Loving You, Loving Me

Chapter 14

Thanks to Sterling for editing.

What follows is a work of fiction. The story revolves around teenage gay males and includes sexual and other contents that may be offensive to some. If you think this might be the case, or if you are under the legal age in the area where you live, please do not read any further. Any resemblances to persons, names, or places are unintentional and mere coincidence. Please respect my efforts in writing this, and do not copy or reproduce any part of the story without my permission.

Happy reading!

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Amid the falling snow

Eithne Ni Bhraonain (Enya)
Copyright 2005 Warner Music Intl.

How I remember sleepless nights,
when we would read by candlelight,
and on the windowpane outside
a new world made of snow.

A million feathers falling down,
a million stars that touch the ground:
so many secrets to be found
amid the falling snow.

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Drifting, drifting, drifting white snowflakes fell like fragile little petals of cherry blossoms. Delicate petals fluttered in the air and melted away into the surroundings the very moment it landed on the waiting earth below. Each flake fell differently, some twisting and turning like an elegant ballerina in mid-air, others silently swerving and swaying in the cold like a slow falling leaf. Some were the size of fine glittering dust, others clumped together like crusty breadcrumbs. But they all moved with the gentle touch of the soft wind, and showered two boys trudging together through the snow in a dazzling display of a winter's lead show.

"We're almost there."

"Seems like it's taking forever to get there."

"Well, you know what they say. The longer it takes, the more rewarding it'll be once we get there." I took a quick glance behind us. A trail of our footprints was imprinted in the snow, following into the distance. Even in the falling snow they were clear, firm and visible. I thought to myself how far we had come together, and wondered where we were heading. The snow crunched beneath our feet, the noise at times embarrassingly loud in the magical stillness surrounding us.

"I sure hope so," Leo said, as I felt the ends of my fingers unexpectedly find shelter in the warmth of his soft palm. I looked at him, admiring the smooth contours of his face, and the soft strands of his fair hair wrapping around his ears and dangling on his forehead.

As if he felt my silent appreciation of his fine features, his eyes met mine and winked. I blushed. His hand squeezed my fingers ever so slightly, like he was trying to tell me there is nothing to be embarrassed about. My fingers snuggled in deeper in his palm. "You're so cute when you blush like that."

I felt my face go even redder, and my insides tingled and quivered. I looked down at my feet like a coy boy who was unsure what to say. Our feet moved in perfect, synchronised harmony, each stride and step forward identical in every way, like our minds and movements were somehow miraculously conjoined at a higher level. "I'm cute?"

"So cute and oh so sweet," he grinned as he lifted my hand to his lips and gently gave my trembling fingers a quick peck. My cheeks warmed even more in the shower of snow and flattery, and my chest felt like it was filled with flighty and fluttering butterflies.

"I guess you're not too bad either," I said cheekily, though deep down I was really lost for words that could describe the way I felt towards him, towards his beauty, perfect face, and presence.

"Oh, you guess," he said disappointedly and pouted his lips like an innocent sad puppy.

"Now, that's cute!" I said, bursting out in a little giggle while my free hand reached over to brush his soft cheek with a finger. Just as I was about to lower my finger, he turned his face and his lips parted and enclosed themselves around it. Slightly unsure of his intentions, I looked at him to see his eyes temporarily and softly shut. I felt his tongue explore the surface of my finger. A sudden surge of eroticism reverberated, and the effects of it were felt throughout my body, nowhere more poignant than in my crotch.

He opened his eyes again, his lips releasing my moistened finger which involuntarily hovered around his face. "Be careful where you put your finger, Dave. Or anything else for that matter." White fog drifted from between those sensual lips with heat that seemed to melt the snowflakes in the surrounding area. Again he tightened the warm embrace of his palm on my other hand.

"I'll try to remember next time," I said smiling. Deep down, I was imagining the many other ways my fingers could venture onto his body and explore every single inch slowly and softly. The `risk' he just warned about was well worth it. The deserted street, the very street I had walked up and down before on so many occasions, alone, did not feel so empty after all.

At the door I fumbled for and fished out the keys from my pocket. Just as I was about to insert it into the keyhole, Leo nervously said suddenly: "Are you sure about this, Dave? I mean, I feel like I'm intruding. Maybe you should've asked before having me over."

I turned and looked at him, and answered: "You're right. Maybe you should go, and come back after I ask Kitty if it's alright for you to come over." A mischievous grin surfaced uncontrollably.

