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 9 - Another Perfect Day


       "Maya said no blood or broken bones!" Mai started shouting as she approached us. "What the fuck did you guys do, put Kayden in the hospital? Great way to spend Christmas Eve, guys..."

       She was starting to draw more attention than needed, but it was late and the hospital was pretty empty. We had just called Zac's dad. Apparently, all of our parents were together. They were all coming.

       Before we could say anything, Mai looked at Scott and freaked out. "What the hell is wrong with you?" Scott was pretty bruised from the fight at Kade's house, and his shirt was ripped. It looked like he had been thrown into a den of lions. "I knew it was a stupid idea to let you guys go to Kade's house by yourselves."

       "It's Zac..." I whispered. I was dead tired and I didn't feel real good.

       Maya and Lenne walked forward as Mai was starting to calm down.

       "Why? What happened to Zac?" Maya asked. 

       "We found him outside his house in the snow. We think he might have fallen off his roof," Shin explained.

       "Why was he on the roof?" Lenne asked.

       If they had known Zac like Shin, Scott and I do, they would have known that Zac likes to stare at the stars, sometimes. I figured he fell either trying to get up or sit down. Either way, Zac's life was in danger.

       "Is there anything we can do?" Maya asked.

       "All we can do is wait until he wakes up," Scott told her.

       "Well, then, while we wait, you guys can tell us what the hell has been going on. You guys said you'd be back, but you never came back," Mai complained.

       I had called my sister right after Scott called the ambulance and Zac's dad, and told her what had happened. She sorta freaked out, so I kinda lied and said Zac was all right. I had called Maya after that and told her we were on our way to the hospital.

       "Well, we were kind of in a mess," Scott said sarcastically.

       "I can see that, so tell us what happened at Kayden's house."

       "What about your parents? Shouldn't you tell them where you are?" I asked the girls.

       "My mom dropped us here," Maya said. "She told me to call her when we want to go home. Mai and Lenne were going to stay at my house, anyways. But, until Zac wakes up, I have no intention of going home."

       The two other girls pretty much said the same thing.

       We all headed off to the cafeteria, which was open all night. We told the girls what had happened.

       When we walked back up to see if Zac's condition was any better, I saw my mom. She was talking with Scott's parents and Shin's parents.

       We walked up and they turned to us.

       "Jett, what happened?" my mom asked, seeming really worried. I guess Scott, Shin and I were not in the best condition. Our little scuffle hadn't left much to the imagination. Anyone could have noticed we had been in a fight.

       I relayed a 'revised' version of the story, which involved Scott ripping his shirt on the door to Zac's house as we were trying to take Zac in. I knew pretty well they didn't buy the story, but they didn't push it. They were more concerned about Zac's health.

       Maya left up to call her mom and tell her she was all right. Mai and Lenne were talking to the parents, with Shin and Scott. I was hoping they were filling the gaps in my fabricated story. I hate lying to adults, but who was I to spill the beans about Kayden?

       I found out Zac's dad was resting in a room that had an empty bed. I didn't want to know what he was like after finding out his only son was in the hospital yet again.

       I didn't know Zac's condition, so I found the doctor who was looking at him and decided to ask. I introduced myself as Zac's brother. He seemed to buy into it, but I wasn't prepared to hear what he told me.


       I slowly made my way to my friends. Our parents weren't there. I wondered if they were trying to find out Zac's condition, too. I felt like puking all the food I had ever eaten in my entire life.

       "Where's..." I began.

       "They went to get us some food," Shin said quietly.

       From his tone, I could tell they knew.

       "Is he going to be okay?" Lenne choked.

       Maya was quietly crying on Scott's shoulder as he held her. Scott looked torn and really upset. I could tell he was holding up for Maya, though.

       "My mom said it's too early to tell, but he's been unconscious for a while," Shin quietly said.

       "The doctor told me that they can't really determine the condition he's in," I mentioned. I was ready to puke at that moment, but I managed to hold it all in. They all turned to me. "They checked him out many times, but they can't find anything wrong with him."

       "It's been almost six hours since you guys found him, so he's been unconscious for at least that long... Isn't that dangerous?" Mai asked, obviously upset.

       I shook my head. "I don't know. The doctor said there's nothing suspicious about his brain waves... It's like he's just sleeping."

       No one said anything. We all stood around as people walked around us. Some of them stared at us, but I didn't care. My best friend was in a coma and he wasn't showing any signs of waking up.

       "He's dreaming of Kayden," Shin whispered.

       No one said anything. We knew that was probably true.

       "Together in dreams?" Scott said, enraged. His head was downcast as he was comforting Maya. He raised his head and I noticed he was crying, too. Everyone was. I was. "That's bullshit! What's the damn point? Let's get Kayden. Zac probably wants to see him...we need to do something!"

       I don't think any of us had a better plan. We silently agreed and took the elevator down. We knew our parents were going to be angry with us for jetting, but we couldn't let them know about Kayden. We hailed two taxis and directed them to Kade's house.

       We didn't waste time at the doorbell. I rang it like it was a fire alarm.

       We heard movement inside and then Kayden opened the door. He was shocked to see all of us, and it looked like he hadn't slept one wink.   

       "What the hell are you all doing here? Do you have any idea what time it is?" he said angrily.

       It was close to 3:00 in the morning, so I wasn't about to yell at him.

       "You need to come with us," I told him. "Zac's in the hospital..."

       The words didn't register fast enough or something, because Kayden just stood there. A second later, he fell forward as if his legs had collapsed beneath him. Scott and I caught him as he fell, and I heard him mumbling something.

       "It's my fault... It's all my fault!"

       "Shut up, man! It's not your fault. Zac fell from his roof, Kade. He slipped and fell. It has nothing to do with those guys who came after you," Scott stated strongly.

       "We need you to go see him, Kayden," Lenne said urgently.

       "Why?" he said as he stared blankly at us. "It's my fault he got hurt... If I wasn't in his life he would never have gotten hurt."

       "Will you stop acting like a fucking pussy!" Scott yelled as he grabbed Kayden roughly. "Get up! We're taking you to Zac, one way or another. If I gotta break your legs, man, I'll do it!"

       "Zac isn't waking up, Kayden," Lenne said, stepping forward. She bent down and made him look at her. "I admit I'm the new girl here, but even I see it. I think Zac is dreaming of you, Kade. "

       "I think I can understand him," I told Kayden. " If he woke up, he'd know that you're not by his side. He was so happy when you were together. I've never seen him so happy. He doesn't want to wake up to a reality without you by his side."

       Maya stepped in, "He knows that if he wakes up you won't be there with him. We all know about your past. It doesn't bother us, Kade... We know you did it for Zac...and I know you were lonely before meeting Zac. In a way, he saved you. We're begging you, Kade...make it your turn to save him!"

       No one said anything else. Kayden got up slowly. He nodded his head and headed into his house. He left the door open, so we knew he wasn't going to run off. He was back in a minute with his jacket.



       When they told me Zac was in the hospital, I almost lost it. I thought I had lost Zac. First it was my dad, then Sean, then Rick, and now Zac? Why did God hate me? Everyone I ever cared about was slowly being taken from me. Was God punishing me because of what I had done to Zac?

       I got into the cab with Scott, Jett, and Maya. The cab driver looked at me funny and I just looked away.

       "Can you get us back to the hospital, please?" Maya asked the cab driver.

       The man hesitated for a second and then spoke up, "Missy, I don't know what's going on, but I don't want to be involved in any kidnapping or anything..."

       If it was any other day I would have laughed, but Zac was on my mind.

       "For fuck's sake, man," Scott threw his head back. "We're going to the fucking hospital. Why the hell would we kidnap someone to take him there?"

       The cabbie seemed uneasy, but Maya intervened.

       "Scott, grow up," she said to her boyfriend, before turning to the driver. "This really isn't a kidnapping. Our friend is seriously hurt. Can you please get us there?"

       It seemed the driver understood, and we were on our way.


       When we got to the floor Zac was on I saw a group of parents who could have been none other than Scott's and Shin's parents. One woman seemed to be Jett's mom. There was no sign of Zac's dad.

       "Scotty!" the older man said, "where did you boys go? We've been looking all over the damn hospital for you."

       "Sorry, Dad, we had to get Kayden," Scott apologized to his father.

