Disclaimer: This story is 100% mine. It speaks to relationships between two young men, so if stuff like that offends you (I can't imagine why it would if you're reading this on nifty), then leave. The situations are based on my experiences, but know that the names have all been changed and the situations have all been modified. If you like my work, I'd like to hear from you... Even if you don't like it, but please try not to be mean. Please respect my work. Don't try to pass it off as your own. Don't post it anywhere else without my written permission...That's about all I can think that I need to write. I hope you enjoy.

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This is for you, Janee'.

Chapter 6

"Mind your business, Whiteboy!"

The weeks passed fairly quickly and before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving weekend; not the November festivities of the Americans, but a typical, Canadian, autumn holiday.

Everything was progressing. Homework was piling up. My new found camaraderie with Mike had grown beyond all my expectations, and it seemed as if the four of us had paired off within the small group of his friends: he with me, and Rick and Melissa.

My friendship with Rick was as solid as always, but he had developed something very special with Melissa. According to him, they had tons in common and she was an `all-around great girl'.

They spoke almost daily outside of school and about two weeks into the friendship he'd decided to tell her of his sexuality. He promised me that he'd make no mention of mine, and I was thankful.

Even though Mike and I had grown close, sexuality was the one topic that was avoided. I wasn't ready to share that part of my life with him - not just yet.

It wasn't that I thought he would reject me; on the contrary, I was almost certain he'd be supportive. That was just the kind of person he was: kind, compassionate, even accepting.

There was something special developing between us. Something deep, much deeper than anything I'd experienced. Sometimes during conversations our eyes would lock for a much longer time than necessary, and we'd immediately begin speaking at the same time. At times the tension would be so thick that things would almost be uncomfortable.

What's even funnier, or should I say strange, was that our first words were often exactly the same. The times when they weren't the same, we would find that we had both intended to say the same thing. I don't know how Mike felt about this, but for me, what we had was definitely turning out to be something special.

Rick and Melissa would always laugh when they witnessed this, but somehow, I often got the impression that Melissa's laugh was uneasy - not really genuine.

Nightly, Mike and I would spend hours on the phone, talking about anything and everything. I had become comfortable enough around him to tell him about the plans I often made for my future. I would share with him my desire to be a father, and the fear that it wouldn't happen for me. He never laughed at me or called me silly for thinking about children. He'd just listen.

I told him about my greatest fears, and he told me about his. There was nothing that I felt I couldn't tell him...except that I was gay.

I knew even then that my reasoning didn't make much sense, but I was happy to hide behind it. If he didn't know about my sexuality, then the growing intensity I felt and the sometimes `thick-as-cake' tension between us was all in my head. It could only be me projecting my hopes and deepest feelings onto him.

If he didn't know that I had an affinity for males, then like some of my other straight friends, he would never be interested in experimenting, and our friendship would always be strong. I had convinced myself earnestly that it was my way of preserving the relationship we had, setting up boundaries that I absolutely refused to cross.

Whatever it was, I refused to face the possibility of anything other than a strong friendship. I refused to consider the possibility that Mike could have had feelings for me. I even refused to accept that I might have had strong feelings for him. No. Mike and I were just friends.

After my break up with Riley, I had spent a lot of time in introspection. Analyzing myself was never a pleasant experience for me. Much like everyone else, I was my own worst critic, and I had come to realize some disturbing truths about myself.

Most of the guys I fell for were "straight" or unattainable in some way or other. They were always guys for whom I could develop genuine feelings, but the feelings would never or could never be reciprocated. Either they were young and materialistic, thuggish and goal-less, or handsome and brain dead. They all catered to a superficial aspect of my personality, and this did not speak well to the way I saw myself.


Although I knew what I really needed in a partner, and I was certain that I could never find it in these guys, they were the ones I wanted to be with. The sex was almost always good, but in the end there was always something lacking: a deeper connection that I desperately needed.

I rationalized that I was still young and this was the way that things should be, but I could never wholly accept that premise. I wanted love... true love. I wanted the fairy tale: a guy to grow old with, raise children with, someone to share my life.

