I want to thank everyone who has read the story. I also want to thank those who have emailed. It means a lot hearing from you. Please continue reading! There is a lot more to come. I own all rights to this story.

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None of the characters are based on real people nor are they meant to resemble any living or dead people.

This story contains some adult language as well as sex, or some hints of sex. I cannot promise that there will be sex in each chapter, but if you find my writing to be offensive or distasteful in any way, you're visiting the wrong website and need to move on.

Copyright 2013, 2014, 2015,2016

 

Love Me

Chapter 11 Seeing You

It's early on a Tuesday morning and Jared is already up and working in his office. Around 6:30 in the morning there is finally life in Caden's room. Caden decides to take a shower so he gets up and walks out of the room. Now the noise of Caden gets Jared's attention and he gets a little show. Last night, Caden went to bed and stripped out of all his clothes. Jared finds himself feeling aroused from the sight. Most of Caden's anatomy was on display. He didn't plan on the opportunity to turn on his friend but it happened. It is more fuel for Jared's feelings for his friend even if the current emotion is lust.

***

For three hours after the incident, Jared is incapable of erasing the image. He tries blocking it out so he can work without being distracted but nothing is working. The image will just have to linger until he can deal with it after he gets off work. His reaction to it will just have to wait also until he is off the clock or until he goes to bed tonight. He grows weary of being without Caden more fully in his life.

***

The first bullet on Caden's "to do" list is getting his brother in school. By some twist of fate, Jared's place is in the same school system that Riley was a student in prior to the incident at home. He's hoping it will be in some way a transition getting him back into school. He's been trying to keep the administration up to date on everything that has happened. He's been working sort of behind the scenes so that when the time came to get Riley into school, everything would be ready. The academic plan is already in place. All of his brother's needs have been put into place. Now, he needs to get him into school.

"Hello, Tylerville East High School, how can I help you?"

"Hi, my name is Caden Bishop. My brother, Riley Bishop, is a student at this school but he was hurt several months ago and has received a traumatic brain injury. I want to get him back into school."

"Okay, let me pull up his information."

"Has the home address changed?"

"Yes it has. I will bring in documentation when I come in today. I hope everything else is in place so that he can start with the new semester."

"I believe everything is in place. His new teacher has his IEP typed up and in the office. You are really going to like her."

"Based on the meeting last month, she is incredible."

"If there is nothing else, I will see you soon. By the way, when do you think you'll be coming into building?"

"I hope to be there within the hour but it maybe two hours."

"Okay, talk to you soon."

A fine pencil line crosses out the item on the "to do" list. Caden is happy with himself for finishing that. Now he wants a few seconds to just relax.

***

While Caden is busy on the phone, Jared begins writing his blog for the day. He's doing well and still focused on the blog. His goal is just getting through this post so that he can move on to another project. Normally, the writing process is not labored but today there is lust on the mind. Caden won't leave his mind. This image is burning into it. The fire is burning elsewhere too, but there is work to be done. There is no denying it, Jared is horny. If he can finish work, then he can spend time with Caden and Riley, and he can also maybe take care of the fire. Life is a little richer with them in his life, however work has never faced so many distractions. Despite the onslaught of the memory of Caden's nude body, he's able to get back to work.

***

While he is working, Riley walks into the room. He sits on the floor and watches Jared work on his computer. Jared is use to these visits from Riley. He usually comes into the room, asks for a pencil and paper, and then sits and draws. At the end of Jared's work day around noon, Riley has sat for an hour in the room. Riley looks at Jared and then looks at the computer.

"Jar-ed can...can I ge-t a...a com-puter?"

Jared looks at Riley and tries to come up with the best response that he can. Before he can answer, he hears "Riley, we'll see about a laptop okay?" Riley smiles as he turns his head to his brother.

"O-O-okay."

Riley is satisfied with the answer and goes to his bedroom. He has left Jared and Caden to relax.

"I'll get him a laptop."

Jared didn't fight Caden over who was going to buy the laptop.

***

They step out of the computer room as the phone in Caden's pocket goes off surprising him.

