This is gay-oriented fiction. I don't like writing `bout sex, so you won't find it here. I might suggest some of it, but no hardcore. This story is not about my life, although certain people portrayed in the story may be real. There is no sex... blah, blah, blah. You know the rest. If you've come this far, I can't stop you anymore.

Kayden II

by Ryan Keith

Chapter 6 - Rising Storm


"What pisses me off most is what you did, Kade.... Why did you do it? Nikki isn't anything like Alicia. You've never even had one conversation with Nikki! I mean, what made you...God, Kayden, do you know what you've done?"

He didn't reply. He just stared at me like an empty shell.

"Did you know Kurt won't return any of Nikki's calls? She cried for hours not knowing what happened, and... Kayden, what the fuck, man?"

"I just wanted to protect you..." he whispered.

"Who are you protecting me from, Kayden? I can take care of myself. I don't need you watching out for me all the time. You're like my grandma; it's like you don't think I can manage my own life, that I'll go fuck it up." I had to look away. I couldn't bear looking into his eyes. The sad grey seemed to be searching for something. "It's like you think everyone is trying to deceive me. I was deceived, but it was by you. I never knew you could be so...manipulative."

He didn't respond.

"Is that what you did? Manipulate me, too? I'm supposed to be your boyfriend. You don't go doing things behind my back... Especially to one of my friends. Say something, dammit!"

"I'm sorry"

I couldn't take it anymore.

"Yeah, well, that doesn't really fix things, does it? I'm going home. Don't call me, okay? I'm seriously pissed. When I get over this, we'll talk. Just give me some time, so I won't say things I can't take back."

Watching him look so defeated made me hurt inside, but my anger was stronger than my sympathy at that moment.

"I never knew you were capable of something like this. I thought I knew you, but I guess I was wrong."

I turned around and walked away. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. Every tear that fell from my face came from a mixture of anger and sadness, woven together. I had had a fight with Kayden.


Shit! Shit! Shit!!! I was completely wrong. I read everything wrong. Zac must hate me... How could I have been so stupid?

It wasn't until I was out of breath that I realized I was running. But where was I running to?

It was late, but I had to go somewhere. I had to talk to Rick. He always has the answers. Just being near Rick helps me think things through more clearly. Maybe I could think of a way to fix this mess up.

Within two hours I found myself outside the Rexington Cemetery. It was nearing nine o'clock. I knew the cemetery was closed, but it didn't stop me from scaling the fence. In no time I was over it. I had never gone to the cemetery at night. In the darkness the lights from the streets were my only guide.

I thought I remembered the route to Rick's gravestone. When I finally reached it, I felt a little better.

"Hey, Rick... I didn't bring flowers this's kind of late." I bent down and examined the stone. "I had a fight with Zac. He's really pissed at me. I screwed up big time. I'll need your help on this one... Remember when y-"

I stopped mid sentence. Feeling a bit apprehensive, I looked at the stone again and read the engraving.

"Michelle Smith? What the hell?"

Good job, dumbass.

I started to walk along the path.

It has to be around here somewhere.

Searching for Rick's stone was like trying to find someone is a stadium. The December weather was oddly warm for a Canadian winter. It was like five degrees out. Finally, I noticed I was in a familiar area.

Yes! Rick's stone should be along here somewhere... Where is it? Rick, where are you, man? I need your he-

A gust of wind suddenly picked up around me as I came to a stop. I stood in front of the grave not knowing what to do. Moments passed as I silently, slowly read the inscription over the grave. Swallowing, I bent down and brushed the cold stone.

"Hey, man..."

A pang of guilt struck my heart.

I should have noticed sooner. No wonder the area looks familiar.

"Sorry I haven't visited for a while... How've you been, Sean?"

The stone didn't reply.

Of course he won't talk... What did you expect?

"You must be pretty angry with me. Now that I think about it, I didn't visit you the last time I came down here... Sorry." Smiling sadly over the stone, I cleared my throat. "I wonder how it is up there for you. I guess you wanna know what's been happening in my life."

I sat by the stone and leaned against it.

"I met someone... His name is Zac."

I spent a good hour going through the details of my life until recently. The memories of Sean slowly resurfaced in my mind. Usually it was he who talked non-stop. He used to just talk and talk. I'd never get sick of it. Back then, when I heard him speak I felt a sense of peace.

"But, I screwed up, man. I screwed up everything. Zac must hate me. I can't blame him, really. I wanted to see Zac and went to his house a few days ago. He wasn't home. He had gone shopping with a friend from work, his dad told me. At first I thought it was this girl Nikki that Zac works with. Just recently I found out it wasn't. He went shopping with Jeff, another co-worker. Turns out Jeff is also gay and wanted some help picking out a gift for his boyfriend."

Sean was the first guy I knew who was gay. He loved me, but I couldn't return his feelings. Sean was a great friend. "Seems like everyone's turning gay, don't it, Sean?"

Turning towards Sean's stone, I felt my lips form into a tight smile. "You didn't think you were the only one, did you?"