       It seemed as if they all knew who I was. Scott's and Shin's parents looked at me but didn't say anything. I could tell they were fixing to, but it was like they didn't want to say anything in front of their kids.

       "Kayden?" the other lady called out, "Are you here to see Zac?"
       I turned to the woman who really was none other than Jett's mom. They have the same look, in a weird kind of way.

       "Yeah..." I whispered.

       She smiled sadly and turned to Jett. "Son, I wish you would have told us. We could have picked him up and you wouldn't have worried us like that. I don't think they're letting anyone see Zac. "

       I lost my breath.

       I'm not allowed to see Zac? I'm so close, but so far away.

       I turned to everyone and they seemed to have defeat on their faces, as I must have.

       "Well, I'm sure we can do something," Scott's father said.

       "You know we can't, Rodney," his wife told him. "Only family can see patients, and the doctor specifically said that Zac can't have any visitors, for now. He's still being monitored."
       "You know what? That's bullshit!" Scott said, totally upset.

       "Scott!" his mother chastened him.

       "I have to agree with your son," the Japanese man said. It was obvious who he was related to. "For lack of a better word, it is bullshit."

       Scott's dad was smiling, as if he knew something every one else didn't. It was like he was an adult version of Scott.

       "Well, what's the worst that can happen if we break that little rule? It's not likely we'll get arrested," he grinned. "Besides, it's Christmas; it's not like they would care."

       "Oh, no you don't!" his wife whispered in a harsh tone. "I will not be embarrassed here by you and your antics, Rodney."

       "Honey..." Scott's father smiled sweetly, like he knew he could mellow her down. "It's for the kids. Come on..."

       "It's not a bad idea to try something," Shin's dad said.

       I turned to Maya and Jett, who seemed shocked at what was unfolding before them. Lenne was silently giggling to herself, and Mai and Shin had the most amused looks on their faces.

       Shin's mother sighed and shook her head. "I will not be involved in this, Kensuke. If you're going to get into trouble, I'd rather not be seen around you. Come, Katie, Joanna, let's go see if the nurses know anything of Zac's progress."

       The women went to approach a few nurses who were walking our way. Jett quickly pushed me ahead as the rest of them blocked the view towards the patients' rooms. There was a door in front of the nurses' station, and we had to get past that. Jett hurried me towards the door and told me to wait.

       Mr. Kendal and Mr. Matsura were right behind us, while the rest of them stayed in the waiting area.

       "Kensuke, I hope you'll forgive me for what I'm about to do," Scott's father whispered.

       Shin's dad got a weird look on his face. "What are you..."

       "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Scott's dad suddenly yelled.

       It was loud and I was totally blown away.

       Shin's dad looked like he was going to shit himself, but then it looked like he suddenly understood the plan.

       "I think you heard what I said," Shin's dad said loudly, but not as loud as Scott's dad had been.     

       Jett pushed me forward as we headed towards the water fountain near the nurses' station.

       Two women and a man came from the desk and pushed past the door within seconds.

       "Excuse me, but this is a hospital!" one of the women said.

       At that moment I noticed the three moms chatting away at two other nurses who were trying to look to see where the shouting was coming from. It was like everything was choreographed; it was too perfect.

       "Go! Go! Go!" Jett whispered as he pushed me ahead.

       I quickly went past the door to the nurses' station and saw the rooms down the hall.

       "Which room?" I asked.

       No one responded. I turned around and saw Jett at the other side telling me to go.

       I made motions with my hands trying to ask him, "What room?"

       Jett threw up his hands as if to say, "No clue."

       Great plan, guys!

       I proceeded to peek through every room. I knew I was at the right room when I saw the nametag Z. Hunter on the door bulletin. I quickly opened the door, went in, and closed it behind me.

       What I saw before me almost made me break down. Zac was lying on the bed showing no sign of consciousness. I slowly walked up to the bed and took the seat that was right beside it. I took Zac's hand into my own and tried to call out his name.


       There was no response.

       What the hell am I supposed to do?

       There was so much I wanted to say to Zac. There was so much I wanted to do. I wanted to go after those guys who had come after me. I wanted to make sure they would never fuck with me again. I wanted to protect Zac and his friends. I didn't know what I would do if I found those punks again. I couldn't really beat them up again or threaten them. The only safe route was to go to the police and get a restraining order or something on Neil, or somehow make sure he wouldn't get out of juvenile jail. Maybe have him tried as an adult.  Anything that involved the law would no doubt make my real life public. In no time I'd be found out as a runaway living off a dead guy's money. They'd send me back to Vancouver after figuring out where I came from...and I'd be back in my own personal hell.

       It's not much to sacrifice when I think about the lives I'd be saving.

       I knew it was the right thing to do. I didn't know whether I was really scared of going back to my mother or if I was afraid of leaving Zac. I was so confused.

        I realised that if I was sent back, it would be less than three years until I turned eighteen and could leave again. I'd lose the support I've been getting from Rick's estate, but I could come back to Zac. I could deal with my mom for that long. It didn't matter, anymore. There was nothing else to do. I couldn't keep running.

       "Zac, can you hear me?" I whispered. I felt my throat clog up and cleared it. I realized I was crying.

       "I'm really sorry about what I did. I thought you'd be safer without me in your life." I tried to smile, but it wouldn't come. I fought off the tears that felt like they were tearing out of my eyes.

       I thought back to how I happened to be at the hospital. "You've got some great friends ...we've got some great friends..." There was no use denying it; Shin, Scott, Jett, Maya, Mai and Lenne all care about me to some extent. They had all gone to my house to get me. Seeing them had overwhelmed me.

       I gripped Zac's hand with both of mine. His expression didn't change. "I've been really messed up for the past few weeks. I've realized a few things. I really am messed up without you. Knowing I might have caused this is tearing me up. But things will be different from now on..."

       I swallowed and allowed myself to calm down again. "I'll protect you, no matter what. I might not be able to see you for a while. You might even think it's a bit selfish of me. I'm taking off for a bit. When I get back everything will be over, and I won't let my past haunt us anymore..."

       I felt my tears fall from my face.

       "I'm going to be gone for a few years, but I'm willing to sacrifice all I am for you. Can you wait for me? When I get back I won't leave you... That way I can be always by your side." I leaned forward and traced the soft face of the boy I truly love. I stroked his cheek, hoping he would give some indication of consciousness, but he didn't.

       "Is that okay?" My words tumbled out of me. I was barely holding on. "Because... you are the most important person in my life. Nothing could replace you." I kissed Zac's soft lips. They were unmoving and didn't reciprocate.

       Oh, God, help me...

        I took Zac's hand into my own and placed it against my head. "Nothing is the same if I don't have you, so, I'm begging you, Zac...please wake up...please wake up."


       I must have fallen asleep. Suddenly, someone was shaking me violently.

       "Son, I need you to leave, right now," the man whispered quietly but urgently.

       "Wha-?" I said, confused. I sat up and I felt something in my hand.

       "Margaret, bring this young man to the waiting area," the doctor said to the woman beside him.

       I didn't feel like arguing, so I got up. It was then I realized something. There was pressure on my hand.


       Zac's body lay motionless, but there was no doubt about it; Zac was gripping my hand! I started to breathe heavily.

       "Margaret, please, this is a very crucial moment. Please bring him to the waiting room," the man said.

       "Zac... wait! Doctor, Zac is..." I called out.

       "Come on, kid, let's go. The doctor needs to examine him," the nurse said, as she tried to pull me away.

       Is this woman insane? Zac was holding my hand!

       "Wait! Zac's waking up! I can't leave him!" I shouted at her.

       "I know, I know," the nurse said gently. "He was awake just a minute ago, but right now the doctor needs to check his vitals. I need you out of this room right now, so he can do that. Please, just listen to me, okay?"

       I didn't care what the woman said. Zac was waking up!

       "Margaret!" the doctor said, again.

       "Come, now," the nurse said, escorting me out of the room.

       I was left alone in the waiting room. I couldn't find Jett or anybody. I checked the clock and it said it was almost 6:00 AM. I asked a nearby nurse if she knew where the group of kids who had been there had gone. She told me they had been sent home because they were disrupting the patients.

       I did find Zac's dad.

       "Kayden!" he called out to me.

       I turned around and saw him sitting on one of the benches, holding what looked like a cup of coffee. Mr. Hunter looked horrible. His usually-clean-shaven face had a morning shadow and his eyes were baggy. I went over towards him and he smiled as I approached.

