Never Too Far Away
Time Stood Still

Disclaimer: This story involves love, relationship, and "adult" subject matter between teenage boys... so I guess that means your not supposed to read this if your under 18, but really if you are younger than that, I can't stop you. Just Don't Get Caught :)  If homosexuality offends you, then leave, or join the 21st century, and open up to it.

This Is FICTION... any character resembling a real life person is by coincidence, and in the rare event a character is based on someone in real life their name has been changed due to legal and personal protection.  You never know who's lurking around reading this. So now the little spiel is over so hopefully you'll enjoy this.  Do Not Reproduce this story, and if you would like to have it on your web site, email me & get my permission. Thanks. Copyright © Jaded Edge Productions


Chapter 7
Winds Of Change

Change.  It's what makes us who we are.  As the world spins and life goes on, we evolve into something other than what we were in the past.  Whether it be subtle or drastic, change is there.  We adapt to the environment around us, to survive in one form or another.  Sometimes we turn into something we loathe, other times we become what we've always longed to be.  No matter what, there's one constant in the sea of variables.  We can't force ourselves to be anything more than we are, change isn't a choice.

My eyes wandered through the boat full of people that was drifting along, giving the grand tour of Miniland USA.  Families laughed and huddled together, glimpsing at the architectural wonders that had been built in tribute to major cities and sites from around the world.

"Daddy, look!!!  It's the Emperor State Building!!"  My eyes focused on the young boy bouncing energetically, pointing at the small scale replica of New York City's skyline.  I wrapped an arm around his midsection and pulled him into me, so he was sitting on my lap.

"Emperor huh?  It's Empire, crazy boy."  My fingers tickled his wriggling stomach.  He giggled and squirmed out of my grasp, jumping back to the side of the boat as not to miss anything that passed by.

Cameron was growing, his pronunciation had improved significantly and he would be starting kindergarten soon.  I never in a million years thought that I would be a father at this point in my life.  I was never really sure that I would ever have a child at any point in life.  Not because of my sexuality.  Just for the simple fact that I wasn't really sure if I'd ever be ready for the kind of responsibility that comes along with being a parent.

"Could you stop jumping for 5 seconds, Cameron?!"  Eric snapped.  I eyed my brother curiously.  He wore a pair of dark aviator sunglasses, hiding his eyes, while his hands hovered around his temples, trying to apparently relieve some tension in his head.  Cameron glanced at Eric, looking a bit startled, before he shuffled back over to me and huddled in close.

"Damn, Eric.  Take a fucking pill already.  He's a little kid, don't ruin his fun,"  Kai shot out, not appreciating Eric's attitude.

"Whatever.  Lick my balls, surf boy."

"Is that why you're on the rag today?  Geez, I thought you would get over the fact that the sex on Christmas was a one time deal."

Eric sneered, "Not like you were that great anyway."

Kai scoffed, "As if.  I would slap you with my dick right now if this wasn't a family ride."

"I'll be sure to open wide in case you miss."

I shook my head at their exchange, making sure to cover Cameron's ears.  I looked around at the people sitting close to us, all giving Eric and Kai evil glares.  "Will you two tone it down to a PG rating?  Jesus, there's a bunch of preschoolers on this ride and you two are talking like you're in a porno."

Both of them looked at me with dull looks on their faces before putting on fake innocent smiles, "Yes daddy!"  They snickered, and like that the tension seemed to be gone for the time being.

"How do you put up with these two?"  My gaze shifted to my right, settling on the source of the voice that had spoken.  I was met with a smile; a perfectly straight, white smile, with dimples anchoring the sides of his picture perfect face.  His eyes like Eric's, were hidden underneath shades, my shades to be specific.

"It's a full time job having so many kids.  You just give them some toys and they're busy for a few hours."

Zach peered over the sunglasses, smirking at me, "You know, if you want to keep the conversations PG, then you shouldn't set them up to be so easily twisted into something sexual."

I returned his smile, "Zachary, if you weren't so overtly sexual all the time, your mind wouldn't warp everything into your perverted little fantasies."

"Don't act like you don't like it."  Our eyes remained on each other, apparently for a few moments too long.

"Zach, are you fucking my brother?"  Eric asked without an ounce of subtly, causing the parents around the boat to get even more irritated.  The boat pulled up to the end of our journey and I silently thanked the amusement park ride gods for the timing.  We filed off of the ride single file, myself going first, holding Cameron's hand, with Zach, Eric and Kai in tow.

"You kids should watch your mouths around the little ones.  Speaking blasphemy like you were in a brothel."  A middle aged woman scolded us, giving that patented angry mother look that most had become familiar with at one point or another in life.

"Maybe you should get fucked lady.  I hear the bats will fly out if you clean out the belfry every once in awhile," Eric retorted.

The woman looked mortified, spinning around on her heels and stomping off toward a man, whom I assume was her husband.  "Eric, let's go."

"No.  What's he going to do?  Beat me up?  Please, I've been hung up in a room for days.. tortured, beaten with a baseball bat, a gun.. whatever.  I doubt he can do anything more to me than already has been done."

Eric's word pierced me.  I can't say why, maybe the fact that he seemed so.. different.  He wasn't the same person he had been at Christmas time.  Maybe he never was after what had happened with Scott.  I put my hand on his shoulder, turning him slightly toward me.  "Bro, come on.  You're right, he can't do anything worse to you than Scott did.  The point is, there's nothing for you to prove here."  The man had come up on us faster than expected, grabbing Eric and knocking the sunglasses off of his face.  Eric immediately moved to retaliate, but I quickly stepped in-between him and them.  "This is not going to happen."

"Oh, and who's going to stop me?  You?"  The man challenged.  I felt a surge of adrenaline rush through me, one I hadn't felt in a long time.  I felt like putting that guy down, until I looked over at Cameron, who stood silently beside Kai, his eyes never leaving me.  I shook my head, sighing to myself.  I stood up straight, looking the man in the eyes.

"You're not worth the effort.  I'm not going to make a grown man cry in front of my kid."  I put an arm around Eric's shoulder, giving him enough of a nudge to get him to turn away from the confrontation.  He leaned down and picked up his sunglasses.  I studied him as he tried to clean the dirt from the lenses.  His eyes were bloodshot to hell, looking as if he hadn't slept in days.  The dark circles forming underneath them gave him an almost walking dead look, aging him beyond his 16 years.  He noticed me looking at his eyes, and quickly hid them underneath his shades once again before walking on ahead.  I followed behind, Zach falling in next to me.

"So are you a zen master or something?  You just speak and people back down?"  He teased.

I smirked, "If only that was the case.  I wanted to clock him, but I guess it's not the time to be brash you know?"

"I still say zen."  We quietly smiled at each other.

"Or he's just been neutered,"  Eric shot back over his shoulder not even bothering to look back.

"Maybe I've just grown up, Eric."

"You used to be the first one to jump into a fight like a rabid dog, now you walk away with your tail between your legs like you've been fixed or something."

His words were meant to get under my skin.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of his new attitude.  I hadn't seen much of him for the better part of four months, and apparently a lot had changed.  What exactly, I don't know.  "Trust me, he hasn't been fixed;"  Zach snickered.

Eric slowed his step a bit, turning around and walking backward, "Which brings me back to my question, Zach.  Are you fucking my brother or something?  You two seem awfully cozy for people who've barely known each other for a month."

"Not that it's any of your business, Eric, but why does it matter?"  I asked.

"It doesn't.  It was a question, plain and simple.  I just like to know when my friends are banging my brother.  Not like my opinion would count or anything anyway, so why would either of you say anything to me about it?"