I never realized it before, but in thinking about the entire situation, I discovered that I could never allow myself to fall completely for anyone. I had also come to realize that my feelings for Riley were not as deep as I once thought.

When Riley and I were together as a couple, sometimes the mere thought of our not being together was enough to reduce me to tears. Now, I couldn't see myself in that sort of relationship again. I felt that I had settled for just `good' when it came to Riley, when what I really wanted was someone `great'. I had given him everything he wanted, and got very little of what I wanted in return. I had played a role of sorts, acting the part he expected me to play.

Never once did I ask to top him during our sexual escapades, even though before him, I'd always been the top.

When we hung out, I'd always allowed him to call the shots...never going against anything he'd decided that we should do. If he wanted to watch a particular show on television, even if I didn't want to, we watched it.

I became the submissive one. As I'd heard it described once, I would have gladly become the `happier homemaker and wholesome ho' I thought he'd appreciate, never once considering how I was sacrificing the very core of who I was as a person. I had purposely emasculated myself for him.

With Mike, I saw something different. Outside of telling him that I was gay, I held nothing back. I felt comfortable enough with him that I often found myself telling him things I hadn't even told Rick.

Surprisingly, the depth of my comfort with Mike never frightened me. The more I opened up, the more I wanted to tell him, and he was just as forthcoming and expressive.

During our private conversations, I had noticed that he wasn't the same person he was when we hung out with his group of friends. When around his friends, it was easy for me to see that he was acting a part. With them he was the alpha male, never showing fear, always certain of his decisions.

With me, he was different. He allowed me to sense his vulnerabilities, but never in such a way that it would lead me to think less of him. When it was just the two of us, he'd insist more often than not that I take the lead. He was always mindful that whatever we did was something that we both could enjoy.

I was attracted to him, undoubtedly, and I wanted him. He had proven himself to be smart, and everything else that I wanted in someone, both physically and emotionally. Seeing him was like coming home after a long day's work; hearing him was like sitting by a waterfall; being around him was like consuming a spiritually energizing drink.

In some ways I accepted that I had fallen in love with him, but consciously, I couldn't accept that. He made me feel vulnerable, not in control. That scared the shit out of me, and I didn't like it.

That's why I refused to tell him that I was gay. Telling him was the last line of defense in protecting my heart.

If I didn't tell him that I liked guys, I didn't have to tell him that I liked him. But I absolutely refused to lie to him, and if he asked, I wouldn't hide the truth.

That's why I needed to ensure that he never had a reason to ask.

I recognized almost instantly that he wasn't the typical guy that I fell for...he was by all accounts, a good man, and somehow that attracted me even more than the thuggish demeanor and a straight boy swagger.

It was Friday, and Mike, Rick, Melissa and I had made plans to go to the movies that night. We weren't sure what we were going to watch, but we knew that we were going together and regardless of the movie, we'd wind up having fun.

I was excited, more excited than I'd ever tell anyone. I was excited about seeing Mike, plain and simple. Melissa would be there, and I'd have to suffer watching them make out occasionally, but I'd already accepted that it would be a small price to pay for being in his presence.

I'd watch them sometimes and I'd swear that I could taste his lips on mine. I'd get caught up in trying to catch his scent, and often found myself inhaling deeply, but not smelling him.

Rick caught me once and followed my stare. He looked at me sadly. He didn't say anything. He simply shook his head, sighed and went over to distract Melissa from their embrace.

He and I never spoke about what I was feeling, but every time he distracted Melissa from Mike's affections, I knew he was doing it for me. He would never truly understand how much I loved him for not making me confront my feelings for Mike through his interrogation, and how much I appreciated his efforts to ease my pain.

He was indeed my best friend.

My cell phone rang, snapping me out of my day dream. I didn't bother to look at the caller ID, surmising it was Rick calling to confirm that I was driving.

"What's up, slut?"


The voice sounded stunned, and I froze completely. It was Riley.

"Oh shit! I'm so sorry...I thought you were Riley...I mean, ...shit...Rick. I thought you were Rick."