Looking towards the ground, I continued. "All this week I seemed to be bumping into Nikki. I was so sure something was up. It really started when I went to Tim Hortons to see Zac, a couple of days after the party."

~~~One week earlier~~~

"So, Zac went home already?"

The old lady at the counter smiled and nodded her head. "I'm afraid so, dear. He wasn't feeling well, so Sally let him go home early."

Zac did seem exhausted when I talked with him. It was Sunday, two days after his great party. I recalled that party night pretty well. I knew I had drunk a bit more than I should have. I had even gotten into a fight with one of Neil's old friends. I recalled him saying something to me, but I couldn't remember what it was. Who would have thought I'd run into someone who knew me? I guess not everyone left the 'business'. I do remember the idiot was stupid enough to ask me if I wanted to help him sell his shit.

"Thanks, anyways. How much do I owe you?" I asked the kind lady.

As I sat down with my tea, I decided to rest a bit before heading to Zac's house. It sucks not having any sort of transportation but the bus.

"Tim, will you back off? I'm so fucking sick of you! You treat me like shit; you're mean to everyone. You have no respect for anyone! Who the hell do you think you are? Get over yourself!" a familiar voice said.

I turned around and saw Nikki, Zac's co-worker. She was chewing out the guy who had told me to tell Zac to stay away from `his girl'.

A guy beside Nikki grabbed my attention. He was much older than twenty, or looked like it. He had an intimidating demeanor about him.

"Listen, shitface. Stay away from Nikki, alright?" the guy said.

They were low with their voices to make sure not to attract attention, but I could hear them pretty well.

"As long as I'm around, no way in hell are you dating her, got it?" he told the other guy flatly.

"Let's get out of here, Nik," the man said, putting an arm around Nikki.

As they left, I couldn't help but sense their relationship must have been more than friendly. Nikki had a boyfriend.

The guy Nikki seemed to have rejected looked like he was lost. Getting up and walking over to him, I couldn't help myself.

"Looks like `your girl' is playing around. First it was Zac, now that guy. I don't think she understands she's your girl. Or maybe it's you who doesn't understand," I taunted him.

He turned his red face to me with disgust. "Fuck off!"

As he stomped away I headed for the exit. I knew what I had done was cruel, but I couldn't help myself. The guy was so full of himself. The sooner he loses the arrogance, the sooner he'll realize how crappy he treats people. When he finally realizes that, he'll be a better person. I guess he really isn't at fault. A guy wouldn't be that desperate unless a girl was leading him on. Nikki is bad news.


"A few days later I saw Nikki again... I never knew this but she lives near me. She's actually on the next crescent over. As I was coming home from school I saw her. I also saw another guy. It looked like she was dragging him into her house. I got a sick feeling she was one of those girls who...sleeps around with everyone. I thought maybe she was another Alicia. But now I know I was just being paranoid."

Turning to Sean's stone, I felt a gust of wind hit me.

"It was only yesterday that things really went down..."


Hearing that Zac had gone to the mall with Nikki, I remembered Christmas is coming up. Zac never mentioned it, but maybe he wanted to surprise me. I wanted to get him the best present. He must have gotten me something when he went with Nikki. I tried asking him about it, but he denied ever going to the mall with Nikki. I guess he wanted to deny the fact he was looking for a gift. It was cute.

I browsed through some stores looking for something he might like. I had saved enough money to buy him something really nice. Rick was more than generous with the sum of money I get for things I need every week. Once in a while his lawyer calls me to make sure I'm spending it wisely.

I went from store to store looking through CDs, clothes, and even games. I've dated Zac for a few months now, and I didn't even know what he might want.

Maybe he would like a Speedo. He always teases me by saying he wants to buy a new one. Maybe I can find one I'd like to see him in.

I felt a tingle in my loins as that thought descended onto me. He'd want to wear the Speedo I bought him, and I could choose any one I wanted. I was quite glad everyone was busy with school. I couldn't imagine asking one of them to choose with me. I did ask Scott and Shin what Zac would like. They told me different things. Scott said a skateboard, and Shin said a huge mixing table for parties. Something told me that's what they want for Christmas, and I don't have thousands to blow on a new mixing table. I asked Jett, but even he seemed stumped on what I could get. As weird as we have been around each other, when I asked it, it seemed like what happened on Halloween night had never happened. It was like he was ignoring it completely. I know he watches me closely; I can always feel his eyes following me. I can't blame him; I've given him reason to be suspicious of me.

As I walked by the food court I saw someone I recognized. Well, two people. It was Nikki and one of the swimmers on Zac's team, the super jock from Zac's party. It looked like they were on a date. Nikki took a fry from her tray and tried to feed it to the guy. He looked pretty cocky and just took another fry and ate it. It was funny, actually.

Serves her right. She plays with so many guys, they're all going to find out one day. She better not be trying to play Zac, too. I really can't deal with another rival. Alicia had been enough.

Realizing I had stood in the same spot for too long, I made my way to the washroom. As I stared into the mirror, I was slowly getting angry.

Damn her. I feel sorry for all those guys she's seeing. They might actually really like her. How can she do that? Does she just think this is a game? How do I know she's not trying to befriend Zac only so she can get into his pants? She'll be disappointed to know she has no chance. But why should Zac have to deal with it? I need to do something...

The opening of the washroom door had me turning the taps immediately. It'd be weird for someone to walk in and find some teen staring seriously at his own reflection.

The guy that entered was the last person I expected. It was Nikki's date. He walked to the urinal to relieve himself. He was one of those guys who are too expressive about their urination. He went from a low grunt to a sigh. Being in my situation, it was sort of hot, but that was at the back of my mind.

As he headed for the sinks, he looked at my reflection in the mirror. For a moment we just ran our hands under the water. My mouth shot off before I could think.

"I wouldn't get too close to that girl. She's been around. I'd watch out, man..."

Halting his hands under the running water, he looked up at me as he turned off the taps.

"Who the hell are you?"

"You don't know me, but I'm friends with another guy Nikki is trying to play. I've seen her being picked up by guys at work, taking guys into her really want to be with a girl like that?" I asked him.

After staring at me for a split second he turned to face me as I shut off the taps. "You sound like a fucking stalker to me. How the hell do I know you're not just trying to ruin any chance I have with her? You seem to know a lot about Nikki."

I mentally smacked myself. Good job, Kade. You managed to sound like a stalker.

I guess it did sound like I knew quite a bit about her, but I really didn't. Most of my `facts' were based on assumptions.

Sensing I had to do something drastic, I took a chance. "It's hard to stalk a girl when you're gay. Plus, I already have someone. One of the guys she's trying to fool around with happens to be my boyfriend. That's why I know all this."

Looking at me weirdly, he turned his head slightly. "Did you just come out to me? You're gay? Man, aren't you worried I'll want to kick your ass or something?"

Laughing slightly, I shook my head with confidence. "I mean this in no disrespect, but I'm more than enough to take you out. I have no worries there. Plus, I doubt you'd want to kick the ass of someone who's trying to help you."

"I guess so. Wait, I've seen you somewhere before..." he said, rubbing his lips with his fingers.

"Yeah, Zac's party. I was there; he's a friend of mine," I told him.

I need to be careful. I don't want to out Zac, too. If he knows Zac is just a friend, he'll assume my boyfriend is someone else.

"You were at Zac's party? No shit? I didn't see you there, but I think I've seen you som- " He paused for an instant. "You're the guy who's always at the swim meets!"

"Yeah? So?"

His eyes opened with horror. "Holy shit, Zac's gay!"

What the fuck? How could he assume that?

"What the hell are you talking about? How can he be gay? He's straight; all his friends know that. He even has..."

"No need to cover for him, dude." The boy smiled curiously. "It all makes sense. Nikki told me she works with Zac. That's why you know guys pick up Nikki at work... You're always at Zac's swim meets like you're his girlfriend or something. The guys and I have noticed you up there, but we never knew you were waiting for Zac." He seemed more excited by his revelation than what Zac being gay actually meant. "Shit, this is whack. Zac never said anything when we pointed you out to him. No one seems to know who you are. He's just trying to cover it up, isn't he?"

"Dude, you have it all wrong," I said slowly.

Dammit. Who was the one who said jocks have no brains...

"Whatever, man. Don't worry about Nikki. I wasn't really serious about her. Now that I know she's been around, I'm glad I didn't do anything with her. But Zac, gay? Shit...when the guys hear this..."
"Now listen here, punk!" I said, slamming him against the wall with my arm. I was holding him by the front of his shirt. I could've easily crushed him, and I'd have done it, too. "Zac isn't gay. This isn't about him."

I released him and he adjusted his shirt. "Whatever, man."

He walked out before I could stop him. I didn't even try to stop him. I was still a bit shaken up. I'd completely ruined everything... Everyone's going to find out about Zac...

I had completely fucked up.

The bus ride home seemed a lot slower than ever before. It gave me time to think of what to do. I had ended up not buying a gift; I was too much of a mess at the moment. If that guy decides to tell Zac's swim team that Zac's gay, shit will hit the fan. I didn't want to think of what might happen to him if some of his swimmer friends turned out to be homophobes.

Real smart, Kade! In what way are you protecting him? You practically threw him into the lions' den.

Before I knew it, I was home. Everything was a struggle. I had trouble opening my door because my hands wouldn't stop shaking, and then I had to redial Zac's number several times because I kept messing up.

How do I tell Zac what happened? How the hell did this happen? It was supposed to be a clean break, but now this guy knows about Zac and me.

"Hello?" the tense voice answered.

"Hey, Zac?"

"Kade? Hey, man, I can't talk now. Nikki's on the other line. She's in a mess right now. The guy she really likes called her a slut and broke off with her at the mall today. I'm really pissed at him right now. What an asshole. Fuck, I'm pissed. Sorry, I shouldn't take it out on you,"

"'s okay. I understand."

"I'll call you later, okay? If not, then I'll see you tomorrow. You're coming over after school, right? It's Friday and I don't work."

"Yeah, I'll be there. Bye."

I hung up the phone and my face fell into my hands.

I've fucked up. Nikki got what she deserved, but when Zac finds out...


"Zac didn't call, and I didn't sleep much last night. Each time I tried to picture how Zac would take the news, it always ended with him shocked speechless or fearing for his life."

I pulled my arms into my jacket as the cold wind suddenly began to pick up.

"You okay down there, Sean? Not too cold is it?" I knew it was a sad attempt at humor, and no one was around to hear it, but I guess I just wanted to believe that Sean was listening.

"I had nightmares last night. The one I remember so clearly was Zac being almost killed by his teammates. It was like everyone Zac ever knew hated me. They blamed me...said I turned him gay," I recalled, with my eyes closed. "Everyone in the dream said I was wrong for him...Jett, Scott, even Shin. Jeff doesn't think I'm right for Zac. He said at the party that Zac didn't seem happy with the 'girlfriend' he was currently with. Is Zac really happy with me? I don't know what to do, Sean..."

I breathed out a sigh and closed my eyes. "When I saw Zac this morning, he looked seriously pissed. The usual people who came by to say hello to him thought twice before approaching; he looked that scary"