"Dude, why are you so tense today?  If you really want to talk about this then we'll talk when we leave.  You can come to my house and we'll talk about whatever you want."

"Forget it."

Zach placed his hand on Eric's shoulder, "Eric, you know you're my bro.  Maybe not by blood, but you know, if I had a brother I'd want him to be like you.  I don't have any reason to keep secrets from you."

"Then why haven't you answered the question?  It's easy, yes or no..."

I tried to cut him off, "Eric.."

"No.  ZACH,"  Eric looked at me as if to silently say he wasn't asking me, "Are you fucking him?"

"Fucking who?"  We had arrived at the exit, where Tyler sat alongside Kai's little sister Arianna and Erik.  Tyler grinned at me, but his look was questioning.  Eric turned toward him, watching Tyler smile at me, then made sure to shake his head as he glanced between Zach and I.

"No one.  I was asking if Zach was fucking this guy from his modeling agency."

"Oh, so are you, Zach?"  Tyler asked teasingly.

Zach grinned, "Which one?"  He could be a cocky shit when he wanted to be.

Kai put Cameron down and the little boy immediately ran up to Tyler who grasped him tight as he lifted him into the air swinging him around.  "Did you have fun, Cam?"

"YES!!  We saw the Emperor State Building like back home!  Can we build one just like it?"

Tyler laughed, "Sure.  We can build it when we get home.  You have to eat dinner and wash up first though, okay?"

Cameron stuck out his lower lip, pouting as he spoke, "Okay."

Tyler ruffled his hair, "Good."  Tyler looked at me, "I'm going to take him to the car and get him strapped in."

"I'll go with.  I feel weird in this place.  Everything is so.. small.  Like I'm a giant and I'm in a miniature city.  Hey, how many Lego men do you think it would take to suck my.."

Tyler clasped his hand over Kai's mouth playfully, giggling as he led him through the gate.  "Say goodbye to Legoland, Cameron."

"BYE!!"  Cameron yelled as he walked alongside Tyler, Kai, Erik, Arianna and Eric.

Zach and I hung back, walking slowly with one another, "Tyler's really good with him."

"Yeah, he's a natural with kids."

"He's the mom right?"  Zach teased.

"Of course.  I'm definitely not wearing a dress."

"You know you go moonlighting in that red mini skirt."

"Haha, the one in your closet?"

"Shhh, we don't want Eric to know what kind of games we play at night."

I shook my head snickering, "I don't know what's up with him."

"Me neither.  Then again, I haven't had a lot of free time to spend with him."

"Oh, and why's that?"  I feigned ignorance.

"Hmm, you know, life of a supermodel.  Hair, makeup, walking down runways, eating, throwing up what I ate.  Then of course the obligatory bedroom olympics with you."  Zach playfully wrapped his arms around my waist, running his hands over my body.

"Oh, yeah, what event is up next?"

"The pole vault."

I cracked up laughing, "You're a pervert."

Zach shrugged, "At least I'm the flexible kind."  He stopped me and turned my face, placing his lips over mine.  His lips were soft, sensual to the point where they left you wanting more.  He gently caressed my lower lip between his own before pulling away, keeping his face close to mine.  "Mmm."

I was a bit dazed, a goofy look painted upon my face, "What was that for?"

Zach shrugged, the smile never falling from his face, "I just wanted to.  I like your lips."

I blushed, "I like yours too."

He put his mouth close to mine, his breath tickling my lips, "Just don't fall in love with me, Blade."  I didn't respond as we shared another breathtaking kiss.  The sound of my cell phone ringing in my pocket was the only sound that could be heard other than the wind.  The caller id flashing with the name Tyler faded out without notice.  Change.. It's just the way of things. Nothing stays the same.

Arrowhead High...

The small room was filled with complete darkness, giving the students that had gone inside at one point or another little room for error.  Light being exposed at the early stage of development was not an option.  Some struggled to find their tools, fumbling with the film canister and reel, cursing their lack of sight.  Others seemed to handle it with little to no trouble.  One in particular seemed as if he had night vision with the ease that he handled the film.

Matt cautiously spooled the film into the reel, careful to only touch the edges of the negatives.  He placed the reel inside of the developing tank, screwing the lid on to seal it up to keep it light tight.  He moved swiftly over to the sink to check for the proper temperatures on his chemicals and water.  He proceeded to start the mixing process, timing each step to the second, not leaving room for any mistakes.

His passion for photography was something he valued a lot.  He felt like a gift had been given to him, and thankfully it was something that he really loved doing.  After all, how many people in life are truly happy with their career paths?  Knowing what you want and enjoying what you do at such a young age is something that many people would give almost anything for.  Going on 17, Matt knew he wanted to be the best photographer he could be.  No doubt it was a crowded field, but he possessed a natural ability that most have to work extremely hard for.

After he had finished the developing process, he hung his negatives so they could dry at room temperature.  Satisfied with his work for the day, he quietly left the room.  "Hmm, why aren't you in a more advanced photography class again?"

Matt smiled at his teacher, "I want to make sure I know all of the basics before moving on."

Mr. Banks clasped a hand on Matt's shoulder and smiled, "Matthew, you are well beyond the basics.  You're wasting your time in a class that you could ace in your sleep."

Matt smiled back sheepishly, "Are you trying to throw me out of your class?"

Mr. Banks laughed, "Of course not.  I just don't want you to wallow in mediocrity when you could be actually learning something in a more advanced class.  Besides, I do teach Photo 2, you know?"

"Yeah, I know."  The bell rang, signaling the end of class and the school day, "Well, I guess I'll talk to the guidance counselor at some point to see about a schedule change."

Mr. Banks walked to his desk and picked up a sheet of paper.  He walked over and handed it to Matt, "Already done.  If you want to accept it, your fourth period study hall will be switched out for Photo 2, and you can either have study hall last period or take off early."

Matt smiled widely, "Sweet.  Thanks, Mr. Banks.  I'll sign it and take it down to the office before I leave."  Matt happily left the room, his bright smile greeting anyone who walked by.  He walked down the hallway with a jump in his step, his excitement being hard to contain.  He left the transfer sheet with the secretary before going on his way to his locker.  As he walked through the doorway he nearly slammed into someone else walking by.

"Whoa there," Matt stopped inches away from the boy's face.  He let out the breath that he had sucked in, relieved that it wasn't someone that was going to give him trouble.

"Sorry, Jordan.  I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.'

Jordan grinned, "Obviously not.  I thought you were going to run me down."  Matt blushed, thinking how stupid he must've looked, "So where's the fire?"

"Oh, I'm just psyched.  Mr. Banks is putting me in Photo 2 because he thinks I'm way too advanced to be in Photo 1."

"That's awesome.  No wonder you're happy.  Photography is practically your life.  Well, besides you know who,"  Jordan teased.

"Yeah, yeah.  Try telling him that.  He's been distant lately.  I really don't know what's going on with him."

"I'm sure Eric's fine.  Maybe he's just having way too much fun with his newfound club kid status."

Matt frowned, "Maybe.  I don't know.  I feel like there's something he's not telling me.  Like.. I know that everyone's been a little busy with their own thing lately, but it doesn't mean that he has to cut us off.  Especially me."

"Matt, just talk to him.  Eric loves you, you know that."

"I don't question his love.  I question what goes on in that head of his.  He's changed.  Like, he still jokes around, but he's.. darker.  If that makes sense.  There's a bitterness to him that wasn't there before."

"Do you want me to talk to him?"

"No, I'll do it.  Tonight or tomorrow.  He's not at school today obviously.  Him, Erik and Zach ditched to go to Legoland with Blade, Kai and Tyler.  I guess Cameron has been begging to go, so Blade caved."