I wasn't ready to talk with him, not just yet. I'd spent the last few weeks avoiding his calls and hiding somewhere in the house when he stopped by, even if he could see my car parked in the driveway.

He'd stopped by a couple of times when my parents were home, but I'd asked my Mom to tell him I was asleep, or that I wasn't feeling too well. She'd hated lying for me, but I'd finally decided to tell her the whole story about us, and she understood and supported my choice to put distance between us.

"How have you been? It's been a while."

My heart was beating painfully hard in my chest, and all of a sudden I wasn't sure how to breathe anymore. Even over the phone I was shocked at the effect he had on me...even now.

"Good... I've been good. How about you?"

"I'm hangin' in there...but it's been hard.  You didn't call me for my birthday."

I could hear the hurt in his voice and it gutted me. I refused to cave. I had to be strong.

"I'm sorry."

"It's like that, huh?"

"Like what?"

I knew exactly what he was talking about, but I would not falter on my decision. If playing ignorant was a way out of this situation and off the phone, then that's exactly what I was prepared to do.

He took a deep breath. "Chase, don't play me like that...please?"

The sincerity in his voice was like a dull dagger being driven through my heart. I needed to get off the phone.

"Look Riley, I'm sorry. I'm not playing games with you,....I swear... I just couldn't call, Ok. Look, I need to go now. I'm heading out. We'll talk again, ok?"

"No we won't, and you know why?"

I didn't want to ask. I could see where this was going.

"We will... I promise."


I was shocked. Speechless. I had never known Riley to curse at me, not with such aggression. 

I didn't know what to say. I just sat there with the phone to my ear. Silent. 

He took a breath and exhaled.

"I want to see you tonight."

There was no question about it. This was a demand and he expected me to concede.


My voice was firm.

"Why not?"

"Riley... I have plans."

"Break them."


"Chase, we're going to talk tonight whether you want to or not. I'll sit on your doorstep all night if I have to."

I was both frightened and annoyed, both emotions fighting for dominance. Yes, I'd finally told my mother about my sexuality and she'd accepted it graciously. I wasn't sure how my Dad would react, and to be honest, I wasn't ready to find out. My mother said he'd be fine with it, and I trusted her, but I also figured that he'd be disappointed. I didn't want to face that, not tonight.

If Riley camped out on my doorstep my dad would start asking questions...hard questions.

"Riley, please. What if my dad sees you...what're you going to tell him, huh?"

Riley didn't say anything, and for a moment, I got excited thinking that I'd won this round.

I assumed that he was still so desperate to protect his secret that he wouldn't risk disclosure. It all seemed to be a reaffirmation of the decision I'd already made. In that moment I was content in the knowledge that I had decided to put Riley behind me.

"I'll tell him we're fucking."

His response shocked me even more than his making the call. It seemed that Riley was being intentionally malicious. This was definitely a side of him that I had never been confronted with before. He was always so sweet and tender with me, but to threaten to out me to my father, especially when he himself had so much to hide? This was a new low.

"No you won't and you know it." I called his bluff.

Riley respected my dad and he knew that we both knew it. Even if it weren't for his being too much of a coward to reveal his own sexuality, he would never do anything to hurt my father. I was thankful for this.

He sighed.

"No, I won't."

His voice was quiet, almost resigned. I felt a tinge of pain spark in the recesses of my heart and I ignored it. I would not crumble.

"I have to go, Riley. Take care, ok?"

"Please, Chase...just ten minutes...please?"

His voice was soft and tender. It brought to mind so many of our tender moments: him laying on his back and me lying on his chest, him softly stroking my hair and telling me his dreams.

"After Thanksgiving...I promise. Just give me that...K?"

"Who you going out with tonight?"

This question took me off guard. It was like it came out of nowhere. I decided to just answer him so that I could put all of this behind me and enjoy the night with my friends.

"Rick and some friends."

"Friends like who?"

"Just friends."

"Anyone I know?"

"Come on, Riley...how many of my friends do you know?"

He chuckled, and I was almost happy that he seemed to be in better spirits.

"True...Anyway, I guess I'll let you go."