"Hello boss, what's going on today?"
"I have a surprise for Riley and I hope you won't get upset, but I got him a puppy.

Caden isn't sure about having a puppy so there is only one thing to do.

"Jared, my boss got Riley a puppy. What do you think?"

Jared doesn't answer with words instead he gives him a big thumbs up.

"I think Riley is going to be really happy. Thanks **."

Caden is beaming at the moment because he knows that Riley is going to love this puppy. Assuming that the puppy likes him, all is good.

`He's going to go nuts.'

"I'll have the puppy there in an hour."

"Cool!" Caden can't believe this, he hopes the puppy will help pull Riley out of his shell a little more. He also hopes the puppy will help Riley be a little bit more active.

***

As the trio are going about their day, a red car pulls up into the driveway. Caden's boss gets out of the car with a pet carrier held in his left hand. He approaches the front door and sets the carrier down on the porch. As the puppy whines, he knocks on the door and then waits for someone to answer it. Jared stands up to respond to the knocking. Opening the door, he is greeted by Mr. **.

"Hi, is Caden here? I've got a present for a certain teenager."

"Yeah he's here, come on inside and I'll get the crew into the living room."

Jared disappears as he goes to find Cade and Riley. He comes back into the room with his two room-mates in tow.

"Mr. ** has a surprise for you. What is that in the pet carrier?"

The whole room can hear the puppy crying, but that doesn't stop Riley from looking in it. The biggest smile breaks out across his face. He tries to open the crate, but he only manages to excite the puppy.

"Op-en ple-ase."

Riley doesn't care who opens it as long as it's opened. Caden reaches down and opens the crate and immediately the puppy comes running out. It made a beeline for Riley. The puppy is a white husky with bright blue eyes. Riley and the dog are playing and enjoying each other's company. The fact that Riley is happy and smiling makes everyone else in the room happy. Riley is lost in puppy kisses and the dog is lost in its playing with his new friend.

***

A little later when Riley is recovered from the excitement of getting the puppy, Caden decides to go to the park. The puppy for the time being is back inside the carrier. The housemates all walk down to the park for some exercise. Sadly, people still stare at Riley and it makes Caden and Jared feel bad for him.

`If only they knew why he walks this way.'

Caden moves a little closer to his brother. Jared scans the sidewalk for obstacles that might trip Riley. All the young man wants is for the adults to give him a chance to be free.

"Can...can we sw-ing?"

"Sure." Caden says as the group makes their way to the swings. Holds the swing for his brother while Jared makes sure that he is up on the swing and holding on to the chains. They spend fifteen minutes with him on the swing and just enjoying his laughter and smiles.

"I'm...done. I...am hun-gry."

They help get Riley off the swing and then head for home. Caden knew that the trip to the park would be short and that is okay as long as Riley enjoyed himself. Maybe next time, they can spend some more time outside.

***

Before starting dinner, Jared's phone rings and it's his mom calling. Knowing what he has to say to his mom, Jared moves to the office.

"Sorry Mom, what's up?"

"Nothing, I was calling you since you didn't call me."

It's just like his mom to throw guilt at him.

"So is there anything new?"

As he gets ready to speak, the image of Caden's body lights up again. He hopes that his body will behave while he talks with his mom.

"Well, I saw Caden naked this morning and Riley got a puppy."

She chuckled a little at the thought of her son's face when he saw Caden nude.

"And?" She didn't understand what the problem was with him seeing his friend nude.

"Well, now I have a bigger problem because I have this picture in my head of him naked."

It's burning hotter and hotter every second that this picture remains on his mind.

"Take a cold shower and you'll be fine."

"Mom really."

He's a bit shocked that his mother would say something like that about the situation.

"Yes, really aren't you the one who told me about the issue in the first place?"

His mom is right about that, he did tell her about the issue. Maybe, it shouldn't have been said, but the stress made it slip out.

"Look Jared, I think you should just deal with it, and tell him."

`I'm not entirely sure that is in the plans for now.'

"You're right, maybe I shouldn't have said anything because this is getting way dark."

A laugh can be heard over the phone from his mom.

"Just tell him, okay."