"Oh! Yeah, right. You live alone. How could I forget that?" he said, as he scratched the back of his head.

"Come on," I said as I pushed the door open and pulled him by the arm into the house. "It's so cold out there, let's get in quickly and get ourselves warmed up". I turned on the light, and a soft yellow glow immediately lit up the corridor. The walls were white, but in a shade that was not too blindingly bright, but had a slight hint of pale creme so that even the narrow corridor that led to the rest of the house radiated with a feeling of warmth. We took off our shoes, one by one, in an awkward moment of silence. It felt strangely liberating to free our feet.

The air sounded with the faint ringing of a bell, and at the far end of the corridor Kitty popped her head out from the corner of the kitchen door. She brushed her head and the side of her body against the wall as she meowed and slowly strutted over to us. Her steps were agile, her white paws, which against an almost completely black coating of fur always looked like she was wearing socks, made no noise as she tread nimbly on the navy blue carpeting.

"Oh, look! The other permanent member of my household!" I said, crouching down and extending my hand in the air, rubbing my fingers as I did. Seeing my hand, Kitty quickened her pace and soon started butting her head and body against my arm. "Kitty, I want you to meet a friend of mine," I said as I smiled at Leo who stood behind me, looking a little embarrassed, like he was still unsure whether he should be here, "Well, he's more than just a friend."

She purred and purred, and walked over to Leo's feet, her paws softly treading on his socks, while she brushed her face gently against the fabric of his black jeans. "She likes you, Leo. Normally she doesn't react like that around strangers."

As his unease faded and a smile slowly appeared, he too crouched down to stroke Kitty gently on the head. "She's really a sweet little creature. I wonder why she likes me straight away."

"I guess it's hard not to. I did too," I replied, feeling a little flustered and my heart beat faster by my direct admission. We were both crouched on the floor, face to face, our eyes and lips mere centimetres away from one another's. I tried to ignore the way the fabric of his jeans clenched around and clearly outlined his crotch. My hand reached over to stroke Kitty, and accidentally, or perhaps not so accidentally, as his hand combed the fluffy fur, it brushed against my fingers. The soft touch carried with it such intense emotions, which in turn triggered a hardening response. Kitty's bright eyes narrowed as she basked in the attention she was receiving. With the growing sound of her purring, her entire body vibrated in slow ecstasy.

"Oh, she's so lovable. I've only just met her, but I'm starting to fall in love with her already."

"You know, she really enjoys it when you rub her ears. Like this," I said, as my fingers gently massaged the soft cartilage of her upturned ears. As if I had found her erogenous zone, Kitty titled her head back and her purring became a low groan of pleasure.

Leo chuckled slightly at the sight, and he started to massage Kitty's ears. He was focused on the sweet, affectionate being between us that had, in such a short moment, captured both our hearts and minds. Now and then Leo threw quick glances at me, as if silently communicating to me how he was a little afraid that he might be hurting her. I smiled back, reassuring him that his gentle touch did nothing of the sort, and was instead a touch which was soothing, caring and had the magical ability to open up timid little creatures.

"I could do this all night," he said, in a voice that showed he was obviously enjoying this.

"What? Is the cat all you're going to be stroking tonight?"

"Well, I guess maybe there is someone else who needs just as much affection," he suggestively said, as he rolled his eyes and winked. I felt giddy, warm, and excited, my heart jumping and my stomach clenching at the subtle suggestion. My mind went on a flight of fantasy, random images and imaginary scenes splashing and rolling before me. My hand shivered as the tips of Leo's fingers unexpectedly slid across its surface.

His entire body leaned over, closer and closer. It was like there was an invisible but strong force of attraction between us, as his lips slowly sailed through the space separating us, and eventually docked and anchored on my lips. I had no time to react, and with eyes still wide open I tensed at first from the unexpected kiss. As soon as our lips met I realised again what it meant to be in save haven. My body relaxed and my mind started to float, aimlessly but blissfully. The tip of his nose rubbed against mine, while the lashes around his closed eyes looked so very delicate and fine.

Losing his balance, I felt his lips push harder against mine. He snorted and suppressed a small laugh just as the entire weight of his body collapsed on me and pushed me back against the wall. Kitty swiftly leapt to the side and out of the way as our bodies uncontrollably fell over one another. Amid laughter I light-heartedly said: "You just can't get off of me, can you?"