I was surprised that he didn't push the issue about seeing me, but I was not going to question what I assumed to be my good fortune.

"Ok, take care."

"Hey wait!"

I was just about to hang up the phone.


"I love you, Ok...I love you so much, Chase...I just want you to know that."

I swallowed hard. I felt a lump rising in my throat and at that moment, my resolve crumbled. I felt tears searing down my cheeks. I struggled to contain a sob. I couldn't let him know that he'd won. At least not yet.

Thankfully, he saved me. He hung up immediately, not waiting for my reply. I was relieved. I struggled to compose myself. I needed to reorganize my thoughts after that conversation, restore some sort of calm to my now befuddled psyche.

I looked on the nightstand, and was shocked to discover that we'd been talking for almost fifteen minutes. I needed to get ready, not to mention call the others.

I sat on the bed. I needed a moment and I was going to take it. Getting ready could wait just a few minutes longer. I needed to reaffirm my decision to cut Riley loose. My reasons were sound...I was protecting myself from long term hurt...I was doing the right thing. Right?


"So what are we gonna watch"

That was Melissa.

I tilted my head to the right to look at her. My eyes narrowed. She was leaning backwards into Mike, and his arms were protectively slung over both her shoulders, his chin resting on the top of her head.

He looked amazing! They both did. As much as it pained me to admit, they really looked good together. Both were blond with beautifully complexioned skin. She was the perfect height to compliment his tall frame, and his build was a superb offset to her thin, elegant frame.

She was wearing a plain, red, spaghetti-strapped top that stopped just below her rib cage, exposing a flat and lightly muscled stomach, and dark blue jeans that hung low on her waist accentuating a very sharp pelvic bone- very statuesque.

He was wearing the same colors, and I briefly wondered if they had purposely coordinated their outfits. Under his red, snug fitting V-neck shirt however, he wore a very pale blue undershirt that amazingly highlighted his eyes.

Standing there looking at them, I couldn't help but think that they belonged on the cover of a magazine. That thought stung.

"How about this one?" Rick offered pointing to a poster that advertised the newest action movie.

For a moment, I had forgotten he was standing on the side of me; I was grateful however for the interruption. I was just about to drive myself crazy over an obsession that I was not brave enough to admit to myself.

I was indifferent as to what we watched.

To be honest, I didn't want her here. I hated hanging out with Mike when Melissa was around, and I'm sure she knew it. The air was always tense when she and I tried communicating, and it was obvious to anyone paying attention.

Both Rick and Mike had called me on it, but with Mike, I had passed it off as her being too talkative for my tastes. Thankfully, he'd accepted that without question.

Rick, on the other hand was not that accepting. On more than one occasion he had pointed out that I should do better to keep my feelings more disguised. The first time, I had pretended not to know what he was talking about, but Rick being who he is was quick to call me on it.

"He's hers, Chase...you know that. Why go for someone who's already taken...and obviously very straight?"

He had said the last part under his breath, and I found myself immediately going on the defensive.

"I'm not after him, Rick. We're just friends."

It all sounded hollow and unconvincing, even to me.

"Is that why you continue to glare at Melissa whenever she's around Mike?"

He didn't wait for me to respond.

"She's noticed, you know...She's asked me about it before."

My eyes opened wide at what he'd said. I had always thought that I was being very subtle in my dislike of her, but from what Rick was saying, I failed miserably.

"For real?"

As eloquent as always, I couldn't think of anything else to say. What could I say? I'd been caught.

I sighed. "I don't dislike her, Rick, I swear."

"You just really like HIM , right?"


Like I said, I was indifferent as to what we watched, and that indifference carried over to my response.

Mike and Melissa walked over to look at the poster he was pointing at, having to dodge through the crowd of movie goers already assembled outside the Cineplex.

I hated this theatre complex. Being in downtown Toronto, it was always packed to capacity. The lines were always long, the only consoling fact being that they moved quickly.

"Yeah! That looks cool. I dig it!"  Mike said with far too much enthusiasm. I couldn't help but smile.

Melissa, leaning back into Mike's uninterrupted embrace was still looking at the poster and had yet to respond.

