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.



Kayden and Zac


by Ryan Keith


Chapter 3 - Unexpected Danger





       What could I say? February 14th was a blast. I know Zac isn't into that whole romantic thing, but I think I might be. Sometimes I look for things I can do for Zac to surprise him. Seeing his spontaneous smile when something good happens always makes me feel a bit lightheaded. Add to that Zac's best friend Jett, and a girl who has the best sense of humor, and you get a night of fun. I think Lenne tends to be the funniest of the three girls in our close group. She never takes things too seriously, like Maya sometimes does, and she isn't as bold as Mai. Mai is very different; the kind of girl who's better suited hanging out with guys. Not to say Mai is a man, but she does tend to have a hint of tomboyish charm. Yet she still manages to look like the Asian princess she is.

       Over the weekend everyone got together and went to Casey's Bar and Grill. Usually, when it's your birthday, you get your meal free. The day we went was actually neither Maya's nor Scott's birthday. It was a neutral day in between. Luckily, Maya has some hookups with her uncle, who's the manager at Casey's. Maya and Scott got their meals for free, but not before the entire staff sang happy birthday to them, making Scott turn a colour I'd never seen. Give Scott a little attention and he'll have the time of his life. Give him too much, and he loses his edge.




       It was after school on Wednesday. After the whole Brad thing in the hallway, Zac and I had both gotten separate detentions for `disturbing school peace'. I don't know why Zac didn't just tell Mr. Sanders, the vice principal, that it was Brad who caused the noise by slamming his fist into that locker. I guess Zac's like that. He's nice to everyone, even guys like Brad. Brad still confuses me.

       "Hey, shitface!"

       All I saw was red. I turned to the voice and was ready to leap, until I realized the insult wasn't directed at me.

       I was stunned. For about a minute, I pictured myself back in my old high school, with Blake, Sean's older brother, doing the shouting. In reality, it was Ted, but this time I wasn't his target. It appeared that Brad was.

       From where I was standing, they couldn't really see me. I was behind a section of wall that hid the exit I had just come out of. They were outside the cafeteria doors, in the area where Mai had once confronted me. Since it was after hours, the cafeteria was empty.

       I noticed Brad smiling. "Excuse me? I don't think I heard you correctly," he said coldly.

       "You heard me, fag. No way in hell am I playing hockey with a gay guy on the team. I know the other guys feel the same way, so do yourself a favor and take your sickness elsewhere, or bad things will happen," Ted threatened him.

       As usual, Ted had some of his jock friends with him, four of them.

       Brad chuckled.

       He fuckin' chuckled! He's gonna get his ass kicked!

       "Man, you have nothing to be scared of. I'm not into hairy guys like you. And I already checked out all of you guys on the team. There are only a handful of you I'd even consider messing around with. Your equipment is...what's a nice way to say this...inadequate," Brad said, curling his lips venomously.

       "You fucking f-"

       "You call me fag once more," Brad said, his tone and features totally changing, "and I'll make you regret it for the rest of your life. Still think you'll have friends after a queer beats your ass?"

       "Is there a problem here?" I asked, stepping up.
       I really didn't know if Brad could take on all five of them. Even I would have had trouble with that. I'd definitely get hurt if I tried. I'm not superman. But, I thought that if Brad was as good as he was confident, we could fight them off.

       "You shouldn't fight anymore..."

       Zac's voice rang in my head and I almost shit my pants.

       Shit... I made a promise to Zac that I wouldn't fight anymore. Intimidation... I can use that.

       "Five on one isn't fair at all. Wanna try your luck against two, Ted?"

       Ted knew I could kick his ass easily, plus at least two other guys. I hoped he'd have the brains to walk away.

       "Fuck off, Kayden. I didn't know you were the defender of fags, too!" Ted shouted.

       I felt like decking him. I walked up towards them, ready to pounce, but Brad stuck out his arm to stop me.

       He turned to me slightly. "Hey, my own knight in shining armor, eh? Stay back Kayden, I can take him."


       "How about this... Ted, right?" Brad's smile wasn't his usual attention-grabbing one, but more like a dangerous one, with a mix of Scott's mischievousness as a filler. "You and me. One on one. If I kick your ass, you back off and leave me alone. If you win, I quit the team. No friends, just me and you..."

       Ted gave an arrogant smile and nodded. He was definitely bigger than Brad. I was about to object, but I changed my mind. If I protected Brad, that might hurt his pride more than the beating he would get from Ted.

       "If your friends step up, Ted, I'm taking them out. And you know I can tear up all five of you. We've already been there, remember?" I said, jogging his memory.

       Ted didn't say anything. He knew it was true, and I prayed he wouldn't try anything on me. I really didn't want to fight. I'd promised Zac.

       Before I even realized it was beginning, Ted flew towards Brad.

       The fight was over within seconds. A good solid right punch to Ted's face and a powerful left sidekick to his body, and he was down.

       I couldn't believe it. It was exactly the same thing I would have done. Ted was too open when he flew forward at Brad. Brad was fast, and I saw enough to know he would probably be an even match with me. Ted was fast, too, but I saw the opening, and Brad saw it, too. I knew that wasn't a coincidence. Brad was a scary guy.

       "It's over," I said to Ted's friends. "He'll have a black eye, for sure. You guys might want to take him home and fix him up."

       Ted was on the ground, clutching his face. There was no blood, which was a good thing. Either Brad knew exactly what he was doing and pulled back, or it was a total fluke. He could easily blind someone with a punch like that if he pressed a knuckle to the eye.

       I looked at Brad as he stood smugly with his arms crossed.

       "I told you, you call me fag and you'll fucking regret it. Now go home. There won't be any more problems, Ted. Not from you, anyways. I hear anything from you about me and I'll do much more than give you a black eye."

       Poor guy. A black eye from me a few months earlier, and now one from Brad. I couldn't see much of Ted's eye, because he was still clutching his face. I could tell he was in pretty serious pain, and I was worried that some of the faculty might come out.

       "You guys better get his ass outta here. If you care about him enough, that is. That eye could be pretty serious."

       His friends took the hint and they supported him as they made it towards one of their cars. They were all shouting at each other, trying to get their whole group to move faster. I think they were intimidated by the fact that Brad and I were still watching them. Since Brad could do that to Ted, the biggest of them, and they knew what I could do, it didn't take a genius to know what the outcome would be if they tried to avenge Ted.

       After they were gone, Brad turned to me with his hand extended.

       "Thanks, man, I really appreciate your help. I think you scared them off."  "Not was mostly you," I said, shaking his hand. He held on a bit too long, so I made the release. "It might be hard on you for the next few months, but if you need help, you know that Zac and his friends will help you out, right?"

       "I think I can handle myself. I guess you and Zac aren't out yet?"