"Haha, yeah.  I'm pretty sure that the three highschoolers just used it as an excuse to get out of class for the day."

Matt grinned, "Yeah. Slackers."

"Not everyone can be so school oriented as you."

"Me?  What about you?  You're one of the smartest people here."

"My parents wouldn't have it any other way.  It's a condition of theirs for Kai and I to have the house.  3.5 or above."

Matt winced, "Ouch.  That's rough man."

"Yeah, but I'll live.  Living in my own place with Kai is totally worth it."

Matt smiled slyly, "Sex wherever and whenever you want eh?"

Jordan blushed, "Uh.."

"How cute, you're still shy as ever.  I would think that Kai would've rubbed off on you by now."

"Oh trust me, Kai's rubbed off on him more than a few times,"  Ben popped up out of the sea of people, playfully punching Jordan on the shoulder.

"Like Jake hasn't done the same with you," Jordan challenged.

Ben's tan skin darkened with a crimson blush, "Uh, well actually, we haven't really done all that much."

Jordan and Matt looked at Ben skeptically, "Yeah right."

"No, it's true.  We, um, well.. man this is embarrassing."  The three boys walked together to their row of lockers, Matt and Jordan giving Ben their full attention.

"Go on," Matt urged.

"Okay, Jake too me up to the mountains at the beginning of the month remember?"  The boys nodded, "Well, it was great.  Probably the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.  We had this little cabin with a fireplace and everything.  Jake had it planned to a tee, roses, music, dinner.. I just couldn't have been blessed more."

"So what's the problem?"  Jordan asked.

"There's no problem.  We just haven't really gotten that sexual with each other.  I mean we've done the normal kissing, petting and stuff like that."

"That's it?"  Matt questioned.  "What about hand jobs?"

Ben's blush deepened, "Um, yeah we've done that.  At the cabin we were making out pretty heavy, and we ended up naked in bed.  Matt closed his locker and motioned for his two friends to follow him as he made his way out of the school.  "Anyway, I was so nervous, because well I thought that was it, we were going to have sex.  I didn't see how it wasn't going to end up there, we were all over each other.  So, pretty much I started to go down on him.  I'm no expert, I've never even touched another dick before his.. well okay, maybe once, but that's not the point."

Matt cocked an eyebrow, "Who's?"

Ben shifted uncomfortably as they leaned up against Jordan's car, "Uh, Blade."

"Oh really?"  The intrigue was evident in Jordan's voice.

"Yes, moving on."  Ben smiled innocently, "I don't know if I did a good job or not.  I mean i think I did okay for my first time, he never complained about teeth or anything."

"How did he act when you were doing it?"  Matt asked.

"He moaned, and ran his hands through my hair.  Then he came in my mouth.  Haha, I thought I was going to choke or something there was so much of it."  All three boys snickered, "So we kissed after that and I don't know if the taste of cum freaked him out or what, but he seemed to shut down after that.  I mean, he kind of made a move to go for my dick, but then I stopped him because I could tell he wasn't really into it.  So I just told him that it was okay, it was my gift to him.  We went to sleep after that."

"Hmm.  Maybe he's just one of those guys that gets really tired after he has an orgasm," Said Matt.

"Well, maybe.  Just, he didn't try anything for the rest of the weekend.  We had plenty of opportunity, and he didn't even so much as touch me anywhere below the waist.  In fact we haven't done anything, but occasionally kiss since we came back.  I don't know if I did something wrong, or if he doesn't like the way I look.. maybe my dick's weird?"

Jordan tried not to laugh, "Ben, I seriously doubt there's anything wrong with your penis."

"You can show us if you want to be sure," Matt joked.

Ben giggled, "Now you sound like Eric."  Matt's smile faltered for a moment, but quickly recovered.

"Who else has seen you naked besides Jake?"  Jordan questioned.

"The guys on the hockey team.  They're not going to tell me if there's something weird about me."

"Maybe you can ask Blade,"  Matt snickered.

"Uhh..."  Ben was at a loss for words.

"He's joking, Ben.  There's nothing wrong with you.  If you want my opinion, it sounds like Jake's not ready to take the next step yet.  I mean, you know how long it took him to come to terms with his feelings for you.  Imagine the fight he's having with himself about actually having sex with another guy."

"I don't care about the sex.  I really don't.  I care about him a lot, I want him to be happy.  I just think that sometimes he'd be better off if we hadn't gotten together, because obviously this is really hard for him."

"Jake is a good guy, Ben.  He wouldn't be with you if he didn't want to be.  Just give him some time to work out his issues.  Talk to him about it, make sure he knows that you understand."  Jordan seemed wise beyond his years at times.

"I will.  But hey do you really think I should ask Blade if I look okay naked?   I don't want to be walking around with some deformed cock and not know about it..."  Jordan and Matt broke out in a fit of giggles.  "I was, um, just joking.  Yeah."

"Sure you were, buddy," Matt patted Ben on the back.  His phone started ringing loudly, so he politely excused himself from his friends to answer it, "Hello?"


Matt pulled the phone from his ear for a moment to look at the caller id, "Yeah.  Hi, Kate.  How are you?"  Kate was his friend Corey's mother.

There was a pregnant pause before she spoke, "Hi, honey.  I wish I was calling under different circumstances."

"What's wrong?"  Matt felt a knot form in his stomach.

"Well, you know how Corey wasn't feeling well when we came to visit right?"

"Yeah, he said he thought it was some kind of flu."

"He had some sort of attack two nights ago, he couldn't breathe.  God it scared me so much."

Matt's voice wavered a bit, "Is he okay?"

"He's in the hospital right now.  The doctors are still performing tests on him, they aren't sure what's causing him to be so ill yet."

Matt ran a hand over his brow, distraught by the information, "Can I talk to him?"

"Not yet, but I will give you a call when he is able to speak.  I know he would've wanted you to know what was going on."

"If there's anything I can do let me know please?  Tell Corey I'm thinking of him."

"I will.  Take care of yourself Matthew, I'll be in touch.  Buhbye."

"Bye,"  Matt closed his phone, ending the call in the process.  He turned to see Ben and Jordan laughing about something over by the cars.  He took a breath and made his way toward them, forcing a smile upon his face.  In moments of hopelessness, sometimes all you can do is grin and bear it.

The Next Day....


A blood curdling scream pierced through the air and the eardrums of anyone within close enough proximity.  It was followed by a fit of giggles, as Erik stood by Cameron's bed, holding him upside down by his ankles.  Cameron's face had a wide smile, the wild laughter becoming louder and louder as Erik shook him around.

"You would think you were a monster that had snatched him up the way he screams bloody murder like that," Tyler stated.

"Ha.  I'm scarier than any monster."

"You're too pretty to be a monster," Tyler poked fun at the younger boy, causing Erik to smile.

"Throw me!  Throw me!"  Cameron yelled.  Erik did as he was told, tossing the little boy onto the bed, watching him bounce on the springy surface.  He laughed like he had seen the funniest thing ever made.  I walked into the room and watched him roll around on the mattress, seemingly having the time of his life.

"Must be nice to have that kind of innocence."  Tyler looked back over his shoulder at me and smiled.

"Yeah.  I miss not having to worry about anything."  He turned and walked toward me, as I myself turned away from the room and walked to the living room.  I leaned against the arm of the couch, while Tyler took a seat on the cushion beside me.

I peered down at him, "And what do you have to worry about so much, Mr. Superstar?"

He grinned, "Shut up.  I'm no superstar."

"Yeah, sure.  Multi record deal and a hit single.  You're just a regular joe."

