A/N this story contains male/male relationships that may be sexual. If you find this offensive, or if it’s illegal where you are, no need to read further. Please DO NOT duplicate or post this story on a website without asking the author.


Any questions/comments can be sent to domluka@aol.com


Desert Dropping

 Chapter Thirty-one: Driving Aaron Keslin

A/N thanks to Jim for editing!

There were a lot of things that didn’t feel right to me as I climbed into the passenger seat of Seth’s truck and stared out my window into the dark as the vehicle started. I’d likely lost my mind if I was willingly on my way to see Aaron. We were leaving the comfort of Seth’s bed, where our time could have been more productively spent than it was going to be now. My hip bones were actually sore from all of that earlier grinding we’d done. And worst of all, things were so strained between Seth and me that I wasn’t at all interested in the feeling. I knew that I was responsible for most of it, too. I was the one who was too angry to talk. I didn’t even move across the seat when he looked over at me, seeming apologetic. Seth seemed more than a little disappointed about that.

He wasn’t taking me home, though. He turned in the opposite direction. He was taking me with him, like I wanted. Seth and I were on our way to pick up Aaron, who happened to be wasted, and I was allowing it to happen while there was this horrible tension between us.

I was an idiot.

I glanced over at Seth. He had his thumb between his full lips, still a bit swollen from our earlier kissing, and he was biting at his nail, appearing troubled as he focused on the road from beneath his ball cap. I hated that he looked so upset because of me. I was pretty sure that I needed to apologize. I was angry with Aaron for calling Seth to get him out of his troubles. It wasn’t right to take it out on Seth just because he was a nice enough guy to do it. Especially when one of the things that I found to be most appealing about Seth was that he was a nice guy.

I let out a breath, trying to release some of the frustration I was feeling with it, and I forced myself to slide across the seat until I was against him. I felt better as soon as his arm was around me, accepting my move as a sign of peace. I heard Seth sigh, and for a long minute we stared out the front window where the headlights lit the road for us.

"I’m sorry," I finally said, not realizing how dry my throat was until I heard my own voice crack.

His hand moved to rub at the back of my neck. "It’ll be really quick," he promised, turning his attention from the road for a moment to glance at me, seeming concerned. "I can’t deal with Aaron while you’re mad at me."

"I’m not," I insisted, leaning into him, hoping he believed me.

"It’s still not too late if you just want to go home, you know. All I’m gonna do is make sure he gets home," he said, and I momentarily closed my eyes as Seth’s hand moved through my hair, his fingers massaging my scalp. "You don’t have to see him."

"I wanna go with you," I stated, and Seth didn’t argue with that. Instead, he pulled into the first drive-thru we came to and looked at me again.

"You’re thirsty," he said, always being the observant one. "What do you want to drink?"


I sat upright in the middle of the bench seat, watching Seth as his eyes darted around the parking lot while his fingers continuously drummed the steering wheel. Parked in front of the apartment complex, we could hear the party, but there was no sign of Aaron.

I sipped my lemonade through the straw, and then held it out for Seth, who sat back in his seat while he took a drink. "Where is he?" I finally asked. I’d been avoiding the question because Seth looked irritated enough already.

"Probably inside, trying to piss me off," Seth responded. "It’s working."

I looked out the window for another minute, waiting to see any sign of Aaron. I would have preferred it if Seth hadn’t wanted to come out here at all, but obviously he had a bigger heart than I did when it came to Aaron Keslin. Patience seemed to be a different thing, though. Seth didn’t look like he had much of that at the moment, and seeing him irritated made me irritated and I found myself wondering where the hell Aaron was.

Just as I became tempted to roll down the window and start shouting his name, I felt Seth’s hand on the back of my neck and I turned towards him to find that he was watching me now. I moved to sit closer to him again, lacing my fingers with his when he took my hand. "I’m gonna have to go in there," he announced. "If we wait, I won’t have you home on time and Aaron could be passed out anywhere for all I know."

I sighed, and looked at the clock. It was after eleven now, and I could understand Seth’s concern. I had the same one--that we wouldn’t make it back on time. Only, I’d been the one insistent on going with him, so if I was going to be late, it was my own fault. I looked pointedly at Seth, wanting him to stay right where he was. With me.

"He likes you, you know," I said quietly. "I mean, the jealous thing... I feel it for a reason."

Seth developed a frown in his brow as he inquisitively cocked his head at me. "Is this about what happened at the mall?" Seth asked.

"Yes," I replied honestly. "I saw him after I left."

Seth’s eyes narrowed at that, but whatever annoyance he was feeling didn’t seem to be aimed at me. "Rory..."

"He’s the reason why I asked you about what we were doing, you know? Since I’m leaving... he said some things. He likes you."


"He told me he likes you," I interrupted, wanting Seth to get my point, just in case he was about to deny it to make me feel better.

"I was going to say, I don’t care."

I frowned at Seth, not really getting his meaning. Maybe he didn’t care, but I sure as hell did.

"Look, he’s in there right now hoping you’ll go look for him," I said irritably. "You don’t even know that he’s actually in trouble. He could be playing a game, and..."

"Rory," Seth calmly interrupted. "If that’s what he’s doing, then he won’t get a ride. And, I don’t care--I don’t care what Aaron wants, and you shouldn’t either."


"We’re together, right? You did hear me when I said that I just wanted to see one person, and that’s you?"

"Yeah," I said slowly. "But Aaron..."

"Who cares about Aaron? He has nothing to do with me and you. He’s just... Aaron. I like you; please, don’t worry about the other shit, Rory. Yeah, maybe he is playing games, but that doesn’t matter if I’m not interested in him, right?"

I thought about that for a minute, and then let out a breath.


"Okay?" he repeated, as if to ask me if I was sure.

I nodded. "Yeah, okay."

Seth flashed me a small smile and then turned towards me, his hand gently moving beneath my chin and as he guided me towards him I met him halfway, my lips lightly brushing over his before he pulled back and regarded me more seriously.

"I’m gonna go see what’s going on, okay? I don’t want you to be late--we can talk about this some more later if you want, okay?"

"Yeah, fine," I replied, and I watched Seth reach for his door.

"I’ll be right back," he promised.

"Wait." I suddenly grabbed his arm. "What would be so bad about leaving him?" I asked. I had to ask.

"He asked for my help," Seth responded tiredly. "Leaving him here... he’d just get into more trouble. As it is, he’s being an ass, and the people throwing the party want him out."

"What about his other friends?" I asked. "The last time, Aaron had friends who were driving his car for him when..."