"No, I'm afraid not," he answered as he straightened himself up before me on his knees. "You're just so irresistible, Dave." His hands clasped around my arms, and it was then that I realised we were still in our jackets. His eyes looked into mine, intense, sparklingly blue, and soft. The wafts of his breath brought life to the wisps of my hair, sending it dancing and lightly cuddling my forehead. The small damp dew from thawed snow on the black woollen fabric of his hat glittered in the light like precious diamonds.

"What can we do about that?" I asked, teasing, and continuing with this ridiculously cliche yet so very romantic exchange of words.

"I'm not sure. But first we need to get you out of these damp clothes," he answered as his hands started to unzip my jacket and, perhaps purposely, stroke my chest and stomach. I raised my hand and reached for his woolly hat. Tenderly I tugged it off of his head, and his hair livelily escaped its confinement and sprang into sight, dancing up and down a little in celebration. My mind and fingers yearned to run through that golden meadow, and experience the fine feel of his hair.

For a while we said nothing. He continued unzipping my jacket, as I started to unbutton his. Our hands and arms intertwined, our bodies so very close, and our mutual intentions and desires even closer. It seemed like a delicate moment, a meaningful moment as we sat on the corridor floor and undressed each other. Of course it was only our jackets that we were helping one anther take off, but I, or at least my over imaginative mind, could not help but wander further and beyond that very delicate and intimate moment. His eyes never left mine, and neither did mine leave his. Our soft breathing hushedly disturbed the sudden, but meaningful stillness.

Kitty meowed. Leo and I both turned to look at her, sitting there, wagging her tail. Realising that we had abandoned her while we lost ourselves in our little world, our hands simultaneously reached to touch her head, only to touch one other. I shivered and he smiled. A trickle of laughter broke the silence. "Someone's jealous."

"Oh... Jealous of what, I wonder?" he asked.

"Maybe of the way you touch me. In so many ways."

"There's plenty of `Leo love' where that came from," he joked, though my mind stumbled on that particular word and tried to piece together what it meant. What it meant to him, what it meant to me, and what it meant to us. Or perhaps whether it meant anything at all.

"Uh, is there a place to put the jackets?" he asked while swaying it before my eyes, and making me realise I had temporarily gone blank.

"Oh, yeah. Just over there. There are clothes-pegs on the wall," I said and pointed in the direction where four wooden hangers protruded into the air like curled noses on the face of the wall.

He grabbed the jackets and started to stand up. "My feet have gone to sleep from kneeing down so long," he said as he limped forward, "Fancy going to someone's place and not having anywhere to sit!" He looked back at me as I started to get up as well and sneakily winked.

"OK, OK! I know I'm a terrible host. I'll try to make it up to you later." With one hand resting around his waist, the other reached for his soft scarf, and ever so slowly unwrapped the grey woollen ribbon from around his neck. The collar of his light blue shirt opened around his pale neck and I peered inside as if half expecting a little surprise.

"Better be worth the wait."

My mind raced, with random scenes, images and thoughts as it went on another flight of fantasy. I held his scarf to my nose, closed my eyes and took one deep, mesmerising and satisfying breathe. I remembered how I would be so embarrassed to secretly smell Leo as he walked past, and it felt so funny and surreal that I was standing before him and getting high on his scarf. "I sure hope so. Hm, you hungry?"

"No, not really, Dave. Still full from that big lunch we had earlier."

"Yeah, me too. So what do we do now?" I asked, looking down a little timidly at my shifting feet, feeling somewhat anxious as the thought and significance occurred to me that we were now at home. Just the two of us. Together. Alone.

"I want a tour! I want to see everything!" he answered with the excited enthusiasm of a child.

"OK..." I replied, as I led the way. He answered with nods, `oohs' and `aahs' as we toured the first floor. The high whitewashed ceilings are furnished with elegant carvings, iconic of interior decors at the beginning of the previous century. The trendy black leather couches, the flat screen TV and surround sound stereo system that encircle a large square glass table certainly gave the living room a modern and luxurious feel. The adjoining dining room was centred by a long rectangular table, adorned with linen table cloth, and accompanied by six chairs. Numerous cupboards stood against the walls, each giving shelter to a display of books, wine glasses and the odd family picture and memorabilia here and there. Great big windows at either end give the first floor living space a very open feel, as well as flooding it with sunlight throughout the day. Kitty and the ringing of her bell followed wherever we went.

"I can't imagine you live here all by yourself!"

"Neither can I. It's all a bit too much for me. There are so many things I don't need and can do without, and sometimes I'd rather I'm surrounded by another person than all this cold material stuff."