       "No, we're not, and we want it to stay that way until we're ready. All of our close friends know, and they're fine with it. I would appreciate it if you'd keep it to yourself," I told him.

       "That's not a problem," Brad said with a grin. "I'm pretty good with my mouth."

       I didn't like the way he grinned at me, so I said goodbye and headed towards the house of the only guy I really care about, Zac.




       "Hey, Zac! How's my precious grandson?" Grams said when I answered the phone.

       "Grandma? Hey! How are you?" I said excitingly. I hadn't talked with her since the week before Christmas. She and Grandpa were traveling, again.

       "Oh, same as usual. Your grandpa and I are in Australia right now. He had a meeting here. What about you? How were your exams?"

       "I passed. My average is eighty-two. A bit lower than Dad's grades when he was in high school."

       I heard her sigh. "Your dad was a very serious student. Nothing short of high nineties. He would get so upset when he got even a percentage point lower than ninety-five."

       I know my dad is hardcore, and I'm okay with that, but he would have seriously pissed me off if I had known him as a kid.

       Ninety-five grade average? What the hell was wrong with him?

       "Well, that's Dad for you. He was the perfect kid, wasn't he?" I asked.

       "Oh, far from it, Zac," Grandma laughed. "He was so rebellious, your grandfather and I didn't know what to do. He was very much more cunning and manipulative than we could ever be. We would fight constantly over the smallest things. No, Zac, your father wasn't perfect, but I'm starting to think you are."

       I laughed. "Grandma, I'm gay, remember?" I didn't know why, but it kinda bothered me to say that. "I'm not really normal, if you look..."

       "Zac, if I hear you say that ever again, I will book the next flight, just to smack you over the head. Do you understand me, young man?" she said angrily.

       I'd heard Grandma upset, even sad, but never had she raised her voice at me like that.

       "Zac, there is nothing wrong with being who you are. You're still perfect to your grandfather and me. You're a good kid, you're smart, you think of others, and you have a will as strong as your father's. You are a one of a kind, Zac. So, please, don't ever say that again, okay?"

       I could hear the sadness in Grandma's voice. I could tell she was crying. It suddenly struck me that tears were falling from my eyes, as well.

       I've never been yelled at like that...

       I didn't know if my tears were from being shouted at, or because of the fact that my grandma loved me that much. Either way, it only showed how much I meant to her. I was overjoyed.

       "I'm sorry, Grams. I didn't know that would upset you, and I really didn't mean it like that. It's just what people say sometimes."

       "Zac, the rest of society can go screw themselves," she said bitterly. That shocked the hell out of me. "You are my precious grandson. That's all that matters to me. Don't be afraid of what people will think, Zac. Everyone judges... God knows, I do. But those who judge you for being gay will be missing out on knowing one of the most remarkable young men I've ever known."

       I felt myself laugh. "Grandma, you're going to give me an ego the size of my head."

       "If you grow one, I'll be sure to shrink it. The reason your father and I fought so much was the fact that my words could rip the ego out of him," she said flatly.

       I didn't doubt that.

       "So, Dad was really a problem child, huh?"

       "Oh, God, yes, but there was a big change in him after he met your mother."

       I felt a rush in me that I couldn't describe.

       "Grandma, do you think you can tell me a bit about her? You know, without your biased views. Just tell me who she was..."

       She didn't say anything for a moment.

       "Zac, you need to understand. I really didn't like that girl. I could never control your father, and it upset me that another woman was the one who changed him."

       Suddenly, I really wanted to know this woman, Diana.

       "One day your grandpa and I got a phone call from your father's high school. His grades were really suffering. Well, I wouldn't say they were suffering, exactly, but they were down to an eighty average for that semester, which was a large drop from the nineties he had been getting. What surprised us was that the entire school, including the faculty, knew of your father's relationship with your mother.

       "Your father looked very similar to you. He was very boyish and good-looking. He was smart, but arrogant. We had noticed, a few months before we got the call from his school, that his arrogance and high-headedness were drastically decreasing. We thought he was finally growing out of some teenage phase, but then we found out about Diana, from the principal. She had your father's brightness and intelligence, but there wasn't an arrogant bone in her body."

       Grandma paused, and it sounded like she was taking a sip of her tea, or whatever.

       "I guess I immediately got paranoid about the girl. The principal and I tried to urge your father to end his relationship. We tried to convince him he was putting his future in jeopardy by spending too much time with Diana. But, neither he nor your mother would see it our way.

       "Your father promised that he would work harder to raise his grades, but he said that if we tried to interfere with his relationship with Diana, he would never forgive us."

       It suddenly hit me that I had used the same `never forgive you' line on Grandma, about Kayden. No wonder she had been so shocked when I did that.

       "That was the end of it. For a year, I was in an endless battle, trying to get your father to change his ways. That probably made him hate me more. Your grandfather didn't seem to think much of it, but he was really busy during that time. Your mother was really pretty, and I was so sure she had a hidden agenda. She was just too perfect. But, as usual, that was my paranoia getting the best of me. I think she did really love your father, but, at her age, she couldn't deal with the responsibility of raising a child." a wonderful woman like that want to kill me?

       "Zac, why do you want to know about her?"

       It took me a moment to put a sentence together. "I just feel like it's about time I find out some things. Without the hate, you know?"

       "Oh, Zac, you are such a sweet child! I could never understand why that woman wanted to do what she wanted to do, but I'm glad your father convinced her otherwise. She has really missed out on a lot. If she knew you, I think she would be really proud of you."

       For some reason, the tears wouldn't stop. I wanted to know her, but I couldn't. She didn't want me in her life.




       "Hey, check out the shiner on Ted," Scott whispered as he sat down.

       Everyone at our before-school table turned to look at the guy Scott was pointing to. The eye was clearly swollen, and he looked like he was walking around with his pride all shot to shit. 

       "Apparently, Brad did that to him," Jett explained. "He didn't take too kindly to what Ted had to say about his sexuality. Can't say I blame him."

       "That Ted guy gets in everyone's face, doesn't he?" Lenne asked.

       Shin and Mai were in their own little world as the rest of us just chatted idly.

       "Well, yeah, but when Brad joined our hockey team that really pissed him off. He made it clear to everyone on the team that he had no intention of stripping in front of a gay guy," Jett answered.

       "What an asshole," Maya whispered.

       We all turned to her. When Maya swore, it was something to take note of. It was the oddest thing ever, coming out of her. She stared us all down as if she was telling us not to go there.

       "Is Brad still getting a lot of crap from people?" Mai asked, finally joining our conversation.

       "Not that I've seen," Shin replied.

       "I think it's pretty much died down," Scott said, wiping his nose.

