If you are offended by male/male relationships, or male/male sexual relationships, then you shouldn't be here in the first place. If this conduct is illegal in your area, you must EXIT NOW. This story is not to be copied or posted elsewhere without permission from the author. If you are interested in a story about gay teenage males, then please take your time and enjoy. Feedback/comments/suggestions and even complaints are welcome at DomLuka@aol.com

Desert Dropping

Chapter Thirteen: What to do about Aaron

A/N: Thank you to Jim the editor for volunteering his time to sort through all of my mistakes to make this chapter more readable (better) it is appreciated.

I stared at the house with the rock garden. I didn't like this house. I didn't like the blue truck parked outside of this house. I didn't like the guy, who lived in this house, and drove that stupid blue truck.


Aaron was clueless, even if he shouldn't have been. He was also looking at me like I was crazy again. I swear, with the moodswings I was having, I couldn't blame him. But regardless, I just couldn't see how being at Seth's house could be a good thing.

"Why are we here?" I asked, managing to keep my voice as neutral as possible.

"Because it's close... and I thought we could hang out here for a while--what?"

Presently, I could only scowl in response. Aaron just shook his head at me as he got out of the car.

"Okay," he said, after walking around to the passenger door and opening it. "I don't know what your problem is, but let's go inside and talk about it. What were you saying about your grandma?" he asked as he started walking towards the house, leaving me to follow. I got out of the car, not bothering to hide my frustration as I slammed his door, but Aaron didn't seem to notice.

"Nothing," I mumbled, glaring at the house again. Seth was in there. "How long are we going to be here?"

"I don't know, why? When do you have to be home?"

Now, that was a question I hadn't considered. When did I have to be home? I found myself patting my pockets. It seemed I was cellphone-free, which meant that it was probably a good idea to go home before it got too late.

"I don't know. Soon, maybe."

Aaron gave me a strange look before knocking on the door, and I stopped about three feet away from him, hating my day again. It was bad enough that I had a million thoughts running through my head. The last place I'd wanted to end up was on Seth's doorstep, on top of it.

"Can we... not be here?" I found myself asking.

"Why, what's wrong?" Aaron asked, glancing over his shoulder at me.

"I just don't feel like being here," I replied, feeling annoyed. I was too frustrated to try to explain to Aaron how I really felt about Seth. Considering the mood I was in, it likely wouldn't turn out good and the last thing I wanted to do was end up fighting with him.

Aaron turned around, facing me, and I found myself avoiding his eyes, along with the curious smile attached to his face.

"You know, you don't even know Seth," Aaron insisted. "You can't really say you don't like him until you get to know him."

"What if I don't want to get to know him?" I asked, almost challengingly. I frowned when Aaron ignored that, turned back around and waited for someone to answer the door, which didn't happen for a few more seconds.

It was a black hat on Seth's head today, pulled down so low that I couldn't even see his eyes. That was fine with me, though. I was getting tired of him glaring at me, and I'd put money on the assumption that he was glaring again as he glanced between Aaron and me.

"Want some company?" Aaron asked, before Seth even had a chance to say anything. And before he gave a response, you would have thought it was a trick question he'd been asked, the way he stood hesitantly in the doorway glancing between Aaron and me. Personally, I was hoping he'd tell us to get lost. Eventually, he held the door open a little wider, though, almost looking defeated as Aaron passed him, and I slowly followed.

"What are... you guys doing here?" Seth asked a few moments after shutting the door. He seemed to be shaking himself out of something. Obviously, he hadn't expected me to show up at his house again.

"Rory's having a bad day," Aaron replied, and I glared at him for bringing it up. "We were just hanging out. I thought we'd see what you were up to."

Seth seemed to stare at Aaron for a long moment, and the two of them seemed to be having a silent conversation that put me on edge, Aaron suddenly looking like he'd won an important game, and Seth looking like he wanted to strangle Aaron--or me. Yep, me. He tilted his head up some, looking at me from under that hat in a way I could only see as threatening. But, when he spoke again his voice was calm, his face a blank mask.

"I was actually going out," Seth said, looking at Aaron and ignoring me now.

"Where?" Aaron asked curiously.

"Just out," Seth replied, shrugging.

"Well if you want company..." Aaron started to say.

"I already have company," Seth replied. "I'm meeting a friend."

"Ah... her?" Aaron asked, his smile suddenly broadening. I didn't have to ask to know who her, was. It made me think of poor Dave again.

"Yeah," Seth replied, and the tone he used nearly had me rolling my eyes as I watched the two, suddenly understanding something.

I had a feeling that Seth was only bringing up Angela to get a reaction from Aaron. I'm sure he preferred that reaction to be jealousy. What seemed ridiculous about it, was that it seemed like Aaron couldn't care less, and if I had any doubts, Aaron proved it the next time he spoke.

"Well, call me later and tell me how it goes. Um... Rory and I won't keep you."

I felt myself jump a little when I felt Aaron touch my back, but controlled my reaction. I mean, it wasn't like he'd tried to grab my ass or something...even if Seth did look at us as if that had just happened. Maybe the way he was looking at us now was the reason why the gesture suddenly had me on edge. It was partially the reason why I headed for the door without waiting for the two of them to say goodbye. We were obviously leaving, anyway. I planned on counting my blessings while I had them.