"I guess I know what you mean," he said and took my hand firmly in his, "There's only so much we need in life, and all the rest is just luxury."

I smiled, as once again he spelled out my thoughts before I could. The touch of his hand seemed to carry so much more meaning immediately following what I had just said, and once again proved that he knew the path to my feelings and thoughts. "Yeah, you're right. I mean I'm grateful for everything I have, but really, I don't need all this. I'd rather have little materially and much spiritually than the other way round. Besides, what's the point of all this when there's no one to share life with?"

"I hope you don't feel like that anymore, Dave," Leo whispered as he slid his hand up and down my hand as if trying to keep it warm. My heart warmed indeed.

"Well, my life's been changed somewhat recently. I met this someone, and this someone showed me something I hadn't thought existed."

"Oh. And what is this something called?" His breath brushed my blushing cheeks.

I turned to look at him, and before my eyes was a smooth and beautiful face, one beaming with affection and warmth. My fingers stirred to life in the embrace of his hand and stroked the inside of his palm. "I--I'm not sure what it's called," I said softly, though deep down inside I had an inclination of what it was called, but was unsure, or perhaps afraid, of how to say it, "Well, it doesn't really matter what it's called, I don't think. As long as it feels right." Kitty's bell tinkled lightly, sounding like the beginnings of a piece of romantic overture.

"I guess so. And it feels more than just right," he whispered again, so softly and lowly like he was afraid to say it. Momentarily he closed his eyes dreamily, and opened them again slowly. Beneath the gentle glow there lay depth in those eyes that seemed to say so much with so little. I smiled in silent appreciation of what I never had but now treasured more dearly than anything else. "Hmmm. You know, Dave, there's something missing here," he glanced around in search of something.

"What would that be?"

"There's no Christmas tree! And it's only a few days before the biggest family get-together of the year!"

"Oh..." I said and paused. Family. Christmas. Get-together. Three words I dreaded to hear, three words I was afraid to think about. Three things missing from my life. My fingers moving to cover the corner of my mouth like I often do when feeling embarrassed, "Well...well, it doesn't seem like my mum will be home for Christmas, again, so there's not much point." A swift waft of wind sounded like a hapless man sighing.

"Oh, Dave! You must come over to my place for Christmas. I'm sure my family would love having you over. I know I would." The sighing died and disappeared.

"I--I--really don't want to intrude...I--" My skin started to crawl on my back as cold sweat surfaced. The thought of going to someone else's home for Christmas was daunting, and even more so when it was not just anyone's home.

"Nonsense, Dave! You won't be intruding at all. I'm sure my family would love to meet you, and you won't be so alone on Christmas. I really want you to come over. You'd make me so, so happy, Dave," he tightened his hand around mine, and looked at me intensely with those irresistible eyes that revealed a mix of plea and hope.

As much as I wanted to spend Christmas with someone, I was still hesitant. Hesitant because of what other people might think about me, this scrawny unknown stranger, suddenly showing up on the biggest family event of the year. Hesitant because I would just freeze around all these people I had never met before. My head shuddered slightly at the thought. "I--I'll think about it..." Again, the deep sigh returned, as outside the wind and snow rushed and thrashed against the window.

"There's not much to think about, Dave. I really want you to come," he pleaded again and squeezed my hand slightly to show his sincerity, "It would mean a lot to me."

"I--I'll tell you later," I said, looking down and trying hard to avoid what I imagined must be a disappointed and desperate look on his face.

"OK, Dave. But you know it would mean so much to me if you came. Really it would." His forehead brushed against the tips of my hair, gentle motions that seemed to spell out silent persuasion.

"Hey, uh, we're not done exploring yet. Let's continue with what we started," I said, pulling him into the corridor and up the stairs to the second floor. As we climbed the steps, I felt a slight pressure on the back of my thighs, pressure that soon shifted onto my bum. I glanced back, to be greeted by pearl white teeth and a huge grin.

I shivered slightly as we neared the door to my bedroom. In the back of my mind I was thrilled as can be to allow Leo into my room, into my little world. At the same time he was about to enter a part of my world that had for so long been off limits to others. For so long, perhaps too long, I had erected barriers around me so that others could not get close, so that others could not touch me. But Leo took away the barriers, brick by brick, each time we smiled, each time we laughed... each time we touched, and touched again. With each hug, the firm fences disintegrated into dust that disappeared with the wind. With each kiss, the darkness inside began to brighten, began to colour with the hue of hope and dreams. And Leo was about to get even closer, and closer. I felt a nauseating mix of joy and fear, that grappling feeling you have before taking a bold step forward into the unknown, unsure what may happen if you do, only sure that there are many precious things you will miss if you do not.