       "Thanks for coming, Kayden. I'm sure Zac really appreciates it," he said to me, smiling sadly. "I sort of woke up just now, but the doctors won't let me see Zac. The doctor just went to Zac's room. Where did you come from?"

       My voice was at first lost in my throat. I didn't want to jinx anything but I couldn't help myself. "I was in Zac's room. The doctor thinks Zac's coming about..."

       Zac's dad stared at me as if I had told him that the moon was on fire. Suddenly, he shot up.

       "He's awake?"

       "I-I think so. I fell asleep by his bed. When I woke up he was gripping my hand. The doctor kicked me out, but the nurse told me Zac had been awake just before that. I..."

       Mr. Hunter moved forward and grabbed me. I thought he was going to hurt me, and I wouldn't fight back if he tried, but instead I felt him shake. He was hugging me. I could tell he was really upset.

       "Oh, my God, Zac's alright. Oh, Kade, thank you so much..." he whispered.

       "I-I don't think I had anything to do with it."

       He released me and stared me in the eyes. "That's where you are wrong, Kayden. When the doctor told me he might be in a coma I almost really lost it. Zac may have been in a coma or not...either way, I know he woke up because you were there beside him. Thank you."

       I don't know why, but I felt ashamed to be receiving such words. It was partially my fault that Zac had almost died. Why is he thanking me?

       "Mr. Hunter?" a voice said.

       We turned to the doctor who had asked me to leave Zac's room.


       The doctor looked at me questioningly, then silently turned to Zac's dad.

       Zac's dad turned to me and then to the doctor. "This is Zac's brother. He's family."

       The doctor seemed to ease up. "I find it weird that you have three sons all around the same age, but I guess that doesn't concern me. I just checked up on Zac. It seems he has awakened. We found no evidence of a comatose state. Zac's a really lucky boy. To tell you the truth, I was a bit worried a few hours ago, but he's going to be just fine."

       "Thank you so much, doctor. You don't know how much this means to me," Zac's dad said.

       "Yes, well, Zac is sleeping now. He was awake a few minutes, before, when one of your other sons was with him. We might need to keep him overnight for observation. It's nothing serious, just a precaution. He had to get stitches and will have to wear a bandage on his head for at least a few days."

       Zac's dad smiled for the first time. "Again, thank you so much, doctor."

       "If things seem normal, Zac should be able to go home tomorrow."
       The doctor and Zac's dad discussed a few more things. All of a sudden I felt like an outsider. I slowly backed away from Mr. Hunter's field of vision. When I knew he wouldn't see me walk away, I snuck off. There was no point in being there any longer. Suddenly, I was afraid of Zac seeing me again.

       My hiding didn't last long. As soon as I got home my phone started ringing, and it continued to ring as I continued to ignore it. I tried to figure out how I was going to do the whole police thing.

       Do I just walk up to any police station? If I do, what then? How can I keep Neil in jail for good?

       Everything that came to mind had me shipped back to the west coast. There was no preventing it. Anything I did would include leaving Whitby.

       It was hard to believe I was spending my Christmas morning alone, devising ways to leave without having to deal with Zac and his friends. Something told me that if I saw Zac again I might not be able to leave him.

       Zac is going to be released from the hospital earliest tomorrow. I have until then to decide what to do...

       By mid-afternoon I was still brooding over what to do. I really didn't want to leave. Jett and everyone said they will stick up for me, but why would they put themselves out for me? They fought for me...with me.  Do they really consider me a friend?

       The doorbell startled me pretty bad. I stood up, dreading to find out who had rung the bell. I stood in front of the door wondering whether or not to open it.

       "Kayden!" Scott's voice called, "I know you're in there, man! Open up!"

       "Don't worry, Zac isn't here." Shin's here, too.

       I heard a desperate female voice. "Kayden! It's cold out here. Let us in, you idiot!" And Mai.

       "Kade, if you don't let us in we're breaking your back door window. We're coming in, whether you want us to or not," Jett chuckled behind the door.

       Before I could stop myself I answered back, "If you did I'd call the police..."

       I couldn't help it; I started to smile.

       "See!" Maya exclaimed, "I told you he's here. Come on, Kade; let us in. It's cold out...and I hear wolves..."

       The sound of my own laughter surprised me. I hadn't heard that in a long time.

       I opened the door and they all rushed in. All six of them, including Lenne. They did look cold. Lenne's cheeks were very rosy.

       "For crying out loud," Lenne said, annoyed, as she walked in. "If you heard us out there, why didn't you let us in?"

       "He thought Zac was with us, didn't you, boy?" Scott grinned.

       Trying to avoid the subject, I spoke up. "Don't you guys have families? It's Christmas, for Christ's sake." They all smiled at me when I said that. "No pun intended..."

       "I know it's Christmas," Maya smiled. "I had to beg my parents to come out here with these guys. I promised to visit our relatives with them tomorrow, so then they didn't mind."

       "My mom had an on-call. One of her patients became really ill. She told me to go out with my fiends," Lenne said.

       "I told my bro to tell my parents where I was going. They're probably pissed, but I'll sweeten up to them tonight. They can't stay mad at me," Mai said confidently.

       Jett removed his coat. "And my mom knows where I am. She thought of the idea, anyways. After we found out Zac woke up she told me to haul ass and throw us all a little party."

       I looked at the bags they were carrying. "Is that what the bags are for?" I asked.

       "Duh," Shin mocked. "Zac woke up because of you, you know."

       "I didn't do anything. He would have woken up anyways," I told them.

       They all seemed to deny that fact quite strongly. I was startled at their objection.

       "Dude, we all know Zac woke up because of you," Scott said. "Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass what the doctor thinks. To," he said, indicating everyone, " woke Zac up, and we are really grateful. He's very important to us."

       "Plus, we stopped by the hospital before we came here," Lenne said. "Zac didn't want us to leave you alone on Christmas. After we told him what happened last night he thought you might do something crazy."

       Damn, Zac... You really do know me...

       "So, he knows?" I asked.

       "That you were at the hospital?" Shin asked.

       "Of course, he knows. Dude, you were the first person he saw when he woke up. But he saw you were sleeping, so he went back to sleep, too," Scott said, laughing.

       "Yeah, and Zac's dad was pissed you took off without saying anything. We tried to call you a few times but you wouldn't pick up, man," Jett said. "Whatever you do, stay clear of Zac's old man for a few weeks. It'll do you good."

       "Guys...Zac and me...aren't..." I started to say.

       "You know what, Kade?" Mai cut in. "We don't care. That's Zac's and your business. I've had enough of gay relationship drama to last me a year. You boys figure your problems out. It doesn't change the fact I still want to spend Christmas with you."

       They all laughed at that, and I couldn't help but chuckle.

       "Well, let's party!" Scott declared. "Lenne and Mai brought the music, Jett brought the drinks, and Shin brought the food."

       "What did you bring?" I asked.

       He grinned and winked. "I brought the groove!"

       Everyone got sick looks on their faces at Scott's egotistical statement.

       Suddenly, my problems didn't seem so bad anymore.


       At around eight we were still having fun. A movie was on, but most of us were more or less just talking and sitting around listening to music. Only Maya and Lenne seemed to be entranced by the movie, Shakespeare in Love. Jett had brought the alcohol, and I had a few drinks. For the first time, I felt good with a slight buzz, and I felt like I'd had enough after those few drinks. I always seem to want more when I drink by myself.

       The doorbell grabbed everyone's attention. It was then that I noticed how loud our music actually was.

       "Damn," I said, "that might be the neighbors."

       "Tell `em to fuck off!" Shin shouted in his happy state. Everyone laughed, including me, but I was worried that whoever was at the door had actually heard him.

       I tried to put on the smiley face I usually use with my neighbours. Ever since I moved here they have been nothing but kind. The ladies of the families seem to think I'm an only child and that my father is always working. That usually translates into always traveling. Sometimes they even bring over food when they have too much. I really didn't want them to think I was some sort of troublemaker, especially on Christmas Day. Thankfully, my closest neighbours were away visiting family.

       As I opened the door I prayed to God that Shin's comment hadn't been heard.

       "Mrs. Newman," I greeted her, "it's nice to see you! Come in, please," I said, as I opened the door to her.

       The petite woman smiled at me. "Oh, thank you, Kayden," she said as she walked in. She was holding two bags in one hand.