Jared knows that until Caden hears it from his lips that he'll suffer in silence.

"I need to go honey. I mean it, you really need to tell him."

"Mom, you've said that a thousand times. I got it. Bye, I love you."

With his mom ending the call, he opens the office door and heads for the kitchen.

***

When Jared gets into the kitchen, he decides to get out the pizza crusts for dinner. As he opens the pizza crust's bags, an idea hits him out of nowhere.

`Why not have Riley help make the pizzas?'

Opening the fridge, he pulls out all the ingredients he needs and then those needed from the pantry. He opens all the cans, washing and chopping the vegetables, frying up the sausage, and opening up the pepperoni, and when everything is ready, he puts them into bowls or placed out on plates. All that is left now is to get the help in here to put these together.

"Riley, come here dude. I need your help in the kitchen."

It takes a couple of minutes for the teen to enter the room. Riley smiles as he looks at the pizza sauce and all the toppings.

"Pi-zza?"

"Yes, and you are going to help me make one."

"I...I am?"

"Yes, you are now let's make a pizza."

Jared grabs a ladle off the counter. He puts the ladle in the young man's hand.

"Now get some sauce in that ladle."

Jared points to the sauce while Riley reaches down with the ladle to get some. With some extra help from Jared, Riley manages to get sauce in the ladle. Riley pours the sauce onto the crust and then watches as Jared ladles up some sauce, who pours it out over the crust and then smears it around until the crust is covered with sauce. Riley copies the actions of his older friend. It's not as nice of a job as Jared's but it will do. Jared looks at Riley as he reaches for the grated mozzarella cheese. He helps guide Riley's hand as the cheese gets scattered across the crust. He's enjoying this time with Caden's brother. He wonders if this feeling is what his dad felt when they cooked or just spent time with him. Even Riley seems to be enjoying the pizza making. The guys sprinkle sausage and lay down some pepperoni on their pizzas. Next, they lay down the onions and green peppers.

"Good job my friend."

"Th-anks Jar-ed."

Riley is smiling and at the brink of laughter. You won't see any mushrooms on these pizzas because someone in this house doesn't like mushrooms. Only thing left to do is pop the pizzas into the oven. Jared handles this part of the pizza making.

"When...when done?"

"I'll tell you buddy."

Riley nods and smiles, and then goes off and looks for the puppy.

During the pizza making Caden was reading a blog on his laptop. He hears his brother and Jared talking in the kitchen and he gets up to see what's they're up too. What he sees makes Caden glow. His dad never cooked, but his mom would let him help bake cookies when he was younger.

`Jared is amazing with him. Why haven't I seen this before now? I also can't believe that Riley is being so good with this pizza making.'

There isn't a crush or love's warm fuzzy feeling for Jared but there is something. Maybe, it's just the fact that Jared is being kind to his brother. At this point, Jared might be a good distraction for Caden.

***

The timer on the pizza goes off and Jared calls everyone to dinner as he sets the table. Riley enters the room first and stares at the pizzas.

"The...piz-za looks go-od."

"You made them didn't you?"

"Ye-ah." Riley said as looks at his handiwork.

"Then, they have to be good."

Riley smiles and sits down at his spot around the table. Caden comes into the dining room and smiles when he sees the pizzas.

"Are...are you hun-gry?"

Caden turned to his brother and gave him a big smile.

"Yes, I'm hungry. Are you hungry?"

"Duh." Riley says as Caden sits down at the table. Jared slices up the pizza and then passes out the slices.

"Jar-ed, do you...like pizza?"

"I love pizza."

Riley picks up his pizza and starts chowing down on it.

"Did you get a lot done today?"

Caden asks Jared just as he takes a bite of pizza.

"Yeah, I got quite a bit done but I was distracted so I could have got more done, but it's okay."

Caden's worried that Riley might be the distraction that Jared mentioned. He dismisses the idea because Jared wouldn't let Riley be a distraction.

"Jared, did...did...have a puppy?"

Jared doesn't know where that came from but he'll answer it anyway.

"Yeah, I had a couple of puppies growing up."

Things were quiet until Caden coughed.