"Yeah, well tonight those friends took his car and left him here."

"And that’s what happened according to Aaron?" I responded, suspiciously looking over the parking lot for his car.

"Yes, and before you ask why I believe him, I checked his story with Kevin. He just needs a ride home, Rory."

"And tomorrow he’ll wake up, know he got away with more of his bullshit, and do it all over again. He apologizes all the time, Seth. But, he’s never actually sorry for anything. All Aaron cares about is Aaron. He doesn’t care that you’re going out of your way to do this. He probably just expects it. And you’re just giving it to him."

"Maybe you’re... actually, no. You’re right, you’re completely right. I know that," Seth insisted, closing his door again. Obviously, he thought we’d be here for a while. "But he needs to know that he does have someone to count on. Look, I know you don’t want to understand this..."

"What do you mean I don’t want to understand?" I cut him off, feeling more than a little annoyed. "I’d love to understand. Like, I’d love to know why Aaron could probably get away with murder and that would be just fine because everyone would just expect it, anyway!"

"It’s not like that Rory."

"Oh yeah? When has he ever paid for his own mistakes?" I responded. "Look what happened with Luke. Aaron admits he stole that car but he’s still letting Luke pay for it. And he cheated on you, right? I mean... I don’t get it Seth. He was a big enough jerk for you to break up with him, but you’re still not stepping back to let him deal with his own shit? Come on. I mean, I know I really can’t talk, given the way that I let him treat me, but isn’t there a point... I mean, there has to be a point where people start stepping back to say wait a fucking minute...right? Right?"

I’m sure I appeared flustered as Seth just stared at me with an unreadable expression, his thumb brushing lightly over my knuckles. And then he pulled his eyes from mine to stare at our joined hands. It seemed to me, that he really had no idea how to respond to this. And at that moment, it occurred to me just how much I’d grown to hate Aaron Keslin.

I’d be lying if I said that part of it wasn’t because I felt like he’d used me. That had been one of the lowest feelings I’d ever had. To be used. To have been stupid enough to fall for it. And with Aaron, I’d fallen for it in a big way. I felt like he’d picked me out because I was easy. He’d used my situation against me, knowing that I hadn’t been happy having to live with Eddie and Jase. He knew that I hated the way everyone was lying to me. Aaron knew that I was alone. Lonely. He used it. It made sense, why he’d accuse me of liking Luke and give me an ultimatum. Luke was the only other person Aaron really saw me getting close to. After that party, he’d called to turn what had happened into my fault because he thought he’d get away with it. Poor, lonely Rory would take company any way he could get it, and Aaron figured that he was my only option.

Of course, this was a conclusion I was just now coming to, and it was entirely possible that I was giving Aaron way too much credit. But even if his intentions hadn’t been as entirely evil as I thought they were, it didn’t really change how I felt about him. I hated him because he hurt me. I hated him because he hurt me, and he couldn’t have cared less.

"Aaron wouldn’t do the same for you," I said quietly, when Seth said nothing. "He wouldn’t do the same thing for anyone."

Seth looked thoughtful for a moment, and then nodded to agree. "But we’re not Aaron."

I felt exasperated. "That’s not even fair."

Seth let out a breath and turned in his seat to face me, a near impossible task with me leaning into his side the way I was.

"I know he’s lacking... a lot of things. And I know that they could rewrite the term selfish bastard in the dictionary using his description; and yes, I’d love to see Aaron get what’s coming to him one of these days. But, he asked for my help; I told him I’d still be there for him if he really needed me."

"When?" I demanded. "He probably had you under durness." I nodded my head, hoping it would strengthen my point.

"He had me what?" Seth asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I don’t know," I responded, frustrated. "I heard it in Eddie’s office. It means he, like, made you agree to that or something."

"I think you mean duress," Seth replied, looking amused again. "And... I don’t think it works here."

"Whatever. Why would you say something like that to him? You said yourself that you couldn’t be friends with him anymore, so why look out for him?"

"Because he was really upset when I told him that we were finished as far as being actual friends went, Rory."


"So I still feel a little sorry for him... Shit." Seth removed his ball cap just so he could run his fingers through his hair before he placed it back on his head and met my eyes. "I don’t know how to explain this to you. Isn’t it enough for you that I don’t have feelings for Aaron anymore? I’m with you; he’s just getting a ride home--in the bed of the truck if you want."

"It’s not about... that," I replied. "Listen, I’m sorry if I’m being annoying about this. I guess you’re right--I don’t understand. But, I want to, and..."

"Aaron doesn’t care about anyone because he doesn’t think anyone cares about him," Seth cut me off. "I’m not saying that it’s an excuse for how he acts. But he has a lot of issues. He didn’t have to call me tonight but he did..."

"To get to you," I insisted.

"Because he trusts me. Look at the other people he hangs out with, Rory. They aren’t his friends. And Aaron... he likes attention. That’s nothing new. But the things he does for it usually gets him in trouble..."

"You mean it gets other people in trouble."

"And when he gets in trouble," Seth continued, ignoring my comment, "he calls me because he knows that those guys..."

"Aren’t you," I stated. "Seth, you know why he called you tonight. He figured that me and you would be together and it pissed him off."

"Rory, I’m trying to talk to you," Seth said quietly, and I forced myself to calm down.

"I’m sorry. Go ahead."

Seth sighed. "Look, let me go in there to get him, and after we get him home, we’ll talk about this, okay?"


"Please, I just want to get it over with."

I met his eyes and let out a breath, deciding that I was making this whole thing more difficult than it needed to be.

"Okay, but I’m going up there with you," I insisted as I started to slide back across the seat towards my own door. I paused and looked back when Seth tightened his grip on my hand. He was giving me a pointed look. "I’m not angry," I insisted. "Please, I just... want to go with you."

Seth sighed, and I squeezed his hand as he lifted it to his mouth, where his lips brushed over my knuckles. That was all it took before I was moving back over the seat, deciding that Aaron could wait another minute as I kissed Seth like I meant it.


Seth looked down at me from where he was headed up the apartment stairs and frowned. I knew why. I was stalling, taking each stair at a ridiculously slow pace. He came back down and stood in front of me, one stair up.

"Let me walk you back to the truck. You can wait there. You don’t even have to see him. I’ll make him ride in the back, remember?"

I flashed Seth a small smile, but then passed him, grabbing his hand while I was at it, and became reassured by his rather tight grip. It wasn’t really Aaron that I was objecting to by walking up those stairs slowly. It was more like the noise coming from the apartment, and the party that was in it. It wasn’t an experience that I wanted to relive, being there. But it turned out, I didn’t have to.