       Maya turned to him with a smile. "So, all of a sudden he's gay but he's no longer a threat?"

       "I still don't trust the guy. He's shady, but at least I know now that he's not after you," Scott said, staring down at his knees.

       "Aww, that's so cute," Lenne said, putting her fingers to her mouth.

       We all laughed, and Scott looked irritated. He was definitely losing his edge.

       "Guys, Brad's over there. Let's invite him over, okay?" Maya suggested.

       "I have no problem with that," I told them.

       No one voiced concern, so Maya stood up.

       I turned to Kayden, who had been quiet for quite some time. "Hey, what's up?"

       He turned to me with the most pitiful look. He looked really upset.

       "I was with Brad when he fought with Ted. I almost fought with him against Ted and his friends. I almost broke my promise, Zac..."

       There was silence at the table.

       "Kayden, I'm not stopping you from helping people out," I said, focusing on him. "You could have fought alongside Brad. That would have made me proud. I just don't want you going off doing to Ted, or anybody, what you did last semester. That was going too far. It's really honorable of you to want to help Brad."

       "Really?" he said, as if he didn't believe it.

       "Really," I confirmed.

       We stared at each other for a moment, and I could sense the love in his eyes.

       "Oh, God, they're worse than Shin and Mai," Scott commented.

       That broke the magic and caused everyone but Kayden and me to laugh.

       "Sup, fellas?" Brad said, stepping up with Maya.

       "Not much, man," Jett grinned. "Heard about your scuffle with Ted. Glad to see you put him in his place."

       "Yeah, well, I knew I'd have to deal with some guys like him. It's expected. But, now I'm on the hockey team, and he agreed not to harass me anymore. I'd just kick his ass again if he did."

       We all laughed politely, but I could read a bit of arrogant supremacy radiating off of Brad.

       "Yeah, well, Ted isn't the captain, I am. And from now on, if you get any problems from anybody on the team, you come to me, okay? No way in hell will I let it go," Jett said, showing real determination.

       Jett's statement impressed me. Leave it to Jett to be the knight in shining armor.

       "Cool, man, thanks a lot. I don't think I should be having any more problems. It was just Ted, really. He's really full of himself, but I hope that's the last of it."

       "Well, around us, you know it's cool," Mai said to Brad.

       "Yeah, I kind of figured that. I mean, since you guys know about Zac and Kayden and all..."

       "Whoa!" Scott said, surprised, holding his hands up in a defensive position. "How does he know about you guys?"

       "We told him," I said to the group.

       The facial expressions around me varied, from annoyed -- Scott -- to cheerful -- Maya.

       "Well, that's one thing taken care of," Shin said, his head on Mai's shoulder.

       Brad turned to Shin and smiled, "Shin, right?" he said, as he extended his hand. "You probably remember me, I hope."

       "You bet, man," Shin said, shaking Brad's hand.

       "Well, it seems everyone is now acquainted," Lenne said with a laugh, stating the obvious.

       Conversations blossomed around us, leaving Kayden, Brad and me.

       "You finished the homework, man?" Kayden asked Brad.

       Brad rolled his eyes, showing attitude. "Hell, no. I don't get that shit, so I gave up."

       I turned to Kayden and smiled at him. He understood, and nodded.

       "I can help you out if you want. We still have some time before first period," Kayden offered to Brad.

       "Aww, really? Thanks a lot, man. It's sorta loud in here, though, don't you think?"

       "Let's go to the library," I suggested.

       Kayden nodded and smiled the cutest smile.

       "You're coming too?" Brad asked me.

       "Sure... You don't want me to come?" I asked.

       "Well, put three gay guys together in a library... I don't think we'd get much work done," Brad observed.

       I thought that was a bit odd. By then the rest of our friends were paying closer attention to what was being exchanged.

       "I guess you're right. You guys go ahead. I'll see you in class, Kade," I said to them.

       "You sure?" Kayden asked.

       " go!" I said, playfully pushing him with a finger.

       Brad and Kayden walked off and I watched them leave the cafeteria.

       "Is that wise, Zac?" Scott asked. "Leaving Kayden alone with Brad? I'm telling you, man, Brad's bad news."

       "Scott..." Maya said warningly.

       "I trust Kade, Scott. There's no need for me to worry."

       Everyone else seemed to agree, but Scott just gave me that stupid look that always seems to annoy me. It's that look that screams, "If you say so, man...but still..."

       "Hey, did Shin tell you guys what we did the other day?" Mai asked suddenly. Leave it to Mai to change a difficult subject.




       The new semester's lunch was pretty sweet; I was with Kayden, Lenne, and Mai. I didn't like it much when Brad started joining us. I kinda felt bad about feeling that way, but I thought he didn't like me, either. I tried to be pleasant around him, maybe just because Maya had asked all of us to be nice to him, as he was dealing with some crap from other students. 

       "Math is so boring!" Brad complained as he sat down.

       "It's not too bad," Kayden said, as he sat down beside me. Mai and Lenne hadn't shown up, but I knew they would be there soon.

       It was Friday, and I couldn't wait to go to either my house or Kayden's. We never really decide ahead. It's usually spur of the moment. Sometimes when we go to my house, Dad comes home early so we really can't do stuff. But then, we have fun with my dad around, because he's really fun to be with. I know some kids hate hanging out with their parents, but we're not like that about Dad.

       Really, though, it's how much we're craving each other on a given day that determines where we go. On some days I have a swim meet, and Jett has hockey games on some days. We usually go to Kayden's house after those.

       "When you have a good teacher, it actually ain't so bad," I told them.

       Kayden smiled and nodded.

       "Ugh, I'm going to be so busy this weekend that I won't have time do all the work he assigned. I have photo shoot, and those things take forever," Brad said.

       Oh, the drama of a model!  I cleverly thought.

       "That must be tough," I said, instead.

       "It is," Brad said to me, and then he turned to Kayden. "Wanna do some of it after school? We can go to my place. Hell, we can order some pizza, too."

       I was surprised that Brad asked that of Kayden. I knew he liked Kayden; that was as obvious to me as it was to everyone else. I wondered if Kayden would have the heart to turn him down. I knew he was faithful, but I didn't know how he would handle a situation like that.

       "Kayden and I are going to do something after school," I said, stepping up to the plate.

       "Aww, come on, Zac. You guys have all weekend, you know. I just wanna borrow him for the afternoon," Brad grinned.

       I didn't want to seem like an overly possessive boyfriend, but I didn't want Kayden to go to Brad's house, either.

       "Sorry, Brad, Zac and I have already made plans," Kayden said firmly, "and Zac is my boyfriend, not you. If we're going to do any school work together, it'll have to work around Zac's and my schedule."

       I felt like kissing Kade at that moment. He had said it all with a smile, so I knew he hadn't intended any anger towards Brad.