       "I'm really sorry about this. My friends surprised me with a party. I hope we're not being too loud," I apologized.

       She shook her head. "Not at all, dear. I'm happy that at least you're not spending Christmas alone. It's a time of reflection and realization. Sometimes I worry about you. Your father is still overseas?"

       "Yeah, he is," I told her. "Sorry for making you worry."

       "Oh, it's my nature to worry about things. I miss raising children. All of mine have left home, so it gets lonely sometimes with just Daniel. We just came back from seeing our youngest. I brought some food because I thought you would be hungry."

       She offered that bag, which I accepted graciously. "Thanks so much! This means a lot to me."

       "Daniel and I also got you a little gift. I hope you like it," she said, smiling kindly.

       "You guys really shouldn't have. I feel bad because I didn't get you guys anything," I told her sincerely.

       "Now don't you worry," she said, striking the air in front of her as if to blow away my thought. "It's really nothing. It was for our other son, but he ended up not coming, so you get it now. I saw the light on and thought I should drop these things over before you guys really party."

       "I'll tell my friends to keep the volume down. I'd hate to bother you."

       "You will do no such thing," she said, putting her hands on her hips and giving me a look. "When I was young I caused my fair share of trouble. I expect the same from you; now don't hold back, Kayden. Just have fun with your friends."

       She turned around to indicate she was leaving.

       "Alright...but still, if we're too loud just throw a snowball or something at the window," I told her as I opened the door.

       "Alright, dear, but I don't think it'll be a problem. Anyway...oh!" she said, stopping as she exited my house.

       I could feel the blood drain from my face.

       "Oh, hello, young man," Mrs. Newman said. "I'll just be out of your way. You boys have fun, okay?"

       She walked past Zac as I just stared at the boy in front of me. Neither of us said anything as she walked away.

       Finally, I spoke up, "The doctor said you wouldn't be released until tomorrow..."

       Zac smiled a sad smile. "Nice too see you, too, Kade. Can I come in?"

       I moved out of the way as he stepped in. The guys were all doing something in the entertainment room. I knew they wouldn't be able to hear or see us.

       "Dad talked to the doctor for me. After a few hours they let me go," Zac explained.


       "You're not happy to see me?" he asked. He tilted his head and had an amused look on his face. For some reason I felt my heartbeat speed up.

       I shook my head immediately. "No, it's not that!"

       For a few moments we said nothing. The only sounds were Shin's laughter, Mai's music, and the movie playing in the background.

       "Jett told me everything when they stopped by the hospital before they came over here. Why didn't you tell me?" Zac demanded.

       I wasn't expecting that so soon, and I couldn't bring myself to look at him.      


       "I don't know...I really don't," I said honestly. I ran my hand through my hair. "I thought at first it was to protect you...but the more I dragged this on, the more hurt you got.... Maybe I was afraid of telling you because you might become scared of me. I don't know what to do anymore, Zac..."

       When I looked up at Zac I saw him staring at me, his gaze unmoving.     

       "I'm tired of this..." I heard him whisper.

       "I know...I'm sorry, man, but..."

       "Just listen, please... Let me just say this," he begged.

       I clammed up. He was staring hard at me and I could feel the intensity in his eyes.

       "For weeks I've tried everything! Everything I could possibly do to get my mind off you. I tried keeping a journal...I tried pretending to have fun... I even tried studying. During all that time, all I could do was guess why we weren't together. I thought I would get over you. I've tried, but I can't."

       There was something in Zac's voice. It wasn't anger or spite; just sadness.

       "When I woke up, you were the first thing I saw. You were asleep, but I could tell that you'd been crying. Why did you come to the hospital, Kayden? Can you tell me that?"

       My voice was lost in my throat. I wanted to say something but didn't know what. What can I possibly say to make him understand? I had no explanation.

       He shook his head and released a sarcastic sigh. "Of course you can''re Kayden, the one with so many secrets. A life of lies..."

       It's true... All of it... I'm no good for you, Zac.

       " doesn't have to be..." he whispered.

       His words caught me by surprise. I looked up and saw his kind smile behind his sad smile.

       "Why can't you trust me? If not as a boyfriend, then as a friend. I think I know why you broke up with me. You told the guys you want to protect me and them, but what about you? We want to protect you, too...I want to protect you. But you seem to think you're supposed to be by yourself... that you're supposed to be lonely."

       What am I supposed to think? Nothing in my life has ever been easy. I've never been happy! Not until I met you, Zac. I've always been on the edge. There was no one to save me... But you... You can't possibly know what it's like...

       "I don't know where you're coming from, Kayden. Man...I can't possibly know. You were lonely, weren't you? I never was. At least not until you walked away from me..." Zac was having trouble speaking. "I want you to know something. You've cared for me in a way no one else has. And I've shared feelings with you that I never knew I had."

       Stop it... Please stop, Zac... If you don't...

       I felt the tears as they traced along my face. I couldn't bring myself to look back up at Zac.

       "You're so far away...and I c-can't... I won't...shit..." Zac stuttered, but then took a deep breath. "I don't even remember how this whole mess started. You know what? I don't care if we're dating anymore or anything...but please stop treating me like a stranger. I can't deal with that anymore."


       He was smiling. The boy I love. The boy I'd hurt was smiling...for me.

       "I'm glad I got that out. I think I'll be okay now. I know you want to leave after this semester. Don't leave us. Just don't think you have to leave because of us. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I knew you left because of me." The tears from Zac's eyes seemed to contradict his feelings.

       Is he forcing himself for my sake?
"I have my friends, and you know they're yours, too, if you'll let them..."

       Zac stepped up to me. At first I thought he would hug me, but he stopped a foot from me. He nicked my chin with his thumb, catching the tears that hung from it, and said, "Smile more. It's not fair if I'm the only one trying. You mean everything to me and I can't have you. It would make things easier if you were smiling...easier for me, as well."

       Before I knew it, Zac had taken my hand in his and had dropped a blue jewel into it. As I looked at it I felt something soft touch my cheek. Zac's lips touched my face. He stood back with fresh tears in his eyes.

       "Good bye, Kayden... Merry Christmas."

       Zac turned to go, and I had nothing in me to stop him. I wanted to stop him, but I didn't know that to say. He would never understand...

       I stood and closed my eyes as I let the one boy I love walk away.

       "Are you happy like this? Is this what you want?" the voice demanded.


       "Why can't you be honest with yourself?"

       I don't know...I can't...

       "What do you want for yourself? Kayden!" Sean's voice screamed in my head.


       "ZAC!" I shouted out.

       Zac froze as I shouted his name. He was a few feet down the driveway as I stepped outside to catch him. A vicious wind came to face me as I stepped outside. Slowly he turned around.

       What do I say?

       Zac just stared at me silently. Moments passed as nothing came from my mouth. Just as fast as Zac had turned to look at me, he turned to leave.

       "All my life I've been searching for somewhere to belong. I found it with you...but if you stay with me your life might be in danger," I shouted out.

       Zac spun around and stared hard at me. "Dammit, Kayden! I don't care... All I want is to be with you!" he shouted back. "You think my life is any safer with you out of it? What do you want me to do, Kayden?" he asked softly.


       "You have my trust, and you can trust me, but you have to let me in. If you can't trust me...who can you trust?  I want you to trust me," Zac whispered.

       I felt my whole body surge. I wanted so much to be held again by Zac, but I'd ruined everything. All I could do was stand and cry.

       "Don't go..." I whispered.

       The cold wind that had been blowing strongly suddenly died.

       I said it...but was it enough?

       It was then that I felt the warmth embrace me. Before I could comprehend what had happened, Zac had wrapped me in his arms. I felt my fears wash away. In Zac's arms I felt my last grip on my life let go. With my face buried in Zac's shoulder I felt a sense of security envelope me. I felt life returning to me.

       "I won't ever leave you... God, Kayden, you don't understand how much you mean to me. Trust me..." the boy whispered to my ear.

       "I have no one else..."

       I felt Zac shake his head. "You'll always have me."

       "I don't know what to do anymore," I told him. "Everything...seems so..."

       "Shh," Zac comforted me. "It's're okay now."

       I felt the relief wash over me. For the first time in my life it felt good to cry.

       "Umm, does this mean you guys are back together?"

       I felt myself chuckle.


       "Hey, guys," Zac said.

