Hello again. Yes, it's taken forever for this chapter be finished, but it's here now. I have to say thankyou to Divine and Chantel, without them this never would have been finished. You too David, your incessent nagging is something I look forward to with every chapter. And too all of you who have e-mailed me asking for this chapter, I feel I must express  my deepest thanks and most heartfelt gratitude.
     If perchance you have stumbled upon this story by accident (although how that could happen I really don't know) you ought to be forwarned: This story adresses homosexuality. In fact it is primarily about gay teens. If this offends you, or is illegal where you live - or becuase of your age, then you should not be here. So warned, you are now free to choose your own course of action and the subsequent consequences.
   For anyone who is finding it difficult to keep up becuase of the enormous time lapse between chapters, I shall endevour to refresh your memory of chapter six - or at least the immediately relevant part thereof. Near the end Chris and Alexander go to sleep in the same bed, Chris' bed. This is not indicitive of any emotional or romantical feelings the two share, they are merely brothers - twins in fact. Chapter seven begins in Christopher's Point Of View (POV) as he awakens. Enjoy.
     Any and all comments, posotive or otherwise, may be sent to zippythebookworm@excite.com


Chapter Seven: Secrets Uncovered

Chris' POV

A strange sensation... Waking up next to someone whose thoughts you can hear, a very strange sensation. For a few moments I could feel both our bodies as if they were both mine. I could feel casts on my legs and a dull ache in the bones as they knit themselves back together - a long tedious process. There was a pain in my wrist where I had jammed it against the pavement. The doctor said it was nothing, a minor sprain that would heal itself in a few days at most.

I lay there in wonder, curious about this strange feeling, when I became aware of an unfamiliar gnawing sensation in the pit of my stomach. At first I thought it was just hunger, but after a few seconds I heard a very clear thought. "I need a fix. - NO, No I don't!! Phillip told me not too, I do NOT need a fix!... Phillip..." Phillip's name was followed by cascades of grief at his loss, accompanied by guilt as images of men in cheap dirty hotel rooms flashed before my minds eye, followed by images of needles and drugs. I was shocked and speechless, Alexander had not mentioned the drugs before.

As I lay there speechless, I felt a shift in my consciousness, almost as though I was becoming aware of myself for the first time. Shock and anger raced through my thoughts, and then I was gasping for breath, trying to make sense of my room. The violence with which I had been thrown back into my own consciousness left me breathless for many minutes.

When I had finally regained my strength, I looked over to Alexander and found that he had drawn his pillow up over his face to muffle the sounds of his sobbing. Gently I pulled the pillow down, revealing his tear stained cheeks. The look he gave me was so full of despair I nearly started crying myself.

Carefully I sat up against the wall at the head of the bed and pulled Alexander to me. With his back against my chest, I wrapped my arms around him and rested my chin on the top of his head. "I miss him Chris," Alexander said. "I miss him so bad it hurts. How do I make it stop Chris, how do I make the pain go away? Oh Phillip..." Covering his face in his hands, he wept. Finally he was allowing himself to truly mourn Phillip's loss, he was facing a pain that up till now he had been trying to avoid with prostitution, mind numbing drugs, and ultimately an attempted suicide.

I had never before in my life felt so inadequate, so utterly useless. My brother was crying in my arms, and all I could do was rock him gently and think to myself 'I don't know, I don't know.' Finally, knowing that I had to say at least something I spoke. "I don't think you can make it go away. But I know you can survive it, and I'll help you if I can."

"Thankyou," he whispered as he continued to cry.

Of course I had to go to school. Dianne was quite adamant about that. 'No!' she had said sternly when I protested. 'It won't do either of you any good for you to stay home and miss your classes.' 'But,' I had attempted to protest, gesturing towards Alexander. 'No.' She cut in again. 'What he needs now is a good long cry, some food if he can keep it down, and a long sleep. You know as well as I do that my shoulder is wonderful for crying on, you've used it often enough. As for the food, I'll have John bring up something light and if you think you can stomach it, Alexander, you're going to eat, if not then you don't have to. And unless I'm much mistaken, sleep shouldn't

be any problem at all.