       "All right, all right," Brad said with a wave of a hand, "I can always try it on my own. Not sure how much I can do alone, but..."

       He was fishing for sympathy.

       "Sorry, man, that's the way it is," Kayden replied.

       Lenne and Mai showed up, and suddenly the situation didn't seem so tense.


       As I was going to my next class, I noticed Brad. I had decided that if he was going to be friends with Kayden, I should at least try to be friends with him.

       "Hey, Brad, what's up?" I said, walking up beside him.

       "Nothing much," he answered, after noticing who I was.

       That was the end of it. The math class was near the kinesiology classes. For some reason, the hallway we were in was empty.

       "Although all the girls seem to think you're cute," Brad said, "as far as I'm concerned, you're nothing special."

       I stopped dead in my tracks. Brad continued to walk.

       Was that a challenge? I was angry. If he wants to fight, why doesn't he just say it to my face?


       On the way home, I was holding Kayden from behind, on his bike. At a red light, I couldn't help myself.

       "Hey, Kayden? How do you think I look?" I asked hesitantly.

       "Really hot!" he said immediately.

       A sudden wave of relief washed over me. I gripped him tighter.

       "I think you're hot, too. Let's go to your house."

       You might not care about me, Brad, but I have Kayden. If it's a war you want, that's what you'll get. Just you wait, Brad, you'll taste my determination soon enough.




       "Hey, Brad, how'd you do on your math test?" I asked, smiling, as he came over. Kayden had shown me he had gotten 95% on the test, and I couldn't have been prouder of my boyfriend.

       "It's none of your business, Zac. I've been meaning to ask you, what was up with your skit?"

       He was referring to the skit Shin and I had presented to the drama class. It had been my mistake to try to do a comedy act with Shin. The only reason the class started laughing was because Shin couldn't keep a straight face and burst into a fit of laughter.

       "People laughed, so I think we accomplished our goal," I said, trying to gain the upper hand.

       Kayden just sipped his chocolate milk as he looked oddly at us. Lenne and Mai were trying so hard not to burst into laughter.

       "Well, then, the same can be said for me. I passed, at least," he said smugly.

       "Touché," I said, lifting a hand.

       Brad nodded and got up.

       "Going to grab some food," he said as he took off.

       "Zac, is there something going on between you guys?" Lenne asked with a smile.

       "Yeah, you guys don't seem to be getting along too well," Mai winked.

       "Zac and Brad don't seem to be rubbing each other the right way. You having a problem with Brad?" my boyfriend asked.

       It had been like that all week. Of course, I started it. In no time, Brad caught on to my challenge. I had to admit, he was doing pretty well.

       I exhausted a sarcastic sigh and gave a little wave. "I don't care about that guy. He can do what he wants..."

       "That really doesn't answer my question, though," Kayden said through a nervous laugh.

       "Zac is usually nice to everyone. I wonder if Brad did something to upset him," Mai said as she opened her sandwich.

       "I think Zac just senses some competition. He isn't the only cute one here, anymore. But then, the same could be said about all the guys...well, maybe not Jett..." Lenne laughed.

       "Guys...I'm still here," I reminded them.

       "Oh, my God!" Mai shouted. "Just date the guy, already!"

       "Never!" Lenne smiled.

       "I don't think they hear you," Kayden said to me as he brushed my leg. I felt electricity go through me. It wasn't static; it was the way he touched me.

       At that moment, Brad sat down, putting a salad on the table.

       "Salad, Brad? Oh, I forgot, you models purge your food, don't you? I guess it's easier on the wallet to buy salad," I said sourly.

       "Lot's of carbs in that sandwich, Zac. Better watch out for the pounds, eh?" He grinned. The war was just beginning.


       Kayden walked me to my locker after we were done with lunch. Everyone else had other things to do.

       "Hey, want to go shopping on Saturday? I need to buy some new clothes. I'm sorta growing out of mine," Kayden said shyly.

       I had begun to notice that. Kayden was getting taller and his shoulders were getting even broader. I still felt like I was the same boy I had been when I entered grade 9.

       "Yeah, that'll be fun. Maybe we can find a Speedo for you," I joked.

       I had gotten the present from Kayden on Valentine's Day, and I loved them. They were similar to my team colours, anyways, plus they were more comfy. I don't really like Speedos, being more of a board shorts guy. Kayden likes me in a Speedo, though, so of course I like wearing it around him.

       "All right, it's a date," he smiled.

       I noticed he was still a bit shy in saying that. I looked around and saw that there was no one in the area, so I went for a quick kiss.

       Kayden looked at me funny when I stepped back.

       "We're going to get caught one day, and it's going to blow up in our faces," he said, with a serious expression.

       "Don't worry. You're my little fighter; you can protect me."

       It was Kade this time that went for the kiss.




       The bell rang and we were headed off to our last class. I said goodbye to Kayden and then went in the direction of my kinesiology class.

       My little 'gay' problem was already starting to fade away. People were being a lot nicer. My natural talent in phys ed made me a valuable player, regardless of my sexuality. Whenever someone had a problem with my sexuality, I would attack with words. In a way, I made it seem like they were trying to hide something. That usually got the rest of the class to harass the guy who had initially insulted me. Truth being, it didn't last. Before long, people didn't care that I'm gay. It was the way it should be.

       I already had a number of guys in mind that I considered 'fuckable', but I was really focused on Kayden. I could get all the ass I wanted, but Kayden's was the one that would make me complete.   

       I didn't like Zac. I saw nothing great about him. I didn't know why Kayden would like a guy like that, when he could have anyone. It confused even me. A lot of the girls I talked to seem to have crushes on Zac. They said he was mature for his age, and that he was a man in a boy's body.

       That was total bullshit. He was a brat, and he knew it. He was showing his true colours to me. He knew I hated him, and I knew he hated me. But, Brad Canning doesn't lose. Not anymore, anyways.

       I noticed Zac walking ahead, and I also noticed his smile. He was really happy about something, and that pissed me off.

       "Someone's in a good mood," I said, as I caught up to him.

       "Oh, it's you," Zac said bitterly. "Why did you have to come out and ruin my day?"

       "If I read you correctly, you must have a date with Kayden this weekend.  Am I right?"

       "Yeah, so what?" he said angrily. "What's it to you?"

       By then, we both had stopped and were facing each other. He was really starting to tick me off. I could never seem to get the better of him. He was either on par with me or slightly ahead. Zac Hunter ticked me off.

       "What's so great about a boy like you, anyways? Kayden can have anyone he wants. He could have done better," I said, sneering.

       Zac's features changed as he looked at me more sharply.

       "Oh, are you angry?" I mocked him. "This is too easy. Kayden is sure to get bored with a guy like you. I guess I shouldn't have worried."