I didn't have them very long.

I nearly jumped, and I looked at Seth when he abruptly closed the door, just before I reached it. Why did he do that? I don't think he was supposed to do that.

"I still have a few minutes," Seth suddenly announced, his expression relaxing some as he forced a smile in Aaron's direction, and I swear the look he gave me was nothing less than challenging. "Do you guys want something to drink?"


I was suspicious. Highly suspicious. And bothered. If Aaron noticed it, though, he didn't seem to care, the way he was kicking a soccer ball around the back yard, playing with Seth's dogs; which, I noticed, didn't seem to hate him the way that Chey did. I was actually happy to see this, although, I wasn't exactly pleased that he was paying more attention to the dogs instead of me, especially since I was attempting to get his attention, wanting to know when the hell we were getting out of there. Unfortunately, by the time he looked back in my direction, Seth was already coming out the back door, juggling three glasses of what looked like soda and ice. I nearly recoiled when he stopped next to me, close enough that I could smell he'd put on cologne or something. That annoyed the crap out of me. Cologne was for people planning to get close to other people. I had a sneaking suspicion that the other people he had in mind didn't include Aaron.

"Here you go," Seth said, holding out one glass for me. I nearly declined it. I didn't drink soda, anyway, and there was no reason for him to be offering me a drink. There was no reason for him to invite us to stay after he had announced he was going out. We'd been there for ten minutes now. I was counting in my head. He was supposed to be going out. We were now officially keeping him, or so I'd like to think. Why the hell wasn't he throwing us out?

I took the glass, not bothering to thank him for it, and I didn't care when he saw me smell the contents, either. I had no problem with letting him know that I didn't trust him. Unfortunately, he found this amusing, and the way I could see his mouth curl into a smirk just annoyed me more.

"So, you're having another bad day, huh?" he remarked.

"Just keeps getting worse," I replied, glaring at him pointedly. He seemed to ignore it.

"And you think Aaron's going to cheer you up?" Seth definitely sounded annoyed now. "What are you guys planning to do, anyway?"

"I'm not sure, yet," I replied. And even if I did know, it wouldn't be any of your business. "We'll probably go soon," I added, trying to make it clear that I didn't want to be around him.

"Right," he replied shortly. "I'm just going to go talk to Aaron before you guys leave; you can stand here and pretend you don't mind."

My jaw dropped at that, and like a disbelieving idiot I stood there like that, trying to come up with some sort of retort while Seth passed by me and headed for Aaron. A moment later, when Seth was reaching for Aaron, pulling him away from the dogs so they could talk, I closed my mouth, fuming as I just stood there and did exactly what I'd been told to do. I pretended that it didn't bother me.

Of course, whether or not I successfully stood there like it didn't bother me was a completely different matter as I turned the glass Seth had given me upside down and I watched as the soda poured out over the flagstone patio that took up a fourth of Seth's backyard. Meanwhile, the two seemed to move even closer and they dropped their voices. I'm not sure whether or not it was intentional, but I didn't like not being able to hear what was being said. I definitely didn't like it when Aaron laughed at something Seth said.

I found myself closing my eyes for a moment, if anything to calm myself. I had to be the biggest dumb shit in the world. Seriously. Why had I allowed Aaron to take me here? More importantly, why would he? He knew how I felt about Seth, and maybe it wouldn't change whether or not the two of them were friends, but he at least could have had the decency to leave me home if he knew we were going somewhere that I wouldn't want to be. Especially under the circumstances.

I was under the impression that Aaron and I were supposed to be trying to figure out where to take whatever feelings we had for each other. Wouldn't that require a certain level of privacy? Away from Seth. But then again, maybe that's not what Aaron wanted. Maybe there was a reason why he'd brought me here. Maybe it was his way of saying that he didn't want to talk about it. Maybe our encounter last night had been nothing to him but... fun.

Well, fine. If that's how he felt, then--fine. But, if that's how he felt, and if he thought I was just going to stand there and do what Seth told me to do then he had another thing coming. They both did. In fact, they could both kiss my ass, I decided as I opened my fingers, currently closed around the glass, and didn't even flinch when it suddenly shattered at my feet, drawing attention from both of them. I think I was surprised to find that they both seemed to be annoyed even before they figured out what had happened, but I ignored it, and focused more on Aaron's confused expression as he looked at me, and more important, Seth's incredulous one.

"Oops," I said innocently. "You might want to clean that up, Seth. You know, before your dogs get into it." I really had nothing against Seth's dogs. Seth, was a different story, and I couldn't help smiling at the way he was glaring at me before I sharply turned my attention to Aaron. "I'm leaving," I announced. And to be honest, at that point I didn't care whether or not he came with me.

Okay, maybe I cared whether or not Aaron came with me. But, that was only after I passed his car and realized that once again, I didn't have a ride home. I tried not to be too annoyed as I accepted the fact that I was walking, and I headed up the driveway. I wasn't really expecting the firm hand that suddenly grabbed my arms and pulled me back around. After all, he hadn't exactly come after me the last time.