"Are you okay?"

Jared is worried that his friend might be choking.

"I'm fine, my water went down the wrong pipe."

`I...I want my...my bro-ther to...to speak up.'

Riley starts staring at Caden. Someone has got to get them talking.

"Jar-ed, you...you like...me?"

Jared is stunned by the question.

"Course I do, you are the best."

Caden gets that same warm feeling that he got earlier, when he saw them in the kitchen. Right now this feels right, the three of them eating around the dining room table.

"Jared, you...live...us...forever?"

For the first time all evening, Caden starts listening to what Riley and Jared are saying. The question catches Jared off guard.

"Buddy, I'm letting you guys live here until Caden finds you another place to live."

It sounds as if he does not intend to be with Caden.

`He...he...doesn't want us.'

Riley looks at Jared as his heart starts to break. Jared and Caden can both see the pain.

"I'm always going to be your friend and Caden's friend too. I will always be around even if we aren't living together."

Riley perks up a little as Jared spoke to him. There was no denying it, he was talking to Riley not Caden.

***

It's one of Caden's favorite time of day, when Riley and him talk. Another part of this ritual involves Caden reading to Riley. They started this tradition in the hospital with Caden reading skateboarding magazines to him. Now he's reading a teen sci-fi/fantasy novel to him. The guys are enjoying their time together and that is how it should be. As there winding the reading down, Riley looks at his brother as if wanting to ask him something.

"What's up buddy?"

"School?"

Caden and Riley have been discussing Riley going back to school. The closer the day comes, the more nervous the young man becomes.

"Yes, you have school coming up but you have one more day off so relax."

Riley isn't relaxing but at least Caden is here for him.

"Bedtime dude, I'll see you in the morning."

"Love...you...Caden."

Caden smiles and tells his brother "Love you too." Caden turns the light out and heads for the living room. After saying good night to Riley, he usually writes in his journal but tonight he wants something a little different.

***

As Caden enters the living room, he discovers his friend looking at Caden's photo album. He looks over the shoulder of his friend.

"Do like my little memory book?"

Jared jumps in fright causing the photo book to fall.

"You jerk. I lost my place."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

Jared picks up the book and flips through the pages. He arrives at a section marked senior year. One of the pictures stands out to him. The picture was taken on the night of high school graduation. Caden is smiling is and dressed in his best suit. Jared's heart skips a beat or two.

"You look really handsome in that suit."

"Thanks." For some reason this compliment makes Caden blush a bit. Jared misses the signal to make fun of Caden. Jared did notice that Caden smiles in every single photo that he is in and he loves it.

"You are a bit stuck on yourself aren't you?

Most of the pictures in the album are all of Caden though there are pictures of the family, especially of Riley.

"I took what my mom would give me, then after the attack I put together more pictures so that Riley could work on his memory by gathering a bunch of family photos with my mom's permission of course."

Looking at Caden makes Jared smile. He's always been impressed by his compassion and the love that is shown by Caden for his brother.

"I guess I need to get to sleep. II have to be at the center tomorrow morning for a meeting."

"You need me to watch and hang with Riley?"

Caden gives him a thumbs up and signs "Thank you" to Jared.

"You're welcome dude."

Jared didn't need to be asked. He would watch Riley any day. Caden disappeared towards the bathroom.

***

As Caden is heading back to the living room he pauses outside Jared's room. All he knows is that Jared is talking to someone on his phone.

"Yes, I saw Caden tonight, but I see him every night.

Caden wishes he knew where this was headed and with whom his friend was talking too. Try as he might he can't pull himself away from the conversation. For some reason, he's glued to this spot.

"I promise, I'll tell him okay, now can we let it rest."

Enough had been said, he decided to head to bed. No need to over think what had been said by Jared.

***

As he is lying in bed, he writes in his journal about Jared.

`I don't know what was going on today but I swear at one point that Jared was flirting with me.'

There is no way that Jared would ever flirt with him because it could ruin their friendship. His friendship with Caden means to world to him.

`What is it that he has to tell me?'

Now his mind begins to race on what Jared wants to tell Caden.

