lot and we have a lot in common, but I would regret letting you pass me by. Even if we do this and it blows up in our faces, I can say I was given a chance by the best person I know."

"Wow. So you're just going to tell him?"

"Yeah. He's supposed to take me to the airport tomorrow to go back home. I'll tell him then."

"What are you going to say?"

"That there is a God."

Eric burst into laughter and Cooper joined him, "That was funny."

"Hey, I try. You look cold...can I?"

"Oh...yeah." Eric said. Cooper placed his arms around Eric shoulder. Even though Eric knew it was still freezing outside, he felt unbelievably warm in Cooper's arms.

"Do you want to go inside?" Cooper asked.

"In a minute, I'm just looking at all the stars. Toby was right, they are beautiful.

Cooper looked up to the night sky, "Whenever I look up on a clear night, it just makes me think of all the endless possiblities and all the things out there that we know nothing about."

"Yeah," Eric agreed, he turned to look at Cooper, "but hopefully we get to learn about them soon enough."

As Toby saw them kiss, he couldn't help but pinch himself to make sure that this wasn't a dream. When he was satisfied that he was still awake, he closed the curtains and smiled, "Merry Christmas guys."



Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. For those of you that don't know, I will not be posting at all during the entire month of May, as I will be making the final push to graduate (which will be May 25th WOOHOO!!) Feel more than free to e mail me during this time if you want to let me know what you're thinking about the story, or any suggestions or constructive criticisms, or even just to say hi. I'd really love to hear what you guys think about this chapter, especially because I didn't know how it was going to end until about two days ago lol. I really went back and forth, but ultimately think the right choice was made J