"What the hell was that?" Aaron snapped, and there was nothing on his face that masked his frustration with me. I didn't make excuses, or even an apology. Instead, I asked a question of my own, and it came out just as harshly.

"Why would you bring me here? I mean, what the fuck were you thinking? I told you how I feel about Seth, Aaron. And maybe he's your friend, so I hate to break this to you, but I don't think he likes me anymore than I like him."

"I told you, he's not good around new..."

"He's not good around me!" I snapped. "And it has nothing to do with not knowing me. He obviously still likes you, so bringing me here is... stupid."

"He's my friend, Rory. What do you want me to do, stop hanging out with him?" Aaron demanded, a challenging tone in his voice.

"I didn't say that and you know it!" I retorted. "But do you have to hang out with him while I'm around? Shit, Aaron! I thought we were going to... weren't we supposed to..."

"What?" he asked, looking impatient.

"We started talking last night," I responded. "When you said you wanted to go somewhere because you weren't comfortable back at the house, I thought we were going to do some more talking. I mean, I thought we were going to figure out...and then you brought me here!"

"But Rory..."

"Forget it," I cut him off, shaking my head. This was all so ridiculous. It seemed like all I ever did was argue with him--unless we were making out, of course; but the arguing was getting old. The fact that he'd brought me to Seth's house of all places, when he knew what kind of mood I was in, just proved that any delusions I had about starting something with him had to end here. I just wished that it didn't feel so horrible to come to this decision. I also wished that I knew why it felt horrible. After all, the constant arguing felt horrible. Walking away from it was supposed to be easy.

"No, I don't want to forget it," Aaron replied, losing the bite in his voice. "Look... you're right, okay? I shouldn't have brought you over here--or, I should have talked to you about it first."

"Ya think?" I remarked, unable to help it. But, if anything, Aaron ignored my comment.

"So, let's go now. I told you we could talk; if we're not going to do it here, then..."

"Forget it. It's too late now. I'm going home, Aaron."

I pulled my arm away from him, not roughly, but I made it clear that I wanted him to let go of me. Actually, I was a little surprised when he did right away, but I chose to ignore it as I continued walking. It wasn't over yet, though, as Aaron dropped into step beside me.

"At least let me give you a ride."

"I don't even think that's a good idea," I informed him, and found that I was beginning to feel oddly calm again at this point. "I'm just tired of it, Aaron. I never even know what you're thinking and that just makes... everything harder." I stopped walking for a moment and looked at him, unsure if I even wanted to continue this conversation, but compelled to do it, anyway. "Last night you asked if I liked you. This morning when I woke up, I thought I did... but..."

"No, don't say but," he quickly cut me off. "Please, Rory. Maybe it was a mistake to just bring you over to Seth's like that, but if you just let me explain..."

"What's there to explain?"

"More than you think!" he stated, suddenly sounding irritated again. "Look, just wait here--give me two seconds, okay?"


"Just give me two seconds," he repeated, and suddenly he was moving away from me, back towards Seth's house.

I rolled my eyes, tempted to keep walking, but too curious to do so as I stood on the side of the road with my arms crossed, waiting. I wasn't all that surprised when Aaron pulled up next to me in his car a few moments later and regarded me through the window.

"Will you get in?" he asked.

"Where are we going?"

"I don't know... you still want to talk, right?... We can go wherever. I have another friend who doesn't live far..." he started to suggest, but the look I flashed him made him stop in mid-sentence. "Okay," he relented. "If you want to go back home..."

"Someone is going to be home soon."

"Fine... my house then," he announced, but I got the idea that he wasn't very happy about it. "Will you get in now?"

No. Maybe. Yes. It took me a few long minutes, but I finally sighed to myself and got into his car. I blamed curiosity. I was curious to know where Aaron lived. Despite everything else, I was still curious to know what he had to say to me. It was only curiosity, though, I told myself as he started to drive. I'd already made my decision--at least, I tried to convince myself of that. It became more difficult when he reached for my hand a few moments later. I nearly pulled away. I'd started to, but when I looked at him his expression seemed so utterly apologetic that it was pathetic. I didn't pull my hand away, but I refused to look at him after that. I looked out the window instead. But, while that pathetic, hugable look went ignored by me, the way that his thumb began to drift over my knuckles, didn't. Neither did the way he'd squeeze my hand every few moments, and as we drove in silence, I slowly began to feel like I'd felt the night before when I was with him. If I ignored the issues between us, it was still nice.


Aaron's house was nothing like the one that I was living in. Of course, that could have been because it was in an actual neighborhood. Not a bad one, either. I'm not sure why that surprised me. There were manicured lawns and even an elementary school down the street. Aaron lived in the center house on a circle. It was a one-story, ranch-style home with a gated front yard and a carport. But, Aaron pulled onto a gravel path along the side of the house to park, and as he released my hand for the first time since he'd grabbed it and I followed his lead as he got out of the car, I watched as he pointed to the fourth house in the circle, which didn't look that different from his.

"That's where Luke lived when he first moved in with Jase," Aaron said, as if it would be of some interest to me. "Some old guy with a bunch of daughters lives there now. Wanna go inside?"