I came to a dead stop directly in front of the closed apartment door, and stared down, feeling both disgusted and horrified at the same time.

"Fucking Christ!" Seth cursed. Unlike me, Seth actually moved forward while I just stared, watching as my current boyfriend knelt down and removed a still-burning cigarette from between Aaron’s fingers and put it out. It seemed that Aaron had been too unconscious to know that it was about to burn him. But that seemed to be the least of his troubles as I looked him over. It was no wonder why whoever lived in the apartment wanted him out. He reeked of something vile. I guessed that it was mostly alcohol staining his shirt, but there were definite signs of vomit, too. Apparently, he hadn’t made it into one of the plants. "Nasty," I heard Seth mumble as he shook his head in disapproval while cautiously shaking Aaron’s shoulder.

When Aaron opened his heavy, red eyes I actually took a step back, not at all sure what to expect. It certainly wasn’t a quivering bottom lip and glossy eyes as his tears filled them. And it was Aaron’s cute features and pretty face making this face. No wonder Seth felt sorry for him. Hell, even I felt sorry for him, seeing that. I felt angry, though, when Aaron suddenly leaned forward and latched onto Seth, attempting to pull him in for a hug. But to my surprise, Seth wasn’t having it as he held Aaron back. I guessed it was because of the smell.

"Don’t even think about it," Seth warned.

"I threw up," Aaron responded in an incredibly pitiful voice, and then glanced down, where there was more vomit on the concrete by the welcome mat. Aaron was practically sitting in it, and as Seth began to turn a nice shade of green I realized that he must not have the stomach for certain things, and I moved in to help.

I had my hand tightly around Aaron’s arm, and Aaron on his feet before he even noticed I was there. He’d been too busy staring at the ground while Seth stood in front of him, making sure that he didn’t topple over. I immediately frowned when Aaron turned his head in my direction. His pitiful look wasn’t there anymore. First, it was mild confusion, and then a goofy smile that I might have found cute at one point.

"Look who’s out past his bedtime!" Aaron remarked, right before belching loudly. I made a face as the stench hit my nostrils, and when Aaron suddenly lifted a hand to ruffle my hair, I’d had enough. Seth was suddenly behind me, pulling me back, as if he were afraid I’d hit him otherwise.

"I’m fine," I said shortly, as we watched Aaron fall back against the wall for balance. I glanced over my shoulder at Seth. "He is really disgusting."

"Let’s just get him to the truck," Seth insisted, taking a moment to soothingly rub at my back before he released me. I turned my attention to Aaron again when he giggled and held out his arms.

"Take-me-to-the-trick!" he hiccupped. "I mean, trrr-uk!"

I think Seth and I both groaned when Aaron suddenly moved forward on wobbly legs, capturing us both in a hug, his messy shirt and everything. I suddenly felt like I needed to shower for days.

"Okay," Seth raised his voice as he abruptly took over the situation, moving a firm arm around Aaron’s waist and pulling him away from me completely. I gathered that Seth meant to take Aaron down the stairs on his own; and since Aaron wasn’t exactly sturdy on his feet at the moment; and since Seth was probably the strongest of all three of us; and since the stairs weren’t incredibly wide--I thought it might be a good idea. "Aaron; walk, damn it," Seth instructed, leading Aaron towards the stairs.

Unfortunately, whatever plan Seth had backfired, and Aaron released another goofy laugh before he abruptly turned into Seth, wrapping his arms around my startled boyfriend. It was when Aaron began to do something akin to humping Seth’s leg that I saw bingo boards and plaid wallpaper, stepping forward as I became the best Grandma Alice I could be.

"Shit!" Aaron shrieked when I suddenly grabbed his ear and pulled him away from an exasperated Seth. I released him almost right away and glared. Aaron glared right back as he rubbed at his ear. "You have a problem," he told me, pointing a finger at my face in the process.

"And if you want a ride, you need to knock it off," Seth stated, neither of us bothering to help balance Aaron when he swayed on his feet again. Aaron continued to glare when Seth grabbed my hand somewhat forcefully and headed for the stairs, tugging me along with him. "We’re going." He paused and looked back at Aaron. "If you’re not in the truck in two minutes--it’ll be without you."

Seth and I waited for more than two minutes for Aaron to make his way down the stairs, but to my surprise, Seth seemed even more irritated than I was. In fact, all concern over Seth still having feelings for Aaron faded when I realized that Seth hardly even had any sympathy left, let alone feelings for Aaron Keslin. And as angry as I was, even I felt sympathy towards Aaron when he made it to the bottom of the stairs, not looking like he felt good at all. When Seth opened the tailgate of the truck and looked at Aaron pointedly, I took absolutely no satisfaction from the way that Aaron stopped and stared, looking utterly disappointed and hurt by it. That’s when I moved up behind Seth and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"I’ll sit in the middle," I said. Seth looked back at me, seemingly confused, but then he let out a breath and flashed me a small smile before he closed up the tailgate and sent Aaron another glare. "You can ride in..." that’s as far as Seth got before Aaron promptly doubled over and emptied the contents of his stomach on the asphalt. Seth groaned and looked at me. "I’ll get him. You can wait in the truck."

"I can help, if..."

"It’s okay," Seth insisted. "Look, I’ve got it. I’m afraid of what’ll happen if he keeps pissing both of us off."

I could see the logic in that. By the time Seth got Aaron to the passenger door, I was in the middle seat, and did my best to help buckle Aaron in. He suddenly looked ready to pass back out, and as soon as Seth had the passenger door closed, Aaron’s head was falling on my shoulder. I frowned when he started to nuzzle.

"You look nice tonight," he murmured stupidly.

"You don’t," I responded simply as I pushed him off of me, looking on in disapproval as his head fell against the window. "Why do you do this?" I found myself asking, not really expecting an answer.

I couldn’t help wondering if this was the condition he’d ended up in the night I left him at that party. The question didn’t bring back the most pleasant memories, and I was having mixed feelings when it came to Aaron now. I really wasn’t very opposed to just leaving him there in the parking lot, but if I thought back to that night, I remembered very clearly that I wanted Aaron to get out of there with me. I’d wanted to make sure he got home okay, just as Seth did tonight. Against my better judgment, I found myself growing worried for him once again while I watched him press his head closer against the window while his eyes fluttered as he tried to keep them open, and he began to take deep, uneven breaths.

"Aaron? Are you okay?" I asked, just as Seth got into the truck. Aaron didn’t respond.