"A single that you had just as much a part in as I did."

"Tyler, you did the right thing.  I mean, they obviously didn't want me to be a part of this deal.  Why else would Colin willingly sign away his rights as my agent?"

Tyler gave me an unreadable look, "Yeah, I guess you're right."  He seemed like he was hiding something, but I shrugged it off.  "I still wish that you were doing this with me."

I squeezed his hand, "I know.  Maybe it's a sign."

Tyler's demeanor seemed to change, his grip on my hand tightening, "A sign of what?"

"That this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing."

His grip seemed to soften with my answer, "You don't really believe that.  You're so talented, Blade."

"Maybe I am.  It just seems like nothing has gone right since this whole recording deal started."  I was curious, "What did you think I meant?"

"Huh?"  Tyler seemed puzzled by my question.

"You tensed up when I said maybe it's a sign, but relaxed when I said what I was talking about."

Tyler looked down at his feet, "Um, well I thought you were going to say that it was a sign about us.  That we weren't meant to be together."

I bit my lower lip, not really expecting that answer from him, "Is that what you want?"

He looked up at me, "To be together?"


"I don't know, Blade.  I love you.  You know I love you."


"I don't want to hurt you again.  I don't know if it'd be right for me to ask you to be my boyfriend with the schedule that I'm working with right now."

"You do what you feel, Tyler.  I know you love me, just as you know I love you.  I know I've been fucked up for awhile now.  It doesn't mean I haven't seen what you've done for me while I've gotten better.  You're my first love.  I could marry you tomorrow and live happily for the rest of my life as long as you were by my side."

"So what do we do?"

"If we have to ask that question, then we're not ready yet."

He smiled weakly, "Sometimes it feels like we'll never be ready."

I lifted his chin so his eyes met mine, "Tyler, say the word and I'm yours."

"What about Zach?"  His question caught me completely off guard.

"Um, what about him?"  Now it was my turn to get a little tense.

Tyler giggled a bit at how uncomfortable I looked, "I know something's up with you two."

"How's that?"

"Oh, I don't know.  Maybe the fact that you and him make bedroom eyes every time you're around each other."

I felt my face get warm, "That obvious huh?"  Tyler nodded, "Well, I guess you could say we have a, um... physical relationship."

To Tyler's credit his smirk didn't seem to falter at all, so I wasn't quite sure if he was just turning on his acting skills or if he wasn't phased by the revelation, "So you guys have sex."

"We don't have sex completely.  I mean, I'm being completely honest with you here okay?"  He nodded, "The farthest we've gone is oral.  I don't think it will go any further than that."  He seemed to go into thought for a moment, "What are you thinking?"

"I guess I feel a little weird talking about this with you.  I mean, we agreed that it's okay to see other people, so I don't really have a problem with you seeing Zach.  It's just.. I don't know..."

"Tyler, tell me.."

"I'm jealous.  That's all."

I smiled at the way his lips pouted when he said that, "I'm pretty sure that we agreed that if we started having sex that it would complicate this whole just friends stage we're at."

"It would, but it doesn't mean I have to like it," Tyler stuck his tongue out at me.

"Don't tease," I joked.  Tyler's eyes became mischievous as without warning he pulled me down on top of him.  My hair draped over the sides of our faces, which were now hovering in front of one another.

"Hmm.. well you said don't tease.." Tyler's arms wrapped around my torso and pulled me into his body even more.  Our bodies moved against each other, our skin only separated by the thin layers of clothing.  Our breathing became more labored as we started to get into it more and more.

"Ty.. "

"Hmm?"  He said as his face nuzzled at my neck.


The doorbell broke us out of the lustful trance we seemed to have fallen into.  We stopped grinding against each other, just laying there for another moment, catching our breath.  From the look on his face, and the look I know I had on my face, neither of us knew what to make of what had just happened.  The doorbell rang again, so I reluctantly pulled myself away from him.  I tried to straighten up my clothes as I approached the door.  I turned the door knob and opened the door, only to feel my whole demeanor drop at the sight in front of me.

"Afternoon."  Colin stood there with his trademark smug smile plastered over his face.

"What do you want?"  I asked with a twinge of venom in my voice.

He pulled a folder out form beneath his coat, "So hostile, Blade.  What did I ever do to you... Oh, wait I remember."  HIs smile sickened me.

"You've got about 10 seconds to cut to the chase."

"You need to sign the release forms to officially relieve me of my duties as your agent."  I snatched the folder from his hands and immediately started to read the documents over. Colin seemed to look beyond me, catching sight of Tyler sitting on the couch. "Did I interrupt you two?  Good timing on my part."

I glared at him, "Shut up.  You seem pretty damn happy for someone who's losing a client."

"Ah, I think my return deal will more than make up for it.  I will miss our wonderful talks though," Colin's arrogance could be almost suffocating.

"What deal would that be?"

Colin smirked looking directly at Tyler, "Well..."

"Yeah Colin, what deal?"  Tyler seemed to be challenging him.

Colin just looked at Tyler with a knowing smirk.  Before he could say anything another body pushed past him and into the condo.  Colin snarled, catching his balance against the doorway, Lucas looked back at him sheepishly, "Uh.. sorry."

"Don't apologize, Lucas.  Big brother's ego takes up so much space that you don't have any other choice than to knock it out of the way,"  Kai walked through the doorway next, staring intently at Colin.

"Well, if this party just doesn't keep getting better.  Where's your bitch, little brother?  Is the whole fag brigade on their way over?"

"No, they heard you were here and went to your office to redecorate it.  I hope you like pink.  Asshole," Kai shot back.

"As much as I'd like to sit here and have this little family reunion, let's not.  Can you sign the paper already?"

"Why does this say that Tommy will be my acting agent again?"  I questioned.

"Because he will, obviously."

"He's an east coast rep."

"Then I guess that means you'll be going back to the east coast."

"What?"  Tyler interjected.

Colin grinned, "What? He has to have a new agent."

"I'm not going back to New York."

"You really aren't the the brightest crayon in the box are you?"

"Fuck you.  I'm not signing shit, so take your papers and get out."

"As you wish.  Are you relinquishing your contract?"

I looked at him with fire in my eyes, then glanced at Tyler who was on the phone.  "If it means staying here, then ye.."

"No, he isn't." Tyler cut in.  "He'll be meeting with Mr. Jamesan next week."

Colin's grin disappeared briefly, "I really am tiring of you going over my head."

"As long as you keep playing your games get used to it."  I had never seen Tyler challenge anyone the way he was Colin.  I guess someone finally had an edge on him.

"As you wish."  With that Colin grabbed the folder from my hands and walked out the door.  Lucas and Kai had apparently taken up residence in Erik's room judging from the commotion.  Tyler and I stood by the breakfast bar for a moment, leaning on one another.

"That went well," I said.

"Oh yeah, couldn't have been better."  Tyler leaned his back against me, and I let my hands fall upon his hips.

"Tyler, about earlier.."

"It was what it was, Blade, okay?  We'll see what happens."  The noise from Erik's room became even louder.  "Did Lucas and Kai just come over here to play video games with Erik and Cameron?"

I snickered, "Probably.  They're big kids."

"Man, I don't know what I'd do if my kids looked like that."

I laughed and poked him in the side, "I don't even want to know."

Tyler smiled, "Hey, you told me about Zach.  I can totally tell you about my fantasies."

"I didn't go into details."

"Do you want to?"

I cringed, "Uhhh.. no."

I felt Tyler's body shake as he giggled, "Thought so."  He paused, "So your relationship with him is purely sexual?  You don't feel anything for him other than that?"