`Maybe, he's finally got tired of my brother and me? Nah, that can't be, he loves Riley too much to throw us out on our butts. I'll have to keep you up to speed on whatever it is that he needs to tell me.'

Caden dreams of a day when someone wants to read his journal. He just isn't sure why anyone would want to read it.

***

The next day goes off without anything earth shattering taking place until the end of the day. Caden has started reading to Riley when he gets a phone call so Jared volunteers to finish the magazine article with him. When the article is almost done, Caden comes back into the room in his briefs. For the second day in a row, he gives his friend a view. Jared would rather not see his friend this way. It makes him want Caden but he can't have him in that way. Maybe soon, a scene like this won't egg his body on to frustration. With the article finished Riley smiles and says "Thank you." to Jared.

"You're welcome but I think I'll leave you two to talk, night Riley, good night Caden."

"Good...good night."

"Good night Jared."

He wishes that they didn't have to say good night. Once more, he goes to bed alone.

***

The next day finds Caden scurrying around the house in order to get Riley ready for School. It will be a first day unlike any he's had before in his life. Riley is not the same young man that he was prior to his attack. Mentally, he just isn't the same. His speech is slower and he often stutters. It's also not uncommon for him to get frustrated when he can't get the words out. There is no doubt that Riley is a smart kid, so he shouldn't have a drop in grades.

`Did I make the best decision for my brother?'

They have breakfast and Caden helps get them out the door.

"School?"

"Yes, Riley you have school today?"

You can see the excitement drain from Riley's face. The drive to school is going to be quiet or so Caden thinks.

"My...my friends are...there?"

"Yes, they are there."

Caden can count on his hands the number of kids who showed up at the hospital to see his brother. He's hoping that Riley's friends will be there for him. He knows at least one good friend will be there at school and will be happy to see him.

"You know who will be there at school?"

"Who?"

"Ryan is going to be there?"

Riley's eyes got big when his boyfriend's name was mentioned.

"I think he has your lunch hour if I'm not mistaken."

He didn't mention about Ian being there too, he's going to leave that as a surprise.

"Tea-cher...tea-cher nice?"

"She is very nice. Remember, we met her at the meeting."

Riley didn't say anything in response. He simply nodded his head.

"Pick...pick me...up?"

"Yes, I'll pick you up."

Riley looks a little unsure of his brother's answer. He is feeling very insecure at the moment. As they pull up to school, Riley freezes in his seat. Fear is keeping him there.

"Come on Riley, I need you to get out of the car."

Little brother gets out and with help and they head towards the building. Once at the door, Caden buzzes the door, tells the person who they are and what they want, and then they enter the school. They head right into the office. They stand in front of the front desk and wait for their turn to talk to the secretary.

"Can I help you?"

"Yeah, my brother is in Ms. Browning's room and this is his first day back."

She eyes Riley and instantly she steps away from the behind the desk.

"Riley, it's good to see you."

He looks at her but he doesn't recognize her. She backs off from him when she sees his reaction to her approach.

"Sorry, but after the attack his memory has been pretty bad. He even forgot who I was and there are still people he doesn't remember."

"Riley, I'm Mrs. Collins."

"Hi...hi." He said shyly extended his right hand to her. She shakes his hand and looks at his brother.

"Thanks for bringing him back to us."

"You're welcome."

Caden lights up when he hears her thanking him for getting Riley back to school. She returns to the other side of the front desk. Lifting the phone, she calls the classroom.

"Ms. Browning, your new student and his brother are here."

There is silence for a few seconds before she hangs up the phone.

"You can head down to the room."

She looks at a student sitting behind the front desk.

"Can you take them down to Ms. Browning's room?"

The student gets up and leads them down a long hallway. They stop where the hallway joins another long hallway.

"This is Ms. Browning's room, so I'll leave you here."

"Thanks." Caden says as the student turns back to the office.

***

Caden knocks on the classroom door. Riley peaks through the window in the door and sees the new faces in his class. Riley's trauma at the hands of his dad has left him feeling very shy around new people. He's not looking forward to going into that room, because he knows that Caden isn't staying. A lady, perhaps a few years old than Caden, opens the door with a big smile on her face.