"Aaron?" Seth asked as he turned the key and the vehicle started.

Aaron suddenly sat up, turning his head to face both of us as he inhaled deeply through his nostrils.

"It smells like sex in here," he remarked, and Seth and I rolled our eyes and leaned back against the seat as Seth pulled out of the parking lot. When Aaron elbowed me, I ground my teeth together and moved closer to Seth. "What have you guys been doing?"

"Aaron, just knock it off, okay?" Seth said calmly.

"Hmm," Aaron mumbled, resting his head back against the window. He began to hum. I was pretty sure it was Mary Had a Little Lamb. I flashed Seth a grateful look when he turned up the stereo and cracked a window to vent out the stench that Aaron had brought into the truck with him.

"We’re not that far from his house," Seth whispered, tilting his head in my direction so I could better hear him.

"I know," I replied, and then thought of something else.



"Are we just dropping him off?" I asked. "Or, is part of this whole thing supposed to be getting him into his house, too?"

"I just want to make sure he gets home," Seth replied. "If his parents catch him like this, then it’s his problem. But, they probably won’t. He’ll go to Cody’s window and have Cody let him in."

"Sounds like you’ve done this before."

"A few times," Seth admitted. "But... I’m starting to think you’re right, about letting him deal with his own shit."

"Psst," Aaron suddenly hissed, and I looked over at him to see that he was watching us, and now obviously mocking our whispering. Then he giggled. "Did you guys fuck in here?" he asked somewhat seriously, or as seriously as he could while being completely intoxicated. "I had sex in here once...twice..," he said to me. "Remember Seth?" I just glared as I felt Seth go tense next to me, and Aaron playfully reached out to smack my arm in a very clumsy way. "Hey, Rory. Know what Seth is really good at?"

"Shut up!" I snapped.

"Oooh, shut up," Aaron mocked me, laughing.

"Aaron, stop," Seth said shortly.

Aaron rolled his eyes and leaned back again, and for a moment, I thought he was actually going to listen to Seth. I was mistaken.

"Are you still a virgin, Rory?" Aaron suddenly asked. "Or did Seth fix that for you?" Aaron laughed again, and I sat there, feeling entirely mortified at the way he’d made that sound like an insult. I felt Seth’s hand on my knee. I’m sure it was meant to be soothing, but it wasn’t exactly working at the moment. "You should have seen Rory..." Aaron continued, pausing to swallow down another burp. "You should have seen his face..." Aaron was obviously amusing himself, the way he couldn’t seem to stop laughing. "Seen it the first time I grabbed his..."

"Do you want to walk home?" Seth suddenly demanded, sounding furious. He must have been, because he was grabbing my knee in a way that actually hurt. "I swear to god, Aaron, I will drop you off right fucking here."

"Shit, I’m just..." Aaron started to say, but then had to hiccup again, "joking."

"Well that’s enough," Seth stated.

There was a long silence in the truck as Seth stared out his window and Aaron began to look dizzy. I was staring at him for this reason, mostly because if he was going to puke again, I didn’t want it to be on me. I openly frowned at him when he puckered his lips and blew me a kiss.

"Why can’t you just stop?" I asked him, and he laughed at me while Seth moved to take my hand. "Does it actually make you feel better to make other people feel..." I stopped, and let out a breath, not sure why I was attempting to have a conversation with an oh-so-wasted individual. I decided that it was because the wasted individual was Aaron, and it was actually easier to talk to him when he was so fucked up that he couldn’t tell up from down. "You’re such an asshole." That made him laugh harder. "I’m serious," I said calmly. "You’re like, completely defective or something. Why can’t you just say thank you to Seth for saving your ass and figure out that you’re not cute right now... And you smell bad." I’m sure that I’d come up with better insults before, but in all honestly, I wasn’t really trying to be insulting. Just honest. Currently, Aaron was most definitely not the same Aaron Keslin that I’d been so attracted to. I was disgusted with him. I had no idea if he was just drunk, or if someone had deemed fit to give him drugs, or if he’d recently been playing in a messy litter box. I just knew that even looking at him was making my stomach churn. And he just looked at me like I was joking with him. He looked, and laughed, and rolled his eyes until he figured out that my straight face was there for a reason, and he abruptly stopped, and turned to look out his window again. Silently.

I turned my attention to Seth, and he glanced away from the road to flash me a meaningful look, obviously curious over whether or not I was okay. I’m pretty sure that I was giving him the same one. But, I’m not sure either of us were actually okay.

I was beginning to think that it had been a really bad choice to ride along with Seth. Obviously, if I took the jealousy and frustration out of the situation, all I was left with was an awkward ride between two guys who knew what my dick looked like. And I wasn’t the only one who was uncomfortable. Seth was suddenly doing his best to concentrate on the road and only the road, and Aaron continued to stare out his window; and despite the split personalities he’d displayed in the last fifteen minutes, I had a feeling that he was suddenly even less happy to be in the truck than Seth and I were to have him in it. But that could have been because while Aaron was against the window, I was against Seth, the two of us keeping an obvious distance from him, and he’d noticed. That’s probably why somewhere in his drunken mind, he’d decided that it would be a good idea to tease us; and since it hadn’t worked as he would have liked, he was now at a loss when it came to what he should do.

I tried to put myself in his position, imagining what it would feel like if I were the one on the other side of the seat, watching two guys who had at one point wanted me, showing definite signs of interest in each other while they looked at me as an intruder. An inconvenience. A really pathetic figure who happened to have puke on his shirt, and...

Damn it. I really wished that I could figure out if I wanted to feel sorry for Aaron, or if I just wanted to hit him. When he suddenly started coughing, and then I realized it was more like gagging, I decided to forget about Aaron and concentrate on keeping Seth’s truck clean.

"Seth," I started to say, but he was already pulling over, and I managed to get the door open just in time. Aaron leaned out, throwing up on the side of the road while I kept a hand on his shoulder to make sure he didn’t fall out.

"Not much this time," I observed. "I think he’s about all puked out." Seth made a face, suggesting that he didn’t need that information, and I managed to pull Aaron back into the car; and to my surprise, he turned directly into me, his arms going around my waist as he closed his eyes and rested his head against my chest. I instantly tensed, but felt myself relax when it seemed that he was done being an obnoxious pervert. I looked at Seth, wondering if he had any objection to the way that Aaron was holding onto me now. I think it was fair to say that he didn’t like it, if the way he was glaring at the top of Aaron’s head was any indication. I pushed Aaron off of me again, only gently this time. I almost felt bad when I watched him lean towards the door as he brought his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms tightly around them, his entire figure seeming isolated.