~~~This morning~~~

"Zac, what's wrong with you? You're so quiet and you look so angry. Gees, I'm almost afraid to ask what's up," Maya was saying as I approached.

Zac had been dead quiet all morning, to the point that our group of friends sat in an uncomfortable silence in the cafeteria before homeroom.

He shook his head fiercely. "I'm just fucking pissed right now. A friend from work was dumped by the guy she was so looking forward to dating. And he did it in public in front of so many people at the mall yesterday."
He crossed his arms and breathed out roughly. "He called her a slut. Said that she's been around too much. She said that someone told him she's been seeing other guys and even taking them home with her."
He slammed the desk hard with his fists, which got the attention of our classmates. Never had Maya or I seen Zac so upset. At least not since Alicia had said some crap about guys like Zac's dad.

Zac got up and walked out. Maya and I were right behind him. For sure we had the attention of the whole class.

"Do you know who this guy might have spoken with?" Maya asked Zac.

"I have some idea. There's this guy I work with, Tim. Everyone knows he likes Nikki but he's such an asshole. No one likes him because he's so full of himself. It must be him," Zac spat.

I decided that the guy who seemed to think Nikki was `his girl' must be Tim.

"I'm gonna fucking kick his ass. He's done some cruel things to her, but this tops it all off. Did he think breaking her heart would make her like him?"

"Zac, don't start anything; you might have the wrong guy," Maya said.

"And how do you know she's so innocent? Maybe she is seeing other guys," I told him.

Zac turned to me so fast I thought he was going to throw a punch at me.

"And what the fuck is that supposed mean? You think what Kurt did was justified? What the hell is wrong with you? You don't even know Nikki!" Zac said angrily.

"Zac, calm down. You're attacking the wrong person," Maya said, grabbing Zac's shoulder. "And Kayden, we really don't know anything about her. Zac knows her best. He'd know whether she's like that or not."

"He was pretty blind about Alicia, don't you think? How do you know Nikki isn't the same?"

Fuck! Shut up... Now!

"What the hell, man? What about Alicia?" Zac looked towards our classroom. Alicia was there talking with some girls. She hasn't seemed to be interested in Zac anymore, after what Maya said to her at Zac's house.

"Kayden...stop..." Maya pleaded.