"It's Riley, right?"

His teacher extends her right hand to shake his hand. At first, he pulls away from her but then he gives in and shakes her hand. . He smiles and says a faint hello.

"Ready buddy?"

Riley looks at Caden with eyes that look so sad.

"No...but...but I can...can do...this."

"High five it." Riley didn't want to high five his brother but he did any way.

`I'm going to like these guys.'

Ms. Browning is certain that Riley and Caden are going to make the year interesting in a good way. All she can do is smile.

"What time do I pick them up?"

"You can pick him up at 2:35 pm up front. One of my aides will be with him. I'll have some information for you then. I have your phone number just in case I need it so I think we're good."

"Okay then I will see you later."

Riley smiles as his brother walks away. He enters the classroom and is greeted by thirteen smiling faces. Caden is making a silent prayer so that Riley can have a good day. He returns to the office and drops off the visitor tag.

***

On the drive home, Caden stops at the ATM and takes out some money. Assuming that Jared is done with work or on break, he plans on taking him to breakfast. He wants to talk to him about the problem with Riley. Arriving at the house, he goes in search of his housemate. First stop the office, he peeks in only to find that Jared isn't in there. A couple seconds later the front door opens and in comes Jared from his morning run. Caden heads towards the living room. Jared is shirtless and sweating from his run and just wants a shower. He doesn't want to talk to Caden till he's freshened up a bit. The closer Caden gets to him the more self-conscious he becomes.

"Don't get any closer, I stink."

"Do you want to go out for breakfast?"

"Um." It means he would love to but not in his present condition. "Hurry up." Jared didn't need to be twice.

"I will babe. I mean, I will Caden."

`Did he just call me babe?'

It doesn't take him very long for Jared to get ready. Fifteen minutes later, Jared is done and he smiles at his friend.

"Ready to go?"

They head out and Caden drives to his favorite breakfast place. Exiting the car, they head into the restaurant. The hostess gets them seated, the waitress comes out, and takes their order. Caden is a little nervous. He believes that Jared is keeping something from him. He's right, Jared wants to ask him out but the time isn't right.

"How did Riley handle being dropped off?"

"At first, I thought he might cry but he was smiling when he walked into the room. I think he'll do fine."

"I had my fingers crossed for him."

"How was work this morning?"

"I took the day off."

He took the day off to be free so he can plan out tomorrow, the day he plans to ask his best friend out. He also wanted to take the day off so he could be there for Riley.

"Caden, you look worried. Are you worried about your brother?"

Caden has been worrying about this day for a long time. He is worried that Riley might be treated badly by his peers.

"Yeah, I am but he'll be okay. His teacher has my number so, if anything goes wrong, she can call me."

Jared feels relieved that Riley has someone watching out for him. Once the food is on the table, the guys quiet down a bit and focus on eating. When they are done, they leave letting their breakfast settle as they drive home.

***

A few hours later, Caden's phone chimed signaling a text message. Checking the message, he sees it's from Ms. Browning. She's requesting that he call so that he can talk to her about Riley. Riley had been rejected or teased by some kids at lunch. Caden was afraid that this, might happen.

`How do you prepare for him being picked on by his peers?'

Immediately, he calls the school and gets transferred to the room.

"Hello, Ms. Browning's room, how can I help you?"

"This is Mr. Bishop, I'm calling about Riley."

"Can you hold for a second?"

"Yes, I can hold."

He didn't want to be put on hold but he understands the need to at times. Caden looks over the house listings while waiting for Ms. Browning. One of the houses looks great but as he reads about it, he quickly puts it on his `no' list.

`Why am I even looking for a home?'

"Hi Mr. Bishop, I apologize for the delay. Are you calling in relation to your brother's lunch issue?"

"Yes, can you tell me what happened?"

A moment of silence, Caden doesn't like pauses like this, because they never end well.

"I allow my kids to sit where they want at lunch. Riley said he wanted to sit with some friends. It ended with him being called names and Riley in tears."

`No wonder, he was upset.'

"Is he doing better now?"