I was definitely back to feeling sorry for him again. But, I also wanted to scream at him. I wanted to tell him he was a big stupid idiot, because I’d cared about him. Seth had cared about him. But, he’d ruined it, and now he was just--Aaron.

"People do care, you jerk," I muttered. "Not that it means anything to you."

I felt Seth’s hand on my shoulder as he started to drive again and I leaned into him as I continued to watch Aaron, who was no longer responsive as he shivered in his seat, acting as if he were cold or something. I turned down the air conditioner, deciding that I was mad as hell at him, but Seth was right. Leaving him there just wouldn’t have been right.


It was dark in front of Aaron’s house, and I was staring blankly out the passenger window. He hadn’t said a damn thing when he got out of the truck. No thank you to Seth, nothing. This probably shouldn’t have surprised me. I guess I shouldn’t have wasted my time feeling disappointed, either. But I was disappointed. Not just in the situation, but in Aaron in general. Not that this was a new thing. I guess it was just hard for me to understand how someone could spend so much time making other people miserable and not even feel sorry for it.

Just as Seth had predicted, Aaron didn’t go to his front door. Instead, he started walking around the side of the house, probably to go to his brother’s window. He didn’t make it that far, though, and just as the truck began to move, Aaron doubled over again.

I frowned, and before I could stop myself, I was opening the passenger door, and Seth was slamming on the brakes.

"Rory!" he called after me, seemingly annoyed, but I was already out of the truck and on my way to Aaron.

It seemed stupid, really, since I was the one who’d been so adamant about letting him deal with his own problems. But, I just couldn’t do it. As I remembered everything he’d told me about his parents, somehow leaving him outside of his house like this seemed even more dangerous than leaving him in the parking lot at that apartment complex would have been.

Aaron actually flinched when I placed a hand on his shoulder and tried to get him to stand straight.

"Just get the fuck out of here, Seth," he said somewhat angrily, and I stepped back, feeling a little surprised. But I pushed aside my annoyance over the fact that he assumed that Seth had come after him, and I grabbed his arm again.

"Where’s your brother’s window?" I asked, and Aaron spun around, glaring at me almost accusingly as he clumsily fell back against the side of his house. My frown only deepened when I caught sight of his red, watery eyes and I caught myself wondering how long he’d been crying. "Aaron, just let me help you get inside, okay?"

"Why?" he demanded, and I was shocked to find that he actually seemed suspicious of me. And I just stared, because I really didn’t have an answer for him. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea why. I was furious with him. So much so, that it actually hurt to look at him. I didn’t know why. I just knew that some part of me really did care.

I jumped when I felt hands close in over my shoulders from behind and I turned my head to see that Seth had caught up to me. He wasn’t looking at me, though. He was glaring at Aaron.

"Do you need help getting in?" Seth asked him shortly, and I watched Aaron swallow hard as he glared between us and then finally shook his head. "Rory, come on," Seth insisted, surprising me as he physically pulled me back until I was turning and walking more willingly with him. Seth walked me all the way to the passenger door of his truck and held it open for me, looking like he needed to see me into it before he actually went to his own side. "What are you doing?" he asked, seeming confused.

"He could get in trouble..." I started to say, and Seth looked bewildered.

"I thought that’s what you wanted... What about wanting him to pay for his own mistakes, and..."

"I’m sorry, okay?" I cut him off, somewhat shortly. "I’m not thinking."

I got into the truck, and Seth stared at me for a full minute before he finally closed the door and walked around to his side. But he wasted no time in driving us out of there once he was in his seat. We were passing the park before I finally spoke again.

"Aaron told me how his parents freaked out when they figured out Luke was gay," I explained. "It kinda got me thinking about what would happen if they caught him tonight... it was stupid. I mean, it’s not even the same thing. I guess..."

"You still care about him," Seth said, looking obnoxiously sure of himself. I regarded him as if he’d just insulted me.

"It’s not like I still have feelings for him, I just..."

"You don’t want to see him get hurt," Seth replied. "I get it."

I just nodded, finally understanding why Seth couldn’t have felt right just leaving Aaron there. I still cared. Damn it. That was a hard admission to make. Things were easier when I hated Aaron. For now, I settled for hating that I had puke on my shirt, and Seth smiled at me as I suddenly made a disgusted face and pulled it off before I moved closer to him, until I was able to reach his hand.

"He got his ride home. Don’t worry about him now, okay?" Seth insisted. "Aaron does this kind of stuff all the time... And his parents aren’t that bad, you know. I mean, if they caught him like he is now he’d be grounded for months, but..."

"They sounded like jerks when he told me about them," I replied.

"Look, Rory, I’ve heard a lot about his parents, too. I mean, I probably got the same story you got about Luke, but..."

"You don’t believe it?" I asked curiously.

"I’m sure something happened," Seth replied carefully. "I’m just not sure it happened like Aaron said. I’ve met his parents. I mean, his dad can have some pretty conservative views about things, but he really doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would throw Aaron out on the street for being gay. And his mom’s not that bad either. I don’t think the problem is them--I think it’s Aaron."

"Aaron, a problem?" I feigned shock. "No!"

Seth smiled at me. "You know how I said he likes attention?" He continued. "Well, he doesn’t exactly get a whole lot from his parents. I think that’s part of the reason why he makes a big deal out of being gay when it comes to them. He knows they wouldn’t like it, and he makes it out to be the end of the world because he knows it’ll just give them another reason to think his brothers will amount to more than he will."

I had to laugh at that. And roll my eyes. "Cody? Right."

"Hey, Cody might be a brat, but he’s a really smart brat," Seth insisted, and when I made a face he looked at me curiously. "You don’t know?"

"Don’t know what?"

"Cody’s been skipping grades since kindergarten. Last year, Aaron was pissed as hell when they finally ended up in the same one. His parents are always telling him that he should apply himself like Cody. Their favorite thing to point out is that Cody’s probably going to graduate before Aaron."

"So? Why can’t Aaron just be happy for his brother?" I responded, and Seth shrugged.

"I think part of Aaron’s problem is that he thinks he’s been dealt some really shitty cards, you know? He’s jealous of his brother, and last year he had to give up the one thing he had in common with his dad because of everything that happened with Luke."

"What do you mean?"

"Wrestling," Seth responded, as if it were obvious. "Most of the guys on the team took Luke’s side--not that they shouldn’t have. Aaron’s had a pretty bad year, though. With Cody becoming a junior, and then losing his friends..."