       "You're disgusting. You know I like him and you know we're dating. Do you really want us to break up?" he whispered. I supposed he was afraid of someone overhearing.

       "You can't even publicly admit your relationship with him. Pretty sad, man. I must say I'm impressed, though. I figured you were the type to drop everything when the going got tough, but you've hung on pretty well, and all by yourself, too."
       "You are really starting to piss me off, buddy," Zac said. I could tell I was really pushing the buttons.

       "Oh, really? I'm sorry," I said sarcastically. "Plus, I'm not your buddy."

       "You really are fucked up. You are dirt, man..."

       "Really? Then what does that make you? Did you forget you're playing this game, too? The only reason you got Kayden was because you got to him first. Everyone seems to put you on a high pedestal. Zac Hunter, cool nice guy. You're actually everything but that. I see your true colours. You think I'm bad? What about you? You really think you're worthy of Kayden?" I was almost shouting. "Stop kidding yourself!"

       I loved the look in Zac's eyes. Total realization...the spark being burnt out. Raise the doubt and watch the pieces fall. They always do.

       "You know it's true. If it wasn't, you'd have said something by now." I smiled after a moment and then kept on. "You should just give up Kayden. You don't deserve him."

       I didn't wait for his reply, because he didn't have one. I walked off, content with what I had done, while Zac stood with doubt hovering over his head.




       I had to stay a bit after class, because I had fallen asleep. I couldn't help it; the teacher was boring. I got bitched at for five minutes for not paying attention. Whatever...that class is bullshit, anyways.

       I walked to my locker, already kicking off my dress shoes. I hate wearing those stupid shoes home, so I always change to my normal shoes.

       Before I got to my locker, someone grabbed me and threw me hard against the lockers. I reacted before I could process anything, and threw a fist.

       I first thought it was Ted, but it wasn't. My attacker actually caught my fist with his hand. It was Kayden. He knocked my fist away with his arm and grabbed me by my shirt as he pinned me to the locker.

       "What did you say to Zac?" he rasped. His voice was deadly. It was calm, but at the same time I knew I would die if I didn't play my cards right. Truth is, I was scared shitless.

       "I know what you're trying to do, and it won't work," he said, before I could answer. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Kayden's eyes were shifting colour. They were turning a shade of grey, instead of their usual blue, as he continued. "People thought they could use me back where I came from, but I learned to work against that. Maybe you think I'm an idiot. I'm not being arrogant, but I see these things. As long as I'm one step ahead, it's not a threat. Everyone is free to try what they want."

       At that moment I felt like I was going to piss myself. His eyes tore through me like blades of ice.

       "But, I will not forgive anyone who tries to hurt Zac. Trust me, it will be the last thing you do," he said fiercely. 

       Kayden released me and began to walk away. My heart was pounding. For sure, I thought I was going to die. I fixed my shirt and watched him walk away.

       "You can have anyone you want, you know?" I called out to him. He stopped but didn't turn around. "What's so great about Zac?"

       He still didn't bother turning around. He looked straight ahead, looked up, and sighed. "A guy like you wouldn't understand. Zac is the only one who understands me, who knows me and loves me for who I am. He's the only person who would stay with me, even though I have nothing he could use."

       Without another word, Kayden walked off.




       "Did you find your book?" Zac asked me by my bike.

       "No, I must have left it at home." I smiled to him and asked, "Want to go by my house?"

       His smile brought calmness to my heart.

       I don't know what Brad said to you, Zac, but I'm gonna crush whatever doubts he put in your mind. I'll make you feel amazing tonight...

       I started my bike and we took off. I felt Zac's grip tighten around me. Again, I thanked God for giving me Zac.




       "We need another party," Shin said while we all just sat around.

       "What the hell you talking about?" Scott grumbled. "We just went to Hilary's party last week, you idiot."

       "Yeah, but I didn't get drunk," Shin replied.

       "You're pathetic, you know that?" Scott said to him.

       Shin just smiled his signature smile; the one he knew would piss Scott off more.

       It had been a good few weeks and a bit since Brad had told me off. I had let that incident upset me for a while, but with Kayden close to me, and both of us knowing we care deeply for each other, I soon got over it. Nothing Brad could ever say would make me feel any less for Kayden. Brad never sat with us after that incident with me. I didn't tell anyone about that, and I didn't even give Kayden the details. I didn't want them to get upset with Brad. To me, Brad is just a sad guy. Scott was right -- he is spoiled. Since he's so used to getting everything he wants, Kayden's faithfulness probably pissed him off, big time.

       "What're you thinking?" Kayden whispered to me as he took my hand in his under the table.

       "Nothing," I said, "just tired."

       Jett heard what I said and stepped in, "You're tired? I played the most important game last night. Every bone in my body is aching. We won, though," he beamed.

       "Yeah, sorry about not being able to make it, man. Kayden and I had a science test today. I don't know if our studying did anything, though. Our teacher is whacked," I told him.    

       "The only science going on yesterday at Kayden's house was the exchange of bodily fluids," Shin joked.

       Everyone burst into laughter and Kayden and I just shook our heads. We looked at each other and smiled. I could read his mind.


       Shin wasn't completely wrong. There had been a different kind of chemistry going on, but we made sure we studied, first.

       "That was a good game last night," Lenne commented. Maya was saying something to Scott and they smiled knowingly at each other. "Brad was almost kicked out of the game, again."

       "That guy is something else," Mai joined in. "He's always picking fights on the ice. He only wins half of them. I wonder why he's being so distant. I thought he was fitting in a bit with us."

       I didn't say anything, because I had nothing to say, but the mention of Brad's name had Scott going off on a tangent on why he didn't like the guy.

       "He's definitely aggressive, and he's a good player, but he wants to be the center of attention way too often," Jett added.

       Everyone silently agreed.

       "Oh, are you working today, Zac?" Jett asked. "I might come by, later."
       "Yeah, I am, but don't be bothering us. Sally gets angry at Nikki and me when you come over."

       "What?" Jett said, as if he were innocent. "I can't visit my girlfriend?"

       "That's okay, but you can't be taking up an hour of her time, man," I reminded him.

       Jett had been dating Nikki for a few weeks. I guess he finally gave up on his Lenne chase. It was funny for a while, seeing Jett asking her over and over again, and Lenne denying him each time.

       "Okay, I won't stay long. Kayden, want to come?" he asked, turning to my boyfriend.

       "Yeah, sure."

       "Great! I have practice after school, though, so I'll call you when I'm done," Jett said.

       "You have practice today?" Scott asked. "You guys played a game just last night."

       "Yeah, there's no rest for us. Since we won, Coach thinks we have a chance. Our next game is Wednesday, and he wants to go over a few things with us. It'll be more like a team meeting than a practice session."