I hesitated for a moment.  Sometimes it's hard to see where the line is drawn between lust and something more.  "It's purely physical.  I mean.. I don't know.  He's made it pretty clear that he's only looking for that kind of situation."

"Mmhmm." Tyler twisted in my arms so he was face to face with me, "Blade, I want to try and see what happens with us.  I'm not saying let's be boyfriends.  Let's just.. well, let's go on some dates and see how it goes.  It's fine if you want to keep seeing Zach.  I'll still feel weird about it, but until we decide that we are in a relationship then I'll deal."

I kissed him on the cheek, "No one will ever replace you, Tyler.  I don't know how they could."  We were interrupted by Lucas entering the living room.  He looked startled when he saw the position we were in.  I smiled at him, trying to ease the awkwardness he had to be feeling.  "Hey, Lucas."

"Hey.. um, sorry I didn't mean to interrupt."  His face held a sadness in it.  "Cameron wanted something to drink.."  His gazed shifted from us to he floor uncomfortably.

"It's in the refrigerator.  Help yourself to anything you like, man."  He said a near silent thanks and proceeded to grab a couple of drinks before returning back to the bedroom.

"He looked like someone stole his puppy."

"Don't say the p word when Cameron's within hearing range."

"Oh yeah, I forgot."

"And well.. Lucas has the hots for you.  That's why he looked like that."

"What?  Lucas?  No.. I mean.. "  I could see the wheels turning in his head, "Huh.  Kind of makes sense when I think about it."  Cheers came blaring from the bedroom.  "Should we go join the party?"

I smiled, "It's not a party if we're not there."  We went on our way to join people that had come to be known as family to us.  Both of us unsure of where we were going to end up in the end.  For right now, all we could do was see where the wind would take us.

Arrowhead Football Field...


The sound of the air being driven out of a body was one you could rarely hear.  To Eric, it was one sound that had become far too familiar.  He struggled rolling over onto his stomach, trying to suck the oxygen back into his lungs.  His muscles strained under his weight, as he slowly pulled himself back up to a standing position.  He looked around the field to see not only his teammates, but the team they were playing against standing around watching him.  He shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs while his offensive linemen lined up for the next play.

"Eric."  Eric heard the voice, but couldn't seem to focus on it's origin.  "ERIC!"

Eric turned his head to his right, following the sound of the voice to Jake, "What?"

"Are you going to take the hike or what?"  Eric looked at him like he had grown a second head, then realized he was nowhere near the position he needed to be in.  He frowned and trotted to his position.

"Hike!"  The center hiked the ball back to Eric.  He ran to the right  looking for an open receiver.  His vision seemed to blur a bit, causing him to lose focus.  He shook his head, blinking his eyes frantically trying to snap out of it.  By the time he could see clearly again he felt his body crash to the ground with a huge thud.  He laid there on his back, feeling like he had been hit by a truck.  His body stiffened, while his lungs once again fought for air.  A shadow formed above him, blocking the light from the sun.

"Are you all right?"  Eric recognized Jake's voice.

"Um, if your definition of all right is being body slammed into the ground, then sure."

Jake shook his head, "Come on, man.  Get up."  He grabbed Eric's hand and pulled him up.  "Dude, you're running around out there like you're blind today.  Sacked three times in a row?"

Eric pulled his helmet off, wiping the sweat from his brow, "Well maybe if you guys did your job I wouldn't be getting pummeled every play."

"Eric, everyone out here can see who's not doing his job.  You're lucky Zach's not here today.  It's fourth down, and we're down by three.  Hand off the ball to me, I'll take care of it."

"I want to pass."

Jake stepped up to Eric, challenging the smaller boy, "Eric, if you blow this game, the team isn't going to forgive you.  Hand me the ball."  With that Jake stepped back into the line and Eric lined up once again behind the center.

"Hut, hike!"  The ball came fast.  Eric caught it and looked to Jake, who was quickly making his way toward him.  He opened his hands to signal for Eric to hand him the ball, but instead Eric ran right by him, acting like he had gotten rid of it.  He ran around a blocked tackle and started to make his way up field.  Jake cursed under his breath and took off up through the middle, gaining ground as fast as possible.  Eric's muscles burned with fatigue, his cleats digging into the turf as he tried to make the long run up the field.  The first three plays had left them at their own 40, so there was a 60 yard run to go.  He could hear one of the opposing teams defenders on his heels and knew that there was no way he was going to make it with 20 yards to go.  The defender dove, grabbing Eric's ankles.  Eric twisted around while his body descended toward the ground.  He spotted Jake coming up fast behind him, and tossed the ball back at him.  Jake jumped a good three feet into the air and snatched the ball, his feet never breaking stride once they hit the ground.  He ran untouched into the end zone with ten seconds left in the game.  What crowd had showed up for the game cheered loudly.  Eric looked up from his prone position on the ground, watching Jake celebrate in the end zone.  He didn't smile once, just walked off the field, letting the kicking team take the obligatory extra point.  The buzzer blared and the game was officially over.

Eric slowly walked off the field ahead of his team, toward the locker room area.  He didn't feel like celebrating anything.  He just wanted to shower and go home.  His teammates ran up behind him, slapping him on the ass and shoulder congratulating him.  He gave them a polite smile, but kept to himself.  He took a seat on the bench in front of his locker and started peeling the pads away from his warm skin.  The shoulder pads and jersey were chucked to the floor, and his body felt a bit of relief.  He looked down over his torso at some some red marks from where he had been tackled, but that was the norm for a football player.  He reached down and started untying his cleats, when Jake walked over to his own locker, just a few down from Eric's.  Eric didn't acknowledge him, just kept on taking off his equipment.  Jake threw his shoulder pads to the ground and draped a towel over his shoulder, all the while watching Eric intently.

His body looked healthy, muscles in all the right places upon his lean frame, but once Jake really studied Eric's face is when he became concerned.  His friend looked disheveled to say the least.  His normally boyish face was marred by the results of what appeared to be lack of sleep.  Eric's under eyes were puffy and the sclera of his eyes were decorated in red blood vessels.  Eric stood up, dropping his pants to the ground, grabbing his own towel out of his locker.  "You know you could've really blown it out there with that play."

Eric looked over at Jake, "We won.  Isn't that what matters?"

"You were careless out there, Eric.  So we got lucky today, I wouldn't count on it going that way again.  Where is your head at, dude?"

Eric kept his face neutral, grabbing shampoo and soap from his locker, "On top of my neck last time I checked."

Jake sighed, "You can talk to me you know?"

Eric's eyes met Jake's.  He could see the concern in Jake's eyes, but the closeness they once had with each other, was long gone.  At least in Eric's mind anyway.  "We're talking now."

"Fine.  If you want to be difficult then be difficult.  Just don't fuck up the chances of this team to accomplish something this year."  Jake started to walk away, but stopped momentarily, "And get some sleep.   You look like shit."

Eric sighed, sitting back down on the bench after he was sure Jake had went to the showers.  A few tears stung his already sore eyes.  They rolled down his cheeks slowly.  He felt helpless inside of his own body.  The life he knew seemed to have stopped, and now all he had was his thoughts.. his dreams.. his nightmares.  He wiped the stray tears from his face and straightened up the best he could before he went into the showers.

His eyes didn't wander anymore.  Not even the enticing view of his teammates bodies held any bit of interest for him anymore.  Nothing mattered.  He let the hot water cascade over his body, while he threw his head back and just tried to let the steam seep into his skin.  The water felt good, like it was momentarily cleansing him of what plagued him.  All too soon though, it was over, and time to return back to reality.  Eric frowned, turning off the water before he returned to his locker.  Jake was already dressed, not really paying Eric any mind.  He glanced one last time at the boy he thought was one of his best friends and frowned to himself.  He shut his locker and walked away silently.  Eric turned his head and watched the retreating form of his friend and whispered, "Goodbye, Jake."