"So, welcome to my room," I said, my head racing and stomach grinding as I fumbled in the dark in search of the light. As soon as the light came on I immediately, embarrassingly noticed dirty laundry strewn over the floor. "Oh...Uh... I'm sorry, it's really messy," I said apologetically as I scooped up the clothes and casually threw them into a hamper in the bathroom next door.

"Don't worry so much, Dave! Boys will be boys! Besides, my room is not any better," he said with a smile, and then suddenly inhaled deeply, "Hmmmmm, and there's that scent. It's so sweet and mesmerising and so addictive!"

"Scent? What scent? Does something smell?" I blurted out quickly, immediately thinking of the worst as usual, and obviously impervious to the words he used.

"Oh, Dave! That's what so cute about you!" he said as he walked up behind me and dug his face deep into the nape of my neck. "It's you! Your unique smell that can send shivers down my spine." I felt shivers down my spine hearing him and feeling his breath on the back of my neck. As much as I enjoyed the moment, something was telling me otherwise. The wind outside the window suddenly started to shrill. Snowflakes plastered themselves on the glass like countless crushed insects on a car's front windscreen. Inside we were safe. Inside we were warm.

We stood under the ceiling light, our shadows merged as one, while Leo wrapped his arms and body around me. The ceiling light had four bulbs that can be adjusted in different directions to focus on different corners in the room, much like a multiple spotlight. One shone on the queen-sized bed located next to the balcony-window. The bed was snug and inviting, and was covered with a large colourful duvet patterned with butterflies and random designs. Another beam of light streamed onto the rectangular wooden desk by the door that was a mess of papers, pens, and on which a flat-screen monitor stood. The other two bulbs cast light toward other corners of the room, one spotlighting a tall white clothing cupboard, while the other focused on a bookshelf bursting with books accumulated over the years.

"These pictures," Leo said as he glanced around at the walls decorated with photographs, "Did you take them?"

Pictures of sunsets and sunrises over the sea, coloured with varying shades of red, orange, yellow, purple and indigo elegantly splashed over the seamless horizon lined the walls. There were mosaics of the sky, some blue, some grey, some clouded, some clear. They were the little things in the world around us that are too easy to overlook yet all so beautiful to see. Everything together served as a constant reminder to me of how wonderful the world is in which we live. Or at least could be. "Yeah. I like taking pictures. Of skies and nature mostly," I answered and felt a little uncertain what he thought of them, and of his seeing another side of me altogether. My uncertainty grew into embarrassment as he glanced around for a few moments while silence gripped the room. I held my breath.

"Dave..." he paused slightly in search of a word perhaps, "They're amazing! Things that people normally wouldn't even bother to look at, but you've managed to capture them so elegantly. You're an artist!"

The effect his words full of praise and voice full of a hint of pride had on me was to feel flustered. I avoided his eyes the way people avoided eye contact when they were unsure what to say. The blue carpet at my feet became interesting. My cheeks heated up as my insides bristled and burned in discomfort. However praiseworthy were the pictures I took or whatever I did, I could never understand why I deserved praise. A small low sound in the back of my throat was the only response I could think of making.

"Are you feeling embarrassed because of what I said, Dave?" Leo's hand reached for my chin and gently lifted my head upward so that our eyes met again. In the blue of his beautiful irises the gnawing and annoying discomforts slowly drowned.

"A little."

"Don't be, Dave. You've got every right to be proud of what you can do, and of who you are. I know I am." He gently stroked the hair hanging over my forehead while the tips of his fingers went on to tease the lobe of my ear. A sensation so strong trickled down my head and collected throughout my entire body. His touch was so tender yet penetrating, so soft yet lingering. My mind conjured wild images of us diving into bed, with our naked bodies skin to skin, melting as one under the blankets. It was an exciting thought, an arousing musing...but one that, at the same time, was all so daunting.

"I guess," I said. Looking around the room where I had spent many lonely nights and days alone, it felt strangely surreal that someone was here with me, in my room, tonight.

"Funny, Dave. It's something else we've got in common. I've got tons of pictures at home I can show you too," he said. By this time he had shifted himself behind me. His head rested on one of my shoulders, his arms wrapped around me like ribbons around a pleasant present. He breathed deep and long, like he was inhaling some kind of drug that sent him drifting into a state of bliss.