"Alicia wanted to hook up with you. That's why she asked you to study with her. She even asked me to help her! All she wanted was sex. She wanted some trophy boyfriend she could parade around. You didn't even see it, Zac. You thought all she wanted to do was study. Maya and I made sure she'd never get to you again. Tell him, Maya!" I commanded her.

I must have sounded harsh, because Maya seemed terrified at the moment. "Y-yeah...she did. We didn't want to tell you, Zac. We knew you'd get upset. You aren't blind, either," she said as she glared at me. "I sure didn't see it until it was spelled out for me. Don't be angry."

"So, you guys hid it from me?" He switched his glare between Maya and me. "What the hell, guys?" Zac asked, a bit angry and confused.

"I'm sorry, Zac," Maya apologized gently.

"And Nikki is exactly like Alicia. I know it!" I told them.

"Kayden, shut up already. You're not helping!" Maya shouted at me.

"What are you three doing out of class? Get in there, first period is about to start," Mr. Sergeant said, walking towards us.

With unfinished business, the three of us walked back into the religion classroom, both Maya and Zac glaring at me.

What the hell is wrong with them? I'm not the bad guy here.

Zac didn't talk to me throughout class. When class was over, he got up fast and left. Maya and I couldn't reach him in time.

"What is wrong with you?" she said to me as I gathered my things.

"I know what I'm doing. Nikki is the bad guy here, not this Kurt guy. She's been around," I told her.

"And how the hell would you know? Mai speaks pretty highly of her. You don't even know the girl Zac works with. You're just making it worse, Kade," she said to me.

"I know because I saw it. I saw her being picked up by guys at work, I saw her bringing guys home with her, because she lives near me. I saw her at the mall yesterday with yet another guy... And that Tim guy? He probably thinks he has a chance with her because she probably toys with him. Tell me, what do you think? She's doing it to Zac, too. She's trying to get at Zac."

Maya gave me the most disgusted look she'd ever given anyone. "It was you! You told that guy those things, didn't you?"

I didn't deny it. "I had to. He had the right to know what's going on. And Zac shouldn't be tricked by girls like Nikki and Alicia."

"And what if you were wrong, Kade? Huh? Ever think of that? What if she's not the person you think she is and you just completely ruined her?"

"I know what I saw, and I know what Nikki's plan is. She's just trying to get Zac to feel sorry for her right now."

"The reason you were right about Alicia is that she asked you to help her! You made a big mistake, Kayden. If Nikki isn't the girl you think she is, then you just destroyed a girl who meant no harm to you. Think about that before you go off screwing up someone else's life," Maya said in disgust, as she walked away steamed.

I finished packing my stuff and headed to my next class.

I know I'm right. I have to be right.


"Zac didn't even look at me in English class, Sean. He took off again before I could get to him. I thought he was just angry about what he found out about Alicia..."

For a moment I just closed my eyes and looked upwards. I suddenly realized that everything had been my fault. I was the source of everything.