       Slowly I lifted my head and felt the strength Zac offered enter me. I turned around and greeted Zac's friends...our friends. All of them were smiling. Jett had his arms crossed and was grinning. Lenne was quietly covering her mouth like she was about to cry. Maya had tears in her eyes as Scott held her hand tightly. Shin was smiling like an idiot, with his arms wrapped around Mai's waist.

       "Thanks, guys..." I said, "for everything. You all saved me."

       Jett rubbed his nose with his finger as if embarrassed. "We didn't do anything. Now get your butts inside. It's freezing out, and the party has just started."

       Jett could play dumb all he wanted, but I had meant every word. They really had helped me out a bunch. I had to depend on them. I finally realized it was more than I could count.


       "Kayden? Are you sure your parents are okay with this?" Scott's mom asked me as we were fixing to leave.

       I turned to her and offered her a genuine smile. "Yeah, it's okay. My parents don't mind. They just got back from a business trip and they haven't really had their own vacation, so they're going down to Niagara Falls for New Year's."

       "Do your parents work together?" Scott's father asked me. "I tell my friends how much of a lifesaver it is to have my wife calling some shots in my company. It takes a load off."

       "They don't work together, but they were both on business trips in the same area," I lied. Well, sort of lied.

       "Where were they?" Scott's mom questioned.

       "Mom! We want to leave today, you know," Scott said, irritated, as he held some bags. His mom insisted we take some food.

       "Hush, Scott. We just want to know a bit more about Kayden. It's not fair you get to make friends we hardly know anything of. And, to think, you have a girlfriend and you didn't tell us," Scott's mom silenced him.

       Scott looked uneasy and Maya giggled at his mother's comment.

       "My mom is a businesswoman. She's part of a cosmetics company in Japan. My dad is an architect, and a contractor in Japan hired him," I told them.

       Well, they did before he died, anyways...

       I could tell they were impressed.

       "You call us if Scott gets annoying, okay?" Mrs. Kendal smiled and added, "And, Scott, no drinking. If you somehow sneak anything by me and I find out, it's your ass in the air, mister."

       "Honey, I think your cooking is overcooking," Scott's father said, smiling.

       Scott's mom looked surprised and appeared to be sniffing the air. As soon as she did, she hustled to the kitchen.

       "Now, I know you kids will be drinking. I was young once, too," Scott's father said to us. "But, be responsible, and don't go out. Watch out for each other and don't do anything to Maya, Scott, you hear?"
       "Dad!" Scott said, totally pissed.

       "Don't worry, sir, my brother is in Royal Military College," Maya said. "He had a talk with Scott a few days ago, after Christmas. Plus, he's taught me a few things over the years. I think I can handle Scott."

       "That's it! I'm outta here! If you guys want to stay, be my guest," Scott said, heading for the door.

       We knew he wasn't really upset. Scott seems like the guy who wants attention all the time, but not the kind he had just gotten. He was totally embarrassed and had no way to turn it around onto anyone.

       We said our goodbyes and took off after Scott.

       It was New Year's Eve. The last few days had been unbelievable. The time Zac and I were apart sort of was like a dam to a river. Once we removed the barrier everything just started pouring out. Nothing sexual...we kinda just talked. We talked more about different things, new things. Stuff we hadn't really ever talked about, such as my fears, what was happening downtown, and how to deal with situations that might arise.

       It was more of a group agreement. I was surprised to see how many of them were willing to be my friend again after they found out about Toronto and the fact that I'm a runaway. Lucky enough, I still managed to get by without telling them why I ran away. It really doesn't concern them. It's the past; something that should just be forgotten. I already promised myself I won't let it rule my life. Their not knowing my past before I ran away holds no danger. It's more like I prefer it this way.

       Scott and Maya were talking about some random stuff while we rode on the bus. We would have had Scott's dad drive us, but Scott didn't know what bus route to take to my house, so I thought I would show him. I had hung out with Scott for most of the day.

       Zac, Jett, Mai, Lenne and Shin were already at my house. They were fixing things up around the house to give it more of a ''homey" feel. For days, Lenne and Maya had complained about the way my house looked. They told me my taste in house décor was horrid. I challenged them to see if they could do any better with what I had. They took me seriously and kicked me out of my own house for a day. I thought they were kidding, but that morning they woke me up at freakin' eleven o'clock. They made me get dressed and kicked me out. They told me to hang around Scott until they were done, which would be sometime around seven.

       I usually would be pissed for being woken up that early, especially when I had gotten only a few hours of sleep. I had slept at Zac's house the previous night but Zac had some things to do, so we woke up at his house around eight. I had gone home to catch a few more hours of sleep, planning to wake up around 2:30 PM.