'Now you, Chris. Go get ready for school, I'll hear no more about it. Understood? And I promise you, he will still be here when you get back.'

She was right of course. She usually is. So I got up, showered, and then got ready for school. I was moving in a bit of a daze and to tell you the truth I can't quite remember how I got to school. That same daze stayed with me all through my morning classes, even Adam couldn't bring me out of it.

Now I was sitting at a table in the cafeteria with Adam and Jamie, and they  were both talking. Well, their lips were moving and sound was coming out, so I assumed they were talking, but I couldn't quite make out what they were saying. Every now and then their conversation would pause and they would look over at me, as though they were inviting me back to reality.

About ten minutes before the beginning of last period, a thought struck me, and I returned to reality - although I don't think either of them noticed. Gareth had just walked up, and was looking for all the world like he was about to explode into a million happy pieces.

"Jamie," Gareth said, grinning like an imp, "c'mere, I want to show you something."

"Kay," Jamie responded, a similar grin splitting his face as he stood from the table and followed Gareth.

"They make a cute couple, don't they?" Adam said quietly, almost sighing, more a statement to himself than a question.

"Yes," I replied, startling Adam almost as much as his question had startled me, "they do. You almost sound jealous."

"I guess I sort of am." Adam answered.

"Of which one?" I asked in true curiosity, as my so called 'gaydar' went berserk.

"Neither in particular," he said, and the smiled crookedly. "They're neither of them my type. I guess you could just say I'm jealous of the happiness they've managed to find with each other."

I nodded in agreement, and a bit of frustration. I knew the feeling, I was a bit envious myself. I was frustrated though, Adam was sending some rather complicated signals. His comment about 'cute couple' could mean either he was gay and thought they were cute, or he was straight and just liked to see people happy. And the 'not my type' comment was even more complicated. Was he gay and they just weren't his type, in which case I had at least some chance, or was he straight and boys in general just weren't his type, in which case I had no chance at all? Two minutes back in reality and already I was beginning to realize why it was some people elected to leave it behind entirely. I was rather tempted to do so myself.

Instead, I put the thought that had pulled me from my contemplations earlier onto the 'back burner' of my consciousness to let it 'simmer' for a while. That done, I stood up with Adam, and we threw away our lunch garbage on the way out of the cafeteria.

"Speaking of Jamie and Gareth," Adam said as we walked down the hallway, "you said Gareth is Amanda's brother, right?"

"Right," I answered a bit curios.

"Well, this might sound kind of weird, but how is it that Amanda looks like a genuinely hot blond bombshell and Gareth looks like an Asian prince?" (See what I mean about mixed messages?)

"Actually I asked Jamie about that myself. He explained it to me."

"And the reason would be...?"

"Oh you mean you wanted me to actually tell you? Well that's different then." Ya I know, it was a bit juvenile, but I felt like being silly. "Gareth is adopted. His parents were from Taiwan, but he was born in America. His mom and Amanda's were best friends, they met in some student transfer program. When he was two years old Amanda's father and both of Gareth's parents were killed in a car accident. Even though she had just lost her husband and her best friend in one accident, Amanda's mom still managed to bully child services into letting her adopt Gareth, so Amanda's 'little bro' legally became her little brother."

"Oh cool," Adam said and then got a strange panicked look on his face. "Not that his parents are dead I mean, but that Amanda's mom was willing to adopt Gareth."

"I know what you mean. I think it was pretty cool of her too."

"Oh yea, and speaking of Amanda..." Adam said with a glint of mischief in his eye, "I think she's got the hots for you."

"Oh don't remind me. I've got nothing against her personally," I said in all honesty "she's just not my type." It's true, she's not. I suppose now I was the one sending mixed messages, but then again, it was my turn. After that, the conversation moved off onto other topics, and a few minutes later the bell for class to begin rang signaling us to head for the gym.

Narrative POV

As much as he loved his cousin, Jamie had to admit that Chris was being a bit of a drag today. He was pretty sure it had something to do with Alexander, but as he had been a bit distracted when Chris was trying to explain it to him in the car yesterday, he hadn't quite gotten the whole picture. Trying to concentrate on what Chris was saying, or anything else for that matter, had been like... like... well the only thing he could compare it to was what he was sure Chris would be feeling when he and Adam finally figured out that they were both in love with each other.