The air was cool, the sun's bright rays not enough to pierce the chilly ocean wins.  It didn't deter many from flocking to the area, whether to have some fun in the beach sand or to enjoy the entertainment and dining along the pier.

"Hey, waiter!  Are we going to get our food sometime today?"

Jordan looked over at the table, sighing in frustration.  It had been an extremely busy day and customers like the ones heckling him weren't making it any easier on him.  He walked over to the table which was occupied by a group of guys, probably around Jordan's age.  "It'll be right up guys.  Is there anything I can get you while you're waiting?"

One of the boys smirked, exchanging a devious glance with his friends, "You can get on your knees in front of me."  The group busted up laughing while Jordan gave them an annoyed look.

"I'm pretty sure that's not on the menu," He said as he started walking away.

"Aw, did I offend the queer?"

Jordan stopped mid step, scowling back at the boy, "Who said I was gay in the first place?"  Jordan wasn't ashamed of his sexuality.  He just grew tired of people assuming that just because he liked guys, that he was there just to service them when they pleased.

The boys continued to snicker, when the apparent mouthpiece of the group pointed off to his left, "That guy over there said you were known for giving a good time."

Jordan's gaze followed to where the boy was pointing.  His eyes settled on a boy leaning up against the beverage bar.  His blonde hair rustled with the wind, and his dark eyes stared right back at Jordan.  The satisfied smile that played over his lips as he smugly waved sickened Jordan.  Jordan stalked to the back room of the restaurant and told his supervisor that he was going to take a break.  He pulled off his apron and threw it onto the coat rack on the wall.  He angrily pushed through the door to the dining area and made a beeline for his target.  "What the hell do you think you're doing here?"  The spite in Jordan's voice couldn't be contained.

"Why, whatever do you mean?  I'm just here for the fine dining experience," The smile on Riley's face widened as he spoke.

"Yeah I bet.  That involves telling complete strangers to hassle me while I'm trying to do my job."

"Relax, rich boy.  It's not like you need this job anyway."

"Is there something you wanted, Riley?  If not then I suggest you leave."

Riley's demeanor took a 180, the smile on his face replaced with a scowl, "Yeah, there is something I want.  Somehow I don't think you're going to give it up."

Jordan wasn't a confrontational person, but he was not about to back down from someone who had tried to take the thing he cared about most in life, "I'll never give him up."

"Thought so.  I won't either,"  Riley challenged.

"He was never yours, Riley.  Get that through your thick head.  Kai never loved you and he never will."

The words stung Riley, if only for a moment, "He just hasn't given me the chance.  He'll realize it, I know he will."

"Okay.. bordering on stalkerish now."

Riley glared, "Fuck you."

"I'd rather not."  Jordan began to walk away, but Riley wasn't having any of it.

"Don't turn your back on me.  You think you're so damn great.  That you and Kai are some perfect couple sent down from heaven or something.  I've got a news flash for you, you're not even close to perfect.  Mediocre at best."

Jordan turned, laying a dirty look upon Riley, "What would you know about relationships?  Have you ever had one that lasted more than one night in bed?"  Jordan once again made a move to make his way to the back room.

"Did Kai ever tell you what happened in Hawaii?"  Jordan froze in place, slowly turning around to meet a smug smile beaming in his face.

"What are you talking about?"

Riley walked up so he was right in front of Jordan.  He leaned his face in close to Jordan's ear and whispered, "When you called the day before you arrived, did he sound a little funny to you?  Well that was probably because I was giving him more pleasure than you ever could.  He's quite a mouthful."

The anger inside Jordan grew with every word.  Before Riley could say another word, Jordan grabbed the boy's head and drove his shoulder up into his jaw.  Riley staggered backward, unsuspecting of Jordan's outburst. "You're a fucking liar!!"

"JORDAN!!!"  Jordan whipped his head around to see his manager standing there with a shocked look.  It quickly became one of anger.  "What the hell do you think you're doing?!?!"

"He.. I.. "

The manager ran up to Riley's side, checking to see if he was all right, "Are you all right sir?"

Riley shook his head, holding his jaw.  In reality it was nothing more than a little stiffness in his jaw, but being the snake that he was, he wasn't going to just let it rest at that, "I don't know.  Maybe he broke something in my jaw."  Riley feigned pain as he spoke.

Jordan's eyes flared, "He's a liar!  That's all he knows how to do!  I barely even touched him!" The other diners were now all focused on the spectacle as well.

"Jordan, that's enough!"  Jordan quieted down.  "Get your shit, and clock out."

Jordan felt his stomach drop, "Y-you can't be serious?"

"You're a good worker, but I am in no way, shape or form going to allow one of my employees to put their hands on a customer."

"He provoked it!  You don't know him like I do!"  Jordan's voice held a tone of pleading and desperation.

The manager shook his head and sighed, "I'm sorry.  I'll have your last check for you in a couple of days."

Jordan's head dropped dejectedly.  He stared at the ground for a moment, before he looked up at the manager who had given Riley a seat.  As soon as Jordan's manager looked away, Riley shot Jordan a cheeky, satisfied smile.  Jordan felt like going over and really breaking his jaw, but knew that he would probably end up in even more trouble, this time with the law.  Jordan spun on his heels and hastily walked to the back knowing he was clocking out for the last time,

Riley watched Jordan walk away and felt a flood of joy go over him.  If he couldn't have Kai, neither could anyone else.  If that meant making Jordan's life as miserable as possible, then so be it.


Orange Park...

I pulled up next to the curb, pulling as close as possible without putting my car on top of it.  The sun was starting to show signs of fading and the air had come down to a nice, comfortable temperature.  I opened up my door, making sure I didn't fling it open into oncoming traffic first.  That's all I needed was to lose a door.  I walked over to the passenger side just as the door opened, a bit too fast for my liking.  I quickly grabbed the top of the window to stop it's descent.

"You trying to leave your mark on my car?"

Zach stepped out of the passenger side, smiling at me while doing so, "Of course not.  I didn't realize that the road was tilted like that."  He paused for a moment to grab his cigarettes, "Besides, weren't you supposed to be the gentleman and open the door for me?"

I playfully pushed him before shutting the door behind him.  "I didn't realize we were at the door holding stage."

"Mmhmm.  I don't think there's a time limit on opening doors."

I shook my head, "So are we at an agreeable point that you want to be the girl in this arrangement?"

"I think you'll fill out the halter tops better."  Zach's lips curled up, bringing the dimples out in his cheeks.

"Don't be jealous of my pecs."  I stuck my tongue out at him before we settled into a comfortable silence.

We started walking up the long winding path that went throughout the entire park.  The surrounding area was flanked by what looked like hundreds of orange trees, giving a bit of color the environment that was otherwise predominantly green and brown.  Zach and I walked closely, our arms seemingly always ending up in contact with each other, whether intentional or not.  It seemed to be a habit of ours.  I certainly wasn't going to complain about being close to him.

Our friendship had blossomed faster than I could have ever predicted.  It had only been a month since we met, but since the first moment I laid eyes on him, I knew there was something there.. something special about him.  Then when he opened his mouth and spoke, it only confirmed it.  Zach was easily one of the nicest and most likable people I had ever come across.  Besides his modelesque looks, he held this innate charm that exuded from him.  He didn't have to try to be who he was.  It was just something that he was blessed with.  I wasn't exactly an outcast in any form, but I envied the way he seemed to be so carefree.  It all seemed to make me want to be around him even more.