"Your house?" I asked.

"Well, not their house," he replied, smirking and motioning to Jase and Eddie's old house again. "My breaking and entering days are over--I'm sure Luke mentioned something about that, too?"

"He might of," I said, shrugging as if it were no big deal. "Are your parents home?"

"No," Aaron replied, looking annoyed at the question itself, and something about that confused me. But, I ignored it when he nodded for me to follow him and I did just that, moving in step with him as we walked through the gate and then the front door of his house.

Aaron's house smelled like pasta. I think that was the only way I could describe it. It wasn't unpleasant. Actually, it seemed warm and homey, even if the air conditioner had to have been running on fifty degrees. I also noticed that his parents must like earthy colors. Dark brown carpeting in the living room we walked into, olive paint on the walls. None of the furniture matched, but there was an assortment of dark colors there too. I also noticed that the floor seemed completely cluttered with toys--mostly trucks and tractors, and a few airplanes in the mix. I met the reason for the clutter a few moments later when Aaron smiled and moved to a corner, where a small toddler that I hadn't noticed was pulling the rubber tires off of his toy cars.

"Alex, what are you doing?" Aaron asked the small boy in a tone that seemed both surprisingly gentle and amused. Alex turned his head and began to talk in a language that I didn't understand, a huge smile on his face that suggested he knew exactly what he was saying. Obviously, Aaron knew what he was saying, too, as he squatted down next to the toddler, who, I couldn't help noticing, appeared to be a miniature version of Aaron. "I don't think you're fixing those, buddy," Aaron said, lifting one of the cars and one of the scattered tires, popping it back on. "Don't lose any of these, okay?" Aaron glanced back at me, the smile still present on his face. "This is my brother, Alex. He just turned three."

"Is he here alone?" I asked, puzzled. I hadn't expected anyone to be at the house after Aaron explained that his parents weren't home.

"No," Aaron replied, his smile fading as he stood up, a frustrated expression taking over. "Cody!" he called, and when there was no response, Aaron nodded for me to follow him again, this time down the hallway. We'd made it about three feet before another miniature Aaron appeared, not even noticing us as he flipped through a magazine, headphones lodged into his ears. He was definitely younger than Aaron, but when Aaron mentioned before that he had two younger brothers I hadn't expected one of them to be another teenager. He was probably fourteen or fifteen, and as I looked at him and Aaron together when Aaron moved forward to pluck one of the headphones out of his ear I began to wonder if everyone in his family had small features and the same hair cut.

"Hey!" Cody objected, looking up at his older brother as if they were the same height.

"Hey yourself," Aaron retorted. "Aren't you supposed to be watching Alex? It's your turn."

"I am watching him. He's just playing. Fuck."

"He's making a mess," Aaron replied. "And watch your mouth."

"Whatever," Cody replied, and then his eyes seemed to move to me. I wasn't sure that I liked the self-satisfied sneer that came over his face. Actually, I wasn't sure that I liked Cody. I decided I didn't when he looked back at Aaron a moment later and held out his hand. "Okay, pay up."

"What? No way!" Aaron retorted. "Just get out there and keep an eye on Alex."

Cody didn't move; in fact, he just stood there with his hand out, while I tried to figure out what was going on and Aaron continued to glare at his brother.

"I'm serious," Aaron informed him.

"Fine, then maybe I should call Mom and tell her you brought a friend over."

Aaron continued to glare for a long minute before he surprised me by reaching into his pocket for his wallet. "You are so dead later."

Aaron's threat did nothing for Cody, who just stood there with that same self-satisfied look on his face when Aaron slapped a twenty into the palm of his hand. When Cody continued to stand there afterwards, Aaron suddenly grabbed my arm, and pulled me past his younger brother, but not before sending the boy a look that promised retribution later.

"What was that all about?" I asked curiously, perplexed over the whole encounter.

"That," he said, as he opened the second door on the right and pulled me through it, "was just one of the reasons why I brought you to Seth's house and not here."

Aaron sounded irritated, but I was momentarily distracted as I looked around his room, furnished in various shades of green. There was a whole wall with disorganized sports equipment leaning against it, an overflowing laundry hamper and an unmade bed. I think this was exactly how I would have pictured Aaron's room--minus the various posters of swimsuit models stuck to his walls, including one on the ceiling over his bed. That, I hadn't imagined. Did I mention they all had boobs? I wasn't really sure what to think of this, but I momentarily put the thought aside as my mind focused on what Aaron had said.

"Seth? What are you talking about?"

"It's easier to be... me, at Seth's house," Aaron explained, and I was still lost. He must have seen this because he released an exasperated sigh and dropped back on his bed, shaking his head. "If you haven't noticed, my brother's a little extortionist. You asked what that was all about..."

"Yeah," I replied, taking a seat on a wobbly desk chair. "Why'd you let him get away with that? If I had a little brother..."

"Yeah, I'd beat his punk ass, too... if he hadn't walked in on Seth and me when we first started going out."