That was another thing Jamie couldn't quite understand. It was so obvious to him that Chris and Adam were in love with each other. Why couldn't they see it?? Although, in all fairness, he hadn't been able to see it in Gareth all that well either. Not until Gareth had kissed him anyway, after that it was kind of a no brainer.

All these thoughts played through his mind as he walked with Gareth away from the lunch table where he had been eating with Chris and Adam. "Where are we going Gareth?" he asked curiously as they moved further and further away from the school buildings.

"Did you have to go on the tour of the campus when you registered?" Gareth asked in response.

"No, I missed that part. So where are we going?"

"Patience my lovely, patience. Since you skipped the tour you probably don't know that the extended campus of 'Pishley High School'  happens to be somewhere beyond huge. And with all that extra space the landscapers were kind enough to leave a rather large part of the forest that used to covered this whole area. It's been kinda 'parked up', there's some benches and stuff scattered around and they cleared most of the brush away, but it's not really all that convenient to get to so almost no-one goes there this time of day."

"Ohh, sounds cool. So what did you have in mind?"Jamie's smile had gone from impish to angelic, as it always did when he got excited.

"Well..." Gareth said, taking Jamie's hand as they entered the sparse cover provided by the trees, "I had thought maybe we would pick up from where your cousin interrupted yesterday." Jamie tightened his grip on Gareth's hand. Finally, having reached his destination Gareth stopped, turned to face Jamie and gently pushed the smiling boy against the large gently sloping tree they had just passed.

Jamie's blue eyes glinted in anticipation and he stared into Gareth's almond brown eyes. Slowly Gareth moved towards him, one hand coming up to hold the back of his neck and the other slipping around his waist. Somehow managing that strange trick of motion that can only be natural, Jamie seemed to press himself more closely to Gareth's body while at the same time leaning back into the tree behind him. As Gareth's body pressed into his he placed one hand on Gareth's cheek and the other he used to brace himself against the tree. As Gareth moved forward Jamie's hand slipped smoothly to the back of his neck where he felt the small hairs standing on end.

And then it happened. They kissed. Firm and gentle, chaste yet passionate, long and pure. What seemed hours later Jamie remembered to breathe again, then quickly forgot as he felt Gareth's tongue whisper entreatingly over his lips. Almost without realizing it he parted his lips and welcomed Gareth's exploring tongue with his own. Gently he moaned and pushed himself harder against Gareth's lithe form. Finally, after an eternal instant, they slowly parted.

Gareth grinned as he lifted his head and gazed into Jamie's eyes. "You've been eating mints," he exclaimed as he ran his thumb along Jamie's jaw line, marveling at the smoothness of the skin beneath his fingers.

Jamie smiled impishly as he stretched languorously against the tree behind him. He loved the feel of Gareth's hands on his body. "You like?" he asked coyly, as he fished his box of Altoids out of his pocket and popped one into his mouth.

An equally coy grin played across Gareth's face as he responded. "I'm not sure yet. Let me have one of those."

"Ok." Jamie responded and opened the box again.

"No," Gareth said as he shut the box and smiled. Looking at Jamie's mouth he said, "I want that one."

Jamie grinned. "Come and get it."

As the two boys played against the tree a third person watched and smiled from his hiding place behind a bit of brush. Another queer boy to add to the list then. Quietly he pulled out his camera and focused on the two freshmen who were too far away, as well as much too involved in their game of steal the mint to notice the sound of any camera.

"Damn," Gareth swore as the bell rang, pulling the two boys back to reality and ending their game. "Oh well, at least I got the mint." He grinned.

"I've got plenty more where that came from." Jamie smiled. "Care for a rematch?"

"You're on. But right now we have to go to class... I wish we had the same class."

"Me too... but if you don't back up a bit I'm gonna be stuck to this tree forever and it won't matter if we have classes together or not because we'll both miss them."