"You're awfully quiet this evening," Zach spoke softly.  The wind made the trees around us sway, the rustling leaves breaking the silence of the approaching nightfall.

"I was just thinking."  We came upon a lookout point.  It sat on a hill, overlooking rows and rows of orange groves down below.  Not far beyond that you could see the skyline of the city back dropped by the descending sun.  It's orange and yellow hues cut through the quickly enveloping darkness, it's beautiful contrast standing out like it had been painted on the world's canvas.  Zach leaned up against the railing that stood at the edge of the lookout, fumbling with a cigarette.  The wind kept blowing the flame of his lighter away from the end of his cigarette and onto his thumb.  He shook his hand from the slight sting that the flame had caused.  I put my hands around his, surrounding the lighter, allowing him to control the flame enough to light up.

He gave me a thankful smile, "What's on your mind?"

"Nothing really."

He inhaled the smoke, the bright embers of the tobacco glowing bright.  He blew the smoke out and turned to face me, leaning his back against the railing, "You just don't think for a long amount of time about nothing."

"What do you want to hear?"

He shrugged, "The truth?"

"Okay, I was thinking about you."

The smile played upon his face, even through his smoking, "Me, huh?  What about me?"

"Just about how fast things have moved.  I mean, we've known each other for a month or so, but it feels like you've always been here."

"I know what you mean.  Can't deny chemistry."  I grinned at him, his eyes sparkling with the setting sun.

"Yeah, we click."

He smirked, "And you moan."

I couldn't help laughing, "You're not exactly the silent type yourself."

"I never said I was."  He flicked the butt of his cigarette away, the embers meeting their end as they hit the dirt below.  He moved closer to me, leaning his body against mine in what seemed to be the norm for us.  He turned his head and looked into my eyes.  If there was one thing about Zach that couldn't be avoided, it was the eye contact.  He rarely ever spoke without holding eye contact, whether it be with everyone or just myself, I don't know.  "I'm happy that we click, Blade."

"So am I."  I paused, diverting my gaze for a moment then meeting his almond colored eyes again, "It scares me a little bit."


I sighed, "I'm not used to letting people get this close to me this fast.  Some people never do and here you come jumping right over everyone."

"I don't really see that as a bad thing."

"I don't either.  It's just.. different.  I'm a little out of my element with you.  I mean.. I don't mess around with friends.  It's just not me, but with you.. I don't know."

The twinkle in Zach's eyes made my stomach tie itself in knots, "Blade, I care about you.  I'm just.. not ready for a relationship.  I'm not saying that you're asking for one, but I just want you to know I'm happy where I'm at right now."

"No strings right?"

"Well, in a way.  I mean, I hope that we will always be friends.  It's just.."

I cut in, "You don't have to explain, Zach.  I didn't say I was looking for a proposal.  I'm still a bit messed up about where I stand with some people."

"You mean where you stand with Tyler, yes?"

"Yeah.  We had a talk this afternoon."

"How'd that go?"

"It went okay, I think.  We talked about where we're at with each other."

Zach turned his face from mine briefly, "Where are you at?"

I sighed, "We're at the same point we've been stuck at for a long time.  I love him, you know?  He was my first boyfriend.. maybe my first true love.  It's just.. so much has happened since we were together.  It's taken a lot out of both of us, constantly fighting for one anothers' love at times when we were at very different places in our lives.  If Chance hadn't left, I don't even know where Tyler and I would be.  If we would be anywhere close to where we're at today, or if we would be talking at all."

"Sounds like you've got a pretty full plate."

"Yeah.  I don't like being unsure of my own feelings."

"Maybe you are afraid of him hurting you again?"

"Sometimes I think that.  I wonder if I could take it again after the emotional problems I've been dealing with.  I wonder if I could make it through having my heart broken again.  That's why I don't let people get close anymore."

"Why did you let me?"  He questioned.  In my mind, I couldn't answer that question.

"I don't know.  I'm.. in a different place when I'm with you."

His eyes looked thoughtful hearing my words.  His eyes expressed emotion that he wasn't able to speak for a moment, "Blade, I like being around you.  I love kissing you and anything else that we end up doing."  There was hesitation in his voice, "I.. "

He didn't finish what he was going to say, whether by choice or not.  I let it go, not wanting to push him into saying anything that he didn't want to. "Tyler asked about you."

Zach raised his eyebrows, "Yeah?"

I snickered a little, "Yeah.  He asked if we were having sex."

Zach laughed, "Do we have it tattooed on our foreheads or what?"

"That's what I was wondering.  He said it's the way we look at each other.  I guess it's sunglasses from now on," I teased.

"Aw, but then I won't get to see when you're turned on."

I laughed at him, "There's other ways to see that."

"Mmm.. but your eyes turn me on."  He leaned in and gently kissed my lips.  I smiled, keeping my eyes closed for an extra second.  When I opened them he was staring at me with a smirk.  "What?"

"You taste like an ash tray."

He lightly smacked me on the back trying to hold a look of hurt on his face, "Jerk."

"Kidding!"  It was his turn to stick out his tongue.  I surprised him, planting my mouth over his outstretched tongue before he knew what hit him.  He settled into it, letting his tongue explore my mouth while our lips lightly came together.  I don't think anyone would ever complain that Zach wasn't a good kisser.  Our mouths seemed to fit together perfectly, never awkward.  Our lips melted into each other with an urgency, but never more than a sweet gentleness.  We broke apart, Zach's arm around my waist.  We both took in the air that we had expended while kissing.

"That was a good apology."

I smiled widely, "There shouldn't be any other kind."  We became quiet once again, watching the last bit of sun disappear, letting the night and moon take it's place.  The wind whipped around, stronger than before, sending a slight chill through the atmosphere.  I looked at Zach's face, while he played with an unlit cigarette between his fingers.  His body shook from the sudden jolt of cold air.  He was only wearing a short sleeve shirt and jeans.  "Cold?"

He nodded, "A little."  I broke out of his grasp for a moment to remove the hoodie I was wearing.  I slipped it around his shoulders, and let him wiggle his arms inside.  His lips came together with a sweet smile, "Now you're going to be cold."

I shook my head, "I'll be fine.  I can handle the cold, I am from NY after all."

"New Yorkers still don't walk around in cold weather with T-shirts on."

"Shh.  I'm fine."  His eyes held an unreadable look in them.  Not happy, not sad.  "Have you ever been in love, Zach?"

He remained quiet, causing me to wonder if I had crossed a line, "Yeah.. once."

"What happened?"

"I don't know.  We.. just broke up.  I don't really have an answer.  It just ended.  Maybe we were tired of each other."  I contemplated what he said.  I guess some people do grow tired of each other, even if there is still love there.  That's why people break up in the first place.  It also seemed to explain why Zach was content with being single.

"Love's confusing."

"That's why I'm staying away from it."  We both seemed to lose ourselves in our thoughts.  He turned to me and took my hand in his, leading me away from the lookout, back to the path we had come up on.  "Thanks for taking me here.  I think we should head back."

"Why's that?"

His eyes glistened with mischief before he leaned in close to my ear, "That kissed turned me on like you wouldn't believe." I smiled, shaking my head.  He laughed and kissed me on the cheek, before we continued on our way down the path hand in hand.  I stole glances at him watching his beautiful profile illuminate from the moonlight.  Something in me tugged at my heart, trying to get my attention.  I ignored it the best I could, thinking about all we had talked about.  Specifically what Zach had said yesterday.