       Zac and I were awake until almost one in the morning that night. I had been really scared of Zac's dad when I went over. Since I ran off on him at the hospital on Christmas Day, I felt like he was itching to lay it on me. It turned out he wasn't as angry as I'd imagined he was, and he said he was happy to see me. That night, Zac and I were a bit weird around each other. Well, almost. What was weird was that it was almost like meeting him all over again. I was shy and embarrassed to be around him, but talking to him was so arousing. Being close to him caused my heart to swell. I fell in love with Zac all over again.

~~~~ The night before... ~~~~

       Zac and I went up to his room in silence. When he opened the door I noticed everything was the same as the last time I had been there. The difference was, my heart was beating a million kilometers an hour. My palms were sweaty. It was like I was nervous being around Zac. He and I hadn't had a chance to be really intimate with each other since Christmas; we hadn't even kissed. I hoped I wasn't the only one who felt so pathetic. It was worse than the first time I had gone to his house.

       "You want to listen to some music?" he asked.

       Well, it's your room, isn't it? You don't need my permission.

       "Uh, yeah, that'd be nice."

       "Oh, okay," he said as he went to his CD player.

       I sat on his bed as he went through his CDs. When I realized where I was sitting, I shot up like I had sat on something hot.

       Shit, Kayden. Don't hint at anything.

       I just stood around like a fool. When Zac finally turned around he looked at me with a funny smile.

       "You can sit down, you know," he joked.

       "I know," I said

       I looked around and saw there was nowhere to sit but his chair, and that was beside him.

       "You can sit on the bed, Kade."

       I couldn't help blushing, and Zac laughed.

       "Why are we acting like this? It's like the first time we met," Zac said, pulling the chair behind him. "Even I feel like... I don't know, like a schoolgirl with a crush."

       "But it's not a crush, is it?" I whispered.

       Zac's grin morphed into a smile when I said that, but I looked away. I didn't know what made me say that; it came out so fast.

       "I guess not. But we've been apart for a long time. It's bound to be weird...a bit."

       "Yeah," I replied.

       The music was the only sound in the room.

       Suddenly I remembered something. Pulling it out of my pocket, I stood up. Zac looked at me as I approached him. Without saying anything I sort of thrust my fist out to him. He looked at what was in my hand, then up to my face. I felt my cheeks melting off. I felt so stupid; I couldn't even say anything for fear I would mess up any sort of sentence.

       "Do you want me to hang on to it for you?" He smiled.

       I just nodded.

       Zac took the sapphire jewel from my hand and examined it. It was about the size of a small stone. He placed it on a shelf and then walked up to me.

       "Thanks, Kade, I'll be sure to look after it."

       Suddenly I didn't feel as embarrassed as before. I smiled and so did he. For the first time, the silence wasn't awkward.


       "Kayden!" Maya called out.

       "Huh?" I said as I turned to her.

       "Jeez, man, good job of zoning out. Aren't we around your area?" Scott asked.

       I looked out the window and went for the request-stop bell. We had passed the stop where we should have gotten off the bus. It didn't matter, though; we weren't far past it.

       When I walked into the house I immediately stepped back. I bumped into Scott, who stepped backwards and almost fell over Maya.

       "What the hell, man?" Scott shouted.

       "Wrong house!" I told them.

       They looked at me weirdly, then smiled. It finally clicked. The others had totally redecorated my house. I turned around and walked in.

       The front entry was completely different. I noticed a couple plants that I knew were not mine. A table that had been in the living room was at the front with a bowl of candies sitting on it. It had been Rick's table and I hadn't had any idea what to do with it. It was nice to see they had managed to find a place for it. A lot of things that had been packed into the garage were out. Rick's old coat tree was out. I had thought it was too old to be used, but standing near the rest of the items at the front it looked quite homey.

       "Wow, leave it to Mai; that girl has an interior decorator's eye," Maya whispered, amazed.

       I took a deep breath and shouted, "What the hell is all this!"

       I think I scared the shit out of Maya and Scott, but I quickly turned to them and put my finger to my lips to signal them to keep quiet. I grinned, but I think Scott's grin was bigger as he nodded. He knew I had this one.

       "What's wrong?" Mai asked , seeming to be scared as she walked up.

       Jett, Zac and Shin came out of the kitchen when they heard my voice.

       "What is all this?" I said, trying to seem upset.

       "You don't like it?" Mai asked, obviously upset. Jett, Shin and Zac were grinning.

       Dammit, Scott, your damn smile tipped them off.

       It seemed like Mai was going to be the only one fooled.

       "Mai, I know you meant well, but why does my house look like a Barbie playhouse?" I asked her.

       I knew that would set her off.

       "OH, you did NOT just say that," she said, with rage in her voice. "A Barbie playhouse? You...asshole! I worked for almost eight hours sorting through the garbage you call a garage, looking for items we could use! I had Lenne pick out some nice flowers for you, and we...and I wasted all my time on you!"

       I knew a vein was ready to pop in her head.

       "You've got a nice bike, by the way, Kade," Jett said from behind Mai. "Might be nice to work on it a bit."

       Mai looked disgusted as she turned to Jett. She was about to rip him to shreds for interrupting her.

       I guess by that time she noticed all of their smiles. She turned to me red-faced. I stood grinning.

       No one said anything as she continued to absorb the surroundings. She took a deep breath and lifted her head as if to give herself more dignity.

       "It looks amazing, Mai," I told her.

       She bit her lip like she wanted to say something but it wouldn't come out. She just looked at me, shaking her head.

       "You watch it, Kade. I'm going to get you back one day. You watch that white ass of yours."

       That broke us all up laughing. Mai eventually joined in. It was going to be a great new year.

       A lot of things had happened in the old year that was ending. I lost my good friend Sean. I lost my guardian, Rick, and I almost lost Zac. I sat on my couch as Zac went to get me another drink. Thinking back, there was nothing I would have wanted to change about the past year, assuming that I couldn't have saved Sean or helped Rick live longer. I kept everything inside for too long. Maybe that's what caused me to grow as paranoid as I did. Zac made me promise to talk to him more about how I feel. He thinks it's not good for me to bottle things up like that. I really didn't want to tell him how I felt, because I thought it might burden him. He assured me it wouldn't. When we had talked the night before, it had felt good to get some things out about my feelings and about some fears I had. Not once did Zac shy away from me. I think it may have even brought us closer.

       Mai, Maya, Shin and Scott were dancing together in a group to the dance music Shin had on. It was called hip hop, or something. It was interesting. I'd heard music like that before, but I didn't know it was called hip hop. I listened more to what Zac likes -- rock, or punk rock. He said he likes some alternative music. I really didn't know what that meant but I was too embarrassed to ask.

       I noticed Jett walking up to me.

       "Hey, man," he said, taking a seat.

       "How you doing, man?" I greeted him.

       "Not bad. I danced with Lenne a bit," he said as he rubbed his nose with his finger. It was cute.

       "So, you like her?" I asked.

       "Man, any straight guy would be attracted to her, but when I asked her to see a movie sometime, she laughed."

       "She laughed?"

       "Yeah, first time a girl ever laughed in my face when I asked her out," he grinned.

       I was surprised. Lenne didn't seem like the type to do something like that.

       "Apparently I'm not her type. She likes older guys," Jett said as he nodded to the music.

       "Ouch!" I said as I grabbed my heart.

       "I know; I think I'm losing it, man. The charm is failing."

       "Nah, there's plenty of fish out there," I nudged him.

       "Yeah, I know that," he told me. Then I noticed his features shift a bit. "Listen, I want to apologize."

       Apologize? I should be the one.

       "Listen, Jett, you don't have to..."

       "Yeah, I do, man," he said strongly. "I didn't trust you before because I didn't know you. If I had known about your past I might not have been as hard on you as I was. Hell, I might have done the exact same thing I did, anyways... I didn't know how strong you felt about Zac. And I didn't know what you had had to go through."

       I was embarrassed. "Jett, you didn't know, man. It's not your fault. Given the circumstances, I would have done the same. I know Zac is your best friend. I attacked you for it. I should apologize. I should have known you just wanted to protect him. You owe me no apology."

       We looked at each other for a moment before he said, "Let's just put that shit behind us, okay?"

       "I think I can agree with you on that," I told him.

       We knocked fists and he grinned big.

       Zac came back with Lenne, both with big smiles. Zac started laughing hysterically. "You got shot down!"

       "You told him?" Jett asked Lenne.

       "I couldn't help it. He was trying to hook me up with you, so I had to tell him," Lenne said, looking a bit embarrassed.

       "The player gets DENIED!" Zac taunted.

       "We'll see. I may be single now, but it won't last," Jett joked.

       "Hey, Kade, wanna dance?" Lenne asked me.

       I shook my head. "I can't dance..."

       "Oh, don't give me that," she said, rolling her eyes. Before I could refuse, she pulled me up from the couch. I watched Jett and Zac smile as she dragged me off to dance.    

       Lenne took five minutes to show me how to position my arms and legs and how to move about. If dancing was what I was doing, then it was easier than I had thought it would be. I felt like an idiot, but I thought maybe that would pass.

       "You must be pretty happy right now," Lenne said to me as we moved around. I looked at her and she smiled. "Just in case you don't know it, yet, I know about you and Zac. And I know about you, Kade. So let me tell you this straight; all of you guys are the first group of friends that ever made me feel so welcome. If you ever need my help I'll be happy to give it."

       I smiled at the same time she did.

       "Don't sell yourself short, Lenne," I began.

       "Call me El, or Elly," she said, as she winked. "That's what my mom calls me. Lenne sounds too formal."