"I tried to talk to Zac during phys ed, but he wouldn't talk to me. Even Jett was starting to wonder what was up. After school, Zac didn't wait for me. I didn't hear from him until a few hours ago when he called me from home. He said he wanted to ask me something. He sounded angry, and he wanted to meet me at a park that's close to both of us..."

~~~Hours ago~~~

"Maya told me what you told her, during our lunch. Did you think I wouldn't find out?" he asked me.

"Shouldn't you be pissed off at Nikki?"

"You were wrong, Kade! Dead wrong!" he said angrily.

What? No...I can't be. She's messing with his mind...

"I went to see Nikki after school at Tim Hortons. She looked horrible!" Zac said, pacing. "I wish you had come to me before you went off spreading lies. First off, the guy who picked up Nikki at work isn't just any other guy, he's her brother!"

"H-her brother?" I croaked.

"Yeah! He comes around some times to pick her up. And for your information, that guy you might have seen going into her house is Jeff's boyfriend, Aaron. I went shopping with Jeff last week to help him get a present for Aaron. We asked Nikki to keep him occupied. Nikki is Aaron's cousin!"

The anger I saw in Zac's eyes was more intense than anything I'd ever seen. He kept his voice in check, but he was pissed off. I was speechless. I was wrong. I had completely miscalculated everything...

"I'm still angry about what happened with Alicia. You or Maya didn't think to tell me? What's even more, I know about Ted. Jett told me," Zac said, shaking his head with confusion. "He said you acted like a completely different person. Do you know he's scared of you? Maya is too, the way you were talking to her... God, Kayden, what the hell is wrong with you?"
His look of anger faded into one of sadness. "Why are you doing this to my friends? To your friends!"

I couldn't look at Zac. He wasn't shouting, but I could hear the disappointment in his voice. It was more than I could take at the moment.

"What pisses me off most is what you did, Kade. Why did you do it? Nikki isn't anything like Alicia. You've never even had one conversation with Nikki! What made you... God, Kayden, do you know what you've done?"


"I couldn't stand it anymore, Sean. I had to run somewhere. I don't know if I can face Zac again. I don't know what's wrong with me. It's like all I do is screw up people's lives. Maybe I'm cursed and I'm not supposed to be with anyone. Everyone I've ever loved has been taken away from me... It's like I'm broken." I could feel tears on my face. "What am I afraid of? I don't know what to do, Sean... It's like the closer I want to get to Zac, the more I just seem to hurt him. His friends hate me now, maybe his grandma, too. Maybe she was just faking again, faking to be nice to me. I'm afraid that if I get any closer to Zac he'll be the next person close to me to go away forever. He'll disappear, like Rick, like my dad... Like you, Sean."

[NOTE: Please ignore the two bold lines beneath this. Don't know how they got there or how to make them go away. They have no timeline significance.]

Grief seemed to rip into me.

"All I do is hold Zac back. He could be so much more, and I'm just screwing up his life. I'm ready to lay down my life for him... I love him that much."

"But does he love you?"

I turned suddenly, reacting to the voice. Looking around, I noticed there was no one but me.

Does he love me? Maybe he doesn't. He's said he does, but maybe it's just for the sake of saying it. Does he mean it? Is it because I'm afraid he'll find someone else that I react to people like Alicia and Nikki? Maybe he thinks of me as just a first boyfriend. Does he see a future with me in it? Or does he think we'll eventually break up?

"Well, I guess I have finally given him reason not to love me. It might be for the best. Bad luck seems to weave around me. It is my fault, isn't it? It's my fault Dad died. I might even be the reason Rick died. And it was my fault you died, Sean. I'm so sorry. If you had never met me you might have never...

"He'd still be the gang bitch, hating his as an empty shell," the voice said.

At first I thought it was my mind playing tricks again, but suddenly it hit me: I knew the voice.

Turning around I smiled barely. "Hey, Blake..."

Blake looked more mature than the last time I had seen him. In fact, he looked great. He didn't look like a thug or some druggie. He looked decent.

He took a seat beside me; we didn't say anything for a few minutes.

"So," he began, "you come here often?"

"Sometimes, when I need to think, or need someone to hear me out."

"Ah, yeah, plenty of ears around, and what's great is that they can't tell anyone," he joked.

I couldn't laugh; no amount of jokes was going to get me laughing, considering my somber mood.

"What about you? Why are you here?" I asked him.

"Nothing better to do. All the friends I had are no longer around. They either dropped out or are still stuck in grade nine. As for me, I have plans for my future, and I'm working hard for them right now."

"Future plans?" I asked.

"Didn't I tell you?"

I gave him a look like he was speaking a different language.

"Well, I guess we really haven't been keeping in touch. I want to be a police officer."

Smiling a bit, I asked, "Don't you need a clean record for that?"

"I never got in trouble with the law. I left the illegal stuff before it blew up in my face. I think I can make a difference. I know enough about these streets to be a great asset to the force. I don't want anything like what happened to Sean to happen to anyone else."

Looking up at the clear stars, I breathed in the crisp air. "Sean would be mighty proud of you."
"Yeah, I know. I just wish I took him more seriously when he used to bitch about my education. I'm still taking some grade 11 courses. If I try hard enough, I can graduate in two years. This should have been my final year. I'm getting extra help, though, to catch up."

"That's great! You going to college, then?"

"Yeah, Sean's dream is now my own. He didn't want to join the force, but he wanted to go to college. I never realized the more important things in life, you know? People have more respect for me now. Some teachers are suspicious of me, but I can't blame them. I have a bad history. But, slowly I'm proving to them I've changed. Did I tell you I have a girlfriend?" He turned to me, all smiles.

Smiling back, I offered what I could. "That's amazing, man. I'm not really seeing anyone right now..."
There's no point in shifting my problems to other people.

"She went out with some girls tonight. It's great. And I know she loves me, too. We tell each other everything. No secrets between us. She knows all about my past and doesn't care. Her mom doesn't like me, but I think her dad wants to give me a chance. I never knew how important relationships are. I talk to her whenever I have problems, and she tells me when I'm being a pest. I know I can trust her and I'm happy because she trusts me, too."

Trust? Is that what's wrong with me? I don't trust Zac? Thinking he might find someone better than me and give me the boot?

"Is communication that important?" I asked.

"Of course!" Blake boomed. "If only one person sees the problem, they're most likely to screw up fixing it themselves. Anna taught me that. You don't understand how many times I've been saved already by talking first. I might have ended our relationship more than once if I had acted only on my assumptions."

I guess I know where I went wrong...

"Oh, there's something you should know." Blake's tone suddenly shifted. "Philip Jacobs is dead. They didn't treat him real nice in jail. I guess there's a code against hurting kids, among convicts. Funny how people in jail could rob banks but still care about children." Blake smiled, amused at the thought.

"Neil gets out earlier than he was sentenced to. According to some people, he pushed the blame all on his brother. I think Philip must have cracked in jail, because he wasn't the same person as the guy he was when he was arrested. Neil on the other hand might be a real danger." I guess Blake could sense the seriousness in my eyes. "Does anyone know you live in Whitby besides me?"