       The bell rang and we all got up; classes were about to begin.




       Coach gave us a few words of wisdom, and then he turned his attention to me. He asked me to say a few words to the guys. I really hadn't expected that, but I did the best I could, and I think it went well. After my little speech, the whole room busted out in roars and cheers. I was surprised, but I felt a rush in me like I do before a game, only it was ten times more intense.

       The coaches and trainers then did one-on-one talk sessions with the players. Trainers are good at showing us our weaknesses and helping us strengthen them. I was one of the first ones, but Coach really didn't have much to say to me. He told me to keep up the good work, so that others would take after me. I felt mighty good, but I didn't want it to go to my head.

       "Jett, I need to get some things for you before you go. Your mother called me for some things she brought to the team party the other week. I have the stuff in my car. Can you hold on for about 15 minutes?" Coach asked me.

       "Yeah, sure, I was going to go shoot the puck around, anyways," I told him. "Just come get me after you're done here, coach."

       "Get going, boy," he said, nodding.


       There are only two places in the world where all my problems seem to disappear, where I can focus on one particular thing and basically reflect on myself. Zac has his roof, as dangerous as it is. Scott has his own place, which only Zac seems know about, and Shin has his attic where he can draw. For me, it's a small patch of land where Shin, Scott, Zac and I used to hang out every afternoon. It was like we had a little fort, without the fort. Other than that, I also have my hockey. Sometimes I just like skating; other times I like shooting the puck. It might be stupid, but I sort of create these scenarios in my mind where the winning goal is up to me. Where everyone is cheering and my friends are all on the edge of their seats. I get the rush I really love, and at the end of my session, I feel a sense of tranquility I never seem to find anywhere else. I can get so caught up in the moment that I don't realize how much time has passed.

       "How much longer are you going to be here?" someone asked.

       I turned towards the voice and saw Brad. It was pretty funny; he was in the penalty box, a place he was quite familiar with.       

       "Just until coach calls me. He has things to give me for my mom," I told him.

       "Coach left like thirty minutes ago," Brad laughed.

       I looked at the time and noticed it had been over an hour since I had started. I skated over to where Brad was. "Damn, I guess he forgot. Why are you still here?"

       Brad rolled his eyes. "Coach bitched me out. I didn't feel like going home yet, and I noticed you were here. I've been sitting here for over fifteen minutes, man. Damn, you smell great."

       Brad's being gay didn't bother me. "What're you talking about, man? This is pure body odor. I smell rank right now."

       Brad stood up and walked towards me, taking a big whiff. "Not to me. Smells pretty fucking manly."

       I laughed. "Whatever, man. I'm gonna hit the showers. I didn't realize what the time was. I was supposed to call Kayden to pick me up. Damn, he must be waiting at home for me to call."

       "Well, get to it," Brad grinned. "Wash off all that sex appeal."
       No matter what Scott said, I liked Brad. He was funny, a bit on the self-centered side, but he was a good player. Sometimes he even boosted team morale when things were down. A few words from me and a few words of arrogance from Brad, and our team was leaking adrenaline.


       I let the hot water hit me. I flinched for a second because suddenly I felt my back muscles tighten. I let the water warm my body before I let it run through my hair. Hot water is the best. The hotter, the better. I stood under the shooting jet for another few minutes. I could have stayed there all day, but I had things to do. I opened my eyes and went for the soap. As I lathered up, I noticed I wasn't alone.

       Brad stood at the shower entrance, naked as the day he was born.

       "Hey, man, didn't see you there," I said to him.

       He smiled and walked up and turned on the shower beside mine. I hadn't expected him to come into the showers, because I didn't think he needed one.

       "You're a complicated guy, Jett."

       "What do you mean by that?"

       "Well, I did a little investigation on you, and the results were quite interesting," he said, showing a smile.

       I didn't like the look of that smile.

       "What's up, man?" I said seriously. "Something you need to say to me?"

       "Well, I just need to confirm a few things. You dated Rachel, Sarah, Millennia, Tina and Amy, didn't you? In that order, if I'm correct."

       I stared at him, wondering what was up. "Yeah... How do you know all of  that?"

       "It's hardly a secret, Jett. Everyone in our grade knows who you are. You're so modest about who you are that you draw even more attention. Everyone knows who you've dated."

       "I guess so... But why is that important to you?"

       "Because you never had sex with them, did you? Not even with Rachel or Millennia, who initiated the moves, right?"

       "And how the hell would you know that?" I asked, starting to get angry.

       "They weren't embarrassed to share that information with me. Girls like to talk, especially to a gay guy. So, why didn't you do anything with them, Jett?"      "Because I respect them. I made out with them and felt them up a bit, but nothing much else," I told him.

       I didn't know why I was telling him that. I only told that stuff to Zac.

       "Really? You sure it wasn't because you weren't attracted to them?"

       "Of course I was!" I shouted.

       "Okay, okay, calm down, boy. What is Zac to you?"

       That question caught me by surprise. "He's my best friend, Brad. Why do you care?"

       "Only your best friend? Not a secret crush?"

       I was totally caught off guard.

       How much does he know?

       "I'll take your silence as your answer. I guess I was right."

       "Zac's my best friend, he's like a brother to me," I told him flatly.

       "Really?" Brad said, moving closer to me. He began touching my chest. Electricity ran from his fingers and trembled throughout my body.

       "Stop it," I told him.

       "You mean this?" he whispered, as he brushed his fingers over the sensitive parts of my chest. I felt myself release a groan, and my eyes involuntarily closed.

       "I have a girlfriend..." I tried to say.

       "Is that why I caught you so many times checking me out?" he whispered. "I know what you want, Jett... It's not girls, is it?"

       I couldn't move; I was paralyzed.

       "And they were right. You are a big boy," Brad said, biting my ear. "You can push me away anytime, man. You can still walk away."

       But I couldn't; I was trapped. My body wouldn't move.

       "All right, then, let me show you what a guy can do with his mouth," he whispered into my ear.

       I was trapped. I couldn't fight him. I gave in to physical need.




       "Where've you been, man?" I asked Jett over the phone.

       "Yeah, umm, sorry about that, Kade. I was a bit sidetracked. Still want to go?" he asked.

       "Sure. I'll drop Zac home on my bike after he gets off. Nikki can probably give you a lift."

       "That sounds good, man, I'll be ready in like ten minutes."


       Jett looked a bit off when I pulled up. He didn't seem like himself, and I could tell something was up.

       "You okay?"

       "Yeah...just tired. Sorry for making you wait," he apologized gravely.

       "Hey, it's no biggie. It's your first time on my bike. People tend to get cold feet," I said, attempting a joke.