"You know," Aaron replied, shrugging. "I was hanging out with Seth and we were just making out, you know? Nothing serious." Nothing serious? What the hell was he telling me this for? Like I needed that kind of mental image. "Cody forgot how to knock and walked in on us. This little shit. Now, every time I bring a guy to the house he threatens to tell my parents I'm gay. Bet he'd do it, too."

Oh. Right. Aaron had mentioned twice now that he couldn't talk to his parents, and I was just begining to realize what that meant. It would definitely explain all the girls on his walls.

"Couldn't you... I mean, would it really be that bad to tell them?"

"Yeah, it would," he responded almost coldly, and I found myself feeling sympathetic because there was no doubt in his voice. He didn't have what I had. He couldn't be honest with his parents to the point that he could be himself, and he had a brother who took advantage of his unfortunate situation. No wonder Aaron thought I was lucky. I remembered how it felt to hide, before I came out to my mom. I'd hated just about every day of it. I wondered how long Aaron had been feeling that way.

"Hey, listen--I'm sorry, I didn't..."

"It's fine," he cut me off. "It's just... that's why I went to Seth's. It's sort of like a second home, you know? I wanted to talk somewhere that would be comfortable for me; I didn't really think about what would be comfortable for you. Sorry about that."

I sighed, not seeing a way that I could disregard his apology without coming off as an asshole, especially after he'd just paid his little brother twenty bucks so we could hang out.

"It's...fine. Just... I don't think we should talk about Seth right now."

That was definitely the truth. I did not want to think about Seth in this room with Aaron, and like it or not, I was still bent out of shape over Aaron taking me there, regardless of his reasons. I wanted to tell him that the only reason Seth probably welcomed him at all was because the guy obviously wanted Aaron back. But, with this new information, something like that seemed more difficult to say. Maybe they really were friends. There was no doubt in my mind that Seth wanted more, but it also made sense why Aaron would want to spend so much time with his ex. And as much as the reason sucked, I couldn't help thinking it was better than thinking Aaron still wanted more with Seth.

"Fine with me," Aaron replied, almost too quickly, and I found myself sitting up a little straighter in my chair when he patted the bed beside him. "So let's do what we came here to do."

"What did we come here to do?" I asked, my brow raising in the process.

"Talk, Rory," he replied, laughing at my expression. "And, we can do that... if you tell me what it is you want to talk about. To be honest, I sort of get confused with you."

"Me?" I asked incredulously.

He was confused?

"It's not like you've made how you feel about me very clear," he replied. "I know you had a good time last night... and you're with me now, so that says something. But, I'm sort of looking for more here, Rory."

"What do you mean?" I asked almost suspiciously, and he smiled at my tone.

"I want you to tell me you like me," he replied, shrugging. "Tell me you like me; and that the next time you see me, you want it to be a date."

For some reason, his request felt more like an order to me. I didn't exactly like that. But, his words still had me blushing uncomfortably. Probably because I did like him. I just never thought he'd expect me to full on admit it.

"I already told you I like you," I said, sounding annoyed.


"Back at Seth's," I reminded him.

"You said you thought you liked me," he corrected me. "And, there was a but somewhere in there. It doesn't count."


"Why can't you just admit it? Is it because of Luke again?"

"No," I lied. Luke was definitely part of it. The way he looked when he figured out that I had feelings for Aaron the night before was definitely part of it. I wasn't going to admit that to Aaron, though. I think I'd feel guilty about it, just like I felt guilty about liking him because of Luke.

"Then why? I know you like me."

"Then why are you even bringing it up?" I demanded, and he smirked at me.

"Because I want to hear you say it," he said simply.

"Why?" I demanded, and then after a short pause, I realized how ridiculous I was being. "I like you, okay? But that doesn't mean I know what I'm supposed to do about it. And you like me too," I added, just because it made me feel better. "But don't you think there's something wrong if you feel more comfortable in your ex's house than you do in mine?"

"Rory, shut up."

"What?" I demanded.

"Why can't you just leave it at, I like you, and you like me?"

"Because I can't."

"Yes you can," he argued, and I frowned at him. But, I didn't say anything, being too taken off guard by the way he grabbed my hand and pulled me over to sit next to him, and all. "I like you, and you like me," he said pointedly.

"I don't know if that matters," I replied, once I found my voice again.

"Trust me--it definitely matters."

I shook my head, unable to help thinking that there were some things that mattered more than whether or not we liked each other. Besides, hadn't I already decided that nothing else could happen between us? Even if it was a decision that seemed to lose its merit when I felt his mouth against my cheek, just above the corner of my mouth. I turned my head to look at him, under the impression that I was going to tell him to knock it off, because he couldn't keep ending our arguments this way, but it didn't help that turning my head brought my lips into direct contact with his. I paused for a moment, surprised by this when I shouldn't have been; but when I felt his lips parting over mine, I was closing my eyes, and as if in someone else's body, my tongue was flicking out briefly, just enough to taste the soda he'd had at Seth's, and enough to, for the first time ever, initiate a kiss. And once I'd started it, Aaron seemed to do his best to make sure it wasn't over too quickly, the way his hand was suddenly holding the side of my face, firmly, but not uncomfortably, and his lips felt like they were smothering mine.