This was all too much to take in... Neil is almost out? There's no doubt he'll want to come after me. He didn't seem like a threat when I first broke into their house. He could have changed, though. Thinking about Blake's question, I remembered one thing: Zac's party. The guy who knew me said something, but I still couldn't recall it.

"I think someone might know. One of the guys who used to hang around you. The guy with long hair and a tattoo on his hand. He was at a friend's party and he saw me."

"Cory. Be careful, Kayden. If Neil finds out where you are he might come after you. You're not getting too close to anyone, I hope. You wouldn't want anything to happen to them. It might be better if you took off somewhere. Have you thought about leaving Ontario? You know if there's anything I can do... I still have some friends who don't trust Neil; they trust me, so you can trust them."

"I can't leave... It's complicated."

I have nowhere else to go. The condition in Rick's will is that I finish school in Whitby. I know he had some money somewhere and wanted me to go to college or something. If I ever want to be anything in the future, I need to stay. I need to risk it.

"Just be careful then, okay? Cory dropped out, but if I see him, I'll try to cover for you. I know enough about him and the shit he's still involved in to get him plenty of jail time."

"Alright... Thanks, man," I said to him.

"We better get out of here. There's a night guard who makes his rounds around eleven. Want to get some coffee or something?"

I got up and we started walking.

"Nah, thanks. I should try to catch the last train back. How's your mom?"

Blake shrugged. "Still drinking, but she's working. She cut back on the drinking, and that leaves enough for us to eat. I still don't talk to her. I think she's trying to make up for what she did to Sean and me. I still won't forgive her for what she did to him..."

"Try... Your brother loved her, you know."

"Yeah, so you told me. I'll try. I'm hardly home anyways. I'm working like two jobs, to save up for college. I think I'll be okay.

I remembered that I have quite a bit of money saved. "Hey, if you need some cash for school, you know where to find me. I could help with your schooling, too."
He smiled broadly. "I'm not sure I can make it on my own. I want to try, but in case I'm in the dumps, I'll remember that."

We both jumped the fence easily. Blake was not as big as I remembered him. He was actually slimmer and more muscular. He looked great. I knew Sean would be proud of his brother.

"Anyways, I'll see you later, man," he said, raising him hand.

I shook it. "No prob. We might have started as enemies, but I'm a friend."

"I know."

Before I could let go, he pulled me into a friendly hug.

"I owe you so much. You made a difference in my life. If ever in the future you need a body bag, I'm your man," he joked.

"Thanks, Blake, I'll remember that." I smiled.

We went our separate directions.

Neil was soon to be out. I had screwed up anything Zac and I had. His friends hated me... Everything told me it was over. Perhaps it was.

If I want to truly protect Zac, I'll have to break up with him. If not, his life might really be in danger. If he died because of me, I wouldn't be able to stand it. I don't care if he hates me... I still love him. As long as he's alive, I'll be okay with it.

It was set then. I knew what had to be done. The tears on my face made me realize how hard it was going to be.

Life sucks; some things are just not meant to be. Mine and Zac's relationship is one of those things.

The subway to Union Station was about fifteen minutes, the GoTransit train to Pickering was about forty minutes, the bus ride home was fifteen minutes, and the walk to my house was another five. Endless memories of Zac surfaced in my mind the entire trip. He was my life, and I was giving up mine so he could live his.


"Kade?" Zac asked.

Swallowing, I answered, "Hi, Zac..."

"How've you been?"

Shitty. All Saturday I had waited for Zac's call. I was ready to hear his angry voice, and I brooded for hours over what I had to do. I waited in vain. He didn't sound angry; he sounded more tired, drained.

"I've been okay," I replied to him. I wasn't about to dump everything on him again. "What about you?" I said, almost afraid to ask.

"Everything's just been messed up recently. I'm just really tired. I'm sorry about Friday. I sort of over-reacted about everything... Can we talk?"

Oddly enough, I felt calm.


"I'll come over," he said.

"No..." I whispered.


"Let's meet at Deveral Park. It's easier if we both walk a distance," I told him.

"Okay," he answered, a bit unsure.

"Bye, Zac."

The walk to the park felt like the longest trip ever. It was no more than ten minutes from either of our houses, and the cool December wind wasn't too bad.

As I turned the corner, I noticed a boy clutching his jacket together with one hand, the other buried deep in his pocket. Zac stared mindlessly at the trees that were standing naked. His breath was clearly visible and deep; he had run there.

Each step I took reinforced the fact that this wasn't going to be easy. Never had I broken up with anyone. And with Zac, I never thought I'd have to. But with everything that happened around us, it was like God was telling me it wasn't meant to be. Truth is, it wasn't.

You were wrong, Rick. Everything up until wasn't leading me anywhere. Things happen without reason. I destroy things, Rick. I know that now.

The snapping of a twig I stepped on told Zac I was there. I couldn't even say hello as he turned to me. I felt I would have lost it right there, that moment.

Turning to me, he smiled weakly.

Forced smile, no doubt.

Zac walked up to me and said, "You look tired."

"You do too."

"I've been doing a lot of thinking. I know I over-reacted, and I'm sorry, Kade. But you did something wrong, too," he said solemnly. "I don't want you to be jealous or suspicious of the girls I talk with. Honestly, I couldn't like them even if they were guys...I like you."

God, Zac, don't make this any harder than it is.

I couldn't respond. I just stood staring at the sand in the playground. Zac walked briskly to a bench where he sat down and patted the seat next to him. Slowly I made my way to him, but I didn't sit. I stood in front of him, unable to bring myself close to him. I sneaked a peak at him, noticing he looked a bit hurt by my unexpected coldness.

I'm sorry, Zac.

"I had a good chat with Kurt. I sort of explained what you did and apologized for it. Doesn't seem to have mattered, he told me he wasn't interested in Nikki, anyways. I honestly can't figure out why she liked him. He's such an ass." Zac chuckled slightly.

My silence ended his enjoyment rather suddenly.

Clearing his voice, he smiled and said, "He also told me you came out to him. And he accused me of being gay, too."


"Nah, it's no big deal. At first I was angry, but then again it didn't matter. He sort of thought that was a lie, too, after I told him the stuff you imagined about Nikki. To him, you're just some guy with issues, he said." Zac looked up at me and smiled sadly again. "And Nikki was really upset until I told her what Kurt said about her. Now she's beating herself up for ever liking the idiot. She's not mad at you, Kayden. Actually, she told me to thank you. You saved her from getting together with the wrong guy."

The wind picked up and Zac pulled himself deeper into his coat. So badly did I long to just hold him, to warm him in my arms...

"We really need to work on your social skills, though. I was a bit surprised with what you did to Ted. You can't keep doing stuff like that, Kade. I don't know what you said to Jett, but he's scared of you. Not many people scare Jett. He's only afraid of his mom and his sisters, and you practically made him shit himself, from what he told me."

Zac reached for my hand and slowly took hold of it.

"He's your friend, too. Friends trust each other. You should probably apologize to Jett and Nikki."

"Zac..." I whispered.
I let his hand fall and watched as a dejected look surfaced on his face.