       He laughed, but it was polite, and not the same laugh he would normally give. It seemed forced.

       I didn't waste any time. Something was wrong, and I could tell it wasn't anything to do with me. I stepped back, hoping maybe he would tell Zac.


       "There you guys are!" Zac said as he walked towards us. "What took you so long?"

       " was my fault. I stayed later at the rink than I had planned on," Jett said.

       Zac looked at me and I could tell he understood that something was wrong.

       "Where's Nikki?" Jett asked.

       "Inside. She went to the washroom. We're done now, so we can prob-" Zac didn't finish. Jett brushed passed him and went into the Tim Hortons.

       "What was that about?" Zac asked, after Jett went inside.

       "Don't know, but something is bothering him," I said. "I wonder why he had to go see Nikki right away. He was happy this morning, but this... Wait! You don't think he's going to break up with her, do you?"

       "That's possible, but Jett never breaks up with a girl unless she's ignoring him. He would break up with one if she cheated on him, but that yet has to happen to him. And only once did he break up with a girl because she was avoiding him."

       "You think maybe Nikki..."

       "Kade, I know you mean well, but don't go there, man. Remember the last time you made assumptions about her?"

       "Ah, that's true," I replied. "Sorry."

       "Jeez, I just want to kiss you right now!" Zac whispered.

       I grinned and his smile beamed.

       "Quit flirting, you two," Jeff said as he walked up to us.

       Jeff still worked with Zac and Nikki. For some odd reason, their boss always put the three of them on the same shift.

       "We weren't flirting," Zac said, defending himself.

       "Righhht..." Jeff winked.

       A horn blared as an old Chevy pulled up, driven by Jeff's boyfriend.

       "Adios, I'll see you tomorrow, Zac. Bye, Kayden. Have fun, you two," Jeff said before getting into the car.

       We said our goodbyes and waited for Nikki and Jett.

       After about ten minutes, they finally appeared. I noticed Nikki's eyes were a little puffy and strained. She had definitely been crying.

       "Hey, you okay?" Zac asked her.

       "Uh huh, just had something in my eye. I'll see you guys later, okay? I need to go home," she said, and then walked off.

       "But what about ice cream?" Zac called out.

       She didn't turn around, but she answered with a shaky voice, "Another time, Zac."

       She left the three of us in total silence.

       "I broke up with her," Jett whispered.

       The shock wasn't as great to me as it was to Zac.

       "What? Why?"

       "She's too good for me. She deserves better than scum like me," Jett said, looking away.

       "No way!" Zac said. "You mean, you..."

       "Zac, I'm not proud of it, okay? Just leave it alone. I need to clear my head. I'm walking home." Jett turned to leave.

       "You can't walk home! It'll take you two hours, at least. Jett!" Zac called out to him as he walked away. 

       I grabbed Zac's shoulders to stop him from following Jett.

       "Zac, he needs some time alone. I'm sure he's feeling bad about what he's done."     

       "We can't just assume he cheated on her!" Zac said, defending his best friend. "Maybe we misunderstood. Jett isn't like that."

       "You won't be getting anything out of him tonight, Zac. He's a destroyed guy right now. He couldn't even look at us. That shows how disgusted he is with himself. Be a friend and give him the space he needs until he gathers the nerve to face you again."

       Zac stared boldly into my eyes.

       "That's the best thing you can do for him right now. Come on, let's go."

       "Jett wouldn't do that. He's not like that. He'd never hurt a girl's feelings," Zac said, shaking his head.

       "I know, Zac. It's okay. Let me take you home and we'll talk about it, okay?"

       He just shook his head.

       I was upset, and I knew that Zac was worried about his best friend. I had recognized something in Jett's eyes, though. I saw a lost boy trying to find himself, the same way I had been all those years before I met Zac.




       "I broke up with Nikki on Friday," Jett said to us, after telling us he had something important to share. Everyone around the table fell silent.

       "I did something I shouldn't have, and I really regret it. I feel so shitty right now, but I made a mistake and I'll accept the consequences. I know you guys must think I'm dirt..."

       "Don't even start, man, `cause that's the last thing on my mind," Zac said, interrupting him.

       "What exactly did you do?" Lenne asked. "And why would we think you're dirt?"

       "Because I was dating Nikki and I betrayed her trust," he said, not looking at anyone.

       "You cheated on her!" Mai said.

       "Mai!" Maya whispered, trying to silence her.

       "What? He cheated. He's right; that is low. Just because he's sorry doesn't mean it was right," she replied to Maya. She turned to Jett. "Jett, what you did was despicable!"

       "Well, you can't blame him," Shin said, interrupting Mai by placing his arm around her. "He wasn't in love with her. He just enjoyed her company as a friend, right?"

       "What?" Zac said, turning to Shin.

       "Jett wasn't dating her because he was attracted to her, per se," I explained.

       Lenne seemed to get the idea. "You dated her because you wanted to have the 'girlfriend' status, didn't you?"

       I watched as the light bulbs clicked on over my friends' heads.

       "That's a cold way of saying it," Jett said, with a bit of a smile, "but it doesn't excuse what I did to her. She actually liked me."

       Lenne released a sigh and we all turned to her. "It's because I rejected you so many times, isn't it? I'm a horrible person."
       "Oh, shut up," Mai laughed as she pushed her friend.

       For the first time that morning, we all seemed to get a good laugh. Suddenly, Jett's problem didn't seem like such a bad one.

       "Who's the new girl, then? Is she hot? When do we get to meet her?" Scott asked, seeming really interested.

       Maya elbowed him, but he didn't budge.

       "I don't think anything will happen from this. It was just a one time thing."

       "Oh, my God! You slept with her!" Lenne almost screamed.

       Curious heads from all over the cafeteria turned in our direction.

       "Will you lower your voice? What I meant was, we just fooled around a bit. It's nothing," Jett explained.

       "Okay, back to Nikki, you would have broken up with her anyways, right?" Scott pointed out.

       "Eventually, yeah," Jett replied.

       "Well then, there you go. It's not like you played with her feelings. You found someone else, and you told her. You just got your timing all wrong. Next time you'll know not to fool around with a new girl before you've broken up with the old one."

       We all stared at Scott like he was an idiot.

       "So, if another girl comes along, you'll just give me the boot?" Maya asked calmly.

       "No... Well, you know I like you. That doesn't apply to us. Jett was just causal dating, nothing serious like us," Scott said, trying to smooth over his girlfriend.

       "Is that so? You say we're serious, but you haven't once told me you love me," Maya said with her head up.

       Scott went crazy in colours. Everyone was enjoying the scene.

       "I told you I..."

       "That you like me, but that isn't good enough, Scott," Maya said, smiling.