"Yes," Gareth said wistfully, "I thought of that myself... But ditching class on the third day isn't the best way to make a good impression on a teacher is it?"

"Probably not... now let me up. And remember," Jamie added, running a hand along Gareth's jaw, "I want that rematch as soon as we get to Chris' house after school!"

Gareth smiled and caught Jamie's finger gently in his teeth, then licked the tip as he pulled his head further back. Very slowly he pushed himself away from Jamie, letting him stand up and move away from the tree. He smiled, lightly smacked Jamie on the ass, and then scampered away. "You're on," he called over his shoulder, "but you gotta catch me first." Quickly Jamie ran after him.

A few minutes later, after the two boys had exited the woods and were still chasing each other towards the school buildings, another boy stepped from the sparse trees and smiled. 'The more the merrier' he thought, and then headed for class himself.

Chris' POV

"Thompson," I looked up at the sound of coach Gillespie's voice "in my office please."

Quickly I finished pulling on my shirt, and noticed for the first time that day that it was a tight knit sweater type shirt - black as usual. I was kind of embarrassed for a moment, I didn't usually wear clothes that revealing to school.(Yes it covers everything, but it hints at everyting too.) Then again... I did look good in that shirt. Shaking my head I stuffed my PE clothes in my locker, shut the door and spun the combination.

"Thompson," the coach yelled from his office door 'I meant NOW!"

"Coming coach." I called back. Sheesh, what's this guy's problem? I slung my pack over my shoulder and walked to his office. As I got there Coach Gillespie was just sitting down behind his desk. "Yes coach?"

"Have a seat," he said gesturing to the chair in front of his desk. Putting my back pack on the floor next to the chair I complied. I looked up after I had sat down, but the coach was writing something in one of his grade books.

"You wan-"

"Why weren't you in class on Tuesday?"

"My cousin got sick and I took him home. Didn't Dianne call it in?"

"She did," he said nodding, making another mark in his grade book, "I simply wanted to hear it from you."

"Can I go then?" I asked, wondering why he would call me into his office to ask me something so simple.

"Not just yet. There are some things I need to ask you, questions I would have asked you Tuesday had you been here." I nodded my understanding and settled in the chair, trying vainly to find a comfortable position in the plastic monstrosity. It really wasn't fair, he had a swiveling, padded, comfortable chair to sit in and I had to sit on this hard, plastic thing that wished it was a chair. "First of all," he began, "why did you enroll in this class?"

"I don't think I understand the reason for the question, sir." I answered, and in truth I really didn't. Don't most people ask for specific classes because those are the ones they want?

"I watched you work out today, you're very professional about it. You didn't over stress any one muscle group and you didn't spend too much time on any one machine. Truth is I wish I had more students like you, but what I want to know is why you want to be in this class, why a weight training class when it's obvious you already know what your doing? Also, you could bulk up pretty big if you wanted to, why don't you?"

I thought for a moment before answering. "I chose this class mostly because I wasn't terribly interested in any of the other senior PE programs. I'm not a big one for team sports, and since I enjoy a good workout I figured I could make something enjoyable out of at least one period."

"And about bulking up?" he prodded, reminding me of his second question.

"I like where I'm at just fine. I'm comfortable with how 'strong' I am, and I also want to maintain my flexibility. I've been studying martial arts for a while and a whole lot of big bulging muscles would get in the way of some of the movements."

Coach Gillespie nodded his head. "I thought probably so, you move like you've studied martial arts. I have a proposition for you Chris, and I would like you to think about it until Monday before giving me your answer. You said you don't like team sports all that much, I can understand that. They aren't my favorite either. However, after watching you, and talking with you, I would like to invite you to join the wrestling team. You would still be able to use the school weight room to stay in shape if you need it, although I'd bet money you have a home gym of your own. The reason I'm offering you this is because a spot has recently opened on the varsity level team and I think you would fit in well. You have strength, that's obvious. If you study martial arts you must have discipline, and you're almost certainly lithe and flexible. With the right training you would likely make the perfect wrestler. Now don't get me wrong, it's not easy, and it does require lots of work, but I believe ou could handle it."