I moved my hand to his shoulder. I was going to push him away. I really was. It wasn't just because of conflicted feelings, either. Well, not only because of that. There was also the fact that his younger brother was blackmailing him, and the prospect of being walked in on didn't sit well with me. But, when I pushed at his shoulder, he only leaned into me more, until I was leaning backwards, struggling to stay upright. But, he could have been so insistent because while I was pushing him away, I was also participating in the kiss as much as I had the night before. So, when pushing him away no longer seemed like an option--at least until I could get my tongue out of his mouth--I found my eyes trained on the closed bedroom door. Aaron might not have noticed my attempts to push him away from me, but he noticed that, at least long enough to pull back and look at me, redirecting my attention back to him.

"No one's going to come in here," he insisted. "Trust me, it's the last thing Cody wants to see."

Aaron leaned forward again, but this time a hand to his chest stopped him as I regained some of my wits.

"Did we even finish talking?" I forced myself to ask. "Listen, you keep doing this, and..."

"What am I doing?" he asked, suddenly sounding annoyed.

"This. I mean..."

"I don't get it. What else is there to talk about?"

"More than I like you and you like me," I informed him. "I don't really get what you want from me."

"What are you talking about?"

"Well, we already agreed that we don't get along most of the time, right? I mean..."

"It doesn't have to be like that," Aaron cut me off. "Actually, I think we do just fine when you're not pissed off at me."

"Well it's not like I can help it when you act like a jerk," I retorted. "And it's not like I've ever... done this before. I don't know how things are supposed to work, okay? I mean, what is this? It's not a date."

"Do you want to go on a date?" he replied, a teasing smile returning to his face, one that I just found irritating at the moment.

"That depends," I replied, rather harshly. "I sort of feel like I should know who else you're dating first. No offense, but I sort of like to know what I'm getting into before I..."

I stopped talking, as Aaron suddenly moved away from me so fast that he nearly fell off the bed, looking entirely offended.

"Is this about Seth?" he automatically demanded.

"I didn't say anything about Seth..."

"Then it's what Luke told you," he cut me off, sounding angry now. But, he seemed to get it under control fast enough as he raked his fingers through his hair. "Luke's an honest guy, okay? And it sucks."


"Well it's sort of hard to compete with, Rory!" he snapped. "Shit...look, when I was with Luke, things were different. I was... really stupid. I'm not that person anymore. And no matter what some people will tell you I don't just fuck around. I've figured out it's a lot easier to just see one person, and unfortunately, right now the only one person I'm interested in is you. But, I'm not going to sit here and defend myself to you all the time! I shouldn't have to."

I opened my mouth, and then closed it again, trying not to be so annoyed that he was... right. Unfortunately. His past with Luke had nothing to do with me. Not really. If anyone had a right to hold it against him, it was Luke. Not me. And, if I really thought about it, one of the biggest problems between us was the fact that I couldn't let these things go.

"Why do I feel like you're looking for something to be wrong with me?" Aaron suddenly asked, and as soon as he asked the question, more guilt struck. I felt like I was getting a lot of guilt lately, more than my fair share. Of course, it was quite possible that I'd brought it upon myself.

And he felt like I was looking for flaws--because I was. That admission came to me easier than I thought it would have. But, I guess that was because it was so very true. I think I was under the impression that the more wrong things I found about Aaron, the easier it was to forget about the fact that he was the first boy I'd ever kissed. It was easier to forget how attracted to him I was, and it was easy to forget about how much I'd liked him that first time we met. It also made it easier to remember Luke, someone who I considered to be my first friend since leaving home. Someone who understood how I felt when it came to losing my mother. And despite the lies and the rough start, Luke was someone who I wanted to believe I could count on. In fact, I thought he was. It was like I could sense it. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt Luke, and having feelings for Aaron seemed to do just that. Yup. Guilt. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

"I'm sorry," was all I could come up with. Aaron just stared at me, probably expecting me to say but. After all, it seemed to be my favorite word around him. He didn't get one, though. In fact, I just sat there, unsure of what to say after that.

"Okay," he finally said, shifting closer to me again. "So...does that mean we can go back to, I like you and you like me?"


"Fine, Rory; look," he said, and I did look. I looked right as his hand as it landed on my knee and slid upwards until his fingers were resting on my inner thigh. I wished that he hadn't done that. He was less than six inches away from my groin and I swear his hand was sending a message up my thigh and between my legs, letting my dick know he was there. It's not like I could move my legs closer together, either. Not without trapping his hand. "Why don't we just say that we like each other; but we're going to take things slow until we figure out what this is. Does that work for you?"

"Huh?" I replied, forcing my attention back to him.

"I'm serious, Rory. It sounds to me like you want to know what me and you are doing, right? I don't think we're going to find out like this. Why not... forget about the question for a while and just do what feels right?"

I tried not to visibly shiver when he lifted his other hand and traced the hairline around my ear with two fingers, as if I actually had hair long enough that he could tuck behind it.

"Or we could just leave it alone," he added. "But you don't want to do that."

I narrowed my eyes on him, ready to challenge this theory of his that sounded more like a statement than an assumption.