"Kayden, this isn't fair. I'm really trying here. I'm still a little angry about some things I just found out, but it's your fault, too. Say something!" Zac pleaded. "You need to tell me when there's a problem. You can't go solving it by yourself. We need to trust each other more. I trust you. Maybe..."

"Maybe this isn't working out."

A strong gust of December wind picked up and its sound briefly surrounded us. The deafening silence that followed seemed to stop time itself. Even I wasn't breathing. I held in everything, anticipating what would come next.

"Kayden...what do you mean?"

It struck. The terror in Zac's voice paralyzed me. It was over, yet I wasn't trembling.

"Us, Zac... I don't think this can work out," I said, turning my gaze to his eyes. "I mean, we're not really the best couple. We might have jumped too quickly at this. We were blind...I was blind. It was only natural something like this was going to happen sooner or later."

"Wait a sec," Zac said, looking a mix of horrified and confused. "Kayden... what..." Zac shook his head. I knew I had caught him off guard and it pained me to see him so speechless.

"Zac, for a moment, just look deep inside. Who do you see yourself with ten years from now?"

I knew that was a cheap shot. In the confusion I had quickly forced his mind off the fact I was breaking up with him and onto something he may or may not have thought about. I got the response I was looking for. Zac looked lost.

"We both know the truth. Even if you might not see it now, I do."

"Wait... Just stop for a second!"

I couldn't. I had to keep pushing him. "I don't feel the same way I did, Zac. I know you've known all along that..."

"Kayden," Zac begged, as moisture filled his eyes, "you don't mean that. You...can't."

I just stood as firmly as I could. I was so close to just giving up and running, but I had to make sure he knew it was over. No longer would I hold him back. He deserves more; someone who will treat him better than I ever can. Someone who won't put his life in danger. He deserves someone better than me.

"What do you expect me to do? To say?" Anger suddenly flashed in his eyes. "Just because of this little problem? Kayden! We had a fight. You can't pull this and try to force me to make up with you... This isn't fair!"

A rush of guilt stabbed at me. I was hurting Zac!

I'm so sorry, Zac. You need to trust me on this one; this is for the best.

Zac brushed the tears out of his eyes, allowing me to do the same without notice.

"I'm serious, Zac...this goes way before Nikki, before Alicia..."

"This isn't funny. You're scaring me."

I shot my mouth off before I could stop myself. "You don't know what scared is, Zac. If you stay with me, you will know. Which is why this needs to end."

I regretted it the moment I said it. I had said too much. I turned my head away as he gripped the bench beneath him.I couldn't help myself anymore. My legs moved on their own. I turned from my first love and slowly walked away.

"Don't walk away from me, Kade!" Zac shouted.

I was stunned. I froze on the spot, his voice paralyzing me. There was anger in his voice, along with confusion.

"Please... Don't..."

I did my best to hide the fact that there were tears streaming down my face. I pushed at my emotions and begged my heart to endure the pain just a little longer.

"I don't know what I'm going to do... I'm leaving after this semester; it'll be for the best. You'll be okay. I know you'll be fine. I know you'll go on, just...not with me... Goodbye, Zac."

It was done. I had killed myself.


I couldn't move. My fingers wouldn't unclench the wooden bench I sat on. My eyes wouldn't tear away from the empty sand that lay in front of me.

"Goodbye, Zac..."

Those words devastated me. My voice wouldn't work. I tried calling out his name, but couldn't. I tried to will my legs to move, but they refused. The agony built up in me as Kayden walked away. I remained frozen by the sadness and pain I felt within. When I was at my limit, there was nothing I could do, nothing I could say to stop him. The tears of sorrow fell from my eyes as the burden suddenly overwhelmed me.

Everything moved so fast, the scenery was a blur. Bursting into my house, I ran to my room feeling pathetic and weak. I didn't know what to do. I stared around my room looking for something...for anything, but not knowing what.

My heart shattered, I could hear a loud ringing in my ears. It was deafening. My breath came out short and tears streaked down my face. I didn't want to believe it. Something clawed at my throat, it hurt so much, my heart screamed, my body shook. I collapsed to the floor, not able to hold myself up anymore. Everything was over. With the little strength I had left, I released the rushing emotions in a roar of defeat.



"Zac? Can I come in, buddy?" I whispered as I slowly opened his door. My boy sat at the corner of his bed against the wall. His knees were pulled up, holding his arms up. Zac was crying again, or had been.Walking into his room, I approached him slowly.

"Are you okay, Zac?"

He didn't answer.

"Your friends are here to see you. Wanna come out and see them?"

Zac pulled his head back and rested it up against the wall. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes.

"Sorry about this, Dad, but do you think you can tell them I'm sleeping or something? I don't want to see anyone right now...I just want to be alone."

"Sure, son, I understand," I said, retracing my steps. "I'm always here if you need to talk, Zac. I know what it's like to have your heart broken," I whispered to him while thinking about Diana. "Maybe we could trade war stories or something."

Zac just smiled weakly at me. I mentally beat myself for trying to make a joke out of the situation. I closed the door gently as I walked out.

I turned to Shin, Jett and Scott, all three bearing worried expressions. I pointed towards the stairs to tell them to move downstairs quietly. They nodded with defeat on their faces and proceeded down the stairs.

"He's been like this all day?" Scott asked.

"Since I came home yesterday. Usually I don't work Sundays, so I came to check on Zac to see if he wanted to eat out or something. I found him in his room crying." I took note of how all three of them reacted. "Do you guys know what might have happened?"
Shin shook his head. For the first time, the boy wasn't smiling, but it was like any second he could pull out that contagious smile and ridiculous laugh. But given the situation, there was hardly anything to laugh at.

"All we know is that something's up. Zac and Kayden didn't come to school at all today. We sort of pieced together everything that happened in the past few days," Jett explained.

He always seems to be the one of the three who has his head on correctly. Scott has the personality and Shin has his laugh. They're good kids.

"We think Zac might have broken up with Kayden," Jett said.

"You don't know that. It might have been the other way around," Scott said.

"It was Kayden's fault that everything blew up, right? Zac might have been mad enough to want to break up with him," Shin offered.

I watched the three, impressed. They were really concerned for Zac. My son did well to make those friends.

"Sounds like high school romance hasn't gotten any easier," I smiled, crossing my arms.

"Hell no! It's a lot more complicated now...with gay relationships," Shin interestingly noted. "And with the Internet and web messaging... It's a lot worse because of technology. Mai knows whenever I'm online and yells at me if I don't message her within five minutes of logging on."

Leave it to that boy to bring a smile to my face.

"Where the hell did that come from?" Scott said, annoyed. "The problem is Zac, remember?"

Shin tilted his head and looked up as if he were pondering.

"Whatever it is, I'm going to find out one way or another," Jett declared. "If Zac won't tell me, I'm going to see Kayden. He'll talk, or I'll make him."

I felt it was my place to say something. "I hope you aren't thinking with your muscles, Jett. You know how your mother is about things like that."

The look he gave me was priceless. "Aww, you aren't going to tell her, are you?"

Smiling, I relieved the boy. "I won't, but don't do anything to hurt Kayden. You might end up hurting Zac more."