"He deserved to lose his friends--a normal person would have figured that out."

"Yeah, but in Aaron’s head... You know, I actually think he believes that Luke should have understood why he lied, and that if Luke cared about him, he would have gone along with it."

"But that’s just stupid!"

"Yeah," Seth agreed. "All I’m saying is that Aaron doesn’t seem to know that."

"I shook my head in disgust. Then explain to me again why we still care about him?"

Seth smiled at me.

"We’re not Aaron."

"Okay," I agreed. "So is it like... wrong to hope that one day he’ll stop sitting on that stick and turn into a decent human being?"

"No... as long as your expectations aren’t that high."


I got home ten minutes late. But it didn’t seem to be a problem as I went in to find that Eddie and Jase were asleep and the only light visible was coming from the stairs leading down towards the basement. I tried to feel somewhat happy as I went towards it. I guess you could say that at this point, I felt cheated. I felt cheated out of part of the night I was supposed to have spent with Seth, and as I got out of his truck, the feeling had hit me somewhat harshly. I’d been cheated. And why? Well apparently, Aaron was under the impression that he had it worse than anyone else, so he had a right to treat people like shit for that reason. Or maybe, he had no regard for anyone’s feelings because he wasn’t aware that anyone else had feelings. In Aaron’s world, Aaron was the only one who mattered. Selfish.

And, whether or not he knew that I was with Seth tonight, his call still seemed selfish to me. Even if he really did need help I felt cheated out of that last hour and thirty minutes with Seth. And yes, that was probably me being selfish, but at least when I was being selfish, I knew it.

It was safe to say that I was back to being mad at Aaron Keslin.

I found Luke and Dave in the basement, shirtless and wearing bow ties for some reason. I didn’t ask, and tried to look excited when they revealed that they had a tie for me, too, as Dave spent ten minutes bragging about how he’d kissed Angela Conner. On the cheek. But, he had asked her out, and she’d said yes. Luke didn’t look entirely thrilled as Dave told the story, but I guessed that was because he’d probably heard about it repeatedly before I showed up. I was happy for Dave, but I probably would have been happier for him if I wasn’t so busy missing Seth. Yes, I knew that was really pathetic, given the fact that I’d just gotten out of his truck. Like I said: cheated. I did feel better when I decided to call him, though. He was already home and getting ready for bed. He promised to call me in the morning.

I showered and then put on my bow tie, wondering why we were wearing them. There really didn’t seem to be an explanation. We watched Dave’s movie. There actually was some lesbian sex in it. I really have no further comment on that. We ate noodles, because Luke got hungry, and then I showered and went to bed. It was around three in the morning then, and I really was ready to sleep, but plans seemed to change when Luke snuck into my room and pounced on my bed. I’d seen him coming this time, though, and my stomach was spared.

"I believe you promised me details," he said, deciding that it was a good idea to reach over and flick on the lantern nearest to the bed.

"Did I?" I responded, and as he slid to lie next to me, hogging my pillow, he nodded.

"You were late."

"Yeah. Sorry about that. I was with Seth."

"Yeah, I know. Where?"

"After the club?

"Yeah," Luke decided.

"We went to eat, and then to his house, and..."

"So which one of you is going to be limping tomorrow?" Luke cut me off impatiently, looking very much like a little boy who was about to be handed a double scoop of his favorite ice cream.

I raised an eyebrow, not quite catching his meaning. "Huh?" He gave me a look in response, and my eyes momentarily widened. "Oh! Neither of us. We didn’t..."

"Oh." Luke had the nerve to look disappointed, and I laughed at him. "You know, if it’s because you don’t know how, I could..."

"Luke! I think I know how, I mean...I just don’t know if..."

"Hey, it’s cool. I mean, I’m not trying to pressure you--just live vicariously through you. I have no sex life, you know."

I rolled my eyes at him. "You know, just because we didn’t do that, doesn’t mean that we didn’t do anything."

"How was it then?"


Luke stared at me for a long moment, and then laughed out loud.

"Good? That’s all you have to say?"

"It was good," I repeated, laughing, and trying really hard not to blush. "And I like the way Seth looks naked."

"Well how does he look naked?" Luke seemed truly amused by all this.

I thought about the question, and after developing a brief mental image, I shook my head.

"I’m not going to tell you how he looks naked; but, it was good, and he did things Aaron wouldn’t, and he was just--Seth."

I found myself staring at the ceiling for a moment, finally going back to the pre-Keslin part of the night. I decided that I could have good dreams now--if Luke would get out of my room. I turned my attention back to him, only to find that he was watching me with a bemused expression on his face.

"You do realize you’re glowing, right?" Luke teased, and in response I elbowed him so hard that he rolled off the bed, still laughing. I leaned over the edge to playfully glare at him as he sat up again.

"Shut up," I retorted, a little late.

"So I guess you were late for a good reason?"

"No, that was a while ago," I admitted. "I really don’t think we lasted very long." That must have come out wrong, because Luke’s eyes widened before he cracked up again. I glared at him.

"Then why were you late?" he asked, and that brought me to explain everything that had happened since leaving Seth’s house--everything about Aaron.

"I felt sorry for him," I concluded. "I mean, he was being such an asshole, but I felt sorry for him... just a little bit."

"You know it’s a very bad idea to start feeling sorry for Aaron, right?" Luke replied. "Plus, if he was that fucked up it’s his own fault."

"Yeah, I know...and, I know."


I ran my finger’s through Chey’s short hair, hoping that she didn’t decide to get up and move anytime soon. Currently, she made a good pillow, even if she was a pillow that was panting loudly while she watched Luke, just as I was, as I lay stretched out on the grass with her. We were at the park, eleven o’clock on Sunday morning, and after getting almost no sleep the night before, I didn’t see how Luke had the energy to run around with a horde of other guys playing a game of tag football, which looked more like pushing-and-shoving football. Currently, I was looking at all of these guys as possible suspects. Or rather, each one as a guy Luke could possibly be crushing on.

I immediately eliminated Brian and Rick as possible suspects. Luke spent absolutely no time checking out Brian’s butt, and he spent way too much time when we first got there lecturing Rick over the way he treated Meg, who, Luke had decided, was a good dance partner and friend. I eliminated Dave because he was Dave and Luke seemed to pay no attention to him after he’d left the game to go look for Angela, who as far as I could tell, wasn’t there yet. I hoped she’d get there soon, though, but that was only because Seth was bringing her.