"You wouldn't have come here with me if that's what you wanted," he said in response to my expression. I hated that he had a point.

"I still have to go home soon," I informed him. "I thought if you were coming over it would have been earlier, and if everyone gets home and I'm not there, then someone is going to want to know where I've been."

"Okay; if I have you back in twenty minutes, does that work?"

"I guess, but if they're already home then you should drop me off away..."

"I can live with that," he cut me off. "They'll never even know I was there."

"And that doesn't bother you?" I asked.

"Yeah," he admitted. "But not as much as it would bother me if I'd never come over at all." He smiled at me, while I wondered if he was being completely honest. After all, if I were in his position, I think it would bother me. I wanted to mention this to him, but the way his hand suddenly cupped the back of my head and his mouth moved over mine again seemed to prevent me. I was pulling away from him a moment later, though, when his hand slid up my thigh and came to rest directly over my groin, warming my stirring cock. Obviously, it was a complete accident on his part, and I needed to let him know what he was doing before it resulted in an embarrassing moment for both of us.

"Hey, you're..." I started to say, attempting to shift my lap away from his hand. But, when his hand seemed to follow I forced myself to meet his eyes, swallowing at the pointed look he was regarding me with, that sly smile back on his face. "Oh."

Well, this was fast. But, apparently, Aaron didn't think so as he ignored the minor interruption and went back to kissing me, even if I was suddenly having trouble keeping up, distracted by the weight of his hand over my swelling cock. But, it did seem fast to me. I was just getting used to making out with him. I guess it was fair to say that I hadn't tried to delude myself with even the idea that he might end up touching me like that. For a split second I thought about reminding him of how we were supposed to be taking things slow. But, that would have been stupid, considering that I was as horny as the next guy, and this kind of thing didn't just happen every day. I was definitely curious, if anything. Only, as I felt more pressure from his hand and his fingers as they began to slide over my clothing, bringing me to full attention in a matter of moments, I started to wonder if he really planned to have me home in twenty minutes. It was a really long drive, which meant that we should have been leaving at any minute. The thought was wiped from my mind in the next moment when he pulled his mouth from mine and attached it to my neck in a way that had my eyes rolling. At least this time when I ended up on my back, I was fully aware of him pushing me down.

I moved a hand to his shoulder, feeling as if I needed to brace myself against the assault on my neck. I was discovering very quickly that I liked it when he did that. My other hand moved to his, the one that was between our bodies, and I found myself grabbing his wrist, slowing him, even if it didn't exactly feel horrible. Later when I thought about why I did that, I'd decide that I was just nervous; and, I happened to be commando that particular day and denim grinding against erection wasn't the most comfortable feeling in the world, especially with the damn zipper getting in the way. But, the action didn't seem to discourage Aaron as his mouth found its way back up my neck, over my chin and to my lips, his teeth nipping deliberately until I opened and felt his tongue slide against mine; and lower I could feel a tug at my shorts, and then I heard the sound of a zipper.

I lifted my head, suddenly finding it necessary to see what was going on between our bodies, but all I accomplished was to give Aaron better leverage to deepen the kiss, and I never got my visual. Of course, it wasn't very difficult to figure out what he was doing when I felt warm fingers suddenly brush against my erection, causing my breath to hitch, and when he firmly wrapped those fingers around my shaft, my hands flew to his shoulders and my legs seemed to part slightly on their own accord, the deliberate touch like a shock to my entire system. I did not remember being that sensitive the last time I jacked off. And then he squeezed, and for a second I felt like I was going to come right there, gasping as I gripped his shoulders, my teeth accidently grazing his lip in the process. Aaron pulled back, only enough for me to see him smile, looking rather satisfied with himself, before he lowered his head again, this time gently kissing my forehead, and then moving his mouth to my ear as his hand began to stroke. There was none of that slow business, either. He found a firm, steady rhythm, and for a moment I wondered just how often he did this because it felt like he was more of an expert than I was when it came to my body. I'd like to think that's why it was over in two seconds.

It was terrible--not what he was doing to me, but, it was terrible. It was like I lost all control under the strain of his fondling, only having the time to get out a frustrated whimper--yes, a pathetic, little whimper--before I spent myself in his hand. At least, I think most of it ended up in his hand. It was embarrassing. Yes, I knew that what happened was bound to happen, anyway, his hand being in my pants and all. But, I figured that I could have at least warned him or something. And it had happened so fast. I couldn't remember the last time I got off so fast.

It seemed like Aaron didn't waste any time getting away from me, and the sight of him wiping his hand off carelessly on a wrinkled shirt near his bed only brought a new sense of horror as I quickly struggled to zip myself up while attempting to control my labored breathing. I think it was how he'd moved away from me so quickly that made me wonder if he wanted to get away from me. Maybe he was disappointed by something, and all of this had been a big mistake. I couldn't even meet his eyes when he looked at me--until he laughed, that is. Was he laughing at me?

"That was fun," he remarked, and I found myself staring at him, wondering if I'd just been complimented or insulted. I guess I did feel a little better when he leaned over and kissed my cheek before he stood up. It probably would have been nicer if he'd given me a better kiss than that. I was suddenly in desperate need of assurance, or some sign that told me he liked me now just as much as he had a few minutes ago. But instead, he just looked at me and said, "Ready to go home, now?"