He hopes his brother has moved past the hate. No one should be treated the way he was, not by their friends.

"He's quieted down but Riley could use some reassurance."

Caden can understand his brother needing that reassuring talk.

"I'll talk to him. If he does want to sit with someone, there is a kid named Ryan ** whose befriended him. I know that he won't be mean to Riley."

"Okay, I'll see you later then."

"I will see you then, goodbye."

Caden heard the phone click and ends the call on his end. He's grateful for the way that his brother's teacher handled everything. Now to let Jared know , Caden doesn't think that he'll take it well.

***

Caden finds Jared outside shooting some hoops.

"Jared can we talk?"

Jared's mind instantly skips to the possibility of Caden and Riley leaving him. Caden's voice didn't sound happy so Jared assumed the worst. He sat the ball down and approached Caden.

"What's up?"

Caden explains the situation hoping for some input.

"So what do you think?"

"I think he needs his brother to let him know that he's okay. You need to listen, and I mean really listen, to him but don't give into him."

`Why is he telling me not to give into him?'

He does feel a whole lot better after talking with Jared.

"I'm talking with him as soon as I can."

Jared and Caden look at each other and he feels a tug on his heart. Caden is beginning to see another side to his best friend. He's realizing that Jared might be a good candidate for a boyfriend. It's just too soon after Ethan to have someone in his life. Right now, he needs to be focused on his brother.

***

Caden is working in his bedroom on a proposal for an event at the center, when the alarm goes off on his phone. The noise from his phone signals that it's time to pick up his brother. Jared also shows up ready to pick up Caden's little brother. Caden grabs his keys and they go out to the car. Jared has missed his shadow being around as he worked. The ride back home is going to be an interesting one. The mile to school seems to creep by as they head to pick up Riley. When they arrived at school, Caden pulls around to get his spot in the pickup line. It doesn't take long for him to move up. Riley's face lights up when he sees his brother's car. When Caden gets out of the car, he practically jumps for joy.

"This...this...is...Caden."

He says as he grabs his brother's hands.

"Hey Buddy."

The aide that is with him smiles as he hears the love shared by the brothers.

"Nice to meet you, I'm Mr. Harrison, one of the aides in Riley's class. Mr. Browning has some papers in his backpack that she needs you to sign and send back with him to school on Monday."

"I'll have them ready. Thanks for helping him out today."

"You're welcome."

Caden shakes hands with Mr. Harrison before going to the car. Riley waves goodbye to the aide as they get into the car. The minute the car door closes, Caden begins to question his brother.

"Riley, how was your day at school?"

"It was...was...not...not...fun."

Caden is pretending that he doesn't know about what happened to his brother at lunch.

"What was so bad?"

"Friends, they...they were...were...me-an. Call-ed me...me...names."

"That hurt huh buddy?"

"Yeah...yeah it felt...bad"

Riley's face changed from that of a happy teenage boy to a teenager who was sad and had his heart ripped out of his chest. Hearing him speak those words and seeing his face, made the older guys upset.

"Did you see Ryan?"

Jared knows that having Ryan around always seems to liven the teen up.

"No..., I...didn't see...him."

"Riley, I can't make those kids like you, but I will always be here for you.

Riley smiles at his brother as the words "Thank you" leave his mouth. Not wanting to feel left out, Jared speaks up "Same here".

The problem seems to have melted away. The car is once again filled with happy guys.

***

Everyone is home and enjoying what is left of the day. Riley is in his room doodling when Jared walks into the room.

"Hey Riley, you know how you've been bugging me about asking your brother out?"

At first Riley looks totally confused but then Jared's words make sense and he perks up.

"Yeah."

"Well, I am asking Caden out tomorrow. I thought I would let you know."
"I...I...hope...yes."

Jared knows what he means even with the left out words and broken grammar. Caden's going to get the surprise of his life tomorrow. All Jared and Riley can do is smile. The question is what happens if Caden says no.

***

Hey, Chuck here, if you liked this story (or even if you didn't), feel free to email me at: Hnstskr4@aol.com. I will do my best to answer all emails in a timely manner.

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