       I laughed. "Anyways, Elly, I know you had a big part in getting me to the hospital to see Zac that night. Mai told me that was your idea. You really saved me that night."

       "Well, it seemed like the obvious solution," she said. "If I overstepped the boundary, I'm sorry," she said seriously.

       I shook my head. "You have nothing to apologize for," I told her. "I'm the one who should be thanking you. Without your help, Zac might still be..."

       "Don't say it," she whispered. "It's over now. We should just have fun."

       Her smile just about melted my heart. I was having the time of my life.

       Leave it to Jett to cut in. Regardless of the fact Lenne had refused him, he still managed to get a dance with her. Both of them are great looking, and together they seemed too perfect. It was almost a crime.

       "Yo, man," Scott said as he walked up to me.

       "Hey, Scott, where's Maya?" I asked.

       He winked at me and said, "Ladies' room."

       I don't know why, but I thought that sounded kind of funny. I started laughing and so did he.

       "You know what? If someone had told me on the first day you came to school that I would be friends with you, I would have decked `em. Truth is, I was sort of jealous of you," Scott said seriously. He was a bit red, and I wondered if it was the alcohol talking.

       "Scott, you don't need to say anything, man."

       "No, let me say this, Kade," he said, pointing at me. I knew he was out of it. Even so, I listened.

       "When you came to our school everyone talked about you. Maya was talking about you and Zac was talking about you. In one day, I thought I was losing the girl of my dreams and one of my best friends to some random guy I'd never met before."

       Scott took another sip of his drink. His revelation was news to me. I never realized he might have thought of me as a threat.

       "But now I know you make Zac happy. More happy than any of us other guys can make him. And Maya really likes you. When she talks about you it sounds like she's talking about her best friend. That's what I think you're warming up to be. I know you two have talked about me and I know she tells you stuff she doesn't tell anyone else. I just want to thank you for it. Even though I did treat you like shit in the beginning."

       As Scott went on, he seemed more sober. He took another drink and grinned at me.

       "Wow, I don't know what to say, guy," I told him honestly. "You got to say your piece, so let me say mine. Thanks for sticking up for me against those guys last week. I don't think I could have done it without you. You don't fight too bad, man."

       Scott let out a roar of laughter. "Quit playing, man. You had them all without our help. But, for you and all the other guys I'd fight a war. Keep in mind that if anyone messes with any of us, they will answer to me!"

       I really doubt invincible Scott can protect us all, but I know what he means.

       "Gotcha, dude," I said as we knocked fists.

       "There you guys are!" Maya said as she approached. "I was looking for you, Scott."

       "Baby!" Scott called out as he stretched his arms out to Maya. I saw her blush but she recovered.

"Aww, what does the little boy want?"

       "I want my smokes!"

       "Hell no!" She crossed her arms. "We're trying to get you to quit, remember?"

       "Come on, just one?" he begged.

       "If you smoke one I'm not kissing you," she warned.

       That hit Scott like a ton of bricks; he was even jolted back by the words.

       "Damn," he cursed under his breath. He tried to take another chug of his drink but he was all out. Without saying where he was going, he walked off. Maya and I just laughed at him.

       "God, I love that guy, but I wish he wouldn't smoke," Maya said as she watched her boyfriend walk away.

       "I can tell he really loves you, too," I told her.

       "I know! Did you notice his ears are pierced now? He did them for me!" Her eyes glowed with excitement. "He had it done the day before Christmas. It took me forever to get him to agree. He really didn't want to, but I told him he'd look really sexy. I don't know what it is about him; he just seems like the bad boy type, but is such a womanizer."

       I watched her as she talked about him. She truly was in love.

       "I take it you got him the jewelry that's on his ears," I said.

       "Yeah! It's our little Christmas present to each other. Do you think it's silly?"

       Silly? I'm so freakin envious...

       "I guess you and Zac didn't really do anything for Christmas, huh?" she asked.

       I sighed. "I really thought it was over between us. I'm sure glad it isn't. I'm so lucky to have him and so lucky he took me back. That's my Christmas present all on its own."

       "You guys..." she began.

       We didn't say anything else. I was quite comfortable with the silence. Scott was right; I connect really well with Maya. Maybe we were meant to be good friends.

       "Yo, Maya," Jett called out. "Scott was going through your purse...he went outside."

       "That little... Argh!" she fumed as she headed for the front door.

       I couldn't help but laugh.

       "I wouldn't be laughing if I were you," Shin said behind me, sort of seriously.

       I turned to him and tried to smile. "What do you mean?"

       "I'm talking about Mai. Beware, Kayden. Make sure she doesn't find you alone, `cause she's seriously pissed about the lie you told her. I just want to give you a heads up, man," Shin smiled evilly.

       "Well, thanks for the warning. I'll try to avoid her. By the way, did the punch I gave you really not hurt at all?" I asked Shin.

       He started laughing that golden laugh. "Naw, man, it was like a baby's fist. Really, I didn't think my tactic would work, but damn, I'm glad it did. Did my punch hurt? I really did go all out."

       "Yeah, man, it was like an iron fist," I joked. We both laughed hard. It wasn't that strong of a punch. I was more or less just surprised when he attacked me. I really didn't think Shin had it in him. Now I know better.

       "Shin, sweetie," the distinct voice came from behind me. I literally froze up. I could hear the ice in her voice.

       "Can you go refill my drink?" Mai asked Shin quite innocently.

       Shin turned to me. "God help you, my friend. Good luck." Without another word, he took off.

       It was too comical. I just watched him walk away. I wanted to follow him, but I could almost feel Mai's anger forcing me to stay.

       I turned around and smiled. "Hi, Mai!"


       "Don't 'hi Mai' me, Kade," she said angrily. "Barbie dollhouse? I've never been so fucking insulted, you shit." I saw her frown break into a smile.

       "No, no, no!" I tried to smooth her over. "It's great! I love it, seriously. You're the best! I couldn't have done better... I didn't do better."

       She studied my face for a moment. "You swear?"
       "I swear! I'm not lying! It's amazing!"

       "Will you promise never to lie to me again?" she asked.

       I suddenly saw where this was heading. I knew she was serious.

       "I promise. I won't ever lie to you again, Mai...I value our friendship too much." I looked towards the floor, really feeling ashamed of the lie I had told her. Out of all the lies I had told everyone, the one I told her seemed to hurt the most.
       "I know you're a good guy, Kayden. I never doubted you. That's why when you said that to me I got really upset, `cause I know you're not that kind of person. I forgive you."

       She opened her arms and I gave her a quick hug.

       The rest of the night wore on and everyone seemed to be having the time of their life. Jett's mom had prepared so much food that I was worrying some of it might be going to waste. It was amazing and all, but it was way too much for just eight people.

       No one really felt like dancing after doing hours of it, so we pretty much sat around talking as we watched television. It was set to CityTV. That's like the main Toronto channel, I would think. They were showing the live concert and events happening down at Nathan Philip's Square.

       We watched as some commercials came on and some piano group sponsor flashed an ad. I suddenly got a great idea.

       "Hey, Maya? Why don't you play us that song again? I didn't really get to hear all of it."
       Everyone went quiet when I mentioned it, but they were all smiling.

       "I would really like to hear it again, too," Zac said. He turned to me and I noticed something in his eyes. I suddenly realized how much I loved that boy. The weeks apart from him were real hell. I was in love with Zac and I couldn't help it.

       Everyone agreed it would be nice, so we headed to the old piano in the living room. Rick had told me that his wife taught children to play piano, before the accident. I couldn't bring myself to toss it out.

       Maya sat down and turned to us.

       "I wrote this song a while back, guys. The version I played at school was a bit slower than I'm used to, but it really is a beautiful song. I guess it sounds different at different tempos. Right now, I think things are perfect."


       Maya was right; the song was much different from when she played at the Christmas follies. Zac was beside me and he reached for my hand. I took his hand into mine. His fingers were as soft as I remembered them. He rubbed our fingers together and I felt the care radiating from his fingertips. This version Maya played was hope-filled. It was perfect.

       Rick's words flickered through my head. "How do you know what perfect is? What if change brings a new definition of perfection? No, son, nothing is ever perfect."

       Things might never be perfect Rick, but I think this comes pretty damn close...

       We ran to the entertainment room as we realized it was a few minutes before midnight. We blasted the volume to maximum. The speakers were fairly good; I just hoped they wouldn't fail at the last minute. Mai began distributing the blow horns. It had been a while since I last used one.

       "This blows; all the couples are going to be kissing and here I am dateless," Jett complained, the blow horn hanging from his mouth.

       "You are so pathetic," Lenne laughed. Jett smiled at her and she smiled back.

       "Well, I guess there's no harm in a little peck on the cheek. Come beside me and I'll be your New Year's girl. But only for tonight!" Lenne cautioned.

       Jett snapped his fingers. "Damn, for a second I thought I was going to get lucky."

       Both of them laughed. Zac stood beside me and tugged at my hand.

       "You ready?" he asked.

       "Yeah..." I told him. My heart was beating wildly. This was all too good to be true.

       As the countdown began, we all started shouting. The new year was coming.

       "5...4...3...2...1... HAPPY NEW YEAR!" we all cheered.

       We blew those horns like it was the only way to breathe. After a few minutes of screaming and shouting, we turned quiet. I looked towards Scott, Maya, Shin and Mai. They were kissing pretty passionately. I saw Lenne peck Jett on the cheek and they told each other `Happy New Year'. I don't know what I was thinking, but I completely forgot about the boy whose hand I was holding.