I had sat quietly thinking through all of coach Gillespie's speech. "I'll give it some serious thought," I said truthfully, "but no promises."

"None expected. You can go now."

"Thanks coach," I said standing, "see ya Monday." Retrieving my pack from the floor I turned around and walked out of his office as he started writing in another note book.

Adam's POV

I leaned against the passenger side of Chris' car, waiting for him. I'd heard Coach Gillespie calling him into his office and figured he might be a while. Amanda had seen me and come over. She said she'd agreed to drop Jamie and Gareth off at Chris' house, but needed directions. I gave her the paper Chris had given me the other day, then she turned and walked off calling to Gareth and Jamie.

Not quite sure if I had done something I shouldn't have, I shrugged and went back to waiting. It really wasn't all that long of a wait, but as usually happens when I'm not trying to think of anything in particular my mind wandered and I soon found myself in the middle of a full blown day dream. I was imagining that Chris was gay and that we had met for the first time in a dance club. We talked for a while at the bar where he had been getting a drink when I first saw him, then we danced for while. After a bit we left the dance floor to go back to the bar and as we walked through the crowd he held my hand. It was just as my imagination formed a picture of Chris leaning forward to kiss me that I heard his voice saying something that you can't say when you're getting ready to kiss someone.

"Hey Adam," he called as he walked towards his car, " what's up?"

"Huh, wha...?" I had become so involved in my impromptu daydream that reality was a bit of a jolt.

"Are you ok?" He asked as he unlocked his car door and then stood there looking at me.

"Uh, ya," I said shaking my head. "You startled me a bit. So you gonna unlock my door, or do I get to walk home?"

"Huh?" he said, confusion crossing is face. "Am I supposed to be giving you a ride?"

"Yeah, you picked me up this morning. My car is still at the impound, remember?" For some reason it seemed to take him a minute to digest this information. "You do remember giving me a ride to school don't you?"

Before answering he opened his door and hit the power lock button, letting me get in the passenger seat. "Actually," he said as he started the car and began backing out, "I don't remember most of this morning at all."

"Are you sure there's nothing wrong?" I asked concerned. I had noticed he seemed a bit distant this morning when he picked me up, and most of the day at school too, but not being able to remember driving to school seemed a bit extreme.

"Me? Ya I'm fine," he answered as he pulled out of the parking lot and proceeded to scare me half to death by driving like a maniac. "It's just... Alexander... something happened this morning that's been kind of hard to absorb." How can he talk while driving this fast? Doesn't it require all of his attentio... Oh dear lord, we're getting on the freeway. He can go FASTER on the freeway. Please God, I don't wanna die!

Forcing my stomach to quit complaining about the speed at which it was being whipped around I asked, "Is something wrong?" Immediately I wanted to kick myself, of course there was something wrong. Alexander had just tried to kill himself, how could there not be something wrong?

"Nothing that wasn't already. It's just that I know about it now." He grimaced as he changed lanes, pushing the gas harder and speeding us up even more. It was clear he wasn't too thrilled with the current topic of conversation, so I decided to change it.

"What did Coach Gillespie want?"

I was surprised when he answered, "He invited me to join the wrestling team."

"Really?" I asked excited.. " What did you say?"

"I told him I'd think about it, I'm not sure if I want to." All of a sudden I was in a state of extreme excitement. For some unknown reason the fates had just handed me the perfect opportunity to see Chris in tights. How could I possibly pass it up?

"Really?" I asked as calmly as I could manage. "Why not?"

"Actually I can't think of any reason in particular... It's just not something I ever thought of before." Anyone ever heard the phrase, 'Golden Oppurtunity'?

"You might as well try out. You can always change your mind if you don't like it."

"True," he replied contemplatively while pulling into the slow lane as our exit approached. As he neared the exit he slowed dramatically, causing me to lean forward in my seat. I was a bit surprised to feel Chris' arm pressing against my chest, preventing me from leaning any further.