"I won't touch him, but if something is wrong then maybe I can fix it. I hate it when Zac gets depressed, `cause then everyone gets depressed."

"I know what you mean."

I had heard the tales of my son's moods from Scott's and Shin's parents. Joanna, Jett's mom, also confirmed it. Apparently, when Zac is happy, everyone is happy. When Zac is sad, hell rains down. I never have that effect on people. Those events aren't isolated. It seems Zac affects people everywhere he goes. I'm impressed with how my own son can have so much influence on people. I'm content I did good enough of a job as a father to make sure he doesn't use his gift to manipulate people. He could cause a lot of damage if he really wanted.

But this was a new level of problems. I've never seen Zac so uncommunicative. Deep down I knew he was really hurting. If he felt the same way about Kayden as I had felt about Diana, he must truly be in hell right now. And it sucked knowing I couldn't interfere.

"You know I can't get involved in this, guys, right? As a parent there are some things I can't tread on. This is one of them. But I know you guys will be the best friends to Zac by being there for him. You guys always are."
The three looked at each other and looked like they were exchanging thoughts between then. They looked at me and nodded.

Zac surely has great friends.


I agreed with everyone that we were all going to see Kayden the next day after school. We all agreed, but I had to see Kayden myself. Something told me things outside of what Shin and Scott know about Kade must have taken place. I probably wouldn't be able to talk about those things if they were there with me. I had to see Kayden by myself.

I rang the doorbell twice, before I heard movement inside. The moment Kayden opened the door and saw me, he tried slamming it. Without thinking, I threw my arm and shoulder in the way, preventing him from shutting me out.

"Kade, I just want to talk; let me in!" I shouted to him a little too fiercely. My arm hurt badly. The door was a door, and I was flesh.

"There's nothing to talk about," he answered bitterly. "It's over between Zac and me. Just leave me alone."

"What the hell, man? Why? You didn't screw up that bad. Just let me in so we can talk. We might be able to fix this up."

"There's nothing to fix. Stay out of this, Jett, it isn't you problem," he answered.

Forcing the door open, I let myself in, enraged. "Fuck you, Kade. It affects me as much as it does everyone else. Zac is my best friend, and when he's sad I want to know why. If you did anything..."

"You can't threaten me, Jett. This is life. Things don't work out like we want them to. Simple as that. Zac and me didn't work out."

I didn't buy it. There was more to this than Kade was meaning to let on.

"Did you break up with Zac?"

Kayden just glared at me.

"Fine, answer me this," I said, stepping forward. "Regardless of what you guys said to each other, or what you did, did you want it to end?"

Again he didn't reply.

"Do you really feel nothing for Zac?" I asked again.

He looked away. For a second I thought he was going to turn into whoever he was on the night of the Halloween dance.

"There's nothing between us. I- I don't have the feelings I once had for Zac. I wanted to break up with him. I'm sorry, Jett."

It sounded like he was more sorry then he said. There wasn't a hint of anger or resentment in his voice. It was more of just...accepted defeat.

"You can't mean that, man. How could you say that? You guys were so close it was disgusting. I don't know what happened, but you can't let little arguments break you guys up. I know what happened, Kade, and it's no big deal."

He didn't respond, so I knew I was on the right track. "You probably think you aren't good enough for Zac. Maybe you're not, but let Zac be the judge of that."

For a second I thought I was making progress. But the moment I said the last sentence, his eyes shot up at me so fast I thought he was going to attack me. They were back. I hadn't been hallucinating that night at the Halloween dance. He had grey eyes. They were almost glowing. Deep, but cold. Like if I tried to make any sudden move he would cut me.

"You know nothing." He clenched his teeth at me and turned away. "Don't think you do, Jett. You know nothing of me, so don't even try to presume you know what you know. If you even knew a fraction of what I've done, what I've seen, you wouldn't be able to eat properly for weeks. If you did know, you'd agree with me. Zac is better off without me. I've seen things, Jett, things you won't have to ever deal with. So throw away any concern you have for me and go home. That way you and your friends can sooner get back to your fucking perfect lives. That way Zac can just forget about me. I don't care about Zac, okay? He can do whatever the fuck he wants. I want nothing more to do with him. We're done; it's over!" He seethed with pure anger.

"Do you really mean that?"

I felt my spine freeze over as I heard the voice behind me. Turning, I felt my heart drop. His face was soaked with tears.

I just wanted to make things right, Zac...I didn't mean to...How long has he been here?

"Zac..." Before I could say anything more, he turned and ran.

"Zac, wait!" Kayden called out behind me.

Turning back to Kayden, I saw something that made me doubt everything he had just said. His face was stone, marked with confusion and regret. Something was up.

"You seem mighty worried for someone who doesn't give a fuck anymore."

"Fuck off. Shouldn't you be happy, Jett? This is what you wanted, right? I'm out of your way now, aren't I?"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Kayden's eyes narrowed. "You know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm out of the picture. You could fool everyone else, but not me."

"But...Zac is just a friend..."

"Whatever. It's not me you should be trying to convince. Now get the fuck out of here before I call the cops."


Copyright 2004 Ryan Keith



Yo, i know you don't like me right now, but the story has to be played out according to plan^^. I know what you're all thinking, poor Zac, poor Kayden...You both are idiots!! moreso Kayden...But like all people, there are just somethings you're afraid of letting people know. And at times you really do think you're better off fixing the problem yourself. From personal experience, it never works out. Relationships need two people for a reason. LOL, i sound like some self-help column, so I'll stop there. I really hate leaving it off on a sad note, but that's how things played out.

Over all this year has been shit. I think. Maybe not for you guys, but mostly the last month of December was shit. In Toronto, my city, there were so many homicides i thought my life was a constant action movie. Then there was the 9.0 earthquake that devestated the world. A good friend of mine lost two family members in the recent horrific events. I hope none of you lost any loved ones or friends, and i ask you all to please keep them in your prayers.

I know I might be a bastard for saying this, but, if you and your family have extra cash, please give generously for relief efforts that are helping the striken countries. I know many people do not trust charities, but from past expereince, the one my family trusts most is the red cross. That organization very tightly supervised and organized. So if you can, please give.

I would like to thank Aaron for his editing and the rest of The Mail Crew for all the work they have done. They are a proud group of boys/young adults who are trying to help gay teens all over. They do great work, and I congraulate them for it. (I sound like i just won an oscar but...) I would like to also thank my family and friends, and my bf, for all the support and encouragement they have given me. And I want to thank all of you! All your support in the past year has helped me want to write more and more. You guys make my stories happen.

Anyways folks, this is it, happy new year, and i hope 2005 will be a much better year. I know I will do my part to make it the best year^^



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