"Hmmm... it looks alright, but I'd prefer a chick-flick."

Both Rick and I turned our heads to look at her simultaneously, and Mike's eyes noticeably widened.

"Ummm...I'm not really in a chick-flick mood, Baby." Mike tried.

"Yeah, but I am..." she pouted.

God, she annoyed me! I sucked my teeth much louder than I had intended, and her head snapped to the side in my direction. Her eyes locked on mine. Her lips turned up into a beautiful smirk.

"What do you think, Chase?...I'm sure you wouldn't mind."

She had stressed the "you" in such a way that it was obvious she was implying something. I hoped Mike didn't notice. I chose to ignore her.

Rick looked at me imploringly, silently pleading with me not to respond. Mike just stood there, seemingly oblivious to the battle raging between his girlfriend and me.

"Actually, I'd prefer the movie Rick suggested." I shrugged in what I hoped was a nonchalant way.

"Mikeeeeee" she whined.

I felt my jaw tightening.

"Babe, democracy wins." He shrugged, removing his hands from her shoulders and pulling her towards to line up for tickets.

I knew it was petty of me, but I couldn't help the smirk that adorned my face. Somehow, she brought out the worst in me. She made me feel things I've never felt towards anyone else, a sense of loathing that I never figured I could possess, much less direct towards anyone.

Rick gave me a pointed look, sighed and followed them. I lost my smirk, realizing exactly how immature I was acting.



By the middle of the film I was bored out of my mind.

Melissa was right, I would have preferred a chick flick, but I would have never agreed with her. I sighed for what had to be the fourth time. Thankfully, the movie was loud enough that no one heard or noticed. I got up, making my way towards the aisle. Mike, Melissa, and Rick looked up at me.

"Bathroom," I mouthed simply. All three returned their attention to the movie.

As I walked by Melissa, I felt her leg rise in what appeared to be an attempt to trip me. I stumbled slightly, and turned to glare at her.

"Sorry," she mouthed, not appearing in the least bit sorry.

The bitch!

As I walked out of the auditorium, I looked around, again amazed at the number of people gathered in this Cineplex. Shaking myself out of it, I continued on to the bathroom.

Instead of the men's washroom down the hall, I opted for the family room. It was a single room with a toilet, mirror over a double-wide sink, and a changing table. As I pushed the door open I felt myself being shoved forward, and before I had time to respond, I heard the door click behind me.

I was quick to turn around, and almost immediately I felt my insides sink.

It was Riley.

"What are you doing here?" I couldn't help the fiery, confrontational tone of my voice.

I was irritated. I felt as if I were being stalked, and I didn't like the feeling.

"Watching a movie, obviously."

"Which movie?" I tried to sound casual.

"The same one you're watching," he said, speaking to me in a measured tone that bespoke more than he was saying out loud.

"Wait...how do you know which movie I'm watching?"

I couldn't control the accusatory tone of my voice. I really didn't want to.

Riley sighed and suddenly seemed to deflate.

"Chase, look, I'm not here to fight, ok? I just wanted to see you, so when I saw you walking out the theatre, I followed you."

Another thought struck me, and before I could control my mouth, the thought was spilling forth.

"So, it's just a coincidence then that we're watching the same movie?"

"Ummm..." he suddenly looked uncomfortable. "Well...not really. See, after we spoke, I sort of called Rick and asked him where you guys were going...he told me, so I came here, hoping you and I could talk."

He said the last part so matter-of-factly, and with an air of nonchalance, as if it were an every day occurrence to stalk someone.

My heart rate sped up.

Something about this situation just didn't seem right, and suddenly, it hit me. I realized that we were locked in a small room...together...with him standing in front of the door. I suddenly felt claustrophobic.

I moved forward and made my way towards the door. Riley, surprisingly, just stepped aside. I stopped once my hand was on the door handle.

"Ok, we'll talk afterwards."

I opened the door and began walking down the hall, back towards the theatre. Riley fell into step beside me.

"How about we ditch the movie and talk now...please."

I couldn't help feeling annoyed.

"I can't... I'm driving." Irritation was evidenced in my voice. He was not to be deterred.