I opened his door for him and closed it behind him.  I sighed to myself, taking a moment before getting in the car myself.  His words played in my mind, while I slipped into the car.  I started it up and put my hand on the shift to put it in drive.  As soon as I had, Zach rested his hand over mine without a word.

His words from yesterday were still fresh.. "Just don't fall in love with me, Blade."  I took one last look at him before driving away.. wondering to myself.. Why are you making it so hard not to?


The thumping bass pounded through the dance floor.  People danced like it was going out of style, having the time of their lives.  Most people smiled and laughed, whether it be friends or couples, they were there to have a good time.  Then there were the wallflowers, who stood on the outskirts, watching the others throw themselves into the music without a care in the world.  Those were usually the shy ones that were too afraid to go up to someone and ask them to dance, instead left alone to wonder what it would be like.  Then there were the other patrons who went to strictly get drunk.  Usually they hung by the bar, not really paying attention to anything else going on around them as long as they had a steady stream of alcohol flowing into their systems, they couldn't care less about anyone else.

Then there was another kind of person that went to Club Surge.  The kind that hung out in the back room, a type of V.I.P area if you will.  Not many people really knew what went on back there, but there obviously would be rumors floating around.  Some said it was where the owners of the club had their own private parties.  Sex, booze and music.  If it wasn't in public, then it was perfectly legal.  In some ways they were right.  There was definitely booze and music.  The sex end of things wasn't what most thought.  There was the common misconception that strippers or even call girls were present at all times to service the whomever was in need.  There was some sexual activity going on, but it wasn't by any hired help.  Normally the people who made it to the restricted area were ones that would partake in the real party favors that got passed around back there.


Basically pick your poison and it was there.  Depending on their choice, some would become so enthralled in their own highs that they ended up tearing each others' clothes off right there.  This would probably shock any first timers, but once you saw it a few times it began to seem more and more like a common occurrence.  Eric sat on one of the leather upholstered seats behind a table that finished off the framing of the booth.  His gaze was glassy, watching the people around him in various states of consciousness.  He turned his head when he felt someone take a seat next to him.  He smiled lazily, "Hey."

Ethan smiled back at him, "Hey yourself.  You look like hell."

Eric laughed, "So I've been told."

"How have you been feeling?"

"Pretty good.. well, until my buzz wears off.  I was a mess at my football game earlier."

"Well, you do have to sleep once in awhile, kiddo."

"Yeah, yeah.  If I don't sleep, I can't dream..."

Ethan studied the boy in front of him.  He was in an obvious amount of pain over things that had happened to him in the past, some things that he probably wouldn't ever admit to anyone other than himself.  He was doing what most people did when they came to Surge.. trying to make it all go away.  "You can't live if you don't sleep either."

"Come on, I've had enough lecturing lately.  I just want to have some form of peace tonight."  Eric looked at Ethan hopefully.

Ethan pulled a medicine bottle from his pocket and produced a pill from it.  It sat on the table for a moment, before Eric picked it up and popped it into his mouth.  Eric really didn't know all that much about Ecstasy.  He just knew that while he was on it, he felt like a different person.  Focused, happy, and energetic.  He trusted that Ethan wouldn't allow anything to happen to him, even though he had only known him for a very short period of time.  Eric remained quiet, briefly chatting with Ethan until the drugs effects started to kick in after about forty five minutes.  Soon after Eric was dancing up a storm with his new found energy.

Ethan watched intently, knowing the feelings that the boy was going through.  Eric danced with any and everyone that was willing, removing his shirt, the sudden wave of heat flushing over his body.  Ecstasy amplifies everything.  Eric was proof of it's most common known effects.  His need to be dancing and touching somebody at all times, his constant flow with the music and so on.  What Eric didn't do his research on was the real long term effects of what he was doing.  Sure for now it may be helping him forget his real life problems, but eventually he truly could end up forgetting them.. for good.  Permanent brain damage isn't uncommon with long term users.  Ethan knew that, yet he did nothing to stop Eric from taking the drug.

Eric let his body get lost in the music, not caring about anything else in that moment.  He didn't know what he had gotten into or where he might be headed.  All he knew was that he was in that state of peace that his mind was craving if only for a few hours until the drug wore off.  It was enough to make Eric believe that everything would be okay.

Then with the sudden pounding of a door, things seemed to change.  Eric didn't pay it any mind, but Ethan's attention had been grabbed.  The knock was one used only to warn that there was an issue outside of the V.I.P. area.  He stood from his seat an walked to the door.  He peered through the eye hole, to see one of the bouncers.  He pressed a button on an intercom next to the door, "What is it?"

"We've got a problem out at the front entrance.  Some kid is throwing a fit, saying he's going to call the police if we don't let him in to get his boyfriend."  Ethan looked back at Eric, satisfied that he'd be fine for a few moments while he stepped outside.  Ethan walked out of the room and followed the bouncer.  The crowd seemed to part as they walked briskly through the club.  They walked out through the front entrance, to be met by the sight of Tiny staring down a young blonde boy, who seemed to be none too happy.

"What seems to be the problem?"  Ethan asked, not taking his eyes from the boy.

"This kid is causing a scene, saying that we let underagers in here and that he's going to call the cops if we don't let him in."

The boy remained defiant looking, even in the face of the much larger bodyguard.  Ethan smirked, "What makes you think we let anyone underage into this club?"

Matt sneered at Ethan, "Because my boyfriend has been coming here every weekend for the past month and he's definitely not of age."

"Is that so?  I think you've been misinformed."

"No, I haven't.  You've got about 10 seconds to let me go in and get him or I'll have the police here to shut you down."  Jake had put in a phone call to Matt after he had left school earlier.  His concern over Eric's state at the football game was enough for Matt to realize that he needed to find out what was going on with his boyfriend sooner rather than later.

Ethan smiled, seemingly amused, "What's your name?"

"What's your name, asshole?"

"I assure you, it's not asshole.  Ethan.  I can also assure you that you have the wrong club."

Matt became even more frustrated, "What exactly is going on in there that you are hiding, man?  I know he's here, he's always here.  I don't know how he gets in, but he does.  So let me go in and find him, then I'll be out of your hair."

Ethan ran a finger over his chin for a moment, "Fine.  Follow me."  Matt shot a dirty look at the bouncer and followed Ethan into the club.  The lights and music could be disorienting at first, but Matt focused quickly, looking around the club trying to pick Eric out of the crowd.  He walked quickly, going from table to table, before going onto the actual dance floor.  He became frustrated to the point where he felt tears threatening when Ethan spoke up again, "What's his name?  I'll ask for him over the sound system."

Matt pushed away his tears, "Eric.  Eric Stevens."

Ethan smirked knowingly, then went over to the DJ booth.  He tapped on the microphone, shutting the music down for a moment, "Attention please.  If there is an Eric Stevens in the building, please report to the DJ booth immediately.  Eric Stevens to the DJ booth.  Thank you."  Matt stood by the booth, looking around hopefully.  After about 10 minutes, his heart sunk, as no sign of Eric came.  He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to look at Ethan.  "See, he's not here."

"Don't you guys have a back room or something?  Maybe he got.."

"No, we don't.  Just an employee lounge that's off limits to any guests."  Ethan lied through his teeth, watching Matt's face plummet into dejection.  "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave now.  No one underage allowed."

Matt walked to the door, stopping to look back at Ethan, who smiled and waved.  Matt shook his head and left the building not knowing that he had just been played.  While Matt stood letting his phone dial Eric's number, Eric was in the back, none the wiser that his boyfriend was worried and looking for him.  None the wiser that he was slipping further into something he couldn't control.  What he thought was his only escape.  Sometimes what we really need to save us, has been there all along.  We just don't realize it until it's too late.


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