       Scott looked down and we waited for one of his excuses to pop up. When he looked up and saw all of us staring at him, he literally blew up.

       "Will you all stop staring at me!" he yelled.

       All of us burst out laughing and the other students again turned to us.

       "She's teasing you, Scott," I said, wiping a tear from my eye.

       "Well, shit..." he mumbled.

       It took us a little bit longer to calm down, but we eventually did.

       It was non-uniform day, a day in the month when the school allowed us to dress out of uniform. It was a pretty chilly day, and everyone was wearing nice clothes. I was wearing some of the clothes Zac and I had shopped for a while back.

       Zac was the sore thumb. He was wearing a wool sweater that looked really uncomfortable. It was red and blue, and it looked like some kind of uniform sweater, because it had a crest on the left chest area. I wasn't the only one to notice it.

       "Zac, care to explain your choice of clothing? I know you're preppy, but isn't that sweater kinda -- what's the word -- overboard?" Mai asked, grinning big.

       She was wearing a whole different style. Shin's cap, that was too big for her, was tilted to the side. She wore a huge Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, and jeans. She looked great, but she had her own Asian touch to it.

       "Shut up," Zac grinned. "My grandma gave me this sweater and I promised her I'd wear it. This is our family crest over here," he said, pointing to the crest. "I have to keep my promise. I only need to wear it once."

       "Yeah, but you could have worn it on a day when you wouldn't be seen all over school in..." Scott began.

       "Hey, why do I have center stage all of a sudden? Let's get back to why Scott can't express his feelings."

       We didn't. They stuck to the sweater up until the bell rang for class.




       How stupid. How can they all pretend to be a happy group of friends? It's all fake. It has to be. Friends are overrated. They're people who cling to you because they want something from you. That's the way it has been and that's the way it'll always be.

       I watched as Zac and his friends got up from their table.

       Zac Hunter, your days in the sun will soon be over.

       Jett is under my control. He's my pawn and all the pieces are in place. I do feel sort of bad about using him. He's a hot guy, with everything a gay boy could want. Looks, muscles, a cute ass. But he's too easy.

       I've never been denied, Kayden. Not until I met you. And I will have you. If I have to break up your friends, I will. If I have to tear the heavens, I will. If I have to fight God, I will.

       It's a shame about Jett, really. He can't be outted because everyone sees him as the perfect male jock. He has an image to hold up. Everything, his popularity, his happiness, it would all go down the drain if people thought he was gay. Why? Because of the world we live in. You can't be an athlete and be gay. Not one like Jett. People follow Jett because of the way he handles himself. He's a protector, the one everyone turns to for support. He can lead, but I can manipulate. And Jett is mine to mold.




       "Seriously," I said to Lenne, "what should we make movie of?"

       Lenne hummed to herself as if she were deep in thought. "I have no idea, but have you heard of some of the other groups' ideas? One is doing a commercial, and another is doing a public service announcement. Ours has to be original."

       "Well, I guess we can wait for Shin, Kayden, Jett and Scott. We can't decide without them, right?" I asked.

       "That's true, but we can try to come up with some ideas," she pointed out.

       We were on the bus to her house. Lenne and I, along with the others, are on a team of six for our term project in our communications class. Shin is going to contribute the 3-D Studio MAX introduction and conclusion for our presentation, Jett is equipment man, and Scott is the main audio and video editor. Scott also has the help of Shin. The rest of us are responsible for everything else.

       The other four were going to come later, but I took the bus directly to Lenne's house with her. I thought it would be easier that way.


       I stepped into Lenne's house and was not surprised to find the place filled with colour, flowers, and beauty.

       "You live here with your mom, right?" I asked.

       "Stepmom. She's actually my aunt, but I consider her my mom," Lenne explained.

       We walked into the living room, where I saw some pictures of Lenne and her mom.

       "She's really pretty," I said to Lenne, "and really young."

       "Yeah, she is. She's still single, too. She's thirty-one, I think."

       "Wow, same age as my dad."

       "Holy crap! Your dad started young, didn't he? Maybe we can hook our parents up, huh?"

       "I wish. My dad seriously needs to get laid," I joked.

       Lenne's head straightened up sharply, as if she had just recalled something.

       "Wait here!" she said urgently.

       Without another word, she tore up the stairs and went into her room.        I watched from the hallway and looked around.

       "I was right!" I heard her shout.

       "What?" I called back.

       She slowly walked down the stairs, staring at something in her hands.

       "I thought I had seen that sweater somewhere," she whispered as she looked up at me. She looked back at what she was holding, as she stepped towards me.

       She handed me a photo and I stared at it.

       "Where did you get this?"

       "My mom gave it to me before she died. These are my mom and my dad," she said, pointing to two people. "The other two are my aunt and her boyfriend."

       I swallowed dryly, afraid of what was coming, "W-what's your aunt's name?"

       "Diana. Why?"




Copyright July 2005      Ryan Keith



*Mystery cliffhanger chime*


       Sooo, what do you think? A crime isn't it, leaving you guys at a point like this. But you really can't complain. This was a long chapter! Lots of character development in this one. And a reasonable time did go by. You guys owe a lot to Aaron of The Mail Crew. My original script had events flying all over and time seemed to leap around way too fast. Thanks to his editing skills, he managed to make it all flow perfectly. So, big round of applause to the little dude.

       Apparently some people caught Aaron in the last chapter with a couple faulty things due to my part. Congrats guys, you can almost compare that to finding Waldo in an Olympic Stadium.

       I guess at this point the popularity points for some characters might be wavering. I can see Kayden points going up, and perhaps Zac staying the same. Shin seems to be the one character people don't really relate with. I think there was maybe two people who happen to like Shin the most because they actually knew someone like him. Scott is still a riot, so I guess he might go up a point or two for some of you. The girls are, well, girls. So they probably stayed the same. As for Brad, he's probably that bully you all hated in Elementary/High School that you couldn't do anything about. As I write the next few chapters, I notice Brad easily becoming one of my best characters. And now, for Jett. I know a lot of you love the guy, and this chapter probably shot an arrow through your heart. But like all humans, Jett has flaws too. A closeted teen, with lots of things to lose. So does his popularity increase or decrease? I can see some people hating him for what he did, but I can also see a lot of sympathy points going out to him. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. So guess what! New Topic of discussion! E-mail me and tell me about it!

       I guess one way to interact with you guys would be to suggest topics to discuss after each chapter. Who knows, this might be a new thing. We might even start a newsgroup if people get into it enough. Gotta run it by TheMailCrew though.

       By the way, I've added a new photo in the Kayden Photo Gallery. Now you have your unofficial Brad photo. Can find it at:


Anyways, take care dudes, and don't fall off the edge of your seats.


Ryan out! Peace!