"Let Rick drive your car."

"I can't go with you, Riley. I'm with friends."

"You mean the blond guy and girl? I'm sure they won't mind."

How did he know about Mike and Melissa? Was he watching us? This situation was starting to unnerve me. He wasn't being honest with me, and the only thought that ran through my mind at that moment was that I needed to get away from it.

Don't get me wrong; it wasn't as if I feared his hurting me. There was no fear at all, just an intense feeling of caution.

At that moment I decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to go with him, not now nor after the show. If I did, I could see that giving him the wrong impression, and that was the last thing I needed right now.

What I did need to do was get the message across to him that we were through.

I stopped and eyed him.

"No," I said with force, my voice cold and firm. "We'll talk another time. Right now, I'm hanging with my friends."

His face coloured with so much emotion, I had trouble getting a lock on which one he was about to unleash on me. I saw flashes of anger, hurt, betrayal, hope, and determination.


The intensity of his voice grew with each word. His eyes were fiery, and his tone harsh.

People standing around talking suddenly turned to look our way. I felt a sudden wave of embarrassment and knew instantly that this situation was going to become explosive if not diffused.

I needed to get away from Riley before we attracted even more attention than we were already.

One thing about Riley that had always stood out when we were dating was that whenever he became angry, he couldn't care less what he said or how he acted, no matter the circumstance. He'd say what he wanted to say, consequences be damned.

I was always careful never to argue with him around anyone else. I also knew that when he got in an argumentative mood, the only thing you could/should do was allow him to make his point. If he felt that you were dismissing him, he would get even angrier, so I always tried to monitor the way I looked at him, being careful to appear attentive and never dismissive.

"After Thanksgiving... I promise." I replied nervously, praying my answer would pacify him.

It didn't.

I looked around, again conscious of all the stares we were getting.

"I don't wanna hear that shit. I need to talk now!" He elongated the last word in a way that stressed he meant it- now.

"I can't."

"Bullshit! You don't want to."

Sighing, I began, "Riley..."

I was cut off by a voice behind me. A voice by now so familiar that its very sound sent a wave of chills down my spine.

"Chase, are you alright?"

I turned. It was Mike in all of his glory, his voice firm but his eyes questioning. Thankfully, he was alone.

I was just about to respond to him, when Riley cut me off. His jaw was tight, teeth clenched. His words came slowly and with force.

"He's cool, whiteboy."

I closed my eyes in embarrassment, biting my bottom lip. Mike was unmoved by Riley's comment.


I looked at him, concerned clearly etched on his face. It moved me, and I was finding it hard to control the new found admiration I had for him. I couldn't control the flutter of butterflies now in my stomach.

I gave him what I hoped was a reassuring smile.

"I'm alright, Mike."

He looked at me, and then his gaze shifted to Riley standing possessively close to me in a way that I found unnerving.

Oddly, at that moment my mind decided to recall that I still wasn't out to Mike, and maybe Riley standing so close to me was not a good idea. I tried to edge away from Riley.

Riley noticed me moving and roughly gripped my arm, gently pulling me even closer to him.

My jaw tightened. I can't ever recall a time being more embarrassed.

Mike's gaze came back to rest on me.

"You sure..."

Before I could respond, again Riley cut me off. I found myself cringing at his words.

"Hey, Whiteboy, what part of he's fuckin' alright didn't you get?...You `stoopid' or something."

Mike's gaze never left mine.

"Yeah...or something..." After a moment, "Chase?"

His gaze was penetrating, and again I had the sensation that his eyes were tractor beams, drawing me closer to him. Riley all but disappeared to me, and so had everyone else.

Mike was all who existed.

The tightness of Riley's grip on my arm rapidly brought me back to reality. I blinked in rapid succession, almost ashamed at where my mind had just taken me.

"Wait a fuckin' minute! You fuckin' him?"

"Riley, stop! NOW!"

My voice was icy. I had had enough of Riley's crudeness. He was doing everything in his power to embarrass me, and I was tired of playing the role of the helpless damsel.

Fuck it!