"Sorry," he said taking his arm away once we had come to a stop at the light that was located at the end of the off ramp, "I picked that up from my friend Amy. She's always putting her hand in front of people in her car 'cause the belt in the passenger seat doesn't work too well. Guess I just sorta picked it up without realizing it." I was no where near ready to complain about something that let Chris touch me. Especially considering the fact that he had let his hand linger just a bit longer that even his explanation could cover...

Suddenly a bit warm, I cleared my throat and searched desperately for something to say. I could think of nothing, but was saved from having to a moment later when Chris pointed to a car ahead of us and said, "Hey, isn't that Amanda's car?"

Narrative POV

"Jamie," Amanda said, glancing in the rearview mirror to catch a glimpse of the blond boy making out with her little brother, "pull your tongue out of Gareth's mouth for a sec. I want to ask you something."

"Amanda!" Gareth said, exasperated at his sisters intrusion into what he had been hoping would be a serious make out session all the way to Chris' house where he would be spending the day with Jamie and his cousin - he wasn't quite thrilled with the idea of spending the afternoon with Chris while wanting to rip all of Jamie's clothes off, but it was better than nothing.

"Be quiet Gareth, you owe me for introducing you anyway. Now," she continued, turning her attention to Jamie, who was currently drinking from a water bottle he carried in his backpack, "Jamie. Is Chris gay?"

Caught off guard by the question Jamie tried to breath in while attempting to swallow the water in his mouth at the same time; which caused him to end up coughing it up all over the back of the front passenger seat. "What?" He finally managed to ask, still a bit flustered.

"I said, 'Is Chris gay?'" Amanda repeated.

"That's probably something you should ask Chris." Jamie responded in all seriousness.

"Amanda," Gareth said, sounding genuinely curios, "why do you ask?"

"Well duh, Gareth," Amanda said as though it were obvious, "I asked because I like him and I want to know if he's available."

"Ever the subtle one, eh sis?" Gareth teased, rolling his eyes.

"Be quiet Gareth, I was talking to Jamie anyway. So? Is he?"

"You can't really expect me to answer that. I mean, would you broadcast that Gareth was gay to anyone who asked?"

"Of course not," she said reasoning, "and I'm not asking you to broadcast it if Chris is. I just want to know so I'll know if I have a chance with him or not."

"Ask him," Jamie said, "and that's all I'm gonna say to you about it."

"You owe me, ya know!" Amanda insisted.

"Yeah I do, but I don't owe you that. And speaking of debts, you still owe me a rematch Gareth. Care to get a head start?"

"I think we need to practice some more." Gareth said, scooting closer to Jamie once agian.

"You just don't want to loose this time." Jamie said, although he too was leaning forward.

"Don't worry about that," Gareth said, cradling Jamie's cheek in one hand, "I won't loose." If Jamie had intended a response, it was lost with the rest of his coherent thoughts as Gareth's gentle lips once more brushed his own.

Minutes later, or perhaps it was hours - who's to say? - the two felt the car come to a stop and turn off. "We're here." Amanda said. "So let go of each other's tongues for just a moment and get out of my car. I have places to go boys, even if I do like watching two hot studs making out." At that they both of them blushed, although it was much more noticeable on Jamie's paler complexion. "Oh looook Gareth," she crooned affectionately "he get's even cuter when he blushes! Then again, so do you." Both of them blushing furiously now, they exited the car and started up the path just as Chris' car pulled into the driveway beside Amanda's.

Narrative POV

Marcus put his camera equipment down in his father's darkroom when he got home from school. He ate a snack, took a shower, and then came back to the dark room with a smile on his face that didn't touch his eyes - those who knew him also knew that his smiles never did any more. He had been a good person once, kind and caring and compassionate. Now he had allowed his heart to become hard and cold, like a lump of black ice in his chest.

Still smiling he closed the door to the darkroom and flipped on the red light bulb that would allow him to see without ruining the film. Developing the film was not a long process, nor was it terribly tedious if you enjoyed it. Usually Marcus avoided his father's old hobby, but today he secretly thanked his father for forcing him to learn this particular skill. That sniveling wimp Jeremy had overheard a conversation, who cares? Marcus had pictures, and Greg would be able to use pictures far more than he could use some half heard exchange between cousins.