       As I turned to him I noticed him smiling at me as if he could read my thoughts. His brown gems seemed to glow in the room's light. For a moment I just watched his features and took in every curvature, shape and marking on his face. Zac was perfect. He was perfect, and he loved me.

       "Happy New Year, Zac."

       "Happy New Year, Kayden."

       With the noise and music blasting from the television, Zac and I kissed in the new year.

       The party ended around 2:00 in the morning. We all played cards and stuff. No one felt like drinking more. Scott's father and Shin's dad were the chaperones for the night. They had their own party, but it was done around 1:00.  They knew we were all drinking and they also knew we were just being kids. None of us were drunk...well, maybe with the exception of Scott and Shin. They acted pretty decent around their fathers, though.

       There was hardly any mess to clean up. As I stared into the front hallway, I was really grateful to Mai and Lenne for reorganizing my house. Jett, Shin and Zac were the labor boys, for sure, but it was the girls' sense of design that made everything look great. It wasn't girly or anything. It was more comfortable. It seemed more like a bachelor pad, which was more than I could ask for.

       "Did we do good?" Zac asked as he snuck up behind me. He put his hands on my hips and I suddenly froze up. It had been too long since we had done any intimate touching. We had gone way farther than this, before, but all of a sudden I was clamming up.

       Zac leaned against me. When he did, I felt relieved. I could feel his heart beating against me. It was as fast as mine.

       "It's amazing, Zac... Thanks."

       We didn't say anything for a while. We just looked at the front hallway.

       "Your heart is beating fast," he whispered.

       "Yours too..."

       Zac took my hand and led me to my room. When we got to the center of the room, Zac turned around and brought his face close to mine. I didn't even think of what to do; my body took over. I took his lips against mine and we kissed roughly at first, but then tenderly. I didn't realize we were moving until we were beside my bed.


       It was too much. I wanted Kayden all to myself, and he was all mine. I pulled away from the kiss and he stepped back to look at me. Without thinking, I gave him a little push. It wasn't forceful, but just enough to make him stumble backwards and fall onto his bed. I didn't expect him to reach out for me, so I was surprised when I noticed I was falling as well.

       Moving my arms so I wouldn't hurt him, I braced myself. I held myself over him and looked down at the guy I'm in love with.

       "I've got you pinned..." I whispered, out of breath.

       Kayden grinned that wild grin of his. "It doesn't mean you've won..."

       I raised an eyebrow as if to test him. "Oh, really? What can you do?"

       "Wanna see?" His eyes were so sexy as he looked up at me. They drew me in and I felt my insides flutter.

       With a swift move he flipped us and pinned me. He was kneeling and I was between his legs. I could feel some of his weight on my torso.

       "I guess I'm pinned now, huh?" I whispered.

       His eyes narrowed as he looked me over. I felt my face heat up as I felt his eyes stare at my body and back up to my face. His grin faded as he bit his bottom lip. I turned my head, unable to look at him any longer. I felt weak under his gaze and, not knowing why, I didn't want to be seen as weak. I could smell his scent from his pillows. His scent was intoxicating; it made my heartbeat speed up. I was getting hot. It was amazing what Kayden could do to me without even doing much. I closed my eyes as I was swallowed by his presence.

       A gentle hand lifted my chin. I opened my eyes and saw the boy of my dreams staring back at me. I was under his spell; I couldn't move.

       "Am I scaring you?" his voice was as cool as a blade of ice, his eyes just as piercing.

       I couldn't answer, but I shook my head.

       "I would never hurt you, Zac."

       "I know..." I whispered.

       "Don't ever be afraid of me."

       "Don't ever leave me again." I could hear my voice, but I wasn't really thinking my words. They just came out. It was like another voice in my head, yet I knew my feelings were in those words.

       "I'd be an idiot to try to leave again. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere."

       "You promise?"

       "With my life..."

       I felt his hot breath as he lowered his mouth onto mine. With our eyes closed I felt his lips press against mine. A surging rush of indescribable feeling welled up inside me. I suddenly broke away. He pulled back and looked down at me.

       "Is there something wrong?"

       "Will you..." I said slowly.

       He looked at me oddly. "What?"

       I was too embarrassed to say it.

       "Please, Kayden..."

       For a moment he just lay over me. I continued to get hotter. His eyes seemed to get bigger, but then narrowed.

       "Are you sure?"

       "Now more then ever..."

       I felt his lips on me again. This time he attacked my neck, then slowly made it to my right ear.

       "I love you..." he whispered.

       I couldn't speak. My body trembled under him. I slowly reached under his shirt and felt his stomach. He was right about spending his time wisely. Still no six pack, but I felt his stomach muscles contract as I moved my fingers over them. I smiled at him as he kneeled upright and pulled away from my hands. With one swift move he pulled his shirt over his head. He tossed it aside carelessly as I began to unbuckle his belt. He bent over with my head between his hands as he supported his weight. I undid his pants and slid them to his knees. It was as if my hands grew a mind of their own, and I felt them squeeze Kayden's butt. He smiled over me and with much skill kicked off his pants. He took his socks off with one hand still supporting his weight above me. Over my trembling body was Kayden, dressed in nothing but his Joe Boxers.

       I began to undo the buttons of my shirt, but his hand stopped me.

       "Don't do anything..."

       My hands fell away as Kayden sat up. As he stared down at me he proceeded to open my shirt. I blushed and looked away as his eyes seemed so ravenous over my body. I felt his hand caress my chest and move down to my stomach. I closed my eyes as I savored his touch. Suddenly I felt something wet touch my shoulder. Again I shuddered at the sensations. The feeling was sensual. I gasped as he brushed his lips against my nipple. As he made his way around my chest I squirmed under his gentle suction. Slowly, he traveled down to my torso. He crawled backwards until he reached my belly button. As he gently kissed around it I realized my shirt was gone. I turned to the side and saw it hanging on the chair beside us.

       I felt his weight shift off of me. I watched Kade get up and make his way to his dresser. It was then I noticed my pants were already undone.

       He grinned as he playfully grabbed my pants and jerked them off. He tickled my feet as he took off my socks.

       "You sure know how to ruin the moment..." I laughed.

       He crawled back over me and kissed me quickly on the lips, then pulled back and grinned.

       "It's not ruined," he said seriously.

       I was trapped in his spell.


       There was nothing else I could say. I was losing my mind with Kayden over me.

       A sudden noise made us turn towards his clock radio.

       "What the..." I whispered, as some song was finishing on the radio. It read 2:35 AM.

       "Sorry..." Kayden smiled. "I came home and tried to sleep some more yesterday after I left your house. I had set it to around two PM. The guys woke me up at eleven, though, banging on my front door.

       I felt myself laughing. Kayden just smiled over me as my body shook with laughter.

       The next song actually caught my attention. The instrumentals were very well recognized.

       Jamie's on the bathroom floor, she don't know why...

       I crunched my face as I shook my head.

       She's shaking underneath the sink, can't feel a thing...

       "I hate this song..." I joked.

       She'd love to live a life... she's still afraid of failure

       "Really? I kind of like it," he said as he brushed my cheek.

       With all the voices in her head...

       "I really like it, too," I teased.

       Now what was that, I thought I heard you scream.

       "I know you do..."

       Before I could answer he pressed his lips firmly against mine. His tongue invaded my mouth. I reached around Kayden and pulled him closer to me. His soft hands wrapped behind my head and my back as his entire weight was pressed onto me. We were one.


I know you can feel it, You're already there...

Asleep underwater
Just screaming for air
I know you can feel it
You're already...

Kayden pulled back and looked down at me with a short breath. For a moment he just stared at me.


Don't you know we're freaks and creatures
Wake up I can almost see the light.

       "You're so good to me... I want to make you feel amazing..." Kade whispered.

       I think we're alone here you and I.

       "I trust you, Kade..."

       I think we're alone left wondering why.

       "I love you, Zac."

       Kayden attacked my neck again as I felt his hands around my waist.


       I think we're alone here you and I...

       He brought his lips to my own. Together we shared the same kiss we had shared every time we kissed. Before, something was always missing. Everything was perfect at this moment.

   I think we're alone in the universe tonight



       As the night wore on, the two realized that the beginning of the new year marked the start of their lives beginning anew. Doubts that had lingered in Kayden's heart were put to rest, and Zac had never felt so close to another person.

       It was the end of one year, but the start of a new year. Even still, there are unanswered questions.

Lenne still feels drawn towards Zac and Kade, but why? Who is she drawn towards, Zac? Kayden? Does she know Kayden from somewhere?

What really happened to Zac's mom?

Kayden says he was responsible for his father's death. What's the story behind that?

       This is the end of Kayden II, but stay tuned for Kayden III^^.

© 2005    Ryan Keith

April 1, 2005:

April Fool!!!  I always wanted to play a prank, and this is my dream come true. I added "Zac Leaves Kayden" to the original title to fool ya. lol

I'm going to be very much bogged down until April 13th (last day of my exams). Real sorry if I haven't replied to your e-mails yet. I will get around to it, I promise!

Oh and btw, don't send me porn please! I know I was interested in what you thought the characters looked like, but guys, come on, let's not get carried away. Jeez, that was a fun one explaining to my bf :P Lol, nah jokes, no probs, but still! What happens if I'm checking my mail at school? If someone saw that, I could lose my computer access at my University.

I want to give a special thanks to Aaron for his editing and to him and the rest of the dudes of The Mail Crew for doing an awesome job with my story. They truly make my work better than it really is. It's the end of the second series, but stay tuned for the third installment:  "Kayden and Zac"