The ride home was surrounded by more silence than the ride to Aaron's had been. He didn't reach for my hand this time, either, but it could have been because my hands were nervously clasped together.

That was fun? Fun for who? Okay, admittedly, it had been sort of fun at first. Up until the end. I think the worst part was, I didn't even know what Aaron was thinking, and aside from that kiss on the cheek, he hadn't touched me. It didn't help that I had to put up with a knowing smirk from Cody on the way out, either. If I'd been brave enough to humiliate myself further, I might have had the nerve to beat the crap out of the little shit.

And Aaron wasn't talking to me. Not one word. He kept looking in my direction, though. I could feel his eyes on me. Why wasn't he saying anything? I was experiencing one of those moments, where I literally wanted to curl up and die somewhere. What the hell was I thinking? Seriously? If I really thought about it--and I was really thinking about it--the encounter seemed so out of place now. So stupid. Aaron and I had just been arguing for christsake! And like an idiot I let him kiss me and then some, all because at the time, I thought it would make things better. And now he wasn't even speaking to me. I felt like such an idiot. When he pulled off the road far enough from the house that it would take me five minutes to walk there, I was ready to bolt from the car.

But I didn't. I sat there, frozen, taking my time as I unbuckled, as I reached for the door. Why wasn't he saying anything? Anything, to take the edge off. Anything, to convince me that I hadn't just made a stupid, stupid mistake. And why was I waiting for him to? Why did I suddenly feel like I needed his approval? I wasn't sure who to be more disgusted with. Me, or him.

"I'll see you later, okay?" he finally said, and I looked over at him. I'll see you later? That was it? I couldn't even respond. That... is when I fled the vehicle. And I walked. I started walking down to the house, and I didn't even look back when I heard him turning around and driving away. I'd just had a guy touch me like that for the first time and I wanted to crawl under a rock. This was not how things were supposed to work. And I hated that wondering if I'd ever even hear from Aaron again made the whole thing worse. Why did I even care, considering the way he was treating me?

I was relieved when I did reach the house, and found that the only one who appeared to be home was Luke. I could deal with Luke, but after what I did, somehow facing Eddie or Jase at the moment didn't sit well with me. But, of course I was wrong, and as soon as I reached the basement to find Luke sitting in a pair of blue- and black-striped boxers, his hair still shining from his recent shower as he flipped through the television stations, I found facing him was just as hard as facing anyone. I felt different all of a sudden. It was almost like I expected him to take one look at me and know that I'd just made a complete ass of myself.

That didn't happen, of course, although, he looked far from happy when he turned slightly to face me better. In fact, he looked so far from happy that it snapped me out of my current state of mind as I wondered what was wrong with him.

"Hey," I said, slowly nearing the sofa.

"Hi," he replied quietly, and then to my surprise, he turned back towards the television. I stood there, staring at the back of his head for several moments before it occurred to me that I could be the reason why Luke was so upset--me and Aaron.

"Luke... are you okay?" I asked.

In that moment, I think I half wished that he'd just turn around and scream at me. Demand that I stay away from Aaron, just like he had when Aaron Keslin first came into my life. I think this time, I might have listened to him. But, instead of anger, I got a forced smile.

"I'm fine," he insisted. "It was just a long day at work... and then I talked to Dave and he's bummed out, so it bummed me out; anyway, no big deal. Where've you been?"

I stared again. I guess maybe Aaron and I weren't the problem. I think I'd expected him to have figured out where I'd been, especially after our conversation last night. But apparently, he hadn't--at least, he didn't until I took too long to respond and I watched his face drop even more.

"Oh," he finally said, while I stood there like a deer trapped in the headlights.

"Luke, listen..."

"Forget it," he replied, shaking his head. Obviously, he wasn't interested in any details. Seeing his disappointment now only made me feel worse, even if he was forcing another smile in my direction. "Eddie and Jase might be home a little late--do you wanna watch TV and spoil your dinner?" he asked, holding up a box of cookies.

To put it simply, I was surprised by the invitation. Grateful, but surprised. I'd planned to go hide in my room for a while, and think about where the hell I'd gone wrong with Aaron. But, Luke sitting there, offering cookies seemed like a much more welcoming scenario. I think the best part was, he didn't want to talk about Aaron.

Without a word, I found myself walking around the sofa and plopping down in the center of the sofa next to him, blankly turning my attention to the television as he handed me a cookie. Maybe it was the way that his somber mood matched my own, or the way that he leaned into me, unknowingly giving me the comfort that Aaron had been unable to provide, but I suddenly found myself wanting to tell him everything. I wanted to talk, I wanted to rant, and I wanted to have a miniature breakdown, because in that moment, Luke felt safe.

I wasn't ready to do something that stupid, though. So instead, I leaned into him a little bit, too; and as my eyes focused on the cartoons that the television was currently stuck on, I allowed my mind to go to a blank place, where there was nothing but mindless entertainment and a warm, shower-fresh body next to mine.

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