That morning, Eddie and Jase had woken us up to join them for breakfast way too early. But I was actually happy about this, because it made things seem normal between Eddie and me, something I was grateful for because the day before, the last time I’d talked to him, it had been the awkward conversation about my grandmother. During breakfast, Luke and I had had to listen to Dave tell Jase and Eddie all about his date with Angela, something he’d seemed excited about until Jase asked him when he’d be taking her out and Dave realized that they hadn’t gotten that far in their conversation before he and Luke dropped her off at home. That was when Luke had talked Dave into calling Angela to see if she wanted to meet them at the park, while Luke used another line to call Brian and Rick to see if they wanted to meet there, too. Luke asked me if I wanted to go, and I’d immediately thought of Seth and decided to decline, knowing that I’d be calling him right after breakfast; but five minutes later, Seth called me just to say I’d better be at the park with Luke because he was already on his way to get Angela, who’d called and asked him for a ride so she could meet Dave.

Which is why I was now at the park waiting for Seth, while occupying my time with thoughts of Luke and his nonexistent love life. The fact that I had no idea who this crush of his was, was annoying me now more than ever, too, especially after last night.

Other than Brian, Rick, and Dave, I didn’t really know any of the other guys, and that made it difficult to figure out if Luke had an interest in any of them. I assumed that if he liked someone, he at least would have brought their names up in conversation once or twice. I decided that as soon as Seth got there I’d ask his opinion on the matter. He seemed to know things. At least, he knew about things that I was oblivious to. Like the way he’d pointed out all of those gay couples at the club. Seth paid attention to a lot of things that I didn’t.

I rolled over in the grass, off of Chey and onto my stomach, so that I was leaning on my elbows next to her as she rolled over, hoping to get a belly rub. I was too preoccupied to give her one, though, when I felt weight directly over my back, legs between mine and Seth’s mouth on my ear as he held himself over me just enough to keep from hurting me. I shivered as his mouth moved further down my neck and he chuckled lightly, rolling off of me as I turned over to face him, placing my arm behind my head for support.

"There you are," I remarked as he looked down at me from under the silly fisherman’s hat again, holding himself up on one elbow as he gave Chey the belly rub she was still waiting for.

"Did you sleep last night?" he asked, looking me over carefully.

"Not much, but that’s okay," I replied, squirming slightly when Seth’s fingers left Chey to count my ribs before he slid hid hand up my side and under my arm before smiling and moving to rest it on my stomach. He was giving me a teasing look--an I-know-what-you-look-like-naked look--and I narrowed my eyes at him as it occurred to me that I wanted to jump him and strip him, in no particular order, and I didn’t care who was there to see it. Feeling too lazy to lift my head, I beckoned him towards me with a finger and Seth laughed at me before he curled up against my side and I closed my eyes as his mouth dropped teasingly over mine before he opened against light pressure from my tongue.

The sound of someone clearing their throat above us had us separating slowly, and shielding our eyes from the sun as we looked upwards. Luke was standing over us, his chest heaving and his hands on his hips, so sweaty that his curls stuck to his forehead. He looked at me pointedly.

"You said you’d play when he got here," Luke informed me, and I smiled, rolling my eyes, while Seth looked past Luke at the game before looking at me again.

"Wanna play?" Seth asked, and I shook my head. Luke released an exasperated sigh and Seth smiled at me as he moved to his knees. The way he started pulling off his shirt, without bothering to remove his hat got my attention and I found myself sitting up to watch as Luke laughed, cuffed the back of my head, and then returned to the game. "How about we play for an hour... and then get out of here?" Seth suggested as he playfully draped his shirt over Chey’s head.

"You wanna play football?" I asked, a little disappointed. I just wanted to go back to bed. Preferably with Seth.

He smiled, leaning forward until his eyes were locked with mine. "Yeah. And then I want to ask someone else to give Angela a ride home and get out of here with you."



I raised an eyebrow. "Air conditioned?"

Seth laughed. "Okay, but we might get sweaty, anyway."

I scratched Chey behind the ears before I smiled at Seth and pushed myself off the ground.

"Fine, we’ll play. Let me get some water first?" Seth took a moment to kiss my cheek before we separated, and then laughed out loud when I thought it would be a good time to grab his ass while maintaining the most innocent look I could muster on my face.

I tried to get Chey to go to the drinking fountain with me, but it seemed that she was even lazier than I was. She only crawled a few feet on her belly before she rolled onto her back again, so on my own I headed over to get my drink, happy that the water felt cold on my tongue.


The voice behind me came softly, but my entire body went tense as I slowly straightened and turned around almost cautiously.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" I hissed.

"I want to talk," Aaron replied, and I became exasperated right away as I looked him over. He was at least three shades paler than usual under his sunglasses, and I found myself keeping my distance, almost afraid that he was going to double over and deposit more of his stomach contents on the grass at any moment. "Look, I’m not here to bother you, okay?"

"You’re failing miserably. Shit, shouldn’t you be puking over a toilet or something right now?"

"That stopped around four this morning. Thanks for asking. Can we talk now?"

"What do you want?" I demanded.

Aaron let out a breath and looked at me directly, although I couldn’t quite meet his eyes with those sunglass on his face.

"I wanted to say goodbye to you," he said simply.


He’d lost me, but so far it sounded good.

"My family’s leaving on vacation next weekend. We won’t be back until a week before school starts. I figured you’d be gone by then. I wanted to say goodbye."

I snorted. "Right. And to say you look forward to seeing Seth when you get back? You know what? Go fuck yourself, Aaron."

"This isn’t about Seth," he responded calmly, and I regarded him suspiciously. "I wanted to say goodbye to you. That’s it, okay? If I never see you again... I couldn’t just not say goodbye."

"Sure you could have," I replied coldly. I’d heard enough. For now, I decided to be happy that I didn’t have to deal with Aaron for the rest of the summer, and walk away while it seemed like a great idea.

"Yesterday," he said, raising his voice just enough to get me to pause and turn around to face him again. "Yesterday someone called me and asked me to go to a party. Happens all the time, you know? And I went, because I’m having a really bad week, and I just wanted to feel better. So, I had a few drinks, and I smoked a few bowls... and I snorted something that really fucking made my head hurt..."

"Aaron," I said, not sure if he was getting to a point or not.

"And then I figured out that my ride was gone, and I started puking, and I couldn’t get home... And the first number I dialed happened to be Seth’s, because Seth always comes when I need him."

"Is this the part where you say you didn’t expect to see me there and I cramped your style?" I responded.

"Last night, it wasn’t about you," Aaron replied. "I needed a ride. I called, he came. I didn’t call Seth because I thought it would piss you off--and I feel like I should be telling you that because I was surprised to see you."