Marcus had no intentions of suggesting a use for them though, lately Greg had become very excitable, and he didn't want to make Greg mad. No one who knew Greg dared to make him mad anymore, it was unhealthy. Sometimes, depending on the mood he was in, it could be quite deadly.

Finally done, Marcus took the pictures down from the wire he had hung them on to let them dry. Once again his eyes were untouched by his smile, and had the two boys in the picture been able to see it they would likely have shuddered in fear. As it was, Marcus was sure that Jamie and Gareth would be shuddering in more than just fear soon enough, he just hoped he would get to be there when it happened.

Adam's POV

Gareth and Jamie were just starting up the path from the driveway to the house when we pulled up. I'd told Chris about giving Amanda directions to his house while we were following her car - and at a sane speed too - so he wasn't surprised to see her there.

Chris had thought for a minute and then said, mostly to himself that yes, he did remember hearing something along those lines from Jamie just before he and Gareth had scampered off. I kid you not, he actually said the word 'scampered'. Is that cute or what?

We were both surprised when Amanda got out of the car along with Gareth and Jamie, and the stood next to it waiting.

"Hey Amanda," Chris said as we got out of the car, "hope you didn't have any trouble finding the place."

"Nope," she replied brightly, stepping forward, "the directions Adam gave me were perfect."

"Good.. Did the two little munchkins give you any trouble?" He asked jokingly, glancing at the two boys who looked like they had been blushing a moment before.

"Oh no," Amanda replied as if the idea were preposterous, "they were much too busy sucking on each other's tongues. I think I even heard mention of a game called steal the mint, although I can't for the life of me think what it entails." I glanced over at Jamie and Gareth again and this time they were blushing so hotly I was afraid they might burst into flames.

"Ahh," Chris responded winking at her, "in that case I'll have to keep an eye on 'em and see if I can't figure it out."

"Wonderful. In all seriousness though, I have a question for you. Jamie refused to tell me when I asked him, said it was something you wouldn't want him blabbing around to everyone." As she said this I heard Jamie gasp, and turned just in time to see his face go from bright red to pale white.

"Not here Aman-" he started, but was cut off as she continued talking over his interrupted protestation.

"Are you Gay?" She said, staring Chris in the eyes.

Quickly I whipped my head around to see if I could catch Chris' response and found him turning pale, something I hadn't thought truly possible with his already light complexion. His eyes flashed from Amanda to me, and back again as he stammered, looking for a response. "I uh.. I... Why?" He finally managed to get out. Almost inaudibly I heard Chris say under his breath, "Great save Chris, just bloody wonderful."

"Well," she said so matter-of-factly I almost forgot what it was she had just asked him, "If you're straight and available then I want to date you. If your straight and taken then I want to court you till you break up with whoever she is and then I get you. But if you're gay I'm going to move on and look for someone else - never telling your secret to another soul by the way. I figured asking you in front of Jamie and Gareth was a no brainer since they're obviously gay, and Adam doesn't seem to mind them so I doubt he'll have a problem if you are. Right Adam?"

Now all eyes were focused on me, and all I could think was 'Say yes Chris, say yes.' but of course now I had to say something so that if he was he'd know I didn't care, and if he wasn't he wouldn't think I was. Don't ask me why, but at the time I still hadn't registered the fact that if he could watch two other boys kiss in front of him it was likely he wouldn't care one way or the other if I was straight as an arrow or a dress in drag full on queen. Well... that might be going a bit far, but you get the idea.

"I couldn't care less one way or the other. I already told you that after we, well after you took out Greg. It doesn't bother me that Jamie is, it wouldn't bother me if you were." All the time I was saying this a small voice in the back of my mind was screaming at me, 'Tell him you moron, TELL HIM!' As resolutely as I could I ignored it, now wasn't the time.

For almost a full minute Chris just stood there, staring first at me, then at Amanda. As he finally opened his mouth, I could see that he still didn't know quite how to answer her. "Amanda... I a-"

Just as I was sure I was about to hear him say that yes he was gay, Dianne came barreling out the front door. "Chris, hurry, Alexander is screaming and I don't know what's wrong."

End Chapter Seven

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