"What do you take pictures of?" I asked

"Like you, Dave, mostly of nature. I especially like close-ups of things that people don't tend to notice. You know, like the morning dew on flowers. Or like the different shades of green you see when you stand under the thick foliage in a forest. And clouds too," he answered. I my hands unconsciously found his, as if they felt the need to cling onto this miraculous warmth and to feel that tickling sensation when our fingers slide across one another.

"So you don't take pictures of people?"

"Not really," he answered, slowly gyrating his chin on my shoulder in a comforting massaging motion, "People think I'm weird because I take pictures of obscure things. Like my mum would often ask me what it is I'm taking a picture of. But it's difficult to explain. I'm not sure how else to say it, Dave. But I know what's beautiful when..."

"When...when you see it?" I finished for him. The way his cheek was mere millimetres away from my own felt like his and my minds were diffusing and meeting in mid air.

"He-he-he," he chuckled and gave my head a playful little butt, "Exactly! I know what's beautiful when I see it, Dave." He inhaled deeply again, and I could feel his whole body slightly tremble suddenly. From the corners of my eyes I could sense that all he saw at that very moment was me.

"Don't you just hate it when people pose for pictures? I mean it's just so fake. And why do people have to smile and look into the camera when they take a picture anyway?"

"He-he-he," he chuckled again, "I like to snap pictures of people when they least expect it. It's only then you see their true selves. And it's only then that they're at their most beautiful." The way the small strands of his fine hair tickled my face was unbearable. Unbearably sensual.

"I hope you don't do that around me. If you do I'll really have to be careful!"

"Who knows, Dave! Maybe I've been stalking you and have got thousands of your pictures plastered all over room," he joked. Or at least I hoped he was joking.

"Creepy thought..." I shuddered.

Just then a sudden strong gust of wind tore against the window, making it shake and thunder. Both our heads turned toward the window, as he tightened his embrace around me. Momentarily my eyes closed to recover from the shock, while at the same time sink back into the comfort I found myself in. My hands instinctively clung onto his arms, holding onto them in need of protection, in need of assurance that it was nothing more than just the wind. The cruel, cold wind outside, that was tearing through the night, but that could not touch us, and could not tear us apart.

"What a horrible sound," he said in a whisper while he let go me and ventured toward the window. Almost immediately I missed his overwhelming scent, and his warm breaths caressing my neck, and tiptoed behind him. Cautiously, like two uncertain boys who were a little curious yet a little afraid of what they were about to do that they never did before, we inched toward the window.

"It's really snowing out there," he said as he put his face on the widow and peered out into the dark, dark night and at the white, white snow that kept on falling and falling. "There's a strange mix of danger, excitement and beauty, don't you think Dave?"

I nodded gently, and in doing so felt the cold seep through and chill my skin. "So what--what do you want to do now, Leo?" There was an unknown hesitation in my voice, a hesitation which I did not detect when the words were still in my mind.

"I'm not sure, Dave," Leo said as he turned to face me, the tips of his nose and forehead moist from dew on the window. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a vague imprint of a face on the dew-covered glass, one that had droplets of water trickling down, looking as if it was crying. "What do people do on snow stormy nights?"

"I--I guess they sit down by the fire to keep warm."

"And when there's no fire? What then?"

"I--I--I" I stammered, even though I knew what I wanted to say, and had an idea that it was what he wanted me to say, "I--I guess they stay close to keep warm." My stomach was churning again.

"We could do that, Dave," Leo said, with a small smile that finished off with a small dimple, "Unless you have other things in mind." His face blurred a little. Mystifying pale mist danced around the soft beauty of his lips.

"Uh...no, I don't have any other better idea," I said, as I lifted my hand, intending to touch his arm. At the same time he lifted his hand, and our hands met before us, silently touching and embracing one another like long lost friends. A rush of emotions surged through me as our fingers fingered one another, while our eyes searched for the depth in one another's eyes a depth that had the ability to mesmerise our minds. We were close, but in his gaze I could see he wanted to be even closer. My chest clenched.

"Do--do you mind if we sit down on the bed?" he asked, his eyes shy and half sheltered behind his lids and long lashes that had lowered themselves out of embarrassment.

"I--I--I guess it's better than standing so close to the cold," I answered, looking outside past the blur of the window, trying hard to make out the snow that silently fell from the skies to grace the earth. It seemed easier to do that than trying to make out what is about to happen inside the room. The air was thin, the atmosphere intense. I had difficulty breathing.

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