This had gone on long enough. I would go with Riley, but only because I felt anywhere would be better than a public theatre in front of a crowd of people.

He wanted to talk? We'd talk, but this would be the last time.

I may have eventually told Mike the story of Riley and me, but I wasn't ready yet. I was hoping for much, much later, when I could be sure that I was no longer infatuated with him.

Riley had intentionally fucked that up.

I looked at him and his eyes were pointed. He wore a cruel smirk that I desperately wanted to slap off his face, but I got his message loud and clear.

I turned to look at Mike. His eyes were wide and questioning. I sighed, shaking my head slowly.

"Um, Mike, could you do me a favour please?"

I didn't wait for him to respond.

"Could you tell Rick I had to leave, and to drive you guys home...I'm sorry."

I was resigned to the fact that I was now out to Mike, not by my choice, but by a very malicious former boyfriend. I was overwhelmed by an intense surge of disbelief at what he had done.

Mike just looked at me. He tilted his head slightly, narrowed his eyes...he just stared for what seemed like forever. I couldn't bring myself to look him in the eyes. I was afraid of what I'd see. Thankfully, Riley had decided to keep quiet.

Finally, Mike spoke, his tone measured. His voice portrayed intense confidence, but I was uncertain of what. It was evident that he was not in the least bit perturbed by the situation.

"Are you sure?"

Again, he stressed the word "sure". Before I could utter a word, Riley's snap response sent us reeling.


I was sure everyone standing in the lobby heard him. I could see two security guards making their way towards us.

"You're my fucking problem, buddy." Mike replied normally. His eyes however were now tiny slits, and I noticed his irises had become a stormy blue.

His stance had somehow widened in the time it took me to look in the direction of the security guards. His fists were balled.

He was ready for a fight.

My anxiety intensified, and all I could think of doing was to continue trying to diffuse the situation.

"I'm alright, Mike. Seriously. I'll explain it all later, I promise."

I rushed it all out in one breath, simultaneously handing him my keys. I looked and saw the security guards about two feet away, not saying anything their presence didn't already dictate.

Mike slowly reached out his hand and took my keys, his fingers gently grazing mine, lingering a few seconds loner than necessary.

I turned to walk away, but felt his hand my shoulder.

I turned around. I noticed that the color of his eyes had lightened a little, but were still uncharacteristically stormy. Thankfully, they held no judgment.

He held up his cell phone, and I looked at him curiously.

"If you need me, call me ... anytime ... no matter what. Let me know when you're home, Ok?"

I nodded my head once and slowly turned to walk away.

"And Chase..." I stopped again, turning to look at him. I tilted my head slightly.

Riley completely turned around and was now shooting daggers at Mike.

Mike just ignored him.

"If you're not home by..." he looked at his watch, "...ten o'clock, I'm calling the police. I mean it."

At the mention of the word police, he looked at Riley.

Riley looked like he was about to explode. His face contorted in an almost maniacal expression, and he was biting his bottom lip...hard. Thankfully, he just glared at Mike, knowing he couldn't start anything because of the security officers.

A small crowd had begun to gather, but as Riley and I began walking away they began to disperse. The drama was over.

"Ok, I promise," I threw over my shoulder.

I continued following Riley towards the exit. My head bowed low, but my eyes narrowed with fury.

Riley just opened up a can of worms I'm sure he wouldn't like.

Fuck him!

Tonight, I'd do everything in my power to make sure he understood we were DONE!


So that's it for this chapter. I can't tell you what a relief it was to finally get through this. I'm so excited for the next chapter. I've already written most of it, and I can't tell you how good it is. Well, of course I'll think it's good, it's my work! But seriously, it was probably the hardest chapter that I've written to date. And...it has sex for all you sex fiends out there. I'm sorry that its not sex of the gratuitous kind, but hey, it helps with the story line. I'd like to recognize the guys who edit this story and help me make it at least readable. Without them, I can't say the story would be as good as I think it is. So, Stuart, thank you. Gardner, of the semicolon patrol squad, thanks so much. Baruch...you're help and kind words are greatly appreciated. Thanks a million, guys.