"I’m surprised you even remember it," I mumbled.

Aaron shrugged. "I remember you tried to help me get into my house... and I think you tore my earring out," he said, lifting his fingers to the very ear I’d assaulted the night before. I tried to keep a straight face, deciding it would be better to pretend I didn’t know what he was talking about. "But mostly I remember you trying to help me get in the house, and since you were really pissed off at me... right?"

"Right," I confirmed, nodding.

"I was wondering why."

"You asked me that last night."

"Did you answer?"

I shook my head. "Don’t really have one; you know, there’s a lot I hate about you, Aaron."

He just nodded, and I became a little confused as it dawned on me that Aaron was being... reasonable.

"Are you sick or something?" I asked.

"Hungover; not really sick, but..."

"You’re acting weird," I remarked.

"Yeah, but I’m cute, right?"

I raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"Last night," he said with a wan smile. "You said I wasn’t cute... I remember that, too. I’m always cute. Maybe when you go home, you’ll remember, you know? I mean, me. Tell your friends or something, maybe. If you ever come out to them. You should think about it--not just about me, but coming out to your friends.... You sort of look better out of the closet."

My eyes momentarily widened and I regarded Aaron curiously, not really sure what he was getting at, or even if he was getting at anything at all. He was being nice to me. That made me suspicious, but if this was a trap, I was having a hard time seeing it.

"Is this your way of apologizing?" I asked. It could explain the strange behavior.

"What for?" Aaron scoffed, and I glowered at him. He returned it with a smug smirk as he tilted his head in the way he always did when he gave me a once-over. "I’m just saying goodbye."

I think my jaw dropped when he started walking away, like that was it. Was that it? How the hell should I know, it was Aaron. I wasn’t even sure what I should be feeling. Whatever it was, it wasn’t really a sense of closure. I wondered if it was possible to even find closure with someone like Aaron Keslin.

He paused momentarily, looking back at me.

"I really did like you."

I narrowed my eyes at him, wondering if he expected those to be our parting words. I’d have to object to that.

"You don’t like anyone," I replied, and Aaron frowned at me. I just shrugged. "You don’t, not really."

"You’re wrong about that," he responded, sounding somewhat challenging.

"Yeah? So prove it one of these days," I told him, and then feeling rather good about the perplexed look on his face, I turned to go. I wasn’t expecting to feel his hand on my shoulder a moment later, and even more unexpected, it wasn’t forceful at all, just enough to get me to stop; and before I could even turn back around I was freezing in place as Aaron’s mouth made contact with my face. Just his lips, lightly fluttering over my temple. He stepped back quickly, seeming worried that I might hit him when I did look in his direction again.

He smirked at me. "Bye, Rory."

I stared at him, feeling oddly indifferent at the moment, but somehow managed a smile and wave of my own. "Good riddance, Aaron."

I didn’t look back at him as I headed towards my friends, wondering if I was ever actually going to see Aaron Keslin again. Somehow, I didn’t doubt it.


I looked over the faces playing football, frowning when I didn’t see Seth there. But I didn’t jump as two hands that weren’t mine came to rest on my stomach, and as I felt teeth grazing my ear I leaned into the body behind me momentarily before turning around, facing Seth so closely that his fishing hat shaded me, too.

"Was that Aaron kissing you?" he asked, and I tensed until he showed me enough of a smile to let me know that this wasn’t a jealous interrogation.

"Saying goodbye," I replied. "I don’t know. His family’s going on vacation, and..."

"I know," Seth cut me off, and I suspiciously narrowed my eyes at him. "He called this morning," Seth explained. "I sort of answered... I wasn’t going to, but then I figured I was still kind pissed about last night and Aaron seemed like the right person to take it out on."

"Did you?" I asked.

"Yeah," Seth admitted, looking like he wasn’t sure how he felt about that. "You know I meant everything I said last night, right? Aaron’s not the one I’m interested in."

"Yeah, I know," I admitted, feeling a little guilty about my behavior. I’d been so focused on what Aaron was doing that I hadn’t even stopped to think about how Seth felt.

"Well, I told him that," Seth said. "And then I hung up on him."

"Oh... that kinda explains a few things."

"What do you mean?" Seth asked curiously.

"He was being nice to me," I admitted. "I mean... the way Aaron’s nice."

"That’s probably because he thinks of you as a friend," Seth replied, and I gave him an appropriately funny look.

"Do I even want to try to figure out what that means?" I finally asked him.

Seth shook his head, and then smiled at me. "Probably not--so, you wanna play football?"

"We can watch?" I suggested, smiling.

"Okay," he said indifferently, and then returned my smile as he grabbed my hand and headed towards an empty table where we could find shade. Seth ended up on the table, and me on the bench below him, my back to him as I sat comfortably between his knees while he made a constructive habit of massaging my shoulders as we talked. After some persuasion on my part, Seth told me that he’d pretty much explained to Aaron that if he wanted to try to be friends, he could start by knocking off his shit when it came to me. And it felt nice, hearing Seth explain how he told Aaron we were together, and that was that. But it also got me thinking about the end of summer, and what Seth would be telling not only Aaron, but everyone else about me, then. I didn’t really want to think about it, and changed the topic to Seth’s work schedule for the next week. This seemed like a good topic for both of us because a lot of time alone was being discussed, and Seth was already suggesting that we should make up for last night. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt cheated.

Seth and I had been each other’s company for a good forty-five minutes before we ever even thought about turning our attention towards football, and the only reason we did was because I saw another blond guy helping Luke up off the ground, after that same blond guy tackled him. The flirty smile on Luke’s face immediately brought this nameless guy to the top of my suspect list.

"Who’s that?" I asked, pointing to said nameless guy.

"Um... I think his name’s Jole... something. Why?"

"Is he gay?" I asked, still watching him talk to Luke, and Seth’s fingers paused on my shoulders.

"Am I boring you or something?" Seth asked.

"What?" I replied, glancing over my shoulder at him. "No," I said quickly, lifting my hand to his. "Sorry. It’s just... Luke."


"Luke said something before, like... he likes someone, you know? I’m just trying to figure out who it is. Do you have any ideas?"

Seth laughed from behind me. "You mean other than you?"

I watched with interest as Luke dusted some stray grass from this Jole guy’s shirt, and then openly stared at Jole’s ass when Jole walked away. Yup, I decided, Jole was definitely a potential...

I suddenly lost all train of thought as Seth’s words caught up to me and I turned my head to face him again, my eyes snapping to his.

"What did you say?"